Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Baby Swan

Given the word's meaning, I honestly believe that "cygnet" sounds far too technical.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Green Clouds

When I woke up this morning, I looked at the window first. The corners of sky I could see behind the big tree looked overcast, and for some reason I immediately thought of London — that summer two years ago, when it felt hot and sticky even when the clouds were out. I wish I could have been anywhere but here, but I most wanted to be in London again, awake and purposefully walking on those old streets.

This is the view from my window. For many of you, this would be the first time you've seen what the this view looks like, since I suddenly realize that I've had very few people over since I got back to Santa Barbara. You can barely see any sky in the picture, but take my word that it's cloudy today. The tree you see is an avocado tree. Presently, it's growing tiny fruit. About every twenty minutes, an aborted avocado fetus drops from the tree and bounces across the roof with a cheerful knocking noise. And every time I think it's somebody at the door. It's not. I don't get many visitors all the way downtown. But that damn avocado tree fools me every time.

I wish I was in London today, rather than being in Santa Barbara. I wish I wasn't in front of a computer again, writing for academics and hostile newspaper readers and online weirdos looking for some window into my personal life.

There, another one just fell.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Dina Says I Don't Take Good Notes in Class

So do you agree with Dina?

In my defense, my grades are as good if not better than hers.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Power Pills

Because reality is literally bending in on itself in an unprecedented effort to keep me from doing my homework, Jessica flew in from New York this weekend for a hi-there-hello in Santa Barbara. It was actually refreshing to see someone be so glad to wander around the usual State Street bars — kind of like seeing all the newly twenty-one Nexites toddle around to bars like big kids.

So Thursday night was a drunken blur involving Kristen, Kami and too many drinks, but Jessica met up with us at Elsie's Friday night and we had a real grown-up night out, without getting so drunk that we fall down or Bill's Bus or anything like that. We talked about New York and big city magazines and job applications and being small fish in big seas rather than contented, well-sunned fish swimming in Santa Barbara's oily waters. It was good for me, at least, to hear that and get some fire lit beneath my ass on getting my life in line.

The value of our convo, however, was slightly undercut for me because I was sitting next to the Pac-Man machine. No one was playing and the game was flashing those screens it does to keep itself occupied until someone puts a quarter in. (I'm told this is called "attract mode," in case you're ever on "Jeopardy" and the category is "terminology from obsolete video game systems.") Anyway, this Pac-Man machine's attract mode involved parading the different edible ghosts across the screen and listing their names, one-by-one.

I was surprised to learn that the ghost's names change depending on which version of Pac-Man you're playing. (This particular arcade cabinet had the entire Pac-Man series contained in one unit, you see.) The standard four-ghost setup for the original Pac-Man is Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. But those aren't the ghosts real names. Apparently, the game's designers decided to give them nicknames in addition to the real names, Shadow, Speedy, Bashful and Pokey. I have no idea why.

With Ms. Pac-Man, it's Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Sue, I'm guessing because they decided to better even out the gender ratio, what with the female lead and all. And in Pac-Man Jr., they switched Sue with Tim, though they still looked the same.

I find this fucking fascinating, and I'll never be able to explain way. So I totally probably missed something important Jessica said — a few words advising my career and putting me on the track to writing for magazine instead of writing for instruction manuals. All because I wanted to watch the ghosts.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Ice Tart

"Nova Scotia" is Latin for "New Scotland." Literally, it's "nova" plus the word "Scot" with a suffix.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Zombie Cucumbers

Then, for no reason at all, I suddenly feel sorry for pickles. These vegetables — and I mean vegetables in the sense that a body pumped with chemicals for a funeral is a person — would envy cucumbers, I'd think. Pickles look like cucumbers: same shape and color and all that, but they're not cucumbers. They're more dead than cucumbers. They're like zombie cucumbers. So while cucumbers are crisp and healthy, pickles are salty and mushy. And though pickles have seeds, they're not viable. And even if those seeds were viable, they wouldn't produce baby pickles — they'd make baby cucumbers. So even then, the parent and the baby wouldn't even speak the same language: The parent would speak pickle, while the baby would naturally speak cucumber.

Oh, and please note the slightly updated blog design. Lime green is in. Dark, cucumber green is out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Don't Cock This One Up

In an effort to resist studying for my midterm tomorrow morning — and taking a cue from Vitamin Q — I composed a short list of human body parts that double as verbs.
  • head
  • face
  • eye
  • mouth
  • teeth (as in, "Babies cry when they are teething.")
  • lash
  • ear ("to form ears," in the corn sense)
  • chin
  • tongue
  • gum
  • nose
  • neck (synonym for "make out")
  • cheek (British for "speak rudely to," like how we use it with "being cheeky")
  • brain (a good one: "to kill by smashing the skull")
  • arm
  • shoulder
  • palm
  • finger (as in, "I fingered your girlfriend," but also in the sense of identifying a culprit)
  • thumb
  • hand
  • nail
  • knuckle (though, more usually as "knuckle down")
  • elbow
  • breast (according to Webster, a synonym for "contend")
  • rib
  • back
  • knee
  • leg ("to walk," according to Webster)
  • foot
  • toe
  • heel
  • butt
  • stomach
  • blister (does this count?)
  • throat (as in, "to sing in a throaty voice")
  • skin
  • hip (a synonym for "tell" or "inform")
  • heart (according to me, as in the recently fashionable expression "I heart New York" to mean "I love New York" or the film "I (Heart) Huckabees")
So what did I miss?

Monday, May 9, 2005

If You Can't Bite Your Tongue, I'll Bite It for You

Back in town, and in woeful need of cramming for my test tomorrow. Not reading doesn't paid off, so I guess I can check that hypothesis off as tested. I'll be a real person again starting tomorrow night, but until then, I'm a ghost — I'm library vapor. Oh, and while driving home I thought of a book title: Once I Knew Love... But Then Came the Death Squads. You know, because having the whole plot summed up in the title is funny.

Here's some more cassowaries for you. Welcome to the Aviary of Doom.

The cassowary, it seems, is the new anteater. (Which is weird, when I think about it, because I could have sworn that the anteater was the new Maya Rudolph.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Because "Martina" Was Taken?

I let my mind wander and I ended up in Super Mario World, more or less. I was thinking about the more obscure characters to populate Mario games and I recalled one of the first few female characters to show up: Valentina. Most wouldn’t know her, and for good reason — this lady bad guy appeared in one game and never schemed again, most because a company other than Nintendo owns the rights to not just Valentina but all the characters created specifically for a 1996 Super Nintendo game called Super Mario RPG.

One-timer or not, Valentina is notable because she was one of the first few lady bad guys ever too rain in Mario’s parade and, for someone that had reason to interact with kid-friendly notables like the Super Mario Bros., she’s also a little racy.

Check her out.

Aside from the rather prominent chest and the odd, football-shaped Betty Boop head, Valentina is constantly clutching what would appear to be a cocktail — a martini, to be exact. In Japan, she is called “Margarita,” which seems like a misnomer but, in my book, further underscores her predilection for booze. In fact, I’d bet that the translators switched her name so the association wasn’t so obvious. Also, If I remember correctly, the eventual showdown that Mario had with her in the game was made all the more notable by the fact that whenever Mario struck her, her whole body shuddered and set her breasts to a noticeable quivering motion.

Very odd.

I’m surprised Nintendo let this fly in a Mario game, much less one that kids in America got to play. They’re normally a bit more prudish than that. Perhaps it was okay that Valentina was such a bad girl because she was, in fact, a bad girl — a villain. In any case, she’s also an anti-Princess Peach who perhaps never got her fair shake at long-time do-baddery.

As to why she’s wearing a dead parrot on her head, your guess is as a good as mine.