We got a lovely little pamphlet left on our front gate today from these nice folks. It's all about how the gays are going to destroy America with their homosexual "marriage". Yep, that's right. Those sashaying communists are just huddled in the back room of their leather bars, gleefully rubbing their dirty little hands together, plotting out exactly how they can terrorize your sorry white-bread ass. I mean, if we let people like that get married, then what? Next thing you know, they'll want to be able to vote or something! Assholes. You know, you can believe whatever crazy crap you want, just don't bring it to my house. Keep your ignorant, prejudiced bullshit to yourself, monkey. Fortunately, their website has a convenient comment form, so you can tell them exactly how much you appreciate their righteous battle. Here's mine:
"I'm sick of you superstitious shitbags, and I swear to god if I ever catch you on my property again, you'll get an ass full of buckshot. Burn in hell, you hateful motherfuckers."
Amen, and God Bless America.
Hm. Now I'm out of paying work, but I feel like I should be doing stuff, but since I'm not getting the l3wt, I feel spectacularly unmotivated and lazy. Hrm.
We went out to the Mollberg's yesterday evening, ostensibly to get some woodworking and gardening advice, but wound up getting some food, and hanging out for a good bit to chat and stuff. Cousin Alex showed me his new crossbow, and gave me some pyrotechnic shotgun shells. Uncle Bernard showed me around the wood shop (he restores pianos and stuff) and gave me a little tutorial on all the cool tools and stuff. I want to start fiddling around with some of that, make some wooden machines and toys and stuff, but that's all pretty new to me, and it seems like it might take a few bucks to get into in. I've got an open invitation to go out and use the super-fly stuff at Bernard's shop, though, so, that'll be fun. Bernie also got some good direction on the garden and yard and landscaping stuff - I think she's going to be plenty busy with a big new patch in the front, and there's paths and fences and trees and stuff to take out and put in and bang together, so I reckon I'll be out there a good bit, too.
Today, I've been super lazy. Played some SWG last night, slept real late today, went out for a bit, burned a bunch of movies to CDs. There was a flash mob on the UT campus - we played rock, paper, scissors on the corner until the campus cops showed up because someone had called in that people were fighting. Then I had my drawing class, which I ducked into a little early, then skipped out on. So far, the class has been pretty disappointing. We show up with our bag full of expensive art supplies that the teacher had us buy, pick an easel in the studio, and then she sets up a model or gives us a picture or something and pretty much just says, "draw this. use charcoal." The class is close to three hours long, and there's maybe a dozen people in it, so you'd think there'd be some individual attention or direction going on there. Not so much. I draw like a retarded chimp to start out with, and I can just do that at home if I'm not going to get some instruction here. So, I came back home, grabbed Bernie, and took her out to dinner at Ruby's BBQ instead. Afterwards, we browsed around in ToyJoy, and got some toys and necco wafers, and it was good.
Also, I hate the new release of BitTorrent. Alert boxes, eugh.
Yay, Austin City Council.
Tonight, the Austin City Council passed a resolution regarding the Partiot Act. This was the last of three long meetings to discuss this issue. The resolution at the table basically states that "fundemental rights granted by the United States Constitution are threatened by actions taken at the federal level, notably by passage of certain sections of the USA Patriot Act." The implementation of this resolution would affirm that "the City of Austin has been and remains absolutely commited to the protection of civil rights and civil liberties for all of its residents and affirms its commitment to embody democracy and to embrace, defend and uphold the inalienable rights and fundemental liberties granted to under United States and Texas Constitutions."
Fuckin' A. Take that, hippies!
I think I'm on the tail end of this busy stretch, but I feel like I'm sort of spinning my wheels at the moment. This is the weird thing about doing contract work for other people: you work and work and work for a while, and then, when you're done, you don't really have anything. Well, except for a check, hopefully. It seems like the best pieces of work I've done, I've done for fun, or for free. (Maybe if things go well, an upcoming contract will change some of that, but we'll see.)
Aggravating the situation is the big stack of books sitting next to my desk. I think my incoming (and outgoing) bandwidth is decreasing as decrepitude approaches, and the "to read" pile is approaching three feet tall. This includes some great stuff that I got for christmas last year (I know that if I showed you my boobies, you'd buy me stuff from my wish list, too), a big pile of books from my birthday, various tech manuals I need to get through, and some killer game design books, which directly relate to my current non-paying project.
To make matters worse, Quicksilver just showed up today. It weighs exactly three pounds, and is begging to be bumped to the top of the stack. Stephenson, you bastard!
[Bonus track: Zombie Girls!]
-- I am not sick any more, but I am rather busy. Which is good. Busy, busy, busy.
-- We are making very good use of the grill. Today for lunch was cowboy burgers (ground beef, onions, hot peppers, and bacon), spicy italian turkey sausage, with grilled yellow peppers and onions, and watermelon juice. I am full of meat. Made of meat!
-- This week looks to be pretty busy, extracurricular-wise, too. Drawing class tonight, voice acting class on wednesday, the kung fu on tuesday and thursday, and maybe go see Jerm at the Carousel Lounge tomorrow night.
-- Went to an interview with the science textbook flash demo people this morning. I think it went very well - they people seem very cool, and I like what the little outfit is doing. I'm not expecting a whole lot of work from them right off, but they seemed to like me, and I look forward to doing stuff with them.
-- I think one of our neighbors is keeping racing pigeons. Also, when I woke up for an urgent trip to the bathroom early this morning, my brain constructed a nice explanation for the bird racket outside. There were three or four screeching chirpers right outside the window, and my sleep-adled mind decided that they were playing a game, where, on a given signal, all of them have to squawk as loud as they could, and the last one making noise won. Sometimes, there would be a tie, at which point a bonus round would immediately take place - sometimes, in rare cases, this would happen several times in a row. Every now and then, they would break into chatter after a round, probably communicating the bird equivalent of, "man, that was a good round! you totally got me that time, petey!" After a while, they flew off. I figured that this group of birds must get together regularly to play, and they had to get back to work or whatever. Then, I went back to bed, and got a couple more hours of sleep.
-- I got a really badass java book. It almost makes it seem like java doesn't suck. Almost.
Man, I feel like hammered shit. I think I got a touch of malaria, or radiation poisoning, or something. Last couple of days, I've been feeling sort of wobbly and clammy, sore all over, with a touch of nausea, and a whole lot of squirting out the back end. I feel like I haven't really eaten anything in the last day or two, even though I've been trying to eat well, because it's all just shooting right through me. It's not super bad - I've had bouts of the flu that were a lot worse - but it's sort of a low-level pain in the ass, because, for a change, I've got stuff to do, and mostly I feel like laying flat and staring at the ceiling.
I got me a basin wrench, and I know how to use it. Actually, I didn't even know what a basin wrench was half an hour ago, but I had this problem taking off the thingers under the sink while replacing a faucet, and I was pretty sure that someone had run into this same problem before - maybe even the person who installed the sink. Go to Home Depot, look for a thingy that looks like it'll do what I want, and not only do they have it, but it turns out, there's a name for it, too. So, that, and some teflon tape, and I'm off to be handy. (I couldn't find a sink stretcher, though. Maybe somewhere else for that.)
LATER: Got the new faucets installed and hooked up, but there's no way I can get that drain out without taking the base of the whole basin off. Crap. On the side of the box that the faucet came in, it says "Grifo de Baño". I'm pretty sure that's spanish for "Pain in the Ass".
I'm totally getting one of these. We don't have a dog, but I figure I can strap one of those things on myself, and learn dog language. By emulating their barks and howls, and reading back what they mean, I should be able to communicate with any dog I come across in a fairly short time. Then, after I establish myself as their leader, and assemble my vast canine army, this city will experience a crime wave the likes of which has never been seen before! Then those fools will pay! Oh, how they'll pay!!
..uhhh, I mean, I like puppies.
Making with the work - paying work - all day. Also have two more gig emails to reply to, so it looks like it may keep coming for a while. Downside is, I totally flaked on my weekly drawing class tonight, and Sifu Lorens called this afternoon to find out why I haven't been to tai chi class in three weeks. The deadly combination of business and laziness.
Now, done with work, time for to get back to that stack of books that's waiting for me...
On Friday, at the conference someone said to me, "hey, nice shirt." I just realized that I'm still wearing that same shirt. (It still smells nice and smoky from making burgers on the new grill yesterday.)
Here is my contribution to modern society, for anyone to take and do with what they will. There is a desperate need for some kind of adult undergarment with af charcoal filtration layer or something, to absorb the noise and odor resulting from accidental and/or chronic flatulence. Sort of like Depends for farters. This would obviously entail the construction of some sort of infrastructure to handle the toxic waste that would result from such a product, but I think it's well worth it. Stimulate the economy, and all that.
And I am certainly not suggesting this because I share an "office" with someone with a terrible fart-gas problem. Heavens, no.
"What were you doing?"
Sometimes, when I'm falling asleep, I swear that I can hear music or voices coming from somewhere. They're just on the edge of understanding, but sometimes they get more distinct. If I raise my head up to see where they're coming from, if maybe the radio was left on or something, all I can hear is the white noise of the air conditioner or the computer fan. Then, I put my head down, and the music from nowhere starts up again. I can almost recognise the songs, sometimes. And every once in a while, if I'm really tired, and I get up, I can still hear them, right below my normal range of hearing, but if I concentrate, I can just about pick them up again. Of course, I'm just picking out some semi-delerious patterns out of the background noise, but still, pretty distracting.
When I was really young, maybe six or seven, I came up with the most brilliant plan ever. We had a corner store not to far away, the Short Stop (which later became a Sugarcreek) which sold candy and pop and the usual corner store stuff. They also had a small selection of those cheap toys that you find in drug stores and the like. Well, one time I was in there, trying to decide what to spend my twenty-five or thirty cents on, and there it was, on the toy rack: a package of play money.
Inside the cardboard and plastic blister pack, there was a variety of coins of various denominations, and a small stack of fake bills, which were fanned out so that you sould see exactly what you were getting. There, at the bottom of the pile, on the left side, I could see that at least one of these was a hundred dollar bill! The play money looked real enough to my six-year-old eyes, and a cunning scheme immediately formed in my little brain. I picked out one pack of fake bills, and checked to make sure there were plenty more behind it - if I played this right, and kept my cool, this could be like one of those stories where the guy gets three wishes, and keeps asking for three more wishes when the last one comes up.
I paid for the funny money, and rushed home to count it. I quickly discarded the large plastic coins - they weren't worth enough to take the risk of trying to use them. I counted the bills, pondered my course of action, and even talked about it briefly with some of my playmates in the neighborhood. This was obviously genius, fool-proof, and we were stunned that nobody had thought of it before. The next day, I put the fake hundred in my pocket, walked back to the Short Stop, and headed directly for the candy aisle.
I remember it being a huge deal when the candy prices went up to thirty-five cents; then, you could still get pretty much anything you wanted for a quarter, plus two cents sales tax. I felt the bill in my pocket, and looked up and down the rows and stacks of chocolate bars and sugary sweet things. "I could buy all of this," I thought, "all the candy I would ever want!" I was kind of nervous, excited, making the play money a little damp from crumpling it with my sweaty little hands, to make it look a little more used. I remember lingering over the Everlasting Gobstoppers, which were a favorite among my friends, because you could tell how tough a kid was by the amount of time he took to suck the colored outer layers off before biting into the jawbreaker.
I finally decided that, as a test run, I'd play it cool, and just buy one thing - some artifically fruit-flavored Wacky Wafers - so they wouldn't get too suspicious the first time out. I still had almost a hundred dollars in various fake bills back home, and I could come back any time, buy as much candy as I wanted, and then casually throw another pack of play money on my pile of sweets, and start all over again. Before they knew it, I'd own that place. Plus, if this worked out this first time, I'd not only have my virtually free candy, but ninety nine dollars and some in real money, from the change! Man, I was so slick.
I headed over to the checkout, and put my package of candy up on the counter. There were two people behind the register, probably teenagers, and after ringing me up, I took out the crumpled hundred dollar bill, placed it on the counter, and smoothed it out, so they could see exactly what and who they were dealing with. They just sort of looked at the fake money, then at each other, and then down at me as they asked, "Uh, do you have any real money?" Crap! I was so busted! Were they going to call the cops? Or worse, my parents? I'd just play it cool and see if they went along with it. I shrugged, and shook my head, not saying anything. The guy at the checkout picked up my play money, put it somewhere behind the counter, and pushed the Wacky Wafers over to me. "Well, don't try that again." He didn't give me any change.
Man, what a relief. I grabbed the candy and headed out the door, not entirely sure that it wasn't a trick to cement my guilt further until I got all the way home. I was pretty eager to tuck into my prize, but first, I had to destroy the evidence. I don't remember if I just ripped up the rest of the play money, or buried it somewhere, or found some way to burn it, but I assure you, there was no way that a detective was going to hear about what happened, track me down, and find that I still had the means to pull the same scam on another unsuspecting purveyor of goodies somewhere down the road.
I don't think I've ever told anyone about that before, not even my little buddies who helped me troubleshoot the plan. And now, you're all amost like accomplices, so keep a lid on it. If I go down, you're all going down with me.
Consider the following people:
- Sherlock Holmes
- Julius Caesar
- your second grade teacher
- Clint Eastwood
- Benjamin Franklin
- Peter Parker
- Richard Nixon
- Jack the Ripper
- King Arthur
- Charles Foster Kane
- Han Solo
- Phil Suh
- Nick Fitts
- Dan Rather
- a sock puppet
Which ones are real? Why? Are you sure? How real are they? Is your concept of that person anything like the real person? What about the fictional ones? What about the ones you're not sure about? What about the ones you don't know? How is a fictional character different than someone you dont' know? How do characters from literature, movies, video games, history, and the real world differ? When you read a book, watch a play or movie, play a game, or hear about "real" people, to what extent do you identify with them? How much of a fictional person's identity is made up of your mental image of them? What about non-fictional people? What about the ones you're not sure about? How good is your memory? How real are you? Why? Are you sure?
This is my idea of a good day:
clieny: Hey, can you do [something easy with XML]?
me: Sure, that's a snap!
... a few hours later ...
me: Here you go, client.
client: Thanks, looks great! I'll paypal you the money!
me: logs into PayPal, transfers money to bank account.
This is the way that internet jobs work. Yay the future!
It's funny, the things that remind you of stuff.
I was just eating some over-marketed microwave vegetarian chicken stir-fry bowl thing, which contains water chestnuts. At one point in time, I was in love with this girl who lived in Niagara Falls. She had a pet rabbit. We would drink cheap champagne out of things you normally wouldn't think to put champagne into. Once, we went to get chinese food, and discovered that she hated water chestnuts, and I really like water chestnuts, so that all worked out really well. Then she told me that she didn't believe in evolution, and that she called a phone psychic on a regular basis to ask her guardian angels what to do about the important issues in her life. I really had to go, right about then. Wacky.
In totally unrelated news, I was driving around today, returning a crappy-ass KVM switch to CompUSA and looking for supplies for my drawing class at Hobby Lobby. (Side note: I have never ever once bought a KVM switch that worked. I'm pretty sure that the person who invented KVM switches was a gypsy, and one of my ancestors ran them over, and I live with that curse to this day.) Anyway, I'm listening to the local freak radio station, and they're on a pledge drive. Turns out, there's only like 175 radio stations in the country that aren't under the fat, oily thumb of some corporation. So, I pulled over, and made a pledge. Then I felt better. End of story.
Except, there was nothing good at Hobby Lobby, so I went home empty-handed.
The two contracts that I'm working right now are winding up, which hopefully means that I'll get paid soon, which is good, because the piggy bank is looking a little slim these days. I may have a very short job coming up next week, and I also have a promising lead on an ongoing gig with someone who does Flash stuff for educational material, physics and biochem and stuff. I'm pretty excited about that one, but we'll see what happens when it happens.
We just got one of our trees trimmed again, because the first guy was sort of slapass, and a limb fell into the street, and blah blah blah, and we just tiled the bathroom wall, which looks great now. The bathroom is currently the nicest room in our house, I think. Allow me to recommend two fine Austin businesses - Tree Masters, and Austin Makeover. Nice folks, good work, and not too expensive. Next project: the kitchen. Bah!
In other news, there were no earthquakes in Texas today.
Let's see, went to the Austin Game Developers meeting tonight, and listened to the Fat Man talk about game audio and design and taking risks and his super badass car. He also has a book out, which he read from extensively. I'd get myself a copy, but I feel like I heard pretty much all of it already. And hey, there's a game conference down here next week, which costs a hundred bucks, but looks like it's really worth it.
Speaking of conferences, YAPC is going to be in my old hometown, Buffalo, NY this coming year in January or February. I am so going to that. Maybe I'll have the magic combination of no job and some money so I can take a week or two to cruise around up that way and visit folks some.
They closed down the porn store around the corner here. I'm pretty sad about it, not only because a fine adult emporium has fallen to whatever forces caused its demise, but mainly because I never got to go in there and give them what for about their sign. The name of the store was "Fantasy's Unlimited", and had several large signs proclaiming that fact. The more astute of you already see the source of my concern. For the rest of you, let me just say that my only hope was that the proprietor of this fine establishment was named "Fantasy" for some reason, and this was their "Unlimited"... something. I'm guessing that wasn't the case, and it was just another sad case of apostrophe abuse. Anyway, my plan was, one of these days, to go in there and ask not about porn, but if "Fantasy" was in, and if I could ask them some questions about the sign. And hilarity would ensue. The store is empty, now, and this is never to be.
I would like to close on this note: do people really still use fax machines? I hate them. I hate them, and I hate the people who insist on using them. Do you people not have email? Ever hear of attachments? Are we not in the twenty first century? WHERE'S MY JET PACK, DAMMIT?
So, I bought a fax machine today. Bah.