useless

Seven Good Reasons to Carry Your Oranges Around in a Pillowcase

This thing is stuffed full of oranges.

Carrying an orange with you is the generally accepted sign of being an okay fellow and an all around good citizen. After all, how often have you heard of a crime being committed by someone holding an orange? Exactly. Over time it's become a shorthand for announcing your good intentions, especially when traveling.

Once you put your orange in a pillowcase, the situation changes. Now you look like you're going to bludgeon someone with your sleepsack o' citrus. But there are more than a few good reasons to choose a pillowcase over the palm of your hand as an orange storage solution. Find out what those reasons are after the jump!

There's no jump.

1. Volume. I feel ridiculous pointing this out, but even a small pillowcase has a greater capacity than your hand. Even if you have insane Wilt Chamberlain hands, the odds are that you can carry more oranges with the aid of a pillowcase.

2. Redundancy. Any systems analyst knows the importance of redundant elements. If your chosen orange isn't cutting it or gets slapped out of your hand (sometimes it happens at Customs), you've got a half-dozen alternatives. Think ahead!

3. Nutrition. Since you only need one orange for social purposes, consider the extra oranges food. Your stomach will thank you, unless you eat six oranges at once, or one orange whole, or two oranges peeled but eaten with the peeler.

4. Efficiency. On the go? Find yourself strapped for time in the morning? Using a pillowcase to transport your oranges removes the need to go searching for an extra bag. Just get out of bed, remove the case from your pillow and you're good to go.

5. Aesthetics. A pillowcase full of oranges can help you cut an attractive figure, particularly if the bag is affixed stylishly to your belt or duct taped to your back. And at night, drift into dreams on your citrus-scented pillow.

6. Finances. Stop wasting money on orange bags!

7. Entertainment. And finally, when you're bored or stranded at a party full of strangers, cut the ice by beating someone senseless with a pillowcase full of oranges.

Next up: stay clean wherever you go with a bar of soap stuffed into a sock.

The One About The Tiger

I'm part of 750words.com, a site where members are encouraged to write 750 words daily. It's a brain-rattling exercise intended to get users in the habit of writing fluidly and freely. I've been doing it for a week or so now, and this one is my favourite. Please be advised that this was written in one sustained burst with absolutely minimal editing and a slight temperature.

Welcome Carl. Let's bring in the Supplicants. Supplicants, say hi to Carl. Carl here is going to tell us his sins and take part in the Rite of Initiation, and in return we're going to do a little dance. Think you can handle that, Carl?

Good. Now first, here's a copy of Waiting For Godot. We'd like you to open to page 42 and read along as we perform. Didn't we tell you that we perform portions of Waiting for Godot every fortnight? Last time we were interrupted by the tiger, so we didn't get as far as we anticipated. Supplicant #5 was going to read Lucky's monologue. "The stone! In Connemara! The stone!" Supplicant #5 can't do it now, though. We're on a strict rotating schedule, and anyway, the tiger ate him. No, we don't know how the tiger got here. Yes, we're aware that this is northern Scotland. Not generally part of a tiger's natural habitat. Maybe habitat loss has shifted the tiger's natural hunting grounds? No, probably not all the way up to Scotland.

I'm aware of how that sounds. But I swear it was a tiger. It roared and ran around and it had all the necessary stripes. Some might say it was a paragon of tigerness, but me, I'm just Supplicant #2, what I know about tigers you could fit inside a tiger's stomach. Like Supplicant #5! Most of him, anyway. Parts didn't seem to fit, or maybe the tiger has a discerning palate. We hosed the place down and gave #5 a proper burial. One day we'll get the tiger and then we can finish the funeral for him. Or her, we don't know. These cloaks and hoods cover quite a lot, but I have to say I enjoyed the sex with #5 more than with the other Supplicants. Probably that vagina thing, hey? I expect it's a vagina thing.

One day we'll find the tiger, kill it and bury it, and that will be the end of #5's rites. We were just up to page 42 of the rites, which is also Waiting for Godot, when the tiger came back and interrupted us again. So now we never start before page 42. I think this play's jinxed. But it's the only book we have, and seriously, it's a play and not that long. Starting off at page 42 makes for an abbreviated read. Can you pass me a light? I need to light the torches, and then we need to spray the whole place with blood. Warm, spicy human blood. Why? You know, I never thought to ask. It's part of the Rite of Initiation, and I think it's in the stage directions for Godot. And if it isn't, I wouldn't know, because we refuse to open the book to any page before 42. Yes, because of the tiger.

Well now, you make a good point, but I don't feel like taking chances. You want to take chances with a tiger? Tigers don't play cards, my friend. Bet your life with a tiger in the mix and it's a good chance the tiger will be going home with the goods. And by goods I mean your dead body. And by home I mean a lair of some kind, possibly a cave or a tree. I know leopards like trees, why wouldn't tigers? They're all cats, after all. Just like we're all human beings. And more specifically, we're Supplicants. I'm in charge here. That's right, me, Supplicant #2. Who is #1? You are #6, ha ha. But actually you are, or will be, after the initiation of Beckett and Blood and Tiger Attack.

Yes, we put the tiger in the ceremony anyway because there's just no knowing, is there? You can't tell. "No man may know the day or hour" when the tiger comes, swinging his pocket watch and asking for a cigarette. Pocket watch, yes. That's how we know it's the tiger. He comes by with the watch and has a smoke, and then he attacks. He's a wily one. A little portly. He also delivers the mail, which is nice, especially in a rural location such as this.

Hold on, Supplicant #24 has just informed me that I'm talking about the postman, not the tiger. The tiger doesn't deliver mail, he swings his heavy paw at our exposed necks and stomachs. There's a difference, let me tell you! "Oh the postman's here, just come to drop off some disembowelment!" That would be funny, wouldn't it? But no, it wouldn't be very funny at all.

This has been a message from the Church of the Tiger.

How to Tell when your Neighbours Are Cannibals Who Want to Eat your Children

Increasingly these days, people are cannibals who want to eat your children. Tough times in the economy and disillusionment with mass farming practices (thanks, Michael Pollan! thanks a bunch) have lead ever-larger numbers of people to choose cannibalism over just going to the grocery store. After all, why go shopping when your food source lives right next door, visible from the small holes you've bored in the fence to better observe your prey?

Today's cannibals invariably target children – not because they are presumed to have more flavourful or tender flesh, but because the habit of cannibalism disposes them to see people purely in terms of muscle and bone mass (the bones make a nice stock). Therefore the typical cannibal believes that children, being smaller, will not be missed as quickly.

It only takes a few cannibal families to deplete a neighbourhood of its children and drive down property values. Here are a few ways to tell if your new neighbours have a taste for long piglet.

They run an affordable daycare. Daycares are like candy stores for cannibals. Except children are made of meat, not candy. So daycares are like bacon stores for cannibals. Sure, some daycares are not run or staffed by cannibals, but even the few non-cannibal places out there still charge way too much. Beware of affordable daycare. Telltale signs include:, empty bottles of barbecue sauce in the parking lot, missing extremities on your child, 'self-grilling' games and activities, swimming pools full of marinade.

They have frequent outdoor barbecues. Cannibals hide their habits in plain sight. See a barbecue chained to the deck? Find that you're never invited over for one of their weekly backyard get-togethers? Think about it.

Coded language and slips of the tongue. If your neighbour refers to your kids as “fall-off-the-bone cute,” there may be a problem. And that problem involves your child getting eaten.

Plenty of other signs are discernible to the vigilant parent. Do your neighbours stay in all the time? Or go out too much? Are delicious smells wafting from their kitchen windows? Or even more suspiciously, no smells at all? Do they react with defensiveness or hostility when you call them out on their cannbalism? Do they refuse a reasonable request for regular searches of their home? How about when you put up signs warning everyone that the Bilsons next door are suspected child-eaters? Observe their body language carefully when they discover the signs and the burning effigies on their front lawn. Each little detail adds up.

You know what? Your neighbours are cannibals, and the only thing a cannibal respects is cannibalism. Eat one of their children, just to show you mean business. They may be angry at first, but they'll have a newfound respect for you. And you'll pleasantly surprised at the size of your next grocery bill.

the meaning of TV

Schmutzie: What's on TV tonight?

Palinode: I don't think you realize what 'TV' stands for.

Schmutzie: Television.

Palinode: Nope. It stands for 'toilet vomit'.

Schmutzie: What?

Palinode: Yup.

Schmutzie: Did you say toilet velmet?

Palinode: Velmet? What the hell is velmet? No. Vomit.

Schmutzie: What are you talking about?

Palinode: All these years you've been talking about TV like it means television. And it means something really gross.

Schmutzie: ...

Palinode: Seriously, it's kind of embarrassing.

Schmutzie: I think there's a case to be made for TV standing for television.

Palinode: In your crazy fantasy world where people throw up televisions, maybe.

Dr. Manhattan Reviews Christopher Nolan

When not passively allowing massive disasters to devastate New York City, Dr. Manhattan enjoys sharing his thoughts on contemporary film

Inception

“It's the end of the movie. The top is spinning. Twenty seconds from now the audience is groaning. Now it's the middle of the film. The van is falling. They want to wake up. Too late. It's always too late”.


The Prestige

“The film hinges on Christian Bale playing two characters pretending to be one person. But already they are the same. They are Christian Bale. The atoms of each character are identical because they reside in the same body. The only atoms I liked in this film were the ones in Scarlett Johanson. I'm thinking of asking her out, or maybe creating a Scarlett Johanson to live with me on Alpha Centauri. Did you know that David Bowie is in this film? Sometimes I think he's the only person who really gets me”.


Following

“I haven't watched this one yet, which means that I will never watch it. Wait, I'm seeing a few minutes of it at a friend's house. Why did he invite me over if he's just going to sit there getting high and watching cable? Now I am at his funeral and he still won't talk to me. I need to find cooler friends”.


The Dark Knight

“I am waiting in line to see The Dark Knight. It is an hour later and I am still in line. It's 2008. Will I ever get in to see this film? Now I am at the ticket counter but the movie is sold out. It's okay, it's Tuesday now and I'm back. The movie is sold out again and I am being arrested for indecent exposure. It's 2010 and I am watching it on Blu-ray. The resolution is outstanding. The franchise is restored. I won't tell anybody that Joel Schumacher is about to start making sequels again”.


Memento

“Well, that was disappointingly straightforward”.

Mes for Palin

I’m not an American. But if I were, I’d support Sarah Palin. In fact, I’m starting up an organization called Mes for Palin. Why? Because she’s just like me. She’s a hockey mom. I’m a hockey mom, sometimes. She shot a moose. I shot a tall guy. She actually hunts moose in nature. I hunt tall guys on my private human game reserve. She shoots wolves from a helicopter. I pee standing up. She runs Alaska. I run my refrigerator (frost-free, biznatches!). She’s protected by the Lord from witchcraft. I keep a wrench on me in case Stevie Nicks shows up.

Are you catching the similarities yet? She sees Russia. I see England, France and Sasha Grey’s underpants. She gets tongue-tied in front of Katie Couric. I too feel the white-hot heat of Couric’s raw sexuality, even through the television screen. She loves America. I love a small subset of paranoid ultra-right conservatives who lost their dignity and their marbles years ago. She has close ties to a secessionist party. I moved out my parent’s house last week so I can understand the need for independence, so STOP READING THIS MOM. She is kept from speaking to the press. I am kept from entering the YWCA again. She probably has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Everyone probably loves me too. If I were me, I’d be just like me too, and I’d be part of Mes for Palin. Because she’s me.

a citizen's guide to profiting from the financial crisis

How many bailouts have we hit so far? There was the Bear Stearns Bailout, the Chase Morgan rescue, the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bear hug, the AIG ass-catch, and then the $700 billion gift to Wall Street. And that’s not counting the massive nationalization of financial institutions all over the world. Plus Britain finally fulfilled its dream of kicking Iceland’s ass.

I’ve lost track. I’m pretty sure that everyone but Paul Krugman has lost track. No one knows how much money is being decanted into the system, and in any case it doesn’t seem to be doing much to calm those arrested adolescents who are whipping the stock market around like they’re pumping the last drops from the keg. No one who set up camp on the the Dow Jones Industrial Average is getting any sleep these days.

Over the last decade, financial institutions have been able to leverage ridiculous amounts of capital through all kinds of financial instruments and half-baked assurances. It’s not even that the financial sector filled up a balloon with borrowed breath; it’s more the case that they persuaded the balloon to inflate itself with nothing but promises while they nipped around the corner for some hot air. The balloon acquiesced until it became clear that the bankers were never coming back. Panic-riddled and fatally mired in the very system that buggered them in the first place, governments around the world have upended their treasuries on the gold-plated mountebanks who perpetrated this scam on the world. Progressive-minded folk believe that money, that defiant fiction, should obey gravity for once and flow down to the people, not up to the banks.

I think the solution is simpler. Give us the power that the banks have enjoyed for so long. Let us do to money what they have been able to do.

After all, why can’t average citizens have the same kind of freedom to leverage our capital as the banks? Why can’t we create money out of acronymed nothingness and assault the walls of poverty with our fantastic weapons of wealth? Dadgum but I think it should be so, and here’s how.

First, let’s pick a potential wealth-generating object. I don’t have a car, house or any investments, so my net worth is pretty much nothing. My net worth is pretty much even less than nothing. But I do have a Playstation 3 and a couple of awesome games. That will be my money machine. A number of people in my neighbourhood would enjoy playing Grand Theft Auto IV, so I will sell them time on my machine. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But there are ways to leverage that dribble of income.

Instead of selling them time on my machine outright, I’ll loan them the money to buy the time. But I won't hold the loans; some I will sell to Alli who lives downstairs and some to Kelly who lives upstairs. They’ll assume some of the risk and I’ll get a small fee from the sale. Since the fee is small, I’ll have to get as many loans as possible to make enough money for things like capital reinvestment (new games are not cheap you know, and Bioshock is coming out next week). Eventually I’m going to run out of people with decent credit ratings, so in order to keep my profits flowing I'll have to start hitting up people who can never pay back the loans. But since I’m selling the loans off as quickly as I land them, what’s the risk to me? Next to nothing. So far, so genius.

The problem is that some risk remains – after all, I want to keep up my business relations with Kelly and Alli. So we’ll take these loans, bundle them into packages, and securitize them. And just like that, a debt (loans, which by definition occupy negative financial space) becomes an asset (because the law suddenly fucking says so, okay?). I’ll call these Palinode-Backed Securities. Now I can take these assets and start to slice them into pieces resembling marbled cuts of meat, which I call tranches. Some of these tranches are largely low-risk loans with a small return on investment. Some carry a higher risk, but the returns for investors are better. Now the risk is distributed even further and systemic failure is nigh impossible. And once these sold-off, bundled, securitized and sliced-up loans are sold again to, say, Zack from apartment #15 and the crazy old lady with the floral housedress from #23, I don’t need to worry about people defaulting, because it’s completely not my problem anymore. I just make money on everyone else’s money but I’m not taking any of the risks.

Given the universal need for entertainment, it’s pretty obvious that my Playstation will continue to go up in value forever and ever. But for those who may be skeptical, it’s helpful to go to a ratings agency that will guarantee the strength of the financial instruments I’ve created. Bernie from apartment 7 happens to run a ratings agency out of his living room, so I hire him to rate my securities. Since he values my continued business, it’s in his best interest to give high ratings to the bundled assets, based on the most solid parts of the tranche. And if Bernie takes a cut from all of us for awarding high ratings to our financial instruments, it’s because he works really hard and he deserves it, okay? Isn’t that what we all want? To be rewarded for working so damn hard? I thought so.

Of course, we have other ways of jacking up the ratings. We go to Chris who lives down the street and always wears that black trench coat to insure the tranches by buying Default Credit Swaps from him. The default credit swap is an insurance instrument - essentially a securitized insurance policy. It means that Chris will pay me out if a tranche defaults, but the credit swap alone is worth plenty money. So I sell some to Kelly, some to Zack, one to Bernie, and so on. The better the rating, the more the credit swap is worth, and since Bernie rates everything so highly, these things are a gold mine. I just keep on making more money! Where is this crap coming from? Pushed toward us in a never-ending stream on the solar winds, money from an unassailable source succors us. That's where this crap is coming from.

Even in this id-riddled wish-fulfilment fantasy of finance, I still worry about risk. Ultimately, the best insurance against risk is to generate so much wealth that I can never run out, even if everything collapses around me. In order to do this, I can create a Structured Investment Vehicle, which allows me to purcase subprime Palinode-backed securities from others – maybe even myself, why the hell not? To buy them, though, I will create short-term loans called Palinode-Backed Commercial Paper. Then I’ll sell the short-term loans to John, the building caretaker who seems to have jaundice, use the money from the sale to buy the subprime securities, and pay back Jaundice John. Or maybe I'll invest the money elsewhere, sell John some more paper based on those investments, and just keep the whole damn thing going. The point is to throw so much financial chaff in so many directions that no radar can possibly penetrate the obfuscating cloud. Meanwhile, everybody's charging commissions, everybody's selling debts masked as assets, and everyone’s making money, even if that money ends up as 400 imaginary dollars to every dollar of actual capital.

Will it fail? Of course it will. Playstations break down all the time. Plus no one has any real money to pay off the original loans, so the rotten pillar underneath it all will eventually crack. And when that happens, the government will be there with more money, real money, more again than I could ever anticipate, and we will all bathe in taxpayer gold. The little won't suffer, because we are all the little guy. The money that was never there for education, for welfare, for arts and culture and heritage, the money that was always lacking to build decent communities, the money that could not be found to give the worst of us a fighting chance – only then, when we have scammed our way into catastrophic collapse, will the real wealth be revealed. And it will, to everyone’s surprise, have always been ours.

And if the whole Playstation 3 thing doesn't work, I've got a really nice corduroy jacket I can loan you. Invest now in elbow patches for that professorial look.

60 minutes of Twitter

Sometimes, instead of working, writing a novel, or even procrastinating, I choose, Ahab-like, doomed projects in the hope that the effort will reward itself with strange revelations or the production of unfathomable objects. I think I’ve been rewarded on the very last count. Below is a great wedge of text culled from one hour of my Twitter feed, approximately 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Palinode Time, October 15, 2008.

WHAT IS TWITTER?

For those of you who don’t know, Twitter is the most microbial of microblogging platforms, allowing entries of no more than 140 characters at a time. Every Twitterer, or Tweeter, or Tweep, or whatever, is granted two feeds: one is an unfiltered public timeline, a great roiling ocean of the cryptic and the stupid; the other feed comprises the Twitterer’s handpicked list of fellow Tweeps. For example, I follow 185 people, all of whom hold my interest in some way. 320 people, in turn, are following me, of whom about 318 (give or take five) are online marketers and webcam girls. Has that been a satisfactory and comprehensive explanation of Twitter? What’s that? I’m sorry, I can’t hear a word you’re saying.

WHY HAVE I DONE THIS?

‘Cause.

WHY DOES MY BOSS KEEP ASKING ME QUESTIONS THAT MAKE HER SOUND DESPERATE FOR SOMEONE, ANYONE, TO COME AND RESCUE HER FROM THIS DYSFUNCTIONAL CARBUNCLE OF A WORKPLACE?

Because those questions are related directly to my portfolio. Actually, they’re pretty random, and I have no idea why she’s asking me. I think this is her highly repressed version of venting.

ANYWAY

In the hope of discovering some deeper truth about the zeitgeist, I’ve removed people’s Twitter names, corrected slightly for spelling and grammar, and thrown the whole thing together in one Pynchon-sized paragraph. If you find yourself confused by the occasional inclusion of passages of Moby Dick, it’s because I’m following someone who’s tweeting the entire novel, 140 characters at a time.

HIGHLIGHTS

In sixty minutes my feed picked up 102 tweets from about 70 or so twitterers (or tweeple, if you like). Despite the abbreviated nature of SMS and the cryptic half-conversations that kept popping up, people still managed to be clear, succinct, witty and affable. There were three mentions of pets, of which two were about pets farting. One overt Shakespearean illusion muhlusion allusion, six anxiety-ridden mentions of work, one bit of celebrity gossip, and the rare question of whether it’s better to be a hobo or a hobo’s vagina, which I cannot answer with more information. There’s also an ongoing conversation about an unpleasant soup. You’d be amazed at how often people tweet about soup. Also, people are still making ‘more cowbell’ jokes in 2008. When is that going to die?

Leaving on a jet plane. Be kind to strangers. I write 2x more for work. And I enjoy this insanity. My calendar this month has deadlines every other day- and that's the freelance stuff. I'm also shooting and writing the Hyatt cookbook :) :) Nursing a pulled muscle in my neck... aaargh! I reckon the patchy Internet made me sound a bit robotic. Izeither, tell her not to cos I'm using the skype on my phone not laptop. Ngdalie, well i can understand you wanting to get home! How about October keeps going but Fall slams the brakes? ;) Fact Check: The GOP is the party of Stupid. Just sitting here by the media city lake, unwinding. Waiting for someone to pick me up for the drink I badly need. My 20lb cat (not to be confused with THE @20lb_cat) is trying to catch a fly behind the drapes of the sliding glass door. Not so stealth. Lruettiman, that's kind of ridiculous. Sorry to hear that. Wondering when I'm going to make it to Bombay. Xmas there or ... Moscow? Blurb, so GOP means Goobers On Parade. Judge, then, to what pitches of inflamed, distracted fury the minds of his more desperate hunters were impelled, when amid the chips of chewed boats, and the sinking limbs of torn comrades, they swam out of the white curds of the whale's direful wrath into the serene, about exasperating sunlight, that smiled on, as if at a birth or a bridal. Elzbeth, certain eye candy have nuts. think about that. /cue NBC's more you know psa music. Is it better to be a hobo or a hobo vagina? First thing I will do in Bombay is eat an apple pie at the amazing Parsi bakery in Fort, Yazdani. Dear me: ugh. stop eating the almonds. step away from the can of almonds. for real. thanks, me. Turkey.Alltop: All the news about Turkey is now aggregated at http://turkey.alltop.com. New post: The HeART of Houston Kickoff Party: Last week it was colliding with culture an.. http://tinyurl.com/4zoprj. Also finding it amazing every single person at work is.. So efficient. And interesting. Time to turn off the www, put on some music and get busy cleaning. this to-do list isn't going to do itself. Figured out the Dubai bus system. I reckon I'd save 40 dirhams a day with the bus. Not terribly inconvenient either. Warriorsf, I will and only that famous one on the highway to pune will do. Didn't Harper say he wanted to set specific election dates so politicians cldn't use elections for their own ends? And then what did he do? I'm not really a patient person who likes waiting around for things to happen. Waiting for someone to have a child kinda sucks. Just passed a church sign reading "CHILDREN'S LED SERVICE..." For a second, I pictured kids clustered around a giant flatscreen monitor. My female dog farted in bed and startled herself out of a dead sleep. She farted again and looked accusingly at her ass and then RAN away. MochaMom365, link is broken. How much is a taxi from Dubai (say, jumeirah) to Sharjah airport? And how long - at ant I mean how long does it take before rush hour, say at 4. Just got my Alltop widget for Tourette Syndrome: http://alltop.com/widget/ So cool! Thanks Guy Kawasaki. Juliebird, yes, someone else sent it to me. because i was talking of PHIL COLLINS. radness. Actually, a monitor would be LCD, not LED. I guess it would have to be a really big Lite-Brite: http://tinyurl.com/44wwdw. For a limited time only... here's that picture I had taken last week. (It's a lot better when it's small). Viscousplatypus, I did not know this! Maybe I heard something about it and only processed it subconsciously. Viscousplatypus, his son wasn't named Samantha, was he? That was his daughter's name in the dream. JasonSprague, I dunno. We'll see. Nojo, well that was a weird thing to say. Srah, nice picture! SenorDiscount, I was reading the X-Men creators interview book. I don't have it in front of me, so I forget the name. It has a blue cover. Slightly disappointed that I didn't wake up to an onslaught of porn followers. No cheeses, no pizza. Know cheeses, know pizza. I'm still drunk from all the twitter love after yesterday's announcement of my new job. I may even have a hangover. Excedrin anyone? Tracey at Shutter Sisters has a great post up about organizing your holiday greetings. Freaks unite! http://tinyurl.com/45v7x6. Missbritt, are you doing "save for web"? that usually turns transparent white i think. KatjaPresnal, haha-same to you sistah ;) GinaLaGuardia, thanks! How is it that I just discovered fafblog! today? Where have I been? Viscousplatypus, thank you! That's exactly what I was going for. While still not wearing a suit. Nojo when i'm here, i'm reading, baby. ;) I call Computer Break. who would like to come with me? Danieljohnsonjr, honestly, it's probably best to be undecided right up until you vote. Helps you keep thinking critically. I just bought a $100 down comforter for $20. Why do I feel guilty? Too many windows open. Four new issues on four new projects I've never seen before dumped in my lap - and it's not even lunchtime yet! We're talking about the gays today. Picking the mushrooms out of soup. Labor-intensive, but am not in the mood for funghi. Chumworth, My father referred to corduroys as "whistle britches". r/t MOMocrats' liveblog 2night. We're using Meebo Rooms-get your Meebo ID at Meebo.com if you want to join. More deets on MOMocrats soon! New Post: I Covet Shoulder Bags From Etsy - http://tinyurl.com/4z86zv 22. New at ProBlogger: 13 Tips to Recession Proof Your Blog http://twurl.nl/uyea7w. Madonna is officially getting a divorce. the tabloids are always right. celebs can only deny so long. pregnancies, divorce, dating, etc . Writingroads oh yes, it is! thank you :) Groovehouse is truly my hero. Zaren, it's not mushroom soup. it's coconut soup. the mushrooms are harshing the coconut mellow. Also, they're STRAW mushrooms. I have seriously underestimated my blog audience in both tolerance and fuck-up-ed-ness. And thank G-d for that. Herbadmother, as long as the mushrooms didn't grow in the soup, in which case I advise finding an entirely different soup. Just got a sample newborn diaper in the mail. I can't believe my girls were ever that small. His three boats stove around him, and oars and men both whirling in the eddies; one captain, seizing the line-knife from his broken prow, had dashed at the whale, as an Arkansas duellist at his foe, blindly seeking with a six inch blade to reach the fathom-deep life of the whale. Clearing the 5k photo off my computer. wish the upload to flickr wasnt so labor intensive even w/ uploader. there must be an easier way... The most completely uncool product I've ever seen: http://www.jumpinjammerz.com/ That captain was Ahab. No turbaned Turk, no hired Venetian or Malay, could have smote him with more seeming malice. Getting a little sad about leaving New York soon. And then it was, that suddenly sweeping his sickle-shaped lower jaw beneath him, Moby Dick had reaped away Ahab's leg, as a mower a blade of grass in the field. RobinJP, yes, keeps life interesting. thank you! At least 400 flies are perched on the front of my house. Something wicked this way comes. Small reason was there to doubt, then, that ever since that almost fatal encounter, Ahab had cherished a wild vindictiveness against the whale, all the more fell for that in his frantic morbidness he at last came to identify with him, not only all his bodily woes, but all his intellectual and spiritual exasperations. Handbagplanet, i better have won a purse. It's the least you can give me for annoying all of my friends on your behalf. Ladyloo, I figure that if I can't own all the stuff I want on Etsy, I can at least have fun writing about it. The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung. Struggling today...thinking i'm just not that good at writing and anyone who ever thought i was had to be high on glue. That intangible malignity which has been from the beginning; to whose dominion even the modern Christians ascribe one-half of the worlds; which the ancient Ophites of the east reverenced in their statue devil;--Ahab did not fall down and worship it like them; but deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred white whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it. And who knew my mom sniffed glue? All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it. Three consecutive texts to the boys' mom: "Robert has a fever"; "and the only prescription"; "is more cowbell!" She wasn't amused. I think my cat just farted on my foot. ... ... ... now that is something i did not anticipate ever having to tweet. My midnight shifts! Finished.

(this entry's just) 312 words long

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free character name giveaway

Are you blocked up, writing-wise? Are words and images that should come easily to you, not? Are cliches barreling at you like expertly thrown bowling balls, assuming in this scenario that you're a pin, when they should be badly thrown bowling balls, still assuming that you're a pin? It's because you probably haven't picked the correct names for the characters in the story that will launch you on your way to worldwide fame and glittery ease.

I pity you blocked-up folks. I have so much worldwide fame and glittery ease that I don't know what to do with it all. I also have lots of character names that I once dreamed of using but now probably never will, because I have lost the use of my hands. So here are the names of all the characters that I was going to unleash on my aborted manuscript about life in an abandoned mill town during the robot apocalypse. Feel free to take these names and use them in your work.

Jack Canvance (salesman)
Fenton Fantod IV (old money)
Irvin Girvin Grant (retired postman, hooked on ayahuasca, now lost in a Civil War reenactment)
Mel Krun (lays siege to the hardware store)
Chas Batson (new money trying to pass himself off as old money)
Dierdre O'Donnell (the fiery Irish lass with the child of unknown provenance)
Declan Ng (the half-Irish half-Korean half-brother to Ms. O'Donnell)
Bodey Theriault (the independent woman who runs the bar on the edge of town)
Arvie Partsinsales (the cross-dressing hardware store owner)
Zephyr Caulfield (a child of the meadows)
Rupert the Boar (not just a character - this one's a freaking franchise)
Chris T. Figure (the villain... or is he?)

As you can see, nearly every ingredient for a genre-busting novel of the robot apocalypse has been laid out for you. There's no way you can screw this up, unless you accidentally overthrow the government by force. But I don't see how that follows from writing a novel.

my life of humiliation with grand theft auto iv

I am a bad driver.

I have driven a car only twice in my entire life. Once when I was twelve, once when I was twenty-eight. Is there some kind of algorithmic relationship between 12 and 28 that can usefully predict when I’ll next get behind the wheel?* I’m 37 now. Please send in your proofs for extra credit.

Given my spotty history with driving, it’s no surprise that I have trouble with virtual cars. In Grand Theft Auto IV, I have fishtailed, backed over or rammed into lampposts, dumpsters, pedestrians, front stoops, and just about every piece of urban infrastructure programmed into its endless cityscape. I have been playing for two days, and already I have: driven into the water, Michael-Scott style, by referring to the map instead of my surroundings; tried to hop a meridian, only to find my car tumbling through the air onto the train tracks below; I’ve even taken a helicopter for a quick spin into the azure grave of the Atlantic.

I have also failed quite spectacularly at walking. Within the first minute of game play I managed to climb up a 70’ tower and casually jump over the railing when my thumb hit the wrong button. In addition I am prone to leaping onto the roofs of cars when I try to enter the vehicle. The lifelike way in which I jump up and then stand around casually, as if it’s no big deal to hang out on top of a car, hiya how’s it going, yup this is my Impala, is excruciatingly embarrassing. It doesn’t matter that the passersby are little bits of code. They still look at me funny.

The Grand Theft Auto franchise has pretty much become the standard bearer for interactive violence. Everyone knows by now that you can pick up a hooker, have sex with her in your car and then run her over for a full refund. You can ram a helicopter into the side of a building, stage a slaughter in an Irish pub, and generally enact every irrational urge you've ever had on a crowded street. It offers, according to its fans and detractors, unlimited license to flout morality and the law.

The truth is that GTA IV offers you the same sort of humiliations found in real life: a crappy apartment, abusive bosses, passive-agressive girlfriends and people who beat the snot of you if you get in their faces. Your character, fresh-off-the-boat Serbian immigrant Niko Bellic, has a quiet macho dignity coded into him, but the city is more than a match for the schmuck controlling his movements. The lamest in-game moment came when I unwisely chose to practice my fighting skills by picking a fight with a woman sipping on a cup of coffee and wearing a smart down vest. I needed to brush up on my dodging and kicking skills, so I picked what I thought would be an easy mark. I walked up and threw a punch, figuring that she would drop or run.

This was a mistake. She dumped the cup of coffee, pushed me back and put up her fists. I was so surprised by her instant aggression that I failed to dodge the next three or four blows. I kicked her, more to keep her away than to beat her up, which caught the attention of some guy in a black cap and a leather jacket. He ran up and proceeded to pummel me. Panicked - I didn't know you could feel a genuine, confused sense of panic in a video game - I ran to my car and got in. Then, in a remarkably fluid cinematic moment, the Starbucks-drinking woman and the man in the leather jacket pulled me out the car, dragged me onto the asphalt and started kicking my pathetic prone body.

This was a fight I could not win. I got to my feet and started limping away, thinking that once I rounded the block they would lose interest and go back to their preprogrammed aimless wandering. Instead they followed, block after block, the man hurling insults ("you want to beat up on a woman, motherfucker?") and the woman calling out "Excuse me!" every few seconds. I wasn't falling for that one. Eventually a guy in a red plaid jacket joined in, following along and periodically kicking me in the butt as I dragged my body forward. I wondered how many people would start crowding in behind me, each one champing to smack a piece off the idiot who picked a fight with a random woman. I had to limp back to my cousin's crappy apartment to get rid of them.

Oh yes, and while I was running around? A woman I bumped into shouted at me, "It's called soap! S-O-P!"**

The most humbling moment came when I realized that I didn’t know how to quit the game. That is not a euphemism for video game addiction – I literally did not know what button or option to select to end play (bear in mind that I had been staring at the TV screen for a couple of hours at this point). The controller presents you with a mass of buttons and joysticks, each of which have different context-dependent functions. Only one button gives you the option of quitting the game. It lies smack dab in the middle of the controller, a glossy malign nub with the Playstation logo that resembles a piece of flair. Playing for an hour or more turns you bloody-minded, though. Instead of flipping open the manual, I did everything I could think of to die.

My first attempt was to get arrested. This is remarkably easy to do; there is a prominent police presence in Liberty City, and all you have to do is walk up to a cop and punch him in the face, then stand still while he arrests you. Game over? Not quite. You rematerialize in front of the local precinct station, except with your weapons confiscated and your wallet lighter (the cops take bribes). So I tried a few more times, running people over, ramming cop cars, etcetera. No dice. I was still in the game.

My second pass involved inspired attempts at suicide. There are a million paths to injury and death in Grand Theft Auto IV, but the simplest method is simply to walk into traffic. It takes a few tries - often the vehicle will slow down and the driver will curse at you inventively - but one good freeway hit-and-run will send you flying - if you're lucky you'll go over a guard rail and drop several stories. As with an arrest, though, you find yourself plunked down in front of the hospital, which has patched you up and charged you for their services. If GTA were set in Toronto, at least you could get some free healthcare.

*I always find it funny that ‘behind the wheel’ refers to a steering wheel, not the tires, of a car. Wait, I don’t find that funny at all.

**Thus far my favourite GTA insult. My next favourite, which was not really sensible enough to qualify as insult, was the guy who shouted out "FUCK rehab!" when I ran into him.

microsoft is generous

My workplace is offering the Microsoft Home Use and Employee Purchase Programs, so I thought I’d sign on for discounted prices and ease of ordering. What I found instead – and why was I surprised? – was one of the most poorly thought-out and consumer-unfriendly websites I’ve ever dealt with. I don’t generally buy Microsoft products online, so perhaps the Employee Purchase Program is the shitbin of the great Gates/Ballmer widget factory, a version of bargain shopping where all the products are heaped indifferently on pallets and the most useless employee in the whole company stands on guard behind a cash register, able to punch in numbers and shrug dully at your questions.

Even from the start it seems that Microsoft is not interested in your business. The sign-in page is buggy and borked, refuses to acknowledge the information you’ve input, then sends you through anyway to a broken version of the site. That’s right: you can still get into the EPP site even if you haven’t filled out all the required fields. Maybe some hacker could make hay of this kind of crappy broke-code security, but all it did for me was provide several minutes of sheer confusion as the page kept prompting me for my country of origin and preferred language but neglected to provide any fields where I could enter this information. Eventually I realized that Microsoft had “forgotten” the information I initially provided, so I trudged back to the sign-up page, tried three more times, and then got through.

I tried to come up with a real-life equivalent to this experience that makes any kind of sense, but any scenario I wrote down just felt Chaplinesque. I’ve got a great comparison for the experience of actually shopping on the EPP site, though. Imagine that you’re Indiana Jones, and you’re searching for some priceless treasure, let’s say a magical golden spittoon that can vanquish your enemies, but after you’ve outwitted the Nazis and crossed the Bridge of Snapping Towels, you get to the sacred Spittoon Chamber, where you find a homeless man whose only power is farting “You Are My Sunshine” for spare change. I can think of no other way to describe site features such as the “Entertainment” category, which offers “the stuff that you really want”. I did not know that I really wanted Zune accessories for the whole family. Thanks, Microsoft.

Or maybe it’s not as bad as I’m making out. Even though the product selection is limited and the site is so buggy that it would probably leak your credit card information into the void and airdrop your purchases into the Pacific Gyre, at least it offers a discount on popular software and hardware. I brought up the Future Shop site to see how jim-dandy the deals were. Under the Employee Purchase Program, I can buy an Xbox 360 bundle (no info on what the bundle contains) for $399.99 Canadian, which is a discount of, let’s see, -$50.00. That’s right: I can buy an Xbox 360 on Future Shop for 12.5% less than Microsoft’s generous discount.

The real deals come with items like Windows Vista Home Premium, which goes for $119.68. That’s an insanely good deal over Future Shop, which is selling the same product for $250. May I delicately point out, though, that even the best deal on a one-tonne crate of strontium-laced pigshit is no deal at all. Scratch that: radioactive pigshit, whatever its shortcomings, will probably run your computer more efficiently than Vista.

UPDATE: IT SUCKS.

nonsensical and creepy pickup lines

Do I come here often?

If I could arrange the alphabet, I would be like unto God. No doubt I would eventually be punished for my hubris and bound to a rock somewhere for all eternity. So I guess what I’m saying is, would you wait for me?

How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to crush every bone in your rockin’ hot body.

If you came in here with a knife and jumped on me and put your knee to my throat and cut out my beating heart and stuffed it in your purse and ran out again, I’d call the police because you’d have stolen my heart. No, but I’d be dead and unable to contact the authorities.

Excuse me. Are you a man? Because I don’t like men. I like women. I said I like women. I only ask because you seem nice but I can see your penis. Wait, that’s my penis I’m seeing. Looks like we’re both seeing my penis together. Do you think it's fate?

So, did I come here with friends or am I all by myself?

Hey, did you fall from Heaven? Because I have a script with me and I think God would be great in the lead.

Are you made of teak? That's a heavy but strong wood.

I have a hybrid bicycle.

there will be math

So far I've seen Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood twice in theatres, and on both occasions I noticed a certain dissatisfaction in the audience. Since I enjoyed the movie so much, I'm not sure what those popcorn-chewing people had issue with. Could it be the unorthodox Jonny Greenwood score? No, that was liberating. How about Daniel Day-Lewis' outsized performance? I doubt it, because he inhabited the role so thoroughly that he gave us something entirely outside the current tradition of film acting, and our appreciation of performance has been enlarged because of it. What about those long stretches of methodical, dialogue-free action? Maybe, but those sections told us so much about a way of life that it felt like Anderson had unlocked some latent power in celluloid to convey information.

The answer lies in the title. For a movie that explicitly promises blood, there's not much of the stuff. We see blood only twice in the whole film - once in a sudden ruddy spray that may actually be crude oil, and later in a small puddle oozing across a polished wooden floor.

Nonetheless I think that viewers get more than enough blood from the film. Over the two hours and forty minutes running time, we see four adult males die. Since we witness those moments, and since the experience of watching movies is essentially voyeuristic, I think it's fair to say that we in the audience claim those deaths. The imaginary spoils of onscreen battles go to us, the victors, who have paid ten dollars to sit in the dark and watch a giant rectangle of light on a wall. The question is, exactly how much blood do we get?

The average amount of blood in an adult male body - say, weighing around 150-175 pounds - comes to roughly 5 litres, or 1.32 gallons (This is a conservative estimate; some sources claim up to 5.7 litres). Since this is imaginary blood, we don't need to divide it up between audience members. Therefore we can each claim to have paid ten dollars for twenty litres, or 5.2 gallons, of that old hemoglobin. If you go on cheap night, then you're walking away with gallons of imaginary blood for practically nothing.

If you think of it in terms of gasoline, that's probably enough to move even the most redonkulous gas-guzzling Hummer at least seventy-five miles. And if you're driving a Prius, well then, aren't you special.

why january sucks: a true story

Yesterday I took my recovering body out for a walk.

Walks, when you're rebuilding muscle and nerve, cannot be aimless. You need a specific goal. Otherwise, you'll find your body perilously close to giving out on you in the middle of a block, with nowhere nearby to rest. In my case, it's my left leg that I can't rely on; because the nerves are damaged, it's hard to gauge how much strength and endurance I've got.

Instead of measuring by distance, I measure (out my life) in coffee shops. Abstractions Café, where the coffee is hot and the zataar comes in sandwich format, is far and away the best. Second best is the atrociously misnamed Exotic Coffee World. Even though the place is festooned with signs about not allowing 'table games' and reminders about management's right to refuse service, it will do. The sandwiches are disappointing but edible, with half a loaf of rye protecting a few embattled slices of swiss cheese and luncheon meat. Beyond Exotic Coffee World, the options dip dramatically in quality, featuring places that serve coffee weak and tasteless as hot water, and food that should not be spoken of. And then there's the hospital cafeteria, which has good Chinese food on Wednesdays. Stupid semi-gentrified inner city. When will the yuppies come?

I walked the five blocks to Abstractions, but I hadn't bargained on January, that godforsaken month when cafe owners close their doors and jet off to their luxury island retreats. A polite sign on the door told me that Abstractions was closed until the sixteenth. Exotic Coffee World, when I reached it, was also closed for the holidays.

I had gambled and lost, lost horribly. The only two places left in walking range were Just Bean Brewed, a 24 hour coffee place catering to the schizophrenic runoff from the mental ward at the nearby hospital, or Value Pizza, a little spot next to a closed-up laundromat. I hadn't walked into Value Pizza since New Year's Eve 1998, where my girlfriend at the time had taken me for the purposes of ending our relationship. I thanked her for her time, left and promptly took a lot of drugs with another girl. I remember showing up at someone's house and playing Trivial Pursuit with a troupe of Christian camp kids as the chemicals took hold of my brain and recast my situation (dumped, gaming with Christian pre-teens) as appropriately absurd and itchingly, screamingly funny. Anyway, Value Pizza was all full of memories.

If ten years had elapsed outside, the interior of Value Pizza had ignored the passage of time completely. Same blue fabric in the booths that made it look like you were eating in a Greyhound bus, same hotel art prints on the walls. Same signboard with the Sprite advertisement above the cash register. And the same atmosphere, a kind of first-glance tidiness that starts to unravel by the time you've already ordered your food: stains on the walls, peeling trim, the woman in the corner booth who may be thinking or just sleeping. Or dead.

The woman behind the till seated me in a booth and brought me a cup of coffee and a menu. It is axiomatic that there are no good choices in a place like this; the best I could hope for was something so deep-fried that any harmful bacteria or radioactive isotopes would be long destroyed. On that basis I chose the pork cutlet sandwich and hoped for the best. As for the coffee, it tasted chiefly of soap, but behind the emulsion of cream and detergent you could make out the distinct flavour of something or other. Another sip and the coffee gave up its secret: instant.

I could hardly wait for the pork cutlet sandwich.

What arrived at my table in a few quick minutes was not really food. It was the token of an agreement between myself and the restaurant, a compact involving money and mastication. Pale regular fries that went straight from extruder to freezer to frier to mouth. Instant gravy the colour of milk chocolate, from a freeze-dried and hermetically packaged powder that could have travelled safely into space. Was this an agreement or a put-on?

And then there was the open faced cutlet sandwich: a slice of lightly toasted white bread - itself another con at food - and a corpse-grey patty of reconstituted pig bits, an assembly of slaughterhouse scrapings that a just society would have blasted into orbit. Luckily for me, the manufacturer had blasted it with enough heat to kill any bacteria, as well as any resemblance it may have once had to animal flesh. I wondered if it wasn't a put-on so much as a compromise: I couldn't be sure that my cutlet would nourish me in any way, but I could be pretty certain that it wouldn't kill me.

Wallace Stevens said that a poem should almost successfully resist the intelligence. There turned out to be a similar principle at work between my food and my knife. The toast came in handy for this, providing a spongy non-slip backing for the penetration of my pig bits.

[Here I've reached a bit of a crisis. As you can expect, the cutlet sandwich didn't taste very good, but it was kind of crunchy and kind of salty, and you're probably wondering why I didn't send it back or maybe order something less disgusting in the first place. In the immortal words of Jesus: 'I have no adequate response to that.' But that's not the crisis. Like a child genius who comes up with a revolutionary case for quantum-classical parity, I have witnessed the moment of my peak. I will never again uncover a sentence with the phrase 'spongy non-slip backing for the penetration of my pig bits'. Now I'm trudging down from the peak, and already the clouds are moving in to obscure the flag I planted there.]


Later that evening I told Schmutzie about my encounter with the cutlet sandwich. I told her about the distance to various coffee shops, how they were all closed, and how it was that I chewed my way through a frightening fake of a meal.

That's really, it's just, that's so gross, she said. Why do you always choose the grossest thing on the menu? I mean, I eat some gross foods, but you always go a step further.

Yes, I said. I will always be one cutlet sandwich ahead of you. And I felt my stomach start to twist, as if a ball of metal foil had begun to unfold there, into some unfathomable shape.

There's a moral in there somewhere. Something about proper diet, industrial food production and the wisdom of ordering things called 'cutlet sandwiches'. But I forget what it is.

Oh right: I hate January.

once more with neutrons

Here's another entry taken from the archives of my previous weblog, The Palinode, from the mists of 2003, when cars were powered by coal and the ipods were known as 'stereos'. The meds, they make sustained effort and concentration tough, so here you go.

Recently [or if you like, a long time ago] Mimi Smartypants pointed the way to Multibabel, a site that hijacks the good intentions of Babel Fish by translating a phrase back and forth from language to language, until the original English has been twisted into an unrecognizable syntactic shape. The translation daisy chain goes as follows: English-French, English-German, English-Italian, English-Portuguese, English-Spanish and back to English. Best of all, you can run the resultant phrase through the process again, like feeding mangled metal fragments into a broken machine. It's fun if you're wearing gloves.

Eventually the phrase will stabilize, achieving a consensus between languages. Unfortunately, the consensus does not lead towards universally agreed-upon sense, but towards a Point Of Mutually Assured Nonsense (POMAN). With extremely simple single-clause phrases it takes about three or four cycles (30-40 passes) to hit POMAN. Given something more complicated, when will POMAN be achieved? Because I am who I am, I tried out the gramatically ugly but chart-topping sentence "I'm just burning, doing the neutron dance" (see last entry). It produced unexpected results, which I've taken the time to track for you. Here are the highlights of 250 kicks at the Pointers Sisters can. I've omitted the translations into non-English languages, and wherever possible I've avoided linguistic explanations in favour of more imaginative ones.

1. (original) I'm just burning, doing the neutron dance.

3. (from French) I am burn right, making the dance of neutron.

Two translations in and already Babel Fish has made a conceptual error, confusing the English "just" (as in "only") with the French "juste" (as in "correct"). Babel Fish also neglected to properly translate the continuous form of "I'm... burning". It must be the "just" that's causing the problem, but already the notion of correctness has been introduced. Also, I'm no longer dancing but making a dance, which is, you know, kudos to me.

6. (from Italian) They are the right of the fire and I form the dance of the neutron.

Just a few translations and already things have gotten pretty hairy, not to mention a bit Fascist sounding. I've been taken off burning duty and assigned to a subcommittee charged with administering the neutrons. "They" are a group that somehow embodies the correctness or the claim to the liberty of fire, whereas I'm somewhere else taking care of the dancing neutron. Two passes later and the line reads "I give form to the dance of the neutron," which is even cooler. I picture myself in some kind of metaphysical conservatory, sculpting a dance in the studio for subatomic particles while fiery incarnations proclaim their rights in the lecture hall.

10. (from Spanish) The correct one of the fire and I give the form to the dance of the neutron.

The first translation cycle has been run through, and far from reaching POMAN, the results have produced an unexpected richness. One of the fire-rights creatures has been appointed to join me in directing the neutron dance. Am I jealous, aloof or standoffish? Of course not! I'm honoured to share choreography duties with the correct one of the fire.

16. (from Italian) The corrected one of the fire and of that it gives the shape for the dance of the neutron.

Well this sucks. Obviously something's gotten screwed up, because I've been kicked out of my position as co-choreographer and the fire guy is no longer "correct" but "corrected". Why? What mistake did it make? Was it a crime to fraternize with me? Those "right-of-the-fire" types are just jerks.

24. (from German) Behobenes fire and of this gives it the form for the dance of the neutron.

What? Who the hell is 'Behobenes' and what business does he have with our neutron dance? Where's the corrected one? Where am I? This is nothing but a corrupt bureaucracy at work.

26. (from Italian) The fire of Behobenes and this gives the shape to it for the dance of the neutron.

Whoah... fire of Behobenes. I've got to admit, that sounds kind of cool. I can see why they brought this Behobenes guy in.

30. (from Spanish) The fire of Behobenes and this one gives to the form he to him stops the dance of the neutron.

Oh, great. Thanks, Behobenes. Mad props to you and your fire. Don't come calling when you want your neutron dance started up again, because I was doing just fine. Just fine.

36. (from Italian) The fire of Behobenes and this of gives to the famous shape ch' to it the dance of the neutron.

At this point I'm not sure what's going on, but it looks like they're trying to fix the situation by bringing in the famous shape ch'. I've never heard of that particular shape, but I don't think it's wise to bring in a ringer and hope that all their problems will just go away. I don't care how famous ch' is. If you want a good dance, get a dancer, not a shape.

42. (from French) The fire of Behobenes and that of gives to the form celebrates CH ', this dances it neutron.

See, this is exactly what I feared. Everyone's capitulated to fame and started celebrating "CH '" instead of paying attention to what really matters. If I were on the job you'd get a first class neutron dance every time, not this ridiculous pandering to celebrity. Notice the capitalization now? Gimme a break.

50. (from Spanish) The fire of Behobenes and of gives the form commemorates the CH,', that to the neutron this one dances.

Total sellout. Let's all bow down to CH and forget about the neutrons. Let's just flock to the concerts and watch CH do a tribute dance to neutrons or something, while those hard-working little particles never even make an appearance. Also, notice that than an apostrophe gets its own clause. I think they've brought in a !Kung as a consultant. Well, good luck to them. I've started up an improv troupe with a handful of Higg's bosons and strange quarks.

filler

doity rat 03

Ah, cripes of crap. I left my third neurosurgeon installment at work, without any fancy hackery way of retrieving the info. I don't think I even saved it. It's just floating on the surface of the screen, vulnerable to power outages and monitor lizards computer thieves.

This is the modren-day version of leaving your wallet in your other trousers, I know. So in penance I'm going to imagine what my day would be like if I were Paul Simon.

5:00 a.m. I'm up. Aghhh, why does Paul Simon have to get up so early? I try to pummel myself back to sleep, but I'm already doing calisthenics and making a quinoa-boysenberry smoothie. Man, that's got some kick. Antiooooxidants.

5:15 a.m. I skip over to my studio, which is a series of natural caves beneath the mesa, and pick up a guitar. There's a poster of Carrie Fisher in her Princess Leia metal bikini taped to the bathroom door, and when I spot it I start sniffling. Oh boy, here come the waterworks. I have a feeling that Paul Simon spends most of the day weeping over his guitar strings. So I'm inconsolable over in my studio and the sun hasn't even risen. Fuck.

8:30 a.m. In mid-sob I remember that I'm married to Edie Brickell and that cheers me up some. I wonder what she's looking like these days. Wasn't there someone in bed with me this morning when I woke up? Didn't I pour two glasses of quinoa-boysenberry smoothie? What the hell is wrong with me?

8:45 a.m. I walk back into the house. The woman there sure looks like Edie Brickell. Hey Edie! I say. Hey Edie!

Not a word. She's just flipping through an Utne Reader. Hey Edie!

Dad, says some dark-haired kid. Guess it's my son. She hasn't completed her vow of silence yet.

Right, I say. When is that over again?

When she's baked her thousandth polenta.

9:00 a.m. Not even noon and I want out of my day as Paul Simon. Then I discover the room with the rebreather suit and slowly rotating crystal that transmits alien knowledge directly into my mind. Did you know that Paul Simon is the descendant of an alien race from a dying planet circling a star in the Cassiopeia constellation?

9:30 a.m. I take the rebreather suit into the desert with me, absorbing the alien culture and rediscovering my long-lost inheritance. I make flowers grow in the desert. Then I grow a Ferrari, but it's out of gas. Disappointed, I waft back to the house, finding my way through the molecules of hot desert air.

10:00 p.m. Family meeting time. Guys, I say, have I ever said anything about being an alien? They give me blank looks. Here's how it is then. You guys suck, and if you think I'm going to stick around while we slowly turn into The Partridge Family or The Cowsills, then you're sucking on the wrong end of the hookah. I'm going to go build a robot army out of sand. The kids look frightened and Edie starts weeping great silent tears, but I think it's for the best.

And that was my day as Paul Simon, or Rx'hachk Bulagq of the Skaaalr clan.

random notes, no doodles

Just wait til you see the doodles.

One twenty eh em.

I suspect cell phones.

Von Sudenfed makes me happy. Is that so wrong? I haven't watched this video What the video lacks in variety it makes up for in Mark E. Smith and Mouse On Mars in drag.

I interrogate vineyards. I take the dog sweaters to task, that have made us all so unhappy with their innumerable sins.

It's time to deport the take-out menus. Maybe then our society can begin the long healing process.

We spent the morning smashing all the remote controls in our house, but the appliances refused to die. In the afternoon they all left.

The spirit wasn't willing, the flesh wasn't weak, but the fridge was off.

Damn it, when I say Judd Nelson stole my hot tub, I mean it. I mean I never had a hot tub.