Define "a Life"...

... still searching for a clear definition of that thing people keep telling me I need to get...

Location: Springfield, PA

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Next Level

I guess it had to happen eventually. Even with the comparatively small amount of cross-pollination among the few blogs I read, there was a likelihood I'd end up in an exchange with someone I'd encountered through the blog itself.

So Travis gets an interview.

Fully Functional

As Rob pointed out...


One Fairy I Can Do Without

It's been almost two weeks since my visit to the dentist. More than enough time for x-rays to have come back and been examined. Since I've heard nothing about abscesses, root canals or other dental doom, I'm going to settle into the conclusion with which I, provisionally, left the office.

I'm still 100% cavity-free.

Which basically means that, taken individually, each of my teeth is in great shape. My bite's still off, and the crooked teeth seem to move further into overlap each year, but, damn, the enamel is strong.

I have to attribute this, at least in part, to intense fluoridation as a child. Springfield probably had fluoridated water to begin with when I was a kid. But that was also probably insignificant next to the direct insertion of fluoride into my daily diet. As I recall, my pediatrician had my mom putting fluoride drops into pretty much everything I drank at home. Whatever else it it may done, it seems to have had the desired effect on my teeth.

I certainly can't credit genetics with any of my dental characteristics other than crooked and compacted teeth; my dad was wearing partial plate dentures before I was born, my mom had a mouth full of fillings and her mother had hardly any of her own teeth. My screwed-up bite? Genetic. My strong teeth? Not so much.

It's also worth noting that I rebelled against traditional tooth behavior as a young child. Whenever one of my baby teeth started to get ready to go, the loose tooth would drive me nuts. I'd worry it with my tongue, sometimes get a finger in there and wiggle it. A number of times I ended up just yanking the thing out myself. Not painful, really, but usually rather bloody, enough to get adults upset.

And I tended to hold onto the teeth themselves. Perhaps fearing that the fetishistic fairy could not be trusted, and loath to risk such powerfully personal voodoo doll ingredient falling into the wrong hands, I kept the things. I still have some of them, but I'm not telling where.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Aestivation Time

I hate hot weather.


I. Hate. Hot. Weather.

Hate. Hate. HATE.

Monday, June 25, 2007

iPod Monkey On My Back

They say the first step's admitting you have a problem. Well, I'm not sure that it's a problem, really, but I'm admitting it anyway.

I'm hooked on a game on my iPod.

If you know me, you probably know that I'm not a big video game guy. Pong was cool, sure. I freely confess that Tetris ate more than its share of my time in its day. And, yes, I've said that the entertainment room in my mansion might include a vintage Galaga game. But since I'm not likely to have that mansion any time soon, I never thought that would be much of a threat.
But most of the games that I play these days, on my Palm or wherever, are puzzles; they're computer versions of games that would otherwise exist through cards or dice or tiles or something.

Not so this VORTEX on my iPod. I downloaded it because it looked as though it was truly suited to the iPod interface. (Distinctly unlike, say, Solitaire.) Oh, yes. It's suited to the interface. Is it ever.

I drained the charge on my iPod playing this tonight. That translates into more than two hours' time for us humans. Addictive? Hell, yeah.

The game is something of a cross between those clear descendants of Pong, the "Breakout" style brick & ball bouncers, and Tempest, an Atari arcade game that I played a lot during my freshman year at PennState, right up there with Galaga. There was a Tempest game in the dining hall, and it swallowed many of my quarters.

My fascination with Vortex will probably fade before too long. Until then, I'll just get back in touch with that unfamiliar feeling of obsession.

Monday, June 18, 2007

"You must think in Russian..."

As the sudden peppering of my posts with hyperlinks reflects, I've started using Firefox as my browser when I'm dealing with Blogger.

I can format without having to parse code. It's like I've returned to the 21st Century at last.

Fifteen Less Than Twenty

Seeing this going on over at my friend Rob's Blog enticed me to jump in. (It also got me to research the term "meme," but that's another story.) It's taken a few days for me to get my answers up here, but Rob's interview with me follows. (And he did it all without those little blue cards!)

1. You've been granted one time-travel jump, then and back. Where do you go, and what do you do?

This was the big toughie. My first thoughts were of History, then I got to thinking about things I'd like to revisit or fiddle with in my past, and then I kinda got stuck. So we'll go with something from my first impulses:

I'd zoom back to the Eighteenth Century and hang out with Benjamin Franklin for a while. Although I know it would likely involve greater chance of disappointment, I think I'd go with the older Franklin. Get the full benefit.

That's assuming that I hadn't already hopped into the Way-Back and set the controls for Gethsemane before I'd thought it through, of course.

2. Which supervillain would you most like to date?

Huh. Well, Knockout was always a lot of fun, at least back in the good old days of the Karl Kesel Superboy book. But she's really a super-strong female fury and would likely squash me to paste with a friendly hug. And she's a chick. And I think current continuity has her involved with Scandal. So it's more likely that we'd just hang out and dish.

So let's look at more likely prospects.

Hmm. I've been reading Countdown, and things seem to be a little complicated with Piper these days. Of course, things are always a little complicated with Piper. I mean, he was a villain, then was good, then was a villain, then kinda good again and now... who knows? So I'm not even sure if it's fair to include him in a "villains" list, anyway. He's a definite VILF, although his wildly inconsistent fashion sense may be cause for concern.

Magneto's a bit old for me. Oh, wait -- I'm thinking of Ian McKellan.

Never mind.

Things with Obsidian are generally too dark, and way too complicated, although I gather life has been going a bit better for him of late. He may well be off the market. (I need the Manhunter trade collections to come out more quickly so I can get caught up in this department.) And he's also somewhere on the villain/hero fence.

(Seems like it's hard to keep these gay bad guys bad. Wonder why?)

I do seem drawn to these "villains" who're more morally ambiguous than outright evil. (Just as well; I could never handle making out with someone who used moustache wax.) That leads me to bachelor supervillain number four:

The Shade.

I can't think of any evident incident that tagged him as gay, but I also have no reason to suspect that his rails run all that straight. Given how long lived he is, I expect he's sampled most everything at the buffet. Probably in a number of combinations. And he did know Oscar Wilde.

Regardless, The Shade is cool. Indeed, outright debonair. He wears black, but not like some pouty Goth; The Shade wears black well. He's had centuries to lose it, but I think he still has enough of his original English accent to be damned sexy. Intimidatingly well read and cultured, he appreciates the arts and possesses the resources to indulge that appreciation. I can't help feeling that, were he courting you, The Shade could be almost unstoppably charming.

And the odd thing is, I believe that if I had reason to feel I could trust him there would be a better-than-even chance that I actually could.

The truth is, in many -- or perhaps most -- cases, much of what makes supervillains villains in the first place kinda turns me off. Sure, it may make them interesting characters. But would you feel okay about giving them the keys to your place? I'm not talking about nutcases here. I might like to go out for drinks with Harvey Dent, but I definitely don't want TwoFace playing with the bar change anywhere near me. And folks like the Joker, Carnage or [shudder] Killer Croc just don't enter into the question. I'm talking about otherwise rational guys who do very bad things. And let's be honest here -- no matter how long you knew him, however much you'd shared, would you ever really trust Lex Luthor?

But as I came to know him during James Robinson's Starman run, The Shade doesn't have impulses or ambitions which I'd define as inherently evil. Aberrant, yes, and certainly outside conventional morality, but not outright evil. And, after all, there's more than a little about me that transgresses what some people consider conventional morality, inclinations and desires that various religious traditions and social conservative crazies would define as aberrant or even evil.

Yeah. I can see having a good time with The Shade.

3. Do you prefer the term "yeti" or "abominable snowman"?

Given the choice, I'll go with "Yeti" over "abominable snowman," the latter being neither complimentary nor wholly accurate.
Given my druthers, though, I'd stick with "Bumble."

4. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate?

Dark chocolate = oh yeah!
Milk chocolate = yummy...
White chocolate = why?

5. Pick a movie director and a comic book. Which two would you put together?

The first combo that came to mind was Terry Gilliam and Transmetropolitan.

Who better to direct the movie of a comic "combining black humor, life-threatening situations, and moral ambiguity?"

Actually, that last sounds like a pretty accurate description of a date with The Shade...

Wanna play? Here’s how!

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions. (They probably won't be the same ones you see above!)

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about comics – I won’t assume you’re a comic reader – or a superhero comic reader – when I pick my questions. (If you are, though – fair game!) [And, anyway, I'm not nearly as serious a comics geek as the folks among whom I believe this started, a fact which I suppose only increases the likelihood of my hitting you with really off-the-wall questions...]

Saturday, June 09, 2007


I was just checking comments on my last post, and it suddenly occurred to me that my titling might have been just a smidgen too obscure.

For some reason, I tend towards indirect post titles. They're often references, sometimes to things never mentioned in the post. The operate (or are at least supposed to) operate on a sort of associative basis.

Still, I can't help wondering if it wasn't a stretch for me to reference sausage in a post about my struggles with hyperlinks. Links. Hyperlinks.

Ah, well. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sausage would've been easier...

I had to devote a ridiculous amount of time to it, but I managed to figure out how to include hyperlinks in that last post.


Yea, me.

Anyway, it was a messy business. I may try Mozilla's FireFox browser, as I think that includes to clickable tool for hyperlinking in the Blogger interface toolbar. I might include links more often if I didn't have to parse the code to do it.

And I wonder if there's a way to make the links open in a new window...

Make The Most Of Your Music

In a comment exchange about the absence of Madonna albums in my music library, I got to talking about those movie tie-in “soundtracks” on which the music may or may not actually show up anywhere in the film.

I think these may be a sort of outgrowth of the trend towards having a single “from the film” to create synergy (there, I said it) through radio play associated with the film. Think Seal and the song from Batman Forever. It seems that most of the time these songs are merely played during the end credits scroll and don’t function as part of the film in any way. Indeed, it’s seemed to me on more than one occasion that the music was more related to airplay trends than anything to the film itself.

The movie-associated song itself, though, has been around for quite a while – “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “Days of Wine and Roses,” from the titular film, and all those Bond tunes. I’ve no grievances with the concept, or practice.

But these “soundtracks” containing hardly a note of the original score but filled with songs you can’t find in the movie somehow bother me. I suspect that’s because they’re such a blatantly commercial thing. Also, I can’t help feeling that the existence of these discs sometimes acts as an impediment to the release of the movie’s actual score. (And I am enough of a cinephilic film geek that I own a lot of original scores.)

Occasionally, though, there will be a tie-in album that gets it right. The music from Big Chill is a great example: the disc of Motown classics that was the film’s soundtrack album did so well, they decided to issue a second volume. The problem? The few remaining song that were used in the film but not represented on the original album did not add up to enough material to make a second one. The answer? Pad it out with other classic songs from the era, music which supported same the mood even if it did not itself appear in the film. I think the Forrest Gump disc did the same thing.

And then there’s “Songs in the Key of X,” a CD of music from and inspired by The X-Files. Some of the album’s tracks are previously existing material that was used in the show (e.g. Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand”). Other cuts are original songs commissioned for the disc (e.g. Soul Coughing’s “Unmarked Helicopters”). It’s a great disc, very evocative.

And certainly more in keeping with the experience of its associated material than the inevitable “soundtrack” of the new Transformers movie is likely to be.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Pieces of Eight

Oddly enough, this is not a review of the new Pirates movie. It's a response to my friend Rob's chainblog, or whatever. Eight things most people don't know about you. Err... me. Whatever. Some of this may actually be new to some people. In no particular order:

1. I hate hot weather. This is not news to anyone who's been to the Philly Folk Fest with me. For others, I have to stress that this is genuine hate. Loathing. Heat+humidity = very unhappy Greg.

2. Cats don't do it for me. I like -- or at least appreciate -- most dogs, but I'm more or less without fondness for felines. I don't actively dislike cats. Kittens are cute, sure. And I've met some great cats over the years. I know a lot of people genuinely bond with their cats, but I just don't get it. At times I think the dog- or cat-thing is like sexual orientation. You don't choose; it's just the way you are. I'm just not a pussy person.

3. I don't have a passport. The farthest I've been from "home" is Canada. I need to get a passport, and get farther at some point.

4. I was a Cub Scout. Gave it up with the transition to Webelo.

5. My shamefully large and admirably ecclectic music collection includes no albums of The Smiths, Pet Shop Boys or Madonna (unless you count the movie version of Evita).

6. I don't have a tattoo. Yet.

7. My parents, pediatrician or someone at the hospital had me circumcised as an infant. (There. At least one thing on this list that most people didn't already know. I think.)

8. I usually don't actually pass things such as things along, even when I do them myself.

Now you know.