Poetry time

December 18th, 2014

I wrote this a few months ago, and figured it would be good to get it off the 3×5 cards it’s on and put the verses in order, so here it is:

The Tattoo of Dorian Gray

His friends got him drunk one night last November.
When he woke up, regrets were the plan for the day.
What possessed him to get it, he doesn’t remember –
The tattoo of Dorian Gray.

Each morning, he gets up and looks in the mirror.
When he sees it again, his face turns away.
The horror he’s seeing just couldn’t be clearer –
The tattoo of Dorian Gray.

He knows that without it, his life would be better.
He wishes that he could just wash it away.
It cannot be covered by shirt or by sweater –
The tattoo of Dorian Gray.

His life’s getting worse, and he’s feeling quite tired.
He thinks its appearance grows worse every day.
He’s always regretting the night he acquired
The tattoo of Dorian Gray.

Stupid brain

December 15th, 2014

For the last few weeks, every time I’ve turned out the lights in a room or entered a dark room, I’ve heard a voice in my head say, “It is very dark. You might be eaten by a grue.”

From the “more money than sense” files

December 15th, 2014

Two stories out of the Daily Mail:

1) A Swiss belt buckle that costs more than half a million dollars. White gold, titanium, 387 diamonds, 167 pieces. Does not include a belt. I wonder if you need a manual to operate it?

2) A Rolls-Royce Phantom coupe (about $470K) with black velvet in lieu of a paint job. I wonder if there’s a business opportunity for a dry-cleaner car wash?

Happy Fhtagnsgiving

November 27th, 2014

This was emailed to me with the comment “Get me some drawn butter (and the NECRONOMICON!)”


When I saw this story, my first thought was “vote fraud.”

November 4th, 2014

However, that was incorrect. It turns out that it’s an artifact of allowing people (presumably women) to be coy about admitting their age. When you think about it, it kind of backfired on them, because they’re not that old.

I’m being threatened, too.

November 3rd, 2014

Jonathan Coulton, a singer-songwriter whose work I enjoy, recently received a letter from the Democratic Party of New York, which stated that they knew he was registered to vote, and that although his actual vote was protected by law, whether or not he voted was a matter of public record. They noted that if he didn’t vote, they’d be interested in knowing why not.

He posted a picture of the letter on his Twitter feed, saying, “I think the Democrats just threatened me.” A number of sites, such as this one, agreed that it was a threat. He’s not too thrilled with that, actually, because he usually votes Democratic, and meant the comment sarcastically.

Similar letters have been sent out by the Democrats and affiliated PACs in Connecticut and several other states, as well.

I received one in the mail today. It’s not a letter, though – it’s a glossy flyer paid for by the campaign for my local Democratic state senate candidate, Rachel Zenzinger. One side states in large type that it is “2014 General Election Information,” and, “Who Votes Is Public Information.” The other side has large type at the top that says, “Records indicate you voted in the past.” At the bottom, in bold, it says, “We may contact you after the election to hear about your voting experience.” In between, it makes the claim that Ms. Zenzinger, whose name never came to my attention before canvassers came through my neighborhood last month, has a record of standing up for all that is right and good.

Ms. Zenzinger was appointed to her post when Evie Hudak saw the writing on the wall and resigned, rather than go through a recall election. This allowed the Democrats to keep the seat, which an election would likely have cost them, so this is Ms. Zenzinger’s first election for the seat. The flyer is kind of a waste, though. Among other widely-unpopular actions the Colorado Democrats, who control the state government, have taken recently, they made this a mail-ballot-only election, which Republicans have called an invitation to vote fraud. Oh, I imagine that there are some people who have yet to fill out their ballots, and will drop them off tomorrow, but I suspect that the vast majority of voters have, like me, already submitted their ballots. I’m just wondering how many people will take advantage of the same legislation that made this a vote-by-mail election to walk into a polling station tomorrow, register to vote, and receive and fill in a ballot.

UPDATE: Apparently, my WordPress installation had (maybe has) the wrong time – it hadn’t been adjusted back to MST.

I found out too late …

October 30th, 2014

… that yesterday was National Cat Day.

Rather than ignore it completely, hoping that I’ll remember it in time next year, I’ll post a photo of my late cat, Butch.


I suppose I can consider myself lucky

October 24th, 2014

Because I fixed breakfast at home today, I found a problem in time to handle it fairly cleanly.

When I eat breakfast at home, I take my vitamins. One bottle was empty, so I went into the basement to get a replacement. Smelling something unpleasant, and knowing that the cats’ litter box had been dealt with last night because trash gets picked up this morning, I looked around and noticed a wet spot at one corner of the freezer. When I opened the door, I found this:


The cookie dough on the top shelf I wasn’t concerned about. Everything on the next shelf down and in the door was defrosted. Items on the bottom two shelves were still frozen solid. I took about fifty pounds of meat that had been defrosted for who knows how long out to the trash. It might have still been ok, but I’d rather not chance it – I lost 15 pounds of weight after I got sick in Bulgaria, and I wasn’t keen on losing any more that rapidly.

I say I’m lucky because I discovered it before the trash pickup came; I’d not have liked to have it hanging around for another week. Now, I’ll be looking for a chest freezer – I’ve had to prop weight against the freezer door to keep it closed.

Eastern Europe, part 2: Sighisoara

October 14th, 2014

We left Budapest on an overnight train to Sighisoara, Romania. I did not sleep well on the train, because it was hot and muggy, and the bunk was too short for me. Sighisoara itself has a small “old city” on a hill, which is surrounded by the larger, more modern, main part of the city.

Sighisoara - Looking Up

We stayed at the Hotel Sighisoara in the old city.

Sighisoara - Hotel

One of the entrances to the old city is through a gate in the base of a clock tower. The clock has figures that are supposed to perform actions on the hour, but the clock has been broken for a long time.

Sighisoara - Clock Tower

One building had an interesting architectural feature. I have no idea what’s going on, other than I presume someone thought it was appropriate.

Sighisoara - Stag Building

Sighisoara is the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), a name he was given after his death. There is a picture of this bust of him in the Wikipedia article about him. The plaque reads (with a few Romanian letters I haven’t used):

Vlad Tepes
Domnitor al Tarii Romanesti
Intre Anni
1448;1456 – 1462;1476

It means, “Vlad Tepes, 1431-1476, Ruler of Romania during the years 1448-1456 and 1462-1476.”

Sighisoara - Tepes Statue

The name “Dracula” came from his father, who was a member of the chivalric Order of the Dragon (“dragon” being “dracul” in Romanian back then – we were told it has a meaning more like “devil” now). The house he was born in is now a restaurant, which we ate in the first night there.

Sighisoara - Dracula Restaurant

We took a day trip to see a few old villages and churches. The only photo I’m showing from that trip is of a window – you can see that there is a glass pane that’s been added, but the original window has a wooden block used to “close” it.

Old Window

The afternoon of our second day in Sighisoara, we took a bus to Brasov.

No. Just … no.

October 6th, 2014

I would not do this, but I can watch it in full-screen.

Via The Feral Irishman (often NSFW)