Thursday, September 29, 2005


A freind sent me this picture earlier today and when I saw it all I could think of was, "March of the Penguins II: The Band Man Cometh." Some days I hate my brain.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Caveman Reflex

The other day I was in the coffee bar heating up my lunch (Santa Fe chicken, for the curious) when one of the attorneys walked in the get a cup of ice. As the microwave is right above the ice machine, I was standing in his way. He politely asked me to move, and I did so, however before I moved I grabbed the roll of paper towels I was going to take to my office. I might have even given him a “these are my paper towels so back off or I’ll beat your butt” look as I got out of his way. It is important for you to understand that, should he have taken my paper towels, it would have taken little more effort for me to get another roll from the cabinet, which was amply supplied with them, as it did to grab them off the counter and protect them.

I imagine the scenario worked out something like this. A Neanderthal pops up on my left shoulder and tells me, in his basic grunty language, to grab my paper towels, smack the attorney over the head with them until he submits and then dance around the lounge screaming in a primal rage to let everyone else in the cave know that I was wearing the daddy loincloth now, bitches. A Cro-Magnon then pops up on my left shoulder and advises me, in his not quite as grunty language, to just let it be and to go paint something nice on the lounge wall; maybe a wooly mammoth or perhaps giant cave bear would go nice over that crappy painting of trees. Fortunately for the walls (and the tender head of the attorney) I chose the middle path and grab my paper towels like some Tolkienian troglodyte. Lucy, all three-and-a-half feet of her watching from the corner, shaking her head in disappointment and wondering, “Three point one-eight million years and this is what we get?”

BOOK REVIEW: The Constant Gardener

I finally got around to seeing “The Constant Gardener” last night after spending the last few weeks working through the book. I am not sure how to share my thoughts on the book and the movie with you since they are very different creatures which have the same story and central characters at their core. Both are the story of Justin Qualye, a rather nebbish career functionary in the British Foreign Office, investigating the murder of his young wife Tessa and the ramifications the investigation has for him on a personal level. To me the most fascinating facet of the story was how Justin gets to know a whole new side of his wife through his investigation. The narrative structure in the book had a very dreamlike disregard for time and thus the reader is introduced to events as they are important to the story rather than when they actually happened. At first this was disorienting for me, but once I figured out what was going on, I was hooked. I will not mislead you, this book was work. I am a fairly avid reader, and it took quite a bit of discipline for me to read through this novel, and make no mistake about the ending, while it is right for the story, it is not what I was hoping for.

I have not seen “City of God” so this was my first exposure to Fernando Meirelles’ work, and I have to say that I was very impressed. Meirelles was not afraid to pull out all of the tools in a filmmaker’s toolbox to covey the dreamlike quality of the narrative FAR better than I had hoped. It seems like every decision he made in this effort was the right one. From frantic and rough, documentary-like movement to the long, deliberate dutch angles, the camera work helped along the story without intruding. To the color palettes chosen for each location really helped the narrative along, with Europe being a dark, dank, lifeless collection of grays to Africa with its vibrate, primary palette that is almost washed out at times by the amount of light Meirelles allowed the camera to see.

Any complaints I have about the adaptation lay purely with the script. In the book there was a little more cloak and dagger going on than was apparent in the movie and I feel like the removal of this from the story made Justin appear to be a bit more of a victim of circumstances rather than being in control of them as he was in the novel. Of course part of this may have been part of what the film was trying to say, since ultimately Justin is a victim of circumstances in both versions of the story. I also have a problem with the Tessa character in the movie, where she seemed to be more abrupt and out of control than she seemed to be in the book. In particular this comes out in the scene where Justin and Tessa first meet. Justin is delivering a lecture about diplomacy and Tessa confronts him about Britain’s involvement in the current war in Iraq. She breaks down and seems to really loose it, and Justin tries to point out that she has a valid point. In the novel I remember Tessa not losing control and I think I like that Tessa a little better. All in all these are very minor quibbles and the adaptation from novel to screen is superior to many I have seen recently.

All in all I would recommend the book and movie, though I feel like this is one movie that should be seen on the large screen for all of Meirelles’ work to have its intended effect.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Rita You Tease

Like so many other women in my life, Rita turned out to be all talk and no tickle. I was even ready this time, but the fickle finger of fate guided her elsewhere. I like to think of it as divine justice for the death of James Byrd, Jr., but I suspect that is just me trying to find meaning in the chaos that is life. I ended up weathering the incredibly hot weather in College Station rather than trekking to Austin as originally planned. The Woodlands came through the storm just fine, and we didn’t even lose power until Entergy starting their rolling blackout crap, which took me by surprise as I was working on this post. Once I get my pictures processed I will post my experiences on the road as an evacuee as well as post a gallery of @$$holes who felt normal traffic rules need not apply and spent the day passing either on the grass shoulder or in oncoming traffic. Idiots. Like the guy in front of me wondered, “Where do they think they’re going?” Anyways, I have those posts lined up for you as well as my long over due review of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME and my review of THE CONSTANT GARDENER, which I have read and now hope to go see one night this week.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Well, my fair readers, I have just finished packing the car and I am about to head out of town.  I am intrigued by the idea of staying here and riding out the storm, particularly for those of you who have lived in The Woodlands, but I am not technically prepared to offer entries from the eye of the storm.  That being the case and since a close friend is having a house-warming party Saturday night, I am getting the heck out of dodge.

I will take my camera with me in an attempt to record my experiences on the road with all of the estimated 1 million people who are leaving the Galveston-Houston area.  I hope we are all overreacting to this and that the storm will take a sharper turn to the north than currently predicted, however I would rather all of us err on the side of safety.  For those of my friends that are holding tight, good luck and God bless!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I went to Wal Mart last night with the intention of sotcking up on some emergency essentials like water, canned food, dish soap, and a banana hanger. On the way to the Temple of the Dark Overloard of Consumerism I thought to myself, "James, bottled water is inefficient what you need are the five-gallon water bags that people sometimes use for camping." Fortunately I had one of the Guinness guys in the back of my head saying, "Bags of water? Brilliant!"

When I arrived at Wal Mart I was marginally surprised to see how full the parking lot was, but since I was used to this kind of nonsense at the Bryan Wal Mart, whose parking seems to be full 24-7, I thought nothing of it and stepped into the lion's den. I don't think I have ever seen such a varied cross-section of society all shopping at the same time. There were panic stricken soccer mom's, harassed husbands sent out into the night to forage for supplies, redneck families whose kid's were up past bedtime and a little freaked out by everything. I also discovered in the camping section, which more closely resembled the aftermath of a scouting tragedy, that everyone else had the same birlliant idea. Jerks. While perusing the aftermath of Hurricane Panicked Wal Mart Shopper to see if the hordes had missed anything (they most assuredly hadn't) and if there was anything I forgot to look for (if there had been it was gone) I noticed that all of the shelf space for Coleman gas and accessories was empty. This included the entire six-foot riser allocated to Coleman camping coffee pots. "Ah yes," I thought to myself, "hot coffee is really what I need to make Apocalypse Part Deux bearable."

I did eventually get my water, dish soap, and banana hanger, however I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and chose not to fight the crowd in the canned foods aisle. I have some cans of food at the casa and will do some exploratory shopping later today, but if push comes to shove, I hear roasted cat tastes like chicken.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Britney Has PMS

Now I have heard some stupid baby names in my time, including one lady who wanted to name her daughter Chlamydia because “…it sounded like a kind of flower.” However Britney Spears and the worthless piece of unshaven flesh to which she is married have upped the ante in the name war. Besides the name Preston Michael Spears Federline being a bit of a mouthful it is a fairly benign name. In days past the name Preston might get your ass kicked, but anymore people have much worse names, and I am sure being the Spawn of Spears will spare this kid some grief (and open whole new cans of worms for him to deal with). It is his initials that I am wondering about. P.M.S. Federline? Are you kidding me?!?!?

RollerCoaster Nazis

Sometimes what is happening in your life and what is happening in the world can make amazing parallels.  When my grandfather passed away last year it was eerie to look back at some of the things that had happened on his land in the preceding six months.  It was almost as if the land knew the king was dying and therefore some of the things he had built for us were crumbling away.  I wrote about this a little in my poem “The Swing Tree” but I do not know if the connection is clear or not.

Recently I have moved back to The Woodlands, the town where I spent most of my young life.  With this there has come a small flood of nostalgia as I reconnect with some of my old haunts.  Most of them are gone, washed away by the hand of progress, but this was brought in to sharp relief by a recent article in the Houston Chronicle announcing that Astroworld will close at the end of this season and the land will be sold to developers.  There are a myriad of reasons this is being done, and I certainly don’t blame Six Flags Inc. for doing it as there were many problems with the park, not the least of which was the current fight with the county over parking space at the Reliant Center.

All that aside, the news was a bit of a shock to me and when I first read the article I was hoping it was some sort of bad joke.  While I was not an Astroworld habituĂ© and have grown to generally dislike amusement parks as I have gotten older, when I was a kid Astroworld was always something to aspire to.  It was the site of many birthday parties and summer church trips.  The place where I finally learned to not be scared and rode a roller coaster for the first time, and many times since.  In my small world Astroworld took on a greater significance than just that of an amusement park.  It was a strange land crowded with all sorts of forbidden and rare pleasures that you could only touch for a brief time.  It was the exotic and unexplored land just beyond the horizon.  A Timbuktu.  A Shangri-La of strange delights.

Even as I grew older and the park lost its mythic sheen, I still enjoyed seeing the park.  I would be driving on 610 and you would always know when you were getting close to Astroworld.  You could see the coasters rising above their cement counterparts.  It always brought a smile to my face and while I am certain we will soon have a replacement located somewhere in the surburbs (Six Flags Over Katy?  The Woodlands Land?) there is something sad in the thought that Astroworld will no longer be there; that a place which brought so many people some joy will now be torn down and parceled out, gobbets of meat to the maw of commercialism.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Disturbing Revelations

Is it sad that I always thought Herbie Hancock was just a marginally funny throw away line in “Tommy Boy” and did not know he was a real person until I saw one of his CDs in a display in Starbucks today?

I feel like a bad person, particularly when I looked him up on Wikipedia (thank you, Saint Isidore of Seville and Al Gore) and found out how influential he had been in jazz and experimenting with the fusion of acoustic and electronic instruments and that he was involved with the likes of Miles Davis and Theolonious Monk (who happens to have the coolest musician name in the history of the world and if I ever have a Theolonious Monk tribute band I want to call it Felonius Monk.) I feel I am very close to having what little music geek cred I have taken from me.

Rockin the Vote

Since someone mentioned they liked everything about my blog except the book reviews, I am thinking about starting a second blog where I would put my book reviews, discuss movies, music and the like.  What do you guys think?  Let me know either via comments or email.  Thanks!

My Surreal Life

I was driving home from another ill-advised spending spree at Best Buy when this guy in a convertible pulled off the freeway in front of me.  As I was passing him I saw some weird, misshapen lump in the passenger seat.  As I pulled past I realized it was a shaven head!  Because I am obsessed with midgets I thought it was a LP.  Then I passed and realized it was just a kid.

A few minutes later I was sitting in line at the Wendy’s drive through and I started thinking about what I had just seen.  I thought to myself, “You know, if I had a midget I would buy a nice old convertible so we could drive around in it and his little bald pate could mess with people’s minds.  Something with fins, a ‘50s era convertible, or maybe a ‘40s roadster all tricked out with a flame job and good rims.  That would be cool”

Dinner with Dad

On occasion I have mentioned my dad on here but I have never really discussed our relationship in any depth.  I am sure I will at some point, but suffice to say there was a long period in my life where I hated my dad.  I can immediately call to mind a couple of instances where he did things that seem, even in retrospect, malicious.  Ultimately he ended up kicking me out of house and making me strive to live on my own.  To be completely fair I more than deserved it, however at the time I could not see that and there was a period of about eighteen months where we did not talk and I only spoke with my mother sparingly.

Over the past several years my relationship with him has undergone a renaissance of sorts.  As I have gotten older, and a little more mature, I think he has come to view me as an adult and thus he can relate to me in a different way.  This is not to say I do not still depend on him for help from time to time, however things have gone from where I could not be in the same house with him to being civil to being as affectionate as I have ever seen my father.  One of the developments in our renewed relationship is that we go to dinner.  This is not on a regular basis but it works out to be about once a month during the school year (my dad is a professor and lives near school during the week and then goes back home, about three hours away, on the weekends and for most of the summer) and here and there over the summer.  I have come to cherish these dinners as not only a free meal, but as a time to really connect with my dad; a chance to start to learn who he is, to learn what makes him tick.

Tonight was the first chance we have had to have dinner since I moved back to The Woodlands.  We drove around for a little bit to check out where we used to live before going to dinner.  We were going to go to Fuddruckers, however when we snuck into the conference center to check out Lake Harrison, he decided we needed to eat at The Glass Menagerie.  Now, for those of you unfamiliar with The Woodlands which I imagine is pretty much everyone reading this, The Glass Menagerie is THE hoighty toighty place to eat in The Woodlands.  In the fifteen years I lived in The Woodlands, I only have vague memories of going there once, which happened when I was very young and even then I had to wear a jacket and tie.  It was a place I had always wanted to go, but I was certain it was far too classy a joint for me as well as being WAY too expensive.

Both my dad and I were dressed in business casual and I was certain that we would not be seated, however for some reason or another we actually got a table and had the single most pleasant meal I have had in my life.  The food was excellent, the view was very nice, and the atmosphere was great.  We were one of two tables in the restaurant and the staff was attentive without being pushy.  This allowed my dad and I to talk, I mean really talk.  We talked about bars and friends and drinking and New Orleans and how the new architecture building at PVAMU is one of the most poorly designed buildings in the history of the world.

During dessert and after dinner drinks (Drambuie, of course), when we were settling into the companionable quiet that sometimes follows our meals he said something to me that almost made me cry.  I don’t remember his exact words, though I wish I did because he can be very eloquent at times, but in essence he told me how he could tell a difference between me today and me in College Station.  It was like someone took off my backpack and I was standing up.  That I had grown up.  He told me how happy he was to see me this way.

I think the reason this hit me so hard is partially due to the horrible relationship we had while I was growing up, but more so because I have always wanted to make him, and my mom, proud.  I wanted to be worthy of all the love and care they have lavished on me over the years despite our differences and problems.  For a long time I have felt like I was a disappointment.  I did not do great in high school and then settled for going to University of Houston instead of applying for more serious schools (my father, uncle, and grandfather all graduated fromYale).  At UH I was not an academic all-star, lost my scholarship, and then dropped out of school.  Then I turned in to a real crap weasel.  When I look back at a lot of the things I have done in my life, I don’t have a lot to be proud of, let alone many things to make my parents proud.  Tonight was the first time he said something spontaneous that indicated he was proud of what I had made of my life.

Monday, September 12, 2005

No Rest for the Wiggly

This weekend a friend of mine had a party to celebrate the release of her first instructional DVD. Being the kind soul that I am, and not having anything else to do this weekend, I volunteered to help her set up for the party, and then ended up playing bartender all night. I had a lot of fun, but the real reason I am writing about this, besides to give Sahira a plug or two, is because there were an awful lot of dancers there and therefore more than just a little dancing.

I am always fascinated by dancers; by the amount of control they have over their bodies. Whether the motion is abrupt or fluid, they always move with determination and grace, and seem to have a preternatural connection with the space they occupy. This fascination extends beyond dancers to practitioners of martial arts, particularly the more fluid Chinese forms, dancers seem to capture my imagination more than fighters do. I suspect it has something to do with the connection a good performer will establish with the audience.

I wonder what the root of this interest is. Are men just hard wired to find this attractive? Is it because feel like a spastic, bumbling galoot who is always just one second away from a tragic failing in coordination? Who knows, all I know is I got to see some good dancing this weekend. God bless those crazy, shoeless girls.

Star Wars Memories

I was reading a couple of blog entries elseblog that got me thinking about Star Wars in a very nostalgic way. I have no memory of seeing the first movie in the theaters, though I reasoned that I must have since when I saw Empire and Jedi, both of which I have vague memories of seeing in the theater, I knew the characters and was cognizant of what had happened to set up the action in those two films. My first memory of Star Wars is waking up in my parent’s bed, and there, on the bedside table, were all of the action figures from the movie. That is it. I don’t remember my reaction or anything else, just that they were there, staring at me, ready to be played with.

My dad had been out of town when the movie came out and it was his custom to pick up something for me while he was gone. (At least it was before my brother and sister came along and ruined that gig. Thanks guys.) I am not sure where he went to get them, or even if he intended to get them for me when he went shopping, but I know that he caught the guy stocking the shelves and ended up digging through the box so he could get the complete set for me.

According to my mom I went to see Star Wars at least three times. She took me while my dad was out of town, and I managed to ruin that by having to go to the bathroom right at the end of the movie (I do not know if this happened before or after I gave in to my inner rock star and peed on the Smithsonian or not) therefore she had to take me to see it a second time. Then when my dad returned from his trip he had to take me to go see it so he had an excuse to be in the theater. You know, now that I think about it, my dad used me as an excuse for a lot of things. For example, as a child he always wanted a big red fire truck, and therefore when he had a kid he went out and bought me a big red fire truck. Huh. If I had a therapist they could have all sorts of fun with this line of thinking.

Anyway, I got thinking about this back during the pre-Episode I hype and asked my dad to go to see Episode I with me on opening night in the hopes that we could share something that linked back to one of the few happy moments I remember sharing with my dad when I was young. Sadly, but understandably, he declined to go with me. Even though we did not make a new Star Wars memory that night nothing can take that morning in Virginia away from me. Thanks dad.

Trouserus Snakeus Indus

I did not want to put any controls on the comments section of this blog. I thought I would leave it open to anyone who felt the need to say anything, however some jack nut decided to start leaving comments that have the distinct smell of spam. Within minutes of creation, my Moments of Irony entry had the following comment:

Anonymous said...

The InformationWeek Blog
San Francisco Chronicle columnist David Lazarus noted last week that, a search engine for personal information both sensitive and mundane, plans this Thursday to roll out a blogging service.
A very tasteful and informative blog.

Why not come to ourcad drafting service site that contains interesting aspects on the subject of cad drafting service?

Thanks a lot and have a great day!

First off, bite me, biatch! What in the world makes you think I would be interested in your CAD drafting service site? Above and beyond that, why would I want to deal with a CAD service located in the scenic and easily accessible metropolis of Chennai? Where the heck is Chennai, anyways? (In 1996 Madras, India, became Chennai, India. I suppose they were either jealous of the Turkish affinity for name changing, or perhaps they wanted in on the map-changing action brought about by the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.) I could blame shannenigans for this, what with her architecturalness and all, but I suspect she had nothing to do with this and it is just some creepy coincidence.

Be that as it may, I am irritated that I have been forced to turn on some security on my comments. I am going to send the company an email detailing how someone associated with their firm felt the need to crap up the comments section of my blog with bad advertisements for their business and see where this goes. I think it is time I had a little fun with these people, and thus I sent them the following email:

Dear Sirs:

It distressed me to find that someone associated with your firm felt the need to use the comments section of my blog ( as an advertising vehicle (the specific comment can be viewed at While I am sure that my service provider ( has some guidelines regarding commercial use of their site, I am personally offended by this attempt to co-opt my personal space on the web for commercial advertising. I have taken the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future, should the method being used to post comments be automatic, and while there are steps I can take to prevent an actual person from doing this, I would prefer to not raise the security level required to post comments. Please do not force me to do this or pursue this matter any further.

Sincerely yours,

J. Wood

It appeared that their little "Contact Us" email form on their website did not work. We shall see.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I Once Caught A Fish...

I saw this picture in an article discussing NATO asistance to the US in the aftermath of Katrina and I couldn't help but laugh. It is nice to have a maturity level approximating my shoe size.

Self Realization Stinks

I was reading a typically frantic fanboy debate/collection of ad hominem attacks about comics vs. manga and whether manga are comics and whether the current manga explosion will “save” comics, and I was really enjoying the discussion/flame war, when I stumbled across the following, courtesy of Patrick O’Neill at the Mild Mannered Reporter:

In five years, the currently burgeoning manga sections in bookstores will dwindle to two or three shelves…and the titles on the specialized anime racks in places like Suncoast Video will merge back in with science-fiction or animated titles. The boomlet of interest in Japanese graphic culture will have died.

Now take a moment to imagine me uttering a Malcolm Reynolds-esque “Huh” of wonderment at this statement.

Initially my inner fanboy raged against this and I was all set to launch into an ad hominem attack on Mr. O’Neill and the, what I perceive as, ignorance of his statement, however as I was writing my piece (or is that peace?) I had a moment of clarity which I would like to share with you.

I have been on the fringes of anime fandom for more years than I care to admit (twenty is a nice round number that may only fall short by a couple of years.) By the time Robotech came around in 1985, I was already animexperienced, having been a fan of Battle of the Planets and Star Blazers, and I was hungry for more. The broadcasting of Robotech coincided with me becoming more aware of the wider world and then IT happened. I went to a comic convention with a friend, and, much like the sign in that Ace of Base classic, it opened up my eyes. There was so much out there, and so much of it was impossible to get. Then my friend moved to the San Francisco bay area and discovered a video store where you could rent anime. We watched Bubblegum Crisis, Appleseed, and Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack without subtitles or knowing more than five words of Japanese. It didn’t matter. It was glorious! Along with our interest, fandom was growing, and there were eventual commercial ventures like U.S. Renditions and AnimEigo that began releasing a trickle of subtitled anime titles each year. Of course you couldn’t really find these titles in video stores, so we would have to buy them. We got older, fandom matured, and while a couple more companies got in to the swing of things, fandom took up the subtitling flag. Soon we were getting fan-subbed copies of TV shows and movies from around the U.S. (One of my favorite groups was named the Greater Chicago MegaZone) We started to attend anime-specific conventions, rather than haunting the anime screening rooms at the non-specific cons. The market continued to grow and thus more and more companies were entering the fray. ADV and Central Park Media came around about this time. More manga titles were becoming available with Eclipse and Viz pushing that sector of the market. Studio Proteus was providing translations. Now you would occasionally find an anime title at the local video store. It was an infrequent occurrence, but it was slowly becoming more and more common. Things continued in this manner, with anime and manga slowly working their way in, and then the Sailor Moon explosion happened. Suddenly the market was a ravenous beast, devouring everything anime and manga that was thrown at it. This explosion continued with the Dragonball and Pokemon phenomena, and to be honest it really hasn’t let up. Basically I have seen anime go from be a very specialized corner of sci-fi fandom to being very widely accepted.

Now, I told you all of that to tell you this. When I was in high school several friends and I would frequent the local Star Trek conventions. We were WAY into Star Trek and due to the recent premier of Star Trek: The Next Generation, fandom was enjoying a renaissance. Inevitably at these conventions you would run into the old-time fan. The old-time fan would always tell you how rough fandom was in the old days. You heard stories of gathering in dorm rooms to watch Star Trek, or the cherished collections of BetaMax tapes, or watching 8mm reels of Star Trek bloopers. It was amazingly irritating after the first couple of times.

Now, I told you that to share this moment of clarity. Back when I was going to the Star Trek conventions and the old-time fan would get started on their trail of tears, I would be thinking to myself, “Sweet Jebus man, let it alone,” and, “I never, ever want to be THAT guy.” As I was writing my response to Mr. O’Neill’s opinion I realized I am THAT guy. Damn, I need a drink.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My New Favorite Sports Headline

While running down an old story about Jeremy Roenick running off at the mouth (here), I saw this headline and I thought to myself, "Poor girl, do her shoes not fit?" Then I realized that it said Clijsters and not blisters. I then thought, "Poor girl, can't you get a shot to clear that right up?" Then I thought, "Mmmmm, Sharapova."

I am all that is man.

Watch and be Amazed the speed at which James can go from indignation to hypocrite!

I have to confess that after complaining about people taking the elevator for two measly floors, I did the exact same thing on Thursday. The stairwell I was in ended on the first floor and I had to get down to the second level of the basement in order to access the tunnels. My meager defense is that I had just taken the stairs from the thirteenth floor all the way down to the first because the elevators had decided not to come to the thirteenth floor, and I had no idea where to find a stairwell with tunnel access.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Fat Man Tax

So after my first week in the office, I came to the realization that my business casual wardrobe was in dire need of an update.  For the most part it consisted of UCS shirts and white button-ups.  Clearly the UCS shirts were not going to cut the mustard at the new office, even if they were in good condition, which they were not.  The white button-ups are okay, but I have not seen anyone else wear one in two weeks, and the couple of times I have worn them with my dark slacks, I felt too dressed up.

This means it is time for a shopping trip.  I have a love/hate relationship with clothes shopping.  On the one hand I want to have a cool and varied wardrobe, but on the other hand I am a large man and therefore shopping can be difficult.  To be honest, shopping is often an exercise in embarrassment for me, particularly when I take someone with me.  None of the “cool” stores have clothes that would remotely fit me (I keep thinking about going into Abercrombie & Fitch and seeing if I can actually bust some buttons in protest) and regular stores are spotty at best.  For example, on my most recent shopping expedition I was only able to find two stores that had pants in my size.  This is not an uncommon occurrence.

I am somewhat resigned to having to shop at clearance outlets and the Big and Tall stores to find pants, shirts, however, are another kettle of fish.  I still have to find the “tall” shirts, which are more and more difficult to find outside of Target and Wal-Mart, but it can be done.  What really bugs me about this is that most places charge a $2 premium on what are euphemistically referred to as extended sizes.  I like to think of this premium at the “Fat Man Tax.”

Is it not humiliating enough that I am forced to frequent Wal-Mart and Target for clothing?  Must you force me to pay the tubby tariff?  I would understand if little people (I do not mean midgets and dwarves specifically, but rather people that wear small or extra small shirts) got a discount.  I understand that more material must be used when constructing coverings for my porky butt, but if that is why they were charging me more, shouldn’t people whose clothes require less resources be charged less?  At least then it wouldn’t just be hating on the fat man.

(Oh yeah, and would it kill you to make the somewhat goofy, yet cool t-shirts you sell in extended sizes?  I always see t-shirts I want, but can’t buy because the t-shirt factory in Bangladesh cannot comprehend the man of XXXL proportions.)

Missing In Link Land

A couple of days ago I added a few blogs to the links section of my page. Somehow I completely forgot to add Dave's Long Box, another comic blog, and quite frankly my favorite comic-related read at the moment. He started a series of postings on what he calls "Boob War" comics on August 28th and, with the exception of discussing his colonoscopy and Katrina, he has provided some very funny commentary on breast-centric comics. His witty and sagacious posts are well worth the read for both the comics reader and the uninitiated. Go check him out.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Meme or Meme

Memes. Since I first started to read blogs, which only predates the birth of this blog by a few months, I have been seeing these things referred to as memes. Due to the “Ohhh! Ohhh! Look at me! Look at me!” nature of the memes I have seen, I wondered if the name meme somehow referred to memory or if it was a play on the pronoun me. I decided the only thing to do was consult that modern Oracle of Apollo, Wikipedia, and find out what the out of work psychology majors (usually it is history majors, but not this week) had written there for my perusal.

At first the Meme article seemed a bit more high-brow than the information I was after. Self-propagating units of cultural evolution? What, like when Moon Unit Zappa decides to have a music career? Any piece of information passed from one mind to another? Huh? This either means that everything we learn from an outside source is a meme OR they can only be shared through some sort of Vulcanesque mind-link, and while I read a lot of fiction and I am not the biggest fan of reality, I am down to Earth enough to be fairly certain we cannot, yet, directly connect mind-to-mind (although I admit, twins can be FREAKY.) And then they cleared everything up for me by pointing out that the term has come into popular use to describe internet phenomena such as the “All your base are belong to us” bit of Engrish silliness and other such things. So while a meme is all the high-brow things mentioned above, including anything not learned through experience, it is also those irritating surveys in which people tell you their favorite color (blue) and favorite drink (an even tie between Guinness and a Snakebite). I solemnly swear to keep the instances of those memes to a minimum here.

Lazy Amerikans!

I had a chuckle-worthy encounter in the elevator in my parking garage this morning that I thought was worth sharing. As I was riding the elevator down to the basement (I park on the 13th floor and the tunnel access for the garage is in the second basement) the elevator stopped at the 5th floor to admit two ladies. They got on and then one of them pressed the button for the 3rd floor, which prevented the other one from having to do the same thing. The 3rd FLOOR!

Now I will admit to being a lazy git. It is part of what makes me, me, however this took a special kind of laziness. And there were two of them doing the same thing independent of one another! Come on people! Two flights of stairs? Two. And this morning it was in the 70's when I made it to the office, a fairly nice morning for Houston in early September.

I honestly do not know why this bugs me, besides that they were wasting my oh-so precious time, but it really got me going this morning. F*&^ing yuppies.

Shameless Plug

In support of the paperback release of his first novel, HOW I PAID FOR COLLEGE, Marc Acito is going to be making appearances in the following towns:

  • Bryn Mawr, PA - Sept. 12th
  • New York, NY - Sept. 13th
  • Boston, MA - Sept. 14th
  • San Francisco, CA - Sept. 15th
  • Portland, OR - Sept. 30th
You might ask yourself, "Who is this Marc Acito kid?" and "Why do I care?" My response would be, "Read my post from August 9th, you twit! Get with the program!"

Honestly, the book is a really good read, and Marc is a very nice guy (as far as I can tell.) He stumbled across my review and sent me a very kind note.

Moments of Irony

Last week I was on a mission to track down SUPER #1 ROBOT (which I have previously plugged on here as it features the photography of an old friend) and thus was checking out the local Barnes & Nobels, Bookstops, and Borders. While I was walking through the parking lot of the Borders on Kirby, I was almost run down by some maniac in his Audi. I made a vaguely obscene gesture and muttered, “F*&^ing yuppie!” under my breath and walked in to the store. In the midst of the Thrillers section, searching for a trade paperback of Le Carre’s THE CONSTANT GARDENER, I happen to look down and comtemplate my attire. Here I was in my Rockports, Dockers, and Polo and I had the gall to call someone a “F*&^ing yuppie!” Wake up and smell the commute, or is that hypocrisy, buddy, you’re there. I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or cry.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Links II - Electric Boogaloo

Well, it has been over a month since I updated my links section of the ol' blog, so I thought I would go ahead and add a couple more to the blog roll and continue to put off putting any other links in here for at least another week. Anyways, the three newest members of my blog roll are:
  1. Garrulous? This is from a high school friend of mine who recently discovered the Opiate of the Masses and started to email me. In one of his emails he stated that he desired to start writing again and I not to gently encouraged him to start. Thus his blog was born. In his first post he asks the most important question about writing, "When do the royalties start pouring in, Wood?" Let me assure you Jack, they don't. You have to make all your money on the up front sale since everybody and their brother gets a piece of the action on the back end. The advance is where the writer makes the lion share of the money, well that and appearance fees, if you can command a decent price on the lecture circuit. (Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, according to garrulous means given to excessive and often trivial or rambling talk; tiresomely talkative. I guess it could have been a REALLY good name for this blog, damn you Jack.)
  2. Sun of Gelatometti. I am fascinated by the rare opportunity to glimpse the life of a person whose work I admire and respect, and this blog offers me that opportunity in spades. The Sun of Gelatometti is ostensibly Jim Lee's blog, however he shares it with several other artists, all of whom post fairly regularly and often offer some insist into the pieces they are sharing with us. Why, you might ask, would I care about Jim Lee? Who is this Jim Lee character anyways? Well, when I started reading comics again back in the mid 90s, Jim Lee and the whole Image (there is also an interesting article here) crew were just hitting their stride. Since then he has become one of my favorite comic book artists, particularly his work on the "Hush" story in the Batman comics.
  3. Fanboy Rampage. This guy does an amazing job of surfing the comic-related news and discussion sites and then shares it here. I don't know what else to say except that I have seen comments from several high-profile comics creators on the site AND the comments range from the sublime to the ridiculously off-topic and funny.
Once again I promise to add more links, primarily non-blog links, in the near future, but till then, I hope you guys have fun with this. Now I am off to fight this cold. Grrr.

Some Days III

Last night I was once again listening to 94.5 to find out how they were doing on their Hurricane Katrina Request-athon and during the 15 minutes I was listening, one man called up an donated over $7000 to get the radio station to its goal of $500,000. I believe the initial goal was $250,000, which they reached around 11pm Thursday night. At that point they decided to keep going and in less than 23 hours they raised an additional $250,000.

As was pointed out to me, other groups in the Houston area are doing their share as well. KHOU (Channel 11) had a phone-a-thon where they raised $6 million for the Red Cross, although $2 million of that came from Shell. Additionally I have heard that at the Astrodome all of the volunteer shifts have been covered and they have actually had to turn volunteers away.

It is nice to live in a town where things like this can happen.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Sharks in the Water!

I just got this via A Perfectly Cromulent Blog and because I am a partial misanthrope, it made me chuckle.
Bull shark seen on i-10 service rd in metairie.

While I would like to point out that bull sharks have been reported as far up the Mississippi as Illinois, it sounds like the situation in New Orleans is rapidly becoming a SciFi channel original movie.

Some Days II

The drive in this morning was an up and down affair for me with regards to the news about Katrina. I was, once again, listening to 94.5 to see how their Hurricane Katrina Request-athon was going. As of this morning they had raised over $134,000 which is going to the American Red Cross relief efforts. When I heard that number I was amazed. One radio station in one town was able to raise that much money in about 27 hours. Again, I was really proud of my hometown for coming through in a crunch.

Then as the morning wore on the DJs started talking about how the planned evacuation of the people from the Superdome to the Astrodome had been postponed because of problems they were having at the Superdome. Gangs of people with guns were preventing others from getting on the buses and apparently some trouser snake felt the need to take a couple of shots at a helicopter. The Houston Chronicle has an article about it here. What are these morons thinking? I think I am getting to not like humanity again.