Octovember Happy Hour: Details

What:The October/November AKA Octovember Blogger Happy Hour.
When: Friday, 2 NOV
Where: Holy Frijoles, 908 W. 36th St., Hampden
With: Your Hosts, Danielle & Charissa
And Featuring Special Guest Star: STANDING CHEESE
Who: Baltimore Bloggers. Any Bloggers. Blog Readers. People Known By Acronyms on Other People’s Blogs. Me and You and Everyone We Know.
Why: (why not?)

The first Baltimore Blogger Happy Hour I went to was in March of 2005 at Remington’s Dizzy Issies. That’s a great, albeit tiny, bar, and it was jam packed with bloggers. Everyone I knew, I only knew because I read their blogs. I’m glad I went, many of those bloggers are now close friends (even the ones who’ve completely disappeared into … wherever). Sure, it’s a little strange meeting a bunch of strangers from the internetz, but look at it this way: does it get any safer than meeting in a public area with a whole bunch of people? Not really. So, come out. Have a beer. Introduce yourself. We don’t bite.

(Well, most of us don’t, anyway).

(Really, I can only speak for myself. I don’t bite.)

(…unless you’re a cheeseburger. In that case, you’re fucked.)

Twenty Years of Boldly Going Where No Man One Has Gone Before …


The week of September 28th, 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered on syndicated television. It was the show that resurrected the Star Trek franchise, spawned several spin-offs, and inspired future science-fiction programming. It’s been twenty years, and, damn, I feel old (doesn’t help I’ve got less than a year until I turn thirty).

A Vintage 1987 Promo

(Here’s another one…, and here’s a Star Trek/Cheerios promotion…)

The Original TNG Intro:
(Space … The Final Frontier…)

The Complete Episode Guide:

(This one’s really great, gotta watch it … over and over again …)

1. Remember that the Enterprise could do a saucer separation? They did it three times over the course of the series — it was one of those ideas they should’ve thought about more before writing it in, I guess – or used it more consistently (like, y’know, whenever they went charging across the Romulan neutral zone to prevent a war and got themselves ambushed by the Romulans? Yeah, that might be a good time to leave the children behind in the saucer section … just sayin’!)

2. Remember that the Ferengi — the oversized-eared, sex- and money- obsessed vermin — were supposed to be the “big alien threat” of the 24th Century? Instead, they became the biggest joke and got used most often as comic foils.

3. Remember that the Enterprise’s first security chief was a babe? I wonder, sometimes, how the show might’ve been different if Denise Crosby hadn’t decided to leave for what were clearly not greener pastures.

To celebrate, here are some The Next Generation themed posts of mine:

The Top Ten … erm, Twenty ST:TNG Episodes
What Were They Thinking? The Worst Ten ST:TNG Episodes
A Tribute to the Late Andreas Katsulas (recurring Admiral Tomalak)
I Am Locutus … of Lego.


I’d like to say “look how young they all look!” but Patrick Stewart looks exactly the same.

It would be wrong to close out this post without any mention of Gene Roddenberry, Trek’s “Great Bird of the Galaxy”, who died in October of 1991 while TNG’s 5th season was underway. Gene, this one’s for you.


Trivia Note: I wrote this post January 17th, 2007, and time-delayed it. Yep. I’m thinking ahead to the tune of I’ve been looking at this in my “Future Posts” for two hundred and fifty-three days!

Expedition Yachting

I’ve always loved the ocean. Still, I don’t think I’ve been out on the ocean … ever. Closest I came was on a friend’s grandfather’s speedboat on the Chesapeake Bay. I remember we went past a U.S. destroyer (or maybe it was a freighter).

Still … so, recently, I came across an advertisement for a boat show in Annapolis in a few weeks. I don’t know if I’m going to go, but I started googling boat manufacturers. Completely just for shits-n-giggles: I can’t afford a boat, and I certainly can’t afford the boat I’d like: something big with a couple of bunks, a head, a galley, and a flybridge.

If I ever win the lottery, though, I’ll buy one. I won’t do any fishing, I’ll keep it at a marina down in Ocean City somewhere and take it out every now and then — head out sixty, seventy miles, and just hang out above the drop-off of the continental shelf with a cooler full of beer and a shelf full of books and relax.

That was the original plan, anyway. Then, last night at the Indy, I remembered that James’ dad owned a boat, so we started talking about boats. Lo’ and behold, James had a copy of a boating magazine in his jeep, so we started flipping through that and talking about the kinds of boats we’d like to buy. Meanwhile, my imagination went straight from neutral into fifth gear.

What if I could buy a yacht? Nothing super huge: like a 68′ with a flybridge or something. Then, what if I could get a group of my friends together who had nothing better to do over their spring and summer but cruise up and down North America’s East Coast? Er, and then go east across the Atlantic? And then cruise up and down Europe’s west coast? Then into the Med? I mean, with five or six of us, someone could always be at the conn (make sure everyone takes a boating safety course and no one brings any drugs aboard), and while, sure, it’d probably take a week or two to get across the ocean, I wouldn’t want to be one of those pansies who buy yachts and then have them shipped across the ocean (what’s the fun in that?)

It was pretty slow last night, so I even drew up a schedule, on the back of a menu: leave from Ocean City for a two-day layover in New York. From there to Boston, then Newfoundland. From Newfoundland, east to Greenland for a brief layover (just long enough for food, fuel, and leg-stretching), then out for Reykjavik. From there to a week stay in Scotland, then east into the Baltic Sea and Norway, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands. Follow the English Channel for stops in France and England (I’d love to cruise the Thames and the Seine, even if I would have to get the boat’s hull scraped clean after) then Spain, Portugal, Spain again, and a cruise through the Med, with stops in Sicily, Italy, Greece, and maybe some North African countries (how could you be in that area and not stop in Casablanca?).

I’ve been looking at my globe trying to see if it would be possible to head from North Africa directly for the Caribbean. I think that would probably depend on the ship’s fuel capacity. One option might be to head out for the Canary Islands, then south for Cape Verde, then try to make it to one of those ports on Brazil’s eastern extremity (of course, this again would depend on fuel capacity, etcetra). If this would be possible, we could then sail north into the Caribbean, stopping in South American coastal cities as necessary, then making a fun cruise through the Caribbean (wide circle around the Bermuda Triangle, of course) and into the Gulf of Mexico.

Of course — instead of going from Africa to Cape Verde, if we were really adventurous, we could follow the African coastline south, around the Cape of Good Hope, then up the Dark Continent’s Indian Ocean coast, skipping the pirate-laden coast of Somalia for a straight shot for India, followed by a cruise of the Bay of Bengal, stops in Myanmar and Thailand, then through the Java Sea and around the Greater Sunda Islands for an Australian layover/visit. Cruise the northern and eastern coast of Australia with numerous stops, then break east for New Zealand, followed by a northern course change for the Solomon Islands, through the Federated States of Micronesia, into the Philippines bound for stops in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan. From there, hug the island skirt off Asia’s eastern coast, hang east of Kamchatka (which any fan of RISK should be familiar with), then follow the Aleutian Islands back to the United States, and follow North America’s Pacific Coast south, into Central America, through the Panama Canal, and to the Gulf of Mexico via a looping course into the Caribbean. From the Gulf of Mexico, along the coasts of the Southern United States, around Florida, up the east coast again — detour out to Bermuda (off the coast of the Carolinas, didjaknow?) — and finish up with a stop at Annapolis’ City Dock (aka ‘Ego Alley.’)

This presumes several things.

1. That I become rich and can afford not only an expensive yacht but also enough money to pay for fuel, food, marina stops, maintenance, etcetra.

2. That I have friends.

3. That my friends could afford to leave their lives behind for six months, because, really, that’d probably be how long the journey’d last. Start in April, end in Octoberish?

Well. It’s a dream, anyway. Time to start playing the lotto.

(I’d probably want to hire a captain/know-it-all-maintenance guy, too).

Blue Harvest

When George Lucas was going around scouting locations for “Return of the Jedi”, he realized costs were skyrocketing because those tasked with collecting money for filming permission were doubling their asking price, as they no doubt realized that Twentieth Century Fox could afford the cash for the third Star Wars film. So Lucas renamed the movie (er, sort of) “Blue Harvest”, and got the fast one on those collecting the cash.

So, anyway, last night “Family Guy” aired a double-length episode titled “Blue Harvest.” Hah-hah. It’s a spoof of “Star Wars”, and very funny. Personally, I don’t care for “Family Guy.” If I’ve sat through an episode before, it’s only because my remote’s batteries died and I was too lazy to get out of my seat and swap out the DVD player’s remote’s batteries.

In any case, it seems a sequel is on the way!

Anyway, if you missed it, it’s all on YouTube, collected for you for your entertainment pleasuring:

rob castle dr

Ogre’s had trouble pronouncing Robcaste, but at least he spells it right. Or, anyway, I think he does (never have I bothered to check). In any case, that’s more than The Baltimore Sun can do:

Burglary // A camera, tools and an all-terrain vehicle were stolen Friday from a house in the 14200 block of Rob Castle Road by someone who entered through a window.

Considering that Robcaste is right up and over from the 14500 block of Jarrettsville Pike (see page one of the blotter, above link), and similar shit was stolen, I’m assuming that was a butchering of Robcaste. Of course, there could, I suppose, be a Rob Castle Road somewhere …

Ten Years Later, And We’re All Still In Fucking High School

I liked high school okay, I guess. I could’ve applied myself a bit more, done something more, participated more, but really, those are lessons that I think sort of apply to my entire life. Instead, I spent a lot of time half-listening to teachers (almost wrote ‘professors’) while doodling in my texts and notebooks.

I don’t care to reflect where I fit in among the heirarchy of geeks, dweebs, jocks, band kids, rockers, druggies, preppies and assorted other sub-classes of status that define high school. I like to think I got along okay with the fringes of every group, but I could just be completely wrong and everyone scrolling through my yearbook who comes across my photo thinks “Who the fuck is this guy?” (Okay, that’s at least not entirely true — Hot Blonde Bartender remembered me eight years after we last set eyes on each other).

So flash forward ten years. Of the “circle of friends” that I was close with, I’m in contact with only one, and him, only through the occasional MySpace bulletin. There is a rather large online presence of my high school graduating class on MySpace. I know, right?

So, it’s been ten years, and we all know what that means: Reunion time. I’m not very good about checking the school’s “group board” on MySpace, which means that it wasn’t until a classmate messaged me the other day, I didn’t even realize the reunion had been scheduled (which, apparently, it was: last January): “hey are you going to the reunion? you should check out the atholton page here on myspace and read the message boards. Doug Stoub posted some crazy shiznits up there.”

Indeed he did. MC Doug E D, as we called him in high school, and as he is apparently earning a comfortable living in Philly as some sort of DJ, took offense that our reunion be held in Baltimore City as opposed to Columbia. It’s at some place called the Red Maple Lounge, which from the name alone, sounds like a place just fake enough to serve for all of us from Columbia (the fake city). Personally, I could care less where the reunion is held — our prom, as I recall, was in the warehouse overlooking Camden Yards — I don’t plan on going.

I mean, for one thing, I’m working that night (it’ll be my first night back after vacation). For another thing, if there’s anyone from my high school class who actually wants to see me, I think I’m fairly easy to track down (‘specially if they’ve got MySpace), and always open to a drink or two at Dizzy Issie’s (or, God forbid, the far closer Padonia Station).

Meanwhile, it’s great to know that ten years after walking across the stage at Merriweather Post Pavillion, a bunch of us really are still high schoolers at heart. (And, as fate would have it, I’m having just as much sex now as I was back then*).

*Nada. nada. NADA. Zero. None. Totally dry. Zoolahaaa.

I can’t believe I gave Geisha shit for the complex she moved into.

One of my coworkers got a shotgun pointed at him last night over a wrongly-buzzed apartment and a tenant who was really upset over having his dinner interupted. The kicker? It happened not only in my apartment complex, but on the street I live. Couple this with the armed robbery of a Domino’s driver here a couple of months ago, and I’m thinking it’s time for me to move to bumfuck-wherever. I was going to watch a movie while doing some laundry tonight and into the AM, but I think I’d rather head over to Craigslist.Baltimore.jobs and send out some cover letters.

In one hundred and eighty-one hours, I’ll be leaving for West Virginia. Sorta wishing I’d picked this week to go.

my archnemesis Tacgnol

Your Score: Longcat

52% Affectionate, 42% Excitable, 31% Hungry

Protector of truth.

Slayer of darkness.


Longcat may seem like just a regular lengthy cat, but he is, in fact, looong. For proof, observe the longpic.

It is prophesized that Longcat and his archnemesis Tacgnol will battle for supremacy on Caturday. The outcome will change the face of the world, and indeed the very fabric of lolcatdom, forever.

Be grateful that the test has chosen you, and only you, to have this title.

To see all possible results, checka dis.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

“Best of…”

Deserved props to Baltimore Crime for it’s not-the-first-time receipt of City Paper’s “Best of Baltimore” blog for 2007, but also, a surprise while browsing through the awards — my advisor at Towson University, and favorite creative writing professor, Jack Carneal, featured in an article in the A&E section: “WHO IS THE WORLD?”

During the school year, Carneal, 40, is a lecturer in the English department at Towson University. Local musicians and fans might recognize him as the longtime drummer behind erstwhile City Paper contributor Ned Oldham in the Anomoanon. Most recently, though, Carneal is being praised and put in the cross hairs for his Yaala Yaala imprint, a Drag City-distributed label through which he is releasing music he recorded and procured during a year spent living in the rural town of Bougouni, Mali, while his wife studied rural education on a grant from 1999 and 2000. The first three Yaala Yaala releases–Bougouni Yaalali, Daouda Dembele, and Pekos/Yoro Diallo–are dispatches from and journeys into an instantly provocative world of rippling rhythms and inescapable forward drive.

Bougouni Yaalali, in fact, is a set of field recordings Carneal made casually on MiniDisc. “One day I was walking around and I saw a friend of mine, who invited me to walk with him,” Carneal recalls. “We ended up at a checkers [match]–these guys were just sitting outside in the shade playing checkers. So we watched them play, and one of the guys had an ngoni.

“I guess it was comparable to going to a party and having somebody strumming on a guitar,” Carneal continues. “He was playing the ngoni and started passing it around, and I ended up recording a few guys playing.”

Rock on, professor!

The Yard Sale & The Fork’s Karmaric Revenge

Karma, right? Karmaric? Yes, no? Alternate spelling? Maybe the next version of Word Press will come with spell check. Or maybe this version has it and I just haven’t figured out how to use it yet. Whatwhichever.

Sometime last spring — actually, April 22nd — I took a delivery to a lady who lived, if not at the absolute furthest extent of our area, was at least in the general area. Her order included a salad, and the salad did not include a plastic fork (because the manager that day figured she had forks of her own). I believe she did, she claimed she didn’t, and I had to drive all the way back to the store for a plastic fork. BAH!

Last weekend, I took a delivery back to this very same house. I don’t mind the fork thing as much as the fact that she never ever tips. Well, she tipped this time. Good lord did she ever.

See, she’s moving (hopefully, out of the delivery area). When I pulled up, the street was filled with cars and her driveway was filled with junk and people looking to buy said junk. She was in her garage with, I presume, her daughter (they’re both grown women), handling the cash box and ringing people up. “Oh, look, pizza!” and she joked about selling the slices at a profit.

So she and her presumed-daughter ask me the price, then talk amongst themselves about how to handle the transaction, while giving change to people who want to buy junk. Finally, she says to her daughter, “Give him that” (meaning the money in her hand) “and ask for two back. One for each of us!”

So I take the bills from her daughter and hand over two singles. They both pocket one, I thank them and leave. As I emerge from the garage and hurry to my car (which I parked on the street so I wouldn’t have to run over any junk-sale-shoppers), I quickly leaf through the money the daughter’s handed me. Now, I try to always do this both as discreetly as possibly, as well as quickly as possible. There are a few customers whose money I don’t count (because I’ve been delivering to them so often I know they’re cash is right), but if there is a money problem, it’s a lot easier to fix when I’m only a third of the way down their driveway. And, of course, I think it’s a little rude to count money in front of someone who has just given it to you: especially when you’re the one being tipped. “How much didja tip me?”

In this case, I was pretty sure the answer was “$1” with a side of “If you’re lucky.”


Even with the change back, a tip close to six smackers (that’d be dollars).

As best as I can figure it, mom & daughter had a little miscommunication when they were haggling prices. Or maybe daughter took some money from a junk-sale-customer and failed to pass it over to mom.

Or, maybe, just maybe, mom thought to herself “Y’know what? I was a real bitch asking that guy to make a sixteen-mile roundtrip for a second time, just so I could get a little plastic fork when I had plenty of real forks in my drawer. Y’know what? I’m giving him a great tip today.”

Or maybe karma got her vengeance.

craigslist baltimore

Hah! I love this entry … how true, how true:

1) I will start off with something basic: customers getting bitchy with me. You people have to understand that I am being paid less than $7 an hour, and i really do not give any trace of a shit about you.
Please, when you call to place an order, make the first words out of your mouth “Hi” or “Hello”, do not fucking say “Yeah gimme blah blah blah”. And don’t bitch at me when I am not very pleasant with you after you start getting rude and unpleasant with me. I don’t give a shit if you are a “paying customer”, that money does not go to me, it goes to some multi-millionaire guy who lives like 50 miles away and won’t even notice it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am only rude with customers if they are rude with me first, and I don’t get rude enough that I could be fired.
and people, stop fucking acting as if God put me on this earth to fucking serve you! A please would be nice every once in a while! And a thank you would be even better! DO NOT just say “Yeah give me a large pepperoni and chessesticks, how much is that?”, because that will definitely not lead to a pleasant conversation for you.
ALSO, DO NOT BITCH BECAUSE OF HOW EXPENSIVE SOMETHING IS!! OMG I fucking hate that! First off, I do not set the fucking prices! I only work there and make your food! Second off, they are OUR pizzas, NOT YOURS! We can charge however much we damn well please!
Lastly, if we make a mistake, we will fix it! We will send you out a new pizza! That DOES NOT give you the right to get irate with me and cuss me out, because I WILL, and have before, hang the hell up on you. And don’t bother calling to ask to speak to the manager because I hung up on you, they will do the same exact thing.

2) LISTEN TO THE RECORDING!!!!! OMG people do not call, press 0 to skip past the recording which tells you our specials and promotions, and ask “What kinda specials do you have?”. Because my response to this is, and always will be, “they were right on the recording.” Now, I am not an idiot, I know you will get mad and say in a rude voice, “Um, I wasn’t listening?,” or, “Um I skipped past that.” Um maybe you should actually listen to it next time? Thats the whole reason its there, so you don’t have to waste our time asking for the specials…

3) Please, know what you want to order before you call! There is nothing more annoying than when I have a full screen of shit to make, and the phone rings and the customer is like “Uhh I don’t know what I want yet give me a minute.” OMG well then why the fuck did you call??? Now I have to stand there like a moron on the phone waiting for you to figure out your order, and meanwhile I have a full screen of shit that is not being made!

4) When coming to pick up an order, please tell me that you are picking up an order, and be sure to say either “Hi”, or “Please” or “Thank you”, or any combination of the 3. Do not just say “Wilson.” when I ask if i can help you, and then say nothing when i thank you and wish you a good night. I am not in that place to bend the fuck over backwards for you, or make you happy. i am there to fucking make money to support myself and pay my car off. The fact that you are a paying customer really is not a valid reason for me to give a fuck about you if you can’t have the decency to give a fuck about me.

5) No we do not deliver to some place thats a half hour drive away, and that you claim is 5 minutes away. Get over it.

6) Yes we have a delivery charge of $1.50, yes you have to pay it if you get a delivery, no that does not mean you don’t have to tip the driver, as it does not go to the driver, it goes to the insurance company. Do not complain about our delivery charge, and ask why you have to pay it. I swear i get this at least twice a night. Why do you have to pay it you ask? BECAUSE WE JUST HAVE ONE. That is the only reason you need. Let me spell it out for you: The Bottom Line is, you don’t pay delivery charge, you don’t get delivery. Yes I have the ability to remove the delivery charge, and no I will not do so because you order me to (Please refer to last 3 sentences of #4) or because you claim it is “bullshit”.

7) It is really sad that I have to say this, but yes YOU MUST PAY TAX!!!! Do not complain to me that you have to pay tax on your pizza, I mean seriously, do I look like the fucking comptroller of Maryland? How fucking stupid can you be thinking you dont have to pay tax on a purchase you make in Maryland. You want tax free pizza, go to Delaware! Its right over there…

8) Just because we say your pizza should be there in about 45 minutes, DOES NOT mean it is at all necessary to call back exactly 45 minutes later and say “Where the hell is my pizza?”. We are not fucking superhumans, we can not predict exactly when it should arrive on your fucking doorstep. Also, you are not the only person on this damn planet! Drivers take multiple orders out at once, and rarely make special deliveries just for you, unless it is the only delivery we have. Please refer to last 3 sentences of #4 here also, as it applies with drivers as well. They are not out on the road to be your bitch, they are there to make money, and not tipping a driver because he took too long is highly unnecessary, as they are doing their best and going as fast as they can with traffic and everything.

I e-mailed the guy. I think I know what Papa John’s store he’s working at.


My first car was a 1989 Acura Legend. It was, what, eight?, nine years old?

Loved the six-cylinder engine, not such a fan of the rest of the car, which, from the exploding transmission through the leaking sunroof, was a total lemon. Still, it was my first car, and for the first few months I had it, it performed well. I remember going down to the Hoff at UMCP to watch Fifth Element and coming back I-95 on a rainy Saturday late-night (early morning?) when we sped onto a scene out of a movie: two cars, one smashed onto the concrete barrier, the other on its roof, people standing in the middle of the road. Swerve! Perfect response, from a not-so-great car.

I used to buy all that stupid crap you find in the car-aisle at the Target for it. You know. Like the little mini-compass I bought a few days ago at Target, for my current car.

I should’ve known not to waste my money, but I thought it would’ve been cool to know exactly what direction I was going in all the time. Like, is northbound on Jarrettsville Pike actually due north? Or northwest or northeast?

Well, according to the compass, no matter where I’m driving, I’m always somewhere between North and Northwest. Like, even if I’m southbound on I-83.


The Last Lion Will Roar Again!

The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm is the final volume of William Manchester’s trilogy about the life of Winston Churchill. It is currently being completed at the request of Manchester by Paul Reid, a former feature writer for Cox Newspapers.


Last summer, I read the first two of a three-part biography by William Manchester of Winston Churchill. Each book is, christ, about as long as War and Peace. Manchester died before finishing the third book, and every thing I read on the net after finishing the second book seemed to support the notion that the third book would be left unfinished, and unpublished.

Then, tonight, I came across some new information while scanning Manchester’s wikipedia page. I, of course, don’t know if it’s accurate, but I certainly hope so.

I love the line: “is likely to be published posthumously.” Well, duh. If Manchester’s dead, it can’t be published any other way, now can it?

under construction

I think ships are cool. Sea-going, space-faring, whatever. Ships are sort of ultimate biospheres in a way, don’tcha think? I know that’s completely not the right word, but they’re (generally) enclosed enviornments of one sort or another, largely dependant on what they carry aboard to sustain the crew. Sure, on a sea-going ship, you’ve got the option of rain for water and birds and fish for food, but that’s assuming it rains and the water you’re in is populated by, y’know, fish. Way back when sails (or, oars) were the only way to travel on the water, ships used to take along livestock to supplement their food supply, which generally consisted of stale, maggot-infested biscuits.

When you think of what needs to go into a (fictional) starship — artificial gravity generators, oxygen recyclers, power, etcetra-etcetra — it just sort of boggles the mind to think of what the designers will go through to store everything into as small a place as possible.


So this post is about ships of the ocean-going variety. Rather … Lego versions of the ocean going variety.


First up, and a favorite of mine, is an attempt by Brickshelf user “ToiletseatPhilosophy” to use specialized computer software (rendering in Lego, of course) to virtually create a British man-of-war out of virtual Lego (to me, his creation looks like HMS Victory). I just hope he does the whole damn ship!


Second up, and totally equally impressive, is what is termed “The Yamato Project.” The Yamato was the largest battleship ever constructed, built by Japan in 1940, she was sunk only a few months before the end of the war. “The Yamato Project” appears to be an attempt to render the ship in Lego … however, with no interior spaces (otherwise, this would totally trump the man-of-war above).

And, Jules asked about my next Lego project. It’s still a little bit away, but I think, after having read most of the Patrick O’Brien series, that my next project will have to be the HMS Surprise (which, thankfully, is nowhere near as big as Victory).