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Robust McManlyPants on Average Display » 2004 » October

October 2004


Yesterday was a big, big day.  At 3:30 in the morning (adjusted
for EST, so it felt like 4:30), I stood on the back porch and said to
The Boyf that it felt like it had been a long, long day – that, in
fact, that morning felt like it had been the morning of three days
previous, and I’d been awake the whole time.

But hot damn, was it worth it.  First there was the unbelievably beautiful marriage of Katastrophes and Mr. Pink Eyes
The sun came out, the little league football game ended, and under an
unseasonably warm, clear sky we watched two people we love dearly get
married in fine fashion.  One tear-filled ceremony later, they
were wed.  When the officiant presented them as a married couple,
I later told The Boyf,
it was something I could feel – it was done, a ripple had passed over
the crowd, and we’d all seen magic happen.  How often do you get
that in life?  There’s always that moment in a wedding when all of
a sudden you realize that history just turned a page, when the Earth
has unmistakably turned, and it’s magnificent.

It was also hella fun to be in the Bride’s Posse.  🙂

And after that?  The only way to celebrate, naturally, was Kath & Bascha’s
renowned Halloween party, something more akin to an explosion of horror
and joy – tons of fantastic food, a yard turned into something to give
nightmares to Romero and dozens of friends.  I took away the “Most
Obscure/Geeky Reference” prize for my rendition of Leon from Resident
Evil 2 – a tie with Trish, who came as a runaway zombie process
(priceless!) and had an absolute blast.  There was karaoke. 
There were homemade crab rangoons.  My gods – it was a night and a
half.  It ruled.

I love Halloween. (more…)

So…

…how ’bout those Packers?

Awesome. (more…)

The Boyf did up another pumpking, too – this one a mix of silly and eat-your-brains horrifying.  I love it!

This one didn’t get the flash, but the face says it all:

[[image:boyfolantern.jpg:The Boyf’s Pumpkin:center:0]]

[[image:boyfolantern0.jpg::center:0]] (more…)

So, I’ve got the candy in the cat-head bowl (this enormous dish in the
shape of a black cat’s head) on the porch, a new jack-o-lantern carved
and lit, and the neighbors (who are trying to be Bascha-esque, but come
nowhere near her level of Halloween perfection) have cranked up their
scary soundtracks.

I love Halloween!

Here’s the new jack-o-lantern, with a cat design on the front.
[[image:catolantern.jpg:With Flash:center:0]]

[[image:catolantern0.jpg:Without Flash:center:0]]

[[image:catolantern4.jpg:One More For Good Measure:center:0]]

OK, so I really like my jack-o-lantern.

Also on the docket for tonight are a little meditation time and a couple of Tarot readings.  Woo! (more…)

Holy crap, this is the funniest shit I have ever seen:  Political figures, created in The Sims 2, and left on auto-pilot.

Be warned:  this involves a virtual Kerry and a virtual Bush
making out on a couch.  This is not for the weak of mind or
stomach.

I honestly think my face is sore from laughing.  Holy, holy, holy fuck, that is fucking funny. (more…)

I feel that I must link to an awesome new comic called Overcompensating.  It is by the creator of the equally awesome Wigu. (more…)

It’s too perfect.  A British magazine did a poll of 10,000 people
to find out who was the scariest movie villain in the last year, and Furious George wins it hands down for his role in F9/11.

Delicious!

(And he’s winning the informal poll on MSNBC.com that accompanies the
story.  Hell, with ~3000 votes in, he’s running at 70%.) (more…)

The National Geographic, the BBC, ABC News
and others report that skeletal remains of a previously undiscovered
homonid have been found in Thailand.  They were tool-using, and
according to local legend/lore and the word of Dutch missionaries, they
were present as late as the 1500’s CE and possibly as late as 100 years
ago.  And, you know, a lot of that jungle is still unexplored.

In other news, elves are still obnoxious pricks with no sense of adventure* and Monks totally own you.


*Though I play one, and he’s at least got a sense of adventure.  If it’s profitable. (more…)

Slashdot reports that Allerca is now taking pre-orders for the first genetically-engineered, hypo-allergenic cats.

I don’t know why I think they’ll be mad as hell, but it’s funny to
contemplate, isn’t it?  A cat scratching the face off an allergic
person who then consoles themselves with the thought that at least they
can still breath without congestion? (more…)

It sounds like a gag, but they’re for real, or at least seem to be.  And their motto?

“Because blood is thinner than oil.” (more…)

The Boyf and I hit the NC State Fair on Saturday for a whirlwind tour of various things we just had to see and photograph and eat.

Highlights of the visit were that (a) it was fucking packed this year and (b) there were a hell of a lot of Kerry/Edwards
stickers.  Mr. Pink Eyes had seen us vastly outnumbered on
Thursday, during the day, but I’m willing to spin it that where he was
and when he was there would skew the results.  The Boyf was
thinking we were outnumbered 3:1, but I was like, where have you been
looking?  Because I see us running about even.  I may have
missed a lot of Bush stickers, but I saw a heap of Kerry/Edwards
stickers, including the woman who sported two proudly on her chest in
what, were she unclothed, would have been very diplomatic
locations.  I loved it.

In other news, the State Fair is still the State Fair.  We watched
a woman balance a chihuahua on her head, we ate ostrich, we had
deep-fried candy bars, and I ate a delicious Hot ‘n Spicy Kosher Dill from Mt. Olive
That was by far the highlight of my Fair Food experience.  We also
fooled the guessers (The Boyf on age, myself on weight) and ended up
with cute stuffed animals.  We cruised the Village of Yester Year,
we bought Amish fudge, and we met Barbara Howe.  She looked frighteningly like the Libertarian governor main-character of my book from last year’s NaNoWriMo.  Like, seriously frighteningly like her.

We also got to see the state’s best pumpkin, weighing in at 730
lbs.  That little bar in front of the pumpkin is a foot-long
ruler, for perspective:
[[image:picture10.jpg:A very large pumpkin.:center:0]]

And we saw the 2nd place winner in the taxidermy contest, in which fantasy is apparently considered legitimate:

[[image:picture12.jpg:A pig with wings.:center:0]]

[[image:picture13.jpg:The same pig. Majestic!:center:0]] (more…)

As I type this I’m grooving along to Assemblage 23.  Awesome.

I went to vote early today, (a) because it’s such a tremendously good
thing to have and (b) because I’m volunteering in my old precinct on
election day and figure it’s best not to overbook myself.  I’d
expected mid-day on a weekday would be smooth sailing, that I’d whoosh
through the door, glide through voting and be back in my car in five
minutes.  It’s not like I have tremendous studying of the ballot
to do – undecideds on the other hand may want to head out there now and
start their Rock Paper Scissors early.  They only have a week,
after all.

It turned out I was so totally wrong about that.  The place was packed.  As I said to Mr. Saturday later, “That place was pee-acked,” and man, it was.  The line was out the door and down the sidewalk.  Bascha
had reported a similar experience in Cary this weekend, where the line
was out the door and down the block, and the staffers said it’d been
like that solid since Early Voting started, but I figured, you know,
they went on a Saturday and here I am on a Monday in the middle of the
day, c’mon, and it turned out to be all sardines in there.  They
had a dozen or so little booths, all of them in constant use, and so
much demand they’d pulled out horse-shoe-shaped tables and some chairs
so people could sit and there were even people standing around in the
corners voting against the wall because, honestly, there were that many
people in there.

The lady in line behind me, who looked startlingly like a deceased
relative, down to her style of dress and her hair and her complexion,
and thus had me off-balance from the get-go, pipes up quietly and says,
“Excuse me, but can I ask you some questions?”  It turns out she
had questions about voting and had moved in the past year but was still
in the same precinct, and so I tried to help her out and took it as a
practice round for next week.  As we wind down from that, and the
line’s moved some, we start chatting about how many people are there
and how exciting it is – regardless of party or candidate – to see
participation so high. 

“My daughter’s in school in California,” the woman says to me, “And she
told me she wasn’t sure she’d vote since, you know, it’s just
guaranteed what’s going to happen, and I said it’s that kind of
attitude, young lady, and made her promise to vote anyway.  It’s
just too important this year, no matter which side you’re on.”  I
agree, and think our conversation has kind of met its natural end, and
then the woman pipes up again.

“We used to live in Texas,” she says.  “My daughter played soccer with Jenna and Barbara.”

My jaw hits the floor.  I actually said something like OH MY GOD,
and then jumped, because it felt like yelling FIRE! in a library.

“Yeah,” the woman says, waving it off.  “I had lunch with Barbara
and – you know, when her husband, when Poppy was VP – and I had to talk
to Laura about soccer stuff all the time, on the phone.  And let
me tell you, everything you’ve heard, everything about how they have
blinders on, how you’re in their class or no class, that’s true.” 
At this point the lady gives a thumbs-down and zerberts the air with a
big, “Pthbthbthbthbth!” 

Meanwhile, I’m watching my jaw tumble across the floor, out the doors and over the lawn, like a tiny escaped convict.

“My ex-husband is still down there,” she goes on, “And he’s still in
with them, still dyed-in-the-wool Republican, still calls them, all
that, and he said to me, ‘With them you’re either In or you’re Out, you know?’ and I said, ‘You’re absolutely right, and if you want to be In so bad, you go right ahead,’ and now here I am, in North Carolina, going to grad school.”

My top row of teeth have formed a crude rope from bedsheets and are rapelling down my chest.

The lady rubbed the ridge of her nose and waved off the subject with an Ugh
and a headshake.  And then we chatted about electronic
voting.  In 2000, I ended up having a conversation with a stranger
about e-voting; she wanted to know why she couldn’t just vote online
while the coffee brewed and I took pains to explain to her why this was
a bad idea.  This time around it was paper ballots vs. electronic
ones.  I was shell-shocked to be talking to a woman who was a soccer mom with Laura Bush,
and so I geeked in self-defense.  I crawled into my topic like a
turtle into its shell – inside my little world it was all verifiable recounts and trusted paper trails
But luckily for the lady standing next to me, a pollworker shook me
from Blather Mode 3000 with a vigorous, “Next voter, please!” 

And then I voted.

Afterwards, I saw the lady again.  She was in the parking lot
talking to the Democratic electioneer standing outside the 100-yard
boundary, handing out endorsement sheets and Voters’ Bill of Rights
pamphlets.  She was deep in conversation, and I am painfully shy,
and so I fought down the urge to walk up and interrupt them and say to
this woman, Please, let me buy you a cup of coffee and spend the rest
of the day interrogating you.  Let me ask you one million and one
questions.  Tell me everything nasty they’ve ever done.  Fuel my indignation about this President.

Instead I just strolled past. 

To be honest, the lady could have been lying.  She could have made
it up to entertain herself, or she could be a compulsive liar, or she
could be crazy.

Or it could all be true.  I have no reason to believe
otherwise.  Someone had to be a soccer mom with Laura Bush, and
why not that lady?

And either way, it made a great story for when I got home and said to Mr. Saturday, “And you know what I thought when she said it?  I thought, I’m so going home to blog about you.(more…)

So, we went to see Gozu tonight – it’s by Miike, the same director who did Audition and Happiness of the Katakuris.  I’d link to the IMDB entry, but it Says Too Much.

And yet, it is utterly and entirely impossible for anything to say too
much about this movie.  There aren’t words for this movie. 
There is no way to prepare you for this movie.  Just go see it.

It’s playing all this week at the Carolina Theatre of Durham.

Go see it.

Please go see it.

When we walked outside after, I threw my hands into the air and yelled, “That was AWESOME!” and I meant it.  The Boyf declared that I had gone mad, and I think he may be right.  But it was awesome.  Do you know why it was awesome?  Because I survived watching it and my sanity was more or less intact.

That’s not really an exaggeration, either.  Not much of one, anyway.  Audition is the best movie I’ll never watch again, and Gozu has secured an equal footing in my soul.  After Audition I was terrified.  After Happiness of the Katakuris I joked that my brain was broken.

I think this time my brain really may be broken.

The only metaphor I can come up with for watching Gozu is that
it’s what I imagine it would feel like to eat three pounds of
chocolate-covered jalapen~o peppers, then spend the rest of the night
hurling my guts out and screaming, “Those were so good!” 
As I roared this assessment from behind the locked bathroom door, tears
would well from my eyes and run down my face, my voice an angry shriek
– a mad bellow that would drive bison to cross the plains in great
herds to escape that stark cry for help and of both treasured happiness
and incoherent horror.

That’s what it’s like to watch Gozu. (more…)

(Screw my not having time today.)

I hardly count as an engineer, as I couldn’t design my way out of a wet
paper sack.  That said, I have long believed that engineers and
troubleshooters develop a sort of sixth sense, a vague intuition of
when things are right and when things are wrong.  You can feel it
when something isn’t going the way it should.  That things never
go the way they should might have something to do with that, but hey.

At any rate, I found this quote taken from this article very interesting.  It discusses the old “the engineers used English instead of metric” story behind the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter
back in ’99.  The bottom line here is that I find it interesting
that others would express the same thing, that eventually you know your
devices or your systems so well that you’ll just pick up a vibe when
something is about to go horribly, horribly awry – and that management
will not believe you:

And reportedly, when space navigators intuitively developed a feeling
that there was something wrong with the navigational database, they
were told to hold the present course until they could prove something
was wrong.

(more…)

Memo to co-workers:

When I respond “I don’t know” to a question asked of me, guess
what?  That means I don’t know the answer.  That knowledge is
foreign to me.  The answers you seek are not in my brain
I don’t know.  If I knew in the past, I’ve forgotten.  I may
or may not know in the future.  The important point is that I do
not know right now, while you’re standing there asking me.

Asking the same question again immediately will not change this.

Pretending I said nothing at all and asking the same question again immediately will not change this.

Inventing clever new ways of phrasing the question will not change this.

Suggesting possible answers will not change this.

Imagine someone approaches you on the street and says, “Were life found
on Mars tomorrow, what would it look like?”  While you could
certainly engage in conjecture, the only factual answer would be “I
don’t know.”  Were they to say, “But what would it look like?”
again, the only factual answer would still be “I don’t know.” 
Were they to stand there for agonizing minutes, some monstrosity of fat
and more fat, birthed in the snack machines of the cold, uncaring
stars, lodged in their incessant gobs – the very Twinkies of the Mad
Damned half-chewed by their ignorant teeth – as they spray crumbs and
beg answers, saying things such as would the Martians have horns? 
Green spots?  Both?  Is it documented anywhere?  Is
there a process for determining that?  Will life officially no longer be worth living if I’m still standing here yammering at you five minutes from now?* – ahem, well, the only factual answers are, “I don’t know.”  You know why, co-workers?  Because I.  Don’t.  Know.

Also, your cologne is unbearable.

Cheers,
Michael
Team Lead

* Although conjecture, my money would be on an answer of please, please give me the sweet release of death’s chill embrace.  Still, that’s subjective, and the question had “officially” in it.  Who am I to say?  The answer remains, I don’t know, pigfucker. (more…)

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