Achoo!

The problem with sneezing is to avoid doing it at the keyboard. Especially with the mouth full of tea.

Posted in General Musings |

28 Days Later

February … almost … over … Must … hang … on … Just … one … more … day … Send … new … batteries … – The Pepperizer Bunny

Posted in General Musings |

Porn Star Names are for Screwing

Danger Will Robinson Dep’t: I was reading along on The Sheila Variations, as I do, and I ran across one of those interesting-things-about-yourself memes, which Sheila variegated with gusto. One of the questions asked your Porn Star name, which started me thinking.

The Porn Star name game has been all over the place for years, online and off, not least in Steven Soderbergh’s Full Frontal (which I liked, but don’t let that stop you from hating it, most everyone did). You take the name of your first pet, and add it to your mother’s maiden name, or the street you grew up on, or your first home town. Thus, if you’re not me, your Porn Star name might be, say, Rex Broadway, or Domani 154th Street, or Bootsie Manhattan. It’s silly, it’s cute, it’s often funny, and it’s harmless. Right?

Make that maybe. It strikes me that those questions are familiar. I’ve seen them before, often in close proximity to my social security number and my credit card information. Stripped of context like this they seem innocuous, but given how much of the web is spidered and crawled and spammed and throttled by outright criminals, I don’t know that they are. I’m picturing big-big database netbots somewhere, scanning comments and bulletin boards, cross-indexing email returns and IP addresses, adding motes of information bit by bit until there are beams to build with. And then hitting us on the head with the beams.

Public service announcement for y’all, from us Peppers.

Posted in General Musings |

T Very Mobile (or: I Love the Smell of Paris in the Morning)

Poor Paris Hilton: the girl just wants to get drunk, get naked, and get had, in a guzzle of wanton wastrelsy. And we here in the world can’t let her alone as she plumbs the depths of her depths. Frankly, if she’d do any of that around me, I’m sure I’d find it endearing.

Paris Hilton: Hello. Have a drink. Would you like to see my boobs?
Linus: Um, I …
Paris Hilton: Whoops!
Linus: You, uh, they …
Paris Hilton: I’m also not wearing panties.
Linus: What?
Paris Hilton: What’s wrong with you? I’ve been talking to you for like 10 seconds and we haven’t had sex yet. Here, hold this camcorder.

I’d vote for her.

In latest news, hackers have done the deed on Paris Hilton’s cell phone Sidekick on T-Mobile, unearthing celebrity phone numbers and a debauchery of text notes of the sort that might litter the lifestyle you might imagine. The t-shirt is already for sale, if your wardrobe accessorizes at the speed of media.

My cell company is also T-Mobile, which seems to be a romp for hackers (but it won’t be my cell company for long if they don’t cough up a good deal on a new phone, my V-66 is dying hard). Imagine the dimensions of the trouble if my information were spread all over those Internets. Just a few of the salacious details:

From My Phone Book (some names changed to protect the busy)

  • Pierre, Pierre’s cell
  • Seth, Seth’s cell, Seth’s replacement cell that he used for a while when the first cell didn’t work and I keep forgetting to delete it
  • The beauteous stage manager, home and cell
  • Chuck’s home number which he never answers, Chuck’s work number where he never is, Chuck’s cell which now rings some annoyed guy named Jeremy since it took Chuck so long to win his fight contesting the Verizon bill that they reassigned his number. Also Chuck’s replacement cell which may or may not be his permanent cell, I keep forgetting to ask
  • Renée’s number from before she moved
  • Dani from when she lived on the Upper West Side
  • Some girl named Nicole that I don’t know who she is
  • Some girl named Claire that I don’t know who she is
  • Some girl named Jenny that I don’t know who she is
  • Mom
  • Mom’s cell that she never answers and doesn’t mostly turn on
  • Babooshka on Staten Island where I used to get my hair cut but they’ve been closed for over a year
  • Stubb’s Bar-B-Q in Austin
  • Blackstone Winery in Sonoma County

Sample Text Messages

  • Im here where are you
  • R U here?
  • I am at the Gates
  • I dont see you. R U sure you R here?
  • Where exactly?
  • What lamp?
  • OK I am at the lamp, I still dont see U
  • Ha ha very funny OK when are you getting here

Whew, if that stuff got out I just don’t know what I’d do.

Seriously, though, I say lay off the girl. She’s just doing what most of us would do if we could — we’re all Paris Hilton, we just never had the chance. What if the party really never stopped, never at all? Most of us never got there in the first place. How strange to be lost inside with no clear way out. How strange to know that sooner or later you’re bound to get stuck somewhere with Fred Durst, and he’s going to want to show you something.

Ewww.

Previously Parised on Pepper:

Posted in General Musings |

The Ratonettes are (is?) a hoot

The Ratonettes are a 4-piece band, with one lone human on vocals, bass and harmonica (that’s Doby Daenger, she of the classic punk band The Anti-Elvis Club), two large, inflatable rats on air-guitar and air-drums, and a portable CD player on everything else. All three (quasi-)mammals sport Doby’s trademark just-out-of-bed, rat’s-nest black hair, simple black dress and striped knee socks, and while the rats came preclothed, the human stripped off her jeans and put on the dress and socks right there on the Lakeside Lounge stage…

Doby sings –more or less– a collection of covers ranging from Only You, Be My Baby, and Over the Rainbow to Baby It’s You, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, and La Vida Loca, as well as originals in a bouncy Ramones vein (and perhaps even some really obscure Ramones tunes thrown in, as well.) She dances endearingly between her two wobbly bandmates in a knock-kneed, pigeon-toed kind of way that’s totally adorable, and manages to put out one of the most fun performances I’ve seen in a long time.

Highly recommended, but only for those of a sunny predisposition, I suppose.

Posted in About Last Night |

Science Fiction Double Feature

That’s double feature times plenty, in fact. It’s that time of year, which means tomorrow morning I head blueward for the 30th annual Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, once better known as the 24-Hour Science Fiction Film Marathon (but they had to change the name because people kept asking “Wait, I don’t get it … where do you guys run to?”).

My first was SF/7, give or take, back at the old Orson Welles theatre, when Kathy and I did the 12-hour Night Flight novice run back in 1982 (in only 12 parsecs, surely). I remember precisely nothing about it, except that she and I were still speaking at the time. I’ve been to most of them since then, which means — I’m working from the law of averages here, you understand — that I must be old and fat, and have either a pocket protector or a slide rule and know how to use it.

These gatherings are great bizarre fun. I’ve seen nine of this year’s 13 main features before, but some — Superman, for example, and by gum I hope Planet of the Apes is the 1968 original and not that dreadful remake — are welcome blasts from the past. I haven’t seen THX 1138 since I was an eager 10-year-old kid, and I can’t wait to see it again.

Speaking of which, move quick and you can see the new trailer for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on Amazon: it may only be for today, who knows. See you on the other side of the weekend. And watch out for that Dark Side stuff. I know it looks like fun but the more you muck around with it the worse the movies get. And someone has to clean up the mess in the end.

Posted in General Musings |

Gated Community

Oh, I see, I thought you meant Bill Gates.

Sunday afternoon Katarina the beauteous stage manager gives me the slip (clever girl), but off I go anyway to sneak down the alleyways and fly down the highways of Central Park, where festive orange holds sway for another couple of weeks. The Stodgy and the Theoretical love and hate Christo and Jeanne-Claude‘s The Gates installation with gusto and venom. But why? I think both camps, the bitter haters and the ecstatic lovers, are out of their minds.

That’s what you get when you ask opinions in February, a month when everyone north of Asheville is simply dysfunctionally bonkers without realizing it. The Gates are neither visionary nor sacrilegious. They’re a bit silly and flat-out fun, kind of kooky and without semantic content. They look a little like this and a little like that, but at heart they’re set dressing. They neither redeem the world nor shame it. It is, yes, a colossal frittering of money that near as I can tell (a) never belonged to you in the first place and therefore is none of your business, and (b) looks to pay off plenty well for its principals. If I had 7,500 of these things sitting around, I’d want to put them up in the Park as well. They cry out for barbecue and Citronella candles, and like ‘em or lump ‘em they make a chilly day feel warmer. I say they’re uplifting, and cool.

And this, above all else, is irrefutable: they sure are orange.

I wish they were bigger. I wish — picture this — I wish they were each 40 feet tall. Wow! I wish I could camp out in Sheep Meadow and wake up with sunrise peeking through the saffron fringe. I wish I could parasail over and look down on the orange capillaries reaching through the trees; I wish someone would dolly a camera down the paths and show the film at high guttering speed. I wish there was a rave in the middle of it, like when I lived in Italy and some guy put a light show and DJ’s into a marble quarry for a dance party (they weren’t called raves back then). I’m seeing the Gates lambent under strobes and vivid by laserlight. I wish I were goofy enough to ride around in one of those tour trolleys, though I’d probably mostly hate it and want to be back out climbing the cold rocks. I wish I could run really fast through a long throat of them in a flapping wind to hear them slap and cough and roar. I wish they smelled like pumpkin and roast turkey, I wish they were food and we could eat them when the show is done. I wish there was a Renaissance Faire going on amid the monochrome pageantry.

All of this curls in my head without particular importance, just random threads of a Sunday afternoon. That makes the Gates a happy success, in my book. The sun edges down, and I watch the city watch the Gates, watch the cameras, watch the cute Gates girl looking important in her Gates vest, strutting around curious admiring guys. North of Sheep Meadow a curtain tangles up over itself and New York rushes around it in a protective burst of helpful yelling. A Gates guy with a telescoping pole tipped with a tennis ball prods and teases on his tiptoes while we serenade him. “Left! Left! You can’t see it from there, but no, push it — yes — right! Go right! Harder!” When the snag is free we all applaud; nodding, he smiles, victorious. And I see some of the subtext: the Gates is a narrative.

Woman with English Accent: I don’t get it.
Husband, who does get it: What’s to get?
Woman: Well this. What’s it supposed to be?
Husband: It’s not supposed to be anything. It’s just this.
Woman: Well that’s stupid. Why bother.
Husband: It’s different, eh?
Woman: Bet they’re having themselves quite a larf right now, them Christos.

Pictures next week if they come out — I’m still using film. Yes, I know, I know. I’m shopping in the Olympus C-series, if you’d like to buy me one, otherwise we’re waiting for the film to be done.

Posted in About Last Night |

Waiting for the End of the World

Mike Wolf, Jedi - photo © Jonathan Perregaux

It’s been an inward weekend. On Saturday I met up with Deano, who redeyed in from San Francisco, and we drove up to join a small grieving group of Mike Wolf‘s friends at Mike’s place up in Stamford. Since we orbit for the most part in the blogosphere, we’re unaccustomed as a group to sharing real-time emotion. Mike’s parents flew in from Georgia to deal with his belongings, and they were kind and open, laid bare by the sad sudden events of the week.

We’ve been sharing our memories in the Comments to the last entry in Mike’s blog, Randomness Personified, and rather than try to find new words I’ll quote back what I wrote in there today:

It was a pleasure, if a sad one, to meet Mike’s parents in Stamford on Saturday. We arrived as the last of the apartment was being carted away to the Salvation Army, and the empty space was very strange without his glee in it. I had only been there once before, for the Christmas party, and seeing the bare walls and empty floor kick-started the healing kind of grief. We were all bewildered together, which felt right.

Mike’s Dad instigated some mid-day beer drinking, and we told some stories and looked at the walls and cried a bit. It made it clear that he was gone. It also gave a glimpse of the warmth and the love he leaves behind in the people he touched. His folks were great, direct and generous. Mike spent his life being loved as well as loving others, and it was good to understand how kind his family is.

Overall the day made me feel better about moving on: you don’t ever understand something like this, but it becomes part of you.

I’ve known Mike for something close to a decade, and only met him in person a few months back. Like most who knew him, I liked him immensely, and since I’ve been kind of busy since about 1997 I figured we’d have time to hang and delve deeper sometime down the line. I think he figured the same. The last email I had from him came right after my entry here on not getting into the Yale School of Drama.

Hey, I just wanted to drop a note of congrats on the Yale attempt.
Color me seriously impressed. I have no acting chops and really wish
that I could. [ ... snip ... ]

So, anyhow, you got great experience and some young nipple viewing
out of the day. Well done! Try again next time and I’ll drive up and
we’ll grab some of New Haven’s disturbingly good pizza.

But time is a mocker, and sometimes there isn’t much of it at all. I was wrong about the future, and it’s a truth that bears some lifting.

Jedi Mike photo by Mike’s friend and co-worker Jonathan Perregaux, used by permission.

Posted in About Last Night |

A Hula Hula Burnin’ Love

Blog the LoveValentine’s Day in Blogland is a parade of witty deprecations and witty depredations and, sometimes, witty imprecations, all in the service of a sort of gung-ho been-there-done-that crusty hyphenated public hue of world-weary jade. Let me say this about that: if I had a goddam date I’d be going on it. Especially this year, and especially after this week, and especially because I’m in no mood.

Generally on February 14th I go and drag myself out into the trenches just in case some winsome quick brilliant creative bright-eyed book-lovin’ quirky perverse sly and cheeky pragmatist who just happens to be single should be out prowling around on Valentine’s Day because she doesn’t have a date either. Sure, that could happen. Then again, after the Red Sox pennant this year we can count on probability being all screwy until April 29th at least. But you get your V-Day ticket stamped, see, and then you don’t have to do it again until next year. Not counting New Year’s Eve, when the rules are different.

To be fair, I dislike formal dating as much as I love meeting future obscure objects of desire by chance and happenstance, and that’s a lot. But that’s fodder for another post on another day; tonight I’m off to Miss Saturn‘s Hulapalooza burlesque in Williamsburg, where we’re told “There’s gonna be sweets and sweeties — and scantily clad people hula-hooping together in one hula hoop. Yay!” And Harvest Moon is on the bill as well, which always makes me happy.

Posted in General Musings |

Mike Wolf: We Knew You. Godspeed, and Goodbye.

Mike Wolf
Requiescat in Pace

In the sweet memory of Mike Wolf, friend and blogger, who died last night. He was far too young, and full of joy and wonder. I am glad I knew him, and wish I had known him better.

All my life’s buried here,
Heap earth upon it.

- Oscar Wilde

Posted in General Musings |