Announcing The Testing of Fire Alarms is Stupid

So I’ve only worked in an office building for about eight months, but I’ve got to say, it seems like every week there’s a sign in the lobby announcing that there will be a fire drill on this day or that day, and between this time and that time. And sure enough, those fire alarms go off pretty damn regularly, and they’re always (well, except for the time someone — not me! — burned some bread in the toaster and the fire department decided to confiscate said toaster) a pointless drill.

There are, in fact, many people in the office who just put their hands over their ears and stay at their desks. They probably think the rest of us are just sheep, running this way and that way in response to the alarm klaxon which dictates our lives. “But, it’s just a drill you morons!”, they no doubt think, disparagingly, at those of us making our way out the door and down the stairs.

Because they’re fucking stupid.

When the fire alarm goes off, I get up, make sure I’ve got all my personal possessions (my messenger bag, in for repair, is sorely missed at times like this), and head out the door.

People may call me a fool, but, here’s the thing: when there’s a big sign in the lobby saying that there’s going to be a fire drill today between 12:30 and 1pm, and an actual fire breaks out in that time frame, how the fuck does anyone expect all us office drones to realize “Oh, shit, this isn’t a drill!” before escape is made impossible?

Anyway, so that’s why I always treat a fire alarm drill like the real damn thing.

Getting Shot Over A Yard Sign

It’s really hard to feel much sympathy for anyone in this situation:

Rowles told police he was sitting on his porch Saturday when a tan SUV pulled up and a black youth jumped out and ran toward his house screaming, “This is for Obama.” He said another male was hanging out of the passenger window screaming the same thing.

First, no sympathy for the Obama supporters who decided to vandalize this guy’s sign. It’s not cool. It’s not funny. It’s certainly not “for Obama.” What it is, however, is childish, immature, and totally disrespectful.

However, their conduct was certainly no excuse for Mr. Rowles’ response:

he fired his rifle at two youths who were allegedly attempting to deface his McCain yard sign, striking one of them in the arm.

He used deadly force to prevent a vandal from defacing a yard sign. You can say, “Oh, he only hit the one guy’s arm”, but when you fire a gun in someone’s direction, that’s deadly force, regardless of whether he intended to miss the kid or not: deadly force, to protect a yard sign. Oh, maybe it was one of those little $2.50 yard signs, or maybe it was one of those gigantic yard signs that’s as big as a bed. To my mind, it really doesn’t matter, because in absolutely no situation do I find justification for shooting at someone for such an insignificant reason.

I know that laws governing use of firearms differ across this nation, but to my mind, use of deadly force follows a scale. At the top of the scale is using such force to defend one’s own life. Below that is using deadly force to defend someone else’s life. When you get to using such force in defense of property, the line gets a little shady — at what point is property worth killing someone over? For the record, I’m cool with the “Castle Doctrine“, as I think that’s a pretty common sense approach to self-defense (although just because it exists doesn’t mean I think people should use it all the time). However, as these kids weren’t in Mr. Rowle’s “castle”, and weren’t presenting Mr. Rowle any indication that they intended him any harm, it’s sort of hard to figure how he plead not guilty with a straight face.

It’s really hard to find sympathy for any of them. Hopefully, the youths in question will find their excitement for vandalism tempered, and maybe Mr. Rowle will have some time in a concrete cell to contemplate his heat-of-the-moment reaction, really, though, I just can’t care about any of ’em. I mean, I’m sure those kids weren’t expecting to get shot — Rowle really should’ve just copied down their license plate and allowed the police to handle it — but I’m sure, I’m 100% certain — that they knew beforehand that what they were doing was wrong. Maybe they expected just a smack on the wrist, and really, that’s all they should’ve received, but when you play with fire (and, again, I think they knew they were), sometimes you get burned.

Sleeping in the Closet

So I’m not unaware of the fact that, barring an unusually high raise, or a new job with a ridiculously high salary, I’m probably going to be in my 400-square foot studio apartment for the next several years (I’ll probably still be here when Obama wins his second term). For the last few months I’ve been considering how to maximize use of my available space: for example, I think in a couple of years, I’d like to buy a desk and actually set up a desktop computer. Problem: where to put a desk? Or that 5×5 EXPEDIT my parents are going to get rid of next year?

One of the ways I considered maximizing my floor space was to move my futon into my closet, which is a whopping 16% percent of my total floorspace. Saturday morning, it was crammed with broken down boxes, a busted TV, a bookshelf I haven’t hung, a bookshelf I haven’t re-assembled (and which I’m trying to give away, e-mail me if interested, you’ve gotta pick it up), and assorted dressers, end-tables, gun cabinets, etcetra.

Saturday night, the dressers and cabinet were against one wall, and my futon dominated the space. The boxes are in the dumpster, and one of the maintenance guys told me I could leave the TV downstairs and they’d eventually do something productive with it (there’s a thriving black market in furniture given away by residents who are moving out). Seeing the futon in the closet, my thought was “Ahhh … hell no.” For one thing, come spring and summer, I’m going to want to be under the ceiling fan. For another thing, that is one fucking clausterphobic-inducing closet.

But those hours were not — were not! — in vain. For one thing, my closet is actually cleaned and mostly organized, now. The movie posters are stashed away, boxes are actually stacked neatly on shelves. Plus, I found a coat hanger I’d forgotten I bought and managed to hang it (the walls in this apartment are like super difficult teflon-coated plaster). Heck, I could put my computer in here if I wanted …


In a week and a half, on November 4th, something monumentally exciting will happen. Yes, that’s right, on November 4th, the newest Futurama straight-to-DVD will arrive: Bender’s Game.

So far, they’re hitting one and one. Bender’s Big Score was absolutely awesome, although my review at the time tended not to say why it was so, so I shall elaborate: these movies were created with the understanding that they’d later be split into episodes and aired on Comedy Central. But Bender’s Big Score doesn’t come across like three or four episodes glued together, it comes across as a comprehensive film that leaves one wondering “how the fuck are they going to split this apart?” And it’s written to highlight the best moments of the series — in some cases, this might make it seem sentimental and redundant, but, for me, it worked and is a really enjoyable movie to put into my DVD player. However, the sequel, Beast With a Billion Backs? Not such a fan: it really did feel like three distinct episodes sort of stuck together with plot-paste.

So I’m hoping Bender’s Game is more Big Score, and less Beast. (And there’s info on the fourth, and final, DVD here).

Oh, and there’s an election that day, too. So, go and vote.

Bald – And Not Afraid Of Being So

This photo is a couple of weeks old. Although it looks it, I’m not actually bald: I’d just shaved my head down to what amounted to stubble. It’s actually coming back in (as evidenced by the photo I posted earlier this week).

So, I’ve known for several years that my hair is a little thin on top. It’s been particularly evident when I get my hair cut (I usually get it cut short), but over the summer I heard a couple of comments about how visible the top of my head was even when I’d been letting my hair grow for months and months and months. So, one morning, I’m at Grosvenor waiting for my shuttle, and I see this guy walk over and stand about ten feet away. I recognize him, he’s been on the shuttle before, but this time, I notice his hair: yep, he’s wearing it long (not hippie-long, but overdue-for-a-haircut long), and it’s pretty obvious he’s going the Captain Picard route in hair. And I realized that was probably pretty close to how I look.

And – honestly? It looks pathetic.

I’m not such an ego hog that I’m going to go to extravagent lengths to regrow or hide my lack of hair. To a large extent, I think men who are so concerned with their hair. You’re not going to catch me dying my hair, or wearing a wig, or ordering pills off the internet to try to regrow that which clearly is trying to die off.

So, every three or so weeks, I’m taking the $14.99 clippers I bought at Target, and I’m running it over my head until I’m as convinced as I can be that my hair is as short as I can possibly make it. Ever tried to shave your own head by yourself? Look, it’s no fun, especially when you’ve only got one large and stationary mirror and you can’t separate your eyeballs from your eye sockets. I wind up running my hands over my head feeling for tufts of hair that I might’ve missed. And then shaving the back of my neck, ohmyfuckinggod.

(I really need to clean that mirror).

Fashion Question

Long coats — i.e., almost ankle length — acceptable or no? I’ve got two oilskin dusters — one black, one dark-green with black trim. I’m usually worried about wearing them because I don’t want people thinking I’m concealing machine guns under them: I swear, I wouldn’t!

(Now, this, would be a different story).

This Is Awesome and I Am Literally Drooling As I Write This (Blog Post, However, Is Drool Free)

I like Legos. I like Lego because they’re a medium which serve as a way to physically manifest those crazy castles, spaceships, and other assorted stuff which floats around in my head. Well, I should amend, as my vast Lego collection is currently boxed, bucketed, and other stored away somewhere in my parents’ basement. Okay, I have plans for Hogwarts II floating around in my head, but more on that later …

Meanwhile, the purpose of this post:

What you are looking at iss the HMS Hood. If you’re a World War II buff, you’re probably familiar with the story of the Hood, the pride of the British fleet, dispatched to intercept and sink the German battleship Bismarck before that ship could wreck havoc on the sea convoys keeping Great Britain alive and fighting while that nation stood alone against the Nazi juggernaut. Instead, it was the Hood that exploded and vanished under the waves, kicking off one of the most incredible naval search-and-destroy missions in history.

And now, some nut decided to rebuild the Hood in Lego. Which is, oh, so fucking awesome. That picture above? That’s a Lego model twenty feet long. There are some detail photos after le jumpe, but you can choose to go directly to the Flickr Gallery.

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