Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The LARP Of It All

I'm not a big fan of LARPers (that's Live-Action Role-players to my less geeky readers). LARPers are those folks who dress up in medieval garb or in vampire fangs and play role-playing games "in real life," dressed as their character and fighting with foam-covered PVC "swords" or drinking wine that's supposed to be blood. It's not that I begrudge them their hobby - in fact, I can see the appeal of it in some ways - but it's that almost every LARPer I've met has been so socially maladjusted that it really makes me question where humans, as a species, will be in fifty years.

But when I read the following description of LARPers on Something Awful, I nearly fell out of my chair:

    "It's very simple. You are dressing up in half-assed medieval clothing, pretending to be a hobbit wizard or a dark elf census worker or whatever, all while awkwardly play fighting with your nerd friends in public. If you can honestly take yourself seriously doing that, well, then you are criminally insane and deserving of all the mockery in the world +3."
Harsh, but funny all the same.

Movie: Land of the Dead

For me, zombies pretty much equal the apocalypse. I realized that my zombie fascination is really just an extension of the apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fascination I've had since - well, since I can remember. One of the first short stories I ever wrote concerned a bleak survival outlook combined with stubborn hope after a nuclear holocaust.

So that's the frame of mind from which I approached Land of the Dead. Did it succeed? You betcha.

It was apocalyptic. It tread new territory for zombie movies - dealing with events years after the end of the world. It was gory and funny at the same time. It used heavy-handed techniques to make vague social commentaries about the sorry outlook of humanity.

Zombie fans will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Family Matters

I'm not sure what the hell is wrong with Blogger and their tables. I don't know enough about CSS to fix this annoying problem. Sorry about the choppy read these days.

My mom emailed me this morning with a piece of really cool information. One of my relatives has been tracking our family through Syria and Lebanon, and he made a pretty cool discovery: we can trace our ancestry back through the Ghassanid tribes in early Arabia. Like, third of forth century CE Arabia. The Ghassanids were a Christian tribe that swore fealty to Byzantium after migrating up to the Syria-Lebanon-Palestine area. They even had their own kingdom, until the Arabs bought off their soldiers and kicked their asses in the 8th century.

Pretty cool stuff though! Perhaps there's a story or two in there.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Zombies! Pittsburgh!

Yeah, I saw and loved Land of the Dead, but I'll post more on that later. Until then, beware the zombie dogs scientists in Pittsburgh have created!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Lib'ruls in the Military Against Rove

As you might know, Karl Rove recently made an extraordinarily asinine comment about liberals and the aftermath of 9/11. If you're interested in what a whole bunch of veterans, current military personel, and military families think about Rove and the Bush administration, check out this blog.

This is basically how I feel about the whole thing: my friends in high school and college didn't enter the military so their lives could uselessly be thrown away for a bunch of jingoistic warmongers ensuring their constituents get richer under a cloak of democracy and patriotism. I'm not the only one, either.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A Day In The Life

I can be a tad, shall we say, uncoordinated at times. Some people might call me a klutz. My totem animal is the moose: a gangly, awkward creature that looks like it should collapse at any time.

So let me set the stage. Today, I gather the laundry together, divide it into loads, and start the weekend-long process of ensuring wife and I will have clean clothes next week.

The laundry equipment is in the garage, so it's a bit of a hike from the opposite end of the house (our bedroom).

It's also kind of dark and smells like, well, a garage.

Now wife likes dryer sheets in stuff that goes through the dryer. I'm in the "frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" category: my clothes seem pretty much the same with or without the dryer sheets, and I usually just end up picking one out of my pocket in the middle of the day.

But I indulge her.

This morning, I put a dryer sheet into the load I have just moved to the dryer, and leave on my sojourn across the house for the next load (we only have one basket).

I return, put the load in the washer, pour in the detergent, and I'm on my way.

I come back, wife in tow, and unload the dryer. There's the used sheet. I put it in the washer. Clothes in dryer go in basket, clothes in washer go in dryer.

As I'm putting the clothes in the dryer, I pick a dryer sheet out of one of them.

Me (internal dialogue): That's funny, I must have dropped one in by accident.

I pick several more sheets out of the washer.

Wife: Wow, that's a lot of dryer sheets.

Me: Uh huh.

Wife: Did you drop the box in the washer?

Me: That would be stupid. (Oh, why do I make it so easy).

Wife looks around in the laundry area.

Wife: I don't see the box of dryer sheets here.

By this point, I've picked at least twenty sheets out of the washer.

Wife: I think you dropped them in the washer.

Me: Uh huh.

Wife: Hahahahahaha.

Me: Can I please have what's left of my dignity?

In the end, there were probably fifty sheets and one very clean and fresh-smelling load of laundry.

Zombie Poll

Vote for your favorite kind of zombie!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Are You Prepared?

If your home doesn't contain one of these kits, then you aren't taking the safety of your family seriously!

Exterminating the Exterminator

I'm beginning to suspect I may have been taken for a ride.

I place a phone call to the exterminators yesterday, asking when they planned to remove the test-traps from my attic and crawlspace and when they were going to send me the report as to what exactly was wrong with my house.

Secretary: They left the report with you.

Me: No they didn't.

Sec: Yes they did.

Me: No, they really didn't. They left me a note, in my mailbox, that said they would mail my report.

Sec: Oh no, I have a copy of your report right here, but it's our copy. They gave you your copy.

Me: No, they didn't. Can you send me a copy of your copy? (I'm obviously dealing with a real gem here, so I opt for the path of "whatever gives me what the fuck I need as quickly as possible")

Sec: What's your fax number?


Sec: So are you going to go ahead and fix it? (WTF?)

Me: No, I'm going to look at the report first!

Sec: OK sir, I'll fax it right away. (She's calling me sir - this means that she thinks I'm getting pissed off.)

Me: So when are they going to come get the traps?

Sec: Well, it looks like she's booked up all this week...

Me: Wait a second - so if there are animals in these traps...

Sec: Well, have you noticed a smell? (Seriously, she said this.)

Me: No.

Sec: Well, you should be OK.

Me: Well, no. There could be animals starving to death in my attic and then starting to rot in the heat up there.

Sec: Well, sir, she's fully booked.

Me: Why didn't she make the appointment when she was here?

Sec: Wait, it looks like she's got something at 4:00 on Friday.

Me: That's fine.

So she faxes the report over. It looks fairly extensive except for one thing: nowhere does it state how much it will cost to fix all the shit they're claiming is wrong.

Liz has, quite intelligently, decided to get a second opinion.

If you're considering Eastside Extermination for your critter-killing needs in the greater Seattle area, you might want to consider someone else.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Die Pants

As I adjusted my belt in one more notch just now, I took a look in the mirror.

I think my pants are too big.

I look like MC Hammer in these things.

I don't want to get my hopes up, but I believe a trip to Old Navy to test this theory is in order.

However, if I go and try on the next size down and they don't fit, that will suck.

If I remember that my self-esteem is not tied to my appearance, that shouldn't matter.

I am an awful Buddhist.


Reading stories about lions saving girls from abductors makes me believe in the ultimate goodness of felinity.

It's All In The Shoes

Last night I ventured out into the world for shoes. My old pair of sneakers was covered in paint and tile cement, coming apart at the heel, and in serious need of replacement. It was time. It was past time.

Venturing out for shoes means going to The Mall. I'm not really a big fan of The Mall, either from one too many viewings of Dawn of the Dead or simply because it makes me interact with people - people with whom I have very little in common. I enjoy people-watching at The Mall, but lately it hasn't helped my view of humanity, between the "my-parents-are-funding-my-teenage-rebellion" boys to the Ana girls to the homey-wannabes in overpriced gangsta clothes.

So I pass by all the overpriced shoe stores they clone in every American mall and locate a skating store. Skating shoes are, in my humble opinion, the best sneakers money can buy. They are fairly inexpensive as shoes go - none of this AirWalk Michael Jordan (or whoever the hell it is these days) $200 shoes that kids get wasted over in schoolyards - and they are built to last. They're built specifically for people whose feet are constantly abused on a skateboard. This means they not only allow for an incredible range of movement, but they're damned comfortable and could be shot by a missle and come out OK.

Of course, the skate store doesn't have the first five styles I like in my size, but I finally locate one that is in my size that is passable. The two girls working at the store are kind of good looking in that bleach-blonde-and-tanned sort of way, and the one who is doing most of the helping has on a pair of those lowrise pants that are so popular these days, so I get a couple of nice images of her back-40 as she's bending over to help me.

Liz comes in near the end to assist, and we walk out. Since we're at the mall, we might as well go look at other things we need (I scored a bunch of great shirts on the cheap, but that's not relevant to this tale). On the way home, we're discussing women's fashions when the topic of lowrise jeans comes up.

I mention that I prefer women whose hiphuggers, well, hug their hips - as oppose to squeeze them like an overripe grapefruit, redistributing their hip padding upwards to they get the spare-tire-like bulge hanging down over their jeans.

Liz: You mean like the girl at the shoe store?

Me: Which one?

Liz: The girl who checked you out.


Me (internal dialogue): Alright, all those lunchtimes at the gym are finally paying off! Women are looking at me again! I'm one hot and sexy fucker, that's right! It's time to strut!

Liz: Yeah, she rang you up at the register. You know, checked you out.

Me: D'oh.

And you all know what's coming next:

Me: Sigh.


Occasionally I do "vanity searches" on my name to see what pops up. If someone is writing in their Live Journal about my demise, I'd like a heads-up.

Today, though, I found an English paper by an OSU student who cited an article I wrote for Oklahoma Magazine a long time ago.

I'm not really sure what to think about this.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Grand Theft Update

I realized I forgot to do this on Thursday. D'oh!

Thursday night, right after I walk in the door, I get a call from the detective assigned to my case. He informs me that I'm getting my tax dollars worth today, as the two perps who stole my car are now in jail.

The main thief's name is Mr. Duane Bates of Sea-Tac. Mr. Bates is 17 years old, and has previously done one-and-a-half years in juvie for 38 counts of Grand Theft Auto.

In case you're unfamiliar with the juvenile justice system, time spent in juvie is typically counted in weeks or - in extreme cases - months. So Mr. Duane Bates of Sea-Tac has been a nasty little panda before, it seems.

This time? The car they ditched at the mechanic's shop had license plates in it from other vehicles, and apparently they also confessed to stealing other cars as well.

So Mr. Duane Bates of Sea-Tac is going back to juvie - to await his sentencing for this round of crimes. Only now, his crimes involve burglary (since he took the keys) so Mr. Duane Bates of Sea-Tac is going to be spending some nice quality time back in the pokey - or if I'm really lucky, he'll be treated as an adult and be passed around a prison like the doobies he left in my car.

Why do I keep repeating the name of Mr. Duane Bate of Sea-Tac, age 17, the person who stole my car?

Oh, no reason. But if you're bored and looking for something to do...

Weekend Updtate!

Yesterday was a productive day. I got up, went to the gym, finished putting my statues on the built-in shelf, helped Liz organize the guest room, went to a HeroClix tournament, finished arranging the room, grabbed my funnies, met Angela and John for dinner at Cedars, and saw Batman Begins.

The movie was pleasantly surprising - the best kind of movie.

Also, I feel better. My ducks are slowly but surely falling into a row, and looking around I can see the progress, especially after scrolling through the "before" pictures.

Friday, June 17, 2005


After yesterday's little tirade, I actually feel a lot better. Of course, sitting around drinking Scotch and playing poker with my friends last night might have helped too.

To prove that I've actually been a productive human being, I offer pictures of my house. The first is a "before" picture that I took when we were inspecting the house before you bought it - so you know what we've done.

The second is the same thing, with my notes:

The third is a picture of our (nearly) finished room. It's a little cluttered and is missing the molding around the ceiling to finish the seam, but you can see the improvements:

And, for kicks, a version with my notes:

My Life: Or, An OCD's Nightmare

So here we go.

Last year, my wife and I were upset that the neighbors upstairs stomp around so much. And we wanted some more space. So we thought, hey, let's look for a house. But we can't do that with the kind of credit card debt we're carrying around. Bummer.

Liz gets some money for a freelance gig she did two years ago. Enough to pay off the credit cards.

So we look for, and find, a house. It needs some work - "cute it up," the real estate agent suggested. So we hatch some plans to cute up the house before we move in - you know, painting, doing the floor in the kitchen, redoing drywall. Should be no more than a few weekends worth of work, right?

Fast-forward. We move in. Less than half the shit we want to do isn't done. So our entire life was, and remains, in boxes. Boxes, boxes everywhere. We do some of the work, but there's still a lot to go, and wherever you turn you see constant reminders of the work you still have to do: the bad seams in the living room that need molding. The bits of paint in the hallway that need to be touched up. And, of course, the cardboard boxes everywhere.

But we abide. Sure, life is chaotic, but we abide.

Then we find out that the money we received late last year to pay off the credit cards actually popped us into the next tax bracket. So we owe the IRS. We owe them a lot. Basically, we owe them what we would have owed the credit cards had we kept our regular payment schedule and not moved into the house.

OK, so now we can't spend any money on anything. A night out has become too expensive. We're eating hot dogs. And that nice house we're paying so much money for a month is a chaotic wreck.

Then, some dickless piece of shit steals our car. We get it back, thank goodness, but its broken and needs to be fixed. So away it goes, and we get a rental car that eats gas like it's getting kickbacks from Dick Cheney. When will the car be fixed? Who knows? Oh yeah, and it's still gonna cost us our deductable, plus there's no guarantee the car thief will be put away. Oh, and the brakes we wanted to have fixed won't be done either.

But that's not all, folks! Since we moved in, we've heard random skittering in the attic. The exterminator comes out this morning. Rats! Rats in the Walls! Under the house is a mess: the screens on the additions were never installed correctly, cutting every conceivable corner. There's no cap on the sewer pipe (huh?) so that's how the rats have been getting in - sewer rats living in our house! And in the second crawlspace, because the screens weren't installed correctly, a family of raccoons has taken up residence.

And how much will this cost? Another two thousand dollars that we don't have!

This downward spiral of disarray is really starting to get to me. My creative burst fled with nary a word down on paper. I'm still living out of boxes. My laundry is in a massive pile on the floor, clean mixing with dirty as if it were some insane Garden of Laundry Eden. I'm staying late at work tonight as much to catch up as to avoid the chaos that waits for me at home.

Seriously, I think I'm on the verge of a breakdown. This morning, I thought Orion (the cat) managed to either escape or go down into the crawlspace when I wasn't looking. I found him in the bedroom hiding, but then he really did escape and I couldn't find him, so for all I know he's in the crawlspace duking it out with the sewer rats and raccoons.

Everything is so far out of control I can hardly see straight anymore.

Paging Dr. West

Like something out of a Lovecraft story comes the tale of a young medical student who adopted cats from an animal shelter so he could take them home and experiment on them, put them through pain, and eventually kill them. Who is this crazy doctor? Why its none other than Senate Majority Leader Bill "Terry Schiavo Was Fine Despite The Fact That It Turned Out Her Brain Was Half Its Normal Size And Was Blind, Creationist, and Quack Doctor" Frist!

It's true - all you have to do to get to be the leader of the Family Values Party is to pretend to adopt and then experiment on, torture, and kill cats!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Congrats Bob!

Cheers to Bob on the birth of his second child!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Start the Fires!

Want to know what books conservatives think are bad for you? Here's a list of the ten most harmful books of the 19th and 20th Centuries, with some runners-up. Not surprised: Hitler, Marx, Mao. Surprises: Darwin, Nietzsche, Kinsey, Friedan, Nader, de Beauvoir, Foulcault, Skinner, Mill, and Dewey.

I'd be willing to bet that, throughout history, more people have died because of the Bible than all of these books combined.


I'm headed for a huge manic creative burst, I can feel it building. I expect to be doing wonderful things in a couple of days.

I think the excitement over the car has kind of led to this; I've been so hyped up about the whole situation it triggered something. Best to just ride it out. Who knows, I might have something totally new by next week!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Goons Get It Right

Something Awful is usually the site I go for a good laugh, but this morning's update is actually a good little bit of political and social satire.

Grand Theft Update

The car is back in my possession. They didn't steal any of the valuables out of the car except for Liz's leather jacket. My parking permits were stacked in the glove box with my CDs, the refund check from the dentists office was - get this - folded up and stuck neatly in a magazine, and my comic books were all in the trunk.

However, there's soot all over the inside of the car, likely from the marijuana I found sprinkled all over the inside. It's like the reefer fairy came down and blessed my car. Also, they tore the factory stereo out and installed a better one (which I had to give back to the cops), but did a really shitty job of it so now the locks don't work, the interior lights don't work, the speedometer and odometer don't work, and there's a bunch of gouges on the interior console.

So after this gets assessed next week, repaired, and cleaned, I might finally get my brakes and oil done.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Grand Theft Auto'd 2

They found the car last night. I'm going to pick it up (and inpect it) in a minute. They made it to Sea-Tac before they were arrested.

That's right. The King Country Sheriff busted the dickless shits that stole my car.

I get to read the report on Monday. Of course, so will all of you!

More on this ongoing drama later.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Blog-Novel BRAINS

I was toying around with the idea of writing a novel blog-style, but someone already beat me to it - and that novel is about zombies! No fair!

Grand Theft Auto'd

Last night I dropped my car off at the mechanics to replace the brakes and take a look at the engine. I called them at noon today to see how it was going, and the mechanic says they never got the car. Huh?

Yup. Sometime after I dropped the key in the night slot and this morning, some dickless piece of shit fished the key out from under the garage door and took off in my vehicle. In so doing, the thief left the car s/he stole before mine sitting in the parking lot. I actually have to hand the person props: I never would have thought of fishing a key out of a night drop to steal a car (mine is the kind that doesn't start unless it has the key). So there was a certain degree of thought that went into this, and I can respect that.

Funnier is the fact that last night, I was playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on my X-Box. So while I was playing GTA, I was the victim of GTA.

God, I love irony.

Think You Know the 80s?

Time to prove yourself.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I Know This Guy, In A Band...

One of my co-workers is in a band called Mofius. In preperation for launching their first CD, he was handing out 3-track demos at the office and I gave it a spin. They've got a really sexy funk sound; this is great chill-out music, or music to make love to. Want more info? Check out their website.

Conservative Family Values

Did you know that the Conservative Family Research Council (the people who want to remove sex ed from schools, want creation taught alongside evolution, believe homosexuals are all going to hell, and want to tell you which movies you can and cannot see) paid David Duke $80,000 in 1996 for the Ku Klux Klan's mailing list?

True story.

I wonder if collaborating with racist, right-wing terrorist organizations will go on their National ID cards.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Song: Placebo Effect

Placebo Effect by Siouxie and the Banshees

    You dip your hands into my flesh
    And say you won't reveal a scar
    I must have faith in this procedure
    It's a miracle - It's a wonder

    A thousand hidden needles
    In a thousand covered nerves
    Stick pins in my receptacles
    Look to your Voodoo doll - your mojo

    Staying alive at five
    For you to cure my ailments
    Another soul is saved
    With your bogus medications

    What colour shall we have today?
    Depends on how you feel I say
    Consult your research on the media
    See blue will calm my hysteria

    Staying alive at five
    For you to cure my ailments
    Another soul is saved
    With your bogus medications
    Staying alive at five
    With your empty containers
    Another corpse ornaments your waiting room
    Will you ever regret - the placebo effect
    Can you ever forget - the placebo effect

Are They Real?

The debate over whether this poster on a commuter train between Baltimore and Washington, DC is real or a piece of guerilla art overshadows a much larger concern: the fact that such a poster could be a very real product of our modern government.

Thank every Republican voter you meet for your National ID card, folks.

Early to Rise...

Second draft of Crescent City RPG is complete. Go me!

Regarding Weight

It's been a while since I posted about my weight (and my work to shed the pounds), but I thought I might do so because I have something exciting to share.

I broke my first major weight goal this weekend.

Unlike other times I've done this, I didn't celebrate with a slice of cake or a six-pack of beer. I'm celebrating by purchasing a video game - the Xbox version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

I now plan to set goals in 10-pound increments, with a major celebration at the next fifty-pound mark.

For those keeping score: total weight lost on this new plan is 20 lbs. I weigh less now than when I did Atkins last year, and it took me less time to get here. I think the lunchtime trips to the gym are really helping, so I'm going to keep that up. I'm also going to start weight-training so I can tone up these flabby, flabby muscles, which should, in turn, help me burn even faster.

Better, my joints aren't aching, my mouth doesn't taste like chicken poop, and my sleep schedule is still normal.

I feel good about this. Really good. And Roger, if you're reading this, thank you for being one of my main bits of inspiration that this can actually be accomplished.

Homeland Security Meets Evil Dead

It's a match made in Hell!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

So Long, Farewell, Dino Bye-Bye!

Take off, loser! Don't let the door hit your supplicating Republican ass on the way out! I hope the FBI records this post so others of your disgusting ilk can put it on my national ID card!

Update: Jeff did this issue far more justice than I did.

Movie: Versus

Seth recommended this fine little bit of zombie-fu, and now I'll recommend it to you. It looks like it was shot by a home video camera on a budget of $3 and a box of twinkies, but it's pretty impressive stuff. Plays a bit like an anime, with over-the-top dialogue, but has some great fights considering it looks like the actors were all the friends the director could round up.

The premise, such as it is, regards the Forest of Resurrection, and age-old battle between good and evil, and a lot of fighting, strange swearing, unnecessary posing, and good clean gory fun. Zombie and martial arts fans will want to check it out.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Church: What About You?

I attended church for 18 years, mostly because my parents believed it was important. When faced with the actual choice to attend on my own, I decided it wasn't important. But how many Americans actually attend church (or a religious institution) on a regular basis? Via Andrew Sullivan, an interesting analysis on this issue - and how the numbers typically floated about might be deceiving.

I'm not sure I agree with the author's conclusions, since there are some logical leaps, but in a political and religious climate where going to church is seen as "fashionable," it certainly seems reasonable that some people might lie about it to "fit in." I saw this happen in Tulsa quite a bit during my high school days.

Weekend Away

As some of you might have surmised, I was away this weekend at Wizard World East in Philadelphia. It was a good show, better than I thought it was going to be. I went primarily to give the presentation at Envoy Night, and secondarily to be Mr. PR Man, which I did with my usual gusto. Notable events: a documentary crew wanted to interview me about d20 RPGs, and thought WizKids and Wizards of the Coast was the same thing. As Seth and I were on an escalator, security wouldn't let Joe Quesada (Editor-In-Chief of Marvel Comics) up the escalator because he didn't have a badge (Joe: "But I'm a guest of honor!") Seth Green (AKA Scott Evil, AKA "Scottie Don't!") came by because he's a HeroClix fan. Chris Claremont stopped by for a Dark Phoenix figure, and signed one for me that's going in my collection. And I saw the first ten minutes of The Devil's Rejects, the sequel to House of 1000 Corpses. I think I might catch it in a theater if I can get a matinee; it looked promising.

The airplane ride back was hell; it always is. Sweet Cthulhu, what I wouldn't give for more comfortable airplanes!

Responding To Rog

Rather than post this on the long comment thread, I figured I'd just start a new post for my response to Roger. If ye like, click ye "comments" and read on.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Still Caught In Fallout

Quite a few years ago, I completed my first real RPG writing project: a pencil-and-paper conversion of Interplay's "Fallout" game. I was fairly impressed with the result (it took a lot of hard work) but it was never an official or licensed conversion. I finally let the site die, and the email address as my contact information has been buried under a flood of spam for longer than I can remember, so I never check it anymore.

Fast-forward till now.

I created an email address to handle correspondence related to Crescent City, the Tarot RPG. I used that address on a test page on my website, but didn't really think much about it. Today I logged on.

Two fan emails about my Fallout game waiting for me.

How cool is that?