Saturday, September 30, 2006

35 years old and still no convictions! (felony, that is...)

Kitty likes bookshelf!

Can't you see I'm trying to nap?  Why must you always harass me?
Still trying to teleport...
At least I haven't yet forgotten how to be silly.

I have freakishly large nostrils.  Um...All the better to sniff you with, my dear?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Spacecraft: Now officially a variety of PORN

Hubba hubba! Oh Baby! Yowza! Oh, you dirty girl!

SpaceShipTwo and its mothership, hot!
SpaceShipTwo Cabin, wooo!

I have a fistful of dollar bills - where do they go?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

woe is me, boo hoo, sniffle sniffle

During High School, I didn't have much of a plan. I was gonna join the Air Force for at least one tour of duty, maybe make it a career if it agreed with me. Hey, I could retire at 38 and then start on a second career! I grew up as an Army Brat, so I had an inkling of what a military lifestyle would be like.

After the physical exam, I was disqualified from military service because of my awful-bad depth perception (how had I not expected that?), and then... nothin. An endless string of jobs.

I'll be 35 on Saturday, and what?
I thought I'd be further along than just this rented space.


I keep expecting a switch inside me will go CLICK and suddenly I'll feel passionate about something. Anything. I've been waiting for that moment for about 25 years now.

Maybe it's just low hormone levels. They have testosterone gel, you just rub it into your skin. Hmn. My last physical was in 1990, so maybe it's time for another one?

If you take too much testosterone, your estrogen levels increase as a result and you're likely to end up with breasts. Big ole man boobs - it's officially called Gynecomastia - just one of a million pieces of useless information bopping around in my brain.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I Miss You Mort!

The first game I ever tested was 'Mort the Chicken', in which dozens of cute lil chicks are kidnapped from the farm by a race of extradimensional cubes.

Just before the portal to the other dimension closes, Mort bravely dives in to save the chicks - he must then rescue them all one by one from a variety of strange environments. It's a game best suited to 8-year olds, but it's wacky and odd and fun in its way.

I was thinking about Mort this morning, musing that I hadn't seen him in about 6 years, and that I really should own the first game I ever tested. I just ordered it from Amazon.

For our E3 booth that year, we had a giant Mort made out of fiberglass. After E3, he lived in the conference room - he was like 8 feet tall, 200 pounds, and was topheavy. He fell on several people, and it was funny. Oh Mort, you wacky chicken.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Maybe that one lady in the hat is still alive

Cindy has to get up before dawn for her job - such things should not be legal. I'm a good husband, and I fix her breakfast every day.

So this morning at 6am, I was watching a documentary on flying aces of World War 1.
Footage from so long ago always strikes me as bizarre.

This footage showed workers building the planes - women sewing up the cloth panels for the wings, men installing engines, and so on. It was 89 years ago, so if they were even 20 years old during filming, they'd be 109 now.

They all seem so industrious and lively, they had hopes and dreams and hobbies and secrets. But they're all dead. But there they are, moving and talking and puffing on pipes and it's just weird.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I'd get mighty tired of Ramen Noodles

I caught the premiere of the new show Jericho a couple nights ago - it's about a small town in Kansas, and what happens to the people there following a series of nuclear explosions in major cities (is it full-scale nuclear war? dunno yet).

It's a fairly well-done show, (so far that is - this was the first episode). There wasn't much melodrama, and overall the reactions of the people seemed pretty realistic.

I think biological warfare is a lot more likely at this point than full-scale nuclear war (though a single nuclear device hidden in a trunk to take out the capitol seems pretty credible) but no matter what the catastrophe is - be it nuclear or biological war, meteor impact, or supervolcano, 99.999% of us are wholly unprepared to survive more than a few weeks after such a disaster.

Some people would say "I don't want to live after something like that." and they're welcome to assume the fetal position and wait to die. I would want to live. So what would I do after such an event?

Well, in our house, we have water for about a week - two weeks if we only use it for drinking, and probably two weeks worth of food. (It's more important to have solid methods for purifying water and preparing the food that you'll hunt and gather, since you will run out of rations eventually). Can your area sustain life? In Los Angeles, I would say hell no. Here in Florida, where water and wild animals are everywhere, yes. But is your homestead defensible against looters? We have a big patio door and far too many windows.

If you have to get to a better area, you can't assume that your car and/or the freeways will be usable, which means walking with whatever you can carry. Walk to where? If you get little or no rain in your area, the most important thing is a good source of fresh water, the nearest large river.

The Department of Homeland Security has a list of what to do, most of which involves hunkering in a public shelter, and then returning home later, waiting and listening to your radio for instructions. Not very helpful advice if the radio stations have been knocked out by an EMP.

In the event of something major, millions of people would need help - We should expect to be on our own for months on end if something drastic happens. Fun thought, I know. To be truly prepared, you would have to take some pretty drastic steps. But what to do - live in a bunker? I've always liked the Hobbit style houses. I'd want a bit more headroom though.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Spoon or Fork?

Soups with noodles, meats, etc - Fork
Soups without goodies (i.e. tomato soup) - Spoon
Chile - Fork
Pineapple Chunks - Fork
Pudding - Spoon
Ice Cream - Spoon
Ice Cream Cake - Fork
Cake with Ice Cream on the side - Fork

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Real Life Conversation # 6

Me: Dude. Did the cat just say "Where's Mama?"

Me: Of course not. Don't be silly. All she says is 'Meow'.

Me: It sounded exactly like "Where's Mama?"!!

Me: Yeah, ok, whatever.

Cat: Where's Mama?

Me: Did you hear tha-

Me: Fuck! No. No I did not. Just turn up the music, ok?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Is it like Children of the Corn?

Have you actually listened to the lyrics for KT Tunstall's "Black Horse & The Cherry Tree"?

It reminds me of the
Twilight Zone episode where the boy wishes people into the cornfield.

Is it just me? And just what is the "big black horse" representing?

I came across a place in the middle of nowhere
With a big black horse and a cherry tree.

I fell in fear, upon my back
He said "Don't look back, just keep on walking."
When the big black horse said, "Hey lady!"
Said, "Look this way, will you marry me?"

But I said no, no, no, no-no-no
I said no, no, you're not the one for me
No, no, no, no-no-no
I said no, no, you're not the one for me

And my heart had a problem, in the early hours,
So I stopped it dead for a beat or two.
But I cut some cord, and I shouldn't have done that,
And it won't forgive me after all these years

So I sent it to a place in the middle of nowhere
With a big black horse and a cherry tree.
Now it won't come back, cause it's oh so happy
And now I've got a hole for the world to see

Big black horse and a cherry tree
I can't quite get there 'cause my heart's forsaken me

Monday, September 18, 2006

Open wide and say Ugh.

Trying to sell your writing is about half as fun as a root canal, in case you didn't know. The assorted Writer's Digest books, such as Writer's Market (or books like them) are unfortunately pretty damned necessary.

(There are of course online resources, such as
this one from Writer's Digest, though you must pay a nominal fee to subscribe).

To keep with the dental motif, let's compare slogging through the hip-deep mud of the Writer's Market to the high-pitched VEEEEEEEEEEEEEER of the dental drill. Bad. Cringe-worthy. Of course, it's not Writer's Market's fault - The true blame lies with the publications who write the entries - but you get the idea.

Here's an example of an entry, only slightly exaggerated:

Magazine: 6x9, 100 pages; 99lb cream white vellum cover stock; 73lb cream white vellum paper. Highest quality original lead Times New Roman Typeface, hand-set in antique press, printed with the ink of giant squids. Annual. Estab 1913. Circ 150

Needs: "Highest quality, very well-written and cutting edge but nothing extreme...No Fiction, Nonfiction, Sci Fi, Fantasy, or Porn. Gay ok if 'done right'. No nudity or suggestiveness."

Receives: 50,000 submissions per year.
Accepts: 1 or 2 submissions per year.
Responds: In 2 years on queries. Do not send ms.
Publishes: 5 years after acceptance.
Pay: 1 author's copy. Additional copies $50.
Advice: Send only your best work!

What the hell is the deal with queries, anyway? Unless you're famous and popular, can they really accomplish anything? It's like writing a story about how great your story is. "It's a boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds different girl but then decides he's really in love with his father. It's a black comedy. It's ever so much fun to read. Shall I send it to you?"

Why not just write and send thousands of queries, and only write the stories for the ones they like? Ppthtp!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Credi-Bull #14

Credi-Bull - a news item that might be fact, or might be fiction.

When playing, please avoid definitive answers like "I know this is true, I saw it on the news last night."..Instead, couch your vote as a "guess" - this will help ensure that everyone gets an unbiased chance to play!

The 2006 World's Fair and Expo was held this August in Stockholm, Sweden. The most popular attraction was the 5.5 meter (that's 18 feet tall) Mommy robot, named M.A.R.Y.

For a small fee, fair visitors could go for a 'ride' on MARY - she can cradle and rock a full-grown adult in her arms, which are covered with a space-age foam and synthetic skin that feels like the real thing. MARY sings lullabies in eight languages and smells of vanilla. Extra security was required when a participant from Belgium refused to end his turn, demanding a nap.

Real or Fake?
(Vote in the 'comments' section, answer to be revealed there on Monday).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Better late than never

To any poor soul out there who reads my blog via an RSS or other web feed, I want to apologize.

I especially need forgiveness if you have a ding-ding! chirp! or aah--ooga! that goes off when something has been updated, since it usually takes me 10 tries to get my blog looking just the way I want it, with line spacing and picture location and etc.

And after all that, I'll re-read a post from a few days back and find a typo. Ack.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I won't say Poop. Can't make me.

Cleaning the toilet is no fun. A bleach tablet in the tank helps a lot, but still, it's an icky place, and who wants to get any closer than necessary? We have self-cleaning ovens, why not toilets? Hmph.

For example - You know, when you...
you know... and then afterward there's... um. Dad calls them 'racing stripes'.

How about a battery-operated water pick for the toilet? It would be contained within the toilet tank, so you would never run out of water - just a little tubing and the spray head would live outside the tank.

Then after using the toilet, you could spray off any...deposits that may have accumulated. You could use it to easily rinse the sink, as well.
.How not to potty.

.....I suppose this might work.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Me no likee... me no sure...

As you probably know by now, THEY are redoing the original Star Trek series, replacing all the effects with computer animations. I don't really know that there's a need. It would have to be very well done not to ruin it. Cleaning up the footage is one thing, completely replacing it is another.

I was a huge fan back in Jr. High (this was before The Next Generation) and I just don't know if they can do it right. Look at the re-release of the Star Wars films.

They're re-recording the theme song, with new vocals. How do you write the vocals for something without words? "Aaa Aaa Aaaaaa a-a-a-aaaaaah"?


Also, did you know that Gene Roddenberry wrote actual lyrics for the theme that were never used? Nonetheless, he got a royalty every time the song was played.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Who's agitating my dots?

There are still a lot of awful commercials out there, but Nextel's Walkie-Talkie phones and GPS tracker commercial is so perfectly crafted, I lean forward in gleeful expectation whenever it comes on.

You can view it at YouTube

The best part is when Charles Robinson (Mac from
Night Court) comes in to challenge the curious guy with "Who's agitating my dots? You agitating my dots?" and as he says it, he's eating cake off a paper plate.

The cake somehow kicks the very minor gag up to another level of funny. Great commercial. I wish there was an IMDB for commercials, so I could track the writers down and send them an email.

How do you write such a thing? Where does that inspiration come from? What clicked in the minds of the writers that said "this would be much funnier with cake"?

P.S. Here is another great Nextel commercial.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Am you loving?

Hello Freind!

Are you being without the verve and hudspa of viva?

New herbal remedy MC_ETCHER will be curing ills your!

MC_ETCHER defintely pleases your partner with much long loving!

Fatigue you do feel in the after the noons?
MC_ETCHER restoring super vigor to soul!

MC_ETCHER today!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Just one of many possibilities

If the universe was created,
If there are powerful beings out there who devised it

If the high degree of fun I get from just watching my cat is any indication -

I may have a good bead on the whole "why are we here?" thing.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Quorn! Without the Pellagra!

I've been wanting to try Quorn ever since I first read about it online a few years ago - but I couldn't find a grocery store that carried it. Until today!

What is it? "A mycoprotein food product" which is a fancy way of saying it's very close to being a fungus without quite being a mushroom. It grows in a vat. (If that doesn't make your mouth water, I don't know what would)

I tried the 'chicken nugget' style, (not pictured) and while it tasted almost nothing like chicken, it had a fully nominal chicken nugget texture - I never felt as if I were eating pressed fungal goo. The breading was pretty bland, it could certainly benefit from... I don't know, the addition of spices. Any spice.

It was okay, it wasn't bad. I just ate the entire 10.6oz box of nuggety blobs, so if I drop dead from anaphylactic shock, you'll know why.

Let's take a gander at the nutrition facts...
Odd, it's only 28% mycoprotein, and the rest is wheat and eggs. The whole box contained 665 calories, 270 of which were from fat. Not too exciting for something that's supposed to be a healthy alternative to real meat. 1890mg of sodium. Zero cholesterol, though.

Now that I've tried it, I probably won't buy it again.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Writer's Tool?

Over the past month, I've been looking for a job, cleaning the house, and writing fiction. Haven't been as prolific as I'd hoped - I can concentrate for only 2 or 3 hours at a time.

I don't know how those authors do it, spending 8 or more hours a day writing, putting out five books a year. I'm not a very social person, but even I'm feeling the lack of interaction. If you spend all day every day alone, just clicking away at the keyboard, how varied can your work be? Wouldn't your 'voice' end up rather flat over time?

Even if I were a professional writer, I'd need a part time job, just for the necessary level of interaction, since sitting home is a mind-numbing experience. With nothing but my own voice echoing in my head, I'm beginning to doubt myself more. A turn of phrase or a quip or a cuss word will hit me while typing, and I stop to wonder how many times in how many stories I've used the exact same wording, or very close.

A search engine would be handy for that sort of thing: your word-processing program would contain all of your past writing as part of a database - and as a feature, you could compare the current work-in-progress with all past ones.

Perhaps you use similes too often. Maybe you are overfond of the word obfuscate. The program could scan all your works and tell you how often you use individual words (the word "that" is often useless, yet I use it all the time).

Names can be an issue. I tend to use the name "Kate" a lot, for some reason - then I have to go back and try to think up a good name I haven't used. The database would also be useful in these instances - also for settings, time periods, and genres.

Perhaps even a theme-comparator, with numerous drop-downs for narrowing the theme, which could then be compared to all your other works. This would also be handy when you're feeling burnt out - you could check the database and discover you've never written a man-against-himself story. Maybe it's time.

These features could be toggled on and off, like spell-checking. Personally, I don't want to know if a word is misspelled while typing - I'd rather check it at the end of a section or at the end of the writing session (how often I click the spell-check button is a good barometer for how focused I am).

The programming functionality is definitely present in database apps already, but I don't know if it's been packaged and marketed for writers. If not, are there any search engine/database programmers reading this? Let's do lunch!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Investors Welcome!

I've had the dubious pleasure of driving cross-country many times in my life. These trips are made unfun by the rush - we can never stop and enjoy any of the cool stuff, since our destination time always falls in a very small window.

One thing you're bludgeoned with as you're driving across this country is the sense of damn this place is empty! since between cities, the U.S. is a whole lotta nothin. Often, this nothin is very beautiful, even if it's a stark desert you're driving through.

Over the next 100 years, commercial spaceflight will really be taking off (har har). Access to Earth orbit means you can be anywhere in the world in about an hour. You pop up to orbit, and land at your destination - quite zippy even compared to the Concord. Popping over to Paris for dinner will be totally reasonable.

The natural result of this - you can live anywhere and still easily commute. Regions of Montana, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and other wide-open-spaces states will no longer be undesirable places for corporate commuters to live. Cute little stylized towns will pop up all over the U.S. and the world, much to the chagrin of the locals, I'm sure.

So if you can find a secluded little town, one of those Dry Creek Gulch, Population 17 sort of places - and it's surrounded by breathtaking vistas and a good source of water... Buy it now while it's cheap.
Beautiful!  This is Lake Upsata Guest Ranch, in Ovando, Montana

Monday, September 04, 2006


Steve Irwin died and I'm sad about it. He seemed a good guy, and he had a great sense of humor.

He has a wife and two kids - I'm thinking he probably had a lot of insurance. Is it better that he died doing what he loved, rather than slipping and falling in the shower?

Friday, September 01, 2006