Yay favourite holiday! Yay seeing much-missed friends!

Some spoooooky links:

Told After Supper by Jerome K. Jerome, for my money one of the funniest writers ever*. You have to scroll down past all the Project Gutenberg boilerplate, but sooooo worth it. It is of passing curiosity that since the American-style Halloween is a fairly recent innovation in England, Christmas Eve is the traditional time to tell ghost stories there.

Good old fashioned nightmare fuel
- I have no idea who did this or why, it was in a Wired blog. But, damn. This just gets more and more horrifying the more you look at it.

Cephalopod at the Seashore - From the same blog, but this one is credited to Ray Caesar. Unlike the first image, this is unsettling but not disturbing, if that makes sense.

Faerie - Again, uncredited but pretty, from the same blog. I like this blog. I wonder if John Brownlee, who writes most of the posts, is the same one who was involved in the Shared Universe a long long time ago? The post is worth reading in its entirety; it involves mathematically disproving vampires. Of course any VtMmer worth his or her salt will recognize the fundamental error in the logic.

Really really, REALLY scary.

See y'all (well, most of y'all) soon!

* If you haven't read Three Men in a Boat I urge you to do so immediately. I'd say buy a copy, but there are on-line versions as well if reading from a screen doesn't make your eyes sad.

I'm still at work. Phoo.

I’m told today is the last day of Diwali (or maybe yesterday was? I’m not sure how time zones affect these things) but for whatever reason there’re lots of yummy little exotic sweets around the office. Most of the technical work in my company is done in Bangalore, and even in the California office most of the people are East Indian* so the celebratory patterns of the workplace take on a distinctly Eastern rhythm. That also means that going out for an office lunch to an East Indian place is fraught with complications, since everyone has very high standards.** We finally settled on a place that serves goat brain curry… not that anyone ate it, but it was a badge of authenticity and purity of intent.

So RastaChad has a blog now, which is a very nice thing. I love it when people about whom I idly wonder “How are they doing? Where are they now?” spontaneously e-mail me blog information. His post today concerns atheism, a subject dear to my heart,*** but it gets right up my nose when people use phrases like “The Church of Atheism.” Like the man said, if atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.

Yet more cool links!

Best headline ever
Virtual punkin carving – so much fun! Such a time waster!
Great explanation of schadenfreude - I want to see Avenue Q more than ever. I wonder if it’s on DVD? It is! Joy!
Air Travel Guidelines – from The Onion, a followup to the last post

* It’s a Canadian thing, I’m finding out, to specify “East” Indian to indicate someone from India, with the default unmodified “Indian” taken to mean “Native.” It’s always interesting going to some place with different defaults. In England, for example, unmodified “hockey” means field hockey, not ice hockey. Most places in the American South, “tea” means iced tea, not hot tea. There’s always a period of adjustment.

** They are willing to settle for really mediocre Italian, on the other hand. I guess it’s all what you’ve been exposed to.

*** Modified by courtesy, of course. At lunch just a few minutes ago, a white American in our office asked what Diwali was all about, and got an explanation of the Hindu background, full of gods and demons. He then asked “So does anyone really believe all that crap?” (“crap” being pronounced “stuff”). I mean, I wonder the same thing (I also wonder it about most Christian practices) but I really really hope I’m not as rude about it. Any more.

So remember I said that they’d never lift the restrictions on liquids, gels and creams because it was just one more Kafka-esque way for bureaucrats to indulge their power trips? Well, I was wrong in the particulars (they did lift them) but not in principle (now there’s even more opportunity for petty obstruction!).

The current regulations state that the toiletries have to fit in a quart-size clear resealable plastic bag. OK, I thought, not only do mine fit in one, I actually carry them in one. It’s a handy bag that is a very heavy duty ziploc with an additional zippered mesh pouch sewn to one side. So no problem, I thought to myself.

So in the airport, the security guard at the pre-security toiletries checkpoint* said my bag would be fine. Then I got to the actual pre-security checkpoint point**, toiletries bag still in hand (they want you to keep it out when you go through actual security) and the guard wouldn’t accept it. So I went back to the pre-security toiletries checkpoint only to find the original guard had been replaced by a new one who looked like she’d been weaned on a pickle. No way, she said, all toiletries had to be in a Baggie™. No exceptions.

I tried pointing out that what I had was in essence a Baggie. I tried pointing out that the regulations did not in fact use the word “Baggie.”*** I tried appealing to a superior. I tried asking if they had any Approved Baggies™ available. No dice. After watching me get pinker and pinker and eventually admit defeat and take all the consumable contents out of my bag to throw them away, the guard finally told me that the airport store at the other end of the concourse would sell me an Approved Baggie™ for $0.25.

Out of all the possible responses to that, I said “Thank you” and went and got my $0.25 Approved Baggie™. I also did NOT say, upon my return, “Look! I’ve got my toothpaste in a terrorism-proof Baggie! We’re all safe now!” Don’t say I never learn.****

I’m glad to hear that better people than I have also had tribulations.***** What bothers me more than anything, though, is that on the way back I had absolutely no issues. Didn’t have to take out the $0.25 Approved Baggie™, nothing. It’s this inconsistency that really makes me think this is just an(other) excuse for a power trip.

Fortunately, the in-flight magazine contained a heart-warming story about a wise mother who solved her kids’ problems and smoothed over all family conflicts by making everyone play… Risk. I was snickering about that for the rest of the day and my mood improved immensely.

Random linkdom:

On Science Fiction - Damn, I like this guy’s writing. Think I’ll check out his books…
Very Cool Art - Wow. Wow wow wow. This really really really appeals to me.
The strangest news I’ve heard this week - William Gibson wrote documentaries.

* I’m not kidding.

** Still not kidding.

*** They don’t. A copy of the regulations was posted right at the table.

**** And in case you’re wondering about my attachment to a bunch of sample-size cosmetics, my concern was mainly for bottle of perfume that I wasn’t sure I could easily replace. And the principle of the thing.

***** Favourite quote from Mr. Adam’s blog: “one look in (the guard’s) eyes told me that thinking wasn’t his sport.”

I'm off to Indianapolis tomorrow, for a few days of client stuff. Heuristic studies! Yay!* There's not a lot of song lyrics about Indianapolis, as it turns out, so the title of this post is the next best thing.**

Which means that I have only tonight to try out my latest toy. We bought it yesterday but it needed 16 hours to charge. Extra bonus points for figuring out what it is before clicking on the link, and get yer minds out of the gutter. It's probably kind of sad to be this excited about it, but I am.

So how small is Canada, you ask? Well, in reading one friend's blog, I find out that she has met (well, seen) another friend of mine. I'm pretty sure they don't know each other, but are there only two degrees of separation in Canada? Speaking of Mr. Pencil Zombie, he's all growed up with his own blog now, as is Blogger B (links also in the side bar).

Oh, and I saved this link as a special treat for Pokey... enjoy.

* And I'm not actually being sarcastic here. This sort of stuff is so interesting to me that I switched careers and spent a lot of money on an extra degree for it, after all.

** Of course if the client had been in Gary this would have been a no-brainer.

Hey, it’s Thanksgiving! I’m sad to say we are doing nothing to celebrate. We are becoming assimilated into the Borg of American culcher. I will say, though, that if Thanksgiving serves as a commercial bulwark against Christmas then it's nice to have that bulwark in November. In Canada, I seem to recall Halloween pumpkins and Santa dolls side by side on shelves.

At least we can finally talk freely about R:tAG’s company’s new product.* At least I’m pretty sure it’s OK to talk about it. I figure if I can find a bunch of Google references to it, the cat is pretty much out of the bag. The project was called “Fight Club” for the longest time, as a code name sort of thing, which led to some confusion about thinking Cryptic was actually doing an MMO of Fight Club. Which I personally don’t think would work very well. I mean, what would be unique about a Fight Club MMO? The chance to form into little disturbed cliques that the world outside doesn’t understand? The chance to beat the hell out of each other without consequences? The construction of an alternate persona to escape from the problems of your life?**

Er, the last paragraph was not meant to be a diatribe, as much as it seems to have been turning into one. This is a problem with off-the-cuff blogging; it takes you to unexpected and unrepresentative places. I have no real news to report and nothing (unusually enough!) that I feel that I can rant amusingly about. Even knitting, that topic of last resort, is off the table*** since all my current projects are gifts and therefore Top Secret. And while I’m willing to subject you, Gentle Readers, to the occasional boastful picture of a specific finished project, I doubt that most of you would find a discussion of the generalities of knitting very compelling.****

Have some turkey and mashed taters for me.

* Check out the preview video and tell me what you hear the lyrics to be, OK?

** Huh. Is it just me, or is that really missing the point of the movie?

*** Though a knitting store is opening within walking distance of where I work. Uh oh.

**** I could be wrong. Tips on how to do a K3tog tbl, anyone?


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.