Friday, April 30, 2004
Either use yesterday's topic, or this one. Or both.
PLEASE DON'T YELL AT MY EMAIL
What does a Beltane costume look like? Just a well-placed May pole?
by MisterNihil 11:52 AM
Thursday, April 29, 2004
(scene from an Italian restaurant)
by jal 11:33 AM
The original planned didn’t call for them to live as long as they did; we intended to return some 1000 or so years earlier. However, things come up and we were delayed due to the great rift space storm and so didn’t return to the third planet until quite some while after we intended. The first colonists therefore found food to be more than abundant. In fact, the herd was so plentiful that we started bringing in sport hunters to thin the herd. Had we not there would have been a very real danger of them turning on one another for purposes of survival and everyone agreed that that would have been cruel.
One unexpected side effect of the herd’s over-population was the effect it had on the atmospherics. An unplanned boon as it happened. The overly rich oxygen-based atmosphere and a global average temperature that tended to be just slightly too cool for our comfort was mitigated by the herd’s tendency to poison its own environment. And, while obviously none of their primitive structures were of any use to us, having the raw materials conveniently available to be recycled proved quite beneficial.
Against our recommendations some of the earlier settlers kept members of the herd as pets. Had they been, say, a few hundred thousand years more evolved it’s possible they would have made reasonably good slaves. As it happened however, these settlers soon tired of their pets and they were repurposed to their intended use of food. All-in-all I would describe the crop a success and are using a sample of it to seed three other worlds even now.
by Shawn 12:57 AM
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
A popular tale says that the inventor of the fluroescent lightbulb was unable to get a company to produce it. Not because it was an inferior product, but because it was a superior product. It didn't burn out. The lifespan of a bulb was measured in decades. No bulb manufacturer wanted to make it because they'd sell a bunch and then have no sales whatsoever. Supposedly, the inventor changed the design of the bulb so that it burned out earlier, and then the fluroescent bulb hit the market.
True? Who knows? It's plausible enough. Stories like that make it easy to demonize planned obsolesence, but it has its uses. The entire computer industry relies on planned obsolesence. The average computer manufacturer assumes that you'll use the computer you have for about 3 years, then buy a new one. This isn't the most noble example of planned obsolesence, but it keeps the enconomy rolling...
Tools for managing increasing burdens need to be created with an understanding of planned obsolesence. Highways, databases, networks... The question is not if they'll need improvement -- it's when. If you assess the load on a street, predict the trend accurately, and build a highway with the understanding that it'll take 2 years to do and be obsolete in 12, then you know to start building again in 11 years or so. You can have your funds, planning, and resources all prepared in advance.
Used for evil, it's a tool to make you buy stuff you wouldn't need otherwise. Used for good, it's a way to prepare for future change.
by jal 8:58 PM
We never meant them to be ubiquitous. You have to understand that. There were meant to be six iterations in the first six years, and the consumer was meant to go buy a new one each time. We didn't anticipate the reaction to Iteration Three.
It1 went as planned. We moved the entire run of twenty-five hundred units. People who had one loved them, but not everybody knew about them. The next year, we went back to the factory and added protective belting and a choice of colors. The run of thirty-five hundred was gone in six months. When we allowed the company to be sold, they wanted to go back to the factory and make more of It2. We explained the plan to them. They were pretty insistant. They said they could make the new It2s in China for half-cost and have them ready to go for Christmas. We dragged our feet, fought every step of the way, and eventually it was time to release It3. We added a single folding bucket seat and a tape deck. They disappeared. We ran out of our twelve thousand almost before they could hit the showrooms. There was talk again of legislation that would set the age at which a person could have one at 18. The beauty of having a corporation behind you is they can spread money around and keep that kind of legislation from happening. I still get a little thrill when I see a five-year-old and an old It3.
The It3, it turned out, was the end of the dream. The corp intercepted the plans on the way to the factory and set up a new factory in Asia. The twelve thousand were gone and people were clamoring for more. Like magic, out came It3s, up to spec and ready to be sold. The engineers started pouting, but still went about adding AI and a rumble seat to the the It4, which would run on hybrid gas and electric power. It would be ready for manufacture in time for the rush in March. When they announced the plans were completed, a third run of It3s hit the market. This caused some consternation among the former owners, but they couldn't do anything. Another run hit the street in November. Demand remained high through Christmas.
When the It4s came out, they met a tepid reaction at best. Only half of the run was gone by April. There were still six thousand for sale at dealerships around the country by July, when the Chinese It4s came out. Plans for It5 were completed in August. The It5 was a thing of beauty: lots of chrome, CD player and air bags. It wasn't appreciably different from the It4, but it sure looked prettier. We manufactured ten thousand, and sold them by the summer. There were now simultaneously three Iterations on the market at once. They compteted with each other, and the company added features and options. This caused so much agitation that the engineering team all prepared resignation letters to be turned in after the completion and release of It6 in March.
The It6 was completely electric. It could run on solar power, be plugged in, or activate a tiny fission reaction to keep itself powered long enough to get re-juiced. It had better AI than the old models and we took out the uncomforatble and dangerous rumble seat and folding bucket. Now, you strapped onto the back of the unit. Sure, it could only hold one, but it was so the porche of the line. The It6 was made of clear Alumina, and stood eight feet tall. As severance, the engineering team took the first six out of the plant. I got one as well, when I left Flying Robots Inc. in April.
by MisterNihil 12:07 PM
by Bryan 5:44 AM
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Yeah, I'm trying to think of a story to write and one isn't ocming, so I'll just write what comes to mind instead.
Me? I don't have too many old friends. I have lots of former friends whom I've drifted out of touch with, but very few friends that I've kept in touch with for an extended period of time. For a long time, the role of "longest friend" would have gone to Chris W., but we haven't communicated for... gee, at least a year now. So the friend I've had for the longest time would be Jeremy B. right now. Last time I talked to him was about a month ago or more.
It's not that I don't like people. I like people just fine. I'm just bad at keeping in touch with people who aren't present. It doesn't mean that I don't think about them, or that I don't like / love them. They just aren't here; they aren't present, you know?
Sometimes I think about contacting old friends from high school, but I know that they've gone on to become different people that what I knew then. There'd be no significant connection between us. I imagine that's the difference between an, "old friend," and a, "stale friend." Friendship requires contact and maintenance. I'm only really good at maintaining things that are right in front of me. So, as I travel through life, I'm accumulating a small horde of stale friends, very few old friends, and a nucleus of current friends.
by jal 5:39 PM
by Shawn 12:44 PM
Monday, April 26, 2004
I feel so much less cultured than Bryan. My strongest memory of that phrase is from a Pink Floyd song ("Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.").
But speaking of "Dig that hole, forget the sun," I need to run off to work, and can't spend 10 minutes here reflecting on Floyd.
After all, "I've got a strong urge to fly, but I've got nowhere to fly to."
[It's actually morning, but I backdated it to put it below Bryan's post.]
by Sharon 11:55 PM
I used more than ten minutes on this because I had to think of the first time I heard this phrase before I could start writing. I knew that Thoreau wrote it down and that John Keating said it somewhere in between "carpe diem" and "Oh Captain, my Captain"...but my first recollection of it went something like this...
"...The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. An American said that and he was right. But there are no lives of quiet desperation here. Desperation yes, but quiet I don't think so. Not today. Today we are going to make a joyful noise..."
This is from a musical called "Assassins". In the scene, John Wilkes Booth and several other presidential assassins have assembled to try to convince Lee Harvey Oswald not to kill himself, but to kill John Kennedy. Without Oswald, they argue, they are merely footnotes in the annals of Americana, but with him, they are a force of history. With him they gain notoriety and fame - not for themselves of course, but for their causes...giving a louder voice to Emma Goldman or Charles Manson, professing undying love for Jodie Foster...or Charles Manson.
I have a grasp on what I think these two words mean, as I'm sure everyone else does...and I'm sure we all have a slightly different meaning. The line itself seems to be most often used to motivate the mass of men to not be quiet. It reminds me to not be desperate. I have no story to write, certainly not one that can depict quiet desperation better than 10 people convincing another man to shoot the leader of the free world so that they can all go from "footnote" to "force".
I just wanted to say hi to everyone and apologize for being gone for so long. I hope to be a more active footnote on your computer screens in the future.
Hope y'all are well.
by Bryan 9:51 PM
by Fred 8:52 AM
Sunday, April 25, 2004
What an odd coincidink, Margaret and I had planned on dinner and a movie today as well. If any of you have kids you know that such things as going out to dinner or a movie, to say nothing of dinner AND a movie, alone, is a rarity that does indeed demand planning; it doesn't just happen. But, I digress as is so often the case.
So, we had a sitter lined up, a movie planned and even a Thai restaurant in mind. The only thing we had not foreseen, had not planned on, had not worked a contingency plan around, was what an absolutely lovely day it turned out to be. Too lovely in fact to spend sitting in a dark theatre watching Hell Boy. So, we went kayaking. Ok, this in itself is no great thing in that, being out doorsie folks living in the northwest we spend most of our free time out hiking, biking and being generally, well, out doorsie. What made this unusual was, well, first and foremost, doing it without the kids, but secondly doing it in the middle of Seattle.
Seattle is surrounded by, broken up by and in many ways defined by water. Lakes, rivers, sound, ocean we got water aplenty. So, while there are any number of lakes and rivers near by in which one can go boating there's also a great many places within spittin' distance of the downtown area to put in (isn't that a charming expression). So, we did. I was struck by how peaceful it could be sitting in the middle of lake surrounded by skyscrapers, drawbridges, mountains and sail boats all around.
We're not boating people per se other than canoes and kayaks. We're not urban people per se yet live a mere 20 minutes from one of the largest cities (albeit in a forest). Still, water level offers a unique perspective on a city.
Oh yeah, the food was good too.
by Shawn 11:59 PM
Saturday, April 24, 2004
Long before I came to Austin, I'd thought of creating a movie theatre / coffehouse in State College, PA. There was a prime location on College Avenue (the main venue in town) that had a ground level and a basement. I figured that we could knock out most of the ground floor, creating a large open gallery with rows of seats or booths that faced forward. The back of the location would be a stage with a movie screen. The upper balcony would be where the coffeehouse and projector would be. It'd be closed off from the lower section by large plexiglass windows to the sound of people coming in and talking wouldn't disrup the movie.
Although I have no doubt that a theater / coffeehouse would be an instant hit in State College, these plans never came to fruition. Theoretically, I could have written a business plan that could have gotten me the loan required to make this a reality. The odds of actually getting a loan of the magnitude required for a venture like that, having almost no cash and nothing to offer as collatteral for the loan, were slim at best. Just the cost of ripping out a floor and remodeling the space to suit the needs of the plan, let alone getting a movie projector and someone to operate it (and getting second-run films), would have been very expensive.
The location in question turned into a bagel bakery / coffehouse, bringing the total in State College at that time to eight? Nine? It could have been fun, but it would have been hard to start.
And I never would have moved to Austin. That'd've been a shame.
by jal 11:57 PM
I don't know that I would have said "nice." Well, dinner was nice, and the date was nice, and the movie was cool, but I don't think it was nice. ("I'm never nice, but I can be... sweet.")
I still want a samarai sword. *pout*
by Sharon 11:55 PM
Sharon and I just enjoyed a nice
dinner and a movieat the Alamo Drafthouse.
by jal 8:12 PM
Friday, April 23, 2004
It was nice to know that some things didn't change. The room still smelled of old books and old men and fear and justice. It was a comforting smell. Alyce flexed her knuckles, and they popped raucously. This was where she belonged.
Becoming a professional juror had been a natural extension of her previous work as an internet columnist. She had honed her art so fine that she could award a number of stars and write the review after hearing only the title. Swift adjudication of people was far easier, since in one 10-second assessment, you could drink in scads of data--name, ethnicity, a guilty cast to the shoulders, shiftiness in the eyes. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
Other jurors filed in, and Alyce recognized a number of regulars. She inclined her head in a nod of professional courtesy, which they returned. They shuffled and arranged themselves and settled. An electric charge hung in the air--this would be a good one. Something about "free" speech and another pathetic plea for attention from some malcontent.
The baliff led the defendant in by the leash of his manacles. Alyce ran her critic's eye over the accused: long hair; gaunt; glasses; Birkenstocks; a t-shirt with a pithy in-joke. The audacity to make eye contact. The jury stood as one and gave vent to their unanimous decision.
It was satisfying to squelch the self-righteous.
by Sharon 4:18 PM
by Sharon 1:40 PM
Thursday, April 22, 2004
"...And when the Sun sets over the East, then the darkness will devour all." She closed the hefty tome with reverence. The thud of its cover echoed through the columned hall, causing cobwebs to shiver and shake; candles to flicker and flash. Shadows danced wildly on the walls. I repressed a shudder.
"But that's not very likely, with what we know about how this Earth rotates around the sun." I balled my left hand into a fist and passed my right pointer finger around it clockwise several times. Landra stared at me, unimpressed. I put on my best optimistic smile, "Right?"
Landra rolled her eyes upward for an instant and sighed. One of those long-suffering, why-do-I-always-have-to-explain-the-obvious sighs. She stepped down off the dais and walked over to the mosaic that lined the southern wall. "See that line that runs along the top of the wall?" I nodded. It was about three inches wide and ran the length of three walls -- at least 2,000 feet. Every now and then it changed from black tile to white tile or vice versa. She pointed at the pictures below it. "This is a chronological pictorial of this Earth's geological history." I nodded to feign comprehension, hoping I'd catch up soon. She pointed back at the line above it. "That line represents the polarity of the planet's magnetic field." I noded some more. Landra looked at me and sighed again. "You're not getting a thing I'm saying, are you?"
I shrugged. "Sorry, but I'm not." She grabbed my hand and guided me to the end of the line and pictures.
"Here at the end, it's white. It's the longest white segment we've seen thus far."
The light bulb went on. "So it's due to flip back to black soon, right?"
I'd swear she almost smiled. "Good. So what happens if the magnetic field flips?"
"West becomes east and east becomes west?" The words came out before I considered the ramifications of what I'd said. "Oh. Oh crap."
Now Landra was smiling. Not the happy-to-see-you-let's-get-lunch smile, but the understanding-how-cleverly-you-were-conned smile. "Right. Crap. Now help me wrap this tome. It's getting late and we have to get back to the University as soon as possible."
by jal 5:44 PM
"When the sun sets over Uranus, maybe then we'll talk."
She stuck her tongue out at him.
"God, you're so childish," he said. "Uranus. What're you, like, twelve? That's not even funny."
"No, you're not." Again with the tongue. "I don't see what the big deal is," she said. "There hasn't been an attack reported in, like, eight or nine weeks. Daryl says they've been cleared out."
"Oh. Daryl says. Well I guess Daryl knows."
"He knows a guy in Special Forces. They were in high school together. And SF hasn't seen a vamp-attack in this part of town in two months."
"You don't know that," he said. "Not everybody reports vampires. And almost nobody reports incubi or succubi."
"Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you? Pervert. I bet you're just dying to get succubi'ed."
"Noooo. I'm just saying, let's wait until the sunset's over before we assume there's none of them out there, okay? Everybody says that's when they're most active."
"That's not what Daryl says."
"Daryl. Hmph." He looked out the window at the setting sun. "If we don't see anything the first hour it's dark, we'll assume it's okay to go, all right?"
"And in the meantime, we're gonna be late for the concert."
"Hey, I'm not the one who got us lost in this part of town."
"Oh bite me."
"No, my dear," said a voice from the shadows by the door. "I'm afraid that would be my job."
by Fred 3:06 PM
When The Sun Sets Over ______
Fill it in. Write about it. Enjoy.
by MisterNihil 10:12 AM
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
The day ain't over yet.
by Fred 3:30 PM
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
"No, Stock, you're supposed to go up. They won't come down to you."
"Oh." David Stockton eyed the stairs warily, as if just looking at them for too long would cause them to collapse. They looked not at all stable. "How many flights did you say it was?"
"Seventeen," said Bridge. "That's -- no, wait, sorry. Eighteen. I forgot they don't number the rooms on this floor."
"Seventeen floors." Stockton sighed.
"Oh, aye, well they wanted to be near the roof, of course. In times of, y'know, aerial necessity."
Stockton eyed his companion. He had never known Bridge to lie -- he sometimes wondered if the man was even capable -- but this was different. He'd never brought Stockton a story like this.
"No one else has seen them, Bridge," Stockton said. "At least, not where they roost. City council's been under the impression they can't be tracked. Everyone who's tried it's gone mad or got dead. Mayor Blake's all but given up. So how'd you manage to find them?"
Bridge smiled. "I didn't," he said. "They came to me. And they told me to bring you.
Again, Stockton eyed his companion. The man had a strange look on his face, a look of what Stockton would have guessed was pure contentment. He'd seen the look before, or heard it described. Encounters with the things on the seventeenth floor were rare -- and even rarer still when they did not end in madness or bloodshed -- but they had been known to occur. And those who walked away were said to possess and almost religious-like glow about them.
"You know," said Stockton, "there's no evidence to suggest they're really angels."
He started to climb.
by Fred 11:57 PM
No, stock, you're supposed to go up
Abandoned dirt-side, you moan to the stars.
The glimmer of hope contained in a cup
that fell to the earth years before you were born
Died: defeated, broken, burned out used up worn.
You, imperfect and unrequited, cry, head held up
For Relief from your pain, from the burning scars,
that lit you up like a firecracker and sheared you like a tup.
by MisterNihil 4:39 PM
No, stock, you're supposed to go up.
by Sharon 1:43 PM
Monday, April 19, 2004
Looking around me, I see my office, which has never really felt like my office for a couple of reasons, one of them being that it wasn't my office when I first started working in it. I sit facing the computer, on which are posted...let's see...a total of thirteen different Post-It notes. Most of these are phone numbers I use all the time or need to give out to people when my boss isn't in. One lists some important shortcuts for MathType, the software we use to create equations. Another lists the time and room number for the class my boss teaches, and yet another is just a reminder that there's a thirtreen-and-a-half hour time difference between here and Adelaide, Australia, which is where my boss is for the next week and a half.
In the very center, there's a fortune-cookie fortune I got my first week here: "You can always find a way out." So far, that hasn't proved to be the case. But the bit beneath that, printed from the local horoscopes many months ago, rarely fails to amuse me: "The unexpected occurs when you least expect it."
On my desk...clutter. Pens, mail, project folders, a copy of The New Yorker, a mug of cold water. As I said, I sit facing the computer, which means I sit facing the door. When I first started here, the computer sat on the side desk, so that whoever used it faced the wall. But my predecessor wanted to know when the boss was coming round the office door and, I suppose, to be able to hide whatever non-work things she might be doing online. That I spent most of yesterday playing backgammon online, and most of today applying for jobs, I can't say I blame her. I've never moved the computer back. Which is fine, except it's not a completely workable solution, given the layout of this office. My computer sits in an open desk drawer, the mouse atop the open drawer next to it, and the whole setup pretty much spits in the face of ergonomics.
I passed up the opportunity to get new office furniture some months ago. I think I've never wanted this to feel like my office. I've wanted this to feel transitional. I've wanted to get out of here. So I'm stuck with a cluttered desk and what is probably the start of carpal tunnel syndrome.
But at least I've got all those Post-It notes.
by Fred 11:59 PM
Directly in front of me is a system design spec, 82 pages long and not exactly scintillating. Hovering at the corner of this tome is a small yellow dog. He keeps me company.
The monitor is sitting atop a spiral-bound notebook, which is on top of a silver box, which is on top of a monitor stand, which hovers over a portable computer hooked into a docking station. A sticky note on the monitor provides a quick memory aide, in my handwriting:
At the top left of the monitor, covering part of the logo, is a rear-view mirror. In it, I can see half my face, my left eye, my shoulder and elbow, six light fixtures, a chair moonlighting as a paper repository, my whiteboard and eraser, a jacket, the clutter on my desk, my trashcan, James's cube, and the walkway between.
Beyond the monitor are the certificates and memorabilia attached to the cubicle walls.
- Certificate of Recognition, for tutoring reading at Barrington Elementary
- Recognition for outstanding contributions to the BPI Project Tracking Tool project
- The Pyramid of Success, from John R. Wooden's book
- Bull Slinger Award, from Pioneer Toastmasters
- First Place, Humorous Speech Contest, Toastmasters club contest
- FISH! Committee Certificate of Completion, for reading the FISH! book
- My hand-drawn cartoon, "Unlikely Titles from Klutz Press: D.I.Y. Trepanation Kit!"
- A flower, pressed and taped to a piece of paper
- A button with my employer's logo
- A Mutts comic strip
- A list of tasks for November to January
- 2 server diagrams
- A Toastmasters club charter
- Competent Leader, Toastmasters
- Advanced Toastmaster Bronze (out of date)
- A section of mylar balloon from the bunch my dad had delivered when I got my job
- A snippet of email from my husband, telling me I'm special.
A lamp from IKEA, a phone, a headset, an ornament from China, a box of tissues, a gorilla in a tank of water that flips around a pole when you push a button, a status light from the manufacturing floor, a framed photo of a smooch, and more stuff if I turn around.
by Sharon 4:14 PM
Look around you. Describe what you see.
by Fred 2:18 PM
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Everyone has secrets, some more than others; I have more than most. It is you might say, my gift, better still perhaps my curse. Regardless of how you see it my propensity for collecting secrets far exceeds that of any priest, physiatrist or even the most valued of confidants and can best be described as a mutant power.
Should you need to set your mind at ease over anything from the most trivial of mistakes to the most egregious of errors in judgment I can offer comfort. Confide in me your thieveries, office indiscretions, political machinations and murders and I?ll give you in return a clean conscience with which to face the new day. Your memories are yours to keep and the lessons learned from mistakes made, but your dreams will be untroubled and free of trouble.
by Shawn 5:32 PM
Friday, April 16, 2004
It's probably pathological, but I can't walk past a display of squeeze-my-tummy stuffed animals without setting them going. All of 'em, if I can. That's part of the challenge--to set the last ones off before the first ones wind down. Singing, talking, blinking, whatever it is they do. There's something about "Press Here!" that I just can't resist.
But tell Jon the leash is just out of line.
by Sharon 11:29 PM
"It's not a habit, it's cool, I feel alive
If you don't have it you're on the other side
I'm not an addict (maybe that's a lie)" - K's Choice
"If I tell you this, you have to promise not to tell anyone else."
"Who am I going to tell?"
"I'm just saying. You have to promise. I can't afford to have this get out."
"Okay. I promise."
"So you wanted to know about my secret addiction."
"See, that's the thing. You don't seem like the type. I can't imagine you being addicted to much of anything."
"Really? Why, what are you addicted to?"
"Me? Hey, I wear my addictions on sleeve: coffee, cigarettes, alcohol."
"I thought you gave all those up."
"I did. Except for coffee. But they're still addictions. I still crave niccotine, booze. That doesn't go away just because I don't give in."
"I don't want to give in to my cravings."
"Why? What do you crave?"
"It's not so much a craving. It's more like, I dunno, this overwheling desire."
"To do what?"
"To take over the world."
"To take over the world?"
"That's right. Through convoluted and bizarrely technological means. I -- I'm a closet mad scientist."
"I had no idea."
"I've tried to keep these evil genius tendencies in check, but lately it's... You know that boat I've been working on in the backyard?"
"It's actually an intergalactic death ray."
"Huh. You're sure it's not just a really lousy schooner?"
"Nope. Death ray. I plan on using it to destroy Tokyo if my demands aren't met and fifty billions dollars aren't -- damn it! See? This is what I'm talking about! It's like I'm out of control, like I'm another person."
"A person who builds death rays."
"In order to hold the world hostage while cackling menancingly, yeah. But like I said, you can't tell anyone."
"Well I should probably at least tell Tokyo. I mean, if you're going to blow it up."
"Aw, but you promised!"
"Well then, dude, maybe you should consider this an intervention."
by Fred 12:57 PM
My secret addiction
by Faith 9:07 AM
Thursday, April 15, 2004
He likes his beef bloody rare
From cows as sacred as the day is long
If he offends, he doesn't care
Because they are weak and he is strong
He eats caribou and spotted owls
He doesn't care they say it's wrong
He plucks their bones and spits and growls
Because they are weak and he is strong
He's hunted timber wolf and grizzly bears
Felled great beasts with a jaunty song
He's shot and stabbed, smoked out their lairs
Because they are weak and he is strong
He skinned a manatee and ate it raw
In his sights, no beast lasts long
But he choked on a bit stuck in his craw
They may be weak but he is gone.
by Fred 2:12 PM
Mmmm. Bagels & Ham.
SacriliciousToss in a Kosher pickle & you got yerself a meal!
by MisterNihil 1:29 PM
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
digging a hole in my life
by MisterNihil 12:49 PM
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Nobody said anything when they covered the city with a dome, except maybe to say, "Hey, look at that: a dome." What else, really, was there to say? I think most everyone expected a dome by that point. The city had already gone through its flying-car phase, and most everybody agreed that hadn't turned out to be any great shakes. I mean, a flying car sounds nice enough on paper -- you can zip and zoom and George-Jetson all over the place -- but what happens when you break down by the side of the road? Gravity reasserts itself and you plummet straight to the earth, that's what. And while a fender-bender doesn't seem like much when it's confined to the ground, elevate it a few hundred feet and you're going to start seeing bits of shrapnel falling from the sky. A multiple-car pile-up is violent and tragic, but it's even more so when they're sky-cars. Accidents on the road usually just kill the drivers. Accidents in the sky have been known to take out entire city blocks. When a fourteen-wheeler crushed half of City Hall -- taking a host of deputy mayors with it -- I think the council just figured, yup, time for a dome.
So they built a glass dome. Which was nice at first, and really pretty, but have you ever tried living inside one of these things? It's not just our days of throwing stones that are over; comfort's gone pretty much by the wayside, since these things are a real pain in the ass to heat and maintain. And some people think there might still be some flying cars left up there, circling, trying to land. What happens when they run out of gas? I wonder how thick that glass is. I wonder if it's going to hold. I wonder why I bother paying city taxes anymore.
by Fred 4:01 PM
I can tell you what's on Jon's mind, anyway:
Day in, day out, domes, domes, domes.
by Sharon 9:43 AM
Monday, April 12, 2004
Why I Don't Carry Nickels:
Since I was very young, I've not had any nickels. Pennies are fine, as are dimes (although they are frowned upon to a degree for their being composed of two nickels. They are watched for sedition), quarters, half and most full dollar coins (my grandfather's famous, long-standing disagreement with Susan B. Anthony regarding the sum of four dollars is almost water under the bridge). Only the Nickel is shunned, and for good reason.
In Ezekiel 4 is symbolized the siege of Jerusalem. Only through cleansing can the Chosen People survive, and this cleansing is a long and unpleasant process. In this process, a modicum of food is to be purchased and meted out every day to sustain during the symbolic siege. This food, along with a cake, is to be cooked upon a fire made of human excrement. That amount of money is a question of some debate. But I get ahead of myself.
Coming as I do from a small, rural community in the South, I was raised in a small, Unaffiliated, rural church. Because of the region and the resources, the average parishoner was at least functionally, if not wholey, illiterate, and so we had but one bible between us at a given service. Some folks had one at home, but those were often for looks.
The problem with having one bible for church comes up on translational difficulties. Ours, for example, was a pre-1976 New Anglican Preventative Edition. Yes, it was one of the infamous and short-lived NAPE editions. If you are unfamiliar, I shall elucidate: This particular translation was organized by a splinter from the Southren Baptists who called themselves the New Anglicans. They were determined to get the bible "right," and to move away from the New International, New Revised Standard, New American Standard and New King James Versions of the book. They went back to the original text, but only as far as the original King James Version, and a contemporary version in Greek roughly on a par with the NIV, in that it had been updated to include "modern" language and slang to be more accessable to youth. From these two, their two scholars synthesized a new bible in what they termed "acceptable" language, somewhat less heavy than KJV, but still more archaic than any of the NxVs. This lead to the following interesting leap of translation:
KJV Ezekiel 4:10: And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall weigh, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt which thou eat it.
NAPE Ezekiel 4:10: And thou shalt measure One Nickel of meat that thou might eat: This shall be done as penance from time to time.
How the figure of 5 cents was reached is still something of a mystery, but it was that nickel that was considered the penance, not the meat itself. It was taken to mean that because the meat was measured or purchased by the nickel's worth that it was tainted, and that the later cooking over an open fire of the "Dung that Cometh out of Man" was just adding insult to injury.
It was taken to mean, then, that everything purchased with the Damned Nickel was therefore tainted and would make one unclean, preventing passage into Heaven.
It was further extrapolated that if you had nickels in your person when you died, you might be considered unclean and denied access to paradise, leaving you to wander for eternity, denied the Grace of God. Because of the unexpected inevitability of Death, we were careful not to keep the Dreaded Five around.
This left us with a reputation of leaving a bigger tip if our change were provided in nickels, a fact which restaurants in surrounding towns cought on to, leading them to keep a few rolls of nickels around in case of a New Anglican Preventative Luncheon. They'd claim to be out of quarters and provide much of the difference in rolled quarters.
Now that I am older, I know the Nickel aversion to be simply a typo, but it's so ingrained, I still search my change before leaving tips at coffee houses.
by MisterNihil 3:05 PM
Bryan's working the opening shift this morning, so I offer in his place:
over-caffeinated Oestra worshippers
by Faith 11:50 AM
Sunday, April 11, 2004
The days of shurikens, poison dripped down threads into sleeping mouths, arrows in the dark and flashing katanas were over. There were fewer and fewer individuals of such power and importance that their deaths would make any appreciable difference to a kingdom, nation or underworld organization. The warlords of the past had been replaced by hydra-like corporate board members; cut off one head and another was quick to take its place. For that matter in a corporate structure of vice-presidents, board members, stock holders, CFOs, GMs, CEOs, and armies of miscellaneous executives it was difficult to even guess at whose death would serve any real purpose. But this then was the idea: corporations hid behind impenetrable armor of incorporated obfuscation to avoid legal and financial responsibility when it was discovered that their product was causing cancer, their executives were stealing from the retirement fund, cooking the books, bribing the White House or guilty of corporate espionage. It also made life for the ninja a real pain in the ass.
Ghost 2501 sighed. While too young to remember the days of covert assassinations there was a part of him that longed for such. True, he was in every sense a ninja with the training and tools one would expect. After all, sometimes a security breach is discovered, the bloodhound tracks it back to the source and a squad of ?Fire Fighters? ? a proactive term derived from Firewall - are dispatched. Violence happens. People die. It pays to know how to kill in both the meat and ether. Still, 90% of his work, and that of his Ghost Hand, is done in front of monitor. They breach networks, they tap mail servers, they hack remote systems and move money and information from place to place. They deal not in swords and arrows, nor even guns and bombs; they deal in data and espionage, secrets and damning evidence. The life of the ninja has changed.
by Shawn 3:35 PM
More Wireless Ninjas
I liked Fred's topic so I'm stealing it for today as well
by Shawn 2:55 PM
Friday, April 09, 2004
I won't be here tomorrow (happy Easter, by the by), so I figure I might as well use this opportunity to make our off-topics our on-topics:
by Fred 7:43 AM
Thursday, April 08, 2004
The history of the man known as the Masked Marvel of Darkness is foggy at best. He has given only two interviews in his seventy years as a crime fighter. These were, of course, nubulous and hurried. A transcript of each follows.
The first interview, given to a woman named Tina Twilarp, was conducted on the roof of her Manhattan apartment. According to her article, published later in the New York Times-Dispatch-Tribune-Times, the interview was impromptu and he may or may not have had knowledge that he was being recorded. It was for this reason, according to the article, that no direct quotations were included. The tape was never released. Upon Twilarp's death in 1976 (twenty years later to the day, in fact), the cassett was locked in a strong box. A distant cousin claimed the box in 1998, and sold the tape to the Smithsonian. They have allowed access to it twice, once to the Masked Marvel of Darnkess himself, and once to a researcher from the University of Wisconsin. Following is the transcript by that researcher, who wished to remain anonymous.
TT:Have to remember fish food. Have to remember fish food.
TT:Oh, hi (garbled. Possibly Fred?) (wind noise cancels out the rest of this sentence)
MMD:They're fine, thanks for asking. I hear you had some questions for me?
TT:Yeah, I was supposed to ask you to buy fish food, and also if you finished the Franklin Report yet?
MMD:Fish food, right. Yeah, I'll get right on it, Tina.
TT:And the Franklin Report?
MMD:Why, Miss Twilarp, I don't know what you mean? What is this Frank-lin Re-port of which you speak? I am an alien from another world and do not understand your Earthly concepts such as Frank-Lin Re-Port.
TT:Come on, (garbled. There is a partial fingerprint on the tape at this point. Possibly Fred?)(garbled, possibly "come off it," or "full of wit"?)
MMD:What? Oh, yes. Sorry, Miss Twilarp, I'm picking up some cries of distress with my Amazingly Powerful Ears across town. Gotta fly!
The second interview is much better known, and was broadcast on PBS on August 14, 1982. The Masked Marvel of Darkness was a guest on a roundtable discussion of the foreign political impact of domestic planning and policy, and how Reaganomics influenced both the US and global economy (during his stint as a consultant for SmithCorp, as chronicled in Masked Marvel of Darkness Official Comics, 352-396). Our own transcript of the interview follows:
Jim Lehrer:Now, Mr. Of Darkness, do you have an alter ego?
MMD:I don't see what that has to do with Reagan's economic policies?
JL:What is your alter ego's name?
MMD:I didn't come here for a witch hunt! Or, I did, but it was to go after this joke who calls himself Nader!
JL:Nader isn't here, Mr. Of Darkness. Let's talk about you.
This was the end of the interview. The Masked Marvel of Darkness at this point ripped off his microphone and flew out of the studio and out of the public spotlight forever.
by MisterNihil 12:51 PM
What is your alter ego's name?
by Faith 11:08 AM
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
She walked into my office, threw the envelope onto my desk, and crossed her arms over her small
The cursor blinked sullenly. The first line of the book may or may not be the most important, may or may not set the mood for the whole rest of the book (short story? who knows), but it was going to set the mood for the rest of the moment. He tried breasts, misspelling it twice and backspacing. Once it looked to be spelled correctly, he sat back and looked at the words.
She walked into my office, threw the envelope onto my desk, and crossed her arms over her small breasts.
No, it sounded too formal. One pictured an office of glazed steel and glass, one with a tall brown desk upon which were made powerful decisions. No, this needed somethign grittier, more threadbare. This was a character who called women dames or skirts. Maybe bosoms? No, again, too formal. The looked like a job for tits. Yes, that sounded better.
Now for she. It didn't communicate enough. It said "professional relationship, inhuman and cold." It needed to say "On-again off-again secretary-turned-lover-turned-client." Maybe the answer was a name. A name that said it all and then some, that spoke to the curmudgen attitude and the butt that just wouldn't quit; the legs that went all the way up and the in-your-face bronx accent that was as fake as her cheekbone implants. She looked like a Margaret, at least to the mind's eye. But not any Margaret: a Madge. Yes. That was it. And she didn't so much walk as bring in a force of nature that grabbed me by the balls and made my eyes water. Here it is again, cleaned up and ready for the novel that will follow it like a cloud of mold spores:
Madge flounced into my office, tossed the envelope onto my desk, and crossed her arms over her tits.
OK, never mind. I give up. Now there's too much expectation.
by MisterNihil 3:52 PM
And then, of course, the envelope exploded.
"It's supposed to do that when you open it," she said as I grabbed the fire extinguisher from beneath my desk. "The mixture's not as stable as I'd hoped." I let the flames atop my desk eat white foam. "It shouldn't explode until the seal on the envelope is broken. I'll have to work on that."
I sighed and returned the extinguisher to its spot at my feet. "So you're trying to kill me again," I said. "Is that it?"
"Well," she said, "that's the thing. We all are. There's a betting pool on who can do it quickest...or drag it out the longest. There are also points for creativity."
She paused and leaned in across the charred remains of my pen and pencil set.
"Word is," she whispered, "Trevor from accounting has poison-dart frogs."
"Right," I said. "That makes sense." At the company Christmas party, Trevor had unleashed a swarm of killer bees in my office. Accidentally, of course, he said. And the photocopier in the mailroom still hadn't recovered from the grizzly bear attack last month.
"You know, I really do have a lot of work to finish here," I told her. "Fascinating though your plots to murder me with bombs and wild beasts might be. If you could get me another copy of the Jenkins file, that'd be swell. I think you blew up the last one."
She frowned, clearly disappointed that I wasn't playing along. "Poison-dart frogs," she said again.
She turned to go."Watch your back," she told me.
Sometimes it just doesn't pay to be the boss.
by Fred 11:02 AM
She walked into my office, threw the envelope onto my desk, and crossed her arms over her small breasts.
by Sharon 10:32 AM
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
wifi down n da burbs tnite. scoren sum bandwidth gratis at da lib. wats wif dat? wifi's sukkier dan evah since da new regime took power. (took? yes took. *i* din vote 4 dem.) i think der may b method 2 da madness, no? madness n da method neway. sho.
da grrlz at work r flauntn da new presentations. hi heels, stocknz, all dat. i kant keep up, sho. wunder if da boss will care. wunder if i need 2 scan da wanteds. sumwhere n da burbs, ders gotta b a job where u dun hafta b a ho. its not da waffle house, tho. suxx.
speakn a jobs dat suxx, y do i clean da sink? i mean, really. its fulla spots agin n 2 days. y do i bother? jus ma little stab 2 beat back da entropy. fight da powr, yo. u rock da vote; ill clean da sink.
least *i* make a diff. sho.
by Sharon 11:20 PM
I don't know where you come from, he says,
but we use every bit of the alphabet here,
like hunters who use every part of the buffalo,
like artists who use every splotch that fills their palette,
composers who use every note,
sculptors who use every last scrap of clay,
actors who --
That's nice enough, she says, interrupting.
But I'm not sure I know what any of that means.
No, he says, neither do I.
But it sounded half-impressive in my head when I started talking.
It sounded like it might almost be profound.
Hunters. Buffalo. It was a nice enough image.
I know it sounded like a poem.
The idea was there.
It's just the words that betrayed me.
They never show up when you need them.
by Fred 4:01 PM
It comes from a typo at work. It said, "Alphy by subject." Don't bother to ask about the underlying flaw in this, that being who in the hell alpha's by subject rather than by something sane like author or title, but rather picture the cute fellon whose existance was conjured by said typo.
I see him as a chain of letters, roughly 4 feet high in a plump, rosy-cheeked font, wearing a beaney with a propeller on top and carrying a lollypop, yellow as piss after a soda binge surrounded by a long spell of no water. He wears patent-leather shoes with ostentatious buckles that have never been outside, let alone in mud, and a sailer suit/jumper, in navy blue with little embroidered anchors on the thighs. This in spite of the fact that the spoiled creature could be dropped off a boat and used as same. He wears a perfectly white, starched shirt with, of all things, ruffles at the neck, which, coupled with his drooping pre-double chin and down slung eyes cries for him to be slugged in the puss. He is the arch-nemesis of Tom Sawyer, Lord Fauntleroy's prissy brother, Oscar Wilde's ego incarnate.
Little Alphy: that's him, as I see him.
by MisterNihil 1:18 PM
Hey Chumps! Picture This:
by MisterNihil 1:10 PM
Monday, April 05, 2004
The testimony of Birky the Janitor, when asked the question: Where were you when the Monkeys Got Loose:
It weren't Birky's fault. Them monkeys had been jimmying at that lock all night and when I seen 'em, they was still just jimmyin'. They hadn't come no closer to opening it than Birky'd come to givin' a damn. You want me to watch the monkeys all the time I'm here? You gotta talk to the union; Birky don't work no 8 hour day without no 30 minutes of paid break and long lunch. Them monkeys were gonna get out, whether on Birky's watch or on yourn. It don't matter, and you can't fire me. You ain't give me six weeks notice and this is the first one'o these on my record. Read yer contract again.
Them monkeys got out, yeah, but it ain't Birky made 'em drink that gasoline. They chose to drink it same's everybody else. When Birky came back, they was dead and all the gasoline was gone. Now, you gonna gimme that $6.50 fer the pint, or is Birky gonna have to strike?
by MisterNihil 11:16 PM
When the monkeys got loose, I was already halfway out the door. Not the red door, not the one in the back near the lab. I know what you're thinking, Gladys, and you can just drop it. I wasn't anywhere near their cages when Bubbles and Trevor escaped. I don't appreciate the insinuation, and I'm just as upset about this as you are. I'm equally aware of what will happen if we don't get the monkeys back. It's not just a question of losing your funding. I recognize that. I've seen your proposal, remember? I'm as well aware of your progress as anyone else in the facility. I knew they were infected, and, frankly, I'm a little hurt you think I'd stoop to sabotage given the circumstances. Is that how little you think of me, that I'd set a plague upon mankind just for the sake of petty revenge? So they funded your proposal and not mine. So they started pushing me towards early retirement just so they could afford it. It's not as if I'm bitter -- and certainly not enough to let those monkeys lose. Video cameras lie, Gladys. You're a scientist. You should know that. Surveillance footage of someone my height, weight, and general appearance setting Bubbles and Trevor free is, at best, circumstantial. It's inconclusive. That could be anyone on the screen. Look, the picture's fuzzy. It could any one of half a dozen people, and just because none of them have access to the labs doesn't mean the only other person besides you who does set the monkeys free. Does it? The question is, Gladys, where were you when the monkeys got loose?
by Fred 4:39 PM
Like most of the nation I was watching television when the monkeys got loose. Specifically, like most, I was watching the televised debates from the UN that were, in a very real way, deciding the future of the world and what part the United States would play in that future. In what felt just too much like an excerpt from a Vonnegut novel the president was, in a kind of hand puppet sort of way, reading a speech written by the vise-president defending their foreign policy. When, the monkeys came.
It was surrealism at its best. First one or two monkeys were seen running across the UN floor, then a few more, then a flood of screeching, tumbling, defecating chimps. The first speculations were that an activist group had released them in protest of the absurd proceedings. Of course Fox blamed the liberals while the more middle of the road news agencies kept their options open as it was unclear on just who the appearance of hundreds of monkeys were meant to criticize. The nation, indeed the world, held its breath. Then we laughed.
Let's face it, how could we not laugh? How could such an absurd thing NOT solicit laughs from even the most serious of UN delegates and audience alike? They were cute, they were friendly and loveable. CNN got a great deal of air time out of the Korean delegate petting and posing with one little monkey while even the Iranians, hysterical with laughter, played hide and seek with two others. In the end, while the debates had to be halted until the monkeys could be rounded up and nothing was really resolved, the world did manage to find and recognize some bit of common ground: We all enjoy a good laugh. Maybe that's a start.
by Shawn 3:45 PM
Feel free to change it. Only posting since it's past noon, and we seem to be going through one of our periodic dry spells.
Where were you when the monkeys got loose?
by Fred 12:44 PM
Friday, April 02, 2004
I wish I were writing about a man being eaten by monkeys. It's hard to write about him for several reasons, though. The first is that I didn't really want him to be eaten by monkeys. I was writing the story and bam he'd been eaten by monkeys. It's like the last time I tried it and the character I liked had his foot cut off. I didn't want it to happen, and his traveling companion (a tie-died midget) was about to suggest they take it off with a shotgun when cooler heads prevaled. And, in a similar fashion, the character in the new story was perfectly happy and sleeping in a car until the tow truck could be called when monkeys dragged him off and ate him. I think that speaks to my fear of riding in cars with rag tops; if he'd been in a hard top, he wouldn't have been eaten. It's too late now, though, to go back and change it. The girl already has the convertable and she's already had it for years. I guess I have to knuckle down and write in a world where he's been eaten by monkeys. Oh, well.
Also, I have to be careful writing about him at work. They don't like me doing crossword puzzles here, and that's practically work-related. If they saw me typing the phrase "eaten by monkeys" over and over again, I can't imagine what they'd say. Probably something like, "Eaten By Monkeys? What?"
by MisterNihil 1:24 PM
What do you want to write about?
by Fred 7:17 AM
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Rachel stood at the console and resisted pushing the button. Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard stood at the other side of the control room, held by her fellow Rangers. She screwed up her face as she thought.
"Go ahead, Princess. Push the button. It's the only way to stop the surface to air missiles that are at this moment counting down to launch and destroy your homeworld."
"Shut up, Mortific. You can't confuse me."
"I'm sure I can't. And please, I earned my Ph.D. in Greek Mythology. You know that. And those worlds didn't destroy themselves, particluarly not Cutearea, the World of Fluffy Bunnies. I earned those titles, Princess. Please have the respect to use them. I do the same for you, don't I?"
"Shut him up." A ranger clapped a hand over Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard's mouth until a gag could be obtained. One of the rangers pulled off a sock to stuff in his mouth, provoking a put-upon look from Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard before it was shoved into his mouth and duct taped in.
"OK. Anybody know how to shut down this machine? What do all these buttons do? None of them are labled." Rachel scratched her head and her gaze was once again drawn to the large, red button. It was the only one that wasn't lit, and next to it an LCD display counted down. It was on 250 now, and seemed to be counting seconds. Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard struggled but did not try to escape.
Rachel knew that there was a switch to disable the rockets that would destroy her floating castle. She had been the ruler and protector of her people since the death of her father six years ago at the hands of Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard's brother. The nefarious Stan Mortific's devices were always clearly labled and always had a shutoff. This machine was made with a similar feel, but she couldn't tell what anything was. She missed Stan, really. It was a pity when he died the previous Christmas. He was hit by a car while crossing a street. Tragic, really. She'd been at the funeral. She brought a fruit basked for the grieving Mortific family.
Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard, on the other hand, had proven an entirely more challenging foe. Sometimes he had three or even four evil plots going at once. In the four months since he first swore to kill her, she hadn't even managed to learn his first name. Not that she'd asked. He just wasn't as approachable as his brother. She remembered fondly the times she'd been captured by Stan, shared a cup of coffee before the big fight and whiled away a couple of hours just chatting. It really was a pity.
Back to the display: it was down to 200 now and starting to worry her. It started flashing red between each turn of the numbers. 198. Red. 197. Red. 196. Red. She wondered what it meant. She turned again to look at Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard. He betrayed nothing.
She decided, and pressed the button. The counter stopped and the machine seemed to power down. It made a vwooooo noise and the lights on it all dimmed then blinked out. She turned triumphantly to Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard. He gave nothing away. For a long moment, nothing happened. She walked over to the group of Rangers and directed them to take Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard back out of the room.
The group of them entered her ship, docked here at Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard's Asteroid base, and she radioed home.
"We got him, and I think you're out of danger." Only static replied. "Princess to home, Princess to home. Come back?" Still nothing. She felt crushed, like she never wanted to move again. The rangers sat belted into their seats and did not react.
Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard's head lolled back. His neck disconnected from his body and his head fell to the floor of the cabin. A speaker on a post rose from his body.
"I hope you realize, it's too late, Princess. Your home is destroyed. All of your rangers are dead. It's just you and me now here in my lab. Here, let me show you something. I doubt very much I have to tell you this, but the screen that should be directly in front of you is showing what's left of your floating city." She saw nothing. No screen illuminated. Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard continued. "Yes, Princess, it can! And now, I have a confession. This is only a robot. I am safely five hundred miles away on my station on the other side of the planet. I knew you wouldn't press that button. I knew I could fool you." Rachel smiled grimly. Her city was safe. "It wouldn't matter, really, if you did press the button. It was the power cutoff for the station here. Even if you had pressed it, all you would have done is deny power to the only survivors from your city, myself included. No, don't try now, I've disabled it from the safety of my secondary station."
Rachel smiled. It was a hollow victory, but she knew Dr. Mortific The Destroyer of Worlds and All-Around Bastard was dead as well. She tried to stand but fell to the floor. Her muscles were locking up.
"Oh, don't try to move, Princess. This robot is pumping out poison gas. Not enough to kill you, just enough to fill my lab to the point that you'll be harmlessly paralyzed until I can retrieve you. Have a wonderful day, Princess. I'll be seeing you soon enough."
On the floor, Rachel choked and began to seize. Her eyes went dim and she died on the floor of her craft. The robot went on talking for some hours after, looping the message and replaying it until its batteries went dead. In that state, the hulk of the asteroid base lay, her ship docked, for many hundreds of years.
by MisterNihil 1:56 PM
by Sharon 11:32 AM
- Check in for today's topic, or offer one on your appointed day.
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- Select the text, press Ctrl+C to capture it, then publish the post.
- In the unlikely event that Blogger consumes your post, thank your lucky stars (and Sharon) that you copied it onto your clipboard. You're welcome.
Copyright 2005 Sharon Cichelli, Mary Ann Borer, Martha Cichelli, Blythe Christopher, Fred Coppersmith, Faith Drewry, Dan Gabbett, Ben Gibbs, Jonathan Leistiko, Josh Martinez, David Menendez, Christy Roy, Shawn Sharp, Bryan Storti, Remi Treuer, Margaret Whaley, Glen Williams, John Williams, Erik Wilson