Saturday, June 28, 2003

The other day, I had the most curious thought: what if I disappeared? Within the past week, I have been called, in chronological order, by Lindsay, Sardine, Pelsky, Mom and Dad, and the Bald Mountain; people can reach out and touch me at any time. What if I put a stop to it? What if I just didn't tell anyone my phone number in Boston? It would be hard to avoid Mom, Dad, and the Mountain, but it would be fairly easy to simply ditch everyone else. Start again from scratch. All new email addresses, no more Secret Base, how would anyone find me? One day I would simply be lost and gone forever.

The idea is both utterly repugnant and so very, very tempting.
A Superstitious and Cowardly Lot
Pelsky (formerly Neutral Man) and I saw The Italian Job this afternoon. Afterwards, in the mood for more Mark Wahlberg crime movies, we rented The Big Hit. We watched it back at my place. A little while after we finished it, Lauren decided to watch Snatch and we joined her. So, I've got crime on my mind. And the voice in my head has acquired a Cockney bend. Pikers.

A few notes on actors: Two Mark Wahlberg movies, two Jason Statham movies. Hmm, yeah, I'd say it's safe to call either actor a selling point. Like, I'm more likely to want to see a movie if it has either, or preferably both, or them in it. Normally, I find Charlize Theron to be not all that attractive and certainly not the end all and be all some claim. However, she's gorgeous in The Italian Job. To kill for.

My dad called a little before ten o'clock, to share another Biblical reference he's uncovered in Star Wars. That's great, Pop, really great. And of course Mom wanted to speak to me, the sweetie. They are such fucking lunatics these days, bless 'em. I suppose that explains a thing or three about Grandma and Grandpa. Wilsons' minds go to rubbish in their old age, it's as simple as all that.

The Mountain called as soon as I got off the line with the folks. He sang karaoke the other night in a bar. What has happened to my brother and what have you people done with him? Oh, wait, wait, I forgot, this is the new David, the one who's been emerging for months now. Everything's okay now. Nobody should judge anybody else, most especially not me. Nuts to that. But, hell, what does it matter as long as he's having fun?

Friday, June 27, 2003

Donkeys and Elephants
It is not my purpose to be unnecessarily insulting, but watching the current contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination is like watching '88 all over again. Hear me out. The last time a conservative presidential candidate lost an election was 1964, when crazy Barry Goldwater lost to Jack Kennedy's ghost. Since then, the American electorate has grown consistantly more and more conservative. (Richard Nixon would be a Democrat today.) In 1988, the Democrats nominated ultra-liberal Michael Dukakis, who then handily lost the election to the moderate George "41" Bush, running on the strength of conservative Ronald Reagan's record.

In 1992, the Democrats nominated Bill Clinton, who we must remember was from the conservative wing of the Democratic Party. Clinton's only major liberal policy, socialized health care, went down in flames and he spent the last six years of his presidency ruling, very successfully, as a Republican-light. Yet, we must also bear in mind that Bill Clinton was a singluarly amazing individual, as charming and charismatic as Old Scratch himself. Perhaps it was only because of his unique skills that he was able to so successfully co-opt the Republican agenda. The Democrats certainly seem to think so, for, instead of continuing his policies of pulling the rug out from under the GOP, the Democrats have decided to go left.

"Red" Nancy Pelosi is the leader in the House. For the presidential nomination, John "Massachusetts Liberal" Kerry and Dick "Big Union" Gephart appear to be the frontrunners, though John "Trial Lawyer" Edwards has a lot of money and Howard "Peacenik" Dean has a certain McCain-esque appeal. What is wrong with these people? President "43" Bush, despite his reasonable demeanor, is a flaming conservative; why are the simply conceeding the middle to him and hoping to make a stand on the left? Folks, it won't work! It can't work. I'm sorry, there just aren't enough votes on the left, especially if Ralph Nader and the Green (Red) Party decide to play the spoiler once again (run, Ralph, run!).

The Republican Party should not be the majority party. Seventy years of elite, academic, and media dominance by liberals should have safely delivered this country into the hands of the Democrats; and yet, "43" is the President and the GOP completely controls the Congress. True, we are smart and guileful, but that alone cannot explain our nigh invincibility.

I'm glad when my party wins elections, it just doesn't make any sense to me.
I just had the strangest conversation with Sardine. Or rather, I just had the strangest conversation because it was with Sardine. She called from NYC. (By the way, she's very happy to be surrounded by other Italian-Americans, her last name being *redacted* and Ann Arbor not being exactly swamped with sons and daughters of Italia.) Before the Final Blowout at Macho Grande, I had not spoken with her in, quite literally, six to eight months. We were not what one would call friends. But I gave her my number at the Final Blowout and we got together to watch movies twice before she left. I am quite interested in her, yet my advances, such as they were, were rebuffed; the obvious explanation is the historically consistant one: she is simply not interested in me. Fair enough.

However, there is a small voice, akin to the dark bastard, that whispers they may be another explanation: it could simply have been bad timing. After all, she left a mere two weeks after the party. What would be the point of probing a relationship in such a short window of opportunity? I asked myself the same question, but answered it with the reckless bravado of carpe diem. It is of course entirely possible that we are merely friends and that she called from New York just to talk to me, because she enjoys talking to me. But I've got no decisive evidence either way; so, hope springs eternal. Besides, she is ever so cute.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Today's the day that I've set aside for plowing through the huge backlog of comics that I have to give a second reading before filing away. Jumpin' Jack Pratt, I read a lot of comic books.

The Bald Mountain called me yesterday, but I was out. He's so far out in the hinterland of upstate New York that his cell phine doesn't work. He's at the Seagle Music Colony, but something about that description doesn't sit right with me. He strongly objects to calling it a camp, but it seems an apt description for a two-month, thirty-member program that takes place in a remote location during the summer. "Music colony" makes me think of lousy beatniks and seems only one small step removed from being a commune for dirty hippies. Ooo, I hate dirty hippies.

Every dirty hippie need a good beating at the metal-tipped boots of some oi punks. I hate oi punks, too, but not as much as dirty hippies.

Anyway, I really miss the Mountain. The suckiest part about leaving Michigan is that I'm also leaving him. The best reason I can think of to be successful as a writer is to have the freedom to live where I want i.e. live wherever his work takes him. I don't think most people have a Bald Mountain, someone in their life who means as much to them as he does to me. If true, I pity those people.

One of the things for which I most hate frat boys is the way they bastardize and abuse the word "brother."

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

I just finished Season 3 of Deep Space Nine. The proper words of praise do not exist. And at the same time, fuck. I mean, the journey from "The Search, Part I" to "The Adversary" is amazing, but now I'm left to wait until August for "The Way of the Warrior" and the glories of the fourth season. Aw, crap. At least Sisko was finally promoted to Captain. Captain Benjamin Lafayette Sisko. Damn right.

Lindsay and I didn't talk on the phone for four weeks (late April/mid May). However, since reestablishing contact, she always calls me. I never have to call her. (She called a couple minutes ago and I'm on the phone with her right now.) It's weird. Every time I begin to think I should call, the phone rings and there she is. I'm not complaining, I just think it's slightly weird.

Ed Brubaker is the best writer in comics today. It's obvious as soon as you read a single issue of Catwoman. And Cameron Stewart's art is none too shabby either.
Holy Hannah, it was hot as Hell today. (I would have preferred to have said "it was hot as Hades today," but, sadly, I know enough about mythology to know that Hades was not a lake of fire like Perdition.) On the plus side, it was finally hot enough to convince the girls to turn on the AC. I cannot fathom their resistance. Sure, it costs money, but what the hell is the point of working if not to earn enough money to be comfortable in your own home?

"No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater than central air."

Last night (Tuesday), we went to Top of the Park and watched the free screening of Signs. It was the first time we've ever gone out as an apartment. As invariably happens when all three of us are together for long enough, they started complaining about Lifeguard Girl, their former roommate from whom I am subletting. So much hostility; I suppose, by way of contrast, I simply try not to mention the horrors of 1213.

Wow, only a month until my brithday. I'll be 24. After that, only a year until I'm 25, a quarter of a century old. Jesus. A quarter of a fucking century. I'm on death's doorstep and I haven't even done anything yet. See, here's the thing: I'm only going to live to be sixty. I figure sixty is long enough to have a life, a wife, and watch my kids grow up, but young enough to retain bladder control. (Or at least the limited degree of bladder control I currently enjoy.) Thus far, I have only two regrets about dying so "young": a) I shall not live to see the thousandth anniversary of the Norman Conquest, in 2066, and b) I will probably (I sincerely hope) miss Jon Mace's funeral, which should be a great time, judging by all the activities he has planned. The chief advantage is that I won't have to watch my friends die off one by one (or all at once in some kind of horrible mass extinction). But this raises the moral dilema of what to do about the Bald Mountain. I couldn't stand to watch him die; it would kill me. But, what would my death do to him?

Well, in any event, I've only got thirty-six years to make something of myself, win Lindsay, and make my enemies rue they day they crossed me. Rue, I tell you, ruuuuuuueeee!

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Episode Guide
Season Six
"The Armada, Part II" - The Ulysses leads the combined Tehlyri/Voth/Vidiian/Krenim/Hirogen/et al. armada against the Borg fleet "under" Auranus, while Captain McKenna and Princess Rafi (formerly Princess Rissa) lead an away team to the Tehlyri capital in search of Emperor Vorei. The armada manages to hold off the Borg long enough to evacuate most of the Tehlyri, but not even the experienced Vidiian surgeons can reverse the assimilation of the emperor. Enough of Vorei's will survives, however, to sacrifice himself for the destruction of Auranus's cube. As soon as the last armada ships enter the Borg transwarp conduits, an experimental Krenim device collapses the entrance, making pursuit impossible. While the other surviving Ascendants and their warmechas return to the Ascendant domain, Axis and the core intelligence of his ship, the Fulcrum, are invited to stay aboard the Ulysses. In a bitter coronation aboard the Tehlyri flagship, Rafi succeeds her slain father and is crowned Empress.

"History Project" - Liz visits with Agrippa, who has gained limited privilidges as reward for his help on the Tehlyri homeworld. She interviews him about his role in the Eugenics Wars and gains an uncomfortable understanding of the abyss that is his soul.

"Oblivion" - The Ulysses is falling apart and the crew cannot figure out why. Soon, the crew themselves begin to fall victim to an inexplicable sickness. Before a solution can be found, both the ship and crew disintegrate, perishing. In reality, though, these were the quicksilver aliens from "Mimic." In time, they had forgotten that they were duplicates and, thinking themselves the real crew of the Ulysses, set a course for the Alpha Quadrant. ("Course: Oblivion")

"Perfection, Part I" - As the ship passes a formerly inhabited planet, Lt. Annika Hansen, the deassmiliated Borg Starfleet officer, recalls having participated in the population's assimilation while she was a Borg. At that, Captain McKenna snaps. Between the torment Annika and Icheb feel over the evil they had committed as Borg and now Empress Rafi's reports of the slow, steady collapse of the Tehlyri resistance, she has had enough; the Ulysses is going to stop the Borg threat once and for all. She orders the wormhole device from "Reign of Khan" reassembled and visits the mad Krenim timelord Annorax in his prison outside space-time. Utilizing his expertise, she locates the point in the timestream from which the Borg originated. The Ulysses sets a course for the homeworld of the Ilani, the people who will one day be the Borg.

"Perfection, Part II" - On the Ilani homeworld, the crew go undercover and try to stop Dr. Aevo Lumin from launching her borg (Ilani for "collective") process, arguing that though it is benign in intent, in time the ruthless machine logic will overpower any organic compassion and twist the borg into something malevolent. Many Ilani agree with them, but many others hail the economic gains inherent in the increased productivity of collective workers. However, nothing can dissuade Dr. Lumin from her obsessive pursuit of, in her words, perfection. Agrippa, horrified that Captain McKenna had not simply annihiliated the Ilani with an orbital bombardment, attempts to detonate the capital city's central fusion reactor, wiping out Dr. Lumin, her research, and millions of innocents. Though the crew are able to stop him, killing him in the process, the attack raises support for the borg as a way to stop future terrorism. With public opinion still split, Captain McKenna will not annihilate the Ilani for crimes they have not yet committed, a decision supported by everyone but Sovok, who argues that the crew's consciences, even souls, are a small price to pay for forever stopping the Borg threat. As the Ulysses returns to the 24th century, Dr. Lumin holds a press conference, where she reveals her first "assimilated" borg, herself as the central nexus, or "queen."

"Blink of an Eye" - While studying a spacial anomaly, the crew learn that the ship has unwittingly served as the deity to a micro-sized civilization within. What is a god to do when the inhabitants prove they have the right stuff, carrying out a space program to make contact? ("Blink of an Eye")

"O Shining Muse" - When K'rena's shuttle crashes on a pre-warp planet, she tells a local playwright about the relationships aboard the Ulysses in exhange for supplies to make repairs. Greek tragedies about Nick and Kes, her relationship with Dan, and Naomi, Noah, and the other children on board. ("Muse")

"The Celestial Mandate" - The Borg destroyed the Voth civilzation back in "Kingdom of Shadows," and the Voth are quite unhappy about it. Twisting longstanding doctrine, they have chosen to blame the robotic Ascendant, Axis's people, for the fall of their organic civilzation. Coming to the Ascendant's aid, Captain McKenna finds herself caught up in some serious Voth soul-searching, a divide over who or what is to blame for their mighty Celestial Hierarchy having fallen. (from "Distant Origin")

"Murder By Starlight" - The Voth are coming to terms with their fall by joining the Tehlyri resistance, which has found a new home thanks to the Ascendant. But there are still hardline elements within the Voth who oppose an alliance with non-organics. Can the crew prove they responsible for the murder of a high ranking Voth official, even though the evidence points to an Ascendant, the best friend of Protocol Axis?

"Metropolis" - The Tehlyri and Voth fleets arrive at Metropolis, the Ascendant homeworld, a moon covered entirely by machines, in orbit of an M-class planet. While Empress Rafi and the Voth First Celestial settle their people on the planet, the Ascendant terrorist Zero-One reemerges in control of Doc's hologram and bent upon nothing less than the destruction of Metropolis.

"Bride of Chaotica!" - The crew routinely relax in a holographic recreation of a 1930s serial, the adventures of Captain Proton against his nemesis, Dr. Chaotica. The program endangers the ship, though, when photonic aliens mistake the holodeck for reality and the only way to defeat them is to play along with the mad Chaotica. ("Bride of Chaotica!")

"Inside Job" - Alien pirates hack into Doc's program in an effort to learn enough about the Ulysses to successfully seize the ship. In an effort to distract them, the crew run him through a multitude of scenarios, including a stink as captain. ("Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy")

"Monsters in the Dark" - After the Ulysses destroys a Phos cruiser in orbit of a defenseless colony, most of the crew are beamed down to repel the surface attack. In a subterranean colony without power, our heroes battle both demons made of living fire as well as their own fears. (from DS9's "Nor the Battle to the Strong" and "The Seige of AR-558")

"We Who Are About to Die" - Sovok is kidnapped and forced to fight as a gladiator in a Xelite casino. Surak, the father of Vulcan philosophy, teaches pacifism, but if Sovok does not fight and kill, he will die. ("Tsukatse")

"The Most Dangerous Game" - Holographically passing herself off as a Hirogen hunter, Captain McKenna discovers some nearby Hirogen are seeking a most unique prey, a creature which can see the future; what more challenging prey than one which can see every trap before it is set? (This is the first appearance of the Presari.) The Ulysses makes contact with the prey first and shockingly learn he is a Presari, cousins of the Ocampa. Unfortunately, they cannot prevent the Hirogen from claiming their trophy.

"Xanadu" - We once again find ourselves aboard the Revenge as Cole and Grak Xor locate the Gorn's long-departed allies, a Tholian ship which had been pulled into the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker two years before "The Stars My Destination." Joining forces with the Tholians, they locate the wreck of the U.S.S. Xanadu, a Federation starship lost mere months before the Ulysses (and mentioned in the series pilot). They find two very interesting pieces of information: a) something the crew had done to the ship's warp drive had greatly increased the vessel's speed, but killed everyone aboard in the process. b) Contained in the ship's computers is the location of the nigh-mythical second Caretaker.

"Pyromancer" - Dan, Seventh, and Liz's shuttles crashes on a desolate moon, having been shot down by a Phos cruiser. With Seventh's robotic body severly damaged, Dan must stay with her to effect repairs, leaving Liz to hold off the approaching Phos. Liz uses her considerable powers to stop them, including heretofore unknown pyromancy, leading some of the Phos to mutiny and pledge their loyalty to her as the prophecized "divine pyromancer."

"Warbird" - On the thirtieth anniversary of her mother's defection to the Federation, K'rena stages The Triumph of the Warbird, a dramatic interpretation of the Romulan myth about their arrival on Romulus from Vulcan. Also, we see several scenes of K'rena's youth, illustrating her mother's simultaneous hatred of the Romulan Star Empire and fierce pride in being Romulan. (guest starring Tricia O'Neil and Erick Avari as K'rena's parents)

"The High Road, Part I" - Detecting Starfleet warp signatures ahead, Captain McKenna orders the Ulysses to a nearby system, where the ship is intercepted by several small vessels commanded by Starfleet officers! Escorted by the vessels, the crew travels to a space station where they find the U.S.S. Gulliver, a Starfleet Quasar-class science ship lost since three years before the Ulysses. The Gulliver's commanding officer is "Captain" (Lt.) Felix Aeschliman, the Operations Officer back in the Alpha Quadrant; Aeschliman defends his crew's decision to give the locals Starfleet technology, claiming they needed it to defend against predatory neighbors. The Ulysses crew's suspicions are aroused by conflicting reports regarding the nature of Captain Kao's, the rightful CO, death. The season ends with the Gulliver's crew seizing the Ulysses. ("Equinox, Part I")
I love my mother, but sometimes she isn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier. In a delightfully improbable coincidence, my apartment is in the building next door to my brother's. The address of my sublet is 320, No. 3. My brother's apartment is 326, No. 1. 320, No. 3 and 326, No. 1 are very similar addresses, I understand this. Nevertheless, one would think that it would not be beyond her capacity to differentiate between the two if only she would pay close attention. When last I was home, Mom expressed surprise that I had not yet received a package she had sent. I asked her, "Mom, did you send it to the right place?" I asked not because I think she's stupid, but because she has misaddressed mail before. She looked at my crossly and asserted she was certain she had properly addressed the package. A couple days ago, I received an email from the All-American Boy, the Bald Mountain's roommate, telling me he had some mail from my mom addressed to me. Today, I was able to pick up the package. It was addressed to 320, No. 1; so, technically, it was properly addressed to neither of us. Oh, Mom.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

There are three places I could have gone today to see my friends: Boof Daddy's "Welcome Back" party for Saturday Night in Midland, Nick the Greek's little sister's open house in the GB, and the Flounders' picnic in Chelsea. Instead of any of those three, I am in Ann Arbor at the Animania screening. It was scheduled months ago and it's summer; so, we're already shorthanded. By my reckoning, I don't have a choice in the matter; I have a responsibility to be where I am.

Still, I don't know what it sez about me that I'm not unhappy to be where I am. Some days, I just don't want to see my friends. Some days I'd rather be around friendly acquaintances than the people I hold dearest in my heart. That sounds awful, probably because it is. "Hi, my name is Mike and I'm a monster."

Damn Good Advice
Don't listen to Blink-182's "Josie" and think about Lindsay on the same day. To be perfectly frank, it doesn't so much bother me that she has a boyfriend. Not anymore, not nearly as much as it once did. What she feels for him has nothing to do with me. The root of my sadness is that I am merely her friend. "She's so smart and independent, I don't think she needs me/Quite half as much as I know I need her."

Friday, June 20, 2003

Tuesday night Lindsay said I probably have bad karma. What in the Sam Hill do you suppose that means?
Let me say this about the new Blogger interface: though it initially kicked me out at random moments, the new system has not yet lost a single post and, for the first time in a long time, my archives are consistently accessable. The guys at Pyra are still fucknuts, though.

Public Enemy
Monday night, Guy Zach Nie!, the Professor, Anna H., and I went to trivia night at Conor O'Neill's. The trivia night guy, Jeff, was his usual annoying self, but a grand time was had by all. A beer may always be a beer, but a Guinness is not always a Guinness. At Conor's, Guinness just tastes better. (As happens more often than not, no one was sitting at Lindsay's and my table. Hmm, there must be a vibe or something.) In any event, after trivia night, we decided to play some Art Truck - the greatest video game in the known universe - over at Pinball Pete's. Now, Zach Nie! has quite a sunburn from our half-round of golf on Sunday; it's too red and sore to resist. Near the Law Quad, Jon made his move. Zach, always quick on hs feet, dodged and raised his fists in defense. While they laughed and maneuvered, clearly two friends just fucking around, a U of M cop car approached. The occifer asked to see both of their IDs and asked Anna H. and me to step away. Seeing that there was no way to avoid this ridiculous harassment, I decided to walk Anna the rest of the way back to her place. When I returned perhaps three minutes later, a second U of M patrol car was driving off, the first car was still parked by Jon and Zach, and a U of M patrolman approached on foot. I took a seat on the grass maybe twenty feet from the boys and watched increduously as a fourth police unit, this time an Ann Arbor bicycle cop, rolled up. Four separate police units responded to a Caltech chemistry grad student trying to smack the sunburn of his Pottery Barn employee/agent of chaos friend. Ridiculous.

I suppose I should simply be grateful that I live in a place without any real crime to fight.

Weird Al Strikes Again
This should make The watergirl happy: on "Weird Al" Yankovic's new album, Poodle Hat, there is an Avril Lavigne parody, "A Complicated Song." It's about indigestion and incest and all manner of other awful things. Take that, you faux punk Canuck pixie!

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Attention: The TV show Family Guy sucks. How do I know this, since I do not watch it? Because I have been informed that in yesterday's episode Lois, the wife, desperate for collateral after she exhausted her cash, gambled away the family car in an Indian casino. Gee, a wife with a gambling problem, where have I seen that before? Oh, yeah The fucking Simpsons. If you like Family Guy, you are a tool.

In that vein: Tool, the most aptly named band since Garbage. And: Garbage, the most aptly named band since Tool. And Dylweed, Radiohead really does suck ass.

It's been an odd week, but with a little luck the end of "Retroactively Making Star Trek: Voyager Good" will be here soon. I've been watching episodes of Voyager the last few times I've been home. It hasn't been pleasant, but I believe it is important to understand why things don't work. It is important to understand how things can go so terribly wrong from the very beginning.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Yesterday, I was Mr. Popular. I got calls from Lindsay, Dylweed, and Sardine. Linz informed me of the evil that is Mr. Winkle, Dylweed and I set up plans for lunch (today, I had lunch with him and his bride, the lovely Kristy), and at midnight I went over to Sardine's to watch About a Boy. Still no making out with Sardine.


Monday, June 16, 2003

Who Dares Wins
2-1 against the Professor (1-2) and the Guy (0-3) in Risk yesterday. Plus, they took me golfing for the first time. Blue Tree Whacking forever.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Okay, now, what the fuck? This is yet another new screen, similar in design to the old screen. Hey, jackasses, I was just trying to get used to the new screen and now you spring this new new screen on me? You guys are jerks, you know that, just plain jerks.

Th Mousemobile is steering much better since Dad and I put in some new power steering fluid. Imagine that.

I just got a call from Nicky the Greek, home from OSU. I haven't seen that kid since Christmas. Sweet. I've gotta go.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Episode Guide
Season One
"Leviathan" - The Ulysses, looking to collect useful gases, enters a nebula only to discover that it is in fact a huge spaceborne organism. K'rena proves herself to Captain McKenna, who appoints her Chief Engineer. (This is the first regular episode of Odyssey after the pilot, "The Stars My Destination.") (from "Parallax" and "The Cloud")

Season Three
"Never Forget" - Kes suffers a series of traumatic flashbacks, experiencing the horrors of a campaign of ethnic cleansing. She discovers that she is not hallucinating, but experiencing the memories of several alien passengers. ("Remember")

"Worst Case Scenario" - Nick discovers an old holodeck program Sovok had written as a training exercise. Things take a deadly turn when modifications made by Elar Korat/Cesca emerge, modifications meant to trap, torture, and kill Sovok. ("Worst Case Scenario")

Season Four
"Scientific Method" - The Ulysses is infiltrated by a race of cloaked alien scientists, who subject the unsuspecting crew to increasingly bizarre and deadly experiments. ("Scientific Method")

"The Omega Directive" - The Ulysses exhibits extremely non-Federation behavior by launching assaults on a series of alien research labs. Captain McKenna reveals that she is following Starfleet's Omega Directive, a sort of anti-Prime Directive known only to officers of the rank Captain and above. The aliens were experimenting with a particle considered so dangerous to the known univerve that the Omega Directive authorizes its destruction by any means necessary. ("The Omega Directive")

"Vis-a-Vis" - An alien test pilot befriends Nick and invites him to leave the Ulysses for a life of bleeding edge experimental flying. When he declines, the pilot steals his DNA and makes his escape, looking and sounding for all the world like our Mr. Locarno. ("Vis-a-Vis")
No joy with Sardine, but at least I got to watch Donnie Darko again. Superman ice cream is the absolute best.

I don't know when Fishy's tail got so long and flowing, but he's looking quite graceful these days. I definitely need to get him a five gallon tank.

Neutral Man and I lifted on Tuesday; we're going to do it again as soon as he calls. It is truly pathetic how little either of us can lift. I'm just embarrassed. How can I be so weak? Brad's never been an athlete; so, he's covered, but I play Flounder polo three times a week and I'm one of the strongest Flounders. I just don't get it. The only way to remedy the situation is of course to keep lifting and hope no one notices what a little nancy I have become.

And now a moment to contemplate the startling beauty of Lexa Doig.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

This is an experiment with the new, and vastly inferior, interface.

And now, for ice cream and a movie with Sardine.
I make no secret of the fact that I oppose change. This is not an iron pronouncement; I am not against all change. A lot of change is necessary and beneficial. However, the fact remains that I am generally against change. Case in point, the new Blogger interface is vastly inferior to the old interface. If this had been the Blogger interface when I started blogging, I would have used a different service. Once again, this demonstrates that Pyra Labs blows.

This past weekend, at the Final Blowout at Macho Grande, I drank a Jones Soda. The bottle cap read, "The tide of change approaches." Now, this filled me with dread, as the only fortunes in which I put any stock (not really) are Jones fortunes. (This Blogger thing? No, that's not what the bottle cap was talking about, that's just the guys at Pyra being worthless trash.) "The tide of change approaches" is a harbinger of doom. (Insert Seth's cheerful, "I'm doomed!") Of course, the Bald Mountain refused to see the Jones fortune for what is was; however, when I showed the cap to EPM's roomie Sardine, she agreed with me that a) it's bad and b) change is generally to be feared. We had a lovely conversation about the ill effects of change in both our lives and provided examples.

Anyway, as a result of our conversations at the Final Blowout at Macho Grande (I want to write a book titled The Final Blowout at Macho Grande), I now have a little crush on Sardine. We talked Saturday night and last night, but haven't been able to see each other. I'm going to call her as soon as I'm done here. I have no idea what she's thinking, but if the opportunity presents itself I'm going to kiss her.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Sunday and Monday were no fun days. And tonight, because my stupid parents had to raise me to have a conscience, I'm going in to work to help out the one sup I absolutely hate, the jackass whose speech patterns drive me to murderous thoughts. Lousy do-gooding.

My buddy Crew's infatuated with a girl named Britten. Now they would make just about the oddest-named-pair-whose-names-sound-almost-normal one could imagine. Crew & Britten.

The word of the day: monstrous.

Monday, June 9, 2003

My apologies for not being around. DSL has been offline in my apartment since Thursday and I had a very busy weekend (both good and bad). Repair crew is coming tomorrow, but even in service is not restored to the apartment, I'm only working in the morning (as opposed to working twelve hours today); so, I should have some time to blog.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

5 Things I Hate That Most People Like*
1. baseball
2. the Olympics
3. Michael Douglas
4. Austin Powers in Goldmember
5. Dave Matthews Band
*or "5 Examples of Most People Not Knowing Their Arse From a Hole in the Ground"

In other news, even sqeaky clean Sammy Sosa has been revealed to be a filthy cheater. Ha! The last good thing about baseball has been corrupted. Now all I need to make my day is for that accursed "sport" to be swallowed up by the earth.

The days are just packed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Episode Guide
Season Four
"Revulsion" - K'rena and Doc investigate a ship found adrift in space. Doc begs to go when it is found the ship has a holographic matrix throughout its decks. They encounter a hologram who greets Doc as a brother, a fellow "photonic slave." Further investigation reveals that the ship was damaged when the hologram, fed up over not being treated as an equal, murdered his crew. ("Revulsion")

Season Five
"Kingdom of Shadows, Part II" - The Tehlyri-lead fleet, joined by the massive city-ships of the Voth defenders, manage to destroy the Borg cube orbiting the Voth throneworld, but at the cost of high casualites. Before our heroes can celebrate, however, a larger Borg force is detected emerging from the transwarp conduit network; in destroying the first cube, the Tehlyri have not defended the Voth throneworld, simply bought more time to evacuate it. While as many Voth as possible are evacuated, the Tehlyri fleet goes against two hundred years of tactical doctrine and directly engages a squadron of Borg cubes, with sadly predictable results. The Ulysses, with Princess Rissa aboard, stays as long as possible, but eventually Captain McKenna orders the retreat back to the hidden Tehlyri base. The Tehlyri fighting force has been decimated, but the emperor takes solace in having saved literally billions of Voth. Sympathetic though she is to the Tehlyri cause, Captain McKenna declines Emperor Vorei's invitation to stay and join the resistance; she is still determined to get her crew home to the Alpha Quadrant, which has its own problems with the Borg. Still, she agrees to transport a group of about fifty deassimilated Borg back to their respective homeworlds, along with a contingent of Tehlyri soldiers.

"In the Mood" - Nick and Kes find out that they are going to have a baby while at the same time Sovok experiences pon farr. Eliabeth and Benicio explore what it means to be together now that Rissa is gone and after K'rena "helps" Sovok, she finds she can no longer deny the way she feels about Dan. I told you, on Odyssey everybody gets laid.

"Lotus" - Though just recently resupplied, the ship stops at a planet whose herbs may be medically useful to the Doctor. However, when it comes time to leave they find that some members of the away teams are quite content to stay. (The Odyssey and from "Bliss")

"The Big Day" - After the one-month Ocampa pregnancy, Kes and Nick's baby is here! Nick is simultaneously freaked out about being a dad and still bitter toward his own father, while Neelix and Kes renew their friendship, thinking about how things might have been if they'd stayed together. Plus, Doc isn't exactly sure exactly how fast the baby, a human-Ocampa hapa, will grow. By the way, it's a girl, Elisabeth Alixia Locarno.

"Revisionist History" - Two hundred years after a visit from the Ulysses, the inhabitants of a racially divided planet have two differing, highly-politicized views of the ship's legacy. A back-up copy of Doc is caught in the middle when he tries to clear the ship's good name. ("Living Witness")

"Death's Head" - Cole launches a deadly biological attack against the Ulysses; not really surprising since the Revenge is, after all, a Vidiian ship. Doc and Kes race to find a cure while an ailing Benicio assumes command and tries to elude Cole's pursuit.

"Assimilation" - The ship approaches the planet Arturis, where they will drop off the last half of their deassimilated Borg, originally Arturians. Some of them are glad to be going home, while a group of others are having a harder time acting as individuals and try their best to act collectively. Through their eyes, we see the multitudinous nightmares that come from being part of the Collective. Two deassimilated Borg remain aboard, Icheb, a natural born Borg, and his adoptive mother, Annika Hansen, a human Starfleet officer assimilated in the initial Borg probe of 2364, referred to in The Next Generation's "The Neutral Zone." (from various episodes exploring Seven(th) of Nine's life as a Borg)

"Thirty Days" - Nick disobeys orders and is confined to the brig for thrity days, during which time he dictates a letter to his father, explaining why he did what he did and how he thinks that proves he's not the same man he used to be. Without even actually saying a word to him, Nick grows much closer to his dad. ("Thirty Days")

"Timeless" - The test flight of an experimental engine goes horribly awry, but Benicio and Dan make it back to the Alpha Quadrant. From fifteen years in the future, the two set out to right a wrong: the death of everyone else aboard the Ulysses, even at the cost of possibly never getting home. ("Timeless")

"Suicide Kings" - For no discernible reason, the Ulysses is attacked by a series of increasingly powerful automated drones. The crew capture one the drones intact and K'rena reverse engineers the means to track its point of origin. Captain McKenna sets a course, fully prepared to kick ass. She confronts the drones' masters, the Xelites, a race of energy beings obsessed with gambling; the attacks on the Ulysses had been just another game of chance. (This is the first appearance of the Xelites.)

"Snake Eyes" - Rather than face the wrath of the ship's phaser banks, the Xelites have agreed to repair all the damage their drones did to the Ulysses. Meanwhile, the crew enjoy the Xelite homeworld: the entire planet is a casino, with every kind of gambling in the known universe. Ahead a fortune in a high-stakes card game, Neelix pushes his luck and loses big. His opponent, a Xelite mob boss, takes the one thing in the universe that is most precious to him: his ship, retroactively renamed the Talax Hawk.

"The Heist" - The game in which Neelix lost the Hawk was fixed, and Elisabeth is not about to let one of her crew get cheated. The crew put their Starfleet technical expertise and Maquis cunning to work to pull off the score and make a quick getaway. There's nothing quite like a good heist movie.

"Prey" - A hunting party of Hirogen assault the ship and kidnap Kes, taking her to a remote planet. They believe her unique telepathic and telekinetic powers would make her very exciting prey. By the time the Ulysses catches up, Kes has proven more "exciting" than their weapons and traps could handle.

"Mimic" - The Ulysses lands on a dangerous planet with an atmosphere of acid and terrain just as pleasant. When Dan falls down a chasm and climbs back out no longer needing his EVA suit, it occurs to the crew that the quicksilver pools all around them may not be all they appear. The only way the quicksilver beings can communicate is by duplicating a crewmember. After a healthy cultural exchange, the crew leave their quicksilver doubles behind. ("Demon")

"The Pirate King" - The whole episode is narrated from the Revenge, as Cole regales his first mate, Grak Xor, with the tale of how he passed the time between being put off the ship in "The Mutiny" and finally catching up with the Ulysses in "Black Flag." He killed and stole his way across Vidiian, Sankur, and Krenim space, all in the name of bloody vengeance. Only after he kills Captain McKenna is Cole interested in getting back to the Alpha Quadrant.

"Hadrian's Wall" - The Ulysses gives an alien pilgrim passage to a seemingly dead world. Soon after beaming him down, the ship is intercepted by Protocol Axis and his ship, the Fulcrum. The alien pilgrim was the Ascendant terrorist Zero-One, who has devised a method to store his program in the humanoid brain. The planet was sealed off nine hundred years ago by the Voth in order to imprison its inhabitants; before the crew and Axis can stop him, Zero-One penetrates the defenses and unseals a cave full of molten lava. The lava comes to life, revealing itself to be the Phos, a powerful race of beings made of molten rock and living fire. (This is the first appearance of the Phos.) Aw, crap. (from "Dragon's Teeth")

"Field Trip" - Liz, Kes and Nick's daughter, is by this point a teenager, though now that she's endured puberty Doc thinks her growth will slow down, though still be skewed towards Ocampa rather than human rates of development. Sovok leads her and the Wildman twins, Naomi and Noah, born back in the first season, on an educational field trip to a nearby arborial planet. Adventure ensues.

"The Armada, Part I" - A Borg transwarp conduit opens up near the ship, but to the crew's relief it is not a cube, but a Tehlyri ship carrying Princess Rissa. In the year since "Kingdom of Shadows," the Borg have been relentlessly hunting down the Tehlyri and are now approaching their homeworld. For the first time, the Ulysses turns around, aiming away from the Alpha Quadrant. Though the Tehlyri normally avoid the transwarp conduits for fear of detection, these are desperate times, and Captain McKenna uses them to gather every ally she can: Vidiians, tempted by Borg technology as a potential weapon against the phage; Krenim, tempted by Borg temporal expertise; Hirogen, looking for the ultimate prey; the Ascendant, who just want to do the right thing, pledging Axis's Fulcrum and a score of identical behemoths to the cause. McKenna's armada emerges from the transwarp network to see the Tehlyri homeworld surrounded by twenty-six cubes under the direction of Vorei's former general Marzian Guinan, now assimilated as Auranus of Borg.
Inspired by The Watergirl's "Pocket-Sized Republican (PSR)," I've devised yet another permutation of The Last Angry Man: I am The Last Angry Moderate Republican.

Braylon Edwards sez I'm a prick
Braylon Edwards is a star on the University of Michigan football team. I work in the Intramural Program of the Recreational Sports Department. I do not make policy, but it is my duty to enforce policy. It doesn't matter whether or not I agree with policy; no one put a gun to my head, I knew what the job entailed when I took it. Last night, a softball team composed of U of M football players, including Mr. Edwards, played their first playoff game. Mr. Edwards chose not to bring his MCard (student ID). Intramural policy is that all players have to present their MCards before every game; if you don't want to show your MCard that is your business, but by playing in our league you are agreeing to our rules, among them the MCard policy. When told he could not play, Mr. Edwards approached me and explained that he had already shown his MCard "fourteen times" (there are four regular season games) and did not feel he should have to present it again. "How many people are there on the U of M campus named Braylon Edwards?" I told him that while I was certain he was the only one, and that I was certain he was who he said he was, he still had to present his MCard or I could not allow him to play. I told him that if I let him play without his MCard, I'd have to let everyone play without an MCard. I have to treat everyone the same. "No, I don't think you do," he replied. Still, I held my ground and he sent David Underwood, another player, to get both their MCards. Oh, yeah, and he also said, "I want to play, but I didn't think he'd [me] be a prick about it."

This sort of thing happens all the time. I mean, I understand that people are idiots and can't remember a very simple rule: no MCard, no game. But, this thing with Braylon surprised me. Normally, the treating-everyone-the-same line works like a charm. Even the most arrogant Jersey frat boy seems to understand the principle of universal fairness. I've seen that line take the fire out of many eyes; come on, who can argue against fairness? But he honestly thought he should be treated differently than everyone else. I said I had to be consistent in my dealings with everyone. Without missing a beat he insisted that he deserved special treatment. Wow.

I love the game of football. For years, I have argued that I don't like football players, but that I still liked the game. Perhaps this was unfair. After all, they are encouraged to be as hyperaggressive as they are in order to be better players, to be more than they are for the good of the game and the amusement of the fans. I want them to be assholes, just like I want my fighter pilots to be mad-dog killers, because it keeps me safe at night. What kind of a hypocrite am I, though, to wish these monsters into existence, but then despise them for being just as I need them to be? In order to push himself on the practice field and in the Ohio State game, Braylon Edwards needs to believe himself to be a god; I'm the asshole for demanding that he be made a god, but then feeling afronted by him when he acts as such. The only non-contradictory ways out of this conundrum are to stop loving football or accept that football players are entitled to the special treatment they demand.

Or learn to be happy as a hypocrite.

Sunday, June 1, 2003

Today's Get Fuzzy
For those of you who do not read Get Fuzzy, Bucky is Rob's cat.

Bucky: Robert, I'd like to give you a chance to get in on the ground floor of a very exciting investment opportunity. It's called Bucky's House for Wayward Monkeys.
Rob: You're proposing a monkey shelter?
Bucky: Technically, it's not so much a shelter as it is a work program. They would be mining diamonds.
Rob: Diamonds.
Bucky: Well, rocks. I'm going to tell them they're diamonds to motivate them.
Rob: And you expect me to believe you wouldn't just eat these monkeys?
Bucky: Oh, I'd be eating them, sure. Right after they tire themselves out smashing rocks.
Rob: I'm going to ask you to leave now.
Bucky: I find your aggressive manner to be off-putting. Nevertheless, I'm still willing to let you contribute to the monkey fund.