July 03, 2007

Reflections On A Certain Upcoming Anniversary

Ten years is an accomplishment. Eleven years is just silly.

March 04, 2007


A decently representative sample of my state of mind:

After brunch and a walk around the park -- undertaken more out of desire to have something I could point to and say I had done today than out of desire to enjoy anything like brunch and a walk around the park -- I drove home, pulled into the driveway, and put the car in park so I could get out and open the garage door. Then I forgot about the garage door and turned the car off. Then I sat for a minute, knowing I had forgotten something. Then I sat for another minute, forgetting I had forgotten something. Then I remembered I had a home and, furthermore, was parked next to it. This motivated me to go inside.

Thanks to Rory for coming down last weekend, taking me to a bunch of nifty short plays, and introducing me to nifty people (both short and tall). And for giving me great things to read. Let's do it again soon.

Finally, a plea to those with consummate mastery of a musical instrument: if you possess consummate mastery of a musical instrument, don't hum while you play. In a pinch, humming is preferable to choking or asthma, but it still darkens an audience's impression of your consummate mastery.

I bring this up because I went to see Alfred Brendel perform Friday night. The man can definitely play piano. What's more, he made me think I could like Beethoven. This is a difficult feat to pull off, because although I appreciate some of Beethoven's music -- especially the thing with the cartoon centaurs and pegasuses in it -- overall I don't appreciate stuff written between 1770 and 1830. It's too well-behaved, too prone to doing exactly what you expect it to do. But Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 31, in the hands of Alfred Brendel, convinced me that there are some suprises out there.

Or it would have, except for the humming.

At least I think it was Mr. Brendel doing the humming. But it was hard to look at him and try and correlate the sound with his mouth movements, because he kept doing such disturbing things with his jaw. It was easier to look at the chair in front of me and hope for whoever was making the noise to realize they were making noise, and stop. Which they finally did, after someone in the balcony started snoring.

Still, there are worse ways to spend an evening.

January 23, 2007

Don't Thank Me -- Thank Hollywood!

I know too many movie quotes. Way, way too many. Instead of letting this predicament get the better of me, I've decided to take control.

It's an occasional hobby of mine to play around with sound files. It's another occasional hobby of mine to try and make you laugh. At long last, I've decided to combine the two and see what happens!

Here are two sound clips: one I did last summer, and one I did last weekend. The clips contain a bunch of movie quotes, arranged in what I hope is an appealing order. The files aren't too big -- about 1 megabyte each.

Wedding Peels
The End of the World

December 29, 2006


This just in! There is a mind-boggling amount of stuff going on in the world outside my door. This precipitates an ongoing crisis, because all that stuff is forever threatening to be more important than what goes on in my day-to-day life. Clearly, some balance is required.

Therefore allow me to remind my readers that there is a very important topic that deserves their immediate attention: me.

While most of my goals for the coming year are tentative, one thing I will definitely do is turn forty. This saddens me for a number of reasons. A big reason is that I had hoped my career as a concubine would have taken off by now.

I was hobbled from the get-go by the fact that I never made it into concubine school. My GRE scores were OK, but I couldn't produce any letters of reference. Maybe it's just as well, considering what you have to do to get one of those. Anyway, without a degree it's hard to establish trust with potential new clients, let alone get research grants.

At this point, I should probably just admit that I am the only client I will ever need, and give myself a business card. Who knows -- I might win a free lunch!

On the other hand, one thing gives me hope: Living Out Loud, a 1998 chick flick starring Holly Hunter. Like always, she plays a cute and watchable lady who has some problems. The movie also has problems, but there is one perfect bit: a synchronized dance number, almost an anthem, on the need to be touched.

Maybe Holly Hunter is the only client I'll ever need.

In other news, I find this projection on climate-related problems over the next 40-50 years extremely disturbing. What this map makes shockingly clear is that climatologists can't color between the lines. When the supposed experts show you a map with blobby smears all over it, how can they expect you to take them seriously? Clearly, more debate is required.

I challenge the experts to disprove my counterthesis: namely, that the world is a Family Circus strip, and God lets Billy draw it every week. That would at least explain the map.

September 19, 2006

Survey #2

If you could meet yourself twenty years ago, what would you say?

September 10, 2006

It's Official

I'm back in bidness.

To prove it, I've been uploading new, QUALITY "What Jail Is Like" radio-show MP3s to this website. The radio-show link on the front page is updated too, if for some reason you prefer to use that.

More shows will appear as time permits. You should really, really listen to them.

I updated the What Jail Is Like FAQ, but currently it's in plaintext because...well, because the old ways are the best. Even if your browser can't handle the old ways and refuses to word-wrap the paragraphs. That's entirely your browser's fault -- the old ways are blameless. They were old when browsing was young, and they will still be old when browsing is dead and gone.

Someday I will fix the word-wrap issue, but in the meantime feel welcome to scroll horizontally.

God, I love this job.

September 07, 2006

I'm still here.

Or I was at the time I wrote this, anyway.

July 01, 2006

I'm Back!

Wow. It's been like ten months since I last posted.

To make up for it, here's some trenchant commentary I wrote for Usenet a few days ago. World leaders, pay attention! I speak truth! And you're supposed to, you know, be on your toes when people do that. (However, world leaders -- please refrain from noticing that Usenet is still around. Technoweenie shut-ins such as myself need an outlet where we can post irresponsible trash without personal repercussions).

"Israeli tanks turn screw on besieged Gaza Strip"

Israel widened its assault on the Gaza Strip last night by shelling the north of the territory and dropping leaflets warning residents of a pending attack by tanks and troops, as the government seized on a crisis over an abducted soldier to take on Palestinian armed groups. It also held more than 1 million ordinary Palestinians responsible for 19-year-old Corporal Gilad Shilat's continued capture and promised "extreme action" to secure his release.

What do you get if you dilute an Israeli soldier to one part per million?

A Palestinian solution!

It's homeopathic medicine!

One principle of homeopathy is that "like cures like". Therefore, if you're a Palestinian who's down with a bad case of Israel, the best cure is to take an Israeli, dissolve in water (or alcohol if water is not available), make multiple dilutions, then pass it around. Make sure there's enough for everyone.

This explains Israel's haste in going after one million Palestinians. They have to act quickly if they want to recover a workable portion of poor Shilat's component molecules, before they pass through all the Gaza residents' kidneys.

If they can rebuild him, though, it will be worth it. He will be a soldier with the strength of 600,000 refugees.

As a bonus, here's something I've been thinking about. As usual, it has to do with the end of the world.

When civilization collapses and electronic communications are all wiped out, the only way future archaeologists will be able to gain insight into how we communicated with one another is through hardcopy publications. This, of course, means technical manuals.

Such manuals are a priceless Rosetta Stone because they display the same message in multiple languages. Not only will this allow the seven-lobed land sloths that succeed the human race to crack many of our dead languages -- it will also clue the sloths in to our long-vanished values. Since technical manuals were written in multiple languages, the messages they contain must have been of broad importance to many peoples and cultures.

It will become clear that the wisdom the human race most needed and desired to see was the word "Troubleshooting" followed by useless gibberish.

Okay. There's your world news, all taken care of.

On the home front, a few things have happened:

Family visited: check.

Sister married to worthy suitor of twelve years: check.

Neat pictures of marriage snapped by photographer friend I hadn't seen in a long time: check.

New suit purchased for wedding ceremony (and to accommodate my creeping waistline): check.

No healthy food ingested that would help this too, too solid waistline to thaw, melt and resolve itself into a dew: check.

Tenth anniversary of celibacy celebrated: not quite check. The anniversary is either tomorrow or the next day. I haven't quite made it, but something tells me it will be smooth sailing.

And believe me -- I will be doing my best to think of it as an accomplishment. Judging by Clinton's second term, I got out of that sex racket just in time.

One problem with this weblog (or outlet for unchallenged screeds, or whatever it is) is that it's in bad, bad need of an overhaul. But my web skills are current as of 1999. I don't view this as a failing on my part. After all, I learned HTML and layout once. Now, evidently, I need to learn it all over again. HTML tables have become the Shaun Cassidy feathered hair of online communication, and CSS is the new Vin Diesel. But instead of feeling challenged by the prospect of going bald, I am frantically annoyed.

This puts the future of "Same Day, Different Rat" in a potentially tragic light., who knows. So tune in again and see if it's another ten months until my next post!

January 22, 2004

Public Relations

Interpersonal relations hit a new low last week. Witness the following exchange at the local indie video store.

This video store is a place I visit regularly. Granted, I have the bad habit of never introducing myself to anyone at the places I go. Even if I do introduce myself, I make sure never to give my name. "Hey," I say. Or "How's it going." Or even "Boy! Spit-shine the Rolls in less than ten minutes, and I'll introduce you to President Grant."

However, out of excessive modesty, I never say "Hi! My name is Kurt, and I'm reasonably certain that we share a multitude of interests, including the divulging of our names to random underpaid customer service employees." Still, they know me at the video store, and they enjoy accepting my entertainment dollar.

On the night in question -- that night of dark and ominous developments in my ability to socialize casually -- the man behind the video-store counter was Jason Butler. Over the past few years, Jason has cranked out a load of shot-on-video features, with titles like Thoraxx II: The Breeding and Santiago Vs. Wigface. His stuff used to appear at the local Freaky Film Festival, until the fest ran its organizers ragged and they closed it down. Now Jason is forced to release his work at the video store where he works.

Here's an example of the kind of thing he does that puts me in awe. In Thoraxx II, Jason stars as Dr. Nasa, a homeless mad scientist. At one point, he sings a song about being a misfit who's turning into a giant ant. Two random bums serve as his backup singers.

After the song, the bums make fun of Dr. Nasa, who snarls "Silence, or I'll crush you with my pincers." He brings his arm up threateningly, only to see that his pincer -- on display during the song -- is once again just a human hand. "Curses," growls Dr. Nasa. "It was only a visual metaphor."

So. The video store. I go in, pick out my movies and go to the checkout. That's when the following transaction takes place.

Me: So how's Werewolf Cemetery [Jason's newest feature, currently in production] going?

Jason Butler: Oh, OK. Kinda slow. Due to this insane cold weather we've been having. [Pause] Or due to this insane springlike weather we've been having.

Me: Oh, no. That means insane hormones.

JB: What?

Me: Well, insane springlike weather nine months of the year means insane hormones nine months of the year.

JB: Oh.

Me: [Reddening as I realize that he must think I'm hitting on him, but unable to stop myself] Because spring is the time that people fall in love.


JB: Well, I don't need anything like that to happen.

It didn't help that two of the movies I was renting were The Birds and The Bees.

As usual, the solution to my problems is more porn.

Fortunately, in addition to porn, there's Rory Leahy. Next month, Rory is putting on his play Lysistrata 3000 at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago. I could explain what a great thing this is and why you should go see it, along with anything else Rory does. But he's an amazingly articulate guy, and he can explain it in his own words.