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ďWhat sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?"
--Ursula K. LeGuin

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      Yes, the blog has been quiet all week. There's a reason. It's called "should I talk about the elephant in the room or not?"
      Well, let's. 4 days ago I saw Kev & Meg, and the opening conversation can be summed up like this:
      "We're moving to Austin, Texas in 4 months!"
      "So you got a job there?"
      "NOPE. We're quitting our jobs here, and get jobs when we get there!"
      Hands in the air: How many of you read that, and didn't scream "WHAT THE FUCK?!" Hey, that's a lot of you--oh, you were throwing your hands in the air in disbelief.
      We watched Gravity, a very exciting movie, and I generally don't like "non-stop thrill rides/every escape happens at the last second" movies. Nearing the climax, I began yawning. Why? It's not because I'm bored, it's not because I'm tired, as it's 4 in the afternoon--Oh wait. This is what my brain does when it confronts stress and there's nothing I can do about it. It goes into cold shutdown, just like Sandra Bullock's doing in the movie. I felt like she did, overwhelmed by events out of her control.
      I made it poltitely clear what I thought of this...decision. Then I left, and didn't have to pretend how I felt, thought "This SUCKS" and went home. The Kids knew something was wrong as soon as I walked in, as I plodded in depression to the bedroom, changed into my jammies, got a beer and sent a brief, unhappy email to Jessica. My response to her response:

      Her reply to my reply etc:

      Okay, that was funny, but offtopic. Although the "bugs" may refer to most Texans. She also said "The fact that he lives in TX or not does not change the reason why they are not calling him back. The fact he is willing to move to work there shows ambition and promise. (...) If you work at Walmart as a cashier the future employer is going to ask, why does he want to work here? He doesn't even have experience and besides he has only been there for a short time, where as with the current job he is at, even if it does suck, he has been there for a long time showing them that he is committed and is showing them he is willing to move further since he went to school while still at his current job. Not to mention what the hell address is he going to put on his applications, Motel 8!? Yeah, because that looks so much better because after all it is a Texas address! (...) So he is going to keep paying his condo mortgage, condo fees, motel fees and storage fees for their crap? (God forbid there is an issue with the condo and they have an assessment!)" Those would be the calmer lines of her reply.
      So, yeah, I'm unhappy about this. As stated, every few years, he makes a snap decision and sticks with it. It happened when I first met him, when we worked in the same store. I was the assistant on the Sam Goody side, he was the one on the Suncoast side, so our breaks tended to be at the same time (that's how we became friends). He was reading a book that converted him to Veganism halfway through. He'd stop reading and say "JESUS! Listen to this!" and read a passage about the horrors of meat and dairy. The author was in his mid 20s, when we're all as wise as we will ever get (besides when we figured out the world at 14), and his name was either Baskin or Robbins. Son of one of the ice cream company's owners. Did the author's hatred of dairy have anything to do with Daddy issues? (And whose money did he use to get published?) Of course, vegetarianism is not only benign, but beneficial. I said at the time, "I'm just glad the book you read wasn't Mein Kampf. 'Why, there are surely some interesting ideas in this book by that Hitler chap! Also, I do like his choice of facial hair!'"
      But he also snap-decided to marry a spoiled bitch, then bought a house because spoiled bitch said so, then bought a bigger house because she wanted one, then bought another bigger one, went into credit card debt because, to her, money appears from Heaven (meaning her parents). But you can always get divorced and remarry (and to clarify, that's just what he did. His current wife is awesome). You can't quit, move to Texas, decide it's a bad idea, and then...what? Move back to CT, your second time trying to find a job without one?
      He never reads this page. I hope he does now.

      And now, GOOD news! I got up to check on Byron, and not only was he off his tower, he clearly was planning to jump to the floor! And he saw me, and back to the tower.
      But I gave him pets, and them waved him to the floor, and he jumped! To a big box, not to the floor, and immediately back to the Tower of Exile. I gave him treats and pets, and with encouragement, he landed on the floor! But it was still lava, so back he went. I petted him more on the tower, and of course DJ had to come to ruin it and get an angry paw to the head.
      But it's progress! The most I've seen in 6 months!

      Infographic on The Great Toilet Paper Debate.



      L.P.D.: Libertarian Police Department


      Oh boy, my birthday week is in 2 days! On Sunday, it's the actual date, and I actually have it off! I feel so insane, I think I'll buy WINGS! (Me buying takeout is rare) I was thinking about going to Denny's for my FREE birthday meal, but WTF is with their site? The only parts you can click on are like a fifth of the screen, and clicking on the subwindows just makes them mad. It's like they don't want these Kids Today with their short hair and quiet music! Young punks like me, those 55 year olds with their music by the Devos and that group of the Talking Heads and Yellow Magics! Or maybe they just don't want to give you free food on your birthday. There's a Denny's just 2 miles from me, and it's been there for the quarter-century I've lived here, but I've never been in it...I think I'll just get wings. Somewhere else.
      And on Monday, I go to WORK!
      Then Tuesday, I may go to the movies and watch Captain America! At the $5.50 matinee. I was planning on skipping it until it was on Netflix, but I read a couple of really positive reviews. One had a spoiler, but it was the spoiler that made me want to watch it. The trailer told me nothing besides "It's a superhero movie--and PEOPLE GET PUNCHED!" Wow, thanks, that's informative. I was expecting Marvel-Ivory.
      Weds: A day with a good friend. And I won't tell you who! (Hint: not the one who wants to move to Redneck Land; is also sane)


      "Have a happy birthday!" said a coworker in as nasty and sarcastic a voice as she could. Yep, still mad because I dared to have a regularly scheduled day off that fell on my birthday. The woman whose coworker husband had 3 birthdays in a month. Oh, no, now I feel so bad about it!
      HA HA HA! Any day you can piss off an asshole is a good day indeed! Thanks for the early birthday present, douchebag!


      And the birthday wishes just poured into my inbox today! From my Mom, 102.9 DRC-FM, Liberty Honda, Capital One 360, and RealAge! *sniff* Thanks, I didn't know you cared! And, besides my mother, you fucking don't, you automated corporate robots.
      And I went to Google stuff, and the logo is...birthday themed. The fuck?
      "Open the birthday doors, HAL!"
      "I'm afraid I am programmed to do that, Dave."
      "Thanks, but...Bill. My name's Bill."
      (red eye stares back unblinking)

      Then, as everybody does, I spent my birthday giving money away. I donated to Alley Cat Allies and Pammy's Way of Cats and the ACLU. I believe in defending the rights of those least able to defend themselves.
      Then I watched the sun set behind my personal Stonehenge, the twin grain silos that jut above the horizon. Oh, dang, it just missed, a little to the north! It would've set perfectly behind them yesterday! Guess I should ask for those days off too, if it counts towards the "2 birthdays a month off" allowance the store seems to grant.



      I went to Captain America: The Winter Soldier today. Good crowd for the first midweek matinee of the day. Excellent movie! I see now why the trailer told nothing about the plot: There's really nothing that could be said that wouldn't be a spoiler. It changes the whole course of the Avengers-themed movies.
      I was planning on renting it on DVD because of the trailer. I mean, the title is a spoiler! To someone who stopped reading comics over 20 years ago, anyway. The audience sure seemed surprised. I guess today's superhero movies are watched by people who never read comics.
      All these Avengers-arc movies first installments seem to get darker in the sequels. The first bad guy is Batroc. In the comics, Batroc the Leaper! Oh, sorry, Batroc ze Lea-pair, because he was as 1970s a Marvel villain as they came, an evil acrobat who was so French, zat 'e talk like zees, ohn-ohn-ohn! His power was leaping. That's like having your power be "not falling off your mountain bike." More useful in real life situations than fist-fighting superheroes. To the movie's credit, not only is he reasonably bad-assed, he does a lot of fucking leaping.
      Of course, there is the obligatory scene wherein the villain can kill several people at will, and chooses not to kill a main character. This is like saying "I'll stick my penis in you last, garbage disposal!" It ain't gonna end bad for the disposal.
      I'm still amazed, that after all these years, 90% of the audience leaves the theater as soon as the credits begin to roll in a Marvel movie. You can't wait 3 minutes to see the credit cookie? In the next Avengers, "the twins" will appear. Pretty obvious who they are, but they'll have to be explained without using the word "mutant" (Sony can't use that word in movies, Warner owns it via its long-dormant X-Men franchise, which itself gets a sequel soon, featuring the twins' comic book dad).
      So, either see it now in theaters, or expect to have every spoiler revealed online before you rent it.
      Okay, one spoiler: a kind, bittersweet scene when Steve reunites with his "best girl" from WWII, now well into her 90s.


      Antiquing with Jess in Putnam today. Not overly blogworthy, although a fine time was had by all.
      The town is on the rebound since the recession closed many small stores. New stores have opened, and the giant condemned building is almost fully renovated. The art gallery has expanded into 2 rooms. One was full of beautiful Impressionist-style landscape paintings of the town Jess lived in for 12 years, Grafton MA. She recognized the places pictured. "That's the part of town where the millionaires live," she said of one set. "Where they have bowling alleys in their basements."
      In one place, she bought a rubber Mickey Mouse cheap, and I got a couple of 1962 James Bond figures cheap. Because who doesn't want their own Dr. No? There were multiple figs, which was good, as my white-tuxed, gun-pointing 007 fell over when I placed it on the counter. Shaken from too many martinis, maybe. I almost bought a much newer in-package "Little Nellie," the autogyro from You Only Live Twice, with Bond in the cockpit in his classic "arms folded holding a gun" pose. I guess he was steering with his knees. But up close, it had either a dead bug or some bird crap on it, so I passed.
      In the Big Store, I said "There sure are a lot Hitler books in here this time." And then bought one. "Hitler: The Victory That Never Happened." It was like a serious version of "My Tank Is Fight!", reimagining WWII if the Germans had made the right military decisions, and the "nightmare world" that would've resulted. The selling point for me was a section of photos, recaptioned for Nazi victory. A photo of an SS war correspondent's gleeful reaction to some radio news was now about "the fall of London." New York City gets A-bombed in the last chapter, titled "The Final Solution." I have a feeling the nuking is not as bad as what else happens in that chapter.
      She wasn't going to get anything, until we hit the bargain basement. A ceramic yawning cat, 2 pewter cats (and a dog--it was a set; she hates dogs now that her neighbors let theirs run free by her transplanted feral colony), a tiny leather wallet, a slim book of photos titled "Lesniak" (her married name. She's going to give it to her father-in-law, and the book couldn't have been more Polish, as it was published in Krakow), some tiny rugs for her dollhouse, and a 1960s Micky & Minnie metal crayon case. I pointed out that the previous owner had written his name on it: "Billy." Her haul only cost $16.
      Overheard there: GUY: "Know how Snoopy always fought the Red Baron? Did you know that he was real?" PRETTY GIRL: "Yes," with a silent "duh!" That's how you impress an attractive woman, bro. Assume she's dumb. If I'd asked that of Jess, she'd probably say "Oh, so you think Snoopy was real?"
      Late lunch at the brand new brew pub! My Israel Putnam Velvet Red was awesome, and she loved her brown ale. I rarely eat red meat, but we both got burgers. Hers was a 1/2 pound, mine a 1/4, and each with a mound of hand-cut fries. Guess who took half his fries home, and who literally ate twice as much food as him? The metabolism of a hummingbird: she looks like a bikini model and eats like a pig.
      She talked about her grandfather, a teen in WWII France. When the Germans invaded his town, they raped and killed his mother and skinned his cat alive, right in front of him. "No wonder he was an alcoholic," she said. He joined the Resistance as a messenger, was almost shot by an American GI, who then took him under his wing, brought him to America, raised him as his own. If he hadn't...I wouldn't have been talking to her. She wouldn't exist.
      We went to a place she discovered just up the road. Two rooms, one of which was 80% tool shed, the other not much more. They do furniture more than Disneyana and little Dr. Nos. "I'm sorry!" she jokingly whispered. Not all the stores we find can be gems!


      What are the non-irritating chaps? The assless ones you wear to the S&M dungeon?


      For $75, it'd better not be BYOP.



      I had my belated birthday dinner with my Mom. Which she made--poached salmon, mashed potatoes, a spring salad with strawberries and walnuts, all made by hand. I'm still digesting it. Mom has always cooked in such amounts that it seems she expects her kids to bring over an extra guest, like the Green Bay Packers.
      She's taking an early retirement from the library! 81 years old, that's early, right? She looks no older than 70. A family trait of her side of the family, the Torphys: she and her kids all look younger than we are. And her married name is Young. (Feel free to joke "YOU'LL ALWAYS BE YOUNG HA HA!" because you're the first person to say that to me in 55 years. Possibly throw in a witticism about "Oh no, Mr Bill!") When I saw Jess, I told her about a girl I knew named Lisa Olds, and when I said "If we ever got married, we'd have to change our names to 'Bill and Lisa Middle-Aged'."
      Mom told me about a recent trip to her library by a kindergarten class. The library director took them from room to room. "Here's the reference desk, here's this section, that section," and introduced them to any employees. "And here's Mrs Young!"
      A little kid looked at her and said "She's not Young, she's old."


      COWORKER: "Here's the kosher wine."
      CUSTOMER, grabbing a bottle of red: "I also need a bottle of kosher white wine."
      ME, thinking: Oh god please don't ask me...
      COWORKER: "BIIILL! Where's the kosher white wine?"
      ME: "With the kosher wine."
      5 minutes later...
      "BIIILL! Brut is the sweetest champagne, even sweeter than extra dry, right?"
      "Champagne isn't sweet, and brut is drier than extra dry."
      But I should cut her some slack. She's only worked in a liquor store for 10 years. If we worked in a grocery store, it'd be "BIIILL! Is skim milk in the milk section? And underarm deodorant is good on sandwiches, right?"

      I know most of you are Facebook friends with me also, but I have no idea how Facebook works and what you do or don't see, so feel free to skip this exchange with Dirck if you've read it:
      DIRCK: "After seeing "Sigma Madagascar Rosewood Dreadnought" on a sign, I really expect to see a REALLY COOL spaceship. I'm sure the guitar is neat and all, but raised expectations will render it mundane."
      ME: "From an old sf gaming magazine:"

      "Er, yeah, I'm from the 'Malodorous Incest', but moving on, what ship are you from?"
      "Uhh...the 'Vainglorious Sphincter.' And you?"
      "...The 'Billy Joel's Persistent Crotch Itch'."



      So, You're Going To Die, Kirk Israel's brilliant Mortality Guide For Skeptics as a comic book.


      Some tree trimmers came today. Not the next 3 days, when I don't have to be here listening to their noise. Why now, in spring? It's the winter when branches fall.
      I went out to get my mail and saw that no one takes that many branches down unless the tree's going next. Perfectly healthy trees. Based on my experience, the majestic 40 year old oaks will be replaced by either scrawny-ass little trees, shrubs that die within months and rot there for years, or they'll just leave the stumps there forever. It's part of my idiot Condo Association's ongoing Complex Uglification Program.
      I fucking hate my Condo Ass.

      I like that local college radio station WWUH has an archive, so if I forget to listen to a show I can still hear it. I missed Tuesday Synthesis yesterday, and was able today to hear...most of it. Their archive has a tendency to stop recording, and then play dead air. I've no idea why.
      But I would guess the DJs did or didn't do something. The Indian music show's DJ still seems oblivious to the "download finished" tone that plays during her show while she's using the station's bandwidth for personal purposes. One Sunday Ambience DJ's show features old vinyl, but apparently he takes the headphones off, as there can be 3-5 minutes of silence before he realizes that Side One is over. Or not noticing when an LP skips over and over.
      Listening to last Sunday's show, the DJ was talking when his watch alarm went off. And stayed on, for 3 minutes. Didn't turn it off, or mute the mike and throw the watch into a corner of the studio, just let the soothing sound of "beep beep beep--beep beep beep" continue. Volunteer staffed.

      It took me until the third show to get why the beginning of Tyson's reboot of Cosmos had a slight pause between the C and the S before fully spelling out Cosmos--Carl Sagan, duh!
      Why's it rated PG? "WARNING: May activate brain cells, make kids want to be scientists"?
      I'm not seeing the embed code on this, possibly from not looking hard enough (we're volunteer staffed), so here's a link to the new rebuttal show, Creationist Cosmos. (Warning: autoplays the next video)


      Killsy is using DJ's butt as a pillow.
      That is all.




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