As if it isn't bad enough getting over this cold, we now have Santa Ana winds blowing in. Dryness and dust. Oh, joy.
Fortunately, I have my supply of Claritin. Not to be a shill, but this shit is great. Doesn't knock my ass out like Benadryl, yet keeps me clear as a bell. If only it weren't so fucking expensive! Why can't we be civilized like Canada and sell the stuff Over The Counter here? Schering would clean up! Yes, Big Pharmaceuticals! Be greedy! Push through for FDA approval! Just gimme my goddamn drugs!
Friday, November 3, 2000
The best I can hope to give you, darling, is play time. As in, "Fuck work! Let's take the afternoon off and go play on the beach."
Money collects dust, houses collect leaks, and lifestyles collect bills. Play collects more time, and my time with you is worth all the paychecks in the world.
Wednesday, November 1, 2000
|On the Agenda
1) Reform the electoral process. Make sure that the votes of the people tranlate into the way our representatives are selected. With America as broad and diverse as it is, we can no longer continue the current winner-take-all system of the electoral college and not expect violent, bloody rebellion.
2) Get the money out of elections. Money does not equal free speech. If it did, then Bill Gates and the NRA have more freedom than I do. Bullshit.
3) Create an intelligent, informed electorate.
Right! Let's get cracking!
Wednesday, November 1, 2000
|K&D, Billy Bragg, and You
America needs more soul.
Plain and simple, America needs to take a big goddamn knife and hack away at the constricting strings that Puritanism has tied to its ankles for the past four hundred years, let its hair down, and dance. And I'm not talking about the kind of crotch-on-crotch freakin' that they show on the MTV these days (though there's certainly a time and a place for it). I just want to see this great big beautiful nation of ours go out into the streets and shake its collective ass. Just for one night. Once a year.
Dancing is fun. Even if you stripped all of the sexual connotations out of it, just moving to a beat is fun. Feeling your blood flow through your veins, your body groove, it's a wonderful thing. Election Day would have a much better turnout if there were a dance as soon as the polls closed.
Wednesday, November 1, 2000
I enjoyed your letter. Thanks very much for the compliments and for visiting Colortini. I enjoy talking, as it were, on the web. I just wish I didn't have to type.
Man, how freakin' cool is that? Craig Kilborn, eat your heart out.
Saturday, October 28, 2000
|Bad, Bad Poetry...
Give me rock 'n' roll, give me a voice
Reconnect to the world
The whole world is here
We all need food
We all need drive
I want to invest
Saturday, October 28, 2000
Dammit, dammit, dammit!
I can't even enjoy the beauty of airplanes coming in for a landing without contemplating their impact on the environment! Gah!
That's it. Burke, Carrie, and any of you other aerospace engineers out there (and hush up, Burke...you work for the airplane company. I expect you to kick some ass), I want you guys to start kicking more ass on low-emissions jet engines. Granted, I know squat about the subject, but with all those brilliant people at your organizations, can't you come up with something that a) works, b) works really reliably and c) works cheaply? Or is this back to the old engineering adage: "Faster, cheaper, better: pick two"?
Friday, October 27, 2000
Autumn is a season for change. People in Los Angeles forget that we're still tied to the seasons, that there are cycles out in the ocean that affect us. I do my best to pay attention, though there are more than enough times when I wake up and realize that the temperature has plummeted twenty degrees overnight, and all I have are shorts and tank tops.
And, of course, it's happened again. As I drove into work this morning, tearing down Pershing like Racer X, I almost veered off the road in terror as a fat-bellied 747 came in low. Christ! I thought, he's going the wrong way!
Not so. Apparently, LAX has decided to switch its landing patterns. Rather than approach over Inglewood, the traffic is now coming off the ocean. What the ramifications are, I'm not quite sure. But I know this: there are going to be more lights in the evening sky outside my office window. It will be quite pretty.
I just hope the price is worth it.
Friday, October 27, 2000
This day didn't start well, with an underground transformer going foom at Lincoln and Colorado. A big chunk of the city went dead, including the part I'm in. I woke up to the sounds of classical music; the battery backup in my alarm works great, though it confused the hell out of me to hear music and not see numbers on the digital face.
My room was freezing; the blackout had turned off the portable oil radiator that's keeping my den warm. I shivered out of bed and into a steaming hot shower, wondering if I was going to have to do this every day for the rest of the cold season. But, no, it wasn't the aged wiring in my apartment; merely the rain having a field day with the city's subterranean power grid. Half the traffic lights worked on the way to the office.
And now the day is almost over, and I'm wondering what other kinds of utility mischief the weather will play tonight. The city has turned itself on as the commuters go home, and I can see the brush strokes of color as the sun goes down. I wish everyone could see this every night; it would lead them to believe that cities are beautiful places after all.
Tonight, I will go have beer and pizza with friends in from far off places, and I will get some sleep, and I will get ready for tomorrow's work. But I don't think any of that will take away the memory of the way your hand felt in mine, or the way we kissed on the beach. It was, quite frankly, the best damn lunch I'd been out to in quite some time, and I hope we have more.
Thursday, October 26, 2000
Well, I voted today. Let's hear it for the absentee ballot.
I don't want to talk about this election, at least not when it comes to the people involved. It's not too late to change people's minds about propositions; those are things, and they carry a little less emotional baggage than people. Really. Ask the average Joe on the street about a candidate, and he'll say, "Well, I trust him. I just have a feeling." Anyone who says that about words on a piece of paper should be drug out into the street and beaten with copies of the Constitution until his nipples bleed.
I've been thinking now about what needs to happen on November 8th, other than cleaning up after the E-Day Party. I know that I need to sit down and think about what it is I want from government. What are its functions? What are its limitations? Where is the balance between a successful economy and social justice? Is anyone entitled to anything less than Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness?
I don't feel disillusioned. This is more the feeling I have after things I think are important get knocked down. No one mentions that synthesis is disorienting as all hell (consult your nearest Hegelian if you don't know what I'm talking about). I don't have any illusions that the stuff I write about will change the way the world works. But it sure as hell beats sitting around watching Telemundo all night.
Thursday, October 26, 2000
|It's Always About Porn...
This, of course, is why I love being an American.
Tuesday, October 24, 2000
It's been overcast all day. Pea soup, baby, which, as always, I find appropriate. My life has suddenly become murky. The footpath I'm on is now unclear, which might not be a bad thing as I've come to realize that it's not a very happy one. Sure, there are parts of it I like, but those little parts are like reading a comic book on the way to school, knowing that the teacher hates you, the kids make fun of you, and all the girls think you're gross.
The route I'm on (work for one company or another, hope for promotions and raises, maybe finally make The Cool Game) is too dependent on Other People, namely my employers. If there's anything I've learned from my past gigs it's that employers do not give a stony rat's ass about anyone but themselves. It's their job to make money, and part of making that money is not giving you enough of it.
I used to think it was a good sign that the Head Honcho was staying late and buying us takeout during crunch time; I now realize that this is bullshit. These people can afford to spend the time with you. It's an empty show of solidarity unless that person is actually working with you. It's equally empty if you are not compensated for the time you put in.
I haven't checked back with the crew at Paradox recently, but I have the feeling that they're still crunching away, even though we finished X-Men in June and Rock 'Em was supposed to be done by now. I still doubt that there won't be much in the way of retroactive vacation time. Maybe I'm wrong and the management will realize that burning through employees to get a product out the door does not a loyal workforce make unless they get to rest. I sure hope so for my friends who are still there. But I still think that outfit will continue on as usual and that the Higher Ups will never learn that you can keep running a horse all you want, but, eventually the horse is going to keel over unless you let it take a really good rest.
Yes, it's crunch time for me again, and I'm not happy about it. I'm not thrilled with the prospect of six ten-hour days a week until Thanksgiving. My friends and I joke, "God...for all the hours we put in, you'd think we're curing cancer or something." Nope, it's just another baseball game. And, while there are cool things about this company and this product, cool does not pay the rent. The Cool Dividend has no value. The Cool Dividend won't even buy something from Taco Bell, and we all know how cheap that crap is.
So, where am I going with all of this? After a few months of thinking and pondering and talking with people (expect a phone call from me), I am slowly toying with the idea of getting out of games and becoming a freelance geek. A hired gun. An incorporated codemonkey. I think the time is approaching for me to work for myself, and, even if the work can't be called Cool, it certainly pays the bills.
What it's starting to boil down to is Time; you can give me all the money in the world to pull them ten-hour days, but can you give me the time back? And I'm not talking about vacations, baby. Can you add another ten or twenty years to my life? As I am now? Can you make sure that, when I'm on my break from work, that I get to make up for all of those missed weekends and evenings, all the morning walks and sunset rides, all the shit that I passed up to make sure your game got out the door? Oh, and can you make it so I get to relive all that time in my present, twenty-six year old body? And I'm talking about the Geek Superjock one, not the Pasty And Disgruntled one.
Can't do it? Then why the fuck am I working for you?
My friends have been giving me wisdom, but, more importantly, they have been giving me courage. They have been reminding me that I'm smart enough to make things work, to learn new tools, to manage my own money and decide what I'm going to do with my time. There's no escaping work (not yet, at least), but I should certainly be able to start working for myself.
There is so much stuff that I want to do in this life (and, yes, I think this is the only one I've got; hence the sudden burst of focus): learn UNIX and Java and Perl, write my books, make my games, learn how to make the Perfect Salsa, get married and raise kids, finally play guitar in front of an audience and do it well, bike across the country, and I don't think I'll be able to do all that as well as I want to if I stay on this path. One week of vacation a year. Plus some holidays. Oh, and I want to buy a house, too. The Cool Dividend is supposed to make up for the money and time I'm losing (losing!).
So, it's time to celebrate my God-given right to change my course of action. A while ago, I wrote out a list of things I want to do before I turn 30. I hereby change the list to Things I Want To Do Before Next Spring:
-Learn UNIX and Perl enough to take all of these words off of pitas.com and elegantly slide them together with everything from giro.org and build it all a proper home, one that will be able to take care of new Rides and Scratchings without breaking a sweat. I know this is what the kids at Pyra are doing, but, goddammit, I want to build it for myself. I want to get some Web grease on my face for once.
-Learn enough trivia so I can kick Ben Stein's ass when I go on his game show. I know I'm only in the audience pool, but, dammit, they're going to call me. I know it. And I will destroy Ben Stein and my competitors, making me a folk hero and eligible for free drinks in all the local bars for about two months. Maybe three.
-Form my own software company, consisting of me, who will work for myself, doing contract programming for other people. I will work from home. I will work forty hours a week. I will do contracts that last a maximum of six months (though that last one is certainly malleable). I will walk away from any potential employer who will not allow for this. Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't think these clauses are unreasonable.
-Learn Lithuanian. Dammit.
-Go to the homeland with my family and find out where half of me comes from.
(And next summer? Find out where the rest of me comes from. Indiana and Illinois may not be all that exciting to you, but I still need to find out for myself.)
This is scary thinking about all this. I was shaking with excitement and little bit of fear last night as Sam and Danielle laid the wisdom on me. Same with this morning after more wisdom from Steve (whom I probably owe a whole distillery's worth of Good Booze for all the Good Stuff he's helped with with). But, oddly enough, this course seems a bit less foggy. Or, at least, I don't feel that frightened when I think about the destination.
Friday, October 20, 2000
|Discourse...With Baseball Bats
Over on MetaFilter, the political posts have been flying fast and furious, and I, for one, love it. Though, I have to admit, I don't hear as much discussion about the positive points of Al and Dubya as I'd like. (I know, I know. Save your jokes.)
I'm sure part of the explaination is makeup of the community, which is probably a bit left-leaning (no, only a bit?). But I wonder: how many people are remaining silent because of the potential flame war? While I know Matt Haughey runs a tight ship, it would be incredibly easy for a discussion to degenerate to name-calling and character assassination. Nothing would be accomplished, everyone would get ulcers, and it would be business as usual.
I keep thinking about a scene in Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons's Martha Washington Goes To War. Two political philosophers are arguing about policy. While fighting. In armored power suits. Many's the time I think our nation would be that much better if we could talk about politics in that way; we'd beat the hell out of each other, but no one would get hurt. We'd tire ourselves out, and then go out for a beer afterwards. That's what I call an enlightened society.
Wednesday, October 18, 2000
Joy is having a good breakfast and taking a morning walk with your friends who are in town.
Show me the candidate who will put the "Good Breakfast" plank in her or his platform, and I'll be the first one to volunteer.
Monday, October 16, 2000
I am a big supporter of Low Power Radio, stations whose broadcast radius is over a small area. I think LPR is yet another tool to create an intelligent, informed electorate. Yes, there will be assholes who do nothing but set up LPR stations and broadcast the word "fuck" over and over again, but I think they will outnumbered and drowned out by the people who want to present local music, local culture, and local news. I think LPR is a Very Good Thing.
Of course, the folks who run large commercial radio stations don't. Never mind that their argument about possible interference is bogus (as reported by engineers and people who actually know something about broadcast technology); Big Radio is terrified about losing market share. They know that once people realize that there's more to listen to than the Same Nine Songs and idiot talk DJs, they're going to lose big chunks of their audience, which means they won't be able to justify their ridiculous ad rates.
Microradio, my friends, is to Big Radio as the Web is to Big Print.
So, the Forces of Evil have gone and asked their pet Senators and Representatives to pass legislation that would block microradio. And now it's your turn to tell them to fuck off. I would very much like you to go here, type in your ZIP code, press a few buttons and send email to your Senators, telling them to vote against S3020, a bill that would prohibit LPR. That's all. Just five minutes or your time, max. And remember: activism is sexy.
Wednesday, October 11, 2000
I will do my best not to disappear completely. But it'll be tough with a smooth bass line like that.
Tuesday, October 10, 2000
It won't always be good.
But it'll always be me.
Monday, October 9, 2000
I can already tell that I'm not going to enjoy this winter. Dark fell around 6.45, and it's only going to start arriving earlier. The sun never came out today; it only hid behind a layer of cloud, which only intensified and spread the light around. I have the funny feeling I won't be seeing a blue sky all that much, especially since I'm not riding to work anymore. Oh, and add to that the fact that this game isn't going to final until mid-January.
I miss summer. I miss commuting on my bike. I even miss the way Venice smelled first thing in the morning.
No, wait. No, I don't. What am I, mad?
Monday, October 9, 2000
March and April
April and May
May and June
June and July
July and August
August and September
September and October