Having given my notice some weeks ago, I find myself sitting here at my old company, long loyal for 7 years - moreso me or it, hard to tell - all alone on New Year's eve. All the employees have left to slumber (or rather, more likely to get slammered) and I just can't seem to pull myself away or finish this very long chapter.
I sense in me the want to meander, write long rosy prosey and poetic philander. But I'll try for all of your sake to keep it short. Just a note, one last time, from this spot of shirked work. I'll sit here and try to think of something to say. Something witty or wise or smart. It won't work, though, and these last 10 minutes will come and go, and then it will be time to roll.
Out into the snow (once more, again) - 30 inches this month, the decades best. Out I go into the streets of nonsense, with revelers merry and quite contrary (falling into, out of, their feet's lockstepped carry). If I make it at the next job for even seven days, it will be quite the feat of amaze. If I make it seven more years, perhaps then
it will finally be time for this guy's cheer.
Happy New Year Internet.
Why Starbucks actually helps mom and pop coffeehouses:
Ever since Starbucks blanketed every functioning community in America with its cafes, the one effect of its expansion that has steamed people the most has been the widely assumed dying-off of mom and pop coffeehouses. Our cities once overflowed with charming independent coffee shops, the popular thinking goes, until the corporate steamroller known as Starbucks came through and crushed them all, perhaps tossing the victims a complimentary Alanis Morrisette CD to ease the psychic pain. In a world where Starbucks operates nearly 15,000 stores, with six new ones opening each day, isn't this a reasonable assumption? How could momma and poppa coffee hope to survive? But Hyman didn't misspeak—and neither did the dozens of other coffeehouse owners I've interviewed. Strange as it sounds, the best way to boost sales at your independently owned coffeehouse may just be to have Starbucks move in next-door.
Admittedly, it doesn't sound that strange at all - it just sounds unintuitive
. This is an interesting look at the complexity of market forces, and ultimately highlights our own limitations as market analysts, when the only resources we use is our logic.
On a more general note, it shows that without research - specifically, research that does not make logical presumptions as a basis - we're doomed to inefficiency and waste as a species. This is why R&D is good. This is why the tiny amount of federal money given to the NSF and NEA, for example, is dismal and horrendous.
I'm going to update my wardrobe to be nothing but stuff like this
. Whaddyah think?
I was going to work on Christmas eve. Really, I was. I told people "I'm have to work on Monday" and I meant it. On Sunday night I went to bed with the intention of working the next day. I set an alarm, woke up early, and due to the office xmas party it would only have been a half day of work anyhow.
But I didn't go to work and I didn't show up for the xmas party and I stayed at home with my family instead. I used up my last remaining vacation day of the year and I wrapped presents and saw friends and watched feel-good movies (The Waitress, which my mother had rented). I did the things that people do when they find themselves at home with family on xmas eve.
So did I feel guilty about not going to work? Yes, I did. Did I try to justify my actions to myself? No, I did not (okay, sorta). I simply berated myself for being such a bad, horrible, mean spirited person.
Merry Christmas everyone. A day late, a dollar short, but meaning every last word of it.
There is so much I don't like out there and so many people that piss me off that it can really get in the way sometimes. Of what I like, that is. Which, as a misanthrope, is limited to a few fuzzy bears, a frog, and other nonsensical apparitions. You know, "ghosts".. things that aren't real. Things that don't seem real, anyway, because they're all dancing in reverse on the inside of my dark heavy curtains; low tv-light as the energy of their souls.
Meanwhile, the shit outside - and I'm not talking about the inches and feet of piled up snow, the trash strewn about town, or the old junkers spewing filth into our winter wonderland here - I'm talking about the shit outside that is every whining, complaining, miserable jerk who thinks they're owed something or that they can walk up and knock on opportunity's door. It works the other way around, last time I checked.
Opportunity came knocking on my door recently and that's just the trouble. Whereas the saying goes "one door closes, another one opens" I have too many that are wide and inviting and, what with all the jerks who think they're owed something filling my head with grouse and grumble, it is hard to think straight through one of these doors. I'm no Gumby and that means I stretch only so thin, but my mind (in its own insufferable patois, puttied into stringy taffy bits) can see itself wrapped around so many door jams it hurts my body to bear the translation into such finite dimensions as : outside my door.
So I'm the jerk, really. A mind in meld is a mind in mania and, just like the jerk with too many dreams, I'm marred by choices, life, life, life, or life. It isn't any real wonder that, in finally stepping through a door, it is hard to see on both the inside and the outside. Especially having spent so long in drafting a monologue to myself, to be having-been delivered pre-hence, once edited having already been read, spoken, booed, and applauded. All while balancing on the precipice, swaying back and forth and in and out, feeling the cool breeze of the open yard, the warm heat of the fireplace, the sun lite panorama, the soft glow of finite space.
So is it misanthropic to self-loathe those traits which best define you as one of a brethren? If it is, does it solve anything, do the words make any sense at the end of the day, like a solid and final solution or answer? Probably not, no. Sigh, it doesn't, and so back to the bears, the green fuzzy frogs and those silly squares. Of ghosts and ghouls dancing in made up light. Say what you will but tv.. tv.. tv..
What was I saying?
Writers on Writing
in the New York Times. How many am I guilty of in that list of ten writting transgressions? A few, that's for sure. But I've said for some years now that it is the voice of the characters themselves in a book that drives the reader to continue. Dialogue just draws readers in:
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
A rule that came to mind in 1983. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he's writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character's head, and the reader either knows what the guy's thinking or doesn't care. I'll bet you don't skip dialogue.
This is everywhere, so I'd be surprised if you haven't heard, but Peter Jackson will produce a new Hobbit movie afterall
, along with a sequel! I guess he resolved his differences with New Line. Don't get too excited, though, we have a long wait:
The two “Hobbit” films – “The Hobbit” and its sequel – are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, with pre-production beginning as soon as possible. Principal photography is tentatively set for a 2009 start, with the intention of “The Hobbit” release slated for 2010 and its sequel the following year, in 2011.
When I was younger, I was obsessed with aircraft, mostly WWII era, for no particularly obvious reason. I suppose every boy has his hobbies but I know for a fact that I knew way too much about the venerable Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes of the RAF. That being said, if you're into the aeronautics, you'll find this gallery of pics from the 2007 Nellis AFB Aviation Nation airshow
. The quality of the pictures is great!
Thanks, but no thanks. I usually prefer to let my relationships wander for a bit longer than a week, just to see where they might go, but it seems obvious already that we are not a very good match. You just want to stay in, grumbling and wheezing under the covers, whereas I'd much prefer to be out and about spreading merry cheer during this holiday season.
May I suggest, at the very least, a trial separation for the next few days? Please?
Forgive me my lack of posts, but I've been fluzed and bedridden (if not always physically, certainly mentally) in this time of mother earth's snowy tears and consumerism's holiday cheer. We'll bounce back, no doubt in short time, and soon enough be on the right track.
Okay folks, these guys did the final end-all-be-all for me: 18 annoying, whimsical, and bizarre alarm clocks.
I've always been a bit quiet with "the public", so to speak; those everyday strangers that become like family as you flow through the ins-and-outs of your knick-knack life. Convenience store clerks and gas station attendants, the bum down the street and the struggling actress waiting at the diner.. you name it, these people are there and real but almost like papier-mâché; set pieces to your theatrical life. Fantastical stereotypes with busted left speakers, coming through thin and frail among all that static.
In fact, when I was younger I would avoid making phone calls to strangers because it just wasn't a fun experience. Librarians.. mechanics.. everyone. The only voice I felt okay with was the telephone operator. I think it was because I knew she would tell me the time. All I had to do was ask and she would speak. Like magic, it would come trickling over the tiny wires and come popping out of the little earpiece of the phone and I could hang up, just like that, without offending anybody.
I'm not sure why I started out that way. Maybe because I grew up in the woods or because of who I (didn't) hang out with. Maybe it was because my older sister was even worse than I was? Nevertheless, through time and practice and emulation of those who have already memorized their lines, through effort and change and concentrated emotion, I have eeked out a character, I only partially know, onto this life's stage. I walk into stores now and make funny jokes, making baubles from banter and cheering people up. But it still seems odd and out of place, more conscious than I'd like.
I keep wondering if someday it all falls into place..
.. or if we all just keep falling
The relatively unknown Danny Gatton, who sadly committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 49, is still a sight for sore .. ears. Hear some of his blusy-rockabily here
. Youtube, of course.
I'm not exactly in love with the writer's strike in LA, if only because the picket line seems like a tropical resort compared to what most people associate with the term "picket line". That is, they're getting free food and concerts.. along with the backing of celebrities.
Okay, forget the gripes for a moment. I actually respect 'ol A.B.C.* Alec Baldwin a bit more for this Op-Ed on the Huffington Post
, in which he cuts to the chase at the end:
In the meantime, the writers, and the other sellers as well, have a different idea they can try. I recall when a popular late night talk show host skewered the head of his own network for a prolonged run, right there on his show. On and on it went and, from what I heard, that network head was apoplectic. These people have bigger egos than even the stars themselves, but without any sense of humor. I want the WGA to set up a website and on that website we can all post stories about every no-talent, idiotic, amoral producer and executive we have ever dealt with. Just like they do to us on shows like Extra and sites like TMZ (owned by Warner Brothers.) Set up a website and tell the entire world, via the internet, your own anecdote about some of the witless boobs you have endured in Hollywood and beyond. The strike will end in a week.
He has a point, and I sort of think an anonymous website could do wonders (remember fuckedcompany.. are they even still around?).
Here is an example of where people have the ability to band together and create change. The question is: do they want it bad enough. Politics is another arena that has oodles of untapped potential along this avenue. Americans often don't seem like they care much, but I think there is something else lurking under the surface. That problem is, and I think this is some sort of ugliness ingrained into our societal consciousness, Americans just don't seem to be able to compromise anymore. We embrace a love it or leave it, whole hog, no nonsense sort of ideology here in the States..
Why? I suspect it is because we have spent a whole lifetime's worth of.. actually getting it. We love, we eat hog, and take no nonsense. But what happens when someone comes along and takes our hog away from us? Nonsense!
you might say, it will never happen!
But the truth of the matter is the US of A is a wee lass of a little country, a mere 200 years old. We can't stay on top forever (just ask the Greeks). But nevermind that, we're too busy taking the hog from eachother
. We can't even compromise in politics, where life is black and white (or red and blue) and a great divide between us does fall.
So take up that mighty
.. err.. keyboard, fire up your mini's and your PDAs, go forth and create those great websites in the sky. Build breadth and depth and learn to compromise - if not with everybody than at least your (figurative) neighbours. Remember that a single voice takes but one thought, but an act of Congress takes a whole crowd of whiny bitches.
Slow motion video captures
.. brought to you by annoying compilation-video style music.
Having beefed on Facebook a few days ago, I'd be remiss if I did not take the time to point out that they've finally caved in and changed the Beacon service
Following the bad press, Facebook told its 55 million users on Thursday that it was backing down over the scheme. It is giving users "more control" over the Beacon stories published on their news feeds, and they will have to approve Beacon alerts individually before they appear on their profiles. "We recognise that users need to clearly understand Beacon before they have a story published," Facebook said. "We will continue to refine this approach to give users choice."
The phrase "will continue to refine this approach" sounds like Facebook is leaving the door open for more transgressions in the future, not bowing to the "almighty" user. Whether it is tomorrow, the next day, or next year, I expect more bad news for privacy out of FB in the future.