Principles of Narcotic Use, Volume 1
Posted by reapre 7 years ago
You aren't really supposed to use all your pills every month. (*1)  
 
The doctor wrote "as needed" on there. In plainer English, it means "if needed" (and sometimes I change this wording on Rx labels for clarity). (*2)  
 
Let's switch gears for a minute and think about this concept as applied to any other finite but renewable resource. A debit card: You can use it "as needed" but you will be shit out of luck before next payday if you don't pace yourself and limit your usage. A tank full of gas, a gallon of milk, a prepaid phone plan, whatever it is, you must use it less than you actually are allowed if you want to have enough to last for the anticipated length of time (allowing for occasional exceptional days and situations).  
 
If you take your fucking addictive narcotic pain reliever / anxiety pills / sleep pills exactly at the maximum rate that is written "as needed" on the bottle, then you have zero wiggle room. When you lose a dose or need an extra dose, you have no surplus from which to draw. What happens when you run out during a holiday or after hours when the doctor's office is closed? Do you really think the physician looks favorably upon you calling him away from his family? - -For your narcotics, nonetheless; not even a serious scheduled drug like, say, seizure meds or HIV stuff.  
 
"But Reapre", you may be axking me, "I do actually need that maximum amount of medicine for exactly that amount of time." Ahh, I'm glad you mentioned this. That means that you need to talk to your doctor about raising the amount. He won't at all be worried about you if you are taking less than he prescribed, and making a bottle last a more than a month each time. Guess what will worry him. You coming in and making him risk his medical license (*3) because you're badgering or wheedling or lying to him about losing pills or going out of town to a funeral or on vacation or whatever every fucking single month.  
 
I really wish people understood more about addiction. All kinds of good persons can be addicted. Hell, there are many a number of things I'm addicted to, although they aren't powerful enough to make me hit rock bottom in financial or behavioural terms. Are you acting shitty towards your pharmacy staff because they won't give you your damn pills? They're your pills; why won't they give them to you? There's a reason. It's not because pharmacies are all staffed by pathological assholes. Addicts tend to turn their gaze and machinations towards everything else but themselves.  
 
 
 
 
I should probably split this into its own topic but I'm going to go on and dive into the hive mind analogy here. I'm not only switching gears; I'm dismantling the engine and going meta on this thread.  
 
It could be argued that a bee hive is a rudimentary organism. Each bee is akin to a cell and they're specialized into functions like our body organs. Some of them create and maintain a structure to house the hive; they go out and explore for food and then communicate it to the hive; they defend the hive at the expense of their own lives; they procreate and start new hives; etc.  
 
They are very much akin to our nervous systems. The bees don't know that a bear is swatting at it, but the hive lashes out at it. The activity never rises to the level of conscious thought, as a bee or as a hive. But it damn well does these highly organized defense mechanisms.  
 
If you addicted or tricked a couple of bees into thinking that some super awesome thing was over nearby in this field here, the hive would divert resources into obtaining it. It will attack anything that interferes with its procurement of it. Your brain is also a product of nature, and is organized along roughly analogous lines.  
 
The 90 percent of your brain that isn't involved in conscious thought does a whole lot of shit that you don't know about except on a conceptual level. You don't ever have any sense of the workings of a couple billion nerves that go about with the regulation of blood pressure, for example. You don't ever have a conscious thought that makes you think, "hmmm, my brain's reward center is becoming slightly less awash with endorphines [or norepinephrine or whatever] so I had better take exogenous narcotics [or cocaine or nicotine or whatever] that has no actual nutritional or benevolent impact on my ability to thrive as a human organism." But you sure as hell will pick up that bottle and pop the pill when you get that urge.  
 
Your brain might even trick you into sensing pain (or magnifying a small existing pain) to satisfy the couple million of nerve cells that are addicted to the substance. Your brain will nudge you into lashing in an uncharacteristic behaviour towards the normally beloved person who won't loan you money or take you to the pharmacy or give you your refill. You'll never notice it unless you are forced to.  
 
It's your choice whether you examine yourself for addictive patterns before an authority figure forces you to.  
 
 
 
 
 
(*1) Exception: Chronic pain patients who take timed-release medicines such as 72-hour fentanyl or 12-hour oxycodone, etc.  
 
(*2) It should be mentioned that I am of course biased on this topic. This is the point of view of a doctor of pharmacy who has also devoted a great deal of scholastic and extracurricular time to understanding psychology and philosophy as well.  
 
(*3) (and his respectability and his livelihood and his ability to provide for his family..)
Reapre's Human Husbandry
Posted by reapre 7 years ago
If you're like me then you probably try to do roughly half of the household chores but you are constantly proclaimed to be a lazy bastard by your beautiful spouse lady. There will never be an agreed-upon reckoning for the true chore distribution midpoint for a variety of reasons pertaining to human nature. You will simply never, ever agree upon the appropriate weight to assign to each of the tasks that you each must do in the upkeep of your shared household.  
 
The best you can do (or at least what I do) is to try to do roughly more than half of it all. However, you are still invariably likely to be accused of the fourth deadly sin. (*1)  
 
It isn't because wives are evil or stupid, necessarily(*2). It's just human nature to notice only those unpleasant, routine actions that we see being done. So you have a few choices. You can revel in your laziness like millennia of men before you. Or you can do your fair share and debate it with your wife ad nauseam. Or you can do an undeniably greater preponderance of the chores(*3).  
 
So how does one rectify the perception of laziness that is beginning to pervade your spouse's mental image of you? Ahh, I'm glad you asked. You came to the right thread.  
 
 
Note, these techniques are not to be employed by the truly lazy. I don't actually have any way of enforcing this rule, but I assure you that your children will sniff out the truth in time. And there's nothing worse than having your kids side with your spouse (or so I'm told), especially when you're dead wrong and everyone knows it.  
 
 
That being said, here is my top secret advice. [Yes, I know it is exceedingly likely that my own spouse will eventually read this (if she hasn't already figured me out), but it is a noble sacrifice I'm willing to make for all of husbandkind.]  
 
In all that you do, do it slightly askew. You must gently nudge those unseen tasks gently back into their view. Don't do it wrong, mind you. Just do it differently right.  
 
You can employ these techniques or analogous ones in a ham-handed manner like my father-in-law did in the infamous "My Fingers Are Too Big" feint(*4), but I urge you to exercise restraint lest your feeble attempts backfire. These methods must be employed with utmost caution and wisdom. Caveat Lector!  
 
 
 
Thou Shalt Leave Thy Toilet Paper Rolls Factory Sealed When You Replace Them. (Not shrink-wrapped, stupid.) You know how the end sheet is kinda glued to the roll so it doesn't unravel? Leave it alone. She will know that it was replaced by a benevolent husband because nobody but nobody puts a toilet paper on the roll unless they needs to. Related Topic: You just had to take a shit before she got home, didn't you? Enter Plan B: Immediately flip the roll over so it's streaming from the opposite side. Note, Plan B must not be over-used lest it turn you into a bumbling imbecile who cannot seem to do anything right. But when used sparingly, Plan B can suffice to alert even the most self-absorbed of spouses to your household contributions.  
 
Leave Thee Thine Vacuum Cleaner Out After Using. Alternatives: Wrap the cord up in a noticeably different manner. Or, replace in a slightly different manner those rugs, end tables, and/or ottomen(*5) that were displaced by your diligent vacuuming. Or, dump the vacuum bag into the trash can in a manner such that the next item thrown away will result in a magnificent billowing mushroom cloud of dust and hairballs. Which paradoxically leads me to the next method..  
 
Thou Shalt Taketh Out The Trash. Garbage extraction is your job. As far as she knows, the garbage fairy takes it out when nobody's looking. Look, it's futile to whine about the reverse sexism implicit in this dictum. It has never been her job and it never will be her job except on those occasions when she wants to do something super-easy to underscore her condescension of you. When in doubt, just take out the damn trash.  
 
Laundry Is Best Hanged Wrongly. I think my wife has tried to pull a ladylike but still ham-fisted version of this on me. I have socks and shirts that still retain the faintest tinge of pink from a single red garment that was tossed in with the whites, many moons ago. Point of order: You are not trying to ruin the family's entire colour palette. Your actions must be as dainty as the lightest breeze, but with the gentle hint of a fart. Consider instead hanging items in anachronous locations. Hang a single item out of its seasonal section in the closet(s). Or hang a pair of pants with the shirts. Don't get too creative; they're smarter than us. Just be noticeable.  
 
Grocery Shoppeth Like A Blind Man Get aaaaalmost the right bread. Find a loaf of bread that is very nearly identical to your usual brand. Get the exact same type and subtype of milk, but from a different brand. Does she enjoy a particular generic item? Splurge on the brand name version. What the fuck, it's only like eleventy-twelve cents more (*6).  
 
 
 
 
- -Will add more as I notice them. These tips are highly intuitive. Many husbands have probably already stumbled upon these techniques throughout our history. It is up to you to apply them in a fair manner  
 
 
 
 
(*1) It's sloth, you heathen.  
(*2) or unnecessarily.  
(*3) Note, this is an absolute dick move. Look, I understand that you're a highly motivated, loving husband. But You Are Fucking It Up For The Rest Of Us. Quit it already. Channel that energy into a something awesome like a unified theory of physics.  
(*4) He broke one item every time he washed the dishes, which eventually led to him being removed from the list of people in charge of dishes. But it was of course too overt and it also eventually led to many an hilarious anecdote at his expense.  
(*5) ottomen is the plural of ottoman. In the time that it takes you to look up this dubious assertion, you could have vacuumed the room.  
(*6)citation: The Intranational Journal of Husbandry, Vol 24, pp. 37-39, letters to the editor : "Linkfilterer Reapre Is Deemed Legally Awesome By A Jury Of His Peeps."
Lives saved: 0. Deaths delayed: 2-ish.
Posted by reapre 7 years ago
I was at work yesterday when some old lady called to ask if her side effects were due to a particular medicine. She was on something that should maybe crank you up, make you restless and/or energetic. She said she was feeling drowsy all the time but when she tries to take a nap, she only sleeps for a few minutes.  
 
Now before you think I'm an insensitive douche (or perhaps concurrently with your growing sense that I'm an insensitive douche), I must protest that I had already endured all manner of unproductive, circular, and generally ignorant phone conversations all week. In brief, they consisted largely of 1) old ladies who just wanted someone to talk to, and 2) random callers trying to get free medical advice, and then stringing along the conversation in the unlikely hope that I'll reverse my initial advice and tell them not to go to a doctor, and 3) asshats trying to wheedle, coerce, or trick the pharmacist into filling their narcotics waaaay too early, and 4) people who ask to speak only to the pharmacist, but who then proceed to give me simple routine refill requests that even our most incompetent staff members can perform, and so on.  
 
Very few of these things produce revenue, and our corporate overlords do not value non-revenue-generating public services in any of their equations.  
 
So anyway I told her what I knew, which was that I didn't know what it was but I thought it was something she should mention to her doctor. Sometimes the right answer is to admit that there are things you don't know. I've seen enough egotistical nurses bullshitting their way through their professional careers to know better.  
 
Back to the story. From out of the area beyond conversational left field, she goes, "Well what about carbon monoxide?"  
 
And I'm like, uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, yes? Absolutely. Those are symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure. Yes. And she abruptly thanks me and hangs up.  
 
Naturally I had to make fun of this most recent caller with all my fellow co-workers. Oh what a hilarious time we had taking turns devising witty hypothetical retorts and fashioning anecdotes out of the experience. And it was deemed by all who heard it that her surprise tangent was indeed ridicule worthy.  
 
Then she calls back 3 hours later and asks to speak with me. She claimed that I saved her life. She asked for my name. She said that she called the utility company and they sent out a technician. He clocked her house at 200ppm. (Dangerous levels are like 30-60ppm.) He said she probably wouldn't have lived through the night.  
 
So that was cool and all. Except for the part where I made fun of her, of course.  
 
 
Oh and also a couple of years ago some lady said I saved her mom's life too. I went way out of my way to tell her that I thought her doctor was possibly making a mistake on a certain drug decision. But he wouldn't change it when I called to advise / ask him about it. So I told her what all to watch out for and she ended up catching it and taking her mom to the hospital. It was trimsulfa with warfarin if anybody's keeping score.  
 
So that was cool and all.
Restauranteur
Posted by reapre 7 years ago
I know this topic has been discussed sufficiently in Reservoir Dogs, but I have been thinking about it a lot lately and I wanted to bounce it off the unrelenting sounding board that is the internets.  
 
I don't think I should be tipping so much at restaurants. My dad always tipped 10% because that's what he grew up thinking was appropriate. After I left high school, I learned that most folks seem to think that 15 is appropriate and 10-20% is the range that you use to reward or punish service.  
 
When I became acquainted with bars, casinos, and casinos with bars, I discovered that you must tip ridiculously at the beginning of an evening so that you may receive repeat service within what would otherwise be a sobering, humiliating length of time spent being ignored.  
 
Then as life progressed I met more people who used to work in restaurants and they convinced me that 15 was the absolute minimum that you, a sane individual, should tip.  
 
So charismatic were they in their proclamations that I added paragraphs three and four together to generally tip crazily at any place that I remotely thought I might attend again soon. And as my professional education matured into a professional salary, I began to frequent a higher caliber of eatery. (Make no mistake, I do little or no maturing on my own. Other life accoutrements do inexorably mature, though. It should be mentioned that my maturing is accompanied by a general kicking and screaming.)  
 
My quandry now is that I am beginning to see little or no differences between the servers at "nice" restaurants compared to the ones at regular ones. And I have begun to notice in hindsight that I am overtipping without discrimination.  
 
What, besides good fortune in employment acquisition, determines why a crappy conceited condescending server at a fancy restaurant makes way way more than a fantastic thoughtful friendly preemptive server at an average joint? Why should I give fifteenish percent of a high tab to an admittedly beautiful but ultimately shitty waitress when I give nothing to the high school dropout at Taco Bell who takes my tray without any expectation of compensation beyond minimum wage (which, as the sociological commentarian Chris Rock shrewdly pointed out, is the absolute minimum they can pay you by law).  
 
Discuss.
Another random cartoon
Posted by reapre 8 years ago
POTENTIALLY NSFW IMAGE BELOW.....  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bucookie Monster  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
[Yeah, yeah. I know. Not everybody has the same sense of humour as me. Why don't we save ourselves and our fellow linkfilterers some time.  
 
You can waste an infinity of hours posting negative comments on all the shit on the internet that you don't find funny. (And/or on jokes you don't get.)  
 
And as for me, explaining a joke is generally most likely to result in failure. See, when a person explains a joke, they basically formulate an argument that "this is funny". And the listener, if he is human, necessarily has some amount of ego. Now, that listener can either decide to (1)concede that he was wrong and lost the argument, which makes it difficult to find much humour afterward, or the listener can (2)vainly defend his ego and continue arguing a subjective point which, by virtue of being opinion-based, cannot be disproven.  
 
I don't post mean shit about your stupid pointless journal entries containing random totally out-of-context statements or consisting entirely of unreferenced music lyrics and/or shitty poetry. (Well, until now, that is.)  
 
So anyway, sorry to bitch and moan in preemptive defense of my posts. Hope you enjoy my linkfilter journal. I just want to be silly and entertain.]
The Book of ORA
Posted by reapre 8 years ago
The Book of Ora
The Nancy Word
Posted by reapre 8 years ago
I've been meaning to share this one for a while now. It doesn't go over well with certain audiences, so apologies in advance if the reader isn't able to look past the terminology and find humour in it.  
 
 
This happened back at the store I used to work at. I wouldn't say it was in "the ghetto" because that term really isn't true. But all of my co-workers would and did constantly declare that we were in the ghetto.  
 
Anyway I was on the phone with an insurance company operator who was somewhere in India. There was that obvious satellite delay between everything we said.  
 
I had to spell a name for her. I don't remember what the name was. It's not important. Let's say for the sake of this anecdote that it was "Gibson". So I'm like, "G as in George, I as in Indian, B as in boy, S as in Sam, O as in..." And at this point I am beginning to realise that I don't have a good word for O. I think I went with Omega. So I go "uhh, Omega. N as in..." At by this time I'm already a little rattled so I don't think before I speak.  
 
I go, "Uhh, let's see, what's an N word, lemme think of an N word." Now it's at this point that I become acutely aware that 100% of my coworkers are African American. Hell, everybody within earshot is African American. And there is indeed an N word that I can think of. There was a certain N word in particular that was currently crowding out all other words in my head at the moment. In fact, this N word is so infamous that it is referred to as simply THE N Word. When you say "The N Word", there is no doubt in the mind of the listener as to which of the million N words in existence that you're referring to.  
 
So this all dawns on me over about a million years, which was probably only like 3 seconds in real life. Then the operator chimes in, in her impeccable colonial British accent, "N as in Nancy?"  
 
And perhaps too loudly, I go "Aaahahaha, yes. N as in Nancy."  
 
So from now on I call it "The Nancy Word" whenever I would say the term "The N Word". I find that it puts another degree of separation between the real N word and the term "The N Word" and me saying either one of them. Even the term "The N Word" is generally offensive. The Nancy Word serves as a nice comfortable firewall between my mind and my mouth. Which I apparently need.
Handy Reference Series Volume 2: Pharmacy Incorporated
Posted by reapre 8 years ago
Here's a handy dandy algorithm I whipped up after back-extrapolating a decision-making tree from the business-speak imbued dictums that my corporate overlords are singlemindedly focused upon lately. (*1)  
 
In other words, and without a bunch of fancy made-up hyperterminology (*2) that business people use to confuse their underlings (*3):  
 
A major portion of a retail pharmacist's job is to verify the typewritten work of our pharmacy technicians. At the chain drugstore where I work, we are able to view and interact with photocopies of the work performed at neighboring stores. This technology is intended to distribute the cognitive workload of busy pharmacists out onto other pharmacists at slow stores.  
 
My management says the same veiled threats at every pharmacy they visit. They suggest that if we verify more Rx's we will get more "staff hours" to apply toward payroll and vice-versa. They believe that they are inducing productivity. However they forgot that we all talk amongst each other in a vast network of peers and friends. And they forgot to think through the logic of the talking points they are distributing. (*4)  
 
Hence, this algorithm:  
 
DWB Algorithm  
 
*1) "Business speak" or "management speak" is a term for the kind of language that corporate folks use. It is constructed with a scaffolding of faulty logic on a foundation of bullshit.  
 
*2) Okay, I made that term up. But see how easy it is?  
 
*3) ..and that is the funniest irony of all. The sorts of people who gravitate towards and excel at middle management are necessarily the types of people whose platitudes are lost on any and all subordinate employees whose intellectual quotients and/or life experiences equal or exceed their own.  
 
*4) Honestly, are there any "talking points" nowadays that are genuinely free of propaganda?
Handy Reference Series Volume 1: Drug Identification
Posted by reapre 8 years ago
Drug ID Algorithm
A Very Reapre Dodgeball Team - Fall 2009
Posted by reapre 8 years ago
Probable NSFW image below.  
 
 
Do not even bother to scroll down unless you've seen the movie Superbad.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here is the image for our Fall 2009 draft team t-shirts in the Memphis Dodgeball League.  
 
You won't get the gag unless you've seen the movie Superbad. Everybody and their grandma should watch that movie. Just not with your grandma.  
 
 
And you probably won't get the gag unless you've seen that classic iconic photo of Mohammad Ali after he just knocked out a guy. Here's a link if you don't already know what I'm talking about.  
 
Anyway here's the image I drew up...  
 
Punch In The Dick  
 
The team name is "Punch In the Dick". And an actual dick being punched was way too graphic, no matter how I tried to draw it. There was just no way to make it classy.  
 
I don't expect too many people to want to wear this sort of thing in public, but I posted it on Zazzle.com so the rest of my team can customize the shirts and order them whatever way they like. I promise I'm not being paid to endorse Zazzle, but I kinda like their wide range of customization options. If you want to see it on Zazzle, you have to set your Zazzle account settings to R-Rated and then search for a couple relevant key words like Superbad, Punch, Ali, etc.  
 
The only problem I had with their shirts is that their print job doesn't come out quite as clear as their onscreen preview image. So for a pencil drawing like mine, even after I darkened all the lines by hand, and even after I digitally darkened it again on my computer, the shirts are still lacking some of the shading and greys that really make the image work IMHO.
A Very Reapre Dodgeball Team
Posted by reapre 8 years ago
Here are pictures of the various T-shirts concepts I went through for our dodgeball team shirt.  
 
I meant to post this way back after the journal entry for A Very Reapre Halloween 2007. Basically I left the reader hanging after mentioning that I'd been practicing drawing unicorns. Lots of unicorns. Shut up. No, I do not prefer the company of gentlemen. I am married. Yes, to a woman. I say good day to you, sir.  
 
Anyway, this is the reason why. I was working on drawing various fantasy creature designs for our team. I knew I wanted to have something that appeared very festive and innocent at first glance, but which was hilarious and/or awesomely hardcore once the visual image was processed by an adult brain.  
 
This first one is my original hand-drawn concept art. I used an image that I found online as a guide for a simple iconic unicorn silhouette. Since we were going with a kind of porn-theme with our team name, I decided to have the unicorn ejaculating a rainbow. - -Because if something as magical and pure as a unicorn were to ejaculate, it would most certainly ejaculate rainbows and/or fairy dust. Duh.  
 
Almost all the team names in our league involve some kind of play on words; usually involving balls. It doesn't appear to be a local thing either. Several other leagues have team names with the same testicular caliber of humour.  
 
As you can see, I used a modified Mickey Mouse font for the team name. I think the whole thing is very nice, but it was drawn directly on a t-shirt by hand. So it would need to be scanned or photographed and digitally cleaned up before making copies for the whole team.  
 
money shot dodgeball logo unicorn rainbow  
 
Plus, I used a full rainbow on this design. The printing costs get really expensive for each additional colour you add.  
 
 
This next one is the image that we ended up using. I found this image while randomly shopping for cool t-shirts online. It was "sold out" so I wrote a long detailed e-mail to them. I basically said I could guarantee the purchase of a minimum of 30-40 shirts if they would just let me know what they would like to charge. We might also want to purchase printing on the back too but we don't have to have it if they don't do that sort of thing. They wrote back and basically said that they do not reprint retired images unless there is sufficient demand. They encouraged me to e-mail a reprint request to them (what the fuck did you think I doing in the first place?). Once they get a thousand or so of those email requests, they will consider reprinting popular images.  
 
Now you might find yourself thinking that this makes good business sense, since 1) they probably don't want to mass produce their cool shirt designs for a whole dodgeball team because it will diminish the uniqueness of the design, or 2) they probably don't want to print less than a thousand or so at a time, to maximize profits. Or you might find yourself thinking, as I did, that 1) they are fucking fools to turn down a guaranteed purchase at whatever price they wish to charge me, and 2) they probably should have put some sort of latent image on their jpg's so bitter determined people like me won't just download the image and take it to a local print shop.  
 
I found a sweet Walt Disney font that you can use in MS Word and asked the people at the print shop to put our team name above the unicorn logo. And voila..  
 
Money Shot  
 
To be fair, I did actually purchase a number of other very cool shirts from the online t-shirt company that shall remain nameless. But their ridiculous position on the unicorn image really pissed me off. I wonder how they're feeling about that decision now that a fucking global recession has happened.  
 
And this final image is one of the alternate ones I was really wanting. About 3 years ago, our team was formed from three other dodgeball teams who didn't have enough members for a full team. We were called something like "236 Monkeys" or some stupid shit for a while. So I was kind of thinking "Monkey Shot" would be a silly play on words (Money Shot) and we could use a modified version of the Family Guy Evil Monkey.  
 
In this photo, you see an airbrushed version of my idea. It was done by the same local airbrush artist that did the Princess Leia RoTJ Brass Bikini t-shirt for me last year. I had him airbrush this onto the back of my own dodgeball team shirt.  
 
dodgeball evil monkey family guy  
 
Side topic: Dodgeball is freaking sweet. I highly recommend. People of all ages, physical shapes, and athletic ability levels play in our league. As I understand it, a bunch of people started up leagues all around the country after the Dodgeball movie came out. So now it's almost as widespread and competitive as the movie made it look. They even have a championchip in Vegas each year.  
 
I sometimes play while wearing a helmet camera. I imagine I'll post those videos online whenever I find good free video editing software.
Caption This Photo
Posted by reapre 9 years ago
Here are a couple of funny signs I saw here in Memphis. Haven't seen them elsewhere on the internet, so here are my amateurish photos of them. Feel free to add your own captions if the mood strikes you.  
 
This first exhibit I call "World's Sexiest Garage"  
 
Photobucket  
 
Alternate captions:  
"I see you have a lot of junk in your trunk, ma'am."  
"Because WonderBra Body Shop was already taken."  
"Pimp My Ride, or at least sexily dress it."  
 
...  
 
This next exhibit is entitled "Lawsuit Lane"  
 
Photobucket  
 
...  
MidsouthCon 2009
Posted by reapre 9 years ago
So I finally ventured out and wore my Boba Fett costume at our annual sci-fi / fantasy / gaming convention. I only wore it for an hour, and I had a few "wardrobe malfunctions". But all things considered, a rocking fun time was had by all.  
 
You'll probably need to read about A Very Reapre Halloween 2008 for background info if you don't already know what I'm talking about at this point. The best full-length costume photos are near the bottom of the post.  
 
Anyway, I went to our little local convention here in Memphis.  
 
I officially tore that place up.  
 
Every single body pulled out their cellphone cameras and/or told me they thought the concept was awesome. People were telling me I was going to win the costume contest two hours before it started. (But I didn't enter the contest for various reasons. Shut up. Don't judge me; I promise I had good reason(s).) And to be completely honest, by hardcore Star Wars Costuming standards, my stuff was probably a sloppy mess. More on that later.  
 
This was all I needed though. My ego was swelled way too much after 10 minutes of generating widespread awe in the main halls of the convention center without having to enter any contest.  
 
But in all honesty I ought to go on and enter it next year to claim my place in Star Wars costumery lore. Hee hee. Honestly though the concept is the big deal about the costume. The costume itself is kinda rough. It's best viewed from a distance. Up close it loses some of its awesome factor.  
 
Anyway, I basically just went down to the main halls of the convention center and shuffled around for about an hour, getting stopped for pictures (and sometimes stopping people myself; see below). I had three trusty wing men meandering around with me taking pictures with my camera and basically making sure I didn't demolish my suit by stepping on it or tripping down the handicapped ramps.  
 
There was a group of ten or twenty children right when I got off the elevator (not waiting for me; they were doing something else which rapidly degenerated into chaos when I came out of the elevator) and they were absolutely precious. They were asking who was "under there" with me, knocking on my "legs", and spontaneously posing with me for pictures with strangers. One of them asked me for my autograph.  
 
The support strap on my left [prosthetic] leg broke in the hotel room when I was putting it on. Fortunately I built that part with multiple redundancy so we just re-attached it to the spare twine that I had threaded into it beforehand. Then it broke again about 45 minutes into my walkabout. AARGH. So you might notice that the "legs" don't look quite right in some of the photos.  
 
I didn't get all my armour and clothing arranged properly because the hotel room was very cramped and did not contain a full-length mirror. In hindsight, I should have taken more care to tighten the suit up and generally straighten my shit. The vest and chest armour is a bit sloppy and I totally forgot to turn on the digital display on the breastplate. The rear scrolling LED was still not quite to my liking so I decided not to turn it on. I also should have pushed and prodded at the cloth on the prosthetic legs better. It takes a while to arrange the legs just right or they look kinda funny. Hence, the kinda funny look that my "legs" have in several of these photos.  
 
But as I said, all things considered, it was still a rockingly fun time. We kept the tome lighthearted and humorous throughout my foray onto the 'Con floor and everybody seemed to be genuinely amused.  
 
Here are the photos. In the unlikely event that somebody recognizes and objects to a photo of themselves on this journal, just let me know and I'll delete it posthaste.  
 
 
 
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A Very Reapre Halloween 2008
Posted by reapre 9 years ago
Guys, I've been working on a real doozy this time. I've been pretty tight-lipped about it since I wasn't sure if I could pull it off successfully.  
 
BACKGROUND:  
 
Ever since my work with the satyr prosthetics two Halloweens ago, I had been brainstorming for new ideas. Drew up quite a few sketches for a centaur. Did the same for The Rocketeer. Couldn't find crucial Rocketeer props on eBay, though. Was really taken with the hilarious costume from The Office (BBC). Several other ideas didn't make it past spitballing stages. But then while I was playing a game of Star Wars Minis, I saw a sculpture that was almost identical to my discarded Rocketeer idea.  
 
So for the last six months, I've been gradually watching for Boba Fett costume parts to come up for sale on eBay. And more importantly, I've been amassing possible components and working out the logistics on the parts I'd have to make for myself.  
 
Mind you, this is not a traditional fan-made Boba Fett costume. There are always tons of Fetts at any given Sci Fi / Comic / Fantasy / etc. convention. I wanted to do something that I had never seen done before. I know that there are hundreds of master costumers whose skills and tools exceeded mine. But I have a tridiculous imagination. (Tridiculous is kind of like ridiculous, but it's three times as diculous. It's beyond redundantly incredulous. It puts not one, not two, but three dics in diculous. Hence tridiculous. You're welcome.)  
 
I wanted to make something as cool as Fett but totally different from the usual gang at every'con. And I finally knew exactly how I was going to do it.  
 
Hence this year's project: Boba Fett hovering on a column of flame.  
 
The most recent pictures are near the bottom of this post, if you don't care about all the components and construction. Also, it might help for you to skim down and check out the pictures from time to time while reading the description. Both a picture and I tend to tell a thousand words, but a picture does it more succinctly.  
 
The rest of the journal entry is still being edited. Will post updated photos periodically as I fiddle with the costume
 
 
Here's a picture of the jetpack/flame assembly hanging on a big Fett crucifix in my living room. This is the view of the back side.  
 
 
BackView01  
 
 
 
MATERIALS / THE MAKING OF FETT ON FLAMES:  
 
So that's the custom jetpack with column of flame that I will be standing inside of. It masks my lets and feet while I stand upright. I have fake legs that will hang out in front of me as if I am hovering in the air on a column of flame.  
 
It is made of cardboard, aluminum tubing, duct tape, lots of paint, paper mache, more duct tape, black felt, two blinking LED lights, one small scrolling LED message board, chicken wire, white cotton cloth, more spray paint, more duct tape, and the shoulder straps from my old college backpack. This was the part that I had to make from scratch. The rest of the Fett jumpsuit is partially cut away at the waist and contains two hollow prosthetic legs suspended out in front of my torso. Oh, I also had to bang together a big wooden Fett crucifix to hang it on while I worked on the cloth "flames".  
 
The Fett suit and helmet I bought on eBay. The cat with laser eyes is not an accessory. She is just proud of her new Boba Fett Kitty Teepee and she is posing while I take pictures of it.  
 
I also took a few snapshots of the teeny tiny model fett that I got my final inspiration from. (Dropped that photo to keep my photobucket bandwidth down. But you can see it if you look for Fett miniature number 42 on eBay.) I would have liked to have had more taper in my flame column, but I needed to have a larger degree of freedom in order to maneuver with my rollerblades hidden.  
 
Here is a breakdown to walk you through the evolution of this costume.  
 
The Jetpack  
 
I went to Costco and "tried on" every single eligible cardboard box that they had in their great big bin o' boxes. Took three or four home. Found one that fit my back well and was wide enough to shield my hips from view as my body was going to be partially recessed into it.  
 
Got some aluminum dryer duct tubes and joints from hardware store. They are super easy to work with, as duct tape adheres amazingly well to them. Reinforced [with assloads of duct tape] and drilled and bolted all that stuff together. Also had three cardboard tubes which were almost identical in length and diameter. The center tube is cardboard. The two tubes you see flanking it are aluminum, and the two outermost tubes are cardboard.  
 
Blew up four balloons to nice 4-inch diameter spheres and wedged them halfway into the tops of the tubes. Then applied paper mache to them so that the jetpack's tubes would have symmetrical and relatively rounded tops. Applied liberal sanding and additional coats of paper mache. Repeated as needed. Considered self lucky to have received generic Dremel last Xmas.  
 
Choreographed (on paper) the elaborate sequence of applications necessary to spray paint this bitch most effeciently. Developed an abiding respect, nay, love of masking tape.  
 
Hand painted the "blaster scars" on it. Basically did a "scarred" circle with a shaggy black circle. Then I painted silver spheres or streaks in the center to make the illusion of bare metal showing through. In hindsight, some of them look a bit contrived due to placement and shape. But on the other hand, I had to place some of them in awkward locations and in implausible configurations because I felt they were needed to mask underlying physical blemishes on the tubes.  
 
Scratched the rest of the battle scars with a knife onto the two tubes which were metal. If I had it to do all over again I would have probably made all five tubes out of aluminum. On the one hand, cardboard is much easier to work with considering the tools I used. But on the other hand, the aluminum is waaaay lighter and has the advantage that any painting mishap or scratches still ultimately add to the kickass weathered and battle-scarred metal appearance.  
 
Okay. So far in the timeline, we've moved up to the Gulf Coast landfall of Hurricane Gustav. All work was put on temporary hold while my home accomodated nine Louisiana natives for a week or so. It was a stressful interruption of work that I had planned. But what the fuck. They are worried that they'll lose their houses and my selfish ass is worried about making my costume. So I had to check myself. And I took a break.  
 
Okay, so the jetpack is done. Looks fairly good. My honest sense is that it still felt a bit amateurish. Halloween is coming up soon now. Frankly at this point I was scared to start on the flame column. Let's be honest. I had already procured a sweet ass fan-made Fett costume. Plus I had a top-of-the-line Lucasfilm-licensed Fett helmet. Even if I chickened out now, I would still have a sweet ass Fett costume with a jetpack I made myself.  
 
I got off on a bit of a tangent and ordered a bunch of superfluous electronics for it. Got a couple of LED's that just randomly blink. Drilled more holes into the Jetpack chassis (can cardboard reinforced liberally with duct tape seriously be considered a "chassis" with a straight face?) and mounted one light into each shoulder of the jetpack. They don't blink in tandem but that's not important since they can't both be seen at the same time without a cunning arrangement of mirrors.  
 
And I found an eBay dude who sold small programmable scrolling multiple-LED displays [mounted in some other crap which was what he was really selling but I promptly threw that worthless shit away and kept the LED component]. The instructions read like Japanese translated into Kiwi translated into Diskworlde Trob translated back into Japanese again and then translated into Engrish. But nonetheless, it is indeed a sweet programmable scrolling multiple-LED display which will say most any alpha-numeric thing I can think of.  
 
Admission: I haven't yet thought of anything cool enough to program into it. So far I just have a cascade of greater-than, less-than, and equals symbols programmed to saunter vaguely downward. But Frankly Hope springs eternal and I'm sure I'll think of some hilarious inside joke to plug into the dang thang.  
 
Here is a close up of the multiple LED scrolling display. It is much brighter and thus slightly less lame-looking when not viewed in the light of a flashbulb. It is mounted in the shadowed area right under the center tube.  
 
 
Rear LED 02  
 
Next you can see a close-up of a single blinking LED that I mounted in each shoulder of the jetpack. Nothing special there. Just a requisite random blinking light.  
 
Right Shoulder LED  
 
 
Okay, dammit. Buckle down, self. You have to make the flame column. This is the whole point of the costume. To be a dude in a Fett costume is not enough. This is the evolutionary leap in Fett Costumery that can make my concept slightly more noticeable than the umpty million other souls who have shuffled off this mortal coil without ever acheiving enduring Tron-Guy-esque notoriety [despite having likely contributed more to mankind than me].  
 
The Column of Flame:  
 
Drilled holes in the bottom of the four exterior tubes. Cut and sculpted about six square feet of chicken wire to billow out into four distinct rivulets of flame. Secured it up into the base of the jetpack with light gauge steel wire. The shape looked really really good. Chicken wire was probably the perfect choice in terms of easy moldability, light weight, and shape-holding.  
 
Cut and draped about 15 square feet of light kona cotton cloth over it. Sewed it into the wire frame lattice by hand. Sewed velcro strips into the front of it for closure.  
 
Began to paint it using fabric spraypaint obtained at Hobby Lobby.  
 
OH BY THE WAY, DID I EVER MENTION MY UNPROFESSIONAL OPINION OF HOBBY LOBBY?  
 
Dear. God. In. Heaven. Above. They. Sell. The. Most. Shoddy. Materials. Ever. Known. Unto. Man.  
 
To be fair, the fabric spraypaints were good in that they were merely dyes which allowed the cloth to remain 100% pliable and very flowy. And most importantly they could be sprayed on in a light dusting manner. Except, of course, when the nozzle clogged and shot a stark swath of pigment onto the very item that you wished to be ever so daintily dusted with the merest hint of ethereal billowing badass jetpack exhaust. So you end up having to go to a real hardware store and get real spraypaint to lightly (darkly) fix the fucked up wrong-ass colours on the cloth.  
 
If I hadn't already spent hours painstakingly sewing it onto the chicken wire, I would have probably thrown it away due to the shitty Hobby Lobby paint misadventure.  
 
Plus, real spray paints tend to make the cloth harden. I don't have any real complaint about that since I think it still looks okay. But I would have liked to have used dyes instead of paints for the feaux flames so as to have more mobility in the cloth.  
 
Finally, I cut thin strips of chicken wire (maybe 8 inches in width) and bent them to approximate the look of the billowing bottom portion of the flame column (see also the miniature sculpture). In other words, I was creating the illusion of the bottom portion of white hot flames hitting the ground and spraying out slightly.  
 
By sewing these all around the underside / base of the cloth, it held the fabric both out away from my rollerbladed feet and up off of the ground. Multiple success. This addition was both aesthetically and functionally necessary. It still drags the ground and can get caught up in grass or carpet. But I am never in danger of stepping on cloth because of the way it is held outwards.  
 
The Helmet:  
 
Honestly, I just bought it on eBay. No need to read any further in this passage unless you would like to buy a Fett helmet someday.  
 
Three licensed versions are mass marketed as far as I can tell. The rest appear to be fan-made. There's the cheapest one which is like the same as those kiddie masks for Halloween. Then there's a really good looking deluxe one that runs about 60 bucks. It is extremely large and you will have cut and paste a great deal of padding into it, and even then it still might look silly on you if you have a small body. Think Marvin The Martian from the old Looney Tunes cartoons. And then there's the Master Replicas version. They are limited so the price has slowly been creeping up on them. This is the one I got and I couldn't be more pleased. It's padded on the inside and required only one small piece of foam for me to make it secure on my head. Plus it contains blinking LED's in the antenna. Which brings my Useless Vaguely Science-Fictiony Blinking Light Quotient up to like 9.5 or possibly even a 10.  
 
The Suit:  
 
Honestly, I just bought it on eBay. A German fan made it himself as far as I can tell. We were both unwilling or unable to communicate in each others' native tongues past the babelfishing necessary to complete the eBay transaction. The suit is very very nice and I have absolutely no complaints about his work. The only things missing from a complete Fett outfit were some nondescript shoes which I just picked up at the great satan supercenter.  
 
When I first inspected it, I was slightly disappointed because it appeared to have been damaged somewhat in shipping. The paint on the armour was peeling significantly, which I attributed to transatlantic cargo hold temperature and pressure changes. So I had to touch that up a bit. No real problem there. Didn't have to match the green paint; just had to paint silver in the problem areas. That's the nice thing about this kind of project. The more you fuck it up, the more it looks battle-scarred and weathered.  
 
The suit had a sweet ass digital display on the left chest plate. But it wouldn't come on! Did it get damaged by x-rays in customs or something? It appeared to be stuck with some of the digits red and others faded to black. Is this LCD instead of LED? Am I on LSD? I was afraid to take off the backing materials since I didn't really know anything about electronics and I certainly didn't want to mess it up any more. I contacted the seller but we clearly don't speak each others' language. So I just left it alone for several months.  
 
But then last week when I was making final preparations, I started monkeying around with it and figured out that one exposed piece of circuitry actually contained an unmarked on/off pushbutton. It was a minor miracle that I thought to push and prod at it. Then I realised that the display wasn't a digital display at all. It was just a translucent plate with static sci-fi-ish digits on it, with a blinking LED behind it. And the batteries still worked! Awesome!  
 
By the time it was all over I had pieces of electronics doing stuff on every side of my body.  
 
Useless Vaguely Science-Fictiony Blinking Light Quotient = 11.  
 
 
MOST RECENT PICS OF THE [mostly] COMPLETED COSTUME:  
 
Here are some poses that I did on Halloweeen night. I'm not wearing rollerblades yet. Here I'm standing on my wife's exercise steps.  
 
Left Profile 01  
 
Back View 01  
 
Right Profile 01  
 
 
Self-criticisms:  
 
These pictures are fairly late in the sequence and I had been dancing around and being silly for my wife by this point. So my shoes are showing and the right [prosthetic] leg has slipped down out of position somewhat. The right knee is meant to be cocked up and the left leg should be hanging but slightly bent as if I've just leapt up into the air.  
 
Again, the photos make it look like I have a huge slovenly belly hanging out. I assure you that this is a function of the suit. The steel bars that support the prosthetic legs are L-shaped, and they are meant to be flush with my torso. However due to the weight of the legs, they pull forward and push the cloth out under my outfit. Hence, the ILLUSION of a big ol belly.  
 
I was unable to cut the jumpsuit in such a way as to preserve extra cloth to mask the area where my thighs go down into the flame sheath. So I basically have to figure out which of my grey sweat shorts look best there. Also I forgot to put the holsters onto the utility belt. After reviewing the photos I added the holsters and that hip area is masked much better now.  
 
I think I would like to reposition the codpeice/buttplate assembly. It was constructed very well, but it doesn't suit my particular take on a Fett costume. It is mounted on an elastic belt, but it kept slipping down my ass and of course I couldn't reach it to maintain the right look.  
 
I don't think I want to wear rollerblades to the party I'm attending tomorrow night. My wife says it's rude to wear my street skates inside their house. But mainly, I think I'm actually going to need more height. The cloth still brushes the ground slightly even when I was on that step in the photos. Plus any additional height will help to add to the illusion.  
 
Okay I spent a couple of hours making some platform shoes out of the old Satyr skate assembly. I basically unbolted the steel rods and rearranged them to be flush with the soles. Then I bolted several together and wrapped the bottoms with real rubber bungee cords. The resulting boots are about an inch higher than they would have been on wheels and it grips every surface extremely well.  
 
Here's a pic..  
 
Platform Boot  
 
After having worn it at a November 1 Halloween party, I have a few more things that I'd like to improve on.  
 
The "skirt" is still too long. I found that the chicken wire on the bottom of the flames is sufficiently sculpted to keep the cloth held up and out away from my feet. However it makes a disconcerting light scraping noise and I don't want my hosts to be wondering what the fuck I'm doing to their hardwood floors. And it also tends to move sluggishly on carpet. It doesn't catch and trip me but I don't want to take that chance. So I took the length up about two inches with my trusty Handi-Stitch handheld sewing machine right before the party.  
 
Also I still have one pesky gap right at the bottom front where you can totally see my right foot no matter what I do. Now I understand why dress makers put the zippers on the side or rear. So I got a piece of white posterboard and wrapped it around my right boot. As far as I could tell, it worked to preserve the illusion of white flame.  
 
Hard to tell tho, since most people were at least a teeny bit awed by the costume in its entirety. Nobody there wanted to be a helpful dick about it and point out specific flaws for me. - -Not even my wife, who can usually be counted on for constructive criticism of that variety.  
 
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..  
 
.  
 
And finally, here are some pictures that a helpful friend took November 1, 2008. These help add a bit of perspective since a fraction of the awesomeness of the costume can be attributed exclusively to the fact that I appear to be like six and a half feet tall.  
 
Pirate with Fett  
 
And here is a pic of me shamelessly posing for the nice camera. (Self criticism duly applied: I must figure out how to mask that gap at the bottom front of the flame skirt!)  
 
 
Skinny Leg Fett  
 
 
BUT REAPRE, WHAT ABOUT YOUR WIFE LADY?  
 
Oh Shit! I forgot that my wife needs a costume.  
 
Sidebar Alert: This passage is not germane to this post. In fact, it's so irrelevant that it's neither germane, tito, jackie, marlon, michael, nor LaToya to this post. Anyway last year I got a totally sweet V costume. I was going to be the hero character from the epic comic and movie entitled V For Vendetta. But my wife didn't have a costume to wear. So she wanted us to instead dress in 1990's metal/punk stuff since it would be totally easy for us to reconstitute the metal/punk look by cobbling together the vestiges of my old college wardrobe. Long story short, I now still have a brand new V For Vendetta costume hanging in my closet. The take-home point from that experience is that Thou Shalt Provide Halloween Costuming For Thine Own Wife Lady Or Things Will Not Go Well For Ye.  
 
Anyway I finally figured out what I should get for her this year. It had to somewhat match my theme but also be vanilla enough that she would be comfortable wearing it while slightly pregnant.  
 
Remember all those stereotypical touristy / Spring Break / universally-beachy oversized t-shirts with the voluptous bikini body airbrushed on? Remember? Remember how it totally looked like a real hot babe at first glance but then you realise that the wearer of the shirt doesn't have a hot babe's body. And then it's temporarily a hilarious gag shirt. Then you become immediately self-conscious and attempt to look away before your wife catches you looking at the hot fake bikini t-shirt.  
 
Sidebar: Unless the shirt's on a girl. And then it's temporarily the hottest thing you've ever seen in your life. You will be required to avert your eyes posthaste in this situation as well, but you will not be successful.  
 
So anyway I got a local airbrush dude to recreate that Princess-Leia-In-Totally-Awesome-Golden-Bikini outfit from Return of the Jedi. I asked him to do two versions so my wife could pick whichever one she liked best. I figure that would take the pressure off him if he messed up or if he needed to do one for practice or if he maybe had multiple appraches but wasn't sure exactly what look he wanted to go with.  
 
I'm pretty sure I will never ever persuade her to wear it for a photo on the internet, so here is a photo of them laid on the couch.  
 
Sidebar: "Laid on the couch." Hee hee.  
 
WifesTshirts01
Third time is a charm
Posted by reapre 10 years ago
Car got disapparated the other day while I was at work. The cop that took the report was halfway through it before he noticed that it was my birthday. We had a good ole laugh together at the coincidence. Then he apologized.  
 
Got a call the next morning from a Momma over in a super ghetto area of town. She found about a thousand papers strewn across her lawn and down her street. A few of them had my name and number on them.  
 
Background time:  
 
I drive a 1993 Saturn 4-cylinder with the deluxe roof fabric that is designed to hang down and gently caress your head as you drive. It obscures your rear-view vision, but that's the price you pay for ultimate luxury. It has two very nice hubcaps (one for each side of the car).  
 
The passenger side can and does accommodate exactly five cubic feet of discarded fast-food trash. This figure can be expanded by sliding the passenger seat back, but I do not recommend it as it unbalances the elegant natural symmetry of the vehicle.  
 
The radio is actually much nicer than the original model, which means that the stock speakers cannot handle all of the juice it sends to them. So unfortunately, you cannot truly rock out in the car without it sounding like four speakers are about to vomit lightning across the interior. ..Not the cool kind, either. The kind of lightning that can turn jedi.  
 
Now most models don't usually run at such a high caliber of performance, but I repeatedly subject mine to extensive handling tests. I treat all speed bumps and potholes as if I don't see them and the car constantly reaffirms that trust. In addition, the passenger-side sun visor is modified to constantly hang in a loose downward configuration. This allows the driver to avoid both sunlight and visibility from that direction as well.  
 
I also recently discovered that it can host a modified greenhouse environment when I cleaned it last year. It turns out that ordinary garden-variety sesame seeds will sprout given an appropriate amount of moisture and heat, on the carpet flooring of my passenger side. Kids take note. Potential Science-Fair material here!  
 
The entire back seat functions as a loose-leaf library containing an accumulation photocopied journal articles spanning 4-years of medical education with an emphasis on pharmacy. I also had several bound volumes of class notes which can be used as quick-reference modules in the event of an impromptu Pharmacokinetics exam. The back seat floor area hosted an auxiliary selection of clip-on ties and wrinkle-retentive lab coats. Currently, however, these amenities are strewn across several blocks of low-income Memphis housing.  
 
Truly, my piece of shit car will be missed.  
How to tell if your LSUV identifies you as an idiot douchebag pissing oil for vanity
Posted by reapre 10 years ago
I have decided to post a helpful guide in bullet-point format to make it more easy for folks out there to determine their contribution / detriment to society. This particular guide is hoped to help clarify the decision-making process for those of you who are in the market for an automobile. You can also use it to gauge the relative social worth of the folks driving around you. I'm sure someone smarter than me has posted this sort of rant before, but I sure haven't seen it.  
 
First, a point that 95% of the folks living around me cannot seem to grasp. An SUV is a Sport Utility Vehicle. A Luxury-SUV is an oxymoron. There is nothing "luxury" about a "utility" vehicle, and there is rarely anything luxury about the sort of wilderness "sports" that their commercials advertise.  
 
Hence, this list.  
 
- What is the cupholder count? You gonna be needing lots of cupholders whilst rocking the trails offroad?  
 
- Does it even have a trailer hitch on the rear?  
 
- Has the trailer hitch ever been used?  
 
- No, I mean for something other than to mount a college team logo or other novelty trailer hitch guard?  
 
- Does it have more cubic space in the cabin than in the truck bed?  
 
- If it's a truck, do you routinely haul stuff that cannot fit in any lesser vehicle?  
 
- If it's a traditional LSUV, do you routinely haul a number of people that cannot fit in any lesser vehicle?  
 
- Have you ever driven offroad with it?  
 
- No, driving over curbs to get your lazy ass closer to a little-league field does not count.  
 
- In fact, curbs don't count at all. Unless you're escaping from those new-generation one-lane escape-resistant restaurant drive-thru lanes. Those must be defied at all costs.  
 
- Does it "transform" into a cool hybrid truckish thing but somehow doesn't manage to deliver the full benefits of simply owning either a truck or an SUV ?  
 
- Does its name contain the words Cadillac or Lincoln or Hummer?  
 
- Does a spare tire come standard with it?  
 
- Could you change that tire?  
 
- Are you pissed off or are you indifferent when it gets a scratch? Because utility vehicles are made to be scratched.  
 
.  
..  
...  
 
 
Will add more as they come to me. I've been meaning to post this list for a while, but just now sat down to it. Can't remember them all, and will likely think up more.  
 
Note, this is just a list of topics to weigh before you pick your vehicle. You don't have to satisfy every one of my criteria in order to be a responsible citizen. But at least give them an honest thinking.
A Very Reapre Halloween 2007
Posted by reapre 10 years ago
As you can see, this year's jack-o-lantern is a unicorn having its way with an alien queen from the movie Aliens.  
 
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket  
 
It was difficult to top the Reapre's Unspeakably Hardcore Jack-O-Lantern of 2005, but I feel that this is a valiant attempt.  
 
And there was no way in hell that I was going to top my AVRH 2006 costume.  
 
Plus, I found out that I would be carving pumpkins at a friend's house literally hours before I was supposed to do it. So I had to come up with something pretty much on-the-spot.  
 
Sorry in advance about the blurred photo. This is the best nighttime one I could get without a flash. With the flash you can really make out the detail, but of course it doesn't look as jack-o-lanterny. I will post some other pics in the comments below.  
 
Background:  
 
I had recently been drawing lots and lots of unicorns (Stop laughing. There's a really good reason, I promise) so I was fairly comfortable drawing another one of those. But it had to have something extra in order to make it truly awesome. Something unspeakably magical.  
 
So I decided that it should be "riding" some kinda quasi-evil creature, like a dragon or a tyrannosaurus or a wyrm or something. Mind you, I had been sitting at a folding table in an aquaintance's back yard with a dozen strangers studiously carving away at their pumpkins all around me for like 20 minutes at this point. Then it hit me. I should do a freaking Alien queen, with the cool protruding mini-mouth and the iconic wedge-shaped head.  
 
And thus was this project begun.  
 
My wife, of course, would not allow me to even think of taking the pumpkin back to our house for display.  
 
Postscript:  
I suppose I need to explain why I have been drawing so many unicorns lately. Will add another journal entry for that.
A Very Reapre Halloween 2006
Posted by reapre 10 years ago
Sorry about the delay, but I've been meaning to post my Halloween 2006 costume for some time now. Here's a cropped pic of my best photo of it and a description of the making of this costume.  
 
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket  
 
As you can see, I was a satyr. I stand about 7 feet tall, and walk with the assistance of a staff that I also made. Unfortunately, this photo doesn't show the sweet ass chrome skull on top of the staff, since I had to crop my identity out.  
 
COMPONENTS  
 
Meandering roughly from top to bottom, this costume contains:  
1) Staff, 6 feet long with rubber tip in base and small chrome skull mounted on top,  
2) Hand sewn loincloth (white/tan/brown fur) with elastic waist,  
3) Hand sewn "legs" (black fur) with elastic waist (By the way, I was most dismayed by the huge bulge where the elastic bunches up all the fur in front of my stomach. For the record, I totally got rid of my pot belly before Halloween. This particular photo both maximizes the bulge and fails to see through the mesh shirt to my skin underneath.)  
4) More white/tan/brown fur sewn onto rear ankle joint to help disguise the articulation point where the heel of my boots can sometimes be seen,  
5) Rollerblades, one pair, model: Macroblade, circa 1996,  
6) Eight steel bars (see assembly section or other photos for clarification),  
7) Six more rubber tips mounted into the bases of the steel bars,  
8) Two hollow paper mache "calves" painted brown and black, intended to look like a satyr's goatlike lower legs, and  
9) Miscellaneous other accessories: necklace, mesh shirt (intended to resemble chain mail), two pseudoGoth studded belts wrapped double around waist, several finger armour" style rings, four novelty skulls, and deodorant. Ample deodorant.  
 
BACKGROUND  
 
I started this back in May or June of 2006, generally allowing wild speculation to build up in my mind until I felt giddily confident that I could likely pull this thing off. If I had known in advance how much time and effort was required, I probably never would have started. But that's true of most worthwhile things that humans do.  
 
If I am completely honest about my influences, I have to give some credit to that guitarist from GWAR. Respect. I always thought it was cool beyond cool that he toddled around on custom platform shoes modeled to look like a satyr's legs. I knew I could duplicate that crude effect, but I wanted the dimensions to be anatomically correct. So that means that I need tons of ankle support.  
 
I am committed to rollerblading as my main type of exercise so I amassed all these extra sets of old skates off eBay. You know, so that I would never be in need of spare parts. In brainstorming this project, I figured that the hard plastic boot of an inline skate would provide both the ankle support and a mounting system on its base which would be strong enough to mount steel support bars into.  
 
I started sketching it and trying to figure out all the various components that I would need during my last summer months of Pharmacy school. As I grew more and more convinced of its plausibility, I began to bounce the idea off of several friends and acquaintances. The more people I showed, the more I became personally accountable to see it through to the end. In a way, I had to move ahead with the project after I had told enough people. But at that early stage, I was giddy with excitement and just had no realistic idea of the amount of work involved.  
 
During the summer months when I was experimenting with the various lengths and configurations of the prosthetic legs, I made an unholy racket in my garage. I would strap them on, hobble around the place a bit, do some windmilling, and then crash into any number of garage items. My wife believes that this is a hilarious anecdote to tell people at parties. Mind you, she never came out to help me. She preferred to holler for me to quit "demolishing the garage," heh. But I kept it up until my skill on the prosthetics began to match the minimum height and angles that I had decided upon. By late August, I had totally mastered them (with the aid of a hockey stick for occasional support).  
 
There's more, of course, but I'll outline the rest in the next section.  
 
COMPONENTS / ASSEMBLY  
 
I will post close-up photos of the individual components in the "comments" section so as not to obliterate your dial-up connection.  
 
I spent my spare July/August 2006 days using a hacksaw to chew through steel bars. I used those bars that are hollow, square, one inch on any side, with holes down the length of it every 2 inches or so, and which fit snugly into the base of any inline skate.  
 
Once I found the anatomically correct length, I bolted them onto the blades (parallel with my soles) and strapped them on.  
 
After a few tries, I figured out that I needed to modify the angle at which the bars came off of the bottom of my skate boots. Parallel to the sole of the foot is absolutely murder on the knees. So I fiddled with it until I found an angle which looked good while standing with knees locked, and which looked really good with the knees and hips bent just a bit. If I'm totally in character, it looks like I could spring into a lazy 25mph trot at any moment.  
 
I realised two things during the above experimentation.  
 
The first is that I definitely couldn't try to do this thing on steel peg legs. I would gouge the floor of any home kind enough to host me. Plus, I couldn't get any traction (gouged floors or not) unless I was on carpet. So I got some of those rubber tips intended for canes. They just happen to fit perfectly inside of the base of those hollow steel bars.  
 
The second thing is that even after adding uber-grip rubber pegs onto the bottoms, I still needed some way to steady myself just in case.  
 
But I couldn't just roll up into a Halloween event leaning on a stupid hockey stick.  
 
So I got a cheap ass feaux-bamboo staff from Hobby Lobby. (Scouted out their feaux fur selection whilst there, too.) Now I should mention that I officially hate that store almost as much as Wal Mart. But they have definitely come through for me on numerous occasions. So I'll shut up about their shoddy merchandise for now.  
 
The staff was coloured with what I can only assume is the lowest-quality wood stain that ever was dreamed up by a Chinese chemist. It was literally coming off on my hands while I walked from the store to the parking lot. But I knew I would be adding my own modifications to it, so I didn't sweat it. I got it into the garage and scored teardrop-shaped dimples along the entire length of the thing with a pocket knife. Then I went back from the other direction and doubled the amount of dimples, with the tails trailing off the opposite direction. Then I coated the staff with latex sealant left over from a feaux plaster home improvement project. (Yes, the cheap ass stain dissolved and ran when the sealant was applied. I just had to rush it so my alternating brown/white pattern wouldn't be blurred too much.)  
 
The rubber cane tips were too small to fit snugly inside the hollow base of the staff. However, the replacement tips for crutches are larger and have way more grip engineered into them. So I whittled one of those down until it barely squeezed into the staff.  
 
But something was still missing. So I went off to the local mall to find a Spencers or Hot Topic to solve my pseudoGoth needs. Fucking Jackpot. I found a bunch of goth umbrellas on sale in the back. They were short, black (of course), and they had killer chrome skull handles. So I bought the most dysfunctional ones and broke out the trusty hacksaw once I got back home. Long story short, a sweet chrome skull adorned the top of the staff at the end of the day. Now I was really energized about the project.  
 
Skip forward to September. We had a small party where I showed two of our closest buddies my burgeoning skill on the prosthetics. That totally locked me into completing the project. Both of those buds were throwing Halloween parties. Uh oh. I hadn't even started working on any materials which would mask the prosthetics and complete the illusion.  
 
So now I had to make skin-tight fur for my legs. Fortunately that part was very easy and repetitive. I basically measured my hip circumference and cut a rectangle of fur far larger. Sewing is very easy. It is just extremely repetitive and time-consuming. I bought one of those "as-seen-on-TV" handheld sewing machines for like ten bucks at my pharmacy. Once I figured out how to use it properly, it sped up the process immensely. Still, my pride demanded that I reinforce the crap out of it. So I ended up hand-sewing and reinforcing and re-reinforcing much of the thing anyway. Periodically I made sure to squat-walk around my living room to make sure my scrotum wouldn't try to escape at an inopportune moment.  
 
In fact, I was so paranoid about just such an event, that I decided to use that other fur fabric to make a kinda feaux-small-mammal loincloth. Plenty of elastic was added to this. If nothing else, the loincloth would help to hide my junk in case of an unplanned scrotal elope.  
 
Everything fit really snugly at the hips and thighs but I had cut it a bit generously at the waist and ankles. The ankle thing was fine, since I wanted to mask the rollerblades. However the excess fur fabric at the waist just hung out like clown pants. Added some elastic. It worked perfect. If I could have changed anything, I would have gone back and just snipped out the excess waist material before sewing the elastic on. Or at the very least, I would have made it bunch up in the rear, kind of like a fawn's tail. Did I mention that all this extra fabric bunched up in the vicinity of my belly? It wouldn't have sucked so bad except that I tried so hard to lose the flesh pot belly before Halloween.  
 
Aaanyway,  
 
The last bit was the bottom goat legs. This is another area where I personally feel that I could have done better. But I am pleased enough with the end result.  
 
I took two pieces of posterboard and wrapped them around the prosthetics in various angles until I found the one which masked the huge skate boot at the top, and which tapered down to a nice narrow circumference at the bottom. I wanted it have a stripe of shadow down the length of it to look like there were two bones going down to the hoof (kind of like how we have a tibia and fibula). But I couldn't get the posterboard to bow inward quite right. So I resolved myself to make a hardy paper mache form and just paint in the proper shading. And that's exactly what I did.  
 
 
Several layers of flour, water, newspaper, and paint later, I had some rough but passable satyr calves. I drilled holes through the satyr ankle area [human rollerblade heel] so I could string some twine through to secure the paper mache calves to the rollerblade chassis.  
 
Oops. I forgot that there should be hooves at the very bottom. Thinking back, I had brainstormed some hinged hooves which would rotate to be flush with the ground. And I had assumed they would be shiny black and make cool clip-cloppy sounds when I walked. At this point, it was early October. No time for any more experimentation. I cut up some more curved swaths of posterboard and wrapped them around into the best hoof shape that I could manage. I had to set the hooves at a fairly universal angle so that I wouldn't risk ripping them off as I walked.  
 
 
Edits pending:  
Will add photo close-ups of individual components in "comments"  
Can add after-party commentary if desired.
 
 
-later.  
--reapre.
Bellsouth engages in fraud
Posted by reapre 11 years ago
Well okay, I guess I may have just dealt with an irrepresentative sample of their personnel. But from where I stand, it looks like they hire from an employee pool consisting of imbeciles who are too feeble minded to resist being complicit in fraudulent business practices.  
 
Long story short: They fucked up but they're trying to stick me with the bill. They inisit that there is no recourse by which a customer can dispute it.  
 
Short story long: I filed a complaint with the [State Regulatory Agency]. The full body of my complaint is copy-pasted below. Seriously, who the fuck thinks their employees are incapable of making mistakes (well, okay, excluding the Bush administration), sheesh.  
 
...  
 
[This first paragraph is not my complaint, but is related background info.] I ordered phone service in 03/2006 for my new house and found out some weeks later that they had not connected it. They found absolutely no record of my lengthy, detailed conversation with the first operator. The phone number I was given had been assigned to a different individual a few days after my order was placed.  
 
So I recounted my situation in full with the new operator and we discussed (lengthy, detailed) the start date of my new phone service and the end date of my old phone number. I believe I called a third time in 04/2006 to confirm the stop date, however I have no documentation to prove this.  
 
Now in 07/2006, I called to question new charges being billed to me regarding the old phone line from my empty apartment that was vacated in 04/2006. The operator told me she showed no record of a cancellation date, so the charges were valid. I told her all of the above (lengthy, detailed), and that this was wrong. I told her that I understood that she couldn't fix this in her position, so I would hold for her supervisor. Omitting the details of our circular, repetitive conversation, and omitting the superfluous details of the "supervisor's" exquisitely poor grasp of English grammar and professional standards of behavior, she ultimately told me that the charges were valid.  
 
At several points I admitted that I certainly do not have a 100% perfect recollection of my phone calls, as I am human. However, I do know that I tend to repeat myself to excess, and I tend to use verbose and overly descriptive communication when discussing anything important. It is my belief that the documentation was not typed up appropriately, given that I mentioned my move-out date at various points in the course of our conversation.  
 
Several times, I asked her to just have someone access the recording of the one phone call that they did have record of, so we could determine whether or not I did actually convey the 04/06 end date. She evaded these requests with vigorous attempts to change the subject and maintain that I was wrong due to ancillary rationales.  
 
I asked her if there were some formal process by which I could dispute the claim, such as by filling out some paperwork for a higher authority to review. She told me no. When I persisted questioning that there was no recourse for this type of improper billing, she gave me another phone number to call.  
 
After calling, I found out that it was their Subpoena Dept, and was an entirely inappropriate number for her to have given me.  
 
So the meat of my complaint is that I believe they failed to enter the end-date of my service. Thus I believe that I should not be liable for the charges on that account, as the error was not mine.  
 
It didn't occur to me while on the phone, but you may find this helpful in pursuing my complaint: It may be fruitful to ask them to check the call history of my old phone line. They will find that there were absolutely zero calls from that phone number beyond 04/2006, thus they provided me no service for the service charges incurred. They provided service to an empty apartment due to their operator's ineptitude.  
 
It would be easier if I could e-mail an image of the bill to you, as I do not use a fax machine in my daily life. Can you provide me with an e-mail account to e-mail that attachment to?  
 
Thank you so much for considering this complaint. I have never felt so thoroughly wronged by a such a large corporation before.  
 
...  
 
[misc edit] - - Okay, I viewed the complaint online, and it is recorded as a horrible un-indented paragraphless rambling morass. Crap, I knew I should have tried some basic HTML on that shiznit.
Bush Visit, the sequel
Posted by reapre 11 years ago
Well I think I'm going to survive. Tonight we went out and had a going-away dinner for a buddy at the Rendezvous, a greasy local tourist trap and barbeque mecca. And what the fuck is plastered all over the joint but signs that they respectfully remind their patrons that they will be closed for lunch tomorrow because governor Bush is coming to eat there with the prime minister of Japan. Holy fucking shit.  
 
The whole evening I couldn't concentrate on much else besides how to fuck his shit up (figuratively, not physically). The best idea I came up with that could feasibly be done on short notice is to cut out a cardboard stencil of two or three Japanese symbols that would roughly say "Bush is an Imbecile" and then skate downtown and use them to rapidly tag (with spraypaint) several choice locations that the Japanese delegation would be sure to see.  
 
I didn't do it, obviously.  
 
Now, on a semi-tangential note, here's the juicy bit that I really wanted to mention: I think the secret service's advance team uses agents dressed as bums to scout areas before the main teams set up a large presence. No, I'm not completely paranoid. There are a number of excellent reasons why I think this.  
 
1. Because it would be a fucking smart idea. Just because they're serving a corrupt imbecile doesn't mean they're inept imbeciles too. If I ran an agency charged with securing locations from potential human threats, I would be remiss not to use some method of clandestine advance observation.  
 
2. Because I saw them. Or at least I saw dudes who were exceptionally suspicious for being such abovementioned operatives. Now before you go on and write this off as insane rambling, you should at least hear my reasons for thinking this. The main reason is that I have skated downtown Memphis on about 5 to 7 nights out of any given week religiously for the last two years, minimum. I skate about 14 miles a night, from The Med, down Poplar, past the homeless shelter, past the soup kitchen, past the bus station, down Main Street and back (generally speaking, past all the genuine bums in Memphis). I know all of them and they all know me, or at least we all know what each other looks like. And I have never, never fucking ever seen the dudes I saw tonight (or back on the last occasion that Bush came to town either).  
 
For another thing, they were white. Memphis bums are 99% black. That isn't a racial thing, and it isn't an overgeneralization. It certainly doesn't imply that the suspect dudes I saw are secret service agents just because they weren't black. But it does the fuck strike me as interesting that out of a 99% black homeless population living in downtown Memphis, I have somehow never noticed these brand new white bums downtown except in the hours preceding a presidential visit.  
 
And finally, the most suspicious dude of all was loitering near the alleyway that serves as the main entrance for the Rendezvous. And this dude was playing the whole "crazy agitated bum" persona for all it was worth. He was glancing around and pacing like he was on crack. And every time his gaze would drift past me staring at him, he would crank the crazy up a notch. I mean, it was either the craziest fucking dude I've seen all year or it was a pathetic amateurish pantomime by someone who doesn't really understand the behaviour patterns of a truly mentally disturbed individual. Furthermore, someone who was truly as unpredictable and agitated as this dude should have already attracted the attention of the local police, especially on the eve of a presidential visit, and especially if he is doing it at a location outside the very fucking restaurant the president is coming to visit.  
 
Anyway, if anybody else has noticed this in their cities too, I would be pretty interested to hear about it. I imagine most other cities are too populous for you to pick out new faces, but I really don't think I'm off base on this one. The buddy I was with also felt that "crazy bum" guy was acting just a bit too obviously crazy. I mean, after I had already made up my mind that he was not crazy, it became quite hilarious to watch him each time he felt he had to launch into another round of cliched "crazy guy" mannerisms.  
 
Anyway, thanks for reading. Hope I've entertained. It's all true.  
 
6-29-06, 11:30PM.  
 
 
P.S. I didn't ditch my idea solely because I thought those dudes were secret service. I couldn't do it because I simply didn't have time to assemble the required materials and skate downtown at an hour when I could still blend in with the regular downtown pedestrian traffic tonight. And even if I did have enough time, I still wouldn't have done it on such short notice. I would have had to tag the locations at least a week ahead of schedule in order to make sure I didn't get caught by any appropriately alert policemen. I even mentally designed a camouflaged stencil/spraypaint plan in my mind so as to be able to innocuously skate downtown with the requisite materials in plain sight.
Another Point-By-Point Rebuttal
Posted by reapre 12 years ago
Well I got another quasi-racist conservative e-mal from another buddy. I sent him a polite reply cautioning him to critically evaluate each of the points bundled in the message, and to avoid accepting all the points just because a few good points are on target.  
 
However, I'm posting a better rebuttal here within the relative anonymity of the internets. My comments are in italics and the main body of the original e-mal is in bold below.  
 
 
 
Subject: Re: [Fwd:: [ Someone Needed To Say It!] Please Read:  
 
 
Surprised CBS let him get away with this even though he's right  
 
 
AMEN ANDY ROONEY !  
 
 
 
 
Right on, Andy Rooney!  
 
Andy Rooney said on "60 Minutes" a few weeks back:  
 
I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except  
numbers. The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are  
things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment  
Television, and Miss Black America. Try to have things like the  
UnitedCaucasianCollege Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television,  
or Miss White America; and see what happens...Jesse Jackson will be knocking  
down your door.
 
 
Hold on.  
 
Black College Fund: This nation dragged them over here, enslaved them, and then set them "free" penniless and uneducated. We're only a few generations past the abolition of slavery. They didn't just magically become equal to America's whites overnight. We have a system of mandatory public education to try to make everybody equal, but you still have to have the contribution of an educated family. We still have parents modeling poor judgments and poor educations to their children. I know I've said this before here but I don't mind repeating: We'll have to be a few more generations beyond the slavery era before I'm comfortable with the "bootstraps" attitude towards blacks.  
 
Miss Black America: We're a culture of blonde hair blue eye Barbie-esque beauty ideals. We've shifted a bit over recent decades, but it's still the blacks with Caucasian features that win the mainstream beauty pageants. So what if they want to hold a pageant that celebrates their physiology.  
 
 
Black Entertainment TV / Jet: So what. Again, who cares if they want to celebrate their culture. I would even go out on a limb and suggest that there are way more magazines and TV channels that have virtually exclusively Caucasian audiences. They just don't label themselves as such.
 
 
Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can  
kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you  
from dri ving to the ball game.
 
 
No comment here. I agree. Inanimate objects aren't inherently evil. Only humans have the capacity to do evil.  
 
I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason, that is why there are  
no girls allowed. Girls belong in the Girl Scouts! ARE YOU LISTENING MARTHA  
BURKE?
 
 
Who the effs is Martha Burke? Geez, save the caps-lock ire for someone who is really enabling acts of evil, like Cheney or O'Reilly. Otherwise, no comment here.  
 
I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is  
an opinion.
 
 
Hmm, it's more a phobic opinion. I mean you might as well hate blacks for the way they're born and how they act, if you're gonna hate gays. Oh, you already do? Okay, let's try a different example. You might as well hate and fear heterosexuals because they were born that way and they dishonor our sacred institution of marriage in far greater numbers than any other sexual demographic. Here, I'll get us started: Ohh, how I hates those dirty nasty heterosexuals. Sheesh, the hetero divorce rate is like 50%. And they better not do any of their hetero mannerisms in front of my children or in public.  
 
I have the right "NOT" to be tolerant of others because they are different,  
weird, or tick me off.
 
 
Yeah, I guess he's right there. You and the Nazis and the KKK all have the right to be intolerant within the puny borders of your own craniums. Just don't let those sentiments spill over into actions of hate and violence. I realise it's a tiny container, but do try to keep a lid on it.  
 
When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of  
the population is black, that is not racial profiling, it is the Law of  
Probability.
 
 
Sounds right at first, but here's what he's leaving out: The 70% thing is misleading. If you look at nationwide demographics, a disproportionate number of blacks are in prisons and are involved in the criminal justice system compared to actual population percentages. So whatever un-named city he's using in his 70% example isn't representative of the real USA.  
Also, a fundamental concept in the study of criminal justice administration is this: The person with the most power in the whole criminal justice system is the common street cop. Think about it. He bears the crucial choice of whether to involve someone in the criminal justice process or not. Even if you're innocent, an arrest will set off a huge cascade of events that disrupts your finances, your work, and all other aspects of your life until you get it all straightened out weeks later. So if cops give extra attention to one group of people, then the end result is a sort of institutionalized bias.
 
 
I believe that if you are selling me a milkshake, a pack of cigarettes, a  
newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English! As a matter of fact,  
if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English!
 
 
No argument here. Just expect the same intolerant treatment when you go on vacation outside the U.S.  
 
My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave the countries  
you were born in to come over and disrespect ours.
 
 
Heh, no, but your grandfather's grandfather certainly came over here and disrespected the hell out of a couple of Native Americans. Guess who died in vain in that little bit of cultural integration.  
 
I think the police should have every right to shoot your sorry ass if you  
threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word  
"freeze" or "stop" in English, see the above lines.
 
 
No, you dunce. This is the year two fucking thousand and six. We have a multitude of nonlethal devices with which to arm our police. Lots of police departments have switched to painful but nonlethal tazers already. Despite the criticisms of tazers, there's no denying that they allow the stopping power of a lethal weapon without the same mortality rate.  
 
I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are  
qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or  
tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or  
any other business.
 
 
No comment here. I haven't really thought about that stuff, and I'm not going to shoot my mouth off with a hasty opinion without thinking carefully about it. I guess that's the difference between us. In any event, there are better points to rebut in this e-mal.  
 
We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in  
wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over  
here and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their  
interpretations.
 
 
Okay, so you're disregarding the merits of their arguments based on the fact that we helped them out in the past. That's like saying that your elderly math teacher is wrong about algebra just because you used to help mow her lawn when you were a kid. Wrong. You make decisions based on the merits of the supporting points. It's a fallacy to discount an argument just because of it's source.  
 
I don't hate the rich I don't pity the poor.  
 
Yeah, you're a cold blooded pitiless bastard all right. Thanks for the update.  
 
In fact, it sounds like the rich are the ONLY people you don't hate.
 
 
I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television. That doesn't  
stop you from watching them.
 
 
Huh? Oh, I get it: This one of those statements that you throw into the diatribe to slightly confuse the reader and instill a sense of vague non-disagreement so they will keep on nodding their heads and agreeing with the rest of this crap? Nice try.  
 
I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue  
to make more. If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system  
that's better, and put your name on the building.
 
 
Every penny? I don't get it. Are you trying to say that taxes are wrong? Or are you trying to defend the disproportionate taxation of the ultra-rich? Or are you trying to vaguely sound right without actually making a coherent argument against either position? Tell you what, come back with a coherent argument against any of those and I'll tear it a new asshole next.  
 
It doesn't take a whole village to raise a child right, but it does take a  
parent to stand up to the kid; and smack their little behinds when nec  
essary, and say "NO!"
 
 
I guess so. I haven't raised kids but I hear that they're exceptionally resistant to logic and reason. So no complaints there. I wonder if we can slap petulant, unreasonable adults around too? Well you can certainly bitchslap them around on the internet. I'm certainly having fun doing it.  
 
I think tattoos and piercing are fine if you want them, but please don't  
pretend they are a political statement. And, please, stay home until that  
new lip ring heals. I don't want to look at your ugly infected mouth as you  
serve me French fries!
 
 
Yeah, that's whack. Ugly people shouldn't work in the food-service industry. I mean hey who wants to look at some blemished person. Ugh. Someone oughta make a law banning ugly body features. - -As soon as we all agree on what "ugly" is. Come to think of it, I'm beginning to think the author of this text has an ugly, shallow, intolerant mind. Let's ban ugly minds first.  
 
I am sick of "Political Correctness." I know a lot of black people, and not  
a single one of them was born in Africa; so how can they be  
"African-Americans"? Besides, Africa is a continent. I don't go around  
saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great,  
great, great grandfather was from Europe. I am proud to be from America and  
nowhere else
 
 
Really? You're sick of it. It is really that offensive to you? Dude, you have issues. Who are they hurting? If it makes you feel better, then use your lineage as a point of reference when describing your race. I promise not to get sick of it when you do.  
 
And if you don't like my point of view, tough...  
 
Not tough at all. Actually it was pretty easy. Like shooting bigots in a barrel.  
 
I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG, OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND TO THE  
REPUBLIC, FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH  
LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!
 
 
Yeah that's it. Strong finish in all capital letters to really get the reader nodding in agreement. That'll wipe out the last vestiges of doubt they had about some of your statements that they were uncertain about.  
 
I was asked to send this on if I agree or delete if I don't.  
 
I'm gonna insert a comment to serve as a paragraph break here since he didn't. This sentence has nothing to do with the next passage. Actually, since he repeats himself in the last sentence of the e-mal I'll just reply to it down below.  
 
It is said that  
86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore I have a very hard time  
understanding why there is such a problem in having "In God We Trust" on our  
money and having "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why don't we just tell  
the 14% to Shut Up and BE QUIET!!!
 
 
I do roughly agree. It would be ridiculous to start recalling old money and re-minting new money. But they do have a point, that we should strive to separate church and state. The mingling of church and state tends to have disastrous results. But the money thing is more of a tradition and I don't think it's genuinely hurting anybody. It's not like an atheist is going to lose his non-faith in no God because we force him to read a minor historical artifact printed on our money.  
 
In any event, this paragraph is another example of caps-lock ire gone awry. If you really want to oppose something significant, why don't you bitch about president Bush's mingling of church and state. There's some scary wild-eyed shit he's doing in the guise of Christianity.
 
 
 
If you agree, pass this on, if not delete. .  
 
No way. If you don't agree with it, by all means do not just delete it. Don't for a minute accept his suggestion of inaction as a path of disagreement. Let the sender know their e-mal is wrong, and explain exactly why it's wrong if possible. At the very least, open the door to dialogue so you can discuss the merits of the various points. But please DON'T just delete this kind of bullshit and let them carry on with a smug sense of right.
New World Record Established - Call Guinness
Posted by reapre 12 years ago
Holy cow,  
 
My aunt just broke all prior records for Ridiculous Tenuous Linkage Used To Support Bush. I don't know if they've established an award for it, but she's a serious contender.  
 
She actually got from Dubya to Christ the Savior in 7 moves. That's got to be some kind of record or something. Even Kevin Bacon has more degrees of separation from Jesus than that.  
 
Here is the text of the e-mail I just received:  
 
WOW!!!  
"Simply Put"  
 
Cindy Sheehan asked President Bush,"Why did my son have to die in Iraq?"  
 
Another mother asked President Kennedy, "Why did my son have to die in VietNam?"  
 
Another mother asked President Truman, "Why did my son have to die in Korea?  
 
Another mother asked President F.D. Roosevelt, "Why did my son have to die at Iwo Jima?"  
 
Another mother asked President W. Wilson, "Why did my son have to die on the battlefield of France?"  
 
Yet another mother asked President Lincoln, "Why did my son have to die at Gettysburg?"  
 
And yet another mother asked President George Washington "Why did my son have to die near Valley Forge?"  
 
Then long, long ago, a mother asked, "Heavenly Father, why did my Son have to die on a cross outside of Jerusalem?"  
 
The answers to all these are similar-- that others may have life and dwell in peace, happiness and freedom.  
 
(End of e-mail)  
 
I mean, I was reading the thing, getting all worked up at the ridiculous parallels that the author vainly attempts to draw between the Iraq invasion and all those other ones. And I'm sitting there grinding my teeth and generally getting pissed when I get totally sucker punched with the Jesus reference. Where the fuck did that come from? Damn.  
 
Is it just me, or does anybody else have idiot relatives who send them trash like this? It's clear they have no interest in validity or truth, because I routinely dissect her e-mails and point out the logical fallacies and downright untruths contained within them. But she never replies and probably never reads them, since the bullshit parade hasn't stopped coming into my inbox.  
 
How do people like this get by in normal society? How do their feeble minds discern which of society's rules they'll follow and which ones they won't? Do these people habitually rack up traffic violations too? I know from experience that they tend to be socially dysfunctional, burning bridges for example. But you'd think these people would wind up in jail with such wanton disregard for reason.
Reapre's Unspeakably Hardcore Jack-O-Lantern
Posted by reapre 12 years ago
Somehow I made it through like 30 years of American life without ever carving a pumpkin. But I finally did last night. I've got to say, I'm extremely proud of the results.  
 
So there are basically two parts to this story. The first part is me talking about a pretty damn detailed demon-faced Jack-O-Lantern. There are 3 photos I took to illustrate it. But the second part of the story is extraordinarily sexually explicit. I'll either give instructions on where to view the 4th image, or maybe I'll drop it in a comment after the journal entry. Either way, I won't be posting it where it will show up on the main journal page. Still, if you're easily offended don't say you haven't been warned.  
 
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As I mentioned, this was my first attempt ever. I had seen various websites with extreme Jack-O-Lanterns that were wildly creative in all sorts of ways. And I'm kinda handy when it comes to certain styles of artistic designs. So I was determined to do something really kickass.  
 
So what I came up with was a stylized demon face with exquisite flames on his cheek bones and an evil shape to his eyes and a crinkled nose and a nose ring and ear rings piercing his demon horns, etc.  
 
But instead, what I ended up with is shown in this first photo...  
 
 
 
If you squint real hard, you can kind of see where the faint pencil tracings are still there. I couldn't cut all the curves I originally drew. Basically I meant to make the flames more curvy and ornate, and I meant to have small little ring-sized ear rings in his nose and horns. Instead, I discovered that tight curves are very difficult to cut in a 2-inch thick pumpkin hide.  
 
Here is the finished product, which I still think is pretty dang excellent despite its imperfections.  
 
 
 
And here is a better shot of the horn that I cut an ear ring into. I tried to get all fancy and do a negative silhouette of the ring passing over the top of the horn (for style points), and then cut the rest of the ring below the horn. It is probably the roughest-looking part that I did, but not bad for a first try. Also, this is the part where I obviously figured out that tight curves are nearly impossible in a pumpkin hide this thick. So my ear ring turns out looking more like a huge bangle or hoop ear ring. Whatever. Next time I'll either shave the inside down thinner or I'll just make a design with broader curves.  
 
 
 
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Okay, here's where the narrative takes a turn for the worse.  
 
Just quit reading if you don't want to risk being offended.  
 
My Jack-O-Lantern's title is "Flaming Insertion". (I might modify that if I get a bunch of homosexual jokes, but I think the title is fine for the time being.)  
 
When I designed this image, I designed it upside down. Go on, go back up to that second image. Right click and "Save as" and save it somewhere on your computer if you like. Then, rotate the image 180 degrees and view it.  
 
When viewed upside-down, it is clearly a flaming penis upthrust and entering an open vagina.  
 
All that talk about horns and the demon's ear ring is just a bit of distraction so that people won't realize what the image is really supposed to be.  
 
I am especially proud of the veins I was able to cut into the shaft of the penis. I think that detail really makes the image. I was cracking my ass up the whole time I was carving those.  
 
Plus I had to be all sneaky about it because my wife and friends kept peeking over my shoulder from time to time when I was carving it. So I had to do the parts in sections, and make lots of fuss over the horns and ear ring.  
 
I was also going to try to pierce a nose ring [cock ring] on the end of the demon's nose [cock] but that was too tight a curve for me to cut. So that detail got aborted. That would have been hilarious though, imho.  
 
And the best part of all (aside from the excellent schlong vasculature) is that I just found out that my apartment building is doing a pumpkin carving contest. So Flaming Insertion is currently the only one on display down in the main lobby [of our high-rise apartment building]. I swear I'm going to break a rib if I laugh any harder.  
 
...Hopefully I've offended you just enough to make people laugh, but not enough that you're genuinely offended. Every bit of this is true.  
 
-Reapre.  
 
-10/21/05.
The Shiruken Tip
Posted by reapre 12 years ago
Here is a series of photos I took.  
 
For some reason, the coolest-ass paper-folding schematic ever isn't that prominent on the internets. I learned it in like 3rd grade on the school bus in a non-hip area of northwestern Tennessee in the 1980's. So I don't know why nobody else has posted this to the public matrix yet.  
 
Anyway, here is a step-by-step description of the instructions for a notebook-paper-ninja-star. However, that classic design was spontaneously modified in the summer of 2005 to accommodate some units of U.S. paper currency in honour of an insanely badass club show put on by the band The Dempseys on Beale Street in Memphis.  
 
It doesn't take a mega-genius to figure it out, so I won't be offended if somebody finds that another site has already posted the directions. But I swear I Googled the absolute Hell out of it before posting this journal entry. I'm reasonably sure that this design is not anywhere else on the internet at this time. It's merely a combination of my favourite origami design and a kickass way to leave a monetary tip.  
 
I used two-dollar bills in the tutorial for style points. You may feel free to use any denomination, obviously. I guess it all depends on how much the tipper wants to impress the tipee. Mind you, don't blow your wad dropping ninja star tips on every halfway-hot Hooters waitress you see. As with all novelties, this loses an incremental bit of its kickass-ousity with each time it is revealed to the general public. Don't screw the rest of us with indiscriminate wanton shiruken-tippery.  
 
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(Yes, I realize the handwritten instruction in image # 1 is redundant. I thought it might end up having to be cropped, but it didn't.)  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cleaning is not a river in Egypt.
Posted by reapre 12 years ago
- -alternate Journal entry title:  
 
An Open Letter To My Wife  
 
What the effing fuck?  
 
I am trying to look for some goddamned two-sided tape. I know it exists because I just bought it the day after some Hurricaine Katrina 'fugees moved into our apartment. And I know that they wouldn't have moved the tape because they, despite the inherent stigma of being my in-laws, are exceptionally cool.  
 
Here is my problem. "CLEANING UP" does not mean "HIDING SHIT THAT YOU DON'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT".  
 
Allow me to rephrase, lest that be taken wrongly. "Cleaning" is not an equivalent synonym for "moving stuff that is in a prominent location, but does not have immediate bearing upon your immediate interests, to a location that is newly unknown to the person who originally placed it there," motherfuckit.  
 
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For all of you hyper-clean people out there that think your living spaces must be reality-TV-ready at all times, I just want this journal entry to be a constructive bit of criticism. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LIVE IN A PHOTO-PERFECT APARTMENT 24/7, MOTHERFUCKER. In fact, IT IS EXTREMELY UNLIKELY THAT YOU WILL EVER HELP ANYBODY BY "CLEANING" ANYTHING WITHOUT FIRST DETERMINING WHICH OBJECTS ARE NOT OF RELATIVE IMPORTANCE TO THE PERSON WHO PLACED THEM THERE LESS THAN 24 HOURS AGO.  
 
This is not a critical issue for us, but it does occur all too frequently.  
 
If this diatribe has helped even one relationship, then I shall consider it worthwhile.  
 
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Edit: This rant was supposed to be tongue in cheek. For people who don't know me, which is pretty much everybody on the internet, then this probably comes off as a hard-ass wife beatin cry for help, heh. Basically I was pissed that I couldn't find the double-stick tape one day and I tried to crank it up a few notches for humour. You know, kind of like when Charlie Brown goes "AAAARGH". Nobody sane ever stops in public and screams "AAAARGH" about trifling crap in real life. It's an exaggeration intended to be humorous by virtue of its ridiculousness.
Fun with signs
Posted by reapre 12 years ago
I've meant to do something like this for a while, but I just now pulled one off. My apartment's staff routinely slaps fliers about any and all topics all over the building. Although I will admit they aren't as insipid lately as they have been in the past, I have been mulling over how far I can get cunningly switching their fliers with more entertaining replacements.  
 
Usually, I just limit myself to dry-erase boards. No dry erase board is safe. I have been known to spend entire 15-minute breaks at work just standing there trying to think up a funny way to alter a dry erase board by the time-clock. I rarely add stuff to them. Instead, I look for opportunities to change them by wiping off one or more letters.  
 
For example, a sign might say, "Don't leave your home without the red smocks," but quickly becomes, "Don't leave your ho without her socks." A regrettably worded "Don't forget to push charity shirt sales this week!" becomes "Don't forget to push charity shit this week!" Or, "Attention! Don't erase letters next to this clock!" becomes, "Attention! Don't let sex to this cock!" (Okay, I admit I've never really done anything that bad, but you see the potential, eh?)  
 
Anyway, back to the current endeavor..  
 
A sign recently appeared plastered all around the pool on the roof of our high-rise apartment building that says:  
 
"WARNING"  
 
It has been reported to us that someone is jumping from the beam on the side of the building into the swimming pool. Anyone who is caught doing this can and will face eviction. This type of behavior will not be tolerated and will affect everyone, as we will be forced to set restrictions. Please be responsible and report any such behavior to us in the office and don't let this happen again.  
 
Thank you in advance for your cooperation!!!
 
 
And here's what the new improved signs say (with my notes in parentheses):  
 
WARNING (Note the absence of stupid quotation marks. I mean honestly, who puts quotes on that kind of thing? The original version looked like they were quoting a cool word they once saw on another more impressive warning notice.)  
 
It has been reported to us that someone is jumping from the beam on the side of the building, doing a Russian triple-axle half-twist backflip napalm death flop of doom into the pool. Although the management concedes that this is a very cool maneuver indeed, anyone who is caught doing this can and will face eviction. This type of behavior will not be tolerated and will affect everybody as we will be forced to set restrictions. Please be responsible and report any such behavior to us in the office and don't let this happen again, fool.  
 
Thank you in advance for your cooperation!!!1!!
 
 
 
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I'll let you know if anything interesting happens as a result. I've got my eye on a similar project even as I type this.  
 
Just finished this project
Posted by reapre 12 years ago
I've been meaning to draw this t-shirt up for a while now.  
 
There are plenty of shirts with that phrase on them, but none that mingle the upside-down 2004 dubya image. I don't know why nobody has done a shirt of this design commercially yet, but here's my amateur freehand effort.  
 
The colours are a bit washed out in the photo, presumably because the huge mound of kitten (pictured) is sucking all the light rays out of the room and into her furry fat rolls. Hee hee. But anyway, the top logo is black and the phrase below is done in a nice deep green.  
 
 
 
 
At second glance, it looks like it may be a bit slanted. (I mean slanted from horizontal; I know it's politically slanted. Hee hee.) I did this one mainly freehand, without tracing it out in pencil as much as I normally do. I used the grain of the t-shirt to judge horizontal and vertical planes, but I probably should've just plotted it all out with a ruler instead.  
 
I wouldn't have gotten around to this project but I just got back from running errands down south of the border. I saw so many goddamn dubya bumper-stickers today that I just got all pissed and decided to go on and finally draw it up. Well, that and the fact that I was listening to the new System Of A Down CD. You know, that one song with "Why don't presidents go to war? Why do they always send the poor?" and "bathing SUV's in oil" and "..still they feed us lies from the tablecloth." in it. Damn, that's one kickass song.
The Writing On My Chest Wall
Posted by reapre 13 years ago
This is a story about, ..aw hell, you can read the title just as well as I can type it again. I woke up this morning and found myself looking at myself in the mirror and laughing. It wasn't because I was making faces at myself in the mirror ...this time. Instead, it was the writing on my chest. It said, at a neat 90 degree angle from either right-side-up or upside-down, in big capital letters, "I EAT EXPIRED FOOD."  
 
My wife had been gone to present some research at a convention down in Georgia and I had been left all alone to fend for myself. Now I'm normally an extraordinarily paranoid individual, but I do a fairly good job of behaving normally despite it. In fact, in some ways you might could say that I do some extraordinarily dangerous things as well. But what you wouldn't know is that, compelled by a superhuman capacity for paranoid forethought, I have usually already mapped out my own various contingency plans for these dangerous situations.  
 
Dangerous Behavior Example Number One: I rollerblade downtown Memphis. Now, I agree that it's not on the same level as, say, Evel Knievel riding through Ethiopia with a bologna sandwich tied to the back of his motorcycle. But it's close. It's usually through two or more drug-dealing parks, usually at night, and usually every night. In my mind, though, it's not that risky for a number of reasons. I am usually wearing an extra 5 pounds of body armour and related gear. That is stuff like knee pads, wrist guards, and two big heavy skate boots that tend to knock holes in drywall if you're not careful navigating in the apartment. That figure might look more like ten pounds if I'm in the mood to also wear a helmet, elbow pads, and drench it all in copious amounts of sweat. Plus, that gear usually consists of a high percentage of black leather and black plastic guard plates, which tends to make the denizens of this fair city fairly defensive at the first sight of me. Plus, I keep my wheel bearings lubricated up really well so I'm usually quite silent unless I'm on cobblestones or some such similarly shitty pavement. So usually people don't notice me until I pass them. And I would be rich if I had a quarter for every time a vagrant flew into histrionics after I swooshed past them. Hell, the vast range of pedestrian histrionics is another entire narrative of its own, especially in Memphis.  
But all that stuff aside, it is still a relatively dangerous thing to do. Gear doesn't protect too well against an automobile, and I spend a fair bit of my time zigzagging into streets and whipping around blind corners. Plus, all that gear costs a fair bit of coin. I don't know how muggers think, but if people are mugged for their jogging shoes then I should probably be on notice that I'm fair game too. Which brings me to the point of this stupid rambling narrative.  
 
Since my wife is away, I've been more acutely aware of just how alone I am if anything bad happens. I find myself taking extra steps to make sure everything is in order just in case, you know. So I program my Palm Pilot pocket computer with a "Next Of Kin" phone number prominently in the contact list. And I have a slip of paper with "Next Of Kin" listed in my wallet. I have even been known to leave an answering machine message in that vein, in the ridiculous event that I suffer some coma-inducing injury AND my wallet is stolen AND my Palm Pilot's batteries defy the known laws of physics and spontaneously combust.  
 
Dangerous Behavior Example Number Two: I Eat Expired Food. My microbiology professor used to say, "When in doubt, throw it out," and I understand that this fun rhyming bit of advice is actually quite widely known. But my grandma used to say, "Food is good for a couple of days past its expiration date. They just print the absolute soonest date that they would expect the food to go bad." Now who are you going to believe, a microbiology professor or my grandma? My point exactly. Wait, which one did you say? Oh, I thought you said my grandma. Shut up.  
 
Which finally brings me to last night. As I was hunched over a plate of tuna fish, my head sandwiched between two very enthusiastic cats on the kitchen counter, trying to spear pieces of tuna that hadn't already been licked, I realized that our tuna was expired.  
 
I'd be lying if I told you I had a visceral reaction akin to finding half a worm in an apple. But I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said I threw the food out either. I mean damn, I paid like two bucks for that tuna. That shit's albacore, man.  
 
Solution: Well, as any sane person would clearly do, I got a pen and wrote "I Eat Expired Food" on my chest. I mean, my wife wouldn't be around to explain, "You see, my dumbass husband Eats Expired Food," to the doctors when I'm carted into the hospital's emergency department with a case of acute food poisoning.  
I didn't want to write it upside down because I didn't want any hypothetical observers to think I was some simpleton who writes notes about himself to himself. But on the other hand, it wouldn't be very neat if I wrote it right-side-up, and I didn't want people to think that I was retarded from my sloppy half-assed upside-down chest-penmanship. So I wrote it facing my right side since I was right handed. It didn't occur to me until later that people who have earned medical degrees are probably capable of circling around an operating-room table until they reach the proper position to view any miscellaneous notes scribbled upon their patients' chests.  
 
So anyway that's basically how I found myself laughing in the mirror this morning at my own eccentric self.  
 
Tonight is the last night that my wife will be away. As usual, I'll be skating over to the river and through the hood. Just to be on the safe side, I've written a "Next Of Kin" phone contact number on my belly as well.  
 
The way I figure it, it would certainly suck if I got hit by a car and the emergency room's resident physician said, "This man clearly got hit by a car. We have to give him some Demerol, STAT!!" and then the staff physician comes in and goes, "No, no, no, check out this here chest text. He clearly eats expired food. See, it says so right there." (Intern medical student: "But, but, ...he got hit by a car though.") Staff physician: "Sure, after he ate bad food. Let's feed him activated charcoal and induce vigorous vomiting , STAT, PEOPLE!! MOVE! HUT HUT HUT!!" et cetera.  
 
Sigh, I can't wait until my wife comes back home.  
Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye.
Posted by reapre 13 years ago
So my brother just dropped the bomb that he's moving to freaking New Zealand. Here's a rough copy-pasted transcript of our e-mailed correspondence on the matter.  
 
Him:  
Hey man. We're moving to New Zealand soon. Hopefully in June sometime.  
 
Me:  
No you ain't. Shuddup.  
 
[My wife] actually called me while I was out skating to tell me about this e-mail. She wanted me to call you. I said, "You can call him just as well as I can. I call your brother all the damn time. You call him. Besides, he gets pissed at the background noise when I use the cellphone."  
 
Well if you aren't kidding, then give me more details..  
 
Him:  
Funny stuff. :)  
 
Yeah, we're really going. It just got relatively finalized in late-April. [Miscellaneous personal details omitted for brevity.] By sometime in June, we should all be living over in NZ.  
 
Me:  
What the heck for? I assume some kind of awesome job offer?  
 
So they're a British protectorate, I believe. Are there native people there or whatever, or mainly English-speakers like Canada and Australia? We had some friends go there on vacation, and it is supposed to be freaking awesome. Really expensive to vacation there, though. Is the cost of living high too? Like do they ship in all their stuff like Hawaii and Alaska, or are they self-sufficient. It would suck if your new pay got eaten up by an insane cost of living.  
 
(Hell, I suppose I can look all this up on my own later.) Let me know what you can when you can.  
 
Him:  
"What the heck for?"  
Umm, have you been paying attention to current events lately? Just between you and me, there's some serious sucking going on in this country. It's well down the path of a theocratic plutocracy. Everything about this country is going downhill fast, and there's no way it's going to unfuck itself anytime soon; Dems aren't going to get into power anytime soon, and even when/if they do, you don't fix decades of screwing up in just a few short years. We decided we wanted to live in a country where the people had the same philosophies and ideals as we do, and besides, we've always wanted to live overseas anyway.  
 
Hey, you two, with your Rx degrees, ought to be in high demand over there. If you'd like to do something exciting, it should be on your list of places to live for consideration. I can send you a handful of NZ web links to check things out, if you'd like.  
 
Yeah, they're technically still under the British crown. For whatever that means. They govern themselves, though. There are native people (Maori), along with a decent number of Asian-continent immigrants; but English-speaking Kiwis are still the majority. And yes, it is freaking awesome; the worst part about vacationing there is probably the plane tickets to get there. If you're living there on the economy, there are going to be some things that are more expensive than you're used to, probably some things less, but if you're living and working there you'll be fine with the kinds of salaries we'd be getting. Their tax system actually has a lot of people saying they're better off there.  
 
Hey, here's another interesting possibility to consider: W continues invading countries with brown people in them, and military force enlistment and re-enlistment figures continue to fall. W institutes the involuntary draft sometime in the next year or so in order to keep fighting Halliburton's wars. In three years, W is still in office, the draft is still in effect... and [reapre's nephew] turns 18. A bit harder to enforce the conscription of someone living in NZ.  
 
Me:  
Wow, that's pretty radical. I was going to just ride the wave of pharmaceutical prosperity that the Republicans typically support, and just be highly pissed and resistant to them as a hobby. A very enthusiastic hobby. Other countries' pharmacists' salaries are actually more in line with what they used to be in America 10 years ago ($40-50k). As I understand it, the British (well really most European) countries actually have way more widespread use of herbals, so they don't have quite the supply/demand bottleneck that influences pharmacist salaries here in America.  
 
I hadn't thought about the [nephew] / Selective Service issue. Don't they allow exemptions for college students? I don't really know the rules for the Draft.  
 
Also, I would imagine you would get nailed pretty hard every time you have to ship [nephew] back for some visitation. That factor alone would seem to be prohibitively expensive.  
 
Him:  
"Wow, that's pretty radical."  
We've always felt that if you want fun, interesting, exciting things to happen to you in your life, you've got to make them happen yourself. Very few of us are born with ultra-rich parents where these types of things happen to you without you even having to put forth any effort yourself. When you have a chance to make a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity happen for yourself, you've got to make it happen.  
 
"Don't they allow exemptions for college students?"  
For Vietnam, you could apply for an exemption/waiver if you were married, going to college, in the Texas Air National Guard, etc. But that didn't guarantee you'd get one. With the history of how the W administration has supported learning and higher education in the past, what do you think will be their tack with respect to allowing lots of exemptions because of college?  
 
"That factor alone would seem to be prohibitively expensive."  
Flying back and forth can be expensive, but that's no reason to completely dismiss what we want to do with our lives. (And when I say "we", I mean all three of us; [Nephew] feels very strongly about wanting to go.)  
 
Me:  
Damn. Wow.  
 
Explicit language. You have been warned. 03/10/05, 7pm
Posted by reapre 13 years ago
MotherfuckerMotherfuckerMotherfuckerMotherfuckerMotherfuckerMotherfuckerMotherfucker  
 
I was downtown skating and ran into a politische Grobkundebung all of a sudden. I asked some people but had to ask a policeman before I believed anybody. Then I say, "Our president? Of the country? President Bush is coming to Memphis? - -But this is the middle of Tennessee's ghetto. Shelby county was blue, wasn't it?" And, no shit, the cop goes, "I don't know who you voted for, but I voted Bush." And then he spits on the ground to emphasize how much of a good ole badass he was. And I pointed back at him because I was already skating away. I didn't want to give him the chance to tell me I couldn't go down there. He tried to say something else when I skated back by him 30 minutes later, but I didn't understand him. He made a point of spitting tobaccy to emphasize the point again, but I don't think his heart was in it that time. Ignorant prick.  
 
Anyway, I skated away from him and down the street to hang out at the corner behind the crowd. They were across from the Peabody Hotel and it was only pedestrian access. There were big Greyhound buses blocking all the streets and the secret service was on all the rooftops and they had a dog out sniffing cars that tried to drive down any of the blocked streets. I love my rollerblades.  
 
There were about 100 to 200 white people and 3 black people there at any given moment. Don't laugh, it wasn't a joke. I'm not exaggerating. Watch it if it comes on TV tonight. Every black person I saw looked like a street person (which is not unusual for downtown Memphis) but they kept on moving. None of them stopped. One black lady looked like a menial employee who just got off work downtown, and she made a point to mutter about our shitty president the entire time she was there, but that was only like 5 minutes total.  
And there was one dude who was perched partway up a light pole on the corner with a bullhorn rallying up the crowd. They were doing chants like "4 more years" and "who do we love? (Bush) When do we love him? (Now)" At first I thought it was Bush's voice because the guy sounded exactly like him. No joke. He had to be some forward operative because it was freaking uncanny. It took me a while to spot him from where I was standing.  
But wait, what's that I see? Another black dude. One there supporting the president. Guess what he was doing? No, guess. Okay, I'll tell you. He was holding a fucking bullhorn, halfway up a light pole rallying the crowd with his freaky-ass Dubya-sounding voice. To recap, the one black dude who was there actively supporting the president.... was the one who was a campaign operative (in my opinion). Well, that's one way to get the cameras to show black people at Bush rallies. Let them be the star of the show. That frigging fuck didn't even realize he was being used.  
 
So anyway, they go on and on jacking off the crowd for 15 more minutes and then they tell everybody we have to move if we want to see the motorcade. WTF? There are two huge tents extending from a main hotel entrance midway out into the street, obviously set up to receive the President. They move us away from that area. I skated around the block the back way and arrived ahead of the crowd and snagged the only seat on the corner. Fuck them. Ignorant traitor ass motherfuckers. So anyway now we're down one block so we can watch his limo pass by us, and watch it turn the corner and out of our view where the receiving tent is set up. Huh? The peons only get to watch the motorcade drive by? We don't even get to see him get out of the limo? Yep. Only the TV crews were left with an actual view of his exit/entrance, from what I could tell. Still, I hung out.  
 
They continue jacking off the crowd for THIRTY MORE MINUTES with shit like, "Y'all he's coming! Are you ready to see the president? Who's ready to see the president? Oooh man, he's coming!" So I finally get tired of all that shit and take off. I busted my ass to get back home. I did it in record time, no lie. Less than 10 minutes. I went upstairs and grabbed the camcorder and busted ass back downtown. I may not like the motherfucker, but I'll be damned if I miss another easy opportunity to film someone so famous. Ignorant motherfucker.  
Plus, I thought it would be funny because the camcorder's microphone would only pick up my voice since I would be yelling right next to it. So I could holler when the crowd hollered but my tape would be way funnier than the one the TV news showed. I had been thinking of funny shit to shout the whole time I was skating to get the camera.  
 
But alas, I got there too late. He either came from another direction or drove by while I was in the apartment building. I skated a parallel route so I might be able to tell if the motorcade passed, but I never saw any sign of it.  
 
Everybody was leaving with their asshat Bush yard signs and their homemade asshat Dubya signs and their totally unrelated asshat pom-poms and their asshat Bush .. uh.. hats. I asked one of them if he already got here and she said she was sorry I missed him. She didn't even know the half of it. Asshat.