Thursday, June 30, 2005

I win!

Is there a contest to see how long you can use the same printer cartridge? If there is, I think I may have won. I bought my printer in late May/early June of 2003 and it came with a tri-color cartridge. I'm still using that same cartridge. I've put two black cartridges in it, but I'm still using the same color one. Needless to say, I don't print that much stuff, but I do use the printer.


I have a problem. No, not that one. It's another, more pointless problem. Anyway, my problem is that I want a laptop. Badly. Really badly. Irrationally. I don't need one, I have two computers set up that I use: my main Windows XP box and my Linux box. They're in separate rooms, but still, I want portability. I want to sit on the couch and look at stuff online. And I want to lay in bed and look at stuff online.

Bah. I have no business buying a laptop right now, even if I could afford one. My car's on its last legs and I should be saving my money. But I still want a laptop. Badly. Irrationally.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Sherri wants me to list my enormous book collection online for all the world to see. I'd love to have it cataloged, but doing it would be such a herculean task that I don't think I could manage it. So, instead of a nice alphabetical list, I'll give you photos of the literary squalor: first there's this pile, then this pile, it's near this pile, which is also near this pile, I almost forgot this pile, then I almost forgot this pile, which is kinda near this pile (but not really), actually it's closer to this pile, and then there's this pile (which I think is mainly books on their way to Goodwill). And that's not quite all of them! Yes, I'm a sick, sick man in desperate need of help.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Four questions

Hey, lookit me, I'm doing another meme-type thang. I first saw this one at Sherri's last Thursday, but I was getting over my head injury and had no time for memes. Today Brendan had a go at it. So here's my contribution:

1. Number of books I own
Damn if I know. A bunch. A whole bunch. Hundreds. Maybe a thousand or more. I never counted them.

2. The last book I bought
Last week I got Harry Mathews' brand spanking new, My Life in CIA.

3. The last book I read
I've been catching up on Paul Auster, so I've read his last three novels: Book of Illusions, Oracle Night, and Timbuktu. Right now I'm rereading his excellent Mr. Vertigo.

You can't go wrong with Paul Auster; even his less successful novels (Book of Illusions and Leviathan come to mind) are worth reading.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me
James Joyce's Ulysses changed the way I view books and the written word. No other book has had such an impact on me. I've only ever read it once, but it took a long time and it opened up a new, strange, and exciting world to me. I had no idea you were allowed to write a book like this. Suddenly I realized that I could write anyway I wanted and didn't have to be hemmed in by the dreary stuff the teachers were always shoving at us.

Junky by William S. Burroughs is basically just a straighforward account of a man's decent into heroin addiction in the 1940's. It shouldn't be great, but it is. I can't even remember how many times I've reread this book. And I can't imagine a time in my life when I wouldn't think of rereading it.

Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs by Ted Morgan is probably my favorite biography. I used to reread this book almost constantly in my early 20's. If I was bored, I'd just pull it down from the shelf, open it at random, and start reading. I remember seeing the freshly published volume in a bookstore when I had no money at all. Not being able to buy it was painful. So I started scheming for ways to scrape up some money. It was the end of the school semester, so I sold a pile of my college textbooks and headed off to buy it. I think I failed all of my exams, but I couldn't have cared less, I was in heaven. (I later became a much better student, by the way.)

Endgame by Samuel Beckett nearly did to me for plays what Ulysses did to me for novels. I even started writing plays after I read Endgame, even though up to that point in my life (I think I was seventeen) I'd had no interest in theatre at all.

Immeasurable Distances by Harry Mathews is another of those books that I read and reread until I practically wore it out. It's an essay collection by the only American member of the Oulipo. I can't really describe the contents other than to say they were on various writers (some of whome I'd never heard of), the strange methods of the Oulipo, and other seemingly mundane subjects. This book has taught me more than any other I can think of. (It's long out of print and the publisher, Lapis Press, doesn't even exist anymore. A new volume of his essays, The Case of the Persevering Maltese, contains most of Immeasurable Distances, along with some newer pieces, but strangely, doesn't excite me the way the previous volume still does.

Monday, June 27, 2005


I finally started training at work on the computer system I'm going to be using. Well, if you can call it training. I did learn some things, but I spent a lot of time sitting there while the guy who was supposed to be training me talked to other people who came into the room, talked on his cellphone, and was on the company phone with Dell's customer service center (which is in India) trying to get them to look into a fraudulent charge on his account. India had him on hold and he was switched to speaker phone, so I got to hear somewhat distorted classical music that sounded like it was coming from a distant shortwave radio station. Periodically the music would be interrupted by a loud sound I can only describe as an electronic fart. He also took an hour for lunch while I only get a half hour. So what did I do for the second half hour? I sat there and read the Paul Auster novel I'd brought with me.

As bad as all of this was, I'd rather do this sort of nonsense than walk around in the sweltering warehouse getting filthy from handling dust-covered boxes.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Digital detritus

Yesterday in a thrift store, I saw a digital camera for sale in its orginal box. I don't remember what model it was, just that it looked like something that was maybe from the late 90's. They wanted $100 for it.

Seeing a once expensive item in a thrift store isn't that unusual, but it just seems odd to me that someone would just donate a digital camera that probably cost hundreds of dollars to a thrift store. I'm sure they'll be more common in the future, along with Palm devices, camera phones, mp3 players, etc.

And this was the same thrift store I saw the artificial leg and funeral wreath in years ago.

I don't get it

Remember BlogShares? About a year and half or two years ago it suddenly got really popular and everyone (except me) was talking about it. Suddenly there was some kind of controversy (I forget what), a lot of bloggers got mad, and then you didn't really hear about it anymore. Tell you the truth, I forgot it even existed. But last night I stumbled across the BlogShares page for this blog. It doesn't really make any sense to me and I still don't see the point to any of it. Why would anyone want to spend time buying and trading fake shares of blogs? And according to the page, someone's even bought a few shares of Volume 22. I don't get it. Why?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Invasion of the stinky people

A few hours ago I was in a discount department store and got a whiff of powerful body odor. There was an elderly couple moving by me and it was coming from one (or possibly both) of them. I got as far away from them as I could without actually leaving the store. They headed to the checkout line. Since I didn't want to get caught behind them breathing in their poisonous reek, I had to pretend that I was browsing.

The checkout line was, for some unknown reason, moving very slowly. So I got to stand around cradling a pair two litre bottles of cheap root beer for longer than I thought was humanly possible. Eventually they left and got to pay for my stuff without having to get another whiff of them.

After I put my root beer in my car, I headed to another nearby store. (Oddly enough, this store is also a discount department store. What can I say? I'm cheap.) I headed back to the cereal aisle and was met by both a wall of funk and the same damn elderly couple. I moved quickly away. Since I had to get my box of Cheerios, I was going to have to go back to the cereal aisle. So I went back. The elderly couple had moved on by then, but the smell was still there. It was as if it were a living entity. Or not. I forget.

The moral of this story? Take a damn shower!


My satellite dish receiver got zapped by a power surge during a thunder storm a few days ago, so that means no Degrassi marathon for me this weekend.

Why do I even bother getting out of bed?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Air show

There's an air show tomorrow that I was looking forward to, but I've decided not to go. I don't really feel like standing in the hot sun sweating like a pig while I have a bunch of staples in my head.

I went to the air show last year and took a bunch of pictures. I think I shot three or four rolls of film. And I still haven't gotten it developed. It's still sitting on my desk collecting dust.

Good news, finally

I found today that I don't have to work tomorrow. And I also found out that I don't have to start third shift next week. So I can finally get a little rest.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Where's the exit?

I found out I have to work Saturday. Naturally, I really had other plans. Anything will do. The air show, shopping, haircut, etc. I'm open. I think I'd rather scrub the mildew off my shower than go to work. And we have to work from 6:00 AM until 2:30 PM, which means that I have to get up at 4:30 AM. The usual time is 7:30 AM until 4:00 PM, which is still interminable, but at least it's normal.

Next week I may start on third shift. I'm not looking forward to this either.

My stapled head isn't hurting that much, but it's annoying having something fragile on me I have to constantly watch out for. I keep worrying I'll tense the muscles of my scalp suddenly and the staples will start popping out. (Incidently, trying to take a picture of the staples in my head is ridiculously difficult. I had to shoot close 35 pictures today just to get a couple of decent shots. Yes, I could've gotten someone else to do it, but there's no challenge in that.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I was having a fairly miserable day at work this morning. For some reason I was more leaden and bummed out than usual, and the idea of having to slog through the whole day doing something I hated in a dirty, hot warehouse was almost unendurable. Then around eleven o'clock my day got worse.

The entire facility has conveyors going in every direction. Some ten or more feet in the air. I went to cross over from one side of a conveyor to the other and whacked my head on some big piece of metal underneath it. The next thing I knew I was on my knees. There was blood on my left hand after I pulled it away from my head. So I went to tell one of my supervisors I'd just about cracked my skull open.

Head wounds bleed a lot and mine was no different. Soon I had blood running down the side of my head. "Looks like you'll need a stitch or two," my supervisor said as she held a wad of paper towels to my head.

I ended up with not a stitch or two, but eleven staples. Yes, staples.

I also had to get a tetanus shot and take a drug test to make sure I wasn't wacky on the junk. Fun.

You'd think getting a eleven staples on your head would be good at least for getting the rest of the day off, but you'd be wrong. I had to work the last two hours. Later someone told me that if you get hurt you tell the bosses that you don't feel good and that you're going home. "They won't offer you anything," she said, "you have to take it." Ah, it's a lovely place to work.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

No change of address (yet)

I've had this blog since November 2002, which is ancient in the blogging world. Ever since the beginning I've thought of moving it someplace else, probably to my own server space and using something like Movable Type or WordPress. Since last year I've tried installing and fiddling with various blogging platforms on some server space I have. I've also tried who knows how many free blogging services over the past few years and haven't really liked very many of them. And why would I move from a stable outfit Blogger to use some off brand blogging service that will disappear in the middle of the night?

Sunday I decided to try out TypePad, which I guessed would be a good compromise between doing it myself with Movable Type, WordPress, etc. and letting someone else have the headache of dealing with the database problems and other crap the way I do with Blogger.

For some reason I thought TypePad would blow me away with all of its features. And there are lots of features. For almost fifty bucks a year I thought it would be better than a free Blogger account. But from what I can tell you can't even get yer grubby mits on your own HTML unless you get the "pro" account, which costs nearly $150 a year. And the templates available are fairly dull. So you'll be stuck with a bland looking blog unless you spend more money. Feh. All the other features don't seem so cool if you're stuck with a dirt dull varient of the old default Movable Type template.

Long story short (or at least a little shorter), I'm sure TypePad's fine for most situations, but I'm just not that impressed by it and I'm canceling the account before my credit card's $50 lighter. So for a little while longer at least, I'm sticking with Blogger.

Fascinating, no? No.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Working for the weekend

I spend pretty much the whole week waiting for the weekend so I can get a day or two (depending on whether or not we have to work on Saturday) where I don't have to force myself out of bed at 6AM to face another miserable workday. And then on the weekend I don't do anything at all really except vegetate. Fortunately, I got to do something a bit more different than usual yesterday.

Cindy and I went walking down by the river where we saw geese (and few little goslings). Then we walked into the little tunnel where the road goes under the railroad tracks. (Sometimes big trucks ignore the height limit and get their rigs trapped.) Inside we examined the pitiful state of local graffiti. (Cindy has a better shot of the graffiti at her blog. [And, yes, I know I need to get a better digital camera.])

Later we ended up back at her place for pie. (I like pie.) And I must say that spending a while sitting with Cindy on her couch eating pie and watching TV was far more enjoyable than what I'd ordinarily be doing which would something lame like sitting at my computer comparing webhosting companies like a big dork.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Further embarrassment

The state of my book collection is almost as bad as the state of my CD storage options. I ran out of shelf space a while back and now the overflow ends up in strategically placed piles in the floor. But yet I still keep buying books.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

My secret shame

Today's subject: the sorry state of my CD storage choices. Instead of having a spiffy CD tower or some other fancy holder that gives the user convenient access to whatever music in his/her collection, I've opted for what amounts to a junk pile.

I started with a nice wooden box I got out of a big garbage bin at a snooty rich girls school (long irrelevant story, sorry). It's perfect for CD's. The problem is I only have one of these boxes and five times the CD's that will fit into it. I do have a couple of those cheap CD holders with the drawers that I got at thrift stores over the years, but I hate them because I can't see what's in them unless I open the damn drawers. I tend to put stuff I don't play that often into these.

Anyway, back to the wooden box. Instead of procuring another wooden box of similar size, I just got a raggedy-ass cardboard box and piled in a few CD's. The collection grew and I just kept the cardboard box. It began to sag and I put a strip of duct tape around it to keep it from suddenly exploding. Later I put a piece of twine around it to further shore it up. The sagging continued. I should also add that the sagging monstrosity is fairly heavy and somewhat unstable. I have to physically pick it up and move it to get at two-thirds of the CD's in the wooden box beneath it. Eventually I added a board for the cardboard box to rest on to squeeze a little more life out of it. There's no more room in the cardboard box, but I keep buying CD's.

On top of the cardboard box I have an ancient 5 1/4 inch floppy disk box that I keep CD software in. That blocks my view of what's in at least half of the cardboard box. And I should also mention that the floppy disk box is jam-packed to the limit as well. I see no easy solution. Soon there will just be a big pile of disks there and no boxes in sight.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


It's so hot. So damn hot I can't concentrate. Actually, it's the humidity that's making it so maddeningly miserable here of late. I should be used to high heat and humidity by now after living my whole life in the south, but I'm not. And this year we didn't even get to properly ease into the miserable heat and humidity. It was cooler than normal last week and much of the time prior to that. Then suddenly, whoosh, jungle-like heat and humidity. It's almost as if Mother Nature was sitting around watching TV when she suddenly glanced up at a calendar and said, "Oh, hell! It's June already!" Then she jumps up and starts screwing with the weather controls to quickly get things back to normal. Meanwhile, on Earth, we get launched from April straight into July.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


My sister sent me this stupid photo yesterday. (Not quite safe for work.)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bring out your dead

At my crummy job I have to deal with pallets all day long. If you don't know, and you probably don't, pallets are typically 48 inch by 48 inch square wooden platforms that are used for shipping things. If you work in a place like I do (and for your sake I hope you don't), you get to see many, many pallets up close every workday.

I've always been fascinated by the origins of the various pallets I come into contact with. (I need something to pass the time. It's sort of like stamp collecting or train-spotting, I suppose.) Many have the names of various companies on their sides. I see all kinds of things: Chiquita Guatemala, Return to Eastman Kodak, U.S. Mail, stuff in Chinese, and once I saw one made of Russian wood.

Today I saw perhaps the Holy Grail of pallets. Or maybe just the oddest pallet slogan I've ever come across: Treated for Plague. Yes, plague. As in bubonic. I guess having it treated for plague is better than getting pallets that are contaminated with plague. That would suck. In all my years of doing crappy, low-paying work in warehouses where I dealt with pallets, not once did it ever enter my mind that I could come into contact with plague.

And before some sad sack leaves a comment saying something like, "There's plague in New Mexico and it's a serious health hazard!" I know there's plague in some Western U.S. areas. This pallet probably came from someplace where plague's more widespread. Possibly India.

I wish they'd let me have a digital camera at work. Seeing interesting stuff I can't take a picture of is really annoying. It's kind of like shaking bigfoot's hand and not having any proof. Well, not really, but you know what I mean.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


This quasi-abstract image is a blown up scan of a skid mark on an envelope. I guess the mark was made by a rubber roller in some kind of mail-sorting contraption. The smudge looks a little like the African continent and the bit at the top looks kind of like the Sphinx.

That's all I have today. Sorry.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Different than usual

Last night Cindy and I went to dinner and a movie. Dinner was fine (great hamburgers), except for that one horrifying moment where I came within a hair of knocking my Coke over into her lap. I'm still vaguely freaked out by just how close it was, but the gods of dining (for once) smiled upon me and let the glass stand upright after I accidently hit while flailing my hands like a spazz. Note to self: stop gesticulating so damn much.

The movie, the remake of the Amityville Horror, pretty much sucked. Thankfully we were in the cheapo theater that only charges $3.50 a ticket. I'd seen the original movie a long time ago, but I didn't remember anything much about it. I think spent much of the movie wondering why they chose the goofy guy from Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place to play a man being driven murderously insane by the evil house. I thought Cindy had gone to sleep at one point (she denied it) and wondered if I catch a nap myself since I hadn't had one in a few days. I decided against attempting a nap because god only knew what would happen while I was asleep. I'd hate to wake up on the floor with old popcorn stuck to my face.

I hadn't been in a movie theater since 2000 and had vowed never to go to one again. Ever-shrinking screens, people talking, and big guys trying to sit on me had soured me on the whole movie-going experience. Thankfully no big galoots tried to sit on me last night, which was a nice change of pace. There wasn't even that much talking. I did notice a big smeared stain on the screen that was kind of annoying, and the theater itself was, I swear, only slightly larger than my living room. (In the very near future people going to the movies will be in tiny rooms with a TV set.) And why are movies so damn loud?

All in all it was a nice evening despite the crummy movie. I really should get out more.


I dug up some interesting Amityville links because I wanted to find out some more about the case:

The Real Amityville Horror: The Tragic Murder of the Ronald DeFeo Family

Amityville: Horror or Hoax?

The Amityville Horror Website: Hosted by George Lutz

The Amityville Horror Truth Website