Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

1/30/2004

Open Letter to non-Minnesotan world

Please don't come here. It's nothing personal, but I don't think you'd like it. This morning when I was trying to start my car it was twenty below--and that's not with the windchill, which is minus 43 below. I had a large block of snow-slush-compressed to ice right on the inside of the tire space (I don't know what that's called). Normally, I can just kind of break it off with one swift kick. It took me pretty much 2 days, off and on, to finally get it off. When I did, I had a large chunk of a material that, when I threw it at the concrete below me, didn't even dent or break off even a teeny bit. I've sold it to a gemcutter in Lagos, so it's not all bad. So, the moral: don't come here at least until May, and even then you're pushing it.

1/28/2004

Dazz is the Creepiest. Mascot. Ever.

1/23/2004

Don't get me wrong--some Deaniacs are some of the most annoying, self-righteous people on God's green earth.

As one Dean supporter writing a comment on the Daily Kos notes:

Dean has lost several endorsements and supporters. i find these people the lowest form of scum on the planet.

Not Republicans. Not Klansmen. Democrats deciding to, you know, democratically support another candidate because of a Dean tank job are the lowest scum on the planet. Alrightey.

Even much of the constructive criticism that the more level headed Dean supporters give gets sneered at by the Kool Aid Kids. It's pretty sad, actually--and it's not even Dean, per se, but the more, er, ardent of his supporters (a minority, but a SIZEABLE minority) who are all too happy to point the finger with one hand and pat themselves on the back with the other.

Showdown at the Kool Aid Corral!

Also, there's a fine line between "You have the power" and "Everyone hates you!"

And a final memo: "Perfect Stormers" is motherfucking creepy.

My friends (and I mean that figuratively and literally), I think Dean, the man, is a pretty viable candidate. But his campaign infrastructure has been built on hagiographical fundraising, the ephemera of Internet trolling disguised as "activism," and a sense of hermetics as a strength, not a weakness. The internet, for all of its talk as an open system, actually behaves like a closed system for all intents and purposes. Linking and bookmarking closes the system incrementally. Friendstering for Dean will only bring in people who think like you.

Which is all well and good, but it doesn't win Ohio.

Direct from the White House:

Remarks by the President to the Press Pool
Nothin' Fancy Cafe
Roswell, New Mexico

11:25 A.M. MST

THE PRESIDENT: I need some ribs.

Q Mr. President, how are you?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm hungry and I'm going to order some ribs.

Q What would you like?

THE PRESIDENT: Whatever you think I'd like.

Q Sir, on homeland security, critics would say you simply haven't spent enough to keep the country secure.

THE PRESIDENT: My job is to secure the homeland and that's exactly what we're going to do. But I'm here to take somebody's order. That would be you, Stretch -- what would you like? Put some of your high-priced money right here to try to help the local economy. You get paid a lot of money, you ought to be buying some food here. It's part of how the economy grows. You've got plenty of money in your pocket, and when you spend it, it drives the economy forward. So what would you like to eat?

Q Right behind you, whatever you order.

THE PRESIDENT: I'm ordering ribs. David, do you need a rib?

Q But Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: Stretch, thank you, this is not a press conference. This is my chance to help this lady put some money in her pocket. Let me explain how the economy works. When you spend money to buy food it helps this lady's business. It makes it more likely somebody is going to find work. So instead of asking questions, answer mine: are you going to buy some food?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, good. What would you like?

Q Ribs.

THE PRESIDENT: Ribs? Good. Let's order up some ribs.

Q What do you think of the democratic field, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: See, his job is to ask questions, he thinks my job is to answer every question he asks. I'm here to help this restaurant by buying some food. Terry, would you like something?

Q An answer.

Q Can we buy some questions?

THE PRESIDENT: Obviously these people -- they make a lot of money and they're not going to spend much. I'm not saying they're overpaid, they're just not spending any money.

Q Do you think it's all going to come down to national security, sir, this election?

THE PRESIDENT: One of the things David does, he asks a lot of questions, and they're good, generally.
____


But instead, let's talk about Yaaaargh!

1/21/2004

-9 as I was driving home today. But the ice palace is pretty much done and I drove past it, and my god.

1/16/2004

Or eminently gropable.

Why Delve into Chess?

Chessbase notes:

Arnold Schwarzenegger loves passing time on film sets playing chess – and he takes the game very seriously. Co-star Nick Stahl reveals that Arnie set up a chess playing haven in his trailer during the shoot of the sci-fi sequel – but he was too intimidated to take on Schwarzenegger at the intellectual game. "Arnold is a huge chess player. I was too freaked out to play with him, but I was in his trailer and he has two chairs around his chess table, one of which says 'Winner' and one of which says 'Loser'. And anyone who comes in has to sit in the 'Loser' chair. He takes it quite seriously."

"You want to win or lose?" he (Arnold) says. "You only have two options, so I'd rather win."



Fertile territory to explore how many "prime movers" of the populace, without any conception of Gray, operate and machinate. You're either an alpha or you're "mated."

1/15/2004

btw, have you heard of my band?

(this is probably bad blogging narcissism form to discuss this kind of stuff. but...what's scary is Ptarmigan comes up #1 for searches of the word "DeNiro." I understand, I guess, this blog coming up #1 for searches of the word ptarmigan. That kind of makes sense in terms of the celebrity of ptarmigans. But the other is still kind of bizarre).

Who gave up art for chess, at any rate.

"the safe-deposit vault replaces the may night. how sweetly and plaintively the nightingale sings down there while man is studying the stock-market. what a heady scent the lilac gives forth down there. man's head and reason are gelded, and are trained only in a certain kind of trickery." --Hans Arp

1/12/2004

Boy, do I love this poem. Good times, kids, good times.

And also on science fiction pulps, an interview with Bruce Sterling via Bookslut):
---
reason: Blogging seems to have taken a place in the culture that used to be occupied by fanzines, and maybe by the science fiction magazines.

Sterling: It had its apotheosis in people like Cory Doctorow [author of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom] and other writers who really aren’t that interested in the old paper world. Cory actually publishes stuff electronically, and blogging is his Weird Tales. He is of a generation sufficiently divorced from the old pulps that he’s the dolphin among mesosaurs here. [those dolphins! but not like those smarmy fuckers in the David Brin novels! --Ptar.]

reason: It seems strange to go to the newsstand and see the lone science fiction magazine.

Sterling: It’s been anachronistic since World War II. These are the last surviving pulps. I love them dearly.

There’s nothing holy about them. Like all forms of media, they are very dependent on their technological circumstances. The transformation comes when the people who understood what it was like die.
---

Sterling's writing is actually a good lens in which to view the aforementioned Kasey's. Schismatrix, indeed:

"Smear the door with contract venom." (Sterling, "Twenty Evocations," 1984)

This is a very bloggy post by me, isn't it? Highly unusual!


1/09/2004

"But in the bizarrely punitive world of prisons, self-mutilation and attempted suicide are rules violations rather than cries for help. Tearing sheets into strips to serve as a noose, for example, is 'destruction of state property,' a punishable offense.

"In Illinois, an inmate at Tamms supermax prison who had begun eating the flesh from his own arm was sentenced to one year in an isolation unit. As stated in the technocratic jargon of prison paperwork: 'Offense: 104. Violation: Dangerous Contraband. Comments: Piece of Glass. Final Result: Guilty. Record of Proceedings: Inmate appeared before the committee to address the charges. Inmate stated: "I'm guilty. I was hungry and I was eating my arm that day. I found the piece of glass in my cell after I busted my light out." Disciplinary action: Segregation one year.'"

1/07/2004

Back from Erie. Exhausted, but was a great trip. More later. Have you realized how much Trivial Pursuit has degenerated in the last decade?