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Current Entertainment:
Looney Tunes: Golden Collection (4 DVDs)

Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile
Tool - Lateralis
Marilyn Manson - The Golden Age of Grotesque
Anthrax - We've Come For You All

Books Lying Open
A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin
The Complete Tales and Poems, Edgar Allen Poe
The Complete Far Side, 1990-1994, Gary Larson

Soul-Devouring Worry:
Insufficient field of view and perspective to capture the best parts of kitty's leaping antics.

Question of the Day:
Why can't the rodents potty train themselves anymore?

Curse of the Day:
May you gain the most amusement from the least intelligent.

Phrase of the Moment:
Phrase: "Did you hear something?"
Usage: *cats crash through the room engaged in noisy mortal combat*
Flux: "Did you hear something?"
Malaya: "Nope."
Synonyms: N/A
Notes: This one is a little game Malaya and I play where in one of the cats makes a loud or pathetic noise, and I ask if she heard it, and she says no.  Dusty used to be the cause of this, with his frequently yowling or noisy/clumsy TV-mounting attempts, but now that we have two cats who frequently chase each other around and make a lot of noise doing it, the saying is more all purpose.

Over the months it's become ritualized to the point that any time we hear any loud, interrupting noise, at home or elsewhere, I can say, "Did you..." and she'll immediately reply, "Nope." -- January 14, 2004

Tuesday January 20, 2004
Quote of the Day -- QotD Archives
If the Pilgrims had landed in California, the East Coast would still be a wilderness.
-- Ronald Reagan
he blog will be pretty short today, since it's very late and I've just spent the last couple of hours finishing up the San Diego Fire photos page. It's online and partially excerpted below, but I recommend you go view the whole thing, since it's got some pretty cool shots of fire destruction and rocky hillsides.  Of course I would say that, since I wrote the page and took all of the photos, not to mention living the living hell that it was, trudging through that charred wasteland!

Well, not so much that last bit.

There's also a new Home Decor: Back Patio page online, but it's a lot less impressive.  All of the photos and most of the text on it were previously posted in various daily updates in August and September of 2003.  It will get more interesting in the future, when we finish our current hanging plant installation and redesign, but for now your breath will probably remain safely in your lungs.


So then, right to the news, after a quick email quote that still has me laughing, hours after receiving it.


Yesterday's update driving traffic to the new and updated articles page appears to have borne fruit already, in the form of... the best... email... ever...

Sender: MccLynnt@aol.com
Subject: Your stupid

What kind of sick fuck gets off in an interest in killers huh? I suppose if you had a kid and I raped him or her, you would be fascinated by how much I enjoyed slitting thier throat or chopping thier head off?You really have to be a fucking idiot and your list of slang or dirty words or whatever should have had more, obviously you need to go back to kindergarden little punk, because you would never cut in the real world....

And trust me, I would know about killers, becasue I am one...

Tuesday morning, just past midnight, I checked email and had 11 new ones to blackchampagne.com.  Of those 11, at least 8 were obvious spam/virus mails, from the subject. (I get enough to know.)  The other two were probably spam, but didn't have titles I'd already seen 500x, so I wasn't sure.  And there was this one. The instant I saw "Your stupid" as the subject, and that it was from some AOLer, I started saying, "Oh please, oh please..." hoping against hope that it would be a real mail, and not just another goddamned Viagra spam.

And it was real, and there was rejoicing.

For all the brilliance of it; the 5th grade vocabulary and grammar, the fact that he's offended by a page he obviously read and enjoyed, that it's a subject every other crime TV show and movie is about, his pathetic attempt at a personal analogy, and the weak attempts at insult... it's the closing line that truly seals it as a masterpiece.


This mail came from the email address at the bottom of the Serial Killer Article page, which is pretty woefully out of date, and not one of the ones that I just updated; simply because I never happened to blog about any serial killer news during October-December 2002, the days I went over and added to the articles from. (Ironically enough, I know this since it came to killer@blackchampagne.com, which is the email at the bottom of that page.  And that email is only there since I didn't have anything new to add to that page in the recent round of updates, when I was removing the email link or else just changing them all to flux@ since 1) no one ever mails about the articles, and 2) I get like 14 versions of the same spam mails every day since the spiders that harvest all the different ones from all the different articles pages.

I've gotten another mail or 2 about that page, from people who had about this same attitude (though they didn't express their opinion in such humorous fashion) and that sort of puzzles me.  As I said a minute ago, there are about 4 TV shows covering serial killers a week on TV, there's always a book on the best seller list about one, fictional or real, and probably 10 movies a year come out about serial killers as well.  Monster, currently, the one that Charlize Theron is getting such rave reviews for her performance as the murderer.

So do the people who send me hate mail for having an article about spend all day, every day sending The Crime Library emails about how horrible it is that they report the details of serial killer activities?  Mailing their newspaper when there's an article about a murder that doesn't fill every other paragraph with something about how horrible the loss of human life was?  Boycotting movies and books about serial killers?  Or am I just the lucky one?

And I mean that sincerely; I relish flame and hate mail, primarily since the mailers are invariably so utterly clueless and amusing.  The above example being one of the best ever.



If you're touring in Europe and find yourself pregnant and in Romania, I strongly suggest you refrain from giving birth there.

BUCHAREST, Romania (Reuters) - Two Romanian mothers who were told their premature babies had died in hospital were called in four months later to pick up their children who were in fact alive and well, local media reported.

"Everybody told me the little one was dead," Ramona Ionita told the Evenimentul Zilei daily newspaper.

She said the family was told to come pick up the baby they had "abandoned."

Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident at the hospital in Ploiesti, around 40 miles north of the capital.

The hospital was also fined last week and its director replaced after 18 newborns died in six weeks due to improper hygiene.

he San Diego Fire photos page is now online.  Check it out and enjoy all of the photos.  The follow is a brief excerpt from it, since it's late, and I spent the last couple of hours (not including the hours sorting the photoshopping the pics in the first place) writing up the page captions and arranging the shots, so I'm not about to do a whole 'nother feature today.  I hope to have the SD Zoo visit photo page online by Thursday, so check back for that. (As they say.)

The following are taken from the page, along with their captions, and presented here in no particular order.  On the page they are grouped by type, so some of these captions won't entirely make sense on their own. 


Click me.

The little trail of greenery down this hill is new, all regrown since the fire from sprinkler run off.  Ordinarily these hills would be entirely covered in chaparral, with no ground visible at all.  They'll be green as Ireland come February or March, when the San Diego rainy season has been going for a couple of months.



A sideways view of the trees you see in the shot above. The ground was entirely black, darker than the asphault of the road, and all of the underbrush was gone.  You can see how the bark of the eucalyptus trees was scorched, but only up about a dozen feet.

I like the sign, which is no longer accurate anyway, since the road has since been extended.  It gives you an idea how high the flames were going as they ate up the underbrush, since this sign is at least 8 or 10 feet high, and it was blistered by the flames.



Click me.

A closer look at what's left of the larger chaparral bushes when the fire is through with them.



Click me.

Here's the last shot of the bridge, taken from way up on a hill on the other side of the area. Click this to see it full size; it's a nice panoramic view.

I was standing at the left edge in the previous photos.



Click me.

These last few shots are views off to the east, across the burned out hills.  Click this one for the large view; it's my personal favorite of the shots on this page.

You can't really tell there's fire damage here; the hills just look like they are covered in black and brown dirt.  But this hillside was incinerated; the whole thing used to be covered in brush as thick as you see in the canyon to the bottom and the trail on the hill was invisible from this angle.


Check the full page for much more of this, and there's also a new Back Patio page, if your photo-viewing jones proves as unquenchable as the San Diego fires did.

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