Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hole in One!

Huh. Yeah, it's been a while, and it's likely to be another while, or maybe even two. So here's the bullet points - the highlights, if you will - of my Awesome Rise To Power (as foretold in revelations, movie rights optioned to Universal):

- Wife is pregnant. Which is AWESOME. Well, it's awesome for me, but she's going through hell. Hospitals and everything. So I guess it kind of blows. I'm conflicted.
- Yesterday was my 35th birthday, and it sucked. I worked an eighteen hour day and got no presents. Was supposed to do breakfast with The Boxer, but it didn't pan out due to unreasonable amounts of snow.
- Ironman moved to the West wing of PerpetualStartup, and now I work for Obelix. So far, so (mostly) good, but the workload is killing me.
- I haven't started my xmas shopping. And yes, I use "xmas" in the ironic sense, intended to piss off Christians (or "Xtians", as I like to refer to them). Spread the holiday cheer.

These are the dark times, the calm before the storm, the darkest before the dawn. I am become death, destroyer of morale, a horseman of the apocalypse.

But, like, on a bike. Horses are expensive, apparantly.

...but delicious.

Speaking of delicious, Ironman treated me to a birthday risotto at Bueno Notte this noon. Yum.

And that's the nutshell. I know I'm forgetting something (natch), but whatever. It can wait until next fiscal quarter, when the terms of my release dictate I must once again blog what passes for my thoughts, fodder for the brave brave souls of Homeland Security surveillance units everywhere.

The question for you to ponder over the course of these arctic frigid freezing windblown arid icy killing months of perpetual darkness: Zombies vs. Vampires. If a zombie bites a vampire, the vampire will turn into a Zombie Vampire. But if a vampire bites a zombie, the zombie will turn into a Vampire Zombie. In the end, no one wins, and everyone is twice as hungry as before. This is a maquette of the futility of war.

You're welcome.

And so, in the spirit of the holidays, I bid you a cheery Kwanza, and a happy new year. Wait... Is that mistletoe?

....hey, where are you going?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Maybe I Have, Like, A Problem?

Well, I went and did it. I bought another guitar. Am I addicted? Is it time for an intervention? What am I, crazy? Stupid?

Yeah, okay, I walked into that one.

Still, it’s a pretty sweet axe and all. No way will my loving wife, indulgent of my multitude of vicissitudes and eccentricities though she may be, allow me to ever buy a third one, surely? Only one way to find out, I guess...

FYI, For they initiated in the super-secret “we’re so cool” lingo of the guitar dork, and just because I want to crow, here’s what $500 gets you:

  • Quilt-top PRS McCarty clone (very high quality. I actually played this one before I bought it).
  • Seymour Duncan Pickups (SH-2n “Jazz” neck, SH-4 “JB” bridge)
  • Sweet abalone vine inlays
Check out Raven West guitars. You’ll thank me later.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Don't Mean Maybe

Well, it has finally come to pass, as foretold in Revelations. Ironman and Goldilocks have had IronBoy. No names or details on this blog, other than that it's a boy. Of course all of our love goes out to them, and I hope everything goes smoothly.

In case you missed it, The Directrix also popped one off a short while back, and she and her little family are doing well.

It really almost amounts to peer-pressure, doesn't it? All these babies?

Son starts "big boy school" (Kindergarten) on Monday. Big yellow bus and everything. I'm, like, all choked up about it. I may be too emotionally distraught to maintain my usual, clockwork-like blogging schedule. Try to contain yourselves.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Are You Sitting?

Big, big news. HUGE news! Son lost his second tooth this week, which officially makes him twice as grown-up as before (yikes!).

This change has been characterized recently by some frank and open discussion on beer, babies, and the causal relationship between the two, as well as several other thorny subjects from out the dark heart of that haunted, grown-up province.

Also, there is a tendency of late, rather than run around the house, or throw things, or scream, or bounce off the walls like a coke-addled RedBull connoisseur, to crawl into my lap, look soulfully into my eyes with his gigantic blue peepers and straight-out declaim: "Daddy, I want some attention."

If you've tuned into my previous rant on the topic of male/female communication, you know that the direct approach works best with me, and this is something that Son seems to have figured out on his own. Which also proves my point about men not being very complicated. I mean, if a five-year-old can figure me out...

Oh yeah, hey. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What Fresh Hell Is This?

Since I'm always looking for more people to tell me what to do, how to act, and what to think, I was intrigued by this list of 1001 must-read fiction titles. And since anything that's vaguely interesting to me is bound to be earth-shatteringly life-altering for you, I share it with you now.

More lists:

  • - 100 essential Jazz albums
  • - The Thousand "best" films of all time (I will save you the cruel suspense: Ironman did not make the list)
  • - And, not quite a list, but a review of a list in book-form (can't wait for the audiobook!), Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days.

  • I love that last site, because a) it's called "Bookslut" (two of my favorite things!), and b) she mentions Neiszche, which as you well know is a primary symptom of pedantic nitwittery (see my previous posts).

    Go forth and be enlightened, my delicious little monkey-lickers.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Hah! And I Bet You Thought I Was Some Sort of Fuckwit

    Deliberate stupidity is something of a hobby of mine, or I like to pretend it is. When I can't honestly blame my behavior on public drunkenness, it sometimes serves my purposes to feed the furnace of your convictions, and buttress your appreciation of my nincompoopery.

    Here then, for your edification and amusement, a rogue's gallery of false-false-meta-sub-meta-stupidity, a platter of crudités, typical of the type of primitive methods I employed in my youth, still in obvious high season out and about the interwebs, should one care to look.

    Exhibit A: Spelling mistakes. This is really the low-hanging fruit of the blogging world. Spelling and grammar will evolve from toy to tool. Wield the awesome power of strategic misspelling, and an unplumbed depth of subtle double-entendre is yours for the taking. But true power lies in the dark side of grammar. Spelling is for n00bs. Grammar is for misanthropes. To boldly split infinitives, mis-structure sentences, abuse punctuation, dangle participles; all these are things you must be master of.

    If reading that last sentence caused you physical pain, then you are almost pedantic enough for Exhibit B: "Bait and Switch" vocabulary. Start your post by rambling on (albeit from a creative and refreshing point of view) about Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy (you can go with Kafka for a low-fat alternative), spout nonsensical philosopho-babble about the Apollonian and Dionysian blah-de-blah, then throw in one of the following:
    - Some swearing ("Nietzsche was a dick-hole")
    - Some misspelling (Nietzsche is a good one for this. With a minimum amount of effort you can misspell his name about fifty different ways).
    - Some totally inappropriate pornography (and no, I will not link to the infamous boob post, so don't ask).
    - Some self-deprecating false-modesty.
    - stupid acronyms, like LOL, or STFU, or TL:DR.
    - If you can't be bothered to be lazy, at least try to fake it convincingly. Links to Wikipedia are great for this.
    - Some overuse of a current (or very recently post-current) internet meme. Good examples: lolcatz, 2Girls1Cup, "Somebody set up us the bomb", "series of tubes", "interwebs", etcetera. There really is an inexhaustible supply of stupidity out there for you to draw from.

    So it would be useful to pretend that I'm blogging drunk right now, but that would be a lie, AFAIK, instead, I'm going to pretend that all these recent spelling errors and grammatical miscalculations and run-on sentences and the like are a deliberate fishing expedition. So far, no nibbles, but it's been good for crew morale.

    Speaking of good for morale: I'm on vacation this week. Or more accurately, I'm on wife's idea of a vacation, which involves me repainting our home to more accurately reproduce the splendor of the Borgia papal apartments. Anyhoo, Ironman texted me while Wife and I were out today watching the actual Ironman movie (how... Ironic! LOL!). Something about how life at PerpetualStartup is a sunless, timeless void without my effervescent presence and the inextinguishable light that shines from my ass at all hours.

    I responded hastily, not wishing to disturb the one other movie patron with the light of my cell phone: "remember that next time I do something stupid". Ironman made some sort of answer about his short attention span, and how he couldn't think that far ahead, which I took as a flattering comment on the rarity (and therefore presumed high market value) of examples of my incompetence. So that was nice.

    But really, what do I know?

    Tune in next time for more on the subtle art of being really unapologetically thick. Actually, screw that. I think I've provided you horrible paparazzi with enough ammunition for one sitting. This post alone is a fucking goldmine of self-referential silliness, which is really the ultimate form of anti-enlightenment.

    Gaze into my navel!

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    I'm Not Telling You Anything You Don't Already Know. I Know.

    Isabella Rossellini is endowed with a universal hotness that transcends age, gender, or sexual orientation. Which is how I know that you, perverted little monkey that you are, will be excited to discover her recent forays into insectophile pornography. Titled "Green Porno", it's apparently a commentary on something or other. You know, the beauty of nature, purity of the insect's libidinous urges (carnivorous mantis-booty is a particularly vivid example), etcetera. Whatever. This may be the only chance you have to witness this Italian goddess starring in insect pr0n.

    Go. Go now.

    [Edit] Oh yeah, and she aways plays the male insect, which is totally a metaphor or something. Very profound.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Oh Yeah, I Forgot

    Really interesting article on memory training and the human brain over on Wired. My favorite quote:

    We master the stories, the schemas, the frameworks, the paradigms; we rehearse the lingo; we swim in the episteme.
    ..."Swim in the epicene"? Awesome.

    The Time For Questions Is Over. Now Is The Time For Unbridled Optimism

    Son (aged 4) lost his first tooth yesterday (I'm so proud)! So last night we sent the tooth fairy an email together, and wrote a little note and stuck it to his door.

    And in the morning was a shiny new dollar, and a thank-you letter from the tooth fairy, extolling the virtues of flossing, and encouraging continued good will toward members of the professional order of dental hygienists.

    But what stuck with me after that was how we (Son and I) had started the day talking about how he's a "Big Boy" now, and the tooth fairy was going to bring him a dollar for his tooth, to celebrate, and somehow this devolved into a discussion about How Can We Extort More Money From The Tooth Fairy? Son wanted a minimum of fifteen dollars, and a toy to be named later. I tried to explain to him that baby teeth were a commoditized good, that it was a buyer's market at the moment, and that enamel futures were rated "underperform". My protestations fell on deaf ears, as they always do, and we lay down for bed-time with visions of avarice dancing in his big blue eyes.

    To distract him from his inevitable disappointment (The tooth fairy has bills to pay, after all), we spoke instead of What Does The Tooth Fairy Want With All These Teeth, Anyway? Son and I came up with the following:

    - Use them to build a house (a gruesome image of a castle made from drawn teeth briefly assailed me, but I pressed on)
    - She grinds them up and uses them to fertilize her garden (or the Amazon Rain Forest)
    - She grinds them up to make snow.
    - She puts them in a machine (the purpose of this diabolical engine is, as yet, unknown)
    - She eats them. ("She eats teeth?" I asked. "Yes, they're good for your bones!" explained Son. This is logic I cannot refute).
    - She makes affordable and unique costume jewelery, which she sells on a blanket at the park on Sundays.
    - She plays dice with them.
    - She is building a Doomsday device, powered by teeth.

    Wife chimed in with:
    - She plants them in new babies' mouths, to make new teeth. It's like recycling!

    Here we face the thrilling diversity of human experience. It's obvious that Wife and I have a very different thought process (hers tends more toward the sunny, happy, "Whole Foods" approach, mine is a little more macabre). I wonder which path the boy will choose?

    We are abjured, nay, forbidden to refer to him as "my baby", "my little boy", or any such term of endearment containing the words "little" or "small". Having lost his first tooth, he is now officially a "Big Boy", so of course he wants beer. To be clear, I rarely, if ever, have beer in the house. It's just a habit I never got into, so I'm not sure how he made up his mind that beer = grown-up, but there it is.

    Other Cute Things The Boy Has Done Recently:

    - The other day we were wrestling, and he wanted to eat a cookie. "You can eat a cookie if you can get out from under me," I said, pinning him for a three-count. He squirmed and kicked, and rather than fight me off with brute force, somehow squicked out the side and slipped out from under me all sneaky-like. "You're Sneaky!" I exclaimed. He giggled and struck a kung-fu pose: "Sneaky like a NINJA!".

    - Wife came back from grocery chopping with a pair of sunglasses for the Boy, as well as two dollar-store water pistols. First he grabs the pistols and yells "FREEZE, Sucka!", then puts on the sunglasses, snaps his fingers and points at us: "looking good, ladies."

    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    Short Round

    Here's another nibble: Pulp Fiction, as written by William Shakespeare.

    Friday, April 18, 2008


    Stephen Fry has a freakin' BLOG.

    Thursday, April 17, 2008

    Schrodinger's Blog

    The annoying thing about a personal blog... okay, let me start over.

    One of the many irritations about a personal blog is that you don't really know who you're writing for (besides yourself, I mean). I can't start writing like everyone on the internet's going to read this crap. Nor can I assume that no one will read it. It is weirdly, simultaneously private and public, riding a strange uncollapsible waveform of awesome philosophy (philawesomey?)

    Here are a couple of things, to help you whittle away the time in whichever eigenstate you will eventually observe.

    The Page 69 Test: So it may be true that you can't judge a book by it's cover, but I have recently been of the opinion that neither can you judge one by its contents. Marshall McLuhan suggested that you should choose your reading by turning to page 69 of a book and, if you like it, read the entire book. The Page 69 Test blog is evaluating McLuhan's suggestion book by book.

    Here's one for the cat people (turn your speakers up).

    Dorkiest pickup line (feel free to use): "CERN's gonna turn on the Large Hadron Collider soon, and this whole planet's going poof. This could be our last night together."

    That's it. That's all I got. Actually, there is so much more, but it is all either very private, or else very public, and thus not suitable for print.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    Samsara, Interrupted

    The other day I was hanging out in front of PerpetualStartup with a couple of schmucks from work, and a homeless guy wanders by, asking for change. Now I'm as conservative and intolerant as the next guy. I largely see the homeless as a longish-term solution to the problem of dwindling food supply, à la Soylent Green, but I gave this guy a couple bucks. "For food", he said. Whatever. My compatriots mumbled their excuses, and Homeless Guy #1 wandered off.

    "Why'd you do that?" asked Knuckles, unimpressed. I explained the concept of Karma, that I mostly donate to the occasional mendicant bard in order to continue being a dick to co-workers like him, and that next time I'd have to consider giving a twenty.

    We turned our attention to other things, and after about two minutes another homeless guy wandered by with a Tim Horton's cup, asking for change. This time I (legitimately, I thought) explained that no, I didn't have any change, sorry.

    Lipstick (helpfully), to Homeless Guy #2: "He gave all his change to the other guy that was just here!"

    I guess with karma, as with all things, "Easy Come, Easy Go".

    This is probably a lesson that Homeless Guys One and Two have already learned.

    Years from now, when you trip over my unemployed, drunken, prostrate form in some dark corner on the street near where you work, and I hit you up for some change, remember karma.

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Color Me Unorthodox

    Well it's Good Friday, and you know what that means. This is the happy time of year when zombie Jebus rises from the grave and rides o'er the land on his fanged, winged, slavering Dark Mount, the Easter Bunny, and delivers chocolate eggs and marshmallow peeps (a traditional Etruscan delicacy) to all the good Christian boys and girls. Then a month from now he'll do it all again, only this time in a funny hat, for the Orthodox Christians.

    For Jews, today is Purim, sort of a cross between Mardi Gras (without the beads and public nudity), and Halloween (without the obvious satanic overtones). I'm not completely versed in the storied legacy of Purim, but I'm sure it has something to do with oppressed Jews overcoming tremendous odds, probably against a cruel (or incompetent) despot. I'm told that, in the grand narrative of the Jewish people's journey, it's something of a recurring theme.

    A friend of mine at work has a four-year-old son who's dressing up for Purim as Indiana Jones, crusader for the preservation of Old Testament artifacts, and professional Nazi killer. I've never met this kid, but I know he rocks the clocks.

    I guess my point is that we all do silly things in the name of the Invisible Sky Wizard, but what other religious holiday can you think of where drunkenness is required? Catholics may get chocolate bunnies, but Jews get liquor. That's just plain awesome.

    Monday, March 17, 2008


    Stereotype me, I'm Irish!

    Your Leprechaun Name Is:

    Fluffy Potfiller

    Sunday, March 9, 2008

    I Think I Can

    One of the other things we talked about at dinner the other night, was Boxer and K's film, which I had seen at that conference thingy. I can't really do it justice, but my most constructive criticism consisted of "Needs more car chases. Also explosions".

    Anyway, that film, wonderful as it was, is not the subject of today's post. Today's post is about the most amazing seventeen minutes in recent (non-documentary) cinematography. I'm referring, as if you didn't know, to the transcendent Madame Tutli-Putli, an existential allegory in stunning stop-motion animation.

    I know, you never thought you'd hear "stunning" and "stop-motion" in the same sentence again. Not after the art reached it's zenith with those melting Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Well I'm going to go out on a limb here: in terms of stop motion bad-assery, Tutli has set the bar even higher. That's right, Madame Tutli-Putli is the new "melting Nazis".

    You have heard of this film, but you know next to nothing about it. Perhaps you know that it was nominated for an Oscar. Besides the NFB's aggressive pursuit of total suppression of all of their work from the public consciousness (seriously, try to find their movies in any theater), the reason you don't know anything about this film is because it's pretty much next to impossible to describe.

    Taking, once again, the example of Raiders, you could say something like "Yeah, it's an adventure film about a magical box, and it's got a bunch of melting Nazis and there's some pyramids. Pretty awesome".

    My point being that there's a story there, a narrative that you can summarize. If I tried to summarize Tutli, it would come out sounding like: "One woman's metaphysical voyage into self-discovery as she battles Demons, shadows, and Jungian Archetypes. A journey we all must make in one form or another, but are rarely privileged to observe. Also, there is a train involved."

    Utterly incomprehensible, mostly because my voice would come out muffled, by virtue of my head being buried up my ass. And so it joins the ranks of those films and books and games and dinner parties that cannot be described, but must be experienced, subjects that cannot be taught, only learned.

    Those are my favorite types of things, because then you can ask someone "Do you have kids?", or "Were you in 'Nam?", or "Hey did you see those melty Nazis?", and if they say yes, then you instantly have that shared experience. It doesn't matter, in this context, that that experience may have been utterly the most abominable thing they've ever been through ("Hey, you're a recovering alcoholic too?"), what makes the concept of this unconveyable gestalt interesting to me is that anyone who hasn't been there cannot possibly understand no matter how you explain it (viz: most of this blog).

    And since, as you may have guessed, I'm a lazy fucker who doesn't like to explain things anyway, that's just fine with me.

    Saturday, March 8, 2008

    Strong Juju

    It started out innocently enough. Ironman got a new Indian cookbook. And it snowballed into a delicious couple of unpronounceable dishes that we scarfed along with The Directrix, Boxer, BigKid and K. Awesome.

    At some point, during a moment of uncontrollable laughter, I tooted. Not a long, smelly, epic fart by any means, but noticeable. Sad to say, that was pretty much the apex of my erudition for the evening. Epic wit, charm, style and grace, these I possess in abundance, and they were as useless as prayer.

    Grocery shopping in Ironman's neighborhood is like a little slice of heaven. The most amazing butcher's shop I've ever seen. The best patisseries, the best fromageries. When Directrix arrived, we were in the tastefully appointed kitchen, chopping herbs, each with a glass of wine, occasionally nibbling some camembert on baguette, and - get this - James Blunt playing on the radio.

    "Holy crap. This is gayer than a handful of rainbows", she said. Somehow we hadn't realized. So I took off my apron, we broke out the beer, and put on some AC/DC, and wrestled some bears in an attempt to restore our temporarily misplaced masculinity. And later I farted, which helped a lot.

    I suppose, now that it's public knowledge, I can share the happy news. Ironman's lovely wife Goldylocks is preggers. Also the Directrix is harboring a stowaway of her own, so you would have expected a lot of talk about pregnancy and diapers and swollen ankles and whatnot, but aside from a moment or two of pensive silence as we tried to guess the Directrix's current (impressive) bra size, the conversation was surprisingly free of such predictable fare, which I guess is one reason I enjoy hanging out with this type of riffraff. Thoroughly unpredictable.

    By way of unpredictability (lit "non sequitur"), a bible quote:

    God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.

    Numbers 23:22 (KJV)
    How's that for marketing? "Your God: Strong as a fucking UNICORN."

    Come to think of it, I would not be a bit surprised if they actually have unicorn meat at that butcher, nestled between the fois gras and the bison loin. It was that incredible. I never wanted to leave.

    Sunday, March 2, 2008

    More Die of Heartbreak

    Yeah, it's been a while. A couple times I almost came back and tried to write something, but then The Fear would stop me. It's been so long, what if I can't pull it out anymore? What if I suck? My mind is a blank, what will I write?

    Well, I'm tired of caring, so I'm just gonna wing it.

    A warrior lyricist of my acquaintance had recent cause to lament an urban development project that threatens a bit of cherished childhood (or at any rate post-adolescent) real estate. I often hear her wax nostalgic, but more often for some aspect of "the good old days", rather than for any specific childhood memory or experience. Or maybe I'm just not listening. Salome, veiled, dances with Mnemosene, and all memory becomes art.

    Once in a while, though, some tantalizing glimpse of previous lives (of which I am sworn never to speak) is revealed in a gap between the shifting veils, and I collage it in with the various other pieces in hopes of constructing a coherent whole. Living in an abandoned office building? Now where did I put my pencil...

    And That Makes Me Think Of:

    Isn't it funny when you go to some reunion, and look around at all the people you went to high school with, and realize how much they've all changed? There's a real cognitive dissonance there, seeing the balding, overweight forty-something guy in front of you, and trying to reconcile him with the captain of the football team, lady's man extraordinaire, who used to steal your girlfriend and shut you in your locker. You have a view of both ends of a story arc, when most people see either one end (current coworkers), or the whole thing (family members). But there's a middle piece missing.

    Everyone has changed, you think.

    Everyone but me. I'm the same.

    So, with time, people change (duh). And this phenomena is symmetrical. What that means to me, I guess, is that your new best friend, who you've known for a couple years maybe, was a very different person way-back-when. Maybe not a person you would look twice at. Or dangle a participle in front of.

    Hey, I didn't say it would make sense. I said I was winging it.

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008

    Put The Gun Down

    No, I haven't forgotten you. I've just been really busy. Frantic really. Okay no, not really. Just lazy. Too lazy to form complete sentences, even. But I saw this thing today. A quote. From Umberto Eco, who's my favorite author of all time ever, and if he's not yours, well then talk to the hand. What's that? Nabokov? Okay, I forgive you. Anyway:

    "A democratic civilization will save itself only if it makes the language of the image into a stimulus for critical reflection - not an invitation for hypnosis." - Umberto Eco.
    I am totally gay for Umberto Eco. Even if he is an icky, seventy-five-year-old degenerate Italian. His "Foucault's Pendulum" has been described, to my intense rage and rising bile, as a "thinking man's DaVinci Code". To mention Dan Brown's execrable bolus of literary offal in the same sentence as Eco's transcendental prose is a disservice to the master semiotician's oeuvre. Whoever said this should have their tongue ripped from their head by wild dogs.

    Friday, January 18, 2008

    Does This Diaper Make My Butt Look Big?

    I blogged a while back about some Greenpeace scheme to stop Japanese whaling by naming a humpback. They were asking the "community" to vote on the name of their new cetacean friend. Well, the results are in and, yes friends, MISTER SPLASHY PANTS has won the day! In celebration, I invite you to hug your nearest tree.

    Why is Mr. Splashy Pants wearing a diaper? Are those his PANTS? His ... splashy pants?

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Multi-Touch Madness

    My brother recently bought one of them newfangled iPhones. For a while he couldn't stop yammering on about its revolutionary features, like lack of SMS and no camera. One of the selling points of the iPhone is the multi-touch feature which, capacitive touch-sensing geek-rhetoric aside, basically allows you to control the device by touching the screen. The oh-so-special part is that you can touch more than one spot at a time, pinching, spreading, rotating, etc -- sounds like college -- and the device interprets these gestures in an intuitive and seamless -- and purely platonic -- way. My complaint -- that this feature might go unappreciated by someone whose fingertips have been turned to little wooden blocks -- fell on deaf ears.

    And since this revolutionary innovation in user experience was first extruded from the spit-shined anus of Cupertino's darling of the corporate suck-fest (stock symbol: AAPL), every cell-phone, MP3-player, and in-dash DVD-player manufacturer in the world has copied "creatively adapted" the thing whole-cloth. To be fair, most of them are going "touch-sensitive", rather than "multi-touch", and hoping this distinction will be lost on the techno-addicted consumers of chromed turds that comprise the majority of their markets.

    The latest in line to fellate the status quo is Siemens. Strangely, they've forgone the creation of yet another touch-sensitive phone-thing in favor of a touch sensitive stove top. A touch. Sensitive. Fucking. Stove top.

    It reminded me of last summer. I was suffering through a week or so of horrible hay-fever type allergies, and thought some Sudafed might help me through the pain (or at least dull my senses enough to not care). Reading through the directions, I was surprised to find, among the list of possible side effects, nasal congestion. Nasal congestion.

    It's like the entire commercial world has been tied up, sat down, and smacked brutally about the head and shoulders with a baseball bat made of frozen stupid.

    Monday, January 14, 2008

    Guitar Player XOR Safe-Cracker

    Sorry, no Christmas post. I had something lined up about how the war against Christmas parallels the War On Drugs, the War On Terrorism, and is really an expression of North American societal self-loathing, but I just couldn't pull it together. God I'm pathetic.

    At some point, amidst the unwrapping, the face-stuffing, the food coma and credit card bills, my guitar arrived. Santa shipped it direct from China. My impish face glowed, my eyes lit in child-like wonder as I unwrapped it. Squeals of glee no doubt erupted.

    I played it for about a week, but eventually I had to bring it into the shop for the "setup". This is something all electric guitars go through, usually before you buy it from your friendly neighborhood purveyor of musical oddities.

    The setup is an array of delicate adjustments and fine-tuning that I couldn't be comfortable delegating to my own mechanical acumen (or dearth thereof), and so I had to give my baby up. I cried, but took solace in the fact that I'd see her again. I'm still waiting.

    After a week of playing, I had basically lost all sensation in the fingertips of my left hand. The cold, tingly, frostbitten feeling was annoying at first, eventually soothing.

    Someone said these are supposed to be calluses, a necessary step on the path to guitar mastery, but they don't really feel like calluses, like the kind you might get after a couple weeks of lifting weights, or shoveling dirt or something. If you've ever futzed around building model airplanes or the like, and accidentally gotten crazy glue on your fingers, it approaches the feeling I'm attempting to describe, a thin skin of unfeeling, coating your fingertips. The urge to gnaw on my own fingers until the feeling returns is unbearable.

    Thus, along with the other trivial male pursuits of looking-without-seeing, listening-without-hearing, eating-without-tasting, and sex-without-loving, I now master touching-without-feeling. I think there's something ironic in there somewhere, that learning to express yourself through music, arguably the most direct conduit to human emotion, should require this deadening of the senses. And so now, these delicate instruments, my human hands, purpose-built for the business of feeling, with more nerve endings than the rest of my body combined, are denied their purpose, and die a little, that my music (such as it is) might live.

    Is this a loss? Or a win?

    I've heard it said, and maybe this is an urban myth, like becoming a ninja by dint of decades of studying with Tibetan monks, etc. But I've heard it said that safe-crackers actually use sandpaper on their fingertips, to remove the first couple of layers of skin in order that they can feel the tumblers of the lock clicking into place. I suppose the gist is of a heightened sensitivity to the mechanical puzzle before them. If this were true, then I have removed this occupation from the realm of possibility. In the quantum "many worlds" theory, I have amputated and cauterized the set of universes that are home to Cool Ranch Luke, master safe-cracker, in favor of that other set of universes containing Cool Ranch Luke, guitar player wannabe.

    P.S.: If anyone out there knows how to get that little pencil icon to show up beneath my posts (the "edit post" link), let me know. In recent weeks, it has magically disappeared, and I miss it.