Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jessie W. Got Married!

Saturday, May 24, 2:00 p. m. at the Unitarian Church near Byrd Park, Richmond, VA in a simple, lovely ceremony attended by way more people than they expected.

A week before the wedding Jessie was getting a little nervous so we gave her a money-back guarantee. "And, so?" I asked. "You're registered at Red Dragon, right?" (click for larger version)

No pics from me of the wedding itself. I was sitting too far back with no zoom lens and didn't feel right punctuating the ceremony with flash photography anyway. Plenty of other people did that for me, so my first photo of the happy couple was when they arrived at their reception at Art Works.

We never expected Jessie to wear such a traditional gown; in fact, we were betting on skull-emblazoned leather festooned with chains. The train had a mind of its own and almost required its own place-setting.

Having the reception at an art gallery allowed me to pose an unsuspecting Jessie in unexpected ways.

While Jessie's friends, in this case lawyer-to-be Andrew L., reacted in unexpected ways.

Jessie and mutual friend Beth T. during a relatively quiet moment.

Adrienne and Rob pose for the camera (Rob told me later Adrienne thinks she looks "stupid" in this picture but, personally, I think she looks fine).

"arovd" (of Jessie's former dance troupe To the Earth) and partner "cutegaychick" hiding away from the reception madness in a convenient corner.

Alex P. and D. J. looking disgustingly wholesome.

Nikki and Bill G. being, well, Nikki and Bill G.

And the Color-Me-Stupid moment of the day is when I realized I didn't get a photo of Jessie with John P. Words fail to express how bad I feel about that since Jessie is going back to Hawaii and John is currently living in Blacksburg, VA.

I Just Don't Know WHAT to Think Anymore

So I'm minding my own business, cruisin' around the Intarweb, clicking links on io9 ("Strung out on science fiction"--brainchild of Geek Queen Annalee Newitz, praise be to her Almighty Name) when I come across this: A Serious, "Very Scary Remake of Plan 9 From Outer Space.


There are all sorts of things I could say but the various commenters have beaten me to the punch.

Oh, yeah, and the release date? 09/09/09.

Doesn't this coincide with the arrival of Zombie Jeebus?


It occurs to me that I haven't done a book-related post in ever-so-long--which is embarrassing for someone who lives by the creed "books will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no books."*

Now, people who know me also know I'm hopelessly addicted to books. My man purse, nominally intended for lugging around all the crap that won't fit into my pockets but I imagine I can't live without,** is first and foremost a book depository for whatever I'm currently reading plus at least one back-up book. Maybe two. Possibly three. Gotta have back-up books else I might not have something new to read OMG!

I'm not a collector by any stretch of the imagination (can't afford to be--have you seen the price of signed first editions recently?); at best, I'm an accumulator, which is akin to saying I'm a recreational heroin user: "Hey, I don't have a problem and can quit whenever I want and let's just ignore the innumerable hours I spend scouring the 'hood for my next fix or the things I neglect while immersed in litsmack."

Yeah, right.

Anyway, I've been amassing a slew of book-related links (because I have no life and I'm a big ol' geek and I have to keep out of trouble somehow) and thought I'd share 'em for those of you whom are similarly afflicted.

--Here's a great little article by independent bookseller Paul Constant, "Flying Off the Shelves--The Pleasures and Perils of Chasing Book Thieves."

When I worked at a big-box chain bookstore, shoplifters never crossed my mind; the corporation paid security guards for that. Employees were told not to get involved. The legal issues were too Byzantine for us peons to understand. The guards, instead, created problems: We had to fire one for masturbating in the children's section.

(which is probably the biggest book-related WTF? moment I've ever read)

--Confession time: one of my favorite places to read is in the bathtub*** so you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled across the bathtub with built-in bookcase. One day, when I win the lottery and am simply dripping in disposable income, I'll have a couple of these installed in my mansion/Fortress of Solitude/Treehouse of Horror. Note the various links to other, uh, unique book storage solutions; in fact, there's even a blog on the subject: Bookshelf.

--Over at The Art of Manliness they've compiled a list of 100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man's Library (warning: many annoyingly big-ass bookcover pics that spell death for dial-up users and irritate the hell out of me for disrupting the list flow) and, yeah, I've read most of them over the years but, somehow, manly manliness has eluded me. Perhaps it's because I refuse to slog through Plato's Republic, James Joyce's Ulysses, The Politics by Aristotle, and Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans. Perhaps other reasons. And what's with all the Teddy Roosevelt entries?

--Meanwhile, over at Sci-Fi Lists they've compiled a statistical survey of the all-time Top 100 Sci-Fi Books.

--Only in the past couple of years have I become aware of this: "Young adult sections in bookstore -- a parallel universe of little-regarded awesomeness."

Living in a space that no one watches too closely is one of the secret ways that people get to do excellent stuff. Science fiction's status for decades as a pariah genre meant that writers could do things with literary style, theme, and political content that their mainstream counterparts could never get away with (games, comics, early hip-hop, mashups, and many of the other back laneways of popular culture have also enjoyed this status). These days, a lot of the coolest stuff in the universe is happening in the kids' section of your bookstore (and yes, I'm aware of the irony of calling attention to a field that has prospered because it wasn't receiving too much attention to blossom).

Bookslut's Bookslut in Training column has turned me on to a couple of jewels hidden away in the YA section: King Dork by Frank Portman and The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga, both of which are really great reads (and you should now stop whatever the hell it is that you are doing and hie your ass on over to the nearest bookstore and grab some copies), and Cory Doctorow, who wrote the aforementioned article, has his own decidedly subversive entry in YA fiction--Little Brother, a "novel about hacker kids who use technology to reclaim the Bill of Rights from the DHS after a terrorist attack on San Francisco,"**** which really appeals to my Inner Anarchist/home-brew Resistance Fighter.

Okay, that's enough for now. Read hard!

This is the second in a long series of catch-up posts.

* Astute readers, i. e., aging Baby Boomers of a... certain... disposition, will recognize that line as a corruption of a Freewheelin' Franklin catchphrase.

** Mini Maglite, Hipster PDA, a wide assortment of pens, cell phone, digital camera and extra memory card, cigarettes, lighter, spare keys, cheap notebooks, bandana, quarters for the toll bridge, Swiss Army Knife knock-off, the occasional DVD... you know, Big Important Guy stuff. Or crap. Your choice.

*** Feel free to flense from your brain the image of me naked with the alcoholic beverage/hallucinogen of your choice, but think about it (not me naked)--assuming you don't drop your book in the water what better place to read? Warm, comfy, floaty, quiet, relaxing... screw isolation tanks; this is the way to Oneness with the Universe.

**** He even offers free downloads and a news section. Neil Gaiman raves about it here and someone named w1n5t0n (get it? Get it?) offers a series of book-related Instructables here. Go forth and get copies for yourself, your kids, your friends' kids, your kids' friends...

Monday, May 26, 2008

So I Went To the Gun Show the Other Day...

...Saturday, May 17, to be exact, which is always fun and highly entertaining, what with all the shiny boomsticks and military surplus thingies and vast number of... unusual... people, from teenagers wearing the latest in tacti-cool fashion accessories to rabid conspiracy buffs squawking about RealID and black helicopters to grandmotherly types gleefully exchanging dessert recipes and .45 ACP ballistics data.

I went there in hopes of fondling a real, live Browning Hi-Power Mark III, which I think is a particularly attractive handgun, but no such luck. Picked up some G3 magazines for my PTR-91KF SHTF carbine, three inexpensive 20-rounders and one steel 30-rounder, piddled with the various and near-ubiquitous AK-47-like variants (does anyone know how to attach a forward sight without canting it? Even the Arsenal offerings, which for those who don't know, are hugely overpriced custom jobbies totally out of keeping with the AK philosophy of "fast, cheap, and capable of being handled with devastating effect by half-starving, illiterate peasants with long-term grudges," seemed a little funky), chowed down on some really awful (and really overpriced) Hot Dogs o' Doom at the concession stand, sampled venison jerky and buffalo jerky and elk jerky and homemade fudge, then made a single major purchase:


A Sig P220 SAO in .45 ACP with three magazines for a really, really good price.

Sigs have a reputation for incredible accuracy right out of the box, something that's always sounded like a hyper-inflated manufacturer's claim to me, but what the hell--it's a cool-looking handgun anyway. I took it home, gave it a quick cleaning, then took it to my local shooting range to see what it could do.

I think I'm in love.

Now, keep in mind that, at best, I'm a mediocre marksman. I don't shoot anywhere near as often as I'd like, my practice sessions tend to be brief and sporadic, and, sadly, it's been about a year since the last time I went to the range for anything besides a basic handgun safety course.

First target, 7 yards, two-handed, first time firing the P220 ever:

That was about an 80-round warm-up just to get used to the gun. Not great by hardcore shooters' standards, but for me, that's damned good, especially with a new gun!

Second target, still 7 yards, still two-handed (I use the Weaver Stance, not that anyone cares):

Even better, especially since I don't normally get to talk about bullet groupings; I talk about bullet splatter.

Oh, yeah. I love the Sig!

This is the first in a long series of catch-up posts.

Monday, May 5, 2008

And Even MORE Baconpunk!

("Mary! He's doing it again! He's posting bacon links!")
("John, shush! If you ignore him maybe he'll just go away--NO! Don't make eye contact! He'll see and then we'll never be rid of him!")

Yessireebob, the Baconpunk wave is cresting and I'm about to surf that sucker headlong into the metaphorical porkcore pilings.

I mean, check out this MetaFilter link and discussion: Just Call 'Em Slabs of Joy. And reddit now has a designated aggregator entitled Bacon--Nuff' Said. Plus there's the For the Love of Bacon Archives. and the Battle of the Bacon Dogs.

Bacon is the new Absinthe and I couldn't be happier.

On the other hand, nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for The Bacon Loincloth ("Like the Romans, but with bacon. Hamcore!").

It's a weird and wonderful world.

Wherein I Demonstrate How Evil I Can Be

WARNING: Read the entire entry before clicking the link under discussion!!!


Don't click this link. Just...don't.


But you will, won't you? Oh, yes; you will. You cannot help yourself. It beckons to you. It calls to you. It will haunt your waking hours for you must know.

Perhaps a Ren & Stimpy excerpt will serve to dissuade you:

No? Then go ahead. Nothing bad will happen to your computer, I promise. Your brain is another matter.

And your opinion of me.

But I warned you.

Oh, and don't think I don't know that you'll be sending this link to all your poor, unsuspecting friends.

I'll be saving you a seat in Hell.

Friday, May 2, 2008

But I Haven't Lost My Sense of Humor...

...though some might say that's a bad thing.

One of the worst things about a death in the family (besides the death itself, the grief, the annoying family members, the funeral directors who feel the need to regale you with amusing anecdotes from their personal history, the paperwork, the ridiculously convoluted orchestration of numerous bureaucratic entities, and so forth and so on) is that people of a certain mindset start to treat you... differently. Everything must be very solemn, everyone must walk on eggshells, no one must risk upsetting the recently bereaved. All utterances must be quiet and serious and oozing with deep concern.


Look, I don't mind if you ask me how I'm doing or if I'm bearing up okay or if there's anything you can do for me--these are the incantations people say to show concern and, really, I appreciate it, but for Gawd's sake, would some of you (not any of you reading this, thank heavens; I'm just being all rhetorical 'n' stuff) smile and crack a joke once in a while? Say something silly. Say something crude. Make not-so-vague sexual references about my friend Adam's mom, preferably in front of Adam. I'm not going to fall to pieces.

Enter Super-Secret Support Group friend Big Gay Cliff.

BG Cliff and I have a long-standing arrangement whereby we send each other goofy text messages during the day and thereby ease the monotony of our respective jobs. He makes obscene comments about what he'd like to do to various mutual male aquaintances; I offer nigh-on impossible... uh... refinements, usually involving Shetland ponies, Cherry Garcia ice cream, and Margaret Mead masks. He sends me quotes from Support Your Local Sheriff; I respond with Life of Brian references. He comments on Adam's ass; I comment on Adam's mom's ass.

We have a strange and wonderful relationship.

Today, knowing that I'd just gone through making funeral arrangements, choosing a casket, picking out clothes for Dad, ordering a casket spray, dealing with lawyers and guardians and conservators, basically just being too darn adult and serious, he texts:

well, now you have no choice but to find someone to produce a male heir to carry on the family name

And the following exchange occurred:

GW: Oh, yeah? Know anyone with bad eyesight and low standards?
BGC: that would be me
GW: Uh, I think we need to review a little basic biology...
BGC: how about (19-yr.-old coffee shop girl) she's just your type she has issues
GW: I'm not looking to open a newsstand.
BGC: yeah, given her history you'd need a combat condom anyway
BGC: combat condom because love is a battlefield
BGC: ???
BGC: what

Whereupon I sent him a pic of co-worker Carolyn I'd taken the other day and just happened to have in my cell phone*:

BGC: you are one sick and twisted f*** that's why i love you

And that's why I love BG Cliff.

* That's a stainless steel Sorvall centrifuge tube holder in case you're wondering, not a sex toy.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Harry S. Snavely, Jr.

WAYNESBORO — Harry Schlosser Snavely Jr., 87, of 501 Oak Ave., Waynesboro, died Tuesday, April 29, 2008, at Summit Square Retirement Community. He was born Jan. 10, 1921, in Hagerstown, Md., a son of Harry Schlosser and Mary Louise Poffenburger Snavely.

He was a member of First Baptist Church. During World War II, he served with the U.S. Navy. A graduate of Lynchburg College, he was manager of the tire department for Freed Co. Harry was active with the Waynesboro First Aid Crew, serving several years as president, and was active with the Fellowship of Christian Housing, serving as an officer.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Richard "Dick" Snavely. Surviving are his wife, Virginia Elizabeth Stone Snavely of Waynesboro; his son, Lee Snavely of Richmond; a sister, Janice Porter and her husband, John, of Hagerstown; a brother, Tom Snavely and wife, Joan, of Alexandria; and a number of nieces and nephews.

Burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 3, 2008, in Riverview Cemetery, followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. at McDow Funeral Home, conducted by the Rev. B.C. Akers.

The family will receive friends from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to Waynesboro First Aid Crew, 201 W. Broad St., Waynesboro, VA 22980.

Family and friends may sign the guest register at www.mcdowfuneralhomeinc.com.