Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
It was the Year of the Geek when we met, my friend and I, the same year of the original TRON's release, yet 1982 seemed a long time ago in a galaxy far away as we stood at the front of the line for its sequel. His seven-year-old son brought an identity disc along, a toy replica from their summer visit to the elecTRONica exhibit at Disneyland, and afterward as we ate dinner and digested what we had seen kept it close at hand like he was ready to dive back into the game grid at any second.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
What will be tomorrow
Sing with me humanity
Dama Dam Mast Qalandar
Sakhi Shahbaz Qalandar
This is the Song of Wonder
Sound of Wonder
Don't be lonely
Life is a game of a few days only
What's happiness or what is sorrow
Sing with me humanity
Live and Let Live
Love and Give Love
Love is God & God is Love
What you lend or what you borrow
Sing with me humanity
What will be tomorrow
Sing with me humanity
Dama Dam Mast Qalandar
Sakhi Shahbaz Qalandar
This is the Song of Wonder
Sound of Wonder
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
In short, I've got a lot to look forward to this weekend -and so do you: an end to my TRON rantings! It is, after all, the Season of Miracles.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything. -Hagakure, Yamamoto Tsunetomo
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
My day starts with a walk, rousting myself in the wee hours to trudge through the park for a nice warm dose of caffeine. There's a dirt path that winds past the eastern border of the zoo that during the rainy season turns into Gravy Lane. Splorching your way up the muddy incline, it leads to a footbridge that after traversing Aurora Avenue debouches into the park proper. Lovely spot. I've had some of my best walks there, at times developing into a full trot when the ideas are flowing so freely that I can't wait to get home and write them down: most if not all primary plotting of my novel occurred during walks in Lower Woodland Park. I'll miss it a lot.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Officials griping over damage done to the USG seem to suggest that things were better before the documents were leaked. Hmmm. Should we go back to spying and bombing under the cover of diplomacy, serving up blatant falsehoods
through the complicit media? Naturally this isn't what officials intend to say, but their disingenuity is clear. Those that go a step further and call for the death penalty and hunting him down only increase the stature of an unlikely hero. These people should keep their ugly ideas to themselves until the whole thing blows over. They aren't the only ones.
Assange is on record stating his innocence. Whether or not Pentagon honey trap is the leading thought on his mind is up for debate, but a recent article includes suggestive statements like this one from his accusers:
In her interview, she dismissed the idea, seized on by many conspiracy theorists that ‘dirty tricks’ lay behind the rape allegations, because of WikiLeaks’ defiance of the US government. She said: “The charges against Assange are of course not orchestrated by the Pentagon.”It's possible she was asked a leading question, but such an assertion is curious. I'm not saying a conspiracy is afoot; that would be WikiLeaks' department, wouldn't it? I do recall the first rule of journalism, never believe anything until it's officially denied, and this comes pretty damn close to fitting in that category.
The USG should declare a moratorium on official statements concerning Julian Assange. They are playing into WikiLeaks' strategy of obfuscation and serving merely to distract from issues of substance, namely the flimsy security that allowed such massive troves of secret documents to be exposed. It's too late to quell the uproar and there's no way to gag Assange, who has the world waiting on his every word, so why not focus instead on damage control and address real problems.
To read Assange in his own words, I recommend this eloquent statement released this week from The Australian.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
I ended my job contract over a year ago and haven't worked a day since, being way over- or under-qualified for the jobs that are available. Now my benefits are set to run out at the end of the year unless tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent are extended.
What's truly sad is that job prospects will not be improved by this compromise; quite the opposite, in fact. Small business, the main engine of job growth, is being left out. While $70 million in tax credits is on the plate for the majority of citizens, $140 billion goes to the tiny minority of the wealthiest among us, none of whom will be inclined to do anything but squirrel those savings away. This will pump up the federal deficit beyond its already astronomical bulk and do nothing to improve our dismal economy. This isn't fiscal conservatism; it's fiscal madness. This is the kind of thing we saw in the Bush era, and now Obama is working with the opposition to keep it going. Meanwhile his own party lays blame and squabbles with each other, creating a new paradigm in US politics: divide and capitulate.
Lame duck season is open to all comers and those with the biggest guns are walking away with all the greatest gains. The way things are going, it might be the last time hunting is this good.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Hamlet is a little vague. Things. Presumably these things include faces. As in, what face are you wearing this week? A question with special meaning on Facebook, where you can look like whomever you please for whatever reason you want. Some reasons are political.
The Face of the Week phenomenon came to my notice a year back or so, when the idea spread, phage-like, that everybody should change their profile picture to whatever celebrity they most resemble. Response was surprisingly swift and widespread. It was amusing to see who looked like whom. The only rule, if you could call it that, was to keep the pic posted for one week, an arbitrary length of time. Not as fleeting as a day nor as trying as a month (a lifetime on Facebook) and just long enough to register on the newsfeed.
This week's is to fly an image of your favorite childhood cartoon character in opposition to child abuse. I can get behind that, yet the impact of changing your pic is so limited. What purpose does it really serve? I'm against it, but solidarity doesn't fight child abuse or even address it. The only people who will see your profile pic are friends, none of whom (we hope) are abusers and who are therefore already in agreement with you. Some of my friends have railed against the stupidity of taking part in such a pointless exercise; others, instead of changing their pic, posted links to get actively involved in fighting abuse against children. I did both. Does it matter?
Facebook is a self-perpetuating experiment in groupthink, where unanimity is preferred over quality decision-making, a heaven-earth mashup teeming with Hamlet's things, philosophical or otherwise, wise or foolish, altogether human. Which is not to say I take it so seriously that I believe my profile pic is of any consequence outside the arena of faces. Still, it's more fun to take part than stand apart... when it comes to things dreamt of in my philosophy.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
The English word "cookie" is derived from the Dutch word "koekje," which means little cake. Bakers used to place a small amount of cake batter in the oven to test the temperature. They soon discovered that these little bits of cooked batter were quite tasty on their own, and the cookie was born!
The humble cookie has evolved a lot since then, and now there are hundreds of varieties baked across the world every day, from the classic chocolate chip to more exotic offerings with caramel, macadamia nuts, dried fruits and more. Cookies can be broadly classified into 3 categories. First are "drop" cookies. These are aptly named because the batter is dropped onto the cookie sheet. Chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin are all examples of drop cookies.
Second are "rolled" cookies. Rolled cookies are rolled out like pie dough, and then cut-out using a cutter. Sugar cookies are the most popular rolled cookies, followed closely by gingerbread. Rolled cookies may also be "rolled up" into a cylinder and then sliced off and baked. Rolled cookies bake up firmer and flatter than drop cookies, and are therefore ideal for personalizing with icing and other toppings. Third are pressed cookies. For pressed cookies, the dough is loaded into a cookie press, and then extruded, typically using various dies to create interesting shapes. Spritz cookies are the most common pressed cookie variety.
Some also consider bars and brownies as a fourth cookie variety, since the ingredients are very similar, and the resultant treats are typically cut into single serving sizes.
Cookies are a multi-billion dollar industry in the US, ranging from packaged cookies at the grocery store to fresh-baked cookies at the mall, and even Internet bakeries that ship direct to your or your gift recipients. So this year when December 4 comes around, remember this humble little cake by munching on one or by sending a cookie gift to your loved ones.
I've always thought this is one of the more unique cameos in film history. In 1982, when TRON came out, it was definitely not cool to be a geek, not like it is now, what with the booming popularity of The Big Bang Theory and so on. Little inserts of geek culture like this were few, if they occurred at all. Part of the abiding charm of that year for a science fiction fan. It was the year that every month brought a new classic of the genre. Blade Runner, the second Star Trek movie, E.T., Poltergeist, The Road Warrior, The Thing... a seminal year for geekdom, without a doubt.
We're watching an odd double bill today, TRON and Die Hard. Originally just intending to watch the one, when word got out that one of the gal's friends has never seen the greatest christmas action movie of them all, we decided to double down. Should be fun. We'll watch 40 Stories of Sheer Adventure (Die Hard's tagline), break for an intermission supper and then fire up TRON himself, which nobody present will have seen before; or if they did, it was long ago and is now a distant, barely perceptible memory.
That's why I'm here: to create good memories.
Friday, December 03, 2010
I'm not funny. I've been told. A couple strangers went out of their way this week to let me know this on Facebook. Griefers, we call these folk in the world of the interwebs. Strangers who camp out with no other intent than to harass and provoke. I've felt their sting. They didn't like the videos I was posting. Unlike anyone else that found them unamusing, however, these unsolicited guests communicated in no uncertain terms that I'm not funny. Which means that not only did I waste their time, but they turned around and wasted mine in return. Hoo-rah.
What does this have to do with anything, you might ask, dear reader. What, indeed. You see, I've finally finally realized how Entrecard and Facebook are connected (and it's not that they're both a waste of time): they let you appreciate the better things, each one in its unique but connected fashion. I'll let you in on what I mean.
Something appreciated on Facebook has the option to be liked. There's a "like" button at the bottom right of everything posted on the newsfeed, and you can choose to click it or not, depending on your preference. Entrecard has a similar function, in the form of a "drop" button. A similar function in my mind, anyhow.
I don't see a great divide between "liking" and "dropping" in any other light than dropping has an attached value of Entrecard credits that can be used to advertise, in the loosest form of the word, on other blogs. The value of liking on Facebook is advertising on someone else's profile that what they posted was found worthwhile. Not terribly similar, but not miles apart, either.
Both are positive acts of reinforcement and miles apart from what griefers will do to you, at least.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Pondering those folks insistent on referring to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday, she came to the conclusion that it's better to stay in and stare at her ivory socks. Beastie Boy, also known (unfairly, she'd have you know) as Devil Cat, is decidedly feminine; she is strong, supple, and totally shopping-averse, preferring to skip that step in getting to the second half of the "shop till you drop" equation.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I used a website to tweak the image for my Facebook profile, but they call it Obama-izing the image. Obama-izing. That doesn't sound natural or right. And for such a brutal neologism, totally inaccurate as well. You can sanitize, patronize, and weaponize, but Obama-ize? Change your birthplace to Hawai'i and we can talk. Awful, vile word. The President should be ashamed.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I love that in the snow our table becomes a flying saucer with its landing gear down.
The bus was ninety minutes late and though the view from Aurora Bridge was compensatory, I'm still billing Metro for frostbite.
Then fell the night and rendered the roads an apocalyptic gridlock, this kid getting home, by bus and on foot, in five hours and relieved beyond words when stumbling down the hill to see that the power was still on.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Clever programmers, eh? Then again, Disney has always been at the forefront of animation and Mickey Mouse serves as herald of the future in TRON just as he did in Steamboat Willy. Stay tuned for more hidden prizes like this in weeks to come, as the countdown continues for TRON:Legacy.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I'm glad to see fmail happening, it is a natural outgrowth of Facebook's social preponderance. Rumbles of this being a gmail killer are already being heard, as if Google is the only other party in town. Social network activity historically resembles the boom-and-crash patterns of capitalism, but when it comes to mail service users are not so fickle. How many of your friends use Hotmail? Several of mine still do. What I think will happen is that Facebook will further dominate socnets and folks will stay loyal to their mail providers, as they have for many years running.
In the meantime, I'm enjoying RockMelt -what I fondly refer to as FaceMelt, seeing how full integration of Facebook is its big gun for future browser dominance. I can dig it. The timing is good, dovetailing as it does with fmail hitting the scene: separation of my Google contacts from Facebook friends will be that much cleaner and the cognitive dissonance of mixing and matching between the two will be greatly reduced.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Co-author of Mosaic/Netscape, the web's first browser, Andreessen got my hopes up for a unified service two years ago with Ning. Unfortunately it didn't pan out, but now he's having another go at web convergence. Will this one stick? With its unified presentation of mail, social service, search function and video streaming (and geospotting!), RockMelt's chances look very strong.
I'm spending more and more time offline and welcome a service that will enable me to reduce web surfing further: a one click solution is just the thing I want to maximize my online interaction. Though I've not seen any sign of it, including Skype with this new browser would make it unbeatable.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
She might have baked for her Justice League friends in the past, but I doubt Wonder Woman evinced such funny and logical reactions before. "I'm afraid to try it," says Flash, "and I'm afraid not to try it." Batman and Martian Manhunter (don't you love superhero names?) don't hesitate diving right in. She's saved the world countless times, how bad can her cookies be? No, it's safe to say they must be tasty. It also appears that Superman was in the kitchen with her and for all we know he helped bake the cookies with his heat vision: if that isn't teamwork, nothing is.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I mentioned a delicious dinner. The gal was up to her usual kitchen antics when she created a feast for me and a friend, and let me tell you it was hog heaven. Nothing complicated, as the gal herself can testify: Chicken thighs for cheapness, pounded flat, wrapped around cheese and chutney, 350 degrees for an hour. The stuffing will leak all over the pan but it makes sort of a gravy so that's okay. Nice to put a pan of little white potatoes in at the same time. Hear that rumbling? That's my stomach, the old sentimental fool.
For dessert the oddball confection Z.P.G. envisions an over-populated world choked by smog, thus the meaning of the title: zero population growth. That's Charlie Chaplin's daughter, Geraldine, clutching her infant on the right. Though breaking the law of the land by bearing a child, she and Oliver Reed seem quite unaware of their crimes against fashion. Such a desultory tale populated with screeching dolls and Ringo Starr hairstyles is understandably and deservedly obscure. I'm surprised it even made it to dvd, unless a 3D remake is around the corner. I'm seeing Joaquin Phoenix and Lindsay Lohan.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Campaigning in 2008, Barack Obama had a name for this kind of thing: silly season. He was referring to ridiculous attempts by his opponents to focus on superficial details of his background, but the idea here is the same: make enough noise and your recognition factor goes up, regardless of the quality of the racket. Too often voters go with name recognition rather than any true understanding of candidates. Thus the ongoing saturation parade of the likes of O'Donnell will likely prove more effective than Chris Coons' strategy of sitting by. You would almost think he wants to lose his job and be remembered as old what's-his-name. Maybe it's not too late for him to come out as a warlock.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
And here is chilling footage taken after the devastating quake:
Monday, October 18, 2010
Does a movie have to take place in October to qualify for this coveted slot? That qualifies ET the Extra-Terrestrial, which might not be scary to anybody but those of us with a horror of raisins on legs from another star. (Personally, I'm hesitant when I encounter them.) Or does "best" mean "scariest"? Day of the Dead takes place on Halloween, is terrifying, and has zombies in it -that automatically puts it at the top, right? Trick 'r Treat and Halloween are no-brainers for contention. When it comes to scary, The Exorcist and Poltergeist and The Nightmare Before Christmas can't be forgotten. So many good movies for one day of the year.
Thinking about this brings me back to Frank, the scary rabbit-angel from Donnie Darko. He inspires me to extricate myself from the couch and remember what's best about Halloween: strapping into a good costume and getting out there to enjoy the holiday.
Friday, October 15, 2010
I would reply that though there is some resemblance to my hand, the old work in hindsight seems to have come from another's. A tacit admission of masochism, this also speaks to my social graces: even a stranger who writes as poorly as they that penned my past drafts, I can see past that and be their friend. I can make the effort; though not guaranteed, odds at success are good.
Sentimentality should be tossed out the window. Write on the wind, like the arrow from a bow. Remove your preconceptions. Pulling the catgut taught, the conviction for a bull's eye fills your vision, clearing at the peak of tension and release, your handiwork revealed in honest light.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
One writer is always new yet old, magical at a glance but upon closer scrutiny vile, scurrilous and loathsome. Any writer in love with their first draft please contact me immediately and spill the beans how it is done. What feels so good, so right, flowing onto the page loses something in hindsight, is a complete mess and beckons with hours of editing. What can you do.
That's how things stand so far. If this is my last blog post, you'll know why!