Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ex-girlfriend / Pirate Update

I was just notified via email that my ex and her mother (who are on a cruise ship travelling from South Africa to India) are making a wide curve around Somalia and its surrounding waters in order to avoid the freebooters and wanna-be pirates infesting the area. Despite my comments in my last post that I was "strangely conflicted about this," I have to say that I did not at any time want harm to fall to her or anyone else travelling in or around those waters. Like most people in the world, I hope that one day Somalia will be able to fashion a government (they haven't had one in about 10 years), and make their coastline safe for all.

So there. I hope that avoids any misinterpretations of my words from my previous posts.

I also hope that my ex will also be inspired by these words (and my wonderful personality and charm!) to bring me several bottles of South African wine and other goodies! : )

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Latin is Lousy

Like most people I have heard the phrase, "Illegitimi non carborundum est." Usually the associated translation is, "Don't let the bastards grind you down!" At different points in my life, I've pasted that slogan on my desk, keyboard, inside of my eyelids (mentally, of course, I can't imagine how to do it physically!), and just about everywhere else I've thought it needed. Problem is, I was wrong. It's not even a Latin phrase!

Even though it's used all over the place, since WWII and in the Barry Goldwater campaign to the nickname of the Harvard University Marching Band, it's not correct in its meaning, translation, or anything else. It's a nonsensical phrase.

The actual Latin translation, that I've just found on Wikipedia, is Noli nothi permittere te terere.

Looking at that, though, I can see why people stuck with the fake Latin!

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Win. Not Epic, But Still a Win

Sharkbait had a contest on Facebook to see who could come up with the best name for five of his pictures. His company is Blue Seas Photography, in case your just joining in and missed previous references. Anyway, I won with the best name for the picture below. My entry, "Marooned," won. He's sending me a framed 8x10 print.

And just in case anyone out there is thinking that it's nepotism that enabled the win, the contest was judged by an independent critic! So there!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Seen at Work

Part of my job involves running across the parking lot and delivering samples to the lab (don't ask - apparently it's what having a Master's degree gets you around here!). I see a lot of stickers, body kits, and other stupid stuff. Some I've posted before. Here are two more, one funny and another, well, more of a WTF???

First, the bad one:

I'm not sure what this guy's getting at, but I think we can all agree that it's a pretty odd thing to plaster on your window!

And here's the one I'm fond of:

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Monday, February 22, 2010

One Degree of Separation

An ex-girlfriend of mine is sailing from Cape Town, South Africa to India. Depending on the cruise ship's course, she may pass right by Somalia, home to the sad excuse for pirates ...

I confess I have mixed feelings about this. : )

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Not Much Time ...

... before I go, and not a lot worth talking about. Lots of work chaos, hanging out on Facebook - which is, for some reason, now accessible from work - and watching the Olympics have taken up a lot of time usually devoted to blogging. There's also my addiction to City of Heroes (which has a new upgrade coming out soon!), but the less said about that, the better!

But before I run out the door screaming, "You can take my sanity, but you cannot take MAH FREEDOM!" (don't forget to roll the r there, it sounds way more faux Scottish!) I want to point out a couple of changes to this here blog.

First off, "Lovecraft is Missing" is getting kicked off the link page. No posts in two months = no link love, so over the side it goes (no one walks the plank on real pirate ships; it's far easier to put a musket round in them and feed them to the sharks!).

The second change is that I'm linking to an awesome web comic (now available in print!) called Mystic Revolution. It's about an online fantasy role playing game that occurs the way - IMHO - one should be run. Of course, it's set in the near future where the game is total immersion, so the line between character and player is somewhat blurred, but there are more than enough events in there to keep the reader hooked. As an added bonus, the writer / illustrator, Jennifer Brazas, includes hastily drawn comics depicting her adventures at various comic conventions around the country. It's been a fun time occupier during my lunches at work. So here's the link, and it will be a proud addition to the list on the right.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cry, "Havoc!"

But there are no dogs of war. Not even a puppy of war. Just havoc. Lots of it. Work has been completely insane, and I'm wondering if the winter storms have driven people around the bend. It seems like no matter how long the day seems to be in terms of drudgery, I keep getting busier and busier. I have patients misbehaving (nothing new here, but the numbers seem to be rising), conflicts with my nemesis seem to be escalating again, and frustrations outside of work seem to be mounting. Nothing major there, but I've been trying to burn DVDs of July's trip to Disney World with my niece and nephew (friendly bit of advice: whatever you do, DO NOT buy a copy of 123 Copy DVD. Not only does it not work as advertised, I'll be a lubber's monkey* if I can find their return policy. And they claim 100% satisfaction or your money back!). It hasn't been going well. As of last night, I finished two of the three DVDs - yes, we took A LOT of footage! - but it's taken far longer than it should have.

And oh, yeah. I got into a fight with a church.

Yes, you heard me right. I got into a fight with a church. Again. You'd think I'd learn to stay away from places where conflict erupts, but no. And this time I didn't even go inside. In fact, I didn't even pull into their parking lot!

See, there's this independent Christian church that I pass every day on the way to work. It's nothing spectacular to look at, just a prefab metal building like the ones that you see advertised on TV. Well, around the time of the State of the Union Address, I drove past and noticed that the flag was flying at half mast ... and upside down.

Now, for those of you not familiar with flag etiquette, or figure that the Jolly Roger is the only flag worth flying, an inverted United States flag is a symbol for extreme distress involving massive loss of life or national crisis (think Hurricane Katrina survivors crying for help, or Blackbeard's blockade of Charleston, SC). There are no other reasons to fly it inverted, unless you are trying to exercise your right to free speach and cause vast amounts of confusion and alarm - potentially harmful alarm at that - at the same time.

So, I went to the website of aforementioned house of worship, and found that it has a particularly odd theology. I won't post the site here, but suffice to say that it wants people to know the potential wrath of God, while at the same time is a warm and friendly place "where everyone will feel welcomed." Hmmm. I figured that there was something amiss with the flag, so I fired off an email requesting (firmly, mind you, with gun ports open and cannons aimed, but still requesting) that they re-examine their flag policies. For good measure, despite my misgivings about rules and regulations, I included sections of the United States Flag Code. And yes, in our country, there is a code for absolutely everything.

This touched off several rounds of claims and counter-claims, broadsides and sniping. First there was silence on the part of the church, then a counter attack which wanted to know how I dared suggest that a Christian church would EVER do something like that. Even to suggest such a thing, would be at the least unpatriotic. Apparently they don't move in the same social circles as I do. They also blamed the incident on a broken clasp on the flagpole, which caused the flag to flop upside down. Why they let it flow like that for over a week is beyond me, but after my email, it came down.

A few days later, a church member called me (I forgot to leave my signature file off my email. Note to self: never let that happen again!) at work to explain again the situation. He also seemed unconvinced that I am still a member of the clergy - despite my misgivings about being included in that lot - and again wanted me to know that they were not, "that kind of church." He also wanted me to know that I was more than welcome to attend this Saturday's Men's Prayer Breakfast. I almost told him that I would sooner hang myself from the yardarm, but somehow bit my tongue (it still hurts!).

When I told One Ring about the conversation, she burst out laughing. I guess she imagined me entering their church and bursting into flames. It's been known to happen, from time to time.

Oh, well. Hopefully, I won't be hearing from them again. But that's how my week's gone.

*And yes, I do know that lubbers don't have monkeys. In fact, I'm not even sure what that phrase means!

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Somali Pirate News Update

... although I use the word "pirate" with great reluctance. As I and others who have a fondness for the Golden Age of Piracy (1690 - c.1730) have said again and again, the Somali oceanic hijackers and kidnappers have little or nothing in common with Calico Jack Rackman, Black Sam Bellamy, and Blackbeard. True, there were pirates - many of them, in fact - who exhibited cruelty towards their victims and sometimes their own as they raided the Caribbean and other waters. But there are enough differences to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Somali bunch are not pirates at all, but rather a whole new breed of terrorist.

Which brings us to today's update on what's been going on off the coast of Somalia, a nation that hasn't had a working government since the early 1990s and is pretty much an anarchic state ruled by a host of warlords. You may recall that the United States tried to establish order there before, but following the horrible "Black Hawk Down" incident, left Somalia to collapse on its own. And now we can see the result of that collapse.

The Daily Mail newspaper (in the UK) reported yesterday that Paul and Rachel Chandler are in horrible condition - Rachel especially - as they go into their fourth month of captivity. They are currently being held for ransom after they were seized from their yacht by the Somalis as they were attempting an around the world trip. You can find the article here.

The Somalis want something like 1.9 million pounds, and the British government says that they don't pay ransoms for anyone, anytime, anywhere. There is no word - at least anywhere I've seen - of a rescue mission, despite the pleas from the family and friends of the Chandlers and cries of outrage from others inside and outside the UK.

Meanwhile, a Greek ship and her crew were freed yesterday by a Somali gang after the shipping company paid an undisclosed sum. They, too, have been hostages since November. They are currently heading to Mombasa, in Kenya. Here's the article about that incident.

All in all, 47 ships were taken last year, and the gangs still have 200 crew members as hostages. Of course, these gangs are not a unified force, and have been known to fight between themselves over the ransom monies.

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For the Pirate in Your Life

Bilge Munkey found this sort of thing on Zazzle, and that got me brain working. What should someone get the pirate who's stolen her (or his) heart? First off, let's start with the card ...

Then you could add some candy ...

Of course, tattoos are very romantic for both land lubbers and sea rovers alike ...

And we can't be forgetten the sparklies!

That's all for now. If you should find any other booty worth listing (and keep yer mind out of th' bilge!), send a flag up, and I'll post it here.

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