plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
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I would change the name of the "Bible" to "Legs". Just because I think it would be hilarious for preachers to say, "Let us open our Legs to Matthew," or "Let us open our Legs to Romans."


Aug. 6th, 2010 02:12 pm
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
Linknoodles. I put some good stuff in there today. Especially the photoblog of gay people getting married. I can't believe anyone would think that photoblog is anything but sweet.
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
Things Which Are Unexpectedly Beautiful

Bones that have been painted candy red.
Old, damaged, feathers.
Japanese alibi businesses.
Thick, blackened sutures on stark white skin.
Long bloomers which hang past the knee.
The smell of old, stale, tea.
The sound of metal implements being dropped onto a metal tray.
Disembodied whispers heard as you fall asleep.
Cicadas singing in summer.
Drowning victims.
And the awkward uncertainty of new lovers.
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
I am inputting things into the Bad Translator ( and seeing what comes out after repeated literal translations. (The last few are from TFLN.) Here are my results:

In: "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"
(54 translations later, we get the following...)
Out: "Yes, or almost impossible?"

In: "If someone asks you if you are a God, say yes!"
Out: "When you talk to God you have any questions."

In: "I'm a little teapot, short and stout. This is my handle, this is my spout."
Out: "Sorry, please contact us."

In: ""I would like some more pie, if you please."
Out: ""If you do not want cake"

In:"These are not the droids you are looking for."
Out: "You must be registered."

In: ""The terrible squid will defeat Godzilla at Tuesday's event, barring rain."
Out: "Squid head injury."

In: "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee."
Out: "The efforts of many Proposals."

In: "Tommy, the student worker, is clicking his mouse rapidly. I think he's playing a computer game."
Out: "Tommy, I believe the mouse study."

In: "Do you like movies about gladiators?"
Out: "I like the sword movie hero?"

In: "As I was leaving the drunk tank the cop told me he had a feeling we would be meeting again real soon."
Out: "Will China attend the meeting."

In: "That's a really weird place to spoon. Especially if there are more accessible places to spoon. Like a bathtub."
Out: "Very good, especially when .. Not"

In: "You know you hit rock bottom when you make out with a guy named after a cereal."
Out: "I have more power."

You get any "good" bad translations? Post 'em! :D
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
I am on many, but by absolutely no means all, social networks. It's a hobby to me, I guess. I like to be interconnected and make new net-friends, and learn more about my old net-friends. I spend a lot of my time being fascinated about the way the internet brings people together, about how new internet communities arise with distinct cultures, about the social problems and social solutions brought about by these new technologies.

But, there is one social network which baffles me. It is

The point of the site is to talk to other people about your possessions. Just, your stuff. Things you own. Apparently, this is big on youtube and other video sites now, too. These are people who ONLY blog/vlog about the things they have recently bought. They show you each item and tell you how much it costs, if it was on sale, and why they bought it. These people are called Haulers.

Now, I can understand social networks based around shopping (and there are a few), where you share with your close friends, "OMG guys, I'm at the mall and there's a huge sale on titanium noses!" But, this isn't that. This is just, "Check out my stuff." Isn't that something you grow out of around age 8 where you tell even the postman, "I HAS A CHRISTMAS BIKE!!!"?

It makes me feel sad for these people. I can understand being excited about getting something new, and posting a happy "yay" to LJ. But... To become so utterly invested in your STUFF that you post dozens of "haul videos" or join a social network just to brag that you have just...weird to me. Am I off-base here?
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
Elderly Gay Couple Forcibly Separated, Abused, Robbed By County Officials in California

This is just revolting. Completely revolting. It not just speaks to how we treat gay people in this country, but also how we treat our elders. Why would you keep two CLOSE FRIENDS from seeing one another as one of them was passing away, much less two people who were lovers and partners? Nobody should have to die alone, if they have a friend on earth who wants to be there with them. That is just LUDICROUS.

I mean...seriously... What the fuck, California?
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
This post has to do with my uterus, and the biopsy thereof. If that freaks you out, or falls under TMI, I recommend skipping it. But, if you can stomach it, and you have female bits inside of you, I'd recommend knowing about this, so you can prevent it happening to you.

I thought it was just going to be a normal consultation. )
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
splunty: Are users stupid because they are users? Or are stupid people because stupid... stu... peo.... ;peee..epee....peeeeee.......... stupiddddddddds stupeeeeee stupeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

plinko: People are stupid because if we were all smart, who would buy snuggies, big macs, and REAL CUBIC ZIRCONIA?

splunty: My grandmother received a snuggie for Christmas.

plinko: Were you the one who gave it to her?

splunty: No. I do not buy holiday gifts.
splunty: While I am not entirely opposed to buying somebody a gift because they are nice, or because it's their birthday and a gift may help them mark or celebrate, I do not believe a gift is necessary to help somebody remember or enjoy the LOVE OF CHRIST.

plinko: How about buying them gifts to help cushion the fact that there will be JESUSLOVIN everywhere?
plinko: Sort of a consolation prize. "The Christians are about, being loud. Don't mind them. Here's a snuggie."

splunty: The love of Jesus is gift enough. The love of Jesus is in their hearts. The only thing I could give them which would be in their hearts is an ice pick, and while they are inexpensive, I do not recall anyone asking me, "oh please, please, won't you jab an ice pick into my heart this Christmas?"
splunty: For instance, let's imagine that this Post-It is the love of Christ. You already have this Post-It. It is one with your soul.

(At this point, splunty gives me a post-it that says J + K FOREVER, with hearts and clouds.)

plinko: My post-it does not have glitter. You could get me some glitter, goddamnit.

splunty: Now. Imagine something that incredible, and that awesome. And then your family or friend gives you this Post-It, expecting it to be meaningful during the BIRTHDAY of Jesus.

(He then gives me a post-it note with a drawing of a unicycle.)

splunty: Do you not see how lame that is?

plinko: Dude, unicycles win.

splunty: Is the UNICYCLE going to TOUCH YOUR SOUL for ETERNITY? No.
splunty: It is going to RUST and FALL APART and DIE. It reminds you of DEATH. Not JESUS.
splunty: Woah. Your sin must be massive:
splunty: Your search - "jesus loves kari" - did not match any documents.
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
I made a little movie using a webpage. I hope you enjoy it.

plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
Are you raising a Douchebag?

Do you require a Push Gift?


Apparently, the meaning of life is to get more of it, and be really pissy if you don't.
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
I thought I'd be helpful for some people who might need to go see the second Twilight movie without seeing the first one. This should get you up to date on the Plot So Far so that you aren't lost. I've seen most of the first one, but none of the second one. I have not read the books. As far as I can tell, it goes like this:

A nondescript girl named Bella, who supposedly lives in Arizona except has no tan, leaves her hippy mother to go live with her emotionally inept father in the Northwest. Everyone in the small town where she now lives immediately takes a liking to her, because they are backwoods idiots who have been smoking too much of the ganja and have never seen such a pale tan person before. Bella is indifferent to most of these people because either she dislikes easily making friends, or she is a ninja. (This would explain why she is so pale, and non-descript.)

Bella does not belong to any specific clique. She both fails at volleyball and yearbook and also probably is not even remotely geared for Naxx, not to mention Ulduar. She's the school's most popular outcast!

She meets a boy named Jacob who is Native American. He has no "reservations" about her. At some point, they bump heads awkwardly while both bending down to pick up a dropped tampon. Also, Jacob's father is spunky despite being in a wheelchair.

Later, Bella sees the very pretty children of the Cullen family enter the school. They are vaguely incestual, but it's cool because they aren't all blood related, and incest-references are the new gay-references. People in the cafeteria whisper, and a lot of meaningful looks are exchanged. Edward Cullen looks like he wants to cry.

Bella-ninja has to sit next to Edward Cullen in her Science class. But, he runs away because she smells like bacon to him. After a few days, he comes back to school and doesn't seem really all that weirded out by her smell anymore. Maybe she used a ninja soap to mask her scent or something. Who knows? They share a microscope, which is the new millenia version of sharing a milkshake, and do some hot sexy flirty talk about eukaryotes and prokaryotes.

Somewhere, someone dies.

Edward starts stalking Bella-ninja. Like "The Police" doing "Every Breath You Take" sort of stalking. He hangs out in her bedroom while she's sleeping and practices his meaningful looks and his crying. They go on the world's most boring field trip together to watch grass grow, or something. Someone eats a worm to amuse Bella, maybe? During all of this, Bella says nothing interesting or revealing. (She's a ninja, and that would be sharing too much, thus compromising her mission.)

Someone tries to run Bella over with a shaggin'-wagon. Edward protects her. Then we meet some of more of the Cullen family in the hospital, and they are all creepy like distant relatives who hug you way too long and give you Bibles for Christmas.

Someone dies in a boat.

Bella-ninja goes with her friends to some other town to look at dresses for the big dance. But, really, she wants to look at books because Jacob totally plotspoiled-without-spoiler-alert the whole Cullen-vampire-thing to impress her. She buys a book about Native American legends.

(I note also that it turns from mid-day to middle-of-the-night in the time it takes to buy a book at this point.)

She's walking back to her friends when she totally gets accosted by some guys who want to do non-descript things to her, like nibble her little bacon ears, or lick her little bacon toes. She's seriously just about to pull out her shuriken and turn badass when Edward shows up and steals the show. He pwns them all with his vampireness, takes Bella to a restaurant to eat (because that's what most ninjas want after an averted battle), casually reads a few minds, and then drives her home.

There's a lot of awkward pauses and staring during this car trip. And then, maybe Edward cries or something. I think the car trip scene weirded me out, so I'm going to pretend instead that they cranked up Bohemian Rhapsody and rocked out.

At the end of this righteous Queen interlude, they get back to town to find Dr. Cullen consoling Bella's dad about the guy who died in the boat. Bella cheers her dad up with rainbow-frosting sprinkle-covered cupcakes. (I don't remember the nondescript way she actually cheers him up, so I'm going to go with cupcakes.)

Bella confronts Edward and tells him that she knows he's a vampire in the lamest, most non-descript way she can manage. I mean, if it was me, I'd totally be all like pouring a box of Count Chocula on his head, or leaving a yummy trail of pigs blood to an ACME Vampire Catching Trap (tm), ala Wiley Coyote or something. Instead of flipping out and killing her, Edward takes Bella pogo-ing through the forest, rips off his shirt Hulk Hogan style, and angsts about being sparkly and glittery.

(Side note: Can Edward Cullen's dandruff be used as a kindergarten craft supply?)

(Things get a bit sketchy from here. I either stopped paying attention or fell asleep.)

Eventually, Edward takes Bella home to "meet the folks". They live in one of those pretentious, perfect-as-hell, mountain homes with lots of breakable windows for extra security. He turns out to have a wacky, but loving, adopted Stepford-vampire family. BUT, there's a bitch who immediately doesn't like Bella. She's the only person I remotely respect in this entire movie.

There's also a Tinkerbell-pixie-girl named Alice who is vampire-paired with a quiet, skittish vampire named Rufus. There's a jock-type vampire. And a Suzy-homemaker Mom-vampire. Nobody eats dinner. Edward takes Bella to his nondescript room where he listens to nondescript music and she totally digs his circa 1920s groove.

Then everyone plays baseball. Bella gets to be umpire because she's not a vampire. Get it? Umpire! Vampire! Umpire! Vampire! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. SOOOOOOOOOO FUNNY. I HURT FROM LAUGHING.

Bad vampires show up and one of them decides Bella smells like fresh donuts. And it's all like:

Bad vampire: Gimme donut.
Edward: My bacon!
Bad vampire: You suck. Share the donut.
Bad vampire: (Homer voice.) Mmmmm. Donut.
Alice: Vamps don't believe it's not bacon!

And then there's a chase scene. More angst. Bella flees. Edward gnashes his teeth. Bad vampire does bad things. The Cullen Family does some stuff. I think there's a big fuckoff ninja fight in a ballet studio? Bella-ninja tries to do her Finishing Move to the bad vampire, but she forgot to have the requisite training montage, so she breaks her leg. Edward steps in and does some badassery, after which he cries because he went through all this fucking trouble and didn't even get his non-descript bacon for dinner.

Bella wakes up in the hospital. Some not-terribly-plausible excuses are made for her disappearance and injury. She goes back to the northwest, and tells Edward she wants to be a vampire and live with him forevers-and-evers. But, he still wants to see other bacon, so he says, "No thanks, that'll do, pig."

The End.


Aug. 22nd, 2009 01:17 pm
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
I thought of this as I was driving home from seeing District 9, so I just had to make it:

plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
Continued from here.

Where was I?

Oh yes. Des Moines, Iowa.

Have you ever been to an interesting city? Live in a city? Love a certain city? Think of that city now. Close your eyes and fix it in your mind. Let the power of that city wash over you. Now, let everything unique fall away from the city. No more famous landmarks. No more smells of wonderful food. No more culture. No more interesting people living interesting lives. Turn it, in your mind, into a city devoid of anything that would distinguish it from any other city. A bland, dull, colorless place of buildings and highways and nothing else.

You are now thinking of Des Moines, Iowa.

We arrived at the cookoff site to find that we weren't properly registered, or some similar debacle which landed us on the ass-end of the campground. As we met up with the others, and began to put up our tent and grill, a sort of ill-tempered cloud hung over the group. Like a little rain-cloud following a bunch of Eeyores. Nothing was going our way, and the people at the cookoff seemed to have all of the friendliness of earthworms. That is definitely one thing about Texas. People are FRIENDLY. Our state motto is "friendship", and it's something we don't dick around with. Anyone who isn't friendly is definitely a yankee of some sort, who has lived their life far from cornbread, hugs, and southern goodness.

But, these people just glared at us like we might decide to shoot up the place.

Which might have made the place more interesting for a few minutes, but certainly would have been a waste of bullets.

Somewhere, while we were unpacking, someone discovered that WE HAD NO MEAT. That's right. Someone had forgotten to put the cooler with the meat into the trailer. Back in Texas, on someone's porch, was a giant beer cooler full of beef, surely quickly rotting in the summer sun. Maggots were probably deeply involved by now.

It was a catastrophe. The quality of your meat is half the battle of the whole cookoff competition. Might as well just pack up and go home.

But no. We weren't quitters. We weren't going to let Iowa defeat us so easily. This was America! Meat could be had at your local supermarket. Sure, it wouldn't be the quality we were used to, but it would certainly be edible.

I remember wandering the supermarket with Mom, and Joe, and some of the other team members. Meat. There was meat. But, there was no...beef. Not even when someone cried out, "WHERE'S THE BEEF?" Sure, there were voluminous packages of pork. But, cow? Had they even HEARD of cows in Iowa? Apparently not, because we were barely able to get enough low-grade (very questionable looking) beef to feed our own camp, much less the judges.

Back at camp, I found myself getting bored. As usual, I asked my mother if I could go out to wander around. Look at things. Amuse myself. I quickly discovered that this was not a bright idea. There was NOTHING to see. Just two perfectly parallel lines of camps, with sober-looking people cooking on completely normal grills. I walked it again, not quite ready to go back to camp, climb in the air conditioned trailer, and curl up with a good book.

That's when I found it. The sole interesting thing in the whole campsite. It looked like a room-sized dome made out of sticks and logs. On closer inspection, I found a little plaque which identified it as a replica of the houses once built in this area by the local Native Americans. Looking around, and seeing nobody particularly paying attention, I ducked inside to get a better view.

There wasn't much inside. Just a place for a fire and a few seats made out of logs. I took a seat, enjoying the cool shade, and let my imagination run wild. Oh yes, I have quite the imagination now, but back then... My imagination knew no limits at all. I let myself be transported to a different time and place. Before the ugly-bland city of Des Moines. Before the endless rows of corn. When Iowa was grassland and (according to my adolescent mind) buffalo. From my perch within my imagination, I watched a village of Native Americans go about their lives. Beautiful women with stark black braided hair cooking food, tending children, sewing and washing. Men crouching, stalking through the high grasses towards some grazing prey. For a moment, I felt as if I was there with them, living in that time, far far away from the colorless Iowa I had experienced.

And then, within seconds, I was back in the campground. I emerged from the stick-and-log dome house, greeted by a too-powerful sun and an overweight housewife with her hands on her hips, seeming furious at my exploration.

"This is not a playground!" she shrieked.

"Oh...sorry." I didn't realize it was the sort of thing you weren't supposed to touch. I blinked at the brightness of the afternoon and tried to seem more innocent than I might actually have been. "I was just...exploring."

"Where are your parents? You shouldn't be here."

I explained to her that I was with the Texans For Texas cookoff team, and she sent me packing back in that direction with a look of disdain bordering on disgust. I didn't see what the big deal was. I hadn't broken anything in the Native American house replica, and had tried my best to be respectful and reflective. As I continued to walk, I found myself getting angry about it. Who was she, in her brightly-colored Made-In-China t-shirt, drinking Pepsi from her plastic cup, to tell ME about disrespecting a place?

That's when I saw it...

While I had been reflecting inside the Native American house, the officials and workers of the cookoff had been hard at work, setting up a line of fifty barbecue pits. Fifty sets of charcoal, and fifty fires...all in a line. And what for, you may ask?

To roast fifty whole pigs. Fifty. Whole. Pigs.

I'd smelled many a volume of meat cooking before. But, there was just something...wrong...about the smell of this. Overpowering and sickening. So much meat lined up, such a sacrifice, just to get in some record book somewhere. Fifty pigs, occasionally being rotated by rusty hand-cranks. The cooking flesh stretched out as far as the eye could see, from snouts to piggie-feet.

It was...a spectacle.

Just a spectacle. There weren't near enough people at the cookoff to eat that much pig PLUS all of the entries people were submitting to the judges. Even if it only took 6 people to eat one pig, that would mean 300 people, and I hadn't seen near that many in the entire day.

I realized then...they were just cooking those pigs because they COULD. Because they wanted some title. Not because they needed the food. Not like the tribes who had once inhabited this land.

In my mind, I came to believe that Iowa was cursed, likely by the Native Americans who once lived there. "Sure. You can take our beautiful, fertile land, but it will never do anything for you but grow swine and the corn to feed those swine. Otherwise, it will be a pit-hole of emptiness and despair."

I still think I might be right about the curse.

In the end, we won nothing at the cookoff, and went home dejected and spent. The entire thing had managed to make itself the antithesis of fun, and we were worn out travellers rushing back to our friendly (and possibly quirky) Texas towns.

A few miles from the Iowa border, we stopped at a convenience store, glad to be rid of Des Moines. Inside, some asswipe was being a fucknut to the cashier. Yelling and causing a ruckus. Making a general nuissance of himself. When we climbed back into the truck (through the back window), and got settled, Joe wordlessly started the truck...

I'm not sure, really, if he hit that fucknut's Ferarri because he saw the key in the guy's hand inside the store... Or if it was really an accident after all. Either way...

We decided it would be best not to wait around and tell the guy about the accident. Better to just to book it out of Iowa.


There's a little more to this story. Like how, as we made it back to Texas, my mother was driving Joe's wife's car, and managed to drive us PAST our home town (College Station) and travel almost all the way to Austin. It was night and she thought she was following Joe's truck lights, when in fact, she'd just been following some random truck. (I should digress here and mention how my mother, though she's lived here for thirty years, still gets lost driving to the mall. Never let her navigate. NEVER.) Eventually, when Mom discovered her error, we turned around and came home. (Only to find that Joe had gotten back many hours earlier, and stayed up the whole night fretting about what had become of us.)


We had such adventures with that barbecue cookoff team. I wish my memory was more perfect, and that somehow I could rewind and play a crystal clear mental-film of these times from my youth. But, I'm sure that I'm mixing things up, even in the retelling of this story. Mom pointed out that the hat I bent over to pick up (when I was almost run over) was my own hat, and not Joe's. She maintains that I really was almost killed, whereas I still think it wasn't that close of a call.

But, I guess that's how memories are. As time goes by, they get tangled and obscured, covered in cobwebs and rust. In the future, people will have digital recorders in their eyes...and they'll never have to struggle to remember, nor will they be able to forget. How different it will be for future generations, who will keep their memories forever in some digital form...

The haze of yesteryear ebbs and flows like the tide, I suppose. Sometimes things long forgotten wash over us with a suddenness that makes us go, "Oh...I had totally forgotten about that... But, how could I? It was such an interesting time. It involved such...interesting people."

Just yesterday, after I had decided to abandon this silly re-telling of a long-ago trip, my mother emailed me to tell me she'd seen an obituary... Joe, the owner of the Texans for Texas cookoff team of which we were a part, passed away this week. He was only sixty five. It's sad, even though I haven't seen the man for a good twenty years, I have fond memories of him. Odd that his death should coincide with writing this. Just odd.

if this is true, then Joe, I hope the bbq-sauce is good in the afterlife. And I hope that you're staying away from the capital city of Hell -- Des Moines, Iowa.
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
Part One of this story can be seen HERE.

I must preface this story by saying most wholeheartedly: If you are from Iowa, have friends or family in Iowa, or simply adore the state of Iowa for some reason or another, hey... Cool. This is just about MY experience with Iowa, at a certain time and place, and I'm sure that it's not like this all the time, man. At least, I hope it isn't.

We were going to Iowa for a barbecue cookoff. Iowa. That was a place which seemed very "north" to me, and I never really thought they made barbecue there. But, apparently, Iowa is the pig-raising capital of the USA. Or, it was at the time, and to celebrate, Des Moines decided to put on a huge pork-themed barbecue cookoff. And we were going.

I'd never been to Iowa. And, to tell the truth, I had absolutely no ideas about Iowa. At least if you think "California", you think "Wine! Hollywood! Migrant workers! Earthquakes!" And when you think of North Dakota you think, "Snow! Funny accents! Proximity to Canada!" But, I had no tidbits at all about Iowa. It was like a small cultural blank spot in the middle of the country. You never hear of anything, good or bad, that happens in Iowa.

We drove up from Texas, through the rocky-redness of Oklahoma. I always found Oklahoma a little spooky. The trees were taller there, which made you feel really enclosed as you drove down the highway. I had always thought we had "average sized trees" in Texas, but apparently not. Our trees are a little scrubby and short. I spent a lot of time gawking out the windows at this foreign state, slurping on Pepsi and listening to the adults talk.

The adults, for this story, were my Mom, and the barbecue-cookoff-team leader. I seem to recall that, pretty early on, we got separated from the rest of the cookoff team. We were driving the dually (big truck) and hauling the trailer which contained our bbq pit and supplies. If I recall correctly, everyone was in pretty decent spirits and looking forward to a fun few days of cooking meat.


I don't remember how the first accident occurred. I might have been inside some convenience store or restaurant. But, when I came back out, Mom and Joe were futzing with a dented drivers-side door. They got it closed, but once closed, it wouldn't open again. From then on, we'd have to all enter the truck from the driver's side.

No big deal.

We kept driving. North north north. Such a long trip required an overnight at a motel. Parking the dually/trailer was always an EVENT, which generally required a driver and everyone else yelling and gesturing. Even I was participating, relaying my mother's instructions through an open passenger door to Joe.

There was a lull. I thought the parking had been completed. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied Joe's hat. At some point it had fallen onto the road and blown under the truck. Naturally, I bent down to pick it up.

The next parts happened in a blur. The truck moved. A blur that was my mother grabbed me and threw me down in a different direction. The hat got run over. The way my mother tells it, the open door almost took off my head. I think I was more worried about the possibility of my hand being run over, and the loss of Joe's hat. My mother was furious at Joe, though I don't think it was his fault particularly. And I wasn't hurt, due to my mother's diligence.

The motel was...motel-like. A noisy AC, and towels/sheets with doubtful levels of cleanliness. Can't really complain about that.

In the morning, we set out driving again. I don't really recall the second accident, either. It couldn't have been anything too damaging, because once merely dented the remaining door, preventing us from opening it. This did pose somewhat of a problem, however. Now we couldn't get in from the driver's side OR the passenger's side. And if we went out through a window, there was no way to roll it back up once we were out (or roll it back down when we wanted to get IN).

The solution? The sliding window in the back. Oh, how we looked like hicks! Crawling up onto the dually's bed, then squirming ourselves through the small back window into the truck. First Joe. Then Mom. Then me. Everyone stared at these antics which were surely embarassing to Mom and Joe, and oddly fun to me.

It took some time, but we finally arrived in the state of our destination. Iowa. Let me tell you, if you (like me) have no particular notions about Iowa, it's a fair state of mind. Because there is nothing to have a notion about. The land is flat. Not Texas-rolling-hills flat. But utterly and completely without character flat. This would be fine, except you drive for miles, and miles, and miles...and see nothing but corn. I gawked at the perfectly straight rows of corn. After a while, the rhythm of corn rows became disturbingly hypnotic. I'd fall asleep. And wake up to...more rows of corn. I couldn't actually tell that we were getting anywhere, and for a while I wondered if this was some sort of Twilight Zone episode. Corn. Corn. It still haunts me...all that corn. At least in Texas you get some variation. Ranch. Oil wells. Cotton farm. Rusty shack. Billboard that says "THE RAPTURE IS COMING". But no. This...was just...corn. A hellish, endless, horror-movie, cornfield of doom.

Did you know the Iowa state motto is: "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain"? Is this not the most bland motto ever? Who would say, "We don't prize our liberties, and we just let our rights go to shit."? Nobody! I am pretty sure they chose this motto because the only other thing you can say about Iowa is, "So much corn, you'll have corn-nightmares! All other vegetables are inferior!"

Finally, Des Moines. We'd become fairly adept at climbing in and out of the back window by then. Didn't change the fact that people pretty much stared at us with confused, dead, zombie eyes. I thought this might be because they didn't understand how such a thing could become necessary. But, no. I later found out -- they looked like that because they were from Iowa.

(To Be Continued.)
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
I feel bad for always telling horrific stories about my step-mother, as if she was some sort of rampaging hell-beast. And while I did live in constant and utter fear of the woman, there were times when, for some mysterious reason, she was a decent human being. Usually, this was when my father, or lots of other people, were around. But, I recall one particular time when she and I were alone...and she seemed totally normal.

It was a road trip.

My father was off (as per usual) in some random state giving lectures about mathematics. This happened a lot in the summertime, when he didn't have to teach, and I'd end up in the care of my stepmother.* My step-sister had been invited to a dance camp in Victoria, Texas. We drove my step-sister to my step-grandparents' house in Victoria, and stepmother and I drove back to College Station alone.

I was dreading it. Utterly and completely dreading it. I just knew that somehow my stepmother would make all this extra driving my fault by saying something like, "Well, if your mother would have just taken you on an off-weekend, I could have stayed and visited." Or she'd spend the entire time thinking up scathing comments about whatever I decided to do in the car (which was usually reading a book or writing stories).

But, to my surprise, this didn't happen at all.

Instead, she put in various casette tapes and we sung along with them. This was probably around '88 or '89, so it was stuff like INXS and Tears for Fears. My stepmother was a lovely singer, and had a very keen musical ear. She'd cut a record when she was younger, and I think she always regretted not pushing to go farther in her musical career.

It was a rather lovely day out. Just a little overcast, enough to cut the Texas summer heat by a few degrees. When she wasn't singing to the tapes, my stepmother told me about church choir adventures when she was young. Her family had always been deeply involved in their church, and she was sad that she didn't feel as much connection or sense of community with our family's church in College Station.

At some point during the trip, we stopped at Sort of a cross between a restaurant and a tourist store. They had things like mounted armadillos, local hothothot sauces, belt buckles, horny-toad t-shirts, and maps. But, at the very back, they sold homemade dried sausage and this mini-baguette bread. To my surprise, my stepmother bought some for herself and for me, along with sodas! (Usually, she'd tell me something like to "not expect to get a snack just because she was" or something like that.)

Not only did we get this stuff, but my stepmother said we would eat it in the CAR, which was completely-and-utterly forbidden by the house rules. It was GREAT. The dried sausage was just utterly divine, so salty and chewy and good. I've long bemoaned the fact that I've never been able to find that place again. Hopefully someone who has driven between College Station and Victoria a lot knows where it is.

The entire trip went without a single incident, which caused a strange feeling to fall over me. I was glad, but a lot of the gladness was mixed with furtive distrust. Was it a trick? Was I being set up for something? Nothing ever happened, though. And now...looking back, I have to wonder if my stepmother was on some sort of strange medications that day, because she was certainly different than usual.


I also realize I haven't written much about my adventures with my mother, which...looking back, I suppose we had some fairly interesting adventures! Recently, my mother said something to me like, "I guess you had a very eventful childhood. With some strange times and hard times." She seemed a little sad about some of the things I went through when I was young. But, I have many great and happy memories of times with my mother. Even if things did get a little weird on occasion. So I told her, "Yes, but... At least it gives me a lot of interesting stories to tell."

When I was a girl, my mom joined a Barbecue Cookoff Team. Some of her friends had convinced her. I think this was around the time that she was working as a bartender, so she met some strange but wonderful people that way.

(A digression - I loved the bar where she worked. It was dark and cool and cavelike on the inside. They always gave me 7-Up with extra cherries in it, which I adored. I suppose it should strike me as odd that I spent so much time in a bar as a kid, but... I remember it being amazing fun. I think sometimes I went there with Mom in the afternoons on the weekends when they were getting ready for big parties and stuff. The best thing about that bar was that they had VIDEO GAMES BUILT INTO TABLES in the back. Pac Man and perhaps Centipede. OMG. Most. Fun. Ever.)

Anyway, Mom joined the Barbecue Cookoff team, and I joined along with her. If you do not know about Barbecue Cookoffs, you may not know that they are SERIOUS BUSINESS, and the various teams do what they can to come up with the best recipes in various categories, from beans, to meats, to sauce, to chili. There's a bit about it on this page.

Serious contenders not only come up with amazing food, but crazy ass designs for their barbecue pits. They make them out of everything! Ours was made out of a Model-T, I shit-you-not. But, there were all sorts of designs. I remember one that looked like a dragon and breathed fire, and another that appeared to be made out of part of a train car. The various groups that built these things were...well, imagine a group of Hell's Angels dedicated to barbecue instead of motorcycles. That's about what the crowd was like, to my mind. They were basically good people, but had immensely strong personalities...and you did not want to piss them off.

The food. OMG the food. It was WONDERFUL. Everyone was always trying to get you to "taste this" or "try these". After setting up our pit and tent, I'd usually ask Mom if I could wander around and look at everything. It was SUCH an adventure to see. All of these strange people from all over the United States (and sometimes beyond) coming together in the summer sun to compete for titles of Best Barbecue. Often, there were bazaars where people were selling their handicrafts and local produce, mixed in with touristy stuff. And sometimes there was even a carnival. My favorite ride was the Gravitron, which I have probably ridden more times than is healthy for a human, or really any vertibrate.

So, all this was great fun... And besides minor incidents of poison ivy, sunburn, and the occasional drama over stolen bbq-sauce recipes, it was without particular incident...

Until we decided to go to Des Moines, Iowa.

(To be continued.)

*My parents had joint custody. One year I would live with my mother, then the next year, I'd live with my father. It was terribly confusing and I almost never went to the same school two years in a row, which sucked on the making-friends front.
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)
WoW is the MMORPG that anyone can play. Your grandma can play it. The mailman plays it. Hell, the seven year old living next door plays it better than you. But, this does not mean that you can't learn something from the World of Warcraft. And you SHOULD try to learn, unless you want someone screaming L2P, N00B at you for an entire raid.

1) You can not take a taxi while shapeshifted. I play a druid (durid / dr00d) moonkin (BOOMKIN LASARB33MS FTW!). Being a druid means I spend a lot of time shapeshifted into a cat, a bear, a sea lion, or a giant huggable furry thing with a beak, known as a "moonkin". But, no matter where you go, or how much they like you there, they are NOT going to let you get on a griffin and fly to the next town while you look like an animal. I don't know why. Maybe the flightmasters are all prejudiced against druids. Or maybe they are worried that you might perform some sort of bestial interspecies act with their precious griffins. Either way, as in WoW, so is the same in the real world. I'm guessing it is like WAY HARD for werewolves to catch a cab.

2) Outlands are scary. Northrend is terrifying. But Nothing can equal the sheer destructive power of the Undercity elevators. They have a power not only to kill you, but to warp reality itself, causing you to die repeatedly as you log off and on, often to a world of blank nothingness. This, in itself, should convince everyone NOT TO FUCK WITH THE UNDEAD. If their elevators can crash your entire world, just imagine what their next project might be. Escalators that send you back in time? Metal detectors that turn you into a murloc? Fear the Undead. Fear them.

3) Make friends with a rogue. If at all possible, do so while you're level 10, and he/she is level 80. There is no substitute for a friend who will open locked boxes for you, and run you through lower-lvl instances pwning everything so that you can loot it. Plus, if you PvP, there's no better "I got your back" than a rogue hiding juuuust over there. Similarly, in the real world, you should attempt to have a few shady friends. Not...criminal friends. Not guys who are knocking over taquerias and killing all the employees just because they want a breakfast taco. But, you know... It's good to "know someone who knows someone" who can quote you the price for breaking the legs of your troublesome ex-boyfriend.

4) Do not fuck with THAT warlock. You know the one. The solitary one who is standing by the flag in Arathi Basin, not even looking your direction, with a name like, "Stoopidhed" or "Turdboogar", his demon nowhere in sight. A) He's not alone. And B) He is going to fuck you up. Similarly, try not to underestimate situations in the real world. If there is a complete moron who seems to always win...he may not be relying on luck as much as you'd like to think. Also, if it is "too good to be true"...then wary.

5) In every life, there comes a Crossroads, and to every Crossroads will come an Alliance raid. That's pretty Zen. And self-explanatory, I think.

6) Fight at the flag. There's always some imbecile who starts inching away from the flag, and then ten other guys follow him like lemmings, and a few seconds later, half the group is fighting in the middle of nowhere, the flag unprotected. I don't know why this is such a difficult axiom to learn. FIGHT AT THE FLAG. Don't get distracted from your goal and end up in a completely pointless place fighting for absolutely no reason. Remember this always, especially in internet flame wars. If people digress, and you follow the digression, you likely could end up with your entire point ninja'ed out from under you.

7) Less QQ and more PEWPEW! Why is there always someone who is lamenting what just happened instead of paying attention and getting shit done? I once did a PUG in Underbog with a shammy who spent THE ENTIRE RAID whining about how he didn't get the first item that dropped. Unbearable! Or what about the Hunter who went through ZF with my low-level group, and decided half-way through not to help us anymore because we weren't giving him ALL the drops. (Sure, he was 2 or 3 levels below the rest of us, but...being the low lvl on the group doesn't mean we're giving everything to YOU.) Quit your baby crying wah wah and man up, Jose.

8) People ALWAYS want you to do shit that IS NOT YOUR JOB. Why am I spending time looking through turds in Nagrand? Why am I retrieving cannonballs for this fucker who is standing not 100 yards away from them? Am I seriously supposed to go to the library for this lazy idiot? I'm supposedly a well-known and talented druid, a bastion of the mystical powers of Nature. I BLEED GREEN AND SHIT MAGICAL FLOWERS. So, why am I running around collecting lost airplane parts for Gnome #3 over there? Fuck his airplane! I've got THINGS TO GROW and people to RAKE.

9) All the honor points in the world can't buy an utter dickwad a heal. Right? AMIRITE?

10) Be nice to n00bs. Some day, they may be level 80. I belong to a "charity" guild. Which means that we do a lot of projects to help low-levels, not just in our guild, but anywhere we encounter them in the world. You seriously do reap what you sow. So many times, I've had random "strangers" pop out of the woodworks and help me out, ask me if I want to join a raid, heal and buff me for no reason, give me gold and supplies, equipment, offer to help me with quests... And afterwards, they tell me that I helped them when they were just starting out. Somewhere, they surpassed me in levels (because I suck), and then ran into me again later. Usually, I don't even remember them. But, it makes me glad to know that being a nice and considerate player really does have rewards, in the end.

11) If you're going to die, go out doing something useful. Your group is on the verge of wiping. Do you a) combat-rez the priest?, b) use your last seconds to heal the tank?, c) start bitching at the priest on vent, d) try to heal yourself and run away, ultimately falling into a pit of lava FAR from where any priest might have the chance of rezing you? or e) wonder why the hell you didn't make a paladin?

12) At some point in your life, you're going to get pwned by a bunch of murlocs. There's nothing you can do about this. Just accept it and move on.

13) You do not need a reason to /dance. Just, if you feel like it, then dance. In the auction house. On a boat. On the bloated corpse of your enemy. Dance like you're getting XP for it.

14) Whatever that is, if it came off of what you just killed, it can probably be cooked. There is no greater place to learn about world cuisine than Azeroth. One man's rabid worg is another man's tasty worgsteak. And with just a few spices, even murloc eyeballs can be made into something nutritious and delicious. If you're going to try so many new tastes in the World of Warcraft, why not be more adventurous with your eating at home? I bet that cricket under your fridge could taste decent if sauteed in butter and garlic. Try it tonight. It'll help you as our economy continues to crumble.

15) When all else fails, LAs3RB33M (moonbeam) them into submission. It didn't work the last 1000 times, but maybe it will work this time. This one is for the druids. RESPECKT AND LOVE, my FURRY DR00D FRIENDS!

I found a few more bits of good advice on this page. Hopefully, between my advice, and his, you have now been thoroughly WoW-educated.
plinko: Nostalgia (Default)

See The Inside of a Person
Before I die, I'd like to more completely see, firsthand, the inside of a person. Perhaps an autopsy or maybe one of those museum projects where they cut a cadaver into tissue-thin slices and press them between glass? We are all truly fascinating universes unto ourselves, but when do we ever get to see INSIDE? Only surgeons really do, you know? Would I even be able to identify my own liver, if someone could somehow pull it out of me and show it to me? Probably not! How strange!

Get On A Plane To Nowhere
I've always wanted to go to the airport and buy a ticket for "something leaving in the next hour but don't tell me where". Then wear earplugs as much as possible during the flight, and hopefully get to the destination without knowing where I am.

But, even that seems less and less likely. It's sad that in this day and age, it's almost impossible to just...get lost. We have mapquest and GPS and a dozen other little HERE YOU ARE devices. But, no devices to help give you that thrill of... You Are Lost. You know?

Become E-Infamous
Sure, anyone can become famous. But, El Guapo is INFAMOUS!

I also want to be infamous, but only on the internets. I'm not quite sure what sort of mad-science Dr. Horrible shit I need to pull, but I want future generations of internet users to shudder silently when they recall my name. It has to be something more evil than posting pictures of dead puppies on cuteoverload. More terrifying than a DoS attack. More horrific than all the furry porn on deviantart.

I want to make the internet cry and call for its mommy.

Have a Goth Wedding
I do. I want a very gothy goth wedding, complete with bones-and-cobweb wedding cake, creepy Lurch-esque minister, an organist playing dirges, a release of bats at the end, rather than doves. Bride and groom should drive off in a Just Married Hearse for their fabulous honeymoon stay at the Lizzie Borden house / hotel. Or some other supposedly haunted/creepy place.

The reception will include the throwing of the thorny garter, champagne dyed to look like blood, and possibly a zombie-attack that turns into a dance number.

Any takers? We can get an get it annulled the next day, I promise.

Get an implant / body part replacement.
You know? They've been promising us for years that crazy upgrades to the human body are COMING SOON, but I still haven't gotten any. I want maybe a cybernetic eyeball that lets me see infrared and heat signatures and crazy-long distances. Or maybe some implants that let my hands type 200wpm. Hell, I wouldn't even mind some super-duper awesome skin that makes me fireproof.

It's just not fair to have to die with all of your original body parts attached, all of your standard abilities. I NEED UPGRADES. Someone give me the POWER UP so I can win the game.

plinko: Nostalgia (Default)

Your brains are like candy,
Your screams make me swoon.
I love you to pieces,
Under blood-red full moons!

We're meant for each other,
Like funerals and crying,
So let's roam the earth
'Till everyone's dying!


January 2012



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