January 19th, 2007



- Mini-update to "Tasteful San Antonio": in the window of one of the transient hotels near my office, there is posted a confusing handwritten notice which reads 'YOU WILL BE CRIMINALLY TRESPASSED FOR LOITERING IN THE LOBBY OF THIS BUILDING'.

- I picked up a used copy of Mercenaries for PS2 last week. It looks like it should be fun and all, but I'm pretty sure that the cars aren't supposed to drive around with no wheels. Also I don't think it should actually requre 5MB of space for a save. Or 15 minutes of load time for every new mission. Plus, if the thing were the screen totally freezes up while the soundtrack keeps playing is a feature instead of a glitch, I can't quite figure out what the added value is.

- I'm having another one of those extremely frustrating periods where I'm getting tons and tons of freelance work -- to the extent that I'm getting that overworked two-jobs feeling, and the only exercise I ever get is walking the three blocks from my car to my office because I sit in front of a computer 16 hours a day* -- but there's a major lag between the work I'm doing and the paychecks I'm getting. More and more of my freelance work comes from trade publications these days, and at the moment, I'm owed about four grand for work I've already completed. Not that it's killing me or anything; I have a day job now, and I'm on top of my bills and even have a little savings, but the combination of the holidays and the no-work weather days have left me cash-poor for the week. I'll be fine -- in fact, flush -- once the money comes through, and I've picked up close to $3000 more worth of work in the last week alone; it's just that the last time this happened, I made some rather disastrous choices that basically ruined my life. Not that I think I'll do that again, and not that I need the money as much as I did then: I am merely saying. So, you know. HURRY UP WITH THAT MAYONNAISE, magazines.

- Thanks to Paperback Swap, a book submission, and some other bits of business, I ran out of stamps, so I went to the post office and bought some of those DC superheroes stamps they have now. But they're so awesome, I don't want to actually use them to mail letters. God help me, I've become a complete caricature.

- Here's the audience participation segment of today's LJ ramblings: eagle-eyed readers may remember that I have owned two digital cameras in the last several years. The first one just stopped working for no particular reason, and the second one was stolen from my luggage by a patriotic TSA worker for bomb inspection. My question is, should I buy another digital camera, or should I take this as a sign from the heavens that no one wants to see my incompetent attempts at photography? (A follow-up, if you make the former recommendation: what brand/make/model of digital camera do you have/like/recommend?)

*: Seriously, I am out of control. After being the least fat I've been in decades when I was living in Minnesota, the combination of alcohol abuse, lack of exercise and shitty food are close to putting me at planetoid size these days. I'm joining a gym this week, and fuck saving money -- if I don't get a place with a decent kitchen so I can start eating right again, I'll be dead before I'm 40 anyway. I'm starting to look like Sydney Greenstreet with less muscle mass.

Lileks Watch, Vol. 4, Day 18

Lileks today can be broken down, more or less, into sections.

SECTION 1 involves the narrative of a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. He always likes to complain about these trips (and adds a delightful bit of misogyny, because when he explains that they are necessitated by his wife playing cards with her female friends, he always calls the card games "hen parties" or something else you'd expect to hear issuing from a 1950s cartoon dad with a rolling-pin lump coming out of his head as he sits at a cocktail bar commiserating over a Harvey Wallbanger), today's entry makes it crystal-clear that the trips are really more for him than they are for his six-year-old daughter. It's almost charming, in a sad, egomaniacal way.

SECTION 2 involves him scolding people for not buying his book. Hey, I'd do the same thing, if I had a book. Or anything else people might want to buy.

SECTION 3 involves the story of his daughter playing the piano, and is pretty cute, and thus contains no grist for my Lileks hatemill.

SECTION 4 involves a rare appearance by Mrs. Lileks, who has left Jimbo a note to gather together some stuff for a "drive for the troops" her office is holding. Lileks notes, properly, that "it galls you, really; they shouldn't need anything". True enough, although he stops rather a few steps short of placing the blame where it belongs, with Mr. President Man and his military short-shrifting so he can pay for the upper-class tax cuts the Lileks family enjoys. But they're happy to spread the wealth! The #2 item on the 'wanted' list is "Slim-Jims", which seems like a pretty frivolous thing for a 'drive for the troops', especially considering that our soldiers are, like me, fatter than ever. Also in the top ten list is "sports, hot rods, news and celebrity-type magazines", so Jimbo provides copies of -- get this -- Stuff (which he claims "for some reason...I get for free", ho ho) and the Weekly Standard. So, thanks to his self-sacrificing actions, our brave boys now have the inedible junk food, softcore porn, and right-wing propaganda they need to win the war! Well done, Mr. Lileks!

SECTION 5 involves Lileks telling a story about a dead Marine who got lots of attention at his funeral, which, he claims, makes hash of the criticism that the government has banned filming the returning coffins of dead soldiers. Aside from making no fucking sense (the images of coffins are meant to make the cost of the war a reality for people who might live in communities where they don't have a lot of war casualties, you jackass), this seems to suggest that Lileks believes that symbols have power, but only if they're symbols that he personally endorses.

SECTION 6, the Lileksiest section of them all, involves him deciding that, for reasons somehow connected to this dead Marine and the liberal media or something, he is going to censor his daughter's letter to the soldiers he's sending smut and extruded beef lips to. Make sense of that in your spare time, if you dare.