What A Bunch of Cox

Thursday, June 30, 2005 | 5:51 pm

[ broken tv] Cox Cable, the near-monopoly for cable television/cable internet service in my little portion of Virginia, are an aptly named company. Yesterday, as Mexico pulled level at 2-2 (final score) against a 10-man German side, their Ninja Technician snuck into the apartment basement to disconnect my business internet service. And in doing this, obviously failed to stare at the worksheet for more than 6 seconds, and proceeded to disconnect all my cable services, instead of just the internet. And then he snuck out again like a wraith. Meanwhile, upstairs, I was staring somewhat perplexedly at a TV full of snow.

After a half-hour of careful prayer, I phoned them, wondering if perhaps there was a cable outage due to some overzealous gardener, but was gleefully informed that there was a disconnect notice on my internet for that day.

This was a little surprising, because I had received an assurance from two different people at Decipher that I would get a heads-up as soon as they knew the disconnect date, so I could plan a less-hurried transition. To his credit, finance-man "DP" had already bought me a few extra weeks. So after around 55 minutes of enquiries, transfers and holding with Cox, I find that another now dearly-departed finance employee had apparently signed the disconnect notice —twice— 3 weeks earlier!

Well, you might say, with you no longer there, the wheels move on, and one is quickly forgotten under the crush of things to do. And I would agree with you if I had been out of touch with the company since my 'vacation' had started. But this aforementioned finance gent been in contacted with me (after signing that order) a few times regarding other matters. Urgent matters he needed my help for. What matter you ask? The urgent matter of $217 (yes, two-hundred and seventeen!) of expenses billed to my company credit from earlier in the year.

Stop the presses! I better get that! And I did, very pleasantly, and even sent in a pixel-perfect expense report1. So, as a rational man, is it reasonsable to think that during any of those 4 or 5 emails/phone calls, this gent may have surmised that it was a fine time to mention, in passing, that he'd already scheduled my bloody cable for disconnection!

Anyhow, the so-called Cox 'technician', had already slinked away into the shadows for his next session of sabotage, so they had to schedule a call-out, etc etc. Nothing till tomorrow. And thus my plans to watch the Confederations Cup Final game between Brazil and Argentina was also quashed.

Needless to say, one tends to be amazingly efficient when there is no TV and no internet!

To Cox's credit, they arrived today and fixed the problem, finally getting me the amplifier I so desperately needed due to miserable signal strength. Unusually, the service-person was a quite attractive girl, with the delightful name of Eva. In fact, when I opened the door and saw her there, jaunty toolbelt, holding lengths of black cable, and even the unflattering grey overalls failing to conceal the promise of what lay beneath, I initially thought I was about to be an integral part in some amateur porn movie!

Yeah, I know boys... should have snapped a picture. I'm not Ed you know.

(1) Most of the monies were spent on upgrading the CEO's laptop to OS X Tiger on the first day of release. I kid you not.

The Crocodile Goes Long

Saturday, June 25, 2005 | 4:43 pm

My (non-erotic) dreams are usually one of four types, which I equate to weather conditions:

  • Heavy haze: A completely unintelligible morasse of images and noise, and includes people who I know, but who do not look like themselves. Usually hard to see, and hard to communicate effectively.
  • Short, with clearing periods: Tiny dream snippets of exceptional interest & clarity, that often end prematurely.
  • Cloudy, with showers looming: The bog standard "frustration" dream. Usually where I can't get away from someone, or am going all-out ninja on some foe with fists and feet, and he just keeps getting up, unharmed to come at me again. These dreams never seem like any mortal danger, just a frustrating inability to end the confrontation.
  • Hot, Humid & Uncomfortable: The fear dream that usually constitutes me being somewhere important that I am completely unprepared for. Often a university exam, whereby I think I can get through it with a bare passing mark if I bs enough, only to read the first question and realize I am utterly screwed.

Last nights dream was remarkable for being long, remarkably linear, and completely inane.

I was at some camp or retreat, whereby there were wooden bunk style cabins, and a collection of people whom I didn't know. The location was a kind of swampy area, with a long brown dirt clearing, and rushy reeds, marshes and hanging mangrove-like swamp trees winding around the edges. Somehow, I got involved in a pick-up game of what I was told was American Football. [Cricket Ball]

But this football game involved very little of the rules of true gridiron. Primarily, the ball was dished out to a player who just tried to run to the other end of the dirt clearing without getting tackled. No real line of scrimmage or forward passing or even positions. It just seems like some backyard game a bunch of boys would play. Even more curiously, the 'ball' was a cricket ball.

But once my team took the lead (in true dream fashion, all my team's points were scored by me, because what's the point of dreams where you aren't the star?), our opposition introduced a new offensive tactic: a crocodile.

They basically tossed the ball into the mouth of this 12-foot salt water croc, which would then scamper to the right and into the swamp. At this point, our team, somewhat dismayed, would lose sight of the mighty reptile, just occasionally seeing the reeds bend, or a tell-tale splash as the beast swam up the right flank. The crocodile would then re-appear somewhere behind us, and then scurry into some unclearly defined end-zone. He would then drop the ball and trot back to his teammates to celebrate. WTF?

We would then make our comeback, and the croc would bring them back. Perhaps this is just a varient of my "cloudy with showers looming" kind of dream?

We had to come up with a tactic, and then I saw it. The croc never settled the red-leather ball into its mouth until it was about to submerge, having a loose open mouthed grip on it until the last minute. So our valiant team organized themselves with a plan. We rushed the beast as soon as the ball was thrown to him, catching the four-legged outside-back unprepared. The beast dropped the ball in it's surprise, and I took possession and ran the length to score.

The dream ended before the awards ceremony, so I have no idea if the croc got "Player of the Match", or just ate us all in frustration.


Ok Computer More Than Ok

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | 8:17 pm

[ Ok Computer Album Sleeve ]

Caught a snippet on BBC News that the US music mag Spin has voted Radiohead's OK COMPUTER (1997) as the best album of the last twenty years.

Gratifying news to me, as besides being a fan of many Radiohead recordings, this particular album holds a special place in my heart as the soundtrack of my travels during my 4-month backpacking the cities of North America in 1998. I had a sturdy all-metal Sony Walkman (tape!) with a selection of about 10 essential magnetic music-holding accessories buried in my backpack, but found by the end that OK Computer lived inside that equipment about 75% of the time. Thank Apple for iPod!

[ Audio Tape ]

Indeed, Radiohead holds position #2 in my list of "Greatest bands I've never seen".

And I did go so very close to catching them during that very backpacking trip. Leaving Universal Studios Park, Los Angeles, after an exceptionally long day of walking and rides with my then girlfriend and travel partner Georgia, we passed a large crowd streaming in. Since the park was closing, we asked where they were going. Radiohead were playing that night in some ampitheatre within the park!

I considered chasing a scalper for a ~$200 ticket, but there were complications. One — we were both exhausted, and Georgia stated she did not have the energy. She said she'd be more than happy for me to go and she would make her way back to the (seedy) hotel on Sunset Strip. This was an unacceptable position for a purpoted gentleman like myself! Second complication was that this was week 2 of our trip, but week 1 was spent skiing in Vail, Colorado. Needless to say, an expensive start to a 4 month 'budget' trip.

So the concerns won out, and I passed, even though Georgia, bless her wise-beyond-her-years Confucius self did try to encourage me to go, saying it may be a rare opportunity that I wouldn't want to regret later.

It's later, and I kind of regret it.

Favourite OK COMPUTER track? Mood dependent, but hard to go past Subterranean Homesick Alien at any time.

Oh, and the elusive #1 on my "greatest band I've never seen" list? Let's just say that I'd give my eye-teeth for 2 tickets to the Live 8 concert in London next week.

I See Your Schwarz Is As Big As Mine!

What possesses me to stay up until 2am watching a movie I have not only already seen, but deciding to watch it on (ugggh) commercial TV? There I was last night, watching SpaceBalls in all its language-edited, non-widescreen, commercially-interrupted lack-of-glory. [Dark Helmet]

The great irony of this is that I own this movie on DVD, and have never watched that particular disc. I picked it up for under $10, and there it sits, 7 feet from my couch, looking all Laura Palmer.

Has my laziness reached such heights that I will slouch in front of the idiot box, zombified by whatever is on?

Without giving that too much thought (since I have three months of decreed dormancy ahead!), my favourite scene is still the part where Dark Helmet and his Commander decide to determine where our heroes have gone by watching the video-cassette version of the movie they are making. It seems that in the future, the rental industry has finally got a little bit faster than the pirate industry.

And the line that made me laugh out loud last night? This one:

[Ominous red lights start flashing; sirens and klaxons echo around the starships bridge]

President of the Galaxy: "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?"
Dark Helmet: "That's the self destruct! It's irreversible!"
President: (mumbling) "Just like my raincoat."

Yep. Sometimes it's just that easy.

Now Available With Nothing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 | 11:58 pm

Making trip number four to the 'soda fountain' tonight during the recently established Tuesday habit with mates at Mo's Southwestern Grill, I slowed my usual beeline to the Sprite 'tap' (is it called a tap?), and quickly surveyed the competing flavours. All the standards, but then I saw something that rang no bells with me — Mr. Pibb. I have been in the States for about 6 years, but this drink is a mystery to me. I asked around the table, and although it was agreed that this is a Dr. Pepper imitation, no-one was drinking it.

So I checked around the web tonight, and in following Googles main hit for "whats in pibb", I found only a paragraph,including the the intro: "After serving the Pibb-loving community since circa 1995, this site is being retired. If you've been a regular visitor, I'm sure you noticed that I wasn't doing a great job of keeping it up-to-date. For a long time, however, this was still the best Mr. Pibb site on the web."

Now what the hell possesses someone to build a website devoted to a soft drink*? And apparently there's a community! And more curious still, how much competition was there in the cut-throat Mr Pibb web site realm that forced this closure? Perhaps they wanted to retire on top, or perhaps some skullduggery by vicious new competing Pibb web sites convinced them, in da strongest of terms, that retirement was an option. Perhaps he woke up with a Mr. Pibb head in his bed?

It seems Mr. Pibb is not in his popular prime, at least not on the north east coast, as many of the links were dead. And one existing fan site even contained the author's plea:Mr. PiBB is the best soft drink i've ever tasted. I suggest you try it. If anyone knows where I can find this in South Jersey e-mail me."It seems it even escapes its hard core afficionados. But did I discover that it was indeed Coca-Cola's 1972 attempt to thwart the growing competition from Dr Pepper. Well, their second attempt. Initially, in true new generation corporate style, their first attempt was litigation, when they tried sueing the Dr Peppers manufacturers due to some dispute over Coke owning a trademark named "Peppo". In a rare burst of common sense for the judicial trademark system, the attempt failed. So instead they just ripped off the "name rhythm", and made a close copy. But would you settle for a Mister when you needed a Doctor?

Anyhow, the soda tap next to Sprite showed an interesting use of a small amount of space for marketing purposes. You have about 6 square inches in total to show your label and any catchy marketing you can squeeze in. And the Traditional Lemonade tap chose to use it's space to advertise everything it doesn't have:

"Contains 0% juice".

Now, without discussing the merits of having to put a % sign after the number 0, I couldn't work out if this was supposed to be a positive marketing line (for those desperately avoiding anything vaguely natural in their soda), or a health warning? (great for all you people who are allergic to soem unspecified juice).

I look forward to your comments as to how other products could benefit with a "contains 0%" slogan! E.g. Below the nameplate for 253 Granby — 'contains 0% profitability". (cheap shot, but fun!)

* An Aussie/English colloquialism. Taken from the fact that all important carbonated drinks (i.e. beer) are called hard drinks, and everything else with bubbles but without alcohol is a soft drink. It's was a tough country. Made tougher by the fact that ordering a soft drink in Australia does not get you inifinite refills. Mind you, there is nothing like asking a bunch of macho men you've been drinking with at a bar in Sydney if they'd like "another drink, or just a softie?"

Batman Begins, Again.

I cruised over to the matinee showing (one advantage of being unemployed!) of BATMAN BEGINS tonight with my darling wife, who seemed to be more eager for the film than I was. I was strictly forbidden from seeing the film over the weekend while I was in Boston without her, and instead went to Fenway to see the Red Sox not begin anything at all—not even a run.[Dark Knight]
And ohhh what a beginning it is

I think this little extra waiting period may have helped heighten my desire though, as by the time I strolled into the theatre I harboured some moderately-high hopes myself—and a large dose of trepidation borne of the number of times Hollywood–hype bears very sour fruit, especially during the "summer blockbuster" season.

My faith was placed squarely at the feet of director Christopher Nolan, who at his best is superb (Memento is firmly fixed in one of my top ten movies), and even at his worst (Insomnia) is still cleverly adult, and can pull some gripping atmosphere from his cast and script.

[Oingo Boingo]
The origins of Danny Elfman

I must also admit to being a big fan of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie. I loved its gothic feel, was gob-smacked by the manic Jack Nicholson hamming it up as The Joker, and Danny Elfman's score was one of my absolute favourite's for a year, displacing even the 3-year love-affair I had been having with James Horner's Aliens score. Batman Returns was a carnivale-like spectacle, enjoyable for the great-leads, and an interesting story of the principle players, even though it added little to Batman himself. But it was all downhill for the franchise from there. And not a slow decline, but a screaming vertigo-inducing plummet like one of Mark's carnie rides.

To cut to the chase for those with a busy night of web-wandering to get through, this movie is excellent for the action loving non-juvenile's amongst us. But if the summary is all you came for, your missing the point of blog-reading. ;)

In what I assume is a completely co-incidental nod to Tim Burton, the trailers started with Willy Wonka (am still hoping, but looked underwhelming). They then middled (time-wise and interest wise) with Sky High (how do they expect to compete with The Incredibles?), and finished with the low-brow comedy The Dukes of Hazzard—worth mentioning only for the priceless look the female actress gives Bo/Luke when he finds out she's from Australia, and launches straight into "put another shrimp on the barbie". (they are bloody prawns to us, not shrimp!). It's a look I have tried to subtly communicate all too often.

WONDER-OUS TRAILERS? Lynda Carter (T.V's Wonder Woman) appeared in not one, but two of the previews! I am reasonably sure half the boys my age ogled her sometime back in the mid-70's before we even really knew what ogling was for. And if you remember doing that, you probably also sang the phrase "Wonder Woman" when you read it above! Needless to say, she's aged, but deserves a mention for her part in my formative years. Do you believe they called the first series/pilot (?) of that T.V show "The New Original Wonder Woman"? Sounds like a stain remover.

The main feature delivers exactly what its title promises. The myth behind the legend of the Dark Knight. The initial act covers the years and events that will define the Batman persona, and hone it from a blunt rage for vengeance, to a sharply reasoned edge. There aren't a massive amount of surprises in the backstory, but even a Fan Boy may be delighted to learn tidbits such as Bruce's guilt at his parents death, as well as this version of his martial training at the hands of Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Shadows.

The strength of the film is how it crafts a realistic hero story, that treats the legend of The Dark Knight with reverance and intelligence, but never hamstrings the story-telling by what has been already written or filmed. This is action for the adult, where the characters are more than just latex nipples. And although the plot bends dangerously towards its graphic novel parentage during its denouement, it never looks like just a comic book.

Where even the Burton Batman movie provided insight into the demise of Batman's parents, this film expands to flesh out the origin of so much more, such as Batman's abilities, equipment and villains. This is the movie that explains where he gets "those wonderful toys", as well as how he got the metaphorical monkey on his back.

Christian Bale is good in this role. I must admit that it took a while for me to warm to him in the cape and the cowl (something about his cheek/chin shape?), but I got there. He is absolutely spot-on though as the billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, beating out all previous actors in that side of the role for my money. And in this movie, that time outside the suit is as important as the time inside it.

Cutie Katie Holmes has copped a lot of flak lately, thanks primarily to the overt-love expressions of her current fiance, and she isn't terrible here as Bruce's childhood playmate Rachel. The problem though is that she is not great in this role either. In many movies, she would have been passably fine, but she is surrounded by such a luminous supporting cast here, that she suffers by comparison. My wife's complaint was that she looked far too young for the role of a world-weary DA. She gets some great scenes though, especially the one with Bruce early on in the car that sets him on a reveals his selfish-revenge fantasy for what it is.

The reason for such strong supporting performances is not just a function of the great writing and directing, but also due to the skill of the big-name actors filling out the roles. Michael Caine is excellent, and although I have a soft-spot for the butler from the old TV series, Caine's Alfred is much more rounded, a little harder edged in that "stern father" kind of way, and delivers some wry jokes with a great touch (his line about borrowing the Rolls is priceless). He even provides some of the brains of the outfit, making him so much more than just a breakfast-carrying lackey.

Liam Neeson is exactly as we have come to expect—accomplished, enigmatic and commanding every time he is on screen. After Star Wars Episode I, Gangs Of New York, Kingdom of Heaven and now this,the man absolutely owns the role of the "wise mentor". All others must now aspire.

Gary Oldman is one of my favourite actors (who scared the crap outta me as one of the most fearsome baddies ever in a minor yet scene-stealing role within True Romance), and finally the character of Gordon gets some love that is much overdue. Portraying a character slightly reminiscent of his aged-role in The Contender (an excellent movie also), he adds a repressed desperation to Jim Gordon, and shows that although he believes in good, he is not idealist enough to think it will spring forth from the muck of Gotham City by its own volition. Oldman imbues Gordon with a sense of hidden strength beneath the battered cop exterior, but strength tinged with cunning. His final scene with Batman and the signal lamp is remarkably restrained for a Hollywood finale, but brilliant.

My beloved would slap me upside of the head if I didn't give mention to Cillian Murphy as the Arkham Asylum psychiatrist Dr. Crane. He plays it very passively, but boy does he carry some cold-eyed menace. I also liked Tom Wilkinson as the mob boss Falcone, a role that could have been so easily overlooked and just played run-of-the-mill by a lesser actor. His first scene with Bruce is mesmerizing, and carries enough "old boss" experience to make you understand his point of view, but tinges it with enough impatient menace to make him a credible foe. This scene really does thump Bruce Wayne squarely in his ideals.

Morgan Freeman is in good—if perfunctory—form here, and once again plays the gentle but not to be underestimated humanist you would be proud to have as your dad. If nothing else, his delivery of the line "The tumbler? Oh, you wouldn't be interested in that" carries one of the best wry smiles seen on film in years. Rutger Hauer is a favourite from the old days of The Hitcher, Flesh & Blood, and of coure Blade Runner, and he carries his post-retirement (I am sure he publicly gave away acting back in the 90s?) wrinkles well. Perhaps the only actor in the supporting cast I felt was under utilized was Ken Watanabe, who I loved in The Last Samurai, (and I still think he was unfortunate to miss out on a Best Supporting Oscar that year, although it was a strong field). He gets precious little to play with, but certainly looks the part. I suppose someone has to be just "supporting".

And a quick mention to the score. Hans Zimmer holds the credit for my current favourite film score of all time (Gladiator), but when he took on this job with James Newton Howard (King Arthur), they must of felt the weight of all they had to live up to like a burning log across the chest. What they produced though (from all those push-ups!) is an atmospheric yet orchestrally resonant underpinning that is definitely unique, and one I will look to purchase (even if it may be from some cheap Russian online store).

You get the idea. Put a smart script in front of good actors and a clever director who carries a coherent vision, and even The Batman franchise can be resurrected with panache. Ignore what you have seen on the trailers (the fire breathing horses and the otherworldy Scarecrow). This smart-adult action movie grounds Batman and his foes firmly in reality, as just a man (albeit one with some fiscal advantages). But it is this real-world telling of the tale that helps you feel what the film and its characters throws at you. The first time the Batman appears on film suited-up for action and puts the fear of Bat into the hoodlums, you feel gleeful at their cold sweat—because the script has pushed the fear element so well. And the first time you see him really fly, it is exhilirating because you know it is not a Superman, but a just a man, flying (and they have shown you how he does it without taking the wonder out of it).

And like any man, his humanity is indeed his weakness as well as his strength, bringing with it demons he has tried 14 years to assauge, but is only now coming to terms with. And even though he starts to find some hidden joy in the bat-suit (and indeed, in the role he must maintain as Bruce), it comes with emotional consequences as he must distance himself from regular life and love. Luckily, he has billions of dollars to ease the pain.

My best recommendation is that I found myself sitting in the theatre toward the finale, and noticed that deep down within me, in a small pocket right beside my cynicism gland, there was a secret glowing-wish that my every-day world would bring me such a hero. Not just one who does good by rounding up baddies, but one that scares them into reconsidering their career choice. I would even catch it more than once at the theatre if the chance arose. You must become more than a man, and this movie definitely becomes more than just a superhero movie.

FOUR PRAWNS OUT OF FIVE! If there is any good left in Gotham,it will make a lot more money than any Joel Schumacher film.

"Skywaller.. Skywalmer... Here he is: Skywalker!""

Thursday, June 16, 2005 | 11:59 pm

I consider myself a vaguely competent Star Wars geek. I am not a roving Encyclopaedia Galactica of all things Star Wars, but I am familiar enough with the original Episodes 4-6 to place myself somewhere in, say, the top 30% of SW geeks (remember—it's a bell curve!).

Mainly, this is because I was a fan, who then got a job with the license for a few years, leading me to long days of pondering the minutia of that "galaxy far far away" (and then trying to write it in 3 lines or less). I even garnered myself my very own action figure, but that's a different story—and one reasonably known amongst those people probably reading this.

But a few weeks after watching Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, a strange question just occurred to me. A question so fundamental that I am convinced that I must be missing some immensely obvious Star Wars factoid. As such, I post this with trepidation, completely aware that the answer is probably lurking right in front, and I am only one reply away from imminent ridicule and forced-removal from the upper 1/3 percentile.

DISCLAIMER: Be warned! This is an attempt to find logic in an imaginary movie universe, albeit one that many people take very seriously. I do think that suspense of disbelief demands we find some logic in our movies (except when watching Oliver Stone "documentaries"). And poor old Star Wars has probably been subject to more examination than any other franchise, besides possibly Star Trek. This is perhaps a little unfair on a few thousand people who just wanted to make a hit film. Nonetheless, I need an answer!

In my best Rod Serling voice...

Imagine yourself in a place far, far away, at around the end of Episode III. You are wearing Jedi sandals, and witnessing the birth of Padme's "Acme Instant Incubating Twins". You and your peers fear Daddy Vader and his Wizened Father Figure will hunt for the twins, so you propose to split them up and take them far away from each other.

You decide to hide Luke on his father's home planet of Tatooine. Personally, a decision distinctly lacking in imagination, but I'll squint around my suspense of disbelief holes and accept some weak justification like "last place he'll ever think of looking!").

Now cast your mind forward in time. A time where a desperate galaxy is about to rediscover A New Hope. Our future-saviour, in his first act of heroism, bursts into his sisters holding-cell on the Death Star and excitedly proclaims: "I'm Luke Skywalker, and I'm here to rescue you."

Now... it may just be me... but if I wanted to keep a secret child from his murderous father and the nefarious Imperial Government, I'm pretty sure I wouldn' let him keep the last name of SKYWALKER!

Conclusion? Palpatine should have been able to find Luke in the Galactic White Pages.

Related web oddity: Do a search in the WhitePages.com for last name of Skywalker. The first match? Annikan Skywalker of Mogadore, OH. A cleverly organized prank? Or the sad product of fanboy and fangirl (accidentally) copulating? We may never know.

Of Pink Slips & Green Cards

In the end, I just ran out of excuses. Everyone was blogging, and I had told myself more than once (and unfortunately, a few times out loud in front of witnesses) that I should flex a few horribly dormant writing muscles and do the same. If nothing else, it could serve as an escape from reading websites related to Apple, scripting, widget-design, and a bunch of other psuedo-technical areas I read up on, but rarely do any actual work with. The kind of websites that my very recent and oh-so-beautiful American wife finds about as exciting as a root canal with a phillips-head screwdriver.

That's the problem that arises when you combine the web and people with a short-attention span—it's too easy to lose your free time within its sticky strands without actually achieving anything.

And then the Gods of «insert whichever pantheon you deem relevant for your particular afterlife theory here» threw me a bone. A bone shaped and colored curiously like a pink-slip(1).

Redundancy certainly frees up your schedule. Well, after a few weeks it does. The first few weeks post-Decipher(2) have been chock full of immigration paperwork & medicals from delightful Indian doctors completely unconcerned with my prostate health. It seems the medicals and blood tests are valuable data for the government to help determine whether or not my marriage is justifiabe enough in their eyes to permit me a green card. The curious part here is that they only test for 2 diseases in your blood test—HIV and syphillis. Further proof in my casual pet-theory that America is much more worried about sex than violence. Mind you, there is no requirement in the immigration paperwork that I must own a gun, so I may be overstating it.

So this all leads to a lovely gift from the US immigration services. It seems I cannot be on someone's payroll, nor leave the country (and get back in) for 90-days from the time the government receives my green card application. I refer to this 3-month span colloquially as my Government Sponsored Suntan phase. The law itself I refer to as the Decreed Dormancy law.

And thus it was that all excuses to not blog were lost. The initial outcome of this suprising interaction of strange forces is stimulating liquid crystals on your monitor right now. Hardly worth the wait I know, but at least the train has left the station—for destinations unknown!


Due For Blogging Once I Return from Boston...
» Songs worth rewinding.
» Five TV commercials I hate. A lot.
» Franken-blister

(1) I was disappointed to note, that departing from my job at my companies request came with no actual "pink slip", but instead with about 80 pages of agreements, notes, documents, contract copies and pages of gobbligook about Cobras (which even the most ardent Herpetologist would be bored to death by). Indeed I received this package twice (once via registered mail for the benefit of future legal wranglings I presume). It seems things were a lot simpler back in the days when expressions were short, catchy, and actual had meaning. Of course, this makes me wonder now if the green card is, in fact, green? (or even a card?).

(2) I was fully intending to include a link to my former employer's web site here, but the old-world innocent charm of the www.decipher.com card-gaming site has recently dissappeared (an error, I believe), and all links now port through to a soulless, online e-commerce site (which, co-incidentally, I once was the director of). Unfortunately, that is the department that has been ohemorrhaging money for the last 2 years. Indeed my current UB meter(3) registers that department with a 35% share of the blame.

(3) [Can you have superscripts within explanations of superscripts?] UB meter = UNEMPLOYMENT BLAME meter. This handy mental device measures where I place the accountability for my previous employers slide to extreme non-profitability. But it is important to note that this 'blame' is just for psychological-cleansing reasons, and without any intended vindictiveness. The full UB pie-chart will be revealed in time.