Original Radioactive Jam

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

Monday, July 25, 2005

Don't Panic!

unless of course you misplaced your towel
Remember The Instigator? That cute little yellow (fugitive!) monkey responsible for trashing my work area and creating a mass of dark-minded, sentient ooze? A couple days ago he was spotted by a webcam panning a South Florida airport.

Yeah. He's wanted for questioning by a certain "discreet" government agency; they're interested in learning more about the ooze. So far the only component they've been able to isolate is radioactive coffee¹.

Working with local authorities, the Agency managed to apprehend my little yellow (fugitive!) friend. Here's a copy of his mugshot, obtained from an unnamed source².

They charged him with trespassing and criminal mischief for starters; the severity of federal charges would depend on how - and if - he cooperated with the spooks I mean Agency.

When you look at the picture above, do you notice anything unusual? Typical crappy police photo, face-front view, profile...hmm. Does that profile seem a bit narrow to you? If so, don't bother applying for a job in South Florida law enforcement; you won't fit in with them, dear reader.

You probably can guess what happened next. My unnamed source sent me this still photo from the security (Ha. It is to laugh) camera in the monkey's cell.

None of us are surprised; why were they? Sigh.

All I can do is hope my little yellow (Federal fugitive!) friend decides to head for the jungles of Central America instead of making his way back here. Then again - in Central America he'll have an even easier time getting his nimble little hands on the special toys³ he tried to get me to buy for him, toys not readily available in central Florida. Now I'll have to get some just to stay even!

I hate when this happens. This is how nuclear arms races begin, then quickly spiral out of control. Speaking of which I better check the security of my supply of weapons-grade plutonium. Rest assured I always made the little yellow (Ff!) monkey cover his eyes while I entered the cipher lock code!


¹Chief chemist: Syar
²Not a chance. Cell before tell!
³LAWS rockets, grenade launchers, compact automatic weapons - you know. Typical home-defense stuff.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


ignoring warnings is our special-ty
Put the restless monkeys to work, says Anne Arkham. Sure, I think. I'll bring them with me; they can help write software and stuff. We arrive at my work, I show them around. I'll be back in a minute I say, gotta put my lunch away. Riiight.

(click pic for better view)

Can you believe it? Not five minutes on their own and my entire work area is trashed. This crew wasn't satisfied with ordinary mayhem such as firing lasers (now a 3rd degree felony in Florida), setting off explosive devices and creating sentient, malevolent ooze. No, they thought they'd have a little computer fun, too:

(click pic for better view)

They launched a browser and headed for a couple popular weblogs, no doubt planning to start flame wars using my persona. And if they weren't such lousy typists I'd have lots of free space on the ol' C: drive; they were trying to reformat it!

I was shocked, though mainly because they connected my chair to a wall outlet. After the twitching stopped I started thinking, how could this have happened? These monkeys were restless and bored, sure. But evil? No way. Then I spotted the instigator, trying to hide behind some of his handiwork. See the small yellow monkey in the picture below?

(click pic for better view)

Alert readers will note the yellow monkey isn't like the others. He's the one responsible for this disaster! I thought he was just a homeless "street" monkey when I found the little yellow fellow at a gas station (absolute truth). He looked lost and lonely so I offered to care for him. This is how he repays my kindness? He's some kind of mutant genius; I'm pretty sure that black ooze is the same stuff Mulder and Scully found. And I think some of it escaped before the HazMat crew arrived; I know the yellow monkey got away. He bolted when I tried to grab him, and I have no idea where he went.

If you see him, do not try to apprehend him! Keep your distance and contact local authorities. Tell them to bring (1) heavy artillery, (2) monkey-sniffing dogs, and (3) alien virus vaccine.

Not sure what to do with the others (besides not take them to work with me again). They're not "bad monkeys," I think; they're like children who got caught up in something beyond their control, that's all. Guess I'll give them another chance, but if they start acting like their little yellow friend - well. Then it'll be time to find new homes for them.

Preferably far from here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Jammin' With Some Friends

not unexpected, this.
RaJ hanging with some pals on Hawaiian Shirt Day.

They're restless and bored; I'm getting worried. I hold a slight edge in the intellect department (so they say), but they outnumber me. Ideas?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Coming Soon

Question authority. And hyperbole, don't forget to question hyperbole.

Oh, and if you're using a newer version of the Firefox browser, let me know if you see a custom "favicon" - that's the little pic at the left end of the web address. If you're using IE you most likely won't see anything unusual (sorry).

(favicon update) Using IE6? - Add this site to your Favorites. The browser puts the nifty little icon next to the site name in Favorites, and shows it in the address line. You can then delete it from Favorites (you're free to keep it of course); the little pic should still show in the address line. Yee ha.

Firefox users, pat yourselves on the back and enjoy your hassle-free eye candy.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ten. 10. a. 1010. 12. X.

yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away/
now armadillos eat my larvae - the beetles
Remembering Netscape: The Birth of the Web

Good article, interesting reading. Hard to believe it's been just ten years. If you weren't in elementary school (no offense, honest!) when you first heard the name Netscape, what did it mean to you? Anything?

Ten years ago these "places" (and in most cases the companies behind them) did not exist: Google. Yahoo! MSN. Blogger, obviously. There's lots more of course but I'm drawing a blank trying to think of some.

Dateline: summer, 1995. Microsoft's Bill Gates watched Windows 95 replace MS-DOS, and no doubt smiled as IBM's technically superior competing product (OS/2) withered and died.

AOL and Time Warner were separate companies. Oh wait, is that true again? No matter. Back then AOL - free! for 30 days! - had (1) a bad reputation, (2) slow, expensive service, (3) clueless users, and (4) token competition from Prodigy and Compuserve. What's that saying, the more things change...? User cluelessness is down, I suppose.

Internet Explorer? No such thing. Computer viruses existed but were relatively uncommon and hard to get. Trojan - that's a condom, right? Worms? Fishing lures. Spyware and adware weren't even words, though "spam" meant more than canned ham even then.

No DVD drives, MP3s, iPods, or X-Box. No Half-Life, standalone or multiplayer. Online games yes, but - well. The words limited and (comparatively) lame come to mind.

Thinking about this "wonderful" stuff makes me wonder: when did you start using the internet, and why (i.e. for what purpose(s))?

Hard to imagine the next ten years bringing an equal amount or "degree" of change. What do you think?

Friday update: OS/2 is now "officially" dead. Long live OS/2.
spotted on /.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

We hates the drivesies don't we Precioussss.

poor poor Smeagol
Aside from the fact that extended time behind the wheel (i.e. hour of "darkness") causes me to experience (1) negative personality changes and (2) disturbing solo conversations, this post has nothing to do with Gollum. You are of course disappointed, and understandably so.

Before you decide things can't possibly get worse, take a virtual stroll through the Gallery Of Transportation. Then decide!

The first exhibit is titled The One I Want. If you want one too, click here for more info.

The next exhibit is called Snakebit, subtitled The Edge Of Madness. See the whole Madness story here.

Third exhibit: What I Need. For some of this one's backstory go here.

The final exhibit: Reality, aka that that is, is.

Of course you're free to look around - here or elsewhere - for answers to those questions you never thought to ask.

How about you? What's the latest / greatest / plainest / wildest exhibit in your gallery of transportation? Or anything else that comes to mind and exits through fingertips (Jon, you can of course use your nose if you prefer).

Friday, July 08, 2005

Fun with Radiation and Zen

original title: Self Portrait
Most likely you've seen this before; it still cracks me up. Can't remember where I found it, hence the lack of attribution (seemed a little silly to say "My Pictures" though technically it's true).

I printed one as a color transparency and taped it onto the back window of my truck.
* * *
Nowhere to go, nothing to do? Try here.And I have got to get me one of these.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

For Sale: Darth Vader's Lightsaber, more

If I (1) lived in California and (2) had obscene amounts of disposable income, I would be happy to attend the upcoming Profiles In History Hollywood memorabilia auction. Per the catalog:

WELCOME to our Summer auction of Hollywood memorabilia! This sale features some rare and unusual offerings, many of which are appearing at auction for the very first time. We’re pleased to present a number of selected artifacts from the first three Star Wars films, direct from the collection of Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz, including:
• Darth Vader’s light saber from The Empire Strikes Back
• Luke Skywalker’s light saber from Star Wars
• Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing flight suit from both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back
• Stormtrooper blaster from Star Wars

Yoda's cane, too. Announcement spotted on /.

To assuage my disappointment I subjected myself to yet another nerd test. Perhaps it's one you've not yet tried as well; I found it quite challenging, as these things go. My score:

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


let me tell you about my day
The title is an acronym for Items Of Interest, a weekly listing of typically boring, largely irrelevant minutiae generated for upper management at my previous employer. It's now just past 7AM Eastern time, and already - today - I've collected a couple items for a legendary IOI report. First, here's my exciting though somewhat atypical minutiae:
  • 1:00 AM (approx.) - Fall asleep in wrong bedroom
  • 2:30 AM - Fall down flight of stairs on way to correct bedroom
  • 4:50 AM - Rise and shine
  • 5:49 AM - Depart for work
  • 5:50 AM - Play with green laser pointer in predawn mist
  • 5:55 AM - Stow laser and depart for real
  • 7:00 AM - Arrive alive (at work)
The best stuff (excluding of course my green-beam fun) happened between 6:50 and 7:00. Leaving the Neighborhood Wal-Mart Located In Someone Else's Neighborhood Not Mine, I noticed this amazing headline on a weekly "news" publication:
Noah's Second Ark Found!
The subtitle was something like, Bizarre Creatures Kept Inside. Hmm, wonder if they found one of those yellow-diamond signs, "Bizarros On Board"...never mind. You might find it hard to believe, but I didn't stop to read the article. To be honest I thought it'd be way more fun if we made up the corresponding story, and - let's face it - our end result would have pretty much the same level of actual fact as the published piece. Consider this an assignment for either your own weblog, comment space here, or both.

The very best - so far, remember it's still early! - was this: for nearly three miles, I shared a stretch of road with...God. I am not making this up. Okay, it might not have been "God" driving the other vehicle, but when I noticed its license plate said "GODS SUV" I knew this was no ordinary commuter. Either that or I hit my head when I fell down the stairs, though I'm almost positive I did not.

Right now you're probably wondering if your socks are really black or just dark blue; I know I am. Plus you might be curious: just what kind of SUV does God own, what message might God want to convey here? Escape? Blazer? Probably not Xterra; too cryptic. Forerunner? No, that'd be John T. Baptist's I think.

Folks, I'm sorry to report God doesn't even buy American. I know, can you believe it? I was more than a little disappointed to see GODS SUV was a Toyota Highlander, though it did have the V6 and special trim package, and looked well kept. I started wondering how things went at the car lot, what kind of deal they made. Did the salesperson say, "I don't think my manager will accept this offer but I'll check?" Were there problems getting a loan approved? "They don't have a category for your occupation..." And whose name is shown on the registration and title?

Then I watched it run a red light, while I waited in a turn-lane...sigh.

Back to work.

Full Of Disclosure: Speaking for myself, I respect and believe in God, Noah (one ark, no Bizarros), and everyone's right to fall down stairs and/or display vanity license plates. Sometimes these things strike me as funny, what can I say, YMMV especially in SUVs, regardless of ownership.

Monday, July 04, 2005

An Exercise In Procrastination: The Book Meme

order on order, line on line - Is. 28:10
Having been directed to complete this activity, I (finally) present for your consumption the following tidbits.

The number of books I own
Maybe a couple hundred, probably less. Nothing to see here, move along citizens. I do however have a much-used library card, which reveals the expediency-driven mindset: read many, own few.

The last books I bought
...weren't for me. I bought several historical-fiction novels for my sweetie-pie, just because. Or maybe it was Mother's Day, surrogate gifting for income challenged offspring? Or both. Probably both.

(the meme mutates) The last books I acquired
Since I typically borrow, I add this sub-element.
Intrigued by titles on others' meme-lists and posts, I've checked out the following.
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, one of Carol's mean-a-lot books.
  • Children Of God by Mary Doria Russell, noted on Scroobious Scrivener's most excellent site. This book's predecessor The Sparrow was first brought to my attention and recommended several years ago by my mother. I read The Sparrow, found it both moving and disturbing, and put off reading the follow-up story. Scroobious' book meme post and mini-review provided a reminder and motivating push, so - away we go. And mom - thanks. I'm finally working on part 2, sorry for the delay.
  • A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin (audio), described as "a loving, sad tale of Sherlock Holmes in the era of Hiroshima." Selected for two reasons: I needed an audio book for my daily commute, and seeing this post put me in a Sherlock Holmes state of mind.
Last book I read
Macroscope by Piers Anthony. First time I'd seen it; originally published c. 1969, re-released a couple years ago. Interesting, imaginative concept. Some 60's conventions seem totally weird (such as his use of the word Negro), but overall the story still works well. I might have passed on it if I'd noticed the original date; would have been my loss.

Five books that mean a lot
No particular order; most of these I own, in hardcover even
Y'know this would have been much simpler as say, five favorites. But noooooo! Okay fine. What. Ever. :->
  • Perelandra by C.S. Lewis. I could use this as a stand-in for nearly a dozen of Lewis' books -- The Chronicles Of Narnia and parts one and three of his space trilogy, to name nine. But I'm not. This story moves me in ways few books do. Dr. Elwin Ransom, a philologist / regular guy gets sent to Venus by beings without bodies, to battle evil in a pristine world populated only by its to-be king and queen, a pair of green-skinned humanoids separated by vast oceans. A powerful allegory, deeply spiritual; yet I find myself easily identifying with Ransom's fears, faults and shortcomings. No, the story's setting doesn't fit at all with what we know about Venus as a planet. Doesn't matter. The story isn't about a material Venus or scientific exploration. This is a story about humans, a creator-designer, an epic battle, and love beyond reason. Another excellent allegory that coulda woulda shoulda made my list is Arena by Karen Hancock. No outer space here, just great fiction.
  • The Otherland Series by Tad Williams. Not one book but four, each volume averaging over 800 pages. This is a massive, mind-bogglingly entertaining saga, loosely described as near-future science fiction. While there are elements of future tech, this is no space cadet story. If you like well-written fiction, you will like these books. Otherland has the distinction of being the first multi-part story I read that wasn't already finished when I started reading it. Think Harry Potter vs. LOTR. I read #1 shortly before #2 came out, but had to wait for 3 & 4. Definitely worth the wait. Otherland holds* powerful, compelling characters, much conflict and tension; a woman on a quest, a bushman, a psychopath, a Dorothy, flying yellow monkeys -- a great story. My favorite "part" is Williams' style: he trusts his readers possess working imaginations, and writes in a way that enables their use. In other words, when bad things happen (for example), he doesn't resort to using explicit, graphic sequences to convey the scene. He writes well, and writes enough to seed the reader's mind, then sets the imagination free. When bad things happen, he doesn't catalog each movement, each cut, each drop of blood in sense-numbing detail. Yet you know exactly what's happening because your mind takes the author's cues, and if you're like me you'll find the effect more powerful than if the writer did all your imagining for you.
  • Life Of Pi by Yann Martel. The story won the Man Booker award a couple years ago. This is an amazing, moving story about "a boy, a tiger, and the vast Pacific ocean." Reading the overleaf we learn it might, in the words of one character, make you believe in God. Quite a challenge, eh. Two people I know who've read this book were convinced it was true, or at least based on a true story. I had to double-check for myself as I read it; to say Martel brings his characters to life seems like a gross understatement. You should read this book. When you do, get a hardcover; two reasons. First, the back-cover text on the softcover edition gives away details better left to discovery, IMO. Second, there is some number of softcovers with a "printing error" near the story's end: several key lines of dialog were affected. I noticed this and wrote the author, fearing my preferred version was "wrong." It wasn't. Mr. Martel - you're a cool guy, thanks for taking the time to write back. I kept the letter, but you won't see it on eBay I promise.
  • Practicing The Presence Of God by Brother Lawrence. The shortest and oldest on my list, written in the 1600s by a monk. Yeah, I read his first release. Not. The author describes in a straightforward, down-to-earth way how flawed, imperfect people ought to perceive and interact with a perfect creator-God. If believers "got" this man's simple message and acted upon it, they would truly change the world. This book has influenced my relationship with God, and continues to do so (I keep a copy on my PDA).
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. First saw and read this several years ago, long before the movie release. I knew nothing about the book, but thought it looked interesting. At its simplest, this is a story of a wounded Civil War soldier's journey home, a kind of odyssey. Inman (the soldier) is like Odysseus, and Ada (the girl back home) is his Penelope. A great story with vivid characters and scenes, I found myself quickly and wholly immersed. I ached for the protagonists in their trials, and hated the dark players and their accomplices. I read it again as a refresher before I saw the film (we don't talk about that). The story brings a compelling perspective on the Civil War, Southern yet universal. It's on my list for Frazier's ability to wholly pull me into his desperate, tragedy- and hope-filled world.
One book that I would like to burn
BellSouth's Yellow Pages. Stupid. Disorganized. Worthless. Wake up! The nineties are over, for crying out loud. Give me something I can use, or stop littering my driveway.

People I think deserve this kind of trouble
"Deserve" is such a strong word... Let's just say if you haven't already gone through this exercise and are the least bit interested, consider yourself directed. If you're not interested, do it anyway. Deal with it. Seriously, give it a try. When you're finished please let me know; I'd like to read yours.

Finally - sorry, I know I went a little light on hotlinks here. I'll try to edit/update/add soon. If you see something you want but can't find, let me know and I'll be glad to help.
*Otherland holds...characters = pun. I will say no more.