Caffe Bella, right by my place, under the monorail at 5th and Denny. Good coffee and free wi-fi are one thing. Good coffee, free wi-fi, and $1.50 PBR tall boys? That's something else.
Dalton was shopping for a better laptop bag a few weeks ago, so I directed him to these nice jobbers, which I had seen on BoingBoing under the headline, um, "Cool laptop bags for chicks." But I was quick to point that *nothing* could be more manly than the gray flannel one, which he bought -- and we've both lived happily with that lie ever since. Fortunately for him, BoingBoing has located an even more fey bag. (Which, I hate to say, is even cooler.)
I assumed that I wasn't really going to write a blog entry over the Thanksgiving weekend -- mostly because of the Girl, who's in town visiting, but also because... you know, it's Thanksgiving. Aren't I just supposed to be lounging about?
But the Girl is hurtling towards the 50K-word mark for her NaNoWriMo entry, so I get some nice couch time listening to her type (41, 219 words at last report) and doing some work of my own. Which is nice, because I still have a few horoscopes to pull down from the stars for the fun Professional Astrology gig, specifically predictions for April Fools' Day 2004. I told the Girl about Virgo's fate: "Watch your back today -- not for knife-wielding thugs, but for prank-planning tricksters. You're feeling a little overwhelmed anyway, but if you're not careful you'll spend half the day with a big 'DORK' sign taped to your back." She said, "Poor Virgo! They always have a 'DORK' sign on their back." Ha, ha.
Two other stories I shouldn't just waste on little old her: 1) My grandparents were talking about buying a car, and my grandmother actually said, "This'll probably be the last one we buy"(!), which I think is almost more weird and wonderful than sad, and 2) on Tuesday I was talking with somebody from the city about moving the Metro bus stop out from under our building's awning and up north on Fourth. In my last e-mail, I actually said, "Let's do this thing." If I ever write an action movie about civic involvement, half of the lines will be variations on "Let's do this thing."
Hope you're all enjoying your T-Day time. I leave you with results from Punkin Chunk 2003 -- just because I couldn't believe that neither Heidi nor either of the Daltons had ever heard of recreational, competitive high-velocity pumpkin launching. (Despite the fact that all of them grew up in the sticks. For shame.)
Witness majestic bronze-medal-winner Mista Ballista -- with 3400lbs of pumpkin pullback, for a 290.6ft chunk!
I think Dalton has just stumbled onto a marketable service for the very rich: Having somebody follow you around with a digital camera to blog your day.
So that's what I did yesterday, but to be more precise, I was buying a nice, shiny thank-you Coho for the family of my cousin, who hosted us while we were down in Birmingham last week. (Down below, she's the one with the nice nails who's eating butter beans across the table from me.) Dalton actually balked at the price of the ship-fishing--$70 total for a 10lb overnight fish--until I convinced him that the process was basically magic and easily worth that. I just made a fish appear in Birmingham! How cool is that? How is that not worth $70? (I feel the same way about the nigh-magical properties of standard 37-cent postage. It seems *way* too cheap for how cool it is.)
What Dalton didn't catch on his camera was the guy I saw before leaving to pick him up, in front of the 7-11 by the Science Center:
... then standing down by where Denny goes under the monorail...
So can you guess his cause? Let's see... Italy, Britain, Israel... Texas? A rolled-up Stars and Stripes? They're all in the Coalition of the Willing. Sort of. I guess. (Welcome aboard, Texas!)
All right, I won't keep you in suspense. He told an old guy passing by that he was supporting... Bush's [putatively sketchy-looking] Medicare plan. (Huh? Aroo?) Which had actually even already passed. So I don't know, maybe he was away from his radio or something. But then again, I saw this same guy back in August near Westlake Center, protesting the Howard Dean rally by waving the Texas flag and what I know now to be the official "War on Terrorism" flag(!):
Way to exercise your rights, flag guy! I imagine you're kind of insane, but I sure do like flags.
A blog by Kevin Sites, an MSNBC photog in Iraq:
I know the position they are in, the dread they feel to be bound and awash in the indecipherable language of your captors, to feel your mouth turn as dry as the desert that surrounds you, to wonder if this will be the hour of your death -- or to wonder if the hours to come will make you wish it had been, to know that at this moment you are helpless and hopeless and that the question of whether you have any control over your own destiny has finally and irrefutably been answered.
I know it's not news, or even analysis really, so it's sort of war porn. But goddamn: the words and the photos. Do yourself a favor and get on his update list. (Originally found on BoingBoing, as the site's Xeni-Jardin-maintained.)
Fucking hilarious: the iPod's Dirty Secret. I like this for so many reasons, not least of which because I've long hated Apple's blithe presumption on customer loyalty. (Sure, I've had only Macs for 12 or so years, but still. There's no love lost.)
That's what Mark said when he and I were hanging out on his deck a few nights ago, watching the high clouds and constant, slow spray of atomized ice water coming down. He went on to elaborate on how this was just like some winter we had a few years ago (he remembered the year, but I've forgotten): bone-cold, moderately wet but never snowy, and often sunny. Here is this winter in the daytime, out my window (today, just before noon):
What makes this winter worse is knowing that just a few hundred feet up in the air, there *is* snow, and all the cloud elves or whatever are running around having snowball fights and building snowmen while you're just standing down below, shivering on the permafrost.
I like the idea of identifiable winters, and I think they should all have names. There can't be more than a dozen of them. Like in some primitive cosmology, this particular winter would be the happy daughter of the mean, old super-cold winter. Who would have a scary Nordic name.
Four things for today:
1. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Forwarded to me by one of my Amazon editors, Mike, for help tracking down old reviews. (I figured out not so long ago that, including toy reviews, I've written up over 2,000 products for Amazon. Yikes!) But surely you can find more interesting uses for the Wayback Machine. Like tracking "major combat" emendations on the White House Web site....?
2. The Case for the Empire. Are the rebels just "an unimpressive crew of anarchic royals who wreck the galaxy so that Princess Leia can have her tiara back"? (Thanks, Sean!)
3. Spam subject-line poetry: "`_"m`y gir;lfr'ien-ds are o:ver the m*oon... rxsfcecwvxbae"
4. As long as I'm going to say something like "cloud elves," here's further incriminating super-nerd evidence:
A big ol' stack of tickets for Return of the King at Cinerama, plus tickets to earlier screenings of the extended DVD versions of FotR and TTT. Soon! Soon.
Don't miss the as-always wonderful Defective Yeti today, with a slug of Cat in the Hat movie review quotes. The Dallas Observer's use of the word "asshole" is pretty irresistible, but I think Slate's is my favorite.