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Inspirational Reads

Oh, Hell Snow!

January 30, 2010

In case you hadn't heard, the Apocalypse big snow storm hit yesterday evening and into the day today. And by "into the day today" I mean, "there was a bit of snow during the morning and some sleet up until 11:00, and after that it was pretty much a major fucking disappointment and nothing like what the weather forecasters were calling for at all." Which is a very long way of saying "they were wrong, again".

However, unlike in times past when the weather forecasters would call for six to ten inches of snow and we'd get "a dusting", we did pick up a goodly amount. Nothing like the 10 - 15 inches that they were calling for in the "northern sections of the viewing area", but it was respectable.

We got eight inches around here. So, the greater northern Durham area of North Carolina now knows what it's like to be my wife: a good eight inches and then coated in white.




Maybe I need to borrow Steamy's Awkward Cricket.

Anyway, the wife and I took the kids outside to play in the snow--twice!!! We managed to finally get enough snow, and a decent place to do it, to where we could go sledding. And by "sledding", I mean "using a Tupperware storage bin lid for purposes it was never engineered or intended for". Feel the awesome wrath of my body flopping on top of you, Tupperware lid!!!

Enough of that. The only reason I'm writing this is to make fun of the local forecasters (again, and as usual), and to post this picture:

That ought to teach you to not read blogs on the weekends.

TMI Thursday: Hair Soap

January 28, 2010

Does this not sate your thirst for awesome TMI stories? Then check out all the other glorious tales of things we probably shouldn't tell at LiLu's home for the staunchy raunchy, TMI Thursdays!

So, when I was a teenager, I didn't have the greatest complexion. In fact, it's still not what you'd call "alabaster" or "angellic" or "a non-greasy, sticky, white hot mess", but my skin isn't as riddled with blemishes as it was when I was, oh, say, 15.

Now, unfortunately, at age 15 (or, well, way before age 15), guys start noticing girls. More specifically, guys want to start putting parts of their bodies into parts of the girls bodies. And, in order to do this, one must start dating. And, in order to start dating, one usually has to be somewhat and relatively zit free.

Alas, this was not my situation. For the dating or the zit-free existence that would help to remedy the lack of dating. This then leads to prolonged bouts of furious masturbation, which--according to my mother--led to more acne. But, that's a story for another day.

However, that was pretty much my mother's solution to how to clear up my blemish issues: don't touch yourself, don't eat fudge, wash your hair, and you'll be acne free. Well, I washed my hair, I didn't eat fudge, and I hated myself shortly after I touched myself. Apparently, my mother's the Know-It-All didn't know dick.

Now, despite the fact that there were a myriad of products on the market that one could purchase for their child in order for him to secure dates keep a clear complexion, my mother relied on "home remedies".

"Here," she'd say, passing me a newspaper clipping, "I read this is hints from Heloise. You should try it."

I would look up with a heady of mixture of revulsion and disbelief on my face after reading it. "It says to smear the yolk of a raw egg on my face," I reported, as if she hadn't read it, clipped it, and then handed it to me.

"Yep, your father bought you some eggs. They're in the refrigerator. I'll show you how to separate the yolks from the whites." And off we went. As we were in the kitchen, my mother reminded me that this was a valuable tool for cooking, and that I could surprise some nice girl someday by making a recipe that called for just egg yolks. That recipe, of course, was atherosclerosis, and pretty much every girl to whom I've ever offered that has politely declined.

So, there I would sit in the evenings, splitting open an egg and carefully separating the yolk from the albumen, and then I'd take the mass of raw, yellow goo and smear it over my face. I would sit there until it dried. Oh, what a grand time I had, staring into the mirror, the face of Grigg or The Thing looking back at me. Oh, and all the clever puns I made to myself in the bathroom. "Wow, if [insert current crush's name here] could see you now, you'd certainly have egg on your face!" And, "Oh, if [insert teacher's name here] could see you now, you'd sure have egg on your face!" And then I would peel the hideous, flaky yellow mask off.

Predictably, things didn't get much better. Well, I think the yolk helped to rip the heads off the zits, but that was about it. Plus, after a while, I began to pick up a faint sulfury smell.

Now the ladies were flocking to me!

When I turned 16, I knew I had to do something. When I got my license, I started driving to Target (where my high school girlfriend would end up working) where I discovered that there was a whole panoply of anti-acne medications, creams, wipes, soaps and any other kind of hygienic product you could imagine. Giddy, I bought some Oxyclean wipes, some cream to place upon the zits I already had, and some special soap to use on my face. I went home, I washed my face with the soap, wiped with the pad, and put the cream on the egregious pustules of pus hanging from my forehead and cheeks.

I put the soap in the shower, thinking that I would use it when I took my showers.

Bear in mind, I had used the soap once. Remember that.

The next day, I got up and was getting ready for school. My father had already been up and showered, made his coffee and was reading the paper. I acknowledged him as I trudged toward the bathroom. We had two bathrooms in the house, but the shower upstairs only had a basin that was about three inches high, so if I took *ahem* long showers *innocent whistles* I'd flood the bathroom and my mom would bitch at me. Plus, the water in that shower smelled slightly fetid. Mmm...fetid water and sulfur.

I haul my ass into the shower and I turn on the water, get in, go about my usual routine: arms, chest, shoulders, stomach, groin, legs, groin, knees, groin, shins, groin, feet, groin, rinse. I then wash my hair and rinse and I go to wash my face, and the excitement is building within me. I was going to use the soap I specifically purchased to help me clear up my acne problem and now I'd get a girlfriend and I'd see some tits and--JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, WHY IS MY ANTI-ACNE SOAP COVERED IN SHORT, DARK, CURLY HAIRS???

As I brought the soap up toward my face, I could clearly see at least a dozen short-and-curlies decorating the otherwise pristine surface of my soap. The soap I specifically bought for me. To go on my face. Not on my father's ballsack.

I held the soap in the stream of the water from the showerhead and rinsed the pubes away. I also hoped to get the latent ballsweatfunk off the surface of my soap. And then, just to be safe, I used the same soap I had washed my body with.

The next day, I returned to Target and bought myself a soap carrier, so I could hide the soap away from my father's nefarious nether regions.

A Midwinter's Night Tale

January 27, 2010

Fire up the coffee grinders, Ma, 'cause we're gonna have us a long day.

It all started last night. Partially because I'm too stupid to go to bed at a decent hour, and partially because I was trying really hard to muster the inspiration to finish another chapter in my current manuscript.

Down the hall, the Little Boy was coughing. And coughing some more. He's just getting over a cold, so we didn't think too much of it. But when he coughed and it sounded like product was behind it, then we panicked. Coupled with the crying, we knew we were in for some trouble.

As I went running into his bedroom, urging him to find a toilet into which he should deposit expectorate, I was punched in the face by an odor that came from the very bowels son...but it smelled more like Satan himself had been eating kimchi and guacamole before going out on an all-night bender of vodka, everclear and souls. And then he pooped. Satan, not my son.

Well, I dunno. My son could have pooped. After he was done puking, that is. I wouldn't know because I went into action, wherein I started washing his puke-soiled bedclothes and pajamas. Using a plastic bag and a spatula, my wife mucked up the splatter and then scrubbed up the stain.

Let us pause here to remember one Han Solo, who, though he may have been made of plastic, suffered immensely during the Revolution of My Son's Stomach. He's in a better place now...which would be my kitchen sink, where I tossed him AND the spatula on my way past while running puke-sodden fabric articles to the washing machine.

As this was perhaps the foulest smelling thing that I had experienced since my last kimchi-vodka-souls bender, I decided to run the puke-filled bag out to the garbage can where some unknowing sap kind-hearted custodian would cart it away to the town dump in the wee hours of the morning. Hopefully, for his sake, it would have frozen by then.

However, as I was trotting, in my all fatherly glory, to the trash can at the end of the driveway, the herd of deer that live near my house decided to stampede run through my yard. You might remember my Seven Awesome Ways to Die, in which I am terrified of being attacked by a deer caught in mid-coitus. You can imagine that this noise, coupled with the large, bounding creatures in my vicinity, caused my heart to shiver and leap from my chest, abandoning me so that it could run back to the house. Deer: one; me: zero.

Finally, we settled back down, I went back to avoiding hammering away at my manuscript, and finally called it a night around 12:30. I tucked myself into bed and laid there, drifting off to sleep. I was ripped from my restfulness just as sleep was beginning to settle itself onto me by the sound of my wife's my guts churning. Quieting myself over the very normal sound of her my body, I began to drift off again, when I was ripped once more from the clutches of Lord Morpheus by the sound of the shower expunging a few drops of water that had finally slipped down to the faucet. Again, calming myself, I was beginning to slip into the dream world when I heard the boy berfing once more.

Another cycle of getting him to the bathroom, changing his pajamas, washing his covers. Finally, once everything had been settled down and he wasn't erupting forth into fountains of vomit, I settled my brain for another night's worth of nap. Except, now, I had a hard time sleeping because I kept hearing the dryer (you know, the new one), tossing the clothes and such around, and every so often something with a zipper would smack against the side of the drum. *sigh* I finally managed to find some fitful rest. I had maybe slept fifteen minutes when he was up again.

I'm often glad I have a penis. I love you, little guy. I mean, uh, I love you, long, thick, girthy guy! Yeah, that's more like it. I was very glad when the boy was calling for "Mommy" to come and help him. Of course, my wife had to ruin it by asking me if I would go get him some water to help wash the puke taste from his mouth.

Know your role, woman!

That just bought me two months of forced abstinence.

He puked at least two more times, but aside from the first two, he got to the bathroom and made his deposit in the bowl. And who says you get prepared for college only at school? Not my children! Puke in the toilet, or the sink, or in your almost girlfriend's trash basket! Not on yourself or in your own bed!!! All valuable lessons for maximizing your secondary-educational experience!

So finally, with a sum total of four hours sleep (maybe), I'm here. I'm upright. I'm thinking about being productive. As in, "Hey, wouldn't that be nice? To be productive? Right after this short catnap...Zzzzzzzz..."

However, if someone has a cot or a couch or a warm, pillowy bosom I may rest my head upon for fifteen, twenty minutes (or more, depending on how pillowy that bosom is...), let me know. I'll be right over.

Just, please forgive me if I smell a little bit like puke.

Totally Blowing Stuff Up Tuesdays: Technological Destruction

January 26, 2010

Last week was not so good for me.

As you may recall, the old blog broke. Yes, it came back, but it wasn't an easy battle, exorcising all those demons in there. That, unfortunately, was only the beginning of my woeful travails.

On Monday of last week, my computer at work was infected with spyware. *gasp* Yeah, who knew that surfing around on the internet would lead to such a thing! Not I. I swear! Anyway, I got the one where the wallpaper is replaced with a big black box with red letters that reads "Warning! Do not use this computer. It is infected with spyware. You're a very dirty pervert, and you should be punished. This is only a small way of atoning for your sins, you filthy, filthy man. Buy our product, and we'll completely clean up all this here spyware for you. Convenient, no?"

I may have paraphrased that a tiny bit. However, you get the point.

So, not wanting to pay for their product (which would, undoubtedly, put more Chinese espionage programs spyware on the machine), I decided to run a sweep on my own. The computer already had spybot on it, so I ran that. The program did it's duty and I erased a couple hundred dozen things, and I figured things would be good. Only thing was...the spyware warning wallpaper was still there.

I didn't think much of it. I went home Tuesday night, logging off, hoping that it would be fixed when I logged back on. Maybe it needed that switch in order for the spyware to no longer be there. Except, it was still there Tuesday morning. So, Tuesday when I went home, I shut the whole system down. Maybe that would do the trick.

Wednesday...I couldn't log in to the computer. At all. Well, I take that back. I would log into the computer, and the computer would immediately log me right back out. Uh, not good.

Top that off with a phone that wasn't answering when I would pick up the receiver and would randomly cut off and hang up during the middle of a conversation, and I had one dysfunctional desk. I had to call IT and get them to fix me up, which meant reformatting my computer (but it also came with a memory upgrade--nice!). I was more than happy to hand it over for the day, especially if it meant the computer would run faster.

I had all that going for me last week. Along with getting this site up and running so that I could make the switch as seamlessly as possible (thanks, everyone, for understanding and joining me over here), I was getting a little stressed over the amount of gremlins that were plaguing my life.

But, it doesn't stop there.

Moments after Santa squeezed his fat ass back up my chimney, my dryer, overloaded with Holiday Cheer, up and died. Kaput. This dryer is no more. It was not pining for the fjords.

That, I could deal with. A trip to Lowes and the very next day, one large man and two gremlin apprentices carted off my old dryer (after I, alone, unhooked the broken one and hauled it out onto the deck, by myself!!!) and installed the new one. Runs like a top. Dries clothes. Everything you could possibly want from a dryer.

Not one to be upstaged by dryers or HTML code or computers and telephones, my television has decided to start blinking. At first, it was a short, momentary thing, where the picture would blink down into a tiny, dancing ball of phosphers in the middle of the screen. Now, it's doing it more often, so much so that it's no longer a blink but more like a short nap. Interested in finding out where the picture has gone, the sound is now following it.

This could be the straw on the dromedary's back. On one hand, I have the combined President's Day and Super Bowl deals that I can take advantage of. On the other hand, I really wasn't looking to spend $400-$500 on a new television right now. We were planning on replacing the television later in the year, perhaps as a Christmas present, but can I possibly make it through a day without my daily dose of smug Canadian elitism without viewing Jeopardy? How, dammit, how???

So, I present you this: the cathartic end to a parade of technological wonders kicking me in the nuts and stealing the money out of my wallet--blowing up a computer.

I'm not sure which amuses me more, the epic mullet hanging off the back of the camouflage kid's skull or the dude on the bicycle casually cruising along in the background whilst a bunch of hooligans are detonating the cpu of a computer like it's an everyday occurrence.

Being that the mullet's not nearly greasy enough, I'm going with the dude on the bike.

Dear Weather Channel

January 25, 2010

Dear Weather Channel:

Suck it.

Do you know what your main role in life is? Here's a hint: it's in your name, and I'm not talking about the word "channel" nor am I speaking of the word "the". That's right! Weather! Perhaps we can sink through that thick concrete cranium of yours yet.

Now, I understand that, much like every other network in the entire world you focus on New York and Boston all the time. I also understand that you're centered in Atlanta, so we get to see that oh-so-exciting weather prospectus for such exotic locales as Macon and Warner-Robins and Screven possibly more than, you know, we should. And then there's the inexplicable "Hey, Omaha, the sun is coming up! Whee!!!" I'm willing to overlook all this because every ten minutes, you show me the local radar, at what time the sun will rise tomorrow, and what phase the moon will be in for the next four weeks.

Ah, see, here's the rub: you're not showing me those things every ten minutes. Instead, I sit through five minutes of commercials for whatever piece of contrite kitsch that the Late Billy Mays would (or still is...eerie) hock in that delightfully endearing brazen and brash fashion of his. When it's not a commercial for the latest and greatest (and shittiest) piece of detritus that I'm opting not to purchase and to clutter up my home, it's a commercial for one of your other shows, which are only peripherally involved in the weather. Or it's a commercial featuring Al Roker.


Do you know when Al Roker was last cool? It's when he was interviewed on Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast. And that might have been because I was drunk and maybe had a bit of a contact high: my year in Merlini Hall seems to just fly by (in hindsight). And I'm pretty sure Al Roker was cool only because Zorak called his ass out and subsequently fried him with whatever energy weapon Zorak wielded with impunity.

And yet, here I am, tuning in to see if I have to grab a jacket on my way out the door, and instead of an extended forecast, I get Al Roker's face on my screen. "Aren't I funny?" he says into the camera. "Laugh with me! Hyuk hyuk hyuk!!!" No, you're not funny. Go back to wherever you escaped and stop ruining my weather channel viewing experience!

While I'm speaking of Al Roker, could you have found perhaps a slightly more annoying co-host to go along with his aw-shucks hokum? Yes, Stephanie Abrams is easy on the eye, is probably a nice person, but damn, is there another person on national television screaming to be featured on "What Not to Wear" more than she? Even I can see that, and I can barely dress myself without looking like a clown--a drunken clown at that.

And seriously, if you're going to continue to feature programs revolving around the Stephanie Abrams experience (*shudder*), can you do us all a favor and turn her fucking microphone off. I've heard dogs with diarrhea that are more engaging in conversation than she. Not that I want to say that she's a touch...insipid...but when I hear the word "vapid", immediately her image comes to mind. I hope you've got a good insurance plan for your employees, because I'm sure Mike Bettes goes home every night and drinks himself to the point where he no longer desires the sweet release that opening his veins would provide.

Okay, okay, I might have gotten a bit off track. I originally began penning this letter so that you would stop with the fucking "specialty" programming. Seriously, I spent way too fucking long today trying to catch a glimpse of the immediate weather forecast, and yet all I got was commercials for your shitty shows embedded within those same shitty shows!

And let's discuss these shows, shall we? You call it "When Weather Changed History", but I can only guess that it's because "When Weather Didn't Really Have Much of an Affect on the Somewhat Historical Events Outlined in Our Programs" doesn't have much of a ring to it. But, that would be what we refer to as "truth in advertising". Besides, the History Channel is where I typically go if I want to see documentaries about historical events.

And then there's "Storm Stories." *sigh* This could be about five minutes worth of a show, to be honest. I realize that it's supposed to be about human hardship, so that we feel sorry for our fellow human beings, but after so many minutes of footage of bemulleted billhillies who try to drive their truck through the raging flood waters of the Chattahoochee, the program becomes a touch...repetitive.

(That means "the same thing over and over again", Stephanie).

We won't even go into the failed experiment of showing us weather-themed movies on Friday night. When did that finally sink in that it was a bad idea? After the second showing of The Perfect Storm or the third replay of March of the Penguins? Somewhere, Morgan Freeman is shaking his head, ashamed that he was involved in such a farcical attempt at garnering an audience.

And now, you're springing more shows on us. Not satisfied with drowning inbreds, you've ratcheted things up a level with "Cantore Stories". Apparently, Jim Cantore, perhaps the least charismatic cast member of the Weather Channel's vast array of meteorologists (barring Greg Forbes), will now be interviewing the wives and mothers of those drowned rednecks. Scintillating! Derivative!!! I can certainly see why the seven-day forecast is being preempted for this!

And then there's Weather Proof, which features our favorite socially-inept Weather Bunny, Stephanie Abrams. From what I can gather in the previews (which are often and typically shown in place of the weather I tune in to learn about), this features someone with a giant fan and a wall with a window in it, and they throw shit at the wall and window. Wow! Look! Glass breaks when hit with a terra cotta pot! That's edge-of-my-seat excitement right there. And then, wow, Stephanie Abrams yells out something about how she didn't expect that! Yes, I'll be sure to stop tuning into Mythbusters for this. Can we get Stephanie Abrams to wear a beret like Jamie Hyneman? Preferably shoved down her throat?

In short, please, stop with the shitty "programming". You are the Weather Channel. Please show us weather.

And, perhaps, the occasional mud wrestling match between Heather Tesch and Jenn Carfagno.


A Weather Fan

P.S. Bring back Sharon Resultan, like, yesterday. And give her some more really tight leopard-print tops.

Fly Away Home Already

January 22, 2010

So, it occurred to me this morning that, as I'm directing you here to the "new site", I wasn't providing you with anything "new". That's a bit of a faux pas. So, I thought I'd offer up at least a little bit of a story. Think of it as the blog version of everyone warming up their left over spaghetti for Sheriff Taylor when Opie kept screwing up the message as to who invited the sheriff over for dinner.


You probably didn't get either of those references.

Damned kids these days...

So, remember back in the early part of December when we had that warm snap? You know, before the bottom fell out temperature-wise and my feet developed their own permafrost? Apparently, that was prime time for the ladybird rise up from hibernation and invade my house.

Incidentally, here in North By God Carolina, we still have red ladybugs with black spots. In Indiana, those had all been pretty much displaced by the orange and black Japanese ladybugs. You know, the ones with the small boobs and the really earthy smell to them when you crush them. You're familiar with the smell, the one that you can't stand, but after smashing the ladybug and being reviled by the stink, you sniff your fingers again because it smells like victory and death and shame all rolled into one? Yeah, we have those here in North Carolina, too, but we also have a lot of the red-and-black ones.

Anyway, my house is overrun with the little fuckers. I hear them buzzing around at night, clicking against the ceiling in my bed room. Occasionally, I'll feel one smack into the side of my head while I'm sitting quietly trying to read. However, the place where the ladybugs congregate the most? My bathroom.

And, not coincidentally, this is where they die the most, too. Because I kill them, not because my shit stinks that much.

Honestly, it looks like fucking ladybug Ragnarok around my sink, with dead bodies littering the area by the tens. Some are squished. Some simply have been on the lights too long...or something...and they've fallen onto their backs, folding their legs up over their thoraces (thoraxes?) in that typical "I'm a dead bug" fashion.

I guess the silver lining is that my bathroom is now all but aphid free...

The final straw, though, came the other morning. I stripped naked for my morning shower and marathon-masturbation session. When I reached for the soap to scrub my filthy body clean, I started where I always start: on my muscular, masculine chest.

Immediately, something didn't seem right. Instead of cleaning my chest, the soap was making my chest stink, all earthy and musky, and there were hunks of shit in my chest hair. Fuck me running, I crushed a beetle...into my chest hair and then proceeded to rub it around. I don't know if it was on me and I'm just that oblivious or if it was on the soap or what...but its entrails and various pieces of shattered carapace were smeared across my chest. I knew that for sure.

This was a violation most foul. Mostly because, no matter how much I rinsed my chest with the showerhead, and no matter how much I scrubbed and re-scrubbed the area, my paranoid and germophobic mind kept smelling the distinctive odor of crushed ladybug. Finally, after I had wasted enough time getting "clean" and I needed to get the kids ready for school, I got out of the shower and toweled off. A visual inspection showed no residual ladybug pieces, but I knew they were still there. Throughout the day, I would catch little whiffs of that distinctive odor. I'd be sitting at my desk and suddenly my upper lip would curl and my nose would twitch, and I'd look around for the offending beast, but I could find none. That's when I knew that I carried the distinctive aroma of dead bug with me all day. *shudder*

So, this weekend will be fraught with peril and pesticides. Or, I could just open the window and shoo them away. Whichever disrupts my intended schedule of lazy and worthlessness less.

Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home...or at least get the fuck out of my bathroom.

What the What?

January 18, 2010

So, I plop my ass down here in front of ye olde blog and, what do I find? My layout has fixed itself? Or maybe all that shit I did under the HTML editor finally worked.

Or maybe my blog is JUST THAT HAPPY that the Vikings throttled the Cowboys yesterday AND we're done looking at Marmalard Phillip Rivers for another nine months. Jesus, looking at that guy's face is like staring at a pig's asshole.

I wish I had something more to tell you. My blog was lost fucked, and now it's found fixed. Well, at least for me. And Pearl, apparently, but that might be because Pearl is made from stuff like Awesome and Fabulous and Upper Midwestern Hardiness.

Okay, so here, I'll share a little tidbitlet of a story from this past weekend. Because I am a dutiful father--and in no way am I trying to make up for laying on the couch watching football and ignoring my children all weekend--I took my daughter for another turn through the neighborhood trying to sell Girl Scout Cookies.

By the way, do you want some? I'll mail them to you. The commercials during the time outs and such on the football games this weekend told me that I can mail them for one flat rate. Email me if you want any.

So, while I'm out walking up and down the streets, alleyways and drives of my neighbors, I kept thinking of Patrick and Spongebob trying to sell chocolate to the denizens of Bikini Bottom. When anyone would come to the door and my daughter would say "Hello, I'm selling Girl Scout Cookies", it was all I could do not to scream "WE GOT 'EM NOW!!!"

But, here's the thing: We were out for about two hours early Saturday afternoon. In that span of time, we walked to about forty, maybe fifty different houses. Of those forty, maybe fifty different residences, we had five people answer their doors. Five. Five fucking people took the time to get up off their fat asses, ignore the Carolina game, and see what the young, blond girl and her dashingly handsome father wanted.

Of those five, we sold to one guy. Score! 20% success rate!

Personally, I blame Liberty Baptist Church for this. If it wasn't for those cockknockers going around, peddling their "Jesus" to people, and asking them, "If you die today, do you know where you are going?", I'm sure more folks would be willing to open the door and see what's up.

Speaking of which...*undoes belt*...those assholes are about due for another emotional scarring visit to my front porch.

Oh, hey, look: The Vikings just scored another touchdown against the Cowboys. Oh hey, look, Keith Brooking is still a whiny bitch. Boo fucking hoo, Cocksuckers.

UPDATE: Fucking thing broke again. I guess I shouldn't have run an anti-spyware scan on my computer this morning.

Bunch of savages on this internet...

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol LVI

January 15, 2010

So, my blog, she remains a broken.

I've tinkered with the HTML of the layout, but...*sigh* you can see, it's to little or, to be 100% truthful, no avail.

I must offer up many apologies for the state of affairs around here. I'm sorry that things won't load all the way, and if that slows your computer down, then I take no blame at all. I'm diverting all the blame to the Chinese and Indian spambots who forced me to constantly switch back and forth between word verification and no word verification. I'm sure they've given my little slice o' the internet the blogospheric version of gonorrhea.

In that light, I'm working on a fix that I should, hopefully, have in place by Monday. Come back then and keep your fingers crossed and maybe--just maybe--I'll have something tidied up around here for everyone.

This is where I'd normally try and stretch the current subject material to correlate and align with some facet of Roman life or Roman history. However, as you might have surmised, the Romans didn't have a lot of computers laying around. In fact, the Romans, while gifted architecturally, weren't so good at math, especially multiplication. Statements such as L x X = D were probably a touch confusing to young Romans (and the Roman version of Barbie). Imagine how long it would take to figure out XXIV x LVII = ?

That's enough to bring me to tears, and I'm the one who wrote it.

The answer is MCCCLXVIII, in case you were wondering.

Yes, I used a calculator to do that.

Despite the lack of computers in Ancient Rome, some people have been able to hammer on the Latin language and make it work for our modern way of life. This is typically termed "dog Latin", and, for some reason, some people look down their noses at it. Apparently, if it didn't come from Pliny the Elder, it's not real Latin in these people's opinions. Bunch of podeces, if you ask me.

Dog Latin or no, let me offer you this phrase, which I've been muttering at my monitor for the past 72 hours or so:

Assume plicam damnatam, o tu moles muscaria muscerdarum!

Pronounced: Ah-soo-may plee-cahm dahn-nah-tahm, oh too moh-lays moo-skah-ree-ah moo-skair-dah-room!

Smithers, what is this 'hovertext' on my monitor mean?

Have a nice weekend, everyone. Except for you, Pat Robertson. What the hell, man?

Son of a...

January 13, 2010

What the hell, people. I broke my blog somehow. I'm not sure. I mean, I usually know when I break something. Like, if I'm trying to work on it or fix it, I usually hear a snap and a tinkle as some piece falls irretrievably to the bottom of whatever I'm tinkering with. That usually involves me saying bad words and hitting something. Which is a perfect segue into the second way I know I've broken something, when I smash it out of anger and lots of little pieces fly everywhere and/or there's a dent in the wall. And then there's the third type of "I've broken something" that happens at work, and usually that involves a lot of gas being generated, possibly a gout of yellow liquid spraying everywhere, and me whistling innocently as I casually, yet in a hurried fashion, make for the exit to "go to lunch".

But, my blog, she's a broken, and I don't know to fix her.

I noticed yesterday that things weren't loading quite right on my work computer, but when I got home, everything on my home computer was fine. Now, even at home, things are eff to the you to the sea to the kay fucked.

I mean, I could go and find the layout--again--and then reinstall everything, and then I'd have to go around and find all the wonderful blogs I read and put those back in here and...fuck. That's a lot of shit. And, inevitably, I'd forget someone, and then they'd be all pissy and smearing my name in YOUR comments section, and I just can't have that. The only person who gets to smear my name is ME.

Plus, I've got a lot of writing to avoid--I mean, to do. Yes, a lot of writing to do. *shifty-eyed*

Anyway, did you guys hear that it's been cold? I've heard that some places got down to -50 something wind chills. That's enough to make your nipples stand up. Here in North By God Carolina, it's been pretty chilly, too. In fact, it came to the point where I had to bust out my coat that I wore when I was still at Notre Dame. I don't usually get that out unless it's 25 degrees or colder. I learned my lesson the first year I was married and we came down to Charlotte to visit her parents around Christmas time, and I about died of heat exhaustion wearing my heavy coat. Sweating outside in January is something you should only do if you're playing football, and while South Park Mall is a battle zone sometimes, it's not exactly the grid iron.

But, I don't mind the cold. Once I've acclimated, I'm okay with it. What, it's chilly? Oh darn, I guess I'll have to brew some coffee and lay around under my favorite afghans while watching Dirty Jobs. What a terrible fate. Oh, do cry for me, Argentina. In short, I'm a fan of the cold.

You know who's not a fan of the cold? My toes. This is rather unfortunate because my toes, apparently, take the brunt of the cold air. Seriously, my right foot has felt cold for about six weeks straight. Sure, some of that might be do to my, ahem, avoirdupois causing some poor circulation, but I think the bigger part is that I've worn my socks down to what can, at best, be described as "threadbare".

So, I've had to take desperate measures. That's right, I'm doubling up my socks, folks. Now, instead of the standard one pair, I'm soiling two pairs a day. And still, I'm feeling a bit chilly down in the wine cellar of my soul. I've even got on my slippers--ah, wait, I'm sorry. My house shoes. I am in the South, after all.

Still, while I'm looking at this weekend's forecast and thinking "highs in the 50s? Fuck a duck", I've got ten little piddies who are practically jumping for joy. Oh look, right now, they're dancing! Oh, how happy they must be for warmer temperatures.

It's either that, or they've been exposed to some kind of neurotoxin in the lab.

Totally Blowing Stuff Up Tuesdays: Desperately Seeking Sponsorship

January 12, 2010

Don't run away, this isn't what it, at first, appears to be. It's not a sports post, I swear. It's a sports-related post. The fine hairs have been split. I admit it. Run away if you must, but know that you're missing one helluvan explosion later.

Fine, you can skip to the explosion. Just know that you're missing some decent back story.

I lied, the back story isn't that decent.

So, this was the first season for the Dallas Cowboys in their new stadium. You know the Cowboys, right? America's team, except everyone I know hates the Cowboys, and those people who don't hate the Cowboys that I know, well, I'd rather say that I didn't know them. Unless you're one of them, Bored Neo-Classical Eric, and then I'd say you're the exception to the rule. And I think that we can all agree that you are a rather exceptional individual.

The Cowboys moved into a $1.15 Billion Temple of Hedonism this past fall, which seats 80,000 comfortably, with the ability for another 31,000 people to mill about and stand and watch the game. The stadium is replete with Blue Stars, an enormous high-definition video screen stretching from one 20-yard line to its opposite, hundreds of high-definition television screens littered throughout the expanse, so that you don't have to actually watch the game on the field, and cage dancers dressed as Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

With the Cowboys moving into the new Cowboys Stadium, the city of Dallas had to do something with the old Texas Stadium, where the Cowboys used to play (you know the place with the hole in the roof so that God could look down and watch?). The most obvious solution is to blow that fucker up...which is exactly what the plan is.

Ah, but here's where the story takes a bit of a twist. Because it's the Cowboys and they are, after all, America's team, someone had the bright idea to get a sponsor to sign on to help defray the costs of the destruction. Sounds insane, especially during a period in our economic history that can best be described as "woeful", right?

Enter Kraft foods. They have decided to pony up $150,000 to have their name on as sponsors for the destruction of Texas Stadium.

Of course, the destruction of Texas Stadium (and the clean up afterwards) is going to cost the city of Irving, TX about $6 million. Oh, and the money Kraft is donating is to be split evenly, with $75,000 going to various charities in the area, as chosen by the city of Irving, and $75,000 worth of its products are being distributed to area food banks and homeless shelters and such. So, while Kraft is officially sponsoring the event, most of the money being traded is actually going to help people in the area. You can read about it all here.

And that got me to thinking: I could totally use a sponsor for totally blowing shit up Tuesdays. And while I would willingly distribute money to area charities, I think I could do without $75,000 worth of Kraft macaroni and cheese. See, when I was doing that whole "work in the bookstore" thing between undergrad and grad school, I ate a lot of Kraft macaroni and cheese at the bookstore. A lot.

Look, I was living cheaply, trying to pay off my student loans, and then I bought an engagement ring. So, I had to cut back, and macaroni and cheese was cheap. So I ate a lot of it. Like, I ate so much that I can't really cook it now without getting a little sick to my stomach. Just thinking about it has kind of caused me to get queasy here at my seat. So, perhaps it's best that these foodstuffs are headed toward Texas.

Anyway, that's a nice story and all, but we're here to see shit go boom, so I found another video compilation of buildings being imploded. Enjoy the art of explosive entropy:

Yes, I know that was Yanni playing in the background. The buildings falling on themselves and the relative close-ups of the explosions should offset any unmanliness inherently brought on by the mustachioed and well-coiffed Greek.

Plus, admit it: when that large part of the bridge dropped straight down into the river below, you got a little aroused. It's okay; you're among friends.

Happy Carmentalia!

January 11, 2010

Today is the first day of Carmentalia, which was an Ancient Roman festival celebrating the oracle Carmenta. The prophetess was the mother of Evander, who founded Evander built the city Pallantium near the Capitoline Hill, which was later incorporated into Rome after Romulus clubbed his brother in the head with a shovel. You remember that back story, right?

Anyway, Evander was there to welcome Aeneas to the peninsula when Aeneas got done fighting that pesky little dust up called the "Trojan War", and the subsequent unassing of the place once the Greeks did that whole "surprise, is us inside horse!" trick. Oh, yeah, and Aeneas went to Carthage for a while to bone Dido. "Thank You", indeed.

Sorry, I've gotten a bit off track. I'm still weeping over the fucking Packers shitting the bed choking on their successes from the week before. Say, is there room for one more on that Vikings' bandwagon? As a wise man once said, "Football makes strange bed fellows." A sage, that one, I tell you.

Have I digressed further? Shame on me.

Anyway, Carmenta was originally named Nicostrate, but since she was so damned good at her job (which was prophecy), she had her name changed to "Carmenta", because "carmen" in Latin means "a song, a poem, an oracle" and can also be defined as "a magical spell", and it is from where we pick up the word "charm". When Carmenta died, she was deified and became the goddess of prophecy and also childbirth.

However, her most important and famous gift to humanity was in creating the Latin alphabet, supposedly by changing 15 of the Greek letters to their Roman counterparts. The Romans only used 24 letters (remember, no W, no J), so they had to pick up nine other letters from elsewhere. Most of them came from the Etruscans in the early days when the Romans were trying to assert their authority over the other tribes in the area. Carmenta made the Roman alphabet, which she gave to Evander. Evander, in turn, showed the letters to the Latins, who in turn used it to write down their language, which eventually begat a certain Friday series. So, we should be thankful, otherwise this blog would just be Greek to me...

Sorry about the bad pun. I had a much better joke there, but apparently Blogger doesn't allow you to cut and paste in Greek letters. Harumph. Kind of killed the momentum.

Anyway, since she was the Roman Goddess of childbirth, her festival days (January 11 and January 15) were celebrated mainly by women. Not much is known about the celebration other than the fairer sex were the chief celebrators. From the extensive study I've put into what women do when they are together with one another, I can only assume that the women of Rome would gather at Carmenta's temple, strip to their panties, garter belts and stockings, (bras optional) and have a pillow fight. A sexy pillow fight!

With that in mind...ladies...I suggest that we reinitiate the celebration of Carmentalia in all it's pillow-fight glory. Just, uh, conveniently leave a ladder outside the temple, okay?


January 10, 2010

Last night, as I was working on the current manuscript, I needed to relate a story about Athena between my characters. Athena, of course, was a war goddess (among other things) in Ancient Greece, and, as such, she was typically shown garbed in the dress of a warrior. This usually involves holding a spear or a shield or a helmet or any combination thereof.

Since, of course, Athena is female, I was going to use the term "warrioress" as an epithet for her. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure if "warrioress" was a word or not, so I turned to the online dictionaries that I often frequent when I'm unsure of a word's true existence or not. Turns out, warrioress is in a dictionary and it is defined, as you might guess, as a female warrior. I then decided that I didn't actually like the word "warrioress" and just went with "warrior goddess", figuring that that covered both bases when it comes to epithets for Athena.

I couldn't leave well enough alone, however. I decided to check out images and pictures that would come up if one searched for "warrioress". I almost immediately wished that I hadn't.

My cursory study of female warriors reveals that, when a woman becomes a warrior, she no longer has need for armor. Or, any clothing at all, for that matter. Her breasts grow as big as or bigger than her head. Her hips flare, her waist shrinks, and--naturally!--she pulls on a pair of high-heeled boots or sandals in order to go running off into battle. All of this seems rather impractical--especially in the costuming department--but perhaps I'm just misguided. To my eye, it seems as though a woman's flesh would be pierced by an arrow or a sword since there is absolutely nothing there to slow the weapon's progress. Silly me, I guess, assuming armor was for protection.

Also, the Amazons, a famed tribe of warrioresses, cut one of their breasts off so that they wouldn't be hindered in drawing a bow. It does seem to be a bit of a hindrance for a female warrior's big, floppy breasts to be in the way when in the middle of battle--especially when she opts for either no bra, or one that really doesn't do anything for support. But, hey, what do I know?

Apparently, not enough about female combatants...

This is something that I have vowed never to do. Though I have no objections to scantily-clad women, writing a female character into a story simply to have her strip and/or run around naked for long periods of time for no apparent reason is something I refuse to do. Female fighters in my stories tend to follow the path initiated by Eowyn (she of Lord of the Rings fame); that is, they dress for battle just like men, they fight just as hard as men, they die just as easily as men. I might be writing stories that can be classified as "fantasies", but they certainly aren't going to be sword-and-shield erotica.

Not that it really matters for my current work, since there isn't much in the way of women on the battlefield anyway. The closest thing I have is appearances by Athena, and she's wearing a chiton whenever she shows up, anyway.

I'll end my rant now.

I'm nearly finished with the sixth chapter of the manuscript, and the main arc of the story is finally shaping up. When I finish this chapter, it will be as the hero of the story is embarking upon his quest. He just got the information for the quest...though he doesn't know it yet...and is about to do his big impulsive, hot-headed act of braggadocio that will see him on his way and the quest undertaken. Fortunately, I have the subsequent chapters already mapped out, so I don't need to pour a lot of extra research into what happens.

While I was researching ancient Greek funerary practices this week (turns out, they're not that different from our own...though we don't typically sacrifice rams on top of the fresh graves of our dead family members...much...these days), I came across one of my favorite words, and I thought I'd share it here. It is Sunday, after all (at least where I am).

threnody: n. a poem or song of mourning or lamentation.

It comes from the Greek word threnos which means "lament" or "dirge" and oide which means "song" (such as in "melody" or "ode"). A threnos was a song of lamentation sung at during the period of mourning during a funeral. The Greeks, afraid that they would offend their dead relatives, really put their all into mourning them by wailing and beating their breasts and clawing at their faces and even hiring professional singers to come and sing the songs of lament. A professionally-sung song was called a threnos.

After digging through my rant about the dress code for women on the battle field and the boring ancient Greek lesson, here's the writing updates:

6883 / 50000 words. 14% done!

25915 / 100000 words. 26% done!

If They Were Still Among Us...

January 9, 2010

Yesterday, on FOXNews, in honor of what would have been Elvis' 75th birthday, they had a little retrospective slideshow about stars who died too young, and then a little reflection on how old they would be if they were still alive. It was pretty cool to look through and see how many people had died well before their time. There were the ones you would expect, like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi and the pride of Fairmount, Indiana, James Dean.

I thought it'd be interesting to see how various other "celebrities" from the past would have fared if they were alive today. Being that I'm boring and stodgy like that, I decided to compile a list here.

Julius Caesar: Born Gaius Iulius Caesar, Ole Jules accomplished quite a lot in his short life. Standing all of four foot eleven, he rose head-and-shoulders above the other Romans and conquered Gaul, delivered Britannia Magna to Roman rule, and, in what inspired perhaps the shortest and most poignant victory speech ever, subdued Pharnaces II of Pontus, bosting that, shortly after arrival, he saw his enemy and thus conquered him. Caesar would be 2111 years old...or maybe 2109...if he hadn't had that unfortunate run-in on the Senate floor...

Anne Boleyn Tudor: Speaking of head-and-shoulders above the rest, Henry VIII's second wife Anne was not only quite beautiful, but she also was a popular musician of her day. Unfortunately, rumor-mongering and accusations of infidelity led to her tragic downfall. She died May 19th, 1536 after contracting a deadly case of decapitation. If she were still with us, she'd be 508.

William Shakespeare: No list of dead celebrities would be complete without the Immortal Bard...who turns out, wasn't so immortal, after all. Will was a bit of an accomplished writer, penning some 30-odd full-length plays as well as many sonnets and other bits of writing. Not satisfied with simply writing the plays, Will was also an accomplished actor and dallied a bit in politics, as well. Though few people seem to appreciate his works and many more claim that he never wrote them, Will died at the tender age of 52. Had he survived the Plague or whatever it was the killed him, he'd be 435.

Pheidippides: Has there ever been a more famous athlete in all of history? Making the run from Marathon plain to the cities of southern Greece looking for help to battle the Persians--a route of some 150 miles in the record time of 48 hours. He then made the run from Marathon--again--to Athens, a distance of 26 miles, in order to declare "Nenikekamen!" (translated as "We have won!"). He then collapsed there on the playing field and died, cutting a promising track-and-field career tragically short. Pheidippides would be 2539 years old had he only been in better shape.

Jesus Christ: A religious leader from the time of Rome, Christ's life has been anything but easy. Born in the back alleys of a small town in the eastern part of the Roman Empire, Christ rose to prominence with his preaching of peace and love and forgiving to his followers. His words appealed to the masses, which caused the leadership of the day to take notice. And when they took notice, they didn't like what they saw. Perhaps one of the first--and most famous--incidents of state-sponsored assassination, Christ was sentenced to death by a jury of his "peers" and crucified. Assuring his followers that he could come down if he wanted, he instead died of asphyxiation and was later buried in a small, unmarked grave. Though sightings of his continue to this day, most agree that he did, in fact, die upon the cross and this ultimate act of sacrifice has led to a small following of religious adherents who continue to preach about his peace and love (and sometimes his forgiveness). Had he not met his untimely death, Christ would be 2012 years old.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol LV

January 8, 2010

Felix sit annus novus! Yeah, I was a little drunk hungover lazy last week when it was time to write up the New Year's Day Latin Lesson. Apparently, dead languages and holidays don't mix...which is completely counter-intuitive to the Latin way of thinking when it came to taking days off. However, not writing a Latin lesson on a holiday completely jives with the Roman way of life. Double celebration, man.

You'll probably recognize the greeting above as meaning "Happy New Year". Felix, of course, has popped up around here a lot, as it means "happy/merry/gay" (but it also means "lucky" or, sometimes, "fertile", be cautious when getting felix if you're particularly felix). Sit is a form of "to be" (esse) that means "may we be" and then you should recognized annus to be asshole "year" and novus to be "new". So, it's literally "May we be happy (in the) New Year!"

And, of course, this is the time of year when everyone strives to better themselves by resolving to lose weight, quit smoking, stop downloading jellyfish porn, and to not watch any more Michael Bay films. This being the 8th of January, I'm fairly certain that about 65% of resolutions have already been shredded.

Coupled with the resolution to get rid of some unsightly fat, naturally, comes Girl Scout Cookie time. Excellent timing, you little brown-clad she-demons, excellent timing, indeed. I know this, because my daughter joined girl scouts this past Wednesday--just in time for the selling of the cookies! You can feel my glee pulsating through the monitor right now, can't you?

What to do, what to do? Shall I wreck people's resolutions by tempting them with the sweet delicacies of brown-skirted pixies, or should I try to support those who want to better themselves in an attempt to prolong their lives?

It is my belief that a little bit of a treat now and then isn't so bad for you, even when trying to lose weight. It's when you've resisted the shit for a month or two that causes you to go fucking apeshit when your will power finally breaks. Ben and Jerry's pints? Thank you, I'll eat a dozen. Pie? Why, yes, sir, please bring the whole thing to the table and I'll eat my way through it. Cake? Only if it's served with a shovel.

So, take a little bit of the sweets. Reward yourself for your hard work. Enjoy life a little. Exercise and dieting don't have to be miserable. However, if the desire to gobble Oreos is too much, remember this little bit of Latin, and it should hopefully help you rein in your cravings:

Obesimus, biscuitum demitte!

Pronounced: "Oh-bay-see-moose, bees-kwee-toom day-mee-tay!"

Corpulent translation in the hovertext. many boxes of Girl Scout Cookies can I put you down for?

EDIT: Again, failure on my part. Today would be Elvis' 75th birthday, had he not, y'know, succumbed to all those peanut butter and 'nana sammiches. Oh, and the percocet. Anyway, Credo Elvem vivere!

TMI Thursday: Lose Weight, I guess...

January 7, 2010

If this does not sate your thirst for awesome TMI stories, then check out all the other glorious tales of things we probably shouldn't tell at LiLu's home for the staunchy raunchy, TMI Thursdays!

So, it's the New Year. Time for resolutions and for everyone who has ignored their waistline through the previous eleven months to suddenly want it to shrink again.

While I myself am too perfect, thus rendering the action of resolving to better myself moot, I am here to help you lose weight. It's the Patent-Pending Indefatigable Weight Loss Program, guaranteed to rid you of some of that unwanted weight you've got just lying around in your colon.

The first thing you should do is walk--no, run--to the hospital and get your gall bladder removed. This running isn't so much for the health benefits but to assist you into getting in shape, because you'll be doing a lot of running to the can in a few short weeks.

Once recovered from the cholecystectomy, run again to the the local grocer. There, buy the ingredients for an Irish Boiled Dinner and run home again to prepare. Three hours later, eat your fill of the oh so delicious Irish Boiled Dinner. You'll have plenty of left-overs, so you can repeat this latter part of the diet without needing to cook more.

Proceed quickly to the nearest restroom. Plunk yourself down on the toilet. Proceed to shit your brains out. Try not to vomit at the roiling pain in your bowels and/or the cloud of stench that permeates you after evacuating your bowels in a manner most liquid. Wipe. Flush. Flush again. Flush again, lest someone link that stank-ass mephitis to you.

Leave the bathroom with your head lowered in shame.

Be sure to drink water to replace the fluids lost through your bowels.


All this and more for the low price of $19.95!!! Call now, and I'll throw in a pack of wet-wipes so you can mop your brow while sitting on the can, emptying yourself of the most vile-smelling filth your body can possibly ever hope to create in a rushing torrent of diarrhea and despair unwanted weight.

...And now you know how my days went from Saturday through Tuesday of this week.

Fortunately, no one who works in the biology half of my company reads this blog, so they can remain clueless as to whom it was that snuck over to the bathrooms and left a vile, foul-smelling haze in the air on Tuesday afternoon...

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

January 6, 2010

My friend's wife--and her sister!--gave me spotted dick in the can!.

I hear, however, that penisillin will clear it right up.


My friend, B, and I have been joking about the spotted dick for about three or four months. I won't really get into the specifics of the joke, but suffice it to say that I still laugh at adolescent jokes--as if that's a revelation to you. So, I apologize to my friends from the UK. But, you have to admit, it's a funny name.

Anyway, B apparently likes to go home and--get this!--converse with his wife about what happened during the day! He's a regular Ward Cleaver, that one. Anyway, when we first started joking about the spotted dick (*chortle*), he went home and told his lovely wife about it. So, when they were at a grocery store over the holidays, she spotted a can of the spotted dick and said, "Don't you need to buy some of that for your friends?"

Because he's a man of action, B grabbed it and said "No, I just need to get one."

He presented it to me on Monday.

So, for those of us who don't know what spotted dick is, let me fill you in. *chortle* It's a dessert made of a dough-like suet mixture and some sort of dried fruit. Apparently, according to this article, the fruit is typically currants, but my spotted dick has syphilis raisins. Typically, it's served with custard--which is, as you know, a thick, whitish cream--and is a favorite of Ron Weasley's. Who knew? Gingers like the spotted dick! Red, I'm looking at you...but this isn't any different than any other day. So, carry on normally!

You know what's even better? My spotted dick was made in England, so it's authentic. Yessir, it was made in Middlesex! *chortle*

The absolute best part of the can, though, is how polite the wording is when it comes to discussing quality control. I quote:

"If you are not delighted with this product, simply contact us quoting the quality code on the can end and we will refund your money in full. Your statutory rights are not affected."

What a wonderfully polite people, the English.

I would be remiss if I didn't add this little bit at the end. The spotted dick is microwaveable, but you can also warm it in the can by setting it in a pan of boiling water for 30-40 minutes.

So,'s best to have hot spotted dick.


German Gifts

January 5, 2010

I had kind of a rough day yesterday. And by "rough", I mean by my standards.

First, I didn't really get a lunch. At one point during the afternoon, I slammed down a somewhat overripe banana and some celery and washed it down with some water. Oh, healthy.

When I came in in the morning (oh! Double preposition!), I was filled with optimism that I'd be able to better the world, one sp3-hybridized orbital at a time (unless I'm actually fiddling with the sp2-orbital on the aromatic ring with my bromine on does lithium-halogen exchange work anyway...I know it's a single-electron transfer mechanism, but does it dump into one of the pi-system antibonding orbitals or does it...oh, I'm sorry, what? Did I slip into chemistry speak again? Well, let's fix this ship right the fuck now!).

Anyway, I had high hopes for what I could accomplish during the day. So, I mixed up some solvents, prepared a few samples, slammed down some coffee, and signed up for a decent amount of time on the High Pressure Liquid Chromatography machine (henceforth referred to as the HPLC-inator). I trundled off with my carboy of solvent, my samples in hand, and extra gloves. Science was about to be done.

I prepped the machine appropriately, and I was all fired up. I had this thing. I didn't need to go find my friend, Joe (which would have involved a trip to some sub-tropical, pirate-infested waters, anyway, so it was better that I had everything under control). I could handle this. I started the machine, and this loud buzzing, like a million angry bees were coming for me, started up along with the machine.

Things didn't seem quite right (at least in my adolescent-level mind) but I figured I'd let the first run go, see how things shaped up. Except, I did something stupid: I leaned forward, resting my forearms on the bench, thus pushing the keyboard back into the UV-Vis detector, and shutting it off. Keen. I'll just turn it back on.

Except. It didn't come back on. Not fully. It wouldn't calibrate. I tried shutting it off for longer and letting it come back up. Still no calibration. Crapfuck. I had to go get help.

Fortunately, I went and found someone who wasn't on a cruise in pirate-infested waters, and they tried the same things I did. Nothing. So, they went to consult someone else. Finally, we called it a bust and I hopped on another machine. Not literally, as that might have crushed it. However, hopping on it probably would have netted the same result.

Apparently, over the break, the computer that runs the HPLC-inator had a fight with the pump on the HPLC-inator, and they weren't speaking. I dunno, they started bitching about little things and then the computer called the pump a whore and...well, things got ugly. After a little bit of fiddling, that problem was rectified...except the computer, in an uppity fit of bitchitude, decided it wasn't going to read my information for me, so it wouldn't run the program.

The obvious fix was what anyone does when dealing with an uppity computer: turn it off, turn it back on. Things finally seemed to work, so I reloaded all of my data into the sequence programs and got things running. This was an hour and forty-five minutes after I wanted to start, and I had a meeting looming over me at 2:00.

Yeah. Six hours into the new year and we're having a meeting. Right, sir, I'll send a memo.

So, after the meeting, it was 3:00, and I went down to check on my HPLC-inator runs, and I found that it had shut off. This was not unexpected. The initial run was to get a feel for the method I was running and to see if it would, in fact, purify my compounds for me. Finally, around 3:30, after having to reload all the data for the sequences into the computer and restarting the run, I was able to go sit down for a bit and cram some food into my piehole.

I worked on my notebook to make myself look busy for a little while and then wandered back out to my bench to see what was happening there (the answer better have been nothing, since I hadn't been able to set anything up, thanks to the bitchy nature of the computer and the spat it had with the pump).

Instead of nothing, I found a big-ass, flat, cardboard box. "What the bloody hell is this?"

"It's a box," said my labmate, Jennifer.

Because it's always a good idea just to go tearing into mysterious, unlabeled packages in a chemistry company, I dove right in. What I pulled out was...a calendar.

Apparently, I bought a chemical from this vendor in Germany, and they wanted to thank me for my purchase with a calendar. It's a nice calendar, pictures of flowers, all that good stuff. The days are even in the right order, and all the months are there. Top of the line stuff.

I found a letter enclosed with the calendar. It was in German.

"Can you read German?" I asked my labmate, Jennifer.

"Nyet," she responded. I cocked an eyebrow at her.

"You're very funny; you know that, right?"

She grinned.

Fortunately, if you flip the letter over, there's English on the other side. That's how I knew this was a "thank you" calendar. Also, I found a packing slip. It was, perhaps, my favorite thing in the box. It read: "Contents: 1 calendar".

Also, there was a letter verifying that the calendar did not contain any infectious agents. Nice. So, it's not an anthrax calendar or anything. Which is good, because "death by calendar" is probably a very ignoble way to go.

So, thanks, German vendor of chemicals. I'll hang that calendar up in my office...whenever I find a way to do it. All I need is a hook or a nail or someone with rock-hard nipples one of those magnet things.

Suck It, November

January 4, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I was going through my new blog followers, checking out their blogs and updating the bloglist(s) in the side panels when I came across, almost by accident, a site called "NoMoSlackMo". I was intrigued, at first, but when I saw the tagline of "Suck it, November", I was in love. Er, as much love as one can be in with a website, I guess. No, no, I take that back; I was quite smitten.

As you may remember, I'm none too keen on the whole NaNoWriMo thing. I personally get nothing from it. Oh, sure, it's fun to hammer out words for thirty days straight, but after a while I felt as if, as a writer, I should be doing this more than just thirty days at the end of the year. I mean, if I want to be a serious, professional writer, I need to commit to it, right?

And, I had. I was about 19,000 words up on my current work in progress (WIP) when I sort of...slacked. Purposefully. You'll notice that the writing updates withered during late November and on into December. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is stressful enough, to be honest, without worrying over how much of my masterpiece novel I've gotten finished. So, I kind of quit and tried to focus on doing other things, like playing Lego Star Wars cleaning the house and preparing for a visit from Jolly Old St. Nicholas.

The holidays are, once again, sadly, behind us. New year resolutions are, once again, sadly, upon us. And so, too, is NoMoSlackMo. For the uninitiated, NoMoSlackMo stands for "No More Slacking Month", and is sort of the bastard child of NaNoWriMo, but without all the stigma that goes along with that. And, the rules are pretty simple. As per the authors:

  • Writing takes place from January 1, 2010 to January 31, 2010
  • Goal is to reach 50,000 words by midnight on January 31, 2010
  • You don't have to start from scratch. The point is to finish what you slacked off on in November.
  • You can start from scratch if ya want.

Obviously, I didn't start from scratch. However, I was 19032 words into my current work. I thought, "I could cheat and just start out 20,000 strong, so that I only have to write 30,000 words and be 'a winner'!" But then I thought "Hmmm...I want my book to be somewhere around 100,000 words, so if I were to follow through and write 50,000 words plus what I already have, I'd be almost done with my book."

And, so, that's what I've done. Which is kind of a bitch to keep track of, since my starting word count wasn't nice and round or anything like that. Alas, I have to do...math...and that I'm doing this. Fortunately, Windows comes with a built-in calculator! How convenient?

Anyway, I finally got to the point where I introduced the king. And, he's supposed to be a slimy bastard lusting for the main character's mother. I thought, "Who embodies this better than anyone else?" And then after I stopped looking in the mirror, I thought, "Who in pop culture embodies this better than anyone else?" The answer: Lando Calrissian. That's right. The king (er, one of them) in my neat little myth story is roughly modeled off Lando. Except, he's Greek, not black, he's a king, and not an administrator of a mining facility, and he tricks everyone into giving him horses, not tibanna gas. Although, I do think they both rock the cape look pretty well.

I have, officially, finished five chapters in the book and I've started number six, but I need to re-read some Greek funerary rites before continuing too much further. Plus, I need to figure out how "youthful" I want my "youth" in the story to be. I'm thinking sixteen should be about right--he'd be hotheaded and impetuous, which is what the character calls for. However, I've vowed to myself that my hotheaded and impetuous character isn't going to be a whiny bitch like Harry Potter; he's actually going to listen when someone imparts some wisdom or knowledge or guidance upon him, rather than just get mad and strip naked on a stage with a horse. Wait...I think I'm mixing Daniel Radcliffe vehicles there...

Anyway, here's the progress to date. I've got 66 pages, and if that's 1/5 of the way done (estimated), then I should end up with about 330 manuscript pages. Not bad, I think. Short enough to get some interest, I'd hope, but long enough to qualify as "novel" status.

The top word bar is my NoMoSlackMo status. The second is the overall word count (sorry, ladies, but the word counter and the button you provided on your blog are a little that would clash with the layout colors of my blog. Yeah...yeah...that's a good explanation...we'll go with that. *shifty-eyed*)

2433 / 50000 words. 5% done!

21465 / 100000 words. 21% done!