Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's Monday...Raise the Shields

Trebuchet Wins

From in Baltimore:

N.H. Pumpkin Tosser Knocked Out By Launcher
(AP) GREENFIELD, N.H. The first weekend of pumpkin flinging season ended abruptly Sunday in Greenfield when one of the operators of a catapault-like device was knocked out in a freak accident.

Chuck Willard of Hancock was hit in the chin by the boom on the Yankee Seige, a remake of a medieval weapon called a trebuchet. It can toss pumpkins 300 yards and it knocked Willard for a loop.

An employee at the attraction said Willard was out for about two minutes.

He was treated and released and said to be anxious to start tossing pumpkins again.

The Yankee Siege, on Route 31, will be launching pumpkins, weather permitting, every weekend through the end of next month.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago, sometime over the next seven days, Star Trek: The Next Generation aired for the first time on a channel near you. I recall that I was one of the 'nothing will ever replace my beloved Star Trek' hold-outs, but I watched 'Encounter at Farpoint' with as open a mind as I was capable of. Nor was I disappointed. My predictions were, it seemed to me, largely realized. The acting was stiff. The uniforms looked even sillier than the original series'. The relationships between the characters were cold and businesslike. And the new ship looked like some bloated balloon animal with the mumps. I predicted a swift, and ignominious demise to this pretender to the throne. I then, largely, tried to forget about the show. I watched an episode here and there, and saw no real improvement. They mostly seemed either rehashes of original series episodes, or so weak as to be more worthy of Jason of Star Command than Star Trek. My good friend, Senior Tortuga, gave me one of the original com badge pins, which I gratefully accepted and put away, not saying how much I disliked the show.

Then, something happened. An episode called 'The Measure of a Man' aired. The episode revolved around Data, the android member of the crew, being ordered to report to Starfleet for tests to find out how to make more of him. Data refuses on the ground that the testing will most likely destroy him. Starfleet decides that Data is property, not a sentient being, and cannot refuse. Picard demands a hearing, and the courtroom drama that ultimately determines that Data is sentient is some of the best written television I had, or have, ever seen. The seeds of acceptance were planted. I missed most of the third season due to school and work, but the fourth season was when the show hit it's stride. The final show of the season found Picard assimilated by the Borg, and Riker about to fire a doomsday beam that will destroy not only the Borg ship, and Picard, but a lot of the Enterprise as well. When the black screen, with only the words To Be Continued, blotted out the action, I shrieked in anguish and threw things at the tv. I was hooked. By now I had taken that com badge out of storage and wore it proudly on my jacket for many years before it broke, and I still keep the pieces fondly tucked away. The Next Generation grew from a two-dimensional, sterile view of the future that more resembled Star Trek The Motion Picture to a vibrant, well written, beautifully acted rebirth of all that was best in Star Trek. I still can't stand the outboard design of the Enterprise-D, but I came to love everything else about the show, and 'Star Trek: First Contact' is arguably the best movie in the entire series of films.

I find it odd that, while I was one of the last people to accept the new show, I am now one of the most forgiving fans. I liked Deep Space 9, and Voyager, although both shows exhibited some of the worst...and best of all the series. And I miss Enterprise. The show never really got a chance to find its feet. I think there was too much pressure to try to expand the audience, and they just ended up alienating those of us that had been faithful to the end. It seemed that the producers had realized this in the final season, but by then it was too late. The ratings were gone, and first-run Trek on tv was dead again.

Now a new movie is in production. This one, directed by J.J. Abrams, will go back to before the original series began. We will see a young Kirk and Spock, and the rest of the crew, in their first voyage together. As I heard about this my old 'how dare they' hackles rose. Can we accept other people playing these beloved characters? I don't know. But, as history will bear out, I've been wrong about such things before, so this time I will just wait and see.

Live long, and prosper.

Marius out.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It seems, sometimes, that the world is getting crazier and crazier. The handbasket journey south is accelerating to superluminal velocities, and the freak show, not the clowns, is running the circus. Then I try to pause, and reflect that in this age of nearly instantaneous transmission of information, we are merely hearing more about the same number of atrocities. Well, I don't buy that any more. The news lately had been literally riddled with stories of adults sleeping with underage children. And more often than not, it seems, it's women sleeping with boys. Now I will be the first to say that this is a glass house in which I must be very careful of my aim, given that my first great love(and lover) was 17 years my senior, and I was 17, but most of these kids have been under the age of 15. I realize that kids seem to be much more mature for their ages these days. Hell, while I was at the high school I often had to remind myself just how young they really were. But then again, and please don't take offence Zo-Zo, but for the most part one only has to talk with most of them for a few minutes to be totally aware of how young they are. And they should be like that. Yes, they play with sex the way we played with Garbage Pail Kids, but they are figuring each other out at their own pace, and they change partners more often than most high school jocks change their underwear. I'm not condoning it, and in a way I'm rather jealous, but they aren't getting into lasting relationships, or doing anything most of us wouldn't have done had the mores of our times been as lax as they are now. And another thing, when trouble arises these youngsters throw each other under the bus faster than a polar bear in a bobsled. So what adult would risk their jobs, their marriages, even their freedom to have sex with someone who is far too emotionally ill-equipped to handle the relationship, and couldn't keep a secret to save his or her life? Far too many, it seems. Granted the perception has always been that a girl has been abused, while a boy is just damned lucky, but perceptions are changing. Judges are taking just as harsh a stand with women as with men, especially when the perp is a teacher. I'm man enough to admit that the temptation to abuse that position of power is very real, but I'm also man enough to keep the temptation under control. That's one of the main things that separates humans from animals. Or at least it should be. Fourteen year old girls may dress like Paris Hilton, and fifteen year old boys may be as ripped and undressed as 50 Cent, but they must not have what innocence they have torn from them by some selfish pig or sow who's rampant hormones are only exceeded by their unfathomable stupidity.

In my humble opinion.


Monday, September 24, 2007

And The Winner Is...

So, in deference to Mrs. Marius' wishes, rather than look like this:

Now I look like this:

And poor Artemis just can't take it anymore.

Ciao, y'all.

Marius the Shorn

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Avast, ye lubbers! It's Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Arr, tis that wonderful time o'th'year agin, when all who are brave enough don their best buccaneer garb and raise a mug o'grog to Cap'n Jack Sparrow. So hoist the Jolly Roger, buckle yer swash, and swing from the highest yard arm. And if ye be needin some larnin on how to talk like a freebooter, then ye best be gettin yer landlocked backside t'this here web site: Talk Like A Pirate Day .

Now begone, scurvy dogs, lest I make ye walk the plank!!!!


Cap'n Marius

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Groovy Finnish Folk Song

Beware: This song is very catchy, and will stay with you, but unless you speak Finnish you'll be hard pressed to sing along. The group is called Loituma. Enjoy.

By a Whisker!

Ok, I've grown bored with my appearance, so I need your help in deciding which change, if any, is best. Prithee comment on whether you think I look best with no beard, a VanDyke, or the full beard. The moustache is non-negotiable. ;-)

Oh, and one other thing...GO BUCS!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Back to the Ivory Tower(or The Shoe of Damoclese)

Hearken, my children, to a tale of wonder and intrigue and abject poverty. The principal player in this little drama is none other than your devoted scribe, Marius. You may recall that last year I made a tragic, if understandable, vocational error and joined the hallowed ranks of that much beleaguered and abused canon...the high school teachers. Oh how quickly did I realize that though I had thought to have tasted the very fires of Hell here on Earth, I had not the slightest inkling of what that truly meant. I learned that not only are high school teachers underpaid and overworked, those that can actually do the job are some of the strongest humans on Earth. What followed was a tale of woe and misery that has been duly chronicled herein, and I shall not revisit it anon. Follow me, then, in your thoughts, to a time some three months ago when I learned of a job at Eckerd College, a small but lovely private school nestled up against the Gulf of Mexico in St. Petersburg. Travelled I there, where with many an interview and electronic correspondence did I enter into a pact with they who teach the ancient art of Theatre, and did we all agree that I should be the one to do that voodoo that I do with some degree of facility. Yet no great venture is begun without some anguish, and tho all to whom I spoke avowed that they were sure that my employment would begin on July 1, thereby only requiring one month's labor elsewhere, it turned out that, upon my arrival that warm Summer's day, that September 1 was to be the actual day of beginning. "Oh cruel vagaries of fate!", quoth I, and a phone call did I make to the place of uniform purveyance where I had labored that previous month, and begged I for another go. Spread they the arms of welcoming, and thus did I spend the time in the far South. Alas, though my benefactors were not niggardly with my pay, it was still only barely sufficient, and the Summer was spent in relative isolation so as to spend as little as possible. Bullets were bitten, and belts cinched, and at long last the dawn of the ninth month drew nigh. The final journey home was taken, and a joyful reunion with the denizens of Castle Marius was enjoyed.

Labor Day. A time of rest for nearly the entire country, yet 'twas the first day of work for Yours Truly. I awoke early(thanks to Starbuck) and readied myself. The drive is long, by commuting standards, but is fortunately 99% freeway, and I get to go over the Sunshine Skyway bridge(behold below) both ways, which is of itself a coolness:

Upon my arrival at the college, I beheld a campus of quiet beauty and calmness. The grounds are permeated with lagoons and copses, and many examples of the local flora and fauna. There was also a strange preponderance of yellow bicycles scattered about. I reached the theatre offices, and went in. I was greeted warmly and with much hopefulness by my colleagues, and commenced to settle in. I spent most of that first day exploring. My office, and the scene shop, were in a state of disarray, so I shall not show them to you just yet, and you have already seen the outside of the theatre, but allow me to show you the lobby and surrounding environs.

As you can see, the landscape is very much at play there. The photo below is just outside the theatre, and could easily have come from any tropical paradise movie, or maybe Gilligan's Island.

My colleagues are warm, and wonderful people, and though the students seem a bit wary, they are starting to warm up to the stranger in their midst. I am finding that my predecessor, though not disliked, was somewhat aloof to the students and other faculty. I shall endeavor to change that perception. Yesterday was our first departmental meeting, although there are no 'departments' there are collegia. The Theatre program is part of the Creative Arts collegium, and I met nearly all of them yesterday at a meeting that began with a feast of Greek yummies, and a chocolate cake that nearly sent me into a diabetic coma. It was then that I realized I was still mentally clenched, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Everyone is so nice, and the job seems to be very laid back, yet my mind kept searching the vacuum for something, anything, to rail against. Apathetic administration? Nope, they support the program. Lazy students? No, they are enthusiastic and energetic. Stand-offish colleagues? Nope, they are welcoming and thank me profusely for the smallest task accomplished. Ah! Got it! Soon they will give me my black robes for the monthly Midnight Shabbat and Baby Eating orgy. Nope. I asked. No baby eating.

So now I am starting to relax. Tomorrow is the first payday, and we can finally breath a little easier. My students and I have made great strides in cleaning up the neglect of centuries, and soon I shall post before and after shots herein.

And now the sunrise brings with it promise again, and Monday morning is no longer a cause for sadness. I am back where I belong, where I can do my job and enjoy it again, and I can dare to hope that maybe, this time, I won't be looking for another gig next year.

And there was much rejoicing.

Peace, my friends.


Monday, September 10, 2007


Ok, I know I promised a blog about the new job, but I had to reformat the computer this weekend, then I gave blood, and then both Miami and Tampa Bay forgot how to play football, and so I just never got it done. But here's a quick glimpse. This is the main theatre. I'll do more tonight or tomorrow. I promise.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cripple Fight!

There's less than 9 minutes left in the Miami Dolphins/Washington Redskins game, and I must say that none of the other teams really has much to fear from these two. Miami is the underdog in this game, but that's kind of like saying that Steven Hawking would be the underdog in an arm wrestling match against Larry Flynt.

This is just sad.

Nerd Test

I haven't posted one of these in a while, so without further ado I give you, lovingly swiped from Loki, The Nerd Test. says I'm a Kinda Dorky Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Raindrops on Roses...

Last week I was answering one of those ubiquitous online surveys, and one of the questions was 'do you have anything unique in your room'. I looked about me and saw that I have many, many things that are, if not unique, are at least unusual. Then I thought I might share some of them with you. So here is a photo essay of the groovy stuff with which we surround ourselves here at Castle Marius. And the grooviest part of all is that each and every one of these things was given to me by some of my dearest friends. Enjoy.

And, of course:

A Laurel...and Hearty Handshake

When I first started using the intertubes waaaaaay back in 1996 or '97 the first thing I did was try to track down long lost friends. Alas, at the time the web had not become as pervasive as it is now, and I had little luck. Nowadays, however, the pendulum is swinging back the other way, and I have had several happy, if electronic, reunions. And one of the most recent, and happiest, is the return of one of my dearest friends from days past. She is a newcomer to the corner, and I would like to bid K a fond welcome. Some of you may remember back in the early '80's I took as my page(in the SCA) a skinny young waif with a fiery temperament and a predilection for sheep. She was a tender 15 at the time, and some of you gave me no small ration of poop for 'robbing the cradle', though there was never any funny business twixt K and me. My goal was always to watch out for her, and train her in the ways of the Force. Well, the lass is all growed up now, and has been both an Army ordinance disposal, uh, person?(sorry, dear. I don't know what to call that position.)and a police officer. So I don't imagine she needs much in the way of watching out for, but I am so thrilled to have her back in my life. She lives quite far away, alas, but we hope to meet in person before too long. Anyway, welcome to The Corner, K. I hope you visit often.

I will be leaving to start my new job in about an hour, so there will be a full report this evening. Stay tuned! :-)


Mine Tragedy:Update

Ok, I was a bit hasty in my report about the two girls that fell into the mine shaft. Their father was with them, but he was riding ahead of them on a dirt bike so didn't see them fall into the hole. The search took twelve hours, but people were looking for them all night. And apparantly that area of the country is riddled with old abandoned mine shafts. I still think that he should have been behind the girls so he could keep an eye on them, but then again it's really impossible to judge the situation from this chair. It's a terrible tragedy, but it sounds like it is yet another accident that probably couldn't have been prevented.

Mea culpa.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different...

Good night, and sweet dreams.


You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

I just read a tragic story out of Arizona. Two girls, 13 and 10, disappeared while riding an ATV early Saturday evening, and were found in an abandoned mine shaft 12 hours later. The 10-year-old was seriously injured and the older girl was dead. Several angry thoughts leaped to my mind as I read this. First, what the hell is up with mines lately? Utah, China, Arizona? I somehow feel like we are a foreign object that the Earth is rejecting. Secondly how can a mineshaft be left open so people can fall into it? Finally, and most importantly, what sort of moron parent lets a 13-year-old and a 10-year-old ride an ATV unsupervised!? I'm thinking about getting the phrase,'If you aren't outraged,you aren't paying attention' tattooed on my forehead.

Sweet dreams, kiddies.


Holy Sh*t!!

Here's a story from News Of The Weird.

A fiery auto crash in July near Augusta, Ga., had killed the driver and would likely kill the passenger, too, if the fire were not immediately smothered. Firefighters were still minutes away, but passing by was a pump truck from a local plumbing company, whose quick-thinking driver extinguished the flames with 1,500 gallons of raw sewage from a septic tank-cleaning job he had just finished. [WJBF-TV (Augusta), 7-9-07]

On its own this is a pretty groovy, if bizarre tale, but I have to wonder if 'quick-thinking' is really an apt description of the driver. Imagine your job is to pump sewage out of various receptacles, drive it to a storage facility, and then dump it there. There probably isn't a lot of thinking to do once the initial 'don't put your finger in your mouth if you hit it with the pipe wrench' cogitation is done. So you're driving along with a truck full of shit day in and day out, and you start to wonder just how to put a positive spin on your life. It doesn't seem too far of a stretch to imagine that the driver pictured putting out a car fire with his load, and thus becoming a hero, at least once or twice a day. This doesn't diminish the fact that he saved some one's life, but it does give one pause.

Happy Sunday, y'all.


Saturday, September 01, 2007


Great googley moogely! What a long strange trip it's been. But I am finally home. First I want to say that despite all my bitching, my time at Uniform Sales,Inc. was the grooviest non-theatre job I've ever had. My coworkers are wonderful people whom I now call friends, and while I have always loved and respected R&G, I am now closer to them than ever, which is all good. And, should any of you need embroidered or silk-screened shirts, or cook wear, or scrubs just let me know and I'll put you in touch with them. They do great work, and can usually beat any other company's prices.

Now the news. Senator Craig: I honestly don't have an opinion on this one. I've read the transcript of his interview with the police that day, and while it certainly sounds suspicious, there is a he said/he said aspect to this that leaves a lot to the imagination. While I applaud any Washington official showing his true colors, and pleading guilty just so you can catch your flight is not in the least bit plausible, I don't know how to call this one. His career is over, but since I had not heard of him before this I really don't care.

Utah mine: The officials at the Crandall Canyon mine have ended their search for the six trapped miners. They drilled seven holes, lost three more men in a secondary collapse, and had to abandon a robotic camera fifty feet below ground when it got caught in mud and debris. They are saying they have done everything they could, and it is time to let it go. I truly hope that it doesn't come out that this tragedy was anything other than a terrible accident, but if there are charges to be brought let's hope it happens quickly.

And that's all I have to say right now. It is my intention to emulate the above pictured feline today and do as little as possible. I start work on Monday at Eckerd College (yeah, private schools can ignore holidays if they wish) and I have about two months worth of loafing to squeeze into two days. ;-)

Thanks to all of you for putting up with my sparcity of posts, and whininess in general.