Monday, January 31, 2005

Waka Waka Waka

Well, it was a largely uneventful weekend. Saturday morning, my paycheck arrived overnight from PA, and I dashed right out to the bank to cash it - so we can pay rent - this isn't coke and whore money, here. But BOFA won't cash the check, they say there's a "stop" on it. Fun.

I finally got it cashed this morning, but it was a big hassle involving 2 bank people and me waiting like 15 minutes. What the hell man, I just want the money I earned.

I kicked back, worked on my web page, wrote a damn finely written review of The Sea of Tears - if I do say so, played some Evil Genius and then some Prince of Persia, The Sands of Time. EG was annoying, because I've painted myself into a diabolical corner. With Blood. But anyways... Relaxed a lot.

I wrote a letter to NP's agent, requesting information about 'In The Blood' and that I was interested in securing the rights (for publishing on the upcoming Ideagateway literary mag). It would be so mind boggling to actually own some sort of rights to one of my favorite author's works! We'll see what happens, they might just chuckle at the letter and toss it.

It looks like I might, instead of losing my job, be getting a raise here soon. That's always nice, thank you very much. It's a wacky situation, what can I tell you.

I am weening myself from caffeine. Again. I was taking 2 NoDoz in the morning and 2 again at lunch. I was the peppy mofo, let me just tell you that. Now, not so much. But I was getting really pissy/grumpy taking the caffeine, so this is better. Withdrawal not too bad yet...

Hey, the first meeting of our writing group is tonight. Gotta tell Cindy, she doesn't know yet.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Yucky. Reset Button, where are you?

Wow, I have not posted for a while. I've gotten out of the habit, I suppose. Existance has been crummy lately, so I have not been very perky or in the mood to comment on said existance. Change is in the air like whiffs of something foul. Here's hoping something life changing happens soon.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

What exactly happened?

So yeah, even all effed up, I am very anal about my typing. It took me a very long time to type this, because of the drink. Cindy was annoyed, and I am sorry for that.

---------Apparently, it is now many hours later now, since I wrote the first few lines. The computer desk is moved out from the wall, and there are towels on the floor. It's supposed to rain tonight, according to Cindy. She told me so while we were on the phone.

I remember Liz being here - was she really here? I don't know? I hope not. I remember her saying something about me borking, as if I had, or I was gonna. That may have been a dream. I do not know. It's now 3:46 AM. Last I remember, it was 7:30 or so. Hmn. I was drinking some mead, last I remember, and now it is many hours later. All the liquor in the house has been poured down the sink. I don't recall doing that, so that is a good case for Liz being here.

Good grief, it's not like I've become a lush during the course of one night, so if Liz showed up, poured out all the alcohol, tended to my drunk ass and then left - well, that's an over-reaction on Cindy's part. I can picture that phone call - "Liz! Mike had a drink! Get over there quick and take his keys! He might decide to drive to Idaho! Help!" Give me a break, I just took a nap, that's all. Wild and crazy dude, here.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


This ties in with the whole Silly Monkeys theme...

I've been growing a neatly trimmed beard for a few years now, and still have trouble keeping it even on both sides. Now, since my face is itself asymmetrical, an uneven beard is probably a feature The Big Guy would call 'by design'.

Anywhoo, I do my best to keep the left and right side congruent, but it's tricky. I've thought off and on about making a beard template that I could build. Let the whole beard grow its own crazy way for a few weeks, then trim one side just so, and make a template for use on the other side.

Once made, the template could be used to keep both sides even.

I dunno what I'd make it out of... Transparent and semi-flexible plastic, I suppose. But it would kind of need to stick to my face for a least 5 minutes at a time. Velcro it right on, using the beard itself as a velcro surface? Mebbe.

There is probably an existing product like this, but since everyone's facial structure is different, how would it work? Mebbe you hold the template up to your face and spray a wash-offable color on your face. The you drop the template and cut off any hair that doesn't belong. And then wash the color off. Or leave it on, for that stylish metrosexual flair.

A little electrolysis would be good too, to kill off those follicles that I know are undesirable. No, I really don't need a beard hair growing out of my cheekbone. That one can get zapped. It can't be that hard to built a little zapper you could use yourself. Hey, most hair you want to get rid of is in places you'd rather not have a trained technician show up and start probing, neh?

Again, this probably already exists. I'm really good at going "Hey, you know what the world needs? A Blah Blah Blee." And then 5 minutes later, I find it on Froogle. Oh well, I could have terrible, unmarketable ideas. At least this way is somewhat reassuring.

Darn You, Sarah McLachlan!

As you probably know, I had decided not to love your work anymore.

This was, ahh, the album after Fumbling. You know the one.

But noooo, you have to just keep being talented and insightful, with your lovely voice and lyrics.


Be that way.

Humans are Silly Monkeys

I have not made the bed the whole time Cindy has been away - that is, since Thursday. Now, nominally I'm a big bed-making freak. Brother, that bed better be made or my life is just askew.

Sad, I know.

So yeah, I haven't made the bed. Except last night, when I put the new sheets and pillowcases on it. But that doesn't count. I think back over all the bedmaking I've done in my life, sometimes more than once a day. Cause we like to wrestle and play pretty often, and I like to sleep in a bed when the sheet isn't wadded into a twisted ball.

I've made hundreds of beds in my time -

(I was even, briefly, a professional bed-maker. But forget about that)

- and I sometimes wonder what the use is. In a hundred years, when I am dead, no one will care. It won't (i hope) be on my tombstone:

Here lies Mike. He sure liked making beds. May he Rest in Peace.

It's just not an attribute one aspires to. I could be doing something more productive, more fun, more interesting, or simply less involved with linens...

"That Mike, he spent a lot of time with linen. Musta been a mummy wrapper in a past life. Ha Ha! But seriously, Mike is the guy you want to talk to when it comes to the Linen Lobby. They run this here town. "

To be sure, cleaning is important. Hygiene and all. Cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, hey - important way to spend time.

Straightening, well that has less to do with killing germs. You might be less likely to trip and break a bone or a valuable electronic artifact, or less likely to get tangled and smother yourself, but still.

Straightening seems like a waste of time.
And yet I do it.

Who's the Smart One?

I was bored at work the other day and took an online IQ test. Other people toss out their IQ like it was an SAT score, and I'd never taken an IQ test. It was only like 35/40 questions, which seems short. I would expect a more comprehensive test to be a few hundred questions.

So the test was timed, with penalties for taking too long. Ok, fine. Also, you weren't allowed to use a calculator, or pen and paper. This troubled me because a truly smart person is going to use every tool at their disposal to solve a problem. I always have a pen with me, and if I don't have writing materials for some reason, I can draw with my finger in the dirt of the very Earth herself. So I think the "no writing" stipulation is asinine.

And hey, I'm doing this IQ test ONLINE. Therefore, I have at least the Windows calculator at my fingertips, and even if we choose to ignore that, I have a calculator on my cell phone. And I have at least 3 calculators at home. I'm prepared to calculate, do you catch my drift? I am one computationally equipped em-effer, aaiight?

But no. Calculators are not allowed. I don't know why, it's not like it's going to throw off the bell curve or something. Life is an open-book test, and fortune favors the prepared mind. I got the tools, and I got the talent. Opposable thumbs and everything.

I took the test. The wording of some of the questions really annoyed me. Some of the word choices for even a single word would make the rest of the question confusing. Now, was that intentional, or was the writer of the questions a poor communicator. I hope not, they're writing an IQ test FGS. I would have been a lot happier if it was a test mediated by a human. That is, if I have a question, I can ask. Clarification is what it's all about. If I'm uncertain exactly what the question is asking, how can I provide a definitive response?

So in the end, my score was 133. Not bad I suppose, for someone who abhors math in all its forms.

My question now is, if a person is truly brilliant and acts accordingly, would they not wave off such restrictions as 'no pen and paper' and 'no calculator'? Eff that, they'd say. I came prepared, and I'll use every tool my possession to ace this bitch. Seems to me that we should be able to use any and all tools, short of asking someone else what the answer is. If for some reason I don't know what a dodecahedron is, and there is a question about it, well hey, that's what we invented Google for, isn't it? Stupid limitations. This is not history or english class. We're not testing if you read the chapter, this is problem solving skills. The knowledge of your tools and how to use them. Sigh.

But who wants to cheat on their IQ test?

- - Yo, Frank, what's your IQ?
200, you're shitting me.
No, it's true. I looked up the answers on the internet. And used a calculator.
Oh. So you don't really have a 200 IQ.
Don't I?
No. No you don't.


No Post For You

You've been bad.


Go to your room and think about what you've done.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Monster Gnaws on

Yeah, I've had Monster work for me in the past. I got a job that lasted 4 days. It paid $20 an hour. I sat in a comfortable chair and pressed 1 button 500 times. I wish I were joking.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Slave to the Knife too Long!

At work, bored bored bored. Nothing going on. I put an updated resume up on Monster. I deleted the old ones and created a new one. I don't know if it matters, but some employers might search for newest postings.

I sent Erika an email, asking for Cooperson's email address, but the mail bounced back. I guess she doesn't have that account anymore. I asked Liz for Erika's new addy. I just want to touch base with Cooperson and see if they're gonna have any openings coming up. It would be satisfying to change jobs right about now. I've been here for a year now! A whole year! What the hell. I mean, stability is one thing, but a whole year with the same company, that's just insane. That there's a rut, that is.

Ed is going to the Philippines next week. He said it's a 16 hour flight. Damn. I don't know of anywhere on earth that's worth a 16 hour flight. Mebbe fly to Hawaii, spend the weekend, then fly to the Philippians. But nonstop? Ick. I get fed up on a 4-5 hour flight to/from Ohio-California. I'd want first class seating, and those chairs that lie flat for snoozing.

Peanut Butter and jelly in one squirtable tube! It will happen. Mark my words. Man has advanced to the utmost, high-convenience pbj is within our grasp. Feel the anticipation! Are you giddy? No longer will we need a butter knife to prep our pbj! We have been slave to the knife too long. Soon will come the enlightened day of no-knife-needing! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! Maybe I should look online and see if this already exists...

PS No. No it does not. Hee hee!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Mmn, Hibernation

It's easy to get freaked out about extreme weather, floods, landslides, and tsunami's. I finally got around to ordering some emergency supplies. A radio/flashlight that is powered by a little crank, emergency whistles with a compass built in, water purification tablets, a couple of machete's, that sort of thing. I want to put together a good size kit, in case some bad stuff happens. It's just a matter of time! There's still a lot of supplies I need for the kit, but this stuff is expensive, so I'm spreading it out across a few paychecks.

I got up this morning and took my walk, though not as early as I would have liked. Not that I was useful this morning anyway. Well, a little. I typed in some excerpts from 'Crawling at Night' and emailed them to myself along with the zip file for IdeaGateway. I plan to work on IG today at work, and the majority of the stuff I would do at home, I can do here. Hell, I could do everything here, really. But sitting here paging through the books and typing up excerpts would create curiosity from my coworkers - "whatcha doin?" and I'd rather not.

It's hard to get up, lately. I have an easier time of it than Cindy does, but still. Hey, we're mammals. We're a restive class of creatures. We feed, we play, we breed, we nap. Mammals nap a lot. Dogs and cats and bears, lions and humans. We likes us some nap nap. Hey, if your den is secure, your babies safe, your tummy full, if you are warm and dry - hell, it's time for a nap. But we humans have all these plans and expectations. We want to write novels, design web sites, climb mountains, be rock stars. A full tummy and and a warm den isn't enough for us. I guess I'll either have to focus more on getting up as soon as the alarm sounds, or put the clock across the room where I have to get up to turn it off. It's too easy to just wack the snooze and pass out.

Cindy and I are gleefully anticipating getting an ipod shuffle. That will probably happen next month. And of course that will mean a big increase in our itunes purchasing. I have a feeling she's going to get more use out of it than I will... We'll probably use it at different times, though. I might take it on my morning walk, and she'd use it in the car and at work. We might start fighting over it though.

Odds are, we'll end up with two ipod shuffles. I like the slick, minimalist design, but it would be really nice to have a display on the thing. It's not necessary of course, but I've come to expect a display on music players. Next year, they'll probably come out with ipod shuffles with a display. Just to give us goodie hungry kids something else to buy.

Speaking of digital music - I was helping out at Cindy's store recently after closing. We put on a CD and were listening. We got to one of the later songs on the disc, and Cindy remarked that she hadn't liked the song at first listen, but now it was one of her favorites on the album. I thought about all the times that had happened with me. The instances where a song you initially dislike but grow to love is unlikely when you are listening to digital music. When you listen to a 15 second sample of a song and decide whether or not to buy that single, you're going to skip the ones that don't immediately appeal.

So there might be something to be said for buying the entire album, be it a digital download purchase or an actual CD. The art that I enjoy (and I'm including music) speaks to me in some way. Either it has something to teach me or it reminds me of some pleasant past or possible future. In the cases where it has something to teach, a listener may actually come to appreciate the musician's style more deeply, which unlocks appreciation of those other songs, like video game extras.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Why I Never!

Cindy and I went to Liz's party at her new apartment on Saturday night. It was cool, there were people I knew from Universal. Erika and her man showed up, and we spent most of our time chatting with them.

Martin - who I worked with at Universal - was at the party, and he suggested that I send him my resume. He's working at a company called, and they do web servers and the like. I don't know anything about web programming, and told him so - he said I should send it anyway. I just sent it, so we'll see what happens.

It was a relaxing weekend, I worked on on and off, made some progress. Of course, I came to realize that I have at least a week's worth of work left. I always think a project is going to be very quick and straightforward, and I dive in only to discover how complicated it is. Ah well. No biggie.

I watched 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' which we received from Netflix like two months ago. Such a good movie! Of course, it has one Kate Winslet in it, so I'm biased. :o)

I got up this morning and took my dawn walk, but didn't end up getting any work done. I dug through the old mail to find my DMV Registration form (which is a week late, as of today). I puttered around the house a bit, wasn't in the mood for working on the PC. I picked up a money order and sent off the DMV form, so that is good to go.

Hey! I found 'The Good Remains' as I was digging around. I thought I'd lost it or accidentally turned it in to the used bookstore. But no, I found it. It is sans dust jacket. I either tossed it or Cindy has it secreted away somewhere. I'll have to ask her about it.

I had an idea for peanut butter and jelly. PBJ should come in a form like toothpaste. And, like toothpaste, it would be striped. it would not be striped with minty freshness, but with peanut butter and jelly. Hmm? I think it's a great idea. It could come in a can, like cheeze whiz. What do you think? Is the world ready for convenient pbj? I think so! Mayhaps I will start a company to make it.

Oh oh! I had a dream over the weekend, it may have been Sunday morning. I was at a masquerade ball, and everyone was dressed in 18th Century French costume. (Think, French Revolution ala Les Miserables). I was in the present day, and it was a period costume party. This pretty girl comes up to me, and she's wearing anachronistic (for 1700's France) facial jewelry. I've always found metal studs in the face to be exotic and sexy. Kind of like smoking. I would not get my face pierced, I would not smoke. I find them alluring, because they are different. I would not want to live with a studded smoker, but from a distance, it's sexy.

So she comes up to me and says "Take a walk with me."
"Huh?" I says, with manly confidence.
"You're Mike _____."
"Yeah..." Says I.
"Come on. Outside."

So I step out on the parapet, and there are violinists out there. We move to the far end of the parapet, where there's a balcony jutting out to the side.

"This is so cool, to meet you."
"Oh?" I stammer.

I was leaning with my back against the stone of the balcony, the fall behind me. I would have been uneasy about a possible fall, but she was distracting me.

She was facing the fall, looking out at the trees. I watched her as she she watched the world. Her eyes flicked towards mine, and then away. Like a nervous girl, which seemed rare for her.

"You are very famous, where I come from. Big time."
"Mn. Where is that?"
"The future."
"Ah." I didn't believe her, of course. But it's a pleasant thought and I roll with it.
"So why am I famous?"
"There are reasons," she says carefully.
"Oh, now you're going to be mysterious? After a line like that?"
"It's not a line." She bit her lip, considered. "I just don't want to change anything."
"Haven't you already done that?"
"No." She said with certainty, as if, in some far-distant memoir, I'd described this very conversation.
"Okay. So what can you tell me?"
The musicians broke into another song, this one bright and loud. As if they were trying to drown her out. The wind began to blow, a rushing whistle. As if the world were resisting the fulfillment of this particular present-and-future. Next would be a giant bird to carry her away from me, or a bolt of lightning.

She moved closer, facing me. I held still, facing the party, my back facing the fall. She moved closer so I could hear her voice better over the violins. Her breath was warm against my ear.

"Just. Be who you are." Her lips touched my ear and her skin was very warm. Her jewelry brushed me, cold from the wind. It was a sweet opposition of contrasts, and my breath puffed out in surprise and appreciation. She kissed my neck in a lingering, familiar gesture.

"That's it?" I said finally, when she pulled away.


She pranced away and returned to the party.

Friday, January 14, 2005

profile pic

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It's Coming... I can Feel It...

"Nani Power!"

There. Whew! It has been a few hours since I typed that name, and I was getting edgy. Needed to let it out. :o)

Friday Fun, and Then Some

Payday has arrived! And with fundage, the spending can commence. Sent the Red Cross forty bucks cause it's high time I did, and they can use it for some good I hope.

I bought a one month subscription to so I could read those two Nani Power stories. Darn them and their premium level access. I guess getting to read more Nani for seven bucks aint bad. I'll cancel my subscription in a week or two, I just wanted to read those two shorts.

Nani Power is a great writer. She's wordy, but does not ramble. She uses no more words than it requires to get her point across. More often than not, the 'point' is a sensation, more than a topic. Her writing is a series of emotions, more than actions. There is action, activity, cause and effect in her writing, to be sure - but the inner dialog is more important than what's happening. Her word choice is very strong and clear.

Nani only uses non-typical words when necessary. I like that I need to refer to the dictionary now and then while reading her work. (Such as the word 'attar': "A fragrant essential oil (as from rose petals") She is not afraid to use run-on sentences or awkward words. Like 'Sillily'. Her use of language is something that I would very much like to learn from.

I wish I could read the other NP shorts - in 'Gargoyle' and... uh... 'Wordwrights!' I think it was. It looks like I'll need to request back issues of those. Odds are, I'll never get to read the short play she wrote, what is it called? Oh yes - 'In the Blood'.

I took some more 'The Sea of Tears' notes this morning, for the page on I typed out a couple of excerpts. I'm not clear as to exactly how much content a person is allowed to use when describing a work. The fair use laws are kind of vague. It comes down to not using the 'heart' of the material. Which is tricky, because if you are trying to demonstrate a work's quality, shouldn't you show the best of it? Obviously you don't want to include spoilers, but...

Cindy leaves this week for her trip to Florida. She'll be gone for a while, and I no likie.

Brian is off today, so I am sitting here alone doing nothing, rather than doing nothing in tandem. Maybe I'll get some research done today at least. I'm hungry today! I already ate lunch, and could go for a snack. It's those waffles I had for breakfast. Damned carbs!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Volkswagen Commercial (VW Spot)

I have this idea for a Volkswagen TV commercial -

A girl comes out of the gym, crossing the parking lot to her VW Beetle. Her car is the cyber green color. As she approaches her car, a man wearing a sweater vest and horn rimmed glasses stops her.

"Is this your car?" He demands.

"Yes..." She admits.

She notices that another Beetle is parked next to hers, a sunflower yellow color.

"Well I hope you have insurance." He says angrily.

She steps between the cars, looking for dents or damage.

The man raves, "My yellow angel was pristine before your car came along. She was perfect. I have all her papers, proofs and awards. But that's all over now. She's ruined!"

The woman is confused.

"Look, I don't see what the problem is." She says.

Just then, three small yellow Volkswagen Beetles burst out of the trunk of the man's car. They are dappled with cyber green dots, like a spotted puppy. These small VW's are about three feet high and very energetic. The zip and zoom in playful circles around their parents.

The two drivers laugh together.

Walking At Dawn (Reprise)

So yeah, I dragged my butt out of bed and took my first dawn walk in what seems like weeks. The rain has subsided and the sunrise was beautiful and golden. There were a couple of groups of very chatty women that annoyed. They were talking and laughing about twice as loud as they should have been, and that impaired my enjoyment of the cold and the forced marching.

After my shower and breakfast, I took some notes for my review of 'The Sea of Tears', just character info at this point. The question of the morning is, 'Does Phyllis have a last name?' I don't know that it's important. However, every other main character in the book seems to have a last name. If I ever meet Nani Power, I might ask her.

I'm at work, not much to do as we're just waiting for the testers up north to finish their testing. I foresee a period of 'No Work' coming up, but there's no way of knowing. I never know what to expect of my employment... It's all so dependent on the product, not the intentions of the employer. Since I'm a good worker, it's usually "Mike, we think you're great, so we want to keep you - but there's no more new projects." It's my fault for not working for larger companies, eh?

I keep forgetting to proof my posts before I publish them. I need to make it a habit.

Best Cover Ever - 'No Doubt' Featuring 'Rob Zombie'

All right all right picture this shit.

What if Rob Zombie did a cover of No Doubt's 'Only In My Head'. It's a cute song when Gwen does it, but once you hear it with Rob's anGRRy nasal screaming, it's damn funny.

Hear it in your head, you can do it. Here are the lyrics, to help you out:

'I tried to think about rainbows
When it gets bad
You got to think about something
To keep from going mad
I tried to think about big fat roses
When the ship starts going down...

...In my head It's only in my head
In my head It's only in my head...

There's just something about you
That gets me in a twist...

...It only takes one word or idea
To send me in real deep...

I really think I have a problem
I really can't control myself
Why do I get so suspicious?

...Everybody wants everybody else
Everybody wants everybody else
Everybody wants everybody else

Only in my head
It's only my head
In my head
It's only in my head
In my head
It's only in my head

Lets talk about the future
Lets talk about the wedding
Lets talk about Gwen Stefani
Let's talk about how much you like me
And all that
In my head
It's only in my head
In my head
It's only in my head'

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Quality Prose vs Affected Narcissism

(After Cindy read my earlier blog, we started talking about prose. Affected, clever, and so on. This is what I had to say...)

I was thinking about prose, and affected prose. It's a tricky distinction. Written words created in the present day have something of a drawback that something like Poe or Dickens or what have you does not. When you read fiction written 100 years ago, you automatically take into account that the perspective is dated.

When you read fiction written in the 21st Century, you know it's false in a way. Real people don't talk or think the way they do in novels. We can compare the characters to ourselves and other people in the real world.

So how does a writer go about describing something deep and meaningful, without coming across as affected? Is it word choice and length?

I think that being succinct is a big factor. It's usually clear whether or not too much has been said. There's a point at which the description turns into the writer stroking themselves for their cleverness. If this is true, the difference between heartfelt and affected comes down to editing. Keep the quality, and lose the stroking. Cleverness is good, as long as it comes through the character's voice, not the writer's.

Gosh, Mike... it just me or is your beard lighter than usual?

No, you're right - it IS lighter. I used to take these Yak Groin Extract pills, which gave my beard a lustrous dark sheen that typically is only found sprouting out of folks with 'Darth' in front of their name. But the pills started to give me a rash, so I stopped taking them.

No one will notice or care, so why should I take the time and effort to blacken my facial hair? From now on, only for special occasions.

Today is an off-kilter day. I got up at 6:45, sorted my laundry by priority and threw it in the washer. I put fish in the oven, cause these are the sort of things you do before 7am. I made black beans and steamed rice. I laid out a good dozen tupperware containers to contain the results of these cooking efforts.

I chastised myself as I prepped - I was cutting the fish into bite sized portions with a pair of scissors. If cooking is to lovemaking as candles are to toledo steel, then cutting my oven-thawed-frozen-fish into uniform rectangles with office scissors is sexual violation of the indifferent kind.

...Maybe I'm reading too many books where cooking is an art form.

I finished 'The Sea of Tears' this morning. In comparison to the rest of the novel, I rushed through the last 30 or pages or so. I feel guilty about that now. Part of it is, the last 30 pages are a rush of activity, so perhaps the sensensation was half book, half me.

Feeling irked and a bit sad today, life doesn't seem to have a lot of meaning. It might be a side effect of reading lots of rich prose before bed, and first thing in the morning. Life as usual aint exactly pregnant with meaning. Or is it... Hmm. Perhaps I need only look deeper, consider more thoughtfully, muse more deeply. Nah.

There's no meaning. But, being the inventive little creatures that we are, we invent our own meanings and that's what we're good at.

I rushed around this morning doing everything but what I should (like eat breakfast, take my vitamins) and so I ended up buying a blueberry muffin and a vanilla frapachino in the courtyard, which is beautiful in the morning. The courtyard is beautiful in the morning. Food is nice, but I meant the courtyard. Sorry. Buying breakfast while at work seems lazy and superficial, parading my Starbucks logo for all to see. Meh.

I still dream of owning a laptop, and getting to work extra early so that I can relax outside in the courtyard, sitting on one of the very pretty carved benches, enjoying the morning and writing. If I tried it, I would probably discover that it was windy and cold, the furniture was damp with dew, the cleaning staff were making distracting noise, traffic was quite loud, and coworkers would spot me on their way in and want to chat. That last one is unlikely since I'm not very chatty at work.

I'd want to sit on the benches, but the laptop would get all hot on my lap. I'd want some sort of desk in front of the bench. I'd want to bring foot warmers, a desk, a CD player, an extra laptop battery, headphones, and all of that gear would be too much hassle, so I would bring nothing and do nothing. Defeatist.

Also, it would be nice to have a day off, (today is my 9th day in a row) but I have a feeling that we're about to have a month or two off, so I'll hang out and earn money while they's paying me.

So it's an off-kilter day, but just because I chose to do atypical things this morning. It'll be fine.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Progress on Nani Power pages

I had a chance to do quite a bit of Nani Power research yesterday. Since we spent the day waiting for the programmers to deliver a new build, I was able to rake the web for clues. Nani has written a lot of stuff that I didn't know about. Short stories, a play, articles, reviews. I didn't really have a chance to do a lot of reading, it was mostly finding and jotting down the links.

I hunted around on the web for sites and pages with content for other authors, and many of them are badly made. Bad colors, poor layout, questionable taste, etc. With luck and advice from Cindy and others, hopefully I'll be able to avoid those pitfalls.

...Annoder Doller

Yeah, at work again, what a surprise. Found some old bugs that were supposedly fixed months ago, haven't written them up. If they are as rare as they seem, they're not worth worrying about.

The sky is clearing today! The sun in breaking through the clouds in a very refreshing fashion, and the world is drying a bit. It's cool and windy, but very nice. Brisk. I walked across the street for a lunchtime Jamba and am drinking it now.

Slept in again. Didn't get anything accomplished this morning. I'm going to get back into the walking routine, now that the rain is ending. Hopefully the worst of the rain is over.

Monday, January 10, 2005


Work is slow, I am bored. I got in around 10am and there has been little to do. Beyond describing what testing and issues took place over the weekend, I haven't had anything to do.

I slept in this morning, trying to make up a bit for having no day off. Feeling a bit fatigued, but can't complain. I sit all day, after all.

I enjoyed writing the comments on the Lolita post. I don't really discuss books I've read very often, or in much detail. I think I'd enjoy a discussion group. But people annoy me. Perhaps an online discussion group. I like the ability to type my comments out and tweak them until they're just so, more than just rambling on.

Now I want to go back a re-read Lolita. It's been three years, I think. I recently picked up a hardcover edition with the Borders gift certificate I received for Christmas. I'd given away my annotated trade paper edition to Julio, who will probably never read it. Bad, Bad Julio.

I made some progress on the web work last night, and Cindy took a glance at my progress. She said that ideagateway is my best site so far! It helps that it's very simple. There are few elements to dislike.

The window in our dining room at home is leaking - it has been for about a week now. Initially, I was using a tupperware container to catch the drips, but they have begun running faster, and now we have a small trash can on the sill. Looks pretty crummy from outside, but what to do? Talked to the manager of the complex this morning, he told me the roofers are scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.

More on the Delores Discussion

(In response to my Lolita post from last night, Katixa replied):

Thanks, Mike, for your comment. Unfortunately, I disagree with you when you say that "the book defies any reinterpretation". Any text, by definition, is open to interpretation by each of its readers. That's why I'm surprised of the wide acceptance of Lolita as a vixen, when it's clear that Humbert is not reliable as a narrator, and thus, Lolita will not be probably as he describes. It's not that clear that she seduces him, by instance. It's a very interesting debate, I hope you keep on taking part in it. Regards


(My response):

Each person interprets what they read, it's true. When I mentioned 'interpretation', I meant 'adaptation'. Sorry for being vague.

A personal definition I apply to any successful adaptation of a novel - Is the essential essence captured? Does the adaptation summon up the same emotions, teach the same lessons? In cases of Lolita's adaptations, I have to say no. The story only works from inside Humbert's head. Subtracting the narrative removes the essence.

Humbert's descriptions are rich and detailed - he's a very intelligent character - but like all of us, his perspective is limited by ego and agenda. Often what he omits is as important as what he describes. A film made up of two and a half hours of narrative wouldn't be feasible - or very watch able. (At least, not by any but the most committed fans of the novel.)

Can an adaptation be created? Yes. Is it successful? No. This is what I meant by 'defies reinterpretation'. Instead of the beautiful, tragic 'Lolita', you have a pathetic personals ad - 'Older man seeks pubescent girl for prurient purposes'.

I agree with your point that today's pop culture iteration of Lolita is not the true character from the novel. Sorry it took so much rambling to say that.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Thoughts on Delores

(I posted this as a comment on to a blog about Nabokov's 'Lolita' and thought I'd include it here.)

It's unfortunate that Nabokov's beautiful book and all the symbolism in it have been reduced to a word most recognizable as a porn genre. The book defies any reinterpretation or adaptation. The screenplay adaptation he wrote for Kubrick was simply a shorter version of the book, heavy with Humbert's narration.

None of the films come close to capturing what Humbert was feeling, and the way that he side-stepped the details of what exactly was happening, to himself as well as Delores. The book is helpfully vague, allowing the reader to fill in the blanks. As I've read it, years apart, the hidden meanings can take on different directions.

Lolita is that which you cannot have, but are compelled to possess. And in having it, you destroy it. Like a picking a flower too delicate to be held, it disintigrates in your hand. But its death is beautiful too.

Sunday Without Sun

Got up at the BCOD and loaded the vaccum and steam cleaner into the cab of the truck (cause it's raining). I met Liz at her old rental and helped her vaccum and steam clean the carpet. I hope she gets at least some of her deposit back. If not, hey we tried. At least she earned some good Renters Karma.

I'm the only one at work again, testing - checking out installer stuff, found one minor issue with a shortcut. Probably a 15 second fix for the programmers. So I have running on one PC, while I test on the others.

I did make some good progress on last night. The layout is coming together more, and I'm pretty happy with it. I think the primary thing is that it's so simple. I need to do a little reconsidering of the page headers. For the first page I made last night, I put the text atop the picture. However, this won't work for most of the pics, so I'll have to come up with a different solution if I want a congruent look.

I'd planned to take today off from computer work, cause my hand/wrist/arm is sore. But what the hell, life is short. I'd like to get the Nani Power stuff up and online while the hits for The Sea of Tears are still low. :o) It would be neat to see my page come up on a search engine. Maybe even get some visitors, end up with some posts on the forum (which I have yet to create...)

OCD as a Survival Mechanism

These days we have a pill to prescribe for almost every neurosis. Experts argue back and forth about to what degree such disorders are learned, and how much is biochemical.

To me it's pretty clear that the predisposition for many disorders are inborn. We will be compulsive, we will be obsessive, each person has their issue. But it's not necessarily a bad thing. It's OCD as a Survival Mechanism.

Survival of the fittest means that the mother who is compulsively protective of her infants is probably the mother whose infants will survive - without getting eaten, falling off a cliff, or into a deep puddle and drowning.

So for millions of years, making sure the cook fire is out before we leave the hut, that there are no predators in sight waiting to eat us, and that we don't take unnecessary risks has kept us alive. We're neurotic. We spaz as a survival tool. It's what being human is all about.

My wife checks her car doors four times before leaving the garage. It's annoying, but guess what, the chances are pretty slim that someone is going to steal her car because she left the door open. Her battery is not going to get run down overnight because she left her lights on. And her car is more likely going to be where she left it in the morning thanks to her neurosis.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Saturday Work, the OT is nice...

So yeah, I worked today. I am working right now, can you tell? Just about to leave, I put in my eight hours and didn't come across anything broken. Yay!

It was quiet here today, just me in the office, so it was a laid back experience. I never even plugged in my headphones, instead I played the sound through the tv. That's a much nicer way to test, let me tell you!

Gonna go home and check on the leaky windows, exercise, and probably work on the ideagateway web site. Cindy closes tonight. She's still sick, so I hope she feels better. I'm like 90% well from my own cold. I got off easy though - I was only 20% sick to begin with.

I have plans to meet Liz at her old rental early tomorrow before I work, to let her use the steam cleaner. I hope to wait while she uses it, and then take it with me as I leave. I need to pick up some more cleanser for it, I'll have to do that today on the way home.

Something To Do At Last

Busy day! We're trying to put together a gold candidate for the game, but keep finding new issues. Most of them are minor, but noticable.

Slept in a bit this morning, and read Nani Power instead of doing web site work. Her writing is upliftingly, frustratingly good. When non-athletes watch the Olympic Games, and are awed by how powerful, graceful, and impressive the human body is, we're proud of our species, and somewhat disapointed in ourselves. We see what humans can accomplish, and know that we are not on that level. That's how I feel when I read Nani Power, especially The Sea of Tears. I'm not yet half way through, but I think this one may turn out to be my favorite Nani Power book.

I'm dismayed by the lack of information about her on the web. I'll have to change that!

Looks like I'll be working Saturday and Sunday...

Thursday, January 06, 2005

BPM on the Rise! YEEAH

I haven't made any progress on Evil Genius at all in the last week - since I've been back to work from Christmas break - I just haven't been in the mood. It's a great game though! It's one of those games that rewards you for paying attention. There are so many funny little details!! It's very wry and witty, well thought out.

Julio recommended the newest Jak game. I haven't played any of the Jak games yet - I hear good things though. I keep planning to join Gamefly, and sample all those games I've missed. I haven't gotten around to it yet. Julio was griping that GTA beat Jak for game of the year. I haven't played Jak or GTA, but any game that lets you beat up hoe's is probably gonna have an edge over the competition.

I've been thinking lately that I'd like to be a stand-up comic. Except that the life would not agree with me. The pressure, the constant travel from one comedy club after another across the country, the hecklers, on and on. Maybe I'll make a little animated comedian and put it up on the web. Like Foamy ( but not angry. Mebbe I'll look into it.

One bit would be about email. You know how when you're bored, you play around on the internet. You check your email like once every ten minutes, and of course you have no new mail. Out of desperation you check your spam mail, and are disappointed when you don't have any. No one loves you - not even the hair loss, home loan, or porn industry folks. And they love everybody.

Yes. I am now caffeinated. Thank you for noticing.

Slow Down and Wait

Hey, it's Thursday, what do you know about that. Got up, worked on web site, came to work. Kind of a blah day. We're supposed to find out info today about the nature of our jobs, and how long we might have them. I don't know if we will or not, but we're supposed to.

I know what the problem is - I haven't had my uppers today! Silly me. Too late now, maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Uppers, Hoo Yea!

Feeling a little twitchy this morning, I took some caffeine pills with my vitamins and breakfast. Twitchy but upbeat. I got about an hour and a half worth of work done on Fiction Interactive this morning - updating all the page titles and meta tag keywords.

We got a new build today, so we had something to do for about an hour. A number of new bugs have cropped up, but nothing too serious. Cindy was encouraging about the Nani Power info page on Ideagateway, so that's cool.

She's always encouraging! She never says "Well that's a dumb idea!" Always upbeat and positive. That's my girl! Hey, it's just a matter of time before one of my half baked schemes actually turns a profit.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Nani Power Page?

I've been thinking about doing a Nani Power information page on my yet-to-be-posted website, - I asked Cindy if she'd be interested in doing an author too. There's probably someone she'd like to sing the praises of, who doesn't have much info on the web.

It would be a pretty basic thing, just:

-short pieces
-reviews (official and user-generated)
-bio + pics
-contact us

Since books only come out like once a year or once every two years, there's not a lot of updating to be done... I know I should be finishing projects, not starting them, but it's my way.

Annoying but Good

I worked on Fiction Interactive for about an hour this morning. It was depressing! So many details still need attention. The site is very sloppy, every page looks different from every other page - there's no cohesive vision.

A couple of months ago, I went through and changed the 'terms and conditions' notice from text to art - this way, I could change it easily, on all pages with one step. Well I hadn't created a psd file for the copywrite.gif, and it took me forever to find the correct font, size, and style. I must have spent a good half an hour on that. The most annoying thing about that is, what was I thinking in October, to put '2004' on the tag? Did I really think that it would be complete and online? I know that I didn't. I was just not paying attention. Grrr.

And the links art at the top of the page needs some attention! It's too big, too blocky, and the 'jobs' page has no link up there! I'm thinking of stretching some of the mini threads and using that as the background. Of course, that would mean the art on the Story and Decision pages, for Dictionary, Synposis, and Characters should be changed to match. Ugh.

As annoying as it is, at least I'm working on it. I just have to finish it already!

Lunch is over, took my walk. Another cool, wet partly cloudy day.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Hey, it's a New Year!

So far, the new year is a good thing. It was raining this morning, we have some leaky windows in the apartment, but no big thing. It's overcast and sunny now, I just got back from my post-lunch walk around the block. The air is crisp, clean and cool with a slight tang of ozone. I pondered my 'Cosmo' children's book idea as I walked.

I didn't get anything useful done this morning, short of depositing money so I won't be overdrawn, and turned in to the bank a woman's ATM card she'd left in the machine. I guess those were both useful things... :o)

Work is slow, I don't know why I always feel compelled to report that. It's always slow. Oh! In my list of projects I'd like to accomplish that I typed out the other day (you know, the other day - a week or two ago) I think that I forgot to include "Spanish for Retail", and 'nuff said.

Cindy and I have been playing many hours of Evil Genius, it's loads of fun. You build an underground base, and you have little workers and henchmen and all sorts of people you can order around. Secret Agents break into your base and try to sabotage your stuff, and you get to kill them. When you kill someone, they're put into a body bag that you can store in your freezer. We have the strategy guide for the game on order, but odds are, we'll be done playing it before the book arrives.

So this year I hope to finish a project or two (for a change). Even if I alternate what I'm working on, hopefully something will get completed. It's so hard, when you have lots of ideas every day. The new ideas are more fun than the old ones... I'll try to do better.

Saturday, January 01, 2005