Categotry Archives: Quick Updates

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Wasted Weekend

Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, Video Games Killed the Free Time, Tags: , ,

I am so frustrated. With myself.

I often think that the answer to everything is time. Time heals all things, right? Wrong, I know, but at least time should give one the time to do things. This seems almost tautological.

But I surmise that the way time is distributed prevents one from using it properly or effectively. There’s that old issue of distribution again. And honestly, I don’t have much to say beyond a reaffirmation of that last post. I don’t think time in the seat and working are values. I think that we should all be thinking. But when so much time is consigned to the proverbial seat, it gets very hard to want to do anything else with the rest of one’s time. So it gets overly wasted.

This is a common pattern, and one that I usually dig myself out of. After all, I just got things together to put out a quiz about 2 weeks ago. I shouldn’t be riding myself too hard. I think that I was telling myself about that productivity in justifying my utter squandrance of time yesterday. And now it’s Sunday night again, late. Very late. And we know all about Sunday night.

Is this blog getting too self-referential? I think it’s part of the larger story of this telling. It’s all related somehow. It’s all interwoven, interconnected. Like this overwhelming series of tubes.

Emily and I made a list of to-do’s today, though we only really got going into the day around 2:30 in the afternoon. We knocked off several, even got a Christmas tree and put it up. We cleaned the house. Got cat food. Washed and put away the dishes. Figured out where we’d be going to the dentist.

But the most important things remain uncrossed from this list. And just the idea of making a list, let alone a list as long as this (30+ tasks) of bland duties for the maintenance of life (very few are at all creative or interesting) is exhausting. I get run down very quickly by life’s repetitions and mundanities and upkeep. I think I kept my spirits up today, but the list is sitting there, making me a little nauseous.

And yet I waste so much time. So much. Utterly thrown away. I mean, yes, we all need recreation, but do I really need to play so many hours of video games? Really? How much does it take to recoup what work has taken away from me? Why does it seem like I never catch up?

It’s worse in December and late November. ‘Tis the nature of my current employ. I know it’ll be like this for a while, and I can get through it. Who starts a project in December anyway? But still, it’s got me down tonight.

This is chaff. But it’s important to put it on the board. Some day, I will have methods of discipline that do not compromise my need to avoid spending too much time on rote maintenance. Until then, this is how it is.

Future me, I hope you’re kicking me now for not knowing the answer, not because I remind you of you.

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Domain Registry of America (or: Never Trust Anything with the American Flag)

Categories: A Day in the Life, Politics (n.): a strife of interests masquerading, Quick Updates, Tags: , ,

At work today, I got a charming piece of mail from some new friends in Buffalo, New York! They invited me to renew my domain (I have a registered domain in my name for work that we haven’t managed to use) for the low-low price of $30 a year! (Market rate = $10/year.) It isn’t really an invitation so much as something that carries the universally accepted format for a bill. But ever fear, Americans, this invitation, stamped with the American flag on both the envelope and the fake bill, reminds me “You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web, and now is the time to transfer… Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web.”

To be completely fair, this document is probably legal (American flag aside). It does say, buried in the text somewhere, “This notice is not a bill…” (emphasis present in document). However, calling it a notice is confusing even in the disclaimer. This isn’t a notice at all. It’s a solicitation. It’s like someone referring to a telemarketing interaction as being a “notice”. That word sounds serious, important, and as though it would be an error in judgment to ignore. There is no better use of judgment than to ignore something like this.

And yet I’m not ignoring it. Domain Registry of America, I’m calling you out. Everyone should go pelt their website with virtual rotten fruit. Even their icon is an American flag.

I’m not quite sure why this particular piece of mail is making me so angry. Perhaps because there was just the briefest moment of pause that I was given when I opened it up, and I’m about as cynical as they come with regards to spam, phishing, junk mail, solicitations, and advertising. There was never a moment when I was about to break out a pen and a stamp, but my first thoughts were “Why are the rates so high?” and “How did they get my address?” This was followed quickly enough (for me) with “What on Earth web company handles renewals by mail?” and “Why did Active-Domain switch to this ridiculous name?” and then, of course, “Oh, I know how they got my address!” And then the anger set in.

We are legally required to post the address of contact information for every registered website and keep it current. Presumably, of course, so the American flag can send us mail trying to scam us out of an Andrew Jackson a year.

But why not? Andrew Jackson himself swindled half a country away from its people. So how can we complain about invoking his image, and the image he upheld, to lie, cheat, and steal?

The actual reasoning for the required registry of addresses probably has a lot to do with 9/11 and the WWE (War Without End). After all, if someone makes a threat on a website, it’s important to be able to hold a fall guy accountable for that. Police get very irritable when they don’t have a door to knock on or smash in.

So required registration gives them a door, or a collective set of doors to open the way for the real American way: enterprising swindling. After all, money is a conserved entity. No one is making it unless someone else is losing it. We get blind to this in the US, sometimes, because the people losing it are all over the rest of the world. In our own borders, the stealing is rarely so present and obvious as when it comes in a fake bill carrying a false flag.

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Uncollected Works

Categories: A Day in the Life, Blue Pyramid News, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, Upcoming Projects, Video Games Killed the Free Time, Tags: , , , , ,

While you’re waiting for the Country Quiz II to be out (maybe tonight?), here are some random assortments to tide you over. And if you’re wondering why there hasn’t been anything big, it’s because the CQII is about to come out. Latest calculations have it that it takes me an hour to write 8 answers, fully coded. There’s also the question tree (done a while back), the image collection (done more recently), and getting all the merchandising ready to go ahead of time (a significant time-suck). So it sort of saps the creativity. Non-stop writing and coding will tend to block out other writing.

The 2007 Mariners (in my MVP 2005 season) are 9-2 (.818) since switching back to All-Star level. One of the losses was a heartbreaker where Travis Blackley coughed up two solo homers in relief in the 7th inning of a 1-0 lead. They also lost the first of the 11 games on All-Star, so they’ve won 9 of 10. This is looking most auspicious, but admittedly most of these games were on a tour of NL Central ballparks – not exactly stellar competition. The sweep of the Pirates just completed was the first sweep of the season – in the second week of June. Just before, RJ took a no-hitter into the 7th in Milwaukee. Thus, the playoffs are looking at least like a longshot instead of an impossibility.

The CQ2 has 32 of 64 answers completely written. Full merchandising of about 80 items per design will be available at launch. Additionally, a new advertising strategy is going into place with the launch of this quiz. You wouldn’t want everything to be just like the original, would you? I briefly thought about holding the launch till the day of the 5th anniversary of the original (it would be 18 January 2008), but timed launches of quizzes have never exactly served me well. It’s going up this month, and probably within minutes of me finishing it.

After a few months of notable average improvement, I’ve gotten beaten down with the migraine stick this month. Maybe seasonal changes have something to do with it. I’m also noticing a November pattern, given how concerned I got about these things last year at this time. Still, overall severity seems down big in 2007.

After the longest-ever 4-day week last week, it’s hard to get as excited as I’d be inclined to be about a 3-day week upcoming. Who knows how long those 24 hours can be? But there’s reason to believe they’ll be relatively straightforward, a brief lull between twin storms of last week and the entirety of December. In other news, there is no news yet, but there will be by ’08.

Finally, Free Rice is perhaps the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

This is my 62nd post in StoreyTelling, in its 48th day. Duck and Covers count for exactly half (31) of those posts.

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News You Can Use

Categories: A Day in the Life, Blue Pyramid News, Quick Updates, Upcoming Projects, Tags: , , ,

Or read, at least.

You probably can’t help but noticing that this page has been overhauled, as the October season wanes and is replaced by an oncoming winter. At some point I may try to institute one of those snazzy things that lets you choose which theme to use when reading, but for now the change is complete, and affects back-posts. So the pumpkins are gone, either till I figure out how to let themes coexist or until next October.

Since we’re on blogging news, I want to introduce everyone to my Dad’s new blog, Qala Bist .com. He’s actually been writing since early October, but we’ve been ironing out the kinks of him having a blog, getting the style set, and so forth. My Dad and I, despite our uniqueness, rarely do anything alone. So it’s only fitting that he start this up now. I think you will find his posts to be much like his interior design, for those of you familiar with that… layered, textured, fascinating, and (above all) colorful.

I have a couple of larger post ideas brewing in my mind’s eye, but it’s just not happening tonight. I spent tonight on the phone, which was great but cumulatively tiring. There’s even more news on the horizon on several fronts, but nothing to really delve into yet. Except one thing, I guess: I can almost promise that The Country Quiz II will be out this month. Note the “almost”. But if I went ahead and promised, then I would force myself to make good on it, whatever the consequences.

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day.” Or perhaps “today was just a day fading into another.”

To read. To sleep. And not to dream.

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Smells Like Grandmothers

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, If You're Going to San Francisco, Quick Updates, Tags: , , ,

Glide has several buildings in the Tenderloin, and while I primarily work at one (the Family, Youth and Childcare Center), I often have occasion to visit the others, especially the “main” building at 330 Ellis.

This building is the home of most of our programs, including the free meals program, which serves 1,095 free meals a year, which just happens to equal (365×3).

The fog and condensation of San Francisco around this time of year (or really, any time of year) often creates a moist and damp atmosphere that certainly pervades the main building. After all, the door is always open there (it’s not just a metaphor). The environment, the very texture of the air is almost exactly akin to so many rainy or almost-rainy days in Oregon.

And thus, it just takes the right ingredients during an active or nearly-active meal downstairs in the basement, with all the hot air set to rise, to transport me to a kitchen in the suburbs of Portland, circa the late ’80s and early ’90s. Bacon, especially, helps. And maybe just a hint of cigarettes.

I have been a devout vegetarian for over a decade, but there’s something about the smell of bacon that I will never stop loving. That something is precisely this association. My mother’s mother lived in her bathrobe in the kitchen for a vast portion of the days that I would spend with those grandparents in Oregon. A chain smoker, she would chew on straws between the multiple packs a day. This probably doesn’t seem like a flattering image, but I adored my grandmother, and would make a special effort to be the first one awake every morning when my parents and I stayed at the house. She was always up before my grandfather, and I was always up before my parents. Early morning was our time, in the kitchen. And she would cook bacon and chew on straws and we would talk about politics and our day and play dominos and I would promise her up and down that yes, I would go to college and no, I would never smoke a single cigarette.

Tomorrow will be forty years exactly since the death of my father’s mother. Those of you handy with math can tell that this indicates that we missed each other on this planet by more than 12 years. And as much as I loved my grandmother who I shared nearly two decades of time with, the one I missed would have been my favorite. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of someone who would understand me better than she.

So I can only imagine. But for now, today, on the steps of the main building, they can share. Why not? And I’ll pause, take in a full breath of poisonous smoke and murderous bacon, and smile. This is home. This is a moment, a portal to worlds of youth and before I was born.

Grandmothers, I kept my promises.

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Out of the Woods

Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, Tags: ,

Just dropping a note to let everyone know that I am out of the woods (literally), having spent about 31 hours immersed in the woods and 41.5 hours without food.

I wrote extensively in a notebook while I was out there and I intend to transcribe the whole thing here. I think that will tell the story better than I can recount it, at least trying to recount it in too much detail.

Suffice it to say for now that it was a positive experience, but nothing exactly earth-shattering. (I’m not sure I expected it to be.) I didn’t get quite as much solitude as I was hoping for, but was sufficiently detached from the normal routines and distractions that I think I got a pretty good idea of the overall nature of the experience. It will be very interesting to see how I reintegrate with routines like work. I’ve already spent the last hour or so reconnecting with the online life that I detached from for the weekend.

I will say this: Chipotle veggie crispy tacos, already among my favorite foods in the world, never tasted so good.

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