I spent a good part of this morning configuring Moveable type in preparation of NaNoWriMo. Then I realized the server I was trying to install on was NT, so I had to stop. Then I tried installing it on another server, got that all worked out, and have the design mostly done and all the templates fixed up. Hopefully everything will be done by tomorrow.
You might ask why I'm spending so much time installing MT and worrying about design when I should be thinking about the plot of my novel. Well, that is a very good question and one I choose to ignore completely.
Actually, it makes sense for me to be doing anything but thinking about writing. Whenever I have a good idea, whether about writing or about how to organize my closet, I spend a lot of time thinking about it, and then when it comes time do it I forget all the great ideas I came up with. So now, I'll just not think about things and worry about writing when the time comes to write.
Speaking of worry, I set up a forum for NaNoWriMo authors (and others)Ö
It was stupid of me to make this a 3MB since Iíve got too much to say.
The NaNoWriMo forum will be a place for those participants in this little corner of the blogging universe to share our tragedies and successes over the course of the month, update each other with daily word counts, ask advice on plot points, share inspirations and spur one another past writerís block. Or, you know, just commiserate.
And the forum isnít just for NaNoWriMo participants, no it isnít. Itíd be cool if other people stopped by with words of encouragement, inspiration or good karma-mojo wishes to the would-be novelists.
No one may end up using the forum, but it is there if anyone needs it.
Also! I thought of another idea for a plot. Iím going to write an entire novel about someone who is writing a novel. Maybe. Itíll be an anti-novel; like an episode of Seinfeld, only funny, and with words instead of pictures.
I already know why the character would be writing a novel (and no, it doesnít have anything to do with NaNoWriMo). I know whether, in the end, he writes the novel. And Iíve already come up with sketches for a couple chapters. This is a really cheap way to write a novel, and if I really want to take this thing seriously I should write about people doing important things and having virulent feelings; yetÖ
This is supposed to be fun, isnít it? Oh, Iím still throwing around ideas, I guess. Come tomorrow morning we shall see what words come dripping out of my quill. Iíll probably end up flipping a coin, as all-important decisions in life should be made.
All laws begin with one person doing something one other person doesn't like....
I don't live inside the city limits of Louisville, KY; I live in a tiny little city named Richlawn. Most people who live in the same county as Louisville consider themselves Louisvillians, as I do, but the county has scores of small incorporated areas, of which Richlawn is one. We're surrounded by the city, but our quiet little set of tree-lined streets has its own city council, taxes, ordinances, the works.
Well, there are a bunch of people who have moved onto my street the last couple/three years who are, for lack of a better term, serious assholes. They stand around in the middle of the street on warm afternoons and, when a car approaches, they act like it's an imposition to get out of the way. Keep in mind that, while we don't have any sidewalks, these people are usually standing within twenty feet of a driveway and are always within ten feet of a wide stretch of pretty, cozy-looking grass. But they choose to stand in the road. All the time.
I've ignored this selfish, asinine behaviour up to now since they don't do anything but annoy me a little. But today they pissed me off. I believe that, whatever I might do outside my neighbourhood, I should be respectful of the rules my neighbours choose to set for our little town. So now, while I might very well drive 90 on the freeway, I am conscientious about obeying the speed limits and stopping at the stop signs here in Richlawn.
But the stand-in-the-street people (my friend F---, who's on our city council, calls them "snooty white people", but we're going to refer to them from here on out as "nouveau riche yuppie pinpricks") don't see that. They seem to think that they can act any way they want and the rest of us just have to accept it - but they can dress us down for any perceived infraction of their notion of the rules.
Which brings us to today. I was coming home and, having just been to the Vehicle Exhaust
Ripoff Waste of Time Testing center for the second time in three weeks, I was already in a bad mood. So, I came around the bend - probably a bit too fast but by no means in excess of the speed limit - and, a block away, there was a crowd of nouveau riche yuppie pinpricks standing - as always - right smack in the middle of the road.
As I approached, one of the men stepped out in my way and started saying something to me, making hand gestures. I rolled my window down and heard him say something rude to the effect that I needed to slow down. Now, I was in no mood for taking any guff off a bunch of people I consider to be twits anyway, but all I said back was, "I'm not speeding." He said something back to me but I just went on home. But I was pissed, so I called F---.
F--- and I ended up visiting K--- (another city councilman) to discuss the whole nouveau-riche-yuppie-pinpricks-standing-in-the-road-being-assholes-to-their-neighbours issue (we stood in his driveway, BTW). Turns out the same guy who got on my nerves ("yuppie" is too good for him; let's call him Redneck Asshole) has threatened K---'s kids in the past (among other misbehaviours I won't recount because this post is already running way too long).
After a few minutes, I left and, as I walked away, Redneck Asshole walked up and took my place. F--- called me a while later to say that a heated exchange followed. Redneck Asshole actually threatened K--- and refered to his kids (the ones he'd threatened in the past) as "hippie trash." Not the method I would chose to win people over to my point of view, but I guess we all have our own style....
Anyway, this particular incident is pretty small on the grand scale of my life, but I have come to find out that it's merely an episode - and I merely the newest player - in an ongoing pissing contest between a bunch of these newcomers and several of the longstanding residents. So I'm going to got to the next city council meeting and try to get an ordinance passed prohibitting loitering in the street and obstructing traffic. There are already Kentucky laws on this point, but I think we need one of our own. And Redneck Asshole is now my personal project.
I haven't been in a good pissing contest in a while, it should be fun.
I am exhausted. I have had about enough of everything. The War on Terrorism, work, home, the internet, EVERYTHING. I don't ever remember being annoyed by the internet, but I am now. Yeah, I know, me? Internet junkie extrordinaire? Yup. Oh, it doesn't mean I'm spending any less time online, in fact it may be more, counting the number of times I wake up in the night to munch munchies and check my email (and sometimes my stats, just to make sure I'm still up there with the other Bin Laden hit whores). My stats have been particularly rewarding lately, oh, not like Bad Sam stats, but still, two thirds of my site's hits have come in the last month. That's just insane.
Which brings me to my topic - insanity. I think I'm going completely insane. I spend my workdays these days flirting with that infamous Microsoft paperclip, Clippit. I posted about that fact today, but that is only one small aspect of my mental illness (though a disturbing one, I admit). I can't concentrate. I can barely write. I look at all these people signing up to write novels and think, huh? They could focus on one thing for a whole month? I have trouble focusing for more than five minutes at a time. Imagine what this has done to my billable hours. Ok, don't imagine. Never mind.
So, the title of this entry refers to a Stephen King short story called The Flexible Bullet. It was about the flexible bullet of madness, not sure I understand the metaphor, but nonetheless, I relate. In the story, a writer goes completely insane and imagines there is a small creature in his typewriter (one of those old manual jobs, where there is room for a tiny little creature to live). I think it was called a "Fornit". He would occasionally drop crumbs in his typewriter, to feed the Fornit. Well, if I had cables to hook up my digital cam, I'd show you my keyboard. My Fornit (one of those new Micro-Fornits, made possible by advances in miniaturization, I imagine) is well fed.
I'm not saying I'm a writer - I'm not writing any novels in November, I know that. But that doesn't mean I can't have a pet Fornit, or an animated paperclip as a pal, or go through my days getting eerie deja-vu from any number of Stephen King books I've read. It's an eerie King-ish world we live in these days, in which things have gone completely insane, and in many ways. I want to go with them, but so far I think I'm still much too sane for my own good. Any advice on how to rectify that?
I'm a huge baseball fan. I can't tell you how glad the World Series is on tonight, even if I have to watch the Yankees (I've sort of gotten used to it over the past couple years).
But, as much as I'm loving baseball right now, and generally pleased with Fox's coverage (so much better than NBC), I am hating the ads Fox is running.
Here in New York, they ads they ran for tonightís games said two really outrageous things. The first thing they did was call Roger Clemens a living legend. Iím not going to even get into that one.
But, the second thing that ads said were that its "Now a series" (emphasis theirs). Now, New York City is the only city, and the Yanks are the only team that could lose the first two games of a seven game series and say, "well, now things are even." Now things are even? The Yanks have to win four of the next five games, while all Arizona has to do is win two of the next five, and that is even? What balls, and I ainít taking about pitches out of the strike zone.
The thing that really annoys me, though, is that Fox has uses the Smashing Pumpkins Tonight, Tonight in the background of all their commercials. Actually, theyíve used the song since the post-season started. I'm not a huge Pumpkins fan, but I knew them before they got popular and I actually own James Iha's solo album. Yet, I've always had a special hatred in my heart for Tonight, Tonight.
You see, I worked for about two years at the local Tar-jay. Thatís Target, for the uninitiated, a more upscale version of K-Mart. Now, part of time I worked there I worked overnights, from 10pm to 8am. It wasn't a bad job, really. You didn't have to deal with customers, the worst part of any retail gig. You got extra cash for the crappy hours. And you had all day to do other stuff (like sleep, mostly).
The worst part of the job, however, was being locked in the store. They shut us in from 10:30 when the day staff left, and didn't let us out until 6 the next morning. It was just the 4 or 5 of us stocking shelves and the extra chromosome crew who cleaned the store.
It was lonely, boring, unnaturally quiet and kind of creepy. If you walked into Tar-jay during the day, there was noise and motion and people everywhere. But at night, all you had to distract you from how crappy a job it was were your own thoughts.
One night, I drove into work and Tonight, Tonight was the last song I heard on the radio. Now, I'm sure you all can guess what happened next but, if you can't guess, I spent 8 straight hours with that song in my head. While the song is plenty catchy, I'd only heard it a couple times and the only part I could remember was the chorus.
If you remember the song at all, the chorus contains nothing more than the word "Tonight" repeated multiple times, each time with a different emphasis and in a different part of Billy Corgan's half-octave range. So, I spent eight hours singing, both in my head and out loud, "Tonight, Tonighhhhht, Tonight, Tooooooonight. Tonight. Tonnnnight, Toonnight, Tooooooonighttttt."
Just the word "Tonight" over and over and over. For eight hours. So now, every time I hear that song, I shiver with dread at the remembrance, and thought I might spend another 8 hours locked in a building with nothing but that one word to carry me through.
If you are a longtime reader (I know there are a couple of you here pre-Osama bin Laden nudies), you've heard about my last job and understand why I'm unemployed now.
For those who werenít around (or just forgot) you can check back, or just know that I worked, shortly, for this startup medical technology company. I was one of only two employees that weren't from Israel and/or couldn't speak Hebrew, the language of choice around the office.
The big project was a prototype for an exchange that would allow doctorsÖ cripes, you donít care; the explanation is really of boring. Iíll just say the project was this nightmare mix of giant databases, front-end usability issues, and security problems.
When I was hired, they told me all the ďresearchĒ was done, and weíd be starting on the prototype. The project was scheduled for 6 weeks. After I started, I saw how much work they had actually done, and told them, flat out, that what they wanted was impossible. I told them trying to do this project in 6 weeks will end up taking much longer and be of poorer quality than actually planning a reasonable schedule. They told me not to worry, and for the time I was there I did my best to do my job.
I eventually learned theyíd been building the prototype for 6 months before I even started and they had nothing to show for that time. I was there for 8 weeks before I couldnít take it (the lack of organization, the daily interrogations, and the poor use of the English language) any longer; I quit, leaving no notice. I was hired specifically for a 6-week project. I left after 8 weeks and there was no prototype.
It has been another 4+ months since I quit. I figured they must be done by now. I went to the company website last week and noticed it had finally changed; a login screen had replaced the old placeholder. I thought, ď4 months late, but theyíve finally finished.Ē
Last night, however, I got the chance to talk to one of my former coworkers and she told me that the login is dead and there is still no prototype.
AHAHAHha Ah Fakkers! AhAh ahAh Hahah hAhAhAhah aha aHaHhahaah ahha ahA AHA hAHAHhAha Haa hHAHAhAHhaAH!!!!! FaKkers!!!!! Fak you faking losers!!!! AHAHhahA HaahH fark you biatchs!! AHAhAHhaAH HAahHAHAhAHhaAH HA ahAhahaha hAhA Ah aha AhAHA AHAAh AhAh ahAh Hahah hAhAhAhah aha.
To add insult to injury, as if working for a year and having nothing to show for it werenít awful enough, they are having some legal problems with one of the companies they contracted work out to. What is really funny is that it isn't my company that has the problem; the other company is peeved because the Israelis are so disorganized that the project has already taken 4 times longer than it was supposed to and there is no sign of it ever getting done.
I may be unemployed, and seriously on the verge of trading both my kidneys for a case of ramen noodles, but I can still laugh at the misfortune of others. Fakers.
So, I decided to try the National Novel Writing Month thing. In case you havenít heard (what, living in a cave Osama?), NaNoWriMo is this silly little project where a bunch of people get together and each try to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.
According to their website, they had a couple hundred people sign up last year. Theyíve had 3000 sign up so far this year. Pretty amazing. 3,000 people, 50,000 words, 30 days. That comes out to 1736 words a second. And Iím sure theyíll all be fantastic.
To finish a 50,000-word novel in 30 days means Iíll have to write a bit less than 2000 words a day. I can handle that easy. Itís just a matter of figuring out what to write about. Sure, I can come up with 2000 words a day if one day Iím writing about how hot Osama bin Ladenís rack is and next Iím writing about a movie I just saw; that is easy, Iíve already been doing that everyday for a year.
But it is quiet a different thing to be writing about the same subject day after day and needing my usual pointless blather to actually have a point. All the stupid little stories I tell each day need to come together to make one big stupid story. It seems like that will be a bit harder, which probably explains why so many writers are drunks and/or head cases. I think I might be able to pull this off, since Iím already half a drunk and half a head case. Thatís why I think I can pull it off, that and because no one expects these NaNoWriMo books to be any good.
Iím debating whether or not to put it up online as Iím writing it. As it isnít likely to be very good, Iíd prefer as few people to see it as possible. However, if Iím going to be dedicating significant amounts of time to writing a novel, I wont have as much time to be writing over here at bad Samaritan. I really donít want to leave people hanging for their daily mg fix.
Who knows what might happen if the Internet is deprived of basking in my warm and humble glow for a month. Buildings might dissolve into the sea, bombs fall from the sky, and deadly diseases run rampant through the street. Oh, wait, that is already happening.
In any case, I wont be posting my novel here. My baby got jacked serialization met with such utter disgust, I will never post an incomplete story here again. I hope you are all happy with yourselves.
Actually, you playa haters can redeem mine opinion of you by helping me answer a question. You see, Iím sort of in a quandary; I donít know what to write about. Iíve got three ideas for the novel. One involves the relationship between two characters; Iíve already written a number of short stories about this people. I already have a beginning, a couple bits in the middle, and an end. The problem is I donít know what the big conflict is, other than your run of the mill relationship problems, which will end up being quite a boring story. Yet, Iíve got two good characters that I already know a good deal about.
The other idea is something Iíd already used as the basis for a play. Actually, it was a class assignment, and we were only supposed to write the first scene. I did that, but also came up with the plot for the whole play and a rough sketch of every scene. There is a well-rounded cast of characters (five, so far), and the whole story (which involves murder, sex, a cross-country drive, police and fugitives) is already plotted.
I like that idea and Iíve already got everything figured out, but it really works better as a play, and NaNoWriMo is supposed to involve a new idea.
So, my last choice is an idea I came up with yesterday, which is sort of a 1,001 Arabian Nights kind of a thing, only it doesnít involve Arabians, or 1,001 stories (as each would have to be wrapped up in less than 50 words). There would be X number of stories, centered around one character (a late 20s male) and theme (the characterís relationship with the females in his life). Loosely speaking, there would be a plot carrying the central character from point A to point B, but each vignette would be itís own individual beast.
The last choice is my favorite, since it would be easiest, but it is also kind of cheating, since it would be a collection of essays rather than a novel. (Iím in the middle of reading Me Talk Pretty One Day, which probably influenced this idea). I need any advice on which topic to write about, or, actually just someone to tell me it would be okay to do the last idea so I donít feel guilty about it all month.
Anyway, when November 1st rolls around, Iíll be starting on my novel. Itíll be online, somewhere, Iíll let you know where it is when I figure it out where itíll be, most likely on one the other poorly maintained domains I own. If anyone else wants to put their novel online, and would like to put it up in the same place as mine, let me know, since Iíll be setting up Moveable Type and itíll be easy to set up multiple areas for each of us on the new server.
If you are interested and havenít signed up with NaNoWriMo yet, today is your last chance. And for us poor bastards who signed up, weíve got two more days to think of ourselves as writers before we are faced with the cold harsh reality of actually having to write, and realise we are nothing more than talkers. Or at least Iíll have to realise that.
But, Iíve still got two days to go, so I am still a writer in my own mind, and a damn fine one at that.
Ever since I can remember, my immediate family and I would attend at least one wedding a year. Aside from the itchy lace-laden dress-up clothes, I have fond memories of them. Hooligan cousins came from out of state, uncles would get drunk and sing off-key kareoke, and random old women claiming that were my great aunt's cousin's stepsister or something would load me up with cash and gifts. My first kiss was even at a wedding (I was a 5-year old flower girl, he was a 6-year old ring bearer. When I gave him a peck on the cheek, he screamed and ran away... a sign of how my freaky love would be accepted later in life). Anyway, Filipino weddings rock. I highly suggest attending one sometime.
So this weekend I attended a wedding of two of my relatively good buddies, thus making this my first non-Filipino wedding. The ceremony was half as long, my siblings weren't there to make smarmy remarks, and there wasn't any rice served at the reception dinner. Still, it was a lovely time.
Based on actual events at weddings I've been to, here is a list of dos and don'ts when planning your own wedding/partner-joining ceremony:
DO toss the boquet. Women in high heels after a few glasses of wine skittering about for a bunch of flowers? How can hilarity not ensue?
DON'T have your 15-year-old cousin reciting stellar poetry that skillfully rhymes the words "my" and "sky," "true" and "you," and "love" and "dove."
DO have children in the wedding party. Seeing those antsy kids fidget will make you forget about your doubts surrounding your get-wealthy-by-marrying-the-old-rich-guy plan.
DON'T read long passages from the Bible that emphasize the submission of wives to husbands. It will make your angry feminist friends want to throw things and scream at you.
DO serve alcohol. If you forget, it will make your angry alcoholic friends want to throw things and scream at you.
DO invite lots and lots of Filipinos. Filipinos = instant party. If you don't have Filipinos handy, call me up. I'll bring my family on the condition that you serve rice.
First of all, don't drink, it's bad for your liver, and many other things. But if you decide you want to anyway, for whatever reason - the fun, the glamour, the sex, or anything else you see in a beer commercial which must be real, then here are some helpful tips to get you through the drinking day.
First of all, you need to drink frequently. Go too long between binges and your tolerance will be minimal, and you won't be able to keep up with your drinking buddies. Heaven forbid! Remember, practice makes perfect. I wouldn't recommend drinking every single day, unless you want to, but every other day is good (for me at least). Gives you time to recover so you don't have that chronic-hungover thing going on. However, there is the Ďhair of the dogí philosophy - in which it is believed that hangovers can be cured by more booze. I don't see it, but hey, go ahead and give it a shot.
Well what do I do about these hangovers, you ask. Ahh, hangovers. Deal with them, you deserve them you lousy boozehound! No, haha, just kidding. Really, there are ways around the traditional hangover. First of all, eat salty things while you drink - pickled eggs are great, why do you think they have a big-ass jar of them in every dive-bar that is frequented by serious alcoholics? Think about it - salt. Alcohol dehydrates you, salt rehydrates you. Margaritas are a good idea, too, with all that salt on the rim. Never, never use a straw with a margarita. Defeats the purpose. That morning achey feeling can be avoided by taking several aspirins or advils before you go to bed, or with that quart of water you wake up, parched, and drink in the middle of the night. Don't take Tylenol! By itself, it can do serious liver damage. It doesn't go with booze.
So you ask, Booze Lady, should I mix my booze? By all means, yes! Mix that shit like there's no tommorow, because there might not be one! Moderation is for wussies, Long Island Iced Teas for everybody! Who knows when to say when? Not me!
Now, you may have heard that drinking alone is a sure sign of alcoholism. This may or may not be true, but personaly, I find that drinking on the internet is an ideal solution. You can surf around, make foolish, error-filled and idiotic comments on friends' websites. You can make bizarre and sappy posts on your own weblog if you have one, and by all means send emails! Lots of 'em! Then, you can have the adventure of going through your Sent Items the next morning to find out exactly how foolish you've been. Heck, it's all between friends, and if they aren't still friends after that, they never were.
Don't drink and drive. Drink and post! It's what I'm doing right now!
Sure, it sounds awfully Goldilocksish, but I was worried about ďsomeone eating my porridge, sitting in my chair, and sleeping in my bed.Ē I still am. Iíve got nice toys now, remember, I was a dot.com asshole. But, as nice as my consumer goods are, Iím really more worried about someoneís grubby little hands all over my stuff than about them taking it.
It gives me shivers to think of some gold toothed, Joe Pesci in Home Alone looking mook is sitting in his secret lair somewhere and listening to my favorite CD, wearing my favorite shirt, or posting to their blog using this, my trusty and well-worn laptop.
So, to learning my neighbor was robbed really freaks me out. Her apartment got hit between the time she left for work and when she got home that night. Luckily, if you can call it that, it doesnít appear the burglars took much. They left the TV (most importantly) and all her other electronic equipment. In fact, they stole so little she couldnít even tell what they had taken.
The thieves broke in through her kitchen window, did their dirty deed, and then went back out the window with whatever small bits they could carry with them. They looked through drawers, closets, and even the refrigerator. They hardly disturbed the place. Walking into her apartment for the first time, Iíd never guessed she was just robbed. Anything the thieves disturbed, whether stacks of paper from a filing cabinet, or boxes of clothes from the hall closet, were left piled neatly on the floor. It was no messier than my apartment is right now.
It looked as if the intruders had rooted around the apartment, searching though various paperwork. They probably broke in looking for hidden cash, credit card numbers and other info to be used for identity theft (Iím guessing). Either that, or my next-door neighbor is a law student who wrote a brief explaining her theory about a conspiracy behind the assassination of two Supreme Court justices; which has now placed her in jeopardy with the only person able to help an investigative reporter who looks vaguely like Wesley Snipes.
Itís just so strange, I was home almost the entire day and I didnít hear anything. Even if I did, I doubt Iíd have thought it out of the ordinary. Between my various neighbors, I hear all sorts of strange noises throughout the day. I felt bad nonetheless, thinking that my spider sense had failed me again. With great power comes great responsibility, and I spent the day irresponsibly jamming out to the new Fantastic Plastic Machine record, with my stereo turned up to 11, when I should have been watch-dogging my apartment for any signs of trouble.
Iím keeping an eye out now, but I doubt that my apartment could get robbed. As mentioned, my windows have bars. My neighborís windows donít; apparently, no kids ever lived there. I also keep plants on almost all my windowsills, like I was Leon from The Professional. If anyone were to break into my apartment, theyíd have Natalie Portman to deal with. Whenever I leave the house, I close and lock all windows without plants. And also I donít really leave the house that often.
Even still, Iím scared.
Which finally brings us to the whole point of this long, serialized story (which has everyone griping at me). The point is, if I wasnít already scared enough about leaving my house, what with the constant threat of a being hit by a hijacked passenger jet, breathing in anthrax spores during one of my frequent trips to the set of NBC Nightly News, having serin gas released in the subway car Iím riding, or even just getting hit in the head with a brick by a homeless guy, I Ďm now scared to leave my house in case I come back to find someone has been sleeping in my bed.
I've made a habit of going shopping on payday recently, largely because I couldn't for several months this summer when I was unemployed. Now that I have an income again, well, there's just lots of stuff I want. I try to get a new CD and/or DVD every two weeks, maybe a computer game; you know, little, but satisfying, stuff. Today it was a Dave Matthews Band CD and some new RAM for my computer.
Anyway, this new habit (I've never been much of a shopper) means I am going into the mall more often than I have at any time since I quit the retail job I had part-time when I was in school. And I notice things, some of which disturb me.
When I go to the mall nearest my house, I usually enter through the Dillard's department store - it's convenient to the front parking lot and debauches at the main juncture of the rest of the mall. Two weeks ago, walking through Dillard's, I noticed that the center aisles - which are usually wide, clear swathes of tastefully speckled tile - had been loaded up with massive piles of gift-y type stuff. I go in through the men's department, so the store looked like you might expect it to about two weeks before Father's Day. I had a bad feeling about this development, but I pushed it aside.
Well, today, I once again walked in through the Dillard's men's dept. and my bad feeling was confirmed: In addition to somehow having found room for yet more piles of cheesy what-a-great-gift-for-dad crap, they had Christmas trees scattered all over the store.
Christmas trees! It's still a few days before Halloween and they already have Christmas trees up!
Now, keep in mind that I'm a Southerner (a real Southerner, not a Floridian or a Texan). I like to make a big deal out of traditions, especially holidays and days off with pay. But there's an implied "within reason" hidden in the celebration of traditional festivities. If you were to show up in New Orleans and shout "Show us your tits!" at random women on Bourbon Street six weeks before Mardi Gras, you wouldn't be surprised if you didn't get a favourable response. Likewise, Christmas trees on display before we've even finished getting our Halloween costumes together is not within reason. I mean, what, exactly, is the rush anyway?
When I was a kid (not all that long ago, mind), it was not unusual to see the Christmas decorations start to go up right before Thanksgiving. And that makes some sense, since Black Friday (the retail trade's name for the day after Turkey Day) is the quasi-official start date for Christmas shopping. But they've been going up earlier and earlier every year I can remember. If they keep going this way, they'll just get to the point where they don't even bother to take them down. The whole mall will be one big iteration of that godawful Christmas store that pops up in an empty storefront in every mall in America every October - the one that sells nothing but tacky, plaster Christmas tree statues for eight weeks, has a two-week Slashed Prices! Everything Must Go! sale, and then quietly disappears overnight. Or, more to the point, every shopping venue in the country will be like your lazy neighbour who leaves his lights up on his house year round.
So, I think we need a rule or something, maybe an amendment that codifies tradition. Christmas comes after Thanksgiving, which comes after Halloween, which comes after Labour Day. Public spaces should not be decorated for one until the previous one has passed. That would be a good rule, wouldn't it? And we could enforce it by refusing to shop anywhere, for anything, that had Christmas decorations up any earlier than, say, a week before Thanksgiving. Within reason, of course.
I mentioned my early familial homestead because we got burgled a lot living there. Besides for my climbing incidents, one of my only other toddler hood memories is coming home to find our apartment had been robbed. I couldnít comprehend, coming into a newly ransacked apartment, that someone had been inside my home looking through and stealing my stuff. It looked to 3 year-old me as if someone had been climbing the bookshelf; toppled it and things had gone flying everywhere.
In the year or so we lived there, we got robbed several times. I donít remember exactly how many times, but I know it happened enough that we stopped bothering to replace things. Or, my mom would replace a stolen item with such trash that even drug-jonesing robbers didnít want it. We went through at least two television sets before my mom just got this tiny, second-hand black and white TV that was old even back in 1979. I never thought about it until just now, but I think itís pretty strange that even though things picked up for us, I still had that TV in my room until I left for college 15+ years later.
I remember one of the times they robbed us they took my piggy bank. Now, Iíve often thought about a life of crime. I think Iíd be pretty good at it (remember my cat-like climbing ability). But I canít imagine ever stealing from a kid. Cripes, what kind of sick bastard steals piggy bank? I wouldnít even do that for drug money, which probably explains my inability to successfully become a drug addict or alcoholic; whenever I run out of money, I actually stop using; what a faking failure!
How do you explain to a three-year old that some stranger had his grubby paws all over your stuffed animals and Fisher Price farm set; had actually stolen your piggy bank and taken all those pennies youíd been diligently saving up for months.
Now, there probably wasnít more than a couple dollars in the piggy bank, but to a little kid that means a lot. And when I was a kid, I took money seriously. I donít go around spending it frivolously on Flintstones Chewable Vitamins, Match Box Cars and Raggedy Anne Dolls. My mom likes to tell this story about how every time I found a penny Iíd pick it up, hand it to her and say ďFor bread.Ē She, being the gracious provider, would, of course give the money back to me and tell me to put it in my piggy bank when I got home. What use was of that, though, when youíve got drug fiends breaking into your pad and stealing your penny horde every other month.
But, it wasnít the money that really got me. It wasnít the fact that they had taken something of mine that bothered me. It was more the idea that someone had been touching my stuff. I was most bothered by the thought of some stranger in my room (well, my side of the room) playing with my toys, reading my Golden books, and sleeping in my bed.
Sure, it sounds awfully Goldilocksish, but I really was worried about ďsomeone eating my porridge, sitting in my chair, and sleeping in my bed.Ē I still am. Iíve got some really nice stuff now, remember, I was a dot.com asshole for a year. But, as nice as my consumer goods are, Iím really more worried about someone using my stuff than about taking it.
Is that strange? Well, even if it is strange, it is the way I feel, and have always felt. I canít really change something thatís been ingrained in me since I was three years old. At any rate, that strange fear of someone touching my consumer items and unmentionables which makes the way my neighbor got robbed all the more frightening to me. Unfortunately, Iíll have to wait until next time to talk about that.
Attention: all those in search of Osama bin Laden, Usama ben Laden, Taliban, Taleban, Afghanistan, Afganistan, WTC, World Trade Center, Anthrax, Cipro, etc., jokes, songs, naked pictures, games, videos, conspiracy theories, etc. - what you are looking for is here. Enjoy.
It reminds me of my toddler years. When I was younger, we were pretty poor. I lived with my mom, and we didnít really get much (any) help from my dad. My mom is really smart. She was a pre-med student in college, and had been doing computer programming back when they still used punch cards and COBOL. But, she went through a tough period after I was born. If it werenít for me, my mom would probably be a senator or the CEO of eBay by now.
I donít blame myself, though; she was the one stupid enough to get pregnant. Which is how we ended up living in this crappy apartment, in this really crappy neighborhood. I was about three or four at the time, and I donít remember much about it, or really much of anything from my youth.
I do remember it was a tiny one room apartment. To separate the space and give both us both a little privacy, because who needs privacy more than a three year-old, my mom put up this bookcase in the middle of the room. On one side of the room were my bed, toys, and whatever other junk a three year-old has. On my motherís side of the barricade was all her adult stuff. I remember my side of the room pretty clearly, yet I canít remember a single thing from her side, it was just boring adult stuff.
At any rate, the shelving she put up were this really unsteady metal deally that she still was using up until this year. Actually, it was probably in good shape when I was 3, but, before I finally convinced her to get rid of it, 20+ years later, it had become this twisted, jagged and rusty collection of metal bits, more suitable for trapping bears than shelving books.
I bring up the fact it was sturdy back in the day, because one of my most vivid memories of childhood was of climbing those shelves. Iím not sure if other babies climb things, but people often say I must have been a cat in a previous life. That assessment is based as much on my love of climbing random objects (even today) as it is on my hot and cold interest of the world around me, ability to sleep in awkward positions, and constantly licking of myself.
I would climb those shelves on an almost daily basis; whenever I got bored thinking about what letter was going to sponsor Sesame Street tomorrow, or whether my diaper needed changing. A large percentage of my climbing excursions ended with the shelf tipping over and falling on top of me. Which probably explains their poor state today.
I really donít know what my deal was. Maybe I can understand why, after the first time the bookcase fell over on me I climbed it a second time. But why after the third, fourth, fifteenth time I got buried in Volumes Ha through Ni of our 1972 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica I would have learned something.
But I didnít learn a thing from my early mountaineering experience.
Unfortunately, that has nothing to do with why I bring up my childhood home. To be continuedÖ
My neighbor got burglared yesterday.
New York is a dangerous and scary place, but, for as long as I can remember, Iíve felt pretty safe living here. My neighborhood, for all its multiculturalism, is pretty gentrified. My building is safe, it doesnít have a doorman, but you need to be buzzed in or have a key. Iíve got three locks on my door, one of which is this impenetrable Israeli deal, and you know how those Israelis are about security.
I also live on the first floor, near the elevator, so it isnít likely someone would try to jack my front door. My windows look out over an alley, which may seem unsafe considering Iím on the first floor, but it is near impossible to get in that way; they are a good 12 feet above the ground. Most of my windows are within the buildingís backyard, which is enclosed by a 15 foot high, locked fence. The bedroom windows, which arenít enclosed by the fence, are above the downward-sloped entrance to the building basement, which means they are another 5-6 feet off the ground (20 feet total). You arenít getting in that way, unless youíve got a ladder, or are Spiderman, and I wouldnít mind Peter Parker stopping by at all.
Even if you managed to climb the side of the wall, Iíve got bars on my windows. Maybe I should have just said that first. My windows are barred. Actually, they arenít the security bars, but rather the safety bars. Before I lived in this apartment, my Aunt and Uncle lived here. At one point, they had two small kids, and it is some sort of law here in New York that you have to have bars on your windows so your kids donít fall out. I think that law came about after Eric Claptonís kid fell out the window. Remember that? Wasnít it sad. At least we got a good adult contemporary song out of it. The point is that even though they arenít sturdy bars, it would be a major pain in the ass to get in with them in the window, and a major pain in the ass to take them out of the window.
All this is just building up to me saying I feel safe in my apartment. And, as you all know, before living here, I lived in Iowa. You canít get much safer than that. All those preconceptions about sleeping with your door unlocked are true. Not only that, but most of the places I lived, I didnít even have keys to lock the door even if I wanted to. So, Iíve felt safe in my living arrangements for a long time. But hearing that my neighbor, my next door neighbor, had her apartment jacked yesterday, well, it just makes me feel unsafe.
(I've got a problem. All those words up there, and I didn't even get close to talking about what I wanted to talk about. Y'all are going to hate me, but - to be continued...)
This was in my box when I checked my mail this morning:
Itís the year 2005. America has struck back hard and is winning the global war on terrorism. But a new and frightening threat has appeared on the horizon, one that could destroy Americaís oil reserves and the entire West Coast.
I thought, ďOh fuck! Have I sleep through another four years?!Ē
I have appointed myself to a new position within our government's administration. I am now the Driving Czar. It is my job to make sure this nation follows the rules and regulations set forth by various legislative codes in regards to driving.
There are an awful lot of you out there who either don't know the rules or have just chosen to ignore them. This is bad. This makes for unsafe highways, road rage and a nation of cursers. We need less hostility, folks, and obeying the laws of the road can go a long way towards making for a peaceful existence.
I'm going to start off with the basics. Refamiliarize you with the general rules of courtesy, respect and proper driving habits. The first, and most important, is:
Use Of Turning Signals. You may call them directionals, or blinkers. Whatever the culture of your particular geographic region dictates (like a pop/soda thing), this much is clear: YOU HAVE TO USE THEM
Let me walk you through this. Imagine you are driving. Grab hold of the imaginary steering wheel (hands at 10 and 2 of course). Now, take your left hand and move it to the left of the steering wheel. If you wiggle your fingers a bit, you should hit the directional lever. Bet you didn't even know it was there!
With me so far? Ok, now suppose you are going to make a left hand turn, or switch to the lane to your left (when switching lanes, it is a good idea to make sure that the lane you are going into is for traffic headed the same way as you). Put your hand on the lever and push it gently down. You should hear a ticking sound or, in some cases, a dinging. If you look on your dashboard, there should be a little blinking arrow lit up, pointing to the left. This means you have succeeded in turning on your directional (I know you are pretending at the moment, so just visualize, ok?). Once the lever is down and the sound and/or arrow are indicating leftward movement, you may proceed to make sure your path is clear, and then continue on with your intended movement. If you are looking to make a rightward movement, apply all the preceding steps, except move the lever UP instead of DOWN. I know, this is confusing and new. Take a moment to write this all down.
We use our directionals for several reasons. First, it lets other drivers know your intentions. You do not want to be in a left lane, with miles of traffic behind you, and suddenly spring on the driver to your rear that you are going to turn, something that usually takes a few moments to do. Other drivers tend to get nasty when you do this to them, and as Driving Czar, I would like to see a reduction in the percentage of irate drivers. Second, if you are changing lanes, this lets other drivers know. This is important because if you switch lanes without signaling, people will make up new and creative things to call you. They will not be pleasant things. They may even use their own signal of sorts, when they stick their hand out of their car window and salute you with their middle finger held up. This means they are mad. If it is accompanied by cursing and name-calling, they are a bit more than mad. They may tailgate you and/or harass you. And honestly, as Driving Czar, I give them the liberty to do this. People who do not use their directionals are subject to any kind of abuse that other drivers may throw at them, and I will not deter these pissed off drivers from smacking you upside your head once they catch up to you. Think of them as my street team. My personal driving vigilantes.
So letís recap. Using directionals good. Not using directionals bad. Good means less mad drivers. Bad means you get bitchslapped. Go to your cars and practice. I know you will get the hang of it eventually.
By now, everyone has seen the picture of the Pakistani protestor who set himself on fire while attempting to set the American flag ablaze. He may have been the only person to set himself on fire, but he certainly wasnít the only one trying to spark up Old Glory. Some people in Pakistan sure do hate America. I just canít figure that one out.
And people in Afghanistan hate America more now than they did two months ago. Donít they understand this is a humanitarian war? These people should be thanking us for trying to liberate them, not setting our flags on fire and hijacking our childrenís television characters for their own insidious purposes.
Weíre dropping food from planes, for goodness sakes. There are people living in America who would kill to have food dropped on them from planes. Right now Iíd give my right gonad for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Man, Iím starving.
Iím sitting here hungry, and there are all these ungrateful Afghanis who donít appreciate everything America is doing for them. Okay, sure, some of the food has fallen into minefields, and maybe some people have gotten exploded. But, people of Afghanistan, because I know you are all avid Bad Samaritan readers, it isnít our fault if you get blowed up. I mean, sheesh, if you live in a country with more landmines per capita than any other in the world youíd think youíd have learned not to run all willy nilly into minefields.
Itís not like the United States was even the country that planted those minefields (do you plant minefields; is that what itís called?). It was your own government that planted all those land mines. We are trying to be nice by dropping aid packages, donít blame us. Blame yourselves. Or, better yet, blame the Russians, they probably planted some of those landmines. How come you arenít setting the olí hammer and sickle alight?
Or, if you need to irrationally hate someone why donít you hate Microsoft for the setting unrealistic expectations of mine removal techniques with their Minesweeper game. Everyone already hates Bill Gates, so youíd finally be with the rest of the world, not against it.
And Microsoft even has that flaggy looking logo you could print out on your Macs and then burn, since you guys love flag burning so much. Iíd guess there are more flag burnings per capita in Afghanistan than in any other country. More flag burnings than landmines even.
Unfortunately, even with all the other people to hate and flags to burn, if there is an American Flag in Afghanistan, there is certainly a book of matches and a can of lighter fluid nearby. Take, for example, the unfortunate story of Miss Al Quaeda.
Miss Al Quaeda was a participant in this yearís Miss Taliban Pageant. Prognosticators had her picked to win the contest, hands down, until she made an ill-fated choice in swimwear. The crowd, which had cheered her plate spinning abilities, and applauded her magnificent full-body evening-veil, quickly turned against her. She was set on fire for wearing the American flag bikini, and her corpse was then stoned for just plain wearing a bikini.
You know you've thought it, watching tv some nights: the commercials are better than the programs. Sometimes it's hard not think that advertising and marketing is the real art of the 20th (and possibly the 21st) century, and the field where real genius is at work.
I mean, some of the things they think of are absolutely brilliant. Let's look at something as simple as automobile model names. Have you ever noticed that some of these names are conceived specifically to make you want to buy other, more expensive models?
Prelude: Not a real car, but an introduction to a real car. This is just a hint of what it would be like to own, say, an Accord, or even an Integra, now that's a car with self-worth. Boy, wouldn't that be nice. Maybe next time, eh?
Aspire: to a Taurus? A Mustang? A new T-Bird? There's got to be something better and more expensive than what you're driving.
Probe: Just investigating, checking things out, seeing how I like this "car" business. If it turns out well, maybe next time we'll take an Excursion.
I can't help but admire that. You've just plunked down thousands of dollars for a new car, and automobile marketers have already made you admit to yourself and anyone who cares to read the model name on your trunk that you'd rather be driving something more expensive. They know perfectly well that people have done dumber things than buy car they couldn't afford because they've been made to feel inferior. They're counting on it. And it works.
Anyone want to buy a slightly used Daihatsu Charade?
So begins day two of mg having absolutely nothing to say. I really don't know what is going on, since I can usually talk and talk and talk without ever having anything worthwhile to say.
But now, not only do I have nothing to say, when I sit down to say it, nothing comes out. Or, if something does comes out, it is something godawful and boring, like this and yesterday.
It's times like this when I'm glad I have such a talented and delicious cast. Even as badly as I'm doing the last couple days, I know that they will carry me through. Them and nude pictures of washed up celebrities and soon to be washed out terrorists.
I just now remember that I had been doing a casting call, looking for new Bad Samaritans. I was so happy when I picked up Michele that I completly forgot to keep looking. So interested parties, send me mail and let me know.
Slowly getting through the list of folks who've tried their hands at a Three Minute Blog ©. Here are four more:
... miguel @ feral living (for real this time)
... moira @ So Blue It's Black
... aden @ tilted wisdom
... torie @ p.a.r.a.c.h.u.t.e..l.i.t.e (a repeat offender)
I've got nothing to say.
Sure, I could crow about how many hits Iíve been getting recently. But Iíll leave the humble/boastful bit to someone who does a much better job of it than I ever could. Besides, I donít want to make anyone who, say got 3000 hits yesterday and was happy about it feel bad because I got 9000. Sure, 85% of those came from Osama bin Laden joke, song and game seekers. Those people stayed for a bit, and looked at the Usama bin laden nudie pics, but will probably never be back. Today, Google hates me and I havenít got any. Any hits. Though, I havenít gotten anything else either.
In other news, the webring I started, ameriBLOGs, now has 70+ members, 50 of whom have joined since September 11th. Show your pride in the red white and blue (or hate of the American running dog pigs) and visiting every single one of the members. After you've done that, how about joining the ring yourself.
After the marathon effort of switching over all the templates for the new layout, I want nothing to do with Bad Samaritan for a while. Unfortunately, things need to get done. Iíve added a bio for the new guy, Mauddib and for the new gal, Squee (though, who cares about her, she hasnít even posted yet). Also updated snaggleís bio. I really should update mine, but see above in regards to my motivation.
Okay. Yes, I know. This post sucked. But check out something I wrote for the dreamlog. Go there, read and then analyze my dream. And please realize I already know Iím a kook, if you donít have something constructive to say, please donít say anything at all.
"If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavors to live a life which they have imagined, they will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
Sounds like good advice, doesn't it? The problem is, when Thoreau advanced confidently in the direction of his dreams, he didn't have to worry about anti-stalking laws, restraining orders, guard dogs, and Chris Judd's fists (still, that's easier than what I was up against when she was with Puffy). Let's face it: as a goal, Walden Pond is pretty reachable, unlike, say, certain Hollywood celebrity mansions. Building a cabin on your buddy's property, yeah, you're a tough guy. Is that pretty scary, fighting off the squirrels? You ever underestimate how many tranquilizers a rottweiler needs?
Yeah, so you spent a night in jail because you wouldn't pay a poll tax. Big fucking deal. I spent two months in prison, and another six in a psych ward! I painted 398 pictures of her in art therapy, and sent her every last one! That, my transcendentalist friend, is endeavor!
You want to live deliberately? Sponging off your mentor and taking long walks ain't gonna cut it my book. Try setting out to win the heart of a pop-culture princess! Try sneaking into her home while she's asleep! Try mailing her sawed-off bits of yourself! See what kind of success you can unexpect doing that!
In short, fuck you very much, Henry David Thoreau, for your inspirational words. If I advance confidently within 500 meters of my dream, I'm gonna spend all my common hours for the next three years afraid to drop the soap!
(To be fair, Thoreau firmly believed that the government that governs best, governs least, so I suppose he would have been on my side as far as the legal issues go. Down with anti-stalking legislation!)
groggy groggy groggy...
Food...mamam...I need food..
Hmm. Vitamin pills.
* Pop *
* chukss chukss *
' Men's Multi '
If there's anything the events of the last few weeks have taught us, it is that anthrax spores are everywhere. If, at any time, you have been breathing or touching things, there is a chance you have anthrax. Remember, the first rule of self-diagnosis is: if you think you have it, you probably do. Sure, there are those authorities telling us that the chances of infection are extremely small, but do not allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security with these lies - as we know, authorities are usually working in hand-in-hand with Ďthemí. In all this furor over terrorism, we must not lose sight of the possibility of a conspiracy. Trust no one.
You might want to have some symptoms to back up your suspicions, but that's not difficult - it's just a matter of being vigilant. The most deadly form of the disease is inhalation anthrax. The infection initially causes flu-like symptoms, which is a very broad category indeed. Do you feel sniffly? Body aches? Trouble breathing or swallowing, nose pain, twitchiness, a vague feeling of unease? Does your hair hurt (remember, that includes eyelashes)? How are your eyelashes feeling? Aha! I thought so. You may have anthrax.
The most commonly reported type of anthrax is the cutaneous type. The first signs would be lesions, sores, bumps, any sort of skin irregularity (use your imagination here - hey, that's not a zit!). It may spread to the lymph nodes, so if your glands are feeling kinda funny, well, you probably have anthrax.
There hasn't been much publicity about intestinal anthrax, but Ďtheyí probably don't want us to know about it. If you feel bloated or gassy, or have experienced nausea or any change in your bowel movements, there is good reason to suspect you've contracted anthrax. How, you might ask, will you know if your bowel movements change? My advice is to inspect them very carefully, and take notes - keep a little poop diary in your bathroom so you won't forget.
If you experience any of these symptoms (or some that I haven't mentioned, be creative here), rush to your doctor right away and demand that he prescribe Cipro. It's in short supply, so it's important to make sure you get yours. Remember, conspiracies abound, and it's always prudent to panic first and ask questions later (if at all). WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE. Well, someday.
I have a confession to make to all of you: I am a mass murderer. Yes, you read that correctly. I have ended the lives of many innocents, and it appears that Iím not going to stop. I show little remorse and little compassion for those whose lives I end without a thought. I donít even hear their plaintive calls for deliverance and for me to spare their lives. It bothers me not when I hear the small noise that means their life has ended. I do not derive pleasure from it, but I canít stop. You may thus from hereon out address me by my crime:
Snaggle, the Ladybug Murderer.
My room is really odd. I think the windows have large cracks in them or something, for every afternoon there are twenty or so ladybugs crawling around my window. Normally, Iím a pretty peaceful guy. I donít go out of my way to harm things (unless theyíre spiders or centipedes or other creepy-crawlies. Actually, then I still donít go out of my way to harm them Ė I usually scream and run away and then try to get my big butch roommate to kill them.) Ladybugs, especially, are pretty harmless. Iím not fond of any type of insect, but I might go so far as to call them cute. Besides, who couldnít love Denis Leary as the gruff ladybug guy Francis in A Bugís Life?
Be that as it may, Iím also fond of having a lot of light in my room, since otherwise I fall asleep and drool over Nietzsche (which just isnít a good idea in any way, shape, or form.) So I have this floor lamp that I usually have on in addition to the overhead light in my room. A few weeks ago, I kept hearing this little tink! noise coming from the lamp. I look at the bowl-shaped light director on the top and discover that ladybugs, attracted to the light, flew to the lamp and fell in, promptly dying from the heat of the bulb. ďHow sad,Ē I thought, but I didnít turn the lamp off or do anything about it. Ladybugs kept falling in whenever I had it on at night, and I didnít think anything of it until tonight when I noticed a strange odor building up in my room and realized...
My room smells like baked ladybug.
I'm not one to post chat logs, but this one is just too precious not to. So far, the shared Bad Samaritan / Surreally / Six Different Ways chat room has been an unmitigated success. Well, I suppose it is a tiny bit mitigated, considering all the server downtime, but heck that's part of the challenge. If chatting were meant to be easy, all those AOL users would be able to do it.
We've been pretty problem free, as far as trolls go. A night ago, however, we got one. I suppose it is troll bait to have linked the room up as the Osama bin Laden Chat Room. It seemed like a fun little joke at the time, really. And so far, the trolls have reigned themselves in and merely made comments or sent me emails; until retard, I've been the only victim of my own hit whoring.
Anyway, if I'll just post this now and shut up.
There you have it. If that isn't an advertisement for the chat room I don't know what is.
So, if youíve noticed, the often discussed, but heretofore previously unused layout is finally up. Isnít it all new, improved, and sparkly fresh? This is Version 5 of the site, and it is, by far, the best one yet.
And I didnít want to mention this, because you know how much I hate tooting my own horn, but the new layout has 20% more than before. Iím not sure what it has more of, but I do know it has 20% more of something.
Here are some cool features of the new layout:
** The code is lighter. On average, each post weighs about 5k less than with the old template. The main index and weekly archive pages weigh at least 30k less apiece. Now, a couple kilobytes here there isnít that big a deal for you lucky bastards with DSL, cable or fat T1 lines. But for those unfortunate enough to be stuck using dialup (like me), it will make a big difference.
** The lighter pages also means the server that hosts my site wont have to work as hard. If traffic keeps up like it has, Iíll surpass my monthly allowance. That means Iíll have to pay more, which is impossible because I have no money. If saving a couple K here and there means I donít have to pay more, Iím happy, which should make you happy too.
** Maybe itís just me, but the old layout was pretty busy. This new one is too, but it is much less so. But believe it or not, there is more information on the page. As a (former) usability guru, I like having more information up front. There is now more info up front and it is organized better. I am happy.
** Using CSS means it wont be such a hassle the next time I update the layout (which, considering how much trouble Iíve gone through this time probably wonít be for another decade (though, it might be like childbirth; it totally faking hurts now, but a year from now Iíll forget all about the pain)).
** Using CSS means that if I ever wanted to make Bad Samaritan skinable, meaning the user could choose their favorite amongst a couple different designs and always have that version load when they visit that site. Itís totally stupid and pointless, but itís a nice little bell and whistle.
** It just looks better.
Some problems and potential problems:
** There is still this pesky little problem with Netscape. There is a 50/50 chance that when a page is loaded in Netscape 4.x the browser will crash. Iím in a quandary, however, because sometimes a page will load without a problem and sometimes that same page will cause Netscape to poop its shorts. If there were some consistency to the problem, Iíd be able to find it and fix it. Since I canít pinpoint the problem and less than 10% of you actually use Netscape 4.x or lower, Iím just going to put the layout up and hope you guys learn your lesson and either upgrade to NS6 or start using a real browser, like Internet Explorer. If you happen to be among the select few Netscape users, why donít you send me an email if youíve got a problem (said mg knowing that half of those who click that link will have their browsers crashed).
** The friends list. Before you start sending me emails bitching me out because you think Iíve taken your name off the list of friends, please stop, collaborate and listen. I havenít removed anyone from the list. Iíve added people. I havenít really added everyone Iíve wanted since I didnít want the list to stretch out and look like crap, so now, there are more sites linked, but only 10 will show up at any one time. A different series of 10 links will randomly be displayed every time the page is loaded, plus there is a list of all the sites on the list. If your name isnít on the list and you want it to be, just send an email and I will more than likely link you up. Iím a nice guy that way.
** Iím a perfectionist. Even if this site were to win a Webby award for ďMost Beautiful Website EverĒ I would still not be happy. Look for me to be making minor tweaks constantly over the next couple weeks. Who am I kidding? Iíll be twiddling with the design until version 6 comes along.
At any rate, the new design, for better or worse.
First of all, I'm trying to like Enya. I have a friend who likes Enya, so I've chucked my attitude of ĎEnya must be stoppedí, in an attempt to have an open mind. So, today I discovered that Enya is actually quite good if played very, very loud in a car that is going 90ish miles per hour.
This is a regular drive, an every other week meeting at a client's office, which is 26 miles away. It starts at 9:30, so I try to get on the road by 9:10, 9:12 at the latest. Today was more of a 9:16 day, so it was necessary to make up the time by driving very, very fast. After I get through the bottleneck and construction areas, the freeway opens up to four lanes, and people speed up, I'd say the average speed is 75mph. However, 75 will not get me there on time, so it's necessary to do what some people might call, Ďdrive like a maniací, although there is nothing maniacal about my driving. It's very calm, very focused, very Zen.
Around the time I hit the Zen zone, Enya came on, and I deviated from policy by reaching down and turning the volume knob up to the highest level for clear sound. Ordinarily, there is no messing with the stereo in this zone, just as there are no cell phones, no eating, drinking, smoking, or grooming. There is only driving, and very loud music.
Enya was quite good at around 95, which I maintained for most of that song and the next, which was Pink Floyd's Run Like Hell. At this speed, sitting with shoulders squared and hands at 10 and 2, breathing deeply, life is thrilling, and I am very much alive. I track the movements of the cars around me not only visually but viscerally, to feel where they are and will be as i move through them. My eyes are fixed straight forward, perceiving in my periphery the mirrors, only glancing directly in the rear view every 10 seconds or so for a fraction of a second, because, well, cops are a problem at this speed. So are idiots - so it is necessary to constantly mentally update a minimum of two escape routes, because when (not if) one of the other drivers pulls one of those bonehead maneuvers, there's no time to check or think, just react. I maintain a state of preparedness, because after all, this IS life and death we're talking about.
Heading up the Conejo Grade, I encounter a challenging array of people who neglected to purchase a vehicle with a power-to-weight ratio that would allow it to be driven up hills at any respectable speed, and also forgot that slower vehicles are supposed to keep to the right. They get slow in whatever lane they were in, and if they do change lanes at this point, it slows them down even further. Driving up the hill and into the first wisps of low clouds, I think to myself, this cannot be good. Sure enough, at the top of the hill traffic comes to a rather sudden halt, as we pass the scene of an accident - four cars, a Corvette, a Mustang, an SUV of some sort and a pickup truck, all shiny new except for extensive crumple zone damage. I think Ďstupid yuppiesí and then am startled by that thought (quickly checking myself) nope, I'm not one. Whew! That was scary.
At this point it's 9:30, and I have at least five minutes to go, the traffic is a little tighter up here, which takes the fun out of this - now it's more dog-eat-dog, but the closer you get to the LA county line, that's just the way it goes. I get to the exit, having to remind myself several times via the use of a mnemonic (it's Hampshire road so I think, hamster road, because hamsters are funny). And yes, I make this drive regularly, but one of the problems with the zone is its tendency to make you miss exits - things just zoom past, physically and mentally. I do manage get off at Hampshire/hamster road, but exiting the zone takes a little longer, and for a moment I'm disoriented. It's like you look at a word you use all the time thinking, this can't be right, but by the time I hit the bottom of the offramp, I'm back, and in the right place. Total time, door to door, 26 miles with fog and an accident: 20 minutes.
There was, however, another very similar celebrity encounter. The big difference is that this one involved a superstar I actually care about. The bigger difference is that I actually talked to this celeb. To be more exact, she talked to me. Well, sent an email, but you get the idea.
The celeb in question is none other than Michele from A Small Victory, the blog formerly known as A Fire Inside. Not only did she talk to me, but she had a question for me. And not just a question, but an utterly shocking and amazing proposal.
No, not marriage, she is already hooked up. But close, at least in the sense that when the proposed union is complete we'll both end up sweaty and in need of a cigarette.
Yes, Michele's offer involved her joining Bad Samaritan. I had no choice but to accept. So, please welcome Michele, whoíll be known around these parts as Squee.
Yesterday was a good day.
I told you I couldnít talk to Lili Taylor, even if I wanted to, because I had someplace to be. You see, I managed to fall into some work. Considering Iíve been unemployed for 4 months now, me finding paying work is a phenomenal occurrence, suitable for an entire episode of Ripleyís Believe it or Not.
Nothing permanent or full time. Just a fluffy bit of freelance, thatíll take no more than a couple days over the course of a couple weeks. Iím helping out a friend teaching a production course over at FIT. Basically, Iíll be taking on the role of an outside contractor to help a group students in his class put together a live, working website.
Now, this isnít going to be anything strenuous, it wonít but take a couple hours here and there, and it certainly wont make a dent in my debt. But last night I went in for the first meeting with the kids and man did I enjoy myself.
I have to say that this unemployment, staying at home with nothing to do all day, is slowly killing me. (And I donít just mean because I canít afford to buy food.)
Sure, no one really likes to work, but if I had a choice between working and not working, Iíd always choose working. If itís a job I really enjoy doing, I can get off on doing it. I get a harder hard-on out there working hard than I do sitting at home looking at porn.
At Razorfish, I worked at least 10 hours a day, every day. I loved it. I hated the Israelis, so I spent as little time there as possible. But damn, I did so much my final year at university I should be dead now.
I worked 20 hours a week. I did freelance work maintaining and building websites for about another 5+ hours a week. I was a teacherís assistant for two classes. I was the President of the Student Union Board. I was the publisher of the student newspaper. I was the member of two clubs, an officer in one. I volunteered at least two nights a week at the campus bar/music venue. I was searching for post graduation work. And, oh yeah, I also took classes, including graduate level work. Did I mention I was a double major?
I did all that and still managed to go out and have fun all the time. Looking back, I canít remember ever sleeping. But I loved it. Now. I wake up, eat breakfast, write something for Bad Samaritan, and spend a couple hours sending out resumes. Thatís all I do all day, everyday. Itís awful.
So, going out last night and doing even the miniscule amount of work I had to do was the absolute best feeling Iíve had in a long time. But something else happened that made me feel even betterÖ
the participants: two roommates
the prop: a cordless phone, based in the kitchen
the scenario: roommate X wants to use the phone. roommate Y is sitting in the living room, listening to the stereo.
the question: the proper course for roommate X is to a) go into the living room and turn down the stereo, b) go into the living room and ask roommate Y to turn down the stereo, or c) go into a room with no stereo.
Please use the comments for your answer, and, if possible, write why your choice is most appropriate. Feel free to offer other options, if such options should occur to you.
Yesterday was a good day.
Looking back, I canít say for sure that anything great happened. It was just a lot of ďgoodĒ things. Itís been rare that Iíve been able to have a good day, recently. More often, itís been a string of days, neither good nor bad, with one no different than the other, stretching out to infinity.
But, yesterday was a good day.
I had somewhere to be yesterday (Iíll get to that later). On my way there, sitting on the subway, I looked up and saw what do I see? Sitting diagonally across form me was none other than Lili Taylor, a real life celebrity (unlike me, an internet celebrity).
You probably donít know Lili Taylor. She is sort of an indie movie superstar though, like Parker Posey or Steve Buscemi. All that really means is that she has been in lots of movies that have audience ranging well into the dozens. She is idolized and adored by indie geeks the world over.
Well, there she was sitting right there in front of me. But I didnít gush. Being an indie geek myself, I am well familiar with her work. Iím always excited and shocked (because she never gets top billing) to see her in a movie. But, to tell the truth, I didnít really like I Shot Andy Warhol, and the witches vignette was my least favorite of the four rooms in Four Rooms, despite the nudity.
Besides, I save the gushing for when I talk to really famous people. And, if you live in New York, you never never never ask a celebrity for an autograph. Itís just poor taste, and if someone catches you doing it, they have the right to take away your ďCool New YorkerĒ card.
If you live in New Your long enough you are guaranteed to spot a celebrity. They are everywhere. I used to see them all the time when I used to work in Soho. In the hood I worked, there were three major films shot in the period of the eight months I was there. One of the films was Glitter but I never saw Mariah Carey (and no one saw Glitter).
But you can also see celebrities on a pretty regular basis doing normal all sorts of normal. You can spot the shopping in the supermarket, riding the subway, sitting at the next table having a few drinks, and picking up transvestite hookers. You know, normal stuff.
Even though you see celebrities all the time, I imagine there is some secret neighborhood in the city where all the celebrities live, and folks like me canít get in. Some magical world that only the most famous people can visit. And then, of course, a ghetto of that neighborhood for indie stars like Taylor, Buscemi, Michael Rapaport, and Eric Stoltz.
So, while I certainly wasnít going to ask Lili Taylor for her autograph I was thinking of following her home. You know, just to see where the celebrities hang out. Unfortunately, I had someplace to beÖ
I didnít actually do anything this time, but for some reason Iím back near the top of the search engine results for Osama bin Laden jokes, songs, pictures and games. I donít really have any of those things. I do, however, have lots of pictures of Osama bin laden naked. And for of you too dense to notice the link over on the left, those nude pics are here.
As if living in New York wasn't hard enough, now we've got to watch out for airplanes, falling buildings, and anthrax.
We thought we had it hard a month + 6 days ago, when all we had to deal with was commuting, paying our exorbitant living expenses, whether the Mets could pull off the greatest comeback in baseball history, and finding a job, since so many of us, especially the people I knew, worked for dot.coms.
Now, every time a plane flies overhead, you have to look up. Every time someone talks in another lanugage, and thats pretty damn often, you have to wonder what they are really talking about. And every time you open the mailbox, you have to wear a pair of rubber gloves.
The strangest thing about the Anthrax scare (and I hope this is amusing to more than just me, snaggle, space and swingcheese), but the strain of anthrax that has infected people here in New York and Florida was developed in Ames, Iowa, in the 1950s. PArty capital of the world, my ass.
will be slowly plowing through old 3MBs :
lex @ cucumber (see october 2)
robyn @ ain't too proud to blog
mel @ the blog without a name
swingecheese @ surreally
if you've written a 3MB © that you haven't already let me know about please do.
Seven years ago, just a few short weeks after I began my freshman year in college, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though, she didnít know tell me about it for another couple months, since she didnít want to worry me. Dealing with such a huge problem, and she didnít want me worrying. How fucking sweet is that?
When I did find out, it didnít really hit me, at least not immediately. Being so far away from home, and not having to deal with it in ďreal lifeĒ made it almost impossible for me to fully grasp what was going on. My mom didnít want to tell me because she didnít want me to worry, and when she did tell me, I wasnít worried.
Until a few short days later, when I found out one of my teachers from high had died. Of cancer. Now, this wasnít just any teacher. This man changed my life. I hated school for pretty much 11 straight years, from kindergarten straight on. At one point, in high school, Iíd considered just quitting and getting my GED. Than I took a class with Dr. Litwin, and he finally taught me that learning could be challenging and interesting.
Over the next three semesters, my last three in high school, I took two classes a semester with Dr. Litwin. I spent almost two hours a day with him and I learned so much, not just about chemistry, but also about how to be a person. That is something Iím not sure he realized he was doing and something I never got to tell him. Because of his influence, I not only stayed in school, but went on to major in biochemistry (something that only lasted into my sophomore year, but at least I tried).
Over that period of two years in his class, I also saw him struggle with cancer. He was diagnosed shortly before I started in his first class, and as time went on, he underwent numerous surgeries and treatments. His battle was something he shared with the class; it was, after all, a living testament to all the strange chemistry of the human body he was teaching us in class.
I always thought heíd beat it. If anyone could, it would be him.
When I found out he died, it hit me hard. Not just because this was someone I admired and cared about, but because it finally brought to realization the fact that what killed him was now inside my mother.
She was diagnosed more than seven years ago. Most of that time I was thousands of miles away. But I was with her the day she started chemotherapy and I was there, months later, when she had her last treatment.
I was also there with her yesterday at the ďStrides for a CureĒ walkathon organized by the American Cancer Society. Thousands of people participated in the walk, to support survivors, raise money and awareness, and to remember the victims. I canít think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, or anyone Iíd rather have spent it with.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I know everyone out there is tapped out having made donations to various September 11th funds, but if you can do anything, whether donating a couple bucks, or just helping to raise awareness, thatíd be great. Also remember that October 19th is National Mammography Day; ladies, remember to go get your boobies checked.
Thursday night I saw a kick-ass performance by Staceyann Chin, a slam poet from New York City. If you ever get a chance to see her, you absolutely must. Sheís a short, 110-pound half-Chinese Jamaican lesbian with an afro and an attitude.
This was actually my second time seeing Staceyann. I saw her at a gay conference last spring and I wanted to bring her to my school this year. Someone else beat me to the punch, however, and by the time I got around to making inquiries about bringing her here, I learned that the university Lectures program had already done the deed. I waited in anticipation for a month and in the end I was not let down. Sheís absolutely fucking awesome to watch. The lilt of her Jamaican accent combined with her skillful knitting of words creates a delivery unlike any other.
Wow. Iím slow tonight. Iím running out of time and I didnít even get to tell you about the rest of whatís going on in my life (not that thereís all that much.) Another time.
I had one of the better first dates of my life last night. It's difficult to be objective about that assessment, since it was not only my first date with the young lady in question, but also my first date of any kind since my fiancée left me a few months ago. Hunger is the best sauce, they say.
That said, this was indeed one of my better date experiences. First and foremost, my date was with someone I've known a few years but never actually asked out before. Dates with friends can be weird sometimes, since there's a certain awkwardness involved. But sometimes they can be a lot easier than first dates with relative strangers. We already know each other pretty well so most of the "job interview" aspects of that rite of relationship passage were unnecessary. In a way, a properly timed first date with a girl you already know is like jumping ahead to the third or fourth date. Last night was like that.
We started out normally enough: Dinner at a nice place, which was pleasant and gave us a chance to settle into being on a date rather than just hanging out as we always had before. Afterwards, we walked a few blocks down the street to a haunted house a couple of our friends are working in and did that. After that we went to a great new club that's been installed in the former location of a place at which both of us used to be regulars. I've been several times and love the joint, but she'd been resistant (a lot of Sparks regulars have a visceral opposition to the new place, but almost all are won over once they get inside and see how great it is now - she certainly was.) This place has great ambience and lots of low, private couches, so it's a great last-part-of-a-good date kind of place. Eventually, I took her home.
Now, I have a rule about sex on a first date: I don't do it. I've learned from long experience that nothing messes up the chances of a relationship turning into a something worth working on like jumping in the sack too quickly. But I have no "Jimmy The Saint" qualms about first date goodnight kisses. And that's where this date moved itself up near the top of the list for best first dates I've ever had.... I cannot remember ever having a goodnight kiss that compared to the one I got last night.
I read in a book - Heinlein, I think - years ago that the secret to great kisses is to be doing nothing else when you're doing it. Simple in principle, it's damned hard to do in practice. For my own part, I did it better last night than ever before. As for her, well, if she was doing anything else during that kiss, she's a far better multi-tasker than I am.
Kissing is, of course, sexual but most of the time it's only tangentially so. This one was like sex itself. It went on forever, but seemed mere moments. It expanded and contracted. It had a life of its own. It was nothing short of spectacular! When it was over, I felt like I'd just had sex standing up and she just said, "I had no idea." Neither did I, neither did I....
She invited me to stay, but I left. I didn't want to but after such a great date - and a goodnight kiss like that - I definitely didn't want to mess with the chances this one can go somewhere by breaking my rules.
This one's a keeper folks. More later....
I mentioned this only a couple days ago, but it seemed to get buried in the sea of subsequent posts, so Iíll mention it again. Bad Samaritan is looking for new authors. If you are interested in joining the team and getting yourself exposed to thousands of readers a week let me know. Opportunity is knocking for some lucky and talented people out there, and all you have to do is get up off your ass and answer the door.
So far, I am loving Moveable Type and would have switched by now, if not for two simple reasons. One, Iím thinking about switching hosts and I donít want to do all the work of getting properly configured if Iím just going to have to do it again in a couple weeks. Two, Iím much too lazy.
I guess those are both the same reason.
Anyway, Iíve got an almost final design done for BSv5.0 and would appreciate feedback on it, especially from those of you who had difficulties with it last time around. The problem is that I donít want to implement the new design until I switch to Moveable Type. And I canít switch to MT until I switch hosts. Iím in this big spiral of inactivity and Iím not sure how to break free.
Actually, I may implement the new design before then. MT is generally a cool little weblogging tool, but what is above and beyond in the coolness category is the ability to import archives from GreyMatter and Blogger. The only problem is that it doesnít import the comments.
Now, I write here mostly for my own benefit; the fact that anyone comes here to read the site or bothers to comment on posts is a wonderfully amazing added benefit. I love when people comment. But Iím torn between wanting to make my life easier (not having to update ten sets of templates every design change) and wanting to keep all the fantastic comments people have made over the course of the past year. Iíd love to hear your opinions on that.
In other news, we are still suffering from a search engine cold shoulder (at least in comparison to the last couple weeks). However, there are some residual hits from lots of new friends whoíve been kind enough to link us. In fact, with a little less than half the month gone, weíve already almost doubled the number of hits we got last month. If this keeps up, weíll have way more than 100,000 hits, in just October alone.
So thank you thank you thank to everyone who has linked up Bad Samaritan in the last couple weeks. It means so much. And while a link is nice, how about some email? I canít acknowledge you and thank you properly if I donít know who you are. And I will, eventually, get around to acknowledge and thank you all, either with sexual favors or a nice reciprocal link, whichever you prefer.
I had one more stupid piece of site news to report, but darn it all to heck if I canít remember what it was. I guess it just wasnít that important (compared to everything else in this post, which is just sooooo damn important and interesting).
Can you believe it is October already? No joke, this year has just flown by. Sure, once you get as old as me, they all seem to just fly by. Itís fall already, the leaves are changing colors, and before you know it, itíll be Halloween.
When I was younger, I used to love Halloween. My mom would make my costumes every year. They were always these elaborate costumes, intricate pirate or vampire bat costumes, when all I would have been happy to wear an guitar and some ripped jeans like one of my heroes in Kiss, Metallica or Anthrax.
The last couple years I havenít quite put that much thought or effort into my costumes. Itís kind of lame. I didnít dress up at all last year, but the year before I went as a cowboy. Before that I went as Luke Skywalker. And the year before that I went as a heroin addict. All my costumes in the last couple years thrown together at the last minute with things I just happened to have lying around the house, like a syringes and a pair of cowboy boots.
Yes, Iím from New York City and I own a pair of cowboy boots, donít give me that look.
Anyway, in an effort to give myself something to look forward to in life, Iíve started thinking about how to dress for Halloween. Iíve already begun my research, and boy was I surprised to learn what the hottest costume of the year is. No joke, the hottest Halloween costume isnít going to be some kiddy hero like Harry Potter or Bert and/or Ernie. Believe it or not, Osama bin Laden is the hot costume this year. Osama bin Laden masks are flying off store shelves like a B2 bomber on its way to Afganistan.
Personally, I wouldnít recommend wearing an Osama mask outside of Afghanistan, Somalia, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Egypt, certain Palestinian neighborhoods in Israel, or Taliban party meetings. Not to mention, the Osama bin Laden Halloween mask is tough to find because it is in such high demand.
Unless you are willing to wage war on your fellow shoppers for that last costume on the shelf, youíll have to find someone else to dress up as this year. We suggest you find another costume this year, maybe Darth Maul, Austin Powers, or that touristguy.
Now, everybody knows I'm a patient, even tempered person. Sweet natured, calm, level-headed. Haha, no, not really - I'm a cantankerous bitch with a list of pet peeves longer than Shaquille O'Neal. Someone just walked in the kitchen and asked me why I had the Lakers on the screen and I nearly bit his poor head off explaining at the top of my lungs, that I was looking up the spelling of Shaquille O'Neal.
I have just returned from the grocery store. Now, ordinarily I am cranky just thinking about the grocery store, but in this case it was a triumphant trip, in which I did a clever bit of bargain shopping that afforded me not only a cool selection of foodstuffs, but enough money left to procure some delicious beer. I even was able to get my son a little toy from the upcoming movie Monsters, Inc, which we have been looking forward to eagerly. Life was good.
As I approached the door, I faltered just a little - there she was. One of several Teen Challenge ladies, each stationed at one of the exits, with her folding table and her little sign and her donation can. Teen Challenge is a Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation program that apparently subsists on donations extorted from hapless grocery shoppers who lack the strength to resist their plaintive appeal, ďDonate to Teen Challenge, Ma'am?Ē.
Now, I have nothing against Christians. I have nothing against rehabilitation, though I strenuously resist that sort of thing in my personal life. And I am not in any way opposed to charitable giving. I am, however, mortally offended by people that confront the unwilling when they have them trapped in the grocery store. There is no way around them. There are no un-manned (or un-womanned) exits. I swing my cart in the widest possible arc to avoid the inevitable plea for money, ducking my head so that my long hair completely obscures my face from view. It is painfully obvious I do not want to donate to Teen Challenge. I mean, what do they want from me, my beer money? Besides, any contributions I make these days are all given to agencies that are helping the victims of the 9-11 disasters.
In spite of my every effort to avoid her, she asks her question. I respond with a curt ďNo, I do notĒ, and hurry out into the parking lot, reviewing all the things I wanted to say, but refrained, knowing they were not rational things, not appropriate things, just spiteful things that wanted to be said because maybe they would discourage the Teen Challenge ladies from continuing to accost shoppers in this manner. But there is no discouraging these people. They are relentless, and I know I cannot stop them. But someday, they are going to catch me in less of a good mood, when my shopping has been less rewarding and perhaps other factors (such as slow people blocking the aisles, or people with excess items in the express line) have driven me near the edge, and I'll look 'em straight in the eye and say, ďNo, I need the money to buy drugsĒ, or something equally ridiculous, just to see the look on their face.
Its been a while since i've written a Three-Minute Blog © or even so much as mentioned it. This pesky war business got in the way of my good time. Well, since the last 3MB update, a whole hoarde of people have hopped on board this unstopable freight train. I just haven't gotten around to linking them up yet.
If you've written a 3MB and haven't let me know yet, please do. And if you have let me know, I'll get around to linking you, really, I will. Trust me.
I don't really feel like linking you now since I'm a loser in the Search Engine sweepstakes again and I'd like those to participate in the 3MB fun to get as much traffic as possible, even if it is just for freaks looking for Osama bin Laden jokes, games and songs.
(oops, ran over a couple seconds, but I didn't want to stop until i gave Susannah the credit she desrves. Sue me for breaking my own rules, I dare ya!)
On Monday afternoon, a man broke into the cockpit of a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago's O'Hare Airport but was subdued by other passengers.
When the intruder entered the cockpit, the pilot declared an emergency by entering a special code. Passengers say the plane jolted. When the pilot notified ground controllers of the situation, two F-16s scrambled and escorted Flight 1238 to the ground.
Airline officials said the suspect believed terrorists were steering the plane toward the Sears Tower and that he could see people outside the plane's windows. "He was spitting and cursing and then praying," said a witness aboard the flight. "He kept yelling that we were the devil and that we were going to hit the Sears Tower." The man ran at "full speed" toward the cockpit door while shouting, "save the tower, save the tower."
The FBI said the man suffered from an "undetermined mental conditionĒ and that the episode is not related to terrorism.
Or so the Taliban would have you believe!
The Bad Samaritan investigative team has been pouring through pictures and video since September 11th. They came across this picture of Osama bin Laden (right) taken at his sonís (center) wedding in Afganistan last year. The man on the left is a high-ranking lieutenant in bin Ladenís Al-Queda. Using sophisticated imaging technology, they were able to remove the manís beard and were shocked to find what they did. The pictured bin Laden henchmen is none other than Chris Burke, Corky, of televisionís Life Goes On.
If our hypothesis is correct, Corky, representative of differently-abled people around the world, has pledged support to Osama bin Laden. Surely bin Laden knew that after the WTC and Pentagon attacks, a more vigilant eye would be on Arabs worldwide. The man on Flight 1238 must have been part of the second wave of attacks, perpetrated by an army of ďspecially abledĒ terrorists. American intelligence should have suspected something like this was afoot when next yearís Special Olympics was awarded to Afghanistan.
Here's a funny thing that happened to me one time.
I went to Catholic schools as a youngster, K-12. I understand that on the coasts private institutions like that are expensive, exclusive, and generally prepare students for Ivy League liberal arts educations. They're different in the Midwest. When you think of me in Catholic high school, don't think "blazers, crest, tie," instead, think "runs out of paper in March."
My high school experience was really not that different than most. My teachers followed the bell curve perfectly: I had two that were really excellent, a few that were terrible, and the vast majority were somewhere in the middle. The building we had was in significant disrepair compared to the local public schools: there was a chronic mold problem that made our clothes smell, and when it rained worms would crawl into the building through a gap under one of the doors. In an effort to stop students from chewing tobacco in the bathrooms, our bathroom stalls did not have doors. There was still dried chew spit in the corners of all the classrooms.
In general, though, pretty normal high school stuff: cliques, sports, angry music, drugs, booze, sex in weird places. We had a few nuns left, but with one exception they were elderly and/or insane. The girls wore those little plaid skirts, and I'm pretty well immune to their charms now. We had religion classes, but I don't really remember what ever happened in those except when one student punched out a window trying to kill a bee.
One of the things we had different was that along with the morning announcements, we had morning prayers over the loudspeaker. The bell would ring, the principal would come over the intercom and ask us all to stand, and we would and wait for him to begin.
Somewhere along the way, he must have acquired a book of prayers for teenagers. "Chicken soup for the Anguished Teenage Catholic Soul" or something. I'm sure he thought that he'd be making prayer relevant to we scornful youths by relating to us about Issues That Affect the Youth of Today.
Unfortunately, there really seemed to be one Issue That Affected the Youth of 1996. All of our prayers went something like this:
"Dear Jesus, sometimes I wake up in the morning, and I just don't want to get out of bed. I think about all the things that will happen today, about how cruel my classmates can be. My tests are so hard, Jesus, and I just don't know if I pass do them. I worry about whether I can get into a good college. I don't want to be a sanitation worker. I worry that girls will never like me and that I'll never be popular. Sometimes I just want to stay in bed, or take an overdose of my mom's sleeping pills. I know where she keeps them. Or I could get my father's gun. I'll never be good enough for him. My parents are divorced and it's my fault, and I'll show them, Jesus, I'll make them pay. They'll miss me when I'm gone.
I mean, I guess I should appreciate the concern, but YOU try going to gym class after that.
I should know better by now, really I should.
I should know better than to read a single word written by Michael Moore, because, while he may be hilariously funny, he infuriates me. Yesterday, following the start of the U.S. led counterstrike against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban; Moore wrote a little piece called "All I Am Saying Is Give War a Chance." I read that title and felt a leap of joy.
I'd read Moore's comments following the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon with dismay. He said that America deserved to be terrorized. At the time, I had a few words to say about the opinions of Moore and his ilk.
But now, to think Moore could actually support our country; could forget the guilt he feels for being American. Moore has every advantage, money, liberty, and right to speak his mind without the risk of public beheading; it made my heart go all pitter patter to think he was willing to do his part and support the U.S. in its defense of those freedoms.
I should have known it was too good to be true.
Sure, Moore makes out like he supports the war, but he is just using a comedic device called irony. Irony is saying one thing, but doing it in such a way to make it perfectly obvious you don't really believe what you are saying. Irony is one of the most widely used forms of comedy. Here is an example: Moore writes that he now supports the war against the Taliban because the major television networks have finally agreed to a title for the war, "America Strikes Back." Pretty funny, huh?
He then goes on to use an article from the Onion to support his claim. If Michael Moore hasn't caught on, the Onion isn't a real newspaper. Using logic derived a fake newspaper to make a point in your ironic essay is like using a double negative. Moore might as well have written that he ďbiní settiní and thunkiní and that thar war dun be soundin' like it ain't too bad an idea.Ē
The stories in the Onion are phony; relying on them support your argument is like faulting automotive executives for moving factories to Mexico instead of blaming the selfish labor unions who forced salaries beyond limits any company could pay and still remain profitable. It just doesn't make any sense.
Speaking of big business, Moore couldn't let this little war-thing pass without taking a swipe; it is, after all, his bread and butter. Moore chastises Boeing for firing some employees last week. Air travel is down 50% since September 11th, with no indication it will increase any time soon. Boeing, a maker of airplanes, is laying off 1/3 of its staff.
I suppose Mr. Moore would prefer employees stay on the payroll even if they are only sitting around and playing pinochle for 8 hours a day. The government should step in and force Boeing to retain those employees, even if it means the company loses millions of dollars paying unproductive workers. Boeing may be forced out of business, but heck, they are a faceless corporation; they deserve to be put out of business; just as long as they continue paying their employee's salaries.
Moore thinks talk show hosts who expressed the necessity of military action, like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, should be the ones holding rifles. For one thing, Limbaugh is a fat, deaf, idiot and I wouldnít trust my life in his chubby little hands. Secondly, just because someone feels those responsible for the murdering 6000 people and causing billions of dollars in damages should be brought to justice doesn't mean they have to be the ones physically doing the justice bringing. Similarly, just because Moore is against the war, doesn't mean he shouldn't benefit from the results. Unless, of course, the next terrorist attacks involve someone flying a jetliner intoo Moore's house.
It is easy to decry a war as unjust, but still profit from the freedoms such a war avails you. The kind of rhetoric Moore is spewing is likely to have the Taliban throwing him parades through the streets of Kabul. On second thought, they wouldn't throw him a parade, but throw him in jail. They don't have a free press over in Afghanistan. The Taliban doesn't believe, like we do, that certain truths are self-evident. They donít believe that ďall men endowed with certain unalienable Rights, among those Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.Ē
Moore goes on to say he "supports" the war because it will help Big Brother keep control of Americans, by diverting our attention at outward at enemies, rather than inward at the real enemy to freedom, our own government. Excuse me? Where in the constitution does it give me the right to two carry-on bags? Where in the Constitution does it guarantee the right to drive through the Lincoln Tunnel without passing an armed checkpoint? I must have missed those days in Civics class.
I'm willing to give up a few "freedoms" to keep the big ones. The Bill of Rights provides for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." I've still got life, unlike the 6,000 people who were guilty of nothing more than showing up at work on time September 11th. I've still got liberty, more so than any citizen of any country in the world and certainly more than any citizen of Afghanistan.
Best of all, I'm still free to be happy. Sure, some of us may not be too happy waiting those extra minutes before boarding that American Airlines Flight to Los Angeles, where weíll be appearing on Politically Correct. But for those of us sitting in coach, we are used to long lines. Don't worry Mr. Moore, you'll get used to it too.
Many thanks to mg for inviting me to join the posting team on BS. I am humbled by the honour and I sincerely hope I don't disappoint him (or all of you).
Okay, now that that's out of the way, just what the hell do I talk about...?
My first instinct was to tell all of you about my god-awful ex-fiancée. There's plenty of "Bad Samaritan" fodder in that story: her breaking off our engagement so she could be with an overweight, balding drug addict; her deciding to tell me she was leaving me halfway through my law school final exams; me filing a lawsuit against her on her birthday - you know, the usual stuff. But I just don't have the heart to go into it again.
Then I thought I'd tell you about how much I love politics and how you'd best get used to the idea that some non-trivial percentage of my posts will be comprised of what my college professors would call right-wing screeds (if I were out of earshot). But the stuff that really gets a political junkie like me going became a lot less relevant lately so I can't make even myself care all that much right now.
My next thought was to steal a page from space's playbook and tell you some outrageously funny story that I happened to be involved in once. But I can't because the statute of limitations hasn't expired yet.
I then figured that, if nothing else, I could introduce myself. You know, tell you that I'm a 32 years old, that I just graduated from law school, that I used to be in the Navy, and so on. But that's just plain boring. Besides, I already have a self-absorbed little bio thingie on my own web site that will demonstrate much better than one post possibly could just how thoroughly full of myself I am. One thing I guess I'd better tell you about myself, though: I try not to take myself too seriously (Rule 62) but even my sister mistakes my sarcasm for seriousness sometimes, so - just as a general guideline - if you aren't sure how I mean something, please assume I'm kidding. Unless I'm not.
So none of those things would do for so momentous an occasion as my first by-line on BS. So I chose the worst cliché of all: the I-Don't-Know-What-To-Write-About post - and ran with it. Next time I promise you a post with a beginning, a middle and an end - maybe even with all three being about the same thing.
Eep. Iíd better post now before life gets worse. I just had a project due yesterday that was the cause for much sleeplessness and work. Basically the concept is to design a cube that works in a system of nine identical cubes and work together like a pattern. Sounds easy, but itís probably one of the nastiest projects they throw at graphic design students. Bleach. I have a layout project due Thursday and a mockup of a portal site for my university due Friday for work, so those will suck.
Anyway. Itís fall here in central Iowa. By now, most of the leaves on the trees have turned to the color of straw or strawberries and the sky is on fire at 5:00 in the afternoon as you look out on the tops of all the trees. Itís like Mother Nature has a heyday and then gouaches her canvas and starts over for a few months. Thatís the only thing I like about the fall; everything is very colorful, especially here at Iowa State. The campus was designed by the same guys that did Central Park in New York City, apparently, and if Iíd studied my design history like I should have last year I could tell you their names. (Olmstead and someone?) Each breath of wind brings more leaves down, littering the ground in piles that dance every time another gust brings them more friends. Students crunch through the fallen foliage whenever they stray from the cement paths on central campus and I remember jumping in large piles of leaves in the fall at my parentsí house. There was one time I found a huge nightcrawler in the pile; I didnít jump in leaves for quite a while after that (yeah, I was a pansy when I was a kid. What am I talking about? Iím still a pansy.)
The air is starting to get chill. Just a few days ago, it was so cold every breath froze your innards and everyone picked up the pace as they walked from class to class trying to get back indoors. Some days, however, itís just enough so that the coolness refreshes your mind and goes straight to your brain to sweep the cobwebs out as you take that first breath of fresh air in the mornings as you stumble to your 8 am class. Iím finally getting a chance to wear all the cute sweaters I got last fall during my second ďIím sick of being singleĒ shopping spree. It didnít seem to work, though. I may need to break out the MasterCard again and see what happens... although there is one boy who has some potential. Itís one of those odd situations where you donít know whatís going on, exactly.
Basically, the story is that we were flirting up a storm over the first couple weeks of school, and then made out one night. Since then, weíve been really close friends; weíre in the same design studio, so we have homework parties all the time where we get together and work on design (I wish that was a euphemism, but itís not.) Currently weíre at that ďenjoying each otherís friendshipĒ kind of stage, and I donít think thereís going to be any fireworks in the future... but there may be a possibility. Iím not overanalyzing the situation; I have a new great friend with whom I really enjoy spending time and who makes pulling all-nighters to finish design projects much less sucky than if I were working on them alone. He fits a place in my life, too. Since my best friend Jeffy went back to the City, Iíve been lacking a dancing, singing, loudmouthed, center-of-attention-grabbing, cracks-you-up-with-two-words cute boy in my life. I think I was just meant to be the funny-looking, keep-them-out-of-trouble sidekick who heaves a big sigh when the boy recounts the story of his encounter with the guy for whom you had the hots. Ah well.
So. A new good friend. Classes that kick my ass. No time to do anything but work. No time to cook anything but Ramen. Still no DSL connection, though thatís supposed to change any day now. Such is the life of Snaggle.
Oh, by the way: send us your nominations for Samaritan Stud de la Semana. It might be more than a semana before we post another one, but weíre always on the lookout for one. (Related note: did you know that Wil Wheaton has a blog? Yeah, Wil Wheaton a.k.a. Wesley Crusher? His blog is actually funny, too.)
And then I found five dollars...
Matt Drudge reports that the U.S. government is convinced Osama bin Laden is communicating with agents in his terror network using the Internet."'[The Internet] appears to be a major mode of communication between bin Laden' and his network,' revealed a White House insider who demanded anonymity. "
Correspondance takes places via hidden messages on websites, email, live chats and instant messaging. "'The Internet has proven to be a good place to hide and to communicate in real-time,' added the source. "
You know, as a former dot.com kid, I can't tell you how many mornings I've read Fucked Company only to learn about the death of another website. If Osama bin Laden's Al-Queda uses the Internet to transfer information, I can just imagine the Fucked Company posting that should follow after yesterday and today's bombing...
| Kiss Your Ass-Ghanistan Good Bye
The Shiite has hit the fan in Afghanistan the last couple days as America and Great Britain bombed the heck out of military targets all over the country. The Taliban is feeling the crunch as cruise missiles fly, competitors from the Northern Alliance encroach on their territory and the poor, hungry and sickly Afghani citizens are getting knocked on the skull with aid packets falling from Americam planes. Rumor has it that Osama bin Laden's Al Queda will be laying off sleepers in all of their international offices - at least 25% of their entire organization.
Get all your Osama bin Laden/Taleban humour here.
The lobby still looked mostly like the grand old Chicago theatre the Admiral must have once been. Everything was clean, the brass railings were polished, and even the carpet looked like it had been recently shampooed. The girl behind the counter was getting an impressive effect from her push-up bra. Her breasts could have auditioned as an extra in Amadeus. "Have fun, guys" she chirped at each of us as we paid the $20 cover and walked past a too-hip-to-notice-we're-in-a-strip-joint couple browsing the in-house adult video store.
It's kind of surprising how quickly you can get used to the presence of a large number of naked women dancing, standing at tables, shimmying out of clothes, and leaning over to breathe on and stage whisper to almost perfectly still men. I'd never been in a strip club before this, but before long, it got to feel like a perfectly normal thing, like it was just the theme of another party. It's a beautiful naked women party! I could get used to that.
Maybe not the prices, though.
We bought our mandatory four dollar sprites and settled in at a comfortable spot. The stage and runway were flanked by a pair of statues of, wait for it, naked women. They got cursory licks from the performers at times. Maybe some kind of performance superstition? I don't know.
Time passed. Women danced and chatted with us.
Guy1: "Hey, look at that one. In the red."
Guy2: "Yeah. Hot."
Guy1: "Yeah, but doesn't she look familiar."
Guy3: "She looks a little like Jamie."
Guy1: "A lot like her."
Guy2: "Ohh. Not so skinny, though."
Guy1: "Jamie. She lived on our dorm floor freshman year."
Me: "Oh. Never met her."
Guy3: "Looks just like her."
Guy1 "Excuse me, hey,"
Passing Stripper: "Yes, sweetie?"
Guy1: "Can you ask that girl in the red to come over here? No offense."
Passing Stripper: "None taken. Sure thing, I'll get her."
Guy2: "Oh my God, if that's her. . .."
It was her.
Lots "OhmyGod"s and "Oh. My. God."s were exchanged. She sat in Guy1's lap, and they chatted for a while, laughing and smoking. After a while she stood up.
She moved down to the main floor, past the other tables and girls dancing, and, waiting for a certain tilt of the head from the girl on the walkway, climbed up to join her.
Everyone in the place ignored the girls working the floor during that show. Including us; we didn't even look up at the offers. We know her, we told them. Lucky boys, they told us, laughing and tousling our hair.
There's nothing odd about five guys with erections just sitting there together, is there? As long as we're not looking at each other, except to laugh and say "holy shit?"
When she finally disentangled herself from the other girl, we started to breathe again and she resumed her spot in Guy1's lap.
"Oh god, that was so hot."
"You liked that?"
"God, we loved it."
"Good. Borrow a cigarette?"
"Hey, so can I get a lap dance now?"
"Sweetie," and she paused to take a drag on a cigarette and shake her head:
"That'd be just too weird."
Forgot to mention.
If you happen to be in the New York and have nothing to do tomorrow evening, you should come out with me to see Stuart Davis at 7pm and CB's 313 Gallery (right next door to CBGBs) at 315 Bowery.
Both Space and I have talked about Stuart Davis endlessly, and if you enjoy either of our sites, then you would most likely enjoy Stu's humour as well. I've seen Stu perform at least a dozen times and am always amazed every time I see him. If I recall, space even had his head shaved by Stu at one concert.
Some, if you are in NYC, come with me to see Stu, maybe get your heard shaved, maybe not, whatever. Either way, it'll be a good time. Just drop me some mail to let me know you want to go.
I'd like to apologize.
It seems the general quality of posts here at Bad Samaritan have slipped a bit in recent weeks. Well, at least the quality of my posts have slipped, it is just the quantity of everyone else's posting that has dropped off the face of the earth.
I blame it partly on the chat room. That place is usually just too much fun. I spend all my time hanging out there and not enough on crafting high quality html porducts. I'll continue To hang out in the chat room, because it really is so much fun but I promise to also get back to writing daily, and not just to mention Osama bin Laden's enormous rack.
I also blame my lack of posting on the NIMDA worm. I, apparently, was infected a couple weeks ago and my virus scan didn't check it. Just like in real life, my gas mask failed. Luckily, NIMDA isn't as potent as anthrax and rather than just killing my computer, it just made it impossible to use most Microsoft Office products. If you haven't noticed, I'm an awful speller. It is quite daunting to have to write up to the high standard of excellence you all expect of me without the aid of a spell checker, no matter how annoying using one can be sometimes.
On most times I'd sit down in front of the computer, I would start writing and immediately give up because i couldn't remember how "immediately" was spelled. I haven't reinstalled Word yet, so this post will most likely be riddled with grammatical errors, but when I do, it should actually work, which means I'll be comfortable to use big words again without fear of looking like a complete doof for misspelling them.
Thirdly, I've been struggling with a new design for the site. For some reason the use of Photoshop sucks all the life out of me. I think I've finally got the new design nailed though, but, rather than struggle with altering the Greymatter templates, I've decide to wait until Movable Type is released and just start over with that. It may suck, and I may regret it, but I'm nothing if not a complete idiot.
Finally, the action around here as slowed down because the quantity of writing produced by the Bad Samaritan supporting cast has slipped greatly. Snaggle is extremly busy. Shar is very Sharlike. And kd, space and zia are all enjoying increased success on their own sites, making the necessity of writing here on BS to make it into the public eye no longer a necessity.
Now, if I could, I would force them all to post ten times a day. But I can't. I'm not paying them, and even if I did, it wouldn't be enough.
So, the answer to the lackof energy here at BS has a couple solutions. I already mentioned why I wasn't posting and why I will be back to my old self soon enough.Tthe supporting cast issue is a tougher nut to crack, but I think I've got the answer. If I can't make my current staff post more, than I'll just get a whole new staff. Well, not a whole new staff, but a couple new faces to liven things up around here. The first of the new faces will be making his appearance shortly, so keep an eye out.
The rest of the new faces, well, I haven't found them yet. Could you be a writer at Bad Samaritan? Do you want to achieve fame and glory and become and Internet Rockstar? Well, just send me an email, and I can see what I can do about making all your dreams come true.
Evidence collected by the U.K. government linking Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaida to the September 11th hijackings and terrotist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. A must read.
Talk has finally become action, as unified force of American and British troops strike against targets in Afghanistan.
The official Taliban response to the counterstrike is that the U.S. led assault is a "terrorist attack." This is an obvious sign of how different we and they view this relationship. I am sure there are some people out there, even people in this country, who have been wholeheartedly against any sort of military response to September 11th. But I canít imagine that even the staunchest supporters of peace would call the this counterstrike a ďterrosist attack.Ē
Even if we are willing to assume that the attacks the WTC and the Pentagon was just another battle in this ongoing war, then the air strikes on Afghanistan is just one more battle. If we choose to view the attacks of September 11th as the afwul, despicable and cowardly acts that they were, than this counterstrike is a wholly justified response.
Whatís more, the U.S. led forces are using advanced technology to launch precision attacks against specific targets of military importance. If civilians are killed as a result of these attacks, it is most assuredly accidental. The September 11th attack on the World Trade Center was a deliberate attempt to murder as many civilians as possible.
The difference between the United States and the terrorists responsible for the September 11th attacks is that we donít want to kill civilians. It isnít just explosives dropping from those B-2 bombers; we are dropping food and medical supplies. The terrorist attacks were meant to inspire fear, the American attack is, in some small way, providing comfort.
A couple weeks ago I wrote how Afghanistan would be better off after any war with the U.S. A good example of the positives that may come about as a result of this war comes from the early response of anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan. The Northern Alliance and various tribes in the south have been fighting against the Taliban since they came to power. Many have conjectured that removing the Taliban from power wouldnít end the fighting in Afghanistan, just change the players in a civil war that has been raging for almost a decade.
Rebel leaders from the Northern Alliance and the southern tribes have declared they would want the U.S. or UN to remain in Afghanistan. They would want peacekeeping forces to help aid in creating a new government and to dimilitarize the various factions that have been at war within that country since the 1970s.
This is what must do. This is what the world needed to happen. This is what many Afghanis want to happen. And now it finally has.
I watched Wonder Boys last night.
I'm really not that big of a Michael Douglas fan, in fact, I've disliked pretty much every movie he's ever been in, and I don't really don't like him all that much as a person. Though, War of the Roses was great, but that came out a good twenty years ago. Douglas seems to play the same role in every movie, the sort of slimy, dirty, mean yet charming guy. I agreed with the first three, but Iíve never found him charming. Iíve always thought him kind of a jerk.
I joined the Columbia House DVD club a while back, and I'm really bad about mailing in the little postcards they make you return every month, so they keep sending me movies. When I belonged to the Columbia House Music Club years ago, I never returned any of the postcards, but marked all the CDs they sent to my house as ďreturn to senderĒ until they changed my membership agreement so I didn't have to return postcards anymore. Itís only been a couple months, so the DVD arm of the club and I haven't quite reached that level in our relationship yet.
One of the movies they sent to my house was Traffic. I kept meaning to send it back. I was looking around one day, about a month after Iíd gotten it and found the box with the DVD in it. They say you've got 10 days to return a movie if you don't want it; crap, it had been about a month and I still had the movie.
I was going to chance it by sending the movie back anyway, but I remember when I didn't pay them for, like ever, and they threatened to send some armed goons over to my house to break my knee caps. I can't imagine they'd be any friendlier to someone for breaking another rule, and all the commotion they might cause them to do a little digging and finally put two and two together to realize Iím the same MG that had been a music club member years ago.
Iím sure the interest on my purchases are in that U.S. National Debt range by now. Even if it isnít, I still donít want to pay it. I mean, would you want to pay for those Milli Vanilli, Young M.C. and Tone Loc tapes that you ordered, never paid for, and sold to a used record store for cigarette money more than a decade ago?
So, for a variety of reasons, I decided to keep Traffic. I ended up really enjoying it, much moreso than I expected. I liked it in spite of Michael Douglas. I think perhaps the secret to enjoying every movie you watch, is only watching movies you think you are going to hate, with actors youíve always disliked.
Well, I didnít receive Wonder Boys from Columbia House, but rented it. I really enjoyed the film, not despite, but, amazingly, because of Michael Douglas. Also maybe a little bit because of the story.
Wonder Boys is based on a novel by Michael Chabon, who also wrote The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which I got for a birthday present this year. Kavalier & Clay won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year. The awards were announced on April 18th. That date, April 18th, also happens to be my birthday. Did I mention I got the book as a birthday present?
Anyway, the coincedentialities aside, I really liked Wonder Boys. And I especially enjoyed Michael Douglasí performance. He played his usual slimy, disgusting, dirty and repulsive individual, but he managed to play it with enough compassion that I actually liked the character. I wonder if I may need to rethink my previous opinions of Douglas as an actor and as a person. Because really, any guy who can convince Catherine Zeta-Jones to allow herself to be impregnated by him can't be half-bad a fellow. I think I might be a fan now.
To conclude my half-assed review, Wonder Boys also stars Tobey Maguire (the future Spider-Man), Frances McDormand (who I once met at a bar), Katie Holmes (who Iíd like to see naked) and Robert Downey Jr. (who is such a great actor that I had no trouble believing he was stoned throughout the entire movie).
So, he comes into the bathroom and asks her what she's doing. Uh, ok, let's review - she's standing over the sink with an assortment of bottles and tubes scattered here and there, with plastic gloves on, applying some sort of thick dark liquid to her hair. ďMy hairĒ, she answers, without jumping on him and ripping the flesh from his bones. ďI thought you were making the bed for the boyĒ, he continues, ďWhy are you doing that now?Ē. He goes on whining, who knows what actual words he's using, and the funny thing he is, he KNOWS what time it is. Of the month, I mean.
Yet he continues to whine, perhaps underestimating the energy of the PMS'ing human female. She is capable of waiting until he is asleep, killing him, dismembering him, and disposing of the parts before the break of dawn. If she can do this, surely she is capable of simultaneously dyeing her hair, making a bed, and getting a four year old into that bed. Why waste the time (and incur the risk of her wrath) bitching at her while she is doing something, just one little thing for herself, that she has not done in months?
So she accomplishes all these things, within forty minutes of the first bitching, no sweat. The child is cozy in bed, the hair is done and wrapped in a towel, and in her spare time she has so far put together some two and a half paragraphs of desperately needed catharsis. She is quietly sitting, typing, finsihing off her second bottle of desperately needed beer, when he decides to pop his head in the door, a playful expression on his face. ďAny chance I'll get a little head tonight?Ē
I know what you're thinking. No, he still has all his parts, and they are still attached to his body, in spite of the fact she is well aware there is ample legal precedent for the insanity defense in cases like this.
However if he says even one word about anything, anything at all, for instance the couple of unavoidable splotches of dye on one of the ratty-ass worthless bathroom rugs or the couple of streaks on the old, tattered towel, which are all perfectly acceptable and in no way bitchable offenses on her part, he's a dead man.
By now everyone has seen that picture of the tourist on the observation deck of the World Trade Center the morning of Septemeber 11th. You know, the picture where you can see one of the planes about to crash into the side of the WTC? A picture supposedly developed from a roll film in a camera that was found in the rubble?
Well, there are plenty of reasons to suspect the photo is a fake. For one, the plane is coming from the wrong direction. Secondly, the observation deck wasn't even open yet. To get up there, the guy would have had to fly. Unless he had a magic broomstick, like Harry Potter, or could jump as high as Michael Jordan, there would be no way he could been up there.
All the evidence points to the photograph being a phoney, a myth of such gigantic proportion it ranks up there with that rumor about a torrid lesbian love affair between Jolene Blalock and Jennifer Lopez. But, all of the evidence presented so far has been merely cicumstancial. But, our investigative journalists here at Bad Samaritan have done a little digging, and came across this photograph of the tourist with Osama bin Laden.
I think it must now be obvious that someone, probably bin Laden himself, used his mad photoshop skills to make it look like this guy, who, our CIA sources reveal, is a top ranking member of bin Laden's al Qaeda, was on the top of the WTC. I can't imagine why someone would perpetrate such a hoax, but I do know that when the United States finally mounts its counterstrike, they will both be targets of the hammer of Infinite Justice and America doesn't miss.
525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love? Measure in love. Remember the love.
I thought and thought and thought about what I should do to commemorate this date. I couldnít think anything satisfactory, I almost decided to do nothing.
But, I am a huge narcissist. I couldnít possibly let this momentous event pass by without using it to somehow inflate my already huge ego. Then I thought better of that, and decided to give back to all my loyal readers, since they are the ones who makes this all happen.
I decided Iíd go back through the archives, find all the times I used the phrase ďto be continuedĒ and actually finish the stories that I never actually continued.
no one fights here without a reason
Cripes. This was supposed to be a story about a bar fight. I ended up writing four posts (this is one of them) and never actually got to the fight. After four posts, I donít think I could bring myself to write another word about Thumbs East.
This was a three part series retelling the events of three days on the New York subway. On day one I got accused of playing with myself while rubbing up against a fellow passenger. On day two I sat across from a mom breast feeding her toddler, who then proceeded to rip his momís shirt off when he was removed from her teat.
I never got to day three. Why? It wasnít as interesting a story. After the first two days anything else would have seemed just boring. But, in the interest of tying up loose ends, Iíll sum it up as quickly as possible.
My trip home from work involved transferring from one train to another. One evening I was followed from one train to the other. Well, not exactly followed, so much as that me and this woman happened to be on one train, sitting across from each other, and then on a second train, sitting across from each other again. Considering how many people transfer at that station (51st and Lex) it is kind of weird to end up close to someone you were near on another train. But the truly weird part was that this woman was staring at me the entire time.
People donít usually stare at each other in New York; it could get you killed. I couldnít understand why this woman was watching me so intently. When I got home I checked to see if I had dirt on my face, a spinach leaf or a pubic hair in my teeth, or something, but it wasnít anything like that.
Now, I donít think of myself as an extremely attractive person. But when I relayed this story to someone else, they said this woman must have thought I was hot. That never occurred to me, which is probably why I have such trouble getting dates. A woman can stare at me intently for 20 minutes and the only thing I can think about is something must be wrong.
See, I told you, a boring story.
dreamt is too a word
I was going to talk about I dream I had. Instead, I got distracted and spent the entire post talking about something stupid and unrelated. Iíd relay the content of the dream, but it is a dream long ago forgotten. I wasnít going to mention it at all, but it made me realize exactly how off topic I can get sometimes.
When I sit down, I always have a story in my head. I try to stay focused and get the story I sat down with written. But something pops up to force me off the highway onto some dirt road that eventually comes to a dead end at a cabin deep in the Appalachian Mountains where 14 people (all with the suffix ďBobĒ attached to their first name), 23 dogs (8 of which only have 3 legs), and 2 roosters live. It may make for an interesting detour, but before the night is through, 9 times out of 10, there will be an old redneck pointing a shotgun at your head unless you agree to marry his 12 year-old daughter.
*Ahem* Where was I?
the most beautiful girl in the world
I canít imagine what else I had to say about this girl. Since seeing her the one time I havenít seen her again. And while New York is a big place, Iím surprised I havenít seen her. Considering how often I ride the subway and how few ďnon-regularsĒ would be taking the trip to my less than glamorous neighborhood it is more than likely weíd meet again. Or rather meet for the first time since I never said a word to her.
Iíve since come to believe she was merely a figment of my imagination, as no one could actually be that attractive.
Well. There are plenty more examples, but this is already more reminiscing than I can bear for one day. I hope you all feel some sort of closure, because I just feel tired. In closing: remember the love.
Oh wait, I'm lagging *AS USUAL.* I'm fine with that, the same way I'm fine with oatmeal; it neither angers nor pleases me.
Why don't I post? Answer: because I always get weird looks from people in the computer lab. For instance, right now there is a squirrely-lookin' kid sending the occasional slack-jawed look in my direction.
Do I have salad dressing on my chin? Is my belly sticking out from my shirt? Has my vestigal tail poked out from my jeans to say hi?
Or perhaps he's trying to give me cancer with his eyes. That fucker.
First of all, Happy Birthday Bad Sam! I just realized I celebrated my own blog's birthday a couple of weeks late, going by the hit tracker not the archives, I really had no idea I would have had the thing going that long with no tracker. I also wanted to get myself back on the front page for the big day per MGs wishes, even though I have little or nothing useful to say. I must say this three minute blog timer is an excellent utility, though it seems to make me more nervous that just watching the clock in the corner of my 'puter (though since i have weird time dyslexia, apparently a couple of my 3MBs were only 2MBs). So, once again, Happy Birthday, BS!
I didnít want to post today. Why, you ask?
Well, though some of you claim to be intimidated by me and think Iím the worldís biggest badass, Iím really just an old softy. And a nostalgic one at that. Today is the last day of the Bad Samaritanís first year of existence. Tomorrow begins our terrible twos, which should offer us many new opportunities to shock and amuse. As excited and ready as I am to move ahead, I already miss the old days.
Whatís more, I didnít want to post today for another silly reason. You wanna no why? Because if no one posted today, there would have been entries from 5 of the 6 Bad Samaritan authors on the front page. Luckily, Zia decided to grace us all. With her post she knocked kd off the bottom of the page. Now we are down to a simple majority of 4 out of 6 authors. Enough to pass the vote, but not quite by quite as stunning a victory.
So, what do I have planned for tomorrow, the big One-Year Anniversary? Nothing.
Last month, I was thinking of throwing some sort of party, but then some maniacs flew a couple of planes into the side of the World Trade Center, and things like celebrating this stupid little web site didnít seem all that important. A couple weeks later, things have gotten back to normal, but Iím still not quite in the partying mood. Sorry.
There will definitely be something for year two if you all can wait a bit longer.
In other news, if you havenít registered your blog with Blogdex, what the hell are you waiting for? Blogdex is this neato project started by some kids at MIT that is a metalog, of sorts. It grabs all the links from all the weblogs in its database. Then it puts up a list of all the sites the weblogs are linked to, based on popularity. Its like surfing 15,000 sites without having to leave your location bar.
Also, if you havenít visited the Blog Twinning Project yet, you really are a lazy weblogger, arenít you? Blog Twin is a really interesting concept. While a service like Blogdex may be more comprehensive, the Twin Project is different (and better?) because it is about creating subjective links between blogs based on all those strange little mental connections we make when comparing something to something else. Once this project is fully fleshed-out, this should be a surefire way of expanding your blog horizons.
The Three Minute Blog Army has some new recruits! Check out the 3MBs from:
Ö minja @ wasabi horse
Ö charles @ six different ways
Ö torie @ p.a.r.a.c.h.u.t.e..l.i.t.e.
And as if the Three-Minute Blog wasnít already spreading like wildfire, there is now a 3MB hub where you'll find a handy 3-minute timer. You can use this handy utility for perfectly timing your very own 3MB without all that hassle. No more worries about setting egg timers or counting grains of, like, sand through an hourglass. Eventually, there will be another utility to automatically add your 3MB to the list, but Iíve already spent all day coding. Iíve been coding like a maniac and I canít code no more!
Man, I feel shitty.
Some old fat fart was trying to fak my rear end and I woke up just in time to spare myself from that puke-inducing gory scene.
You MUST NOT let yourself be taken advantage of even if its only a dream. Especially when that crap of a man is so fat and his belly is so big that he kept bouncing himself away from your body everytime he tries to stick his stubby sausage into your ass.
Now I get paranoid everytime somebody tries to sneak up to me from behind. With my ready clenched fists, I'm on full standby to punch the shit out of any intimidating sausages that want to have an obscene piece of my butt. Stay away from my ass! Or better still, for Johnson's sake, stay away from me!
Notorious dreams of such persuasion should be made amenable and punishable for the fear and dispossession of security that the victim has to go through. I don't think it would be a good idea for me to frequent crowded places anymore.
Somebody's johnson might get hurt.
* shadow punches *
I suppose with this whole "three minute blog ©" thing going on, it would just be silly of me to say that I haven't had time to blog. Because, after all, who doesn't have three minutes to spare for bloggy goodness (especially when those are three minutes at work for which you're getting paid?)
In all seriousness, though, my life has been quite busy and I apologize for neglecting you all. In addition to graphic design ruling my life, there's also the fact that our DSL has been down for, oh, two weeks or so. Granted, it's mostly due to my stupidity. I didn't quite do my homework when we switched ISPs and the one that we're with now doesn't allow multiple machines and such. Blah blah blah. Wednesday that will all be fixed and everything will be back to kosher goodness.
Wow. Only thirty seconds left. I guess I'd better end here rather than risk being caught embarassingly in mid-sentence. So for now, adeiu!
This weekend was all about various forms of stimulation.
On friday me and amanda decided we'd do a little stimulating... of the economy. We shopped for a bit, she bought some clothes, more clothes, and yet more clothes. I bought nothing (which is only to be expected considering I don't have any money). Then we went out to dinner, stimulating our tasts buds with one of the finest meals I've head in a while.
On saturday, I got together with a couple friends, and did a little oral stimulation... as we debated what kind of drinks we'd get after dinner, caffinated or alcoholinated. We ended up getting desert. I guess it is a sign of getting old that we all choose cheesecake over beer.
On Sunday, Amanda had other plans, so I did a little stimulating of my own... as I attempted to learn CSS for the design of Bad Samaritan: Year Two. Our official anniversary is on Wednesday, but the new design probably wont...
... I guess you'll have to wait till Wednesday to find out what the new design won't be. You are all at the edge of your respective seats, I know.
Here are some new recruits to the Three-Minute Blog © army:
lavonne @ born famous
toc @ the other cheek
Viva la three minute revolution! Have a 3MB© of your own? Let me know.
Google and Yahoo are fickle mistress'. Bad Samaritan has spent the last several days experiencing the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat at the hands of the "Osama bin Laden" search engine sweepstakes. When Google loved me all I wanted to do was sing a song and wave a flag. Then Google turned a cold shoulder to me and all I wanted to do was take an anthrax shower without a gas mask. When Google loved me again and for a while jokes seemed funnier, the weather warmer, and AOL connect times faster.
Well, we've now seem to fall out of favor again. Oh Google, why have you forsaken me so?
I feel like a pair of used underwear for sale on eBay. And not someone hot's underwear. No, you aren't getting Jolene Blalock's panties, but Tom Arnold's skid-marked tighty whities.
As President Bush says, the only thing to do now is carry on with our lives and jobs. It is time to get back to our daily rituals; like the Osama bin Laden naked picture of the day.