Archive for May 22nd, 2008

As the last post clearly shows, I’m brain damaged, wiped, zipped, zapped, zonked, and confused.

Cruel Wife would say that nothing in that sentence distinguishes me from any other time.

And I still fit the description – in that much at least, matters are static. Except that I cannot sleep. I want to sleep but am “buzzed” from the lack of sleep. I once experienced this after a 24 hour data collection cycle that was followed by taking nets off of tanks scattered about the countryside and stowing them. By the time we got done with the nets, we (naturally) had to go get breakfast, and lastly around hour 40-something, back to the hotel room to lie, in futility, staring at the ceiling yearning for sleep.


Oh yes. You all remember the I-parked-the-car-on-the-railroad-tracks-because-the-GPS-told-me-to-so-it-isn’t-my-fault guy, right? He rented a car and then… you know.

Well, one wonders how that could happen. The answer is not going to be found here, so keep wondering. This is a tale of woe. A tale of tragedy. A tale of gut-gnawing fear and loathing.

We got off the plane in City X a few nights ago (Sunday) and proceeded to the Hurtz rental agency to acquire transportation suitable for two men and their luggage (had it been two women their luggage would have required a 15ft truck). Ever the bright spark, I insisted on getting one of them fancy newfangled EverLost GPS units. We took advantage of the intuitive interface and wasted 45 minutes in vain trying to enter the destination into the unit. At one point someone suggested that the “Power” button had not yet been tried and this was met with encouraging results. Once we stopped trying to take advantage of the unit, it relented and accepted the data with all the pomp and circumstance of a five-year-old announcing the next bathroom visit.

As we left the rental lot, the NeverLost Unit (NL, or rather “Nell”, which has a nice ring to it)… Nell says “Make a right turn immediately. Make a right turn immediately. Make a right turn immediately.” We chose to disregard that imperative because we were still inside of a concrete-walled garage. I think we did the right thing. See, we didn’t HAVE to do what Nell said. A lot of people think it’s opposable thumbs that separate us from the animals. Others think it is the use of toilet paper. Still others (me) that think it is because we cook other animals with fire. But another blindingly brilliant indicator of our fitness to be separate from animals is that we don’t turn our cars into cement walls like a common Lemuridae or Mustelidae when told to. We’re better than that. We crash into fire hydrants when watching chicks in miniskirts walking down the street.

So, we pull out of the garage being careful to stifle the urge to flaunt the sign that says “Warning, do not back up or STD will result”. (STD = Severe Tire Damage)

A quarter-mile long road and Nell is bellowing directions: <bing bong> Right turn in 1/4 mile, straight ahead. <bing bong> Right turn 1/4 mile, straight ahead. Gee dude, where are we supposed to go now? Uh, how about we turn right up there? Oh, ok. Why I felt a need to verify every directive with my own paper map – continuously rotating it to register it’s orientation with the digital map Nell was showing us – I don’t know. I’m a Luddite – perhaps that influenced me.

<BING BONG> Right turn then turn LEFT after 1/2 mile. <BING BONG> Wild boar roadkill 1/3 mile ahead, ease left. <BING BONG> Wild boar roadkill…

It went on like this for 50 minutes, even to the point of Nell leading us around in little pink lines criss-crossing all over the place in some strange sort of Brownian motion about the actual location of the hotel. I began to wonder if in Nell’s version of the universe, our hotel had somehow succumbed to the much-larger-than-quantum-scale variant of Heisenberg’s Principle.

Another clickabiggered pic…

We knew our exact velocity (awful damned slow, at rest, nearly) and therefore we had NO business even guessing where the hotel actually was, because we didn’t even know where WE were.

Moral of this overlong windy story: Nell will not save you from Heisenberg. You WILL get to your hotel sometime after 1AM in spite of all efforts to the contrary.

You will get to your ACTUAL ROOM sometime after 2:15AM, except the fleabag hotel you were assigned to initially puts you in a room that is the new breeding ground for a radiation-resistant strain of black mold, and you must Make A Scene in order to get a room with a Breathable Atmosphere™ (which will “cost extra”). If the fleabag hotel were a cat, it would have looked like this:

* Fleabag portrayed by Silver d’Cat, shown here imitating a furry sausage

By 2:45AM you are now in just such a higher-class room, permeated with a marginally breathable atmosphere and a lot of bitter feelings. The comforter on the bed is safely thrown in a corner of the room and weighted down under plastic to isolate the parasites crawling upon it, and at some point after 3:15AM, you realize that yes, you have to get up at 5:45AM to get ready for the conference.

Mission Accomplished. The beginning of a great week has… begun.



We’ve been hearing about how the population of polar bears is in grave peril, similar to what is shown in the picture below… Here a bear is suffering from some sort of groin irritation.

(photo taken from Fox News, credited there to Arne Naevra)

But this does not gel with other information, namely that the polar bear population has been increasing throughout the last 40 years (through the horrible global-[insert choice]-ing that is going on as we speak.  (choices are “warm”, “cool”, “invariance”, “fizzle”, etc.)

For fun I include a Spiked article.  There, they say a lot of things that I would say in rebuttal, so it saves me from having to write it.

My only beef with what they wrote is how they used the word “decimate”.  Decimate comes from the Latin “decimatio” which means to remove a tenth.  This was a Roman punishment wherein soldiers who were to be punished faced a removal of one-tenth their number, by death.  It is one of my great pet peeves that people choose to use the word “decimate” when they clearly mean to use the word “obliterate”.

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