26 November 2006
Actually, this is sort of accurate
This Is My Life, Rated
Life: 4.8
Mind: 6.2
Body: 3.7
Spirit: 7.1
Friends/Family: 4.1
Love: 0.8
Finance: 7.5
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Though I kind of wonder about that Finance bit. Okay, the creditors aren't banging on the door or anything, but that seems a little high.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:14 PM)
28 November 2006
Looks like fun

Here's how it works: Google the phrase "['your name'] looks like" and find the best one from the first page of results. Don't forget to put it in quotes, otherwise it won't work. Then come back here and leave it in the comments.

Very first one on the page: "Charles looks like he's ready to fail a sobriety test, but you would do well to cut the guy some slack."

Number 9: "Charles looks like he's about to lay the smack down on some fanboy who butchered an imitation of Mario, visually and probably auditorially."

Hard to pick between them, if you ask me.

(Via Steph Waller, who "looks like a couple of kilometers of bad road.")

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:20 AM)
21 December 2006
Like I could stop at ten

Craig Ceely has tagged me with this "10 Things I Love About America" meme. (Memes, incidentally, don't make the list.) But since I'm in a weird mood anyway, let's see what I can come up with:

  1. The Dakotas, and all those other states with small populations and wide-open spaces. Some people are bored to death by them, but not I.

  2. The Second Amendment, which makes the others more than just empty words.

  3. Spectacularly-unhealthy regional cuisine. Reason enough for a road trip. If you're headed here, stop by Del Rancho for a Steak Sandwich Supreme.

  4. The fact that the high school I attended has an entry in Wikipedia.

  5. New Balance shoes. Even if fewer of them are made Stateside these days, they're still my brand of choice.

  6. The fact that people will line up the night before for something absurd like attending a movie premiere or buying a game console, stirring testimony to the joy of having nothing better to do.

  7. National Public Radio, less for its politics than for its sheer ubiquity: I don't have to lug dozens of CDs with me, and yet I can still avoid the screaming that comes with every car-dealership radio ad.

  8. Two-lane blacktop, especially if it's none too straight.

  9. Neither New York nor Washington is big enough to dominate the nation's culture.

  10. We don't do apologies. The "world community" wants our attention? Fine. Let them catch up to where we are, and we'll see if we have time.

  11. The Dairy Queen dipped cone, especially on a summer day in a small town.

  12. Better Mexican food than in rather a lot of Mexico.

I could go on, and maybe one of these days I will.

(Feel free to pick up on this if you like; it's not my style to tag other folks.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:01 AM)
10 January 2007
Take a load off Fanny

And we'll put the load right on you.

Actually, I don't expect anyone to answer any of these, but if Rachel can post this, so can I.

  1. Give me a nickname and explain why you picked it.

  2. Am I lovable?

  3. How long have you known me?

  4. When and how did you first find my blog?

  5. What was your first impression?

  6. Do you still think that way about my blog now?

  7. If I were an ice cream flavor, which would I be and why?

  8. What makes me happy?

  9. What makes me sad?

  10. What song (if any) reminds you of me?

  11. If you could give me anything what would it be?

  12. Do you consider me a friend?

  13. How often do you visit my blog?

  14. Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn’t?

  15. Would you make a move on me?

  16. Describe me in one word.

  17. Do you feel that you could talk to me about anything and I would listen?

  18. What do you like most about me/my blog?

  19. What do you dislike most about me/my blog?

I swear, Carmen and the Devil must have worked this one up, side by side.

(One word changed in the original text, for reasons which I assume are obvious.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:23 AM)
12 January 2007
A regular Captain Quirk (Part Deux)

A tag for this came in from just muttering, and while I could convincingly (I think) argue that I've already answered this one, many moons ago, I figure, how hard can it be to come up with five more Strange But True Tales?

  • Westbound 19th Street in Austin, Texas, since renamed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., used to, and may still — I haven't been down there in about five years — suddenly turn right and then downward, plummeting toward Lamar Boulevard and Shoal Creek. When I was sixteen I decided I would ride my bicycle down this Ramp from Hell. Darn near put myself into the creek. On the other hand, I nearly pinned the 60-mph speedometer that ran off the front wheel, which gave me far more of a thrill than I could possibly have deserved. And no, I didn't even think about riding back up; I took Lamar half a mile north where things were a trifle flatter.

  • I got my first email account in 1985, through MCI Mail. A box cost something like $35 a year; each email cost fifty cents, and you could write to people who didn't have an email account for a buck and a half. (They'd print it and mail it for you.) Never once got spammed, either.

  • I have played ice hockey exactly once: on a frozen-over parking lot in central Massachusetts, without benefit of skates. The pain has since gone away.

  • We wore uniforms when I was in high school, and part of that uniform was a striped tie. I never did get the hang of tying it, and eventually succumbed to the lure of a clip-on. Since it was excruciatingly obvious, I decided to call attention to it even further by fastening it down to the front of my shirt, not with the usual tac or bar, but with a standard paper clip. That year I stopped off a couple afternoons a week at a friend's house on the way home; said friend's sister (twelve-ish) was highly displeased with the paper clip, and actually gave me a proper (if oversized) tie bar, which I still have. I was 15 at the time; eventually, I figured out that her motive may have been something other than merely improving the state of my grooming, and by "eventually" I mean "some time within the last year." I have, however, learned how to do a decent four-in-hand.

  • I tend to keep consumer products for incredibly long periods of time. My blender was acquired in 1983; my vacuum cleaner in 1976; my "big" stereo system in 1974; my stapler (an Ace Clipper) in 1969.

I suspect I can come up with five more the next time this comes around.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:30 AM)
26 January 2007
My Me Meme

Yes, buoys and gulls, it's time for another one.

1. My: You’ve heard the saying "I’d give my right arm for…". So, what would you give your right arm for?

A really good prosthetic that could hurl a fastball at 96 mph.

More seriously, I'd want a worldwide moratorium on stupidity, though this would probably leave me out of work and without any political identification — in which case, the ability to hurl a fastball at 96 mph would become useful.

2. Me: What’s one word that describes how you want people to see you?

"Distinct." I have no particular desire to be noticed, but I really hate being Part of the Crowd.

3. Meme: If you could be any blogger, which blogger would you be… and why?

I thought about this for a while, and my first thought was Lileks, since I quote him at greater length than anyone this side of Lawn Guyland, but depriving Gnat of her proper papa struck me as a horrible thing to do, so I gave up the idea. After further consideration, I came up with E. M. Zanotti, for the following reasons:

  • She's easily a match for me in surliness;
  • Her optimism/despair ratio is a lot closer to what I'd like for my own;
  • She's only twenty-four, so she'll probably be around for sixty or seventy more years.

The boots, incidentally, are not a factor.

(Meme by Venomous Kate; motivation provided by Teresa.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 3:40 PM)
6 February 2007
It's another not-quite-random list

This one was swiped from Suburban Lesbian.

  1. The phone rings. Who are you hoping it is? You, of course.

  2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? Always.

  3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? I start out listening, and maybe talk towards the end.

  4. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive? For a few minutes, anyway.

  5. Do you like to ride horses? Haven't done it enough to develop a taste for it.

  6. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Once, but it wasn't my camp.

  7. What was your favorite board game as a kid? Scrabble, because I hardly ever lost.

  8. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was taken what would you do? I can't imagine this happening — the first part of it, anyway.

  9. Are you judgmental? Extremely. Also unapologetic.

  10. Would you date someone with different religious beliefs? That depends. Is she hot? *

  11. Are you continuing your education? Not in the formal sense.

  12. Do you know how to shoot a gun? Adequately, but not much better than that.

  13. If your house was on fire, what's the first thing you'd grab? Am I inside the house or outside when it happens?

  14. How often do you read books? Just about every day.

  15. Do you think more about the past, present or future? Of course I do.

  16. What is your favorite children's book? I dunno. I was reading ostensibly-grownup stuff in elementary school.

  17. How tall are you? 1.82 meters.

  18. Where is your ideal house located? It's probably this one once I get it, um, customized.

  19. Last person you talked to? Trini.

  20. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden? 1985, I think.

  21. What are your keys on your key chain for? Things with locks, obviously.

  22. What did you do last night? Listened to a basketball game on the radio.

  23. Where is your current pain at [sic]? Right knee.

  24. Do you like mustard? In small doses.

  25. Do you like your mom or dad? Well, yeah, but they're both gone now.

  26. How long does it take you in the shower? About five minutes, unless it's summertime and I'm cleaning up after yard work, in which case more like 10.

  27. What movie do you want to see right now? Idiocracy, which I just got on DVD but haven't opened yet.

  28. Do you put lotion on your dog or cats? Not applicable, but Huh?

  29. What did you do for New Year's? Slept through as much of it as possible.

  30. Do you think The Grudge was scary? Didn't see it.

  31. Do you own a camera phone? No.

  32. What's the last letter of your middle name? Y.

  33. Who did you vote for on American Idol? Never actually watched it.

* SL had exactly the same answer to this one.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:59 AM)
13 March 2007
Once again, trailing all the cool kids

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:28 AM)
22 March 2007
This meme is just three words long

And it's swiped from Melessa, if you're keeping score. Obviously, as the inventor of 3WC (see sidebar of main page), I couldn't pass this up.

  1. Where is your cell phone? In the kitchen.
  2. Boyfriend/girlfriend? Does not apply.
  3. Hair? Thin and grey.
  4. Your mother? Gone thirty years.
  5. Your father? Gone two months.
  6. Your favorite item(s)? Keyboards are involved.
  7. Your dream last night? Slept through it.
  8. Your favorite drink? Coca-Cola, frosty.
  9. Your dream guy/girl? Probably doesn't exist.
  10. The room you are in? Uninspired office simulation.
  11. Your fear? Insurance paying off.
  12. What do you want to be in 10 years? Not dead yet.
  13. Who did you hang out with last night? All alone again.
  14. What are you not? Rolling in dough.
  15. Are you in love? Let's hope not.
  16. One of your wish list items? Complete Monty Python.
  17. What time is it? Half past five.
  18. The last thing you did? Set alarm clock.
  19. What are you wearing? Nothing of significance.
  20. Your favorite book? Title too long.
  21. The last thing you ate? Frozen Mexican dinner.
  22. Your life? Longer than anticipated.
  23. Your mood? Not too jumpy.
  24. Your friends? Read this stuff.
  25. What are you thinking about right now? Where weeds grow.
  26. Your car? Japanese "luxury" sedan.
  27. What are you doing at this moment? This here meme.
  28. Your summer? Out of town.
  29. Your relationship status? Divorced, two children.
  30. What is on your TV screen? Lots of dust.
  31. When is the last time you laughed? While leaving work.
  32. Last time you cried? On last birthday.
  33. School? Many years ago.

I trust this meets the requirements as stated.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:30 PM)
16 June 2007
Eight crazy facts

Venomous Kate has requested a list of eight things she doesn't know about me, which may be difficult given (1) I've posted an incredible amount of personal crap over the past eleven years and (2) she has a damnably long memory. Still, the effort must be made, so:

  1. An Army story: at my last post, the S1 officer, a sterling fellow with a tendency toward self-aggrandizement, announced that he was organizing a post bridge tournament, complete with American Contract Bridge League sanction. After too many drinks at the NCO club one night, I said something to the effect that I could beat him with an unrepentant spades player as a partner. I was duly invited to put up or shut up; my partner (that sort of spades player) and I took third place out of eight, which was not impressive, but the Colonel's team finished fifth.

  2. Only once have I ever been hit in the face with a pie — but it was a doozy.

  3. Once I hid an Easter egg too well; it surfaced in summertime, after we started a desperate search to ascertain the source of That Godawful Smell.

  4. My first car had AM radio only; I swore I would turn it into a proper rockin' machine, and bought a combination radio/cassette player, which I duly bolted into the dash, looping a metal strap around a convenient bar just this side of the cowl. It was a couple of days before I discovered that said bar was a linkage for the windshield wipers, which would no longer operate with the stereo in place. Three guesses what the weather was like that day. (I eventually found a floor mount.)

  5. Items don't come off my want list until I actually get them; one 1963 record I'd wanted for ages finally arrived in my collection in 2002.

  6. I missed one spelling word in all of grade school. ("Occurred," from which I omitted one of the Rs.)

  7. During my Hacking Old Radios period (roughly 1960-1963), I dropped a pair of scissors onto a live 110-volt line. The fireworks were spectacular, and one old Bakelite case mutated into something vaguely Daliesque.

  8. Another Army story: Few things are quite as disturbing as being assigned to an impromptu work detail after you've just washed and pressed all of your fatigues. You can't duck a GI party, though, so I requested latrine duty, and I scrubbed down those showers and troughs in my birthday suit. The corporal said he was going to write me up for being out of uniform, but the lack of repercussions suggests he didn't. Besides, the place sparkled.

Just a few pages from my unauthorized autobiography.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:31 AM)
28 June 2007
Bartholomew J. Simpson and I

The Northern Gleaner offers a test (by Dr Ken Christian) to see if you're an underachiever. I admit I didn't try very hard, but I've italicized the statements which best describe me:

  1. Taking shortcuts and doing the minimum possible even with important matters.
  2. Spending more time getting ready to work, getting out of work, or getting others to do it, than working.
  3. Inconsistent, insufficient effort.
  4. A lack of real engagement even in your most important life activities and relationships.
  5. Ambivalence in making decisions.
  6. Planning, scheming, and talking about things but not following through on them.
  7. Difficulties organizing work and organizing your life in general.
  8. Difficulties reaching distant goals due to a lack of appropriate planning and persistence.
  9. Repeated initial excitement for new ventures, followed by disappointment when the new wears off.
  10. False starts and frequent changes in direction and goals due to boredom, and a preference to start something new.
  11. Failure to complete important projects, whether pleas