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Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Moment of Clarity

It has come to my attention that some of you are laboring under the impression that I announced I would be taking a break from posting on this blog, and that Troy would be taking over for the forseeable future.

If this is the case, I grieve for the reading comprehension of this nation.

Yes, I confess that in Apologies, I wrote that I wasn't sure if/when I would be able to continue writing, and that I was working on securing a guest writer to help pick up my slack. However, the very next day I posted again.

Look at the differences between the two posts. I think it's quite clear that in the first, I am still quite deeply depressed, and in the second I have begun to emerge. (Yes, the progress in the fan response for saving Jericho is what got me out of the funk. What of it?)

However, at no time in either of those posts did I say I was going away or would stop writing. I can sort of understand how you might have gotten that impression from reading "Apologies", but since the very next day saw me returning to form, I can only conclude that anyone who continued to operate under that assumption either
  1. doesn't bother to read everything that I post, or
  2. is a fucking moron.
Yeah, I said it. I am goddamn sick and tired of the way every form of media in this country panders to the lowest common denominator, and I refuse to do that to my readers. Now I'm not asking you to have a perfect SAT score to understand my blog, but by Eris if you lack the basic reading skills to comprehend that "Hey, I feel like writing again!" means "Oh look, I'm done being emo for a while, let's get back to daily updates," then just do me a favor, ok?

Stop reading this blog.

Seriously. I'm not going to talk down to you. I'm going to use sesquipedalian vocabulary, make obscure references, and talk about whatever tickles my fancy, and I expect you all to keep up. If you don't understand something, feel free to ask for an explanation, but do not ever ask me to tone it down, because if you do I'll write a post in Chinese just to spite you all.

Erin Palette: Bitter, yet delicious. Like a bucket of poison, I am deep and unforgiving.

So, now that's been straightened out, let me progress to Parte Deux, aka Why I Let a Hickman in my Blog. I did it for basically three reasons:
  1. Comic book blogs are big attention-getters, and like most bloggers I am an attention whore. I want to attract more viewers to Lurking Rhythmically, and the easiest way to do that is to talk about comics. My readership tends to spike every time I write a "Comic Book X written by Y author," but it takes time to make those. I figured, Hey, Troy knows comics, seeing as how he's, y'know, actually written one, so why not have him guest?
  2. Troy is a great writer, and he deserves more exposure. If I can get one person to read his stuff because they saw him here, then it was worth it.
  3. Sometimes I need to take time off, whether it's because I'm sick, on vacation, or holed up in my room dressed in black and listening to the Cure nonstop because I'm depressed. When this happens, it's good to know that my blog will not lie fallow. It'll be in good hands, and I know that Troy will keep it from losing momentum. This also allows me to enjoy my weekends without worrrying, Should I be updating my blog instead of seeing this movie? Having a backup, a co-pilot, a wingman, if you will, keeps me from being a slave to the blog and returns it to its original purpose: something that I post to for the enjoyment of it, not because it's something I feel duty-bound to attend.
So there you go. I'm not leaving this blog any time soon, and neither is Troy (well, unless he chooses to.) And if, during the course of this post, I have offended you, then I sincerely beg you to forgive me fuck off if you can't take a joke.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The problem of predation

I think enough time has passed that maybe I can talk about the Virginia Tech shootings without seeming like an insensitive bitch.

Perhaps I'm just emotionally stunted, but whenever a tragedy like this occurs (and it IS a tragedy, don't get me wrong), the thing that amazes me most is not the senselessness of the deaths, but by the reactions of all involved. In short, I'm shocked that people are still surprised by this kind of thing.

"How could it happen?" they all wail.

How could it NOT?
Eris on a Pogo Stick, people, we've only been murdering each other for thousands, if not millions of years. We are a race of predators, and if you have any doubts of that go look at your teeth in the mirror -- you'll see tools specifically designed for the biting and tearing of flesh. Killing is in our genes and in our blood.

The problem, of course, is that we've managed to short-circuit the system nature uses to govern predator populations. Our numbers are no longer constrained by the prey population -- domestication of animals and the invention of agriculture has effectively removed us from the food chain. We are the ultimate apex predator.

But what happens when a species of predator no longer needs to engage in predation? The answer is simple: We prey upon each other. Small-scale predation is known as crime. Large-scale predation is known as war. In case you doubt me, the next time you watch an episode of COPS or whatever, watch it the way you'd watch a Wild Kingdom episode:
  • Was that a gangbanger engaging in a drive-by shooting, or was it a male predator seeking to eliminate rivals for territory, resources, and access to mates?
  • A pedophile? Look, it's common practice for predators to separate the young, the old, and the sick from the herd.
  • And don't even get me started on the similarity between child neglect and the way lionesses treat their young when their mates die.
We are predators. We are killers. And the fact that this continues to shock people astounds me. The fact that we have managed to somehow create civilization, art, poetry, beauty -- these are all exceptional accomplishments, but they don't mean we're no longer animals; they're just indicative of what we can accomplish when we're not killing each other.

I could go on for several more paragraphs, but it's late and I'm tired, and I fear I may start to ramble off-thesis if I'm not careful. Instead, I will close with a selection from the Principia Discordia:

One day, I came upon a man urinating in a bus station. When I confronted him about his action, he turned to me, without stopping, and said:

"Keep in mind that since the universe is in constant flux, nothing that occurs one moment has any relevance to anything else. Everything you believe, feel or thins is based on the false assumption that truth exists. Thus, you are free to do any action which brings you pleasure. That humanity feels constrained by morals is one of the funniest jokes I've ever heard.'

So I beat the shit out of him and took his wallet.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What the hell?

What the hell, people?

I give you an Eisner-nominated comic book writer as a guest blogger, and my daily hits drop from 100 to 40? That's just not right.

If you keep this up you will force to me to do something extreme in order to get your attention. And judging from the brouhaha that resulted from my Vonnegut malogy*, you do NOT want me to weigh in with, say, my thoughts on the Iraq War. Because I guaran-damn-tee you that I will piss off 90% of you.

* A bad eulogy. Yes, I just invented that word.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori


The Charge Of The Light Brigade
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Memorializing Events in the Battle of Balaclava,
October 25, 1854



Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd ?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke,
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Troy Hickman: I Can't Feel My Lower Extremities

So I'm sitting there minding my own business when Erin Palette (or the Paletteer, as I like to call her) asks me to write some stuff and junk for her blog. Even worse, she tells me I can use the space to plug my comics. Of course, I was offended by the very notion of whoring my work (such as the Eisner-nominated Common Grounds trade paperback, on sale at fine bookstores and comic shops everywhere, featuring artwork by Kieth, Bachalo, Oeming, Perez, Pacheco, Medina, Van Sciver, Jurgens, Migliari, etc.).

Instead, I demanded this space to tell the truth about Palette, the truth as only someone who goes through her garbage can tell it. Let me clue you in on the length and breadth and width and girth of Palette, the seismic and balsamic readings of Palette, the very things that make Palette what she is: somebody I'm writing about.

Erin Palette keeps herself looking young by an arcane ritual involving the prostatic fluid of Mr. Ben Vereen.

To say Erin Palette is acquainted with the night is like saying Monica Lewinsky's va-jay-jay is acquainted with Bill Clinton's cigar. The night has overwhelmed Palette, and turned her into its medieval puppydog bitch.

Erin Palette has the intelligence to use the word "jejune," but not the wisdom to keep from doing it.

If an infinite number of Erin Palettes sat at an infinite number of typewriters, they'd be working on really out-of-date equipment.

She was born with a superfluous fifth elbow.

Palette used to work for the library, but they kept finding her with her decimals all dewy.

Erin Palette was mentioned by name in Jim Shooter's "little fucks" memo.

When she was a teen-ager, Erin Palette and her date were parked in a car on a deserted road. They heard a noise and quickly drove off, nearly paralyzed with fear. The next morning, when they checked the car, they found hanging from its door handle...a bloody hookworm!

Palette once asked me if I wanted a "hertz donut," and when I said yes, she pierced my chest with a clawhammer.

She was the original choice to play Linc on "The Mod Squad," but producers felt she wasn't "Jewish enough."

Erin Palette has taught me what it really means to be dizzy.

Palette is our first line of defense if the United States is invaded by Port Orange.

She has the world's largest collection of crotchless hats.

Erin's doesn't have her mojo working, but it does get a sweet SSI check every month.


When it comes down to it, I'm proud to call her someone I almost sort of know in a weird internet kind of way.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday is Firefly Day

Or is that "Firefriday"? Anyways...

Given all the flack that has occurred regarding that thrice-damned MJ statue, I now present you with a picture of a good one:


Notice the subtle blending of sexy and kickass. Note how she is standing in a position of strength, yet still provides eye-candy for the boys.

Notice how the focal point of the statue isn't on her breasts, but on her eyes and her weapon.

Notice how she's actually wearing less than MJ, but is taken far more seriously.


EDIT: Eris take me, I have finally succumbed to the LOLCat phenomenon:



Go here if you don't get the joke.

Happy Two-fer, Little Hoofer!


Wish Bully a happy second anniversary, won't you?

New Bonus Weekend Contributor!

I have heard you, my children.

I have heard you cry, "There isn't enough discussion of comic books!"

I have heard you cry, "Five days of updates aren't enough! We want consistent weekend coverage, too!"

I have heard you cry, "Show us your tits!" (Be prepared for disappointment on that count.)

I have heard you, and your cries have not been in vain. For tonight, I am pleased to inform you that I have found a cheap hack talented writer who will provide you with bonus weekend content, and fill in for me when I am unavailable.

(applause)

Some of you may have heard of him.
  • He is a comic book writer, and his work has earned him two Eisner nominations.
  • He plays City of Heroes.
  • He is known for not wearing pants.
Some of you may know of whom I speak. I imagine many more of you do not. This is his first time writing a blog, so I expect you will all be patient with him as he finds his footing here. I'm sure you will all find common ground with him, and if you're very nice he just might show you his tits (See? Disappointment).

Tune in tomorrow for the senses-shattering debut of the man I call... The Guest Writer!

PS: Reader comments temporarily disabled so that the surprise isn't spoiled by blabbermouth smarty-pants.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Jericho Update

It is an odd truism of my life that the moment I declare something to be a certain way, the universe suddenly reverses. Case in point: not 24 hours after yesterday's post that I didn't know when I would feel up to writing again -- I feel like writing again.

Of course, if I'm expecting a call I deliberately go take a shower with the full intent of making the phone ring while I bathe, so that should tell you something about my life.

I bring this up because I hope it will hold true in regards to Jericho. It's been a week since CBS announced the cancellation of this fine show, and in that time the fans have mobilized to show their support.

  1. As of this writing, there are nearly 80,000 signatures on the "Save Jericho Petition".
  2. CBS Administrators have acknowledged the existence of an outraged fan community and in this message have stated that "In the coming weeks, we hope to develop a way to provide closure to the compelling drama that was the Jericho story." I'll believe it when I see it, but the fact that we're getting responses means something.
  3. In a related note, the stars of Jericho have posted their thanks for our love and support. Look for the 5-starred posts.
  4. There are rumors that TNT may pick up the series. This is currently unsubstantiated. If I learn anything, I'll post it.
  5. This last one is the most spectacular: A company called NutsOnline is taking orders to have crates of roasted peanuts delivered to CBS offices. From their website:
NUTS! Save Jericho! Jericho fans unite! In addition to sending individual orders to CBS programming executives, as a Jericho fan you can now contribute money to massive shipments of nuts. NutsOnline will do our part by pooling monies and supplying nuts at a steep discount! At the end of each day we will tally dollars collected and ship out huge quantities of roasted peanuts in the shell!
You can contribute as little as $5.00 to this effort. As of this writing, they have delivered over 16,000 pounds of nuts to the CBS headquarters. That's eight tons, folks.

In closing, let me leave you with this thought from Jeffrey, who runs NutsOnline:
I wonder if the real trick to getting this back on the air is by watching the episodes online, where CBS can see real, hard data.
He makes an excellent point. If you haven't done so, please encourage your friends to give the show a try by watching online episodes at http://www.cbs.com/primetime/jericho/.

Thank you all, and remember: Keep saying "NUTS!" to CBS!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Apologies

I haven't been posting lately. I'm sorry for that.

There's stuff going on in my life. I'd rather not share what it is, thanks.

No, I don't intend to hurt myself. Yes, I'm taking care of myself, in as much as that is possible. Also, I live with my parents, so I'm not going to starve or freeze or anything like that.

Hopefully LR will return soon. I want to write again. But this thing is blocking the words.

I'm trying to secure a guest writer to pick up my slack. Hopefully he'll keep you entertained, but not as much as I do.

-- Palette out.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Lurking Sound: The Sisters of Mercy, part 1

(mild apologies to Sean Witzke, from whom I misappropriated the name)

Oh hell with it, I'm just gonna phone this one in. I hated doing book reports as a kid.

From Wikipedia:
Though Andrew Eldritch is often called the "Godfather of Goth", The Sisters of Mercy (the main artistic vehicle of Andrew Eldritch), despite being formed in 1980, were originally not very popular in the post punk sub-genre that the British press, in the early 1980s, had labelled, both the artists and their audience, Goth. The Sisters of Mercy were, however, accused by the press of plagiarizing Joy Division, who were marketed by their management as "gothic" in the late '70s.

The Sisters of Mercy would have a big impact on the second wave of Goth that came in the late 1980s and early 1990s, one of the reasons Gitane Demone of the first wave commented that the scene had turned "stale". The use of drum machines and the atonal, deep vocal style used by many second generation Goth bands were inspired by the Sisters of Mercy and were not that common among the first generation.

Since the early 90s, Eldritch has publicly rejected associations with the Goth subculture. He describes The Sisters of Mercy as humanist, modernist, and implies he wants nothing to do with Goth, stating "it's disappointing that so many people have in all seriousness adopted just one of our many one-week-of-stupid-clothes benders". He also notes that, "I'm constantly confronted by representatives of popular culture who are far more goth than we, yet I have only to wear black socks to be stigmatised as the demon overlord."

(song ends at 3:27 mark)

She stands pressed against the wall
So she can see the door
In case the laughing strangers crawl and
Crush the petals on the floor

Alice in her party dress
She thanks you kindly, so serene
She needs you like she needs her tranqs
To tell her that the world is clean
To promise her a definition
Tell her where the rain will fall
Tell her where the sun shines bright
And tell her she can have it all
Today

Pass the crystal spread the Tarot
In illusion comfort lies
The safest way the straight and narrow
No confusion no surprise
Alice in her party dressed to kill
She thanks you turns away
She needs you like she needs needs her pills
To tell that the world's okay
To promise her a definition
Tell her where the rain will fall
Tell her where the sun shines bright
And tell her she can have it all
Today
Today

Alice
Don't give it away

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Wit and Wisdom of Andrew Eldritch

It's a quarter to four in the morning, and I'm awake. I've been sequestered in my room pretty much all weekend thus far, venturing out only to partake in the biological rituals mandated by an existence encased in flesh.

And I've been listening to Goth nonstop. It shows, doesn't it, my pretties? Oh yes, indeed it does.

In fact, I feel a theme week coming on.

Well, perhaps not a week. I might become bored with it by Wednesday. We goths are fickle creatures, you see (though sometimes it's just memory loss from drinking absinthe.)

Regardless, as a precursor to Goth week -- which I have chosen to call My Lurking Sound (and probably only one of you will get that joke) -- I hereby present to you the wit and wisdom of Andrew Eldritch, singer/songwriter/frontman of The Sisters of Mercy:
"I think the great lesson of the 20th century is that you have to separate the ethics from the aesthetics. The Nazis did have the best uniforms, there's no denying it. The great lesson there is that you don't have to agree with what the Nazis did, but, yes, be honest about it, they did have the best uniforms. A lot of people can't come to terms with something as banal as that. They can't admit it, because somehow they feel like they're approving of what the Nazis did."

"This war looks great", he smacks, an Iraqi military installation suddenly a mass of black smoke. "America is going to win not because it can kill more people or because it has more men - that's not important. It's the simple fact that all the high-tech shit looks so great. I want some of it. Where can I get a laser-guided missile? I know just what I'm buying with my next royalty check.

"I love the bomb", Eldritch snarls. "It's brilliant. The point is that I can't stop it from going off. It's the biggest thing that's going to happen in my lifetime. I will not be caught standing there, going, 'Oh dear!' That's a given. The way to make the best of this world, even in that last split second, is to say 'F?!k yeah! Great, isn't it?'"

-- from RIP Magazine, July 1991

The man is brilliant and a wanker at the same time. But don't take my word for it... you'll get to see for yourself, soon enough.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Statue of Limitations

I am so goddamn tired of people grousing over this statue.

No, I'm not going to show it here. Go follow the link if you're the one person who doesn't know what I'm talking about.

I am so completely over this argument because it fails to address the point I find most salient:

Mary Jane is, always has been, and always will be, nothing more than Peter Parker's trophy wife.

There. I said it. I don't care how sexist or marginalizing or whatever it is that you think it, but the fact remains that MJ is not a symbol of female empowerment. Now I'm not a dedicated Spider-Man fanatic with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things sequentially arachnid, but I'm pretty sure that Mary Jane's main purpose in the comic is as follows:
  1. To complicate Peter's life (IE relationship problems);
  2. To be threatened or taken hostage by the villain;
  3. To remind Peter what he's fighting for/ reward him for his heroism when no one else will.
I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm mistaken, but that's pretty much all I see her doing. Therefore, to me at least, a statuette of her washing Peter's Spidey-Jammies is nowhere near as dis-empowering as it would be if were a strong, notable female character.

Want to talk marginalization? Imagine Sue Richards in a similar pose, washing Reed's unstablies. Or, Eris help us, Black Canary doing Green Arrow's laundry. Both of these are strong women, both feminine and feminist, and relegating them to the role of washer-women would horribly undermine all of their heroic efforts, struggles, and sacrifices. If that kind of statue was made, believe you me, I'd join the mob with the torch and pitchfork that I keep near my front door for just such an emergency.

But MJ? Has she ever been anything other than a C-cup bosom for Spider-Man to rest his head on at the end of the day?

Seriously, people. If you're going to argue about anything, argue about how MJ is basically Peter's sex-kitten reward for a hard day's superheroing. But this statuette? Don't get your spandex in a bunch over it.

BLEACH

Spoilers for those who haven't seen tonight's CSI season finale.

We all know that bleach is the trigger for the killer, and it can be found at each crime scene. But have you realized that each killing is forming the word "bleach"?

Blunt force trauma;
Liquid nicotine poisoning;
Electrocution;
Asphyxiation;
Crushed under a Car;
H is the only one that's left. I assume Natalie (the Miniature Killer) will hang herself in jail when the janitors use bleach near her cell.

EDIT: I wish I could take credit for noticing this, but I didn't. I can't recall who it was, but someone on one of the many CSI wikis or messageboards came up with the idea first.

Kudos to you, sir.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Help me save Jericho

So. CBS cancelled Jericho yesterday. I aim to change that.

Many of you are Browncoats, and know what it feels like when a beloved TV show is cancelled before its time. I call upon the sacred bonds of sci-fi geekdom, and ask for your help.

Some of you respect my taste in television, even if you don't watch the show yourself. I need you to believe me when I say that this is one of the most intelligent, well-written shows out there. Please help me in this.

Some of you may not care about the show at all, but are my friends and don't want to see me upset. Please, please, help me.

Here's what you can do to help save this show, from easy to involved. If you do nothing else, please do #1.
  1. Go to the Save Jericho Petition at PetitionOnline and sign it. Leave a comment if possible. If you can't think of a comment, then feel free to use mine: "I will buy as many seasons of Jericho on DVD as you care to make." The promise of money is a strong motivator.
  2. Use the CBS Feedback Form and leave an email complaint. Politely express your displeasure at the cancellation of the show, and ask them to re-think their decision.
  3. Call the CBS programming department at (212) 975 3247. Leave a voicemail with the same polite message as in #2.
  4. Send nuts-- be it peanuts, pictures of peanuts, styrofoam peanuts, you get the idea -- to:
CBS ATTN: Nina Tassler
51 West 52nd Street
New York, New York 10019
RE: RENEW JERICHO
5. If you're especially hardcore, contact the sponsors of the show (you know, the folks who pay lots of money to air commercials that pay for the show) and tell them that you want them to get CBS to renew Jericho. A list of sponsors and their web addresses can be found HERE.

Please help me. I'm not too proud to beg. Please, please, help me.

FUCK!

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

In preparation of the new fall lineup

We all know that once a TV show (Lost) is a hit, networks immediately copy the formula (Invasion, Threshold) in the mistaken belief that if you like hamburgers for lunch, then you'll love having them for breakfast and dinner, too.

It is with this in mind that I present "The Pachelbel Rant."

Tuesday Meme

I am a cruel, cruel person:



Meme started by Chris at The Invincible Super-Blog.

Text taken from A Love of Great Trash.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Depression Monday

Hopefully this won't turn into a recurring theme like Dead Piro Days, but nonetheless I need to beg off of writing today's entry. My allergies have been killing me, which means I haven't been sleeping well due to not being able to get enough air at night. (Sleep apnea, whee.)

And in addition to being tired and clogged, my "Middle of the month, every month, like freaking clockwork" depression is back, no doubt made worse by exhaustion and oxygen debt.

I'm going back to bed. Maybe the world will end while I'm sleeping so I won't have to deal with this mess any more.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Greencoats

Since Lomie demanded it, here's my attempt at Green Lantern. It's not a short story/vignette, nor is it in verse.

It is, however, in the 'Verse. Consider it an Elseworlds pitch or suchlike.

"Here's how it is: Earth got used up, so we terraformed a whole new galaxy of Earths, some rich and flush with new technologies, some not so much. Central Planets, them was formed the Alliance, waged war to bring everyone under their rule; a few idiots tried to fight it, among them myself.

I'm Malcolm Reynolds. Didn't put much stock in aliens till I met one. He gave me this here ring, told me I was a Green Lantern and his replacement, on account of him bein' busy dyin' at the time.

Best I can reckon, I'm some kind of interstellar sheriff. Not sure if it's karma or irony, givin' me a superweapon and telling me I can't use it 'gainst the Alliance, but rules is rules as they say. Serenity draws a distinction 'tween the gov'ment and corrupt folks, leastwise, so I still get some fun.

Her? No, that's Zoe Alleyne. She was under my command during the Unification War, or as I like to call it, "The War of Core Aggression". We've watched each other's backs for years now, about as close as two people can without ever gettin' horizontal about it.

Serenity is the name of my pretty li'l green ring here. She may say I'm a Green Lantern, but I prefer another name.

Call me Greencoat."

If you do evil,
I swear by my pretty green ring
I will finish you.
-- Charging Oath of Malcolm "Greencoat" Reynolds,
Green Lantern of Sector 8929

Click here for more pictures

Erin Palette, Mistress of the Elements

Fire:
The Airport Road Fire in southern Flagler County remains 60% contained at 6,800 acres and remains within the control lines. The old Espanola Road fire is 14 acres and 100% contained. Two smaller wildfires, one three miles south of the Flagler County Airport and one in Daytona North are also mostly contained and all fires are either being mopped up or monitored for any hot spots.
Flood:
The National Hurricane Center downgraded Subtropical Storm Andrea to a depression Thursday morning; one day after the low pressure system became the first named storm of the 2007 hurricane season.
I have decided to credit Saturday's nakedness with averting both disasters.

However, on perhaps a related note, the as-yet-unformed fifth storm of the season is named Erin.

I haven't yet decided if this is ironic or portentous.

Perhaps the funniest thing I have heard all week

From Overheard in New York:

He Had a Three Foot Proof of Intelligent Design

20-ish guy: I wish I had a gi-normous cock. I mean, a cock the size of a baseball bat.
20-ish girl: What would you do with it? No woman could fit it in.
20-ish guy: Doesn't matter. If I had a cock that big I'd never have to argue with anyone again.
20-ish girl: How do you figure that?
20-ish guy: If someone disagreed with me I would take out my 34-inch cock, flip it up on the table like a mutant Chateaubriand and make a face like this [makes a 'So there!' face].
20s-ish girl: So, let me get this straight: You think that a giant penis trumps a logical argument?
20-ish guy: Well, doesn't it? Like with that guy you met in Aruba last winter?
20-ish girl, after long stare: I told you never to mention that again.


Note to self: Must use the phrase "Cock like a mutant Chateaubriand" once before I die.


PS: This post is dedicated to Salem MacGourley and his magnificent gwmicnxl.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

"[For any] X, Firefly > X. Proof: Trivial."

I have a Serenity pin on my backpack. It's actually led to more conversations when I travel than anything else I carry with me. I've gathered enough evidence from enough places to say, with no embellishment, that cancelling Firefly was a crime against humanity. And if it isn't universally regarded as such, I'll edit Wikipedia tonight to make it true.
Both of these quotes can be found, of all places, on the D&D forums at wizards.com.

Special thanks to Gideon Lydiard for pointing this out to me.

Fire Update

Since many of you have been concerned enough to ask about my situation, and it's an easy way to fill a blog post, I figured I'd bring you up to speed.
As of 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, the Airport Road Fire is slightly over 6,800 acres burned, 45% contained and has not increased in size since Sunday evening.
Good news: the fire hasn't spread.

Bad news: it isn't going anywhere, either. Swamp fires (not to be confused with Fire Swamps) are nasty because, once lit, the peat can smolder for months (or longer) in a manner similar to that of a coal fire. This makes them the first known form of spawn campers.
Heavy smoke continues to blanket the entire region today. The thick smoke is from the wildfires in north central Florida as well as the fires in southern Georgia.
So every time I step outside, I'm smoking a state or two. Whee. Anyone know what the estimated secondhand smoke damage is for that kind of volume?

Oh, yeah, and I'm allergic to most of the plants that are on fire. The last time this happened back in 1998, I had some nasty reaction to it (I don't know if it was from the smoke inhalation or from the allergens, maybe both) where I started coughing and wasn't able to stop until I passed out. One ambulance ride later, I'm sucking down pure O2 for the next day or so.
Smoke is being blown around the sub tropical storm off shore and affecting Flagler County and surrounding areas.

The Tropical Prediction Center has issued a Tropical Storm Watch from Flagler Beach northward effective today at 11:00 AM.A Tropical Storm Watch means that sustained winds greater than 39 mph are possible with in the next 36 hours. It should be noted that this is a weak system and the primary concerns will apply to marine and nautical interests. However residents should be aware of the latest bulletins from the National Weather Service.
For those who don't speak the lingo, the progression goes: a tropical depression can become a tropical storm which can become a hurricane. So yes, there's a proto-hurricane forming in the Atlantic, and hurricane season isn't set to start until June 1.

Now, given the choice between a storm and a fire, I'll take the storm any day, because I can see them coming days away. (I have yet to have a hurricane successfully sneak up on me.) And the intense rains that come with these critters will certainly help put out the fires. I'm just uncomfortable being caught between Scylla and Charybdis.

More updates as they occur.

Naked Disappointment

Spring in Florida is a wondrous thing, chiefly because of its ephemeral nature: if you're lucky, you get about a month of wonderfully warm days and deliciously cool nights, and the humidity combined with the heavy aroma of honeysuckle turns the air into a decadently sensuous perfume that caresses your body and tempts you to strip naked and bathe in the sheer luxury of it all.

These kinds of nights are a special treasure to me because, for as long as they last, they can make the multitude of voices in my fall silent, as if in silent appreciation of the evening's rarity. For an all too brief moment, I can be alone inside my own head, and think truly focused thoughts. These kinds of nights encourage me to walk for hours, and the rhythm of my footfalls soothes my troubled soul like a mother rocking her daughter's worries to sleep.

Nights like this encourage truly deep thinking, because they somehow disable the internal bullshit-meter that governs my thinking the other days of the year. For a short, glorious period, I am able to reasonably entertain all possibilities, no matter how absurd, and this enables me to short-circuit a lot of the self-sabotaging thoughts that typically encumber me. I do a lot of walking, a lot of thinking, and a lot of self-exploration, and while the theses I entertain nightly are patently absurd in the light of day, the fact remains that rational enlightenment can be achieved through a preposterous premise if I'm just allowed to think long enough. Even a false path can take you a few steps in the right direction, as long as you are able to fully discern its falsity, and if you can do so without having walked its full path then you have gained no small degree of wisdom.

Saturday was one such night, and upon returning home at a sufficiently late hour it occurred to me that fortune had presented me with a very rare gift: the opportunity to walk down my street, naked.

I can't rightly explain why the idea appealed to me so, but all the conditions were perfect. I live in a fairly rural suburb, so while I have neighbors my street is not packed with houses; in fact, there are undeveloped lots of pure Florida forest in roughly equal proportion to the homes. There are no streetlights, and only a few of the houses keep their porch lights burning in the wee hours, but there was a gibbous moon in the sky that provided light for me to see where I was going, yet also enough shadow that I would not easily be seen from any window. The air was warm, ensuring that I would not become chilled by walking about with my nethers exposed, but still cool enough to delay the hatching of mosquitoes for another few weeks.

In short, it was perfect timing. No one would see me, no bugs would bite me, and I could enjoy the thrill of being naked in the open air. Wearing only my crocs, I stepped out into the street...

... and into profound disappointment. There was no electric thrill of being naughty, no rush of getting away with breaking the rules. Instead, I was merely naked outdoors. It was exactly like being outside in shorts and a tank top, only without clothes. I wandered my neighborhood for a bit, seeking to capture some fleeting exhilaration, finding none. I returned home to ponder this new development.

What was the reason for this disappointment, I wondered? I am not an exhibitionist, hence my desire to walk at a time when none would see me. I sincerely doubt I was secretly seeking discovery. Was it the act of transgression I desired? None had seen me, so I had broken no laws. Eventually I had to concede the simple fact that it had been desirable only while it was in my head; that sometimes, the thought of doing something is far more sensual and desirable than the actual doing thereof.

Thus enlightened, I slept.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Why I'm not bothering to review Spider-Man 3

Because it's pure awesome, that's why. Go see it, you'll love it.

On a related note, go here to see funny videos like this one:

Where there's smoke, there's worry

The next few days might get a little bit interesting for me, dear ones. And I mean "interesting" in that classic Chinese sense.

Sometime last Thursday, a nasty fire started near where I live. By Saturday, the word "wildfire" was being used to describe it, and other blazes across the state, in this newspaper article. As of 8 pm last night, the fire looked like this:


Now, to give you the sense of urgency I feel, let me show you on Google Earth where I live in relation to these fires:


The red polygons roughly represent the area of the fires. My house is the dot of high-contrast magenta in the top center of the map. That's about 8.5 miles from the leading edge of the fire to the front door of my house.

Some of you may say, "Palette, it's nearly ten miles away, don't you think you're overreacting?" Well, no. Back in 1998, we had a fire season that was so bad, every county in the state was on fire (with the exception of the Keys). Our county was surrounded by fire on three sides -- North, West, and South -- and so we had to evacuate across the Intracoastal Waterway. Everyone said, "The fire can't possibly cross the Intracoastal." But you know what? By that time, the blaze had become a firestorm, meaning that the combustion was creating its own wind. Wind strong enough to blow flaming embers across the Intracoastal Waterway.

So, yeah. I'm just a tad concerned. I'm keeping tabs on FlaglerEmergency.com. Let's all pray for rain, because having my house burn down would really ruin my day.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

An entry of no interest to anyone whatsoever

There is absolutely zero reason for you to go to this website and click on the word "Medium."

On an utterly unrelated note, I'm rather fond of the software to be found here.

*whistles innocently*

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Rogue River

Oh my dear little blog, how I have been neglecting thee! Things have been rather crazy at Ch√Ęteau de Palette recently, and I might be forced into a thrice-weekly schedule until they settle down.

Loyal readers, centuria that ye be, are no doubt aware of my love for the post-apocalyptic TV show known as Jericho. I am, however, not completely convinced that all of you have actually taken the time to watch this little gem of a program. Normally the punishment for such a transgression would be fifty strokes with a silken lash, but I suspect you'd enjoy that too much for the lesson to properly take. Thus, I shall forgo your corporal punishment -- this time -- in lieu of you taking 45 minutes out of your life to watch a single episode with me.

Go to the CBS website here and select Episode 8: "Rogue River". While it's loading I'll give you a brief synopsis of what the heck is going on.

Jericho is a small Kansas farm town, the kind of place you would expect Superman to have grown up in. It is also, conveniently enough, outside of the fallout zones for all major cities in Kansas and Colorado. That fluke of geography, as well as access to a salt mine and uncontaminated water table, allow it to survive being cut off from the rest of the world when twenty-three major American cities are simultaneously destroyed by nuclear bombs.

There are three plots that occur in this episode.
  1. Major Plot: Jake and Eric Green must leave Jericho in search of antibiotic for their father (and mayor of Jericho) Johnston Green, who has gone into septic shock as a result of the flu. They take Jake's car because its 1970s-era guts weren't toasted by the EMP.
  2. Minor Plot: Gray Anderson, the man who wants to be mayor, decides he doesn't know enough about some of the new people in town. He drops in unannounced at the Hawkins residence and starts asking very undelicate questions of people who don't want such questions asked...
  3. "C" plot: Heather, a friend of Jake, tries to make ice to cool Johnston's fever. Without electricity, this becomes difficult.
And there you go. That's a typical episode of Jericho: Adventure in the unsafe lands beyond home; rampant paranoia; once-easy necessities of life becoming a struggle to produce. The "previously" bit that begins the show should reinforce what I already told you and give you enough of a feel for the characters and the setting that you'll be able to pick up what's going on with to trouble. This particular episode doesn't depend on any specialized knowledge of prior episodes, and (in my opinion) is exciting and well-paced.

Go! Watch!

Finished? Good! I hope you enjoyed it. If not, I respect your opinion (even if it's, y'know, wrong) and I thank you for taking the time to give it a chance.

Now, for one last thing: Did you notice how the title sequence had a morse code message? Well, that changes with each episode. The message encoded in "Rogue River" ....





















... "Rob not FBI."

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Radion Accelerator Corps: Whitefall

All right, my little Browncoats, I've made you wait long enough.
Whitefall, the legendary artist who has created some of the most beloved Serenity-inspired derivative works, has been quietly recruited by Quantum Mechanix to help develop several new officially-licensed Serenity prop replicas. Expect an announcement to that effect in the none-too-distant future, along with details on the first prop to come from this collaboration.
"Lah dee dah," I hear you all saying. "Why should I give a feh feh pi goh about this?"

Here's why:

Here's a close-up of that upper-left corner:

Impressed? Whitefall made that. He's a fan who's crazy in love with Firefly/Serenity and makes awesome things like, say, Mal's Discharge Papers and Maps of Serenity Valley. You can find more his work here.

Now, if he can do incredible stuff like this on his own time, as a fan, can you imagine what kind of gao guhn he'll come up with now that he's working with QMx?

I cannot yet state with authority what he is working on-- deadlines are malleable things, and production delays occur -- but I assure you that it will be shiny.

The very femtosecond I know anything for certain, I will let you know.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Radion Accelerator Corps

You may not know it, but Auntie Palette is connected.

I have the inside dope on certain things. Certain very shiny things. I am the only outsider who knows them.

And if you are very, very good, I'll share my gao guhn information with you.

Some of you won't believe me at first. That's fine. When what I say starts coming true, I expect much bowing and scraping and begging forgiveness at my feet. Alternately, you may mollify me with offerings of plum wine and dark chocolate.

I have, among my legion of faithful readers (all one hundred of you -- I check my daily averages), at least one -- perhaps more (I am being vague to protect his/her/their identity) -- who work for Quantum Mechanix. I have dubbed this shadowy group my Radion Accelerator Corps, and if you don't get the pun you should be deeply ashamed of yourself.
"Mid-bulk Transport. Standard Radion Accelerator core. Class code 03-K64--Firefly." -- River Tam, "The Train Job"
Are you ready to hear what I know? Are you salivating yet? Crying to know more?

Mmm.... not today, I think. Perhaps tomorrow. I want you to be white-knuckled, ready to fall on your knees from anticipation.

EDIT: No, Firefly hasn't been picked up by another network. (I wish!) No, I mentioned Quantum Mechanix, and they make neat props and collectibles. That's what I have the scoop on.

Some thoughts on Heroes

1. Heroes is not a comic book on television. Having characters with superpowers does not mean it is a superhero show. I think it's far more accurate to say it's televised manga.

2. As much as I love Hiro, I think I love Peter even more. He totally rocked that Matrix look and owned every single fight scene.

3. I kind of feel cheated by the final scene, but I understand why they did it that way. Still, they need to provide a badass Peter vs. Sylar fight scene soon, because I haven't stopped geeking out about it.

The Fine Print


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