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Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Subject:Connected to the heartbone, as it turns out
Time:8:24 pm.
So I broke my leg rather badly rather recently. An acquaintance sent a "get will" missive, accompanied by an explicit assumption that "there's a great story there".

Of course there's a great story! What, like you thought I might have just taken a running leap off a picnic table during a party and landed so spectacularly poorly that fragments of my tibia even now pose a threat to satellites in low-earth orbit?

No, there is a story, my friend. A fantastic story that would quicken every pulse and dry every eye that had an ear to hear it told. Unfortunately, pending the outcome of three lawsuits, two duels, and one-and-a-half movie deals, I fear I am not at liberty to divulge the full details.

But someday...
Comments: Read 4 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Subject:Wine, somethin' else, and song
Time:12:34 am.
My ears are full of The National lately. I heard Terrible Love on the radio and was struck hard enough to stagger into the rest of their discography. For what it's worth, "Terrible Love" sounds nothing like anything else they've done (with rare exception); I'm pretty sure Fleet Foxes commandeered the studio for that track and then peeled out of the parking lot in a cloud of Depression-era dessicated loam and harmony.

Despite the bait and switch, I've been delighted by the discovery. Perhaps not delighted per se. Their oeuvre oscillates between a sort of bar-punk homage to the Clash, and a surreal, dusky lounge crooning that Angelo Badalamenti might compose if he laid off the quaaludes. It turns out that you can find a Camper Van Beethoven-esque alt country in the middle, but "delight" is nowhere to be seen. Satisfaction, on the other hand, is everywhere one turns. The instrumentation is always rich and layered, but only rarely approaches the shoegaze "wall of sound" sensory overload. Matt Berninger's baritone is aural tiramisu; smooth and sweet, but every bite carries dark and bitter undertones that are stimulating and intoxicating by turns. Having heard him meander about in search of the key during live performances, my cynical side suspects that the vocal drone is a strategic capitulation as much as it is a stylistic expression; but most of me just floats along and enjoys the ride.

The lyrics... I'm not quite ready to judge yet. It's not the free association word-gumbo of Beck's "Loser", but there's generally nothing approaching coherent narrative, either. At their best the message is clear regardless; there's a theme or a scheme that comes through even if you can't quite pin down the points where what you're hearing is actually said. There's at least one that comes across as clear as slow-grown ice, and carves me up like a holiday turkey-- but that probably says more about my state of mind than the objective clarity of the music itself.

Regardless. I recommend this strongly enough to overcome months of mostly wordless inertia. Seems like that ought to be worth a listen, at least.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Subject:Oh NPR, why you gotta make me hurt you.
Time:11:10 am.
Yuppy grows a tomato. Is shocked to learn that "buying the stuff that dreadlock-guy at the co-op suggested" is not actually sufficient to transform her suburban astroturf into the allegorically fecund soil of proto-Narnia circa The Magician's Nephew. Closes article by saying: "The moral: Money-saving exercises often aren't money-saving at all."

Funny, I thought the moral was "Even if I combine my enormous sense of entitlement with the yawning chasm of my ignorance, I can't make my 'raise a single magazine-cover plant-baby' methods into a feasible model of sustenance agriculture. Perhaps it was arrogant of me to assume that my college degree and credit cards would automatically make me a better farmer than actual farmers are."
Comments: Read 4 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Subject:This happens more regularly than I care to admit.
Time:12:15 am.
So, no time to cook. I'll just nuke some steam-in-bag broccoli. Of course, that won't be very filling. Might as well melt some cheddar on top. Except that's just thick and greasy. Would it really kill me to make a simple cheese sauce? Okay, got the butter melting for the roux, let's open the fridge and-- hey, I forgot about the half container of sliced portabellas. That'll go great with everything else, just toss those in the butter to saute a bit, dump them out, and start the roux again. Now flour, mustard powder, pepper, just a hint of ginger. Okay, milk... or heavy whipping cream. I'm sure my arteries are willing to make a few sacrifices for deliciousness. When did this transition from "ez cheez sauce" to Cheddar Alfredo? Never mind. Oh yeah, need to start the broccoli. That's going to be important, too.

One of these days I need to learn how to cook, so I can stop doing it accidentally.
Comments: Read 2 orAdd Your Own.

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Subject:Insert clever Whedonverse reference later
Time:9:12 am.
I'm going to commit a bit of geek heresy now: Joss Whedon is not a hero of feminism. True, he challenges the dominant portrayal of women as weak and insipid caricatures who exist only to be dragged from one sexually-themed plot/characterization point to the next. But he does so with a portrayal of women as strong and aggressive caricatures who exist only to charge from one sexually-themed plot/characterization point to the next. A different fetish does not negate the act of fetishizing. Nor does the genuinely charming banter his women are provided with as they traipse from rape to heartache to seduction to willful-expression-of-aggressive-sexuality.

It's absolutely an improvement from the status quo, and I'll take what I can get. But it ain't saving the world one hot and tormented martial artist at a time.
Comments: Read 5 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Subject:You could do better, and you probably ought.
Time:1:43 am.
When first I came to Minneapolis from my tiny little town, I would wander the streets and wonder. Ofttimes I'd board a random bus and just ride until it stopped, before walking my way home. I'd stare half-focused out the window, lost in contemplation of the movement and the marvels that passed by, the press of unprecedented crowds that somehow secured a solitude I'd never found even on the prairie. Like many young, introspective narcissists, I felt the need to express my observations in poetry.
The cold black trickery
of the quick flash flickering
as flesh flies and melds
into concrete and chrome.
The dry paper rustling
of a million minds bustling--
each one together,
and together, alone.
Yeah, whatever. I liked that little epigram. About the only thing of mine I ever memorized. In a nutshell, it's all of my writing: full of consonance and pretension, and multiple layers of none-too-subtle meaning. I've always loved to play games with sound and syntax, to tickle eardrum and cerebrum simultaneously (a trick that normally takes an eight-inch surgical probe and some deft wrist-wriggling).

But I really have done it always, or at least as "always" as I can recall. So what were my influences? No one around me talked this way when I was young. I did a great deal of reading, but my formative years were hardly filled with Shakespearean sonnets and the like. In high school I liked to attribute my style, such as it was, to narrative poets like Alfred Noyes:
And all around the organ there's a sea without a shore
Of human joys and wonders and regrets;
To remember and to recompense the music evermore
For what the cold machinery forgets...

Yes; as the music changes,
Like a prismatic glass,
It takes the light and ranges
Through all the moods that pass;
Dissects the common carnival
Of passions and regrets,
And gives the world a glimpse of all
The colours it forgets.
Lovely stuff, if a bit... fluff. Still. Hardly the worst inspiration I could claim. Just a dishonest one. I truly had no idea where I picked up my word-wrangling ways. None, that is, until a few months back when I happened to hear an old, familiar refrain:
"His beak blinks like a blinkin' beacon!"(~4:38 in)
...and it just clicked. Yep. That's me. Not TS Eliot. Not Saint-Exupéry. Not even Gilbert/Sullivan. Rankin/Bass, through and through. Ah, well. It's all in what I do with it, I suppose.

I'll get right on that.
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Subject:Thankfully, Billy Bob Thornton didn't titter
Time:5:57 pm.
Am I the only one whose reaction upon seeing Pushing Tin was: "Huh. Amadeus with airplanes."?
Comments: Add Your Own.

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Subject:Of math and madness and moodiness
Time:1:56 am.
The stupidest smart thing I ever did, I did alone and never told.
Lots of words, little focusCollapse )
Comments: Read 6 orAdd Your Own.

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Subject:Quod Era Disappointum
Time:2:08 am.
As I know you all take my off-hand references to books as weighty and profound endorsements, I feel a sense of responsibility to disclaim my earlier enthusiasm for Fred Vargas. The characterization was indeed a series of marvels in miniature. But the author managed something I didn't know was possible: I felt that I really knew the characters, and found what I knew to be agreeable, but I just couldn't bring myself to give a thin half-damn for what was happening to them. The plot was muddled and meandering. The character development was... meh.

A mystery is anything someone wonders at. A secret is a knowable mystery, generally assumed to be known to someone. Seeking Whom He May Devour ended up falling into an unhappy middle ground, a place comprised of equal parts ignorance and indifference. I didn't really know what was going on until the very end. And I didn't care. So there was none of the insight I'd expect from literature, nor any of the catchy visceral interactive hooks I'd expect from standard mystery novels. Just some exquisite artistry, directionless and alone in that space between any places it could have been properly appreciated.

I read Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand, in the hopes that the previous book had been a fluke, or ruined for me by some moodiness of my own. Nope. The mystery here was a bit more involving, and the plot more interesting, but it came at the expense of the intimate portraits that I fell for in the early stages of my romance with Devour. And in the end, it still wasn't all that gripping.

A pity. And as with any infatuation that flames out as suddenly as it flared up, I can't help but feel that somehow my disenchantment reflects a failing in me. For a moment, what might have been effectively was, and it's better to shelve that memory than to tear the pages apart in despair that the "might have" could never truly have been. Time to move on and lose myself in the safety of the first math textbook to catch my eye; take comfort in the familiarity and stability of equations. Still... *sigh*
Comments: Add Your Own.

Subject:Piquant undertones
Time:12:22 am.
Over the years, this blog has served many purposes: political rants, angsty diary entries, random essays, trouser fixations, media reviewing, meme-sheeping, link-spamming, inexplicable sharing of minutia, and so on. But I've never talked about my cats or my lunch. Today I'm going to break one of those "nevers". I would've broken both at once, but the furry little bastards wouldn't sit still in the marinade.

There's a good reason I don't talk about my meals. Well, there are many, most of which are some variation on "Why would anyone care about the fact that someone else managed to eat with some unremarkable degree of success?". But my meals in particular generally don't lend themselves to comment. I don't cook for myself. At all. It's not an unusual meal that starts and ends with noshing on unadorned bread products or grazing on uncooked, unpeeled, and oft' unwashed produce. Tools and processes beyond "chewing" are suspiciously self-indulgent, to my mind.

That notwithstanding, I'm a better-than-fair cook when I choose to be. I just don't choose to be when it's just for myself. Except last weekend, when for no particular reason I whipped up a lunch so simple yet perfect that I had to photograph it.
That's a pita with humus, sprinkled with paprika and cayenne, covered in slices of cucumber and daikon sprouts (the sweetness and crunch of bean sprouts, plus a delightful radishy sting). The salad is simply arugula and roasted beet slices (as well as the rest of the cucumber, which wasn't bad but just wasn't quite right in this context, and won't be repeated), tossed with olive oil, coarse spicy mustard, flaked parmesan, and toasted sesame seeds. The beverage is store-brand root beer-- hey, I never claimed to be highbrow. The background is my new futon, which I got to sleep on now that I'm getting divorced.

Okay, so it's not exclusively a lunch post. Still, it was a mighty tasty lunch.
Comments: Read 7 orAdd Your Own.

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Subject:Single female; seeks tool
Time:1:07 am.
I've got a sort of ingrained disdain for mystery novels, which is really quite ridiculous given how much of my life I've spent buried in books with rocket ships and bombastic blurbs embossed on their covers. I've lately succumbed to taking some guilty pleasure in Raymond Chandler, Andrew Vachss, and Elmore Leonard. On the other hand, the pleasure I'm taking in Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas is absolutely sublime and completely guilt-free.
Camille took her metal-tipped walking stick and her copy of The A to Z of Tools for Trade and Craft. It was the sort of thing she most liked to leaf through at special moments -- at breakfast, in her coffee break, or whenever she felt her heart sinking. ... It was an exhaustive listing with sections on compressed air, soldering, scaffolding, lifting gear, and scores of similarly promising headings. Camille read every entry from start to finish, including detailed specifications like jumbo weed hog, 1.1HP petrol engine, antirecoil bar, low-vibration solid transmission with reverse thrust, electronic ignition, weight 5.6 kg. Such descriptions -- and catalogs were full of them-- gave her profound intellectual satisfaction (understanding the object, how it fitted together, how it worked) as well as an intense lyrical pleasure. On top of the underlying fantasy of solving all the world's problems with a combined-cycle milling machine or a universal chuck tool, the catalog represented the hope of using a combination of power and ingenuity to overcome all of life's shitty obstacles. A false hope, to be sure, but a hope nonetheless. Thus did Camille draw her vital energy from two sources: musical composition and The A to Z of Tools for Trade and Craft. Ten years younger and she had also drawn on love, but she had really lost interest in that overused well. Love could give you wings, but it also knocked you off your feet, so it wasn't much of a bargain overall. Far less so than a ten-ton hydraulic jack, for instance.
From this alone, I know Camille better than some people I've worked with for years. And I find her significantly more interesting, her nonexistent status notwithstanding. And this is in translation from the original French.

Well done, genre fiction. Well done indeed.
Comments: Read 7 orAdd Your Own.

Time:12:55 am.
Over the last few years I've made an effort to stay up-to-date, and dig beyond the headlines of the latest political stories. "A well-informed populace", and all that. Well, I'm done. I've learned a lot of facts, reworked no few of my personal ideologies, and had a great many fantastic conversations. But in the end, it's only made me smug and indignant by turns, and neither of those emotional states is worth the time I've invested.

My political preferences generally lean leftward, but my primary allegiance is to the opposition of pernicious idiocy. And that leaves me without a dog in pretty much any fight you can find these days. For a time it seemed that the answer was to become more involved, try to steer one party or another in whatever direction seemed important that day. As both a farmboy and a liberal, I came pre-equipped with a distaste for large corporations. My grudge against the media and its shallow, fact-free and anti-analyisis approach to political coverage grew exponentially as I educated myself. And, of course, the politicians themselves didn't even bear consideration. But eventually, I realized that none of these was the true enemy of the people.

That would be the people themselves. Jefferson proposes that we "educate and inform the whole mass of the people" to best preserve liberty. That's a fantastic concept, but the whole mass of the people has all the direction and consideration of a hamster on a little wheel, and seems quite content with this state of affairs. I don't believe they are all stupid per se, but there is an overwhelming preference for comfort and emotional reactions over rational consideration. This is nothing new, of course. But I failed to realize just how strongly the average citizen will resist having his preselected positions challenged by a little detail like reality. Neither party has a monopoly on this. Both thrive by poking randomly at the electoral body until they find a spot that triggers a twitch, and then bearing down for all they're worth. This reduces the
political process to a competition comprised of equal parts manipulation and horuscupation. This is a game that's only fun in the abstract for me. In practice, it just makes me tired and sad.

There are many fine thinkers out there writing many fine works on what is going on with our world, and I will miss their insights. I'm grateful for their efforts, and I'll check in on some of my favorites every election season to see who seems least likely to allow us to drive ourselves off of a cliff in the next few years. But even the most discerning analyses serve only to get me fired up, which makes me want to learn more, and to educate others, and... tired and sad. Long trip, short trip, same destination. And at the end of the day, I'd know a little more about the petty cruelties and short-sighted foolishness of a small group of small people who will be replaced with great fanfare by more of the same, more or less. And even though I want to know everything, that's not the sort of knowing that makes me feel good about myself. Or anything else, really.

So! Democracy, a fine thing. Erudite analyses of its particular applications, also. But not for me. If I'm going to invest my attention in unproductive enlightenment, I'm going to pick a topic that makes me happy. I'm thinking cognitive science. Who's with me?
Comments: Read 15 orAdd Your Own.

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Subject:Is it still too early?
Time:10:12 am.
One obligatory political prognostication post: Clinton* takes the nomination without significant incident. Her opponent will probably be Romney. I would've said that any Dem would defeat any Repub in the actual election, but the Dems' spectacular uselessness since the midterm elections has enervated their base and implicated them in the administration's failings. So now that's back up in the air, unless something impressive happens in the interim.

My reasoning: Obama might possibly have had a chance in the ridiculously early days when candidates were declaring, but the moronic self-fulfilling prediction of "electability" gave Clinton an all-but invincible imprimatur back when most of us were wondering if folks were seriously talking about this crap a year before the gaddam primaries. Giuliani and Romney are more of a toss-up, but I think the entrenched powers on the Right see Romney as a more familiar and amenable candidate, and that should swing the balance his way.

Edwards and Huckabee** have never had a serious chance. The only reason we hear about them is because the media knows that you don't sell fifty-some weeks of headlines that all say "Leading candidate continues to go through the motions; electorate is appeased".

*Not "Hillary". Yes, I know we had another "Clinton" in the office recently, but I trust we can all figure out who's who with some context clues. People managed to keep G.W. Bush and G.H.W. Bush distinct, after all.

**I'll concede that there is a chance that Huckabee could split the vote of some key demographic (presumably fundies) and thus play kingbreaker. Conventional wisdom says that his pull is social conservatives, which would primarily hurt Romney. I don't see this as probable, and if it seemed likely to the powers that be, I suspect he'd be promised VP or some other plum assignment in exchange for dropping out and endorsing his opponent.

Edit 08Dec2009: Not that it matters, but I feel the total and utter wrongness of this prediction in every specific is worth pointing out.
Comments: Read 5 orAdd Your Own.

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Subject:Let me check my notes
Time:12:19 pm.
Robert Jordan has been dead for a day, yet my flist is silent on the subject. Clearly, I have some fundamental misapprehensions about the kind of people whose blogs I stalk.
Comments: Read 5 orAdd Your Own.

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Subject:The googles, they do nothing!
Time:12:09 pm.
My searching skills have failed me.

I remember a list of author-title combinations that can be parsed as one sentence or phrase, with occasionally amusing results. Things like:
"The Joy of Cooking" Irma S. Rombauer
"How to Kill" John Doe
...except, um, more better than that.

If anyone else knows what I'm talking about or has more luck finding it, please point me in its direction.

Edit: My description was unclear, I think. The list is (mostly) of books that create the illusion of the author serving as the object of title's verb. The title isn't always an actual verb, of course. "The Joy of Cooking" has no actual verbs; "cooking" is a gerund, which finishes the prepositional phrase "of cooking", which modifies the noun "joy", which is specified by the article "the". The entire title is really one big noun. Throw the author's name at the end, and suddenly "cooking" is a participle (I think).

Either way, now it looks like a book about "the joy of cooking Irma S. Rombauer", and the only thing more hilarious than a cannibal cookbook is a cannibal cookbook for preparing one very specific person, which in turn can only be funnier if the specific person happens to be named "Irma".

Okay, it's pretty lame, but I remember seeing it and I'll lose my mind if I can't satisfy the finding-urge that presently possesses me.

Final Edit: Thanks to supergee (who almost certainly was the reason I saw this in the first place), I have re-discovered The Man Who Melted Jack Dan.
Comments: Read 8 orAdd Your Own.

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Subject:Slam Dunkin'
Time:8:42 am.

"America runs on Dunkin'". At least it has since April of 2006, which is when ad agency Hill Holliday launched the nationwide campaign. It might not seem like it's worth blogging about, I admit. Of course, they blog about it anyway. They're quite serious about it. It looks like everything in a Dunkins that gets near a printing press is going to come out covered in the new slogan-logo (slogo?). Hell, even Slate.com thought the campaign deserved a writeup. Of course, with the exception of a little "OMG Americans are teh fat" crack at the end, said writeup is an unalloyed and unabashed encomium to the brilliance of Hill Holliday. I suspect the writer is hoping for some industry connections once he runs out of people willing to pay him to watch commercials.

Me? I'm not so convinced. First off, it's a pathetic rebus. They start strong with "America" . Can't complain about that. Not sure why America is floating in a sea of eye-raping orange, but I'm sure dozens of people with staggering salaries spent many a meeting and memo debating that very question, and surely expensive decisions can't be wrong. "Runs" is much weaker, however. "Waving torso in a tilted martini glass" might mean a lot to Salvador Dali, but it doesn't immediately say "runs" to me. On the other hand, it beats the hell out of "On" . Goddamned prepositions that denote relative location are the easiest words in the English language to represent in a rebus. If you want to say "house on fire", you put your house image directly above your fire image. This isn't rocket science. And why is it so tiny? If you're overestimating the fine folks of Hill Holliday, you might infer some rebus-related meaning from the peculiar size. "Small on"? "Less on"-- "lesson"? "On shrunk"? Hmmm. We'll move on to the last -- oh, for christ's sake. If we weren't already certain that they'd completely given up on the rebus concept, the fact that they settled for their mini-logo as a stand-in for their name should settle it. The company sells donuts and coffee. The company is named after the act of immersing one product into the other. Would it have been so damn difficult to depict this act in some sort of visual medium? For that matter, if you see double-d's and think "donuts!", you're a less perverted person than I am. Or more perverted, depending on exactly why double-d's make you think about donuts.

So. "Map surrealism lesson boobs". Thank god they provide an answer key immediately below their devilish pictorial puzzle. Either Hill Holliday is admitting that their rebus sucks, or the images were only provided as a courtesy to their many illiterate customers. I'll leave more in-depth consideration of their motivation to future analysts and historians.

Now that we've considered the presentation, let's move on to the substance of their claim. Does America, in fact, run on Dunkin'? I'd say we run on fossil fuels for the most part, though DD's coffee does bear more than a passing resemblance to crude oil. Seems like Nestlé, Kraft, and McDonalds (among others) might be justified in raising a dubious eyebrow at Dunkin's claim to be the nation's preeminent people-feeder, for that matter. Still, a bit of hyperbole is acceptable in marketing. And it is only a bit of hyperbole. With 4.3 billion dollars in 2006 US sales and boasting approximately 5,300 Dunkin' Donuts locations in 34 states, DD is no mom-n-pop operation. In fact, they--

Hang on. 34 states? I seem to recall the flag having more stars than that. I'm not going to raise a fuss about anyone omitting Guam and Puerto Rico. I can even overlook skipping the sort-of-states like Alaska and Hawaii. But they've barely broken 2/3. I'll forgive their execrable slogo, but this level of blatant inaccuracy cannot be allowed to stand.

...There. All better. And yes, I did go through state by state to find the correct 16 secessionists from the United Dunkin' of Donuts. You're welcome.
Comments: Read 7 orAdd Your Own.

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Subject:'void' is not mandatory if 'main' returns a value. Plum blossoms fall.
Time:3:25 am.
"Functions all in iambic pentameter"... has there ever been an effort to code in restrictive poetic form?
class SpringGreetsTheWorld {
public static main(String args[])
{ return "Hello World!"; } }
Next time, we'll whip up a villanelle / simple HTML parser.
Comments: Read 4 orAdd Your Own.

Subject:"Back end" is every bit as full of glory as it sounds
Time:2:30 am.
Hey, people-who-code. Isn't it fun when you spend hours of work and the result that reaches the user is 100% the same as it was before you started? And that was actually your goal? Sure, you know that the invisible process in the background is now much 438% more efficient/stable/flexible/standards-compliant/functions-all-in-iambic-pentameter; but it's not the sort of thing that earns enthusiastic praise or occasional oral sex from nearby laypersons.

Does anyone else budget the last 1% of such ephemeral projects for making widgets change color or creating scrolly status bars or blinky buttons, for no reason other than to show people who ask what you've been doing all day?
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Subject:Make the voices stop: p2
Time:1:57 am.
Honesty compels me to admit that this was my second Greasemonkey script. My first was written earlier today, after someone expressed a desire to killfile my comments because:
Raka just strikes me as being another of those people who thinks it's appropriate to try to silence women by vicious attacks, and having run into that kind of online bully before, I'm (a) grateful Raka does not know my real name (b) uninterested in reading anything else Raka has to say.
After I got done laughing, I thought the least I could do to repay such hilarity would be to oblige her desire to make my terrible oppression just go away.
// ==UserScript==
// @name typepad killfile
// @description remove comments from naughty users
// @include http://slacktivist.typepad.com*
// ==/UserScript==
(function () {

  trolllist = new Array("Raka", "Alexela", "teh patriarchy");

  var comfeet = document.evaluate("//p[@class='comment-footer']",
  var i, trollnumber;
  var cstart, cstop, commentator;

  for( i = 0; i < comfeet.snapshotLength; i++) {
    cstart = comfeet.snapshotItem(i).textContent.indexOf('\n', 10);
    cstop = comfeet.snapshotItem(i).textContent.indexOf(' |', cstart);
    commentator = comfeet.snapshotItem(i).textContent.substring (cstart+1,cstop);
    commentator =commentator.replace(/^\s+|\s+$/g, '');
    for (trollnumber=0; trollnumber < trolllist.length; trollnumber++) {
      if (commentator.toLowerCase() == trolllist[trollnumber].toLowerCase()) {
I'm not going to admit how long that took me. Longer than it should've, but it was a fun learning experience. Now that it's done I see all these bits I want to improve, like making the interface to add trolls more user-friendly (a one-click link after the user's name on the page), or hiding the screened comments with a marker that allows them to be expanded and collapsed, and so on.

But I should probably stop dicking around. So little time, and so much oppressing to do!
Comments: Read 1 orAdd Your Own.

Subject:Make the voices stop
Time:1:24 am.
I am a large, fuzzy, manly man. And like many large, fuzzy, manly men, I often want to see pictures of small, fuzzy, manly animals. So one might think that CuteOverload.com would be just the ticket. Unfortunately, CuteOverload.com is too manly, if by "manly" you mean "gut-wrenchingly idiotic" (a definition that's supported by many manly behaviors, really). The text accompanying the pictures is generally as pointlessly superfluous as Bob Sagat's nutsack. If I can't tell that a picture is of an adorable young animal in awkward repose, no caption is likely to convince me. The blog author isn't willing to settle for irrelevance, though. No, he/she dives straight for utter imbecility.
Breakfast of champyons - "Look at this bewildered kitteh and his mouf all covered..."

Beg pardon? "kitteh"? "mouf"? "champyons"? I've looked all over Babelfish and I can't find the option to translate Retarded Toddler to English. And that's a shame, because I'm going to need it as I wade through the "chick-kons" and "comfertuhbuls" and "REDONKULOUSNESS" (which is inexplicably but invariably capitalized) and " 'tocks" and AAAGH MY BRAIN IT BURNS.

No more could I abide this affront to my dignity in my manly attempts to squee over tiny creatures. So I picked up a copy of Greasemonkey and whipped up a five-minute script. It should've been a 30-second script, but my brain was still recovering from immersion in the aggresively inane text of CuteOverload.
// ==UserScript==
// @name cuteoverload inanity filter
// @description removes stupid text. Which is all text.
// @include http://mfrost.typepad.com/cute_overload/*
// ==/UserScript==
(function () {
var entries = document.evaluate("//div[@class='entry']",
  var i, ncount, trgentry, inbits;

  for( i = 0; i < entries.snapshotLength; i++) {
    trgentry = entries.snapshotItem(i).childNodes.item(1);
    trgentry.textContent = entries.snapshotItem(i).id;
    trgentry = entries.snapshotItem(i).childNodes.item(3);
    trgentry.style.color = '#ffffff';
It's sloppy, but +90% of the stupid is washed clean away by these few lines. Now I just need to white-out the link tags within entries and fix the harmless-but-annoying compiler errors I get on CuteOverload.com (which is just a big empty frame that holds the page with the real content, http://mfrost.typepad.com/cute_overload/). Then I will have contributed something of value to this world.
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LiveJournal for Apraxis incarnate..

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