24 Hour Vomitorium

NEW 4.5

--Kill Kill


      Well...Things could be worse.
      Kill Kill reacted to Byron in much the way I thought that she would. She hisses, hisses, very quietly hisses, then runs away. She won't get very near him, and he won't even go into the living room, which she's apparently decreed as the Sovereign State of Killsylvania and seceeded from the rest of the condo. I keep trying to act as a peace broker, assuring her that the tiny grey guy is no competition, that she's still number one and the boss, and even "Good girl!"ing her over her lack of violence to the shrimp. It hasn't worked yet.
      As I type, he's asleep by my shoulder on the kitty condo, and she's carefully prowling the kitchen, trying to find Byron so she can hiss at him. These things take time, and they're not being left alone and unsupervised until they figure each other out. Tomorrow he goes to work with me, and if worse comes to worse, I'll be locking him in the bedroom when I go to work next week.

      I'll move these pictures to their own page some other day. It's late, and I'm tired not only from the cat tension but from an ill-timed day of Mystery Disease and vomiting of YooHoo.

Killsy yesterday, on our fourth anniversary. That cooler is a favorite resting spot; she's there again now. She must be exhausted; she's been awake since I got home 4 hours ago, stressing over the new member of the family.

Kill Kill and Byron today. I just missed the horrible hissing monster face she made at him, but I think the look in her eye says it all. Poor Byron is utterly bemused by all this, but he's wise enough not to go looking for trouble.

Byron asleep on the--I mean, his--kitty condo.

Byron fights a catnip mouse in the bedroom! Kill Kill sulks in the living room.

Byron kicks that mouse's heinie!

When Byron plays, he emits the strangest noise, like a demented baby doll whine/scream/growl. It sounds the most like the noise Killsy makes when her tail gets stepped on. But he wasn't in pain or anything, so I guess that it's just his battle cry. His version of "SPOON!" Apropos, as the t-shirt I'm wearing here is my Tick one.

      Byron is still asleep. Kays is playing with the mice I throw her. It won't happen overnight, but I think that we're on our way. To a family of three.


      We had an incident last night. Kill Kill snuck into the computer room to hiss at Byron. She didn't know that he was behind her, sneaking up on her. "Please don't pounce her," I thought. And he didn't. He gently sniffed her tail. She spun, hissed and raised her paw for a smackdown--And then ran away. She may not like him here, but she's not directing any violence against him. She even left his food and stuff in the bedroom alone when I took him to work today. She could've wrecked it or pissed all over it. She didn't.
      I went to sleep with Byron next to me, then awoke to use the bathroom. And he was GONE. He couldn't have left the bedroom, but he wasn't in it! At the 20 minute mark, I was starting to panic. There's a bookshelf next to the bed that has a pair of oversized pillows on it--with pillowcases that are grey with white stripes. He was completely asleep. And camouflaged.
      I figured out what that weird noise he makes when gets really playful is. I knew it sounded like something I'd heard before, but it wasn't a cat. I finally figured it out: Since he only just got his shots, he wasn't allowed to play with Amanda's cats. She did let Byron play with her boyfriend's ferrets, though--And that's the sound! Byron makes a ferret noise when he fights! Where did I learn this noise? From watching Beastmaster, of course!
      Byron is a chick magnet. That Saturday I was at the Big Store, every female employee came to coo over him and pet him. At the New, almost every female customer does the same. Co-worker Shelley made her second hour-long trip to see him today. And I was pleasantly shocked when Jessica walked in the door from 50 miles away!

      Her adorable daughter Jacqueline is so enamoured of the baby boy that we're all doing lunch together, just so that she can see him. Him and Kill Kill, who (hopefully) will be a little more tolerant of her brother by then.

      Compare and contrast! Two photos taken 4 years apart (to the day):

      He's looking at the pint he just knocked off the shelf; she's looking at the pint she's about to knock off the shelf.
      When I finally had backup on the register (45 minutes before closing), I took Byron into the beer cooler while I did an order. He didn't care for it, never wandering far from me. When I went outside for a few minutes to restock the 40s, I heard a squeaking cry for help inside the cooler. I scooped him up and he was trembling. And not from the cold, I think. I think that he may've been flashing back to when he was abandoned as a tiny baby.

      Not really wanting to deal with both dinner and cat warfare, I decided to just place Byron in the bedroom, close the door and let Killsy relax a tiny bit, and to get dinner from Taco Bell. An offer of "Would you like a fat steaming bowl of enchilada donkey piss?" or whatever the latest special was came burbling happily out of the drive-thru speaker. Wow, I thought, this teenaged girl is the happiest fast food employee in the WORLD. Never one to be rude without cause, I said, "No thank you; could I have 2 crunchy tacos please?" "HOW MANY?!" barked an extremely angry, middle-aged male voice. "Two," I said, realizing that Miss Perky was just a recording to fake a happy employee.
      The guy running the drive-thru had "Assistant Manager" on his name tag, and I recognized him. When he wore D'Angelo's colors, he was their AM and a daily customer at the DumpStore. He recognized me, and I told him from where. "I quit [drinking]," he growled, "but I'm about to start again!" He got irritated when he asked what kind of sauce I wanted, and I said "The hottest" instead of "Fire." I've done that ever since the drive-thru person thought that "Fire" rhymed with "Mild." McDonalds is already testing robotic burger flippers...One wonders when Taco Bell will make the drive-thru headset function as a voice synthesizer, making every unhappy employee talk with the voice of the happy and nonexistant teen girl on the speaker.

      The door to the bedroom swung open of its own accord, and Killsy crept in. Before running away, she hissed in horror at this threatening sight--Viewers with young children, please cover their eyes!!

      Makes your blood run cold, huh?


      A quiet, hiss-free (so far) day in the Splut household. Shutting Byron in the bedroom seems to have calmed things down. The Small White is hardly back to normal, but she's much more at ease. And Ferret Boy doesn't seem to mind at all. I even left the door open for most of the day, as it was getting stuffy in there, and it took him hours to notice and wander out. He was mainly interested in sleeping on the pillow on the bookcase, or under the pillow, or under the bookcase.
      I spoke too soon. Kill Kill just noticed that he was wandering around the kitchen and she came out to hiss at him repeatedly. He responded by pretending not to notice her and walking back into the bedroom. Then KK ran away. But really, it's been such an improvement that it's clearly a matter of time before they're on speaking terms. Terms that don't include hissing, even if they do involve one of them speaking in Ferret.

      Observation from months of using the self-serv checkout stations at the supermarket: If the person ahead of you has the slightest problem scanning an item, you must roll your eyes at the idiot, sigh, and shift your weight impatiently from foot to foot. When you have a problem scanning anything, you must swear semi-audibly and blame "This damn machine!" While the people behind you roll their eyes at the idiot, before it's their turn on the stage.
      On the way to the self-check, a woman complained at the regular checkout, "We spent 45 minutes in the deli line, NOW we have to stand in this line?!"

      A comic book, Trucker Fags in Denial. Just what it sounds like. Pisserable navigation; there's a "previous comic" link on each page, but no "next." So you have to hit back and click on numbered pages that are really tiny and have links that don't really change color when visited and it's missing Page 17, but that's because there is no Page 17. It's worth the effort, it's just that there's no reason for the effort. The blog it's on seems worth reading. And it's Canadian! Bonus points!

      This may get into too much detail for casual reading (and some of the pictures are too dark to see), but here's info on polydactyl cats like Byron.


      Progress continues.
      Byron has been out of the bedroom for--let's see--3 hours now. Kill Kill has watched his every move, and even very gently swatted him on the head a couple of times. Byron kept trying to make friends, Kill Kill kept watching from atop the cooler, watching him scamper and play and try to pounce. Every day her hostility lessens. We're on the way. When he fell asleep after play, she briefly slept in the same room. That's a big step to detente right there. She even tolerated him drinking from her water bowl.

      "It's the liquor store guy!" said a New Store customer as I killed time in K-Mart, waiting for CVS to refill my antibarf drug scrip. Sort of the reverse of me recognizing that customer at Taco Bell. Hopefully, I came across as less of a stress-monkey than the TB guy did. I'm possibly one of K-Mart's only customers that impulse-bought a Galileo thermometer. No, really, I'd been thinking about buying one via American Science & Surplus' annual sale catalog. And here it was on clearance! Liquor Store Guy got him some thermometer! Unfortunately, it was exactly warm enough in here--82 degrees--that all the bulbs sank straight to the bottom.
      I know K-Mart is all about branding itself, and I guess now that Martha Stewart's breaking rocks and nobody remembers Kathy Ireland for anything but her star-making turn in the title role of Alien From LA, they needed some new Brands. Umm, explain why I would buy a "Joe Boxer" microwave? Or ironing board? (Shaped like a surfboard, ho ho!) Okay, maybe the ironing board. But would you buy a Fruit of the Loom gas range? A BVD garbage disposal?

      Huh! Our Baby Boy just woke up, and when I placed him on the floor, he immediately ran straight to Kill Kill! She responded with hisses and a waved paw, but there's no way that his relentless charm isn't going to wear Killsy down. Byron's had no Mommy Cat for most of his life, and I think that he's found someone who he thinks can fill that gap.

      Negaduck just discovered the amazing, amusing world of BIG!Lots. I gave her some shopping hints, and you other veterans of Van Dyke can add yours.

      AHH--hahaha! Makes me wanna go out and buy this t-shirt!


      The winner of the biggest Powerball jackpot ever had some of his money stolen from his SUV. If you remember the guy, he was already a millionaire right-wing Fundie. He was going to tithe to GAWD some of his winnings, and start a charity for church groups.
      He "liked to gamble." His "gambling money" from stolen in front a strip club. How much of his "gambling money" was stolen? $585,000. The Right-Wing Religious Rich--thank Gourd they've cornered the market on morality!

      I bought 2 CDs today. There are some song samples and even videos, but they're RealAudio so of course they don't work.

      Oh, the kids? Kill Kill gets a little better every day. I hope that I'll be posting a picture of her licking Too Many Toes Boy's ears in a week.


      Byron learned this morning how to climb back onto the bed. I found this out when he attacked my nose. Well, it is a big target.

      Apparently, somewhere near the DumpStore today they were having the White Trash with Bad Tattoos Pride parade. Seen, all on different people:

      I was talking to a co-worker about Byron and his ferret noises, and he asked a good question: "Does he meow?" Huh, good question! Not that I've heard. He purrs in very brief bursts, but no other actual "cat" sound has been heard from him. He'll have to learn that from Kill Kill.
      When I got home and let Byron out of the bedroom, Killsy jumped on the cooler. Her body language was totally different--much more relaxed. She didn't--didn't!--hiss at him. He crawled into a grocery bag on the floor (that's why it's there, as a traditional cat toy) which was right in front of the refrigerator door. I needed to go in there (the fridge! Not the bag!), so I gave him a little ride inside the bag as I opened the door. He batted at the bag from inside, and KK immediately jumped down from her perch, stuck her head in and tried to play! And she tried to play again and again (and I took pictures again and again, none of which came out all that good). Eventually, he fell asleep, and she watched him with a look that seemed...maternal. She's never watched him do "nothing" before. Then she laid down on the floor and on her back (the ultimate sign of cat unworry) and slept, only 5 feet away from him.
      We're still not there yet. She hissed and growled a little bit later on, and her play is rough even when she isn't trying to be, like batting at him or running past him like a tractor trailer sideswiping a Yugo. But today was a quantum leap in cat relations.

      Via an email exchange with Mike in the UK, about a certain comic strip:

      Jeez. And I deleted one of my joke town names, "Chancre on the Tongue," as too unbelievable.

       A short movie that crosses The Matrix with Japanese ping pong. It'd be funnier if they waited until the end to show how the special effects were created on their giant and expensive computers over a period of months, but it's still fun.

      Via ...oh, YOU know. Don't tell me you don't check him daily. Word on the street says that he's "worth the click." At any rate, here's the best 2600 game they never made: Arcadia. Four very simple games, that you have to play simultaneously.

      All Iced Out Blingin' Hot Classy Bracelets and more can be found on this ad window that my hit counter just told me about. You can get your own personalized belt buckle for $39.95 and up! (More for "Austrian Crystal Covered") They suggest "PIMPIN." I'd go with "SPLUT," of course. Word. Peace out.

      We've had our fun links, now here's the depressing one: Why Bush will win the 2004 Elections. It's all in the new "voting" machines, bought and paid for by the Religious Right. All America will be Florida next year if they have their way.


      The irony is that I have things I could write about, but I just don't feel like it. Here's a thrown bone or two:

      Veruca Bush. (And click the "More?" button when it's over)

      Ahnold and Gary Coleman, so why not him, too?

      "The store says it is reconsidering its clothing line and marketing campaign." Ya think?


      Byron konked out in my lap while we were still engaged in ferret-level combat. Maybe he's doing his Brak impression.


      The problem with "not updating the page today" is that it can lead to not updating for days more. Of course, typing for half an hour like I just did and having the computer crash doesn't help either.

      The Massachusetts Chapter of the Byron and Kill Kill Fan Club, Jessica and her daughter Jacqueline, came to visit today. There are pictures, but they're on Jessie's camera, so it'll be a bit before you and me both see them. For my birthday (which was last APRIL) she gave me

      A giant ant. This is, of course, a tribute to a now-gone CT icon:

      ...The Giant Ant.
      Then we went to Rein's Deli, about as close to an actual well-known landmark as Vernon has. It's an authentic New York deli, "Centrally located between New York, Boston and Heaven!" Authentic enough that one of the newspaper machines outside sells The Jewish Ledger. Well known enough that we found ourselves in a line of people waiting to seated that was a dozen deep. On a Monday. A short old man (who I figured out was Rein himself) said that there we seats open at the counter, and we grabbed them. That line was frequently 20 people long while we were there. I wondered how many seats they had, as no one seemed to be in line longer than 5 minutes, and how many people worked there, as I could see a dozen plus. The website says: 190 seats, 150 employees. That's mind boggling--this is VERNON. It's got to be one of the biggest employers in town, and it's only a restaurant.
      Of course, the reason is the food. I had a yummy, giant chick sal sandwich, Jess had a roast beef that was literally twice as wide as her mouth could open, Jacqueline had a burger and fries that she couldn't finish even though it was the kid's meal. The waitress said that she orders the kid's burger, as the regular one is too big to finish. And the hour we were there, the line coming in never ended. Where we all these people coming from? It's a Monday! If we'd gone to the giant mall 5 minutes up the road, it would've been empty.
      Instead, we went to the Salvation Army. And may I pause for a moment and say that Byron is currently involved in a deadly struggle with his shadow. At the SalvArmy, Jessie bought a 60s handbag. Her handbag fetish is well enough known that her 7-year-old daughter felt the need to roll her eyes and say "EVerywhere Mommy goes, she buys handbags! You've got enough handbags already!" I bought a 1986 video, a cartoon video of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde that describes the tale as "A classic example of the evil of drugs." I suppose you want me to watch it now. Damn you!
      Wow, that sucked. The bad kind of suck, the boring kind. Did the original book really begin with Jekyll's funeral, then jump "20 Years Later" and have the story related as a flashback to, umm, 21 years earlier by a nanny as a bedtime story? Did Jekyll actually buy a big sack of concentrated purple E-VIL that a mouse nibbled on, turning it into a Hulk Mouse that scared Jekyll's cat before fainting when it looked in a mirror? Is this really a story that can work when the animation style can only be described as "Smurfy," complete with Hanna-Barbera sfx like "POIT!" There's even a scene where Hyde smashes a guy to death so hard that his teeth go flying and it's scored like a comedy, complete with another pratfall fainting spell.

      Ah, yes...KK and Byron. Every day she likes him more. Killsy hasn't quite let him play with her, but she's done everything else short of that. She'll follow him from room to room, just to watch him play. Last night, all three of us slept in my bed for the first time. Sleeping next to someone is the ultimate sign of cat trust. I think that I can safely say that we're a family now.

      Holy shit! I had a doctor's appointment already scheduled for something else the day before I fractured my rib. It was forgotten for that more important crisis. It was for a suspected hernia. Much as I'd prefer not to have anything in common with anyone from Linkin Park, is this a clue to Bill Young's Disease? I'm making an appointment tomorrow...

      Changing the subject to bands I actually like, The Mystery of Kraftwerk.


      Despite my relaxing 11 hour shift today (the guy who opens the New is on vacation, so closers Bill and Jill get looong shifts this week), I guess that I should post, as I have another looong shift day after tomorrow, and I may not want to post then so that I can get some sleep, even though I have to wake up an hour early tomorrow to fill out the paperwork that *officially* makes Byron my cat [or vice-versa], and this is a looooong senteeennnce.
      Of course, you wake up early and everything makes you late. This started 90 minutes before the alarm was due to go off, and Byron decided that the greatest toy in the world was my face and pounced and bit my nose. Repeatedly. Until today, I could hold out my hand and he'd wrestle that while I half-slept. Not no more, just like KK in the old days. Killsy learned that "bed means sleep" pretty quickly, but she was a play/purr/sleep kitten, whereas the Byronic Man of Action is a play/pass out/pounce kitten. I assumed that he'd pass out after a while, but after 75 minutes and one nose-bite too many, he was taken from the bedroom and the door was shut. I was getting at least that damned last 15 minutes of sleep!
      But you wake up early and begin running late, and everything makes you later. Kill Kill's food bowl was empty, so that got filled. After the shower, I discovered that Byron's food and water bowls needed filling. The cold water faucet handle doesn't work, so he got steaming hot water. Which, of course, he had to drink NOW, so for once I took him to her water bowl. Which was now empty, as he'd done the Mambo in it again. So I refilled that. Then he went back to the scalding water, and why suddenly he had to NOT drink from hers was probably because for once I was willing to let him. So I dumped some ice cubes in his water. Then I couldn't find which hanger my work jeans were on, I couldn't find the belt, and I made it to work on time only because there's no traffic at the ungourdly hour of 9AM.
      And then...Oh, guess. Know how much fun it is to vomit or dry heave every 15 minutes for 2&1/2 hours? NOT A LOT, D00D. Your stomach starts to hurt from the outside from the muscle contractions. I forced down a Yoo Hoo for the simple reason that I could have something to puke. When the stomach's empty, the dry heaves suck the bile from my liver, and you can't imagine how bad that tastes. And burns. Then it just went away and I felt fine. Tell the Linkin Park Guy: Drink More Yoo Hoo!
      When I got home, I could've had the bestest picture of Kays and Baby Boy yet (or, more accurately, the first), as she drank from her bowl and he tried to muscle in and she thought nothing of it, but as Jessie noticed yesterday, she's become strangely camera-shy lately. And...Wow, rereading that makes me realize that today was really uninteresting. Sorry.

      I'm a big fan of Hitch! Magazine, one of only two magazines that I subscribe to (the other one also has a ! in its name--Does this mean that I'd subscribe to The Washington Post! if they called it that? Unlikely). Hitch! now has samples of its articles on its site, if you're curious about buying it. There's also a mailing list, which has daily commentary and links such as this one on the Nigerian scams, which is funny but has the worst formatting ever (newest to older, but with no links or even breaks to tell you where each update begins).

      Speaking of bad formatting, if you scroll to yesterday's entry, you can see the picture of the giant ant Jess gave me, now that I've linked to the correct filename. (it's called "proffreeding," which i don't always do when psoting lateat night)

      Milestone: THE CATS ARE PLAYING! Well, they're chasing each other. More accurately, tiny Byron is chasing giant ant Kill Kill. Except when she doubles back and knocks him over. It's funny.


      And Byron is now officially part of our family!
      There was a minor bit of confusion about it all--actually, several bits. I thought that I was to meet his foster mom Amanda not at the Vet Hospital, but at the pet store next door to it (named "The Pet Store Next Door"). I was greeted by utter confusion when I asked where Amanda was, followed by a clerk saying, "There's Amanda!" and pointing in the same direction as the cages of the other cats up for adoption. There's a cat named Amanda there? Why are you telling me this? I walked outside and Amanda was walking towards the store, cell phone and my home number in hand. Just as I was wondering where she was, she was wondering the same about me. Then no one in the store knew what to do about the paperwork for adopting Byron. While things tried to get sorted out, I looked at the other cats. Two kittens, one 3 months old and one about 4, and 3 older cats. In cages. Only the youngest reacted when you paid attention; the others sat there depressed. One had been there for 2 months, despite being a true beauty: A long-haired cat, all white except for light cocoa coloring on the tips of her ears and feet, and with astonishing lime-green eyes. "Reason for adoption: Owner Deceased." I love animals, but it would crush me to work in such a place. Beautiful cat, torn by chance from a loving household and put in a cage, with only fate to determine whether she'd ever see love again.
      The confusion went on after we went to the vet hospital. The problem was that Byron was so young when he came in, no paperwork had been processed before Amanda started fostering him. While things were sorted out in this building, I ended up where I really felt uncomfortable. There was a dog to my left, heavily sedated, having something done to him; to my right, in a closed room another dog was actually being operated on. Outside of my vision, another huge dog barked its scared head off while somebody barked "SHUT UP!" back at him. Niiice bedside manner. Like when I worked in a toy store, and saw every "way" to "calm" a toddler or baby down (screaming or hitting or screaming to hit them doesn't work, you ASS). She went back and talked to the dog, and I assume possibly told whatever jerk was back there that someone who didn't work there could hear him.
      In a plastic bin was their latest kitten rescue. Grey like Byron, but half his size and no more than a week old, as it was just opening its tiny eyes. Its rear right leg and belly were bloody and torn; blood speckled its bedding. Details were spotty, but apparently some animal had dragged it from the litter to a woodpile, either meaning to kill it or leaving it for dead.
      I choked up. Poor little guy. But he would probably be alright; he was in good hands now, and he responded to her words and touch. Hopefully, like Byron, he'll find his own place as a loved cat. I muttered something about how I wanted to adopt him, too.
      I could never work in a place like that.

      Byron was standing in KK's old Hello Kitty bed on an "1836 Vermont Country Store Catnip Pillow." Hmm, I know that he didn't seem to have any great reaction to the stuff when I introduced him to it, but there's been no catnip in this household since he got here. "Kill Kill! NIP!" And she ran into the kitchen. She has her own little catnip-only bowl. I gave some to him, too, right on the 1836 Pillow. This time he reacted, and like his sister, he's not a Roller but an Eater! She went off to look out the window, and he flopped over and looked he'd come from a deleted scene from a Cheech & Chong movie:

      Dude, that cat is SO STONED!
      Unfortunately, you can't see the huge bit of catnip stuck to his nose.
      (Also unfortunately, you can see that his eyes are turning from grey to green. He now joins Killsy in the "Cat of Many Changing Eye Colors" world)

      I wish that someone would put "The World's Worst Comics Awards" online. If I ever get my scanner working, maybe it'll be me. It's been out of print for a decade, and the 2 issues go for like $6-12 each now. Gourd, it was funny. One of the weirdest comics it looked at was this thing, what with the villian with the really strange superpower of shooting lightning bolts--from his nose. At least Oddball Comics has a copy. I've wanted one ever since I read about in World's Worst. That also introduced me to a little gem involving a certain Green Beret. He was super!


       Welcome to My World.

      Hmm, this actually happened a couple of weeks ago, but since the SHAWT is dormant I didn't think of it until just now.
      A woman came into the New and brought a magnum of Jim Beam to the counter and asked for a pack of Newports. "I'm sorry, we don't have cigarettes. You can get them at Sam's [the convenience store in the same plaza; about a 30 second walk]."
      "Oh. I don't want to make 2 trips."
      So she put the Beam back on the shelf, got in her SUV, and went to make a left out of the plaza. It's a very busy road; it took her about 3 minutes to get out of the parking lot. She seemed to be going to the next closest big liquor store, which is 5 minutes away when the traffic is with you, and sells its booze usually a buck more than we do and its cigarettes the same as we do, or $1.50 more than Sam's.
      So, she spent extra time, extra money, extra gas in her SUV, in order to avoid making a second trip. Which, of course, she did anyway.


      I made a trip to the supermarket after work (last day that swordfish is on sale) and threw the empty grocery bag on the floor. Byron crawled in and began playing inside. Kill Kill raced up to it and batted her paws inside at him. Then she began stomping on the bag and whacking at Byron as he moved around inside. While it was nice to see her finally really play with him, most of the play was the stomping. She weighs 13 pounds; he's lucky if he weighs one. She did seem to be hitting the places where he wasn't the most, as if to box him in. Finally, he crawled out while she was smacking the bottom of the bag. He seemed a bit dazed. She looked at him, then went back to smashing the bag. She seemed confused as to where the Thing Inside had gone, and he joined her in her hunt. After a while, they gave each other a shrug and walked away from it. Apparently she didn't know that it was Byron inside the bag.
      Here's the opposite, Kill Kill crawling into a beer box while Byron tries to attack:

      Readers from California to Finland and, umm, no points in between, asked about the Blackout here. Connecticut did get mentioned in the news, but the part that was blacked out was Fairfield County. We don't even think of that as being CT. It's a New York City colony. The blackout we had in this part of the state lasted a few seconds, just enough to make us reset a few of our clocks. Although my new VCR apparently has no memory; usually, I just have to turn it back on. This Phillips model lost not only the time, but the programmed recording times and all the channel presets! I hope I don't have to spend 10 minutes resetting everything each time the power goes out. And this was just a couple of seconds--If it goes out for hours, will I have to screw the actual hardware all back together again?

      The Biggest Box Office Bombs Ever. Not really accurate in their ranking, as they only adjust one movie's costs and losses for inflation. That's why the top five is cluttered with very recent movies. Just look at 1963's Cleopatra's figures in real dollars--It cost a quarter billion to make.

      I was looking at CT tourism pages, and was amused to find this day trip. One reader of this drivel will be amused by this event.


      Byron vs Godzilla.


      Kill Kill and Byron play now, although only for a brief bit. Killsy seems to get annoyed, but she doesn't damage him. Even when placing her mouth over his spine, and fitting his entire back in her jaws. She's definitely pulling her punches.

      Hello Mudduh, Hello Faddah: The true story behind the Camp Granada song is actually kind of sad.

      I've never received even one piece of spam on my Fastmail account. So what the hell is this? The header doesn't look like spam, and it was from some Chinese website or other. Subject line: "supply high quality cracking power for quarry"

On Tue, 19 Aug 03 04:41:24 中国标准时间, zj7986@163.com said:
> To the kind attention of : Managing Director
> Dear Sirs
> I have got the name of your company from a market research done to look
> for an official distributor in your country.
> Most likely in the past we've been in touch, but for some reason was not
> possible to try starting cooperation.
> Nowadays DUOLING group is the China's LARGEST manufacturer and exporter
> of stone processing expends industry, our products have been exported to
> more than 20 countries worldwide.
> DUOLING offers:
> ¨       3 workshops for angular STEEL GRIT for granite gang saw
> ¨      2 high capacity GROOVED SAW BLADES production line for granite
> gang saw
> ¨      1 independent STEEL SHOT factory for shot blasting in shipyard
> ¨      1 branch companies that produce CORNER CASTING for dry cargo
> containers.
> ¨      1 branch STONE ABRASIVE factory for granite and marble
> ¨      1 branch highly soundless CRACKING POWER factory for quarry
> extractor
> ¨      1 branch DIAMOND TOOLS factory for cut and processing stone
> include: various types of diamond saw blades, segments (including segment
> for gang saws), profile wheels, core drills, grinding discs, grinding
> blocks, polishing pads, cup wheels, etc.
> ¨      1 independent IMPORT AND EXPORT TRADING company for import volume
> Marble and Granite Blocks, Un-polished Slabs, Tiles to China, we are
> interested in distributing stone products from abroad as a sales dealer
> and distributor.
> If you may have some interests in our products and business proposal,
> please kindly let me know.
>  We look forward to hearing from you soon.
> Yours sincerely
> Joanna Zhang
> Longhai Duoling Group in Xiamen, China
      Google doesn't help; there's plenty of Joanna Zhangs out there, but none connected with Douling Group. Is this the latest version of the Nigerian Scam? I supposed the hook is this "distributorship" for that fancy 1 branch highly soundless CRACKING POWER factory for quarry extractor thingie. How can one resist that?

      Mailer Daemon bounces it back: "Too much messages in user zj7986@163.com's mailbox." I guess it is spam. Now I'll NEVER get any angular STEEL GRIT for granite gang saw!


      Local News:

      CT liquor stores can now be open until 9PM. As of Monday. LAST Monday. Except that they forgot to TELL US LIQUOR STORES.

      This is a lot funnier to me than it will be to you, as both my sister Pat and Jessica had their wedding receptions here. And Jess thought hers was bad, what with everyone asking "Who hired the stripper?" over her sleazy sister's choice of wardrobe. Okay, maybe the part where the drunken, screaming bride rode on the hood of the car is funny by itself.

      And in very not at all local news:

Dear Mr. Bill the Splut

Many thanks for your email so quickly.
I am enclosing the highly soundless cracking power introduction in details,
as for your information, if you want the more info, please contact me and thank you Sir,

Other products like saw blade and steel grit, pls visit our website : www.duoleng.com

Best regards
Simon Hu
Export Manger
      It must be good! The website uses FLASH!

3. Slogan of Company Employees "Be topping employee, do topping job, produce topping product, provide topping service, train topping talent, create topping benefit"

      Who are these guys?! It's either a weird, very detailed variant on the Nigerian Scam, or they don't know who to spam. Hey, thanks for the flow chart for steel grit that may or may not mean anything. I mean, I don't know from grit.
      But Simon Hu has won my heart--I mean,*sniff*--not even Kill Kill calls me "Dear Mr. Bill the Splut"!
      And I found this lovely image on their site--


I bet that they made that--just for ME! *sniff*!

      ..And damned if Simon didn't send me an email with "cracking power for introduction doc." attached 2 hours later. I couldn't read it, as "source file could not be read." Thank Gourd. I'm not sure if I want to read any of their attachments.
      I'm the proud father of the first of the Nigerian/Chinese scams, I think. Is anybody else getting these?


      I downloaded a Symantec detector for the Sobig.F virus (I don't have it, so don't blame me if someone sends it). After it was done, I noticed that it had downloaded a program called "Rediscover AOL." I thought that their job was getting rid of unwanted annoyances.

      If you're near a BIG!Lots and want to drive a kitten insane, buy one of their $5 RC cars. Byron had his first introduction last night, and he was all fat guy goes nutzoid over it. When it stopped, he'd run around it in spastic circles until I started it again. Killsy watched from a perch on high, pretending that the car didn't make her equally berserk not so long ago.
      And there is real playing between the two. Kays was eating her food when I warned her that Byron was stalking her tail. She gave me a look that almost looked like a smile, and began waving her tail for him to bat at while she ate. She grabbed him tonight and forcibly licked him. They act differently, since she was raised in a litter and he was raised alone. As a kitten, she wanted to play with me, but he's happy to play by himself. Which is a good thing when he bites my face in the middle of the night--A gentle toss to the floor, and he runs to find toys to attack. Hopefully, Kill Kill's lick attack will help him realize that not all interaction with her or me involves fighting. I've gotten him to curl up in my lap and purr just recently, and maybe he'll learn that he can do the same with the white kitty. And get a free tongue bath out of it at the same time.
      Jessica noticed this thing Byron had on the bridge of his nose, a flap of dry, crusty skin. It could've been a growth, a scab or a scar. Fortunately, it was a scab, as it got smaller every day since. Today, it's gone, with normal fur underneath. Although I'm worried about something else--He doesn't just have 10 front toes, he has 12 front claws. Two are poking out from his inner pads. They're hard to find, as they're worn down from him walking on them. But what if they get infected from the litter box? He goes to the vet in 3 weeks, but I think I'll ask his foster mom Amanda about them tomorrow.

      Damn Open-Until-9PM liquor law! The owners should've just waited until next week to implement it, but no, they have to do it this week and everyone's schedule is all fucked up. It was already fucked up, as they cut all the part-timers' hours and made me and Shelley work weird shifts. Instead of 5 8-hour shifts, I got stuck with 2 4-hour, 1 10-hour, and 2 11-hour. NOW my schedule is 9-8 tomorrow, 8-12 Friday, 11-9 Saturday. Mr Poopy Pants, alcoholic thief and cokehead, he gets nothing but 8-hour shifts. And gets a vacation day Saturday.
      He's also composing a letter to the local free paper about the new hours. You'd think that after 9 years in a liquor store, he'd realize that it's not spelled "alcohal." He also has many references to drunks and drunk drivers in his first (and only) draft. Isn't there some saying to the effect of, "We hate most what we resemble the most"?
      Needless to say (but I will), but if that gets printed, you'll hear allll about it.

      When the weather gets hot and humid, my garage door sticks. Give it a good body slam and it opens. Last week, I did that. And did that. And etc. I was like the Hulk or something. Turned out that the door wasn't stuck, the 35-year-old rusted spring that makes the whole thing work had snapped. At least it happened when my car was on the outside.
      I used my carefully thought-out strategy of "Call whoever has the biggest ad in the Yellow Pages." They listed 3 phone numbers, all of which were greeted with a phone company recording stating "The long distance provider does not authorize your use of this number." Wha? But they're local calls! Nice investment in that full page ad, Precision Doors. Well, it was good that I had plan B--"Call whoever has the second biggest ad in the Yellow Pages." An actual human answered the phone, and I asked for an appointment either today or Friday. "We're pretty tightly booked tomorrow," he said, "we'll give you a call if we can make an appointment." I left both my work and home numbers. They never called.
      Until today, when the guy they scheduled wondered where I was. In my underwear, pal, I slept late because I thought that you guys weren't coming!


      The 8-12 shift is pretty sweet. Sure, I have to get up damned early (Anybody with a "normal" job sneering at how "early" 8AM is--me going to work at 8 is like you going to work at 5AM), but leaving at noon is like getting an extra day off. I went to BIG!Lots and bought Combos and Hershey's Chocolate Drink (not Milk, Drink); went to Dollar Tree and bought some cheezy action figures (for a dollar, but not a tree) like Trapjaw and a skateboarding super-deformed Grim Reaper; went to a tag sale and bought nothing (although the glass filled with genuine cupcake sticks was tempting); went grocery shopping and met Scott there, weirdly enough, as he doesn't live anywhere near me (turns out his girlfriend does). We went through the clearance bins, but didn't buy the diet pills (for your dog) or the eyedrops (for your dog) or the joy buzzer (I wanted Scott to take it to his job at the USPS, but he said "I don't want to touch any of those people!"). Also in the bins were Disposable Hamburger Cooking Thermometers (you needed one for each burger) and plastic American flags (no doubt the patriotic product of China's prison population). While I didn't buy any of that, as you may have noticed, I did stock up on their overstock of (parantheses).

      Due to overwhelming public request (okay, Jessica), from a place where you can always read something moronic, the thing that got Mr Poopy Pants all upset, and then his response.

      My comment on this is that we don't sell booze "when people are at work," unless you work 8AM to 8PM Monday through Saturday and they don't let you leave the building. I've learned from retail how very adamant people (and by "people" I mean "tards") are about making other people work longer hours than they do.
      While reading Poopy's response, keep in mind that this is someone who stays "out at a bar all night long doing shots of tequila" and he drives home drunk every night afterwards. All formatting kept as close to the original as possible.      "Thart"?!
      He crowed about this masterwork to me on his day off. What was he doing in the liquor store on his day off? Buying beer. The day before, he didn't buy enough "Alcohal" to last him at least one day.

      Jon Carroll on eBay TV.

      Via Mimi, the unfortunate end of an animation era. Eisner, he's a genius, that one is.

      "Egyptian Jurists to Sue 'The Jews' for Compensation for 'Trillions' of Tons of Gold Allegedly Stolen During Exodus from Egypt." That sounds reasonable! So reasonable that I'm suing King Arthur for stealing MY Grail!

      Through an awesome bit of luck, today these guys sent me my copy of Miyazaki's The Castle of Cagliostro, his directorial debut. Screw Eisner, 2D's alive and well here!


      I was reading Science News today. They had an article on the "6 Degrees of Seperation" idea, that every person on Earth is only a few people away from knowing somebody else. This study was run via email, with 24,000 people trying to reach 18 targets. Only 384 of the chains were completed, although the biggest problem turned out to be people assuming that they were being sent spam and not continuing the chain. The chains that were successful found that the 2 people averaged 4.05 emails to connect. Going by the length of the failed chains, the researchers estimate that two strangers are typically seperated from each other by an average of...Six.
      What caught my attention was the article's list of the targets, and the people who leapt to mind that I would contact: A professor at an Ivy League university (Kitty, daughter of a college prof), a police officer in Australia (Mimi, in Melbourne), and a veterinarian in the Norwegian army (Wakboth, a Scandinavian).
      What makes it really interesting is that there's a follow-up study that you can join. You can try to contact a target, or you can submit yourself as one (although that requires their acceptance; I assume that they would want a diverse target base and would have a limit on any group, say Americans, who might disproportionately try to join up).
      My first target (you can have more than one) is a TV director in Peru. Your contact must be someone who'd actually recognize your email handle (probably to avoid the spam problem of the first study). Hmm, Aldo's in Mexico; that's halfway there...
      If any of you sign up, drop me a line. I'm really interested in following this study.

      When the Rightards first sent Americans into Iraq, we were told that we would be "greeted as liberators." When that didn't quite follow their script, we were told that our soldiers were being killed by "Saddam loyalists" and "foreign terrorists." What if it's not as simple as that? Of course, when is anything ever as simple as Bush and the Neocons pretend it is?


      Okay, I'm psyched about the Small World study. I added 3 more "targets." The rules of the game are that you can contact as many people as you want, so long as they'd recognize your email address, and Googling the target is forbidden. I've unimaginatively picked contacts due to their physical proximity to the target rather than any other connections. The closest connection via career would be that one target is a truck-stop waitress, and one contact is Space Waitress. Crystal may have the best shot at forming a chain, as she's been to the target's home state of Nebraska and has friends of a friend there. I tried to better my odds by contacting the other midwesterners I know, Kitsplut and Snard. I also have to try to contact a special ed teacher in Singapore (via Mimi) and a housewife in Oregon. I kinda bent the rules for that contact and tried Pop Culture Junk Mail's Gael...Do bloggers that have repeatedly linked to you count? I also tried Lilly as California and Oregon are practically next door so everyone knows each other. (Ever get that, where you're in another state and say "I'm from Connecticut [or wherever]" and someone asks, "Oh, do you know John Doe from CT?" Crimeny. I don't know all 3 million people that live here)

      In news closer to home, the Kids are fine. Killsy initiates play now. And both of them get banned from the bedroom when they play that exciting new game, "Stampede like Crazed Rhinos Through the House at 4AM."
      Kays is a wee bit too tolerant of him, I think--he's learned to climb up to her favorite sunning box, and actually evicted her from it, until I evicted him. It's a place to chill, and he doesn't quite have that concept down yet. Play, sleep, eat, that's all he does. And, as he's doing NOW, AGAIN, eating HER food. Diet Iams. What, you want to be a shrimp all your life?! Eat your puppy chow! I know why he does it. He wants to be her. No matter what he's doing, if she gracefully leaps up somewhere he can't possibly get, he falls dumbfounded on his ass and stares for a few seconds before making a poor attempt to join her. So he does what he can--he eats her food, drinks her water, and (as of just today) uses her litterbox. If he'd only learn to chill, they'd be sleeping together in a pile. But it's coming.

      Stupid Human At Work ToYesterday: "What's bigger, a pint or a half-pint?"


      A beautiful late summer day, with temps in the 70s and no humidity, just perfect for a hike in the woods.
      Did I say hike? I meant "puke."
      Yeah, I had an episode. Not entirely unpredictable, as I'd honked up a bit earlier in the day. I made a doctor's appointment for Friday to test my hiatal hernia theory. When I told the doctor that it was for my "ongoing vomiting problem," he said "Excellent!" as my doc gets enthusiastic over strange things.
      The whole family is going to the doctor over the next 2 weeks--Byron goes in for his next set of shots, there's me Friday, and Kill Kill today. She just went 6 weeks ago for her yearlies, but after I got her home I started getting postcards reminding me that she needs her rabies shots. After the third one, I called up and asked if this was a mistake, or if she really didn't get all her shots. And she didn't. So I had to bundle her up into her cat carrier. Okay, I had to jam her down into it like I was trying to return toothpaste into the tube. As I drove her out of the parking lot, Byron raced to the window to watch us leave. They didn't charge anything, as it was their mistake, and they apologized. "It's not me you should be apologizing to," I said. Poor lil' girl.
      She leapt from the carrier when we were home, dashed up the stairs, and had her usual balms to the soul after a needle jabbing: a big plate of wet food, followed by a self-administered full-body tongue bath. A little grey beastie kept interupting her bath, and I had to repeatedly remove him. Byron lacks the finer social skills and graces that allow him to understand that others need their personal space at times. Such as the 6AM meetings between "my face" and "his claws."
      We'll see how he reacts in 2 weeks. His first visit to the vet, according to his foster mom Amanda, consisted of him SCA-REEEEAMING the entire time, "That scream that babies make when they get all red-faced and run out of air, and just lie there shaking." Oh boy, I CAN'T WAIT FOR THAT EXPERIENCE.

      I got my latest package from Amazon today. Blast from the past time, as it's all stuff from 10 years ago that I'm just catching up on. You'd think a Miyazaki fan would have at least seen My Neighbor Totoro by now, huh? I also got a Beany & Cecil DVD, 220 minutes of seasick sea serpentness for a mere $9.99. Like another also unjustly forgotten 60s cartoon series, Roger Ramjet, this was something that I just loved as a kid and was unexpectedly reacquainted with 10 years ago. Roger turned up on The Family Channel, back when Pat "Ayatollah" Robertson owned the channel. Cecil appeared on a local station, apparently as a favorite of the program director, but disappeared a few weeks later. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they both still held up after all the years. They're in the same class of "funny for kids and adults for different reasons" cartoon classics as a certain show involving a moose and a squirrel.
      And I bought a comical book. Okay, if anything deserves the name "graphic novel," it's "Marvels." The early history of the Marvel Universe told as if it were history, through the eyes (or eye, ha ha) of one average, non-powered guy. With painted artwork and well-researched writing that are equally realistic, I read it one sitting. But there's plenty to reread in it.
      I remember the first Marvel comic I read. I'd been reading Superman and Batman, and a friend leant me a copy of the brief run of the Silver Surfer. The story was pretty bad. Something to do with Frankenstein's monster, with Igor forcing Doctor Frank out of a window 6 stories up to plummet to their deaths, but it took long enough for them to fall that Igor declaimed a 200-word speech full of words normally seen only on vocabulary tests before they went SPLAT! I'd stopped reading a lot of comics at this point. Luthor would attack Metropolis with a giant robot, and a policeman would fire at it with his revolver saying, "Bullets don't even faze that thing!" The following month, a giant alien dinosaur would attack Metropolis, and a policeman would fire at it with his revolver saying, "Bullets don't even faze that thing!" The Silver Surfer issue began with some New York cops guarding the hospital bed of someone under threat from a supervillian. The Surfer entered the room ,and the cops leapt to their feet--armed with huge, techonologically-advanced Kirby hand cannons. These guys learned from their mistakes--fuck that bullets don't faze shit, what'll the bad guys think of blasters? You could hardly call that comic "realistic," but at least they thought things through.

      Byron likes my cheese omelets. Of course, he also likes licking my toes, and his own ass, but still.


      I was writing stuff here, but the computer ate all of it so fuck that for now.

      Remember the Viking Kittens? They're back. Some are a lot funnier than others (especially the ones nearer the bottom), but they're all only 30 seconds.


      I'm not a fan of this "liquor stores open until 9PM" thing. Of our smaller stores, I'd say one out of 8 times we've closed late we made enough to break even. If we're going to be open a whole 6 extra hours a week, why not 11-5 on Sundays? That'd make money.
      And now, I don't get out until other stores start closing. I called Circuit City to make sure that they stayed open past 9 (or tried to; the phone book had someone's home number listed as the store's, with an exchange that wasn't even in the correct town). They had LOTR: The Two Towers $5 cheaper than anybody else. Cheap enough that all they had left were the widescreen editions, which was good because that's the one I wanted and I didn't look to see which it was when I grabbed it. Letterbox looks so impressive on my 21 inch 10-year-old Sony floor model TV. As I paid, an employee in a motorized wheelchair popped bubble wrap by running over it.

      Byron has some personality oddities stemming from the fact that he wasn't raised in a litter. He didn't interact with other animals until he started playing with ferrets, although he was allowed to sleep with his foster mother. So he curls up next to my face at night and peacefully purrs himself to sleep. But when Kill Kill comes in to join us, he smacks her in the head, since other animals only exist for him to play with. It's not that he doesn't have affection for her, it's that he only knows one way to show it. Two, if you count stealing her food. She eats diet food, so if he keeps eating it, he'll be a runt. I moved her bowl to the top of an picnic cooler that Kill Kill uses as a kitchen perch. It's just tall enough for him to not be able to reach, although he's made it a few times by unitentionally knocking empty boxes near it, and using them as ladders.
      Since his bowl is a large, weighted white one, and KK's is a little pink Japanese Hello Kitty rice bowl, I decided to trick him by switching bowls. I made a big deal of surrendering it to him while winking at Kill Kill. I filled her rice bowl with Science Diet kitten food, and sprinkled a few bits of her Iams Diet on top, which looks the same. And the ruse worked! He chowed down on the kitten food, none the wiser. Since the rice bowl isn't weighted at the bottom like his old one, and he's a slob, he spilled a lot of kibble. I picked it up to put it back in the bowl. It was all wet. It was kitten kibble that he'd spit out once he realized it wasn't Killsy's food. The ruse worked, but I was the one who was fooled.

      Who's the biggest liar of the last 4 presidents? Well, DUH, but they all fare poorly. For different reasons.

      We now have one, 2-cat enclosed litterbox. Anybody with multiple cats who has a litter recommendation is welcome to send it here at the usual emails.


      Today's Phrase That Pays: "Barium Swallow." It's not a sequel to The Maltese Falcon. It's what I get to do next week, swallow a radioactive isotope so that the hospital can see if my Mystery Illness is indeed a hiatal hernia. I'll take that over another teatment listed on the sheet my doctor gave me--"Barium Enema." Why, I must be pregnant--I have an inner glow! And it looks like I'm giving birth to a qunits! But why're the babies in my colon?

      Kill Kill figured out the ultimate way to combat Byron:

      She's invented the Cat Tank! A Purrman Tank, if you will. Unfortunately, Byron eventually discovered that her butt was hanging out of the back of the box.

      Camilla writes:

      Speak Out is...interesting. I remember the guy who claimed that women who didn't want to be housewives were "genetic mutations," or the old lady who wanted funding for AIDS research ended and spent instead on the common cold ("Those people are going to die anyway, but I get colds every year!" is an actual quote. Outside of the idea that "the sniffles" are somehow worse than "horrible wasting death," there's NO DAMN THING called "the common cold"--it's a hundred different viruses, and when you get one once, you never get it again. You get a different one. Why do you think you can get head colds or chest colds, but no one ever gets "ankle mumps"?).
      Poopy Pants drafted a new version of his classic reply to a Speak Out. One of our co-workers pointed out his monstrous errors in spelling and grammar, which he still hadn't noticed a week after telling everyone to read his magnum dorkus. I don't think his revised version will get published, as someone else already responded to the original:      I have no idea what was meant by "I would like to see it prohibited and packed like cigarettes" (adults can't drink in restaurants, but 18 year olds can buy booze in packs of 20 from vending machines?). Here's Poopy's v1.02, which isn't the deranged retardofest the first was (he had help this time), but see if you can spot the main difference between his and the published one:      What's the main "differnce" between the two? What the HELL point is he trying to make? Where's his thesis? What's he talking about?
      My big objection about being open until 9: Inevitably, sometime long after 8PM someone will walk into the store and ask, "Are you open until 9?" I've taken to blandly saying "Apparently!" just to see their reaction.