Archive for February, 2005

I have updated my website across the board lately. I think you can page down a bit and see how rare that actually is. But I’m trying to pick up the pace of my ramblings, although God only knows why. Perhaps it’s because of the confluence of my goals and the way things are shaping up. I finally feel like I’m on solid ground, or at least close to it.

However, not all is cheery and happy in Timland. No, I’m pissed about Dreamweaver’s quirks, and I’m constantly tired and sick. It seems I’ve had a sickness/sore throat/flu-thing for about a month now, which is pretty fucking annoying, I assure you. Everytime I feel good, I know that it’s right around the corner. I shit you not. Just this morning I was walking through the hallways of my office and thinking that I felt pretty good. Just a few hours later my throat was tight and scratchy. WHAT THE FUCK!!!! My body has beaten this illness 10 times over, so why the fuck does it keep coming back when it knows it’s only gonna get whooped again. Just to fuck with me, I suppose. But it really pisses me off since it only feeds my paranoia that I am not allowed to feel good in this world. Have you noticed that? Only an optimist would, I suppose, because a pessimist sees nothing but horror and pain. But I know that behind every shiny corner lurks a darkness just waiting to spring.

Sometimes this world is too predictable. Now, if a bunch of happy/cool things happened and there wasn’t a catch and nothing horrible happened in the following weeks, I think we’d all be pretty goddamn surprised. Let’s face it, we live in a world of shit, and everything bad that exists in this universe has a mailbox on Earth. At minimum. Some of the really bad shit is based here. Like Microsoft for example. Anyway, I try not to let it get me down, but when life is just relentlessly disappointing and dreary it’s hard not to get depressed. It doesn’t really bother me that much because I expect so little of the world. Whenever somebody I don’t know treats me with respect and kindness it’s a little surprising. When somebody cuts me off in traffic or acts like a child to get their way is that surprising? No way — that’s par-the-fucking-course.

Maybe that’s why I want a blog: to rant about all the stupid shit, most of it inconsequential. But a thousand pinpricks really adds up. I suppose some of you would rather live in denial and think that everything’s fine. Well, if you’re so happy with things, why not go over to Sudan and help out those people. You have nothing to fear, because life is peachy, right? And they won’t resent your interference because you’re just honestly trying to help, right? That’s how bad life on this planet is — when somebody does something selfless everybody else is immediately suspicious. I think you should help others, but be prepared to be kicked in the shins for your efforts.

Song of the moment: “Little Things” by Good Charlotte. Very appropriate for my topic here, eh?

Sorry to bring y’all down. That was not my intent when I started this post. Maybe it’s this February weather. Maybe it’s my throat, even more sore from screaming at Dreamweaver. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe you don’t give a fuck. Maybe I don’t either. I’ve got my Fear Factory albums for when I’m feeling really down. At least I know that they understand my situation; their songs are much bleaker than this post. So cheer up. Things can get much worse, but on the bright side, they might not! :-)

Hunter S. and random crap

I went to guitar center today, after dropping my effects board off for repairs (damn thing won’t even turn on) and played with the keyboards. I fell in love with a Yamaha Motif ES-7, which of course, costs $2,400, on sale. So yay. I do want a keyboard, but I think I’m gonna get a cheap, plain one just for a MIDI controller so I can dick around with Reason and such. I’m waiting for the new version to come out, then I’ll probably pick up a cheap keyboard and a copy of Reason 3.0. Of course, that depends on how much the effects board ends up costing me. I hope it’s a cheap fix — I’m thinking fuse, which should be inexpensive.

Is everybody grooving to the new look of the site? Yeah, it’s similar to the old version on the right, but the left side is all new. Took me over 7 hours all told. I don’t think the RSS works properly, so I’ll be testing it at work before I start sending it around. It works okay in NetNewsWire Lite, but not optimally. Strangely, my links don’t seem to work. [UPDATE @ 6:40 pm]: Okay, I fixed the links thing. Can you believe it was just a matter of (not) capitalizing? XML is so finicky.

If you haven’t heard the news by now, Hunter S. Thompson has died, apparently of suicide. Suicide is often fatal. Which Hunter probably knew, but we can’t rule out that fact that he might’ve been completely fucked out of his mind. Of course, he’s been on lotsa drugs for years and never killed himself before so who knows. Either way, it sucks, and the world has lost a truly talented and insane writer. For me, he’ll always be immortalized in Johnny Depp’s hilarious portrayal. That movie is brilliant. I’ll leave you with a quote from his later days:

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

— Hunter S. Thompson, 1937 – 2005

Redesign time

Holy shit! I finally did it! I spent over 6 hours getting this weblog up to speed. I did a major redesign and I’m adding RSS, anchor links and a bunch of other stuff. I hope you like it.

Scratching My Ass

I had a tough time scratching my ass the other day. Normally, that’s a pretty easy process, but things ain’t always easy. Well, giving in is, I suppose. That’s what I didn’t want to do. I was at the Mall of America, catching a ride on the light-rail, which is not as easy as it sounds either. For one thing, this is located on the southeast side of the Mall and it’s a fucking shithole. They don’t clean up down there, probably because they figure us bus-ridin’, light-rail-taking folks are used to it. Fuck that. Anyway, there was a lot of people down there, trying to catch the train into the city, but every single ticket-machine was busted except one. Those machines are pieces of shit, but they can’t be expected to breeze through a Minnesota winter.

So me and my crew (which is to say Matt & Nikki) are waiting in line to get ticket that they will never bother to check. This old lady in front of us gets up to the machine and promptly starts to panic. She can’t get the damn machine to take her dollar bills. Everybody starts giving her advice. She’s on the verge of tears and can’t get anything right. Somebody yells for the cop to come help. He’d been been sitting over by the gates, scratching his ass.

You see, I wanted to scratch my ass, just like him. We’re all human after all, but I saw all the video cameras as I came down to that level, and the prospect of getting my rectum-rubbing on tape (or are they digital!) was not an appealing one. It was one of those un-holy itches where you know you’ve gotta jam your hand way back there in order to get at it. It’s kind of a private moment, and there was nothing nearby to kind of hide behind. (ha! get it?) So I just went for it. I’m sure you’ll see it if I ever get famous. The Ass Scratching Tape, they’ll call it. Or maybe Urges From the Deep. Regardless, I feel a little kinship with Paris Hilton, but not much. She’s still a skanky-ass slut who needs to be tied up and sent to live in the dirtiest part of Buenos Aires.

But (and I do mean “butt”) how can we as a society tape all of our lowliest citizens as they try to get on the bus — one of the easiest challenges we face daily — but we don’t put video cameras in corporate boardrooms, where they might actually catch something that threatens our safety and security. Instead, we prefer to be titillated. We know there’s something seedy going on at the bus station. And I’m sure there is. Theft, violence, drugs and stupidity — it’s all there. But we rarely catch anything substantial. What about the people who sit behind closed doors (because they can afford great oaken doors) and plot to steal millions or billions of dollars? What about those who slash thousands of jobs in order to make the stock go up short-term, which enables them to cash out and make millions? Why aren’t we monitoring them on camera? They are the people who need watching.

Do we really need video evidence to throw Jimmy Tough-Streets in jail? No, we’ve been throwing him in jail for years — centuries. But what about James Easy-Street — why doesn’t he ever do any time? He claims to employ many. Funny, he never talks about the people he impovrishes. Or about those killed in the managed wars that he particiapes in, all for the greater enrichment of the military-industrial complex. I bet he’s very content with the sorrow he’s wrought to others, just as I would be very happy if he were behind bars.

Do you think you can look at a person and tell if he’s good or evil by the clothes he wears? I think we make many judgments about people every day on that very basis — myself included — and most of it is baseless or banal. I see those politicians on TV in their expensive suits and I know that the people inside those suits aren’t worth more than a piece of rat shit, festering under the sun. Sure, not every person in the ghetto is a glowing example of class and decency, but at least you know what you’re getting. The rich and powerful lie and cheat and steal to say in power — or maybe just for fun. They think the poor would do the same thing in their position…..but would they?

I would like to make a break in the chain and not immediately dive into despoticism as soon as the cup of power touches my lips. Somehow it’s possible to end the cycle of oppression that has continued unabated for so many millenia. We humans are not rats. But our leaders treat us as if we are — is that how they see us? I’ve often thought that people who don’t trust others are themselves untrustworthy. I’m willing to give people a chance (but I’m not a foolish glutton for fallacy — thus the rant you’re reading), but the powerful will give few such a hearing. They look at you like you’re human filth, but it is the reflection in our eyes that they see.

So I try to look kindly at the old woman who can’t figure out a ticket machine. In her defense, the user interface was extremely crappy, and I as I was watching her try to use the machine, she did things that should have worked, but weren’t implemented by lazy programmers and the non-existant UI team. She was a woman plagued by the idiocy and greed of others. Did the company that made those machines know they were making a crappy product that wouldn’t stand up to winter or usage? Of course — they’re not that dumb! But they still got paid, and probably extremely well considering that it was juicy government contract (“Lots of overtime boys! Scratch your asses and get paid for it!”). Who suffers for their mistakes? Not them certainly — they don’t take public transportation! Are you crazy?! You can’t park an SUV on a bus (although they would if they could).

I hope you enjoy a little glimpse into the base realities of our culture and economy. Afterall, it affects all of us on a daily basis, and helps determine our station in life. I guess if you aren’t a rat, willing to crawl over the backs of the poor to get yours, then you don’t deserve it. Such is capitalism.

So when you see that Ass-ilistic Scratch-tastic video of mine, enjoy it. Your tax dollars paid for the video. Maybe there was a video camera in the ticket-machine, just like in ATMs. It’ll never break, of course. Maybe you can stare right at that old lady’s face as she nearly breaks down trying to get fucking ticket. Make sure you laugh — that could never be you, could it? You’re stronger, faster, smarter, better — right?

If you’re wondering, yes, she did eventual manage to get a ticket. She needed the help of the cop and four impatient strangers behind her, but she did it. And in her fluster she didn’t grab all of her change, leaving it for us to fish out, and then experience our own frustrations with the machine.

Nobody asked to look at any of our tickets. The cop was too busy helping people (poorly) use the machine and dreaming about his imminent retirement (looks like that 401K didn’t come through). Here we are, holding up the system on our backs, trying our best to color within the lines and not make waves. We do it every day. Do our elite, jet-set, power-broker leaders give a shit? No, they’re looking for the best way to explo
it both us and the system for their own personal gain. I don’t think your have to buy tickets when you have your own learjet. Although I’m sure they can be a real struggle, too. Oh, what a pity. I’m sympathetic — really!

And so the struggle continues. Sorry to bitch so much, but I’d like to be more of a muckraker than a whiner. Now you see what it’s like to be me. Just scratching my ass brings impossibly complex questions of wrong and right inside a cracked system. Maybe one day we’ll wake up and change the system. Until then, I’ll continue to worry about scracthing my ass in public.