Why Plinko hates you.

the life and times of one jaded motherfucker.

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Uncle Phil

:.News of the World.:
Washington Post
NY Times
Howard Kurtz
Leonard Pitts
The Onion

:.On Wisconsin.:
Milwaukee J-S
Wheeler Report
Gannett Wisconsin

Penny Arcade


:.Current Book.:
Woman In the Dark - Dashiell Hammett

:.Last 6 Books.:
The Catcher In the Rye - JD Salinger
Grendel - John Gardner
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha - Roddy Doyle
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Theft - Peter Carey
Saturday - Ian McEwan

:. Bands .:
Dismemberment Plan
Jets to Brazil
Promise Ring

Mark Helprin
Kazuo Ishiguro
Wilkie Collins
William Faulkner
Philip K. Dick
Dashiell Hammett

The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien
Frank Herbert
Dan Simmons
The Dark Tower
Stephen King

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Sunday, September 30
Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting … Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting … Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting … Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting … Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting … Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting … Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting … Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting … Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting … Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting … Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting … Not letting a week go by without posting … not letting a week go by without posting …

Thursday, September 27
Okay, I don't like to let a week go by without posting, but on two separate occasions I've managed to attempt to post, only to have the 'back' button on my mouse delete the entire post. On both those days I just got pissed off and gave up, hence no posts.

So anyway, it's not like you missed much. I worked and sat on my ass at home. The end.

Well, that's not entirely accurate. My life has, as always, crawled forward, however imperceptably since you all were updated last. I will try to keep it short and sweet, since everyone but me hates long posts anyway (and I'm starting to since I end up losing them half the time anyway.)

1. My work situation: It appears that I will be getting the 'promotion' but I need to wait a bit for some formalities to pass. It may actually be possible that with the 'promotion' my duties will actually be lightened (since they will find someone, eventually, to replace me and take all my old duties, leaving me only with the new ones I've had at the same time for about a month or so).

2. My living situation. I should have predicted this, someone backed out of our housing arrangement, which is making the whole thing fall apart. I do not know what this means for me, but it appears that I have a lease expiring in one month and nowhere to live when it does. I will keep y'all updated on this one.

3. The forensics situation: I haven't mentioned this in a while, but it was more or less 'resolved' this past weekend. The school district and the WFCA compromised to have us suspended from three meets at the end of the season. We still may compete at state. I am not happy at all with this, even though I advocated the three week suspenison as a compromise at the outset of this whole fiasco. I am ticked because only after attending a WFCA meeting, the first thing involved with this I have actually been at despite my status as the team's head coach, did I discover how bad the whole situation had gotten and how much I wanted to sue the pants off the bastards.

4. The car situation: My car is alive, barely. As soon as I get my promotion and the extra change that comes with it the search for the next Plinko-mobile shall begin.

5. The girl situation: There is no situation. Sigh.

6. The Barren situation: what a loser! :P

The end.


Wednesday, September 19
So I got up and made myself all pretty only to find out that I didn't have to go to work today, which is about as good as good news can get, considering I totally planned my day so that I was at work for 10 hours right in the middle of it.

In other news, I'm hungry, but there isn't much you can do about it.

There's a new HalfLife patch out and a CS update as well, and das Uber-Web is creaking under the pressure of hundreds of thousands of CS-drones flooding to any site that could conceivably have the patches, so I've decided to stay away for a bit.

I shouldn't have to say this, but the world has come to this:

"Ladies of the world, I must distance myself from the comments of my friend Abraxis. I do not share his personal life choice to only date guys. I am not now nor will I ever be 'with him' on that."


Tuesday, September 18
So, work has slowed down, but we're still busting it to get the paper out every day. Had another 10 hour shift yestrerday, which was not fun, but I get today off, so I'm lucky like that.

Nothing exciting has really happened since my last post, work-wise, though it's distinctly possible two more people quit today, I'll find out tomorrow.

I went out for sushi with Abraxis and Barren. It was very good, as a matter of fact, I want to go again already, but it's not that cheap, I need to save $$ until my job situation changes.

I expect my job situation to change soon, since one of the people that is probably quitting is also on copy desk, meaning well be down two of five, not counting me, the clerk, and Tanya, the intern. The publisher said some nice things to me yesterday, which is either a good sign that they're actually going to move me up or just that they afraid I'm going to leave, too.

JimmyLAN3 is this weekend, but that's not the biggest thing on my mind, forensics is. The first meeting is Thursday, and I need to give the kids a wakeup call as to how different it's going to be this year. The Saturday I'm trekking to West Bend to politic for the team as I believe the general membership of the WFCA is voting on the compromise.

Tonight I may be going to a solidarity vigil in Oshkosh for the whole terrorism deal. This is very unlike me, as I am about the biggest threat to solidarity there is. I am also irreligious at best, downright hostile to it at other times. Of course, my contempt isn't for theology or Jesus, but for morons, of which there the overwhelming majority are religious, while the religious make up a minority of the tolerable. Why am I going, who knows? Maybe there will be cute girls, I don't know.

Lastly, I hate you.

Thursday, September 13
So. I am not even going to begin to comment on what was surely the worst disaster in modern American history. I had considered posting links to what I found to be insightful news/commentary that you might not have found on your own, but I know all my readers are internet-saavy enough to find what they want on their own.

The last few days have been rough. I'm sure you felt the same way. I really haven't communicated with anyone since Sunday, so let me give you a rundown of my life since then. Some of it may bore you, but it will let you know a bit about what my job is like . . .

Monday: My day off. I slept late, cooked and putzed around on the computer in an effort to relax as much as possible.

Tuesday. Wake up at 11:15. Turn on computer, peruse internet sites. Yahoo! headline: 'Planes crash into World Trade Center, Towers collapse' and 'Airliner crashes into Pentagon.' I am convinced that Yahoo! has been hacked. So I go to the Washington Post site, which is stripped to a few headlines on the same attacks, a picture of New York City smoking. I'm still not convinced, thinking it was a series of hacks, I turn on the televsion and am confronted by Tom Brokaw explaining that the World Trade Center had collapsed. I stare at footage for a few minutes and pray for Jack Ryan to magically come to life when the phone rings, it's my boss, Ann.
I take a shower and go into work, it's 12:30 p.m. There I watch more television, brief myself from the AP wire on what is known at the time (not much), and proofread and send a special section to print on the Grand Opera House. Yes, it was odd, but it's part of the bizarre business of newspapers.
We have newsmeetings, discuss coverage and plan an extended paper. It is my responsibility to: paginate the Local section, which will be terrorism-free, paginate the e-commerce pages (which we debated pulling from the paper but decide to leave in), send our local-angle stories to be placed on the web site live as well as prepare the other content for the morning's update and proofread the majority of the special section on the attacks which makes up the 8-page front section. It's 4:00 p.m. My boss' boss grumbles about the overtime I am going to be paid for coming in 1.5 hours early (and likely for staying late as well).
The night is rough. There are all sorts of rumors and speculation that we hear about on TV but can't confirm, most turn out to be false, including a car bomb at the State Department, a fifth plane hijacked, that we were bombing Afghanistan. Everything gets done behind schedule, I don't even get to take a break. The stories moving across the wires are terrifying, every once in a while I get up to watch the television reports, which are hard to watch. Sometimes I have to stop and force myself to think of something else to keep from crying at work.
Once my pages are done, I edit the front section, which must be perfect. Our executives believe people will keep that day's paper forever (and I believe plenty of them will), so there can be no spelling errors, nothing off center or out of style. Every line and box and graphic needs to be perfect. What's hard for me is I have people looking over my shoulder, which makes me nervous. The pages are splashed with pictures of the explosions and debris, of rescue workers. The copy is great, minimal mistakes so I don't have too many problems. Most of my edits come in tweaking lines and fixing pullquote punctuation.
Once the last page is sent, we realize we had neglected to add an American flag to the front, which we thought would make a lot of readers happy, so the cover needs to be pulled back and fixed, then resent. Calls to the press crew make us realize that they are confused about which pages go where. We narrowly avert the having the front and second section covers switched. Around 11:30 everything is cleared up and they begin making plates for the press run.
I stay on to ftp the news content to the web site and complete some other work that needs to get done before Wednesday.
After just shy of 12 hours at work, I drive home. I log on to the internet and read some more, mostly forums this time (I know already what the media is thinking, I want to see what people are saying). Nothing supsrises me, it's a mix of people crying for blood, some reminding everyone how wonderful America is despite the tragedy, some call for peace and try to stem overreaction. Some are calling out to see if the people they know only by an internet handle are alive and okay. Eventually, I go to bed.

Wednesday: Wake up at 11:00. Check the 'net for new information. Almost none, so I decide to go pick up some groceries and then start work a little early. The grocery store is amazingly normal. Cash my paycheck, I have way less money in the bank than I thought.
At work, I eat a sandwich while I archive the special section from the morning's paper. My boss and I look over the Journal-Sentinel's morning edition, which has a great front but mediocre insides. I go over to the television and watch Tower 7 partially collapse at the WTC. Eventually we have a newsmeeting. I am on the rim, which means I have very little pagination to do and will spend most of the night proofreading pages. The morning's paper is critiqued. Generally, it's great. You can tell that copy desk is stressed out from the long day yesterday and then having the criticism immediately the next day, even if it is very positive.
Though I have other work to do, I spend most of the night on special projects. Mostly scouring the wire and other news services for breaking news and ferreting out the numerous rumors we hear from calls and the television coverage. Most of them turn out to be false (that the Boston hotel raid led to arrests, that there is a bomb threat at the Empire State Building, that Osama bin Laden is arrested by the Taliban government in Afghanistan). Again, I have too much to do to take a break. I stay late, again sending the content out for the web site, wrapping up the last details of the paper.
I get home and here I am. It's 2:00 AM and I have spent every waking hour for two days immersed in coverage, watching, reading, digesting, editing, placing. I know I haven't even had time to really think about what has happened. How should I be reacting? How should I feel, what should I do, what should I say? I've been too busy to think about it. Meanwhile, a thousand miles away, the issues are so much greater …

I'm exhausted. I wish I had the energy to detail more of what went on in the newsroom. I find stuff like that fascinating; how the decisions are made which shape the information most of America receives. But I am sooo tired. I know that I am going to go to sleep only to wake up and be forced to stare at the coverage for 10 more hours tomorrow. Yet, that's what my job is all about. Terrible, terrible things took place this week that hundreds of thousands of people are deeply affected by: lives, loved ones, all of our safety and security …

I don't know what's going to happen. Are we going to war? Will there be more attacks? How will America be changed, for the better, for the worse? Will they ever catch the evil people at the heart of these events?

I think everyone I know is okay. I only know a few people in New York, and they are fine. All I can say to all of you, my beloved friends, is in spite off all the terrible things, I hope we all remain good American people, that you all love peace as much now as you did before. I hope none of you or your loved ones were personally affected. Take care of yourselves and in the words of those famous, fictional peacemakers: "Be excellent to each other …"

Friday, September 7
nothing to see here.

Okay, so it's been a while. I've meant to post, oh yes I have. However, something has always conspired to keep me from actually sitting down and doing it. Mostly I've decided to post, only to get the feeling that something interesting would happen soon. Then I'd put it off until after 'something interesting' had happened.
Naturally, my life is rarely, if ever, as interesting as I hope it would be. That's why I post these uplifting, pleasant tales for you. So, Here I sit at Barren's posting the sum of why this last week sucked.

So, as I figured it would, my wasp-stung lip remained swollen for the maximum-predicted three days. I spent most of those days in a benadryl-induced haze. in fact, it was swollen more on Sunday morning far more that it ever had been on Saturday. I am now getting sick because I'm off the schiznat.

So, I bought some new stuff for the love of my life yesterday, my computer.
I installed a new second hard drive, replacing the internal ZIP drive that used to be there. I almost did it right the first time, too. But the second time, I definitely got it totally right. I also bought two new games. I haven't had time to install and try Arcanum yet, but I did try out the hott-ly anticipated Operation Flashpoint, which quickly skyrocketed to the title of my most-hated purchases. evar. I won't get into why this game sucks the porverbial donkey-dick, just trust me that it does.

Meanwhile Atom is complaining rather loudly that Barren 'won't stop hitting him with his beaver.' I'll leave it at that. You're smart kids, you can figure it out for yourselves, I'm sure.

So, The BigCrapShoot 14 is this weekend. I'm very excited. I have two days of vacation, my first paid vacation since high school (don't ask). Atom claims he is just about done with the new video, which excites me.

There are some sorta-updates about forensics, but I'll save it for when they become actually-official. Suffice to say, I believe the news will be good.

Sunday, September 2
So, teh funny finally finds me.

The weather was nice today. I forced myself out of bed before noon in order to attend a hastily-thrown-together family reunion for my mother's side of the family today at my grandmother's home. I was not looking forward to it since I have seven female cousins who are older than me, mostly married and more or less strangers since they grew up in Milwaukee. I just didn't want to have to learn so many new names, especially since there are husbands and several small children: even more names to learn. But, as I dealy love my grandmother, I went without qualm.

It turned out to be pretty fun. I picked up the names of my cousins with relative ease and mostly without embarassment, since I made my mother quietly point out who was who over the first hour or so, while I was catching up with the family I with which I was more familiar (pun). They are all very nice people, so that wasn't a problem.

So we grilled and I had a beer, since there wasn't much soda and I had several hours to go before work. The brats were good and so were the beans and chips, but the wasps were just horrible. So, eventually, I take a drink of my beer only to be greeted with the business end of one of the wasps. . . on my fucking lip.

That wasn't so bad. I've been stung my share of times in my life, and it didn't hurt very much after a few seconds. I kinda laughed about it. We all did. Then the swelling started. Over the next hour I my meek little geek lips grew to put the racist figurines of the 19th century to shame. My upper lip was frickin huge. There really was minimal pain, but no one could shut up about it. Now, I may be an attention whore, but not like that. I prefer to draw attention to my wit or general geekiness, not my any freakish deformities, no matter how temporary.

So evetually, it got so bad that one of my cousin's husbands, who is a doctor (oncologist, which is the medicine of cancer, not wasp stings) looked at it and told me I was having an allergic reaction, though probably a minor one. I didn't have to worry, unless my throat began to feel weird, in which case it would probably swell shut and I would suffocate to death before I even knew it without a quick treatment in an emergency room. So, with that out of the way, he recommended that I take Benadryl, which apprently fights colds and wasp-sting reactions. Benadryl is also a minor sedative, so I couldn't drive. For six hours.
I kept a spare benadryl in case the reaction started again after the first one wore off, and I called my boss and told her I was going to be late for work because a I'd had a nasty run in with a wasp and come out swollen and drowsy.

So, I played around with the little kids, which was fun. I like small children, when they're not whining and crying in stores that is, and more or less enjoyed the high. Oddly enough, one of my little distant cousins (age four) managed to get stung by one of the foul wasps about an hour later, in the exact same spot as I had. Poor little kid cried for an hour. Nonstop.
Suddenly I looked tough, since I hadn't cried at all (which should say something for the general consensus on my manliness). Then the benadryl put him to sleep.

Evertually, my parents drove me to work, where my dulled senses caused me to work a little more slowly and kept me from beating the crap out of my co-workers who practically lined up to check out my swollen face when I arrived. Fortunately, the benadryl cut the swelling by more than half so it wasn't all that bad, I guess.

At least that wasp drowned in the rest of that beer can.