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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It's Not The Thought That Counts

Yesterday I thought about writing an acknowledgement of Memorial Day. I didn't. Over the three day weekend I know I thought of at least half a dozen things to write about. At least a couple of them, as I recall, promised to be hilarious. Clearly I am not writing about those. Mostly because all I remember is that they promised to be hilarious. What they actually were I have not a clue.

Shortly after I post this I'm sure at least one of them will occur to me and I will get a good laugh. I might remember it for posting tomorrow, or I might not...but I'll be sure to think about it.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Throwback To A Simpler Era

This morning Jack was checking his doggie e-mail as usual. Doggie e-mail is of course read by smell, and Jack's mailbox is my girlfriend's front lawn. Anyway, I was standing around on the end of my leash, and just looking at stuff with that strange eye you get when you are waiting.

What struck me was the neat scallops that her gardener cuts around the sprinklers. I remember seeing those all the time when I was a kid, but they struck me strange because you never really see them any more. Cutting the grass really low around the sprinkler lets the water spray out without being blocked in. Otherwise you have to set the sprinklers way up high and risk chopping them with the lawnmower. Oh. Or else you get those newfangled pop up sprinkler heads!! The ones that have been around for twenty years or so. You can see examples of this fine technology right there in my girlfriend's front lawn. The way the grass is cut bald around them they are readily observable.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


I am so completely backwards.

I watched television last night, which is a change of pace for me. It was 'series finale night'. I have seen Alias a couple times before for some reason, and had never seen Lost. My girlfriend had gotten the thirty minute recap at work so Lost became sort of a workplace necessity. Anyway, I learned something.

They had a two hour show to 'wrap up all the loose ends'. I guess some major story lines did get concluded, and a guy who obviously opted not to renew for next season got thankfully blown up (I'd have swam back to civilization if I was stuck on an island with that guy), but pretty much the whole two hours I kept saying "I just want to see what's under the hatch...and the closing scene was the ladder under the hatch. Tune in next season to see what's down the ladder. I thought Laurie was going to die laughing.

So I write this serial fiction, the Journal of Arvil Bren. It's a journal that is written by the character, Arvil, every night before he goes to bed. Pretty much tune in tomorrow to see if Arvil wakes up. I learned something. I think Arvil's journal today will end with him sleeping fitfully on the edge of a cliff.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I just don't think like that. Like what? Like whatever makes sense. I started a new project over the weekend. My girlfriend, who is smart as a whip but a far more conventional thinker than me cannot see why I would do such a thing. My answer is 'because my existing projects need work'. That makes even less sense. If the projects I have need work why would I start another one?

Because I don't quite know what to do for the ones I have.

If that makes sense to you please let me know. It makes perfect sense to me, but I'd like to see an explanation.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Big News From The Big City

This is from the Associated Press. My brother in law clipped it from a paper in Chicago and sent it, probably because our sister lives in Ridgecrest.

RIDGECREST, Calif. - Linc and Helena Moore may have finally learned the answer to that age-old question: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because the chicken doesn't know jaywalking is illegal.
Kern County Sheriff's Deputy J. Nicholson does know, however. The deputy issued a ticket on March 26 to one of the couple's chickens for impeding traffic on a road in Johannesburg, a rural mining community southeast of Ridgecrest. The Moores arrived in Superior Court on Friday to plead not guilty to their chicken's alleged transgression. A trial was scheduled for May 16.
Nicholson has declined to discuss the matter, but sheriff's Sgt. Francis Moore said chickens on the roadway have been a problem in the community of 50 residents. Officials didn't believe it could be resolved by simply issuing the couple a warning.
"Sometimes you have to let people talk to the judge," Moore said.
The chicken's owners say they believe they were cited because they were among several people who complained that sheriff's deputies haven't done enough to control off-road vehicle riders who damage roads and create dust and noise in their neighborhood. Sheriff's officials say that isn't so, adding they are doing what they can to keep off-roaders away from the area's homes.
"The chicken thing has nothing to do with the motorcycle thing," Moore said.

In a follow-up story not yet picked up by the national wires, picketing chickens marching in protest were ordered to clear the road by a Kern County Sheriff SWAT team fearing a bloody confrontation with local motorcycle enthusiasts. Ridgecrest's mayor, interviewed at his nearby dust ranch, reported that he has been in constant communication with Governor Schwartzenneger, who promised to either send in National Guard troops or terminate the chickens himself should violence break out.

Monday, May 23, 2005

So He Might Be A Little Spoiled

Jack eats twice a day. Because of our routine he gets about half his meals at home and about half of them at my girlfriend's house. The obvious thing to do is get a second bag of dog food, but the usual thing to do was grab a couple meals worth of food in a little sack as we were leaving. Last week I ran out of little bags and containers for carrying dog food.

So, time to get dog food, but the supermarket doesn't have Eukanuba. After careful study of labels Iams looks like it will be just as good for him, and it seems to me a little variety should appeal to him. Guess not. After a couple days of watching him finish his dinner so he can start asking for breakfast it is clear. He doesn't really like it.

He does with half a cup of bullion poured over it though.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Quick Tour

I've made a few minor changes around here; dusted some corners and spruced some things up, added a few knick-knacks. Obviously the main blog body here just scrolls along, so the changes are all over there in the sidebar.

First off my 'counter' idea died a sorrowful death. Making a template change every day to keep it accurate just never really happened, so I axed it. I'm looking for a bit of free code that I can use to make that work, but for now it is a dead issue. Where the counter used to be is a link to my new blog, written with bloggers and want to be bloggers in mind. If you want to know about starting, maintaining, and marketing blogs it is full of useful stuff, and I'll be building a small blog directory there.

I also put in an ad. I've had ads on Arvil Bren's Journal for a long time but never put the coding in here before. There were not that many readers here, and most of them were reading Arvil Bren anyway so if they were willing to help me out by clicking ads they did it there. Now this site is up to a Google pagerank of three, and has a fair number of links and readers that are not Arvil Bren fans, so I added it. I think it is tasteful and unobtrusive, but I hope everyone can and will find it. It is a 'pay per click' system, so if you can't find it it does me no good. Google is really good about providing ads that relate to the content of the page so there should be interesting stuff over there.

At the bottom of the sidebar is a short list of links. In Blogology I talk about why it is a short list from a blogging and marketing perspective, but aside from those aspects I don't want links I don't really follow myself. I don't look at the inspirational quote every day, but it's always nice when I do. I deleted one of the serial fiction links. It was to a directory that wasn't just serials and I wasn't sure about the consistency of their maintenance. I added a link to Agent Rusty Bones, which is a serial about an undead guy who investigates paranormal stuff for the FBI. I think. I haven't had time to read it yet, but it was recommended by Madie, who writes Bear Tribe.Net. That I do read regularly. Anyone who finds or writes a serial of any kind let me know and I will add a link.

Anyway, it's the end of another week. I enjoy what I write and I hope you do too. See ya Monday!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

On Monday I Said I Would Win

Today I did. Of course I didn't win the cool concert tix, but I was on the radio and I did win. Dinner and a movie for me and Laurie; can't beat that with a stick.

I won on 'Lyrics of Mystery'. The line was "Out of my way, it's a busy day, and I've got things on my mind." I must confess, since I was sitting here getting ready to write I hit the search engine. I don't feel bad though since it didn't really work by itself. All those words are too common and I don't know how to do a phrase search. Fortunately I could hear the line in my head and recognized David Gilmore's voice. Add Pink Floyd to the search and the title fell right out.

I guess the coolest part is coming through on the 'I'm gonna win something' in such short order. Power of word.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

If You Ever Want To Rob Me...

...bring snacks for Jack.

The cleaners were at my mom's house yesterday. I let them in and went back to what I was doing. Since it was a warm day the sliding door was just screen, not glass, so Jack could hear them in there. Since he can't see and he couldn't get in to smell them he didn't know who they were and was giving them the full treatment; hair puffed up and the 'if I get to you I'm eating you' bark.

After taking him home three times only to find him back at the door, I talked the cleaners into a one minute break. They told him to sit and gave him snackies. He'll remember their voices forever now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Spam Warrior

How do I get myself into these things? Well, actually I know how I got myself into this. There was this banner ad that I just couldn't resist. You know the kind; hit the target and win a free whatever. Of course you have to subscribe to 'we will spam you into oblivion' to actually get the free whatever. But it was 'punch out George W Bush'; little boxing gloves and GW dodging back and forth. It was a moment of weakness.

Okay, I admit it. I've actually enjoyed the spam war that I got myself into. It's a challenge to unsubscribe faster than they can spread my address to other lists, and it's interesting to see where these things lead, and who is doing what. A couple of the battles have been particularly amusing.

I threatened Publisher's Clearing House. Their spam does not include an 'unsubscribe' link, which I honestly believe is required by law. I never got around to researching it, I just sent them an e-mail that said it is required by law and since they didn't have one if they didn't get me off their list in three days I would pursue legal action. I got a very nice e-mail back in about two hours saying that I had been removed from their list.

This morning's adventure is the PayPal warning scam. It's a very official looking notice from PayPal saying that my account has been frozen due to suspicious activity, with a link to reverify my information and get reactivated. I sent them my PayPal password. I'm not sure how far they will get with 'nice try you evil mother****er', but they are welcome to give it a shot. I actually haven't opened a Paypal account yet, so it was pretty easy for me to spot the hoax. I don't know what I'll pick for a password, but I know what it won't be. Meanwhile the e-mail has been forwarded to spoof@paypal.com. Their security people seem to take these things pretty seriously. Since the thing is full of links the perpetrators can't be impossible to track; though they can make it difficult. I hope jackbooted storm troopers are kicking their doors in as I write. Everyone check your bulk folders and forward your Paypal hoax e-mails. The more they have to work with the better chance the storm troopers find their target.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Trivial Pursuit

I started listening to a different radio station. A while back my girlfriend introduced me to alternative rock, and I've been mostly listening to her station if I listen to the radio; specifically in the morning. The radio on is a key aspect for her in getting ready for work. Morning; that's the problem.

The morning DJ on the alt-rock station is beyond annoying. In my long life of radio listening she is quite the worst I have ever heard. So last week when I spent a couple days at my girlfriend's house I would change the station as soon as she went to work. Seems like all morning radio has a LOT of talk, but the local classic rock station is better than most.

And the talking the DJ does do is actually worth listening to. Classic rock trivia. I'm gonna win something.

Friday, May 13, 2005

To Cure What Ails Ya

I think I might be driving my friends crazy. Yesterday I got a letter from a dear friend. She is going on a missionary trip in August and is confronting the financial aspects of it. I would be happy to support this adventure with a few bucks, but I know what I can give is the proverbial drop in the bucket, moneywise.

So I gave her my best advice. Of course it is the same advice I seem to give everybody for everything, which is why I think I might be driving people crazy. Looking for a girlfriend/boyfriend? Got too many friends and acquaintances to keep up with them all? Need money for a missionary trip to Africa? Want to build a residual income? Bored? Blind, crippled or crazy?

Start a blog!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

But I Didn't Learn Anything

I'm playing Blogshares. It's an on-line game and sort of run by the community of players. One thing players manage is assigning new blogs into catagories. On the profile page for the blog you click on a 'vote here' link and vote the blog into whatever catagories you think it fits. Your vote is then 'moderated'. I've recently been elevated into the lofty ranks of the moderators.

So this morning I click on 'moderate votes' and get my list of ten votes to check. They are presented anonymously so moderators don't just approve votes because they trust the voter. The first two votes are for the same blog, called Topless Blog. I click on the link to view the blog, but I have a pretty good idea where this is headed, considering that one of the catagories that got voted for was 'sex'. Sure enough, some enterprising blogger is posting the 'topless photo of the day'. It didn't take long to approve the vote for the 'sex' catagory.

I really wish I could ask the voter about their second vote. I disapproved it, but maybe they could argue their case. They voted for 'adult education'. Maybe they learned something?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Eating Bon-Bons On The Couch

I spent the day at my girlfriends house yesterday. She's going through a huge stress gig at work this week. When she got home we had the 'how was your day, what did you do?' type conversations that couples everywhere probably have. I claimed to have spent the day eating bon-bons on the couch.

After some careful examination we realized something. Other than being the symbol of the lazy spouse, and obviously edible, I really had no idea what bon-bons actually are. Fortunately she was more knowledgable than I and managed to explain them to me. They do sound good. I might have to get some now.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Technology must be taking a lot of the fun out of being a teenager. My girlfriend got this phone call. When she answered the excited girl voice started immediately.

"You've won a thousand dollars!" it said.

"Wow. Really?" my girlfriend answered, apparently not with enough enthusiasm.

"Really!! A THOUSAND DOLLARS!!! Isn't that exciting!?" Inflation has also taken its toll on our youth. Perhaps a million would have been more effective.

This went a couple more rounds before my girlfriend lowered the boom. "Do you know your name and number show up on my caller ID?"

Silence. Crank calling will never be the same.

Monday, May 09, 2005

What A Hack

I have a hard time calling this guy a hack. He has written some good books. Since then he has written some stinkers. Since then he has put his name on any piece of written material that fit the suspense genre and looked like it would sell; "Tom Clancy presents:" I thought it was sad, since one would think he has a mountain of money already. Now he has pissed me off.

I was roaming the bookstore the other day and saw the latest book by Larry Niven. Larry Niven doesn't have a franchise of Jack Ryan books made into movies, but if every 'comet hitting the Earth' book and movie ever made appropriately credited Lucifer's Hammer Niven would have a mountain of money to match Clancy's. I say 'ever made' instead of 'since Lucifer's Hammer' because I can't say there was any 'comet hitting the Earth' story before that. Name one Tom Clancy book that wasn't 'sort of like Robert Ludlum, Leon Uris, et al. Lucifer's Hammer was a masterpiece when I was in high school, which is incidentally long before Tom Clancy sold word one.

So yeah, I was pissed off to see that some punk at the publisher saw fit to put an endorsement from Tom Clancy on the cover of Larry Niven's latest book. No doubt this added a nice chunk to the Tom Clancy retirement fund, but I liken it to seeing "the writer of Arvil Bren's Journal says this is a great read" on the cover of Lord of the Rings.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Yet Another Game In My Life

This time it's an on line game called BlogShares. I saw it on another blog that I was reading and thought it might be a way to promote my blogs. I don't know that it really is a way to promote my blogs, but it certainly promotes blogging. I have started yet another blog as a result. It's a blog I've been thinking about doing for a while anyway, meant mostly for those people in my life who talk about having a blog, think about having a blog, maybe even start a blog; but just don't seem to actually have a blog. It's called Blogology, and you can find it by clicking here. I've also revitalized my political blog, A Political Question, with a new question.

So once again I have a new game to play and have gone wild for the last few days. Unlike some games though this one can settle in as a manageable piece of the day rather than a play like mad win and abandoned thing.

Follow up on yesterday's entry:
Some of the kids were excited about 'getting published on the internet' so I got some poems from them. They are in the comments on yesterday's entry so that they will be in the archaive together. Go read them and leave some comments for the kids!!!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Gotta love those kids

Today is Thursday. It's trash day. It's the last full work day of the week for my girlfriend. It keeps Wednesday from bumping straight into Friday. No doubt it is lady's night somewhere and dollar drink night somewhere else. But what Thursday means for me is my day to volunteer at the after school program.

Sometimes it is a task. I suppose anything that is scheduled ahead would seem that way in my mostly free form life. But summer is coming on fast and pretty soon my Thursdays will lose this. And I'm gonna miss the heck out of it. I'll miss the other volunteers for sure. But I am really gonna miss those kids.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I've Had Good Days and Bad Days...

and going half mad days...as Jimmy would say.

My dad was so weak for so long that I think it is a blessing for him to finally be free of it all. The pain, which he has always been pretty stoic about, but even more the monotony that his declining health had made of his days. So it isn't in me to regret seeing the end. And there is certainly no way to say I'm surprised by it.

But it still is startling somehow, over and over throughout the day. I think because he was on the edge for so long it just came to feel like he always would be. And so much of my time was organized around that. The freed up time should be a good thing, and it actually is, but in odd moments it is just...strange...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

You Never Get What You Don't Ask For

I used to sell cars, and that was engrained in my day to day existence. Apparently I should not have forgotten it, even though it seems to not be true. I got way more than I asked for today.

Late last night I was prowling the net. I needed some quick information about the game that is Arvil Bren's environment. One of the great resources I use is Morrowind Summit, and I was on their page of walkthrough links when I noticed a link about 'having your walkthrough hosted here'. Arvil Bren's Journal isn't exactly a walkthrough in the usual sense, but a lot of my regular readers originally showed up from google searches they were doing looking for some sort of specific Morrowind tip. So I sent an e-mail. What the heck.

To my surprise I got a response in a matter of minutes. Arvil Bren's Journal is now linked on the walkthroughs page...and the fansites page...and it is today's news topic on the front page of one of the most heavily trafficked Morrowind sites on the web. Lookee here: http://www.rpgplanet.com/morrowind

Monday, May 02, 2005

So many topics...

So little drive. Maybe I'm just overwhelmed by the wide spectrum of choices, or maybe too many of the choices are too complicated. Whatever the reason I don't know what to write, or what to write about.

My girlfriend's parents have been in town for a week. Their visit has had an impact on our relationship. To say that I have not been understanding about this is an understatement. At some point that will be processed enough to write about.

My father died this weekend. That too will be processed enough to write about at some point.

I made a new friend, got introduced to a new game, and hit a terrific milestone with my serial fiction project, but with the other stuff going on I don't feel like I have much zip to bring to those topics.

There's always my best crutch, I could write about Jack the beautiful blind dog...but I think I'll let that go today too. This shall pass and I will be back in force tomorrow, count on it.