Thursday, December 30, 2004
I installed the new version of trillian the other day and found out what most folks have found out about this new version. It has, embedded, deep within its bowels, a wiki lookup feature. As you type instant messages to unsuspecting passers-by, it highlights, in pretty green underlinings, words that it finds in the wikipedia.
At first read, you might think, "yah, so what?" but you should think again. This feature is both the most annoying thing I have ever seen in my entire life as well as the most addictive. It's so distracting, it's driving me crazy yet somehow I'm drawn to it like a hooker to a cheap suit. I feel the collective IQs of myself and all my IM buddies who've upgraded to the newest version leaping up by at least 20 points a day. At least, it goes without saying, we'd all now be mighty bad ass at trivial pursuit.
Did you know that Haggard was a metal band as well as the name of a movie produced by MTV's Bam Margera? Did you know that AH is the navy designation for a floating hospital as well as the designation for an Arabian calendar? Did you know that Everything was the name of a jam band? You would if you used the new Trillian. Arg. (And, no, I don't want to type that word into trillian to find out what it says.)
This entire upgrade has led me to ask the question, "what would I do without the wikiwiki web?" I don't even want to think about it, despite the fact that, everytime I hear the word "wiki," I want to say, "God Bless You!"
And, in other news falling under the category of "stuff I don't want to think about/God Bless You!" one of my favorite actors has passed on. Jerry Orbach, from The Fantasticks and Law & Order fame has taken up a new residence in the great Paramount Theater in the sky. Sadly, yesterday he lost his battle with cancer. He will be missed. Somewhere, in a small dusty theater in the Heavens, he's going over lines with the likes of Marlon Brando, Katherine Hepburn, and all the other stage and screen greats who have passed before him. Hey Jerry, keep playing it to the cheap seats, Law & Order just won't be the same without you.
Somebody needs to update the wikiwiki with news of his passing. I'd do it except for the fact that my brain is now officially full.
Until next time...
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
I'm sure you've heard of that ancient Chinese (at least I think it is) curse, "may you live in interesting times." Yesterday, I got IM-ed from my friend, Ken, who must have gotten hexed really bad by some badass tabbed color Kung Fu mojo. At least his times of late are more interesting than interesting should be.
It started when Ken decided to go home for Christmas. He lives in Corpus, a place he shares no fondness for (but the Texas coast, alas, is a blogger topic for another day.) I don't know why he hates Corpus so much, there are beaches there, but, suffice it to say, he can't stand the place. So, he traveled down to the beach to visit the kinfolk when the sn*w storm hit. They got like four inches of the white crap.
Now, I know I don't understand fully his hatred for all things Corpus, but I can certainly understand why he would not want it to sn*w. I mean, beaches are born for half neekid people sunning, surfing, sanding, tanning, otherwise enjoying themselves doing stuff like throwing beach balls around while singing Beach Boy tunes. If we wanted sn*w, we would have headed to the mountains. Even a dumbass goober like myself knows that much about the weather.
But, the sn*w storm wasn't enough. No, rather, it was just the beginning of the interesting times for Ken. The other day, I was watching the news and they broke into to tell us that the cops had just busted up a meth lab in North Austin. There, on the pretty news monitor, was Ken's apartment complex in all it's glory. I even said to my neighbor, who was over at the time, "hey, I think I know somebody who lives over there." After Ken got back to Austin, as he was driving in, the cops were at his apartment complex busting up the gold tooth stoners who had been hiding out in their glory hole dangerously close to Ken's crib, mixing their toxic spew to sell to our helpless school children.
But, like the Ginsu knives that just won't quit, "that's not all. For only $19.99 you get..." In the very same news broadcast, the same anchor breaks in again to tell us that there's been a fire in a North Austin apartment complex, off of Metric Blvd. Ken has since told me that Ted's on again, off again, sometimes maybe kind of girlfriend's apartment has burned to the ground. So much for true love. Ha, we all knew it was never meant to be stronger than a book of matches.
Cut to the nighttime when Ken decides it's time to sleep. He was woken up at 2 or 3 am (it's hard to tell when you're running for your life) by his neighbors saying things like, "Fire! Fire!" and "Get out, it's going to blow!" (Well, ok, maybe not "blow" just breath a little heavy.) The outside of Ken's place had caught fire because somebody threw a cigarette butt and it smoldered. They ended up breaking a hole in the wall, pouring water, dispensing an extinguisher, calling in the firemen, who arrived and did more of the same, and then calling it a night.
Ok, so maybe it was an interesting night, but it was still a night.
Until next time...
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
I was talking with a neighbor the other day when the topic of conversation turned to Trading Spaces. Probably because he knows me well enough to know that, once anyway, I was addicted to all things "Tray Spay" as they call it, he struck up a conversation. He thought it appropriate to ask me for clarification, speculating that I would come to the show's defense at the drop of a hat.
"Is it true they don't do all the work in two days and that they don't use just one carpenter?" he defiantly asked.
"Well, yeah," I responded, "the homeowners have help and they have like a day zero where they setup the trucks, shop, and stuff."
At this point, he got all bent out of shape. "That's such a ripoff!" He asserted, "they claim they do everything in two days. Damn, that show's nothing but a big lie."
A big lie? Well, I wouldn't go that far.
The interesting thing about so-called "reality" TV is that it's anything but. Anybody who thinks that they just decorate in front of roving cameras, and that cameramen just happen along while they re-do a room in some quaint little neighborhood is bonkers. Anybody who thinks that they just land random odd people onto a deserted island, only to vote them off in some strange but oh-so spontaneous tribal council ritual, is crazy. Anybody who thinks that punk kids randomly skateboarding through green pastures, while swallowing worms whole, in some remote suburb is just a "spur of the moment" kind of thing, needs a helmet because they are the ones who obviously bumped their heads one too many times. The "reality" of "reality" TV is more Hollywood than the white Hollywood sign up on the cliff. (Which, it goes without saying, isn't really in "Hollywood" at all.)
Still don't believe me?
Supposing I were to get a camera and take your picture. Would you smile? Would you turn to look at the camera? Would you turn away, maybe stick out your tongue, or make a funny face? I thought so. Would you hold a picture of yourself in your hand and say things like, "that doesn't look like me," or "I look good in that picture," all the time cherishing it like it were a Cracker Jack trophy sent straight from Heaven above? I thought so.
The "reality" is that the very act of a camera being inserting into your life has made you do something you wouldn't otherwise do. There's really no such thing as a truly "candid" shot; we all have awareness of cameras, film, lighting, etc. around us, and we all alter our collective behaviors because of their presence. It's just human nature.
Now cut back to the TV show. Do you think that these "reality" stars don't alter their behavior? Do you think that having somebody tell you when to eat, what clothing to wear, where to stand in the room, how to look at the camera, etc. would impact your behavior? Not to mention having cameras stuck in front of your schnoz at like a 24-7 pace. It's a perpetually "altered" state of disgrace, not really a big "lie" you're looking at there on the boob tube.
Anybody who says, "no" to this is the "lying" one. It's not the TV that's broken, it's your head. (Maybe, if you ask nicely, you can borrow one of those helmets from the crash show. It'll come in handy while you're banging your head against the walls of your nicely padded little room, which can be re-decorate a lovely pale white, courtesy of the "Tray Spay" stars.)
They can get real and they can get stupid but the reality of "reality" TV is that it's nothing but Hollywood repackaged, regurgitated, and reformulated for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy it for what's it worth.
Until next time...
Thursday, December 23, 2004
It's cold in River City today. Not just cold but blustery, freezing, frigid, witch's breast, top of the morning, icy outside. Normally, I would be complaining over hill and vail about how cold it is outside, how I wish I were someplace warmer, does Ecuador take visitors this time of year, how I never knew a margarita could freeze like that, yada yada. But not today.
No, today I'm not even slightly fascinated by the fact that it's raining and a balmy 55 degrees in New York City while Austin, Texas, a point much further south, is facing a mid-day mercury rising of only 27. This doesn't bother me, it doesn't make me think that something's just wrong with the world, it doesn't infuriate me, or drive me to points further south.
Something's happened to me. I think I have actually become a Texan, nay, an Austinite. I don't care about New York City anymore (well, apart from that fact that I have random scatterings of family still living in the wilds up that way.) I don't care what the weather is outside of Central Texas. Waco is just so far away it's off my radar, never mind New York City. Why should I care about places afar when I'm here? This is my home. This is my turf. This is my temperature. To Hell with the rest of the universe. You can keep your damned 5th Avenue hovels, you can have your Plaza, your Waldorf, your subway, your Yankee Stadium. These things don't impact me anymore. I'm too busy living in the here and now which, at this moment in time, happens to be Austin, Texas.
I do hope you win the World Series but that's only because we don't have a baseball team.
Until next time...
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Yesterday, rather than eat lunch like any other normal person on this planet, I decided I would go completely insane and go shopping for Christmas presents. Those of you who have actually met and know me (all two of you!) probably know how out of the ordinary this really is. To say that "I'm not one for shopping," is a bit like saying, "the Pope is a tad religious." It's really quite the understatement of understatements. I think, if pressed, I would prefer a slow painful death over shopping. (But, wait, what exactly is the difference between these two options again?)
So, I braved the construction, crowds, commercialism, traffic, lack of parking, barrage of all things Santa, and all things otherwise associated with Christmas shopping by going down to my local camera store. (Shh. Don't tell, but I've secretly purchased Mom and Dad a digital camera for Christmas.) While I'm at the camera store, purchasing my cheap but oh-so-easy-to-use newfangled, spangly, shiny, pre-fabricated digital device, the sales clerk says to me (don't you hate it when they talk?) "would you like a free printer with this camera?" Instead of taking my free but worthless printer, I opted for a discount on a printer I had been lusting after for several months (perhaps even years.) So, I fit my wide body (it prints 11x14 images so no more trips to the photo lab for me!) printer into the back of the hatchback and headed home with the last of my Christmas presents, and some semblance of my sanity, in tow.
This morning (yes, I do get up in the morning!) I get to work and there's an email sitting in my inbox. "You're new laptop is here!" the IT guy from work cheerily proclaims. So now I'm thinking (and you know how hard it is to turn that on) "what, has somebody turned on my 'enable new devices' flag or something? Why am I getting all of this NEW STUFF right before Christmas? What am I going to do with all of this crap and how can I possibly fix it all when it all breaks at the same time?" (and you just know it will.)
So, despite being pleasantly happy and surrounded with gobs of "new electronic smell" this Christmas season, I'm dreading the fateful February day when it will all blow up and I won't even have a blasted cell phone left on which I can call somebody to whine about the binary corpses. Just imagine what the body count's going to be when the laptop, wide body printer, new 20 in imac and digital camera all go kaput at the very same instant (and you know they will. We program them that way for your viewing pleasure.)
Oh the horrors of it all. Now, what does this button do again...?
Until next time...
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
I was driving in the car the other day and happened upon a rather uneventful event on the Austin landscape. Yes, folks, it's true, Austin now has it's very own DISCO radio station. Yes, I said DISCO as in "Saturday Night Fever," I want to dance all night, Studio 54, Donna Summer, white jumpsuits with chest hair and gold chains. It's DISCO baby and it's coming over the airwaves right at you.
In other eventful news, I have recently purchased a "wide body" printer, which means that I can now print 11x14 images at home. I no longer need the services of a photography lab. Yes, it's true, independence and DISCO go hand-in-hand for me.
When I was younger-a kid in fact- DISCO was popular. I went dancing and enjoyed the nightlife. It was fun while it lasted but-and I honestly feel this way-it's over and we should just all collectively move on with our lives. The folks at Studio 54 have moved on, the white jumpsuits are all in the back of the closets, the chest hair covered with docker shirts, polos, or T's that say things like "Punk" instead. It's no longer the time, the place, the fashion, the tempo of the day to celebrate all things DISCO, just as it's no longer the time, place, fashion, or tempo to run film anymore. Everybody's done and gone all digital on us. (Which leads me to my next question. Can you dance across the web?)
I can remember times past. I can remember being at Studio 54. I can remember the white jumpsuits, the gold chains, the radio stations that played stuff like K.C. and the Sunshine Band all day and night. Just because I remember them doesn't mean I want to relive them. Just because I enjoyed them the first time around doesn't mean I think there's a time or place for them in today's landscape. Sometimes it really is best to let the dinosaurs roam away into the misty sunset.
Boogie woogie should do the right thing, be graceful, take it's final bow, and move out of Hip Hop's way.
Until next time...
Friday, December 17, 2004
I went for lunch with a friend today. We went to Kirby Lane, a local favorite restaurant in Austin. They have a good selection of natural and veggie type foods as well as some stuff that'll just kill you. I had enchiladas; they were cheese with pico on top and guacamole on the side. Very good, in fact, as far as enchiladas go.
So, I get back from lunch, the food coma starts to set in, and I'm thinking that, if I don't so something, and I mean something fast, I'm going to fall asleep on my Z key. So, I decide to get up and go get a soda from the cafe down the hall.
Was this ever a mistake. They had a spread of food in there, including baked goods, brownies, and chips, not to mention entire uneaten sandwiches. Phew! I was lucky to get out of there alive and with only a caffeinated beverage in tow. As I was walking out, I said to somebody walking in, "be careful in there. There's enough food to kill a horse."
In hindsight, I would imagine it would take a lot of food to kill a horse, but I bet you could do it. I bet you could, if you were really up for the challenge, kill a horse with food, despite the fact that they have skinny legs and are not known for overeating. Still, it makes me wonder, I mean, where did they come up with this expression anyway? "To kill a horse..." it just sounded odd at the time but I guess now it makes sense.
At least, it makes enough sense to make me want to kill a brownie or two down the hallway.
Until next time...
Thursday, December 16, 2004
So sorry to inform that blogger has eaten yesterday's posting about Christmas. Oh well, I guess it was not to be. I just wish they would actually do something about this stability problem they seem to have. Lately, it seems, blogger has been down or spotty more than it has been available. At least it keeps eating my postings and, as a user, I find this more than a bit annoying. Fix your damned software, blogger people, or the masses will revert to using alternatives.
I just realized that I have yet to make an entry on the status of the boxes. In my "spare time" (ha, yeah right) I've managed to empty out and unpack all the boxes I had in the house. I find this more than a bit impressive. The last time I counted, the box count was up at something along the lines of 18 or, well, almost 20. It's down to zero. Zero, zip, nada, bupkiss (is that really a word?) nil, you know, that integer less than 1.
Heck, I've even cleaned out the garage for that matter. I don't know what this newfound urge to clean, clear, cull has to do with anything but, so far anyway, I'm liking it. I mean, after three years, countless gigs, setting up my home studio, making an office, painting a few rooms, and whatnot, I've finally rid myself of clutter and am starting to feel settled. It feels good to actually go through and get rid of all the crap that's been cluttering up my life. Well, at least it's good for me. I'm sure, if you asked the garbage men, they'd be of a different opinion. Crap, that crap is heavy.
Oh, glory be, I've finally unpacked!
Until next time...
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
I went Christmas shopping yesterday. I went to Fry's and got a few things for my friends (most of my friends want stuff from either Fry's or Precision Camera and, Lord knows, I can't afford to go NEAR that place. Although, come to think of it, Fry's is approaching the off-limit mark as well.) So, after I got home from my electronic/gadget shopping spree, I plunked my butt down to wrap my newly acquired gifts (just in the nick of time too. Phew!) I put the TV on to keep myself company during the arduous and oh so boring task of wrapping Christmas gifts which, if you ask me, ranks right up there with watching cement dry and cleaning lint out of the dryer.
There was some show on TV I'd never seen before, and probably will never see again (well, ok, maybe not until next Christmas when I'll have to shop on Monday night and wrap stuff then too.) It was about this guy who tried to pickup a girl who, as luck would have it, just visited a website devoted to how horrible the guy was. As predictable, the guy goes home from the bar (empty handed) and googles himself only to find he's got an entire web ring devoted to how bad he is which, in turn, got me to thinking. (Yes, it does take that much momentum to get me thinking but, alas, this is a blogger entry for another day.)
Most people-and you know who you are-ego surf. We can't collectively pass on the temptation to google our own names to find out all the who, what, when, where, why's of our web-lives. It's just human nature. Sometimes we find stuff that's cool, sometimes we find stuff that's boring or predictable, sometimes, I imagine, we find out we really don't even exist at all (how many of us have a website which nobody really reads and have like 1 or 2 links to their names? Good, I knew I wasn't alone.) But, sometimes, if we're in the 15 minute "zone" of fame, I suppose, we happen upon what I would have to call the ultimate in ego surfing: the hate site.
I mean, stop and think about this. Most of us don't really even exist on the web, right? Yet some few, some select "famous" or "worthy" few, have not only entire web universes devoted to their presence, with their fans posting daily to message boards bestowing their greatness, no they've taken it a step further-they have web HATERS who actually take the time to post about how bad they are. You know the type of websites I'm talking about-stuff like madonnasucks.com or jlosbuttisreallybig.net (I'm just guessing this websites exist, click through at your own risk, please.) I mean, anybody who finds you so loathsome that they are inspired to put the word "sucks" into their domain name in your honor raises you to a new echelon in my book.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go create Carols-World-Sucks.com before you beat me to it.
Until next time...
Monday, December 13, 2004
Yesterday, I went for brunch. It was a kind of spontaneous thing really. My neighbor called and said, "let's go," so we did. She is, you see, from Romania by way of Canada, and so she's used to the buffet style brunches they have up north, in place like Toronto. Such all-you-can-eat food fests are rare in the wilds of Austin.
Brunch is sort of a weird thing. I mean, it's not really lunch, not really breakfast, but an entirely separate gastrointestinal experience. It's socially acceptable to drink with brunch-the people at the next table from us were having champaign-yet it's still not quite lunch. It's a great meal for people who can't commit but just want to stuff their faces at some odd time of the morning. It's a hybrid of foods taken at odd times, enjoyed slowly, best with friends in a comfortable setting.
She had called around to a few places, inquiring about the menu, and settled upon a place we've never heard of. The Mansion at Judge's Hill, actually turned out to be quite spectacular. I had romaine lettuce with cheese in a Cesar dressing for starters, Earl Grey tea, Carribean style French toast with rum syrup and fresh pineapples and, for desert, coffee with Godiva white chocolate liquor and frangelico.
We said outside, on the porch of this "very Atlanta-looking" home/mansion and enjoyed the morning. It was close to 80 yesterday and quite pleasant, despite the fact that my neighbor really had her heart set on a buffet style brunch. I've since learned that Trudy's offers such a buffet on Sunday and will try to schedule a time when we can all go for brunch there.
Funny thing about that too. I always seem to have migas at Trudy's at like five am after having stayed up drinking. One would think that I would go to Trudy's for brunch as a matter of course, but it slipped my mind. I never thought of Trudy's as "a brunch place" despite the fact that I always seem to have eggs there anytime of the day or night. Go figure.
I can almost taste the migas as I type.
Until next time...
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Ok, Ok, so I haven't had time to blog in a while. Ok, Ok, so it's done nothing but rain since I watched them put TREE in the yard. Ok, Ok, I haven't heard from Ted in a loooong time (and this, per se, is not a bad thing.) Ok, Ok, it's time to play ketchup and other condiments. Oh the horrors of where to start?
Maybe I should just give you a (boring) bulleted list of all the recent life changing, earth shattering, wave inducing events of the past few weeks. Ok, Ok, oxygen intake and HERE GOES:
- I got a new job. I am no longer working for Sun Microsystems and will be working for Motive Communications (ney, just "motive" for ease of type.)
- It's done nothing but RAIN since tree went into the ground. I have, in fact, yet to water tree, and he's growing quite nicely in the back yard, although he has yet to produce vast amounts of leaf-age. Apart from this, there's been flooding and TORNADOES in my neck of the woods. (Good thing I learned to duck and hide in the closet at an early age.)
- I got a new imac. Yes, it's true, I'm a mac-a-holic and I'm not afraid to admit it. Damn! It's big and it's bad and it's UGLY in, of course, a good sort of way. It's 20 inches of pure bliss (and, yes, you *can* quote me on that.)
I have yet to surf in Denali. I have yet to venture forth into Madagascar. I have yet to order a scanner. Ah, isn't that just the wonder of life? So much has happened and yet I find myself in a spot where I must press on.
And, speaking of press on, I got a fake tattoo for like 10 minutes. It was a dragon. A really cool dragon. Almost made me want a REAL one, if you know what I mean.
This dragon's gonna fly! More later when I'm not so crazed (Ok, Ok, maybe when I'm still crazed but not so busy.)
Until next time...
PS My favorite condiment is: pickles! Pickles for you, my friend. Pickles for you! (Maybe, if I'm nice, with a side a green olives as well.)
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
So, I've been wanting to get a tree in my backyard for sometime now. I kept putting it off, for either lack of money or lack of the ability to decide where exactly to put a tree. The other day, I thought that, while I'm home, I would do something about this. So, I called the Geoscapes people and asked for a tree. I ordered a Bradford Pear tree which, I'm told, does not bear fruit (like a regular "pear" tree) but does bloom and "do something almost all the time." It's leaves turn red in the autumn and it's nice and full in the spring and summer anyway.
So, today we're sitting outside, with the dogs, watching the world go by, when my Dad spots this truck, it was a landscaper's truck. When I ordered the tree, I gave them my cell phone number and they said they'd call before delivering and putting in the tree. So, I chase the landscaper's truck down the block and, sure enough, it was about six guys with shovels and pick axes (not to mention the tree itself, which was in the back of the truck) looking for my home.
We go to the back yard, where I had marked off, with little "flags" the intended spot for the tree. The men start digging. The men keep digging. I swear I saw China down there. Either that, or they intentionally struck oil in the back. And so, I'm thinking, "Hmmm. They are digging an awefully big hold for a little tree." Since I'm thinking this, I decide to go check out the tree in the back of the truck. That's when I saw it.
It wasn't just "tree," it wasn't the 30 gallon bucket tree I had ordered. No this was a wopping 2 story monster of a tree. "It's a 95 gallon bucket tree," the guy tells me, "we didn't have anything else, so you got lucky."
(When I had called the lady said, "do you want 15 gallon, 30 gallon, or 45 gallon," and I got prices. "30 gallon," I decided upon, since I didn't want to pay double the money for a bigger tree.)
Well, now it's TREE. It's here, it's real, it's in my face. Actually, it's in my backyard. It's bigger than my backyard. Dragging it down the alley besides my house, they almost scratched my neighbors SECOND STORY window with TREE. It's larger than life. I had hoped that, after putting in a 30 gallon tree, feeding it, watering it, and waiting for a few years, I would get some privacy in 5 years or so. Dang if you can see the next block now. All I can see is TREE. I had to water TREE tonight for several hours, since it's new, and it sopped up gallons of H2O.
I feel like I've won some sort of arbor lotto jackpot. I have a TREE so big, some kid three houses down was shouting, "hey, lookie the big TREE," as they were digging the hole to China and filling it with my newfound arbor lotto winnings. I am still expecting a man in a tabbed color shirt to come in the back door and join me for a spot of tea, guessing he'd be thirsty after such a long trek, all the way from China and all.
I wonder what kind of trees they have in China. I'm guessing at least a few 95 gallon "pears" but that's just a hunch.
Until next time...
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Greetings from the campaign trail!
Charlie's very tired, as it's been an especially long and grueling campaign. He was so far ahead in the polls too, until those danged "Swift Cats for Truth" came out against him. That, and that silly scandal with Dan Rather and his forged rabies vaccination certificates. How were we to know that him throwing back his purple heartworm pills would cause such a ruckus so many years later? I'll have to keep this in mind if I ever run for office myself. But, he's survived and I believe strongly that he's still the best candidate around.
What, you were going to vote for a pink-o commie or a right wing nut job? Pluh-lease. If Michael Moore knew what was good for him, he'd do a dog-umentary on "Faren-woof 9/11: the temperature at which dogs bark at everything under the sun." With VP Toby by his side, Charlie's about ready to be leader of the free world. He's promised dog biscuits for all and he will lower vet bills by not running into traffic. He'll do something about social security because, twelve is *very old* in "people years" and he's ready to come out and support the senior population. He hasn't been to Florida, but he once sniffed a poodle from there, so he knows the playing field and can count the hanging chads on one paw. He's not about ready to give up the fight.
Sound crazy? Well, maybe it is, but Charlie could turn out to be the "sleeper sensible" candidate on the ballot at an election polling place near you.
That is, if you could even *get to* an election polling place near you. The lines are so long, the competition so fierce, the nutcases out in force. Gosh, I hope the sheriff is armed to the teeth in my neck of the woods. They've already had scandals here involving the theft of ballots. And that was before we all knew what a chad really was.
As for me, I've cast my vote already. I waited in line, did my civic duty, blackened my appropriate ovals, and stuffed my ballot into the unassuming grey box along with the other fifty thousand or so other odd Williamson County Texas voters. We still have paper ballots, and I saw at least one law official packing a pistol so, despite this being the height of "crazy" season all over the globe, I have a little faith that, in fact, my vote might actually get counted.
And somebody, late at night, across town, is going to look up and say, "Charlie who?"
Until next time...
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Today, after enjoying my morning cup of coffee, I went outside and went for a walk. Along my walk, I was stopped by some neighbors who greeted me with, "hey, I saw your name in the paper today."
There, beneath the "Grand Indictments" and before the "Marriage Licenses Granted" came the "New Business Registrations." There I was! My new business/studio name, along with my name and address. How funny. So, now I guess it's safe to say that my fifteen minutes of fame has been reduced to 14 minutes and 59 seconds (or however long it takes you to read my name under the Cedar Park listings.)
No, sorry, I won't be signing autographs until, at least, I design my fabulously spectacular business cards. No, sorry, you won't be able to say, "I remember her when..." simply because I will deny any knowledge of your existence after I make my fame and fortune. No, sorry, I already have somebody lined up to do my laundry, walk my dogs, and I don't have any kids to babysit. You can, if you must, feed me grapes or perhaps slowly wave a fan about my "presence" on the hottest of hot sunny July days in Austin, but only if you're nice. And only on alternate Tuesdays, for I, she of less than fifteen minutes of fame, has better things to do. Like the laundry. Hey, I still remember the "old days" back before everybody knew my name but ignored me anyway.
Until next time...
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Today, I received a strange email correspondence. It was from somebody who's name I almost recognized. Just as I was about to hit the little "junk" icon, deleting it for all eternity into my wonderful bit bucket, I happened to notice that I was the only recipient and I remembered where I had heard the name before. The subject of the email was "reunion," which sounds right up there with the typical "refinance your home now and save thousands!" or, my favorite, the "guaranteed to enlarge your penis by three inches!" This email, however, was not quite spam. My 20th high school reunion will take place this year on November 27th.
Needless to say, this is stirring up some strange ghosts for me. It's been a long time since I've been back to Eastchester. It's been a long time since I've been back to the sleepy tree-lined streets, since I've seen the "Post" Road which snakes through town, visited the "north end" bakery where I used to get my Sunday morning treats, or even darted by the gas station on the corner. The people there seem so distant to me. A lot has happened in twenty years since I've left yet, somehow, magically, I feel as if nothing has finished. Like I could go right back again, and take up where I left off. Like the land that time forgot, I think of it as unchanged, unchecked, untarnished, yet I've moved on, developed, grown, in some ways, I suppose, regressed.
I wonder how many people I would recognize, how many would recognize me, and if I'd even recognize the place. I wonder if I did all the things I set out to do twenty years ago. I wonder about some of the folks with whom I graduated. Sometimes, I wonder if they wonder too. The names and the faces have all faded into "distant memory" status yet, somehow, I can recall tidbits as if it were yesterday.
I wish I could leave you with some seemingly meaningful quotation on the richness of all that I'm feeling. Somehow, all that comes to mind is silly yet simple, "it was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper told the band to play..." Strike up the band, my friends, I've been sprung for 20 from the "big house" and it's raising a smile upon my face, just as the song predicted.
Until next time...
Monday, September 27, 2004
I happened upon this link to an incredibly funny website, detailing the trials and tribulations of a would-be philosopher turned cook. It features such classic lines as, "During the judging, the beaver became agitated and bit Betty Crocker on the wrist" and:
In an attempt to reach the bourgeoisie, I taped two fried eggs over my eyes and walked the streets of Paris for an hour. I ran into Camus at the Select. He called me a "pathetic dork" and told me to "go home and wash my face." Angered, I poured a bowl of bouillabaisse into his lap.I never knew that bouillabaisse could be quite that funny but, then again, it is bouillabaisse after all. We all know it has an incredibly funny name for a stew.
As an aside, does anybody know exactly what is in bouillabaisse? Are we all collectively afraid to ask? Do we just eat it and pretend to know? Can that many fish in one stew be collectively all that bad? (I believe, although I'm not quite certain, bouillabaisse is some kind of fish stew.)
In other, more, ahem, "serious" news, the Vatican is asking for 2 million lira to fund the restoration of two of Michelangelo's frescos. According to the folks at Art News Blog, "The Vatican is hoping to raise £2m to fund the restoration of Michelangelo's last two frescos, which are hidden from the public in a chapel where the Pope prays and reads mass to private audiences.
The frescos - the Crucifixion of St Peter and the Conversion of St Paul - are faded after being exposed to dust and soot over centuries of candlelit prayer in the Pauline chapel, close to the better-known Sistine chapel."
If Michelangelo had only made bouillabaisse instead of frescos, we wouldn't have to go through the trouble of restoration. But then, there's that pesky beaver he'd have to contend with. Not to mention the likes of Betty Crocker. And, I honestly do wonder if there exist any Michelangelo frescos that depict images of fish.
The mind boggles as the fingers google.
Until next time...
Friday, September 24, 2004
Now shake hands and come out fighting. Here's a cool link I found describing an art project (technology project) called Sky Ear. Sky Ear is an evening "art fest" where folks in England launch a cloud of cell phones and helium balloons into the evening air and then viewers get to "dial into" the art project, making it (ring and) change color. Some of the pictures are pretty cool on that site.
Of course, having said this, if I were to one day happen upon "1000 extra-large helium balloons that each contain 6 ultra-bright LEDs (which mix to make millions of colours)" I would probably have a conniption. Gosh, I hope they notify the neighbors (or neighbours as they are called in Britain) before launch time. I'd hate to come home drunk one day, only to have my sleep disturbed by 1000 ringing cell phones attached to helium balloons. This would make those damned Serta sheep look like girl scouts.
Imagine how many "can you hear me nows?" this works out to be. Would somebody be so kind as to answer the damn phone already? Geesh. And here I always thought it rude to answer your cell in a movie theater, restaurant, or a cloud. Guess I was wrong. So, now, they've made the cloud socially acceptable.
And speaking of cell phone technology, why don't they have a mini-TV in mine yet? Come on, guys, give me some really ubercool stuff I can use. I mean, don't get me wrong, playing tetris in an otherwise boring meeting is great but, I'm missing Law and Order here. Can I have a fix please?
Until next time...
Thursday, September 23, 2004
There's a new book out, penned by a self-described naturalist, Dr. Pedale, called (I'm not making this up) The Meaning of Lost and Mismatched Socks. supposedly, in his new book, Dr. Pedale investigates, in a quasi-scientific yet laughable tome, the disappearance of socks. One must suppose, after reading a description of this book, that Dr. Pedale spends a lot of time with dryer lint. Better him then me, I suppose. At least he's a scientist and he gets paid for doing so, or perhaps he gets to enjoy the prestige of his recent publication. Either way, the man must know his tubes from his athletics.
Today, we went for lunch at Chuy's. We had an engaging conversation about politics over big burritos. It was actually quite nice, especially since it's been rather nice outside. It beats sitting in and slumping over a computer all day. And the burritos were good.
Tomorrow, we are having yet another send-off at work. I'm actually starting to enjoy them, despite the fact that, this week anyway, the send-offs have all been for "worker bees" rather than "middle managers." What's the difference, you ask? Well, that one's easy. Worker bees are folks who actually DO something. "Middle management" represents the feudal class of the
bourgeoisie; they are folks who are "slightly privileged" but not terribly important in the grand scheme of things. Carol's third rule of layoffs states that, if they start laying off the "middle management" you know it's bad for the company but good for you, while, if they conversely layoff the worker bees, it's bad for you but good for the company. Either way, you seldom get to pick your poison.
But then, what am I complaining about? I don't even own a dryer so, in theory anyway, I should not fret over lost socks. I enjoy big burritos, all politicians are just plain scary, and I'm still here.
Until next time...
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I knew it would be just a matter of time before stuff like this came out of the hurricane season. There's already folks taking clips from billabong and pawning them off as video from Ivan (or Charlie, or Jeanne, or whatever named storms we will have in the gulf this year.)
Did you know that there was a hurricane "Carol" once? Actually, those who've met me can probably attest to the fact that there's been more than one (but only this one has a fondness for Doritos.)
Strange thing about hurricanes and twisters too-you always seem to have the best weather the day before and the day after. It's almost like BAM! the world trashes down on your doorstep one cruel day, without warning, only to then blow out of your life as quickly as it came. I suppose modern day weather equipment has advanced to the point where we can sort of "predict" where the storms will be, in as much as we can "predict" anything (my weather man consistently tells me I've got a 20% chance of rain, and I can assure you, he's right about 20% of the time, so, yes, Virginia, 20 is a "good number" if you are a weather man.)
A lot of folks say things like, "why do they keep building homes in tornado alley?" or "why do they keep building condos along Florida's Gold Coast, when they know the storms will come?" I think these observations are related.
When I was a child, I once went sailing to the southland. I remember going through the Chesapeake area, and along Cape Hatteras. At the time, "the Cape" seemed beautiful, peaceful, and serene. It wasn't until I got home, weeks later, that my Dad told me, "did you know that Cape Hatteras has some of the worst weather in the world?"
It's true (Dad's always right.) If you look at it on the map, you can see how it juts out into the ocean, how it "lands" right at the point where the tides change, the temperatures in the ocean shift, and the storms smack into the land more often there than (almost) anyplace else. If that's true, why does it seem so peaceful?
I guess, with weather, you just don't know what's coming your way until it really smacks you in the face. That peace and serenity can lull you into thinking you'll be one of the fortunate ones "missed" by it all, when, in actuality, you've got a bulls eye on your back and don't even know it. And mother nature is very good when she takes target practice.
I guess too that logic doesn't always dictate our actions. Sure, it's easy to look at a map, chart a course, sail off into the sunset but, those who know sailing, like those who know a lot about life itself, will be quick to tell you that "all this reality stuff" kind of gets in the way sometimes. If you play it safe, if you try to duck "the Cape" and sail out into the ocean, you've got your own demons to deal with, so you might as well take a shot at the peace and serenity while you can. You've got about a 20% chance and, as any weather man will tell you, that's not really bad odds for the likes of us.
Until next time...
Friday, September 17, 2004
People usually associate bad things with negative words. I suppose there's a reason for that, although we seldom collectively look at the good words, which just happen to be negative.
Unbound, unbroken, unchained, unbridled, disengaged, unopposed, obtuse, unconditional, these are all negative words, although I might agrue that they are, in fact, "good" words that just happen to be negative. Kind of like that cartoon a few years back, where the animated character kept insisting she "wasn't bad but was just drawn that way," these words have kind of a negative draw, although more often than not, our meaning is derived from context, and there's nothing inherently negative about them.
All of this talk of negativity got me to thinking. Can something really be truly negative? What does "negative" really imply? Isn't negative really different from "bad" which is what we are trying to avoid? Is it all just the polar opposite of "positive" anyway?
When you go to the Doctor's office, usually, a "negative" test result is what you're hoping for. So, does this make the "negative" really a positive? All of our electricity hinges upon negative electrons orbiting the atom, wouldn't this again make the "negative" something "positive" (I mean, we do put electricity to very good use, don't we?) Truth is, there's so much positive about being negative, but we seldom recognize it.
A lot of folks have told me recently that my attitude has grown quite "negative." I suppose, on some level, I should take this as a compliment. But, I don't. And the reason I don't is that, while I agree that the negative isn't always what it's cracked up to be, I don't consider myself "negative" all the much in the first place. I mean, sure, I've been sort of downtrodden as of late, but this is all part of the natural cycle of life's little lifts, bumps, slides, grinds, and passions. I take it in stride for, perhaps as soon as next week, I shall be back to my old chipper self, and may actually miss the pratical realist that was once me. There's nothing negative about that now, is there?
No, quite reading my danged blogger and get back to work, you big naught.
Until next time...
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Yesterday, we had one of the many "send offs" we've been having at work lately. A "send off," for those of you who don't know, is when somebody announces they are "leaving" (note that RIFs, layoffs, forced resignation, contract expiration, firing, etc. counts here) and we decide that, despite the fact we're all going to be miserable, since now we have to do his job too, we go for lunch. We went for lunch/happy hour yesterday at Cool River.
Cool River is some sort of a chi chi pool bar high-tech hovel that's become quite popular in North Austin as of late. I don't know why. They have a big humidor there. It's actually one of those "walk in" types, where you can don a "smoking jacket," sit and pretend you do nothing but smoke cigars all day. Most folks in high-tech Austin don't smoke. They wear ratty clothing, they're married and their wives won't let them near the house with a smelly cigar. I don't know why they seem to exhibit this strange preference for going to places, pretending to be something they're not, and then coming back feeling refreshed, but that's what they do. Who am I to buck this trend? Besides, it's right down the street and the beer is cold.
So, yesterday, we're all sitting in Cool River at Marty's "send off," feeling quite like riffraff, eating chi chi h'ourdourves, pretending to fit in with the scenery, when Marty decides that it would be cool to arm wrestle. It wasn't just cool, it was outright funny.
It started out innocently enough. He arm wrestled with Sumon, who lost handily. It was no big thing. Then the fun and indoor sports rang up. Paul sat down. We moved the wine glass, the beer bottles, and the little plates. It wasn't too long before Paul and Marty were off like the races.
For what seemed like five minutes, neither arm moved an inch. Both faces turned RED. Both men started to grunt strange noises, the likes of which I'm sure the chi chi Cool River-ians have never heard before. Everybody started to watch, and those who were watching from the beginning started to laugh. By the end of it, we didn't even care or remember who won, it was just one of those so funny, guess you had to be there, moments we will remember. Both men were grunting, turning red, struggling, but neither arm moved an inch.
Back where I come from, we have a name for folks who arm wrestle this this. We call them: "lefty." I bet they're both hurting today. I'll be sure and needle them each next time I run into them in the hallway, by the water cooler, or just somehow. It's just too good an opportunity to pass up. Besides, I have an advantage, I'm already a lefty and so I can't arm wrestle but I have a built-in excuse.
Until next time...
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Today, over smoked chicken quesadillas at Cool River Cafe, I was asked an intriguing question. What was the strangest wedding you have ever attended?
Have you ever been to the wedding of a prostitute? I honestly can say that I have, it was quite the comic relief, and it 'fesses up to be the strangest wedding I have ever attended.
I grew up in NYC. Land of the strange. Land of the strange things that make the strange look almost normal. I knew a prostitute once. She was actually quite a nice lady. Well, I guess, in hindsight, especially so to those who "knew" her, and those who were male and were willing to pay for it. But, all kidding aside, she was nice, although more than a bit misguided.
She met a man. She met a tall, dark handsome stranger. After a long arduous tempestuous relationship, that lasted all of two weeks, she agreed to marry her "banker man." She neglected to tell him that she was, in fact, at that time, a card carrying member of the world's oldest profession (for my computer programmer friends, I don't me she was a COBOL programmer, ok?) She neglected to tell him she had a child. She neglected to tell him she was in treatment for methodone. She neglected to tell him a lot of things. She had the ring in her sights and that quest for the perfect mister right had blinded her so, she could hardly speak a word. "He's seen my car, he's seen my place, that's all he needs to see," was her motto of the moment. Guess it worked for her.
I can remember sitting at the wedding. Sitting with Terry. Terry raised an interesting point, "imagine what they're conversation's going to be like tomorrow morning," he said to me, over his shrimp cocktail.
I replied, "honey, do you like your eggs scrambled or fried and, oh, by the way, I'm a hooker."
It was a strange wedding indeed. It'll go over real well with the kids. Sunny side up anyone?
But, I guess the real jokes on Terry and me. It seems, the lady with the eggs, the lady with the methodone, the lady of the evening who reformed and reeled in her "banker man" is still happily married. Sometimes, when love turns to gain, I guess it isn't all bad. Sometimes, good things can come from bad mistakes. Sometimes, we just get lucky.
At least, it makes for interesting conversation over cocktails at Cool River anyway.
Until next time...
Monday, September 13, 2004
All of this talk of typewriters, typeface fonts, Bush memos and the like got me to thinking about the annoying little paperclip icon from Microsoft. How long will it be before he gets dragged into this entire mess? How long before it will be before I have to look at the likes of him again?
For those of you who don't know me, learn this much about me today. I hate the "annoying little paperclip icon" thingie from Microsoft. I hate it with a passion. I find it to be the singly most annoying icon of the 20th century and the mere sight of it makes my blood pressure rise by about 20 points. It's safe to say it here: I hate that damned paperclip. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I more than hate it. I want to kill it. I want to squeeze the life out of it everytime it pops up on my desk, I want to squeeze it until it's stupid little beatie eyes pop out of it's annoying little headless-top.
So, today I came across this website, which had this picture of the paperclip saying, "It appears that you are writing a hoax. Would you like to: email CBS news?" While this is rather amusing, it still doesn't beat the funniest paper clip encounter I've had.
The funniest paperclip encounter I've come across has to be this one. Yes, it's true, the paperclip for vi, vigor, still gets the prize.
Speaking of "prizes," am told today that Ivan is still in the Gulf. I always feel a bit guilty during hurricane season. If they come up the Gulf, as they sometimes do, the end up pounding places like Cuba, Jamaica, the Cayman's, the Keys, etc. but the good folks in Central Texas end up getting rain. We like rain. We need rain. But, I feel guilty asking for rain when it costs the lives of so many others. I hope most folks can get out of Ivan's path before he does too much more damage. And I hope we get rain without having to pay the ultimate cost.
Until next time...
Friday, September 10, 2004
I was born of Indian Summer. It's that time of year when summer warms us with it's last gasp of heat, about the time of the first frost-that brief, fleeting period of glowing autumn serving to remind us winter is fast approaching.
I can remember well Indian Summers of the past. I spent one in Vermont once. I remember the red barns, white silos poking up to the blue sky heavens above, and the gently sloping, rolling hills punctuated with the bolts of color autumn in New England brings. There's something almost romantic about Indian Summer although, in actuality, it's quite boring, as it's celebrated more as the time of year the farmers tend to the late season crop.
One Indian Summer in particular, I remember wearing a heavy flannel shirt. We always dressed in layers up in New England, that's just how it was back then. I remember having to peel off top layers of clothing, sweating in the almost summer-like sunshine, wondering when the frost would hit the pumpkins. That's one thing we all knew all too well. If Indian Summer were here, winter wasn't far behind.
We don't get Indian Summers in Texas. At least, I've never experienced one. Winters here are mild and pleasant, with the notable exception of a few passing ice storms. There's something I almost miss about New England and the North Country. Indian Summers were always fun. I guess, because we have a mild winter here, there's no need to celebrate the last hot day until Spring.
On an entirely more mundane note, I wonder if anybody has told Ted that it's now possible to make money by blogging? Yes, it's true, folks. Seems the great people at the great googly moogly have added AdSense to blogger, so it's entirely possible to not only create and maintain a blog for free but, now they may actually pay you for doing it. I've yet to add it to Carol's Little World, but this is due more to personal laziness, rather than lack of desire.
I wonder how long it would take Ted to start blogging if he thought there was money in it for him? Probably not even as long as the typical 2-day Indian Summer in Vermont. I wouldn't bet on him letting any frost get on the pumpkin, that's for sure.
Until next time...
Thursday, September 09, 2004
I'm listening to the radio, which is playing a new song by REM. There's a line in this song, "it's easier to leave then to be left behind..."
Near where I work, actually physically near my office, is a set of train tracks. Several times a day, the train goes by. Sometimes, when work is tough, or my attitude sours, I fantasize about that train. I used to joke with one of my co-workers, telling him how I would just leave one day. I'd jump on the train, like a hobo, climb aboard the rails, in search of better circumstances, flipping the bird (with both hands) back at my office.
I think the time is coming when my job will go away. Work here has pretty much dried to a slow trickle, and it feels as if our days are collectively numbered. I fully expect to be gone by the end of the month, and feel completely useless and tired.
Lately, I've been fantasizing about the train a lot. About how I'd ride the rails, where I might end up, how I'd love to flip the proverbial bird to all those I'd leave behind. Somehow, I never thought I'd be the one left behind but, I suppose, sometimes you leave and sometimes you get left behind. Like the song says, it is easier to leave. It would be easy to just walk out, flipping everybody off in my path, and move onto greener pastures. You never want to be the one left to close the lights, shut the door, and wonder where everybody went but, in this case, it's the right thing to do. Leaving would be easy, but getting left behind, in this case, is what I really need to do.
Until next time...
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Etymology: Greek Tobias
1. A Jewish hero who with divine aid marries his kinswoman Sarah in spite of a jealous evil spirit and restores his father Tobit's sight
2. A dog with really really big ears who now resides with Carol and Charlie.
Welcome to Carol's Little World, Toby.
On Friday, I was reading the newspaper and happened upon an add for a "free to good home" cocker spaniel. Toby, is two years old, is black and white, and a little big bigger than Charlie. Interesting thing about Toby, he has big ears. Not just "big" as in typical cocker big, no these are honkingly large two pounds apiece wads of leathered skin dangling from the sides of his head. It's quite strange how he can lie down and make his ears pop up. They are so large, they pop up when he sleeps, as if they defy gravity. Poor thing, now has a new home and has to sleep with the likes of Charlie and me.
I painted my house this weekend too. It was actually pretty easy, made especially so by the fact that nobody offered to help. You see, I'm a slow but meticulous painter, being an artist and all.
The first time I painted a room in my house, my folks tried to help me out. My mother came over and immediately started getting blue paint on everything that was supposed to remain white and missing all the spots she was supposed to cover with the blue paint. At one point, she turned to me and said, "where's your rag?" I responded, "what rag?" She was like, "you have to have a RAG when you paint?" I was like "why?" She replied, "well, what do you do when you make a mistake?" I told her what I'm telling you. I don't make mistakes when I paint. I don't need a rag. I barely edge the room out. Sometimes, if I'm really "sloppy" by my standards, I use an artists brush, to make a more even edge. That and sometimes I stick my thumb into the corner of the paint lid. That's the closest I get to "mistakes" when it comes to painting.
This weekend, I painted an entire room. It changed from white to brown. I got one brown spot of paint on or near my elbow, and I got half my thumb brown. No rags, no help, it was wonderful. I'd do it again in a minute, even with Toby barking in the yard.
Until next time...
Monday, August 30, 2004
I got a funny email today. Actually, it was semi work-related. One of the fellows I work with in Newark, CA (yes, there really is a Newark in Cali, New Jersey doesn't have a lock on the name, despite what you may have heard) sent out an email, something like this:
Bug number yada yada is a duplicate of yada yada which is a duplicate of yada yada which somehow got closed.Somehow, I found this quote entirely funny. I just have this vision of people, who keep opening up bugs they think are new, only to later find them closed as duplicates of defects that don't exist.
It's a big mess going in a loop.
Speaking of big messes and loops, did you know that they have an entire school devoted to the fine art of wallpapering? I'm painting a room in my house this weekend (hopefully) and I'm reminded of this as I go into the paint stores, shoping for just the right shade of beige (because I'm dull.) As I'm sitting there, wondering, trying to decide between the "light burnt umber" and the "covered wagons" of the world, I see the poor, helpless, lost souls wondering through the books in search of suitable wallcoverings. You know those books, those are the ones with the sample wallpaper and color swatches in them.
Ah, yes, my friend, fear the books. Fear the books for they force you to make decisions. Fear the books for any mistake you make will cost you dearly. Fear the books for they are filled with nothing but loops of big meses in the making. Fear the books! Put them down and run, run for your lives. Never give into the books for, after the books, comes the "we need new furniture to match the new wallpaper."
Until next time...
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Today, I received the latest version of Aperture in the mail. For those who aren't familiar with Aperture, it's a magazine (periodical) devoted to photography. Not photography in the sense of Shutterbug or Popular Photography, more like photography as image, icon, and art.
The thing I like most about Aperture is that it always makes me think. Something about it just spurs my creativity. Just when I get to the point of thinking that "it's all been done before" and there's nothing else we could possibly do to extend the creativity of the artform, bam! along comes Aperture. It's almost like it's sitting, resting, nesting in the lurches, waiting to pounce on my negative thoughts.
Apart from this, Aperture is a magazine without filter. They don't judge photography, or the photographic images presented within, no they just sort of present them, leaving the sometimes daunting task of mentally processing the images to the reader. This degree of interactivity is what, I would imagine, the world wide web was initially intended to harness. It makes for interesting reading. You get to see nudes presented next to landmine victims, alongside European ruins. All there in black and white (and, actually, quite good color representation) for you to enjoy. Is it art or pornography? Is this something worth looking at or just noise on the photographic landscape? They let you be the judge and jury, but present the vision as close as they possibly can to it's original intentions.
This month's issue is typical in that there's an add for a photo book called American Cockroach which, from the ad, appears to be a book dedicated to the beauty of the ugly creatures of the night (it's not, as far as I can tell, a political essay; there's no mention of John Kerry or George Bush, rather it's actually about the buggy-bo's.) There's also Return, Afghanistan, Jock Sturges: Notes, and one in particular I really liked called Candida Hufer: Architecture of Absence.
It's the last one that really got me thinking. Architecture of absence is very close to what I photograph; it's like my work in a nutshell. I concentrate on the conspicuous absence of people in public places. It's comforting to see somebody else working along those lines. Just gives me peace of mind.
Something else, which sort of gave me the opposite of peace of mind, is this excerpt from the article accompanying the landmine photographs:
The thing about minefields is how quiet they are. A minefield has none of
the noise and chaos you'd expect in a violent place. The other thing about a
minefield is that until you find the first mine, you don't know where the field
starts, or even if it exists at all. ..When you're standing at the edge of an
unmarked minefield, the terrain looks just like as it would anywhere...You would
think that no one would go intentionally into minefields, yet people do it all
the time. Desperation is a consistent factor...They know it is dangerous to let
animals graze here, or a gamble to cultivate the land, yet they do it anyway,
because they can't conceive of an alternative.
It's the alternatives in life that are special indeed. Along with my subscription, of course.
Until next time...
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
The Olympics always seem to have one defining moment. One moment where we collectively hold our breaths, clench our fists, wonder in amazement at how they pulled it off-that sort of thing. I can remember the miracle on ice, the girl who broke her foot but still managed to stick a landing on the gymnastics horse, Nadia Comancei's perfects 10's. I don't know if this years' Olympic events will have such a moment, but I'm sure the athletes will do their collective bests. It's part of the job. The Olympics are savored by the best.
We all try to be "the best" at something. We try only to find that sometimes we succeed and sometimes, alas, we take our place on that silver or bronze medal podium, watching and listening as somebody else's national anthem gets played over the loudspeaker. That's how life goes, I suppose.
I'm sure we're all "the best" at something, we just have to get out, get off our collective duffs, and find what that "something" is. We need to make our own little podiums, our own track and field events, our own indoor sports, if we want to really succeed in life.
So, without further ado, I bring you my notion of Olympic Events That Weren't. Perhaps there are sports that should never be, maybe they just haven't come to fruition yet, or maybe their an idea whose time has come. You be the judge (and yes, that means, you get to hand out the medals)
- Office Politics-we've gotten so bad at it, might as well make it a sport.
- Bullshitting-middle managers everywhere would salivate as they read off the winners. "And the Olympic gold for bullshitting goes to..." Imagine that.
- Dumpster Diving-"My cousin' Jimmy here won that there GOLD MEDAL when he found his-self a dia-mon ring in that there trash bucket. Almost one whole caret, yes indeeeed." (Would give back woods Appalachia a level playing field.)
- Trolling for Spouses-gold diggers would finally get their own medal. Hey, don't laugh. I'm sure they'll get one to match the diamonds and jewels they already weaseled.
- Russian Wedding Sports-the bride closest to her delivery date, without going over, wins! Just think of what this could do to the pregnant bridal gown industry. Shotguns optional.
- Head Banging-Rokken with Dokken puff metal heads compete for the Gold!
Go for the gold, but watch what you step in along the way.
Until next time...
Monday, August 23, 2004
Remember that urban legend? The one about the guy who plants his butt down in a lawn chair with a shotgun, attaches weather balloons to the arm rests, and ascends into the Heavens above, only to find himself haplessly floating along at thirty thousand feet? It's been kicking around for a while, with various incantations having him sighted by low-flying pilots, negotiating landings at LAX, folks scratching their heads in disbelief, even helping to steer him to a safe landing. I think some reports boast NASA listing him as an "official UFO" or some such thing (not to be confused with an "unofficial UFO" which is a slightly more "politically correct" term for the aliens who play cannasta on my front lawn.)
My friend Steve was IM-ing me the other day, asking my opinion on movies suitable for viewing. Since this was an oh-so-pressing issue, I decided to tackle it head first, and perform elaborate research on the world wide web. Ok, so I googled. I googled "movies" and found myself at movies.com or some such site. As luck, or lack of creativity, would have it, they've made a movie about this very story.
Danny Deckchair is now playing in a theater near you. Words cannot begin to describe how I feel about this cinematic triumph, which has perhaps made it once again socially acceptable to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Phrases like, "Run! Run for your Lives!" and "Even porn would be better than this" will be used by critics everywhere to define this mega-movie, starring the likes of people who've never heard of you either. The mind boggles.
Danny is a cement-truck driver with a bad girlfriend, who manages to screw up his holiday plans. Furious, Danny plots to escape his suburban prison by attaching helium balloons to a deck chair in hopes of flying away. Surprisingly, his plan works, and he soon finds himself in a neighboring town.
is from the official "blurb" about the movie, not to be confused with the "unofficial blurb" which consists of a five minute symphony of groans and gastrointestinal noises, which shall be left for bloggers with audio. Hey, at least *I* don't waste film like that, ok?
But, what if there's something to this Danny Deckchair? What if Danny's really onto something? What if we all took our little helium helicopters up into the stratosphere, only to find ourselves dive-bombing the suburban Hell's in which we live like some sort of pidgin race run amok? Hmmm. Going up anybody? Take that you metrosexual yuppie-wanna-be. I think I'll shoot down my not-so-big balloons and land over here this time. The world's got to be a better place when you have a shot at flopping down into something better, right?
Until next time...
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
I suspect that we all do it-making up words as we speak. Sometimes, our words come from other words, sometimes, we do it as a manner of convenience, and sometimes, we just trip up and say the wrong thing, only to find it stuck and voila! we now have a new one.
I don't know what it is that compels us to make up language-to keep the language ever growing and evolving, but it always seems to do just that. We formulate new grammar by morphing the old into the new, all along playing with the language. It doesn't really bother me; I'm not one of those "fuddy duddy" old-timers who thinks that language is not a play toy. It's a tool that, when we see fit, we choose to follow the rules but, every once in a while, we break them just because we can.
Language is, in a lot of ways, like a metaphor for life. We learn it quickly when we're young and religiously try to follow the rules. Just when we master the rules, we recognize the value in breaking them. As we grow older, we wish we had more time to play with our language, just because it's there, as we did when we were a child.
My friend Mohinder speaks about 4 or 5 languages, including Punjabi and English. Interesting thing about his English, he's always tellings us that he speaks, "English-English, not American English." He uses this as a defense when he makes up words. I find it kind of amusing, and chastise him for speaking "Mohinglish" when he does it, but I'm actually convinced this is his mastery of the language showing through. I suppose, if I spoke more than 1 or 2 languages, and there wasn't a convenient word for what I was trying to get out of my piehole at a given point in the time space continuum, I would just sort of make one up on the spot. Imagination is so under-rated these days. Wonder, Think, Dream, Drive, Become-it's my new motto.
Speaking of driving, I have a made-up word for drivers who travel too slowly in the left lane. DINKs I call them. It's actually short for Drivers In Need of a Kick. Fortunately, for me, I've been avoiding the DINKs almost all week long, since I've been working from home. I do miss the office, but not having to contend with the DINKs, well, that's like a prize in itself. There's a prize I didn't even have to make up, I can imagine it floating over the horizon, trapped in traffic, stuck behind all the DINKs in the world, lined up in the left lane, just waiting to pass.
Until next time...
Monday, August 16, 2004
This weekend hurricane Charley hit the gulf coast of Florida, knocking it for a loop and, I have to admit, I'm not surprised. I'm not surprised that a hurricane hit Florida, as this is where they always seem to go, and I'm not surprised that they named this one after my dog, Charlie. I've been telling you all along he's chaos disguised in fur, and you've never believed me. Now you know (and my heart goes out to all the folks in Florida, having suffered the wrath of Charley.)
I've been to Florida many times, having just sold some property there. We were in Port St. Lucia, which is, I'm told, closer to the Atlantic coast than the recent storms. Kathy, my photographer friend, visited Florida just last year and was telling me how I'd hardly recognize the place; it's changed so much in recent times. "Lots of condos and traffic you wouldn't believe," was the verdict. As luck would have it, I canceled a vacation to Sanibel Island earlier this year, which, as it turns out, was Charley's point of entry. My dog is a bird dog and this particular spot is home to some endangered bird rescue habitats.
This hurricane was brutal in three separate, but equally devastating ways:
- It turned from a cat 2 to a cat 4 rather quickly and just before making landfall.
- It charted off course, having unexpectedly hit landfall earlier and in a different location from originally anticipated and charted.
- It hit a populated area and spread lengthwise across the state.
Sanibel Island, my would-be vacation spot, is known as an eco system that's quite fragile, but somehow managed to survive the hurricane. Amazes me how the small endangered birds take shelter from a storm the humanoids did not know was coming and failed to correctly predict. I suppose it serves to remind us that, although we like to think of ourselves as "top of the food chain" sort of folk, we're all really fragile and dependent upon each other. Sometimes, as in this case, the birds may know what the people do not.
In this case, we could have learned a lot from those cluckers, if only we'd paid their warning system some mind.
Until next time...
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Last night I was reading something I had scribbled down on a piece of paper and I could hardly make out my own handwriting. The note said, "I'm leaving a t..." and then there were a few letters I could not distinguish at first glance. Starting with the letter T, I assumed the missing characters made up the word "trail" but, in hindsight, I double-checked and came up with the word "trap."
What's so interesting about this is that these each represent two very different left-behind items. A "trap" is so much more belligerent and carries an entirely different connotation than a "trail" yet I could hardly distinguish between the two physically. The exercise of deciphering my own handwriting got me to thinking about the poetic ramifications each word carries with it.
Here's an interesting question to ponder. Which would you rather leave? A trail implies that you are being chased, followed, or somehow left mark on the landscape in your past. A trap is more like a loaded gun, a sharp knife, or a blind date: could come in handy, possibly save the day, but could also prove explosive and harmful if used the wrong way. You never do know exactly what you might catch in one of those, do you? And you may just end up empty-handed after the struggle. So, question for the day is, do you opt for the high risk with the huge payoff potential? Or play it safe and go for the intrigue?
I think my choice would depend upon what sort of mood I were in. I would probably opt for the "trail" if I were happy, content, waxing poetic, but I see myself as a "trap" girl when pissed off, generally upset, or maybe just looking for some excitement. Either way, I suppose, I'd be happy, so long as the dust scatters from my path and I can see my way into some hope that lies ahead. And, it follows too that, if I were somehow to manage a trap for the reclusive yet oh-so-hunkerly cabana boy, I'd be happy as a clam on the seashore.
Until next time...
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Today's wardrobe item of choice is a blue-ishly colored T-shirt from Hawaii with this moniker scribbled upon it. I don't know exactly what it means but, having a degree in communications allows me to make an educated guess. So, giving you the benefits of my education,
"Extremely Narly Longboards for Extreme Pipe Riding"probably has something to do with surfing, catching a big wave, "hanging 10" or some such thing.
Speaking of education, I was talking with Ken yesterday and he sent me a link to a resume that had me laughing so hard, I almost fell out of my chair. Seems some guy he used to work with had a few "gems" on his, and I just couldn't contain myself. Maybe I was in a laughing mood, maybe it just struck me as funny, or maybe the guy is that big of a doofus. You be the judge.
Buried between the "I went to Princeton, didn't get a degree, but am putting it on my resume anyway, 'Princeton University Coursework in European history'" and the proud display of having taken a Powerpoint workshop as recently as 2002, was this little gem:
Intern - Washington, D.C. Correspondence, research, elevator operator.Ah, so that was Monica's official title and, yes, you read it here first. Somebody actually put this on a techie resume. (ELEVATOR OPERATOR! Elevator operator? As in, I pushed a button so some dumb-ass in DC could get to the top floor.)
I've finally figured out what my problem is. I'm competent, I hold a master's degree in computer science (apart from the aforementioned degree in communications) and I have about 16 years of experience working as a coder, designer, software architect, and margarita chef. My life would be so complete if only I could put elevator operator somewhere on my resume. Sigh.
Now, don't get me wrong. Official Clarkson motto is "a workman that needth not to be ashamed" and I'm not one to pass judgement on any given profession, trade, skill, or the like. I'm not waging war or officially even "making fun of" elevator operators. But, for crying out loud, if you have over 10 years experience in a technology why on God's Earth would you highlight the fact that you started out life as an elevator operator? Is that really going to make a difference on your next gig? Are you trying to go for some "my thumbs are more nimble than yours" type of award of which I am not even aware? Geesh. Get a life. Get a clue. Get real. Nobody gives a crap that you were a kiss-up in Washington, you don't have a real degree and Powerpoint doesn't require it's own month long workshop to master. You've unimpressed me so much, I wouldn't even allow you to type my letters to Santa, Mr. Doofus. Put down that mouse and back away from that spreadsheet before I get violent.
But then, what do I know. I've never been an elevator operator. Maybe there's something to that. Maybe it's just the type of narly experience I need to kick my career into the stratosphere. Maybe I shouldn't have wasted my time at Clarkson and BU but should instead ventured into the world of BIG button pushing. "Going up?"
Ok, maybe not. Sheet man, I'd tell the fat cats to take the damn stairs and get on with it already.
Until next time...
PS Our local presidential candidate, Charlie, is busy today getting his hair done. Yes, it's true, he's at the dog groomers. If he's running for prez, he's gotta have a surpreme do. And he'll want a cute little poodle to push all the right buttons on his elevator, I'm sure.
Gosh, I hope they don't stick any bows in him. Or give him one of those dorky bandanas. Dude, that would be extremely narly.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
It's not ofte and it's been a while since I've written about odds and ends. These are the summary of all the little things which, when taken alone, are not large enough to warrant a weblog entry of their own, but still fall under that mysterious category I like to call "interesting."
Have you been watching The Grid on TV? It's not a bad little series. A little too "MTV-ish" in terms of fast camera cuts and editing I would have to call "too tight" but still it's rather interesting. I've been sort of watching on Monday evenings, especially since it's on at a convenient timeframe for me to catch it. One high point for me is that there seems to be a few characters who are not so obviously on the side of good/evil. The world likes to spin in shades of grey despite our best attempts at painting the entire universe with one single brush stroke of black or white.
Next up on the list, found this link on the new craze in NY called cuddling. It's where grown people (my age even) dress up in their PJs and crawl into bed with each other, after first getting on the ground and "mooing" like cows. A bit odd, don't you think? But, this is the same city that gave us the cosmo so, I suppose, anything is possible. Eat, drink, and be merry my friends. Somebody has to rely upon you being weird and you've got a big burden to carry, for you have to support enough "weirdness" for all of us. Thank goodness for folks like Alice Cooper who can help out in the pinch.
Went to Cool River Cafe for lunch today. Was actually pretty good food, I had some sort of chicken taco-y dish. The salsa was ok and the chicken was smoked to perfection. Now I can say I've actually been inside the place, as the last time I was there, I went for the September 11th tribute hour, hopped the fence, and sat on the patio.
I still haven't ordered memory for my PC. Need to do that this afternoon before I forget yet again.
I'm really craving a moca-latte-ish type of fru fru drink but can't have one because I just opened up a can of coke and I've had way too much lunch. I'm stuffed. Another food item and I think I'll just explode. *poof*
Until next time...
Monday, August 09, 2004
Before I was typing away at a reasonably good posting when, poof, out of the blue, blogger ate my message. It's not often that blogger swallows whole my daily positing, in fact, it's happened only a few times since I've been posting on this site. It happens so infrequently, I almost feel cause for celebration when it does occur. Whoo Hoo! Blogger ate my posting. Now I won't lose any files for another six whole months! Woot! Or, um, something like that.
It did happen when I was trying to add a link to my posting. Perhaps I should try to add a link now and see what happens. Here goes. (If you are reading this, I was probably successful, but that doesn't mean you should count your blessings just yet. I'm sure something will blow up and you will blame it all on me soon enough.)
Here is the link
Hmm. It seems blogger is taking my link but it's acting mighty weird about it. Ok. So, like I was saying.
These (read the link) are the CD spinners that I put together this weekend. They are rather cute, although they do look a little different from the picture in question. My original posting was something along the lines of me being tired from putting together all the CD spinners, hanging a mirror and some hanging vases, and doing a lot of WORK this weekend, as opposed to the high-tech stuff I do all week. Sigh. Now you'll never know exactly how good my coffee was this morning, for this too, was the subject of my now deleted web log entry. But, you can comfort yourself in knowing that the great bit bucket in the sky now has a new found appreciation for a good cup of coffee, and it's probably being stored right next to that file you lost but really needed.
Maybe the good folks at the great googly moogly should start a new category. "I'll take stuff I tried to blog about but you wouldn't let me for $400 please, Alex."
"Oh crap! Don't click THAT button..."
Until next time...
(or maybe this time depending on how the button clicks go.)
Friday, August 06, 2004
We keep hearing different stories from the candiates. It's degraded into a giant game of "he said, she said, he lied, I was misquoted" and we're all going to lose. Despite our best attempts at civility, politics is a dirty game. Having said that, I'm announcing candidacy for the office of the President. My dog, Charlie, is going to run for president of the United States. Yes, you read it here first, My Dog CHARLIE for President in '04
Sure, you may think I'm crazy but consider these facts:
- He's probably smarter than the other two bozos already running
- He knows how to mark a fire hydrant all by himself
- He doesn't hump (much) on people's legs
- He's already king of the block, top dog in the 'hood, captain of the subdivision, he might as well go ALL the way.
His first campaign stop is going to be my backyard, where he will leave me with glorious "presents" to ponder for days to come. See how giving he is? And he'll smell from corner to corner in the process. Nothing gets past that doggie, no sir, he can sniff a breadcrumb from miles away. Think the terrorists will be able to sneak into NYC past Charlie? Think again!
Imagine what this will do to foreign diplomacy. It will now be socially acceptable and downright expected for politicians to smell each other's tails.
The oval office would make a great spot for a doggie bead. And he probably sleeps less than most of the senators (despite snoozing through most of the day.) I'm guessing his first state of the union address would be met with applause (maybe even a-paws, mind you) because he would not pre-empt Monday night football or CSI. Gotta love that, right?
Until next time...
Thursday, August 05, 2004
My computer at home is very close to being finished. I think, in the entire process of backing up data, uploading data, installed a new Windows version, new drivers, new printers, new CD burner/reader, and a new network router, I only saw 2 or 3 blue screens of death. And all of them happened when I was trying to get my laptop to go out over the wireless connection, recognize a network printer connected to my Dell box, and print over the net. Best guess is I just have the wrong drivers. It's kind of nice getting to see that pretty blue screen so few times, after having done so much with so little hardware (most of which is out of date.) As much as I like to knock Microsoft, and, face it, we all do, I must admit, they've come a long way. Actually, I think Dell is a friend indeed (not to be confused with "a friend with weed" which, I'm told, "is better" or so the song goes.)
I've gotten a lot done. Yesterday, I got two different email clients configured, one for home email (ahem, "spam") and one for work. Steve was over, helping me out and, at one point, he said, "don't you want to restore your email?" I was like, "NO. No....No! No! No! NO!" I wanted to avoid the spam-o-rama at all costs. The problem with restoration of email is that I get tons of junk. I've so much spam, I could bury myself in it. It's like a black hole. The black hole of the net is covered with spam, and all of it resides in my email box. It waits to pounce on me when I'm not expecting it and, believe me, it can get mighty ugly.
All of this long-winded diatribe on the benefits of a network router, a wireless card, and broken printer drivers can be summed up with the following plea:
If you send email to my home address or use it to communicate with me on a regular basis, please be advised that I have removed all of my OLD email, including my contact information, so you may not hear from me in a while. I'm determined to enjoy having only 87 messages, 68 of which are claims that I can enlarge my penis, lose 30 pounds overnight, or make millions selling crap nobody wants on eBay.This, of course, can be shadowed by the follow-on plea:
If I don't contact you, or don't respond to your email, please send me another note. I've recently un-buried myself from the spam heap and do want to talk with you, I'm just attempting to avoid the penis enlargement gang who, apparantly acting on a tip that mine is too small, keep following me in the hopes that I will buy and use their wonderful products.Not that I have anything against the penis enlargement gang. Try as they might, I don't think they'll have much success in my case. Call it a hunch. I wish I could send them a blue screen of death for their troubles but, as luck would have it, it appears I'm even out of those.
Until next time...
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Recently, I've been busy setting up my home computer. When all is said and done, it's the little things that really get to me. For example, I installed a wireless card in my laptop and now I can surf the web from the back porch. On a nice day, this could make all the difference in the world. Just the thought of being able to work while sitting outside kind of makes me feel warm and happy inside. It's the little frills and perks in life that makes things so much more tolerable.
Steve has been helping me. I didn't really get anything different, just put together and upgraded some of the stuff I have. Plus I also moved it around so it's rather nice in the office. I've been busy too getting the software setup for work.
Tonight is the "National Night Out" meetup. I'm not really looking forward to is, as it's hit the 100 degree mark and seems to be getting hotter. Still, there's something nice about meeting everybody in the neighborhood, and socializing a bit. I will perhaps make some iced tea and sit in the shade, if I can find some, so that I can meet folks as they walk by.
Had my car serviced today. They washed it as part of the service. Granted it's not all that clean (they didn't get a lot of the tar off) but it looks way better than it did yesterday.
On the whole, I'd have to say things are looking up. At least I don't feel like I'm looking up at the bottom of a shoe. Of course, having said that, I suppose now I should expect one to drop any second now.
Until next time...
Monday, August 02, 2004
People sometimes ask me for stock tips. Sometimes they ask my advice, wanting a "hot tip," or they just want to share in which stocks I'm currently tracking. It's part of trading, I guess. You buy into certain companies, based upon what you know, what you think they will do in the future, or perhaps your "gut," and then poke around to see what everybody else is doing. It also provides a nice means to justify your choices. Usually, I am reluctant to give out stock advice, mostly because I'm afraid to and partially because I don't want my friends to get angry with me if the ticker in question should happen to take a dip.
This weekend and this morning, we heard on the news about the current terrorist alert regarding the stock market. Seems al queda is trying to blow up Wall Street. I've decided to go against my own better judgement, break ranks, and actually give out a tip.
If there's a terrorist attack that impacts Wall Street, in any way shape or form, I will buy stock. And you should too. It will become the best buying opportunity all year.As soon as I'm physically able to, even if I have to drag myself on my hands and knees to some brokerage hundreds of miles away, I will buy stock. I will buy a lot of stock, in a multitude of companies.
If every person in the US bought stock, even one share, after a terrorist attack on Wall Street, the market would move up considerably.If you bought stocks during the great depression, you would have made a KILLING as soon as it was over. I know, I know, it's sometimes easier said than done, and you won't make a heap of cash buying one share of stock. Even so, given a terrorist attack, taking stock would become the most profitable thing you could probably do all year long. It would present the only opportunity in time when the majority of people, most of whom should be buying, would turn around and sell, for no valid reason other than their own personal fear and trepidation.
Historically, the people who've made the most money on Wall Street did it by doing the reverse of the current trend. Most folks buying? You sell. Most folks selling? Buy like there's no tomorrow.
Besides, taking stock at that time would be the best thing for the country. Wouldn't that, and that alone, make you feel better? No amount of money (that you could potentially make or lose in the market) could cover that emotional cost. At least, it would go a long way towards making up for those high flying 90's that we all enjoyed, wouldn't it?
Until next time...