dateline April 24, 2001
remember, remember the seventh of november
November 7, 2006
the dan brown code
July 21, 2005
to fserve and protect
March 17, 2005
kchung kchungggg
March 27, 2004
you keep using that word...
November 22, 2003
pedro pointed at the sky
October 17, 2003
you filthy pragmatists!
July 29, 2003
the life and times of Reginald the Orc
July 6, 2003
we ruin it twelve ways
June 14, 2003
the scrounging game
March 17, 2003
gotta green before code
November 18, 2002
spatch vs. ants
July 8, 2002
nobody leaves until there's at least 20% on the table
February 14, 2002
send in the clones
August 6, 2001
July 8, 2001
some title about Survivor here
May 3, 2001
choose your own damn sugar rush
April 24, 2001
cuckoo for cat chow
December 7, 2000
that's ah-sweep-eh
September 7, 2000
margarita bob, back in town
July 31, 2000
stupid cat tricks
July 17, 2000
eminently predictable
June 28, 2000
maggot-like dinosaur eggs, breakfast of champions
June 22, 2000
blank page
April 3, 2000
eiffel65, leave my head please
March 6, 2000
push(@mattress, $money)
February 11, 2000
pits and bieces
January 8, 2000
Bye Bye Bag
December 22, 1999
Seeing the Elephant
November 10, 1999
k-tel's K-12 hits
October 18, 1999
Me detruisant doucement avec sa chanson
September 10, 1999
Pointless snarky web rantings
September 2, 1999
Vending God memoirs
August 30, 1999
koo koo ka choo, Mrs. Andrews
July 21, 1999
History On Parade
June 17, 1999


choose your own damn sugar rush

First off, welcome back. Or something. I finally got off my duff and did most of the site redesign like I'd wanted to for a while. Being newly-unemployed means you have a lot more freedom to do that which you like, and I discovered "that which you like" included a great deal of playing Black & White and downloading old Super Nintendo games. Go fig!

The new template is still being transitioned in, so if you see any sections without the new letterhead-style look, don't worry. They'll go in eventually. If you spot any completely glaringly obviously incorrect things, let me know. I mean, on the site. Not elsewhere in the world. I wouldn't have the time nor the patience to put up with all that bitching.

Anyway, once again, I offer a hearty welcome to spatch.net, where we talk about nothing but cereal and cats. At least, it seems that way often, don't it? First order of business: Sonny the Cuckoo Bird did indeed win the election, and there were little packets of gelt with Sonny's picture on them in the very next box of Cocoa Puffs I bought. True to form, it was chocolaty and it was all right. I just needed to bring a little closure to that chapter in American politics. Of course, when one realizes that Sonny's already visited 18 states in his first three months of office, you gotta wonder where in heck he finds the time to stamp out all these chocolate coins.

Second, I hopped on the Insane Bandwagon and ordered seven packets of 'customized' cereal from mycereal.com during their opening promotional salvo, using a promotional code that rendered such cereal transactions free (no pay!) Now you can bitch all you want about the "demise of the dot coms", but frankly, if online customizable cereal ordering is the latest evolutionary step in e-commerce, I'm not exactly going to start calling it the End Times just yet. Not even when I'm currently looking for work because Corporate at $JOB decided to start axing all contractors. Not that I'm bitter.

Anyway, the customizable cereal thing is sheer genius, as far as I'm concerned. If I had a zillion pounds of cereal parts hanging around, I too would want to give you the fun opportunity to make your own custom mixes, ready to be downloaded and burned onto CD. A long time ago (1997) there was a feature of the M&Ms website that let you create custom color combinations for your own happy consuming, so if you wanted your Goth M&Ms (all black, or maybe some grey) then you could. But you had to buy in bulk back then as you still must do now. I don't know if buying $200 worth of all-green M&Ms and marketing it as "chocolate Viagra" is worth it -- they probably have a big fat NO RESALE clause somewhere there, anyway. But hey! It's fun to dream.

General Mills has taken the concept and scaled it down, ripe for consumers who adore a novelty or five. Of course, it's all in the name of "creating nutritious cereal blends in accordance with your dietary needs" or whatnot, but really -- if that's what they had wanted all along, they wouldn't have included the marshmallows. You get a list of a few dozen cereal staples -- flakes, puffs, rings, that kind of stuff -- and a few goodies to add as well, such as dehydrated fruit and crunchewy marshmallow bits. You're warned that components in green won't go with components in red (something about making things a soggy mess) and there's also obstensibly a level of nutritiousness that your mixture must approximate, or else you'll have to go back and pick healthier options. I guess this is to keep you from buying nothing but marshmallow bits, but, see, I went straight for all the chocolaty pieces and the site happily made me my cereal.

You see, even when faced with numerous healthy choices with which to construct the Ultimate Cereal For My Dietary Needs, I created Chocolate Sugar Bombs. I was able to pick all of the chocolate staples (chocolate rice puffs, chocolate corn flakes, chocolate rice flakes) and all the marshmallow options (chocolate marshmallows and regular marshmallows). The result was 7 'pouches' (1 1/2 bowls per pouch) of incredible sugary goodness. And oy. The chocolate. This cereal didn't just turn the milk chocolate, it orchestrated a chocolate coup upon the denizens of Milkville. We're talking heavy-duty chocolate overload here.

And, unfortunately, it was the overload that did the cereal in. You could only really eat one bowl a day without risking serious diabetic shock. The marshmallow-to-cereal ratio was incredibly high, giving every bite a hint of overly-chalky marshmallow goodness one usually only gets by picking out all the marshmallows from the Lucky Charms and eating them separately. And, frankly, the rush was great but it wasn't completely and utterly worth $8 a fix. No, that's not $8 a bowl, that's $8 a supply. I can have more fun for $8 than that. Er. I'm pretty sure I can. So, I guess, while I support the technology wholeheartedly, the final experience left me a bit, well, strung out and twitchy. Kinda like life, if you think about it too long.

On a bittersweet note, it appears that Whalom Park in Lunenburg might not open for the season. It was supposed to on Easter, as is its tradition, but it didn't. Now we're hearing possibly May, but possibly never -- the park hasn't been hiring and there's still maintenance to be done on the Flyer Comet that should've been finished at the close of last season. It doesn't look good.

One of the last old trolley parks (built on the end of a trolley line to attract fares), Whalom's an endearing old amusement park. There's no theming, no multimillion-dollar coaster, no extravagant stunt spectacular -- one of the park's bigger entertainment draws was the host of a local children's radio show -- but Whalom persevered over a century with a wonderfully old wooden roller coaster (the Flyer Comet) and a grand selection of flat amusement rides, like one of the last three Tumble Bugs remaining in the United States, and a Flying Scooters (from Mountain Park) that you can snap pretty well on a good day.

But Lunenburg is in Central Mass, off Rt 2, and deemed "hard to get to" by jaded metropolitan wanks. Riverside Park, 50 miles away, went Six Flags last year, and while Six Flags doesn't see Whalom as competition (they're mainly concerned with Lake Compounce in Connecticut) the attendance at Whalom has dropped considerably and you can most likely attribute that to the lure of the Flags. Add to this numerous (mis)management changes and a general feeling of malaise in the air and suddenly I'm really worried that the park won't open. The carousel will, however. It was auctioned off last year, sold by the piece, and now a group of concerned locals are buying the pieces back as much as they can. The carousel works, it runs, and has some animals back on it. It's lovely.

But as far as I know, I took the last ride on the Flyer Comet on Labor Day 2000. The park announced it was closing early that season (usually Whalom stays open through Halloween for a "Pumpkin Park" event) and so Greg Reid and I hurried over to Lunenburg and met up with the ACErs already there. We had a few minutes of Extra Ride Time after the park closed at 4, and after a particularly nice ride on the Comet, the platform guy just stopped and said "Ok, we're done." There were ACErs waiting to ride still. Nobody complained, because, really, you respect the platform crews like that. Or something.

I'm glad I didn't have that ride knowing it was the Last One. I might've put a lot more nostalgic melancholy on the memory than I did. The Comet was fun, as it always was -- and how it always should be. If it goes, I'll sorely miss it. But at least we were able to say goodbye.

Take care, and don't eat anything you shouldn't.