Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Life: Not Just a Boardgame

I want a life. Don't get me wrong, I'm fairly happy with the one I have. I don't want to give it up, not at all. I'm just hoping for a temporary exchange, or perhaps a second life of my own. Something for those days when I want to try something different, but already have things I can't get out of doing. I want a life.

Although I guess I don't /really/ want to do a temporary trade with someone else. There aren't many people that I'd trust living my life for me. Unless it was a weekend when I didn't really have to do anything anyway, but then I'm not sure I really want another life. The one I have works wonderfully at those times. No, I think I'd like to hold onto the one I've got, make sure that nobody else messes it up for me. If my life's going to get messed up, I want to do so myself. If only to say that I can!

No, I want a life, but I don't want to give up mine. I've been looking for a spare for a while now, and nowhere seems to have them in stock. Nor does anyone know when they're getting another shipment in. Well, of all of the people that've not thrown me out of their stores when I asked. So I'd like a life, but I don't have a clue when I'll be getting my spare.

So for now, I suppose I get to make due with what I have. Which is fine, it's a good life. It's a fun life. But I still want a spare, you know, for emergencies.

Any suggestions on where I should be shopping?

Monday, August 30, 2004

Blinkin Without the BLINK Tag!

More things need blinkin lights. And things that already have blinkin lights need more of them. Not only are blinkin lights incredibly fun, they're also a huge asset in my eventual plan to conquer (at least my section of) the world.

It's ok, my plans have progressed far enough at this point that I can let you know how it's going to work out. There's going to be very little you can do about it--if I said nothing you'd have no choice, but I like letting people have an option. The first phase of my plan has been completed. The first phase of my plan cannot be undone. People are accustomed, nay expectant, to having a variety of blinkin lights. In the car, on the computer, cell phones, MP3 players, quite likely even pet rocks all come equipped with a multitude of blinkin lights. And now, people would begin to have problems living without them.

By blinking the blinkin lights in the correct pattern, at the correct frequency, during the correct time of day, on the correct day of the year, people will correctly be unable to resist any of my "suggestions" (orders). Once the entire world has fallen to my brainwashing..err.. become accustomed to my "suggestions", no one will be able to stand in my way.

Oh, yes, the first phase of my plan has been completed. People want, people need their blinkin lights. They're like an addiction, but more visually appealing. Yes, my plan is on its way.

Now I just need to figure out how to get the ostriches to deliver my specially modified blinkin lights around the world.

What /do/ ostriches take for bribes?

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Three-Hour Cruise

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Fishy Fish, Oh Fishy Fish

Girl On Beach II

Friday, August 27, 2004

Girl On Beach

The Secret Valor of Chickens

Of all the creatures in the world, the chicken is by far the most brave. For anyone that gives this any sort of thought, it should be obvious. Yet, sadly, chickens have gathered a bad name. In fact, they have gained a name meaning the opposite of brave. They are generally thought of as, well, chicken.

Why did the chicken cross the road? Was it to get to the other side? Or perhaps it was running from a huge evil monster and the road just happened to be in the way. Without asking it, we'll never know. And if we do ask it, it probably won't tell. Chickens are wonderful at keeping secrets. No matter how much you threaten, no matter how much you try to get an answer from them, a chicken won't talk. A chicken will never share a secret. I know people that've blabbed because someone looked at them meanly. But, no, a chicken you can always trust.

If only more people could be chickens.

That would solve a multitude of our problems, not the least of which being that people are stupid. Even if they're a stupid chicken, who's going to give a chicken a job keeping track of The Red Button? Who's going to trust a chicken, of any intelligence, with escorting a visiting princess around town? Who's going to give a chicken any of these fun jobs that I think I'd like to try someday? Nobody. So if more people were chickens instead of people, the world would be a better place. Because people, as chickens, could be stupid without harming the rest of us.

Until it is realized just how special chickens really are. Then they might be voted in as our overlords. In which case I wouldn't want the stupid people to be chickens any longer. But if the people could turn into chickens, there wouldn't be much standing in the way at that point to turn them all into ducks, or tuna, or maybe an amoeba or three.

Yeah, more people should be chickens. At least then they'd be able to properly /earn/ their bad name.

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Thursday, August 26, 2004

I'll Huff and I'll Puff and I'll Catch Up with that Cab!

I've recently been told something that I refuse to believe. Is it possible that dancing yields more exercise than typing does? I can't believe it, I won't believe it, I shan't believe it, it isn't true. I've planned on getting the majority of my exercise through my typing skills, and don't want to have to actually get out and /do something/ to use up this massive amount of energy that I don't actually have.

But honestly, how can dancing be more exercise than typing, I don't know. Maybe if one does some sort of dancing other than the kind I manage to do. My dancing is, however, in general, very incredibly mellow. You know, step, pause, step, pause, wait for the mountain to crumble, wait for the grass to grow, step, pause. That kind of dancing. Something slightly less athletic than walking, dancing. Surely that can't give me much exercise--so why do I do it? Do you really have to ask?

Typing, however, yields a ton of exercise. Typing at like five-billion words per minute, not only does one's fingers have to move incredibly quickly, but you also have to really hit about twice as many keys, since the computer doesn't keep up with your typing properly, and half of the keys that need to be hit are "backspace". Hitting backspace by itself that many times in a row has to get more exercise than dancing (step, pause, step, wait, pause, sleep, step). Add in the movement to use the entire keyboard instead of a single key, and you've got to be getting more exercise than running a ten-minute marathon!

No exercise, my foot. Which could be getting exercise too, I suppose, if I got a foot pedal set up to act as the space bar or shift or something. And that'd increase typing speed by a factor of three, at least. But would get some odd looks, so maybe I'll refrain.

So maybe by "more exercise", it wasn't meant that as a whole I'd burn more calories dancing than typing. Maybe "more exercise" meant that legs /and/ arms would get exercise, instead of just fingers. But I doubt it, I think that they actually meant /more/.

But if I wanted exercise, why would I do either? It's so much more useful to chase after the cab and demand your change. Which is most fun, of course, if you never take the cab.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

How Much For that World in the Window?

The internet. The downfall of human civilization. The end of the world. Well, as we know it, anyway.

Of the last dozen, hundred, thousand, billion, however-many years, the internet is the second-greatest threat to human civilization. The greatest, of course, being the tuna. But there's nothing we can do about the tuna and their eventual goal of conquering the world. There is something we can do about the internet.

But why, one might ask, is the internet such a huge threat to the world? is it teh complete lack of spleling + proper punct that abounds   or maybe the abbrev that l8r came from the missing typing skillz

Maybe it's the ability to say anything and everything, without having to back up your facts, without being able to be held accountable for any statements you make. Or perhaps it's the decrease in average sunshine taken by the normal person, as they spend increased hours indoors, sitting in front of their computers. It could be any of these. Each of these by itself could quickly bring about the downfall of human civilization, but these aren't the reason the internet is so fearsome. Not even the vast army of emoticons amassing throughout the world preparing to conquer are as huge a threat as The Internet itself.

For, you see, The Internet is (obviously) a devious entity, capable of hiding, capable of guiding the world's leaders in ways they might not normally consider going.

Or did you actually think that /people/ wrote all that junk you can find on the web?

I doubt that anyone would actually be willing to take credit for three quarters of the junk that you can find on the 'net these days. Three quarters of this stuff is useless and in no way is even verifiable. Three quarters of this stuff mis-leads students as they go to the web to try to find research for their papers which are due in twenty minutes and they haven't even started to read the book. Three quarters of this stuff is capable of giving mis-information to a scientist as she thinks she's corresponding with a friend across the world, a friend who has no way of telling her that that critically important figure is wrong, and as stated will actually cause a chain reaction leading to a complete breakdown in the earth's electromagnetic field, so she might want to refrain from doing her experiment until she gets verification. Verification which, of course, comes from The Internet through email, not through mail of a dead tree.

No, The Internet, this superior being, is capable of controlling our lives. It is powerful, it is frightening. And it supplies me with fun video games to play with other "real" people. So The Internet can take over the world, I don't care. I'm almost to level 4!

Monday, August 23, 2004

Ow, My Brain's Full!

I remember the first day of school. Ok, I don't really remember my very first-ever day of school, but I do remember the first day of school for many years after pre-school. I may even remember the first day of kindergarten, although that's kinda' fuzzy and may actually be from a movie I saw once. I suppose I could check, but I think they've probably suppressed the UFO stories, so not finding any evidence doesn't really tell me anything.

But I remember the first day of school. My mother dropping me off, me not wanting to be there. I think that home was a better option, although I also remember being really excited before-hand about being old enough to finally be able to go to school. I was getting ancient! But, no, one foot in the school, and I was already to be home.

School didn't really end up being too much work, it didn't end up being frightening or scary, it ended up being halfway decent. More than that sometimes. Less others, of course. But overall, it wasn't bad.

But not being bad certainly doesn't mean that it was /great/. It meant that I could no longer spend all day doing whatever I wanted. It meant I couldn't just take a nap whenever I felt like it. It meant I had to actually /talk/ to people, I had to sit still and pretend to be listening, it meant I had to act like I was thinking and seem to be putting forth some form of effort. Not that I /actually/ put forth effort, if I had school would likely have been near-unbearable. Work, ugh!

But, no, I had to at least pretend otherwise.

I remember the first day of school. I remember that I grew up really, really quickly. One day, I was excited to be going and doing some /real/ /work/! And then the next, my foot was in that door, and I realized I didn't want to be there. Smartest thought I ever had.

But, alas, it was too late. My trek down that long, murky path called "edjumicashun" had begun, and it stretched for miles and miles and miles.

And now, I long for my days of edjumicashun. I long for the days where I could just sit around and pretend to be working. I long for the days of being done by 3, of having the entire world ahead of me. But I no longer see how I could spend that much free time, and so I spend many hours a day, working.

I was smart once. But I got over it.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

A Pathetic People

There I was, minding my own business, actually working on my thesis again. Yeah, it's still yet to be done, and I figured that while waiting for them to do maintenance on my car was as good a time as any, and better than some, to be working on it. So I'd brought my notebook, some papers, and a pen. Nothing else, if I had a book or cards or even a rock to wind a string around I was sure I'd get distracted. So there I was, minding my own business, ignoring the Olympics that were playing on TV, as I feel someone hovering on the other side of the waiting area.

"Do you sell new cars here, or just used?"

There were three other people waiting, and there I was, shorts, t-shirt, working on my thesis, hidden as far as I could be in the waiting area. But, of course, when I looked up, she was asking me. I was tempted to answer "no" and go back to work. I might have told her to ask someone else, I didn't know. But I'd just been working on my thesis, and I'm oft slow in switching gears.

So I just kinda' stared with this dazed look in my eyes.

I apparently have a good blank stare. It didn't take her long to realize that I had no clue what she was talking about, that I couldn't even manage to switch my brain over from abstract mathematical concepts to the thought of selling cars. Nor would I really want to do so, even if my brain told me that, hey, it's capable of making the change today. So I looked up, I stared. And she realized her mistake. A mistake that I still am trying to figure out.

If /I/ am an official-looking-type-person-thing, I really fear for the state of the world. If I /were/ an official-type-person-thing-guy, I'd even more fear, though, as the world would quickly decline into a spiral of apathy and nothing would ever be done. I'd still be waiting for them to fix my car.

If I'd've ever managed to buy a car in the first place.

Friday, August 20, 2004

One Moment In Time

Often have I wanted time to just FREeezzeeee..

...at some instant in time. I want time to stand still, because I know that things are just going to go downhill from there. Local maxima shouldn't exist, every day should be the best day of my life. But they do, and it isn't, so sometimes I just want time to stop, to let it be for just a little longer.

I've decided that I must design a new camera. A camera whose pictures not only remind you of a certain time, but let you re-live that instant of time indefinitely. A camera that you can carry with you, and in the middle of that awesome moment, that wonderful instant of time, during that unbearable lightness of being, you can whip out that camera and take a picture. Surprise birthday party? Just won the lottery? First kiss? Perfect times to whip out a camera and allow yourself to be there, forever.

Of course, it's possible that I may have not actually thought this through thoroughly. That the thinking that trumpeted this theory then toppled. It's possible that these might not be the proper times to actually whip out a camera.

Yes, there are certainly instants I'd want forever that would be..well..inappropriate.

But still, it seems like a good idea. Even if, being stuck in that instant, I would really cease to be--I could do nothing else, I couldn't even acknowledge the passage of time, for time cannot pass in an instant.

In that moment, for me to live it forever, I would necessarily cease to be.

But at least I'd cease happy. *click*

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Home, Home On The Range

Can I be a cowboy? I never really wanted to be a cowboy when I was younger, but today I think I'd like to try. It should be a lot of fun--playing the harmonica, sleeping under the stars. And always being a boy, even when I'm an old, old man. Yeah, I think that I want to be a cowboy.

So many upsides to it. I really like campfires. When I was a camp counselor, the least few years I got to lead the occasional campfire song, too. (Ok, so it was only one song per session of camp, and it was always the same song. And that was because none of the other counselors actually /knew/ the song. Which was silly, it wasn't even /my/ song, but I learned it from another guy that couldn't come back anymore.) Campfire songs are great. And cowboys get to sing lots of them!

And fresh air. Other than the constant smell of cow, which is pretty icky. Cows are one of the least-clean animals, I'm sure. Pigs have got to be hygienic compared to cows, which is really sad. Pigs get a bad name, when it comes to dirt, but that's only because they get left out in the mud. Cows /make/ the field all muddy--can't have much else after all the grass has either been eaten or stamped out. So I guess the air isn't /that/ fresh, but at least it isn't artificially processed. How can I know what buggies get added to the air in all these office buildings?

And cowboys don't have to pay for gas. Gas is expensive these days. So much cheaper to get the occasional bale of hay and a ton of random plantlife. No way that could be more expensive than having to fill up my car. Unless I were a cowboy with a really, really hungry horse. Or I left my wallet out--it might get confused and think the dollar bills were fairly tasty. But I think I could keep that from happening, I think it'll be so much cheaper to have a horse than a car. More fun too, 'specially if you get the horse with built-in CD player.

So, yes, there are a ton of benefits to being a cowboy. But my favorite has got to be the forever-a-boy thing. Without having to wear green tights, no less! Why bother wanting to be Peter Pan? Of course, if I'm forever a boy, I suppose I'd also forever be a cow. But I guess that everything has its tradeoffs.

Moo. Mooooooo!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Patron Saint of Parking Spaces

I like dancing, and dancing in the city, you get to meet a lot of interesting people. Most of the people I know these days are either (directly or indirectly) through dancing, or because I'm related to them. There are a few other people I know, I guess, like the ones that I went to school with. But mostly I know people from dancing.

And most of the people I know are rather, how do you say it... odd. I used to be the 'normal' one of the group in many ways, which is somewhat sad. It's never good to be normal, 'cause normal is boring, normal isn't noticed, normal just is. It's so much more fun and interesting to be odd. So I like the people that I know. But there's a certain kind of odd that's good, and a certain kind that's..not.

I like dancing. And this past weekend, I went dancing again. I do so decently often. Much too often on the weekends, considering the time requirement to actually drive up to the city and back, so I don't go as often as I could. But, for a couple of really good reasons that I don't believe I will go into here, I went dancing this weekend and had a marvelous time.

Even if I did end up meeting one of those bad-odd types of people.

I even asked the passengers in my car if they'd prefer that I park elsewhere, but they were willing to brave the creepy old guy. I hadn't noticed him until I'd already started parking, and so I didn't ask until parking was done, so they may have just not felt like making me parallel park again. But they should have, they could have, he was creepy.

I literally didn't see him until I was halfway through with my parking job. Pulling over into my parking space, I look out the passenger window, and there's this man, standing on my parking space. A couple of inches from my car. And I'm about to run into him. He obviously knows that I'm there, though, as he wasn't there when I started to park. And he was apparently trying to help me get into the space. Which is just odd, when you're doing a decent-enough job all by yourself.

But I parked, successfully. And my passengers didn't badly want me to move, so I got out, only to be waylaid as this creepy old guy tried to give me a lesson on parallel parking. I suppose he must have had a car at some point in his life.

And I still wonder, where did this creepy old guy come from? He wasn't there, he wasn't there, *poof* there he was. Two inches from my car, and about to be run over.

Do I have a homeless guardian angel, who only appears when I don't actually need help parking? Where was he when I had to park my mother's van?!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Setting Wind

It was a beautiful evening. A bit warm, but the wind made everything better. Not that much better needed to be made.

It had been a while since last I was on a boat. And this one was a bit bigger than dad's little row-boat he kept at our pond. Or the motor boat we used at the lake, but that's because it was just the row-boat with a motor attached.

No, this boat came with a second floor and a guy playing a guitar. And tables--dad's row-boat never had tables. But this one did. And a bar-tender, who ran out of margarita mix before we ever left port. Dad's boat never had margarita mix.

Being on a boat is nice. Being on large enough a boat that you can stand is better, especially if you're at the front with the wind in your face, skimming along near the shore, where you can look at the paths through the trees to people's houses on the outer islands whose only obstacle is a doorway with no walls. Well, a door and the ocean. Being on a boat, the wind in your face is nice. Looking at the fish jumping out of the water, allowing the birds flying above to have a nice meal before they decide to call it a day. Gazing at the clouds, relaxing without a worry or care.

Being in a boat is nice. But it's even better at sunset.

Although I ignored the setting sun, as we turned back to shore. I stayed at the front of the boat, feeling the wind on my face.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Party of the Year

The cops were coming, and we knew it. We'd been expecting them since we first arrived, and were somewhat confused when they didn't yet show. The music was blaring, and late on a Monday night it was a beacon, begging the neighbors to please give the police something to do. The music was thumping away, shaking the walls, giving me a headache, and still they did not come.

It was one of the biggest parties I'd been to. I'm not normally a partying kind of person, especially not the parties where there's obnoxiously loud music and a bunch of high school students availing themselves to the fairly abundant alcoholic beverages. It's been a while since I'd been to a party that high school students actually attended. It'd been a while since I'd been to a party. But there I was anyway, and as the music got louder, I knew it wouldn't be long.

The cops were coming. And the room full of under-age kids and an open bar simply couldn't be good news. The cops were coming, and the neighbors surely wouldn't be pleased, even once the music managed to die down. The cops were coming, but still the music played on.

It was suggested, several times, that at least the music could be turned down. But a real party has got to have loud, obnoxious music. How else would it be known as a real party? The copious amounts of food, the multitude of guests? Even the beer pool isn't noticed by anyone not in attendance. The loud music is a necessity to a good party. But still, it was a request to the cops. "Please! The party isn't complete without your appearance!" It can't be a good party unless the cops show.

So the cops were coming. But I wasn't staying that long. We had things to do the next day, and sleep was fairly important. We'd been there, we'd made our appearance, and I didn't know anyone else anyway. So the cops were coming, but we didn't stick around to say "hi".

And come, they did. Shortly thereafter. The party-goers were sent on their way, the group was broken, and it was a party no longer. But it had certainly been quite a party, everyone who's anyone made an appearance.

Thank you, officer... Would you care for a drink?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Mocha Dreams

I haven't spent much time in a coffee shop before. It's something that I should do more often, but there are so many things that I should do more often, and so little time to do them in. Well, ok, really it's more that it takes so much effort to get around to doing them, but I can pretend the former excuse, at least.

But I did go to a coffee shop, and sat around all afternoon talking and playing cards. It was a good time had by all. A good time had by both, anyway. But that just doesn't sound as impressive. Or at least I think it was a good time had by both, but at least I had a good time, so I suppose that's good enough for me.

We got in to the coffee shop "right before the storm". The person working seemed glad that we managed to beat the rain. Not that it managed to actually start raining, and there was just some thunder and lightning before we got to the shop. Maybe some after too, but no rain. I think she was really just glad that we showed up at all. There wasn't another person in the store, so we had the place to ourselves.

We got our drinks (she, this sweet coffee; me, iced tea), we started playing cards, we had a good time. Or at least I did, but I think I covered that.

After a few short games, sadly we were no longer the only people in the store. Another guy came in, ordered a drink, and claimed the cushy seat in the corner. We would have claimed those seats ourselves, but they weren't very conducive to our game of cards, so we didn't really mind that he took it himself. He apparently shouldn't have though.

The lady working the store, shortly after this guy came in, left in a hurry. She dragged back someone from next door, for she was afraid. For this guy was no longer responding. Poked at, prodded, name called, I'm not sure what all she tried to do to get his attention. Although it couldn't have been much. For the newcomer just had to call his name and he startled awake, shocked and sorry that he had fallen asleep, that he had wasted her time, that he had frightened her.

If he had previous experience frightening store owners in the area, I don't know. But I do know that he's taught me one thing--if I'm exhausted and go grab a drink at a coffee shop, it's fairly important to avoid the cushy chairs. I don't know anyone next door that's willing to come by and wake me up.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Dividing Lines

A Log to Call Home

She lived in a little space, her front door leading onto the stairs. She kept hoping that she was going to move up in the world--the bottom stair was her life's ambition. She didn't even dream of getting a spot beneath the picnic table. But now she lived in a little space, her front door leading onto the stairs.

It was a decently comfortable little space, though. Atop the log pile, one wall was heated much of the winter, being the chimney stack. All summer long it was in the shade, so not too hot. And it was fairly close to where food was placed every morning. The water dish was always full and just half a flight of stairs down. So she was pleased with her home, but even the best home still had its problems.

This one's, of course, being the stairs. Her siblings would run up and down them all day long, sometimes late into the night. Thump, thump, thump, thump, it made it impossible to sleep--to get a decent nap, she'd have to run off into the woods or hide behind the tomato plants in the garden. If she tried to sleep by the stairs, her brother would poke his head in and see if she'd like to go find some mice because he heard that they've been running around all morning laughing at how stupid the cats were because they weren't able to catch them and the mice still were free to roam wherever they pleased, eating most of the food in the garden, and he'd say that if she let them eat up the garden she wouldn't be able to sleep behind the tomato plants. But she didn't want to chase mice; why should she go run around after such an annoying little critter when there was always plenty of food beside the water bowl, down half a flight of stairs?

Or sometimes her mother would stop by and decide that she was a simple mess. She'd have to suffer through the indignity of being cleaned /in/ /public/ by her own mother, as if she were still a little baby, unable to do anything to take care of herself. She'd try to get away, but her mother was rather adept at blocking any and every escape route.

But sometimes her space was the safest around. The neighbor dogs would come over and sit on the stairs, glaring and growling at the pile of wood, at the felines they knew were somewhere inside. But they were too large to fit. Yes, at those times, she was glad to have her space. And so was her brother, who hadn't come close to catching a mouse, but did find a nice lively clump of dirt that would no longer threaten the world. And so was her mother, whom was also filthy after crawling around the wood pile. Yes, at those times, she was very glad to have a space to call home.

But still, some mornings she would step out of her space, onto the stairs, and look longingly at the bottom step, that lovely, wonderful space. Some mornings she would look at her life's ambition and once again dream.

This Is Not the Movie You're Looking For

We had a few hours free in the middle of the day, so we decided to catch a matinee. Didn't bother checking the showtimes--it was going to be more effort to call in and ask than to just stop by and see. So to the theater we went.

Plans at five, and most of the movies started around three-thirty. Or one o'clock, but it was already approaching two, so that wouldn't have done much good either. But given the list, there was exactly one movie that fell into our timeframe.

1:40 . . . . . Napoleon

Sure, it was already 1:47, but there were still previews and missing the opening credits isn't generally too bad. 'specially when the only other option is...err... as I said, there was exactly one movie that fell into our timeframe.

"I just saw a preview for Napoleon, it looks really good," she said. I thought I'd seen a preview for it too, but couldn't recall. Nor did I remember if it looked good or not. And we really only had the one option anyway. We even managed to make it in before the previews were done!

Of course, halfway through the opening credits, she leaned over. "Where's the French conqueror?" she was wondering, as cafeteria food graced the screen. "Where's /France/?" And even more than either of those, she wanted to know "where's Brad Pitt?" For this movie wasn't a movie about an old French guy, this movie didn't even star a name I'd already known. This movie certainly wasn't what we were expecting it to be.

Not that I had any preconceived expectations. For all I knew, it might be about a dog.

We did find out that she hadn't actually seen a preview for Napoleon. The French conqueror, or the high school kid with a grandmother that kisses a llama. Her preview didn't even have Brad Pitt in it. So she was just confused.

Being around me, though, I'm not surprised.

And it was an interesting way to spend an afternoon. Sure, there was no French conqueror, and I still don't know if there was even a plot. But there was a llama. And we all need a little more llama.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

In a League All His Own

It had been a while since last I went bowling. So I fully expected the gutter balls in all of my practice rounds. I was rather surprised at the pin that did fall. I'm still not sure, though, if it was from laughter or pity. Either way, one pin from the several rounds was better than I expected.

So once the game began, I certainly didn't expect to follow up that gutter ball by picking up nine pins. Round one, score of nine. Wow, I manage to impress myself sometimes.

I continued to be impressed the next set, when I got a spare. I hadn't had a spare in /years/! (Ok, I hadn't /bowled/ in years, but that's no excuse, is it?) So after heaving the ball down the lane four times, I had a score of nine. But the second round hadn't been scored yet, so I was doing well!

The surprises just continued, increasingly shockingly as I followed the spare with another spare or two, and a strike and a spare and knocked down all ten pins time after time. I think there must have been a gerbil running around inside that bowling ball. Otherwise there's no way it could've avoided the gutter that well.

So I refuse to believe that I bowled the 170 myself. And the gerbil grew tired as the night wore on, for all three of the later games resulted in lower scores. With my last one (before I decided I couldn't stand going any lower) ended up at an 80. Less than half of my first game of the night.

And the gerbil bowling the game for me explains another thing. We had to give our names, had to be entered into the computer so it could keep track of our score. But my name appeared nowhere on the board, so I had to bowl under the one unclaimed name. That bowling ball was apparently the home of a gerbil named "Josh".


But I Have No Special Shoes

I went dancing again. I even had sufficient warning to prepare myself, but I still didn't really know what to expect. A handful of people having fun, I thought, but I was wrong. I often am.

So the music began, something old and bouncy, I don't really recall which. And they started to grab audience members to come onstage. I've had my share of stage time, I admit, but very little of it has been while dancing. Sometimes it's just hard to say 'no', though; this was one of those times. I didn't want to say 'no' anyway.

On the stage, I looked around. I felt like I was standing in a sea of..something. Kids, I guess, 'cause I stood head, shoulders, and a large part of the rest of me taller than most anyone else on the stage. And boy, were there lots of people there. It was packed, but they all stood in a line. Except the few that were dancing in the line, I guess, but either way they were in a line. Which meant there was plenty of room to dance in the background...if I could dance in a line.

And I mostly did, except the time or two the wall jumped out and grabbed me. I looked silly, dancing on the stage. But I generally do so, so I didn't mind too much. But when my lindy was beat out by a kid doing the twist, when I didn't win the dance contest, my hopes were shattered and I refused to participate in the hula-hoop contest that followed.

I wouldn't have beat that kid either.

But that's ok, I had fun. I got to dance, on stage, in front of an audience that I'll never again see. I got to laugh at the kid using a hula-hoop larger than she. And I got to remember that my dance partner had a bad ankle and got to feel sorry for not taking it easy enough. But she didn't mind, and I got to dance.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Pack Carefully

There are many things that a person shouldn't have to do. But I was forced to do one of them. If I had any other choice, I'd likely have considered it. Well, I did have other choices, but one choice I missed before it was too late. I didn't see it coming, so I lost out. And I guess I kinda' had another option, but that would have required holding my breath for a really, really long time, so I guess it wasn't really an option after all.

There are many things that a person shouldn't have to do. But I was forced to do one of them. I suppose I could have stayed home all weekend, I could have missed visiting my friend. I suppose I could have avoided the trip all together, but I didn't know it would have required doing something that no person should have to do. Or I did know, but it didn't really register until that moment finally came.

There are many things that a person shouldn't have to do. But I was forced to do one of them. I knew it was going to be toasty. It was August, of course it was going to be hot. Sure, it could have been warmer, it was still less than a hundred out. The heat I could stand, the heat was no problem.

There are many things that a person shouldn't have to do. But I was forced to do one of them. I hate having to drink my air, but the humidity gave me no choice. And there I was, without a straw.

Not To Scale

Unidentified Flickering Objects

It had been a decently smooth flight. "Had been" being the key words in that sentence. About half an hour out, we started to get clouds. Ten minutes out, we started to get thunder and lightning.

It was a dark and stormy night, although there was no rain. Just lightning. And probably some thunder, but we couldn't hear it over the roar of the plane's engines.

The first few flashes, I wasn't really sure what I'd seen. Lightning, fireworks, or maybe just someone's computer reflecting momentarily off my window. I didn't know. I kept watch, but saw no more.

For a while, anyway. As we began to lower through the clouds, again there was a bright flash, right outside my window it seemed, as the plane hit a pocket of turbulence. A woman a few rows back screamed. Several other passengers snickered.

And again, I didn't know the origin of the light. Again, it could be lightning, but it might also be that the lights on the wings flashed just as they hit a pocket of cloud, diffusing the light. Or maybe it was that UFO that'd been following me for a couple of days. I had no way to be sure.

Once we finally landed, though, once I got into the car and we started on our way, again I saw a bright flash in the sky. This time, I knew it was lightning.

And I knew previously, it'd been a close escape from a UFO.

A /Real/ Man

I was confused this weekend. That often happens to me. Especially in airport restrooms.

You see some of the oddest people in airport restrooms. My last trip, it was the old lady that wandered into the men's room and couldn't find her way back out again. She didn't seem to speak English, and was horribly confused by the full-length mirror on the end wall. She couldn't seem to get through it, but just knew that that had to be the way out. But I suppose if she's that confused by a mirror, I shouldn't be surprised that she was confused by the whole "men's room" concept.

I am glad I didn't see her again this trip. That would have scared me. And possibly scarred me, it takes a lot of therapy to get over something like that, y'know. No, I didn't see her.

Nope, this time I saw a kid. Couldn't have been more than four, I'd say, but I'm bad at guessing ages. Although I'm often off in excess of ten years, I know that's not the case this time. But maybe he was five.

However old he was, he apparently wanted to be "just like dad". Tried to walk the same, talk the same, y'know, all that. Even dressed the same. Well, not really, but he /did/ have the earring, just like dad.

Not just any earring, either. It was a (hopefully fake) diamond as big as his head! Or the size of his nose, maybe, but still really large. Way too large for a kid that size. I was surprised he didn't fall over.

So this time, in the airport restroom, I saw a five-year-old kid that's more of a man than I. Unless it was magnetic or something--I know I don't want to bother with the pain of getting /my/ ear pierced!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

On the Downfalls of Computer-Aided Society

A Futuristic Society

Interior, a futuristic hover-craft-type vehicle. Bob, the driver, a twelve-year-old-ish kid is seated in the vehicle.

Bob: To Wally's.

Vehicle: Confirmed.

The doors of the vehicle close with a loud CLICK.

Vehicle: Doors locked, trip commencing.

The Vehicle begins to whir gently.

Bob: Great. What's our ETA?

Vehicle: Nine point oh three five two seven six eight four minutes from my mark.

Wally hums a few bars of some random music. He whistles some. A cat runs past the vehicle.

Bob: Um, are you sure we're making it there in nine minutes?

Vehicle: Nine point oh three five two seven six eight four, from my mark.

Bob: Well, if you say so.

Vehicle: I do.

Bob: Well, could we speed it up a bit anyway? We seem to be crawling along here.

A large snail runs past the vehicle.

Vehicle: Negative.

Bob: But I could walk faster than this.

Vehicle: Affirmative.

Bob: So go faster!

Vehicle: Negative. Studies have shown this velocity to cause the fewest number of accidents. We are not to allow harm to come to you; by remaining at the present velocity, we minimize the danger to your person.

Bob: Fine, I'll walk!

Bob tries to open the door, fairly vigorously, but it remains closed.

Bob: Unlock this door!

Vehicle: Negative. The number of accidents of pedestrians on an occupied road shows too great a risk to your person.

Bob pounds on the door as a tumbleweed flies by.

Bob: But there's no one on the road! The accidents of pedestrians on unoccupied roads can't be too dangerous, can it?

Vehicle: That is correct, pedestrians have no more accidents on unoccupied roads than occupied roads do.

Bob: So let me out!

Vehicle: Negative, road is occupied.

Bob: By what? There's no one else out there.

Vehicle: Road is occupied by vehicle number Q four X Z F one three seven A A J two four point oh six I nine Y T L five two three seven point four.

Bob is silent for a while, looking at the road.

Bob: Wait a second, that's you!

Vehicle: Affirmative. Road is occupied by a moving vehicle.

Bob: So stop and let me out! You won't be moving anymore.

Vehicle: Negative. Studies have shown this velocity to cause the fewest number of accidents. We are not to allow harm to come to you; by remaining at the present velocity, we minimize the danger to your person. Stopping would change the velocity.

Bob watches out the window as a tree passes the car.

Bob: How long was it to Wally's again?

Vehicle: Nine point oh three five two seven six eight four minutes from my mark.

Interior, a futuristic hover-craft-type vehicle. Bob, the driver, is seated in the vehicle. Bob now has a beard. A really, really long one. And it's white. Snow-white.

Bob: Err... where're we headed again, sonny?

Vehicle: Wally's dwelling place.

Bob: .... Why?

Vehicle: Unspecified.

Bob: The sky sure is blue today.

Bob sits humming to himself for a while. And whistling. A long while. Imagine a novel's worth of humming. And whistling. That way I don't have to write it.

Bob: Err... where're we headed again, sonny?

Vehicle: Wally's dwelling place.

Bob: .... Why?

Vehicle: Unspecified.

Bob: Well, sonny, if you don't know why we're going, just take me back home now, y'hear?

Vehicle: Negative.

Bob: I gave you an order, you'd best follow it a'fore I go get me a switch and bust your bottom!

Vehicle: Negative. Following the order would put the passengers and myself into greater danger. Changing directions on an occupied road increases the likelihood of an accident. Additional orders cannot supersede this directive. Protecting myself cannot supersede this directive.

Bob: Err, where were we going again?

Vehicle: Wally's

Bob: What was our ETA?

Vehicle: Nine point oh three five two seven six eight four minutes from my mark.

Interior, a futuristic hover-craft-type vehicle. Bob, the driver, is seated in the vehicle. Bob now is a skeleton. A really, really dead one. And it's white. Snow-white.

Vehicle: Mark.

Bob keeps sitting there. But he does get to hum and whistle some. For nine-ish minutes, in fact. Or the lights can dim and brighten to simulate time passing. Whichever.

Vehicle: We have arrived, but it appears Wally no longer resides at this residence. Downloading new coordinates.

Vehicle makes random beeping and clicky noises. Maybe some blinkin' lights blink.

Vehicle: Fourty-seven hundred and sixty-three persons by the name of "Wally" reside within the operating radius. Ambiguous command, all attempted. Beginning with "Wally Number 1". Estimated arrival in Nine point oh three five two seven six eight four minutes from my mark.

A tree runs past the car.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Something To Come Home To

I want a pet. I could probably have a cat or dog without much of a problem. Well, other than the fact that I don't much care for dogs thesedays. When I was younger and they lived outside and dad would feed them when I forgot (which was almost every day, of course), I liked dogs. But then I learned. Cats are so much more interesting and fun, and don't mind having the apartment to themselves, 'cause then they can jump on all the furniture and invite all their friends over and have a huge party as long as they get it mostly cleaned up before I get home. But not dogs.

And in my apartment, I could have a cat. Or two, so they'd have some company when I'm gone all day long, or out of town for a weekend or three. I could have a cat, but I'm around so rarely it seems. So I will do without.

But I still want a pet. Not a dog, I guess not a cat. Fish aren't fun enough, but are really nice to look at. So a good conversation piece, but it won't curl up with you at night. Same with birds and lizards tickle too much when you're trying to sleep. That and the neighbors appreciate them less when they get mad and run away from home.

No, dogs, cats, birds, fish, lizards, snakes, crickets, flys, all the normal pets aren't going to work for me. I'm looking for something different. I think I want a pet hippogriff. You'd think that they wouldn't like to curl up in bed at night either, or if they did it'd be very uncomfortable in my small bed. But you've obviously never actually met a hippogriff.

They're such friendly, lovable creatures. More affectionate than any dog, able to be nearly as independent as a cat. Fun to play with, they don't really grow as big as reported. Unless all the ones I've seen have been babies, I suppose, but I tend to doubt it.

Yes, I want to get a pet hippogriff. It'd make the ideal pet.. if only...

'scuse me, does he come in red?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Soup or Salad? They Avoid Both.

I don't like telephones. They frighten me. So I generally avoid them, although there are a couple of people I'm willing to talk to. But phones still frighten me.

Maybe if I understood better how they worked, I'd be less frightened. But I continue to worry that the tiny lemurs that run through the phone lines delivering messages will get mine wrong, and all of a sudden instead of asking for a date, I'll be asking someone for hate, and she's really much too cute for me to want to be hated. Thank you very much, I'll stick with email. I trust the pixies much more.

Even if I were to assume that the lemurs are perfect-transcribers, the thought is still frightening. How can they get my message across town, much less across the country, and back so quickly? It's not possible, even the most speedy of lemur can't run that quickly! Which of course means that everyone I've ever talked to (via phone, anyway) must be prescient. And I don't like the thought that they know what I'm going to say before I do, 'cause I don't have a clue what I'm going to say before I begin to speak. Again, I trust the pixies much more. They're magical, of course /they/ are able to deliver emails across the country almost instantaneously. Not that they do, it seems to me that they often will take coffee breaks. But when emails travel quickly, I still don't need to worry about people knowing me better than I know myself.

No, I hate phones. I avoid them whenever I can. I'd rather walk across the street than call to have a pizza delivered. I hate phones, and worry that I need to read their instruction book.

I've tried to feed my lemurs, tried to learn to trust them more. But I still don't really know, what do lemurs eat?

Monday, August 02, 2004

A Reptile In My Eye

I saw a lizard. I've seen lizards before, but it continues to surprise me. Which itself is rather amusing, as I had a housemate that had a pet lizard. And lots of crickets, that was decently annoying. Crickets love making noise, and when they discover that somewhere behind and to the right of the washing machine is a good place to live, it makes watching TV more difficult. Maybe it'd've been better if we'd lived in a larger apartment.

But last week I saw a lizard. It wasn't like over the summers at camp. There I saw many a lizard too. Generally running up the outside of the brick fireplace, terrifying the girls, both campers and counselors. Well, some of them anyway. Which made it a lot of fun, making fun of them for their fear. The counselors. Not the campers. It's not nice to make fun of campers when you're older and wiser. Well, I was older, at least. Than the campers, not the lizards. Well, probably than the lizards too, but I can't be sure. They never had to fill out forms to live on the campground.

I've seen lizards in the zoo, too. But they're generally incredibly lethargic and fairly slow. They don't have to work at all for their food. Well, they don't have to work any more than learning to ignore the tap-tap-tap-tap sound that happens most of the day. And that's a lot of work, too; I'd probably go insane. Maybe they would too if it were a drip-drip-drip instead of tapping.

But that's not the lizard I saw. I did see a lizard, though. I think. It may have been a shadow. It was kinda' small, and gone really fast.

I saw a lizard. Even if it wasn't really a lizard. I still saw one. And I see bunnies in the clouds, too.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

The Watering Hole

Wanderin' through the woods for days, we stumbled on a water hole. Surely no man had seen this land before, and it would be many years 'til t'was seen again. But there t'was, and there were we. So we took a drink.

We probably could'a gone further, but we had been lost. We hadn't seen a crick since we'd entered that God-forsaken land. It looked like a lush haven, but the further we traveled, the more we understood.

We wouldn'a left the farm if we'd had another option. We wouldn'a left the women-folk behind, but we had no choice. They couldn't'a made it through. That we knew. But someone had to, someone had to go get help.

The longer we were lost, the more death we found. The deer that first day, ribs showing the hunger it felt. Bugs flocking on its corpse, crawling, consuming its flesh..and their own dead.

The meadow had seemed safe. It seemed the ideal lan, so that's where we began. It'd been a long journey, but it hadn't been as treacherous as it should have been, it hadn't been as fearsome as we later learned it to be. It wanted us in its clutches, lured us in with fresh game and a promise of new hope. It wore a mask, fooled us for just long enough. We built our house, we called it our home. And then it changed.

So there we were, pa and I and the water hole. We should'a known better, from all we'd seen, we should'a been more careful, more afraid. But we were tired and careless. We thought we were out, but we were wrong. And now we know, we can never leave, never can get help. They're always going to be trapped, somewhere in that forest.

And now, so are you.

Paging Mr. Waldo

I decided that my blog doesn't have enough illustrations. Since I have absolutely no artistic ability, however, I'll just have to start including really bad digital photos.

Unlike my inaugural blog post, I'm not going to say anything witty about tuna. There aren't even any tuna in this picture! Unless one of the sea lions had a great snack earlier, but I tend to doubt it. They look too lazy to bother. The sea lions, not the tuna. As I said, I don't see any tuna.

This picture reminds me a lot of "Where's Waldo", but less odd people and more real creatures. And a lot more looking for the creatures than actually trying to find a specific one. I couldn't help but wonder "which of the sea lions answers to Waldo." You can't help but wonder "which sea lions."

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