Thursday, December 30, 2004

Wikiwiki/God Bless You

Wikiwiki/God Bless You

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

Ancient Chinese Curse

Ancient Chinese Curses

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

So Unreal

So Unreal

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 Raining in New York City

It's Raining in New York City

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

Enable New Device Flag

Enable New Device Flag

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

Get Down, Boogie Woogie Baby

Get Down, Boogie Woogie Baby

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

Horse Killing Antics

Horse Killing Antics

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

Box Count Zero

Box Count Zero

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...

Test Posting

Test Posting

Well, blogger seems to be eating postings yet again. I'm going to try a test to see if it gets properly saved.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Ego Surfing Dude

Ego Surfing Dude

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

The Fine Art of Food

The Fine Art of Food

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...