Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sub Tabla Cafe

What’s the point of being a narcissist if you are going to hate yourself?
What you’re looking for is someone to blame.
Go hire some contractors and throw problems at them.
Bury them in memos.
Make sure the sensitive stuff is in there,
Buried between all the obviously worthless junk.
Then when the wolves kick down the door,
Pull out the emails and the transcripts
Proving that the consultants where aware and in charge.
You are just the hapless figure head.
You are not involved in day-to-day activities.
The contractors acted independently.
You had no knowledge of their methods.
It will work.
Trust me.
Just don’t put my name on the purchase order.
You want some more coffee?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Basho's Mouse Clicking in the Autumn Air. Google This!

Mike: Those aren’t rocks and sticks in your hand.

Me: Nor are they stone knives or bear skins.

Mike: You don’t get it! Every conversation is what I am trying to say.

Me: Don’t get upset.

Mike: Let me explain exactly what I am talking about. If we were Zen monks, our random conversations and blog entries would be seen as profound insight into the nature of reality.

Me: But we aren’t Zen monks. We create software so that companies can sell people things.

Mike: Right, exactly. So nobody thinks it is profound. Nobody looks for enlightenment in our playful banter and our obscure references to 80’s pop music lyrics.

Me: So…We don’t have to live like a refugee?

Mike: Exactly. Tom Petty has to live like a refugee. But we use a keyboard and a mouse.

Me: Instead of rocks and sticks?

Mike: Exactly.

Me: Zen monks used pen and ink. Not rocks and sticks.

Mike: You don’t get it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What Would Jesus Buy?

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. We all have lots to be thankful for.
Now brace yourself for Black Friday and the beginning of the Christmas Shopping Season.
Or don't.
Friday is also Buy Nothing Day, an event Adbusters started many years ago.
It's easy to participate. Just buy nothing on Friday after Thanksgiving.
I also saw that Reverend Billy has a new movie coming out, What Would Jesus Buy?

I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Reading: Mainspring by Jay Lake

Mainspring is my introduction to Jay Lake, and I found it to be an uplifting and enjoyable read. Mainspring is the story of a young clockmaker, Hethor, who lives on an Earth that is literally a clockwork earth. You can look into the sky and see the great brass gears that guide the Earth on its orbit around the lantern of the sun. It is an allegorical and metaphorical tale of growing up and discovering our place in a wide world that we did not make or set in motion. Lake has a delightful ability to conjure up those old Victorian novels of exploration and the steam-driven gadgetry of Jules Vern. I found his tour of the clockwork earth and Hethor’s discoveries of himself to be enchanting and fun. There are airships and savages, magic and miracles, as Hethor tries to find a way to rewind the mainspring keeping the Earth spinning.

I read a few reviews this morning; and many of them criticize the author for not delivering more answers about the nature of the world. But I feel Lake properly sets course by the strength of the questions being explored. Hethor discovers much about the world and himself by trusting in his questions, and the reader can discover much as well.

Mainspring is a lovely little fairly tale adventure that does not require thousands of pages or multiple volumes to cast its spell. If you have a spare evening or two, pick up Mainspring.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stalin’s Bed Chamber

I have a new paper
You really should read it
Contains only the truth
And wise insight
In equal measure

I have a new song
You really should hear it
Used only the good notes
And minor chords
In equal measure

I have a new suit
You really should see it
Fabulous fabrics
And stylish cut
In equal measure

I have a new dance
You really should try it
Like stepping on bugs
With stiletto boots

Singing paper
Dancing suit
Equally hard to measure
Ulynov, what is to be done?
Draw my bath
And turn down the bed

Coffin Bubble Nail Gun

Lordy mama
Friend of mine
Knotty pine
Hairy rama

Mighty fine
Carnate llama
Buckin brahma
Traffic sign

Strangers meet
Hostile food
Raising brood
Sugar beet

Killing mood
Leaden feet
Cutting peat
Knock on wood

Cutting brood
Hostile wood
Mighty llama
Lordy mama

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I know where Mike will be January 25th

My friend Mike's favorite movie is Rambo. I don't know why. But Mike just couldn't let Rambo die. And neither could Sylvester Stallone. Rambo will be helping missionaries in Myanmar. He has apparently been living as a hermit all these years. Too bad he didn't stay there, because Mike will see it. And then he will quote all his favorite lines for the next 20 years. And my brother who sees every movie released by Hollywood will feel obligated to see it. And then he will talk to himself about it on his blog. I think I'll stay out of it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Kitchen Island

I am tempted to let the above advertisement speak for itself.
But I am afraid that it cannot.
It looks harmless enough at first glance.
I found it in the back of the Smithsonian Magazine.
I was drinking coffee.
Which is not my story, but is of an advertisement of an island in the kitchen.
But the more I read the advertisement the more confused I became.
Was the writer just incompetent?
Was it poorly translated from another language, Martian for instance?
Was it a secret coded message?
How are you supposed to order one? There is only a PO Box number.
And the city name is misspelled “Woostock, IL”.
I checked, there is a Woodstock, IL in the 60098 zip code, but no Woostock.
Maybe it is some kind of performance art or parody?
When I was a kid Mad and National Lampoon used to have fake advertisements. I remember one fake ad specifically, “Enlarge the most manly part of your anatomy with this gravity powered device…”
Which is not my story, but is of an advertisement of an island in the kitchen.
Please read the ad. Click on the picture to see a larger version.
I invite you to relish the use of “etc.” in the very first sentence.
Marvel at the “penurious necessity” of this device.
Gasp in awe as the great Julia Child demonstrates “a method of grinding.”
No longer must you wonder where to put your “elongated cooking equipment.”
And best of all, “The height is high (40”), limiting the need to bending over or stooping.”
If only I could have this advertisement engraved in “granite, marble, limestone, stainless concrete, stainless steel, pine planks, or soapstone, etc., the weight of the top is essential.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

Reading: Dune 7

I first discovered Dune, by Frank Herbert, when I was a freshman in high school. It blew me away. I finished reading it, turned to the first page and read it all again. It was rich. It was deep. It was intricate, fascinating, beautiful and horrible. It was like life but with a great sense of drama and poetry. I have reread Dune more times than I can count. I named my children after characters from the book. I read all of Herbert’s other dune books all 6 of them. I was sad when he died knowing that he had planned a 7th book but would never write it.

When Frank’s son, Brian, began writing prequels I read them. It was interesting to revisit some of Frank’s places and characters. But Brian’s Dune books were never as good, never as fantastic. So when Brian announced that he had discovered Frank Herbert’s original outline for Dune 7 I was intrigued and worried. I wanted to know how Frank planned on finishing his story. But I also knew Brian would never pull it off as well as his dad.

Well, Dune 7 came out, over two years as two volumes, Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune. I read them. I’m glad I did. But I am also disappointed in a way. There are events in the books that I know Frank would have made thrilling and intense, but Brian only makes it work. Reading Dune 7 wasn’t like reading a Frank Herbert novel in the same way that reading a screenplay is not the same thing as watching a great movie. I feel like I read an outline for Dune 7. Which is better than nothing. Sort of.

The series has its happy ending now. I would hope that Brian would let it go. But I know he won’t. There are too many Dune fans like me that keep buying his derivative work out of morbid curiosity. So I bet there is a “new” Dune book by next summer. The spice must flow… Maybe Frank will return as a blind prophet to decry what his decedents have done with his mighty empire.
Science Fiction is the defining literature of the 20th Century and Dune (the original) is probably one of the top 5 Science Fiction novels of all time. It is my pick for number 1 on that list.

Friday, November 09, 2007

You Slay Me

You can’t trust authority
Avoid what they convey
Take my advice on this
Always do what I say

Your questions never stop
My nerves begin to fray
Stop vocalizing now
Always do what I say

Tempests in my teapot
The earl is turning gray
Graffiti makes fine wallpaper
It’s Jay you must Obey
Words by a fey ray of sunshine named Gray Jay.
Picture by my new coworker and friend Keelin O'Brien

Thursday, November 08, 2007

She Won't Leave Me Alone

Are they like ships?
Do we call them she?
I tell her I don't have time
I tell her I am busy at work
She won't leave me alone
She threatens to follow me home
I'll do something with you tomorrow
I promise
I won't forget
But I get busy once again
And she sits pouting in the corner
She won't leave me alone
She wants me to write her a poem
She wants me to talk politics
So here I am
Are you happy now?
The blog ship curls her lip
She won't leave me alone

Monday, November 05, 2007

Corporate Credits

The company I work for created a promotional video. Many other people did most of the work on this, especially Brett Birdsong, but I helped storyboard the idea and provided the music, Thunder Echo style. And I composed the Versatile Audio Logo which plays at the very end of the video. See how I got you to watch the whole thing just to hear four notes played on my Absynth synthesizer.

The whole V-Ball concept was recently showcased at the WWFE Show in Chicago last month. Check it out!

That is enough corporate promotion for now.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

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