Monday, December 27, 2010

The Holiday Recap.

Recap: I didn't see my extended family this season, but stayed home with my own little family that I love.  Google sent me a Cr-48 notebook.  I'm seeing an amazing new woman and feeling very close to V.; they both make me smile on a regular basis.  I'm quite happy lately, and I hope you are, too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Selected Text Messages.

A: Goddammit my typos ruin my cute texts
Me: Ruin? Does someone need something ruined?
A: Then put back together and then ruined again.
Me: Yes ma'am. :9

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TSA "Opt-Out" Day.

Now that the idea of an "Opt-Out" Day has penetrated the public consciousness, there are a growing number of counter-protest news pieces.  One suggests that you should go about your business, citizen, because you're not being kind to the TSA agents who don't enjoy handling your junk.  Another suggests the protest will be ineffective, likening it to former "mass protests" that didn't work due to poor planning and general disinterest.  These pieces are finding a foothold with some of the populace.  For every five individuals who speak out in favor of the protests, there seem to be at least three who decry it, who want everyone to simply "shut it" and go along.

"Don't bother to show your disapproval, citizen: we don't care and you'll only make yourself look like a jackass," these articles effectively state.  That's not really true.  TSA agents may not care if you make your flight, but they really don't want to handle that many thighs and genitals.  Your fellow passengers may think you're being ridiculous, but they will quietly note the number of "idiots" making the effort.  It will be an obvious protest by the citizenry AND likely generate a susurration in the ranks of the workers.

Sending a letter to someone in Congress results in a return form letter three months later.  Inconveniencing yourself and the TSA workers generates a lot of quiet and not-so-quiet frustration.

The number of people trying to stop a simple protest in favor of OUR REGAINING CIVIL LIBERTIES really fucks with my head.  It's an outcry in favor of intrusion because the intrusion is convenient.  Illegal wiretaps?  Convenient: no need to bother a judge, no risk of an alleged criminal getting wind & disappearing.  Full-body x-ray scanning?  Convenient: step in a box, let someone look at an image of you nude1, move along.  "Thet's all background stuff.  I'll never know it if they monitor my location via GPS or rifle through my luggage and find my vibrator.  JUST DON'T MAKE ME LATE FOR MAH PLAAAAAANE!!"

The biggest issue I see with this protest is one that, sadly, DOES make me think the whole thing is a bit ill-conceived: it's not likely to inconvenience one's fellow passengers.  They have the simple option of stepping in the radiation box, waiting a moment or two, then heading to their gate.  That's also the biggest reason why, if you think this whole thing is pointless, you should simply shrug and let it go.  If you don't want to be late, go through the scanners.  If you don't care about the protest, don't participate.  Just, for fuck's sake, don't try to stand in the way of others by saying "That's dumb.  Look at that.  Think that'll work?  Guh, that's dumb.  You're so dumb."  The protestors are trying to gain redress for what they consider a legitimate grievance.  Note it, turn away, and go about your business as the TSA wants.


1 I know there are two camps regarding the fidelity of backscatter-generated images.  Some of the "genuine" pictures they're supposed to create are blotchy, blocky monstrosities that only vaguely seem like human forms.  My question: if those are the actual images, how is an agent supposed to notice some sort of foreign object?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Good and Bad.

A quick update: In general, life is still quite good.  The days are filled with friends and food and sometimes a bit of the third "F".  Halloween is coming; it's my favorite holiday and there is much partying to do.  My little brother is in town right now, and it's the first time I've seen him since he went to do missionary work.  It's really good to have him around.

In "ugh, TMI" news, I got a horrible stomach bug that manifested last night.  I didn't get to sleep much for the vomiting and the troubles at the other end.  There was a particularly horrible point where I had to do both at once.  I'm glad our bathtub is so near our commode.  The other low point was blowing my nose and seeing pizza in the tissue.

I wish I didn't have a party to attend tonight.  It looked to be a pretty cool one, and even if I start feeling better, I'm not inclined to go and spread this horror.  I really, really hope things are all done by Saturday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why Reality Is Better Than Dreaming.

My dreams this morning involved an extension cord kit for a vibrator, and going outside on some pointless errand.  Outside, I encountered five or six of the biggest spiders ever: brown, furry bodies that were at least 3" long, combined with long, thin, spindly legs.  There was no one to help me avoid them.  They terrified me.

My reality this weekend will involve a date with my wonderful V., foods that are fit for kings, motel rooms, bondage, liquor, singing, my excellent friends, a new play partner, spending time with my own little family, and comfortable shoes.  . . . There'll almost certainly be a vibrator involved as well.

Reality trumps dreams by a lot.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don't Flee.

There's something I want to say to a lot of my friends, something about which I feel strongly.  It's something they may not want to hear, but I hope they (you) all read this and consider it.

MAKE SOMETHING OF WHAT YOU HAVE BEFORE TRYING TO FLEE SOMEWHERE "EASIER".

I feel the frustration of being a lone bastion of sanity in a sea of crazy.  BUT, I have also worked to gather around me other sane-in-the-right-ways people.  It galls me when they all talk of just up and disappearing to blend into a sea of people a little like them, with whom they may never form any lasting connections because they will be in a sea of people a little like them.

Adversity creates unity in people of like minds.  It's a small world here in Houston.  People know each other, often in surprising ways.  A person who knows no one in this town, who feels alienated and alone, can suddenly slide into an amazing social life through meeting one or two new friends.  It has to be like a godsend for some, especially younger people and transplants from elsewhere.  We have a community, and it will be less for your leaving.

Of course there's a self-serving element to this sentiment.  Some of us just can't go.  Some of us HAVE to make the most of where we are and what we've got.  I'm grateful to have all of you as best friends, just friends, friendly acquaintances.  You make my life better, and you regularly talk about what amounts to an exodus.  I think you'd be missing out.  You'd certainly meet some cool people and connect, make new friends.  I don't think you'd have anything near the community we have, where almost every new person is a good friend of someone you already know and love.  There's no reason for everyone to know everyone else of like mind when there is a sort of homogeneous like-mindedness across the whole town.  Please, ask yourselves these questions.  Is the grass that much greener in Austin, or Seattle, or Portland?  How will you be weird where weird is normal?  Are you really unhappy where you are?

If this sounds grumpy, it may well be.  I don't want to lose any of you to the Sea of Similarity.  I want us to continue being weird together.  <3

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Creepy songs.

A quick blog post to embed a widget.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Goggles.

Last night was another Houston Art Nerds salon, and Snoo ordered many sets of goggles for people to modify.  Unmodified, they look like this:

which is already pretty cool.

At my request, Snoo ordered some mirrored lenses for me to put in my goggles.  I put them in front of the dark welders glass as they were pretty transparent; the dark glass behind them really improves the mirroring, and I like the HEAVY filtering of light.  I had some leather to add, so I carefully cut a swatch to cover each eyepiece and affixed them with the help of Gorilla Glue.  See the circular cap on the original goggles?  Not the one that holds the lens in place - to the left of that, on the eyepiece's cup.  That cap comes off, so I removed both caps and put eyelets in the appropriate places of the leather coverings.  Now I can simply glue minor embellishments to a cap, then affix the cap in its normal spot.

This morning, though, I thought of an even better addition.  Somehow, V. and I managed to fry one of these:

in a past lifetime.  That antenna?  It screws on to a copper post on the back of the router.  I unscrewed it and tried a few various ways of affixing it to the goggles, but none really worked.  In the end, I unscrewed the router's housing, cut the wire to the antenna post, and lifted the whole thing out.  I broke the plastic that holds those little caps and removed the leather covering's eyelet.  I then threaded the antenna post through the existing leather hole and fixed it in place with the nut & locking washer, just as it originally was in the router.

The post is now a permanent feature of the goggles,

or I can add the antenna for extra mad-science spiffiness.

I'm quite pleased with the results!

(Aside: I'm not sure from where Snoo ordered our goggles, but you can order a very similar pair here!)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

So Strange.

I had no plans at all for the day, and this is still not how I expected it to go.  I'm tired of being hurt.

Happy Mothers Day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sappy Friend Post

I read another blog this evening where someone was crowing about the excellent people they discovered while in Houston.  It made me smile, because I know the people of whom they speak.  They are my ultra-cool, loving, wonderful, geeky circle of friends.  I couldn't do without these people in my life - their support when things go wrong and their company when things go right helps sustain me.

Thank you, friends.

 You make living here in Houston worthwhile.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

:(

My uncle, Rick Sartain, died yesterday afternoon.  It was quite sudden.  He showed no sign of heart problems, but while working at my grandparents' house on a little backyard garden, he went inside to escape the heat and had a massive heart attack.  His wife Gail, a nurse for as long as I can remember, administered CPR.  It didn't help; Rick was gone.

My thoughts are very disorganized right now.  I want to share what a great guy he was, but moments and memories keep jostling in my head, trying to get out first.  I'll try to get some of the better ones out and hope you forgive if the order seems awkward.

Rick and Gail weren't always my favorite aunt and uncle, but they grew on me a lot as I got older.  Rick was a tall man with a booming voice and a heavy Southern accent, and hair that I never remember as being BLACK, but always salt & pepper.  He and Gail were peas in a pod: southern hippies, smokers, jokers.  Rick was very laid-back.  He loved a good laugh and loved to hear others laugh, too, even if he'd smile & ask "What're you cacklin' at".  Rick always wanted me, his girls, and my other cousins to think before acting.  I think it pained him a bit to watch us be so DUMB in the way that kids are, and I certainly understand now that I'm a parent.  He was one of the first people to consistently say "Well, seems to me you've got yourself in a bit of a mess, huh, Timmy?" instead of just suggesting things would be all right.  I can hear him asking it and chuckling - his voice was distinctive and has always played easily in my mind.  He was distinctive.

I'm not sure what else to put here.  He was a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I already miss him so much.  Rick is survived by his wife, Gail, and his daughters, Kristin and Katie.  Please keep them in your thoughts during this sudden, unexpected time of loss.

I love you, Uncle Rick.  
Uncle Rick

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Smoking is bad, kids.

In the dream, I had a character on an MMO that had a particularly weird, powerful, not supposed to happen, magic item.  It was an artifact that I made quite easily, by chance, but that was strong enough to actually end the world by potentially crashing the game.  I was at a minor gathering/con, and lots of friends there also played the game, so I spent some time trying to show off my new, "really shouldn't be possible" acquisition.  I explained over and over how I slotted a found spell into a simple wand, causing general astonishment and disbelief.

There was a girl at the con on whom I had a crush, and I found myself talking to her in a semi-private setting.  My friend Kit somehow drove by in a wheelchair(?) and invited us to some gathering or party.  I was smoking a cigarette, so I finished it and hopped in the cute girl's van.  We decided to drop by a McDonald's for dessert briefly.  Cute girl kissed me, with unexpected but welcome tongue, then quickly pulled away in disgust at the taste of cigarette still in my mouth.

I lose a little of the narrative here.  Somehow, when I woke, the dream had me doing calculations, trying to figure out decimal places.  My best guess is that prices were amazingly inflated at McDonald's and I was trying to work out how much to pay.

My eyes didn't want to stay open when I woke.  For a while I lay in bed, my arm over one eye.  As I stared at the ceiling, I saw a near-transparent, cartoony flag fluttering in front of the ceiling.  It disappeared once both of my eyes were open.  The dream wanted to keep me.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Window Update & More

The workmen came today bright & early.  While V. was in the shower, two men and a woman came through the house, measured many of our windows to confirm their work order, and then promptly began scoring the appropriate panes.  Before long, they were tearing our windows apart and dumping the old glass into large trashcans.  After the glass was out of a window, they'd rip the frame to pieces and move to the next.  They were incredibly efficient; before I knew it, new windows were being installed.  E. watched a ton of videos on the computer and I read while all around us, our house changed.  The crew screwed and applied liberal amounts of caulk.

My eyes kept wandering back to the woman.  She was cute, and her shirt was just short enough that when she bent even a little at the waist, I got a glimpse of her lower back.  It was nice and troubling at the same time.  I knew I was the creep she might tell her friends or husband about at the end of the day.  At least I kept it to a glance every now and then instead of shameless staring.

I spent a lot of time putting the house to rights.

I'm losing steam here; it was a long day.  I meant to say more about this, but instead I'm just going to quote my Twitter feed:

Capsule hotels. We need a chain of `em to spring up near major airports & downtown areas, USA. This is the way it's got to be.
(Uh, here's a little info on capsule hotels.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Windows & Workmen.

When we moved into this house, I'm not certain that any of us realized how poor the windows are.  They're all single-pane windows of different styles, likely bought here and there when a batch of them dropped below a certain price.  These windows look a little shoddy, none of them have screens, and half of them seem to have different closures than the rest.  They bleed heat, in during the summer and out during the winter.  Put simply, they're crap.

Tomorrow, workmen will come and replace almost all of our windows.  I'm thrilled about having new windows.  The new windows will have screens!  Matching closures!  They will have been made in the past ten years!  It's going to be SWEET.

The part that WON'T be sweet is having workmen all up in my house tomorrow.  I will try to minimize stress, but it will be present.  Ideally, I'd take E., hop on our bikes, and spend most of the day at a park to avoid the noise, activity, and strangers.  I won't feel like I can, though, after the poor experience we had moving into this house.  The "professionals" hired to move all of our stuff ruined large portions of it through plain, simple carelessness.  Ever since then, I haven't wanted to trust workmen with my stuff, and that includes just leaving them alone in the house with it.  So, despite wanting to just remove myself, I will feel obligated to stay and protect the house's contents.

On top of all that, I likely won't be as productive as Mondays usually find me.  I do all sorts of things like sweep, clean dishes, wash laundry, and exercise on Mondays.  I won't be inclined to do those things while strangers tromp through my home.  I expect to spend a lot of time on the laptop or reading tomorrow, alternating with desperate attempts to keep E. entertained.  If I'm lucky, the workmen will finish early.  If they do, I will become a dervish, whirling about the house, trying to set things to rights.

My biggest, most fervent wish is that their assurances are correct and they will finish the job in one day.  I don't think I could handle two.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Twitter follows.

As anyone who uses Twitter knows, not all followers are your friends.  Some will be family; others will find your Twitter account through a blog or some other website.  There will inevitably be spambots trying to link you to commercial pages or phishing sites, but Twitter does its best to send those away pretty quickly.

Increasingly, there's another group that doesn't quite fall into any of these categories: companies.  They usually have a warm body at the con, so they don't quite count as spambots.  These companies also don't send wave after wave of tweets that point to their websites; they retweet mentions by other users and try to form a sort of Twitter product community.  Mention their product and you'll find yourself with a new follower, trying to drum up company hype by nabbing another community member.

It's not the smartest strategy, but it's not that bad, either.  People like being retweeted, and they increasingly seem to enjoy allying themselves with a brand or a product.  Users don't have to follow back, but I imagine many do.

I tend to mention things by brand name in my tweets.  As such, I usually get one or two company followers a day.  I ignore most of them.  One caught my eye today, though.  After tweeting about a shopping trip where I bought bubbles, glow bracelets, and leather, I was followed by @ravestuff.  I'm not sure if the ghost in that account's shell keeps up a search on one of those terms or what; could be they're searching all three.  It struck me because of a couple of things, the first being that I didn't use a single hashtag in my tweet.  The second is that I did indeed buy these things as not rave, but certainly party supplies.

Kudos to you, @ravestuff helmsman.  I'm not following you back, but you're certainly on the ball.  (Hey, you even got a blog mention.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Annoying:

Talking to someone cool who suddenly stops responding without reason.  I don't mean in the "Oh, I had to get the laundry" sense; I mean the "Well, if you ever want to say 'hi', you have my e-mail & phone number" lack of response.

We've all been there.  Next time you think of cutting someone off, take a moment to say so.  You know you're hurting their feelings already; just bite the bullet.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Justice: Ou Est Vous?

There's this French musical duo I really like, Justice.  Their debut album, , was a worldwide hit, and for good reason.  I always liken them to Daft Punk if Daft Punk WERE harder, better, faster, and stronger.

Well, that debut album hit back in 2007, and people have clamored for the group's sophomore effort since then.  In 2009, we finally heard rumblings; Justice would be distributed by the newly-reborn Elektra imprint.  Better yet, there would be a new album in "early 2010"!

Time passed.

It's early 2010.  The latest news regarding Justice's new album is almost half a year old.  What happened?  By now, I think the public expected a release date.  The fact that we don't have one is a pretty good indicator that we won't see this album by "early 2010".  I draw that line firmly at the end of June - two months away.  If this album were going to be ready by then, we'd have month-old "release date" marketing and a smattering of European tour dates.

It's no fun to see a favorite band fall from the face of the Earth.  I really hope there's positive news soon, both for Justice and for Elektra.  A delay like this, with no word or explanation, can't help the public's view of Elektra's rebirth.

I know what music Amanda Palmer is listening to during road trips.  It's not hard to get the word out these days; it practically spreads itself.  Ed Banger, Elektra, Justice: can't you let us know anything about the new album?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hole.

I haven't written here in a long while.  Twitter sees far more of me.

Life is pretty good.  E. is a smarty; V. loves me; I love them both.  V. is happier at work lately, and it's a very good thing.  We also have a TINY bit more money than we had before.  It makes small differences.

I do arm and chest exercises semi-regularly now.  The results have shown for a while, but last night my increased strength surprised me.  I bumped my shoulder into a corner of our new fridge quite painfully.  Still angry when I stood up, I punched a half-hole in a cabinet door without really trying.  I felt like shit the rest of the evening (which was thankfully short).  V. grabbed my elbow pretty hard and left a bit of a scrape on the inside of it.  It's in such a spot that it makes me feel like I had blood drawn.

Time to work out.