Plans (scuppered)

typed for your pleasure on 15 September 2008, at 12.10 am

Sdtrk: ‘Fourth of July’ by Galaxie 500

As it was the first Sunday after Labo(u)r day, Mari, the lads and I were going to hit the Battle of the Brits event over at Freedom Hill, and stroll amidst numerous parked MGs, classic Mini Coopers of all stripes, and that one bloke who always brings his DeLorean. Not this year, though! O, no no. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Pretty much late Friday, it’d been raining quite a bit in the SE Michigan area, the fact of which can undoubtedly be blamed on Hurricane Ike, which is currently paying a visit to my friend Jaems over there. Despite being several states away from Texas, Michigan’s weather stability is as fragile as glass. You’re familiar with the whole ‘a butterfly flaps its wings somewhere and China explodes’ analogy? That’s pretty much par for the course with Michigan. A butterfly flaps its wings somewhere, and over here, the very ground erupts, belching forth random superheated jets of steam. It could be worse, obviously, but still. Aside from that, someone needs to find that butterfly and kill it, if it cannot be contained through ordinary means. So when I woke up (late) on Saturday, it’d already been pissing down for hours, with no end in sight until Monday-ish, according to the weatherman.

Now, with the Battle of the Brits, the programme directors stick to that date, rain or shine, despite the fact that as they only hold it for one day in an open-air area. Which seems, I dunno, retarded? I can understand that strolling amidst a passel of Minis in the rain would accurately replicate being in damp ol’ Engerland, but would you want that? They’ve been holding this event for years; surely they could find a venue with a roof? At any rate, we were crossing our fingers, hoping for a turnaround with the weather for Sunday.
So as I’d said, it’d been pissing down all day, and I had nearly finished getting ready for hanging out wi’ the lads like we do every Saturday eve. Round 5pm, I was looking up stuff online about the esoteric UK Seventies telly series ‘Children of the stones‘, and waiting for Zip Gun to swing round and pick me up, when I heard a muffled explosion in the near distance. Nothing huge; just a sound you’d perhaps expect from an engine block detonating. Seconds later, the power at Deafening silence Plus went out. Following that, about a minute later, I heard my neighbours emerge from their apartments, asking if the power had gone out. Answer: yes. Turns out a transformer blew across the road, killing the power to our little complex. The landlord’s understudy (don’t ask) informed us that Edison would have it taken care of in about three hours, which was okay with me, as I was heading out anyway. Although I didn’t get a chance to shave, but I’d live. So as I had about twenty minutes to kill before ZG’s appearance, I uncharacteristically took my folding stool outside and finished reading my copy of J.D Salinger’s ‘Franny and Zooey’. Lovely book, highly recommended.

After Zip Gun picked me up, we then sped out to aneamo’s place to pick him up, then we hit the local Steak n Shake for dinner, which is something we’d not done in years. Following that, we made a tactical strike on an area Meijer, and then a GameStop, so I could buy Yakuza 2, which just came out last week. Lovely game, highly recommended. Any game that crosses exploring a small Japanese metropolis with the ability to beat a man to death with a bicycle is pretty highly-ranked in my book.
The three of us converged on SafeT’s humble abode, meeting up with goshou who’d already been there for a while, and alternately played retro videogames, petted his cats and dogs, and watched ‘Logan’s run’, until roughly two in the morning. Before we took off, the lot of us had pretty much come to the conclusion that since we were still in the midst of la deluge, that we’d give the Battle of the Brits a miss and move on with our lives, as it would most likely be raining tomorrow as well.

Well, guess what?

I woke up round 11am, which was really surprising, as I’d a) not bothered to set the alarm, b) Shi-chan failed to wake me up (which happens more often than you’d think), and c) I’d gone to bed at 7am, due to punching and kicking my way through Yakuza 2 the night / morning before. Not only was the pavement dry, but it was actually a sunny 75°F out. Huh! Huh.
So rather than the report I was going to write up concerning the Battle of the Brits, you get this instead! To finish, enjoy this pic of Your Humble Narrator, taken by Monti, when we attended the 1998 BotB.

Mine would be black with silver stripes. And central air

As for me, it’s back to Yakuza 2! After all, those cheap punks won’t hit themselves with lead pipes, no matter how politely you ask

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typed for your pleasure on 11 September 2008, at 2.36 am

Sdtrk: ‘Today’s rhythm people’ by The Focus group

Hrrm. Is anyone else here somewhat disappointed that, upon activation yesterday, the Large Hadron Collider didn’t spawn a cluster of black holes, thereby compressing this miserable planet into gravel in moments? Go on, raise your hands

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typed for your pleasure on 13 August 2008, at 12.13 am

Sdtrk: ‘Roma’ by Pizzicato five

Cos you’ve heard it before, really. But perusing my stats this eve, I did get a hearty laugh out of someone hitting ‘Shouting etc etc’ through a phrase that (temporarily) shifted the scowl from my face:


As a completely unrelated point of interest, I’d also like to point out that on average, the price of a gallon of 87-octane petrol in the tri-county area is between $3.79 – $4.07 USD. Just something to consider

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TRANSFER COMPLETE / She’s right, y’know

typed for your pleasure on 13 July 2008, at 4.28 pm

Sdtrk: ‘L’escargot’ by Michael Nyman

PRAISE “BOB”. Remember all those comments from the first iteration of ‘Shouting etc etc’ that were previously gathering dust on HaloScan? They are now completely transferred. Every last one of them. By hand, I might remind you. Shi-chan’s double-excited, as I told her that when I was done with all that transfer silliness, that I would get back to resurrecting ‘Kitten with a Whip!*exhales* O boy.
But for now, go enjoy the past!

Being a fan of Montreal’s finest sons and daughters, the Dears, I periodically read vocalist and keyboardist Natalia Yanchak’s blog, bizarrely titled ‘Natalia Yanchak’s Blog‘, wherein she details life with lead vocalist and hubby Murray, being a mum, trying to stay environmentally aware, recording fumfuh, etc. Recently, she posted an entry that resonated very strongly with me:

Facebook Killed My Blog…
…not that it’s completely dead or anything. But the amount of laptop time I permit myself per day is limited, and with the addition of Facebook to my online routine, there’s just less time for blogging. I mean, this blog should be enough of a window into my life: does it really need to be supplemented with a half-assed Facebook profile?
the rest of the article is here

Obviously, you can just as easily replace any instances of the word ‘Facebook’ with ‘Myspace’, as they’re entirely interchangeable. Both are essentially glorified profiles, for the purposes of networking and negligible announcements. For someone such as myself who already has a blog, keeping up with a social networking site is just one more silly thing I have to look after. Were it not for some tosser in Australia, I wouldn’t have a Myspace at all.

I do have a Facebook profile (and no, I’m not linking it here; if you’re clever though, you’ll know what name to look under) that I’ve mucked about with maybe five or six times, as frankly, I find the interface to be even more baffling than Myspace, which is a feat I wouldn’t have thought possible. What are these ‘gifts’ they keep referring to? There’s a wall that you can write on? Human G knows Human L, who knows Humans T, KK, and 42? What is this, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon??

The one thing I hate most about Facebook is that unless you friend someone… fuck. Let me stop that right now. Unless you add someone as a friend, you can’t have any access to info about them. I realise that for people merely seeking to beef up the number of ‘friends’ they have, that’s no big deal, but personally, I want to know something about you before I accept you into my life. Does that not make any sense to anyone else??

I realise that I’m making myself sound like a cranky geriatric, but I dunno, I like writing, as opposed to merely commenting in bulk. Again, Myspace and Facebook are profiles, and as such, they don’t exactly engender writing at length, and listing the shitty bands that you like doesn’t count.
So basically, I’m drawing a line under it: I’m not accepting adds or wasting time with either Myspace or Facebook anymore. I’m not deleting mine or Sidore’s — you can thank that enterprising Australian for that — we’re just no longer maintaining them. Should someone send me a message, I’ll simply ask they Email me. Remember Emails, and how fun they were? But yeah, I’m curtailing keeping up with them cos frankly, if curious types really want to know about me or the Missus, they should be rooting through ‘Shouting etc etc’, rather than some facile social networking site

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On Summer

typed for your pleasure on 8 June 2008, at 8.41 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Walking in LA’ by Missing persons

That’s… almost body temperature. That can’t be good

Out of all the seasons we have foisted upon us, Summer has to be the worst, hands down. Autumn’s subtlety makes it superior; Spring’s never done me far wrong; Winter looks beautiful but it’s crap to be out in, but being chilly still beats basting in your own juices any day. The only redeeming thing about Summer is that it makes women reassess their choices in footwear, but that’s it, and that’s only a marginal reward, all told.

When I was younger and more willing to step out-of-doors, I remember developing a heat rash every Summer for three years running. Additional details are fuzzy, but I recall it was disgusting, as rashes tend to be. Then, of course, there’s the sweating, which, as far as I’m concerned, is a design flaw in Organik humans. Do you see cats sweating? No, no you don’t. Obviously they know something we don’t… And don’t forget tanning! Because making your flesh leathery and courting melanoma is always a worthwhile goal.

I’ll tell you: on the way to work Friday when I took the picture above, I saw a bloke geting his exercise in by running. Over the course of a mile, his body mass visibly shrank, as he was so overheated that he was rapidly losing weight. He went from probably about 185 lbs. to 40 just like that. Having stopped at an intersection, he was so weak and dehydrated that not only did he collapse, but the broiler heat of the tarmac reduced his frail form to a steaming paste within seconds, iPod and all.
Also, I saw a Pomeranian burst into blazing flames. It’s true.

In about a decade, when I am rightfully crowned First Grand Monarch of Earth, I resolve to put an end to this ‘summer’ ridiculousness; however, I’ve not decided how exactly. Either I’ll have enormous Bucky Fuller domes constructed over the major cities of the world, or I’ll have a fleet of gigantic air conditioning units flying in continuous formation around the globe, whichever’s more effective. Personally, I’m leaning toward the dome idea, cos if it worked for the society in ‘Logan’s Run‘, then there must be something to it, right?

Summertime. Clearly Nature’s biggest mistake

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typed for your pleasure on 21 May 2008, at 1.00 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Skunk’ by The Jon Spencer Blues explosion

What exactly is it about Garfield™® that engenders so much contempt amongst upright-walking, thinking beings? I think the reason goes beyond its feeble and saccharine attempts at humour; in fact, for me, it’s precisely because it tries to be as inoffensive as possible is the reason I wish to see Jim Davis’ head on a pike outside the city gates. I can understand wanting to create comics that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people, but as a wise Mancunian once remarked, ‘If you pander to the public, art can never exist’.

Luckily, it seems of late that more and more people are realising that there actually are trace elements of humour to be found in Garfield™®, if you have a powerful enough viewing device to see it. Recently, I discovered three separate sites that have a reductionist approach to putting the ‘comic’ back into that ‘comic strip’. First, I give you Arbuckle:

In 1978, Jim Davis began a newspaper comic strip called “Garfield”. For almost thirty years, this strip has endured, primarily because its inoffensive, storyless humour is immediately accessible. It is, if not quite the Lowest Common Denominator of the comic world, at least as close to it as one can get without being obviously mediocre.

The comic changes dramatically when one removes the thought bubbles.

“Garfield” changes from being a comic about a sassy, corpulent feline, and becomes a compelling picture of a lonely, pathetic, delusional man who talks to his pets. Consider that Jon, according to Garfield canon, cannot hear his cat’s thoughts. This is the world as he sees it. This is his story.

They’re accepting submissions, so if you’re feelin’ mischievous and want to redo a strip yourself, contact the site owner to check to see someone else hasn’t done the one you want first.
Then you’ve got Garfield minus Garfield:

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?
Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against lonliness and methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb.

Yes, Jon is that much more unsettling when he’s the only person in the room. I love the ones where they redo the extended Sunday versions, and the first panel that usually has the title ‘Garfield’ in it, is completely blank.

Finally, there’s Lasagna Cat, which is not so much ‘reductionist’, as ‘singularly disturbing’. But that description really fits when you’re dealing with live-action reenactments of various Garfield™® strips, with rimshots and canned laughter and the actors holding still in lieu of a freeze-frame. Yeah. After viewing a couple of these, you can announce to the world that you have indeed seen everything it has to offer, and you can now return to your Maker with no regrets. My particular favourite?

Hallucinatory. But funny! And when’s the last time you could honestly say that about an unadulterated Garfield™® comic?

And with this post, I hereby announce the new category, G******d (which has actually been there for a bit of a while, but nevertheless). Come, share the Hate with me

ta very much to aneamo for the ‘Garfield minus Garfield’ link

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typed for your pleasure on 23 February 2008, at 12.30 am

Sdtrk: ‘We are coming back to dance with you’ by The focus group

Fuck me rigid. I have been asleep for literally twelve hours straight. Why? I’ve got another flu! FUCKING AWESOME.

I swear to christ, I am sick of being sick. As I’ve been lamenting to my friends anyone who will listen, I’ve been ill off and on with supercolds and the occasional flu consistently since late last September. If the climate isn’t bitterly cold, I’m either getting it from friends, or from my godforsaken coworkers. Remember how I mentioned how Tsukihime had it? I managed to either avoid it directly, or it was just building up inside me, as while I was at work last night, I was getting the occasional shiver. When I woke up Friday morning, I felt as if someone had taken me by the shoulders and shaken me for an hour. Needless to say, I called in.
It’s definitely a flu, as I’ve got the symptoms: the slow-motion walk, muscle fatigue, being simultaneously too cold and too hot, dizziness, everything tasting like iron filings. But y’know the thing about this timing that really gets on my wick? A cluster of us Michigan-area iDollators are supposed to have another Congress this week-end! Goddamnit.

If you want me, I’ll be in my coffin. This is ridiculous

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