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Wednesday, June 30
I forgot to mention that the last post I made was actually written yesterday, but I didn't have a chance to post it until earlier today. What follows will be my entry for today (not that I need to have an entry for every day, but I usually try to write one every day I'm online for a significant amount of time).

I've been reading Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. I like it quite a bit (even if "Weird Al" Yankovic's last name is misspelled in it; I wonder if that will be corrected for the paperback edition), and it got me doing some thinking about politics and related issues. Anyway, I don't write about politics that often, mostly because it's not a field I follow that closely (although I probably should). I have been thinking, however, about how modern Republicans want to give the impression that "liberal" is a bad word. I looked up the word on an online dictionary site, and the first two meanings are "Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry" and "Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded." Now, I don't think every member of the Democratic Party or other politically liberal association is necessarily open-minded and tolerant about everything. But it's a noble thing to aspire to, isn't it? I get the impression, however, that some conservatives not only disapprove of the picture that some of their number paint of liberals (godless, immoral baby-killers who believe in letting criminals run free, or something along those lines), but of the very idea of liberal thought. The most obvious example I can think of is how Rush Limbaugh's fans proudly call themselves "dittoheads," as if saying, "We don't think for ourselves, and we're proud of it!" That people are like that frightens me. Sure, there are situations where I might not think through an issue entirely, and end up agreeing with someone because I like them, or I think they presented their argument well. I certainly TRY to think things through, however, and I would consider a name like "dittohead" to be a serious insult even if it WEREN'T associated with an idiotic blowhard like Limbaugh.

Personally, I tend to associate liberalism and free thought with relative morality. I'm sure plenty of free-thinking liberals disagree with me, and that's fine. I do think, however, that relative morality has kind of a bad rap, as evidenced by the fact that my college philosophy professors dismissed it out of hand, one even referring to relativists as "assholes" (or some word very close to that, anyway). I get the feeling that people like this equate relative morality with amorality, and I don't see it that way at all. Perhaps I'm confusing relativism with something else. I don't have a degree in philosophy, after all. I do consider myself to be a moral person, but I don't think these morals are necessarily absolute. If they are absolute, who defines them? God? That's fine if you're religious, but I'm not. That pretty much means they are decided by society and personal values, and, to me, that means they're going to be different for different people and different societies. That doesn't mean I don't believe in right and wrong, just that, a lot of the time, what's right or wrong depends on the situation, and who's involved in it.

I had a dream the night before last with some weird story to it. Something about a guy going to a cabin in the woods to cheat on his wife, and time travel, and a lost child. I don't remember much about it, but it was pretty strange.

Yesterday, Beth and I went to Great Adventure again. The lines were considerably longer than they were last time, but still not anywhere near as bad as they are, say, on weekends. I don't have that much to say about the park that I haven't said before, but I will mention that they apparently installed new seatbelts on Rolling Thunder, and that Beth forced me to ride the Ferris wheel, which I didn't care for. I don't mind rides like roller coasters, which go up high but then come right back down again, but for some reason I have problems with things that stop up in the air, as the Ferris wheel does.

We had lunch at Best of the West, which wasn't open the past two times we went to the park. They have pretty good cheeseburgers, really. In fact, most of the food I've eaten at Great Adventure was good. It was just all incredibly expensive. But that pretty much goes without saying for amusement park food, doesn't it?

I get the impression that I'm more likeable on the Internet than I am in person. And I'm not that likeable on the Internet, so that's saying something. I think I have an easier time meeting people online, but it's been a long time since I've really "met" anyone (in the "I want to be friends" sense," not just the "I'll occasionally reply to your posts on an Internet forum" sense) in either manner.

Sunday, June 27
Today, I went with my mom to a party with my mom, which was thrown by the people she works for. It was okay. Not that exciting or anything.

There seems to be a definite trend of re-releasing classic video games these days, often with several different ones on one disc. I kind of hope they come out with some kind of collection of Dragon Warrior games. I know they already came out with a Game Boy release of the first two on one cartridge, but I'd really like to be able to play Dragon Warrior V and VI, which never came out in the States. I guess they're not popular enough here. I believe it's the most popular role-playing game series in Japan, but here, I think a lot more people are into Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy is kind of an "I was into it before it was popular" thing for me. I got the first game in the series for my thirteenth birthday, and now the more recent games are big with people who were just little kids back then. Besides, I get the idea that the later games are too modern and non-traditional for my tastes, not to mention that they're for video game systems I don't have. I played part of Final Fantasy VII and IX (as well as Dragon Warrior VII) on my brother's PlayStation, but I'd prefer to play them on, say, Beth's GameCube (if she'd let me, that is). I might check out Crystal Chronicles at some point, I guess.

Speaking of video games, I want a Game Boy Advance SP. I wish I could afford one.

The Best Buy website will let you listen to clips of all the songs from The Spine, the upcoming They Might Be Giants album. I guess I can't tell for sure from those clips, but it sounds like it's going to be a really good album.

Saturday, June 26
I was thinking today about how people use the same car horn to greet their friends as to say, "Hey, watch where you're going, idiot!" Maybe there should be different horns to mean different things. Of course, that would probably be way too complicated for a driver, especially in an emergency. So just forget I brought it up, I suppose. {g}

I really need to start looking for jobs again. I must admit I'm quite disenchanted with job searching, not only because it's generally annoying, but because it seems like I've already applied at, and been rejected by, pretty much every library in the area.

My mouse tends to be rather non-responsive. I'll probably hold off on getting a new one until I get a new computer, though. A computer might come with a mouse, but maybe I should get an optical one. Beth says they don't wear out as easily.

Friday, June 25
1. I had a dream the night before last that I had to help my dad move again. I hope that's not something that ever comes true. I hate moving. I guess I'll have to do it if I get my own place (yeah, like THAT will ever happen), but at least then it'll only be my stuff, and I won't have to clean out my old place entirely. That sense of having to get EVERYTHING out makes moving even worse than it would be otherwise, at least for me.
2. There wasn't anything for me to do at Longwood Gardens today, so I'll probably just stay home all day.
3. The refrigerator here seems to have stopped working properly.
4. I wish I could write songs.
5. LiveJournal seems to have been down an awful lot as of late. Has anyone else been having problems with it?
6. My entries just keep getting more and more boring, don't they?

Thursday, June 24
My watchband broke today. I bought a new metal one, but I haven't been able to replace the old one yet, because I'm incompetent. I'll probably get my mom to help later. My watchbands seem to break more often than anyone else's. I'm not really sure why. I hope a metal one will last longer, but I seem to recall getting a rash from a metal watchband when I was a kid, so I hope that doesn't happen again. I guess I'll see.

I wonder whether there will be anything for me to do at Longwood Gardens tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 23
Today, Beth and I had lunch at Denny's, and I forgot to leave a tip. I went back there again to give a tip to waitress, though, so I suppose everything is in order now. On my way back to Beth's house, I stopped at a music store and bought Beth a used CD of XTC's Black Sea, and myself a $3 copy of Sloan's Smeared. I still don't own my own copy of Navy Blues, though, and that's my favorite Sloan album. Oh, well.

The threat of computer viruses is getting so bad that I almost wish I could just stop using computers until they find a way to totally virus-proof them. That's really not possible, though.

I'm curious as to whether any strangers read this journal. I'll occasionally get a comment from someone I don't know, which leads to a mixture of flattery ("Wow, someone actually reads this!") and paranoia ("How did they find it?"). And it's not like it's that hard to find; I've put the address out on various Internet forums and e-mails. I do like to know how people found it and why they're reading it, though.

Along those lines, I have to wonder whether anyone I don't know would have any interest in reading this. (Really, I also wonder if people I DO know have any interest in reading it, but that's a different matter.) I write about my feelings occasionally and my opinions often, but I don't think it ever really gets really introspective and/or personal, both because I'm aware it's available for the public to read and because I'm not really interested in that kind of writing. I guess someone would have to have interests in common with me to get much out of what I write. Of course, I'm sure there are plenty of people who read this regularly who have no interest in some of the stuff I address in my entries. For instance, I think three people have expressed interest in the Oz-related stuff I've written; most people I know read this aren't interested in Oz at all. I think most of my readers are They Might Be Giants fans to some extent, but perhaps not enough so to care what I have to say about the band. Of course, other people sometimes have entries about things in which I'm not interested in the least, yet I'll usually try to read them anyway. I don't think there's any way to interest all the people all the time, but I like to think I'm not totally boring (despite the fact that someone once said I had the most boring blog ever), and that each one of my entries is of interest to SOMEONE. Otherwise, what's the point in writing them?

Monday, June 21
Ugh, Hotmail is coming up with its nonsensical "This server is too busy" error message again. I mean, the words make sense, but shouldn't the server allow for everyone without a Hotmail account to check it?

Okay, what do I have to say? Not much, I suppose. Last night, Beth and I watched the extras on the Simpsons Season 2 DVD. There was a clip from the American Music Awards with Nancy Cartwright dressed in an atrocious-looking Bart suit. At least the staff agreed it was lousy on the commentary.

I went phone shopping this morning. I didn't actually buy a phone, but there are some decent ones I can get for free with a rebate, so that's good to know. I do have to wonder about the design of some of the phones, though. For instance, there are phones where two different numbers are on one button. It looks silly and probably (although I don't have any actual evidence of this) makes the phone harder to use. I mean, who thought that would be a good idea?

Sunday, June 20
I played a bit of Final Fantasy Legend III the other day. It's kind of fun, but pretty confusing as well. The map is difficult to navigate, and it's sometimes hard to figure out how to get places, and what to do next. The plot is something involving time travel, which seems interesting enough on the surface, but it isn't really very engaging. The transformations into various monsters and cyborgs make for a neat idea, but the changes seem so random that there isn't really any way to use them to your advantage. And the game doesn't even tell you how powerful one weapon is compared to another. It's hard to get anywhere without a walkthrough, at least for me. It's not a bad way to kill some time, certainly, but I get the idea that they tried to do too much with it; and, whether because of programming limitations or some other reason, they didn't really succeed.

I think my cell phone battery might be dying. Maybe I should just go ahead and buy my new phone in the coming week, instead of waiting until mid-July.

Saturday, June 19
Since I had already written up part of my most recent entry as a draft, it ended up being published as an entry for Thursday. So if anyone wants to read it, go back to BEFORE yesterday's entry (the one about video game continuity). Thank you.

Friday, June 18
I did some cataloging at Longwood Gardens today, but I forgot one step in the process, so I ended up having to do several books over again. I'm dumb. It was no big deal, though, since the whole process takes very little time.

I was looking for information on when the various Zelda games took place, and I came across this page. Apparently the order in which the games took place is up to a lot of debate, and the creators have never wanted to tie themselves down to a specific order. As usual, the fans are more concerned about this than the creators. It's kind of a nerdy fanboy kind of thing to think about, but I find it kind of interesting, and I've done much the same thing with Oz books. I guess I'm kind of a nerdy fanboy myself. As far as video games go, I've looked at people trying to tie together the various Final Fantasy games, which I don't think were ever intended to even take place on the same world (aside from X and X-2, but I've never played those). The creators of the Mario games (the same guy, Shigeru Miyamoto, is in charge of both the Mario and Zelda series, by the way) have said they don't care much about continuity, but I think MOST of the games fit together pretty well. There seems to have been a bit of retroactive continuity introduced with Yoshi's Island, though. While none of the games said anything of the sort, I know that Mario cartoons, comics, Choose Your Own Adventure-style books, and even the crappy movie agreed that Mario and Luigi were from Brooklyn. This is an idea I like, not only because that's a place where it makes sense for two Italian plumbers to live, but because it gives the series a sense of people from our world adventuring in a strange land, like Dorothy in Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Fry in Futurama, or any number of other fictional characters. In Yoshi's Island, however, we learn that not only were the Mario Brothers apparently born in the Mushroom Kingdom, but they were twins, and were delivered by the stork. Honestly, I think the game could have been done without the stork bit. It's not Dumbo, after all. That doesn't mean I don't like the idea of a prequel with Mario and Luigi as babies (although they're pretty annoying babies), but it didn't have to make them PRE-babies. The series seems to fit together pretty well, though, with Yoshi's Island first, then Yoshi's Story, then the other games in the order in which they were made (although I think Super Mario Land 2 is supposed to take place right after the first SML). Zelda is more confusing, with a lot of games being prequels, and other ones being able to fit in pretty much anywhere.

Okay, I think that's enough talk about video game continuity for one day. I'll bet no one found that to be at all interesting.

Thursday, June 17
I saw something interesting on the bulletin board in the break room. It was a map of the United States, showing what the preferred term for a soft drink was in different parts of the country. I remember when I went to college in western Pennsylvania, I thought it was weird that people said "pop." According to the map, most of the country by area says "pop," but "soda" is used in the northeast and in California, where many major metropolitan areas are. "Soda" was also used in parts of Illinois and Missouri, Hawaii, and northern Alaska. Most of the South just calls everything "Coke." Pennsylvania was pretty much split in half, I think, so it makes sense that everybody says "soda" where I live, and "pop" where I went to school. I still think "soda" is the CORRECT term, however. {g}

Anyway, I said I was going to say more about my musical tastes, and while I'm sure no one is interested, I might as well keep my word. I don't listen to music by genre, but there's a certain sameness (if that's a word) to most of what I listen to, beyond what I already pointed out about its being by English-speaking white people. If I had to sum it up, I like stuff that's weird but catchy. As for lyrics (and I'm very much into lyrics), I like stuff that's somewhat intellectual, heavy on references, and full of wordplay. Being led by a song to do research is a good thing, I think. I also appreciate a sense of humor, whether overt or more subtle. Those are the main factors I look for, I guess. I don't know that it's always done consciously, though. If you know of any bands that you think fit my criteria, I'd be glad to hear about them. I'm always looking to expand my narrow musical horizons (Or at least I WOULD be, if it weren't so expensive.)

My top ten bands and/or artists would probably be somewhere along the lines of:

1. They Might Be Giants (obviously)
2. XTC
3. Frank Black/Pixies
4. Young Fresh Fellows/Minus Five
5. Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker
6. "Weird Al" Yankovic
7. Moxy Früvous
8. Tori Amos
9. Hypnotic Clambake
10. Neko Case (thanks to Beth)

Whenever I do a list like this, I always point out that it's subject to change at any moment, although I guess that kind of goes without saying. It's not necessarily a reflection of what I'm listening to now. I mean, I don't listen to Weird Al with any regularity anymore, but he was my first musical obsession, so I don't know that I could make a top ten list without him. I HAVE been back on a TMBG kick recently, but regardless, it would take a lot to knock them out of the top spot.

I've thought of making a list of my personal Top X Albums, but it's not as easy for me as you might think. I can rank albums for a given band, and I can generally rank bands, but comparing an album by one band to an album by another is just more difficult. Some bands are going for different things with their albums than other bands are. It's like the old adage about comparing apples to oranges. Besides, what am I ranking the albums based on? The average song quality on each one? The flow? Whether there are any weak links? I know there are a few albums that I would definitely put on a favorites list (XTC's Skylarking, Früvous' Bargainville, Frank Black's Teenager of the Year and Dog in the Sand, most TMBG albums), but beyond that, it's kind of difficult. Then there's the fact that I really haven't heard that many albums, and the list would be heavily weighted toward the few bands I do listen to. So it's not that easy. Maybe I'll go ahead and try it sometime in the future, though.

Have I mentioned how frustrating my computer is? It's gone back to not starting up properly every time. I had to restart it about five times in a row today. It seems to work all right once it DOES start up, but, you know, I'd like to have a computer that you only have to start up once before using. Maybe it's really time to get a new one, but I'm still kind of unsure about that. I mean, even the cheap ones are a lot of money to someone who only works part-time and likes to buy smaller stuff.

I cleaned some stuff out of my trunk today. I think I had about six sweaters in there. I really need to clean that out more often. I still need to try on the jeans I have in there. I wish I had more room to store clothes. I wish I could stop starting sentences with "I."

Old papers are the bane of my existence. There are a lot of papers that I don't want to throw away for whatever reason, but I don't really have anywhere to keep them, either. I guess I could get file folders or something, but that's kind of hassle, and I would imagine they'd fill up pretty quickly. What do other people do with their old papers?

You know, pretty much all of the music I listen to is by English-speaking white people. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but it's kind of a narrow selection of all of the music that's out there. I guess the English-speaking part makes sense, since I tend to be drawn to lyrics, and it's harder for that to happen when you can't understand them.

I had some other thoughts on music I like, but I think I'll save them for another post. It's probably going to end up being kind of similar to what I wrote on a page on my website, but the page seems not to exist anymore. I'd better upload it again when I get the chance.

Speaking of my web page, do you think online journals have pretty much replaced personal homepages as the preferred Internet-based medium for average people who don't really have anything of significance to say? It sometimes seems that way.

Wednesday, June 16
On Monday night, Beth and I watched the rest of the Simpsons Season 2 DVD set. Now we just have to get the next two seasons (I think the fourth came out today, actually) and the Futurama sets. Too bad they cost a lot of money.

Yesterday, I played a little bit of Mario vs. Donkey Kong at Kmart. I got through most of the first world, but one level had all of these little Marios following the main Mario around, and I couldn't really figure out what to do. After that, I had a buffet lunch at Pizza Hut again. There were a lot of annoying kids there, who seemed to be around high school age, and thought it was hilarious to belch loudly in public. Other than that, though, it was an enjoyable lunch.

Recently, Beth showed me this. It sounds like a bad idea to me, not only because of the low quality of previous videogame-based movies, but also because the Metroid games aren't exactly that strong on plot and characters. I mean, Super Mario Bros. had the potential to be a decent movie, although it wasn't one. I've never actually seen that movie, but from what I've heard, not only was it generally bad, but it also had very little to do with the actual games. King Koopa was a human, the Goombas were weird lizard-men, Yoshi was some kind of Jurassic Park-style dinosaur, and everybody kept saying, "Trust the fungus!" But, really, what would even happen in a Metroid movie? Samus Aran jumping around and shooting at alien monsters is fine for a game, but is it anything that someone would want to watch for two hours on the big screen? Oh, well. It's not like the movie has even been made yet, so my complaints are probably for naught. Without pointless complaints, though, this journal would be nothing.

I need to get my dad a Father's Day present.

And what's wrong with this Blogger window? It isn't wrapping the words properly. Is there any way to fix that?

Monday, June 14
I guess I'm getting a little better at the guitar, although I'm obviously still not that good. I'm pretty lousy with the chords, especially switching between them. I do hope I'll stick to practicing, though. Maybe I'll never actually be particularly good, but maybe I'll at least play passably someday. I do have to wonder if it's a bit late in my life to be learning, though. Yeah, I'm still young, but it doesn't seem like you hear of very many people learning their first instrument in their late twenties. I mean, Jimi Hendrix died when he was only a year older than I am now. Not that I have any desire to be the next Hendrix, but it just seems like people who play instruments usually start, and possibly even peak, when they're younger than I am now.

AT&T Wireless currently has some deal where they'll let you add an extra line for $10. I want to get a line for myself in July, so I called them and asked whether that promotion would still be in place, and they said they had no idea how long it would last. That's pretty annoying. I wonder what I should do.

And I know I've said this before, but people who take AOL polls seem to be pretty dumb. Over 80% of people polled thought it was a good idea to keep "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. There was some Supreme Court decision on that recently, and they decided that they'd keep it in because those two words aren't promoting any particular religion. I agree, and I don't think those words are a really huge deal, but they still shouldn't be in there. Especially when you consider that Congress put them in there to differentiate us from godless communists. I mean, really, how ridiculous is that?

Sunday, June 13
I'm sure everyone has dreams about being back in school, but I seem to specifically have quite a few dreams about having to do a play for English class and not being prepared. The dreams usually seem to take place before the performance. Last night, I was going to be playing some kind of wizard or fairy or something.

So, last night, Beth and I went to a party at her relatives' house. It was all right, although I generally don't enjoy parties. It got better after a lot of the people left, I guess. I'm really not comfortable with crowds. I got to ride on a pontoon boat for the first time ever.

Beth and I should be going out to eat with her cousin Dorothea in about half an hour.

I wrote this entry yesterday morning and posted it to my livejournal, but I couldn't log on to Blogger to post it here. On the off chance that anyone actually reads this and NOT my livejournal, I'm going to cross-post it here now.

First of all, happy birthday to John Sidney Linnell, the bottom half of They Might Be Giants. I think he turns 45 today.

Speaking of TMBG, I managed to get that Clock Radio thing running yesterday, and it's pretty cool. I got to hear an interview that the band did, as well as a decent-quality version of their cover of "Savoy Truffle," which is pretty cool. By the way, I just recently found out that that song is about chocolates. Makes sense. Anyway, the Clock Radio does seem to have a bug, in that it would sometimes try to play more than one song at the same time. I seem to recall someone else mentioning that same problem.

I went to the driver's license center to get my picture retaken, and they said they couldn't do it. They'll only retake pictures in cases like disfiguring accidents and major weight loss. The one guy there told me people shouldn't give me trouble with my license photo, since it still looks like me aside from the hair. I agree with him, but at least two people have asked if it was really me. They both eventually decided it was, though, so I guess it's not a really serious problem. I do have to wonder why that rule is in place, though.

Friday, June 11
I went to the driver's license center today to get my picture retaken, but then I realized that I had forgotten to bring my checkbook. I'm actually not totally sure that it costs money to have your picture retaken, but I didn't want to wait around and then find out that I couldn't have it done anyway. Why won't that place just take cash? I think I'll go back there when they open tomorrow morning, and try to get it taken care of before work. It's possible that there won't be time, but the center is only about a fifteen-minute drive from work, so it's not really out of my way or anything.

After leaving the license center, I went grocery shopping at the store that doesn't have the kind of pot pies I like, and I bought a $5 copy of Sloan's Between the Bridges at Coconuts.

I'm way behind in practicing the guitar, and I don't even remember how many days I've skipped. I'm terrible at keeping up with things.

Thursday, June 10
It sometimes seems like the entries I write that I think are kind of interesting, or where I pose a question, are the least likely to get comments. If my posts were boring for me to write, would they be more interesting for others to read?

I'm listening to the new Magnetic Fields CD. I've only gotten to the tenth track so far, but I'm definitely enjoying it. Maybe not as much as 69 Love Songs, but this IS only one CD, rather than three. Not that more is necessarily better, but really good CDs are pretty much going to have to be more than one, right?

Wednesday, June 9
I've been a fan of They Might Be Giants for about seven years now. It seems hard to believe it's been that long. I have memories of listening to their albums for the first time, realizing how brilliant, catchy, and totally weird the music was.

There wasn't really any one person or thing that got me into TMBG; rather, it was a combination of factors. I remember hearing "Birdhouse In Your Soul" on a kids' radio show when I was in high school, and thinking it was a really cool song. I had probably heard "Istanbul" and "Particle Man" before that, on Tiny Toons and/or on that same radio program, but, while they were fun, they didn't really grab me the way "Birdhouse" did. But I didn't really look into the band until college. That was when I first started using the Internet regularly, and, since I was a big Weird Al fan, I read the newsgroup. TMBG came up frequently on there as a band that a lot of Al fans like. Fortunately, it wasn't that hard for me to hear their music, since several of the people in my building were fans (it WAS an honors dorm, after all, so there were a lot of nerds there {g}). I heard a lot of their songs for the first time when the guy next door made a tape for my then-roommate, which contained all of Flood and various songs from other albums. I remember "Hey Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A Deal" being among them, along with several Apollo 18 tracks, including "She's Actual Size," "Mammal," "The Statue Got Me High," "Spider," and "Turn Around" (the last of which I immediately recognized as being a major influence in the structure of Weird Al's TMBG style parody, "Everything You Know Is Wrong"). I also remember hearing "Dinner Bell" and "Fingertips" not long after that.

In an odd and fortunate coincidence, TMBG actually played a show at my school that year. In the building right across the street from my dorm, in fact. I think I was actually fourth in line for tickets, although that was probably due primarily to my dorm's proximity to the ticket window and my lack of anything else to do that morning. I didn't know a lot of the songs they did at the show, but it was a lot of fun. I know they played "Shoehorn With Teeth," as well as "Exquisite Dead Guy" with the puppet heads. I also participated in the conga line (something I've never done since, and I think I've only attended one other TMBG concert where the band even started a conga line), although I couldn't remember what song they were playing at the time. Knowing what I know now, I realize it must have been "No One Knows My Plan," but I remember listening to "See The Constellation" shortly after buying Apollo 18 and thinking, "This sounds like the conga line song!" I'm kind of getting ahead of myself here, though.

I considered buying a TMBG album throughout the summer, but didn't actually go through with it until August, or possibly late July. I think what finally pushed me to make the purchase was hearing "Birdhouse" on that same radio show again. I didn't buy the album with "Birdhouse" on it, though, but rather Apollo 18 and the fairly new Then: The Earlier Years. Yes, both on the same day. It was kind of a gamble, really (I'd heard most, if not all, of Flood and Apollo by that point, but very little from earlier albums), but it definitely paid off. While I think it was largely the band's wacky sense of humor and fun that drew me in (I was coming into TMBG fandom from Weird Al fandom, after all), and I had the initial idea that their lyrics were generally just nonsense, I soon came to think that there was more depth to the band's songs than I had originally thought, and I realized that, especially with the earlier songs, there was often a somewhat dark, paranoid undercurrent. I remember having a bad dream where "Boat Of Car" was playing, and I found that song kind of creepy for a while after that. I also had some GOOD dreams involving TMBG music, though; I can recall ones where everyone in a room just started singing "Kiss Me, Son Of God" for no reason, and another similar one featuring "James K. Polk." The important thing, though, was that this music basically just blew me away. I was pretty obsessed with it for some time after that. I worked at a movie theater at the time, and I remember singing TMBG songs to myself while walking to work, and while sweeping the theaters. I started checking out TMBG-related forums on the Internet, starting with the newsgroup, and later the mailing list. I bought the remaining albums soon after returning to school, starting with Flood on my first day back. From there, it escalated to songs available online, EPs, Mono Puff, etc. I bought Severe Tire Damage the day it came out. I also started taking suggestions from the TMBG FAQ and people on the forums as far as other music to check out, which is how I got into Moxy Früvous, XTC, Camper Van Beethoven, the Young Fresh Fellows, Frank Black, and more. TMBG fandom even affected my life in other ways, perhaps most importantly in that I met my girlfriend on an off-topic offshoot of the list. TMBG has had such a profound influence on my life, perhaps even more so than Oz. Although I don't listen to them now quite as much as I used to, they remain my favorite band, and I'm eagerly awaiting their next album, The Spine.

Tuesday, June 8
I think I managed to create a temporal paradox in Animal Crossing. Before you start the game, you can set the clock for your town. After playing the game for a little bit with the clock set to Monday (the actual day at the time), I set it back to Saturday, and then Sunday, so I could participate in the fishing tournament. The thing was, when I started playing on Monday, there was already a note on the town bulletin board telling who had won the fishing tournament, and this note stayed there when I went back in time and changed the outcome of the fishing tournament. When I returned to the present, there were two different messages on the board, giving two different outcomes. Pretty weird, huh? I guess that's something the game designers didn't really think through.

Last night, I had a dream that I was with my family visiting my grandparents, who live in Virginia. Somehow, though, we were all in Texas later on in the dream, and I think Colleen also lived down there. Davey was also there, and he asked me to take him to Missouri, or somewhere like that. I said I would, and some other people were willing to go with me, although my mom didn't want to. At various times, I think these people included my brother and sister, Beth, her cousin Alyssa, and some guys I didn't know, including an annoying college professor. I tried to get in my car, but someone else was driving it, and they weren't very good at it, so they kept driving it in circles. I eventually was able to get in, and then the car started going backwards. Eventually, we weren't in the car, but in a restaurant that served food on conveyor belts. The dream was very cake-intensive; I ate some cake just before leaving the house in Texas (which I think was alternately my aunt's and Colleen's, and had some maids working in it), and there were a lot of cakes being served at the conveyor belt restaurant.

I did some shopping today. At Sears, I bought some new slip-on shoes, which are very similar to my old ones, but are leather instead of suede. They seem a little bigger than my old pair, though, which is weird, since they're both size ten, and they're both from Land's End. I also got the newest Magnetic Fields album at Best Buy, but I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. I DIDN'T buy a Nintendo T-shirt from Hot Topic, although I wanted to. Actually, I wanted ALL of them, except a few where I don't like the captions. (What's the deal with that Mega Man one that says, "Say hello to my little guy," or something along those lines?)

Transferring my number from my old wireless service (where I'm on my dad's plan) to the new one seems so complicated that I might just go ahead and get a new number. Maybe I'll go ahead and get the phone a week or two before my dad's plan expires, so I can leave a message alerting anyone who calls (yeah, right {g}) to the new number.

Finally, regarding what everyone's been saying about the Marauders not being identified in Prisoner of Azkaban, I just read an article in Entertainment Weekly that says that the filmmakers thought it would work better if they saved that for another movie. I don't agree, but at least it looks like they won't be ignoring that matter totally (although I suppose it remains to be seen if they actually go through with this plan).

Monday, June 7
So, I just got back from seeing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with Beth. Oddly enough, we were the only ones in the theater. That also happened when we saw House of 1000 Corpses, but that was considerably later in the movie's run, and it wasn't anywhere near as popular a movie, either. I would have expected there to have been some parents with young kids.

Overall, I thought it was great. The cuts didn't really bother me, aside from the fact that they never revealed who Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs were. According to Beth, everyone who's seen it and read the book has said pretty much the same thing. I also think tacking on the scene of Harry receiving the Firebolt near the end of the movie seemed kind of awkward. For some reason, what they cut out bothered me the most with the second movie. I'm not sure if that's because they cut out more important parts, or simply because that was the shortest gap I had in between reading the book and seeing the movie.

Remus Lupin and Sirius Black were cast and played quite well, I thought. I also appreciated how much the human Peter Pettigrew still looked like a rat. Visually, I liked Buckbeak, the inflation of Aunt Marge, and the Knight Bus ride. On the other hand, I didn't much care for Lupin's wolf form. Was he not supposed to look like a real wolf, or what? The shrunken heads were kind of an odd addition, but I think they fit in pretty well.

So, anyway, it was definitely worth seeing. I'm not sure how I'd compare it to the other two Harry Potter movies, but all three were excellent.

Sunday, June 6
Do the people at Verizon Wireless even bother to READ the support e-mails before replying to them?

Weird Al apparently had another kid recently.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I heard Camper Van Beethoven's "Guardian Angels" on a commercial the other day. I wasn't actually watching it, though, so I don't know what it was a commercial for, but that's pretty cool.

I'm at work now, and I don't have much to say. Beth and I should be going to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban tomorrow. She saw it last night and thought it was better than the other two, which is definitely high praise.

I should probably go ahead and order that Pixies DVD.

Saturday, June 5
I'm always getting coupons for Borders that I never use. Right now, I have one for 25% off one book, and one for 10% off an entire purchase, both of which expire tomorrow. The thing is, I generally don't buy books anymore, aside from the occasional Oz-related item. I guess I do want a copy of Bed, Bed, Bed, but it would be much cheaper to order that from Amazon.

I need to get a new desktop. It's just blue right now. I had an Oz one from Hungry Tiger Press, but I was getting tired of that one anyway.

I need to practice the guitar soon.

Friday, June 4
My computer was having too many problems starting up, so I reformatted my hard drive today. Maybe I'm crazy, but I find something oddly refreshing about starting over and reloading everything. The only problem is that something almost always goes wrong. This time, there was some problem with the graphics drivers, and it ended up giving me 16-color VGA (that's what my dad's computer had ten years ago, and it was outdated even then). I didn't have this problem when the guy at the repair shop reinstalled Windows for me, but maybe he had access to some drivers that didn't come with the system. I don't know, but what I did find a disc that had the proper drivers. I have to wonder if it was actually my sister's (we have the same kind of computer, but mine is slightly newer), since it doesn't look exactly like it did before, but at least it's usable. I'm seriously considering getting a new computer, though. This one just crashes too often. I looked at some computers at Best Buy today, and it looks like I can get an eMachine for as little as $400. I don't know anything about RAM or processor speed or any of that, but in most respects, it looks like it's the equal or superior of my current one, which cost three times that much. I don't really want to rush into buying a new computer, especially since I just recently got a new hard drive put into this one, but this one is pretty annoying.

I also volunteered at Longwood Gardens today, and bought a copy of that album with all of the members of the Talking Heads except David Byrne for 99 cents. I've heard that Andy Partridge of XTC collaborated on one of the songs.

The other day, when I was playing video games at Kmart, someone asked me if I worked there. The same thing happened to me at Sears today. That's happened to me at other stores in the past, too. I wasn't wearing a name tag or vest or anything, so why would anyone think that? My age? My appearance? My mannerisms? Does that happen to anyone else?

Thursday, June 3
I've been reading some of my old blog entries recently. It's interesting to see some of it, but I think my writing style back then was kind of annoying. Every entry looks like I was doing a report for elementary school. I probably still write kind of like that, but I like to think it's not QUITE as bad anymore. Maybe I flatter myself to think that, though. I also think I write about a greater variety of subjects nowadays, although I still complain a lot.

While Beth was in school, I went over to Kmart and played as much of Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga as they would allow (it was somehow set to only let you play a small part of the game). It was pretty fun, and I hope to be able to play the whole game someday.

I'm way behind on practicing the guitar. I guess I'll try to catch up by playing for half-hour intervals in the next few days, as opposed to fifteen-minute ones.

Wednesday, June 2
After Beth finished with school today, we went out to Pizza Hut for lunch. I had the buffet for the first time ever, and it really is a good deal. I kind of wish I could go back there again now, though. {g}

This morning, I heard a Real Audio version of "Experimental Film," the first track from They Might Be Giants' upcoming album, The Spine. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm really looking forward to the album. I like every song that I've heard from it so far, except possibly "Spines," and that's more of an album theme kind of thing than a full-fledged song anyway.

I need to come up with a write-up on myself for the paper of the college where I work. Any ideas?