Friday, March 26, 2004

Aloha From Kauai

I'm here. I'm sitting in front of a computer at an internet cafe, which probably makes me even more of a geek than you can imagine.

Speaking of geeking, it's cool to have been assigned room 10101. Binary, baby. There is no two!

If the weather is overcast and rainy again during the week, I'll take the time to transcribe the stuff I wrote on the airplane yesterday. 'Cause dog knows there was plenty of time to write. (also to read, I started and finished Will Ferguson's Happiness before I even left the continental US).

OK, geek out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

I have a clock radio that I've had for a long long time. Twenty years? Probably. Maybe even more. Some of the buttons don't work very well anymore, and the display seems to be getting dimmer with each passing year, but it still serves it's purpose. I like the tone of its beep, which is not overly harsh, yet sufficiently annoying. I like the fact that it has a full ten minute snooze, which can be sort of be doubled to twenty if you turn down the radio volume.

I have the volume turned up these days. Not a lot, just enough to hear the soothing tones of Bob Edwards as Morning Edition starts. Actually, I have the alarm set for a few minutes before 5:00, and usually find myself gently wakened by some classical music.

This morning, however, the music, while classical, could hardly be called gentle. No, this morning the overnight guy decided to play the O Fortuna from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.

YES I'M AWAKE, THANK YOU, WCVE. Thank you so bloody much.

Ever wondered what they were singing about?
It's not pretty.

O Fortuna
velut luna
statu variabilis,
semper crescis
aut decrescis;
vita detestabilis
nunc obdurat
et tunc curat
ludo mentis aciem,
dissolvit ut glaciem.

O Fortune,
like the moon
you are changeable,
ever waxing
and waning;
hateful life
first oppresses
and then soothes
as fancy takes it;
and power
it melts them like ice.

Tomorrow I leave for vacation on the beautiful Garden Island of Hawaii, Kauai. I might create a post or two from there, but don't hold your breath.

current music
not feeling musical right now, I don't know why

Monday, March 22, 2004

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Paper, mister?
Gee, no thanks kid. I decided not to get the daily paper anymore.

It's not just that the Richmond Times-Disgrace is about as "fair" and "balanced" as Faux News. Mostly, I just finally decided that I wasn't getting much out of it. Most of the stories I was interested in, I'd already seen somewhere on the Web. And now I'll be saving $14 a month.

I guess it was mostly habit. For as long as I can remember, we always got the daily paper. Sometimes even two of them, back when many places still had a morning and an evening newspaper.

I'm still going to have them deliver the Sunday paper though, so I can get the ads. I have to be able to shop, after all.

Well it's one better, innit?
Today was the first day of this bold newspaperless experiment, and of course I neglected to take anything different with me to read while riding the bike to nowhere at the gym. Perhaps that contributed to me being able to finally make a new "distance" though. For as long as I've been on that damned ride, the final readout has always told me that I managed to go ten point something miles. On a couple bad days, it might have even been a tad under ten. On a good day, maybe as much as ten point six something. Today though, I had nothing to look at except the various numbers displayed on the bike's console. (OK, and occasional eye candy that might have been walking by. But that's another topic.) Since I limit my cardio time to 30 minutes, I tried very hard to keep my average speed above 22 mph. I sweated my ass off, even pegging the effort meter at the top of the screen (for a few seconds anyway). And when I was finally done, my shirt as wet as a dish rag, my hearbeat in the danger zone, I checked the final reading.

Distance: 11.00 miles.


current music
Kissing The Pink - Capsized

Friday, March 19, 2004

They Say

In which your intrepid correspondent ignores the traditional Friday Grab Bag

They say Time Loves a Hero.

They say "Human beings use only ten percent of their brains." I hope somebody else has been taking up the slack for me, because I've only been using about two percent lately.

They say "Confession is good for the soul." OK, so they probably had a different kind of confession in mind than the one I did last night. But I still feel really good. I talked to somebody about a really bad time in my life, stuff I'd never told anybody about. Because when you fucked up as badly as I did, it's probably not the kind of thing you want people to know about you.

They say "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." I'm going to concede this one without discussion.

They Say.

current music
Weekend Players - pursuit of happiness

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Back to the Important Stuff

Try to be careful, don’t take no chances, you better watch what you say

Well, I'll say this for the current administration and congress - they're forcing me to actually learn all that civics crap that I didn't really pay attention to in school.

Seems we have some rogue representatives who want to have their cake and eat it too. To wit - Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004. "To allow Congress to reverse the judgments of the United States Supreme Court."

The specific details:

The Congress may, if two thirds of each House agree, reverse a judgment of the United States Supreme Court--

(1) if that judgment is handed down after the date of the enactment of this Act; and

(2) to the extent that judgment concerns the constitutionality of an Act of Congress.

You may wish to review, as I did, the Relevant section of the Constitution. (Maybe it's just me, but sometimes when I read portions of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, I feel like the writer knew what he wanted to say, but didn't get it all down on paper. Of course, that seems to by my style as well).

Searching for information on this bill led me to several other blogs, including Thoughtcrimes, where the entry included a link to Federalist Paper 78. Actually, their link is malformed, but that's not important right now.

Of course I realize that the Federalist Papers are not law, but one thing I do recall dimly from school is that they provide a damned good idea of what those guys were thinking as they worked on creating the basis of a new form of government (cf: my parenthetical comment above).

"The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex post facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing."

I'm getting pissed. It's not enough that they want to eliminate equal rights. Now they want to get rid of that pesky system of checks and balances. We go halfway around the world to ensure access to oil topple a dictator, all the while trying to distract the people at home from the efforts to move us closer to a totalitarian theocracy. It's not going to happen. We can't let it.

What I should be listening to:
Talking Heads - Life During Wartime

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Less politics, more drivel

Everything you always wanted in a blog. And less.

I guess it's a good day to lighten the tone a little bit. It's all gray and rainy and cold outside here in the thriving metropolis of Glen Allen, so the prospect of writing a serious blog post is not appealing.

What is appealing is the realization that in nine days time, I'll be on the beautiful island of Kauai. I can't wait to be there, although I'm not ready to go. And the getting there part sucks, but not as mightily as the leaving part. At least this time I arranged for what I hope will be a better series of flights. On both my previous trips to Hawaii, I've had a connection in either Chicago or Dallas with a straight shot to Honolulu. So we're talking nine or ten hours of coach class. It's as bad as you can imagine, and then worse. This year, I am flying from Richmond to Chicago, Chicago to LA, and then LA to Kauai. Same number of flights, but more evenly timed (approximately three, four and five hours, respectively).

I've been hitting the gym regularly for a few weeks, mostly because it's something I need to do, but also because of the upcoming trip. My weight doesn't seem to be melting away, but I find myself lifting more and more as I go through the little circuit of machines, so I guess there's some kind of benefit. Still, it would be nice to put on my new board shorts and not scare the wildlife.

Easily Amused department
I had a cup of yogurt this morning - Kroger store brand. The "style" as printed on the label was "Fruit On The Bottom." Fair enough. Except the flavor was "caramel creme brulee." Wha' happen?

And a shout out to my buddy Ken who told me a funny story last night with the punchline "there is no two!" Which I'm not going to explain any further.

current music
Erasure - Loveboat (no wonder it had trouble getting a US release, it's just not that good)

Monday, March 15, 2004

It's about more than benefits

One of the questions I've heard regarding gay marriage is "if it's about love, then what difference does it make whether the government says it's OK? It's really about getting the benefits, isn't it?"

Aside from the fact that denying benefits to a certain class of citizens is, indeed, unequal treatment, and leaving out my oft-stated opinion that "marriage" ought to be something that is only defined by religion, not any government, anywhere, I would like to quote the following anecdote that was related by a friend. Emphasis within the quoted section is mine.

My best friends in town thought things over, took a deep breath and marched downtown today to get married. Friend #1 emailed me a copy of the marriage license as soon as he got home. They're so excited -- they've been together 25 years.

The decision to issue gay marriage licenses happened so fast no provision was made yet for differences on the multipart forms, so one guy had to be the bride, officially. There was some last minute squabbling about this but they did scissors, paper, stone and Friend #2 got to be the groom. After obtaining the license, and having made no plans for this eventuality ahead of time, they found that ceremonies were being held at a gay dance hall nearby, so they went there and found a mass of other couples and a full selection of various denominations of clergy ready to do the deed for them.

Unlike the county forms, everything there was customizable, so a suitable ceremony was assembled from various bits and conducted by a UU minister. A mixed race lesbian couple stood in as witnesses and dykes of honor and now my friends are married. I'm so happy for them, even if the officialness of their status doesn't stand up to ongoing political insanity. "At least we can say we were married," they said, grinning.

Twenty five years. TWENTY. FIVE. YEARS.

It's the LOVE, stupid.

Friday, March 12, 2004

The Now Traditional Friday Grab Bag

Hey, in these modern times, these go-go days of the young twenty-first century, things move fast, traditions are formed in the blink of an eye, and if you're lucky, they go up in a puff of smoke about as quickly.

Condemn me for being a frat boy if you must, but our hazing was never this bad
The other day, when I was researching the stuff about the founding fathers, I read in several places that George Washington was a Freemason, which would account for his reverence toward a deity. Somebody was probably yelling "Oh God!" after this little mishap, too.

Birth, School, Work, Death
Did I mention that I cried?

OK, this is serious, so I should probably stop thinking about Gwen
Margaret Cho steps up.

I'm a dedicated follower of fashion
Today might be casual dress Friday, but my boxers match my tattoo.

In case of Rapture, can I have your car?
The gay people in love are coming. And they've got tattoos and funny haircuts and want to get married and celebrate their love and be left alone.

Current Music
24 Hour Party People (Music From The Motion Picture)

Thursday, March 11, 2004

You is talky meat. Don't make me come down there.

I went to see Mystic River with some "friends" the other night. Now if you've seen this flick, or have heard about it, you know that it's a tense mystery drama. The only people I want to hear talking during a movie like that are the ones on the screen. But no, the people I was with were full of comments throughout. "Oh, Lord!" "No, don't!" I don't even want to know what all the commotion was about when one of them got paged.
Pssh! More talky meat.

Last night I went to my second yoga class. The room is already dark when we go in, to set the mood. If you walk into a darkened room, don't you automatically find your self speaking more quietly? Yet in walk this (married?) couple who are just yakking away at full volume. I'm trying to get my yoga vibe going, so I try to let it go. Then the instructor puts turns on the music, and it does seem to bring a halt to most of the conversation. It's nice and quiet. I'm sitting there cross-legged, straight-backed, trying to breathe deeply, when suddenly "I WEIGHED 139 ON THAT SCALE TONIGHT. IT WAS 140.2 THE OTHER DAY. THAT'S 1.2 POUNDS."
What it matters, eh? Eh, talky meat?

We manage to get through the class with a lot less noise after that, and I end up feeling all relaxed and mellow and shit, and I say to myself "Self," I say, "how about a nice sauna?" Now understand that my gym has a co-ed sauna out by the pool. I walk in just behind another couple (it must have been date night at the gym) and climb up on the bench. Now these two are talking as well, but it's the sauna, not a class, so I'm down with that. Me, I'm trying to maintain the yoga-y goodness inside, sitting up straight, eyes closed, breathing deep. Then I hear the unmistakable sound of a kiss. OK, um, eewww. Somebody else came into the room and sat in the opposite corner from the couple, and suddenly there was a full-bore conversation about kissing animals and pets who drink your beer. "HE CIPHERS IT OUT WITH HIS TONGUE, HA HA HA HA HA." Yeah, she said "ciphers."
Shut! Shut! Shut! Shut! Shut! Shut! Shut!

And people wonder why I live alone.

Current Music
Pet Shop Boys - Art (again. still. whatever.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Don't Know Much About History

Sadly, the headline is true. I don't know much about history. I lay the blame squarely on the "teachers" in high school and college that made sure the topic was as tasty as dry unleavened bread. That's been sitting on the kitchen counter for three days. And gotten dusty. Memorizing dates and names and being able to draw the borders of ancient kingdoms on a blank map . . . woo fucking hoo. Who the heck ever thought it would be a good idea to make a class called "History of Western Civilization" that only lasts a semester? Of course there were "United States History" courses as well, that were just as superficial and boring.

Now that I'm getting closer to being all grown up, however, I've been noticing that certain episodes or event do catch my interest, and I wish I knew more about them. For example, when I took my fabled Route 66 vacation a few years back, I found out about the Navajo Code Talkers. Neat stuff that appealed to my love of espionage and my apparently inherited interest in cryptography (Thanks, Dad!) I also noted, on my first trip to London, how the general public seemed to know a lot about British history, and they've got a lot more of it over there. It was humbling.

So when I noticed a sig on somebody's Slashdot post that said "The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine. - George Washington", it caught my eye. Take away the cherry tree and the dollar tossing stories and there's not much left in the GW section of my brain. I looked around and discovered that the quote isn't something that ol' George came up with sitting around the tavern, tanked on a couple of ciders. No, it's actually from "The Treaty of Tripoli," which was initially written while GW was President, although there's apparently no evidence that he wrote it.

There is a well-researched article about this, and a lot more refuting the concept that the United States was founded as "a Christian Nation" here.

George was fairly mellow though, in comparison to Virginia's golden boy Thomas Jefferson. He came up with this doozy -
And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.

I gathered that one from this site, but it's easily searched out any number of other places online.

The point to all this rambling is that it's too bad I never knew about this before. As I find myself more politically aware and involved, it's going to be necessary to have a freakin' clue about what was happening 200 or so years ago. Maybe I should have paid more attention to Schoolhouse Rock.

Current Music
Pet Shop Boys - Art (from the keen PopArtMix box set)

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Hey you! You talk funny

Caitlin is having a yard sale this weekend. I'm going to take some of my junk fine treasures over there too. But my New England background insists on calling it a "tag sale."

On the other hand, I've said "y'all" for most of my life, despite having spent the greater portion thereof north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

And when I get home from Hawaii next month, you can count on me saying things like "Aloha" and "Mahalo". Chances are very good, however, that I won't be trying to wrap my lips around "humuhumunukunukuapua'a."


Speaking of Connecticut, the Tom Leonard's Farmers Market finally opened in Glen Allen, VA today. You may ask yourself what that has to do with Connecticut. Tom's father Stew has a regionally famous Market himself, with two stores in CT and two in NY. I've been waiting for this new place to open since I first saw the signs on the uncleared property a year ago. Of course I'd never actually been to any of the Stew Leonard's stores in CT. And my lunchtime excursion to Tom's place was underwhelming, although the bananas were cheap, the audio-animatronic dogs were, ummm, Disney-esque.


It's a little depressing when you go to the trouble of quoting Suicidal Tendencies on your blog and nobody gets the joke. Perhaps that's because my readership is smaller than a small thing that's really really small. No, it's okay you know, I'll figure it out. Just leave me alone, I'll figure it out you know. I'm just working on myself.

Current Music
Röyksopp - Melody A.M.

Let Freedom Ring

READ THIS. You may see this letter posted elsewhere or sent to you via e-mail, attributed to Bette Midler, but umm, no.

Monday, March 08, 2004

It doesn't matter, I'll probably get hit by a car anyway

Sometimes I try to do things and it just doesn't work out the way I wanted to. I get real frustrated and I try hard to do it and I take my time and it doesn't work out the way I wanted to. It's like I concentrate real hard and it doesn't work out. Everything I do and everything I try never turns out. It's like I need time to figure these things out.

Lawrence, if you're having a really bad time, has anyone ever told you, "Sounds like someone's get a case of the Mondays"?

Don't mind me, I skipped my workout this morning.

current music
The Cure - Disintegration (surely not the best choice today, but what are you gonna do?)

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Martha Martha Martha!

Great googly-moogly! Is this truly the most important news story of the last twenty-four hours? Halliburton is probably ripping off the US taxpayers in some new and grandiose fashion, but some two-bit blond who writes picture books about gracious living gets convicted of the charges against her and you'd think the earth was standing still.

Just like a month ago when with Janet's boob. Granted, Martha's fox stole was a wardrobe malfunction of the worst type.

current music
Groove Armada - At The River

Friday, March 05, 2004

Friday Grab Bag

in which the author just writes a bunch of unrelated paragraphs

I still miss Calvin and Hobbes
Get Fuzzy is the best comic strip out there, IMHO. It's not published in the local daily, of course. Apparently people still want to read Mark Trail - that is the strip with the people who are not able to use contractions. They do publish Frazz, which is a well-drawn strip, on Sundays only. (I came across this strip while doing my research, which was pretty funny.)

You just can't make this stuff up!
If this guy wins his appeal, I'm quitting my job and moving to Germany.

Fool's Gold
OK, Amazon, WTF? You can call it "Larry's Gold Box," but it's really not, is it? Take today's selection: Five (count 'em FIVE) necklaces, a George Foreman rotisserie, a bracelet, a mouse, The Last Waltz on DVD, and a vacuum. Six jewelry items? And although I didn't look closely, it seems that at least two of the necklaces were identical except for color. I want better selections, and I want them NOW!

Hat still in hand
I need to increase my readership by several orders of magnitude. Or maybe just double it, as long as the new people are rich and generous. See Wednesday's entry, below.

current music
The Cure - Entreat

Thursday, March 04, 2004

"Eddies," said Ford, "in the space-time continuum."

Yesterday morning I was dismayed to discover that ten days of regular gym visits and trying to eat right had resulted in a loss of ZERO pounds. I should have been blissfully ignorant of the fact, because I'm trying to only check the scale once a week. (Daily weighing just makes day-to-day fluctuations painfully obvious. That way lies madness). However, I had seen an ad on Tuesday morning mentioning the Great American Weigh-In, so when I got up yesterday, I went ahead and stepped on the scale. That was the dismaying part.

This morning, I did my regular ten miles or so on the bicycle ride to nowhere, and then I did another two miles on a fancy elliptical trainer doowacky. Then, ignoring the voices inside my head, I weighed myself on one of the scales at the gym. It's one of those doctor's office type, with the weights on the beams and all that. And according to that scale, even with my gym clothes and sneakers on, I weigh five pounds less than I did naked at home yesterday morning.

Woo Hoo!

My plan now is to find other scales that I can use that are equally as confused. At this rate, I'll be looking pretty phat by the time vacation rolls around.

"Ah," nodded Arthur, "is he? Is he?"

current music: various Pet Shop Boys mp3s that some "friends" have "shared" with "me"

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Hat in Hand

I just found out that one of my internet friends participated in an AIDSWalk in Honolulu this past weekend. Now many of you may have something similar happening in your neck of the woods (unless you live in Richmond, in which case your neck has to stretch all the way out to Charlottesville), but if there's a chance that you'd like to donate towards my buddy's Walk, I could send the link. (I don't feel quite right about posting it openly). So anyway -- larrymac AT cavtel PERIOD net is the email for me. Please don't sell it to the spammers.

Dispatch from the Island of Misfit Toys

It's warm outside. Of course, PTB keep this office space at about 75 or more all day long, which sucks. No wonder I'm always sleepy in the afternoon. I have too much stuff to do to be stuck in an office all day anyway. That's why I took a two and a half hour lunch break.

I keep thinking about what I want to be when I grow up. Then I keep looking at the stacks of photos I've taken, and the equipment I've collected and I think "there's got to be a way to make some money with this stuff!" So, I posted links to some of my favorite shots from my polar bear expedition, over to the right. Not that providing free access to my pics is gonna make me money. Unless somebody from the National Geographic sees them and realizes that they can't live without me.

Also, I'm going to look into putting some stuff up on Zazzle. Anybody ever hear of that? Seems like it's worth a shot.

- - -

Tonight, I'm going to a yoga class. I've never done anything like that, but it's all part of the gym membership, so I figured, hey, why not give it a shot? I'll be all stretched out and mellow when I get home, right?

current music: another collection from Starbucks -- this one is Love Songs.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Interplanetary Daydreams

I woke up this morning to hear Bob Edwards telling me that NASA was going to be making a statement later today about the search for water on Mars. So I laid in bed for almost an hour, sorta dozing, sorta listening for more details about the story, which my semi-conscious mind told me had to be coming up soon. Then I almost convinced myself to skip going to the gym. Then I remembered that I need to be wearing a bathing suit in twenty-four days, so I got up and went. Even though I watched the morning news while taking another bike ride to nowhere, I still don't know anything about water on Mars. As long as they don't use the phrase "Earth shattering kaboom," I think we'll be OK.

[Heh: Slashdot posted the story about the upcoming press conference and one of the comments said: I know what it is -- one of the chief scientists saved a bundle on his car insurance.]

In other news, comments look like they might be working again . . . or not.

And . . . I'm stealing the idea for the line below from a friend. And probably countless other internet users.

current music: Kraftwerk - Tour de France Soundtracks

Monday, March 01, 2004

Do not attempt to adjust your set

My comments provider seems to be having some trouble. But it's a free service, so I'm not complaining. If it persists, I'll find another way to do this stuff.

Please stand by.

Yet another thing I'm doing that's not normal!

"Rabbit Rabbit". That doesn't relate to the headline, but you gotta say it first thing, 'cause it's the first day of the month.

Anyway, I sat down to peruse the headlines this morning, as I often do, and saw this story: Yahoo! News - Study: Blogging Still Infrequent

More later after the caffeine kicks in -- although I found some leftover ephedra based "supplements" over the weekend and took some of those, so I'm already pretty zippy.