Monday, July 28, 2008

Ted Said Technology is BAD.

Watching History Channel dramatically voiced Unabomber story.
I'm perusing his manifesto after Googling it (perhaps I should have Cuiled it?).
I look over at Pru's laptop. Where she's looking at Kaczynski's wiki page.

We nerds can never return to an encyclopedic world. The internets must go on.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Delicious Mumia-steak

Over the last month a couple of friends have spent the night on our lovely futon. We haven't yet dragged anyone to the bell, but if we ever see it ourselves, it'll probably be because a guest wants to see it. As far as 'things to do in Philly because you are here' go, cheesesteaks have to be pretty high on the list. I have yet only eaten a philly cheesteak in the presence of a visitor. Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks are the cheesesteak shops. Real Philadelphians who don't live a block away all insisit there are better sammiches to be had in a million different locations around the city. Tourists are pointed towards Pat's and Geno's. Two of those times I've been it was in the middle of the night. 24 hour service may be a gimmick, but it's a darn good one.
Pat's and Geno's sit diagonally across from one another on triangular blocks caused by Passyunk, the one diagonal street running through the grid. Pat's is older. Geno's is flashier. A steak sammich come with onions ("wit") or without ("witout"). A steak sammich comes with american cheese, provolone, cheese whiz, or no cheese. To order, you stand in line for upwards of an hour while the people around you quiz you on what you want, and if you know the proper way to order what you'd like when you get there. When it's your turn you say "wit whiz" and three seconds later a made to order sammich is pressed into your hand.

Even though most here have a better shop to buy a steak sandwich from, everyone has an opinion as to which is the better. Almost a Hellman's and Miracle Whip level of distinction. Some claim better service, some better meat cuts, some design aesthetics. On one late night trip, a neighbor was drinking on the stoop as we left and told us not to buy from Geno's because they have a sticker next to the window which says: This is America when ordering "speak English". I shrugged it off. The political opinions of most food establishments does little to deter me. I eat at Sordy's.
There is indeed such a sign. It's mostly goofy. The men on the inside were all wearing shirts with the same slogan on them. Silly Italians. But then I sat to eat my food at the very tip and I noticed the giant sign for slain officer Daniel Faulkner. Included on the sign was the insistence that he was killed by Mumia Abu-Jamal. All I knew about Mumia was that Karl or Eric had worn a Free Mumia shirt in high school and that there was some dispute as to the honesty of the trial that put him away for Faulkner's murder. I was, to tell the truth, a little grossed out.

Yesterday I decided to look this Mumia back up, see what I could learn. He has had enough attention and celebrity to stay in the news and in white liberal college kid's minds for years. I've had a little experience with railroaded justice, and I could easily imagine what could happen to someone the police are intent on holding responsible of killing one of their own. I did set out to see it from Mumia's point of view. I really tried.

Forgive me Geno's, I judged you harshly, I was ill informed. Forgive me Faulkner. There are rumors on the internets that you were in pockets, that you were not straight. Your death covered all that up, as the blue stands behind their own, especially their fallen. Besides the fact you were probably a crooked cop, your death was nothing but tragic. Mumia, congratulations on your prison celebrity. You have very pretty dreds. Now go to hell. There are zero facts defending your position.

Pat's does make a better sammich though.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Today was yet another interview. I'm pretty sure my style of cover letter/resume isn't appreciated by many of the employers who receive it. It's anything but strict. The place I interviewed today was one of those tax-funded employment helping hellholes. The type of place that wants your cover letter to start with the Dear Sir or Madame gobblygook. That wants you to include high school NHS awards. There was a poster on the wall, one of those inspirational posters. The picture was of the sign you see when your road tees into another. The top read Career vs. Job.... After abusing the common ellipse, it assured us wearied job-seekers that it was "A Matter of Choice or a Matter of Chance." Yes indeedy.

Metafilter is a website. It's old. It's blue. The idea was that there are good sites out there. Members were encouraged to post interesting sites they found and discussions would ensue. That's not exactly what happened. I found it in late high school, became addicted with the T1 of freshman year college. Back when Stan Chin was the funniest man I knew. I lurked it pretty faithfully for years. Started an account before it cost money and maybe posted one comment, I can't recall now. It was responsible in a small part for who I became. Politically, in what I looked for in entertainment, in porn, in rights, in art.
It took me a few years to notice how small a large part of the commenters had become. How small as in how petty. Everything was shit upon. Some of you who know me will find this humorous. I'm an avid shitter upon. But Metafilter made cynicism and snark a brand new form of art.
People wear shirts that claim they listen to bands that haven't formed yet. It's that fully earnest form of one-upsmanship that finally soured me on the comments in the blue.

This post is nonsense. I'm trying to put something down. I was offered a PT position writing for a magazine. I want to make sure I'm not dried totally up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cats Eat Fish.

Homer the Bruce is most captivated by our newest household addition, a male Betta named Lou Reed. The cool aquarium bubble was our one housewarming gift. Debates will be had over the completeness of a plastic bubble with one Betta versus additions. Would a Betta like a pretty picture in the background to better rest his eyes? Perhaps some gravel to demonstrate the effects of gravity? A kitty paw to bring out his fighting prowess?

I'd like to design a harness for Lou. A harness to hold a watertight laser pointer.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Reciept Checking Bullshit

Last night I went to Lowe's to get a bunch of minor things for the apartment. Things that normally a landlord would take care of before you move in, but we kinda squeezed ourselves through the gap in the door as the previous tenant left. Leaving the cleaning and minor repairs left to us.
After I bought my items I was rewarded with a Lowe's employee posted to the door to "check my receipt." Poor schmuck.
I somehow have mostly managed to avoid these bad-policy decisions before now. I've heard of them, the internet lets me know what happens to other people. I knew that the internet-agreed-upon response to such an inquiry was "No, thank you." You let them know that you understand their plight with kindness, but do refuse because it's the right thing to do. This from a post years ago about a man stopped by one of these vultures at a Best Buy:
But this verification step is purely voluntary. Merchants basically have two rights covering people entering and exiting their stores. They can refuse to let you enter the premises and/or to sell you anything, and they can place you under citizens arrest for attempting to leave the premises with any property that you haven't paid for. But the second you hand over the appropriate amount of cash, they lose all rights to the items. They can't legally impair you from leaving the store with your property.

Those are your rights. Best Buy guy ended up getting police involved, lawyers. All sorts of fun stuff. But for the most part, this is one of those things - when you can stand up for your rights with the smallest of repercussions, DO IT. Up there with "Am I being detained?" and taking the 5th.

I'm an asshole. Lowe's has a bad policy. She was a kindly looking middle-aged woman. She was required by policy to look, if possible, at my receipt. The people leaving in front of me had exchanged a polite laugh with her. She asked. I gave her an offended look and said "No," rather disgustedly. She simply asked why not to my back and I threw her a "Don't gotta!" over my shoulder. It was very gratifying.