Monday, April 30, 2007

The internet really has become a gallery of the absurd.
Ahh Mirsky... where for art thou...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

So here i sit in china... another day I'm asleep at midnight and up at 4... but in my beleagered and exhausted state i still find time to find amusement in the insipid reactionary chaos inspired by the Cho 'rampage'. So - turn up your 'insensitivity filters' if you're going to continue...

still here?...

ok. So this guy who came to America, didnt get integrated, got made fun of, beat up, treated as a pariah and an outcast, turned to weapons - an anti-pretty-people manifesto, bought a gun online, and proceeded to shoot up a school. Why, exactly, are we supposed to be surprised? Of course, the gun-control forces came to the table immediately (i'd say there was blood in the water, but from accounts there was blood pretty much everywhere) - which was NOT the right time to pull that trigger (so to speak). They could have waited - and i'm sure many did - but the media sensing the opportunity to create scandal (and lacking a good Dannielynn or real update to the 'how much hair does Brit have today' story) were very much into making as much noise on the subject as possible (they'd rather talk about this than, oh, things like Albert Gonzales being a grade-a f*ckwipe and *why* those prosecutors got fired (gee... turns out there IS something they have in common... but i dont suppose we should be reporting on that stuff, it might upset certain powerful plutocratic entities) -- but that's a whole other story). So we talk about gun control... jackasses like Ted Nugent are trotted with 'rational arguments' on one side of the equation - and for some reason America doesn't find this unbelievably funny. We listen to them say things like 'this wouldnt have happened if MORE people had guns'... or 'this wouldnt have happened if those strange people that dont fit in were locked up because, god forbid, they fit the profile of a killer!!!' You know... i dislike emo as much as the next guy... but that doesnt mean I want to see Jared Leto in a 5x5 cell with Big Ed (ok... maybe i do... but that's just because i have a latent anti-social streak - ack - no i dont - please dont lock me up too).

Dont get me wrong. I have no sympathy for a vicious murderer. If I'd had a gun and been in the room I'd have shot the SOB without a seconds hesitation - and I'd sleep well at night. The world doesnt need asshats like him - but damn if America doesnt MAKE them awfully well.

We need to look at the elements that cause this sort of thing - and they need to be dealt with... that or we need to accept that America is just a freakshow violent society where the percentage of guns to the percentage of violent acts is beyond impressive. Without guns - America would STILL be a place where violence solving problems is far closer to the norm than it should be in a nation built from Hobbsian roots. The rest of the world should take note - America does some things right - but at the core there's a viral violent undercurrent that you need to prevent getting into your culture at all costs. You might want to shy away from that whole 'american dream' thing till we get a handle on it - or someone figures out how to innoculate against it.

Cho is not an isolated incident. Why? Hmmm... well... lotta factors to muck up that question - but between the terrible treatment at the hands of assholes in his formative school years to the oodles of anti-depressants he was on - i think it's just too hard to say. No easy answers (and in a nation where Pi can be rounded to 3, we pretty much redefined the idea of easy answers). So how do we as a society react? Calls for more guns (great... gonna make going to airports a lot more fun again...), calls for less guns (good luck with that one), calls for liberalizing the 'lock up people who act funny' laws (very Minority Report of them - and without the psychics no less)... and then the wild reactions - from South Korea's president taking it as a personal afront, to Freepers 'how come the MSM didnt report he was a minority right away!!!!', to the one that takes the cake for me... Yale banning stage weapons in theatrical productions...

I leave it at this...

Enter Tybalt.
Tyb. What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?
Turn thee Benvolio! look upon thy death.
Ben. I do but keep the peace. Put up thy banana, Or manage it to part these men with me.
Tyb. What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee. Have at thee, coward!
They fight.
Enter an officer, and three or four Citizens with fresh fruit or bananas.
Officer. Raspberries, bananas, and grapes! Strike! beat them down!
Citizens. Down with the Capulets! Down with the Montagues!
Enter Old Capulet in his gown, and his Wife.
Cap. What noise is this? Give me my banana, ho!
Wife. A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a banana?
Cap. My banana, I say! Old Montague is come And flourishes his fruit in spite of me.
Enter Old Montague and his Wife.
Mon. Thou villain Capulet!- Hold me not, let me go.
M. Wife. Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.
Enter Prince Escalus, with his Train.
Prince. Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained fruit- Will they not hear? What, ho! you men, you beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins! On pain of torture with comfy chairs, from those bloody hands Throw your misripened fruit to the ground And hear the sentence of your moved prince. Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets And made Verona's ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments To wield old raspberries, in hands as old, Cank'red with peace, to part your cank'red hate. If ever you disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. For this time all the rest depart away. You, Capulet, shall go along with me; And, Montague, come you this afternoon, To know our farther pleasure in this case, To old Freetown, our common judgment place. Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.

Yale... like Boston... has become a bastion of pussification. Grow the hell up.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Solopsistic Nihilism FTW !!1!

Flying... working on too much... so reading on the plane. Been reading Ian Banks' Algebraist - and it compares favorably with most of the *really damned good* sf i've ever read. The characters are good - though he does tend to 'forget' them after he uses them up. Y'Sul was a favorite - and I think the character's sudden head trauma was a bit too convenient - a 'oh, he's not really important to the story right now, I suppose i could 'stranger than fiction' him but i might need him later' so lets just leave him dazed in the corner for a while... Still - it's a thought provoking book, like Sundiver, which is typical for a Hugo Award winner I suppose. Just as with those Uplift books, or even the old Vonnegut stories - it's back to 'use SF to explore the human condition'. So - as I was reading on the plane - there was a passage that said things in a way that I'd love to have said (I just cant help but love it when an author writes something that encourages me to do the unthinkable - and fold the corner of the page). The section in question:

He looked up from the books and scrolls, the fiches and crystals, and etched diamond leaf and glowing screens and holos, and wondered what the pont of anything was. He knew the standard answers, of course: people – all species, all species-types – wanted to live, wanted comfort, to be free from threat, needed energy in some form – whether it was as direct as absorbed sunlight or as at-a-remove as meat – desired to procreate, were curious, wanted enlightenment or fame and/or success and/or any of the many forms of prosperity, but – ultimately – to what end? People died. Even the immortal died. Gods died.

Some had faith, religious belief, even in this prodigiously, rampantly physically self-sufficient age, even in the midst of this universal, abundant clarity of godlessness and godlack, but such people seemed, in his experience, no less prone to despair, and their faith a liability even in its renunciation, just one more thing to lose and mourn.
People went on, they lived and struggled and insisted on living even in hopelessness and pain, desperate not to die, to cling to life regardless, as if it was the most precious thing, when all it had ever brought them, was bringing them and ever would bring them was more hopelessness, more pain.

Everybody seemed to live as though things were always just about to get better, as though any bad times were just about to end, any time now, but they were usually wrong. Life ground on. Sometimes to the good, but often towards ill and always in the direction of death. Yet people acted as though death was just the biggest surprise – My, who put that there? Maybe that was the right way to treat it, of course. Maybe the sensible attitude was to act as though there had been nothing before one came to consciousness, and nothing would exist after one’s death, as though the whole universe was built around one’s own individual awareness. It was a working hypothesis, a useful half-truth.

But did that mean that the urge to live was the result of some sort of illusion? Was the realtiy, in fact, that nothing mattered and people were fools to think that anything did? Were the choices either despair, the rejection of reason for some idiot faith, or a sort of defensive solipsism?

Valseir might have had something useful to say on the matter, Fassin thought. But then, he was dead too.

By the time I got to 'who put that there' i was folding the corner... Yes - the classic allegorical 'bring it back to the reader...' moment - the Vonnegut 'i'm going to grind this axe - then i'm going to hit you with it' approach. Still - there I was - grinning like an old perv at a catholic schoolgirl recess - 'how damned many times must I remind myself that the stressy crap in my world is unimportant... that it's just a game...' and that's me - who KNOWS better. There's always a catalyst for bringing me back to center when I get too very caught up in it - and I know that at the levels things are being played right now there's enough energy transferrence that it's almost guaranteed to immerse me in shit (how many hundreds of millions of dollars are hanging on the next big meetings? how many people's lives will change?) ... but I cant do any of it at all if I cant take it from the right angle.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

An update on life...

Things are pretty crazy. There are some folks missing from work - key folks - and it means I am finding myself having to put more and more of myself and my time into pulling things together. I have 4 jobs now. We're hiring people to fill those roles - but there's no time - so I'm just not sleeping instead. Still it's all very doable - doable in a very big and positive way - but hard in the face of these obstacles. I'm off to China, again, next week... but that's ok. I like China - and for some reason I get the sense it's where I need to be for some reason. I'm not mystical or anything like that... but there are moments when I can just sense something large out there... like having my own musical score. I dont know what... people... events... maybe its just the sense of having to be there to keep work stuff pointed the right direction... but it feels more foundational than that.

I'm still upset I didnt get to see Japan night at SXSW this year - but Mel got me a sampler CD and i've gotten to love it. The SKA band Oreskoband is acutally pretty good - remind me of a tight Retarded Elf (only in japanese schoolgirl outfits - which makes them much better)... and of course my favorite GoGo7188 which i'm remarkably upset about missing - though i suggest you check the difference in sound when the band has a real stage - if this is any indication then SXSW has totally jumped the shark. Come on Austin - we can do better than this... Still - I suppose Mel and Jake are right to be afraid of Japanese bands. Kawaii is not a good word for much of it.

I have noticed I havent gained the weight back I'd lost going to China the first time... and I dont feel particularly healthy right now... but again, that's probably just the stress. I'm trying to eat - more than I was eating - and I'll try to take advantage of the gym at the Sheraton when I'm there - but dont bet the farm. I'm back down to 155 - and i'd really rather be in the 160 range. I just dont eat much when I'm stressed out. Speaking of the Sheraton - the hotels are still great - but the loyalty program blows goats. The CEO there got fired - and hopefully that sentiment trickles down to their line management - because they just flat out dont give a crap about the customer.

Back in Texas Saturday... out Tuesday to Beijing and maybe Shanghai... back in 2 weeks... then who knows. No point in being in China the first of May - holidays... so better off somewhere else where I can chase people and get some face time in somewhere where it counts. I dont like being the guy who drives these processes - but there are times when you have to reach down and pull. I really do tend to wingman situations - personally or professionally - but i'm a better leader than most i know when people are taking fire.

Speaking of taking fire... on the way home tonight i passed a man... a hairy overweight naked man... standing in his third story window... which was open... as he slapped his belly and called to the women passing by on the street announcing that they should 'come on up - it's free... well, you can pay me if you want... i wont refuse the money'. As I observed the unamused and annoyed looks on the women walking past I couldnt help but think 'another self-proclaimed marketing genius goes down in flames'.

First non-work moments I've had in a couple weeks - spent a couple hours sight reading music in guitar hero II - damn - it took me back. I used to have to do that long ago - and the brain drops into the exact same half second latency mode it was trained for in highschool. I think with a little practice on the buttons (and a strap for the damned guitar) I could probably pull 3 stars on unknown songs on hard pretty easily - which doesnt mean I'm any good... just means there's a latent trained behavior that applies.

Oh... and it's april 11th. My anniversary was Mar 31... and I didnt remember it in the very least until tonight. Not sure how I should feel - but I dont really feel anything about that. It was hearing 'who knew' by Pink... when i realized 'oh wait... what day is today?... lol'. Of course, my Quixote thing hasnt really gone anywhere since the end of the marriage - but I'm too busy to do anything about it. I'm actively trying to avoid damsels though... they're always trouble.

Monday, April 09, 2007


So I post a lot of crap here... silly pictures... annoyed comments about political things, or life things... silly stories and links that really dont mean much.

Read this.

Dont come back till you're done... It'll take you 10 minutes...


Brilliant... I'm so tired. Work has added another role into my world - business development - which will eat me up for a short period while we find a heavy to fill the role - but all this work is finally beginning to etch me. I'm actually going to hurt myself with this job if it doesnt change soon - and i know it. But this is the job - and it has to be done... and even then... even with so much of my attention focused on so many front burners... I would stop for this. I would stop... miss meetings... probably miss planes.... and i have no idea who the artist is professionally. Thing is - even though i play this work game so very very hard - and take it all so very very seriously - it's still JUST a game - and I'm still me.

That's why I know I can keep doing this... for just a while longer...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Spring is in the air...
which means it's that time again...

Then again - if that scares you... when summer rolls around - you have alternatives to look forward too...

Friday, April 06, 2007

One for Jake...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

From the NYT
"Another boot camp instructor showed recruits a ''motivational clip'' showing Iraqi corpses, explosions, gun fights and rockets set to a heavy metal song that included the lyrics, ''Let the bodies hit the floor,'' the petition said. Zabala said he cried, while other recruits nodded their heads in time with the beat."


think about that one next time someone suggests you 'support the troops'...

Sunday, April 01, 2007


"The worst stuff is not going to happen because we can't be that stupid," said Harvard University oceanographer James McCarthy, who was a top author of the 2001 version of this report. "Not that I think the projections aren't that good, but because we can't be that stupid."