I got enough in tips last night that I was able to afford a lavish breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, and a large orange juice at Sam’s this morning, before working the morning shift. It was a slow day this morning, which is just as well since I’d only slept perhaps two hours between closing the place last night and opening it this morning.
The weather has turned warm, but not yet hot, with that edge of humidity that feels like the atmosphere is caressing you when you step outside. It is wonderful, wonderful weather. As I hustled along towards downtown this morning all the colors seemed especially vibrant, the whole world seemed completely beautiful. I saw a couple of rabbits posing like statues in someone’s shrubbery. Last night as I was walking home I’d seen a big ugly possum hustling its way in the opposite direction on the far side of University. They’re ugly critters but I thought it was beautiful in its purposefulness – wherever that creature was headed it was determined to get there.
I swear the Spring is so beautiful that I will do the irresponsible thing and blow some of my tax refund on a new digital camera when it arrives. I can feel boastful like this because I got paid today – the first full-time check since August! Man, it is has been a while, and it feels damned good. I took the check down to the bank and opened a checking account, which will come with a Visa check card, so I can go online in a few weeks and order my new toy if the world is still beautiful and requires photography.
For the moment, though, my funds aren’t available ’til Friday, so I borrowed another Food Stamp off Dan. We then went off to the Baskin Robbins which was giving out free ice cream this evening. Standing in line, I observed the young people around us, and it must have been the tacky “MUCK FICHIGAN” shirt that brought me around to the vibe that here I was surrounded by American youth of the Midwestern United States: specifically, Illinoisians. And I felt this sort of Universal identification with all the other crowds of youth around the world who get together on a Spring evening to await something good, like free ice cream.
You could say that operating on caffeine in lieu of sleep makes me more corny. I wouldn’t disagree.
Another beautiful Spring morning. Well, it was overcast and chilly when I hustled off to work. The birds were all around, singing at each other. I got to Sam’s and there was a husky, Asian-looking waiter with glasses hustling sluggishly about. Since I was already running late, and Sam’s was running a little slower than usual, I was also a few minutes late to work. No great problem.
It was my colleague’s last day, and there was excellent music in the CD player, so even though business was slow, as usual, things were still pretty upbeat.
I was scheduled to work ’til 3, and around 2:30 I saw a guy walking around outside and I noticed that the lighting was brighter than it had been: the sun had come out. I ran out into the street and spun around with my arms out wide! Sun! How wonderful! How warm! I turned around and looked up at the sky and I understood why people like to believe in God; I nearly shook my first at the sky and yelled “way to go, Dude!”
Around that time one of our regulars came in for his iced tea. He would be at the movie theater in the next hour with the local science fiction club, for the opening of the new X-Men movie, where they would solicit the patrons for donations to the American Cancer Society. Another ray of sunshine.
As I waited for the next shift to come in, the CD started playing “Moondance” which is just a spectacular song. As I was already in a great mood I was put in mind of another time when I was in a great mood. It was an evening when I was driving Jessica home, and I found the same song on the radio. We were very close to the house, so I cranked the radio up loud, slowed the car, and just to make sure we got to hear the whole thing, I drove the long way around the block. When Jessica caught on that I had driven the long way around to time the song out, she approved vigorously, and we both grooved together in a shared moment before we got out, and I saw her to her car, in which she drove home.
Any every time I touch you
You just tremble inside
No matter how much you want me that,
You can’t hide!
Can’t I just have one more moondance with you,
One of the better memories.
Here’s an interesting thought that compares modern bloggers to the warez couriers of the BBS age. Thanks to my feed aggregator, I can 3-day warez this meme to you. I’m not in it for the ratios though.
I have been watching the blog phenomenon from a bit of a distance – I’ve been doing online journalling forever, in Internet years. Now all the kids have these crazy terms like “backtracks” and “blogrolls” and there was even some embedded reporter who started a blog and blog-ified everything to be hip. For example, he was no longer posting humble photos on web pages, he was photoblogging! Wooh! (Gag me!)
So, I’ve purposely avoided overly-bloggifying my humble web log. (A “blog” is a contraction of “web log” which is a term I adopted myself.) You won’t find “backtracks” here, which is where a blog site lists URLs that link to a particular post in some sort of point-whoring contest. You wont find “feedback forums” with floating heads of friends and bored strangers dissecting the minutea of my life, and I try to avoid the sort of post which basically amounts to “Woah, this link is the coolest thing ever I’ve seen in the past five minutes of web browsing!” (“Holy poop my ass is numb someone please come over and beat me until I get off the computer and interact with some real people!”)
But if someone wants to riff off one of my posts, I now have these little bylines to each post’s anchor. Citations are great, in my opinion, if they act as footnotes to original thoughts or otherwise provide a jumping-off point for discussion on a topic. If a reader has something to add, they can drop me a line.
Back to the aforementioned interesting thought which inspired this little rant, I find myself asking what my role in the, ahem, blogsphere is, in the context of the “blogger as courier” metaphor. And I guess what I am is a shareware author tinkering about as a hobbyist, trying to create the occasional interesting bit of software, or in this case, memes, that I can share with the community. Since I’m a low-budget hobbyist who is more interested in creation than self-promotion, I eschew the whole “warez trader” mentality of trying to be the first to post links out.
Of course, I’m not even focusing on memes so much, just trying to flex my muscles, because I enjoy the activity, and I have the vague idea that I could develop the skill into something marketable. I’m just playing, trying to come up with the occasional interesting thought. In the meme-coder realm of the blogsphere, I’m one of the older guys who isn’t into the hip, new scene, but instead puttering away on low-key “demo” releases.
I should try and break into the publishing biz sometime.
Vik got to town to collect some stuff from the apartment. Vik was Dan’s roommate, who has since returned to Cincinnati to look for work. He met me at the Green Street Cafe where I like to sit with my laptop, and relax in a nice space with free wireless ethernet access.
Since I now had money to spend, I figured I’d buy Vik a beer. We went a few doors down to Murphy’s, which had good $2 pints available. We were only going for a round, but one round turned into four. I think Vik ended up buying most of the beer.
One of the big incentives for us was that you don’t often find yourself relaxing in a bar with a number of attractive young women. We also got along in terms of interesting conversation too.
I spied a young lady wearing fishnets, with little pieces of candy taped to her body. We made eye contact and she explained that for a dollar I could have a piece of candy, and I got to remove it with my teeth. Was it for charity? Well, she’s getting married.
Now, I don’t quite understand why selling pieces of candy for a dollar is important for getting married. I guess it wasn’t the money so much as a bachelorette party sort of thing to do. At any rate, it seemed like a good deal to me, so I slipped a dollar in her palm and got my candy. Her friend captured the moment with a Canon digital camera, so I asked her to email the image to me. The candy was yummy too.
> I know what you mean. As a Chinese American, I was
> brought up with 2 different cultures and it is quite
> confusing. […]
One of my favorite words is DIASPORA. It originally means “to scatter” but it has acquired the meaning of a culture that is built of multiple cultures, but doesn’t really fit in to any parent culture.
When adults who speak different languages are stuck together in a situation where they have no common language, they stumble along and try to build a language together. This rough language is called a PIDGIN, and works as far as helping these unfortunate people to communicate with each other on a basic level, but it is not a proper, well-formed natural human language. If these people stick together long enough and breed, their children hear this PIDGIN, and using their instincts for language acquisition they normalize the grammar rules and flesh the PIDGIN out into a proper human language, which is called a CREOLE.
For you, your culture might seem like a harsh pidgin, with rules from different places that clash with each other and don’t sound right. I’d like to think that your children will take that from you and grow that into a smoother creole culture that they feel comfortable with, and that might provide some comfort to you, in your own confusion.
If you get a chance, Wyclef Jean has a song in Haitian Creole called “Jaspora” which I take to mean “Diaspora” … Haitian Creole is a mix of French and the African languages that the slaves who were brought to Haiti spoke. Wyclef himself tells the story in his music of moving from Haiti, which is already a carnival of cultures, to New York, which is even more of a carnival, so if he starts singing about cultural DIASPORA you know he knows something about it.
Milly just moved in with me and Dan to sublet for the summer, while Dan will be leaving next month to spend the summer in Tokyo. She and Seth, her boyfriend, are over, and everyone is playing with their laptops. ikea mentions on IRC that she’s going out for ice cream, and we think that’s a great idea. Dan has a pile of five-year-old coupons for 50 cents off of Blizzards at the Dairy Queen, a block a way, so we troop off to Dairy Queen to get our ice cream. This conversation took place on the way back:
Milly: This is fun!
Danny: This is cold!
Danny: And evil!
Danny: But at least we got to subvert the dominant paradigm.
Seth: Did you say “subvert the dominant paradigm?”
Danny: Yes, I did.
Seth: I have a tee-shirt that says that.
Danny: Hrmm, I wonder why I said that.
Seth: I’m wearing that shirt!
Danny: Yes, you are.
If it weren’t for the extreme geekiness of this evening, I’d never have bothered to relay this story. (As we left the house we were estimating the number of computers stored within, and I remarked that I felt like I was living in ACM. On our way, I shared an e-mail I received on my hiptop from my Japanese pen-pal about her recent adoption of Linux.)
Thanks to Todd for pointing out an article in the Chronicle, about how the porn industry is finding ways to profit from file swapping. A few delicious quotes:
“The lesson I suggest (the recording industry) learn from the porn industry is: How do you use free to promote paid?”
“The adult industry is leading the way in peer-to-peer and begining to monetize it instead of fighting customers,” Hunter said. “Any smart merchant can’t look at a mall filled with 200 million people and not look at the opportunities to set up a kiosk.”
“It’s the sharing philosophy that the adult industry has had for a long time,” Hymes said. “It’s a fascinating industry, so rampantly and relentlessly capitalistic.”
I think it is interesting from a sociological point of view. The pornographers are ruthless capitalists always eager to innovate and find new ways to make a buck. I think they have to have this mentality because they’re taking a product that isn’t very difficult to produce, and marketing it in a culture that tends to frown on the marketing of said product. So they have to put all the more thought in to innovating ways to capture customers’ attention and make money.
The recording industry, on the other hand, knows they’ve got a sweet deal, that is socially acceptable, so instead of rampant opportunistic capitalism, they opt for consolidation into large, stable oligarchies. Innovation is a threat to an industry that is quite satisfied with the status quo, and is really freaked out about the implication that their entire industry may be made redundant by new technology.
Which may even be the case. If small-time pornographers can earn business by giving away teasers in order to attract sales, why shouldn’t the music industry devolve in to small-time content producers and promoters who give away some tunes in order to attract sales? Something interesting to watch, from a distance.
Meanwhile, Jon points out a New York Times Headline that sounds like something from The Onion.
Speaking of the Onion, “Hostel-Dwelling Swede Getting Laid Big-Time” is perhaps the most hilarious article I’ve read in a long time. There is an added bonus, for me, to have an appreciation of hostel-dwelling. But the Swedish accent is wonderful too!
I stumbled into work about twenty minutes early yesterday, and Gallery Man asked what’s up, and I answered quickly, with a single word, shit, which is the sort of answer that Gallery Man can accept in stride as part of the pulse of things. Then I felt bad because The Boss was sitting over in the cafe. I don’t know if he heard me but when he saw me I asked how I was doing, and I said I was great, which was perfectly true. When I’d answered shit, I was thinking about how my morning started hearing that we were pulling out of our embassies and missions in Saudi Arabia, and an analyst was condemning our reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan as a clear failure because they don’t exist and we are so far repeating this performance in Iraq, while Israel and Palestine are at each other’s throats all the more this week, which doesn’t bother me so much as our nation piling new fuck-ups on its plate.
If you aren’t sufficiently quesy about our neglect of world affairs, the New York Times has a piece on the other Dangerous Lunatic World Leader, from which I’ll cobble together:
Stalin and Mao were revered for their perfect grasp of dialectical materialism, an omnipotent science that made them omnipotent too. Kim Jong Il and his late father, Kim Il Sung, are revered, like the monarchs they more closely resemble, for their perfect embodiment of national virtues.
Chief among these virtues is “sobak ham,” a hard-to-translate Korean term that corresponds closely to the word spontaneity in its Marxist-Leninist sense. The Soviets considered the spontaneity of the common people, especially their tendency to violence, to be a dangerous force unless tempered with political consciousness. In North Korea, the people’s spontaneity is seen as one of the country’s greatest strengths.
North Korean novels and movies often show the hero casting off the restraints of his book learning in a fit of wild, sometimes suicidal rage against the Japanese or American enemy. The central villain of Han Sorya’s novella “Jackals” (1951), the country’s most enduring work of fiction, tells of an American child who beats a Korean boy so brutally that he ends up in a hospital — where he is murdered by the American’s missionary parents.
This propaganda appears to be effective even among North Koreans opposed to the rule of Kim Jong Il. When I visited a resettlement center for refugees near Seoul last year, many of those to whom I was introduced as an American recoiled in terror or glared at me in hatred.
I’ve been thinking of plenty of interesting ways to improve my own position in an American context, but it seems far more valuable to improve the situation outside of my prosperous, fat and happy nation. I need to see if there’s anyone lobbying to make sure Congress and George budget money to make Afghanistan a better place – the Afghans need the money far more than the Iraqis, who have oil money and a tradition of economic prosperity. If these people exist, maybe I can help get people to write letters to pressure appropriate congressional representatives where such pressure is due.
More immediately, I need to fix out my sleep schedule, which seems to run from 3-5AM towards noon at this point, which saps productive hours ringing the 3-11PM working shifts to which I’ve been exclusively assigned. But first, I think I’ll head towards work and stop for a Vienna Beef hot dog along the way. Yum.
I have been contemplating the idea of setting up a “feedback forum” type of thing for the log … make it more bloggy. If you, the reader, have any feelings in this matter, or ideas of how you’d like to see such a thing implemented, drop an e-mail on me. I never get any sort of feedback any more. Boo hoo!
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