Saturday, December 17, 2005

So cool it hurts

I like to think I'm like Kwi Chang Kane from King Fu. I travel the badlands of the internets. I'm not looking for trouble, but it finds me just the same. And when the shit hits the fan I'm there with SKILLS. In the end there are bodies all over the place and we all learned a valuable philosophical lesson.

I'm like that, except without the fighting.

But there are lessons to be learned grasshopper. I like cool things. You must like cool things too, else you would not be here, your eyes sliding across these words looking for 'it'. That 'thing' that is coolness in its purest form.

Well, I have it. And I am happy to pass its linky goodness on to you young Padwan (wait, am I a Kung Fu master or a Jedi? Hell I'm both! Like a Reeses peanut butter cup).

So here it is, the gift that you can give anyone. The Book of Cool. It is an AMAZING book that comes with 3 DVDs showing people doing the coolest things. Card manipulation? Sure. Juggling? Hell yeah. Gun twirling, Frisbee, hacky sack even pen twirling. All of it shot beautifully with great music. Go take a look (the sight is great as well) and then order this thing for yourself, or some other lucky bastard.

Friday, December 16, 2005


I now know how Solieri felt about Mozart. I'm not un-clever. But there are people with skills and visions so far past most of us that you cannot help but envy them. Such is the case with the people who built this amazing castle in New York.

It's for sale by the way. The asking price is about 6 million.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lowering my stress levels

I normally don't like to send people "cutsey" things. But we live in dangerous, stressful times. If you're feeling under the gun, or are contemplating using one, I recommend you go here.

Repeat as needed.

Meady goodness

I have been eagerly awaiting the magic day when the mead I cooked up last year with Grim is bottled. This day MAY be Friday. I talked to him today and he asked me if it was clear and if it had stopped fermenting. I answered yes to both questions. Since hitting it with a second applications of the magic sparkloid powder it was now much clearer.

I went out to the shop to, well, look at the gooey mess, like a proud father looks at the placenta and says "That's nasty, but I get a baby out of the deal, and that ain't so bad." But when I moved the bottle accidently, well.. swirled it a little accidently on purpose it bubbled a little.

Fuck. What do I do? Fuck! Does that mean it's still going? Shit. That was stupid. Call Grim. He'll know what to do. I give him a buzz. Grimm is like Winston Wolf, he fixes things.

"Hmm. Well, next to peeing in the carbouy that was the worst thing you could have done." Shit. "You might have stirred up some nastines and there may be some fermentation still going on, you'll need to rack it off. It you bottle it now, each bottle will be a ticking TIME-BOMB that could EXPLODE killing everyone in the immediet area."

Jesus, I just swirled the bottle a little once of twice, I didn't know I was setting up an IED factory.

Grim calmly tried to explain how to rack the mead from one bottle to another. "It's just like when you used to siphon gas when you were younger."

"Younger? Dude I own a cargo van, I siphonedf gas from my neighbor yesterday."

He told me how to use the racking cane (siphon). He then wished me good luck. I cleaned out and steralized the second bottle, did a practice run a few times and the process was actually kinda cool. The process sort of looked like a mad scientists chemistry experiment. Sweet. I successfully racked the mead and hope to bottle it very soon. With luck, it won't kill anyone, but I make no promisses. I want to make another batch, maybe raspberry. But propane is now waaaay expensive, and that's what heats the shop, where the mead god lives. I can't afford to keep the shop evenly heated all ther time. I don't know where I'd put it to keep it warm and happy.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The worst kind of news.

Rossana and I braved the icy roads to drive into Oberlin tonight. We were planning on attending a talk with Malik Rahim. He was one of the founders of Common Ground Relief which is who we were working with in the 9th ward of New Orleans. We didn't get to talk with him down there and I regretted that. He speaks with a clear, eloquent passion that is sorely lacking in most leaders these days.

When we saw a flyer yesterday in town announcing he was giving a talk we'd figure we'd show up to hear him speak, get an update on what's happening and maybe get a chance to talk with him. But it didn't happen. And it was for the worst of reasons.

After a brief wait a young man stepped onto the small stage, he said that Malik had wanted to be here at Oberlin, because so many students from that school had come down to volunteer, but just yesterday a bus carrying 7 volunteers went out of control and flipped. A young women was killed in the accident. The kid was having a hard time taking.

"She was a good friend.. I mean, I didn't know her that long but when you work together down there you kinda... Anyway Malik is sorry he couldn't come and he hopes to be here in the spring." and then he just walked off.

One of the organizers, unsure of what to do, asked how many in the crowd had already gone down. There were about 20. I stood up and asked how many were planning on going. There were maybe 15 in the crowd of 40 people.

"If you have the chance, if you can find a way, I urge you to go." I then spoke for about 10 minutes. I didn't want this chance to slip away, I didn't want these college kids to get turned off to the idea. I told them the unvarnished truth, that in the time I was there we cleared maybe 35 houses. Lets say that all the volunteer groups combined did ten times that. There are maybe 50,000 damaged homes in the ninth. It is an overwhelming task, but at the end of the day 350 families can begin to restart their lives again. We then filed out.

I didn't want to think about those kids on the bus. They rolled into Biloxi just as we were pulling out, and got to New Orleans a few days after we did. Their monstrous green/blue school bus was a hippie cliche' run on recycled vegetable oil. There are pics in the photo gallery. I didn't get to know them. Which I suppose is good because I don't think I could handle finding out someone I volunteered with down there just a few weeks ago died in an accident.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. I looked at that top heavy monster when it roared into Biloxi and thought "wow, you gotta be brave to drive in that". It was unsafe, but didn't we all used to do stupid or unsafe stuff when we were young? It wasn't supposed to be like this. They were so young and so fucking full of energy and righteousness and ideas and dreams. I'd listen to them and smile as they talked about saving mother Earth and bringing social justice to the poor and I'd smile a little. I see things a little different as I get older. They were naive, but they still had the right idea.

This was supposed to the an event in their lives. Something they would talk about with others, something that would inspire and motivate people to do something. This would be one of those times they would look back at years from now, when they have jobs and have settled into a routine. They would say "I helped out" and if the need arose, they would likely do it again. Some of them might even do more. Several Oberlin students have been down there since the beginning. They are in it for the long haul.

But now it's different. Now that small spark of joy that you feel when you've done something good for someone else is overshadowed by this. The shittiest part is that there is nothing anyone can do. There is no legal authority to appeal to. There is no protest or action that can undo it.

I feel like crap.