Dickens of a Blog*

April 2008

If you want to comment, then you can contact me. I will post comments to the journal as soon as possible, unless you ask me not to share them.

By Week

*If you are curious: where the name comes from

April 30, 2008. Wednesday.

(11:30:44 PM CDT) Hmm. Last Post of the Month.

Another month comes to a close since I moved all my stuff over to this website. That's kind of cool. I've managed to get a lot of neat little things copied over, written, and rewritten in that time. A lot of the behind the scenes stuff is of my own creation (certain things that help to keep track of files, keep certain pages organized better, edit pages en masse if I have to, and tracking certain logs) and I'm proud of that. I know bits of it might be a little Frankenstein's monster, but I think it works for me. Just about everytime someone comments to me on a page, or makes note of going there, I go back and read it and find a dozen typos. But hey, it is getting there.

Today a friend posted about Joomla in her blog and I felt, just for a moment, that maybe I was doing it wrong. That hardcoding stuff in HTML and CSS and then using Python to tweak pages if I need to do so might be the hard way of handling it. Most of my friends use systems that autotrack posts, images, comments (hell, they have things that allow comments) and I'm here with my 1996 technology kicking tail and taking a handful of names. The thing that cheered me up was linked to on BoingBoing.net this morning: NYTimes Hand Codes All of Its HTML. Sweet. They probably don't use Vim, but sweet.

Goodbye, Second Month...

(08:33:27 AM CDT) Day Three: No Riches in Sight. Scrabulous. Big Spring Park as a possible, if temporary, cure for insomnia.

Day three. A fog came up off the east bank, stopping me and my men from being able to set sail. They are nervous, tired, hungry, thirsty. I fear a mutiny. I heard one of them chant "Riches, riches everywhere, and not a dollar to spend..."

That's, as of 8:05am or so, by the way.

Yesterday, I took two trips to Big Spring Park. First, it was with Carey and Blake. She had wanted to take some pictures and walk around the park for a while, now, and so I went with them and took Sarah's camera as well. As per normal, green and bright tend to blur the picture (I'm going to have to tweak some settings, I think) but we did manage to get a few good pictures. The one you are looking at, there to the right, comes from when Sarah and I went back to the park later that afternoon. I wanted to visit the ducklings some more, we wanted free ice cream from Ben and Jerry's, and I felt like walking for a bit more. Both trips were fun, so thanks to Carey, Blake and Sarah.

By the way, if you want to see the image to the right clearer, you can click on [View Image] or go to the misc Sarah gallery and see it in full.

I also fell asleep before midnight, which is unheard of for me as of late. So the fresh air over a couple of hours did me good.

Thanks to the evil, vile machination of Becca, I am now playing Scrabulous on Facebook. The game is fun, though pretty obviously Scrabble. I know there is a big fight over where it violates copyright (with one argument being that you can't copyright rules/mechanics, only presentation, though with the exception of the actual digital bits, it is pretty much an exact port of Scrabble). Now, if she would only hurry up and move. Tee hee.

Today's plans is to finish reading Bryan Smith's House of Blood, start reading Piecemeal June, and to watch a couple of movies I have backlogged on my computer. I know, I know...busy day.

Si Vales, Valeo

April 29, 2008. Tuesday.

(12:59:31 PM CDT) Curses: STILL NOT RICH. Dirty, dirty little keyboard. Monkeys? Oh, and Hannah NUDE-Tannah.

Day Two. Still not rich.

Ok. I just cleaned out my keyboard. That was horrific. I don't know the last time I even HAD that flavor of corn chip to eat. And I'm not sure who some of those hairs belonged to. There were cat hairs, my hair, my beard hairs, Sarah's hairs, and other misc hairs that I can only assume belong in part to every guest who has even had hair exposed in the vicinity of my keyboard. And bits of stuff that looks like it belongs most appropriately in a Ped Egg. And bits of other stuff which looks like what would happen if you used a Ped Egg to shave a wart right after you used a Ped Egg to shave a herpetic mouth sore. Then made a soup. And they had babies.

(click here for rest of comic

It definitely types nicer, now. The keys have a better "stroke" to them. It could use a more thorough cleaning, but I think I am satisfied where it ended up.

I guess, while I am at it, go ahead an link to another webcomic (of sorts). Cracked.com had this thing last Saturday (two Saturdays ago, now?) where 120 "bad" comics were posted, all done within 12 hours. Or something like that: here's the link. The one that made me laugh the most would have been this "Magic Couch/Ace of Spades" one, but quite a few of them are funny.

Does this make the theme of this post "pictures". Ok. First, non-semi-nude photos. I have added a couple of pictures of Alicia and Sarah to my photo gallery. These all come from us playing Scrabble on Saturday night. All of them fit into the "acting kind of silly" set, but I liked them because all of them are happy pictures.

And then there is the semi-nude pic of the day. Miley Cyrus, who is probably better known as Hannah Montannah, did what is being called a "semi-nude" picture. It is her, topless (the phrase semi-topless comes up a lot, because there is something on her front that is not visible) with her back turned to the camera and her upper back exposed. The pic (I'll post a link to an article that appears to have it in a moment) isn't really lascivious in my opinion, it almost looks sadly vunerable to me, but then maybe I am just too old to look at a 15 year old girl and think "DAAAAAAYUM, CUZ". However, any 15 year old boys who see that and have an epiphany about how great God is and how truly good Providence can be, you have my blessing. And, if you are a 15 year old girl and feel a strange curiousity, well, you can have my blessing, too (and good luck!).

And, well, that's just the thing. She is 15. And a Disney Icon. You could possibly say she is THE Disney Icon at current. Nude or Semi-Nude or suggestively nude photos seem to be an immediately questionable thing. I usually take the stance that we put too much emphasis on feminine sacredness and force any woman who is comfortable with her body to feel unholy. I take the stance that nudity is not a sin, even if it is not exactly publicly polite, and that a little skin is good for our intellects, our libidos, and our self of well being. No one should be dismayed by a bit of sexy shoulder. But 15 feels a little young. Note, when I talked about the 17 year-old's nude self-portrait in a previous post, I defended her. Or I intended to (I forget how I worded it). But to me 17 seems like a better age for semi-nudity. It's a tricky gray area, sure. If a girl is a really, really mature 15 year old, should she have more of a right to show off her body? What if she is a really, really immature 22 year old? I don't know. It's debatable. I tend to be relativistic to this sort of thing, but I kind of feel that this Miley Cyrus thing is exploitational. Not of her, per se, but of the fans and others that are feel driven to get into the dirt of the whole thing. We have become Britney Spear obsessed. We want, as a nation, to see Teen Queens Go Bad. Hell, there are probably "apps" that keep track of when Miley Cyrus turns 18 and "legal", just like there was for the Olsen Twins.

To see what counts as local coverage of the incident: Local teens say they're disappointed with Cyrus over racy magazine shot. In which nudity for a girl her age is unanimously decried as "wrong" (from other girls her age). To see some related photos: The Vanity Fair Miley Cyrus Behind the Scenes Slideshow. If you skip over to about #15, you can see where the phrase "semi-nude" comes from, in that she is wearing more cloth than she would be if she was in a somewhat large bathing suit, though if you look at the "finished" picture posted in this article, it shows the final product was made to be more provactive than the actual shoot. In fact, the final picture makes her even look younger than she does in the behind the scene shots. Is this commentary, on how the appearance of nudity can actually hide the truth of "more clothes than most teens wear"? Is this "sex sells" gone awry? I don't know. But the behind the scenes show that her dad, at least, was right there the whole time. And she was enjoying it.

By the way, for the record, I find #13 the cutest, mostly because of the really bad visual pun (you have to read the caption).

Si Vales, Valeo

April 28, 2008. Monday.

(11:47:47 PM CDT) Still Not Rich, and Now My Horoscope Has Turned Insulting.

I'm likely to jinx it by bringing it up, but there is a good chance I will be in bed before the sun is just about ready to rise. I'm quite happy with this fact, though I have no idea how my body is going to react when I get into bed. Going to bed at 12-12:30am is nothing huge for most people but the last couple of times I have tried to go to bed about that time, I have ended up waking up at 3am or so and not being able to sleep any more.

As of 11:50pm: still not rich.

Most of this post is just o point out my really crappy horoscope I got today. It goes like this: "You don't consider yourself an intellectual, but someone else does. Give them time."

Is there any way I can take that not be insulted? Unless our world is so damned screwed up that we now considering "intellectual" to be a pejorative phrase? Is that it? Really? Because that sucks.

Si Vales, Valeo.

(01:34:01 PM CDT) Blustering, Hypocritical Internet. Kamen Rider Kiva. I'm Not Rich Yet.

Let me take a few minutes to backtrack over the weekend. Friday night, Alicia came over and we went out to eat at Dragon Garden, which continues to be one of my favorite places to eat in Huntsville. I've seen some hate thrown its way, but most of it consists of "I've tried their [insert single dish here] once, in [instert date a few years ago], and I hated it." Of all the people that have put down Dragon Garden earnestly, I've only heard maybe one person who seemed to give them an honest chance and didn't like it in the end. I will probably eat there for Birthday, again, as I have done a couple of times. If you do go there, ask for Mai Fun with Tofu. I don't think its own the menu but I order that most of the time.

Afterward, Sarah and I went to another goood local establishment: The Nook. Off of Bob Wallace, this is a small, smoke-free bar that specializes in beer. They have other things if you want other things, but you can get some excellent stouts and ales there. I had me a Shakespeare Stout and a Dead Guy Pale Ale (or is it just Dead Guy Ale?), both from Rogue. Met up with Becca, David, Katie and Jason and just relaxed for an hour or more.

Saturday, Sarah and Alicia went to Panoply for several hours and I tooled around the apartment. That night I downed several gin and juices (well, about 12 ounces of half-and-half, which is a goodly amount) and ended up sleeping very, very well.

Sunday, did not do much altogether. I watched Fargo and the first half of Matango. I finished Bryan Smith's Queen of Blood and wrote a review of it.

One thing that we did that was quite interest was watched through the entirety of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley. I'll most likely post a review of that tomorrow. I also got Sarah to watch an episode (and a half, or so) of Kamen Rider Kiva which I am really enjoying and she seems to like as well. A trick to those who are interested in maybe trying something in the Sentai or Masked Rider line but find the costumes and fight scenes to be just a bit too odd, I find out that the best series (like Kiva and, to me, Dekaranger) are really the ones that aren't about the fight scenes at all and are more about the personal side stories and the background. I mean, if you have seen Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, some of the monsters were downright silly, and much of the fighting was full contact ballet, but it wasn't too hard to feel for Usagi and her various troubles and maybe even get misty eyed at the backstory. The same holds for most Kaiju movies. Yes, it is a man in a rubber suit in an obvious city of miniatures, but that's usually only a third or less of the full story. So much is told when the monsters aren't on the screen. If you keep that in mind, a show like Kiva--with its interlocked past and present storylines, stained-glass imagery, emotional nutcase main hero, and its focus on art and music and violins--becomes a lot of fun to get into.

That brings us up to the present, mostly. I'm not rich yet, as of checking the bank account at 1:30pm. I'm not 100% sure what we are going to spend our "refund" on, but I know there are a few pricey items from Amazon that I am going to pre-order (including the next couple of volumes of the Collector's Wodehouse, the next couple of volumes of the EC reprints, and Absolute Sandman 3). I may not. I want all those things but most them won't come out until closer to the end of the year, so who knows. I kind of want to get either a desktop computer or most likley a laptop, but the biggest reason I want one is so that I can have more portable e-books. Which is a good reason to get some sort of e-book reader that doesn't have the extra peripherals. But then, one of the best ebook readers out there is arguably the Kindle (and similar) and it costs $400. A laptop from Dell with all the extra benefit of a full computer costs around $500. I have a bad feeling this is going to be resolved by flipping a coin.

I won't go into much detail right now, but I realized this morning that one of the things that irritates me the most about the Internet is to what degree it inspires hypocricy. You have the crap that went down on the forums that I hinted about, where a friend of mine was harassed and followed around on the net and then was blamed for harassing her attackers when she refused to just sit there and take it. When she posted a similar level of private information about them as they had been posting about her for months, they acted like she had crossed a line. And these are adults, almost all of them were over 25 and some of them have kids.

You have so many political bloggers right now attacking candidates for the same basic things that they are praising their candidates for. You have personal blogs attacking people for doing the exact same thing that the blogger likes to do, or in some cases I have seen attacking someone for the exact thing that the blog entry itself is doing. I have seen several websites/companies attack Google because they feel Google is hurting them by not being controlled. However, I am sure if someone was to push control over the complainers, they would claim something along the lines of first admendment rights.

Then you have people who regularly use the Internet to download free things yet act like it is a tragedy if their own stuff is stolen.

And then I have found out how hard it is for us to get back out of the easy ruts that Internet builds for us. Few of my friends openly admit to liking social sites or blogging sites, and most act as though they are somewhat disgusted by them, but when I moved a lot of bits over here, and only left a skeleton of information on the other sites, a lot of people did not really follow over. I have a few who regularly communicated with me back two months ago that have not sent me anything since then (a couple of people lost contact for other reasons, and I understand, by the way). I have about 10-12 good friends who do comment on things or let me know they are reading (at least on occasion), but that number means about half or two-thirds of the people who read my old blog or who messaged/e-mailed me did so only because it was convienent. I was a social-site friend to them, not really a person they want to keep up with. We hate on social sites and act like they a pain, but in the past two years, it seems that we have forgotten how to do things like bookmark friend's pages and how to keep in touch without them.

I suppose that is not hypocricy so much as something else, but it sort of saddens me to see how quickly our communication is breaking down. And, related, I find myself aghast at this Twitterization of the Internet, where anything more than 4-5 sentences is being deemed as too long or too extravagant. We may really, honest, truly, and without a single ounce of smirk on my face, be screwed.

Si Vales, Valeo

April 26, 2008. Saturday.

(11:13:50 PM CDT) A Night of Relaxation, Dekaranger Kiva, and Moving Stuff Around.

I have enough gin and juice in me to feel good about the world, but not too much. Since the incident of gin and fruity pebbles gone awry, my body has had some sort of interesting reset. Now it only takes three or four drinks to get me buzzed and by time I have had five or six, like tonight, I am pleasantly warm and sleepy.

Prior to the drinking, I spent most of the day rearranging the guest bedroom. We are going to be moving some stuff around in the living room. To help aid this process I moved one of the old SECH nightstands and my PSX game case into the guest bedroom, and rearranged a few other things. It made me chuckle because bookcase + PSX and old TV + game shelf + SECH nightstand pretty much equals my old dorm room. Now all I need is Latoric sleeping in a second bed and I have it made. Tee hee.

Alright, think I am about to put in an episode each of Kamen Rider Kiva and Dekaranger and then get some sleep.

Si Vales, Valeo.

April 25, 2008. Friday.

(02:47:52 AM CDT) A Quick Myspace Hack (See Friends of a Friend).

Assuming you can see a person's profile, it looks like you can see their friends. If their profile is private and you are not their friend, this will not work.

If you input the following URL into your address bar, all you have to do is append their friendID at the end of this:


For instance, my friendID on Myspace is 35854880. If you add those numbers (minus the period, of course) to the end of the above URL and enter that into your addressbar (be sure to be signed into Myspace, first) you should be able to see my friends.

I've tested this against a profile that includes code to hide all friends from view (even the Top-N) and I've tested this against a profile who is marked private (but who is a friend of mind so I can see his profile).

I mean, this isn't THAT powerful or anything, but I've found it handy when I am trying to find someone's profile and for whatever reason I am not on their friend's list but they are on a mutual friend's list.

Stalk well!

(02:06:44 AM CDT) Beating Up On Vim Some More. The Night the Internet Briefly Died. Beyond the Frustration. Updating DLS.

Around 11pm tonight, I was in the middle of updating the Doug Loves Sarah website when the Internet went down. I did get some stuff done, but about 1/3 what I intended today. I'll aim for doing a couple of pages tomorrow, which is pretty much my standard attempt at the moment.

Talked to my brother Danny some on the phone tonight. It's been about a month since the last time I talked to him. He worries so much about he has failed me through the years, which he really hasn't. If anything, Danny's number one biggest failure is the fact that he still tends to show up kind of late for things and to get distracted from plans easily. This is more annoying, and has led to more issues than anything else he has done. Yet, while he has fixed several issues that aren't quite issues (more him worrying because of potentials) he still sort of drifts with the other. heh.

While the Internet was down, I went and put in about an hour for Beyond the Beyond. I'm beginning to remember several good reasons for hating that game, the number one reason being the fact that it is that game. Actually, I enjoy most of it, but when you are in the fifth floor of a dungeon, and you have no idea how much further there is to go, and you are solving puzzles left and right but fighting about every minute, it starts to wear. I really want to complete, and there is a good reason why (which I will discuss after completing) but tonight I could have pretty much just kicked the disk into oblivious dust.

I am also happy to report that I whupped on Vim just a little bit more. Just a little bit. I was able to use the information on this Vim tip to kinda sorta automate certain aspects of my Journal writing. It just helps to neaten up some things.

Well, I guess that is all. GOOD NIGHT!

Si Vales, Valeo.

April 24, 2008. Thursday.

(02:10:59 PM CDT) 3 Screenshots + 2 Youtube.com Cat Videos = Media Insanity!.

This morning was one of those where the use of my print-screen button came in handy. In watching Dekaranger, Episode 6, and in just surfing the net, cute/funny little things seemed to crop up. And, last night, some friends sent me some cat related videos from Youtube.com.

First, guess which coming up three days of the week are Panoply 2008?

Secondly, it must be cold in DekaYellow's ranger suit (she is the one that I recently mentioned in a post):

Finally, JK Rowling was briefly insinuated to be Norman Mailer's mistress this morning thanks to a CNN picture whoopsie:

On to the Youtubing. The first video is a continuation of that "Cat-Man-Do" video that was popular recently, where the cat tries to wake a man up. This one is "Let Me In" and Carey S. sent it to me. The second one is "The Engineer's Guide to Cats" and is funny. Especially the bit about "punishment". Emily sent me that one.


Si Vales, Valeo.

(04:07:13 AM CDT) Tennis Notes.

This is mostly for Sarah to read (and to help me keep it in mind), but I did some research on tennis rules and the like to see where we went awry. Most everything we are doing is correct, but there are some exceptions:

1. The let service only counts like we originally held that it did: if the ball hits the net and gets into the proper service box. If it hits the net but does not complete then it counts as a regular fault. If someone serves before the opponent can get fully into position, this also counts as a let fault.

2. I have not found any rules governing from which side you should start serving on, but this site says it should be from the right. I say let's keep it the way we've been doing it.

3. I've seen several different ways on "how to serve effectively" but it looks like most agree that you bend down with your knees, toss the ball fairly high in the air (so that you can have time to aim into it, and then lean forward into the hit. One site recommended that you bend your elbow so that your racket comes close to your back and then sling your arm out straight, but another site said to keep your arm straight. The advantage of the elbow system seems to be that it take some of the stress off of your back and shoulder, but I'll have to try it out to see what they mean.

4. The tiebreaker gamer is for when both sides have 6 points. How you start is the next player to serve will serve from the right side, and then the other player will serve once from the left and then from the right, and the first player will server from the left and then from the right, and back and forth like that. After every 6 in-game points, you switch sides. The first person to 7 and who has a margin of at least 2, wins the tiebreak game.

Si Vales, Valeo.

(03:28:22 AM CDT) The Second Run-In With the Kitchen Ghost.

A week or so ago, I saw a strange thing in the kitchen doorway. Well, I saw a strange thing reflected off the TV screen in the kitchen doorway. While looking at the TV, I could see a roughly humanoid shape from about the waist up standing there next to my tea cabinet. When I would turn to look at the doorway itself, there was nothing. I got up, sprayed water into the doorway, said "the power of Christ compels you!" and went and sat back down. The TV was off, the lights in the living room and kitchen were off. Everything was dim except for the street light and twilight coming in through the kitchen window.

My assumption is that somehow the street light was catching the shadow of a tree, or something like that, and the TV screen was warping it enough to make it have the semblance of person.

Tonight, while playing a couple of hours of Beyond the Beyond (which is in the guest room) I could hear something coming from the other side of the wall. Which is the kitchen. It sounded like an object being drug along the walls (the sound a broom makes when it falls over while still leaning against the wall). It happened four or five times before I finally got up to see what it was. I thought maybe a cat was pulling something over, but both of them were asleep at the time. It also wasn't Sarah. It could have been settling, but when I went into the kitchen to look for it, the noise actually happened once more, this time sounding like it might be coming from the guest bedroom. After that, it was silent.

The most logical answer, right now, is that something inside of the walls slipped and tumbled through, or some sort of animal might have been trying to drag something up the wall and it kept slipping back down. Went I went outside, the wind was blowing a little, so there is a chance that some tool got left up on the roof and was rolling back and forth and was being echoed in the walls. I still do not think it is a ghost, but I am about to keep a close watch on that kitchen, I tell you.

April 23, 2008. Wednesday.

(02:03:12 AM CDT) Warning, This Entry Will Make You Itch.

Before I get to the rough stuff, I have edited and rewritten fair portions of The First Mile review, thoughts on Azteca and tips for IF tonight. They are much more polished, and overall reflect my thoughts on the game better.

Now, the bad stuff.

Sarah and I went hiking on Sunday and I pointed out that in Alabama, we usually call something not poison ivy by the name poison ivy and we call something not poison oak by the name poison oak. And we call poison sumack your aunt, Sally. HAH!

Here's the breakdown (and Sarah, I was wrong on the one thing, you'll see). This is the real poison oak and the real poison ivy. Go and read that and try not to itch all over. Your spine. Your legs. Your brain. Feel the itch.

What we call "poison oak", by the way, is virginia creeper. Which apparently can cause itching in its own right, but due to a whole other reason than the urushiol that PO has. This is likely why we get it wrong, around here. Just remember, virginia creeper grows in vines along the ground. Poison oak is a shrubby thing that can be about a meter high.

While we call just about everything with three leaves (excepting unlucky clovers, and your other aunt, Beatrice) poison ivy, the real plant has smooth leaves. Most of the fake PIs have serrated leaves. Though it does seem that the vines you find growing in Alabama with the reddish root system are in fact poison ivy.

Here is a website chock full to the brim with information: Poison-Ivy.org. I recommend it. Fully. It's interesting, really. Trust me.

One of the best reasons to visit it to see this picture. Go ahead and click it. It's work safe. Though I warn you, my friend Allen described it as "the worst thing [I] have ever sent [him]". Ever. And, if you can look at it and not itch, well, bravo. Because I am probably still scratching my shoulders because of seeing it. Guhweeeee...

Stay tuned for previews from next week's informative episode: intestinal parasites!

Not really. You can go now. You've probably got scratching to do.

something something something something...du dah du dah de dah...
[Whatever it is they are saying in the Mr Stain theme song

April 22, 2008. Tuesday.

(12:07:18 PM CDT) The One Word Thingie. + Ayumi Kinoshita!

My friend Katie posted this on Facebook, and it sounded funny enough to play around with.

For each of these things, you can only respond with a one word answer.

  • Where is your cell phone? No
  • Your boy/girl-friend? Hidden
  • Your hair? Curly
  • Work? Nope
  • Your father? Not
  • Your favorite thing? Books
  • Your dream last night? Forgot
  • Your favorite drink? Tea
  • Your dream car? Vespa
  • The room you're in? Bed
  • Your pet? Various
  • Your fears? Um
  • What do you want to be in 10 years? Bookish
  • Where did you hang out last night? Tennis
  • What are you not good at? Sleeping
  • Eyebrow rings on the opposite sex? k
  • One of your wish list items? Wodehouse
  • Where you grew up? Flatrock
  • The last thing you did? Ate
  • What are you wearing Shorts
  • What are you not wearing? Tee-
  • The website GoofyAuctions.com (spoofs eBay?) Hee?
  • Your computer? Dell
  • Your life? Thumbs-
  • Your mood? Up
  • Missing? Found!
  • What are you thinking about right now? This
  • Your relationship status? Meh.
  • Your favorite color? Gre/ack
  • Last time you laughed? hmmm
  • Last time you cried? Hughes
  • School? oh

I've been watching Dekaranger (link to Wiki) as of late, and enjoying it. It's a kid's show, as much as Japanese tokusatsu is always a kid's show, but I've just enjoyed the sentai stuff for awhile. I don't expect anyone to ever understand, but this is kind of like adults watching Spongebob Squarepants or Lazytown, it's just some kid's programming appeals to us.

Over the past few episodes, I've noticed that Jasmine/DekaYellow is kind of easy on the eyes. At first, the actress playing her seemed to be a little out of place and certain scenes there was this hint of incredulity in her eyes, like she wasn't sure what she was doing (see the ending credits to Dekaranger for what I mean, kind of) but she has a good "older sister" vibe going now: strong, smart female who is a little put-off by the childish overreactions of the others.

Looking into some of the cast, though, I found that she has been model. And her name is Ayumi Kinoshita. Looking into both of those, I came across this series of photos (work safe, but a fair number bikini shots) which is some fan (I guess?) blog updated kind of regularly.

As I said, easy on the eyes.

Finally, playing around on a few websites (yes, this = grown man looking up information on Dekaranger), I came across this interesting Wikipedia article that explains some things: Japanese blood-type theory of personality. OOOOOOOooooohhhh.

paranoia! [trust me...]

(03:00:23 AM CDT) Very Busy Monday. With Burning Heart! Things Accomplished!

Besides the pic-spam of last post, I have been getting several things done today. I now have Ghostlight Alpha/Smooth posted in its entirety. The plan is work on that for about a month, rewrite and edit stuff, and then repost Ghostlight Beta on my birthday. I have done some other assorted writing, too scattered to really remember right now.

Tonight, Sarah and played a 2.5 hour game of tennis. It was a long one. I ended up winning, but mostly after Sarah had gotten tired. I have noticed an issue creeping up with tennis playing. I can serve and return slightly faster than Sarah can respond to (in the sense of she has to put more pressure than she likes to return it) and she can often hit it in a way that causes it to drop down faster than I can get to. This means our smartest moves are somewhat our jerkiest. As we get better, though, cheap tricks won't help us as much. She will hit it hard enough that speed won't be my ally and I will scramble fast enough that short returns won't be hers.

Watched the Dirty Jobs Alaska special. It has an extended look at a fishing vessel. I'm still not quite ok with netting twelve-tons of fish in one go, but I do find the principle behind how a boat works as a self-contained society out at sea fascinating. I've always loved little microcosms.

Ok. I am about to go and watch an episode of Dekaranger and then probably hit the sack.

April 21, 2008. Monday.

(01:39:15 PM CDT) Pic Spam!

I've been doing a handful of updates today. The first, large scale one is adding about twenty photos (or more) to my photogalleries. The following galleries have one more photos added to them (generally towards the bottom): Misc Photos of Doug, Panther Knob and Cold Springs Photos, Photos of Friends and Group Photos II, Group Photos I, Fontainbleu Photos, and Photos of Sarah and Myself.

The following galleries are new: UAH, Japanese Tea Garden, and "Retro"-Gaming.

I wonder if I am sick
So this door will never break

April 20, 2008. Sunday.

(03:53:07 AM CDT) Ugga = Monitor Troubles + Chipotle Chicken Before Bedtime.

Tonight, I ate a couple of pieces of chipotle chicken before bedtime. Not right before, but a couple of hours. Normally spicy foods don't do much to me, but they did tonight for some reason. I also had a couple of shots of gin in some juice, and the Claritin-D that I talked about a few posts back. It might be that all those things worked together against me.

I'm also frustrated over my monitor, right now. The power toggle has ceased to work. It doesn't press in, it doesn't cause any sort of power change. This means that at the moment, my monitor is stuck on. Not a complete problem, I can set just set up a blank screen saver (which I have) that will blank the screen and tend to make it a little less annoying. But, as soon as there is some power outage, or I have to reset some stuff, or anything like that, I think it means my monitor will have met its maker. And that annoys me. Partially because I can't unplug it to safely work on it because I may not get it back. I guess when the time comes to power it down, then I can spend a day or so working on it and there is no reason to worry about it before then.

My hour or so of insomnia has not been a complete loss. I've been able to rework my Amazon Wishlist some. Not often does anyone use it to get me anything (with the exception of around Christmas time) but I myself sort of like keeping it up to date so that I can order things off of it and prioritize my future purchases. I've been wondering how to best link to it on this site. I don't want to have it linked to on every page, I don't think, but I do want it to be kind of sensible and obvious where it is at. Sounds like my opening page is going to be a good spot for it.

I'll end this post with a blurb about Jeremy C. Shipp's new book coming out:

Jeremy C. Shipp writes about horrible things in marvelous ways. SHEEP AND WOLVES is a compulsively readable collection (I read the sucker in three sittings) filled with resplendent moments of satire, gruesome contrivances, and some of the sharpest, funniest dialogue around. These stories had me cringing and laughing out loud simultaneously. Of course trying to box SHEEP AND WOLVES in as merely a gore and giggles affair would be doing the collection a serious disservice. Each of the stories contained within offer up odd instances of insight that elevate the work and paint a compelling view of our sometimes beautiful, sometimes insidious humanity. A weird, funny, brutal, transcendent read. Highly recommended. --Michael Louis Calvillo, author of Bram Stoker Finalist I WILL RISE

oooh ooh oh the lonely ones

April 19, 2008. Saturday.

(09:39:47 PM CDT) A Longish Day Coming to a Close. Yippee Bag of Links.

Today has been a surprisingly long one. But now, with a gin and juice in hand, Mythbusters playing in the background, The Shins in the foreground, and a general sense of accomplishment unburdened by facts, I am ready to go to bed at 10pm on a Saturday night. Tee hee.

Alright, a slightly more yappy Bag of Links tonight. The first one proves the way that headlines and article wording can mislead and enrage folk. When Politio.com writes the headlines Post. Sept 11 "Comedies" Coming Soon it gets right up on a righteous soapbox and attacks movies for attacking 9/11. Except, if you read the article, you will find that one movie is a stoner comedy partially about escaping a detainment camp, one is about a war profiteer, one is about zombie strippers and zombie soldiers (which, in the latter case, has been done before and talked about a lot), and one is about 9/11 but is by Uwe Boll. One movie, out of four, that is actually about what the headline says and that one is by a guy known for bad movies that few people actually like. Now, are the other topics ripe for comedy? Who knows? Much of comedy seems borderline insensitive. Was that stupid movie with Larry the Cable Guy warring against Mexicans because he thought they were Iraqis appropriate? The Harold and Kumar sequel and the one with John Cusack are the only ones that seem interesting to me, but I know that H & K may very well take jokes too far. But, that headline is designed to inspire anger for the wrong reason. People read the headline and make up their mind and then go in fitting the article to the headline. Drew Curtis writes about this in his book on Fark (which you should read, because it is good). And read the comments that say that they hope large buildings fall on Hollywood execs and how this proves Democrats are so evil because Dems are apparently the rulers of Hollywood (along with the Jews, there are some anti-semite comments as well). The article mostly just makes me sigh and the comments show the paranoia and virulent rage that so many online members of the Right spout given half a chance.

Randy Cassingham's entertaining e-mail-zine This Is True had a few intriguing stories involving art going awry. Sort of. The first one deals with students dashing out (with costumes?) from a photography store and getting their pictures posted about the place. Note, never rob a photography store unless you are willing to take the film. The second one involves an underage girl who posed for her own nude, but not-provacative, art piece and was denied her award because a newspaper did not want to run the story with her winning. You can see the pic, and decide how risque it really is. (The answer, by the way, is more than you think, but less at the same time, and I think it's artistic).

Breitbart.com's article on what Hillary faces in these last days leading up to the next two/three primaries. Has some interesting stuff for your perusal.

Huntsville Libraries">Two H'ville Women Are Finalists in Becoming Library Head. Just some news for fans of the old HPL.

Gordon Lee's Wikipedia Page. His cased was dismissed yesterday. He has been prosecuted for several years because he or one of his workers gave a kid a comic that included a naked (but not sexual, apparently) Pablo Picasso and he was busted with 2 Felony Charges and 5 Misdemeanors for this act. How the hell 7 charges come out of handing a kid one comic book, I don't know. And whether or not the guy should be fined for giving a kid a comic with some naked cubists, the degree of prosecution seems unbelievably vapid and fervent. Following a link from the Wiki, you get a glimpse of the Georgia law that was being used against him:

16-12-81. Distributing Material Depicting Nudity or Sexual Conduct. (a) A person commits the offense of distributing material depicting nudity or sexual conduct when he sends unsolicited through the mail or otherwise unsolicited causes to be delivered material depicting nudity or sexual conduct to any person or residence or office unless there is imprinted upon the envelope or container of such material in not less than eight-point boldface type the following notice: 'Notice - The material contained herein depicts nudity or sexual conduct. If the viewing of such material could be offensive to the addressee, this container should not be opened but returned to the sender.' (b) As used within this Code section, the term: (1) 'Nudity' means the showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks with less than a full opaque covering or the depiction of covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state. (2) 'Sexual conduct' means acts of masturbation, homosexuality, sodomy, sexual intercourse, or physical contact with a personĀ“s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if the person is female, breast.

As an commenter in that later link points out, by that definition, any contact with breasts or butts counts as "sexual conduct". This means that if an office hands out DVDs about breast exams to its female workers to promote health, and 1) does not include the notice that it contains nudity and/or sexual explicit material and 2) someone complains, that company has violated this act. If you hand out pictures of you and your girlfriend and your hand is behind her and seems to be touching her butt then you can get busted for it. Laws like that strike me as too overbroad, especially since they specify "unsolicited" which doesn't seem to apply in a case where a kid asked for a free comic book and got one.

Alright, to bed am I!

walk the cramps off, go meander in the cold

(01:25:36 AM CDT) It's Been a Long Day, but a Good One.

The day started out with entirely too little sleep. Then it involved an hour or two of bill paying. Then, it involved running a few errands. Then it involved lunch at Dragon Garden. Then it involved some more errands. Then it involved Kaffee Klatsch coffee. Then it involved medicine (Claritin-D) to make me stop hating the spring. Then it involved hiking. Then it involved finding out how bad it can be to mix hiking with Claritin-D. Then Soul Burger. Then Becca and David's house for his birthday. Then now.

Ok, to zoom up on a few specifics. Dragon Garden, Kaffee Klatsch, and Soul Burger are all top notch local businesses that I never regret supporting. I just had to get that out of the way.

The hiking was fun. We went down Mountain Mist and around the Stone Cuts area just so we could hike up and over Panther Knob and come back. A good two hour hike just to get out and stretch legs. It was made slightly crazy by the fact that I had taken a Claritin-D prior to hiking. The heady mixture of oxygen, increased heart rate, a big meal (at Dragon Garden) and the medicine hit me about the top of the Panther Knob trail and I had to stop for a few minutes to fight off the dizziness and general sense that I was about to fall over.

Surviving that ordeal, though, we were able to make it back safe and sound and then, eventually, head over to David and Becca's place for his birthday party. Happy Birthday, fella. It was fun, and very casual, and I was very tired. It's all good.

I'm currently in the middle of ending the night by contacting websites that linked to the old Ghostlight URL and getting them to shift over. Hopefully. Not sure how well this is going to work.

Anyhow, now some game playing and/or book reading and then some sleep. Good, wholesome sleep.


April 18, 2008. Friday.

(03:36:31 AM CDT) My Eyes. My Eyes. My Eyes Are on Fire (due to cute stuff)..

I have just spent the last, oh, 7 hours or so designing the cutest website known to man. Well, no, not really. I mean, yes to 7 hours. But not the cutest website. That award would go to Rotten.com (I swear to GOD, do not click that link. I take it back. If you do click it, don't blame me...)

Woo, big ole dizzy ball of digression. Anyhow, after about two hours with Gimp and about two hours with CSS and some generall HTML skills, I am happy to announce that Doug Loves Sarah is really close to being back. It, well, lacks content, but you can go and bask in all the colors and the sights and the sounds. Ok. There are no sounds. I'm just full of lies tonight.

Let the mother-*yeehaw* burn...

April 17, 2008. Thursday.

(12:56:06 PM CDT) Whupping Up on Vim.

I've been working on my Vim customization, and getting some neat effects. I just wanted to brag, for the moment. That is all.

Mary wore three links of chain every link was Jesus name

(11:19am). Oh Yeah, the "Past Website" bit of the last post.

I spent about my half waking time this morning trying to find out how to kill one of my past websites. I had it hosted on Geocities way back in the day. It was originally called "Doug's RPG Page" and was my first serious website, mostly containing tips and tricks for various pen-and-paper rpgs (ideas for how to roll dice in different ways to get different sorts of results, how to quickly make characters, how to run GMless games, etc) and was fairly well received, if the traffic was light. There was nothing controversial about it at any rate. Then, around 1998 or so I switched it to a second version with focused only slightly on RPGs. And then, maybe 1999, I switched it back to a mostly game focused website, this time RPGs in the videogame sense. It never got close to anything like complete or even really tolerable (being pretty much one review, a hosting of my game Ghostlight, and failed attempts at me being clever). I sort of burned out on trying to run it.

It's now been there for a decade, in mid-transformation. Ugly and pointless (the one file that made it worthwhile has been moved over to this website). You have to know which words to search for to even find it. I won't link to it, because that would likely induce irony like that website overrunning this one in search engine checks. I've largely ignored it, with a single failed attempt to reclaim it and abort it. I think that I tried to make it into what became Wyrmis.net which became this page (and now should link right back to my own front page).

I have recently started a campaign to get it back. I suppose, push comes to shove, I can point out that Ghostlight is my information and demand they take the page down for violating my rights, or something. But that would be loopholish and assholish, so I will try to get around that.

The current status is that I got the Yahoo! ID that was used to sign up for the website back, and have told it to delete the ID. I tried logging in to look at the website, because there is a fair chance that I have some older information on it or unlinked files that would be seriously neato to get back, but I got nothing but endless redirects to identity verification. If that works, then sometime in the next three months the website will just go away. IF that works. If it doesn't, crappit.

We who cut time also die you know.

(11:00am). How Past Websites Haunt Us, the Last of the Bettas, Sinuses Gone Awry.

Currently playing Modest Mouse's Good News for People Who Like Bad News for the first time in a bit. I have that queued up along with The Pillow's Wake Up! Wake Up! Wake Up! and Bob Dylan's Bob Dylan. I kind of felt the need to play music loud. I woke up this morning to yard work sounds: lawnmowers and weed eaters. While a generally innocuous sound, I had left the windows open last night, and cut grass is my second worst allergy trigger (worst = sunlight). My eyes are swollen, my mouth is full of invisible cotton, my head is spinning, and I have a headache. I thought I might sleep through the misery and after a couple of hours of being awake (I woke up about 7:30 this morning) I tried going back to sleep but the neighbor is playing some sort of music kind of loud (theoretically to drown out the noise outside). The end result is me getting back up, playing my own music loud, and trying to make the best of it by getting a couple of hours of writing in.

When I woke up this morning I found that the last of our bettas--He Sank the Pequod--died sometime last night. He has been sickly for a while, so I knew it would be any day now, but at least he was a large betta, and quite healthy and vibrant for most of his life. He, of course, was named for Moby Dick. He had a way of begging for food and kind of excitedly swimming around the tank when we would walk by. For this, we called him a "puppy dog fish". Not sure if we are going to get any more bettas after this, but that's ok. He makes a good end to that trend.

I found this out while still vividly remembering a dream I had just woken up from. Most of it it has faded in the past three hours or so, but it involved me starting some sort of riot downtown, some sort of rally, and then I ended up getting sniper shot in the neck. Which did not kill me, at all. It just made me bleed a lot. About this time, my friends from Book Gallery showed up and we just hung out for awhile.

Needless to say, I will not be attending any actual rallies protesting the Olympics. I will be holding all political speeches in the comfort of my own home. That, or I will be wearing a kevlar neck brace. One or the other.

Guess it's not surprising, but it's spring...

April 16, 2008. Wednesday.

(2:05pm). Mid Day Bag o' Links.

On a "server side" note, as of this entry, the Journal Index "aka, the page you probably looking at now if not looking through the archives" will contain only the last 20 or so entries, give or take depending on my moods. And, the monthly archives starting with May 2008 will run down the page, instead of up. Now, the links:

(12:20pm). Wasting a Portion of My Morning.

Ate some cereal for lunch and watched Tom and Jerry for half an hour. I think this makes six-years old again. It was kind of fun just to be braindead for the moment, and it's been fun to get out form in front of the computer. Such a large portion of my past two-three weeks, from e-mail people about recommendation letters to researching various things to programming to website design to writing have been done right here in this chair and in front of this monitor, I needed a couple of day break (overall) from it. I have a book or two to read, my DS, and the day is pretty. Probably will head outside for a bit and just relax outdoors.

Still nada from the gradschool department. I assume I should know something next week. Of course, if I do get in, then comes the whole secondary stage of finding out how to fit that into my life. I will probably have to borrow and/or buy a new computer (supposedly a Mac should work, so I can avoid Windows) at the least. And I guess take out loans because I should have turned financial aid paperwork two months ago. I'm hoping once I get in that there will be some name I can use as a definite contact and talk to about the next couple of stages. If push comes to shove, I should be able to get in with at least a couple of classes over the next year, get them out of the way, and then probably start practical library work up here.

It is all up in the air. Yay.

...man, I had something else to say here, but I've completely and totally forgotten about it. Ah, well, have a better one.

April 15, 2008. Tuesday.

(8:51pm). A Small Bag o' Links, some Malinche Updates, and Ghoslight's new Alpha/Rough.

I need a break from HTML and game design and pretty much anything not just laid back reading tonight, and probably tomorrow, but I will go ahead and finish out a few lines of thought.

First off, here is the link to Ghostlight Alpha/rough. It has about 90% of the rules in place (combat and healing are missing, but both are kind of obvious, needs tons of extra definitions and examples, needs reworking and expanding in every basic way, but with that and some guessing you should be able to play. I want to sit down tomorrow and tweak out a few things so that I can get it maybe to Alpha/Semi-Rough and then maybe, just maybe spend Thursday and Friday finishing the Alpha release. Then I tweak it based on whatever suggestions I get and move it to 1.9.5 - Beta. Actually playtest it for an afternoon, and then finally release an official 2.0. Well, I say official. Maybe I should just say dougicial since there won't be anything officious about us (hah, try the veal).

In gaming news which is not my own, I read today some interesting news on the Saints in Sin City blog (SISC = the upcoming Malinche IF title. I'm actually looking forward to the game, and in the SiSC Development Blog he says something I consider good news:

On that front I am happy to announce that A Saint in Sin City shouldn't be much larger than 100 rooms. This would make Sin City the smallest interactive fiction title I've ever put on sale in terms of gaming area.

A couple of Malinche titles (First Mile and Pentari come to mind, and Greystone is supposed oto be just as bad or worse) involve a whole lot of mostly empty rooms. It helps to keep the layout and scale in mind, but means you often have to type "W" three times just to get to the end of a hallway with the description "This is a long, white hallway" in all three rooms along the way. Given between triple the description in one room and triple the rooms for the description, I would go with the former any day.

I'm actually a little too mentally winded to post most of the planned links, so here is a BoingBoing.net link to a man playing Super Mario Bros' Theme song using bottles and an RC car. Good night!

April 14, 2008. Monday.

(10:36pm). Bag o' Links + Site Adds.

I have added three new photo galleries: Photos invovling Cindy, Photos involving Toasty, and Photos of Fontainbleu. I have added one photo to our Tennis Photos.

Ok, besides those, here are some links I have picked up today:

  • He Wrote 200,000 Books (but Computers Did Some of the Work) (originally spotted on BoingBoing.net) A man and his team use computers and various algorithms to obtain metric butt-tons of information (an official unit of information equal to one ton of printed material assuming single space, single sided, and a 11 point font) on all sorts of neat little subjects (like, for instance The 2007-2012 Outlook for Consumer Non-Riding Dual-Stage Snow Throwers and Snow Blowers Excluding Attachment Type in India, which, by the way, is a $495 paperback). I'm sure this one is chock full of debate about what counts as the written word and what counts as computer printed balderdash, but that's not really my point of complaint. My point of complaint is that the books seem to digest other people's written works, including the likes of Wikipedia as well as research pages and then spews them out. Since there is no "Browse Inside" for any of the books I have found by "him", then I don't know how well attribution is maintained, but there is a fair chance we have a man making a crap ton (also a standard unit, but you don't want to know of what) of money off the written eqivalent of browsing the Internet for a topic. The only problem is, you have to buy one of his books to see if he ripped you off and is worth suing. Damnable Catch-22.
  • An Amazon Search for Phillip M. Parker. Notice how several of his overpriced books have stellar reviews. Read them. They are funny.
  • Latin Words and Phrases in English. Just a website I found, written by Gareth Jones. Not updated in 6 years or so, but entertaining to "flip" through.
  • Some Huntsville News: City Annexes Nearly 3,000 More Acres in Limestone County, which puts the total to something like 8000 acres in Limestone County and 202 square miles total. This strangely fits hand in hand with the this bit: Harrison Proposes Home Rule for Madison County, which says that Madison County is looking for the rights to control and tax businesses outside of city limits without state approval.
  • There is no political gossip that will ever make you feel good about yourself with quirky commentary, which I am not quite in the mood for, so you get Bill Being Told To Hush on Bosnia and Obama Points Out Hillary "Not Exactly a Deeply Religious Fan of Gun Rights".
  • Axles of Evil. Pretty much just a long rant about SUVs. I'll finish up this BoL with the following quote:

    In his book High and Mighty-SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way, Keith Bradsher quotes Clotaire Rapaille, a psychologist whose work with car-owner focus groups has led him to believe that the American fear of violent crime is an important factor in the psychology of big-car appeal: "People buy SUVs, he tells auto executives, because they are trying to look as menacing as possible to allay their fears of crime and other violence." Marshall McLuhan's observation, in Understanding Media (1964), that "the car has become the carapace, the protective and aggressive shell, of urban and suburban man," is truer than ever in locked-down, wartime America. All phallic power on the outside, reassuringly womblike on the inside, SUVs are armored cocoons for an Age of Anxiety.

(4:38pm). Finished RE2 Second Scenario for the First Time Ever, Ghoslight is Now Rehosted Here.

Just got done beating the second scenario on Resident Evil 2. This is the first time I have ever done this (I have beaten first scenario a few times). Just wanted to say woot.

Another cause for woot is Ghostlight has returned to these Plutonic shores. I am currently updating the game to a true 2.0. I'm planning on typing up a couple of sections a day, so there should be a rough draft posted tonight or tomorrow.

That is all, for now.

April 13, 2008. Sunday.

(10:15pm). Thanks to Niko and Mari, New TVage.

I actually can see what colors the Resident Evil 2 designers chose for their game, as well as see what color Ed and Al are supposed to be in Fullmetal Alchemist. Our old TV has been diseased for some time (painting everything a rich shade of red) and has been in its death-throes for a couple of weeks, with the picture going out, coming in, changing hue, or just fuzzing out the edges at random, making most things a flip of the coin as to whether or not it would actually play.

But my good friends Niko and Mari have come through for Sarah and myself by loaning/giving us a TV that works. And while we don't watch much "off the cable" stuff anymore, it was good to sit down and watch the entirety of the fifth disc from FMA tonight.

Unless I'm mistaken, my parents-in-law and Alicia (the sil) should have headed out today for a week long vacation for her Spring Break. Woo, Sea World. I think. I really have no idea. But, just assuming, safe trip!.

(12:35pm). What Went Down Yesterday and Some Slight Journal Updates.

Most of yesterday was spent taking care of a few minor tasks and just straight up relaxing. We had to send back a package to SFBC (Sarah used to be a member, but cancelled, and for some reason they have reinstated her account) and to Columbiahouse (after telling them that I don't want The Bee Movie it somehow turned out I did). Then we went to pick up some stuff from the grocery store (i.e. Kroger). This led me to think one of the funniest thoughts I've had in awhile:

Ah, it turns out that the glaciers aren't melting, just pieces of them have decided to come down to Alabama to shop.

I am 90% sure that the fact that my internal dialogue references global warming, obscure insults, and a false sense of optimism in the face of the world's slowest grocery shoppers known to mankind (at the time slowly, slowly making their way up the Mexican/Italian/Canned Meat aisle) says wonderful things about me. Namely:

The words 'I am awesome' written in a pardoy of the 'I Am Legend' logo'

Later on in the afternoon, my friend James (aka Jimmy) came over and hung out and Sarah and I played tennis. Unfortunately, between the sun and the wind, it (i.e. tennis) just didn't work. Half the time we were blinded by a lobshot that went right across the Sun at its zenith and the other half we were playing "guess which way the ball will go!" since the wind was strong enough to greatly alter the ball's course. We went through a set, ended it 6-4, and then quit.

Afterward, I played Resident Evil 2 using the "infinite shotgun" cheat. That really does make life better. After this, I may play through with the infinite rocket launcher turned on. Then I may decide to go back and play it again with my aggression fully sated.

Realizing that watching me take out some sort of psycho-sexual revenge on zombies for hours probably wouldn't be the most exciting time for Jimmy, I suggested we watch a movie. The one that popped in my head was Hackers which I think I only have on VHS. Jimmy took me to Movie Stop (over in the Target on 72 shopping center) and bought me a used copy of the DVD and we came back and watched. Good fun. Prompted me to write My Three Stages of Hackers talking about how I loved the movie up until about 2000, then hated it until about 2006. And now love it again.

Jimmy and I went riding around afterward though didn't find any trouble to get into, and he went on home.

I came here, posted pictures from last night to this gallery and this gallery (right now, the two photos are the last ones posted but if you read this on down the road, there is a photo of Sarah getting surprised and of Jimmy falling asleep on the couch).

Besides that, chatted with my friends Carey and Allen, got frustrated at the posters on al.com Huntsville forums because they are clinically unable to actually use the forums to talk about Huntsville issues (the best they have right now is a continued hatred towards the Downtown Rescue Mission, which at least prompts discussion about the city and not about their love affair with the Taco Truck and hating on Carey), and I started rewriting my old Risus setting: "The Butler Did It". I will hopefully have the player section finished by tonight and I don't think it will take me more than a week to write and edit and revise the GM's section. I can get it stuck together in a zip, along with Risus itself and some other thing (including an NPC generator, I think). Then, hopefully, we can play it some afternoon.

Alright, that pretty much brings my yesterday, and yesterday's links, to a close. Have a good one, World.

April 12, 2008. Saturday.

(10:35am). Now that Was some Good Sleep.

I just got, if you include the sort of restful "not quite awake" moments, on the order of ten hours of sleep. I am impressed. Considering that the night before was spent in near insomnia. I just wanted to take a moment and brag. Woot.

April 11, 2008. Friday.

(8:27). The New DTRM Site.

Sarah and I went to look at the new DTRM site. It makes a lot of sense why they would pick it. Mostly surrounded by warehouses, it seems, and churches. There are some apartments. It is close to UAH, but about two blocks away. I guess about the same relative distance as the old site was to the Medical Mall on Governors.

The debate is still raging, with some politicians starting to turn ugly with it. I'm going to post some links instead of going into great detail on what I think about the subject:

Council Faces Hostile Crowd Over Mission. This gives some of the fight that boths sides are putting up.

Since so much of the debate is on what degree the DTRM changed the shape and fate of the neighborhood at Lowe Mill, here is some history of the Lowe Mill site. Interesting to note that the neighborhood grew up around the Mill (well, of course) and that the Mill seems to have died around the end of the Vietnam War, which would be about the time the DTRM moved in.

This promises to get uglier and uglier, I suppose.

(4:44pm). Seemed like a Good Time to Post.

Well, got some sleep (four hours) and feel better than I did. Hopefully I can pass out real well tonight and rest up some. This is just part of that standard wave of insomnia that I complain about from time to time. In that light, I'm not really worried about. But it is pissanty. Just a little.

Went to Jamos today. Got myself a bacon cheese burger and some fries. Most excellent. It might seem weird to go to a cafe/Med-cuisine place for a hamburger and fries but really, I've been craving them for a while. And since I am trying to avoid any and all fastfood of the "traditional" sense, this is about as good it gets. In fact, though, since the burgers there are actually really good, that's not a bad thing.

I really thought I had something to say, here, but now that I am trying to sort through the day I get pretty much nothing. Ah well. On to supper making.

(4:53am). Gaijin Ramen. Or, How to Use Maruchan Ramen to Feed a Family of Four for the Price of One Happy Meal.

Ok. When we think of ramen we think of $0.15 packs of noodle with a flavor packs that taste very close to the same. That are bad for us. But tasty. Well, some of us find them tasty. Some of us have bad memories of college dorm living and barely surviving off the $3.00 left after a weekend of binge drinking.

Just remember, it's not the ramen's fault.

Anyhow, to show how I still like them, alot, and to show you how you can make something of a real meal out of them, I decided to post a recipe I threw together tonight for dinner. The best bit about it is that it costs about the same as a Happy Meal for McDonald's. And it makes a fair ton of food. I've added in pictures to show you how surprisingly rich of a meal it is.

You need:

  • 4 Packs Maruchan Chicken Ramen
  • 10-12 cups water (depending on how strong you want the broth)
  • 1 frozen package of peas and carrots
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 eggs, boiled,
  • Garlic to taste
  • One path butter
  • Cilantro to taste
  • Soy sauce to taste

First you are going to boil your eggs and get your four ramen packets and take out the flavor packets. Boil the eggs however you want, but I went for 30 minutes at medium heat. As for flavoring packets, add them to about 10 cups of water in another, larger boiler and start that heating to a boil

Four brown shelled eggs, hardboiled

Four chicken ramen packets open

As the water gets right to a boil, add pretty much everything but the ramen noodle itself to the broth. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for as long as the eggs have to go.

Ramen broth

After the eggs have finished boiling, run cold water over them to cool the outer shells. Then, get a third boiler out to hold the ramen. Boil the packets of ramen separately or together. After they are softened, drain them well and put them in a boil. Crack open an egg, throw away the shell, and slice it up and put it in with the noodle.

Ramen and a sliced boiled egg

Then top with about 2-2.5 cups of broth. Garnish how you want. Throw another dash of soy in there if you need. Ends up having several vitamins, good proteins, and some fiber. Sure it is kind of a high sodium and fair fat content, but not worse than if you had actually gotten the Happy Meal. This is more filling than you would think, as well. The one caveat is that it is does not store very well.

Ramen in broth

And of course you can tweak the vegetables, the species, add meat, take away the eggs, use a different base broth. It's quite flexible.

(4:48am). So should have went to bed.

I should have went to bed. But no, I decided to stay up and tweak my site some more. And then I decided to play Resident Evil 2 for a few minutes. That turned into an hour and a half. Guh. I am so sleepy. Ah, hell. I'll try and get some sleep.

Anyhow, I wanted to leave you with two things. In a second, I'll post a recipe. But first, look at this horrific rating on RE2. Lost sleep just to get a D.

TV screen showing a rank of D

You better believe than I am going to start over from the beginning, with cheats a blazing, and redo that. Bringing death from above in glorious symphony. HUZZAH!

(1:58am). Site Changes Galore!.

I have been typing up a storm of mostly technical and pratical site changes, so there isn't much energy left in me to do anything else. I'll summarize, say goodnight, and post what I meant to post yesterday later on today.

First off, this blog is now "Dickens of a Blog". That used to be the blog dedicated to tea, pipes, and books that I hosted on Blogspot. I deleted that blog the other day and realized that I still kind of dig the name. It is both a tribute to one of my favorite authors, plus a good summary of the sort of topics that I like to talk about (those three above, plus social commentary and just every day life).

Secondly, if you look to your write, you will see there is another bit to the menu. This includes a Sitemap and a FAQ. Both of those are generally in the parlance of the web savvy, but just to bring those who are not up to speed: sitemaps are a way to storing all the links that a site has internally in one big file so that people and browsers and search engines can have a webpage sort of at a glance, and a FAQ is a series of questions that are likely to be asked.

Third, I have created and uploaded a icon for the site. You should see it in your address bar for the site. If not, then it looks like this: .

Lastly, I have added a longish discussion on Young-ha Kim's rather good I Have the Right to Destroy Myself.

Sleep time!

April 9, 2008. Wednesday.

(11:02pm). Huzzah! Back-to-Back (aka, This Post Is about Me Life Today).

Earlier today, I hated on John Mayer. Not in anything like a sensible way, mind you. I was musing about what they listen to in coffee shops nowadays and I said something along the lines of "Maybe it is John Mayer, but without the dress this time?" This does not indicate that I hate John Mayer at all. I like about 30% of his stuff and can tolerate the rest. I have no real problem. It just popped in my head. I joked that "bigger than body gives me credit for..." is obvious overcompensation. And then I said something like "I want to run through the halls of higschool, I want scream at the top of my lungs: John Mayer likes wearing pretty dresses..." and so on.

Well, the jokes on me. That is severely stuck in my head.

Tonight Sarah and I played a grueling game of tennis. Grueling in the sense of "I'm sure a pro would have been fine, but we are not a pro". Two hours long, three full sets, lots of running. My shins feel like they are on fire. FIRE! BURNING FIRE!!! (corny? yes, but at least I didn't make it blink)

While this sounds nonsensical, it is a good burn. I'm enjoying the hell out of it.


I'm not sure where that came from, but I really wanted to type it. Anyhow, after Tennis we went for a weighing and I am down TWELVE WHOLE POUNDS. I promise, that will be the last time I use font colors for a while. But, wow. I'm stoked.

Too bad tomorrow might have to be "bed rest" if my shins don't get better. I'll ride the wave right on through, though. After twenty-four hours of sleep, Friday night, here I come.

(10:36pm). Another Big Ole Bag of Links.

I'm pretty tired right this second, so I am going to post most of these with fewer commentary than normal. Please, post some comments on these, because they are good ones despite my brevity.

I have another link I want to post, about the US government wanting Iraq to seel its oil to handle some of its own problems. You can read more about this here. What seems to be a good idea, or at least one of good potential, is being turned into a partisan issue (suh-prise!). But, really, the reason I am posting this is because the Drudge Report headline used to link to it:

Of course, the whole point of that is to imply that the Dems are the ones trading blood for oil this whole time. Also note the picture of the Hillary fan and the caption attached to it. Tee Hee, but Drudge can be worth reading.

April 8, 2008. Tuesday.

(11:56pm). First One of These I Have Done in Awhile.

WHAT MADE YOU SMILE TODAY? While playing tennis this afternoon, I managed to scramble over and catch the ball right at the out line and return it. That, and helping my Puppy to get her gift card.

WHAT WERE YOU DOING AT 8 THIS MORNING? Sleeping. I didn't go to bed until about 4-4:30am.

WHAT WERE YOU DOING 15 MINUTES AGO? Playing Resident Evil 2.

SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED TO YOU IN 1995? I graduated high school.

LAST THING YOU SAID ALOUD? Hmm. I probably said "ah, poop it" to the videogame. That's not a "clean" version. I usually curse in funny words, or extremely bad words while playing games. No middle ground.


WHERE ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND(s) RIGHT NOW? Um, scattered around the area?


WHAT IS OUT YOUR BACK DOOR? I live in an apartment.

LAST THING YOU BOUGHT? Handsoap and some lightbulbs.

LAST GIFT YOU RECEIVED? Um. Seagram's Reserve.


WHERE DO YOU KEEP YOUR CHANGE? In my wife's purse. Which is where she keeps her change. Which includes my change. Except pennies that she leaves to clutter up my desk and a nickel or two that I demand she let me keep (so I can flip them to make important decisions like "Should I watch Hyperdrive?")

WHAT'S THE WEATHER LIKE TODAY? Mostly sunny, with some clouds in the afternoon.

BEST ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Oh. Um. I like Heath Bar Crunch.

LAST RAINBOW YOU SAW? Couldn't tell you if I tried.

ARE YOU VERY RANDOM? Yes. Especially when I am sleepy. If I need not to be, I can turn it off, but I mostly let it coast and try to reel it in to that level where it gets borderline annoying so people don't get tired of it. I bet you thought I was going to say something random right then, right? Nope, that's something like irony of assumption, now isn't it?

DO YOU WANT TO CUT YOUR HAIR? Not for another month or so, but not too much longer down the road.

ARE YOU OVER THE AGE OF 25? If the graduation as an answer didn't tell you...yes.

DO YOU TALK A LOT? I write a lot, chat a fair amount, but do not talk a lot.

DOES YOUR SCREEN NAME HAVE AN '' X '' IN IT? No screen name that I can ever think about using has ever had an x in it. Well, that's kind of a lie. Back when I tried for Wyrmis Simryw as my "online persona" I often used the middle initial of "X." whenever a form required it.

DO YOU KNOW ANYONE CALLED TIM? Tim Shadowens (sp?), one of the managers of Book Gallery, though it has been near a year since I have talked to him. I think I know some others, but only in passing.

DO YOU MAKE UP YOUR OWN WORDS? Not only do I make up my own words, but I also make up my own meanings for words.




4TH PERSON ON YOUR MISSED CALLS? No cellphone. Unknown on the land line.

WHAT DID THE LAST TEXT MESSAGE YOU RECEIVED SAY? I do e-mail, not text (no cellphone).



WHAT IS THE NEXT CONCERT YOU'RE GOING TO? Unknown, I need to look into it.


DO YOU WATCH TV? Less and less.


EVER BEEN HUNTING? A couple of times. I really detest it.

IS MARRIAGE IN YOUR FUTURE? Assuming my marriage to Sarah? Yes. If she leaves me, probably not.



DO YOU HAVE A NICKNAME? Since no one calles me "wyrmis" anymore, the closest I have is "Dougie" though my family sometimes uses "Doug-o". A few guys (two?) call me "Big D".

DO YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT? You can get the hots for someone on first sight, but I don't believe in love. My one experience with "love at first sight" ended really poorly. Too much stuff is hidden away from such encounters.

YOUNGEST PERSON IN YOUR FAMILY? Immediate? Shawn. Extended. Whatever Sam's daughter is named. Spiritual? Kristabelle.

IS DRUG FREE THE WAY TO BE? I like caffeine, sporadic bits of pipe-induced nicotine, aspirin, acetametaphine, and whatever is in Claritin-D. But since this not what you meant, then yes.

ARE YOU A HEAVY SLEEPER? No, but heavier than I used to be.

LAST TIME YOU USED A SKATEBOARD? Years ago. Probably about 1992 or '91.

BEST MOVIE YOU'VE SEEN IN THE PAST TWO WEEKS? I think the only movie I have seen in the past two weeks (meaning actually watched it) was I Am Legend which means it wins by default.

WHAT KIND OF TV DO YOU HAVE? One that only poorly works.

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Just the sound of fan blades.

ARE YOU CURRENTLY DEPRESSED? No. Though if my theory about pollen triggering depression works, then it might happen in a couple of weeks.

DO YOU THINK ANYONE MISSES YOU RIGHT NOW? Some of my friends do. And my brother, Danny.

(9:07pm). Tired. Walgreens Solution. Spag #51. Tennis.

Ok, now, in backwards order:

Tennis game tonight went better than yesterday's. We are still getting even better at aiming and scrambling around to get to the ball. I have 90% worked out my serve form, need to start working on speed and accuracy.

Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!! did show up. It is good. I already knew this, but just wanted to say it again. Review up in a day or two.

For those, however few that might be, who read this and have an interest in Interactive Fiction (or, Text Based Adventures) then aim for this link: SPAG #51 is out. Includes a bit about Admiral Jota and Grunk (tee hee) as well as the Commonplace Book Project (woot).

Ok. Let me start at the ending and say the situation is rectified. Now, with that out of the way, I'll elaborate some more. A couple of months ago, Sarah and I got this coupon that allowed us to get a $25 gift card from Walgreens for transferring her prescription back to them. Since we are all the time in the store (at least twice a week), I figured it was an excellent combination of factors. After a couple of false starts, with them telling Sarah to come back later because first she didn't give them "enough time" and the next time was told to wait until the next prescription cycle; She went in last Friday and ended up waiting an hour just to be told to come back. The person there was unsure how to scan the coupon. She went back, spent several more minutes, yesterday and got sent home empty handed again. I went in today, and was finally able to get the gift card after, now, about 3 hours of working to get it.

This is not a complaint about Walgreens, per se. This is me just pointing out if you do get said coupon yourself and take advantage of it, keep in mind that it stands a good chance of confusing folk. Sarah and I sent in a complaint to Walgreens website. Hopefully, if this happens kind of often, they will put through some sort of proper instructions on the coupon.

Well, I'm exhausted. Good night, everybod.

(1:08pm). Whitey on the Moon v Walking on the Moon.

I used to listen to a lot of Police when I was younger. And "Walking on the Moon" was one of my favorite works by them. Later, I enjoyed the Darkest of the Hillside Thickets cover. There is just the right amount of surreality in that song to make it very memorable.

A couple of years ago, I was listening to Gil Scott-Heron's Small Talk on 125th and Lenox, best known for "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" though my favorite off of it is "Who'll Pay Reparations on My Soul?" One time I was letting it play through in the background, and it came to a song named "Whitey on the Moon". The name is both racist and funny, and I had heard several times before but never really thought about it. But then, while playing one time, I began to notice a fairly similar rhythm set to its lyrics (see here):

A rat done bit my Sister Nell,
With whitey on the moon
Her face and arms begin to swell
And whitey's on the moon
I can't pay no doctor's bills
But whitey's on the moon
Ten years now I'll be paying still
While whitey's on the moon

I made a small clip of it in ogg format, that you can download: 17 Second Sample from Gil Scott-Heron's "Whitey on the Moon" (ogg).

The sentiment, by the way, is one up for much debate. I'm not going to argue it one way or another here (here meaning this particular blog entry) but I will say that it deserves at least some discussion. For those interested in it, it is one of the subthemes (the sentiment, I mean) for the often overlooked anime The Wings of Honneamise.

The Police lyrics, of course, are much less inflammatory:

Giant steps are what you take
Walking on the moon
I hope my legs don't break
Walking on the moon
We could walk for ever
Walking on the moon
We could live together
Walking on, walking on the moon

You can hear this bit being played with 30 second sample from Police's "Walking on the Moon" (ogg).

Now, these two songs aren't identical, but they do seem to be very, very close. "Walking on the Moon" is undeniably the more popular piece. But it came out nine-years (on the Police album Regatta de Blanc) after Scott-Heron's piece. I'm not sure what I think about this, I just noticed and thought it was very interesting. I've dug around, looking for some sort of discussion about where the songs came from, to see if one was acknowledged with the other or if there was a third song they linked together. All I can find is on the Wikipedia article for "Walking on the Moon":

I was drunk in a hotel room in Munich, slumped on the bed with the whirling pit when this riff came into my head. I got up and starting walking round the room singing : "Walking round the room, walking round the room". That was all. In the cool light of morning I remembered what had happened and I wrote the riff down. But "Walking round the room" was a stupid title so I thought of something even more stupid which was "Walking on the moon.

I'm beginning to think that maybe this is one of those instances where some old song comes back to you while drinking and/or sleepy and you begin humming it but don't remember the words. What if you had heard the song once a portion of a decade ago, and had forgotten? Especially his "urge" to change it "room" to "moon".


For those that think I am just being odd, notice the two mostly synced together (with the Police version sped up): About 20 second clip of Whitey's Walking on the Moon (ogg). Notice the way that Scott-Heron's drums got fairly absorbed in the Police version.

The one huge stab in the eye of my "theory" (if one would go so far as to call it that) is that "Walking on the Moon" was at least kind of popular, right? Surely someone who had the other song has heard the two together before? Looking around the Internet, though, I found pretty much nothing.

Ah, well, if anyone has any information (including definite proof that I am way wrong) then please contact me and let me know and I'll update my stuff.

(11:28am). Let's Just Say, for a moment...

Let's just say that someone like Michael Cera, who has done a bit of meta-comedy from time to time, wrote a song. And this song he called "Ironic". And, in this song, he listed a big ole bunch of things that weren't ironic. Not at all. Let's look at this, a bit at a time, and see how these things are not irony:

  • A 98 year-old man wins the lottery and then dies, well, that's unfortunate, but not really tragic. His family probably did fine from it and funeral costs were taking care of.
  • Black fly in a glass of Chardonnay? That's mostly gross.
  • Death row pardon two minutes too late? Unfortunate, but it also implies a dick governor.
  • Free ride when you already paid? Unfortunate
  • Rain on your wedding day?
  • Dude crashing down after a life of being afraid to fly? That's tragic, coincidental, and unfortunate.

In fact, the song is filled with moments of unfortunate living. "No smoking signs" on smoking breaks, meeting a married man of your dreams, and so on. The only actual piece of irony in the whole song is when the man who is crashing down says "Isn't this nice?" See, that's irony. Because it isn't nice.

But, unless the whole song's title and chorus comes from that one line, which is doubtful, maybe the whole song is meta-comedy. See, it's a song about irony that doesn't really contain ironic things. That, in itself, is ironic. Get it? It's self-aware! People would be laughing their ass off over how clever he was.

Except, of course, it's not written by Michael Cera and it doesn't seem to be self-aware. Maybe it is. Just maybe. And maybe George Lucas really did mean it when he said that Han Solo was supposed to be a blowhard and not know what a parsec was. Maybe.

(1:42am). Long Tennis Game. And...I've Just Forgot About Else I Was Going to Post About...OH. New Releases.

The first set of tonight's tennis game went 6-0 my favor and took up maybe 15 minutes. The second one, however, went for about an hour and ended up 9-7 my favor coming out of a deuce #3 scenario. It was a long, hard set and quite fun. Sarah and I both are doing a hell of a lot better.

There are a couple/three new items that have just came out or are coming out that I am interested in. Two I have/had pre-ordered through Amazon.com. The first one is Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig Lazarus Dig (note: link takes you to the website, which is all Flashy and you have to navigate around to see information and samples of the album). I got it at some neat sales price and hopefully it will arrive tomorrow with UPS. The other item should come later this week and it's the Munchkin 6 expansion (let me see, there's a link to the product page). It adds dungeon rules, where each dungeon has its own special rule additions. It sounds like a lot of fun.

May try an "impromptu" Munchkin and Nick Cave gathering, to celebrate. May avoid booze. Blue puke + Fruity Pebbles + Fried Calamari + I, Robot + Spilled Tea + Jokes Involving Monkeys (maybe) = me just screwing around with search engines, mostly. HA!

Speaking of which, the "most morally questionable search term that brought a visitor to my site this week" was "movies with rape scenes". It sent someone over to my review of I Spit on Your Grave, which I hated.

April 7, 2008. Monday.

(8:00pm). Today's Bag o' Links + Commentary on One.

There are intersting ones circulating around.

The first comes from a link posted to Fark.com: Where There's Smoke, There's a Lawyer. The story is something of an old hat, right now. Someone smokes in a shared space with a nonsmoker. Smoker is paying fair share. Nonsmoker is paying full share. Who has the most rights? The stance is very quickly turning into "the clean air!" with smokers having to resort to a defense somewhere between "bite me!" and "you breathe gas fumes, don't you?". At the core of this debate, I see two interesting things, as linked to in the article and a response posted to another blog. The first is non-specifically related to this situation, but deals with how much easier lawyers can sue you than non-lawyers, and what should happen if lawyers ever abuse this as a threat. As someone asked elsewhere, if a doctor said "I'm a doctor, so you better do what I want because I can..." or if a policeman said "I'm a policeman, so you..." then you reach something people would disagree with. A lot. Hell, it even happens.

The other thing is, if, as the Selbin's state "[That secondhand smoke is undeniably toxic] is the official position of New York City, New York State, the Surgeon General of the United States, and just about the entire scientific and health communities," then why in the blue blazes isn't it legally and rightfully banned fully and post-haste? The time has come. Either we need to get rid of smoking entirely (but I have a bad feeling that it will simply lead to increased issues, because how much longer before people are sued for perfume wearing or for cooking ethnic cuisine?) or we need to set up some basic rules.

As it stands, we have people are being attacked and sued for doing an activity that is a legal one.

And, for the record, the whole "no threshold" rule for the dangers of second smoke are undeniably wrong. I'll just quote from something I read one day and let you decide if it is valid:

The no-threshold concept, when applied to secondhand smoke,"incorporates unsound assumptions that are not valid," says an article by Drs. Huber (pulmonary specialist), Brockie (cardiologist), and Mahajan (a hospital director of internal medicine and professor of medicine.)

Furthermore, thresholds are known to exist for mainstream tobacco smoke in total as well as for each of the individual carcinogens known to be in it. It is preposterous to claim, as the surgeon general has done, that secondhand smoke - which is more than 100,000 times more dilute than mainstream smoke - has no threshold, even though mainstream smoke does. This turns the dose-response principle of epidemiology on its head and means secondhand smoke can be more dangerous than actual smoking! Ridiculous!

Now, for the other links:

(3:32pm). Site Additions so Far Today.

I have added three articles to the site (two, actually, one was here but unlinked to) and expanded another.

First, I expanded my Untold Designer Notes to include updated damage resolution, better handling of combat, and better handling of wounds and injuries.

Secondly, I added a review and some notes for Dunnet, the older IF I was talking about last night.

I have now posted the anti-Facebook e-mail to an article tentatively called Why I Have Grown to Dislike Facebook. It is in rough draft form, and I will edit it to a more full article soon. A quote from it:

Look at Facebook and notice how it has went from expanding what you know about your friends to forcing you to mulch hundreds of data points of all your friends into one collective whole just to have time to see what everyone is saying, leading to a disjointed contact. Friends become people of a type, with many internal responses having to take them as a whole rather than as a series of individuals. It is precious little snowflake syndrome gone awry because have mercy it's a snowstorm.

Finally, I have linked to my previously written but left unlinked for musing purposes article on Compulsory Military or Civil Service. It lists down ways our country could be helped by adopting such a program. It, too, will hopefully be expanded upon greatly.

(10:40am). Ah, Sleep. Part 1 of Snappy Answers to Message Board Questions.

From pretty much the time of the last blog entry to this one, I have been unconcious. And that was a good thing. 90% of yesterday's malaise and malady has sailed the wayside. It may not be as salubrious as it could have been in under circumstances, but there will be some time spent walking in the sun for me today. Huzzah.

Last night, I came up with a new idea for a page on my website. Since I try to never respond to forums or message boards any more, I have started Snappy Answers to Message Board Questions. The first entry is:

It's called the Constitution, you homophobic retard. Why the Consitution of the United States of America (as well as the Declaration of Independence) is not required reading in school is beyond me. Stop, for the love of whatever God you want to blame for your hatred of others, posting this on a regular basis thinking we should care. If you honestly have no concept of Faith-and-Full-Credit, then I assume it's because going to any other state would be pretty hard on you. It would force you to leave your daughters you have chained up in the basement for quick, pantyless access. They might starve to death without daddy's little attentions. You sick bastard.

Alright, have to get a few things written and a couple of sandwiches for breakfast. Not sure I trust cereal on an empty stomach right this second.

April 6, 2008. Sunday.

(11:56pm). Beat Dunnet. Very Tired. Goodnight, bad day..

I just beat Dunnet. It is a different sort of IF. Will post a review of it and link some time tomorrow. For now, I am very tired.

I just wanted to post this right at the end of the day so I could tell it "bite me" when it matters most. I'll be dead in just a couple more minutes.


(9:19pm). Finished Full Metal Alchemist Box 1. Old and Different IF.

Sarah and I finished watching Full Metal Alchemist Box 1 (of 4) tonight. The series seems to be settling down into a better paced storytelling now. While the first episodes are good, the impression I get is they rushed through a few plot points and got some backdrop out of the way so that people would get hooked early on instead of letting the pace sort of flow on its own. No problem, really. I enjoy the series quite a lot and look forward to Box 2, which should show up via UPS sometime early next week (probably Monday or Tuesday).

In other entertainment-esque news, I started playing Dunnet tonight. A 1983 interactive fiction that appears to use a fair number of computer commands. I will be playing it for about an hour tonight, I think, and then I probably should pass out before my sick body (see last post for reasons why).

(6:19pm). Spent Today Sick (My Own Damned Fault). Site Related Updates..

I have been generally unwell today, a condition of my own damned making. Last night, I drank a fair amount of gin (102 proof Seagram's Reserve, my second favorite behind Tanqueray) cut only slightly by ginger ale. And, worst of all, I broke all of my normal drinking rules. I drank too fast. I did not snack on food while drinking. I did not drink water while drinking. I had some tea to drink, but I spilled it and so never poured another cup. The end result was definite sick stomach and a pretty bad headache. By this morning, I recovered enough that the only last condition I had was a "spinny head" (which still is true if I turn my head fast enough). I figure another bowl of soup or so and some nap time and I will be just fine.

The day prior to my drinking was an ok one. I did not do too much up until yesterday afternoon. I went to Carl's (my father-in-law) birthday celebration. Which was just Sarah, myself, him, Donna (her mom) and Alicia. It was at Red Lobster, which is a often visited establishment for them. I got Red Lobster's Fried Calamari appetizer and a "fish and chips". The fish could have been thinner (thick slices of fish rarely have as good a flavor after frying as thin slices) and the Calamari was enough to count as a meal. It was good, too, so maybe next time that's what I'll get with a bowl of gumbo or some such.

Hung out with Strages last night for several hours. Pretty much standard guy chatter. Watched movies. Talked about women. I made a few random jokes which I remember telling but they were so random I don't actually recall what they were. Weird. I remember at one point in time Strages looking at me with a quizzical look. It would have been something along the lines of him going "I need to get a shower" (something he never said) and me respond "Turtlenecks are in season, huh? HAHAHAAH..." I swear they were about that bad. I was tired. Had been drinking. When tired, my brain goes into a random mode and the drinking just made it that much worse.

Watched I Am Legend. Liked it. Hated the CG. Especially since the effect could have been done cheaper with Tom Savini's magical make up cabinet. Have no idea why the ending was supposed to be controversial. Maybe it wasn't, but isn't that how the press describes it? I have read (thanks to the IMDB.com Alternate Versions Listing how they differ. They both make sense in their own way.

Have spent today setting up a log checker for my website. The logs are generated automatically by the server, but I just wanted something that sorted it and spit it out in something of a more human readable version. I am quite pleased with my result, and should be posting the basic source code for it sometime soon. Anyone out there can feel free to take it and modify it to fit their own needs.

One other bit of news, have expanded and rewritten some of "The Absence of Gerald Raphael". I did this because Jeremy C. Shipp asked if I had any samples of writing for him to link to and I figured that's one of my more interesting ones. Enjoy. Also, go and check out Shipp's book Vacation or one of his short stories linked to on his website. I recommend them.

April 5, 2008. Saturday.

(12:27pm). Mid-day Bag o' Links and Disinformation via Fackebook.

One of the links I am going to post for today says that our society, especially in a social rich environment like College, is quickly using Facebook (and Myspace, I suppose) to find certain verisimilitude in our intimate relationships. Let's leave "top friends" aside for the moment, there are people who feel the tag of "married to X" is a meaningful statement. By which I mean they feel the statement, which is a pale reflection of fact that has nothing to do with the truth or untruth of the fact, is somehow essential to the fact. I am not being facetious, at least no more facetious than the CNN article I posted to below (the top link). Not only does Facebook seem to be free even of the low-level humorous disinformation that Myspace boasts (when people list themselves as 93 years old and a break dancer), but it remarkably surprsing how much personal information people will list on Facebook. I have a rant that e-mailed a friend on this that I will try and remember to post later tonight.

On my Facebook, 90% of my friends know me in person. I chat with them or e-mail them on a regular enough basis that my Facebook profile is mostly just to say "in case you forgot I liked The It Crowd" (or was, that information is sort of gone now, replaced by a link to this website and some basic information). Today, Sarah and I decided to have fun with a bit of disinformation. We changed our status from married to single. Most of our friends will know this to be untrue. There are a few who will see it and will have not talked to us in long enough to be worried by it. There are those who talked to us last week that will be worried about it. But it does sort of hinge on my response to the article below, which says "listing relationships online solidifies the commitment" (a quote from a person, not a claim the article makes). Hell, there is information all over this site that says I am married to Sarah and love it. If I did ever bring up with Sarah, there is a fair chance my opening page would be changed to "YOU BITCH!" in blinky text. By this I mean I really can't talk, but I list my marriage to Sarah on this site as sort of a personally written chattering about her. Kind of like a love letter, but purposely let loose to the world at large. It is not a fact of data to be tabulated for sale to advertising companies, the alteration of my most personal facts into a form letter for friends. Not that my friends mean it to be that way, but Facebook makes it into that way.

I am both curious to see how many people will take the joke in the proper light, if anyone will get upset because we lied, if people will ignore it, or what.

You know me, proper FUD (see petpeeving) makes me chuckle. Apologies to everyone out there who didn't take it in the proper light.

Now, for the links:

  • How Do You Know Your Love is Real? Check Facebook (CNN) Pretty much commented on that up above. Neat article to read.
  • Soldiers' deployments to go back to 1 year (CNN). Reduced down from 15 months. The only thing I have against this change is they don't seem to be letting all of them come home anyhow, why make the official "text" look prettier. For more information, look at Stop-Loss Policy (Wikipedia). Note that under the "stop-loss contract" the clause is "In the event of war, my enlistment in the Armed Forces continues until six (6) months after the war ends, unless the enlistment is ended sooner by the President of the United States." Emphasis is mine. Guess what we are not technically in by the rules of our Constitution, unless I have missed something.
  • Geezer: Campaign Setting for Risus (S. John Ross's page). A Risus setting centered around an "assisted living" and elderly theme. Lists Coccoon as an inspiration. NEAT. This is the beginning of Risus: Bubba-Ho-Tep.
  • CRACKED.com's The 5 Most Ridiculous Lies You Were Taught in History Class. This is CRACKED.com, not an encyclopedia, so I don't know how many of those facts are correct. I know things like Columbus NOT finding out the world is round, Newton and Washington not being fruit-inspired, and Franklin not flying the cart. Having actually read Einstein, I know that he is better at math than I am and I did not fail out of math. This article seems reasonable, in other words.

(10:04am). Still Waiting for UA's Response.

Even knowing, as I do, that it will likely be the beginning of May or at least last week or so of April before I get a response from UA, I am nervously anticipating. For the past two to three years, this has been something of a goal of mine. Getting to a Masters may not be easy for me (for one, it might need to be totally self-funded) but it's something I would adore starting towards and see how well I can make it work. Hopefully, once I find out what comes next, then I can get in touch with some sort of advisor who can help me out. I have found out, in my couple of months signing up and talking to people, that a fair amount of the process generally assumes you are still in contact with a University that will help you along to some degree. Being a few years out of school now, I don't have that. What's worse, I have lost my "paperwork skills" that any student builds up in college, where you know which forms to fill out and how to best do it. I'm sure it will come back in no time, but that's a next stage sort of thing.

One of my big hobbies is to look up random information on the 'Net. Which now means look up random information on Wikipedia. Last night's random information was where the name of months came from. Here is what I found:

  • January: Named after Janus, the god of doorways who looks backwards and forwards. Originally a nameless month because "winter" was a monthless 60 day time.
  • February: Named after februus, or purification. Originally a "monthless" time, adopted then as the last month of the year before the switch around.
  • March: Named after "march", as in the military movement, which would launch in spring after a winter break.
  • April: Unsure of its name, possibly comes from a Romanization of Aphrodite, possible comes from aperire, which is Latin for "to open".
  • May: Possibly linked to Maia, whose mythology was linked in Rome to Fertility rites.
  • June: Named for Juno.
  • July: Originally the month of Quintillis, renamed after Julius Caesar.
  • August: Augustus Caesar.
  • September through December: Named after their "number" in the ten month calendar that predates January and February. Sept = seven. Oct = eight. etc.

When looking up this information, I find it interesting how some names have a distinct meaning (seventh month, the month of Janus) while some have lost their meaning (April, May). They were probably named after ritual feasts and ceremonies that happened during them, but that is information about 2500 years old. I suppose the biggest surprise is that the months have not been altered in the intervening 2500 years to have their names changed to more recent gods and demi-gods.

It appears the historical tidbit about February being shaved a day to give to August, and in modern versions it also includes being shaved a day to give to some other month, is a myth. As the last month of the year, it would have simply been the one with the "tweakable" size.

You were lied to in school about that.

The guy who came up with this theory, Sacrobosco, also did something else neat. He wrote a popular textbook called Tractatus de Sphaeara. It talks about the Earth and the universe and how round the former was. It was very popular and well used for about four centuries. Sacrobosco died in the 13th century.

Guess what else your teacher lied to you about in high school?

April 4, 2008. Friday.

(2:03pm). What Yesterday and Toda Means for This Website, and Photos..

Yesterday, and today, I have been doing most of Stage Three and Stage Four activities to get this website back up to full speed (as outlined in this entry). I also went through and deleted photos from my social sites. Myspace and Facebook both should have a single (or couple) utility photo(s), but that is all. Now, the photos that I take and post will be found on this site. I'll get back to this in a moment.

I also went through Myspace and deleted about 300 old entries. I have somewhere in the viciting of 150 to go, which will probably happen next week, but I might do it some over the weekend. Then I get to do the same with Facebook. Once I do that, I should have two fairly plain profiles which will allow me to interact with people, but will not have too much personal information. The ability to keep up with my information will be greatly enhanced.

Back to the photos I just posted. There are several all over the Photos page, but the two albums you will probably most like to see are the Photos of Sarah and Myself (including some from early on in the dating cycle) and Various Group Shots. Both of those albums have lots of fun stuff to peruse. I have also included my "infamous" nosebleed album.

Ok, must get ready so I can go out and get the stuff done. One last note: posted another recipe (Good Green Morning) to my tea recipes page.

(10:26am). Waking Up. Paying Bill. Drinking Water. Strange Dreams..

My body is starting to come around fully to awake. Which is a good thing, seeing how I've been up for over an hour paying bills and sorting through our budget. Everything is fine and dandy I suppose, there are a couple of extraneous things that have been ordered. Including the second "season one" boxset of Full Metal Alchemist meaning that Sarah and I can finish the first season over the weekend without having to worry about it.

An article that caught my eye this morning was linked to from BoingBoing.net: NPR's The Myths of Drinking Water. Not only does it claim the whole "eight glasses" is a fallacy, but it also talks about the role that water barely plays in weight loss, how it might not help flush toxins, and so forth. Before the "aha!" hits, keep in mind that this exchange has been going on since the 90s. I will see one article talking about water and it is "MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER BEFORE!" and then a year later an article comes whose first myth busted will always be "You don't have to drink eight glasses. The idea of (at least the popular notion of) science spinning its wheels because of conflicting information without proper convincing statements can be somewhat seen in this "debate". The average reader is probably going to pick which ever one suits him or her, bend it even more to be more suiting (see the Karamazov Effect), and lock out the dialogue.

Well, time for me to down a cold glass of the chai I reviewed last night and get some more things done so Sarah and I can go out and spend something like a night on the town. I want to bulk up the site in a couple of places here or there. I also need to make a post today about some of the stages of my plan.

I will leave you with this for now. Last month (what, like 4 days ago? tee hee) I posted an entry that talked about "clothing libraries". At the time, I didn't think there was a States-based version. Looks like Dress for Success has some outreach over here. This is women, and seems a little less open than what the other library was fashioned on. For one, you apparently keep the clothing given to you. I still think that Huntsville could benefit from having one. We have a lot of people who are down on their luck, denied access to jobs they could work because of clothing issues. Our current alternative, which is pretty much Wal-mart and thrift stores, is not all that appealing and still costs money.

(4:13am). I have stayed up past my bedtime.

I have stayed up past my bedtime. Tee-hee. I got a good, two hour nap this afternoon and had a few things I wanted to get done tonight. Between the two, it was sort of naturally 3am before I had my first window of sleep and then I spent an hour after that writing a couple of articles for this website and organizing some other things on my computer. For those interested, the articles are my review of the IF Lost Pig and my review of Stash's Organic (Black & Green) Chai. For those not interested, ignore the links.

Things to post about most defintely, but for now I need sleep.

April 3, 2008. Thursday.

(1:21am). The Myspace Photo Student Teacher Thing. I Feel Like Ranting.

Once this lady got fired from a student teaching position and denied a teaching certificate because she took a picture (or I suppose had a picture taken) of herself drinking from a yellow Mr. Goodbar cup with a pirate hat on and she called the picture "Drunken Pirate". Ok. Her eyes are clear, though, and the cup could have absolutely anything in it, so it is not likely she is drinking anything alcoholic at all and the caption was meant as a laugh.

A laugh so funny that she got a big old backlash from it. Maybe.

In the aftermath, there have been conflicting reports on what kind of student she was (some articles say poor, some have said she won a good amount of praise) and whether the picture was really what got her fired (again conflicts) but even when the school is quoted as saying things like "not the picture" they seem to follow-it-up with bits like "The university backed the school authorities' contentions that her posting was "unprofessional" and might "promote under-age drinking." It also cited a passage in the teacher's handbook that said staff members are "to be well-groomed and appropriately dressed."" (from this article)

Note that the "well groomed" bit seems to imply at any time anyone might possibly see you. Including, presumably, in the shower. Well, maybe not the shower. Sorry, lost my facetiousness control, there.

Anyhow, the twist in this that I found most delicious came from some responses. One of which, that teachers should be held to a highert [sic] standard, is probably going to get quoted by me from time to time. The second, in which a person who claims to be in charge of hiring for a company admits to viewing Myspace and Facebook profiles, is probably more legally interesting. Because this means they used a tool outside of the application to look up a person's age, marital status, family background, and more. You know what we call that, kiddies? Illegal.

Hell, that's half the reason I have started bringing my stuff in to this website only. All of my dirty laundry is right here. If someone hits me for it, then at least I know what they are hitting me for.

(12:35pm). Let's Put Two and Two Together.

Growers of Marjiuna are terrorists + File-traders are terrorists = pot-smokers download illegal music?

Or, how about this great negation?

State sales tax might be removed from groceriers, saving me about $100 a year - A 10% hike in electric rates this year, costing me about $100.


April 2, 2008. Wednesday.

(10:45pm). Waxing Nostalgaic.

Take a look at that map. Following the scale, this roughly out to be about 40 miles by 50 miles, plus a few on the edges. A rhomboid of sorts with Andalusia, Georgiana, Monroeville and Brewton at the points and Evergreen, AL kind of off center. Hell, looking this map, even that is misleading, let me try and add a few alterations to it:

If you take the red splotches on the map, with bigger splotches showing wider areas and longer times spent there, then you get a visual graph of about 97% of my childhood. Probably about 80% of that would be the in the red-splotches marked off by the ovoid. With rare exceptions (trips to Mobile, trips to B'ham and Montegomery, trips out of state to see family, etc) totalling maybe slightly over one 1 week per year, I rarely left the area marked in red until the age of 21.


Deep down, I knew that I barely went anywhere as a child. I knew that I mostly sat around and read or went out for walks or listened to music or watched PBS. But wow. Hell, now that I am up in Huntsville, you could take a similar sized of the Huntsville area and enclose me in with probably similar sized red markings.

I'm a guy that likes local things. I like doing what's around me. Always have been. I like local markets, local stores. I like walking to where I want to go. And if it is not local, I like ordering it online. I figure if I am not helping someone near me, no reason to help someone 100 miles from me, most of the time. Might as well go 500 miles or more.

It just seems so small, looked at it in this way.

You can see the fuller map round about here on Google Maps. And, for those interested in a special treat: there is my childhood home and my brother's trailer beside it. Slightly to the North of the house (which is black roughed and surrounded by trees so kind of hard to see) is my family pond. My family has two ponds, mind you, so where the other one is, I have no idea. Apparently it is invisible to satellites.

As another bonus treat: start here over Dauphin Island. Now, start zooming in without moving the center of the map. See that long stretch of sandbar that stretches out for longer than the island itself? Keep zooming in. Notice the colorful dots? Those are houses. That's right, keep zooming in and move around. You will find some crazily placed architecture.

(10:12am). Ways in Which Life Does NOT Work like Hollywood.

Judge Arrington, who, to the best of my personal reckoning, was caught up in a Hollywood moment when asked the white lawyers of the black defendants to leave the room, has admitted that he made a mistake. Fair enough. At it's core, there is no harm in telling a group of black youths, before a judge due to suspicion of crimes, to straighten up and work hard. At it's core. But, in reality, let's be honest. Either a judge kicked out whites or kicked out lawyers. His main regret is that his message could be for everyone. I can't help but to wonder, though. How does a judge kick out someone's attorney without there being some sort of issue, there? Let's drop the "white" thing, since the article implies that he kicked out some whites (while the headline implies that he kicked all whites, but there is a general rule for headlines and that is "always take them with a grain of salt"). That makes no sense to me.

I'll give it a couple of days before I respond on the other issues involved.

(12:30am). Goodbye to "Dickens".

At exactly 11:59pm, April 1, 2008, I went ahead and deleted "Dickens of a Blog". I started that blog about October 2006. I had an account on blogspot/blogger for awhile, but mostly was just using it to comment on others. When I started getting into hot tea and all the benefits it had, I started buying up teas and contacting tea sellers and from there my interest just boomed. DoaB was a way for me to express that. It was handled somewhat amateurishly, in at least three different ways: 1) Content was rarely edited enough, 2) too often took small assumptions and wrote them out as facts, 3) content was not given enough time to get off the ground. When the blog was only slowly growing after a couple of months, I started to get tired of it. I wanted something that was booming off the bat. I even tried setting up advertisements for it. While nothing is inherently wrong with that, I think it does show a certain wrongheadedness towards the project.

All the negativity aside, it was still a project of great fun and concentration for me. It was the first real time that I was able to focus in on a narrow range of subjects, I made contacts with a couple companies because of it, and overall enjoyed the hell out of myself. I'll miss it, but am glad to be moving on. There is nothing like editing through about 150 articles and finding less than a 1/3 of them really worth keeping and those needing some notable touch-up to appreciate how "off the top of the head" style blogs can both be good and bad for information handling.

Goodbye, blog, and goodnight.

April 1, 2008. Tuesday.

(1:06pm). Website Was Down Due to Storms. Reading Journal Update.

Had to shut down Wyrmis.com this morning because I am paranoid about storms. I grew up in a rural house where there was a significant chance that any storm could be the death of electronics. When a couple of near strikes roused me up this morning, I figured I would go ahead and shut the whole shebang down.

Anyhow, wanted to update with my reading tally. Here we go:

  • 29 Books = 29
  • 11 Shorter works = 3
  • 5 Short works = 0
  • 142 Comics = 8
  • 4 Short story collections = 4

In the first quarter of 2008, my reading tally is 29+3+0+8+4=44. If I continue this up, my final number will 176. Which is above my goal of 150. Excellent.

(1:18am). Hey, Second Month!

Ok, sure, it's cheating but this is the new blog's second month of existence. WOOOhooo. I was going to post something witty and biting and all that balarky, being the day that it is, but I'm kind of sleepy now and I want to finish The Light Fantastic before I nap out for the night.

March, 2008 is available by that link or through the Archive page.

Written by W Doug Bolden

For those wishing to get in touch, you can contact me in a number of ways

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The only request is that you let me know if you are using something from this page (mostly for my own curiosity). This license only applies to original works by W. Doug Bolden (i.e. me). All quoted and referenced works, be they movies or books or other websites or whatever, are subject to their original license or copyright and are the property of their owners. I have made a strong effort to properly attribute them, so please respect me and them by doing the same.

since: Tue, 15 Dec 2009 13:20:56 -0600

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