Friday, September 12, 2003

It's like I'm fond of saying: If you can't trust random internet quizzes, what can you trust?

You should be dating a Leo.
23 July - 22 August
This mate is honest and loyal, with a sunny
disposition. Though this lion has the tendency
to be arrogant, sulky or smug, she is
unrestrained in bed.

What Zodiac Sign Are You Attracted To?
brought to you by Quizilla

Don't worry, stoned-out-of-your-mind Lioness, the power of my love shall rescue you from your prison of daisies.

I find it difficult to believe that that is the best picture of a lion this person could find. It looks completely blazed or drunk or about to collapse from heat exhaustion. The latter seems to be the most likely, since it is surrounded by not one, but two suns.

And if you take this quiz and it recommends a Taurus, the part that says "always enjoys a good roll in the hay." is also accurate. Honestly, how do they get these things so right-on?

Wait a minute...they all say something about sex to that extent. I'm starting to notice a a pattern here. That's it! People like sex!

* * * * * *

"Instead of ignoring a problem, try to reduce it."
-Rudy Giuliani.

I'm new at "not ignoring problems" but I think I'm starting to see what he means...

* * * * * *

One of my favorite books is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I didn't like it much at first, mostly on the principles I held about enjoying any assignment I was given in the seventh grade. But I still read it over and over in class, usually because I didn't want to work on whatever we were supposed to be working on. I still have chunks of that book stuck in my head.

And I am still getting all the humor in that book.

I was leafing through the dictionary trying to find the proper spelling of "hors d'oeuvre." For what reason is no longer known to me. As a rule, I try to stay away from French spellings. I looked in the Foreign Words and Phrases section at the back of my dictionary and immediately got hopelessly side-tracked. (I'm certain I ended up just calling the fancy little snacks "freedom morsels.")

But right away I came across �Ad Astra Per Aspera,� Latin for �To the stars through difficulty�. You JayHawkers out there may recognize this as the state motto of Kansas.

To Kill A Mockingbird takes place in Kansas.

(See how it's all coming together?)

In one part of the book, Scout is in a pageant put on by their school and her teacher opens it up with a short speech in which she translates "Ad Astra Per Aspera" as "From the mud to the stars."

Immediately after reading that entry and making that connection, I joined the elite group of people who have found themselves laughing uncontrollably over something they read in the dictionary.

Well, "hors d'oeuvre" is funny, but not Ha-Ha funny.

But that's why I like that book. The more I learn, the better it gets. Like "The Far Side" comics by Gary Larson. There are still a couple out there I know I don't have the understanding of chemistry, biology, or physics to fully appreciate.

* * * * *

I was at work today. It wasn't bad. My cubicle buddies were all nineteen years old. One of them, a girl named Kelly, asked me how old I was. "21," I answered. Then there was this odd silence.

"So, how is that?" Kelly asked at last.

"Oh, it was pretty bad for a while," I said. "But it's been getting a lot better."

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Have you met my older/oldest brother, Miguel? I know I've mentioned him before. He's an interesting person. He always felt like the outsider in our family. But then, so did my younger brother. And my younger sister. And just the other day, my youngest brother, Luis, shouted at my mom that "No one understands me!"

I guess I was the only one that felt normal. How ironic.

But his rantings might amuse you. They certainly amuse me.

And after understanding that I lived with this guy for almost my entire life, I might make a little more sense. But don't get your hopes up.

Jay Doty, an old friend of my brother Donaldo and of the family, said not too long ago: "I've known you Lopez's for years and I still don't have a single one of you figured out!"

I personally believe it's because there's not a whole lot to figure out.

But if you can unravel these puzzling posts, you may have a shot at it.

And keep in mind that words are meant to be played with.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Gentlemen, we need to talk.

The balance of power in my home has shifted.

Since the arrival of my new (female) roommate, this place has been lousy with girls. Both my roommates are girls, their friends are girls, and even my neighbors are girls! I walk into the living room and there they sit, knitting, doing their hair, and not talking about whatever it was they were talking about before I entered the room. And don't ever believe that crap about the weaker sex. When I innocently suggested that we all strip down to our underwear and have a pillow/water fight, I was answered by a grim silence, a brandishing of knitting needles, and that look a woman gets when she is calculating just how hard she'll have to kick you in the groin to completely sterilize you. Guys, you know the look I'm talking about.

There is the occasional male around. I have arrived home to Matt Summerfield drunkenly playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the Super Nintendo a few times, but other than that, it's all girls. And I fear it has begun to take it's toll.

I found myself contemplating what kind of curtains would look best in my room. When I realized what I had just thought, I hit myself to knock me back to my senses. I recoiled in horror when I realized that I hadn't so much hit myself as slapped myself. It wasn't even a back-handed smack, it was with an open palm.

The horror. The horror.

I fear it will get worse. I may even start washing the dishes.

I can't allow this.

I have some old computer monitors. I say we get drunk, take them out into the desert, and shoot the hell out of them. But wait, that may not be enough...

Okay, we rig up some sort of catapult, set the computers on fire, launch them into the air and THEN shoot them! Hopefully the pieces will fall onto and kill some large animal, which we can then cook.

That should do it. And if not, we could always play Shot-Fox. Or 007: Goldeneye, aka the Man with the Golden Rum.

* * * * *

I was going to work on Dana's interview, but I was somehow led astray. I spent much of the past hour searching for harmonica tablatures. I found I Just Called To Say I Love You and that Killing Me Softly song. They both look pretty tough and should require a lot of practice. Pity my roommates.

* * * *

I'm up late again. From what I understand, there are others up as well. Just hit up my screenname, if you wish. I am usually up for late-night Mexican food excursions, inpromptu carousel rides, and driving up to the top of the parking structure at Sky Harbor Airport and being astounded that those giant metal tubes with wings actually fly.

* * * *

I am writing a story about hippopotamuses. Hippopotamusses? Hippopotami? Either way, I need characters. So far I have Hip-opotamus, Lame-opotamus, Lotapotamus, and Notapotamus. If you want to be one, let me know. I'll be able to fit you all in, there's a huge jungle rave scene.

* * * * *

Gurg News Update:

Still mostly confused, now with a slight chance of discouragement. Good possibility of haughty laughter to hide chagrin. And you can definitely expect a whole lotta playin' it by ear.

Lost the Batman and comic book ads banners I enjoyed being exploited by. Hopefully saying Batman and comic-books multiple times will help the Batman and comic book banners find their way home. Batman.

Monday, September 08, 2003

A Historic Moment In The Celebrated Histories of The Nation-State of Guillermo and The Island Nation of Dana: Official Transcripts of Initial Request for an Interview and Subsequent Granting of Said Request.

Part I: A Humble Request.

The nation-state of Guillermo is very intrigued by your "interviews" and requests to be included. Keep in mind that the quality and insinuation of your questions will be considered when we shape our foreign policy. As a gesture of goodwill, we will answer ANY and ALL questions from you honestly and to the best of our research team's ability. Now let us commemorate this occasion with the adding of chocolate to milk.

-The Nation-State of Guillermo

Part II: A Subsequent Granting of Said Request.

The Island Nation of Dana extends her hand to the Nation-State of Guillermo with questions that will hopefully further peace treaties between our great nations.


The Island Nation of Dana

End Of Historical Transcript.

As official Gurg, it is my duty to see that this interview is completed swiftly and accurately. Thus, I shall proceed to the Scrivening Room and speak to the two reputable and intelligent fellows that I employ as Head Scriveners. One is a tall, lanky, old chap that hails from the Island Nation of Dana. The other is an old friend from Gilliland Middle School. Their names are Dryly Snidesdayle and Quibbles Bumbly the Third, respectively. Ah, we have arrived at the antechamber to the Royal Scrivening Room. Let us enter:

I: Good afternoon, Head Scriveners! All goes well, I trust?

Snidesdayle: As well as can be expected, Gurg.

I: I expect that it is very well, then!

Bumbly: Well, I'd expect you'd have given us the questions from D'Isle before you sent us scrambling to "research."

I: I assure you that I have no idea what you are insinuating! And refrain from referring to The Island Nation of Dana as D'Isle. It's unbecoming of a Head Scrivener.

Bumbly: Listen to this guy talk! You'd better learn to start shortening things up if you expect to last around here, LOL!

I: Stop that!

Snidesdayle: Gurg, would that happen to be the interview questions from my beloved Island Nation of Dana that you hold in your hand?

I: What, this? Er, yes, it is. I mean, they are. I've uh, brought them.

Snidesdayle: Thank you, Gurg.

I: What have you been doing all this time?

Snidesdayle: I have been scouring the blogosphere for any references to you from various blogs. This Donald Charles Pierson has mentioned you on several occasions, and usually in a positive light.

I: Usually?!

Snidesdayle: He may be being sarcastic. It can be difficult to detect in print.

I: Well, what about you, Quibbles?

Bumbly: Woo, you know your brother has a blog?

I: What?! The eldest of the Lopez Estradas, Miguel, to whom and only to whom I am the younger?

Bumbly: That's right! He hasn't mentioned you at all...yet.! LOL!

I: I find this news disturbing. However, there is little to be done. I suppose I must link him.

Snidesdayle: It is already done.

I: Good man, Dryly. You may have first go at the dessert cart this evening.

Snidesdayle: ...Thank you, sir.

Bumbly: I never get first go at the dessert cart!

I: Nor shall you, not while I hold the slightest hope that your problems as a scrivener of late are merely caused by too much pie.

Snidesdayle: (snort)

I: So let's get cracking, shall we? Let's see the first question: 1. What's your craziest drunken experience?

Bumbly: He got engaged! ROTFL!

I: Enough of that thrashing about, Quibbles! Act your age, not your hourly wage. And I assure you, when I acquiesced to that betrothal, I was disturbingly sober.

Snidesdayle: Perhaps you should recount a more serious experience? To warn others of the folly that can come with too much drink?

I: Hmm...we did promise to answer honestly. And would rather save my more humorous stories for my Alcoholics meeting.

Snidesdayle: How excellent that you are making an effort to abstain, Gurg!

I: Abstain? Never, Dryly! We all hang out and bowl mostly. Whomever has the least entertaining tale of drunken debauchery must purchase the next round of drinks.

Bumbly: Save your stories? C'mon, you're full of stories! Why, you've never had to buy a round! You get more belligerent than the Old Testament!

I: Enough. I shall relate this tale of drunken woe: One bleak sunrise found me running down the street by my old apartment complex. My left arm was streaming blood from two self-inflicted stab wounds. I had no idea where I was going. I only knew that I had to get away. Miss Kate managed to catch up to me and was able to convince me to return to my apartment, where I allowed my wounds to be cleaned and bandaged. I lay awake for some time shivering violently before I succumbed to sleep. I awoke to a sore arm and a world in utter turmoil. That is all I wish to speak of it for now. But I assure you that I have long since been through with overly-dramatic nonsense. I shop for antics at a less nihilistic market now.

Bumbly: Wow, so much for the engagement!

I: No, Quibbles, the engagement was decided after those events. As I said, it was a disturbing time.

Bumbly: After?! You can't be serious! Did you two ever get in fights over which one of you was more nuts?

I: I suppose, in our fashion, we did. But enough! The next question is: 2. Where do you see yourself in five years? In fifty?

Snidesdayle: Surely you will still be head of the Nation-State of Guillermo?

I: Would that I knew, Dryly. I may pursue this writing business, although I require much training. At the moment, Joseph Moore and I are working on "The Stream," my short story. He has begun illustrating it and thus far I am quite pleased with his efforts. You know what's great about being a writer? Or a musician or an artist for that matter? It's that every experience in your entire life can be drawn upon in your work. Because what you're putting down on that piece of paper, or on that canvas, or singing about is You. It's All You and Just You at the same time, alone and glorious. And at the very least it makes you a bit more aware, as a person. As for fifty years from now, all I see is my old decrepit self sitting in a rocking chair on my porch yelling at passers-by. Man, I can't wait.

Snidesdayle: How admirable, sir.

Bumbly: Why, Snidey! Did you just make a joke?

I: Did you, Dryly? Confess! It can be difficult to detect sarcasm in print, you know. Blast, the hour grows late and I must prepare a report for the ambassador from Italy by the morrow lest she return to her country and announce that relations have grown sour and she must fail me.

Bumbly: Hey, can I help? I know some Italian! How yoo doin'? LOL!

I: Quibbles, I am summoning every ounce of my will to not shatter your ribs with a mighty punch!

Bumbly: Are ya sure you can take me on without your precious mix-CD? LOL!

I: I shall deal with you later. The next question is: 3. Name one thing people don't really know about you.

Snidesdayle: That covers a rather large territory.

Bumbly: At least, that's what he wants them to think! Hey, tell them about the time you tried to ask out Beth! Woohoo, Captain Smooth, crash and burn!

I: I...I...

Snidesdayle: That was several years ago, Mr. Bumbly. And in respect to the Theatre Company at Mountain Pointe, it was unlikely, nay, impossible that people didn't really know about that.

Bumbly: You're trying be funny again aren't you, Snidey? LOL, I love it!

I: Enough! The question does not refer to a specific event. It appears to be more abstract. A suitable answer would something along the lines of "I can sew."

Bumbly: You sew! ROTFL!

Snidesdayle: Heh heh...ahem! Excuse me.

I: Damn the lot of you! Give me a moment's peace that I may think! I suppose that I can be useful to have around in moments of danger or great tension that require a cool head.

Bumbly: Yeah, you are pretty good with a knife! ROTFL! Cool head, he says!

I: I mean like when that pane of glass blew up all over Ryan Smith, or when Alan Schuler nearly cut his finger off with a table saw, or when my car died in the middle of a busy street, or when my brother got arrested in Mexico, or when my dog attacked my sister, or when I've had to deal with stuff with my family. The ability to shut off emotion until a situation is no longer volatile is something I'm proud of. (And it wasn't a knife, it was a sword, you twit.)

Bumbly: Oh, I believe you. Hell, you're sounding more pompous than even old Snidesdayle here!

I: That's just how I am sometimes! All I mean is that I don't freak out until it's safe to do so, usually. That's all. But I guess I'll just stick with "I can sew."

Snidesdayle: Perhaps that would be best, for now.

I: The next one is: 4. describe the greatest thing you've ever read. Well, that's easy! Whatever it was that made me want to pick up a pen. But I deeply admire the flawless Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and Neil Gaiman's Sandman stuff is the pinnacle of fantasy. No offense to Harry Potter or Lord of The Ring fans, of course, since I enjoy them almost as well.

I: Aha, finally!: 5. Alright Guillermo, so you're a Ninja Turtle. Which one are you?

Bumbly: Splinter!

Snidesdayle: (snort) Splinter is a rat, not a turtle.

I: Ah, Dryly, so you follow the adventures of our Foot-pounding, pizza-scarfing, wise-cracking, heroes-in-a-half-shell?

Snidesdayle: I do indeed, Gurg. In fact, I may even be qualified to judge which of our carapace-clad green boys you would be?

Bumbly: He's going to say Raphael, watch, since he's all sarcastic and the most likely to go it alone.

I: I was going to say Raphael, Quibbles, but not for those exact reasons. While I do love his sarcasm, what I like is that everytime he has gone it alone, he's gotten stomped out of his shell. But he doesn't stop trying. One day he's gonna pull it off. And that day, my Head Scriveners, will be very, very, sweet. But pray, what was your guess, Dryly?

Snidesdayle: Raphael as well, sir.

I: We are of two minds, my old friend.

Snidesdayle: Not exactly of two minds, sir. I have come across you during several of your training sessions with the various weapons of the ninja. When you wield the two katana swords, you tend to wave one wildly about while completely forgetting that you still hold the second one until you cut your leg upon it. With the nunchuku you fare better, but inevitably you will strike yourself in the face or groin, fall to the ground curled up in a fetal position, and lie there for some time.

I: I am unmatched in skill with my bo staff.

Snidesdayle: True, but you can never resist an opportunity for a corny sight gag, such as trying to get through a door and finding yourself impeded, or knocking over a bucket of paint, things of that nature.

I: So you admit, at least, that I am deadly with the sais?

Snidesdayle: Certainly very dangerous, sir.

I: Very well, Snidesdayle. Please send my reply to the Island State of Dana as swiftly as possible.

Snidesdayle: Of course, Gurg.

I: Quibbles!

Bumbly: Yo!

I: Since this has taken much later than I intended...

Bumbly: You're telling me! I just skipped to the end.

I: I assure you I have no idea what you are insinuating. But that is of no matter. I need you to "accidentally" deport the ambassador to Italy. That should buy me enough time to finish my homework.

Bumbly: I don't know, I'm not really paid for that sort of thing. What do I get out of it?

I: Rest assured, Quibbles. Complete this task and you shall have your pie.

Bumbly: Keep the pie, Gurgy ol' boy. I'll settle for not having to edit this damn thing. Damn, I can't even see the top of it!

I: Done.

Bumbly: Finally! You know, for a guy who seems to get out pretty often, you sure do talk to yourself a lot.

I: I assure you that I have no idea what you are insinuating, my dear Quibbles. No idea at all.