October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, from my pumpkin to yours.

October 30, 2005

Happy Birthday, Bowman!

Very happy first Blogosphere Birthday to my very good friend and fellow-blogger Bowman today!

October 28, 2005

Photo Friday: Delicate.

For Photo Friday: Delicate. Some really cool witch balls for sale at Vulture Fest this year. I have one from Spring Fest 2004 in my living room.

October 25, 2005

New camera.

I treated myself to a cheap tripod today and played with the "My Colors" settings on my camera tonight. This is a cool [fake] Tiffany lamp that always reminds me of chilly and rainy March days and reading reading reading (reading) over a pot of coffee in tiny cups. With these settings, you can select a color that will come out, while the rest of the image is black and white. I didn't think I'd like it, but it's sure fun to use. And I love that lamp. It's about time I got around to posting more photos. I'm glad I bought a cheaper camera, too.

October 24, 2005

A410 in the house.

Why don't I use a Canon Powershot A520 anymore? Well, I don't want to talk about it. I'll talk around it and mention that I have owned four and rejected two more at stores. Not to mention the two A620s I had to return (and pay the restocking fee on one because the jerk Geek Squad bonehead didn't believe me about one). Canon's new 4X zoom lense is crap. They all have lint, dirt or hair under them. One of them was actually chipped! Every photo I've taken since getting that damned thing has a huge white dot in it. Damn it. So I thought I'd give Canon my consumer finger and buy something from someone else. But I couldn't find anything anywhere made by anyone that didn't get bad reviews, cost too much or look and feel ugly to me. Nothing else worked. So I was ready to spend a lot of money I don't have on an expensive Canon. A fancy one or a sexy one that is the size of a credit card. Then I thought about it. Number one, John ain't got much money. Number two, I'd just baby it and never use it. Number three, I didn't want to give Canon much more bread. Number three, why complicate my life more by getting a complicated camera for hobby shots? So I bought the Powershot A410. It's brand-new (came out like last week), but it only has 3.2MP. So what? It does more than the A520 (and A620, since the A410 has a supermacro mode). It has full manual controls and some cool modes. And it was cheap. And sexy. Since my photos are for blogs that get reduced in size and quality anyway, I really don't care about the MP. I don't print photos anyway. If I did, I'd get a film camera and save some money. This baby has the new DIGIC II chip, is USB 2.0 compliant, is very small and fits 535 pictures only my SanDisc Ultra II memory card. And it can take close-ups wherein a pencil point fills up the whole shot. That's sweet. Yeah, sweet. The LCD screen is small (which I like, since I'm always paranoid about scratching them), and Canon cut a few more corners to make it cheaper. But at only $149 for a really nice camera from Canon, you can't really complain much. However, Canon, if you can read this, I'm flipping you off right now from my computer for making me run around like I did. Wankers.

October 20, 2005

No Pity: a little ditty.

NyQuil is great, it is good, it is true. You can't have my NyQuil, no, not even you. It helps me to sleep because I'm a little sick. The green kind tastes yucky, sucky - ick! Once in college I tried that crap Thunderbird, And it tastes like garbage, soaking in terd. Well that green NyQuil tastes much worse, And I wanted to drink Thunderbird or poop from a horse Or something more foul or disgusting than this, Such as waking up an ulgy old hag with a kiss. Cherry NyQuil is also bad, tastes like trash, And it's a sick color, like fake blood or a rash. But I can swallow it without gagging And get around without lagging And buy it without nagging* And build up my nice winter time stash. [*They took out the Pseudoephedrine, that redneck drug dealers use to make meth, so the old ladies at the store don't eye me up for buying it anymore.]

October 19, 2005


I'm always sad that I miss the Fell's Point Fun Festival in Baltimore, the first weekend in October. I had already developed a taste for going every year when I met my wife in September of 1997 and had our first official date at the Festival on October 4th. True, it's gotten more "commercial" over the years, but it kept Fell's Point from getting booted for a highway. I didn't get to go when I lived in Boston, nor for the last two years, but I made it in 2003. We got married exactly six years after our first date, so the festival was that weekend. We stayed in the Admiral Fell Inn that night and hit the festival the next day. When we got out here to Southern Illinois, we checked out Makanda on my birthday in late August, and I immediately dug it. I was excited when I learned that there would be a festival in October, my favorite month. We went, and I found Vulture Fest to be way...cooler than the one in Fell's Point. Less food and beer and more hippies, artists and interesting people that you are thankful to learn live around here and don't wear camouflage all fall, even to the mall and the market (not that there's anything wrong with blending in with the hunting aisle at Wal-Mart). I don't have the blog power to convince you to go to the Vulture Fest or the Spring Fest in May. Nope. You'll have to trust me and go. I'll even give you a ride, maybe, as long as it hasn't rained around then.

October 18, 2005

Letter B.

So, I think I have concluded that bloggers are some of the nicest people you are likely to meet. Either that, or especially nice people like to blog. Behold the bountifully bestowed bevy of beautiful chocolate and sugar that I received in the mail Friday from fellow blogger and Baltimorean Neighbor Girl! Damn, I say, damn. That's a lot of candy. Good candy. And yes. What you're wondering about: my pants do fit a little more snuggly since Friday. I'm cool with it. I'll ride my bike soon, promise.

October 14, 2005

Photo Friday: Conspicuous.

So, yeah, this is a re-post. Sorry. But come on. This is the epitome of this week's Photo Friday challenge: Conspicuous. Bet you can't guess what's in this can. I'll have some new photos from this weekend's Vulture Fest, I'm sure. There are always some...interesting people there to steal photos of. And my parents are coming to visit. Hey, I like my parents. We will go hiking, shopping and get a little drunk. Bonding! Yeah, my folks kick ass. They are driving 850 miles to visit me for a weekend, and I haven't seen anyone in my family since the spring -- won't see anyone else or my beloved Baltimore until Thanksgiving week. I miss you, Mobtown.

October 12, 2005

Sleepless under this blanket.

Yeah, that's my bedspread blanket type thing. My 2006 IKEA catalog came the other day, and guess where that cover-up dealy is from. It's warm, but not too warm. I can't sleep if I'm hot. So, dude, I was up the other night/morning at 4:30 because I was waking-dreaming about Nietzsche and pencils. Re-read Twilight of the Idols that day and was organizing my pencils that night. Yeah, I have that many pencils. Come on, you know this. Love dictates knowing it. Love! One particular German pencil I have had affection for is not made of cedar, and I was jolted. Had to revaluate my pencil values. Kept me up. Yeah, that's the second best philosophy joke ever. Maybe the third. I'll tell you the other two one day, if you haven't heard them. Call me, dude. I can feel your anticipation. But you have to have been force-fed Thomas Aquinas at some Catholic school or university to get the second one. Force-fed because oxen are not fun, no matter how good the exercise is. Ah, so much philosophy humor. I should go on tour. Leben lang die Jesuits!

October 11, 2005


Trying to sound smart is not my thing. Should erase the last post. Ever wake up dreaming of pencils? I did last night/this morning. That's alarming. Very.

October 10, 2005

Book burning.

Two weeks ago, I got to go to a reading of banned books organized by the staff of Morris Library. It was even a gorgeous morning for the reading. I don't remember anyone's names, but I'm pretty sure that this lady was reading from Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Whomever was going to read Ginsberg was ill, so there was nothing from "Howl" read. I have to admit that I was disappointed that no one selected any Hemingway, since he's as banned as Steinbeck. I was suprised by the kinds of things that books get banned for. Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms is banned because of the extra-marrital affair and pregnancy and because of the drinking. Harry Potter encourages witchcraft and general cheeky-ness. It seems that books get banned because they have naughty characters. But how come no one bans things like Nietzsche for the ideas (save for Communist books, I suppose)? It's probably a good thing that books don't get officially banned because of the ideas as often as they get banned because the characters drink and sleep around, and I am sure that there a lot of books that never make it to publication because of the ideas expressed in them. I realize I'd be setting myself up if I were to ignore that. But it is strange to think of how Puritanical and judgmental we are as a society. I suppose that the gay marriage debate comes more from this than from the Bible. And with a lot of other things. There's nothing in any holy book that says that weed is a sin. But it's illegal. Etc. We're not pious. We're uptight.

October 07, 2005

Photo Friday: Five.

(Click HERE for larger version!) The nerd in me wanted to get a photo of two people giving/taking five. Or of myself with five arms or heads or something -- but I don't use photo-editing software, really, save for resizing. So, for Photo Friday: Five, here are five Moleskine Diaries/Planners, including my current big fat daily version and the 2006 daily desk size that a friend sent me for my birthday. The pocket weekly was ruined (if you ask me) when they went verticle. I even tried to use it, but I liked the page a day version. However, I find that it's an unhappy medium. With the weekly versions, you only get enough room to make lists, even the larger one that my wife uses. With the pocket daily, you think you could use it as a planner and diary -- maybe even for notes and doodles. But there's not enough room for that, so you wind up having to still carry a notebook with you. Carrying two books is a pain. I'm really really excited to get started on my 2006 large daily format, because I know it's the only book I'll have to carry with me. There's enough room for planning, recording what I already did, notes and library books to check out, addresses to jot down, doodles to doodle and pencil haiku to write (yes, I actually do that). True, it's the "large" one, but large Moleskines are no bigger than a trade paperback or other academic book or modern novel -- smaller, often. I always have a bag or the car, so that's no problem. And I get the convenience of carrying one book. And, you know, that might just be the sexiest Moleskine I've put my hands on yet.

October 05, 2005

Big belly.

"Look into my eyes!" the gnome says. Gned, rather. Gned with a G. You get it. I didn't name him. The person who gave him to us did. You can see my sexy new camera in Gned's eyes if you click the image. Gned has a divining rod for finding water, and someone (not me) kept putting him behind the flying pig on the table between the chairs, in front of the window. The height of the rod was equal to the pig's tail. Yeah, use your imagination. They had to be separated. (I didn't do that, either.) So today I ate a lot. And I think it's funny. I ate three left-over veggie tacos (they have fake ground beef in them), a handfull of Quakes (some weird cheesy puffy dealies that the wife likes and I eat all of before she touches) after dinner. Pasta for dinner. Three left-over fake meat "hot dogs" for lunch. A croissant and half a box of candy (movie theatre) for breakfast. One cup of tea. Three Diet Cokes. Six or seven cups of coffee. Yeah, I just think it's funny that I ate half a box of candy for breakfast. Charleton Chews. Oh, yeah. Biked a lot (over an hour), so I don't really give a shit that I ate too much. It's the what, not the how much. What's the line from "Doo Doo Brown"? Something like "Never drink Pepsi, always Coke/You got the right one, babaay"? Yeah, that makes no sense. That's the Pepsi slogan from the early 90s. He's saying to drink Coke. Still, if you're from Baltimore, imagine the doo doo doo doo doo da doo part sung by a drunken white guy with a thick Baltimore accent, serenading his Baby Mama (her name is always Ashley) with this little tune of moderately short-lived fame. That's as funny as eating candy for breakfast and waiting behind your front door for the FedEx man to leave, pissing yourself like a kid on Christmas because your Dick Blick order is here. I'm a barrel of laughs tonight, I tell you. That, and fake meat.

October 04, 2005


I took this last year on my wedding anniversary (today) in Paducah, Kentucky on the riverfront. My nickname in high school was Poopy, applied by the principle, a nice Friar. Long story, but it didn't involve any lack of control of my own body functions, more like art class. Yeah. Whenever I talk to the very very few people from high school that I ever have contact with, they still call me Poopy. I think it's funny. I dont' dye my hair red or wear my golf-green Dr. Martens anymore.

October 03, 2005

Who you callin' maladjusted?

So, like, I was thinking last week. But I didn't want to say anything, because I'd prefer to avoid having internet stones thrown at me. I was watching "The Simpons" and wondered about smart people, more specifically, the over-achieving kind. And I'm married to one, so think of that before you accuse me of not liking the intellectually blue-blooded. In the episode of "The Simpons" where Bart is in danger of failing the fourth grade (a very early episode), Martin is reading under a tree while the other kids play ball. The ball comes over, and he's clueless about what to do about it. He has no idea of how to be a normal person. Yeah, I'm gonna assume some level or type of normality out there. Yeah. So, I wondered it, to some extent, the over-achievers start to run the country (our present fearful leader excluded, of course). Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar, for instance. They run companies. Etc. Is that why nothing works? Or maybe I have my facts all wrong. Maybe the over-achievers never amount to anything usually. Maybe it's the terrible under-achievers (like me, and proud of it, sucka) who run things. Lazy people who don't like to work for work's sake. Maybe they run things, and that's why nothing works. Maybe there's no connection between them, too. I've been known to imagine connections that are not there. But do at least some people become academics because they are too entirely maladjusted to function as normal people? They don't know how to play ball, so they just read under trees? I'm trying to think of some successful academics who are still regular people, and I can't think of very many. I'll brag that I prefer the company of writers, carpenters and computer geeks to my fellow academics, most of the time. The exceptions are the few academics who are still normal people. People who can get drunk or hyped up on caffeine and never once want to talk about some damned philosophy book that "everyone" has read or the current state of public schools. I disagree with the implied adage around universities that a person is fun to be around and an adept conversationalist because of the books he or she can work into "casual" conversation -- because the GRE words one uses daily. I sometimes respect people more to the degree that they can exist without having to mention the latest fucking translation of Twilight of the Idols or anything by Milton in conversation. Or is the problem that we marginalize smart people as a society, so they don't feel like they can play ball and that they have to find something else to do, like read under a tree? That we always lord over smart people that they can't catch a football or get laid -- so that they throw their German-speaking abilities and vast knowledge of Shakespeare in everyone's face in retaliation? Whenever someone makes fun of me because I don't know how to fix a car or rock-climb, I admit that I love to respond that "At least I'm not a stupid piece of shit who can't read Kant" -- whether I actually say it or just think it. And come to think of it, being able to read Kant is not necessarily a desirable quality in a person. I do feel the prejudice against intellect in the United States. And it always makes me want to call everyone I can stupid. I've spent entire afternoons in Carbondale making fun of the stupid ways that people try to drive automobiles: "Look at that dim-witted sumbitch trying to handle that Excursion!" has become my favorite saying. And I love to point out how stupid celebrities and talk show hosts are. I know I'm not alone in this, since my favorite people all do the same thing. Maybe it's a vicious circle (or least a mean one) where smart people act like asses, and we treat them like crap. And they act like bigger asses, so we treat them even more like crap. And so on. Or that we treat smart people like crap, so they act like asses, etc. Whoever does it first, it doesn't seem likely to stop anytime soon. But that's Okay. Watching inane television is all the more fun if you feel superior to the host.