Find a Way To Follow!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Choosy Moms Choose...

It was a beautiful, though sweltering, summer day. My friends D&J were getting married in a local park, amidst the vivid green of a Midwest weekend. The tents were up, the mead chilled, the keg cooling. The dress code was casual and comfortable, and thus I chose to wear my Utilikilt for comfort and style.

The ceremony was lovely, and I was pleased to meet the bride J’s family from out-of-state. Given that the beer was flowing, this was a bit of a treat, for the most part. Little did I know that I was about to enter the annals of Wedding Legends the land over.

Amidst the glow of both the setting sun and a fair amount of mead, I was standing with Wifefish when J’s mom approached me. She looked, as many people do, at the kilt and asked, “Are you wearing it correctly?”

“Of course,” I quickly (and accurately) replied. It was a damn hot day, and some underkilt breeze is a heavenly thing, my friends.

“No you’re not.”

I’ve been party to exchanges like this once or twice before, and so I asserted that I was, in fact, purely Regimental. “I don’t believe you,” she exclaimed, her hands grasping the hem of my garment. She looked at Wifefish, who smiled broadly and said “Go ahead!”

I’ll take the Scottish Flower for $1000 Alex.

The answer: proudly displayed by Scotsmen and other Celts for ages.

What is “My Prickly Thistle”.


Thank you, Alex.

Up went the kilt. Wide went the eyes of J’s mom. Time seemed to stop, her hand frozen for an eternal second of disbelief until she released the kilt, allowing gravity to reassert my modesty. Wifefish laughed heartily, as did J. The mother of the bride then ran from me, face flushed red in embarrassment and humor, laughing all the way. “I thought he was lying!” she nearly shrieked. The laughter rang out loudly, as we continued our reveling.

The time came for me to make our goodbyes and head home for the evening, and I ended up speaking briefly to J’s mom. I told her how glad we all were for her daughter, knowing she missed her now that she’s moved here, but that we are all better for her presence.

“Thank you,” she said. She started to walk away, then hesitated. With an impish grin, she turned to me and said “Nice penis, by the way!” I couldn’t help but laugh, and it was my turn to blush a bit. Dad always told me that I’d be rewarded if I told the truth, and this day was no exception.

Needless to say, J and I now have a special connection, and a great story that we love to share.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trip Down Nostalgia Street, vol 3

It’s time for another walk down Nostalgia Street. This time, we’re visiting 8 year old me again, for another of the Atari 2600 treats. This week’s game was another Activision hit, Chopper Command.

8 year old me, and in fact now year old me, was/is obsessed with action packed flight games. The pickings were slim in ’82, but Chopper Command fit the bill quite nicely indeed. Here was a game in which I could pretend to be a pilot, escorting convoys through the desert, splashing MiGs and enemy choppers with frickin’ laser beams! Pew Pew!!! Er…I mean…ahem. Moving on…

My Code Name is Wild Bill, Muthafucka!

This was a fairly advanced concept for early 2600 games, a side-scroller that introduced a wrinkle to the classic “blow everything else the fuck up while you twitch like a mongoose on meth avoiding enemy missiles and try not to fucking die” formula. That wrinkle was the introduction of a friendly convoy crawling at ¼ the speed of smell across the bottom of the screen, serving as target practice for the enemy fighters. Your mission was to protect said convoy of militarized slugs as it inched across the bottom of the screen in ominous black vehicles.

This mission was made all the more challenging by the imaginative way enemy shots split in two and fired straight up and down. This of course defied all concepts of physics, merely existing to inspire thrown controllers to crash against walls in households everywhere. Wired controllers did have one advantage, ladies and gentlemen…they stopped before they hit the wall.

Chopper Command was accompanied by a slew of marketing peripherals, and in fact I’ve given you a gift here…that’s an actual mobile you can print out and fold up to have your very own Chopper to…well, command. As with many other Activision games, you could take a picture of your screen and send it in to get a groovy patch to try to beg mom to sew onto your jacket. (Blog tip #347…overuse of preposition? CHECK.) The Chopper Command patch was infinitely cooler than some of the other patches, for instance the Short Order Squad patch, which wouldn’t have been cool if it came with a pack of candy cigarettes.

Awesome on denim...

Granted, acing Chopper Command for the coveted end game score of 999,999 made you only slightly cooler than Barry Bostwick in a bodysuit and blue headband, but for an 8 year old, it’s the little victories in cool that matter, that push just a little more toward "awesome". Gameplay was repetitive, but then so was virtually every video game in the early 80’s. Story driven games just hadn’t been invented yet, and so it was up to a child’s imagination to create said story every time the power switch got flipped to “ON.”

And so it was, dressed in the flightsuit of my thermal-knit long underwear, that I would scramble fresh from a bowl of Count Chocula, climb into my cockpit, flip on the switches, and take control of a futuristic laser armed chopper to protect vanloads of loosely-defined “goodguys” against the privations of the dastardly and aptly named “badguys”. Even though the cockpit bore a striking resemblance to my bedroom, the scramble didn’t start until after I cleaned up the table, and the chopper existed mostly in my mind, there was a lot of fun and adventure to be had flying that two dimensional chopper, commanding a spot in the airspace over Nostalgia Street.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Geek Update, Shattering.

Well, this may be old news for many of you, and who gives a shit for still more. Today, the World of Warcraft is changing for good. A world that has persisted for 6 years changes as Deathwing breaks the world with the force of an Illudium PEW-36 explosive space modulator in a patch aptly titled: The Shattering. (4 blog points to anyone who gets that reference) That is not to be confused with the Shatnering, which would be a cataclysm

Kudos to Blilzzard for not putting a 2 after it to make the change, but rather just trusting their fans and customers to come along for the ride as they drop a serious package of doom on their world, changing the face of what was to the face of what is. Kind of cool, really.

Here's your link for the Earth-Shattering "Kaboom" of the intro trailer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quick update

Just to let you know, I haven't fallen off the planet. I've been doing a lot of travel, and am about to head out the door for even more. I'll let you know if I get to have any more fun with the Laff-a-lympics.

It's kind of a shame I don't have an odometer installed in my ass, it would be flipping like crazy this month. I'll see you all for a real post next week, promise. Until then, be well and be happy, and do something awesome.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Things I Hate, vol 5 The Travel Edition

Behold: the TSA. If you were to create a government agency empowered with a vague mission to make people feel safe by making them do stupid shit, then you would be late to the party. They’re already here, and they are in every airport in my beloved U S of A.

I recently had the joy of taking my first flight to and fro with a baby in tow, as Wifefish, Little Danger, and I ventured forth for a business trip to Disney. Sidenote: Little Danger will have no recollection of Disney, but it was still kind of awesome. Suffice to say, getting through security with a baby and a laptop is more than anyone expects you to be able to do in today’s oh-my-gods-we’re-all-going-to-fucking-die atmosphere.

Having reviewed the website list of what is and is not allowed to go in a carryon, we thought we were prepared. Wifefish carried Little Danger through security while I spontaneously sprouted 4 more limbs to empty out the laptop, belt, shoes, diaper bag, cellphones, and all other items and convey them, along with the stroller, into the big x-ray machine. The ensuing trip through the checkpoint would have made a great juggling act for Cirque du Soleil, I’m sure. Of course, we were informed that we were not OK at all, and had to stand to the side and allow each of Little Danger’s bottles to be tested for explosives. Because babies are fucking scary. I gathered all of our gear and lugged it to the “further screening” area, not surprised in any way that a loving couple with a baby should be subject to such scrutiny.

Look, I will admit that my child is fully capable of some explosive force and weapons-grade chemical warfare in the form of the things he creates in his diaper, but to date he lacks the ability to concoct any sort of actual terrorist device out of water and formula. Honestly, I was less upset about being pulled aside than I was about being lectured about taking his bottles out ahead of time so the agent wouldn’t have to run the bags a second time. So very sorry to inconvenience you, TSA agent, but the boy isn’t ready for Big Macs in the terminal yet. Piss off.

As I heaved a sigh born of impatience, frustration, and sadness, the agent had the tits to say “I’m just doing as ordered.” Yeah, they said that shit at Auschwitz, lady. And while that’s an extreme metaphor right there, I have no desire to let these Laff-a-lympics they pass off as security Actual TSA training photo

measures devolve much further. I looked at the idiocy around me at the checkpoint, then looked at Little Danger and thought about how much further down the road to Shitsville things could go. I don’t want that world for him.

Pro-tip. These people have orders that they must follow. These orders are designed to be implemented by people who are qualified to work at the DMV. They are not going to catch a single terrorist, but you must comply with their idiotic bullshit. I’m standing here in my socks not because anyone is ever going to successfully detonate a shoe bomb, but because someone is afraid someone might be able to do so. I fully expect that within two years, they will demand that we do the hokey pokey, and if we cannot successfully demonstrate what it’s all about, we are sent back home, unable to fly.

The further joke is that despite all the fun and fantastic hoops you and I get to jump through, the smart terrorist is just going to drive in the back gate with the catering trucks and fueling equipment, or chuck whatever they need over the fucking fence, or train a flock of emus to carry napalm tanks through the front door and self-detonate in an orgy of flaming feathers and fury. Emu Death Squad

But don’t you dare try to bring a 6 oz bottle of Grins and Giggles Baby Lotion in your diaper bag, because that, ladies and gentlemen, is a threat to everyone on the plane. Wifefish actually had an agent throw out a bottle of lotion once and claim she was “just keeping everyone safe.” I laughed in that agent’s face, despite the risk of anal search.

See, I’ve been in the military, and I’ve done security for installations before. I know that no matter what you have on the front end, your entire security setup is only as strong as its weakest point. And while they’re distracting us with standing in our stockings and not being able to bring our Venti No-Water Chai Latte through security, while the agents are grabbing our belongings and shoving them around because we’re “holding up the line” trying to comply with their bullshit antics, while we’re too afraid to speak out for fear of missing our flight, the fucking terrorists have already won. We gave up some of our freedom, some of our common sense, for the illusion of safety.

There is no substituting bureaucratic procedures that must be followed without anyone being offended by “profiling” for well-trained officers who are allowed to use their own judgment to implement security, or for advanced technology, such as the infamous “naked scanners”. I’m actually all for them, because they can cut down the time I have to be inconvenienced by all the other bullshit, and also because I just don’t care who gets to swoon over my junk. Not my problem if they have a hung-like-a-hamster fetish.

I really could go on and on and on with this topic, but I don’t really want to become boring. Too late, I know. Suffice to say that it has been proven by journalists (search for security theater) that almost every single hoop you jump through is every bit as useful as Paris Hilton’s thesaurus. It’s just there for show.

And so I salute you, TSA, but I salute you with one finger. Guess which one. You are every bit as useful as the Ministry of Silly Walks, and I wouldn’t let half your employees make me a sandwich at Subway. May you go the way of the dodo, and soon.

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