Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Know Lots of Stuff!

I belong to a trivia team (The Fighting Cacti in the Memphis Trivia League) that survived the semi-finals (just barely!) and made it to the finals tonight. We got off to a fair start but thought we were tanking badly in the second round. We missed at least one question in every section of the 5-part round.

We had the same experience in the semi-finals, thinking we were doing badly -- only to learn we were near the top. Well, fearing we weren't even making top ten, we were delighted and shocked when we came in third place! That's out of fifty-odd teams playing in the final. Our team split the $500 prize.

First place -- a team from Little Rock -- won $3000. We were only about 25 points behind them. Had we gotten two or three more answers right in that miserable second round we would have definitely come in second, and maybe third.

Anyway, we were all very surprised and pleased. What will I do with my share of the prize money? Don't laugh but I'll probably get a new pair of glasses and a new mattress for the bed. Yes, such is the glamourous life of Mr. Mike.

Thanks to James, Abe, Matt and Ron for inviting me to join the team. I'm already looking forward to next year.

We also play at the P&H Cafe on Tuesday nights. That trivia contest is a bit different in that there's a $3 buy-in; the winning teams split the money. We almost always come in second or third there -- out of roughly 20 teams. We have yet to take home the first prize, which comes out around $90 or better, but we usually win enough to cover the buy-in and dinner. Come on out and give it a try.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Voter and the Parties

The Small Revenges Are the Best

Via ZGeek:
Today on the way home, I had a cool bus ride. I was sitting in the back of the bus pretending not to see the old lady standing next to me. When I noticed a lady get on the bus with her young child. She was dressed in what I can only call "filthy hippy" and pushing an empty pram while she dragged her child on to the bus.

What I then witnessed was a rare conflict for the spaz spot on the bus. You see, buses here in Sydney had three or more seats on the side of the bus that will either flip up to allow a wheelchair or pram in it.
Or, if the bus is packed. The seats are reserved for the elderly, pregnant or disabled.

In this instance, the seats where occupied by three silver haired old ladies. So for the spaz spot, they technically out ranked the hippy mum. But she wasn't just going to let it slide.

She start telling the driver in a loud enough voice that everyone could hear her, how they are reducing the disabled spots and how the bus should have two disabled zones and how young mothers where so hard done by. I swear, if I had shoes on. I would have thrown one at her head.

So, getting no love from the driver or the elderly. She unfolds her pram and sets it up near the front door way. Just so everyone getting on to the bus had to squish around her pram, one by one and her child wasn't even in it. They where both sitting on a chair while the mother spoke words in a baby voice while the child repeated them back to her with more volume.


This lasted for about twenty minutes until her stop came up. She then pushed the empty pram down the bus to depart by the back door. When she got there the pram rammed into a guy waiting to get out the door.

"You could get out of the way you know"
"This is my stop..."
"I am trying to get out you know..."

The man, who we shall name "Hero" then did the funniest thing I have seen all day. He smiles at the mother and then looks at the little kid with his best impression of a Wiggle.

"Hey there, do you know how to say 'fuck'?"
"FUCK!" a little voice parroted straight back.

Memphis Blogger Meetup

I got an email from the Rustmeister, a blogger I've seen many times commenting on Say Uncle, who I think lives in Memphis. He alerted me to a blogger meetup coming later this month.

From Squeaky Wheel Seeks Grease:
Okay, now to the details, because I know that’s what you’re all dying to know:

July 19, 2008

East End Grill in Bartlett (map at site - HWY 64 location)

2pm - whenever

Please RSVP in comments, so that we can warn the wait-staff.

If you can make it, please come.

It's good to see someone picking up the ball on blogger bashes/meetups. I was sort of sad that no one did after I stopped back in 2006.
More Like This Please

A story in today's Commercial Appeal that's good news for our local music scene:
Shooting begins July 18 on "$5 Cover," a 15-episode -- or "webisode" -- online program funded by MTV that will be made available to viewers later this year via personal computers, cell phones, iPods and other digital devices that offer an alternative to watching films on TV or in movie theaters.

Brewer plans to use Memphis and Shelby County residents exclusively for his 38 crew members as well as for his lead performers, who will portray "people who are in each other's bands and in each other's beds."

Among the local filmmakers working on the project are Morgan Jon Fox, assistant director; John Michael McCarthy, script supervisor; Nathan Black, director of photography; and Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury, camera operator. Scott Bomar, composer of the scores for "Hustle & Flow" and Brewer's followup feature, "Black Snake Moan," is a producer.

Memphis Film Commissioner Linn Sitler said the project will have a side benefit: "We'll end up with a lot more experienced crew members here after '$5 Cover' wraps."

As in "The Larry David Show," actors in "$5 Cover" essentially will play themselves, in partly improvised and partly scripted linked dramatic and comedic stories shot on location at the Hi-Tone Café, the Young Avenue Deli, Otherlands Coffee Bar, Java Cabana and other Midtown venues, homes and recordings studios.

Ok,, that last part is worrying, as it means every deadhead trend-hopper will start swamping those places looking for the cool people. I kinda like Otherlands -- despite its lefty-only politics. I'd hate to see it become something else blander and more mainstream.

Read the article for the list of some of the folks involved on-camera. Very impressive.

But this is what Memphis should have been doing all along to promote its alternative bands, instead of pimping out Zombie Elvis and Setting Sun. We'll get the city out there, and the music and bands out there, and hopefully get folks to come here like they came to Liverpool in the Sixties, New York and London in the Seventies, and Seattle in the Nineties. (Especially when they find out how cheap it is to live here!)

There's a discussion of the show already at the Goner Records board.

Many thanks, Craig Brewer.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Gamerz Depot

Some friends of mine have started a game store, called Gamerz Depot. It's in Olive Branch, off Highway 178.

Here is my best friend Mark Havener, who is the wage slave manning the counter. You can see some of the many tables they have for board game, card game and tabletop wargaming play. And a lot of merch on stock, too. Mostly Flames of War, AT-43, UFS and Wings of War, but they also sell some board games, paints, etc. If there is something in particular that you want, always ask, as they have excellent online ordering available.

And they can take PayPal, believe it or not!

As you can see, they give good customer service at Gamerz Depot. Co-owner Greg Lane is arguing with er ... serving customer Jim Johnson. Mark provides covering fire er ... friendly helpful support. Yeah.

Those are Greg's Tau forces about to thoroughly maul my Scions of Iron Space Marines in a game of Epic. Yick, what a disaster that was ....

Check 'em out. Yes, it's a ways to travel down to Olive Branch, but I think you'll find it worth it. It's free to game there and there are good fast-food restaurants nearby, as well as snacks in the store. The Riverbluff Irregulars game down there, as does Adeptus Memphis. And you can usually find me down there on Wednesdays, playing Epic.

We're trying to convince the Memphis Strategy Board Gaming Group to host a Games Day South there once in a while, as well.
Obama's Effect

Check out this graph of performance by the Dow Jones Industrial Average from May to July of this year:

And then check out this chart of Barack Obama's polling performance, same period:

Coincidence or warning?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Graphics Dump

Since I'm putting up graphics, I might as well dump the others in my blog folder.

No doubt you've noted the appearance of Che posters in the offices of Obama supporters. Here, in his official campaign office in Houston:

And here in the chambers of an Ohio judge:

Here are some other "Che" posters:

With all the outrage peddlers out there, why do you never see this image, given how apropos and pointed it is:

I don't watch the show, but others have pointed out how much "Doctor McDreamy" resembles the young Josef Stalin!

Next ... a gruesome reminder:

Those orange splotches are what remains of the bodies of the folks who jumped from the World Trade Center on 9/11/01. They would rather leap a thousand feet into concrete than burn to death inside the buildings. That choice was given to them by Arab Muslim extremists. Remember that when you go to see the new Batman movie later this week. You'll see why.

Remember the small flap last month when Obama's people tried to gloss over the "Presidential Seal" type placard he was using?

Maybe it wasn't such a small thing after all. Consider how much it resembles the background image to his official website. (Note how they first hit you up to join.) Maybe there was more going on than they admitted, and the press never followed up, choosing to accept his "explanation" unquestioningly? For some reason ....

I had an enormous crush on Tami Martin all through junior high school. I met her and Don, who became my best friend up through our college years, on the very first day of seventh grade. I used to ride my bike past her house whenever I had the chance. Too nervous to actually talk with her very often, of course, so nothing ever happened.

We went to different high schools and she began to date on old elementary school friend. But he was a nice guy, so that somehow made it OK in my mind. One day after high school graduation, he went to pick her up from her job in a new clunker car he'd just bought, an old Forties wreck he was going to fix up.

The brakes failed and they went driving into a busy intersection. She was thrown from the car and killed instantly.

Tami is one of the few girls/women I really regret not trying to get serious about. I still think of her every so often, even thirty-odd years later; she was sweet and smart and good. But I didn't have a picture of her and since she died so long ago I never expected to find one.

Well. The internets surprise once again. Here she is, from a tribute page on her high school's alumni site:

And last of all, my cat Bennie!

Commandeering the rug:

Guarding the front door:

It's Not Racist When They Do It

You tell me. Do you see the racism in the Virginia bumpersticker?

Here are some hints on what to look for. (Read up here and here.)

It seems a blatant, if somewhat innocent, use of a racist image to me. Certainly others have gotten into trouble for less.

But not a word of protest I've seen. Hmmmmmm.... I guess it's only residual racism, subconsciously absorbed from the environment via osmosis, since he supports Obama. Nothing to hold him to account for. No doubt he'd happily apologise and submit to re-education. Maybe even redesign the sticker.

If someone called him on it.