Monday, May 29, 2006

Coming soon for PSP


Sunday, May 28, 2006


As I sat on my porch last night around 1 AM, the sound of some manner of wooden flute instrument floated down the street, its mournful tune a message too mysterious for modern ears to interpret.

A playful breeze kicked up, and cherry blossoms floated past. I followed their dancing flight with my eyes, and when I looked back, a figure could be seen down the road, slowly approaching with solemnity and intent. Was it man or demon? A grimacing mask hid his face, and great red robes adorned a giant frame.

The apparation told me he was called Yojimbo, and that I would die this day. I was to pay for my life of dissolution, which had dishonored the memory of my ancestors. When I asked who had sent him, he replied simply "my master".

I offered to pay him more than his wage, and he stood silent.

I told him I would leave, never to return to this place, and he stood silent.

I vowed to move to the honorable path of life, and still he stood silent.

The apparation would not be moved by words; the finishing couplet of this stanza was to be written in crimson. I leapt from the porch, unarmed and unarmored, and faced the one who would be my death. With a slow flourish, he unsheathed his sword, pausing for a moment before lunging.

A side-step and a twist saved me from the first blow, but the second grazed my arm as I took off my coat and began whipping it about. The cloth caught the sword just long enough for a disarming kick and a punch to the chin. A moment later, Yojimbo lay on the ground, staring up the length of his own blade.

Tempted as I was to remove the mask and see the face of my tormentor, I hesitated. Yojimbo had shown me honor; how was I to repay him? A strong wind blew in with the suddenness of a storm, bearing with it the recorder's melody. I turned to see the player, but saw only the darkened street. I looked back to the ground, and Yojimbo was gone.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Key ingredients to a good vacation

#1: At least one night, go to sleep with the knowledge that you have nothing at all to do the next day. No driving, no plans, just chill. Like a god damn baby.

#2: Static randomness. For some reason, we can sit and watch the ocean for hours in complete solace. Also works with a good fire. Always changing, but always there.

#3: Preparedness -- but not too much. e.g. Implements for opening alcoholic beverages. Socks. Don't leave home without 'em.

#4: Do something stupid. Play bocce in the dark. Remarkable how the utter strangeness and irresponsibility of a thing can seem like a vacation in and of itself.

#5: Don't even think about checking that work email. They're going to expect you to be rested when you get back, so live up to that expectation.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm a fiddler crab

Apparently You Tube has all kinds of Looney Tunes cartoons. See the stuff you learn when you take a few days off?

Here's a personal favorite. I saw discussing this one with Garv the other night. Between the light/shadow use, the points-of-view, and those creepy little eyes, I was terrified of this one as a kid.

B A Start poll: Funniest Looney Tunes cartoon ever? My vote: This one.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Things That Are Different

I am sunburned and bearded.

A Jiffy-Lube in Durham, NC now has my address. What they plan to do with it, I can only guess.

Gary has commented on my recent posts roughly one jillion times. I will address them one by one, slowly divvying.

I now know the following: highway signs that say "Exit Only" mean "this lane is for the exit". They don't mean "it is absolutely impossible to get back on the highway. Enjoy living out the rest of your short life lost on the untamed rural byways of West Virginia". Good to know.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

My Walker

As I sat getting my hair cut today, a young fellow walked in wearing the standard early-twenties wear or a t-shirt and jeans. He grabbed Stuff magazine and took a seat. Close as I was to Vito's wattle, I found myself reflecting on just when exactly it was I stopped wearing T-shirts as outerwear, and when Road & Track started to seem more appropriate than the "men's interest" periodicals. That and why I was getting a haircut on the first day of vacation. Getting old, man. Getting old.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

in the heart or in the head?

Tell me, where is geekdom bred?

On second thought, I'll tell you: in the home. Saw a picture of this high-tech piece of equipment the other day, and found myself gasping and agape. The Sinclair was the first computer my family owned. I was five. That's the kind of environment that spawns a man like me, whose interests are abstract but can't keep his hands off of thinking machines.

Remember playing catch with your dad? Or going to the game? I spent many summer afternoons in front of the Apple IIGS with the old man, reading lines of code out of PC magazines. When we got a Macintosh SE, a friend came over with his machine and we networked them, just to say we did it. The young geek tales, they are multifarious.

You can see how I just can't help but be what I am, and can perhaps see why I've been trying to install a decent Linux distro on a seven-year-old laptop. Old habits.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


We've all heard elaborate tales of the deaths of two prominent Romans who died within a century of one another, both betrayed by trusted companions, both beloved by the masses, both claiming divine heritage, both with the initials "J.C.". Better minds than mine have thought that the Jesus tale has some startling similarities to that of Julius Caesar. The final nail in the coffin* in my mind is something I heard just the other day. Cassius -- you know, lean and hungry?-- had the full name Gaius Cassius Longinus. The spearman who stabbed Jesus? Longinus. I mean, come on. The name isn't in the Bible, either. Like Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, his name came to Christian legend post-scriptum. So there you have it.

* carefully avoiding crucifixion joke

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Digg it.

If you guys don't read digg, you should think about it. I've added a button for ease. Thanks to them, I've got a few updates for you:

I was in error about the Aston Martin in Casino Royale. It's the DBS, a new model which takes some styling cues from the DB5.

Here's the first ever Superman comic book. Some startling differences from the Supe of today.

Looks like someone is genetically engineering grass to only grow two inches high. Dang it!

Monday, May 08, 2006

That Slazak

So Slazak said something funny today. Upon discovering that a two-hour meeting had been cancelled, I related to him that I would now have more time today, and would not longer be committing seppuku. He suggested I spend the time playing Sudoku.

See? Alliteration + rhyme = funny.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hi, I'm Bando. Let's be friends.

I blog to you now from the porch, and will eventually get to healthcare costs.

The latest of the long string of unused devices which various friends have loaned/given to me is a wireless internet hub. This means I can now become dangerously addicted to playing Metroid Prime: Hunters online (friend codes to be posted later), but more to point I can connect to the nets from anywhere in the apt. So, as I sit here in the sun drinking iced tea and posting, the image goes in the rapidly growing bank of 'ain't-like-it-used-to-be' topics.

I assume the question of whether or not the increasing influence of technology had made the human experience better has been addressed every year since 1800, so we're going to pass on that today. Instead, let's just assume that a simpler life could be happier. If I were to go Office Space and opt out of the life I have led up until now, what would my options really be? How does one go about getting off the grid?

I see three major approaches: Robinson Crusoe, My Side of the Mountain, and the Merlin archetype.

Crusoe: Find a desert island and live off them fruits. Forget that -- hurricanes, man. And anyway, I assume all decent desert islands are no longer desert.

Mountain: Live a nomadic life in the uninhabited forests of the world. Survive off berries, acorns, roots, and the occasional trapped rabbit. In order to do this, I would clearly need to move south. I would pick a very large state park, put all my funds in a bank account in the nearest town, grab a knife and throw myself into the green. I would bury a set of decent clothes in a box somewhere, so when I needed to bo back into town to buy new shoes or something I could look semi-presentable. With no income and no possessions, I would have no taxes to pay. Legends of a pair of wild folk who would steal unwary campers' supplies if a small tithe were not laid out for them at night would crop up.

Merlin: Buy a small plot of land in the mountains and build a shack on it. Have a wood-burning stove for heat and cooking, a stream nearby for water, and no electricity. Have a small garden, and sell herbs etc from it to the store in town, making just enough per annum to pay property taxes. Teach wandering young men the mystical ways of nature before they go out and change the world. Spend life fishing, hunting, gathering and meditating.

The Merlin approach certainly sounds the best, but here are the issues.

#1: Those property taxes. I'd have to have some kind of income. Maybe I could learn the violin and give lessons (though some kind of wooden flute seems more appropriate).

#2: Travel. In order to live as a hermit, I would have to cut myself off nearly completely from family and friends, as I would never be able to go and see them.

#3: Medicine. Gotsta have medical help now and then, and forget that homeopathic baloney. If it worked, Pfizer would be all over it.

And so we come to it. As humans, we have to pay taxes. If we want to survive, we need medicine. If we want medicine, we pretty much need insurance. I mean, if a bear chews on me, where would I get the money for the emergency room visit? Would I just have to save up enough to cover that kind of thing before I start? So here we are at the money issue again.

Just not viable. So, I guess in order to enjoy the luxury of medical attention and longevity, I need to continue selling out. And if I'm going to do that, I might as well have internet access from my porch.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Maxing out

Oh sweet glimmering jesu.

I just don’t know how much more I can take. I mean, first an awesome Supe trailer, next an awesome Jimbo trailer, and now this? What’s next? What could possibly be coming tomorrow?

Friday: Gates of Fire Goes Hollywood! Pressfield writing screenplay, filmed on location. No love interest. Actors will speak ancient Greek, and the movie will be subtitled. Keegan, Kagan, and Banchich slated as advisors.

Saturday: The Iliad, the HBO maxi-series begins filming. Every dust-biting, every foot race, every broken sword, every Nestor ramble to be acted out exactly as in the poem. Lattimore translation.

Sunday: In an unprecedented move, Lucas hires the author of B A Start for a nine-year, highly lucrative contract to write Star Wars: Episodes I, II, and III. “I had some fun with the movies, but I really just wanted to try out my new toys and make a lot of money. So, I’m considering them an alternate-universe plot-line, and have brought Alex in to write the real canon.”

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

And here's some more.

Bond trailer! Aaaaahh! (Runs around room rending clothes and hair)

Blunt instrument... novel reference... (Beats head against desk repeatedly)

Was that... the DB5? (passes out)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006