Yo there. You.. yah you.
How are things going? Where are you? Are you even in the States right now? Russia? China? I can never keep track. Anyhow, I'm basically procrastinating right now. Work has piled up and I'm going to be heads-down for the next two weeks straight but then I'm done done done on the 13th of April.. Yahooooo. Anyhow, that means I'll be back in Portland on or around the 18th or so. What are you up to this summer? We should hang out cause good god, I need a beer.
Having seen a screenshot of aero
, which is the code-name for the user-interface of Microsoft's upcoming Longhorn Windows operating system, I gotta say it sorta reminds me of the look and feel of msn.com
. I s'pose that's a no-brainer for Microsoft but it begs the question: "what does an entire world written in the same user interface look like?". I think one of the benefits we have as humans is an individual and unique interface to the world for everyone of us. Sure, sometimes and most of the time very similar, but it's the small differences that let us use our environment in slightly different ways, it's this interface that let's us discover new and more powerful ways to work with the world we exist in.
And on the same Microsoft subject: I recently read a research paper outlining the process of abstracting map directions, ala yahoo/msn, into a presentation format similar to that of a hand-written "directions to my birthday party" sort of dealio and lo-and-behold, msn maps
actually implements the paper. When you type in directions, be sure to select LineDrive
to check it out.
On occassion I am known to peruse my archives to see if maybe, just maybe, there is a jem in there that I wrote without even realizing it. Honestly, I never expect much.. but every once in awhile I find something that cocks the head, raises the eyebrows, or.. on the down side.. makes me groan. I think that's one power of blogs: it's a mirror of yourself that is more truthful than you are often willing to admit. Just asking oneself questions - taking inventory, as it were - does not always yield the sort of honest truth you're looking for. But a blog.. oh, a blog.. the power of recorded thought. Inescapable recordings of your state at certain moments in your life.. there is worth in that.
It often happens that you are sitting with some old friends - people that have known you longer than you care to remember - and the odd do you remember when we first met
conversation comes up. First impressions. This is an important data set to a human, social creatures that we are, and so it's no wonder people become amazingly self-involved during these little discussions.
"So, what did you think of me when you first met me?" is a more burning question than I think most people are willing to admit. It's got a certain power to it: cut and dry, no holds barred, actual impressions. In a world full of first impressions this is information so valuable you could call it a trade secret.
So how does a blog enter into this? Well, given enough time.. and a lazy memory like mine.. well, I can go back and read some archives that I've built up over the last three and a half years (holy, that sounds like a long time) and I can see some stuff that I essentially don't remember ever writing. Sure, when I get into it things start to ring a bell but there is a certain removed quality about it, as if it's just a short story from someone else that I happened upon a long time ago. There is a character to it that allows me to evaluate it as if I don't know this person, michael
, that wrote these words so many moons ago. If I'm really not paying any attention I don't even have to go back much more than a week.
So what do I gain from all of this? Well, it's an interesting window into one's self. Back to the mirror thing. You can read it how you want to - and sure, we'll put a spin on things if we want to lie to ourselves - but deep down, real deep down in the cockles of our hearts, we know what we are. Reading these posts just helps that much more.
So here there is, this no holds barred truth, up here on the innnernector for all to see. It's no wonder people used to do this sort of stuff in a diary
. I'm just too vain a character to ever write just for myself.. so blogging.. it's given me, essentially, the power of diary when I'm not a "diary guy". A place to record my thoughts in certain moods but with some sense of purpose or at least an idea of a an audience. Whether they give a shit or not.
What's all this about? There is a post from a week or so ago that I've considered, on more than one occassion, taking down. Luckily I remember the words of reverend tony
: [paraphrasing] write, print, post, don't think about it. So somehow I think going back and removing a post, for whatever reason, is sort of cheating. To delete a post is to deny that you were ever in that emotional and mental state. It's like trying to rewrite or delete history. Come on.. we know we despise people rewriting history, right? Talk to Howard Zinn.
So better or worse, I maintain this blog, I maintain the posts that appear here in their original text and format, no matter how embarassed I might be. I place this here as a mirror that I might look at - and through the power of the will of the human drive it will be, likely, maintained forever after.. despite my death, my children's death, or my grandchildren's death. These are things we don't often think about as we type out drunken blog posts but things that are nevertheless relevant, real, possible, and actually probable.
Perhaps we should think about these sorts of things, as we'll be dealing with them soon enough as we become old men. It will likely make presidential candidate denial of "inhaling" pale in comparison.
Serious flaw in Apple's Safari web browser: inability to tab into, and select with a snap of the space bar, check boxes on www forms. Bummer.
From the makers of the internet archive comes OurMedia
We provide free storage and free bandwidth for your videos, audio files, photos, text or software. Forever. No catches.
Quite a claim.. but at least for now: who said there is no such thing as a free, unlimited space/bandwidth hosting service?
After last call when the bar lights go up and then go back down half an hour or so later so as not to call attention to the cops on the prowl, the drunkards get locked in like Natalie Portman in a Walmart except they don't fret too much about it. They're busy solving the world's problems, you know.
I met an Iranian tonight. Old, probably in his 60's, and happy to be alive it seemed. He rolled me a cigarette off of his pack of Drum and offered to let me roll it if I wanted, but I told him I was no good anyway. We talked for awhile about democracy, then "Bush's Democracy" as he so often called it, and how there is a great divide between the theory and the practice - he didn't blame me, thankfully. He graciously accepted my offer of a beer and shook my hand to celebrate the second day of the new year - the second day of spring - and I thought: he might have something here. Today was so bright and beautiful that it spoke to me, in that soothing voice, which says no matter you got no work done, it's soo nice out..it's okay.. it's okay, michael.. it's okay
. I did try to get some work done; even spent 10 hours at the computer lab, as if that's synonymous with getting work done, but in the end it was another night in another bar with another stranger talking about more strange things.
When I asked him about the Iranian nuclear program he laughed a jolly laugh, and I chuckled, as if we both knew the joke. He told me there was no reason in the world that the U.S.A. should think they are allowed, or Britain should think they are allowed, or even India, when Iran was not
allowed: "Ridiculus!" he exclaimed, but not with any malice, more with a contemplative sigh. "Twenty-two years," he said, "I've been living in this country. I love Canada. I'm a citizen of this earth, but I'm living in Canada."
He was, in the end, a drunk old man with white hair at the bar, pitted and bulbous and gnarled, but he wasn't any less of a person. Not to me, sitting on a stool drinking without a reason wasting money and generally disrespecting my opportunities.
My roommate kept egging him on, starting sentences with things like "As an Iranian man.. ?" I wanted to punch him. We can all get a bit verbose with a bit of the drink in us but I wasn't in the mood for it and yet my roommate was on a roll. Somehow I find that politics and bars aren't the best soulmates so I try to stick to how's-the-weather
. In the end I'm no more lucky than the rest.
I can talk you blue in the face but I lack a certain something when it comes to the gift of the gab. I don't quite have the staying power of someone who can preach to an absent choir. I need an attentive audience. Sometimes I think my ability to read people is a downright curse. I actually stop talking when someone seems offended, indifferent, or downright bored. These are the reasons I will never make a good politician and these are also the reasons I will never be the person that everyone expected me to be. I just can't step up and blab like an idiot if I don't really have anything to say.
All of these things, the Iranian, Bush, Natalie Portman, and the weather?? These are the things that make the world go 'round.. not me. I'm just trying to hold on.
If I wrote half as much as, say, raymi
and then read twice as much as anti
, and then took 4 times as many pictures as jaime
, would I care any more? Would it be worth it? Would I have anything interesting to show, share, write, or read? Would it matter?
Today I did a bad thing. I abused time. I got my mits on the controls of the universe and made it do wacky things like slow down, speed up, slide sideways.. and I didn't even mean to. When you're in that mid-state of sleep/awake on a Sunday morning, when you're not sure if you're ready to get up yet or ready to fall back into a deep slumber, when the day is in clear danger of being zapped into oblivion by a single blink of an eye, then snooze! boing: Evening Time.. this is when you aren't in the best shape to be making decisions. Especially not about the universe. And this, my friends, is when I made the ill-fated decision to warp my perspective out like gumbie on the rack.. In a single heart-beat I raced forward from 11:00am to 3:20pm. It was like a roller coaster ride, as I tossed and turned on the bed but so quickly it was as if I didn't move at all. Hours streaming past faster than autobahn traffic. When I finally mashed the big red stop button my heart was racing and my mind was out of breath. It took me another hour to recover and climb out of bed to face the world and what I'd done to it. I hoped no one noticed but I was petrified that I'd screwed someone's plans up. Maybe a stroll in the park that turned into a run, I dunno.
So I should be doing work right now, catching up with my time card that I've already submitted and am therefore responsible for. I should be contemplating my school projects. I should be doing something productive - it's what makes the world go round - but I'm not. Instead I did the shuffle-shuffle upon exit of my bed and I put the kettle on. I opened a browser window and typed in the first thing that came to mind. Not cnn.com or nytimes.com or news.google.com or msnbc.com. Not even slashdot.org or metafilter.com or daypop.com or boingboing.net. I just needed something good with my morning
tea. Something soothing in a natural sort of way. Literature.
So I typed in t h e k n o w n u n i v e r s e . n e t
. I read short stories, anecdotal poems in prose. Real, published for the world to see, interesting and compelling, drawing-me-back-for-more literature.
When I was done there I went over to tony's
to hear about SXSW
, which is a glob of "Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals" - basically music, film, and some blogger stuff as well, with blogger panels, awards, all sorts of shnazz - bringing what we do here on the internet into the real world and showing that this new hipster lifestyle involves technology and stuff.. it was only a matter of time before the geeks got their claws into things and started to take over, changing the very definition of the word.. now it's happening.
Afterwards, I noticed tony's link to David Duchovny's blog
, in which his last contribution he bumbles through his first audio post. Brilliant. Perhaps this is a case of blogging as advertisement (for his new movie) but quite frankly it's the sort of advertising I'd prefer to be submitted to.. over flashy commercials and annoying banner ads.
Then? Wil Wheaton
, who once played Crusher on Star Trek the Next Generation, talks about his recent outting on MSNBC and how little they "get" blogging and how they chose to focus on the celebrity aspect of things as opposed to the more intimate and real aspects of what blogging can bring to media. I think Wil said it well:
I was hoping we'd discuss the empowering nature of blogs, and how anyone, even celebrities, can use blogging software to communicate with people. I hoped to point out that blogging is very egalitarian, and it doesn't matter how famous a person is offline, if their blog just isn't relevant or interesting, nobody will pay attention once the novelty wears off, and they'll be stuck with little more than a promotional tool that is largely ignored. When we started out, I tried to explain that I was a "blogger with a high-profile job", rather than a "celebrity blogger," but they just weren't interested in hearing that. Instead, they did everything they possibly could to turn the conversation to She Whose Name Will Not Be Spoken, Britney Spears, and other vapid media whores darlings who would probably vanish in a puff of smoke the instant the media stopped fawning over them.
Bummer. But if you follow my link to his site you'll be pleased to see that at least the online rag Salon managed to get things right.
After my literature review for the day, I went over to the evil empire
(aka Amazon) to find a copy of The Last Waltz. Last night at the Green Room (Le Salon Vert) on St. Laurent I was chit-chatting with a beautiful girl (who happened to be sitting on her boyfriend's lap, no worries) about The Band. She was a die-hard fan and expounded upon their greatness with flying hands and a lively sparkle in her eyes. When she heard I had not seen The Last Waltz, a documentary about the last concert they played with many guests such as Dylan, Diamond, Morrison, and even The Boss, she grabbed my forearm and squeezed. She poked me in the chest. "You have
to see it!" she demanded with imperative intonation. I quickly told her I would put it on my to-do list and she blinked, unsatisfied, "Put it on you to-do list for TOMORROW," she insisted.
I, too, am a big fan of The Band but there was something in those eyes - the insistence, the pleading - that made me get up today and go searching for my own DVD copy. There was something there in her intensity that reminded me of a girl I once knew, a girl I once tried to love. It wasn't exactly a new epiphany I had right there in the bar, but sort of a recollection of ideas. Rememberance of certain facts of life that, when put together, formed some lessons to be learned. Specifically that the fiery intensity of little pixie girls can be dangerous. Specifically that this intensity is best enjoyed in little spurts - in the form of a concert DVD suggestion perhaps - and that trying to bottle this amazing spirit up into a bottle, into some sort of caged animal like a relationship
.. well, you can try but you might get burnt.
I've been burnt quite a few times in my life but there is a certain 1st-degree quality of a pixie burn that drives right to the bone. I got burnt once already by one of these creatures and I'm, at least for now, wary enough to keep my distance.
So I ordered a copy of The Last Waltz and I'll be looking forward to that in the days to come, along with a copy of Raising Arizona to complete my Cohen brother's collection.
Afterwards I got myself another cup of tea and pulled the curtain back in my little box of a room, opening myself up to the world. I looked out at the parking lot behind my building and there was a woman throwing a ball around for her dog. Last night, as I faded off into sleep around 4:00am there was a dude sitting in his car with the door open, banging on a drum. Before that, in the evening, a group of kids were smoking between two cars, pissing in the middle of the lot. Yesterday afternoon a crazy man, lurching and spastic, yelled after his dog as it sniffed around the automobile tires. A well dressed older couple stood silently by their car as they watched this dishevelled man stumble into the parking lot and capture his bull terrier, grabbing the leash and speaking harshly to the dog like it was a misbehaved child. The couple remained still as the dog and the bum wandered down the street, still talking to the street, the apartment buildings, the lamp post.. whoever or whatever would listen. When he was finally a few doors down the road the well dressed man and woman finally closed the door to their car and headed in the opposite direction. Lunch or early dinner at a nice restuarant, I suppose.
Now, I'll put my head down and let the sun shine into my little box unfettered. I'll leave the rays be as they bounce around my room. It comforts me just to know they're there. I'll Netmeeting into my work box and put some hours in doing java development and then maybe I'll read a research paper or to. I'll feel productive, refreshed after such a nice nights sleep, and I'll feel alive, part of the world that lies right outside my window.
Today, somewhere between the corners of Clark and St. Urbain on Rue Prince Arthur, somewhere between the hours of 9:45 and 10:00 AM, I strolled along at a good clip with my fleece zipped to my midchest and my baseball cap pulled low over my eyes to block the brilliant sun from my blinky-sleep eyes. The air, bright and crisp like a morning swim was as calm as a lake and I breathed deeply, enjoying the winter-come-spring freshness of renewal. Stepping along I noted two pigeons milling about a parked car, stepping aside as people passed, waddling around in circles, and generally keeping their heads down for tasty morsels. As I Approached the speckled one gave me a sideways glance, skuttling up a sheet of ice that had layered itself onto an alleyway ramp where the curb was cut away. It wasn't even at the slightest angle, this ice, but I wouldn't have put it out of range of a grandmotherly fall so I skirted around it's edge. As I passed, I watched the bespeckled one watch me, pretending he wasn't watching me watch him. Then, out of the blue, the funniest thing happened. He slipped.
I always imagined pigeons - and birds in generally, really - to be masters of balance and poise since, at a moments notice, they need only stretch out their wings and they are off. Built in trapeze-artists balancing stick, only it's a stick with feathers.. that can help you fly. So it came as a surprise when old bespeckled splayed a leg out down the ice, slipping sideways and sort of turning in a mini-pirouette. His one foot - mostly under his center of mass - held on for dear life, sort of hopping once or twice the slightest bit to avoid committing him to a full-out slide. He did recover magnificently, I will give him that, but it was a close call and I chuckled my way to the corner, a more humoured man for the encounter.
Just when I thought my entertainment was over I noticed an old man shuffling down the street towards me. He had on a cabbie-type hat of some kind, a knitted scarf of some dark earthy colour like olive or brown, and a coat that tucked in under his gut at the waist with a stretch band. His zipper was around midchest, as mine was, and he wore thick glasses. As we approached one another, heading in opposite directions, I became immediately convinced I had seen him before. I wracked my brain, spinning through photos like a desperate casting director, until finally: aha! He was, no doubt, a carbon-copy of the polar-bear clubman in the "Intervention" episode of Seinfeld who told Elaine the joke about male kangaroos and their pouch envy. "At least give me a pocket!". This, the pigeon.. "Okay," I thought. I looked up at the pure blue sky "It's going to be one of those days, huh?" And then he winked at me. Or there was some dust in his eye. Or I'm making it up. Either way.
"Surely," I thought, "this is it." There wasn't anything else I could possibly see worth mentioning. No way. Normally, walking to class, I'm grumpy and tired charging along with head down just trying to get where I'm going. Normally I don't see anything worth even a second glance - and even then, she's usually with her boyfriend. Today, though, there was something in the air. Something on the breeze, I guess. Something. As I came close to St. Urbain, having just left the old man from the polar bear club, I felt and heard something brush up against my leg. I looked down to see a white paper plate - a veseel of dollar pizza, no doubt - flat up against my leg, but only for a second. It sat there for the briefest moment, like a kid surveying the deep end before cannonballing off the diving board, and then took off with the faintest breeze down Prince Arthur. It rolled completely around it's circumference, standing almost perfectly straight up and down, with barely even a hint of drunken swagger. As I walked along it trotted beside me, matching my speed, and before I knew it we were 40 feet down the sidewalk. As we broke the corner of St. Urbain the little plate that could was no match for the crosswinds and she fluttered, rolling around once like a dog matting it's bedding down, before coming to rest on the ground.
On the same stretch of block as I mentioned above there is a round indentation in the sidewalk (north side). It's about 4 inches in diameter and it looks like a cut out or perhaps as though it was specifically kept with a mold in the concrete. I've never stopped to really explore so I only have what little knowledge I've gathered from cursory examinations in passing - whatever 3 or 4 seconds of a moving blur might provide. Basically, I know that it is often free of snow and ice when all around is white. This leads me to believe it's perhaps a cover to a water main or some other sort of system which lets off some amount of heat. I know that it's usually dark and grimy, with what looks like mulch from a flower bed pounded down in it, or perhaps it's just a dark metal cover, I don't really know. On occassion bits of trash can get stuck on the lip of it - I saw the same wrapper two days in a row once. On my way home tonight, however, I was looking directly down at it as I passed over the it's top and there lying directly in the middle of the hole (on top of what I think is dirt) was a tiny paddlelock with a gold body and a silver band. It looked like something you might see securing a girls diary or maybe a small jewelry chest. I'm usually fairly blind - especially in the dark - but I had my glasses on and I think I made out some sort of embossed symbol or image on the front of it. I'm afraid that's all I was able to discern within my allotted few seconds of viewing time as a I sailed by but when reached the other side of the cement slab I felt a little different somehow. Like a giant living above a tiny world of gnomes and trolls and fairies and fraggles.
I can't say I really noticed anyone today. For the most part I just shuffled to class - guest lecturer today so I didn't even have a chance to have that discussion with the professor I was meaning to have - and then I spent 12 hours in the computer lab computing sparse data flow graphs, reverse dominance frontiers, and 3D polygon-edge neighbouring information. Fun with pointers and hashes, oh my. When I finally hit the concrete again I was starving, stomach grumbling, and it was already close to midnight. The streets were quiet as I skipped home and the apartment was silent when I stepped into the foyer. The roommates were cozy in their beds so I reheated some old spaghetti and sauce from last night, plopped myself on the couch next to the dog, and turned Letterman on. I don't get to watch him too often but when I do I am only reminded of how horrible and putrid Leno can be. Al Green was on and David told the audience Paul Schaeffer and the kids were rushing off at the end of the show to perform at the Rock and Roll hall of fame induction cermony for U2, The Pretenders, Buddy Guy, the O'Jays, and my favourite of all cheesy oldies songmen, Percy Sledge. The Globe just published the story
about 5 minutes ago, while I was writing this post. Buddy Guy was presented with his honour by none other than Eric Clapton and B.B.King (who I will be seeing this coming month, incidentally, for my first time). Apparently the Boss ushered the Irish U2 boys in, but Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders humorously noted that the score was ''Ohio 2, Ireland 1," since her band as well as the O'Jays are both from the very state where the hall of fame is located. The event, filmed at the Waldorf-Astoria ballroom, should be on VH1 this Saturday evening, March 19th, according to Dave.
"What's a three letter word for candy?"
"Oh, I can never do those things.."
A lot of time I'm at a loss for words when I come here, staring at the blank screen and a blinking cursor, but on occasion - and this is rare at best - I have something brewing that is so important that I won't even write about it. It sits in my head festering for days, or weeks even, and it finally comes out in a big glob of a mess onto the screen, like a a baby being burped over someone's shoulder. This is the problem with it: it's usually a mess. Thoughts, spending too much time in my head, tend to get all balled up and twisted and convoluted and by the time it sees the light of day no one can recognize it from a rubics cube and it just sounds like a bunch of nonsense.
Honestly, I'm mostly spewing a bunch of nonsense on here.
But awhile back I took a break from thinking about this one girl I've been thinking an awful lot about for going on a good year and a half now. I had sort of just hit a wall - couldn't extend the scar any farther, it's healing process to a point where there was no scab to pick at anymore. So for a few weeks I left it completely alone in the back of my mind. There it sat and festered. This is what I call brewing. A nice dark roast that's slowly percolated and drips down into a deeo dark concentrated form. Just add sugar and stir. Bitter, black coffee - like living life, it gives you the jitters and makes your eyes wide open to the world.
She was bitter black coffee to me for an entire half a year.
It all started honestly enough when I met her in a bar in a small town in Maine called Portland. It's actually the biggest town in Maine at 65,000 but to give most folks a good idea of what we're dealing with I can't call it a city really. It's more like a backwater of civilization - running water, rock shows, and some crazy bars but still out of the way enough that the darker seeds of America have not shown up and ruined it yet. Portland is sort of like your little nephew - younger, more sweetly niave, but geniunely curious about the world. And here it was in this town, of all towns (and to sound a bit cliche, of all the gin joints in all the world..) that I would set eyes on this creature of tantilizing aura, so delicious a buffet of visual delights as I cannot even describe to you. Flashing a smile that was a real geniune smile, as I stood there at the end of the bar, waiting in light right after her.. watching her get her gin and tonic, stir.. sip.. smile. Ahh..
It was one of those moments - a moment that happens a million times in a million bars a million times a day I suppose, I'm just too niave or hopeful to believe it. Even still, I never expected to actually talk to her.. but I did, as it happened. We talked for quite awhile and then strolled through the cobblestoned streets in the twinkling darkness of an August evening. We drank PBR out of a pitcher and smiled and somewhere during this time is when I figured out why art is so beautiful and why we, as humans, will always try to create more of it. It's the closest we can come to describing these character defining moments without literally bleeding on the canvas.
And for six months I felt like a walking piece of art, as troubled and turmoiled as I might have been. There were times when I couldn't catch my own tail, running around in circles confused as a young and overbred yellow lab. But somehow, regardless of all the retardedness on my part, I amazed myself over and over again with the sort of person I could be. Fuck, I was hypnotized.
For me it wasn't about turning on the charm but about turning on the integrity and being a person I knew I could be, but just never had a need for before. When the shit really hit the fan the first time - when I fucked up and said something retarded like "It doesn't even bother me that we haven't had sex yet" - I knew I'd fucked up before the words even left my mouth. I realized there was no way that I could truly explain something like that - how do you tell someone that you, after getting completely drunk with them at a beer festival (to which you scammed extra tickets for her friend weeks before, just so she could come because you knew she'd end up wanting to go in the end) and being so retardedly drunk that you danced in the parking lot with the car doors open and classic rock playing on the stereo - how do you tell someone that when they came up to bed with you and fell asleep in your arms as you stared at the ceiling with the stupidest grin on your face as you've ever had in your life - how do you tell that person that the experience was so unearthly that you honestly didn't think about sex even once the entire night - how do you tell someone this without sounding exactly like you were thinking about sex the whole night
?? Can't be done.
Retardedly, I tried. It suffered in the translation like my posts do when I'm trying to puke up a furball of a theory about how to tell my asshole from my elbow.
This is significant for two reasons. For one, I actually wanted in my heart of hearts to treat this person with the utmost respect and dignity that I could muster, and that two, I thought that being my absolute complete self - as opposed to some posturing, self-assured, or otherwise gesturing asshole - was the better choice for once. These are positive changes to make, I think. The sort of growth from young adulthood to true philosopher that somehow never comes across in the literature like you would think it would.. once you've experienced it for yourself. All of a sudden, out of the blue, I was my own role model.
This can't be a bad thing. I started running in ernest, going to the gym, and remembering to brush my teeth twice a day. I cut back on coffee and spent more quiet nights reading at home. I started remembering, caring about, and looking forward to other people's birthdays and anniversaries. I cooked myself fresh vegetables. I ate tons of fruit. And somehow, during all of this, I remembered to party hard and often and I felt as good as I've ever felt, perhaps.
If I had it to do over again I would, of course, but that doesn't stop me from cursing bad 80's movies with matthew broderick or john cusack every once in awhile. The kind where the nice guy always gets the girl in the end, the jock finds himself, and the nerdy guy gets a friend. In my worse moments I curse them for their incredible hypocrisy, writing a movie with a ludicrous ending that would never happen in real life - but in the end I'm just whining. It's all the art we can muster: slightly better, more interesting, more fantastic, and more beautiful than real life because that's what we want to leave behind. The fantasy. The epitaph that says "Holy shit, when I was living life, man, I lived
life and goddamnit did the earth glow radiantly".
Well I don't know how great it really was because a lot of it blurred together it went so fast. Long dinners, rock shows, and russian ballet.. Folk music festivals, dancing, and beer expos.. homemade pea soup and tea on the couch and card games at the bar.. and the best chocolate brownies I've had in years, delivered freshly baked and still warm. Maybe I remember things a little better than they really were and it's just the nostalgia talking, or maybe, just maybe, the earth really did glow radiantly that fall.
Who knows. Right now I'm still waiting for history to rewrite itself.
It's amazing what a thin piece of cloth can really do.
I have this huge window in my bedroom that takes up just about the whole entire wall. In fact, I take that back - it does
take up the entire wall. It's ginormous, but since it's south facing I get the morning sun which spells death to a vampire like me. There are all these little windows that run along the bottom which can be slid open and some days, with these little portholes opened up to the blustery winter weather, I'm burning up by 8am from the burning rays coming from the broiling yellow glob hanging low in the sky. When I first moved in it was August and it was even worse then, but I was sleeping down low on the floor so I could roll up to the wall underneath the sill and hide from the photons for awhile.. even if it was like a sauna in the room.
Eventually, though, I had to get some sort of curtain situation or I was going to die so I strolled up along St. Laurent and east down Mont Royal and scored a nice blue-dyed tapastry of sorts which would do the trick. I pulled the ladder out of the storage room, stuck the industrial staple gun in my pants, and up the rungs I went.
It's not perfect but it works. When I'm feeling brave I pull it back from both sides and jam the bottom of it in one of the little sliding windows so I can get some light in. The whole world, the Montreal skyline, and the barren blue sky becomes my fourth wall and I live in and among the other people of this city. But most of the time it stays closed and I can live in this tiny little bedroom world where the computers hum quietly at me, my clothes hang silently, waiting, and the table lamp throws a warm glow on the robins-egg blue walls.
And like my room, there are two worlds on either side of these eyes: the small cozy one on the inside and the "real" one out in front. As usual, it's the small and cozy one I tend to favour on my bad days but it's the world out there - in front of my eyes - that provides the real surprising and entertaining moments so I wander out there on a daily basis, each time an experiment in human nature. I'm a mad scientist.
When I spent a few weeks in September being retarded and making a birthday present for a girl it was a experiment in human nature because I'd never really done something like that before. Sure I'd gotten gifts for people before, even made gifts, but never with the same sort of furvor or necessity that I did this time around. Somehow it was something I had to do even though I knew deep down that it was a trifle bit useless. I'm in love with the world through the eyes of a girl who [sic] was still around the morning after
. And that's what it was: Not that she was still around the morning after (it's usually me who runs away) - but that she was still in my brain
the morning after; a special treat!
I've spent half a lifetime watching earth crumble in my hand and fall through my fingers, back to the ground, as it proves to be less solid than it seems and here it was: a chunk of mud that stuck together, a piece of soil that stuck together and formed a cohesive bond. It amazed me. Intrigued me.
So I made it a birthday present. Instead of trying to crumble it like I so often would, I somehow envisioned it in the little fantasy world in my head with a sprout sticking out of it, roots taking hold, hugging it together... in some sick rendition of earth day for lovers.
Well, you see what happens when you get overly emotional about these things. I'm having a bad year of it. It was about a year ago today that I last saw that little piece of soil, wrapped in baggy sweat pants curled up by the fire with the world balancing precariously on her shoulders and a car packed for the other end of the continent. Which makes it almost exactly a year and a half ago when I drove up Fore street in Portland Maine onto the Eastern Promenade, down to the public boat landing, onto the concrete ramp and pulled the parking brake. I left the car running with the headlights pointing down into the water and laid down in front of it, staring up at the midnight sky. It wasn't the first time I did that - sometimes after an interesting night you need to take a moment, a bit of reflection and meditation never hurt anyone - but this time around I made myself a promise: "When this one doesn't work out, you're heading to Grad school old buddy".
Maybe a bit melodramatic to make a decision to flip your world around like that all because of a girl but it wasn't really that at all. It was just a great excuse. I needed to do it and I needed to find a good deal with myself to get me there. A promise to keep. When I saw her, I knew I'd found my deal because there was no way life was going to work out that perfectly, so quickly: I was only 25 for christ sake!
So maybe it was a bit presumptuous of me to start filling out applications that fall but somewhere in the back of my mind I already knew the whole story, laid out in front of me fading off into the future. I knew, certainly, that by August I would be packing up my bags, throwing away old junk in my closets, performing a bit of a spring-cleaning of sorts, and heading off to some academic institution, somewhere, where I could immerse myself in such non-emotional tasks as optimizing compilers.
Everything washes away - some things quicker than others - but everything washes away. Laying on that concrete boat landing two Augusts ago I pretty much washed away myself. And ever since then? I've been living in this little cozy world behind the curtain with the robins-egg blue walls and the quiet humming computers. Every once in awhile I brave the weather and head out into the streets of Montreal, poking my head into a bar here and there, but I usually come up busted and broke. As if alcohol could erase a years worth of banging one's head on the wall. As if a "fun, social setting" could perk up a blues musician. As if.
It's been a rough year.
There was supposed to be a post here, but it got lost.
I'll be honest with you.. I'm a little bummed you gave it up to him
when you hadn't even met me yet. But, you know, I think that's part of the learning experience, right? There is something to be said for the here-and-now that doesn't translate well into the literature. A sort of "shit-why-the-fuck-not, I-only-live-once" sort of thing. I don't blame anyone.
If I was there maybe I'd change things up and make a point of not sleeping with anyone until I was quite certain... or maybe I'd sleep with every-which-one that came along just to check it out and try it on for size.. I dunno. I think the point is we all get a chance to try it our way, and, gee.. isn't that grand?
Life, it would seem, is a strange one. That's just the way it goes. If it was easy or obvious people like you and me wouldn't be writing emails to eachother back and forth. I truly believe that. For better or worse, we're unsure and questioning creatures.
Okay? No. I'm not. I'm not okay with any of it. I'm not happy with what I have to be. I'm not happy with the cold-hard-truths I have to deal with. I'm not happy with any of it. Maybe that's why I keep getting up in the morning, why I keep fighting the good fight, why I keep trying to change the status quo and - you know what - I'm fucking doing that, on occasion.
And that's just the way it's gotta be.
Sometimes, on lazy Sundays like today, I sit at the keyboard and with the cursor blinking at www.
I try to summon my fingers to blindly type out the web addresses of old friends - as if they had blogs - so I could catch up with people I haven't seen in far too long. The technologically advanced impulse of the Sunday afternoon phone call, I suppose. Unfortunately I know that no matter what I type in it's not going to be what I'm looking for.. it's going to be a bunch of words about someone I don't know that I end up reading and I'll be no closer to the closest person, or people, in my life. Only closer to one more stranger.
There is a limit to life, an asymptote that you can approach and approach and approach but you will never ever be able to get past that line no matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you flounder, no matter how much you want to believe.
In a recent article
over at OSNews, the venerable Eugenia Loli-Queru talks about what it would take to make a successful "$99 Laptop" - or as he clarifies, a "handtop" PDA/laptop hybrid. He points out that software selection for such a machine would be as, if not more, important than the hardware. He suggests a suite of applications that should be pre-installed for a solid user experience:
Applications pre-installed: Web browser with JS/CSS/SSL support (Konqi, or Minimo if made to work with 32 MBs of RAM), mini Kontact-like PIM app, stripped KOffice, 4-5 games, file manager/search, Todo, text editor with HTML syntax highlighting, PDF viewer, video player and equivelant browser plugins for popular formats, music player, Flash plugin, Java-lite, Calculator, enough Preferences/Settings, IM for 5 protocols, simple painting app, image viewer, un/zipping utility, RSS reader, Skype, SSH/Terminal services/S/FTP/WebDAV/SMB/VNC stuff, a terminal and maybe a Blog client & IRC client.
The most interesting bit here being that he thinks a "blog client" is potentially important enough to make the cut of factory installed
selections. We've come a long way, baby.
I should apologize to poor Ville-Marie and retract some of my unkind words. They didn't, in fact, re-ticket me Friday when they very well could have. I got a normal parking ticket too, which I am told is far cheaper than a snow-ban parking ticket. My roommate helped me with a jump and all is well, nothing is lost. I really shouldn't complain so much.
Another Non-Photorealistic movie on the horizon, A Scanner Darkly, has a trailer here
. And this one's directed by Richard Linklater, of Dazed and Confused fame. Looks kind of neat, with keanu, woody, and winona.. It doesn't look like it'll approach the likes of Sin City, but we'll see..
The smeltfest photos are up at my buzznet account
. I could link them all here.. or I could be lazy and let you just go there and look at them all instead, which is what I'm going to do for now. The captions are worth a read, though, so take a gander.
So the car, since smeltfest last weekend, has been parked on St Dom. street right behind Second Cup.. shweet, because I don't have to move it as long as there is no snow removal. Well, of course, I am barely settled when it snows on mon or tue (I fergit).. so, fine.. I keep my eye out for snow removal trolls and I see nothing. Days go by.. like two or three. Last night on my way up to my friend's house I saw snow removal going down over on clark above pine.. fine.. so I keep an eye out my window as I work late into the night.. 3am, still no snow fuckers, so I figure I am fine until today. I wake up around 5:40am or so for no explainable reason, look out my window, and sure enough.. the street is cleared. Damn. I throw some clothes on and trudge down the street and look around the corner: no car. Fuckers. I am told, however, that they just move it around the corner or down the street, so I go hunting. I find it down by prince arthur... in a No Parking 8am-5pm area. Great, thanks guys... so helpful.. every heard of double-jeopardy? So I jump in to move it back to it's favoured spot and crank-crank..c.r.a.n.k...c..r...a...n... dead battery. super. swell. I didn't have a dead battery after the car sat in my friend's driveway unused from approximately Jan. 4th through Feb. 24th... which would have been fine since we were rallying the troops to go to maine so other cars were available to jump me. I didn't have a dead battery at my friend Sam's house in Maine, when it would have been easily remedied since there were umpteen cars there as well. I did, however, have a dead battery after the car sat on St Dom. for.. oh.. all of 4 days.
Fuck you Ville-Marie
My head is a ginormous blob and it goes *throb*throb*throb*. I think I told someone within the last few weeks that I haven't been hit with the cold or flu in any serious way in a long time - years in fact - and it's true.. ever since I got out of the damn city I've been clean as a whistle. So go figure I get back and things start to heat up. Give it 6 months in a virus and germ infected ice world like Montreal and you'll be sneezing in no time.
At least I get to sneeze, though, and I'm trying to work my way up to 7. I hit 5 in on campus today and I was pretty siked but I was tired and worn out and hungry, to say the least. Last ounce of the solid stuff I ate had been the evening before and it was already pushing 6pm by this point. Finally I said fuck it and trudged home with my head down drooling snot on my fleece colar and generally feeling a little spacey.
I was starving when I got home, though, so I didn't just jump in bed. I ran down to the 24-hour half a block up and piled up on goodies like Zuccinii, Tomaters, Red Peppahs, Onions, and even some yellow Stringbeans. Got me some Carrots and Broccoli and some Garlic to boot. The icing on the cake was herb-flavoured tofu which was nice and firm the way I like my leetle women, even though I don't generally find tofu that tasty. Tonight I wasn't feeling the pork or the steak or the chicken or the anything, really. Thus? Tofu.
So I threw it all together with some soy sauce and cayenne pepper and black pepper and chili powder and hot crushed red pepper teriyaki sauce and some salt. The problem with a head cold is you can't taste anything. When I was done I had about 10 pounds of stirfry and only a tiny little sick-appetite to deal with so I tuppahweared it up and threw it in the fridge. It'll be this weeks cuisine - not bad for $10 dollah.
After dinner it was just more of the same; pressure in the head and lots of work to do. So I sat down and gave it a shot for a few hours and then finally gave up. I was feeling about ready for a visit to the private room by this point so I pitter-pattered down the hall just now to go take a nice midnight shit. Unfortunately a coupla assholes were standing right outside my door in the hallway of the building talking on cellphones and generally being retards. The problem with living above a bar is that people tend to seek refuge from the noise when they're making mobile calls and, thus: my hallway.. which might not be such a problem if we didn't have a hole for a doorknob. Anyhow, If it's not these bargoers it's the bums taking a breather from the ice world of hoth outside. Fine by me - I don't mind the bums.. They don't piss on me, and I don't call the cops. Sort of a live and let live policy. These assholes with cellphones, however, were no bums and they were making a ruckus. Nothing out of hand but not something I could sit quietly to and enjoy my business (which was about to take place right on the other side of the wall.
Sometimes a man just wants to get up and take a shit at midnight, yah know?
So not feeling even the slightest bit better I stumbled back down the long hallway of our apartment back to the kitchen and scrummaged around somewhere. This is what I managed to find:
So I threw the pot on and set her to boilin, and now I'm enjoying a nice cup'a theraflu.. or at least the bastardized quebec version of such: Hot lemon flavoured liquid medicine, for the relief of symptoms of "rhume et de la toux" it says. Let's see where this one takes me, shall we?
I read this article
over at GQ (via slashdot
) about Google's "rise to the top", or whatever you may want to call their current situation. For anyone with the slightest interest in corporate culture, IPOs, technology, or you know.. anything, this is worth a read fer shur.
The rise of Google is a tale often told as a Silicon Valley classic. Two precocious Stanford grad-student nerds swept up in the fever of the Internet boom invent technology that profoundly changes the experience of the Web; they drop out and start a company (in a garage) that achieves iconic status; they stage a historic public offering, achieving vast wealth and fame.
But beneath these familiar surface details, the Google story is more nuanced and compelling. It’s a story about the clash between youth and experience, more a messy ensemble drama than a simple buddy flick—one whose main characters have persistently deviated from any script, resulting in unexpected twists and turns that haven’t come to light until now.
Also, apologies, but I'm writing over here
on occasion these days.. You know, for fun!
Pictures are finally flowing in from smeltfest 2005 and pretty soon a few choice one - picked by ler editor himself, moi - will be making an appearance here for all you randoms to gander at, maybe poke fun at good maine outdoors fun.
For now, though, I'll leave you with one from tonight, with some of the facial hair removed.
Over/Under on how many ugly stares I get on the street tomorrow? (Not evil, not crooked, but ugly
). I'm putting it at 8.