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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hello, Floreda! 

We're back! Woo! Like a stupid moron, I forgot to take any photos until we got to Pensacola -- so we only have pictures from there. But boy do we have a story!

Two Days in Lovely Paducah, KY

Shortly before 6:00 PM on Saturday, 15 July, my car made a loud boom sound and began to growl loudly. We were on I-24, just outside of Vienna, IL. We drove into a gas station and they called for us a tow-truck operator named Victor. He said he'd be right out but that nothing of course would be open until Monday morning.

Victor loaded my car onto his truck and -- since probably no one in Vienna could fix the car on Monday morning -- told us he'd take us thirty minutes ahead, just over the state line, to Paducah, Kentucky (whose website has a funky little Flash intro worth watching). As we drove, I mentioned (what desperation we find in small talk) that Vienna seemed like a nice place.

Victor shook his head. "Pretty country," he said, "but not a nice place."

"Why not?" asked I.

"Politics," he said, and that was the end of that. As we neared Paducah, he insisted that we go downtown, since the city offers a variety of live music offerings, and that it was totally safe because "there are cops all around." He also warned, however, that we should stay away from two certain streets, since that's where the drug dealers are and "they will shoot you. Because you are white." (TPCQ: "Thanks, racist bible!")

We didn't go downtown that night, but the next day we went to the Museum of the American Quilt Society, which has some very interesting quilts, and intriguing info on how they're made. We also went to Paducah's comic book shop (four guys sitting around playing Magic), and ate lunch at a spot called Jeremiah's (which featured a very friendly waiter and -- oddly enough -- frogs' legs on the menu).

On Monday morning, we called the place to which Victor had towed our car, a place called CarNeeds. Victor has assured us they could fix whatever was wrong. The man at CarNeeds came and got the keys, then called to tell us they couldn't fix it. We had to take it to a place which specialized in exhaust systems. He told me there were two places in Paducah -- Midas&trade and Fred's Muffler Shop. (I forget the real name.) He said they do business with Fred's, but not with Midas&trade.

"Why not?" I asked. He paused.

"I'm not at liberty to say," he explained. So I called Fred's. He said he could fix it, but probably needed another day to get the parts. I called Midas™. They said they'd go get it from CarNeeds and fix it that afternoon. The woman even came to get us from the Motel 6 where we'd been staying, and let us eat our lunch in her office.

As we waited for them to finish, a man who worked there asked the group who was waiting: "Who had the run-in with Victor?" I indicated I was, and he laughed. "He's my neighbor," he said, and then added ominously: "He does things differently."

We escaped from the land of the vague at 3:00 PM on Monday, and drove straight through to Gainesville, arriving at 4:00 AM local time.


Gainesville was, of course, lovely, insofar as I got to spend time with my moms, my bro Mark, and my friends Megan and Kik (and their awesome kids Lan and Laura). We also hung out with Jenny & Joe and Chad and Candi at the bar where Mark is a local celeb, having drunk 100 beers in one year. Because a friend of mine from Fort Clarke Middle School owns the bar, I scored a free beer. Since I hate beer, however, I gave it to Diane, who drank 1/3 or so and passed it off to Mark. We left, but I presume he drank the rest.

We also drove down to Orlando to meet a couple of folks I met online by playing the Star Wars Battlefront II game. They were very cool and although I didn't get to meet their daughter (who also plays online), they treated us to a delicious fondue dinner and we drove back full and happy.


On Saturday, we drove up and over to Pensacola, where we spent a few days with Christie, Garrett, Abby and Max. We had loads of fun, seeing sights (I had been to Pensacola only once, long ago, and for only a day), eating ice cream, playing games, and beachin' it. You can see photographic evidence of all these good times at my Pensacola 2006 Flickr set. Yes, I finally got set up with the Flickr fun foto family. Much easier than my previous methods.

Thanks to Garrett for all the discs, especially the Ricky Gervais shows. chimpanzeeMONKEY NEWS!

Gone in 18 Hours

We planned to make it back over two days, but as we passed Paducah again (it's almost exactly halfway between Pensacola and Madison), we decided to keep going and see what happened. By 8 pm I knew I didn't want to stop, so we pushed ahead -- and pulled into Madtown at 2:00 AM. I tried sleeping for an hour, but then for some reason I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. So I went to IHOP, ate some potato pancakes, and went grocery shopping at Woodman's and relaxed all day yesterday. We watched The Empire Strikes Back (I've been way into Star Wars stuff lately, including comic books and novels, and watching all the movies) and The Daily Show and Colbert and went to sleep.

Then today I woke up, unpacked, did the dishes, and blogged. Thanks to everyone who made this awesome trip so much fun, and hopefully we'll see you again soon. (Happy now with the title, Mark?)


Speaking of Star Wars: Check out Vader Sessions, which combines video clips from A New Hope with audio from other James Earl Jones movies. Funny stuff! Beware, however: It features some bad words and a bit of Public Enemy's "Welcome to the Terrordome".

Today I'm listening to: The Ricky Gervais Show!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

On the Road Again 

Diane and I are off to the swamp! By the time you read this, we will be on our way south to see friends and family in sunny Flor-i-da. Alas, we won't be able to see Annie O'Connell, since she's crazy busy studying for the bar. (She'll be taking it on the day we're heading back home.)

Meantime, check out Diane's latest blog post at CMD, having to do with the cosmetics industry. Cool stuff. Also be sure to peep Jesse and his travelblogging from Costa Rica.

Okay, we're off!


New Strong Bad Email! At last!

Today I'm listening to: Cool Calm Pete!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Return of (The Running Away of) the Lamp 

Yeah, Eileen's a lamp again. Her abdomen got all cut open this morning by some guy (I think he may have been a vet), so we have to put the collar around her again. It's hard for her to get used to it again (I wonder if she's thinking: Not this piece of crap again!), but she's an adapter.

Bon Voyage Jesse

My good friend Jesse is leaving for a teaching gig in Costa Rica. He's an incredible guy, and Madison is going to suck a bit more for his absence. But have fun, J, and keep us posted on the blog!

Assorted Unsorted

Guess who's into crosswords again?

You can tell a lot about a person just by looking at his/her desktop.. Like me, for instance. Oops, I mean me.

Ice Cube's latest album is superb -- he's back on some "When Will They Shoot?" type noise:
Recognize who's a hustler, George Dubya
He's the one that's sittin back, [bad word] ya
With a big [bad word] stuck in ya
I'm from a place where the [bad word] Terminator is the Governor
And he released it independently.
"What is a record company going to do for me that I can't do for myself? Nothing," he explained. ... "It's nothing they can offer me to have a major percent of my record. It's really all about ownership at this time...People are caught up in double, triple platinum. That's lovely, but what's double platinum if you not getting double-platinum money?
TPCQ: "If you don't own the master, then the master owns you."


Chain Reaction is a funny bit of Rube Goldberg flash, with Pee Wee music.

Today I'm listening to: Cube! ("They give us guns and drugs / Then wonder why in the [bad word] we thugs..")

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Football and Frustration 

Congratulations to Italy, who made it into the 2006 World Cup finals! They'll go up against either Portugal or France, depending on who wins today's match. As always, I was rooting for some non-European nation, but all the global-south teams have been eliminated. At least if Italy wins, it'll be a vindication for their bogus tie with the US.

In other soccer news, Islamist gunmen in Dhuusa Marreeb, Somalia, gunmen tried to close down a cinema broadcasting the Germany-Italy match -- because it carried advertisements for alcoholic beverages. When the crowd protested for their right to watch the match, the gunmen fired, killing two people.

Here's what I don't understand: I've been reading parts of the Qur'an as research for the novel I'm writing. It keeps going on and on about what will happen to the non-believers on judgment day, the paradise which awaits the true believers, and so on -- just like the Christian Bible. So if Allah/God/Jehovah/Altin/whoever is going to cast all the wicked pagans into a lake of fire, why is it so important to punish the sinners in this life?

I'm not trying to be dismissive of anyone's faith, really. (And I'm not trying to pick on muslims; I know that plenty of violence has been committed in the name of Christian purity.) But if it's a foregone conclusion that the wicked shall burn forever in hell for all eternity, why are you trying to ban their immoral activity? As Salt n Pepa said:
There's only one true judge, and that's God
So chill, and let my Father do His job
Word. As for the picture -- I was playing the excellent PS2 soccer game Winning Eleven 7, and when Senegal scored a goal against me, their team went to the corner and did a little dance. I thought this was odd (no other team did it), so I looked it up. Apparently it's based on an event from the 2002 World Cup:
After French-based Pape Bouba Diop opened the scoring for the African side in the first half, he tore off his shirt and threw it on the grass. No sooner had he done that then a group of team mates arrived and started performing a dance around the shirt. It obviously brought them luck, as France failed to convert any of the numerous scoring opportunities they had and Senegal held on to score an upset victory.
So now I play as Senegal all the time, that I might see my players dance for victory.


I finally found something I could create a Wikipedia article about: the chaos theory of literature, as laid out by Harriett Hawkins and N. Katherine Hayles. I wrote my senior thesis on this at New College, and I've always been fascinated by it.

So I submitted it for Recent Addition, the "Did You Know...?" section on the main page (today's urgent entry: "student development theories are tools used by scholars and teachers in understanding how students gain knowledge"). Imagine my frustration when I was told that my article (which someone else added to, and another person added categories for) would not appear in Recent Additions because I did not properly cite my sources (even though I'm unclear about why not).

Now it looks like the article will be deleted because it is (in the words of the guy who nominated it for deletion) "pomo [postmodern] nonsense".

For the blurb on the main page ("Welcome to Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit"), they should add: "however, your edits will be massively reworked, belittled, and quickly deleted." Ah, online community!

Good News

The good news for today, however, is: I finished a chapter! Hurray! Time now to do a little dance in the corner of the field. And buy comics. And play video games.


The Dubya Sunday Bloody Sunday clip thing is very well done. And fun. On a bun. In the sun. It's number one. He sings about a gun. Watch it, hon.

Today I'm listening to: Groove Salad!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Go Away Kid, Ya Bother Me 

Yeah, I know I ain't been posting here lately an' such, but I'm on my freakin' vacation. So bugger off!

Here, Try This

Last night Big D and I went to see the new documentary about crosswords, Wordplay. It was pretty good, even though they tried -- as Spellbound did, and it seems all documentaries about esoteric pasttimes are now doing -- to present the crossword as The Quintessential American Activity™. It was fun to see Jon Stewart go at the Times puzzle.

Anyway, they also showed someone making a crossword puzzle, which looked like fun. So I did one of my own. I have to warn you -- it sucks! It's the first xword I've ever made, so keep that in mind. I managed to uphold the vertical symmetry rule, but I had to throw in some two-letter words. Sorry.

So download the Worst Crossword EVER and knock yourself out.


Many thanks to Trogglehumper for allowing me to haul boxes of his crap around linking us to Super Mario LIVE!

Today I'm listening to: Big D's yoga DVD!