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

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I don't want to hear

The situation in New Orleans and the Gulf will get much worse before it gets better, and Hurricane Katrina will go down as the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, or at least of the same magnitude as the Great Quake or Great Fire. It is a horrific and worsening tragedy.

So, as long as there are still bodies floating through the flood water, I don't want to hear shit about global warming. I don't want to hear shit about global politics. I don't want to want to hear shit about whether or where to rebuild the city. I don't want to hear shit about people not heading the warnings. I don't want to hear shit about the taxpayer's bill. I don't want to hear shit about the Dutch and their system of levees. I don't want to hear shit about fucking gas prices.

If you aren't talking about donating to the relief effort or trying to help grasp the scope of the tragedy, then please keep your mouth and your online comments shut. At the very least until the drowning stops.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane memories

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
I remember being a young kid, maybe 14 or so. I went with my father and my uncle to board up our beach house in anticipation of a hurricane. We were riding in our quasi-futuristic silver Toyota Previa and we were armed with hammers and for three hours it felt like we were driving into battle. It was even a school night.

I remember being safe in New Orleans at school when Hurricane Fran totally wrecked the beach house and very nearly took out my parent's other house 200 miles inland. When I came back, trees and docks and ceilings had been destroyed. Some friends and I had a great party at the beach house that was in mid-repair. Someone installed a new overhead ceiling light drunk and we played cards on a weatherbeaten table. The hurricane had taken from us a water heater, but its surge had brought us two hibachi's and one exercise bike.

I don't remember exactly why we decided to leave at night, but after many beers we had made a quick, firm, and potentially unwise decision to flee New Orleans in the dead of night. There was a big hurricane coming and our new mission was to head upriver toward Nashville. Some time in the night we almost hit a fallen tree. I was too drunk and tired to know if there had been real danger. We listened to a lot of chris rock CD's. When we reached Vanderbilt University and found a welcoming refugee camp set up on a friend's floor, we felt safe and powerful somehow. We watched the weather channel and saw the storm still headed at our home and we talked to friends who had all fled sooner or later and at that time we all felt that we very well might not have a home to go back to. We did everything we could to share our spirit of freedom and excitement and play our role as the entertaining refugees. Our hosts ensured that we had all the neccessary booze and extreme indoor sporting equipment to stage a memorable refugee party. In the morning we awoke slowly and bruised and watched as the storm turned at the last minute and missed our city. We were all glad, but also a bit disappointed. The freedom of being severed from possessions and school obligations by an act of god was quite enticing. After another day, we learned it was safe to return and we drove back.

I remember walking back from cultural anthropology class to find my ground level apartment thigh deep in water. Cd's and books and clothes floated around in our living room. My roomates had saved the electronics, but the flood came quickly and the house was a disaster and my car was deep in floodwater. We relocated to a second story house and learned how the pumps that keep water out of the city had failed in the tail end of some hurricane which came onshore far east of the city. People water skiied in the streets, canoed to bars in baithing suits and went swimming in former classrooms. We carried around what we could save from our liquor collection and visited friends that lived out of the flood's reach. It was the most fun I've ever had.

The clean-up was brutal and eventually life went back to routine, but I never really recovered. I have no doubt that we all inhaled tons of unhealthy black mold spores or whatever grew in the flood soaked walls. I got appendecitis and had to have a friend carry me against my will to student health. I vommited out the window for most of the ride to the hospital. Later that semester I passed out at the library and had to get 16 stiches put in my head. I withdrew or took incompletes in several course. When I came back the next semester I moved apartments and spent most of my time in the library trying to finish an unholy amount of credits to graduate. I barely barely made it. I turned in my last paper on my way to the Superdome for graduation ceremonies. It was the first time I had been back in the Superdome since I saw a woman fall to her death 2 and a half years earlier.

Now I watch a storm which "represents 10 or 15 atomic bombs in terms of the energy it releases,” bear down on New Orleans, and that same Superdome is a place of last resort for 20,000 or so New Orleanians who had no where else to go. Everyone always said that if New Orleans ever got hit by the big one, the city could be destroyed, washed off the map, reclaimed by the gulf. It looks really grim right now. I tried to watch the web cam ontop of Fat Harry's, a favorite uptown bar with good cheese fries and a great jukebox, but the wind and the rain and lights make it too blurry and abstract and frightening.

I hope the storm weakens before it hits. I hope the levys hold. I hope everyone got out who could. I hope I can go there soon, I miss it.

Friday, August 26, 2005

bring back the ceremonial rock, you pesky seperatists

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

As if my fatherland didn't have enough problems with the recent flooding...Floods, stone theft scupper Swiss rock-throwing: "A medieval-style festival of stone-throwing, wrestling and yodelling has been cancelled after floods swamped Switzerland and Swiss-French separatists stole the iconic rock traditionally hurled by competitors."

I'm all about symbolic iconoclastic theft, but there are now several burly Swiss farmers who don't have a rock to throw, and they are getting a bit restless.

End of a pantless era

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I'm headed up to NYC soon, and that means I will be selling my car. I'm looking forward to being able to walk and take the subway everywhere, as driving is the number one aggrivator for my knee. Integra #2 has been great to me, but I can't wait to turn over the keys. This closes a long and fruitful chapter in my life, as I will no longer own a vehicle on which to put an "I'm not wearing any pants" bumper sticker.

I first had them made in 1997 after my spiritual advisor came up with the idea, and since then I have given out over 200 stickers. They now can be found across the country on the cars and trucks of friends, friend's parents, zany businesses, a few 18-wheelers who probably take it literally, and many complete strangers. I remember the first time I saw a bumber sticker on a strange car in the Cafe Driade parking lot. I walked in expecting to know someone, but I didn't recognize a single face. Some person I didn't know had one of the stickers. It was an amazing feeling.

Over the years I've gotten countless honks and stares and laughing points, two newspaper mentions that I know of, a couple crazy people knocking on my window at stoplights (I always have some extras in my car to give out), one really really awkward conversation with an older woman while I was changing into shorts before soccer practice. My favorite story comes from my very own cousin who was worried about what people would think when he went to pick up his daughter at elementary school. So, he glued magnets to the back of the bumper sticker so that it could quickly be removed and replaced at a more socially appropriate time.

I still have a dream that one day in the future I'll be in Minnesota in the middle of winter and I'll pull my car into a filling station. As my arthritic fingers are struggling to pump the $90 a gallon gas, I will look over and see an old gree pickup with snow on the bumper. Hidden behind the snow I'll see a stragnley familiar blue sticker peeking out. I'll drop the pump and hobble over to the pickup. My liverspotted hands frantically brush away the snow to reveal an "I'm not wearing any pants" bumper sticker, and I'll fall dead on the spot, a big smile on my face.

To all the brave and glorious people out there who have risked excommunication by putting a bumper sticker on your vehicle, I thank you and I love you. It means a lot to me and hopefully to the people behind you in traffic.

I'll probably be making another batch at some point, but in a different color. I still have a few of the original batch left if anyone out there wants one.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Toys & Games

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I'm still a little bitter about wasting money on spidey handgloves, but I can't wait to get my Electronic Thing Hands. If they are half as good as Hulk hands, they'll be worth twice the price. They even made Electronic Thing Feet, about which some goulish wound-up fanboy said, "if you really want to waste your money on this do so. but the real Thing from the Fantastic 4 has black boots." I wonder what the purists would say about the ridiculous Human Torch 4-wheeler not to mention the film itself, but who cares. Here's the Fantastic Four Review from Exile.ru, just because I love the site.

Also, here's a tragic love story between Kevin Smith and Prince, it's long but satisfying.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I'm ok about this, really.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

If you've gotten my voicemail recently, you might have been surprised to hear my mumbling voice, and a normal boring message. I'm getting more and more work related calls on my cell phone and I decided to stop leaving weird sound clips as my message. It just confuses people. I know I could have a clip and then say "this is blah blah", but that's just too long. I might change my mind, but for now you'll have to go to The Daily .WAV to hear the funny clips.

If we build it they will eat it/tote it

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Between us, my sister and I have at least 8 of their products. All still rugged and unripped, but thanks to bloomingdale's and mass market hype, not quite as cool and exclusive as when we had to go to the tiny Erflog store on a sidestreet in Basel to get them. Nonetheless, good to see the Freitag crew get so much love and $ for their dream-in-a-garage bags. Even got a piece in Business 2.0. Hope it's not the kiss of death.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Ever since 10th grade chemistry I've had a desire to eat liquid nitrogen ice cream. Fortunately, Blue Sky Creamery is brings this product to me and thus prevents a trip to the emergency room. Doesn't seem to be one in the area, maybe I should start up a local franchise and run those obnoxious cold stone singing yip creamery bastards out of town. Or maybe I should take this as a sign from above to open a food stand that serves pickles cooked with house current

It's just a bit unnatural to be playing god with ice cream. Maybe something will go horribly wrong ala Lima Bean Monster.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Please help me fulfill my utopian dreams

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

For some reason yesterday I was giving my email out over the phone and I realized that I hate saying "at" as in "My email address is myname at domain dot com." It just doesn't feel good on the tounge the way "dot com" does, and for some reason people always mishear it...and then I had probably the most brilliant idea of my life. Instead of pronouncing the "@" as "at" we should use the dj record scratch sound effect ("errah"). example "My email is jeffbezos ERRAH amazon dot com."
It just sounds better, right? And something about the @ symbol is graphically reminiscent of the record scratch motion.

According to webopedia, "before the symbol became a standard key on typewriter keyboards in the 1880s and a standard on QWERTY keyboards in the 1940s, the @ sign had a long if somewhat sketchy history of use throughout the world...While in the English language, @ is referred to as the "at sign," other countries have different names for the symbol that is now so commonly used in e-mail transmissions throughout the world. Many of these countries associate the symbol with either food or animal names." My favorites are:

• Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian - In these countries, it is referred to as the "Crazy I"
• Czech - In the Czech Republic, it is called zavinac, meaning "rollmop," or "pickled herring"
• Mandarin Chinese - In Taiwan it is called xiao lao-shu, meaning "little mouse," lao shu-hao, meaning "mouse sign," at-hao, meaning "at sign" or lao shu-hao, meaning "mouse sign"
• Turkish - In Turkey, most e-mailers call it kulak, meaning "ear"

So, in addition to sounding better, adopting the Dj scratch pronunciation of "@" in email addresses will bring world unity one step closer. Hip-hop is the universal music of our generation and the DJ scratch sound effect both transcends international boundaries and gives credit to our generation's ingenuity and spirit instead of some 12th century merchant who needed a quicker way to write "10 hens for sale at a price of 10 pence each".

Please help me make this vision a reality by adopting the DJ scratch convention of pronouncing the "@" symbol when speaking an email address. The world will be a better place.

Monday, August 08, 2005

just dont wreck my barge

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
If we were river people instead of road people, I would definitely own a barge, and you could borrow it when you move.

Here's the long time coming music video for one of my favorite off the deep end instrumental songs:
Jaga Jazzist's ANIMAL CHIN

Friday, August 05, 2005

Saw it coming like a blitzing safety shooting through the "two-hole"

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I liked the show. I collected all 6 themed happy meal plastic cars from hardee's even though they were really crappy toys w stickers, but I fully expected this movie to not only suck, but suck at the box office too. Mr. Cranky highlights the unavoidable futility of even discussing the movie:

So what's a reviewer supposed to do? Am I supposed to compare this Bo (Seann William Scott) and Luke Duke (Johnny Knoxville) to their counterparts from the series, John Schneider and Tom Wopat? Perhaps I could contrast the Daisy Dukes: Jessica Simpson and Catherine Bach. Or, better yet, I could strip naked, douse myself in gasoline and run flapping down the interstate in search of the eventual blessed release of "suicide by cop."

Alas, if only they'd had Rosco P. Coldchain instead of Rosco P Coltrane.

*pic and I-40 recon from zoomedin

make love to the machines

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Paul Graham's new essay, What Business Can Learn from Open Source is clear and crisp and meaningful. thank you.

I think the most important of the new principles business has to learn is that people work a lot harder on stuff they like...
There's a name for people who work for the love of it: amateurs. The word now has such bad connotations that we forget its etymology, though it's staring us in the face. "Amateur" was originally rather a complimentary word. But the thing to be in the twentieth century was professional, which amateurs, by definition, are not.

Like a lot of people i'm sure, I dictionary.com'ed Amatuer and slapped myself ont he forehead:
"[French, from Latin amator, lover, from amare, to love.]"

There it is - so simple. I think it mgiht be the highest compliment that one could say about a product, a work of art, even a science fair project, "It looks/feels like it was made w love"...Someone cared about X and therefore they across time and space care about me. Those are the kinds of things I want to make.

Here are 4 music videos that are made w love (probably via antville):
"Fkcing Happy"
"Ditty Bops" - Adria Petty
"Paris Hilton" - MU
Perhaps my favorite video of all time, seriously

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Suburban Legends

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Guardian Unlimited provides the quote of the day in their GTA uproar article Storm in a Hot Coffee cup:

"The inconsistent morality of many of Grand Theft Auto's critics has not been lost on the gaming community. As American games journalist Rob Fahey said, Cohen 'bought a 17 recommended game for her teenage grandson, featuring car theft, shootings, muggings, cop-killing, prostitution and plenty more, but now wants compensation because it also turned out to feature badly animated dry humping, which could be unlocked only by deliberately downloading a patch off the internet.'"

New Scientist has a great article on Why We All Need Pornography (reg required) that provides context for the GTA uproar as well as several cases floating through the court system:

"Consumers eager for a glimpse of skin, but afraid of being found out or of being spotted in a seedy blue-movie cinema, helped drive the demand for more of these technologies. In the process, they are making the internet a more hospitable place for those promoting racial, ethnic or religious hatred, or even organising terrorist attacks. But it will also help political dissidents and whistle-blowers, so technologies created to help porn enthusiasts today are the human rights' tools of tomorrow."

Here's a busted Suburban Legend from Snopes about carjackers that use rear windshield flyers. I am pretty darn sure that there is a high correlation between the people that are alarmed by dubious email warnings like this and people that are upset about the aforementioned blurry dry humping. And I hate to break it to you, Mrs Cohen, but your grandson has probably done a bit dry humping of his own, thank god the internet showed him some new techniques. Don't even get me started about your "lost cat" sign that's been up at the grocery store for 6 months.

Here's some real carjacking prevention tips. Unfortunatley there aren't enough tips about Government Nannies jacking emerging technology. At least there is EFF

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Bowl of forks

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
I have a special place in my heart for college cafeteria pranks (it amazing how a frogurt machine can easily be "repurposed" with an innocent allen wrench).
Kent Lewis from Anvil writes a great memoir on the subject with Practically Serious:

"The rush I felt upon hearing the crowd roar was amazing. Blood pulsed through my body and pounded in my ears, similar to what Lance Armstrong must feel when he trips and falls with a tray of food. Since I was never good at sports, music, or just about anything in school, it was my first applause, and I'll never forget it."

For a more elaborate and galactic pranks, check the Museum of Hoax's Top Ten College Pranks of all time