Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Explorers Club
No. CLVII - The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Part II: the Mausoleum of Mausolus at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, & the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

The Victors: Project OSPREY
Sunday, 29 November
Alabama 68-66 Michigan (15)
3-2, Big Ten 0-0

And just like that, we're 3-2 after a 1-2 performance at the Old Spice Classic. Call me fair weather is you wish, but I went to five o'clock Mass today, missing this game, and I just don't have the energy to dwell on bad news.

Next contest: at home v. Boston College, part of the annual drubbing known as the Big Ten/A.C.C. Challenge. Go Blue!

Friday, 27 November
Marquette 79-65 Michigan (15)
3-1, Big Ten 0-0

It's hard to win when you can't stop the other team's offense. At all. Early days, plenty of time to correct today's miscues before we enter the meaty part of the college basketball schedule. Still and all, perspective be buggered. Drat, I really though we might have actually deserved our No. 15 ranking!

Project OSPREY
Big Ten/A.C.C. Challenge, Tuesday night doubleheader: Purdue v. Wake Forest, Michigan State v. North Carolina. Woot! (Too bad I'll have too much studying to do to watch all of both games.)

He's Dead, Jim
I saw The Loose Ties last night at Woobie's, a pretty cool bar in Flint. I've now seen them thrice, every fortnight since Halloween. Woobie's really is a bar, not a bar-cum-nightclub; so, predictably, there was very little dancing. To blazes with critical mass, I skanked! I skanked alone, I skanked with the band, I skanked in an oval around the pool table, I skanked back and forth along the bar, shaking the whole place. I skanked like it was going out of style, which I suppose it is. And as before at the massive, seven-band ska show in Ann Arbor two weeks ago, all that reckless skanking tweaked a muscle in my left calf. Plus, it didn't do my malingering right ankle any favors. I've been hobbled all day, but it was totally worth it.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Dr. D" (the old way, live) from Live From the Middle East (T.L.A.M.)

Coming Attractions
An unexpected development in Project PANDORA, but I guarantee you it isn't what you're guessing it is.
Without really meaning for it to happen, this Thanksgiving and the subsequent weekend have turned into an orgy of socialization that dwarfs even the "Three Four Days of the Condor" of a fortnight hence. My parents are away visiting my grandmother in Ohio, yet there are four people sleeping in my house besides your humble narrator.

Yes, I'm typing this at five-something in the morning, and no, I haven't yet been to bed. L'chaim!

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Samstag, 28 November
Reel Big Fish, "Beer" from Turn the Radio Off (T.L.A.M.)


"Maybe someday I'll think of what to say.
Maybe next time I'll remember what to do.
She looks like Heaven,
Maybe this is Hell."

Freitag, 27 November
Blink-182, "The Party Song" from Enema of the State (T.L.A.M.)


"So when you see her standing there
With green eyes and long blonde hair,
She won't be wearing underwear
And you'll discover
This girl's not the one,
And she'll never be fun,
You should just turn and run,
Because you'll find out that some girls try too hard.
(Da na na, da na na, da na na)
Some girls try too hard.
(Da na na, da na na, da na na)
And some girls try too hard to impress
With the way that they dress,
With those things on their chest,
And the things they suggest."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Operation AXIOM
I am truly blessed, there is so very much in my life for which to be thankful, and for which I am indeed thankful. I am possessed of a mind with which to reason and a body with which to ambulate, I have loving kin and the finest kith for which any man could ask, and, most of all, I am loved by the Creator and assured of undeserved salvation through the Christ. There is so much for which to be thankful!

I hope one and all are having a most splendid Thanksgiving!

The Victors: Project OSPREY
(15) Michigan 83-76 Creighton (O.T.)
3-0, Big Ten 0-0

Perhaps more exciting than the valiant Wolverines needed to make things, but I was quite pleased to see how they clawed their way back into the game in the waning minutes and then took Creighton to task in overtime time. Marquette or Xavier? Either way, bring 'em on! (Tomorrow at noon, don't miss it!)

Go Blue!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of Thanksgiving Day
Green Day, "Macy's Day Parade" from Warning (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I'm as ardent a fan of commerce as the next fellow, but this "Black Friday" malarkey has gone too far.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Fountains of Wayne, "She's Got a Problem" from Fountains of Wayne (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Project MERCATOR is no longer solely about having fun. Or maybe it is, maybe "mission creep" should be avoided, but the friendships nurtured by MERCATOR are no longer solely about fun. The Most Dangerous Game is an extraordinary girl, or she has the potential to be, but troubled. Not troubled the way the girl in "She's Got a Problem" is troubled, but the lyrics work well enough.

"I know a girl who you've got to keep on eye on,
I know a girl who you've got to keep an eye on,
Every time she goes outside,
She barely gets home alive,
She's got a problem and she's gonna do something dumb."

Dienstag, 24 November
Less Than Jake, "The Science of Selling Yourself Short" from Anthem (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: My new friends apparently quite dislike my self-depreciating humor—or at least I've always intended it as humor—and have asked me to knock it off. I suppose they think it represents low self-esteem? Sure, I hate myself, but only to the extent that I rue how easy it would have been not to have completely fouled up my life. As with all my friends, I find their genuine affection for me somewhat puzzling, but because it seems to be genuine affection—at least I can discern no plausible outside motive—I've decided to accede to their request. So, for the first time in many, many years, I'm in need of a new shtick. But until then:

"I'm so overdosed on apathy,
And burnt out on sympathy.

Let the meaning slip away,
Lost my faith in another day,
Self-deprecation seems okay,
I never thought I'd make it anyway."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Project OSPREY
I caught the end of a game today, Pittsburgh 68-55 Wichita State. It has begun.

He's Dead, Jim
I saw Slapher Sally, one of the Flint City Derby Girls, in the White Building today, and she asked me about my ankle. Sally's not her real name, but within the world of derby everybody seems to go by their derby nickname rather than have to learn two complete sets of names. I'm going to forgo the Ace bandage tomorrow and see what happens; I've got full extension back, there's just some occasional pain and stiffness.

It's been four weeks (complicated by attending two ska shows within that span). I'm ready for this to be over and done with.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Beirut, "Nantes" via iTunes (Skeeter)

Commentary: I might as well present today's exchange with Skeeter in its entirety:

Skeeter: "'Nantes' by Beirut. Hated it at first, but now can't stop listening. Give it a chance before you give up on it."

Me: "Oddly enough, I find this a much more compelling endorsement than if you'd written simply, 'Love this song, give it a chance.' Will do."

Skeeter: "Odder still, I think I may still hate it, but it's gotten under my skin."

Me: "Now that's quite off putting, because there are few things in the whole world I hate more than the fact that I know all the lyrics to many songs I despise. Nevertheless, by this point I am curious, and shall give 'Nantes' a fair shake."

I've been listening to "Nantes" on repeat, and I don't hate it. But neither do I think it's getting under my skin. Time has yet to weigh in on that score, though.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Explorers Club
No. CLVI - The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Part I: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, & the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Fastball, "The Way" from All the Pain Money Can Buy (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: For whatever reason, I could not get this song out of my head this afternoon when I was finally, finally finishing with the leaves. We always have one tree, one holdout that refuses to drop its leaves until after the first snowfall. But this year the snow did not come abnormally early, thwarting the holdout. Woot!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Victors: Doom Doom Doom
Tuesday morning, one of my two Uncles Bob (my mother's brother, not my mother's sister's husband) offered me a pair of tickets to The Game. Holy wow, I haven't seen the Michigan-Ohio State game with my own eyes in years! I accepted his generosity right away, the potential price of the tickets being all that gave me pause, but by late Tuesday night circumstances compelled Uncle Bob to rescind the offer. He apologized profusely and I had no cause to bear him any ill will; easy come, easy go. Still and all, boy howdy, that would have been something!

For the record, I would have invited The Impossible Ingenue, but in the full knowledge that she'd be working and would thus almost certainly decline. My real plan, then, was to invite Doctor Hee Haw, whom I have not seen in far too long. It would have been classic, Doc!

Ohio State 21-10 Michigan
5-7, Big Ten 1-7

Wisconsin 45-24 Michigan
5-6, Big Ten 1-6

Purdue 38-36 Michigan
5-5, Big Ten 1-5

Illinois 38-13 Michigan
5-4, Big Ten 1-4

Penn State 35-10 Michigan
5-3, Big Ten 1-3

What can I say? I'm sorry I haven't blogged more about the football season. I'm sorry Project MERCATOR prevented me from watching several of this season's games. I'm sorry a year in which we all expected to make a great leap forward ended up resembling (and I'm sorry for the insensitiveness of this reference) the Great Leap Forward. I'm sorry we're terrible.

But I'm not sorry for believing in Rich Rodriguez. Lloyd Carr liked to use the words of Rudyard Kipling as instruments in his job, which he saw as not so much to coach football as it was to guide boys into honorable manhood. So, in defense of Coach Rodriguez, I submit some words of Rudyard Kipling's, from the poem "If—," the pattern after which I am attempting to lead my own life:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!

Go Blue!

I had mobile telephone conversations this afternoon with my erstwhile best friend, K. Steeze, and The Guy, seeking their counsel on how, or even if, I should pursue The Impossible Ingenue. Each handled the imposition with aplomb and I thank them for their sage words. I am tremendously fortunate to have such friends. Thank you, kind sirs.

I was out late Thursday night (more to follow) and out late Friday (the second consecutive Friday spent at The Impossible Ingenue's house), but mercifully The Anonymous Friend had to postpone the poker night scheduled for this evening. Instead, I washed up after some post-game leaf-raking (during which I had the confabs with the aforementioned trio of advisers), ate a delicious home-cooked meal, washed the dishes from same, and caught up on the Monk and White Collar episodes I taped during the last two Fridays spent with The Impossible Ingenue. There are tentative plans to see a movie tomorrow with The Most Dangerous Game, and I hope to corner her into a serious conversation about what's been bedeviling her, though she is by turns evasive and vague when the discussion turns to anything substantive.

World of woe, I'm even farther behind on entries in my journal than I am on posts to The Secret Base. Cursed twenty-four-hour day!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" from A Saturday Tradition (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Go Blue!

Freitag, 20 November
The Puppini Sisters, "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" from The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Swing dance lesson with The Impossible Ingenue: free. The opportunity to dance with The Impossible Ingenue: priceless.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Blink-182, "Dammit" from Dude Ranch (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Today began in a dark abyss. It ended on a high peak, under Orion's Belt. The baleful tone of this R.B.D.S.O.T.D. reflects the morning's suffering, as well as my continued concern for my friend, The Most Dangerous Game. Alas and alack, you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

"The steps that I retrace,
The sad look on your face,
The timing and structure,
Did you hear he fucked her?
A day late, a buck short,
I'm writing the report
On losing and failing.
When I move, I'm flailing now."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Project MERCATOR: Three Four Days of the Condor
I regret sincerely the lack of bloggy blogging, dear readers. This weekend's originally scheduled "Three Days of the Condor" left me as depleted as I'd anticipated and feared, only then to extend into a fourth post-midnight night on Monday. I didn't leave the house last night, but I still managed to get dragged into the middle of a lengthy, late-night squabble between The Most Dangerous Game and The Impossible Ingenue, one that robbed me of the rest on which I'd been counting. I truly did not want to go out tonight, but was compelled by a sense of obligation and duty (trouble a'brewin' about which I shan't elaborate tonight).

There is a long-scheduled dinner tomorrow evening, I have aspirations of taking The Impossible Ingenue out dancing on Friday, and The Anonymous Friend invited me to a "poker" (Texas Hold 'Em) night at his apartment on Saturday. No rest for the wicked, though I'm starting to feel profoundly unsettled by all of this socializing. It's gone too far too fast, MERCATOR has vastly exceeded expectations, and equilibrium must be reestablished.

"Too much too soon, too little too late."
—Less Than Jake, "The State of Florida" from GNV FLA

Thursday's my earliest morning of the week, and I shan't sleep well tonight; so, again, I haven't the time to tell the tale properly. The Reader's Digest version: since the Miracle Ball not quite a fortnight hence, I've been debating which sister to pursue, The Impossible Ingenue or The Most Dangerous Game? There are a million reasons why neither would date me, but that's neither here nor there, I was—I am—determined to do my very best to woo one of them. But which?

The Impossible Ingenue. I'm going to play the long game, I'm going to play all the angles, I'm not going to give her a fighting chance. I'm going to live by Sir Ernest Shackleton's family motto, "By endurance we conquer." I'm going to achieve the impossible.

I'm going to achieve the impossible.

The Stars My Destination
Godspeed, Atlantis! and

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
The Wombats, "Patricia the Stripper" from A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The crucial words are love, loss, & desperation.

Dienstag, 17 November
The Ataris, "So Long, Astoria" from So Long, Astoria (T.L.A.M.)

Montag, 16 November
The Ninjas, "Robot Pirates" from Platypus (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Covered with gusto on Saturday by Gunday Monday, one of the seven ska bands!

Sonntag, 15 November
The Loose Ties, "Becca's Song" from the The Loose Ties E.P. (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Flint-based ska!

Samstag, 14 November
The Forces of Evil, "Fight" from Friend or Foe? (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: One night. Seven ska bands. Too much fun.

"How come nobody plays ska anymore?
I guess they all forgot what we were fighting for.
They're grown up now and they want to be respected,
And be a part of the business we rejected.
I liked things how they used to be
And now I'm doing what I can to save the scene.

You've got to fight for your right to skank,
You've got to fight for your right to skank,
We can't do it on our own
So pick up the telephone
And tell your friends they've got to fight to skank!"

Friday, November 13, 2009

Project MERCATOR: Three Days of the Condor
I was up before the crack of dawn and on the road to Lansing for a daytrip with the U of M-Flint Historical Society (formerly the History Club, which was clearly a better name for the group). The Supreme Court Chamber at the Hall of Justice was impressive, most impressive, but clearly the highlight was the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum, now my favorite spot in sacred Michigan's capital.

Afterward, though I considered staying in and turning in as early as possible, I was lured out by the promise of cake, baked by The Impossible Ingenue. I joined her at her home for a pleasant confab, though both of us were clearly bushed and on our last legs. I had an invitation to join The Most Dangerous Game, the soon-to-be codenamed Vanessa, and a horde of others for a late night showing of The Boondock Saints II, but I'm confident I made the right call… even though The Most Dangerous Game just texted me, asking me to come out for a late night bite to eat.

Post actually composed at 1:13 A.M.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Mustard Plug, "Brain on Ska" from Skapocalypse Now! (T.L.A.M.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

He's Dead, Jim
The damnedest thing happened this afternoon. For complex and convoluted reasons into which I've delve another time, I brought into a full run, a sprint. I knew as I did so that it was a bad idea on my ankle, still a bum ankle almost three weeks after it was first injured (Sunday, the 25th of October) and almost two weeks after it was reinjured/separately-but-relatedly injured (Saturday, the 31st of October). But I don't know everything. Something happened when I ran, and now my ankle feels better than it has in almost three weeks. Following Donna M.'s advice of consistently wrapping the ankle in an Ace bandage and putting myself on a regular regime of Extra Strength Bayer Aspirin had eliminated the swelling and most of the pain, leaving a lingering front and back tightness that I, in my eminent medical opinion, suspected was more the result of the Halloween reinjury than the original twisting. That tightness is not completely gone, but only just, the most significant leap in progress since the aspirin lowered the boom on the persistent swelling. How about that?

There will be plenty of skanking on Saturday, skanking in the company of The Impossible Ingenue & The Most Dangerous Game; so, fear not, there are going to be plenty of chances to go for the hat trick of injury and undo all of today's healing. But if this keeps up, I'll have to get back to Operation ÖSTERREICH—or at least the exercise half of ÖSTERREICH, the semi-dieting has continued—as soon as is feasible.

All things medical will henceforth fall under the "He's Dead, Jim" title, based of course upon the timeless words of Doctor Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley), the second greatest physician in the annals of the Federation Starfleet, second only to the eugenic superman Doctor Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig).

Much is afoot—though almost all of it solely in my head—and a lot is happening, but this has been a bear of a week and upon the morrow I'm to embark on a three-day Project MERCATOR smorgasbord that will leave me on the verge of exhaustion. So, though 'tis not my intention to tease, I must for the nonce leave you in ignorance.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Aquabats!, "Ska Robot Army!" from The Return of The Aquabats! (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Two days until my next ska show, the second in a fortnight! Woot!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Armistice Day
Ninety-one years ago today, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Great War ended. As ever, by refusing to commemorate today as Veterans Day, my intention is neither to insult nor to fail to honor America's veterans, merely to preserve this day as the dire warning for all Mankind it is meant to be. Lest we forget, we live, each and all of us, every day in the shadow of the War to End All Wars, and as soon as we forget this we place ourselves on the march right back to the trenches, to the gas, to a world gone mad and drowning in blood. Today is Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, lest we forget.

"God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!"
—Rudyard Kipling, excerpt from "Recessional"

“Have you news of my boy Jack?
Not this tide.
When d’you think that he’ll come back?
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

Has any one else had word of him?
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind—
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!
—Rudyard Kipling, "My Boy Jack"

Lest we forget.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of Armistice Day
Wilfred Owen, "The Parable of the Old Man and the Young" from The Pity of War: Songs and Poems of Wartime Suffering (T.L.A.M.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I have not time for the tale of last Friday's ball—the events leading up to it and the evening after—but continued withholding of the photographs from the evening would be a betrayal of the considerable patience you, my treasured readers, have always extended me. As ever, we make use of codenames here at The Secret Base not because I am any great fan of anonymity (note that all fare is posted under my name, Mike Wilson, though I do acknowledge that there is a certain anonymity in my name's commonality) but because in the past requests have been made to protect the identities of my kith & kin, the innocent, as it were. I have the freedom to be cavalier with myself and myself alone, hence the codenames (but not for all, bit players will be identified solely by Christian name). Plus, come on, codenames are awesome!

The Most Dangerous Game—she whom I pursued, fruitlessly, this past summer in "Prelude to Project PANDORA"
The Impossible Ingenue—my date for the evening, and The Most Dangerous Game's younger sister
The Last Angry Man—your humble narrator, the chump lucky enough to have The Impossible Ingenue on his arm

Enjoy! (click on photos to enlarge)

The Impossible Ingenue & The Last Angry Man

Believe it or not, The Impossible Ingenue is even more beautiful in person.

From left to right: Scott & Vanessa; The Most Dangerous Game & her platonic date, John; The Impossible Ingenue & her platonic date, The Last Angry Man.

How impossibly cool is The Impossible Ingenue? She's made this photo her Facebook portrait.

The Most Dangerous Game


Vanessa, The Most Dangerous Game, & The Last Angry Man

An unfortunate, transitional facial expression, frozen in time.

Vanessa & the always dignified, always poised Last Angry Man.

"I hate to see you leave, but I love watching you go." Mercifully, you can't really see that I'm lifting up the tail of my suit coat to give the camera a full view of my arse.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "That Boy Could Dance" from In 3-D (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: And now you see why I could not resist the selection of "The Lady in Red" as Friday's R.B.D.S.O.T.D.

"I'll never forget,
The way you look tonight."

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Explorers Club
No. CLV - Daedalus, architect of the Labyrinth, & his son, Icarus.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Forces of Evil, "Dance the Night Away" from Friend or Foe? (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I am sorry, dear readers. I had such grand plans for The Secret Base this evening, such grand plans, but there are not hours enough in the day. And my Christmas list was already two weeks overdue; so, when it came time to subject the clock to triage, "The Explorers Club" and a recounting of the latest project MERCATOR news could not take priority. May the anticipation of what is to come brighten your Monday.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Avril Lavigne, "Girlfriend" from The Best Damn Thing (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I'm hatching a scheme. It's a bad idea, a bad, bad idea. I don't mean it's malevolent—though it is, sort of, yeah, no, it is—I mean this idea is all but certain to end in tears. Most especially mine own. And I'll almost surely go through with it. Scheme!

Samstag, 7 November
Edna's Goldfish, "Veronica Sawyer" from The Elements of Transition (T.L.A.M.)

Freitag, 6 November
Chris de Burgh, "The Lady in Red" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Cheesy, I know, but you'll understand how I couldn't resist once you see the photographs from Friday's ball.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shades of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, tonight I am going to escort a devastatingly beautiful girl to an honest-to-Bog charity ball. Further shades of Bruce Wayne, romance isn't on the evening's itinerary. Live by the analogy, die by the analogy.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Donnerstag, 5 November
The Black Kids, "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You" via iTunes, Single of the Week (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I knew this was going to happen, but that does precious little to soften the blow: even all these months later, being The Most Dangerous Game's friend is killing me.

I'm bitin' my tongue,
He's kissin' on you,
Oh, why can't you see?"

Mittwoch, 4 November
Reel Big Fish, "Take On Me" (live) from Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album, Disc 1: More Shtick Than You Can Shake a Stick At (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: To be played only at maximum volume.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Operation AXIOM & Project MERCATOR
Welcome back, Halloween! This year marked the first time I put on a costume and went out on All Hallow's Eve since '01 or '02, a costume party at "the Cove" with Mrs. Sacramento, then Never Girl, as my platonic date. I wore my Aqua-Cadet uniform (and it is a uniform, not a costume) on Halloween in '06 & '07, but only to pass out candy to all the wee trick-or-treaters. If I recall correctly, last year my newly busy schedule allowed this night of rollicking revelry to sneak up on me, and any desire to throw together a costume at the last minute was hamstrung by a lack of potential destinations. What, after all, is the point of getting all dressed up with nowhere to go?

This year, circumstance conspired in my favor. I was not favored with any invitations to Halloween parties, but that's just as well as I would have been forced to decline, for this year I was favored with a rare privilege. This year, I went to a show. And not just a show, a ska show! I went alone, yes, but am budding pals with a lad in the ska band, The Loose Ties. As if seeing a thriving local ska band wasn't treat enough, The Loose Ties were all wearing Star Wars costumes! Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo & Chewbacca, Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi (that was my pal, I asked which Obi-Wan he was, and he said original trilogy), a Jawa, a Jedi from Attack of the Clones (the only prequel trilogy costume), and the lamest Darth Vader I've ever seen. Star Wars and ska? Pinch me!

For myself, for my first non-Captain Thumbs-Up get-up, I went as the H1N1 swine flu. I wish I could take credit for such a fabulous idea, but I adapted/ripped off the idea from The All-American Boy, who thought to costume himself as S.A.R.S. when that was the looming apocalyptic plague du jour. I took a white T-shirt and wrote upon it, front and back and on both sleeves, in large red letters, "H1N1," and wore a name tag that read, "Hi! My Name Is SWiNE FLU." I wished to pair this with a pig snout, ears, and a squiggly tail, but, alas, I could not find one in any of the nightmare-inducing—though not for the reason they'd hope—local Halloween stores. I could have ordered all I needed from ye olde internets, but I left it for too late; there simply wasn't sufficient time. So, I substituted a cheap breathing mask and latex gloves to complete the ensemble. It wasn't ideal, but such a costume is always more about attitude than accoutrements.

The right kind of people thought it was a great costume, the wrong kind looked away nervously, and all in all I'd call the evening—the costume, the music, the camaraderie—a smashing success. Nevertheless, I am irked by the pig snout failure and am determined not to be caught flatfooted again next year. I've already three costumes in the works, at three different levels of required preparation: one I could throw together on the day-of if need be; one that hearkens back to the halcyon days of cardboard box costumes and would require a significant but reasonable amount of D.I.Y. prep; and one, The Sandman (Wesley Dodds, specifically from Sandman Mystery Theatre), that requires both bought costume pieces and D.I.Y. props. I have on hand the gas mask I'll need, and in the shower on Sunday I had a breakthrough on how I could manufacture the necessary gas gun. Perhaps not next year, but sooner rather than later I'll haunt the dreams of the guilty as… The Sandman!

In other Project MERCATOR news, I was invited out for sushi last night, only the second time I've ever had it. Sushi's fine, I've no objection to eating raw crab & eel & octopus, but I really fail to see what people love about it. If we hadn't been there specifically for the sushi, I'm sure I'd have enjoyed a cooked steak dish far more than the sushi. However, we had a grand time sharing off the big, communal plate, never quite sure what kind of sushi we were eating. 'Twas a balanced group, two guys and two dolls, but the girls were oft engaged in their own confab and for the life of me I could not get the other chap to utter more than a handful of words. So, I joined the girls and we largely ignored him. Things took a turn for the worse near the end, when both girls compared the sensation they experience after eating sushi to the afterglow of sexual congress. They kept at it and I squirmed prudishly all through the ride back to the parking structure in which I'd left Lumi, and though both girls wanted to keep the night going and I, for the most part, find them charming company, I bowed out and slunk home. *shudder*

Codename: CHAOS
By this point in time, The All-American Boy is a physician; mayhap his Secret Base codename, infrequently used as it is, should reflect this achievement? The All-American Doctor? Dr. All-American Boy? Yeah, probably Dr. All-American Boy. (Note: The All-American Boy should not be confused with The Boy, nor The Boy with The Guy.)

21st Century Bread & Circuses
I have finally taken advantage of my longstanding option to "upgrade" my mobile phone (also known as a cell phine). There are both pros and cons to my new phone compared to my old phone. PRO: My new mobile is equipped with a "qwerty" keyboard for quicker, easier text messaging. CON: Though I have no experience with crack cocaine and would not even know where to purchase crack cocaine were I so inclined, I'm comfortable positing that the qwerty keyboard is as addictive as crack cocaine. In Ohio, I was mocked for texting "like a teenager." PRO: Vibrate! My old mobile was a primitive little thing; it had the ability to vibrate, but had no vibrate mode. Vibrate could only be accessed in conjunction with setting the ringer to the highest volume, so that when the phone rang it seemed a little bit like the end of the world. (These are the settings to which my mother, who has the same model mobile as my old mobile, keeps her phone set.) CON: The alarm clock feature is deficient. Gone are my primitively rendered versions of classical music standards and in their place are horrific quasi-hip hop and electronica tunes. To this point, I'm still using my old mobile as an alarm clock, in conjunction with my two clock-radio alarms. (I sleep like a log. I kid you not, I was once kicked in the head while sleeping on the floor and continued to slumber peacefully as if nothing had happened.) PRO: The new mobile has slightly better reception than the old, though the universality of Verizon's service is greatly exaggerated in their advertisements. CON: The battery does not seem quite up to the job of the frequent text messaging. I'm not recharging the phone everyday, but I am doing so more often than with the old mobile.

PRO: My new mobile is, like the old, a flip phone, and with its larger size even more closely resembles an Original Series Star Trek Communicator. The more akin to Captain Kirk the better. CON: "Khaaaaan!"

Vote For Kodos
'Tis Election Day (woot!), but in an off-off-year (feh). That said, it will be most interesting to see if our charlatan president's parade of horrors will be sufficiently horrifying to enough of the body politic to cripple his agenda in next year's mid-terms before the Chicago mob is able to enact into law the full horror of the parade of horrors. For the sake of our nation, our children, and the world, let us hope the full horror of the parade of horrors never sees the light of day.

One year on, I wonder how many of you realize you were Obamboozled?

Coming Attractions
"The Victors" - doom doom doom
"This Week in Motorsport" - the Brazilian & Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, and the end of my first F1 season (F1 Y1?)

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Aquabats!, "The Thing on the Bass Amp!" from The Aquabats! vs. The Floating Eye of Death! and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 1 (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

The financial aspect of CADMUS will take a large step forward with tomorrow's outgoing mail; one of my major creditors will have been paid in full. Now on to the next.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Barenaked Ladies, "Who Needs Sleep?" from Stunt (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: This is me, raising my hand to signal that I need sleep.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Explorers Club
No. CLIV - Theseus, Part II: Trouble with the ladies—Helen of Troy, Hippolyta of the Amazons, & Phaedra—and time imprisoned in Hades.

Operation AXIOM
Today 'twas the Feast of All Saints, the morrow bring the Feast of All Souls. Say a prayer for all your departed kith & kin, that the Lord God might have mercy on their souls, forgive them their sins, and allow them into His Presence.

Things took a most unexpected twist this past week. When I attended the Women's Flat Track Roller Derby Club basketball game on the Wednesday before last—recounted in this past Wednesday's Project MERCATOR update—a chap invited me to take a more active role in the club, which is one and the same with the Flint City Derby Girls, by becoming a referee. As I could not think of a good reason to decline his invitation, I accepted, though I cautioned him that as my family would be returning from out of state on the date of the next practice—last Sunday, 25 October—I very well might not be able to attend until the following Sunday—today. But when I called him from the road the confirm that I wouldn't be able to attend the 6:00 P.M. practice, he cheerfully informed me the session had been moved to 9:00; to my chagrin, I would be able to attend. I may recount the experience in fuller detail later, but for now suffice it to say that I made it out of the experience alive, though not whole, and I can't wait to give it another try!

In the course of one or more of my several falls, I twisted the high holy heck out of my right ankle. (I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on T.V.; so, I can't be more medically specific than that.) That it was the awkwardness of the falls, not the skating itself, that injured my ankle is evidenced by the perfect condition of my left ankle. I've limped around for the last week, though my not at all selfish and self-absorbed father didn't notice until today. My ankle is stiffest and most painful in the mornings, but improves throughout the day. My ankle improved steadily throughout the week, but Operation ÖSTERREICH has still been derailed all this time. But with my ankle on the mend life was returning to normal…

…Until last night. I went to the ska show telling myself that I was not going to skank. The crowd was sure to be small, the chances of attaining the critical mass necessary for dancing seemed slight. Plus, the layout of the KIVA room, a series of broad, carpeted steps, did not seem as if it would be conducive to dancing. I thought I'd stand and sway and clap and hoot and holler. But, then came the third song, "Becca's Song," and I felt compelled to skank. I got up from my seat on one of the broad, carpeted steps, shuffled off to the side where there would be no danger of accidentally kicking anyone in the head, and began to skank. Even as I danced, I felt the week's healing of my right ankle coming undone, yet I kept going. Even though my ankle surged with pain every time my right foot came down, it felt so great to be skanking again! (I had not skanked at a show in over two years, not since the Reel Big Fish-Less Than Jake-Blue Tree Whacking extravaganza of August '07: Wayback Machinelink. Too damn long.)

Last night and this morning, my ankle felt worse than it had last Sunday or last Monday morning, worse than it had at any earlier point in the injury. I mowed the lawn today, picking up leaves, which I expected to be sheer murder. Instead, I sit here feeling much improved. Make no mistake, I am still injured, and my ankle is clearly more injured than it was yesterday afternoon before the show & the skanking, but I am astonished by the progress since this morning; Mass was a particular chore, the Catholic ceremony being so full of elevation and orientation changes (sit, stand, sit, stand, kneel, stand, process, kneel, sit, stand). The morning, should it follow pattern, bring a regression into stiffness and tenderness, but more progress should be made throughout the day.

Science! & Operation AXIOM
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration gets into the spirit of Halloween: exoplanetarylink.


The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Real Can of Yams, "Shiver Me Timbers" from CODENAME: Koala (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I am so proud to have been a part of this madness.

"A bottle of run, a keg of ale,
Look out, boys, we're settin' sail!
Grab your sword and grab your gun,
A pirate's life is so much fun!"

Samstag, 21 Oktober
Michael Jackson, "Thriller" from Thriller (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: In the year in which we lost the King of Pop and by that loss gained a new appreciation for why he'd been the King, really, what other song could have been Halloween's R.B.D.S.O.T.D.?

"And grisly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom.
And though you fight to stay alive,
You body starts to shiver.
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the Thriller."


Freitag, 30 Oktober
They Might Be Giants, "Why Must I Be Sad?" from John Henry (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Really, by Friday I had shaken Thursday's funk, but I'd already selected "Why Must I Be Sad?" as Friday's R.B.D.S.O.T.D. and saw no sufficient reason to make a change. Plus, "Why Must I be Sad?" isn't even really about sadness; so, weeeeee!

"So I'm writing everything down in a spiral notebook." Like my journal!