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Monday, November 29
It's now been around eleven months since I first got a livejournal. That means that, for almost a year, I've been cross-posting most of my entries there and to my blog. It seems kind of pointless, when you get right down to it, especially since I don't think anyone has commented on my blog in a month or so. Therefore, I might just stick to LJ for the time being. Before I do that, though, I should ask whether anyone still reads this in blog format, and, if so, whether they'd be adverse to reading it through LJ instead. I won't be erasing the blog or anything, but, if there are no objections, I probably won't post any new entries there (unless LJ changes back to being paid-accounts-only, or something along those lines).

I can't believe it's this weekend that Beth and I will be seeing the Pixies. December was so far away when we bought our tickets. I've heard of occasions of moshing at other Pixies shows, so I'm glad we're going to a venue with assigned seats, even if those seats aren't that great.

In other news, I managed to beat Cackletta before work today. I also heard an interview with Paul Reubens on NPR, which was pretty cool.

Sunday, November 28
I think it's pretty cool that Woohoo Hooniversity (in Mario and Luigi, of course) has a center for block research, where you can find blocks from different Mario games. The enemies in the Hooniversity include those different-colored germs from Dr. Mario. You have to change all of the viruses on the screen to the same color to defeat them.

I always write about video games while I'm playing them, and I doubt anyone is interested. Oh, well.

Speaking of Mario, I wonder if anyone has ever tried to draw a complete map of the Mushroom World. I know the games aren't always consistent with respect to the various lands Mario visits, but, if someone has actually managed to draw a reasonably accurate map of Springfield, then anything is possible.

I took a quiz along these lines before, but I don't think it was the same one. Besides, I got a different result this time. (I got Marvin last time.)

Ford Prefect
Ford Prefect: An alien researcher for the HHGTTG,
you got stuck on Earth for 15 years. You're a
good person, but kind of boring.

Which HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I hope that Hitchhiker's Guide movie that's supposed to be coming out will be good. I still want to hear the radio show that started it all. Amazon offers this, which is an MP3 CD. The reviews give the impression that the sound quality isn't very good, but I can't find any other recordings of the radio program on Amazon. I also want to see the TV series, but not as much as I want to hear the radio show.

To finish up this entry, I saw this in Angela's journal, and I guess I'm required by law to put it in mine.

If there is at least one person in your life who you consider a close friend, and who you would not have met without being part of an online fandom, post this sentence in your journal.

Saturday, November 27
I now have an optical mouse! Hopefully this will last longer than that old one. I also went to Pep Boys to get a replacement hubcap for the one I’d lost. It was a lot cheaper and faster getting it from there than from the dealer. While I hope not to lose any more hubcaps, I’ll probably go back there if it DOES happen another time.

Okay, as promised (or suggested, anyway), here’s my review of the Future Soundtrack for America. To start with, it’s kind of depressing that the immediate purpose of the CD wasn’t fulfilled. The country DIDN’T move on, and the current soundtrack for America is still made up of the likes of Britney Spears and Toby Keith.

Anyway, going song by song:

This Will Be Our Year (OK Go)—This is pretty good. Not super-great or anything, but a solid song. I really don’t know that much about OK Go. I checked their album out from the library once, but I think I only listened to it once. It was better than I expected, really. Maybe I should give it another listen, assuming the library still has it.

Ain’t Got So Far To Go (David Byrne)—I had already heard this song, since it was on a mix CD that I had received recently. I think it’s one of the better songs on the compilation. I like the contrast between verse and chorus.

Game Of Pricks (Jimmy Eat World)—Not that bad, but not that good, either. It has a good amount of energy to it, but isn’t anything spectacular.

This Temporary Life (Death Cab for Cutie)—I’ve been kind of prejudiced against Death Cab for a while, without having actually heard any of their songs (to the best of my knowledge, anyway). I guess I’ve heard one now. The thing is, I think this song COULD be good if it went somewhere. As it is, it kind of drags. The singer’s voice is pretty good, though.

I Miss You (Blink-182)—I don’t care for Blink-182, but apparently people connected with things I like are fans of theirs, since not only are they here, but members of the band make pointless cameo appearances in Gigantic and on that Simpsons episode where Bart gets emancipated. This particular song is all right until the overly whiny lead vocals come in. What is it with whiny vocals being popular with the young people nowadays? The only band I can think of where whiny singing actually worked was Lincoln.

Move On (Mike Doughty)—I know Doughty is the guy from Soul Coughing, but I’ve never really heard much by that band. I’m kind of interested in them, though. I did see Doughty open for They Might Be Giants back in 2000, but I can’t remember much of anything he played. And, of course, he collaborated with TMBG on “Your Mom’s Alright” (which is a cool song) and “Mr. Xcitement” (which, well, kinda sucks). Oh, and I liked that “Frog And Banjo” song that he did for McSweeney’s. “Move On” seems to be one of the most tailor-made songs on the compilation, since it’s about current events, and takes its title from the name of the organization that sponsored the CD. It’s a pretty good song, if a little on the longish side.

Jerry Falwell Destroyed Earth (Ben Kweller)—I kind of expected more from a song with that title. {g} It’s okay for what it is, which is a short, kind of punkish number.

Off With Your Head (Sleater-Kinney)—The first song on the album with female vocals. I’m not really sure what I think of this one. It doesn’t bother me, but it doesn’t stand out for me, either.

Final Straw (R.E.M.)—This is actually a good song. I’ve always been kind of not-so-thrilled by R.E.M., despite the fact that they’re connected to so many bands I DO really like (they used to open for XTC, Camper Van Beethoven opened for them, Peter Buck is a member of the Minus 5, etc.). I mean, I don’t DISLIKE them, but I’ve never been a fan, either. But yeah, I think I like this particular song. It has a good sound to it.

Going For The Gold (Bright Eyes)—Eh, I don’t really care for the guy’s voice, and there really isn’t much music to speak of. It’s more a spoken-word kind of thing. Not that that’s necessarily bad, but I don’t think it works so well here.

The Commander Thinks Aloud (Long Winters)—I think I first heard of this band when they were on tour with the Decemberists. Clever combination, huh? I didn’t know much about either band at that point. Since then, I’ve gotten to like the Decemberists, but I still don’t know much about the Long Winters. This song has an interesting sound to it, but I don’t love it or anything. The lead singer’s voice is a little on the weird side, but it’s considerably better than that of the guy from Bright Eyes.

Money ( of The Black-Eyed Peas)—A rap song about the power of money, with a heavy trumpet part. It provides some variety, which is good.

Tippecanoe And Tyler Too (TMBG)—This song is the main reason I wanted the CD, and it didn’t disappoint. Considering that it’s a cover of an old campaign song, I find it interesting that the lyric “Van is a used-up man” sounds like something the Johns would write. I’m not sure if that means they picked a song that was similar to something they would have written, or just that the Johns like to use early nineteenth-century sorts of expressions. By the way, this is the second TMBG song that mentions Martin Van Buren, isn’t it?

The Ballad Of David Icke (Clem Snide)—I think the words to this one are good, but the sound of the vocal is a little grating. I don’t think I’d ever heard of Clem before this, by the way.

Date With The Night (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)—Another song that I think is marred by poor vocals. I get the idea that the lead chick is singing that way on purpose, but I still don’t care for it. Oh, well. Seems to me I’ve heard at least one other song by this band, but I can’t remember what it sounded like.

Everything’s Ruined (Fountains of Wayne)—I like this one, but don’t have that much to say about it. Fairly typical of the band’s sound, but that’s not a bad thing at all. That reminds me that I should ask Beth if I can borrow her FoW CDs.

Your Legs Grow (Nada Surf)—Another pretty good song. I could see this one growing on me.

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Flaming Lips)—I actually checked out the Yoshimi album from the library the same day I got the OK Go CD, and I really liked it. In fact, it might be worth adding to my wishlist. This live, piano-based version of the title song is pretty darned cool as well.

Northern Line (Old 97’s)—This is pretty catchy, if a little on the long side.

Sam Stone (Laura Cantrell)—I had heard the original version of this song on a John Prine tape that my dad had, and I didn’t care for it. I DO like this cover, though. I think the main reason for this is that Mr. Prine is kind of a lousy singer, while Ms. Cantrell is excellent in the vocal department. Maybe I’d like some of Prine’s other songs if Laura (or someone else I liked) were to sing them. By the way, I tend to really like the mandolin work on Laura’s songs. I checked the liner notes for When the Roses Bloom Again, and it says the mandolin was played by Jon Graboff. I’m not sure who that is, or whether he’s also playing the instrument on “Sam Stone.”

Day After Tomorrow (Tom Waits)—Speaking of lousy singers, Mr. Waits is someone whom other musicians seem to love, but I don’t care for his voice. The thing is, Frank Black and Moxy Früvous both covered Waits songs, and I liked the covers. I think Tori Amos also did one of his songs on Strange Little Girls. I guess maybe I like Tom all right as a writer, but not as a singer. I guess he’s in pretty much the same category as Leonard Cohen (who also had songs covered by Frank and Tori). So, anyway, I don’t care for the song, but maybe I’d like it if someone else were singing it.

A Distorted Reality Is Now A Necessity To Be Free (Elliott Smith)—This is good, although I think it might take a few more listens to get the full effect. Everyone seems to love Elliott Smith. I wonder if I should check out more of his music. Incidentally, the liner notes for this song end with “Elliott, we miss you.”

So, while I’m not that thrilled by some tracks, it’s a pretty good compilation as a whole.

Friday, November 26
As I'm sure you know, today is Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. I'm probably not going to be doing any shopping today, but I guess I will have to do that soon. I'm not a big fan of Christmas shopping, because I never know what to get anybody. Well, for the most part, anyway. I think Beth is easy to shop for, but that might be largely because she likes the same kind of stuff I do. Not exactly the same items, but the same sorts of things (books, CDs, video games, etc.).

In my dream last night, I could run in the air. Actually, this is a pretty common recurring dream for me. I don't recall ever dreaming that I could fly as such, but being able to levitate in the air and run around that way is something that happens pretty often. As a variation on this, I remember a dream a few years back where I moved around in the air by making a pedaling motion, like I was riding an invisible bicycle. It kind of puts me in mind of the Vegetable Kingdom in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, where the weak gravitational attraction let people walk in the air. I don't know if that's what my subconscious has in mind, though.

Have I already written about my running-in-the-air dreams on this journal? Oh, well. It's still relevant, what with my having had another one of them last night.

It doesn't look like there are any inns, or similar places to recover lost hit points, in Mario and Luigi. Maybe I'm just missing them, though.

Thursday, November 25
Happy Turkey Day to everyone, except for the vegetarians reading this, who should have a happy...uh, Soy Turkey Day, or something. Does "Turkey Day" seem to anyone else like it should be a Turkish national holiday? You know, like the election of Mustafa Kemal as President, or something like that? Okay, it's probably just me.

I remember learning that Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird. One of my first grade classmated laughed at this when we heard it at the zoo, but I think it might have been a good choice. Instead, the country went with a long-standing symbol of imperialism. Pretty telling, isn't it?

Anyway, last night, I went out bowling with Beth and her cousins Dorothea and Alyssa. The bowling alley had installed this new system, which took a little time to figure out. The screens no longer show merely the score, but they now have advertisements and little animated sequences that pertain to how well you bowled. For instance, one of the cartoons that shows up when you hit only one pin shows an elephant sitting on someone. There was also a problem with the bowling balls getting stuck behind the pins, but that was probably just our lane, and had nothing to do with the new scoring machines. For what it's worth, I'm a REALLY bad bowler. There was one point in time when Beth and I went bowling almost every week, and I was starting to get a little better. Now I'm back to being just plain bad again. After bowling, we went out to Denny's, where I had the Moons Over My Hammy.

In Mario and Luigi, I managed to get past the difficult part on Hoohoo Mountain without consulting a walkthrough. As I had guessed, it turned out I was neglecting something obvious. I didn't realize I could have Mario and Luigi move from side to side while spin jumping. I DID end up looking at a walkthrough to figure out how to defeat Queen Bean, since it really seemed like I wasn't making any headway on my own. It turned out that the best method to use in fighting her is pretty similar to that used in fighting Baigan in the original American Final Fantasy II.

I'm here at Beth's house for Thanksgiving dinner. I had considered going home, or even eating at BOTH places, but that wasn't really practical. We haven't eaten yet, but we should be doing so before too much longer.

Wednesday, November 24
I'm not really sure why, but I held off on getting the Bed, Bed, Bed book when it first came out. Beth got it, and I guess I thought I could just look at and listen to hers, but I never really did. I now have my own copy of it. It's a cute book, with good illustrations. The pictures of the Johns and illustrator Marcel Dzama as kids on the back cover are a nice touch. As for the songs:

Impossible--This kind of reminds me of "Fibber Island," both in theme and in sound. I like "Fibber" better (although "Impossible" is a better title), but this is still pretty good. That pennywhistle, or whatever it is, makes me think of "The Fool On The Hill."

Happy Doesn't Have To Have An Ending--I'm not sure what to think of this one. The rapping parts are kind of weird. This will probably grow on me, if I give it a chance. I doubt I'll actually listen to the CD much, though. Maybe I'll rip it to my computer.

Idlewild--I remember hearing this on a clip from some radio show the Johns were on back before the book came out. It's a nice slow song, and I'm glad to have a recording of it.

Bed, Bed, Bed, Bed, Bed--Nowhere near as good as the original, but a decent cover/reinterpretation. I guess it's kind of like "Another First Kiss," in that the song is being redone in a more predictable fashion ("Kiss" as a slow love song, and "Bed" as a lullaby).

In other news, here is a list of Oz books I want. I'm sure no one is interested, but I thought it would make a good addendum to my Amazon wishlist.

I'm a little disappointed that only five people replied to that recommendation/question post. Come on, is it THAT difficult? In case you missed it the first time, it's here.

Oh, and I also forgot to mention that Beth's uncle Harry gave me some chocolates and cologne for my birthday. I've never worn cologne before, but it might not be a bad time to start.

Tuesday, November 23
I started playing Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, and it's been pretty fun so far. You get to see Mario come out of the shower in his underwear, which is...well, pretty weird. So far, Mario and Luigi have teamed up with Bowser Koopa to try to get Princess Peach's voice back (the Mario Brothers because they want to help her, and Bowser because he can't kidnap her with her new destructive voice). It seems to be pretty much par for the course that Mario and Bowser make a reluctant alliance in the Mario RPGs. The original Super Mario RPG actually let you control the Koopa King, which was pretty cool. He's the main bad guy in Paper Mario, but I think he might help out in Paper Mario 2. I could be wrong, in which case it would just be the two non-Paper Mario RPGs that have Bowser as an ally. Anyway, I've made it to Hoohoo Mountain, and I'm having trouble figuring out how to reach the summit. In addition to the battles, which have been pretty easy so far, there have been some challenges, like jumping a rope and using a spin jump to gather Hoohoo Spirits between ledges. These are probably harder for me than they should be, but I eventually did both of them.

I'm thinking it's about time to get a new icon, but I'm not sure what to go with. I'm thinking maybe something else Mario-related. Something related to They Might Be Giants might be nice, but I'd want something that hadn't been done twenty thousand million times (See? It's a TMBG reference! {g}) before, so it doesn't just end up being a situation like, "OMG, im using teh THEY scul or teh snoman w/teh money!!!!11" I wonder if the picture from the flying carpet T-shirt has been used. It's kind of hard for me to come up with ideas, yet I also would kind of like to have MORE icons, so I didn't have to get rid of my old ones. I don't want that enough to actually pay money to livejournal, though.

For some reason, Hotmail has decided to reorganize my contacts in order by last name, rather than first. The thing is, some of my contacts didn't really have last names, so I just separated a description into two parts. This means that some of my contacts now show up as things like "Mailing List, They Might Be Giants" and "Reference Center, New Jersey Statewide."

COMING SOON (PROBABLY): A review of Bed, Bed, Bed (as if anyone really cares about it at this point).

Monday, November 22
It was really foggy out last night, making it kind of hard to drive. It's been a while since it's been that foggy.

I liked last night's Simpsons episode. Like last week's, it wasn't uproariously funny, but it still worked well. Bart's pathetic party was pretty amusing, although it could have been better. Ralph's duck-duck-goose bit was funny, but it kind of veered into rake scene territory. The way in which Marge's motherliness toward Nelson developed was believable. Lisa's subplot wasn't as funny, but it did fit in fairly seamlessly with the main plot. One background joke I particularly liked was that the cake Lisa ate was a Labor Day cake for Lenny. (I guess that wasn't exactly a background joke, since it was pretty obvious, but they didn't really call attention to it, either.) Also, the bathroom at the clothing store was "for purging only."

Also last night, I got Bed, Bed, Bed (the children's book that They Might Be Giants did) and the Future Soundtrack for America from Beth and her Uncle John, respectively. I haven't had a chance to listen to either of my new CDs yet, though. Right now, I'm listening to the new Neko Case CD, The Tigers Have Spoken. It's a good CD, and there's an amusing hidden track at the end.

After I've posted this entry and taken a look at my friends page, I'm probably going to start playing Mario and Luigi. I'll probably have some comments on that in the future.

And here's another quiz result:

I am Strength

Strength represents patience and compassion. Getting angry is easy when events turn sour, but dealing calmly with frustration takes great strength. So does accepting others and forgiving mistakes. We need strength to mold situations softly. The Chariot controls through mastery and authority. Card 8 is more subtle, even loving. Notice how the lion (itself a symbol of strength) is being guided and tamed by the woman's gentle hands.

For a full description of your card and other goodies, please visit

What tarot card are you? Enter your birthdate.

Month: Day: Year:

Sunday, November 21
So, that new Nintendo DS came out today, and I went out to Kmart to get one for Beth. I had called them last night, and the girl I talked to said they opened at 9. When I called at 7:30 this morning, though, I found out that girl had been wrong, and they actually opened at 8. So I hurried over there, only to find out that they apparently didn't have the DS in stock. The employees seemed to have not even heard of it, and the lady at the customer service counter suggested that they might not have gotten them in their last shipment. That strikes me as odd for a big-ticket item that's in their sale paper. I guess there's no way of knowing what happened there. I WAS able to get one at Target, though, so I suppose it all worked out in the end.

I'm still unsure as to whether I should get a Game Boy Advance for myself. I'm actually considering getting an iPod instead. There's a big difference in price between the two items, but if I don't buy the GBA, that's more money towards the iPod. I guess I'd just get the small iPod (the 20 GB one, that is, not the Mini). I'm not sure whether that would be a good buy, though, especially when there are other things I want. Any thoughts?

This quiz didn't have any pictures, but I pretty much HAD to take it:

You are Rincewind the Wizzard! Your self
preservation instint is usually in overdrive,
but at the same time, you are always finding a
way to be a hero. Or being a hero finds a way
to find you!

What Discworld Character are you? (FINSIHED!!!)
brought to you by Quizilla

I should probably go back to bed. I only got five and a half hours of sleep, and, while I'm not that tired right now, I'm sure my lack of sleep will catch up with me eventually.

Saturday, November 20
I found a link to this article on the 8-Bit Theater page. If there's one thing we need in this country, it's stricter copyright laws!

I'm being sarcastic, of course. I think copyright law is already ridiculous. Take the copyright term lengths, for one thing. I think they've gone up to something like 75 years after the creator's death, or 95 years for works-for-hire. Is there really any reason why the creator's great-grandchildren should have control over something they had no hand in making? It isn't so much the heirs of private citizens with individual copyrights who are to blame here, though, but rather (surprise, surprise) huge corporations. It's no secret that the most recent copyright term extension was lobbied for when it looked like Mickey Mouse would be entering the public domain in a few years.

As for the file-sharing and bootlegging issues, they really seem to be cases of making mountains out of molehills, and finding convenient scapegoats. Is there any actual proof that anyone has lost money by someone downloading a song? I seriously doubt it, considering that there's no way you would have known whether that person was going to buy the album, or whether they already OWN the album, or, for that matter, whether an album even exists. Mind you, I can see how unregulated file-sharing could POTENTIALLY lead to abuse of the system and lost profits, but I'm not sure it has as of yet. With all the people who use file-sharing to sample songs by various artists, you have to wonder why more record labels don't just put up samples on their artists' websites. I've heard of cases where the labels actually OPPOSED such a thing, though, which makes absolutely no sense. I'm sure you've all heard the "record companies refuse to adapt to the changing times" argument a zillion times before, but I think it makes a good point. To me, though, I think the more important issue that it's not a big deal. Worth re-evaluating the industry, perhaps, but hardly worth getting the government involved.

I'd say I'm probably more against movie bootlegging, but even in that case I think the effects are being exaggerated. I mean, are there REALLY that many cases where someone says, "Well, I COULD see this movie on the big screen, and I have the money to afford to do that, but I think I'll just buy a poorly-filmed copy from the shady-looking vendor on the street instead"? Besides, haven't people been bootlegging movies for years? I don't think bootlegging is ever going to stop, no matter how many ten-year-olds get sued for downloading the latest Britney Spears song. [1]

What is the official purpose of the RIAA and MPAA, anyway? As of late, they seem to be essentially corporate-sponsored bullies. Their tactics are based on on a combination of fear ("Don't download stuff, or we'll COME AFTER YOU!") and forced pity ("If you download movies, this poor dolly grip will lose his job, and you don't want THAT to happen, do you?"), both of which are pretty sleazy. These are pretty common tactics nowadays, though. I mean, compare them to those used by the Bush campagin. "Voting for Kerry means terrorists will attack you!" and "Raising taxes on the top 2% of wage-earners will hurt SMALL BUSINESSES! You don't want to put your local mom-and-pop hardware store out of business, do you?" Those in power do what they can to help the huge corporations maintain a stranglehold on the nation, and then try to convince everyone else that this is GOOD for them. If the big corporations benefit, then EVERYBODY does! Trickle-down economics! After all, the business of America is business, right? Damn you, Calvin Coolidge! Why couldn't you have kept your mouth shut, like you did all the rest of the time?

Anyway, here are some quiz results:

You Are the Stuffing

You're complicated and complex, yet all your pieces fit together.
People miss you if you're gone - but they're not sure why.

You are a Deconstructionist! Everything is
relative, stretched along an unending chain of
signifiers. You cannot even read a take-out
menu without deconstructing and destabilizing
the meaning of the text. You are one of the
chosen few who understand the writing of
Jacques Derrida! You delight in making meaning,
and taking meaning, trashing meaning and
bashing meaning, slaying meaning and playing
meaning. And you also like green eggs and ham.
No one understands you or really likes being
around you, but you don't care; they may not
exist anyway.

What kind of literary critic are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

By the way, should I buy my own Game Boy Advance, or just borrow Beth's?

[1] Okay, maybe people who willingly listen to Britney SHOULD be legally reprimanded, but not for copyright infringement.

Friday, November 19
Last night, I had some of my other cake, and my mom and sister gave me presents. I got a skull keychain and a pair of Homer Simpson slippers.

I had a dream where I missed the train to Philadelphia, and I decided I would write a journal entry about how the trains were always early. Of course, this didn't actually happen, but I'm blogging about it anyway. I think I was still attending classes at Drexel in the dream, but the weird thing is that I had another class at another school at the same time. I was sitting in this class, looking at train schedules and wondering why I had scheduled two classes at the same time.

I post weird poetic stuff no one understands

why is YOUR livejournal annoying?
brought to you by Quizilla

Okay, I don't think that's true. I strive for coherence.

You Are the Loyalist


You have strong relationships and are intensely loyal.

People find you easy to love and care for.

You like your world to be stable and secure, no surprises.

You're cautious. You prefer your inner circle to the outside world.

Okay, I'd better go eat, and then head out to Longwood Gardens.

Thursday, November 18
So, I guess I'm 27 years old now, the age at which rock stars die. I'm getting old. I mean, I guess 27 isn't THAT old, but it's kind of old to not have a full-time job. It seems like I haven't really done much with my life. I have a master's degree, but so what? What good has it done me?

I'm always kind of depressed and frustrated around my birthday. It actually hasn't been so bad this year, and today has been pretty good so far (more details on that later). I guess it's partially that the fall is just a generally depressing time of year for me, and partially because I tend to feel unappreciated, like no one cares that it's my birthday. I mean, I don't think I would want to have a birthday party, but it's still kind of a sobering thought that no one would come if I did.

At least Beth cares about my birthday. She gave me a copy of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, which I can't actually play yet. She says she'll loan me her Game Boy Advance after she gets a DS. I guess I could just go ahead and buy a GBA, also. Beth also gave me some Wal-Mart Ali Baba videotape as a joke gift, and she says there's something else that's coming in the mail. Before I took her to school today, she bought me dinner at Illiano's, an Italian restaurant. I had the lasagna, and it was very good. Her mom made me a cake and bought me a shirt, and MY mom has also made me a cake, so I guess I'm going to be eating a lot of cake in the days to come.

It also hasn't been very cold today, which is good. I think it snowed on the actual day I was born, back in 1977.

Wednesday, November 17
Just in case there's still anyone out there who wants a Gmail account and doesn't have one yet, I have some invitations I can give out. Let me know if you're interested.

Speaking of Gmail, you know how they scan your messages for keywords to find out what advertisements to give you? Well, a message saying something about John Linnell of They Might Be Giants was accompanied by an ad involving John Linnell, the nineteenth century painter. I found that pretty amusing.

Also on the subject of fun with names, Bush's nominee for Secretary of Education is named Margaret Spellings. There's certainly room for a lot of punnery there.

Hmm, Sears and Kmart merged? Weird.

The other day, as I was driving down the freeway, I saw a hubcap go flying across the road. I hoped that it wasn't mine, but, of course, it was. This marks the fourth time my car has lost a hubcap. I'm not sure if it's the same one every time or not, but it seems like they're not on all that securely.

While on the subject of things going wrong, my phone battery died yesterday. It turned out that it could be fixed simply by charging it again, but I was afraid it was totally broken. After all, the battery was pretty full earlier in the day. Something similar had happened to Beth last week, though, so maybe it's some kind of glitch in the batteries. I don't know. I just hope it doesn't happen again. Maybe I should look into getting a car charger.

The good news is that, yesterday, Beth and I ate at Friday's, in honor of her birthday. That was pretty tasty. We should be going out again for mine in the near future.

I also need to use that car wash that they gave me a coupon for when I got my oil changed. I wonder if I should do that before or after getting a new hubcap.

Tuesday, November 16
So, I watched Sunday's Simpsons episode, and it was pretty good. Not one of the best, certainly, but a LOT better than last week's. The plot worked well, and everyone was in character. There were quite a few good jokes, like the running gag about Apu moving back to India, and and Homer's food mascot fantasy. I do think it was odd that there was an empty house next door to the Simpsons'. What happened to Ruth Powers? Is she in jail again? (I notice that also noted Ruth's absence in this entry.) Also, there were a few things we'd seen before, like Bart imitating Hugh Hefner with a bubble pipe. For that matter, didn't Bart learn about sex in at least one earlier episode? I know he watched Fuzzy Bunny's Guide to You-Know-What in class in "Bart's Friend Falls in Love." Oh, well.

My friends page is all weird. I think it has something to do with that horoscope quiz.

Monday, November 15
Happy birthday to Beth, my one true love and best friend. I hope you have a great day. I'm sorry I have to spend most of it at work.

A few other things I have to say:

1. I worked until 11 last night, and then helped Beth with her homework, the result being that I didn't get to watch the new Simpsons episode. I'll probably have some comments on it after watching it tonight. Whether that means a long review or just a few observations depends on how thought-provoking the episode turns out to be.

2. I hate having to wear a coat. What also bugs me is that the weather is kind of cold, but not THAT cold, meaning that I have to constantly adjust the heat in my car to make it comfortable.

3. It seems so trendy these days to be an ex-They Might Be Giants fan. Does the fact that I still consider them to be my favorite band make me a big loser? (I mean, I know I'm a big loser anyway, but does this make me an even BIGGER loser?)

4. Here are some more quiz results:

You are .mp3 The kids love you.  You get along with just about everybody except the music industry.  You really make yourself heard.
Which File Extension are You?

You are 40% Scorpio

I thought that quiz could have used some varying degrees of "true" and "false." There were also too many compound statements, if that makes any sense. One of them was "You're self confident, and possessive of what's yours." Well, the latter is probably true to an extent, but the former not at all, so I had to say it was false.

Sunday, November 14
Why is everything I want out of print? I mean, that's obviously not ENTIRELY true, but it seems like, whenever I get into a band or author or whatever, part of their back catalog is always largely unavailable. I guess that makes sense with something like the Oz series, where most of the books were published in the first half of the twentieth century, and haven't been very popular since then. On the other hand, I've heard rumors that the more recent Minus 5 albums are actually selling fairly well (I'm not sure how true this is, but everything from Down with Wilco on seems pretty easy to find in regular music stores), yet their earlier ones remain out of print. There's probably more than one record company involved, but still, you might think they'd want to make those early works more easily available. That's just one example I could think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there are plenty of others.

In other bad news, the weather is getting colder, which is never good. Well, okay, it's probably good for nature in some way, but it isn't good for me. I've even heard suggestions that snow might not be far off. I hate snow. I used to like it all right when I was a kid, and I could build snowmen and such, but even then I couldn't stay outside for long before having to come back into the house. Now, about the only fun thing I can think of involving snow is watching it melt from my car windshield. When the most fun thing about something about something is destroying it, that says a lot. I suppose snow is pretty to look at if you know you won't have to go out in it, but how often does that happen? My hatred of cold is one reason I don't think I could ever live in Canada (the fact that I don't drink beer being another reason). Maybe I should move to the Sun, like in that They Might Be Giants song.

You Are From the Sun

Of all your friends, you're the shining star.
You're dramatic - loving attention and the spotlight.
You're a totally entertainer and the life of the party.
Watch out! The Sun can be stubborn, demanding, and flirty.
Overall, you're a great leader and great friend. The very best!

Silly quiz writers! The Sun is a STAR, not a planet!

Anyway, here's another quiz result:

You Are a Look At Me Blogger!

Cute pics, blog drama, whatever it takes to get traffic.
You're notorious ... either loved or hated by all!

I think that's pretty accurate. I DO crave attention. I'm probably not getting much with the boring entries I've been writing as of late, though.

Saturday, November 13
First of all, happy birthday to Davey, who has the privilege of having been born five days before I was.

Anyway, I read in the Metro the other day that Blockbuster had put in a bid to buy Hollywood Video. This is pretty annoying, since I prefer Hollywood to Blockbuster. They seem to have a better selection and better prices. Oh, well. The article said it wasn't definite that Blockbuster would buy Hollywood, but it's a distinct possibility.

I also tried to do the crossword puzzle in the Metro with a pen. Like Confucius, only he's probably better at it than I am. I didn't have a pencil, though, so I ended up having to write over some letters with other ones. Overall, I'm just not that good at crossword puzzles. You might think I would be, since I'm generall fairly good with words, but I guess I'm not that skilled at thinking like the crossword makers do.

Wednesday, November 10
I went to the Pizza Hut lunch buffet again today, and tried one of those dessert pizzas that sarah had mentioned in a comment last time I talked about going to the buffet. It was something with apples and cinnamon, and I thought it was pretty good, but kind of weird. I might have liked it better if I hadn't already been full before trying it. {g}

I'm sure you've all heard by now that John Ashcroft is resigning from his post as Attorney General. I guess that means President Bush will have to find somebody new to have anointed with Crisco for the purpose of taking away Americans' civil liberties. I have faith, however, that if anyone can find someone psychotic enough to make liberals actually long for the days of John Ashcroft, it's George W. Bush!

Incidentally, in his resignation letter, Ashcroft says, "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." Gee, I'm sure glad to live in a country free that's totally free from crime and terror, aren't you?

Seriously, though, I've heard of people saying they liked Dubya because of his handshake or whatever, but does ANYBODY like Ashcroft? As far as I know, his handshake isn't even anything to write home about. Actually, that reminds of this, a Religious Right website's review of Fahrenheit 9/11. Here's an actual quote from the review:

"Moore devotes several more minutes of film to Attorney General John Ashcroft singing a patriotic song. Why? It can’t be because the singing is bad; Ashcroft actually has a nice tenor voice."

Oh, come on! The quality of a vocalist is a subjective matter, certainly. I mean, my mom doesn't care for They Might Be Giants' work in the vocal department. But describing Ashcroft as having "a nice tenor voice"? The reviewer goes on to say, "Maybe it’s because Moore considers him goofy or stupid and assumes we all think the same." Or maybe the reviewer is so concerned with making MOORE appear to be "goofy or stupid" (the latter word being, by the way, one that was considered tantamount to a curse word in another review on the same site) that he has no choice to praise what I would imagine most conservatives would even consider to be a god-awful vocal performance.

I need to buy some new sneakers. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I hate shoe shopping, largely because shoes that seem to fit in the store often don't once you get them home. It's very similar to the problem I have with haircuts.

Tuesday, November 9
In my dream last night, Beth and I were at some outdoor festival/picnic kind of thing, where Carolyn Mark was playing. She did a song or two, and then invited us to have some food, recommending the eggs. I didn't see any eggs, but I did have two hot dogs, and then went into my kitchen (which was right there, for some reason) to make the eggs. I scrambled some eggs with cheese mixed in, and then my mom came in and started making something akin to French toast by putting slices of bread in it. I think that was pretty much the whole dream.

Hmm, what else do I have to say? Well, I heard on the radio a few days ago that Bush is determined to continue his self-appointed mission to ban gay marriage. I was hoping he would put that on the back burner after winning the coveted homophobic yokel vote. It looks like he's already made some headway, based on the states that voted against it. You know, Dubya, if you really want to reach out to the people who voted against you and earn their trust, that ain't the way to do it.

I wish I could get the monsters I need to breed a Gold Slime in Dragon Warrior Monsters. I need one to get to one of the travellers' gates I haven't been through yet. I would imagine there are some other gates I haven't found yet. Maybe I should check an FAQ.

Monday, November 8
Well, I watched the Simpsons Halloween special last night. I'm not sure it's actually reasonable to call it a Halloween special, since it aired an entire week after Halloween, but, to be fair, I'm not sure they actually DID use the word "Halloween" anywhere in it. They just called it "Treehouse of Horror XV." "Treehouse of Horror" was actually the official title all along, but they didn't start putting it in the actual episodes until a few years ago. For what it's worth, I think only the first one had an actual treehouse in it. Anyway, I didn't much care for the episode. It was probably the worst one since the Homer trying to get into Heaven/fairy tale/dolphin one, which might have been the worst Simspons Halloween special ever (although, to be fair, I only saw that one once, and I'm not in the mood of running over all the others to make sure none of them were worse). The Kang and Kodos sitcom SHOULD have been funny, but I really didn't laugh much. Probably the funniest part was that they played the theme from Perfect Strangers, but even then there was no real joke. It was just funny because, well, it was the Perfect Strangers theme. The first two segments had some amusing moments, like the running gag with Homer's frisbee and the Victorian Comic Book Guy, but they weren't anything spectacular. The third story was the worst, taking a premise that had been done in a million cartoons, and not doing much new with it. While I'm sure everyone is annoyed by comparisons and contrasts of the two animated shows that Matt Groening created, I have to say that Futurama got a LOT more comic mileage out of the concept. The ending was essentially a combination of two earlier Treehouse of Horror endings: Burns's head on Homer's body from the second one, and the inside-out chorus line from the fifth. So, yeah, not a very good episode. I'm hoping the rest of the season will be better.

Sunday, November 7
It's interesting how some people can use initials and expect everyone to understand what they mean. Like, people from New York will use "MSG" to mean "Madison Square Garden," but those initials immediately make me think of the stuff in Chinese food that makes you hungry two hours later. I mean, it's obvious from context that they AREN'T talking about Chinese food, but I think Beth had to tell me what "MSG" actually stood for when used as a place name. I've also seen "DDR" used to mean "Dance Dance Revolution," when I still think of it as meaning East Germany. Probably a lot of the people who play Dance Dance Revolution aren't old enough to remember when there WERE two different Germanys, though.

I'm Nicola Tesla! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Well, based on the desciption, I guess I DO have a love of Saltine crackers in common with him.

I've taken several of these religion quizzes, but this is the first one that seemed to actually be slanted toward Satanism.


You've probably studied loads of different religions, but you're just not sure if any of it is true. Evolution makes some sense to you, but it doesn't satisfy you. Lastly, your personality is one of question, but you won't go out of your way to find -The Truth- It's more of a hobby.

Oh, and as for question #8, I don't think anyone believes human life started with the Big Bang. Really, I think the Big Bang might have been a localized phenomenon. I mean, you can't really have the Universe being infinite AND having a beginning, can you? And if the Universe ISN'T infinite, then what's outside it? I guess it's possible that there's just empty space, but empty space isn't really nothing, is it? But I digress.

The new Simpsons "Halloween special" is airing tonight. I'll probably have some thoughts to post after seeing it.

Saturday, November 6
I've now seen several links and references to a list of states and who they voted for, ranked by IQ. While I agree that people who voted for Bush might not be the brightest individuals, the whole thing kind of bothers me. Not because the numbers might well be inaccurate, but because I get annoyed when people act like IQ is THE measure of intelligence, instead of just how well you do on some standardized test that nobody even seems to remember taking. I think it's more important for a voter to recognize the issues and what's at stake than to be able to solve logic puzzles. Maybe I'm just bitter because my mom tells me I gave up on the IQ test. Of course, I doubt they told me it was anything important. If I were to take the test now, I'd probably do pretty well on it. I've done well on the online IQ tests I've taken. I don't think this means I'm smart in any practical way, though. Indeed, if I were forced to rely on my wits to survive, I'd probably be dead within the week. And I don't have physical strength or good looks to fall back on, either.

Anyway, here are some quiz results.

You Are a New School Democrat

You like partying and politics - and are likely to be young and affluent.

You're less religious, traditional, and uptight than most Democrats.

Smoking pot, homosexuality, and gambling are all okay in your book.

You prefer that the government help people take care of themselves.

Hmm...some parts of that are correct, but I'm not "into partying." In fact, I generally don't like parties at all, and when "party" is being used as a verb, I'm even less likely to want to participate. Really, trying to determine someone's personality based on their political positions is an exercise in futility. I wouldn't say I'm "okay" with pot-smoking, either, although I don't think people should be thrown into jail for it.

My age


How old are other lj users are compared to me:

My age
There are 39220 lj users the same age as me.
Enter age:

LJ Age was bought to you by

Wow, I didn't know I was THAT old, relatively speaking. I figured I would be closer to the middle. I guess there ARE a lot of kids around these parts, though.

Wow, I'm pretty bitter today, aren't I?

Thursday, November 4
There's an article on AOL, allegedly from the Associated Press, that seriously includes the sentence, "Democrats love to fight the GOP, particularly those Democrats who vote in primaries and caucuses." All I can figure is that this is an editorial or something of the sort, and AOL just isn't telling us this. If it isn't, I fear for the journalism industry. (The author's name, for what it's worth, is Ron Fournier.)

Yeah, I guess that was kind of about the election, but it was more about a biased and poorly-written article.

For some reason, I couldn't access my e-mail at all from work. My attempts to do so caused Internet Explorer to crash. I'm still having trouble with it. My phone also lost service for a short while after work, when I was trying to call Beth. It's like there's some kind of anti-communication campaign against me.

Oh, and the video for "The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply," which can be found on the new Minus 5 EP, is pretty cool. I think putting videos on CDs is a good idea. I mean, that's a good reason right there to buy the CD instead of just downloading the songs.

I need to take a shower.

Wednesday, November 3
Well, it looks like Bush won. I'm sure there was some cheating involved, because I think there are a lot of people out there who get a kick out of cheating, even when it's of no real benefit to them. Overall, though, I think we have to face the cold, hard truth, which is that a lot of people LIKE brutal, totalitarian, barely literate leaders. Much of the United States, and probably much of the world, consists of people who are afraid of thinking, who prefer easy lies to complicated truths, and who figure that the status quo must be okay because, hey, THEY'RE doing all right. This philosophy is pretty much the hallmark of the Republican Party, but I think a lot of non-Republicans subscribe to it as well. I can definitely see its appeal. I mean, it's easy, and we all want life to be easy, right? When the system isn't serving you very well, though, and you constantly see other people who are getting TOTALLY screwed over, it's harder to subscribe to the conservative philosophy. Unfortunately, the philosophy is apparently common enough that Bush can ride it to victory not once, but twice. (And yes, I know he probably stole the last election, but he wouldn't have been able to if he hadn't gotten almost as many actual votes as Gore.)

Hmm, "riding the philosophy" is kind of an odd metaphor, isn't it?

Anyway, I'm disappointed, but I guess it's not the end of the world. Not yet, anyway. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens during Bush's second term. I think I've gotten into the state of resigned helplessness, where you realize that nothing can be done, and it sucks, but it's also kind of a relief in a way. Unless something else significant happens (which I suppose it very well might), this will probably be my last post on the election.

To start on my new trend of non-election blogging, I might as well mention that I picked up the new Minus 5 EP today. It's called At the Organ, and it's another project that they did with Wilco. I haven't listened to the whole thing yet, but it's pretty cool so far, and I like the sticker on the wrapping. "New seven-song EP featuring Scott McCaughey, Wilco, Peter Buck, and this awesome bar code!" I think I'll need to cut that out and save it.

Tuesday, November 2
I just finished reading The Grim Grotto, the eleventh book in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. I liked it quite a bit.


I find it interesting that, as the series goes on, the books become more complex and mysterious, and less formulaic. Interestingly enough, I think they're also less pessimistic, even in a humorous way. Several of the earlier books, especially The Miserable Mill and The Austere Academy, were largely centered around the Baudelaires being largely helpless in the face of utterly ridiculous hardships. In the later books, the children are more capable (not that they weren't incredibly capable for the ages they're supposed to be in the early books as well {g}), and, while bad stuff still happens, the general feeling of oppression and powerlessness isn't as prevalent. Indeed, Grotto even ends with the words "and the Baudelaire orphans climbed aboard, turning the tables of their lives and breaking the unfortunate cycle for the very first time." I do have to wonder how the whole thing will turn out. Just about anything could happen at this point, good, bad, or indifferent.

I like the way the mysteries of V.F.D. are being revealed, while new mysteries are still being added. I have to wonder whether the series was mapped out from the very beginning, and various minor details were intentional foreshadowing, or the author went back and worked these details into later plots. For instance, when a brief mention of Esmé Squalor's sugar bowl being stolen appeared in The Ersatz Elevator (I think; I can't the reference in a quick scan of the book), was it intended that the sugar bowl was going to become an important plot device in later books? If I had to guess, I would imagine that such details were originally just thrown in randomly, but the author became more careful with them in later additions to the series. The Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket was probably one of the earliest attempts to tie together references from earlier books, while dropping hints about later ones. Regardless of how it happened, it definitely shows that Mr. Handler/Snicket is a clever and careful writer. I should probably go back and look at the Unauthorized Autobiography again, not to mention other earlier books in the series.

Incidentally, I think I might know who the "J.S." who isn't Jacques Snicket is. I think I might have seen someone else guess the same thing when The Slippery Slope was the new book, but I'm not sure. It doesn't really matter, since it's actually a fairly obvious choice, and I'm likely to be wrong anyway.


I want this election stuff to be done with. Unfortunately, it looks like Bush is currently in the lead, but I don't know how accurate the results are at this point. I mean, they started calling some of the states before the polls even closed, and we all know what happened with Florida last year. So I haven't totally given up hope, but, well, I'm a naturally pessimistic person, and I'm worried.

Monday, November 1
Another day, another post nobody will care about.

So, as I'm sure you all know, yesterday was Halloween. The night before the actual day, Beth and I watched Halloween: Resurrection. It was pretty good, although I thought the new design for Michael Myers wasn't expressionless enough, or something like that. You could actually kind of see his eyes, and maybe it was just me, but it seemed like you could sometimes see a hint of expression in them. I mean, part of the point of Michael is that you can't see his face at all, so the new look didn't work as well as the old one. Maybe I'm just seeing things that aren't really there, though.

For the actual Halloween, Beth, her dog Dewey, and I all dressed up as pirates and went trick-or-treating. I know we're kind of old for that, and I don't really care about the candy anyway. I rarely even eat much of it. I love dressing up, though, and I don't know of anywhere that adults can dress up and do stuff for Halloween. I guess some people go to parties, but I'm not a party person, and it's not like I ever get invited to them anyway.

My pirate costume was largely thrown together, but I don't think it was much worse than the store-bought pirate costumes (although Beth did have a store-bought costume, and I did like it). I had a parrot for my shoulder, but it wouldn't stay in position, and was kind of uncomfortable to wear. Not that a real parrot WOULD be comfortable to have on your arm, but at least it would probably stay upright. I was actually thinking of being a pirate last year, and I bought an eyepatch, and, after I decided to be a doctor instead, I left the eyepatch in the trunk of my car for some time. Unfortunately, though, I took it out sometime in between then and now, and I left it at home, which I'm kind of annoyed about. I'm not sure I'm ever going to get any use out of that thing. Oh, well.

After trick-or-treating, Beth and I went out to eat at Bennigan's, and then came back to Beth's house and watched some Halloween things that she had on tape, including an episode of NewsRadio and a History Channel special called The Haunted History of Halloween. The special had a definite slant to it, presenting the many historical attempts to curb Halloween celebrations in a negative light. It's a slant I can agree with, though, so I have no problem with that.

So, I guess today is All Saints' Day, not that I celebrate that or anything, and tomorrow is Election Day. Since I've already voted, I guess I won't exactly be celebrating that either. I am anxious about it, though. I guess we'll finally find out whether the American people are stupid enough to vote for Bush, or he'll have to resort to cheating again. Either way, I don't hold out much hope. I guess we'll find out for sure soon, though, unless they have weeks of recounts again, which wouldn't exactly surprise me. It's annoying that the polls are so close, not only because I fail to see why anyone but the filthy rich would want to see four more years of Bush, but also because, if Bush were clearly losing in the polls, I think he would have less of a chance of stealing the election again, since it would look really suspicious. As it is, though, if Bush doesn't win fair and square (or as fair and square as it's possible to get with the electoral college in place), a few "lost" votes will probably be all it takes for Dubya to get another term. I hope I'll turn out to be wrong, though.