Project Gutenberg: Let’s see what this does

August 4th, 2018
Why, you’ve had a wonderful life, George …

I’m trying something braaaand new called Project Gutenberg, which is a new WordPress plugin designed to replace the old editor. I don’t really have anything amazing to say this time around.

Unlike every other post, of course, which are edge-of-seaters.

Merry Father’s Day!

June 17th, 2018

My father died when I was an infant, and I have no children of my own, so Father’s Day has always been a kind of black box to me. I’d usually end up celebrating it with my mother as a sort of secondary Mother’s Day, with less candy and more tools and garden implements.

Growing up without a dad is, I suppose, less traumatic than growing up without a mother. Dads were the breadwinners when I was growing up, so they were naturally less involved in their kids’ upkeep. My life just took that to an extreme. I never knew what I was missing so I never really missed it. Nobody ever made fun of me or anything. It was just a fact of life.

I guess what I’m wandering around to say is that Father’s Day is about the only secular holiday I’ve never celebrated. Much like Father-Son Day or Take Your Father to School Day, I was on the outside looking in.

If you have a father, or if you are a father, Father’s Day is most likely a real thing for you. If you’ve ever once had a good day with your father or children, cherish it. There are people who will never get to.

Whee lookit me I got hacked!

July 7th, 2017

Anyone who’s been to my site recently (all three of you) will note that a couple of posts mysteriously vanished. That’s ’cause I had to restore to a less-than-recent backup, because apparently I got hacked by someone who really likes French porn.

At least it got me to update my site and change all my passwords. So thanks for that, French porn enthusiast hacker!

Other secret codes

December 6th, 2016

In light of the #PizzaGate scandal, we here at CCXP (The Only News Source You’ll Ever Really Need™) have compiled this handy list of secret code words. Now you too can bulk-search email leaks and discover the hidden truth about the world being flaunted right under your nose!

Code Word Hidden Meaning
Pizza Pedophilia
Pizza Pockets Ephebophilia
Steak Taking away people’s guns
Hamburger Racketeering
Taco Illegal dumping
Taco bowl Real estate fraud
Egg roll Prostitution
Scrambled eggs Dog prostitution
Mushrooms Like, shrooms, man
Bacon Sodomy
Turkey bacon Sodomy with a turkey
Falafel Bill O’Reilly
Sausage Lesbianism (though you’d think different, right?)
White wine White slavery
Red wine Communist slavery
Beer A specific form of prostitution involving women farting on cakes for money (cf. “the Heineken Maneuver”)
Toad in the hole Literally what it says
Venezuelan donkey show Needlepoint
Arby’s Scat play
Chimichanga Deadpool reference
Pretzel Self-69’ing
Pretzel with mustard Self-69’ing with mustard
Salted pretzel Tax fraud
Früsengladje The Aristocrats!

My doggie died

July 23rd, 2015

I know it’s not really news that interests anyone but me, but our 15-year-old puppy Gretchen passed away last week and I’m really bummed about it.

She was a gorgeous black-and-tan German shepherd mix (mixed with a terrier, I think, or some other digging dog, based on the number of ankle-snapper divots she put in the back yard). We had one big health issue with her six years ago which ended when a surgeon removed a mass the size of a softball from her liver. She was fine after that (besides some arthritis) until about two months ago when she decided to stop eating. We changed foods, which helped for a while, but two weeks ago she had gone so obviously downhill that we took her to the vet. That’s where we learned she was suffering from severe kidney failure.

We tried a few things still, in hopes it would perk her back up. The vet gave her an infusion which didn’t really do much except make her pee uncontrollably. She continued to decline to the point where she wouldn’t stand up on her own accord. Donna in particular saw that Gretchen was miserable, and tired, and probably in pain. So we talked with the vet and decided it was time to put her to sleep.

Neither Donna nor I ever had to make that decision before. It’s something I’ve been dreading since Donna brought this little black puppy with too-big paws home from school 15 years ago. I’ve had dogs before, much earlier in my life, and when they died it hurt so much I semi-convinced myself that I wouldn’t put myself through all that again. But here she was, and she was too cute to say no. I fell in love right then and it only grew over the subsequent years. Oh sure, she barked under the bedroom window until 5 a.m. a few times, and dug up Donna’s garden, and broke a few things, and chewed up a few more things, and had a tendency to jump all over people (especially with muddy paws). But we loved her, and we loved her so much that in the end we let her go rather than let her continue downhill in pain and confusion and malaise.

It hurts. I can’t lie. I know some day it’ll be better, but right now it’s a spike through my mind.

Good night, pup. Good girl.

ATTN: THE U.S. GOVERNMENT:

October 24th, 2013

Making big web sites is very, very difficult and they can’t be pooped out in a couple weeks.

Okay bye.

Nothing to see here, move along

June 18th, 2013

Wow, well, that was a refreshing break. So anyway.

NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

I mean, I guess some details have changed. My beard is greyer, my step slightly less springy, we did some work on the house, etc. But in all the big ways, I’m right where I was a year ago. Same job, same house, same wife, same car, same dogs, same creeping sense of urban dread. Safe and secure.

I think I understand where mid-life crises come from now.

No, I’m not gonna buy a sports car or trade my wife in for a newer model, but I feel like I made some sort of mistake about twenty years ago and it’s just starting to catch up now. That mistake being “the course of my entire career.”

Back in those days I was going to be a writer, I was going to create books and change the world. I was even good at writing, which already puts me ahead of the pack as far as most writers are concerned. (Ho ho funny joke please don’t kill me fellow writers.)

But then I started wanting things. Things like a car that didn’t die at every intersection, or lunch made from non-processed meats. So I got a better-than-subsistence-level job writing ads. Hey, it was still writing, right? Good creative job, but solid, the sort of thing you could mention at family reunions without people replying “No, I mean what do you really do?”

It worked pretty well until I realized I was spending all my brain energy on ads. At home, I couldn’t drag myself to a typewriter (we used these things called typewriters, ask your grandparents to explain) except to stare at a blank sheet of paper for several minutes, sigh, and go watch TV. I needed to find a job less writer-ly in disposition. Maybe something with computers or the internet. Yeah. Those things were starting to get popular, there may be a future in that. So I jumped ship to the lucrative world of web design.

And it was great! Graphic design, layout, some light copywriting but not too bad, some heavy coding but I discovered I took to that pretty well. A whole brain workout, creative and analytical all at once. Then I could actually come home and actually write things and get on with that world-changing business.

Except … it didn’t happen.

My mind was plenty full of ideas and there was nothing stopping me from writing them down. I was enthusiastic about establishing myself as a web guru, and every day I was gaining new skills in that arena, but still had lots of time at home.

But instead there I sat, a lump in front of the TV or clicking languidly through the web, just like before. The only difference was, instead of being mentally exhausted, I was …

What? What was I? Timid? Unfocused? Frightened? Unmotivated? Full of ennui? I’ve been trying to figure out what that emotion is for years. I still feel it, even stronger now, along with a fresh batch of pissed off; now I can look back and see, with great clarity, all those tremendous tracts of wasted time that could have been novels and story collections and screenplays and are instead less than a handful of dust.

So much lost. So much time gone for good. I’ve heard it said that twenty years is the minimum amount of time to hone a craft, pay your dues, get your mistakes well made, and establish your unique foothold in the world.

Only now, twenty years later, do I look back and realize I’ve been honing the wrong skill.

Welcome to my new digs

August 25th, 2012

… same as the old digs. But on a new server!

I’m not usually one to complain, but my last web host had too many outages lately for me to hang on to it. So now here I am on APIS Networks, based on research and positive commentary.

Pretty exciting for you guys, huh.

Yeah. Preeeeetty exciting.

Thoughts on a murder

July 15th, 2012

There was a shooting today at our local Best Buy.

It’s not even a particularly crime-ridden part of town. Apparently a guy ran up to someone else as they were entering the store and shot him several times in the back. The police estimate he fired a dozen shots, eight of which hit his intended target. Other stray bullets entered the store, striking one of the customers who was just leaving. Both victims later died at the hospital. Last I heard, the shooter was still at large.

What’s freaky is that my wife and I were actually in the area, and could possibly have been at that store around the time when the shooting occurred. We had been to lunch and dropped by the nearby pet supply superstore on an errand. As we were leaving, she asked me specifically if I wanted to go to Best Buy. Normally I do enjoy poking around electronics stores, but I couldn’t think of anything I wanted, so I declined. Looking back on it, I figure that decision would have been made maybe 10 minutes before the shooting occurred. If I’d said yes, we would definitely have been there.

Tonight we were talking about it. She was still pretty freaked out, with good reason. I listened to her thoughts on the matter but didn’t really have much to add. This nettled her a little. “Don’t you have anything to say about it?” she asked. I’ve been mulling about it since then.

I suppose there’s an infinitesimal (but non-zero) chance that I could have been within arm’s reach of the shooter and had the presence of mind to deflect his arm, maybe changing the course of the bullet that killed the bystander. There’s a much larger (but realistically still very small) chance that I would have taken one of the stray bullets myself. Or possibly my wife would have. If that had happened, you wouldn’t be reading this now because I would be howling incoherently in infinite pain for the rest of my foreshortened life.

But in the end, chances are that even if we had been there, our presence wouldn’t have mattered in the slightest. Today, no matter what I had decided, one ordinary man would have gotten out of bed, showered and shaved, put on clean underwear, fed the cat, had a nice lunch, went to the local big box electronics store with a 10-year-old family member, took a bullet to the chest and died, through absolutely no fault of his own. Another man was simply walking into a store and got shot eight times in the back by a coward. This wasn’t any sort of stone cold bad-ass contract killer at work here. This was a stupid person pushing his own life over a cliff.

My wife thinks I’m too accepting of this fact, that I’m just going “oh well these things happen” when I should get my blood up about it. But I don’t see any reason to get mad about something that I have absolutely no hope of changing. The events that led up to these murders happened somewhere else, sometime in the past, completely outside of my personal sphere of influence and the sphere of any of you reading this, most likely. This didn’t happen in a vacuum, it wasn’t random violence, it was the culmination of a much larger sequence of events where we only notice the climax.

Am I dismayed? Of course. Is it tragic? Absolutely. But just “getting mad” doesn’t work. I’ve tried it. All that happens is that I carry it around with me longer than anybody really should, letting it corrode my interactions with others. After a while I become paranoid and closed off and fearful. It’s an awful way to live. Never again.

At the most, I can try to change things within my own reach so I personally don’t cause things like this to happen. It’s like a rabbit chipping away at a mountain, but any progress is still progress. That’s the best I can do short of climbing up on the roof and shouting angry things at the sky until I get arrested. Sometimes I want to, believe me. That would be pretty satisfying. It won’t fix the problem, though, sadly.

There’ll still be more crime and injustice and terrible things happening to people who don’t deserve it. It will take tremendous work and effort, maybe more than all of humanity is capable of, to minimize that. But at least I’m not making things worse, and I’m actively trying to leverage my tiny crumb of human influence to push things back the right direction. This may put me at a disadvantage, passing up shady opportunities and dishonest deals, maybe even making me a rube and a sucker; that’s fine. It’s not about me, or you, or my wife, or the shooter, or his victims, or the people they left behind.

It’s about all of us. We’re all in this together.

Or not

May 23rd, 2012

Never mind. I found a copy in my Dropbox folder. All hail Dropbox, saver of crappy novels.

Check out “Squirrelburbia” in that link over there, or this link right here for that matter.

Or not, according to your inclination. I’m not the bossa you.


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