I was looking at the visitor stats for my website the other day. For an unpopular website, a lot of people seem to come here. (My guess is that most of them are looking for erotica featuring fat ladies.) Along with the general number of visitors, I also can see which countries hit this site the most; the countries are varied and numerous. While I speculate that 98% of these international visitors are looking for obese nude women, that leaves 2% which probably still want to see obese nude women, but stick around for the content.
Looking at these locations interested me. If you're reading this right now and you're not right down the street, where are you from? Leave your answer in the comments. Whoever is the farthest away from me (Austin, TX, USA) will get a wonderful, wonderful prize.
Just now at Circuit City, I was 30 seconds away from buying a new laptop with Vista. Then fate intervened, in the form of a humongous, surly sales clerk. "Buying a Vista machine?" he asked, then he did this long, pantomimed grimace that was a little awkward to watch. I said to myself, "What this man lacks in social graces he probably makes up for in operating system knowledge." My decision was sealed and I came home laptop-less.
If there's one thing I've learned with regards to technology, it's to defer technical decisions to the dorkiest guy in the room. There are a few ways to tell who this might be.
If anyone in the room is wearing Vulcan ears, you've found your guy.
If there are no Vulcan ears but someone is explaining to someone else how to solve a Rubik's cube, you've found your guy (the explainer, not the explainee, who is probably dead weight).
Without either of those, go with your gut, and then ask your gut's choice a really geeky question. That's what I did tonight; my question was about the L2 cache on AMD's new dual-core processors. His answer, lengthy and annotated, was a lot better than mine, which would've been, "I'm pretty sure it exists." (If you don't know any geeky questions, just ask about last week's episode of Battlestar, whether he agrees with you that Greedo shot first, which Frank Herbert character is the sexiest, or his choice of avatar.) His credentials proven, I felt I had no choice but to listen to the man.
When I go back at lunch tomorrow and buy the thing, let's all remember this fleeting moment of rationality.
We went to the Salt Lick last night for supper, an event which may come to be known in the pig community as the Aporkalypse. Occasionally, I'll eat a meal that leaves me full for 8 or 10 hours. With that one, I may not have to eat again until monsoon season (let us assume that monsoon season is a long time from now). If I were to get punched in the stomach right now, not only would I die, but the block would probably explode. Yes, it is a very attractive state.
As full as I am, I've eaten more at the Salt Lick before. Maybe two years ago, I was out there for someone's birthday. We were supposed to voyage down to 6th Street afterwards. I'm a man who likes his carousing just fine; I also enjoy the company of a good group. This night had all these factors going for it, but while everybody else went downtown, I went back to my apartment, laid in bed, and wailed for hours.
I was so full, I couldn't even sleep. I'd roll onto my stomach accidentally and let out a moan like I'd just been cattleprodded. You know how some people get the meat sweats? I went straight past that to the meat hallucinations. It was one of the most traumatic post-meal experiences I've ever had, and I still love the place. Such is the life of an idiot.
I have a lot to discuss here, but I'm a little too impatient to produce anything worthwhile. Instead, you get a list of crap.
If any of you want money from me in the near future, you'll just have to look at my teeth. Before I explain this remark, I'll give you some history. When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time at the dentist office. My dentist was also my orthodontist, and since I had braces for 11 million years, I was there at least once a month, getting things drilled, tightened, and prodded. Almost always, these actions focused on my teeth. Hey-o!
Then I got to college, and I relaxed the dental rigor a bit. Instead of doing my cleanings twice a year, I only went once per year; it's not like I swore off of toothpaste or anything. That situation worked well for me, and the doctor/patient relationship was much more pleasant than it was before. Then I became a grown-up and I relaxed the dental rigor even further. Partly because I wasn't sure how my dental insurance worked and partly due to laziness, I didn't go to the dentist at all for a couple of years. I still brushed with religious fervor, however.
Sometime towards the start of this year, I decided to get manly about this issue. I scheduled an appointment, told the doctor about my problem toofie, and let him take a look. Shortly thereafter, he prepared a treatment program that centered on that one defective fang. I finally saw the price tag today and ... it's a lot.
Things I could do with that money:
And of course, I could also spend that money on some quality time with the dentist and the periodontist. Let the rock fest begin.
Over Christmas, I got a new iPod. This was a huge deal for me and everyone in my neighborhood. Why a huge deal for me? Well, the old one (a 20GB-er) was full. Why a huge deal for my neighborhood? When I filled my iPod up, I stopped carrying it around and instead started carried a humongous, mid-80s era boombox on my shoulder. Yes, I broke a few windows, but when I hear the chorus of Parents Just Don't Understand, I am going to crank it up.
Now that I have 80 whole GB worth of storage on the new 'Pod, thanks to pater familias, I've been dipping my toe in the waters of podcasting. Before, my relationship with podcasts was a lot like my relationship with The Wire: I know it's out there, I know it's probably good, I know people who swear by the stuff, but I have no firsthand experience. (The same holds true for the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Guided by Voices, as well as voting and flossing.)
One of the reasons why I was so excited to try podcasts is because I legitimately love talk radio. My usual station in my car is NPR, which has led my sister to declare that riding around with me is like riding around with a grandparent (a well informed one, I might add). Also, every morning, I wake up to crazy right-wing talk shows. I started that by accident, and I cannot recommend it strongly enoughly. It makes it much easier to get up and turn the alarm off when I'm fairly confident the host is about to initiate a race war.
I directed all of this enthusiasm at iTunes, and I subscribed to a hell of a lot of podcasts at first. I was learning Mandarin on one, monitoring stock options on another, and exploring the cosmos in a third. For about a week, I was a really interesting person to talk to. Then, I started slipping on a few of my 'casts, and now I have around 70 hours worth of audio I must sit through. I would worry about this, but then I have 80 GB to fill.
I received some bad news last week, friends. At work, I've been part of a team that's been building this product for 2+ years. Recently, the higher-ups elected to change the company priorities, and the end result is that my beloved project is getting shelved for the time being, just as we were at the tail end of development. My message to the execs: "You guys seriously think that people won't buy a robot to unroll their fruit roll-ups? Are you KIDDING ME?! I'll give you 10 grand for one right now!"
In actuality, I was/am pretty bummed about it. We spent a lot of time on it, we were doing some pretty great stuff, and we were this close (holds fingers closely together) to finishing. Being a complete egomaniac, it's hard to me to remember that it's not always about me. I'm keeping a brave face, but my heart weeps at the thought of RollUpBot.
The one good thing about all of this is that it keeps me from making a very scary presentation. My company is having a big conference in a few weeks, and I was supposed to speak at it for an hour and a half, doing a demo of the product. Firstly, I don't think I've ever spoken for 90 straight minutes on a single topic. I could try to summarize every day of my life, and that's probably a solid 40 minutes right there. Secondly, I think I could speak for 90 straight minutes, not on a single topic, if I were allowed to make extensive use of lengthy, off-color jokes. I don't think this strategy would fly, as I'd be speaking in front of strangers who also happen to pay my salary. Third, the last time I was at this company conference, I got a death virus that culminated in me nearly soiling myself in the Walgreen's parking lot. I'll miss working on the project, but I certainly will not miss this pending near-death experience.
I have my new assignment, and it's something new, weird, and hard, which is what I like. It's definitely the newest, weirdest, hardest thing I've had to work on; I guess that's a good progression. Nonetheless, I still wish I'd been given the time to finish the other product, just so I could say that I had.
Another snow day today. This one was so bad that, two hours into it, I was out in the driveway, hacking the ice off of my car with a blank cd case. Where was I going? To work. Being locked up in my house is so boring, I'll go to work on the days I'm not obligated to attend. Please draw your own terrifying conclusion from that.
I'd feel even worse about it if it weren't for the fact that six or seven other guys did the same thing. I got there before noon, and over the next few hours, there was a steady trickle of folks into the office. They'd look at me, shrug, and say, "Man, I just got bored." Those dudes had nothing to rationalize, not in my book, at least. After being stuck inside my house for 72 hours, going to the office was like stepping through the Stargate.
My brief arctic experience has crushed any hopes I ever had of living up north. It always seemed kind of neat to me, to trade a brutal summer for a majestic, snow-dusted winter. After only three days of legitimate winter weather, I realize that idea was completely idiotic; I'm not a fan of cold, ice, or snow (sorry Santa). The only reason to experience weather this brutal is because a disreputable weekly magazine is paying you to hunt the Sasquatch.
Tomorrow, we're supposed to thaw out. To that, I say praise the Lord and pass the biscuits. True winter weather is like a weekend with Corey Feldman: definitely more fun to imagine than it is to experience.
Day 2 of the Blizzard '07
The brutal winter weather didn't kill me last night, though it tried, by pelting the Powell Fortress with several millimeters worth of hail and ice. Is that the best you have, Old Man Winter? If so, I credit you with an impressive showing. But I'm not dead yet!
It's kind of silly to admit that less than an inch of ice has barricaded me in my house all day, but it's the truth. I take a look out the window and think, "There is no WAY that I am going out in that." I live in Austin, where at the first sight of snow, you're legally obligated to slam your car into a telephone pole and pull out your pistol. If I go outside right now, I'm probably not coming back with all of my limbs. So, while I really need some kitty litter and some manilla folders (don't ask), I'm stuck here, running up my iTunes bill and watching some show about Nazis on the History Channel.
I think snow gets less entertaining as one gets older. A 5-year old me would take a look at the front yard and probably go into spastic convulsions of delight; there'd be snowball fights to start, snow forts to construct, and a whole family of snow rabbits to create. The 15-year old me would me would probably give the snow a thumbs-up, and then do a little dance of joy for getting to miss school. Adult me sees the snow and exclaims, "Damn it, I really didn't structure my NetFlix queue appropriately for all of this!" Oh well.
Typically, I don't get MLK Day off of work. That is bad since I am not really an industrious man, plus it makes everyone think I'm a racist. Nobody's thinking I'm a racist today though, because I didn't place so much as a pinky toe inside of the office. No, we didn't get MLK off; the Blizzard of '07 shut the office down.
I don't know if I should even count this as a day off. I woke up at the usual time, showered, shaved, got dressed, then picked up my phone to discover I had no work. I was already in my work mode by that point; I'm much like the Terminator in that once I acquire my target of work, I have to finish before I can be decommissioned later that night.
Anyway, after waking up at the usual time and fussing to make myself presentable, I found out that I had no work and instead, I had to help Dean Zyvarb and wife move into their new house. This lasted a couple hours, and took place in 30 degree weather, complete with occasional bouts of freezing rain. Did I really win here with this day off work? I could've spent the day inside a warm office, sitting in a nice chair, and somehow I ended up doing manual labor in arctic conditions. Towards the end, I truthfully expected a polar bear attack. They would get me too; the Eskimos know how to defend themselves, but I'd have no idea.
Now that I've hunkered down for the blizzard, I'm finding ways to survive. They involved sleeping and then, through large quantities of food, trying to blubber up to insulate myself. If I'm back with more tomorrow, we'll know my methods are working.
Okay, I'm doing one more day's worth of break before I mercifully end my superhuman lineage entries.
Major League Baseball announced today that Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr would be enshrined in its Hall of Fame. While that's kind of but not really interesting, the big story has been Mark McGwire's lack of support. While his stats match up with any other great slugger, a potent anti-steroid sentiment kept him from getting close to the votes necessary.
Hall of Fame voters, I agree that steroids are bad. But is taking steroids any worse than than the crimes perpetrated by other legends of the game? Here's a brief list, for comparison.
Ty Cobb - hated black people
Mickey Mantle - loved booze
Hank Aaron - regularly farted and then blamed it on the umpire
Stan Musial - ran a brutal, bloody cockfighting circuit from his hotel room
Willie Mays - once robbed Stan Musial of his cockfight winnings
Nolan Ryan - in close games, shot blowdarts at the opposing batters
Cy Young - cyborg
Oddibe McDowell - terrible baseball player
Roberto Clemente - appeared in a homemade porn movie with Paris Hilton
Pete Rose - bet on baseball, then bet on his impending banishment from baseball, then bet Tom Sizemore would play him in a tv movie
Sandy Koufax - member of the Hell's Angels
Babe Ruth - gave Lou Gehrig such a violent wedgie that Gehrig developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Let McGwire in, I say; maybe he'd class up the joint.
Okay, let's all agree to take a temporary break before the next installment of my superhuman lineage. I've got to tell you, creating your own superhuman lineage is tiring. It's easy if they're all sharecroppers with mustaches, and maybe one has wooden teeth. But then it wouldn't be a superhuman lineage, would it? No, it'd be a lame, human lineage, and the next time I wanted to tell someone I'm descended from a coal-powered cyborg (or whatever the hell I was talking about), I wouldn't be able to cite any internet proof.
I am learning Mandarin. At the pace I'm going, I don't know if I could really consider it learning. I'm listening to Mandarin, retaining some knowledge, and then immediately forgetting it. If I just could talk to a Chinese person during one of my lessons, I think I'd impress some people. In case you're looking to do something similar, I'm using the podcasts through a site called chinesepod.com. It's cool, and I'm pretty sure their lessons have nothing at all to do with my overall suckiness.
I neglected to mention that a six word story of mine was immortalized by one Brendan Aloysius Adkins on Anacrusis. Does this make me anacrusized, or did I anacrustify Brendan? We'll let the Internet decide.
Finally, if you have a Wii, you need to get the browser. Once you have that, hit up http://www.teknision.com/wii/player.html. It's a Wii interface for finetune, which is one of those predictive music services. You can go to finetune and set up some playlists for your Wii, or you can just punch in the playlist belonging to codypo and kick out the jamz. I should also note that YouTube is great fun on a Wii.
Sorry for the lack of an entry on Thursday. I was ready to get started and blaze away with the history of my great great great grandfather, Spaghettio Powell, but when I got home, my computer had been sabotaged. Perhaps someone doesn't want the world to hear the salacious history of Spaghettio? Too bad, fools!
Spaghettio Powell, like all other Powells, was an interesting man. As discussed previously, his father was a half-cyborg in a circus freak show. His mother was reputed to be a vampire from a small village in the Alps; she too made her living as a human oddity. (Their pairing explains his name, in fact: she loved spaghetti and he loved input/output, thus leading to Spaghett-IO.) Spaghettio's father was a rounder, a man too frisky to be chained down by the burdens of domestic life, and due to this, he spent nearly all of his time with his mother, the reputed vampiress.
Was his mother a true vampire? We cannot say now, but we can say definitively that Spaghettio wasn't. He thought he was, however. When he moved to a new area, he distributed leaflets entitled "Living With a Vampire Neighbor". To his friends, he gave cloves of garlic in case he attacked. He traveled everywhere in a coffin, and had an almost fanatical devotion to his cape. Yes, he played the part.
Unfortunately for Spaghettio, he only excelled in the vampire lifestyle, not in actually being a vampire. Many, many accounts detail him capturing a random stray cat and attempting to drink its blood, only to be overwhelmed with nausea and vomit explosively on himself. In fact, this was such a popular sight, the Dallas newspaper made it a featured segment from 1893-1907.
It wasn't just his intolerance for blood that made him a phony vampire; he failed at many other parts of being a vampire. During a property tax dispute, he called the Dallas County tax assessor a "barrelfull of soggy dungarees". Confused by this gibberish insult, the tax assessor chased him through town with a fencepost. When he caught Spaghettio, he bonked Spaghettio on the head and jabbed the fence post through his heart. Spaghettio live through this assault, saying only that his ventricles felt a little itchy afterwards.
Since the freak shows had no need for a vampire impersonator, Spaghettio had to leave the family business. He initially became a fairy tale writer. He poured all of his resources into a story of 4 adolescent turtles who become horribly deformed through chemicals and dedicate their to vigilante justice through martial arts. In fact, others found great success with that formula, but Spaghettio did not, perhaps due to the title of the tales, "Professor McGilicuddy and the Ear Box Brigade".
It was at this point that Spaghettio, like other desperate men of his era, turned to taxidermy. Here, he found a fertile playground for his gothic imagination. Collectors paid thousands for his scenes of vampire chipmunks, hedgehogs, and basset hounds.
He made enough, in fact, to purchase a Russian mail order bride. Her name was Vanya, she was a devout Marxist, and as such, she loathed Spaghettio for his taxidermy fortune. She loathed him so much, she devoted all of her energies to turning their firstborn, Rasputin Powell, into the revolutionary who would lay ruin to the free market system. Rasputin Powell was my great great grandfather, and we will pick up with his story tomorrow.
(In case you missed it, we're right in the middle of a wingding. Here's Part I of the Superhuman Lineage of Cody Powell, in the event you want the rest of this to make sense.)
I left off yesterday with the death of my Great X5 Grandfather, Coalzilla Powell, the world's first coal-powered robot. I believe I mentioned that, through a feat of mind-blowing mechanics, Coalzilla actually managed to spread his cold, cyborgian seed before meeting his demise via lynch mob justice. Coalzilla's son, named Lazlo Butterscotch Powell, was born after his father's death. Lazlo Butterscotch Powell was my Great X4 Grandfather.
Lazlo Butterscotch Powell's life was not an easy one; his father was a dead robot, his mother was a barking lunatic who tried regularly to trade him for bags of seedless grapes, and his hands were enormous, metal claws. How would this affect a young man, growing up in the latter part of the 19th century? Thankfully, Lazlo Butterscotch Powell kept an extensive diary; its pages numbered 174,000 at the time of his death. I present excerpts here.
February 11, 1871 Damn these claws! In the moist air, they have a tendency to rust and lock. If I do nothing else in this world, I will discover and market a cheap, plentiful claw ointment.
March 3, 1873
It's time to harvest the grapes again, and Mom has that crazy glint in her eye. I fear this may be my last entry ever.
October 21, 1874
What woman could ever love a half robot with claw hands? Even if I could find one, would she share my ideas on child rearing? I must again state my wish that I'd been born with giant, bulletproof lobster pincers, rather than these horrid, metallic appendages.
December 24, 1874
For Christmas, Mom gave me a sack of baby doll heads. The neighbors were right to burn our house down.
On his 16th birthday, Lazlo Butterscotch Powell left Texas to join the circus, where he was billed as Clawules the Magnficent. In such a laidback environment, he discovered a number of previously hidden talents. First, his claws were excellent at cracking the shells of even the toughest nuts. (Yes, this even includes pecans.) Second, he had a good head for numbers. Third, he could charm the pants off of even the most attractive human oddity.
For the next 87 years, he stayed with the circus and earned his keep as Clawlules. He sired 146 children, with even the most homely of freaks, Gertie the Jellyfish Woman. He combined his keen mathematical abilities with his nut-cracking skills, and began a mixed nut exporting business. Through shrewd pricing and the ruthless squeezing of his suppliers, by the time he hit 100, he was the richest claw-having man in the United States.
In the midst of his 146 offspring was a young boy born to Vampyro, the lady vampire who could make items burst into flames at will. His name was Spaghettio Powell. He had no claws like his father and no chimneys like his grandfather. Instead, he had fangs and an overwhelming appetite for raccoon blood. Tomorrow, we pick up with my Great great great grandfather, Spaghettio Powell.
I am officially rested after a long and pleasing Christmas vacation; let the 2007 Goulashery begin! To start the year, I came up with a good idea: I will catalog my own superhuman origins.
Little do most people know, but I, Cody Powell, am not the product of two typical white people. In fact, I actually descend from a long line of wolf men, swamp creatures, dwarf mages, battle toads, cyborgs, and magical pop tarts. It is truly a crime that I have not yet piped this story onto the Blogotubes; I intend to correct this immediately!
The Superhuman Lineage of Cody Powell, Part I
GreatX5 Grandfather: Coalzilla Powell
Robert E. Lee could see where the Civil War was heading. As early as 1863, aides record him pacing around his quarters, muttering that defeat was certain unless the Confederacy could somehow gain more soldiers. The problem was, the South had no more soldiers to give; most able-bodied men were already committed to combat.
General Lee slowly began to realize this, and on November 22, 1864, he sent a desperate letter to many of the South's leading thinkers. It read:
Gentlemen, we are in a predicament. Without larger forces, we simply cannot win this struggle.
We must find soldiers from somewhere, and I turn to you for ideas. Do we send our elderly and infants into battle? Do we teach our horses to operate bayonets? Do make giant rock piles and pray that the Norse god Sklorocles animates the rock piles into vicious, bloodthirsty warriors?
I beg you gentlemen to think, and to experiment. Without a compelling answer, all hope is lost.
General Robert E. Lee
aka Da Original Bootyfiend
As stated previously, he sent this to the leading minds of the South, but one also fell into the hands of a complete moron, one Maximilian Powell, failed spinach farmer and moonshine afficionado. Upon reading the letter, Maximilian screamed at his wife, "I must save our nation!" Then he grabbed her washboard and a sack of peaches, and holed up in his shed for six months.
Over the next half year, neighbors reported great billows of smoke and frequent explosions erupting from the Powell plantation. Not even his own wife spotted Powell, and eventually, she began to believe that the shed housed some sort of bilious demon who had killed her husband and taken his peaches.
Finally he emerged from his seclusion, and with him walked a great, wooden monstrosity. It was vaguely humanlike, aside from the 28 chimneys placed all around its body. From the chimneys poured a constant stream of black, acrid smoke. Powell's creation had wheels for feet, and when a lever was depressed, a panel from its chest lowered to reveal a cannon that fired immediately. Every 45 seconds, someone had to shovel a load of coal into its mouth, or else it would slowly wind down and fall over, crushing the person closest to it and accidentally discharging its cannon straight into the air. It was a crude robot, the first in human history.
Powell dubbed it the Confederate Super Soldier, and immediately booked a passage to General Lee. Little did he know that the South had already surrendered. That didn't matter, as on the Confederate Super Soldier's first stagecoach ride, the rough ride caused it to accidentally discharge its cannon, killing the driver, most of the passengers, and all of the horses. Powell, in his own defense, said he was still working out the kinks.
The authorities of Austin, TX immediately seized the Confederate Super Soldier. Unsure of the appropriate legal way to handle such a situation, the city put the robot on trial for first degree murder. The press swarmed to the trial, and dubbed the creation Coalzilla for reasons that are no longer understood. For days, the prosecution laid out its case in meticulous detail. Coalzilla acted in its own defense, never once crossexamining a witness. When the time came to mount its own case, Coalzilla accidentally discharged its cannon, killing the bailiff and sealing its own fate.
A special gallow was fashioned for Coalzilla, although most agreed that strangling it wouldn't accomplish anything. The night before Coalzilla's execution, a disturbed young woman tunneled her way into Coalzilla's cell. She proclaimed, "Coalzilla, I must have you! Let us create a race of superbabies." Coalzilla was no match for her crazy wiles.
Sadly, history does not reveal how a primitive coal-powered robot managed to impregnant a schizophrenic 16 year old. When the woman gave birth nine months later, there was no denying the father, though: the baby had 17 chimneys placed around its body, along with a tattoo of a cannon on its chest. Coalzilla was dead by then, killed when, on the 38th attempt to hang it, its noose snapped and, upon smashing into the ground, accidentally discharged its cannon into one of its 28 chimneys. The fire could be seen in Manitoba. Coalzilla was no more, but my own superhuman lineage had just begun.