I'll come up with something in a minute.


Would you look at that, a giant triangle







August 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment


So now that I’ve joked about it, lets actually talk about the whole “lovely and talented” thing seriously for a moment, shall we?

Firstly, there is a reason women are always evaluated by their looks. That reason is genetics. Men pick mates mostly for physical traits, this is a fact. Women tend to go for behavioral traits more, if the psychologists are to be believed. And why should the psychologists lie? I mean, I’d have to go ask a psychologist, and maybe that one would be lying too. Shit, my whole world view is coming to pieces over this. Besides, they’ve also said recently that women go for big burly square jawed wide shouldered men during one part of their monthly cycle and more sensitive effeminate types during the other side of their cycle, so maybe they DO lie!

Anyway, men have always picked based on looks. This is a big deal to men and probably always will be. It’s in our DNA to look for hot women with fit bodies. That is what we are programmed for. As a result, women will ALWAYS be judged, at least partially, on their looks. I’ve gotten every guy I’ve ever discussed the matter with, from big dumb lugs to wimpy girly poet types to admit that the way a woman looks is important and that they judge a woman in some amount by her beauty. Women are also treated, pretty much, the same all over the world. There are varying degrees, but women are always judged by their looks and their value is regularly tied to that. What I’m saying is, we might learn to treat people with different color skin the same as our same skinned brothers, we may wipe out religious intolerance, we might even let the gay folk come join in our reindeer games, but we’re always going to be checking out your tits. We might learn to feel bad about it, but we’re still gonna do it.

Science has also told us that beauty and ugly aren’t nearly as subjective as we’d like to believe. When given 20 cards with pictures of women going from the super hot to something clipped from a late Victorian medical text book people from all walks of life and from all over the world will put the 20 cards in roughly the same order. So beauty is beauty and ugly is ugly. That’s not important, but it is interesting!

Okay, so that’s the science and genetics argument, what about the societal argument though? Surely I can’t claim that it’s all just genetics and man stuff and we shouldn’t try to change at all… can I? Well I guess I could claim that, but I’m not going to. I’m going to try and suggest at least one solution to the problem. The first step in solving a problem is admitting that there is a problem, and possibly explaining why it is a problem. Yes, actually it is something of a problem.

So why is it a problem? Well, it is a little condescending but more than that it diminishes a woman’s accomplishments. Think about what the phrase “the lovely and talented” is really saying. Lovely, you may notice, almost always comes first. So right there we’ve given talent second billing in this sentence, which means the woman’s talent and hard work are valueless next to their purely ornamental and sexual qualities. Taking the given example, a writer, her looks shouldn’t even come into it. Her looks don’t matter a tinker’s damn because depending on what kind of edition of the book you have, you might not even ever see her face.

However, men still always judge women by their looks. Women know that men are doing this, and men know that women know and Kylie totally told Jimmy so he knows that she knows that he knows that they know that they all went there together. Crazy Drama, huh? So saying something like “lovely and talented” is actually intended as a double compliment. It may not always work that way, because of the whole condescending and diminutization of her brain and actual work thing, but that’s how it’s intended. There is actually a real and genuine fear in some men’s minds that if we don’t compliment a woman on her looks it will be interpreted that we’re actually insulting her.

Let us remember that a lot of men have been at the receiving end of hurt feelings for not noticing that a woman got her hair done. It might be considered sad by some to say, but several women think it’s an insult not to have their looks mentioned. A lot of women like to be told how attractive they are, and they like it a whole bunch. How many breast enhancement surgeries were done last year? You think they get those implants in the hopes men won’t be staring? Men have gotten good results complimenting women’s looks in the past and we’re pretty sure we’ll get good results again. Telling them they look beautiful is almost always an easy way to get a smile.

Men are, for the most part, uncomplicated souls who like one set of rules for a situation. Many guys stick to an all or nothing approach to a lot of things, not just intergender relations. So we remember that we’re supposed to let women know that they’ve got a passing grade and so we do it all the time. When we get complaints about it, it actually puts us in a tough position because it seems like a mixed message from over here.

This is one of those situations like when women are cranky and men ask if they have PMS or something. We didn’t come up with idea that women are bitchy during the red tide all on our own you know. During our teen years when a guy was acting bitchy we’d say “What’s up your ass?” and we get “I’m having a bad fucking day!” as answer. We learned to expect that answer if we asked the question. Now, during our teen years when a girl was acting bitchy and we’d say “What’s up your ass?” more than one girl would say “I’m having my period! Okay? Is that alright with you? Can I bleed from the crotch with your blessing?” and we’d learn that Aunt Flo’s visits were heralded by crying and bitchiness. Not all girls would do it, but enough would that we’d learn PMS=Bitchiness and as the male mind so often works Bitchiness(must therefore)=PMS. I’m afraid you’re going to find that some women still do this in fact, and I suggest you hunt those women down and smack them with a bagel because they’re making it easier for us men to make the assumption. That’s not to excuse when men do stupid shit on their own, but you can’t go around putting all the blame on us all the damn time.

Well, that’s enough of that tangent, let’s get back to the discussion about looks!

Despite my occasional teasing on the subject, I’m actually aware that openly judging a woman based on her looks isn’t considered the best of manners. In fact, I find that whole aspect of human discourse to be a little bit sad. The fishing for compliments, the throwing of the compliment bone, it leaves me feeling like I’ve just watched the saddest dance in the world. It’s probably important to point out that I hate playing around like that anyway and if asked a loaded question like “Do you think this outfit makes me look fat?” or “Do you think she’s pretty?” neither of which has a right answer I just say “Yes” because fuck it, if you wanna spoil for a fight, I’m not going to squirm around trying not to have one. Only ask me a question you really want the answer to because I’ll always fall back on the fact that my mother raised me to be honest and to tell it like it is.

Of course, I’m aware that 98% of my judgments are probably best kept in the back of my head with the old back issues of Mad Magazine and the information about where all those bodies are buried. In case you’re wondering I do tend to judge everything any of you say, do, post, and think. Yes, I do monitor your very thoughts. Please keep the tin foil hats on as they actually help focus and amplify the rays. My judgments however, are mostly meant for the private consideration of myself and Fancy during the long winter nights. As my judgments change every time I’m given more information and clarification, I tend to keep the airing of my judgments a private matter between me and Fancy.

I rarely, if ever, inform a woman that I don’t know exceptionally well that I think she’s pleasing to the eye. When people post pictures, for the most part I take a look and then pass by. Mostly, I say something along the lines of “Oh, she’s cute” or some such thing and then move on. I don’t post a comment telling her how lovely she is, or that her hair is quite nice or whatever. I could go into the specific reasons why I don’t, but they should either be obvious or reserved. The only time I’ll comment is when it’s something along the lines of “This is my new hair-do, what do you think?” and if I know the person fairly well I might make a comment, but even then I’m normally reserved about it. That’s my personal bent though, and your mileage may vary.

So, now that I’ve outlaid the problem, what is my suggestion? Is it too simple to suggest we diminish men too? Why can’t men ever be told they’re a cute hunk of beef? Why do we just take things away from men without giving them anything? You take away our unquestioned dominance over the world, what do we get in return? I say we should get told what cute buns we have! No, really, I’m being completely serious here.

Okay, Fancy says that might be a bit too radical and it doesn’t help the actual problem which is that women feel their looks are being valued more highly than their skills. That’s going to be tough because we have to address a very delicate subject. That delicate subject is the incredible difficulty in trying to separate the fact that men always want to impress women so that maybe, if that man was the last one on earth, the women might want to have sex with him. The simple fact is that men never really want to offend any woman because all women are prospects to a healthy man. Sure, there are some that he won’t just like, and they can go to one side, but after that he wants a wide a field as possible should that day come when there are no other penises around. The logic of vibrators wouldn’t even occur to him, so don’t bother bringing it up. That’s not to say he’s actively trying, but it is in his mind in the same general area as the desire to red meat and watch sports and/or action movies.

A solution that I could suggest is one that I’m not sure is very good. It would be to ask people who decide to trot out the old “Lovely and Talented” line to ask themselves if they would honestly say that about another guy. If no, then leave it off. Try not to fall into physical flattery because you’re talking to a woman. And as a final suggestion if you’re on stage at the Hugo Awards, don’t grope a woman’s breast because it will just make you look like an asshole that should have been beaten to death with sticks decades ago.

I’m not going to suggest that we try to treat everyone as individuals rather than representatives of a pigeonholed group. I might be a bit whimsical and a lot sarcastic, but I’m not completely loopy!

August 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Next Batch

A few things and then a sawmill!













Honestly, this isn’t viral marketing for Greenfield Village. It just happens that they have a lot of the sort of things I like taking pictures of.

August 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

More Photos

You know, it occurs to me how rarely I give any sort of point of reference for these shots. I don’t photograph the outside of the buildings, I don’t give you a map you can follow along with, I just drop a bunch of interesting pictures on you… oh well. At least these are straight forward and haven’t been played with.









Here are four shots of automatic sock making machines…





August 12, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Ice Box

This is a Cold Storage Ice Box

As you can see, it was made in Eau Claire Wisconsin.

It’s basically a two chambered wooden box.
You’d put a big block of ice in the upper chamber and that would cool the food below.

They don’t use as big a block of ice as they did in the 19th Century

You can store food using this system though.
Those aren’t prop foods, like many exhibits this is a working house and they cook and eat this stuff.

Now the reason Holly wants you to see this is because it’s around 120 years old and it still works

While THIS is about 5 years old and it doesn’t!
She’s asked me to go to the trouble of pointing this out because she’s feeling a little peeved about the whole thing.

Oh, please let today and tomorrow pass quickly!

August 11, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

The House

This what I like about this place, lots of curves instead of corners. You can’t see it in all the shots, but you can see it here.




Syd’s room


Our bedroom. Folly was on the bed so I couldn’t make it.



Hol’s room












Living room




My office




TV Room

Kitchen & Dining room











More living room


This is the fountian that doesn’t work. We must have a post about this place and the insanity sometime.

This little window in the closet opens.

August 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

I want to vote for an adult

I’m extremely annoyed with John McCain. I’m annoyed because I can no longer take him seriously and have to vote for Barak Obama for president. I’m not angry that I’m more or less being forced to vote for Obama. I’m actually quite happy to vote for Obama, even if some of his stated policies look like they either need a little work or need to be defined better, or possibly need to have a long drawn out explanation about how the hell he intends to pay for it.

I can get around that though. It’s not voting for Obama that has annoyed me, it’s deciding in August. I wanted to watch a couple of debates and I wanted to listen to what these two men had to say. I wanted to weight the pros and cons of each man’s arguments. I wanted to make an informed choice about who would best represent the country and lead us out of the shit storm that the last eight to ten years have driven us into. In case you’re wondering, yes I do blame part of where we are now on things that happened during the Clinton Administration and by extension Clinton himself. People didn’t just suddenly start getting bad loans when Bush came to office, that situation started under Clinton. Most of all, I wanted to finally make up my mind in October, after weighing the pros and cons for myself.

I can’t listen to John McCain anymore though, because John McCain’s campaign has already fallen into a childish routine that makes the last two election cycles look restrained and grown up. He’s lying, but all politicians lie (sorry, stretch the truth) so that doesn’t get me so much. He’s looking like he’s in the pocket of big oil concerns, but show me a political figure that hasn’t chased money at some point. What has undone him in my eyes is the childishness and the willful ignorance I’ve seen on display. He’s made himself look foolish at a time when I need someone serious. Giving away tire pressure gauges as a way to mock Obama’s claim that properly inflated tires would save the country more fuel than off-shore drilling and then actually telling people he agreed with that idea after they told him how stupid he looked for mocking the idea? I don’t even know if the claim is true or not*, but I do know McCain has now come out against himself! I can do no better than to quote my choice for President… “In the coming days it’s going to be interesting to watch this debate between John McCain and John McCain.”
*Evidently it is.

Then you have the extremely stupid Celebrity Ad that mocked Obama for being the current media favorite. Politicians as celebrities didn’t bother McCain back when he was the celebrity in question. Didn’t bother him when he was on 24, didn’t bother him when he was asked to be on The Daily Show 12 times, didn’t bother him when he played himself in The Wedding Crashers, but it bothers him now. It seems that it’s only bothering him now that he’s not the center of attention. If I may point out, it sounds like someone is annoyed that he got dumped for a younger man. It sounds like someone is whining like a little bitch instead of taking it like a man.

And then he got PWNED! Not only did he get slapped around like a little bitch, but he got bitch slapped by Paris Cock-Gobbling Hilton! Paris doesn’t care about politics, she’s not making a statement about the nation, she’s just scoring off the wrinkled old guy who insulted her. However, when Paris Hilton can score off you, you know it’s time to just go the fuck away. This whole situation has taken the single most important responsibility that the American people have, and turned it into an internet joke.

I’m not even going to go into the race bating or the “Elitist” comments because… a guy who dumped his injured wife so he could go shack up with a millionaire beer baronesses who thinks inflating your tires properly is a joke and has been in congress for 30 years is going to accuse someone else of elitism? He doesn’t have to worry about his 6 houses being taken away, or having to skip new glasses for a while because milk prices just went up again. He doesn’t even get the idea of keeping your tires inflated to try and save three small, but precious dollars a week. He thinks that’s a joke!

The race bating is just as stupid, stupider even. I would have liked to hear what he had to say to actually refute Obama’s claims, but all anyone can come up with is comments amounting to about how Obama is an uppity negro trying to get above his station. I’ll grant, there might have been a few statements about him being wrong, but I stop listening after some version of “Didn’t you hear me? He’s an uppity *word deleted* and he can’t be allowed to be in charge!” comes out of their mouths. That alone tells me that they’ve either got nothing on the guy, which is a plus for him or that they’re so ingrained in the idea that no one will ever vote for a black man that they don’t need to take him seriously, which insults my considerable intelligence and just pisses me right the fuck off.

I know it’s often seen as condescending when a white guy says this, but I really did listen when MLK asked us to judge a man by the color of his soul rather than the color of his skin. The results from my soulometer are showing that McCain’s color is not so good while Obama looks pretty healthy. Even if I don’t like all his ideas, at least with Obama I get the idea that these are the ideas of an adult who understands that America is facing some really tough times in the next 10 years instead of someone trying to play tit for tat like a 12 year old in a school yard.

And that, in a nut shell, is what has me angry. I’m angry that McCain, once a member of The No Bullshit Caucus has fallen so deeply into the bullshit that you no longer can see the man he once was, or at least the man he was once perceived as being. I’m angry that I still haven’t heard one word about what he’s for, just what Obama is doing that he doesn’t like. I’m really angry that someone who proclaimed that this was going to be a new kind of gentleman’s campaign sank to these ridiculous depths so fucking early and so easily.

I’m angry that I can’t actually pick between two intelligent people who understand the gravity of the situation the country faces at this moment in history. I wanted to be able to take both candidates seriously. I wanted to elect one of two grown ups who would do the grown up thing and lead the country like an adult. I’m perfectly happy to vote for Obama, and probably he is the guy I would have voted for anyway, but I feel like I’m only doing so now because I don’t want to be associated with any of John McCain’s bullshit.

August 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Steampunk Books I’ve been meaning to write

Oscar Wilde: Soldier of Fortune
Format: Graphic Novel
The adventures of the wittiest snob ever to put pen to paper or sap to criminal. This six issue limited series contains what may be Oscar’s most difficult case against a Gay/German/Oriental/Jewish villain that encapsulates most of the major ethnic terrors facing the British bigot at the end of the 19th Century. Will Oscar defeat the evil Dr. Fu-Mann-Berg, or just seduce him for King and Country? Find out by reading Oscar Wilde: Soldier of Fortune!

The Further Adventures of Captain Mors, Air Pirate
Format: Novels
One of the more obscure Victorian Air Pirates returns for adventures that are almost nothing like the original! Since you’ve probably never even heard of Mors, much less read any of his adventures, this character will be a completely blank slate which any story can be hung on without fear of annoying any one besides Germans and the four non-Germans who have bothered to look up the books and actually read them. One might even wonder why we bothered looking up a real character instead of writing about an existing one at all!

H.P. Lovecraft: Lost in Time!
Format: Whatever we think you’ll buy
Holy sh*t! Really? Lovecraft wasn’t even born until 1890 and only really wrote in the 20s and 30s? Really? Well, we know that people who like Steampunk like Lovecraft too, so we’ve fired up the old Deus Ex Machina machine and found a way to zap him and his stories back to 1880 anyway! Hey! Do you want historical accuracy or do you want Sherlock Holmes fighting with Cthulu? Yeah! That’s what I thought.

Jules Verne VS The Army of Steampunk Clichés
Format:Books, Comics, some moded action figures and even an Anime!
Evil Victorian bad guys have stolen a nuclear sub, a number of gear driven machines and a computer with a brassy sort of sheen to it and only Jules Verne can get them back! Look out for the bad guy with a clock work… something or other. See the dinosaurs and machine guns that always seem to get shoe horned into these things. Marvel at how little our writers know about actual steam or clock work technology. Watch as Jules Verne, with the help of Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Dole and Bram Stoker fight every damn baddie that was ever written about between 1851 and 1900.

August 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Don’t give me have to!

You know what bugs me? People saying things like “If tagged, you HAVE to do this meme.” Because you will get “Oh no I fucking don’t bitch!” sent back at speed as a return.

I also hate things like “You have a nice day now” when I leave a store. It always starts the same narrative in my head. What if I don’t want to have a nice day? What if my cat is killed by Sandinista rebels and the ducks blow up my kitchen? I couldn’t possibly follow your orders then, could I? Did that ever enter your rat fuck mind? Don’t put pressure on me about what kind of day to have assface. And by that point, I can’t have a nice day because I’m worried about those damn Sandinista rebels gunning for Folly. Fancy can take care of herself, but Folly is just a stripy-butt who can barely find her own tail.

I just plain don’t like people telling me what to do, it’s a simple as that. I’m always resistant to the idea of people giving me orders outside of the understood social order. I have to obey a lawful order given by a police officer. I have to obey the laws of my state and country. I have to eat and drink and breathe. Beyond that though, I don’t really have to do anything.

There are some things I should do, just to exist within polite society. I should tip waitresses a good and fair amount, since waitresses are the one group I know of who are exempt from minimum wage laws and that really is part of her pay. I should learn and understand the customs of any group outside my own to know what would be considered rude, so I can either do those things or avoid doing them with the understanding of what will be the likely reaction.

These are part of the social order though. I’m actually very big on social order, which is probably something I don’t talk about that much, but I am. I’m very big on the little rules of the road that come in social situations and understanding them well enough to know that I can swing into the oncoming lane so I can pass a slow driver if I need to. I’m not talking about marking someone down for using the sugar spoon to get some jam for your toast. That sort of salad fork and dinner fork stuff is bullshit and they only put those things in to pad out what could be a five page book.

I have actually corrected salesmen who look at something with my name on it and say “Well, Brett…” By looking them directly in the eye and saying in a soft, commanding voice “Mister Lashuay” because that fucker A) Doesn’t know me well enough to call me familiar and B) Is in a service position. It’s snobby, I know, but I don’t like people presuming that we’re friends. We ain’t friends, mister car salesman!

If we were friends, you would know that few people call me by my first name anyway. My mother and father rarely call me by my given name. Almost no one ever calls me by my first name, like ever. Death will likely look in his book when the time comes and simply say, “Well, let’s go if you’re going.” understanding that I’m just arrogant to think he’s talking to me at that moment.

Acting like we’re the oldest of friends (and doing it badly at that) and that you can put an arm around my shoulder is a road to No Commission Town, pop. 387. I’m always polite about it, but I rarely buy things from people who try to presume that we have some kind of relationship that does not exist. I don’t get nasty to people, because I have my own little code on those points, but I do bristle and avoid buying anything.

If it’s a social situation, where someone I know has introduced me to another person or we’ve been talking about something, that’s a different. In fact, that’s completely different because then the person wouldn’t be presuming that we have some sort of relationship that doesn’t exist, we actually would have one. Even then, I feel more forgiving because this is a person who is just themselves on their own and not trying cynical tricks to get me to buy something.

These are some of the reasons I respond to commands so very, very badly. I am not someone who takes orders, or I would have entered National Service when that time came along. I respond to requests quite well though, and usually a request will find me an amicable and friendly participant if I’m able. I respond to well wishes in kind most often. It’s just a few words difference quite often between “Hope you have a nice day” and “You have a nice day now” but my reaction to one or the other is drastically different. One feels like a wish and the other sounds like an order to me. And what would be wrong with simply saying “Thank you” anyway? I hardly ever get thanked anymore, I just get my change.

I don’t jump on people, or berate them, because that would be equally as rude, but I do get annoyed about it every once in a while.

August 6, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What a dated joke

So I was listening to the Weird Al song “Headline News” and I noticed that all the joke were really sort of dated. Of course they were. They were all things that were going on at the time the song was written. What’s interesting is that if the song was a few years older (or possibly if I were a few years younger) I don’t think I would think “dated” so much as “cultural milepost” or something like that. If you weren’t around, and you wanted to know what people were obsessing over in 1993 and 1994, here is a song that will give you three stories to look into.

I’m always torn on the idea of current pop-culture in movies and songs. On the one hand it’s neat to see an old movie mention something you’re read about, because you get to see living people respond to something you only know about in the abstract. You can see how mocked some events or people were in comedies, you can get a good barometer for how certain things effected people at certain times. In stuff I wasn’t old enough to know about, it’s kind of neat.

When dealing with something more current though, it always seems to distract and annoy me. When I watch a movie now if someone talks about those little spots in the soda commercial, yes I know what they’re talking about, but those spot commercials are so long ago that it just reminds me that this movie is old and I’m old for remembering what they’re talking about. If you don’t know what soda-pop commercial had a spot for their mascot then fuck you for being young and skinny!

No! Fuck you! You don’t get a link. Google it, you damn young whipper-snappers!

Oh, alright… it was 7Up.

In both situations, the movie is being dated by the references to current events. It’s just that it’s less distracting in the older stuff, for me anyway. In the older movies, everything is old. There are a thousand little things in any given shot that we don’t use today so you hardly notice it if someone starts talking about Hoover being slow to act or what great legs Betty Grable has or some other statement that would have been current at the time. In a current movie, almost everything is current, except the cell phones, the computers and the conversation about whacking a skating star in the knee cap.

I know that part of it is also that in the mid to late 90s, making references to other bits of culture became incredibly hip. Both old and new things started being referenced to such a degree that some movies were all reference, taking recycling to a ridiculous degree if you ask me. I am specifically thinking of Shrek 2, where I felt a lot of the jokes were old the day it came out. The Spider-Man gag specifically wasn’t just old it was overdone by that point.

I suppose when it gets to being 2028 all these movies will show kids what it was like living at the beginning of the 21st century. I just wonder if they’re going to bother watching us at all or just watch all the old stuff we’ve been referencing. It could be a quandary, but I’m too bored to think about it anymore.

August 1, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment