Navigating dire straits

Epic poetry, I think, peaked too soon. It died off as a viable form after being used merely to celebrate noble triumphs and harrowing upsets in such narrow fields of human endevour as dying in battle and stealing livestock.

It would be nice if we had a form of expression to describe our more modern victories and tribulations, like parking.

Yesterday morning I found that someone had parked in a way that blocked my car. In my area, I can take my chances on the blue-and-white (meaning I get a ticket unless I set off before 9:30), or in the parking lot. The parking lot has two rows of parking, arranged like teeth, but then there are the greedy bastards that try to park in the middle, pretending that this way the parked cars can still squeeze out. That morning, this was true for every car but mine. The guy on my left could have gotten out, and the guy on my right could have gotten out, but I couldn’t. To my left a white mini, to my right a dark sedan parked at an awkward lazy slant, and before me that devil-cursed white carcass of a 1987 settler-sticker-festooned Subaru. No way to get out turning left, no way out to the right.

Still, I tried. Then I waited. Then I contended with advice of helpful passer-by. Then I went about the shops, looking for the whore-begotten shite who owned the offending vehicle. Then I called the police. Who told me to call the municipality. Who told me that, because this was a public parking lot, there was nothing they could do, and I should call the police. So I called the police again, gave them the car’s number and asked them to locate the driver.

Then, I waited.

To little avail.

So as I wait, with a chill, growning certainty that I will not easily escape, I try to think out of the box. If I could just get my car on the sidewalk behind it, I think, angle it so it will be able to drive along the pavement despite being inches from concrete flower boxes and a stairway, and despite the way the annoying dark sedan is parked right up to the edge of the curb on my right, if I can swing my car about, navigate past the bench, and squeeze between the lampost and the pylon, I could drive out.

Took me a while, but eventually I did it. Driving in reverse, of course, because that was the only way to swing it.

That this is not considered a deed deserving to be celebrated in song, feted in banquets, toasted in fine mead — well frankly, it saddens me.

(Written yesterday, so that yesterday actually means the day before.)


Hell blazes

I’m still sorting through my comics collection, and last night I pulled out of the bag a complete run of Hellblazer, the John Constantine comic, issues 2-44 (I have lots of other issues too, this was just what was on the shelf when the original shelf went into a box). There’s the faint whiff of mildew to these, rahter than the more appropriate brimestone.
I never got around to getting issue 1, regretably, so this is a good occassion to link to the free pdf of Hellblazer #1 available at the DC comics website. You can clearly see that back then, Constantine was still very clearly “the character that looks like Sting”. [ via LinkmachineGo ]


Ultimate Batman

Dotan Dimet in Batman costume, circa 1975
I think I was in second grade when I dressed up as Batman on Purim, because I recall dressing up as knight (in an even more elaborate costume) earlier. Like all the other Purim costumes we wore as kids, my mother made this costume herself, and she had to contend with my demand that it be as realistic as possible. Invisible in the above photograph are the boots, constructed from cloth and old bathroom slippers, which were extremely awkward to walk about in, but were cut just like Batman’s.

Oddities Resources


There’s been a great deal of talk in Nanotechnology about building super-tiny motors to power assorted cell-sized machines, but a group of scientists now argue that it might make more sense to use motors that already exist, perfectly functional, inside living cells. Instead of trying to build a car, build a cart: BBC: Cells made to haul tiny cargoes.
Their delightful name for this innovation: Microoxen!
[ via Steve Jackson Games’ Daily Illuminator]

Science Fiction and Fantasy

A Shambles in Belgravia

A Shambles in Belgravia by Kim Newman (who wrote the highly entertaining alternate history / vampire literature mash-up Anno Dracula series), is part of the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes website. Newman’s story isn’t about Holmes, though; it’s about his dark reflection, Professor Moriarty.
The story is subtitled Being a reprint from the Reminiscences of Col. Sebastian Moran, Late of the 1st Bengalore Pioneers, and describes Mortiarty’s encounter with Irene Adler (the one woman Holmes is said to have admired). It starts: To Professor Moriarty, she is always that bitch.