This is so meta, but I can't resist the temptation to link to "The Stranger"'s Blogsite, as one of their writers (thank you soooo much Brendan) elected to post a little zombified parody of Shakespeare that I posted in response to another post on the same subject.
Got that? He posted a post about my post about his post about -- yes, I can see your brain is about to explode. That's okay. This is all about the zombies, remember?
Anywho, the original was posted yesterday (Monday the 30th) by Mr. Kiley under the headline:
"Everything’s Better With Zombies"
along with the accompanying graphic:
Here's the text of the post, for those of you not inclined to spend the next few minutes link-hopping:
"Zombie Duke Orsino Posted by BRENDAN KILEY at 04:23 PM In response to this post about Twelfth Night of the Living Dead, one reader posted a zombification of Hamlet (“To be, yet not to be, is that the question?”) and another posted this zombification of the opening scene of Twelfth Night:
“(Enter ZOMBIE DUKE ORSINO, ZOMBIE CURIO and OTHER ZOMBIES, ZOMBIE MUSICIANS attending)
ZOMBIE DUKE ORSINO If man-flesh be the food of mine, eat on; Give me excess of brains, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die. That brain again! it had a dying fall: O, it came o’er my gums from the sweet teeth, That feed upon a man with violence, Stealing and giving offal! Enough; no more: ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before. O necrotizer! how quick with flesh art thou, That, notwithstanding thy capacity Receiveth as the grave, nought enters there, Of what validity and pitch soe’er, But falls into abasement and gored eyes, Even in a minute: so full of haste is frenzy That it alone is zombie-tastical.
ZOMBIE CURIO Grr! Arrgh!”
I want congratulate these keen readers for furthering the noble cause of zombification of the arts. There oughta be a grant for that."
If you need me, I'll be basking in the glare of short-lived fame until my unrestricted funding check arrives...
The image above just showed up on the front page at MSNBC.com, and you have to admit, on first glance that's a pretty consciousness-shattering header.
But, dim your enthusiasm (or imminent sense of impending doom, or religious confusion or whatever), because the actual story (which has already been bumped from the featured slot by Donald Rumsfeld's grabby, grabby hands) proves to be much less exciting than the headline suggests. As it turns out, "earthlike" in this article has a rather broad definition: the planet revolves around a brown dwarf (not exactly the sort of "average" G-2 type star category in which our own sunny Sol resides); is 5 1/2 times more massive than the Earth; and is a mere 28,000 light years out of our neighborhood (to put that in historical perspective: the light reaching us today from this planet left at about the same time the last Homo Erectus was dieing out in SE Asia, and Homo Sapiens was really starting to perfect the whole "Bang the rocks together guys" technique). Plus, the place is apparently about as cold as Pluto, so don't expect any little green critters dropping out of the sky anytime soon.
On the plus side, this appears to be a rocky planet, which makes it much more similar to Earth than the more commonly discovered "gas giants" like Jupiter, that have generally been the easiest to locate using the previous method of measuring "doppler radial shifting" (whereby the planet is located by measuring the gravitational "wobble" it exerts on its host star). The method used to pin-point planet OGLE-2005-BLG-390LB (wonder how long it will take for THAT designation to show up in a future episode of "Stargate SG-1") instead uses a technique called "gravitational microlensing", which as the article points out, literally uses the gravitational "warping" of space around a massive object like a sun to create a lens that captures and magnifies any object between it and the viewer.
Still, it's a promising discovery, and one lending support to the theory that small, rocky planets are probably much more common than their big, gassy bretheren, which in turn increases the likelihood of there being other planets out there even more like our little old terra: ones with adequate amounts of liquid water and a combination of gases that promote organic activity existing in hospitable orbits around average sized stellar masses to allow some sort of biological activity to commence. There are a lot of other variables required for the possibility of life actually occuring to be more than just a statistical probability, but every day it seems we get a little bit closer to finding another chunk of rock with the right combination.
So who knows, perhaps in the not-too-distant future (possibly even within the lifetimes of many of you reading this), that headline might actually match the contents of the article it accompanies.
Ran into my friend Karen at the annual Ukelele Fest last night, and she asked how things had turned out with my bus, which made me realize: a. of all) people actually do read this blog; and b. of all) at least one of them was curious to find out how the story ended.
So, in the event there are one or two more of you out there just dieing to know, here's a (brief, I promise) rundown of events since my last post on the subject:
Taking my father's advice, I wrote a sharp, pointed letter to the offending repair establishment demanding a reduction in my bill, and informing them that in the meantime I was placing a chargeback on my credit card until the matter could be amicably resolved, and further stating that if satisfaction was not forthcoming, I was fully prepared to take the matter to Small Claims Court (which, it turns out is ridiculously easy to do). Sent it off Certified Mail with Return Receipt.
Got the little green card back about four days later, signed by the assistant manager, and two days after that received a voice message from the manager, requesting I call him back. When we spoke on the phone, he turned out to be quite apologetic and completely open to settle the matter without fuss; all I needed to do was come back in to the shop to rebill the account.
When I got there that afternoon (this was on Friday), he was again very concilliatory, and took about five minutes to write up a new bill. He then reran the card, had me sign off on the paperwork, and within ten minutes I was out the door.
The only odd thing about the transaction, which didn't strike me until a few minutes after I had left, was that he had billed me for less than what I had demanded. In the letter I had explicitly stated that I wanted the bill reduced by $300, or the equivalent amount spent on labor by the second garage to fix the problems the first garage had not addressed or done incorrectly. But, the revised bill was made out for $300, roughly $50 less than what I was prepared to pay. So, not only are these guys lousy mechanics, but apparently they're not too good at reading and math comprehension either.
So, the end of the story is that I've got my bus back, she's runnin' like a champ (although the guy at garage #2 would like for me to bring it in sometime to replace all the hoses before I get a vacuum leak that overheats the engine - something that I completely agree is not an unreasonable request), and I saved myself $350 in the bargain by not letting a bunch of doofuses get away with shoddy workmanship.
End of story.
Riding off into the sunset (which we actually had one of today).
The streets were eerily deserted when I drove home this afternoon after my tax prep workshop. Clearly, most of the citizens of Our Fair Burg were either ensconsed on the edges of their hard plastic stadium seats in Mr. Allen's House Of Corporate Tax-Subsidy And Sports Emporium, or crowded around the bazillion large and small screen TV's that, even as we speak are sucking kilowatts by the second from the regional power grid.
Although I'm not big on sports (the closest I get is my annual spring flirtation with fair-weather baseball appreciation), I can nevertheless understand the impulse to jump on the bandwagon, as it were. With the exception of a late '70's NBA championship, and last year's Seattle Storm crown in the WNBA, Seattle has otherwise never experienced the spectacle of tens of thousands of jersey clad fans trashing the downtown core in a frenzy of beer-fueled civic self-adulation (well, there was that Stanley Cup victory in aught whenever back in the last century, but there are probably only a handful of aged denizens or sports historians who even remember we once had a professional hockey franchise. And also, the WTO riots weren't sports related, so they don't count either).
In fact, Seattle sports teams have developed something of a reputation over the years for their tendency to choke under the pressure of post-season performance. The aforementioned Sonics have suffered more playoff collapses than even the most loyal fan cares to recall, while the hapless Mariners have squandered their two or three chances at World Domination, most recently in 2001 after a record-setting 116 win season, only to crumble like fresh Feta 4-1 in the ALCS at the hands of their dreaded rivals the New York Yankees.
So, given the fact that for once a local team is making a better-than-predicted showing (the current 27 - 7 - er, make that 34 - 7 score is commanding, and apparently unassailable), and barring some unforeseen disaster late in the 4th quarter, at this point I suppose it's both forgiveable, and perhaps even expected if one is swept away on the cresting tide of the mass culture zeitgeist.
But doing so turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected. The local station airing the game isn't one of the three I can pick up on my non-cable connected TV, and my stereo seems completely unable to pull in anything on the AM band. And of course, the NFL has blocked all online streaming, so it was only by luck that I remembered the boom-box in my kitchen could tune into the correct station. But now, here I am listening to the local play-by-play with one ear, while I write this.
However, I have to draw a line somewhere, so I won't be among the post-game celebrants who will no doubt be swarming out of the various stadia, watering holes, and domiciles to dance in drunken revelry through our streets in a Bacchanalian orgy of Super Bowl Fever. Besides, I've got a meet-n'-greet for the next theatre project I'll be working on starting at 7:00 p.m., right about the time the game lets out.
If You Get Lonely, All You Really Need Is That Rainy Day Love
That advertising slogan from a now-defunct local brewery has taken on an added significance recently. Those of you not living here in the Upper Left Hand Corner have probably read or heard by now of our record-setting rainfall; as of last Friday, we'd had 27 consecutive days of measurable precipitation in Seattle, before a one day dry spell on Saturday left us with a dismal second place finish, well shy of our local record of 34 straight days set in 1953. But, we're now on day #7 of a new streak, so there's still a slim chance we could get back up into competitive numbers by the end of the month.
Our neighbors to the south, Tacoma, Olympia, and Shelton (along with Forks on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula), however, are doing much better - or worse, depending on your perspective. Here's a look at the latest stats as of this morning:
Olympia: 34 (Breaks record of 33, set in 1953) Shelton: 34 (Record: 41 set in 1990) Forks: 33 (Record: 51 set in 1998) Tacoma (McChord): 33 (Ties record of 33, set in 1953)
The state record is 55 straight days set in Centralia (just south of Oly) in the winter of 1996/97. So, there's a pretty good chance that by early next month we may be crowning a new "Wettest City In Washington".
No doubt, Las Vegas bookies are already setting odds on the potential victor (my money's on Forks), so if your favorite pro football team is currently out of the running (something oddly, we can't say here - yet), and you need a bit of action to tide you over until the NBA playoffs, here's a great opportunity.
Though The Mountains Divide And The Oceans Are Wide
The little mappy thing over there now registers at least one hit to this here lil' ole' blog from every continent (excluding Antarctica; presumably all the busy, busy scientists at McMurdo and Scott-Amundson are too preoccupied with shoveling snow or penguin watching or keeping warm or whatever to have time to websurf anyway.) So, thank you Sidney, AU.
Since I've put up the little mappy thing over on the left margin, I've been intensely interested in what praytell might entice people in exotic, far-flung parts of the globe to stop by the ole' poop deck here for a spell.
It's perfectly understandable that a lot of hits are from around Seattle, since that's where I am, but who knew I was a minor celebrity in St. Louis? (At least that's an educated guess - I mean, at that resolution it could be Kansas City; so, without spending $$ for the full-blown version, I can only approximate locations.)
Now, what about those other little dots flung across the map? Okay, Guadalahara, Mexico makes perfect sense (Hiya, D.J.!), but some of the other places where people are tuning in just seem downright weird (again, actual locations may vary):
- Seoul S. Korea - Dubai, UAR - Somewhere in Iraq (or maybe Khuzestan?) - The Canary Islands???
I cannot possibly fathom what, short of some sort of random Google search, about my little corner of the blogosphere could possibly interest anyone from those places, but, regardless, ahoy there mateys and thanks for stopping by!
Well, I've been doing a lot of that lately, sort of a perpetual stream of made-up cuss words that would make Darren McGavin's character in A Christmas Story blush in embarrassment.
And for good reason.
My bus is once again back in the shop, or at this point parked on the street outside the garage, into which it will presumably get hauled sometime tomorrow morning. Went out to start it this morning and got about 300 feet before it conked out and refused to restart. Unfortunately, I was in Bellevue housesitting at the time, so had to have it towed back across the lake.
This makes three trips to the car hospital in the past two weeks.
Fortunately, the guy who had the last crack at it was in the shop, and so I was able to describe the problem, which he seemed to feel wasn't going to be all that difficult to rectify. I hope he's right, because I'm beginning to feel a bit like Wile E. Coyote, contemplating yet another purchase from the ACME Catalogue.
And we all know how those purchases always turn out...
And In The Waning Of A Long Long Year I Felt The Remnants Of Last Night Disappear
Okay, I'm still sorting out what exactly may be premonitioned by the fact that the first piece of music I chose to listen to for 2006 was The Mountain Goats. Perhaps I'm feeling a bit cynical this morning, but not in a bad way. John Darnielle gets that, in reality, a cynic is just a disillusioned romantic; that despite the outward show of negativity, there's still an underlying spark of optmism buried beneath the curmudgeonly exterior. Sure, the world may be going to Hell-in-a-handbasket now, but there's always a slim chance that through some miracle, "the Chicago Cubs will beat every team in the League", and I doubt anyone could ever accuse a Cubs fan as being "cynical" - at least not to their face. As it is, the sun did appear briefly in the grey Seattle skies this morning, and the long snow drought in Lake Tahoe seems to have ended - with a vengeance (glad to hear everyone is safe & sound, Dad), so who knows what other possible miracles may be in store in the New Year?
And of course, things could be a LOT worse. The last half of my 2005 was a definite improvement over the first 7 months: I've got a good job, one I actually enjoy and which has the added benefit of giving me some stronger sense of purpose and direction; I've still got a roof over my head; I have a cornucopea of good, true and loyal friends, who can never be thanked enough for their support and encouragement; a car that RUNS; there's food in the fridge, and The Doctor is back on the Telly.
Oh yeah. It could be a lot worse.
And for whatever it's worth, this was the second album I listened to in 2006.
So, in the spirit of hopefullness, I'm willing to give 2006 the benefit of the doubt. After all, Opening Day is a mere 94 days away.