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January 31, 2002

Doug Peterson

Two Halloweens ago I dressed as "Doug Peterson, Ninja for Hire". I had made no efforts to procure a costume before a party, so at the last minute I just simply put on every piece of black clothing I owned and spent the evening handing out some hastily-made fliers.

I remembered all this while visiting The Official Ninja Homepage: REAL Ultimate Power!!!!!!!!!, which was featured on Memepool.

[ link | Humor]



We Should Talk

I find you very attractive. This must seem abrupt, me just coming out of left-field and telling you this, but I thought you had a right to know. So if you notice me acting kind of strange -- y'know, like nervous and stuff -- while you're reading my weblog entries ... well, that's why. I hope my telling you this doesn't make things weird between us -- I think this great weblog-writer / weblog-reader relationship we've got going is really, really special and I wouldn't want to lose that. Well, anyhow, I just wanted to get that off my chest.

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January 30, 2002

Visit Our Website!

Guess who registered a domain yesterday evening? That's right, the Axis of Evil. Having a billing address for these guys should make Rumsfeld's job a lot easier.

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How to Watch TV

People are forever stopping me on the street and saying "Matthew Baldwin, I simply cannot believe that, in this media-saturated culture of ours, you are able to confine your television viewing to a mere two hours a week. Also, I don't have the slightest idea what your t-shirt means." Well, the secret to watching just a few hours of tv a week is just like the secret to dieting: if you only consume the good stuff, you won't feel the urge to gorge on the junk. In dieting, for example, if you only eat spinach and 66-grain bread, you'll have no cravings whatsoever for Pizza Hut's Meataholics Seven-Pounder with extra olives.*

To that end, I adhere to a strict, three step tv-watching regiment:

  • Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tuesdays at 8:00.
  • Turn the channel to Fox. Hurry! Before you miss something!
  • Watch 24, Tuesdays at 9:00.
I sincerely hope you've been watching 24, because it's the best thing I've seen on network television since season one of Twin Peaks.

*Actual weight loss when adhering to this dieting strategy may vary. T-shirt seen on /usr/bin/girl

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An Internet Star Goes Supernova

Well, my 15 seconds of Internet fame are over -- the Googlewhacker 74 Zillion got shut down due to bandwidth problems. I'll see if I can't get someone else to host it. Thanks to my very cool ISP Drizzle for putting up with it as long as they did.

By the way, I found a java-based Googlewhacker through (the currently unreachable) daypop yesterday evening. If you know the URL I'd appreciate it if you'd drop me a line so that I can make mention of it here.

Update: The java-based Googlewhacker is here and, frankly, is better than mine was anyhow. So go give 'er a whirl.

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January 29, 2002

Jokes

Good gravy, what's this blog coming to -- first an Enron post and now a post about Osama bin Laden?! We're perilously close to losing focus here, folks. So, in an attempt to get Defective Yeti back on track, I bring you pages and pages of excruciating jokes.

So this baby seal walks into a bar, and the bartender says "what can I get you?", and the baby seal says "Anything but the Canadian Club."
There we go.

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Let's Roll!

Does the White House think that Bin Laden will be captured in the next three years? If you'd like a clue to the answer, tune in to the State of the Union address this evening to see if Bush brings him up. I don't mean "if he brings up the war on terrorism" -- I'm sure he'll go on and on about that, since it's currently the largest fish in the presidential aquarium -- no, I'm interested in seeing if Bush actually mentions Bin Laden by name.

Bush Sr., you'll recall, also had himself a war, but failed (or opted not) to nick Bad Guy #1 from the other side. A few years later George got downsized by the America public, and pundits said that Saddam's survival was one of many reasons. Junior is certainly not going to want to make the same mistake, so he's going to do everything in his power to either nab Bin Laden or make the US forget that BL was ever the focus.

If the White House thinks that Bin Laden will be a captive or a corpse by the next election, they will probably mention him often -- including tonight -- so that Bush's ratings will soar when it finally happens. But if they don't expect to see hide nor hair of Osama before 2004, this will be an excellent time to let the forgetting begin. Which do they believe? Find out tonight.

Update: No mention of Bin Laden. Also: "E Pluribus Unum" on coins to be replaced with "Let's Roll!"

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Where Is the Any Key?

From the COMPAQ FAQ: "Where do I find the 'Any Key' on my keyboard?"

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January 28, 2002

Enron Enron Enron

I listened to NPR's All Things Considered last night for the first time in a spell, and was surprised to hear how much of the program was devoted to Enron. If you watch tv news or read newspapers you're probably surprised by my surprise, but since I get almost all my news online I can pick and choose what I want to read about, and I rarely want to read about Enron. In fact, I don't know if any of my acquaintances really care about Enron either. Enron may well be the biggest news story in recent history that no one I know gives a rat's ass about.

I'm not saying it isn't a big story; it is, it's huge. But there's very little "new" in this "news". Corporations give money to politicos? Rich guys get richer by swindling their own employees? Washington DC has ties to Big Business? Enron may be in the headlines because of the scale on the debacle, but the substance doesn't seem to merit either the breathless reporting or the pretense that this kind of tomfoolery doesn't happen all the time. The reporting on Enron reminds me of that neverending series of sharks attack "news stories" that America was treated to last year in August. There again a routine event ("This Just In: Sharks Bite People!!") happened on a slightly larger scale (or not) and the press when apeshit.

Then, of course, September 11 rolled around and the media had to switch from 24/7 coverage of non-stories (Levy) and focus on actual news (war). And now that America is returning to normaltm, part of the normalization is going to be the media's slow slide from real news to non-news. The Enron story is perfectly suited for this transition: scandalous enough to titilate, but still boring enough justify coverage.

There's a silver lining, though: it now looks as if the Enron boondoggle has revived interest in the previously moribund issue of campaign finance reform. The House is slated to vote on a bill in the immediate future. Now that's news, and a story I will be following with enthusiasm.

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Mystery Solved

Some hard-hitting investigative journalism over at myprimetime.com reveals these startling facts about What Men Really Love About Women's Bodies:

  • What men really love about women's bodies is not completely determined by pornography.
  • In fact, we don't have the foggiest notion what men really love about women's bodies.
Science solves another riddle.

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January 27, 2002

Googlewhacker 74 Zillion

Enter two common words into the Googlewhacker 74 Zillion and it will instamagically tell you if you have stumbled upon that most ellusive of beasts, the Googlewhack.

January 26, 2002

Chindogu

Chindogu is the art of creating almost useless objects. That is, an invention that at first seems like a great idea, but, upon further reflection, reveals itself as more trouble than it's worth. For examples, check out the Internation Chindogu Society, where you can find such speciments as the backscratcher's t-shirt and the portable crosswalk.

Here's one I just came up with: a tiny toilet roll dispenser, about an 1.5" across, and paper rolls of a corresponding size. This would be mounted next to your sink. Then, after shaving, a gentleman can tear off tiny 1" x 1" squares of tissue to apply to his various cuts and nicks.

If the idea of chindogu appeals to you, I simply cannot recommend 101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions : The Art of Chindogu too highly.

January 25, 2002

Googlewhacking

Googlewhacking. The goal: try and find two common words which, when entered into Google (as separate words, not as a phrase), result in only one page. Then calculate your score: the number of hits the first word generates alone times the number of hits the second generates alone.

Even though Tautological Croutons earns me a superior score of 1,230,040,000, I still think the 878,490,000-point Parabolic Capibara is a better name for a band.

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Demons. Plus: Kitties.

All things considered, I think I'd rather be vilified than demonized. Being a demon could sometimes be a drag -- what with living in Hell and all -- but being a villain seems like a win-win proposition.

And while we're on the subject of Hell, here's some kitties.

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Movies: City of Lost Children

Upon seeing the delightful Amelie, and having fond memories of the bizarre Delicatessen, I decided I was going to watch each and every film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Luckily, this is an entirely achievable goal: aside from those mentioned above, he only has two other major motion pictures under his belt. One of them is The City of Lost Children, which I spent yesterday evening enjoying.

My review in a nutshell: <low whistle>. That there is one fine movie. The plot centers around a Frankensteinian monster who kidnaps children and siphons off their dreams for his own amusement. The problem: kidnaped children tend to only have nightmares, so our antagonist never gets the beautiful dreams he's searching for. But this plot is little more than an excuse to string together two-hours of breathtaking visuals and neato special-effects. Midgets, clones, strongmen, trained fleas, de-bodied brains and large machines with large red levers -- this movie's got it all. For sheer hallucinogenic hijinks, The City of Lost Children ranks up there with best of Terry Gillium, Tim Burton, and David Lynch.

Now all I have to do is see Jeunet's other film. Which, unfortunately, turns out to be Alien 4: Resurrection. Wish me luck.

[ link | Movies]


January 24, 2002

Harry Potter Barroom Brawl

So a buddy and mine were in a bar and doing all the things guys do in bars -- drinking beer, and tilting our heads so as to keep the college girls in our peripheral vision, and, of course, talking about Harry Potter -- when my buddy claimed that whatshername, J. J. Rawling or whatever, had already finished writing the last book in the series. And I said dude, you must be stoned because that's so not true, and then he said no, dude, you must be stoned because it's totally true, and then I said he was a lying drunken so-and-so, and then ... well, you know how these Harry Potter discussions go.

Anyhoo, I finally got around to looking up this outrageous claim, and I found out that he was actually kind of right. Rawling has, in fact, written the end of the final book. But that's all she's written of book seven -- the last chapter -- and she's written nary a word of book six. Nary!

But since he was vaguely right, I now feel honor-bound to apologize to my buddy, here on a weblog that I'm certain he'll never see. So, Larry, about getting all up in your face about the Potter thing, and, y'know, breaking your pinky and stuff: I'm sorry. However, when you realize that I was right in regards to our other discussion of that evening (i.e. my assertion that Blink 182 is the greatest band of all time), I'll expect you to be equally contrite.

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Speedpool 2

I'd be a lot more enthusiastic about the Olympics if it featured events like Speedpool 2.

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January 23, 2002

Movies: Gosford Park

Last week I mentioned seeing In The Bedroom, a film which would have been great had it not seemed like two different movies clumsily glue-sticked together. It's a drama for the first three-fifth, and then it has some kinda mid-life crisis and decides that, no, what I really wants to be is a thriller. The end result is that it doesn't entirely succeed at either.

A few days ago I saw Gosford Park, and I have the exact same complaint: it's like a two-hour treatise on class relations wrapped around an unrelated one-hour murder mystery. (It's not actually three-hours long, mind you, but it feels like it). People: if you have a good idea for a movie, make a movie; if you have two good ideas for a movie, make two movies. Is that really so hard?

That said, I'd still give it a seven.

[ link | Movies]



Bloody Mary

I finally took Rebecca Blood's advice and read this fantastic article about the secret stories of homeless children. (It's simply too long to be read on a monitor, so print it out and read it at your leisure.) In these stories, God has fled the battlefield of our world, leaving His angels to wage a losing battle against Satan and the dreaded Bloody Mary.

It occurred to me later that I had heard tell of this Bloody Mary before, in a This American Life episode entitled Notes From Camp. (Mary shows up about a third of the way into the program, during the section on ghost stories.) In fact, a little research shows that Ms. Mary is everywhere, if you know where to look. This Mythology Web article, for example, compares dozens of variations on this most unsettling legend about the face in the mirror.

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January 22, 2002

Mmm Mmm Tacos

Peter and I are walking into an All-You-Can-Eat Mexican restaurant for lunch. I have never patronized this joint before, and others have told me about its enormous and bountiful taco bar. But even forewarned, when I see this vision of tacoie goodness with my own two eyes I stop dead in my tracks and exclaim "Holy Moly!"

"I believe the correct pronunciation," Peter says, "is Holy Molé."

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Columns

Columns.

  • The Ethicist Although I believe I have only read "The New York Times Magazine" once in my entire life, that was enough to get me hooked on this weekly reality check by Randy Cohen. Advice columns rarely interest me (I think the question "How can I get that cute guy to notice me?" has been adequately addressed, folks), but Cohen tackles the real thorny ones -- like, "If an online bookstore has an obvious pricing glitch and I have the opportunity to buy a $200 television for $0.20, is it okay to do so?" -- with style and inexhaustible horse sense. [nyt link, registration required]

  • The Earthling Robert Wright has written two of my favorite non-fiction books: The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are and Three Scientists and Their Gods. He now writes this occasional column for Slate.

  • I Love Television I don't love television, and my interest in The Stranger has been waning for years, but I still make a point of reading Wm.tm Steven Humphrey's column each and every week. Those who don't like it can kiss my honey-baked ham.

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January 21, 2002

i saw u

i saw u

I saw U Thurs. at Sam's Bar & Grill. Me: blond, blue eyes, jeans, Hooters t-shirt, approached and suggested that we go to my place so you could check out my hard drive. You: pretty, petite, dark hair, reading "Underworld", said you'd rather eat a thumbtack sandwich than go home with me. I didn't get your number. Call me, drinks? 5099

[ link | Humor]



Dollar Bill T-Shirt

In this season of economic downturn, it's crucial that you take the time to brush up on your marketable skills. So: how to fold a dollar bill into a shirt. Mention this ability on your resume and, soon, opportunity will come a-knockin' on your door and/or sneak into your house through a window and hide in your closet.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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January 20, 2002

Games: Get The Goods

Many of the games I picked up when I first started my collection eventually wound up on the back of the shelf, superceded by the better games I later purchased as my tastes got more discriminating. Back there amongst the chaff sat Get The Goods, a game I bought ages ago after reading a GAMES Magazine endorsement (they named it their "Family Card Game of the Year" in 1997). Having not played it in years, I'm not sure what possessed me to grab it on the way to the bar this evening, but somehow it wound up in my bag of tricks. And when we wanted to play a quick game for four people, Get The Goods fit the bill admirably. Even better, I rediscovered a terrific little gem: a game that's simple to learn, easy to play, and a whole lot of fun.

The Get the Goods deck contains four different types of cards: Luxury Cards, Wild Cards, x2 Cards and $ Cards. The $ Cards are set aside, the remaining cards are shuffled, and each player is dealt a starting hand of four. The $ Cards are then shuffled into the draw pile, the top three cards are flipped face-up for all to see, and play begins.

The premise: each player is an obscenely wealthy individual without a care in the world. Well, they each have one care: they are all obsessed with having more Luxury items that their fellow aristocrats: more Casinos, more Real Estate, more Yachts, etc. To show the accumulation of such gewgaws, there are nine cards for each of ten different Luxury items (the three mentioned above, plus Stocks, Gold, Cash, Antiques, Oil, Art and Jewelry). On each turn a player gets three Actions, which he can spend in one of four ways. For a single Action, a player may play a card from his hand to the table. If playing a Luxury that he already has at least one of, the player simply adds the card to his existing pile. He may also play a card face-down as a "Keystone Card." (The first card in any pile of Luxuries must be a face-down Keystone Card. This card can be of any type - it does not have to match the cards that eventually go atop it -- and does not count towards the total numbr of cards in that pile.) If either of the three face-up card is a Luxury Card, a player may take it into his hand as an Action. He may also take a face-up Wild or x2 Card, but doing so requires two Actions. And, lastly, the player may opt to take the top face-down card from the draw pile at a cost of two Actions.

The $ Cards serve as ticks in the game's clock. Whenever a face-up card is claimed by a player, the top card from the draw pile is revealed to take its place; if this card is a $ Card, it is set aside and another card drawn. Also, when a player chooses to take the top card from the draw pile and wind up with a $ Card, he sets that aside and draws again. After the fourth $ Card is revealed, a scoring round takes place. For each of the ten Luxuries, the player who has the most receives 3 points, and the player who has the second most gets 1 point. If someone is the only person with a certain type of Luxury, he gets both first- and second-place points, i.e., 4. After all the points have been distributed, the game resumes. When the seventh $ Card arrives another scoring round takes place; and after the tenth and last $ Card appears the game ends with a final scoring round (where each card remaining in a player's hand earns him -1).

The two special cards also spice things up a bit. A Wild Card can be player as any type of Luxury Card - perfect for inching ahead of another player who is vying for the same commodity. And you can play a x2 Card to any of your piles, although doing so prevents you from playing any more cards to that pile for the remainder of the game. The advantage of the x2 Card: if you get any points for a pile containing a x2 Card, those points are doubled. (So getting first-place for a x2 pile will net you six points instead of three).

This game couldn't be simpler - all you really do on a turn is draw cards or play cards or both - but is remarkably fun. At first everyone tends to specialize in his own Luxuries, but by the midpoint the rivalries begin as everyone starts trying to horn in on other players' action. The trick is to pick your battles carefully - get into too many grudge matches and you'll get whomped, but you can't win unless you get into at least a few. The use of the Keystone Cards is a great little mechanism for sowing anxiety, since no one knows which cards are face-down and therefore out of play. (This means, for example, that I have no way of knowing if there are nine or eight or even six Casino Cards truly up for grabs). With a playing time of only 30-40 minutes, I don't think I've ever played a game of Get the Goods singly -- after the first game the urge to play again is almost always overwhelming.

Get the Goods (also know as "Reibach & Co") can be purchased from Funagain.com.

[ link | Games]


January 19, 2002

Creepy

Have you seen this? Talk about creepy. It's one of those weird optical things where, if you look at a picture long enough, you suddenly see something you didn't see before. In this particular photo, concentrate on the doorway in the back of the room. Don't get discouraged -- you may have to stare at the spot for a long time (over a minute) before the "scary" aspect becomes apparent. I only saw it after getting close to the monitor and slightly unfocusing my eyes.

If you're an optical illusion enthusiast, you will also groove on this.

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January 18, 2002

Sticky Situation

When 2.5 million gallons of molasses gushed out of a ruptured tank on January 15th, 1919, a 10-food wave of the goo washed down the streets of Boston at speeds exceeding 35 miles per hour. The damage: over a score of persons dead, 150 injured, and countless buildings ruined or destroyed. You can read more about this most bizarre disaster at Eric Postpischil's Molasses Disaster Page, and even see a photo here.

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The Bad Review Revue

The Bad Review Revue.

"I Am Sam wants so hard to be adored and admired. And for that, you can't help but loathe it." Robert Wilonsky, LOS ANGELES NEW TIMES

"Unless there are zoning ordinances to protect your community from the dullest science fiction, Impostor is opening today at a theater near you." Mike Clark, USA TODAY

"[The Majestic makes] Patch Adams looks like a tough-minded documentary about medical school." Lawrence Toppman, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

"Who would have thought that Cameron Crowe had a movie as bad as Vanilla Sky in him?" Stephanie Zacharek, SALON.COM

"THERE IS NOTHING GOOD ABOUT THIS FILM. NOTHING. AT ALL. EVER. AT ALL ALL ALL!!! Ugly as sin, badly lit, poorly acted, logically untenable, and possibly not even written, Behind Enemy Lines is a total fucking travesty in which even the makeup is incompetently applied." Sean Nelson, THE STRANGER

January 17, 2002

Who, Me?

The front page headline in today's Seattle Times reads Gates: Make Software Secure. Huh, I wonder who Bill is talking to, there. Jesus, I hope it's not me because I'm, like, already totally busy this month.



Bloodquake

At the gym I frequent there is series of televisions mounted on the wall, so if you find running four miles to be insufficiently taxing you can also watch "Fifth Wheel". All the programs have captioning at the bottom, allowing you to read the dialog as it's being said. Noises and other non-verbal communications is shown in brackets, e.g., "I think, like, Terry is, y'know, totally hot and [giggles] like HOT!"

Today I saw an ad demonstrating a new X-box game called "Bloodquake." During the entire commercial the caption read "[Sound of guns firing]".

January 16, 2002

David Cross

David Cross was one co-creators (along with Bob Odenkirk) of the typically brilliant and often hilarious Mr. Show, which ran for a couple of seasons on HBO. The show is now defunct, and despite Cross's nonstop campaign of cajoling, threatening, insulting and whining, HBO has refused to release the episodes on either tape or DVD. Fed up, Cross did something pretty damn cool: he funded the creation of Mr. Show VHS tapes himself and then gave them to select video stores throughout the USA, stipulating that these outlets must, in turn, allow patrons to check out the tapes for free. In this way he managed to get around the legal rigamarole which prevents him from distributing his own show for profit. Here in Seattle, you can find the Mr. Show episodes tucked away in the New Releases section of the sublime Scarecrow Video.

Cross and Odenkirk will soon have a movie out entitled Run Ronnie Run, which is based on a bit from a Mr. Show episode. Unfortunately, like most flicks based on a single skit, it's rumored to be pretty bad.

[ link | Humor]



Curse Those Non-English-Speaking Workers

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that, right about now, somebody feels like a complete ass: Plaque Inscription Mistakenly Thanks Martin Luther King's Killer for "Keeping the Dream Alive". Here's hoping that the guilty party never goes into the tattoo business. Be sure to check out the last few paragraphs in which the plaque company's owner, invoking the "infinite monkeys on infinite keyboards" theory, blames the whole snafu on a non-English-speaking worker who apparently picked the letters R-A-Y at random. Let's all sadly shake our heads together, shall we?

[ link | Links]


January 15, 2002

Education

Overheard:

Person One: So, how's school?
Person Two: Great.
Person One: Do you find it rewarding?
Person Two: Oh, yes. I think it's very mind uhhh, uhhhhhhh. Errrm, uhhhhhh. Um. Uhhhh...
Person One: "Expanding"?
Person Two: Yes.


Wine Experts Are Frauds

I knew it! Last night on NPR, Marketplace [realaudio link here] reported on a study to be published in the scientific journal "Brain and Languages" which suggests, in effect, that the verbage wine "experts" use when describing a wine's bouquet is a bunch of pretentious twaddle. Here's the BBC's article on the findings, in which a researcher poured odorless red dye into white wine, served it to 54 students, and then recorded the drinkers' comments, all of which described the concoction with red wine imagery.

Also: The science of getting shitfaced The "New Scientist" directory of articles relating to drunkenness. Some of my favorites: why drunk people tend to stagger more to one side than another, drunks can control their behavior if they really want to, and girls can match boys drink for drink, so long as they stick to beer.

[ link | Links]


January 14, 2002

Catchy Name

I'm terrible with names, but I have no trouble remembering the name Enron . Maybe the origin of this moniker is trivial -- the founder's name being Karl Enron or something -- but I like to imagine that, like many big corporations these days, the energy company let a cabal of marketing guys intentionally cook up a name that would be easy to say and impossible to forget. And it's thanks to those guys that people like me, who know very little about the specifics of this boondoggle, can still say "What's the name of that company, the one that imploded and implicated the Bush administration of all sorts of shady dealing? Oh yeah: Enron!"


Movies: In The Bedroom

Perhaps my expectation were too high, but I thought In The Bedroom didn't quite live up to all the superlatives which have been heaped upon it. Yes, it was a fine film, but I found it to be a little too shallow to be an effective philosophical drama and a little too ponderous to be a convincing psychological thriller. They should have picked a genre and stuck with it. I recommend it, but don't go in anticipation of "The Best Movie of the Year!!" In the category of Actor in the Movie Who Has an Bit Role And Yet Nonetheless Kicks Ass, the award goes to Celia Weston playing the part "kid's father's best friend's wife". In one scene you just hear her voice echoing down a staircase (i.e., she's not even on screen) and she's still terrific.

Speaking of movies (when am I not?), it looks like David Lynch's fabulous Mulholland Drive is finally getting it's due. Best movie I saw in 2001, surpassed only by "Lord of the Rings" and "Memento".

[ link | Movies]


January 13, 2002

Reality!

My wife and I were jogging through nearby Ravenna Park this afternoon when we found ourselves in the middle of a swordfight. Every Saturday and Sunday a considerable number of Youth -- presumably affiliated with the local Society for Creative Anachronism (or perhaps just afflicted with the need to LARP) -- gather in the Park to both barbeque and whack each other with sticks. So we've become accustomed to seeing them during our weekend jogs, so much so that we now just refer to them collectively as Hogwarts.

This particular swordfight was unusual, though, because it was taking place right in the middle of a trail, instead of in the picnic area where we are accustomed to seeing melee. As we got closer to the fray we didn?t quite know what to do. But then, suddenly, one of the fighters yelled "Reality!" and all hostilities ceased, as the combatants respectfully stood off to the side of the trail and allowed us to past unmolested. In addition to being quite courteous, it also made me feel like a Level 14 Wizard in possession of the Elven Broach of Peacemaking +3.

The next time I find myself at the end of a line at Starbucks I'm going to holler "Reality!" and see what happens.

January 12, 2002

One Day In September

We recently received One Day in September from The Only Internet Commerce Site That Really Makes Any Sense Anymore, NetFlix.com. After reading the capsule description ("A documentary about the terrorists who held 11 Israeli athletes hostage during the 1972 Olympics") I suddenly realized I had no interest in seeing it. Why watch a DVD about terrorism when I can just flip to channel 5 and watch Dan Rather yammer on about it any day of the week?

Yesterday day, though, with nothing else good on TV, we finally watched it. And boy howdie: it was goooood.

[ link | Movies]



Oh My

A poorly written headline and an unfortunate accompanying photo turn a mundane article about a guy getting promoted into comedy gold: Student Excited Dad Got Head Job

[ link | News]



10 Minute Addiction

Seven minutes and fourteen seconds of fun.

[ link | Links]


January 11, 2002

Euros

My brand new keyboard has a "Euro" key. I don't have the slightest idea what I'm going to do with it, but that hasn't stopped me from boasting to my co-workers.

Speaking of which, don't, for the love of all that's holy, eat your Euro notes. Note that the reporter says that "eating more than 400 new euro notes could make you ill" (i.e. you can safely eat 400), when in fact the doctor clearly states that "there is a product in the ink which, if you ingest 400 notes, become toxic" That's the kind of sloppy reporting that's going to get someone killed!

[ link | Misc]



I Hate Mice

I am an animal lover. I pet every cat I pass on the street, even the ones which flatten their ears and narrow their eyes and make noises similar to those my garbage disposal makes when a plastic sprork gets wedged down there. I firmly believe that every motion picture should include at least one dog. And when there are spiders in my house, I try to herd them out onto the porch rather than squash them outright.

But since a few years ago, I have had a special place in my heart for mice. And like all the places in my heart, it's a place full of BLOOD!

When I was a Peace Corps volunteer, I lived in a small adobe house and lived primarily on grain, fruit and tubers -- the three food groups that mice thrive on. So it wasn't long until the walls of my adobe home were hollowed out and turned into little rodent townhomes. And there began my protracted war on mousiedom. In fact, I think my fondest memory of Peace Corps Volunteer Service was the night I awoke at 2 am to the sounds of a mouse raiding my rice (again!). I groggily arose, somehow managed to corner the little beast (a near impossible feat, since they had escape holes about every two feet along the adobe walls) and beat it to death with my broom. I'm smiling just thinking about it.

Incidentally, here's how I finally won: I made a bucketful of Death Dough, by combining equal parts flour, water, oats and rat poison. I took the resulting mixture and plugged up every mousehole in the joint. That night the mice, as usual, chewed through all my barriers and partied hearty until the wee hours of the morning, but a that was the last night of mouse-induced insomnia I had to endure.

Which brings me to: Mouseageddon. Warning: contains photos of actual dead mice, which some will find distrubing and others will print out and hang all over their cubicle.


Cailin

This was driving me craaaazy. I could vaguely remember exactly two lines from a year-old pop song called "Kaitlin" or "Caitlin" or something. Finally, in desperation, I wrote my local radio station:

Early in 2001, there was song getting lots of play on the radio. It was a poppy little tune about a girl, and some DJ said that it had actually been written by the lead singer for his daughter. The daughter's name, as near as I can remember, was "Kaitlyn," or some variation thereof (e.g. Catlyn), or something similar (e.g. Kathrine).

Two lines of the chorus when something like

"When everything just falls to bits
I think of you, my own Kaitlyn ..."

... or somesuch ...

The band was not a well known one. This song rapidly faded into oscurity. [The radio station] Star 101.5 may have been the only station in the Seattle area playing it.

Any clue?


And, moments after hitting [send], it came to me. "Cailin" by Unwritten Law. Boo-ya!

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How Much Porn

Hey, just how much porn is inside a standard print cartridge anyhow?

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January 10, 2002

Patron Saint's Index

Session review from the last B.A.G.E.L. gamenight is now posted, which makes special mention of the Patron Saints Index.

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Mazie

Send a card to Mazie.

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COBRA

Funniest thing I've read in a spell: Journal of a New COBRA Recruit


Butter

Like most males in the 30-35 demograph, I keep my butter in the refrigerator. This has, in the past, proven to be a problem, because when I make toast (which I do often, because I'm cuckoo for the rye toast) the butter is then hard, making it difficult to cut and impossible to spread.

Recently I realized that if, before I start toasting the bread, I remove the butter dish from the fridge and place it right next to the toaster, then, by the time the toast is done, the heat radiating from the toaster will have heated the butter just enough to make it perfectly spreadable.

This is the greatest thing in the world.