Eyeless in Gaza
(24 August - 2 September 2005)
2 September 2005
-Two thousand days of Introspection. That's a really crazy amount of time. Every single day. Maybe later today, I will launch that 101 in 1,001 since it would take me through Day #3,001 of Introspection, which would be an easy-to-track milestone. It seems like a good jumping-off point if I can come up with 101 good things to do. Interestingly, this is also the first day in which I've had extra space for the Blue Pyramid, having purchased it recently in the wake of the high bytage of Duck & Cover cartoons. If they continue to take a lot of space, I'm not sure how much longer I can just keep buying more without it being cheaper to move to different servers. But in nearly 4 years with Coastland Tech, I've absolutely loved their service. So we'll just have to see what unfolds.
-The whole camera-phone phenomenon is a little too crazy for me.
-From a brief discussion with Fish, what percentage of people would declare their favorite book to be a fiction book vs. a non-fiction book? What percentage of people would declare a different book than their favorite to be the most influential in their life? Finally, if a significant portion would name two books for those two categories rather than one, what would be the breakdown of fiction vs. non on the second question?
-What a strange & interesting response... the Academy (my high school alma mater) is offering spots at the school to fellow independent school students from New Orleans & attempting to place them with local families. I remember debating people from Isidore Newman, which was as I recall in New Orleans & seems like precisely the type of students who could be enrolling at the ol' AA. I guess Albuquerque just seems like a fairly distant place to go for refugees, who would mostly scatter across the South or Texas in my imagination, but I suppose Nuevo would be a good place to get a certain distance. Good for the Academy for opening up their doors, but for an organization with so much money, it seems like a slightly awkward response when most of the folks suffering probably aren't independent school students who can get to New Mexico. But at the same time, just because poor people have lost things doesn't mean wealthier folks haven't lost things too. It's just somewhat harder to feel bad for the wealthy. Of course remembering my own experience, every school has financial aid & scholarship students too.
-I have decided that it's jacked to say you miss someone on something where you make no effort to identify yourself. Granted, I don't know that many people in Arlington, Virginia, but someone could be traveling or using someone else's internet, or live just a few miles away but still have their IP address in "Arlington". After all, my IP address puts me in San Jose. So people, if you want to say something with meaningful emotion, please take ownership of it.
-I've modified the Duck & Cover archive format to be more easily navigable & parallel to the format of most webcomics these days. Now there's an individual page for each strip, with a first/previous/next/latest navigation below each one. Starting tomorrow, the format of the images themselves will be a little streamlined, as I've found a way to better compress each image so I won't have to buy more page space every couple months. Gone are the full size (556x1556) images & everything starting tomorrow will be in a more compact 275x750 format. The comics initially presented in their old formats will retain their old formats.
1 September 2005
-It seems to me, when it really comes down to it... when all is said & done & we look back on history at this period, the earliest edge of the third millennium anno domini... that it will be seen & said that the powers that be were working very hard at convincing the United States of America to discard its smug superiority. To see that events mislabeled as "third-world trifles" could come home, & be very real. In doses that would have made few other countries in the world blink, the U.S. was crippled by violent attacks & natural disasters. The reasonable reaction seemed altogether too clear: to have instant sympathy for those that previously had seemed outside the bounds of sympathy; to come to the obvious conclusion that human suffering is a human problem, & that all this nationalistic nonsense only served to divide. The first time, given a clear opportunity to reach out, the United States reacted from hate & fear, drawing further inward & only reaching out with a hand of fury. What happened the second time remains to be seen. But it seems reasonable that there will be many more digits to follow if the reactions keep coming from that same platform of hate & fear.
-Today has been a great day for me personally, despite anticipation that it could be very trying indeed. Things are most definitely looking up.
-Ariel was writing the other day in an e-mail about how one of the great tragedies of the New Orleans hurricane is that the areas most affected by flooding are the poorest neighborhoods, which can least afford it & are least likely to be insured in any way. While of course the high ground is predominantly owned by over-insured rich folk. Who had way more means to get out of town as well. One of the key reasons that I believe in a socialism-based egalitarian society is that whenever something goes wrong, it hurts those at the bottom ten times as hard as those on the top. It's all well & good to talk schlocky capitalist theory about how those on the bottom still have a safety net of sorts, but when calamities happen, the bottom of the safety net is still under floodwater.
31 August 2005
-I've been trying to convince Fish that he should start a website. I hereby also extend encouragement to all my friends out there who might be considering it that they too should start (or re-start) a website. Hopefully that'll work on a couple people... Fish looks like he might be about to bite.
-Also, if anyone knows of any socially responsible advertisers who might want to buy some space on the Blue Pyramid, I'm thinking quite seriously of shifting my advertising strategy. Both because it's not working well & because I feel a little dubious about the current offerings. Though only one person has registered a negative opinion about the ads through the Feedback Form in the whole time they've been up.
-I'm actually toying with an experiment to see how popular the idea of taking quizzes of the 64 or 128 answer format has become. There's a small part of me that wants to spread the word about Duck & Cover via a quiz, which would determine which of the first 64 (there are only 48 as of today) strips of Duck & Cover most closely match your personality. Obviously the whole idea is innately absurd in some way, but I still feel that a lot of people would take it. The main question is whether it would erode the perception of quality of Blue Pyramid quizzes sufficiently to be trading the reputation for quality quizzes for a few extra people reading Duck & Cover. Which I'm not neccesarily prepared to do yet. Although at a certain point, I might just hit a critical mass of quizzes where it's taken for granted that some are hit & others miss. Hard to tell, the future is.
30 August 2005
-An apple a day may theoretically keep the doctor away, but it probably gets the dentist to come over. I've been wanting to get on a regular apple-eating diet, but I always forget in my initial enthusiasm how often apple skin or chunks nestle themselves between one's teeth. It's as bad & as consistent as popcorn. It is about 20-to-1 that I can sit down & eat a bowl of popcorn or a single apple without getting something stuck that will annoy me for the remainder of the day. So 95% of the time, I have an obnoxious reminder of what I ate dogging me all day long.
-Repetitive data entry even seems appealing sometimes, since I know it's a consistent job activity. & I'm finally making some real progress.
-Jake continues to be one of my funniest friends, especially in e-mail form. I'm convinced that if only he had sufficient venture capital, his creative ideas would have covered a decade worth of best-selling fads already.
-Hold the presses! The much-anticipated article on internet quizzes in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has been pushed back from the 1st till the 8th of September. So it's going to be up a Thursday later. My guess is that the hurricane pushed it back, given the Dallas Metroplex's relative proximity to the Gulf Coast. Ah well, a week later isn't too bad.
29 August 2005
-Well, I'm coming to you live from the newly resurrected computer! It's working again & running faster than I remember any sort of computer ever running in my life. I now have a 200 GB hard drive (up from 40) & got quite a deal on it, though it requires the use of mail-in rebates, the last 2 of which have just straight-up ripped me off. So hopefully we'll not go 3-for-3 in the non-refund category, or else I didn't get that good a deal on it. Combining this purchase with yesterday's additions of a tent & a backpacking backpack, Emily & I are spending money like it's going out of style. Hopefully that's being curbed now, & things will be working again. & even a real camping trip in the future! Things are most definitely looking up.
-The hurricane seemed to go through with way less damage than some folks feared, so hopefully Ariel's domicile will be left intact. & hopefully she hasn't been too hard-hit in Mississippi.
-There's been some sort of shootout stand-off outside Emily's office for the better part of the day, & she still hasn't been allowed out of her building. The excitement never seems to stop in San Francisco these days.
-Em got out not too much later than she would've anyway, though it seems the whole thing was a little overblown. Still, it kept Em in the building most of the day. If she had still been in the summer office, she would've missed having two major events just blocks from her workplace in SF in the month of August!
28 August 2005
-Looks like I might just need a new hard drive. They're relatively cheap, so it could be a lot simpler than trying to restore everything onto a hard drive that already has a fatal flaw. Though I'd start to say that the larger fatal flaw with computers these days is their lack of a real DOS. DOS was the best.
-Reading over entries from a year ago, it seems I was sick at almost exactly the same time last year (a little later, I suppose), meaning that I've had a major August cold in each of the last two years. & nothing makes one feel sillier than an August cold. Also, it appears it was only about a year ago that I started using Mozilla, which explains why my computer is dying. Six months of Internet Explorer will do that to you.
-I hope there's a city of New Orleans left to visit after this hurricane gets done with it. Ariel is safely tucked away in Mississippi, & may sadly get a head-start on her anti-possessions year.
-Also, late yesterday, I dispatched a one-table sit-&-go tournament on PokerStars faster than ever before. I won the thing in 44 minutes, personally knocking out every one of the 8 other players in the contest. If I could consistently make $17 in 44 minutes at poker, the landscape would look a lot different. But for now I'll just enjoy being able to do it once. After all, those tourneys usually take 75-90 minutes.
27 August 2005
-Today was just no good. Any time that spending an hour in a Pacific Sunwear in a mall is preferable to the alternative activity available, then you just know you're in the Land of No Right Answers. Ech. To top it off, everyone (Fish somewhat excepted) was in a profoundly foul mood after the last day of PIRG action, so things only rolled downhill when they could've entered celebration mode. So it goes. If it takes a really bad day to end Emily's life with the summer canvass forever, it's worth it. But still, blech.
-Wandered down to the Grand Lake with Fish to see "The Brothers Grimm". As Fish put it, it's just about exactly what one expects, but maybe a little worse. It's atmospherically decent, but horrendously overdone & fails to take itself seriously at precisely the wrong moments. Still, it was about 5 times better than "Broken Flowers". If you're looking for an atmospheric piece actually in theaters now, though, I still point you towards "The Skeleton Key". At least until the actually good fall movies start coming out to try to save this movieforsaken year. We also ran into Clan Dunbar at the Grand Lake, which was against the odds, shall we say. But we discussed the organ & just how much we love the Grand Lake.
26 August 2005
-A great poker night last night... seemingly another classic for the ages. We went all the way till 2 in the morning, which was way beyond expectations at the night's outset. Mostly it was Cameron, Jeremy, Fish, & myself down the stretch, though Josh did very well & Brandzy & Drew were still hanging around. I fluctuated between up $25 & down $15, winding up up $11, which involved an inspired comeback after being rivered on a $35 pot by Fish's straight draw. In short, craziness. & very good times.
-The morning rolled on for the next four hours with actually serious discussions with Drew & Brandzy about life, love, & the ways of a great society. It really has been one of the best months for hanging out with friends of my entire life.
-Argh. My computer is really frustrating me. I got all my files off just in the nick of time, but now it's refusing to be reformatted. I'm sure that I can figure out how to start anew & reformat the whole computer since I don't care about anything on it surviving, but right now it's stumping me. At least I found a way to start updating my webpage again.
25 August 2005
-Had 7 people staying in the Big Blue House last night (Em, Fish, Gris, Anna, Brandzy, Drew, & myself), which made for a buzz of activity this morning. It's been a stellar month of having everyone come together, though it isn't always fully conducive to productivity. But the timing has been near-perfect for me, so I just can't complain. Brandzy & I got some time to chill one-on-one as well, which is always best for really catching up.
-My computer is officially dying, after only a year & a half. It needs to be born again, never opening Internet Explorer ever. Hopefully this will commence soon.
-Mefears I play my best poker when no one is looking.
24 August 2005
Happy Birthday to Dad
-The good reading streak continues to roll on. Even though I've chosen a lot of highly charged books lately.
-Things on the world news front seem to be in a bit of a lull once more. August is predictable for that. Though I don't think I've officially come out & discussed how happy I am with the fact that Israel is pulling out of Gaza. Finally a legitimate step in the peace process! People deliberately sent to colonize Gaza are being withdrawn... now things might get somewhere. Let's hope.
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