Archive for August, 2006

Parent for a Day

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Monday night and all Tuesday I took care of Madeline, Jennifer’s daughter, while Jenn is on the road. Madness, as I like to call her, is 8 and quite the handful. I got to do all the fun things parents do – get food, walk the neighborhood, play board games, get to bed, wake them up, drive to school, etc. I stayed at her house in Cabot and if I learned one thing, it’s that I could never fathom living in Cabot and driving to work in Little Rock every morning. It’s utter hell, and I only work in North Little Rock. The only thing worse is trying to drive back into Cabot at 5pm.

Seriously, though. Kids. I get along well with them because I’m still one of them, despite my height and mortgage. I wish I could say I look forward to having them, but really I don’t look forward to the first 5 years. Babies I have no use for. Give me a kid that is verbally coherent and fully mobile, and I’m good. If only there were some way to skip infancy….

Exercises in Silliness

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

You know how public bulletin boards are full of goods and services for sale and you can pull a tab of paper off the bottom with a name and number? Well I thought it might be terribly amusing to make a sign that simply displayed a name, and only a name. Maybe “Kevin.” And you could pull little tabs off that just say “Kevin.” I can’t remember what movie I saw that gave me this idea, but I though it would be a lot of fun just to make people wonder. Maybe it’s something similar to what Improv Everywhere does – little harmless amusing pranks basically.

So last night DeLaine and I made some signs. Most of them were just names – Kevin, Mike…and Chet, Max, Grover, Jane and Otis (yes a tribute to Kicking and Screaming). And one of them said “Free Refrigerator.” We posted that one at the Kroger in Hillcrest. We put some other ones up at Sufficient Grounds and Harvest Foods on Cantrell. Those were actually the only public bulletin boards we could find on a Saturday night. Wal-Mart doesn’t have one, the Krogers of the Heights and Chenal don’t have them, either. Apparenly Hillcrest is the only area with any sense of community. We may hit UALR or Pulaski Tech later on. We also thought a sign saying simply “Lost Dog” might be funny. We’ll see.

Typecasting

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

I was discussing typecasting recently with Melissa, the girl from the blind date I mentioned awhile back, and she was complaining that she always got cast as the ingenue when she really wanted to play meatier roles – she’s always Hero, never Beatrice. I said that I’ve been fortunate in my admittedly limited theatrical carer in that I generally get cast as the eccentric supporting character. At Hendrix I was noted for playing a cross-dressing former 60′s radical in Division Street, a reluctant hangman in Our Country’s Good, and even in the Playwright’s Theatre a few years back I was the criminal redneck ne’er-do-well.

And so Playwright’s Theatre is coming up again next month at Hendrix. I just got my scripts. They’re doing two plays this year, and here are the respective descriptions of my characters:

Sam Benson: Stan’s father, he’s eccentric, a free spirit like his wife.
Pittman: Age? Male, dirty. Homeless, a little off.

What do you think this says about the theatre department’s opinion of me?

The Indeterminacy of Rules Kills Pluto

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

One of my favorite bits of philosophy that I learned from Dr. Churchill at Hendrix was the indeterminacy of rules. Basically it means that you can’t ever really totally define anything. There are always counterexamples. What is a chair, for example? Everybody knows intuitively but you can’t define it fully without allowing in things like stools. It’s a big problem for the field of law, and now it’s a problem for astronomy. What the hell is Pluto?[1]

Pluto has been demoted to a “Dwarf Planet.” Big deal. So he gets a modifier. Kids will still learn about him, and maybe they’ll get an early taste for the shades of grey that permeate our universe. Relativity is a philosophical concept as well as a scientific one. Science changes and adapts. That’s what separates its dogma from that of most religions.[2]

Interesting side note: the last time I mentioned the indeterminacy of rules, a Google search brought up only a handful of results. Now there are 28. It has a long way to go before it’s part of conventional parlance, but it’s a good start.

1.) We’re still wondering what the hell Goofy is. Is he a dog, too? He wears a hat and drives a car. But then so does Donald.

2.) God bless you, Martin Luther.

Mog und Writely

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Two new things.

Mog is kinda half myspace, half pandora. You connect to people based on what you listen to, which is a great idea if enough people catch on to it. Given the obscurity of my musical tastes, very often I’ve found that no one on Mog listens to the stuff I like. But maybe more will come. Mog scans your music folders and makes public everything you listen to – which sure is neato, assuming you have nothing to hide.* It also tracks your most recently played tunes. All of the technology is somewhat scary as far as movement-tracking goes – I’m trusting their terms of service when they say they’re not snooping other things or selling that info. Anyway, here’s my page, check it out.

Writely is a Google-copyrighted product that’s basically the same thing to Word that Gmail is to Outlook. It’s online document creation and storage, but with the added kick of collaboration features and versioning (you can roll back to earlier drafts).You can import and export your documents to and from Writely. Apparently this Web 2.0 thing is taking off – I never thought I’d store documents on the web, but this thing looks pretty appealing.

1.) Which I don’t. I’m steadfast in my appreciation of Winger.

“coupons Subscribe” by Brutish

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Here’s a new spam tactic – rather than pull entire passages from literature, why not just grab the important nouns and verbs? For example, I got this today:

oak falls dissolves heap ashes fire consumed king. Then itself. implies examining examine prior Indeed election unanimous minority submit choice majority wish vote behalf something unanimity occasion least. SOCIAL COMPACT SUPPOSE reached point obstacles resources disposal state. changed manner engender forces existing ones formation

case divided. enter upon task without proving subject. asked prince write politics. answer neither why so. If were should not waste time saying wants doing hold peace. As born citizen free

It goes on, but you get the idea. Reading it, I noticed some conceptual continuity, as though there were a writer stabbing at something, gasping the important words as if out of breath. I Googled the first few words and found that they were extracted from Rousseau’s The Social Contract.

#15*

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Oops I did it again. I bought a guitar. My guitar teacher was hounding me to buy a real jazz guitar, and this Epiphone Joe Pass model was on sale at the Music City pawn shop in Sherwood.

epiphone joe pass

Speaking of guitars, here’s a shot of my other recent purchase, the Starfield Cabriolet.

Starfield Cabriolet

With the acquisition of the Joe Pass guitar, I now bring my signature model tally up to 7. Thus far I have models from Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Paul Gilbert, Richie Kotzen, Blues Saraceno, and Dweezil Zappa. Athough Dweezil’s is not really a signature model – it was actually his guitar. Hi, I’m a huge guitar nerd.

* Indicates 15 actual guitars in my home that I paid for. I also have a violin bass that is ostensibly John Mumford’s but he’ll never come back for it, two acoustic guitars I apparently inherited from Matt, I have a telecaster in Tara’s possession, an RG7 in the possession of Alex Moulton, and I have a couple of spare bodies and necks. This is why I will always hesitate when you ask me how many guitars I have. It could be as little as 15, but as many as 20.

How to Make Pyrex Explode

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

Cook something in a Pyrex pan at 450 degrees. Remove your food, and place the Pyrex pan in the sink. Add water. Pyrex will promptly shatter of its own accord.

Someone needs to tell this to single men before they start cooking. Granted, I should have learned this sort of thing in Chemistry, but applied science in general needs to be emphasized more than it currently is.

I had to use my winter gloves to dig out the hundreds of burnt-fish-encrusted shards of glass from my sink.

UPDATE: Amy reported a similar experience from several years past, with pictures.

Mundane Objects

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

I recently realized I should be sharing the fruits of my little writing group experiments with Natalie and the gang. Here’s one from our last meeting. The theme was “a mundane object” and I thought of a team: the wire cutters, tuning peg winder, and hex key I use to change guitar strings. I think the time limit was 3 minutes or so.

The hex key, the wire cutter and the peg winder. They sit patiently for a few days at a time, until one of the herd needs roping. They make their way from one part of the house to the other, sometimes taking grand adventures into the depths of the couch. Plumbing the depths of the cushions, Peg Winder once met 2 quarters, a dime and three pennies. They introduced him to their friend, the grand Stereo Remote, who regaled them with tales of volume control. “Once I made the whole house shake because the speakers were feeding back on themselves!” he cried out in the warm darkness, with his attentive audience reclining amid the dog hair, crumbs, and whatnot. Eventually returned to the surface world to tune up the green guitar, Peg Winder tells his fantastical tales to Wire Cutter and Hex Key, who receive his stories with a mixture of disbelief and wonder. Hex Key knows not of the world of the cushions, but has many times been underneath the mammoth couch, running at night with the dust bunnies and cat hair tumbleweeds. Wire Cutter, the most valuable of the trio, has only seen the coffee table, the desk and the tool drawer.

The Return of Dogpatch?

Monday, August 7th, 2006

Finally a new plog after a long gap. Sorry. The good news, though, is that, as the photos can attest, the brush has been cleared at Dogpatch. I’m not sure for what eventual purpose, so we can only wait for news on that. Still vaguely exciting, though.

The photos may not look like much, but I mainly took pictures from the road while driving. The fact that you can see anything at all from the road is amazing.