The House

Sometimes, when I read something like this, it makes me miss my old house. But just a little bit.

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Just a quick post today – we’re in the middle (still) of getting a number of servers up and running. Also a big to-do with a large banking company who might be partnering with us … eek!

I finally met some fellow nerds at the supermarket who happen to manage a gaming store in San Mateo. How did I spot them? They were buying Wonderbread, one of them was wearing a black trench and had long hair, and the other had a book tucked under his arm which ended up being 4th edition. This got me in the mood for a little gaming, so it was nice to get this link of origami D&D miniatures. Good stuff!

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Happy Bloom’s Day!

Happy Bloom’s Day, everyone.

“Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He
liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart,
liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he
liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of
faintly scented urine.

Kidneys were in his mind as he moved about the kitchen softly, righting
her breakfast things on the humpy tray. Gelid light and air were in the
kitchen but out of doors gentle summer morning everywhere. Made him feel
a bit peckish.

The coals were reddening.

Another slice of bread and butter: three, four: right. She didn’t like
her plate full. Right. He turned from the tray, lifted the kettle off the
hob and set it sideways on the fire. It sat there, dull and squat, its
spout stuck out. Cup of tea soon. Good. Mouth dry. The cat walked stiffly
round a leg of the table with tail on high.”

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I can’t seem to help myself…

I’ll be honest with you – there are those of you out there (all 6 of you) who might remember how much I used to rail against the administration, the undisguised bullshit, the mythical Oceania vs. Eurasia battleground where our “men” and “women” (and I’m using sarcastic quote-marks, there, because they’re just kids to me at this point) fight and die to pad the pockets of white dudes in charge.

I try not to get worked up about it anymore – there was a period of time where I fell victim to the rampant apathy that seemed to have gripped the nation, beaten down until there was nothing left except a whisper of what it was once like to fight. “Fucking figures” was my motto, as grosser and grosser injustices came down the pipe and landed squarely on Our heads.

Anyway, like I said – I try not to get worked up about it anymore. At this point it’s hilarious. People like Michelle Malkin or Anne Coulter are just a joke to me at this point. I just don’t get why people want to still take them seriously.

Take the donut scarf, for example. Are you fucking serious? You really think she’s wearing a keffiyeh? And, while I’m on the topic, what if she was? Does wearing an article of clothing subsume you to it, make you some kind of slave? But Dunkin’ Donuts – and this is the part that blew my mind – caved. I comprehend dimly that they’re in this to make a buck, and maybe it’s cheaper to pull the commercial rather than run it, but the idea of someone being a pussy to stupidity kind of … well, it kind of pisses me off.

Meanwhile, we gave $80 million to a dude wanted by the FBI for $1.7 billion of tax fraud. Oh, and he was an investor in Arbusto Energy. You remember Arbusto, right? That’s the company that George W Bush formed, the one that accepted a $50,000 investment on behalf of Salem bin Laden (older brother to Osama) [I say "on behalf of" because the investment was made by one of the founders, James R. Bath, indicating that they knew the money might be "dirty"], the one that was repeatedly run into the ground by both W and his father until they sold their shares one week before the company announced a loss of $23.2 million, triggering an SEC investigation? Yeah, THAT Arbusto Energy.

My question is – where are you now, Michelle Malkin? I long to hear about your opinions of the patriotism of those responsible for donating $80 million to a business partner of Bush, despite being wanted for tax fraud. I absolute must hear you yelp and yowl about the injustice of it all, how the liberals are involved (they must be, right?), how we must be being … oh god! LOOK OVER THERE!! IT’S … IT’S A MARTIAN!! That’s right, America – it’s a fucking martian, didn’t you see it? You didn’t? You must be a fucking terrorist! Kill it! KILL IT!!! Crucify him! Crucify him! Cruc….

Sorry, got carried away there for a second. All I hope is that the nonsense of shit like Dunkin Donuts is a joke to more than just me. These days, happily, I feel like it is. I just look forward to the day when we discard all of these talking heads not because we hate them or love them or they piss us off or make us feel superior, but because we simply don’t need them anymore.

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One of my new favorite websites is Sarah Jessica Parker Looks Like a Horse dot Com. It’s a triumph of investigative journalism. To me, she looks like she should be lurking under a bridge or maybe rolling around town in her chicken-foot hut, but that’s just me.

Anyway, the Sex and the City movie comes out today. Yaaaayy!!!

I bet someone either has or gets cancer. Or did they do that already? I also bet someone dies. Maybe even of cancer!

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Crazy Time

Today is dedicated to being crazy. Here are some of my personal favorites, mostly because they actually appear to have some traction:

* The Bay Area Filipina Suicides – these women committed suicide because President Bush and the rest of the gub’ment shot them with electromagnetic satellite lasers and then used them as sex slaves and then forced them to commit suicide.

* Reptoids – the Terristrial Reptoid Hypothesis believes that there were lizardmen who lived on Earth before but were driven underground because of some sort of apocalypes, and they have continued to evolve into sentient beings. The lizardmen have representatives in the fields of both science and the military, and look just like us sometimes. When we see UFOs, they’re really lizardmen who have been caught with their proverbial pants down.

* The Illuminati – Steve Jackson aside, how can you not love the Illuminati? Pulling the strings behind everything that happens in some complex game you can only guess at, the eminence gris of not just *this* world, but of many other worlds besides. The Illuminati have taken the place in my heart of “God”, like if someone says “why are there whales?” instead of saying “because God made them” I can say “because of the fucking ILLUMINATI, man!” Other great things: the diplomat Xavier von Zwack-off (no shit) said he was a member. And they have a rank called “Illuminatus dirigens” or “the Scotch Knight”. Or at least that’s what they *want* you to believe, man. Who knows?

* Machine elves – this is the second one (or third one) that Jeff Rowland mentioned, but I don’t care – I was talking about Machine Elves before he was even BORN, man. Machine Elves are the little creatures who would visit you and show you these advanced, multi-dimensional machines and speak to you in an advanced language while you were out of your goddamn cabbage on drugs. They represent some kind of interstellar guides who are trying to teach you something – how to cure cancer, or where you left your keys or something.

* 9/11 Conspiracy – I’m not getting into this one. Suffice it to say me and E-money got to experience some of the crazy that just oozes out of this theories supporters first hand at the last HOPE convention. Whew.

* Pretty much aliens anything – The page for Malevolent Alien Abduction Research is great – check out the names of the different alien “races” we’ve encountered (“The Son’s of Darkness”, “White Brotherhood of Light”, the “Winged Draconians”), they’re like a really bad Saturday afternoon of Dungeons and Dragons. My favorite subtheory is about how aliens seeded the earth with – I dunno, human seeds or something – and that’s why we have pyramids. Ta-daa!

Two things to take away from this: 1) I love the internet, and 2) it’s only crazy until it’s real.

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Shitty T.V. Day!

I got out of work a bit early yesterday (3pm! I couldn’t believe it either), and A-dawg had the day off, so we decided it was a good day to watch movies (some of us were feeling a bit blah. Maybe both of us).

I’m sure I haven’t told you, but I bought the Netflix set-top box from Roku. I don’t know what came over me, but we had been watching Heroes: Season 2 on the computer, clustered around it like it was some kind of primitive campfire, and I started to think about buying an S-video cable to hook my machine up to the T.V. and … voila! Like a bolt from the blue, Roku hooked up the set-top for a not too bad price.

The setup for this thing is a breeze, by the way. Really tight interface, kept it nice and simple which I think will distance it from the pack of those trying to bite off more than they can chew (I don’t want to name names, but it rhymes with “Cockbuster”, which is what I also call this company because I hate them with a fiery passion bordering on the incandescent).

Anyway, here’s the bad part: either because they can’t get licensing, OR because they want to prevent a rush of people to their online service, it seems that Netflix took the bottom 15% of their movie collection in terms of what might be considered “good” and put it online, along with maybe 5% of things worth watching. This has some redeeming qualities, though – for example, I am willing to watch things now that I wouldn’t even fucking BitTorrent, let alone rent.

Yesterday, that chicken came home to roost, and that chicken turned out to be the drunk at the bar who tells you borderline uncomfortable stories and tries to touch your hand.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker – Watching this, I felt like I had been impaled to the couch by a lance filled completely with pain. I couldn’t even open my mouth to scream. This show is so fucking bad that it became good again, then (I swear) became shitty again, and then fantastic. A-dawg hated it, I had to turn it off, but I will be back for you, Kolchak. I will be back.

Incidentally, it’s now obvious that this is what Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was based off of. I didn’t realize that before. The sad part is that Kolchak is trying to be serious. Stars the dad from A Christmas Story, who I thought was the worst actor in the universe until I watched…

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century – A-dawg rejoiced at this, but I again felt that sinking feeling in my heart as I watched it, especially so soon after Kolchak. First of all, the goddamn episodes are 1hr. and 45min., which feels like a fucking eternity as you sit there and endure Erin Gray, winner of the coveted “ Worst Actor Ever” award. You can see her reading her lines and she stills fucks them up. Absolutely horrific timing, just … just so bad, I don’t know what to say. The first episode featured Buck Rogers disco dancing with some space whore (“Princess Andala”) in an outfit that looks like toilet paper topped by a viking helmet (that’s not an exaggeration), the same space whore wearing what looks like a satellite dish around her neck with her hair artfully spread across it like a kale salad, an actor arguing with a bunch of dinner plates lined up on a railing, and Henry Silva of “Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai” fame in a role so god-awful it’s like stabbing yourself in the eyes with a spoon, except after the stabbing you won’t have to watch him anymore. Twikki the robot wearing Dr. Theopolis like a Flava Flav clock gets a special nod. Also features extremely shitty helmets, worse dialogue, and the offer for Buck to become and interstellar space spy at the end. Can’t wait to see the one with Gary Coleman – *that* should be something.

I took a breather, then we dove into:

Battlestar Galactica (the old one) – I didn’t think I’d say it, but it wasn’t half bad. The plot was at least moderately complex, the acting wasn’t too bad (you’ll see Rick Springfield as the youngest son of Lorne Greene). The one thing I couldn’t get over was how much the ripped off from Star Wars, including dialogue (“Starbuck” = Han Solo, who actually gives a “Yaaahooo!” after blowing something up; someone actually says “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”, the spaceships look like X-wings, the Cylons look exactly like TIE fighter pilots – the list goes on). I liked Star Wars, however, so this went down OK. Still, there were some actors in there that I pray never, ever work again. Note Dirk Benedict as Starbuck, who would later play Face in the A-team, before turning to delicious roles in “Zork: Grand Inquisitor” and “The Demon Keeper”. He also appeared as someone named Face in an episode of ….

Amazing Stories – we watched a handful of these, and I’m pleased to say that they have withstood the test of time. It was weird sitting next to someone your age and feeling that past 25 years roll away. You’ll remember the episodes, and it will stir old memories up in your noggin’, I promise you. I watched an episode that was a dark comedy about mummies, and I felt the hair raise on my arms, and I suddenly remembered that it had freaked me out as a kid (everyone who reads this I’m sure knows how much of a pussy I am about scary movies; if you don’t – uh, forget it).

Anyway, it was quite a day. Definitely check out Kolchak and Buck Rogers if you’re a horrible masochist – I promise they won’t disappoint.

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Obama Race Speech

So I know I called some of you, and emailed others, but I figured this would be the last place to “inform” you. Get informed!

If you haven’t seen the Obama race speech, you abosolutely must take 37 minutes out of your day and watch it. Watch it with family, friends, alone, I don’t care. Pass it along when you’re done. In all likelihood, it’s the watermark speech of our generation, and it’s your patriotic duty to listen to it and think about what’s being said. It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is, or who you’re supporting in the campaign or election – it “crosses the aisle” and contains things for all Americans to ponder.

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Being a (F)artist

This story is a day old, but, I mean – Gygax, right?

I subscribe to this feed from Kevin Kelly called “The Technium” – I don’t really understand fully what it’s about, except it’s got a bunch of extremely deep and detailed articles about … stuff. Fuck you.

The story in question is about 1,000 True Fans, which is essentially a moniker for the minimum number of fans of whatever you do that you need to more or less make a living as an artist. A “True Fan” is “…someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work” – essentially, they are your bread and butter. Fairly interesting stuff, and it gets into “Lesser Fans”, a ring outside of True Fans who like you an awful lot, but aren’t necessarily as obsessed (and I mean that in a good way) as a True Fan might be.

Kevin also linked to an interesting resource called Fundable – it allows you to raise funding for whatever kind of thing you’re trying to do. I ran this past a drummer friend of mine to see what he had to say – not because he needed the money, but because he’s in that “artist space”. His complaint was that a funder couldn’t take a tax deduction for the donation, and he recommended the fan-funded site Artist Share for that reason.

My motivation for this little post is actually about work, and (more importantly) doing what you love. I’m getting of the age where, somewhat happily, I feel like I’m in a spot to do things I really like to do rather than shit I have to do. It’s been a long trip, and it’s by no means complete, but I’m trying to be upbeat about it. For those of you who are, you know, maybe struggling, there are resources out there to back you up a bit if you want to cut that album, write that novel, or finish that nude painting of your mom. That last one’s a bit weird, but hey – I’m not judging you.

As a side story – there is a Super Fucking Fantatic Movieâ„¢ out there right now, begging you to put it at the absolute top of your Netflix queue. Take care of that.

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A great light has gone out

There is only one thing that could bring me out of retirement – the death of Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, co-founder of TSR, and legend in the gaming community.

This is a sad day for gaming.  I think I’m going to wear my dice-bag on my belt on Friday, in recognition of a man who guaranteed the virginity of so many, while asking so little in return.  I can say for certain that none of the newer books could match the 1st edition tomes for their complexity, their writing, or the sheer force of opening up worlds to adventure in.  I have spent many, many hours in happy contemplation of Gygax’s tables, charts, graphs, and adventures referencing archaic French customs (Château d’Amberville, anyone?) and Shakespearean lines about a sea change (DMG 1st edition – if you don’t know it, you need to step back).

Later I will pour out a YooHoo for my homie.  We’ll mourn ya til we join ya, EGG.

We’ll mourn ya’ til we join ya.

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