Saturday, May 17, 2008

Untidy Saints

The title of this post comes from a vanity license plate that I saw on my drive home yesterday. It said UNTD STS.
I realize that it’s really supposed to mean “United States,” but while my interpretation may be less patriotic, it’s also funnier.
And it would make a good name for a band:

“Hello Madison! We’re Untidy Saints from Weehawken, New Jersey! Are you ready to ROCK?”

I took advantage of today’s respite from the rain to finally mow the lawn again, and to do a bit of hedge trimming.
Afterwards, given that I was up late last night – for no good reason – didn’t sleep well (I don’t really remember the content, but I had a lot of weird dreams involving my dad), and woke up early, I decided to take a nap.
The neighborhood kids and someone playing classic rock decided that they had a different opinion about whether or not I should do that, and eventually I had no choice but to come around to their way of thinking.
And when I say playing classic rock, I mean performing classic rock. Somewhere in the neighborhood there’s live music going on. I wasn’t able to tune it out (no pun intended), even with the windows closed, because whoever is working the sound board is doing a lousy job of it, leading to sudden irregular surges in volume levels.
Having gotten up early this morning, I went out and accomplished a few things before noon, such as buying some new noise-cancelling headphones for next week’s trip home, as my old pair just randomly stopped working on my way bck to VA last year.
I also bought a wall charger for my iPod, as I’d decided not to bring my laptop with me this time around, but needed some way to charge the iPod.
Last night I picked up a large format color printer from Office Depot. I’ve been wanting one for a while, but most of the ones I’ve seen online have been close to $1,000. The one at Office Depot – an Epson – was considerably cheaper.
It’s pretty cool: it can make borderless prints up to 13x19, and the quality of the prints is amazing.
The only real problem is that it’s pretty damn big, and I don’t really have anywhere to put it.
I wanted to get a dedicated photo printer – and if I’m going to go that route, might as well go large format – because my existing all-in-one printer shows a lot of banding if I do photo prints, as there is only a generic Vista driver for it, so I can’t get into any of the advanced printing properties.
I also figure that if I decide to invest any time/effort/money into Heroic Portraits, I can use it to make my own prints for some of the smaller poster-size prints, which saves me a little money.
And of course I can print out some of my own stuff to hang on the walls around here.
(I had been thinking about buying an LCD photo frame – and somewhere along the line I still might – but If I did I’d either have to get something to cover the power cord or start drilling holes in the wall to fish it through. Neither option seems especially appealing.)

It Sure Seems That Way Sometimes Department:
For as often as I complain about how “The Universe did X to me,” the fact of the matter is that I don’t really believe that the things that happen to me are the result of some malevolent force acting against my interests (or, conversely, acting in furtherance of my interests in some Wonderfalls-esque/Rube Goldbergian manner that leads to short-term irritation, but long-term contentment).
I don’t really believe in vague metaphysical forces of any kind – good or ill – as, being vague metaphysical forces, they are beyond our ability to understand or control, so why bother with them?
Oh, sure, there are plenty of people who claim that we can understand and, if not control, at least manipulate or nudge in the right direction, through various methods like meditation, prayer, magic, feng-shui, etc., but I sort of live by the idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
If some “result” of nudging these metaphysical forces can just as easily be explained away by random chance, I’m going to go with random chance every time.
In real life, after all, karma, by way of example, tends not to work quite the way it does on My Name is Earl.
I’m not close-mindedly or dogmatically saying that these forces that people believe in, under whatever name they choose to call them, don’t exist, or telling anyone not to believe in them, but what I am saying is that I’ve yet to be convinced that they do.
Until the manipulation of these forces can be shown to yield results that are reliable, predictable, and sufficiently distinguishable from chance or coincidence, I’m just not going to buy it.
In any case, my actual point here is that when I say “The Universe did X to me,” I’m not expressing an actual belief, but merely using “The Universe” as a rhetorical device, mostly intended to help me focus on the humor at the center of bad or irritating circumstances.
However, there are times when I can almost be convinced that there really is more going on than simple rhetoric.
Case in point: on Wednesday – which can suck it – I ended up having a pretty bad day that made me feel that the forces of the Universe were indeed aligned against me.
In writing up my Wednesday Can Suck It post – and it seriously can suck it; suck it long and suck it hard – I made a reference to Lo Pan, the villain in the classic comedy/adventure Big Trouble in Little China.
While writing the entry, I couldn’t remember if his name was Lo Pan or Lo-Pan (which is what I ended up going with), so I opted to head to IMDb to check.
So I entered Big Trouble in Little China into the search box, and, as is so often the case, was directed to a page with multiple results rather than straight to the Big Trouble entry.
Okay, whatever. No big deal; I’ll just click on the link to the page I want.
I do so, and the page loads – kind of.
All the content on the top and on the left loads just fine, but the area that displays the actual information, such as the Cast, which is what I’m looking for, is blank.
I hit refresh. Same thing.
Try the search again. Same thing.
Click some of the links on the side that provide other views. Content area is still blank.
Okay, maybe IMDb is having issues. I try another search on a movie that I don’t really care about (and can’t remember) and it loads perfectly.
I decide an oblique approach, doing a search on Big Trouble star Kurt Russell. His filmography comes up perfectly. Click on the Big Trouble link.
Click on his movie Superdad, and the page loads normally.
Sighing with irritation, I decide to try locating the filmography of James Hong, the actor who played Lo Pan. After all, I just need to see how he was credited in Big Trouble to get the Lo Pan spelling.
However, I can’t remember his name, but do remember that he was in Wayne’s World 2, so I search for that.
The page comes up.
Same. Fucking. Thing.
Content area is blank.
Finally, I just do a Web search on Lo-Pan, which Wikipedia tells me is the correct spelling, and so I go with that.
(When I get the Big Trouble page to load at work on Thursday, IMDb lists it as Lo Pan, sans hyphen.)
Oh, and now that I no longer require that information, those pages all load normally.
Seriously, what the fuck? How is it that the pages for every damn movie or actor I look up except the specific ones that I’m looking load normally?
How can I not think that there are forces working against me?
So, while I’m still not prepared to accept the notion of vague metaphysical forces, I wouldn’t have a problem if those of you out there who do were to appeal to them to just cut me some fucking slack.

1 comment:

Merlin T Wizard said...

Dear Powers That Be, et. al.,

Please cut Jon some slack. That will be all.