Friday, December 31, 2004
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Here's another one for you. I have the same problem with wine. I'm not a big wine drinker, but I enjoy a glass every now and then, but if someone ever says "You should try this wine. It's great. It has a woody flavor with citrusy undertones." I don't know what that means, but I'll try a glass. Here's how it usually goes:
1st glass: Hmm... Tastes like red wine to me. Maybe I should have another.
2nd glass: Hmmmmm.... Still tastes like red wine. Let me think about this. Maybe I should have another.
3rd glass: Nope. I'm not getting it. No wood, no citrus. Am I doing something wrong here? Don't get me wrong, the wine is good, but I'm not noticing the "rich boquet".
4th glass: Hey, I think I do taste some woody flavor. You know what? I don't know. Maybe I'm just to drunk to taste now.
Monday, December 20, 2004
The most excruciating pain ever, or why you should never put Listerine in your eyes or up your nose.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
The documentation looks like it was designed by a person who absolutely refuses to read any more text than will fit on a single page. This means that any idea or concept that's too big for one page is made so vague that it fits on one page, or it's split up into incoherent chunks.
I had a Computer Science professor who thought the same way. This was back in the day before professors had their notes condensed down into powerpoint slides. She wrote her notes out on an overhead projector longhand. She'd do this on transparency sheets. One concept to a sheet please. If it was a big concept she would start out writing small. Sometimes she would miscalculate, and end up having to cram the last bits of information in a jumble of smudged overhead marker at the very bottom right corner of the transparency sheet.
Anyway back to the Flash documentation and how bad it was. It was so bad that I went out and bought an external manual. I generally don't like manuals. I'd prefer something that I can print off at work and staple together. That way work picks up the tab. No such luck this time. Normally when buying manuals I go straight to the source of 90% of all good technical documentation. O'Reilly and Associates. If it's technical, they've written a manual on it, and in my experience it is often the best manual on the topic. This time I didn't find one to my liking. I started to ask around, and got a few suggestions. Normally I have several rules about manuals.
- Never buy a book who's title insults you. If you see a book title like "Personal Finance for Dummies" or "Practical Database Design for Flaming Idiots" or "Learning Perl for the microencephalic", just put the book down and walk away.
- Never buy a book with a past participle that starts in "de" or "un" in the title. That means no words like demystified, unleashed, debunked. That sets up entirely too high of an expectation. What if the subject isn't demystified or unleashed when I'm done reading? There's one exception that I make to this rule. As soon as the authors get off their asses and write them, I'm buying the entire UNFUCKED series. I'm sure that I could probably help provide source material, and might even be able to ghost write for them.
- The more authors, the worse the manual. I've found that between 1 and 3 authors is optimal. There are a few exceptions. This being the most notable. On the other hand, this book is almost guaranteed to suck.
- Never buy a manual with the author(s) picture(s) on the front.
- Only one adjective in the title. That means books like this one are out. If there are adjectives in the title they should be words like practical, simple and plain.
So anyway I broke down and bought a couple of the books recommended by my cow-orkers. The ones recommended seem to break most of my rules, but we shall see.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Despite one person's objection we as a group forged ahead. As part of this conversation someone brought up the idea of a "religious experience", and whether anyone had an exerienced that they felt qualified. I guess it might help to define what I think is meant by a religious experience. I think of it as an experience where you are possesed with an overwhelming sense that there is something much greater than yourself out there, and you are momentarily stupified and overawed by the sense of it.
Some people have this easy. They have kids. I can't tell you how many people have described to me the process of watching their child go from being a little more than a poop and drool factory to something capable of rational thought as being somewhat miraculous. I can certainly understand this. I've watched my own niece with a sense of wonder and amazement at what she once was, and what she is becoming.
I've had what to me felt like it must have been a religious experience. The only problem is that it was on a flight leaving Vegas. A cruel joke at my expense is left as an assignment for the reader. This was my first and only trip to Vegas. I was being sent there for a work function. I arrived at 10 in the morning and went straight to the convention center. I spent a hectic and long day making sure that a poorly organized exhibit for one of my clients went off with as little trouble as possible. I finished up at 7 that evening. Took a taxi back to the airport. All I saw of the city was from the window of my cab. The only time I was on a casino floor was crossing it to the restroom. No shows, no slots, no $7.95 all you can eat Lobster and Steak buffet. Nothing. Once at the airport I picked up a sandwich and got on the plane. By this point you are probably saying some religious experience. You're a retard. Wait a second. I'm not there yet.
It's now 9 in the evening and I've just finished an exhausing 16 hour day. I'm in my seat, looking out the window, and the plane begins to taxi. Soon it's taking off. As it's taking off, the pilot flips on the insanely bright headlights that sit under the wings. These planes engines are now bathed in bright light, and surrounded by pitch darkness. As the plane lifts, I look past the wings to the skyline and see the Luxor hotel light up, as I look down and I see the engines wobbling back and forth. This is where it began. At first I was terrified. Those things shouldn't be wobbling back and forth. Holy shit. They are about to drop off. I'm going to die. Then I start to think, no they have to be able to move, otherwise they would snap off from the stress. I then start thinking about the fact that the engines are attached by bushings and gimbals. A person had to spend hours to design those pieces. They were then tested validated, and sent off to be produced. Besides those pieces, every piece on that engine recieved the same treatment. The same goes for the wing it's attached to, and the body of the plane itself. Beyond that there's the entire airport infrastructure, and the air traffic control system that keeps us all safe when we are flying. Outside the wing is the Luxor hotel, with a light on top so bright that it can be seen from space. Meanwhile I'd had breakfast in one city, lunch in another, and will go to bed in the first. Both cities thousands of miles apart. At that moment it struck me. The enormity of the society that I'm part of. Not just society, the whole human cultural organism. We've shaped, molded and altered the face of the planet and the space around the planet so that the effects will be seen for millions of years. I'm not making a value judgement about those effects. Some are good and some are bad. It's just the enormity of it all. I sat there for like 10 minutes unable to do anything but stare at the engine under the wing and marvel at what I was involved in. Yeah I know it's not conventional, and I know it's not the "face of god" or anything like that, but I was certainly moved.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Now, let me back up a bit and give some context. Like I said, this was a company function. Anybody who knows me knows that I work for a company full of drunks. Furthermore, anybody who knows me knows that I'm not above knocking a few back on occasion. This was one of those occasions. By this point in the evening I'd partaken of some of the food, and some of the drink. I'd managed to burn the roof of my mouth early on with some of the food, so it kind of hurt when I ate. This caused me to spend a little more time drinking than eating. I'm not saying I was drunk, just a little unfocused.
Now lets get back to my original point. The person with whom I was speaking had just asked me what was on my list. All I could remember (in my semi-addled state) was "intelligent" and "a breeder". Have you ever said something and had the entire group of people around you lean back and just kind of look at you? Yup, that happened. Smooth Aaron, smooth. Fortunately, the person with whom I was speaking had the grace and poise not to call me a "male chauvinist pig asshole" in a loud voice and then storm off. She would have been justified, but she didn't. This allowed me some time to revise and extend my earlier remarks enough so that we managed to have a meaningful conversation for most of the rest of the evening.
Now when I first started thinking about these events I felt like my list was inadequate. The more I think about it I don't think so. If anything it may be too long. So here's my second whack at this. More or less I removed the things that ought to be obvious, and added on criteria.
- Intelligent -- I'm not saying she needs to be the next Einstein, but I'd like someone with whom I can have more than a 30 second conversation about the meaning of life.
- Sense of humor -- This is a must. I like to think that I have a sense of humor. It may be a little warped, but I like to think that I can take a joke. I would hope that the person that I end up with can laugh at the things in life that are laughable, and also laugh about the things that hurt as well.
- Interested in a family -- This is another thing that is very important to me. I'm ready to have a family. I've been ready for a while. I'd like to have children of my own and I hope to find someone that feels the same. When I originally wrote this on the window at work I wrote it as "a breeder", that was my idea of a joke. Like I said my sense of humor is a little warped.
- Not Insane -- Please notice that I didn't say she must be sane. I think sanity can at times be over rated. I'm just looking for someone who is reasonable to deal with 98% of the time. We all have our days.
- Open Minded -- While we all have our prejudices, I'm not interested in someone who is hopelessly tied to them.
- Something else -- There really needs to be that indefinable quality to this person. I know that statement is a total cop out. Let me try and explain myself better. Have you ever looked someone in the eye, and know that they perceive more than most people do? Their gaze seems to pierce. That's part of it, but not all of it. Have you ever watched a crowd of people laugh and see the one person that really gets the joke? That's part of it. Have you ever been telling a totally bullshit story to a crowd of people and see in someone's face a recognition that you are full of it, and know that they'd think it was funnier if they joined in, than it would be to point out the flaws in your story. That might be part of it as well.
Anyway, that's the new list. I'm sure this is something that I will continue to ponder, so I will probably revisit this topic.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
I learned a little trick from a friend of mine who owns a record store, and has a pretty eclectic taste in music. He claims that you can usually judge how good an album is going to sound by listening to the first 30 seconds of every track on an album. Yeah, I know this totally panders to the short attention span mentality of our world, but it really seems to work. Unfortunately none of her suggestions seem to pass the test. The first three bands Metric, Palomar and Hong Kong all sounded like their singer was a weak imitation of Debbie Harry from Blondie. They all had the same high, indistinctly angelic voice with not much to differentiate one song from the next. Hong Kong seemed to grate on my nerves the least, simply because the music had some differentiation from the mushy guitar/drums/vocals combination that they all seemed to have.
The last band, Broken Social Scene, kept my attention for slightly longer. At least their songs pass the 30 second test. I'm not saying that they are the next Beatles, but I managed to listen to their entire album without wanting to quickly track skip to find out if there were any better songs on the albums. They also seemed to mix it up a bit. All of the songs don't sound the same, while obviously coming from the same artist. Wait do I hear a banjo? Interesting. What have they done to this persons voice? Wow that sounds weird. I guess I have inherited my generation's short attention span. I really need some variety, something that grabs my attention.
OK, so then I went out and bought a couple of mainstream albums. The brand spanking new U2, and last years Ween. Once again I'm less than impressed with the new albums. U2 has so much potential, but this album just didn't seem to hit it. There are a couple of songs on there that grabbed my attention, but the rest seemed to meander about without much in the way of melody or direction. Oh well. Ween (one of my favorite bands) is always kind of a hit or miss affair. Some of their albums are insanely awesome, others are like "oh well, there are a few good tracks". The Mollusk is an insanely awesome album. Definitely in my top 5 albums of all time. Yeah I'm weird like that. Quebec, the album I just bought is just OK. Not bad mind you, but definitely not their best.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
This year, my mood seems to be further compounded by my social/romantic situation. I'd really like to start dating again, but I don't think it would be fair to subject anybody to me while I'm in such a foul mood. I'd like to wait until I feel more right with myself, but what if that's what I really need to feel that way. I'm not saying that my mood depends on that sort of thing, but it would be nice to have some sort of distraction. Ok, maybe distraction is the wrong word, but you know what I mean.
Monday, November 15, 2004
I know that we share this world will all forms of life, but I think that I often forget that not everything is totally subject to the organizational influence of humans. I should expect that "nature" is going to pop up here and there.
Second of all this weekend I went to a charity pub crawl. This was about as much fun as I could imagine. I met some very interesting people, and had a great time. I even met a couple of interesting girls at this event. One in particular caught my eye. She had very striking features, which were accented by her long black hair. The most striking feature of them all were the white streaks running through the bangs of her hair. At the risk of sounding creepy, I will admit to being smitten. That is of course not solely based upon her hair. It just happens to be something that stood out in my mind.
I was talking to my mother this weekend, and mentioned that I went to a charity "pub crawl" this Saturday. I explained to her what this was. I then began to get a lecture from her and my sister about being alcoholic. While I'll admit to having a drink every now and again, I don't think I qualify as an alcoholic. A drunk maybe, but I think calling me an alcoholic is going a little too far.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Anyway. I think I'll stick it out for now. Maybe this country isn't beyond redemption, but the fact that 51% of all people thought Bush was a better choice than Kerry makes me wonder.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Why am I so worked up over this? I guess I'm under the illusion that this all makes a difference.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Friday, October 08, 2004
Speaking of Butt Piss.... I'm going to my first Nascar race this weekend. Actually I think its a Bush race. I have to admit that I'm not sure of the difference. It should be an interesting day, in that I've never been to one of these races, and people driving too fast in a circle has to be fun. Right. Right? Right!
Sunday, October 03, 2004
At that point I took the new TV stand inside, and put it together. It's one of those particle board jobs that you can put together using a butter knife and the heel of a heavy shoe. Needles to say I drug my entire collection of tools into the living room to get the job done, but I'm dumb like that.
Once I'd gotten the stand together. I turned my attentions to getting the TV in from the garage. Rube Goldberg would have been proud. I used an insane number of levers slides and trips through the front door out into the garage to get the TV box into the living room. At that point I proceeded to try and unpack the thing from the box. This was harder than it sounds, since I'd like to save the box and the styrofoam packing in case I move in the near future. Well anyway, after some more insane wrangling I had the TV unpacked and sitting on the living room floor next to the TV stand. I done all of this without having to actually lift the TV again.
I sat there looking at the tv trying to figure out how I was going to lift it the 2 feet to get it on top of the cabinet. Finally I just went over and grabed it and lifted it up there. I don't think I've been that close to a hernia in my life. After about another hour of unhooking and rewiring components in the new cabinet I was ready to move the new TV into the place of the old tv. I picked up the old tv easily (it only ways about 50 pounds), and moved it to the kitchen counter. I then went to pick up the old tv cabinet. I'd gotten it about half way to the new location, when I heard a scraping noice, and the all of a sudden had an excrutiating pain in my groin and in my left big toe. I know, I know, just like you I thought' "Aaron, you're having a stroke and a hernia at the same time". Fortunately for me it was just a shelf from the cabinet falling out, ricocheting off of my gonads and comming to rest on my big toe. At that point I tried to level the cabinet up in my hands to avoid any further damage to my chances of reproducing. Just about at that moment one of the doors on the side of the cabinet swung open and out fell another shelf. Fortunately this one didn't have my gonads as it's primary target. It fell right into my knee, and then bounced onto my already injured toe. I was in so much pain that I started to get tunnel vision and had to put the thing down.
Eventually I got the cabinet to it's final resting place, and managed to not injure myself any more than I already had. I got a couple of bags of ice and sat down to nurse my wounds and appreciate my new tv. After about an hour with ice on my toe I felt good enough to get up and go to bed. Before I could do that I had to clean up the puddle of blood and condensation that had gathered where I was soaking my foot. Thank god for hardwood floors. I can't imagine cleaning up a bloody puddle from the carpet.
We'll It looks like I'm going to get to keep my toe and maybe even my toenail, and my gonads will probably make a full recovery.
Man, I must really love my TV.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Let's see here.
- He's gone to war with a country that was on the brink of collapse and that posed no real threat to our security. Resulting in the deaths of over a thousand Americans, the deaths of some untold thousands, and a country that no doubt now harbors terrorist.
- He's lowered taxes, while increasing our budget deficit. What's worse than a tax and spend Liberal? A don't tax and spend Republican. To me this is the most irresponsible thing to do. Let's run up a debt that we know that future generations will be paying for.
- He's managed to alienate all but our closest allies, and squander what little good will that we may have had in the world.
- He used his family's influence to avoid service in Viet Nam, but allows Kerry's service record to be attacked. You know what... Kerry may have exaggerated his record, but at least he had enough guts to not run away.
- He and his attack dogs accuse Kerry of flip flopping on issues. Well, that better than stubbornly sticking to a policy even after it's proved itself to be completely ill conceived.
Gah. If Bush wins this election, I'm going to look for a new country.
Monday, September 06, 2004
On a completely unrelated note, I'm watching The Work of Director Chris Cunningham . This is the second of the videos in this series that I've watched. He's responsible for creating some very amazing pieces of film. He's done videos for Aphex Twin, Madonna, Morchiba and Bjork. His vision is much darker than that of Michel Gondry. This movie stands in stark contrast to the other movie that I watched this weekend. If you ever have the chance to watch Starsky and Hutch,...... Don't. Granted I was a little drunk while watching it, but not so drunk that I couldn't see how horrible it was. So anyway, back to Chris Cunningham. This DVD is pretty cool in that it presents only his work, with an almost complete absence of commentary. While this is in some ways nice, because it allows you to experience the works in complete isolation and in their own right. However, also leaves you wondering what the hell he was thinking. What he does is so abstract. In any case his visual style is so stunning, that it might not be that important whether there is a meaning or not.
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
OK. That's really only cool to me.
On a completely different note. I'm watching a really fascinating movie right now. "The Work of Director Michel Gondry" It's the collected works of the French director Michel Gondry. Duh. He's known mostly for his music videos. Most recently he's done some of the White Stripes videos. You know the one with the Legos; he did that. Watching his videos makes me realize that he's responsible for so many of the videos over that last few years that have made me stop and appreciate video as an art form. As part of the DVD he's included a self made introspective movie. Having watched it I question his sanity. Not in that he needs medication and hospitalization sort of way. His form of insanity seems to manifest itself in a persistent need to see the world in a way that is 90 degrees rotated from the rest of us. While I'm forced to see the world through the eyes of someone who's been educated as a scientist and engineer he seems to have much looser and childlike worldview.
Ok. Now that the DVD's over I've looked him up on IMDB. Holy Crap he did "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". I never would have known. It's really funny that I'm watching this DVD right now. A coworker recently came back from Hawaii. On the plane trip there, Eternal Sunshine was the in flight movie that they were showing. Apparently she didn't get it. She claimed that it was a horrible movie. Granted, that movie isn't particularly suited for vacationers on their way to Hawaii, but a horrible movie it is not. Oh well. To each his own.
So if you've got the time, he's included 300 minutes (5 hours) of footage on the DVD. I'd recomend watching at least some of it.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
BTW. Go out and Rend Bubba HoTep.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Sunday, August 15, 2004
At that point one of the people who seemed most offended by my dislike for Kerouac said, "You should read 'The Dharma Bums'". Not wanting to be the completely closed minded bastard that I often come across as, I agreed to do so. I then promptly forgot about the book.
A couple of weeks later I was once again chatting with friends and acquaintances. Kerouac came up again. I listened a little bit more this time but eventually it was clear to all around that I didn't like Kerouac. At that point someone who claimed to be a "Christian Anarchist" (I thought they were all Republicans.) told me that 'The Dharma Bums' was a much better representation of why Kerouac was a great author. Well color me interested. Two people mention the same book while I bad mouth the author for another of his books. This stuck with me a little bit longer and I managed to make it to Borders to pick up the book before being distracted by a shiny object.
I've now read the book, and am now formally retracting most of the bad things that I've said about Kerouac. While 'The Dharma Bums' is not the best book I've ever read, and I still don't buy the life philosophy that he's representing, I can now accept that there is an appeal to what he writes about. His experiences of and within nature carry a power and appeal that I am drawn to. However, the way that he chooses to live his life, or rather to internally experience his own life and write about it, really holds little appeal.
To quote Elvis Costello, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture - it's a really stupid thing to want to do". I think you could just as easily say the same thing about writing about Dharma, or rather one individuals quest to understand Dharma. You get all of the boring and mundane details and none of the enlightenment that the author got. Fortunately, Kerouac manages to put together a book that appeals on more than just that level. His experiences are enough to make me look for my old backpack and think about getting a pair of hiking boots. Maybe in the process of doing that I become enlightened, who knows? Of course if that happens then it may be that 'The Dharma Bums' is just a very long and elaborate Zen koan, and it served its purpose.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Saturday, August 07, 2004
Being that it was a Friday and we work at a place that's just trying to look and act cool, we all took off a little after noon and started in. At about 5:30 I think we'd gone through three waitresses two bar tabs and about all of our welcome. We decided that in order to keep our good standing at this particular establishment it was time to leave. We adjourned to someone's house and continued to drink. Stu our gracious host suggested that we should retire to the basement and continue the festivities with a little poker. That went on, with breaks for food, bathroom, and shooting the breeze, until about 1 this morning. At that point we took a jaunt over to the brooksider. This place is amazing.
Having been a total nerd for all of my life I haven't hung around in bars that much, and especially not one like the brooksider. I would venture a guess that I was probably one of the oldest people in there, and if it had been raided by the police there would be a lot of under age drinkers. When I say that it is amazing I mean that I've never seen so many people dressed so similarly. All of the guys were wearing the standard frat boy attire, and the girls were wearning their least slutty, slutty outfit.
At about 2 or 2:30 they closed the brooksider, and we took a cab back to Stu's place, and shot the breeze for another couple of hours. Eventually,I headed home, and must have gotten to bed at about 4:30 this morning. Once again I appear to be cursed with the insistent biological clock that will not allow me to sleep past about 8:30 in the morning. So here I sit at 9:00 in the morning on a Saturday, with four hours of sleep, and completely not tired.
Monday, August 02, 2004
On top of that I have to refinance the car and house soon.
As if I didn't already have enough to do, I'm going to try and finish my basement in the next couple of months. Here's the plan . It's a little wasteful of space, but given where all of the fixtures are I think this is the best solution.
Sunday, August 01, 2004
After about an hour of driving I got a little hungry and got some food at Burger King. I normally would just drive through Taco Bell, but I eat that so much that my blood must be about 80% refried beans (yummy) . So it was a chicken whopper today. Not bad, but a little dry. So anyway I headed home and decided that I was going to call Amber back. Unfortunately when I got back I'd left the phone off the charger again. So I hung it back up and started reading. I fell asleep, and then at about 4 the phone rang again. I answered it, and it turns out to be Amber. She introduces her self and asks me if I know anybody by that name. I do, but not in the 775 area code, so I said no. She told me that she was looking for her father and that his name was Aaron Hoyt and that my phone number is the only one that she's found. Duhhhh. I stood there dumbfounded. Being pretty sure that I've father no children I try and think of a way to let this girl down easy. I ask her how old she is. She says 20. Internally I'm sighing with relief, but I know she is going to be disappointed. I tell her that I'm 30, and that it isn't likely that I'm her father. There is some uncomfortable hemming and hawing after that but, we eventually we both hung up.
Wow what a mind blower. I really wish her luck in finding her father. Fathers are such an interesting subject. We all have them, but the relationship there is so very different from person to person. Having lost my own father when I was 12 the subject is a little touchy and raw. I know my siblings have different but parallel "father issues". Nothing horrible, but loosing your father at 12, 7 and 3 can't help but have a different effect on a person. Earlier this week I was reminded of this subject while talking with Nicole about her father's own long term health issues, and how those have effected her relationship with her own father.
I was going to go on further about fathers, but I'm not sure what else I'd want to say. Maybe I'll save that for some other time.