Monday, June 22, 2009

On seeing people you know naked

I used to be a stripper of sorts and I know a good number of strippers. I've seen almost everyone I know naked or at least topless. However, I think I should still mention that my high school English teacher's daughter has a graphic sex scene in Stir of Echoes. I've never actually met her in real life, but it strikes me as a fun topic to bring up with her father (in an indirect way) at the class reunion.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers Day 2009

I ate at the Hy-Vee buffet, then kicked my family's ass at Apples to Apples and Buzzword. Highlights included me attempting to argue that glazed donuts are radically delicious and therefore a better fit for radical than Cuba and my dad deciding the far right was a better fit for intelligent than the metric system. To his credit, he did consider the metric system.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I've been meaning to get to this for a while now

You should all know by now that shit is going down in Iran. It looks like the government rigged the presidential election and didn't even bother making it convincing and a lot of people are having none of it. The police had shot a few dozen people and beaten lots more, but it's difficult to get a handle on what's going on because of a communications blackout. Here's the problem: Iran isn't some jerkwater. They can't keep the lid on things forever because the economy will collapse. It looks like the resistance is way past putting down. I think the government will have no choice but to give concessions, hopefully very soon before anybody else gets killed.

I just watched Short Circuit. When I was a wee lad, there were three movies I watched all the time until my mom got sick of them: Spaceballs, The Goonies and Short Circuit (Bill &Ted's Excellent Adventure might be in this category if my mom didn't like it almost as much as I do). It is every bit as good as I remembered. I like movies that pair up nerdy guys with attractive hippie women who like animals and dislike nuclear weapons. Since it was the 80s, there's a lot of sexual humor for a kid's movie and the villains and perfectly cardboard: a jerk ex-boyfriend who wants to kidnap pets and sell them for experimentation and military types who want to solve all problem by blowing shit up. The robotics effects hold up very well, as do most of the jokes. I even liked the vaguely racist parts. As with The Goonies, I loved nerdy Indian comic reliefs when I was a kid and still do now. They are way better than boring, straight-laced whiteys.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Juneteenth

I never quite finished my holidays project thanks to the blog ending. I think it's important to call attention to the anniversary of emancipation in the U.S. The Senate celebrated by officially apologizing for slavery. I suppose symbolic gestures do have value, but not much.

I've been having second thoughts about kicking Panda out. For one, I wouldn't have kicked Kitty out for drug use in my house and I've been questioning whether it's valid to treat him differently. Issues like drug addiction vs. drug dumbassery and whether it's valid to have different standards of behavior for friends then others are the main issues. Also, it would make it harder to collect on his debt to me. I was thinking I'd tell him to sign over both his cars that are in my yard to satisfy his debt. One is totaled. The other just needs a new muffler. The idea of housemates was that they would either offset my house payments with rent or offset their rent by doing work around the house. As it is, Panda cleaned the kitchen once and hasn't paid rent really ever and Fox is way behind, but sometimes pay and is occasionally helpful.

Rumor has it "Ally McBeal" is coming to DVD. As far as I'm concerned, it's about time. This is hardly an obscure show and TV on DVD has been common since around the time it was on the air. There was one release with six episodes that came out nine years ago, and nada since. This is important because I credit this show, along with "Xena: Warrior Princess," which finished its DVD release four years ago, despite being a far lower rated show of the same vintage, with turning me from a religious conservative who wanted to keep women in the kitchen into a liberal feminist who hangs out with gay people. This may surprise some feminists, many of whom saw the show as sexist, but I think it's a topic that I should address in depth once I buy the show, which won't necessarily be right away when it comes out.

Imagine this: In it's sixth season, a popular teen sci-fi/fantasy genre show has an episode where the lead is attacked by a mysterious creature, then wakes up in a mental institution where they are told all the events that happened since roughly the beginning of the show were a fantasy created because they couldn't deal with the stresses of ordinary life. The mental institution offers a promise of getting out and a better life than they've known in the show, regaining relationships they'd lost and such, but this requires them to do something questionable. What am I talking about? If you said "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode 6.17, Normal Again or "Smallville" episode 6.10, Labyrinth, you are correct. I realize there are only so many plots, there were many points of difference and "Smallville" still did it a lot better than "Charmed" would have etc, but the truth it worked much better on Buffy, because Buffy was someone who always seemed on the verge of breakdown anyway (and was prone to impulsive and violent behavior). An earlier episode of Smallville with a similar premise about Chloe worked for the same reason. Clark is whiny and self-centered, but not really unstable. Basically, he doesn't seem like the type to be delusional and they didn't really sell that very well, and having some plausibility for the alternate world is necessary to make the story work.

When I woke up today, I had No feeling in my left arm. I grabbed my left wrist in my right hand. I could tell it was warm, but it was like grabbing someone else's arm. I couldn't feel a thing. This happens sometimes, so in itself wasn't cause for concern, but I attempted to raise my left arm and found I had no control over it. It just hung there. This passed after a few minutes, but now my shoulder aches a bit and the arm is shaking. This could be related to hauling heavy groceries. It seemed okay most of the day, but I am concerned. A little experimentation pressing on my shoulder seems to show I have a major nerve going over the top of my collar bone, which I don't think is the right place. My right arm doesn't have this problem. I've lived for years losing sensation in my arm whenever I carry a backpack or laugh and I am now told this isn't normal at all.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More on last night and Xanga vs Blogspot

It seems that Panda and his girlfriend read entirely too much into the fact that I am a fan of the show "Weeds" (largely because it is so reasonably priced on Blu-ray) and the Harold & Kumar movies & figured I seemed like a guy who be cool with them smoking pot in my house. Just in case I wasn't cool though, they've better try to do it covertly. After leaving his room, they went downstairs, ate a frozen pizza and some nachos and watched Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical (which I watched today. It's quite good.) and Puff, Puff, Pass. A little consulting with my friends says it is not unreasonable to throw his ass out. It doesn't help his girlfriend has been increasingly bitchy. Today, she went on a rant about how my house has boxes everywhere. She's correct, but this is largely because my parlor is full of Panda's stuff, leaving me little place to put anything.

I've been reading my book on Alexander, which finally arrived, and find myself frustrated keeping the characters straight. (Note: Since this is Greece, you can't keep them all that straight.) So far, there are two Alexanders, two Philips, two Cleopatras (neither of whom is the famous one), two Bagoases (Bagoi?) and two Pausaniases (Pausani?). The cultures of the time apparently had only a handful of names available. To his credit, the editor is explaining this well in his footnotes.

I've been missing many of Xanga's features lately. While Blogspot has a better spell-check and doesn't lose posts, it still doesn't have track-back, which doesn't seem available free in general and, more upsettingly, lacks Xanga's footprints feature that told me who had visited. I have no idea if anyone has read even a single post here. I'd like a stable home, but must determine where.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A different topic for today

I was going to write about Alexander today, but a different topic has caught my attention. I smelled something odd in my hallway. It seemed to be coming from my brother Panda's room. His girlfriend saw me sniffing the air and immediately said someone must have turned on the oven. I know what an oven smells like and I know what a defensive reaction looks like. I verified this with my roommate, Fox. He confirmed I was indeed smelling weed. I am not opposed to marijuana use in general and support its legalization, but I certainly don't support using it on others' property without their consent, especially when I'm reading horror stories every day about people having their houses and such seized by the government as evidence every few days. The question is what to do? He hasn't been paying rent, and it was bad enough supporting his electricity-drinking, space taking ass. I'm certainly not going to cover for him as well. The question is what to do. I could take his room apart looking for his stash tomorrow while he's at work and possibly fidn naked pictures of his girlfriend in the deal, but I suspect she actually keeps the stach (and naked pictures) at her place. I think I shall have to drop hints.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On multiple versions of movies

For my class on the history of Hellenistic Greece and Rome, I was supposed to watch Oliver Stone's Alexander. For some reason, when ordering my texts, I started to purchase it, then realized I already had it and thought maybe I was supposed to order Troy(which takes place in pre-Hellenistic Greece) instead, which I did, paying a bit more than I would normally be willing. I tend to get these movies confused because they both came out in 2004 and both are war movies set in the same general era (which is about like confusing King Ralph and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves because they both came out in 1991, were both about the English monarchy and set in the same general era, except more so because Alexander is based on something that definitely really happened). Last night, I went to watch it, then checked the lesson plan and found I was supposed to watched the director's cut of Alexander. I mentally kicked myself for wasting money, then booted up the PS3 and queued up Alexander.

Before getting into the movie, I decided to watch Oliver Stone's introduction. He explained the he liked the director's cut better than the theatrical, but with this version, he got carte blanche to edit the movie however he wanted without any regard for running time, critics or even audiences. I stopped the disk, ran up and hopped on Wikipedia and found out that, sure enough, while the final cut, which I had, was the real director's there was somethign called the director's cut which was more directory than the theatrical release, but less than the final cut. This is what I was supposed to watch.

My professor gave me the okay to use what I have, but waiting for his response wasted many precious hours. This brings me to a pet peeve I have about home video: movies which have multiple versions available, but only put one version on home video or make you buy multiple copies to get all versions. There are plenty of good examples. I have copies of Hancock, I Am Legend, Dark City, Battle for the Planet of the Apes and Blade Runner with the theatrical cut and extended versions (in Blade Runner's case, there are five cuts of the movie included), and this is just what I have on Blu-ray. On the other hand, besides the aforementioned Alexander, Windtalkers and Live Free or Die Hard have only the theatrical cut, March of the Penguins doesn't have the French version with the talking birds, Daredevil has only the director's cut and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Superbad, Dawn of the Dead and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby only have the unrated versions. This is particularly frustrating in the case of Live Free or Die hard, because the unrated version is what I really wanted. It's not a real Die Hard movie with swearing. Daredevil is also frustrating because although the directors cut is far better and actually almost rises to the level of good, the theatrical version is a good illustration of executive meddling gone wrong.

My point is that including all versions seems to be the exception, not the rule. We have seamless branching for a reason and it should be used. A double-layer Blu-ray can hold about four and a half hours of high-def video without looking crappy assuming you don't go crazy with the audio tracks. This should be enough to fit all versions of most movies on one disc. Special features can go on disc two. If there's a difference that affects the majority of the footage, like a change in color timing or aspect ratio, get a second disc. Blade Runner has three discs for the movie and two for special features. I didn't mind.

I've been watching "Smallville" on Blu-ray and am now about halfway through season six. It seems that like "Star Trek: Voyager," it's a series that took a really long time to hit its stride, but did eventually hit it. It seems the producers are slowly catching on the Superman is supposed to be about helping the little guy, not beating up weirdos. It doesn't help that the weirdos frequently were the little guy by any reasonable standard. (This is frequently a problem in super hero material: see the theatrical cut of Daredevil) It also frequently annoys me the the writiers are cleearly big city types who know nothing about small-town America. Smallville's stated population of 45,000 would put it in Kansas's top ten largest cities, for instance. Co-creator Alfred Gough is from an actual small town of under 2,000 people, so they should know better.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Well, I couldn't get backdate working

So here's what happened the last few days: On Friday I realized about 40 pages of my textbook were missing, creating further delays in a class where I'm already on a tight schedule. Google book shows no area libraries with the book, so I have to wait for a new copy in the mail. I'll have to explain academics in detail later.

Someone, I assume one of my neighbors, went and stole my rhubarb. It was about ready to harvest, then it was gone. I will have to keep an eye on it now and I was robbed of my opportunity to make rhubarb crisp. Hopefully, I'll get another batch this summer. Meanwhile, they have not stolen things like my brother's two dead cars or the picnic table I wish to dispose of.

My car was damaged in December when someone changed lanes as I was trying to merge onto I-80. They took off my driver's side mirror and put a small crack in the front driver's fender. Today, I was backing out at work and for some reason, started turning, even though I was parked next to the support. I put a large crack in the same fender and also scraped up the bumper. There's no more delaying this repair. In fact, if I'd had the mirror fixed months ago, I probably wouldn't have done this because I would have seen the support. For that matter, if I hadn't spent so long in the bathroom this morning, I would have walked to work. It's annoying how all sorts of random occurrences can pile up to be a week or two's salary.

A chat transcript from OKCupid

The following is presented unedited:

[12:05:02 pm]rickylong03:bi/black male/26/Iowa City area/5'10"/muscular/7" thick cut here.... I would love to give you some free head. Wanna cum in my mouth today and walk away with no strings attached?

[12:17:31 pm]rickylong03:You gona take me up on my offer?

[12:19:13 pm]AceOfSevens:My friend says you messaged her a few months ago and claimed to be a doctor. If I were gay, I think I would prefer theater gay to gym gay and also I could get plenty of free head closer to home.

[12:19:36 pm]rickylong03:I'm bi

[12:19:39 pm]AceOfSevens:But seriously, mass messaging straight guys probably isn't effective.

[12:19:55 pm]rickylong03:How do you know?

[12:20:03 pm]rickylong03:Have you messaged straight guys?

[12:21:05 pm]rickylong03:It sounds to me that if you know you can get head from a theater then you're not straight. :)

[12:21:14 pm]AceOfSevens:I've seen guys try similar things at bars with little success and the straight guys on here generally aren't even drunk.

[12:21:43 pm]rickylong03:Again, how would you know that unless you have experience with it?

[12:22:20 pm]AceOfSevens:Alsso, messaaging people for casual sex when their profile says they aren't interested in causual sex is rude.

[12:23:11 pm]rickylong03:No... Pretending to be straight when you're gay is rude. Think about it.

[12:23:14 pm]AceOfSevens:When guys do that to women, they are generally considered jackasses

[12:23:31 pm]rickylong03:So now you see yourself as a woman? Interesting.

[12:25:14 pm]AceOfSevens:I'm say If you behaved like this toward a woman, you'd (correctly) be considered a jerk. Trying to free peopel from their sexual illusions isn't a good justification for jackassery.

[12:26:02 pm]rickylong03:Sorry, I don't speak dumbass.

[12:26:22 pm]rickylong03:If you're interested then act on it, else shut the fuck up!

[12:26:58 pm]AceOfSevens:Says the guy who's messaged me multiple times when my profile says I'm straight and not interested in casual sex.

[12:28:12 pm]rickylong03:I didn't read your dumb ass profile... You look gay so I acted. Oh, news flash, more than half the guys that list themselves as straight do so cause they are not "out" yet. So stew on that one.

[12:28:26 pm]AceOfSevens:On what list?

[12:28:57 pm]rickylong03:Dumb ass... List on their profile that they are straight... Try to follow along or am I going too fast?

[12:29:52 pm]AceOfSevens:So you are claimign over half of men who go to the trouble of creating an internet profile to attract women are actually gay?

[12:30:28 pm]AceOfSevens:Besides, even if I were gay, what makes you think I'm interested in anonymously solicitation just because you work out?

[12:30:35 pm]rickylong03:No, they are actually bi... Just like me they like pussy but want to play with cock.

[12:32:11 pm]rickylong03:1st... You are gay... 2nd, every guy has to blow his load every so many days... Sometimes its in some good pussy, and sometimes its jacking off.... And sometimes, its in some fags mouth :-)

[12:33:26 pm]AceOfSevens:So you are soliciting me for anonymous gay sex, yet still have masculinity issues that someone might think you are gay. Since you are soliciting straight guys using gays slurs and hide your face on your profile, I am guessing you look down on gays, yet don't have the courage to come out yourself.

[12:34:39 pm]rickylong03:There is no crime in being in the closet. Maybe if there weren't so many homophobes then I would show my face but until then, I only show it to other bi/gay guys.

[12:35:12 pm]rickylong03:I only look down on people trying to slam someone for being themselves like you're doing to me.

[12:36:10 pm]rickylong03:And for the record, there is nothing wrong with a quick hook-up. Especially since most people have so many shitty little hang-ups.

[12:40:51 pm]AceOfSevens:I didn't say there is. That's why the site has options for people who are interested in them. That doesn't mwan that you're king shit, get to assume that everyone is intereested in a hook-up and get all emo when someone who's profile says they aren't interested in fact isn't. Now I knwo how straight women feel.

[12:41:58 pm]AceOfSevens:I sympathize with the closet, but soliciting straight guys strikes as a bad strategy for hiding

[12:41:58 pm]rickylong03:Again you are with seeing yourself as a straight woman... Wow, would you prefer if I took you out to dinner before I sucked you off?

[12:44:12 pm]AceOfSevens:No, I find the whole concept of taking someone to dinner sexist and outmoded, but what I'm saying is all the straight women I know are sick of being treated as sex objected by guys with a bug up their ass about how they have to prove their masculinity through their sexual prowess.

[12:46:25 pm]rickylong03:What? You realize you're sounding more gay by the second... I just wanted a hook-up... simple. If you want the best blowjob of your life then lets make it happen. If you want to get fucked then I can do that too. Or maybe, you like to be the one giving head... whatever. Just tell me what you want so we can stop chatting and get ourselves a good nut.

[12:47:03 pm]AceOfSevens:I knew a guy like you, only straight, or at least he claimed that. He messaged basically every woman in the area without reading their profiles figuring at least a few woudl want to hook up.

[12:48:00 pm]rickylong03:So how about it... lets have some fun.

[12:48:03 pm]AceOfSevens:Granted, he was right in at least two cases, but but he pissed off dozens more.

[12:48:27 pm]rickylong03:I'm not trying to piss you off... I want to get you off. :-)

[12:48:49 pm]rickylong03:Lets meet and see what happens.

[12:49:01 pm]AceOfSevens:I take it you aren't having luck with any of the other peopel you are messaging.

[12:49:38 pm]rickylong03:I could say the same about you since you seem to be spending alot of time arguing with me.

[12:50:15 pm]rickylong03:so be honest, you are a little gay right?

[12:50:15 pm]AceOfSevens:Except I'm not trying to hook up wiith anyone, so this can't be judged in comparison to my other goals.

[12:51:24 pm]AceOfSevens:Although I don't think I'm having anymore success getting you to realize the folly of your ways.

[12:51:46 pm]rickylong03:If you're not trying to hook up then you must have just jerked off... That doesn't mean you on any higher ground... It just means you took care of your horniness before I did.

[12:51:58 pm]rickylong03:Anyway, are we going to hook up or what?

[12:52:30 pm]rickylong03:Before I let you go, be honest... You've been guys before haven't you?

[12:52:31 pm]AceOfSevens:Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that I am gay and only like guys who can be honest about their homosexuality rather than being a homophobe in public while secretly hooking up in park resstrooms.

[12:52:49 pm]AceOfSevens:I've been a guy pretty much all the time, yes.

[12:52:49 pm]rickylong03:Is that your issue?

[12:53:31 pm]rickylong03:I'm not secretly hooking up in bathrooms and gloryholes.

[12:54:25 pm]AceOfSevens:Just in your apartment after making sure the nighbors bdidn't see or in a bar well away from home?

[12:54:58 pm]AceOfSevens:Dear god man, you live in the Iowa City Metro, not hicksville Nebraska

[12:55:21 pm]AceOfSevens:Hold, is your name Reggie, by chance?

[12:55:34 pm]rickylong03:I'm making a straight up contact and offering a little fun. Honestly speaking, I'd love to have a relationship but people come with so much shit that it isn't worth it. And when you do get along with someone, then you're not compatible sexually. So, I'm bypassing the bullshit...

[12:55:49 pm]rickylong03:No, My name is ricky but I think I know the reggie you're talking about.

[12:56:24 pm]rickylong03:You know there are actually more than one black guy in Iowa city.

[12:56:32 pm]AceOfSevens:My ex-girlfriend was his boyfriend's fag hag

[12:56:57 pm]AceOfSevens:But probably only a couple really ripped black gay guys with masculinity issues.

[12:57:21 pm]rickylong03:See... That's why I don't show my face... This is too small an area to risk being discovered like that.

[12:58:05 pm]rickylong03:Hey, I appreciate the irritating conversation and all but I'm still kinda horny.

[12:58:18 pm]AceOfSevens:Ok. I do know a guy who got the shit beaten out of him at Lakeside about a year ago, so I can understand

[12:58:44 pm]AceOfSevens:Well, bterr luck with the other guys, then.

[12:59:38 pm]rickylong03:If you should change your mind and want to try something different then contact me and I'll get you off how ever you want it. But, just do talk so much.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy Floodiversary

It's been a year since the flood got bad and a year that I've been gone. I figure that's enough time off. It's time to get cracking again. The thing that's always held me back is there's so much to fill in. Today, I will talk about the flood and my house.

I spent a good portion of today working in my yard. I got a new machete and anvil loppers and went to town, removing dozens of little trees. From the smell, I'd say they were black walnut trees. I wouldn't have a problem if they didn't keep coming up against my foundation and threatening to push in my basement wall. A couple actually sprouted out of a seam in my basement windowsill, which is now all torn up.

If today was any indication, I'll be in big trouble when the zombie apocalypse comes. Weeds required a good backswing and trees were pretty much a no-go, even when only five or six millimeters thick. I don't think I could sever limbs and heads.

My backyard is well over waist high. At least, the part I haven't treated is. I got about a third of it today and got the front and side a few weeks ago. There seems to be very little grass: the yard is mostly these tall flowering weeds, clover and some plant with round leaves whose name I don't know. Near the house, it's like a prehistoric fern jungle. There is seriously a large space under the ferns where light doesn't reach and nothing else grows. This is probably and ideal hiding place for mice. I've had several over the last year. I think I'll be taking the machete to them (meaning ferns, not mice) soon.

Anyway, grass that tall doesn't mow well (and mostly bends over when you machete it). I'll have to take lots of passes before it's really trimmed.

There's a stump next to my house. By next to my house, I mean less than a meter away. I'm guessing it was a black walnut tree, as that would explain where all these shoots are coming from. From its width, I would guess it was as tall as the house before it came down. My neighbor confirms this. I don't know what the hell was wrong with the previous owners letting a tree get that big so close to the house. I suppose I should count myself lucky the foundation wasn't wrecked. Apparently, the previous owners just let the tree go. Eventually, wind knocked it over and it thankfully fell right between the two houses. The just cut off the stump to a reasonable height and let it go.

Inside, I have a carpenter ant problem. Normally, I am opposed to killing animals. I live-trap mice, for instance. Insects, however seem to lack the faculties that make other animals lives special. As far as I'm concerned, they're basically automatons. I save my sympathies for vertebrates and cephalopods. At any rate, I have little other recourse against these ants. I got some bait a few weeks ago, but have continued to see ants. It seems very few professional ant baits work on carpenter ants despite them being among the more dangerous invasive species and eating sugar and oil, just like any other ant. I finally found a bait indicated for them and we shall see how well it works.

According to my internet readings, I'd be seeing a lot of ants if the colony were in my house, but I don't think I am. Most likely, the colony is headquartered in that stump. Perhaps a chainsaw would relieve the problem. It would also put me in in a much better position when the zombie apocalypse comes.

I also confirmed my suspicions today that my garage sank in the flood. Even after thorough whacking around the front door, it still won't open very far. I shall have to go a shovel and resurface the area. Ultimately, I plan to tear the garage down and build a new, better one, but this will be quite expensive so I probably won't do it for a while.

Flood clean-up continues. A few months ago, I was walking to work and saw a bare hole where the Dairy Queen I used to frequent once stood. Now, it's a car dealership. I should add they do not sell parfaits there. Blimpie finally started repair work a couple month ago, but looks like it's a long way from opening. Quizno's seems to have not been touched since the flood debris was carried out. Dee's, a local, generally irreplaceable Japanese restaurant, doesn't seem to be coming back.

On the bright side, the church I was dragged to on a weekly basis for the better part of a decade was destroyed and is being torn down. I have to fight the urge to help them along with a few milk jugs full of flaming gasoline. In fact, at least four churches and a mosque bit the dust, but I have yet to hear anyone attempt to ascribe any theological significance to this.

Future topics: the economy, academics and the ladyfolk.