By the way, someone’s been monkeying with my AIM account, so if you should happen to receive something strange, like a coherent IM message from feralmig, with no typos, you may want to verify that it’s really me, by asking the secret questions that only I know the answers to.

Ancient Rome

2000 years ago, one of Rome’s northernmost fortifications was located in Comagena, on the banks of the Danube, a place known today as Tulln, a nice little town near where I live, where you can’t dig a foundation for a new house without hitting some bones or potshards; and if this happens, and you don’t cover them back up fast enough, the archeologists come and examine everything, delaying your construction by weeks or months while they say, “oh, a Roman spearhead,” or “an unknown item, obviously an object of worship.”

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N*ked ladies

I’m kicking a dead horse, I know, but all this talk of youthful male non-procreative solitary sexual expression reminded me of how, when I was a kid, it was complicated to get a look at a n*ked lady.

I’m just tired of all that google traffic so I’m using asterisks, okay?

When I was young, like 13, there was this older kid in the neighborhood who had a large aquarium, and when he wasn’t home all the other boys in the neighborhood around my age used to go over to his house and ask his mom if we could look at his cool aquarium. She’d let us in and we’d all go look at his betas and neon tetras and snails and catfish and, when she left the room, at his Playboy collection in the cabinet underneath the aquarium.

I remember, in junior high school, this one girl, in the library, showed me a b/w photograph, torn out of some magazine, of a couple actually really doing it. For a minute or so, all electrical activity in my brain stopped, the first, but not last, time that’s happened to me.

Once, around this time, I was on a beach in Hawaii and saw a big wave come and wash off the bikini top of this old lady about 30. That image is forever burned into my brain. We flew home the next day, and she was on the same plane!

I also remember how embarassing it was to buy dirty magazines at the Seven-Eleven.

Excuse me, telephone…
Ok, I’m back. That was a colleague asking how to spell the word “fifteen”. Where was I?

Anyway. I only tried it once or twice, because too many things could go wrong – there could be other people in the store, or a girl could be working at the cash register. This is how it was done: you went into the store, waited until no other customers were near the cash register, but tried to act innocent so the cashier wouldn’t think he was being robbed. Then you went up to the cash register with a couple unrelated items like a roll of tape and a can of nuts and a can of pop.
Cashier: “May I help you?”
Customer: [Just remembering...] “Oh, and a copy of ‘Lasses with Glasses,’ please.”
Cashier: “Here you go.” [Looks curiously at roll of tape]
Customer: “Excuse me, this is ‘Classy Asses,’ I said ‘Lasses with Glasses.'”
Cashier: [Meanwhile, a line of customers has formed] “Well, you’re mumbling, sorry.” [Switches magazines]
Customer: “Eh, this is ‘Shrinkwrap Girls Over 40′. Look, forget the magazine, just give me a Slurpee.”
Cashier: “Which flavor, lime or cola?”
Customer: “Um, lime.”
Cashier: [Makes Slurpee] “Here you are.”
Customer: [Notices it's a cola Slurpee] “Thanks.” [Pays and leaves]

[Poignant conclusion goes here]


I got tired of those grey boxes on the right and replaced them with the world’s smallest screenshots. If you’re not listed there and want to be added, please mail me a screenshot, 40×22 or 23 pixels, gif.

Also, a question: on my browser right now, those pictures all have a 1px blue border. I’d like to change that to 1px black. What do I need to add to my style sheet to accomplish that?


shop post

So I had David Hockney come and make a picture of my shop. Not visible in the picture, which shows three of the four walls, is a wall covered with metal shelves, very cluttered, use your imagination.

We will explain everything, going from right to left. At the right is a radiator and some plastic bins of various size for screws and other little odds and ends. Out of the frame is a big coil of hose and a shiny stainless-steel pump for when it floods, which I use primarily to pump out the wading pool when it gets nasty. In the corner is the door. It is currently warped a little from all the humidity, so you really have to slam it good to get it to close, and yank it to open it.

All those big white tiles on the floor? I laid those myself, with a friend.

That work table I made out of scrap lumber. It was supposed to be a temporary solution – I thought when I had it, I’d be able to use it to make an even better table. I’ve had it about 9 years now. Eventually I’ll just buy a better table. It’s nice and sturdy, though. Under the table are various bags of potting soil, and a watering can, a bucket and rubber boots. On table: coping saw, I believe it’s called, with which I’ve cut a lot of moulding, and some leftover asphalt shingle things I’m saving in case I ever build the kids a play house or something. They’re left over from when we got the roof over the entryway. The guy who sold them to us told me it would be easy for me to put them on the roof since they’re from America and I’m American. He turned out to be right.

On that wall are more plastic bins, the Rumanian faux pegboard tool rack I was talking about earlier and an electric screwdriver and recharging station all from when I went crazy with the drill last weekend. I appear to own a lot of similar saws. In fact they all are slightly different, for different jobs; but the real reason I have so many I guess is my shop used to be so cluttered I’d lose them and instead of taking the time to find them again would usually give up and buy a new one.

At the top left of the pegboard rack you can see what appear to be two claw hammers. They are in fact Austrian carpenter’s hammers, which have one long claw that ends in a point, and one short cut-off claw. You can still pull nails with them, but the long pointy claw gives them a meaner look without having any real function I can figure out; I guess you could use it to tear away at wood or something. I’ve never figured it out. I missed claw hammers, though, until I discovered these. For the longest time I just had sledge-type hammers of various size, and ball peen hammers. I have two of these, for the same reason I have so many saws and screwdrivers.

Over in the corner is a bunch of junk, including a broom and a shelf and a Black and Decker Workmate folding work table that comes in handy sometimes. On the wall are my Pamela Anderson pictures, because every workshop needs some kind of cheesecake pictures, offensive calenders or something. Years ago I traded an old 286 PC for these pictures – I wasn’t using the PC anymore and a son of an acquaintance wanted it, so I gave it to him. When he asked what he could give in return, I didn’t want to say “nothing” so I told him I’d take the Pamela Anderson pictures, which are centerfolds from some teen magazine I guess. I assume they had served as a “Wichsvorlage” for him, “Vorlage” meaning “template” among other things in German, “Wichs” coming from the verb “Wichsen” meaning “to polish” although it has another slang meaning.

Next to Pamela is a drawing Beta did when she was little.

Welcome to my shop.


That asterisk in the title’s intended to spare me the disturbing search requests.

Not only is Beta undergoing an endocrinal re-alignment, the actual physical structure of her brain is changing, scientists aver! So we have conversations like this now:

Two women: “Blah-di-blah-blah! Well same to you and more of it! Etc etc!” [Sound of door slamming and locking]
Alpha: [Coming into the "office" where Mig is hard at work trying to write something funny or touching] “It’s all your fault for being on your e-mail for so long now we can’t play UNO you said you’d be right out!”
Miguel: “I’ve been here 15 minutes. What happened, you have a disagreement? Heh.”
Alpha: “You talk to her.”
Miguel: [Knocks at Beta's door. Eventually, sound of door unlocking. It opens a narrow crack] “Ahem”
Beta: [Her face darker and more womanly than Miguel remembered. When did this happen?] “What do you want?”
Miguel: “I’m here to do the dad thing and talk sense into you.” [Sound of door slamming, the "click" of the lock and then a second "click" of it double-locking] “Heh.”
Miguel: [Begins scratching at door like the cats do when they want in, which is very irritating]
Alpha: “You have to meow.”
Miguel: [Begins oinking instead]

This goes on for some time. The door gets unlocked and reslammed several more times, and relocked. Eventually, though, communication is reestablished and UNO is played. Alpha and Beta win most hands, everyone is happy by bedtime.

But what a hassle. Male teenagers, they’re not this complicated, are they? I mean, okay, besides going through a phase where they wank so much a monkey in the zoo would tell them to take a break.