Tuesday, August 31, 2004

GMail and Michel Gondry

Wow. I got a GMail account today (thanks stu). The interface is a little different. You don't have folders. Everything sits in your inbox. This is a little weird to get used to. Conversations are grouped based upon subjects. You can also label groups of messages. The really cool part of this is that I managed to get an account based upon my name.

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

A couple of new bands

With the random screwing around that I've been doing lately I've come across a couple of new and interesting bands. The first is The Shins and the second is The Dresden Dolls. Both are very distinct, and I came across them both in very different ways. This weekend I went to see Garden State. A really good movie, with a lot of the soundtrack comming from The Shins. I came across The Dresden Dolls in a completely different way. The local "alternative" radio station has had some suprises lately. Generally they play the random emo crap songs and some other semi alternative stuff. I don't know if I've said this before, but I hate emo. Those guys are a bunch of whiny bitches, and I wish they'd go ahead and just slit their wrists and get it over with. Well any way back to the Dresden Dolls. The other day I turned on the radio and heard an amazing song. It was this plunking halting caberet style little song consisting only of a drummer, a pianist who was also the vocalist. She was singing about wanting a coin operated boy. Color me impressed. I've yet to hear anything else by this group, but I'm tempted to buy their album based upon the strength of that one song.

BTW. Go out and Rend Bubba HoTep.


Stupid electrical storm fried my server. Fortunately it appears to have only been the power supply. Things are back up and running, but this machine is about on it's last legs. It certainly couldn't take much traffic, and the first time you hit it, it just sits there and chugs away. Maybe sometime soon I'll replace it. Who knows.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

What the hell do I want?

What the hell do I want? To be judged on my current actions and not some flippant comments that I made 4 years ago.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Dharma My Ass

OK. One night a couple of months ago I was sitting around with some friends and acquaintances. We were shooting the breeze. In the course of the conversation Jack Kerouac came up. At that point in time I'd only read On the Road, and by read I mean that I read all but the last ten pages, at which point I put the book down and said, "Who gives a fuck?" I'd been drug back and forth across the country in a insane tare that seemed to have no other end than to destroy new cars and ramble back and forth across the country. I stopped reading 10 pages from the end believing that there was no possible way that this book could redeem itself and that there was no point in me wasting any more of my life on this book. (Possible mistake? The world may never know.) Well back to the conversation with friends... I managed to sum up my loathing of Kerouac in a few short sentences and apparently piss off a couple people there. I was obviously too dense to see the monumental cultural and sociological significance of the book and Kerouac as an author. This may be true.

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

At it again

Well VML has had a spate of departures lately and as I mentioned earlier those are usually accompanied by some sort of send off. Last night was graced by yet another of these events. While the details of this event differ greatly from the previous, it was, in all, an entertaining evening. The nice thing about yesterday evening was that it demonstrated that there are at least a couple of single and interesting women of about my age in the Kansas City area.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

A little rough around the edges

Well, I'm feeling a little rough this morning. Yesterday a coworker and friend of mine, John, had his last day at a 9 to 5 grind job. He's bought a business of his own. So to send him off in grand style we all gathered and drank like fish. He of course out paced us all. John isn't really a world class drinker, but when you get him started he's like a freight train.

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

Busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest

Yes. It's now official. I'm too busy. I have a total of 6 projects spread out over 4 clients. They are all starting or ending in the next two months. I'm not sure how I'm going to get them all done. Especially since I've developed sort of a lazy streak lately. This weekend I had a ton of work to do, but all I really wanted to do was lay around and read. Hopefully I will snap out of it soon.

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

An odd phone call and fathers

A funny thing happened today. I woke up this morning at some ungodly hour. For Pete's sake it's Sunday and I'm up at 7. Why can't I do that during the week when I have to be up. So I just lay there and read for a while. I've been reading Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. Finally at about 9:30, I figure the neighbors have had enough time to sleep so I go and mow the lawn. I've got that down so that it only takes about 40 minutes to do the whole thing. Mostly that's because I really don't give a crap what it looks like so long as most of the grass is about the same height and a little shorter than my neighbors. So then at about 10:30 I finish mowing and go in. I shower and then go back to reading. This book has been much more enjoyable than On the Road, which I thought was a pointless dash back and forth across the country by a half crazy guy and his full on crazy friend. So anyway I read for another couple of hours. I then went down stairs and noticed that I had a message on my machine. This is very weird because I don't normally get calls on my home phone, and messages are even weirder since I've left the greeting that came with the machine as the active one. It sounds a lot like a speak and spell. So anyway if someone does get my number they are usually confused by the Robbie robot sounding greeting and don't bother leaving a message. So I push play expecting to hear some confused telemarketer. Nope. It was the voice of a teenaged girl. She said that her name was Amber and that she was leaving a message for Aaron Hoyt; she left her number (775 area code. Somewhere in Nevada outside of Las Vegas). I stood there a little confused. I went to call her back, but I'd left the phone off the charger and it was deader than a doornail. I went to call her on my cell, but thought better of it. If this was a scam of some sort I didn't want to give away the number that I really use. I set down the phone and went for a drive.

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.