Archive for May, 2004

adventures in florida

Updates have been sporadic as of late, I know, but the next four days they’re going to be even worse (ok, non-existent) as I’m going to be in sunny Orlando Florida, soaking up the sun and enjoying various theme parks. I’m not sure how much theme park Laura and I can stand, so we haven’t purchased any tickets yet. You save some amount of money by buying tickets online, but it doesn’t seem that significant an amount when you compare it to the price of the trip as a whole. Right now the big decision is whether to do Universal Islands of Adventure for more than one day… or rather, whether we want to make the journey from Downtown Disney (where our hotel is at) to Universal more than one day, because for like an additional $40 (each) we get both Universal studios and USIOA for something like 5 days.

It’s a little late to solicit feedback on this issue, so please don’t tell me how I should definitely see XXX as Murphy will make sure that is the one thing I just happened to miss while I was there.

I’m sure I will have at least one exciting story to tell when I get back.

Lost Hands

[after David Mason’s The Lost House, which you can read here]

A girl I hardly knew went with me by the creek,
entering the water behind some trees that grew there
with rolled pants and bare feet. It was not yet dark,
we stood together on the river’s floor.

The sly way I contrived it, my right hand
slipped invigoratingly beneath her blue jeans
in new maneuvers, further than I’d ever dared to plan.
I swear we floated in the ankle-deep stream.

My knees shook, though I was not afraid.
We finally stopped and shook the water off.
Fifteen that summer, we touched and played.
Now, if I saw her in a photograph,

I couldn’t tell you how that young girl looked
that summer night as all our inhibitions thundered down–
like a drunken freight train, burning until cooked,
we stood hot and buried our toes in silky ground.

[I didn’t really like Mason’s poem, mostly because of the implication that what they’d done was almost wrong. At the same time his images invoked this memory from when I was 15 or so myself. UPDATE: I changed some of the wording in my second line. It’s better this way.]

magical blog juice

Kitin wrote about the phenomenon where the realization that something would make a great blog entry uses up all of your enthusiasm for writing that particular entry. (I’m paraphrasing, of course.)

Anyway, I feel this way all the time. I have a great idea for a blog entry, or worse yet, a topic that I plan to blog about, and the more I think about said topic the less enthusiasm I have for blogging. In fact, I could probably write a list of the topics that are somehow “ruined” for me in this way:

    * The meta-juggling entry I have had on the backburner for eons–where I plan to talk about why I do it, how I got started, and why you should too.
    * The entry I am planning to write about my desire to switch from Movable Type because I don’t like the capitalist direction that six apart has taken their website and licensing scheme.

OK, for starters I can only think of these two, but I’m sure there have been lots more over the years. You can probably add to the list just about every political observation post I plan to make and then don’t. (These happen on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.)

So go read Kitin’s blog… her entries make me horny. (yum!)

Switching topics now, I had my faith in humanity restored today by an attractive woman named Mariah.

I had just gotten off the bus going eastbound toward St. Paul, and was waiting at the stoplight to get to my next bus when it started to rain… hard. I was holding the book I’m currently reading (The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde), and my bookmark had been my $40 stored-value bus pass. Just then it started to rain. It started to rain HARD.

I ran as soon as the light changed, and–I remember this part distinctly–two guys in a red sports car laughed obnoxiously at me as I raced for the bus shelter while trying to keep my book out of the rain. When I got to the shelter, my bookmark was gone. I put the book away in my backpack and went out to look for it, but I couldn’t find it. I called the bus company on my cell phone to see if they could contact the other bus for me, but I guess they’ll only do it if it’s an emergency (which apparently my $40 card is not).

I got on the next bus, sob story on my lips, and the driver was pretty skeptical. She didn’t give a rat’s ass that I lost my transfer (they put the transfer on your card when you use it).

So then from the back of the bus, this gorgeous girl runs up and offers to pay for me. Her first card is one of those ones with your photo on it, that is obviously not suppose to work for someone other than yourself, but when the bus driver doesn’t stand for it, she gets out a stored value card and uses that to pay for me.

Naturally, I follow her and thank her profusely. (Probably making an idiot out of myself.) And after we’ve exchanged a few sentences, she just up and GIVES me the stored-value card she used. Apparently she has a job now where they pay for her bus card, and so she had this stored-value card from before, and didn’t need it anymore. It probably had more money on it than my old one did. Amazing.

So we talked for a few minutes, and then suddenly my stop appeared around a corner. I’d never actually taken that particular combination of bus routes, so I didn’t realize until it was too late that I didn’t even have time to get the girl’s number. It was probably just as well, I didn’t want to sound like a schmuck after she was so nice and all. But I could have at least offered to buy her a drink or something, and would have for sure if there’d been more time. Some part of me hopes that I’ll see her again. Maybe on the same bus next week!

Frek and the Magic Elixer

I have counted Rudy Rucker as one of my favorite authors since I read his novel White Light back about six years ago. I had read Master of Space and Time before that, but it hadn’t really struck me like White Light did.

Today I finished his latest masterpiece Frek and the Elixer, and I feel I have to write this entry to recommend it to all my friendly viewers out there.

It’s too bad I can’t branecast this blog, then you all would be able to esp my enjoyment right from my skull while I’m reading it. Of course, that’d be over, and you’d just be esping my memory of my enjoyment as I write this entry.

In a little bit you’d be able to esp my dreams.

blosxom

So, there are a couple of different and very interesting blogging options out there. I’m not very happy with the state of the new movable type license, so I’m beginning to explore some of those other options with more gusto than I may have previously exhibited.

One of my main chriteria is that this thing be portable. And to me, that means no external database. I mean, of course the data is outside of the application, but I’d prefer not to work in mysql at all. Enter Blosxom, where every blog entry is a separate file on the filesystem. Strange and exciting. Also vaguely reminiscent of a php project I did a while back where I created an entire website from a few text or html files in a “data” directory. I thought it was cool at the time anyway, and I’m still using it for my mindblurbs (over on the navigation there).

So tonight I installed Blosxom in about twenty seconds, but getting it to do what I want is going to be a much more difficult and challenging task.

What I would really like is to install a Blosxom plugin, put my MT export file in the Blosxom directory, and have it just work. Is that so much to ask? ;)

Unfortunately, I see no Blosxom plugins that perform that magical task. I may just have to try my hand at writing one, even though I have this abject fear of Perl. Not sure why, but Perl all looks like machine code to me. It’s not really “scan friendly” in my opinion. It does do some pretty neat stuff though, I’ll admit that.

girl in the alley

I just had a very weird and surreal experience.

About twenty minutes ago now, my doorbell rang, and I thought to myself, who would show up at my door at this hour? I opened the door, and this girl/woman is standing there. Very calmly she asks if she can borrow a flashlight. She says she dropped something in the alley behind my house, and that it’s dark back there.

Keep in mind here that it’s a little after midnight. A number of things run through my head. Is this some kind of setup? What did she drop? Is she alone? Should I invite her in while I look for a flashlight?

I did not invite her in, but I left my door open (the glass outer door was closed) while I went and looked for a flashlight. After not immediately finding a good one, I returned to the door with a laser pointer that also had one of those semi-bright LEDs on the end. “It’s not much…” I said, but she insisted it was better than using the light of her cellphone, and said she would return it right away.

I went back inside, and sat down next to the door for a couple of minutes. I’ll admit, I didn’t follow her because I was still wondering whether this was some elaborate ruse to get me into the alley. Yes, I can be a bit paranoid sometimes.

So anyway, this girl was quite attractive. She was probably somewhere between twenty and twenty-five, with dark black skin. She was wearing high heels and a jean mini-skirt with some kind of white skin-tight low cut tank top. She was carrying a purse and jacket.

Of course I wondered what she was doing walking in the alley, but at that point, I still assumed she was just on her way home or something.

Curiosity finally got the best of me, and I followed her outside into the alley. I didn’t see anyone at first, and where she was looking was actually not even behind my house, but a couple of houses back, and not right next to the alley even, but a good ten or fifteen feet into this area that is a sort of driveway, but that doesn’t lead to any garage or anything.

I did have a good vantage from the direction I was walking, and the girl was, indeed, alone. As I got closer, I heard her sniffling, and I’m fairly certain she’d been crying. So I made some scuffing noises as I approached, and asked what it was she was looking for.

She said she’d dropped some money.

Huh?

How do you drop money in the alley?

I have this other LED flashlight thing on my keychain, and I used it to help her look. She was at this point poking around with a stick and turning over rocks and stuff. She was pretty desperate to find her money.

Some guy had tried to mug her, she said. I asked if she’d called the cops, and she said no, she just wanted to find her money and get home.

I kept looking with her, but at this point I was desperate for more of the story. I said, I take it this wasn’t just a couple of bucks.

No, she admitted. Finally she volunteered some information, the guy had taken the money out of her bra, she said. But there’d been some kind of struggle. She said he had tried to choke her but she twisted away and he ran off. She didn’t think he’d gotten the money.

But we couldn’t find it.

She was really starting to cry again as she thanked me for letting her use my flashlight and gave it back to me. I felt weird and awkward as I walked the same direction she was walking, back down the alley toward my house. I was only a few steps behind her, and I could really hear her crying now.

I’m sorry you didn’t find it, I said weakly, as I closed the front gate to my yard. She was already farther away, but she said something without turning back toward me that sounded like another thank you.

I came back inside and started writing this.

I can only think of two scenarios. Either she knew him, or she was a prostitute. She seemed too attractive to be a prostitute, but then again how would I know? And she certainly wasn’t coming on to me at all, so I think he was probably a boyfriend or something. (There are, apparently, prostitutes in our neighborhood, although I can only think of once or twice that I might have possibly seen one.)

The whole incident really rattled me. I wish I could have helped her more in some way. Even more, I really wish I could have gotten the whole story. And now I’ll probably never know it.

quick blogging news/links

first impressions of MT3 over at idly.org. Interesting stuff, but nothing earth shattering…

…not like the news that Blogger is now offering comments, and has finally redesigned. I’ve been waiting for this since they were bought out by google. It’s about damn time, IMHO.

Now if only I could remember my blogger password. hehe.

I also signed up for the MT3 beta test (like 3 f’n weeks ago!) and have yet to be invited in. Maybe someday I’ll be one of the cool kids. Someday.

addictions, new and old

After playing Castlevania, Lament of Innocence on PS2 for like six hours last Saturday, I think I can safely call it an addiction. It has risen to the top of my video game slush pile, (thanks to Nate for purchasing it) and I will not rest until I am safely stuck on some sufficiently difficult boss, and have nothing left to explore. That sad day promises to be at least a week off in the horizon, and it is even remotely possible that I will add this to my relatively short list of games I actually finish for once.

As for old addictions, I am casting off a big one. Get ready for this… sit down if you have to. I am giving up candy.

Yes, you read it correctly. Those who know me will undoubtedly be shitting their pants right about now, or at the very least heartily laughing in disbelief. But I’m going to do it. I’m thinking for at least three months. If I have lost a few pounds at that time (and hopefully feel less sick all the time,) then I’ll probably keep it up, or anyway only return to a very sparse and closely monitored candy diet.

This decision was prompted by the side hand comment my mother made on mother’s day about how sugar is a natural immune system depressant. I did some preliminary “internet research”, and low and behold, it sounds like it’s true! One website (apparently quoting this other one) said:

Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours.

Crazy, huh? More Castlevania, less sugar.

movies you should never watch

My list of movies that should never have been made was expanded by one last night with the addition of Audition, a Japanese movie about torture! Oh yes, you have to be a sick fuck to enjoy this one.

Other movies on this list (for those with the “What can I watch to help me become a serial killer?” question rattling around in their brains) include Vulgar (a movie about clown rape) and one I can’t remember the name of, and honestly haven’t even watched the whole way through because I got stuck on the ten minute rape scene.

Apologies to E who brought the movie over for yelling at the TV so much. She didn’t know it was going to be that bad.

beauty in everything

I think I disagree with the conclusion of this article, which paints an interesting political light in Iraq, and supposes that we may face defeat after all. But I figure it depends on how you define defeat. Then again, if Bush loses this year, it may well be that we’ll pull out of Iraq entirely, and to many that would seem a defeat. I would guess US victory hinges on the presidential election, but when you put it that way; of course I would prefer to see us defeated.

This reminded me I haven’t kept tabs with delobius lately. It’s hard to read a blog regularly when you really disagree with the way someone is living their life. Anyway, I saw that he’s posted quite a few photo galleries from his “mission”. (I couldn’t find an index.) A lot of his photography is gorgeous, and even the more mundane stuff is interesting (to me) because it’s a) a window into his life/military life, and b) full of places I’ve never been.

I found this photo particularly ironic.

So anyway, here’s wishing delobius well…

In other news, I’m working from home today. Despite (or perhaps in spite of) doing 3 loads of laundry (and counting!), writing this entry, and ripping multitudes of CDs to mp3, I feel I’ve been fairly productive.