Careless and mistaken
I will be standing around when they burn it down
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12 February 2013 @ 04:28 pm
 
Today's great idea: an 80s cartoon version of Xenogears, in the style of Transformers, He-Man/She-Ra, Thundercats, and so on.

Every episode would have some number of the wacky cast of Solaris villains hatching a ridiculous scheme to be foiled by our heroes, but not before someone (often Bart or Dan) learns a valuable lesson. No one would ever die, or even attack someone with a lethal weapon, so it would need a lot of plots where someone gets captured. The main story would advance only at the beginning and end of a season, and not by much. Religious references would get awkwardly talked around.

You have to admit that Xenogears is alarmingly well-suited for this genre. And it could work with any of the Episodes! (Though you'd have to invent more characters the further back in time you go.)
Mood: mischievous
 
 
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30 January 2013 @ 02:44 am
But it was an ending.  
I finished the Wheel of Time. I was less impressed by the very end than I was excited to be in the middle of the Last WoT Book Ever, but I promised you all a spoiler post, and a spoiler post you will get. (I'm attempting to write for people who gave up at some point in the series and have forgotten an awful lot, though if you've actually also read the whole thing I'm happy to hear your thoughts. And further questions on who lives/dies/etc. are super welcome.)

[UPDATES AT THE BOTTOM] Spoilers like whoa, seriously, not kidding.Collapse )

And one warning I will put outside the cut, if anyone's thinking of reading this book: there's a chapter called The Last Battle, and while most chapters aren't even 20 pages long, this one is 190 pages long. The length definitely works well with the events of this chapter, but, if "I'll just finish this current chapter" is a thing you say to yourself, be warned.
Mood: accomplished
Music: The 21st Century Monads - In the Land of P and Not P
 
 
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11 January 2013 @ 05:52 pm
 
That "post the month's best Twitter links to DW/LJ" experiment back in 2011 was clearly a failure, but maybe I can make short link posts more often?

And on the subject of DS adventure games, I finally started the fourth Professor Layton game. The localization is often hilarious - in a way that makes me think the translators were having a lot of fun - but beneath that and the Scooby-Doo-esque elements of the plot it seems surprisingly dark at times. (Or maybe I'm just inclined to view the Layton games this way after the third one and given my thoughts on academia.) Anyway, so far I'm liking Emmy (though the game could still ruin this), and the puzzles seem on the whole better integrated with the story/exploration parts of the game than they have in the past.

(Maybe this will be the year I finally increase my posting frequency? It is ridiculous how much I overthink what I say here, since by now more people read what I post on basically any other site.)
Mood: listless
 
 
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07 July 2012 @ 02:08 am
I'll also admit that I liked the altered title sequence.  
[This is hardly the most important post I could make right now, but most of it is just copied from things I wrote elsewhere, making it one of the easiest posts I can make.]

So, thanks to mindy, I'm finally watching Community. I started with the fake clip show and some third season highlights (and the finale plot arc), and now I'm going through everything I missed. It's pretty great, and I say that as someone who has a very hard time getting into shows. It isn't perfect - it has its occasional lazy plotline, it doesn't do gender as well as it does race, and it can be inconsistent with minor characters - but for the most part it makes up for this with fun, cleverness, hilarity, and a mix of well-deserved skewerings and loving homages.

But enough people on the Internet have already written about how great Community usually is - I'm here to talk about how, despite having heard so much praise for it, the famed D&D episode is currently my least favorite by quite a bit. I'd honestly rather watch Bender's Game, which I'll admit isn't great Futurama but which is at least fun to watch as a D&D player. I can still be friends with you if you liked this episode, but, to sum up what bothered me: This will probably not make much sense if you haven't seen it.Collapse )

But what really confounds me is that the Internet loved this episode so much. Really? Does it just come off very differently to a non-gamer? Are other people nostalgic for game nights full of people who didn't want to be there but who ended up uniting against a problem player? Were other people's expectations just so low that this episode was good by comparison? Seriously, please tell me - I think I got enough railing against the episode out of my system with the above that I won't feel the need to jump on anyone who liked it.
Mood: annoyed
Music: Nobuo Uematsu - Unfathomed Reminiscence
 
 
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16 March 2012 @ 04:41 pm
PSA re: the lj-spoiler tag  
Friends on LiveJournal: you may have read that there is now an lj-spoiler tag, which is a bit like lj-cut except that it appears everywhere (in comments, in posts whether or not you're on a journal/friends or entry page) and that it's JavaScript based, replacing itself with its contents when clicked. Which could be nice, except it doesn't fail gracefully at all: as noted here, if someone is reading your supposedly protected spoilers with JavaScript turned off, in a comment notification email, or some other way that bypasses JavaScript, not only will they see the spoiler in the clear, but they will get no indication that there was ever a spoiler tag to begin with.

Maybe LJ will fix this, although I'm not holding my breath. In the mean time, if you use this tag, you should probably still indicate somewhere in the text of the post that spoilers are forthcoming, and maybe put the tag as its own paragraph to gives some pre-spoiler space to whoever's getting email notifications. Also, maybe spread the word to your fandom communities, if any of you actually still follow fandom communities on LiveJournal?

(It probably doesn't need to be said, but this is another great example of how Dreamwidth and LiveJournal have very different approaches to new features.)
Mood: blah
 
 
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27 February 2012 @ 01:48 am
Insider blind spots  
I've never watched an award show, nor have I really paid attention to who has won awards on these shows, but tonight I asked Google News how many Oscars Hugo just won. (It turns out the answer is five.) I did this because, back in December, I actually saw Hugo, and I was... a weird mix of underwhelmed and perplexed. And here is a long post about it, surely longer than is warranted.Collapse )

Wow, what a ridiculous first post of the new year. And what a ridiculously long time it's taken me to get around to posting something. Hello, 2012!
Mood: sleepy
Music: Freezepop - Less Talk More Rokk
 
 
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20 August 2011 @ 03:36 pm
Un giorno il dolore finira  
Maybe you've already heard - or maybe you don't know because, like, no one is telling you - but, in an interview (Japanese only, alas) about the upcoming Frontier Gate, Konami revealed that the Suikoden team has been disbanded for a few years now. Of course, that doesn't absolutely mean there will never be another Suikoden game, but it sure sounds to me like Konami has decided that The Series Has Become Unprofitable, and in any event we should not be holding our breath for a Suikoden VI announcement.

Obviously this makes me sad. But it doesn't make me sad in quite the way - or to the degree - you might expect on the grounds that it's news about a favorite series being likely over without any opportunity for closure. This comment I left elsewhere sums up my feelings pretty well, I think: I sure do ramble on about video games.Collapse )
Mood: disappointed
Music: Miki Higashino - Gremio's Special Stew
 
 
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09 August 2011 @ 12:22 am
July and June Twitter links  
Over a week late, and I have two months to cover. Yes, I have been even more busy than usual. Read more...Collapse )

...man, these get long when I miss a month.
Mood: productive
Music: Nobuo Uematsu - Prelude
 
 
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23 July 2011 @ 02:57 am
X lack all conviction, while Y are full of passionate intensity  
A reviews post! Some of these will be short. Others less so.

The Informant!: This is a funny movie. You should see it. ...well, ok, you should see it if you enjoy watching lead characters make poor decisions and webs of lies fall apart, all to perky music and accompanied by one of the strangest inner monologues I've heard portrayed.

Join Us, the new They Might Be Giants album: it's weird, to me, hearing new They Might Be Giants songs for the first time, especially on an album that's all new songs, none of which I've gotten sneak previews of at live shows. This might be the first time this has happened, actually, if you don't count the "Here Come[s]" albums. After a few listens, though, I am definitely liking this one. The track in the "music" field is especially relevant, given the fourth review.

Ursula K. Le Guin's Four Ways to Forgiveness: This is only going to have vague and general spoilers, and at any rate these were stories published in 1995, but I'm still going to cut this, because I might get rambly. Hold fast to the one noble thing, even when you grow up.Collapse )

grrm's A Dance with Dragons: Here there will be spoilers. I won't start with anything from the end of the book - although I will go there eventually - and I'll end with some general series opinions and not-quite-end spoilers, so you have a buffer if you want to leave a comment on this post but don't want to accidentally read about any ending cliffhanger(s). But consider yourself warned. Baratheon, Lannister, Tyrell, Tully, Greyjoy, Stark, and then...?Collapse )

...and I think that's all I've got, but odds are very good I'd love to talk spoilers with you. Please feel free to come back to this post weeks from now if you aren't yet finished with (or started on) A Dance with Dragons.
Mood: tired
Music: They Might Be Giants - When Will You Die
 
 
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01 June 2011 @ 08:54 pm
May Twitter links  
Will I ever actually do these at the end of the month rather than the beginning of the next month? We'll see. Read more...Collapse )
Mood: hungry
Music: They Might Be Giants - The Orange Peel
 
 
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01 May 2011 @ 01:14 am
April (and March, February, and January) Twitter links  
Lately I've been posting short things to Twitter rather than here. Most of those things are unimportant enough that they don't really deserve mention elsewhere - that's why they go on Twitter in the first place - but this does mean that I'm not making many link posts. So I've decided that, at the end of every month, I'm going to collect the more interesting of the links I've posted on Twitter that month, in case anyone who didn't see them there would be interested. (Knowing me, of course, these posts may end up being made more in the very early morning on the first of the next month.)

Since this is my first month of doing this, I'll go back a little further in search of interesting links - but only until January, and I'm skipping more of the older links. And of course all posts like this will have the links behind a cut.Collapse )
Mood: full
Music: They Might Be Giants - Fingertips
 
 
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27 April 2011 @ 10:15 pm
Relaying information  
LiveJournal friends: have you heard about LJ's new anti-spam feature? I hadn't, either, but it seems to be... aggressive. I.e., every comment with a link to a non-whitelisted domain is now screened by default. Which sounds like going a little too far to me - even if they really do have a very extensive whitelist, couldn't they limit this to, say, comments from non-friends? Anyway, you can turn it off here; the setting is right between "Comment Screening" and "CAPTCHA".

Friends who like books, especially (but not necessarily limited to) science fiction and fantasy: maybe you would like to purchase something from Norilana Books? Not only do they have a lot to choose from, but you'd also be a small-time publisher and someone who is going through some seriously bad times. (This was brought to my attention by tangerine42, who heard about it from triciasullivan.)

This is also an excellent opportunity for those of you who are looking to coerce your friends into reading your favorite books, because I have no idea what I should get from their vast catalog.
Mood: indescribable
Music: Nobuo Uematsu - Limited Time
 
 
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02 April 2011 @ 09:50 pm
I hope these are unrelated things, at least.  
I have been thinking lately that some of my lazier meals are still not the healthiest. I am thus interested in any recommendations you have for vegetable protein sources that are tasty and easy to incorporate (and that produce few if any additional items that need to be cleaned - certainly nothing that adds, like, a frying pan) in the following situations:
  • Making pasta and not using more than one pot - that is, first the noodles go in, then whatever accompanies them, and after the water is dumped out sauce is added and warmed up in the same pot.

  • Making rice - or something rice-like, maybe with some vegetables mixed in or something - in a rice cooker, then possibly microwaving something more sauce-like and putting it on top of the rice.

  • Making instant noodles in the microwave, maybe with some frozen vegetables on the side; in the case of ramen, I replace the horrible-for-you flavor packets with instant miso soup or something similar.
Yes, I know that I need to improve on what I eat in more ways than just adding some beans or chickpeas or tofu or whatever, but that will have to come later. (And I did specify that these are lazy meals.)

Unrelatedly, some of might be interested in these very light rules for Lovecraftian table-top roleplaying. The old system definitely has its charm with all that rolling of d100s, but this one requires quite a bit less of an investment both time-wise and money-wise, and it might even be better at actually making the game feel like Lovecraft's stories do. (Assuming anyone actually wants that. (And it would probably still be a good idea to dial back the racism and remember that women exist.))
Mood: uncomfortable
Music: They Might Be Giants - The Blue Note
 
 
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26 February 2011 @ 03:57 am
They have the plants, but we have the power!  
So, the protests in Madison. I should post about them before I go to bed, but I'm also getting tired. Let's see if I can do this.

Obviously what's going on is significant. This is a pretty clear sign of what the new Republican majorities want to do, and stopping that is pretty damn important. But it's more than just that: I don't think I'm in a position to say any of this for sure - who would be, really? - but I'm holding out hope that we're seeing the beginnings of something far-spreading and long-lasting. I'm hoping that we start seeing a seriously active labor movement, not just among the already unionized, and one that avoids the of the past. I'm hoping that such a renewed focus on organized labor gets people talking more about the amazing income inequality we have in this country. And I'm hoping that we see a real populist grass roots movement steal the spotlight from the astroturfed-to-hell Tea Party.

Of course the plutocrats and their Republican goons still have a lot of tricks up their sleeves, but we have some heavy advantages this time, too. So far the protesters at the capitol have shown far, far more dedication and resilience than any Tea Partiers - the Koch brothers' attempts to bus in counter-protesters seem to have failed miserably, and I don't think any Tea Party rally has ever been like this, lasting well over a week and with people occupying the capitol every night. Tonight some of those people are the police - police who are there in solidarity with the protesters, even though Scott Walker made an exception for their unions. Also, let's remember (as though it were somehow easy to forget) just how much the Republicans have played off of racism in drumming up anti-Obama sentiment - or in gutting the social safety net with images of "welfare queens" back in the 80s and 90s, which is the pattern they've been trying to follow in their assault on public employees. For once the GOP is out one powerful if unacknowledged weapon - and yes, I do mean unacknowledged even by many, likely most people within the party - from their arsenal, and they may be surprised to see just how much they've depended on it.

And, for those of you who aren't from Wisconsin and didn't learn these things in middle school, the fact that the stubborn Republicans have the governorship and majority control of the legislature doesn't mean they can just ignore their constituents until the next election. Thanks to one most excellent former governor, Wisconsin allows elected officials who've served more than one year to be recalled. Of course the Republicans are threatening to do that to the Democratic state senators who are currently keeping the union-busting, health-care-denying, no-bid-contract-granting budget "repair" bill from passing, but that pressure can be applied the other way as well, and the details of this bill - along with flat out refusal to even attempt negotiations, the typical GOP steamrolling of the opposition, etc. - do not make the Republican legislators look good. So there is still real political pressure in play here.

Anyway, there are ways those of you living far from Madison can contribute, if you're able:
  • There is a big rally happening today (Saturday), with solidarity rallies being held all over the country. No, you don't actually have to wear red and white, and there are rallies on other days as well.

  • Supplies for the protesters have come from the Willy St. Co-op; you can call them at 608-251-6776 and buy a gift card to be used for whatever they're currently in need of.

  • You can also donate online to support the state senators who, by fleeing the state, have managed to stop this bill from being railroaded through.

  • Finally, you can check out Defend Wisconsin's site. They have more suggestions for helping out and are a good way to find out the latest news from the capitol.

Ok, that's enough writing and hopeful anger for one night. I remain very unsure of what will happen next. Will the protesters be thrown out on Sunday? Will there be general strikes across the US before the year is out? I won't find out by staying up late overthinking my word choices, though, so now it's time - for everyone - to go to sleep.
Mood: restless
Music: They Might Be Giants - Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love
 
 
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25 February 2011 @ 02:44 pm
 
Hello, LiveJournal friends! Have you been thinking of getting a Dreamwidth account but still not sure enough to ask for an invite code? Well, Dreamwidth account creation is free through the end of this month, so now would be an excellent time to make one without using a code (though codes are hardly scarce) or buying any paid time.

I don't think there's anyone reading this who hasn't already read my advocacy of Dreamwidth, but everything I've previously said about them still holds. While LiveJournal adds ridiculous games in an attempt to further emulate what we don't like about Facebook, Dreamwidth continues to make little tweaks that actually make life more pleasant - for instance, if you create and add a new feed, you'll now only get the last three entries on your reading page rather than the whole backlog of whatever's currently up on the feed. (And have I mentioned how nice it is not to be talked down to in news posts?)
Mood: awake
Music: Jim's Big Ego - Stress
 
 
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02 February 2011 @ 03:04 am
A strange journey for Mrs. Ralph Hapshatt  
I have so many media review posts to make and so little time for making them lately. But I'll start with something easy: Shock Treatment is a wonderful movie and you should all see it.

Well, you should see it if you like smart, funny musicals from the early 80s, or at least ones with still-applicable - even more so, in some ways, which says sad things about our society - social commentary and a layered, surreal plot. Which, yes, is to say that a lot of things are happening at once and you'll probably be confused as to what is going on the first time you watch it, but it gets weirder and weirder in such a delightful way that I certainly didn't mind. Really, with all these elements that I'm so fond of in it, it's amazing I didn't watch this movie years ago.

But of course I know why I didn't, and it's probably the same reason you haven't: I only knew of Shock Treatment as the sort-of sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Which is a horrible reputation to have, because anyone who isn't into Rocky Horror won't see it, and anyone who's looking for more of the same will be sorely disappointed, because Shock Treatment is a very different movie with little connection to its predecessor and only one recurring character who's actually played by the same actor. But, in my humble opinion, the passage of time has actually made it the better movie - I've seen very, very little of the campy old scifi and horror movies that inspired Rocky Horror, the sexual antics were probably more shocking in 1975, and the midnight showing cult thing is a bit old. On the other hand, while it would have been lovely if consumer culture and awful television had become less pervasive since 1981, this has clearly not been the case, and part of our consolation prize for this is that Shock Treatment remains relevant in content if dated in appearances.

Or that's what I think, at any rate. You can decide for yourself by watching the whole damn movie on the inter-webs. (As an added incentive, there are a few moments that may make Utena fans happy - or make them wince, but often that's the same thing where Utena is concerned, you know?)
Mood: sleepy
Music: Yasunori Mitsuda - Warlock Battle
 
 
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05 January 2011 @ 08:24 pm
No, I don't feel great about this being my first post of the year.  
I never got around to making a post about the election results back in November, and apparently the new, boner-joke-enabling Congress convenes today. So I guess this is my last chance to post and actually be topical.

Lots of things go into the outcome of any given election, especially when that election is actually a few hundred local elections. What's seemed most relevant to me, though, is that the GOP is a ruthless, comparatively unified (at least in the ways that matter as a minority party) group that had a plan, a huge financial advantage, and a massive and well-funded propaganda machine [no link needed]. I wish I had some ideas for what people like us can do to fight this, but alas I do not.

I definitely see this as showcasing how seriously big money has left Congress broken - a few years back I attended a talk of Lawrence Lessig's where he spoke in detail about the problems of lobbying and campaign contributions in Congress, and wow was it predictive of a lot of what happened with the recent healthcare legislation. But I don't know how to motivate significant numbers of people to care about and act on this, a sort of meta-issue that is usually given the boring name of "campaign finance reform". Then again, I don't really know anything about movement-building and I'm awfully unsuited to serious activism work. I guess I will keep trying to find excuses to talk about it - when I think there's any chance that people will listen - and looking for other opportunities to help.

In the mean time, I'm bracing myself for at least two years of even more frustrating political news. After all, the "Party of No" tactic has worked so far.
Mood: sick
Music: Yasunori Mitsuda - Undersea Palace
 
 
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13 December 2010 @ 08:27 pm
 
Does anyone have recommendations for good winter boots - as in, warm, comfortable, waterproof, and possibly even looking good on me? I discovered last year that the very old pair that has been sitting in various closets of mine for over a decade doesn't really meet any of those requirements anymore.

I've had some browser tabs open for an awfully long time, so here are a few unrelated links:
  • I would like to see a game setting with this as the magic system. Especially including the mysterious barrel charm.

  • Have any of you Windows users played either of these games? If not, maybe you'd like to.
Mood: hungry
Music: Tom Lehrer - I Got It From Agnes
 
 
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26 October 2010 @ 03:11 am
Rare political post  
I finally received some reimbursements I'd been waiting for, which served as a decent motivation to finally contribute to some political campaigns. These articles are close enough to describing my motivation for doing so, and of course a fair portion of my contribution went to Feingold. I hope that someday, once I am a person with a more normally scheduled job, I can reliably push myself to at least phone-bank on occasion, because I did manage this once, nerve-rattling as it was.

The greatness of Feingold aside, yes, I am disappointed by everything the Democrats can fail to accomplish while in power. I am not surprised, though, and I recognize that my disappointment is properly due to how desperately fucked up things are and not to the Democrats' failure to live up to unrealistic expectations. I certainly wouldn't mind if quite a few of the less desirable Democratic party incumbents lost their seats this election; I would just prefer that a similar number of Republican incumbents lose theirs. Because I remember enough of what Congress did during the Clinton years to seriously fear the teabagger-fueled sequel that so many are (perhaps questionably) predicting, even if it is merely another six years of deadlock and embarrassment rather than something really disastrous. Also, I don't want to look back on 2009-2010 as the best the progressives of our age could manage at a federal level.

Of course, it isn't my place to suggest how anyone else divide their attention (either time-wise or money-wise) between mainstream politics and the many other things one might do to address the world's problems, and I readily agree that there are so many ways in which mainstream politicking is insufficient. On the other hand, voting really does not take much time at all, especially during a midterm election, and I, for one, will be making sure that the time I spend voting next week Tuesday - and researching local races a night or two beforehand - will be time that I would otherwise have spent playing video games or screwing around on the Internet, not time that I might have spent, say, taking direct action to challenge the evils of some big corporation.
Mood: scared
Music: Captain Smartypants - Hallelujah
 
 
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03 September 2010 @ 05:04 pm
"Then I'll know what's beneath it," said the man.  
Once again I've been bad at posting; I'll bet you are surprised! In lieu of an update on life or a video game review, three things:
  • Several of you have been complaining about LiveJournal's recent Facebook/Twitter integration options. And I've agreed with these complaints. But fewer people have been mentioning the return of pingbacks - note how that explanation stresses the updates you'll receive and not the ones you'll unintenionally send - which apparently aren't even implemented properly.

    So, yeah, you probably want to turn them off, in hopes that the bug where turning them off doesn't quite work is one of the first ones they'll fix. Now might also be a good time to mention that I just got a bunch of Dreamwidth invites - for those who missed it, I've been crossposting there for well over a year now, and they are really great about gradually adding features that people actually want, listening to their users, and not filling their news posts with bullshit.

  • nekobasu pointed me to Powerchords - Magic, Music, & Urban Fantasy, which sounds like it will be awesome and is currently accepting donation in exchange for fabulous prizes. Donations that will only be charged if the project ends up getting fully funded.

    (I'm especially excited given that the creator worked on Mage: The Sorcerer[']s['] Crusade. In case you missed it, that was Mage: The Ascension set from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment, with all the subjective reality fun of old Mage and none of the overplayed "modern technology is the enemy", where Enlightened Scientists of the Order of Reason can ally with old-fashioned witches and alchemists and where space travel doesn't go much past the Firmanent.)

  • I found this article - on being faced with ever so many allegedly environmentally friendly choices and criticisms of allegedly environmentally friendly choices - to be an interesting read. And not just because I saw exactly the sign they described the last time I visited a Whole Foods.

  • T-Rex (or possibly Ryan North) is truly the voice of our generation. This time he demonstrates pretty succinctly why I have such problems with "networking". (In the sense of general objections, anyway; there are other problems tied more to my lack of ability.)

...four things.
Mood: busy
Music: They Might Be Giants - Purple Toupee
 
 
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