30 March 2006

Absolutely True Cool Fact about Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris winked at me once.

29 March 2006

"Inside Man"

(Keep in mind that my opinion of a movie is pretty much worthless until I see it with captioning, because in the theater, I'm only getting about 50% of the dialogue, and am guessing the rest based on body language and other visual clues. Hence, I hesitate to call this a "review.")

First of all, I still refuse to believe that Captain von Trapp and General Chang are the same guy. My theory is there are two totally different actors named Christopher Plummer. (I have a similar theory about Brian Keith, because the dad in The Parent Trap and the horrible bearded man in The Rare Breed cannot possibly be the same guy.)

Anyway, my overall impression of Inside Man was that it was really predictable. Now, I don't mind predictability in and of itself. I mean, we all watch Princess Bride knowing Westley and Buttercup will end up together, Inigo will kill Count Rugen, and Prince Humperdinck will get his just deserts. But when a "suspense" movie is so frickin' predictable that I can tell everything that's going to happen within the first 15 minutes of the movie, and that's with comprehending only 50% of the spoken dialogue (a good 20% of which was the f word), that's just ridiculous.

I thought the plot was sort of cool, but I spent the majority of the movie wishing they would hurry up and get to the point.

So, go see it, or not. It's up to you.


On a completely different note: Why am I the only person who thought The Notebook sucked ass?

28 March 2006

Michael's Words of Wisdom

From his "blog":
MICHAEL'S GUIDELINES FOR MEN ATTEMPTING TO COMMUNICATE WITH WOMEN:

1. For starters, any man who thinks he just had a conversation with a woman where you were both in complete agreement is a fool.

2. You and she do not have a common vocabulary.

3. Even if you did have a common vocabulary, 90% of the conversation was nonverbal and you missed it.

4. The most important conversations with women are when they are really pissed off. Because they are essentially generous, they will try to dumb down the communication channel to Plain English so you can understand. You should pay attention.

Michael is a purveyor of truth like none other. Heed him well.

26 March 2006

Now I can die happy.

I drove a Corvette this weekend!

Granted, only for about twenty minutes, and not fast at all (I went 45 at the most), but I DROVE A CORVETTE!!!

It was so incredibly hot. Oooh, the acceleration. I depressed the gas pedal firmly, and the car accelerated so quickly and so smoothly. I was following someone, and after every turn, deliberately let him pull ahead so that I would have an excuse to accelerate rapidly. Oh, the glory of it beat driving James all hollow, and even surpassed driving my well-beloved Red Leader.

(James, named for James Madison, got ~38 mpg this weekend. So I'm pretty happy with it. But it's no Corvette.)

24 March 2006

Query:

If Chris Klein is an alpha heterosexual, and Tom Cruise alpha-dogged Chris Klein, what does that make Tom Cruise?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

23 March 2006

Blog maintenance

I've compiled the Complete Works of Mickey S. into a single blog post and added a link to the sidebar.

And I'll get around to putting up the Anka transcript, too, one of these days.

Oh, I also added Retired Geezer and Sobek to my blogroll. I should really update it more...there are a ton of blogs I read frequently that aren't on it.

Some random bits from the science news

Mr. O getting ready to take its first pictures:
I smell a new desktop background.

It isn't close enough to Mars for scientific work. This is just practice, apparently, to make sure the scientists know how to use the camera. Mr. O will be settled in a closer orbit after about five months of aerobraking, and then science can begin.

That settles it. Whales are officially the sexiest animals around:
Turns out their songs have elaborate grammar.

(My favorite bartender needs to stop by and geek out over language with me. Y'all should have seen our im chat the night we found a webpage on animal adjectives.)

The numbers, they are making my brain hurt!:
I've never heard of this particular mental disorder, and all I have to say is, I pity the sad, empty lives these people must lead. I can't imagine a world without differential equations.

Also, the serial shoplifter guy? I think he's just looking for an excuse. I'm afraid of roaches, but you don't see me burning a house down just because there's a roach.

LiveScience's headline: "Humans Fuel Worst Extinction Since End of Dinosaurs":
Good work, guys.
The report also makes this appeal: "Apart from nature's immediate usefulness to humankind, many would argue that every life form has an intrinsic right to exist, and deserves protection."
I beg to differ. There is at least one life form that deserves to be stomped on every time its nasty little antennae poke out of the unclean holes in which it preferentially lives.

I think you all know of what I speak.

Seriously cool: Molecular machine:
Definitely read this story. The apparatus is actually two molecular machines, and demonstrates for the first time that one molecular machine can controllably drive the action of another.

22 March 2006

YAY SUMMER!

I've been so absorbed in school and personal affairs that I didn't even notice that the season starts in just two weeks!

(And if you don't know what I'm talking about, then fie upon you. Fie, I say! Fie!)

21 March 2006

Well, this result won't surprise anyone.

I am 0% Promiscuous.
Complete And Total Prude!
There is a good chance I am still a virgin. I am not certain because I haven't even bothered to figure out what sexual intercourse actually is. But whatever it is I want nothing to do with it.


Is it bad that my initial reaction to seeing "0% Promiscuous" was "SCORE!"?

INTERNET is broken

in case you were wondering where I've been lately.

Memo to techs: Just because I'm a girl of the female persuasion doesn't mean I don't know how to troubleshoot. The next time one of you informs me condescendingly that a reboot solves most problems, I'll let you know exactly what I think of your attitude.

Anyway, it's supposed to get fixed later this week. That is, if the techs can get their heads out of Bill Gates's ass for long enough.

(Sorry about channeling MaryMike. It's been that kind of week.)


Update: YAY, my internet is working now. Now I can really get crackin' on our paper!

(Once again, my teammates have sent me a grand total of one page of text, and once again, I am not taking the mickey out of them as I should. This is getting to be a disturbing pattern...)

16 March 2006

Stop by Monty's

15 March 2006

Meaningless straw poll

on the 2008 primaries, over at GOP Bloggers. I say it's meaningless because politically speaking, there's a long way to go until the actual primaries. But it's sort of interesting, so go vote.

But I thought I'd take this opportunity to say a few things.
  1. John McCain will never win the primaries. I don't care how much the media loves him or how well he'd play among centrists. Centrists don't vote in primaries - the base does. And the base despises John McCain. I know this is anecdotal, but I read a lot of blogs, and I haven't run across any conservative bloggers or commenters who endorse McCain. I personally wouldn't vote for him even if he were running against Hillary.
  2. No, that doesn't mean I'd vote for Hillary. I'd probably vote for the Libertarian. I almost went Libertarian in the last election, because I disagree with pretty much every bit of President Bush's domestic policy. I love the concept of the ownership society, but his implementation is much too Great Society-like for me (i.e., my objections are based on fiscal conservatism). And oh, I hate NCLB. Not happy with the borders either. And pretty upset about the waffling over Social Security - as far as I am concerned, any solution that doesn't involve personal accounts is unacceptable. (Granted, that was Congress's fault, but offering to compromise on personal accounts didn't help. Personally, I'd really prefer to abolish Social Security entirely...)

    But in the end, I did cast my vote for President Bush on the grounds of national security. Badnarik is one of the head-in-the-sand Libertarians - the kind who think that if we just pulled in all our troops from everywhere, the world would get along perfectly fine, and no one would bother us. (I used to think that too, right up until one Tuesday morning about four and a half years ago.) So I couldn't stomach voting for him.

    Maybe if we're lucky, Jonathon "The Impaler" Starkey will run. No one could accuse him of being soft on terrorists.
  3. Romney sounded good at first, but I'm starting to doubt him because he's had some inconsistent stances. I'm sure it's difficult to be a staunch social conservative when you are running for office in Massachusetts, but still.
  4. Based on what I know about Giulani, I think he could be a good president, and I would have no qualms about voting for him. He's demonstrated leadership ability and a tough-on-crime demeanor. Nevertheless, I can't see him winning the primaries, because from what I understand, he has a lot of baggage (divorce, pro-choice stance, etc.) that will really hurt him among social conservatives*.
  5. I don't have comments about the others, because I don't think anyone who doesn't follow politics obsessively has any idea who they are. Giulani is pretty much the only one with nationwide name recognition. (Maybe Gingrich as well, but his name recognition isn't positive. Let's be honest.)
So, I expect to see the nomination won by someone who's not on the list.

And yes, I'd vote for Condi, in a heartbeat.


*I'm not sure if I'm a "social conservative" or not. Political affiliation tests invariably rate me as WAY socially conservative, but the trouble is, there's a difference between asking, "What is your opinion of [insert liberal cause célèbre here]?" and "What do you think the government should have to say about [liberal cause célèbre]?" My answers to those questions have no bearing on each other.

Hot oscilloscope action

I can't believe how compact the latest models of oscilloscopes are, particularly compared to the clunkers we have in our labs at school. So trim, so streamlined, and yet they observe 4 traces at once AND are in color.

Man, I gotta get me a piece of that.

(Yes, I went to Fry's yesterday. I wonder if the employees thought I was weird for ogling the oscilloscopes and sighing regretfully over their four-digit price tags...)

14 March 2006

Open Thread

I'm resorting to an open thread because of my massive to-do list for my super-lame spring break.
  1. Write a formal progress report
  2. Write a presentation for said progress report
  3. Perform lots of tedious image manipulation for said progress report, partly because my teammates insist on sending me images embedded within Word files despite the fact that I specifically requested .eps files attached separately
  4. Write software
  5. Complete bill of materials - identify & purchase remaining hardware
  6. Develop test protocol for said software & hardware
  7. Research fully automated sphygmomanometers
  8. Prepare for a lab
  9. Read 2 sections of boring textbook that somehow manages to suck all the joy out of the subject matter (I've had the material before, in one of my technical electives, with a professor I really liked)
So far, I've started on 8, and hope to get 5 finished today and a good start on 1-3 and 6.

Random update 1: This is hilarious.
Random update 2: Not that I'm goofing off or anything, but this is kinda fun.
Random update 3: I always knew I liked Lance Berkman. Yay for Phil Garner and Clyde Drexler, too, but I'm disappointed in Drayton and Nolie, and also in Charles Barkley.
Random update 4: Well, I beat the game I linked in random update #2. And yet, I feel strangely unfulfilled.

12 March 2006

Antarctica Now

The Chronicles of a Proud Liberal Veteran


by Dave in Texas


Antarctica, shit. I'm still only in Antarctica. Every time I think I'm going to wake up back on the ice floe. When I was home after my first tour, it was worse. I'd wake up and there'd be nothing... I hardly said a word to my wife until I said yes to a divorce. When I was here I wanted to be there. When I was there, all I could think of was getting back into McMurdo. I've been here a week now. Waiting for a mission, getting softer. Every minute I stay in this tent I get weaker. And every minute Charlie squats in the snow he gets stronger.

Each time I look around the tent flaps move in a little tighter.

Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service.

******

I was going to the worst place in the world, and I didn't even know it yet. Weeks away and hundreds of miles up a glacier that snaked through the ice like a main circuit cable and plugged straight into Byrd. It was no accident that I got to be the caretaker of Admiral Richard E. Byrd's memory, any more than being back in McMurdo was an accident. There is no way to tell his story without telling
my own. And if his story is really a confession, then so is mine.

*******

How many penguins had I already killed? There was those six that I know about for sure. Close enough to blow their last fishy breath in my face. But this time it was an American and an officer. That wasn't supposed to make any difference to me, but it did. Shit...charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out snow shovels to Roald Amundsen. I took the mission. What the hell else was I gonna do? But I didn't know what I'd do when I found him.

*********

The sled dog, the one they called Shep, was from New Orleans. He was wrapped too tight for Antarctica, probably wrapped too tight for New Orleans. Lance on the forward reins was a famous surfer from the beaches south of LA. You look at him and you wouldn't believe he ever fired a harpoon in his whole life. Clean, Mr. Clean, was from some South Bronx shithole. Ice and snow of Antarctica really put the zap on his head. Then there was Phillips, the sled driver. It might have been my mission, but it sure as shit was Phillips' sled.

*********

At first, I thought they handed me the wrong dossier. I couldn't believe they wanted this man dead. Third generation Annapolis, top of his class. North Pole, Virginia. About a thousand decorations. Etc, etc... I'd seen his handwriting on the parchment and it really put a hook in me. But I couldn't connect up that scribbling with this man. Like they said he had an impressive career. Maybe too impressive... I mean perfect. He was being groomed for one of the top slots of the corporation. Admiral, Assistant Director of Human Resources, anything... In 1912 he returned from a tour of advisory command in McMurdo and things started to slip. The report to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Woodrow Wilson was restricted. Seems they didn't dig what he had to tell them. During the next few months he made three requests for transfer to flight training at Lakehurst NAV New Jersey. And he was finally accepted. Flight school? He was 38 years old. Why the fuck would he do that? 1926 he joined the US Navy Flying Boats, returns to Antarctica ...

*********

It was the Amundsen Expedition, First of the Norwegians, our escorts to the mouth of the Onyx river. But they were supposed to be waiting for us another 30 kilometers ahead. Well, Dog-Sled Mobile, those boys just couldn't stay put. First of the Norwegians was an old accordian division that had cashed in its horses for dog sleds, and gone tear-assing around 'Tica, looking for the shit. They've given Charlie a few surprises in their time here. What they were mopping up now hadn't even happened an hour ago.

*********

AMUNDSEN
"What happened to your mission, captain ? Did Axel Heiberg forget all about you ?"

PROUD LIBERAL CHOPPER JOCK
"Sir, two places we can get into the river. Here and here. It's pretty wide delta but these are the only two spots I'm really sure of."

AMUNDSEN
"That weather station your pointing at is kinda hairy, Proud Liberal Chopper Jock."

PROUD LIBERAL CHOPPER JOCK
"What do you mean hairy, sir ?"

AMUNDSEN
"It's hairy. Got some pretty heavy ice there. I lost a few recon sleds there now and again. Is that goddamn Mount Fridtjof Nansen via the Liv Glacier? Damn Norwegian names all sound the same. Slublog, do you know anything about that point at Mount Fridtjof Nansen?"

SLUBLOG
"That's a fantastic peak."

AMUNDSEN
"Peak ?"

SLUBLOG
"About six feet. It got both the long right with left slide. It's unbelieveable, it's just Tube City..."

AMUNDSEN
"Well why the hell didn't you tell me that before ? There aren't any good peaks in this whole, shitty continent! It’s all goddamn ice floe."

SLUBLOG
"It's really hairy in there,sir. That's where we lost McDonnel - they harpooned the hell out of us. That's Charlie's point."

PROUD LIBERAL CHOPPER JOCK
"Sir, we can go there tomorrow at dawn. There's always a good off-shore breeze in the morning."

CHIEF
"We may not be able to get the sled in. The river may be too frozen."

AMUNDSEN
"We'll pick your sled up and put it down like a baby, right where you want it. This is First of the Norse, Snow Cav, son- snow-mobile. I can take that point and hold it as long as I like -- and you can get anywhere you want up that river that suits you, young captain. Hell, a six foot peak.

You take a steamship back to division -- Slublog, take Lance with you – let him pick out a board, and bring me my Yater Spoon -- the eight six."

SLUBLOG
"I don't know, sir -- it's -- it's --"

AMUNDSEN
"What is it explorer?"

SLUBLOG
"It's pretty hairy in there - it's Charlie's point..."

AMUNDSEN
"Charlie don't ski!"

********

You smell that? Do you smell that? Penguin shit, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of penguin shit in the morning. You know, one time we had an iceberg shelled, for twelve hours. When it was all over I walked on. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' penguin body. The smell, you know that penguin shit smell, the whole iceberg. Smelled like - victory.

*********

PROUD LIBERAL CHOPPER JOCK hears something :

SLUBLOG
"What is it? Enemy?"

Suddenly a walrus appears from the ice cave. PLCJ and Slublog start running back to the sled, Slublog yelling:

SLUBLOG
"It's a Walrus, a fucking walrus!"

CHIEF
"Let's go !"

SLUBLOG
"Never get offa the sled..."

CHIEF
"What happened, how many is it ?"

SLUBLOG
"A fucking walrus, fucking walrus... I don't wanna take this goddamn shit man... I didn't come here for this, I don't fucking need this. All I wanted to do is fucking cook, I just wanted to learn to fucking cook. Allright, It's allright, it's gonna be all right... never get offa sled... Hi walrus, hi walrus..."

PLCJ (v.o.)
"Never get off of the sled. Absolutely goddamn right. Unless you were going all the way. Byrd got off the boat. He split from the whole fucking program. How did that happen? What did he see here that first tour? 38 fucking years old. If he joined the US Navy Flying Boats, there was no way you'd ever get above Ensign. Byrd knew what he was giving up. The more I read and began to understand, the more I admired him. His family and friends couldn't understand it, and they couldn't talk him out of it. He had to apply three times and he had to put up with a ton of shit, but when he threatened to resign, they gave it to him. The next youngest guy in his class was half his age. They must have thought he was some far-out old man humping it over that course. I did it when I was 19 and it damn near wasted me. A tough motherfucker. He finished. He could have gone for Admiral, but he went for himself instead."

********

There has been a new development regarding your mission which we must now communicate to you. Months ago a man was ordered on a mission which was identical to yours. We have reason to believe that he is now operating with Byrd. McMurdo was carrying him MIA for his family's sake. They assumed he was dead. Then they intercepted a letter he tried to send his wife :

SELL THE HORSE
SELL THE SLED
SELL THE KIDS
FIND SOMEONE ELSE
FORGET IT
I'M NEVER COMING BACK
FORGET IT

Captain Alton Parker - he was with Byrd

***********

PROUD LIBERAL CHOPPER JOCK
"Chief, tell them to hold fire. It's just little harpoons. They're just trying to scare us."

CHIEF
"You got us into this mess and you can't get us out 'cos you don't know where the hell you're going, do you ? Do you, you son of a bitch, you fuck !"

Chief is hit by a harpoon :

CHIEF
"A harpooooon."

Chief dies.

PROUD LIBERAL CHOPPER JOCK
"My mission is to make it up into Victoria. There's a Naval explorer up there who's gone insane. I'm supposed to kill him."

SLUBLOG
"That's fucking typical, shit. Fucking Antarctica mission. We got to go up there so you can kill one of our own guys. That's fucking great, that's just fucking great! That's fucking crazy. I thought you were going in there to blow up a bridge, or some fucking railroad tracks or something."

PROUD LIBERAL CHOPPER JOCK
"Sorry...there aren’t any bridges or railroad tracks up there. It’s freaking Antarctica."

SLUBLOG
"No, no wait. We go together. On the sled, we'll go with you. On the sled. OK ?"


Again they move on, but now it's only PLCJ, Shep and Slublog:

PLCJ (v.o.)
"Part of me was afraid of what I would find and what I would do when I got there. I knew the risks, or imagined I knew. But the thing I felt the most, much stronger than fear, was the desire to confront him."

They meet a group of Argentines in boats :

PLCJ
"Just keep moving... Shep, keep your paws away from the gun."

SHEP
“Woof”!

Finally they arrive to Byrd compound :

PARKER
"It's all right, it's all right. You're all being approved."

SHEP
"Arf. Woof. Whine."

PARKER
"Sound the siren...There's mines over there, there's mines over there, and watch out those goddam penguins bite, I'll tell ya. Eh, that's a pretty one. Move in right in towards me... I´m an American ! Yeah, American civilian. Hi yanks... American, american civilian. It's all right. And you got the cigarettes, that's what I've been dreaming of."

PLCJ
"Who are you ?"

PARKER
"Who are you ... ? I'm an explorer. I've covered the ice since 94. I've been in McMurdo, Prudhoe, Rejkavik, 'Tica... I´ll tell you one thing, this sled is a mess, man."

PLCJ
"Who are all these people?"

PARKER
"Yeah, well... They think you have come to take him away. I hope that isn't true."

PLCJ
"Take who away ?"

PARKER
"Him. Admiral Byrd. These are all his children, as far as you can see."

PLCJ
"Could we, uh, talk to Admiral Byrd?"

PARKER
"Hey, man, you don't talk to the Admiral. You listen to him. The an's enlarged my mind. He's a poet-warrior in the classic snse. I mean sometimes he'll, uh, well, you'll say hello to hm, right? And he'll just walk right by you, and he won't even notice you. And suddenly he'll grab you, and he'll throw you on the ice floe, and he'll say do you know that if is the middle word in life? If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you -- I mean I'm no, I can't -- I'm a little man, I'm a little man, he's, he's a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent icebergs -- I mean --"

PLCJ
"Stay with the sled."

PARKER
"Hey, uh, don't go -- don't go without me, OK? I want to get a picture.

He can be terrible, he can be mean, he can be right. He's fighting the war. He's a great man. I mean... I wish I had words. I can tell you the other day he wanted to hump me."

PLCJ
"Why did he want to hump you ?"

PARKER
"Because I took his picture. He said if I take his picture again - I'm gonna hump you. And he meant it! So you just lay it cool, lay back, dig it... He gets friendly again, really does. But you don't judge him like an ordinary man.

OK, now watch it. They are americans... americans. Can you feel the vibe of this place ? Let me take a picture. Hey, hello... hello. Would you hold it for a minute."

PARKER
"The penguin heads. You're looking at the penguin heads. I, uh -- sometimes he goes too far, you know -- he's the first one to admit it!"

SHEP
"Woof woof. Woof!"

PARKER
"Wrong! Wrong! If you could have heard the man, just two days ago, if you could have heard the man! You going to call him crazy?"

SHEP
"Woofing A!"

PLCJ
"I just want to talk to him."

PARKER
"Well man, he's gone away. He's gone away. He disappeared into the jungle with his penguins..."

PLCJ
"I'll wait for him."

PARKER
"... he feels comfortable with his penguins. He forgets him with his penguins. He forgets himself..."

SHEP
"Woof woof! Arf."

PLCJ
"Ok Shep. We'll go back to the sled for a while."

SHEP
"Arf!"

PLCJ and Shep return to the sled :

*********

"I've seen horrors...horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that...But you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face. And a chest. And a left elbow...And you must make a bestest friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your bestest friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember when I was with US Navy Flying Boats...Seems a thousand centuries ago...We went into a hangar to change the oil.

We left the hangar after we had changed the oil, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there and they had come and unscrewed every drain plug. There they were in a pile...A pile of little drain plugs. And I remember...I...I...I cried...I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized...like I was shot...Like I was shot with a diamond...a diamond bullet right through my forehead...And I thought: My God...the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we. Because they could stand that these were not monsters...These were penguins...trained cadres...these penguins who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had little penguin children, who were filled with love...but they had the strength...the strength...to do that. If I had ten divisions of those penguins our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have penguins who are moral...and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordal instincts to kill without feeling...without passion... without judgement...without judgement. Because it's judgement that defeats us. "

*********

They were going to make me a grownup for this and I wasn't even in their fucking thread any more. Everybody wanted me to do it, him most of all. I felt like he was up there, waiting for me to take the pain away. He just wanted to go out like an explorer, or a viking, standing up, not like some poor, wasted, rag-assed liar about having served in the military. Even the ice floe wanted him dead, and that's who he really took his orders from anyway. That and momma.

*********

Horror. Horror has a face...

Brawny Man Transcripts

For everyone's benefit.

Happy Birthday
--------------
Happy birthday.
Oh my gosh, I'm sorry. Are you OK?
Oh God, that was a close one there.
Come in, come in. Here sit down.
Let's try this again.
Happy birthday.
Don't forget to make a wish.
Wow. If you wished you'd even be smarter and more beautiful, wish granted.
You just get better with age, like wine, and some cheeses.
Hey, I've got something special for you. Happy birthday.


That Thing You're Going Through
---------------
I was just thinking about you. I'm glad you're here. Here, sit down.
Look, I know it's hard, that... thing you're going through.
You've been so strong, and I want you to know I'm here for you
Noone should have to go through that... thing you're going through.
Sometimes when I'm having a hard time, and I need to do something to make me feel better, I saw wood. Come saw some wood with me.
There you go.
Just relax your shoulders and let the saw do the work.
That's it, yeah. You're great at this.
Feel better? I feel better, too.


Buyer's Remorse
---------------
This is a happy surprise. Come in, come in. Here, please, sit down.
You look great, really.
Is that a new... oh, don't be silly, you deserve nice things
I think it's important to treat yourself, and I don't think you do that enough.
Besides you're not just buying it for yourself. I mean look at you, that's a gift to all of us.
I think you just dropped an ice cube.
Shopping makes you feel good, it's worth it, that's what I think.
You know, it's funny how alike we are.
I once bought a toolbelt I thought was too extravagant. And you know what?
I still have it. It's my favorite toolbelt.
I guess what I'm trying to say is: don't return it, you've earned it.
That's a nice little rhyme you can tell yourself.


Everyday is Valentine's Day
----------------------------
Happy Valentine's day. If it is Valentine's day.
Well, it sure feels like it when I'm with you.
What's that?
Oh. Thank you, you're so sweet to say that.
Here, come to the window with me. I got you a little something.
See that star right there? No, not that one, higher.
Yeah, that's the one. I got it for you.
It's called 6436, La Bella. That's Italian for 6436, The Beautiful.
Wow, it shines bright.
Dance?
Happy Valentine's day... if it is Valentine's day.


Feeling Lonely
--------------
Hey, I didn't realize you were here. I was just out back building a footbridge over the creek. Here, please, sit down.
Feeling a little lonely lately, huh?
Yeah, we all do sometimes.
My grandfather used to sing a song on lonely nights. I always remember it raining. How did it go?
annnnn... nyyaa... aaa..
fishing...
on boats... on...
can't...
fishing.. bobbers...
I can't really remember the words. My grandfather never spoke that clearly.
Anyway, it's OK to feel lonely.

The Complete Works of Mickey S.

Here, for the first time, are the complete collected works of Mickey Spill-seedy.

The Adventures of Mike Hummer

It was a cold night. Stood there wondering if I'd freeze my unit as I pissed on the side of my refrigerator box. Thinking about my frozen dick snapping off reminded me of that transgendered chick. What was her name? Oh yeah. MaryM. Not much to look at, and you never knew what sex she was going to be, but she had one thing going for her that most chicks don't.

She was easy.

Went to the saloon where he/she hung out, and there he/she was: a short warm drink of spit. She saw me and grinned. "Damn Bush and his lack of a universal dental plan!" I thought as I sidled next to her.

"Been a while," she said, waving the barkeep over for another cocktail.

"Seen Bush's poll numbers?" I replied.

"That's what I like about you," she said, "there's only ever one topic."

"Why don't you pull your head out of Bush's ass," I grinned.

"Name one good thing Bush has done for this country!" she laughed back.

Our loveplay complete, she downed her cocktail and we headed to the beach, knowing that there, at least, we could be the smartest people in the room.
-----------------------------------------
The bartender shook his head sadly as the door closed and the customers started laughing. "That guy comes in here every night, talking to himself. Harmless enough, I guess. I just wish he/she would pick which bathroom to use."


The Adventures of Mike Hummer

"Pssst!!! Hey buddy, wanna buy a poll?" I tried to walk by, but he knew me too well. "I've got CBS . . . at below 40%!" he whispered.

My mouth went dry. As I stopped and turned he got that sly look, like a Supreme Court justice dangling a penumbra in front of the ACLU.

"How much below 40?" I croaked, trying to stay cool. I grabbed his collar, lifting him off the ground. Well not actually off the ground; 8 years olds are fuckin' heavy.

"How MUCH!!" I repeated, bellowing up into his face.

"Easy, Mike...uh, it is Mike today, isn't it?" he said. "How much ya got for 6 points?"

6 points!?! The sidewalk spun for a second, and I could feel my colostomy bag filling. 6 points!!

"I've got a cocktail," I said, showing the kid a bottle of Miller Lite. It wasn't really Miller Lite, but I'd be long gone before he figured that out. Plus, the stuff goes right through me these days - it'd probably taste the same anyway.

The kid looked dubiously at the bottle, but then shrugged and took it. "I'll just sell it back to him when he's MaryM," he muttered. Poor sap, I thought, I wonder who "he" is?

I snatched the goods from the kid, rifling through the pages to make sure they were genuine. It looked as solid a campaign promise from a Democrat, so I nodded at the kid and beat it.

"Hey Mike, be careful with that stuff," he called, "there's some dangerous demographics in there."

"Fuck the demographics!" I snarled as I strode off. 34%. 34 fucking %! The day seemed a little brighter as I headed for the web stations at the library. I'd need to post this on a lot of threads. Hell with that, ALL the threads!

I stared sullenly at the keyboard. "Why do they always make me sit in the basement?" I grumbled, "The restraining order just said 50 feet from the kids' section." Shoving the distracting thoughts away, I set to work. It's like the poet says:

The man up your ass keeps you on task
making conservatives pay

God I love that poem. That's art, right there. But back to business...

"What to say, what to say," I muttered as I found my way to that nasty AoSHQ site. The bastards had tried to dodge me by getting banned by the library's filters, but I threatened to come here every day unless they let me through. There it is. AoSHQ morons.

I stared again at the keyboard. "Why don't they have a 'fuck' key or an 'idiot' key," I muttered, "or a "moron" key or better yet, a 'head up Bush's ass' key? That would take care of half my typing!" I shook my head - no use dreaming. Plus, all I had to do was type it once, and then I could paste it on every thread I could find.

I pulled the poll from my pocket. 34%!! It made me shiver like that crack addict I let ream me for $5. I started typing in a frenzy:

Your fucking morons Bush is down to 34%!! You idiots should pull your heads out of Bush's ass!! You people are so stupid!! Find a more popular ass!!
Hmmm, maybe not the last line, I thought. Don't want to give them any of my secrets.

Satisfied, I copied my revised work into all the threads, waiting for them to respond so I could use my best insults:

You morons can't pull your heads out of Bush's ass!! How come nobody here can tell me one good thing that Bush has done? Idiots!
That one never gets old. Satisfied, I sat back, thinking about the next lines in that poem:

But the man up your ass won't let you relax
'til your shitwork is done for the day

It was a good day.


The Adventures of Sam (Ace 'o) Spade(s)

"It...it's...it's war," the snitch stammered, as he twisted in my grip. He was shaking like Ted Kennedy between martinis.

"War, what war?" I snapped.

"A flame war!!" he cried.

I snorted twice - once in derision and once from my fifth: "A flame war? Who would call a flame war? ...in my town?" Dumb-ass snitch. I knew which end of a Thai hooker was up, didn't I? All right, all right, so there's no wrong answer to that one, but I still wasn't falling for this "flame war" crap.

"The Hump."

At those two words the noise in my head doubled - a thousand angry voices shouting for attention. A lot like getting a link from Atrios. Soon one voice would rise above the rest and I would write: I'd write with the demonic possession of a guy who's been possessed by a demon. "Maybe a Top Ten list. Yeah, like the Top Ten reasons I fixate on gay topics," I mused to myself, as I cracked the stoolie over the head with my bottle. No good reason for it, but I love that sound and it's always a treat not to have to use my own head.

I started thinking about this so-called flame war. I wasn't too worried, given the caliber of my moron readers: their "flames" were like letters from the lovelorn. But - The Hump. That was bad news. Hillary Clinton bad.

The Hump. She'd come to the site, just another commenter. But she was tough, smart, and she could chance a mean spring awakening. She rose in the ranks, until I let her run some of the operation. Things worked out for a while, but I didn't know about the hump.

That hump had a way with men. It twisted their minds; made them her pawns. I'd see men do things for her. Crazy things. They'd polish her hump and wash her dog after it rolled in crap. They'd surf the Daily Kos if she told them to, with no thought of their own safety. She'd callously link to a Cindy Sheehan cotton panel photo, and they'd go. They'd go.

I started to shake my head, but the absinthe hangover was like a little freaking skull gyro, carving grooves in my brain any time I moved. Cradling my aching noggin, I knew I had to do something - I'd seen too many of my idiot readers turn into, er, idiots. But what to do? A Top Ten list? Naw - she'd just fire back with a Haiku thread. In frustration I popped the cap off the bottle, tossing it back in the hopes that oblivion would provide an answer.

As I gulped the last dregs of the V-U-R vodka, the truth I'd been avoiding hit me like an Instalanche. I had to confront her. I had to face . . . The Hump.

I figured I better round up some of the regulars before the big show-down. Headed over to Dave@GR's place. Took a deep breath, and walked in.

"Howya doin' Dave?" I asked casually.

"How'm I doin?" he snapped. "That's old, Ace. It's been on INTERNET for 6 months and I posted on it 3 times last week!"

I sighed. It was my own fault, of course, I'd just forgotten how to talk to him.

"How will you be doing about 6 hours from now?" I asked quickly. He looked confused, then started a site search.

"Uh, I'm not sure - I haven't posted on it yet," he marveled.

"Come with me and I'll make sure you're the first to get it posted," I said. He nodded eagerly and we left for RWS's site. Careful not to step in troll droppings, we walked in.

"Howdy, Sparkle," I said, "I was hoping for your help in stopping a flame war."

"Not my fight, Ace," she said, "you know I never get involved with that sort of thing."

"Well," I lied, "I think she's starting to link to porn sites..." Her face hardened as she grabbed her laptop and dragged us out the door. "I'm in," she growled.

Off to Michael's. We all stepped back in awe as the tall, muscled, bronze god threw open the door and smiled dazzlingly at us with his strong white teeth. Then the pool boy let us in and showed us to Michael's room. A handlettered sign on the door said "Bat Cave."

"Who is it?" said a muffled voice from the interior. "Ace," I replied. "Go away!!" yelled the voice with finality. The pool boy shrugged at us apologetically and said, "You better use the Bat Phone." He showed us to a phone and we dialed in to Michael's room. He answered with a terse, "Bat Cave!"

"Call him Bruce," said the pool boy. Sound advice, I thought.

"Uh, Bruce, it's Ace. I've got a little problem I was hoping you could help me with." A long silence followed. I knew why, and I knew what I had to say. It was just tough making the words come out.

"And, uh, you were the real winner of the bad poetry contest."

"I knew it!!" he crowed. "And...?"

"And you can wear your Batman suit."

The door burst open, and Michael bounded out.

"NOT the naked testicle Batman suit!" I yelled. Crestfallen he clad himself in his Batman jammies and we were on our way.

"Look out!" cried RWS, as a dark shadow swooped down at our heads. Thousands of tiny scraps of paper pelted down in a rain of twisted aphorisms. "Don't look!" I screamed. Too late . . . like the urge to proofread your comment after you've hit "Post." Michael stood there, staring at a bit of paper, repeating, "CHICKWIN, CHICKWIN, ..."

Ploverized. Spurwing Plover was the neutrino of the Internet: faster than any mortal poster, and untouched by any thread he passed through. I was sure he wasn't after us; he was more a force of nature. Not even The Hump could get to him.

We moved on, leaving Michael standing in a daze. Sacrifices had to be made. ...and we were running low on vodka and candy bars. I looked back and saluted with the bottle, and saw Bart chasing after Spurwing with a huge net, and Madfish Willie carefully straightening each piece of paper and stuffing it in his bag. At least some things were normal.

As we approached The Hump's lair, the door burst open and Monty stumbled out. He looked at us furtively, his face locked into the sort of hunted look you get when you're trying to post on a flame thread from work.

"Hey Monty!" I called out, "Heading back to your site?"

"I changed the name to Transmissions from the Humpopause," he said bleakly, "Now I'm supposed to find some...some...some..."

"Spit it out man!!" I barked.

"...some ... Helen Thomas bikini shots."

I blanched, fighting the bile down, as Dave@GR collapsed to the ground and RWS gave a demure, "Oh my." Dave@GR writhed and clawed at his ears and eyes - he'd need some serious XBox 360 therapy. Monty wandered off, mumbling to himself.

Milady is possessed of a hump
A profound and prodigious lump
A dose of my flowery prose
Made her accuse me of being verbose
And now I am just a chump

I winced. No man should see that happen to his writing. Well, his writing wouldn't much matter if he found what he was looking for. He wandered off, his voice fading into the distance...

"Her name is Humpymandias, look on her mound ye mighty, and despair..."

I shuddered and waved RWS forward, thinking that the vodka situation was looking rosier and rosier. Suddenly an enormous barricade slammed down in front of us. The door was completely sealed off, like the mu.nu comments system on a bad day. Or any given day. I sighed and looked up.

"Uh, Lipstick, would you mind moving your foot?" I asked, pouring on my gap-toothed charm.

"Oh. Sorry, Ace," she said, shifting aside. We sprang to the door and dove inside.

We were in.

Thwok!! A piece of metal thudded into the wall, inches from my ear. I looked back in time to see Dr. Reo ducking around the corner. Explained why he hadn't been posting of late. Inspecting the wall, I saw that he'd actually thrown a piece of a fork. "A tine of the Symes," I thought to myself.

Inching forward, I heard a strange chanting from the room ahead. As I got closer I could make out the words:

"The guys get shirts. Don’t make a fuckin’ maniac out of me."
"The guys get shirts. Don’t make a fuckin’ maniac out of me."

"When I fuckin’ move I slice like a fuckin’ hammer.
"When I fuckin’ move I slice like a fuckin’ hammer."

"I only date 8 to 10s."
"I only date 8 to 10s."

I relaxed. Just an orientation class for newbies. My head poking in, I said, "Hey DaveinTX, how's the class coming along?" He scowled back.

"We're still stuck in Anka & Klein. I don't know when we're going to get to Fun Facts about Dick Cheney or Stuff Jefferson Said. Things would be going a lot faster if my TA hadn't gotten all potty-mouthed on me."

I looked over at the TA. "Masturbation!" Mrs. Peel said brightly. "Aggie Tourettes," said Dave sadly. "I've tried nerd jokes, D&D, crossword puzzles, but all she says is..."

"Masturbation!" she interjected.

"I've got this," I said confidently. Ducking out and back in, I said, "LoveOGRam for Mrs. Peel!"

"No-talent ass clown!!" she yelled, her brain freeing itself from its track. "Whoop!...sphenodontian!..is that 2D20 in your pocket or are you just glad to see me? I...I...I...I've got to study! I've got to science blog! And my crosswords...."

I nodded with approval. "She'll be all right now, Dave." Shrugging off his praise with manly modesty, RWS and I continued down the hall. "Could have stuck around for a little more of that praise," I grumbled. RWS gave me one of those little holier-than-thou smiles and shook her head. Like being holier than I is some major achievement.

"Snuggly!" The shout interrupted my weighty, ponderous philosophizing. God, I'm deep. It was Feisty, looking more than a little unhappy at the sight of the two of us walking together. "What are you doing with Ms. Repressed?"

"I'll repress you, you presumptuous lttle filly!"

"Oh really, Ice Queen?"

I had to do something before this got out of hand.

"There's a mud pit out back," I said helpfully. Maybe I could finish up my business and get out there in time. Maybe my business wasn't that important...

"Get out of here, Ace, before I shred you too!" RWS roared. I'd always prided myself on my quick decision-making ability, so it wasn't odd at all to find myself sprinting down the hall towards the door.

Her door.

I stood outside the door, thinking about the journey getting here. You know, life is all about the journey, and not about the destination. It's a process, not a state of being. Maybe there was really no point in actually going in there...

"Get in here Spade(s)!!" yelled the voice. Involuntarily I opened the door and shuffled in. It was unnaturally dark, with an immense being of ancient evil lurking in the darkest corner, the blackness reaching out from its very body to feed on any life within the room...

Shaking off the Lovecraft groove, I tried to lighten the mood. It was, after all, a mail store, not a demonic gate to Cthulhu's plane . . . er, wasn't it?

"Yo, lauraw, I hear you're hatching an evil scheme to start a flame war, wreak unimaginable ruin on the regulars' lives, take over the site, and perhaps feast on the very flesh of the commenters to feed the insatiable appetite of your loathsome hump!" Gasping for air, I leaned against the wall.

"Oh Ace," she said, the sultry voice wrapping around my body and weakening my knees. "How can you say such things? I just run this store and occasionally post on your site. I'm just here to help you."

"Oh yeah, how many innocents came in here for a roll of stamps and got express mailed to doom?" I fired back bravely as my knees gave way.

"And as for my 'loathsome' hump," she continued smoothly, "wouldn't you like to see it?" She turned and I gasped at the magnitude of the thing. It had grown enormously in size and power, and, admittedly, in attractiveness. She drew closer, saying, "Do you want to touch it?"

In desperation I reached into my pants and pulled out my greatest treasure. Well, my second greatest treasure. Wait, there was a vodka bottle in there, too. OK, my third greatest treasure - the AoS T-shirt photo. The T-shirt, proudly displayed by bbeck, whose huge...heart never failed to rouse my spirit.

I held the photo up before me, and it reflected the hump rays back to their source. A foul smoke rose from the hump as the reflected rays vaporized the inhuman, yet hot in a kinky kind of way, mass. Next time I'd remember to touch the hump, THEN pull out the photo.

"Master! Save me master!" she cried out, as the hump completely disappeared. She lay on the floor unconscious as I tucked the photo back into my pocket.

Master!?!

In a flash I saw the whole racket for what it was. I knew this Master, and I knew where to find him.

Allah . . . at Karol's.

10 March 2006

Mr. O reaches orbit!

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, fondly known as "Mr. O," has reached orbit around Mars. Here are stories from NASA and Space.com, and this story has more information on Mr. O itself.

Here also is a list of top ten facts about Mr. O. As you see in the number one fact, Mr. O is indeed "orbiting" Mars, but isn't (as far as I understand) actually in position to start taking data, because it has to do some aerobraking and come into a circular orbit later on this year.

Congratulations to all the engineers who designed Mr. O and its systems.

Moonbat Mobile

So I was driving today, and I was behind a car that had some amusing bumper stickers. The one I noticed first said, "Stop Hate Crimes: Respect Diversity." I snorted in derision (because the very concept of "hate crimes" is so idiotic - a crime's a crime, folks).

The next bumper sticker said "Execution is Not a Solution." (One presumes the driver does support executions for "hate criminals.")

But the piéce de resistance was a campaign bumper sticker, which boldly proclaimed, "Edwards-Obama '08: Compassion and Integrity."

I'm still laughing.


Update: Top Ten Alternate Slogans for Edwards-Obama '08:
10. Because Everyone Wants to Hear Ted Kennedy Call the Vice-President "Osama bin Laden"
9. Condoleezza Rice Isn't Really Black, But We Are
8. The Baby is Speaking to Me from Beyond the Grave and She Wants You to Vote for Us
7. This Ticket is Teh Sexxorz!!!11!
6. We Know What to Order at Wendy's
5. The Kos Kurse Kan be Beaten, We Promise!
4. There Are Still Two Americas, and We're from the Rich One
3. Hey, Did You Know My Dad was a Textile Mill Worker?
2. Because This is as Close as You Can Get to Voting for a Woman

And the number one alternate slogan for Edwards-Obama '08:

1. Between Us, We Have Almost Ten Years of Senate Experience!

08 March 2006

A crush on Hermione??

Over at AOSHQ today, Ace posted something or other on Lindsay Lohan and happened to remark in passing that Hermione is "exactly the girl we all would have fallen in love with when at that age." (emphasis in original)

What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks? No one would have fallen in love with Hermione. This is a clearly average-looking girl who cleans up pretty, but doesn't bother to do it very often, and is a ruthless, bossy, arrogant, self-righteous bully who is also paralyzed by a crippling fear of failure (witness her boggart) and has no real knowledge of interpersonal interactions. She can mirror a successful, mature image to adults, but when it comes to her peers, she doesn't know how to behave and settles for bossing the hell out of them.

If you guys all would have fallen in love with her, then how come no one fell in love with me back in my middle and high school days?

(Don't get me wrong; I love Hermione. But she has a lot of growing up to do. And she is heading straight for a major lesson in the dangers of hubris. And, unfortunately, that lesson will have more serious consequences for her than it does for most.)

I would add something about the dysfunction of the Hermione/Ron 'ship, but I have a paper due in 10 hours, and I should probably get started on that.

07 March 2006

No-talent ass clowns really irritate me.

Below is the text of an email I recently received at my school address.
Dear [my real name],

Someone has sent you a LoveOGram through LoveOGram.com! A LoveOGram is an anonymous way to show romantic interest in someone you know. (No Kidding: Your LoveOGram sender is a real person, maybe a friend or colleague, who knows your name and email address.)

Is the feeling mutual?

The sender of this LoveOGram indicated that your name is: [my real name]

If this information is not correct, then please disregard this email.

To find out if the person who sent you this message is someone you like, come to [url].

Good Luck!

(By the way, replying to this email won't work. You have to come to www.LoveOGram.com to play. It's completely free.)

*** LoveOGram.com - Delivering Free Love Around The World ***
Are we still in middle school? Because the last time I checked, I was two months shy of graduating from college.

No, I am not going to visit the URL, because I don't give a shit who sent this. I don't need to know what no-talent ass clown classmate of mine has some cutesy little crush on me and doesn't have the guts to talk to me, like an adult. Buddy, if you thought I was intimidating before, then you're damn lucky you pulled this stunt anonymously.

Or worse yet, there's a possibility that one of the aforementioned no-talent ass clown classmates received a message himself, and is lame enough to think I have a crush on him and would reveal it in such a way. Hate to break it to you, jerkoff, but I don't do "crushes," and I don't play games. If I think you're a decent enough guy, you'll know. If I have a romantic interest in you, you'll damn well know. (Here's a hint: If you think I'm interested in you, you're wrong.) If I think you're so low that you'd have to use a Vid-9 viewscreen to see a snake's belly in a swamp, then you'll know that too.

Grow a spine and approach me in person. I'll still turn you down, of course, but at least I'll respect you.

05 March 2006

Mrs. Peel on the Oscars

Who gives a shit?

Seriously, even when movies I liked (like Return of the King) are nominated, I still don't give a shit. It's beyond me how anyone can possibly care.

Of course, I still resent Pujols for winning NL rookie of the year over Roy O in '01, so perhaps I shouldn't talk.

(A good rookie hitter comes up practically every season. But how often does a rookie pitcher come up and dominate the hell out of experienced batters the way Roy O did? He even came in third in Cy Young balloting. I've never heard of anyone doing that before or since.)

(And how on earth did Phil Garner not get Manager of the Year in '05??)

I could really go for some Sphenodontian right about now.

02 March 2006

Mark Steyn is hot.

Via Monty, an essay on the UN.

Hmm...who's hotter, Steyn or Lileks? That's a hard one.

(Of course, with the verbal facility yardstick I'm currently using, Monty is pretty hot, too.)

Ok, what is the deal?

Why is no one carrying orange cranberry anymore? Not HEB, not Albertson's, not Kroger, nobody's got it. Why not? It's the only juice I've ever had that isn't too tart or too sweet.

I would rant for your entertainment, probably something along the lines of there being a horrendous conspiracy to defraud me of my rightful juice, but I am highly sleep-deprived.

01 March 2006

Shuttle to make (giggle) Three Flights in (snicker) 2006

BA HA HA HA!

Anyway, this story has a picture of the newly redesigned ET.

(For those of you who might have missed it, this post has a fairly complete rundown on my position on the shuttle.)

Wow, science news for the first time in weeks!

(Apologies about that, by the way...it takes several hours to make those posts, and I'm just way too busy lately. Crashdown is a very time-intensive hobby.)

Anyway, the lost kingdom of Tambora has been uncovered. It was buried by a volcanic explosion in 1815. But this is the graf that leaped out at me:
"Somewhere, beneath the ash and pumice of Tambora Town, there is the ruins of the royal palace. That may contain valuables belonging to the King and his court," Sigurdsson said.
Can you say "grave robbers"? I knew you could.

Reason #74,875,249 why running kicks ass

I found 36 cents on the street this morning! Whoop!

Now I can pay for another 30 minutes of rent!


Update: Top Ten Things to Buy with 36 Cents:
10. 48% of a Nestle Crunch bar
9. 12.96 seconds on the space shuttle simulator
8. 3.6E-07 ounces of moon rock
7. 85.1 seconds of "Kokomo," by the Beach Boys
6. 5.06 miles traveled at 70 mph in a 1995 Chevy Corsica at 2006 gas prices
5. 0.62 inches of a New York Sub #11
4. 4.67 hours of basic cable service
3. 12 1-kΩ resistors
2. 0.8% of a seat on the first base side at the Juice Box

and the #1 thing you can buy with 36 cents:
1. Your dignity. Instead of interrupting your run to pick up three dimes, a nickel, and a penny, you could just keep going. Yes, they're shiny, and that nickel might have been a quarter, and the penny might have been a wheat penny, but really, was it worth it?

(Yes, yes it was.)