Archive for September, 2006

like a horse and carriage

Well hey, we already had our own Heimatlandsicherheithauptamt, so obviously we needed an Ermächtigungsgesetz to go with it. You can’t have your pudding if you don’t eat your meat and all that.

(Before anyone says it: I knew Mike Godwin. I trolled with Mike Godwin. You, sir, are no Mike Godwin.)

email issues

Some kind soul decided to dump SEVENTY-EIGHT THOUSAND spam messages destined for a domain I provide backup mail service for onto my server.

Mail to or from me, or any domain hosted on my server, may be a bit laggy for the next few hours as I dig throught he mess.

Remember: kneecapping spammers is a mitzvah.

help me waste my time more efficiently

A few weeks ago, I did something a little embarrassing: I became the last person in north america to buy a PS/2, and I did it primarily so that I could play Guitar Hero.

That’s kind of sad, and since the PS2 has been out for nearly 5 years now, there are several hundred if not thousand other games available for the platform. Many of them are in the $5-15 bargain bin.

I put it to my well-informed friends: which ones should I buy?

Some calibration:

— I’m already embarrassed enough about having bought the custom controller for Guitar Hero; there will be no more of that. It should be playable with the standard DualShock.

— (Probably) No RPGs, no RTSs, no Fighters. I know Final Fantasy XVIIEXIDFASDFASDF is the bees’ knees, and that Age of Empires is brilliant, but most of them leave me cold. Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast is the only arena fighting game I’ve ever enjoyed.

— First-person shooters on consoles are an abomination.

— Really good design makes me weep with joy. Some games that have done that in the past: Crazi Taxi. GTA3. Soul Calibur. Tempest. Robotron. Dungeon Master II. Zork II. Half-Life. Team Fortress Classic.

Recommend away, please!

story structure

Exposition: submitted two questions to Doctor Hal.

Rising action: was rewarded with two shots of Fernet

Climax: two shots of fernet plus three beers equals ouch ouch my head oh lord this was a bad idea.

Denouement: I was not quite drunk enough to get into Chicken John’s bus to drive to Santa Rosa to return the driver’s license he’d found in the Haight last week.

Moral: Ask Doctor Hal is every Wednesday at 12 Galaxies. You should come next time.

good night and good luck

A small postscript.

I never seem to tire of telling people that Chris Bray, AKA “Ambrose Beers” of the late, deeply lamented Suck.Com completely and totally saw it coming, six years ago. (And by “never tire”, I mean that I suspect that close friends of mine may yet snap and start screaming the next time I link to those two essays.)

History doesn’t lack for a sense of irony: Bray is currently deployed to Iraq.

Here’s a small hope that he and everyone he knows there makes it back, alive and unscathed.

wish you were here


Five years on, and I have come to think that nothing at all should be built in their place. The quiet dust, the exposed girders, the chain-link fences, the empty hole in the city’s heart: this is the best of all possible memorials. In a place where real estate is the most valuable commodity of all, choosing emptiness is the hardest and greatest thing. Cool pools of water surrounded by discreetly placed gift shops and soaring office towers: no. It would be a lie, a glossing-over, a deliberate choice not to remember.

When we are all dead, when those people who lost and grieved and wept on that day have left the earth, then let the imagineers come with their polished marble and their carefully chosen tear-jerking but inoffensive images and their dramatic re-enactments and turn this place into another Gettysburg, another Lexington Green: a place where blood was shed once, but now park rangers walk slackly and tourists gawk. It will happen, but let it happen after I am gone.

Five years on, I am in a place I never would have predicted: I am somewhere else. But part of me stays, always.

the yellow(ing) wallpapercarpet

A small addition to the list of things that my dream apartment/house will never, under any circumstances, have:

Wall-to-wall white carpet.
Seriously, who thought that putting this stuff into any kind of living space was a good idea? Even if my cats didn’t regard horking as a competitive sport (and they do: the world finals are usually held at 3am), the normal grind of boots, food droppings and sloshed drinks — which in an apartment with wood or laminate floors is cause for nothing more than a grumbling grab for the paper towels — is guaranteed to turn this stuff into a calico quilt of ugly.

After four hours with a rental steam cleaner, I’ve got it looking… mostly a bit better than it was when we moved in. Yes, the landlord allegedly had it professionally cleaned before we moved in. I conclude from this that either he hired incompetents, has a higher tolerance for weird stains on carpet than me, or that I’m just more persistent at this than sane people.

Dear brilliant friends who live in homes with carpet: how the hell do you deal with this? Lots of area rugs? Just ignore it? Hire professionals? Buy your own steam cleaner? I’m all ears.

a one-line review of Matthew Barney’s “Drawing Restraint 9”


Worst. Day-Spa. Ever.