4.30.2008

First day back syndrome (FDBS)

I've gone through this a few times now.

Have you ever gone to a place you used to go a lot, expecting to see faces and fixtures that were familiar to you - only to discover they've since remodeled and everyone's gone? It sucks, huh... Especially when you're taking your friend there, and all you've done for weeks is talk about that place like you're the expert on it.

Or, you go back to an old client, and you immediately start typing in addresses and looking for, say, code and images in the folders where they used to be - but they're not anymore, and you look like a dork.

The worst is with the gym - you go into the gym for the first time in months / years, and you immediately start doing the shit you used to do when you were working out 3/4/5 days a week... And for several days after, all you can lift is a spoon.

Well, I did that at the GenesisMMA (Mixed Martial Arts) gym tonight. I went in for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) class. Now, I've got a fair amount of Judo under my belt - and Judo and BJJ are very very similar. The major difference is that Judo has more rules on what you cannot do, and there are more throws involved... But otherwise, chokes are chokes, armbars are armbars, escapes are escapes... And even though I was extremely mindful of the gap-time between my last rondori and today, I still couldn't help sinking into old habits while rolling around with some of the guys.

And that got me into huge trouble - partly because there's a tremendous amount of rust in these old joints, and partly because I forgot that, in BJJ, you can bar the shoulder, wrist, knee, hip and ankle.

I must have left myself open to about 20 different submits... It SUCKED. I was getting beaten in very stupid ways by white belts. Not that there's anything wrong with beginning anything - I'm glad they got the chance to work their moves. The aggravation is with myself. I was stupid... I decided to go for some advanced and "risky" moves, and I got played every single time.

First Day Back Syndrome... It'll get you every time.

4.29.2008

Downside/Upside, Vol. 1

Starting point: trying on your old judogi.

Downside: Discovering that, even though it's the largest non-custom size available (size 6), it will NOT fit around me.

Upside: It's not because I'm too fat.

Downside: still, I need a new gi, and to get a size 7 (which will actually fit), I have to order a) full quality and b) custom size, which is expensive.

Upside: It's shiny and new.

Downside: I look like a n00b at the gym in shiny and new gi.

Upside: Players at the gym don't expect that I know a little something about the sport, which means UNEXPECTED "SWEEP THE LEG" ACTION

Downside: No "you're the best around" music playing during leg sweep

Upside: No mean / dirty sensei beating me up after the tournament when leg sweep fails to defeat crane kick.

Downside: No Mr. Miyagi beating up dirty sensei who beat me up after the tournament

Upside: I've envoked Mr. Myiagi in my stupid list, meaning there is no higher point to be reached, thus ending this ridiculous list.

4.28.2008

Logan International Airport Is Complete Bullshit

So, guess who was "randomly" selected for "random security screening" this morning? "Randomly?"




This has been a terrific morning. The shuttle was late picking me up from the airport, he dropped me off at the wrong terminal (B, instead of A, I presume because he saw the "American Airlines" stickers and crap all over my bag, but American booked me on Delta for today... Whatever), and because Logan has NO form of tram or shuttle, I got the extreme pleasure of walking across the entire airport, where I was told by the automated ticketing machine that there would be no automation in my ticketing today.

So I go wait in another line and get the distinct privledge of having a lady tell me all sorts of nonsense about regulations and whatnot, and after finally getting a "Seat Request" (not the same as a seat, mind you, because this is MY life, not a normal person's), I get to security where the funny little man at the kiosk informs me that the TSA will be going through all my luggage and whatnot, due to a "random" security check that has absolutely nothing to do with my behavior yesterday.

I was pat down by a friendly young man who lingered a little too long around my biceps, and my laptop got a nice swabbing to ensure I didn't accidentally pack some black powder into it for some reason or another. But hey - at least the fingergrease smudges around the edges are clean... er.

SO! If you find yourself with a "seat request" with a string of four s's on it (SSSS), get ready to be rubbed tender in the middle of the airport.

In other news, I've just become the biggest Yankees fan on the planet, because fuck Boston.


***Update***

...They just moved the flight to Atlanta from gate A16 to A19. This may not sound like a big change to you, but A19 is located a mere 10 minute walk from A16.

I'm going to explode.

4.27.2008

Hey, guess who's stuck!



Stuck in a two-seater plane on the runway at Logan (Boston) for at least another hour. Bonus: the air smells awful. At least I have the EVDO modem with me, so I can annoy all of YOU with my adventures in stagnation.


*** Update***

They just told us it'll be at least another hour before we could fly to LaGuardia. So, they're pulling us off the runway and into the terminal so we can "get more comfortable." I, for one, fail to see how I'm going to be more comfortable when I get off the plane, as I will have my right foot firmly lodged in the anus of someone at American Airlines.

This SUCKS.


***Update #2***

Oh, boy, are there updates... But I think that this event deserves to be an MI story. So, I'm going to write that right now and post it tonight. Once I do, I'll update again to point you to it so you can get the full story o' fury.

ROFLCon Recap, day 2

Oh man... Where do I begin?

I'll begin with breakfast, because it's a pretty simple place to start. Basically, Jeremy and I had some. That's really all there is to this part of the story, and that's a fine thing, because it's also the only thing about day 2 that makes ANY sense to me.

I met so many people on Saturday (Caturday?) that it completely blows my mind. I sat in on the "Making it Big" panel and watched the Bros. Chap, the Cyanide and Happiness guys, Rooster Teeth (Red Vs. Blue) and Brad Neely talk about their creations and public reception, and how things have changed since they did them. I finally got to ask the Chaps about a story I heard from the former director of marketing at an old employer regarding how much Disney lauded them, and they verified it - so it turns out Peter DID go to high school with them and wasn't just flapping his gums. That was nice to know.

Afterward, I got to talk to them a bit, and that was nice - but the biggest win of that panel was getting to know the Cyanide & Happiness / Explosm guys. They are AWESOME. They're funny as hell and super nice, and were really into MI and wanted to read the book, so I gave them copies. I really enjoyed chatting with them for a while, and then Jason Scott showed up and started talking with all of us, which was even more like OMG WOW, given how big a fan I am of both groups - THEN Stephen Granade (who did LOLTrek and is a real-life rocket scientist) was there... It was nuts. I was introduced to the Chaps and got to share Atlanta stories with them for a moment, gave them a book, all that - which is when I ran into the Rooster Teeth guys and was able to talk about how much I love Red Vs. Blue. VERY long story short, they were really into MI as a concept too, and I gave THEM a book...

See a trend?

Anyway, we had very little in the way of lunch, because I got into a nice conversation with the guys who used to run LOLSecretz about the book and self-publishing, which was very rewarding and fun. Then, Drew's panel (Meme Frameworks) started, along with the MetaFilter guy, and Alexis from Reddit - and the guys from Overclocked Remix. That panel went really well, and the best part for me was being able to ask the OCRemix guys (who are THE foremost authorities on video game music and the various remixes out there) about the disgustingly under-discussed situation with Timbaland stealing chipcore music from Finnish artist Tempest (enjoy the latest info on this scandal here and be sure to click "more" to see the full video information and read all the links - there's SO much proof of his theft, yet he's still getting away with this???) They went OFF - which was the goal, trying to get awareness of that little situation for the biggest news propigation site owners on the net. And it looks like it worked, because Drew asked the OCRemix guys to gather all the info they have and send it over.

After that panel, the OCR guys were overwhelmed with people asking about their Final Fantasy VII remix disc and whatnot, so I just stepped up and started helping them sell shirts - which they sold out of, mostly because I'm loud and annoying and can get peoples' attention. We ended up hanging out after that panel, and it turns out the OCRemix guys are cool as HELL. I'm a huge fan of the Castlevania and Mega Man remix portions of their site, and it was FANTASTIC to meet DJ Pretzel and Liontamer. Of course I gave them books.

After the panel, Drew needed to do an interview with some Germans (that's literally all we knew about them), so we sat and waited in the lobby area, where Cheez from I Can Has Cheezburger plopped down next to me and introduced himself and just began talking to me about MI. I'm sitting there with my jaw open, wondering just how the hell he knows about it, and he told me he routinely gets LOLCat submissions that reference the Wal-Mart story, PeTA Cows and Dell. So he's checked it out and he really likes it. So yeah, I gave him a book, too.

Jeremy and I went to dinner with Drew Curtis and Jordan Golson, the man who broke the story about the sad treatment of the bloggers over at Gawker Media (and was consequently fired for it). Jordan is awesome - he drove us around all of Boston, and was overall just one big ball of information (as one who writes for ValleyWag is bound to be). Then, we went to this "VIP Party" for the guests of ROFLCon, which... Hell yeah. I get to be a VIP for once in my life.

That's where the most surreal part of an incredibly surreal day happened.

Right in the middle of talking to the OCRemix guys about video game music, my good friend Ian Spector came up to me and said "Hey, someone wants to talk to you." I said "Who?" and he responded "Martin Sargent."

I was all like omg.

Jeremy and I went over there, and there's 6' 5" Martin Sargent with a huge smile on his face. He shook my hand and told me he Google's his name periodically to see how his show is doing, and he ran across my blog post about how apprehensive I was to even attend the con and talk to him, so he started reading my blog and read through the Google Books version of my book and basically just went crazy researching just what the hell it is I do on the net. Long story short, he told me he really respects the project and would love to talk to me about it later after the con..

So, let's recap - Alexis from Reddit recognized me from the fist fight dealy, Jason Scott hung out and talked super mega knowledge about the oldschool internet, I hung around Drew Curtis and met the artists behind Cyanide & Happiness, the ONLY consistently funny webcomic on the net (besides Perry Bible Fellowship - and don't give me any of that XKCD crap, it WAS funny as hell until Randall started pandering to his audience instead of just being his own kind of smart and funny... He's STILL funny, just not consistently), and became friends with the OCRemix guys, and then had Cheez from I Can Has Cheezburger tell me how he found MI from researching cat macros about the Wal-Mart story and how much he likes it... AND THEN Martin Sargent actively sought me out to tell me that I shouldn't be such a pussy that I have a great project and he respects it...

Well. Let's just say the little fanboy in me was (is) going absolutely apeshit.

I've been in the industry of building internet crap for a long, long time, and I've been actively doing my own content-driven project since 2003, but that doesn't make me jaded - all it makes me is even BIGGER a fan of stuff worth liking. So yeah, I'm a huge fanboy. And it was a monster thrill to get to meet and hang out with all these great folks.

So, like, back to the sardonic and bitter observations of suburban life tomorrow... For now, I'm just going to beam and enjoy my extended visit to Logan Airport due to a delayed flight.

How to handle delays at the airport while your favorite hockey team is playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Step 1: Get a Slingbox:



That's it. That's the only step.

4.26.2008

ROFLCon recap, Day 1

ROFLCon is... Well, exactly what you'd expect when meme's from the internet gather in a real-life venue with fans of said memes. That's all I really need to say, except that I need to change your expectation from "lame" to "very cool." Everyone's very friendly and we've had a lot of fun talking about all sorts of nerdy crap.

The highlights of my day yesterday:

Alexis Ohanian, one of the founders of Reddit.com (kn0thing), recognized me as "the fist fight guy" after the LOLCat panel. I made the last "comment" during Q/A letting everyone know where they could get cheap Viagra, and he called me out after the talk. It was neat. I gave him a book, where he promptly recognized the logo and mentioned the Wal-Mart story. I felt important. It was fun.

I also got to hang out with Tron Guy after his panel. He (understandably) has resentment for Fark.com's userbase due to the derision he received after his pics got posted. Of course he's over it now, but when he talked about Fark during the panel, Drew Curtis yelled out "Hey, screw you buddy!" No one knew what to think, until he said "I own that site!" Then everyone laughed. Jay (Tron Guy) asked "So you're Drew Curtis?" and promptly began to backpedal and explain that he loved the SITE, but the USERS.... It was cute. I gave him a book.

I got to talk with Jason Scott for a while about textfiles.com and his Wikipedia speeches. I've seen Jason a few times, at Notacon mostly, but it was great to get to just chat him up for a while. I've been a fan of his BBS documentary series since it launched (I HIGHLY encourage you to buy a copy, but you can find the entire series it free on Google Video), the guy is just plain brilliant. I gave him a book.

I also embarassed the hell out of my friend Ian Spector, who invented the Chuck Norris Fact Generator (and for whom I did a full site redesign). He was signing books in the main lobby, but was too timid to announce himself, so I just yelled and hollered as a good ol' southern boy is apt to do. I gave him a book, but I've owed him one for a year.

Mainly, the weekend has been just hanging out with friends and people I've talked to online for a long time. It's nothing at all like I feared, where I'd just be seen as an attention seeker in a room full of attention seekers. No one cares about that stuff here. We all just want to have a good time... It's been great thus far.

4.25.2008

GOD do I love flying!

You know what rules harder than having to yank a laptop out of your bag, take off your belt and shoes, and explain what a 'Wacom' tablet is to a minimum-wage security dork on a power trip?

Having to do it twice in one flight because you're connecting through LaGuardia (New York), who hasn't yet figured out a 'single security checkpoint' strategy and has the joy-inducing scanner stations at each terminal... To compound how much this rocks, add to this the fact that American Airlines is too STUPID to gate me in the same terminal as my connection...

Just so you know, this frustration you're sensing isn't so much due to the fact that I have to deal with stupid security measures (come ON - what terrorost worth his salt is going to try the light-my-nikes-on-fire routine again???), but the fact that I've recently lost weight but am too stubborn to go buy even NEWER pants... So TWICE now, I've tripped over the cuff of my sagging,beltless, two-sizes-too-big jeans and literally mooned the folks behind me.

4.24.2008

Random thoughts while driving, vol. 1 - the music minor leagues

Why are there no music minor leagues? Baseball, football, hockey, soccer... Hell, even ballet has a form of farm leagues or minor leagues. Why didn't record labels ever initiate some form of music minor leagues?

I mean, instead of spending umpteen millions marketing and promoting the same dreck based on catchy dances in a flashy music video so they can sell 15 million of one record by a crap artist who eventually harms the overall canvas of music as art, why not spend one quarter or one eighth that amount on creating an environment for budding musicians and training them to create music, then bringing them up to the "majors" when they reach a point where their art is gaining acceptance in the mainstream?

Credence Clearwater Revival released 4 records in a single year, and chances are, you've heard just about every single song on all 4 records. They're magnificent.

Jimi Hendrix released what could be counted as five records in three years. The Rolling Stones, Zeppelin, Sabbath... I mean, these bands create legacies. Springsteen, Dylan... Singer/songwriters who have consistently released good music and build a bigger audience with each one. This is FAR more profitable than spitting out flavor-of-the-month candypop nonsense or pseudo-deep dark rockers or Nickelback...

Why couldn't a forward-thinking record label buy a huge apartment building, pay an artist of promise, say, 10k a year plus room and board to just be in that environment, learning and nurturing their work? Watch their development, and groom them for the next step in a career? Even if you had a 1,000 tenant unit and only 1/10th of those tenants ever released records, you're spending a million a year on "salary" and another 10 million a year on room and board, nurturing talent that could easily bring you back more than a million sales per record at 9.99 a record across, say, 10 or 20 records, and sellouts at every venue - and they're your talent, because you sign them to deals for the trade in nurturing and development of their talent.

Instead, record labels are spending their diminishing profits each year suing their customer base who are simply seeking their product.

On ROFLCon (and my being there)

Yeah, I'm kinda apprehensive about attending ROFLCon this weekend. I mean, I know I was invited to attend and whatnot, but... I dunno.

This isn't usually the kind of thing I go to or like doing. This is a convention all about people who get (or got) attention on the internet. And while I cautiously admit that I've gotten a little here and there, I'm nowhere near a "meme" or "internet celebrity." I have my supporters who buy my books, but that's hardly the same as being internet famous.

I REALLY suck at self promotion. At all of the book signings and readings I've done (which is quite a few now), the dynamic is that I'm there telling stories, you're there either to hear them or to shop for other books, but you end up hearing what I'm saying and you tune in. I don't approach you or ask you to come pay attention to me - I simply do what I do and you choose whether or not it interests you.

When you really analyze what I have to offer and condense it down to a "blurb" for self promotion, it fails on several fronts. "Hey, I wrote this book about myself on the internet" sounds about as interesting as "Hey, let me practice an appendectomy on you" to the casual observer. What I do and how I do it works SO MUCH BETTER when discovered on the readers' own terms. You choose to show up on the website or in person; you choose to read a story or listen to it. You pay attention because you want to, and when you do, you learn that I've done this book where you got to tell ME what was interesting enough to be included in it. You get to learn that I'm just a guy living life and throwing out vignettes about it here and there, sometimes wrapped up in humor, sometimes displaying cathartic venting about stupid bands... But you get it. It's a life, written down. And you choose to pay attention to that life.

At this kind of thing, it falls flat. I don't have a space of people who have chosen to be around me, specifically - I have a group of folks all interested in promoting their own material or, at best, just meeting folks. Attempts to say "Hey, you should pay attention to me because..." don't work so well for me. I'm not really on anyone's radar at this kind of event, which instantly relegates me to the minor leagues, where people who talk about themselves in any
capacity appear to be begging for attention or help or promotion from the bigger folks.

I know I could (and probably will) choose to just be a visitor. I can just say hi to folks I meet and take it all in and treat it like a bit of a getaway. But there will be quite a few folks in attendence that I know and am friends with who will introduce me as the guy who wrote that Wal-Mart story and did a book, and I'll be forced to go into my fail-laden spiel and ultimately look like a dork. And even if they don't, I probably won't be able to resist the temptation to approach Martin Sargent and the Wired magazine guys and whatnot and at least try to say "Hey, I'm me, this is what I do," at which point I'm going to look like a dork.

And I'm not afraid to look like a dork, which is why I'll do it. But that doesn't stop me from looking like a dork. Not being afraid of something doesn't instantly seal you away from it happening... Just ask anyone who's not been afraid to get shot during a war.

Anyway... Blah blah blah. Rant, whine, cry, all of that. If you're in the Boston area or going to attend the con, feel free to email me and let me know. We'll grab a beer or something. Look for the abnormally large guy in the Yankees jersey, begging to get rolled by the locals for daring to wear such a thing up there.

4.23.2008

Can't catch a break

I really intended to post a new story last Monday. But I was informed that I really, really, really shouldn't without a "legal review."

So, I figured I'd be in the clear THIS Monday, and because the story is so darned long (but will be posted in blocks of five parts a day) I figured everyone would forgive me for being late... But I wasn't, so now they can't.

And I had NOTHING planned or stored up. I really thought I was doing well with doing 23 parts in a single week. But I DO have some old journal posts I hoped to turn into story candidates for the MI book - and the problem is, I've already used one this month with the Christian girl witnessing to me at Starbucks (of course, it's MUCH more built out and story-like than the blog post).

And then, yesterday, I got this:




Soooooo basically, it's "Hey, don't post cause you might get in trouble! But post FASTER or else you're in huge trouble! But don't post until you're able to post cause, like... Trouble!!! BUT DO IT FASTER, OR ELSE TROUBLE!!!!!!"

I. Just. Plain. Want. To. Cry.

4.22.2008

Hey Ladies - Want to know why every guy you date sucks?

This one's really quite easy.

All relationships - like all purchases, acquisitions, deals, agreements and anything else that requires knowledge and acceptance of terms before execution - are built upon concessions... What you're willing to do without in order to get that which you want.

You keep dating dickheads because you keep conceding the wrong points.

If you meet a cute guy and you find out he cheated on his girlfriend, and you date him, you conceded monogamy for good looks.

If you meet a guy who's willing to spend money on you but has had a history of hitting his girlfriend, and you date him, you're conceding your personal safety for monetary gain.

If you meet a hot guy guy who's always got girls around him and you decide to be one of those girls, you're conceding... Well, your dignity for one thing, but the ability to have a steady, single guy for the chance that you might be seen with him.

You see, it's no secret that you, the routinely screwed-over girl who always seems to be unable to find a "good guy", value nothing that "good guys" have and everything that has nothing to do with being a "good guy." You want all the good guy qualities wrapped into the actual things you value - money, looks, attention, power, what-have-you, so that you can keep the thing you're seeking... But make no mistake. You don't value honesty. You don't value integrity. You don't value concern or monogamy or trust or love or bonding... You say you do, but you don't. You even argue with me that "No, I really do! I promise!" but you don't.

If you did, it'd be the FIRST thing you keyed in on. It'd be the barrier to entry. It'd be the thing that isolated and locked-in your potential mate. Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't care about physical beauty - it's human nature to be attracted to hansome guys. But which are you willing to concede first to get him - the fact that he might not be cute / rich / powerful? Or, do these sorts of things come out of your mouth instead:
  • "He cheated on her, sure, but he won't cheat on me"
  • "He won't leave his wife, but I can change him and make him love me"
  • "Yeah, he's a jerk, but he's good in bed..."

In order to improve this situation, all you really have to do is just shut the hell up. I mean, not even change your perspective or your attitude or look for the thing you claim to value - just SHUT UP. Quit talking to me about it. I'm tired of hearing it.

If you actually wanted a decent guy, you wouldn't be bar-hopping and talking about the cute hotties you meet and whatnot. You wouldn't, as a group, dump at least 20 of my fantastic and super awesome friends for someone 'cuter' or 'richer' under the guise that there was no chemistry. You wouldn't even have this conversation, because you'd recognize that there are tons of great guys in the world who might not meet your GQ standards of beauty or Forbes level of material desire - but who would be willing to swim the Atlantic to get you a box of English toffee if all you did was ask. So why not just accept who you are, instead of paying lip service to the people in the cubicles around you every day so you don't look like quite such a whore?

You're lying to yourself about it, which means you're lying to me about it, which makes me not only bored but irate. Just admit you're a vapid, hollow shell of a human who cares only about material goods and exterior beauty because you bother yourself more with how you're seen than with actually living a fufilled, happy life.

There you go, all the free advice you can shove up your ass about the matter. Good luck.

4.21.2008

MI Vegas Recap - Day 3

Everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - was excited to hit the very famous automatic rifle range in Vegas. So, that's what we did yesterday.

Even the timid and uncertain among us got into the act and rented crazy, exotic weapons. Mike and Jeremy pretended they were in Rainbow Six and chose MP5's. Nick fired a Desert Eagle .50 cal, while Kelsey went to town with a 12 gauge pump-action Mossberg 500 (and she went NUTS with it - I've never seen such a small chick do a load-and-fire cover sequence so enthusiastically and with such expertise...). Jessie took care of business with an uzi, while her fiancee John tore things up with an AR18-A. Me? I had to try an AK-47 and a SAW.

The best of the day, though, was Sean (Loki). The gun range was all he talked about from the moment he landed, and it showed when he got his hands on an M-16. He's a small, thin guy, and the weapon was a bit overwhelming at first. He took his stance, got the gun positioned the way the rangemaster suggested, opened fire, and immediately took out imaginary helicopters flying on the ceiling. It was entertaining, but not in a "Haha, he screwed up" way - it was great to see him finally get to do what he wanted to do all weekend. He ended up with a little gunpowder residue on his cheek from the discharge, and wore it with pride back to the hotel.

There were a few MI'ers who are ex-military who stood down, mostly because... Well, it's pretty much boring to them. But they enjoyed the excitement everyone had. I just wish some of the folks who had to leave earlier could have made it. And some of the crowd got more enjoyment out of observing, so they didn't fire... But overall, it was the most unifying experience of the weekend. And all of us learned one very important lesson - do NOT piss off Kelsey, especially if she gets her hands on a shotgun.

After that, we all kinda split up and did our own thing. I gave back to the Paris casino a few of the dollars that I'd won from it's sister, Bally's, while other groups went touring and sightseeing. Jeremy, Mike, Nick's dad and I had a charming dinner with Kelsey and William, then Jessie and John and I hopped a cab to the airport, where I met with Mike and flew home. I got to say goodbye to everyone who's still out there today, and look forward to hearing what kind of fun they had in my absence.

Overall, this was one of the best gatherings / trips I've been part of in a long time, if not ever. Everyone got along extremely well, there was much fun and laughter, and the weekend flew by entirely too quickly.

4.20.2008

MI Vegas Fun - Day 2 Recap

The book signing in Vegas was my favorite. Not just my favorite part of the day, but my favorite signing so far. Matt Galloway was there with me, and the vibe was fantastic, we had about 30 folks in all just for the MI book. The store was VERY into the event, and gave us the whole cafe to talk and sign. Customers and walkers-by would stop and hang out to hear me and Matt tell our stories and generally just be silly. In all, about 70 or so people gathered around to hear the stories and laugh and just enjoy life for a while. Thank God for Tricia (chickenlittle) and Grace (grace) for having their cars handy to cart us around.

After that, we all went to lunch at In-and-Out Burger, which is absolutely the finest burger one can get on this planet ever ever. Afterward, we went to Jessie and Jon's Elvis wedding, which was hilariously campy. The Elvis held an iPod in his hand the entire time with a long RCA cable spooled to a goofy amp setup, and every time he went to choose a song, the "click" would blast through the PA. I ended up giving Jessie away for the wedding, which in and of itself was funny. The couple laughed and had fun and did kissyface and whatnot.

Then we went gamblin'.

I'll spare you the long and boring details - I ended my night with a little under $700 in winnings from the craps table. To top it all off, I ended my night with a private concert by the one and only Grace Kennedy, who is not only a good friend, but one of the most amazing singer/songwriters you've never heard of. I want to do a full writeup on this wonderful songstress, and will do so in a separate article because I really want to do both her and her music justice... For now, go to her site and listen to "Just me" and "Don't bother", which will both absolutely own your soul.

Yes, I'm a total fanboy.

Not a bad night, for sure.

So yeah, yesterday totally ruled.

I'll do today's recap tomorrow, cause then it'll be a recap, not just a cap cap.

4.19.2008

MI Vegas Fun - Day 1 Recap

So, we're here in Vegas. Last night was fun - we all went to Gameworks and played some air hockey and pool and goofy arcade games from the 90's, then drank a bit of Guinness and watched the NHL Playoffs before heading off to Penn and Teller.

There was a bit of a ticketing and scheduling scare with P&T. The box office insisted that we arrive by 8:30 PM to get our tickets, and we were all running a bit behind after a slight "wardrobe malfunction" on the part of the classless gaggle of guys who didn't realize they were supposed to dress a bit more classy for the occasion (I won't names names, mostly because I refuse to speak about myself in the third person).

Our last two folks showed up about 7:45, and I had to get them checked in - so everyone else went to the hotel and I opted to catch up via cab. One problem - I was the holder of the magical and mysterious credit card and the reservation for the tickets, which I'm sure gives you plenty of forewarning of what I'm going to write next.

After getting everyone settled, Grace, Marc and I ended up getting into a cab with a driver who has only been in Vegas for 3 months, was hard of hearing, and paused right in front of the Rio Hotel before taking us an extra mile and a half to the Palms. Now, he claimed he was hurrying through traffic, which entitled him to the full payment of $14.15, even though the meter read $10.20 when he was paused in front of our ACTUAL destination. Furthermore, he claimed that he didn't hear us ask, then insist, then YELL about the fact that we were not at the Rio, but instead at the Palms. And lastly, he claimed that he's now stuck in a Taxi queue, so he couldn't actually turn around and take us to the proper destination.

This was at 8:31 PM, a full minute after I was supposed to be there to get everyone's tickets.

So, we did what we could and ran about a mile and a quarter to make it to the box office, who were gracious enough to let us proceed to see a great comedy/magic show.

Also, throughout the day, we collected a TON of nudie girl ad-cards, and have been using them to play an impromptu and much-improved version of Magic: The Gathering.

All-in-all, Friday was a blast.

Today, I'm doing a short signing at the UNLV Barnes and Noble at noon, followed by a pre-wedding ceremony for Jessie (Jezibelle) and Jon by Elvis. And after that, I think we're going to go to a weapons range and fire an AK-47 - the Canadians in the group are frothing at the mouth to get their hands on fully automatic weaponry.

I'm fearful.

4.17.2008

On furthering agendas

Let me share with you my own personal definition of "upsetting":

When discussing politics with someone who voted for George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004, you reference a speech given by Barak Obama discussing unification of America through racial divides and class and gender:





And the person you're discussing politics with has seen this video, they have the audacity to say something to the effect of "I am personally offended that this man would stand in front of the nation and just pay lip service and make empty statements to deflect blame and further his own agendas..."

Well. Let's just say that the only reason this person didn't end up punch punch kicked was because she gave me birth.

4.16.2008

A simple rule of sports-fan ettiquette...

When you know someone's into a team - let's say it's the New York Rangers, for instance... And lets say this team has made it into the playoffs, and furthermore, you know that the fan is watching every single game.

In this age of TiVO and time-shifted programming, it is proper etiquette, within 24 hours of the end of the game, to ask "Say, did you catch the game?" or even "Are you watching the game?"

Not "The Rangers only need one more game to advance." Or "I saw the Rangers won." Or anything else that betrays the outcome of the game. That's just wrong.

Especially while the person is actively watching the recording of the game.

Not only is it impolite, it could also cause damage to the person's television and computer, as they are likely to lob their laptop into the tv screen.

So, like... Don't do that shit. Okay, Mike?

4.15.2008

Hatred of quality

It wasn't until I decided to learn how to play the drums that I felt this way.

I routinely find myself wanting to meet Jimmy Chamberlain, Billy Cobham, Danny Carey, and Neil Pert just so I can shake their hands. And I want to shake their hands so that they're too preoccupied with the greeting to be able to adequately defend my kicking them square in the balls.

Those guys are TOO DAMN GOOD.

And while you would NEVER know it by reading the crap I write, I'm actually quite the perfectionist. If I can't see myself becoming reasonably decent at an activity, I get very, very frustrated - and as always, the measure of "decent" is gauged by those before us who have set the bar on the post by which we are measured. A bar which I would love to dislodge and use to exhume Keith Moon's and John Bonham's bodies so I could perform mystic rituals and bring them back to life just so I could kill them for being so damn good.

One day - and I swear this - I will play "Siva" perfectly... But it won't be anytime soon. In fact, I'm likely to beat Jimmy into submission and force him to re-record the song with dumbed-down drum parts just so I can match it.

4.14.2008

Dealing with an IT Bully...

Scenario: You are having trouble with your desktop, so you call support. Support answers the phone and has an attitude, then the wormy little bastard shows up and gives you shit a la Nick Burns and starts making all sorts of high-tech references and follows them up with "but I wouldn't expect YOU to understand" and blah blah blah and you know what you should do?

Punch the motherfucker. That's what.

Slashdot posted an article this morning about dealing with IT bullies. Now, the guy who wrote the article is talking about how the VP of Development at his company was all aggravated with him, because he was the director of support and his support team spent all weekend dealing with some issue somewhere and the VP of Development was all blah blah blah and you know what? Just punch the motherfucker.

Seriously. That's how you deal with an IT bully. You punch the motherfucker. Square in the mouth. Just haul off and WHAPPO!

Maybe you'll knock out a tooth. Maybe you'll knock the guy right out. But that's how you do it.

Now, being my size, I can't really get away with just punching motherfuckers right in the jaw, especially in the IT field since most of them end up being not only way smaller than I am, but also passive-aggressive in the face of someone much larger than they are, choosing instead to resort to griefing in Halo and World of Warcraft and Second Life to get their little jollies off... So I have to go the opposite way - I have to be smarter than they are. And not just smarter, but SO MUCH SMARTER IT ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY PAINS THEM TO DEAL WITH ME.

But if you're not that person; if you're a smaller individual and have suffered at the hands of the incredibly skinny-yet-ostentatious IT guy, or the incredibly overweight-yet-ostentatious IT guy, or the middle-sized-yet-ostentatious IT guy... Just fucking haul off and hit them. Without mercy. Just a nice solid whack right to the jaw.

I think the world would be a much better place if everyone was allowed to slug someone in the jaw at least once a day. It's kind of the same theory that keeps Kennesaw, GA the lowest crime per capita city in all of Georgia.




Why yes, I've had a bad day. Why do you ask?

4.11.2008

Wanna see my yardwork? I bet you do!

So, I've spent the past two days getting sunburned and moving - literally - a ton of rocks around my yard... But the results are pretty worth it (I think so, anyway):








That's 72 40lb bags of "pond pebbles", 55 red interlocking bricks, 244 sq. ft. of "weedblock" and some heavy-duty de-weeding and de-rooting you see there. I will look for a "before" pic so you can see the WRETCHED "landscape tembers" and old ass mulch that I've lived with for too many years...

Anyway, I'm proud.

4.09.2008

The Top Twenty Workout Songs Ever Ever

HEY YOU! Are you sick of the bullshit electronified covers of weak-ass pop candy that they play over the speakers at your gym? Have you ever looked up at the video monitor or the speakers with a strange sneer and asked yourself, "What the HELL part of any Nickelback song is worth working out to?" Have you found yourself wanting to hurl a 10 pound plate at the TV when you see someone like THIS whiny dipshit play on your Gym's "Workout Mix Network!!!!!" channel?

If you don't know who this is, it's Scott Stapp from Creed. He sucks. His music is not for working out to, it's for pretending you're Christian while on the way to prom with your other friends who are going to get just as drunk and pregnant as you are.

Well, my friends, this is for you. A list of the top twenty adrenaline-producing, muscle-crunching, purely bad-ass songs you could possibly ever mix together for a righteous workout soundtrack. Whether you're training for a long-distance run, lifting to increase power and strength, learning how to fight in mixed martial arts, or just working out to get a little air in your lungs and start the day out right, this mix is absolutely guaranteed to supercharge your neurosensors and get you running into overdrive and all sorts of other hyperbolic nonsense.

I purposely left out any sort of electronica, club, house, dancy remix stuff. Sure, I could fill the list with Gatecrasher and Aphex Twin and whatnot, but that's just cheating, since it's all designed to get your blood pumping faster to get the drugs to take effect quicker.

Ok, enough blah blah blah. On to the songs:


1. Unsane: Scrape



Despite being my first favorite workout song, it's a FUCKED-UP video full of skateboard falls and injuries. Sure, MTV's "Scarred" show has more screwed up stuff these days, but back in 1996, you didn't see this out on MTV - all you saw was crowd surfing, flannel, and Gwen Stefani trying to look sultry in plaid pants. Check the fall at 1:23 - it RULES.



2. Outkast: Player's Ball



Ahhh, memories. When I was working at Southlake Mall as a teenager, these guys used to come up and hand out demos to anyone who would take one. They were cool as hell. I remember popping it into the cassette deck in my shitty Buick Skyhawk and being completely blown away that a small local group could produce something so great. Then, I kept working at the mall while they toured. Then I worked at Wal-Mart and put porn on the TV sets while they released ATLiens, and now they're a multinational rap act with a kagillion fans and I'm, like... Blogging.



3. Soundgarden: Rusty Cage



Oh man... I just... I have no words. That opening riff is just made for going flat-out hardcore top-speed crazy on anything and everything. Even if it's not working out - even if it's on a motorcycle, or driving in your car, or pedaling a big-wheel... Whatever. Go all out. Go crazy. Break your rusty cage.


4. Tool: Lateralus



(this isn't the actual video, it's a fan's creation)

How the hell does a song involving the Fibonacci Sequence get into a top twenty workout song list? Well... Listen to it. And then watch out, because you'll immediately be compelled to go slam some person to the floor and arm-bar them and then get up and go run 26.2 miles - especially at the break at 6:39 on to the end of the song. Before you click play, be sure to put on a hat to catch all those chunks of your mind, because it's about to be blown (and you wouldn't want to leave the office cleaning crew with that sort of mess...).



5. Rollins Band: Disconnect



This song is made of pure, unfiltered, 100% natural testicle. Henry Rollins, super mega workout punk rock God of all time, emulating Travis Bickle from The Taxi Driver while singing about a metaphor for killing himself. I mean... How much more hardcore do you get?



6. Public Enemy & Anthrax: Bring the Noise



YEAHHHHH BOYEEEEE! I hear this opening double-bass and immediately feel sorry for any weight machine I'm on, because I'm going to slam that shit everywhere and then get thrown out of the club and come back with a surge and burn the place down and laugh manically as I flex and yell like a wolf because that's what this song does to me.



7. Pantera: Walk



How the hell do you not break everything sitting around you the moment that song comes on? I mean, you're sitting at your desk right now, clicking play on the video, and I bet every toy and pencil and paperclip on your desk is bent and gnarled and broken right now. I bet there's a paperweight wedged in the drywall directly across from your seat. I bet you're about to get a visit from HR and a pink slip. I bet you come back wearing an iPod listening to that song while wielding an AK-47 and pop caps in people.

This song is that kind of DANGEROUS.




8. Orange 9mm: Glistening



I put it at #8 just to keep from being cliche by putting it at #9. Badass band you've probably never heard of. They toured heavily with the Deftones and Helmet back in the early / mid 90's, eventually fading into obscurity but not before releasing one of the baddest albums I've ever heard, Driver Not Included. If you're a fan of the mid 90's crunchcore sound, you owe yourself a listen to this record. Go steal it right now.




9. Motley Crue: Dr. Feelgood



I do not care how much shit you plan on giving me for including this one - it has one of the baddest opening riffs ever, and Tommy Lee is a SICK drummer - no matter how "straight-forward" his rock drumming is. So fuck you if you don't like it.



10. Helmet: Unsung



You're goddamned right I included this. Sure, it's their only "single" and yes, I have other favorite songs from albums previous to Meantime, but this song absolutely destroys everything in its path.



11. Wu-Tang Clan: Protect Ya' Neck



Absolutely the finest rap clique ever formed - even more than the Native Tongue family, and I adored those guys. This song is just plain hard. Your eardrums cower down your throat when this song comes on, forcing your body to scream at them to return to their proper place - which of course, pisses you off that you had to tell those little bastards to do their job, so you lift harder.



12. Stuck Mojo: Pigwalk



Another band you probably never heard of - Atlanta band who absolutely owned every show they played. Pure unadulterated energy flying out of those guys. I saw a guy actually bleed from the ears due to the power coming out of the gigantic speaker stacks they played through. This is not hyperbolic excess. I am telling you the truth. BLOOD FROM EARS, people.



13. White Zombie: More Human than Human



This song is just crazy. I don't even know what the hell it means. I just like how Rob Zombie can take the words "yeah" and "well" and make them sound so GODDAMN metal.



14. Pantera: 5 Minutes Alone




This is the second of two Pantera tracks on this list, and it makes me want to beat the holy crap out of walls and floors and other objects that are so stubborn that they think no one can move them. Gnar kill.



15. Battles: Atlas



Not quite as "hardcore" as some of the tracks here, but definitely high-energy and fantastic to run to. The entire record "Mirrored" is that way - you start it at track one and just run until it's over, and before you know it, you've run 77 miles in 50 minutes and set all sorts of land-speed records and laughing at cheetahs for being so fucking slow, because it's that good.



16. Deftones: 7 Words



Back when it came out, it wouldn't matter where I was or what I was doing when this song came on the radio or tv or the CD player - I'd break out and mosh anything around me. Entertainment centers, waterbeds, baby carriages... Hell, I once moshed a statue of Ronald McDonald just because a car passed while playing this.

I've since matured. Now, I only punch people when it comes on.



17. Atari Teenage Riot: Destroy 2000 Years of Culture



If this shit doesn't get your blood running, you may want to consult your doctor or a mortician, because I believe it means you're clinically dead.



18. Public Enemy: Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos

Check the video here


(Why the hell doesn't Universal want videos embedded? What the hell is the problem? Isn't the whole point of putting the video collections on YouTube to get exposure for the records? Jesus, I'll never understand the labels...)

Any song that begins by saying the Government are suckers, and then goes on to describe a jailbreak and the slaying of prison guards... Yeah.



19. Eric B. And Rakim: Follow the Leader



Rakim is the best rapper to ever live. No one has ever laced lyrics the way he does. Put him in front of an Eric B. cut set and boom - instant energy. This has as much "legendary" quality as it does "workout energy" quality, so when you listen to it, you feel the greatness of two legends of hip hop pouring into you, energizing you and allowing you to make even funnier faces while lifting weights in your Zubaz.


20. Rage Against the Machine: Wake Up



(video comprised of photos from Flickr... I love fan-made stuff, don't you?)

This song was in a healthy tie with "Ashes in the Fall" off of Battle of Los Angeles, until I couldn't find a video of that song on YouTube. Besides, this song pretty much condenses the entire turbulent Vietnam-era atrocities into one four minute song, which will just plain piss you off and make you turn green and throw tanks.




Anyway, there you have it - the top twenty workout songs of all time ever ever. Are there songs missing from the list? Do you have your own top twenty (or even just one that gets you absolutely riled up to the point of wanting to mention it in the comments section of some guy's website)? Feel free to let me know in the comments!




4.08.2008

Nice 'Tux'...

They sell these at the GA Aquarium... I didn't realize they were such ardent supporters of Linux...

A little word-math problem...

Since I apparently have a good 30 or so minutes before I will finally talk to someone who can ACTUALLY help me, I thought I might take this opportunity to stimulate your brain and give you a little mid-morning word math problem to get your morning started right.

First, definitions:

- 'Point A' is defined as my home;

- 'Point B' is defined as the Forest Park DDS (Dept. of Driver Services) office;

- 'Point C' is defined as the Atlanta DDS (Dept. of Driver Services) office;

- 'Hell' is defined as the Union City courthouse (and all of Union City, actually)

Second, the parameters:

- A is 31 minutes from B, and 44 minutes from C.

- B and C apparently don't talk to Hell much.

- Hell is 45 minutes from A, 30 minutes from B, 40 minutes from C, and populated with fat, stupid, lazy, ignorant... You get the idea.

- Today is Tuesday.


And now, the problem:

If I take time away from working yesterday to travel to Hell at 12:00 to pay an old speeding ticket (63 in a 45) of $291.00 because they don't do pay by phone or internet, and after nearly an hour wait (despite being the only one there) Hell tells me I must travel to B THAT DAY to prove the ticket has been paid so I don't lose my license, and I go to B only to find that they are closed on Monday, so I get up early to go to B and wait another hour only to find that B doesn't do notifications or reinstatements, meaning that 1) Hell doesn't know what the fuck they're talking about and 2) I now have to go to C and wait another 40 minutes to get in the door so I can wait another 30 minutes to finally get this shit resolved, at what point do I give up and just mail bombs to B, C and Hell so I can live in a Federal Penitentary and never have to deal with this shit again?

Take your time answering... I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.

The definition of 'Complete and Utter Horsepoo'

Been here 30 minutes already... Just standing at the door...

4.06.2008

That's no garage... That's a workshop

I hate yard sales.

I recognize that yard sales are a fairly irrational thing to hate, and that's fine. I don't need you to understand why I hate them for me to hate them. But I'll tell you why anyway - yard sales are, by their very nature, offensive to me. They're comprised of stuff someone doesn't want in their house - stuff that sucks, stuff that's broken, stuff that they have deemed no longer worth of being in their presence. And they're selling it to YOU, as if you're the class of person who buys things that suck.

Now, that's how I feel about other peoples' yardsales - so you can imagine how I feel when my wife, year after year, does yard sales for our chosen charity that consist of donated items from tri-neighborhood area. Here we have crap someone doesn't want in THEIR house being stored en mass in my garage. Couple that with my wife's inability to spot items that won't ever sell in a million years, along with her inability to tell people "no, we won't take this," and you end up with shit like an entire house worth of plastic white blinds. Or moldy brass light fixtures from the end of a driveway. Or collections of GI Joe figures with missing arms, legs and crotch pieces.

So you can imagine how liberating I found it today to FINALLY clear out nearly two years' worth of collected yard sale crap and turn my garage into the workshop / gym I always wanted.

And yes, I have Andrea's blessing.

Well, maybe not. But she's out of town and couldn't stop it, and I had some sympathy in th bank since I couldn't go to Notacon due to my flight being delayed into oblivion on Friday... So that's close enough.

4.03.2008

You know what MIM stands for?

It stands for "Bad Idea."

I know the letters don't quite work out, but that's how it goes sometimes. But it didn't originally stand for that. Originally, it stood for "Mentally Incontinent Magazine," which was an attempt (and I stress the word "attempt" as hard as I possibly can) to create a physical incarnation of Mentally Incontinent, put it out once a month, and share with people my "non-Joe's-Life" writing.

It was an unmitigated disaster.




48 pages of material does not fill itself. It especially does not fill itself each month. And even if it did fill itself, it certainly will not print itself out, fold itself over, design and print a glossy cover, put staples in itself, and hop into an envelope and ship itself to subscribers.

And even if it did, it most DEFINITELY wouldn't pay for all of that itself, because 48 pages of material? It's a stingy bastard.

Anyway, I just found a box of leftovers of this horrible concept in my attic, and it made me laugh a little.

If you would like one for yourself, here's a little guide on how to get it:
  1. download this PDF of issue #0
  2. Open your printer's paper drawer and draw an "X" on the top piece, upper-left corner
  3. print a single page - look at which side the "X" ended up on, and what corner. This will tell you both the direction and the "face down/face up" feed setting of your printer.
  4. Now, print the downloaded PDF for #0, but tell your printer to only print "even numbered pages"
  5. take all the even numbered pages that were just printed out, stick them back into your paper tray (remember to check if your printer takes paper face-up or face-down)
  6. tell your printer to only print "odd numbered pages"
  7. fold over
  8. staple (if you want)
  9. ENJOY!

Anyone know anything about OCR (and how to make it not suck)

Ok, so my printer sent me the PDF of the image file from which they print my book. Great.

What's not so great is that the entire thing is just a huge gigantic image. And that sucks, because what I really need is the actual text (so i can avoid having to literally redo from scratch the entire layout process including edits and whatnot). So, I tried doing OCR with Adobe Acrobat Pro 8.1, and... Well.. It sucks.

It recognizes like every 7th word, which is pretty damn useless. So, I'm wondering if anyone out there knows anything about how to make this not suck, and if so, what they recommend.

Anyone? Anyone? Beuler?


***UPDATE 4.15.08***

They sent me the version I sent them. They rule, I drool. Things is fixed now. Thanks everyone who emailed and IM'ed about this.

4.02.2008

I haven't been sleeping much

I think the past 4 days, I've gotten about three hours of sleep per night at the most. Last night (well technically this morning, as I went to bed at 5am), it was only 2 hours.

I can't explain it. It's not really insomnia, as I don't ever feel tired. I don't WANT to sleep. Which, I guess, is a good thing, since I'm not sleeping.

The only real side effect I can point to is a chronic aching in my head. It's just a dull thud that's constantly there... It will dull if I take a few ibuprofen stacked with a few acetaminophen, but only for a little while. I know it comes directly from not sleeping enough - but like I said, I can't sleep.

It's just not happening. And I don't foresee it getting any better, as I am headed up to Notacon this weekend and I don't ever sleep at Notacon.

Bleh. Anyone got a cure for a headache like this that doesn't involve a guillotine?

4.01.2008

OMG MY WEBSITE

Who hacked my site and deleted the whole entire database??? WHO!?!

Damn you and drat, all of that!

Now I've got to fix it... I imagine it'll be fixed by April 2nd... We'll see :)