Monday, January 31, 2005

Making Fun of Stupid People

My new favorite blog: Query Letters I Love. This guy apparently works in Hollywood and gets prospective scripts, which I'm assuming are called "query letters." In any case, he posts the synopses of the bad ones. That makes me laugh.
[ link: laughing at stupid people ]

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Smokey Smell of Change

Slavagreat: too bad it's closing
kidicarus222: closed
kidicarus222: tell me about it

I couldn’t help thinking about the last episode of "Home Movies."

I had the night off and Cory decided the Nexus opinion machine needed a break and brought Palmy Palmerston home to watch what we all presumed was an ordinary episode. Then we started with “Did that seem like the last episode of the series?” and questions like that.

But I wondered how it must have all looked for Meghan. She had never seen the show before and while she seemed to enjoy it — especially the subplot about motherless Melissa learning about make-up — I doubt she could have appreciate what a loss it was for me. When “Home Movies” ended, I felt like my friend had just moved away. For her, the end and the beginning were the same.

Last night, I went to the Firebird for the last time.

Principally, I went because Margo, a former Firebird bartender, threw herself a going away party. In about a week, her two jobs ended and her roommate decided to go off to grad school and her house burnt down and so she decided that Jesus or Yahweh or somebody wanted her out of Santa Barbara. I think my favorite line in her good-bye email read “Then I went to rite-aid to get a new toothbrush to replace my old one. Well, good thing, because my old toothbrush was at that time burning. In the FIRE. In my APARTMENT.”

So she’s gone. But the Firebird is too. When I mentioned her jobs ending, that included slinging drinks behind the bar. Apparently, my favorite drinking establishment will soon become a cute restaurant. This dimly-lit cranny on Cota appealed more to than any other bar in the entire State Street scene. Last night alone stands as good enough justification for its existence: I drank sake and listened to the Kinks and saw my English TA and hung out with a choice cross-section of the Santa Barbara intellectual hipsters that I call my friends.

But so many of the people I invited to come had never been there before, I wonder if they got it. I’m just a little put out today and it’s not entirely the hangover’s fault. If most of my personal history in Santa Barbara was writing at the Pasado House and the Nexus office, a healthy-sized footnote was scrawled out at the Firebird: I had a wonderful night. I had a wonderful night. I had a wonderful night.

Presently, Roommate Daniel is talking on the phone in the living room. His old roommate overdosed and died. Hearing about his death was the first time I’d ever heard that he’s alive.

There’s something to that: hearing about something when it’s too late to do anything about it. Learning it’s there when it isn’t anymore. There’s something to that, I’m sure.

And please excuse the lack of updates this past week. I’ve never wanted to be the kind of person who apologizes for not journaling. I’m actually fairly sure most people don’t really care. But life’s not worth writing about when the only verbs are “sleep,” “read,” “drink,” “work” — often in that order.

Next week: verbal fireworks, I promise.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Poke

What he said about Facebook:
Network Leaves a World of Possibilities at Your Fingertips

Poke.

My phone vibrates in my pocket. I pull it out to find I have been “poked” by someone with an unfamiliar name. I feel dirty. Some stranger has extended a digital finger and caused a brief rumbling sensation in my pants.

Though the idea of invisible strangers poking at me through Thefacebook doesn’t sit well, I like that they’re forwarded immediately to my phone. It’s one of the amenities that make me like Thefacebook, the online alternative to human interaction that’s sweeping campus like a case of mono.

Naysayers may deride the online community as a refuge for the weak, nerdy and otherwise unsociable. However, by isolating its online communities to a specific college campus, Thefacebook provides a valuable service. If I miss a class, I can quickly obtain the AIM screen names and cell phone numbers of 20 people who could lend me their notes.

Beyond the practical applications of Thefacebook lay the fun ones. Now you can find out that the looker from your orientation group likes “Patch Adams” and therefore learn you’ve been wasting your time. Conversely, you could potentially meet someone who shares your interests. It’s not likely, but it’s always possible. And one more way to help one person contact another can’t hurt — even if they just start out poking.

Please, feel free to poke away.

Daily Nexus Training Editor Drew likes anything related to fingers, poking, or vibrating — a lot.
What she said about Facebook:
Internet Shenanigans Are Eerily Reminiscent of High School

As a toddler, I was shy. I spoke only when spoken to - if then - and as my mother taught me, I was leery of strangers.

Since then, I’ve developed basic social skills. I’m able to mingle, meet new people and make new friends. And I’m proud of this; I no longer have the social capacity of a 3-year-old.

Now the Internet threatens to diminish these accomplishments. Damnit, Facebook, since when did one-on-one social interaction become a thing of the past?

The truth is, Facebookers, your little Mecca of online matchmaking is nothing more than a self-perpetuating version of those fucking e-mail profiles I used to receive from my high school friends - duplicate forms, all with the same pathetic message: “Fill this out and learn things about people you never knew! Send them to everyone you know!” Imagine my surprise when I found out Susie’s favorite color was orange or that Brenda’s favorite movie was “How Stella Got Her Groove Back.” (Brenda, you sappy bastard.) Now you can send that same ridiculous who-the-fuck-cares info to people you don’t even know. (Facebooker, I hear you whimpering. I see you contemplating rushing home to form a “People who hate Kristen Richer” group.)

Hurrah, but here’s a different suggestion: Try stepping out of the Internet tech-geek force field that is Thefacebook and actually interacting with people via conversation or recreation. And when you do, don’t mention you have a fetish for monkeys or that your favorite flick is “Beaches.” Trust me on this one.

Daily Nexus Assistant County Editor Kristen Richer still holds her whisky like a 3-year-old.
Clearly, I won. Evidence: I convinced Tiye to join Facebook. And many thanks to the seven strangers who poked me today. I didn't realize that my column was an open invitation to a storm of pokes and I don't regret it.

Ten bucks to anybody who starts a "I Hate Kristen Richer" Facebook club.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Ozymandias At Least Got a Poem

The big joke of this quarter is that I'm taking History 4A. I guess I should say I'm re-taking History 4A, but that somehow only makes me sound worse.

I'm writing the first paper and in it I'm discussing Akhenaten. He's the pharaoh who decided that worshipping a whole legion of gods and goddesses is bunk and replaced the whole pantheon with the Aten, a big dumb solar disk completely lacking the personality one might find in, say, Sekhmet, the cat-headed goddess of war and disease. So Akhenaten makes everyone worship the Aten and then moves his entire royal court — including his more-famous wife, Nefertiti — from Thebes to Amarna. And everyone goes along with it, since he's the pharaoh and the pharaoh makes the rules.

Only Akhenaten eventually dies, since even pharaohs are human, and the rest of Egypt basically says "to hell with this," leaves Amarna and heads back to Thebes. All the old animal-face gods are reinstated and Akhenaten's successor has to change his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamen.

Funny. No matter how hard you work for something, who ever moves in behind you can simply erase it all and make it like you never even happened.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Babydog

More dodging, hopefully artful.
Thanks for the Tuition, Mom
Get More Bang for Your Buck by Avoiding the Walkout

I did not vote for George W. Bush. My parents did. Now keep that in mind, because it’s the chief reason I’m not attending today’s protest.

At some point in high school I realized that my political views diverged from those of my family. I don’t know why. My brother grew up in the same household and votes conservatively, meaning that he falls more in line with the rest of my family than I do. Whether my liberal stance on issues like the environment, abortion, gay rights, the war in Iraq and national security stems from my heartfelt beliefs or a prolonged stage of adolescent rebellion is a matter for the family psychologist. I’m a blue sheep in a flock of red ones.

Today’s walkout offers an opportunity for blue sheep to band together and jointly baa-baa-baa in outrage at having to endure another four years of Bushery. I’m declining to join this barnyard chorus, however, because though I don’t agree with my parents’ political opinions, I can’t deny that their money keeps me in college.

Like a lot of the students who may read this column as they sit in a lecture hall before their professors begin today’s lecture, my family pays my college tuition. Students in such a fortunate position have an enormous load lifted off their shoulders and, I’d guess, an easier time muddling through college without having to simultaneously cope with academic and financial pressures.

I’d also guess that I’m not the only student whose family doesn’t lean toward the left. If you exist in this cross-section of demographics — a potentially large one, given UCSB’s reputation as a school with students coming from wealthy families - I’d advise you to remain in class today and voice your political opinions elsewhere. Ditching something you’ve already paid for proves nothing about your political awareness. It’s like buying a candy bar and then throwing it away to protest world hunger. Beyond that, ditching to protest Bush will only allow the conservative kids to experience better professor-student interaction.

Numbers generally terrify me, but I rationalized my decision with math. Quarterly tuition for a full-time student is $1,657. Divided evenly between three four-unit classes, that number comes out to $552. A typical Tuesday-Thursday class meets 20 times per quarter, which means that if you walk out of class today in order to protest a president who will still sit in office for a full four years, you could be wasting about $28 of your parents’ money.

That may not seem like much — it comes out roughly to a reasonably nice dinner on State Street — but because I’m grateful to my parents, I refuse to waste their money. They pay for me to learn. I should bother to actually remain in class.

If my parents wrote me a check for $28 and told me to spend it on school, I would feel bad if I trotted over to campus and pledged it all to CalPIRG. Regardless of my parents’ beliefs, I should respect that they pay for my education.

I’m as upset as anybody that George W. Bush is the president for another four years — and like it or not, he is your president — and I think the right to gather in public and freely voice your political dissent is a valuable one. However, I resent that today’s protest was designed to be a campus walkout. Education is the primary reason we’re here; chanting and pot-banging for political awareness should be an extracurricular, no matter how much you don’t like the president.

Sheep gather in flocks. That’s their nature. But just as UCSB has a few students who decided to stray from their families in their political opinions, I encourage students to truly think about whether wasting the money of their conservative-but-loving parents is worth it.

Go to class. Protest on your own time.



I'm including Batalla's accompanying art because it depicts me. (I should interject here that I would never wear the shirt Batalla drew me wearing, but whatever.) The fellow I'm talking to, I believe, is Dansy Pansy, our fearless editor-in-chief.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Dr. Awkward

Caitlin Mueller taught me the coolest thing. I had no idea, but apparently you can send text messages to Google, which can define a word or give you an address. It's like 411, only cheap and useful.

Send a text message to 46645. If you want a word defined, put a "D" in front of it. So, like, the text message would be "d titmouse" if you want a definition for "titmouse." If you wanted "vulva," you'd send "d vulva." For addresses, send where you're looking for and the zip code. "Holiday Inn 93101."

And it costs the same as a normal text message. I just like that I've put Google into my phone book. In case you wanted to know, the list of phone numbers now goes Glenn, Google, Greta. Ha.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Training

Can't talk now! I have a class to teach!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Meet My Friend, Mrs. Huxtable

kidicarus222: wait, are you margaret?
xAtomic Mojimex: yeah.
xAtomic Mojimex: i went by peggy for a spell when i was younger
kidicarus222: wow
kidicarus222: i never got that
kidicarus222: margeret being peggy
xAtomic Mojimex: neither did i, but one time i read all the nick nammes that went with margaret and decided that i was going to be peggy, after peggy bundy, because it was after seeing married with children one time when my parents left me with a crap babysitter
kidicarus222: you could have been margie
kidicarus222: or margot
kidicarus222: oh! or margaux
kidicarus222: or just "ret," because no one ever shortens it to that
kidicarus222: i like peggy bundy
xAtomic Mojimex: Ret, thats nice. it makes me feel like i should be in gone with the wind. and have a sweet mustache.
kidicarus222: you could have taken "bundy"
xAtomic Mojimex: yeah. she always had the most rockin stretch pants.
kidicarus222: how about "gret"?
xAtomic Mojimex: like grettle? hansle and grettle.
kidicarus222: you don't meet so many margarets these days
kidicarus222: why did you chose to go with maggie?
xAtomic Mojimex: well, thats what id been called since birth. and i like it. like maggie from growing pains.
xAtomic Mojimex: actually, i had one gramma who wanted something irish and one who wanted something "spunky" and so it was: margaret called maggie.
kidicarus222: do you base all your names on sitcom moms?
xAtomic Mojimex: subliminally, i guess so.

The Socio-Cultural Relevance of Stephanie Tanner in Today's Media

I had a revelation.

Does anybody remember that episode of "Full House" where Stephanie dances? She's taking a dance class and has to perform this number to "Motown Philly" and she's way psyched about it.

Do you remember it?

But then the whole Tanner clan starts building up the event and Danny starts recalling his days as a pole vaulter in high school and Stephanie begins to freak out. And then there's this whole dream sequence where everybody in the family is dancing and singing about how great Stephanie is and how great it is that she's performing and Danny sings the lyrics "I'm placing all my childhood ambitions on you"?

Do you remember it?

Well, when it comes time to actually dance, Stephanie freaks out and instead of the choreographed number, which she new cold, she just starts doing this jig. And then she runs away and they stop the music.

Do you remember it?

Okay.

Well, think about that and the remarkable similarity to the Ashlee Simpson debacle on "SNL" earlier this year.

It's totally the same thing. Girl freaks out and at a loss for anything better to do, she jigs.

A jig!

I can think of no other instance in pop culture where a female performer has jigged to cover up her inability to perform correctly on stage.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Are You Sitting Down?

Well — are you?

The date on which FOX will air a new episode of "Family Guy" is May 1, 2005. Hercules the Strong said so and I believe him. Presumably another new episode will follow. And then another and then another and then another.

Read for yourself what Hercules said.

Wet Roads

In my opinionation, the sun may not necessarily shine. Discussed herein: the 101, a milk truck, loaded hand gestures, Ann Landers, punching yourself in the face.
Reducing Rain-Induced Road Rage

The recent downpours have reminded me that Californians have a tendency to drive like assholes during rain. It’s bizarre, really. Toss a small amount of water onto the road and far too many Californians will revert to the driving habits of 16-year-olds taking their first behind-the-wheel test. “Oh my god! The light turned red! I - I guess I’d better just floor it!” Or “Shit! The road is slightly slick and shiny! And I need to change lanes! I’d better crank it to the left without signaling! Go!”

I blame it on our lack of familiarity with nasty weather. Californians grow up with sun-bleached stretches of 101 without a single puddle to hydroplane upon. States that must cope with real weather - you know, not the stuff of postcards - would probably prefer our week of rain over snow or ice. Granted, rain makes for less-than-optimal driving conditions, but none so bad that they would account for the behavior of local motorists - myself included.

But, as I cut off that milk truck this morning, I realized two things: that the milkman probably thinks I’m a bigger jerk than I really am, and that motorists have no way of signaling an apology when they’ve done something stupid. I find this odd.

The DMV handbook teaches us nifty hand signals for turns and stops, which I suppose might be useful if you prefer Depression-era automobiles, but it offers no way to convey, “Hi. I acknowledge the boneheadedness of what I just did and I won’t do it again - and please don’t run my car off the road in retaliation.” That might seem like too much content to cram into a simple hand motion, but look how much mileage we’ve been getting out of a single raised finger.

But what sign could possibly fulfill this role? When I’m not driving my car, my typical response to my screw-ups is a shrug. Think, “I’m sorry, buddy. I don’t know what to tell you.” It’s probably not the best for blunders on the go, however, since a proper shrug also requires to two raised shoulders and two upturned hands and such a motion would probably only cause further accidents.

A peace sign - the good ol’ papal benediction - might suffice, but I worry that drivers racing down the road might mistake the two fingers for that one popular finger and again cause more bloodshed.

Speaking of Catholics, those happy churchgoers have a little gesture that they use to express penitence: a few fist taps fist on the chest. It’s usually done with a short prayer called the “Mea Culpa,” which literally means “my fault.” This one might seem perfect for quelling the road rage of wronged motorists, but I feel like subtle chest-beating might not be visible. I’d suggest one solid punch into your own face - but, again, you could just end up causing further badness.

I was about to give up on my mission to determine the best possible apology hand signal when I decided to see what the Internet might offer on the issue. Sure enough, Ann Landers once weighed in on this issue and asked her readers to mail in their suggestions. They mailed ideas - a military salute, the American Sign Language gesture for “I’m sorry,” a throat-slitting finger across the throat - but Ann, true to her personal non-advisory style of advice, offered no conclusion, just, “The most important thing to remember when you do something stupid is accept the blame with a smile and keep on driving.” Thanks a bunch, Ann.

Nearly 10 years later, and even Ann Landers couldn’t convince the country to fuck up politely. I guess there’s a reason we don’t have an apology hand signal: It’s not practical, and it’s too hard to standardize. I think it’s a good idea, however. So if I pass you on the rain-soaked 101 and you see me gesticulating wildly, please understand: There’s a reason.

Daily Nexus training editor Drew got bored of trying to think of polite gestures. Nowadays he just gives everyone the bird because you’re probably an asshole anyway.

Bloodstains

I have a lot to say — and get paid for saying.

Discussed herein: freshman year of high school, Neve Campbell, bare breasts, Naomi Watts, wells, graphic violence, rites of passage, "Cursed."
Gimme My Blood and Gore

During my freshman year of high school, I snuck into “Scream” when it hit theatres in late 1996. Between the bouts of graphic violence, I remember a frank discussion between Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich’s characters about a late-night showing of “The Exorcist” that had “all the good parts cut out.” In the end, Campbell’s character offers to raise the status of her virginal relationship with her boyfriend to PG-13 and flashes her breasts to him as he climbs out her window.

Nearly 10 years later, the blood has drained out of the genre. Many horror films still make money and some even provide legitimate scares, but an unfortunate trend is skewing these films towards a younger set. Horror films aren’t having “all the good parts cut out” just for the made-for-TV version; it’s happening on the silver screen, too.

Nobody expected “The Ring,” the Gore Verbinski directed chiller starring Naomi Watts, to perform as well as it did in the box office. Watts had not yet established herself as a bankable star and its PG-13 rating portended a kiddie flick with mediocre scares. Though critics divided on whether “The Ring” resounded or clanked, the film grossed $128 million in the U.S. alone. Verbinski went on to direct “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” Watts joined Hollywood’s elite and a new horror icon was created in Samara, the film’s villain and the meanest little girl ever to get stuck in a well.

Movie studios took note and subsequently released more horror films that shied away from the Karo Syrup blood of the new wave of slashers - “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” - in favor of subtler scares and more effective marketing to a younger demographic. In the last sixth months, the under-18 group has had the option to put down their crayons and legally wander into five different PG-13 horror films: “The Village,” “Anacondas: The Search for the Blood Orchid,” “The Grudge,” “Darkness” and “White Noise,” none of which garnered much critical praise, but each of which offered an opportunity to sell kids on a movie that appealed to their taste for cheap scares.

It’s genius, really. Kids love horror.

Even if they close their eyes during the scary parts, they’ve still shelled out the money for admission. By watering down the violence, movie studios can market to a demographic for whom most horror had been off limits.

The PG-13 horror trend poses two problems, however. First, stealing into an R-rated film provides underage moviegoers with the adult situations they crave: It’s a rite of passage and can be as big a thrill as anything in the horror movie itself.

The rumors surrounding the release of the upcoming horror film “Cursed” exemplify the other nasty result of this trend. “Cursed” pairs director Wes Craven with writer Kevin Williamson. The two first collaborated for “Scream,” the combination of their talents reinvigorated the slasher genre. But as the release date for “Cursed” draws near, rumors hint that the film’s more violent scenes, which include several werewolf maulings, will be trimmed in order to snag the film a PG-13 rating.

It’s too bad, because this bad puppy could have had some real balls. With a lower rating, it will likely be neutered of its violence. Its accessibility to teens and its photogenic cast - more hotties than a week’s worth of the WB - will probably make millions, but horror genre as a whole will be missing out.
"Cursed," by the way, still might not suck after all, judging by the kickassitude of the cast.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Superman's Pal, the Worthless Jimmy Olsen

No one gives a shit about Jimmy Olsen. You ever wonder why?
[ link: Jimmy Olsen's suckitude ]

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Visage Tome

So Drew does TheFaceBook now. It's like Friendster, but limited to UCSBers. I post my bio: the who, the what, the why. I have realized that some of my tastes are not shared by my peers.

Under interests for example:
  • creative nonfiction
  • etymology
  • profanity etymology
  • cryptozoology
  • psychedelia
  • exotic produce
Under music:
  • Julee Cruise
  • Joe Meek
Under books:
  • Absalom! Absalom!
Under movies:
  • "Xanadu"
  • "Creature from the San Andreas Fault" (which I understand, since it's not real and hardly anybody knew about it)
Then again, there were things that I posted and then was shocked to find that other people also had posted.

Under interests:
  • urban legends
  • not wearing pants
Under music
  • Erasure
  • Apples in Stereo
  • Goldfrapp
Under books:
  • Wigfield
  • Villa Incognito
  • Ethan Frome
Under movies:
  • "The Brady Bunch Movie"
  • "Switchblade Sisters"
Of course, those who share my odd taste in things have been notified and congratulated. Here's to making new, strange friends through technology.

Head of the Class

Call me McFly, because I’m a time traveler.

I can remember so clearly being in Nexus writers’ training four years ago. I can remember sitting in a classroom on the second floor of Girvetz and only going because Tiffany wanted someone to go with her. And I remember Ted and doing this lame exercise where we tested out lede and nut-writing abilities by faking the intro to a news story about the training session.

And then somehow four years of time melted into nothing. I’m standing in front of a class of would-be Nexites and talking about how great the paper is and the fundamentals of news style and how to make your editor not hate you. And I gave them that same lame-ass writing exercise. “Pretend you’re writing a story about this very training session. Write a lede that would grab a reader and a nut graph with all the relevant information.”

I honestly wishes I had gotten a normal room — like just a rectangle with chairs. The lady who doles out room assignments for such events stuck us in a mini-lecture hall for both nights. My worst nightmare: being a teacher. I like teachers now, I guess, but I spent so much of my adolescent life viewing educators as my moral adversary that being in that position. being the guy wearing a collared shirt and glasses at the front of the lecture hall was just too surreal.

The first night: I turned red and talked too fast. In fact, I powered through what was supposed to be two hours of info in one.

The second night: I didn’t freak out. Things went better. It was more conversational.

I hoped I impressed on the kids I taught that I want to help them. For better or worse, the Nexus has worked out well for me and I’m glad I was a part of it. I honestly believe in that paper and I think those writers deserve every chance to have as good an experience as I did.

If just one of those kids ends up working longterm or even semi-longterm for the Nexus, I’ll be happy.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Subservient Chicken

I'm at a loss, but I'm sure the Germans have a word for. Just don't ask it to take off its mask.

The Clean Sweep

The ten-mile span of highway between Isla Vista and Santa Barbara has become a lot more familiar in the last week. I feel like I could drive it with my eyes closed, or at least in that self-hypnotized zombie manner that my brain slips into during drives along all-too-familiar routes. The drive between Isla Vista and Santa Barbara is quick, simple, almost unnoticeable — and presently it’s quite slick, though I’d imagine that will stop when the rain finally lets up.

Just now, while driving back from a failed attempt at I.V. partying — which was followed by a failed attempt at poker and a failed attempt at watching “SNL” — I saw a string of road flares in the fast lane. No clue what hazard they might have been calling attention to. I couldn’t see much, just a string of little lights glowing this perfect, unnatural magenta that haloed on the wet asphalt. It was beautiful — so much that I actually turned my head a quarter-turn to the left to look out the driver’s side window.

I didn’t see a large pool of water that I could have avoided. I hit it, hydroplaned majorly and had to wrestle control back from my steering wheel into my proper lane. Hydroplaning is nowhere near as cool as its name makes it sound.

My wobbly driving only got my a nasty honk from some jackass in the other lane who I totally didn’t even come close to killing, but I think it’s odd how a stupid puddle could have got me creamed. It’s been raining and it will continue to rain. The water is everywhere: sitting insidiously on the road, squishing sponge-like in my shoes and falling over the gutters of my new place in cascading cellophane sheets.

Some small, sick part of me likes to think about the water just continuing to fall and never go away. It could wash away my stupid car and fill my house like an aquarium and soften the mud — not dirt but mud, because there isn’t a spot of dry dirt to be found in the country right now — and pull down all the trees and wash them away too. A clean sweep. For everything. Brought down with the rain and dragged away in dirty water.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Here's to You, Canada Sue

Boss lady Heather calls me yesterday to tell me that the Flores article with my name on it was the third most read article on National Geographic's news site all year. Yay and all, but the real credit must go to an intrepid little intern whom I call Canada Sue. Of course, I'm still in the byline, so hey.
[ link: Hobbits in the Philippines ]
I'm alive and living in Santa Barbara, by the way. More when all the plugs are plugged and the boxes are un-boxed.