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11/13/07 09:43 - 43ºF - ID#42107

Never Fuck with a Drag Queen

There are lessons that one must be taught. Oh sure, wouldn't we all like to learn what our passions tell us to learn as Rousseau would have us. But for the sake of survival there are lessons which must be taught at an early age.

Bears will naturally scare us. The dark keeps us away from places we should not be. But how can nature teach us to be wary of the supernatural?

Yes, the religious right might tell us that Drag Queens and homosexuals are unnatural. But why unnatural and not supernatural?

The mind is naturally curious and looks upon the unknown with equal measures of fear and wonder. Well my friends, I dare you to daze into the dark unknown with me and learn the most valuable lesson of all.

Never. Fuck. With. A. Drag Queen!



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Location: Buffalo, NY


11/12/07 11:02 - 48ºF - ID#42093

Speech for my Brother

Howdy,

I was away this weekend with my brother Jordan. He had just become an Eagle Scout and had a ceremony to commemorate it in the basement of a church. There were about 150 people; mostly fellow boy scouts, their parents, a few relatives, and six slimy local politicians . The kid asked me to say a few words about him, and the unfortunate soul got exactly what he asked for. Here it is, the crowd had a good laugh:


Today we gather to celebrate a young man's achievements. That is why we are here right? If you are here for the bar mitzvah you are in the wrong basement.

Now, many of you know Jordan. Or, if you are lucky, are merely related to someone who knows Jordan. If you are fortunate enough to be neither, then you are probably a politician.

Well, Jordan would like to take this opportunity to announce his candidacy for your position. As there are more than one of you, he would also like to announce his candidacy for your position as well. He means no disrespect, but he believes he can do your jobs and still get eight hours of sleep a night. After all, he is Jordan and you are only human.

Jordan goes to school, is a fine soccer goalie, plays a mean AC/DC on his guitar, can blow you up in something called Halo, and still have enough time to create a soul shattering mess in his room that is a cross between Jackson Pollock and Heironimous Bosch.

Now, my brother Matt and I are about ten years older than Jordan. For years we were top dog in the house and in the neighborhood. But then came our mother's pregnancy. Which, when raised by Catholics, is a complete mystery but occasion to feel very guilty about something or another.

Of course, the mystery quickly evaporated when we discovered what it all meant. Oh man, another brother? I already have one of those and he can beat me up! Great. Ten years old and already I need a drink.

I am happy to report that it took Jordan a full two years of life before Jordan beat me up. It was with a Fisher-Price, soft plastic, child safe, non-eye gouging corner, toy hamer. But like mighty Thor against the Fire Giants on Ragnarok he smashed my skull in. That toy is now banned for sure.

Ah, but that class action law suit boat sailed years ago, as did the soft ball sized welt which decorated my forehead like a third eye. Remarkably, horrific pain is not enough to overcome genetic programing which keeps us from, oh, you know, not dismembering a toddler.

Jordan always lived in the shadow of my brother and I. But he never had any trouble stepping out of it and stepping on us. Earning the rank of Eagle Scout it, to put it mildly, a difficult task. A task that is compulsory when your two older brothers managed to do the same. Jordan did not just do the same, he did it better than we did.

Matt, back me up on this one, but I think Jordan ha more merit badges than we ever earned, combined! I don't know about Matt's Eagle Scout service project, but mine has been demolished and converted into a janitor's closet.

Jordan, in these quarters they call pride a deadly sin. But I have no difficulty in saying that I am infinitely proud of your achievements. I am proud of what you are certain to accomplish. But most of all, I am proud to call you my brother.



Well, that was that. There were a few additional amusing events that took place after this that I will talk about in a later post.

Additionally, (e:Janelle) and (e:Drew) are frickin' awesome and brought my a little present from Toronto which I will photo document.

And now! SCHOOL!
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11/09/07 01:47 - 45ºF - ID#42059

New Phone

Awesome.

I just got a new phone. My old cell phone was a wonder. It was perfect for me because of two main features. 1) It was virtually indestructible and 2) it had sudoku.

As it turns out, you can get sudoku on just about any phone. Until that fad dies out and once again we are playing minesweeper as if it were fun.

But indestructible. God, that is where it was at! I am not a clumsy man. Nor am I prone to dropping phones into toilets. But I feel a certain contempt for little gadgets. Especially ones that can interrupt me while on said toilet. As such, I keep the gizmo in my pocket full of keys and knives. Casually bumping into things turns my pocket into a meat grinder. And phones made of less stern stuff don't last.

So sure was I of my old phones invulnerability I would stab the thing with keys. With a smile I would show just a few scratches and continue to drink.

This new fangled phone though has so many wicked cool features! I would tell you about them, but I am too busy figuring out how to turn them off. I could be sitting in a class trying to make some erudite point about economic factors in immigration when my pants will suddenly announce "please say a name to make a call" in a voice surprisingly needy for a machine.

Coincidentally, the Chinese restaurant in my phone book is saved under the name "China". I am sure in my Chinese history class I have accidentally ordered a large Sun Yatsen with a side of Chaing Kai-Shek. Sometimes I will even go to the restaurant on the off chance I did in fact oder something. Have a bit of fun reenacting the Nationalist flight to Taiwan with an eggroll for a barge.

And there is also a camera on it. Same problem. A shift of my leg and then "CLICK" the camera says in a fair impersonation of a real shutter. I have scores of photos of the inside of my pants and not one of them is remotely racy.

Now I am paranoid about a new phone. Its resilience has not been tested and I am babying it. Now I keep it in the pocket with my wallet. But someday, while drunk I am going to look into that little eye of the camera and I will become Odysseus, and it will become the cyclops. In an epic struggle the two of us will exchange blows and I will have glass in my fingers, and a broken camera phone.

stay tuned for updates.
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Category: programming

11/08/07 11:44 - 38ºF - ID#42045

Why Programming

So, (e:jim) recently wrote about how I am learning to program. Oh god, why, o why!

Last weekend Jim took me a long to a programmers conference. Looking around it was an awesome sight.

Guys. Around my age. With Beards sparse and thick. With mops of hair unstyled and uncut. bellies small and bulging. Facial piercing. Tattoos. Drinking problems they openly joked about.

But above all. Each of these people seemed like they could do porn and not fear losing their real job.

This is my secret criteria for my second job. The job I get after I am fired from teaching.

I have no actual desire to do porn. Ya, I like a good penis, but not one with more screen time than Orson Wells. But I crave the freedom to do it. As if someone would approach me with an offer to do a scene or two and I, drink in hand, would say 'what the heck'. Shrugging off the non-existent consequences.

The other day when I was doing observations at a school I had the opportunity to sit in on a middle school health class, adolescent sex ed. There were a few things said I really didn't like. Notable a binary gender model and an attitude of compulsory heterosexuality. After, I asked the teacher about these things. She told me that she has no free hand in the content, it is decided by the community. Even in the high school they are not allowed to use words like 'gay' or 'condom'. And really, if you need to cover any two topics in sex it is 'everyone is unique' and 'don't get the Clap' would be them.

Would they ever let a porn star teach kids anything? Do real people actually teach, or are they just charecters in a moral allegory? Programmers though...

"Hey Bill, what did you do this weekend?"
"Oh you know Janice, got doubly penetrated in that jail bate film"

How awesome is that?
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11/07/07 10:44 - 36ºF - ID#42025

HSBC Who?

Hi,

Jim took me on a romantic get away last weekend. We went to a computer programming conference in Charlotte, NC or SC. It was right by the border and I wasn't sure what state we were in.

The weekend went like this. Jim went to talks and schmoozed with people, building his contacts and what not. I am really glad he went, great opportunity for him. I, however, had a strange weekend.

Trapped in a hotel is odd. There is nothing to do. You have to travel around to find anything to do. And so that is what I did.

Of corse, Charlotte is a very bad town to do this in. You see, it has two downtowns: the historic downtown and the new downtown. We were staying in the new downtown, and I couldn't get to the historic downtown; the roads in between either turned into eight lane highways or became frightening to walk down alone and unarmed.

The new downtown must have been built in the last 20 years. It was full of massive towers housing hotels and banking corporations. There was a network of a dozen of these towers connected by skybridges. On the level with those bridges was endless shopping and restaurants. I thought that was really cool, accept nothing was opened on the weekend. Venturing out of that complex to the streets there were two things open 1) a fried chicken fast-food place and 2) Mert's: the god damned best soul food place ever. EVER! Seriously, I learned why people willingly eat okra.

Anyway, in my wanderings downtown I thought it would be good to find an ATM. Charlotte is a banking city, they told me. There were Watchovia and Bank of America ATM's all over the place. Every street corner practically. But I could not find the World's Bank, HSBC anywhere. So, I find this little sandwich joint and walk in to get breakfast/lunch/holy-cap-you-cannot-even-get-coffee-on-a-saturday-in-this-town.

I ask "Say, can you help me find an ATM? From an HSBC bank?"
The clerk "A what bank?
"HSBC"
She scratches her head "What does that stand for"
I smile, loving the name of my bank "The Hong Kong, Shanghai Banking Corporation"
Her eyes bug out of her head, she turns to the kitchen behind her and yells, in the most unpleasant mountain yokel voice I have ever heard "Hey Earl! Do we have any of dem Hong Kong, ShimSham banks?"

seriously, Hong King, ShimSham. I nearly shat myself it was so funny.

anyway, you kids have a good day.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


11/05/07 01:27 - 38ºF - ID#41983

Back from RubyConf!

Holy shit.

I was just in the middle of the biggest collective nerd orgasm and I feel like a long shower.
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Category: nerd

10/30/07 11:03 - 48ºF - ID#41894

Umberto Eco on Mac's vs PC

Hi,

Stephen Fry has a delightful blog of no particular subject, but the man loves to chat about his gizmo obsession. In his latest piece he references Umberto Eco's little ditty on Mac's vs. MS-DOS (think proto-windows) and how both are like Catholics and Protestants.

I would send you to read it, but here it is in its entirty.

The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counterreformist and has been influenced by the "ratio studiorum" of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory, it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach - if not the Kingdom of Heaven - the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can reach salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: a long way from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.

You may object that, with the passage to Windows, the DOS universe has come to resemble more closely the counterreformist tolerance of the Macintosh. It's true: Windows represents an Anglican-style schism, big ceremonies in the cathedral, but there is always the possibility of a return to DOS to change things in accordance with bizarre decisions.....

And machine code, which lies beneath both systems (or environments, if you prefer)? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is Talmudic and cabalistic.




And it struck me that this seems a little out dated. Windows does not have a likeness to the Anglican Church. And certainly much less likeness to a John Hodgman character.

You nerdy-nerds can pick that apart if you like. The rest can have fun reading Fry's blog.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: politics

10/29/07 01:23 - 49ºF - ID#41859

Whither Obama?

What happened to Barack Obama?

The 2004 superstar, who had commentators calling for a presidential campaign just as he was elected a senator, is now limp and useless. Like other superstars, Menundo, Men at Work, Leif Garret, the Obama campaign has drunkenly crashed into a disappointing post-career of candidacy.

I liked Barack at first. He was everything Chriss Dodd wasn't. He was no washington insider, he did not seem partisan, and he took hope out of the pre-9/11 world and put it where it belongs in the future. But now...

Obama has had a confusing record with Iran, not bothering to show up to vote whether or not the Revolutionary Guard was a terrorist group. He sort of waited it out to test the waters of public opinion.

Then this whole South Carolina thing...

You may have heard a bit of controversy over anti-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin making a performance at an Obama rally. McClurkin has also become a member of the SC Obama team.

SC is a critical state for Obama who is trailing in Iowa and New Hampshire. If he can't get SC Obama is a non-entity. SC has a giant black population. In essence, to win SC is to win the black vote. McClurkin is supposed to supposed to be the feel good American Idol to win over the black vote.

So, the gospel singer had a little concert. Instead of diffusing the situation or simply not talking about it McClurking stopped the concert mid-way to slam homosexuals... and not in the hot way. Way to use someone else's forum to spread the love.

Well, this did not go over well with Obama supporters or sensible people. There have been protestors. Obama has been trying to have it both ways, saying he absolutely supports gay rights while having a very anti-gay person as a very visible member of his campaign. Just like Obama has been trying to have it both ways, saying marriage inequality needs to end but not supporting gay marriage. Is Obama giving a wink and a nod to the more socially conservative SC voter saying "don't worry, I really don't support gays"?

Maybe I would like to see him in eight more years, but right now Chriss Dodd sounds better and better as the candidate with both integrity and a set of balls.
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10/28/07 07:23 - 46ºF - ID#41848

The Weekend of Endless Liver Enbigening

My weekend has been awesome, though I feel like I am going to have a hangover on Monday despite complete sobriety today.

Friday I drove to Albany to go to a party my college friends were having. Oddly, I didn't go to college with any of them but met them through a high school friend who was dating one of them for a while. Additionally odd since non of them have every lived in Albany until after I had moved out of that town.

They were having a big weekend long bash, so everyone kept their drinking down to a lovely buzz. I, however, was only in town for the evening and drank myself into oblivion. Fantastic.

Around 3 in the morning I got up to get a cup of water. I brought it back to bed with me and fell asleep with it in my arms. I didn't spill a drop it looked like for a few hours. Well done me. How responsible are you? Not spilling alcohol at a party but instead spilling water.

And then Saturday. Oh man! If you were there, you knew how much fun it was. If you weren't... don't believe the hype. It wasn't that great. (ha, ha, suckers).

(e:Drew) had the most pleasing costume. It wasn't as flashy as those unicorn hunters, but the chuckles I got from it were more satisfying.

Felly makes the best Jell-o shots in the universe. When I die I would like my remains entombed in a batch of those jell-o shots and then have a large party fueled by them. But maybe they should be told about the secret ingredient afterwards?

It was a pleasure seeing everyone again and great to meet some new folks. (e:PMT), thank you so much for hosting.
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Location: Buffalo, NY


10/25/07 02:38 - 58ºF - ID#41797

NY 9th Greenest State

Ahoi!

Good news kidos, NY is one green state. Well, not #1, #9 actually, but that is a mighty fine showing. (e:Cjamgeisgood)'s latest post about commuters sucking certainly can be heard in this report which credits the independence from the automobile in NYC as the largest contributor to our greenness. Sweet.

But what about those green loving hippie Californians? YA! #14! Eat it California! For those of you who live in or have visited California, you know that driving is insane. Cities like LA and San Diego aren't built up but out. Sprawling homes and lowrises as far as the eye can see. That makes for a lot of driving.

You can read the full report here


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