Character Haiku.

"Serves you a good drink
listens to your troubles, then
makes a smart remark."*

Hey look everybody! It's me!

11 days from today, my brief but eventful stint as a bartender comes to an end.

It was a good run.

I learned a great deal. Some of which might actually come in handy later. Lessons about life, coworkers, trust, emnity, and information. Ways to respond to bosses that don't like you, ways to work around the most basic of instincts and training habits. Methods to manufacture a martini that will raise eyebrows and make friends.

I certainly learned to talk back first and ask questions later. When to spin an insult off the cuff and when to stop talking and say "huh?" and look completely incompetent.

In fact, that's a big lesson right there: sometimes it's a bad idea to appear overly competent. There are certainly tactical advantages to occasionally appearing less capable than you could be.

Know your friends, and know your enemies, and know how to make people move from one category to the other.

There are other lessons outside of work I've learned in the last 6 months. Some I have learned the easy way, some the hard way. But on the plus side, none of the lessons learned in that time frame have generated regrets for me to address. Well, maybe one. But being downgraded from Friend to Aquiantance because I stand up for myself is something with which I suppose I'll just have to deal. I imagine this isn't the last time it will happen in my life, and I might as well get used to it because I imagine it will continue as long as I'm willing to make decisions of which others don't approve.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

I geeked out in Wal-Mart yesterday and bought $70.95 worth of kit for my trip, from shirts to belts to backpacks to combination locks. I'm starting to aquire all the gear I need, and I'm looking forward to beginning the packing process later today. Whoohoo!

I'm also working on my old room. It's completely empty now. We emptied out the last of the wood and removed the carpet today, so it's time to start repairing, taping, and mudding.

So there is a little informational post about me. Give me a few days to be tormented about something and I'll write something that is more than just newsy drivel about my personal life.

*Stolen from the Suburban Jungle Archives.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

'Round Ireland with a fridge.

I've said this before, but: I'm going to Europe in a little over two weeks. I'm planning on returning at the end of April. I'm looking forward to it very much.

In preparation for it I've begun acquiring travel books, maps, and schedules, and in the "travel" section of a book sale, I found a literary gem. The title, "Round Ireland with a fridge", is an exact description of the story of the book's author, Tony Hawks, as he attempts to win a drunken bet reprinted in its entirety on the front cover of the book.

"I hereby bet Tony Hawks the sum of One Hundred Pounds that he cannot hitchhike round the circumference of Ireland, with a fridge, within one calendar month."

Now, many people could find this a daunting task, and Tony Hawks is very much an everyman as he describes his fears, frustrations, and hopes in his journey. It's a gorgeous book, a strong novel that carries with it memories of great travel escapist narratives like Gulliver's Travels and hints of whimsy and the absurd like The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Hawks himself appears a cross between Arthur's responsible 'don't make a scene' britishness and Ford Prefect's irrational and beautiful abandon of any worry that things might take a turn for the worse.

I highly recommend it. You can find it on Amazon here, and on Barnes and Noble Booksellers here.

Many of you probably remember my comments about Clubbing and Discotheques contained in The Marley Warning. Tony Hawks does far more justice to the feeling than I ever did in the following excerpt.

"I was born into the wrong generation. How I would have loved to have been a dashing young man in the 1930s and 1940s when dance bands and orchestras played at dancehalls, and you could hold your partner close and whisper sweet nothings as you waltzed her into your heart.

I have never liked discos. I have never understood why, in a place specifically designed for people to meet each other, an environment has been created in which you can't be heard unless you shout. Shouting is unattractive. It's certainly not my style, and I doubt that it brings out the best in most of us. Why have we put together a twilight entertainment world which is tailor made for the Reverend Ian Paisley? For my own part I have always preferred a gentler approach to courtship, and there is no doubt about it, dry remarks lose something when bellowed.

These places are great levellers intellectually, the sharpest mind reduced to the level of the lowest common denominator -- that of being understood. At one of these 'nitespots' (and that's another irritation - spell 'night' correctly or don't spell it at all) a typical exchange might be:

Tony: (shouting at a girl) Would you like to dance?
Girl: (Shouting Back) What?
Tony: (shouting louder) Would you like to dance?
Girl: (Shouting) Yes, I have, but just on a school trip to Calais.
Tony: (Shouting a bit louder still, directly into the girl's ear) Not, Have you ever been to France? -- Would you like to dance?
Girl: (Shouting) Yes please, I'll have a large gin and tonic.
Tony: (Under his breath) Greedy Cow.
Girl: I heard that.

By the way, Tony Hawks has his own webspace, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Oh, and while we're speaking of webspace for the brilliant, funny, and surreal, I found Zach Braff's Blog today.

Friday, February 25, 2005

There's a new post coming.

I swear.

Just not tonight. I'm tired. I'll give it to you in the morning, maybe.

Reaching new lows!

"I was so unique. . .
Now I feel skin deep."

So I went out to lunch today with an attractive young lady, and we chatted mainly about relationships and dating. Which, of course, as you all know, are not topics on which I express the highest praise for humanity.

Ok, at times my criticism became even more bitter than standard. It got to the point where she told me (and I believe she was quite serious in this statement) "Y'know, listening to you talk, I'm just not even sure if I want to go back to dating at all."

I sat in silence for a moment and pointed out that I had done something amazing. I think there should be an award in it for me, somewhere along the line.

I mean, people manage to turn others off to dating themselves every day, but to turn someone off to dating altogether? That is a new low in starting off a relationship. I mean, damn!

So appearantly I've become even more bitter and cynical than I realized. I think it has something to do with being alone. But I like being alone. Or at least, that's what I tell myself.

Now that I have the luxury of being honest about it, I can admit that when I sleep, regardless of the size of the bed or the number of pillows by which I am surrounded I no longer pull one of them to me and cradle it as I would someone for whom I cared. I simply drift off to sleep.

I'm becoming more and more aclimated to my loneliness.

And certainly being so vitriolically pessimistic that I manage to turn other people off to the entire process of dating is probably not going to help change that.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Hello is Broken.

For those of you trying to use Hello. . .it appears to be broken. However, the dev team claims they are working on a fix, so maybe it'll be back up soon.

In the meantime, I was planning to add a couple photos of my own to this space, but I guess that will have to wait.

This brings up an important question:

Is software a tool or a subscription service?

Programs like Hello blur the line.

As an example of the most extreme type of 'tool' type program, I have a stand-alone .exe called "timer.exe". It's a simple minute timer, like a kitchen timer, with three buttons. When the time is up, it makes your computer beep.

Handy for remembering to take cookies out of the oven, or reminding yourself that you should get offline in an hour and call a friend.

As a single, stand alone program, it's not hooked into any external servers at all, and can be transported from computer to computer as a single file with no need for internet access.

On the complete other side, you have something like, say, Myspace. Myspace is a subscription friends list/IM client/Blog/Storage space/Catchall built into a web interface. Technically, it's still (at some level) software, but without it's internet connection, it's about as useful as a piece of driftwood.

In between are programs like Gnutella and Hello. Technically you have to be able to sign into hello to use it, because it requires an internet connection to sync with the main servers. However, the issue at hand with Hello at the moment is that it's throwing an 'unverified address' error and demanding I verify an e-mail address that's already verified. Simply put, if that check wasn't in place, I could probably log in (since the account already exists) and still use the service. But in their enthusiasm to secure a database of contact points for their users (likely to be sold to the highest bidder, no matter what their privacy policy says) they demand that address, and thus inconvenience their users.

A more severe example of this was the America's Army game. Maybe some of you remember it. A free military combat simulation meant as a recruiting tool, completely free, providing you could afford to spend your time downloading a 600+ megabyte file.

The problem with AA when I downloaded it was that the registration servers were overloaded and unresponsive. So I downloaded an full self-installing program, installed the entire thing, and when I went to register recieved no e-mail to which I could reply to validate the registration. This was, frankly, frustrating as hell. It nearly turned me off to the entire experience. In fact, I didn't bother opening the game again for over a month, until friends asked me to get it running at a LAN party. Had they not asked, I probably would have uninstalled it later that month without ever having played it. Because I only wanted to playtest the game, I had no intention of taking it online and didn't need an online account, but because the army was using it as a recruiting tool, they demanded my information and validation of that information before I could unlock the 'free' game already installed on my own hard drive.

On the other hand are programs like Gnutella, that are decentralized and so open that despite the fact that they need you to connect to an online network, they build an architecture that makes that possible even if the primary servers go down! Literally, the decentralized structure makes the tools useable whether they are registered or not, because there is no server against which the system attempts to run any such check.

Personally I feel that whenever possible, software designers should strive towards a gnutella model. Rely as little on the company's servers as possible. This will build the most powerful, reliable client for the end user and ensure they have a better computing experience, which should build brand loyalty.

On the downside, you don't manage to get hold of e-mail addresses for all your users, but frankly we're all feeding you spam catchers anyway, so it's not like the benefit is that great, now is it?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Two Week Notice.

I give my two week notice tomorrow.

There's a lot of criticism I could level at my current place of employment. . . but it wouldn't serve any purpose except venting, and I'm putting that energy elsewhere, for use later in more constructive ways.

I liked it there, most of the time. It certainly had its good side.

Giving a two week notice will be a first for me. Another new experience to chalk up and file away for further reference later in life.

Funny. These things happen, good and bad, that are common and I think to myself "ooh, that's the first time I'll have this experience. I'd better pay extra attention for future reference."

I did this the first time I was pulled over by a police officer. It was last Fall, and I'd been driving a great deal (lots of commuting hours) at that point for 6 years. It was the first time I'd ever seen blue lights in the rearview mirrors. First time I'd ever handed an officer my license. I received a warning for going 82 in a 70mph zone on a motorcycle at 11:30 PM.

It was cold.

I still have the receipt somewhere.

He told me to be careful, and I remember noticing that on the back of the receipt was a dramatic little warning about how the lives of innocent civilians were taken every day by careless drivers.

My two weeks notice means I'll be leaving the bar (and the country, for that matter) before St. Patrick's day, which is a real pity. That would have been a fun night to work, and a good last hurrah. But the schedule worked better if I left sooner. So there is that.

Oh, and Geardo update:

I found the Dakine Guide online from Snow Leopard Mountain Sports , and ordered it. I should have it by next week.

I'm also looking at small MP3 players now, especially compact, durable ones like the Rio Sport S35. I'll only be able to take about 1/30th of my collection with me, and that is if I expand it's paltry 128 meg storage space out to the max of 640. Still, it will be enough music to get me through, and I'll probably only take a handful of my genres with me anyway. If I can find it somewhere for under $45, I'll probably pick it up in the next week.

By the way, I found out the Etymology of the word "Geardo". It was appearantly first coined back in june 2002 by the author of Military Morons to describe "someone who had a passion for Cordura and webbing".

Monday, February 21, 2005

Ball, Globe. . . Sonofa. . .

So, uh, yeah. I am updating the archives, and just updated the entry about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where I tried to draw a parallel to those shape-sorter toys we had as kids.

I spent the better part of 45 minutes looking on the fisher price and toys-r-us sites trying to find a link to one of those damn things. I have been exposed to enough photographs of attractive, content, and obviously-very-intelligent toddlers playing with educational toys to fulfill all of humanities needs for such pictures for the coming academic year.


Anyway, all that because I'm looking for one of these things. Mainly though I found shape sorting cubes.

But I didn't want a cube, I wanted one of those yellow globe-esque things we had. I think they were tetrahedrons, actually. Because we all had one! and they were all missing at least one shape, and they were all the same!

But now, dammit, I can't find a single one of the things, and I spent several minutes futzing with google because it wouldn't return me any links on a "shape sorting globe."

Finally, in a moment of sleep-deprived frustration, I admitted to myself that the object might also be considered a ball.

Lo and behold, I was immediately presented with the appropriate links. Granted, the shape-o toy linked above is NOT the appropriate colour. . .but at least it's what I was looking for.

However, my more pressing question then becomes. . . did the toy do it's job?

Because obviously I know what a globe is. . . but that doesn't really help me appearantly when I need it. . .

Maybe I'm just sleep deprived? Or depraved? One of those D words.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


So, a few months ago after hanging out in one-too-many outdoors and camping stores and spending too many hours browsing in Brigade Quartermasters, I pronounced the friend who had dragged me to all of these places an addict to kit he didn't necessarrily need, but wanted.

He drew up his decidedly tank-esque frame and said with dignity "I prefer the term. . .Geardo*!"

I loved the term so much I immediately told him I would be stealing it and have since used it to refer to him, my friends, and myself, shamelessly.

(Which reminds me, if you happen to be into Airsoft** and need any mod work done, check out the MP Upgrades site.)

Anyway, I liked the term, and must admit that despite my efforts to be interested in fashion, and how to stand out at a party for some reason other than the fact that you're being shunned by all the other guests, I am a geardo at heart. A guy walks into a room with new kit, be it a PDA that allows him to post directly to his blog, or a cell phone that allows me to read Penny-Arcade's RSS feed from anywhere, I'm going to wind up talking to him. Ditto weaponry, cars, boots, basically any item that has features and a spec list.

Just the words "spec list" pique my interest. You could set down a freaking blender in front of me, and tell me "but listen to this spec list!" and you'd have my undivided attention, even if, previous to your pressing the manual full of color photos into my hands I had been holding something important and moderately fragile, like a baby.

That's just the way I am. And I've started to notice that there are a lot of guys like me out there.

Obviously, my longtime readers and those who have perused the archives are already aware that I have a problem. You all doubtless remember me pimping Firefox, drooling over the Concept T, and gushing about my New Boots.

So obviously, having established this trend, you know that any excuse I have to buy new kit, especially if it has spec lists and features, is something I'll leap at and then wax eloquent (or at least lengthy) about here.

So I'm going to Europe. I got my ticket today, and I'm very, very psyched about the trip. I've been meaning to make a trip like this for years, and I'm very happy to have the opportunity now.

And of course, I'd like to use a backpack (specifically an internal frame pack) rather than luggage, because it's easier to carry and more practical for most things, and I'm big on practical when it comes to my toys (er, yeah, something like that). So I've been gear hunting lately, and I found the most fantastic backpack.

I'm in love with it. It's the Dakine Guide (Snowboard Packs->Snow->Guide). It's absolutely awesome. It has some functionality (like Back Access, mainly) that I haven't seen in other packs that makes me very very happy.

So that's cool. In addition, I also found Eastsport's snazzy Uptown Trap, which should work as a handy daypack.

And yes, I must admit that I got hooked on the Trapezoid concept for a day-pack after watching that dude totally steal that little figurine and store it so handily in Iron Bhudda.

Yes, I am a geek. Slap a label on me and send me home.

*Geardo: pronounced to rhyme with "Weirdo."

**If you don't know. . .don't ask.

Saturday, February 19, 2005


Fun word, that.

Anyway, I know I should update at least once every 48 hours, and I'm trying to be good and diligent and what-have-you, so here it is.

I've been looking at my archives as they flesh themselves out and wonder if I've improved much at all, (as a human being, and/or as a writer) in the past year. I hope so, but it's hard to tell.

I've also found myself wanting to get back into photography a bit. Not sure how I'm going to handle the Europe trip without a nice camera. Might borrow dad's little digital at least. We'll see.

Maybe it'll be a lesson in personality, silence, and patience for me to travel without any way to capture visual memories and store them. Maybe I'll have to find some other way to savour each moment for its own sake. Perhaps?

Or maybe I'll just come home and forget about the whole trip that way.


We'll see.

Friday, February 18, 2005

If you can't say something nice. . .

Well, today at work. . .


Yesterday, after I made the reservations. . .


Last night, on the way home. . .


Y'know that old saying "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?"


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Italian Vacation.

First Installment:

"Freddo" Jack laughed "you never did have much of a way with the ladies."

They watched the receding tide and the backside of the attractive brunette gliding over the sand away from the little beach bar they had discovered on the third day on the island.

"Yeah, well at least I'm still trying. You've gone soft."

"I grew up."

"Stop saying that, Jack! You know we're not even middle aged yet! Stop acting so goddamned old."

"Watch your language, Fred. Besides, Of course I act old. I am old. Age has nothing to do with calendars, y'know."

"You're always saying that." Fred sipped from his Heinekin and stared out across the bay dappled in afternoon sunlight towards the stormclouds. He thought that they seemed indecisive, just like every other day, but in the end they always chose to rain, but never for long enough to inconvenience anybody seriously. He thought there should be an analogy for this in humanity, but he couldn't place it.

Jack's dark eye's glinted as he followed Fred's gaze out across the bay. As had happend so ofter in the decades since they had been roommates, his thoughts cut directly across Fred's. "It's like a happy young couple that pop into a museum on a quiet afternoon and only wants directions to a movie theatre. They don't mean any harm, and half the time the patrons are secretly pleased to have someone to scowl at for making so much noise. But they are always gone quickly and never make too much of a mess."

Fred shook his head. He considered the sunny island lifestyle that he and Jack had adopted for the past month. "How is Angela doing? Have you heard from her?"

Jack shook his head. "Nah. She's probably happily dating again, for all I know. She refuses to write to me about anything except when I demand information about the kids. And she must know I'm talking to them via one of their instant messanger clients anyway. But she humours me and tells me about how they are doing in school."

Fred looked out across the bay, and let his eyes wander across the handful of young women sunbathing just down the beach. "You could at least try to-"

"No, Fred. You know I'm not interested right now."

"I'm just saying try! Get out a little, see if any of the other fish in the sea swim your way. Stop being such a monk! You have the ultimate midlife crisis opportunity here Jackie, and you're wasting it! Your wife kicks you out of the house and wants to be seperated for a while, but the kids still love you and are old enough to understand without being too angry, and you have a comfortable enough business setup that you can leave the whole thing in the hands of your heir on a whim, rent an apartment on an island, and relax on the beach with an expensive-- what the hell is that thing called again?"

"It's an italian vacation."

"an expensive--and stupidly named--tropical cocktail in your hand. Yet you won't so much as consider even taking a girl out for drinks! It's been six weeks we've been here. How long must it be? Another six? A year? When Angela writes you and tells you she filed for and recieved a divorce in your absence? When?"

Jack's frame tensed, and Fred knew that he had struck too close to home again.

"I'm not getting a divorce, Fred."

"I'm sorry, Jack. Look, I know the business took a lot out of you. It took a lot out of me too. We changed the world with Techfile, Jack, and I know that was important, and yeah, Stacy left me a decade ago and it was a stupid try at a life that didn't work for me anyway, but you can't be so bullheaded about all this. Just try, please? For me? Your french is good enough you could pick up a local, but you won't even strike up a conversation with one of the canadian tourists! There's no pressure there, Jack! Just talk for an afternoon, enjoy dinner together, the next week she goes home! You don't even have to bed her. Just have a normal conversation."

"Back off, Fred."

Midlife crisii are like miniature bouts of depression and stagnancy mixed together with equal parts frustration and self-loathing. Fred had a bad case that had started ridiculously early--in his late twenties--and resulted in owning half of a controlling interest in a tech development and financiers firm, destroying his marriage after he grew up and his wife wanted to continue being a third-year college student forever, and the fallout left him with a no house, a small studio and a very nice car.

Jack had the other half of that controlling interest, and his crisis wasn't personal--his wife kicked him out after she became frustrated with his willingness to follow a set routine. 5 years of all-night development sessions and military-style performance reviews had left him used to the processes, protocols and traditions that all programmers aquire, and his wife's appreciation for drama had left them at odds about everything. After she kicked him out he'd found himself adrift and confused about the purpose to which he'd commited his life.

The protege he'd been trainining managed a hat trick that secured political control of the board of the company and jack had tipped his hat, retired from the board and bought a condo on St. Martin. He'd called up Fred and convinced him, against his better judgement, to abandon his piano classes and kickboxing lessons and come along to enjoy the island.

Now Fred reconsidered his choice to tag along on this search for identity. "Y'know, I came along because I thought I might be able to make things interesting for you here, not because you'd just try to retrain me to your monastic mentalities and ultra-serious lifestyle."

"well" Jack mused over his cocktail "You're not doing a very good job."

"That's because you're not taking any of my advice."

Monday, February 14, 2005

Common People

Yesterday was different.

I'm trying very hard, I think, to amass a set of experiences that three years ago I would have scoffed at as needless distractions. I think I've decided that somehow having a series of close encounters with normalcy will make me a better person, and I don't know why.

Ever feel like the song Common People was written about you?

You'll never live like common people,
you'll never do what common people do,
you'll never fail like common people,
you'll never watch your life slide out of view,
and dance and drink and screw,
because there's nothing else to do.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

A note about this space.

For clarity and to set the reader at ease, I'll now make some observations that doubtless any longtime reader has already made.

Recently, my blog has gained noteriety with an additional portion of the population of my real-life who are not nearly as familiar with my quirks as the ones who have known about All-is-Well for some time.

So this is an attempt to allay the likely concerns about my moral fiber, mental stability, and humanity that reading this blog is bound to raise. As such, it is targeted primarily at the readership of this blog that have met me in the real world. If you have stumbled across this blog without any connection to me whatsoever, feel free to skip pretty much all of the following.

First, I consider a good portion of my work either fiction, or extension. In this category posts like Inhabited, and the Dock are the most obvious examples, but there are others. I'll let you discover them. These writings concern experiences I either created in full inside my head, as works of fiction, or simple extensions of experiences I have undergone, extended to rational conclusions that I have not myself traveled. Do not be frightened overmuch that these entries tend to be dark, vague, or disturbing. I write them because they allow me to be less dark, vague and disturbing in person.

Second, much of my remaining work is Melodramatization. Read any random sample of my work and you will see it dozens of times. I take my current situation and write in more extreme details, modify little feelings or reactions and contemplations to make them more severe, and play upon the drama and fantastic in my life while downplaying the rudimentary and calm. Since I'm going through a period of melancholy right now, this means that the diary often reeks of depression or expressed frustration. This is merely the highlighting of those common feelings we all share as a race.

Third, never feel that I've targeted you personally unless I've spelled it out clearly, as in I didn't like it, or the introduction to On People and Faith. I write about my life in general, an exchange with you may have sparked my writing, but it may also have been a dozen other things, ranging from the drive home, to a song, to another conversation with another person. Don't feel I'm singling you out. If you do, please feel free to write me and say so. I'm happy to express my self in this space, but if you ever feel you're being insulted or degraded here, tell me and I'll do my best to remedy that feeling while maintaining the integrity of my writing.

Fourth, I use this as a soapbox often. Normally when I rant to humanity in general about things I think it should do, I'll use the [soapbox] tag. Even if I don't, get used to it. It's my writing space and you're just going to have to deal.

Fifth, I use a lot of sarcasm. If you ever wonder about my motivations and find one explanation that uses sarcasm to cutting effect, and another where I'm just being mean and spiteful, assume sarcasm first.

Sixth, If you know me in real life, feel free to share the link as much as you want, but know that I'd rather each person found me on their own. I haven't published this space overmuch (one or two people, yes, but not many) because I'd like it to be a personal discovery for each new visitor. If you want to give them a hint, tell them to google "humanity overload." AiW is the first result.

Last, don't believe everything you read, or take anything I write too seriously. This is just a blog, and sometimes it's best to stop and think. Sometimes I write things that are just plain misleading like My New Love, so don't jump to conclusions.

Thanks for your patience.


Friday, February 11, 2005

The Genesis Project Internal Memos.

So I just found this from Tim's Journal. Because, well, Tim is brilliant and notices these kinds of things.

It is, frankly, awesome.


The Genesis Project Internal Memos

Appearantly it was originally written in Russian by Yuriy Nesterenko.

The campfire is moving.

Terry Prattchett, in The Color of Magic, compares the understanding we have of the present as the light cast by a campfire.

It's not that everything isn't happening at once, just that our limitation of conciousness narrows our focus to the things we can see and call 'now', and we chalk up the things that howl and the eyes that peer out from beyond the darkness as our past and our fate, respectively.

If the fire flares but for a moment, we can see our future stretch out before us at the edge of our concious minds, and in that moment we are granted the clarity that comes only rarely to we who are not afraid to let our interests dictate our decisions.

Do we always make the right decisions? No. But at times the campfire flares and despite our knowledge that what we are about to do will not end well, we know it in the very core of our selves, that it will come to fruition, that we can bring our plans to bear and nothing will stop us from carrying them out.

Why do we make use of this latent ability to predict our own futures when so often we can clearly see that the fire has revealed not a fantastic paradise but a snarling and ravening wolf, prepared to devour the first cursed soul to step near?

We make our futures out of our desires, and often let the details be shaped not by our cares and concerns but rather by our ambivalence towards all other aspects of our selves except that which we want most, be it family, home, money, power, or love.

To get what we want just beyond the fire's edge we will climb mountains and swim rivers, corrupt priests and lead whores to purity. We will destroy our friends and crown our enemies the positions of power over us. We will tear down houses of refuge and build up dens of iniquity and vice. And when we look behind us at the devastation we have wreaked so that we might reach our goals, do we shed a tear of remorse for our damaged past, or only for ourselves, that we had to make sacrifices to reach our goals?

How selfish are we, really, as a race?

Thursday, February 10, 2005


I moved.

I'm over here now.

The archives will be following me to that location shortly, right now it's slow going.

For those of you who can't following the link for some reason, it's

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I'm going to tell you something good about yourself.

My ex-Kawaii-Girl turned me into a Camera Obscura fan about a year and a half ago. I have a distinct memory of sitting in her grandparents house about six months later on a gray morning listening to their work over an Apple laptop of some kind. It was haunting and graceful and beautiful and sad. Come to think of it, the previous sentence could have described that memory, the weather, the music, and my mood. But in a lot of ways it was a good thing.

In any case, this is post is only marginally related to my addiction to beautiful emo-girl music.

In particular, it's about a quote, and a concept.

I went for a walk today, killing time between lunch ("Welcome to Moe's!") and work (Fat Tuesday was good for us. I broke my previous most-tips-in-a-single-shift record). As I walked around the lake and looked at the geese, and thought about my life and experiences, I came to an absurd conclusion. Absurd only because it is so obvious and natural but so rarely made an intentional part of our lives, or at least so rarely spoken of in these terms.

Relationships are 4 directional.

Allow me to explain. In any conversation with a person with whom you are close, you tell them things about yourself. And that person will tell you things about herself (gender chosen arbitrarily).

Thus: two primary directions, and sources.

In addition, when you are in a healthy relationship, there are times when you will be able to tell someone else something about herself.

"Let me tell you a little about myself. Let me also tell you something about you."

I'm not just talking about the usual things people tell each other, like Girls that constantly insist that they are ugly which causes their boyfriends to constantly tell them they aren't. I'm talking about deeper, more important things.

Things like being told "I've always loved spending time with you, because I knew that if I really needed you for something, I could depend on you to help me." Or "I've always loved the way you laugh, because it lights up a room and makes the air seem clearer." Or "You've always had a way with telling people to reconsider their choices that I never learned. Teach me." Or "You're too abrasive. Sometimes you insist on being right too much and it's going to cost you a friendship one day."

These are the healthy parts of a relationship that allow people to learn things about themselves that they couldn't learn alone.

In the Camera Obscura (remember the introduction?) song "Eighties Fan", the entire line is

I'm gonna tell you something good about yourself/ I'll say it now and I'll never say it about no one else/.

Well, it's an interesting sentiment. We all know that some sayings lose meaning the more times we say them, and some just become outright lies. So the idea that something good can be said about someone is so important that it can be reserved for them alone, as a message they need to hear so badly that you're willing to never repeat it about any other person on earth is a powerful and valuable statement about friendship, isn't it?

So here's my fortune-cookie-style advice for today: Tell someone you love something about themselves. Maybe it's good. Maybe it's bad.

Maybe it's a teacher that you've always admired. Tell them you like the fact that they make the tests hard, because it makes it worth trying. Tell your lover that when they smile, it makes you want to stop time. Tell your family that you miss them, because when they are around, the wonderful chaos they create is comforting and pleasant, even if at times it is hair-raising and frustrating.

Tell someone something about themselves. Say it now, and never say it about anyone else.

Update - 5:27 AM: Today's thing that someone I'm not close to should hear about herself:

To Tequila Mockingbird: You are the first and only writer who has ever, via the quality of her writing, kept me reading despite the fact that you do not capitalize your Is.

I find the practice so deplorable that I will abandon weblogs, ignore friends, and refuse to reply to e-mails in order to avoid encountering 'i' all by itself on a page. Yet your writing is so strong, so graceful, so vulnerable and so inviting that I do not mind or even notice that you don't capilize the first person singular pronoun.

Congratulations. This is far greater an accomplishment than you might realize. I don't expect you to be overwhelmed (in fact, I don't expect you to ever find this comment), but please understand that it is a far greater compliment than any other I could think of to pay to any writer in the virtual space that blogs inhabit.

Quick news.


-I got a letter from Jamey. He's one of my real-life heros.

-KC is homesick! Maybe Adrienne and I will be going to see her soon. I don't know. (crosses fingers).

-I'm updating the logs quickly and still doing some background work on the template (you won't notice many changes, sorry). The archives will be updated more, maybe tomorrow.

-We have live music from John Bull and the Polyester Playboys at work tonight! Whoohoo! So Fat Tuesday should be fun.

- I got a 46% in the Southern Dialect Quiz. So I guess I'm almost a Yankee. This is why everybody asks me where I'm from.

-Parents are out of town and I'm home alone. Which means I'll be eating too many brownies and not getting as much work on my room done as I should.

-Shame on me.


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I used to be interested in everything.


I think for a long time I was like a Bayesian Filter that had no rules or updating status.

I just culled data as readily as it was available to me. I was interesting in everything. Really. Languages, culture, music, food, space, science, technology, art, religion, games, film, etc.

If it was a topic, and people could discuss it, I would listen and attempt to cull from them useful, processed information that I could re-use later either in other conversations or in times when I needed that data to make informed decisions.

However, within recent years I've begun to specialize. I ignore things like turn-based strategy games (no fun), art-house films about death (heavyhanded and overly political) and this month's popular 'world music' (people only listen to it because it makes them feel cultured).

I think this specialization is a natural and healthy part of human maturation. We learn that there are limits to what we can know and why we can know it. A wiser person still learns that this means when coming across topics in which we have no specialty or skill, we should remain close mouthed and not attempt to interject an uninformed and graceless opinion of our own.

In this way we retain our dignity and humility, leave the airwaves free of opinions both unqualified and irrational in nature, and manage to make the world a better place.

Think of it as keeping the national psyche free of detritus. I guess I imagine it as a way of avoiding mental littering.

I think I'll turn it into a sort of public education campaign. Similar in nature to those signs you see about "keeping our city/town/state beautiful!" Please, help keep our national mind clean and healthy. If you are ignorant, do us all a favour and remain silent.


p.s. No, the irony that I posted such a commentary in my blog does not escape me.

Post P.S. This essay was completely untargeted. If you think it was written about you: you're wrong.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Jamey's E-mail Address.

Dunno who is reading here, but appearantly my e-mail is being unreliable and the two-cents boxes on Xanga are down sooo. . .

can somebody give me Jamey's e-mail address please? I want to send him a note about New York, but I haven't got his contact info anymore.

(hindsight-o-matic: this not doesn't matter anymore. I have the address. I include it only to make sure the archives are complete.)

Simple is good.

Ok, so I've stripped out the useless profile links. Cut down on the dating and title system.

Fixed the colors. . . consolidated everything else.

Not sure about the archive system yet. I think I'm going to leave it alone and just use blogger's built-in one. I'm not sure though. We'll leave it that way for now.

Also, I'm torn about the comment system.

I'm not really a huge fan of comment systems. Frankly they seem to turn the blog idea into more of a topic-defined feedback forum, and I believe that the knowledge that each post can create a mini-discussion in the comments causes the author to pander more to his audience than he might otherwise be inclined.

So I think I'm going to remove them and see if I can put up a 'notes' system similar to the simple Diaryland one. . . lets find out!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Moving in. . .


So I just found out (look at the bottom of the page) that I can add posts from the distant past if I wish, which means I can move the archives in and they will re-sort appropriately as they are transcribed (transtyped? Copied? I like transcribed as a word. . .too bad it's going to go out as 'scribing' becomes an ancient and out-of-date practice).

Now, before I start moving the archives, I'm going to start editing the template and fixing the colors, layout, etc.

Good Friday

My life for 10 hours. Posted by Hello

So I worked a decent Friday. Actually, I worked a really good Friday. The bartender and I put $9,00+ across the bar, and we guess another $1,000 or more across the service counter to the wait staff. With two bartenders working, we both walked out with $130+ in tips for a single nights work.

Not bad for the first time we've had live music and advertised it since I started there, and the first real "Friday hangout" night we've done.

Of course, we closed around 2AM, and I'm just winding down now (3:30) but. . . hey, the money is good and the restaurant seems to be doing well, which I think is probably the best thing. It looks like this will become my regular weekend schedule.

I'm exhausted. I ate around 1PM, and then had nothing but coffee, nicotine, and some water and juice until we finished around 1:30AM (that's 13.5 hours, kiddies!), then I had some dried apricots and croutons. I know my feet are going to be killing me tomorrow night and my thumb is already logging it's injury via pain (I slammed it in a cooler lid that wasn't shutting properly. It is already turning a bit purple in one spot. Yay.).

Tomorrow I'm going to have to get there early, before we officially open, to check and see what liquors we need, then make a buying run, then set up to do it all over again tomorrow, with an even more well-known duo (Ziggy and Joe of Ziggy and The Zigtones! Word!) and a different co-bartender. It should be a lot of fun.

On the plus side, one of my managers is sortof distracted (he's got a big event this weekend unrelated to the place) which means I get a chance to prove myself as a bartender without him making me nervous and looking for flaws in my methods. If tomorrow goes as well as tonight did, I think maybe I'll have finally earned a thimblefull of respect. Now if I can just get through the next month without spilling it, maybe I won't want to quit every two days. . .
Oops. Posted by Hello


I'm moving (blogs).

More details soon. I think I might send you all on a treasure hunt to find my new location. :)

Or I'll just link to it, or something.

(Hindsight-o-matic: this is the notice I posted when I moved from the original home of All-is-well (Diaryland, where the URL was to the current home (Blogger, where the current URL is

Squatter's Rights!

So why am I here?

Am I unhappy with diaryland?

In a word. . . no. Granted I never liked that word "diary" in there, but I wasn't prepared to leave over address nouns with which I was not happy.

But I read the Busblog piece "How to Blog" today, and decided that I should probably move over here to make my work both more accessible and more professional. I want to rework my template while I'm at it, and archive all the diaryland posts I've made over the last year ("OMG! It's been a year already?!") and so this is a good inspiration to start on that.

So here I am. All is Well in a new space.

That's kindof a hopeful statement, isn't it?


Friday, February 04, 2005

The Dock.

You don't want to go back to work for them.

You can hear Frank's footsteps on the dock when he finally finds you. You're almost relieved by then.

You've been running for days. But Frank is a bag man, and you knew he'd find you eventually. You're leaning up against a pylon and staring across the bay.

You don't bother to get up, or even meet his gaze.

"They miss you at work, Jim."

"Fuck work. And fuck you too, Frank."

Stare out over the water and consider that you'll never get to share that dinner for two downtown with a gorgeous lady. Don't mention this. Instead say "Did you ever wonder if what we did was right, Frank?"

Frank will look out over the water and watch the wind kick up the waves and rivulets against the dock. A speedboat will pass and the passengers laughter will carry across the water and fall upon your ears like a foreign language you studied for one year in high school.

"Humanity needed culling, Jim. We all saw the numbers. the S.A.R. will depopulate the Asian world centers and rebalance the natural order."

You know that is the company line. Tell him so. Follow up by telling him that he never thought for himself, and that's why you were promoted past him. Don't be vindictive. Just talk as if you are thinking out loud.

He'll shrug. "Yeah, but your work is done now, and you refused to take on the further assignments."

"Writing up vaccine data for a disease we caused? We ought to make ourselves test cases, not heros."

Frank never did really care about the job. He was in it for the money and you both knew it, so he won't bother arguing anymore.

The sound of metal rasping will bring you back to the present. You'll look up and catch his eye for the first time.

Tell him to do you a favor and make it a closed casket ceremony. You'd rather your organs were donatable and your face missing than the other way around.

He'll shrug again--He always was pretty one dimensional--and tell you "I don't usually do requests. But just this once. . . Hell. You are my brother."

His aim will be steady. Maintain eye contact. It'll make it harder on him and that is what you want most.

It won't hurt.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Addressing Zig's Point.

I'm a bit tired tonight.

I actually considered posting on several issues, including relationships (namely the "No hissy fits!" rule), society (what does it mean to manage and lead well?) and robots (will they eventually enslave us all?).

But I'm a little spaced out and not really in the mood to focus on any of those things.

So instead I'm linking to Tim's Xanga again and talking about that. No, not the most recent post with the platypus. Rather the one from Monday.

"Some morning-thoughts.

Aesthetics without substance = art without paint and poetry without words.

Beauty is nothing without depth.

Wealth or abundance must not be confused for depth.

Is it wrong if I don't believe in something human and perfect?"

I think I get what he's driving at, but I don't quite agree.

First, I think that aethetics, as a word, is one we bandy about too often. (Yes, I just used the term 'bandy about', go me.) Quite literally the word 'aesthetic' refers to those guiding rules or principles that define what is and isn't good taste, or good art.

More often though, we refer to 'aesthetics' and mean 'trappings', those little, around-the-edges details of a commercial product that make it attractive. The trim on the cabinets. The inlaid wood on the dashboard of the sedan. The gold leaf on the piano. Etc.

Certainly, I agree with him that these little conveniences are not the heart of the matter. Certainly if infested with rats, the cabinet is of no value, and without an engine, the car is worthless. There must be substance and purpose to each item before its trappings can be valid.

But now, art is a tricky subject. For must any piece of art have a purpose? Must any piece of art enforce a dominant mentality in the beholder? Must it have a point. May art stand alone, on the merit that it is a creative composition only, and still be worth something?

If so, what is the substance of such art? Certainly it cannot be it's purpose -- it doesn't have one!

So there is some trickiness here in how the answers fall out.

Poetry without words is nonexistent. But poetry without meaning--where a random jumble of syllables or words creates a mish-mash of nonsense, would obviously be worthless to the reader, regardless of how eloquently it rolled off the tongue.

Is this the challenge that was envoked? That we not forget that substance demands purpose, or it is limited to trivial entertainment?

I'm doing little more than musing aloud at this point. Sorry.

One other point about that last question: It isn't wrong at all. I think, in fact, acknowledging the failure of in humanity's attempts at perfection is one of the steps towards enlightenment.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005