Man, Those Haveto Indians Could Take Some Aiming Practice From Imperial Stormtroopers

My New Year’s Evening Plans? Watching Raiders of the Lost Ark with Geisha, Natty Boh, and various non-diet-friendly foods. Geisha had a brilliant observation as Indy makes his escape in the seaplane: “Look, look! It’s a snake on the plane!”

If George Lucas decides to do a Special Special Edition of this film in the future — and by the way, renaming the film Indiana Jones & The Raiders of the Lost Ark? BLAH! — he should dub Indy’s line to change from, “I HATE SNAKES!” to “I hate motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking seaplane!”

My “Snakes on a Plane” fever has been refueled, and guess what comes out on DVD Tuesday?

Happy New Year!

A Resolution And, Y’Know, All That Jazz

It’s that time of the year — that time exactly — to think about making New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve actually been giving this some forethought, but first, I want to talk about last year’s resolutions. Last year, I made four resolutions (the fourth one I actually made a little late):

1. I resolved to lose weight.
2. I resolved to find a job.
3. I resolved to keep my apartment clean.
4. I resolved to finish my college degree.

So, how have I done on all of these? (Need you ask?)

1. I lost thirty pounds. And then I went off my diet and gained it all back. I’m right where I was last year (to the fucking pound). Fudge.

2. Nope. No luck. Had a few interviews, prospect’s will be better once I’ve finished this degree.

3. Hah-hah-hah! As if.

4. Well, I’m almost there. I’ve got one semester (of two needed) behind me, and I should be finishing my degree in the spring. I’ve got minimester beginning on Tuesday, and as soon as that’s over, the regular semester kicks up. I’m going to be a studyin’ fool.

My resolutions for this coming year?

1. I resolve to lose weight. Yep, after tonight, I’m going back on my diet. Rice cakes, PBJ sandwiches, and water in my future.

2. I resolve to find a job. C’mon, degree!

3. I resolve to keep my apartment clean. Okay, so this one might be a little questionable. Bah, I figure I should have at least one resolution to not keep so at this time next year I can say, “Oh, yeah, I only accomplished 75% of my New Year’s Resolutions!”

4. I will finish my college degree (which will make resolution #2 a lot easier).

And as I finish writing this, I’ve got to go get ready for work. I’m scheduled all day, and with Zebulon as closing manager. I’m hoping to be out around 9pm at the latest — last year was dead slow for New Year’s, but I’m hoping to make some money. Factors in my favor? The delayed football game tonight. Here’s hoping its killer busy! (Snay’s broke).

Bah HOORAY, Comcast!!!!!!

UPDATE:

Boy, forget this title! A virtual army of Comcast technicians descended on my building today. I don’t quite know the full details of what went wrong, but the cable-box apparently had to be completely unplugged and then replugged, and the direct line running into the building had to be replaced. They’re outside now burying the new one as I write this. Apparently, the entire building has had no cable service since early yesterday morning (like, 6am-ish), but I was the first person to call in — at 10:45pm Saturday! — so while other neighbors bitched and griped, I got fixed first.

The best part? The techs who walked into my apartment, saw Hogwarts, and gasped and then offered me many compliments. Yay, Comcast!

***

I had sporadic internet access Friday night (my early morning post was written Friday night and time-delay posted right before the internet went back out), which was frustrating (I’m so addicted to the internet). Saturday, my entire Comcast service went to shit — no internet, no television. I saw a Comcast pickup truck in the parking lot of my building, and the cable box on the side of the building had been opened and wires were everywhere, so I figured, “It’ll be working when I get home from work tonight.” I went to work at 11am, and got off at 10:30pm. Got home, nothing working. Something else I noticed? The Comcast pickup was still in the parking lot — he wasn’t here doing service, he lives here.

Whoop.

Went around to the side of the building, sure enough, the cable box was still open and wires were everywhere. Some new neighbor trying to get free internet? I’m betting on it.

Anyway, Comcast is supposed to be making an early morning visit tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have service restored, because I am indeed an internet addict, and being unable to check my e-mail multiple times a day is very frustrating.

Big thanks to my friend American Geisha, who when I called at 11pm, said “Sure!” when I asked, “Geisha, I’ve got no internet and I need a fix. Can I come over and use your computer?” She’s a good friend.

If I don’t have internet access again tomorrow or Monday, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Those Pesky Two Southbound I-83 Exits Off Shawan

Usually when I see someone act stupidly on Shawan Road, they’re in the left-lane southbound exit for I-83, and they swerve across three lanes of traffic to get to the right-lane southbound exit on I-83. Yep, Shawan is one of those oddities: it has two exits for southbound I-83 (and one for northbound, of course).

So, yesterday afternoon, I’m enroute out to Falls Road, when someone idiot in the left-hand lane (which becomes an exit to southbound 83) swerves across traffic to get to the right-hand exit for the same direction on I-83. I think people usually do this because they don’t realize they’re already in the turn lane, but this was the first time someone swerves out of one exit lane into another, then swerves BACK into the lane they’d previously been in.

Wow. I wish I drove something bigger so I didn’t have to break and swerve to get away from them. Fucker.

I Am a Lightweight

When it comes to drinking beers.

And I want to change that. Or at least, build up my resistance a bit more. To that end, I’m going to be drinking two or three Natty Boh’s a night for the forseeable future.

I’m on my first can and, frankly, I feel fucking buzzed.

(I’m gonna finish this one off and go to bed).

The 411 Trick, And The People Dumb Enough To Fall For It

Phones ringing off the hook, pizzas falling off the oven, and some random phone-answering tard brain is trying to help a customer on the phone located the number for a store near Route One. While everyone else stops to find phone-lists and narrow down the search parameter, I tell phone-tard to tell the customer the number for the nearest corporate store, “…but give the area code as 411.” Phone-tard looks at my blankly, and I sigh and go back to work. If you’ve gotta explain it …

Later, Greg told me a similar story. Taking down pager numbers years ago he recorded one of his driver’s pager numbers as area-code 911. He said he didn’t but I think he did it deliberately. One night, a manager needed to get ahold of that driver and dialed the pager number, apparently telling the emergency operator who demanded to know what the emergency was, “I’m sorry, apparently I’m a fucking moron,” and hung up.

I don’t know whether or not to be offended

Julie wrote me, “I came across this today and I thought of you:”

dick_lego

So, either I’m Dick Cheney, or I like shooting people, or I like possessing the body of a Lego minifig to shoot other Lego minifigs? I’m confused.

Speaking of neat things people named Julie have e-mailed me, she sent me to this guy’s site, and to the story of Luke’s employment challenged cousin Kenny.

To Make Sure He Doesn’t Get Shot Down

My first night at the Franchise, last night, since the previous Thursday night was great. Okay, some idiot drove him or herself into a ditch and fouled up what traffic there was on Paper Mill Road, and I probably lost a run from that (taking so long to get where I had to be and all), but it was an enjoyable night — steady business, lots of Zebulon bashing, good tips, and even though I get yelled at by a Marine (new coworker) over trivia (I said Ford was the only President never elected to either office, he said Washington wasn’t elected, but Wikipedia backs me up), but that’s okay because the Marine only speaks in yelling. He’s a good dude.

Anyway, towards the end of the night, I’m doing dishes and the Marine is sweeping. We’re talking about something, first person shooter games, I think, I’m trying to describe Counter-Strike to him.

Greg shouted from upfront, sort of completely randomly, “My cousin [he’s in the Air Force] says we [the Air Force, I presume] escorted Santa through Iraqi airspace!”

The Marine rolled his eyes. I leaned forward and shouted to the front of the store: “Greg, breaking news: there is no Santa Clause!”

Greg’s reply: “Noooooo!”

We all cracked up.

You kinda had to be there.

Hellmouth, Thy Name is Columbia Maryland

I lived in Columbia, Maryland (with my parents) for about seven to eight years, from the age of twelveish to damn-near twenty-oneish (okay, nine years). I moved to Towson only a few years after the death of James Rouse, but when I return to visit my parents, I hardly recognize the area anymore.

Columbia was founded with the intent of being a balance between constructed areas and green-space, as I understand it (although I may have bought into the “myth” too much). Zoning areas were interspaced to put poor, middle-class, and wealthy residents among each other without grouping by income or social status. Divided into “villages”, each had a community shopping area, often beautifully planned with central shopping and parking areas surrounding. There were very few places in Columbia that couldn’t be accessed by a bicycle — not only did Columbia have an extensive network of bike paths and parks, but there were also bike path maps you could get!

Now, the field behind the downtown library has been taken over by condos; I’ve only been to Columbia Mall once since it got remodeled and larger and all I can say is, “Wow, I bet parking sucks so much worse.” I joke that in Columbia, any green is unsafe from being paved over, even the grass on median strips. “What? You can fit a narrow home there …”

Enroute to my parents’ place near the Columbia Mall on Christmas Day, I decided to take the long way: I drove south on Rt. 29 south of Columbia with the intention of turning onto Johns Hopkins Road (I think it’s Johns Hopkins Road, anyway), heading past the JHAPL, and coming into Columbia on Pindell School Road. It’s been years since I’ve been on those roads, and my what a change. When I first started delivering pizzas, in Columbia, JHR was a tiny bumpkin road that intersected Rt. 29 at a traffic light. Now there’s a full interchange, and it’s four lanes wide. There were housing developments that had been forest, and huge monsterous houses with narrow alleys of grass between them. Pindell no longer connects directly to Ceder Lane, and it’s impossible to escape the conclusion that Columbia is no longer trying to maintain the vision of James Rouse, rather, it has become a place to pack as many people and as many stores as possible into a small a space as possible. It’s very sad, and a lesson in why “city planning” has to take into consideration, y’know, quality of life, which means more than “Oh, there are nine new box stores half a mile down the street!”

Columbia. It was a nice place to live. Now its a big concrete slab.

Why Don’t I Believe This?

It’s been reported on various news outlets that Saddam wrote a letter urging Iraqis to distinguish between the governments of country and their citizens (woah, this Natty is hitting me hard).

Saddam Hussein called on Iraqis not to hate the U.S.-led forces that invaded Iraq in 2003 in a farewell letter posted on a website Wednesday, a day after an appeals court upheld the former dictator’s death sentence and ordered him to be hanged within one month.

One of Saddam’s lawyers, Issam Ghazzawi, confirmed to The Associated Press in Jordan that the letter was authentic, saying it was written by Saddam on Nov. 5, the day he was convicted by an Iraqi tribunal for ordering the killings of scores of Shiite Muslims in the city of Dujail in 1982.

“I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking,” the letter said.

Ghazzawi said the letter was released on Tuesday and published on Saddam’s former Baath party’s website on Wednesday.

The deposed leader said he was writing the letter because his lawyers had told him the Iraqi High Tribunal which tried his case would give him an opportunity to say a final word.

Okay, first? Natty Boh, not what to be drinking when composing a serious post. On to the post … back to the post?

Part of me says, “This is nice of him.”

Part of me says, “Pft. He’s trying to save his neck.”

I think “saving his neck” wins out on this one.

“From where I’m standing Angelina’s boobs are on par with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand” – [EGBT] Rasalom

I’d been trying to describe to my new coworker, the Marine, my favorite first person shooter of all time: the HalfLife mod Counter-Strike. This touched off some memories, fond ones, if you can believe, of a game that is for me the game all others of its kind will be judged against.

Counter-Strike was a modern-day set first person “shooter”, except the objective of the game wasn’t to kill your opponents. I mean, don’t get me wrong, killing your opponents while achieving the round goals was permitted, it was theoretically possible for no one to die at the end of the round and have one team win. It was this style of play, which forced player cooperation over kill-whoring, which made the game great for me. What made the game memorable was the clan I began playing with, [EGBT] was their tag, Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow the server, and the rules were simply put and violently enforced by the all-seeing and all-powerful server admins: Pursue the Objective!

Camping was strongly discouraged (unless, say, you were a terrorist on a CS map guarding your hostages), and gameplay was mercilessly short and violently bloodly. Ten seconds into a map, with the Terrorist team racing towards bomb-site B and the Counter-Terrorists rushing from the opposite direction, a hail of grenades from both teams and a flury of gunfire would leave the majority of both teams slaughtered, with the few who remained aware that a moment’s hesitation in finding the bomb or rescuing the hostages could be met with an admin_kick command, forcing a player from the almost-always packed server.

[EGBT] wasn’t a clan concerned with stats. What didn’t matter was your kill to death ratio: if it had, I would never have worn the tag. As a gameplayer, I was frequently deceased in the opening seconds of combat. There was no limit on the number of members we could have — probably at least a hundred people wore the tag, and in the Counter-Strike community there was sort of the unspoken recognition that those who wore it were aggressive as hell, possibly to the point of being short some brain cells. We even had forums (down now, but they were at egbt.us).

Sure, I had my moments of glory, such as one game on CS_Estate, where I bum-rushed the CTs and took out four of ‘em with my pump-action shotgun. Or on DE_Train, where as the only surviving member of my team, outnumbered five to one, and armed only with thirty-rounds in my MP5, I eliminated all terrorists and won the game. Mostly, however, I just played aggressively, guarding the bomb to the last as the timer ticked towards detonation, and, as the sole surviving counter-terrorists on CS_Office, charging my opponents in a hopeless attempt to win the round (there, I failed). More than once, [EGBT] Mikuru and I would rush the sloping-alley on DE_Inferno with our Para Machine Guns, blasting into the oncoming terrorists as the rest of our team took advantage of our sacrifice to take-up excellent defensive positions and shred those we didn’t get. I keenly remember a game on that same map, on that same alley, where [EGBT] Sue Aside warned everyone that friendly fire was on, and we should watch our fire. A second later, she dropped her grenade and killed not only herself but two others on our team (and both [EGBT] members). The surviving members of our team were so overcome by laughter the T’s cut us to shreds.

I last played Counter-Strike shortly before launching this blog. By that time, the [EGBT] server had been overcome by technical issues, and newer games were taking many people’s interest away from Counter-Strike. I can never escape Counter-Strike, nor do I think would I want to. Tron, who is the technical genius who built this blog for me (first on Moveable Type, then making the move to Word Press), and a blogger too, met me first on the battle zones of Counter-Strike, where he played as [EGBT] Harpoon. We met for the first time in person earlier this year. I remain in contact with [EGBT] Mikuru, who I would make suicide runs with. [EGBT] Lucifex, who I first met when I tried para-sniping a couple of Ts and wound up team-killing him (an offense for which he admin_slayed me, thinking I reckless, as I’d accidently wounded another teammate earlier the same round) is another clan member I remain in contact with.

It’s been years since I’ve played any first person shooter online. But when I have — Battlefield 1942 and Vietnam — I’ve played with the [EGBT] tag. Aggressive. Relentless. Team player. Maybe not the best shot, but dammit, I can ask, “WHO THE FUCK THREW THAT FLASH?!” with the best of ‘em.

(I found this, a list of quotes from [EGBT] members compiled by C Sitter. Was that [EGBT] Centurius? I don’t remember … no, had to be one of the twins … Chad? Who was he again? [EGBT] Damage Case?)

UPDATE:

Man, this looks strange yet good: [EGBT] Malnurtured Snay. I gotta get back into FPS. Does Counter-Strike still exist? Do people still play?

Now, If Only I Knew How To Play Chess… (a loot report)

My parents know me so well, except, of course, a RISK LEGO set (which doesn’t exist) would’ve been awesome. As for Lego Chess? Well, now I’ve got to learn how to play Chess!

lego chess

I also got a vaccum cleaner, but took care to read consumer reviews about it before unpacking it. Judging by those reviews, I returned the cleaner this morning and used it towards a Dyson (it’s purple, and has lots of tools, and I’m looking forward to vaccuming my apartment later). Yes, I’m eating my words.

The rest of the gifts range from the useful to the ecclectic (an orange has been staple stocking stuffer since I was a kid). Three stones, Japanese obos; sketch pad and sketch pens; gift cards and cash; a book on responsible financial management; toothpaste, soap, and a box of Mr. Clean’s “Magic Eraser.”

gifts

(Speaking of RISK, I recently learned that Star Wars Original Trilogy RISK has been released, as has JUNIOR RISK: NARNIA. Unfortunatly, I was unable to find either today at Target).