Somebody stop me…

…I’m becoming a handyman…

Just finished hanging a bunch of floodlights in my photographic studio. I feel like I’ve been doing nothing but home improvements and construction projects all week.

Hung track lights at the girlfriend’s house when we went up for Thanksgiving, then she and I sat down and designed a suspension frame. She’s really into the idea of suspension bondage–being tied and helpless, suspended horizontally off the ground…heh, heh, heh.

Ahem. Anyway, three trips to Home Depot, one truckload of lumber, four design revisions, and two days later, we had built a large, easily disassembled, rock-solid suspension frame. It’s about seven feet long, five feet wide, and six and a half feet tall, and it’s perfect for those times when “bound and helpless” is the only style that will do.

I’m very pleased with it, considering it’s only the second construction project I’ve ever attempted from wood. Eventually, I’ll get around to putting the plans on my do-it-yourself sex toys page.

But still, I’m supposed to be a computer geek, not a handyman! This manual labor thing…I dunno…

Okay, so I was wrong.

I thought hot Krispy Kreme donuts were a slice of Heaven. I have since discovered the error of my ways. Krispy Kreme donuts are wonderful things, at least while they’re hot, but they are the creations of mere man, not the angelic choir.

A small corner of Heaven is actually located off Peachtree Street in Atlanta, and it’s called “Dante’s.” It’s a fondue restaurant, see, that’s set up inside like an old Spanish galleon; when you walk in, it looks like you’re standing on an old-fashioned wharf, with water in the center and a scale model of a pirate ship floating in it. Dante, the rather eccentric owner, breeds crocodiles, which he keeps in the water around the ship.

If you want to know what Heaven is like, go to Dante’s for chocolate fondue. You need to book reservations for chocolate fondue at least 2 days in advance (that’s how long it takes them to prepare it), and they only serve it to one party a night. The chocolate is hand-folded for eight hours before you arrive, so get there EXACTLY when your reservations say.

When we arrived, we were brought into the special “chocolate room” and greeted by Dante himself, who is a very strange and quite entertaining man.

Then the chocolate arrived. Swiss chocolate, sweet cream, simmered together for eight hours.

Then the fruit tray arrived. Carried by two people. Bearing such a mountain of fruit that our server said in the 30-year history of Dante’s, only five parties have ever finished it all.

It was good.

Not Krispy Kreme good. Not “sirloin steak given to a starving man” good. Not “Congratulations, you’ve just won the Lotto!” good.

Oh, no. This was Roman Emperor good.

This was the most decadent thing I’ve ever experienced in my life–at least where everyone was dressed. This was “Heaven and a choir of angels meets nude Jello wrestling.” This was the bliss of Paradise and the decadence of the Roman senate in the same place.

We’re back from Atlanta now; I’ll write more or later.

Some thoughts on randomness & religious experience

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Woke up this morning from a very strange dream. LordFuckBeast and I were back in college (how scary is that?), and I was watching him work on a very large painting out on the lawn when another friend of ours walked by carrying a large box of dice. He dropped the box, scattering dice everywhere; we helped him pick them up, but he was in a hurry and couldn’t find all of them. So, later, I found a set of blue dice, which I kept.

I like dice.

That got me to thinking about random numbers this morning. Throughout history, man has always been interested in generating random numbers; crude dice, usually made of bone, are among some of the most ancient artifacts that have ever been found.

Random numbers have value. They can be used to test computer algorithms, validate encryption techniques, and all sorts of interesting things. Trouble is, computers suck at generating random numbers. You can generate numbers that seem pretty random by using physical processes that are deterministic, but too complex to model–throwing dice, for example, or bouncing Ping Pongs around in a chamber.

Sun Microsystems has a patent on a computerized number generator that uses–get this–a bunch of potical sensors wired around a Lava Lamp. The sensors spit out random numbers based ont he motion of the blobs in the Lava Lamp. How cool is that?


Last night, I had Krispy Kreme donuts for the first time in my life.

I don’t care about donuts, except insofar as the filled kind make excellent sex toys. I particularly have never cared for glazed donuts, which have always seemed to me like little fried slices of Hell, glazed with the lamentations of the sinners and with a convenient hole in the middle so you can eat them when you’re driving. Yuck!

But the girlfriend insisted, so we went to Krispy Kreme.

Their deal is that they give you donuts hot, right off the assembly line.

Oh, my God. When I ate one of these donuts, my eyes were opened. A chorus of angels sang overhead, and a little bit of Heaven revealed itself to me. Krispy Kreme donuts, freshly-made and so hot you can barely touch them, are the closest Man has yet come to Paradise, with the possible exception of French silk pie–also an excellent sex toy.

Just thought you might like to know.

Some Thoughts Before Thanksgiving

Well, we made it up to Atlanta in one piece. Seven hour trip in five and a half hours…we drive way too fast. Funny bumper sticker on the way: “The South will rise again! And the North will put it right back in its place. Again.”

This afternoon, my girlfriend bought an hour massage as a gift for my wife. She loved it. While she was getting her massage, my girlfriend and I spent the afternoon hanging track lighting in her house.

Turns out the building contractor installed the wrong electrical junction boxes in the house, and as a result, we have a lot more work to do than we really should. After dinner, we need to head to Home Depot to get the correct junction boxes and some other miscellaneous things to finish the job. It should’ve been easy, but no.

You think used-car salesmen are bad? Try building contractors. Fsck.

On my girlfriend’s bookshelf: “The Lives of the Norse Kings,” “The Differential Equations Problem Solver,” “Applied Cryptography,” “BSD System Administrator’s Handbook,” “The Warp-Weighted Loom,” “The Art of Blacksmithing,” “The Once and Future Goddess,” “SM101,” “Decline and Fall of the American Programmer,” and “Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics.” Isn’t it amazing what you can tell about someone from their reading list?

Thoughts on movies, karma, and sex

Okay, so we went to see the Harry Potter movie Friday. Overall, it was not bad; I was surprised by the level of sophistication and the creativity in the storyline, given that it was based on a children’s book.

And yet…

This is a minor point, and not really a plot spoiler, but if you haven’t seen it, you might want to skip the next paragraph or two.

Students at the magical school in the Harry Potter books are divided into something like fraternities. Every year, they have a competition. Whenever someone does something right, his fraternity gets awarded points; whenever someone does something wrong, his fraternity loses points. At the end of the year, the fraternity with the most points gets a prize. Good system, in a military boot camp kind of way; screw up, and your entire unit will turn on you.

So. The story goes along, adventures happen, the school year progresses, Harry & friends save the world. But: The last scene, the big award night, and Harry’s fraternity has lost. They didn’t have enough points to win–due in no small part to Harry’s adventures while saving the world. Hard to concentrate on winning points when you’re trying to save the world, you know?

So the leader of the school announces, mid-ceremony, that he’s changinf the rules for the year, and awarding the prize to Harry’s fraternity anyway.

What the hell kind of blind, stupid thing is that??! Not only is it highly unlikely–by doing so, he publically humiliated the leader of the winning fraternity (a key ally)–but it also teaches exactly the wrong lesson. The RIGHT lesson is: You can’t always win at everything. Sometimes, doing right (saving the world) means sacrificing things of lower priority (winning an award). The WRONG lesson is: Kids, the whole system is a sham. It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter if you win honestly, fair and square. Some adult can come along and yank the prize right out from under you, simply because he feels like it. Don’t worry about winning points; the points don’t mean shit. It’s all about whether or not authority figures like you.

So anyway…

The “other” girlfriend came over Saturday. Sunday, my wife went out to lunch with friends, so the girlfriend and I got to spend some alone time together, which was very, very nice. I took advantage of the opportunity to do some delightfully wicked and evil things to her (Her: “How deep did you have your hand?” Me: “All the way…”), and we both ended up tired and happy.

My wife’s friends dropped a bombshell on her at lunch…”We’ve been experimenting with this new thing, see, it’s called S&M.” My wife: “Oh, really? Come on over. I’ll have Franklin give you a seminar.”

Imagine my surprise.

So afterward, we all went out to the club. My wife’s friends were fascinated. I received a delightful flogging from the girlfriend, and still have the lash marks to prove it. *sigh*

Today, on my way to the office, my car dies abruptly. No warning, just up and quits.

Imagine my surprise. Clearly, fate is exacting its payment for the totally delightful weekend.

I should be home right now. I should be packing for our Thanksgiving trip to my primary girlfriend’s place. Am I? No. I’m still at the office. Fickle thing, fate.

Was it worth it? Oh, yes.


My snake has decided that she’s unhappy with her current living arrangements; she’s escaped from her cage twice in the last three days.

And she’s getting a fercious appetite. She ate yesterday, then immediately started looking for another rat. So now I have to get her another one, and a new cage, this evening.

My wife is insisting we see the “Harry Potter” movie this evening. I’d rather see “Mulholland Drive,” in part because David Lynch is usally a pretty safe bet (“Dune” aside) and in part because it has a lot of hot lesbian sex. Somehow, I am skeptical about the amount of hot lesbian sex I’ll see in “Harry Potter.”

Anyone else notice…

…how you can’t get a decent McDonald’s hamburger any more?

I mean, I know that the word “decent” is relative when you’re talking about McDonald’s food, but still: The quality of McDonald’s has slid steadily for the last five years or so, and the service has tailed off as well. Nowadays, if I’m the only one at the register I still expect to wait ten or fifteen minutes to get my burger,a nd it’s always a pleasant surprise when they get it right.

I have a weird relationship with McDonald’s. Even on a good day, their food sucks, and yet…and yet…I’ve met no fewer than three lovers at McDonald’s, and I still eat there at least four times a week. McDonald’s has played a very weird role in my romantic life as well as in my culinary life.

The decline of McDonald’s over the past few years might have something to do with the fact that the unemployment rate is so low that a blind, one-legged ex-con can get a job as a security guard, so it’s virtually impossible for McDonald’s to hire anyone. (Why work for McDonald’s when with the same experience you can get venture capital for a dot-com startup and be driving a Ferrari by next Tuesday?) So perhaps the economic downturn will set things right under the Golden Arches.

In the meantime, I’ll just eat my overcooked burger on its stale bun and dream…

Blood and guts and drugs, oh my!

Just got back from watching a violent, moody movie whose main characters were a drug addict and a prostitute, and no, it wasn’t a Quentin Tarantino flick.

From Hell. Excellent flick, and I particularly liked the sidekick police investigator who quotes Shakespeare.

In other news, my wife and I are going to Atlanta to spend Thanksgiving with my girlfriend in a couple weeks. I’m looking forward to the trip; it’s been a long month, and I’ll really enjoy the time off.

Goin’ to San Francisco…

Got my plane tickets, got my hotel reservation, I’m headin’ to MacWorld San Francisco in January! Neener neener!

Heading out a few days early; going to spend a couple extra days running around SF doing some photography. I’ll be meeting my girlfriend out there as well; it should be a lot of fun, seeing the new crop of Macs and eating in Japantown.

Saw Training Day this evening. Kick-ass movie–the kind that really sticks with you.