Posts from 2003

One Measure of a Year

A spiritually-enlightened person I know asked me, “Are you the same person now that you were at the beginning of 2003?” I didn’t even have to think: This past year was transformative in a way that no other year of my life has ever been. My answer was an immediate “No!”

My friend smiled warmly and said, “Well, then. It must have been a good year.”


Happy New Year to all readers. May you find stillness and peace within, and see it echoed in the world around you.

My Spam’s Gone All Postmodern or Something

I got some spam this evening. It contained one ad image, hyperlinked to a web site that’s apparently paying a spammer to push some traffic its way. I never saw the image, because I use an e-mail client whose interface looks like it may be older than me, and it doesn’t do images. The body text of the message read as follows:
princess janus region wiseacre annulled buck carboxy methylene ahoy lackluster sanatorium psyche farthest linkage qatar desert poverty ringside monarchic anything frailty

cromwellian watts swirl copperas coda doubleheader ak pasteboard complacent erlenmeyer

brussels upholstery swain gallantry volition bucolic agent camber mesa there stark happy parakeet champlain agriculture cornelius africa swap degassing aspersion boeotia plagioclase punky epicure promptitude balled prestidigitate

flexure kit heat nebula payoff barfly slugging donnybrook scutum digress panicked sultan urbanite galena porcine erasmus irreversible backgammon combustible bremsstrahlung byzantine luftwaffe

gyrate calhoun discreet schooner absent bursty coachwork telescopic …
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What’s In Matthew’s Mail

I got two pieces of snail mail from the Democratic party today. This fascinates me. I have not been a registered Democrat for more than five years, and I have never been registered as one at my new address. Yet they keep writing to me.

One of today’s letters was from Senator Dianne Feinstein — a mean-spirited dinosaur, a shill of the movie and recording industries, and an all-around bad person. I read Dianne’s letter. Dianne wants me to pitch in to help re-elect Harry Reid, the Senator from Nevada, the party’s Whip. Listen to this drivel:
The product of an impoverished childhood in a Nevada mining town, Harry combines the compassionof one who has gone without basic needs, the determination of a former high school boxing champion and the self-starting ethic of a man who worked his way through high school as a night policeman.
I’ll be back when … read full post »

You Do Not Want What I’ve Got

I am awash in a sea of phlegm. I’ve been sick since last Friday. My fever has been as high as 103.1, a number that should be associated with the FM dial, not a human being’s internal temperature. I’m on the mend now, and wishing like hell I’d gotten a flu shot this year, because the flu is almost certainly what this was. Have you had a flu shot this year? There are no excuses.

There Are Things Your Science Cannot Explain, Doctor”

We got ourselves an old Indian dude here. Lives in a cave most of the time. Has a following. No biggie; this sort of thing happens in India. But: Dude sez he ain’t eaten for decades. Doesn’t need to drink water, either. Shows up at a hospital to be observed by science.

Ten days of constant observation, and our man eats nothing, drinks nothing, and, you’ll be keen to know, “neither did he pass urine or stool.” Someone at the BBC deserves a sound beatdown for the headline on this article, but I enjoyed meeting Prahlad Jani.

Snapshots of a Big Game Weekend

Here’s what the Big Game bonfire looked like last night at Cal’s Greek Theater. Walking back down southside, we passed under the Campanille, which was lit up in blue with gold graphics on each side, like this representation of the coveted Axe.

It took Cal two quarters to heat up today, but the result was sweet, sweet, sweet. Cal 28, Stanfurd 16.

Things are always strange when we visit the Farm but there was something especially strange (and, though it pains me to admit, cool) going on down there today, as you can see in the shot I took of the Stanfurd Band doing their moronic bit before the game. Look back there on the sideline, and you’ll see a large Trojan Rabbit, straight out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We never did find out what the deal with it was. It left before the … read full post »

The Next “Trial of the Century”

Is there any doubt left that Big Media is perhaps the most harmful of the various cancers afflicting this country?
“This is Laci Peterson and shark attacks and Kobe Bryant put together,” said Martin Kaplan, professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communications. “It’s a miraculous combination of sex and taboos and pop music and plastic surgery.”
Get. Me. Off. This. Train.

We Don’t Need No Steenking Graphics

Back in 1999, I wrote an article about the very first work of interactive fiction, Adventure, which you can still experience on modern PCs. The piece was written for a proto-webmag that vanished years ago; I resurrect the article today in honor of the 9th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition, which Slashdot took note of this morning.

Out of Time: Old-School Gaming Done Right
More than 20 years later, Adventure still packs a punch.

You love technology. Your PC is your friend. You pay your bills online, you communicate via email, you let Quicken figure out where your money went last month, and you order lovely material somethings from virtual boutiques. And yet, the question lingers: is this all a computer is good for — streamlining everyday tasks and chores?

Of course not. The nineties have made one thing quite clear: computers make for good entertainment. The variety of games at …

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Go to Target Instead

I was already in high school when Wal-Mart invaded my part of the country. I stayed away, having read about how the megachain decimated small-town general stores all across America’s heartland. So I’ve been in a Wal-Mart store only three times in my life, and only made a purchase there once. After reading this article, I’ll probably keep out for good.

[spotted at Ten Reasons Why, which also points to further commentary on this issue]

One of Life’s Little Mysteries

I cannot explain the existence, here in my house, of the tiny little wrench you see here. I discovered it on the floor shortly after the big move-in, felt a question mark balloon appear above my head, and placed it — the wrench — on my desk.

It has been there ever since. I still don’t know whether it lived here before I did, or whether it traveled here with me. I do not know what it belongs to. It is made of plastic. It bears no markings at all. If it belongs to a toy or something like that, it belongs on that list they put out every Christmastime regarding playthings that can be swallowed. Perhaps it came with some bit of gadgetry?

<seinfeld>What is the deal with this tiny little wrench?</seinfeld>