Posted on January 17th, 2014
My "not-my-day-job" job requires a lot of patience, perseverance, humility, dedication and, above all... flexibility. Most every appointment I make involves my being "squeezed in" to somebody's calnedar, and things often change with only a moment's notice. Most times I will fly into a city a day early and leave two days late because I just don't know when I can get in the door. Often times, the trip itself happens without warning because an opportunity arises. Once I got a call as I was driving home from the airport telling me I had to turn around, go back to the airport, and be on the next flight to Orlando (which left in 90 minutes). Good thing I had a clean pair of underwear left over.
Needless to say, making personal plans while on the job is not easy. Often times it's impossible. Not that this stops me from trying. Fortunately, most of my friends in far away places are very understanding and forgiving when it comes to my having to change or cancel plans. They know it's not my choice that I can't make it to dinner or show up for a movie... it's just part of the game.
But it's not something everybody can handle.
Next week I have to be in San Francisco. Last time I was in the city for work, it was very last-minute, but my appointments were pretty well nailed-down to the daytime. So I made plans to get a tattoo and attend a farewell party during my free evenings... knowing full well that either could be canceled without notice. Lucky for me they weren't, and everything worked out fine. Until I got an email from a friend who was upset that I didn't contact them for a meet-up while I was there. I explained that the trip was a last-minute thing and all my time was booked, but promised I'd let them know the next time I was in San Francisco.
Except when I went to message them on Facebook once my schedule had been tightened up, I found out that I had been unfriended.
Like I said, my wildly erratic work and travel schedule is not something everybody can handle.
Which makes me really appreciate those friends who can put up with me.
Because sometimes it's all I can do to put up with myself.
Posted on January 14th, 2014
If there were ever any doubts that our American politicians and courts are in the pocket of lobbyists and corporations, you can pretty much shove them aside now that the FCC has struck a blow to net neutrality.
I don't think I'm understating things when I say that the internet... the one true outlet for freedom and equality left in this country... is now totally fucked.
Unless this gets overturned or revised, you are no longer in control of the internet content available to you. Your Internet Service Provider is in control. Which, odds are, is a mega-corporation like Comcast, Time-Warner, Charter, Verizon, Cox, Frontier... and their confederates and owners. This is horrendously bad for many, many reasons, but your government just doesn't give a flying fuck. They're bought and paid for just like everything else in this country...
And so on. And so on. And so on.
There are people, of course, who feel that the free market will sort all this out. And I feel sorry for those who cling to this delusion, because there is no free market any more. The people who own everything will be deciding how you access the internet, and there's nothing "free" about that. Especially if you're in a rural area where you don't have any options for which company you can use to even get access to the internet in the first place.
When I think of all the tax dollars... OUR tax dollars... that went into building the internet only to have it fall into the hands of corporations, I'm shocked and disgusted. I know I shouldn't be, because that's the way everything else has gone, but I am. I always thought that the outcry against unfettered access to the internet would be so huge that there was no way it could ever happen.
Yet here we are.
Or maybe it's just me. For all I know, your ISP could decide that Blogography is an undesirable risk to their revenue stream, and my blog will no longer be accessible.
In that case, it's been nice knowing you.
Posted on June 30th, 2013
Time to pick up that mint julep... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Gone! For my first bullet, I'd like to thank Google for the big "fuck you" they drop tomorrow when they kill off Google Reader. It's great how you blow into town with some essential tool and dominate the entire market after killing off the competition... then abandon that market when you can't exploit it for millions of dollars. Way to be "not evil." Next up... Feed Burner?
• Gone Too! Just to show that Google doesn't have a monopoly in killing off services... Yahoo! is killing off a dozen products, including Alta Vista on July 8th, which was my go-to search engine back in the 1990's. Yahoo! says that you should now "Please visit Yahoo Search for all of your searching needs"... but my guess is that this will actually mean more search traffic for Google. Oh well. Another piece of internet history to be gone and forgotten.
• Schadenfreude! I try to be respectful of other people's beliefs and opinions... honestly I do. But the outpouring of hand-wringing over the repeal of DOMA and striking down of Prop 8 is just too delicious to ignore. Because, seriously, if you don't accept same-sex marriage, THEN DON'T MARRY SOMEBODY OF THE SAME SEX! There's really nothing more to be said on the matter, BECAUSE WHETHER OR NOT OTHER PEOPLE GET MARRIED DOESN'T AFFECT YOU! Apparently Justice Kennedy agrees, having denied an application to halt marriages in California.
The people yelling the loudest seem to be the people who make money from fighting against equality, which isn't really surprising. When you fail utterly in your job... bigoted as it may be... I suppose you have cause to be upset.
• Haunted! As a huge fan of visionary musician Trent Reznor (aka Nine Inch Nails) and visionary director David Lynch, the idea of them teaming up for a music video seems too good to be true. And now, after having seen their effort for Come Back Haunted, I know it was too good to be true. What a boring, predictable, and sadly expected video. Rather than looking like something cutting-edge and new, it reeks of all the "nihilistic" videos that were unleashed after the amazing opening credits for the movie SE7EN happened. This is made all the more sad when you consider that the song used in those opening credits was Closer... by Trent Reznor. So I just don't know. Was this meant to be some kind of homage? A parody perhaps? Some kind of commentary on all those who think intermixing shaky camera moves with disturbing images is still edgy? Lynch had a real opportunity here to take us in a new direction, and we get something that would have looked dated ten years ago. Maybe in another ten years he'll go techno-speed-nihilistic and give us a parody of the US credits from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?
• Here! And now we're to the part of Bullet Sunday where I offer up this bit of 80's Thompson Twins genius, courtesy of Sixteen Candles, just because it's there...
They don't make teen angst movies like that anymore.
• Rest in Peace. As somebody who lives in a fire zone and has been threatened by wildfires more than once, my heart goes out to the friends and family of the "Granite Mountain Hotshots," 19 of whom perished in a horrific fire northwest of Phoenix...
UPDATE: The Free Republic has an article remembering this elite team of firefighters.
And... back to work. I think I can still get in another two or three hours before I pass out.
Posted on March 1st, 2013
I'd like to think I'm respectful of people's opinions, even when they differ from my own. Especially when they differ from my own. I'm not saying it can't be frustrating, or I'm above poking fun at opinions I don't agree with... but I think it keeps life interesting to listen to what others think. Sure it might be easier if everybody thought the same way as me about things... but it would also be boring.
Where I have a problem is when people make opinions while being unintentionally uninformed or after having been misinformed (either intentionally or unintentionally).
I try harder than most to make sure my facts are correct so I won't be guilty of these crimes of ignorance. But, hey, mistakes happen to the best of us, and so I try to be tolerant even then.
There are those who make opinions while being intentionally uninformed, and that's what drives me bat-shit insane.
It's only gotten worse on the internet, because people feel less accountable for their opinions when they're bashing them out at a computer. I see it most every day.
For the sake of not being dragged into a fight involving faith or politics, I'll leave those piles of shit out of this, but that's where the most grievous offenses lay. People become so completely absorbed by a religion or political party that they refuse to listen to anything that even hints at a contrary viewpoint. Even cold, hard facts.
Though I may be over-exaggerating here, because I've seen the same kind of ignorant behavior over comic book characters.
The thing that got me thinking about intentional ignorance tonight is product reviews.
Whether it's book reviews on Amazon... or game reviews on the iTunes App Store... or movie reviews on Rotten Tomatoes... or wherever you find people spewing their opinions, intentional ignorance abounds.
Which all basically boils down to this...
Which inevitably has me screaming at my computer display... SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU ASSHOLE! Not that that really helps anything, but at least I get the rage out of my system.
Sadly, there can be no end in sight. Intentional ignorance is here to stay, and there's nothing we can do about it. Except to accept that it's inevitable and too many people on this earth are too stupid to want to change it.
Feel free to disagree with my opinion, I don't mind. Really I don't.
Unless you didn't bother to actually read this, in which case... SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU ASSHOLE!
Posted on February 7th, 2013
So this is where "society" is at now...
Posted on October 6th, 2012
At some point, we became a society that embraces a world where facts are no longer indisputable truth.
I know this, because every time I look at Facebook or Twitter I see loads of bullshit and lies being presented as "facts." And nobody seems to care. Not the people posting them. And certainly not the people blindly reposting them.
For the longest time, I really didn't give a crap because the people who believe the bullshit and lies are the people who need the bullshit and lies to create whatever reality it is they're living in.
But lately I've come to realize that there is a rapidly growing number of people so damn stupid that they believe the bullshit and lies because they're too lazy to bother verifying what they see. And they're being encouraged to vote based on this information.
And suddenly I realize that Depeche Mode had it right all along with the song New Dress on their brilliant album Black Celebration...
You can't change the world,
But you can change the facts.
And when you change the facts,
You change points of view.
If you change points of view,
You may change a vote.
And when you change a vote,
You may change the world.
We have better, faster, and easier access to information right now than at any time in history. And yet a Google search is apparently too much effort to verify that the "facts" people are reposting to Facebook and Twitter aren't actually bullshit and lies.
Oh well. I guess we get the world we deserve then.
And that's a fact.
Posted on November 20th, 2011
Today is Bullet Sunday.
But I'd rather take a bullet than pay the $12.95 plus tax that my hotel wants for internet, so I guess that the Bullets will have to wait until tomorrow.
For the life of me I can't understand why cheap-ass hotels offer FREE internet, whereas nicer hotels make you pay... and pay dearly... for it. I guess because they can get away with it.
Well, fine. But not from me tonight.
Posted on December 21st, 2010
If you'd rather read a much more literate, intelligent, and less profanity-laden missive about net neutrality than you'll even find here... I urge you to read an open letter written by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in The Atlantic.
Otherwise? You've been warned.
And so... the FCC's "net neutrality" proposal has been passed.
Except it's not true net neutrality at all. It's a loophole-ridden pile of crap that's woefully inept and incomplete. I'd go so far as to call it "useless" but a bunch of Republican politicians are losing their shit over the mere suggestion of a free and open internet, so I guess it's not entirely useless. Though I must admit to being shocked that these same politicians stopped sucking special-interest penis long enough to notice. You'd think that fellating all those telco/cable/wireless company heads and stockholders would occupy all their attention.
In the meanwhile, internet freedom takes a hit and we all get fucked...
I am sick and tired of these bullshit fantasies that consumers will somehow ultimately steer the internet regardless of any restrictions that are put upon it. I keep reading things like "Well, if an Internet Service Provider (ISP) adds restrictions their customers don't like, then those customers will get a new ISP. And if ISPs don't provide what their customers want, they'll go out of business. The internet is self-regulating, and doesn't need any 'net neutrality' forced upon it! All that will do is inhibit ISPs from investing in services they provide but don't control. The internet is already" neutral without government intervention, let's keep it that way!"
It's such a laughable load of crap that I could barely bring myself to type it, but that's the argument anti-net-neutrality proponents keep pushing, so there you have it.
Except REALITY teaches us that this simply is not the case. History is replete with examples of big business fucking over people to make a buck. In fact, it's so commonplace that anybody who believes companies will be net-neutral of their own accord when there are billions of dollars to be made as internet services continue to convergence must be insane or clinically stupid.
Look, I understand that companies want to make money. That's the American Way, and the reason anybody goes into business in the first place. I get that. I support that. And if Internet Service Providers want to have tiered data plans so that heavy users pay more than infrequent users, then I would probably be fine with it. "Pay for what you use" and all that.
But this is not what we're talking about. It's about ISPs controlling access to information. It's about ISPs giving preferential access to their networks for wealthy companies willing to pay for it. It's about back-door partnerships and secret agreements which define how we live our lives. So yes... if a SINGLE Internet Service Provider started restricting access to say... Google Maps... and instead redirected you to MapQuest against your will... that ONE provider probably would go out of business as everybody moved to providers with unrestricted access. But we know that's not how it will happen. One company will start doing it. Then another. Then another. Then another. Soon, you may find all your internet options restricted because there won't be any net-neutral ISPs available. Or maybe there will be, but they won't be available where you live.
Remember when checking a piece of luggage used to be included in the cost of an airline ticket? But then one airline started charging for checked luggage. And before you knew it ALL airlines were doing it? Sure there are exceptions... Southwest, I believe, still hasn't given in to temptation... but does Southwest fly to my local airport? No. It's the same way with ISPs. Inevitably there may be some independent ISPs that choose to remain neutral and say no to the massive amount of cash they could make... but do you want to risk that they'll be one of the choices servicing your community?
Do I trust our government? Not really. Do I want our government running our lives? Definitely not. But there are roles the government was built for... like promoting the general welfare... by making sure companies don't sell things containing toxic substances... by making sure companies aren't polluting the environment... by making sure companies conduct business fairly... by making sure companies don't exploit their workers... and so on. Not that I'm saying the government does any of those things exceedingly well (ha!) but many of the more protective regulations we have in place serve a purpose and, generally speaking, we seem to be better off because of them. The internet has become such a critical, intricate part of our lives (both directly and indirectly) that it deserves the same attention. Not promoting the general welfare by protecting the internet's very existence through net neutrality could have horrific consequences for the citizens of this country and the world.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Net neutrality is freedom.
Allowing companies the option to take away this freedom under the banner of "freedom" is a mockery of the very foundation this country was built upon.
Not that this is anything new now-a-days, but I'd rather things not disintegrate completely right this minute.
Fight for net neutrality.
While you still can.
Posted on March 18th, 2010
Tomorrow I'm on vacation for ten days so, naturally, today was packed full of last-minute work projects and a non-stop parade of drama. Work I can handle... but the drama?
Well, the drama has nothing to do with me. Yet people somehow think that it should.
So I'm ignoring the outside world for a while, and focusing on more important things. Like Miley Cyrus using her entire sixteen years of life experience to advise kids as to how they should live their lives...
"I'm telling kids, don't go on the internet. It's dangerous, it's not fun, it wastes your life, and you should be outside playing sports or something. I just think it's kind of lame. I feel like I hang out with my friends and they're so busy taking pictures of what they're doing and putting them on Facebook that they're not really enjoying what they're doing. You're going to look back and have a million pictures, but you're not going to be in any of them. Because you're not having fun, you're too busy clicking away. So I think just enjoy the moment you're in, and stop telling people about it. Just enjoy it."
Wow. Where was this sage advice seven years ago when I started blogging?
The thing that's so odd is that kids pretty much live online now. American teenagers now-a-days haven't really known of a world without the internet. And, thanks to devices like the iPhone, they're beginning to not know of a world without constant access to the internet. They're online Twittering and Facebooking constantly, and when they're not doing that, they're texting each other non-stop. Sure it's excessive, but these are the times we live in, and that's the way society seems to want to interact. So, while I applaud Miley for encouraging kids to step away from the computer once in a while, I think it's unrealistic to tell them "Don't go on the internet." Ever. That's who they are now.
Besides, it would be pretty hard for them to buy tickets at Ticketmaster.com for Miley's concerts... or spend their time hanging around her two websites MileyCyrus.com and MileyWorld.com... or sign up for her email newsletter... or visit her official YouTube Channel... or shop at her official Amazon Shop... or connect with her on her official Facebook fan page... or view her musical endeavors on her official iLike Artist Page... or buy her music from her page at the iTunes Music Store... or even become a friend at her official MySpace Page.
So, basically, Miley tells her fans not to do the internet drug, but then pushes them all kinds of internet crack to feed their habit.
Maybe her millions of dollars puts her in a class above being a hypocritical douchebag, but this is still a disappointment.
Especially to a huge Hannah Montana fan like me...
Isn't it terrible when our media heroes turn out to be sanctimonious wankers after all?