Holy sweet mother of tapdancing fancy Moses in a cornfield, on ice!

I started this blog in October of 2006 and very quickly became frustrated with the limitations of the layout tools. I’m A Nartist, you know. So I paid WordPress $15 for the privilege of editing my style sheet (the behind-the-scenes dingus that controls font, color and layout) for a year.

That worked pretty well, but I eventually got frustrated with the limitations of that. Under this scheme, you don’t really edit your CSS, see — you add a layer of CSS on top of the underlying theme’s CSS. If that doesn’t sound like words in a real human language to you, never mind. It means graphical control is awkward.

So, on the strength of no demand whatsoever, I moved the blog off WordPress and onto a host, where I could micromanage every goddamned pica of graphical space, in February of ought-seven.

I kept half an eye on this site, just to make sure philthy spammers weren’t humping my leg. I knew my one year of Custom CSS was about to expire, but I didn’t know what that meant. Would everything stay the same, but no longer editable? Or would my graphical wotsit blow up?

October came and went, and it looked like everything would stay the same. And then, when I wasn’t looking, it quietly blowed up.

Yeah, hey, seriously…this isn’t how it’s supposed to look! So I’ve biffed all the graphics out of the sidebars. It’s okay if you’ve nicked them; you can have anything you fancy (for Billy the Moronblog Mascot, click here for a big .jpg and here for a small .gif that will get real ugly if you try to scale it up or down). I just didn’t want them flopping out there looking stupid in the wrong color scheme and everything.

I’ll leave the posts. That’s a part of history, man (like the one where I predict a Republican landslide in the ’06 elections).

If you want ongoing Weasel goodness, go here.

YES, that’s the way it’s supposed to look.

Shut up.

Run out of town on a rail

You know, that weasel looks WAY too happy. Be careful; I think it might be hopped up on goofballs.

Going live on the other site today. It isn’t nearly finished, but it’s working. I didn’t think I’d get it patched up until the weekend, but an ice storm over New England gave me an assist today. Valentine’s Day. I like that. Because weasels are all about the love.

To everyone who has linked to this address…what the heck were you thinking? You’re known by the company you keep. Didn’t your mama tell you that?

Happy V-Day!


Will the mustelid who stole my heart kindly return it? It’s…pretty urgent.

Baseball cards for programming languages

Excuse the decided lack of weasels around here lately. I’ve been laboring to rebuild this site on a new domain. When you see it, you’re going to be, like, “what’s the big? It looks like the old site” (I know this, because I’ve heard it already). But I built this one! Myself! From scratch (kinda)!

This means learning yet another scripting language — WordPress pages are built with php. PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. It’s a recursive acronym. The first letter of the acronym is the acronym, so it stands for itself. This sort of thing appeals to people who spent childhood wiggling their fingers inside a mirror sandwich. Geek humor: it makes milk shoot out of your nose.

I once joked that I have written “hello world!” in fifty languages (oh, how we laughed!). I don’t know what it’s like in real programming, but over here in Artsy Fartsy World, every goddamn Web application and multimedia program has its own little scripting language (or markup language or scene description language). And they all have grammar that is maddeningly similar but maddeningly different. It’s maddening.

You can find tons of tutorials online, but they all start “a computer is a programmable device comprised of hardware and software.” And you’re, like, can we fast forward a little? The O’Reilly books are good, but if I bought a book every time I wanted to know something, I’d live in a house stacked floor to ceiling with books. Because I do.

What I want is something like a baseball card for programming languages. You know, like:

Name: Lingo
Goes with: Macromedia Director
Characteristics: feels like a scripting language built by a nonprogrammer who watched somebody else code one afternoon and guessed what all the funny words meant
At the end of each line of code: no character, a line of type is a line of code
Blocks of code are surrounded by: no character
Comment character: two dashes at the beginning

Like that. Anybody know of a site like that? This Wikibooks thing on programming languages is close. But I’m thinking more list, less blah-blah-blah.

Radio mucho recommendo

This week, BBC Radio 4 launched a really excellent six-week series on the history of modern medicine, beginning with the Greeks.

Today’s episode was about Andreas Vesalius, the 16th Century Belgian doctor who single-handedly gave birth to modern anatomy (ewwww…bad mental image). He had a definite advantage over his predecessors, in that he got to cut up actual dead people, as opposed to monkeys and cows.

We’re even more fortunate that he left us the seven volume De humani corporis fabrica, illustrated with engravings by…well, we’re not sure who. But he was very good, whoever he was. The muscular anatomy plates are so clear and accurate, they’re still used by art students. I spent many a youthful hour copying his pensive skeletons and mincing flayed guys, like Overbite Man pictured above.

What I did not know is that ‘Andreas Vesalius’ is rendered in English as Andrew Weasel.

I am stonked with wonderousness.

If you have an interest in medicine or history or listening to people with really plummy accents, you’ve got to catch this one. Thirty episodes, beginning last Monday, at fifteen minutes each. They can be found on the series homepage. You’d better listen this weekend if you want to catch them all, though — Radio 4 usually hangs on to recordings for a week, and these are streams, not downloadable podcasts.

Civil: servants, disobedience

All this talk about civil disobedience and stickin’ it to The Man and I’ve probably made myself sound like a rude asshole. I am not. I’m a very polite asshole. Good manners are the hallmark of good breeding; I am never boorish when I break the law.

A good attitude and a pleasant, engaging manner are your surest route out of whatever howling shit-storm you’ve gotten yourself into now.

If a grizzly bear leapt into your path growling, you wouldn’t plant your fists on your hips, roll your eyes and whine, “Oh, GREAT! A grizzly bear. Just what I needed with the week I’m having. I suppose you’re going to maul me. Yep! Here we go! Mauling me! I bet that makes you feel like a tough bear, huh?”

No, you would not. Well, civil servants, in my experience, are like grizzly bears: bad tempered, powerful and covered in thick buff or chocolate brown fur.

Naturalists say the best way to avoid a bear attack is to avoid the bear. Stay out of bear territory. Make a lot of noise. If confronted, drop into the fetal position. Play dead. Cry like a wee bonnie lassie and, quite possibly, piss yourself. Naturalists didn’t make up that last sentence, but I’m pretty sure those things are going to happen.

This advice is similar to my personal rules for surviving a dangerous confrontation with a building inspector, IRS agent or policeman.

Stay out of bear territory. Know which offenses are serious and which are not. Try not to do the serious ones. Like — it’s very, very important that you pay your taxes. It is not, as it turns out, so important to do the paperwork every year, provided you’re pretty sure they owe you.

Don’t treat the civil servant as the enemy. He is the enemy, of course — but act like he’s an ally. It’ll confuse him and turn him into a sort of accomplice. Ask questions like, “what do you recommend?” and “what would you like me to do?” Look very earnest and eager to please.

Learn to smile — and even laugh — when things look darkest. Because the sooner your demonstrate the likelihood that you have, in fact, some sort of clinically recognizable mental illness, the quicker you’ll be home blogging about the funny thing that happened to you on the way home from work today. No civil servant likes to deal with a nut.

If all else fails cry like a wee bonnie lassie and, quite possibly, piss yourself. I don’t know if it works any better for civil servants than it does grizzly bears, but sometimes you’ve got to go with your gut.

Photoshop Phun

“I’m ready for my closeup, America.”


I finally worked out what Crazy Eyes Pelosi reminds me of.

And if you don’t recognize this film, you, Sir, suffer from a criminal lack of gayness. Campest, creepiest flick ever.

Weasel fight!!!


Whoa, check it out. This is the picture that accompanies the Wikipedia article on mustela nivalis which led to the photographer’s Flickr page about the shot, which led to this weaseltastic fifteen seconds of YouTube of the same fight.

These two little bastards were so pissed off, they didn’t care who was watching.

Nivalis is the tiniest of the weasels. In fact, they always say it’s the smallest carnivore in the world, but aren’t shrews carnivores? Anyhoo, this is the animal the word “weasel” was invented for (the Brits call the bigger ones “stoats.” We call them all weasels, but we call this dude the “least weasel”). A male is about as long as a dollar bill, with a voracious appetite and a ferocious temper.

A weasel will fuck you up, man. Fuck you up good. The only thing badder than a weasel is another weasel.

I wonder who won?

Short and crabby

Checkout line of the supermarket, you hand the woman a twenty, she takes that long-ass receipt you get these days because they itemize every can of Friskies individually (might as well, it’s all going in the GIANT GOVERNMENT DATABASE anyhow, which is why I’m paying cash), folds this banner up two or three times, puts your bills on top of that, and your change on top of that and hands it back to you.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

See, change goes in the pocket, bills go in the wallet, receipt goes…well, who the hell cares? What, am I going to itemize my groceries on my 1040 this year? So you’ve got your wallet in your left hand, and this big dilemma in your right hand, the next customer’s cans of Friskies are already rolling down the conveyor, bumping up against your bagged groceries in the most intimate way. That big-ass receipt wouldn’t even fit in your wallet if you tried, so don’t try jamming everything in there.

My general technique is, I wedge one corner of the whole business into my wallet, just enough to hold it, tilt everything back until the change falls in my hand, pocket that, pluck the receipt off the top and do…whatever with it, and then get the bills properly en-walletted.

Wheee! That was fun!

This all started suddenly a few years ago, didn’t it? They used to put the receipt in the bag, thanks very much, and then I only had to worry about sliding the bills out from under the change. If I had to guess, I’d say some supermarket chain invented the procedure to discourage customers from claiming they didn’t get a receipt when they come back later to complain about some damn fool thing. And then they all picked it up off each other like goddamned yam-washing monkeys.

Well, I have an idea. Why not take that receipt and saw it across the back of my hand a couple of times until I get a papercut? That way I couldn’t deny I got a receipt — because, duh, I have a papercut — and you could go on and put the receipt in the bag, the way I like it.

It is a hard life being anal-retentive. Y’all have no idea.

Hey, remember that distressed squirrel under the bathtub?

He’s feeling better.

He came out the access hatch, I guess, and trapped himself in the bathroom when he heard me coming. His only way out was the door — and no guarantee he’d go back in the walls when he’d have the run of the whole house– and the window at the far end, to which he was clinging, growling gently.


I opened the door and tried to use my bathrobe to steer him back the way he’d come, but he was having none of that. I was afraid if I got in the room with him, he’d make a leap for my head and Very Bad Things would ensue. Don’t laugh. I raised a passle of these buggers, they tend to nominate the tallest thing in the room as an honorary tree and then immediately climb it. I’ve never had the rabies series, and I like it that way (though apparently it’s not that ghastly in-the-stomach thing any more).

Neither of us was getting less panicky, so I finally got in the room with him, headed for the window, fumbled with it and tried to ignore the banging and crashing behind me. When I got it opened and turned, he was crouched on the sink (you know, I ask a lot of my tooth brush). He made one heroic flying leap past me and onto the sill and shot straight into outer space. I mean, sailed over the roof without touching and right down into the back yard.

We’re up on the second floor, so I went outside and make sure he hadn’t stunned himself unconscious when he landed. All I needed was a cat bringing him back in. (The cats? Useless. They probably spent the whole day with him up here).

First man jack of yez to make fun of my lacy bathroom curtains gets a disemboweling. Gratis.