Original Radioactive Jam

Just a dollop, on a donut with SPAM® Spread* ==>==>==> We've moved!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dealing With Mild Disappointment

expecting this, I was
If I do-over and get a higher score I might update this post.
I am nerdier than 90% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!
They have other fun tests, too:
What is your weird quotient? Click to find out!
Me, compared to 3000+ other people who wanted to know their WQ:
11% are more weird,
3% are just as weird, and
86% are more normal than you!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The End Of Mr. Jam's Wild Ride

but befooore we begin
(Yet another interlude)
If we were writing this tale as a trilogy, this portion would be the Gy. Loosely translated from the original Syllablese, Gy means “last bit.” Here’s a tip from our friendly AardGeek: when reading Syllablese one should be careful to not confuse Gy with gy (translation: “lice beet”). Confusion is common and understandable; it’s also the state in which we maintain our primary residence. For the most part this works well for us: we’re empowered! to wear our best inscrutable smile despite the ubiquitous lice beet infestation.

If you’ve read the first two segments you might mentally leapfrog us during this interlude and conclude, “Must be those monkeys again.” Good guess! but no. Seriously, a million monkeys? What were you thinking? If you haven’t yet read Parts One and Deux, now would be a good time to do so (just scroll down or look around). If you finish them and find your eyes still able to hold focus and/or your neurons able to re-form from the mush that was your brain, read on.

(Yes another interlude for crying out loud)
Our astute reader will note we never actually quantified the monkey cadre in our previous post. To you we offer our most sincere Attaperson! and say, “Thanks for paying such close attention to our words. Perhaps now is a good time to seek professional help.” For our other reader, it’s time to close the browser before the stupor takes for the long overdue awaited conclusion of Mr. Jam’s Wild Ride.

One more thing: this part is different. If you’re expecting the usual light and fluffy, you might want to revise your expectations. Not to worry, it ain’t Murder Inc. or anything. It is however a true story, and therefore carries some of reality’s unpleasant baggage.
* * *
Fortunately there’s not much to tell about a dorm room overrun by cockroaches. If it had been a lice beet infestation, that’d be a different story (Mmmm, lice beets), but it wasn’t. Besides, if you’ve seen one roach you’ve seen them all. Well maybe you haven’t; we did. Definitely a night to forget, which I pretty much have, which is why I’m skipping to the next day and our attempt to “get back to where (we) once belonged.”

Homeward bound, somehow back in Michigan, near the interstate but off the path so to speak. We didn’t want to get arrested as (1) vagabonds or (2) interstate highway pedestrians, so we tried to hitch a ride at the start of a highway entrance ramp. Good news – no sign of Suicidal Tendencies or his Mustang. Bad news – no sign of any vehicle for looong periods of time.

Line from an old text-based computer game: “It is not so easy to open this tin. You stop opening the tin.” At that point in the game I usually starved to death, though I sometimes died in more interesting ways. “The Kobold hits…you die…” etc. Four hours, we spent waiting for a car to stop for us. Considering how we were traveling from Elsewhere to Nowhere, we might have anticipated these slim pickings in the free ride department. Instead we got Slim Pickens’ evil stunt double, masquerading as an unmarked state cop.

Borrowing a device from one of my favorite authors, I offer you two versions of what happened that day. In the first version, the fake cop was actually a space alien, a real-deal ET. The cruiser was a cruiser, only it wasn’t your garden variety domestic vehicle. Once the alien had us inside, it put us under some kind of spell. I remember little of what followed; some eerie, off-planet place where we were ordered out of the cruiser. Unable to argue or resist we left the relative safety of the cruiser and entered some kind of alien laboratory.

Memory really falters now. Broken, dreamlike images of two guys undergoing some type of…procedure, performed by the alien who captured them. Little remains in my mind of the procedure itself, though I think it’s safe to say it involved the requisite probes and orifices. After a period of time we found ourselves alone together, near the highway though not at the same place we last remembered. The alien and its cruiser were nowhere in sight.

We walked for a while, not speaking of our recent experience, no longer interested in taking rides from strangers. When we tired of walking and agreed to try thumbing another ride, we managed to get the attention of a for-real state cop, complete with marked car and flashing lights. We did not share our story with him, but opted to take his suggestion, leave his highway and not return. This seemed a better choice for keeping ourselves out of jail (and keeping Things out of us).

Strange experience…when I saw the flashing lights I felt a sudden, excruciating pain in an unexpected region, and almost lost my ability to stand. Then Denial asserted itself and I recovered. Mostly.

We walked for miles, through the night and into the next morning. Then we decided we were Done, called in a favor for a ride from a friend and went home. The end.

The second version is similar to the first. The fake cop was just a fake cop, and we were just too naïve to question his authority. When he started talking about cavity searches, Naiveté found strength in Denial. When he left the highway for a deserted wooded road, Denial became shrill and assertive while Reason turned to Dismay. When he ordered us out of the car and told us to face away from him…well. I split, took an emergency trip to my Fortress Of Solitude, a place like Superman’s, a massive refuge made of ice and hidden a thousand miles away from any other human. I wouldn’t see my friend there, but I think he didn’t stick around either for what followed on that deserted road.

To this day I can honestly say I don’t know exactly what happened, what the fake cop did. The little I do remember is more than enough.

So, dear reader – which version do you prefer?

I moved away and lost contact with the friend. Through a Whatever Happened To conversation I heard he died; we were never close so I won't be writing him a letter. I haven’t hitch-hiked since that trip, and most likely never will again. Something I can live without, eh.

We teach our children these things: respect authority, but do not blindly trust authority. If something seems wrong, it probably is wrong and it doesn’t matter how authoritative the wrong-doer is. Tell someone else. Don’t be passive, fight – fight hard, as if your life depended on it. Maybe most important is the lesson I failed to heed: don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation.


The end for real this time.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Mr. Jam's Wild Ride Around A Book Meme

think thank thunk
Hey got any interluuds, man? Uh...what? No sir I do NOT get the reference, and have no idea why I typed it. Could be some latent, normally suppressed alter-ego. On the other hand, I have different fingers. Wow, so do you! Gaaah Spinning… out… of… control… whap!

Not sure if this is G.Lo’s fault or Carol’s, and – let’s face it – finding answers to deep existential questions involving virtually untraceable causality is normally left as an exercise to the reader. In the previous sentence, the root word “normal” is used as a reminder of something you’re not likely to see anywhere in this post. Buh-bye!

Book meme? Or Wild Ride Part Deux? Which one should I post? Suddenly, a light-bulb goes off in my head, which thanks to the typically low wattage had very little effect. Yes, the – no. It’s No, the freight train of thought – maybe it is yes. I’m almost never sure. Either way the freight train of thought kept right on sitting there on the tracks, baking in the Floriduh summertime sunshine, internal temperatures pushing 140 degrees F (60 degrees C for our enlightened reader). Must have been the vinyl mental furniture set out-gassing, or maybe just ordinary fumes, but suddenly I realized: I don’t have a million typewriters to keep all these monkeys busy. So? I’ll let them sort this out, I’m going to bed. Good-night. Buh-bye!

(Interlude Part Deux)
This is the second part of an apparently multi-part post. If you're like, an in medias res kind of reader, feel free to continue. Otherwise, scroll down the page for the first part.

You might recall our destination was Elsewhere, Indiana, a fine college town where my friend’s sister lived. Then again you might not. Recall. Truth is you should not, but if you did that’s okay, it’s mostly irrelevant anyway. We arrived at sister’s house, battered and bedraggled from riding in cars with suicidal maniacs. She and her husband gave us a warm welcome. That’s warm as in hot, as in angry and put-out and not at all happy to see us, mostly because my friend had neglected to ask if we could visit (No!) and/or stay (Hellogoodbye NO!).

Something else my friend neglected was to mention how he and his sister didn’t exactly get along, in the sense of an inability to tolerate each other's presence on the same side of a given state line. Thus the sister and her disturbing – enough – to – make – dying – in – a – maniac’s – Mustang – start – to – look – pretty – good husband wasted no time on long goodbyes. Or hellos, for that matter. They did however give us directions to the town’s fine college, where we could expect to find dorms available due to the onset of summer.

What they neglected to mention – and by this time I began to perceive a pattern of neglect, beginning with the caretakers of my friend’s family tree – was the lack of vacancy in the fine college dorms. Which is not to say the dorms were occupied. At least, not by students in the conventional sense. Yes, we were allowed to pay for and enter a dorm room. No, the dorms weren’t occupied by students. Yes, the dorms were occupied. No, my obviously sheltered life hadn’t prepared me to spend a night with a bazillion cockroaches. Yes, I will tell you all about it. No, not tonight, the monkeys say they are tired.

And yes, there are worse things than sharing a room with cockroaches. We experienced one such “thing” the very next day.

More. Soon.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Mr. Jam's Wild Ride

They toad us to stay home but nooooo
One summer a few years back, a friend and I decided to travel from Nowhere, Illinois to Elsewhere, Indiana. For reasons I cannot for the life of me remember, we planned to reach Elsewhere by way of Somewhere in
Michigan. Sure, the Michigan segment was “unnecessary” and way “out of the way,” but it did give us some once-in-a-lifetime experiences. At least that’s been my hope (the “once” part, that is).

Since we were both (a) gainfully unemployed and (2) unfettered by the burdens of personally owned vehicles, we couldn't just jump in a car, fill the tank and go. Actually I think we did try the jump in a car thing, but soon decided the high-decibel alarm was fairly annoying and abandoned the vehicle Plan A.

We then set our prodigious brains to work on Plan E. As for Plans B, C, and D…well, let’s just say “5th Amendment” and leave it at that. I won’t bother you with the details of our highly unorthodox, ultra-creative, paradigm shifting outside the box thought processes. Even with such details I’m sure you’d be amazed to learn we needed less than eleven hours to develop our ultimate, can’t-miss plan: we’d hitch-hike.

By now you’re probably thinking whoa, you guys must have been like, Mensa or something. No; that came later, after the brain augmentation. We’ll get to that part. First things first: it’s one of my favorite meaningless expressions. Another one is “be that as it may,” though I don’t get to use it as often as I’d like...

Sorry. Hitch-hiking, from Nowhere to Elsewhere by way of Somewhere in Michigan. To be honest, I remember very little of the outbound trip. I have this vague memory of riding in the back seat of a Mustang (if you’ve ever been, you know what a joke that is) being driven exceedingly fast by a crazy person-stranger. I remember hearing his hearty laugh as he drove up a series of hills, always on the wrong side of the road. Apparently he was both amused and encouraged by the high-pitched squeals of delight he heard coming from the adrenaline-constricted throats of the two grown men jammed into the shoebox-sized space behind him.

For some reason I have almost no memory of Michigan scenery; strangely enough, everything seemed to look just like the insides of my eyelids. Be that as it may (woohoo!), we somehow managed to leave Michigan with our lives intact and our briefs unsoiled. Wish I could say the same for the return trip, during which we encountered this entity:

Part Deux – stay tuned.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sporadic Innages

today's word is indistinguishable
Multi-sentence, maybe even multi-paragraph post(s) forthcoming. Consider yourself warned.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sporadic Outages

as opposed to what -- these normally sporadic posts?
Out of town this week, with loaner laptop of dubious capability.
In case you were like, you know. Wondering.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Brain Amok

I can tell. Never mind how.



(get 'em?)

Floating Point

it's like a whole new dimension
On a recent visit to Scroobious Scrivener's weblog, I found examples of a neat trick using the html "title" attribute. This causes a tooltip-like floating box o' text to appear when a mouse pointer hovers over said link.

Call me a geek, but I like that sort of thing. Maybe if everyone uses this on every single page and link, we could levitate the internet to a higher plane.

Here's a better idea: visit Scroobious Scrivenings and look around. You're sure to find something you'll like.

Monday, June 13, 2005

MeetAgeeK - An AardGeek Interview

but wait there's more
To compensate for our apparent inability to generate a 100 Things list, we offer similar disinformation through this previously unpublished interview. Conducting the interview will be The AardGeek, a mysterious, vaguely humanoid creature of antediluvian origin. The interviewee is of course yours truly, accompanied by our usual complement of imaginary voices and friends.

We hope you’ll find this enlightening, amusing, and – who knows? – educational. While we claim no mastery of the English language – for example, we suspect the mix of –ing and –al in the previous sentence probably breaks some rule of grammar, plus we use way too many hyphens – we do plan to seed the interview with several commonly misused and/or misspelled words. We hope you’ll notice our correct use, then go and do likewise. An example of this would be ‘complement’ in the preceding paragraph.

Finally, we hope you will notice and adopt our correct use of the words its and it’s. In doing so, you will help to make the world a better place for language nitpickers who through no fault of their own always notice those kinds of things, but never say anything about it because they know it’s nitpicking at its worst and they’d probably get punched in the face if they tried to correct someone anyway.

AARDGEEK: Welcome to this edition of Meet A Geek. With us today is the relatively unknown Radioactive Jam, ready to answer all our questions with complete honesty regardless of potential embarrassment and loss of self-esteem. Mr. Jam, thanks for agreeing to this format.
JAM: Uh…
AARDGEEK: Right, let’s not waste these fine folks’ time. We’ll start out with a couple “softball” type questions, then move into the meat and potatoes. Along the way we’ll mix a few metaphors and most likely split infinitives, mainly because we know this is a common mistake but have no clear understanding of what it means. First question, Mr. Jam – can you explain your lifelong inability to show affection to close family members?
JAM: That’s a softball?
AARDGEEK: cough-Wuss!-cough
JAM: Okay then. Well. My first instinct is to blame my parents, but I can’t for two reasons. One, my mom is still alive and might read this. Two, I’d be lying. My fallback would of course be denial. Again, living family members and relatives know better, so that won’t work either.
So I guess the answer is, I’m not sure. I know this is a problem, I make a conscious effort to try and physically demonstrate how much I love and care about family members. I fail, sometimes, but hope they understand.
AARDGEEK: Does their understanding then become an excuse for the next failure?
JAM: Can I get a different interviewer, or at least a new question?
AARDGEEK: Relax, Mr. Jam. We’re not here to torture you. Next question: is it true you’ve started giving your age in hexadecimal notation?
JAM: Yes. The base-16 form sounds younger, and most people say I don’t look my age. Or act my age, for that matter.
AARDGEEK: People tell you to grow up?
JAM: Usually it’s more of a look, a rolling of the eyes at some of my “immature” behavior.
AARDGEEK: Such as?
JAM: Well, my shoes for instance.
AARDGEEK: You seem to have missed the pre-school phase where they explained things like how to wear shoes that match. Today for example, you’re wearing – what?
JAM: Chuck Taylor Hi-Tops, one red, one neon green.
AARDGEEK: Why? I mean, I see how the red one matches your shirt. And I don’t want to know if the neon matches something I can’t see, thanks.
JAM: The short answer is “because I can.” Chucks come in all kinds of colors, I find them cheap, and mixing them up just seemed like a reasonable thing to do.
AARDGEEK: Do you see yourself as a pioneer, a trend-setter, a free spirit?
JAM: Not really. I’ve done this for years. At first I thought it’d be cool to see other people doing the same, but I don’t expect to start any trends, no.
AARDGEEK: Another word describing your behavior would be “weird.”
JAM: You’ve spoken to my children, haven’t you?
AARDGEEK: We need to take a short break, but we'll be back - stay tuned for self-inflicted haircuts, mudding with a highway princess truck, and more!
Jump to Part Deux
Jump to Part 3

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Joy Of Polling

bias is for resistors, and (of course) resistance is useless
Following the recent announcement of Apple's CPU switch, slashdot posted this opinion poll:

Clearly they understand the need for careful, anti-bias wording in poll questions. And I completely agree with their decision to think outside the box, so to speak.

The results surprised me, though. Guess I should scratch "psychic" from the ol' resume.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

A Fine Spoof

fans are eating it up
Add this site's entree to the growing list of fine Star Wars spoofs.

Found sitting on a steel white table. Enjoy.

The Dark Side's...uh, dark side.

only in America (I wish)
Found this disturbing article at Geek Philosophy.

Mr. Lucas? If you were behind these diabolical marketing mutations, you'd tell us...wouldn't you?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Not Your Typical Rainy Day

insert pith-y comment here
Imagine yourself outside, enjoying a fine spring day somewhere in the Serbian village of Odzaci. You happen to glance up and notice a strange-looking cloud. Hmm, you think; looks like rain. And you would be correct. Sort of.

According to this article posted yesterday, this "cloud" rained frogs instead of water. Thousands. Of. Frogs. At least they were small...

Slavisa Ignjatovic, local climatology expert (whatever that means) offered this simple scientific explanation: some unidentified whirlwind sucked the frogs from some unidentified body of water, carried the frogs to Odzaci airspace, then proceeded to release the frogs from its swirling grasp. Presumably gravity - another famous scientific...doohickey - took over at that point.

Though the voice of Cynical Man rises above the others in my head, I'd like to think the Odzaci residents did The Right Thing and returned these poor innocent frogs to their aquatic homes (parental frog: "Thank you so much. And you, missy, how many times have I told you to not play in the whirlwind?! You are *so* grounded!"). And I hope local authorities will press charges against the whirlwind or its owner. Creator. Whatever. They cannot "look the other way" and condone this sort of thing; anarchy waits in the wings, and probably carries salamanders. Or even newts.

Finally, while I deeply trust the whirlwind explanation - I mean, he is an expert in his field (whatever that is) - I cannot help but wonder: what do these people get with a hailstorm?

(give yourself a bonus point if you "get" the fine-print subtitle)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Almost The Least I Could Do

indiana...let it go
Fans of the ABC series Lost, take heart. Instead of moping around, wondering how to survive a too-long summer, check this site. Think happy thoughts like trailer / teaser and season two, and enjoy.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled moping.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Abnormal Radioactive Emissions

mostly alpha some beta
Every now and then my brain starts waving in lines and stanzas instead of sentences and paragraphs. Alas, I don't yet know how to create like, a separate section / area / whatever in this emitter. So I started a new one. You can reach it here; there's also a link on the Profile page.

Think of it as going from bad to verse.

Friday, June 03, 2005

RadioactiveJam: the back-story

or, the origin of specious by means of unnatural selection
Shopping For Sanity's Carol Danvers recently commented,
Hey, I've been meaning to ask you - does your nick refer to radioactive toejam, by any chance? If so, please don't come near me because I have a very delicate gag reflex when it comes to smells....

When I stopped laughing I replied No, and explained how I chose this "name" -- in short, all the good ones were taken. Then I realized she'd given me a great reason/excuse for a post. Ready or not, away we go.

Believe it or not, this is all AOL's fault. I long resisted assimilation by their juggernaut; I never accepted their amazing free offers, and saw AIM as the mother of all annoying desktop applications. Or father. Whatever. I had a way-cheap ISP for internet access, and knew and liked ICQ for my infrequent messaging; who needed AIM?

Of course this couldn't go on. Eventually I gave in to the relentless pressure and decided to Create An AIM Screen Name. Imagine my surprise when I found all the good names taken. So - whether from inspiration or frustration I don't know, but RadioactiveJam popped into my head. Since it was (1) less than 16 characters long, and - amazingly enough - (2) not already in use, I chose it for an AIM screen name.

After that I guess it kind of grew on me, not unlike toejam (sorry). It's easy to say, and relatively easy to spell: always a plus when dealing with mortals.

The origin of radioactivejam.blogspot.com was pretty much an accident. Hmm, should this be considered a nuclear accident? Not sure; either way, I had no real interest and felt no desire to create a weblog. Then came that fateful day, possibly ordained and/or foreknown before the beginning of time, when I decided to post my first comment on a friend's weblog.

Except I couldn't; the setup he used at the time didn't allow anonymous comments. So I went through the Blogger registration process, thinking I was simply getting a valid username for comment posting. (Yoda voice on) Clueless, he was (Yoda voice off).

Anyone who's gone through this process knows where it ends: at a web page showing something like, congratulations, here's your new 'blog. Imagine my surprise - for real, this time - when I saw I was now the mildly dismayed (and yes, clueless) owner/creator of a bona fide weblog.

From the "should've seen this coming" department: I still couldn't post a comment on the friend's site. D'oh! Turns out it was a site-side problem, now fixed.

Time passed. I vacillated: at first content to maintain a do-nothing-.com status quo, I felt something gnawing on my long-held reluctance to start anything web-based. Not sure exactly what pushed me into action; at some point I decided to take a step or two down Weblog Way and asked, does this lead anywhere I want to go?

In a word, yes. I'm finding nice scenery and great fellow-travelers. And so it's you I salute and thank; hope we'll continue to enjoy this journey together, until our paths diverge.

And Carol -- thanks again.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


it would eliminate Gretchen Wilson's song-rival
No one's actually accused us of being too sentimental here...yet...but this piece should be a change of pace just the same. The surface layer - the text you're reading - might (okay, should) be taken as a typically lame attempt at humor. The links are a different story. We hope you'll find some of them genuinely amusing, or interesting, or even helpful to you or someone you know. Might have to visit a link's top-level .com page to understand what we mean. So! If you're adequately baffled and/or confused, let's get to it (whatever that means).

Do you ever find yourself thinking maybe your goals, ambitions and dreams might be too small? If so, take a moment to step outside yourself, and think outside the box. Oy! Two sentences and already we're running low on cliches. Sorry, where were we?--> For the person willing to ignore conventional wisdom and take the road less traveled, for the one who sees monumental challenges as invigorating opportunities, yet ignores runaway hyperbole -- we think you'll like what we have in mind for you.

Ready? Then check out this site. Feel free to stop back here and say thanks. If you find yourself too busy with your new project to return, that's okay; we'll understand. We wish you the very best on your mission, and we're sure you'll understand why this tune is our new favorite song.