where have I been?

Ok, I actually feel pretty lousy about ignoring my journal for so long. Once I reach 4-5 days without an entry, though, it becomes a hassle to write one, because there’s too much to write. So, now it’s been eight days, which is a double hassle.

Before I get to recapping my day, I’d like to take a moment to say that some people really need help. In trying to find some common sizes of liquor bottles, I stumbled across the page of some people who think that the metric system sucks. Now, while they seem to be a little tongue in cheek—as, I hope, is evidenced by their metric-hating poetry page, I really don’t understand why people are so neophobic. They rail against “one-tenth units” but use the decimal system. When, for the love of Pete, does anyone need to use “one third” of anything, anyway?

These stubborn know-nothings are the reason that I’m stuck using a ridiculous set of measurements that are incompatible with just the entire outside world. I am tired of being five foot ten. When can I be 1.77 meters?

the cuckoo’s nest revisited

We did, indeed, watch the movie last Thursday. I was really disappointed. I’d read about how many Oscars it got, and I like Jack Nicholson. It just stank, compared to the book. Nothing that happened had any meaning, and it didn’t seem like any of the characters were changed from the beginning of the movie to the end—except for McMurphy, who was alive at the beginning and dead at the end.

Having seen the movie, I liked the book even more. The movie made me think more about the depth of the characters in the book. It still wasn’t life-changing, but the movie was too nihilistic.

chuck palahniuk

After enjoying Fight Club so much, I picked up Survivor and ordered Choke. Survivor was pretty darn good, but about halfway through took a turn that I thought was pretty cheap. By the end, I didn’t care whether the narrator lived, and the ending’s implied question regarding whether he did just didn’t matter to me.

Choke is good, too. The story is pretty interesting, and the writing isn’t bad. It just strikes me as YACPN: Yet Another Chuck Palahniuk Novel. It involves the struggle of a Nervous Outsider to Come Into His Own despite the Crushing Pressures of Society and the Circumstances of His Life. His sanity is always in question. He has, for sure, a distinct voice in narration. Picture it being hammered into your head through repetition. Picture yourself getting sick of it. For sure, you will. He spouts strange factoids. He’s at least partially in love (or lust) with a woman of questionable values.

If I had more time and a one page plot outline, I could write Chuck’s next book.

Maybe, eventually, I’ll get over this. Philip K. Dick has some of the same problems—but he varies enough from book to book that I’m not sick of him altogether after reading one or two of them back to back. Maybe when there are fifteen or twenty Palahniuk novels, I’ll be able to see the same kind of variation.

two gentlemen of verona

John, Gloria, and I went to see Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Shakespeare Festival last night. It was pretty good, but really didn’t seem to be of professional quality. “I guess it’s gotten pretty easy to get an Equity card,” Gloria said.

I like Two Gentlemen, and I enjoyed the performance, but Gloria’s right—it would’ve been pretty disappointing to have spent $60 for two tickets to that. We got cheap tickets because it was a preview night. We didn’t get cheap tickets for Henry V, so I’m not sure we’ll get to see it. If it’s no better than Two Gentlemen, it’ll be a hard sell. We could just rent Brannagh’s Hamlet or something!

my birthday cometh!

Saturday is my birthday. I like my birthday. It’s not the presents—although, hey, they’re fine by me. I just like having a little thing to celebrate in the middle of the summer. Like last year, I’m taking the week off from work. Unlike last year, I haven’t been called in for much at all. I answered two pages, both with short emails. That’s A-OK, in my book.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on a simple front-end to my card catalog. When I put it into a database, it became a good deal harder to maintain than a pipe-delimited text file. (Go figure.) Now that I have a simple, if buggy, way to edit the database, I should be able to keep it more up-to-date. I wrote the code as psuedo-object-based. It’s even less OO than Visual Basic, but it gives me an idea of how to make it into OO when I inevitably do so. Better yet, it was experience writing something like object persistence, which is something I’d like to put in MASH some time soon.

I also worked on the new vim.org, which I hope will be ready for prime time by Aug 1. I’ve had a hard time getting anyone to help, and I’m not very enthused about writing copy detailing the superduperness of Vim. Still, it’s something I can do “for the community,” so I’m OK with it. It’s also made me more mindful of the Vim mailing list, so I’m learning new tricks. Over the last few weeks, I’ve really come to believe that code monkey like me must judge his text editor nearly as important as his compiler and debugger. If editing is a chore, the code will reflect that.

Last week, I picked up a Memory Card 251 to replace my slightly twitchy Interact 16x, and while I was at EBX I showed my weakness and picked up Wario Land 4. It’s a pretty sweet game, but I think I’ll have beaten it within another week. I need to find a GBA game with infinite replay value! If I had some friends with GBAs, Advance Wars might do it. I just need Tetris or Bust-a-Move or something.

birthday week

Gloria and I carry on her family’s “Birthday Week” tradition, so I’ve already been showered with some pretty rad stuff.


Gloria gave me a bottle of … er … some kind of fancy water. A trip to the cabinet reminds me that it’s “VOSS.” I just wanted to try it because it’s ridiculously expensive and comes in a neat-o cylindrical bottle. The water was pretty good, but certainly not worth the three or four dollars they charge for it. I’m keeping the bottle for some future use. I don’t think I can take the lettering off, though.


Puttering About in a Small Land is one of Philip K. Dick’s more obscure books. It was published after his death, and is one of his “realistic” novels. I’ll probably read it after I finish Choke and The Shining. Gloria gave me a copy of it.

monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday

Music music music! (Music!) In order, Cat Stevens’ Greatest Hits, Peter Gabriel’s second self-titled album, a Tom Waits tribute album, and Kraftwerk’s Autobahn.

Cat Stevens is Cat Stevens. I really like a bunch of his songs, but it’s hard for me to understand anyone being a Cat Stevens fan. Repeated listening to his hits album started to make my brain melt. It’s just so … something! I am wicked happy to have Wild World and Another Saturday Night. The other tracks are actually all pretty good. I will have to listen to it again in a day or two, when my brain has resolidified.

Peter Gabriel (2) is OK. I can’t imagine disliking any Peter Gabriel, but this isn’t his strongest album. It’s definitely a clear transition from Peter Gabriel (1) to Peter Gabriel (3). I get the impression that Gabriel was recording this just to get another album out, and didn’t really know what he wanted to do. On my next pass, I’m going to try to pick the good songs from the filler.

The Tom Waits cover album, New Coat of Paint, ranges from the awful to the great. Floyd Dixon’s cover of Blue Skies is even better, in my opinion, than Tom’s original. The cover of Romeo is Bleeding, by Dexter Romweber’s Infernal Racket—well, do I really need to go on, given the band’s name? It’s lame.

Kraftwerk, as always, is extreme technical excellence in the form of synthesizer music. It’s the most high concept of their albums, I think. It’s mostly instrumental, and hearing Computer Love and Autobahn next to each other remind me of the evolution of Mark Mothersbaugh from DEVO to the Mutato Muzika Orchestra. I must acquire the rest of the Kraftwerk library!

other birthday plans

I picked up some booze on Friday: a bottle of white (for cooking), a bottle of vermouth (for pre- and post-dinner drinking), and a bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed, which I’ll uncork sometime when John is around for some birthday drinking. I am expecting great things from that bottle.

John (and possibly John’s ex-cum-again-girlfriend?) and Gloria and I are going to get drinks tomorrow for the birthday celebrating, and on Saturday, Gloria is taking me out to dinner, as is my birthday tradition. We’re going to the Apollo Grill, where we went last Saturday, too. It was some good eatin’, so I’m happy to be going again. It took me forever to decide where to go. I had osso buco, and while I really liked it, I don’t think I’ll get it again. If they still have the gaspaccio, though, I’m there!

final thoughts

I need to remember not to slack on writing entries, as I’ve been writing this for what seems like days. Tomorrow, Gloria is off work, so we’ll do the chores together and be relaxed. I’m going to try to keep the “relaxing” thing going until Monday.

Written on July 18, 2002