October 31, 2003

Beware the Ants of Fire

We recieved a warning from the California Department of Food and Agriculture about the dangers of these nasty little buggers. As long as we can keep THEM! away from the nuclear waste we should be okay.

Posted by thom at 01:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 29, 2003

Just Plain Silly

John Lennon goes to Africa

No one has left any comments for the past few entries. Thus I have come to the conclusion that silly pictures of yours truly are far more popular. I have no other option but to post the following very silly picture...

Posted by thom at 06:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 28, 2003

The Sun Explodes

I hate to just post stuff from Metafilter two days in a row but this is interesting (by association even):

TV and the Hive Mind

64 years ago this week, six million Americans became unwitting subjects in an experiment in psychological warfare.

In other news, you might want to look for some auroras tonight. Alternatively you could stay inside and watch a movie (or a blue movie or or two).

Ooooo! Pretty!

I also find it comforting to know the the Enterprise (of Star Trek fame) has been flight tested to Mach 5. Interesting, but the Real Mach 5 is way cooler.

Posted by thom at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2003

Just because you're Paranoid doesn't mean it's not Art

Spotted on MetaFilter:

Mark Lombardi created art out of the stuff of conspiracy theories. Following the money trails, he was just completely fascinated by connections, how one thing led to another, how the C.I.A. would back a coup in Australia, someone would be murdered in Turkey and things would happen in Indonesia." Some of his work here and here, and more about his work here. His drawings satisfy because they address a human need for coherent order drawn from chaos. Such a need, however, is bound to be frustrated. Instead of blueprinting perfection, the works' aura of mastery arises in the context of a sprawling dystopia.

I haven't flown enough lately to develop Deep Vein Thrombosis but I still like this idea.

Posted by thom at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2003

Lovely Spam! Wonderful SPAM!

I had heard it was the hottest new thing in SPAM technology: Blog spamming. Some spammer somewhere decided that since I let people leave comments that it's okay for him to leave spam in my comments advertising his stupid, lame, I-hope-it-dies viagra web site. You know what this makes me wish for? A cult that hunted down and sacrificed spammers. Candles, long knives, and ritual murder - just for spammers. If not a cult, then I would wish for a serial killer that only killed spammers. And after he killed he would use the dead spammer's computers to spam other spammers to tell them if they didn't stop spamming they would soon be as cold and dead as a can of spam.

Ah! I feel much better now. If you noticed I've turned off the comment feature in the near future you know why now. There are several other proposed solutions floating around. On the bright side, I'm only getting this spam because I'm getting highly ranked on Google. Which of course can only mean one thing: You like me! You really like me!

Posted by thom at 11:59 AM | Comments (4)

October 23, 2003

Those Poor Deer!

I went to see Intolerable Cruelty today with my mom. After playing the trailers for the coming attractions they played an ad for Nextel mobile phones. It was the one where they describe building their national walkie-talkie service by attaching antennas to thousands (millions?) of deers' antlers and show images of frolicking deer complete with suitable radio gear. Halfway thru the ad I look over at mom and she has this very confused look on her face. I had to contain my laughter.

No, Mom, that's NOT how they did it.

Posted by thom at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2003

Socks Redux

This has nothing to do with sock puppets. It's almost time to do laundry here again so, in the spirit of procrastination that Interesting by Association embodies, I just opened a new package of socks instead. I noticed they now come in a resealable bag. Why on Earth would I want to reseal my new socks? Maybe it's so they don't lose that new-sock smell? Or maybe I'm supposed to put the soiled socks back in the bag for proper disposal at a toxic waste dump? Or maybe... well, I just plain don't know what purpose it could serve.

Posted by thom at 12:31 PM | Comments (3)

October 18, 2003

"Connection Closed by Foreign Host"

This morning at 3:34am I finally got ssh working so I didn't have to remember a password that looked something like "y^bQ*3mBonkBONK" every time I logged into my web host or copied a file. Bolstered by this success I tinkered a little more to fix another problem. Big Mistake.

Somehow I was mistaken as some sort of "L33t H4X0r" and my IP was banned from logging into the secure shell server. I can add entries to my blog and stuff like that, I just can't copy files to it anymore. It should have let me back into the system after an hour or so, but now, nearly 20 hours later, I still can't. Anyone else can log into the server - just not me.

Unfortunately, my brother (who supports thompaul.org) also has the passwords needed to open a help ticket through the web host's (semi-)automated system, and he's in New York City at a wedding. Incommunicado. He gets back Monday, which means the problem won't get fixed before Tuesday or Wednesday. Thus I am an unusually grumpy nerd today.

Posted by thom at 10:49 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2003

My Secret Ambition

I found some random stuff that had collected dust on my palmtop that I wanted to clear out so I'm posting it here for posterity.

My secret ambition is to become the first U.S. President to do a stage dive at his inauguration.

One of my friends had this as the only question in a philosophy exam: "Is this a question." (notice the lack of a question mark).

My friend answered, "Yes, if this is an answer?"

He got the highest grade.

Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. Yes is the answer.

Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

-- Howard Aiken quoted by Ken Iverson quoted by Jim Horning, 1979

by Tony Shepps on Saturday August 10
(User #333 Info | http://cellar.org/)

When I was a kid I went around with a clipboard, asking people who were visiting the local municipal pool, "Why?" as if it were a survey question.

  • About 40% answered "Why What?"
  • About 30% answered "Because."
  • About 20% answered "What?"

The rest either did not answer or became obstinate.

I also got rid of the day-glo colors for now. They might make a return at some point in the future. Do people care strongly one way or another?

Posted by thom at 01:20 AM | Comments (1)

October 16, 2003

A Date with Mr Potatohead

From the I've been meaning to post this for a while now file I present Eileen's date with Mr Potatohead...



Posted by thom at 02:40 PM | Comments (3)

Reality Trumps Satire

Seen on Eschaton:

"Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he 'didn't want to see any stories' quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official who asked that his name not be used."

You can read the whole story here. Last night I dreamed I was falling down a rabbit hole. Now I'm wondering if it was really a dream.

Posted by thom at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2003

Great Christmas Ideas for Nerds

Posted by thom at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

Something by Association

Do you ever wonder what else you can do by association?

Posted by thom at 08:53 AM | Comments (1)

October 14, 2003

Attack of the Hair Bunnies

I don't feel like writing today so I give you the following picture for your bemusement. Discuss amongst yourselves and come up with funny captions.

A Flock of Seagulls attacked my head

The morning after a bad Hair Gel binge

Posted by thom at 08:42 AM | Comments (9)

October 13, 2003

Flight of the Crayfish

When we were kids our dad got me and my brother into model rocketry. On weeknights he'd help us turn cardboard, balsa, and white glue into ships bound for the stars. On Saturday morning he'd take us out to Dribble Elementary School where the local rocketry club would help us launch them. It was loads of fun. Kids and rocketry go together like, um, well, a band of crazed monkeys with hammers and high explosives.

After a while simply launching rockets into the sky and running after them as they floated back to earth got kind of boring. Occasionally they would have egg-lofting contests where the objective was to launch an egg and recover it in one piece. Space exploration is a dangerous business (especially for an egg) and more often than not all the king's horse's and all the king's men couldn't help after the egg landed. Being kids we quickly lost interest. We wanted more - we wanted to launch a man into space like NASA did.

Unfortunately, the technology at hand (cardboard, balsa wood, and white glue) wasn't up to the task so we had to find an achievable goal. One Saturday watching wasps buzz around a trash can filled with empty soda cans we had an idea: We would be the first to launch a wasp into space. Heck, even he Russians launched a dog into space before attempting to send a human. This would be our Laika. Our stepping stone to even greater achievements.

Quickly a volunteer wasp was secured for the mission and we headed to the Range Safety Officer for launch clearance. He eyed the wasp in the rocket payload capsule not quite sure what to make of it. Finally he decided it didn't pose a hazard to anyone on the ground, saluted the brave wasp, and gave us the all clear.

On the pad the wasp waited patiently on the bottom of the capsule as we counted down to blast-off. 5... 4... 3... Suddenly, sensing something was amiss, the wasp started flying around the top of his capsule. 2... 1... IGNITION! The rocket rapidly accelerated and the wasp, flying around inside, didn't. He was quickly smushed against the bottom of the rocket. Laika the wasp never realized what hit him. The poor guy never even made it off the launch pad.

But we knew from NASA the important thing was to learn from these sorts of disasters. To pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and to try again. You can't let a setback set you back. We had failed to provide a proper life support system for our subject. It was a mistake that would not be repeated.

A few weeks later one of the kids showed up at the launch site with a crawfish in the nose of his rocket. The nose was filled with water for a crayfish life support system. Today the Range Safety Officer took a little longer to decide if he would let us attempt this one. He finally gave us the OK to launch but the expression on his face said, "This should be interesting."

With the rocket setup on the launch pad it was time to launch. The engine ignited properly and a bright flame licked against the pad. Burdened with the payload of crayfish and his watery life support system the rocket slowly, majestically, rose into the sky. The grace with which it moved reminded us all of the mighty Saturn V moon rocket. This was just like the real thing - it was to be our finest hour. "Houston, we have cleared the tower!" we all thought as it ascended off the pad. But only a few seconds later as we watched we realized, "Houston, we have a problem."

You see, balance is equally important as life support in rocketry and the water in the crayfish command module had thrown the rocket out-of-balance. Now, instead of flying straight up like a moon rocket it had assumed a trajectory more like that of a SCUD ground-to-ground missile. As the rocket reached its apogee we realized the mission was in trouble - it was heading straight for the chain-link fence at the edge of the school yard.

I don't want to describe the next few moments in detail, but the rocket did indeed hit the fence. Needless to say, both vehicle and crew were lost. We spent a few minutes on the grizzly task of recovering the bits of crayfish scattered at the foot of the fence. That was the end of the crayfish space program. We stuck to unmanned (uncrayfished?) flights after that. Still, being little boys and despite the tragic loss of life, we thought the whole experience was pretty cool. We had learned a lot. Well, not really but it was fun anyway.

UPDATE: Apparently our crayfish blazed a path for other crayfish to follow.

Posted by thom at 08:30 AM | Comments (4)

October 12, 2003

The Jesus of Sock Puppets

A search on Google for "Jesus" AND "Sock Puppet" returns about 1,530 results. This is a Great Moment for Interesting by Association because my web log is the #1 result for the search. It's odd that out of all the pages discussing Jesus and Sock Puppets that Google considders mine the most authoritative, but who am I to argue? I guess it's like they say: The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Posted by thom at 12:09 AM | Comments (2)

October 11, 2003

A Rotating Universe

After my previous entry about All Things Fabio I decided this entry should be deep and philosophical. I also noticed it is after 1am so decided to bail on that idea. Instead I present an article about two brilliant friends. Personally, I find it one of the most fascinating stories of friendship in history. Your mileage may vary. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.

Posted by thom at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2003

Fabio for Governor!!!

friend: I agree, so far I'd say you have a great taste in music but you could be listening to Celine Dion behind my back.

me: um... No... But I do own the Fabio CD (but only because I am a fan of unintentional self-parody)

I had heard samples of Fabio's album on the radio. It was bad. Really bad. Hysterically bad. I could almost see Fabio's voice coach cringing in the studio as I listened. I had to have it. I saw it in the bins at the record store - $17.95. Damn, maybe I didn't need it that bad.

I took a copy and carried it around the store as I decided exactly how bad I wanted it. Then I had an idea! Maybe they had a used copy cheap? I showed the manager the Fabio CD and asked if they had any in the used section. His reply:

"Oh no... We wouldn't buy that back."

Foiled! I sheepishly explained to him that I wasn't really a Fabio fan, I just thought it was funny but didn't really want to pay $17.95 for it. There was a brief pause as we both looked at Fabio's Mona Lisa smile on the cover of the album.

"How much do you want to pay?"

"Um, $12?"


In retrospect, I guess I probably could have talked him lower but I have no regrets (it's going for $20 used now). I walked out of the store with my new "Fabio: After Dark" CD and have never looked back.

Reviewer: Travis Miller from Shepherdstown, WV United States

Fabio (yes, that Fabio) stumbles through breathy soliloquies on romance, over an über-schmaltzy soft-porn beat that does not change throughout the entire CD. As if you hadn't guessed, his musings delve deep into the uncharted realms of corniness. No, seriously. However corny you're imagining it to be right now, think cornier. Nope, cornier than that. Nope, keep going. Now you're getting close.

Fabio's vision of romance sounds like the, uh, shower fantasies of the naive, overweight girl in high school that everyone threw food at in the cafeteria. Am I cruel for laughing at this? I hope not, because how can you NOT laugh at something like this excerpt from "Fabio on Films":

"I lahk to take a special lady to de cinema, where we can hold hands in the dark, and whisper very quietly about what we see. I wonder, would she kiss me like that? Will I always be the hero of her life? I wish there were more romantic films, because romantic films can lead to beautiful adventures ahfter we leef de theatre."

(don't forget the accent and the generic porn music, and the fact that Fabio takes a full minute and a half to luxuriously hamfist his way through these four sentences)

It's all such a ghastly car-accident of an album that it transcends into genius. It would make a great ironic gift for someone who appreciates that sort of thing.

Fabio's Amazon.com Sales Rank: 241,821

Posted by thom at 11:35 PM | Comments (4)

Home Movie Star

"Is it dark enough yet?!"

"No, it's not dark enough yet."

"Is it dark enough now?!"

Us kids used to get real excited when we were going to watch home movies. Dad would get out the projector and movie screen around 5 o'clock before dinner and we would run around in a tizzy because it still wasn't dark enought yet to watch movies. We tried our best to distract ourselves but why, oh why, wasn't it dark yet?! When it was finally time we would sit exhausted in the living room, delighted by the light dancing across the screen reconstructing memories of Christmas Past.

The years rolled by and technology marched on - we had our home movies transferred to videotape. The Bell & Howell projector just sat in a closet collecting dust. The movie screen has too. It just occupies space now. We don't need it anymore. We have the VCR; so much more convenient. We haven't used the projector in probably 25 years. Time to throw the screen away.

It's the sensible thing to do. Mom wants to sell the house in the forseeable future and it would just be another useless piece of junk to move into a much smaller home. But it doesn't fit in the trash can. I just need to get the hacksaw out and cut the screen off the stand and it will fit. I've put off doing it for two weeks now. I couldn't find the hacksaw - but I wasn't looking for it either. This morning Mom found the hacksaw. No excuse now. I should do it today before the trash can fills up. I really should do it. But I keep putting it off. It doesn't seem right. The stupid screen is attached to my deepest memories of family.

We tried giving it to The Salvation Army. It seems such a special object that it should go on with another family. But to them it's just an old piece of junk that nobody else wants. I know it's just a piece of junk now too, but part of me still doesn't feel right cutting it up and shoving it in the trash. Maybe I can put it off a few more days. I could say I need my brother to help hold it while I saw. Maybe I could try and sell it on ebay? Heck, it's almost 40 years old now - almost an antique! Or maybe I'll just pop the home movies into the VCR tonight and watch them until I realize it's not the projector or the screen or the VCR that's important. It's the memories that matter and they can only be viewed with the heart.

Posted by thom at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2003

Election Humor

I forgot to blog this and this the other day when I saw them. Click and prepare to laugh. If no laughter ensues then loosen up already!

Posted by thom at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

I am Minty Freshness

A while back I bought a pack of Certs (with Retsin!) At some point I was bored enough to read the ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil*, and some other stuff... "What is the little asterisk for?" I wondered and searched the package only to discover that Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil is Retsin.
Posted by thom at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2003

The Reverse Engineer

I saw School of Rock tonight. Two words: Fun Knee. Go see it. I also saw the trailer for the new Ben Affleck flick but, um, forgot the name of the movie. We were all too busy laughing when they said Affleck's character was a Reverse Engineer. We all kept expecting to see engineers doing the moonwalk.

In Other News: My new (used) laptop computer is now my new (used) broken laptop computer. It's pretty minor actually. The power cable developed a loose connection and I had been nursing it along by jiggling the cable. This morning I jiggled and noticed pretty little sparks. I didn't think the computer's insides would enjoy the sparks as much as I did so now my computer is off until I can get a replacement in a few days. I won't be picking up my e-mail until then.

Posted by thom at 12:43 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2003

Poor Choices in Luggage

After the sock incident I was thinking "Maybe I need to buy some distinctive luggage?" I am really, really glad I didn't.

In other news, I am perfeect all today! (and smell too!)

Posted by thom at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)