The moon above, and the stars in love, and the silv'ry Milky Way.
kitten   May 28, 2002

The tire shop next to the Waffle House where I spend far too much time often has pithy inspirational snippets plastered across it's marquee.

Tonight, as I moodily stalked the asphalt wasteland between that grimy roadside cafe and the bright neon of the gas station, the sign stood tall and well-lit above the otherwise dark and abandoned parking lot, and proclaimed:

Have an awesome day, and remember that someone thought of you today.
And my boots crunched gravel as I continued past, and gave the sign another glance.

And I thought: Yeah? Who?

To the forward command center take me.
kitten   May 24, 2002

The midday sun is harsh and bright above the city's veins of asphalt and concrete, and wind cuts through a cloudless sky. It courses through trees and leaves and alleyways; it forms whirling pockets of litter and debris scattered along the curb.

I sit in a tiny world of stainless steel, leather, glass, vinyl and rubber. Traffic lights mindlessly run through a rigamorale from red, green, and red again.

We humans use red to mean stop. To mean danger. Red cuts through all culture and language barriers and finds a simple understanding between people - the color of oxidized blood is what you'll see if you fail to heed our red warnings.

From the sidestreets and parking lots they come, wave after wave of them, like locusts through a famine-struck farmland: The graduating class of 2002, released from shackle and bondage of mandated sub-par education, now considered a part of the educated class, members of the intelligentsia, these former students who are now in the process of erasing every bit of useless trivia they allegedy 'learned' during their studies.

And I see them as they amble past or sit in traffic alongside me, row upon row upon pretty row of nameless generic blonde beauty, simple and unremarkable faces, with hair carefully dyed and cut to be indistinguishable from any other.

And I think, Henry Ford would be disturbed. And I think, a mass-produced generation. And I think of Huxley and his brave new world that has such people in it.

And I think: Begun the clone wars have.

And their equally vacuous boyfriends, Epsilons all, with bleached tips and baggy Adidas pants, blaring hard core music from their white Cameros, their Korn and Tool and bloody Linkin Park; I'm staring into space which happens to be the direction of their assembly-line-manufactured girlfriends, and they go into Macho Mode. They give me their best dirty look, a laughable attempt at a sneer on their blank young faces, a nonverbal challenge. And a boast: I've got her, and I've got this car, and you haven't.

All this, they communicate across open lanes and stretches of asphalt, without speaking.

And I'm thinking, gear down there, Big Shifter. I'm thinking, you've got the wrong idea.

I'm thinking, but don't challenge me. I'm thinking I'd almost like to see them do more than talk big, because I'm thinking about the katana in the back seat of my car and how I'd cut them from crotch to sternum like a rainbow trout.

But that would prove nothing, get me nowhere, and while I'd like to see some of them finally put in their place, I'm not the one to do it.

They are, after all, the leaders of tomorrow, full of bright potential and gloriously sailing into the shiny horizon of the future, and the sunlight reflections off the ranks and files of Mustangs, Cameros, Jeeps, and Explorers, all meticulously chromed and polished to a mirror finish, hurts my eyes.

Around the survivors, a perimeter create.
kitten   May 21, 2002
Warning: Discussion of Star Wars follows.

People were always asking me, did I know Mace Windu.

Star Wars II : Attack Of The Clones, owns me six ways from Sunday. I know this because Mace Windu knows this.

No spoilers here, really, but let me just say a few things:


1. Samuel Jackson fucking owns. Do you understand me? He owns you.
2. Anakin is quite the badass.
3. You have not lived until you've seen Yoda fighting with a lightsaber.
4. You have not lived until you've seen Yoda fighting with a lightsaber.
5. You have not lived until you've seen Yoda fighting with a lightsaber.
6. Repeat 3-5 as necessary.
7. Lucas has utterly redeemed himself for the mistakes of Phantom Menace, and has retaken his place upon the throne of God Among Filmmakers.

Jesus Christ With You Always on a Segway. Attack Of The Clones answers some important questions about the series as a whole while asking even more, and sets itself up to be the lynchpin that brings everything together.

A triumphant tour-de-force, Attack of the Clones is yet another brilliant installment in a sweeping epic that spans a universe, combining stunning visuals with densely plotted storylines and characters that draw the viewer into the political and socio-economic ramifications being played out.

Also, Yoda fights. With a lightsaber. I feel it's important to mention this.

If this post was incoherent and rambling - which I know it is - I feel that I have a legitimate excuse. I'm still attempting to pick my jaw off my sternum.

Jesus.

Where is the sun that shined on that hill?
kitten   May 18, 2002

I'm currently sipping beer that was shipped to me directly from Germany in a duct-taped cardboard box, compliments of Lasar and Marc, who felt that the best way to support German-American relations was to send us a care package of sorts.

Included therein was the aforementioned beer (two sixteen-ounce cans), around fifteen or so Kindereggs (small chocolate eggs with prizes inside that just kick the hell out of Cracker Jack nonsense), a package of playing cards, a lighter with a cat on it, and some sort of strange.. eyeball.. floaty.. thinger.

It's good that we know insane people. From Germany.

Deutschland, Deutschland, uber alles.

Mostly harmless.
kitten   May 15, 2002

It was one year ago today, ladies and gentlemen, that one of the finest writers in modern times died unexpectedly of a myocardial infarction. Douglas Adams, creator of the incomparable Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Dirk Gently holistic detective agency, and a suite of articles, satire, and radio scripts, was forty-nine years old.

Press release over.

Like so many countless millions the world over, I discovered the Guide almost by accident. I was sitting in the library between classes at summer school (gah), and saw a book entitled The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I thought that was a terribly clever name for a book, so I picked it up to whittle away the dreary and oppressive mornings spent indoors at the slavering pit of mediocrity that was summer school.

I was hooked immediately. It took me several chapters for me to realize there must have been a book or books that came before this one, but it didn't matter. Adam's irreverant humor, stinging wit, and rough-around-the-edges prose was as much a delight as the storyline which was almost, but not quite, entirely ridiculous, and seemed to meander in a most leisurely way from one absurd situation to another without any apologies to the reader for the silly journey - and the readers loved every minute of it.

This five-book trilogy (yes, that's correct) helped me and many others through our formitive years in ways that do not translate themselves easily to linguistics. Without intending to sound saccarine about it, I do think every Adams fan has their own reasons for taking the books to heart; for me, the Guide helped reshape my outlook on what unconventionally quality literature could be, and had an enormous hand in refining my sense of irreverant humor. The interactions I've had with other Guide fans, endless hours quoting, analyzing, inventing.. watching the "movies" (fairly horrible BBC miniseries adaptation) for the first time and still managing to say each line before the actors.. ah. It was a more simple time.. a time when men were real men and people cried out for the likes of Harry Truman.

There were very few topics that Douglas Adams didn't attack with a sharp barb of his sarcasm; religion, government, corporation, waiters, immortals, office clerks, and everyone in between - Adams had something to say about it, and did so with all the subtlety of an orbital nuclear strike. And more amazingly, he was able to seamlessly weave these into his storyline - such as it was - without coming off as forced or hackneyed.

Adams, the man who brought us Vogon poetry, towels, Babel Fish, Bugblatter Beasts, hyperintelligent shades of blue, Improbability physics, Bistro-driven starships, Milliway's, fjords, terminally depressed and paranoid androids, and a slew of intriguing characters and immensely quotable dialogue, was an atheist, so it is pointless to make such banal statements as "I hope he's happy wherever he is". Especially when you yourself are an atheist as well.

..But the man's memory deserves to be honored, and I strongly urge everyone who has read Adams' works to join me in participating in Towel Day. And those of you who haven't.. why not do yourself a favor, and pick up a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy at your nearest bookstore?

So long, Douglas, and thanks for all the fish.

On poetry.
kitten   May 9, 2002

There was a recent discussion on kuro5hin.org about the downward spiral that poetry appreciation has taken. Got me thinking a little.

In high school, when we "studied" poetry in "literature" "class" (all quotation marks are intentional), it amounted to one of the following:

  • Memorize a poem and recite it in front of the class. Usually, the whole class would have to memorize the same poem, so we'd get to waste the two class periods it took for thirty students to stumble, stutter, and stammer their way through it.
  • Analyze the rhyme scheme or meter.
  • Memorize a few useless facts about the poet's life which have absolutely zero bearing on the poem.
  • Listen to the teacher harp endlessly over an obscure "technique" employed by the poet.

    So on and so forth. It was a rare occasion indeed that we were invited to supply our interpretation of the poem's meaning, and on those rare occasions, if someone's answer did not match what the teacher's All Knowing Teacher's Edition book said, the teacher would berate the student at worst, or tell him he's just plain wrong at best. Leaves little room for creative interpretation or appreciation, eh.

    Memorizing a poem does not teach me how to appreciate poetry. It teaches me how to hate poetry.

    A mathematical analysis of the meter or rhyme does not teach me how to appreciate the artistic value of a poem. It teaches me to ignore the artistic value of a poem. (And furthermore we were never told why these things are important. Okay, great, such-and-such poem is written in iambic pentameter. That's all we were ever told; we were never informed why this is significant.)

    Knowing that the poet got married in 1625 does not help me comprehend the meaning of his words. It helps me divert my attention away from the meaning of his words.

    Listening to the teacher coo endlessly about how the poet used alliteration does not help me appreciate why alliteration is important or it's added value to a poem. It makes me go off into daydream land about the cute girl on the other side of the room, so I can escape this oppressive and boring idiocy. I think she smiled at me yesterday. I wonder if I should talk to her after class. Could be worth a try.. what would I say? She'd probably think I was a loser. Oh, hell, is she looking at me? She's looking at me! I bet my hair is messed up. Am I staring? Er...
    Yeah. Anyway. This goes double when the teacher grasps at straws to make his/her point. Merely because the poem happens to use two words in the same line that start with the same letter is not evidence of a deliberate use of alliteration - it happens from time to time in the English language. Get over it and try to come up with something better.

    Unfortunately, there are very few people interested in poetry today. Those few can be classified as one of the following:

  • Wannabe beat-poets who find the "counter-culture" culture appealing and wish to demonstrate what offbeat-yet-open-minded rebels of mainstream society they are and don't you just wish you could get inside their heads but oh ho ho they're too artsy for you bourgeoisie to ever comprehend;
  • Pretentious jerkoffs who write truly meaningless garbage and then loudly announce to everyone that they are 'poets';
  • Angst-ridden teenagers who scrawl lackluster, formulaic tripe into spiral-bound notebooks decorated with pictures of Trent Reznor and ballpoint drawings of wilting roses;
  • Those with some natural gift and talent for poetry and artistic insight.

    I'd say that the vast majority of so-called poets and poetry-lovers fall into one of the first three categories, while maybe 5% of that demographic gets the last category. Maybe.

    And the way public education handles poetry and poetry appreciation, I don't think this will change any time soon either.

    The third worst poetry in the universe is still, of course, Vogon poetry, and I leave you with that:

    Oh frettled gruntbuggly
    Thy micturations are to me
    As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee
    Groop I implore thee
    My foonting turlingdromes
    And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,
    Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts
    With my blurglecruncheon, see if I don't!

  • I know it hurts me to treat you this way.
    kitten   May 5, 2002

    We watched the May rain in the early dawn light, the water lashing against the asphalt below and rolling in languid waves down the windowpanes.

    "I want to shave you," she said into my ear.

    I settled back a bit further into her arms and she wrapped her legs around me.

    "I want to shave you too," I said quietly.

    She brought one slender hand away from my chest and up to my face, softly running her fingertips along my chin.

    "No," she said, "I mean I really want to shave you. With an old-fashioned straight razor, you know? A nice steel one with a black handle. I know where I can get one, too, at Blue Harbor. Smooth you over with lavender oil first," she explained, exploring my jawline with the backs of her delicate fingers, "and use shaving soap, the kind you put in a mug. Lather it up with a brush, a good one, not the cheap kind at the supermarket. Real badger hair," she said.

    She took a sip from her brandy glass and set it back on the sidetable, the candle there flickering from her movement. "And use hot water, scalding hot, build up a thick lather, and paint it," she whispered, "on your face. Like an artist and canvas. And the razor would be soaking in a bowl of hot water, too, so when I actually shave you, it cuts close, smooth. And I'd use that bowl of water to get the extra soap off after each cut, wipe it off with a little terrycloth towel, and do it again, until there wasn't a bit of stubble anywhere. Cut so close it wouldn't come back for another day and a half."

    She paused and sighed, almost imperceptably. "And afterwards," she continued, "I'd finish it off with some aftershave. Aftershave oil. Like sandalwood," she finished, "and you'd smell delicious." She leaned forward a bit, her cheek pressed against mine, and nuzzled my ear with her nose. "What do you think?"

    "That," I said after a moment, "would be great."

    There's no way I'm letting her anywhere near me with a razor.

    Suburbia, we hardly love ye.
    kitten   May 1, 2002

    <kitten> I love the disclaimer at the top: Please wait for the sound to load. It's worth the wait!
    <kitten> I mean, to think that there are actually people who would find this page endearing or cute.
    <kitten> You know what kind of people these are?
    <kitten> I'll tell you.
    <kitten> I can profile them right now.
    <Danelope> Dear God.
    <kitten> They're all middle-aged, about 40 to 50 years old, slightly overweight, working menial office jobs as data entry clerks or paralegals, where they (unfortunately) have access to email and IE, and they forward each other ten thousand HTML-laden emails every holiday, or whenever they think something is "cute", "clever", "inspirational", or "charming".
    <kitten> They have pictures of their 2-year-old children on their desk in gold heart shaped frames, even though the picture is from 1978 and the kid is in college.
    <kitten> They all think "Cathy" is fucking hysterical.
    <Danelope> And Ziggy.
    <kitten> Yes, and Ziggy.
    <Danelope> Their favorite TV show is still The Bob Newhart Show.
    <kitten> They wear glasses on their nose and type slowly, and think it's funny that they don't know anything about the multi-thousand dollar computer they use every day.
    <kitten> And Mary Tyler Moore.
    <Danelope> They use expressions like 'gosh golly'.
    <kitten> They have small rag dolls built around wooden hearts painted red with white lettering that says something like "home sweet home".
    <Danelope> Haha. I should set up insanity.html to popup goatse.cx fullscreen when you close the window.
    <kitten> What else, what else.
    <kitten> They all have short hair.
    <kitten> That's a given.
    <Danelope> They have middle-aged woman moustaches.
    <kitten> Maybe some of them.
    <_Lasar> The women.
    <Danelope> They talk about people "having a bad case of the Mondays".
    <kitten> haha.
    <Danelope> They're always "watching their figure".
    <Danelope> They drink Tab.
    <kitten> They take an apple and a can of Slim Fast to work.
    <Danelope> Hahaha. Tab.
    <kitten> And Diet Coke.
    <kitten> They love Diet Coke.
    <kitten> No, wait.
    <kitten> They don't.
    <kitten> Diet Coke is too adventurous.
    <kitten> Tab it is.
    <kitten> Caffiene free Tab, mind you.
    <Danelope> The last movie they saw in the theater was Fried Green Tomatoes.
    <kitten> Oh.
    <kitten> I got it.
    <kitten> They all have one or another version of Chicken Soup books.
    <kitten> Some of them probably have the whole set.
    <kitten> They like Oprah Winfrey.
    <Danelope> They all have some sort of rainbow/crystal thing hanging from their rearview mirrors.
    <kitten> haha.
    <Danelope> Maybe even a dreamcatcher.
    <Danelope> Which they think is "quaint" because it's "ethnic".
    <kitten> And "My Kid Is An Honor Student", from eight years ago.
    <vixnix> why are you talking about my mom?
    <Danelope> Some of them still have sun-faded Garfields suction-cupped to their car windows.
    <kitten> They have a calendar on their desk. "365 Darndest Children Quotes".
    <kitten> They haven't taken any pages off since January 8.
    <Danelope> No, no.
    <Danelope> It's something inspirational.
    <Danelope> "Daily Motivation"
    <kitten> No, you fool. The Inspirational thing is for the screensaver.
    <Danelope> No, no. The screensaver is random pictures of puppies.
    <kitten> haha.
    <Danelope> Puppies in baskets. With big bows tied around their necks.
    <kitten> They have a tattered photocopy pinned on their cubicle wall that says "Jesus Woke You Up This Morning, Trust Him To Take Care Of Today's Problems".
    <Danelope> Also, photocopied Far Side cartoons from 1990.
    <Danelope> Preferably the 'Spamelope' one.
    <Danelope> Or the speedwalking cheetas.
    <kitten> At home they have paintings of two six year olds, a boy and a girl, sitting next to each other on a bench or a rock, viewed from behind.
    <Danelope> Hahaha.
    <Danelope> Or clay figurines of the same.
    <Danelope> Which my mother actually owns.
    <Danelope> Hahaha.
    <kitten> And those stupid handprint things their kid made when he was in kindergarden 17 years ago.
    <kitten> If there's a leaf or some dirt on your ass from whatever, they say "You have something on your seat."
    <Danelope> "Fanny".
    <kitten> Or that.
    <Danelope> They snort when they laugh.
    <Danelope> Not in the obnoxious nerd way, but in the giggling middle-aged secretary way
    <kitten> They play tennis.
    <_Lasar> Badly.
    <kitten> Very badly.
    <kitten> And wear those visors.
    <Danelope> No, they don't play tennis.
    <Danelope> If anything, they play badminton.
    <kitten> That's too exotic, Dan.
    <Danelope> Tennis requires too much effort.
    <kitten> They play tennis because the rest of the neighborhood does.
    <kitten> Not if you just stand there. Which they do.
    <_Lasar> Haha... The office assistant is actually harrassing me. Also, I can't tell it to fuck off..
    <kitten> *POP* I see that you are making fun of middle-aged women.
    <Danelope> They work out by doing ten repetitions with two-pound hand weights.
    <kitten> hahahaha
    <kitten> Yes, they do.
    <kitten> The kind covered in cheap magenta foam.
    <Danelope> Hahaha.
    <kitten> With the little hand guard over the actual bar.
    <Danelope> They wear New Balance shoes. They call them 'sneakers'.
    <kitten> And they have videos like "Dennis Austin's Fitness". Still in the cellophane.
    <Danelope> They have a bird feeder in a tree in the backyard that they've filled ONCE and will allow it to hang there empty until it rots and falls out of the tree.
    <kitten> Yes, and it's painted like a house.
    <Danelope> They own a lhasa apso or a small terrier of some sort.
    <kitten> Or a Jack Russel terrier.
    <kitten> Yes.
    <Danelope> Some little shit dog without any personality.
    <Danelope> That reflects their lack of personality.
    <kitten> No, it has personality. "BARK BARK BARK YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP".
    <kitten> Personality = egotistical, obnoxious windbag that never shuts up
    <Danelope> They eat microwave popcorn. Unbuttered. Even unsalted, sometimes.
    <kitten> No no.
    <kitten> They load it with salt and butter, and have a Diet Coke.
    <Danelope> They only do that on weekends, when they "splurge" after having "watched their figure" all week.
    <kitten> Oh, my mistake, you're quite right.
    <kitten> They have 5-dollar prints of ducks that they got from Wal Mart.
    <kitten> Usually hanging in the bathroom for some inexplicable reason.
    <kitten> Next to the small scented soaps shaped like seashells.
    <Danelope> Because ducks float in water, and there's water in the bathtub.
    <kitten> Oh.
    <kitten> Yes, of course.
    <kitten> They refer to their friends as "the girls" or "the ladies".
    <Danelope> Their hobby is primarily knitting, and they knit ten rows per year on an afghan that will never be finished, and if it ever IS finished, it will certainly be hideous.
    <kitten> They wear huge dangly bracelets and Lee press on nails, and complain about how hard it is to type.
    <kitten> They "belong" to Weight Watchers, which means they paid a membership fee three years ago and have a point-scoring card buried in their car somewhere under the sugarless gum wrappers in the glove compartment, which also contains really ugly plastic sunglasses.
    <kitten> Which they've never worn.
    <kitten> They forget their screensaver password every day.
    <Danelope> If they "go to the pool", they stand on the steps in the shallow end and use their hands to splash water onto their legs. And then they towel off and go home.
    <kitten> haha.
    <kitten> Yes. While wearing a black one piece swimsuit with underwire, a white tennis visor, and blue pearly sunglasses.
    <kitten> And lipstick.
    <Danelope> No, no. The sunglasses should be the kind you could get in a Happy Meal in 1987.
    <Danelope> Black plastic with neon pink earpieces.
    <kitten> hahaha.
    <kitten> Yeah, I suppose it could be those too.
    <Danelope> They secretly consider their sex life adventurous because, once per year, instead of the missionary position, they try woman-on-top. Their 45-year-old husbands are named Bill.
    <Danelope> They "go wild" by dyeing their hair a shade indiscernably lighter than usual.
    <Danelope> For which all of their friends compliment them endlessly.
    <Danelope> "Oh my, Kathy! You look fantastic!"
    <Danelope> Every meal they cook is a casserole.
    <Danelope> The recipe for which they obtained from a late-1970's cookbook they've owned since they graduated high school.
    <kitten> Their names are Cathy, Linda, or Suzy.
    <kitten> They get giggly wasted after a glass and a half of wine.
    <kitten> Well, they don't fill the glasses properly, so really it's only one glass.
    <Danelope> And if you ask them if they want a drink, they always ask for "just a smidge".
    <kitten> hahah@#$
    <kitten> They spend Saturdays going to the spa with "the girls" getting their nails done, spending an hour and a half under the heat-dryer thing, and when all is said and done they don't look any different.
    <kitten> But once again the friends compliment them. Incessently.
    <kitten> They have twenty three books on gardening on their "bookshelf" which they've never looked at, used, or referenced.
    <kitten> I say "bookshelf" because in reality it's an off-white credenza unit that holds miscellaneous garbage, trinkets, knickknacks, and fitness videos.
    <kitten> They watch Lifetime.
    <kitten> They think the Golden Girls is hilarious, and they have a secret crush on the bartender from Cheers. I can't think of his name.
    <kitten> And Mel Gibson. They really like Mel Gibson.
    <kitten> They refer to him as a "hunk".
    <Danelope> They tell people they watch "Will & Grace" proudly, because they feel it makes them enlightened and gives them street cred with the gay community.
    <Danelope> They don't understand that most of the jokes on "Will & Grace" are about sex.
    <Danelope> If they did, they would be mortified, and would go back to watching 20/20.
    <kitten> Because Barbera Walters, along with Oprah Winfrey, is their personal hero.
    <kitten> On Hillary Clinton they're divided straight down the middle. One half of them despises her, the other half hails her as a national icon. Neither of them can give you one reason why they think the way they do.
    <kitten> They vote along party lines, regardless of the candidate. If they vote at all.
    <kitten> They feel patriotic because they baked a cake on Sep 12.
    <kitten> If you offer them cheesecake, they snicker at each other and say "Oh, I really shouldn't," and take it anyway.
    <kitten> While consuming the cheesecake they discuss how "bad" they're being, but it's okay because they've been "pretty good" about their diet so far.
    <kitten> The diet they've been on for two weeks.
    <Danelope> And have cheated on every day.
    <Danelope> They call the remote control a 'clicker'.
    <kitten> !
    <kitten> haha
    <Danelope> They call the refrigerater an 'icebox'.
    <kitten> I'm blogging this shit. :)
    <Danelope> Haha.
    <Danelope> This goes in 'utter crap'.

    Extreme caution is advised. I'm not joking.
    [homeslice] Andy: http://www.funpages.com/apple.htm [kitten] oh my god. [kitten] That's horrendous. [kitten] Wait, I can't hear the music. [kitten] hold on [kitten] @#$ [kitten] I WISH I WAS DEAD [kitten] THAT IS THE MOST HORRIBLE THING I HAVE EVER@#$% [kitten] OH MY GOD [kitten] I FUCKING HATE Y@O%U [homeslice] Hhahaa.
    I feel that my reaction there is sufficient warning. If you click that link, don't come whining to me afterwards.

    . . . . .

    Addendum: This is the conversation that followed. I find it highly amusing. I think we can all agree it's ridiculously accurate.

    That scares me.