Through a Dribble Glass Darkly


NEW 81


"A man said to the universe: 'Sir, I exist!'
'However,' replied the universe, 'The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation.'"
- -Stephen Crane


5/01/05

      

      This is the first appearance, back in 1968, of the phrase that would become more common in the era of the PC and Mac: "Fucking computer!"

      I went antiquing with Mrs Jessica today, for the first time since--well, let's just say that we exchanged Christmas gifts, and leave it at that. (I received some funky fridge magnets, 2 cat toys that are being studiously ignored, and a bag of tea. I said "I love tea!" without adding "...until it made me vomit with Young's Syndrome." She got a genuine '80s Garbage Pail Kids card holder for her extensive library of those, and 2 lbs of her beloved hometown-made fudge. Which has been in my fridge since January. I hope that the next mention here of her will not involve a stomach pump)
      We had our usual awesome, if lately increasingly rare, time together. Most of the humor was of the "had to be there" variety, involving creepy-looking things and an iguana infestation. She spotted a model plane care kit with a bottle of oil and a tube marked "Lube," and I said, "Notice how the oil hasn't been used, but the lube has!" In one store, which always has ridiculously large and insanely overpriced merchandise, she asked that I take her picture:

      

      She looks all Ren-festy, but ya hadda be there.
      Antique store customers tend to act like they're in a museum, but not one family of 3. They were hootin' and a-hollerin' the whole time. Jess was looking over her favorite pocketbook/purse area, and the father of the family "looked" over it too. He kept pressing his shoulder against hers. Well, you've seen Jessica, and I've seen his wife, so it's a bit understandable. In the "Jess should've brought her pepper spray" sense. When people see a male/female couple, they always assume that they're a couple, rather than a married woman with her best male buddy. I guess I'm just not intimidating enough to keep another male away from her. Maybe I should be the one carrying the mace.
      She witnessed someone dropping $700 on a pair of small stuffed animals. Our expenses were, as usual, much more modest. She bought a little metal pillbox with cats-eye glasses detailing on the lid, and a beaded pocketbook at least 30 years old. Her total: $9. Mine: $7.50
      I bought a M-M-M-Max Headroom coffee mug (I hate the beverage, but I'm always up for a cheap and amusing mug). And two 1963 ...well, I don't know the exact word, but they're the size of the small paperback cookbooks of the day. Except that they're Xmas-time promos for liquor stores. For professional reasons, they're more interesting to me than they are to you, so I won't go into too much detail. Most interesting was the pricing--my beloved Charteuse is $45.99 a bottle today, and $9.69 then. The strangest was Cook's champagne at $4.50 a bottle (today, it's 4.99 to 5.99, so no real change), while Moet ($39.99 to $45.99 today) was $6.49! Either Moet went waaay up in quality, or Cook's went waaay down.
      I also bought a Big Little Book, and had to explain to Jessie what those were. Damn kids today! Frankenstein Jr, if you're wondering where the image at the top came from (which I think is great--this is the only BLB I've seen in which all the art is clearly done by someone who really seems to like drawing it). It was BLB #15; the next was BLB #16--SPAAACE GHOOOST! Hopefully, this book will clear up the puzzle of Frank Jr.--Was he a robot? He seems to be, being Gigantor-like, but he has stitches on him and "has a heart"? Whose heart? Abie Normal's?
      I got the Jan-Feb 1945 issue of "Calling All Girls." Leafing through it, it seemed to have lots of 0pen Road potential, but now I'm not so sure. It's so subdued, you'd think that in 1945 there was some sort of war going on.
      Jessica pointed out the column titled "Tricks for TEENS." I said, "I don't think that's something that they should be encouraging!" then noticed the ad running on the opposite page.

      

      She looks ready to turn her first trick already!
      And 2 pages over, there's another ad that's all teenaged legs in even more fetishistic nylons. And inbetween them is

      

      Big Sister gets dates because of her bra! Why? I guess that she shows it to the army men, I guess. Maybe if little sister would put out more, she'd get all the dates too, when the troop ship pulls into harbor for a day!
      I've no idea what "wearing a Sloppy Joe" means in this context, unless that's the name of Big Sister's boyfriend.

      When I got home, Mr Byron and I went for a walk. Here he is, stalking the jungle.

      

      I'm not sure why he looks purple. Perhaps he's camoflagued, and preparing to pounce and eat Prince.

      Funny if you don't exactly know what it's talking about, much funnier if you do: The James Bond Franchise Review.

5/3

      Byron's Outside Time yesterday went smoothly. It was quite windy (as it seems to be every Monday I have off), and he twice chased dead leaves. He caught them and proudly carried his conquest by the stem, until the wind blew it away or into his face.
      The temperature dropped 10 degrees in in 10 minutes as a cold front moved in, with thick, heavy clouds. It was just about to rain on the 2nd floor deck behind our building, when an orange tabby walked below us. She saw meow! I meowed back, and then we continued the conversation. She trotted under the deck, meowing all the time, running up to make my acquaintance. Quite the friendly feline! On the deck's stairs, she saw Byron. She froze, hissed, growled, puffed up her tail, just like the last cats we've encountered. Byron backed down both of those times. This time, he just stared, tail down, interested but seemingly quite unconcerned. Her home was right behind her, mere feet away, so this was her territory. It was her right to defend it. I stood where I could grab him if it lead to pawsticuffs. The cold rain began to fall, but neither gunslinger would blink. Finally, she backed away growling, and went under some bushes.
      Well, that ended okay, I thought. Then Toemonster went under the bush outside her door, and her hissing and growling became truculent. I snatched him up and placed him on the building opposite of her, explaining why we would be wrong to violate her territorial limits. He looked in her direction for a bit, then casually made his way back home.
      Why was he so different this time? Maybe because I know (from speaking to the cat's owner the week before) that at least on of the other cats was a male. Maybe Byron realized she was a female, like the only other cat in his world, the sweet and maternal Killsy? Did he go under the bushes to see if she'd also be his friend?
      On the short way home, we passed another cat in a window. I think that we'll see a lot of feline interaction over the summer...

      One of the reasons there's no cable in this household is that the monopolistic bastards never let us see the Sci-Fi Channel. Sure, you could call them and ask for it, and they'd always say "It's coming next year." (NOTE: Kevin was the one who called them, and repeatedly. TV isn't worth that much work to me) And it was always a lie. Since my cable-watching had declined to 2 hours of Adult Swim, I pulled the plug and gave the monthly money to the ADSL people instead.
      One reason that I wanted to get Sci-Fi was because my favorite show (that didn't involve a talking alien mantis) was MST3K. Comedy Central wouldn't show any of their old shows once they moved, and without S-F, I couldn't see the new ones!
      Now many of those eps are available on Netflix! I've seen maybe a dozen! And THEY SUCK.
      I could see that the show was going downhill when Joel left. But then the entire original cast left ("But what about Tom--" AHA! Caught you! Servo was performed by another person originally! I score a geek point!). And, wow, even if they still had a lot of the same writers, they obviously weren't as good after the others bailed. The Invention Exchange, always a highlight, got replaced with some idiotic "story arc" at S-F's insistence. Why, yes, I watch the show because the Host Segments have a plot! No, wait, they never had a plot before...That's like saying "I have always bought an Edsel, until they built one!"
      I just Netflixed a movie that I've heard was a classic of Crap Cinema, "Prince of Space," and I heard that long before I ever heard the letters "MST3K." The movie was stankeriffic! But the commentary was just as bad. I laughed once. Just like I've done on every other S-F era MST.
      Not getting S-F was a reason I abandoned cable. But if they had carried them, and I'd seen those crappy MSTs, I might've left even sooner. Good plan, cable company!

5/4

      Human evolution at the crossroads. Interesting scenarios for the future of humanity.
      Of course, the assumption is that humanity will evolve, not devolve. Note that the poll at the end, asking which scenario is the likeliest, is led by "None of the above; the Second Coming is more likely."

      The most enlightening and depressing thing you'll [start to] read today, Happy Birthday, Mission Accomplished. Forget reading the links; I gave up just because reading the synopses made me both angry and sad.
      We anti-war people knew that this was going to happen, but even we never knew that it'd get this bad! Why did no one listen to us? Why does the media still pretend it's all roses? "Victory is just around the corner!" "Did you say--coroner?"

      Wear blood-red on Fridays, because now it's official: "Support the Troops" means "Let Them Die for Bush". Wear red, but, y'know, don't actually support the troops by JOINING THE MILITARY. Let THEM die for our freedom to drive SUVs and bitch about gas prices!
      But only wear red on Fridays. We wouldn't want to inconvenience you on the other 6 days. Hey, then you might get drafted!

05/05/05

      I work with drunks.
      Well, you knew that already about Manager Bob. Careful study of the computer inventory vs the physical inventory indicates that his at-store Heineken consumption is at an all-time peak of 14! bottles a day (with 2 for the 20-minute ride home).
      There was a period where my other co-workers

      cow-orkers were drinking on the job WHA? where'd this CHUTE come fr--AAAAAAUUGGGHHH "Hello, BOSSY!" swing crunch
      But I digress.
      And I've forgotten what I was talking ab--Ah, yes. They drink, they drink, I do not. Once, I bought a liter-torpedo of Poland Spring water, guzzled a pint, then put it in the beer cooler, so that it'd stay cool and no one else would buy it and taste my backwash. When I went to retrieve it on my lunch, Chris excitedly told the others, "Bill took a BEER from the cooler with him!" as if I'd just joined the ranks of the Cool Kids. Only fags don't drink at work then drive!
      I could go into further detail, but I won't, as the only real reason I'm posting is that I can have that once-every-century "05/05/05" date here. Chris, who's 26 and still lives with his parents and downs a couple of Bud Lights while on the clock, always buys a 6 for after work. Yesterday, we 2nd-shifters were leaving when one's phone rang. It was Chris, who had to be at work in 12 hours. He asked her, "Could you lend me $2 to buy gas? I'm too drunk to go home, so I want to drive around town until I'm sober."
      She said no.
      But that doesn't change the fact that I work with drunks.

5/7

      Here's a game we haven't played in a long while! Recently, Ferd'nand has tended towards the "I get what the joke is, I just don't get why it's supposed to be funny," rather than "WHAT the HELL?!"
      A thousand bonus points to whoever can explain the joke-like object of this strip:

      

      He's washing a severely deformed pot, so he puts the mattress in the kitchen. Uh-huh.

       If a certain "of the week" page still updated, this would surely be #163.
      Here's the local mailing, just to prove I'm not making it up:

      

      Vernon (Rockville) has an old Civil War monument. I've lived here almost 20 years, and I went there once, and it was closed, so I can't vouch for TEH XTR33M AW3SOM3 that the town s33ms--er, sorry, seems--to hold it in. It's the town symbol. Here, they decide to highlight a part of it.
      There's Jesus H Christ, a sailor, a soldier, a startled eagle, and a little girl who's learned that praying isn't the only way to get to Heaven by going down on your knees.

      

      

5/9

      

      Why, yes, our outside time with Byron today was a bit more dramatic than usual. Why do you ask?

      For once, the weather was warm and sunny, which seems to mean that Byron flops down on the lawn and soaks up the sun. Later, he wandered around, displaying an unfortunate interest in battling bumblebees. I picked him up and moved him a few yards. That always works; he gets that he went somewhere off-limits and doesn't stray back there. And I have to be careful: 1 side of the condo opens onto a busy road, 2 lead to the woods, where ticks, big dogs and hungry coyotes wait.
      After steering him again from the bees, he decided to go down the hill. And then into the woods. I was *this close* to snagging him when he went into the underbrush. I wasn't happy about it, but I wasn't too concerned. He wandered among the detritus cast off from the complex over the decades; beer cans, broken slabs of cement, a rusty barrel, an even rustier car jack. And he just went on and on. He refused to come out, and kept snaking deeper into the woods. Finally, I decided that it was time to end this, and I smashed through the bracken and picked him up.
      He complained. He doesn't like going home early. Then he howled, then he screamed. Then he wriggled. Then, he did something that he's never done before. And that would explain the picture.
      It was my turn to howl. Outside of the blood pouring down my face, he'd bit my right thumb so hard that it not only bled, it's now ballooned hugely from the bruising force of his jaws. That gouge on my nose is still oozing hemoglobin; the scar may turn out to be a permanent facial feature. And I dropped him, and he ran.
      We had a mutual stare-down, me from the top of the hill by the pool, him from atop a pile of cracked concrete. He was 10 feet away, but there was no way I could grab him before he bolted, and at this point, I was counting myself lucky to still have both my eyeballs. That went on for quite a long time. I decided to move out of his sight for a couple of minutes. Maybe if he didn't see me, he'd get less scared and wander out, as that was about the only way I could reach him. So I walked a few yards away, and came back 2 minutes later. And he was gone.
      What?! Why would he do that?! He was lost from his family as a baby, why would he do it again? Where did he go? I kept listening for him. I didn't hear anything. I crouched and peered to see if he'd crawled under the concrete slabs to sulk. No luck. I went down the hill, up the hill, down the hill, through the underbrush, trying to find him. Don't Panic, I thought, and ran home to check if he'd somehow slipped past me and gone to our door. He knows where our door is! He wasn't there, but I remembered another bit of advice from the Hitchhiker's Guide: Always have a towel. If I'd had a towel when I grabbed him, I could've wrapped him in it and kept him from clawing an escape. And if I'd just moved a little quicker at grabbing him that first time--hindsight. What a wonderful curse it is. Where was the towel I keep in the car?! Christ, I can' keep looking for it--here's a t-shirt! I went back into the woods, out of it, into it, out of it. A mother with her toddler daughter was walking around when I came out one time. Yes, you can imagine the look on her face when she saw mine, coated in fresh and still-dripping blood. "My cat got away," I said. "What's the man looking for?" asked the girl, with the naive lack of concern little children have. "My catty--kitty," I said, towel-less and starting to panic. "Is she an indoor cat?" asked the concerned mother. "Yes," I said, choking down Until some fucking retard started taking him outside!
      "And I can't call him--he's deaf!" I raced to the path in the woods. He was fenced into one area by the creek between that part of the woods and the path. Didn't find him. I kept freezing and listening. Finally, I heard tenative footsteps in the dead leaves. I circled through the woods for 10 minutes, stopping frequently. I couldn't see him. But finally I saw him! DAMN! Just a pair of robins, digging for bugs! I climbed the hill for the thousandth time. I stood and listened to where he last was, for the thousandth time. Then I did the only logical thing left to do.
      I picked up the mail, went home, and drank a beer.
      You can probably understand why I wanted the beer. I also got an actual towel. My only hope now was that he knew the way home--he's raced to our door many times. I'd camp out all night there, waiting for him to come home. After what was probably the fastest swilling of a can of beer outside of a college campus, I went back. And there he was, chasing the goddamn bumblebees again.
      Oh, he knew he'd been Olympic-class Naughty. Towel or not, I wasn't going to make the mistake of grabbing him again. We walked home, and I prodded him through the back door. He screamed and took a swat at me when I pulled some prickery plant thing out of his leg. Like it was ME who decided to gallivant amongst the flora.
      We need to rethink this "outside time" concept.

5/10

      Ever notice how you catch a coworker's form and begin talking to him before you look at his face?

      GINA (glancing obliquely at me) So how was your weekend?
      ME: (pause) What do you think?
      GINA: gasp!

      Later, CHRIS: So how was your weekend? Uneventful?--(looks me in the face; stops; smiles in an "oh shit!' way)
      BILL "SCARNOSE" THE SPLUT: Eventful.

      Unsurprisingly, Bob the Drunk looked at my face repeatedly, but it took him 2 hours to figure out that, no, those bloody scars weren't there 3 days ago.
      Reactions fell into "Oh, no! Tsk, tsk! Thank god you got the kitty back home safe!" from the cat owners. I don't know if the other reactions were from people who don't own cats, or just hate them, but when they heard the story behind the wounds: "Did you beat and/or kill it? Cuz I'll kill it!"
      Ha, ha! Do you still beat your wife? If your baby throws up on your shoulder, can I cook it?
      And since I work with the shudder public, I can expect these retarded conversations until I heal. From now on, I'll just say "It was zombies. Mmm, are you usin' them brains? BRAAAAIINS?!" And the next time they come in, I won't say anything. Just spread some mustard on their forehead.

      KITTENWAR! No, not the one I experienced yesterday. Another of those "which is better?" sites. But it's all kitties!

      Yes, I used to deride anyone who linked to the Onion's main page. But this is the first main page article of theirs that I've read in YEARS that made me laugh beyond the headline: 'Not Quite Perfect' McDonald's Opens In Illinois Outlet Mall

      I hope that everybody already follows Don Markstein's Toonpedia. If you don't, here's a brief look at one of the dumbest superhero powers ever: The Human Bomb. "Following the trends of the time, Roy made himself an evil-bashing costume. In his case, it consisted of a standard hazardous materials suit, with the gloves easily removable so he could blow things up. The fact that he wore the gloves in everyday life should have been a clue to his secret identity, but nobody ever picked up on it."

5/11

      Some mysteries will remain from Bill and Toeboy's Not-Excellent Adventure, such as why and where he hid, rather than coming home. But the solution to the biggest one--why he savagely turned on me--came to me last night. And it was as plain as the gouge on my face!
      From that day: "We walked home, and I prodded him through the back door. He screamed and took a swat at me when I pulled some prickery plant thing out of his leg."
      That thorn must've been in his leg the first time that I picked him up. I was forcing it into his leg. He wasn't crying "Let me down, I want to play in the woods!" He was yelling, "Put me down, you're hurting me!" And that's why he kept his distance from me. "Why did Mommy hurt me?" Maybe that's why he hid.
      He's totally blameless. I lose a few hundred points for not noticing the thing in his leg.
      On the healing front, my thumb is almost normal size. The cheek scratches are losing their scabs, and that huge gash in my nose is, too. And after only 2 days. The skin underneath looks pretty normal. I think he broke the surface, but didn't go any deeper. (His feet are big, and his claws bigger. So big, they don't fully retract, so they're dull. If Kill Kill Razor-Fist had made the same face-clawing, she would've gone straight to the bone, and I'd have less nose left than David Crosby)
      The part of me that's always had the most pain is my upper legs. I'd have thought that I'd use the same muscles for walking as I did for all that running Monday, but I guess not.

5/12

      Real-life friend Scott decided that this would be a great album cover if I ever made a CD:

      

      Projected cover songs:
      Out in the Country
      What's New, Pussycat?
      Billy, Don't Be A Hero
      HEY, Put Me Down, You're Hurting My Damn LEG!!
      HELP!
      Cat Scratch Fever
      While My Guitar Gently Bleeds. Also, My Face

5/14

      
You scored as Materialist. Materialism stresses the essence of fundamental particles. Everything that exists is purely physical matter and there is no special force that holds life together. You believe that anything can be explained by breaking it up into its pieces. i.e. the big picture can be understood by its smaller elements.

Materialist

100%

Existentialist

81%

Modernist

75%

Idealist

75%

Postmodernist

69%

Cultural Creative

38%

Romanticist

31%

Fundamentalist

31%

What is Your World View?
created with QuizFarm.com

5/16

      Byron swiped at my face again!
      He got WAY to close to the road for my taste (like 10 feet!), and Calgon took him away from it. When I placed him down, he was okay, but when I plucked away some vegetation that was in his fur, he whined and took a swing. He was probably just remembering last Monday's fiasco, so he kept his claws in.
      This was immediately after he'd spent half an hour not wandering the common grounds of the various condo complexes, but went right into someone's yard. It was worth 50 cents to me (don't know why someone threw a fistfull of dimes ino the road, but there they were). He plopped down on their doorstep, as the cars roared past fifty feet away. Eventually, the door opened a crack, and a very suspicious young woman looked out. Then she looked down and laughed--"Is that your cat?"
      "Yeah, he's decided that this is a good place to watch the cars go by."
      (closing door, still laughing) "Okay! I just thought that you wanted something!"
      "Yeah, I want my cat off of your porch!" He eventually moved on after I pointed at a sign and said, "See what that says? 'No Trespassing'!"
      And that, thankfully, was as dramatic as it got. It was funny when he tried to look inside someone's screen door like a Peeping Tom-Cat while standing on his hind legs. He placed front paw over front paw as walked sorta like a people. Yes, I shouldn't report these "hadda been there" moments, but you'll never read this entry again. I will, and I'll laugh at the memory of the Bigfoot Sideways Shuffle.
      There was a thunderstorm last night. A big one, right over us. Miss Killsy used to disappear under the bed until a half hour after any t-storm ended. Now, she's quite brave. "Under the Mommy's computer desk" is, for some reason, her sanctuary. I don't know if she's feeling safe because I'm around, or if she's emulating Byron, misinterpreting his sang-froid as bravery rather than deafness.
      He himself was sprawled out on the Tower (an up-ended wooden LP crate that overlooks the front window, a favorite spot for both cats). I went out to watch the end of the storm, and he looked right at me. I talked to him--a useless task, but not much more useless than talking to a hearing pet. He stared at me. I waved at him, and he didn't budge. He just kept staring. After leaning over him, and talking, and waving, I finally touched him and he said "brrriiTT?!" And woke up. He was asleep with his eyes open again--wide open. I know he can do that, but it's weird when he does.

      I'm interested in seeing what happens next here: Hoax or reality? Either way, someone will make a movie based on it. "A helpline set up to identify a mystery man who stunned carers by giving a virtuoso classical piano performance has been inundated with calls.
      The man has not said a word since police picked him up wandering the streets of Sheerness, Kent, in a soaking wet suit and tie on 7 April.
      His social worker Michael Camp said the man, in his 20s or 30s, is usually very anxious but "comes alive" at the piano."

5/18

      I had a lovely night's sleep, with both cats present in bed at one point. Miss Killsy, she of the Silent Purr, nested on my legs, and I could feel the vibrations from her purring.
      I got up and discovered that the mini-freezer's door was open. There was a big plotz of mint chocolate chip ice cream spilling out of it. Fortunately, it'd happened recently enough that it wasn't yet a liquid (and becoming a permanent part of the carpet). I mopped up some of it, expecting that the ice cream still inside it would be easier be remove once it refroze. I briefly thought of warning work that I'd be slightly late, but "My ice cream is melting!" didn't sound like the kind of excuse that I'd ever live down.
      How did it happen? The door was a little hard to close, because the ice cream was kinda trying to push it open. But it's closed like that for weeks before this. No, it must've been opened by someone with thumbs...and don't look at me!
      Most likely by someone with thumbs who regularly stomps on the freezer with enormous feet. One push on the door might've popped it open. Possibly someone who over the last few days has done this before? Byron pulled a kitchen cabinet door open using his hamhock hands, leading to an exciting if instantly stopped underworld adventure beneath the sink, filled with glorious treasures like a gallon of bleach. I closed that quick, and propped it shut with the old Hello Kitty cat bed.
      Sunday I went to see if I could do my laundry. B-Toes wanted to come out with me, but after the last time I did the laundry, I didn't want him setting the schedule. He jumped out, I tossed him back onto the Lay-Z-Boy, I pulled the door less-than-shut, but very not-openable, I went to check if the machines were being used. When I got back...guess who was outside the door. The very heavy door, which is on a spring that holds it shut. How less than 10 pounds of cat pulled that thing open, I'll never know. At least, until he does it again. He certainly keeps life interesting.
      And when I went in the shower to wash the mint chocolate chip off of my hands, the Clock In The Shower told me that I was minutes early. How'd that happen? I should be late, I was mopping up ice cream! It wasn't until it was 30 minutes later and I was 5 miles from home when I rubbed my face and realized that I hadn't shaved. Ice cream, shaving cream, my brain can't tell the difference.

      Worst Hairstyles Ever!
      Oh, I don't know. They don't include an old customer from my last job at the DumpStore. His name was Jay, at least to his face. Otherwise, he was "Toupee Jay" or "Toupeeasaurus Rex." People like to claim "I can always tell a toupee when I see one!" But I'm sure that that only means you can tell a bad one; there's probably some guy out there with the world's most perfect comb-over, and no one can tell. Until the wind picks up.

      But a bad toupee, yeah that's easy. And he had the BIG!Lots brand toupee:

      I'd thought of Toupee Jay yesterday for a different reason. As proud of his Samson-like manly locks as he was, he was equally proud when he came in one day to show off his "new cell phone!" It was a cordless phone. And one of those late-80s size-of-a-brick ones. We actually laughed right in front of him over that! And he was really offended. Of course, we were all laughing at the thought that "If he expects us to believe that's a cell phone, no wonder he thinks we believe that's his hair!"

5/19

      Activism!

      MoveOn's brief and amusing look at Revenge of the Frist.

      Greenpeace's Virtual March to Save the Whales. Print out a placard, take your picture, become infamous in Korea. I don't have a functional printer. I had to use the one at work today to print out a coupon for 10% of a car rental on Block Island for my upcoming vacation. Since everyone at work despises Bush and his corporate ilk, maybe I could print one out there. I'd photograph the Kids holding it, of course. They eat tuna, not whales!

5/20

      Next week, it's supposed to be rainy with highs in the 50s. What, do I live in England? In the WINTER?
      I have vacation the week after next, and I'll be extremely pissed if the weather sucks. Well, as pissed as one can get about something you have no control over, anyway. "Damn this traffic! Why does everyone else get off work at 5 like me? Can't they all get off at 6? And why's the damn sky cloudy? DAMN YOU, DAMN SKY!"
      I expected to see the new Star Wars movie on some dreary day over vacation, but I guess I'll go Monday. And I reeeally have my hopes up for this one! The last two reeeeally needed to be made! Hell, even George Luc-ass prly didn't have his hopes up for the latest crapfest: "Sith" is an anagram for another word, and even the acronym is ROTS. Most reviewers seem to be praising it, but they're also comparing it to the last 2. I expect it to be the best Star Wars since Empire, but that's like saying "This is the best dog food I've eaten since I switched from filet mignon to Alpo!"
      Scalzi's take on ROTS. No spoilers. But how could there be? This is the first spoiler-free movie. "He becomes Vader and gets asthma. The End."

      I meant to link this yesterday, but forgot: And I wish I did, as the permalink isn't very perma. Unless you want to read a very uninteresting story about spambots, scroll down to "Discussion Thread, Thursday, May 19, 2005" to read about a local TV station's investigative teams look into how much military recruiters will lie to get suckers to sign up for the Iraq disaster. They frequently claim that's it actually safer to serve in Iraq than to live in America. One recruiter quotes that the USA has a "36% kill rate," meaning that every year, people get murdered. Which translates to one hundred million dead every year. Umm...I think that I would've noticed that by now. And that's the funniest part, so now you don't have to go find it. Forget I brought it up.
      So how are we gonna fight the next war? With IOUs? "North Korea, cut it out, or we are SO invading you in 2055!"

      Connecticut's (Republican) governor was shocked, SHOCKED! when Rumsfeld announced the military base closures. When I heard about it, I immediately thought, "There goes the nuclear sub base at Groton." I believe Rummy said that "Politics has nothing to do with this." Of course, EVERYTHING this administration has done is about politics, no matter how much harm it does to America, so the next thing I thought was, "I wonder if the Blue States are taking a greater hit than the Red ones do." And Hey, guess what!
      New England-New York needs to secede from Bush's dystopia, while we still have the weapons to protect ourselves!

5/23

      I had my expectations for Return of the Sith. Based on the last 2, I expected wooden acting, crap dialogue, groan-inducing "comic relief," and at least 2 jaw-droppingly "WOW!" action sequences. And I got most of what I expected. The Senator wasn't that bad of an actor, at least until the ham salad came out. I forget which review I read that asked "Is there another director who could actually make Samuel L Jackson look bad?" The dialogue was clunk city, including that "NOOOOOO!" straight out of a bad comic book. However, there was no comic relief--Jar Jar didn't get one line, C3PO was almost as mute, but you just know it was the fertile (or fertilizer-filled) mind of George Lucas that decided to have a Wookiee give a Tarzan yell. Thanks, that really helped the suspension of disbelief. Why not have Obi-Wan slap hs forehead and yell "D'OH!" or have Yoda force-fling someone against a wall and quip, "To the hand talk you will!"
      The other thing I didn't get--the big action sequences! What the hell! Sure, the first movie (or fourth, or whatever) was eye-rollingly goofy, and the second/fifth had a 45 minute stretch of utter boredom. But we also got some great action sequences, like the pod race or the arena of doom. Here, shit blew up. I think Lucas saw those mighty, sweeping battles of that other trilogy (the one with hobbits), and decided he needed those, too. Yeah, but in LotR, you had a feel for who was where and what was happening. Here, shit blew up. Too much shit, too confusingly. Such as the Wookiee planet battle--it starts, then it ends. I didn't even understand why they were under attack. (Except to throw in another ridiculous cameo of a future character)
      The time I didn't spend yawning, I spent looking at my watch. Y'know, I can accept stupid stuff in an action movie, but not when I notice it as it's happening. It took me several viewings of the fourth film--the first one--the original--whatever--to notice that if a door's open and you want it closed, you shoot the lock. If the door's closed and you want it open, shoot the lock. Try that with an electric garage door opener and a Glock sometime. When you notice stupidity while it's happening, that means that the movie didn't work. Examples (SPOILERS if you want to discover the stupidity on your own):

      And people think this movie is good? You'd think that Lucas would've realized that he bites Jawa as a director and a writer after Jedi, and when he had that final reality nail pounded home when he blew off making the prequel trilogy for Howard the Fucking Duck. George--no more movies. You just plain suck.

      Well, I suppose that you'll be happy to hear that after ROTS (and, by George, it did!), I went and bought Byron a cat harness. He's not supposed to go in the woods or near the road, so what did he do yesterday? Went into the tiny strip of woods that leads to the road! And disappeared in it for about 5 minutes. I couldn't see him, and the road was too nosiy for me to hear him. Would he come out on the condo side, or the roadside? He poked out of the safe side. But I'd had enough.
      I'm glad I bought the $4.49 harness and not the $17.99 one. As he refused to let me put it on. If he actually wore a collar, it might've worked, but he doesn't and it didn't. We went out today with it in my pocket (maybe I can lasso him with it). He kept crawling under cars, but other than that, he was generally well-behaved, staying quite close to me. Because of the threat of the harness? I guess we'll find out on my vacation next week.
      He also stomped on Johnny Rotten's face at one point. Well, this, anyway.

      So cute, and also freaky: Kitten and Crow, Best Friends.

      "If you draw the timelines, realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine, so when you die it's not a major career problem." Also, "PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the human brain." Umm, that's theoretically awesome, but kinda sounds bad. And "You could have a conversation with your strawberry yogurt before you eat it." GAHH! Who the hell wants that!

      An excerpt from Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me" book, titled "Don't Eat This Book." Sure, the food is bad for you, but at least it doesn't talk to you.

5/24

      I bought this fridge magnet.

      Wow, it's ridiculously cold out there for late March! Of course, it's late May, which makes it worse. It's raining, it's in the 40s, I can see my breath, it's midnight.
      So what am I doing outside? The cat insisted.
      Killsy cat insisted.
      She was only interested in going into the common hallway at first. But I went out to interact with her, and then she nuzzled the door. Like the idiot that I'm apparently born to be, I let her outside. The outside outside, expecting that the cat-unfriendly weather would make her return immediately.
      And she didn't.
      It only lasted 5 minutes, and I coaxed her back inside. But now she's meowing to go back out, way back out...I can't even watch ONE cat successfully out there!
      Outside time has ended. They're indoor cats, no matter how much they dislike the idea.

5/25

      Fresh off of a meal of younglings, the dreaded Darth Vader turns from his grisly repast and points his bloody gloves at you and asks: "Wanna play 20 Questions?"
      One would think that he had Rebel Scum to destroy, but he begrudgingly will play, while insulting you. On my first try--I WON!
      Well, I kinda cheated--I chose to ask him about marijuana. I realized that there was NO WAY they'd allow that answer, so I kept the answers the same as I would for a different substance with the same effects.
      The longer you beat him, the more respect he gains for you. And the more times you stump him, the more he gets whispered hints from the most repulsive and evil alien freak you've ever seen! One that also kills younglings, indirectly through obesity and diabetes. Hey, do you really want a Youngling's Meal from that guy? Do you want to eat a Whopper from--the Dark Side of the Grill?
      And I kinda won. "Is it oregano?" Well...sorta. After I beat him, Darth offered me a job for the Empire (Is it flipping burgers? That's like a job for Speeder Bike dorks!). And I was given a menu to make sure no one else won using my choice again. My backup choice was there--"catnip." It has a similar effect on cats as my choice does on humans. "Pot" wasn't on there, and I forget the precise wording, but "(improper plant)" was another choice. So I guess that I wasn't the first to try that. BUMMER! But I totally beat Vader, DUDE! God, I could so go for a Sith Whopper right now, dude!
      And he cheats! I tried "e. coli bacteria" and he shut me off at "a bacteria"! Well, let's try something dear to my heart, "fridge magnet".
      James Earl Jones voice: "Is it a SPITTOON?" HAHAHHA! Where the hell you get THAT, Darth! Are there a lot on the Death Star? Do they confuse your helmet with one? "Is it a TEA POT?" Crimeny, don't ask me over for a spot of tea if you can't tell the difference! And I won that time, too.
      I think that it's some variant on the old "SitCom Character or Third-World Dictator"-like games I've played before. The more people who play, the better Darth gets. So try your 20 questions now.

5/26

       Useful strategies to upgrade your brain, running from eating beans for breakfast to stealing Junior's Ritalin.

      Yeah, buy a Pepsi, win a free iTune, big whoop. Buy a 7-Up, go into space.

5/31

      Vacation! Although so far, it hasn't been very relaxing. Hint: extra toes.
      Friday night he was screaming to go out, which we don't do at night or during thunderstorms. I opened the common hallway door, knowing that he'd go out for a minute, then come back in. Killsy trotted out before him. She'd prly stay out for 20 minutes.
      Sure enough, 20 minutes later she plopped down by me with a satisfied look on her face. It took me another 5 minutes to wonder, "And where's Byron?" He wasn't in the hallway. I went back upstairs and he wasn't in the condo. I grabbed a flashlight--I hadn't heard anyone come in, but that doesn't mean that they hadn't and he'd escaped. Opening the door to the Outside, I heard scratching coming from the door to the garage--it wasn't fully shut, and he'd somehow opened it. Fortunately, no one had driven their car into the garage while he was in there. So I make sure that the door's always shut when I let them out there now.
      Sunday we went out. I held him gently or picked him up everytime a car came by. And there were lots of cars; I decided that there were to be no more Sundays out, only Mondays, when most people are at work. I decided this after I picked him up while a van drove by. When it passed, I put him down AND HE CHASED IT. I grabbed him again. When I put him down, he bolted for a small section of woods. Oh great, woods again. And what's that sound? It sounds like a big dog on a leash, on the other side of the woods! But it wasn't a big dog. It was an ENORMOUS dog, barely under control of the man with the leash, and he wasn't a small man, either. "Look out, my cat's around here!" I warned him, and the dog almost knocked him over, barking viciously at me. Some people have dogs as pets, others, like him, have them as weapons. Byron would've been 2 bites. Once Toe-Boy was out of the woods, he decided that it was Crawl Under Cars Day. For twooo hours.
      I should've thought that if I didn't want him out on Sundays, a national holiday was also a bad time. Lots of cars to protect him from, and way too many that he'd crawl under. I was waiting for him to exit one when a guy came out, demanding to know what I was doing. "Waiting for my cat to get out from under that car," I said pleasantly. It was 1 in the afternoon, and The Dick already had a beer in his hand (Natural Ice, the beer version of Bukoff). The Dick started yelling about how I was looking at his car, and go do it somewhere else! I live here, I said, I've lived here for 20 years. "Go do it somewhere else!" he yelled and closed the door. Go look at your car and live here for 20 years somewhere else? Ah, he obviously was well versed in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. No, wait, he was a drunken asshole. And I knew him from somewhere...
      Then, big brave man that he was, he returned with his ugly wife to scream at me some more. About the horrible threat that is a little cat resting under a car. "Give me a chance, I'll get him out from under your car!" She got in, started the engine, put it in gear. "Give me a chance!" and she blared the horn right in my ear. "He's DEAF!" So she started backing up! "Don't, you might kill him!" "I hope we DO!" said Big Man. Byron ran off, and me and the shithead kept screaming at each other. "You're really that scared of a cat?!" I said, and that seemed to sting him. "And you were looking in our WINDOW!" "What the fuck?! Yeah, WHATEVER."
      So we're keeping him inside unless it's a work day.
      And where did I recognize the asshole from? THE LIQUOR STORE. I see so many people in a day there--about 300--that I'm not sure if it's the one I currently work in (20 miles from here), or the Dumpstore I used to work in. I'm leaning towards the current place. A store full of cat owners. "Hey, everybody! Remember that guy who tried to KILL my CAT?!" THAT reunion should be interesting.

      Byron stayed inside today, while I did the laundry and listened to my favorite radio show, one that I only get to hear in full on vacations now. I could've taken him out and brought my Walkman, but he needs 100% of my attention. (see every entry about him above for months) He wasn't thrilled, but he wasn't as bratty and whiny as I thought that he'd get (and the decision paid off--they played several tracks from my favorite artist Brian Eno's upcoming new CD). I'd decided to get my usual vacation junk food treat, a pu-pu platter (insert inevitable Cartoon Planet ref here). I was going to go when the radio show ended, but there was a roll of thunder. I checked my most accurate barometer, the Small White one. She seemed unperturbed. Then the next boom came, and she looked anxious. Uh oh, better shut the computer down and get my food before I'm caught in a downpour!
      Just before I left, the barometer ran and hid under the Lay-Z-Boy. Damn, if I'd called 3 MINUTES earlier, I would've avoided the drenching rain. On the other hand, if I'd left 30 seconds later, I would've been pelted with pea-sized hail. Returning home, Byron was fascinated by the hail, the booming became louder, and the Alert System was raised to Code: Under the Mommy's Computer Chair, the only level below Code: Get The Fuck Under The Waterbed!!!!!
      So where was I? I forget, but here's a link via the page with the pu-pu platter: Revenge of the Sith.

      So where was I..."Fountainhead Earth is a twenty-volume philosophical fiction novel by Nobel prizewinning author Ayn Rand...
      "The series successfully achieved negative sales, with critics sending their copies back as returns, and more copies being remaindered than were actually printed.
      "Fountainhead Earth is not a series of twenty novels, it just feels like it."
      No, wait, that's not it.

      Ah, yes. I have a cunning plan! Since I want to watch a bunch of movies over vacay, and one has to hope that the Postal Service sends and returns my Netflix DVDs with alacrity--why not skip a step and sign up for Blockbuster Online's free trial, then cancel it? BWA-HAHAHA! I am Genius Man! Normally I wouldn't do that, but it's hateful Blockbuster. They're just trying to do to Netflix what they do to every little video store they can get to: undercut them, drive them out of business, and when they're the only game in town, SUCK OUT LOUD. Guaranteed that if they drive Netflix out of business with their low prices, those prices will jump up and their selection will be movies on the cultural level of "Garfield the Movie."
      So I sign up, order 3 DVDs, try to add to my queue, and it tells me to sign up again. So I do, and when I log on, it tells me AGAIN to sign up. I give them my credit card number for the 3rd time, and it happens again! Suddenly, I fear that I've been ensnared by the most elaborate phishing scam in history, and I contact Blockbuster by phone. No answer, it's after hours. So I try from the site, and they email to tell me that I need to use Explorer with "accept cookies" set at "Slut." I hate doing that, as no matter how many cookies I allow, the CD-ROM drawer never slides open with a freshly-baked Tollhouse or pecan sandy in it.
      That also doesn't work repeatedly. I can't cancel the trial, as you have to log in to do that and it won't let me. Blockbusted says they have no account listed for me, so naturally--I recieve the 3 DVDs in the mail! I thought of keeping them out of spite, but a) that's wrong, and b) how many times am I going to watch freakin' "Van Helsing"? I've told them that I have the DVDs, I'll send them back, and PLEASE cancel any trial sub, as my only other choice is to dispute any charges that appear on my card.
      That's what I wanted to talk about! Hey, wait, it wasn't very interesting. Unless you want to see if you can get Blockheads to send you some free DVDs that they don't remember sending.

      No, no no no, this, THIS is what I wanted to talk about!
      All Your Base karaoke!!.

6/1

      I left the woods 5 hours ago. I came inside from Byron's wanderings 4 hours ago. So how long has this tiny, yellow-white inchworm been hiking my body?
      I released from its crawling on my hand to the great outdoors. Two stories up.

      So I watched Van Helsing last night. It was great goofy fun, and it readily set itself up for MST3Kish comments (even if no member of my audience laughed, both more interested in licking their butts). I checked how much was left on the DVD--20 minutes, surely--and discovered that it wasn't even HALF over.
      Yes, somebody's favorite movie was The League of Extraordinarily "Special" Gentlemen, and so they made their own $100M fanfic. Like the other movie, it began with the pursuit of Mr Hyde. Imaginatively, he was a 3-times-human-sized ripoff of the Hulk! Just like LXG! And it also became incredibly tedious once past the halfway mark.
      If you have "make fun of the stupid movie" nights, here's your rental. Since the cats didn't riff on it at all, it fell flat for me. Oh, and it's stupid. It doesn't contradict itself from scene to scene, in contradicts itself from one line of dialogue to another. Y'see, Dracula and the Wolfman need Frankenstein so that Drac's babies can be born as green cheesy CGI of Weekly World News' "Bat Boy." Add "and then shit blows up," you have the entire 2 and a half hour plot. My viewing experience was certainly not helped by the crappy condition of the DVD, which skipped merrily and spastically over the last 30 minutes, which was the most important part of the movie (because it was the climax? No, because I just wanted it to END). Another fine reason to choose Blockhead's online rental plan over Netflix's: they don't check to see if the DVDs actually play.
      Get some friends, some popcorn, some recreational liquids, and it's a fun rental. Since it makes minimal sense, you'll follow it as well after ignoring it for ten minutes as you would if you gave it your full attention. It's basically 10 minutes of ACTION!! in a continous loop.
      I think that someone from the Onion watched this movie recently...

      I'm aware of the National [Socialist] Republic and it's blog "The Coroner," although I've never subjected myself to its smelly toilet depths. Thanks to the Poor Man, I don't have to!

      God, I'm wasting this vacation. I meant to finally start a long-overdue site project, but all I want to do is veg out, read websites, and watch uplifting movies. Yeah, I suck. But YOU still have to go to WORK all week! HAHAHA!
      I think that I'll watch Tron now.

6/2

      My super-exciting day, halfway through vacation:
      Check Weatherunderground for Block Island's weather tomorrow. My only plan for vacation is to go there, and HEY GUESS WHAT'S THE ONLY DAY OUT OF MY 9 DAYS IT'S SUPPOSED TO RAIN, I'll give you a hint, TOMORROW. But no! The weather won't be awesome, but it won't rain. Good news, good news.
      Drop off a postcard to my co-workers at the post office. It's says "MYSTIC CONNECTICUT" with "Mystic" lined out with marker and "Vernon" in its place. It reads: "Just letting you know that I'm thinking about you. Every night around 6PM, I think 'Those poor suckers are still at WORK! BAHAHAHAHA!' Then I fall over into a big pile of empty beer cans."
      They'll find out about the attempted murder of Byron by a customer when I get back.
      Go to the Salvation Army. No good crap, just a mother who kept insulting her little girl. Always fun.
      I remember the time I was in McDonald's, and a mother kept snapping at everything her little daughter said, no matter how sweet and innocent it was. Example: "Mommy, look, a squirrel!" "Stop looking out the window!" Long pause. Daughter says "Mommy...I love you." "Shut up and eat your sandwich!!" I started to get up to say something--then sat down. I immediately imagined the car trip home: "Did you see how YOU [smack!] EMBARASSED [smack!] Mommy today! [smack smack smack!]"
      It was 20 years ago, and I still think about it.
      I couldn't go hiking in the park, as it's closed again for dredging and shit, just like last year. Too dangerous to let anybody in, even the parts that are nowhere near the dredging. Ah, but I learned last year a crafty second way into the park! I needed to reconnoiter the construction, as we know that no one can simply connoiter. I can see an enormous backhoe, but it's unattended. Lunchtime, and I can slip in undetected! Then I hear the cries, the horrible high-pitched cries and screaming: SCHOOL CHILDREN have entered the forest! So...I can't go in there, too dangerous, but a passel of elementary school younglings can. That makes the senses! I decide to follow my sekrit path to the bike trail, where it's peaceful. Outside of the screechings of 2 birds; it sounded like a Rodan-sized crow facing off against an enormous wild turkey. Would Tokyo survive? Sorry, I didn't hang around long enough to find out.
      Went to the dollar store. I bought the following, and no doubt absolutely flawlessly brilliant DVDs: "Bosko Shipwrecked" (starring nobody's favorite Warner Bros. cartoon character), "The Curious Adventures of Mr. Wonderbird" (promising "a surreal visual delight," cheesy 60s Japanimation, and a fairy tale story that also involves a humungoid killer robot), and that "highly prized cult classic, "Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla" (starring everyone's favorite junkie, and a pair of dipsticks who rip off Martin & Lewis, the greatest comedic geniuses of our age! [no, wait, that should be gratingest]).
      I went to KMart and bought pants. My old cargo khakis had reached the end of their existence--a hole growing in a knee and blood stains, all from chasing a certain multi-toed mutant cat around the condo lawn.
      I went grocery shopping! Hoo WHEE, laundry one day, groceries the next, I need to slow down! I remember the days when it cost me $12 for a week's worth. I had a coupon for $8 off of a $50 purchase. My purchase came to $49.44. So I grabbed a Reese's white peanut butter cup, and thus saved $7.31. And tasty candy it was!
      Let Byron out. He immediately RAN UNDER THE FUCKING CARS AGAIN. And, yes, the BitchBag's car was there. She used to park it in front of her garage, but since Memorial Day she's moved it to where she can see it. So she can try to run Byron over again, or because she fears I might extract vengeance upon it? Well, I'm not interested in the answer. And when a tank-sized industrial lawn mower began eating the grass, first destination next to the car B-Toes was under...Even the Cat with No Fear jumped, and I grabbed him and took him home.
      Then I made reservations for a rental car and a ferry ride to Block Island. Nonrefundable, so if the forcast changes AGAIN, I'm going to be very wet tomorrow.
      And then...Oh, wait. You're reading that part.

      Lego Star Wars: Revenge of the Brick. Better than the actual movie. For one thing, there's none of that fiiine Lucas "dialogue."

      A guy hacks an old dot matrix printer into a musical instrument. The technical details make my head hurt, but check out that first MP3.

      "We don't swim in your toilet, please don't pee in our beer."

      I don't know what's the deal with all the "How to destroy the Earth" articles of late, but here's the latest.

      The best noir detective novel ever written, chapter one.

6/6

      I also took a vacation from posting.

      So anyway. Friday, I was not going to make the same mistake I made the last time I went to Block Island. I wasn't going to leave 10 extra minutes of time to get there, then inexplicably leave the house 10 minutes late, followed by speeding the entire way, running to the dock, and being the last person on board a ship that left 3 minutes later. No sir, I was leaving the house on time with 15 minutes of spare time, not including the time to get on board.
      When I hit the highway, the Traffic Alert sign said "ACCIDENT 91S EXIT 26 LEFT LANE BLOCKED." Who cares, I was only going to spend 5 minutes on 91S, and where the hell is exit 26, anyway? Nowhere near me, I'll bet! I switched to the Traffic Alert radio station: Exit 26 was in Hartford. I was picking up the highway at the last Hartford exit out of 5 or something, so what were the odds?
      I got on 91S at exit 27! Huzzah and boolah-boolah, as the chappies say!
      Oh. The exit numbers go down from here...
      At least I stayed in the blocked left lane, as it moved faster than the other lanes, and I didn't get out of it until it was blocked by the actual accident. Then...speeding all the way down. When I hit the final exit with only 10 minutes before the ferry left, I thought Yeah, dude, you're screwed. $27 for a ferry you won't get on, $108 for a car rental you won't use.
      Only a mulletted parking guy saved my ass! He told me where to park, asked/demanded that I get waited on and grabbed my parking pass to put on my car as I ran to the ferry, last person on the 11:20 ferry at 11:19, which left at 11:23.
      I will never make fun of guys with mullets again.
      There were maybe 100 people on a 500-person ferry, so at least that part of my plan worked out. I figured that the first Friday after Memorial Day it'd have little attendence, as most people going to Block Island would have gone over the holiday, or would be coming after work on the ferry I was taking home. I immediately noticed an upgrade since my last trip: huge flatscreen TVs showing Animal Planet, since Gourd Forbid any American spend 5 minutes of their life away from advertising.
      The sky was sunny and bright when I left, so the rain I'd worried about wasn't a threat. While asea, it fogged up to the point that the visibility dropped to feet. Oh, lovely. It broke up a mite when we reached the island, but it was 100% overcast, with drifting clouds of fog. I could see the sun, by which I mean I could look at it, a pale yellow-white circle in the sky, without it hurting my eyes. Guess I don't need the sunscreen.
      We docked, and I went to get my car, a fine, fine black Mercury Sable in dire need of a car wash (I could've rented a Mustang or a fucking Hummer, but, as I'm not an asshole, I went for the cheapest model). I spent more time than I would've liked waiting while some crabby bald dude got his "How to Drive a Moped" lesson. (essence thereof: "Don't fall off") The Old Harbor Bike Shop guy said, "If you get low on gas, come back and we'll fill it up for free!" After instantly finding a classical music station on the radio, I drove off in search of the heart of my childhood experience of Block Island, my Uncle Bob's house. It was inbetween the one-room schoolhouse and the doctor's house--the year-round population of BI is 500, so how much school or doctor do they need? More than that, as they eminently-domained it away from him. He and Aunt Greta were happy with that. They were given a much bigger and more expensive house for free. I wasn't as happy. The old place had a truly spectacular view of the Old Harbor, and a big yard with bushes that grew delicious wild blackberries. As I started off, I was amused to see the theater. I remember seeing Yellow Submarine there. It was a damn sweaty humid barn with folding metal chairs and a sheet for a screen. It hadn't opened for the season, so I couldn't find out if it had improved.
      I found the school right away. Funny how the distances in childhood memories are always so much shorter in adulthood then they seemed back then. The school had some major, and majorly ugly, construction going on. They were adding...well, I don't know what, some giant industrial dept of public works warehouse thing. On this island of grey clapboard houses and ornate Victorian robber baron hotels, it was a true eyesore. The doctor's house was there, supplemented with a Medical Center. I crept through the backyard, just wanting to see that old view of the harbor.
      And there was Bob and Greta's cottage! I was sure that it'd been demolished! The same garage, where Bob was restoring that Model A Ford. And that same view! I didn't go any further, although I would've liked to see if my cousins' names were still scribbled in the cement stairs, scribbled there so many decades ago, or to grab a few blackberries. It didn't occur to me until later that I could've simply gone into the Medical Center and asked what they were using it for.
      I decided to follow the signs to Mohegan Bluffs. So named because 1 Indian tribe threw another forcibly off the cliffs to their deaths. Sorry, I haven't researched the history to find out if that actually happened, or was some thing white guys made up to justify stealing their land. You'd think that if there was 1 sign leading there, there would be another, but noooo. I started to vaguely wander around, no real idea where I was. But, hey, I can always get more gas for free! And this thing must have
      An EIGHTH of a TANK?!
      Shit! I'm not spending my whole trip waiting to run out of gas! I decided to head back, but I came across the North Lighthouse on the way. It was a huge brick structure, which had been moved brick by brick a few hundred yards inland 10 years ago, before erosion sent it toppling over the cliff like those legendary Mohegans. Clouds of fog rolled by. Now this is the place to live I thought, looking over the multimillion homes. No, wait--this is the place to live if you want to spend $5M for a house with a damn foghorn blaring twice a minute.
      I somehow made it back to the center of town again (trust me--it wasn't because of my innate navigational abilities, just chance). I decided to pass on the gas. The island's 10 square miles small and the roads are all squirmy--How far could I drive, and how fast could I go? I went to Coast Guard Beach. For the beach, and the bathrooms.
      "Why's the Snapple machine in the parking lot?" I thought. I went into the building, and it was gutted. The door was open, and some guys were sitting on the opposite, seaward-side eating. Huh, I guess it's under construction, and those are the workers on lunch. Nothing says I shouldn't be in here, so let's go the bathroom.
      Okay. They've turned the lights off in here, maybe I'm not supposed to be here. But I have a keychain flashlight, and I'm male, so just find the toilet and aim. If I miss, who'll know? The lights are off! (Thus ends the riveting "How I went Pee-pee on BI" interlude)
      I went for a nice walk on the beach. I passed a sign in 4 languages, the first being English (USA, Number One! USA, Number One! no wait, I already went number one). The sign said "Please take all your trash home with you," which is an admirable idea, although an odd thing to put over a trash can. The second language, of course, was Spanish. The third was also Spanish, and...What?! No wait, it's...very very like Spanish, but with different spellings of some words. I know Mexican or Puerto Rican Spanish is different than Spanish Spanish, but that different? What the hell else could look that much like Spanish and not be Spanish? Portugese? (I wrote down a fragment and Googled when I got home--every page that used it was .br, or Brazil. So, yeah, Portugese. I then remembered that there's a big Portugese fishing community in BI's home state of Rhode Island). The fourth version was spelled: "Thov nqa nes cov khoom seem rov mus tsev." WHAT?! I could point at the other 3 versions and say "That word means leave," but what was this? All I got out of it was "seem" and "NES." Unless they wanted me to leave my Super Mario Brothers cart at home, this language had so little relation to English that I can't imagine it using the same alphabet!
      (And it didn't--I put that into Google and the 1st site listed ended in "hmong.com." Being from central CT, I know that means Laotian. Not that I saw any Laotians there. Or for that matter, I saw only 1 black person, which is the type of thing you never think about until you notice it, like how it so rarely hits me at work that "There's 20 people shopping or working in the store, and I'm the only white one." Other than that, the island was pure cracker. Fucking Saltine City, it was)
      So anyway. I walked the beach at low tide. I was mainly alone, just the roar of the surf and the sea-rounded pebbles and the occasional dead crab. Or was it Wizzo Butter? 4 out of 5 housewives can't tell the difference! I did my best to avoid the onrushing waves, as Converse sneakers have those pointless holes in them that just love to say "Water, meet Socks. Socks, Water!" (I'd later learn that they also were as welcoming to sand) Eventually, I made my way back to the car, and then to the North Lighthouse.
      Converses are not the best beach shoe; they also don't like walking on not-wet sand. Or big rocks, but those were my choices. It was a weird little ecosystem; the pounding ocean only yards from a giant freshwater pond, where small swallow-like birds dive-bombed into clouds of tiny black insects. The lighthouse was shrouded in fog (glad I didn't use sunscreen!), and had memorial benches dedicated to a resident who went down with the Towers on 9/11. Thank Gourd we ended that threat when we captured Saddam and not Osama.
      Empty beach, just the sound of the sea and the cries of the shorebirds. The island ends here. The riptides are deadly, but fascinating. It was my favorite place to go on BI, although I'm pretty sure I'd only been there once before. Gulls sullenly ceded control to me; given the countless crab remnants scattered over the rocks, I can see why they like the north point. The riptides must toss an all-you-can-eat crab buffet ashore every day. And it's amazing to see: waves that come in at 45 degree angles to each other, smash through and continue crashing. I would think that it'd be the most popular place on the island. But I was alone, and I stayed alone until I left.
      I next returned to what was basically the only place I went to on that last poor attempt at a visit, the Maze. There I saw the rare Block Island Black Human, and some heavily-pierced alterna-dudes, one of whom was taking a picture of "this really crazy tree" with...with an actual CAMERA! You know, the film kind? In fact, some enormous 1950s-looking one, the kind where you hold it away from your face and look down into. His buddy had an empty 40 of Olde English malt liquor, which may or may not have contributed to their appreciation of the Crazy Tree.
      At this point, I had an hour to kill before I returned the car, God willing it didn't run out of gas when I got caught in another traffic jam. And I found out why it's called "The Maze"! Because I got lost! I'm typing this on a wi-fi laptop...oh, please, bring me some food! At least some blackberries and some Olde English!
      Ha ha! Fooled you! I returned the car (still with an eighth of a tank of gas in it). I came for the nature stuff, but there was still a couple of hours before the last ferry came, so I checked out the tourist trap part of town. Back in the day, they had interesting stores, but now they were all selling BI tshirts, and little else. 3 dozen stores selling the same thing? How do they stay in business? I had hopes for Star Department Store, but they'd gone all shirty, too. I bought a box of salt water taffy (the real kind, the type with salt in it), and--unsurprisingly to most of you--a fridge magnet.
      I wanted to get a tshirt, but they had none that really caught my eye. Most were painfully generic. I've seen the same designs in my local grocery store with "VERNON CT" stamped on them. The town is landlocked, so we really don't see the lighhthouses, sailboats and damn dolphins they insist are part of our everyday life. I would've bought the "Bars of BI" shirt if it had had the "Yellow Kittens Tavern" logo. I also skipped one that seemed made for both of my trips there: "Drivin' Like Hell to Catch the Ferry." What I wanted was just a silhouette of the island, but every nice one was either a longsleeve or said "BI" in big letters. Which some peoples' brains won't read as short for Block Island.
      I had dinner (a cheeseburger) while overlooking the harbor. As it's an island, everything comes from the mainland. When I arrived, I saw them unloading building supplies from the big car ferry. They had a blood drive that day, and I saw a bloodmobile arrive on the incoming ferry, then leave on the outgoing (so...what does the Medical Center by Bob and Greta's do when there's a bad moped accident? Wait for the ferry while the victim bleeds?). I was glad I wasn't on that last outgoing ferry--it had a garbage truck come on board.
      I still had an hour to kill, so I went back to Coast Guard Beach. The tide was coming in, and those rounded pebbles had all been dragged out to sea until tomorrow. I walked at the high water line, and found out that that's where the floatable garbage ends up. One asshole had tossed a half-full can of Budweiser on the beach, not 5 feet from a trash can. Ahh, Nature! Let's visit its beauty and despoil it!
      I sat on a boulder and watched the waves breaking at my feet for a long time.
      Then I boarded the ship back (a dozen people on a 500-person ship, so there's at least 2 things I planned right), did crossword puzzles while the TV showed the same Animal Planet show ("Ultimate Zoos") I'd seen on the way in, after one called "Top Ten Animal Grossouts" or something, which largely consisted of animals taking big, widescreen shits (quote: "It's a GROSS encounter of the TURD kind"! Wow, informative!), then I went home, The End.
      I sat down at the computer after making sure the Kids were happy, and looked where my wristwatch wasn't. Then I ran to the bathroom mirror--I was lobster red. But there wasn't any sun! I guess I should've worn sunscreen!

      That still leaves the last 3 days, but I'm typed out for now.

      Except for a brief link. Mass Extinctions: Asteroid crashes or home-grown "super-predators"?

6/7

      Since the most entertaining (for you) thing that happened to me since Friday was Byron's hand-to-hand combat with a horsefly--well, its wings were damaged so it was more of a horsecrawl, and he batted it about before eating the disgusting disease-ridden bit of pestilence, then smacked his lips with delight and started looking for another, what, that awful thing tasted good?! and exactly how long and incoherent does it have to be before it's considered a run-on sentence?--I'll limit myself to brief reviews of the last few vacation movies.
      It's like 40 words and 70% coherence, right? I read that in Strunk's, I think.
      From my nonexistant Blockbuster Online account, The Aviator: I was back and forth on seeing this in the theaters. It looked great, but 3 hours in a seat watching a movie without hobbits or talking trees? Man, was that the wrong choice! Aviator was riveting from the first minute, and never dragged once. It could've gone on for another 3 hours. Amazing effects, weird biography, the Hepburns from Hell, and pissing in milk bottles held out from the right hand with the cap still on! What more could you want?
      Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence: The most...thing...animation I've ever seen. Animation like my dreams--insanely baroque detail where it isn't needed, jaw-dropping action, philosophical ruminations on the nature of intelligence and soul, and a plot that makes about as much sense as any dream (which would be none). By NO means for everyone's taste, but it was for mine. Seeing it on Kevin's widescreen HDTV, where the detail just went on as far as you cared to look, really made this movie. Just don't expect it to make a hella lotta sense.
      From the dollar store theater, Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla...wasn't very good. Yes, I know, you had high hopes for a title like this. I checked to see when it would end after the 12 minute mark, it was thaaat goood. It really depends on your tolerance for Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Your tolerance for guys pretending to be Lewis and Martin. It wasn't a joke, it was their career. Faking that they were these guys. They'd be sued out of existence within 30 seconds today. Actually, angry moviegoers would just lynch them. Even if you liked Jerry is his "spastic retard" phase, you'd hate these fuckers. "Jerry" has an even unfunnier routine, an even more chainsaw-on-a-blackboard screeeeching laugh, a horsier overbite that would terrify even a Simpson. The Dean Martin character isn't much better: as soon as he's introduced, you just know that it's mere moments before he starts singing some crap song. Oh, and he hikes his pants up to his nipples, and he wears his shirt halter style, like Gilligan's Mary Ann. For the entire movie. Cost: $1. Value: 15 cents.
      The Curious Adventures of Mr Wonderbird: Cost, $1. Value...?
      The sleeve art made it look like early 60s Japanimation, but I paused it as soon as the credits started. It's a 1953 French film. Wow! I thought, There's sure to be some fucked-up references to the Nazi occupation in this one!
      It's not the "surrealist masterpiece" that the box art said it was, but...sacre merde, it's a wonder to behold. Disneyesque animation, insane near-surrealist backgrounds. And it's not just about the Nazis, but the Vichy puppet government they set up. Maybe not that obvious to anyone with no knowledge of the period, but obvious to those who lived through it: An oppressive government spying on its own people, the constant threat of betrayal, that insane giant robot that smashes through buildings and grabs random citizens to examine them under its searchlight eye--and when it realizes they're innocent, casually flings them away to their apparent deaths. "That would've scared me when I was a kid!" I thought. Then I realized..."And even more, if I'd lived in a country with the actual GESTAPO killing my parents!"
      I know that makes it sound harsh, but the collaborators/Gestapo ride around the canals on mechanized ducks. The villain who reforms and goes over to the resistance is a puppy. And Mr Wonderbird is voiced by a young Peter Ustinov, who've I've always loved. Yes, when the heroes get out of one too many crises by yelling "HELP US, MR WONDERBIRD!" it's a mite lame--unless that meant something to kids in the shattered world of post-Nazi Europe that I don't get. The Allied Air Forces, pounding the retreating Nazis?
      Don't go running around town trying to find this--just go to the dollar store, and if they have a cardboard bin or shelf labeled "CARTOON CRAZE," it might be there. For those of you, like me, who appreciate a lost classic of animation, here's a true (and truly fun, truly odd) beauty.

      As I don't eat their Friskies maybe I shouldn't judge, but a horsefly just can't taste good.

6/8

      Actually, there was an incident of interest over the weekend that didn't involve eating bugs. Although we went on HIGH ALERT last night, when a large and quite clumsy black beetle found its way into Slutopia. "BUG!" I yelled, and even the former champion bug-chaser Kill Kill leapt to her feet. All 3 of us were in pursuit. I was sure that the biped with the flashlight and paper towel would bag the great beast, but it escaped my sight. I sat down, expecting that the cat with all her senses (in more meanings than hearing) would alert me to its presence. Then I heard Byron on the stove going smack smack smack as he chewed something large and exoskeletal. Then he stopped, and began batting a paw down the small gap between the stove and fridge. Someday someone will find that half-masticated beetle down there...

      So anyway. It's Sunday, and it's very hot, so I put the air conditioner in the back window. Not for me, really, but for the kids ( I turn it to "fan" when I get home at night). The storm window clicks shut, and a woman walking in the courtyard below looks directly at me. I think, That's the hag who tried to kill my Byron! Well...90% sure she is. I didn't get that close of a look at her while I was trying to keep her from crushing him. But she is fat, old, ugly, and there's only 1 person down that end of the building who fits that description...
      I glared at her fat, old, ugly back--as if that would do something--then when back to doing Stuff. Defrosting the 30-year-old fridge, hard-boiling some eggs, petting the kids, that Stuff.
      Hours later, I go out into the courtyard for a trip in the woods behind the condo. I always wait until dinnertime on Sundays, as there's that much less of a chance that there'll be any humans out there. I was most of the way through, at the Cow Pond. It's a tiny, algae-ridden, smelly pond below a farm, where their few cows can be seen on hot days, standing in the anaerobic still waters. And then a cow comes out onto the trail.
      The same cow who tried to kill my Byron!
      She was oh-so happy, making an inept and slow little pirohouette in the graceful way a cow can't. She saw me and stopped. She seemed flustered. Then she walked towards me. I glared with burning eyes of pure hatred--well, 90% pure hatred, as I'm only 90% sure she's the Mad Cow. She did some utterly weird arm waving. I don't know if this is what her Yoga teacher told her "wards off bad chi" or she was summoning Cthulthu. She made a very weak smile at me. My burning eyes of hate--oh wait, prescription sunglasses, the ones I got tinted so dark that I can only wear them outdoors if I want to see; she couldn't see my eyes.
      Try looking at someone while only looking at their mouth. You can't grasp their facial expression. It's all in the eyes.
      We passed each other. One thing I was most afraid of after the "try to kill my son" episode was the fear that this freak was a psycho, who might actually try to break into my condo to kill my kids. But, hey, wait...SHE doesn't know that I'M not a psycho either, NOW DOES SHE bah-hahaha.
      I turn around and start walking in the same direction as her. She's still doing the wavy-arm thing, connecting her feng-shiu with the Greater Retard. I'm well behind her, so she can just keep walking and have no fear of me overtaking her. 90% sure--I want to see where she lives, and be 100% sure. I stayed to the outside curve of the trail, so she couldn't see or hear me.
      The straightaway. She stopped at a fork, where one can choose 2 ways back to the condo. Why has she stopped? To confront me? To apologize? "Sorry I tried to murder your pet"? Bring it on, Mad Cow, either one will lead to me unleashing a string of invective. She'd stopped doing that neurotic arm-waving thing. 100% sure it's the Mad Cow now--no one without a reason to recognize me would've stopped.
      As I neared, she started fidgeting again. I fixed her with my eyeless glare and my famous stony expressionless face. She looked sheepishly at me. I glared DIE, Bitch! and she said nothing. I passed.
      I walked on. Had she encountered some of the many cat-lovers in our building, who no doubt overheard the screaming match when she and her drunken dipshit boy tried to kill Byron? They all know and love Byron. The couple below me, the couple 2 doors down, they both have 2 cats. And the males are huge. One 6-5 and a firefighter; one 6-5 and skinny, but also a biker. Or did she brag about trying to kill someone's pet at work? Either way, 99% of the population isn't going to react with a 'HIGH 5, DUDE!" They're going to react with shock and disgust. Maybe the Cow just wanted me where she could see me--I could be a psycho, y'know!
      I turned around on the trail. She was gone. High-tailed it back to her barn.
      I'll guess that I'll never know what was going on in her microcephalic head. But I think that I won that round.
      Okay, sorry. You probably thought that it would end with me grabbing a pitchfork and battling her and her pointy cow-horns. Sorry, but life's battles aren't always that dramatic.

      I link to this for no other reason except that I like the writing: Ghost nets and Western Australia.

6/9

      Killsy is such a sweet and laid-back cat. She was, for reasons that made sense to her, gnawing on a plastic bag, minding her own beeswax. Byron got "that look" in his eyes. "Honey!" I warned, "look out!" She didn't, and he flew through the air and crash-landed squarely on her back. She rolled over to get him off, and hissed louder and angier than I've ever heard her, clearly threatening to murder him. And then smack smack smack she immediately began chewing the bag again.
      I've become aware that she's obsessively licking the fur off of her belly. I'm waiting for her to roll over on her back so I can get a better look at why, but I assume that this is a reason to go to the vet, yes?

      Ever see a "milk lady"? They're those old ladies who dig through the gallons of milk, trying to find the one with an expiration date a day lower than the ones in the front. I've never really got that. What's a day's difference gonna make? At my old job, there was a woman who'd do the same thing with the Franzia box wine. She'd pull every box off of the shelf, looking for the one with an expiry date of a week later. Despite he fact that when we get these things, the date is between 6 and 9 months away. And she'd drink a box every other week.
      There's a guy--perfectly normal in every way--who comes in every day and buys a 4-pack of Heineken cans. But always the second 4-pack. Yesterday I wondered what he'd do today, when there was only one 4-pack left. Answer: he didn't buy it. He bought 2 24-oz cans instead. Appparently, it has to, has to has to has to, be any one but the first. Weird.
      I was stocking the cooler and found, hidden under a half-case of Coors Light 8-oz cans, another Heineken 4-pack. I put it in the cooler door. In the front.
      I wonder if his brain would explode if he found out that I've been switching the first 4-pack for the second for 2 years. He's always buying the one he wouldn't buy the day before...

      Speaking of people who are totally normal...The man in his 50s who dresses and acts like a 2-year-old girl in public. "It took Windsor more than seven months to retrain himself 'to go' in his diapers, he says. He bought hypnosis tapes available online at dpf.com and other sites. 'But the tapes aren't enough. You have to want it,' he says. So he even went so far as to chain-lock his toilet.
      "'Visitors weren't so happy about that,' he says."

6/10

      The answering machine was blinking when I got home. "Another wrong number," I thought. Happens all the time when you've got a common name like "Bill Young." But it's one of the owners from my last job, who I haven't heard from in a year. He "knows how much you love eBay!" (I'm surprised he didn't call it "the eBay," like he did when I worked for him) He's "got a piece of equipment that you could sell really fast" for me. Well, I've only sold one thing thing on eBay, and I never got any money. There's got to be an ulterior motive, but I can't guess what. "We like to give you your job back" would be one, but I think that they'd just offer me a job back. Weird. (But at least the woman who was Byron's foster mommy will find out how he's doing)

      Co-worker Gina was at lunch today, when she began to cough. Then she began, for no reason, to profusely vomit. Is Young's Syndrome catching? More likely it was the 5 cans of grape soda she drank in 4 hours.
      She changed clothes at a friend's house, ending up with a pair of shorts from George Washington University. "So that's why it says GW on your ass!" I said. "Good thing that's not on the front, or it would mean GW Bush!"
      At my suggestion, for the rest of the day she told anyone who asked about the GW on her cheeks that it meant "The president is an ass."

      Are your cats driving you nuts? Literally?

      Man, I hope the eBay equipment is a rocket launcher! I mean, who wouldn't want a rocket launcher?
      Hey, what if it's a rocket launcher that--launches rockets full of MONKEYS?!
      It could be! Oh, how will I ever get to sleep tonight!"

6/13

      An unexciting weekend round these here parts. Even Byron's Outside Time was uneventful (THANK GOURD!). It was his first encounter with heat and humidity that were both in the upper 80s. He kept flopping down in the disappearing shade by the edge of the garages. So we finally went into our garage, and he crawled around inside and on top of my car, meowing loudly when he discovered me on the other side of the windows. Then he gnawed on the spokes and chain of a neighbors mountain bike. Look, I don't explain what my cats do, I just report it.

      An entertaining look at alcohol's least glamorous product, the 40 ounce of malt liquor, and its brief day in the sun. Doesn't mention Phat Boy.

      "Trying to fill some vacancy within themselves, the compulsive cell-phone users should now remind us of a revealing image from T.S. Eliot: They are the "hollow men," they are the "stuffed men," leaning together as they experience painful feelings of powerlessness. More than anything else, they fear finding themselves alone, and so they cannot find themselves at all."

      FINALLY, a compelling reason for the media to care about finding bin Laden!

      Apparently not for long, you can read the Entertainment Weekly article on Manos, the Hands of Fate: "It took about six minutes,'' estimates Rosenblum. ''It was very quiet, and then there was one snicker, then a couple, maybe two guffaws, and then just out-and-out laughing their asses off.'' Perhaps the crowd had never witnessed entire scenes out of focus before. Perhaps they had never seen such things as a marking slate or an insect bumping into the camera lens actually make a final cut. Or perhaps they were trying to figure out why every single voice in the movie was dubbed badly.

      Speaking of bad movies...I've noticed that every time a crappy Star Wars prequel comes out, and people say "Wow, it's crappy!" that the default defense is "But you saw the film, and Lucas is getting rich from it!"
      Yeah--just like Paris Hilton. What's your point? It's like the opposite of "Michael Moore's arguments are all...umm...HE'S FAT!" "Sure, this Star Wars movie sucks, but--retards like me are giving him MONEY!"
      If there was an internet 40 years ago, the same people would be saying "No matter how bad it is, the guy who invented Thalidomide is a MILLIONAIRE!" Like that matters. You'll always find an appreciative audience for a pile of shit, even if they're all flies.

6/14

      Via Kirk, here's Store Wars, a parody of a certain good trilogy. View not, if goofy puns offend you do!

      And you can read the entire script to the latest film, "Sith and Vinegar," right here. Spoilers! (Well, okay, only one--it sucked!)

      I was only semi-following the whole British "Mad Cow" thing. I don't eat red meat more than a few times a year anyway. Then, an American cattleman announced that he was going to test all of his herd for Mad Cow.
      And the Bush Administration threatened to arrest him if he did.
      Okay, THEN I started paying attention. Close attention. The administration that said of the "Patriot " Act, "You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide" was behind this? What are they hiding? Thanks...I'll pass on the brain-fed cows.
      Mad Cow USA - The Cover-Up Begins to Unravel.

      Oh, sorry. Sorry if you even remember, as I forgot. My ex-boss's offer of "equipment I could sell on eBay," and his unspoken ulterior motive? The motive was simply that they're thinking of moving to a free-standing building like we did, and want some advice. The equipment? Some old register receipt printers and display poles. Thanks, but if I start selling on eBay, it won't be anything with more moving parts than an 8-track tape. And if I do start selling, it's because I'm either about to become bankrupt, or dying of a disease. Or more likely, both at once. And I don't think either one is likely for a looong time.
      I hope.

6/16

      June 16th is a national holiday in Splutsylvania--the Kids' Mutual Birthday! Here's my favorite pictures of them together, taken about 10 seconds apart. One of the cats is noted for serenity; the other for boundless enthusiasm. Can you figure out which one's which?

      

      

      I gave them extra pets and food this morning, wishing that I could've given them the gift that they really would've wanted: Me calling out "sick," not going to work, and continuing to give them pets and food.
      And I wish that I had.
      I'm co-worker Gina's feline help desk. Her cat Gigi is a year old, and she asks for advice all the time. Yesterday's advice: She's a year old, stop feeding her kitten food, and give her something for all those hairballs you keep asking me about. She bought Gigi Iams Hairball Control food.
      Today, it happened. I leaned over to her, pointed at a customer and said, "That's the guy who tried to kill Byron!" She looked at him and said, "Steve?"
      I made eye contact with Steve and wanted to fuck him over verbally, but she cut me off at the register. In a sweet and friendly voice, she asked "You haven't tried to run over any cats, have you?" "What?" he said, feigning ignorance and pretending that I wasn't standing a yard away from his sorry ass. She asked again, he denied it. I said, very loud, "You tried to kill my cat!" With a fake and forced smile, he said "I didn't!" "Your girlfriend did! She tried to KILL my CAT!" Stevey was getting more nervous now, as the rest of the people in line gave him looks that they would've given a child molester. But Gina continued to talk all sweet and nice to him--in fact, she was all sweet to him. As he walked away from the register with his Natural Ice, he sneered with true glee at me and said, "Sorry about your cat!"
      It wasn't her intention, but she'd given this sack of shit the impression that she thought it was amusing that he'd tried to kill Byron. "FUCK YOU!" I screamed at this malevolent asshole. And then had to say to the next customer, "I don't mean you!" "I would hope NOT!" she said, so I pointed and said (loudly) "That's the guy who tried to kill my cat!" And the customers in line, who weren't there the first time, all gave him withering looks. From the corner of my eye, I saw him pause at the door. Maybe he wanted to say something to me. Maybe he gave a thumbs-up to Gina.
      "You were awfully nice to a guy who tried to kill my cat," I said to her. "I wouldn't be that nice to someone who tried to kill Gigi." And those were pretty much the last words I said to her all day.
      Did I expect her to leap the counter and beat him with a stapler? No. Did I expect her to make him feel approval? NO. Well, nice to know where I stand. Random cat-killing customer rates higher than me. I have to work with her, so I can't really bear a grudge. But I also can't forget. She wants advice about her cat? Maybe I'll tell her "I dunno; call your vet," while mentally adding "Or your friend Steve. I'm sure he has a single solution for all her woes. It involves a Buick."
      At home, there were more pets, more food, and a lot of catnip. Killsy crawled into a grocery bag and went to sleep. Byron, on a nip bender, freaked out and battled the bag it came in. In fact, an hour later, he's still in mortal kombat.
      That, my friends, is why I prefer the company of cats to humans. Because cats don't suck.

6/17

      Of course, i woke up much calmer today (despite not falling asleep until about 430AM). Why shouldn't I keep giving Gina cat advice? She just made a bad judgement call, and the only one who'd suffer for it would be her little Gigi.
      But it was Gina who was the quiet one today, and not just around me. How odd. Soon, a co-worker said "That guy who tried to kill your cat was here yesterday?"
      Well, I wasn't going to say anything about the incident, but I guess Gina had told her side of the story. And I still wasn't going to say anything about how pissed off at her I was. "Yeah, and I was angry about it all night, even after I left here."
      "I'd be, too!" He had recently lost his cat of 18 years, the one who was a family member since he was eight.
      When Gina went to lunch, Bob the manager said, "C'mere, I wanna talk to you." Oh, great. Here's where I get yelled at for the "FUCK YOU!"--and justifiably so. Bob whispered, "Some guy tried to kill your cat?"
      "Yeah, he--"
      "He tried to kill--your cat?"
      "Yeah--"
      "He tried to KILL your CAT?!"
      I started to explain, but he said "I'm on your side on this!" Bob has 2 cats of his own. He said that after Gina told him the story, and I don't know what she'd said, that he told her to "stop being so chummy with some of those people," which I agreed with. My old co-workers Jessica and Shelley were super-outgoing to the wrong people, and I had to ban them from the store (after hitting on/making disgusting sexual comments to attractive young women). Gina herself has gained a bit of stalker, and she's married. He also said that he told her to "keep her nose out of other people's business." Which I didn't agree with, in this case! If she'd told that ass Evil Steve "I have a cat, and I'd be pissed if you tried to kill her," things would've been completely different.
      I'm kind of in the dark as to what exactly was said, or what the hell's going on with her and me. I plan on acting like it never happened tomorrow. Unless Evil Steve comes back. In which case I'll just point at him and yell "There's the guy who tried to kill my cat!" to everyone in line. We'll see how long he keeps coming back. If he comes in when Bob's there, I wonder what the outcome will be.
      In related news, last night I checked to see if Evil Steve's car was at Lucy's (the fat old ugly girlfriend, the one who actually tried to off my bigfooted boy). It wasn't. And, for the first time since this happened, neither was hers. And it isn't again, today. Coincidence? Or was his nervous laughter a sign that he thought Shit, what if he's a pyscho?! Which would be Alanis-level Irony, coming from the fucks who tried to run over an innoccent kitten quietly lying under a car.

      SHAWT! There's a customer who is a really nice guy, but obviously cerebrally malfunctioning. See if you can spot the point in his narrative when he makes an illogical decision:

      Free shirt?! Sweeeet! I think I'll go turn my stereo up!

      Not as extensive as that Lord of the Rings bootleg DVD subtitles that I linked to a million years ago, but here's the hilarious version of Return of the Sith, or, as they call it in the Far East, The Backstroke of the West.

6/20

      When public radio stops playing classical music, I change the station to somebody who is. I caught the barest beginning of NPR news, and it was Bush saying, "I think about Iraq every day! EVERY...DAY!" I could make the easy joke about how hard it is for that man to think about anything. But the way he punched it up, he clearly thinks that thinking about Iraq is a huge sacrifice for him. Americans are dying every day there, but HE'S thinking about it. Certainly thinking about the war is the same as being in it!
      Hey...there's a WAR on. Shouldn't the PRESIDENT be THINKING about it? Every DAY? Did FDR feel the need to point out "I'm buggin' on this Hitler dude, 24/7?" No. It says everything about our incompetent AWOL drunkard that he must remind us that he's actually aware there be guys shooting at our guys.

      In another example of People With No Sense of Irony: A station wagon with a "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS" magnetic ribbon on one side, and a Sunoco sticker on the other. Why not superimpose one over the other, so it reads "SUPPORT OUR OIL COMPANIES"?
      Over the weekend, Condi "I have a gap between my front lobes" Rice said that our commitment to Iraq was "generational." Well, that explains why there's no exit strategy. Why would there be, if they're not planning on leaving for 40 years? So when will the "Support the Troops" people start sporting stickers on their SUVs in favor of the only way that a 40-year war could be sustained: "Support the Draft"?
      Never, of course. The day Bush reinstitutes the draft is the day before every "patriot" who ever supported the war decides that we need to abandon Iraq to endless civil war. It's the American Way: Sacrifices must be made, but they must be made by someone else.

      What do animals dream?

      

      Byron, who was moving his feet, might've been dreaming about that tree he started to climb today, before I plucked him off it. If there ever was a cat who'd get caught in a tree...Later, sprawled in an even more illogical way (across the window onto the bookcase in the foreground, with 6 inches of him hanging into the gap inbetween), he slept while making chewing motions. Maybe he'd caught that very first bird he's ever chased, the one that went into that tree...Maybe it was whatever he thought he was stalking when he almost got his head stuck in a length of PVC tubing.

      

      The dreams of a Small White? Ineffable, no doubt, just as she is. Indescribable and wonderful.
      When each awoke, they purred. Then they moved into a better position in the sun, and began dreaming again.

      Like it would kill you to spend a few seconds signing a petition to prevent PBS from becoming the next FOX "News"? (All non-US readers need not sign, and thus are absolved of guilt)

      Well, here's a bit of welcome news: Apparently, it's been around for months, but there's another site that the odd but entertaining Dinosaur Comics has up. It's Whispered Apologies. Someone submits a comic strip minus dialogue, and someone else supplies the words. It's truly hit-or-miss; some are funny, most are just strange, and some are stupid. But hell, it's a break from reading Daveykins.

      It's not something you'll suffer from not reading, but it's about polydactyl cats. So you know it gets a link.
      As does this link about another favorite subject, dinosaurs. A favorite subject of mine, that is, so you may not want to read a 4 page article on the current state of paleontology.

Summer

      Sorry...Killsy has located a large BUG, it looks like a male mosquito, and this post may be interrupted by the Hunt.

      Time it took the engineer at my local NPR station (call letters: WNPR, the first public radio station in America) to notice that they were playing classical music and a repeat of today's "All Things Considered" simultaneously: over an hour.

      Time Byron has spent outside in the common hallway, trying to catch the moths fluttering on the other side of the window: over 3 hours.

      Moths he's caught: zero.

      Times I've checked on him to make sure he hasn't escaped into the night: counting the next 2 minutes, four.

      Of course I would've brought my camera, if I'd known that after work I'd visit a litter of 5-week-old kittens. A customer had a stray momma jump in her car window and give birth in her back seat. She walked to work for 2 weeks to not disturb her. I've been prodding Gina to get another kitty, as her Gigi is a bit weird. She's a year old, but pees everywhere. Loneliness, maybe?
      So cute were the 5 kittens! One black, one black with white boots and whiskers, one grey--those were the boys. The 2 girls were calicos; one darkly colored, one just amazingly gorgeous. Mom herself was a calico (or a tuxedo, as I didn't get that long a look), and she jumped a fence the second she saw me. "She doesn't like men," said the stray's owner. Poor kitty; she must've had a bad experience with a dickhead like Evil-Steve the Cat Almost-Killer.
      They pranced and they played in a little, tiny enclosed apartment courtyard. The 2 girls loved to tackle each other, as did 2 of the boys. The littlest one, the all-grey boy, hung at the sidelines. The fifth wheel. I held him and he didn't fight, but didn't like it. I put him down on top of a cooler, and he jumped off. "That's the first time I've seen him jump that far!" said the owner, while his crazy calico sister ran amuck.
      ...And I suppose you've figured out which 2 cats are going to be joining my household.
      Assuming you said "Neither."
      I don't have the room. My dream is that when Killsy becomes comfortably middle-aged, say 10 years old, with Byron age 6, my dream is to get a little brother and sister to be their friends. But I live here. In a 3 and a half room condo, already crammed with hundreds of books and thousands of LPs/CDs. It wouldn't be fair to any of them to live in so little space.
      And so the shy little grey boy and the fearless calico girl will become the loves of another's life.
      And in my dreams, we have a nice big house in the woods. Killsy lazes in splendor in a room full of sun. Byron teaches the 2 little ones the arts of fighting while she watches approvingly. We all grow old together. When one of us is gone, we all mourn. But our family, the Lost and Found, we dry our tears and go on. Together.

      The girl would be named Tura, and the boy DJ. Because Tura Satana was the star of the movie Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, and Don Juan was the name of an epic poem by George Gordon, Lord Byron.
      One can dream...

6/22

      I don't have anything today. Except something I'll link to solely because it falls under the category "Headlines You Never Expected To See:" Workers escape freak wombat accident unharmed.

6/23

       Someone Set Us Up the Queen!

      Scalzi on the pointlessness of the anti-flag burning law. My own anti is that anytime someone burns the flag (which happened ONCE in the last YEAR), I don't think "WAY TO GO!" but "Way to play into the hands of the Right Wing, you dipshit." Who looks at a flag burner and thinks that he's got a point beyond "My piercings and tattoos aren't offending enough people!" And, of course, that one flag burned last year is exactly the same number of Americans killed in Iraq in 2004! No wonder it's such a priority!

      An update on allergy-free genetiCats: Now only grand apiece! Damn, buy some Zyrtec and get an abandoned kitty from the shelter, you rich jerk.

6/26

      Kill Kill's cleverness always gets mentioned here, but rarely Byron's. He's not a dumb cat by any means, it's just that Mr Mischief's misadventures get reported, but they pale in comparison with Ms Einstein's intellect.
      He cried to go outside the other night--Outside outside, not the common hallway. He eventually gave up crying for that, and he and his big sister went out into the hallway. I heard a door open. One of the doors doesn't shut by itself anymore, so I went out there to make sure he hadn't escaped.
      All of the neighbors know that I let the cats out there. But one neighbor had relatives visiting. She was standing by the first-floor door. Byron was making his sweetest, cutest, squeakiest I'm-a-helpless-kittenish mew at her. He was saying, so innocently, "let me out? Let me out?" When I reached the bottom stair, she motioned at him and said something I didn't catch (it prly was in Slovakian, like the neighbors), while reaching for the doorknob. It clearly meant "Let him out?" No, I said, shaking my head and trying not to laugh too much. When she'd left, he tried the same routine on me. What a little con-man he is.

      Today I saw Miyazaki's latest, Howl's Moving Castle. The trailer was the first I've seen for one of his movies that actually looked lame. Ebert gave it a thumbs down, although that doesn't always mean anything (I still hate him for giving his 2nd-highest rating to Titan AE, which led to me letting that movie piss into my eyes for 75 minutes). But he also said that it wasn't as good as Monoke or Spirited Away. Well, neither is Laputa: Castle in the Sky. And I've seen that more than the other films, as it's not all deep'n'shit, it's an imaginative adventure movie. They can't all be his next Citizen Kane. And I've never seen a Miyazaki that I didn't find more entertaining than any of the pablum that the baby of Hollywood spews on its bib regularly. And if I was going to see it, damned if it wasn't going to be in a theater.
      And it was great! Not Monoke or Spirited great, Laputa great. I'll admit that the plot gets a bit murky, but there wasn't a sceond where I wasn't dazzled and amazed. It has all those old Miyazaki obsessions: plucky young heroine (well...not so young after the first 10 minutes!), crazy flying machines, powerful old crones, villains who are more people with opposing agendas than actually evil. But it also had the trademarked hand-drawn animation and exquisitely detailed backgrounds (I don't know why Ebert said that the Moving Castle's exteriors were amazing, without mentioning the jaw-dropping interiors), and a plot that can't be predicted. Well, I figured out who the scarecrow was, but I was paying close attention.
      So another winning film from Miyazaki. VERY best seen on the big screen, and even better seen if, like me, you go to a cheap matinee with other fans. Who ranged from parents with children and anime geeks to old ladies and at least one cat-loving loner. It just won't look the same on DVD. (If it's playing near you can be found out here)

      In our thumbs-up video pick of the week, The Future Is Wild. It's another of those BBC SFX-heavy faux nature documentaries that began with Walking With Dinosaurs. I doubt that they will ever top that first series. It was about DINOSAURS, fer cry-eye! NOTHING IS COOLER! (Except cats) Wild was shown on the Discovery Channel a few years ago, but I'll bet that they'd be too cowardly to show it today. It assumes that evolution is just a theory! But not "just a theory" in the sense that "Adam and Eve lived with dinosaurs, which were later drowned because they were too big to fit on the Ark" kind of theory. The theory like "the Theory of Gravity is a theory because everyone accepts it as proven" scientific definition of theory. Evolution is real.
      And humanity has gone extinct. The tetonic plates continue their drift, there are further mass extinctions. The survivors evolve to fit the new Earth they live on. Every time you see some made-up sci-fi critter of this future world and think, "Oh, that's crazy!" they back it up with a real-world analog, a living creature that's adapted in similiar ways. If you find nature docs, it's done in that same realistic style, which is what makes it work. They do recycle some of their SFX more than they should, and there are college-like mini-lectures (by actual college professors, some of whom can get a mite dull. In those cases, try not focusing on the peculiarities of the English guy whose cruel school nickname was probably "Piggy," and the hunch-shouldered American with the Amish beard and an awful bow-tie with matching handkerchief. Surely, they too will fall benath evolution's mighty hammer. As I can't imagine them getting laid). But it's well worth Netflixing. Just keep the volume down, or any Fundies in earshot might hear the blaspheme "evolution" and try to burn you as a witch.

      Agriculture: The Worst Mistake in Human History?

      I'm not sure why I got a mailing from the American Museum of Natural History. Maybe it's because I was a member for years of the Planetary Society. But I stopped donating to them that time I entered unemployment for 18 months, during the last Bush recession. And that was 13 years ago. And I'm glad that I did stop donating, because I would've donated to this, and been really sad when its Russian booster blew up after 2 seconds.
      Skimming it, it appeared to be about some displays about space science. The Smithsonian, Cape Canaveral. Lots of Russian ones, too. Sorry, I'm a total homebody. I'm not making any day trips to far off and exotic New York City. That's like 2 hours away!
      I picked it up later to look through it more thouroughly. Wait--it's a travel brochure! A 2-week trip from Maryland to Florida to Houston to Kazakhstan to Moscow. With "optional Cosmonaut training at Star City, Russia." Well, there'd have to be lil astronaut suits with room for 4 feet and a tail if my family's going!
      I cut to the bottom line to see what it cost. It's only--wait, that's based on double occupancy, if you go alone it's an extra $2,420. For me, it'd cost a mere $31,320.
      If I wanted to cash in my IRA and gut my savings account, or use my entire YEAR'S net salary and not drive my car or eat for about 6 months, I could afford that!
      I'm assured of "5 star luxury and convenience" at my hotels. Although it doesn't list the hotel I'll be staying at at the Baykonur Cosmodrome in "the boundless steppes of Kazakhstan in central Asia [at] the remote desert launch site." But I'll get to see the "launch pit where space trash is dumped" while awaiting a Soyuz launch, near where "100 Russian officers [were] killed in the disaster of October 20, 1960." Hey, can we go to Chernobyl next?!
      And if you don't believe me...here's your place to sign up.

6/27

      My interest in the lives of celebrities is usually in the zero percentile. It's been boosted to, say , 1% since Tom Cruise has started the largest public mental breakdown since Michael Jackson. Tom--YOU'RE GAY, just admit it, and stop shopping for trophy beards. Maybe if you'd just come out to yourself, you wouldn't need to have the Reverend L Ron's zombie corpse firehose your engrams until you're Clearasil clear.
      Men are from Mars, but also Martians are from Mars, and they blow up the Earth'n'shit! Like Thetans! Oh, he's so conflicted. Better give another few mil to L Ron! That'll "straighten" you out!
      The next time he's on Oprah, I'll bet he brings a gun.
      At any rate, that's my pointless introduction to celebrity blogs really suck. Melanie Griffith has one. And there is no greater level of condemnation that I can give. If Nature abhors a vacuum, why has it waited so long to destroy her head?

      Mad Science allegedly creates zombie dogs! When will the canine legions of the Undead start humping our legs--to DEATH?! HUMAN: "Oh, undead Rover, hooza good boy, hooza good boy? Wanna play fetch? Wanna play fe--ARRRGH! My brains, my BRAINS!! BAD...DOG! BAD...unhh..."
      ROVER: "Snausages."
      Kay, not really. It's a way to preserve organs of the critically wounded without giving them brain damage. I'd think it was pretty exciting news, except for the last sentence: "The results are stunning. I think in 10 years we will be able to prevent death in a certain segment of those using this technology," said one US battlefield doctor. Side note: After Condi declared that the Iraq War would be "generational," Mr They'll Greet Us With Flowers and We'll Be Gone in 6 Months himself, Rumsfeld, said that the war could take "five, six, eight, 10, 12 years." And that's what he told the War is Fun! propagandists on Fox.
      While it's good news that soldiers would be saved, make up your own mind whether that it's good news in the context of an unelected government of Fundamentalists that believes in eternal war, until Armageddon comes.
      On the other hand, is this real? What the hell's a "boffin"?

6/28

      The trailer for King Kong. Oh yay, another movie nobody needed remade. And, given the trailer, finally finding a role Jack Black will suck out loud in. Thanks, Mr Lord of the Rings, for jumping straight into what looks like your "Howard the Duck" phase.

6/29

      WHOO! My name is going to explodificate in SPACE!
      Since I linked to that back in the day, maybe you added your name, and it'll blow up, too! Blow up good, blow up REAL good!
      

      


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