January 29, 2006

January 26, 2006


January 23, 2006


This weekend I rediscovered something I once knew: Kem cards rock!

One of the great things about playing cards is that the apparatus of card playing affords one a lot of material with which to fiddle. As a compulsive fiddler, this is a big bonus.

I feel I could dedicate a non-trivial amount of time to discovering which set of chips creates the most satisfying clink when riffled together. But there's no question that Kem cards are infinitely more satisfying to shuffle together than their poorer cousins whose edges get all gross after even a moderate amount of fiddling.

Plus, picking up a deck this weekend reminded me that, as a kid, my grandmother had a stockpile of the things in our basement in St. Louis. There must have been at least 20 decks in various florid designs. Plus a variety of card holders, chip sets, mahjongg and rummy-q cases.

Jane (my late grandmother, whose birthday is today) once taught me how to play some of the latter. And from all this evidence, you'd have to conclude that she, like her parents and descendents, was quite the gamer.

January 20, 2006

Master blaster

This morning on the way to work I noticed an unusual number of young daughters perched atop their daddies' shoulders. Like, there were five or six such parings within three blocks.

While cute, it's also suspicious. There aren't as many young couples on my block as there are up the way in Noe Valley. And, you have to ask yourself, what do all those little beady eyes need to see from way up there.

Now I'm at work and whaddya know if a little girl doesn't come prairie-dogging around the corner astride her dad. Take Your Daughter to Work Day is in April so I think we can eliminate any casual explanation for this.

The only rational conclusion is that the invasion has begun. Aim for the eyes and pray you hit the power center.

January 17, 2006

All in the game

I was in Vegas this past weekend. I'd only ever been once before when Sutter and I stopped in for a single evening during our drive cross country.

The weekend was a total blast. Some highlights:

  • The Wynn Las Vegas. I need to stay in more places with electronically controlled drapery. Plus I had the best breakfast of my life there on Saturday morning. It was called "Breakfast."

  • Avenue Q. The show at the Wynn. I am just the world's biggest sucker for book musicals. And this one has puppets and dirty jokes. The latter of which is interesting because I think some lines probably play better in the Broadway production than they do in Nevada. For example, the middle-aged gentleman sitting next to me didn't return from intermission after the closeted gay puppet sang a ditty about his make-believe girlfriend in Canada, the punchline of which is "And I can't wait to eat her pussy again."

  • Poker. My first sally into gambling. Poker is great because basically if you just sit at the low-limit table and play incredibly tight you're not going to lose that much money. And no matter how little you think you know about poker, there's someone at the table who knows even less. My philosophy was that I was bound to lose the cash I'd brought to gamble and I got a bit luckier at poker than I expected. Of course, I was also helped by ...

  • Video Poker. Really, a stupid game. In fact, the only reason I put $10 in the 25¢ machine was because I had some time to kill before my spot came up at real Poker. About 5 minutes later I'd nearly lost the $10 when the computer kindly dealt me AAAA4 which pays out at 2000-1 because the 4 represents some kinda bonus kicker. A nice way to finish the weekend, that.
All around a great time. I'm looking forward to going back.


Jason Sutter reveals the dark, replicant history of Brenda's mom from Six Feet Under. My mind is blown.

Incidentally, Sutter's been deathly ill for the past week. I'd pray for his swift recovery but his blogging has never been better.

January 12, 2006

Formally Brilliant

The NYPress says of Chris Ware:

Ware’s maniacally detailed parodies of the detritus of commercial culture are the rough equivalent of the showy passages in which David Foster Wallace or Jonathan Franzen write in the language of pharmaceutical or advertising bureaucracies, but they and their imitators fail to distinguish between deadening language and the way it deadens the people who use it, mistaking meaning for purpose.
I've got the Acme Library of Novelty and have spent a couple hours getting monumentally depressed by it. It's the pinnacle of the graphic novel as sad, shameful and isolating.

What's funny is that I feel completely the opposite about the above-referenced Wallace and Franzen pieces. Well the Wallace story in Oblivion ("Mr. Squishy) is kind of a drag to read. But the chapter on depression in The Corrections is a hoot. I was not deadened at all.

Still this NYPress article is a good read. At least, I now know why other folks love Chris Ware (beyond the technical reason that he's a graphical madman).

January 09, 2006

Pizza Pie

Chicagoans Mary and Eugene were in town last week. As you can see, they are very much in love.

And they enjoy doing it on public transit.

January 08, 2006

How to Save America

My plan has two parts:

  1. No more paper phonebooks. Honestly, fuck the phonebook. Never has the internet more completely obsoleted an old technology. Plus, there's no book that has more pages, costs more to deliver and is read less than the phonebook. I estimate the savings from its elimination to be on the order of fucktons.

    At the very least delivery should be made opt-in.

  2. Assigned seating in movie theaters. The earlier you buy your ticket the better your seat. This rewards the anal movie-going crowd (that's me) in that you no longer have to both buy tickets beforehand and show up super-early to get the best seats. And it leaves the procrastinators in no worse position for their astonishing lack of foresight. In fact, they are better served because with assigned seats, we can optimize to avoid scattered single seats.

    The only losers in this plan are those who've foisted upon us the unholy creation known as Pre-Show Entertainment. These are probably the same people who want to keep the phonebook alive because it's essentially a 10,000 page advertisement. I say, fuck those people and their phonebook-loving asses.

May God bless our great land.

January 05, 2006

Flashback humor

Ah, the transient glory of search referrer rankings.

I am now #1 for "I want you to hit me as hard as you can."

On Poop

The BBC reports on alternative weapons investigated by the DoD back in 1994. These include: a bomb to make enemies gay, a bomb to make enemy combatants attractive to rats, a chemical to identify the enemy using bad breath and a chemical to make skin overly sensitive to sunshine.

I believe these were all also rejected mcguffins from the 6th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Also "researchers pondered a 'Who? Me?' bomb, which would simulate flatulence in enemy ranks." I'd assumed this meant stimulate flatulence. But now I'm thinking the bomb merely lays down farty cloud which isn't nearly as cool and is, in fact, just a stink bomb.

Apparently this idea had other problems. Quoth the Beeb: "Researchers concluded that the premise for such a device was fatally flawed because 'people in many areas of the world do not find faecal odour offensive, since they smell it on a regular basis.'"

The most important question raised by this report is, therefore, what the hell is going on with the British spelling of fecal?

January 01, 2006

Viva Mexico

Back from warm, sandy, swim in the ocean everyday Mexico ... and it appears we're having some kind of Wet Wind Apocalypse in Northen California. Neat!

Aaron checks the time.