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Evil Jim

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03:30 pm: Cheezy beezy weekend
I just finished spending some time cleaning up a bunch of wet, sloppy crap. The wet, sloppy crap is not, in fact, related to my current and ever-increasing illness, but to the several inches of cold and rainy slush that fell on my neighbourhood earlier this morning. Many of my neighbours had cleared their drives and walks by the time my head had stopped pounding and my throat subsided from a sharp, pointy ache to a sore, dull ache but I didn't have the energy nor desire to leave the house to do the job myself until just recently. With that completed my list of menial responsibilities and chores for the weekend has reached its end and I can resume waisting away the remainder of this weekend in forced solitude while I anxiously anticipate a sudden and immediate recovery. [blows knows with an audible and obnoxious *Honnnnk!*] . . . Thank you Grandpa.

[hobbles off to get some hot water for his hot apple cider powder]

My Friday was overturned somewhat when the day before Dean clinic called to remind me of an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion in regards to my injured knee. This came as a bit of a shock since I had made no such appointment, but after speaking with the nurse for a bit I remembered a message on my answering machine – one I never bothered to answer -- from the office of my regular doctor saying they had made one on my behalf. So I scrapped my usual Friday morning routine of cashing my paycheck and picking up groceries to make it to the city to see Dr. Wolf. Of course, it wasn't as easy as that since they needed my MRI film and I had to spend the better part of an hour tracking it down on phone and then making a special trip to get it from Midwest Open to take with Friday, but it's not really worth repeating.

The appointment went well and I was much more comfortable with this Dr. than the other. He was a lot more patient and made sure I understood everything we talked about. From all the evidence it looks like I will have to have the damaged part of my meniscus removed rather than repaired. This will speed recovery time considerably but increases the risk of arthritis later on. When I hemmed and hawed about this he pointed out that the fact that I would have knee problems later on was set in stone 15 years ago when I was climbing the locks. Therefore, I will probably have the procedure done later this year, likely after Acen and Japan when I know I can remain off my feet for however long it will take. I would rather not use valuable vacation time on this and will therefore look into taking advantage of FMLA, even if it's only a week or so.

But that's all boring. What isn't boring is the one pound box of Cheez-Its purchased Saturday while grocery shopping. Normally I don't buy snack crackers or other hand-to-mouth type foods but the box on this one alone compelled me @_@. It's a “Limited Edition” package featuring Darth Vader to promote the upcoming Star Wars movie. A young and shiny dark Sith stares at you through the opaque material of his menacing helmet. His black-gloved right hand reaches toward you as if to play “I'm squishing your head” as a bright yellow flash of energy bursts from it containing the logo for Star Wars ™ Episode III. Three perfectly formed Its of Cheez fall from his cold palm as a wedge of real cheddar rests nearby, partially buried in a pile of the delicious morsels. ”Come to the dark side.” He says. ”Look within your heart. The power of the force compels you to join us and delight in the crunchy cheesy taste of 100% cheddar baked (not fried) into healthy and delicious snack crackers brought to you by Sunshine. I am your father.” I tend to ignore merchandising ploys like these but this was so random and absurd that it actually worked. Enjoy here. Come to the delicious side!

Upon closer inspection one finds that Darth isn't quite right in the head. In fact, that may not even be his head at all because his neck doesn't join with the shoulder. The dark helmet is carefully tipped so as not to obscure the Cheez-It logo on the upper left portion of the carton. The back shows a wider shot of Vader surrounded by other characters in the movie in various dramatic poses or characteristic expressions to convey the importance of their relevance to the story. His head is on straight this time but it's still not the right one because his body is from the same photo as the front, the image has just been reversed so his left hand is raised instead of his right. The hand is obviously not his because it is clearly not attached to the arm and turned at an angle different to the front. If Lucasfilm wanted to sell the movie to me by way of this strange and queerly inappropriate tie-in he has failed. But as a long-established Star Wars fan, I was gonna see it anyway.

matt_william called today! It's been so long since I've heard from him that I didn't recognize his voice right away. Things seem to be a little better now that he's decided to return to Wisconsin. It will be great to see him again but I'm sad things didn't work out as well in Louisiana as we had hoped. But with the experience and money gained from this, he'll have better footing for the next leap forward.

I have some abso-fantabulous news today. It is so fantabulous that when you read it you will say “Jim! Mr. Evil! That, indeed is so abso-fantabulous that I can hardly believe it!” Of course, that only applies to you if you're me, but it's still quite spectounding since it may signal the long-awaited end of an exhausting 10 year search. Years ago I began listening to Old Time Radio Sunday nights on WHAD and discovered a program after the usual two hours of vintage radio shows called Mindwebs. “Short stories from the worlds of speculative fiction,” as host Michael Hansen (who also hosted the WHA Saturday night jazz program for years and years) described them. The episodes were originally broadcast in the late 70s and early 80s but these repeats were all new to me and never failed to captivate me with with their eerie tales and evocative moods, enhanced by occasional music and Hansen's deep, mesmerizing voice. I listened for a long time before I began recording episodes and it was shortly thereafter the program was pulled. This heralded a selfish semi-boycott of public radio and I began searching desperately for other sources of the show to add to my meager collection of some two dozen episodes. Later, once I gained access to this thing called the Internet I discovered that there had been about 150 episodes produced and to my frustration, collectors who listed their inventories on line refused to respond to my inquiries.

I'm almost to the abso-fantabulous news so if you've read this far you may as well keep on. I was browsing files on the Digital Archive Project when I found some episodes of Stick Figure Theater from MTV's Liquid Television. What caught my eye was the episode which animated the infamous Hindenberg disaster, one of the few episodes of SFT that I had actually seen. I download that, Night of the Living Dead and the rest I could find, delighted and amused at the nostalgia. Except for the Hindenburg disaster episode, which interested me in a historical sense. I began searching for the original recording and found one in segments. The full version could be purchased, of course, bundled with hundreds of other historically significant recordings of the period and throughout the century on one MP3 disc. Intrigued, I browsed more of the site and found a massive collection of Orson Welle's programs that I resolved to order soon. Looking around I found a link to three radio broadcasts of stories by H.P.L. What dropped my jaw was the available download of ”Beyond the Walls of Sleep”* originally from Mindwebs. I immediately downloaded those and searched the rest of the website for others. I found two more. This quickly revived my obsessive search and several minutes later (are you ready for this?) finally found 146 episodes available on 2 MP3 discs. O' the joy of discovery and relief of a quest finally ended. I wanted to keep my recreational purchases to a minimum but this is a must-have and will supply countless hours of entertainment. And if that doesn't work, as a writer, I need it for research.

* The “Beyond the Walls of Sleep” episode of Mindwebs is slightly sped-up and three minutes shorter than it should be, thus detracting somewhat from the mood of the performance. Still, it should be easy enough to convert the file and correct the error.

Hey look! The guy who interviewed us at B-Fest finally updated his column with a review. You can see Sarah, Sarah and me in the crowd photo, but someone is standing in front of Thea, and sacredspud is obscured by Sarah (the other one.) None of us are quoted, but it's a great review and worth reading.

Overall it's been a productive weekend despite my illness. Yesterday I did some book shopping and hooked up my parents' computer after Eldon installed XP for them. Laundry is clean (if not folded) and the house looks pretty good for next weekend. I did my first ever water change on the 55 gallon tank last night which lasted until after one o'clock in the am. Dagon and Hydra are still alive so I guess I did it right. All that and I still managed to get some time in on my Nintendo 64 which has been neglected for the past few years. That sounds like a good idea. I need to rest my eyes for a bit and focus on something that doesn't require so much scrutiny. [falls over]

E V I L O U T -

Current Mood: exhaustion

Current Music: Why Does it Hurt When I Pee? ~ Zappa
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