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What is beautiful?
Thursday, August 14, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

Where were you when the lights went out?

I was in the men's room. It got dark for a second, then light again. We there in the men's room joked about brownouts, and about how now all the servers would be down for ten minutes until they'd rebooted, whereas all the individual laptops would be fine. I didn't realize until I got back to my office, and noticed that only some of the lights were back on, that that deep humming sound was the backup generator, and the power wasn't really back on. Someone said they'd been on the phone with a friend in a nearby town, and that the friend had lost power at the same time we did.

As I was calling home, someone out in the hall said they'd heard Manhattan was out too.

And from then on it got pretty dull. *8) I drove home (because You Never Know) in light suburban traffic, people being courteous to each other at intersections. We sat around reading books and listening to the battery radio until the power came back on (out at 4:11pm, back for the first time at 6:08pm) and then went out again, and then came back on (back for the second time around 6:35, I think, and still on, touch wood).

I did draw a bathtub full of cold water sometime between 4 and 6, something I feel vaguely guilty about (hoarding and all). Sticking one's arms into it is really cooling, though! *8)

Apparently big swatches of the City are still out; hope everyone's doing okay down there.

It's so nice to be able to take stuff for granted.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

"Old man with the ladder, old man with the ladder, come quick!

"Tikki tikki tembo – no sa rembo – chari bari ruchi – pip peri pembo has fallen into the well!"

The Chief has again written to good old February Omisaku! He implies that we missed a note from him; perhaps we accidentally deleted it as spam, or perhaps the mail server at his Internet Café just got temporarily overwhelmed with outgoing business opportunities and lost a few. In any case, he has generously given us one last chance!

Today's missive is in a size-five font, in bold:


i don't no if you got my mail, i tell you look if you really want this tell me. About the the pic i will send it to you as soon as you give me ur phone number to comfirn ok. well the pic would not be a problem to me.

as well tell him to get prepared now becos i am giving you one weeks to tell me when he will be coming down.when you tell me if i can confirn that then i will send you the pic .

i will give you one week if no response then i will count you out.

Well, we sure aren't going to give him our phone number! We could give him like the phone number of the Treasury Department 419 hotline or something, perhaps. But I think in the meantime February will give the chief's email address to some non-Nigerian friend of his with lots of money to spend. We'll see if the chief is more polite to this next correspondant!

I'll keep you posted.

A determined reader, perhaps mistaking an old input box for a search box, writes doggedly:

big comfy couch the show
big comfy couch the show

While I admit to having something of a crush on Loonette, Couch fans will do better (at least today) at big comfy couch dot us. Or alternately the Web.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

We stood for awhile, silent, looking at the great dark figure hanging grotesquely from the hook, swinging in terrible slow arcs at the end of the cable that streched up into the invisible heights. The throng of worshippers continued to grovel in the dirt beneath, even long after the voice had ceased.

"Is that truly Satan?" I asked my companion, whose eyes just showed under his cowl.

"That is Satan, as I am Satan, and you are Satan, and anything that yearns, and suffers, and is cast out, is Satan, and anything that triumphs, and rules, and rises on high is God."

"What about good and evil?" I asked.

"What about them?"

I wrote that (or something like that; I don't have the actual scrap of paper at hand, but memory serves) sometime in my youth; wasn't I cute?

One of the always-nascent novels in my head is about a traveller's journey through Hell, or through some place that sometimes claims to be Hell, all in a fog of moral ambiguity and mystery. The working titles include "Life Down in Darkness" and "From the Opposite Bank".

"Life Down in Darkness" came from seeing on a shelf somewhere (at someone's house that I hadn't been to before, where we were at some sort of interesting function that as I recall involved singing, including singing the famous "Come back to us, Barbra Lewis", although I don't entirely trust that part of the memory) a book whose title was on the spine in black on black, and misreading it; it was actually "Lie Down in Darkness".

The misreading "Life Down in Darkness" struck me as extremely cool (although it's unlikely it'd be publishable that way, due to the near collision with the famous non-misread name).

There was this sweet little chant that went with that scene, sung presumably by the supplicants in the dirt:

Swing gently, Lord Satan, on your clear crystal thread,
As the hook that supports you slides slow through your head.

Our master, Lord Satan, to you we all look;
Our mentor, our guide, who hangs from the hook.

Isn't that lovely? *8) It's even better with the eerie monotonous tune, and the slowing at the end (significant pause before the last word), that go with it. There were some similar words addressed to Charon (somewhat mixed pantheons involved), to various angels, and so on.

I wonder if I ever wrote it all down anywhere? (I wonder if I've mentioned it here before, come to think of it.)

A reader writes:

I'm probably the one who made the Eagles joke both times. Sorry.

Hey, don't be sorry, I like the joke! I didn't mean to be complaining when I said that we've maybe heard it twice in (what?) almost four years now.

A spammer, attempting to avoid filters, writes:

Introducing GRt9ueop3xbkdh2lX2 Pills

Pleased to meet you.

Monday, August 11, 2003  permanent URL for this entry

We who believe in freedom
  cannot rest...
We who believe in freedom
  cannot rest until it comes.

Another thing the iPod needs is an Off switch. Not a pattern of softkey presses that means "power off until next time I touch a softkey", or a slider that means "ignore this control panel, but keep doing whatever you're doing now and whatever any other control panel says", but a physical switch that means "stop doing stuff until this switch is turned the other way."

Once last week at a meeting I heard this odd music, eventually realized that it was coming from my briefcase, and reached down and pressed "play" (to make it stop playing); no one else seems to have noticed the muffled sound of the earphones.

And then on Saturday night in the hotel room I turned on the iPod, only to have it tell me it was out of power and turn itself off again. It was fully charged in the morning, and I only purposely played it for three or four hours on the drive up to Vermont, and that's not enough to use it up.

So I suspect that I must have pressed "play" (making it start playing) while fumbling for the "turn off this control panel" button just before I slipped it under the car seat, and that it was sitting there playing its little heart out while the little daughter and her friend and I were off at the F and W Fair, swimming and being rained on and listening to the live music and eating mostly-veggie food and buying T-shirts and "Question Everything, Think for Yourself" buttons (all proceeds benefit the Campership Fund) and having conegberts (eggshells painted up and filled with paper confetti) cracked on and dumped over our heads, and talking to friends, and watching the anti-consumerism skit and the 20th birthday celebration for the Barn Day Camp, and listening to the story that two of the Flying Cloud folks told while six others put up a tall and cool structure of logs and tenting in five minutes flat, and singing "Lean on me" and "We who believe in freedom" and dancing and clapping and going ooh and aah as the bonfire caught and smoked and sparked and threw orange flames fifty feet into the air, and admiring everyone's faces in the firelight under the dark sky, and eventually fumbling our way back to the shuttle van that took us back to the parking place down the road where the car was and driving to the hotel and carrying stuff up to the room and falling more or less exhausted and sweaty and wet from the rain onto the beds.

So it really does need an Off switch.

If anyone's looking for signs that True Lefties are into this whole Howard Dean thing, I will attest that the only political statements I saw at the (really quite lefty) Fair that mentioned specific live politicians were anti-Bush and pro-Dean. FWIW.

From ntk or somewhere, Disrespect Copyrights dot org. A parody of some other site, apparently.

Also perhaps from ntk: Mailinator; for when you need a quick temporary insecure place to tell someone to send mail. (I used to use Metababy for that.) See if there's any mail for bob! If not, send some in!

From yet somewhere else I forget: Google news alerts; get email from Google when something something something!

Seems unlikely that anyone ever answers spam as moronic as what shows up in your mailbox every day? Sadly, they do.

So let's see (rustle rustle). Nope, I didn't post more than three entries last week, did I? Mebbe I ought to think harder about that web-based log-posting frob idea...


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