Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Saturday Night Snicker... On Sunday

Because I'm lame like that.

So, anyway, I'm cruisin' Whitechapel this morning (that's writer Warren Ellis's* discussion board) when I come across Warren initiating a thread asking writer/editor/photographer Richard Kadrey (whom I worship) what he's been up to these days.

Revelation: Mr. Kadrey is a funny, funny man!

But the only time to ever call me “Mr. Kadrey” is when I’m standing over you in assless leather chaps holding a cat o’ nine tails (in) one hand and a lubed-up bowling trophy in the other.

Yep, that was the first Diet Pepsi Spew O' the Day.

Later--and the writers I know personally (that's you, Wayne and Mark and Beth and Von and Anne) will appreciate this--

What it's like to finish a novel on time...

In an undisclosed location near Dick Cheney’s Hellmouth hideaway:

Time is a jellyfish, all gooey and full of stingy neurotoxins. Sitting in a blacked-out hotel room and slowly turning into a Morlock. Living on room service and Ritz crackers. Coffee and Pepsi Plus (or whatever the hell it's called) when I can emerge from my Fortress of Suckitude long enough to scuttle down to the lobby. Typing, typing, typing. Dreaming of George Bush diddling Paris Hilton's chihuahua. Must not weaken and call the porn girls I know at the club across town. No more writing for a while when I’m done with the book. Some speaking engagements, movie biz cocksucking (cocksucking is better than ass kissing because when you suck cock, you know when you’re done) and some travel. Maybe gunrunning to Oz. Those midgets are itching for a fight. Blood will glisten prettily on the Piss Yellow Brick Road.

Need food. Will watch an episode of Garth Marenhghi’s Dark Place on the computer and then it’s back to work.

Someone better buy this fucking book when it comes out next year or I will kick the devil’s ass. When you sell your soul, the prince of darkness needs to pony up or it’s clobberin’ time.

Sweet Buddha, I love this stuff!

*Who once provided a wonderful SatNiteSnick with "I'll never buy anything with Fantasy in the title. I have an irrational near-allergic reaction to the genre. I start seeing elves everywhere, and then I have to kill a puppy just to feel normal again."

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Monday Night Earworm

I bought myself a new set of headphones this weekend (more about that later) and made the mistake of listening to a classic Fugs ditty.

Earworm City. Thoth help me, I can't get this unholy hybrid of country/western, church hymn, and gospel out of my head (lyrics painstakingly transcribed by yours truly):


Ramses II is dead, my love
He's left from Memphis for Heaven
Ptah has taken him in the solar barque
And walked him to Nut's celestial shores

Ramses II is dead, my love
He's wandering the plains where the Blessed live
Ptah and Ra and Sokaris, too
Are taking him on the celestial boat

Ramses II
Ramses II
Ramses II with the Savior

He walked to his bier
Where his pylons did wave
With the flags of his victories

Ramses II is dead
He died and he lies in the boat
He's floating down those cool, gray waters
To his tomb by the Nile's surging wave

Standing in the harsh, harsh gray granite
Standing, my Ramses, forever
With a coffin of gold and the pretty pale carvings
Lifting you to heaven

Heaven was waiting for Ramses II
He's gone to Great Ptah's huge side

(hear an excerpt)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cthulhu vs. The School Board

I haven't made a Cthulhu post in ever-so-long, so it pleases me no end to have run across this, courtesy of The Onion:

Lovecraftian School Board Member Wants Madness Added To Curriculum

ARKHAM, MA—Arguing that students should return to the fundamentals taught in the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon in order to develop the skills they need to be driven to the very edge of sanity, Arkham school board member Charles West continued to advance his pro-madness agenda at the district's monthly meeting Tuesday. "Fools!" said West, his clenched fist striking the lectern before him. "We must prepare today's youth for a world whose terrors are etched upon ancient clay tablets recounting the fever-dreams of the other gods—not fill their heads with such trivia as math and English. Our graduates need to know about those who lie beneath the earth, waiting until the stars align so they can return to their rightful place as our masters and wage war against the Elder Things and the shoggoths!"

Right on! If Mr. West wins we should all celebrate with Cthulhu Cake!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Computer!

So, yeah, I got myself a new computer yesterday to replace my recently deceased HP Pavilion 753n:

I didn't have to have it--I've got a inexpensive Compaq laptop that works perfectly well for my needs, especially since I'm not a gamer, I'm not a programmer, I'm not a graphic artist... there's nothing I do that puts any particular strain on a microprocessor--still, the siren call of a Brand! New! Shiny! Desktop! Computer! was irresistible and what the hell; I just got a refund check from the IRS (bless e-filing and direct deposit), this month's bills are taken care of, the car is paid off, and I've got a case of Ramen noodles and a nice cardboard box set aside for my retirement, so I'm indulging myself.

For the geekier among you:

HP Pavilion a6712f-b
HP w2207h 22" diagonal widescreen LCD flat panel monitor
Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core Desktop Processor E5200
6GB installed memory
500GB hard drive
SuperMulti DVD Burner with LightScribe Technology
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition with Service Pack 1

For me, the most impressive thing is the monitor--22 inches of full flat screen glory, which is/are particularly appreciated since I no longer have a working DVD player and even when I did my TV set measures only 19 inches. Keep in mind, too, that my first computer was an itty-bitty ol' Macintosh 512Ke with a 9-inch screen and my most recent was a 17-incher, so this is an amazing thing to behold. Porn mass spectrometry read-outs never looked so good and even my aging, astigmatic eyes can read text sans corrective lenses!

Now, I hate unpacking consumer electronics--manufacturers have a bad habit of sticking essential accessories in the damnedest places and with boxes inside of boxes and cardboard separators often serving double-duty as component carriers I'm always concerned I'm going to overlook something critical and, well, delay my gratification. Fortunately, everything I needed for set-up was plainly visible; unfortunately, some of the instructions were a little... uh... unhelpful. HP decided upon a minimalist approach, eschewing nice, meaty blocks of text for these poster-sized enclosures with pictures and arrows which really told me nothing. I've set up (HP) computers before, so I didn't really need a lot of help, but when it came time to hook up the monitor speakers... where the hell was the input? The accompanying diagram pointed to an area of approximately fifty square inches and you'd think it'd be pretty damn easy to spot a light-orange color-coded quarter-inch speaker jack amongst all that cyberpunk-black space, but you'd be wrong. After several minutes of searching and pondering I finally hit upon the bright idea of inverting the monitor, whereupon I noticed... something... peeking out from beneath the edge and behind the pedestal attachment. Problem solved.

And speaking of delayed gratification, I always forget that new computers need to go through a lengthy set of self-calibration exercises followed by an even lengthier series of update/installation checks, things which prevent me from getting on with the important stuff, namely, copying a hefty-sized picture of the ever-watchful eye of HAL and designating it as my wallpaper, downloading Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird so as never to see Explorer and Outlook ever again (except at work), and installing all the fun little add-ons I so dearly love (Google Notebook, Picasa 3, Open Office, and no, thank you, I do NOT care to try Microsoft Office free for 60 days, now go away!).

The short version: I'm up and running.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mr. Dillon

This is long overdue, but want to read a nice obituary?

Robert Thomas ("Bob") Dillon
The greatest generation receded a bit further into history with the death of Robert Thomas ("Bob") Dillon, 84, at St. Francis Hospital on February 11, 2009. He was a resident at Edenbrook of Charleston. He was born in a cabin at the foot of the Blue Ridge in Patrick County, Va, on October 29, 1924, the son of Arnold Guy and Mellie Weaver Dillon. In the winter he went to bed with his brother and a flatiron heated in the fire, and woke to find the bed clothes covered by a dust of snow, blown through the cracks in the roof. He logged the mountains with mules, and tended the moonshine still used to pay the other loggers. He rode with NASCAR legend Curtis Turner. In 1941 he won the banjo competition in Galax, playing his original composition, "Coal Creek March," later recorded by Pete Seeger, Dock Boggs, and David ("Stringbean") Ackerman*. In 1943 he graduated from high school in Stuart, Va, and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served as a radio gunner on dive bombers flying out of Midway Island until honorably discharged at war's end. In 1946 he enrolled in the College of William and Mary and, taking advantage of the GI Bill, graduated with a degree in accounting and finance in 1950. After several years with Burlington Mills, he accepted a position with the General Electric Company in Waynesboro, Va, where he moved in 1954. He was a pioneer in the emerging field of electronic computing, rising from programmer to systems analyst to systems designer before retiring from G.E. in 1984. He worked on a volunteer basis for various civic and charitable groups in Waynesboro for some years, moving to Charleston in late 2005 to be with family. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mrs. Viola Turner Dillon, brother John Julian Dillon, and sister Mabel Hubbard. He is survived by his son Robert Jr. (Rob) and Sharon B. Dillon of Charleston, his daughter Victoria D. Carter and Mark Shaughnessy of Richmond, F. Thomas Carter of Waynesboro, and four grandchildren: Katherine Carter, Tyler Carter, Virginia Dillon, and Bryan Dillon. He was a hunter, a fisherman, and a gardener of great skill, profane and violent, sweet and charming, capable of great love but incapable of expressing it, physically tough and emotionally fragile, brilliant and unreasonable, tight with a nickel, fiercely independent and profoundly lost, ever restless, and finally at peace. A memorial service will be conducted at 1:00 PM Saturday, February 21, at McDow Funeral Home in Waynesboro, Va. Memorials may be sent to the World Missions Division at First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, 53 Meeting Street, Charleston, South Carolina, 29401. Please sign our guestbook at Visit our guestbook at
--Charleston Post & Courier, 17/Feb/2009

That was Mr. Dillon, a significant figure during my childhood.

In 1959 when I was four and my parents moved from a rental house to a permanent home, we lived across the street from the Dillons. They had a son almost exactly my age (I was born June 3, 1955; Rob was born June 4) and we hung out together a lot. A lot! I mean, there wasn't much to do in a small Southern factory town in the '60s unless one made one's own entertainment and as a result I spent hours and hours over at Rob's house. I got to know the family fairly well and whether they wanted to or not, they got to know me.

I'm so sorry he's gone.

A few memories:

--Mr. Dillon gave me my very first nickname: "Pateeta." At around age five I became fascinated by the Space Race and often walked around... uh... transmitting telemetry... with a sound best rendered as pateetapateetapateeta.** Apparently, this amused Mr. Dillon to no end and he took to greeting me with a cheery "Hello there, Pateeta!" for years thereafter, well into my college days and long after everyone else except the two of us had forgotten the origin. I kinda liked that ongoing connection with my five-yr.-old self.

--In the twilight of many long, lazy summer evenings Mr. Dillon would sit out on his back stoop with friends, neighbors, and family, play his guitar (sometimes his banjo), and sing any of a number of traditional folk songs. These were my very first experiences with live music and I'll forever associate "The Midnight Special" with him.

--My father worked Saturdays when I was growing up, which meant we didn't go out of town much on weekends except for very special occasions, usually to visit family. Mr. Dillon often included me on numerous day excursions***--fishing trips to nearby rivers (though I sucked as a fisherman), trips to and through the Crozet/Blue Ridge Tunnel, fossil hunting expeditions to Westmoreland State Park, Highland County, Carter's Grove Plantation, and Hampton... all sorts of places. One of my biggest regrets is that though I thanked him, I never told him exactly how much those trips meant to me.

--In 7th grade I had an entry in my Junior High School's Science Fair ("Biostratigraphy of a Silurian/Ordovician Outcropping in Highland Co., Virginia"--I received an Honorable Mention despite incomplete data, dubious conclusions, and stiff competition). My parents had house guests for the weekend and were unable to attend, which made me kind of sad; however, Mr. Dillon did show up and expressed all kinds of interest (above and beyond the merits of my project), even taking an only slightly-posed Polaroid photograph of me explaining things to my 1st Grade teacher. Another regret--I never told him what a tremendous ego boost that was for me.

There's more, but that'll do for now.

Goodbye, Mr. Dillon; my guess is you're in a place where the soil is fertile, the valleys green, the rivers team with fish, the woods are filled with game, the beaches are strewn with giant-sized Miocene shark teeth, and all the people you ever wanted to make music with have reserved you a spot center-stage.

I'm gonna miss you.

* That shoud be David "Stringbean" Akeman of Hee Haw fame, who also had a fascinating life (and a tragic end).

** Oh, c'mon; it's not that weird! Go read Anne Soffee's "Robot's Rules of Order."

*** For which he deserves Sainthood--I was a completely self-absorbed chatterbox during those years and he was astoundingly tolerant of my babblings most of the time.