[Poem] Ode to a cup of Coffee


nectar of the gods

that which brings the mind awake and causes the hands to shake

so good in so many ways

espresso, mocha, straight-up, iced


home brewed

caffine, caffine, caffine

sweet bitterness when alone

bitter sweetness when combined




other things nice

too much and the mind won't rest

not enough and the pain's a pest

tea is not so much for me (though it is quite nice)

I'd much prefer a cup of coffee.


[Politics] Politics A-go-go

[Begin rant]

MN Constitutional amendment for Gas tax increase. Here's my take, how about you just RAISE THE TAX! Do we seriously need a State constitutional amendment for a tax increase so that you can say in 2006 'I didn't raise taxes.' when in fact you did in the form of fees, amendments, and property taxes (Cities and municipalities have to pay for basic services somehow). Thank you Pawlenty for bankrupting our State. We better hurry though, soon Bush will sign that law that will make it harder to file. Here a hint for you Pawlenty, start figuring out what you are going to do in 2007. Because it will not be as Govenor. MN has a history of not re-electing Govenors who do not take care of business and who stand on the 'No New Taxes' platform. A government casino is not the answer. The answer, sooner or later, whether you like it or not, will be an increase in taxes. The standard of living is slipping, our public education is slipping and our public safety (among others) is slipping because you refuse to raise taxes and pay for services. You are passing the buck, big-time and soon people will figure this out.

[End rant]

Ah, I feel much better now.


Lucas, Star Wars, genre, sadness

On May 19th, the third of six and in all liklihood, final regular episode of the Star Wars film sextet will be released. As a great fan of genre (science fiction and fantasy), I must say I look to this with a certain sad resignation.

What fascinating world George Lucas created in my childhood, I now realize in my adult years that he did so largely by accident. The first Star Wars film, while not novel in any storytelling, was a pure creative icon, and the birth of modern science fiction on film. Taking Campbellian heroes and archetypes, and in turn using them to craft a scifi homage to Kurosawa's films, among other influences, Lucas created the most memorable films of my childhood. The follow-up, Episode V, was perhaps an even better film. Note that this is the film that Lucas had the least role in. Since then, his films have gone downhill. Episode VI was childish in many regards, and pointless in its redemption plotline, due to the lack of (pretty stupid) backstory that would follow in Episodes I and II. George Lucas' idiotic two-dimensional morality, obsession with drag racing, inability to see why his Campbellian 'heroes' are the way they are, the inability to pick a hero in the most recent two films, and a score of other problems has lead to a franchise that is at best damaged goods. David Brin


has already made some excellent points. When you strip away the almost unbelievable (and sometimes quite unbelievable - see Yoda turbo midget ninja) technical prowess with digital effects in the most recent spate of films, you end up with films not many levels beyond B-grade horror, bad sweaty epics, or even Plan 9 from Outer Space. The characters are flat, unnuanced, flawed, yet take the roles of redeemable demigods. I can look back to The Phantom Menace and the only thing I found compelling was the skill with which (Scotsman Martial Arts Expert) Ray Park [aka Darth Maul] could move. The difference in disappointment between the Star Wars films and, say, The Matrix, was that the coolness of ANH and ESB had almsot twenty years to gel in my head, whereas the Matrix produced one great film, one bad film, and one film I have refused to see since I heard it was even worse than film two.

This brings me to some of the problems of science fiction in general. There seems to be a certain opinion that you can forgo plot, characters, and all the things that make up drama, and in their place put CGI porn. George Lucas' legacy may end up being ILM more than any film he made. There have been scores of uncompelling science fiction worlds on film, and reliance on computer rendered explosions to draw audiences is a major reason why. The best science fiction has been niche in recent years. I'll leave my 'sad resignation' over Star Trek for another day.

Having watched the trailer, I have no doubt that Episode III will be much of the same. Flat acting, CGI candy, and a whole lot of story to get through with a director who seems not up to the task. At least it is nice to see Christopher Lee getting some work.

So, do I go?

Yeah, as much as I don't want to enable George Lucas and Fox with my $9, I need some closure (not something I usually desire). If it is the final nail in the coffin of my rosier memories of Luke and Han (shoots first!) and Leia, then so be it.

Oh, and please note that "Serenity", likely to be a far better scifi film out Septmeber 30, was supposed to be out around the same time and moved its release because of not wanting to compete with Lucas' overblown gasbag franchise finale. Perhaps there is a future for science fiction, one that has compelling flawed heroes and good storytelling. But it is not likely to be Star Wars, and perhaps that is a lesson to learn from this.

[Conversation] Overhead at Peace Park Plaza, Rochester MN

Subjects: two males, approximately 18 years of age, of the 'jock' phenotype

Subjects were monitored from a distance of approximately 3m while waiting for a street light to change. Subjects were sitting on a bench loudly discussing a topic. Conversation lasted approximately 30 seconds. Cryptographic analysis of the conversation has only been partially successful in decoding the contents of the conversation.

Transcript of conversation:

Jock 1 (Subject A): "Fuck this fucking sucks! Fuck this fucking thing...I mean fuck!"

Jock 2 (Subject B): "Yeah, no shit dude, no shit."

Jock 1 (Subject A): "Fuck these fucking things, I mean what the fuck?"

Jock 2 (Subject B): "Yep, no shit dude."

Cryptographic Analysis:

Jock 1 (Subject A): "So you see, I think what Shakespeare was trying to do with 'MacBeth' was more trancendental than what is implied in the text."

Jock 2 (Subject B): "I see your point good chap. A very astute observation."

Jock 1 (Subject A): "Quite."

Jock 2 (Subject B): "Word."


[Questionable Medical Device] BIOpro Cell Chip

from (http://www.mybiopro.com/BioProTemplate.aspx?ItemID=667&ID=awengrove)

BIOPRO Cell Chip

Electromagnetic field (EMF) waves negatively affect the human brain and body. Commands transmitted from the brain are executed incorrectly, and tests show that EMF waves radiated by cell phone can even damage DNA! These results are just the beginning, but with the BIOPRO Cell Chip you finally have a way to protect yourself!
  • Ground-breaking invention after 20 years of research
  • Developed by German Scientist
  • Backed by research study from Research Institute for Vital Energetics Germany
  • Based on modern physics' guiding principle of energy and information
  • Reprograms transversal and longitudinal waves of Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from cell-phones
  • Measurably neutralizes the negative effects of EMFs from cell-phones on bio-energetic field of the human body
  • Information permanently stored inside the BIOPRO Chip system, plus the energy of light guarantee flawless and indefinite operation
  • No maintenance necessary – EVER!

As an ex-physics major, I find this hilarious. My favorite part is 'Information permanently stored inside the BIOPRO Chip system, plus the energy of light guarantees flawless and indefinite operation'. It's a sticker, it doesn't do anything. The disclaimer says it all:

"These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and/or technologies listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease."

Back before it closed I went to the 'Musuem of Questionable Medical Devices' where it had on display many, many medical inventions that either didn't work or were harmful to you. Such things as 'Brain Tonic' (irradiated water) and the 'Fat Snapper' (basically a charcoal grill igniter).

Too bad it is no longer open, this would need to be on display there.

[Thing] Chevy Impala

i·ro·ny Audio pronunciation of "irony" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (r-n, r-)
n. pl. i·ro·nies

    1. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
    2. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.
    3. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect. See Synonyms at wit1.
    1. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: “Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated” (Richard Kain).
    2. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity. See Usage Note at ironic.
  1. Dramatic irony.
  2. Socratic irony.
(from http://www.dictionary.com)

I was pondedring this on my walk home from work today. This car seems have an upswing in popularity again and I just seemed to notice it more. I think it is a bit funny. The Chevy Impala has everything the African Impala doesn't, bulk, weight, poor turning, poor acceleration, inability to leap 10m in a single bound. So one is exactly like the other isn't.

Marketing types are responsible for this, and they need to stop.


[Word] Ignorance

from UrbanDictionary.com

1. ignorance
Together with prejudice, the currency of the modern world
Source: sure, Oct 22, 2003


[???] Post your DJ name!

Mine, gifted to me by 'Micky' in 1993 is...'Special K'

(my drag name given to me by another friend in 1998 was 'Ta-Ta')


[Chapter] Dr. Schenk's Aphorisms (abridged)

  • "Mood Yeast" (n.) c. 2005 Mutant yeast created by NerdWife that change color according to their state of happiness in culture
  • "skank honk" (v.) c. 1998 Sounding car horn whilts concurrently yelling 'skank honk' after observation of women dressed skankily
  • "Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf" (exclamation) c. 1995 Appropriate usage includes description of person or as random exclamation during conversation
  • "sit and chit" (v.) c. 1999 Act of being seated while conversing
  • "junk drawer track" (n.) c. 2005 Consolidation of varied, individual, and distinct tracks of study for doctorate degree in idiotic manner
  • "Cells, Bells, and Cockle Shells" (n.) c. 2005 A junk drawer track


[R.I.P.] The Pope is dead...long live the Pope!

I heard sad, but not unexpected news today as to the death of Pope John Paul II.

I was raised Catholic (baptism, first communion, etc.) but I abandoned the Church when I was 11. I didn't (and still don't) like the dogma of organized religion. My spirituality is my own, personal to me and no one else. My issues with g(G)od are between me and g(G)od.

Eventhough I am no longer Catholic (a friend once said 'you are never ex-Catholic, merely a recovering Catholic'), the trappings of ritual of the Church are still with me, in the back of my mind in the sub-conscious. I can't get rid of them, they are a part of me. The Catholic Church is a monolithic religion spanning the globe. The Pope wields immense power and influence. While I do not agree most of the initiatives that John Paul II mandated as Pope (such as the strict adherence to rules against artificial birth control which is a danger in the day and age of AIDS. There is also the 'Culture of Life' thing as well.), he did use some of his papal powers for good. Examples that stand out for me are:

1. The rennouncement of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. I agree with the Holy Father on this one. It was a mistake for us to invade. It has done nothing to make our country more secure, and probably made the world a more dangerous place for us. What happened to bin Laden and that group called Al'Qaeda?

2. He has made efforts to heal some of the rifts between the Jewish faith and Catholicism. He will probably be known as the great reconcilier. The NPR reporter speculated that he will be know as a 'the Great' a title only shared with Leo and Gregory. He was the first Pope to set foot in a Mosque (in Damascus). However he has not had as much luck re-uniting the Western Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches since the Iron Curtain fell and Communism declined. He has also had limited success healing the rift with the Anglican Church due that churches appointment of women as priests. Reconciliations between the major religions is a good thing, as

3. He granted an audience to Bono from U2 to discuss third world debt. Granted Bono did not make much headway, but not just anyone can get a meeting with the Pope. The fact that JP2 would grant an audience with a pop-star in my opinion proves that had an eye on pop-culture, and he made efforts to appeal to a younger generation of the faithful.

He also had his failings and some of his doctrine and dogma has and will prove to be detrimental. But as he just passed, I will not mention those here as history will judge him.

I hope that the next Pope will be more open to the realities of the modern age and help to reform and modernize the Catholic Church. Issues I view important that the next Pope will have to address are the usual; birth control, women as priests, homosexuality, and allowing priests to marry.

Watch for the white smoke over the Sistine Chapel, it means a new Pope has been selected (as the ballots are burned).