Bernie has this way of talking to customer service people that is simultaneously very polite, and completely terrifying. We call this "The Voice". It makes telemarketers curl up under their desks and cry, it makes the phone company give us the absolute lowes rates possible, and, most recently, it made Home Depot grovel and apologize profusely for being dicks about not letting us return a stove. So, yay Bernie.
Aunt Dineen and unle Larry are coming on down to take us out to lunch in a little bit. Good thing I went to bed early - 5am - and got myself a good four hours of sleep before the socializing...
Headed out to Wimberly yesterday, to pick up some plants and stuff from Silverleaf, my aunt Kathy's nursery. Bernie and I hung out with cousin Alex (minding the store) and Nick (studying for a statistics exam) for a while, then got our purchases together and headed home. We wound up with a bunch of tall canna lillies and african irises for the front fence, and a bunch of smaller plants, rasberries and herbs, for here and there. I also made sure to pick up some of that thai basil, so I can make my stir-fried goodies taste exactly like my favorite, #21 with chicken from King of Thai on clement street, back in SF. That's some tasty stuff.
So, today was all about digging holes, planting plants, and tilling the earth. While unloading the lillies from the car, I got a big handful of fire ants, and they got a pretty good number of bites on me before I realized that my HAND WAS ON FIRE and washed 'em all off. I'm all puffed up, and my whole arm is turning black and green, but it should be fine after the swelling and itching goes away. My injuries didn't stop me from putting a bunch of holes in the ground, though, and tearing up as much of the back yard as possible with the roto-tiller before it ran out of gas. Man, that little sucker gets everything - bamboo runners, gravel, cement blocks that have been buried there for god knows how long, everything. I also spent a good amount of time pulling this vicious little vine off of some of the bushes along the side fence. They were looking pretty yellow and sparse, and it turns out that there was pretty much a solid blanket of this junk on top of them, choking them all the way out. So, off come all of those pernicious little vampire-weeds, and out comes all the dead wood, and hopefully now, with some sun and hasta-grow, they'll be all green again, and blocking the delicate eyes of the world from my pasty white ass when I forget to close the curtains when I go to get coffee after stumbling out of bed in the morning.
Speaking of which, I only have one pair of shorts. They're really dirty now. I had to go outside again, and I've got to tell you, it's sort of weird wearing long pants now. Weird, and really hot. I've got to get myself down to Work Clothes and More and pick myself up some more of these cargo shorts, or, as the tree guy called them, "cop shorts".
Other things in the hopper: See if I can cancel my membership to my overpriced yuppie gym early, seein's how my income for this year so far is just a bit under the year's membership, and I haven't been going that often, anyway. I've also got to get that sorry-ass compost heap they left us moved around, rearranged, and turned over once I figure out what all to to with it and where. Plus, more Flash toys.
So much to do, so much time that I'm not doing it in...
We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world - a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us ... No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we'll kill you.
Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush?
They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us - they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis.
And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck Them.
Hunter S. Thompson.
Lord, how I love that man.
Game/Issue Tracker Update: I have done exactly jack today.
I tried out the demo of Galactic Civilization - good, if not entirely original. I may wind up buying that sometime later on in life. Also fired up a copy of Postal 2 that I, uh, borrowed from someone. Pretty entertaining, but I must be getting soft in my old age, as I was crippled with motion sickness after an hour or so. Like, nauseous, splitting headache, flushed, sweating, curled up on the beanbag sick. Maybe it's from lazing around too much, or not sleeping right. But man, did that suck.
Big day today. I found a new kickass comic to read every day. Very exciting. I also did a mess of work for the rollergirl site this afternoon. There's still more to do, but I think I need to let that sit for a few days.
There was also a smart mob this afternoon. The idea is, a bunch of people get organized via email or whatever, and at the last minute, they decide where to go. They all show up at the exact same time, do something meaningless for ten minutes or so, and then all vanish at once. Sounds like fun. We met up at the magazine rack of a 7-11 in town, about twenty or thirty maybe, and it was all well and good. Could have been a better location, but it's nice to see that many people will do something like that just for fun.
Afterwards, Bernie and I had a little coffee date (more like an interview) down at the Spider House Cafe with someone that I might be practicing my barbaric brand of photography on sometime soon. We'll see how that goes. Then, after that, we hooked up with Dave and Mel and headed up to the Alamo North to catch the opening of the new Charlie's Angels movie with all the rollergirls. Man, that was a super fun movie. Almost surreal in its lack of plot or coherence, but that stuff is for squares, anyway.
And then, sleep.
So, we've been having guys from various tree trimming outfits around town come over and give us their take on our three big old trees in the yard. They all need a good bit of work, and at least one of them is bound to come down while we're living here. The guy who came out today, Marcus, was not only the most knowledgeable-sounding, and the cheapest, but he also hung out for a while, and gave us a ton of great advice on all sorts of things, from how to do yard stuff, to investing in real estate.
Bernie was taking notes the whole time (five hours of porch sitting and chatting), and came out with great stuff on how to get our house all set up to be more energy-efficient (get a free run-through from American Conservation and Air), where to buy organic gardening supplies (Callahan's General Store) and what to buy there, how to counteract the high pH of Austin city water for the plants, how to get the soil tested for various stuff (call the County Agrigultural Extension Office), how to take care of our ant and bug problems without killing everything else (Demon WP pyrethrin and boric acid), where to get the best beef in Texas (Bubba K, at the Meat Shop on Peyton Gin Road), the best place to get plumbing supplies here (Krump), the best way to fix up the roof to get ready to do water collection, and, you know, all sorts of stuff. He also invited us out to his ranch for his wife's birthday around the fourth of july, and said he might know a couple guys that can use a computer-type guy, for contract jobs.
I really hope he's not just another crazy person.
Scott has never seen Episode II. I bought a copy for fifteen bucks at Target, but never opened it. Scott's tivo caught it tonight, and I told him that I would "sponsor" him, and watch it (here in Austin) at the same time he did (there in San Francisco), to help ease him through this trying experience. I think I have signed both our death warrants. It burns us. IT BURNS! JESUS CHRIST, MY EYES!
Went to see Jerm at the Carousel Lounge again last night. Jerm was in fine form, but he also had another performer (who I won't name) doing a set in between his. Oh, jesus. I was convinced that we had died in a car crash on the way over, and we were in Hell, listening to this terrible parody of a folk singer do the same song over and over again. I wasn't planning on drinking much that night - the Carousel only serves beer, but you can bring your own liquor - but, damn, was I happy that Dave had brought a bottle of Bushmills. A big bottle. By the end of the night, an empty bottle.
After the show, we consoled ourselves with some warm glazed donuts from Mrs. Johnson's, went home and zonked right out. This morning, so hurting. Pretty useless all day today; I tried plunking away at w3x (my little web-based issue tracker), worked on a little web scam, and watched some Zatoichi, which rules. Also tried to figure out what we're doing with the back yard, which is turning out to be a larger debate than I had expected. Maybe we should just turn it all over and let what grows there, grow. Bah.
My legs are sore, my finger hurts, and it's getting really hot. Bitch, bitch, bitch.
On the upside, I went shopping for bathroom tile today, and picked up some cheap woodcarving tools at the Hobby Lobby. My friend Scott got it into my head to try building a chess set. Will laziness win over our hero again? Tune in next week!
I need to get back to work on some games. I've obviously got an overstuffed queue of stuff to work on, since I've done approximately jack shit in the last long while; the problem is deciding on what to do, and doing it. I think I'm going to start on something easy, sort of a space trading/exploration/combat game in the spirit of Elite or Galtrader. We'll see how that goes. But first, I've got to get my bug tracking system back up and running... It also sounds like a good idea to me to put together a brief "ludology" of the games I've written in the past, as most of them are gone, daddy, gone. Yeah, I'll get right on that.
I've been reading a bunch lately in various places about game design, and how games (and "video games", in particular) should be considered an art as much as anything else. I tend to agree with that. Sure, there's a lot of crappy art, but that doesn't make it something else. I also like how that little semantic dodge lets me work on games, and call myself an "artist", as I generally don't think that I have a creative bone in my body. So, does that mean that playing games all day is the equivalent of spending time in a museum? Who would complain to an artist that they spend all day inside, working on their work? Except their landlord, when the rent comes due, that is...
I'm also re-reading Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, which is an excellent primer on the form for those who are unfamiliar with it, and a deeper look at sequential visual art for those who have enjoyed it for years. There's an interesting section near the beginning where he proposes that, because some comic characters lack detail, they provide a nice, generic, "iconic" medium for the reader to identify with, thus immersing them in the story more fully. As characters, or objects in the comic, become more realistic, they are seen more as external, more visual objects, and the reader becomes an outside viewer, looking in. While reading, I would occasionally substitute the word "video game" for "comic" in my head. There is much lamentation for the "good old days" of video games, when pretty graphics didn't matter as much as gameplay. Perhaps it is that, as games become more realistic, the player sees it more as a "show", and doesn't identify with the characters or avatars in the game as much. In the classic Atari 2600 game Adventure, the player is represented only by a small square which moves around the screen. I remember playing this game for hours and days and weeks and months, never getting bored. Compare with something like, say, Dungeon Siege, which had excellent graphics, and okay gameplay, but didn't nearly grab me as much, for some reason. Of course, there is the inevitable comparison to Nethack
Today is Bernie's birthday! You'll have to ask her how old she is yourself. She woke up this morning and found a chocolate torte in the refridgerator. Must have been the cake elves again.
We spent a good chunk of the day working in the yard - I pulled down the fence that cuts our yard in half, and dug up all the fence posts. Helpful hint: if you soak the ground around the posts, it goes a lot easier. Mmmm, mud. Also, it helps if the concrete around the post bottoms is old and cracked. Yay for slapass!
Anyway, after getting all tired and dirty, we went to tai chi class. I hadn't really eaten all day, so I was pretty shaky, and my knees are not what they used to be. But it's still good stuff. Legs sore, though.
Got our first electric bill of the summer today. Two hundred and forty bucks. Ow.
I'm guessing that our crappy old air conditioner at least needs to have the filter replaced, and there's more than one place in the house where the cool air can get out. Like, all the windows that have inch-high gaps in them where the glass is falling out. Apparently, there's some free energy-efficiency survey you can get done around here; we need to sign up for that, and just hope that the guy doesn't die of shock when he sees the sorry state of affairs around here.
In other news, my right pinkie finger is all messed up. The joints really hurt, but I don't remember doing anything to it. Hopefully it'll go away soon, because it's making my shift/return/semicolon painful, which really puts a cramp in the work thing.
In the process of not doing anything, I've started playing with Friendster. I'm not sure what it's good for yet, but it's kind of neat to know that I'm somehow connected to fifteen thousand people through friends and stuff. Plus, there's cute chicks on it. Maybe I can trick someone on there into giving me some work. Anyway, check it out, and hook me up if you're on there. And then give me a job.
I just found the words "bad cop" written here for some reason. I think that I thought it was a good idea for a title on a business card or something. It'd be better if you worked with someone who had "good cop" on their card, though.
Woke up late again, but tonight's class was skipped for honorable reasons. First, there was the Austin Game Developer's meeting up north, with an old, but interesting, talk about economies in multiplayer games online. Learned some stuff. Afterwards, I rushed back downtown to catch Erik Hokkanen and his band play some music down at Flipnotics. Our friend Kyra invited us down, along with some other folks from the usual crew. Erik and the band were super rockin'. I bought a CD, and I reckon we'll be back to see him again soon.
In other other news, I'm paying bills tonight, and starting to feel a twinge of panic about the money/job situation. I just turned down a two-week gig answering phones for ten bucks an hour, and I wonder if I was right to throw away eight hundred bucks like that. I think I was, but, you know. My empty pockets are full of the blues.
Also, I forgot to return my videos to Vulcan tonight. Netflix has me spoiled rotten.
Also also, if you'll notice, my writing is getting more terse and sloppy. Bah. Tough.
I pretty much wasted the whole day today. Got up late, just screwed around and read, spaced on my 6:30 class, ate buttery sugary snacks, and watched a movie about junkies. One of these days, I'm either going to get a job, or die, and this slackitude will end. Tomorrow will be less slackful, I'm sure.
I am also taking up a collection to send Mary Bono on a skiing vacation. Just send cash. It's better that way.
Hey, I actually got the new "advanced" interface on the xhibition admin thinger working! Now I can go through and process all those damn galleries! Plus, I think my knuckle joints are going to burst! Wooo!
I wonder if I'll get in trouble for sitting on the couch and playing Dead To Rights while Bernie paints the bathroom...
Dammit, we missed the F13-3D show. There's another one in an hour, but I don't think there's any way we're getting out for that. Well, crap.
I was up until 6am this morning screwing with that admin interface for my photo gallery thinger. I'd just like to say right now that I am completely sick of the shitty state of XML handling in Perl. Maybe it's just me, but I have more trouble doing XML stuff in Perl than in any other language. Dammit. And now, my fingers and hands are all hurty.
But Bernie just brought me a plate of sausagey fried potatos! Woo!
So, today I'm outside, in Texas, in June, chopping up the big tree branches that fell down during the storm yesterday. Trimming the bad parts, chopping them into manageable pieces, dragging them out to the curb. This seems like a perfect excuse to buy a chainsaw, but I'm managing with a little hatchet for now. I'm mostly done - there's a pile of branches and leaves out there about five feet tall right now, and it's just gonna get bigger. Must drink more water.
The other fun thing is the eight hundred million fire ants living in one of the bigger, deader branches. After a little banging and yanking and chopping on their house, they're seething all over the tree - including the parts lying on the ground. I managed to avoid them for the most part, but I'm still feeling little phantom ants all over me.
I took some pictures, and went to upload them, and realized that I'm about two dozen galleries behind in managing the xhibition. Probably upwards of two thousand pictures to go through, edit, label, and all that. I just dumped 'em all in raw for now, just to get them published. I'm sure I'll get right on that exciting and engaging task in the very near future. Fun, fun.
And, of course, after I come in to get some water and cool down a bit, I sit down at the computer to check email and irc, and write this. I feel a little tickle in my ear, I poke around in there a little, and brush out a nice fat red ant. Now it's crawling around inside my keyboard. Now I have crushed him. I'm going to be feeling oogy for days, now.
Man, did we have a monsoon again today. All of the sudden, the sky went dark, everything had sort of a green cast to it, the thunder started right up, and a billion gallons of water fell out of the sky. Cousin Alex was in town, and stopped by while the storm blew over - you could hear several sirens heading to accidents caused by dumbass Texan drivers who can't handle a little precipitation. We also lost a couple of branches from the tree in the front yard; a few on the ground, a few still stuck up there, one or two sitting on the roof of the porch. No damage that I can see, but it'd probably be a good idea to get these garbage trees trimmed down before something comes through the roof and floods out the whole operation.
Tai Chi was good again yesterday. We got about a quarter of the way through this short form - real short, like 24 steps - so, we actually have stuff to practice now. The instructor also went into a lot more of the martial applications of the moves we were learning; Brian mentioned some wrist/elbow stuff the other day, and we learned exactly that. Nice little coincidence, plus, it helps me a lot to have a physical application of the movements while learning them. Instead of just making abstract motions with my hands, I know that this is how you block and pull someone off balance, or break their elbow, or whatnot. Fun stuff.
I had a weird dream last night, where I was at a New Year's Eve party at Organic, where a bunch of us used to work. Midnight rolled around, strange frivolity. Also, Li'kitty Split was working there, and she told me that she's been trying to coordinate some project work with Phil, but couldn't get in touch with him, because he's been in Sweden. Which he has been. I guess she didn't know that he works at WaMu now. Still, seemed pretty pissed about the whole thing.
Played a lot of Dead to Rights last night. Fun game. If only the Matrix game was as fun.
Bernie's making pizza for dinner, and then we might go check out the Friday the 13th in 3-D show at the Drafthouse. More fun!
Plus, I'm getting one of those spike-through-the-forehead headaches again, my floaters are going crazy, and I think my glasses are all scratchy. At least, I hope it's the glasses, and not the eyes. Hey, I never got a call back about my contacts. That's what I'm going to do tomorrow. First thing. I'm starting a list right now. Item number one, harass the eye doctor place about getting the stuff that was supposed to come in like a month ago.
Well, judging from my obsessively-kept and blindingly accurate logs, I have done approximately jack shit today.
Okay, I did one thing. We finally (finally!) got our fat asses out of the house, and to a tai chi class. (Of course, when I say "fat asses", I mean my fat ass in particular. I am not about to step into the trap of saying whether a girl's ass is fat or not, unless I just did, in which case I take back the "fat" part and replace it with "lazy", because I'm pretty sure that won't get me in too much trouble.) It was okay; a few basics, and the first step or two of a short Yang form. The teacher seemed to have it together as far as I could tell, (which may not be as far as one might think, for all the shit I talk about such things) so, we'll see how it goes. I'm guessing it's going to go well - it felt good to get moving around like that, and if my calculations are correct, more moving around = less ass-fat. We're already signed up for ten weeks of this and the shaolin kung fu, and I don't see how it could really be any worse than not going. I mean, unless it's the front for a cult or something, and we get brainwashed, suckered out of all our money, and get sent on a suicide mission to assasinate the ambassador to Madagascar or something. If it is, we'd probably be better off just staying home.
Aside from that one hour of pretending to walk around with an imaginary beach ball, though, studies show a lot of "read email", "irc", and "check webernets" on the schedule, with the occasional "pee", "rest", and "try to find something to do" mixed in there for flavor. Maybe I should make a list or something. I've got a couple pieces of scrap paper on the desk here with various things scribbled on them, and I should probably organize those thoughts before they're washed away or stained out by spilled coffee.
Maybe I'll do that tomorrow. Yep, first thing.
What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children--not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women--not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
This is how presidents (and senators, and civil rights leaders) get themselves shot. By who? Who can say? Let's take a look here - he seems to be talking sense, trying to work things out, not lying out of his ass, and seems fairly intelligent and well-spoken. Wanting to slow down the giant metal gears of war seems to be a fairly noble aim... obviously, only a lone, crazed lunatic would want to shut someone like that up.
I guess, from a security standpoint, it's safer for a president or other highly visible bureaucrat monkey to puff himself out and make the boom-boom talk. Those hippie peace-huggers seem less likely to take a potshot at someone for saying things they disagree with.
In onther news, Cafepress sucks just a little bit more for caving and pulling this store. Why is the conservative (and liberal, too, as often as not) knee-jerk reaction to something they don't approve of to bitch and wail for the elimination of that thing from the face of the planet? "Make the bad thing go away, so we don't have to know that people think things that we don't like!" Hey, news flash, kids - offensive speech falls pretty squarely under that "freedom of speech" thing that we all like so much. In my opinion, the more offensive the idea, the more important it is to make damn sure it's allowed to get out there - like the man said, "Unpopular speech is absolutely vital to the health of our nation."
(Yes, I know, Cafepress is a privately-owned business, and they can do what they like, and sell or not sell what they like, but dammit, they're an American business, and I think it's damn well about time that American businesses started acting like what they are, and stop acting like a bunch of little girls who run and puke in the corner the first time someone says something mean to them. "Yes, we sell things or show ads that some might find offensive, and if you don't like it, you can shove it right up your ass. Thanks, and have a nice day.")
I think I've completely given up on taking decent pictures at the roller derby. Until I can afford to drop two or three grand on a nice digital back with some decent lenses, more manual settings - like, focus, hello? - and maybe a little bit more skill on my part, the best I can manage now is to put the camera on multi-shot, aim in the general direction, and hope that I get a handful of okay images out of a hundred or so. Either that, or stop trying to use a low-to-mid-range digital camera in a dark, smoky, chaotic skating rink where everything is moving really fast.
Or maybe, just STOP SUCKING SO MUCH.
Derby tonight. Lots of fun, followed by dessert at Magnolia. I've got tons and tons of pictures that I haven't put into galleries yet, so, tough. I'll get to 'em Real Soon Now. I'm all full and stuff. Sore, too, from the gym and class. Tomorrow, check out the tai chi and all that.
I've been getting some pretty bad headaches lately - I think it's from eye strain, sitting on my ass, staring at the computer or television all day. Need to not stare into the light so much.
Sleepy. More later.
Bernie and I just returned from our little introductory session at swshaolin. We went there for the t'ai chi, but it wound up being more kung fu type stuff. Which is fine by me - sort of kicked my ass a little, though. Anyway, we put our money down, so we're good for ten weeks - all we have to do is show up. And, uh, do stuff.
So, I've been playing this game, A Tale In The Desert, off and on for a month or two now. I'm not real big into the MMORPGs, myself - they require way too much time and dedication for me. (Me, who will sit and play GTA or FFX for 30 hours straight...) Anyway, there's been a big buzz about ATITD for a while, so I checked it out. It's original, innovative, and pretty unique, I'll give it that. First off, there's no combat. None. You progress in the game by learning new skills and improving your character and building stuff, but there's a heavy social interaction component to the game - I don't see how anyone could play solo. The site describes it better than I could - especially at this hour - so check it out.
Anyway, I was gonna say, the game starts off pretty interesting and fun, but as you progress, it requires a lot of... patience. More than I have, I'm starting to think. I haven't played for a couple of weeks, and I was intending to sign in tonight just to deactivate my account, but as I came in, I realized that I was very close to completing my first Initiation, so I fiddled around a bit, searching for the locations that I would need to visit to finish my task. Well, I did it, and got a little light show, so, now I'm wandering around Egypt, trying to find out if anything else interesting happens now. Then I ran into some newbies, and helped them a little bit, did some trading with my neighbors... and hey, look, it's four hours later. So, maybe I'll leave the account active for a little while longer...
Speaking of which, we've got to get up early tomorrow - like, ten in the a.m. - to get to our appointment at swshaolin for our introductory T'ai Chi lessons and signup and stuff. Couldn't arrange to do that today, but we did make it to the gym, at least, so, a little less slobbing around that I had planned. Which is good, I guess.
Oh yeah, finally got around to watching Zoolander today. Funniest goddamn thing I've seen in a while. (PS. If you didn't like it, then screw you, pal!)
Eyes drying up and falling out of the sockets. Maybe this is a sign or something.
I have come to the sad conclusion that there is no XSLT package that will play nicely with perl that does not completely suck ass. XML::XSLT, the gnome libxml/libxslt, xalan/xerces c++, ass, all ass. This makes me sad.
Bernie is getting to be quite the cook. When I met her, she was... well, not completely hopeless in the kitchen, but she's learned a whole bunch in the last few years. She's tearing through the cookbooks and magazines, trying new stuff all the time, and basically putting my lazy ass to shame. (I have a handful of leftover bachelor recipes that I can pull off really well, but, you know, laziness.)
Anyway, she's gotten pretty good at putting together really terrible, really tasty dessert-type goodies. Yesterday, she baked a pan of lemon bars. Holy crap, those are some delicious lemon bars. They're good warm, fresh out of the oven, and they're good when they've set for a while. Good for breakfast or a late-night snack. Plus, she smells really nice after doing whatever magic things she does with citrus in there.
The point being, I think I've eaten about a pound of butter in the last 24 hours or so. And I can't stop eating them. This is in addition to the usual diet of sandwiches and fried things. I did cram down a whole bunch of celery this afternoon, to run the liquid plum'r course through there, and I drink water pretty much constantly, but I'm still feeling like a giant butter-monster.
Tomorrow, we're telling ourselves that we're going to sign up for t'ai chi and kung fu classes at a place nearby. Maybe that'll help.
Hey, did you notice how late it is? That's because I've been working on the roller girls site. Got the goods from Patsy Crime this afternoon, worked a bit, went out to First Thursday to support the rollergirls and watch them play some musical chairs, then headed off to Threadgill's for dinner with Dave and Mel. It sounds like Dave's interview with the Flash dudes in Houston went really well, so he might be employed real soon like. Waiting for the trickle-down, here!
Anyway. Late. Sleeps.
I just ate a whole watermelon, and now I'm all distended. We found these great little melons at Central Market - they're about a foot across, seedless, super sweet, and have a rind that's only like a quarter inch thick, and pretty tasty itself. I could almost eat one like a big, wet apple. Yay genetic engineering!
Bernie bought me some new boots (Fluevog) online, but they're too small. Sad.
I like comics. A lot. However, I'm having a hard time getting excited about anything that's out now. Not just new stuff, but stuff that's been out for a while that I haven't gotten around to yet. I'm trying, though. I just picked up the first few collections of The Invisibles, which came highly reccommended by a friend who claimed that it was totally ripped off by the Wachowski brothers for the Matrix. (Which were, I might add, way more expensive than I thought they were going to be.) I dunno about that - it's good, but I'm not blown away by it. Everything "worth reading" these days seems to be scooped out of the same mishmash of stuff - a little bitter, some self-referential superhero in-jokes, spooky supernatural/secret society/lovecraftian stuff, a dash of cyberpunk sensibility, coated with a solid wash of swearing, skin, and gore. Not that I'm against any of that, oh, no, but, you know, it's done. Alan Moore still manages to grab me now and then, but nothing like the first couple of times. Maybe it's just me. I'm sure there's lots of great stuff out there that I don't know about - I just can't find it in me to go digging to find it.
So, after the main wrath of god part of the storm last night was over, but we were still getting some action, I realized that my new camera had some video capability, and a decent sized memory card. So, I tried to grab a couple clips of the storm. They didn't turn out very well - I couldn't see jack to frame any shots, and for some reason, the CCD only caught the brightest of flashes - but it's still a little neat.
Next time, for sure.
In other world-shattering news, I've got a little hangnail or something on the right side of my right pinky nail. This makes hitting return, shift, and semicolon really annoying, and is adversely affecting my productivity. Just so you know.
We had an awesome thunderstorm last night. Probably went on for three hours or so - there was a good half hour where we were getting more than one flash per second, and the thunder was rolling pretty much non-stop. Lots of big strikes nearby, like, less than a one-count away. The power went out once or twice - luckily, I picked up that UPS for the server and connections a couple of weeks ago, so everything was all good. Tried to take some video with the new camera, but nothing interesting came out of it. Good fun.
Bob Graham has been in the news lately for keeping an obsessive journal of his daily habits. People apparently find the level of detail strange or compulsive or something. I think it's pretty cool - just yesterday, I came across creaturesinmyhead.com, in which this guy has been drawing and posting a new little creature every single day, for the last year or two. I really admire people who can keep up a creative schedule like that. Keeping a detailed log every day is in the same category, as far as I'm concerned - pick something, do it, keep doing it.
I've always been really bad at focusing on one thing for a long time like that, so I'm trying a little experiment; today, I started a Graham-like log of stuff. I think I mentioned before that I thought I should keep track of what I do when I'm slobbing around all day - well, now's my chance. It's interesting - even just doing this for eight hours or so has really made me aware of where my time goes, and I think it's fooling my brain into organizing itself differently, somehow. It's like some sort of zen exercise on mindfulness - I've always got a meta-process running in my head, "what am I doing now?" Knowing myself, I don't know how long I can keep it up, but it'll be neat to see what happens.
Anyway, I rolled out of bed and started to scribble stuff down on a little notepad. Naturally, after a couple of hours, I decided that just wouldn't do, so I threw together a little Perl script to log my entries in a database. It's really rough - it took like fifteen minutes to bang up and a few more to write a viewer, to give my stalkers a little thrill ("he took another crap! wheee!") and, of course, to provide my political enemies more ammunition to knock me down when I finally make my bid for the presidency.
Goddamn SBC telemarketers. They try to sell me DSL - which we already get through Speakeasy, who rule - and I start yammering about symmetric DSL ("is that, like, a static IP?") and running servers, and they get scared and run away. You know, just like the last three times. Maybe they should write that down somewhere.
So, last week, I traded (temporarily) my copies of Enter the Matrix and Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem for his Dead To Rights, Dead of Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball, and Hunter: The Reckoning for the Xbox. I made the mistake of popping in the DOA Volleyball game around 1am last night, because I couldn't sleep. Just see how the stupid game is, I said to myself, because it's probably stupid, and you'll get tired and go to sleep soon enough.
Well, it's 8:30am now. That game is pretty darn fun. Plus, boobies!
(Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that this month's issue of Adbusters includes, for no extra charge, a CD of badass music mixed by Spooky. If you like anything good at all, you'll love this. Go get it now. I said now, dammit! G'wan, git!)
So, we just got back from the Alamo Drafthouse, where we watched a shot-for-shot remake of The Raiders of the Lost Ark, made by a bunch of teenage kids in Mississippi, over the course of seven years or so. Afterwards, the filmmakers - who the Drafthouse tracked down, and are now thirty or so - gave a little talk about the film, and did a little Q and A session. It was one of the best things I've seen in a theater in a long time. The guys were friendly and funny, and the video was amazing, in every possible way. It's been circulating as a bootleg tape for a long time, but now they're talking about trying to get showings like this in a bunch of little theaters all over the place, so if you hear that it's going to be playing anywhere near you, drop everything and see it. Stuff like this makes all the crappy things in the world go away.
"From labor activists to window-smashing anarchists, what everyone was protesting that day, in essence, was a life where the rules of the game are defined for us by people we'll never meet and can never even speak to. Even the most clueless thrill-seeker, who joined the protests just because they were the most exciting game in town, was responding to the boredom inherent in a society where your identity is determined entirely by your role as a producer and consumer in the economic machinery."
This was about a specific protest a few years ago, but it could apply to anything. Adbusters pretty much consistently makes me angry and depressed at the amount of corporate, political, and human evil in the world around me, and sometimes pisses me off at the luddite degenerates that think that all progress is of the devil, but every once in a while, there's a bit like this that actually makes me feel a little bit better, maybe gives me a little hope that everyone doesn't, in fact, suck.
We need to figure out how to use less power and water. That might be tricky.
Okay, I'm uploading and tweaking the new roller derby site right now. Hopefully, it won't break too badly. The design is a little crazy, but I think it's going to work pretty well in most browsers - the more standards-compliant the better, of course, but I still need to get on some old crappy ones to make sure it's degrading properly. Well, it looks good in lynx, anyway.
I also snagged a bunch of broken rulers from the bout today. There's a penalty a skater can get, called the SWAT Team, where she has to roll through a little gauntlet of audience members and get spanked. Usually, it's just hand-on-butt, but there were rulers involved this time around. Anyway, maybe I can sell 'em on eBay or something to some obsessed derby fans. This volunteer work pays for crap!