Midnight ramblings

Woke up with a very acidy stomach about twenty minutes ago, so here I am, typing pointlessly into this thing while my second playlist croons in my headphones -- right now, it's Michelle Branch singing "Goodbye to You", a song I first heard on the episode of BUFFY where Tara is leaving Willow with Dawn glaring sullenly in the background. Prior to that, it played Semisonic's "Closing Time"... both songs I enjoy immensely, but, hey, if I didn't they wouldn't be on the playlist, right?

Getting a lot of hits on the blog lately... a lot of repeat hits, not new ones. Someone from Winter Park, Florida, using Embarq as a web provider, has been all over this page the last three days. And, yesterday, someone from New York State, who gets their internet through their phone company (SBC) spent 4 hours and change here. I have no idea who these people are, as obviously no one is leaving comments, but whoever they are, I hope they're enjoying what they're reading.

I miss BUFFY. And ANGEL. I may miss ANGEL a bit more than BUFFY, because I was enjoying ANGEL's last season quite a bit when it went under, while I hadn't much liked BUFFY since about the last third of its fifth season.

Well, that's how it goes, I guess.

Ahh... Nelly Furtado, now, advising me that she's like a bird, she'll only fly away. Niiiiiiiice.

More than a year ago, I first stumbled onto Pete Vanderhaar's A Perfectly Cromulent Blog, and enjoyed it so much that I spent the next month or so reading through all his back archives. I'm hoping these new people who are pulling up back entry after back entry of mine, spending a few minutes with each, then moving on to another, are doing the same thing with my blog as I did with Pete's. It's nice to think maybe somebody out there just accidentally stumbled across this thing and is really digging it.

Less nice to think someone out there who dislikes me has come across it and is combing it for personal information they can somehow use against me... but while I hope that's merely me being paranoid, well, at times in the past, at least a few people really have been out to get me. So I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Mark Evanier links to this video, which any politically concerned fan of vintage TV should really watch. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" now... I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord, but you don't really care for music, do ya? It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift, the baffled king composing Hallelujah.... hallelujaaaaaaaaah... Oh my yes.

FEAR MASTERS got stalled when I was brutally blackjacked for three weeks by Magic Set Editor, but I may try to get back to it soon.

Or not.

It's not like anyone but Mike Sawin ever cared.

We (here I mean me, SuperWife, and Nate) went through something unpleasant recently, when, after playing in a few sealed tournaments down at that new shop Role of the Die, we all became convinced that one of the other players, who had beaten all of us at one time or another, and won two of the three tournaments, was cheating. Nate and I had observed while playing him that he made a lot of 'mistakes'... using 'fetch' cards to go get something that the card itself didn't specify, drawing too many cards in a turn, stuff like that. SuperWife had noted that when it came time for him to build his decks from the materials he had supposedly bought just for that tournament, he tended to do it away from everyone else, and he also tended to put cards in his pockets and bring them back out again a great deal.

Finally, at the last tournament, SuperWife didn't play -- the $25 entry fee was too steep to justify for two members of our household, and she insisted I had the best chance of winning (which turned out to be a complete joke, but, well, she simply has no clue as to her own vast competence at nearly anything she cares to do). So instead of playing, she simply sat there and watched the suspect like a hawk the entire time he put a deck together. She observed him putting all his cards in card protectors, then putting his finished deck in his pocket, then, after a minute, taking a stack of cards back out again and pulling them all back out of their protectors and redoing the deck entirely.

He was visibly nervous at her observation, and when she asked him why he'd put his cards in his pocket, he at first denied doing so, and then, when she was insistent she'd seen him do it no more than a minute before, finally muttered something about how he 'thought he was finished but then had changed his mind'. When SuperWife asked, innocently, after he was finished the second time if she could look at the cards he'd decided not to play (to see if he had the same amount of cards as everyone else there, which he really should have, as it was a sealed draft tournament) he said he did mind, and then took all the leftover cards and put them into a briefcase which he locked.

Hardly the acts of someone on the up and up. Combined with the other observations we'd each made, it seemed conclusive to us -- this guy was cheating like a sonofabitch.

So, we all three decided we weren't going to play in any more tournaments with this guy, and as we liked the shop owner, we wanted to tell him why we wouldn't be. So as I'm the one with all the free time lately, I dropped in at Role of the Die on Monday and had what I had feared (after the Scott/Vision debacle in Florida) would be a very painful conversation with Brian, the guy who owns Role of the Die.

He took it much better than I'd expected (the guy we know is cheating is a friend of his, which was why I'd expected some static), advising me that this guy had already told him he wasn't going to play in any more tournaments (I guess he was aware that SuperWife was on to him and wanted to avoid future embarrassment).

I can sort of understand why people cheat in tournaments, especially when there is a big prize -- and the prize for this tournament was a booster box of the new Magic set, something all of us badly wanted and otherwise were never going to be able to afford. But still, it aggravates me. I'm a mediocre Magic player at best, but I'd never try to cheat at a tournament, and the idea that this guy maybe only beat me at a previous tournament because he had stacked his deck with cards he'd smuggled in really pisses me off. I've never gotten further in any tournament than the second round, and winning in one, or even getting to the third round, would have meant a lot to me. And as it turned out, SuperWife played, and lost, to this guy in the first round of that tournament. I'm sure her advancing to the second round would have meant a lot to her, too. And Nate... he lost a tournament to this guy by one life point a few weeks ago. That has to be truly, truly aggravating.

John Cougar's "I Need A Lover" is working its way through its long instrumental intro right now in my headphones, and I'm digging it in a big, big way.

I know it's not true that Mellencamp did all his good music before he ditched the name "John Cougar", but it feels like it should be, dammit.

Election Day... or, rather, Election Night, and the days after, counting the votes... is shaping up to be a nightmare of epic proportions this year. The Republicans are apparently pulling out all the stops to jam up the process, and, oddly, the Democrats don't seem to much care. At least, they're not doing a goddam thing about electronic voting machines throwing votes from Obama to McCain, shortages of usable machines in heavily Democratic districts, intensely partisan and utterly bogus registration challenges from Republican poll watchers, and the way the Bush corrupted Department of Justice is doing everything in its power to trump up nonsensical 'vote fraud' charges against ACORN and other agencies to try to suppress millions of newly registered voters who will most likely vote Democratic.

I can't believe that the Dems just don't care who wins; I have to imagine they care deeply. I'm just wondering if, on some level, they aren't worried about it because it's already been decided to let Obama take the wheel just before the ship slips beneath the waves. Um. Did I say 'paranoid' up above? Still, sometimes only the most paranoid way of looking at the world seems to make any sense.

"Speeding Up to Slow Down" by Better Than Ezra now... somehow, very appropriate to this whole election snafu.

And now, several lapsed minutes later that you aren't aware of, Marc Cohn is telling me all about how he's "Walking in Memphis"... a song I used to despise for it's extremely poorly worded chorus (how can you 'walk' with your feet ten feet off of anything? And how can you doubt if you really feel the way you feel?) and that I'm still not happy about the third verse of (she asked me 'are you a Christian, child?', and I said 'Man, I am tonight!'... sorry, it just rubs this old agnostic the wrong way). But that second verse about the ghost of Elvis, which ends up with there's a pretty little thing waitin' for the King down in the Jungle Room always gets me, for some reason. So it went on the playlist, too. And I kinda dig it, crappy lyrics or no crappy lyrics.

"Cat People" from Bowie now. Fond college memories, there. Lousy movie. Great song.

Steve Benen notes "the other wardrobe mystery" today, quoting a NY Times story...

Some of the fashion experts consulted Wednesday, for instance, about the $150,000 in purchases that appeared on Federal Election Commission records were puzzled by where all of that money had gone, given what they had seen of Ms. Palin's wardrobe.

Consider also the $4,902.45 charge at Atelier New York, a high-end men's store, presumably for Ms. Palin's husband, Todd, the famous First Dude.

Karlo Steel, an owner there, said he had gone through the store's receipts for September, twice, and found no sales that matched that amount, nor any combination of sales that added up to the total. Because the store carries aggressively directional men's wear, he caters to a small clientele and knows most of his customers by name, as well as the history of their purchases.... "We have no recollection of that sale and no idea what they are talking about," Mr. Steel said.

Benen himself adds "Similarly, the RNC records show a charge of $98 at a high-end children's boutique in Minneapolis, but after going through their receipts, the store owners found no record of the sale."

I don't know what's going on, but I have to assume that merely speculating on it is anti-American, as is my wish that the next scandal Sarah Palin has involving a wardrobe also involves a lion and a witch. And that she takes John McCain with her to... wherever.

Not that the cute little critters in Narnia deserve McCain-Palin, either, but hey, buddy, better them than me.

Gnnr. I hesitate to admit that I'm currently listening to Fergie singing "Big Girls Don't Cry" in the 'phones. But, well, I live with a lot of girls, and they all love this song, and it crept up on me. Like fungus. Or something. Fergie does have a helluva voice, even if the song is utter and complete ear candy.

Speaking of which, here comes "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something... okay, I have low and vulgar tastes. Sue me.

Jim Henley links to this article in The Hill, which indicates that the cops are getting ready for trouble should the election go unexpectedly John McCain's way. Henley feels there is a chance that announcing these sorts of fears on the part of the established authority could send undecided white voters over to the McCain side of the ledger, and that the Republicans gamed it that way in advance... although that reasoning seems specious to me; if undecided white voters are afraid of all those welfare mothers and their pimps coming after them with switchblades, zip guns, and crack pipes, you'd think they'd vote for Obama to avoid it.

I will say this -- if the minorities of America have the moxie to actually take to the streets after the Repubs steal another election, as said repugnant Republicans would pretty much have to in order to beat Obama at this point -- well, rock on, my brothas, rock on. I just wish we goddam white folks had had the same courage and sense of commitment back in 2000.

Okay, my stomach has settled down. I'm off to bed. Be good to each other. We're all we've got.

And I'm listening to "Amie", by the Pure Prairie League, as I close down. In case you cared. Or, really, in case you don't, too.

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