Monday, January 30, 2006

Look Ma, Iambic Pentameter

Goodbye Easter Ham, Director's Cut.

I loved you like no other could, yon ham.
And I with happy heart and joyous face
Would sup with you alone, not leg of lamb,
And daily I would lie in your embrace.

Then time did come for us to say adieu.
I sealed thee In Ziploc with a kiss.
Oh muse, my love in absence fonder grew.
My nights were filled with dreams of you on Swiss.

But something awful chanced then to transpire.
A Locked gate separated me and fridge.
My bosom was robbed of all it desired
By a chasm no mortal man could bridge.

And now, apart from you in pain I dwell,
Here all alone in this, my hamless hell.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Ten Inches on A6

A string of beatings
In a single night last week.
Bruises, black eyes
And broken teeth.

Rocks, bricks, fists and feet,
Pellet guns and knives.
Baseball bats
Are a favored weapon.

A group of teenagers
Who piled into a car
And went
Looking for homeless people to beat up.

Practically sport among young people,
Mostly white men under 20.

The death of 45-year-old
Norris Gaynor, whose head
And chest were bashed
With a baseball bat
While he slept on a park bench.

Homeless people just take it on the chin
And move
To a more secluded area.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Willy the Wonder Balloon: ten years later and you still look as young as ever.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Word Processors Are Crappy Places to Vent

Holding shift down really hard should increase the font size. Either that, or I should just start screaming out loud.

Google Vs the Government, Plus Llamas

I like Google a lot. I like that I can sit down and type “llama poetry” and actually find a Web site that is dedicated to all things llama poetry in .56 seconds. There is something comforting about that. However, I also like that no one else has to know. That is to say, tell no one.

But in case you weren’t aware, there are more insidious things floating around on the World Wide Web than haikus about ruminant mammals—child pornography, for example—and there are also many people who have much more important secrets to keep than I do, such as financial information and weird obsessions with finding their high school crushes.

And thus we begin to shed some light on why there is so much controversy surrounding Google, pornography and personal privacy these days.

The government currently requires public schools and libraries with internet access to use content-filtering software, but it knows, along with most PLNU students, that filters don’t really work. So, to do better, the Department of Justice wants Google to provide one million random Web addresses and a record of all searches sent through Google in a given week.

With this information, combined with the data it has already collected from Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online, the government hopes to discover where objectionable content is and how it is most often found.

But Google isn’t going to comply without fighting what it says will jeopardize vital trade secrets and consumers’ personal information.

I feel bad for Google, and for people who are afraid Big Brother is going to find out about their fascination with making pipe bombs for recreational purposes, but as keeper of the most popular search engine in the world, Google really is in a position to do something about the out-of-control porn industry.

The problem is that people are just too paranoid. It is unfortunate that this controversy should arise just weeks after The New York Times revealed that the Bush Administration had sidestepped Congress to conduct wiretaps without warrants. All of this has nervous bloggers running around in the streets crying “The PATRIOT Act Ate My Baby!”

But this isn’t about finding Osama bin Laden in your carry-on items. The government needs information if it is going to effectively protect children without infringing on free speech with software that doesn’t work, but Google has stocks, and shareholders get uncomfortable when online services share information with third parties for any reason. In this environment, Google is practically being forced to fight the government to protect business.

Consumers need to realize that they have to be willing to lose some of their of privacy if they really want safety, and if that means a bureaucrat somewhere might find out that I admire the expressive nature of llamas, so be it.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Mysterious Demise of Janice and Fredrick

I was just taking a walk down computer memory lane when I came across this bad short story I wrote for a class last summer. The assignment was to write a one-page story that included as many of the elements of bad storytelling as possible. The idea was to get bad storytelling out of our system. I don't know if it worked, but I do think I fulfilled the assignment.

And thus it begins:

“Goodbye,” Winston said to Janice and Fredrick, with a hint of that real sadness people have in their voice when they say goodbye to their close friends. “I will call you when I get to the airport in Boise.”

"Bye old friend,” replied Fredrick.

“Have a great trip. Fly safe,” came the reply from Janice.

“Ha, tell that to the pilot,” Winston joked back. With a surprisingly firm grasp for a man who would be 70 in three more days, Winston took hold of his clumsy hard-shelled suitcase. Patches of red showed through on its heavily scratched surface between the masses of stickers the bag had acquired from hundreds of trips through customs. His wife, Tabitha, an aging tennis athlete, had offered to replace the bag on several occasions. “It’s so tacky,” she would say. But Winston loved the bag and would never allow it to be replaced.

Now holding the bag, Winston used his other hand to search his inside coat pocket. Sure enough, he had remembered to bring his boarding pass. Thank God for online check in, thought Winston. My, how technology had developed in his lifetime.

Winston stepped over a little mound of cigarette butts and headed toward the airport. A large set of glass double doors slid open as he approached, he entered, and with that, he was gone.

“Do you think that we will ever see him again?” Janice asked Fredrick.

“You know perfectly well that we will not,” Fredrick retorted.

Oh yeah, Janice remembered. Today was the day that she and Fredrick were going to drive off of the edge of the Snake River canyon in a fiery blaze of death.

What a silly person Janice is for forgetting, Fredrick said to himself.

No one knows if Janice and Fredrick ever made it to that cliff or not. No wreckage was ever found, but some say that it was washed away in the powerful current and carried to the Gulf. Others say that they changed their mind and tried facing up to their financial struggles like adults, but either way they were never heard from again, which led Chief Smith to suspect that the mafia was involved.

Apparently Samantha doesn't think those last pictures were very funny. Either that or she is just gross-looking.

Navel oranges are just like little orange cats, only rounder.

With a little imagination, navel oranges can even have little orange cat faces.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

It's Official...

Today I was carefully reading all six sides of a box of Celestial Seasonings Herb Tea for poetic inspiration when I noticed that the "About Herb Tea" section was full of sentence fragments. It began to bother me. It is still bothering me. I will probably look for opportunities to bring it up in conversation tomorrow. I just keep telling myself that it doesn't matter, but there is a muscle or group of muscles between my eyebrows that is getting tense, and my arms feel a little shaky, and I know it is because of the sentence fragments on a box of herbal tea.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Oh man, did I ever get an email about this.

Layout Tuesday Deserves Moby Dick's Last Name

Dear Martin Luther King Jr.,

Don't say I never did anything for you.



Monday, January 16, 2006

Moby Dick Deserves His Last Name

It is past 11:00 and I have more than 100 pages to read before my class at 8:00.

I really hope he gets it in the end.

I guess this means there's "no fat." Perhaps unattributed quotations are outside the jurisdiction of the FDA.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

She rings a bell when she wants outside, and she picks up her leash and brings it to you on command, and I still have dog hair on my clothes from Christmas Break. Good girl.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Puzzles, Part Three of a Three Part Series Told in Two Parts, with a Forward by the Author's Roommate

"I think this about sums it up."
-Dub, Two Guns' roommate (2003-present)

The third puzzle that we were going to build was called "No. 3, Rivers and Streams," of the European Wildlife Collection. It was a 1000-piece special gold series Jigsaw Puzzle (by James Hamilton), produced in association with the Fédération Rhône-Alps de Protection de la Nature - Université Lyon, illustrated by François Crozat. This puzzle was more than a puzzle; it was a dream.

My roommate Dub and I were eating dinner when we decided we would start the puzzle later that day. Walking back to the dorm, I turned to Dub and told him that this was the beginning of the new me. No longer would my life be shackled by the ugly chains of Procrastination. "'Why do tomorrow what you can do today?' From this point on, that's what I've always said," I told him.

With the card table set up and World Series Poker on the TV, we began sifting through the puzzle box for border pieces, being careful to set the corner pieces in a separate stack. When the last piece had been examined for a straight edge, we began preparing ourselves for assembly mode. Then I made a horrifying discovery—we only had three corner pieces.

Figuring that we had overlooked the missing piece in our haste to begin building, the two of us started searching through the box again, transferring the examined pieces from the bottom part of the box to the top. My hopes of finding the missing corner rose with every previously-overlooked edge piece that I found, but eventually the box was empty, and our stack of corners was no taller.

However, all was not necessarily lost. While I had discovered five additional edge pieces in the second sifting, Dub had found none, and I was holding onto the hope that he was completely off his puzzle-piece-identifying game. I was going to search again, but this time I was going to search alone.

I went through the box for the third time one piece at a time, making sure that I had checked all four edges of every piece before moving to the next. Seven hundred and eighty-eight pieces later, the stack of corners defiantly remained three pieces high.

I hated that stack. I wanted it to die.

"That sucks," said Dub. "Yeah," I replied. The guy across the hall thought it sucked too. "Hey are you guys watching poker?" he asked.

The dream was over, and we knew it, so I did what I always do; I popped open an IBC and put off my homework until the weekend, which isn't until tomorrow, and might not be until Sunday.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

And Now, By Popular Demand, Puzzles, Parts One and Two of a Three-Part Series Told in Two Parts

My roommate and I like to build puzzles together, or at least we think we do, but we have only built two puzzles in our three years together, so maybe we don't know what we are talking about.

Our first puzzle adventure was a rendition of the classic Uncle Sam "I WANT YOU" poster. Because I am a college student I felt immediately attracted to this puzzle. I still have mixed feelings about the war effort and war efforts in general, and war generals in general war efforts in general (hard to believe, but true), but I know exactly how I feel about $3 puzzles. I love them to pieces.

Oh man, that was a good one.

Please keep in mind that I am only writing about this first (1st) puzzle so I can delight you with the story of another puzzle later on, so while there are some delightful elements to the Uncle Sam puzzle’s biography, all I will say is that once the final piece was put into place (it was an eggshell piece with brown specks), we glued the finished product to a piece of foam board with the intention of mounting it on the wall, but the board was warped and we couldn't think of a way to mount it. Then, to top it off, I lost one of the corner pieces when I brought it home for the summer. Remember this part of the story because this is where the irony is going to come from.

I’m not really sure why we still kept Uncle Sam behind the couch for an additional four months, but I eventually admitted for both of us that we would never find the missing piece, and even if we had the piece we wouldn’t hang up the puzzle because it was warped, so I wrapped it in a big Target bag with duct tape and gave it away as a white elephant gift. The gift I got was even crappier so I don’t feel bad about what I did even one bit.

Our story continues…

Our second (2nd) puzzle was (is, still) a panoramic image (over three feet long!) of Times Square, New York.

It is awesome.

We talked about building this puzzle all semester long but I think we were afraid to begin because of what happened with Uncle Sam (1st). However, when we did finally begin construction during the last week of school, it only took us three days to finish the job. It is now the coolest thing hanging on any of our walls.

I really want to emphasis that this puzzle is awesome. People walk into our room and the first thing they say is “Hey, do you guys have any tape?” Then I go “Probably. Hey check out our puzzle, isn’t it awesome?” Then they say something like “Yeah, that’s really cool. Hey do you mind if I borrow some?” No one has ever disagreed with my opinion about the puzzle.

So this time around we decided that things were going to be different (that is to say, better, as opposed to “Is he funny?” “Funny? I don’t know—he’s… ‘different.’”) and we began the third (3rd) puzzle on the second (Times Square) day of school. I know, wow.

Shoot, it’s time for class. Tune in next time for the exciting conclusion.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sometimes I Resent All These Dots

Don't I have homework or something?

...And Sometimes Y

...And The Rest Will Follow is a great album by a great band called Project 86. Even if you don't like them, they are still excellent. Yeah, that kind of great... like great grandpas, only with a lot more screaming I hope.

In honor of ...And The Rest Will Follow, I have decided to embark on a musical odyssey to add knew meaning to the first two days of Spring Semester '06.

To begin, if The White Stripes have anything to say about Spring Semester '06, they aren't saying it now, to me. They are just yelling about some girl, which seems a little one-sided on Jack's part if you ask me, or Meg. Hang on a second while I find something more appropriate (this is real-time, by the way... each and every time you read it).

Well, all I found was "Dead by Dawn," by Showbread. This isn't working like I thought maybe it would, or at least I hope it isn't. This is kind of fun though—a one-sided musical odyssey needlessly communicated through print... excuse me for a second.

Thanks for waiting. Where were we?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Tomorrow Begins Spring Semester '06

My roommate and I are both exhausted for some reason and have been watching the clock since 6:45. We know that if we go to bed too early we will wake up too soon, but we really want to sleep. I wish there was some sort of compromise that we could make, but it looks to me like our only option is to just rough it and stay up 'til some ungodly hour like 9:30 or 10:00. I know, it's sick. Also, I must be at least 80 years old.

I was going to delight you with a tale about how we almost built a puzzle today, but in writing it I realized that is was necessary to tell you about the other two puzzles we built previously, and while writing that I realized that I was trying to delight you with a tale about how we almost built a puzzle... so I decided that it would probably be more entertaining for all of us if I just stopped writing and stared at the clock until it was time for bed.