Sunday, December 31, 2006


2007. Almost there.

Had a few INTERESTING things to post, but I'm tired, so I'm doing the POST WHICH HAS NO REASON TO EXIST. Plus I've wasted most of the time I had for this tonight trying to figure out how to create an on-screen menu for a DVD that lets one turn subtitles on/off. Apparently either that information isn't out there or I can't find it.

I tend to get moody on Dec 31, so usually stay in rather than going out. New Years Eves I have gone out, 12:01 seemed to be a good time to go back home. This year 12:01 will probably seem like a good time to call it a day.

That's it. See, told ya this post had no reason to exist.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dave fall down go boom

Actually Dave fall down go [profanity muttered under breath], [more profanity], thunk, ouch, [yet more muttered profanity].

It has been a few months since I've fallen without an obvious reason like slipping or something. It is pretty scary looking when I do, but like Chevy Chase doing his Ford impression (hey, timely referance!) I know how to fall, so usually don't get hurt. Thus the having time to curse about it. There is a time where I know I'm gonna fall but haven't actually yet. I usually fill this time with profanity.

I say usually don't get hurt. Sprained my arm (landed on it funny), which isn't life threatening but dang annoying. Already (just 2 days) it is to the point of just being sore.

On the blog front here, I am now counting hits with Google Analytics. Interesting, although I don't really understand the numbers yet. Plus, with only a few days data, I'm not really looking at a good sample anyway.

I should say: to my German reader Wie gehts?, to Swedish readers whatever 'Hey howsitgoin' is in Swedish, Brits and Yanks hey howsitgoin. Special greets to the few using Linux. Total World Domination is within our reach.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Dave reads blogs II

Last time I kept hitting 'next blog' and talked about it, folks were dissappointed I didn't link to any. So this time I do. What with the bad poetry and folks who haven't figured out an international forum like the net is probably not the place to share cutesy little in-jokes with friends, not many blogs worth linking to, truthfully. Here are some that are, though: - a nice personal blog. This lady actually can write and has something interesting to say. - I love these sites. Wish I knew the story behind them. So far I've run into blogs from 3 different Romanians that are very similar, all reading like they were translated electronically. - from one of the Romanian guys, this one deals with a Bucharest football (what my people call soccer) side. - Madonna fanblog. - wrasslin. - vinyl. - birding. In Iraq. - why do we always think 'right' follows the word 'religious'? - nature walking in Singapore. - I had a strong interest in a medical librarian once. Maybe this is her.

And my brother would never forgive me if I failed to mention ...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Everything falls apart

With a title like "Everything Falls Apart", you the reader are probably expecting a 'big picture' type post about how my life is a shambles and something happened that drove the point home. Nope. Sorry. This entry is about my toilet.

The seat is kept on the toilet by two bolts. Check it out at Home Depot or something if this point is unclear. One of these bolts is gone. Not fell off on to the floor, or rusted out, just gone. Where did it go? Great mystery of the universe there. No, I don't have time to contemplete the meaning of existence or whatever. I'm burning THAT mental energy trying to figure out what is happening to my toilet.

At the same time the handle fell off my refridgerator, I lost a syringe in my bedroom (see earlier entry), and my car picked up a nail and got a flat. Other things too, I'm sure. If there is a larger point to all this it would have to be how bloody difficult having impaired mobility makes this all (MS, remember?) Any of these seemingly simple problems by itself represents a huge amount of energy expendature for me. This is partially what multiple sclerosis does. It makes the mundane difficult. Work-a-day tasks become life-ruining crises.

If ya let em.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dave messes around on Youtube: a Christmas tale

I spent Christmas eve at my Dad's. He has broadband Internet access, so I took advantage of the opportunity to engage in some bandwidth-heavy video viewing. I was looking at music stuff on Youtube.

I started off looking at some older footage. This was almost all lip-synch performances from variety or music shows. Notable:
Dee Dee Sharp - "Mashed Potato" - Never had much of an interest in footware, but I have to say - white go-go boots - I approve. :)
Leslie Gore - "Sunshine and Lollipops" - One B&W clip, one color (different performances of the song). I was disappointed. The B&W footage was all screwed up and basically unwatchable. The color clip was the performance of the song from the movie Ski Party. Ithink I have a copy of that movie someplace, so watching the clip on the net was basically a waste of time.

I watched a few more clips from the same era, then went after clips from this very decade. My favorite Japanese band, Judy and Mary. (I have no idea where the name comes from. Yes they have a female vocalist, but her name is [I think] Yumi.) Probably watched 10-12 clips of this band, both videos and live.

Back in time again, for Sweet. The first clip was a lipsynch. During the whole thing the vocalist stands with his hands akwardly on his hips, and occasionally punctuates a phrase by pointing. 'Boy, this gut must have been nervous to be so stiff.' The next clip was concert footage, and guess what? Hands on hips, occasional pointing. Apparently that is just how he performed.

Next, similar time frame (70ish), we had The Runaways with "School Days". Fun to see that. I didn't know Joan Jett did vocals (at least sometimes) with that band though. Thought that was handled by ... that person in that movie .. Cheri something ... well, *I* know what I'm thinking of here.

The Runaways got me thinking about Joan Jett, which got me to the 80s, which got me to the Go-gos, which got me to a Belinda Carlisle video.

... which naturally got me looking for early/mid 80s hardcore/punk/whatever. Found some great footage of 7 Seconds (and others, but mostly 7 Seconds). Unfortunately, most of it was from the last few years. But the SONGS were from what is to me back in the day. Even still, seeing that footage made me feel 15 again. In the intro to "Young Untill I Die" Kevin (Seconds, the vocalist, look up his myspace page) says something about hardcore being for the young, even though we are much older now.

I'm not sure that is exactly what was said, but it does sort of sum up how I view being in my 30s. I've just been young longer than the youngsters.

"This flame will keep on burning strong."

That's from another mid-80s hardcore song. Have fun figuring out where. :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

People die

Was going to blog on what I did this CChristmas, but ...

... got in to work today and found out one of my coworkers had died. Apparently by his own hand, but I don't really know the details, so I'm not claiming the cause. All I know for certain is he died.

It really feels kind of strange. I didn't know him well, beyond the few bits one picks up working with someone, but it is still unsettling.

This is not the first time a coworker of mine has left us. Back when I was working as an interpretive naturalist a clerk in the museum's store was crushed in a rock climbing accident. Although I only knew her in passing, not seeing her in the store after that was similarly unsettling.

When something upsetting occurs I find it helpful to think about a personal angle on the events (often humorous, but there is not really much humorous in death). The angle on this most recent event: Once this current (well, not any more) coworker lent me $2 for lunch. It took me 7 or 8 months to repay that $2.

So I remember the guy I owed an insanely small amount of money for an insanely long time.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Giant squid

Footage was recently released of the capture of a Giant Squid by Japanese 'researchers'. The footage is, I believe, some of the first footage of a living giant squid. What we know of the species is mostly from dead ones washed up on beaches.

When I saw the story I thought this is A Cool Thing. I still think that. One of the news reports I looked at allowed folks to post comments. Many of the comments concerned Japanese whaling. YES, I oppose whaling. YES, the argument that is being made that this footage somehow translates into greater estimates for Sperm Whale populations is laughable. YES, it is Not A Good Thing that the squid was killed in the process of the capture.

But, darn it people, perspective. The story here was footage of a live (at least at first) Giant Squid. It felt like a kid being told there was no Tooth Fairy.

When exactly did so many lose their sense of wonder?

(Those of you who know me well know exactly how much I would agree with concerns about things such as killing in the name of 'research'. I'm having the same reaction here as I do to many 'fanciers'.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Whupin' Janie

Finished reading Their Eyes Were Watching God today. I'm having a lot of trouble wrappingmy brain around one part of the book.

In one chapter Janie (central character) is beaten by her husband. The problematic part is we never see an effect on her. In fact, the chapter it occurs in could be excised from the book, since the event is never mentioned afterwords. There is absolute silence on the matter after the one short chapter.

Granted I am looking at things from a 2006 perspective and the book was published in the 1930s. But still, even in that context the silence of Janie's perspective is troubling. Not that she has a reaction of silence, but that it is hard to demonstrate any reaction at all. Or maybe I'm missing something. I should look into critical perspectives on that aspect o the novel. There is probably a lot out there, at least on gender politics in the book.

... And I just googled for such material. Glad to see I'm not the only person for whom the beating raised questions. So far, though, I'm not satisfied with the analysis I'm finding. Nothing that really helps me process things yet. I'll keep looking.

Anyone looking for a theme paper topic: compare the portrayal of storms in TEWWG, Carl Hiassen's Bad Weather, and The Wizard of Oz. Don't even have to cite me for the idea.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Better day

Better day at work today. 4 of the first 6 folks I talked to went out of their way to express appreciation, beyond the usual 'OK thanks'. That was gratifying.

Maybe they saw my blog! And figured out my idntity.

OK, that last bit is kinda scary.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Catharsis/Why customer service sometimes stinks

Had a less than perfect call at work today. The catharsis bit is that when I got off the phone I thought 'I'm gonna blog on this'. Made it feel better somehow.

A bit of background: I work as a rep in an inbound call center. Though I never would have predicted it, I seem to do an OK job. For the last few months I've dealt exclusively with internal sales, but for at least the next few weeks am also taking calls from external customers. Wanta bad experience? Here are some simple things you can do to guarantee that:

1) Call when you have limited time. Things always go faster when you say 'This can only take X minutes'. And while you're at it make sure to ask what is taking so long every few minutes. Make sure to start asking this early.

2) Don't prepare in any way. The person on the other end will tell you what you want.

3) Make wild assumptions. If the person on the other end seems to be having trouble enunciating, it isn't because they have a neurological disorder exacerbated by 1 and 2. They must be drunk.

4) During the holidays and you left getting a gift untill the last minute? Take out out your frustrations on the person trying to assist you. After all, it must be their fault. Somehow.

Follow these four simple rules and you too can guarantee a frustrating experience for you AND the representative

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dave reads blogs

The other day I amused myself hitting the 'next blog' button on the nav bar. Kind of fun seeing what is out there.

1) A blog dedicated to bringing pedophile priests to justice. Scary reading.

2) Brooke Hogan's (Hulk's daughter) blog. It was cool to just run across it, but I have to say, Brooke ... CONTENT.

3) Plenty of Italian blogs. Lots of other languages, too, including one in Russian and two in German. Those were fun for me because I was able to understand at least some of each (speak/read both languages. Poorly) None in Japanese, which kind of surprised me. Like I said, though, lots of Italian.

4) Only ONE food blog. At least it dealt with a cuisine (Indian) that I am familiar with. Heh. Like Indian is a single cuisine.

5) Quite a few that showcased photos, ranging from bikini models to some guy's backyard.

6) I'm MORE than willing to give folks who use English as a second language leeway. Judging from some of the blogs I read, those folks often write better than native speakers.

7) Came across one blog in particular which made ... interesting ... use of the language. Read like something originally written in a non-English language, and then run through Babelfish.

8) Lots of poetry. Lots.

In general, many things I am sure interest someone. Someone else.

But still, oddly fascinating.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Manifesto - A Meta-entry

Yeah, I like this profile better. White on black is not necessarily the best color combination from an accessability standpoint (it is far from the worst), but what can you do? I prefer black backgrounds on the web.

Why blog? And with this mish mash of topics? Well, four reasons, really:

1) I like to ramble. Using this forum, I can ramble and the entire world can witness it.

2) People who are interested in what is going on with me can all have a centralized place to look and find out.

3) I sincerly hope that someone gets something positive out of my experience with multiple sclerosis. The pressure to make having that disease THE CENTRAL part of your life is intense. I hope to provide an example of a life definately effected by it, but not defined by it.

4) If I introduce one person to the wonderful world of comics my life will have been worthwhile. Well, I want to have more of an impact on others than that, but that is an important goal for me.

As far as other lifestyle/political choices go: threat by example.

Coming soon: Dave reads blogs, Dave reads books 3, and Geek power.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dave reads books II: Electric Boogaloo

I just think it is amusing to subtitle sequals Electric Boogaloo.

Should explain my medical disaster. I use an injectionable medicine daily. Last night while I was loading the syringe into the autoinject thingy the plunger came out of the syringe body! Not a disaster yet. When I unscrewed the autoinject thingy the syringe shot out (the autoinjector is spring loaded) and flew across the room. OK, now it is a disaster. I'm still missing a piece. Looked for it this morning without success. Everything went OK this evening, though, thankfully.

Back to books: Their Eyes Were Watching God is a bit of a mixed bag. The style often tends towards plainspoken, which I like. Blocks of dialouge aren't interupted with 'he said' and such. Such interjections are often overused, and really break up the flow of the conversation, but not here. On the downside the dialog is written as it sounds, so you get 'lawdy' instead of 'lordy' for example. I find that distracting when it is used 'in quantity', and Hurston uses it for every line of dialog. The plot itself is keeping my interest, which is a feat for non-genre fiction.

The book was first published in 1937, for those keeping track.

More books later.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dave reads books

And not the kinds of books with pictures. Sometimes.

Anyway, recent reads:

Their Eyes Were Watching God Hurston

Fiction. About a black community in Florida. Considered a classic but never got around to reading it before.

Who Cooked The Last Supper: The Women's History of the World Miles

Have to say, a bit disappointing. Has a tendency to become a list of the bad things people have done to each other.

Women's History of the United States: A Reader Various

Written encylopedia-style with articles covering major points.

Ah heck, will have to come back to this, just had a major disaster with my medicine ....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dave watches movies

Wow. Two posts in one day. Don't get used to it.

I never really mentioned the entire reason I went shopping today. I haven't purchased a DVD in months. So today I figured to change that.

Intended to pick up Clerks II and Superman Returns. Didn't have the first, the second cost more than I wanted to spend. Ended up getting the Rockin' Rydell version of Grease, and Clueless. I already have copies of both (Grease on DVD, but in the original no-extras release, and Clueless on VHS). Grease I saw in its original release and have seen 100+ times since (a few movies have that distinction - I tend to watch things over and over if I like 'em). Clueless ... well, ya gotta love a movie that starts with 'Kids In America' over the opening credits. One of the best songs of the 80s, and I was there. Plus, it is based on Emma, and it is hard to go wrong with Austen.

One little nitpick (MPAA, hope you're listening): If I have legally purchased a DVD, I shouldn't have to destroy the case it is in to get at it! Don't treat me like a criminal by default. And while you're at it MPAA, we need better movies. Not that an industry association could really control that.


Still moving in. I'm happier with the font used in the text and have added some links, so things are moving along. The links should really be in reverse order though. Ah well. Visit 'em in REVERSE order for an experience more akin to my surfing habits.

So, questions. I never really addressed WHY blogging. Simple, I'm conserving my energy. Recently I've been essaying, which is A LOT of work. Blogging lets me ramble on and rant 'n' rave, without imposing the structural constraints of a more formal essay.

Can you tell I have a background in English (among other things)? Phrases like 'structural constraints' tend to give it away.

But anyway, questions. I had the day off so did a little shopping. Picked up some DVD+Rs for a project I have going (making DVDs of some avis I have. Of a cooking show. This falls under 'because I can, I do.')

As I'm walking through the parking lot a little kid asks his Mom 'why does that man ...' and then I couldn't hear. The upshoot though, is that he wondered why I was using a walker (should have mentioned that I use a walker ... kind of important to the story). His Mom of course hushes him ... my experience has been, though, that children are curious but ultimately more accepting of obvious disability than adults.

Back when I worked in retail we had a 'game night' at the store every Monday. I'd be one of the staff who actually played/taught. The first time I used a cane on game night, one of the regulars had questions.

'What is that for?'

'It helps when I sometimes don't walk so well.'


'Nuff said. I was still the guy who played Yu-Gi-Oh. The curiousity was normal. After that, though, business as usual. That is refreshing. Kids don't know yet how they are 'supposed' to act around disability.

See, that is the upside of blogging. In an essay, I'd need to end with a summary or something. But here, a little more interactive.

Write yer own.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Day 1

First entry!

Why: Blame my brother. Actually, I've toyed with the idea of putting my thoughts up on the web for ... a long time (I'm an old-timer when it comes to this stuff. In relative terms, anyway). Maybe someone will find this all useful.

Who: Seen Clerks II? In some fairly depressing ways, that movie is me.

What: The great loves of my life are comics (I'm of the dreaded collector species), music (listening, anyway), and cooking (should mention here that I'm a vegetarian). I like cinema and classic TV, too. Oh yeah, I have multiple sclerosis. That is pretty far down in my self-image, but tends to be pretty darn intrusive.

So readers can expect a mix of comic, music, food, movie, and MS talk.

And other stuff, I'm sure.