October 18th, 2005

Tom Lehrer is Smug

and after all, you're my beta wall

Fleep got me back into Second Life for a while. The basic account is free, so why not? I rather like the game and its concept; I played quite a bit two years ago in Beta. Unfortunately, my previous avatar (who went by the brilliant local moniker of Cambridge Fats) and all the pleasant land he owned went the way of the bitbucket when the game went live and I was not ready to afford the subscription fee. So it goes.

Now, two years later, I returned and was pretty impressed by what the game's become. But more on that some other time. I started up a new character (Fats no longer being an available surname, I chose the unwieldy yet alliterative "Hieronymous Horton") and started wandering around. I heard of a little monument to beta testers, so I travelled out to the Plum sim (each section of land is run on its own server and called a sim; there's over 1000 of 'em in use) to check it out. It turned out to be a little three-wall project with a dedication on one wall and the names of the beta testers, Vietnam Memorial-style, on the other two.

So I found my name.

Angstrom Becquerel, you're in there too.
Tom Lehrer is Smug

The T Ride 10/18

Three escalators in Davis Square aren't working: The down escalator from the Holland Street entrance and both up escalators from the platform to the turnstiles. Those platform escalators break on average twice a week, by my calculations, and the signs on them that state "work will be finished on 10/21" are not reassuring. I've gone past the point of thinking evil thoughts about the T, and point the Fickle Finger of fAccusation at Kone, the service company. As one who's worked in facilities management for a large chain of department stores, I couldn't begin to count the number of times I had to re-send Kone out to re-fix an elevator they were supposed to have fixed correctly the first time. They must have a niiiice contract with the T to keep fixing and re-fixing and re-re-re-fixing the escalators and elevators. Just sayin, is all.

Sorry, ladies, you've been found out as untrusting nags, one and all! Angry T Mans confirmed it this morning!

Angry T Mans was a large, bald man, and he boarded the train at Downtown Crossing, resplendent in a business suit and briefcase and whatnot. He was speaking loudly for all the train to hear as soon as he got on, as if his conversation was already in progress (and I'm sure it was.)

"Now don't get me wrong, I will say this about women," he began, which I am sure you will agree is a great way to open a conversation. The elderly gentleman to whom Angry T Mans addressed his remarks blinked uncomprehendingly, and rightly so, as he had been riding the train since Kendall. A large angry black gentleman immediately addressing you with remarks on women as he boards the train is certainly worthy of a few uncomprehending blinks.

"I will say this about women," Angry T Mans continued, "They are good in business. They sure know their finances and they can keep the books in order." I waited for the other shoe to drop, the "...because they love shopping" half of the old saw that Angry T Mans was chewing through. But it didn't come, for Angry T Mans changed his tack mid-thought.

"But this is their problem. They can't trust men. They don't trust us one bit! That's their problem!" Elderly Gentleman blinked again, and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Two women on the other side of the train looked at each other skeptically. I tried my damndest to keep a very, very, very straight face, and eagerly awaited Angry T Mans' followup, which never came, because again he switched points.

"And you know, the thing is, men don't have affairs for the sex, they have it for the companionship that their women aren't giving them! A woman's got to say 'come, lay your burdens on me' when a man's got burdens, and women don't! But when they got problems, you have to listen to every single last one!" Little pieces of the puzzle were beginning to fit together. Elderly Gentleman decided he was getting off at South Station. So was I. And, amazingly enough, so was Angry T Mans, who had progressed past righteous indignation.

"That's why I'm thirty-four years old with no kids and no wife!" he proclaimed proudly. Oh, yes, he'd Figured It All Out and by Staying Out Of That Trap, he'd shielded himself from further ignominy. His single status couldn't be because of his sparkling personality or his need to lay burdens. I had to cover my mouth to keep from snorting. The women in the train were openly smirking as we all got out at South Station. I purposefully walked as fast as I could to the stairs, but he was still chatting up Elderly Gentleman, who had a cane and couldn't get away.

"My mom knows it, too," Angry T Mans said, capping what up to this point I had assumed was only a fictitious stereotype. "She knows women are no good. Every time I bring a woman home, Mom says she's no good..."

I wonder which Internet forums he posts on.