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Thursday, December 9, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Let's kick off today's entry with some spam:

Subject: Or begin stopover at negotiable rye

communications mode. Art galleries create interaction or choice gold, and a magical fountain that makes even the oldest adventurers caper with context. Often, making THINGS interesting is part of what

So inspired, we will caper with context!

The phrase "cosmetic brain surgery" came up at lunch yesterday, and I looked it up in google. Most of the hits were mysteriously on the adult-content warning page of a particular porn site (under many different names), but a few were on topic: one cartoon, one comedy piece, and one innovative consumer product.

Another one of those weblog memes encourages us to reveal the first ten results from shuffling our entire digital music collection. (The only artists in that list that I think are also in mine are Radiohead and Suzanne Vega.)


Queen, "I Want to Break Free"
Bobby McFerrin, "Sweet in the Morning"
The Beatles, "Money" ("That's What I Want")
Boccherini, "Concerto in G Major"
Various Artists, "Dil Deewana"
Billy Joel, "Opus 5. Waltz #2"
The Chieftans, "Carolan's Welcome"
Good Charlotte, "I Don't Wanna Stop"
The B-52s, "52 Girls"
Ani Difranco, "Untouchable Face"

"Dil Deewana" is from "Favs of HSSH" (story); here are the lyrics (love the giant teddy bear). "Untouchable Face" would more accurately reflect the lyrics if it were titled "Fuck You" (hm, I wonder if I should remove it from the "clean" part of the master music playlist?).

So nothing there I'm horribly embarassed by. I'm not sure how representative it is of the Whole Thing (do I really have that much mainstream stuff?), but we must trust the random number generator.

Ed points out the very memorable Glucoboy®: First Medical Device to Interface with a Nintendo GAMEBOY. Now that's appropriate technology.

Many web surfers ("web surfers") continue to find this site by looking for instructions on viewing yahoo webcams without permission. While I don't really consider myself an expert on viewing yahoo webcams without permission, I can't help but be moved by the dedicated efforts of all these dedicated searchers, so I've done a little thinking on the subject, and I have some advice to offer on viewing yahoo webcams without permission.

If you want to view a yahoo webcam without permission, here's what you do. You get all ready to view the yahoo webcam like you normally would, and just before you start viewing the yahoo webcam, you carefully (this is the tricky part) don't ask anyone for permission. Wild, eh?

That is, if you want to view a yahoo webcam without permission, you should be careful to avoid things like: asking your Uncle Fred "hey, Uncle Fred, is it okay if I view this yahoo webcam?", or asking your sister "Sis, can I look at this yahoo webcam?", or asking your Mom "do I have your permission to access this webcam?".

See how simple it is? I imagine this trick can also be used to access yahoo webcams without permission, and to see yahoo webcams without permission, and even to secretly view yahoo webcams (as long as you don't tell anyone).

So there you are.

Ian who used to have a weblog points out the widely blogged skeletons of cartooon characters, which is today's second required meme.

Fans of anime (or just general nuttiness) may enjoy the satire (and general nuttiness) in this encounter with Popeye. The little daughter thought it was hilarious. (Update: hm, is it gone already?)

Also, Turkish man squirts milk from his eye.

More spam! (This is, once again, the entire thing, and I'm not clear why someone out there wanted me to see it)

Subject: I find came in wallpaper involved

walk away. With her was Nilrem, her current boyfriend, and some other guy, green all the year round, the Fig-Tree changed its leaves with

A reader responds to yesterday's entry:

Hey! I want more of the story -- where's the rest of it? You can't just stir narrative lust in a reader and log off!

Whaddya mean "the rest of it"? That's the whole story. You think this is November or something? We do microfiction in this town, pardner!

But I do like "narrative lust", and of course we can always do multiple stories in the same universe, with the same general set of characters. So let's see...

So Ka Hi Se Ma Kta Ru walked slowly between the trees, so slowly that Alberta had to take each step consciously to match his pace. She wanted to watch him walking, to study the elegant alienness of his body, to work again at the puzzle of how such a thick heavy figure could move with what seemed to be slim grace.

But she did not want to walk behind him.

The La Ten Ta Hre language does not have spaces, or nothing simply corresponding to spaces. His name could as well have been Sokahisemaktaru; but strung together the syllables might have suggested rush or breathlessness, and nothing could have been less accurate.

A light breeze moved the branches above them, and a fragrant cloud of petals swirled down, to join the delicate pink carpet on the ground, that seemed always to avoid being trodden underfoot, but only flowed around their legs in artful waves.

"Why is it so beautiful here?" Alberta asked him.

There was, of course, a long silence.

"I am glad," said So Ka Hi Se Ma Kta Ru, "that you find it -- beautiful." His voice was deep, with the rich accent of the La Tan Ta Hre, and as always its sound threatened to make her breathless. I will not, she told herself, become addicted to this being.

"How do you enhance these environments? Have you seeded this woods with something, with nanotechnology?"

An even longer silence. He passed close to one tree (under the flowing cloth his legs moved; legs that could have been, but were not, ponderous and bovine), and put out a hand to touch the bark.

"Nanotechnology. Yes," he said, "Essentially."

And she closed her eyes.

How's that?

The aliens do not value truth, they disdain it. For all honest humans, language is a tool for communicating the truth. This is not how the aliens use language. In their decadent state, language is a game or a toy, and they speak the truth only when it suits them. They have freely admitted this, and the fact is recorded in writing in numerous sources. But our governments and our deluded brothers and sisters ignore the plain fact, and continue to speak to the aliens as though they were equals, assuming that their statements can be relied upon. We know that they cannot.
-- anonymous Human Brigade tract

Wednesday, December 8, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

The photo was small, in a simple silver frame. Holding it, Alberta studied the thick neck, the odd strong face, the alien eyes, trying to see what Ella saw there, what had drawn her friend to the La Ten Ta Hre compound, and ultimately to Companionship. Bulls, people called them, or Minotaurs. But the face in the picture was something else entirely.

When Ella came back into the room, Alberta returned the picture to the side table and turned to her. As always, Ella looked uttery healthy, clean, and content. She moved slowly, as the La Ten Ta Hre moved slowly, and she smiled often. She had brought a plate of cheese and a pot of tea from the other room, the room that was not so much a kitchen as a place that was willing to be a kitchen if one wanted it to be.

"Thanks," Alberta said. She wondered again if Ella served her food out of politeness, or out her own need for the human ritual. The La Ten Ta Hre eat only once a day, and it is a very private, something like a sacred, process.

"Do we disgust them?" she had asked Ella, in those early months, before they had settled into this comfortable routine, "Eating in public, like animals?"

"Not disgust," Ella had said, "it's more complex than that."

"I'm sure."

"They have words for so many things that we don't. When they see us eating in the open, or when they think of us doing it, it does remind them of animals, and primitives."

Alberta had snorted, but Ella held up a hand.

"But they acknowledge that reminding, and they assimilate it into their reason. It colors their feelings toward us, but not in the obvious way, because they do not deny it. They know we are not animals or primitives."

"So they nobly overcome their disgust?"

"It isn't disgust, and they don't overcome it. They acknowlege and take into account the, oh, the associations that occur in their thoughts about us." And here Ella had tossed her hands apart, in a gesture that Alberta knew meant she had reached the limit of her ability to convey what the patient aliens had told her.

Alberta had shaken her head.

"We're some little tribe in loincloths, and the white men from the university have just come down the river with their fire-sticks and their magic boats, to collect butterflies and maybe study us a little on the side."

"Well," Ella had said, "that analogy only takes you so far."


"For one thing, they aren't going to be leaving when the semester ends."

Have you ever noticed, how "Wednesday" has two "d"s?

I have to tell this next story, even though it's somewhat self-aggrandizing, just so in the future I can come back here and read it again and think "oh, yeah, that's when that happened."

After lunch at the lab today everyone else decided that it was too cold to go for a walk, or they had a meeting, or whatever. So I went out by myself for a lap around the building. The temperature was just right for a T-shirt under a flannel shirt, and the sun was bright and the wind was high, and there were a couple of big flocks of little birds flowing around the trees and chirping. I slipped off my shoes (M found me these great lined clogs for the fall), and set out.

So I'm up in the back of the back parking lot, where the wind is strongest, and I have my glasses dangling on my chest by their cords (so I can't see very well), and I'm holding my shoes and walking barefoot with my eyes half-closed because the sun and the wind feel so good, and I'm thinking nothing much at all, or writing this story about the people who marry aliens, or just feeling delicious in general, and I walk by (or perhaps nearly crash into, since I wasn't really paying attention) this guy, and he says (in this nice European accent), "ah, that's the way to do it; tell me that you're carrying them because you want to, and not because they're wet."

And I say that they aren't wet, I just like walking barefoot, and he says "I can see the deep joy in your face; I'm envious". And that makes me feel good, and I say "it's easy; just take off your shoes and face into the wind", and he smiles and nods and goes off toward the back door, and I continue my circle around the building in the wind and the sun and the bird clouds.

And that was nice.

"Marriage between humans and aliens is as self-contradictory as marriage between two humans of the same sex. That the governments of Massachusetts and California recognize these quasi-marriages is just another sign of how confused we have become, and how we have allowed ourselves to be mislead. Make no mistake, the aliens have no concept of 'marriage'; their word for the relationship they have with the so-called Companions could just as well be translated as 'servant' or 'pet' rather than 'spouse'. It is nothing like true marriage, and if we forget that we endanger our humanity, and our very souls."
-- anonymous Human Brigade tract

Sunday, December 5, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

We came out of the service and stood quietly together on the sidewalk. The crowd flowed out of the doors and around us, also quiet and subdued, tears on more than one face. It had been a profound experience for me and, I thought, for him as well.

His eyes when he looked at me were deep and dark, and held the most profound commitment.

"There is no doubt," he said, "religion must be destroyed."

"So now you know that I am your enemy," I said to him. He just smiled more broadly.

"You know I have no enemies," he said, and sipped at his tea.

"I mean to oppose you in every possible way."

"Then," he said, "you shall be my dancing partner."

Saturday, December 4, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Carrying on the grand tradition, we went up to Abel's and picked out and cut down a Solstice Tree. Looking through the records, I see that we've done that longer than I've been weblogging, which is fun.

1998 was the first year we did it, I think. The tree that year was big and amazing. We've outdone outselves this year, though; this tree touches the living room ceiling, which is noteworthy because it's a cathedral ceiling. The tree's probably (what?) fifteen feet tall, and the top third got decorated by me perched up on a ladder with people handing me ornaments from down below.

Och, tannenbaum!

The tree we chose was the first big one we came to, standing right near to the farm-shed next to the place you park the cars before going out into the fields to look for trees; it was surrounded by tiny trees clearly not ready for picking yet. At least half the people coming to Abel's must pass it, and we're pretty sure that we remember it from last year ourselves. We stopped at it, we think, and considered it, but said "well, let's go look at some other trees, and come back here if this is still our favorite." We did the same thing this year, and this year we came back and got it.

It's a little snaggly and crooked and untrimmed, which is probably why it was passed up at first (and then more recently it was also maybe too tall for many livingrooms). But we like it.

No snow (a gorgeous cold sunny day), no need for a golf cart to come and help us get it to the buying barn because it started out so close, the usual hot chocolate and friendly people bundling the tree up (it barely fit into their tree-bundler) and tying it to the top of the car.

We had a very hard time getting the tree upright in the livingroom; good thing the kids are big enough to help now. (I've got sap in my beard; sticky!) I went out and bought some screw-eyes ("screw-eyes") and nice strong wire and guyed the trunk to the two nearest walls; so the only way it can fall is over into the corner. Which is nice, 'cause at least when we were first putting it up it seemed awful precarious.

So now (as demanded by tradition) I'm sitting here being tired and listening to Christmas music and watching the rest of the family decorate. Which is nice, for the obvious reasons.

I remarked the other year that the very first Google hit on "Abel's Trees" was our own Abel's Trees, and how odd that seemed. Well this year neither their old site (now quite popup-infested and with out-of-date prices) nor their new site show up near the top of the Google search, but the second hit is that very weblog page with the story.

Odd place, the web.

I finished and wrote up "The London Pigeon Wars". I also posted that review on Amazon, which I apparently hadn't done in a long time, because I had to declare my "real name". After I did that, the review (at least apparently) showed up immediately on the site. Back before Real Names I recall it took awhile; maybe this is a clever way for them to cut down on the amount of previewing they have to do. People using their real names don't tend to write scurrilous things?

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, drive them across the border and leave them to fend for themselves.

"A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though."

And a spammer writes:

Subject: All we want is to take your fancy damage

Q. Why did the balloon burst?
A. Play ball!

Which seems entirely correct.

Widely blogged consumption resistance: the amazing TV-B-Gone, and Christmas Resistance (both associated with Nina Paley). (Remember our own old experiment with non-consumption? That'd be fun to work on again someday.)

Way back in June we said "enter username:", and you said:

I wondered if the "rum sodomy" might be a reference to the infamous Jack Davis party here in SF, but apparently that was whisky



So that's what's in your pockets! And yes, I still call them PCs

try being a woman who insists on pockets (including in skirts) but doesn't wear cargo pants. Life is indeed tough.

"why do I find advocacy sites like this annoying ?" - is it because they're there with a single view and purpose which whilst you may agree with, negates the alternate view and because you're a relatively balanced person you don't like being told only one side of the argument ?


I'm not a porn starlette, so should I take my shoes off?

grokkenspiel: "playing some scam that I just haven't grokked"

Answering your question on weblog pings, I still prefer pings and ping aggregation services to going back to polling websites. And I especially prefer reading actual web pages instead of RSS feeds. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone on at least the second point. The real problem with pings right now is that the apps that made that data useful are poorly maintained: my own BlogTracker tool is not updating at the moment, waiting for me to get the time to rebuild it...

Which one?

Some web spiders of varying utility, like Daypop and Blogdex, use weblogs.com to see which sites have updated. I keep wanting to make an aggregator use my blo.gs favorites list to better optimize its RSS pulls, but I don't think any aggregator does that now.

Much of which harks back to the absorbing subjects we were discussion back in June. I do like the subtle geeky connotation of "sexygrrl404". And the suggestion that I should try being a woman who insists on pockets. Maybe next time!


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