posted by on 2006.08.31, under Uncategorized

Read the 9/11 report as a graphic novel, online at Slate.

(for some reason this link jumps to page 86. To go back to the start of the novel, use the table of contents on the right)

posted by on 2006.08.30, under Uncategorized

This is very upsetting. Is our country becoming fascist?

posted by on 2006.08.29, under Uncategorized

m a t h f u l m i d w e e k d ay

Pick a number.

posted by on 2006.08.28, under Uncategorized

Comments found posted to this Wulfmorgenthaler cartoon (on my daily read list) reveal the true nature of software engineers. It starts about halfway down. While you are at it, read ALL of the Wulfmorgenthaler cartoons. It will funny you.

“well, in this case, you are 0% (zero) software engineer. It is a fact, that every _real_ software engineer wears a beard. And coffee is defined as a “live liquid” for software engineer. Every software engineer dies within 48 hours without a cup of coffee.

I am really sorry to tell you that you are not a real software engineer. I am that damn sorry that I would like to offer you some of Emma´s chocolate cookies. Agree? “

posted by on 2006.08.15, under Uncategorized

Speaking of inspirational…. I listened to the Dead Kennedys on the drive to work this morning. That really gets you going. Where the hell are all the punk bands now? With all the shit we are neck deep in these days, we could use some smart, angry music out there to wise the kids up a bit. Maybe I am just out of touch, and the high school kids have got some great, angry, protest stuff they listen to while slinking around avoiding gym class – I hope so. They ought to be angry, everyone seems to be screwing up their future world pretty good these days.
Here are some lyrical selections that could be especially apt:

Hey! / Yo! / We’re the United States Marines / We know you’ve all been killing each other / For at least two thousand years / But we’re here now / To protect the family / Of Christian heroin warlords (maybe that should just be Capitalist Oil Warlords now) / Most friendly to the west / So you knock off this fighting / Or we’ll tell mom / Ever notice news / Is staged like TV wrestling shows / With Reagans and Khaddafis cast / As cartoon villains and heroes / Or those wildlife “documentaries” / Where a lion from a zoo / Kills a deer tied down ahead of time / “At the perfect camera angle” / When lemmings balk at dying for Disney / They’re just hurled off the cliff / We are gathered here today / To take photos of the president / Pretending to mourn these brave young men / Who came home from Beirut / Gift-wrapped in body bags / A truck bomb blew them to bits / We knew they were sitting ducks / We sacrificed ‘em, Aztec style / So we could use their dead meat / To cook up war fever back home / So make sure you take lots of pictures / And slant you news on our way / Just like in Wild Kingdom / We first tied down the prey / We want people boiling for revenge / In their living rooms / So we can go play shoot-em-up / Anywhere we choose / And our backers can cash in / Without the public asking questions

I recommend you either go listen to Bedtime for Democracy right now, or just read this whole page of lyrics while strumming an out of tune guitar and pounding your head against a wall.

And here – an old favorite:

Seems like the more I think I know / The more I find I don’t / Every answer opens up so many questions / Anarchy sounds good to me / Then someone asks, “Who’d fix the sewers?” / “Would the rednecks just play king / Of the neighborhood?” / How many liberators / Really want to be dictators / Every theory has its holes / When real life steps in / So how do we feed / And make room for / All the people crowded on our earth / And transfer all that wealth / From the rich to those who need it? / Where Do Ya Draw the Line / Where Do Ya Draw the Line / I’m not telling you / I’m asking you / Ever notice hard line radicals / Can go on star trips too / Where no one’s pure and right / Except themselves / “I’m cleansed of the system” / (‘Cept when my amp needs electric power) / Or – “The Party Line says No. / Feminists can’t wear fishnets” / You wanna help stop war? / Well, we reject your application / You crack too many jokes / And you eat meat / What better way to turn people off / Than to twist ideas for change / Into one more church / That forgets we’re all human beings / Where do ya draw the line? / In Toronto someone blew up / A cruise missile warhead plant / 10 slightly hurt, 4 million dollars damage / Why not destroy private property / When it’s used against you and me / Is that violence / – Or self-defense? / You tell me / Where Do Ya Draw the Line / I’m not telling you, I’m asking you / Where Do Ya Draw the Line / I’m not telling you, I’m asking you / Where Do You Draw the Line?

I think I am going to start a band now called Where the Fuck is Punk? If you want to join, come by my house and lets do it.

posted by on 2006.08.14, under Uncategorized

Lets talk literature for a bit.

Lately I have been revisiting novels that have shaped the way I think about things in general, philosophically speaking. I re-read T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men, about 100 times. Then Brave New World. I am working through Dhalgren by Samuel Delany again (I never read it until grad school, but its excellent, and I might as well have read it in high school). But these I need to revisit:

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. ‘That’s some catch, that Catch-22,’ he observed. ‘It’s the best there is,’ Doc Daneeka agreed.”

Yes. Perhaps its time to read Catch-22 again. Then Waiting for Godot. Then perhaps Slaughterhouse-Five:

“Throughout the novel, Billy hops back and forth in time, reliving various occasions in his life; this gives him a constant sense of stage fright, as he never knows what part of his life is coming up next. He spends time on Tralfamadore; in Dresden; numbly wading through deep snow in WWII Germany before his capture; living married in America after the war; up to the moment of his murder on Earth many years later. By the time of his murder, Billy has adopted Tralfamadorian fatalism, which has given him great personal peace; he has spread this philosophy to millions of humans and has become a popular public figure on Earth.

Billy’s fatalism appears to be grounded in reality (at least in the reality which Billy perceives); after noting that Billy had a copy of the Serenity Prayer in his office, the narrator says, “Among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, the present, and the future.” His Tralfamadorian captors say that out of 31 inhabited planets they have visited, “only on Earth is there any talk of free will.”

After that, or even before that. Maybe at the same time and mix them all up, how about The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

“According to Kundera, “being” is full of “unbearable lightness” because each of us has only one life to live: “Einmal ist Keinmal” (“once is never”, i.e., “what happened once might as well have never happened at all”). Therefore, each life is ultimately insignificant; every decision ultimately does not matter. Since decisions do not matter, they are “light”: they do not tie us down. But at the same time, the insignificance of our decisions – our lives, or being – is unbearable. Hence, “the unbearable lightness of being.”

That one is a major influence – except my take is not that the insignificance of our lives is unbearable, but that it is the greatest freedom and joy.

That’s how you become an optimistic nihilist.

>All those quotations are from the respective Wikipedia entries.

posted by on 2006.08.09, under Uncategorized

Gez Fry moved to Japan and dedicated two years to learning how to create beautiful anime-style illustrations. Now he creates beautiful, anime-style illustrations. Makes we want to spend a couple of years drawing just to see if I could pull it off.

Here is an interview with him in Ping magazine.

And here is his website. Check out the gallery of course. The work is severely fantastic, and reminds me of both Shadow of the Colossus, and Ghost in the Shell (lets link to part II).

posted by on 2006.08.08, under Uncategorized

Since its summer, I was talking about summers past with friends the other day.

Summer is supposed to be spent in the woods. Collecting
Salamanders, frogs, toads, cataloging them, putting them back exactly
where I found them. Having berry wars with the neighborhood. Climbing
everything. Dirt biking (ala BMX not Honda) through the woods and
sandpits. Finding bullet shells there to make whistles. Picking our
way trough the swamps, trying not to get lost or wet or eaten alive by
mosquitos. Failed on all three counts at different times. Making bows
and arrows from beech tree branches to shoot at frogs. Catching
bullfrogs by moving very quietly behind them while they are distracted
by your other hand in front of them (but not too close to scare them
underwater). Swam at all the nearby beaches, jumped off the Union St.
Bridge into the North river (tidal, brackish water, reversing current,
variable depth). Jumping off the cliffs of the Hingham quarries.
Finding unexplained stashes of 80s porno mags in the woods (who the
hell did that? and all the 13 year old boys of Norwell thanked you).
Jumped the Rte 3 freeway overpass into uncertain waters of the North
River below. Ran up and did it again. Tried to do it again the next
year, but too scared by the height. More North River by the various
rope swings. Building branch and fern lean-to’s to camp out in.
“Parachuting” – climbing a skinny beech tree until it bent, then
hanging from it as it bends all the way to the ground – snapping back
when you release your grip. Going on the one big camping trip each
year, and many smaller ones. New hampshire, Cape Cod, and when really
lucky, Baxter State park Maine, Acadia Maine. Sailing around Hingham
bay in the little Sun Fish single person sailboat.

And on and on. This adult shit is wayyyyyyy overrated.

That said, I did spend the last half a week down in Mexico, and I’ll tell you more about it (with pics and video) real soon. And thats why no posting last week.