"the deadliest bullshit is odorless and transparent" - William Gibson

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Thought provoking article article about some specific comedy techniques throughout film history. I clash with some points like "Flatness is good" but The Gag Reflex by David Cairns is good read:

"I decided to short-circuit expectation and try to make the audience (a bunch of foreign strangers whose tastes I don't know) laugh good-naturedly at the death of a child. Surprise is the weapon that allows me to do this...Larry David argues that you get extra points by being funny about difficult, painful subjects. The risk if you fail is greater. I'm really glad I pulled off this joke. You probably hate me right now, but trust me, if you saw this film I think you'd laugh too. When Nietzsche said that a joke was an elegy for the death of an emotion, he was possibly thinking of me."

who wants to live forever?

Some new research out todays fuels my obsession with restricted calorie diets. I haven't had any luck commiting to them. In a vaccum or controled environment I don't think it'd be that hard.You really don't get that hungry if you do it right. Even 1600 calories per day is a significant reduction, and you can eat a lot in 1600. But my willpower is weak, and there are just to many opportunities, esp. social ones to eat. Hell, I'll do a lot dumber stuff that overeat for mild social pressures - a lot dumber. Still ,the idea that the food that sustains us and provides us with what we need also slowly chips away at our bodies and brain functions fascinates me. It's totally counterintuitive, but it makes sense when you think about it. One of these days, I'll try it out for a while in ernest, but definitely not today...we're having panera bread cater lunch at work.

From eureka alert:

"Our findings help us understand the processes underlying both normal aging and calorie restriction benefits. If some aspects of aging are influenced by free radical damage, we may be able to prevent or reverse these impairments."

Though numerous studies have shown severe calorie restriction helps animals live longer and resist some effects of aging, scientists still do not know why. One theory suggests a restrictive diet decreases the effect of free radical damage.

Monday, October 25, 2004

do not send me a package with a rubber foot

Some good pointers from The Mark's blog about the do's and don't's of getting him to write you a check. Getting My Attention Also, check out this amazing investment opportunity that fell in Mark's lap:

"If you are looking for money for any of the millions of wonderful or painful reasons someone might ask for money, DO NOT send it to me in a fed-ex or overnight delivery package. My first thought is always, if they need money so badly, why are the spending so much to send me this package."

warning: cute hedgehog alert

My dad said that when he was a boy they used to play soccer with little hedgehogs, which curl up into a ball when frightened. I always have a soft spot for them, especially when they are naughty and humping household items. dirty hedgehogs!

spontex comericail that doesn't suck.

Friday, October 22, 2004


I have yet to post on Jon Stewart's Crossfire-palooza, might as well get it over with...

The only thing that bothers me about this otherwise glorious phenomenon is that i'm not sure if i believe that politics can be covered objectively or honest debate can be had. I have no problem with Crossfire being theater. I just have a problem with it being bad theater.

The world is insane and we need more truth and less wonking off, and less partisanship and all that, but the idea that we should strive for honest debate in an old school-genteel sense is ridiculous to me. We need gonzo debate. We need the absurd truth. I don't think Jon Stewart went that far in his plea, I wish he had, because i think his plea has been misinterpreted a bit. the bottom line is we need more humor, more theater, more muppets. Reality is far too shaky and maleable to have balance or any of that crap. Emotion is good as long as you are sincere.

Anyone who thinks edward r murrow's ghost and an entire army of j school grads can help out in this situation doesn't have their eyes open. That's not to say journalism is dead or we don't need good reporters/tv newspeople/ etc. But we have to find more ways forward, more ways to escape the brackish swamp we're in. daily show and its brand has obviously touched a lot of people as one way forward. we need more.

As Jeff Jarvis says, "Politics is funny and news media doesn't admit it from its high, institutional perch. At a human level, it is hilarious. That is precisely what gives Stewart more credibility: He, like we, knows just how absurd this crap is."

UPDATE: looks like I got a taste of my wish. it may be a tried/tired way around the situation, and delivered straight to the choir, but it does take the edge off.

Hunter S. Thompson on Decision 2004


The other day i did a sketch loosely based on the fish that threatened national security with ryloc. I became one with mr. bradley, a 27 cent comet goldfish for comedy not to make any political statement. In fact, i'm pretty anti-political statements in art, partially for pragmatic reasons but also aesthetics. politics is a geo tracker.

Still, when I went UnSecureFlight.com after getting a blurb about it in my email from the EFF, i felt nervous about putting my name on the list. Worried that if i sent my comments to the TSA, they'd stick me on the no-fly list with Cat Stevens. I shouldn't have to feel that way.

I sent my comments to the TSA, but i'll be worried everytime I go to the airport, and i fucking hate that. The only thing that makes me forget worrying about my own inconvience and worry about our collective safety, is that all indications are the data system is probably too screwed up to ground me even if some nitwit at the TSA wanted too. Here's an idea invest in something thats proven and a little less constitution trampling like point to point baggage matching, training, staff, better analytical equipment, etc.

to read more about secure flight go here

p.s. to prevent further cognitive dissonance from now on, I will write political rants under the name Mr. Bradley.

i'm w squip

I just ran into a pretty clever/obnoxious story/shrill for the new teen book Be More Chill. Complete with fake google text ads, this site presents a world where micro-computer "Squips" help dorks be cool. To me it seems to be a good extension of the book, and an effective way to cultivate fans - to get them "inside the tent pissing out" (god i love LBJ sometimes). there are definitely avenues for complaint, but come on wouldn't you rather marketers spend their $$$ on something like this that magazine ads? anyway, the site and campaign are if nothing else, a good enough excuse for me to read this teen book without feeling like a huge weirdo.

You can read more about the campaign at reveries

Summary of the book:
Jeremy Heere is convinced that people are born Cool: "See, because being Cool is obviously the most important thing on earth…It's more important than getting a job, or having a girlfriend, or political power, or money, because all those things are predicated by Coolness." And he hasn't got it. Every day he yearns hopelessly for beautiful Christine. Then, one day he gets a squip--a tiny quantum supercomputer that looks like a little gray capsule and when swallowed becomes a voice in his head instructing him in the ways of Cool. Soon, every gril he admires is his--including Christine. But when the squip turns malevolent in its merciless pursuit of the goal, Jeremy begins to realize that Cool is not as cool as he thought it was.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I adopted the Mountain Tiger position just as you would expect.

just getting around to reading slash dot's recent Neal Stephenson Interview. It is great stuff. He handles the innane questions with grace and wit and the tough ones with dpeth and razors. Discussions tpoics include: the lack of respect for sci-fi, amazing book recommendations, future of publishing, singularity, and a glorious fight scene with William Gibson.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

space mountain

Dave Pell @NextDraft has a great commentary on Michael Eisner's slow tumble toward destrcution:

Everywhere we look,
our worst paranoias are confirmed as being
anything but. They cheat us everywhere from WMDs
and mutual funds to mass marketed midriffs and
four bladed razors. They're laughing at us and now
we finally get a chance to laugh at one of them.
Die Eisner. Die.

As someone who once had their tiny paychecks signed by a reproduction of this man's signature, i wholeheartedly agree. burn baby burn. It all reminds me of Baudrillard: "Disneyland is there to conceal the fact that it is the "real" country, all of "real" America, which is Disneyland (just as prisons are there to conceal the fact that it is the social in its entirety, in its banal omnipresence, which is carceral). Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation"


i got a great response today on a project i've been humping for a long time. who knows what will happen, but having someone that i respect excited about my ideas and the possibility of working with me feels nothing short of radioactive. i'm trying to contain myself.

I'm feeling better about my health too. i'm probably switching gyms to the UNC Wellness Center, which has a swimming pool, better equipment and better stuff and people that can help me get more serious about continuing rehab and all that knee shit. going to work out there again tonight.

good improv practice and beer drinking debate watching last night have added to the improving spirits. now it's on to... evaluating virtual BioDiscovery Conferences. oh well, things could be much worse.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

fuck you carson!

I started this blog to write about my rehab from knee surgery. Perhaps this was a bad precedent.

I ran for 10 min the other day. First time I ran other than on a treadmill in 11 months. I was real excited about this accomplishment, but now it seems it was a horrible mistake. I am in near agony at the moment. I'm not even positive it was from the running, that was four days ago, but whatever the cause I can't take much more of this. I had almost forgotten how bad this sucks. I was going to even shoot some baskets this weekend. Instead, I've just quit the martial arts school 9at least for now), and switched anti-inflammatorys to the one I can take the highest dose.

I feel like an addict. Everytime I start to feel good and let my guard down, everytime normalcy appears on the horizon...the demon comes back. Carson is unforgiving. I can't let up. I guess there is a fine line between feeling sorry for yourself and using a strong feeling to affect change, but I've got to stay serious about all this rehab shit. got to rethink it. I'm 5 months out from the last knee surgery (my 5th) and when I ignore that, its at my own risk. grrr. i'm a cyborg. i can beat this.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

commercials that don't suck

fantasy futbol (NSFW)
jellyfish, japanese cowboys, after that i don't know
AT&T by errol morris who's still my hero.

Monday, October 11, 2004

monster margaritas beget truth

It has been confirmed by several independent sources: "Girls from Boston love Austin."

Friday, October 08, 2004

CNN.com - The Beastie Boys mouth off - Oct 4, 2004

I'm proud to say that the first cassette I physically bought in a store was "liscense to Ill". Though I didn't feel their last album as much as the majority of people did, the Beastie Boys still operate on the edge and don't give a fuck. This CNN interview is gold. Among the highlights, is this response to the question "Will you be playing your olderhits in concert?":

"We go way back," Diamond says. "We do some songs from 'Toys in the Attic,' 'Rocks,' 'Dream On.' "
Yauch chimes in: " 'Destroyer' (referring to a Kiss record)."
But it's not just about recycling old hits.
"We also do some of our newer songs that we feel really proud of like, 'Dude Looks Like a Lady,' " Diamond says.

Why can't other rappers or any artists, esp. the under 40 crowd, have this much fun in an interview?

blog catalog celebrates milestone

Blog Catalog, a listing site with blogs from all over the world just got their 1,000 submission. 1,000 submission. It's a great site run by this smart dude. Go ahead and sign up your backyard if you haven't already.

if any of you are wondering what to get me for christmas

60GB iPod to pack photo-viewing features. Apparently it will include video out, which makes it all the more lust-worthy. Thinksecret.com has been wrong before though.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

a sign?

Ig Nobel - a great organization which grant awards for cool science experiments which "make you laugh, then make you think." gave their award in psychology to a team from Univ. of Illinois which made a video of students passing a basketball back and forth. they then asked participants to count the number of passes made. The crux is, during the video a person in a gorilla suit walks in and hams it up with the students. Barely anyone noticed, and were less likely to do so if asked for a more detailed count of the passes. (check out this article from New Scientist for more amazing Ig Nobel awards, about the 5 second rule, comb overs, etc.)

For the past 2 years or so, i've been working sporadically on a novel called "invisible gorilla". It's about a kid (my alias/alterego huey priest) who's so cracked out he can "heal" anything electronic and the path the world beats to his door (think arronofsky's Pi with a Bible belt/crystal meth bent).

I never knew what the name meant. i picked it because, one day when i was teaching tennis, I split the kids up into teams and made them pick names for their team. When i asked this one 9 year old Japanese boy what his team name was, i couldn't understand what he was trying to say because his english was so bad. So, i made him act out the name, and we eventually arrived at "invisible gorilla", which he would subsequently shout whenever he won a point for the rest of tennis camp. I just thought it sounded like a great name and started saving my story scraps under that title. I always knew i'd figure out what it meant sooner or later.

Now, i watch this amazing video experiment and i get the fucking willies. i bet that "invisible gorilla" becomes shorthand in certain geek/science circles for "the unnoticed but obvious irregularity". the metaphor fits my story so well, its hard for me to believe.

i'm sure this is a sign that i should write more, or trust my instincts, or quit my job and hermit until i get all of the story on paper, or maybe that i'm missing something really obvious and amazing right in front of my nose. this definitely excites me, and solidifies some things i've felt about the story, but it doesn't much help me figure out what to do next in my story. I've got to do something after this bullet in the head. Where do i go from here? As Drudge would say "developing..."

new article on the creative class

Richard Florida has a new article in the Harvard Business Review Online. he's got some great ideas and important things to say, and if you've ever had to explain why "Art" matters his meme is the best way i've seen of convincing a pragmatist. hopefully some more exposure in hardcore biz journals like HBR will convince the decision makers.

It is also a surprising if not possibly depressing angle on why the election in Nov. matters so much. They charge $6 to download the article. it's worth it, but if anyone wants to read it, let me know. Here is the abstract:

The strength of the American economy does not rest on its manufacturing prowess, its natural resources, or the size of its market. It turns on one factor--the country's openness to new ideas, which has allowed it to attract the brightest minds from around the world and harness their creative energies. But the United States is on the verge of losing that competitive edge. As the nation tightens its borders to students and scientists and subjects federal research funding to ideological and religious litmus tests, many other countries are stepping in to lure that creative capital away. Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and others are spending more on research and development and shoring up their universities in an effort to attract the world's best--including Americans. If even a few of these nations draw away just a small percentage of the creative workers from the United States, the effect on its economy will be enormous. In this article, the author introduces a quantitative measure of the migration of creative capital called the Global Creative-Class Index. It shows that, far from leading the world, the United States doesn't even rank in the Top 10 in the percentage of its workforce engaged in creative occupations. What's more, the baby boomers will soon retire. And data showing large drops in foreign-student applications to U.S. universities and in the number of visas issued to knowledge workers, along with concomitant increases in immigration in other countries, suggest that the erosion of talent from the United States will only intensify. To defend the U.S. economy, the business community must take the lead in ensuring that global talent can move efficiently across borders, that education and research are funded at radically higher levels, and that we tap into the creative potential of more and more workers. Because wherever creativity goes, economic growth is sure to follow.

Bain Mattox, Cat's Cradle Nov. 5th

Just announced that Bain Mattox a talented singer songwriter from ATL will be opening for carrboro's own Spencer Acuff at Cat's Cradle on Friday Nov. 5th. I've been a fan for Bain's for a long time. He's a great guy and knows how to write a song. Check out his site for some tunes. I highly recommend you circle the calendar for this show.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

get your vote on

New Orleanians have turned voter registration into a second line as part of a campaign to "Get your vote on". "'We found that the traditional voter registration methods were not the most effective means in New Orleans,' said Andrea Garland, who spearheaded the event to register voters." Yeah, no doubt. A lot of traditional methods don't work in this city. God, I miss it sometimes.

The article is from my new favorite news site - OhmyNews, more here

get your vote on

New Orleanians have turned voter registration into a second line as part of a campaign to "Get your vote on". "'We found that the traditional voter registration methods were not the most effective means in New Orleans,' said Andrea Garland, who spearheaded the event to register voters." Yeah, no doubt. A lot of traditional methods don't work in this city. God, I miss it sometimes.

The article is from my new favorite news site - OhmyNews, more here

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

podcasting, forplay, and the future of all that

the always on point, jeff jarvis has a great post about podcasting and the future of media. wowzers. he points to a new world and i think his vision is pretty compelling. loose pieces and floaters suddenly come together:

"The most important invention in media is not, I'm fond of saying, the Gutenberg press, which created media for those who could afford to own one. The most important invention in media was the remote control, for it gave the people once known as consumers control over their media. Add the VCR. Add the cable box. Add the internet. Add the web. Add personal publishing tools. Add personal multimedia tools. Add RSS. Add the iPod portable platform. Add spectrum to give you anything anywhere, anytime. Add more and more of what we used to call content. Add interaction. Add data about that interaction: who likes what and what's hot. Add new ways to make money, leading to new ways and means to create what we used to call content. Blur the lines between content and connectivity, between media and masses, between consumer and creator. Stir. Shake. Bake. And you have a new media world."

i hope these things come to pass sooner rather than later, and i'm gonna do my damndest to push that rock up the hill on the indy creator side. we've been getting and delivering the straight up missonary for the last little bit, and the future is foreplay. the extra effort will rule. it's why companies relocate to areas with arts, it's why i had to have the rules of attraction dvd w/ carrot top's commentary eventhough i think he's a boob, its why the ipod will still outsell some sony model that has a better price point. media can't just stick it in us anymore, they have to recognize our needs and above all play.

sometimes i want to end it all

I called ticketmaster today to order some tickets to the Charlotte Bobcats and when i selected NBA games I thought that perhaps all those biblepocalypse books were right and i had been found out as one of the heathen unworthy. Of all the voices in the world, of all the celebrities you could possibly recruit to lend their voice to an automatic ticket ordering system, why, why in the name of jerry west would anyone pick Bill Wlaton. The man has one of the most annoying voices and personas in the modern era. What shithole mall did they pull the focus group out of? i'd rather Iverson rap the prompts in my ear, i'd rather Yao stumble through them in broken english, i'd rather listen to Mark Cuban froth through the phone line. I'd rather have anyone other than Bill fucking Walton guide me through the oh so simple process of purchasing NBA tickets over the phone. unreal. i hung up the phone and ordered online.

Invention # 27

I was at a wedding this weekend and ending up carrying a tuxedo garmet bag around for a long time. It sucked. One should look like a badass when carrying a tuxedo. This is not easy to do with a big garmet thing.

So, citizens of the world. I present to you my invention which will fix this. Attach backpack straps to the tuxedo bag. It will make it much easier to carry without having to bend the tux and it will look like a big black cape on your back, which is practically the definition of badass. enjoy, black-tie avengers.

'Would You, as a Human Being, be Willing to Shake Hands with a Jew?'

Saudi Arabia's IQRA TV Channel has a charming little "Man on the Street" segment where they ask people such questions as 'If a Child Asks You Who 'Who are the Jews,' What Would You Answer?'. The responses aren't suprising, but still are hard to believe. the whole thing seems like something from the Onion. i wish it was.