Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wait, We're Having a What, Now?

Last night en route to an evening of Warhammer, I stopped at the big grocery chain to pick up coffee because my corner grocery doesn't carry the kind I like. I found the place packed, huge lines at the checkout, and vast swaths of the cereal aisle empty, as if swarms of Froot-Loop eating locusts had passed through. WTF, I thought--it's almost like people are stocking up before a blizzard. Then I thought, hmmm. I haven't checked in the last 48 hours or so.....


So I woke up this morning to an inch of cottony fluff all over everything ("morning" is a relative term here, since Warhammer went until 1:30 am and I didn't get to bed until 2:30 or so) and supposedly we're well on our way to 7+ inches of snow, with a layer of freezing rain/ice in there someplace. I managed to heave my sorry rear out the door an hour ago to buy cookie-baking supplies and something for dinner; the Safeway was a little less scarily cleaned-out than last night's trip to Marsh, and I didn't have to wait in line too long, so no complaints. If I get snowed in, I should be able to survive on gingerbread and almond shortbread for a couple days. I've got multivitamins. It's all good.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I'm Not Sure Whether to be Proud, or Embarassed.

The best part, for me, is when the Snitch goes streaking off toward my old dorm, Jewett House. Good thing it got remodeled, or there'd be a danger of the snitch getting stuck in the antiquated elevator...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Jesus, Make It Stop!

So far my Thanksgiving Day has been marred by something (cats) setting off my allergies early in the am; it's now 3 o'clock, and my nose is still running pretty much nonstop. This despite the application of 24-hour super-Claratin, which I can tell you right now is worse than useless--it doesn't make you drowsy, but it also doesn't stop the nasal drip, hence you're fully awake to enjoy it. Bite me, Claratin.

Since the drugs aren't working, I've resorted to prayer, as you can see in the post title. Last night I finally got around to watching Jesus Camp, and if it taught me anything it taught me that the world's problems would be solved just by invoking Jesus in the most trivial matters possible. If you've not seen it, and you have any interest in American politics or religion, you really should. It's a documentary about evangelical Christians; specifically, evangelical kids and how they are being trained as an army to "take back America for Jesus!" If you think the army metaphor is a bit over the top, see the film and think again. These kids walk, talk, sleep, breathe, and even bowl the Religious Right agenda (a memorable scene involves a bunch of these kids at a bowling alley, whispering fervent prayers to Christ before flinging a gutterball, more often than not.) Yea, the lord is with us, even when bowling. The movie is fairly serious, and presents a frightening (to many of us) view of Christianity which should disturb my genuinely Christian friends even more than it does non-Christians like myself. It does have a few lighthearted moments, including a brief and ironic appearance from exceedingly smarmy mega-church leader Ted Haggard, who shortly after the film was made was caught up in a scandal involving methamphetimene and a male prostitute. One can only hope that this shook the blind faith of some of those kids in the film.

Today I've made 3 pies, blown my nose 119 times, and cleaned out my refrigerator. What've you done?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ooooh, Spikey!

I'd be excited about my slight uptick in hits this week, except that I've figured out that apparently the TV show "Heroes," which I've only seen one ep of but I hear it's nice, has recently aired an episode titled "Cautionary Tale." So all of a sudden, I am getting hits from the UK, the Ukraine, Germany, Mozambique--all googling for "heroes cautionary tale." As well as random places in the US. Although I'm obviously not what they're looking for, I am gratified to see that I am the #1 hit for this google search (presumably since all three of those words appear in my header.) Only one or two of them have hazarded an actual look at my blog--but if you are, in fact, here hoping I am talking about the Heroes show on a regular basis, I'm very sorry to disappoint you. You'll have to wait til I've watched a few more disks of the set my coworker loaned me last week.

My adventure for the weekend is that I was coerced into dog-sitting for one of my neighbors; I'm in the town directory as a dog sitter, but the last time I dogsat it was an utter disaster and I didn't want to repeat it. But these folks seemed desperate, so I said OK. Things were a little surreal when I biked over there after dark on Wednesday and found myself passing sign after sign that said "No Outlet" "Dead End" "Roadway Ends" and "Turn Back Now, Before It's Too Late." There are lots of signs like this in my little town (well, the first three) but I seriously had no idea there were any houses back on this little gravel path along the river; I was about to turn around when I finally found the house #, at the second-to-last house at the farthest southern tip of town. Surrealism continued when I met the dog, who is the world's most gi-normous Rottweiler. "Oh, he's a sweetheart! Don't worry, you can just let him out without a leash and he'll come right back in!" Jesus, I thought, I am DOOMED. This dog is going to go blitzing off into the sunset, and there is no way I will be able to force a 150 lb herding dog to do anything it doesn't want to do. So this morning, when I had to go let him out for the first time, I'm thinking "Crap, crap crap... I so don't want to do this."

Naturally, it turns out that this is the most timid Rottweiler in the history of the breed. I had to lure him outside with a dog biscuit because it was chilly out. He ran back inside as soon as I opened the door. Additionally, he is painfully sad that his family has left him, and it is all he can do to look up at me with his sad, pitiful eyes, and silently ask, "Why? Why did they go away? Was it something I did? Tell them I'm sorry." No doubt that will only get worse before they return Sunday night, he already seems convinced that life, as he knows it, is over forever. Poor, poor gi-normous dog.

Friday, November 09, 2007

OK, Now That's Funny...

Because I found myself pretty annoying in the books...

Find out your Harry Potter personality at LiquidGeneration!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Because You Can Never Have Too Much Star Wars...

Yes, it's me as Dork Skywalker. Another Halloween triumph--though sadly this photo doesn't show my vintage 1978 Kenner/General Mills blaster in improvised holster on my right hip. You'll have to just imagine the coolness.

Monday, October 15, 2007

And Now for the Talent Portion of the Program...

Thanks, Heather. That was one of the worst things I have ever seen or heard on the internets.

And my other laugh for this week was a link from Defective Yeti to this Open Letter to a Can of Baby Corn. You're making everyone uncomfortable, Baby Corn. It's time for you to go.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I've Got My Geek On....and I Can't Get It Off.

My parents are out of town for a week, and I have this ritual where every time I'm taxed with feeding their fish and picking up the mail, I try to get one more load of my junk out of their garage/house/etc. A year or two ago I liberated both my guitars and my old Crate amp from my former bedroom. Here they still sit, of course, more or less unused (Karen! When's our next jam fest?!) But at least I'm trying to be mature and not use their home as a vast storage dump for my stuff. So this week, since I've been thinking a lot about Star Wars due to projects at work, I decided to check out the large plastic bins marked "Star Wars Toys" out in their garage.

Oh. My. God. Not just toys, mind you. Not just toys, but things I didn't even know I had. Things like this.....

Who wants a ring-neck T-shirt with Jawas on it? ME!! I DO!!!!!!!!

(Several of my co-workers pointed out that the funniest thing about this cover is that C-3P0 and the stormtrooper have their shirts tucked in.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pirate Day? Whydah Not?

And the first person to get THAT obscure reference wins a gold doubloon....

I've been talking like a pirate all day; as it's not technically "Type Like a Pirate" day, I'm taking a break. My coworkers and I hit a local club for their "Party Like a Pirate" night, and that was entertaining though somewhat sparsely attended. I suspect it's partly that it's a weeknight (even pirates have to get up in the morning; someone has to drive the ship) and partly that we were a wimpy pirate crew and all left before 9 when the real dedicated party crowd probably showed up. Arrrr.... we be gettin' old, mayteys. But two things of note: one is that HeatherW posted an utterly fabulous link in my brand new comments to the previous post. Go click it. And two is that Defective Yeti has posted a comprehensive list of all the 36 countries our president has asserted have their "boots on the ground" in Iraq. And here I thought the president was fudging a bit! Not so--and thank god the Cimmerians are on our side. (Come to think of it, is there more than one Cimmerian? Or was Conan the only one?)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Holy Haloscan, Batman!

OK, I finally did it. Killed my link to enetation (though theoretically all my old comments still exist on their server) and implemented Haloscan. So feel free to comment away!

I'm home sick from work today, which is kind of a new experience for me; I don't think I missed work more than once or twice the entire time I was in retail--with the exception of the Chicken Pox Incident, which was less being sick and more a near-death experience that lasted over a week. But I woke up this morning, blew my nose about 16 times, and thought to myself, you know... if I were my coworkers, I wouldn't want to be around me today. I am gross with a capital G. So I called in, and went back to bed.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Few Things of Note

First of all, yes I know that my comments no longer work. :) I have two options, since enetation is apparently more or less a lost cause. One, I can switch to New Blogger's comments and completely lose this template which I've become attached to over the years. Two, I can sign on with Haloscan, which I've been toying with for a while. But I'm going to need to sit down and take a few minutes to set up the account and monkey the code into my blog. Which I've not really felt like doing just yet. So there will be a short delay; and in the meantime, if you have something you simply must get off your chest, you can put it in the comments of Dark's Carnival or The Wax Lion.

Secondly, I'm in New York! Wooo hoo! Sent here to infiltrate the competition.... that is, to check out local museums and see what kinds of cool stuff they're doing. So far I've been to the AMNH, which was fairly awesome--even their bad displays are really good-looking. The ones that are bad are more bad in a sort of 1930's way of looking at native cultures kind of thing. :) And the ones that are good are awesome. Today it's the Bronx Zoo and the Cloisters. Jane had the decency to pick a co-op in the far north reaches of Manhattan when she moved here a couple months back; so the Cloisters is only 2 subway stops and a pleasant walk through the park away from where she is generously hosting me. Sweeeet.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Gencon post is up on Dark's Carnival. And it is officially my first post written from my---ta daaaahhhh!!!--new super sleek black MacBook! I'm just dripping with coolness....

Monday, August 20, 2007

This is Not the Gencon Post!

Gencon post will be up on Dark's Carnival shortly; I'm trying to resurrect that blog from the dead a bit. Might start posting pictures of minis over there too. If you find it annoying that I have three different blogs, well.... too bad. I like to keep things categorically seperate; I realize I could tag my posts, but it's partly about appearences. I like that the backgrounds/template styles are different for my different types of writing. I'm thinking of turning Wax Lion into my professional blog as well, the one I link back to when I'm commenting on other museum industry blogs (yes, there are such things) and the one where I babble a bit about philosophy of museum display etc. But don't worry, coworker who reads my blog--I've got no intention of making any remarks that might get me in trouble with the Powers that Be, even on my "anonymous blog." I'm not so deluded as to think that anything on the internet is truly anonymous.

Blah blah blah, this is quite a long post for a post that was intended just to tell you that I'm not actually posting about anything.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Perfect Days

You could argue that life in Indy is somewhat wanting lately. We've been slogging through day after day of 90 degree heat and not a drop of rain for nearly 3 weeks; the canal has dropped about a foot, and the mosquitos are many and vicious (even I'm getting bitten, and I usually don't fall prey to the little boogers much; right now I've probably got 10-20 bites in varying stages of itch.) I returned from my business trip to San Diego to a hot, stuffy, humid, and incredibly messy home. The window a/c unit is barely making a dent in the oppresive atmosphere around here, and it's too hot to cook or clean effectively.

So where's the upside? Well, the mornings are nice. I've been going for bike rides at 7 am, since it's too hot by the time 8 rolls around for me to bike to work right now. My house has a new resident--a female turtle named Harriet, who will be released back to the wild as soon as she's healed up from a mild trauma to her shell. It's fair time, and my dad and I spent a pleasant, if sweaty, couple of hours this morning at the fairgrounds. (While I'm grateful for the air conditioning that was added to the Home and Family Arts building in recent years, I must say that the culinary displays were far more entertaining when they fell victim to the heat and humidity after the first 3 days of the fair. Nothing has ever equalled the spectacle of the "Murder in the Cathedral" wedding cake, in which the red sugar windows of the church-shaped cake had melted and run down the inside of the structure and out the doors, pooling around the feet of the bride figurine like a gory testament to the value of pre-marital counselling. Later in the week, the icing under the groom's feet softened and he fell over into the red puddle, as if some jilted former lover of the bride had shown up and redefined the term "shotgun wedding.")

And I've been going out bat-watching in the evenings. The high mosquito population means that the little brown bats around here are very active and visible; I can go out and sit by the canal with a beer at twilight and watch as every few minutes, der fledermice flit past. I can't complain.

Friday, July 20, 2007

"Have Mercy!"

So in browsing the program for the San Diego Comic Con next week, I found a session that purported to examine the work of the worst comic book in existence. "Ha!" thought I. "How bad could it be?"

Nothing could have prepared me for the sheer awfulness that is Fletcher Hanks. Sure, the art is cheesy in a kind of crappy Golden-Age way... but what really marks this comic as beyond dreadful is the scripting. Not just stilted and dull, but actively, indescribably crappy. If you can stand it, I strongly recommend going to all three of the scanned comics on the Links page and reading them in their entirety. I am particularly drawn to/repelled by "Space" Smith, whose name is always spoken in quotes, even by his girlfriend-copilot. In the issue in question, they visit a planet called "Bloodu," where the evil inhabitants want to drink their.....wait for it....their.....BLOOD! Hooray! 10 points to you. Anyway, I had a great time reading this crap. All you Harry Potter fans out there can keep yer Book Seven tomorrow; I'm going to run out and buy a copy of "I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets: The Comics of Fletcher Hanks."

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Not Dead, but Sleeping

I found a newspost, with a little effort, that states that Enetation is "temporarily offline" and that accounts won't be affected by this. We shall see--perhaps when they resurface they'll have improved their comment spam protection. At any rate, things are ticking along at a surprising rate. People keep asking me how the job is going, and I say, "Great," but that doesn't really convey a picture of what I'm really doing. In the last week, I've interviewed a Holocaust survivor with an amazing story to tell; I've written labels about Indiana Ponds; I've tried to condence the Civil Rights movement into a 25 word paragraph; I've watched seemingly endless media coverage of Ryan White from the late 1980's; I've firmed up plans for the work-sponsored trip to the San Diego Comic convention at the end of the month (we've got an extra day! we can go to the zoo!) and I've been firing hilarious emails back and forth with an AIDS activist who we're hoping to focus on in the big exhibit. Busy, exhausting, fun. yeah.

So I'll give entetation another week or so, and then we'll look into Haloscan.

Monday, July 02, 2007

RIP Enetation?

My comments feature seems to be down, and is rejecting my browser. Could it be dead? Are all my old comments lost? Will I be forced to look into Haloscan as an alternative? (No, not using blogger comments. I have them on my other blog, and they're irritating.) So much for my "lifetime subscription," perhaps. If it's not back in another couple days, I'll start investigating the alternative...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


It's been a while since I let a month go by without posting anything at all--kind of shocking, really. Anyway, here is what I have been doing instead of blogging:

1. Going to Wiscon, where I ate much food, drank much drink, friended around with friends, and even listened to a few panels and readings. I even went to the hotel pool, which was a new experience--those who know me know that I have a completely unreasonable fear of swimming pools. A mild fear, to be sure, I don't run screaming from them but I also never go out of my way to get in one. ANYWAY, it was a great weekend in Madison despite the sinus headache mentioned in the prior post.
2. Starting my new job. S'wonderful, s'marvelous, s'kicking my ass. I'm having some trouble adjusting to being on a schedule again; I'm not complaining, it's just that after 5 years of irregular work, it's a big transition to be someplace for 8.5 hours per day, in clothes both ironed and color coordinated, and be organized enough to efficiently accomplish all the stuff that has to get done after work. I'm more in the groove now than I was 3 weeks ago... It's just taking a bit of time.
3. Going to my college reunion. 15 years, holy crap on a stick.
4. Going to visit my 93 year old grandpa for Father's Day. He utterly rules. So does my dad.
5. Watching the family of beavers that has built a lodge up the canal about a mile from my house. I can bike out in the evenings and watch them swimming around and eating plants and stuff. I haven't seen them cut down a tree yet, but that would be awesome.
6. Watering my tomatoes--we've been having hella hot dry weather here, like much of the country lately. It rained for the first time in ages this morning, thank god. i still haven't put my A/C unit in, so I'm relieved the heat broke, at least for now.
7. Sleeping. All this work and travel and stuff wears ya out!

So what have you all been doing while I was gone?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Damn Right It's Better Than Yours...

So I made it to Madison (and MLE, where the heck are you??) and so far I've been to a couple nice readings, one panel that jumped the shark faster than you can say "Elvis," and a panel about fighting with people at cons that did not, sadly, involve an actual fight. (it was the sequel to last year's panel on flirting at cons, and while it lacked a lot of the hilarity value it was still pretty entertaining.)

I had a sinus headache when I woke up this morning; it was partially alieviated by going for coffee up the street, and hearing the Milkshake Song over the PA while eating my scone and caffiene. Feminist sci fi in one ear, her milkshake bringin' all the boys to the yard in the other. Too great.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Yayyyyy! Shiny Toy!!!!

In the first of no doubt several major purchases with the fever of "I've wanted this for 5 years and now I have a paycheck!" I finally did it. I bought.....


Yes, the bike. The bike I've been wanting. The bike I drooled over way back in this series of blog posts. Well, not exactly that bike, but it's been 3 years; the Trek "Adventure 4000" is no longer available. In point of fact, the cool burnt orange color is no longer available--they switch colors each year, and burnt orange metallic is soooo 2006 apparently. So I went in the bike store, and there was this orange bike, and I was all like "ooh, shiny!" And then I discovered that it was a 25" frame. (if you are unwise in the way of bikes, which I was right up to this moment, I will tell you that to ride a 25" frame bike I would need to be about 6'4" tall. Sadly, I'm not.) So I sez, do you have this in a smaller size? And they sez, no, it's Last Year's Bike, that's the only one left. Too bad. Rat Girl sez, how about this one? It's pretty, it's blue! I proceed to pout... but I wanted orange.... sniffle. In that moment, I go straight from being slightly interested in purchasing a bike sometime in the near future to being completely obsessed with obtaining a 17.5" 2006 Trek 7.3 FX in burnt orange. Because that's the way I am. I comb the internet that night, I call up stores all over Indianapolis; I call a store in Oshkosh Wisconsin on the vague promise of a lead. Things look grim. Then I check the store locator on the Trek website, and find that there is a bike store way out on the west side of Indianapolis that I've never heard of before. I give them a call, ask them my question, knowing full well that the answer will be no, and Lo and Behold! They've got one! It's on clearance! Hooray! Off I go to the bike store, and an hour later I roll back home with a new Trek 7.3 FX and a sweet bike rack for the car as well.

Sometimes, being obsessive compulsive can be downright fun.

Monday, April 30, 2007

We Sang Shang-a-Lang, and We Ran with the Gang
Going Do-wop, Ba-doobie Do-ay...

So suddenly tonight, while emailing my oldest friend to tell her about the job, I remembered that I'd also been meaning to tell her about being thwacked with the 2 x 4 of nostalgia a few weeks ago while shooting pool at Chumley's. I'm standing there, waiting my turn, and all of a sudden what should come on the MP3 Jukebox but the Bay City Rollers 1975 blockbuster hit, "Saturday Night." Said old friend and I literally wore out the needle on her record player on that album when we were 8 or 9. I was stunned to even think that it might exist in electronic form (and even more stunned to learn that Rat Girl, a full decade younger than myself, had heard the song before. "Bay City Rollers, right? Yeah." Well, I'll be damned.) So anyway, remembering it tonight and needing a few more items off iTunes to make my next car mix CD, I looked up the BCR in the Music Store. Even better than Saturday Night, the above tune--whose lyrics are utter fluff and nonsense, and I freely admit it's the worst kind of 70's Brady Bunch style crap--is now my favorite song in my iTunes library. Yes. I am in full regression mode. Next thing you know I will be buying the Partridge Family full season collections on DVD. Gah. It's not easy being a child of the 70's.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

But It's Saturday.....

Friday Five, ganked from Jane:
What am I....
1. Wearing? New jeans and my bear totem shirt.
2. Pondering? How I can be really intellectually happy, yet feel inexpressibly sad at the same time. (The answer, for those of you playing at home, is HORMONES. In two days I will be wondering what the hell was wrong with me, as usual.)
3. Reading? Perry Mason and the Case of the Baited Hook.
4. Dreaming? Anxiety dreams--see #2 above. But at least it's not The Alligator Dream. Which freaks me out every time it happens, because I love alligators and if I really did see some in the canal in real life I'd be all excited. But in the dream they are always Angry Alligators.
5. Eating? Coffee and toast. Pumpernickel, with butter and basswood honey.

So if you didn't already know, my long jobless drought is finally at an end, and I've been offered an excellent gig at Large Local Museum. I'm pretty damn excited! Adding to #2 above, of course, is the sense that everything in my brain has been rapidly shuffled in the last 2 weeks and now I am playing 52-Pick-Up trying to sort it all out. But I will, no fear. I think my parents are even more excited than I am; they've done a good job of hiding their fear that I might never have a real job again for the last 5 years, but the sigh of relief was so profound that I felt a substantial breeze right through the phone line. My dad is already listing all the things he thinks I need that I should buy once I have a paycheck again. I must admit that one of my first thoughts was, hey, I could buy a new computer! Because my old one is covered in toast crumbs, honey, and coffee stains....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wow! I Don't Even Know What This Is, But It's Spot On...

Ottava rima? Me? That can't be right!
   Too frivolous? But tut, there's no such thing!
Let others ponder thoughts of wrong and right,
   Or sit and think how much they love the spring;
I'd rather spend my time in gleeful spite,
   Or maybe laugh, or maybe sit and sing.
Besides, it might be fun to be inspiring -
But surely it would get so very tiring.
What Poetry Form Are You?

For those, like me, who had no idea what Ottava Rima is, you may check the Wiki entry here. Apparently it's a Roman form of poetry, originally for long heroic poems, but eventually adapted for humorous parodies of epic works, a la Boccaccio! That totally rocks.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Anchors A-Whey

Lately my work schedule has been fairly complex. (Not as complex as getting an old blogger template listed on Technorati, mind you.) I'm teaching in the mornings Mondays and Wednesdays, and Thursday afternoons; volunteering at the zoo still on alternate Thursday mornings; working at Crocodile on Tuesdays and Fridays; and now contract working pretty much all the rest of the time at the museum, which is in a high state of panic about an upcoming exhibit. So I was kind of shocked to find that I had Thursday afternoon completely free after finishing up with the baboons. I got a call from Rat Girl around 11, saying she wasn't going in to work until 2 because they were doing repairs at the dairy; all she had to do was drive a truck full of whey to Monrovia in the afternoon. I figured, cool, we'll go for lunch downtown and hang out. Then over lunch it occurred to me that I was already wearing smelly, zoo-stained clothing, and that I had absolutely no other commitments for the afternoon. "Want company?" sez I. "Well....sure!" sez she. So I got to ride along in the truck while RG demonstrated her skillz at driving a cranky behemoth of a stickshift on the highway for the drive out to Monrovia. Why whey, you say? The dairy she works for makes cheese (though they don't have a cheesecam, sadly) and a byproduct of cheesemaking is whey--lots of whey. We had 2 enormous tanks of it in the back of the truck, and we were taking it to a pig farmer who uses it to feed his pigs. It's high in protein.... and also utterly repellant, it smells vile and includes chunks of semi-solid curd stuff that looks like vomit. The pigs love it. So we got out there and backed up the truck, and basically just attached a hose to each tank and used it to fill up about 8 oil drums of muck, while the pigs were all "ooo! ooo! can't wait!" We still had about half of one tank of whey left when the drums were full, so the farmer had us just dump it out in the middle of a field, making a sort of small swamp of grossness--thank god it got cold, or the smell would have been unimaginable by the following day, I expect. Naturally I got whey on my shoes, and RG almost "accidentally" sprayed me in the back with the barf hose, and it was stinky and gross and involved heavy lifting. And I loved every minute--it was a TOTALLY AWESOME way to spend an afternoon!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Well, THAT Was Insanely Complicated.

I finally got Technorati sorted out. They certainly don't make it easy--it had to do with the fact that Blogger automatically indexes and feeds all blogspot posts to Technorati. But because I use an old template (and I'd like to thank Eliza Wee, designer of this marvelous template, before something tragic happens) it didn't have the proper code imbedded in the page for full indexing of posts. So I went around and around with adding bits of random code supplied by both Blogger and Technorati; I managed to screw up my link color briefly, had about a week when my Technorati profile was visible, which I did NOT want, and finally now seem to have it worked out. Bleh. I think I'll try indexing my other blog later today--since it's a newer template, maybe I won't have this problem.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Is That So Wrong?

So I got into a bidding war on Ebay today. See, when I was a kid, I had these posters that I got from Burger Chef--one of those "Collect All Four" kinds of things, and of course they were Star Wars, so I HAD to have them. Over the course of time and adolescence, the posters got demoted and finally I think got moldy in my parents' wet basement and were pitched. Now, in true midlife crisis fashion, I happened across them on ebay and decided I must have them--a Set of Four! Mint! Never rolled or folded! And only $15 for the set plus shipping. So I threw out a bid over the weekend. Then this morning I got the dreaded "you have been outbid" notice in my email... so I upped my bid to $20. Still only $5 a poster, that's pretty awesome! Then another outbid notice in the afternoon,$22? $25? $30?....Dude wants these posters worse than me! By god, then, he'll PAY FOR THEM. I nudged his bid up over $40 before finally deciding (with about 2 minutes left) that I didn't want them that bad. It's only me regaining my carefree childhood, nothing really important or anything. But then, as I was letting go of the thought, I remembered that my boss at the game co had mentioned he'd got these same posters from a guy who had a store on ebay--as opposed to an auction. So as the sand drains away on the final seconds of the auction, I go searching on Ebay stores. Look, there they are--for $20 a set. Clicked "Buy Now" so fast I may have broken my mouse, and now they are MINE. For $20 less than I was willing to bid. And.... I admit to a moment of pure, unkind pleasure when I looked back at the auction and found that the final selling price was over $50, a third bidder came in and sniped it during the final seconds. And all I could think was "Ha! Suckers!"

Is that so very wrong?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I'm experimenting with Technorati. Anyone have any opinions on its usefulness?

***update: already I'm confused. I've tried searching for exact phrases from recent posts (such as "experimenting with Technorati") to see if this blog picks up on their search engines, and so far nada. I must say they're not really helpful with the info on exactly how the engine works, so I'm a little challenged in troubleshooting. Moved the bit of code up into my page header, we'll see what that does.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I Do All My Own Stunts....

I saw a t-shirt that said this not long ago, and I think I need to own one. My stunt for the morning was getting my mental clock wonked by an hour, and arriving wayyyy too early to work; so here I blog.

Last night's IFS selection was Double Dare, a film about two women in the movie stunt industry. It features Jeannie Epper, a member of the biggest stunt-family in Hollywood whose best-known work was doubling for Lynda Carter on "Wonder Woman," and Zoe Bell, who doubled Lucy Lawless on Xena, and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, among other things. When I was a kid, I desperately wanted to be a stuntman (gender divisions for me were indistinct then as now) and spent a lot of time practicing falling off of things and pretend-punching my friends. Sadly, a complete lack of physical talent or coordination stood in the way of this dream, and it didn't come to pass. (Some might say the fall into the penguin tank counts as a professional-level stunt, but it wasn't on purpose, and I didn't make it look good.) But I have an eye for good stuntwork and fight choreography, which probably had its birth in years of watching Epper on Wonder Woman. As I think I've said before, my fondness for Xena/Hercules is rooted partly in the writing of the early seasons and the general campy silliness of the show, but also largely a result of the complex and intricate fight choreography. This fascinates me still; so it was a real treat to finally see this film and "meet" the woman behind all the harness and wire work. Would have liked a bit more from the stunt coordinators about what goes into stunt design and prep, but really the movie was less about the mechanics of the whole thing and more about the difficulties of being a woman in what's essentially still a very male-dominated industry. It was almost painful watching Epper make phone call after phone call--"Hey, it's Jeannie. So.... You have any work for me? Anything at all? No? Well, keep me in mind..." Then again, watching the spontaneous joy-fest when Bell gets the Kill Bill job was pretty damn exhilerating--YAHOO! WAHOO! She deserves to be successful, she's fantastically talented. I look forward to seeing her work in films and TV for years to come; while I may not ever have mastered falling off of things for money, I have a great admiration for them that do it every day.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Stegosnowrus Approach

Stegosnowrus Approach
Originally uploaded by blackbear88.
Attack of the Stego-Snowrus!

When the weather turned warm a week or two ago, I had a day when I should have been doing something much more productive, but figured that a foot of soft sculptable snow was something I don't have access to every winter.... So instead, I made this in my yard. The snow-sleet-snow combination during the storm resulted in a wet snow layer on top of about 2" of an icy crust, with more dry powdery snow underneath. That crust fractured nicely into pieces suitable for Stegosaurus plates, as well as his fingers and toes.

Two more pics of him over at Flickr, and I'm sorry to say it rained the day after I made him, so his life was brief but wonderful.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Stealth Mode

Stealth Mode
Originally uploaded by blackbear88.
Just in Case You Were Wondering.

Yes, I am in that part of the midwest that was hit with a substantial snowstorm on Tuesday the 13th.

***Breaking News!!***


Sunday, February 11, 2007

I Take It Back.

I would cheerfully trade several of the "It was a bright sunny day at the museum" papers in exchange for the one I just read that was fine except for two significant problems. One, it was completely unrelated to the assignment. And two, it was copied and pasted directly from Wikipedia.

What the hell, people? There was not even a crude attempt to disguise the theft--I just scrolled down the Wiki entry, and look! There's the text of the paper, verbatim! Why, lord? Why do they risk their entire academic career for one dumb 2-3 page paper assignment? And why do they think I won't go check the Wiki page myself? Do they think I'm sitting around here going, "Eh? What's this newfangled 'internet' I keep hearin' tell about? I hear it's a bunch o' tubes, or somethin'."

To be fair, this has only happened once in the 500 or so papers I've graded in the last year. Occasionally we get students who don't know how or when to cite sources, and of course we have lots who think Wikipedia is a good source for a research paper (bzzzt--wrong) but this is the first time I've actually had a 100% rip off the internet. So my faith in humanity is not completely destroyed. Just a little dinged.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night....

Why do some of my students think it's ok to start off a formal analytical paper with paragraphs like "It was a bright sunny day when I started out for our field trip. The wind was blowing, birds were chirping, and suddenly, on the horizon, I saw the museum! It was like a big brown building with no windows. Cautiously I entered, and was confronted by the coat-check girl, a pretty blonde about 25 years old..." This goes on for nearly a full page of a 2-3 page paper, before they actually get to talking about the art! Who teaches them to write a formal paper like it was a creative writing assignment?? Gah.

Several years ago, I had a Superbowl party, and my pipes froze the night before. This made for some cautious use of beverages during the party. This year, my party went without a hitch... and then my kitchen tap froze while I was at work yesterday. Sigh. Such is the peril of living where I do, and at least my shower and upstairs tap still work. I've had the oven on in the kitchen all morning, hoping it might thaw the pipe that runs behind it, but to no avail. So I've been running up and down the stairs to get water for coffee and cooking.... but I draw the line at washing my dishes in the bathroom sink. It better get up above 10 degrees tomorrow, or I could get mighty irritated....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

There, but for the Grace of Booze....

Last night at Film Society, I finally saw American Movie; if you've not seen it, it's a movie that holds much of the same fascination and horror of a train wreck. Not just a regular train wreck, either, but one of those ones you see in movies where the trestle is out and the train just peels off down into the ravine car by car by car.... It's truly amazing.

It's a documentary, and I can sympathize with the basic motivation of its subject--it's about an ordinary guy who wants to be an independent filmmaker. I've dreamed about making films since I was 8 or 9, wrote scripts in middle and high school with every intention of committing them to celluloid... and never quite managed to do it. (Though my dreams of being an on-camera star were finally realized in 2006, thanks to MD Hearts!) So I know a little of how Mark, the guy in American Movie, feels.... But oh. My. God. The guy is obsessed with making a horror film--but also with writing craptastic scripts, worming money out of his mentally infirm but rich uncle, and drinking huge quantities of peppermint Schnapps and Labatt Blue. He's just the kind of guy who would have come into the game store and talked to us for hours about his movie/game design/RPG character, whatever, while we took turns hiding in the back room. A telling moment is an interview clip with one of his brothers, who says, "Yeah.... I never really thought Mark would be a filmmaker. I kind of thought he'd turn out to be, you know, a stalker, or a serial killer or something. Seriously." It's like the reverse of when they interview the serial killer's family and they say "Oh, no, he was always such a nice boy, and so polite!" Here, Mark's own family thinks he has stalker potential. His best friend is a recovering addict who is really kind of sweet, always very agreeable, not very bright--and he's like a poster child for what happens when you drop acid/drink/get high to excess, because it's apparent that certain areas of his brain are no longer functioning. He was my favorite person in the movie, actually... But the main thing about Mark is that he will not give up on his dream. Even though his dream seems like a really bad idea--even though his movie looks kind of awful--even though he has no money, and a complete lack of good sense--he knows what he wants, and he goes for it. And strangely enough, he gets it. He makes his awful movie (called "Coven," with a long "o" sound) and has his premiere, and then this documentary about him was a huge hit at Sundance in 1999, and he's sold over 5000 copies of his film and has moved on to make more movies and realize his dream. You gotta admire that.

My pal with the camera is talking about starting to shoot his first film in May, and I am on board 100%. But if I have to drink that much Peppermint Schnapps and Labatt in order to be a filmmaking success, I think I'd rather be a loser...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

One Froggy Evening

Oh man....YouTube has EVERYTHING.....

Monday, January 08, 2007

Oh Please Oh Please!!

It's supposed to (maybe) snow tonight. And maybe stay below freezing tomorrow. Come on, snow....this winter has SUCKED so far. I like the occasional unseasonably warm day as much as the next guy, but my bulbs are coming up, dammit! This is not the January I've come to expect from Indiana. Having 50 degree days in midwinter is just lame. If it doesn't get cold, how I am I supposed to appreciate it when Real Spring comes?


Friday, January 05, 2007

Hoosier Pride

I just had to post about how proud I am that the single dissenting vote on the massive lobbying ethics reform measure was cast by Dan Burton, my former congressman. Apparently he is the only member of Congress who was brave enough to admit that he doesn't WANT to give up free travel and lavish gifts from lobbying interests! Way to go, Dan--honesty is always the best policy.

And really, I did look around on the net and on his official website to see if there was any official explanation of his opposition to this much-needed reform. Nothing. Nada. The local newspaper was unable to reach him for comment; however, they do note that while Indiana lawmakers severely curtailed their lobby-funded travel in recent years, Dann-o took the single most expensive trip of any of our delegates in 2006, a $15,500 jaunt to Taiwan. (The next most expensive was taken by former rep. Mark Souder, Mr. "Homosexuals want to destroy YOUR marriage," who got to go to Madrid with his son for 14 grand.) Coincidence? I think not, my friends.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

But...But I Liked Lorne Greene....

As you might be aware if you too are a Blogger-o-Phile, Blogger has been in beta-test for a brand new version for several months now. The Beta is finally over, and now every time I log on I'm exhorted to "Switch to new Blogger! Switch now! NOW, dammit! Or we'll come to your house and rip all the labels off your canned goods!" Naturally, I'm suspicious.

What I decided to do instead was to start a brand new blog over on Blogger2, using my google ID. (Yes, that makes 4 blogs I have now. Each is a discrete entity serving an entirely different purpose. Really. Shut up and stop laughing.) While Cautionary Tale strives to be funny, the new blog is a bit more serious and a dumping ground for personal introspection--so I won't be offended if none of you want to read it. But anyway, it's giving me an opportunity to check out New Blogger's format without risking the old blog falling into chaos. It's got some nice features--it's certainly easier to tinker around with the look of your template than Old Blogger ever was. But the best thing about it, so far, is that when I log on I get all sorts of messages telling me how cool New Blogger is, including the following analogy:

"Let us put it this way: Old Blogger = Battlestar Galactica with Lorne Greene. New Blogger = Battlestar Galactica with Edward James Olmos!"'re saying....Old Blogger had Daggit? Damn! I always wanted one of those!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ringin' It In, Yo!

Happy Grue Year, everyone and sundry! I'm cleaning my house today, and making room for the stationary bike I have promised myself I'll buy with any leftover holiday cash I might have. It's time I got off my ass. I'm also making corned beef and mashed potatoes for dinner. So what rituals do you perform on New Year's Day?