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|Friday, October 23rd, 2015|
|Time to quote Zelazny...
"Sam, he talked to me as he came down the hill..." she said. Murdock waited, but she did not say anything else.
"Well, what did he say?" he asked.
"He said, `Say you will mono your passenger and I will swerve by
you'," she told him. "He said, `I want you, Scarlet Lady, to run with
me, to raid with me. Together they will never catch us,' and I killed
him." Murdock was silent.
"He only said that to delay my firing though, did he not? He said
that to stop me, so that he could smash us both when he went smash
himself, did he not? He could not have meant it, could he, Sam?"http://www.technologyreview.com/view/542626/why-self-driving-cars-must-be-programmed-to-kill/
"Of course not," said Murdock, "of course not. It was too late
for him to swerve."
"Yes, I suppose it was. Do you think though, that he really wanted
me to run with him, to raid with him, before everything, I mean back
- from "The Devil Car" by Roger Zelazny
|Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015|
Gunnerkrigg Court, from this week
We all have a part for which the reasons don't matter.
|Thursday, April 8th, 2010|
|"You must be anxious to see...MY OPERATION!"
For the next two weeks or so, I have an excuse to do my Doctor Klahn impression pretty much whenever I feel like it. My appendix went rogue Sunday morning, and it got cut out that night. My first surgery. Happy Easter!
I'm up and about, using Parker's post-shooting hospital escape in Flashfire
as my timetable. I should kill Melander, Carlson and Ross with the gun stashed under the kitchen table by tomorrow morning if I want to keep on schedule.
As much as it hurts, it's better than having to go to the global R&D video conference tomorrow. I realize now...I have all these paired organs, and giving up one here and there to get out of a meeting is a bit of brilliant strategizing that might not occur to lesser minds.
Okay, I wrote all that on Tuesday. It just didn't get posted (don't ask). Today is Thursday. I burned through Richard Stark's The Seventh
and The Rare Coin Score
Tuesday afternoon. Rare Coin
was the best Stark yet - I'm shocked it wasn't reprinted until last year. Seventh
was great, too, but Rare Coin
was a supernova of awesomeness. Unfortunately, that left me little to do on Wed., which was something of a bad day. Went for too long of a walk, so I was worn out the rest of the day, with little to read. I saw Diane last night, with Riley in tow. Riley asked "What's up with your pants?" My Thai fisherman pants. I asked what she meant, and she said "they're like God's pants." I think that's pretty good, actually.
My mom played the insanity card a few times during my morning in the hospital. For starters, she tried to tell me the surgeon had told her that my appendix ruptured, and that I needed several days of bed rest. So, some of you may have heard it burst, since that was the story I got in the morning. But, no, it was merely inflamed (still, you have to remove it - an appendix doesn't get "better" and if it gets worse, it can kill ya), so less serious. When I talked to the surgeon, he'd said mom told him "we'll he's definitely coming home to stay with us for a few days." :D When visiting, my mom stood in the middle of the room at one point, trying to convince the nurse, and the guy in the bed next to me that the surgeon MUST have said my appendix burst - why else would she be saying it burst unless someone had TOLD her that? Uncomfortable. Everybody just let it go, and she wound down eventually.
The other bit of crazy was when a lay chaplain visited, and instead of letting her come in, do her spiel, and leave, my mom made a huge deal about my being an atheist. Mom had a craziness assist from the lay chaplain, who took all that as her cue to stand at the foot of my bed and try a staring contest. I said "ok, thanks," and variations thereof a few times, but mom kept it going on talking about damnation, and the power of prayer, and how "we sent him to college, and this is how it turned out!" Remember, the College Marxists? Anyway, I figured it was easier to just let it go, let them wear themselves out, but she was still doing her staring contest attempt every time I looked over. It came to within a second of my buzzing for a nurse to get ALL the fuckheads out of my room, stat.
So, mom is getting worse. She also chewed me out for giving her the wrong room number, but when I talked to her on the phone that night, she saw she had written down the correct one back when I gave it to her that morning. This is a concern - if I'm in a hospital again, say unconscious with some heavy injuries, I have to make sure she doesn't get to make any major medical decisions. "Oh, definitely cut off both his legs, doctor! I'll take care of him! I'm his mother forever." Horror movie stuff.
|Tuesday, March 9th, 2010|
|Mad March Hair
It is done.
"'Well,' he said, 'I'm back.'"
- Sam Gamgee. The final line of The Lord of the Rings
|Friday, February 8th, 2008|
|Another one to try
Game meets art. http://www.komix-games.com/game.php?game=Coil
Well, it's more of an interactive story. Do keep an open mind, like it says. The first time you get to the end, you'll probably have taken a bit too long, and the "epilogue" will be too faded to read completely. Try it again, do it all faster, and all will become clear. It's a melancholy little story, but lovely. Have to get a Kaada cd...
|Tuesday, February 5th, 2008|
|Friday, January 25th, 2008|
I figured I’d start by singing the praises of Colman’s English Mustard. I found this stuff by accident: I was out of mustard the other week, and I remembered Bernie Neufield telling me that if I want mad, spicy mustard like I got at Chinese restaurants, to go with English mustard. At the time, maybe ten years ago, I struck out. Or maybe I found some other brand and it was crap. Come to think of it, that was it. But I rembered his advice again, for some reason.
Colman’s is actually mustard flour
, so you mix it with water to get fresh mustard whenever you need it. I’ve used mustard powder before, but it’s never had the impact of this stuff. This is truly hardcore, and yes, that Chinese stuff that blows the top of your head off when you eat it on those noodles, this is it. They must make it up daily, because Colman’s also can be had in a little, pre-mixed jar, and that is spicy, sure, but not put-you-in-the-hospital spicy like the original flour. They mention on the label that it loses potency quickly once mixed, and is best (read “at its most brutal”) made fresh in small amounts when needed.
I made some with just water, which was intense, and some with sake (Sho Chiku Bai, classic Junmai, a damn fine cheap sake), my other cooking ingredient of choice. Yeah, Colman’s is now an official must-have in my kitchen. I can’t wait to make a Caesar with this stuff. There was a noticeable flavor difference, making Colman’s one of those indispensably versatile seasoning. And it burns like napalm.
INGREDIENT: MUSTARD FLOUR
You’ve got to love that. I had it with some truly wicked bockwurst. Spoilers Ahoy, me hearties!
Melissa and I saw Cloverfield
last weekend. I highly recommend it, but be prepared to be at least disturbed. Part of me doesn’t want to say HOW it should be viewed, but apparently, there are a lot of people out there who are unable to see layers below “surface.” Three words: Tragic love story.
I’m talking to YOU, salon.com. They posted a ludicrous review where the movie was heavily faulted for “packaging 9/11 imagery” for the purposes of creating a “thrill ride.” I don’t even know where to start with what’s wrong with that. First of all, I think perhaps the statute of limitations has run its course as far as it being uncool to show falling buildings. Or dust. Or scared people in New York City. Maybe the location was too much – it could have been set in some other coastal metropolis like New Orleans…or…oops.
Anyway, FOUL! Horror was what they aimed for, horror was what they hit. A man looks beyond his own safety, marches directly into horror, to get to a woman he loves. The kind of leap-of-faith one has to make for love, according to the brother of the character in question. Admittedly, that advice was delivered a little BEFORE a giant monster comes out of the bay, killing thousands.
Horror is all about where it hits you. We’re still shaken up by our memories of 9/11, and many in the news media work hard every day to keep those fears fueled. Something big, terrifying and unknown got us, and it could get us again, any second, is the subtext to every newscast of the past six years. We all got a big look at what helplessness and terror looked like, and maybe those images will never leave our minds. Godzilla
was Hiroshima. And Nagasaki, and the terror that it might happen again, and the terror OF terror itself; of this great, unknowable fear lumbering around Ishiro Honda’s internal Japan forevermore. Cloverfield
is, undeniably, 9/11. I feel stupid even saying it. The sky is blue. Richard Nixon was a “flawed” president. Cloverfield
So, screw you, guy whose name it isn’t worth my time to look up, for being such a sissy that you can’t deal with the fact that things DO go bump in the night. 9/11 repacked as a thrill ride? Screw you for packaging it and collecting a paycheck by using it as a crutch, you utter pussy.
Back in my high school days, I wondered aloud to my friends if it were possible to make a “good” movie about a giant monster. Cloverfield
gets about as close as possible. Rob loves Beth. Rob could get the hell out of the city, or he can go get Beth, who is trapped, hurt, or maybe even dead. He’s already seen someone close to him die. What do you do? He’s going to go get her, just like his brother said. Along the way, things just get worse, more dangerous, more horrifying, and he has plenty of chances to change plans. In the end, the important thing is that he went for it, whatever the risks, whatever the final outcome. Gee, gosh, “human condition," anyone?
It’s not Citizen Kane
, that’s for damn sure. But there’s a little more to it than “fuckin’ aye, did you SEE that?!” and “ZOMG 9/11!” Unless you’re an utter pussy, I mean.
|Tuesday, November 13th, 2007|
|Everyone read. Is VERY important.
Thanks to norse at TMOL:http://chadzilla.typepad.com/chadzilla/2007/10/making-vodka-pi.html
Cornstarch: It's not just for your sweaty crotch anymore!
I see these on the table at Kim and Eric's next party. I see them waiting a long time to bring them out, just to make everyone crazy. Kim and Eric Throw Very Good Parties, by the way. Saturday night was Kim's birthday party and it sure was swell. Unfortunately, the musical phrase "eat the brownie! eat! the! brownie..." comes into my mind, unbidden, at random moments.
Sunday night, Melissa and I watched 1408
. Avoid. What made me so mad was that it scraped goodness. Just scraped it. Current thinking is that to make money, a movie must be PG-13, but to have the level of terror this movie needed, it needed to be an R. I'm not talking gore. It just needed to be more psychically grueling. After a certain point, it was more like a gruesome physical challenge on Double Dare than "a fucking evil room." It almost redeemed itself when the phone rang near the end, and the pleasant female voice stated: "You can relive this hour over and over again...or you can use our express check-out service!" Then a noose dropped from the ceiling.
The music was a big problem, too. If you're going for "grim" and "psychological," don't hit me upside the head with a surge of dramatic music stright out of an epic videogame cinematic cutscene. I had the same problem with Elizabeth: The Golden Age
. It's not increasing the sense of drama. I'll tell you what the effect is! The effect is, it's alienating me, Bertholt Brecht!
|Monday, November 12th, 2007|
I love Orangina. Yum. But, there's this, too:
Maybe when we bring the troops back fromk Iraq, we can have them take a little detour through Europe?
|Thursday, November 8th, 2007|
|What was I supposed to do?
Have you lived too strongly in the pop-culture-reference milieu when, upon buying a bottle of Giant's store-brand seltzer-water, you notice the brand is "Zazz," and that the bottle is blue, and you wonder if it's somehow a cryptic reference to the bizarre 90's Mel Torme song "Zaz Turned Blue?"
|Thursday, November 1st, 2007|
|Huh. Holy crap.
I dropped the rent check off at the landlord's, and on the way back, there was a sign on a warehouse I've passed many times. It mentioned books, magazines, antiques, collectibles, etc. I had five minutes to spare, so I checked it out.
Five minutes later, I walked out with a fine, first edition (1935) of William T. Innes' Exotic Aquarium Fishes
. Pre-WWII editions are extremely rare, and I've been looking for one for many years. I have the version published right after the war, which is uncommon and still follows the same format, but I've never been able to get my hands on one published earlier. The copy I've had for the past several years is faded, the green faux-leather binding worn and the spine cracking, but it is one of my most prized books.
It's really a work of art. Innes used species descriptions and articles from his magazine "The Aquarium," to write it, and his signature hand-colored plates spice up the otherwise colorless illustrations: B&W photos were painstakingly painted to show the fish as they appeared in life. Color photos were sporadically used, but that technology was not so impressive in those days.
Innes' writing, too, is a kick. He writes of an uncommon livebearing fish, Pseudoxiphophorus bimaculatus
: "The female, twice as large as the male, usually vents her temper on him, with fatal results. Perhaps she has more sense than most fishes and realizes the trouble he causes her." Clearly, Innes' views on gender issues were ahead of the times. :D
Huh. You walk into an antique store you've never seen before, on a whim, on your way back to the office, and you walk out with the first edition of a book you've wanted for years.
The woman at the counter liked my hair. I told her my girlfriend talked me into growing it out, and she responded "She's a good influence on you!"
|Wednesday, October 31st, 2007|
It's been an intense few weeks.
Mels's wedding was this past weekend, and it was every bit as good as all the buildup made it necessary to be. Even better. I can honestly say (and no offense to other weddings, but...) that it was the best wedding I've had the pleasure to attend. The food alone was good enough to be fatal. Veal, salmon, duck, prime rib, serrano ham, figs, local (definitely not "lo-cal") goat cheese...the only downside was my inability to fit it all. I should have skipped the salmon - unless it's raw, salmon bores the crap out of me, and then I would have had room for the veal.
But it was the atmosphere that really made the thing. It was at the Inn at St. Peter's Village, which is in...well, duh. "St. Pete's" has never been my favorite place. Sure, the scenery is gorgeous, but every time I've been there, it's been about as crowded as the mall. It's a bit like a college campus, as far as the demographic. Ugh...neohippies. But the recent few days of cold weather meant the run of French Creek visible from the Inn's deck was largely deserted, and the rain from the two previous days made the falls lively (and loud). It was impossible not to be impressed. After the wedding, Melissa and I had a room with a view of French Creek and the surrounding woods. And what a room - it was painful to leave. Two of the walls were stone, and the windows were large, old-fashioned wavy-glass things with wide sills. I think we should have extended our stay through the end of the month. By the end of my stay, I was a little bit in love with St. Pete's.
The day after the wedding, the staff tried yet again to kill us with food. They have a pretty good brunch there, but I eneded up getting a fairly un-adventurous selection. Well, okay, I DID start with an escargot pot-au-fou. It even came in its own little copper saucepan.
Monday, Melissa was struck with the urge to carve pumpkins. It turns out that she's never done that with guy before. Yeah, I know, that's what they all say, but it's a nice feeling, knowing I was the one to depumpkin her. It's, ya know, special.
Unfortunately, we'd overestimated both the size and the selection of our pumpkins. They're miniatures. But they came out great. Next time you carve a jack-o-lantern, use one of the white pumkins that are becoming more common. The light from the candle (if you do not use a candle you are a sissy and do not deserve a jack-o-lantern. End of discussion) shows through the flesh and skin of the pumkin, so the whole thing glows.
|Friday, October 26th, 2007|
|Thursday, October 18th, 2007|
|Wednesday, October 17th, 2007|
"Everyone hates the phone company!"
- James Coburn as Sidney Schaefer, The President's Analyst
Almost as much, everyone hates Berkheimer. You know, the local tax people. So I gritted my teeth when I opened my mailbox yesterday to find a card telling me I had a registered letter from them. I stopped at the post office this a.m. and picked it up. It was a notification that I'd forgotten to pay my $8 local per capita tax to Souderton Boro., and Berkheimer had been called in to break my kneecaps. Well, not break my kneecaps, but if I don't pay up in 15 days, they'll have my wages attached.
"I can't have my wages garnisheed."
-Chevy Chase, Fletch
Truly, they are the sand in the vaseline, I thought. I pondered how I could make my payment as inconvenient as possible. Wait...vaseline. What would happen if i gave the check a little smear of vaseline? I can't think of anything more...somewhat disturbing than a slightly-lubed check. Or maybe just some butter. Vaseline plus some coffee grounds? Of course they could refuse the check, or the bank could, and then I CAN have my wages garnisheed...
|Friday, June 29th, 2007|
Like I've bitched about before, I just don't have much time to post. And when I do, there are too many distractions. So filling in for a real journal entry will be a video of Mario and Luigi educationg you about sex.
|Monday, June 4th, 2007|
|...you'll hit the tattered clouds...
I woke up at 4:30 this morning, to hunt. My dad used to wake me up at 4 or 4:30 so that we could bag ourselves a deer, or a turkey, or on rare occasions a bear. This morning's hunt was for insulators. Specifically, glass telegraph insulators on a few poles in Hellertown.
Like many of my old hunts with dad, I got skunked. But unlike deer or turkeys, who tended to simply ignore the fact they were expected to show up at a certain time/place, the insulators were there, perfectly punctual. If I had to guess, I'd say they'd even arrived early. Size, unfortunately, matters, and the pole I use for spinning insulators free from their pins was a foot or two short, even when I stood on an inverted steel drum. Don't ask. In the end, I had to leave empty handed. To put the morning in the plus column, I hit Waffle House for some scattered and smothered. I'm crazy with the jargon, here.
As for the weekend, I spent most of it physically and psychologically drained. I'm not sure why, really. The week leading up to it was pretty brutal, maybe that was all. Like always, Melissa and I found hilarity at every turn, and that's enough for me.
|Monday, May 21st, 2007|
|A Winner is You!
Ah, Asian women. Everyone who knows me, knows I loves me them Pearls of the East. Hell, my blog title is courtesy of an Asian woman.
Latest Asian woman story:
There I am, I'm paying my Macy's bill, and the elderly Asian woman running the show is having trouble with my card - it won't swipe. Finally, desperate, she hands it back and asks me to try. I use the card-swiper on the counter instead of the reg...and it works. By now we've attracted a few other employees, one of whom comments "There, it worked! You see?"
The Asian lady says "It worked? SUCCESS
Easily the best thing I've heard all week.
SUCCESS! to you all.