Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Ahh. The third day in a row that we've had to clean ice and snow off the cars before doing anything.
I just got a otice of a meteorologist job in Puerto Rico that's open again. All this snow makes me eager to apply. I will learn Spanish in exchange for warmer winters anyday.

Being Unemployed (or Underemployed) ain't all that bad, though. Especially around tax Time. I just filed my State and Federal returns, and I'm eligible for more in returns than i paid in taxes this year. That is genuine George W. Bush Magic at work! If anybody tries to tell me "It's the Economy, Stupid!" come election time, Guess which way I'd vote?

I saw a matinee of The Cooler yesterday. Great Film all around. This is the best Alec Baldwin performance since The HUnt for Red October. William H. Macy is again really good. He is consistently impressive. Maria Bello. yum.

Gotta go. Time to make dinner.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

So once there was this storm system.
The Storm of the Century, they called it.
Thanks to the wonders of modern meteorology, luckily, nobody was caught off-guard by the storm, but still its impact was staggering as it made its path across the United States.
As it went thru the major agricultural states of the plains, and lower MidWest, it generated tremendous updrafts, lifting entire farms into it's belly.
A Flour Mill in Kansas, Whoosh! Gone.
A dairy farm in Tennessee. Swept away.
65% of the egg-production capability of a small town in Ohio was lost when a poultry farm was sucked up.

The storm swept onward, across Pennsylvania and into New York and New England, dropping record amounts of precipitation on the region.
Headlines in all the papers afterward read the same:

Monster Storm System Batters Northeast!

Friday, January 23, 2004

YeeHaw! NASCAR Season Starts up This Weekend, Ain'T?
This strange ritual of watching people drive in circles is one more reason for me to feel intellectually superior to 97% of the residents of my county. I don't get it. One of the main attractions is the crashes right? Yet Heaven forbid a driver people like gets injured or killed in a crash.

3/4 of NASCAR fandom have somehow canonized Dale Earnhardt, Sr. I believe his first miracle was driving in a circle. The Second miracle of Dale was stopping a really fast car with nothing but his right foot.
The Third Miracle of Dale involved causing wine to spew forth on the masses gathered within a fabled "Winner's Circle". The other 1/4 of Nascar fandom have performed their own miracle. They have made an unlicensed character produce water simply by placing the number 3 next to it.

NASCAR. A Bunch of hicks driving in a continuous Left Turn, and not a one of them uses the left turn signal. Ironic isn't it? You put a bunch of Hicks on a long, straight stretch of Highway, and you can't get them to turn the damned left turn signal OFF!

So I started thinking about this while seeing the ads for the upcoming "SUBWAY 400" event. THis struck me as strange. Sure, Subway shops have spread faster than Starbucks outlets, particularly in the locales that have strong NASCAR fanbases. But does anybody care about NASCAR in cities where there actually is a real subway?
"Subway" sponsoring a NASCAR event is also ironic in that Auto Racing began as a competition between auto-makers, to determine who could build the better cars. Thus Auto-racing became a way to boost automobile sales, and get more cars on the roads, causing more traffic. The subway, however, was introduced to reduce the number of cars on the road, and provide relief from traffic.

It's all silly, just as is this entry. I guess I'll just never be a gearhead.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Have you seen the new Black & White M&Ms yet?

Of course you have. I first spotted these while i was doing the last rounds of my Christmas shopping, and bought a few bags. I'm tempted to play Go or Othello with 'em.

I bet Steve Ditko would love them. (That's a joke about his worldview concerning good & evil as stark absolutes, with no shades of gray.)

You could tell fortunes with 'em, or play a kind of "She loves me, She Loves me Not". Just pick a yes-or-no question you want answered, or a decision you need to make, and let the color of the last M&M in the bag be your guide. White for yes, Black for No, or vice versa if you would feel ethnic guilt associating black with a negative.

I even like the commercial for these. The one where Dorothy Gale wakes up at the end of "The Wizard of Oz", and all the M&M characters are in her bedroom, in Black & White. "...Oh Aunt M (funny funny!), i had the strangest dream, and you were there, and you , and you, abd you were all in color!..."

I almost did a spit-take the first time i saw it, when she called the one "Aunt M".

But last week I went to a movie, and had a pack of these in my pocket.

I was sitting in the theater munching on the M&Ms, when it hit me. Sitting there in the dark, eating my Black and White M&Ms, I realized that they taste the same as the colored ones. They'd also taste the same if they were in shades of gray. The flavor's not in the shell or the color. It's the chocolate and/or the peanut or peanut butter inside! That's what really matters.

I wondered if blind people care what color their M&Ms are. I wonder if anybody that ever did concert prep for Van Halen, and had to provide those bowls of M&Ms with all the orange, yellow, and brown ones removed, ever considered saving those unwanted candies for the next Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder concert. To a blind person, I bet all the M&Ms taste the same, except for that occasional one with a rotten peanut.

M&Ms aren't Skittles, after all. With Skittles, you can taste the rainbow. Blind people can taste the different skittles. Even the monochrome mint skittles, that are all different shades of blue, or green, have a subtle taste difference for each shade.

if they wanted to do Black & White Skittles, they'd have to take the flavors out, too. Maybe they could make the skittles Licorice and Vanilla for a limited time. Mmmm.

I wonder what Deaf and blind people think of Black and White M&Ms. Maybe they should explore a way to make the different colors of M&Ms make different sounds when you crunch them. They could vary the thickness of the shell, maybe. Or they could put that fizzpowder into the coating. It'd be funny if they could have random M&Ms make a fart noise when you bit them. Or a Howler Monkey or Kookaburra call.
Or the sounds of light sabers. George Lucas should have his FX wizards get to work now devising a way to make the M&Ms provide the sound effects for the next Star Wars film.

That would really show up those folks at Hershey. M&M/Mars could finally make up for letting Reese's Pieces be "E.T.'s Favorite Candy"

Yeah. That would be SWEET.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

So, will this be the year I finally send something in for the SPX anthology? I've been attending this convention for Small Press Comics artists since 1996, but I've never got around to submitting to their anthology. They have a theme this year of WAR.
That raises questions right away.
Do i do a pro-War Piece, and get ostracized by all the liberals in the arts community?
Do I presume that the editor is anti-war, and tailor my submission to try and get in the editor's graces?
Do I try and do a piece that has no tie to any current War situation, and avoid controversy?
Do i just say fuck-all! Damn The Torpedoes! and tell the story i want to, no matter its slant?

I'm probably leanig toward the last option. I have some ideas, but I don't know what kind of tone I'll take yet. Well, i have until June to work on it.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Sunday Snow.
falling, floating. blanket of white.
fog and rime on my window.
warm in here.
cold out there.
Falling pretty thick now.
It'd be pointless to shovel before the Game starts.
heh heh heh.

Once Again, it's MLK-Day Weekend, and it's snowing in PA. Racist's Delight. Nature making everything Whiter for MLK day. Did Somebody forget to send the memo to Gaea's Office?

We always get snow this weekend, and it's always more than the TV Weatherguy predicts. 1-2 inches they said. we had that much at lunchtime. We got that much last evening, but it changed over to rain overnight, and back to Snow around 10:30 this morning. Big Accreted flakes, falling straight down, with no wind.

I can tell it's been falling straight down without looking at the falling flakes. We have a 41-yr-old Maple Tree in our front yard, with large sprawling branches. There's a star pattern around the base of this tree, where the snow isn't as thick. When I first saw it today, I thought it was squirrel tracks, but then i noticed that the pattern has a spoke positioned directly under each branch of the tree. It's a snow shadow. Cool, in more ways than one.

We've already had one brief power interruption today, and it caused my system to reboot in mid-message, so I'm going to keep it short and power-down, and just enjoy football today.

Friday, January 16, 2004

I started a new project today. I'm going through all my CDs, playing them in RealPlayer, and saving my favorite tracks, if any into my Library. I figure if I do at least 3 CDs a day, I can get through my collection within a year. But the big question is, will I have enough room on my Drive to do it? Well, if alot of my collection is like the stuff I'm listening to today. Yeah.
I have a lot of records that were sent to me for review from 1995 thru 2000, or so, when I was doing the occasional reviews in my zines. But boy, do you get sent a lot of crap when you do reviews. Many of these records I filed away, and haven't listened to them since I reviewed them. I also have a lot of discs that I bought myself, and only listened to once or twice. Maybe I wanted a song for a mixtape or something, but thought the rest of the disc was crap (CIV comes to mind here.)

4 Non Blondes is a group in the latter category. I think i ordered this to fulfill a BMG music service requirement. Hey, I liked their song "What's Up?" I even remember seeing a few strippers dance to it back in the early 90s. Hence this song has lots of great memories associated with it. But there are maybe two other tracks on the disc that I would be bothered to want to listen to again. So why don't I load them on the 'puter, and open up a slot on my CD rack?
22 Jacks is a band in the former category. They were pulled along in the wake of Reel Big Fish, and Cherry Poppin' Daddies, and Blink 182, and the rest of the Vans Warped Tour. I used to get alot of discs like this from SIDE1Dummy records. Well, they did get better on the second record they sent me. While i didn't find anything on the first release ("Overserved") that I wanted to save, I am enjoying some of the tracks on the second disc of theirs that i have. ("Going North")
I don't know. Maybe I just looked at this wall of my room literally full of CDs and tapes and albums, and decided I should work towards living more portably. Maybe I won't have the luxury of Mom and Dad's basement forever. Maybe a job offer will come thru that requires me to move to Nevada. A move to another state nearby i could do easily. I could move my stuff in just a few trips. But a move more than halfway across the country would require some drastic parting of me and my stuff. i am a packrat by nature, and i have too many collections.
So. The CDs must be culled. That's the easy part. then i have to tackle the videotapes, Pez Dispensers, Candy tins, happy meal prizes, T-Shirts, sheet music, lunchboxes, action figures, DVDs, and Comic books.
Or i could go the easier route, and just buy a trailer now. Then when it's time to move, I can just hitch my house to the back of the car.
I hear it's easier to pick up lonely divorcees in a trailer, too.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

The Apprentice disgusts me. I sincerely hope that at some point in the show one of the losers will get mad and reach across the table and rip off Donald Trump's atrocious toupee. Why can't Trump afford a more Natural-Looking hairpiece? Somebody should venture that guy the capital to go down to Baltimore and visit Mr. Larry for a weave. Don't try to tell me it's not a hairpiece, either. There's no way a guy that wealthy would continue to patronize any barber or stylist that incompetent. Or is the secret to Trump's fortune that he does his own hair with a Flowbee?

So anyway, after a rather unsatiiiiiisfying episode of Friends tonight, I switched over to PBS and caught a documentary produced in Philly called Things That Aren't There Anymore. It was nostalgia for places like Connie Mack Stadium, and Willow Grove Amusement Park, and The Steel Pier, and Horn & Hardart, and Gimbel's etc.

It got me thinking about things from my own time that aren't there anymore. I can remember The Steel Pier in Atlantic City, too. But what I miss from old Atlantic City are Taber's Toys, The Planter's Peanut Store, and The Abracadabra Magic Shop. But I'm not going to wax nostalgic for those places, which I only visited twice while growing up. There are plenty of places here in my hometown of York, PA that aren't there anymore.

Wiiliam's Field was two little league baseball diamonds, tucked off of Roosevelt Avenue on the extreme western edge of York City, behind the Sylvania plant and the S&H Green Stamp Outlet, and The Acme Grocery Store. Those buildings are still there, But Sylvania is now OSRAM, The S&H store is now a Goodwill Outlet, and the Acme is now a drycleaner and a Runkle's Notary, Tag and Title service. But that magic place behind the buildings has been taken over by the quarry, and now houses an ash recycling facility whose tremendous mound of ash threatens the air quality of our neighborhood, and has become a bone of contention in recent elections.

Jacob L. Devers Elementary school, nestled snugly among the homes of York's Fireside and Continental Homes neighborhoods, was a benchmark for educational standards in the post-Eisenhour era. Many of the city's best and brightest students spent their K-5, or 6 years there. It had a paved playground that covered half an acre, adjoining a grass field with kickball/softball diamond that spread over another two thirds of an acre. As a 2nd grader, I can remember feeling tired by the time we trekked all the way out to the ball field, and then they expected us to play, too?
Once, at a recess back in 1969, a game of Comahead (similar to Bull Rush) got out of hand, and I got pushed head first into the brickwall of the schoolbuilding. The gash in my head required stitches, and I left my DNA sample on the pavement of the playground, right there by the corner of the library. For years, well into the mid-1990s, I could visit that spot on the playground and still pick out two small spots in the pavement where the stones were still colored red from my blood. But now they've expanded the classroom facilities, and the old paved playground has now been covered with new building. My marker has been dug up, and a patch of grass is planted there. That big ballfield has been cut back toless than half its old grandeur, to allow room for safe playground structures. I really don't feel a tie to this school anymore.
Another thing that isn't there anymore is the old empty field where all us neighborhood kids played. It stood on the south side of route 30, right on the edge of town, between Lancer Lane and Fairlane Dr. Much of the dirt excavated from the foundations of the Fireside neighborhood had been dumped in mounds on this field, and by the time I was old enough to ride a bike, these mounds had grown solid with brush and wild grasses, and some really cool bike trails wound all around the field, up and down the multiple hillocks. Often the boxes from large appliances installed in the Booming area of homes ended up in this field, the stuff of which many battleforts and clubhouses were made. Take a run across Fairlane to the dumpster behind Stan Stackhouse carpets, and you could find remnants to keep the dirt off your butt, and if you were lucky, you might get a big long cardboard tube that could become robot arms, or the muzzle of a tank, or what have you. Even the older kids enjoyed that field, if later at night, when the bushes along the Highway offered seclusion for making out.
Stan Stackhouse is still there, but in the 1980s somebody first graded the field flat and planted corn in that field for a few seasons. Then in 1985 they built a couple stripmalls, A Bob's Big Boy, and a KFC there.
Bob's is now a LoneStar Steakhouse, and most of the storefronts of the strip malls are on their third generation of tenants already.
Until a month ago i wondered where the kids in this neighborhood today went to make out. We found out on a snowy Sunday Morning in Early December. We were awakened by the Fire Engines. Apparently one of the abandoned homes on our street had become a party house, where teenagers were breaking in and meeting to drink, do drugs, and make out. It seems the kids got cold, and built a fire in the old abandoned fireplace, and left it smoldering after the party ended. At least we got our street plowed early so that the Fire Engines could get in, but that's one more place that isn't there anymore.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

My New Year's Resolution is to try to post to this blog every day....Damn!

I am Back. If the setting changes worked this blog is now titled "The Secret Life of Nobody Famous, Dammit!"

If not, It's still "What Goes on in My Mind". Why the change? Well, I'm more like Walter Mitty than Lou Reed, and I wanted to also bring the title of this space more in synch with my website.

I've been away for awhile, trying to limit my time on-line each day while i nursed my left eye back to health. The sore eye also kept me from drawing many new comics.
If I spent too long staring at a white piece of paper, or a monitor my eye would get red and inflamed, and go all out of focus on me.

Have you ever seen MonsterBoy? With that big inflamed eyeball? that was me.

I'm going to start spewing random thoughts here to get caught up since it's been almost two months since I posted here.

The Movie PAYCHECK was a fun ride, but the internal logic was all fucked-up, as it seems to always end up anytime Hollywood tries to adapt Philip K. Dick.
Let's face it. Hollywood can't adapt DICK.

..and what's with all the scar tissue on Uma Thurman's left cheek? The One on her face, people. I might have liked the movie better if they gave us that close a look at her other left cheek.

BIG FISH, on the other hand, was incredible. This is definitely the best Tim Burton film to date. A wonderful film, full of wondrous characters, that almost made me cry at the end. Unlike other Burton films with "fantastic" characters, the ones here aren't overbearing and forced like Nicholson's Joker, or DeVito's Penguin, or PeeWee Herman, or Beetlejuice. In Big Fish, the Giant, the Loup G'Arou, the Mermaid, the Siamese Twins, etc. all have a certain endearing charm, more like Edward Scissorhands. Watching Burton's earlier films, i'd often feel that Tim had been traumatized at the circus as a child. If that's the case, this is a more mature Tim Burton who has had therapy to get over those childhood fears. The result is a sublime film.

Allison Lohman is perfect as a younger Jessica Lange, too. I'd do her. Both of them.

I'm listening to a playlist I made on RealPlayer now of Driving tunes. My nephew just turned 16, and I wanted to give him an appropriate mixdisc, and i still have the tunes grouped on file, and I'm replaying them now. "Brand New Cadillac" by Wayne Hancock is playing now. mmmmm. also just heard "VooDoo Cadillac" by Southern Culture on the Skids. I kinda did a "cadillac" set. I have to start loading in all my Halloween and Monster songs. it would make compiling the next few "Howl-O-Ween" mixes alot easier.

Madness are doing "Driving in My Car" now. Okay. I put some silly stuff on the list, too.

I'm gonna log out now, I'd like to get some work done on my site tonite while i still have the eyes.