The Domestic Violence Awareness rally was something of a letdown this evening, with a scarce crowd (fewer than a hundred by rough count), a less-than-reliable sound system and wince-inducing off-key singing. It was redeemed, however, by the very powerful poetry written and performed by a violence survivor and accompanied by the sign language interpreter pictured in the photo. Seeing someone act out a traumatic scene in what was practically mime is more impressive than listening to statistics.
It would have been nice to see more public interest, especially given the gravity of the subject.
Don't leave a comment on one of my pictures asking me to "hook you up" with the model in the photo. I don't know you, and if this is your method of meeting people I probably don't want to know you (and I can guaranty my model doesn't want to know you). I'm not an escort service.
Don't include personal questions about the model in the comment. Feel free to ask me all the questions you want about the photo, but asking what the model does for a living and whether I have any more pictures of her to send you is out of bounds.
If you ignore these points and leave a link to your own Flickr photos, make sure they don't consist in their entirety of pictures of your penis.
If you ignore all of the above, don't be surprised when I delete your comment and block you from my account.
- NPR had a piece on a standoff between an invading/occupying force and the native population on one specific chain of Pacific Islands yesterday. The newly arrived trespassers are Puerto Rican coqui frogs, and the invasion point is the Hawaiian islands. The frogs (or perhaps even *a* frog) arrived sometime in the 90s (probably in a plant) and, due to a lack of natural predators, have multiplied to astronomical numbers. The problem, as presented, isn't with crop destruction or species crowding as are the usual hallmarks of an invasive species; the problem is noise. The male frogs' mating call can reach 100db (louder than an alarm clock or an electric shaver), and in concert a sample group of frogs in any area are comparable to a noisy freeway or an airport (leaving sleep difficult and conversation in outdoor restaurants almost impossible). Unfortunately, it seems to be an open-ended problem. The frogs are resistant enough to chemical treatments that attempts to control them end up destroying native species as well, and no other viable suggestions have been made. I rather enjoyed their trilling on the radio for the 15 minutes they played in the background, although I can see where a 24/7 alarm clock would be frustrating (and be highly adverse to property values). Still, I was dismayed at the interviews with Hawaiians who found the local extermination methods not just commonplace but almost humorous (one man chuckled as he described how much pressure you have to use when stepping on them in order to pop their lungs; what the hell, NPR?).
- For those of you (not my readers; I'm speaking to humanity in general) who "borrow" the handicapped tags in order to use the reserved spaces: knock it off. I'm not certain of the legality in all 50 states (although I know it's illegal in at least a few), but ethically you're being a jerk. The tag isn't issued to the car; it's issued to a specific recipient. If said recipient isn't in the car, park in a normal space. This isn't one of those "no harm, no foul" loopholes; because there is a finite number of reserved spaces, your gain equates to someone else's loss. The real measure of character is whether you do the right thing when you know no one is looking.
- Although I'm not in any way even remotely qualified to be giving dating advice, I still feel compelled to comment on an online profile I encountered today. Along with the standard text ("this is me, this is what I'm looking for, etc.") was an appended pre-made graphic stating "All I want is for ONE GUY to prove to me that they're not all the same" (bolding in original). For future reference for those making profiles, this is a flag of a very bright crimson hue. To get the obvious out of the way first, it's highly unlikely that every single male she knows is a jerk (I can see every single person she has dated, but that's hardly grounds for such a wide brush). I'm not defending the gender as a whole, knowing, as I do, stellar examples of brutishness and manipulation; that said, no one wants to go into a relationship that requires overcoming preconceived notions in addition to the awkwardness of connecting with a stranger. I've had (brief) experience serving the dual roles of "potential significant other" and "ambassador for the entire male gender," and frankly it sucks. No one should expect a new and unknown person to cover the tab for the character flaws of previous acquaintances (and it should not be a surprise when people of any measure of character, men or women, balk when asked to do so). At the risk of skirting the edges of the repugnant concept of "blaming the victim," if (regardless of your gender or orientation) your relationships consistently involve people lacking character or exhibiting any of the variety of negative attributes, it's probably time to ask a third party to honestly evaluate your methods of choosing your dating pool.
Amidst their other language acquisitions, the twins have honed the art of addressing individual people by name (although Kyle, when faced with new and unknown people, defaults to the generic "boy," as in "Hi, boy."). Interestingly enough, Alec has started using nicknames of her own design. She consistently refers to Kyle as "Gigi" (a derivation of "Jean," from "Kyle Jean"). To Lane's mixed amusement and annoyance, Alec has started calling her "Ree" (for reasons completely unknown, since that name doesn't resemble any part of Lane's real name or nicknames). I've decided to go with "Ree" as well, which would likely induce an outburst on Lane's part except I'm providing her with Doctor Who episodes, so she has to grit her teeth and be nice to me. ;)
As a cute side note, Alec sat on my lap at Lisa's dining room table for 10 minutes on Sunday while we each read our own section of the paper, one of us whistling a random song and the other humming along (I'll let you guess which one was which).
Although I've never actually seen the show, Nip/Tuck has had some fascinating promos lately. This one in particular has me inspired to do a photo shoot with the same concept (and it being close to Halloween and all, prosthetic stitches should be easy to come by).
I caught a matinee of Resident Evil: Extinction today. It's certainly no Oscar-winning production, but for what it is (mindless entertainment featuring apocalyptic zombie wastelands based on a video game), it isn't bad.
I did find it amusing, however, that, despite the horde of zombie movies over the years, and the fact that these particular characters have been fighting off zombies for more than 5 years, no character in a zombie movie ever seems to wear the proper clothing. Every heartfelt, sad moment where a character reveals to a close companion that he or she was bitten in the previous skirmish and will now change into a zombie, forcing said companion to cry out in anguish and reluctantly agree to kill the character "when the time comes," could be avoided if the damn people weren't traipsing about the end times in shorts and t-shirts. My god, people, how hard is it to put on a motorcycle jacket before you enter a "supposedly abandoned" building? For extra safety, add some Motocross armor, reinforced biker pants, a helmet and Kevlar gloves and boots (as Gregg will attest, these are all readily available at any now-deserted-due-to-zombie-attack motorcycle store). Then those sad scenes could instead be "Oh, that's a nasty bite-shaped bruise you have there, but luckily it didn't break the skin! Now we can ride off into the sunset and have lots of babies!" But, no, we're going to whine and complain as we're picked off one by one because we've decided the standard uniform should be khaki cut-offs and tanktops.
On an only vaguely related note, the film was prefaced with a trailer for a horror flick called 30 Days of Night, whose hook is a brood of vampires terrorizing an Alaskan village after the sun dips below the horizon for an entire month. Perhaps it's addressed in this specific film, but as a general rule, both vampires and zombies (making it applicable to the previous movie commentary) are walking corpses, which means they're non-heat-generating walking corpses, so they should, theoretically, assume the ambient air temperature given enough time; in the case of arctic, snow-covered, below-freezing locales, this should mean frozen-solid undead in a matter of days. Granted perpetually cold locations aren't ideal for human survival, either, but hey, the Eskimos and Norse seem to have gotten by just fine for thousands of years; I'll take that over being eaten by walking corpses . . .
The rules are simple. Distill the monstrously distended and bloated exhibit I present into its original, hopefully more graceful, state. First one to post it wins.
The unique, complex, perhaps even anomalous (as one might describe, in a moment of quiet reflection, the singular characteristics of a lone snowflake amidst a flurry of its brethren) construct grown organically from the building blocks of star-stuff that serves as a repository for the emergent property referred to commonly as your consciousness, believing itself to be existing here and now, may, at any current or future moment of its preference, if it wishes to exercise its free will or is otherwise directed by an authoritative source, acknowledge the cessation of a previously determined contract with a hospitality-oriented third party by providing notice of its intent to vacate its currently occupied premises; unfortunately, perhaps against said consciousness's wishes (whether expressed openly or assumed to be part of the contract), external authorities or the dictates of situational factors have decreed that actually departing the current locus in the space-time continuum, while desired and perhaps even beneficial, is in no uncertain terms prohibited, and will remain so for an indefinite period of time to end not earlier than the heat-death of the Universe.
There's a rally supporting the prevention of violence against women at the Heartland of American Park next Thursday from 7-8 that I want to attend. If anyone else wants to go let me know and we'll set a meeting point (and catch dinner afterward for those interested).
For any of you who have seen those "Now What?" viral marketing commercials (where something bad happens, such as a rock climber accidentally dropping a boulder on his SUV, followed by a panicked look and a "Now What?" logo) but never felt enough energy to actually type in the Web address, allow me to dispel the mystery. It's for a State Farm Insurance site.
Well, that's it. It's all over, except for maybe the high-octane movie plot aimed at saving the world (preferably with Kate Beckinsale in black latex), followed by the inevitable collapse of society and the extinction of the planet due to an alien virus. I'd just like to say I loved you guys.
-I'm tempted to buy a Map of Humanity, although I'm not sure where I would put it. (Larger view here.) It's an interesting two-dimensional counterpoint to my previous post, providing compass points to my "journey."
Posted at 11:25:00 AM. |
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Saturday, September 15
The tangled webs of historical wordplay entwined within the last day of the week are complex, and possibly trivial to the unconcerned masses, but suffice it to say that it is a day named, uniquely among the largely Norse-inspired week, for a Roman deity adopted from an earlier Greek deity who, among his other charming attributes, swallowed all of his children. To honor this great paragon of parenthood, we named a planet after him.
There was some sort of sporting event of note in the state today. Its existence was presaged by mumblings at work on Friday and a cacophony of red "N" sweatshirts and flags today (along with one odd woman wearing an orange shirt with similar "Husker" markings; even a heretic such as I knows the proper color for the state's quasi-religious following). I was vaguely aware of it (more so than my usual indifference) due to friends attending and the "flexible" television scheduling that "slides" shows I might otherwise watch to later time slots. Of the actual event itself I have no knowledge.
Some gas stations, in furthering efforts to attract customers to the insides of their establishments (for, despite outrage to the contrary, gas stations make very little money off gasoline itself and instead make most of their profit from marked-up consumables), have expanded their beverage fountains. One particular place on my drive home includes not only six flavors of slushies, eight flavors of coffee and a do-it-yourself-from-pre-frozen-fruit-cups smoothie bar but also a panoply of soda flavors bordering on silly. My personal favorite addition, however, has been the "old fashioned" soda fountain flavors, dispensed at the push of a button, which allow anyone to become a connoisseur of fine carbonated masterpieces; in my case, this means a cherry vanilla Dr Pepper roughly twice as "cherry vanilla"-y as the cans in my refrigerator, a concoction with clearly visible stratified layers of red and yellow filling a full third of the cup before the final mixing. This is a luxury I find wholly unnecessary and overly indulgent in the context of global poverty and conflict, and yet I continue to plunk my dollar down on the counter.
I stood in line at Wal-Mart today for most of half an hour waiting for a photo kiosk to become available. Until this point, it had not dawned on me that anyone would actually use the primitive cropping and adjusting tools built in to such machines; compared to even the simplest photo manipulation programs (let alone Photoshop) they seem clumsy. Nevertheless, two different women patiently resized, cropped and removed red eye from, between them, over 200 photos. The Zen aspect of my mind understood for the first time that the digital revolution has not distributed itself equally, and there is likely a substantial minority, perhaps even a majority, of the population forced into digital photography without a corresponding interest in (or access to) computers, and to them the kiosk fills a void that those of us on the bleeding (or even near-bleeding) edge of digital technology take for granted. It occurs to me that my mother would likely still be using a film camera, or at best using a digital camera and taking the card directly to Wal-Mart, but for my patient prodding and explaining, and I'm probably in the small minority of people who spend time adjusting the histogram channels and other quasi-arcane-sounding hoopla. On the other hand, the petulant aspect of my mind was annoyed that their imperturbable manipulations tied up the only gateways to the actual developing process, which seems something of an efficiency issue on Wal-Mart's part. I think it's possible to send photos directly to a Wal-Mart store over the Internet. I may have to explore.
In a further degradation to one of the strong influences on my formative high school years, the SciFi Channel premiered the direct-to-tv presentation of "Highlander: The Source" tonight. In keeping with a franchise of such strong potential and fan passion, the show was of course promoted so well that I wouldn't have even known it had premiered if I hadn't looked at the television schedule tonight to see if there were any CSI reruns. For those of you unaware of the schizophrenic thrashings of the Highlander mythos, suffice it to say it has produced one classic movie, one six-season television series with some very good (and some rough) moments, two movies that were officially written out of canon, a fourth passable if not great movie and now this monstrosity, which went through multiple scripts, staff and edits over two years before being released to DVD in Europe to dismal reviews, then more edits before what was at first promised to be a theater release, then a DVD release and finally a direct-to-tv movie. It sounds like a train wreck from what I've read (Mad Max-esque future anarchy and superhuman blue-skinned villains; for crying out loud), so I'm tempted just not to watch it. Ever. The show was one of the defining influences on me in high school and college (I was wearing trench coats before they became "scary" and one of my high school yearbooks had a quote from me about being immortal, not to mention the swords and the fencing . . .), so there's a degree of sadness at the franchise's failure to live up to the fan expectations.
To those of you concerned about my online scarcity and my last few "away" messages: thanks for the concern and inquiries. No worries. I'm trudging, sometimes mechanically rather than energetically, through rugged landscapes of eddying and chaotic emotions, beautiful, in their own way, as the black clouds of a particularly impressive thunderstorm evoke primal wonder and awe despite their dark hues. The signposts have long ago rusted away to useless mockeries in the shifting sand, and it may be that the path I once believed to be linear is in fact spiraling across previous forays, a frustrating experience for which I have no immediate solution. Such are the foibles of human existence. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, take comfort in the cryptic and nod along.
And finally, as a direct address to my MarioKart partner: Hey, Lane, I have this fantastic idea. Why don't we, and I'm just going out on a limb here, *not* punch other karts while we're crossing rickety bridges. You know, to keep us from falling in the water. Just a suggestion. (It's an inside joke; Lane is already laughing.)
Sneaking with September slinking Autumn finds me lost in thinking Of the twilight's starry winking and the gently drifting leaves. Caught within the turbid turning Of the wheel of seasons burning "Life is short," and love discerning, and the clock gives no reprieve.
Posted at 12:39:00 PM. |
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Tuesday, September 11
On a Tuesday, I know.
Any sort of whining or implied discontent with my lot in life cowers in humbleness at Lisa's week, which, in one day alone, involved a brand-new-yet-broken refrigerator Sears is adamantly refusing to fix on a technicality, an auto accident with an uninsured driver and an overflowed toilet. Bad things come in threes, right?
Saturday my friend Elizabeth and I attended Film Streams, Omaha's valiant attempt at a non-profit art-style theater (showing independent and artistic films), where we saw "Lady Chatterley." The film was good, although the eventual shifting of the audience leads me to believe I was not the only observer who felt 3 hours was probably too long for a movie with a single plot line.
Sunday the twins and I explored the backyard, where Kylie delighted herself with chastising the birds for not taking their baths as she splashed in the bird bath. Later, while exposing Lane to a variety of musical samples on iTunes, we discovered that Alec has a marked preference for techno (she literally had no reaction to top 40 or Weird Al, but started bouncing in my lap and swinging her arms on both of the techno songs I played). As a foreshadow, Alec has also learned to ask "Go shopping? Pweeze?" after Lisa took her on a quick shopping trip to a bookstore.
I've begun rewatching my Sports Night DVDs as a "comfort food" of sorts the last few nights. On the surface it would seem perhaps ironic that someone with such an antipathy for organized sports in general would enjoy a show called "Sports Night," but anyone who has seen the show will agree with the show's one-time tagline "It's about sports the same way Charlie's Angels was about law enforcement."
Speaking of Lane, the Girl Wonder is running for student council president (good luck!). Slogans were solicited from her closest advisors. My pick, recalled from a "Cthulhu for President" mock campaign, was "Why settle for a lesser evil?" The most popular, but least politically correct, was Scott's suggestion of "Vote for me or my dad will kill me" (accompanied with suitable guilt-invoking sad smileys). The winner was Lisa's school-friendly (and rhyming) "If you have a brain you'll vote for Lane!"
Also on the Lane front, Apple released its new iPods yesterday. While Lane already has an iPod, this release is (or will be, when she sees this) of interest to her because, while she salivated over the iPhone when it was released, saner heads prevailed (I might have had a small part in it by, um, calculating how much it would cost over the two-year contract and telling her parents . . .). Descending from the digital heavens yesterday, though, came the iPod Touch, which, in its most basic description, is an iPhone without the phone part (which, most importantly, means no monthly contract). Since Lane never cared about the phone part anyway (she just likes the touch screen and "wow" factor), I have no doubt she'll switch all of her begging energy to the Touch.
On a non-Lane note, this is just golden. I'm constantly amused by the trinkets that show up on Craig's List.
Posted at 11:14:00 PM. |
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Monday, September 3
I had some time this weekend to catch up on some reading, which prompted a rather lengthy diatribe on atheists (not atheism, but those who fall under its umbrella). I decided it deserved its own entry in the Essays section.
Posted at 11:35:00 PM. |
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Sunday, September 2
I let a woman cut in line in front of me at the grocery store last night, due to her paltry list of purchases (one bottle of Gatorade). She then proceeded to have the following conversation with the checkout woman in broken English:
First she asked for a box of condoms. As in, she assumed the checkout woman had condoms behind the counter. When the checkout woman said they were in the pharmacy section the woman asked her to go get her a box. When the checkout woman pointed out she had a line of customers, but the woman could go get them herself, the woman said "Oh, nevermind, then." (No no! Bad! The word "nevermind" and "condoms" should never be used in the same sentence!)
Then the woman asked for a specific brand of alcohol (she had to repeat it twice and I'm still not sure what she said, but she clarified it was a type bourbon). Again, as if the cashier had alcohol behind the counter. The checker directed her to the liquor section. Again the woman said "nevermind." (Which is probably just as well, 'cause if you're going to skip the condoms you certainly don't want to be drinking . . .)
She finally asked for a box of cigarettes (which the checker could actually provide), paid for her Gatorade (although I'm not sure she really needed the hydration assistance if she skipped the alcohol and condoms) and left.
I actually have a day off (or an illusion thereof, anyway; I have to work yet today, but under the nebulous and appreciated auspices of "come in when it's convenient to you" rather than the draconian edicts of "be here at 10 a.m."). Consequently, it's 1:30 in the afternoon and I'm sitting at my computer in my pajamas (today consisting of black pajama pants and a vintage Rogue t-shirt I've owned since high school; yes, I'm aware real women aren't shaped like that, but anything purchased during the formative years of awkward social development is grandfathered in), eating Fudge Stripe cookies and drinking Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper (Breakfast of Previous Champions Who No Longer Give a Damn (tm)).
I've spent the better part of the last hour engrossed in iTunes (searching, nay, scavenging for resplendent harmonies, as survivors of zombie plagues furtively scour the ruins of dead cities for canned goods and ammunition). Should you have iTunes installed, the following links should open directly to the album pages in said program; if not, you have utterly failed to maintain your place in the technological advance and I shun thee as a heretic.
I first looked at the Hinder Live album. I admit to owning a few Hinder songs. These songs, however, were recorded directly from a concert. A concert where apparently the lead singer was slightly inebriated. Allow me to transcibe the lyrics of "Get Stoned" as you listen to the clip:
"Just hear me out. If it's noparatropafenkatilma heart explodes. I highly doubt, that I can make it through another of your episodes. Lashing out. Whethilabennywushubumaforya lose control."
I briefly looked at The 21 Funniest Songs on iTunes (which is more than a little subjective). I know Lane is a fan of "White and Nerdy," and I was amused with Willie Nelson's "Cowboys are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other" (I'm sure that one went down well, pun possibly intended, in the country-fied areas of the nation). My favorite, however, was Jonathan Coulton's mellow acoustic version of "Baby Got Back" (already an amusing song, here taken to a different level with heartfelt crooning by a white guy).
For Tim's benefit, I also picked up a couple of songs from Blaqk Audio's "CexCells" album (tracks 1 and 8), Nicole Atkin's "Skywriters," Paramore's "Misery Business" (whose opening riffs sound disturbingly similar to "The Ketchup Song"), half an album from Charlotte Martin and a full album from Holly Brook.