Saturday, January 31, 2004

2, 4, 6, 8, Come On Snow, Accumulate!

Yes, OK, I realize that my enthusiasm about snow is directly related to the fact that I don't have a "job" which requires me to go out on the "roads" when they're total "crap." But even when I did, I liked it. Winter without snow is just wrong, it's like summer without humidity. (I live in Indiana, after all...)

Actually my excitement at our 6 inches of white stuff is somewhat tempered by the fact that my pipes froze last night (we got down to -10, I think) and so now I've got no shower, no sink, no ability to wash laundry or dishes, and can only flush the toilet by flinging a gallon bucket full of store-bought water into the bowl. Unfortunately, the frozen pipe is somewhere between my house and the water main, so the tiny space heater I've got blowing on the pipes inside the house ain't doing diddly. Oh well. Hopefully it'll thaw by tomorrow, or the folks coming over for the Superbowl better limit their beer consumption...

Speaking of the weather, check THIS out. The man is brilliant. Check his other auctions; he also sells tinfoil hats to prevent the government from reading your pet's brainwaves.

And finally, since I jumped on the meme bandwagon with the last map, here's my states one. Got the east pretty well covered, but the west needs work. Jersild? Want to drive out to Jane's wedding?

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide
Jeremy, I'm with you on Southeast Asia. Let me know when we leave.

Friday, January 23, 2004

I’ll Take Indonesia for 300, Please.

I love travel. I also hate travel. I hate packing; I hate airports (I especially hate airports in the present age of guilty-until-proven-innocent); I hate the way airplanes smell; I hate wondering if my pets died and my house burned down while I was gone; I hate feeling uprooted. It’s not my fault, mind you, it’s genetic, just like the clumsiness thing. But I also love seeing new places and things. I guess you could say I love being there, but I hate getting there. So I don’t often fantasize about travel except in a very abstract way.... but then, this.

create your own visited country map
or write about it on the open travel guide

Bugger. Now I want to go everywhere, and see the red just spread across the map ok, all the images I came up with there were gross. But you get the idea. Look at it! I haven't been to Asia at all!! And man, there are just spitloads of places I want to go in the US as well, all kinds of stuff I haven’t seen. I’d really better get moving on that whole "independently wealthy" thing.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Spam, and Shameless Promotion

I've been getting a lot of weird spam lately. No, not more "Alpha Male" ads--though I'd welcome a followup explaining just what they're extracting from those elk, and how they're extracting it. This seems to be the product of some new spamblaster type of program; the subject lines are always a jumble of letters followed by three words that sound vaguely like the beginning of a sentence, only the sentence is...well, bizarre. I can't for the life of me figure out exactly what the strategy behind this spam format is, other than a hope that you'll be so mystified by the nonsensical subject line that you'll open it up. (And once you do, of course you'll order their leopard frog extract or whatever it is.) Here's a few of the best ones I've gotten in the past 3 days:

Re: WTQNLTAT, with increasing severity  
Re: XEJKHP, the steeds were
Re: FCPBZVTJ, his magician! have   
Re: MAOBFCF, the roman procurator
and my personal favorite, Re: DK, bears playing concertinas

I mean, seriously, what the hell is up with this? It's like that Star Trek episode, where the aliens are trying to communicate and all they can say is stuff like "Shaka, when the walls fell." I actually opened that last one (see, it works) and here was an ad offering me medicines delivered "direct to your do!"--great, my hair gets so little mail as it is--and then I kid you not, about 30 lines worth of more random words out of the dictionary, of which this is but a small sample: loki spectrography bengal rufous chromium lorinda anthropology sarcophagus vernal continuum accidental quicklime flog tnt eggshell enigma alistair cozy grope tenuous honk ilona deflector lycopodium cramp complex pasty dread

The first person who can convincingly explain the logic behind this spamming methodology will receive a small but entertaining prize.

On the link front, I've added one for my good pal Emily, who is a talented musician as I've mentioned here in the past. If you're interested in hearing Em's music, click the link; it'll take you to a site where you can download some MP3 clips, and if you like them you can order her CD from them as well. ALSO, if you haven't done this already, pleeeeeease check out my friend Rob Harrell's comic, "Big Top"! It's amazingly funny (this week involves Pete's struggles with the evil Chicken Boy) and well worth your while. I went and bought some original art from the strip from him today, he's a good guy and it's a great comic. Tell your local paper they need to pick it up! But in the meantime read him for free over at ucomics.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Well Gee, That’

Every time one of my friends posts their results from one of those personality test things, I go take the test. I almost never actually copy over the link into my blog (though the Marvel Superhero quiz was an exception) because my results are usually pretty silly, or the same as my friend got. But today, I am Schindler’s List.

Sure, it says nice flowery stuff in the text.... but let’s face it. I’m a black and white movie about the holocaust. Sure, I’m an oscar winner, and a triumph of filmmaking... But I’m not something you’d want to watch over and over again. I’m not good for repeat viewing. I make people cry.

I guess I just always thought of myself as being more of a “Philadelphia Story” type...

Friday, January 09, 2004

A Discovery of Volcanic Proportions...

Earlier this week (when I was feeling productive, and the temperature was above 20) I went out to run a few errands. I needed a bag of sunflower seeds for the birds, and bulgur wheat for a recipe I was making. This being Indiana, it took me trips to THREE different grocery stores to find one that stocked bulgur, in an overpriced box of tabouli mix from Middle East Cuisine... so I wasn't in the best mood by the time I got to the hardware store to buy the sunflower. Got that taken care of, and found myself standing cattycorner from the old family drugstore at 49th and Penn. Yep, it's the Hamaker Pharmacy; growing up, every year my new teacher would stop while calling the role and say, "Hamaker... like the drug store?" It's that much of a fixture on the north side of Indy. It's still very much the little neighborhood pharmacy, with narrow aisles, a tiny spinning comic book rack, a penny scale, and higher prices than Walmart. The Hamaker family actually hasn't owned the place since I was in high school, my dreams of being a druggist there were squashed pretty early on.... but I still like going in now and then, and our name is still over the door. I went on over to pick up some shoelaces and deodorant, and poked around a bit. Things seem pretty much unchanged, other than them having shoehorned in a couple large refrigerator cases to sell cold Cokes... But I wonder if their business might be better if they carried this product:

This may be the best spam I have ever opened by mistake. Who knew that the male wapiti elk was the most prolific lover in the animal kingdom? Well, other than Mrs. Wapiti Elk? I mean, wow. The best part is the comparision chart.... "Average middle-aged human male.... Average middle-aged elk." All I can say is, wow.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Ringin' It In, Yo.

A New Year, bright with promise! It's true, I have great hopes for 2004. Could this be the year I get a job? Get my shit together? Finish school? On a larger scale, could it be the year when our country frees itself from the grip of George W. and his dangerously loopy pals? I'm starting to feel the slight gravitational pull of the Dean Machine....

So what's new? Well, first off, I ran a half a mile yesterday. Yes, it's a--hey! Stop laughing, you! Stop it! Damn.... You have to understand that running has always been hard for me, from an asthma standpoint. The worst part of fencing practice in college was always the 3 lap warmup around the gym. I hated it. I hate how running makes me feel. And my stamina is, how you say, awful. But I'm realizing that the best kind of exercise for me is probably the kind I can do with the least amount of preparation--no drive to the gym, no membership fees, no special equipment. And I live right on one of the nicest jogging paths in Indianapolis. Literally, I can walk out my door and be on a no-car crushed limestone path which goes for 4 miles along the canal, turns paved, and continues another 3 miles right to downtown. PLUS, just a half mile along the path from me is Butler University's "Fitness Course," one of those things where you jog through the woods and periodically stop to do pushups etc. on slightly soggy wooden equipment. So when things dry out, I'll be doing that... and in the meantime, I'm jogging a half mile. Next week, 3/4 of a mile. Then a mile. Tomorrow, the world.

Great news for the New Year, Jane and Sarah are tying the knot, getting hitched--they're getting grbzniaked! Go over to her blog and congratulate her! Oh, wait.... Jane doesn't have comments enabled.... So congratulate her here instead. :]