Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ice Capades

I'm about to bundle up and head out into yet another ice storm. Why am I doing this? Well, it sure as hell ain't because I like to wander about town in ice storms, that's for sure.

So far, the fire whistle has gone off four times in the last two hours, with apparatus flying up and down the streets. That should pretty much tell you that there's no way I'm driving, even just the four blocks down to the convenience store. Not worth it. I'd probably get so frustrated going that slow, I'd do something stupid anyway.

So, off we go, then. Wonder if Admiral Perry felt this way as he headed north...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Planet Earth Is Blue

Through Fark (Thread Link first this time), I found a short list of five great SciFi books for people who think they don't like SciFi. Two of these books I highly reccomend, those being War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells and ninteen eighty-four by George Orwell, the latter especially.

I've always been a SciFi geek, ever since I first caught Star Wars, and right along with Star Trek and TNG, and book after book filled my early collection. SciFi is great escapism, and provides excellent avenues for taking a look at the human condition from another angle.

Since a few of my favorites aren't on this list, here they are. Pick these up and check them out sometime, and then tell me you don't like SciFi:

  • The Forever War by Joe Haldeman - An allegory for the Vietnam War, it follows the story of a man drafted into an interstellar war drawn out over several millenia thanks to the time dialation effects of near-lightspeed travel. Culture shock, love and the eternal question of war are dealt with masterfully, making this a must-read for any SciFi nerd, and a must-try if you're not quite "one of us..."
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - The first book of the Ender Quartet, the story of a boy with extraordinary skills, drawn into the world of Battle School in the wake of the Formic ("Buggers," an insectoid race) invasions. If the Battle Room doesn't suck you in, I have no idea why you're even able to function normally in society. "Remember - The Enemy's Gate Is Down."
  • Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow - Yeah, I know, it's a Manga. But god DAMN is it awesome. The pictures should help those of you less inclined toward the geek side of things, give that the protagonist is fairly easy on the eyes. But the human condition is the central theme of the story, revolving around cyborgs and the ghosts within them...
Those are my three , and they round out the top five LP-reccomended SciFi books. So get your ass down to Waldenbooks or Borders or Barnes & Noble or wherever you get your good old-fashioned dead-tree editions and stick your nose in them. Who knows. You might end up actually liking SciFi...

No Taste, Volume 1

Worst. Headline. Ever.

Via Fark.

Wrong, just wrong...

Snow'd On

Ahhh, ice storms. Not since January, 2005 have we here in Central PA experienced the fun of a good-sized depositing of freezing rain. That time, I spent the week living at Jester's (he had power, I didn't) and most of the first night was spent at Electric Avenue with Justin and Jerry, hooking the generator into the motel unit. Good times, good times.

While not as severe as the 2005 storm, today's is bad enough that I'm actually home from work for once, which is both cool and crappy: Cool, because hey, let's face it, who doesn't like a day off; and crappy, because I'll be short about 8 hours on my already pitiful paycheck come Monday. Bummer. Not a good trade...

But you all know me, and whenever I get the chance, I try to turn a negative into a positive. Today will probably be one of the most proficient blogging days I've had in quite a long time, since I'll have all day to scour the Intarwebs (which is a series of tubes) for nifty crap to post about. I know all six of you are excited about that one, right? Right.

And hey, speaking of all six of you, I'd like to welcome Mexico to the list! My best guess (since the map is small, even the bigger version isn't that detailed) is that the hit came from the vicinity of Mexico City. No matter where in Mexico it came from, allow me to be the first to say Bienvenido to my southern neighbors! Even though, like everyone else, you won't leave a single comment, I still welcome any new readers to my stupid little world. Hey, you never know: my misery might make someone stop and say "Hey, things ain't so bad here, at least I ain't that Prophyt kid..."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Scalzi Talks Up Fearless Leader

Writer John Scalzi has his "A Month of Writers" series sights set on Wil today, and what preceeds Blue Light Special is an interesting side story for those of us who follow Wil's work. It's a wonderful piece that really touches on the central theme of both Wil and his writing. For those interested, there's also a Fark Thread under the Geek Tab.

What got me, though, was the comments section, where a few folks have just discovered Wil through John's post, and ordered books based on his entry alone. Kudos to Wil on that windfall! New readers via word of mouth (word of blog?) are often the best readers of all, and it ain't shameful to admit that it's because the advertising is free.

It also works both ways, as I'll be adding John's blog to my list of reads. Man, my RSS folder is getting rather chubby...

Update 12/13: Oh, you knew that there was going to be a post over on WWdN:IX about it. Come on, like that wasn't going to happen...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

An Open Letter To The Borough of Philipsburg, PA

So, an entire summer of nothing, and then, suddenly, three tickets in five days? What, do your CEOs only work certain months, like when you're desperate for revenue?

If you think I'm paying these tickets, you have another thing coming.

And what are you going to do, suspend my license? Yeah, that'll solve the problem.

You people need to seriously get your act together. You expect your residents to shell out $25 a clip for parking tickets? HA! Let me guess: You need to pay off that brilliant Front Street renovation, don't you. Dipped a little too far into the budget for that, did we?

Listen to me, and listen good. My girlfriend lives here in this building. She has an 11 month old son. And the closest free parking available is blocks away. What you're telling me is, we either have to bundle up and carry a fairly large (but not obese) toddler several blocks in the middle of Central PA's winter weather, or we have to run several blocks, bring our vehicle back here, and fight with the people trying to park in these same spots for Representative Conklin's office, right? We have no choice, because a resident with no off-street parking has no business PARKING IN A NON-METERED SPOT IN FRONT OF HER APARTMENT.

Look. You people are a joke. You can't even hire a Borough Manager without squabbling amongst yourselves. How do you expect to run an entire town when you people let your petty personal bullshit get in the way of actually accomplishing anything? You just had to make a circus out of the situation with John Knowles and make a big deal out of hiring someone new, only to pick up someone who came with controversy already installed.

How much did you spend on Front Street? $2 million? Money well spent, eh? No, not hardly. So Front Street now looks like Bellefonte, minus the hills. And what's that going to do, hmm? Yeah, it looks nice, and it'll be a while before you have to repair it again. But what about the rest of the town?

Still looks like a festering redneck hellhole to me, kids.

And what financial benefits was fixing Front Street supposed to bring? I don't see any businesses stampeding over each other to get any of the many available storefronts. Nope, just looks like Bellefonte without the hills to me, and only for four blocks. The rest of the town? Still looks like it did in 1985. It showed its age pretty badly back then, and how do you think it looks after 22 years without any real effort to correct or stifle it?

Looks like Front Street used to. But hey, Front Street looks good, so money well spent, right? Right. Pat yourselves on the back.

Meanwhile, Philipsburg simply can't afford a police department, can it. Couldn't waste $2 million on a police department when we can make Front Street look like Bellefonte, could we? Glad to see you have taxpayer money priorities lined up there, kids.

Hello. Wake up. You live and work in a SEVERELY ECONOMICALLY DEPRESSED REGION. Looking to your past isn't going to save your future. Yes, Philipsburg has minor historical significance. But that's pretty much limited to anything with "Rowland" in its name. And don't even get me started on how you (the owners) and the board of directors at the Rowland have fucked up that gem. The Rowland is the best asset you people have at your disposal, and you're letting it stagnate, and the whole time, it's going deeper and deeper into debt.

But hey, Front Street looks nice, doesn't it? You bought some pretty Xmas lights and banners, and you're really, really proud of it, aren't you?

You don't need my $75. What you need is for all of you to be fired, with prejudice, and replaced with people who can actually manage a town like this without some stupid pet project that will blow up in their faces. Yes, the Front Street project WILL BLOW UP IN YOUR FACE. What seemed like a nice idea at the time will come back to haunt you down the road.

When your pipe dreams of a historical revival burst, and Philipsburg is finally swallowed by the sprawl of State College (and yes, that will eventually happen, give it two decades), your stupid decisions now will transform Philipsburg into an afterthought. It will be an eyesore. The people? They'll be no less trashy than they are now. It'll become State College's bastard child.

But hey, Front Street will look nice, won't it.

I'll be waiting for your response. Since you people are so concerned with the past, you can type it up on your precious typewriter and send it Pony Express to the address associated with my license plate number. And I'll expect detailed explainations as to exactly why you spent $2 million on Front Street and not a police department, or on any serious sort of economically viable development whatsoever.

And you can bet I'll publish every word you say right here, because your letter is a Government Work, and all Government Works are in the public domain.

You know, Pittsburgh (my adopted home) has a permit system that excuses residents from tickets on the streets they live on. It allows them to park in areas otherwise designated similar to the particular block of Presqueisle in question. Why don't you consider that? Your CEOs obviously like to pick and choose when they give out tickets, so that'll give them more of their precious free time to drive around jamming out to Neil Diamond.

Or would you like to come here and tell my 11 month old step son that he'll have to brave the cold just to make it to his Aunt's house?

Get your acts together, people, unless you want your names forever tied to the decline and ultimate downfall of a once-proud Central Pennsylvania town. You make the call. And you make it without my money.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Learn Me A Book

Because I'm bored, and because I'm sure some of what I say confuses the ever-loving bejeebus out of some of you, here's a handy list of some of the "Internet Slang" I use, and their meanings. Yeah, I'm really, really bored...

  • teh funnay - The Funny, humor, telling jokes or funny anecdotes to people. The is often misspelled anytime it's used, not just this bit of jargon, as you'll see later...
  • Intarwebs - Play on the name Internet, as if an illiterate hillbilly were saying it.
  • Intertubes - Same as above, though less redneck-ish.
  • (which is a series of tubes) - I think someone once compared the Internet to a series of tubes, maybe it was that freak job Jack Thompson, I don't know. I tried to Google it, but all I got was a ton of people using it, and I just don't have the time to find out the origin. Perhaps Wil could help me out on that one...
  • ROTFLLMMFAO - ROTFL is obviously Rolling on the Floor Laughing, LMMFAO is Laughing My Mother Fucking Ass Off. Yes, I like to be long winded, even with my Intarwebs acronyms.
  • ghey - Gay. Also teh ghey.
  • Micro$oft and M$ - Self-explanitory, illustrating their greed for cash while giving us crap operating systems and other products in the process. No-good DRM Evildoers.
  • LOLCat and Caturday - What started with the O RLY? Owl has exploded, and now the most common form of captioned picture is the LOLCat (a combination of Laugh Out Loud and Cat, but "cat" can be replaced with any sort of animal/person/object). Caturday is Saturday, when the inevitable cat-related post will appear on Fark, and folks will either post LOLCats or pictures of their own cats for others to caption. The source of my Saturday Post material. Here's an article, including an interview with Fark's own Drew Curtis, about the LOL craze and Caturday (Fark Thread).
  • Farked, Fark'd or Slashdotted - This is what happens when an article on a low-traffic website gets linked to by a larger news site like Fark or Slashdot.
Hopefully, I'll have some time a little later for a bit of a longer rant, and to make up for last week's missed "This Week on the JMP" post. Sorry, John!