Wednesday, January 31, 2001
Well, so I've heard lots of people complain about the Final Fantasy X designs, so (despite my usual habit of not looking at ANY media before I play a given game) I went out and dug up the official picture of the lead character. Tide/Tida/Tidus/whatever the hell his name is.
You know, he DOES look pretty stupid. Not so much him personally (although I could do without the superior smirk), but his clothing. Especially those pants. Those shorts. Those capris. Those overalls. Those stockings. Whatever the hell those are.
I hereby officially name that style of pants/shorts as 'dorkings'.
Thank you, and good night.

~Blather Back!~


Sunday, January 28, 2001
I am suffering from 'keyboard angst'.
I got my beloved blueberry iMac about fourteen months ago. It came with the standard iMac keyboard, which is this tiny icky thing without a numerical keypad or standard-sized arrow keys. I hated it. So, when I ordered my computer, I also bought a MacAlly extended keyboard in a sporty shade of blueberry.
That keyboard lasted about a month before it started having frequent outages. I would have to unplug the keyboard, wait five seconds, and replug it. Eventually it started to do this about once an hour, so I went back to the tiny icky (but functional) original keyboard.
Which didn't last very long. It worked fine, but I hated it. So I bought a MicroConnectors keyboard. Well, it didn't take me more than five minutes to discover that the 'r' key was crossmapped to the 'q'. So, eveqy time I tqied to type anything, it came out qesembling a foqiegn language. I sent an email to MicqoConnectoqs demonstqating the functionality of that keyboaqd, and then... got rid of it.
Next try: MacSense. This extended keyboard worked fine for about six months. At which point, due to dirt or spring failure, the 'h' key became lazy; every time thhhat I tried to type an 'hhh', I got thhhree or four of thhhhem. Sometimhes the 'hhh' would even pop uhp later in the sentence, since I would type on before thhhe key could poph back up. So I got rid of that one.
By this time, Apple had actually released an official extended keyboard. (Took them long enough.) So today I went to the computer store and bought one, which I'm using now. If you've been counting, this is the fifth keyboard I've gone through in fourteen months. Since it's an official Apple product, I'm hoping that it'll work a little bett

~Blather Back!~


Thursday, January 25, 2001
Everyone's house has some kind of pest in it. It's just a law. If you're lucky, you only have ants or roaches. If not, you have mice, rats, spiders, raccoons, Republicans, or those tiny gnats that spontaneously develop when you forget to take the trash out for a while.
Furthermore, the closer you are to ground level, the more pests you have. If you have a third floor apartment, you might go weeks without seeing one; if you have a ground-floor apartment or a townhouse, they're a fact of life. If you have a BASEMENT... well... you've got neighbors. And they complain about the volume of your music by running across your feet.

So we have this three-story townhouse, complete with finished basement. That's where my computer is. I don't have ants, nor do I have roaches. I have spiders. Lots of spiders. But I'll take the spiders any day over my other neighbor... the house centipede.
House centipedes are brownish and about two to three inches long. They have really long multi-jointed legs that form a vague oval around their bodies; when they walk, these legs move in a really sinister 'ruffling' pattern that looks like some machinery gone horribly, horribly wrong. While they ARE poisonous, possibly highly so, their fangs are too short to penetrate human skin. NORMALLY. If you ever see a really large one, though... run.
Their carapace is a marvel of ancient design... they cannot be squished normally. Stepping on them barely slows them down, and they laugh at being swatted with books. The only way to kill these critters without pesticides is with a sharp blow, like from a hammer. Incidentally, there's a hammer resting against the desk leg right by my computer. I'd advise you not to touch the head of said hammer.
The worst, though, is a certain survival mechanism they've developed over the years. House centipedes have realized that they have a much better chance of survival on the ground than on the wall. So if they feel threatened by anything that gets too close, their instinctive reaction is to jump away from the wall and fall to the ground, where they can scuttle away.
Let's think about that. Say you see a house centipede, and you go over to it, thinking you're going to squish the foul thing. As soon as you get within a foot, though, the centipede feels threatened, and... JUMPS OFF THE WALL AT YOUR FACE. Yes, this ruffle-legged space alien unkillable POISONOUS insectoid creature has lauched itself at your face! Hollywood, call me, let's deal.
So, not only do I use a hammer to kill house centipedes, I use a hammer at arm's length. It's target practice. After the doom bug is dead, I sit there for the next hour with phantom itches crawling over my skin. But it's DEAD, a ha ha ha, it's DEAD.
I hope.

~Blather Back!~


Tuesday, January 23, 2001
Some number of years ago (the exact number I cannot remember and am too lazy to look up) the Wendy's fast food chain was founded here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, their international corporate headquarters is only a couple of miles away, here in Dublin, and Dave Thomas lives... somewhere near me.
So, of course, the city is packed full of Wendy's (and Tim Horton's, the Canadian donut chain that Wendy's recently bought). And you know, the food at most of these Wendy's is... really pretty good.
It's not corporate pride or anything, though. It's FEAR. You've probably all heard the rumors about Dave Thomas not exactly being the nice old grandfatherly man he plays on TV. I have no idea if these rumors are true or not, but you don't found an international corporation by being a nice guy, right?
So imagine you work at a Wendy's. No, don't kill yourself. Bear with me. You work at a Wendy's, which is probably just as crappy and tiring a job as any other fast-food place. Your feet hurt, your skin is covered with fry-grease, you have to wear an ugly uniform, and you have to clean up after tables full of screaming children. You really don't give a shit what people's food tastes like, so long as they don't hassle you and you keep getting that tiny paycheck. So if their fries are lukewarm and soggy, you don't particularly care. If their burgers are old, you don't particularly care. You just want to get everyone out, finish cleaning the place up, and go the hell home. Assuming you don't slip in a puddle of Coke and break your leg first.
Now. Imagine that you work at this one particular Wendy's in Dublin, less than a quarter of a mile from the Wendy's International Headquarters. You know that ANY of these people in line could work there. Could be a higher-up in a position to make your life hell. So you smile, you bow and scrape, you have to make sure that every burger you serve is terrific, because if you don't, Dave Thomas will personally come to that Wendy's and KICK YOUR ASS. He will scream. He will pick you up and mop the floor with you. He will have you crucified on the sign outside for all the motorists on Rt. 33 to see. And then he'll fire you.
I think those kids deserve combat pay.

~Blather Back!~


Friday, January 19, 2001
Okay, granted, I'm not the world's authority on American alternative pop culture. Heck, I'm not even Ohio's authority. Or Columbus'. Although I -am-, I think, the cultural arbiter for this household. Anyway.
All that said, I must admit that I'm not particularly impressed by the recent fad for piercings. I poked around a couple of websites devoted to piercings/tattoos/scars yadda yadda and my general reaction was 'ouch, his skin looks really inflamed. I bet that itches.'

Generally, I have two demands for my clothing. It must not hurt, and it must not be ugly. Not that piercings are necessarily ugly, mind you, but I definitely tend towards the subtle in my dressing habits. I have three holes in my body that I wasn't born with, one hole in my left ear and two holes in my right, and I won't be increasing that number any time soon. I don't tease or bleach my hair, I don't wear swathes of baby blue eyeshadow or circles of rouge on my cheeks, I haven't worn fluorescent colors since I was in junior high (all fashion mistakes made before the age of 17 are forgiveable), and I won't be replacing my eyebrows with rows of shiny hoops. Granted, I rather like the effect of a single eyebrow ring, or a nose stud. But again, that's rather subtle, isn't it?
I draw the line at genital piercings, though, no matter how subtle. If a guy has big silver rings through anything in his underwear, it would be prudent to warn me before pulling it out. Otherwise I'll probably scream 'MILLIPEDE!' and try to squash it with a book.
Heck, I might do that even if he DID warn me. Some things just need squashing.

~Blather Back!~


Tuesday, January 16, 2001
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING BLOG IS REALLY GROSS. NO, SERIOUSLY, IT'S TRULY DISGUSTING. AND NOT FUN DISGUSTING, LIKE EXPLICIT SEX TALK. IT'S JUST GROSS. IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH OR EATING SOMETHING, THINK TWICE BEFORE READING ON. YOU WERE WARNED.

This is the sound of a cat horking up a really big, wet, juicy hairball:
*hnk*hnk*hnk*hgk*hgk*HGK*HGK*H-GAK*H-GAK*HGAK!*HGAK!*HGOOORNK-sqlishk!*...*hnk*hnk*
That sound can raise a cat owner from the depths of sleep faster than the sound of the front door being kicked open. You wake up frantic and try to determine where the cat is; once you've determined that the cat is, in fact, NOT on the bed itself, you groan and go back to sleep, vowing to clean up in the morning. That's when you wake up to discover that the cat puked on a) your slippers or b) your favorite book.

Cat puke is so gross. It comes out of the cat paler than when it went in, plus you can sometimes see the half-melted shapes of the cat food... it's even less pleasant when your cat happens to eat multicolored cat food. Oddly festive, as far as shades of brown, tan, and reddish go. But, damn, you think cat food smells bad BEFORE it's been digested...
Plus when you go to wipe it up, the stuff feels warm through the paper towel. Even if the moisture doesn't soak through, it's still a highly unpleasant sensation.
One of our cats is really astonishingly old, so she throws up a LOT. We even have her on the special 'no throwing up food' for old-ass cats, which does help a little. The other thing that helps me keep my sanity is the younger cat, who WARNING WARNING EXTRA GROSS will generally eat the older cat's hairballs, as long as she finds them while they're still warm and wet.
I've never been so glad to have a stupid younger cat in my life.
Now please excuse me, I think I need to throw up.

~Blather Back!~


Sunday, January 14, 2001
Broken English!
I went to the Japanese restaurant for dinner tonight (yay!)... while perusing the specials list, I noticed something called (I think) anmaki... the English description was 'steamed monk livers'.
Geez, I had no idea devoting your life to celibacy made you a gourmet treat.

~Blather Back!~


Saturday, January 13, 2001
Nigh-Incomprehensible Foaming-At-The-Mouth Rant:
Does anyone else hate the word 'teen' as much as I do? Hell, I hated the word 'teen' when I WAS a teenager. When ads or newspapers or products use the word 'teen', it sounds so damn smirky.
Here's an example: on the back of a comic book that I purchased recently, there was a PSA that stated 'Tobacco's Whacko If You're A Teen!'. If I'd seen this when I was an adolescent, I would have STARTED smoking, just to show these mealy-mouthed idiots that they couldn't talk down to me like that and expect me to listen. Goddammit, I'm an individual with my own problems! Don't lump me in with these strange people and call us all 'teens'!
What's more, they use 'teen' to refer to the sort of smarmy, perky, Stepford Teen that attends anti-tobacco rallies and would never do drugs, just say no! And as for sex... oh heavens! Sex can wait, I'm worth it, I'm a TEEN!
Shit, isn't adolescence bad enough without having adults corral you under the braindead 1950s-esque label 'teen'? Next thing you know they'll call you 'disturbed'. Or 'wacky'. Wacky is worse.
I'd almost rather be called a 'youngster'. No, wait. No I wouldn't.

~Blather Back!~


Friday, January 12, 2001
My car broke down today, dammit. So I was sitting around the car repair place waiting to be driven home, and the only magazine that looked even vaguely interesting was a magazine concerned with raising and breeding horses. (As if the car place was advertising for their own competition.)
I was flipping through the magazine idly, scanning the articles and staring fascinated at the ads for all sorts of esoteric liniments and doodads (hoof staples?), when a half-page ad struck me across the face with this text:
...
FROZEN SEMEN.
You've got questions.
We've got answers.
...
Damn RIGHT I have questions. The first question I came up with was, 'What the hell?!'
Oddly, a few pages away I saw an ad for some device called a 'semen sealer'. By that point, the seamy, foul world of horse raising had already desensitized me, and all I could raise was a debauched snicker. DAMN you, horse magazine, for robbing me of my innocence!
(All right, that's enough scoffing from the peanut gallery, thank you.)

~Blather Back!~


Sunday, January 07, 2001
When I was a little kid, I had this gerbil, named Gippy. Pronounced like 'gyp', and boy, was he ever. Gippy was the meanest creature that ever lived. I couldn't touch him at all; my mother had to clean the cage every week because she didn't want me to get bitten doing it. And every week, without fail, Gippy would manage to bite my mother with those nasty rodenty teeth.
I didn't much like Gippy, either. What fun is a pet if all you can do is look at it? But still, we had Gippy in his little Habitrail heaven. Gippy was living proof that mean people live longer.
When the big ice storm of 1978 hit Dallas, we lost power for upwards of a week, and my mother moved us to a friend's house until power was restored. When we got back, we discovered my goldfish frozen in the middle of a block of ice that used to be the water in his bowl, a tiny fragment of food suspended just outside his gaping mouth; but Gippy had just dug himself a burrow in the cedar shavings and was fine.
Gippy lived for almost two and a half years, which is a fairly long time for a gerbil under any conditions. Then, one morning, I came downstairs and my mother told me that Gippy had died. I didn't particularly care.

Last Christmas, when I was at home, my mother finally told me that Gippy hadn't died. She had donated him to a medical research facility, run by a friend of hers, to be experimented on in the name of eye diseases. I guess she was just sick and tired of being bitten. I suppose I should have been outraged, but to be honest, I still didn't much care. My first reaction was, '... good. He deserved that, the wretched thing.'

I guess the moral of the story is: try to be at least vaguely nice to people, or no one will care when you're tortured to death in the name of science.

~Blather Back!~


Thursday, January 04, 2001
A quick lesson in conductivity:
I am at the computer, holding my mouse (M) in my right hand (R). The cat (C) bumps up against my shin (S) looking to be petted. Since it is winter, the house is very dry (D), and my cat (C) administers to my shin (S) a small static charge (St). At the exact same moment, my mouse (M) ceases to work until it is unplugged and replugged (UR).
Therefore:
(C+S)D = Sh
St(S) -> R+M -> !M -> UR

In layman's terms, my mouse is extremely sensitive to electric shocks, and my body is an excellent conductor of electricity, since the shock to my left shin traveled to my right hand to stop the mouse from functioning. Electrical engineering in action!

~Blather Back!~


Monday, January 01, 2001
Notes from Massachusetts, Vol. 1:
My boyfriend's parents have known me for about seven years. My mother has known me since... well, since before I was born, really. And yet, my boyfriend's parents have a much firmer grip on my taste in clothing and accessories than my mother ever did.
All that said, though, I like the sweater they gave him more than the sweater they gave me. So I wore his instead. Men's sweaters are great clothing.

Notes from Massachusetts, Vol. 2:
I was sitting in one of the random bedrooms, reading my book, when I spotted a box. A software box. That said 'Adobe Illustrator 8.0' on it. And I thought... hey. These people have Macs, just like me.
Within a second, I had the box in my trembling little hands. And yes, it was a Mac version... then I noticed it was just the update.
Woe is me. No free Illustrator for Mooncalf.

Notes from Massachusetts, Vol. 3:
I am living proof that two feet of snow cannot stop four determined geeks from traveling to a friend's house to play Magic: The Gathering. We drove at five miles an hour over tiny narrow unplowed winding roads, getting stuck twice, and traipsed a good half a mile, me in thin canvas slippers, without socks.
But I won two games, so it's all good. Plus I got to play tug-of-war with a cool St. Bernard.

Notes from Massachusetts, Vol. 4:
Slipping on ice and falling was not fun. Sliding under a parked car when I fell was less fun. Doing it in front of three guys was just stupid. At least I escaped with only a tiny abrasion on one ankle.
Come to think of it, I fell down when I was in Texas, too. I stepped on a blanket that was on a hardwood floor and went sliding. Perhaps vacations make me accident-prone.
Remind me never to go skiing.

~Blather Back!~