From my buddy in Virginia. If you can't read the receipt, that's $2.689 per gallon and, yes, in the picture a whopping $3.219. Talk about a price hike, though we're still paying less than half of what europe is up to these days..
Five percent battery left so it's gotta be a real quick one folks. I don't even know why I came, I don't even know what I'm supposed to say, I don't even know if there was a point to any of it to begin with. Having a blog is sort of like having a repetitive-stress fracture, repetitive in the head, that is. Like a bad dream about presenting to a room full of bored-out-of-their-skulls businessmen and then realizing you're nekked, or that you forgot your speech. This, and it's day-in and day-out over and over and everytime you check if someone might've come by for a look-see it makes you think you've got something to prove, something say, and so you stop, wait, look, listen, head on over to post a new post and then when you get there it's like a bad episode of hurry-up-and-go-nowhere. The story of my life. Hurrying up. Going nowhere.
I am sitting in my room, in montreal, and I'm listening to Tony
on a 'podcast'. I am on the phone with my pal and I'm saying 'okay' to everything he says because:
- It is the only word I need to respond to his plans to go drink beer, smoke shisha, and watched Bond, James Bond.
- It is all I can manage what with the multi-tasking blogging, listening to podcast, and trying to ignore the loud-ass freshmen in the bar downstairs.
So what? So I'm reading Anti's
blog as I write this - seriously, two windows right next to eachother. There is something about this much information, interaction, crap crap crap it's like a nice, juicy, delicious, bowel movement. The tv is on in the background but it's in french, I can't speak french, I don't hear french, it's static in the background. And what's the connection to it all?
Raymi lived in Maine once. I live in Maine. I'm from
Maine. Tony is from LA, but really from Chicago - or the suburbs there. Tony is trying to convince Raymi to put out a porn CD (essentially). Anti and Raymi used to be pals, or something like that - whatever it is called when people spend time together. Anti, god bless his chronic heart, gives me the advice on females when I need the advice on females but it's the right
advice, mostly, instead of that annoying shut-the-fuck-up advice all my normal friends give me when they are listening but not really listening
to what I'm asking, you know? I found Anti through Tony.Tony
, and Anti
are three totally different people. No joke.
So four days after the drive up I'm finally settled into the old apartment and have the wireless warmed and chugging away, sending little packets of radio-waves flying around the bedroom like so many no-see-ums, gnsats, black flies, only they're invisible and annoying in a completely completely different way.
Four days after the drive up and the damn st. laurent street sale/fesitval is finally done and over with, the traffic has returned en force, the trash and flyers and beer bottles have been cleaned up (mostly) and I can actually make it half a block in less than 10 minutes now.
Had a strong urge to pull out the digital camera and snap some pictures of all the crowds milling about but I didn't. Had an urge to buy european snausages, spicey snausages, italian snausages, polish snausages, all kinds of snausages from the street vendors so that I could write you a review of the snausages of the st. laurent street sale but I didn't. I got a gut to worry about. I even considered the mangos, the fresh corn on the cob, the noodles, chow mein, and the sunglasses. But I didn't buy anything. I'm a horrible street sale patron. The $5 packs of 6 pairs of white tube socks were certainly appealing, as were the 3 boxers for $9, don't get me wrong. Considering I could have hit the huckster screaming about the cheap underclothes from my apartment window, I couldn't really get any closer to such a shopping experience, yet I just didn't have the will to pull a fiver from my pocket. The mass-produced cotton sewn socks weren't calling my name like a good purchase should.
Beer at the McGill Open Air Pub, however, was $2.50 a cup and, while that isn't as cheap as it could be (I think it was $1.50 when I started), I did hear my name being whispered in the coolers behind the counter. The Boreale was chatty with me. The beer knew my name. I'd have taken pictures if the security wasn't so beefed up - I'd be embarassed to show McGill being so uptight after such a long and prominent history of openess.
Still, though, four days in and though I've visited the Casino de Montreal and made 25 cent bets on electronic horse races, I've been to bar Miami where they don't mind what you're rolling in your cigarette papers so long as you keep things chill and order the overpriced pitchers, and I've even visited Vol de Nuit, the armpit of Prince Arthur, I have yet to make it to the Bif-Teck, my real stomping ground.
Soon, though, no doubt. Soon.
Okay, I don't chime in on this war bidness to often but I feel compelled. From a few days ago
President George W. Bush, speaking amid protests and growing public unease over Iraq, said on Monday America owed it to the more than 1,800 U.S. soldiers killed there to complete the mission, which he linked with the campaign against terrorism.
Can I stop for two seconds and call bullshit on both sides
here? The right told us that we must stand up against terrorism. In fact they've been telling us for a long time. Even Reagan blathered about how he would not negotiate with those crazy people over in the desert. So what is the left doing? Bowing to terrorism - internal terrorism of the informational kind. On the one hand you have leftists arguing that the troops should come home because of the gross number of deaths among our soldiers. On the other hand you have the right, even W. hisself, telling us that, because so many soldiers have died, we owe them - we have a duty to make something good of this, come home with a victory, else their souls were slaught in vain.. which is just another way for Bush to try and appeal to the support our troops
movement, a movement designed to be so morally just that it's almost impossible to disagree with the war and not be labelled an infidel of the spirit of America. It's got everyone dancing the two-step if you even suggest
that you might not agree with the way this administration is handling things.
But the bottom line is this: 1800 deaths is a drop in the bucker
. This iraq situation is arguably more important than some recent historical conflicts such as Korea and yet the current casualties are a fraction of what we saw then.
Korean War, U.S. troops: 23,615 KIA, 2,460 died of wounds, 2,849 captured and declared dead, 2,825 other deaths, and 4,825 MIA (Missing In Action)
That's 36,574.. and if you didn't know, the Korean War lasted about three years.
Vietnam, U.S. troops: 58,226 were killed in action or classified as missing in action. That lasted roughly seven years.
Gulf War I: the Dept. of Defense reports 147 battle-related and 325 non-battle-related deaths. If you do the math, considering that conflict lasted roughly 40 days, that rate of death toll spread over 2 years would add up to over 8,000 deaths.
And I don't have to remind you there were well over 1800 deaths in the single-day 9/11 disaster.
I'm not a proponent of this particular war. I appreciate the efforts of the poverty-level men and women who are forced into the military by an invisible draft
. I don't appreciate the invisible draft. I don't appreciate how badly the men and women of the U.S. Armed forces are lied to by not only their own government but by their employer. You would be hard pressed to find a private corporation in this country that could get away with the sort of false promises the army hands out on a daily basis. You think being an unionized Wal*Mart employee is bad, try being a private in the usmc.
But I'm also not a bleeding heart blubbering idiot who reacts to emotional attacks. If the President showed video of kittens being killed in Iraq, I would not be for this war. If they showed one person being killed, I would not be for the war. People need to stop being reactionary, think logically, and that means the rights and the lefts. The death of 1800 people is not a valid reason to justify a war, nor is it a valid reason to justify ending a war. It goes a little deeper than that.
And I don't have to remind you that over twice that number of 1800 die from colorectal cancer in the U.S. alone per month
but I don't see nearly the amount of political furvor for cancer research that I did for that crazy Saddam guy in his tighty whities.
The british Register is reporting
Americans are getting fatter, faster than ever before, according to the latest figures from the non-profit Trust for America's Health.
The organisation found that the number of people classed as obese went up in 48 states between 2003 and 2004, taking the national average rate of obesity to a hefty 24.5 per cent.
They continue on to say:
We would have illustrated this with a pie chart, but fear this would only accelerate the crisis.
and only at the very end of the article do they note that
sadly, this is nothing for us Brits to feel too superior about. In the last twenty years, the number of obese adults in the UK has roughly doubled, and the trend shows no sign of abating.
Well harumph. I resemble that remark.
Here are some freaky eye-hurty things
for your enjoyment. Don't stare too long, my mommy told me your face will freeze that way.
One dude, Matt Veenstra, thinks all that Google stock sell off was in order to get some muns to buy out Skype
. Certainly, this latest action by Google was akin to me heading off to the bank for some cold hard cash before a major spending spree, so I'll only be surprised if I don't
see Google making some acquisitions soon.. but Skype?
Google likes to create in-house, but they also know when to buy. The Picasso Image browser and Prya - Blogger.com - are some good examples of technology purchases they have made. It is not out of the question for Google to buy technology.
True enough, but you didn't see Google developing an image organizing product in-house before it bought Picasa. You also didn't see Google release it's own new blogging service months before it bought Blogger. We did
just see Google release it's own Instant Messaging and VoIP offering Google Talk
.. but there is a first for everything. I guess only time will tell.
You know what's ironic? The Weather Underground was the name of a 60s
radical (some would say "terrorist") organisation that blew stuff up in
the U.S. in the name of peace love and understanding. Or at least
anti-Vietnamness. It took its name from Dylan's subterranean homesick
blues ("you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows").
And now it's the name of a corporation serving up (yet) a (nother)
website telling people which way the wind blows.
Is anyone else occasionally stunned into silence and prodded by
premonitions of despair at such flagrant disregard for history?...
Okay, so I just read their little "background" section, and it turns
out the WU corporation is a spin-off from a university and about as
grassroots (and ancient) as internet services get these days. Which
leads me to fear that the developers may have been well aware of the
irony of their choice of names. Which I can't decide if it's better or
Know how I was sayin' that all it takes is to dream something up and sure enough, a few weeks later you'll stumble across someone already doing it? Yah, well.. I imagine everyone in the world has wished this one once: invent a no-sleep pill (one that doesn't start with c o c a). Well, maybe it was a week later but years and years later but it looks like we're one step closer to reality on this one
A drug dubbed CX717, made by Cortex Pharmaceuticals, Irvine, California, reverses the biological and behavioral effects of sleep deprivation, according to results of animal studies...
... When monkeys were subjected to 30-36 hours of sleep deprivation, average performance accuracy dropped to 63 percent, which was restored to 84 percent after CX717 treatment.
The distinct shifts in EEG recordings and changes in brain scans following sleep deprivation were also reversed by drug treatment.
Ohhh but my favourite quote from the article?
"The fact that (compounds like) CX717 can temporarily alleviate the effects of prolonged periods of sleep deprivation...indicates their potential applicability to many circumstances in which human performance is compromised by extensive sleep loss"
Talk about smart of the 'Smat' variety.. Let me rephrase that quote for you so you can see the real genius: the fact that this drug can alleive the effects of prolonged sleep dep indicates it has potential to be used for... alleiving the effects of prolonged sleep dep.
So imagine - now you can tivo all
the reality shows and spend all night catching up on your soaps, and still be fresh and spritely for work in the morning. Ohhhh yah, progress baby. Progress.
Though I guess the drug might help restore memory loss in Alzheimer's patients
, too. I think we're supposed to feel warm and fuzzy about that one. Anything to help the infirm, right? I love these cross-gender drugs (as I will call them), Viagra is their president. Heart medication my ass.. glad they researched that one good and thorough, now that the updated labeling includes cautions to doctors in prescribing Viagra to patients who have had a) a heart attack, stroke, or life-threatening arrhythmia, b) significant hypotension or hypertension, or c) a history of cardiac failure or coronary artery disease with unstable angina. Funny, weren't they researching the drug for heart problems in the first place?!?.. oh yes, pulmonary arterial hypertension indeed. My favourite serious adverse effect
is "sudden death". Yah, i guess you could call that serious. I mean, I don't mind a little myocardial infarction or ventricular arrhythmias, that's a walk in the park but I draw the line right between long prolonged and painful death
and sudden death
Oh, duder you have no idea.
It's 5am and I don't have to tell you why I'm still up at this hour. Yah, women man.. do yourself a favour and stay the fuck away. I think I got myself one of those.. oh, what do you call 'em? Hilary? Was that her name? I think it was.. yah, I got one.. this long-tall-glass of water, drink, whathaveyou. Fuuuuuuuuuucking bitch. How do I find the words? It's unexplainable how shitty someone can make you feel without - most likely - knowing any damn thing about it.
I want to speak in full truths and mark down the answers of the universe and all that jazz but I've got no notes in me left. Not even a decent blues scale, my old standby. I'm lost. I think.. maybe, possibly, at some point tonight I knew it all. Saw the light. But I was too distracted to see it for what it was, yah?
..never made love by latern shine, knowhatimean? It's the age-old problem of seeing your steps before you take them. Blowing that latern out before I get a chance to see the light. I think. Anyhow, I think I need a good phone-talk. Not that it'll solve anything but it'll help me feel better about feeling shitty, I guess. This coming from me, moving back to Mont-fucking-real. And *I'm* complaining? Montreal? Like I have the first thing to be whining about. I sat outside this apartment tonight smoking cigarettes and watching the bums sleeping outside 'Labour Ready' - it's this place where you can show up for day work, pay at the end of the day. It's amazing there were even bums there at 3am, sleeping against the cement slabs trying to get a head start on their end of the line. And I'm fucking complaining about some 22 year old bimbo that couldn't tell the time of day if the watch wasn't paying attention to her her her her.
God I have bad taste in women. Bad taste. Try watching that movie sometime and it'll explain my situation in all it's gory details, only in a bad cheesy-horror metaphor. I'm done. stick a fork in me.
Oh yah, one last thing. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Stay the hell away from only children. They are F U C K fucked up.
It's 6:03pm on a sleepy Sunday afternoon and the clouds are slowly sneaking away for an early bedtime but the sun is still ra-ra-shish-boom-ba because it's fucking august and the summer isn't over yet, baby. It isn't over yet and I know it because I spent a weekend in the soft embrace of a wet drizzly weekend of cottaging and the summer has never before let me down with such a melancholy weather weekend, not to end things off. No way no how.
The summers here in Maine have always been about happy endings for me, sliding sideways into autumn like bellhorn on a sprint towards home, the lights flickering far up above, the fans cheering and, even when it's over, they're milling about and taking their time because nobody nobody wants to see it end. It's summer.
So it works it's way through september, getting cold at night sometimes and october brings in the real frosts but truly, it's still just summer in brisk clothing, the leaves taking on the color that the sun has lost in the chilly temperatures. The reds and yellows, purples and pinks all shine brightly in the morning dew as if the energy of the light were coming straight from them, not through them. It isn't until late October, really, with the sun hanging low all day long on the horizon, barely getting high enough to see over the roof tops, this is the true dusk of summer. It's when the cold bites through your sweater and the ra-ra-shish-boom-ba of the big ball-o-nuclear fun just isn't what it used to be. A puppydog in it's twilight years, eyes blazing and tail wagging furiously while the ragged old body of bones lays tired and unwilling to play anymore.
The comes a time when every pet must be taken for that one last walk; out behind the house and around to the backside of the shed or barn or whatever old piece of building is available - one that's been around long enough to know how to look the other way. When it's time the hope is that they will look the other way, too, this sad little creature of unwavering devotion. They will look out across the grass, thinking of sticks retrieved long ago, or mice caught, or balls chased. This is the hope, that maybe when they go they go at that exact moment when they've jumped up, lunging through the air, and snapped that ball out of the sky. That maybe their thoughts right then, in that single instant, is where they will wander off to as they shuffle off their mortal coil. Then *BANG*, it's jumpy in your hands and you almost forgot you were the one pulling the trigger. It seems like years ago that you pulled back the hammer and raised the muzzle but it's been mere seconds. In the time it takes for the smoke out of the barrel to wisp away on the autumn breeze you've lost your train of thought and you're reeling, backwards onto the heels of your feet you tip leaning the top of your body forward like a toddler learning to walk. It's as if the recoil has just now hit you and staring down you notice like nothing you've ever noticed before you notice oh god you notice this little tired body - carcass - lying at your feet. Time is faster or slower now, unsure, but looking around everything looks almostly painfully the same that it's maddening knowing you cannot perceive the entire earth world universe tipping upside down but you can if you trust your instincts your little internal clocks and gadgets, whirly-gigs and gyroscopes. You can feel the whole of everything shifting into a new gear.
So bang, indeed, November comes in like a bullet - not sharp but fast, and swift, so you almost don't even know it until you feel the warm blood on your outside, as confusing as the dead animal you carry into the woods. It's supposed to be on the inside, after all this blood is supposed to be on the inside. It truly is brisk, november, not like a cool summer's evening but like a cold dry martini, the crushed ice spun 'round in place with the blade of a steel knife. Outside, the first spittings of snow; mother nature slips on her white coat. Inside, the olives sink slowly to the bottom through vermouth and vodka with the forebooding of winter.
Sometimes a hangover can be so bad it's more the shocking surprise that hits you than it is the headache or nausea.
Anywhere else in this country makes my corner of the world feel a little bit out there. Off the beaten path, around the bend, out in the willy-wacks as they say. Maine. Small state. 1.2 million people milling about in relative anonyminity doing what people do all over the country - get up, go to work, have a beer, watch some tv, go to bed - but doing some of their own things as well, yet doing it quietly. Perhaps Wyoming strikes me as a more out-of-the-way locale, but even the Dakotas have a certain air about them that, despite being in the middle of nowhere, still has something going on. Don't ask me what cause I don't really know. All I know is Maine does a few things on what we consider a "large scale" but even that is pretty small time compared to most places. We do potatoes, but not like Idaho. We do lumber but we're not clear-cutting a mile a minute like Alaska and we don't have real big trees the likes of Washington state. We do lobster, too, and I suppose we're mildly well known for that but give it a few years and even that story will dry right up like a fish outta water. Marine resources aren't exactly the futures market I'd be playing these days, is all I'm saying. We even do tourism, which is what locals refer to as a "booming industry", but even this is puny in comparison to what California or Florida must see, and our season doesn't even stretch half the year unless you count a few ski hills a "industry". There aren't too many folk driving in from the city to plunk down some flag traps and sit on the ice all day waiting for a fish to bite, that's for sure...
And I'm certainly not complaining. We're cranky when we want to be, cantakerous other times, but there is a certain northern new england personality that comes with the territory. It's a neighbourly attitude that still involves holding doors open for people behind you and waving to strangers for no good reason. It's the presence of a sympathic helping-hand that stops to help with a flat tire. It's all these things but it's also yelling at the people in the apartment upstairs to turn that fucking music down but not stranger-to-stranger yelling. This is friendly yelling like a mom telling her son to clean his damn room. In the morning all is forgotten and it's a good chuckle some day, sitting on the porch watching the sunset.
I'm exaggerating of course. I'm making things sound better than they are. We aren't all like this and we don't all want to be. With television we can watch shows and see how we should
act, how our hair and clothes and what we drive should be important. We can figure out - you know, by putting things in context - that we need
cell phones and that we should probably be treating our fellow community members with disdain just because we don't happen to know them. This is called progress. Sometimes, when I'm down in the portcity drinking a beer and someone says something like "excuse me" as they push by or "sorry about that" as they bump into my pint glass I'm almost taken aback. Really. No, not really. It's a nice little reminder that while this state may be "advancing", we have a lot of retarded politicians that have managed to keep this very much a backwater and that means people still, on occasion, treat you like a human being.. even if we're all trying to keep up with the Jones'
File Under: i-might-want-to-recall-this-information-some-day01 merchants of soul
02 they never got you
03 was it you?
04 the infinite pet
05 i summon you
06 sister jack
07 the delicate place
08 my mathematical mind
09 i turn my camera on
10 the two sides of monsieur valentine
11 the beast and dragon, adored
Someone asks "What if Google wanted to give Wi-Fi access to everyone in America?
For the past year, it has quietly been shopping for miles and miles of "dark," or unused, fiber-optic cable across the country from wholesalers such as New York’s AboveNet. It's also acquiring superfast connections from Cogent Communications and WilTel, among others, between East Coast cities including Atlanta, Miami, and New York...
...By cutting out middlemen like AboveNet, Google could share traffic directly with ISPs to avoid fees...
...So once the GoogleNet is built, how would consumers connect for free access? One of the cheapest ways would be for Google to blanket major cities with Wi-Fi, and evidence gathered by Business 2.0 suggests that the company may be trying to do just that. In April it launched a Google-sponsored Wi-Fi hotspot in San Francisco’s Union Square shopping district, built by a local startup called Feeva...
...Google's interest in Feeva likely stems from the startup's proprietary technology, which can determine the location of every Wi-Fi user and would allow Google to serve up advertising and maps based on real-time data.
and I say sure, what if Google is
going for a national wi-fi network in a bid to takeover the world? Well.. if they are, and I was them, I might.. I dunno.. buy Android?
the search giant quietly bought the wireless start-up in July for an undisclosed sum...
...Android reportedly makes software, or operating systems, for wireless devices that are location-sensitive or personalized for the owner.
This will no doubt be everywhere, so why am I bothering...
Scenes from a terrorist attack? No.
Scenes from an anti-war protest? No.
Scenes from a natural disaster? No.
Scenes from a government sale of obsolete computer hardware
What started as a sale turned into a mob scene as thousands of people pushed their way through the Richmond International Raceway gates to buy a $50 iBook laptop computer from Henrico County Schools Tuesday morning.
An estimated 5500 people were on hand when the gates were opened. What followed can only be described as chaos as dozens rushed to get to the head of the line. People were trampled, shoved and pushed.
Stumble, bumble, whoops. Look what I ran across:
That's a tiny
portion (I cropped the photo) of what is already a tiny portion of space
The Ultra Deep Field observations, taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys, represent a narrow, deep view of the cosmos. Peering into the Ultra Deep Field is like looking through an eight-foot-long soda straw.
In ground-based photographs, the patch of sky in which the galaxies reside (just one-tenth the diameter of the full Moon) is largely empty. Located in the constellation Fornax, the region is so empty that only a handful of stars within the Milky Way galaxy can be seen in the image...
...The image required 800 exposures taken over the course of 400 Hubble orbits around Earth. The total amount of exposure time was 11.3 days, taken between Sept. 24, 2003 and Jan. 16, 2004.
There are close to 10,000 galaxies in the image.
Okay, so I can admit it. I'm sitting here and typing in the dark and though I'm still pretty speedy it's not quite as easy as it should
be for a motherfucker like me whose been tip-tap-typing his way through life for more years now than some eighteen year old kid out there who is just learning how to work that soda-holder dvd drive so he can pop in his new world of warcraft game that he thinks is going to solve the worlds problems for him or at least his
problems with the world like the ones that require him to interact with other members of the society he belongs to in some social manner that would suggest he is part of it like everybody else; willing to play the game.
Okay, so maybe not. So maybe kids these days are all about the this technology crap, practically born with a pda glued to their hand and a cell phone growing out of their ear, and typing a word a second on a 104 key board like it's second nature, interacting with tens, nah hundreds, thousands of people on a weekly basis, daily, hour by hour even by the second in a rapid bang bang bang movement that's faster than your dad's convertible and heck damn yah faster than your great gramps horse'n'buggy that he used to use to trot on over to granny's dad's place to "court" her back when "hanging out" meant packing up, making the trip, moving in with your neighbour for a weekend given that to get there meant a three day journey through the wilder-nestled along some ridge somewhere such that, oh ain't that view grand
and sometimes we can see the smoke from sam's farm
as if physical visual proof of the existence of another human being somewhere out there was; being social.
Okay, so perhaps things change. But even if we're talking a million miles a second, reading a billion words a minute, hearing a trillion words an hour all from and to and through a gazillion people all connected, plugged-in, jacked, networked, focused, in-phase, joined at the cerebral cortex, fastened through an ethereal meta-link virtual device sending information ideas theories and just about any damn rumour or flash of trash-talk radio television internet wire news out to every last damn one of us six-degreed into this next-gen xSociety of iTechnology it doesn't mean it doesn't mean it certainly doesn't mean we're; actually listening.
Okay, so maybe someone is reading this now. Maybe there is an impromptu interim pseudo-editor gleaning the useful tiddy-bits of morsels the good, the bad, the ugly, everything worthwhile anyway like a CSI team combing through the garbage looking for parts, any parts, body parts, clues, information to build, information on top of information to build, information connected linked united we stand chained up so tight wiggle makes things tighter, the little disconnected holes, so much threadbare patchwork, slowly but surely faster, instantly speedier, quickly coming up to full out light-speed being plugged in with more and more information, people places things things you learned in school science odds and ends, maybe out there somewhere an editor is circling with a red pen, check marking and writing good!
or could use work
or more emotion
in the margins, arrows to and fro drawing together fact, fiction, connecting the disconnects, and certainly probably, most definitely, it is doing it right now here in the dark in the middle of the night and there in the mid-morning sun too because it's not maybe sure no doubt a human, a living breathing man of flash and blood oh no, but instead; a machine.
Okay, so things aren't so cut and dry. But we're talking about man and machine and the only thing that we share between us like blood to men and women, skin and hair to man and beast, the thing that needs connecting and thus ergo heretofore and in the future will and has become the very connection, the thing(s) that bind pull push and will - by inevitable domain - eventually after all is said and done become the one
, the government, the people, the public vote, the popular dissent, the end of the world, the resource (itself) to drive the economy (itself) to feed it's writhing mass of self (it) will become it's awareness of it's own awareness of it's awareness of it's own awareness like a merry go round go round go round only closer and closer spiraling into it's own center, the mass of knowledge numbers fact figures rumor falling in on itself (itself) crushing it's own weight by the force of it's own weighted force; information will eat itself.
I really don't have anything topical to say about this article
other than it's another good example of overstated headlines to attract readership: Winnipeg tracks idling vehicles
It got me, I'll tell you. What?!
I thought, They are tracking people's vehicles? For Idling? Who.. what the.. that's a violation of privacy rights.. that's but I who how.. fah?
. My blood was boiling before I could click the load button.
Okay, so it wasn't that bad. The rights of Winnipeggians (Winnipeggists?) isn't high on my list of things-to-be-indignant-and-self-righteous-about.. Not cause I don't like those friendly mid-westerners, eh, but because I doubt any one of them is worried too much about us Mainers (Maniacs?). But I did click on the link because I was curious to see what the point of tracking idling vehicles was.. safety issues? pollution? traffic congestion? Yah, well, it was a farce:
Some city-owned vehicles in Winnipeg are being targeted by officials to see how long civic employees leave them idling.
Tracking devices have been installed in 12 vehicles to see how many times the engines are left running unnecessarily...
...The tracking devices could be in 30 vehicles by the end of the year.
A bug of somesort managed it's way into my socks - presumably pre-wear but post folding - and, I imagine in my paranoid little mind, set up shop waiting for me. Like a little sniper, patient at his post, waiting, waiting, justtt for that right moment when the trigger would ease back ease, ease into it's notch, click, bang. BOOM. This one, I suspect, was a spider. Thus the unscientific terminology. I'm pretty sure a spider can be a bug, eight legs or not, and I know this one was just that: a bug. a pest. a nuisance. an annoyance. a pain in my.. well, leg. I noticed while I was sitting at work tip-tapping away and I stopped to feel what was going on. Even through the cotton I could tell there were some hefty bumps leftover from our friend's little picnic in the park. I peeled my sock back and sure enough, lumps upon lumps. Quite a few of them, in fact, all around my achilles heal. Itchy. A good solid pestering itch of the sort that makes you quickly forget any sort of humanity you ever had towards bugs. "Just get a tissue and put it outside" becomes the last phrase someone will hear you utter as you rampage through the house smashing anything that moves with some sort of large flat utensil as if your world were a giant fraternity and you - you were the grand master. The bugs, the recruits, those sniveling little pledges need to be taught some humility. Some bone-crushing, exoskeleton mangling, innard squishing humility.
This was all a practice in metaphors. Any resembelance to the bug bites I found on my ankle today is completely coincidental.
Quick like a bunny because I'm busy today, but here it goes.
Firstly, MMORPGs - that's Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games - are on fire. Sure, I've mentioned them before (More GDP than a small third world country, people literally making careers out of selling "virtual" swords, and people loosing their lives - wife, job, kids - out of gaming addiction) but jeeeeesus are they on the rise:This is an interesting, albeit pro-MMORPGs, article
with some interesting facts for those less initiated folks like me. It is perhaps a bit overzealous in it's futurist soothsaying but heck, H.G. Wells was ahead of his time, too:
The joy of experiencing life as Awesome You, as the stronger, handsomer avatar of yourself, will take all of those activities to another plane of cool. The casinos will be there, the movies will play there, concerts will be performed there. The metaverse will stop being a playhouse and will start becoming the interface through which we interact with reality. And every step you take will be as Awesome You. Cool, beautiful, confident.
Nothing invented yet has had such universal appeal.
You will find yourself momentarily forgetting whether you're in the real or virtual world.
Me? I kind of like being pathetic and ineffectual here in meatspace. I guess I won't be crossing over anytime soon.
Secondly, everyone is stumbling around these days prophesizing the open source movement as if there is a question mark involved. Well if this isn't a harbinger of things to come
, I don't know what is:
Lloyd's of London is close to offering independent insurance protection worldwide against potential IP litigation involving Linux and open source software.
Meanwhile, there are people speculating about whether open source - a movement that created the Apache webserver (see image) - will even be around in ten years. Yah, right. And the world is flat.
An over-hyped article on "250mpg electric cars" can be found here
. It's, umm, just slightly misleading. Early in the article:
"Plug-in" hybrids aren't yet cost-efficient, but some of the dozen known experimental models have gotten up to 250 mpg.
Later in the article:
As long as [an electrical engineer and committed environmentalist who spent several months and $3,000 tinkering with his car] doesn't drive too far in a day, he says, he gets 80 mpg.
Meanwhile, I think I'ma gonna buy me one of these. I think. If I can get over being a cheap bastard and just spend some money for once (that's a cheapo Epiphone for those who have trouble distingushing. Although it shares the model name - Les Paul - with it's ritzy cousin the Gibson, the Epiphone is a cheap knock off built in Korea. Do not be fooled. Cheap cheap cheap. You think I'd buy the real thing?!)
In other (still similar) news, Tivo is looking to jump into the online digital media delivery pool
with the Independant Film Channel as their lane partner:
The digital recording company is preparing to enable customers to download TV shows to their set-top boxes via the Internet — even before the shows air on TV.
Don't get too excited just yet, though. It is only the IFC.. you're not going to be getting the Simple Life pre-broadcast quite yet.
Baby steps, my children, baby steps.
More news on the fruit front. An investment analyst has done some number crunching
on iTunes sales:
Apple will have sold 1.365bn songs through the iTunes Music Store by the end of 2006, investment house Piper Jaffray calculates.
According to a note send by PJ analyst Gene Munster to investors this week, relayed to the rest of the world by iLounge.com, that's 55.6 per cent more than the company had previously forecast.
The revenue realised will account for five per cent of Apple's sales next year, Munster writes.
Which gives the slightest bit of creedance to my previous estimate of 4% revenue on it's thus-far sales of 500 million songs. This is not news, though, anyone can whip out their trusty old calculator and crunch the numbers, right? So why are all the iTMS articles always overstating how iTunes by itself is not a big money maker for Apple
? In this day and age of bloated earnings statements, dot.com companies with millions in VC and nary a penny in revenue (let alone profits), and stock P/E ratios through the roof, I'd say the iTunes store is quite a success even if it isn't a "big money maker" yet
. I say yet because I think there is a decent possibility that it develops into a solid revenue source in the future. You can't expect to open a restuarant and be profittable overnight, right? So why expect that out of your online music store?
Meanwhile, this nonsense about OS X being hacked to work on Intel boxes
(Wired News) is getting a whole lotta hype. If you believe some of the rumors than Apple expected
the TPM security would be broken :
The hackers suspect Apple wanted to demonstrate the weaknesses of TPM security, and may have plans to license its operating system to PC makers eventually.Dvorak is probably one of the original instigators
in this conspiracy theory:
I'm now convinced that this is all a publicity stunt and the Apple community is being used—once again—by the company's marketing department.
Whether you buy that or not, I'm with Dvorak on this one when he says that Apple would do well to release their OS X into the wild. The time is right and the fruit, as they say, is ripe for the picking:
I [think the OS getting out in the wild] would increase interest amongst developers, which should boost overall sales. Besides, I'm completely convinced that Apple could still get the same premium for its machines that it does today. People simply like the design of Apple gear. Just look at the sales of the overpriced iPod in a market glutted with MP3 players. Why does anyone buy one? How is this ga-ga mentality different with computers?
Right or wrong on the ga-ga front, Dvorak goes on to outline his prediction or, as people are calling it, his prophecy
. Come on guys, was it that hard to imagine?:
Apple plays the game with some sort of trusted-computing lockdown. The source code for the exact mechanism is stolen or hacked or both. It's actually weak and meant to be cracked.
From the first Wired article: It seems like getting around the TPM wasn't that hard, according to a hacker nicknamed "parch," who said, "Apple could have made the lock heavier."Soon the crack is on the Net, and with or without a hardware bypass, the code is shown working on a Dell.
From the first Wired article again:Now the hacked version of OSx86 is running on Dell laptops and other PCs with Intel and AMD microprocessors.Apple protests and threatens to sue anyone caught running the code. This results in all sorts of publicity, as the average user wants to know what all the fuss is about.
What? Publicity? Good? Nahhh.. Really? I guess we're still waiting for Apple's protests at the moment but time will tell.
I'm just not convinced that you can keep people from doing what they will, hacking and tinkering away with the devices they buy - whether it be a kitcar or a computer - and if there is built security or copyright technology people are going to go ahead and break that too. Companies are just going to have to learn how unfruitful this direction of technological advancement is. It's stifling to innovation and research, it's narrow minded, and it's not very smart. At some point you just need to stop what you're doing and mutate. Gotta roll with the punches. Microsoft might still be able to exchange body blows with anyone in town but they won't be like that forever. Mark my words, this TPM garbage will hurt them if they're overly embracive of the technology.
It seems to be a slow day all around and I'm right there in the middle of it, stumbling to work at noon (I didn't bother to set an alarm) despite having been up and feeling quite rested at 6am in order to urinate. I think I have a sleeping disorder. Syndrome? Ailment. Who doesn't like a good ailment now and again?
Coffee in the afternoon is no doubt a large contributing factor, as is a progressively worsening bedtime that creeps far into the AM by the time I give it a good kick in the pants and re-adjust to midnight or so. Even then, it rarely lasts and I find myself once again listening to the old hitchiker's guide to the galaxy radio show on my aging iBook in the pre-dawn hours, feeling utterly fresh and unwaveringly awake despite the heavy-lidedness I know I will be subjected to in the very near future, riding the bike to work with eyes squinted tight against the shiny yellow ball-o-sun, walking about the office zombie like with the bitter breath of a caffeine junkie, sneaking off to the bathroom to take 5 minute power naps standing up and then splashing my face awake with cold water from the tap when I'm done.
So it's likely that my ailment, as so many are, is just inside my head and I am in fact my own worst enemy. My lack of a habitually consistent bedtime, my overdosage of coffee, my heavy summer drinking regime, these are the real and undeniable factors. This is not a genetic flaw or some mineral deficiency. This is nothing but my very own - probably controlable - problem.
Nevertheless it's slow days like these that hit me the worst. When there is little to do, no deadlines, and the day just draaagggsss by. Even when I just got in at noon.
It looks like that whole meth-madness nonsense in NewsWeek
really got under the skin of the folks at Slate. After the first article
I mentioned a few days ago, which played up the "mass media are scarmongering freaks" angle, they're back at with a new one
delving deeper into the "meth mouth" phenomenon, showing us that just because NewsWeek
cooked it, that doesn't mean we should eat it:
None of the [More than two dozen different stories about meth mouth found through a Nexis search] blaming "contaminated" methamphetamine for meth mouth cite any literature or authority, perhaps because it doesn't exist.
The problem with having friends who read your blog is that when you write a particularly long email to them and then cannibalize it for a blog post, they know. Oh well, fuck 'em.
I was what you might term "verra, verra drunk" last friday night. My non-drinking friend was around so I had a designated driver and another good drinking buddy had the night off. We installed ourselves at the bar at 7:30 pm at which point my friend pointed at me, eyebrows raised in question, and said "Are we getting drunk?". To which I replied "why the fuck not?"
A number of things followed, many of which I am no longer privy to as they have either been a) stricken from the record to protect the less-than-innocent or b) shrouded in a dark dark fog which some people refer to as "a drunken blackout". I prefer dark dark fog.
So while I was journeying through this dark dark fog (tripping over many a screwdriver poured with a heavy hand on the way - we were being classy lassies with the fruity drinks) I happened upon The Girl (tm) - she is a tall glass of water at 5'10" which, as you all know, is far more woman than this little cowboy can handle. She is, on occasion, what I call "smoking" or "hot" or sometimes even "edible". Needless to say I was pretty sure my chances with her were slim to nil despite her friendly nature.
So I told her the situation with the dude she was sorta-sorta-whatever with was going to end badly. It was one of those annoying fatherly-advice kind of things, only delivered by me in a state of inebriation that only a few have seen. Not only that but I was, as a friend of mine reported the next day, "whiter than a ghost, barely able to form words let alone sentences, and having trouble standing." In short: exactly the sort of person you hold out for when seeking out answers to life's many questions.
My drinking buddy taps out around midnight after dropping his cigarette while trying to light it. He then bends down and picks it up, drops his cigarette while trying to light it again, bends down to pick it up, drops his cigarette standing back up, bends down to pick it up, drops his cigarette while trying to light it a third time, and then steps on it while trying to bend down and pick it up. I, however, make it to last call.
Score one for the gipper. Total bar bill: $160
Then? Two days later I see The Girl (tm) and make half-assed apologies about my "advice" and how it was not my place at all. She graciously insists it was no problem and then informs me that things with the other dude... drum roll please ... ended badly.
Score another one
for the gipper. I have shown this girl that I a) can hold my liquor even if it means forgetting my own name to do it, b) have a sixth-sense about how boys can be shitty, and c) own a motorcycle, which makes me a "bad boy" (which in 20-something girl speak means "man who is attractive to me because he has a big vibrating machine he sticks between his legs too, I can relate to that")
So speaking of motos she wanted a ride so yesterday I go over to her place and pick her up and we cruise around for a bit, then go for dinner...
...Speaking of being verra, verra drunk guess who was last night? No, surprising as it may be it was not
I! I was in fact what we will term "mildly tipsy" -
which is to say I was fairly drunk but coherent and pleasant to be around (I think?). The Girl (tm) however was _not_ quite as lucky. Her bar tab: $75.
A bunch of us return to her house after last call and I discover my motorcycle has been stolen. Or towed. Whatever. Vodka and olives appear out of nowhere as if the very chemical mixture of the air conspired against us, and we smoke verra, verra many cigarettes.
Wrestling in the McDonald's Express parking lot ensued.
(yes, an "express", though it's been shut down now)
End of the night, our match-making efforts are rewarded as my friend settles in with the hippy-free-love-girl on the couch and my fatherly-advice is rewarded with a spot next to The Girl (tm) in her bed, though it is less than exciting since drunk passed out girls don't put up much of a struggle.
JOKING - Taking advantage of drunk girls is verra, verra inappropriate and if you do it God will hate you more than that time you experimented with a beer bottle up your ass.
Still, it was still verra, verra nice to listen to a cute girl sleep next to me.
After searching out my bike and paying the tow company I got to work at 2pm today, in the same clothes I had on last night (jeans and a t-shirt). The top half of me smells like bar and the bottom half of me smells like the bog of eternal stench. I'm 6 cups of joe in and though I am not hungover my toes are tingly, my liver feels furry, and I can't feel my face. Lunch menu today? Tums.
Following in the wake of my last online DVD rental diatribe
(half way down) comes new rumblings from Amazon. Apparently they have job postings for programming positions specifically for an online DVD rental service. Despite the fact that Amazon already has online DVD rental services in the UK and Germany, Wired News feels okay with predicting a U.S. offering
When asked specifically about a U.S. launch for a DVD rental service, [Amazon spokesperson Jani] Strand was cagey.
"We feel like it is a business that we are positioned to do and do well," said Strand. "We are looking for ways to create a better shopping experience for the customer, so stay tuned."
In the same 24-hours, Blockbuster has raised the price of the monthly fee
of it's own online DVD rental service: from $14.99 to $17.99 for the 3-movies-out-at-a-time package.
I just saw this on a news link aggregation website:'Intelligent design' smacks of creationism by another name
- Yahoo News (3 hours ago)
THREE Hours ago?!? They just figured this out now?! Damn it's a good thing mass media is on the ball out there, keeping me on my toes, eh?
Well the bucket 'o bolts Discovery pulled in safely at 8:11am EST this morning
at Edwards Air Force Base in California, NASA's secondary landing site.
Upon learning of the navigational error that led them to end up in California instead of Florida the crew said "Well, let's find the nearest Dunkin' Donuts, take a 15 minute pee break, and get back on the road. We should be able to get there by noon."
How long before we're back in the saddle heading out into the great beyond?
Apple's Japanese division of the iTunes Music Store sold 1 million songs in it's first four days
"We've known that about (400,000 to 500,000 songs) per month is what all the other online music stores in Japan have been doing. The majority of that being Mora," Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of applications, told Reuters in a phone interview.
"So the fact that we've already done two times that in the first four days is something that we are very, very pleased with."
Umm, yah, I'd be pleased. Everyone keeps stressing that iTunes by itself is not a big money maker for Apple
and that it's meant to be a marketing tool to sell iPods but come on. Who knows what the operating and licensing costs are but they just scored US$1.4 million in revenue in 4 days. 4 days is less than the time it took the initial U.S. opening to sell 1 million tracks - almost a week - and Japan is roughly 42% the size of the U.S. population wise. With total downloads of over 500 million songs internationally since the iTunes store opened Apple has likely gleaned about $500 million in revenue, give or take, which is ~4% of it's total yearly revenue of 12.6 billion
- sure, a small amount but not to be discounted altogether, no? The thing to remember here is that while iPods might be a great money maker, they also break, bread dissatisfied customers, and wreak havoc in the customer support department. I don't know about iTunes but, barrring DRM complaints, how angry can someone get at an mp3?
When a friend gives me a book - whether they just think I'll enjoy it or they ask me to read it because they are curious about how I will recieve it - I try my very best to read it. There is something oddly special to me about sharing the written word with someone that I just don't take for granted. Certainly, I may not enjoy the book. I may disagree with it or find it hatefully boring. That's life, but I'll still read it and do my best to take it all in and for it, I hope, I'm a more full person.
When I give a book to another person I, perhaps unfairly, expect the same sort of respect. I don't share what I read with everybody (sans news articles and such linked here, obviously) so when I do it means something to me. I'm sharing it because I think there might be something the person can gain, or more often something the person can help me with, something the person can explain about the book or story, something they can clarify. It's almost like a personal favour that I'm asking and just as I feel I owe any good friend an honest opinion when asked - whether they will like it or not - I wish I could receive the same in return.
On occasion, a friend will tell me that they just don't read much, or that they probably won't get to it since they have a pile of shit they gotta read already. That's fine - upfront and honest - and not something I take offense at. What I do take offense at is people feigning interest and making hollow promises. If there is anything I can respect it's honesty and integrity. Otherwise it's just a lie.
Have you read that last post and think I'm crazy? Well, I might be wrong but I'm not crazy - the telltale signs are out there. It's actually fairly obvious and I'm far from the first, second, or one thousandth person to think about it.
The New York Times is running an editorial wherein an Oregon official states WiFi should be a utility
..broadband is just the next step in expanding the national infrastructure, comparable to the transcontinental railroad, the national highway system and rural electrification. Indeed, we need to envision broadband Internet access as just another utility, like electricity or water. Often the best way to provide that will be to blanket a region with Wi-Fi coverage..
The article focuses on what is probably one of the world's largest "hot spots" - in Hermiston, Oregon, an area of low-population farm land - where high-speed wifi internet is available for free over 600 square miles. From the author:
Driving along the road here, I used my laptop to get e-mail and download video - and you can do that while cruising at 70 miles per hour, mile after mile after mile, at a transmission speed several times as fast as a T-1 line. (Note: it's preferable to do this with someone else driving.)
This kind of network is the wave of the future, and eastern Oregon shows that it's technically and financially feasible. New York and other leading cities should be embarrassed..
The very fact that people are thinking of wireless broadband internet as something that should be free - something that should be provided as a government service just like tarred roads, police, and electricity - is a sure sign that information is becoming as important as, well, tarred raods, police, and electricity. Important enough to force itself on us? Or perhaps we're the addicts instead, seeking it out like so many cracked out heroin users, wandering the streets aimlessly searching for free wifi spots, going so far as to jack into the access points
of unsuspecting broadband subscribers
who have unwittingly left their security open, breaking the law
to get the information we need
Gosh I love being dramatic. After all I was one of those theatre geeks in grade school, yah know.
I've been trying to think a lot about this whole information age
thing lately which is perhaps fairly obvious given my recent rantings and less-than-thorough reporting of all things.. umm.. "newsworthy"? But the point of it is I
thought those things I brought up or linked were
newsworthy, but then again who am I to comment? I guess what I'm struggling with a lot lately is the question of importance, the question of what is real news. What, afterall, is really going to effect your life? Or, perhaps more close to home, what do you need to know today to be alive tomorrow.
Case in point; I was reading the metafilter discussion on Shuttle Launch Exhaust
Ecological impact of Space Shuttle launch exhaust. Aluminum oxide powder, hydrogen chloride, and of course, water vapor, which can form noctilucent clouds. The environmental impact is supposedly minimal.
If you follow the link you'll see that most of the comments being posted on metafilter are, very predictably, of the "it's a drop in the bucket" category. By example:
This is statistical noise compared to the ecological damage that results from a dependancy on fossil fuels.
And indeed it is statistical noise. But this is neither here nor there.
What I am talking about here is the effect of the discussion, not the article itself. The Space Shuttle's ecological destruction is probably never going to touch me in any sort of real, measurable way. Sure, it may kill a bunny or two on the launch pad, a bird or an alligator even, but we're talking about local effects that are moot in any discussions involving the bigger picture (tm). So if it is moot, why was I exposed to it and, even more importantly, why did I continue to read comments after my brain had deduced the irrelevancy of the matter? These questions might seem like they come with obvious answers like "you were exposed because it was written about in florida today and someone posted a link on metafilter" but these aren't the answers I'm looking for.
So what is this about? It's about information and it's about who is getting it when, where, how, and mostly why. It's about information as a resource that is as real and as measurable as grain, rice, oil, or metal. It's about the way we handle this information when we do get it.
Institutions and corporations, as they become larger and larger, are often plagued with the problem of bureacracy, aka red tape, aka administration. These are all words that the common man see as derogatory and not just because they don't necessarily do their job but because these entities rarely, if ever, do it efficiently. The CEO gets the memo too late, or not at all. The President doesn't hear about the rising rebellion in time to fight it peacefully because a bureacrat decided he didn't need to know right away. These systems are information processing plants and also information filters. Data goes in one end and a very different set comes out the other end.
So the man on the street may not think he has this problem but he does
. When he watches the nightly news he is getting the most filtered information possible - run through newswires, over editor's desks, across FCC approval desks, to finally rest under the nose of your favourite anchor. Does this sound like information to you or does it sound like a fairy tale that has been put together from half-truths, concocted from layers upon layers of data processing; a shit-nugget built from sirloin steak?
Earlier today I wasted 5 precious minutes of my time reading metafilter comments about how much pollution the space shuttle creates on launch and for what? This is not going to save my life or prevent me from making my next mistake, this is not going to make me money, so why did I read it?
So when the man on the street talks to his friend or reads through metafilter or watches tv or clicks to cnn.com or any other database of information, how does he know what is relavant? How does he know when to read, when to listen, and when to stop? Right now maybe this isn't a very important question but I'm telling you it will be. Maybe not for us, but at the very least for our children. Information is going to grow to a level that pertinent
information will become so preciously scarce (if only because the amount of total information available will skyrocket) that the people who know how to find it will be the people controlling the world.
There is a reason that the likes of Google are making waves today and though some people may understand it and see it for what it is I don't think these people are enough to create this giant wave - it is the innate power of information itself that is creating this wave, the increased access to it, the increased amounts of it, the increased production of it. We are heading towards an economical society that won't be measured purely in physical product, it will be measured in the very creation of information. The inevitable procession of evolution.
The next big thing? The next big revelation we will see since the dawn of this age? Maybe it will be information becoming aware of itself
? Afterall, what is man but millions of pieces of genetic data coming together to think, hear, see, feel
that we exist?
Oh, I just can't stop. Please, someone hold me back.
Amazon may be jumping into the fray of musical 1's and 0's
Citing people familiar with the discussions, the [Wall Street] Journal says Amazon is talking about a music offering that would include options such as song-by-song downloads and a monthly subscription service.
Gak. It's Friday afternoon and it feels like Tuesday morning. I don't know where this week went but I'm feeling it from all sides and, not only that, but I've heard the same from more than a few people. My housemate said he felt like it was Monday yesterday, a co-worker asked "where'd the week go?" and a good friend of mine telephoned and said he was having a great Wednesday because he "felt like it was Sunday". What.. the.. fah?
Regardless, let me take this low-traffic Friday to go on about some personal gunk that hopefully will get buried under a few more posts by the time the high-hit Mon/Tue time of week rolls around.
I finally got my hospital bill. I knew it wasn't going to be pretty what with a antibiotic cocktail shot in the ass, a tetanus booster, and some x-rays, but I was hoping that I'd come in under ~US$695. Why US$690? Well, if you've read those previous posts about my little hospital adventures then you know that I don't have health coverage. You should also know that had I optioned health coverage through my university for this year it would have cost me US$1080. Now, my previous hospital adventure back in September (this one in Canada) cost me CDN$470 (US$385). As everyone knows, 1080 - 385 = 695. Therefore, I figured, if I can keep my health costs below $695 for the rest of the year then I've beat the system... well, financially anyway. So what's the news?
$100 for the antibiotic shot
$77 for the tetanus
$82 for three xrays
$40 for the xray technician
$184 for the visit
$75 for the next-day followup visit.
Total: US$558. Ding ding ding ding I am
a winner. For all the bad-luck griping I've down, I do still live a semi-charmed life.
Then again, September is not here yet so I'm still uninsured. Perhaps I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch.
In addition to the medical bad luck I got a few speeding tickets this last weekend, too. Both reduced, $244 total. If I add that to the medical bills I'm $107 over. Ahhh shit, can't win 'em all. $107 is really a small price to pay for membership dues to the semi-charmed life club.
Regardless of my luck, or lack of bad luck (I refuse to say I have good luck), I am still going outside to pound on the largest tree I can find. It's hard to find real wood in this office.
So what other aspects of my life are so semi-charmed you ask? Well, practically all of it, but I'll detail just one more for you today. I've been nothing but
semi-charmed in my love life. It's nothing to write home about, it doesn't involve crazy threesomes or too many serious long term relationships. It doesn't include hundreds of sordid one-night stands. It does, however, epitomize moderation in all of these... I think. Certainly, it's a humble opinion I present, but don't get jealous just yet.. Moderation is never dramatic and rarely, if ever, truly desired. It's just a good saying to justify not livin' (L I V I N). That's fine, I've been trying to keep on livin but maybe I'm just destined for a moderate experience?..
And baby, that is just my problem. Moderation looks great on paper, makes for a good deal, sign at the dotted line honey cause here I come but wait; stop. Who wants to go half way just to turn around? How many people do you know climb almost to the top of a mountain just to go back down again? How far do you think Shackleton would have made it over Elephant Island if he'd settled for half-spirit? Where do you think Lewis and Clark would have settled if they hadn't had the drive..
Bah to Ohio. Moderation indeed and look what they're doing with it. Cleveland, Bowling Green, and the Rock and Roll hall of fame, huh? Yah, right guys. Keep it up.
I don't want to live my life with moderation cause it frankly bores the fuck out of my skull and it's probably, probably, just what gets me in trouble in the first place. I don't like the nice girls I like the adorable punch-drunk-with-cuteness ones. I don't like pretty I like beautiful. I don't like normal, sane, ordinary. I like crazy, wild, energized-by-the-very-air-they-breath girls who flutter around in a social situation like butterflies on a summer's day. I like girls so mysterious that talking to them is like sitting at a campfire, barely being able to make out the facial features of the person across from you, flamelight licking across your view enough to shine a little detail on their cheeks, the outline of their hair, their smile... and maybe just maybe maybe if you're lucky, you can get a tiny glimpse of their soul.
So what's the problem? It's fleeting. Butterflies, in their adult life, live to be a week old, maybe two. These are not creatures to become overly attached to, this is not the solution to a happy life. Winged creatures are not for tying down, binding up, or forcing into cages. These little puppies need to flutter wherever they may - about a room, illuminating all the faces with smiles - even if ever so briefly.
I don't claim to have a sixth-sense but I do have a butterfly radar and it's attached directly to my brain-bone that says "dig her, like her, date her" whenever it goes off. It's a dangerous connection and a signal to be sent back from whence it came. It spells trouble in more than one language and though these little insects may not be praying mantis they will nevertheless chew you up and spit you out. When they are done with you your head may still be attached but it is no more functional for thought than a bowling ball stuck atop a broom stick.
So I know these things; I see the warning signs and step carefully with light feet, tip toeing through my evenings out at bars. I keep a measured distance but like a recovering addict I nevertheless sneak a swig of that magic elixir when I can, if I think no one is looking, if I'm feeling low-down. Sweet is the taste, but the bitter stays on far after you have swallowed, like a candy too intense for it's own good.
I brush every day but the cavities keep coming.
And so I take the little bits of advice I get now and again; like cough syrup, forced into my mouth while I twist my head sideways in disgust. The latest in the trainwreck that is attempts to change who my very being is:
the gist of what I will tell you is that I am sure that things happen for a reason......you will find a girl that makes you forget the auburn chick ever existed....and it happens when you least expect it.....just gotta keep on truckin'.....
And while it is appreciated it nonetheless has a paper-thin effect. It may shade me from the brilliance of the sun if held up to the window but, regardless, I can still see the light.
You can only seek advice so long before you realize that your life can only be lived by you. It's a conundrum that our mother's and father's struggle with, our friends despise, and even the government will try to ignore.. but it is as true as the day is long, as right as the sky is wide, and as blatant as a fat man's fart in a crowded room.
So I can't understand, truly, the oft-repeated mantra that things come together as if they are planned. I can't really believe I will forget the auburn chick
no matter who tells me or what I see - not until I truly live it, for myself. In the meantime all I can do is sit and wait, try not to gorge myself on butterflies like a kid in a candy store, try to accept that patience is a virtuous endeavour, and hope that someday I will find the other half of my
Internet News is running a story on a new Yahoo! service titled Yahoo! Audio Search and it is currently in beta. The tool allows the searching of audio files and Yahoo! claims to have 50 million music, voice, and other files cataloged in the search. It searches across multiple mainstream music sites, as well as plenty of independent pages. Now if only it was tied in with some sort of lyric search.
Yah yah yah.. but when is it going to be tied in with an acoustic fingerprint search like iEatBrainz mp3 tagger, that's what I
want to know. Has the information age progressed from childhood into adolescense, or are we already into adulthood? Either way it's clear that the deeper we go the more and more metadata will play a role, and then data about metadata, and then metadata about data that is metadata for metadata. Or something.Update
: whoops, forgot the links.
We'll call this the wednesday random roundup (yes, I know it's thursday but wednesday just sounds better).
Firstly, Apple has added Japan
to the list of countries priveleged enough to buy it's iTunes Music Store offerings (over 1,500,000 files, now). It was just over a year ago now that Apple first made their service available to non-U.S. customers (France and Germany). The addition of Japan to the list makes a total of 20 countries now. A while back, they sold their 500 millionth song online and it looks like they're not planning on stopping there. Just for shits and giggles let's look at a graph of iTunes Music store total sales by date:
For clarification, that's 70 million songs in the first year and practically 330 million in the second year. It's worth noting that a large part of the increase in sales could very easily be attributable to the addition of other countries to the store, rather than to increased online music purchasing by the average music lover.. Anyhow, it's not that it looks like Apple needs
Japan's patronage, but hopefully for them the Japanese won't mind paying a 40% premium on the content, since Apple is charging 150 yen (US$1.40).
[Apple's] rival Sony's online songs range from 99 yen to 210 yen, but Sony's music download service Mora provides just 200,000 songs -- 110,000 foreign and 90,000 in Japanese.
Apple's move followed Wednesday's announcement by US online song-seller
Napster that it would team up with real-world disc retailer Tower Records to enter the Japanese music market next year.
Of course there is no mention as to the amount of Japanese content available through Apple's service.
Secondly, I thought I'd talk about a little phenomenon that you all can use on a daily basis to acquire all the things in life you wish you had. I call it the wish-yah-had-it effect: If you can think it up, it already exists. I run into this effect every time I have a great idea for a new product or piece of software. I think gee, this would be awesome
and then *BAM*
- within a week or two I stumble upon a product or piece of software that does exactly what I was thinking. The effect itself can be mind-numbingly frustrating for the aspiring entrepeneur. All the ideas, as they say, have been taken. But for the end-user/joe-shmo like me it's just champagne and bubbles. I come with things I need, they pop into existence. It's a lot like playing those old side-scrolling arcade games where you fought an enemy, walked away from that portion of the level, and when you returned the enemy was mysteriously revived!
So what makes me bring up this wish-yah-had-it effect? For a long time now I've chatted on occassion with a good friend of mine about creating a database system that, given an acoustic signature of some sort, could return a set of music songs that matched it. The impetus behind this was for academic music reseach but the applications are endless. Enter www.musicbrainz.org
, a user-maintained community music metadatabase with information such as the ArtistName, the AlbumTitle, and the list of tracks that appear on an album. In addition to this information, however, it also contains AcousticFingerprints (unique ids that represent the audio signature of a musical piece, generated through software by Relatable
) to semi-automatically identify tracks in your music collection. Bingo - no more mp3s titled Track01, Track02, Track03..
Well, this database is all good and dandy but how to make use of it? With iEatBrainz
, that's how. It's a iTunes plug-in that uses MusicBrainz to fix your mp3 and aac tags in iTunes after they've been ripped using acoustic matchings
I'm anxious to, but I haven't tried this puppy out yet. In the meantime, user comments over at Version tracker seem pretty positive:
- for me its about 85% accurate, which is fantastic.
- I would say that it is about 70% accurate.
- I have a lot of foreign music (French, Quebec, spanish, etc..) and it finds most of them. I have a 2000 mp3's and it only missed out on about 5% which is reasonable, I think..
Thirdly, The Buzz Engine
. This is an interesting article about a company doing "Online Analysis":
[The] project hinges on the fact that these days, few rumours, opinions, musings or idle thoughts go unpublished. Through blogs, discussion forums, Usenet groups, chat rooms and opinion sites collectively known as wikis, people are sharing everything they think.
The problem for marketers is how to access and analyze this massive flow of information. They can search them through a service like Google, Yahoo or Bloogz (which specializes in searching blogs), but they'd have to know what to look for. In fact, a Google search of the words "key," "Dodge" and "Omni" [which were used to try to find information about the fact that Dodge Omnis only had six key prints, thereby resulting in a large chance that your Omni key would work in another's car] yields about 266,000 results, and none of the first 250 has any thing to do with key interchangeability.
The researcher says that using the results of the method a company can sense whether
[a] new product has generated a high level of interest, what type of interest, and even head off product issues before they become massive business problems.
Yah, well.. no kidding. I'm honestly surprised at how little companies look at the web when it comes to gauging consumer enthusiasm for new products. Even using just Google's search can result in some pretty strong (postive or negative) opinions. Take note of the mighty mouse discussion just the other day.
The bottom line is that large corporations, as much as they might have learned over the last decade about online-everything
, are still slow on the uptake. The good 'ol boy style and mentality of doing business is an entrenched one. Yet this does make the sometimes silly analysis tools blogpulse, technorati, daypop, etc seem potentially useful. How long before they get bought up by the big kids in suits?
And finally, I really enjoyed this article
over at Slate discussing NewWeek's current scaremongering cover story, "The Meth Epidemic: Inside America's New Drug Crisis,"
. They talk about the lack of solid reporting, the overly-disgusting photos meant to appeal to America's love for a little hysteria, and then they go on to do NewWeek
's job for them, the way it should have been done in the first place:
Another significant metric is found in the superb number-crunching performed by the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future survey. Each year, the survey asks high schoolers what drugs they've taken in the last year. In 1975, 16.2 percent of all 12th graders said they'd taken amphetamines over the year. That number peaked at 26 percent in 1981 and bottomed at 7.1 percent in 1992. Methamphetamine arrives on the chart in 1999 at 4.3 percent but dribbled down to 3.4 percent by 2004.
Amen. Of course in this article we get what we apparently can't expect from the likes of NewsWeek
; both sides of the story:
This critique is no brief in favor of drug use. Nor do I minimize the collateral damage inflicted on others by methamphetamine users. But journalism like [NewsWeek's] ignores how, to paraphrase Grinspoon and Hedblom, drug-war measures often do more harm to individuals and society than the original "evil" substance the warriors attempted to stamp out. In the mid-1960s, just before the government declared war on amphetamines, the average user swallowed his pills, which were of medicinal purity and potency. Snorting and smoking stimulants was almost unheard of, and very few users injected intravenously.
Today, 40 years later, snorting, smoking, and injecting methamphetamines of unpredictable potency and dubious purity has become the norm—with all the dreadful health consequences. If the current scene illustrates how the government is winning the war on drugs, I'd hate to see what losing looks like.
Update on my Tuesday post
regarding Apple, Intel, and DRM.. or was that TPM.. or TCPA? Whatever.
Open For Business has an article titled Palladium Not in Apple Dev Kits
Earlier reports circulating around the Internet concerning Apple's inclusion of a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip in Intel-based Macs were incorrect, OfB has learned...
...Commenting on earlier reports, a reliable source who requested anonymity told OfB, “While many rumors are being circulated on the web about Apple's future direction on Intel processors with DRM, the majority of them are just that - rumors.” The source, a registered Apple developer, continued, “Reality is that these boxes are production PC's in an Apple case, not DRM or TCPA protected, and none of these boxes will remain in circulation after their purpose has been served - they must be returned to Apple.
As you might have gathered from my previous post, I'm no expert, but I feel I can safely say that a lot of the people making noise about this issue are also
not experts - and in fact the experts don't appear to be experts either. All the news articles I've read seem to belie a certain level of understanding of the differences between TPM, DRM, and TCPA when in fact they mix and match terminology like it's all just mr. potatoe head accessories. In fact this article uses a headline with the now-dated term Palladium
, a word people still seem haunted by even though Microsoft has re-engineered their trusted computing/security naming scheme these days. The new version makes no reference to Palladium and instead is called the Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB - because previous acronyms weren't long enough. I'm told you pronounce it "Ing Scub".. again, whatever). Security (against angry customers jumping ship) through obscurity?
Anyhow, what's the result of all of this? Mass panic for the Mac crowd, as you've seen. Given this, I guess there might be some falsity in the data I presented in my apple mighty mouse post - a lot of the Apple
traffic on the blogosphere in the last few days could certainly be attributable to this fiasco, rather than the new input device.
Regardless, I stand by my previous stance: It's too early to tell what Apple is going to put out for consumer Intel boxes, it's reasonable to expect Rosetta to have a certain number of limitations - i.e. requiring certain hardware - and it's certainly reasonable to think that Apple is going to migrate it's apps to fully native Intel code as soon as they can.
Let's lower the threat level on this one down to yellow or blue, shall we?
Well now I'm just getting sick of this story. Some may call it a lemon.. or perhaps the Shuttle is just old.. but when I say clusterfuck, I mean clusterfuck
. Just as the get the last problem fixed (they forewent the makeshift hacksaw - w00t? a hacksaw isn't standard equipment on the space shuttle?) another one crops up
With a gentle tug of his gloved right hand, Discovery astronaut Stephen Robinson removed two worrisome pieces of filler material from the shuttle's belly Wednesday in an unprecedented space repair job that drew a big sigh of relief from NASA. But he may have to go out again to fix yet another trouble spot.
Robinson was barely back inside the shuttle and out of his spacesuit when Mission Control informed the crew there was a chance that a fourth spacewalk might be needed Friday to deal with a torn thermal blanket below a cockpit window.
The concern is that a 20-inch section of the blanket could rip away during re-entry, whip backward and slam into the shuttle, perhaps causing grave damage.
Aw, ain't that cute. let's take some time off from griping to enjoy some cats jumping around
. My favourites:
Certainly a sign of the times.. leave it to Apple to be able to generate so much hype
(technorati search) about a simple little scroll mouse. It's the number 4 search term on technorati right now, even though the news hit Slashdot 10:01am yesterday, it was the top link on blogpulse
for yesterday, and it's numero uno at daypop's top 40
. Well, I guess they did call it the Mighty Mouse
Anyhoo, you gotta admit the word-of-mouth / consumer buzz is all over Apple right now. Whatever they did. However they did it - I don't care if you attribute it to the iPod, or their nice designs, or Steve Jobs' new haircut - they are doing something right.
The last time Apple created this much electricity in the ether was around June 6th when they announced their two year migration scheme from IBM PowerPC processors to Intel x86 processors - admittedly a ginormous press release from Apple. Other than that nothing in the last six months has come close to generating so much buzz.
However, what we are talking about today is a simple goddamned mouse
. This isn't rocket science. This isn't a life-altering corporate shift.....
..or is it. This might indeed be more signs of the times - not the buzz around this supposedly mighty mouse, but the simple fact that Apple is (in some little way) admitting defeat over the one-button/multi-button mouse debate.
The question now is next year, when the new Intel Macs come out, will they be shipping with more than one mouse button or not? While it might seem like I'm being overly fussy about what is essentially a very small detail, it speaks to a larger question. Is the Apple experience going to change and, if so, is it going to change for the better? Apple users are a zealous group and, while they are obnoxiously loyal, they can be damn finicky. So, what many Mac users probably really want to know is:
When I try and buy my next Macintosh, am I going to get a Red Delicious instead?
Oh Goody! Fun with paper.
The Paper Forest
blog has more links to paper projects than you can shake a lamb's stick tail in the mud at. Them gots links to a paper version of the Game of Life, lots of origami, and tons of paper models of all sorts of things, from steam engines (huh?) to Yahama Motor Corps motorcycles, as well as their lions
, oh my!
And maned sloths
File that one under:
HOME > ENTERTAINMENT > PAPER CRAFTS > RARE ANIMALS > WORLD - MANED SLOTH
We hope you will enjoy our selection of "Rare Animals of the World"
I especially like Yamaha's Paper Crafts homepage
with a picture of a menagerie of wild animals and.. um.. motorcycles. A match made in heaven.
And finally, how about the print for their page for summer
- which consists of nothing but beetles - they manage to get a plug for their motorcycles into it but even better, it just smacks
of cute li'l japanese-2-english translation:
Summer is the time for enjoying yourself outdoors under the sun. We may be drawn to scenes of sunbathing on the beach or cruising on the sea with the salty breezes. Our hearts may turn inland and long for the fresh air of the mountains or the exhilaration of motorcycle touring.
But communing with the insects of the woods is also fun. Do you remember the joy of the moment when you caght your first cicada or firefly or stag beatle in a net as a child? Let Yamaha's website revive those happy memories.
Oh those Japanese, what will they think of next, cartoons about sex, robots, and tentacles?
So right now, this instant, the previously-gouged foot is throbbing.. right where it was gouged. Now, to recap (despite the fact no one wants to here it) I step on a seashell.. or coral. or a rock. okay, I admit it, I'm not sure what it was. My best recollection is that it was a large pointy seashell type thing. Anyhow, that doesn't matter now. Nor does my poor little billfold that is floating in (sunken to the bottom of?) the carribbean with all my credit cards; presumably. To recap, I have not gotten a new license, I have not gotten my ATM card working yet, I have only received one of my many many useless credit cards (I say useless because I am one of those assfuckers you hate who pays off his bills every month so doesn't need
fifteen credit cards). I am, admittedly, not in proximity to my postal delivery spot so I guess I don't really know if they've come in yet. Perhaps I shouldn't complain so much about these credit card companies. To recap, my foot is throbbing in that exact spot where it was gouged out by a nice big seashell (or rock, or coral, yah yah we know already get on with the story). If it hurt at all, I would be worried. It doesn't. It's just throbbing.
Relationship advice is the most retardedest thing in the world. People are going to bitch and moan, ask for advice, and if you're lucky they will even pretend to listen.. but they will nonetheless return to their idiotic ways, complaining evermore into the night like a sick twisted step mother. They will not follow
any said advice.
Feeling miserable is oh-so-much more fun. Trust me.
This, coincidentally, is why people don't listen to relationship advice; it might work. And the last thing anyone wants is to look like a couple that couldn't be pigeonholed into a bad episode of 90120, Felicity, Desperate Housewives, or Maury Povich. Take your pick because, no matter what, everyone wants to fall into one of these categories. Life is no fun otherwise.
So take the good with the bad? Is that it? No no no no. I say again, no. It's all good. In the eyes of the layman a failed divorce is as romantic as a successful marriage. There is no bad. If you can smile, grit your teeth, and say you're sorry (meanwhile getting drunk while you sip marg.mix, food coloring, and cheap tequila from your gatorade bottle) then that is all it takes to be the whitebread's best friend, the sandwich meat, the monkey in the middle, the peolpe all the other people are looking at saying "hey, look, they made it".
Yes in-fucking-deed they made it. And my foot is still throbbing.