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Monday, May 31
I wish I could get a new computer. Things just keep going wrong with this one. Not only do I really not have the money for a computer, though, but I don't want to invest in a whole new computer so soon after paying for a new hard drive for this one. I also have to wonder whether a new computer would really work any better than this one. I doubt it could be much worse, really.

As for that Minus Five CD I said I might talk about, I've listened to it, and only a few songs have really jumped out at me. "Popsycle Shoppe" was my immediate favorite. It's really cool, and seems to have a bit of an old-fashioned, nostalgic sound to it. "Moonshine Girl" is a fun song with a catchy, bouncy guitar part. "The Rest Of The World" and "Wouldn't Want To Care" are pretty good songs, too. I don't think that much of "Bullfight," but maybe it'll grow on me.

Now I just need to get a copy of My Chartreuse Opinion.

Sunday, May 30
I think I might have the same virus I did before, and this time my computer won't let me do a System Restore, which seemed to fix the problem last time. The more obvious effects of the virus seem to be gone, but I think it's still on my system, and I don't know how to get rid of it. I have anti-virus software, but it keeps not finding anything. I've been considering reformatting my hard drive, but 1) I don't know how, and 2) even if I did, that wouldn't prevent me from getting another virus in the near future. Has anyone else had this kind of problem recently, and, if so, what did you do about it?


French Guard
I'm French! Why do think I have this outrageous
accent, you silly king-a?!

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On Friday, Beth, Dorothea, and I went to Six Flags Great Adventure. It will probably be the first of many times this year for Beth and me, since we have season passes. We didn't get there until fairly late in the day, around 3 or 4, so we didn't get to ride THAT many rides. The lines were short, though, so we did manage to ride quite a few. Our major misstep was getting in line for Superman, which was only running one train when we first got in line, and then stopped running totally for a while. We decided to leave when we heard the announcement about that, so we never did get to ride Superman, but it isn't one of my favorites anyway. From 8 to 10, there was something called "Coasters After Dark," which was supposed to be just for season pass holders and their guests, but I don't think they threw anyone out who DIDN'T have a season pass, which makes me wonder why they would even pretend it was somehow exclusive. The lines were really short at that point, though, so apparently it was thought out fairly well. We had the shortest wait for Batman and Robin that we've ever had.

Thursday, May 27
I still can't believe what happened to Gypsy. I've been going through pretty normal routines today, but I'm still depressed. It's just so hard to accept that it happened with no real warning.

On the way to work today, some dog ran out into the road. There was a moving truck in front of me, and I was afraid it was going to hit the dog, but it didn't. If you have a dog and live near a road, PLEASE take precautions to keep the dog out of the road.

I got a copy of the Minus Five's The Lonesome Death of Buck McCoy in the mail, but I haven't felt like listening to it yet. When I do, I'll probably offer some thoughts on it.

As Beth wrote, her uncle's dog Gypsy died last night. I really can't believe it. In fact, I'm not sure the whole impact has hit me yet, since I haven't been to Beth's house since then. It was totally unexpected. She was only four, and I figured she had most of her life ahead of her. Even when I knew she was hurting yesterday, I didn't think there was any chance she would die. Her diagnosis kept getting worse every time I heard about her. She was around since the first time I visited Beth, and I even remember Beth talking about her uncle Harry getting Gypsy back when we were just talking on AIM. I just can't believe she's gone, and I can't even imagine how Beth and Harry feel.

Tuesday, May 25
Last night's Simpsons episode wasn't the funniest of the season, but it had a strong, coherent plot, driven by the characters, and that counts for something, doesn't it? I liked that both Mr. Burns and Lisa were both inspired by the collapse of Geezer Rock. I wonder if anyone on the Internet has created an "Are you a Patty or a Selma?" quiz yet.

Has anyone else noticed that, whenever someone talks about the two previous seasons of American Idol, they always mention Clay as runner-up to Ruben, but never (or rarely, anyway) Justin Guarini as Kelly's runner-up? The reason almost certainly has to do with record sales, not to mention that Guarini is a dork, but it just strikes me as amusing. I mean, they were both in second place.

And finally, isn't microfilm annoying?

Sunday, May 23
Sundays are so boring. Okay, the last two Sundays weren't, but it's too expensive to go to a concert every week, nor is there always something I want to see. They don't even deliver the mail, so there's no chance of getting the things I'm expecting (not that I probably would even if there WERE mail delivery today). At least there's a new Simpsons episode to look forward to, but it's the last one of the season. I wonder if that voice actors' strike was resolved. I hope next season doesn't end up being the last. Sixteen seasons is a good run, certainly, but it's been my favorite show for years, and I'd really hate to see it go.

What do other people do on weekends? For me, they seem like every other day, but I guess that's largely because I don't work full-time on weekdays, and I'm no longer in school.

Someone should send me e-mail or leave some comments. I guess that's kind of a dumb thing to request, when you get right down to it, because if anyone actually had anything to say to me, they probably would have done so by now. But if you DO have something to say, and you haven't yet for whatever reason, do it now!

Happy birthday to Colleen!

Saturday, May 22
I apparently look like these people. Except I really don't.

I installed SpyBot on my computer last night, and it found a whole bunch of scamware. I don't know how much of it was on there anywhere, and how much was the result of the virus that the computer had a few days ago, but it's all annoying. Is that kind of stuff even legal?

I wonder why the computer system here as me listed as a student, rather than an employee. If I'm supposed to be a student, I've missed a lot of classes! (Wow, that was really lame, wasn't it?)

Does anyone, aside from the occasional odd person who gets here through a weird search referral, still read this? It seems kind of pointless to keep posting everything both here AND to my livejournal, but it's not that much extra work for me, and I'd be loath to give up either one, and I never have enough to say to make completely different entries in each. I am curious as to whether anyone reads just the blog, though.

Other people need to write more, so I'll have something to entertain me. I haven't checked any other blogs or livejournals yet today, so maybe they already have. I wouldn't bet on it, though.

Thursday, May 20
I tend to be really paranoid about some things. I'm always afraid that, after leaving the house, I've left the door unlocked, or the stove on, or the computer running, or a door open when it was supposed to be closed. I guess a certain amount of paranoia in this respect is a good thing, but I'm probably over the top.

That new Garfield movie really looks like crap. I knew from the moment I first heard of it that it was going to be crap, and there's certainly been nothing that changed my mind. I knew Garfield himself was going to be a horrible computer-generated image, but it looks like they're using real animals to play Odie, Nermal, and the rest. Yeah, I'm sure it won't look at all awkward to have a CGI cat interacting with a real one. Not only that, but they chose animals that don't even look like Jim Davis' drawings. I think the movie's Nermal is Siamese. I really don't get this recent obsession with making every comic or cartoon into a mixture of live action and god-awful CGI. Does anyone actually PREFER that kind of thing to traditional animation, or are the movie-makers doing it just because they can?

Oh, and the movie web page says that Bill Murray is famous for his roles in "seriocomic" films. Is that even a real word?

Let me know what you think of the new colors. I'm especially curious as to whether the links show up against the orange on the left. It seems to work okay here, but sometimes that varies from one computer to another.

Last night, my computer somehow caught a virus (or else the virus was already there, and it just activated last night). It was a really annoying one, which created all kinds of useless folders and opened a bunch of pop-up windows in Internet Explorer. I think I got rid of it, but I'm still worried that it's hidden somewhere, or the computer will somehow get it again.

I had a dream that I was reading some book about TV shows, mostly cartoons, including The Simpsons, Futurama, and Family Guy. For some reason, I think the book gave a writing credit to the Olsen Twins. Anyway, there was some information on characters, and I remember reading that Brian from Family Guy was created because characters on TV shows can always answer the phone really quickly, and they thought it would be funny if it were a talking dog that answered the phone. This actually made sense in the dream.

Wednesday, May 19
I was almost an hour late for work today, thanks to traffic jams. I hate it when that happens. Well, okay, I guess it's the first time I've been that late for the job I'm working today, but still. I also think I left my walking shoes at Beth's house, so I hope I don't have to do much walking in the next few days. I guess if I do, I can always use my last pair of walking shoes, even though they're not in very good shape (which was why I got new ones in the first place).

I'm not going to have a day off in the next ten days, but I guess only Friday could really be considered a full day of work, as I work eight and a half hours then.

I did watch American Idol last night, so I got to see Fantasia giving Clive Davis a lapdance. I get the feeling that Mr. Davis is a pervert. Wasn't he constantly touching Kelly Clarkson last time he was on the show, or did I invent that memory? Since the show is ending next week, I guess I'll have to find other things to write about. Really, I don't even like the show that much, but I've gotten into the routine of saying something about every episode. It makes for some quick and easy entries, but I doubt they're very interesting to the people who read them (assuming there are any).

And finally, this isn't related to anything, but why are so many people still having kids? I guess I can understand it in certain situations, but in general, I don't see that much need to prolong the human race in this day and age. We're overpopulated as it is.

Tuesday, May 18
Okay, on Sunday, Beth and I went up to New York City to see Neko Case. Almost every time we go to Manhattan, Beth wants to go to the Sanrio store, and I want to go to Books of Wonder. We went to both places that day, although the bookstore was kind of a disappointment. Before, there was almost always some Oz-related item there that I wanted, but this time the only thing I was interested in was a hardback copy of Kabumpo in Oz, and I didn't want to shell out the money for it. I also wanted to get my own copies of Mother Goose in Prose and Sky Island, but they didn't have either one in stock.

After shopping, we met Erin, went to eat at a deli, and then went to the concert, which was at the Bowery Ballroom. The security guard almost wouldn't let me in, because I apparently don't look like the picture on my driver's license, which was taken back when I had long hair. Maybe I should have my picture retaken in the near future. The opening act was the Mendoza Line, who were good musically, but didn't really do it for me vocally. I've heard that they did a cover of "Deep Down And In Between" for a Young Fresh Fellows tribute album, so that might be interesting to hear, but otherwise I'm not likely to seek out any of their songs. Beth and I had seen Neko thrice before, all three times at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia. The audiences there tended to be on the older, quieter side. The Bowery audience was, I suppose, a more typical concert audience. I'm not used to people yelling things out at Neko shows, and she even commented that the crowd was quiet for a New York audience. I guess it just has to do with the city and the venue. She also played more upbeat songs, and included a lot of new material in her set. I think Neko is a really good performer, and she's down-to-earth and witty.

As far as television goes, this week's Simpsons was a bit on the wacky side, especially the chase scene with Dr. Hibbert and the Alcatraz part. I think it worked well, though, with a lot of good jokes. As with several other episodes this season, the satire came kind of late, although it's still relevant. The biggest problem with the episode was that there was no real resolution. Beth and I watched that American Idol final three special (because apparently a final five special wasn't enough), but I don't really have anything to say about it beyond the simple observation that Diana DeGarmo is really hyper. We also saw a few minutes of that WB show that's like American Idol in reverse, which will probably open the floodgates for a whole bunch of backwards contest shows. A dating show where someone chooses the person they like the least? A quiz show where the person with the most wrong answers walks home with the prizes? For all I know, these have already been done. Anyway, I'd be pretty embarrassed if I thought people considered me to be a good singer and it turned out they were scamming me, but I also have to wonder why none of the bad people have taken the simple precaution of tape-recording themselves. I mean, everyone sounds good in their own minds, but usually all it takes to shatter delusions of vocal grandeur is to hear yourself the way other people hear you.

I burned my lip on a piece of pizza a few days ago, and it still hurts. That's not good.

Saturday, May 15
Today is L. Frank Baum's birthday. I believe he would be 148 years old, if he were still alive. I guess if he lived in Oz, he would be.

I need to go to the AT&T Wireless store, and ask some questions. My dad's cell phone plan, which I'm on, expires at the end of July, and I'm thinking of getting an AT&T plan after that's run out.

Friday, May 14
I had Wednesday and Thursday of this week off from work, but I didn't really do anything with my time off, so I kind of feel like I wasted those two days. I should have done something fun, I guess, but I'm not sure what's really fun for me other than buying stuff. Things that are fun for me at first often get tedious after a while. Sometimes I feel like I'm the most lethargic person on Earth.

As for this week's American Idol, I'm not the biggest fan of La Toya (I guess I kind of agree with Simon that, although she sings really well, she hasn't shown much personality), but she certainly deserved a spot in the Top Three more than Diana (although she HAS been improving) or Jasmine. Especially Jasmine, who really should have left last week. I guess I don't really have the right to complain, since I've never voted, but I never thought that Diana and Jasmine had a chance of being in the Top Three, but there they are. I suppose they're better than Nikki McKibbin, at least. Oh, and that song Clay sang was (if you can believe it) even more boring than "Invisible." Really, it doesn't matter HOW good the singers are if they keep getting crap like that to sing. Maybe Jasmine SHOULD win, so that nobody who's actually good has to waste their talents singing that stuff. (To be fair, I don't think Ruben's "Sorry 2004," or whatever it's called, is that bad. It's not that great, either, but at least it fits Ruben's singing style pretty well.)

Beth and I tried to go to Taco Bell last night, but they've started closing at midnight! Weren't they open until 2 AM at one point? What happened to that?

Tuesday, May 11
George Huff was voted off American Idol? That means only one of my original picks for Top Three is still in the game. I guess George was a little weak in the past few episodes, but I still think he deserved better than fifth place.

I liked Sunday's Simpsons episode overall. The flashback episodes are generally good, and I liked the way this one was told from multiple perspectives. The recent trend in the show of having pretty much every character know each other from childhood, even if it doesn't make much sense, strikes me as being a little corny, though. At least they haven't done anything REALLY ridiculous yet, like having a young Apu show up.

This morning, there was something wrong with the McDonald's drive-thru, and they had people outside taking orders through headsets and delivering the food. It was weird, to say the least.

Monday, May 10
Yesterday evening, Beth and I went to Philadelphia to see Sloan at the TLA. It was a good show, and not very expensive ($14 per ticket at the door). The crowd was very small, which was good in a way, but I have to wonder why they keep booking Sloan for the TLA when they don't come anywhere close to filling it. Seems like they should play at a smaller venue in the city. For instance, I think the Trocadero is a little smaller, and it has the added advantage of being close to the bus terminal. Anyway, they had some tables and chairs at the TLA, so we got to sit down through the concert, which was good. I hate having to stand up for long periods of time. I don't know how some people manage to do that at one concert after another. Maybe there's some kind of physical training they go through. The opening act was a band called the Kicks, who were pretty good, but didn't really wow me. Sloan put on a good show, and the sound system seemed to work better than it did last time I saw them. They played a lot of newer stuff, which I really didn't know, since I've only heard Action Pact once and Pretty Together never, but they did do a few songs I knew pretty well, including "I Am The Cancer," "Money City Maniacs," and "The Lines You Amend." (There were others I knew, too, but they aren't coming to mind right now. By the way, is "The Lines You Amend" about suicide?) So, overall, an enjoyable show.

Beth's dog Dewey has his birthday today. He's now two years old. It's also John Wilkes Booth's birthday.

What's with this new appearance for Blogger? I don't like it. I wish they would stop changing everything. I guess it's a computing tradition to make new, less convenient versions of everything, though.

Sunday, May 9
So today, I went out to eat with my brother, sister, and dad, and his wife and parents. That was pretty fun. I don't see my dad and grandparents that much, since my dad moved to New Mexico.

I read the entire 2004 Oziana today. David Hulan's "A Bungled Kidnapping in Oz" was a good story, explaining how Bungle the Glass Cat got her pink brains back after they were replaced with transparent ones at the end of The Patchwork Girl of Oz. I'm still sort of partial to the idea expressed in Greg Gick's Bungle and the Magic Lantern of Oz that messing with her nature made her want to drown herself in a bowl of lima beans, but David's explanation is definitely feasible. Besides, maybe both of them are true. David's story also gives some background for a very minor character in The Royal Book of Oz. This is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. Beth and I were recently talking about how fans love minutiae, and I'm no exception to the rule. Margaret Berg's "New Moon Over Oz" was short, but I liked the different characters' thoughts on the new moon. I had already read John Bell's "Evrob & the Nomes," but it was nice to be able to read it again. I like the story's characterizations of the Evian royals, and of the Nome King after having lost his memory for the first time (which happened in The Emerald City of Oz, by the way).

Saturday, May 8
According to this article, there a new Camper Van Beethoven album coming out in September. That's pretty cool news.

I got my 2004 Oziana (the fiction journal for the International Wizard of Oz Club) in the mail today. I'll probably have more to say on that after I've read it. I really should contribute something to Oziana. It's probably the only place where I actually stand a chance of being published.

I was reading some interesting stuff last night about the proposed multiple authorship of the Book of Genesis, the Black Sea flood that might have inspired the story of Noah (as well as many other flood stories from the area; I think there might have even been one involving Zeus), and proposed dates for the end of the world. For some reason, I find that kind of stuff very interesting. I've always been fascinated by mythology, and I think I have a special fondness for stories of the creation and the apocalypse.

Really, when you think about it, the Judeo-Christian creation myth is kind of dull. I mean, there's a lot of interesting stuff in Genesis, but the original creation of Earth is pretty much just God ordering stuff to happen. I guess it does a lot to show His omnipotence, but it's hardly of the same story quality as, say, Odin making the world out of a slain giant's corpse. Of course, maybe it's the simplicity and ambiguity of the Judeo-Chrisitian story that made it outlast the more ridiculous accounts of creation in the minds of the general public.

Friday, May 7
Thanks to Chick Tracts for informing me that rock music, even Christian rock, was created by Satan. Elvis and the Beatles were his creations! And don't forget this old classic, thoroughly debunking the theory of evolution. What the forces binding atomic nuclei have to do with either evolution or Jesus is beyond me, but I'm obviously not as smart as Jack Chick.

My dad is coming up here tomorrow, which, unfortunately, means I'm going to have to talk to him about phones. Right now, I'm on a family cell phone plan with my dad and brother. I'm supposed to be able to get a discount on a new phone (which I really need; I can't even get a new charger for my current one) at the end of this month, but I would need my dad to authorize that. He, however, is saying that he wants to get off that plan, since he's not living in the same area anymore (not that I can really see how that matters with a cell phone). I wouldn't mind getting a plan where I didn't need my dad to authorize things, but I'm not sure I could afford it.

Thursday, May 6
1. I'm not sure I turned off the computer at home before going to work. If I try to sign on to Instant Messenger using a name that's already signed on at another location, will it tell me that?
2. There seems to be a hole developing in one of the pockets in my pants.
3. I found a note on one of the bookshelves here at the library that read, "You are looking so sexy, is there any more room for me in those jeans?" Were they hoping someone would pick it up and get turned on, or what? {g}

I had a dream last night that Beth and I were watching some Simpsons episode where it was revealed that Principal Skinner had a grandchild (hey, after that ninth season business about Armin Tamzarian, that might not be as unlikely as it really should be), but something went wrong with the cable, and some other channel (one of the major networks, I think) started broadcasting on the channel that had been FOX. That's kind of a run-on sentence, isn't it?

Happy birthday to John Conant Flansburgh, the self-proclaimed lower half of They Might Be Giants. I guess he's 44 now. Isn't that a little too old to be a rock musician? {g}

Wednesday, May 5
This entry, while incredibly short and pointless, is kind of rambling and all over the place, so I'm going to use numbers.

1. To continue my trend of acknowledging holidays that I don't celebrate, happy Cinco de Mayo!
2. It's too hot here at work today.
3. On my way here, I saw a guy driving what I think was a used hearse. It had a "grim ride" sticker on it.
4. Gas prices are too expensive. I know, I know, that's old news, but they're higher than they've been since I first started driving almost two years ago.
5. Last night's American Idol was one of the best in recent memory. Certainly better than the Manilow or Estafan weeks. I don't know that I had a real favorite, but I think Miss Trias gave the weakest performances of the show.

Monday, May 3
Last night's Simpsons episode wasn't one of the better recent ones. It seemed to have quite a few reused jokes. I loved the "Monster Island is actually a peninsula!" joke from "Lisa on Ice," but they pretty much ripped it off wholesale for the reality TV bit at the beginning of the new episode. Then they used a similar Golden Ticket gag to the one they had used in "Homer: Bad Man." For that matter, the Dalai Lama has been to Springfield before, although he didn't actually appear on-screen, so I don't think that really counts as a recycled joke. The episode had some decent parts, like Lisa revealing how obvious it was that Homer was Pie Man, but overall, it just wasn't one of my favorites.

Sunday, May 2
I don't really have much to say on last week's American Idol. It wasn't really that much fun to watch. Gloria Estefan was a pretty lame guest. "I'm not going to judge! I'm just going to compliment!" Guess what, lady, you were signed on to be a guest JUDGE. I do have to wonder why Jasmine doesn't wear the flower in her hair anymore. Didn't she promise to do that every week?

More interesting to watch was the latest episode of Bullshit!, where Penn and Teller talked about recycling, and how, in many cases, it wastes more energy and resources than it saves. I'm not sure I agreed with the point they made about the jobs recycling created being crappy and unnecessary. I mean, they WERE crappy and unnecessary, but some people just can't get good and necessary jobs. A certain level of job creation is a good thing, I should say. They also mentioned that most paper comes from trees grown on farms, and while I find this to be believable, doesn't it take a long time for these farms to grow new trees? Overall, though, I thought the show made a lot of good points, as usual.

On Friday night, Beth made me watch Identity, which she had already seen. It wasn't a bad movie, but I think they tried to make a few too many twists, and one particular twist made me care less about the resolution. I'm also not sure the psychological background was particularly accurate. (I'm being intentionally vague here, in case someone reading this hasn't seen the movie and wants to.)

On Saturday, we went to the wedding of Beth's Uncle Bobby. It was pretty enjoyable, I thought. I got to talk to some members of Beth's family whom I don't see much. I also discovered that I like Fuzzy Navels. I don't really have much else specific to say about the wedding, however.