Monday, December 31, 2007

if memory serves...

december 31st, new years eve. holy mother of wassail, i have had some NYE doozies. there was that time i ate so much honey that i got stuck in Rabbit's door, and the year before i walked into a big closet where there was a nice lady with turkish delight. there was the time i won the Tourmalet stage of the Tour after crashing because of that musette bag. then there were the new years eves when i spoke parseltongue, defeated the green goblin, blew up the death star and oh yes that time i woke up as a cockroach.

- the rock star invited us to his new years eve party - D informed me last night - are you and omar gonna have a rematch?
- come again?
- ping pong. you remember. last year, when you guys played for HOURS? maybe you shouldn't call omar an "iranian pussy" this time though. i don't think he liked that.
D has obviously confused me with his other girlfriend. i suck at ping pong.
- you suck at ping pong, but man are you fun to watch. remember when you hit the ball through the window?
uh oh.
- through the window?
- yeah, you know. the one omar opened. i was amazed you made the shot, but when you tried to climb out the window to get the ball, and got stuck, oh-my-god that was THE best. remember?
i measured out my words slowly.
- i do remember that, yes.

in Ken Bruen Christmas Land if memory serves at all, it serves stirred, with a twist.

Friday, December 28, 2007

sometimes the holidays are just a shitstorm

xmas 2004: the tsunami
xmas 2005: pete leaves
xmas 2006: D's grandmother leaves
xmas 2007: bhutto gone

the NYT put together a short, visceral spread on the assassination.

i have worked my 6hrs for the week and now it is time to go ride my bicycle.

Friday, December 21, 2007

all i want for christmas is...

i know i haven' t been very good this year but there's been so much naughtiness going around that i'm hoping i'll look pretty good in comparison to Our Glorious Leader, the Spears-es and everybody in the Mitchell Report.

Finn's Christmas Wish List
(checked 25 times)

  1. danny lohner. if that's not practical, a RealDoll and renholder remix of indigo children might appease.
  2. a DVD about working border collies, and some cadbury**
  3. an administration in which "faith" plays NO part
  4. a swim coach
  5. space in the freezer for my bagels
  6. an iphone SDK
  7. untweaky hamstrings
  8. uncloggable toilets everywhere i go
  9. a new NIN album in 2008, a tour, and extra vacation time
  10. peace in the Congo. see, i'm not a total shit.
have a very merry holiday, folx. see you in 2008.

**HUZZAH! christmas is early!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

don't be a cunt during christmas

yesterday, on a long-overdue road ride during which i griped, grouched and grumbled about christmas responsibilities, E made the very valid point that at least i HAVE friends and relatives and holiday invitations so maybe i can quit being such a cunt for the holidays. point taken.

this weekend my mom and stepdad attended the shwank holiday dinner at my grandmother's assisted living facility. on this festive occasion the infirm and incontinent are tidied up and whisked upstairs to the formal dining room with white linen tablecloths and well-scrubbed, clean-shaven young men from Calvert Hall who bus the tables and endure the wandering hands and conversations of neurasthenic matriarchs.

- we took grandmother up in a wheelchair - my mom explained - because it takes her forever to walk anywhere now. but the only wheelchair left was one without foot-rests, and you know grandmother can't lift her feet because to lift your feet you need stomach muscles and she doesn't have stomach muscles because she just falls asleep during the fitness class. so i'm pushing her down the hallway to the elevator and her feet are dragging and i keep asking her if she can pick up her feet and she tries, she really tries. she WANTS to help, but her feet keep dragging. michael has gone back to the car to get a sweater so it's just me, and i'm trying to keep up a patter of conversation, just to keep her awake you know and to take my mind off the PUSHING. when we get to the elevator i park the wheelchair, push the "up" button and turn around. grandmother looks at me, her face lights up and she says, "why ruthy, how nice to see you." GADZOOKS. who did she think was pushing her that whole time?!?

because i'm going to hell anyway, i laughed until i thought i'd puke and somewhere in there my mom joined in. because honestly what can you do? you can't fix it, and you don't want to go down with it, so why not laugh.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

in FattyTime...

in FattyTime, after you do anywhere between a third and half of the prescribed workout at tues nite track, it is okay to sit down for a while. 

- what's good in the land of finn? - laf asked, dropping beside me.
fucking that was a tuffie.  christmas, which is so simple for kids -- you leave snickerdoodles on a plate by the fireplace and the next morning there is a new bike for you -- becomes a tangled, fraught affair as you delicately balance family, friends and people you'd rather never see ever again.   what's good indeed.
- wellllll i got four strikes in my second game today.  

loucypher, huggy bear and i went to a client-sponsored bowling party.  when i wasn't pitching my ball into the gutter, i was notching strikes and spares.  i'm like donovan mcnabb!- i told my teammates.  they were less charmed than i'd hoped.  

laf and i talked about how non-athletes wrongly assume that, as athletes, we should excel at anything that involves movement, when in reality anything that requires coordinated movement is something we'll unequivocally suck at.  we bitched, commiserated and laughed while watching runners pacing through 500s.  our bench soon accrued sir oliver, teej and il divo.  fisch crossed the track to fetch a foam roller from the equipment room.  hands on hips, he surveyed the black rebel motorcycle club.
- what, you think i couldn't see all of you from over there?
i gave him a big gappy grin.
- what are you doing? - he asked.
- it's december - i explained - it's FattyTime.
- the more people we get here, the faster everyone else will finish, and the sooner we'll be at the deer park - laf clarified.

in FattyTime this equation always holds true: 
[oz of post-track guinness consumed] x 100 > [meters run]

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

for fans of Fall Out Boy

'tis the season.... haul out the classics.

reuters' best of 2007

from the sublime to the redonk, check out Reuters Pictures of the Year 2007. i don't really see how madonna fits in here, but the pic of mrs. becks made me snarf.

Monday, December 17, 2007

reason #1225 why i love mac

iphone brrred in my pocket yesterday afternoon. text from laf.
- where ru.
- xmas shopping. bestbuy.
- stop drooling over the macs.
- im looking @ cameras.

which was a lie. i'd just finished drooling over a Kapple™ and was now watching two kids play on a 15" Macbook Pro. i'd ventured into Best Buy looking for a digital camera for D but shortly found myself the Apple zone, an oasis of peace in a sea of rudely short-tempered people. i might be one of those people i used to ridicule for their lack of rationality and balance. i may have become a mac addict.

last week we pitched a multi-channel CX strategy that proposed texting to connect a radio station and its listeners. the Dreamer was in zazzly fine form.
- see finn, when you're shooting down 95 and you hear a song you like, you send a simple text to WMAC and get one back with the name of the band and the song.
- sure. and it should also have a link to more info about the band -- a discography, maybe. and a link to upcoming concerts. and maybe you could wifi-connect to itunes and buy the song right then & there.

the Dreamer sighed and looked pained.
- YOU could do that.
- whaddya mean?
- you could do that with that microcomputer you carry around in your pocket. my phone doesn't let me link to the web, or itunes, from text messages.
i paused and considered.
- is it broken?
i was only half-joking. after you use an iphone, even "smart" phones seem dumb. prehistoric. like D's camera. which reminded me why i was there in the first place.

- eagles r beating dallas - laf alerted me.
b there in 5.

then iphone's Contacts and Google Maps teamed up to give me directions to laf's new house. oh apple you are taking me on the highway to hell but i do love you so.

Friday, December 14, 2007

toilet etiquette and a valuable lesson

- fourth floor bathroom is broken - the mayor just reported.
- what?? how can a bathroom be broken? - loucypher challenged.
- toilet's clogged.
- fuck's sake. it's hard enough to take a piss in this place as it is, and now the one bathroom that's not a complete shithole is out of commission. what happened?
- i don't know, but it's so bad the plunger didn't work so we called the landlord.
- who takes a crap that big?
both heads swiveled toward me, but i pretended i couldn't hear the conversation through my headphones. it's not fair that in these cases of The Mystery of the Clogged Pooper i'm typically fingered as the culprit.

let me just say for the sake of saying though, that IF you happen to take an elephant-sized crap that leaves bold skidmarks as it shoots toward the magic land of turdles and wee, and if you want to erase those skidmarks because you're polite (and you don't want to get hollered at again by Nargon the Crapper Nazi), do NOT wad up a big ball of paper towels and flush it down in the hope that it will scrub the sides of the bowl as it swirls through. this may seem like a sound idea, but it's really not, because the pipes get narrower somewhere down the line, i guess. hypothetically speaking.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

GoogleImageSearch: danny lohner

doggie lama's dad is 37 today.
somehow this:

grew up to be this:

and the world is a better place for it.

i think.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

night swimming

3 days back to work and a week in st. john is already fading to mist, though i'm still lightly toasted and there are still 4 bottles of Cruzan in the liquor cabinet. they are not nearly full, as i've discovered that Black Strap dark imbues cookies, pancakes and double lattes with depth and mystery.

- what was your favorite part of the vacation? - laf posed last night at the track, as i creakily eked and he fluidly spun out 400s. i thought for a moment.
- i loved running the trails, for one.
- because you were flying solo?
he knows me too well.
- but the best i think was when we went night snorkling.

night snorkling is a different experience entirely. we rented lights, which are like alien ray guns that you carry around and point at the new creatures that emerge from their hideyholes when the light bleeds out of the water. black sea urchins come out in armies and ease across the coral, while the more colorful sea cucumbers inch slowly across the sandy floor. since your field of vision is limited to a funnel of light without peripheral vision it's a bit of a wake-up call when a stingray undulates into view beneath you.

- but that wasn't the best - i explained to laf - the best was when D's light died after 20 minutes.
we were swimming off the edge of a state park, so the only lights we saw were distant points in little maho bay and the constellation of st. thomas 5 miles away. if my light failed, we wouldn't know if we were swimming toward shore or into the caribbean.

since D's the naturalist, i offered him my light and shoved the dead one in the back of my suit. i took a couple experimental strokes into the dark: i was tired of veering away from D's flippers that always seemed dangerously close to my face. the beauty of the salt water, i thought, is that you don't NEED flippers. the water just holds you and multiplies any effort expended so you feel bionic moving over coral reefs and schools of blue tang and swirling sergeant majors protecting their egg spreads.

so i was tired of dodging and i struck out and with the first stroke into the dark was rewarded with something utterly unexpected: an explosion of sparks, an s-curve of fireworks tracing on a second's delay my catch and pull, and my whipping kick behind. THAT, that was the best, swimming straight into the dark, flying solo, striking out into a shower of phosphorescence. there was no temperature difference, air merged into water and i felt free, light and so pregnant with possibility that i could have swum all the way to st. croix.

but heavy with reality i eventually returned to the light, and later, in silence, we emerged clumsy and oafish from the water at maho bay. i was the ungainly 150lb penguin tottering toward my sandals with a sad nostalgia for the water's grace. D was shivering and yanking a fleece over his wet body. a couple walking along the beach stopped.

- we wondered what that light was in the water - the woman said - we thought it might be someone night-snorkling. it's a beautiful night. i looked across the bay where i imagined i still could see traces of my journey - did you have fun? without hesitation we answered simultaneously. NotReally. YES.

february is come early.

why do you get all the love in the world

alessandro cortini and the remote-control yamaha.

Monday, December 10, 2007

a way out is a way in

flew back into philly int'l friday night, stepping into an empty shuttle bus that'd take us to long-term parking. when the bus made its second pickup the mass of people at Terminal B almost filled it. when we pulled away from Terminal C, a round Puerto Rican woman was almost nestled in my lap and D was spooning with her teenage son. there weren't no room in the inn and we would have driven right past Terminal D if the murder of people gathered around the Courtesy Parking Shuttle sign hadn't rushed us, pounding the side of the bus and hollering at the driver. their eyes rolled and stalactites of spittle glistened in their throats as they howled inchoately. i shrank back from the window where a white palm slapped and slipped squeakily downward, leaving a smeared imprint behind.

the driver cracked the door enough to address the mob of zombie-riders.
- we're full.
the zombies howled louder. their leader insinuated his hand into the inch-wide crack and gnashed his teeth at the driver.
- we're FULL - the driver repeated - but there are another two buses coming soon.

this had little effect on Zombie Commander, who grimaced and pushed his hand in further, forcing the door open another inch with his forearm. his fingers twitched and curled, grasping at the air. somewhere in the back of the bus a child began to cry. Zombie Commander's shoulder was moving through the crack now. i knew if those questing fingers got hold of the handrail we were goners. our brains would get eaten and i'd wander the land without rest until loucypher blew away my head with a magnum.

- sir please move away from the door. another bus will be along shortly - our driver said and took some pressure off the brake. the bus moved slightly forward. the Commander stumbled. sir, the bus is moving. please move away from the door.
he eased off the brake even more and in smooth syncopation opened the door half an inch. released from pressure, the Commander's arm slipped out while the bus moved forward. it was a masterful move on the part of our driver, whom i'm certain has practised this movement many times before. defeated, Zombie Commander bared his teeth and hissed.
- we've been here for forty-five minutes.
- another bus will--
- go.fuck.yourself.

we pulled smoothly away from the terminal. i looked back at the mass of teeming bodies.
- welcome to philly - i murmured into my puerto rican friend's ear. she nodded and when she grinned i saw a glint of light off her gold canine.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

it's FattyTime

before the workout last night, coach ran through past and upcoming events, then opened the floor.
- any other items of note? - he inquired. standing next to me, A murmured a response.
yeah, Finn gained 10 pounds.
i snorted & retorted.

- you're one to talk. did you "forget" to go to the pool again this morning?

- HA. yes.

friends, it is FattyTime ah FattyTime when the living is easy.
/ when at 5am you drive right past the gym to the dunkin donuts.
/ in fact, sometimes you sleep IN until 5 -- or even 5:30!!
/ there are no double-workout days, and if you want to take a day, or two, or three off, you do, without excoriating yourself.
/ dinners don't have to be at least 40% carbs; and with no hard morning workouts to load for, pints of ice cream last longer (but bottles of wine don't).
/ in FattyTime if you show at tues nite track you're there for the people, not the workouts, and during FattyTime
you appreciate the scenery you normally charge by armed with focus and purpose.

that's not to say there is not a down-side to FattyTime, as i discovered over thanksgiving when i hopped on a scale for the first time since worlds. and this weekend when D and i got in the car to go to EMS i had a minor skirmish with the seatbelt.

- what's wrong? - he asked - belly in the way?
- it's going to be a long wintery winter. you'd do well to get insulated too.

conventional training wisdom says that as long as you stay within 10% of your normal body weight you needn't fret. still, A and i did marvel at how quickly we porked up since du worlds and xterra nats. laf too -- i hear his mom's sausage & peppers in breathing signif more labored now than in summertime.

the beauty about FattyTime is that it's fleeting; and as rudy said, once you get into base in january and feb those sausage & pepper, flapjacks & extra syrpul, bowls of whole-milk yogurt & granola will gradually melt away. at least that's what i'm banking on.

but to keep us in check, laf emailed me this pic, with the subject line If You Keep Gaining Weight....

Monday, November 26, 2007

last race of 2007: DE XC champs @ brandywine

laf called saturday afternoon.
- how did the race go?
- fine.
- did you win?
- nnnnnn-oh - two syllables.
- no? really?? how does that FEEL, finn?

he's being a smart-ass because last week i did a 10k turkey trot, won, loitered in front of E's house for a cooldown and when nobody came out to invite me to a lumberjack's breakfast jogged back to the starting line and won the 5K 30min later. you, my fans, are spoiled.

- who beat you?
- an ex-olympian...
- vicki?
- jah. a pro duathlete from new zealand...
- fiona?
- jah. and some chick i've never seen before.
- DOH! are you okay?
- sort of. i've been crying a lot, and i just polished off a bag of reese's peanut butter cups. i'm watching High Tension right now and after that i should be okay.
- right. how was the hammie?
- except for a tweak on maintenance hill, absolutely fine. i got a looooong warmup though.

my explanation of my “looooong” warmup necessitated the confession that 15min before my race started i was hopelessly lost in brandywine creek state park. for a warmup, i'd dropped off the XC course to run flat along the river, out and back, but when i doubled-back with tool's Days on the nano, i passed right from familiar territory into unfamiliar, with the trail that would take me back up the hill to the race start gone. vamoosed. Not In Evidence.

i double-doubled back and ran in nervous circles until i broke down and asked a birdwatching couple i'd now passed 5 times if they knew which trail might take me back to the parking lot. since none of us knew WHICH of the multiple parking lots i meant – "the lot next to the place where my race is starting in 20min" not being much help to anyone – they pointed me toward a trail which went straight up the hill. it wasn't MY trail, though – in fact, it wasn't a people trail at all. it was a deer trail that got narrower and pricklier and then dwindled to nothing.

i backed out of that trail considerably bloodier than i entered it and found another trail that, despite its “closed” sign looked well-used. i trucked down it until i encountered a dog and three children walking with a man who looked trustworthy, that is to say not bleeding nor on the verge of tears. i threw myself at his mercy and he suggested i take the red trail. so i sallied forth 10 steps along the red trail until it forked without clue into 2 divergent directions. i suspected i should go right but consulted the oracle behind me. 'i suspect you go left' - he advised, so i went left and after leapfrogging 3 more walking parties popped out of the same woods the XC course dives into after the open start.

i had enough time to dash to the car, shuck my extra clothes and change my shoes – quite possibly my most flawless transition EVAR – and careened toward the start line while pinning on my number. i heard rudy's voice and ran over to give him a hug but he pushed me away.
- they're starting you. what happened? did you get lost?
- har har har - i chuckled then jostled myself into place on the startline beside his wife. she gave me a Look.
- i got LOST. in the WOODS - i blurted.
- you have twigs. in your hair. and you're bleeding – she responded archly.
- sorry - i said contritely. when racing with ex-olympians one should look one's best and i was picking sticks and leaves out of my ponytail when the startgun sounded.

after that life got a lot simpler. the weathergirl nearly tripped me a couple times zigging in front of me, but after a half-mile she was gone, and mel was breathing on my shoulder up the rocky incline toward maintenance hill but when we crested the climb she too was gone and in front of me were fiona, a chick with long blonde hair and vicki. i could follow every line vicki took, but i sure couldn't run as light and easy as she does.

from the peanut gallery 25yds back i watched vicki gain on the blonde, patience and experience hunting down callow youth. the two of them were abreast after the false flat on the rt 92 segment and i really thought vicki had her, but youth prevailed and had 4sec on experience at the finish.

witness the loot below: a mint New Balance LS shirt, a pair of gloves, 75USD for 3rd place (vicki was scored with the masters women) and a gift certificate for a 30min massage from denise that i won in the post-race raffle. all this for my $18 day-of-race entry fee.

- you know what's funny? - i proposed to laf.
- what.
- well, when I did this race last year F and i ran the course once a week a month before the race, and i did hill intervals on maintenance hill. this year i didn't train for it at all, i've gained 10lbs since worlds, and still i was only 10sec slower this year.
- yeah funny how that works. when i was getting ready for chicago, i was utterly regimented: i ran with a marathon training group, did yasso repeats, and was fanatic about what i ate. i ended up running a half hour off my PR. sometimes it's better to just get out there and run, and not think.

i can assure you that for the next month there won't be much thinking, running, riding or swimming. there'll be a lot of lazing around like a kitty cat, there'll be a week in st. john and there'll be christmas vacation. with the new year will come the realities of an april qualifier for short course du worlds, and Eagleman in june, but give us this month of volunteer slothfulness, forgive us our excesses & forgive them that excess along with us, and lord lead us into temptation.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

thanksgiving is a time to give thanks

thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all the good things you have in your life. it is a time to recognise your blessings and tell the people you usually blow off that they are important to you. you do this by sitting down with them and gorging yourself with meat, stuffing and sauces, then going to watch the telly.

there are a LOT of things that i am thankful for. here they are:

[click to embiggen]

yup, i think that is a wrap.

happy thanksgiving! cya next week.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

my lips may promise but my heart is a whore

F's in early too, finds me beavering away.
- sooooo, i'm not engaged anymore - he announces. i read relief on his dark face, a bit of sadness but mostly relief.
- really. what happened?
- she cheated on me, the cheap slut.
- that's perfect.
- "perfect."
- yeah, because now you're out, but you're not the one bringing shame on her family, or yours.
he smiled wryly.
- you know, you're the only one who got that. everyone else says oh i'm so sorry.

sometimes we hit it out of the ballpark.
but most of the time it's just awkward and lonely in this half-light where the only entity is the self and it aint all that transcendent.

Friday, November 16, 2007

everything and nothing

I persisted in a friendship with June and Bernard. In conversations with them over several years, I discovered that the emotional void, the feeling of belonging nowhere and to no one that that had afflicted me between the ages of eight and thirty-seven, had an important intellectual consequence: I had no attachments, I believed in nothing. It was not that I was a doubter, or that I had armed myself with the useful skepticism of a rational curiosity, or that I saw all arguments from all sides; there was simply no cause, no enduring principle, no fundamental idea with which I could identify, no transcendent entity whose existence I could truthfully, passionately, or quietly assert.

Ian McEwan, Black Dogs, preface.

what a doodiehead.
of course there are fundamental ideas, & transcendent entities to assert.
theres sludge rock, for 1. on march the saints.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

doom, gloom and pantaloons

well it's been a gloomy week in lake wobegon -- i know this because all the shirts i hung on the line were variations on a theme, the theme being black. when and why did i become such a gloomy motherfucker?

i thought about this a bit and concluded there's a lot to be gloomy about! while creeping through the clusterfuck on the interstate this morning i came up with this list:

Reasons to Be Gloomy

-- people. there are fucking too many of them. they get in accidents on I-95 and make me late for work. they buy houses around me and where there used to be “yield” signals there are now long-cycled signals. they honk at me when i ride my bike and they buy up all the fresh gluten-free bread so that there is none left for me. selfish bastards.

-- candycorn. i eat too much of it, fall asleep at my desk for a while and when i come to and find i am NOT skipping through a sunny field with a herd of beagle puppies i am understandably gloomy.

-- evanescence. evanescence is shite but i still listen to them and they make me gloomy.

-- i called norman mailer boring and now he is dead. the BBC rebroadcast an interview with norman mailer this morning, and i was mistaken: he is not boring. he believes in reincarnation, though when asked to predict his next incarnation, he demurred. when that four-way stop by the chinese community center is replaced by a light, norman mailer will come back as the signal which will always turn red for me because i called him boring when really i was only talking about The Executioner's Song. which, for being boring, was also very gloomy.

-- my dog will probably die before me. i know this should prompt me to be in the moment and all but it still glooms me the fuck out. i bet your dog is not as cute, smart and YouTube worthy as mine. stick around and I will tell you all about my dog. i better do this soon, before he dies.

-- according to an email i just received, "your sexual stamina depends on your pen!ile size" [sic] and my pen!le size is roughly that of a penc!le-eraser. not fair. very gloomy.

so as you can see, there are some real barbarians at the gate, what with pen!le !ssues, finite dogs, norman mailer's revenge etcetera. OTOH the new NIN album has leaked. and there are jellybeans in the kitchen.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

prayer? a paean would be more appropriate.

i've got work coming out my ears and anus right now, but if any of you have connections with former C-in-C jimmy carter please let me know. i'd like him to house-sit the next time i go on vacation.

back into the burrow...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


oh we are against pat robertson.
we are against him and bloated bellies.
bitchslaps from new marketing directors.
and not being as clever as we should.

we are against dogs losing their owners.
TSA nazis in philly international.
benazir bhutto's marketing blitz.
and non-compete clauses.

we are against turd burglers
who natter interminably outside the bathroom door while we are pooing.
toilets that clog.
and wishing he'd text us.

we are against NOT being an island.
we are against losing our religion.
we are against growing old.

we are against being cranky,
but sometimes it cannot be avoided.

Friday, November 09, 2007

let's get retarded...

friday titters, from the sublime:

to the redonk:

blame teho. he got this started.

loucypher is another year older

loucypher's birthday was yesterday. we're a bunch of gloomy sorry fucks so he didn't get shit from us except for a Dawn of the Dead birthday card and a pack of gum from yours truly. what do you want for YOUR birthday? this button that i found in the street? a splinter? you think on that for a little while.

our office manager thought it would be a lark if we made loucypher wear the burger king crown, so she went looking for the burger king crown. she hunted me down as the last person to have handled the burger king crown.

do you have the burger king crown? - she asked. hmmmm. good question. it used to sit on adonis's ball, but i have not seen burger king crown lately. maybe it was knocked off adonis's ball and slid back heeeeeere. i began to crawl under my desk but was stopped short by the birthday boy. oh no. finn i love you but i am NOT wearing, touching or otherwise getting involved with anything that comes from your area. there are life forms in there that no one has ever heard of. stay. just stay.

fuckin harsh, man. a mouse dies on your desk and melts away to fur, bones and maggot shells and you're a pariah from then on. fine. the crown is all mine. which reminds me -- the king needs the jester and a jameson, stat.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

spam subject lines + GIS ii

Foreign Service veteran: Who will raise our children
if we are dead or wounded?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

wilbur larch knows how to cheat fate

i dig john irving. from chap10 of The Cider House Rules:

“When an orphan is depressed,” wrote Wilbur Larch, “he is attracted to telling lies. A lie is at least a vigorous enterprise, it keeps you on your toes by making you suddenly responsible for what happens because of it. You must be alert to lie, and stay alert to keep your lie a secret. Orphans are not the masters of their fates; they are the last to believe you if you tell them that other people are also not in charge of theirs."

“When you lie, it makes you feel in charge of your life. Telling lies is very seductive to orphans. I know,” Dr. Larch wrote. “I know because I tell them, too. I love to lie. When you lie, you feel as if you have cheated fate – your own, and everybody else's.”

betsy wasn't an orphan, as far as i knew, but boy could she pitch some whoppers. after captain kirk ran away on halloween, betsy made up a story about one of teddy's burnout friends, a party around a bonfire, a nosy neighbor with a german shepherd on a leash that broke, and Animal Control; and she sold the lie to her mother. i guess she couldn't tell the truth because she thought she would get in trouble for taking captain kirk out trick-or-treating with us. betsy's mother was real weird about that guinea pig. when betsy would get home from school her mother would be in the living room rocking chair watching General Hospital with captain kirk in her lap, stroking him and rocking back & forth.

she won't GIVE him to me – betsy would complain – nan gave him to ME for MY birthday and if i ask for him back she yells at me and tells me i should be worrying about my grades and not a guinea pig. i can do my homework AND talk to captain kirk. he's MINE. and she's a BITCH. i would watch wide-eyed as she fought back the tears and frustration.

then she started bringing captain kirk to my place and to her sessions and swim meets and even school that one time. she got away with it because her dad stuck up for her. mr billings was great. he looked like one of the hardy boys, not shawn cassidy, the other one. we got along great. he called me “bean” and always cheered for me at swim meets even when i came in last. i wanted a dad like mr billings. once when i went to get betsy he was arguing with betsy's mother because betsy had taken captain kirk with her to her session.

- let her have him, sylvie. my mother gave him to her for a reason. do you want to go against doctor's orders?
- oh, and i can't have my own reasons? is that what you're saying? that i don't need my own tactile whatever-he-called-it? i should just play along like everything is fine, that's what you want isn't it.
his voice rumbled low and from the hallway it was hard to make out.
- just what are you saying, sylvie.
in the long silence i could hear the metronome creak of the rocking chair.
- oh this is all your fault. all your fault. your fault.
- you've had a hard day, syl. i'll make you a cup of tea.
when he rounded the corner and saw me his face brightened.
- hey, bean - he smiled and ruffled my hair - betsy's not home yet, but you can help me grade calculus exams while you wait. i wrinkled my nose. - no? okay. how about we make some tea for mrs billings. she had a hard day and she's tired.

i didn't see what was so hard about sitting in the apartment all day watching television with a guinea pig, but sometimes grownups didn't make very much sense. i felt weird about being in that apartment with mrs billings rocking her way into port charles, so i went back home and waited for betsy and captain kirk but they never came.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

spam subject lines + HD image search

Your Secret Expectations Will Come True

       - are you going to zingos?
       - yeah.
       - can you get cat food?
       - i got some last week. they ate all that??
       - they ate all that.
       - why do we even have cats?
       - don't worry. they'll die soon.

Monday, November 05, 2007

black dog at the door

8am Hangover Remedy Run with Laf and Young Buck sunday. Laf and i were in the same straits -- my skull got 2 sizes smaller overnight - he insisted -- so Buck let us set the pace. Laf was leading up cellulite hill, where i might have checked out a little.

- see right there - i addressed the nicely rolling haunches before me - did we just pass a bunch of runners going the other way? or did i make that up. because in this condition i'm just not sure.
- yes we did – Young Buck confirmed behind me.
- oh was THAT what that “swoosh” sound was – the haunches mused. Laf was in possibly worse shape than me because his bowels had decided they'd had enough of the previous night's dinner and were determined to expel the lot of it. he darted off trail 4 times in the first 3 miles.

we reached the top of the hill and Buck scampered off while Laf and i paused to reconnect with our lungs. i was starting to feel better. my head still throbbed but i was thankful i hadn't slept through the alarm as i'd been sorely tempted. and i could finally voice a realisation.

- at the end of every season, after my last big race, i don't know if this happens with you, but i get depressed and feel like crap. Laf nodded.
- i was like that after ironman wisconsin.
it's like post-partum depression. and so for these past two weeks nothing's had a point and nothing gave me pleasure.
- nothing? - he leered. i let that grounder dribble by.
- okay, almost nothing. there was music this time. but even though i KNOW this will come, as it does every year, it still creeps up and takes over and i start to think this is how it will be from now on. no ups & downs, just gray.
- but then you come out of it.
- yeah, but what if you don't? what if you've used up whatever brings you back and you get stuck?

Laf pulled the rim of his baseball cap down a notch and looked away. the morning sun glanced off his cheek, setting in relief a crosshatch of wrinkles i hadn't noticed before. he looked wrung out. he's living with his parents, his house isn't selling and his soon-to-be ex-wife recently began to exhibit symptoms associated with MS. what brings us back??

Buck reappeared before a bend in the trail and surveyed us silently. i tugged his sleeve gently and we trotted up to Buck.

Friday, November 02, 2007

spam subject lines + google image search

[since spamusement isn't keeping up]

The latest investigations have discovered,
that males with bigger penises are more successful

if a finn poos in the woods...

against my better slothful instinct i went for a run last night. i was running out of light and when the trail changed from field to woods i never saw the rock, or the root, or the small berry, that caused me to twist my ankle; i just felt pain that flipped my vision to black and white.

- oh that was a bad one - i muttered through clenched teeth, hopping down the trail until i was forced to stop, doubled-up in pain. - oh motherfucker shitfuckcunt that was a bad one fuckmehard. when I straightened up i saw a doe standing in a tangle of multiflora rose 10yds away. she looked at me with wide liquid eyes.
- jesusFUCK that hurts.
- i imagine it does.

- i mean, like nailed in the nuts hurt.

- i wouldn't know.

- i wouldn't either. i'm just hypothesisin'. hey, are you one of them magic harts? like, will you give me 3 wishes or superpowers?

- i'm afraid not. she turned away.
- wait. can I ask you a question that's been bugging me for a long time? she turned back to face me and cocked her head. - okay. why it is that the hunters out here never see deer but I see you guys EVrywhere – you're always jumpin through the woods and when i round a corner in the fields there's a whole group of you standing there staring at me. why is that?
- well, you're rather a celebrity in this area. a local attraction so to speak.
- me? really? - i considered this for a moment - it's because stuart said i ran like a gazelle isn't it. so i'm part of your pack. she snorted. i'm gonna say it was a sneeze.

- hardly. no, we know you by your name, Two-Legs Who Leaves Improbably Large Poos in Our Beds.

- oh. listen, i'm sorry about that.

- when we discovered the first one we thought the giants of old were returning, bu
t then She Who Dances on Three Hoofs saw you entering and leaving one of our bedding areas. she called a gathering so we could see what you left. how DO you do that? it would seem very painful.
- it's not so bad. it's mostly fruit.
- i see. well, the acorns are good this time of year.
- i'll keep that in mind. she bowed her head, turned and began to pick her way through the underbrush.
- hey, take care with the hunters, eh?

- take care with that ankle – she echoed.

during my cooldown walk, i tried an acorn. it wasn't very good. but this morning my ankle doesn't hurt at all and there's not a spot of bruising.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

puscifer gets right with jesus

the first full-length puscifer album hit the street tuesday, so go to your local family-friendly WalMart and ask the blue-haired greeter to direct you to the aisle where you can find V is for Vagina. make sure you enunciate clear & loud because sometimes those geezers don't have their hearing aids screwed in tight enough.

after years of dealing with those total downer dudes from tool and APC, mj malmsteen has escaped the nuthouse to have a spot of fun and knock out some music that's not about his mom, chakras or obtainin' enlightenment by opening his third eye (x10). maynard being maynard, there are some higher bean references mind you, but they're of the "christ is coming, and so am i" variety. cheerful, like.

"This is absolutely just put-it-on-and-move-your-butt -and-get-completely-out-of-your-head music," MJK told MTV back in july, "This is purely body candy. It's meant to make you feel like I feel when I hear James Brown, when I hear some old Jackson 5 or or Aretha [Franklin]. It's just that good feeling — music that makes you feel good. There's no math. Nothing wrong with math, but sometimes, it can be exhausting to be that forced, that focused. " really?? cos, i imagined it was a big happy laugh riot when you and the guys were sitting around writing "wings for marie." my bad.

but puscifer isn't an hour of aenima's "intermission" either. puscifer is like john waits meeting leonard cohen in a sports bar on a sunday afternoon before the apostate baptists pour in after the last service. a showcase for keenan's growls, croons & chants, Vagina is immediately accessible, catchy & poppy. my iTunes is disgusted with me, tells me Blackout's available -- with bonus tracks -- and wouldn't i like to give that a gander instead of playing THIS again?

that said, some songs, like “drunk on power” and “indigo children” suffer from repetition, but not enough to prompt you to leave them off the playlist. Vagina's version of “the undertaker” is flat and lacks the power danny lohner gave it in the second Underworld soundtrack but conversely, the "rev 22:20" track that appeared on the first
Underworld here gets stripped down to vox, piano and high hats for the 'dry martini' version and tho it's not lohner it works.

does puscifer have staying power?
make your own judgement call.

queen b – christ this is earwormy. can i get a witness.

momma sed
– reminds me of lcohen's "waiting for the miracle" only poppier, with less depth.
rev 22:20 (dry martini mix) - christ is coming. maybe.
the undertaker (renholder mix) - the better version, from Underworld Evolution.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Trouble with Teddy

this one's for E, lolling on a hawaiian beach with his new wife and not worrying about what to wear for halloween or what i am doing without him to ride with (ans: eating a lot of candycorn and smarties). Flying Spaghetti Monster is way cooler than trampy alice.

driving to work this morning i saw a little girl waiting for the bus in her halloween costume. she was dressed as a nurse and she looked like betsy, had her long wavy brown hair and splinter of a body, and i remembered when betsy and i went trick-or-treating in donnybrook. betsy was a doctor, because a nurse wasn't bossy enough for someone who had to be the boss of everyone, and i was a trumpet player. i had a plastic trumpet with the brass already flaking off like fairy dust, and a epauletted-coat and matching trousers my mom found in the salvation army shop. i looked like somebody on the sgt pepper's cover.

before dusk fell i met betsy at her apartment. she was a pretty good doctor i thought. she had a big white coat, a stethoscope and one of those mallets you bang people's knees with. she banged me on the top of my head.
- ready?
- yes - i yelped.
- hold on. i have to get captain kirk.
captain kirk was betsy's guinea pig. she took him everywhere. she brought captain to kirk to school once, sassed the teacher who told her guinea pigs didn't belong at school and got suspended for 3 days. that was fun because i pretended to be sick and betsy, captain kirk and i made a fort under etienne's window and decorated his windowsill with sculptures made from chewed-up gum. then my mom figured out i didn't have a fever after all and i had to go back to school.

betsy flitted back from her room stuffing captain kirk into one of her voluminous pockets. captain kirk put up with a lot, but he also got all the licorice jelly beans he wanted.
- okay here's the plan – betsy proposed.
- there's a plan? i thought the plan was obvious: get as much candy we could before we had to be back at 8. i should have expected more from a doctor.
- of course there's a plan, stupid. the plan is this: we get as much candy we can before 7:30.
- why 7:30?
- because at 7:30 my dumb brother is calling his girlfriend in ohio.
- so?
- and while my dumb brother is calling his dumb girlfriend, we're going to soap his car.
- oh no we're not!
betsy's brother had a baby-blue chevy nova sedan that he washed every weekend. the tires always looked brand new. he gave me and betsy a ride to sultana's once, and for the entire 10min ride i was petrified with fear and excitement. teddy was a Burnout, one of the untouchables who smoked in the school parking lot. he was forbidden to me and therefore i had a crush on him the size of a small planet.
- we can't soap teddy's car. he'll KILL us!
- don't be a baby. he won't know who did it. it'll be funny. come on, you're not scared, are you?
when you're 11, you don't understand peer pressure. you only understand the novelty of a friend who isn't imaginary, so you go along with any numbskull idea she comes up with. she's a doctor, after all.

so for 2 hours we cased the neighborhood and filled our candy sacks with 3 musketeers, milk duds, necco wafers and reese's peanut butter cups. on halloween you know there is a god because there's no other explanation for the largesse that drops into your hands. then betsy looked at her watch.

- it's time – she said. i tasted reese's at the back of my throat. i was really hoping she'd have forgotten. you're not chicken, are you? - she thrust her face in front of mine and flapped her white arms. bawk bawk! captain kirk stirred restlessly in her pocket.
- no i'm not chicken - i quavered - are you sure your brother won't find out?
- no way. he'll be all kissy-kissy with bronwynloser. they baby-talk for hours. it's so gross. come ON.
i let betsy lead me back to the parking lot where teddy's nova was pointedly parked across 2 spaces.
- i'll do the windshield and you do the other windows, okay? ... okay?
- okayyyyy - i wailed plaintively. betsy pulled a white bar of soap from the non-captain pocket.
- here. you start.

- me???
- just do it, you big baby. i took the soap from her gingerly, as though it were a dead animal. do it across the window, right here - she swooshed her hand in an invisible Z over the rear window - let's GO. we don't have all night.

with great trepidation I approached the window. i raised a trembling hand and had just touched a dot to the nova's window when an apparition appeared behind it: a glowing white face with black eyes and lips, howling, snarling, pummeling the window to get at me. i screamed and dropped my candy bag, backing away from the monster that was leering at me and squeaking bulbous fingers down the window, a monster with a white face and a nimbus of springy curls, curls nobody else had but... teddy. betsy was doubled over with laughter. i was enraged and crying at the same time.
- NOT FUNNY!! - i hollered while teddy opened the door and tumbled out of the back seat.
hoo hoo hoo – he whistled as he giggled, and then he snorted, which ramped up betsy even more. she fell on her butt laughing so hard i thought she might puke like she sometimes did if she laughed too hard or ran too fast.
- NOT FUNNY! NOT FUNNY! - i continued to yell. i was afraid i'd wet my trumpet player pants and shouting seemed the best diversion.

tears tracked pink trails down teddy's face, and betsy was still hitching silently, then her face suddenly froze as her hands patted down her coat. she stood up abruptly and began to hop on her toes, looking frantically from side to side.
- what's wrong, sis? – asked teddy.
- captain kirk! captain kirk is gone!! no no no – she ran in small circles next to teddy's car - we have to find him!

for the next next 2 hours we combed the parking lot and lawn looking for the guinea pig. teddy knocked on all the doors in their building and collected 4 flashlights; and we crawled under parked cars, crept under every bush and even looked into the sewer with betsy's hand mirror. captain kirk was gone though, boldly going where no guinea pig had gone before and probably shacking up with babes from other apartment buildings. betsy was inconsolable, of course, and when i finally got the call to come back home she gave me all her candy and told me she would never go trick-or-treating ever again.

i didn't see betsy for a couple weeks after that. then one saturday she knocked on the door and asked if i wanted to fingerpaint with pokeberries and i did, so we made indian drawings on the laundry room door and though etienne's mother probably knew it was us we never got in trouble.

happy halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

reason #10.5 why i love mac: Leopard review

Leopard's been out long enough that all the technorati have weighed in. if you want reviews full of insight and depth, you can read pc world, slashdot and pogue. two resources i found particularly helpful were Leopard: Should You Upgrade? and this List of Applications Not Compatible with Leopard.

in short, if you absolutely positively need your shit to run without any glitches, you prob shouldn't upgrade now. but you knew that. however, if in this bleak world you need a nipple of hope to suckle on, knock yourself out. because Leopard will show you how things COULD be in a perfect user-centric environment.

the boring background stuff

[macbook pro, 2.33ghz intel with 2G ram]

a clean install where you blow away everything and start from scratch is obviously your best bet. not for me. getting XP and MS office running on parallels was such a monumental task that i ended up going with the Upgrade install for Leopard because i was afraid i wouldn't be able to get XP running again. how fucked and telling is that.

another reason to love mac? no licenses, no registration, no nothing of the kind for Leopard. stick the disc in and run. FUCK YOU MICROSOFT.

the Leopard user manual is 3 sentences of installation instructions and 60 pages of new feature highlights. Leopard took about an hour to install, easypeasy, asking nothing of me beyond my installation choice. like a colonoscopy, it's the prep, not actual procedure, that's the bitch. backing up my system (i used SuperDuper -- free!) was the biggest pain, just because it took several hours, during which i got sucked into cleaning out my 240G music folder and 2am sat morning found me dancing to "vogue" in the dining room. yeah, my weekends go OFF.

the really really good stuff
the finder ("explorer" for you poor windoze ppl)
is how life should be. apple's porting the swish Cover Flow UI that's so successful on the iphone/itouch over to the conventional OS. scrolling left to right, or up & down will visually march you through your files. that's right: you can see a preview version of the beginning of your doc without opening the native app. verrrry noice.

this is especially useful for scrolling through pix and for confirming a Turd or PDF doc is the one you're looking for before opening it up. hitting the space bar shows you the entire doc -- still within the Finder.

doesn't play with all apps, obviously: visio docs are simply icons, for ex. but IMO this Quick Look feature, along with Cover Flow, are worth the Leopard pricetag.

but there's more. there's Spaces.
Spaces allows you to create virtual monitors and tab easily (the response is immediate) between however many views you establish. you can assign apps to always appear in a defined space, or you can drag & drop windows in the collective view.

if you habitually find yourself wading through eighty-million open windows just to replay that new puscifer song in itunes, you will find Spaces inVALuable.

Time Machine's autobackup functionality is a good idea in theory but apple needs to invent a virtual external harddrive (pref firewire) that's as itinerant as me and my Lapple.

so those are the big hits. there're secondary ones, like safari's widgets collusion and improved tab UI. sometimes it's the little things that make a diff, you know? -and safari tabs now have nice modeless feedback: when you pull a tab out of the lineup, it changes to a iconised window to set the expectation you're creating a new window, but if you pull it downward again it morphs back into a tab. oh apple, you're so GOOD.

the not-so-great stuff

other stuff, like duded-up iChat, exacting parental controls and integrated Mail -- meh. and Leopard's not perfect. i had problems with net access -- firefox and safari would not work, while i could get to the outside world via terminal and, ironically, itunes -- until i installed the Login & Keychain update (which would seem to have SFA to do with browser access, but w-e).

parallels runs, but not without inexplicable "timeout" error notices (that have no effect AFAICS). open office 2.3 runs too, but i get a “command timed out” error upon loading and neither the OO or X11 dock icon will bring to front a doc i've got open -- making that Spaces feature even more useful. the latest version of GIMP is incompatible, and i'm not even opening the adobe CS can of worms, but if you're considering adopting Leopard and you're not reliant on the so-far unsupported apps, take the leap.

what i like about Leopard is that it makes me more efficient and organised.
and happy. happy's a big one.

UPDATE:  today parallels released a beta update for 3.0 (build 5540) optimised for leopard.  since updating, i haven't had any more "timeout" funniness.  That Was Easy.