Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sneezing Panda

What can I say? Watch the baby, and watch Mom's reaction. Reminds me of my sneezes.

(you know who you are)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The seven odd things

Tagged by RambunctiousGrl

Here's how it's done:

a. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

b. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.

HATE being it...

(in no particular order) things that are me about odd:

1. I have a large number of characters in my head, each with their own voice (many of them British), and they come out at what, to them, seems like the appropriate time. I have little control over this, and if surrounded by British people, I have to use all my powers of concerntration NOT to talk like them. I really can't help it, and I'm sorry.

2. I require order, yet am a complete slob. I do things in as orderly a fashion as I can. I know where everything is. If one little thing gets moved, I know it, and it drives me crazy. Dishes pile up, but I know where my socks are.

3. I think of dried fruit (most especially raisins) as smellyawfulBADnasty.

4. I prefer shoes that are very heavy - not just clunky, but heavy.

5. I work with computers and complex computing systems (both for work and for fun), yet believe that these things are destroying our lives. I think many new technologies are really cool, but are also making most of us slaves to them, rather than the other way around.

6. I can break an encyclopedia volume (or a hardwood floor) with my head. Yes, it hurts a little. I've been hit in the face with a baseball bat, I've been through at least one windshield, and I've done one of those pratfalls onto icy asphalt, and hurt my back more than my head. Never needed stitches or even a band-aid.

7. If I could wear only clothing made of leather, rubber and/or cast iron, I would.

I'm sure I could come up with weirder stuff than this, but my cow-orkers sometimes see this, and I'm afraid of spooking them. More than usual, I mean.

c. Tag 7 random people participating in nablopomo at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

Tag others? I only know those who have tagged me. And I'm not really participating in the NaBloPoMo thing, as I am too busy writing about Modern Journalism in my Modern Journalism class...

But here they are, from the Blogroll list at NaBloPoMo (randomly picked for the cleverfoodiness of their names):

Bowl Of Cheese




just a little radish

Mommy Wants Vodka

Soup to nuts

d. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Who am I?

You Are The Turkey

The center of attention, the meaning of it all.

Too bad you put people to sleep!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Furnace Maze

Now that I am warm at home.

Windows in December. Excavation pretty soon. New paths.

What does one do with dirt one doesn't want?

My cow-orkers are pushing me at my mazes again. When I was young (oh, so much younger than today) I drew mazes. My father once asked me why I was wasting my time with them (and then later apologized, which was nice of him). These were intricate, strange things with no dead ends and an infinite number of solutions. The idea was, you draw a bunch of spirals with many arms, and connect the spirals together. Each spiral center (or "valve" as I heard Greg Bright describe them once) has multiple exits. Each valve you pass through multiplies the odds against ever finding a way out. Technically, all the valves lead out. They also lead back in again.

But now there are computers. I could draw one of these things, and scan it in in phases, mapping the shortest route to the exit, but then keeping that information to myself. Proof that it's posible to finish the maze.

Perhaps I will draw one, and post it. A small one, so I don't spend an eternity doing it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Crap and Holy Crap

Sewer goes again - thank god for Rapid Rooter. Fixed in an afternoon.

The very next morning, RG starts getting really really dizzy, which she later describes to me as a feeling of wanting to go to sleep. Also, the house smells kind of like burning. She's telling me this on the phone, so I suggest she turns off the heater now now now.

The oil company man comes in this morning and gives me a quote of $4,000!!!! for a new oil heater. So this, since I don't necessarily want to kill off prospective buyers of this, our beautiful but toxic home, seems fair.

We had a nice weekend, except for my cold. Spent in the lovely Edgefield Inn in Troutdale, OR (just outside of Portland), where I drank too much, we both ate too much, and we found a place on our way out of town called John's Marketplace, way out on Multnomah Blvd.

Every beer ever.

A large cooler of nothing but large bottles. Another large cooler of foreign brews at the appropriate temperature. Yet another large cooler of nothing but six-packs. Shelf upon shelf of excellent beers that they didn't have room for in the coolers. I am working my way through them.

Siletz beers won in the popularity contest: the Spruce Ale (made with real spruce tips, so it smells a little like a Christmas tree) was not what I was hoping for. A little weak. The Siletz Oatmeal Cream Stout (made with oats and lactose - hence the "cream") is a rich, chocolatey brew with undertones of coffee and an overall thumping in the back of the head feel. Last but not least is an organic fresh hop ale from a brewery I can't remember (I'll post it later). Yummy. Similar to the Sierra Nevada Fresh Hop Ale in body and nose. I have the Hair of the Dog Double IPA, a Deschuttes brewery Hop Trip Ale, and Siletz Chocolate Porter (made with real chocolate) left to drink. I suspect I'll be done by Friday, though I may reserve one for Saturday night, as I expect Saturday will be a day of pain and heavy lifting.

To explain: the poetry appreciation chair must be moved into storage. A 1920s antique optometrist's chair, it's really cool, but large, heavy and currently only used for hanging things off of. Then there's everyone's favorite futon and frame, which must also find pride of place in our storage unit, until we have a larger home to put them into. Then, to accommodate the fellers installing our new furnace, I need to move six sheets of drywall from the top of the stairs to somewhere they won't be in the way.

Then drinking.

Then dinner.

Then dirnking.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Somehow Made A Film

Sans Vie is a French film I've been working on ad nauseum, except that I enjoy it, and was shown to a relatively large audience last Friday night.

I think I stopped breathing once or twice, and I know for a fact that my hands went numb while I was watching it. It wasn't so much that I wanted other people to like it, I was entirely concerned that the software used to create the whole thing had barfed somewhere and I hadn't noticed.

Just my luck it worked out OK. And people liked it, to boot, which was gratifying.

Matthew Morris, the director, was calling people up onto the stage, got the lead actors, the cinematographer, the cameraman, the key grip, and couldn't remember who else to call up. He and I had spent all summer in my basement, editing and fighting over little points of continuity and other things. RG pointed at my head, and you could see the palpable embarrassment. Which was gratifying.

The way he explained the "why a French film?" question was intriguing to me. It had to do with someone who told him how to learn guitar, and it had something to do with the learning process, i.e, if you learn from a particular person, you will end up sounding like them, so he decided that he wanted to make movies, and French movies are more like the blues, and since he learned the guitar by learning the blues, he learned to make movies by making a French movie.

Foux de fa fa

Still, a worthwhile project, if I say so myself, and a huge learning experience for me. And it's not over. He plans to finish the movie as a feature, shooting from next weekend, through February. In the meantime, I will be spending a lot of time in my basement learning the tools I've been using for the last four months, including the cool Color program Apple released.

And I kind of need to finish my basement. And the back yard. And the front porch. And the windows. And the plumbing.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

On The Rude Again

September 16, 2007 Tracy, CA

Barnes & Noble cafe, with coffee and cheesecake from that Factory where they make Cheesecake.

Why doesn't the "Factory" thing clue me in a little? Tastes just like a factory.

Wearing an earwig for my phone has turned out to be a really good thing. I can better hear the person I'm talking to, and they can hear me. On the other hand, having Tom D saying "You've got something in your ear" over and over gets a little wearing...

The Last Depot September 11-17, 2007

A long time to be on the road. Nice people, all of them: Tom D, Robert W, Gail G and Mark S, with a Special Guest Appearance by Chris S (AKA, the Big Boss).

I arrived on the anniversary of the Big Bang in New York City. I'm not sure why but my flight was full. I was hoping a few people would stay home, but no such luck. I arrived before my teammates and began my work, unboxing what seemed like an endless parade of dumb terminals and big printers.

Fire Drill

While we all hang around outside a building that would have considerable difficulty in catching fire. Concrete, steel, metal studs and modern drywall. Oh, yeah... the Desks. Big Goddamned Desks. Crammed up against walls so that it's impossible to find the ethernet jacks.

Not without getting a shiny new hernia, anyway.

Desks made of thick, solid wood. Excellent burning profile. So I guess, don't smoke at (or under) your desk.

Back to unboxing. For all of my company's attempts to be and do Green, everything I unpack is made stable with lots and lots of Styrofoam. Enough to fill a 6' x 6' x 8' dumpster.

Once I'm done for the day, I go to the hotel to await my comrades-in-nerd. Dinner is at Chevy's, a mildly authentic Mexican chain. The beers take for-f**king-ever. The food is acceptable. Road food. What is it, exactly, that makes us choose the restaurants we do? The food almost invariably seems canned (even the rice).

The Wednesday From Hell

Everything going relatively smoothly, though I've misled myself about how many terminals I have to deploy. We thought we had world enough and time, but found ourselves at 5:15 PM (45 minutes from when we said we'd be done for the day) with issues out the kazoo. We end up working until 8:20 PM (nearly 14-1/2 hours), which put us at 9 hours between meals. And Chris S is just arriving, so we wait for her to join us in this new food adventure.

We go to a restaurant called Texas BBQ. As soon as I get past the blare of country-western music (yep - both kinds) at the door, across the floor with the used-peanut shell coating, I was presented with what looked like a butcher's case. Row after row of steaks.




We didn't talk too much. Too tired. Chris S was subjected to Tom D and Robert W's drinking habits (endless Coors Light). I'm usually annoyed by my cow-orkers' insistence on drinking cheap, weak beer. But Gail G had something I'd only read about in horror novels - the Red Beer. Beer and tomato juice.

That's just wrong.

Thursday in the Cold

Work, work, work. I'm the only one crazy enough to work in our refrigerated buildings without a jacket. I dunno, they're bulky, they get in the way, and I tend to overheat in them, which makes me sweat, which freeeeeeezes to my body. Lots of workstations, and it all comes together pretty quickly. We eat breakfast at the International House of Carbohydrates. And again, I think about why we eat where we do on these trips. In this town, the choices are admittedly limited, but surely there must be something better...

Wound up at 6 (on time) and everyone wanted to go to the Olive Drab Garden. Italian food created by a marketing department trying make Italian food more "acceptable." Less "unusual."

You know - bland.

I begged off.

My cow-orkers are mystified by my antisocial behavior on these trips. Part of this has to do with the restaurants that seem to be popular with everyone else, but a big part of it is my own peculiar psychopathology. As I've told every therapist I've ever been to, my feelings about this are based on a joke by Groucho Marx: "I would never want to belong to a club that would have someone like me for a member."

Funny, but also sick.

It's not like I feel like I'm above these people; snobbery is only called for when you can look down on someone. And I only get really condescending when I'm drunk (on really good beer). I am in awe of people who do the kind of work we do and gain a measure of satisfaction from it. You plug the cable into the switch and the light changes from off to yellow to green. Happiness!!!

Which I do feel, but for such a fleeting moment it's not enough to base a career on. I meet people who've been working at my company for over twenty years, and are moving very slowly up the food chain. I used to think it would be easier for me to do some sort of menial job for a straight eight-hour workday, so I could free up the little grey cells for the creative stuff after work. I'm usually so wasted after that kind of day, that all I can think about is beer, food and TV.

Friday, Near the Edge of Done

Again strange food.

The work moves along smoothly, not much for us hardware folks to do. I feel a bit bad for the boss, as until the network is perfect, the hardware part is as far along as it can be.

She leaves after lunch. And I'll I can think of is "nap time."

Dinner at Texas again. More meat. And this time, bourbon - Woodford Reserve, gotta get me some.

Got it all Did

Saturday morning cleanup. Spent an hour and a half, carefully moving one cable after another to create a neater appearance and better organization in a network hub called an IDF box. I still don't know what that stands for.

Intermediate Data Fuhhhhhhh....

No food til noon.

As soon as Tom D saw the PBR tap, he knew this was the right place. We waited for a table. Waited for beer. Waited for beer. Waited for beer. Got wings. GOT BEER. Got wrong food. Everyone else got right food. Stopped waiting. GOT RIGHT FOOD. Tom D was not going to have another beer. Neither was Robert W. Robert W orders more beer for him and Tom D. I order more beer.

Everyone else leaves.

Nothing much to do do until the next morning. Play on the internet, nap, watch bad cable. Bought a bottle of Woodford Reserve, but won't open it until I get home.

Resident Men In Evil Black Blade 2

Work on Sunday lasts about four hours. Lots of cleanup, lots of packing. Back to the hotel, and on to Barnes and Noble. Which is where I write this diary up. Off to a very good, bloody movie, called 3:10 to Yuma. Terrific performances from Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Dinner at a brewpub in Manteca (Lard?) California, called Kelley's Brewery. Lightish beers and lightish Fish & Chips. Not terrible, just not much to write home about.

Monday starts at 6. Ends at 6. Including a flight home, more cleaning, and an epileptic seizure in the airport.

Just like every other day.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Enough is too much

Off to yet another delightful bit of corporate travel tomorrow. RG hates it when I travel, and I'm just dumb enough to be persuaded to fly on Sept. 11. I'll be gone for a week, attempting in my spare time at the location to work on another screenplay. This one's about a disfunctional family gone tragic.

I mean, how hard could that be?

Meanwhile, I'm feeling like a major dumb f**k, since I scheduled the meeting for the travel for the week after I've returned. Holy Jeebus. What's missing from my brain this year?

Tired, sad, and tired.

Also completed yet another class in my "BA while-u-wait" college. Waiting to see my final grade, as I'm none too convinced of my abilities in this department. I'm a good writer, but literary criticism has always struck me as a lot of intellectual masturbation. Unless I really like the piece, and then of course, it suits me fine.

Too many poems out there about God.

Anyway, meetings, bloody meetings.

Move on the 28th at the Seattle Art Musem. If you want to come, you need an invite, so send me an e-m,ail address (just in case I've lost it) and I'll get the deirector to send you an e-vite.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Oh God Oh God Oh God - I'm SUCH AN IDIOT

noooooooooooooooooooo - I'm SO DUMB

A man in Colorado has had his thumbs altered so he could use his iPhone better. NO, he DIDN'T

The procedure is known as "whittling." Actually, it ISN'T.


I get that with new technologies, sometimes you have to adapt - slightly - to a new interface, or a new behavior system associated with them. My favorite Jargon Watch word from Wired magazine was "beepilepsy" - the jerking, surprised motions of someone who's beeper has been set to "vibrate." However...

This is not mental adaptation. This is beyond the usual physical adaptation. Forget about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Tennis Elbow. Now we're talking, "I had my thumbs whittled down to work on my new phone!"

That sentence shouldn't ever come into existence. This is a $500 gadget that should allow any sort of user to adapt themselves to it, and not require whacko surgery that then prevents the end user from being able to open a jar of spaghetti sauce.

That's the only side effect that he's noticed, anyway. Stay tuned for more.

Oh, my gentle Jeebus. The doctor involved in the surgery glowingly spoke of this as being an improvement over the usual reasons for plastic surgery. He's not getting pec implants, or a nose job - that's just vain. No, we're improving his workplace efficiency. Yeah. That's a great reason to alter your body. So you can be a better tool for someone else.

GET A F**KING TATTOO. It might improve your self-esteem, and might even persuade you that your money is better spent on a phone that can be used to call people, not one that connects you to everyone and everything, and even kind of knows where you are all the damn time.

See, I'm an Apple FREAK. I love all products Apple. I've gone somewhat drooly over one of my colleague's iPhones. He gets his thumbs reduced so he could use it better? I'd be calling the guys in the white coats with the butterfly net. I'd buy a gun so I could beat him to death with it. Or maybe an old AT&T phone.

The DSM IV needs a new entry: "iPhone madness."

Ahwell... punk'd again. This story was mad eup and posted ina semi-reputable newspaper. Maybe I shoudl start distributing not news as news and see what happens. Be another Joey Skaggs.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Friends and RG are telling me to blog more, post more, more more more!


The final installment of Harry Potter (and the Deathly Hallows) was certainly a wonderful, entertaining read. It's kind of a shame Ms. Rowling isn't better with her prose. The plot and the thought behind the plot was pretty dang wonderful, but her waffle-stomping prose often subjected those ideas and plot developments to the worst kind of abuse. I can see how this book will make a great film, in the hands of a competent director and screenwriter (where are you, Alfonso Cuaron?). There is much flashbacking and twisting, but there are also long stretches where our dear friends are waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

If there's one thing that's hard to write about, it's what people do and think when they have nothing to do at all. And Ms. Rowling doesn't quite have the chops for that.

On the other hand (lest anyone think this is all just one big HP bashing session), when she does have something for these folks to do, it gets interesting, and it gets complicated. I like complicated. There are many legalese twists of wizard logic in this story, and she handles those threads quite deftly. Harry has many trials to deal with, and some highly adult choices to make. He fulfills the series' promise of a brave, reluctant hero. And the humor (which there is less of in this installment, as it's basically wartime) is quite well done. My favorite being an exchange between Ron and Harry, where Ron is essentially saying that he didn't do anything particularly spectacular. Harry then enumerates the achivements Ron managed in a single act of bravery. Ron's response is "well, when you tell it like that, it sounds a lot cooler than it was." Harry says something like, "I know. It always sounds cooler than it was. I've been trying to tell you that for five years."

Which sums a lot of it up, and in many ways, is probably what soldiers go through. You do your job well, occasionally save a friend, and afterwards what you did seems to be far removed from what you remember having done, and certainly sounds better than when you were actually doing it.

In other news (and speaking of Alfonso Cuaron), I saw Children of Men while ill. I have to say, as an editor, I envy the bugger that got to do that movie. Aside from about ten scenes that involve actual cutting, there are many very very long single takes that are so completely immersive, you can't stop watching. You know that bad things are likely to happen, but you don't want to turn away. One of the most moving film experiences I've had in a long time.

Also saw Rataouille and the new Harry Potter film. In a theatre!!! JOY!

Gotta do that more often - makes my day every time, even if the film doesn't.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Slow on the outflow

RG has already blogged about the Maui trip, and said pretty much everything I wanted to say about it, so there you go.

Except for...

Is my current existence only for the furtherance of other people's bulls**t? The movie work is worthwhile, but the regular job...

Maui cut through a lot for me. Made me look at what the hell I think I'm doing. Made me think that it's time, that no matter what, I have to find something else and soon.

Otherwise, you might as well laminate me to my chair and call me a fixture.
Pictures of the grand vaca soon!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Traveling with Crazy People for Fun and Profit!

Friends, Romans, Countrymen -

Get me the F**K outta here!!!

I digress...

I traveled to a lovely garden spot on the east coast of our dear Nation. I'm not revealing names or places for the protection of the innocent.

And if you can find anyone innocent in this crew, I'll give you money.

The Flight In

First of all, it takes forever. You start fairly early in the morning, just to show up. Then the flight is meant to last five and a half hours. During which (if you're willing to pay) you can have a burger-y thing or canned tuna and applesauce. If you're not willing to pay, a cookie and pretzels are what you have to look forward to, along with all the free water or soda or juice they can stock on the plane. All of which sounds OH, so appealing. There's also five dollar beer or wine or cocktails. Which I should have had, except I'm trying to do homework or entertain my brain with a fairly kinky novel set in the sex-trade industry of Thailand. Bangkok 8. Great mystery novel, and darn weird.

So, as we're approaching our destination, the pilot comes on to tell us (in faint, static-y wisps of english that still required translation via the stewardess) that we would be circling for a little while, as there was terrible wind shear, and an attempt at a normal landing might end up with all of us nose-down in the Atlantic ocean. So we circled.

And circled.

And circled.

And circled.

Then an approach was begun, from waaaaaay far out there.

The flight ended up being about an hour longer than originally anticipated.

We then split up into our respective cars, me with Robert W, Tom D with Amy G, and Heidi G with Jim R. (I think - I may have the dance cards mixed up) I immediately misdirected Robert (who was being closely followed by one of the other cars) onto the wrong offramp from the airport. We quickly recovered, and found ourselves on the right turnpike, heading south. Got to the hotel, checked in, showered, scoured, and headed out for the evening to a restaurant called Charlie Brown's (which I'd never been in). Drinking begins in earnest for the trip.

Food and Drink

Jim is the teetotaler of the bunch, and speaks of his drinking days with a certain fondness. Heidi dives into a watermelon (I think - pink for sure) martini. Amy orders water?!? I order a guiness draft. Robert and Tom order a pitcher of pee. AKA Coors Light. And proceed to drink it down in less than five minutes.

Another pitcher. Then large slabs of meat.

The work we do at the location, well, the less said the better, since it only makes sense to those of us doing it, and to outsiders it might sound like a big yawn. Or a big clusterf**k. Except that it all went pretty well. There was, however, flatulence - hence the above link.

Our first breakfast (the next day) is at a strange little countrified place that used to be someone's living room, or maybe their sunporch. The food involves various remakes of eggs, pork and velveeta. Comfort food for people who want to become uncomfortable. We actually eat here more than once.

We also eat at a little Italian place that appears to make a dozen different types of pizza, grinders, and salads, and they bring the food out to you. Genuinely Italian, the food has depth, subtlety and FLAVOR, and I could have easily gone through twenty slices of pizza without getting bored. I might have died, but I'd have died happy. We only manage to eat here twice.

Dinner conversation at TGI Fridays: "Throw her nuts on mine," "Put it in my mouth, now," the Dessert Exchange, "Open up." And my favorite, a new band name: "Jerry Springer Spaniel." Severe drinking. Margaritas, mojitos and beer (oh, my!).

The next evening, on our way to the best food of the trip, the conversation gets, well... a little of the old TMI. Nipples referred to as "party hats," certain sexual practices, High-Def pornography, "a** pimples," small hands, "a little head is OK"...

You get the picture.

The food is fantabulous! It's a BYO restaurant, so we first hit up the little tiny liquor store down the strip mall for six packs and airplane bottles of liquor. I find a beer called Hopnotic IPA, which is pretty darn tasty. Others are ordering Coke and adding booze to it. The food... the food...

Raw oysters and clams on the half shell, a ceviche of squid, scallops, and crab claws. Shrimp with a very decent cocktail sauce. And deep-fried rock shrimp with some kind of hot sweet sauce. Everyone orders large entrees, too. One order brings up yet another strange quote of the day, possibly the best one of the trip:

"Easier to get rid of veal than crabs."

I can't top that.

We leave a day early. Another long day full of sleep and homework, and a lovely novel called Clowngirl, by Monica Drake, whom Chuck Palahniuk refers to as his "Arch-Enemy." Which is quite a compliment, coming from him.

Goodnight for now.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Comments, please...

I'm thinking of adding the AdSense thingie to my political blog.

I fear adds for mAnn Coulter. However, perhaps that would be an indicator of my open-mindedness. Or at least public open-mindedness. Privately, I can still be a close-minded bastard...

Has anyone done this, or known someone who's done it? Is it worth it?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Racism is a thing of the future

At least the kids are trying, fer cornssake!

Un believably in this day and age, a high school just managed their first "integrated" prom. Some of the white kids didn't go because their parents disapproved. And they still had the "White kids prom" on the side, for those folks who wanted to attend the private prom. Black kids were welcome, but none came.

Gee, I'm all surprised...

School bullys. Racism. Talk of "sissification".

No wonder people go on shooting rampages. Not that I condone that sort of thing, but if we still hold fast to that which is rotten, how can we ever get a handle on some of these really deep-seated psychoses? Is it just easier? Are we truly that unevolved?

Sorry - undesigned...

If God is so wonderful, why did he give us the capacity for such hatred? Such ignorance? Perhaps he prefers us ignorant. His hard-core followers certainly seem to. Talking vegetables indeed! It's shame that the talking vegetables are more articulate than some people. Try this little magazine, which is apparently very popular amongst the Christ-tween set.

Yes, people have beliefs and one should respect those beliefs. It's not even about beliefs any more, it's about dogma, ritual, specifics. How tall is God? How hard does Satan really work to tempt his minions? Does he have to work that hard with Pat Robertson and his law college? Or Oral Roberts and "call me home"?

How many angels would even want to dance on the head of a pinhead?

Monday, April 16, 2007

A wholly owned subsidiary of me...

"Mark Levinson is a Registered Trademark of Harman International Industries."

Really, he is.

The Lexus website offers the Mark Levinson audio package (as part of a larger package which includes Collision Avoidance, Radar enhanced Cruise Control, etc.). As part of the description of the Mark Levinson audio portion of the extra $x,000 pile of cash you'll have to fork over to get one of these very pretty cars, this little line (above) of throwaway legal verbiage is included.

Which gets me thinking. or not

So Harman owns him? Do they own his name? His abilities? Everything he touches?

How does his wife (assuming he has one) feel about this ownership thing? Does she only have access to a percentage?

Looking at Luxury Cars (which I rarely do - it's more of a "damn I'm jealous of other people with money" thing than a more enlightened "who needs that pile of status" attitude), I begin to wonder about the whole concept of skilled labor, or in this case, super-skilled labor. To be so skilled in one aspect of existence that someone can actually Trademark your name, your skill, your style. I seem to remember Tom Waits suing Pepsico for stealing his vocal/musical style for an ad without his authorization. I also remember wondering, "so no one else can sound like Tom Waits without paying royalties?" Creeeeeepy.

It's not like the Les Paul series of Signature guitars are actually made by Les Paul. He's getting a little old to be cranking out that many guitars in his garage anymore. He just signs 'em. Sorta...

I need to develop such a skill, but I have to wonder what it would be. Something desirable, high-paying, peculiar to the tastes of the wealthy (or at least those with a very active credit history).

Not sex, obviously. My wife won't even pay me for that. (and yes, I've asked)

I used to fashion high-end bondage gear, but it was very time-consuming, and one can only nail in rivets in so many different configurations before you run out of the mathematical permutations, and then how unique can you be? And human bodies only bend so far in any individual direction so...

Then I think - couch surfing! Perhaps I can be an IKEA couch-certifier. Only I watch TV in the way that I do, while eating and drinking, in my slippers and underwear, and I can be certain to be the worst thing that will ever happen to a sofa. stEn's Butt certified, a registered Trademark of the IKEA corporation! All my food and beer would be a write-off, as necessary tools of my profession!

No. I need something more creative. I need something that says "stEn" without requiring "stEn" to be there for every minute of its creation. Specifically something that will make me lots of residuals, but that won't make me cringe if I ever see it in the street. I don't want to be ashamed for foisting some piece of crap off on an unsuspecting public with my name glued to it in shiny, faux-metal plastic letters.

Personally, I'm mostly sorry I didn't think of the whole Flying Spaghetti Monster thing first.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Going, going, going...


Remodeling. I have friends who have done this sort of thing. Now I'm looking at the problem and there's too many notes.

We're getting the house jacked up (slightly).

The front porch needs to be overhauled.

Then the windows need replacing.

Then the plumbing. (PEX?)

Possibly a new water heater.

A new oil furnace.

Old drywall (of some sort) and wood paneling removed and re-drywalled. The ceiling, too.

A parking pad in the backyard.

Three trees removed.

A hedge installed (100' of it!).

A fence in the backyard. With a gate.

A new walkway to the front door.

A new walkway from the back door.

Some of which I can do myself, except that I never seem to have time.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Plane rides with eeek!

Another trip, another trippy experience. This time, from Seattle to New Jersey to Salt Lake to Sacramento to Seattle.

In three days.

50 people unwrapping a snack.

Folks next to me yelling things like "peeing in public" or "do I need to loan you some Trojans?"

Whatever happened to "indoor voice"?

I'm lost in Clinton, New Jersey, and thankful I got a lousy car from the rental agency, because I'd be expecting to get carjacked. OH MY GOD! I'm a f**king racist after all. Just because they're black and possibly not living quite as well as you do, does NOT make these people criminals. Not all of them, anyway.


Anyway, perhaps it was the fact that it was taking me over an hour to get to my hotel (situated less than a quarter mile from the airport), thanks to a single wrong turn on my part. Yes, it was my fault, but dammit, I'm a victim of improper sign-posting (no, not really), and poor directions from Hertz (well, sort of). So I got to the hotel just in time to go to the bathroom for an HOUR.

Then, bad food followed.

Next day, walk through a warehouse, staring intently at girders and wires, then run to the airport for the next flight. To Salt Lake, then to Sacramento. And they gave me a Mustang convertable (wooo hoo!). Nice ride if you have a lot of driving to do, which I did that day.

Stuck in the airport again, this time with only a Gordon Biersch(itt) and a magazine stand for food. I had the sausage. (and a LOT of beer - how else do you kill four hours in an airport?).


Say what again...

Friday, March 9, 2007

Bad blogger, no biscuit!

We just had our employee agreement meeting today, in which I learned that I could not say anything bad about the company I work for, nor any of its employees, directors, officers, etc., in this blog space.

We also found out that if we're on Medical Marijuana, and we test positive for it. out on yer ass! Even if a doctor has said we should have it. (because it's against "federal law")


I guess I won't mention where I work. Of course, everyone I know knows where I work. And some of my coworkers read this blog (you know who you are). And some of them are dorks (you know who you are).

Actually, the main reason I stay where I am is the people. The work itself has never been terribly inspiring, and there are definitely days when I feel as if all I am is a giant rubber-stamp (giant because of the weight problem, really). But my coworkers are generally very decent people with a mostly twisted sense of humor.

Higher up the food chain, there is what I would call a lack of transparency. Decisions are made and no one knows quite why. They show you how decisions get made, but usually only well after the fact. Some times they claim they asked for suggestions (and if you're in town and get your e-mail in time, you'll find out); some times the suggestions are based on "informal interviews with particular managers". Ahhhh, the silent minority.

Outside of it all, I am pretty happy. The house is still too small, the cats still too... insane. The yard large, imposing, and there's always the sense of where the hell do you start? I mow the lawn. Occasionally, I water the lawn. I take out the trash. Soon I will have to dig out and level a large area in the back for a parking pad. We're looking at jacking up the house to accomodate potentially a new foundation. I also need to replace the old stairs and the little walkway behind the house leading to the basement door. I'm working on a film shot in French, which is mostly getting decent reviews by everyone who's seen it. The feature version is soon to be into shooting.

And meanwhile I am studying Kant, Mill, Aristotle and dwarf-tossing.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Is, too...

Kant, mustn't, won't.

I (have already mentioned this) am in college again, or near it, or something. How do you describe an experience that feels just like work, without the attendant lectures, seminars, hot angry discussions, etc? No cheerleaders either. So last week it was Aristotle and Nichomachean ethics. This week it's Immanuel Kant and a Grounding for a Metaphysics of Morals.


Normally, once our professor begins the week with a reading assignment (usually some contemporary or near-contemporary news story), even if they haven't done the reading yet, everyone weighs in with both feet in the discussion forums, yakking about The Golden Mean, or whether gambling can be considered an ethical act by Aristotle's standards, etc.

This week - zilch. No one is saying nothin'. I can understand why. We've been given a simple text by Immanuel Kant (who uses one very long word where eight short ones would do - apologies to Len Deighton) and an article about a European Union MP who wants to ban dwarf-tossing. But mostly it's about a particular dwarf and the pub owner who gets him tossed every night of the week. But the reading... Jeebus... from what I can tell, Kant was a rather dull fellow (you could set your clock by his daily walks) and a major effing egotist to boot. From what I'm reading, it's like he's thought this stuff up and has to write it down, and then proclaims himself an authority on this particular thing because he has arrived at these conclusions by using Pure Reason. And as I'm reading it, I keep thinking:

Spock Spock Spock
Not that Kant is wrong in his conclusions (who the hell am I to say that anyway, I've barely read the one little volume?), but damn. Lighten the f**k up a little! I can't tell if he thinks that art in and of itself is a good thing (as it is not derived from pure reason). He does mention that now that many types of labor (including the arts) have been divided between various skilled craftsmen that excellence is a more likely result than when one person tries to do everything, and bungles the job. I guess he's never worked on a government project...
The one thing that struck me that I thought interesting was the idea of Universal Law. Basically, don't do anything unless you think it would be a good idea if everyone did it. Do not make it a law for yourself, unless you think everyone should obey that law. It's not the Golden Rule deal "do unto others..." etc. It's more like, if everyone did it, would that be a good thing for everyone (including you)?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

the GOD plane

I sat next to two ladies on the plane from Seattle to Cincinatti, Ohio.

Both of whom were very God-oriented. The older lady is your basic Catholic. A believer, nice, friendly. Nothing terribly wacky.

The young one is, wellll....

Talks about the plans God has for her. Wherever God puts her is God's will. She's traveled everywhere, Europe, Africa, sees God's hand in everything, including helping poor children find God in Africa, even though they're starving. That, of course, is not God's fault.

Meanwhile, I'm reading Chuck Palahniuk's Choke. A book about a sexual addict, who talking about how he's gotten or getting laid in pretty explicit detail. Also about working as a fake Irish indentured servant in Colonial Dunsboro (like Williamsburg, only the name has been changed to protect the innocent), where his friend spends much of his work week in the stocks for being modern in some way, and where pretty much everyone who works there is an addict of one kind or another. And also about his upbringing by a mother who keeps kidnapping him away from all his foster parents every time she gets out of jail (where she has to go for doing various odd little annoying misdemeanors).

Ultimately, it's all about not letting yourself get brainwashed by society, and here's two nice folks filling the hours of the plane ride talking about how they've let themselves be brainwashed. Hell, they've been active and happy participants in the cleansing experience.

I got to hear Chuck read once, from the very book I'm reading, at the University Bookstore in Seattle. People had brought their kids to this reading. Little kids. And he reads from the second chapter, which is essentially about how the main character, Victor, goes to a support group for recovering sexual addicts, where he hooks up with a woman who's been released from prison to go to this support group, and they have sex on the floor of the Ladies... Palahniuk is a great believer in being a bit confrontational. For his book tour for Haunted (yeeeeeeeeesh), he would read from the chapter entitled Guts, which is beyond disgusting. People would faint.

Not sure where I was going with all this, but I'm still jet-lagged after four days in Toronto.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Vietnamese food with a side of HOLY S**T

So, me and the RG are sitting in one of our favorite restaurants in Seattle, the Moonlight Cafe, and we hear something.

Something familiar.

Truth be told, RG and I have a particular language that borders on the infantile. We sing silly songs about the cats, we're affectionate towards one another in ways only a three-year-old could appreciate. One important word in the lexicon, however, is "beedoh". Or, in the long version, "beebeedoh." As in, don't be such a beedoh. Or, upon seeing a particularly cute cat moment, "BEEBEEDOH!"

Sickening, huh?

So, here we are in a fav Viet restaurant, and we hear the word "beedoh" in the next booth. Then, "bedoh bedoh."

Holy guacamole, batman! Someone has either gotten access to our brains, or we're sitting next to a major coincidence.

An out-of-body experience at the Moonlight Cafe.

This weekend, a trip, a prize, a moment of fun - a long weekend in Portland. One of my coworkers asked if he could come along, and I was thinking... ummm... I'm going to Portland for a couple of DAYS. With my WIFE. Why would I want to bring a coworker?

I'm getting concerned.

In more unfortunate news, RG got her eyelid scratched by one of the furry monsters this morning. We had to make a quick trip to the Emergency Room to have it checked out. As it turned out, it was nothing too bad, though it was bleeding pretty profusely at first. And her eyeball was untouched. We are now debating over the possibility of locking the cats outta the bedroom, or will we miss them, and they us, to the point of dischord. Robie, of course, will wear a hole in the bedroom door with his scratching.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

More people better than me

I tell ya. Doesn't pay to chew through the straps, some days...

We got another memo. Basically saying look, look, other people are being promoted.

I really don't want to know, unless it affects me personally, like, this person now has the Power of Life and Death over you. Then I'm concerned.

I realize they send these emails to everyone in the whole division (and in some cases, the whole damn company), I guess I wish there was a better filter for the info. Do I really care that some guy I've never met is going to be promoted from Assistant Front-End Manager at one store to Assistant Manager of another store, both of which are over two thousand miles away. Congratulations! Who are you, again?

Yeah, other people making more money than I do.

In other news, the French film I'm working on is being potentially converted to a feature length film. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA It should be fun. Still trying to nail down the contact lens effect, while trying to clean up the sound.

Cats. I have three. They have me. Don't know why.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Screwed up royally

I am such a dimwit.

I really thought that one had to create different blogs using different sign-ons or different passwords.

Not reading the carefully written text of the dashboard on this website that allows one to create as many blogs under the same sign-on as you like.

DER! (or is it DOY!?)

Anyway, I created my political blog (P-blog?), and then promptly lost it. I used a misspelled version of my actual email address, and cannot figure out how I misspelled it. It exists, there is one posting, and unless the nice folks here at Blogger choose to, I will never be able to access it again.

I may just start a slightly different version of it under this login, and call it something slightly different. The other one was Ugly Bald Liberal. Maybe the new one will be Old Bald Liberal.

Anyway, in other news, we get these nifty promotional announcements via corporate e-mail, and I don't know why I should care, but it kinda bugs me: "Here's a bunch of people who are doing better than you are. Work harder!" or something.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I have been told to start my own blog by the polite lefties here at work. I suppose I could tell them I already have my own blog, I just don't blog about politics.

Well... not much anyway.

It might upset them to discover that what I blog about is the job I don't like. And that they do.

Anyway, Rambunctious Girl and I are going to look at a BMW tonight. Apparently it's important that we raise our insurance costs. It IS cute, black-on-black, 2-door, hatchback. Then again, I guess I'll have to sell my truck. But then I can drive Cori's Honda. (but what if I need to haul something?)

Rent a truck from Home Despot, I guess...

Thursday, January 4, 2007


I wear my Mickey Mouse ears with pride.

(I know - attention whore)

Looking to get that degree thing. I am actually seeking input from anyone with knowledge concerning on-line degrees, and whether it's worth pursuing. There was one institution I looked at that was actually offering a a Journalism degree, but I worked out that it would cost $51,000 for me to complete all the course credit requirements. At the end of which, I would have a Bachelor's degree (a B.S., I believe - a B.S. in Journalism?).

Anyone know anything about these sorta things? I haven't seen much research on-line, mostly it's all just propaganda, and people seeking advertising dollars for linking you to the on-line colleges' websites.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

This isn't happening

And neither am I. So far, I have had two system crashes (on a fuckin' MAC, fer cornsakes).

I have discovered the pleasures of Shake, but unfortunately not the skills. Yet.

Shake, for the less initiated, is a fairly powerful compositing program that folks like Daubentonia use (or used - I realize that ILM has made significant changes to this software for their own purposes). I am simply trying to cause a pair of contact lenses to follow a person't moving face around a screen, and then disappear as that person closes their eyes. Not the easiest thing, admittedly, but it should be possible.