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August 2007 Archives

August 1, 2007

Sucked in

What do you suppose could have finally prompted me to register to read subscriber-only New York Times articles? This article about a chair built into a bookshelf. The concept is interesting, but I'd be worrying about the weight of all those books above my head. Well, I worry about stuff like that.

Oh, and I also signed up for the Sophisticated Shopper email, so I could be alerted to more cool things I can't afford.

(Via usr/bin/girl.)

(PS: I know about Bugmenot, but for some reason it never works for me.)

August 2, 2007

Best Intentions, Part Infinity

"The Shadow of that Hyddeous Strength
Sax Myle and More It Is of Length!"

(A continuation of thoughts engendered by this -- the original article is no longer available at the Australian.)

Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

Jesus. What the fuck is matter with this year?


FYI: my company uses the Websense webfilter. Apparently all Blogspot blogs are banned under "Social Networking and Personal Sites." I can't even read my own old and emergency blogs that I have on that system. Oh well.

Another thing: I'm thinking of getting rid of my phone service and dsl and going back to cable internet. The reason is the phone company here keeps adding extra charges even though I hardly ever use the fricking phone and I'm sick of it. Also, it's kind of dumb to have two phones. A land line is as useless after a hurricane as a cell -- my line was out for days after Charlie. I only got the thing because the place I lived at had a burglar alarm, which was also useless, and when I moved to the new place they told me they'd put in burglar alarms, and they did after I'd lived there about two years, and I ended up not using it. I have a cell, one of those pay-as-you-go things, for my infrequent calling needs. (Also, I have threatened to get a television. I just might. My brain is pulped -- I can barely think to blog, much less to do all that Deep Reading and Writing I had planned to do.)


Is it just me, or is this column by Opinionjournal guy Daniel Henninger almost completely incoherent? And it's not that I don't know the subject matter -- I'm not particularly familiar with any of the celebrity names he invokes because I don't care about that stuff, but that doesn't mean I can't have a general idea of celebrity scandals and their cause and effect. But there is something fundamentally wrong with a passage like this:

Back then, an egg was just an egg. Barry Bonds came into the game in a time of cloning. All sciences advance, including business science. Sophisticated new business techniques of marketing and branding names across platforms, powered by the rocket fuel of electronic media, made it possible to "stretch" a sport far beyond the last out or buzzer. The seer Charles Barkley once said: "You got guys who can't even play that got jerseys, shoes and everything."

WTF? Can this be translated into English? By the way -- I can't remember -- is Henninger one of the guys in the patronizing anti-anti-illegal-immigration club meeting that the WSJ folks were caught out on? That might explain his disinterest in actually communicating with his readers. If you can't get his highfalutin' jargon then you don't deserve to be reading him, chump.

August 3, 2007

Note to all bloggers

More and more websites are being put in Websense's "Social Networking and Personal Websites" filter. Check your blog on Websense to see if it is on this banned list. Mine isn't, fortunately, but a whole lot of sites are, and not just Blogspot sites as I thought yesterday -- unless they are adding them as I surf.

I am sending this from work -- which by the way may be the only way I can get online for a while. I simply can't afford the phone line and the dsl anymore. In a few days it will probably be shut off (I have to look at my last bill), and getting it restarted -- or getting something else set up -- may take a week or more. I do have a McDonald's that supposedly has (not free) wireless up the street, and a Panera with (free) wireless a bus ride away, but I can't go there every day. The coffee shop I used to go to has a new sign on it and it's currently closed. It's going to still be a coffee shop, but who knows if they'll still offer the free wireless they used to offer.

(Yes, things are getting a bit more expensive than I expected. I am on the verge of selling all my stuff and moving into a room, I am so irritated by never having any money. But people around here want as much for a room as rent for an apartment, so that won't work.)


Oh dear lord, bees!

I'm disappointed that so far no one has suggested fire. All those firemen about, you think they'd know what to do.* Where's your Florida gumption, people?

*Whaddaya mean that's not what "fireman" means? There's "fire" in that word, isn't there?

Pricks kicked against

The totalitarian ploy disguised as "the anti-hate crime movement" has met with a defeat at the hands of Canadian bloggers. This cheers this right-wing fascist, who has been rather depressed lately, right up.


In honor of Steve H.'s larcenous family maid, here's a flan recipe I got from a Cuban guy I used to work with. It may not be as fancy as Steve's recipes, but my coworker got it from his mother, so it's authentically Cuban. (Anything that uses the two essential Cuban ingredients, canned sweetened condensed milk and canned evaporated milk, is authentically Cuban. All that Cuban haute cuisine that became fashionable in Miami before I left? Feh.)

Anyway, here it is:

You get four or five eggs (I liked five -- more cholesterol that way), a can of evaporated milk, a can of sweetened condensed milk, a teaspoon of vanilla. Mix in a bowl. Make the caramel sugar stuff: take a cup of white sugar, put in a pan with a little bit of water, enough to liquify it. Let it boil until all the water boils away and it forms a crusty layer on your pan. Keep it on the heat: the magic will start in a minute. The sugar crust will start to melt again, this time into the amber caramel liquid. You can take it off the heat once it's all syrupy or wait a bit until it's just a little bit darker. (It all depends on how much burnt flavor you like. The way I like it is when it tastes just a bit like Cuban coffee.)

Okay here's the rest: take a deepish round cooking thing, like a casserole dish. I like clear glass ones myself for this, so I can see every delicious inch. Pour the sugar syrup in so it coats the entire bottom. Then take your bowl of flan stuff and pour it on top. Now get a larger, shallower pan, put the flan pan in it, and pour water into the bigger pan to come up the sides an inch or so. This is the hardest part of the recipe -- I have weak spaghetti arms and always manage to spill the water. Get this thing into the oven. Cook at some temperature -- I want to say 350 degrees but it could be 400, I'll have to find the ancient page from a legal pad that the recipe is scribbled on -- for about 35 or 45 minutes. Or until a toothpick stuck into it comes out more or less clean (any stuff on it should not drip). Remove and let cool. Invert over a plate big enough to catch the caramel drippings. Slice. Eat. Have a heart attack. So what? It will be worth it.

PS: you can fool around with individual ramekins and things but the whole point of this exercise is to not have to fool around with too many things. Also, Nicaraguans put canned fruit cocktail at the bottom of their flan instead of sugar syrup, which freaked me out the first time I tried it: instead of faintly burned-tasting sweet creamy goodness I got a whole grape embedded like an eyeball in custardy stuff. Nicaraguan flan would be a great Halloween party desert.


I have been in the most crushing depression for the past few days (weeks?) but now it seems to be finally lifting. My situation is still unchanged -- I have no money, am going to have my phone turned off, the job situation is weird, etc. -- but I am not looking at my surroundings with unending hatred and wishing I dared pack up the cats and get on a bus for Alaska. I still plan to move out of Florida once my lease is up... but I think I'll stick it out until the lease is up. (Oh -- and I still plan to get rid of a lot of my old, broken-down crap. Momma wants a new couch.)

August 4, 2007

I think I know why this apartment was available

There is a young couple who live in the apartment above me. Their connubial relations (whether officially sanctioned or not) are, if not harmonious, then certainly vigorous. I hope that the trusses between my ceiling and their floor are sturdy.

Where's Al Qaeda when you need them?

Someone's truck horn keeps going off in the parking lot. I badly need someone who knows how to plant explosives and isn't afraid to use them, due to the insanity and whatnot. Well, I don't know how to blow things up.

August 5, 2007

Women still waiting for Daddy to give them a pony

Are you shocked? I'm not. It's the reason I'm still struggling to pay my rent and bills at the age of 44. Some years ago it occurred to me that money and opportunities don't just drop out of they sky, but it's hard to shake off bad habits, especially if you're a lazy, weak female. And let me tell you, those "assertive" women? They tend to present their desires in the form of complaints, as in "Why won't they give me a raise?" and "My boyfriend/husband/whatever is so inconsiderate, he never--" insert something he doesn't do because he's not fricking psychic.

And don't blame Mom and Dad for raising girls to be "nice" and "not ask rude questions or make demands." No one does that anymore -- raises their female children to be ladies, that is. Girls today are the rudest, meanest, shrillest little harridans-in-training you've ever seen, but they still whine and complain when they don't get their way because they had no idea (it's not in the female chipset) that you could simply ask. What's the worst that could happen? You get told "no." Of course a woman hears "no" and her uterus falls out and her tits sag to the ground, but that's another story.

(Via somewhere in the wilds of Ace of Spades.)

Strong horse, weak horse

Speaking of assertive methods getting the job done while a weak, passive, "oh no we can't do that it's not nice and we'll get yelled at" attitude gets you the shaft, here's Mark Steyn, pointing out that we're getting taken advantage of by aggressive Muslims who don't care about being loved, only getting what they want -- and we're not doing a whole lot about it. Well sure, we're fighting a war -- a war that about half the people seem to feel is just too, well, warlike to be allowed to continue. Really, doesn't the spectacle of our own authorities bending over backwards for our enemies, in the hopes of pleasing the mythical "nice Muslim," worry anyone? Apparently not enough people are concerned that a cultural takeover is being done blatantly in the open here in the West. Instead, we are continuously cautioned against "using the methods of our enemies" lest we "become like them." Well, the only way to become Muslim is to convert, so I don't see how that follows. But clear thinking was never the leading characteristic of the multicultists.

Since this is my own site and no one has to take my advice, here is my solution to this little problem. Feel free to send it Britain's way if you're impressed. Here it goes:

1. All building of mosques and "Muslim cultural centers" and whatnot should be banned in every country that calls itself "Western" until the war is over. And won by their side. If we win, I say we never permit another mosque to be built on Western soil. Sounds harsh and against freedom of religion? Well, too bad -- our country, our rules. No one is stopping Muslims from worshiping, merely from building a huge, ostentatious building that will dominate the skyline (and I use the word "dominate" deliberately) to do it in. There's something in the Koran somewhere that says people can form a "mosque" anywhere, they don't need a building -- and Arabs used to be nomads anyway. Islam more than any other religion insists that its followers adhere to the customs of its first believers, so if it's a new mosque they want, let them pitch a tent in the local imam's back yard.

2. I am not sure how to monitor this, but Muslims living in any Western country should be made to know in no uncertain terms that if they so much as make one little peep about how they aren't totally against the "aims" of jihadists, they are free to leave by the nearest airport to the Muslim-majority nation of their choice. They should also be told that this is a one-way ticket -- they will not be allowed back in the country.

3. I am leaning towards banning all further Muslim immigration into Western nations, at least into mine, unless it's to allow women who are fleeing their slave masters/husbands.

4. CAIR must be banned. I'm sick of them, and they are Hezbollah supporters or something, aren't they?

That's just the beginning, but I need to eat something (the depression is starting again, but I think it's because I'm hungry) so I'll be back later. Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments.

(Via Transterrestrial Musings.)


Geez, I go out for just a little bit -- because it was absolutely unavoidable, I was out of toilet paper and kitty litter and all sorts of other necessaries -- and it's so hot I'm ruined for the rest of the day. I feel like a boiled noodle. Summer can't be over soon enough. I can't wait until I've moved out of this state -- and at this point the Yukon is starting to look very attractive. I feel like crawling in the freezer.

Give me a minute to catch my breath, will you?

Well that's just great. Now I have a water leak somewhere under the floor of my bathroom closet. It only seems to happen when I run the washing machine. The whole point of getting this place -- besides it being convenient to my soon-to-be-ex-job -- was because I could have a washing machine. This place is turning into a pig in a poke. Did I say I was going to stay here until my lease ran out in May? I'm wondering if this isn't some kind of message.

My life plan, Edit No. 23

Okay, I think I will start applying for jobs in other states. Why wait? If I can't get a lease on an apartment because of my checkered history, maybe I can find a converted garage efficiency or something. I lived in one in Miami for nearly ten years, rats and all. I was fairly content. (I was in a rut, but never mind that.) I've been thinking about going back to one-room living. I tend to use one room almost exclusively anyway.

Now, to get rid of all my stuff. I'm too lazy to sell -- I wonder if Goodwill will pick it up. Or if I can sell it to a junkyard.

Exciting things to do on a Sunday night

(Refer to this post for context -- ed.)

I decided -- such is my track record -- that I'd better check the bedroom closet floor where it backs against the bathroom closet floor. This meant I had to pull out all the junk that I'd shoved in there when I moved in and never touched again. (I'd squeeze around it to get to my clothes and things -- and there is a reason I haven't worn the stuff hanging in the back of the closet.) Anyway -- this meant also moving the remaining three crates of beloved record albums -- which I now hate with the heat of ten thousand supernovas, by the way. I went to a local vinyl store the other day and asked the guy if they bought old LPs and he gave me the usual "we usually only by stuff in mint condition" line, they all do that. But this place is down on Orange near Ivanhoe and I have no intention of carting three crates of records via bus to the place, so I guess they'll be included in the Goodwill pickup.

I also have too much clothing -- even though I got rid of half of it before I moved. Clearly I should have gotten rid of a lot more. I hardly wear any of the things I have, I tend to wear the same small set of comfortable items. Time to cull.

I also started going through my books. In these days of Amazon, not to mention the fact that public libraries still exist, I don't need my own personal library -- at least not to the extent I have. I am going to try to narrow everything down to only those books that are most beloved -- everything else will get taken to the used book store. I am going to try to narrow the collection down to one box of books. That sounds appalling to the average book lover, but we are stupid -- books aren't the rare things they were when I was a kid. (Really -- we didn't have big chain bookstores in Miami, and the only widely-available, at least on my kid's allowance, books were the dreck they sold in the grocery store, which was even dreckier then than it is now. We did have a couple of bookstores but they catered to adults who read Literature, not kids who read scifi and kid mysteries. There was the Scholastic book ordering thing which came around school, and I got most of my paperbacks from that. And of course, the library, which I haunted and would gladly have moved into. Then Waldenbooks opened on Miracle Mile and it was a revelation. I went there just about every weekend on the bus.) Anyway, I have a lot of books that I read only once and never picked up again, and a lot of some authors whose best work didn't extend to their whole careers.

I've moved the cat litter box into the living room. I had it in the bathroom closet. (No, the water didn't come from the cat box -- I had just cleaned and dried it and refilled it. The old cat does occasionally miss the box -- sometimes I think deliberately -- but less so since I bought one with a cover.) Actually the living room is a shambles now, with stuff all over the place, so it doesn't matter.

I also need to get rid of the typewriters. Well, most of them -- I'll keep one or two. I shouldn't have collected so many -- it was a temporary mania. I am on a typewriter-collecting email list so I'll ask there if anyone wants to take my typewriters off my hands.

I'm excited about getting rid of stuff. I love throwing things away. I don't care how much money they cost -- I'll never get that money back. I'm too lazy and impatient to sell things on Ebay -- that takes too long and is too much like work.

Update: one more thing -- I didn't find any suspicious dampness in the bedroom closet or along the adjacent wall. (My large dresser is against that wall. Fortunately it is on legs, so I can see under it.) I hope that means it's just a small, localized leak and can be easily fixed. The part of the closet floor around the water heater was dry.

August 6, 2007

Do Androids Dream of Electric Dragons?

This is so wrong upon so many levels I don't know where to begin:

I’m currently re-reading The Belgariad by David Eddings, and are now currently on Pawn of Prophecy. As I’ve been reading it’s struck me, The Belgariad doesn’t read like a fantasy novel. It reads instead like mid-twentieth century mainstream fiction. The style is more like Faulkner than Tolkien.

People approached The Belgariad expecting another Lord of the Rings, and got instead Steinbeck with sleep enchantments.

First of all, let's get out of the way the absurd idea that David Eddings writes like Faulkner and Steinbeck. I'm no fan of either, but I have read some of their work. I have also read two of Eddings' books -- the above-mentioned Pawn of Prophecy and the first book of the Diamond Throne book cycle (or whatever it was -- it may be that the books was "The Diamond Throne" and the cycle had some other stupid, clumsily-derivative-of-Tolkien name). Those were the only two books of Eddings' that I could bear to read; Eddings maybe writes on the level of whatever two-bit hack with a word processor is filling the grocery store book racks this moment. In any genre.

Eddings is an awful writer, flat, clumsy, slack in exposition and dialogue, unable to create an interesting character if his life depended on it. Which it doesn't, because he inexplicably has become a prolific and apparently much beloved writer of fantasy. But the American public's taste for dreck must never be underestimated.

The wrongness deepens further into the post. Two of the major characters, a kind of female Gandalf stand in, and her father, a kind of Elrond-in-reverse (as far as I recall -- it's been many years -- many happy, fulfilling years -- since I allowed Eddings' awful "saga" to pollute my brain):

...bicker and feud. They have issues. Petty issues. They’re not above scoring points and manipulating each other over the most trifling of things. When did Aragorn and Arwyn ever have a knock down, drag out, scream your lungs out and plant the frying pan in the living room wall fight over Aragorn taking the garbage out?

Never, because Tolkien wasn't writing a lame farce populated by sitcom characters.

It gets worse:

Edding’s is the kind of writer who would have Frodo say to Gandalf when he was safe in Minas Tirath, “You used me, you bastard. You knew I’d claim the ring, and so you told Sam to kill me and toss me in the Pit of Doom when I did. You didn’t have the balls you needed to do what you and your masters needed to do ages ago, so you arranged for a poor dumb schlub like me to take the fall for you. If it weren’t for Gollum I’d be a dead hero and nobody would be the wiser.”

If this is the impression Eddings gives his fans, he's even worse at writing fantasy than I remember.

The blogger who wrote all the above then ends his post with "we need more fantasy writers like David Eddings." (Italics mine.)


Where to begin... The idea of fantasy that this blogger -- and obviously, this novelist -- both have is the absolute opposite of fantasy. C.S. Lewis long ago tore to tiny bits the idea that fantastic literature is nothing but detective stories or something gotten up in magical clothes in one of his essays (currently the book is in a box -- he was speaking of science fiction, but at the time science fiction was little removed from straight fantasy), but here I will add my own not-very-humble statement to the prosecution. (And I will mostly use Lord of the Rings to illustrate my statements, because Tolkien is the template.) Fantasy as a literary genre is not "Steinbeck with sleep enchantments" It's certainly not supposed to read like "mid-twentieth century mainstream fiction"! The entire point of fantasy is to evoke an age so remote or removed from our own every day experience that the way we relate to the story is more akin to dreaming than to reading a work of mainstream fiction. Mainstream fiction is set in the "real world" of the human race's concrete experiences in actual time. Fantasy is based on our dreams and myths, which are a kind of cultural dream. Both genres are of course based in the realities of human nature and the world we live in, though some authors have tried (with little success, IMHO) to write something as unrelated to the human experience as possible.

Fantasy stories often begin in some mundane, everyday setting -- Hobbiton (though a fantasy land populated by fantasy beings, the Shire was of course the old rural and village England of Tolkien's childhood), the Professor's house in the Narnia books, etc. -- but that is only to make the magical events that follow stand out with even greater sharpness.

As well, fantasy is about our extreme characteristics -- our most noble and our most base traits. Heroes in fantasy are more noble than they are in real life. That's why we don't have a scene in LOTR where Aragorn does something dorky. Evil characters are evil. That's why we aren't supposed to care about the families of the orcs killed by the Riders of Rohan. The side of good is all good, and the side of evil is all evil. This doesn't mean, of course, that there won't be conflicted characters -- we have Boromir, Wormtongue, Denethor, and Saruman. But their flaws also dovetail with the idea that there are only two choices, the Good and the Evil, and that eventually one side or the other will claim you forever.

Eddings' problem, and the problem many contemporary so-called writers of "fantasy" have is that they are not writing fantasy, and actually don't seem to like it very much. The evidence is what they remove from or botch in their fiction.

First to go, because it's easiest and also so rebellious, man! -- is the heroism. See, in real life people aren't heroes like that -- not all goody-two-shoes stuck-up and making all those boring speeches. People are complicated, man -- like they're not one thing or another, people who act like that are phonies!

That Aragorn, man, what a phony.

The second thing to go is all that weird "language." I don't mean made-up language words -- fantasy writers all seem to think that tacking a few -iads and -ils on the ends of words and a few vaguely Celtic or Finnish-looking phrases tossed here and there into their word-gruel like so many raisins is de rigueur, and in fact they overuse the device, where Tolkien was content to tell his story in English. I mean the antique speaking and writing style that is traditional to fantasy. Man, people don't talk like that anymore! So these writers, thinking they need to reach "the people," churn out stuff that calls to mind such producers of lyrical prose as Tom Clancy.

The rest is what I call "fixing what isn't broke." One favorite fix is to add more women in "active" roles. One Eowyn isn't good enough, not so long as Arwen is stuck back there in her daddy's lodge sewing that flag. Their heads filled with four decades of "women need to be shown in more empowering Roles," these writers went to their keyboards and produced legions of female warriors who could fight side by side with a man (or in front of one) without crying or getting cramps, female sorcerers as good as Gandalf, wise women galore, spunky girls who bicker and sass their way into the king's heart (only they turn him down in order to Remain Free -- to be killed by brigands or a disease that twelfth-century medicine couldn't cure... hey, if you're going to shove "reality" into a dream world why not go all the way?) -- and so on.

And then we have the issue of magic. If any of these writers are ever able to make it all the way through Lord of the Rings, they notice that there really wasn't a whole lot of actual magic performed. And what's even more unfair, none of the human or hobbit heroes gets to do any of it -- it's all done by the wizards (who are not human) or the evil Ringwraiths (who are not human any more)! It's almost as if Tolkien was saying that human beings (and hobbits) should not have magical powers. How unfair and limiting! This goes straight against the contemporary Western notion that mankind is capable of anything. Tolkien, obviously, did not subscribe to this view, but most modern fantasy writers do, and the idea that for a human to grasp at the power of an angel is to recreate the Fall is not anathema to them -- it's something they've probably never even heard of. So the typical fantasy novel has everyone and his pet dragon casting spells and writhing around on the ground in visions. This gets old after a while.

I could go on and on. (In fact, I have.) But I'll end with the effect all of this downgrading, flattening out, and fluffing has on the fantasy story: it breaks the wall. It jolts the reader awake from the dream. It reveals the gold and scarlet gems to be tinsel and plastic. It's like being told in a particularly unkind and mocking way that there is no Santa Claus, and by the way that Virginia chick died of diphtheria. And then going on to describe the symptoms of diphtheria in gruesome detail, and then trying to cop a feel. To do this is worse than a blasphemous act -- it's a destruction of the underpinnings of civilization, which is built on dreams and myths. The men with minds of metal and wheels have gone far down the road to replacing the stone of dreams with the plastic of "the real world" in all other aspects of our life already. It was only a matter of time before they got to fantasy. Just about everything that is published today under that heading seems to be written for robots.

In an idle hour

This article, 10 things you can do when Windows XP won't boot, is very useful. But what if nothing works, or you're just an ordinary (l)user who only knows how to press the switch that starts the computer? I'm here to help with 10 alternative things to do when your computer cacks out on you:

1. Go for a walk.
2. Read a book.
3. Watch a dvd on the tv for once.
4. Listen to your cds on the dusty, neglected stereo system that was your pride and joy pre-iPod.
5. Eat a meal at your table or breakfast bar instead of over your keyboard.
6. Play with your cats/dog. No no -- not the Ceiling Fan game, something they would enjoy.
7. Dig out your film camera and take pictures.
8. Fix one of the things around your place that you kept meaning to get to once you've finished reading/writing that email/blog post/whatever.
9. Buy a porno magazine at the convenience store and "read" it on the comfort of your own patio/balcony/toilet.
10. After you have finished clawing handfuls of hair from your head because of the boredom, call the Geek Squad or run down to the computer store for a new computer.

(Via Etc.)

In another holding pattern

In an attempt to feel at home in this place, a sensation that has so far eluded me, I hung up some of my pictures. It isn't working -- yet. I don't know what's wrong with me, really, unless it's the whole sick-of-Florida thing, but then why do I find myself feeling homesick for the apartment I moved out of, which I was sure I couldn't stand living in anymore?

I stayed at home today because I ended up staying up very late, and I just didn't feel well. Also I decided to wait for the maintenance guy to show up. Well, he showed up nearly at six o'clock, so I might as well have gone to work. We ran the washer to see if the water would appear, but it was the same thing as taking the car that's making a noise to the mechanic, where miraculously it doesn't make the noise: the floor of the closet remained as dry as a bone. He told me he'd be back tomorrow to investigate further -- this time while I'm not in. He said he'd leave a report for me and also a voice mail.

I talked to the phone company and as I definitely can't come up with the money to pay my overdue bill this week, the phone will probably be cut off Wednesday. Well I expected that -- what worries me more is my electric bill. I have until the 13th to pay that overdue bill. I have to pay my rent -- also late -- that weekend, so I'm not sure how I'll swing that. One day at a time. I didn't want to go back to the cash advance place, but I may have to. At least I have a job until the end of the month.

August 8, 2007

Brief radio silence

Hi kids. Well, the phone/dsl is off, and I'm not going to restart the account -- I'll just pay them off. I have arranged to have cable internet installed. It'll be faster (more or less) anyway, and one set charge (barring rate hikes, though Brighthouse is still charging what they did three years ago when I had cable internet) instead of a bill with mysterious fees all over it. I have the cell phone, so I am not cut off from the world. At least I won't have any more of those mortgage/vacation/dish network recordings calling me. But due to my money situation I can't have them come in until the 25th, so I'll be scrounging around for free wireless connections and squeezing in the occasional post at work.

I thank everyone who has donated to my Paypal and Amazon tipjars recently. It really helps -- these next three weeks are going to be incredibly tight, I'll probably be living off those donations. I'm still employed, but the paycheck will have to be used for silly things like rent. I still have no idea how I'm going to pay that electric bill that is due on the thirteenth, but I'll figure something out. (I am seriously considering moving into a room somewhere, but so far everything I've seen advertised is set up to take advantage of college students and charges rent nearly equivalent to an apartment).

August 10, 2007


Hi kids. Just checking in here. I took the computer over to McDonald's last night after work, but their wireless was either down or clogged, so that was a bust. Today will be too hectic -- tomorrow I plan to go to the Panera near me -- I always see people on their laptops there, so I can only assume their wireless works. Also, theirs is free.

Thanks to all who have donated to my Paypal. There is also the Amazon tipjar, if you can't deal with Paypal. I also accept bags of money left on my doorstep. See you later.

Dog Days

Well, I see I'm not the only one with metaphorical canine problems. Just don't feed it treats -- then it will never leave. (Hides bag of bones to chew under desk.)

August 11, 2007

On the road again

Well, here I am at Panera. Where they have free wireless, but a marked absense of sufficient plugs, so I'm dependent upon my battery -- which has about an hour and a half of life left. Not bad -- I have lots of catching up to do but I doubt it will take me an hour and a half. This place is somewhat quieter than most din-filled eating places in Central Florida, or at least instead of the usual shrill pop they play classical music, but it's still an echoing cave full of the clatter from the kitchen and the whining of children. (All restaurants have at least two whining children installed by state statute.) I can't wait until I have my own internet connection back -- I may try to get the date moved up a bit.

Now now. Self control. There is still the electricity to pay.

Which I am still short of sufficient funds to do, by the way, so if you have some stray dollars or cents lying around... hint hint.

My depression has lifted somewhat. This means the desperation to get away right now has abated -- staying until my lease is up no longer seems totally impossible. But that's it -- I'm out of here after that. (Some other state in the union) here I come! I already started the reduction in my belongings, and gave one of my armchairs -- the green velvet one with rattan sides -- to one of my coworkers. The apartment already looks better -- more open, that chair really was just too big for it -- and I'm more reconciled to living there.

I am debating on whether or not to get my hair cut, because it's become an unmanageable mop that in this heat feels like I have a wool blanket wrapped around my head, but I have very little money left (I just paid my rent including late charges -- it's okay, I have one kidney left), so I don't know. Heat stroke... shorter hair.... what a decision.

That's all for right now. I am going to now catch up on reading all the websites that the idiot Websense at work blocks. FYI -- all Typepad and Blogspot sites are blocked under "Social Networking and Personal Sites" so if any of you are having problems reading blogs at work that's why.

Your Multicultural Moment of Zen

What's "dath," Precious? Is it crunchable? Is it tasty?

Via Kathy Shaidle. Whose new blog will, I hope, be accessible at work -- I am getting bored reading the same three sites over and over.

Two more weeks, two more weeks...

A Nation of Babies

I'm doing it wrong, apparently -- what I really should be doing is blaming my misfortune on America and asking why the president won't fix my life. I mean, that's what all the other losers honest, upright citizens who just want a Fair Shake do. And while you're at it, Mr. Prez, they'd like pots of gold to be left on their doorstep. And for their pick to win American Idol.

Mr. President, why did you let me miss my rent payment? Mr. President, why did you let me get in over my head in debt? Mr. President, why won't you pay my bills? What's wrong with this country????

(Sits back. Waits. Odd -- no one has appeared at my table to offer me so much as a free day at Disney World. My God, the world is ending! ABANDON ALL HOPE.)

I saw a recent example of this attitude in the Orlando Sentinel a few weeks ago. Crime has gone up in certain neighborhoods here. Whatever the reason for the crime rise, a group of local families egged on -- I mean, um, compassionately recorded and photographed -- by a Sentinel reporter wrote a letter to President Bush asking him to help stop crime in Central Florida. The article was accompanied by a picture of sad-faced little Hispanic kids standing in front of their apartment block holding up the letter. A letter. To the President. No really, how could he refuse to fly in with his special Super Pres suit on -- these were sad little Brown Children!

We will never get anything fixed in this country until we quit thinking of the president as being the only grownup in the land.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)

Now we return you to your regularly scheduled program

Aigh. My battery ran down, and the only plug in Panera was being monopolized, so I went to get my hair cut. Now I'm at this Starbucks. Starbucks does not have free wireless -- I signed up for the cheapest plan -- but it does have lots of plugs. I can't stay here forever, though -- at some point I must leave my nice, comfy internet and go out into the scary, cold -- well, hot, actually, blazing hot -- world.

Stupid young human tricks

Could someone explain this trend to me -- which I have noticed building for some years now, first in the fashion-forward ethnic thug community, and now (several just rolled past the window) apparently it has spread to the young, white, and dumb community: full (or at least mostly) grown young males on tiny little kid bikes? At first -- back when it was black or Hispanic thugs (BTW, you are a thug if you dress in thug-wear -- I don't care if you just got offered a scholarship to Harvard) doing it I thought they had just stolen some little kids' bikes, but I just saw a tribe of white guys roll past, knees up around their white-boy 'fros. (Another peeve: why are today's teens so unimaginative and unoriginal? They all look like the same drips I went to high school with, right down to the faded black t-shirts with "ZOSO" and "Skynyrd" on them, and horrid hair -- either greasy lank locks or gigantic balls of frizz.) Maybe stealing kiddie bikes and riding them in public where girls can see them is the new cool? Don't they realize they look like clowns on those tiny bikes? I don't see how their hard-dude reputations don't suffer when they're wheeling around town like some cracked troop of Shriners. All they need are fezzes.

When you lie down with dogs...

Saying something horribly wrong is not brave, it is simply being horribly wrong. Evil, even. It's nice to see that this Neil Clark person has even ticked off the anti-war contingent, if the comments to his post are any indication. If you wondered what anti-Iraq-war position could be too revolting for most of the crew against the war, here's an example. Then again, peace babies, did you think that your movement could be free of extremist freaks? You're always slamming us "warmongers" for really being closet Nazis because of the occasional kill-'em-all bigot sputtering about "sand niggers," so don't be surprised when you're judged by the worst among you.

(Via LGF, and a lot of other blogs. Oh, and speaking of "stupid blog names," WTF is "comment is free"? That sounds dorky -- or as the British say, twee -- as hell. And it makes no sense. Comment is free? Don't they mean commentary is free? Commenting is free? It's not even good grammar.)

August 12, 2007

Back at Panera again

Well, I need to go grocery shopping, and the Winn-Dixie happens to be situated conveniently close to the Panera...

Someone is monopolizing the only plug here again, so I have about an hour until I have to shut this thing down and either go home or go in search of a plug. Maybe iMac boy will get tired of editing his music or whatever it is he's doing by then. As for the rest of this place, Sunday is apparently meetin' day, but I have no idea if any of the groups currently filling most of the back areas are church groups or not. Well, there is an "Obama in '08" crowd in the closed off "community room," and I guess that is a kind of religion.

By the way, I'd like to thank the people who have donated to the Paypal and Amazon links. I can't send a personal thank you note yet because the email they go to uses my old SMTP server.

More stuff later, maybe.

Update: more plugs found. They are in the back room and painted black to match the baseboard. The meeting in this part (it seems to have been a Girl Scout troop) has abated. I got a refill of my tea and a sandwich -- the plan is to wait out the rest of the heat (I believe they toasted my panini by leaving it outside for a few minutes) in here before walking over to the grocery store and then getting on the bus. Oh hooray, the family with the three loud young girls has left.

August 14, 2007


Just checking in, kids. I'm pretty bored. The job is no longer the Crazy Place -- it's more like the Dead Zone. I brought my portable radio in so I'd have something to keep me awake. To tell you the truth, there doesn't seem to be that much left for me to do around here so I think I'm safe from being asked to stay any longer. My last day is September 4th -- the day after Labor Day, so that week I'll only have to come in for an hour or so, then I go down to sign some papers and it's bye-bye job. I plan to take a week or so off. I have some things to do (besides sleeping). Because of some stupid law I have to wait seven extra days for my severance pay but that's okay, I think I can manage. This is all presuming I make it through August without starving to death, being eaten by my cats, or being boiled by the horrible Florida heat.

Thanks again to all who have contributed to the Paypal and Amazon tipjars -- every bit helps, believe me. I don't know when I'll have a moment to myself so I can post about more interesting subjects than my pathetic life. Lugging the computer all over town in this heat is not really worth it, and I can't really afford to anyway -- I always feel obligated to buy a coffee or something when I go use Panera's "free" wireless, and that adds up after a while.

Oh one more thing...

I'm getting tired of this blog and its themeless wandering. When I look at my older blogs (whose links I have hidden out of shame at my current uninspired predicament) I could just cry, if I were the crying type -- because back then I had occasional flashes of inspiration, or something resembling it. I don't know if I'll open another blog -- blog writing suits me, perhaps too well. Perhaps I can't write any other way -- but only Andrew Sullivan gets paid to blog and you see how he turned out.

Then again, I can't even seem to write anything interesting these days. I have had things on my mind... however, I'm not in any predicament that I haven't been before (broke, with bills looming, on the verge of being unemployed as well), so that can't be it. I've been bored and boring for quite some time.

So what should I do -- close the blog? Open a new blog? (Like a fresh new page.) Stay off the internet? (Noooo----!) I'm open to suggestion. (But not hypnosis.)


Told ya to eat more chicken.

And in more my-life-sucks news, I do believe that all the leaks in our office ceiling have caused dry rot, because every time the vent blows my way (all the time, that is) I get a nice whiff of it. How many more days until September 4th?

Freak on, freak off

I found this old post on the Wired blog via Gmail's sidebar ads -- I just thought the whole thing was weird: back in May Sixapart tried to ban kiddy-pr0n sites etc. from LiveJournal and went a little "too far" -- resulting in a bizarre discussion of just what constitutes legitimate "therapeutic" fictional accounts of rape from exploiting one's prurient "interest" in the, er, activity, and then there is the slash fiction. See, people writing about Harry Potter getting it on with Ron Weasley might fall afoul of kiddypr0n laws... no, I don't think I want to go there after all. I will say I'm mostly putting this up so I can read the comments later and laugh at them.

Changing the world one chicken at a time

Websense doesn't block Steve H. Graham's site. Suckers.

August 16, 2007

Brief Interruption of Commercials

I haven't had any time to do any posting, and I've been too tired to lug the laptop to a free wifi site, so there probably won't be anything here until the weekend. Please visit the links on the sidebar. (Tim Blair is back in Australia and promises to start regular posting soon; someone get Charles to post again!) By the way, I've finally added my email address to the sidebar (not linked to stave off spam).


August 18, 2007

Peering in

Well! Hi kids -- no, I'm still not on my own internet connection, but I am at home -- someone somewhere left their wifi connection open. I don't know how long this will last -- I just wanted to take the opportunity to take care of some personal business. I haven't done anything worth talking about this week so you'll be spared my personal babble.


Black man refuses to bow to white master

The mealy-mouthed white guy interviewing comedian D.L. Hughley here is as perfect an example of a sublimated Massah complex as I've seen in my life. Usually they're a lot more subtle about it, but it looks like the way to get the P.C. mask to drop and shatter on the floor is to confront a liberal with a person of color who doesn't stick to the script. D.L. Hughley is my new hero, by the way -- he had me at "You know what, I don't care what Al (Sharpton) said. I honestly could care less what he thinks." I didn't think I'd ever hear a black person say that. Does Hughley have to turn in his race card now?

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)

August 19, 2007

Murder, Inc.

I wonder how much our famous murder rate would go down if we managed to round up and deport all the so-called "undocumented" aliens in this country? I'm betting a significant amount.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)

August 21, 2007

The Horror

Good grief. I'm sitting here listening to the oldies station, and an announcement comes on: the Lifetime channel is going to feature a movie called "The Murder of Princess Diana." No, it's not a parody, either. I'll bet you the Lifetime demographic will eat it up too.

I never could get the fascination with the whole Diana thing. For some reason my Anglophilia didn't extend to the British monarchy, which just bored me. If you ask me the British royals haven't been interesting since 1066. I'm a true atavist -- I can identify with dour Anglo-Saxons in their drafty mead halls, and even, just a bit, the theological obsessions of the High Middle Ages, but the velvet-robed political maneuvering and matrimonial inbreeding that came after that just leaves me cold. However, most of my fellow Americans, at least the distaff side, disagreed with me, and in the early 80s everywhere you looked (that wasn't at me) women were sporting that shiny golden Diana helmet hairdo. True story: I went to a party in, I think, 1985, being held at the home of one of my coworkers. I entered her house to be stopped dead in my tracks by the sight of an entire wall devoted to Diana: 8x10 photos, books, commemorative figurines of the marriage... "I'm kind of obsessed by her" the coworker said frankly.

But I don't get it. I never did. Diana wasn't even the sort of British woman who interested me -- she was blond and bland, and gave off that air of "preppy" which at the time was anathema to budding alterna-goth me. I found her boring, and just as I couldn't figure out what was so fascinating about the blond, healthy, ordinary tribunal of popular kids who stood at the top of my high school's social hierarchy, I couldn't figure out what made this vanilla creature so worthy of obsession. If you ask me her manner of death was the only really interesting thing that she "gave," if you will, to the world -- and it was just a common traffic accident after all. Perhaps that is why so many of her "fans" really wish there had been something more to her death, and therefore make up ridiculous conspiracy theories about it -- even they sense that there wasn't anything all that fascinating after all about their hobbyhorse.

Anyway, I'm here at home due to one of those stomach bugs (I've lost three pounds in the last two days), and still hitching a ride on someone's unencrypted wireless. I can't wait to get my own connection, though -- this one keeps dropping.

Update: after thinking about it I should rather say that I don't so much identify with the Anglo-Saxons of eld as I am stirred by them, or rather the thought of them, while the well-worm pomposity of latter day British Royal ceremonies rather bores me. Still, Beefeaters and Buckingham Palace and all of it beat the crassness and flatness of most of our modern, "hang loose" way of life. Diana and her Peoples' Princess shtick contributed much towards the grinding down of Western civilization into a gray paste of multiculturalism, which was even more of a turnoff to me than her upper-crust blandness; if she'd just been an arrogant bitch who never let the commoners forget their place she would have been much more interesting. Instead we have to go to actresses and models for imitation high-class tantrums, and as such people tend to be low-class they can't get it quite right.

August 22, 2007

Back in the saddle again

I'm online under my own power at last! It was a five-minute job; the tech came in, plugged in the box, checked the settings, and that was it.

It's just in time, of course, for me to be feeling like I've been run over by a truck -- some sort of stomach flu got me, and I'm still pretty draggy. Such is life.

The weather is starting to turn -- not so much in the temperature, which is still just below that of the surface of Mercury, but the late afternoon light is starting to get that pale, silvery tinge it gets when autumn approaches. Also there are moments -- entire moments, mind you -- when the humidity isn't at "mid-swamp." And I am feeling a corresponding lift in spirit. Whatever is the opposite of those people who get depressed in the winter, I am it. I prefer winter to summer, night to day, rainy days to sunshine... stuff like that. Soon I'll be able to take my walks again. (That's another thing that gets to me about summer -- it's too hot to go outside, I might as well be living north of the tundra line for all I can leave my apartment with any amount of comfort.)

Food for thought

Are billboards and other advertisements for food and restaurants and grocery stores that can be seen by Muslims (as well as everyone else) hate crimes if they are not taken down for Ramadan? How about commercials on tv? How about if I stand across the street from a mosque and eat a bag of potato chips?

I can understand prohibiting eating at one's desk in the office for reasons of neatness and decorum (we used to periodically get memos about this at work back when there were more than a handful of us rattling about the place), but to avoid offending some anal-retentive religious person? Christians are always having frankly anti-Christian stuff shoved in their faces 24/7, and if they dare complain, are basically told to put up with it or else. Hell -- Jews are told to put up with a number of them being killed by people who don't like them every year, because fighting back means they're not being nice. You know what? It's time we told the members of the whiniest religion on earth (it starts with "I" doesn't it?) to put up with stuff they don't like or else go back where they came from (or in the case of converts, where they really belong).

As for me, I'm thinking of holding an anti-Ramadan -- for the forty days and forty nights, or whatever the hell it is, I will eat whatever the hell I want all freaking day, where God and everybody can see me.

(P.S.: yes, that "disclaimer" makes no sense at all, so either it's not a disclaimer, or the person who wrote it is subliterate.)

August 23, 2007

What would zombies do?

Natalie Solent recounts the story of a woman left alone to give birth (when she had been told it was dangerous to do so) all by herself in a toilet in a hospital, while nurses refused to help. In Britain. She wonders: "How do we get our nerve back?"

The answer is you don't; nerves don't grow back. They're dead, Jim.

My youthful Anglophilia is just about gone and events like these are helping speed it on its way to oblivion. I'm glad I got to go to England when I was just out of high school, before the zombies took over. I will admit, I've been slogging through Mark Steyn's America Alone, and it's been a hard go not because he's a lousy writer (though the book is spready, and could really be compressed into a few of his columns) or because I disagree with him (I agree with just about everything he says), but because I simply don't care about Europe anymore. How can I care about people who don't care about themselves? The few actual live humans who still live in that hollow charnel house should leave before it collapses and takes them down with it.

August 24, 2007

Immodium for dinner

Okay, I guess it was a mistake to go back to eating real food right just yet. I really didn't like having to spend half an hour in the bathroom at Walmart.

Bullet not from a gun

Sometimes it takes a Frenchman -- the dissident frogman has created a helpful instructional video for confused reporters who can't tell a fired bullet from one fresh out of its packaging. By the way -- that Iraqi woman with the "fired" bullets... isn't she the same person as this woman? I know that ugly old women in headwraps are hard to tell apart -- but this is the same woman, I swear to God.

(Via Kim Du Toit.)

Update: I'm not the only one who thinks so. (Read the comments.)


This is a trip down memory lane... Robert Fisk has been under the radar for a while, and I had figured that his minders had finally got tired of replacing the gnawed-through leather straps and those 3am calls about some crazy old man wandering the streets of Beirut in nothing but his socks and finally had him committed, but here he is, back to his old, far-too-easily-parodied twenty-dumb-questions style of column-scribbling. This time he's decided (better late than never) to jump on the 9/11 Truther bandwagon just as it's run out of gas. Time to fisk the Fisk:

where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon?

Um, did he expect that there would be chunks of burned and melted steel just left lying around, maybe smaller pieces being used as paperweights? I'm surprised he didn't also say "well, where is the giant hole, eh? Wasn't there a giant hole?" I guess living as long as he has in various foreign backwaters he's used to seeing stuff that's been blown up or otherwise destroyed just left lying there, but here in America (you know, the civilized part of the world?) we have this habit of cleaning up and fixing things. Crazy I know. No really, this question ("where are the plane parts? Huh? Huh?") is just so stupid in an elemental, post-lobotomy way. Anyone who asks that question should have all sharp objects removed from their vicinity and be strapped to their chair.

Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled?

Huh? What "officials"? What the hell is he talking about? Everyone "involved" in the United 93 flight is dead. I don't know what other "officials" he can possibly be referring to.

Why did flight 93’s debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field?

Good God what an idiot. "Crash in one piece"--? Does he think that planes just fall to the ground and lie there like dropped boxes? Has he never seen footage of any other plane crash, with debris scattered everywhere "for miles"? Has he never dropped a glass on a hard floor?

He claims he's talking about "scientific issues." And he demands that no one call him a "conspiracy theorist." Okay fine, then you're a senile old coot.

August 26, 2007

Confession of an overloaded would-be blogger

Well I still don't have much energy to write anything. Maybe it's the August heat -- sure, when I'm at home I'm in airconditioning, but I have to go out occasionally, to buy groceries, to keep from going insane... I can't wait until it cools down here. I am useless in the summer.

Also, I am feeling really overwhelmed by the amount of stupidity out there. Iraq is hopeless, Bush is a fascist dictator, global warming causes leftists to get piles and also is the fault of the USA exclusively -- see, we should just shut down our economy, and starve to death, and then everyone else in the world will be fat and happy and cool. But we just won't do that, because we are selfish!

Maybe it was a mistake to make the internet public. It just seems to me that all it did was give the tards, cranks, conspiracy-maniacs, communists, and other intellectual low-lifes a voice that they did not deserve. Now there is no getting away from their stupid shit, when before you could walk away from the screeching street person, or hang up on your moronic relative when they start spouting. The internet is becoming as useless and garbage-filled as tv.

August 27, 2007

Fleeing Florida: Opinions Needed

As some of you may know, I am planning to leave Florida at some point (tentative date -- May 2008, when my lease at the current apartment ends). So far I am considering the following areas for my new lair:

-- The Dallas/Ft. Worth Area
-- Oklahoma City
-- St. Louis

What I am looking for: cheap rent in decent neighborhoods (ie, a low homeboy/crackhead/hooker to normal working person ratio); a job market that isn't all retail/resort/hospital focused (like Florida's); a halfway decent public transportation system (though I plan to have a car by then, I'd still like to be able to count on alternatives); a few nice parks/walking areas. An area of cute shops and nice (cheap) cafés would be a plus, though I don't need it (and my finances certainly don't).

What I don't care about: nightlife -- my clubbing days are over; "activities" -- which usually mean theme parks and golf; weather -- the climate of most of the continental US sucks most of the year, I am resigned to that -- all the places with really nice weather are too expensive to live in; "diversity" -- I live in Diversity Central, so I know what that's really like. Most urban centers are by their nature "diverse" anyway.

Anyway, I'm soliciting opinions of the above three destinations. Oh -- if the urban center in question is undergoing a crime "upsurge" I might become less interested. I'm from Miami, so the idea of crime doesn't faze me much, but the sort of thing that is currently going on in Orlando is annoying.

August 28, 2007

Good news

Things are looking up slightly -- I called the Florida DMV to find out what I need to do to get my license back, and found out I no longer have that SR-22 hanging over my head. I forgot they only keep them on your record for three years. This means that when I do get insurance I won't have to give them both kidneys. And I won't have to get insurance just to get the license reinstated.

I was also able to make a deal with the attorney's office that is handling the judgment on me, with a decent down payment and payment plan that won't take all of my severance pay. This was a big worry -- I was afraid I'd either have to pay a very large down payment, or else pay off the whole thing, which would leave me very little money to tide me over the unemployment hump.

So anyway, it looks like I'll be able to drive again somewhere towards the end of September. I can't wait -- I don't mind taking the bus back and forth to work, but when it comes to doing anything else (shopping, being able to go places without worrying about when the bus stops running, just getting up and going somewhere on the spur of the moment without having to map out a Napoleonic campaign of schedules and stops) I really missed having a car.

It couldn't happen to a nicer town

Ha ha ha: revenge is sweet. This should have happened twenty years ago:

Boom of condo crash loudest in Miami

...Miami, with its unmatched volume and untold number of speculative buyers, is ripe for the hardest fall in the U.S.

"Miami is the poster child for the condo bust," said Jack McCabe, CEO of McCabe Research & Consulting, a real-estate market-analysis firm located in Deerfield Beach. "There are probably only two cities in the world with more construction: Shanghai and Dubai. Unfortunately, there is going to be a lot of foreclosures . . ., and developers, lenders, title companies and real-estate companies will go under."

When the condo craze first hit my ex-hometown, just about every apartment building in the city converted. People found themselves kicked out if they couldn't buy the apartments they'd lived in for years. The resulting apartment shortage meant I had to live in a converted garage, because I didn't want to move to Miami Beach or a crack neighborhood, and I couldn't have afforded the rent anyway. I wasn't able to rent a real apartment until I moved to Orlando. And then the condo mania hit here. I could have spit blood. But Orlando is learning its lesson too:

Orlando and other Florida cities -- Naples, Fort Myers, Tampa and Sarasota among them -- also have huge condo gluts. With 4,440 condos listed for sale, Orlando has an unprecedented 29-month supply, and last month sales plummeted 64 percent lower than a year ago.

Yeah, sucks, doesn't it? I'm crying a real tear. Rents were jacked up all over the place too, since suddenly Orlando's previous apartment glut became an apartment shortage. Real estate crazes are the scourge of the country, but especially in Florida. I don't know what it is -- people come down here, and turn into wheeler-dealers, with visions of condo-mad rich people with fistfuls of money dancing in their heads. But what they don't know is this state is quicksand to any big ambition -- Florida will have its victims, one way or another. But not me anymore. I'm out of here by May, if not before. I've had it.

Art for life

Cold Fury has a new look. Go see.


August 29, 2007

Pave Africa

Seriously. Africa doesn't need small-scale poverty handouts, it needs concrete -- in the form of roads, factories, bridges, etc.:

Africans are not suffering because of climate change. We’re suffering because of underdevelopment. The fact is we simply don’t have the infrastructure that has enabled the West to subdue nature. If we are at the mercy of the climate, it is because our societies remain under-industrialised.

I've read a lot of "oh, Africa is hopeless, give up on it, the people there are just fundamentally broken somewhere in their psyche." The idea is that all we do is waste money on them and it gets piddled away on booze and cars for their leaders, or Marxist adventuring, or whatever. That's as may be. But once my own country was hopeless -- its previous population depleted by disease and warfare, its new colonists consisting for the most part of Europe's dregs and castoffs (at least as judged by Europe at the time). Look at us now.

Maybe what Africa needs instead of us treating them like children -- handing out pittances of money like giving a preteen a weekly allowance, and worst of all, treating Africa like some sort of pristine nature camp -- is for us to send them a few industrialists with big pockets. But too many of our leading industrial lights, I am afraid, have bought into the whole climate-change, development-is-bad, back-to-the-soil hoax that Dr. Andrew is fulminating against.

(Via a commenter on Tim Blair's site.)

The fat lady finally sang

As of today I am officially unemployed. By a stroke of good luck my employer decided to make today the day of more layoffs, and they decided that since they were letting so many people go they might as well let me go a few days early. (My last day was going to be next Tuesday.) There were a lot of glum faces around, but as for me, I wanted to skip down the hall with joy. I was ready to go weeks ago.

Things are going to be a bit tight until I get my severance pay (they have to sit on it for a week for weird regulatory reasons), so if you have an extra dollar or two to toss in the pot until then I won't be mad.

Well, I'm off to take care of a few things. Later, my peeps.

Oh -- and I'll be taking some time off, so I'll be here more often. Bwahahaha! The internet is mine...


Heh. I got so pissed off at something some loser commenter on a blog (other than mine) said to me (no links, at least not right now) that I went to take an antihistamine and found myself opening the cat's thyroid medicine. Well that would have calmed me down a bit. (PS: the antihistamine taking was unrelated to the rage -- I've been sneezing like a... sneezing thing all day.)

August 30, 2007

What do I do now?

That's how I feel today. I don't adjust as easily to new routines (or lack thereof) like I used to. I feel rather like a deflated balloon.

Anyway, I'm doing laundry, because it has to be done. There's not much going on in my brain at the moment. When it starts working again I'll let you know.

Apartment life

Someone in my building -- or perhaps in of the buildings on the other side of the complex -- has a working collection of Marshall amps. (I was thinking that they were having some sort of shindig by the pool, but it's only Thursday.)

Creepy crawlies

Okay, maybe I don't want to move to Texas after all...

(Via Dave in Texas blogging on Ace of Spades HQ.)


Celibacy is one of the things men nowadays claim to find incomprehensible in a woman. Not that I consider it my problem what men want, but it does rather illustrate the decrepit condition of male/female relations in this day and age. See, once "celibacy" was what priests did. What men and women did was called "behaving morally" -- in other words, you just weren't supposed to sleep with your girl until she became your wife, and conversely women weren't supposed to spread their legs for a succession of Mr. Maybes until... well until they got tired of her "shit" (like her requesting that Mr. Desperate Fuck of the Week not stay out until 4am and come back drunk, smelling of whore-sweat, and carrying one or more venereal diseases, unreasonable requests like that) and left her.

The old grandmas had it right: men will not buy milk they can get for free. And they won't even use that money they saved to buy their orgies with one-legged, HIV-positive dwarf tranny hookers, and meth; they'll put the all-night crotch party on your credit card and use the saved cash to buy a new Cadillac Escalade. My fellow females, men will never be honest again until we tell them "no" and keep on telling them. What's the worst that can happen? Men will all catch AIDS from crippled dwarf tranny hookers and die? Not all of them will. True -- the ones left will probably be Christians but I think we ladies can put up with that slight flaw.

Thanks hereby rendered

To John Weidner for putting the word out about my request for info on some places I'm thinking of moving to. And depending on what happens in the next few weeks, I may be moving soon, lease or no lease.

(PS: people just started yelling at each other outside my door. Come on, people, it's only Thursday. Save the Labor Day shenanigans for the weekend, at least...)

August 31, 2007

Fame! I'm gonna live forever...

No you're not. (Via Instapundit.)

My opinion of the Cult of Diana has already been stated in this blog, so I won't go over it again. I could have been pithier -- "She made a lot of rubbish decisions in her life that caused her own problems" Andrew Ian Dodge says sensibly. The idea that many of my fellow females have made her some sort of heroine is dismaying to me, as are so many other things about contemporary women.

It's all part of a horrifying and disgusting trend that has infected society since... well, since the dawn of time, really. Sometimes the infection goes into partial or full remission (the Republic of Rome, France during the "Age of Reason," Britain during the War), but usually it holds all of humanity in its febrile grasp. The infection I am talking about is the "cheap sentimentality" that the writer of the first article I linked mentions; the glorification of the lowest and easiest feelings (kitties are cute! awww, widdle babies! dead pretty princesses, waaah!) about trivial situations. It's a truism, maybe, to say that while we fiddle about with the soft pleasures of mourning dead celebrities (by definition, people who are famous for stirring our shallower impulses) our infrastructure is burning, but every now and then a crumbled levee or a collapsed bridge jars us out of our pink and gold dreams.

And on a related note, one of those things we're not supposed to talk about is the fact that wherever women get the vote, governments get larger and more -- well, more mother-like. As in, mumsie will take care of everything, kiss every boo-boo with federal dollars and strict regulations, will make sure nobody goes outdoors without being bundled up and protected. The fact that we aren't supposed to talk about this is evident in the way even Kim Du Toit feels compelled to state (I paraphrase) "no one is talking about taking the vote away from women." I'll just go out on a limb here and say "why not?" What are women going to do, riot? Oooh, scary, the ladies will run through the streets hitting men with their purses. I really don't see that happening. Women just don't form torch-bearing mobs -- they don't have the natural ability to organized mayhem that men have. (Women organize, but they organize differently -- instinctively towards gathering in and and sorting.)

Anyway -- if by some unlikely chance we came to our collective senses and repealed the 19th amendment, women wouldn't riot -- but the whining and screaming and crying that they would do would probably be worse than any riot. Men have nothing on us when it comes to being Outraged! and Upset! So it won't happen.

What should happen is women should pull themselves out of the pink-goo-lined pit we have been wallowing in and harden and discipline ourselves so the votes we cast won't keep pushing our society further into the nursery room. In short, we need to grow up -- but as long as we continue to make people like the Peoples' Princess into our icons we won't.

Move New Orleans

If we are going to throw away a gazillion dollars attempting to build levees on shifting mud, we might as well use it on moving it to higher ground instead. Everybody wins -- the liberals get to see lots of federal money spent, Louisiana gets lots of attention (which they seem to crave), and we get to still have a place called "New Orleans" on the map. There is a danger that a more stable location for the town would lead to it becoming a harder-working, more prosperous, less lawless and corrupt city, but I think we can handle those little deficiencies.

Oh, and I have questions for the liberals bitching at Confederate Yankee in his comments (I tried to post a comment but his weird spam filter threw up a frankly incomprehensible error, so I'm putting it here):

What's wrong with the idea of relocating New Orleans to safer, more stable ground? Why is it so important to some of you people for it to stay where it is, where it can be swept away by another flood? Are you superstitiously invested in the idea that it's location is somehow "sacred"? Or is the idea of a safer, relocated New Orleans anathema to your need to have a place always in need of government "help"?

Perhaps you are simply in love with NOLA's French Quarter. (I doubt you are thinking about its dreadful slums or ugly industrial complexes.) Well why not disassemble the French Quarter and move it upstream? If we can bring whole bridges and castles from overseas, we can surely move a few buildings in our own country upriver a few miles.

I really don't see what your problem is here. Moving the city would save it. Leaving it where it is would likely result in its untimely demise. Don't you really care about the people of New Orleans, or do you only care about having your fun "cosmopolitan" party showcase?

Update: John Hawkins and Kathy Shaidle are both annoyed by the ongoing New Orleans psychodrama. I'm not sure what conservatives Kathy is talking about -- after all this time I can barely remember who said what about Katrina. And is it really so bad to be upset at the destruction of a city where, after all, lots of normal law-abiding people lived? Here's what I said at the time: I thought the cries to just abandon the city were disgraceful, an un-American example of giving up in the face of nature and a tacit admission that we were unwilling to clean up our messes -- of which New Orleans with its many levels of neglect and corruption had been an example long before Katrina. (The admiration for the outlaw which allowed the place to hang onto its "Big Easy" reputation is, alas, a long-standing American tradition, one of the few I wish we'd abandon. Naturally we're hanging on to that while we dump traditions like expecting new arrivals in this country to become Americans, not Foreign-Americans, expecting people to get married before they have children, and so on.)

On the other hand, I didn't boo and sob along with everyone else about "poor, poor NOLA" -- I've been through hurricanes myself and don't think much of people who don't plan ahead and fob off advice to evacuate and then cry because their perfectly good car is under ten feet of water. And if it looks like there will be no way to ensure that the location of the below-sea-level portion of the city can be made safe from future storms then one must bow to reality. As it stands now, I think anyone rebuilding anywhere that is below sea level in that city is a fool, and deserves what he gets. Liberals are acting like even talking about this is racist, as if we are obligated to return everything to what it was pre-Katrina because black people lived there! and it's a Chocolate City so if you so much as voice concern that repairing the city is just throwing money down a well you're a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but I know what they really care about: it's the French Quarter and that cemetery where they filmed that orgy scene in Easy Rider. Well, those parts of town are on higher ground, that's why they lasted so long. Turn them into a theme park and move the residences and business upriver. We could leave the mayor's office where it is, though. With any luck the next hurricane will sweep it out to sea.

One more update: well, it looks like we won't have this to worry about much longer. Ghost towns don't come back. Though I still think a viable theme park can be made out of the historical district... All I can say is, two years after Andrew Miami still looked pretty battered but it was well on its way back. And look at it now. I just found out (I had no idea -- everything nice happens to a place after I leave it) that they put in some sort of trolley thing through Coral Gables, one of the nicer parts of the area and one I grew up going through (we lived outside the city, inside the City of Miami proper, because we couldn't afford to actually live in the Gables, but I went to Coral Gables High). And so on.

I'm guessing the difference is the people. One word: Cubans. Cubans have taken over the city (it's majority Hispanic) and that's a good thing. Cubans aren't like some of the other Hispanic ethnic groups -- they work hard but they have ambition to better themselves, not just make enough money to send back to the old country (though they do that too); also, they believed in America and becoming Americans. They're human just like everyone else but the Tony Montana-type criminal is rarely Cuban, despite what that movie claimed (the famous "Drug Lords" were mostly Colombian, I believe), and despite accusations of cronyism and nepotism they tend to stay on the lawful side of things in their political dealings. The second wave of Cuban refugees that came in on the Mariel boatlift were more problematic, but these were people who had been under twenty years of Communist rule, and most of them have assimilated as well.

The only thing is Cubans are considered rather bourgeois, therefore they don't get good write-ups unless they belong to a salsa band. Oh -- and they are mostly Republicans, so our professional news media doesn't much care what they do or what happens to them. CNN et al would rather coddle the losers in NOLA, who continually shoot themselves in the foot by voting again for Ray Nagin, and sitting around waiting for someone to "care" about them, and so on. Cubans know that they aren't universally beloved, so they don't take things like that into consideration. I think we need to stop talking about how much we "care" about New Orleans because 1) all the care in the world won't stop the inevitable, and 2) I think that the residents of NOLA need that reality check. It will take a while to sink in -- hopefully this will happen before the city sinks.

Different Strokes?

Note to multiculturalists everywhere: this is how Christians are supposed to treat non-believers. How do Muslims treat them?

One of these things isn't always like the other...


Is it wrong to laugh at Emo Hitler?

Come on, you know you want to.

About August 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Victory Soap v. 2.0 in August 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2007 is the previous archive.

September 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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