Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Lost in Transmutation

Sometimes I wonder... and then I stop that and start thinking. So, the way I see it, sanity is like a roller coaster and my safety bar has come loose. I was thinking about something I heard a long while back that was kind of interesting and I thought it would be of interest to this group. There are those that believe that man evolved from apes. There are those that also believe that apes evolved from some form of life form that crawled from the water and decided it liked trees. However, there are also those that believe that man evolved from water-dwelling apes. I kid you not. The "proof" of this is that when you get in the water, your hair works with your body to make you move more effectively in the water, such as when you are swimming how it sticks down to your body, or how when you are floating it stands our giving you a larger mass, thus making it easier for you to float. I can go along with that, and I can go along with the idea that the reason apes no longer like to go near water is that, deep down in their psyches, they do not want to return form whence they came. What I don't buy, however, is that humans are some how programmed wrong because we do return to the water and that this only proves that we are an abomination unto nature itself.
Now I know, you're probably out there thinking, "Wait a minute, Anonymous-guy-on-the-internet, who thinks these things? What are your sources?" The answer: idiots. Idiots I have to spend every day with. People who, no matter how I shun them, think they are my friends at work and come over and sit at my table during my lunch, making me have to get up and go spend the rest of my lunch at my desk. Now, it could be worse. Yes, this means I get to share my meanderings with everyone in the world, however, it also means that my managers walk by all the time and see something other than work on my computer and think I am "stealing time from the company," even though they have a policy of, if you are on your break, you can use the computers for personal time. Funny that. Sometimes they stop in and ask what I am doing. I say I am on break and they go, "Oh" in a very condescending voice. You know the one. The one that makes you feel like you are explaining that you colored the turtle in the coloring book blue because he wanted to be blue. Don't pretend you don't know what I mean.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah! Apes, I say we just shut the hell up about them and go on with our current human existence. We can worry about them late, when they overthrow the world in 2014.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Some Christians Remember That One Guy... what was his name, oh, what was it? Oh yeah, JESUS

The inimitable Jim Wallis has written a brilliant response to the ravings of radical fundamentalist mullah Robertson. Unfortunately, I've spent a lot of time around evangelical Christians in my life and I fear that the sane compassionate religion of Wallis might be practiced by only a small minority of them. What Wallis says about Batshit Pat's religious views might safely be applied to a stunning number of American Christians:
It's clear Robertson must not have first asked himself "What would Jesus do?" But the teachings of Jesus have never been very popular with Robertson. He gets his religion elsewhere, from the twisted ideologies of an American brand of right-wing fundamentalism that has always been more nationalist than Christian.

Here, here. Once again, I think our friend (how presumptuous of me) the General has hit the nail on the head with these cartoons. I think this one, in particular, is quite nice.

Go check out the rest of them, it's well worth your time.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Am I Always This Angry?, or... The Joys of Customer Service Part III

Perhaps I should just start a new blog and call it "The Angry Librarian" because, I've got to tell you, I enjoy that persona.

Here's today's joyful story. This guy, early twenties, is looking at the DVD collection with apparent disdain. He approaches the counter and with exasperation in his voice asks "Is that all the DVD's you have?" When informed that, yes, those are in fact all of the DVD's (unless he's interested in the many and exciting adventures of Dora the Explorer), he--again with exasperation in his voice-- says "All of the libraries have really small DVD sections-- why?"

To which I respond-- within the confines of my imagination-- "Because we're a library, not goddamn Blockbuster you fucking twit. You see all those rectangular objects made of bound paper on the shelves? They're called books asshole. Books. Someday you might try reading one, once you learn to fucking read. Now get the fuck out of my sight."

It felt good. Better than saying, as I actually did "I dunno". Feign ignorance to the ignorant, life is easier that way.

And on a less serious note. . .

I sent away to Wizards of the Coast for a free D&D kit for libraries. Hopefully they will send me one (did anyone get a reply from their email?), and I'll be able to determine if I can really host a group at my branch. My manager has decreed that it's fine with her, so long as the children's people are in favor, and the children's people have decreed that it's fine so long as they don't have to have anything to do with it.

It's not exactly a glowing endorsement, but I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

An Open Letter to the Kansas Department of Transportation

Dear Fuckers,
Fuck you, you fucking fuckers. Would it be too much to ask if you left one fucking interstate in the KC metro open? Really, would it? What goes on in your planning sessions? Does someone react with shock and dismay when you realize that there is a stretch of highway with no current lane closures? That's a mistake that will soon be remedied. I'm certain there is a special level of hell reserved for you bastards. Though if you're lucky, it will be closed for fucking repairs.

Thank you for your time.

In the News

Now that I've finished my enslavement to those fantasy books, I've gotten back to reading and reacting to the news.

What's with the parents of servicemen turned protesters? I'm assuming you've heard of Cindy Sheehan by now, the woman who has been sitting in front of Bush's ranch waiting for him to talk to her. Also the parents of former NFL player Pat Tillman have been upset with the "official" explanation of his death in Afghanistan after quitting football to hunt Al Qaeda. As someone who has been opposed to the war in Iraq and is iffy about there being just cause for most wars, I suppose I'm glad that more people are questioning things. But a part of me also wants to say to them, "What did you expect?" They signed up for war, or at least for military service knowing it might include war. War consists of people trying to kill each other. If you are going to volunteer for it, you have to realize you might not come back alive. That's why you should question it before signing up, not after it's too late. Make sure the cause is worthy, that you are sure it is worth dying for with no regrets instead of just putting blind faith in our leaders and only realizing later you've been fooled. If enough people had taken this attitude in the first place, we may not have gotten into this mess to begin with.

Of course, some people just don't want to hear the truth of tough situations. A doctor in New Hampshire has gotten in trouble for offering what most consider generally sound health advice to a patient. He told her she could stand to use a few pounds, that it's bad for her to be obese. Naturally, instead of accepting his description of her as accurate and choosing to change her lifestyle or not, she complained that he had insulted her. It's one thing for kids on the playground to make fun of you or a rude person to make a snide comment just to be mean, but it's different when a concerned person simply offers a true statement. Why do we have this constant need to blame everyone for our problems? Why does someone else have to get in trouble if you feel bad about yourself? Maybe she didn't feel bad about herself and felt he should have accepted her as she did herself, but that still doesn't change the truth of his medical advice.

The middle ages return. Apparently, more and more medical professionals are finding legitimate uses for leeches and maggots. So, naturally, the FDA has decided to try and find a way to regulate their use. Seems to me like that will legitimize them once again. No other commentary, just an interesting story.

Oh, and it seems I'm seeing growing press about anti-tax movements in our county. As a county employee who hasn't gotten a decent cost-of-living raise since starting here three years ago, I'm getting a bit worried. Budgets are already tight. What will this mean?

One of Those Days

Today, it seems, is one. One of those days where nothing goes right from the get go. One of those days that starts bad, and, inevitably, gets worse. One of those days where nothing in the world seems the least bit good, or hopeful, or worthwhile, and never ever will. Depressing as hell. Needless to say, I cannot wait for this day to be over.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Release Me from Thy Grip, Foul Book!

Finally finished. When I went on vacation a couple of weeks ago I decided to take a break from the constant flow of kids books I read for work and find a book for myself. I found a recent fantasy novel that looked appealing, The Darkness That Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing, Book 1), By R. Scott Bakker. It was very enjoyable, but a dense 600 pages and not light reading. Of course I was hooked, and as soon as I finished I went on to book 2. So for the last couple of weeks I've been staying up late, skipping my morning newspaper, getting behind on Entertainment Weekly, and finding other ways to get in extra reading. I finally finished last night and (thankfully) will have to wait for book 3 to get published before moving on again. That said, it's an excellent read, and the entire purpose of this post is to recommend it.

Speaking of which, a couple of other recent series which I'm in the middle of and would recommend are: The Briar King (The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, Book 1), by Greg Keyes; and A Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice, Book 1), by George R. R. Martin. A finished but excellent sci-fi read is City of Golden Shadow (Otherland, Book 1), by Tad Williams. And it's older, but I think my all-time favorite fantasy series is The Black Company: The First Novel of the Black Company (Chronicles of the Black Company), by Glen Cook.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Proud to Be a Christian

Pat Robertson is calling for the assassination of foreign presidents now. One of the more influential leaders for a large segment of the American population, a man who is supposed to be a moral guide and help us be more faithful Christians. I don't know, I just don't remember the part of the bible where Jesus says to kill the people who annoy you. How is this not a parody?

Oh, and if you want a different take on Christianity and politics, I recommend you check out Sojourners.

Manhattan Wannabe

I guess going to New York did change my perspective a bit. We were at the plaza on Sunday and it struck me just how much the area is an imitation of Manhattan. The stylish, cultured, non-poor liberals pouring out of the Unitarian Universalist church. The constant pedestrian traffic holding up vehicles. Sitting at the Panera sidewalk tables sipping a fancy coffee drink and munching healthy food. I don't know, it's more than just those individual elements, but something about the atmosphere struck me as similar.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Writers blocked

So I've been trying to write a book for a good... I'd say three years now, but for one reason or another, I can't get it started. I had it nearly (probably) a third done at one time and I had this AWESOME outline for it at one time too. But we had to reformat and I think i might have lost it all. I might have it on a disk somewhere, but then again, I might not. Most would say "c'est la vie" and forget about it (well, the french ones would), but it irks me. I feel like if I am ever going to be an author of any calibur that this project is the way to go. I don't know. Anyway. My point is, what do you out there in the world do to keep yourselves on task with stuff like this. My wife used to help me, but I've become so apathetic about it, that even she gave up. I have tons of ideas for several different books, but it's the writing part I have a hard time doing. Anyone? Anyone? Something D-O-O economics. Voodoo economics... Sorry. Just a bit outside there.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Some More About Gaming

I'm totally not ready for tonight's game. A plethora of time wasters popped up last night to keep me from my necessary preparation, not the least of which was the lengthy post on D&D below. In a nut shell, the cleric needs to be leveled up, and it hasn't happened yet. I'll try to do it quickly during the pre-game meal.

Anyway, I've been thinking more about creating a campaign, or some kind of campaign setting using the D20 Modern rules. I couldn't sleep very well last night, so I broke out the D20 Modern Core book and leafed through it some more. The thing is, in all honesty, it's not very good. There's just something about the system that is lacking. Two things about it bug me: 1)it's kind of incoherent, lots of rules are tossed out for different kinds of modern and future campaigns, but they're so scattershot it would take an immense amount of work to build a single coherent campaign setting from them, and 2) it borrows way too much from D&D. Creatures, classes, spells, you name it.

I think WOC would have been better off building several different games, instead of trying to fit everything in under the D20 Modern rubric: a gamma-world game, a sci-fi game, a gothic horror game etc. Also, some of the rules are just well, stupid. In particular the "Wealth check". Instead of treating money like you would gold in D&D, the D20 Modern rules want you to roll a check to see if you can, at any given time, afford anything from a candy bar to a Lear jet.

I'm thinking of getting rid of the D20 Modern book and going with a different system entirely (maybe just going with the Oriental Adventures/LO5R game setting). Of course there is also the option of building the whole thing from scratch using the Open Source D20 mechanics and making up the settings and rules I need for a totally unique game and world (and who knows, that could be good enough to sell).

Friday, August 19, 2005

Keeping it Real

In the interests of keeping anonymous spam posts out of the comments, I'm thinking of changing the setting so that only registered users can post comments. However, I would hate to add another annoying step for our friends (and well intentioned strangers) to go through to post. Let me know what you think. The decision is not yet made.

UPDATE: While I was posting this we got spammed again! If you know someone that buys shit from spammers or telemarketers, beat them-- they're the reason the rest of us have to put up with this shit.

As Promised: A Post About Dungeons and Dragons

Here are some random thoughts about Dungeons and Dragons:

Lately I've been playing Baldur's gate on my computer. It is hard as fuck. (I know, I know, I use the f-word way too much-- but if you think this is bad, you should read my fiction.) I'd forgotten how easy it is to die as a first level D&D character. Aside from the difficulty it is a rather fun game. The graphics are a bit dated, and I find some of the game play mechanics a bit annoying, but the story, so far, is good. I would prefer if the combat unfolded in a more turn-based manner, like a traditional pencil and paper RPG, but then again, if wishes were horses.... I also recently received, as a late birthday present, a copy of The Temple of Elemental Evil for PC. My DM probably doesn't want me playing it because the campaign we're currently playing in our P&P game is Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and it's entirely possible that I might learn something by playing the computer game that will take away from the experience of the table game. Fortunately for him, it's buggy as hell and no longer has a place on my hard drive. Which is rather unfortunate, because the graphics are quite good, and the combat system is great; it's the first computer RPG to actually utilize the D&D 3.5 rules set, five foot steps, attacks of opportunity and all. It replicates the experience (in a good way) of an actual tabletop RPG better than any computer game I've yet played (of course, my experience with computer RPG's is limited-- I've always been an FPS and strategy guy). But, as I've said, the bugginess (new word?) takes away from the enjoyment of the game bigtime. Maybe I'll go back to it someday after our tabletop campaign is finally finished and someone has managed to fashion some better fixes for the bugs than the ones currently available. It does, however, show the potential for good computer RPG's if Wizards of the Coast and Atari are willing to pursue such a course. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, there are no plans at the current time to do so.

That being said, I have to admit that computer RPG's for all the fun they offer can't compete with traditional games. Pencil and Paper RPG's are as much social event, as they are gaming experience. I've been in my current game with the contributors of this blog (and a few others who may contribute in the future) for a little over a year and a half now, and it's been a great deal of fun. Most of them I barely knew when we began, and now I consider them all to be very good friends. (Sometimes it's hard for us to get to the actual gaming when we get together: too many crude jokes to tell, too many stories of the shit we've had to put up with all week at work, etc....) I've got a lot of great memories from over the years of playing games, and all the time, I'm making more.

I first played D&D probably in junior high with my next door neighbor as DM. He was an incredibly creative guy who made up all of his campaign settings from scratch. When I was making up my character sheet I, on a whim, put the title "Prince" before my character's name, and voila, an entire new direction was added to the course of our campaign. Over the course of a few years the intrigues of the kingdom of Faurrell became an integral part of our gaming experience. This was way back in the day, early '80's, and the rules we used were these:

Eventually we got new books, and moved from Basic to Expert D&D, but never made the leap to AD&D.

We started buying TSR products willy-nilly, each one of my group of friends ending up with a different game. My brother was the gamemaster for Boot Hill an Old West RPG (and one of my favorites, truth be told). I bought Star Frontiers, and eventually, the expansion sets. Another friend had Top Secret. Then I got the original Middle Earth Role-Playing Game.

We rarely played anything but D&D though, partly because our DM was so kickass and none of the rest of us could run a game nearly as good as he could. Anyway, real life got in the way and I took an extended hiatus from gaming. Before joining my current game in early 2004 I hadn't played in about fifteen years (or more probably). Needless to say I know nearly nothing about the rules after all this time. Slowly, I'm learning again. Everything is D20 now. I don't even remember how the mechanics of D&D worked back in the Basic and Expert days, but I do remember that all of the other games were based solely on percentile dice. (With extensive damage tables- simplified for Star Frontiers by the introduction of Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space). Now, of course, I'm getting back into it. I'm still a little hazy on the intricacies of the D20 system, but I'm learning. (I like to joke that because I know less about the rules than anyone else in my gaming group, that makes me the coolest person in the room....) A few months ago I bought the D20 Modern Core Rulebook and have been thinking about putting together and running a campaign as the Game Master. It won't be anytime soon, because I simply don't have the time, nor do I know the rules well enough to run a game, but already I'm thinking about what I might like to include.

Today I added the DM guide to my Amazon shopping cart, and am thinking about buying the D&D Oriental Adventures guide as well.

One thing is for certain: any campaign I create will have to have fantasy elements, because in all likelihood my players will be members of my current group-- who love the fantasy setting. (Otherwise, I might have just bought Spycraft instead of the more versatile D20 Modern). Right now I'm thinking some sort of integration of modern elements with the Oriental Adventures campaign setting would be really great. Anyway....

So there are my random thoughts on gaming for today. Just in case you were wondering I got all of the cool images of vintage gaming books here.

A Milestone

We now have more than one page of posts. This thing actually seems to be going. Let's see how long we can keep this up. Now, maybe someone will actually start reading this drivel.

UPDATE: And, yes, sooner or later I will get around to editing the links so that fully half of them don't link to the Office site.

A working theory

Ever notice that the more managers or supervisors you have that the crap you have to put up with form above is squared, instead of added incrementally. Example: We just got a new lead in our section. Now, when she was one of us grunts, she was nice and normal like everyone else, but once she became a lead, she went all nutso. And now, she has decided to institute a new spreadsheet that makes sure that we are up to date with our Standards of Operating Procedures (SOP's). Not only did we get an email from her saying that it is important that we all know these and keep the updated versions in our training agendas, but since this morning (when she sent it out) we have gotten an email from every manager, lead, vp, you name it on how, now, not only should we implement the training plan, it is mandatory. The most recent email tells us that we have to add a comment to our training database for every SOP we have read, past and future and it will be checked on a weekly basis. If we are missing any, we will be told what they are and to read them. If they remain missing for 2 weeks, we get a verbal warning. After 3 weeks, a written warning. And (you guessed it) if it is a month, it will be grounds for termination. Now, I am not complaining about following the rules. I like rules. Rules are a good thing. It's the stupid rules implemented by stupid people for stupid reasons that bugs me. And all because we got a new lead. Is it just me and this short bus... I mean place I work? Does this happen to anyone else? Please, I don't want to be alone here. It's so cold in this place.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Gossip Is Good

I've always been told that it's a bad thing to be a gossip. It's unprofessional. It creates a negative work environment. It builds resentment and conflict. I can certainly see all of these things and know people who are probelematic because of their constant gossip. But, even though I've always told it's a bad thing, I've never really felt I was doing anything all that wrong when I've gossiped. I wanted to geel guilty, but usually didn't. It turns out I can rest easy. A new study has found that gossip has a positive social function and is quite necessary. Check out the details here and here. Now I might be a bit less hesitant to hold back.

Go, Kansas, Go

I think I still prefer the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but you can find this in the latest issue of The Onion:

An Open Response To My Wife on Our Anniversary


Schadenfreude- Republican Edition

From the Kansas City Star:
Adam Taff, who vaulted from obscurity to nearly upend a congressman, was indicted Wednesday for allegedly using campaign contributions to fraudulently obtain a loan for a $1.2 million home.

Surely such an act will make Taff persona non grata in the Republican party, an organization built upon the high ethical standards of its members. Or, maybe not:
Republican Patricia Lightner, who finished third in the 2004 Republican primary, called Taff “very straight-up.” She said she thought of him as “classy,” particularly for the way he treated her during the race. “I still think a lot of Adam,” she said.

Kobach said the news about Taff’s indictment was “really sad.”

“If it’s true, it’s really unfortunate that a good man like Adam made a bad decision,” he said.

Just a good man making a bad decision, of course. In fact, the entire prosecution is probably some kind of librul plot. Personally I think we should spend $40 million investigating this to see if Mr. Taff at some time in his life might have received a blow job.

An open letter to my husband on our anniversary


I know that I’m not always very good at expressing myself, but I want you to know I love you very much, so I’ve made a list of things I can have a hard time telling you.

My husband, I love you because…
of the curve of your eyebrow
of the way you breathe when you sleep
of your laugh
you’ll make me breakfast in bed
your eyes close in bliss when you hear music you love
your voice sends chills down my spine
when you hold me, I feel safe
of the adorable swirl of hair at your elbows
of the warmth in your eyes
you can giggle like a schoolgirl, or Homer Simpson
you can imitate Meatwad, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Bill Clinton
you knew my favorite flower before I did
you’re passionate about everything
you love to play in the rain
your skin feels good against mine
you’ve made me laugh until I’ve puked
of the shape of your lips
you would literally—and have—give someone the shirt off your back
you’ll spend an hour in your car with a stranger looking for his friend because they were caught in a snowstorm
you love animals
you love babies
you love vindaloo
you love good beer
you love your family
you love my family
you love sensual pleasures
you love movies
you love music
you love books
you love me
you find numbers a source of amusement
you look at me like a work of art
you read me the best bits of what you're reading
you fall asleep to the sound of my voice
you hold my hand when I’m nervous
you hold my hand because you want to
you hold my hand because you don’t want me to leave
your hand feels so good around mine
of your sweet smile
of your goofy smile
of your wicked smile
of your sultry smile
of your happy smile
your eyelashes look so charming against your cheek
you don’t care what I do with my hair
you don’t care about your hair, either
you have graceful hands
you look good in a fedora
when you dance, you put your entire being into it
you love having animals all over you
you’ll clean out the dishes that were forgotten in the refrigerator for months on end
you infuriate me
you drive me crazy
you relax me
you confound me
you impress me
you’re brilliant
you don’t realize how bright you are
you’re openminded
you love your “Can’t sleep, clowns will eat me” t-shirt
you’ve been mauled by a tiger
okay, a tiger cub attacked your shoe
you can cry if you need to
you laugh at everything else
you are angered by cruelty
you hold doors for people
you dance like you’re fighting, and fight like you’re dancing, and are entrancing either way
it’s marshMALLowy
you understand me
you let me know if I make no sense
your hair is soft
you like chicken
and jam
you run with ideas
you love me
you make me feel special
of that quirk you get in the corner of your mouth when you’re trying not to laugh at me
you know what I mean by a “child beatin’ spoon”
you have a habit of buying me things you know I want but won’t buy for myself
the way you imitate Gollum in my “precious” ear
you’ll call me at work just to tell me a joke
even after all these years, you still try to teach me to dance
you hold a sword like you were born with it
you’re a pacifist
you really believe that beauty is within
you make the world’s best chili
of the bliss on your face when you take a bite of good steak
in the time I’ve known you, you’ve gone from being a fundamentalist Christian to a Buddhist
your falsetto is better than my soprano
your bass is better than my alto
you coined the word “meph”
you’re so proud when you manage to say the word “cinnamon” on the first try
you’ll say “antihierarchical” when I can’t
you throw yourself into roles
you don’t do anything by half
of the way you flirt
you’re considerate
you can get so excited you can’t talk without sputtering
your hair is brown and your beard is red
you have great thighs
you’re kind to everyone
you tip well
you always tell me that everything will turn out fine
you never lie about important things
you get frustrated when I don’t know what I want
you get frustrated when you don’t know what you want
you’ll suddenly spin me in a parking lot and dance to music in your head
you know how to set the clock on all the household electronics
you love cartoons
you can debate Marvel vs. DC
you have a voracious appetite for knowledge
you can be as stubborn as I can
you love me
you feel your day was a waste if you didn’t manage to make at least one person laugh
you’re affected by others’ pain
you have a good artistic sense
you like to play in the snow
you love driving aimlessly
you mind will go on sporadic vacations, leaving your body behind
everything fascinates you
you hate being made responsible for things
you take responsibility anyway
you put up with my moodiness
you tell me every day, no matter what may be happening, how much you love me
even if we’re arguing, you’ll kiss me goodbye
you bring me tea when I don’t feel well
you encourage me when I feel incompetent
you cheer me up when I feel down
you reassure me when I worry
you reassure me A LOT
you tell me to get a grip when I’ve gone beyond reassurance
you’re always there for me
you scrub the one you’re with
bad kitty!
you get my jokes
you make excellent French toast
you get so embarrassed when you’re complimented
you can pick out individual lines in a harmony
you can tell me what instruments are playing in a mix of sounds
you want to grow a Mohawk
purple is optional
you’re generally messing with people’s heads and making them underestimate you
you think tough chicks are hot
you think delicate chicks are hot
you think I, who am neither, am hot
you see the validity in all art forms
you can get downright verbose about your passion du jour
you have greater faith in humanity than I can muster
you bring me flowers just because
you’re impulsive
you’re romantic
you might be afraid of getting hurt, but you never let that stop you from committing yourself to whatever it is that you want
you don’t let your passions die
you love me

I just want you to know that for every reason I’ve listed here, I have at least a hundred more. What it all comes down to, though, is one simple thing. So, the next time I ask, “Why do I love you, again?” you can answer, in all honesty, “Because I’m me.”

Or else you can say you like chicken. That works too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

We Have Readers

Wow! There are actual strangers commenting on our posts. And here I thought we would only be talking to each other. Speaking of which, has anyone sent this link to any of our other friends? Do we want to?

New York, New York

Never kept a blog before. I'm sure I'll eventually share some links and political views, etc, but I've also always had the impression they're supposed to be a bit of a diary/journal. Not really my style either, but I figure I'll at least make an attempt.

I visited my sister and her new husband and newborn daughter last week. She graduated with a music theater degree a couple of years ago with the dream of making it on broadway and moved to Manhattan. Other than nine months in a traveling production, she's lived there ever since. She met her guy, a sound technician, during that tour. So I went to visit them and thought I could "do" New York in the process.

It was my first time there and I spent quite a bit of time in their apartment since they couldn't go out much with the baby and all. But I also went and walked around the borough a bunch, making sure to take in as many tourist sights as possible: Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, China Town, Greenwich Village, Union Square, NYU, and many others. Anyway, the whole point is that the things I found most enjoyable were the times when I actually got away from the city and got some breathing room: Central Park, Riverside Park, and the boat tour around the island. I like living in Kansas City, but I guess my small-town roots still hold. The crowding and congestion just weren't for me.

And Where Did You Get Those Damn Shoes?

Oh my, oh my, the fundies are at it again. Via
Jesus' General we get this. Just lovely. Remember the Enlightenment? These people don't. On your backs ladies, it's for Jesus!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

I've recently discovered this:

I'm in favor of the great FSM theory, and would happily promote being touched by His Noodly Appendage. All schoolchildren should be educated in dressing like pirates—it would obviously improve the quality of education.

Gods I hate this state.

Um, Goblin?

What better way to announce my presence than nitpicking? I believe it was a kobold, which is even wimpier than a goblin. Good description, though. Oh, and congrats on the 10K--now you can buy your way into the World Series of Poker.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Joys of Customer Service Part II,... or Happy 10 Grand Day

Well, it's the middle of August, which means I have at long last reached an important milestone in my year. The paycheck I will receive this Friday will push me over the magic $10,000 mark for the year (net, that is). That's right ladies and gentlemen, $10,000 after eight months of putting up with a nearly uninterrupted stream of aggravation and bullshit for forty hours a week (not counting the godawful commute and the lunch hours, which when figured in, leave me with virtually no time that is not devoted to this piss ant job). The real kick in the ass is that I haven't actually made that much money, because, as I found out much to my chagrin last tax season, my employer has not been withholding enough from my check. So, technically I haven't reached the magical 10 Grand point because I owe some of that money to Uncle Sam and God's Own State of Kansas.

(And do not even get me started on benefit deductions and those insurance bastards who are more than willing to take my money month after month, but who will find any excuse or minor technicality to not pay when I need them to.)

Also, annual raises around here are limited to 2% (or thereabouts). Annual rate of inflation: 2.7%. Each year, I make a little less money. Which leaves me with only one thing to say: Fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Joys of Customer Service

Today, for the second time this summer, I got a bleeder. That is, a person entered my place of employment with some sort of open wound and proceeded to bleed on the counter. This might not seem out of place at, oh I don't know, say... an emergency room? , but the public library? Bizarre. Twice in one summer. And for the life of me, I can't figure out the etiquette demanded of this situation. Does one point it out? "Excuse me sir, you seem to be..." The tactic I've taken in both instances is to simply pretend it isn't happening. If he's not going to acknowledge it then neither am I. I'll just wait until he leaves and break out the industrial strength disinfectants. I do not get paid enough to deal with that sort of thing.

I find it comforting in these situations to reflect on the lessons we might learn from one of the great minds in the history of customer service. Never forget to ask yourself "What would Basil do?"

On the perils of gaming. . .

Final Fantasy Tactics is a bitch. Particularly Deep Dungeon (what an original name, too). Why, oh, why do we go to the effort of getting extra, secret characters?

OCD, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Caption Anyone?

Here it is, our first caption contest, the winner of which will receive... my hearty congratulations. Personally I think I'll go with "Ebony and Ivory..." (Feel free to provide the tune yourself.)

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Second Post, or ... A Preview of Coming Attractions

So what's this then? It might be the most incoherent blog on the internet. Posts may be about almost anything from politics to religion to literature to simple observations about the annoyances of everyday life. And don't be surprised if there are a few posts about games (Dungeons and Dragons in particular...), or even, though it may be a little late for it this year, the Tour de France. So, in other words, expect a lot of randomness. We'll try to keep it interesting, but don't say you weren't warned.