Archive for 2004

3 Inches of Snow Brings Arkansas To Its Knees

Thursday, December 23rd, 2004

I hope the cats are OK. I didn’t go home last night because of the torrential winter weather yesterday. Brian picked me up from work and I stayed at his place up the hill from my office, which is where I am right now. Had I made it home, I would not have ventured out today. It’s madness out there, I tell you.

In addition to giving me a spare webcam, Brian also took some fab pictures of Superflux at Cajun’s last Friday. Here’s a picture of me I actually like:

Kind of a nice, Dennis Quaid-esque smirk on my face. And my oh-so-rare Obvious Moose t-shirt…could I be a bigger obscure music nerd? Only by playing a long-discontinued Ibanez JPM P3.


Tuesday, December 21st, 2004

Ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that.

More Socio-Existential Ramifications of Pac-Man

Saturday, December 11th, 2004

I just found this great quotation on

“Video games don’t ruin kids. If Pac-Man ruined us as kids, we would all be running around in darkened rooms, eating magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.”

For those who may not get the joke, consider that the statement applies to the behavior of any persons involved in rave/dance club culture. It actually makes me wonder if video games didn’t predispose some of us to enjoying repetitive electronic music.

Dammit Pantera

Friday, December 10th, 2004

Dimebag Darrell. Shot down onstage. I have to admit it’s something of a Klingon way to die for a metal guitarist. At least he didn’t OD or crash into anything. This is the guy who, when Guitar World asked him about touring necessities, he made sure to include acid (“for long bus trips“) on his list. Despite that, I’ll always admit that the first two Pantera albums were classic metal records that showed a lot of ingenuity, but afterward they failed to remain innovative or creative. In post-grunge metal, only he and Zakk Wylde seem to be allowed to play guitar solos. Now there’s one less great guitarist. We all move up a notch.

Interesting point made on

In America a Beatle was attacked by a pyscho and died.
In Britain a Beatle was attacked by a pyscho and survived.

The obvious difference being that in America, Mark David Chapman had access to a gun. Of course, as Heath pointed out regarding the Churchill/Hitler comment below, you can find a statistic to support any damn ludicrous position you want.

Evil Comes in Many Forms

Friday, December 3rd, 2004

I found this on a search engine optimization forum recently:

“Winston Churchill was a drinking, smoking,
gambling womaniser and Hitler a one woman teetotaller.”

That really stopped me in my tracks when I considered the so-called morality of the ruling party in this country. I’m not sure if this is connected but yesterday I was pondering how many wars have been started by atheists. I don’t think very many. Just some random things to consider I suppose.

On the lighter side, here is Merriam-Webster Online’s Top 10 Words of 2004:

1. blog
2. incumbent
3. electoral
4. insurgent
5. hurricane
6. cicada
7. peloton : noun (1951) : the main body of riders
in a bicycle race
8. partisan
9. sovereignty
10. defenestration

Choice terms all. My particular favorite is #10. #7 is the only one I didn’t know.

Diesel Power

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Recipe for a glimpse into an alternate universe: take one diesel tanker on one major freeway, and shake.

Such was I-630 (the inexplicably named 10-odd mile stretch through Little Rock that somehow got an “I” in its name) this evening as a diesel spill blocked all westbound traffic during rush hour. All traffic had to be moved off onto side streets. Creative commuters opted for the north route on I-30 and I-40, but were also stymied due to volume.

The importance of this is that, to someone like myself who had no idea what was happening (this was 6:00pm, after all the radio stations have ceased their regular traffic updates), the experience becomes a massive, uncertain, and vaguely paranoia-inducing shared experience with more people on the road than I’ve ever seen in this town. It’s especially bizarre for me because I commute from midtown to the hinterlands so I’m going the opposite direction of everyone else for most of my trip. When you’re seeing a solid wall of cars in the oncoming lanes for miles, you have to wonder if everyone knows something you don’t. The experience is what I imagine a citywide evacuation might be like. If some pre-apocalyptic event were to occur in Little Rock – alien invasion, poison gas leak, Godzilla – this was a sneak peek at its manifestation.

Or maybe I just had a long day at the office. Tonight I’m going to relax with my Chengwin DVD and some gourmet cookies.

Power of Pride

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

Searching on “proud to be an American” in Google, I found 183,000 pages. Searching on “humble to be an American” I found 10.

Says a lot, doesn’t it? Maybe we’re 18,300 times more proud than we are humble

I’m thinking of getting some bumper stickers made that say “Humble to be an American.” Let me know if you want one.

Road Movie to Chi-Town, or This is Red America

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Pictures now in the new plog documenting my weekend road trip to Indiana and Chicago. I probably took more pictures of the rural Midwest just because the depths of its peculiarity seem to grow every time I’m up there. I saw a lot of “Adult Superstore” billboards and just as many “Pornography Hurts Everyone” signs. So that’s nice.

What I somehow failed to take more pictures of was the people, namely my hosts Craig and Jamie. Or Jamie’s adorable Mini-Me, Ella. I’m still trying to figure out how I neglected that. The depths of my confusion reach levels not seen since…well, November 3rd.

Credit Card Secrets

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Here are a couple of things that I did not know about credit card companies:

  1. If you have incurred a late fee, you can just call them and have them remove it.
  2. You can say “please remove me from all marketing lists” and they actually will. Which is particularly nice if you’re like me and you get a zillion “low-interest” checks in the mail.

These are just little options I had no idea were available to me.

Video Games as Existential Metaphors

Sunday, November 14th, 2004

I was thinking about Tetris recently and how it was the only video game I really enjoyed. I think the reason for my enthusiasm stemmed from the game’s elegant metaphor for existence: oddly shaped objects are constantly being thrown at you and you have to make them fit into the most solid, sensible patterns. If you don’t, they stack up quickly and overcome you.

This got me thinking about other video games, like Pac-Man. It has a vaguely materialist message: run through the maze of life and consume as much as you can. Avoid the spiritual beings. They only represent death.

Donkey Kong’s message is one of corporate ambition. Climb the ladder, avoid everything the guy on top throws at you, and you can make it to the top, where you’ll live happily ever after.

Are there any abstract video games anymore? Or games that invent their own reality? Everything I see these days is variations on virtual reality themes of combat, racing, and movies.