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8.31.2004Email Defiantly Not a Blast
I sent 100 email messages from my work account last week. Yes, I counted. It seemed like a lot. It still does.
Two groups of friends have now planned to go see the Pixies. Bizarre! I was tempted to go, but am just far enough out of my 20's that driving to St. Louis and back on a Wednesday night didn't sound worth the show. My musical commitment sucks.
Actually, I'd forgotten about the tour after being initially astonished at hearing of it. With the exception of Nirvana, this seemed like the Alternative 90's Band Least Likely to Reform, but it sounds like their tour is a big hit --I find this amazing. A: Because it's the Pixies. B: Who knew they were this popluar (ever?), or that enough of their old fans would come out for it to make it a deal.
I wonder just how much the song at the end of Fight Club had to do with spurring a revival? OK< I realize that I'm mucking up my sincere adoration for their music with all this second guessing and lack of holy roller enthusiasm to go see a concert, so I'll conclude with the appropriate awe: Man, what a GREAT freaking band.. the idea of Kim Deal and Black Francis singing harmonies again makes me whoozy.
today's glimmer of hope is sponsored by:
"So far all we’ve achieved is managing to scrap 42 songs. I regard that as constructive destruction," Martin said, "But numbers are insignificant. You could say ‘I’ve written 12 songs’ and they’re all rubbish, or you could say you’ve written one song and it could be ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. I’m glamorising it, but we were just in Chicago and we scrapped a lot of songs."
- Chris Martin, Coldplay
Transcribed from my studio bench, here are last Saturday's notes on how to spend the day*:
- teabowls (warmup) for saggars
- vases - stretch round
- load electric glaze
- lunche - pizza? 12 noon New Yankee Workshop
- cereal bowls - for combing
- planter plates
- go SEE GARAGE SALE
- set out clay
- video games
OK, that seems weirder now that I've typed it out... Imagine it in carbon pencil on clay-splattered canvas, with little thumbnail sketches and checkoff circles for bullets, and you'll get the idea.
* Normally I am neither this organized or compulsive. Normally.
Had a series of weird dreams this entire week, no doubt caused by the work-induced feeling that a bevy of wild rhinos was trampling through my skull with intent to kill. Some of these were more memorable than others, but I'm going to take the 5th here... While I am occasionally honest with you, my faithful and long-suffering reader*, in this case I think it's best for all concerned to surreptitiously hustle these back under the rug of subconsciousness.
Ah, now you really want to know, don't you? You voyeuristic blog reader, you!
* Note the specific lack of the plural form here.
Hey look - my friend Herb is finally receiving his due share of fame: Herbert Burtfurt.
When Art = Life
Two quotes for today:
“I have less need of company than of furiously hard work, and that is why I am boldly ordering canvas and paints. It's the only time I feel I am alive, when I am drudging away at my work.”
– Vincent van Gogh (letter to Theo van Gogh, 1888)
"Whatever madness this has, it has a long lifespan."
- Robert Rauschenberg, CBS Sunday Morning interview, August 2004
I got a free Gmail invite, I guess since I've been using Blogger for a while, and it's pretty great. Not ready to switch over to it full-time or anything, but a very nice alternative to the other webmail options. This prompted some reading on the phenomena, which I present for your perusal:
- My Left Arm for a GMail Account
- What's Behind Gmail's Popularity?
My Thumbs Hurt
Damn that Madden 2004 for being so magically delicious! With the forthcoming and long-awaited NFL season nearly upon us (preseason doesn't count), I found myself spending some good Sunday TV-Couch time watching football - and wearing out my hands in the process. What a great game!
A couple weeks back, my nephew T. proclaimed video-Michael Vick to be "awesome," so I gave the Falcons a try in Franchise mode. Running QB scrambles from the playbook is frighteningly addictive. I know the developers at EA must have been trying to capture the real-life Vick magic (and give the cover-boy some supermoves), but even so I was a bit surprised at him pulling off three 50+ yard scrambles for TD's in two games -- what fun! Now my previous franchise (the hometown Colts with a much-bolstered D from free agency) is languishing midway through season 1 whilst I pound Vick downfield against a series of inept AI-guided foes.
A side note: while perusing the entire NFL roster, I had a shocking realization. I am now older than practically every player in the league! (Notable exceptions: Bret Favre, Rich Gannon, and Gary Anderson. WTF?? Gary Anderson? Isn't that guy like, dead yet?). Strangest part of this is the guys that I think of as Men, you know like Ray Lewis or Michael Strahan, and then come to find out they're in their late 20's. Mere kids! Crap, I'm old. Worn out at 33. The proof is how prone I am to over-use of exclamation points when writing about football!
Game on. Apologies to the wife.
Mozilla the Gorilla
After 4.3 years with IE as my primary browser, I've switched.
This series of articles by Steve Bass at PC World essentially mirrors my experience:
I sum thusly: Firefox is good, it is great, tabbed browsing (as the kids say these days) is the bomb, and I'm never going back. IE can keep it's security holes, system-wide glitches, uncustomizable interface, and maruding attempts to take over the desktop -- finally there's a new Netscape that's worth the $0 pricetag.
- Mozilla Gains on IE
- Mozilla Unleashes Firefox 0.9
- Internet Explorer Is a Dinosaur--Dump It
- What's Better Than IE?
8.13.2004Emphatically Not Titled "Off The Wall", or Anything That Cheesy
I've now been a convert to the sport of Wallyball for about 5 years, and it just keeps growing on me. We play at the U here twice a week, Tues/Thurs, and I often feel a bit whistful on Thursday afternoon, knowing that I've got to go a whole 4 days before my next fix.
I went searching for more info via Google, and came up with this condensed list of links *:
Apparently there are several competing organizations, all claiming to be "The Official" this or that, which has sort of a funny, psuedo-religious quality to it -- I suppose most sports went through this holy-war quibbling stage at some point in their infancy, but I find it quaintly ridiculous. Kind of a juvenile sweetness to it, if that makes any sense, but then again I've never been much of a true believer about anything, so what do I know?
- AUWP: One of the major organizations, with an acronym better suited to the anti-globalization movement, but some good content
- AWA: The other big one, this site owns the dot-com name
- A History of Wallyball: Written by the creator of the sport, from the AUWP site
- Another History of Wallyball: Written by what appears to be a non-partisan player
- Steve's Wallyball Forum: With really obnoxious ads, but the only discussion board I've found
- La Mesa Wallyball: The self-proclaimed "world's largest Wallyball league" and it's right next door to my hometown - who knew?
- Tachikara: Maker of balls, wally and otherwise. I bought one from them recently (the WB2000) and it's great.
The one thing that jumps out at me is the huge disparity between the number of sites about wallyball and the number of sites wanting to sell wallyballs... they are a large and relatively non-website-producing crowd, these wallyballers, or so it would seem. Most of those linked above have a predictable web-circa-1998 feel to them, which just makes the sport seem even more downmarket and subordinate to the Big V. Hurrm... if only a fella had the time to do something about that.
* Only after combing through all these did I find Google's Directory Listing, which is virtually identical. Damn you, oh great and powerful oracle!!
Not That You Would, But...
Trying to recall some obscure line from a Seinfeld episode? Seinfeld Script Search to the rescue!
For example, here's the script for the classic "maybe the dingo ate your baby" episode. The world is full of people with too much spare time on their hands, and we reap the benefits.
Reading Between the Lines
Try to grok this:
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg. Wtienss the phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid! Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are; the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? To tnihk taht I awlyas blieeved slpeilng was ipmorantt!
I could read it straight off the first time, with a slight effort to turn off the part of my mind that was objecting (helps to sort of fuzz or zone out and read it on autopilot).
So what are the implications here? It would seem to explain speed reading, getting the "gist" of a block of text without scanning it, or reading signs as you zip past them on the highway. It argues for our ability to multitask by separating each task into it's lowest required effort. It argues against the value of accurate spelling, except as an indicator of care or professional polish. Perhaps this even suggests commonalities between all written languages? Does this test produce the same results for all languages, I wonder?
Tnihk aubot it and get bcak to me.
Sometimes getting a RE:RE:RE:RE:FWD:blahblahblah email actually turns out to be a good thing. Witness this Bush Promo Video* by comedy genius Will Farrell.
* Not for Republicans
Last night, I dreampt that I got off a plane in Africa. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by none other than Steve Irwin The Crocodile Hunter, who proceded to toss a variety of snakes at me, calling them out by name. "The Yellow-Bellied Sickle Rasp!" he exclaimed. "Right! This one's a Rosy Trowel-Head Mongoose Rat Snake!" he shouted with his Aussie chuckle. "By crikey, lookit this big girl! She's a beaut'!" (OK, he didn't really say that, but he would have, wouldn't he?) Each one hit some part of my body and made attempts to adhere to a limb or otherwise crawl into my clothing. My reaction, as expected, was to wake up with considerable doubts about my own ongoing stability.
I'll get you for this, Steve Irwin.
Eaiyuh... I'm now sick, not to mention nearly buried by our ongoing project at work. The house search stuff has completely come off the rails and seems to have few possibilities. Pots from last weekend are drying out and I don't have the strength or time to finish them. I suck and so does the horse I rode in on. These are not fun times.
Stress = High.
Enthusism = Low.
* Note that I'm in a bad mood here.