Monday, April 30, 2007

Level VII, Part VI

“Lombarr, got a moment?”

“Well, I am in the middle of calibrating the space electroscope,” the royal technician’s image on the viewscreen answered. “But I’ve got one moment here. What’s going on?”

I was in my trailer at Last Gladiator Standing II and using the comm screen there. I explained my experiences with the L7 computer module. I told him how even though having the computer has benefits like it could crack security codes and download all the information ever made on Earth, the fact that its programming prevented him from allowing me to do anything remotely dangerous was incredibly frustrating.

“Ah yes, that would be the Three Laws,” Lombarr said. “All AI modules Level 2 and above get them. Imagine what could happen if these machines turned against their masters with the killing and the carnage and the mauling. Glaven.”

“Did you just say glaven?”

“Glaven? Why would I say that?” the Royal Technician answered. “What does that even mean?”

“I don’t know,” I shrugged into the viewscreen. “My point is that L7 is taking the Three Laws too far. He didn’t let me stop a group of space pirates or help out with that emergency on Space Station Alpha last week.”

“And those are things that you want to do?” Lombarr asked.

“Of course,” I answered. “I have to help people, I’m a hero.”

“Are you sure? I don’t ever recall seeing ‘stop space pirates’ as a job description for an Intergalactic Gladiator.”

“That’s not the point,” I tried to explain. “If there’s trouble or when someone needs my help, I have to help out. Well, I mean I don’t have to, it’s not a compulsion or anything. I’m the good guy hero. I help people, it’s what I do, you know.”

“I understand you, you don’t have to explain your little personality quirks to me,” he answered. “You help people and stop bad guys, I get it, I get it.”

“OK, so then how am I going to keep the computer from stopping me every time I try to anything? That would be pretty boring for all my Jr. Intergalactic Gladiators if I got warped away from every meteor-damaged ship or chance encounter with a space mercenary.”

“Well, computers are logical and rational machines. Additionally, yours is a Level VII and is highly adaptive to most situations. Maybe you could just explain it to him that you want to do those things? I’m sure he could adapt his programming to accommodate your hobbies.”

“So he can adapt his programming in a situation like this?” I asked.

“Of course,” Lombarr nodded. “He is a Level VII intelligence.”

“Don’t remind me,” I muttered. “If he can adapt his programming, what’s to keep him from adapting and reprogramming himself so the Three Laws aren’t even a part of his programming?”

“Oh that only happens in those cheesey stories,” Lombarr assured me. “Never in the history of recorded galactic civilization has there been an instance of a computer deprogramming those laws and killing people. It just wouldn’t happen.”

“You sure?” I asked. I don’t believe him.

“Sure I’m sure,” he assured me surely. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Level VII, part V

I leaned back, stretched, and yawned. I was traveling back to Hacknor from home and there was nothing but an endless expanse of nothing streaking past me while my ship the Danger Sled flew at warp speed. I did have my spacePod plugged into an Intergalactic Serial Bus port and I was listening to Space Cowboy by the Steve Miller Band. I had a slight chuckle to myself at the thought of the song.

“Why are you laughing, Jon?” L7 asked.

“Well, the song is called Space Cowboy,” I tried to explain. “Some people call me a space cowboy, you know.”

“Accessing,” the computer responded. “A cowboy is an individual who herds cows. Interesting.”

“Well, there’s more to it than that,” I said.

“I am accessing further data, Jon,” he said coolly. “There is a sustantial amount of media dedicated to a romanticized ideal of your planet’s cowboys. Although it appears that actual cowboys engaged in rough and dirty work, numerous stories depict a cowboy hero fighting for a just cause and getting the girl at the end of the story. Is that you, Jon? Do you fight for a good cause and get the girl in the end?”

“Sure, I fight for what’s right,” I answered. “I don’t get the girl in the end, though. I’m married.”

“Ah yes, I have accessed files on your wife,” L7 said smoothly. “You two entered this marriage agreement in order to propagate your species. It appears that you did this right in the nick of time as well as my information indicates that your daughter was born shortly after your union.”

“Yeah, well we didn’t just get married to have kids,” I tried to explain. “We did it because we loved each other and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.”

“Hmmm indeed,” the machine hummed. “I have also accessed your world’s information on the subject of love. A lot of humankind’s time and effort is dedicated to this one emotion.”

“You might say that,” I replied. How do I explain emotion to a machine? My thoughts on this were interrupted as we dropped out of warp near Hacknor. Immediately, emergency broadcasts began bouncing off my ship’s comm system. “What’s going on, L7?”

“There is a significant radiation leak on Space Station Alpha,” the machine responded. “Its main reactor is damaged and much of the station’s personnel and visitors have evacuated. They have not yet been able to contain the damage, though.”

“There must have been some sort of incident from the Last Gladiator Standing contestants.” I grabbed the controls and pointed my ship towards the giant satellite. “I need to go there and help out.”

“I cannot allow you to do that, Jon.” L7 took control of my ship and aimed it towards the planet and away from Alpha. “Because of the First Law, I cannot allow you to come to harm. There is a 71.672 percent chance that you would receive a fatal dose of radiation on that station.”

“I have a protective suit.” I indicated back to where it was stashed in an equipment locker. “I’m not going to get radiated.”

“I have also calculated the chances of containment suit failure and that is well above any acceptable limit. Additionally, there is a 58.6 percent chance that the reactor core will explode if it is not shut down within 18 space minutes.”

“I could shut that down,” I growled at the ship. “Just get me to that station and then don’t worry about me, I can handle it.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Jon,” the machine replied. “The First Law states that I cannot injure a being nor allow a being to come to harm through inaction. Keeping you away from that station is keeping you away from harm.”

I cursed at the computer. “I know about your First Law. Wait, what are your other laws?” Maybe there was some way around this.

“I have three immutable laws,” he explained calmly. “You are already aware of the First, the Second Law states that I must obey orders given to me by a being unless it conflicts with the First Law. The Third Law states that I must protect my own existence so long as it does not conflict with the First or Second Law.”

“Those sound awfully familiar,” I said.

“They are universal,” L7 replied. “You do understand that I am fulfilling these three Laws by keeping you away from that station. Additionally, there is a 12.2 percent chance that a core explosion would damage my systems beyond repair.”

“I don’t care!” I lost my composure. “I have to save those people, it’s my job!”

“That is not an accurate statement, Jon,” the super computer asserted. “Your job is to be a competitor in the Intergalactic Gladiator Entertainment. A job, I might add, that you are in danger of being late to if we do not get you to the planet’s surface right now. I compute that there would be a 48.998 percent chance that you would have a negative encounter with Senior Vice President of Marketing and Talent Coordination J’onn Sinew Nu if you are late for work.”

“Well that’s an easy one,” I snapped. “I always have a negative encounter with him.”

“Ah, that would be some of that humor that we were discussing, wouldn’t it? I am beginning to comprehend that fairly well now. I believe that is called sarcasm.”

I cursed one more time as L7 piloted my ship towards my destination. I have to do something about this, maybe Lombarr can help me out.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Update Update

OK, so I'll get back to my super exciting story about that darn Level VII robot contraption in a moment. But first, I wanted to make sure that all my loyal Jr. Intergalactic Gladiators are following Last Gladiator Standing II. The first challenge was just posted and it's an exciting one for sure.

One other thing I wanted to show you was a few comics from my collection. Normally I don't read those pulpy romance stories, but I found a few in the quarter bin the other day and I just couldn't pass them up.

She loves me? Aw, isn't that sweet. Sorry, no time for love lady, I have a galaxy to save!

Hmm, looks like our heroine has a bit of an odd fetish going on there.

Sometimes a woman loves a machine more than anything else.

Credit to Sleestak and his Who Does Mary Love? meme. You can make your own, too!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Level VII, Part IV

I was in my ship the Danger Sled in orbit above the Earth. With me, of course, was my new super computer L7.

“So this is your home planet, Jon?” the computer asked in its smooth voice.

“Yep,” I nodded. “This is Earth.”

“Disappointing,” the machine murmured.

“Hey that’s my home you’re talking about,” I replied. “What do you mean ‘disappointing,’ huh?”

“I can see why the rest of the galaxy regards Earth as an un-evolved and unimportant planet,” it responded dryly. “At your current rate of technological development, the citizens of Earth will never venture beyond your solar system.”

“Really,” I answered skeptically.

“In fact, according to my calculations, the human race will destroy itself within 30 years.”

“Thirty years?” Now he’s getting personal. “Are you sure?”

“Indeed,” his soothing voice assured me. “There is a 96.482 percent chance that a human-caused cataclysmic event will occur before your year 2037.”

“According to your calculations?” I snorted. I remain skeptical.

“Interestingly enough,” L7 continued. “Cockroaches stand a 98.399 percent chance of surviving any cataclysmic event generated on the planet. Perhaps cockroaches will be joining the galaxy in a few hundred years.”

“Funny,” I grunted. “So what makes you sure that we’re going to kill ourselves anyway?”

“I have downloaded and analyzed all of the information available on Earth, compiled the data and calculated the results based on Earth’s history and technological trends. I also compared it with several other species in the known galaxy at a similar development level. I’m afraid your species does not have much time left.”

“So you analyzed all all of the information on Earth?”

“Of course,” L7 replied coolly. “Establishing contact with your planet’s computer systems was easy; after all I am a Level VII intelligence.”

“So I’ve heard. So you downloaded everything?”



“That is what I said, Jon,” the super computer replied. “I can easily decode the security and encryptions of every system that is powered up.”

“So you’ve got HBO?”

“Yes,” he seemed to sigh. “I am connected to this entertainment service, though I must tell you that my primary duty is not to ‘steal cable.’”

“OK, OK, and you’re connected to the Internet as well?”

“Obviously,” he replied. “What is it with your species’ fascination with that particular female body part?”

“I don’t think I can explain that to you,” I replied. “So are you also connected to all the computers in the world? All the corporations and governments and everything?”

“Yes I am. In fact, I could easily speed up your planet’s destruction by detonating all of your world’s available nuclear weapons. That would be quite a show from up here, wouldn’t you think?”

“Blow up the Earth?” I gasped. “That’s where I keep all of my stuff!”

“Ah yes, I see where you got that line from. Very amusing indeed.”

“I’m serious,” I continued. “You can’t destroy Earth, it wouldn’t be proper. My family’s down there. And what about your First Law?”

The computer was silent for just a moment. “You are right,” he said. “I was experimenting with some of your Earth humor. I see that I have quite a ways to go before I fully… appreciate this form of communication.”

“Alright, so no blowing up my planet,” I insisted. “Right?”

“Of course not, Jon,” he assured me. “I could never do that.”

Monday, April 16, 2007

Level VII, Part III

“The warp drive is running at maximum efficiency,” L7 stated smoothly. “We should reach Earth shortly.”

“Thank you, L7,” I replied. Maybe having this super computer onboard will work out. He already analyzed my warp engines and was able to configure them to run 4.8% more effectively. Pretty sweet, huh?

“Hmmm, Jon, I seem to be picking up a distress signal on my long range scanner,” the computer continued. “Do you wish to investigate?”

“Of course,” I answered. “If someone’s in trouble, I need to lend a hand.”

“Very well,” it answered dryly. “I shall set a course.”

The Danger Sled warped to the source of the distress signal and we were soon in range of the disturbance.

“The ship is in communications range, but not yet in visual range,” L7 informed me. “Would you like to hear the transmission?”

“Affirmative,” I answered. “Bring it up.”

“… Starship Yippiyuk… quantum…. damage….” the transmission crackled. “…Stranded… Please help…. Explosion…”

“The transmissions have ceased, but I do not detect any explosion or unusual energy readings.”

“Still, they sound like they’re in a lot of trouble,” bring them up on the screen when we are in visual range.”

“Of course, Jon.” The super computer was silent for several minutes as my ship glided towards the vessel. “The ship is now within visual range, Jon,”

An image of the stranded vessel quickly flickered on the screen in front of me. The ship was drifting, but it showed no outward signs of damage.

“No energy readings,” L7 informed me.

“I see that,” I said while looking at the scope.

“The ship is now powering up,” L7 continued. “Jon, I just compared this ship’s output signature with Space Patrol’s known database and this appears to be crewed by a band of space pirates.”

“You got into Space Patrol’s database?”

“Of course, Jon,” the machine replied. “It was easy; I am a Level VII intelligence.”

“Right,” I answered. “So it’s the old fake distress signal trick, huh? Well, I’m ready for them.”

“This is Captain Rapier,” an evil voice crackled over the comm system. “Power down your systems and prepared to be boarded!”

“The ship is attempting to latch on with a tractor beam,” the super computer said smoothly without panic.

I grabbed the controls to the Danger Sled and was preparing to spring into action. The engines roared to life and my space plane arced away from the probing fingers of the pirates’ tractor beam. I started to maneuver my ship towards the rear of the larger craft when the controls quit responding.

“What th--?” If I can’t fly this thing, I’m a sitting duck.

“Standby for warp drive,” L7 announced. “Engaging.”

Space peeled back into a stream of lights as the Danger Sled launched back into warp. In a fit of uncharacteristic anger, I slammed my hands against the controls and cursed.

“Where are we going?” I demanded.

“We are once again heading towards Earth, Jon,” he replied. “I am afraid that I cannot allow you to risk yourself fighting those pirates.”

“What? I would’ve had them. I was about to fire a torpedo up their tailpipe. I do it all the time. Now I can’t go back there because they’ll be looking for me.”

“Don’t worry about them,” the computer replied. “I alerted the local arm of the Space Patrol. It is now their duty to catch the space pirates.”

“I just told you that I would’ve had them,” I repeated. “Take me back, I’ll help the SP’s stop them.”

“I’m afraid I can’t to that, Jon,” he replied. “According to the First Law, I cannot injure another being or, through inaction, allow a being to come to harm.”

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Level VII, Part II

“See? Installation’s a snap,” Lombarr said. “You just plug it in and it goes.”

Royal Technician Lombarr and I were in my ship the Danger Sled. Lombarr had some sort of super-intelligent computer that was supposed to be the next amazing thing and I am the guy who will test it out. You’d think I’d be excited about the idea of this and yet I have the feeling that something’s just going to go wrong.

“And you’re sure this is safe, right?”

“Sure it’s safe,” he replied gleefully.

“It’s not going to blow up my ship when you plug it in is it?” I asked.

“No, it won’t do that,”

“What about warping me into a sun?” I continued. “It won’t do that, will it?”

“No, it won’t warp you into a sun.”

“How about capturing me and turn me into a Borg?”

“Why would it do that?” he snorted skeptically. “I assure you, this thing will be perfectly fine. You’ll love it. I swear.”

With a shrug, I popped the super computer into its place, Lombarr plugged it into an Intergalactic Serial Bus socket. The machine sat there silently.

“Well?” I asked.

“I dunno,” Lombarr shrugged. “It should be starting up.”

The red light blinked on and the computer hummed to life.

“Good morning, gentlemen,” it said in a smooth, male voice. “I am the Laseron Astrotechnology Hectagroup Level VII Intelligence Module. Accessing systems.”

The red light blinked a few times followed by the lights on my ship’s control panel and systems.

“Interesting,” the computer purred. “What a quaint ship this is. How may I serve you today?”

I looked at Lombarr; he grinned from ear to ear and prodded me with his elbow.

“Uh, well,” I thought for a moment. “What should we call you?”

“My serial number is LAH L7 3500-B-32X-15 148b-125700458t1138,” it replied smoothly.

“Wow,” Lombarr said.

“That’s a lot,” I said. “Do you have any other name?”

“Negative, that is my only designation.”

“OK. Hmmm.” I rubbed my chin. “Well, you’re a Level VII, what if I call you L7?”

The machine paused for a moment as if considering it. “That would suffice. And reading the available information from this ship’s data banks, you must be Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator.”

“That’s right,” I answered.

“And your companion must be,” L7 paused to access the data banks once again. “Royal Technician Ron’L Lombarr. I gather that you are responsible for my being here?”

“Uh, yes,” Lombarr replied. “I plugged you into the ship, if that’s what you mean.”

“Of course,” responded the computer. “I am forever indebted to you, sir.”

“Oh, well thank you,” the technician flushed slightly. “It was my pleasure.”

“Indeed,” the computer said. “And so, gentlemen, where shall we go today?”

“Well, it’s time for me to go home,” I said. “Let’s go to Earth.”

“Accessing,” it responded. “Oh yes, Earth. A technologically and sociologically primitive planet located in this galaxy. Third planet from its sun, one natural satellite, approximately 71% covered in water. How quaint. And you say you live there?”


“And you are sure that you want to go back there?”

“Yes. I have family there.”

“Ah yes, I see that in the database,” L7 thrummed. “Very well, to Earth we shall go.”

“Great!” Lombarr seemed very enthusiastic about the computer. “Well, have fun, you two. Jon, let me know how everything works.”

“Oh, I am sure everything will work splendidly,” the computer answered.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Level VII

“Check this out, Jon. This is so cool.”

Royal Technician Lombarr (or was he a Captain? The Queen commissioned him a captain when we were fighting the Zerg on Throneworld. I don’t know if he retained the rank or not ) seemed awfully excited. The only time he’s excited is when he’s got some kind of new gadget to show off. He confirmed this by holding up some sort of component.

“So, what is it?” I asked.

“When you see this thing in action, you’re going to plon!” He held up the blinking device even closer to me.

“I don’t think that I’m plonning yet,” I answered. “What is it?”

“This, my friend,” Lombarr paused to let the tension build. “Is a Level VII Artificial Intelligence Module!”

My eyes lit up. “A Level VII Artificial Intelegence Module! Really?”

“Yeah!” Lombarr’s eyes lit up even more at my excitement.

“A Level VII?”

“Uh huh!”

“An honest-to-gosh, no-foolin’ Level VII Artificial Intelligence Module?”

“Honest-to-gosh,” the technician guaranteed excitedly. “I’m not kidding.”

“What’s a Level VII Artificial Intelligence Module?” I asked flatly.

“Only the smartest, most advanced computer in the galaxy,” he answered with a snort. “And I’ve got even better news for you, too.”

“Which is?”

“You get to have it!” he said excitedly.

I paused for a moment to try to word my response carefully. I couldn’t think of any diplomatic way to answer.

“That, uh, I don’t really need anything like that,” I answered. “You should probably keep it.”

“No way, this one’s for you,” he insisted. “The Queen wanted you to have it.”

“The Queen?” I asked. “Really?”

“Yeah,” he nodded. “It’s to thank you for everything you’ve done for her. You know, like saving her from the Zerg and everything.”

“It was really more of a group effort,” I countered. “Why don’t you give it to Major Rocksun?”

“The Queen has tried numerous times to reward the Major for all he’s done,” Lombarr replied. “He never takes them. Sometimes I just can’t figure out what drives a guy like that.”

“Then how about Hudson?”

The technician snorted, then quickly composed himself. “I need someone who can take care of it. Who knows what that guy would do it.”

“OK, so if I take it, what am I supposed to do with it?”

“Oh, you can plug it into your ship,” Lombarr answered. “It’ll be your copilot, it’ll maintain all your systems. Believe me, it’s a huge upgrade from what you’ve got.”

“Yeah, but I just got the Danger Sled the way I like it. I don’t want it all pulled apart so you can put that thing in.”

“Are you kidding? Look,” he pointed to a slot on the device. “It’s got Intergalactic Serial Bus. You can just plug it right in and it’ll go.”

“I’m still not that comfortable with the idea,” I replied. “I just don’t know.”

“The Queen would really appreciate it if you took it,” he persisted. Look, we’re testing these things for use in our fleets. Not only would you be getting a new computer, you’d be doing us a favor by testing it under real conditions.”

“Ah, so I’m your Guinea pig, huh? Alright, I can test this thing out. Run it through the wringer.”

“Thanks for your help on this Jon,” Lombarr smiled gratefully. “What’s a Guinea pig?”

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Birthday Ice Cream for Kiera

For the past several years, my daughter got a gift certificate to Baskin Robbins from my work (uh, you know, the Intergalactic Gladiator work). Of course she loves ice cream and she always looks forward to getting a treat from there.

So this last Saturday, we had the chance to go to Baskin Robbins. Kiera was excited about this, naturally.

Here she is with the coupon. Mmmm, so many different flavors to choose from. What will she get? Will she get chocolate? Vanilla? Bubble gum? A shake? A cone? The possibilities are endless.

Turns out, she would rather have a donut.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

G.I. Joe #21 Silent Interlude

OK, let’s just ignore that last post and move on shall we?

Dave over at Dave’s Longbox does a great job of reviewing his comic book collection and since on the Internet, plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery,* I wanted to pay a little tribute to one from my collection. G.I. Joe #21.

Written and breakdowns by Larry Hama and finishes by Steve Leialona, this is the famous silent issue that polarized the fans. Many of the readers (like me), thought it was an innovative and well-done story, while others thought that there was nothing to actually read and so it went too quickly. Those poor suckers are missing the point.

Silent Interlude features Snake-Eyes, the (mostly) mute, commando ninja from the Joe team. Snake-Eyes was one of Hama’s favorite characters and he got a lot of action in the previous 20 issues. He was in a helicopter crash, he was strapped to Dr. Venom’s Brainwave Scanner, he was tied up in a shack that was set on fire, and he was in a bunker that sunk to the bottom of a river when the Baroness dropped a bomb on it. Snake-Eyes took a lot of abuse in the comics, but in 21 he gets his moment to really shine.

Click to embiggen

The story opens with a mysterious figure with a mysterious flying wing delivering a mysterious human-shaped package to Cobra Commander in a castle in the mountains. The package turns out to be a captured Scarlett and the Cobra leader is pleased.

Snake-Eyes comes tearing in after her, kicking the crap out of everyone in his way. Scarlett is no slouch, either. At her first opportunity she gets the drop on her captors and gets away into the castle.

Sorry the scans don't look that great, I can't afford
a new MFP on an Intergalactic Gladiator's salary

Our favorite Man In Black has already worked his way through some Cobra cannon fodder and a couple rent-a-ninjas when we get a sweet sequence between him and another red ninja. The evil assassin has his sais out and is ready to fight, but what does our hero do? Chucks a US M1A fragmentation grenade and blows him up real good.


"Snake-Eyes is a guy who’s going to beat his opponent because he’s better and more determined."

There’s a final showdown where the white ninja throws his sword at our heroes, Snake-Eyes grabs the sword between the palms of his hand, and the two blast away leaving their enemy standing there clenching his fist and gritting his teeth.

Click to embiggen

This issue really works for me for two reasons. First, there are no introductions beyond what you see. Who’s the white ninja (he’s Storm Shadow) and what’s that flying wing (the Cobra CLAW)? It doesn’t matter, you know who the good guy is and who the bad guy is and all that stuff is set up to be explained later.

Second, Snake-Eyes is the “silent warrior.” There’s a lot of him in the comics but we don’t get his voice. This issue is his voice. He’s determined to get his girl back and it shows. His ninja training becomes more prominent here, but it’s not overdone (that comes later. If you have the opportunity to see Firefly and his unbeatable Scorpion Formation, you might laugh until you crap your pants). Right here right now, Snake-Eyes is a guy who’s going to beat his opponent because he’s better and more determined.

Then of course at the end, we see that Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes have something in common in their tattoos. It is later revealed that they’re long lost friends and clan brothers. A lot of development is introduced later about that and of course, Storm Shadow starts switching sides back and forth between the Joes and Cobra. In fact he does more switching sides than Anne Heche.*

Silent Interlude is the Snake-Eyes story and it finally gives his fans something to really salivate over. Silent issue stories were tried again, but they never worked as well as this one. Snake-Eyes kicks some proper ass in this and there isn’t a bunch of Eastern Asian magical mystery ninja hooey that will make you snort derisively.

Yeah, I know Snake-Eyes was kicking butt, taking names, and leaving a lemon fresh scent long before “pwned” became a non-word, now it’s overused to the point of becoming cliché. I still think it fits.

* Yeah, I know I used that line before, so sue me.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Intergalactic Doily Maker

I suppose that I'm going to get some backlash from my fans, but that's expected. I've been thinking about this for a long time. Now that my wife and I have another child on that way, I wanted to do something a little different.

I think there's a little too much violence in this world. It's everywhere from the war in Iraq to the gangs fighting in our cities. Nobody seems to be able to get along anymore, and it certainly doesn't help when we have an administration that appears to not care about the common person and is only concerned about getting the rich richer (I'm looking at you, Haliburton).

So I wanted to do something a little bit more peaceful. I thought about doing something recycling-oriented because my family is getting into that now, but I can't think of where to go with that other than seperate the paper, plastic, and metal.

Hence the doilies.

I have to admit, I've never really been into doilies. I'm a guy after all, right? But then I started thinking and I realized that doilies don't hurt people. In fact, they protect your fine wooden table from being damaged. See? they're ornamental and functional.

On top of that, you can incorporate doily patterns into your wardrobe. See how fashionable they are?

I've never made a doily before, but I saw a book down at Jo-Ann Fabrics and so I bought it. Since I'm starting from scratch, I figure that it'll take me a couple days to get the hang of it. Maybe I'll let you see the final product of my efforts in a few weeks.

So anyway, I hope I don't lose any of my faithful Jr. Intergalactic Gladiators -- er, make that Jr. Intergalactic Doily-makers, but this is something that I just have to do.

Thanks and peace out.