January 31, 2002

extreme refutation

I feel so petty. One of my articles in the Statesman mentions Americans as wide, stupid, lazy, and prone to falling down elevator shafts a lot. I intended it as complete sarcasm, a jab at the flawed international opinion of our country.

But given where my article was printed, my statement suggests something entirely different. Today’s Statesman was wrought with similar slander against America, only the other writers were serious. It is really trendy to shit on our country, so any college student that gets his/her hands on a public forum will speak such filth. Ooh, look at me! I’m progressive and I don’t think what other people think because I’m the revolution and I must be right because I’m young and my eyes aren’t clouded with knowledge!

The following points need to be refuted:

The Lib. Ed. program should be abolished, because it’s stupid to expect math majors to care about jazz, or art majors to care about science. I’m here to prepare for my career, not to become a rounded person.

Our generation is lazy, uncouth, ignorant and preoccupied with selfishness. It’s way too hard for us to find culture in America.

It’s not fair that professors expect us to go to class.

Even though the points are self-affirming I still find them seriously flawed. UMD’s newspaper needs serious reworking. In the future the Statesman should be printed on Tuesday, and then a new publication, the Anti-Statesman, will come out on Thursday and refute all of Tuesday’s crap.

Guess which one I’ll be writing.

Oh, the server is down. It’s been down for two days. Apologies.

January 30, 2002

automated extreme experience

I started looking into Project Autolech, whereby I will automate entries, archives and post linkage on Cromlech through a slick interface a la every other blog in the digital universe.

Checked out moveabletype.org and as soon as they started talking about CGI scripts, Perl and program compiling I let out a pathetic squeak and scuttled back to my cave. Then I downloaded Perl, which only cluttered up my mind moreso. All this crap sounds like language of an underground drug culture.

Yeah man, this CGI stuff will totally move your type, if ya catch my drift. If you’re interested I’ve also got some extra Perl left over from last night. See the guy over there in the vomit corner? He was compiling program all freakin’ night. Spent two hours arguing with the jukebox.

In other news, my web digesting abilities have come full circle. Every so often, I discover a link before it is posted to MetaFilter. Now I can go about doing things besides Internet. Like updating Cromlech. Or like not updating Cromlech.

Yesterday’s calming snowfall became today’s attempted coffin. We X-Treme sledding at Rock Hill, and for some reason this new snow is really freakin’ fast. Someone built a jump at the bottom of the hill, so we greased the sleds up with silicon spray (contains less than 2% Pamela Anderson) and let ‘er rip. Luke supplied a new-age sled with metal runners that he deemed the Green Reaper, Nate managed to always dig Clementine’s nose in the snow after flying off the jump and Mark pulled some incredible air followed by solid, tailbone-grinding landings. Everyone missed the trees at the bottom of the hill, for the most part.

January 29, 2002

the kong cannot speaketh

It’s been snowing all day, a light powdery snow that falls slowly and dashes away at your footsteps. I’d love to go outside and take pictures, but my camera is still drying out after its weekend dunk in an underground river. It has since returned to functionality, but I want to make sure all the water demons are out before the camera returns to work.

The most beautiful girl just stopped by our apartment, looking for a vacuum cleaner. I rose to the challenge of answering the door unaided and of course, said all the wrong things with disturbing inflections.

“Oh, yes, I’m Kong.”

“What? The RA’s sent you here?!”

“It’s even got a setting for shag.”

She left quickly, sans vacuum. I didn’t even catch her name.

January 28, 2002

let’s talk about my shoes

I got some nice boots last year. A store had great deals on Doc Martens, and since everyone raves about how they last for centuries and massage your feet as you walk, I picked up a pair.

And they are the most uncomfortable shoes my feet hast ever laid eyes on. As I compared my inferior Docs to other people’s Docs in terribly awkward social situations, I noticed that I got gyped out of quality craftsmanship. The rubber is cheap, the insoles have shredded apart and I whimper in pain at every step. It seems I unwittingly purchased Super-Saver-Valu-Price Doc Martens: Like walking on broken glass!

I would opt for my Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars, but unfortunately they are a death sentence when confronted with ice. Chucks are outfitted with Teflon-coated soles and EZ-Sprain ankle support technology. Wonderful in the summer, but besides getting smacked in the noggin with a tree they are by far the fastest way to the emergency room.

Summer will allow my preferred mode of transportation to come out of hibernation. My Birkenstocks are absolutely wonderful. A molded leather sandal can support both a foot and a complex eco-system quite nicely. They are so biologically productive you can actually smell the microbes. Sometimes you can talk to them.

I do have one more pair of shoes, but they spend too much time in the sewer to be appropriate for public use.

January 27, 2002

this is your phlebotomy

At Cub Foods they had an aspirin display. It was a full-sized skid, stacked chest high with boxes of aspirin bottles. Anticipating a semester wrought with headaches, I was tempted to get a box. Let’s see, thirty bottles in a box, at 99 cents a bottle… that’s less than a dollar a bottle!

Imagine what you could do with that much aspirin. All your friends would call you Peter the Bleeder, regardless if Peter was your real name. Your blood would run so thin that a papercut would send you to the bathtub until the paramedics came to stitch you up. A transfusion would be like trying to mix motor oil in McDonald’s orange drink.

I’ve been listening to String Cheese Incident’s self-titled live cd today. It’s one of my most favoritest cds, oozing with goodness from every digital square inch. I have managed to scratch it all to hell, so the last five tracks are as jittery as a truck driver on Wheel of Fortune and No Doz.

So I put in the second annual Big Wu Family Reunion show instead. Another excellent piece of work, with a 19 minute version of Red Sky to trance the hippies and infuriate the impatient.

Ok, so I really want to be a music writer, because I really like music and I’m pretty good at writing and writing means I can get paid to listen to music, but alas I am not very good at writing about listening to music. Occasionally I will try, so please bear with it. It’s a strange, strange synthesis of parts of my brain that keep telling me they want to remain unintroduced. I’ll get better, I promise.

Laptops generate an amazing amount of heat. If they could make a laptop that runs on heat they would have a perpetual motion machine.

January 26, 2002

why does who stink?

I spent a good part of my day in storm drains, today. We found some pretty cool things; spiders, young flowstone formations, a 20 foot underground waterfall, methane gas… we decided to explore one tunnel as far as it would allow us to go. Five blocks up from where we started it surfaced as a small stream, and the lead member of our party was startled that we were sharing the stream with someone else. Keeping quiet and hiding in the shadows of the tunnel, we waited…

…while our fearless leader tried to sneak ahead, but slipped and fell through the ice a few times and make an awful clumsy racket. Soon a little kid poked his head around the corner. We heaved a sigh of relief, and emerged into sunlight.

The two kids (sixth graders, or so) were none too impressed by us. One started poking me with a stick, which is weird because usually only Woochers poke Dane out of imitation of other Woochers. That this child (with never seeing another person poking Dane) knew the proper action to take, he proves that among all humans is the innate idea of poking Dane with a stick. He demonstrates that one does not need to have sensory experience of other people poking Dane to know what to do with Dane. Poking Dane comes a posteriori, a synthesis of the sensory experience of Dane and the a priori idea of poking, which is the proper action one is to take when presented with a Dane.

Anyway, the kid soon tired of me and turned his attention to our group. “You stink, you stink, you stink and you stink.” An accurate observation, as we had been wading in methane for quite some time. Not wanting to stand for such harrassment we pushed farther upstream into uncharted waters, and after an hour of being hunched over in the dark, concrete tunnel we reached an exit, over a mile away from our original point of entry.

We all took very long showers once we got home.

January 25, 2002

contents of bubble wrap

So, this semester all Journalism students were issued laptops… even me, against anyone’s better judgement. At the bleary-eyed time of 8:00 ITSS dropped by our classroom and hooked us up with some phat portable processing power. No one seemed particularly excited (a common case of College Disinterest Syndrome, no doubt) and I actually got distracted by a piece of bubble-wrap before digging into the actual computer.

It took awhile for the coolness of this new toy to finally settle in. I’m now sitting in the library, wirelessly connected to the Internet, tethered only by a power cord and the lack of willpower to go do something besides laptop. I’m busy moving into this computer; making it my new home. In a few days I’ll be able to do most everything on the laptop that I can do at home, and I’m very excited for that amount of mobility.

I can read all my blogs and such from a personal environment, wherever I can find an internet connection. I can write and store thoughts as they pour in. Soon Cromlech will be updated from anywhere but my desktop at home. I think I can even throw all my notebooks and such into my laptop case, thereby eliminating my backpack.

Oh, and a DVD player. Did I mention it has a DVD player? And a CD-RW. And rock-solid Windows 2000. This beast puts my desktop to shame. I have no reason to stay at home, now.

January 24, 2002

migratory bruises

What if bruises could move around your body? Say, for instance, you got tripped by a penguin and smacked into a tree. A large bruise develops on your thigh, but what if it could crawl around under your skin and make other parts bruised? It would stay about the same size and shape, of course, but maybe it would crawl up your torso and settle on your shoulder, making it ache like all fury. Every morning would be an exciting inspection to see where the bruise migrated during the night.

Saw the funniest cow today, which some madame was walking out in front of Stadium. It looked like a greyhound dog, only it was four feet tall and painted white with black spots. I think it even had a cowbell, though I do have a fairly active imagination.

I have a weird feeling that this semester is going to be big. Things are going to happen. A good percentage of the world may end up cowering under the great Dane Empire.

You would be wise to start vying for position with me now.

the elevator

The brand-new MPAC elevator is now complete and boy is she a beauty. Her brushed metal doors gleam like golden door-shaped trumpets and she offers speedy, convenient access to multiple floors. The elevator is the quintessential American invention, as everyone knows that all Americans are wide, stupid, lazy and fall down elevator shafts a lot.

Yes, yes… Pure American, right down to the obnoxious loud noises. At every floor the elevator lets loose with The Piercing Buzzer, which shatters all crystal goblets and teeth in a five mile radius. If the end of the world is like a quiz show, this thing will be there to tell all the little contestants we’re outta time! Most elevators are satisfied with a pleasant ‘ding’ (a slightly flat E, I believe, for music nerds) to signify a floor has been reached.

No. MPAC has trained this baby differently. The new elevator wants all riders to associate elevator riding with intense aural pain. You begin to dread going up two floors because then your brain will be forced out of your nose twice.

Perhaps the abhorrent buzzer results from the generalization that all disabled/handicapped/physically retarded people are also deaf, but I doubt this is the case. The school actually doesn’t want us to use the new elevator. Short from flooding the space with water every time you hit a button, the best thing to discourage students from using the elevator would be to make it hurt. A lot.

It’s kind of like that show The Chamber, only without the flames licking bare flesh. Also unlike the show, in MPAC no one cares about your stress quotient. Do not speak of your unbearable stress quotient to theater majors, as you will likely entertain a creative death shortly thereafter. They will offer you no pity, as most theater majors are so busy they manage only to find sleep while blinking.

Ok, so the elevator is nothing like The Chamber, but what a show, eh? With Millionaire you are pretty much guaranteed $32,000 just for showing up, but in The Chamber you are tortured for seven minutes and wind up with fifteen grand if you’re lucky.

Probably the worst torture, extending far beyond the flames, 150 mph winds and low oxygen levels, is looking at the host John McEnroe’s unshaven face. It’s like John fell out of his closet one morning and stumbled into the street where FOX hijacked his body for the latest non-craze of unreality tv. I want to see at least one contestant come out of the Chamber, spit in John’s eye and demand he “get a !@^#%$! razor.”

John McEnroe, whose last name has been temporarily revoked due to the Enron scandal, and will only be reinstated when McDonald’s saves the day by buying out Enron.

Oh John, are you going places.

January 22, 2002

the new testament

A testament to why I need morning classes. Tuesday and Thursday I don’t start until 11:00, so it is now 8:43 and I’ve been wasting the morning with things like this:

Your wife’s name is Natalie Portman and you have negative 7 children. You’re a Music Critic who drives to work every day in a Girly Pink Ford Tempo.

It’s truly a wonderful life when you consider the countless romantic nights you have spent with Natalie Portman in your shack in Duluth, MN.

I’m not sure if that’s a good future or not. At least I didn’t end up in Asshole, NB. Try it out yourself at dollarshot’s MASH. Props go out to Jen at zosiablue for the link.

Later: I’m a very bad person. I incorporated cascading style sheets into Cromlech, but forgot to upload the actual CSS. For some reason that didn’t bother IE, anyone using Netscape (including all those Solaris workstations at school) was subjected to confusing error messages. Should be better now. Next in line is figuring out how to get internal pages to automatically display the navigation frame if it isn’t already there. Any offsite link that references anything but index.htm will be devoid of navigation… unless you’ve memorized my confounding labyrinth of folders and files and can scramble about on hands and feet. After that I need to learn PHP or something else that will allow direct linking to Blither entries, and will automatically slide old Blithers to the archives where they wait to die.

Cromlech only wears a mask of outward calm. The smoke and mirrors that go on behind the scenes would horrify the average carnival patron.

I got four packages in the mail today. Sax reeds and three boxes of books, all shipped separately from Barnes.et.Noble.com. I would have been fine with them sending all the books at the same time in one box, but since I got a sweet deal and skirted any shipping payments, I’m not gonna complain. I now have all my philosophy books (except a 1956 Dover publication of G.W.F. Hegel that doesn’t seem to exist), Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage and a book about Norse runes and mythology.

Somewhere between the smoke and the Internet, my eyes hurt. I’m going to finish off the evening with reading and Guinness.