Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's alive?


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

So I went on to Cleveland and I ended up insane

One of my more peculiar obsessions the last couple of years is noting every pop culture reference that cites Cleveland as a bottomless pit of despair.

There's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which puts the second(-rate) Hellmouth there. 30 Rock decided it was the most hilarious contrast possible with New York City. On the early seasons of Weeds I think but cannot prove Cleveland is the location Shane Botwin is always advocating they move to, but a substantial risk of prison or death is apparently preferably to everyone else. To Ryan Adams Cleveland is the place you go when you have nothing else. And today Matthew Yglesias notes that Cleveland is the cheapest place to go if you want a job.

I confess I've always found this puzzling. I have a small list of awful cities I've never visited, and Cleveland was never on the radar. Detroit or Newark, sure. But what's so special (or the opposite) about Cleveland?

Maybe the problem is me and my prejudices. As I am perpetually telling one of my frenemies who hails from there, Ohio is the most generic and boring state in the United States. It's not terribly important or irrelevant or culturally significant or notable or notorious in any way. Who cares?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Because nobody knows the wreck of the soul the way you do

I'll be in Afghanistan in less than a month, which means I felt compelled to spend a week in Texas the week before last to see Italian Girl and put in a few cameos with my family. On the latter front, I can safely call home more often, as the odds of getting hit up for money in the near and medium term have dropped precipitously.

On the former, 6-8 months seems pretty optimal between meetings, given her...difficulties in maintaining personal relationships of all kinds. The previous gap was 20 months, which nearly drove me insane and when it ended felt so good heroin junkies were trying to lick my sweat for a hit.

Interestingly, this will be our last ever meeting in Houston. She's moving this summer to LA, a city we both think we hate based on limited exposure long ago, to take a job. I'm invited to share the misery when I get back.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What the hell does the PKF think it's up to, Lieutenant? Honestly, I don't think anybody but Melissa has much of an idea

My source on the same base in Afghanistan I'm going to be spending a year at tells me that unlike Iraq there is no private internet or wifi - it's all Army/DOD controlled/restricted stuff that you can't plug a personal computer in. Which probably means no blogging and seems to definitely mean no Kindle downloads which is kind of freaking me out, since there are several books that will be released while I'm there that I'd really rather not have to wait for my return (or mid-tour leave).

But overall I'm happy, because this knowledge inspired me to check on all of the books I really wish I could take with me in Kindle format, which apparently now includes my favorite deeply flawed sci-fi novel, as well as its prequel. Better yet, the sequel which has been in publisher purgatory for 15 years has apparently been bought back and will be self published...eventually. For about five years that's the one book I would have burned a wish to bring into existence. Not because I expect it to be the best, but because I thought it would never happen without supernatural forces brought to bear.

In other news, there's also a torrent of all Barry Hughart's books. I've already bought four copies of Bridge of Birds and and one each of Eight Skilled Gentlemen and The Story of the Stone, and would buy an official Kindle version if it existed, so I feel entitled, but let your own conscience guide you.

The take away is that some of your favorite orphaned books are probably out there in some sort of epub format (you can convert with Calibre). Do some investigation.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My iPad dilemma

I want an iPad for my upcoming year long deployment to Afghanistan. Alas, I want one without a camera so I can take it into classified environments. Which poses a problem.

I can justify through moderate self delusion paying for a 64GB model iPad 2 if I am only going to use it for entertainment and load it up before I go with movies that I probably can't download over there quickly (or at all) due to the extreme suck of deployed internet speeds.

I can also justify a dirt cheap discounted 16MB original iPad if I'm going to be loading it up with work related .pdf and books that might be more convenient to read on that than my Kindle. Alas, there are none of those left.

What the Ft. Carson PX is sitting on (tax free!) are ten 64MB iPads marked down a measly $100 to $589. They seem unlikely to go anywhere unless they get marked down another $50 or $100.

Does anyone think that's likely in the next month or so? I'm caught between ordering an iPad 2 that I'd probably receive right before deployment or waiting for further discounting on the originals and risking getting nothing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No one goes there anymore, it's too crowded

As alluded to previously, when I visited DC for a class in November I discovered upon my arrival that a very good friend from law school who is an Air Force JAG and former co-resident of Colorado Springs was there the same week on vacation, enabling us to hang out a few times.

This was aided by the fact she slept on my hotel suite's pull out couch the last couple of nights, possibly bending some travel regulations, although not, alas, the UCMJ's sodomy prohibition despite what some coworkers who saw us getting a drink one night erroneously thought. (I blew one my one chance at that back in the day because I didn't want to blow what I had going with Nobody Girl at the time. There's no chance she would have known, but that wasn't the point. I've tried to regret that decision over the years without much success.)

Anyway, I visited DC again for another class the first week of this month, and discovered via Facebook twenty minutes after I landed that the same friend was also in DC. And also in my class. And staying in the hotel directly across the street. Life is weird, sometimes.

I also saw another friend in town, but it wouldn't be Appropriate (or particularly interesting) to describe.

If he were not knee deep in mud he'd bring her his jokes

I'm back, and have been for nearly a month. JRTC was pretty uninteresting.

For my own benefit of recall years from now I'll just note the first week it was ridiculously cold (central Louisiana doesn't freeze solid very often), overall fairly boring, and of very little consequence to me personally as a training event. I spent my free time getting fairly ticked off at two people I don't care about at all anymore, got promoted by someone else's absence to Funniest Person on the staff, and was commissioned to write three sets of sanctioned jokes for inclusion in some briefings to the commander, one of which ("Top 10 Battle Rhythm Events") was deemed safe enough to be used and was well received, but the Top 10 Battle Drills and Top 10 Quotes (half of them my own) were better, if perhaps court martial worthy.

On Valentine's Day I had a my usual enjoyable flirtatious conversation with a wickedly smart and pretty divorcee soldier I only encounter during these field exercises. It ended with the observation, "yeah, you seem like one of those nice guys who will never get married." I sought solace from a more frequent lieutenant acquaintance who more subtly and safely flirts with me. Quoth her: "Oh, Dylan, you'll get married! Besides, you're not actually very nice. This girl must not know you very well."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hold it, I'm about to drop off, let me tell you my last thought

I'm off to spend my second full month at (and third trip to) Ft. Polk, LA out of the last seven. The food will be bad and I'll have no internet except a one or two bar no 3G connection on my phone (non-ATT customers won't even have that), but at least I won't get much sleep.

I should be back on the 25th or 26th, and I should be on a plane for another week away from home on the 27th. If you're in DC, buy me a drink. I'll need it.