Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yes... I'm An Idiot.

    I swear, I will never learn.  I'm an idiot.  A very special idiot, but an idiot nonetheless...

    Now, some of you may remember this entry in which I griped about the fact that my new laptop was sitting at the UPS distribution hub which is pretty much just a hop, skip, and a traffic light away from my house.  It's very close, so you can imagine my frustration.
    Well, obviously I suffered some sort of head trauma between the time I ordered my Dell, and the time, just a few days ago, when I ordered my new camera from, of all places,  

    Yes.  It is now sitting in the UPS warehouse.  Close by.  Because I am dumb. 

    To make matters worse, and to really show you what a lazy twit I am, Best Buy is not very far from the UPS warehouse.  In fact, UPS is pretty much smack-dab between my house and the big, blue and yellow toy store.  Gaaah!

    So, if any of you can help me out here, I need you to tell me what in the world I was thinking? 


A Conversation...

    I had a recent conversation about writing and whatnots with my mother, an avid reader, when she mentioned something about blogging, and how she just couldn't understand this odd, little craze sweeping the "internets." 

    Anyway, here's a little snippet of the conversation:

    "Do you have a blog?" she asked.
    "Yes I do," I said.  "It's kind of fun.  I get readers from all over the place."
    "That's nice."
    "Yeah," I said.  "Someday, perhaps I'll even travel to visit them all and sleep on all their sofas and write reviews of their furniture."
    "So, how many people actually read your blog?"  She asked.
    "I don't know.  Pretty many."
    "Can your father and I read your blog?"
    "How come?"  She asked.
    "I told everyone that you guys eat kittens."

    I know.  What can I say?  I'm a horrible son. 


Monday, November 27, 2006

It's Art Man...


    Yes.  It's been busy here, and I've been scrambling to keep up.  Life's a zoo. 

    Anyway, my niece taught me this neat little trick with a couple of toothpicks, some forks and a salt shaker.  Pretty cool, huh? 

    Aside from that, I'm sorry the picture is so dreadful and blurry.  Not only was I too close, but my camera is on its last legs, and, thanks to some helpful suggestions from a totally nice geek, I ordered a nifty new one a few moments ago.  So, I finally get to retire my poor, battered, five year old Olympus with the whopping 2.0 megapixels.  It's nice for big, outdoor shots where nothing really matters, but once indoors, I might as well be using an Etch-a-Sketch.   


Friday, November 24, 2006

Sleepin' Off the Typtophan...

Get out!    Well, the houseguests are asleep all snug in their beds which I tried to make as uncomfortable as possible.  After all, I don't want them to feel as though they're at home or anything.  If they wanted to feel at home, they should not have come to my house.

    Now, all I need is to figure out how to wake them up, feed them breakfast, and chase them the hell out of Milwaukee.  I don't own a gun, so that complicates things.  And, well, I don't want them to feel as though they're unwanted.  After all, Christmas is right around the corner, and I want a nice gift, dammit.

    Now, as cool as it would be to start peppering the walls with shotgun blasts to jolt my people from their sweet little slumbers, I need to be subtle.  I do know some of them quite well, but not nearly well enough to know whether or not any of them have any sort of heart condition, and the last thing I really want to do today is figure out how to dispose of a body or two. 

    Actually, that's the second to last thing.  The absolute last thing I really want to do today is go shopping.  The local news was showing people lined up outside of Toys R Us at five o'clock in the freaking morning!  I just don't get it.  Why would you go to all the hassle of camping out to pick up an Elmo doll whose only purpose in life is to annoy the bloody hell out of you to the point you silently weep and beg for the sweet release of a death that can only come at the hands of dead batteries?
    Anyway, since I don't have an army of Elmo dolls to cackle and chatter my houseguests into a frothing rage which will have them bolting out the doors, I think there's only one option remaining:  I must cook. 

    So, I'm off to throw some bacon in the oven (always bake your bacon, people), whip up some Hollandaise, get things chopped, sliced and diced for omelets, fry some potatoes, and pretty much wake them up slowly with the nice smells of a damn good breakfast. 

    Next year, however, I will get a gun.  And pepper spray just in case they get any ideas of trying to sneak back into the house by claiming to have forgotten something. 


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving...

    Hey everyone. 

    Thanksgiving has finally arrived, and I hope you all have a wonderful time today.  I personally plan to eat myself into a fat and happy state of food-borne euphoria.  It should be a nice time, but, unfortunately, my family will also be there, and though I love them all very much, dealing with this mob of relatives can really shred the fibers of one's sanity.

    It's been busy here the last couple of days with house guests, visitors, freeloaders, and one brand-spankin' new in-law who was so desperate to make a good impression that she damn near lit the kitchen on fire trying to whip up a batch of Saganaki.  It's one thing to be a little afraid of fire, but it's a whole 'nother kettle of fish setting a plate of molten cheese ablaze and then hurling it into the sink while screaming as though you've just stepped in a bear trap.

    Needless to say, DogCat was not impressed, DeafCat didn't even notice, and I pretty much just leaned against the fridge with a bottle of Metaxa and remembered that I keep forgetting to get a new fire-extinguisher since I used the last one to show my friends how to make a case of beer really cold in a hurry.  So, if my house burns down, the blame falls squarely on my friends and their propensity for buying piss-warm Miller Lite. 

    On the plus side, no one was injured, and my cousin's wife kept apologizing for putting cheese in my sink.  As far as I'm concerned, no harm, no foul.  But, I kept the flammable Metaxa out of her hands by disposing of it as promptly as possible.  Unfortunately, as a result of my disposal practices, my head feels not entirely unlike the pile of scalded cheese in my sink last night. 

    Anyway, today is the Big Feast, and if the appetizer of arson is anything to go by, it should be a tremendously fun time.  In fact, I can't wait to see what my cousin's wife will do next.  Hopefully, it will involve an exploding pie.

    So, Happy Thanksgiving everyone (and to my non-US readers:  Happy Thursday).  Say hello to your families and friends for me.  I'm sorry I can't be there, but I'll be kind of busy keeping Wisconsin from blowing up. 

Take care,

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Brain Mush...

   I really should be writing something in this journal today.  I'm just not sure what.  Editor Jeff asked about Thanksgiving entries, and I'll probably get around to writing one of those tonight to slap up here tomorrow. 

    The thing is, even though I said I'd take a smidgen of time off from writing the Little Monster, I found myself back at it again today grinding out a chapter involving all sorts of --hopefully funny-- insanity.  However, as I was writing away like an industrious little worker, somehow a growing whisper of a doubt began to creep into my head, and by the time I put the wraps on the day's efforts, it was an all-out scream. 

    Nonetheless, as I usually do when the weather is pleasant, when I finished up, I went for a walk in the woods down to the beach and back to try and find things to yank me away from the collection of words I'd written and to silence the grunting creative engine shaking the walls of my head, but that odd doubt was there when I returned.

    Normally, I don't make a habit of reading other people's books when I write, but this time around, I broke that mold, and I have been squeezing little perusals of AOL's own John Scalzi's latest novel The Android's Dream, and though it's purely coincidental, the chapter I'd just finished writing very loosely mirrors the chapter in his book I'd just finished reading.  And, by "mirrors" I should say that the only similarity they really share is that they both involve a date gone very wrong.  I believe mine is funnier though.  His has, a lot more gravity. 
    As a result of this weird little voice inside me, I had a genuine Chicken versus Egg moment, however, and I found myself asking "Did that just influence what I'd written, or is this just some odd coincidence?" 

    Fortunately, when I poured over my words checking for typos and whatnot, I realized that these were two totally, entirely different episodes, but the coincidence was actually something which made me smirk.  I found it funny that whole thought would even cause a murmur in me. 

    For what it's worth, I really am having a great time reading Scalzi's novel, and I recommend it to everyone who reads this.  Even though I rarely read Science Fiction, I have to admit, it's a damn fun read, and it's got bits in there which will have you laughing quite loudly.  I'm not sure if I can compare it to anything I've ever read before.  It's simply a novel that yanks you in and refuses to let go.  And, I will admit, there are certain aspects which I find do inspire my own writing.  It's not a question of one voice, or plot, or anything.  It's more the fact that I find myself thinking "Oh yeah.  I can throw humor into a serious situation." 

    If I have a knock against the novel, it would be to say that I find the inundation of a multitude of different characters to be a tad confusing, but the motives of the bad guys and good guys are there and easy to keep sorted out.  Perhaps it's just me that has trouble with that sort of thing, but when I read a novel, I tend to gravitate toward and embrace one particular character in any story or book.  Perhaps it's an attempt to empathize with that character or whatever, but in The Android's Dream, I find myself enjoying every single one of them. 

    In this novel, John shows he's a master at tempo and dialogue.  And, unfortunately, the only thing which upsets the tempo of this genuinely exciting read is the result of the somewhat shoddy proofreading that went into this novel before its publication.  I know.  It's a small thing of me.  But, those typos hit my eyes like a speed bump; however, I've got confidence that they'll be tidied up in subsequent printings.  And, though they slow me down, they sure as hell aren't going to keep me from reading this damn fine novel. 

    Aside from that, it's time to watch House.  So, have a great night!


Monday, November 20, 2006


    Hey folks.  I'm just jetting out the door to make it to a few appointments, but I just wanted to let you know that my little bout of what apparently was the Ebola Virus seems to have cleared up.  I pretty much just spent the weekend on the couch with the remote glued to my hand.  Occasionally, while I gawked at football games and whatnots, a cat would come by and sniff my corpse and then wander off to sleep someplace else.  It was nice. 

    Anyway, before I scoot.  I just wanted to ask a simple question to get my fingers working this morning in an attempt to get your comment leaving skills working.  So, here it is:

    Who's the bigger asshole:

O.J Simpson for going on TV to plug a book and explain how he would have murdered his wife and her friend --even though we all pretty much already know how he did it anyway?

Kevin Federline for blackmailing Britney by threatening to release a sex tape of the two if she doesn't pay him money or give him full custody of their two kids?

      Personally, I think they are both about as worthless as the sludge on the bottom of a barrel of goat shit, and the actions of these two do nothing but make them even more pathetic when I didn't really think that sort of thing was even possible. 

    Anyway, feel free to talk amongst yourselves and share your opinions.  I've got to scamper.


Friday, November 17, 2006


    It started yesterday morning, bright and early around 1:00 am.  I was yanked from a nice dream about robbing a bank.  The thing that dragged me from a sweet sleep was a stomach that felt as though a family of bothersome, noisy little beasties had moved in and started nailing tasteless hotel art to the walls.  So, yesterday, I just sort of rambled around with my rumbling tummy, and as the hours rolled by, I began to feel worse and worse, and I quickly realized that flu season genuinely is a sucky time of year. 

    As for this morning, I feel much better.  The stomach's calmed down for the most part, and instead of feeling as though someone smacked me in the face with a wrecking ball, I now feel like like someone had snuck in during the night and packed my sinuses full of rubber cement.  And, well, as far as my face goes, that's an improvement. 

    Anyway, since I'm heading off to snooze for a bit, here are some links for you to enjoy:

    The first comes from the customer-based rant or rave site with an odd complaint about Wal-Mart's complete lack of altruism.  Damn the man! 

    So, what's been keeping you from going truly wireless?  Well, that damn power cord keeps getting in the way.  But, not to worry.  Some whacky brains at MIT are working on a way to create wireless electricity.  Yes.  My dreams for a morning spent walking around the house with a wireless coffee maker and toaster could soon be realized. 

    Finally, with the release of the Playstation 3, people are going freaking bonkers.  And, one particularly smart and lucky person got his hands on one of the $600 gizmos, and hit eBay where someone actually coughed up $9000 for the thing.  It's madness...

    Okay.  I'm off.  Have a great Friday!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Scalzi's Photo Assignment.

    I know it's not often that I do John Scalzi's various assignments all that much these days.  Life being what it is and all, sometimes it's just tough to set aside the time, and, quite frankly, these days, this somewhat challenged mind of mine is usually spinning off in entirely different directions.  But, this week, I thought I'd take part because: A) my mind is kind of rumbling in idle at the moment, and B) I remembered that I actually had a picture that I took a while back that fit with this week's theme of floaty things.

    So, here's a photo
of some buoyant subject matter I snapped a couple of years back after finishing a monster road trip driving on The Lincoln Highway from Ocean City, MD to San Francisco, CA.  Unfortunately, I don't think hwy. 50 runs into San Fran since I sort of lost it somewhere around Sacramento.  But, since I have a bunch of cousins living in Sacramento, I figured that I'd much rather end my trip in San Fran.  So, I declared that it ends there...  At The Warf...  With a flat tire on my Jeep and a bowl of chowder.  Yum. 

    Anyway, I think I can only spot three things floating in this picture, but if you find more, let me know. 


Sunday, November 12, 2006

I'm in ur...

    Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing has been doing entries this week showing the variations on the "I'm in ur..." meme, and I figured I'd show you the silliness with my cat Harding doing his toilet thing. 

    Aside from that, here are a couple of sites with some hilarious cat pictures: Link and link

*update*    Journal's Editor Jeff put together an entry about this very meme.  Spin over there for a nice explanation and a challenge (of sorts).

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Activist Judges

Judge Rules a Burrito Is No Sandwich - AOL News

    This time, those damn, dirty Liberals have gone too far wanting to change the definition of sandwich.  It's clear we need a Constitutional Amendment to protect the sanctity of sandwiches.  Burritos can be called wraps, but don't you dare call them sandwiches.  If burritos are allowed to be called sandwiches, what's next? Can I call my dog a sandwich?  Will I be forced to order Sandwich Supremes from Taco Bell?

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke cited Webster's Dictionary as well as testimony from a chef and a former high-ranking federal agriculture official in ruling that Qdoba's burritos and other offerings are not sandwiches.

The difference, the judge ruled, comes down to two slices of bread versus one tortilla.



(thanks Tee)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thank You, And a Book Update.

    Well, nuts! 

    I didn't win either of the Vivi Awards for which I was nominated.  However, I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me and this collection of general silliness and oddities.  It was a tremendous amount of fun and excitement, and I really had a great time with the whole thing. 

    I also want to congratulate all the winners, and I particularly want to congratulate Dorn and Dad (not my dad, but he's a dad, I think) for their wins.  Losing isn't so painful when the competition is just that damn good. 

    In other news, the book writing is going well.  I've torn past the 60,000 word mark which is most likely about half-way by my estimations.  I'm hoping to end somewhere around 120,000 before I start the slicing, dicing and rewriting.  Establishing this sort of goal is a new approach for me since my writing style is to normally just stumble out of the gates and run until I drop.   It's also really hard making the transition from writing short stories to extending a metaphor in such a way as this.  It's fun, but sometimes it seems that the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is a very long way off.  Right now, though, it's the size of a solitary pixel.  It's tiny, but at least it's there to give me a little hope as I head into the locker room at half-time.

    The thing that bothers me most is that I wish I could tell you all about it.  I am horrible at keeping secrets when it comes to things that make me twitch with excitement.  But, I will say that it takes place in a not-too-distant future, but it's not science fiction per se.  There are no aliens, flying cars or big, honkin' space cannons (although....  hmmm).  It's got a lot of silly bits that have had me laughing out loud like a lunatic as I write, but there's also a serious underlying critique of today's world.  I think people will like it. 

    Unfortunately, I've said too much.  Now you all must be destroyed.  Sorry about that.  Please try not to take it personally.


Bad Gravity!

You need this Smurf!     It's been brought to my attention that Monponsett, one of AOL's resident sports bloggers, rode her bike through a rather dense pocket of New England gravity and took a rather nasty tumble. 

    Now, I encourage everyone to swing by her blog, High Above Courtside, to send her a little love and some good thoughts to help repair her thumped noggin.  Laughter is, after all, the best medicine.
    As for me, I went out and looked at helmets and found this old-school Patriots' brain-bucket for The Smurf.  Look Mon!  I can see you wearing something like this.  Unfortunately, it doesn't have the old Pat the Patriot, but I think this new one looks solid.  I can totally see you racing down the road with this on your bean.  I can even hear the children of New England weep in fear should they see this coming up behind them. 
    "Mommy!  Daddy!  What is that?"
    "I don't know, dear child.  I think it was the ghost of Red Grange.  In color.  The Pats' must've started signing dead people." 

    Anyway, Stacey.  You get well soon.  Rest up.  And get a helmet. 


Thursday, November 9, 2006

The Dark Side of Bacon!

    This is not a good sign --not a good sign in the least.  In fact, considering my proclivity for all things bacon, I think I can speak from experience that all it takes is one small taste before one finds themselves in the sweet but dangerous embrace of a gluttonous addiction.  Turning a robot onto bacon will only lead to the downfall of humanity. 

    Sleep well, people.  The end is coming.  Unless, of course, someone can create a robot which tastes like chicken. 


A Fun Memory.

    Now, I'm probably 99% sure this is a Photoshopped picture, but I thought I'd post it simply because winter's coming, and some of you may actually have thoughts of being on a beach.  This should discourage such distracting fantasies. 

    Why only 99%, you ask? 

    Well, before they fixed it, I remember flying into Stuttgart, Germany where the runway was almost comically short.  As a result, the pilots were forced to buzz a street, practically take out the fence and bang the landing gear down either on the skid mark-covered chevrons or the patch of sod at the end of the runway in an attempt to gain as much pavement as they could. 

    Once on the ground, however, the real fun began with a barely controlled jet barreling headlong at 200 MPH into the terminal.  This was finished by a very hard, high-speed right turn, and the end of a ten hour flight was punctuated by the screams of terrified passengers, overhead compartments emptying themselves, and the sound of squealing tires and grunting metal.  Trust me, if you were the kind of person who could sleep on a flight, this would wake you up in a cold sweat. 

    Of course, I loved it, and I was somewhat sad to learn they lengthened the runway.  After all, it's best to get that inevitable brush with death on vacation out of the way as soon as possible. 


Ed Bradley

    60 Minutes Reporter Ed Bradley Dies

    A hundred years ago, in another life, a professor of mine taught me what he called "The Golden Rule" of journalism, and throughout my life, I've always admired those who, in spite of personal opinions, emotions and all the other ingredients of individuality, could remain objective and committed to The Story for the sake of truth. 

    The passing of Ed Bradley is yet another serious blow to journalistic integrity --a commodity which, in today's media, is something of a premium.  I think today's journalists should look to Ed Bradley's vast body of work to see not only the importance of honesty in a journalist, but humility as well.  Ed Bradley was what journalism should always be: honest and objective.
    As an interviewer, Ed Bradley had a unique way of not only asking important questions, but he asked them in such a way that made people want to answer them.  He had an honesty about him that brought out the honesty in others, and that is a genuine gift to someone who so clearly belonged in the life of a chronicler of human events. 

    Ed Bradley and his words will certainly be missed. 


Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The Bully Culture.

    Earlier tonight, David Byrne posted a small but interesting article on his blog, and I think it's something that is certainly worth reading.  I think it does a great job of pointing out that, even though we have hopefully restored a much-needed level of maturity and sanity to our nation, we still have a tremendously long way to go so as to erase this image of America as a global bully.

    Anyway, give it a read, and please feel free to share your thoughts here. 


I Hear Your Cries America!

    It's over

    I know it hurts, and I know a great many of you awoke this morning gripped with fear as one chilling question danced its icy way around inside your heads and hearts:

    Where do we go from here?

    Unfortunately, I have no answers for you.  And, sadly, all I see upon the horizon are dark clouds and a troubled time of vast, soul-crushing uncertainty.  Indeed, no one can plumb the depths of humanity deep enough to answer the burning question we need so as to find the direction that we, as a species, desperate crave.

    This will be a stark and difficult world in light of the demise of Britney and K-Fed.  Alas, nothing gold can stay, and though I am reasonably certain Britney will fair quite well, and this collapsed marriage will simply be yet another easily erased blemish, I find myself thinking of the poor, talentless, little scamp that is K-Fed.  Indeed, what will K-Fed do?  As far as I know, most heiresses are either out of his league, or off the proverbial market.  Paris Hilton, after all, spends her post-clubbing evenings scraping things like K-Fed off the bottom of her Manolos, and Lindsay Lohan wouldn't give him the time of day so long as he doesn't have a wedding ring on his finger. 

    K-Fed gave hope to the insolvent, indigent masses who, in the face of gainful employment rose up and shouted "I will marry me a sugar mama!" rather than fill out a W2.  And, when the razor-sharp claws of domesticity and fatherhood began to close tightly around his throat, K-Fed bravely found the first jet to Vegas to regroup with his homeys, a pile of chips and a whole lot of strippers. 

    Now, America, where do we go?  Will it be K-Fed the politician?  K-Fed the back-up dancer for Barry Manilow?  Will he wind up in the Hasselhof Army?  Or, will we see K-Fed the "Gimme your damn bus pass beyotch!"

    I wish I had the answer.  However, one thing's for certain:  If you think the McCartney demise is a nasty endeavor, well, Sorry England.  We are totally going to upstage you all once again. 


Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Election Day!

    So, did everyone get out and vote today?  Is anyone in one of the "hotly contested" areas?  Did you have a bake-sale at your local polling place?  Did you notice any shenanigans?  Any weirdness on your ballot?

    I voted earlier this morning at around 10:30.  We used the ballots with the little arrows instead of one of the less-than-trustworthy eVoting Machines.  It was actually quite busy.  In fact, I'm kind of excited and somewhat surprised to see this large of a turnout.   I think people are going to be trying to send a message with their votes this election, and as well they should.  I hope someone is listening.
    We did have a handful of referendums on our ballots.  We had the ubiquitous "We must protect marriage from Teh Gay" issue.  We also had the death penalty on the ballot.  And both of those were humped quite extensively by the candidates.  However, there was one that wasn't even talked about during any of the campaigns, and it asked whether or not we felt that we should call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. 

    I was surprised to see that one on the ballot, but I was happy to see we could finally voice our opinions of this war in an official sense.  And, though it will probably not be heard, I voted a "yes" on that one.  The only way I know how to support our troops is to take steps to keep them safe rather than sit idly by watching them trudge around in a war that has no positive effect on our nation's safety.  And, in my opinion, this bungled war has gone on too long, and it's cost too many lives.  We need our troops home now, and we need to use them to keep America safe. 

    Anyway, I hope you all managed to get out and vote today.  It should be interesting to see how it all sifts out when the votes have been counted.  Right now, though, I've got a bunch of brownies to eat.  Yum!

*update*   I forgot to say that if you do an entry on your blog or journal about your voting experience, please leave a link in the comments to the entry.  I'd love to read your stories (Thanks Dawn). 

Monday, November 6, 2006

Politicians vs. Telemarketers

    I'm feeling exceptionally lazy this pre-Election-Day Monday, and I'm trying to keep myself from going ├ęclair a-la Sunday's custard-headed John Scalzi.  So, before I ramble off to another doctor's appointment, I decided to snag and post this little snip of interesting information from the Metafilter site.  It's a fascinating example of the depths some folks will plumb in order to, not-so-much, make their candidate look good, but to skirt the boundaries of what's actually legal in order to make their opponent look bad.  It's really quite pathetic that these folks have to resort to such duplicitous tactics.  And they wonder why people have such a hard time trusting some of these politicians?  I'd be embarrassed to vote for a candidate whose party has to hassle the population in such a way as this.

Foley was a Republican, but those Dems are TELEMARKETERS!
November 5, 2006 10:00 PM PST

    Abu Gharib? Feh. The newest Dark Side: telemarketing abuse. The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched a $2.1 million campaign calling individuals, including those on the Federal Do-Not-Call Registry, with automated telephone messages scripted to sound as if they are coming from the Democratic candidate up for election, in the hopes of driving away support come Tuesday's elections. "Hello. I'm calling with information about [Democratic candidate]," the recording begins, and then pauses for the traditional hang-up.If the recipient does indeed hang up, they then receive repeated phone calls back. This manner of scripting violates 47 CFR 64.1200(b)(1), which requires that "the identity of the business,individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call" be "state[d] clearly" "at the beginning of the message." The New Hampshire Attorney General got them to stop calling those on the Do-Not-Call Registry, at least. (In their best interests, perhaps, due to the $5,000 fine per call potentially racking up hefty fines.) This is going on at the very least in the Pennsylvania 6th, the Connecticut 4th, the North Carolina 11th,, the New Hampshire 2nd, and nationwide.
posted by WCityMike
    I'll be glad when tomorrow's over and done with, and hopefully there will be no riots or anything, but one never really knows these things. 

    Anyway, feel free to talk amongst yourselves, and do enjoy your Monday.


Sunday, November 5, 2006

Sunday Phone Calls.

    Zounds.  Where to begin?

    First, I should mention that I had I blast on my little date last night. She really is a great woman, but I can see from the get-go that this will most likely never move past that whole friendship stage.  I don't have a problem with that since I really do enjoy being single and insane, and bringing a significant other into my life right now would mean that I'd probably have to shave every day and stop wearing pajamas past noon.  And, quite frankly, I'm not ready to give that sort of thing up.  These days, if a woman tells me to wear socks, I consider that sort of relationship way too high-maintenance for me.

    Anyway, my Sunday tried to be relaxing, but the chaos started at around three AM with a phone call from my niece:
    "Heh [garbled gibberish]," I mumbled into the phone.  It may have been something close to a hello, but I really can't tell.
    "Uncle Dan," She chirped.  "I need your help."
    "Are you in jail?"  I asked.
    "No," she said meekly.
    "Then you really don't need my help."
    "No no no!" She said.  "We've got this trivia thing going on at work, and we're getting kind of drunk, and I need to know the name of that movie."
    "The Tao of Steve?" I asked for some reason.  It was probably the first movie that came to my mind in my disturbed state after having my nice, pleasant slumber shattered. 
    "No." She said angrily.  "It's that one with John Cusak.  You know?  He's holding the boom box, and it's got that Peter Gabriel song?  Do you know it?"
    "Say Anything," I said.
    I heard her sigh as the voices in the room began to demand an answer.  "You sure you don't know?"
    "Say Anything, you dumbass," I said. 
    "Alright," she said.  Then, she turned away from the phone and I heard her shout "Better Off Dead!"

    *sigh*  You can't pick your family right? 

    The rest of the day was filled with the usual Sunday stuff.  The weather was  unseasonably gorgeous here, and that made it much easier for me to stand in the kitchen and plow through the mess-hall sized pile of dirty dishes that seemed to accumulate over the weekend.  Unfortunately, the damn phone wouldn't stop ringing as a result of the never-ending stream of robo-callers.  Gadzooks!  Do these campaign idiots actually think that anyone in their right mind really listens to their nonsense? 

    Okay...  I'm wonked, so I'm out of here.  I hope you all had wild and wonderful weekends. 


Saturday, November 4, 2006

Feel Safe?

US Citizens to be Required ''Clearance'' to Leave USA

Washington, DC --   At the urging of the United States' Department of Homeland Security, the president formerly known as George Walker Bush has officially changed his name to Joe Stalin.  However, choosing a new cognomen wasn't an easy task for this administration:
    "We tossed around all sorts of options." Mr. Stalin said recently when asked about what may have been his administration's most difficult decision to date.  "One of my advisers suggested Nikita Krushchev, but I thought that sounded too girly.  And, well, Benito sounded too South-of-the-Boarder, and Leonid just doesn't match my personality.  So, we figured Joe would be good.  Joe's a buddy-sounding name, right?  I want people, especially children, to call me Uncle Joe."
    When asked about whether or not he wishes to be compared to former Soviet leader known for his oppressive regime, Mr. Stalin says, "Not so much.  I mean, I admire his flair for the dictatorial.  But, really, we're two totally different people.  For example, I'm the kind of Uncle Joe who you'd feel comfortable calling if you needed a wall or a fence built.  The other guy?  He'd just shoot them or toss them in prison.  That's no fun, really." 
    With the new name, Mr. Stalin also recently signed a law making it easier for him to declare Martial Law in the United States. 
    "We're really talking about exposure here," Mr. Stalin said when asked about the legislation.  "We're just trying to find ways to create a captive audience.  We want America to listen to its Uncle Joe, and with TiVo, television no longer works.  And, people out there should listen to me.  For example, let's say I decide that since I'm such a good leader, America wants to keep its Uncle Joe in office a little while longer?  How will they know if we get rid of that whole term-limit nonsense?  They won't.  And, the last thing we want is a bunch of Americans standing around outside expecting to vote in November of '08 when they don't have to.  It's cold in America, you know?" 

update*   [To say it's] Kafka-esque doesn't do it justice. This is 'Alice in Wonderland.
Gitanjali Gutierrez, an attorney for [Majid] Khan's family, responded in a court document yesterday that there is no evidence that Khan had top-secret information. "Rather," she said, "the executive is attempting to misuse its classification authority . . . to conceal illegal or embarrassing executive conduct."
    They can't hold Majid Kahn because they have no legitimate evidence to do so, and since they have potentially subjected him to torture alternative interrogation techniques in one of the CIA's not-so-secret prisons, they can't release him or give him access to his attorneys, his family or anyone because they're afraid he'll talk about it. 

Friday, November 3, 2006


   Yes.  You will notice that I added three exclamation points in the title of this entry as though it was a manifesto scribbled by a lunatic.  Unfortunately, AOL has yet to work out the maniacal scrawl font and multiple underlining common in the correspondence of madmen. 

    Anyway, it's Friday!  Does anyone have any wicked-wild plans for the weekend?  I have a date on Saturday with a really nice, very pretty red-headed girl who's a smidgen taller than me.  Normally, that's not such an odd thing, but considering I'm 6'2", well...  It's a little weird. 

    Other than that, I know Dornbrau is campaigning hard for the Vivi award for Most Humorous Journal, and I'm not going to engage in any mudslinging.  I like Dornbrau.  In fact, she was the very first person to comment on this journal.  I have a good opinion of her in spite of the fact that I have it on good authority that her journal is currently being written behind the locked doors of a roomful of Chinese immigrant children whom she pays a tenth of a penny per word. 

    So, other than voting for the Vivi Awards, what do you all have on your plates this weekend?  Fun stuff?  Not-so-fun stuff? 


Thursday, November 2, 2006

Pie & Pac Man...

    I nicked this from Cory Doctorow and BoingBoing
Perhaps it's lack of sleep or something, but when I saw this, I just could not stop laughing.  It's just dazzlingly funny, don't you think?


The Madness...

    It's hard to pinpoint where or when my brother Bob's insanity begins.  It's usually sometime between September and November when the season is changing, and the first signs of the approaching fall and subsequent winter begin to show upon the world around us.

    This year, it started early.  It was sometime shortly before mid-September when the first signs of his irrational, inescapable madness began to betray, what is normally, an otherwise rational mind.  And, it started with a phone call:
    "Hey Bob," I said after checking the caller ID and picking up the phone. 
    "Hey," he said in his usual calm and collected manner.  "What are you doing today?"
    "Nothing," I said.  "I'm being a bum today.  What's up with you?"
    "Do you have your chainsaw?" He asked flatly, and it was then that I knew The Madness had begun.  Bob already owns a chainsaw --a really nice one--, and the only reason why he would be asking whether or not I had mine is simply because there was something or someone in his life which apparently needed to be taught a rather violent and vicious lesson so important that he believed a back-up would be necessary.  And, in the face of The Madness, my only response was to ask a feeble and tremulous "Why, Bob?  Why?"
    "Just grab some beer and come over," he responded.  "I need your help with something."

    So, with Bob's insanity still ringing in my ears, I tossed my chainsaw in my Jeep and headed over to his house --stopping only to pick up a twelve-pack on the way.  The Madness, after all, tends to make Bob very thirsty. 

    When I pulled up in front of his house, I saw Bob in his slippers, with chainsaw in hand, standing in his front yard staring angrily at a rather large maple tree that appeared to have offended him to the point of evoking a Madness inspired standoff upon his lawn. 

    "What the hell are you doing?"  I asked as I pulled myself out of the car and walked slowly toward a spot between the two.  If nothing else, perhaps the presence of a potential innocent victim would be enough to keep The Madness at bay.  "Put the chainsaw down, Bob."
    "No!"  He barked and lifted the chainsaw to point at the tree.  "Do you see that?  Do you see what it's doing?"
    "Actually, Bob," I began, "I don't.  What's wrong with the tree?" 
    "Look!" He said as he stabbed his weapon into the air.  "The leaves!  They're starting to turn, and everyone else's up and down the street's trees are still green." 
    "But Bob," I began to plead.  "Fall's coming."
    "No."  He demanded.  "We have to cut the weak bastard down.  It's still warm out.  There's no excuse for this." 
    "Look," I said.  "Just set the saw down, step back, open a beer, and let's talk about this.   You like that tree.  Remember?"

    "I hate it." He said.  "It's got to go."
    "Either it goes, or I go.  There can be only one!"  He roared as he tried to start his chainsaw.   "You might want to move to move your Jeep." 
    "Wait a minute, Bob," I said hoping my voice was enough to pull him from the grasp of The Madness.  "Let's think about this.  We want the leaves to fall off."
    "What?" He said.  "I don't want that.  We have to cut it down.  It's got to come down.  We have to kill it.  It's weak!"
    "But, Bob," I said quickly.  "Just think about it.  The sooner the leaves fall off, the sooner you get to rake them into the street.  And, sooner is better because the weather will still be kind of warm, ya know?" 
    He stopped trying to start his chainsaw and peered at me with a confused look upon his face.  I could see my logic had begun to dispel The Madness. 
    "You think this thing is doing me a favor or something?"  He asked. 
    "In a way," I said.  "After all, how cool is it going to be waking up in the morning to watch your neighbors rake their leaves into the street while they freeze their asses off and the wind blows the leaves right back into their yards?"
    Eventually, after a few moments of deep contemplation, Bob trundled into his garage, packed away his chainsaw, opened a beer and mumbled something about snow as The Madness began to fade while the threads of more rational thoughts began to weave their way through his mind.  And, with another Madness-inspired crisis averted, and an innocent maple tree saved from the gnawing blade of Bob's chainsaw, I joined Bob in the garage for a beer and a rather sane conversation involving squirrels, a bird feeder and a few pounds of high-explosive. 


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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Books... Books... Books...

     Well, it's officially November 1st, and that means that, not only is it All Saint's Day, but, more importantly, it's officially the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). 

    The goal of this maniacal silliness is to write a 50,000 word novel by midnight on November 30th.  However, one guy is attempting to accomplish the feat by Day Two.  Will he crash and burn?  Will he make it, folks?  Tune in tomorrow to find out just where Michael Kerr is, and what, if anything of his sanity remains intact. 

    Now, to me, 50,000 words in a month doesn't seem particularly daunting.  Ages ago, I wrote a short story somewhat shy of 10,000 words in a day of fluffy, writing madness fueled by a smidgen of tasty, German Weiss beer and a fresh pack of smokes I'd picked up that morning for five Marks at the corner smoke-machine in the tiny Deutsche hamlet of Schonaich.  The story was called "Pigeons," and I think it now sits unread somewhere in the bowels of the Forrest K. Polk Library on the campus of the University of Wisconsin -Oshkosh. 

    Anyway, if I wasn't already too preoccupied with already writing a novel, I'd take part in this little exercise.  It seems like fun, and if any of you out there ARE tinkering with the notion of writing your own books, this may be just the thing to get the proverbial ball rolling.  After all, from my bouncing around the collection of journals here on AOL, it's pretty clear that a great many of you SHOULD be writing. 

    It's only 50,000 words.  That's not a lot.  In fact, I was out on a date recently, and the talkative woman sitting across from me hit that mark somewhere between the time the appetizers were finished and the soup arrived.  Unfortunately, unlike a novel, I couldn't dog-ear the conversation and toss it on the floor.  But, that's a story for another day.

    Aside from that, and speaking of books, AOL's own Blogger John Scalzi's latest is out.  I've not read it yet, and when I tried to pick it up yesterday from the bookstore, the brain-shatteringly attractive clerk told me that it's due to arrive later that day.  And, the good news for John is I wasn't the first person to ask about The Android's Dream.  The bad news is that I have to once again subject myself to the attractive bookstore lady.  Yes.  It will be a struggle for me.  Next time, I'm sure I'll pre-order from Amazon.   I mean, this girl could tell me her favorite book was a coloring-book, and I'd easily buy fifty.  I'm so weak... 

    Anyway, I hope your November is starting off all peachy and pleasant.  If any of you do take part in the month-long novel-writing exercise, let me know how it goes.