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.


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.


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.

A disaster, wrapped in a tragedy, covered with a crunchy candy coating

May 22nd, 2012

Welp, I may have lost the 2010 NaNo novel for good. The motherboard went kaput on my old computer and I only seem to have a backup of the novel from about November 7, 2010. That’s maybe a third of what I had written when I gave up. Suuuuuuck.

I mean, yes, it was unfinished and kinda janky, but it was salvageable, dammit. I hate losing things. Drives my wife nuts, since she thinks I’m a pack rat (and maybe I am). But I can see the good in everything. I can fix it! Some day! Eventually!

Meh. If I find it hiding somewhere, I’ll post it here as promised, but don’t hold your breath. I’m not.

Another NaNo, another novel

December 2nd, 2011

Just wrote another book. Yawn.

This one was a little easier than the last one, though that’s like saying pooping a bowling ball is easier than pooping a Volkswagen. (What is it with me and scat analogies for writing?)

(Heh heh, anal-ogies.)

ANY old way. This one involves hermits from all across history who learn how to talk to one another across time and space, and they socialize. As hermits do. But there’s another group of evil hermits, see, who decide to change history to benefit themselves. So since one of them happens to live in 1870’s Russia, they hatch a plan to kill Lenin while he’s still a rabble-rousing student named Vladimir Ulyanov. They succeed. Everyone born after 1870 spontaneously reincarnates. Hilarity ensues.

Sadly, the book isn’t done in the sense that the story is complete. I feel like it’s really just started at the 50,000 word mark, which is usually an indicator that it needs a good red-penning. But it also might mean this will be a worthwhile full-fledged book. Guess I won’t know until it’s done.

By the way, I do remember that I promised to post last year’s failure here. But somewhere in my hindbrain, I have a distant hope to finish that one too. And then I’d just be giving away the milk for free, wouldn’t I?

… yeah I’ll get that up here eventually.

Using a Mac: A Beginner Speaks

May 10th, 2011

Woo. I’m a Mac.

Since it’s (legally) impossible to write Mac or iPhone software on anything other than a Mac while Apple really knows how to stick it in your vein, I’ve bogarted an old MacBook at work and started setting it up as a developer machine. It only has OSX Leopard, not Snow Shrimp or Ocelot or LOLcat or whatever the next one is, but I understand the interface isn’t a whole lot different, just *waves hands* better somehow. I’ll upgrade when I have to, I guess.

I’ve been a Windows user for 17 years, so there’s a bit of a learning curve. For instance, on Windows machines, we tend to tuck most of our programs away in the Start menu, leaving only the most vital icons on the desktop while still having all of our programs neatly categorized in some throwout menus if we really need them. Also, when we have more than one program running, everything is right there on the taskbar and we can swap active programs with a single click.

Now on the Mac, there’s this “app bar” with merry little bouncing things across the bottom of the screen. Great. But, um, where are all my other programs? If I put everything I intend to use regularly on that bar, every inscrutable shifting pulsating icon on it will be two microns wide, and if I take some of the icons off, I’m afraid I’ll never find the program again. Also, you’re supposed to be able to tell which programs you currently have running by a little point of light appearing beneath its icon. You know, lost in the glossy reflections. I try not to leave programs hanging open for performance reasons, so this is kind of a pain. I hope there’s a setting to make open programs more obvious, because the points of light ain’t doing it for me.

The Finder is a little odd, though of course that’s just because it’s new to me. So far I’ve figured out that I can type in a program’s name, bring up a dorky looking list of all the programs I have installed and scroll through it, or create what appears to be a window into a much larger desktop chock full of icons. All three of these methods seem rather inelegant, clunky even. Hopefully I can grok what exactly makes this better than a flyout menu. Meanwhile, if you have several programs running, you can only see one taskbar at a time up in the Finder area. So that’s supposed to be “nice and uncluttered,” is it. Hmm.

Also this MacBook Pro has the worst damn trackpad in the history of trackpads, which I admit is coloring my view of the whole shebang. It’s the frustration of going back to the absolute beginning with a new OS combined with the mouse going WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. Using Windows would certainly suck with this trackpad. Maybe that’s the problem with how Mac users think of Windows: They install it on Boot Camp, fumble around with either this sub-par tracking device or a one-button mouse, and pronounce it useless.

More experience will change my mind, maybe. But at the moment it’s just a fairly lackluster OS befouled by hardware demons. Nothing particularly “different” about it, unless you just mean “slightly more difficult to know what’s installed and running at any given time.” Which is pretty different.

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