stupid is as stupid does  

12.29.2006 : 3:22 PM :
eight deadly sins of the stupid smart person
1. impulsiveness (doing something rash)
2. neglect (ignoring something important)
3. procrastination (actively avoiding something important)
4. vacillation (dithering)
5. backsliding (capitulating to habit)
6. indulgence (allowing oneself to fall into excess)
7. overdoing (like indulgence, but with positive things)
8. walking the edge (tempting fate).
-robert sternberg, "why smart people can be so stupid"-

show and tell  

12.28.2006 : 12:33 PM :
"normalcy is ok to a point -- but what do you get for it? nothing. you've lived your life in a normal way. and then, you've got a problem. because what have we been seeking this whole time? anonymity and normalcy? i mean, you're dead and you're glad that you were so normal?"
(1) dave eggers: here's an eggers interview from way back, right when his first book "a heartbreaking work of staggering genius" was hotter than hell. his various ventures -- from his tutoring centers, his lit mag "the believer," on to mcsweeney's, to the books that mcsweeney's publishes -- are all incredible exploits and he's been a star and a cult figure for quite awhile.
"you define a genius as someone who almost never has to second-guess what their instincts say, who knows things without ever having to be told them."
(2) aaron cometbus: every time i roll into a non-chain book store i keep an eye out for anything cometbus. if i see something, i buy it immediately. cometbus is a long running zine originally about punk bands but expanded to cover anything cometbus was interested in. the zine ran for over twenty years and is the defining work of the genre. it's tough to even call cometbus "sleeper great" because he really shouldn't be slept on. a 600+ page collection of some of his works are now available. i'm getting this guy, asap.
"summer is the season when all of new york hates all of new york. and no wonder -- the place is a fucking pit. a festering, sweltering piece of shit. you step out on the street and start pushing people out of the way. it's not just the isolated bad mood or a case of not enough cofee in the morning. no, every single person who hasn't escaped for the summer is feeling that same way. eight million matches crammed into a powder keg and ready to blow."
(3) hipstomp: leslie showed me this guy's blog last week and since then i've read as much of it as humanly -- and work permitted -- possible. leslie's roommate has been cast in his upcoming internet movie; sounds like it should be exciting. all of the stuff on his site is great actually. keep doing the good works.
"the bar's crowded, so after deploying shady to get the first round, the four of us split up and circulate. shady and jerry are both single, but mike and i have girlfriends, so for us two, talking to strange women is essentially an academic experience."
(4) conquer club: we've been playing risk, the classic conquering board game, online for a few weeks. it's free, it's not that time consuming, it's addictive. if you want to join our games, email me and off we'll go. seriously, this is the best thing to come along in awhile. work productivity guaranteed to decrease.

(5) this isn't showing or telling, more hiding and seeking. i've lost, misplaced, or had stolen my "my so called life" dvd set. i originally purchased the set when it came out years ago, for an astronomical price -- it included a collector's lunchbox, in my defense. now the damn thing is missing. i got careless with it because i figured that the set was widely available -- i saw it in best buys and fry's everywhere -- but then the supply suddenly dried up. full original sets of the dvds are going on ebay for upwards of $150. whoever i lent it to, i'd like my set back, thanks. there's only a handful of people who'd even want to borrow this thing, but i was convinced by fellow investigators that a worldwide a.p.b. would be the way to go.

i won't say i'm in a panic here, but yes, i'm in a mild panic. "angela, krakow is looking for you, repeat, krakow is looking for you."

beautiful, i just want you to know  

12.27.2006 : 9:07 AM :
my (new) favorite show has been, for quite some time, miami ink. okay, three weeks ago i had a flirtation and dalliance with beauty and the geek but hey, i'm easily distracted. the real object of my tv affection is this tlc show about a tattoo studio.

there's a whole slew of "reality" shows about tattoo shops. lots of imitators, lots of half assed shows that are poorly edited, or the proprietors aren't interesting, or the tattoos suck. as the original show about tattooists, miami ink rules the roost.

what makes it such a winner? for one, all the guys (and a gal) in the shop are personable, intriguing, and true artists. they care about their work on an artistic level and when you see the finished products, the work leaves your jaw agape. the design, shading, and overall execution of some of the pieces are breathtaking.

each episode is loosely based around a theme -- be it family, redemption, whatever -- but for the most part it's just customers walking in and the guys inking people up. after awhile, all the motivations get to sound pretty much the same. the show makes you realize how stupid people sound trying to justify their tattoos.

i mean, tattoos have meaning -- not to mention permanence -- and i'm all about that, but for the most part the reasons for getting a tattoo are: (1) i want to remember somebody/thing (2) i'm embarking on a change and want to commemorate it (3) it represents me or my passions (4) it looks cool. that's about it. the top reasons to get tattoos.

the show provides you insight not into the why of a tattoo but rather the how. it's like watching a-team or macgyver -- but only the good parts when they're building shit. you see the collaboration between the artist and the customer to come up with an original and inspired design.

i'd love to walk in and just leave it up to these professionals and say "ink me up." i'd always approached tattooing from the standpoint that i'd want to design it, that i'd want to have just my vision on there. but then, watching the show makes you realize how special -- and important -- it is to have a collaboration. it's like getting a van gogh on your body; the tattoo is on and for you of course, but there's something great about the idea that your body is just a canvas for an artist.

another reason the show succeeds is that we never venture too far into any of the tattoers lives and the show's attention remains squarely on the shop. the downside is that in order to really find out about the stars of the show, you have to internet stalk them; like i have.

the cast is an ensemble of guys you'd love to hang out with. ami epitomizes the "gruff but sweet" persona; he's literally always got a twinkle in his eye. garver, nunez, and darren are all spectacular artists and take a bit of a backseat to most of the action but their work speaks for them. yoji is a former musician turned family man and the apprentice in the shop. kat von d was a substitute for season one but is now a regular.

i'm in love with kat von d, i think she's the coolest person ever and her ability to execute her specialty (black and white portraits) is amazing. she's got quite the fan base and it's got nothing to do with her looks; her tattooing skills are arguably the best in the shop.

where people get the money to throw thousands of dollars on permanent ink i'll never know, but i can't wait to do the same. for the forseeable frugal future however, i'll just continue to live vicariously.


12.25.2006 : 3:39 PM :
"people i consider for friends have a quality that i can only call seriousness, adding that this seriousness does not preclude great good humor, whimsy, even clownishness. seriousness has, though, to do with recognizing, if rarely enunciating, that the human drama is about trying to determine what is and is not significant in a finite life. seriousness has to do with attempting to make sense of one's experiences, not least one's sufferings and setbacks. seriousness lends gravity to a man or woman, gravity that, if this not be a physical contradiction, does not weigh them down.


i mention this because i sometimes think i no longer have the makings of a best friend. i am, i think, a decent listener, but not much of a confessor. i have a natural sense of reticence, at least when it comes to spilling my own beans... i hold with the novelist cesare pavese that 'one stops being a child when on realizes that telling one's troubles does not make things better.'"
-joseph epstein, friendship: an expose-

se7en jeans, true religion  

12.22.2006 : 2:04 PM :
jeans have played an important role in mankind's history -- both socially and personally. i was never one of those people. i didn't start wearing jeans until i was forced to; when i moved to michigan and encountered cold weather. for the entire span of my childhood, middle and high school years in san diego, i probably wore jeans once or twice. i hated the feel of the scratchy material against my legs and since i ran around a lot, there was no wardrobe hell worse than the feeling of hot sweaty legs trapped between funnels of denim fire -- actually, the feeling of bare legs against frozen stiff jeans is worse, but i didn't know that at the time. i was a boy who ran around in shorts all day long.

nowadays, i've not only become accustomed to jeans, but i've noticed that no more supposed "universal and basic item" can be so divisive and full of nuance. the color, length, style, and brand of jean can say so much about a person.

knee deep
my jeans history. my first two pairs of jeans were purchased together at the local abercrombie in michigan. this represents a huge buy. i was introduced to jeans and abercrombie at the exact same time. while my relationship with that putrid place stopped there, it was just the beginning of my jean journey. this initial foray into the jean world was a dismal failure. the jeans were a nice color but totally tapered. not 80s style tapered but tapered nonetheless -- i had no idea what the hell cuffing was, i didn't miss out on much apparently. i didn't even know that tapered jeans weren't cool by any, and every, standard, i just wore them when it got chilly. that first year, i tried to wear shorts until the last possible moment -- thanksgiving -- but eventually had to give them up.
babbs also has a great story about moving to michigan with tapered jeans. apparently us san diego transplants were all lost in jeans fashion together. hell, hong's jeans are still highly suspect.
bigger is better
luckily, i met a few friends from new york and they quickly introduced me to jnco's. you remember jnco's don't you? i don't think they were ever that hot in southern california, but apparently in new york (and the bay area) they were the jean of choice. at this time, i was also introduced to the idea of "leg openings." jeans were now three dimensional -- waist size, length, leg opening width.

the trend toward bigger and wider pipe leg jeans was just starting to pick up and jeans were advertised with "26-inches" on the sale ticket, as if buying bigger would compensate for smaller. just like exhaust or rims for a muscle car. prevailing to a man's insecurities sure worked because i immediately bought a pair -- for $50, a true fortune and a big ticket item in those days. hell, who am i kidding, $50 is a big ticket item for me still, ten years later.

those jnco's lasted me for years. even when i was too old to wear them, even when they were way past their prime (the style as well as the physical condition of the pants), i stuck to them. they were too light colored in retrospect but i didn't know any better.

the main reason i loved those jeans was not for the soon to be "raver look" but because those jeans allowed me to wear really thick sweats tucked underneath them. see, i hated skin on jean during the winter. my solution was to wear sweat pants (usually a really ugly green pair) underneath my pants at all times. only big jeans or snowpants were conducive to this effort. the main problem with those jnco's was that once it got snowy or rainy, they swept up everything as i walked. leaves, grass, dirt, water, squirrels, probably an underclassman or two were all stuck into and soaked into my jeans. disgusting. on the plus side, my jeans were good shelter in case of housing emergencies.

azure blue
near the tail end of college and post-jnco's, i went through a non-jean phase. yes, i experimented, but i did not inhale. i tried khakis, i tried cargos, i tried pinstripse and polyester. i tried those pants that could zip off into shorts. i tried it all in an effort to escape the jean. blue pants, black pants, green pants, charcoal pants, light colored pants. all of them failed me. cargo pants worked for awhile, but tell me when was the last time you saw somebody wear cargo pants successfully? exactly.

i returned to the jean. 32x30, purchased (always) at anchor blue. this was my secret source of jeans for many years. for under $30, you could purchase a nice jean in a variety of colors and styles -- mine was "beyond baggy." the black and dark denim versions became my nice jeans; the lighter and faded versions were designated casual wear. i experimented with smaller leg openings but decided that anything smaller than 20-inches just made me look funny. i had found my wardrobe home and along with my commitment to camo shorts and white shirts, i added the anchor blue jean for winter wear.

clear skies
recently, i discovered that i'd committed too soon. my jean was not 32x30 and beyond baggy. my jeans never hung correctly on me (lack of an ass will do that) and the bottoms still tended to be a tad wide and sweep the back of my heel as i walk. this resulted in my jeans acquired fraying at the bottoms. i couldn't figure out what was wrong. i figured that was just my style, but i knew, deep down, that i was missing something about the wearing of jeans.

i figured out what that was. after much pondering and analysis of other people's jeans -- i may have stared at male posterior views once or twice or a billion times -- i've discovered that i wear my jeans too short and too wide. too short because i was always concerned about fraying my jeans. too wide because well, i'm not that big. so i'm on the hunt again for my jeans, my ideal jeans.

the real key here is to wear big enough shoes so that despite your jeans being too long for your frame, they sit and sag nicely on the shoe. this i discovered once i started my collection (some say uniform) of jeans and converse shell toes. this is why skate shoes are so damn chunky. i'd always preferred the slim profile of chuck taylors but with heftier shoes, the sag and collection of the jean can be made above the shoe line, instead of dragging around on the ground. get it?

so in summation, the five factors of jean shopping are: length, cut(style), pipe dimension, color, and price.
for the record, james and lilly's friend punny once engaged in a "jean off." take turns naming brands of jeans. james was pretty damn good for a guy. then again, do we revoke his guy status for knowing a few too many brands? very impressive indeed mr(s) wang.

scrooge of all seasons  

12.20.2006 : 2:16 PM :
"we all know that bad gifts inflict a cost -- just think of the rigid smiles that greet an unwanted floral tie -- but it's surprising how big that cost can be. general, people spend a lot more on presents than they're worth to those who receive them, a phenomenon that he calls 'the deadweight loss of christmas.' a deadweight loss is created when you spend eighty dollars to give me a sweater that i would spend only sixty-five dollars to buy myself. why aren't we better at gift giving?"
-the gift right out-

i'm like a bird, i just evaluate  

12.18.2006 : 3:45 AM :
for some reason, every girlfriend i've had during my blog era has consciously decided to avoid my blog(s). some of them -- just three total, so "some" could wrongly imply a much larger number here -- begin by persuing it a bit, they want to know what it's all about, they get into it a little bit and they read avidly for a month or so. but in an inverse correlation, the further we go into the relationship, the less they like the blog. they're not always anti-blog, they're just anti personally reading it.

i've always been slightly confused by this. the reasons i've been given, or have figured out post relationship, is that this here blog always causes us to fight. invariably, something i'll say in it will set off a minor (and then major) argument. this two-act play is acted out to varying degrees depending on the girlfriend in question. i hardly say anything controversial here, much less incendiary and fight worthy. i've never fought with anyone else about anything on here, that's for sure.

i understand that nobody would want to read someone else's blog all the live long day. that would not only be time consuming but absolutely boring. we all have our own lives to lead, we only indulge in other people's when we have the time. or when we're at work.

so i'd never begrudge a girlfriend for not wanting to read anything i've got up and around. i mean, to be quite honest, most of it has nothing to do with us and if there's a chance that an entry could lead to a potential misunderstanding or argument, i'm fine with them avoiding the blog out of principle and goodwill. i do go out of my way to keep my specific relationship gripes, concerns, joys, etc out of this blog. many times i've wanted to just vent with details and situations, but i avoid it out of respect for them.

i'll transpose a version of myself (or other people's situations) on here when i talk about relationships, and generally the thoughts i express on the topic are hardly the stuff dream boyfriends are made of, but i'd hope that there's an understanding that it's not exactly me talking. i mean, it's me, but it's not me. the blog represents a side of me, and i'd like to think, a very one or two-sided dimension. i'm much more considerate (and funner) in person, really. cough.

still, this blog's been around forever. i'd conservatively say that 25% of my life is wrapped around something related to blogs. be it reading, writing, following, updating, pushing, pimping. and given that it's a pretty big part of my life, it seems totally weird to me that a signifcant other would choose to totally ignore it. and i'm not talking about just this. i mean, like everything. public blogs, private blogs, journal blogs, fun blogs, stupid blogs, faux blogs, o.p.b. (other people's blogs). i find that weird. it's like by association, all blogs have been sullied by my dirty name.

it's nice to have a space to myself, and i mostly could care less if a specific person (girlfriend or friend) reads this or anything else, but say i had a significant other who was voluntarily immersed in something that took up twenty-five percent of their mind and time power; wouldn't that sort of pique the interest once in awhile?

i've been told that maybe it's just too hard to keep up. i'm all over the place (not in a good way) in conversations, in emails, in blogs, in life. so maybe it's just too hard to bother keeping up with it all. which is fine, no problem. i'm the last person to complain about being the victim of an attention deficit relationship. but when complaints are lodged about my lack of talking and revealing and sharing, i stand there and think "what're you talking about? all my shit is public (or if it's private, they have it). what do you mean by i'm not sharing?"

i, like many of the bloggers i love to read, have had a blog for years. it's outlasted friends, jobs, cities, countries, relationships, clothes, hairstyles, everything. it's a written record, a time capsule, of those times. it's not rah-rah exciting, particularly relevant, or a pre-requisite for dating me, but when engaged in a relationship, wouldn't this qualify as a treasure trove of (skewed) insight and information? maybe that's just too much information though; some people prefer starting with a blank slate.

anyway, i have quite a few theories about why this happens; or seems to always happen. i'll have to expound on them at another time. for now, i'm just wondering for those people out there who blog a lot, do your signifcant others regularly tune in? or they leave this blog space as your sovereign territory? and heck, which would be better?

maybe it's too much of a shortcut to just send everything onto public or private blogs. perhaps signifcant others prefer that they can have ownership of things, thus they'd rather not be aware of the things that are constantly made public? what you share you do not have; which can be disconcerting when it seems like that might leave you with nothing? i don't know.

hey, that's one theory right there.


12.16.2006 : 7:23 PM :
i'm a sucker for time travel. faster than light, super string theory, quantum physics, anything that gets me there. everyone knows what the fourth dimension is, but what about beyond that? check out this video describing the tenth dimension and just nod along like i did. "yup yup, i knew this, surely, yes, yes." cue laugh track.

a connecticut yankee in king arthur's court  

12.15.2006 : 3:12 AM :
it's strange, to read someone's thoughts and to get caught up in their emotions and then realize that it's from three or four years ago. that's the problem with blogs (and journals) -- if you can call it a problem. everything spools out all at once and if you read straight through someone's writings, it feels like you're getting immediate open bar access to their mind and their heart.

the line breaks between posts don't give enough of an indication of the time span between when entries were actually made. that can mislead you into believing that this is the prevailing issue with the blog author in question. that's often not the case.

many people blog during (emotional) highs or lows. they're venting, releasing, updating, reliving, reconfiguring, resolving. all of those peaks and valleys don't always happen on a daily basis. having two bad days a month for twelve months -- equating to twenty four straight entries -- can make one seem to be in a constant state of melancholy; especially when that blog unfurls itself all at once.

only when you stop to really put into context the dates of the entries do things begin to separate from each other -- gaining distance and breathing room. but the feeling is still there, the feeling that all you've consumed in the past hour is reverbrating in the present or in the recent past. instead, it could be that these entries (and the accompanying life states and thoughts) were -- effectively -- from an entirely different person. a blog/journal doesn't chart progress or a sequential advance of time, it's just a series of (very brief) snapshots.

it's kind of a scary thing. but also rad i guess. i can only use "rad" here because for some reason no other word seems to fit. so, it's rad.

beta means bad  

12.14.2006 : 3:19 AM :
yeah, the switch to beta-blogger kicked my ass. in my rush to convert some of my blogs to beta (in order to get labels, instant publishing, some other fun things), i forgot to follow the first law of blogging. "there is always try before do." i dove into beta before i made sure that my blog could FTP correctly to my server.

guess what? the conversion didn't work. there i sat, screwed, unable to update, and dreadfully panicked. it brought me back to the good old days of blogger when things would constantly be in a state of chaos. it occured to me mid-panic that nobody would miss my five minutes of not updating, but i still felt the pressure to at least be able to post. just in case.

despite my seemingly solid grasp on all things computer-related, i have no idea how to really make anything work. there's a reason i didn't start to get into web pages and blogging until user-friendly interfaces were widely available. i'm not really a computer/tech geek, i just play one on aim. so, i exhausted all of my usual tech help channels and had to just pray that blogger would fix itself.

this is how faith works i guess. you jump, you panic, you wait for relief and cling to the hope that things will work out in the end. a few days later, here i am, blogging again. disaster averted; lucky stars and garters thanked. i guess at the base of things, i am religious.

a text text world  

12.05.2006 : 7:26 PM :
i have to rant here, because it bothers me so much. cell phones used as major plot devices in movies; totally ridiculous. in collateral, one of the (many) reasons i hated it so much was that at the climax of the film, jamie foxx is in a bad situation because his cell phone has no reception. his "bars are low." wait, you're telling me that the drama from this scene hinges on whether or not jamie can get reception? wow, exciting.

also, in the departed, texting plays a major part in the script. in the latest example that irks me so, casino royale, we see more shots of text messages than we do of the villain in question.

now, i love text messaging as much as the next guy -- i have unlimited texting, which is a godsend -- but i do not love the way text messaging and cell phones are incorporated into movies. i understand how difficult it can be to plot movies given our ultra-convenient and near-instant communication nowadays; many of our best dramatic moments -- in film, literature, real life -- are due to not being able to find somebody when we need them.

however, it's just lazy to use texts to convey critical plot points. would major drug dealers really rely on text messaging to confirm details and to provide security passwords? text messaging is a totally insecure method of communication and it's wholly unreliable. how many of you would trust your service provider with your once in a lifetime drug deal? not me.

the caveat here is that if drug dealers and criminals really did rely on text messaging and rock-steady reception to conduct their business, then i'd switch over to whatever service provider they relied on. "verizon: trusted by careerr criminals everywhere." sold.

if movie writers are going to use cell phones as an exposition crutch, then why not just give assume telepathy so we don't have to waste screen time showing cell phones ringing and texts being checked? telepathy is just as believable as consistent worldwide coverage isn't it?

it gets even worse when a character has been relying on his mobile phone the entire film and then suddenly the writers realize that having a phone would eliminate their "cool" dilemma. then we're forced to believe some inane reason for why the cell phone doesn't work -- or even worse, they forgot the phone at home. i can count on one hand the number of times i've left my sidekick at home, and i'm not a super hero, movie villain, financial hotshot, or drug dealer.

cell phones in movies, what do to, what to do?

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