Saturday, January 11, 2003

I love killing popunders. There's a primal joy to be had in dragging away the main window, catching a slow-loading popunder in one's sights, zooming the cursor in on the soft white upper left corner square, taking careful aim, and firing. BLAM! Gotcha, you connection-slowing screen-clogging piece of worthless eye-pollution! Die like the piece of verminous slime that you are! I love it! BLAM! Got another one! Don't stop me! I want to kill more! (Did I mention that I love killing popunders?)

On a much more peaceable and reassuring note: Rick got good news from his doctor. He had some problems with headaches after one of his sparring partners in Tae Kwon Do decided to re-enact Zorak's role from "Headkicker 2" with Rick as one of the bouncing targets. Everything's okay, though; there were no serious underlying injuries or other problems.

Rick is uncommonly lean and agile; at 46, he's in better shape than many of the 15-year-old Nintendo potatoes we frequently see running (okay, maybe not actually running) around. The guy who kicked him, however, is considerably younger and has a reputation for, shall we say, exceeding the bounds of sparring etiquette, and especially so with opponents who aren't quite as young, fast, or experienced. So, although I'm not athletic myself, I have some suggestions for all of you fortysomethings who are out there doing competitive sports. Remember, above all, that age and treachery will overcome youth and skill. If some young studmonkey comes after you in the dojo or on the racquetball court or across the softball field, kicking and punching at a level above and beyond the call of duty, make use of the element of surprise. If you're in Texas, you can try pulling a gun, although this is a serious social gaffe in most other parts of the country. If you're like me and you're not fond of firearms, a ferocious dog is a much more organic option; you can keep one in your car at all times (being careful to provide proper temperature control in winter and summer, of course). If you're uncomfortable with both weapons and dogs, try a lawyer. Properly trained attorneys are reputed to be very effective; some jerk just looks like he wants to kick you in the head and wham, his ass is sued.

Also, if you get into a situation like this and start to wonder whether you can handle it, try to channel Nolan Ryan on the night he delivered a barrage of noogies to Robin Ventura. Keep in mind that when the photos hit the papers, it wasn't Ryan who was the one who looked like a 24-karat twit.

Anyway, we're off to take a walk in the snow in our ugly snowsuits. Zarquon, I love being an anti-fashion guerrilla.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

My beautiful Caribbean Scolopendra will be moving to Lansing next week. I'm going to miss Nigel. From the day in November of 2001 when he (?) arrived in Kalamazoo trapped under the cellophane of a gift basket sent from St. Lucia, he's been my constant companion in the lab. He's been the only witness to many things that are normally the sole purview of the hypothetical fly on the wall; I wonder how violently his antennae must have quivered from the vibrations the afternoon that I hurled a manuscript of my dissertation against the ceiling. I doubt that he processed much of what was going on, though. To his little chilopod brain, it probably seemed like the rustling of a pinkie mouse in a nearby nest.

I couldn't have picked a better lab-mate. (No offense intended, Eric; I think you're a great guy too!) Whatever I have muttered to myself in that room went no further; Nigel keeps my secrets. And, for the price of an occasional cricket, I've enjoyed the visits of numerous classfuls of undergrads brought to the lab by my fellow TAs so that they could visit my awesome Antillean hunting machine. But now I'm only sporadically present, and Dave has asked that Nigel be relocated, since space is short and caregivers are limited. So, it'll be off to a bug zoo for Nigel, as well as for my remaining millipedes (which, as I've mentioned before, don't seem to thrive in my home).

("Hey, I give up. What's seven inches long and has venomous fangs and 42 legs?")