Saturday, July 31, 2010



you see now
but not then
bitty pebbles
but now—
lots of bitty pebbles
all coming

how long
you can’t stop
too many

was it because
no one noticed
the first
bitty pebble?
But we all
and they don’t
bitty pebbles

so I pick up
a shovel
to scrap
what’s left
of me
after your pebbles
Hit me

but not you
too many

9:23 pm 11/25/07

Friday, July 30, 2010


I'm writing this on Monday night, and I'm watching a Magic deck construction in progress. I haven't really played any of the last Magic set (like at all) and am feeling a little overwhelmed and uncomprehending. I'm quiet since I don't really have anything to contribute to this conversation, and I'm wondering if perhaps I've been out of the loop too long. I'm about to see a Devastating Titans deck charge against a discard deck (I think), which should be highly entertaining.

I suspect my problem is that I was introduced to nerding too late in life. My first exposure to popular fantasy culture came from Lord of the Rings (one could argue that was part of my first exposure to life in general), and while I can play Magic and Dungeons & Dragons and Runescape, there are other parts of my nerd education that I fear may be too late to catch up on. I've listened to people talking for hours about different comic book worlds and characters and Star Wars this and Star Trek that and I fear that I may never reach the point where I can sort the Marvel heroes from the DC heroes with anything resembling accuracy.

Aaaaand both decks just discarded three cards and Devastating Titans take six to the head. Discard deck is shaking his head; it appears as though we have an interesting situation shaping up.

I've been called a nerd before, but it is for these reasons that I feel I am not worthy of the title. I simply was not indoctrinated in the comic / roleplaying world at an early enough age. The most I can hope is to be a pseudonerd--able to say Hello, Where is the Restroom? but unable to give a doctoral thesis in the Language of Nerding.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shopping, Or, What I Do When I'm Feel Masochistic

There are three things I love shopping for. It's not really so much an act of shopping as it is an act of giddy adoration coupled with an inability to acquire those items forever and ever.
Those three categories are books, alcohol, and knives. What can I say--I like to read and I'm attracted to sharp, shiny things. Especially if it can fold up and hide in your pocket. And there's just so many different varieties of alcoholic beverages in the world I suspect I won't be able to sample them all before I'm forced to leave this mortal coil.

Otherwise, the process of shopping tends to be a slightly arduous and torturous process. I approach clothes shopping like an undercover sting operation: sidle into the clothes section in hopes people will think I'm just cutting through on my way to the electronics department, grab a few different items of clothing that I don't think my nearest and dearest will try to embarrass me for wearing, ninja my way into a changing room, struggle in and out of multiple pairs of clothing while becoming aware of the fact that the last time I showered was two days ago and I'm forcing my slightly sticky body in and out of cleanish clothes that I don't own, select the two or three items that don't make me look like an horribly bloated elephant...and then I make a dash for the cash register because right now I'm really in pain and I want to get the most painful part of it (spending money) over with.

The only item of clothing I tend to be picky about are sandals--possibly because I wear them almost every day year in and year out until they finally fall apart on my feet to get away from me. They can't have Velcro straps because those collect lint and eventually stop staying attached; they have to be open-toed so my toes don't get all sweaty and gunky; they have to have a heel strap so I can run without worrying about my shoes falling off; and they have to at least give the illusion of having some sort of tread so I can caper over rocks or whatever I feel like capering over without doing a snake on a greased pyramid impression.

I own about three to five items that can be combined to give me a semi-professional look if I ever need to dress up. The downside of these items is that they seldom have pockets (which are essential for my keys, chapstick, cell phone, knife, and whatever else needs to go into my pockets that day) and force me to carry a purse which I don't normally do (most of the time a bellybag waist purse fanny pack does nicely).

The funny thing is, sometimes I do my normal approach of digging random items out of my drawers and then people are asking me what the special occasion is. I guess this just goes to show all things are possible in a chaotic universe.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Too Awesome to Not Say Anything About

Click here, really, it's funny




Okay, hopefully you clicked on the link.

I just want to say that was an awesome counter-protest and does what any serious counter-protesting would have probably not been able to accomplish.

It's a shame there's people that have to go around spouting hate and exemplifying the utter slime to be found in their hearts while hiding behind a false cover of religion. If they really want to read their Bibles with an open heart and mind they'd find that without love they're nothing. It says that in the literal black and white print they're so fond of making up misquoting.

Thank God for Comic Con Nerds!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Of Mice and Minor Annoyances

There are some things I don't really think about until suddenly, they're annoying.


Corded computer mouse.

For a number of years I've used a wireless mouse for my laptop, one which you plug in a USB drive and it communicates to your battery-powered mouse. I use the mouse for most things because it's hard for me to have the same degree of control with that tiny little mousepad on my laptop. Sadly, this dependency renders me severely handicapped whenever the battery in the mouse dies and needs replacing; I end up raiding all battery-powered items in the house until I successfully find one and steal a battery from it. I'll be sure to buy more batteries before we need the Swiffer again, right?

At work, my mouse has a cord. At least it doesn't have that gray lint-trapping ball in it and has a nice laser light instead. However, I've discovered that I'm constantly having to move my mouse cord so that my mouse is not impeded in the course of its duties. This, in itself, impedes the efficiency of moving the mouse. This is making me annoyed.

On the subject of mouse batteries, I used to use rechargeable batteries, but it appears that both my battery chargers are terminally ill and soon to go to that great electrical outlet in the sky, or wherever electronic items go  after they get hurled into the nearest garbage receptacle (according to Futurama it's space). I am now faced with the choice of buying a pack of batteries or buying another battery charger for rechargeable batteries that are probably bad themselves. Which means I'd have to buy more rechargeable batteries.

Pack of 17,000 batteries it is.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Monday Morning

I scramble for the the alarm as it beeps at me. It doesn't feel as though I have gotten enough sleep but the twirping tells me I'd better have. My brain frantically scrambles to disentangle my last dream from waking reality. Some mornings are more difficult than others; if I get yanked out of sleep mid-dream I have to run down the list of reality checks: this is my bed, the window is on that side, there is no warehouse, I can't actually fly, etc..

I crawl off our California King bed and make a stumble for the door. The aroma of coffee in the air reassures me that yes, I did remember to set the automatic coffee maker last night. I stumble past it to the bathroom for a quick visit, pausing on the way to turn my laptop on.

Upon exiting the restroom I enter my password into the computer and navigate to the kitchen, where with any luck the coffee pot has stopped gurgling. I pour five seconds worth of sugar in my coffee cup and then fill it up with coffee. A quick stir and a quick sample tell me that it's sweet enough. Clutching my coffee mug like the Holy Grail, I slog to the couch where my laptop has hopefully finished loading everything and open the Runescape home page in hopes that they've updated the game today.  This week they're supposed to be making an upgrade to their clue trails. The way clue trails work is that you get a clue scroll from a monster and then you go on a treasure hunt all over the world of Runescape, following the clues. If you're lucky you get cool stuff.

No update, which makes me sad for all of two minutes as I log on and set off to slay Hellhounds, which is my current slayer assignment. Twelve red dogs later and I get a clue. I decide to save it for the update (as you can only get one clue at a time and I want kewl st00fs) and set off to gain a fishing level.

I end up not getting the fishing level because I'm trying to find a way to get my Facebook to announce whenever I have a blog post. This takes some time. I also run across a way to put a 'Like' button for people to like my posts, so I figure how to put that in (took some HTML code insertion). I am startled by the sudden appearance of Roommate, who mumbles a good morning in my general direction and sets about making himself breakfast. I am finishing reading Cracked articles when Roommate offers some corned hash and eggs. I have a small amount before looking in the refrigerator for items I can throw together for lunch. Today, we end up with some leftover stuffing and McDonalds chicken nuggets. I nearly forget but I grab a white nectarine to accompany the other items in my soft-sided lunch bucket. I then head to the bedroom to put on some out-of-the-house clothes and to put my pocket items in their appropriate pockets. Today I switch up some of the pockets; the keys ended up in the right front pocket when they normally go in the left front pocket.

I then give LOML a kiss, and he gives a happy grunt without waking up. I grab the lunch pail and backpack and head for the door. It's raining, so after putting my sandals on I sidle against the house wall for as long as I can before making a dash for my car.

Five minutes of driving, I'm at work and it's not raining anymore. I walk into the office I share with two other interns (M___ is already in, as usual). I set my backpack down on my seat and head for the kitchenette area to stow my lunch. I get a cup of espresso and head back to my desk. It appears that the computer in Chile is still running the program I told it to before I left on Friday, which is good; however there appear to have been no earthquakes over the weekend. My mind is still refusing to put thoughts in sequential order. But that's Monday for you.

Facebook Update Test

Just checking to see if I actually have this done correctly so it will auto-update on my Facebook page when I have a new blog post up.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Adventures of Ravenroar Company I

These are essentially going to be updates from my Saturday night Dungeons and Dragons game. My character, Cerra, is a 'human' cleric of the Raven Queen. Enjoy

Dear cousin Lady Cierra Ravenroar,
As promised, here is an update on our current adventure. As you know, I left the Castle Ravenroar for Overlook some days ago with the volunteers to assist Overlook against the orcs and the threat of the Red Hand. The dragon paladin, Ataeo, the elf ranger Thallamain, and I were given horses at Brindle to facilitate our swifter arrival at Overlook.

When we reached Overlook, we found the place to be more full of bustle than a maddened anthill. A sprawling tent city had sprung outside the gates. We notified the guards at the gate (who were turning people away) that we were from Ravenroar and Brindle and they let us pass, giving us a token so we can leave and return freely. We headed for the Guild Hall, where we were told the headquarters for the volunteer effort for the army would be, and were told by a man sitting at a table by the door to come back later. He asked for the name of our company, and, having not discussed this ahead of time, I told him we were called Ravenroar Company. I believe it is a good name, if somewhat lacking in imagination, but I do what I can without your presence, Cousin.

We camped outside the city and returned to the Guild at the appointed time. We found it packed with adventurers and others of all stripes. One group, the Farstriders, seemed notoriously boastful and proud. I find such pride to 'rub me the wrong way,' as the common vernacular would put it.

The council asked for volunteers to rescue the monks of the Sundered Chain and their artifacts from their monastery, which is located in orc-controlled territory. We volunteered. The Farstriders were assigned to block tunnels that orcs apparently had been coming out of. I only mention this in light of what happened later.

We set out the following morning for the monastery. It had been recommended to us to take the Path of Penitence, a secret pass that would probably have not been found by the orcs. It is more of a vertical cliff than a proper path, but we were able to scale it. We finally came within sight of the monastery while remaining concealed ourselves, and saw orcs patrolling the wall of the monastery. Persuading the others to remain while I checked out the situation, once I was out of sight I put on a orc-sized Red Hand cloak I had obtained when we had been waylaid by the creatures on our way to Overlook, and used the ability that runs in our family to change my appearance to match those of the orcs. I had, this morning before we set out, completed the Comprehend Language ritual so I could understand the grunts of those ugly beasts. In this manner I was able to walk into the front gates of the monastery without arousing suspicion and was able to investigate the status of the monks. I saw a few dead ones, but the remaining living ones had barricaded themselves into their training room and several orcs were guarding the doors. I counted 24 orcs, and after thoroughly apprising the situation I returned to the others, taking care to return to human form and removing the Red Hand cloak before doing so. Upon my return the others informed me that one of the orcs on the wall had fallen to his death and they were able to procure his cloak. We then set a course of action for when twilight fell. Ataeo and I disguised ourselves in cloaks (and I made myself larger) and walked back through the gates of the monastery while Thallimain put himself in a position to cause a distraction when we came out, hopefully with the monks.

I spoke Orcish to the brutes guarding the doorway to the room the monks were in and suggested that we would take their place as guards while they went outside and got drunk. They fell for the ruse and our only difficulty now lay in convincing the monks (who had barricaded their door from the inside) that we had been sent to rescue them. Ataeo passed our task letter under the door and they finally let us in. They had been in that room for several days (since the orcs invaded) and did not know most of the orcs had left. We then accompanied them out of the monastery to where the majority of the orcs were around their campfire outside. It is a sight I will not soon forget: it was like an orange sea flowing and then enswarming the orcs as they fell like trees in a flash flood.

The monks thanked us for our assistance and informed us that the orcs had come in through the wine cellar. They also told us the artifacts had been stolen and taken into the tunnels by these orcs. They implored us to retrieve them, which we set out to do.

There is more to this story, Cousin, but the hour grows late and my hand is tiring. I will try to write more soon.

Blessings of the Raven Queen be with you,

Your cousin, Cerra

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Evolution of the American Minion

Minions are a special class of people. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, they are the ones who rush into the room ten minutes into the movie or by page 3 of the book to be slaughtered by the hero. They are so far down the social ladder as to be under the ground. They are usually regarded by their superiors (i.e. the chief villain) as being mere cannon fodder to keep the hero busy while he escapes/finishes his evil plot/laughs in the background. They have the constitution of a snowball being chucked into the Grand Canyon and all tend to dress alike; after all, its not like you want to disturb your hero by letting him kill people or anything. You rarely hear any mention of what their health (or life) insurance is like, do they have families, etc.. Another indication of their life quality is seen when the hero, after wading through scores of minions and rolling around in their blood, will finally catch up to the villain and then will refuse to kill him because "he wouldn't stoop to his level" and determines to be the better man by not killing the villain. If the hero was really all concerned about the loss of life and all that, shouldn't he have thought about that before murdering all those fathers, sons, brothers, etc.? At the very least, he should kill the villain so he couldn't hire any more minions for the hero to slaughter.

But more than hero fodder, you can tell who the bad guys of the current era are by what race/uniform/species the minions are. Usually, it's whoever we don't like at the time.

Back in the Wild West days, "Injuns" served the role of cannon fodder. Many a cowboy claims to have killed X men, not counting Injuns, either because there were too many of them or he didn't actually hit any of them. During World War II it was the Nazis, because, after all, how much worse can you get than a Nazi? Nazis managed to claim the role of villain/minions for decades, they were that evil. And easy to hate. Especially in this land of the free and brave and chronically insane, judging someone based on their race was totally uncool. Really.

Soviets have spent some time being minions but it was hard for them to oust the Nazis on the sheer uncoolness factor. And so we come to the modern era where everyone is trying to understand each other and that guy you're shooting at is just fighting for his country, just like you, and we really need to get over this warring idea. Or whatever.

Then someone came up with the perfect minions: ZOMBIES!!!!! They're not alive, they only think on a very animalistic level (if at all), and they manage to be worse than the Nazis in that they're like, impossible to stop, and there's none of this business of being just like us. You know, with blood flowing through their veins and cognitive processes and whatnot. You can kill as many of them as you want without your conscience tallying how many widows and orphans you're making.

Long live the Zombie Minions! In a five-second machine-gunfire way, of course.

Friday, July 23, 2010

To Catch a Shyling

If ye would catch a Shyling,

          Walk ye soft, and speak ye low;

Step ye with a butterfly’s steps,

          Whisper ye with the breeze;

If ye would win a Shyling’s heart,

          Be prepared: the road is long,

The path lies through unseen woods

          And twists through haunted vales;

If ye would love a Shyling,

          Brace yeself; it’s scars run deep,

It has known fear, it has known fate,

          It has walked in the night of dreams.

If ye would ensnare a Shyling,

          And crush it in thy grasp—

Better ye to bite a dragon’s tail,

          Or steal a tiger’s claw.

8:36 AM 5/14/08 © Jamie S.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

General Theory of Specialness

Warning: Big Thoughts post ahead.

Occasionally, I have Big Thoughts. Occasionally, I write them down (occasionally x occasionally = rarely). This is something I wrote down in Scritch (my doodling notebook) a few months ago, and now I feel like sharing it with the rest of the class.

In an overwhelming quest to be special, we seek to divide the world into Us vs. Them; PCs vs. NPCs. There is Us, and people Not Like Us.

But this is not the case. Imagine, if you will, that every person can be represented as a dot on a page. Instead of flat cardboard cutouts that we so often see when we look at people, each dot is encircled by a sphere. This sphere, if you will, represents a story.

We are stories. I am a story. The twist of narrative plots and accumulation of small details have flowed from the past and flow through me to a future I can affect by what I do to the story strings as they flow in the present.

But every person has their own strings of story, not just Us. Even the simplest of people are at the center of a complex web. It is incorrect to stereotype people as it means we are trying to stuff people into boxes they may not fit, cutting off strings that go into their story. It is incorrect to stereotype ourselves, for this puts an artificial limit on our actions and our interests that cuts us off from the wide variety and colorfulness that is Life.

Some stories are in bright, vibrant colors that are easy to read. Some stories may attempt to seem dark or angsty or mysterious while at the same time appearing shallow or contrived. Some are written in invisible ink while others are written in a language few understand. Some stories manage to be all of these at the same time.

By categorizing the world as Us vs. Them, PC vs. NPC, My Bubble vs. Not My Bubble, the world becomes a shallow place limited by what we can splash out of the puddle of our understanding. But by refusing to limit our expectations of the Universe and the people it contains, the same puddle becomes an ocean. An ocean of stories. And, I suspect, a better place.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Books I've Read Recently

I saw The Forever War by Joe Haldeman on the paperback shelf at my college library and decided to give it a go.
I really like this book. Okay, some reasons why I like this book:
The author isn't afraid of time dilation. In the vast majority of sci-fi I've read and watched, the author/screenwriter comes up with some reason why time dilation isn't happening, possibly because it makes linear stories that much more difficult if the world Captain Kirk returns to is vastly different than when he left it. So we get wormholes and hyperspace and sometimes just pretending that time is absolute and not affected by light speed travel. At the very least some kindly, if arrogant, alien race will share the secrets of superlight speed travel so the home base will be under the same administration when our heroes return.
But in The Forever War, humanity is fighting an enemy they have never seen. And this is made more complicated by the fact that, while mere months are passing for our main character, he's returning to a different Earth every time he comes home. And while our character gets a happy ending, it turns out the war he's been fighting for over a thousand years was completely unnecessary and a waste of time. Oh, and the dominant human lifeform is essentially a hive mind, with the main character and several other planetfulls of people serving as backup in case something turns out to be wrong with the hive mind/clone group.
I like books that are able to be different from the norm. The world should be allowed to change.

I've read Making Money by Terry Pratchett before, but I have a tendency to read Terry Pratchett books the way some people eat chocolate/breathe.
This book is a sequel to another novel, Going Postal, and continues with the same lovable rascal, Moist von Lipwig. A former shyster/trickster, Moist is getting restless with his government-mandated job of running the Post Office, up to the point where he breaks into his office for fun. So the tyrant Patrician of Ankh Morpork assigns him to cleaning up the Royal Mint and getting the populace to accept the idea that money can be paper and not gold.
I really emphasize with Moist, who, as a reformed criminal, thinks that, as long as he can run away, he won't have to. I feel the same sometimes. As long as the metaphorical door is open you don't have to kick it down.

Most recently finished book is another Terry Pratchett book, Men at Arms. The Night Watch is going through some changes, as "affirmative action" is being implement just before Commander Vimes is due to marry the richest woman in the city. For the first time the men of the watch include a dwarf, a troll, and Angua, who does double duty as both a werewolf and a woman. We also learn about adorable swamp dragons which sound like dangerous pets due to their tendency to explode. We also meet the Gonne, which is more an idea than a mere assemblage of parts, and Corporal Carrot (adopted dwarf), who manages to be very simple in the way Lake Placcid is. We also meet Assassins, and Fools, and the legendary heir to the throne (Carrot) who nevertheless thinks people ought to be able to not depend on royalty to solve their every problem. Oh, and we know he's heir to the throne because he's got the crown-shaped birthmark and sword and he can even stick a sword into and out of stone.

Terry Pratchett has this way of being able to tell a good story while prodding at everything that's silly in humanity through the ages. I highly recommend his books. Really.

On Commenting

Aloha Readers,
I cordially invite you all to comment, indiscriminately, on my posts. This has the effect of boosting my self esteem so that I feel that I'm not writing into a vacuum, and also gives you the feeling of accomplishment (i.e. "I got w00rdz on de Interwebz!!!"). I do have it set so I have to approve comments so you don't get bombarded with "Free Cell Ringtonezzzz!!!!", because I find those really annoying. You can be anonymous with your comments and you don't even have to set up an account.
Mahalo in adavance for commenting,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Color of Music

I have a mild form of synesthesia. Synesthesia is a condition where sounds have colors, days of the week have tastes, and numbers smell (Here is the Wikipedia link:

Mine is not really that extreme, and I was not really aware that there was a name for what I was experiencing until I googled “the color of music” a few years ago. You can do the same; it’s rather fascinating stuff. My synesthesia seems to be limited to music, a few voices, and other random stuff (The word “Tuesday” is lime green).

Have you ever watched music on the Windows Media Player? That’s something like what’s going on in my brain when music is playing. It manages to be more complex because it manages to incorporate motions and feeling and curlicues and occasionally detailed pictures all into one nice sensory bundle.

Something I found noteworthy is that different genres of music have different background colors. All songs usually vary to some degree but they usually have a background to match their category.

Country music has a warm brown background. Classic rock is black-gray (don’t ask me to explain that), alternative rock tends to be blue-green over black, hard metal is black with sharpness, mariachi is old-banana yellow, Celtic is blue-green hills, and Native American is purplish canyons.

Usually a mix of two genres results in a mixed background (Eagles are a brown-blackish-gray), but there seem to be exceptions. Celtic rock, for example, seems to be more of a black-rose-red then blue-green-black as you would expect. And by black-rose-red I mean that there are the colors of black and red, combined with the petal shape and texture of a rose.

Sometimes I wish that I could either create a movie showing what I see during a song, or barring that, I wish for the ability to directly implant it into another person’s head so they can see what I’m seeing.

I usually don’t like hiphop/rap, possibly because it typically has an absence of color. There is a motion of concentric ripples, but not really color. And nails grinding on chalkboard. I have to be in an unusual mood to actually be able to enjoy rap.

And now you know I’m even crazier than you first thought.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My First All-in-Paint Picture Ever

This would have been much harder to do without gridlines.

I call it, "Seismometer Vault Design, or, What I've Been Doing This Summer." I'd say that there has been a distinct absence of psychopathic minds in my summer but I would be lying.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

On Anthropomorphic Characters in Video Games

So, here I am, on a Sunday evening, viciously no-lifing it on Runescape while LOML is playing Magna Carta 2 on the Xbox. Seeing as I have sat through this tableau many times, through games other than Magna Carta 2, I wish to point out what I believe to be serious flaws in the standard design of anthropomorphic races. Or non-human races in general.

It seems as though, no matter the game, especially in the RPGs (Role Playing Game), the game developers feel the need for there to be bird people or cat people or even lizard people. And this is perfectly acceptable. What is not acceptable is for said race to, at the end of each spoken phrase, insert the sound associated with that race. For example: Cat person says, "I'm so frightened, meow, Lord Assface's men are going to attack our village, meow."

And then they will keep saying 'meow' long after their cattiness has been thoroughly established. I mean, I'm a human and all, but I don't go around inserting the sound associated with humans every time I stop to inhale. "I am fine today, blah, lovely weather we're having, blah." I'm normally not an advocate for violence against other sentient races (or I wouldn't be if I knew of any), but listening to a bird man talk in a voice sounding like a effing chicken (and if you try to imagine a chicken speaking English, you'll get my drift), I start fantasizing about creating a video game where you can eat the bird man for dinner if you find his voice annoying. It would be complete with a cutscene showing the party killing the bird man and then pulling all his feathers out, gutting him, and sitting around the campfire with huge drumsticks going, "If our enemies knew how good the bird people taste, do you think that would distract them long enough for us to make an awesome attack that would put our underdog party on top?"

In the case of the cat people your character would have the option to say, "Can you stop saying 'meow' all the time? It's really unnecessary," and if the cat person didn't you'd be able to skin them and wear their fur as a coat.

And before ya'all go crawling down my throat for describing violence, let me remind you: I am talking about video games here. They're pixels, ergo, they have no right to be so annoying.

In real life I just glare at things and they go quiet.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Case Against Unmarked White Vans

In this day and age, with lawsuits springing up over spilled coffee and other dumb stuff the human species is prone to doing, I thought I should bring up a subject that I think has been grossly overlooked. Along with gun control and outlawing violent video games, this should go a long way towards ensuring a perfectly safe world with no violence or opinions.

I am referring, of course, to unmarked white vans. Now, I'm sure there are white vans all over the world who go through the entirety of their serviceable lives without being used to commit violent crimes, such as robberies and kidnappings (and in extreme cases murder). However, due to the rare instances of these unmarked vans being used to commit crimes, I propose to outlaw ownership of unmarked white vans. Owning a white van without a clearly visible marking measuring not less than 18" x 18" on the sides, back, hood, and roof of the van would be punishable by a fine of not less than $500,000,000 and up to 15 years in prison. The offense would be owning an unmarked white van, which indicates an intention to commit crime. Any van with removable stickers would be subject to the same penalties and fines.

By eliminating unmarked white vans I predict a decrease in robberies, kidnappings, and murders. It's that simple.

Ban Unmarked White Vans!!!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

For M___...About that chair you so cruelly rejected

The Sob of the Soft Swivel Chair

I'm soft and leathery; I'll keep your bum warm,
I'll soothe your back, keep your body from harm;
I swirl, and I twirl; I've adjustable height;
You can stay in me all day and all night.

And yet--I see you passing me by;
What's wrong with me? I might even cry;
You take that hard chair way in the back,
It's boring, it's stable, like tooth-coating plaque.

Why the rejection? I'm the height of perfection,
You've made me all sad with an inferior complexion;
I wish you would tell me, I wish I knew why
You so cuttingly ignore me and leave me to die.

7/15/2010 Jamie S.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Small Talk

So I'm a bit of a shy person.

No, I am not kidding.

Meeting (and talking) to new people comes about as naturally to me as lizards attempting flight--it usually only happens accidentally and when I have successfully punched through the "I can't fly" barrier. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

And then I realize flying's not really my thing and next thing I know all my instincts are to burrow into a hole somewhere and hide until the big scary social interaction situation goes away.

This may surprise some of you who know me. I've heard reports of me being a chatterbox who can't shut up and I've also heard that I can generate an air of sullen hostility. It's probably some subconscious self-defense mechanism. I also have a limited capacity for this phenomenon known as "small talk." It doesn't occur to me to use the weather as part of the formalized ritual of greeting, which seems to go like this:

A. Hi! How are you?
B. Good, and you?
A. Good.

It doesn't seem to be an genuine inquiry for information (i.e. seeking to assess the state of the other person) as much as a "you see me/I see you/since we've acknowledged each other we must both still exist" sort of situation. When something like this happens:

A. Hi! How are you?
B. (keeps walking or otherwise ignores A's question)
A. :'(

As a result of being ignored, A may wonder if they actually exist or if they are a figment of their own imagination or even if they've gone all Sixth Sense without knowing it. The role of "Small Talk" seems to be to expand on the whole "you see me/I see you/we both exist and inhabit the same world, it would appear, since the weather sucks on both planets" theme.

You will, however not care be pleased  that I have been working hard to improve my ability to fly socially interact with human beings. I am slowly try to improve my ability to Small Talk and talk about things irrelevant to whatever it was I wanted to talk to you about in the first place.

Now, what was your name again?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Movies I've watched so far this weekend:

I've been sitting here trying to think of something to intelligently write about and have come up short. So I'm going to talk about the movies I've been watching this weekend so far.

So I've watched the first disc of Witchblade: The Complete Series. Due to Netflix being unkind enough to not have this on Instant Watch I now have to wait several days for the next disc.

In short: lots of stabby wabby going on, fat blobby killer dude is really creepy, corporate people are not to be trusted, and is there something inherent in Japanese anime that requires the small cute little girl to take care of her mommy better than her mommy takes care of herself?

And is it really necessary for all the skinny women in the movie to look like an adolescent's wet dream?

Actually, I don't need the answer to that.

On the New Movies list Netflix offeredThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The one line synopsis seemed intriguing (family with dark secret, etc), so I settled down to watch it while killing stuff on Runescape.

First of all, it's in Swedish. With subtitles. Which makes the whole multitasking thing a bit harder, but whatever.

So apparently Sweden in WWII had its own Nazi adherents and an island that's connected to it by a bridge. The story seemed to be about a discredited journalist who was hired to investigate a missing girl from this island who had disappeared on the one day no one could leave the island on the account of said bridge getting burned up. Then this girl with a dragon tattoo who works for a security firm as a hacker gets involved and there's hot naked lovings, etc. Oh and close encounters with death for the protagonists by the bad guy which ends with the bad guy getting burned alive in his wrecked car. Kudos to dragon girl for not pulling the murdering bastard out. I hate it in movies when the hero has a chance to wipe the evil villain off the face of the planet and they get all goody-two-shoes about it. Strange they didn't think of that when they were plowing through all those minions...Anyways...

Don't watch this movie if you don't like watching violence, and especially if you can't watch violence towards women. Or if you don't like seeing nude old men.

So, after that cheery bit of filmography I found Hook. Yes, there's a lot of movies I haven't seen. I am trying to remedy this situation. I enjoy watching Robin Williams as a general rule of thumb.However, I find it annoying when it takes the main character a stupid amount of time to get to whatever they're supposed to be going in terms of story and I would have been happy to chuck Peter Panning the lawyer off a cliff if I thought it would kept me from seeing the pathetic sodden introverted mess he had managed to turn in to.

Not to say I didn't enjoy the movie. I did. Except for that bit of the end where Peter Pan doesn't stabby wabby Hook, who had kidnapped his kids and killed his second in command. It's up for the stone crocodile to tip over and swallow the bad guy. You would have thought there's be a bit more blood with all the stabby wabby that was happening.

But I honestly did like the movie.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dear Aliens,

Dear Aliens, Sky Creatures, Beings from Another Planet, or whatever you wish to be called:

I think it's time for the Big Revealing.

You know, when you finally stop teasing the Earthlings and reveal yourself to their entire civilization that you are, indeed, beings from another world come to visit theirs.Then you can state your purpose (benevolent, malevolent, or indifferent) and a great deal of Earthling energy would then be directed from proving your existence to the non-believers to spamming up the Yahoo! message boards on whether or not your intentions are what you say they are.

Viral marketing has it's place but I think yours is already past the sell-by date. Crop circles, blurry flybys and dream manipulation is all well and good, but it's gone on so long the people who think you're a hallucinogenic's pipe dream have been able to show nine ways to Saturday that you're not here. That, if you did exist, you certainly wouldn't be here and preparing Earthlings to accept the notion of interstellarspecies communication.

So I have prepared a list of things I think you should do, unless you're from the star system Zakjfai'adfa!klj;dafe, in which case I refer you to my postscript. If you're as some writers have speculated, from our future, I refer you to my second postscript.

  1. Crop circles in cornfields are so unimpressive--humans figured out how to do that a long time ago, possibly since before you even thought of it. Choose a medium other than corn--I would suggest oak, or possible old-growth redwood. While some Earthlings may complain about the loss of an environmental treasure, at least this is one feat humans shouldn't be able to duplicate if you do it, say, sometime in the next 10 years.
  2. Flybys are old news. A full-fledged alien spacecraft landing on the front lawn of the White House or any other government headquarters is not. And such a location would be too public for the witnesses to simply be written off as crackpots.
  3. Dream manipulations and random kidnappings are boring. Hijack all the airwaves and present yourselves on all TV and wireless networks and offer to arrange a meeting with the world leaders. This may be a better idea than #2 as landing in front of a government building may result in a misunderstanding that could result in your spaceship getting a few scratches.
I believe, if you put an effort forth before the Earthlings reach the point where they can duplicate these feats with ease, they will acknowledge your existence as a species and then you can get on with the benevolency or malevolency or whatever it is you really want to do to their planet.


PS1: To Zakjfai'adfa!klj;dafe: I am drawing your attention to the KGKJ bylaw of section UISDO of the Intergalactic Council that states that, as an ongoing resident of a unincorporated planet, even if certain actions lead to the incorporation of said planet, extradition of previous alien residents of said planet is not permitted as a result of Hsdral!nn!l. So...neener neener neener.

PS2: To future descendants of humanity...Eff the preservation of the past for your precious present. It obviously sucks or else you wouldn't keep coming back here to take biological samples. Just ball up and save the world already.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

On Runescape...

So I’ve mentioned Runescape. Unless you’re blind or oblivious you’ve probably noticed the RSS feed in the sidebar that lists “I killed Bork” and several other things that probably make no sense if you’ve
A. Never played a MMORPG
B. Never played Runescape.

Runescape is a fantasy game that permits you to wander the wide wide world, performing quests, slaughtering monsters and chickens, killing other players, or grinding away at an endless variety of skills. That’s the nutshell description. If you read on you’ll undoubtedly learn more but I’m afraid it won’t make a whole lot of sense if you don’t have a background for it. I could try to give you a background but that would make this blog much longer than I want to write and I would suggest you go try your hand at Runescape. You can play the free version for as long as you want and no I’m not getting any kickbacks from Runescape for directing people their way although I think they definitely should be.

I do quests. I didn’t realize my love for quests was unusual until B___(one of the people responsible for me playing this game) commented on my unusually high Quest Points for my level. So I can’t help it that a bit of story-telling overrides poking a sharp metal stick into stuff. Plus quests usually give cool rewards and open access to new areas blah blah blah.

After quests I skill. Some people with steady nerves and lightning fast reflexes go into the whole killing players for riches (and sometimes glory) business but the few times I’ve attempted it I’ve ended up donating everything I was wearing to the big empty Wilderness (so this was a long time ago when the Wildy was still a place for player killers to kill other player killers or, more likely, skillers. No, I have no bitterness at all from that episode of my RS existence). Some people band together to kill the ‘boss’ monsters around RS for their big dough.

And since I’m more inclined to skill I looked about for a skill to train once I ran out of quests. First I raised all my skills to 70, and then Construction came out and I fell in love with the whole concept of player houses. Actually, I was training Slayer but I realized that training Slayer would raise one or two of my combat skills to the highest level (99) before I got slayer to that level. And since everyone was running around with their untrimmed combat capes I decided for my first 99 to be Construction. This actually took longer than I thought it would.

I don’t recommend playing RS this way unless you either find it fun/relaxing/mind-numbing bliss/allows you to catch up on 10 seasons of Stargate, but I proceeded to hack thousands of mahogany logs for my very own Construction shop, where I sold flatpacked furniture to less able RS players for quite a few levels, managing to avoid the cash drain so many players training Con were suffering. Due to a sudden change in living situations and internet availability (i.e. getting booted out of the place I was living for really stupid reasons not my fault) forced me to close the shop and I hacked trees whenever I got the opportunity to be online. By the time I was ready to train Con again, Summoning had been released, and being the mildly compulsive person I am I had to train it. So I trained it to 82 (because I ended up with the charms for that level) and looked at the options for 99 Con again. Due to the introduction of the Grand Exchange and the elimination of free trade, all flatpack prices had dropped through the floor and meant that spending 2 mahogany planks (3000gp) to build a chair worth 10gp simply wasn’t going to cut it.

So I bought a shite ton of oak logs at a low price and proceeding to make the money to plank them. In January 2009 I finally had more gp than I had ever had in my RS career (a mere 40 mil to some of you) and I proceed to plank and level with the logs I had.

This took to July 25th, 2009.

That’s almost 7 months.

That’s a lot of time to do almost nothing in your gaming time but run back and forth building oak tables.

Untrimmed 99 Construction cape. I wore it with pride. People were awed. Etcetera etyada.

After that I got 99 woodcutting so I could get 99 fletch so I could spend it all getting some armor and supplies and then I most recently got 99 magic. Now I’m slaying. And actually, there is something refreshing about sticking sharp things into monsters.

But that’s only until the next quest.

Public Speaking and Shite

So I have to present a powerpoint to an audience of my peers--which is a bit scarier than if they were an unfeeling crowd I felt no desire to eff up in front of. Passing out will probably lose me points.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

So, about Bacon...

I have an ongoing love affair with bacon that is only matched by my love for coffee. Or perhaps not. I will explain.

I drink coffee nearly every morning of my life. It shortens my body’s sluggish awakening process from four hours to one. It allows me to steal hours from my dreams at both ends of the night and permits me to mimic human behavior with a high degree of accuracy.

I do not eat bacon every day. This is due to the fact that I am a poor college student that is subsidizing two people off my financial aid/work study/whatever-job-I-have-at-the-time, and such a state of financing does not permit me to eat bacon every day.

Coffee* is the dependable wife that I can’t live without. She’s energetic and comes in different charming flavors and when she decides to be gourmet (i.e. Kona) (aka not often because I’m poor) she will make my soul curl up into a happy little ball of contentment. But even when she’s being cheap, common Folgers, I must have her in some shape or form. Every single day.

Bacon** is like the expensive mistress that I rarely see because I must come bearing expensive gifts. But when I do see her, I savor her presence and revel in her taste. She brings a thrill to my soul and a light to my heart, and I wonder how I ever went so long without seeing her.

And then the last strip of bacon is consumed and I am sadden by the absence.

I will mention that I do not believe coffee is made jealous by this relationship. She understands that there is room and place for both of them in my heart.

So…the reason this blog is called Bacon & Betelgeuse and not a more pretentious name like Paradoxes & Paradigms is probably directly linked to the fact I had an incident with bacon yesterday.

Several days ago I had made a panful of bacon so I could have bacon sandwiches during the week. I was excited because I had not had bacon in several months. The initial panful yielded 11 strips of bacon. I ate two before they managed to stop sizzling, leaving nine strips.

Over the course of the next two days I had two more pieces of bacon, leaving 7. I figured 7 strips would make two sandwiches, and so I left them unguarded.

Yesterday morning I went to make a yummy tasty bacon sandwich for lunch.

Bacon strips present = 2.

I can’t handle disappointment that early in the morning. I just can’t. It invades my entire world and makes me want to crawl into a hole and cry at the injustice of it all.

LOML denied any connection to the missing bacon. That only left Roommate, because of course I trust LOML implicitly and it’s entirely possible Roommate thought the bacon was one of the items bought for mutual sharing purposes.

LOML persuaded me to put down the knife and not commit violence upon Roommate while he slept. I made a sad little sandwich out of the two remaining bacon strips and felt sad for hours afterwards.

When I got home last night, I cooked up the rest of the bacon, put it in a bag with a note threatening to shank the offender in his sleep asking to please leave the bacon alone as it is for my lunch.

Today I’m having a sandwich with 6 slices in it.

Life is good.

*Decaffeinated coffee is not coffee. It’s some body-snatcher pretending to be the real thing. Don’t fall for it.

**Turkey bacon is the equivalent of a cheap two-bit broad that you don’t touch because for the price of two or three two-bit broads you can have the real Bacon.

About myself

My name is Jamie, and this is my blog.
Here I'm going to talk about whatever particle of thought happens to be sleeting through my head at the time.
I am 26, living in Hawaii and am a triple major in Astronomy, Physics, and Geology. No, that is not as ambitious as it sounds and for reasons I'll undoubtedly go into at some point, I may only end up with Geology. I live with my fiancee (hereafter referred to as LOML (Love of My Life) and a roommate (hereafter referred to as Roommate).

I like gaming. I also like hiking, swimming, reading, watching movies, writing, and various random stuff that makes it seem as though I'm stringing a bunch of random verbs together but let's get back to the gaming in slightly more detail.

The main computer game in my life since 2005 is Runescape (RS). Before that, we have a clear linear line of games leading through Zoo Tycoon, Total Annihilation, and that pinball game that comes on your Windows. I lean towards only playing one game at a time, but I've deviated from this more often as the years pass and I still fail to be 99 in all skills on RS. Most recently was Spore.

I first tried my hand at Xbox games with Fable II. I successfully completed the game with a wife/husband in every town and like 30-40 kids. The next Xbox game that peaked my interest enough to try it was Brutal Legend. Then LOML got me the first Fable, which I play occasionally when I feel like I'm able to withstand the injustice of the Xbox freezing in the middle of an important quest.

Card games: I play Magic: the Gathering. Haven't done as much lately for some reason. I was recently taught how to play Verses, by which I mean I know how 1+1 = 2 goes while everyone else is at least at the algebra level.

So I will probably talk about these games and other random carp subjects that I want to talk about.

Oh, and bacon is good. I get a bacon sandwich for lunch today. I hope.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First Post

This is just the First Post. An interesting one will follow tomorrow. I hope