There are so many intelligent and articulate people covering the hard-hitting
issues in our country these days, that I felt it was my duty to cover the
rather inconsequential bullshit that tends to make up the vast majority of
our lives. Actually, I'll just be griping a lot which, if you weren't aware,
doubles as a synonym for complaining, and as a descriptor for
a sharp pain in the bowels.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Re: Solutions

Well, the New Year is about to be upon us. Actually, depending on your part of the globe the New Year has already arrived. And with the arrival of a new calendar year comes the question of resolutions, a brief history of which can be gathered from the good old Wikipedia.

Currently, my resolution is 1280x800, I mean you know how that classic joke goes. In 2014 though, for real, I might finally have to get a new computer. But if anything, my resolution will likely only be smaller. I mean it will just be an entirely different dimension. Because that's what happens as you age, you reach new dimensions, and it affects how you view the world.

At the moment my resolution is brandy and bourbon infused and it adds a soft hue to a landscape basked in a continuing-to-fall powdery layer. The thermometer might read 4, but hey, who's to say what [fahren]hei[gh]t's we might get to next year.

So anyway all you inhabitants of the planet, Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


The thing about a conundrum is that it's nothing but a shared nundrum, and a nundrum is nothing but the drum of a nun. This is none too likely, and all too logical. A co-nun-drum then is assisted nun drumming, which could mean that we've got two folks drumming on a nun's drum, two folks drumming a nun, and both seem absurd enough to bring us to what a conundrum really is said to be: a confusing and difficult problem. And thank goodness as I think my efforts to break down the roots were otherwise tapped out.

Speaking of tapped out, could it be any more clear that it's that time of year? The end, I mean. Where at one point I branched off separate blogs to house fiction writing and song parody writing, that writing risks all running right here. 2014 then, the year I remember to keep those things separate, by which I mean actually updating those other blogs.

In the meantime, I'll think long and hard about my 2014 resolutions, just as I never do.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Twas the Night Before This Mess...

Little introduction is necessary for this improvised rendition of the holiday classic as it may or may not have happened for me this year after several brandies and some might say too much bourbon...

'Twas the night before Christmas, and somewhere in-house
A martini was stirring, to be placed in my mouth;
Some stockings were hung on the back of a chair,
Because we all know they'd shrink in the dryer;
The neighbors were watching some Walking Dead;
While I wondered whatever happened to Keds;
Some boogers in a 'kerchief, a desire to nap,
But first I needed tending to a big, healthy crap
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the can to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I shuffled with pants 3/4th up,
Since I'd not taken the time for wiping my butt.
A half moon was displaying if behind me you'd go,
And I could feel a light breeze there down below,
When what did I feel there dripping down my rear,
But the remnants of a fifth and more than one beer,
With a lingering hangover that could make me sick,
I smiled thinking of a drunken St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles my trousers down came,
And I stumbled and shouted, my cheeks red with shame:
"God, dammit! There's Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
Which is Comet? Which Cupid? Is there a Donner and Blixen?
Seeing fake reindeer in the midst of nature's call!
I must still be quite drunk after all!"
As heaves that post hurricane 40oz fly,
When I tried for vomiting, the heaving was dry;
So up to the housetop this drunkard he flew
With a gullet full of booze on this alcoholic Jew—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of John Wilkes Booth.
As I thought in my head, my face made a frown,
This was the dude that took Abe Lincoln down.
He was dressed in a suit, from his head to his foot,
Damn this was the dude that made Abe's life kaput;
Oh I thought how I'd like to break his back,
Though I guess that'd throw history all out of whack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! an unseen adversary!
His cheeks were quite gaunt, his nose like a fairy!
His damned little mouth was cast in a direction down,
And the 'stache on his lipe was as brown—doo-doo brown;
The hilt of a pistol was hidden underneath,
And I must admit he had rather nice teeth;
He had a slim face and no hint of a belly
But he was down on his luck and really quite smelly.
He was hungry and trim, with an anger not shelved,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a duck of his head
I was reminded how he'd shot honest Abe dead;
He spoke not a word, but pantomimed his work,
And cocked back that hammer—my god, what a jerk,
And laying his finger on the trigger it goes,
And that's about the end to this non-prose;
He fled from the scene, and just then I heard a whistle,
It was the damn kettle, I wish I'd disarmed Booth of pistol.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he faded out of sight—
“I'd do it again, it served Old Abe right!”

Monday, December 16, 2013

Social Meteor

Coming right on in from outer space are the people in your life who are adept at using social media who don't think you're adept at social media. These people aren't anything new in terms of their behavior, it's just that things are now cast through a social media lens. Really then they're not from outer space at all, it's just the behavior that's alien to me. It's this behavior (really, how many times will I say behavior) that has irked me for most of my life. In its simplest form, it's when people are jerks and don't think you know that they're being jerks just because you choose not to be a jerk or call them out in return.

You know what though? All kinds of people got all kinds of hang ups, and at the risk of sounding like a self-help pamphlet, the problem is rarely you, it's them. It makes me wonder if we're a collectively more miserable society than any before, or if we just keep a nice, fresh log of it.

As for things that don't stink: Boston's Logan airport. Okay, not strictly true. When I landed there in late November it did have a scent of cheesy foot. But this was counteracted on my flight out by the fact that security doesn't require a you to remove shoes, liquids...anything? I put a bag down, and I walked through a metal detector. No radiation beaming off of and also into me, no, oh right, I said the other things. Amazing.

And all that in a city that you might think would remain on high alert after the Boston Marathon bombings just eight months back. Speaking of, I might just sit myself down to read this article on the alleged/convicted bombers, at the very least because I'm glad to see that in-depth investigative journalism still goes on. I've only read the first three paragraphs but labeling it "the greatest act of terrorism in Boston history" might need adjusting. The British, after all, might have something to say about that. Still, it would be semantics to argue, and for the time being I'll take an antisemantic stance.

Adieu les hommes et les femmes, les garçons et les filles, et tout les autres de l'internet.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Time is short. Actually, that isn't quite how time works. I should say instead we can tend to be short on time. And in that time I don't wish to have to sign up, in, and for everything I am ever to be presented with on the Internet (capital I, because it's muh-I internet).

If a website won't let me read content without signing up, even if sign-up is free, I don't want to read it.

If an e-commerce shop requires me to create an account in order to checkout and make a purchase, I won't be making a purchase from there.

You get the idea.

It's easy enough to get all of my information. I shouldn't have to take the time to enter it so you can send me emails I never signed up for and I can endlessly unsubscribe from them and then you can ask a question as to why I'm unsubscribing that you'd be able to answer without my help if you filled out a corresponding checkbox when adding me to the email list in question and the checkbox would say something to the effect of, "this poor sod just wanted to buy a pair of novelty socks for a friend and now he will be forever bombarded with emails suggesting purchases."

Once you unsubscribe, I'm fairly certain they then keep a reject bin list that they let sit idle for perhaps a few months before re-subscribing you. I might be annoyed to get that email after unsubscribing, but they're banking on enticing me with a catchy headline, or maybe tricking me into opening it, merely so that I can unsubscribe. And mostly they just don't care because they can set it and forget it and I'll be on and off that list without any effort on their part.

Then of course there is the email confirming your unsubscribe. It's all a true delight. And if enough time's not wasted deleting, unsubscribing, and/or setting as spam, well, you could always blog about it. Something tells me I've even done it before but I refuse to waste even more time with a quick search. I can only imagine how you might feel reading this far.

On an uplifting note, here's a tale of a high school girl persevering through the puzzling illness that is MS.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


This is the holiday you get when you drop it through a filter and get only what you need. For me, it's family. I don't get round to seeing them enough so anything that essentially forces me to see them is a plus in my book. Why don't I see them more? Life, distance, choices, money, excuses. Not everyone likes their family, and so while I think of this holiday as a great gathering of family and food, feel free to substitute family with friends, friends who really end up being your family anyway.

Now sure the original tale of Thanksgiving that's taught, well at least in my day, is one rife with fiction, but that doesn't mean that good can't be squeezed out in modern execution. And when I say this, I'm not referencing Black Friday sales. It's a touch disturbing to me to look back and see how these same thoughts came to mind in the past. But there's also nothing wrong with a little consistency. Or a lot. Perhaps even a real whole lot (author's note: this last link contains an embedded image linked from a Lycos-hosted site. How about Lycos for a shout-out to the pre-Google days).

It seems there are plenty of those who dislike the homecoming nature of Thanksgiving and it's understandable. Being around your hometown and all that it entails can manage to be worse and/or more depressing than simply returning to see family and answer a lot of questions, and usually you're looking at all of these together. That I don't go to my hometown may have a softening effect for me. And let's face it, as much as people love to bloviate on the internet (what's that pot? oh hello kettle...), non-digital confrontation with honesty about ourselves is not a lot of fun. Knowing we should get our shit together is a little different than knowing we should get our shit together.

After that brief and cursory treatment of some of the struggles and intricacies of the fragile psyche, I'm going to leave with a link to a cartoonist I had the pleasure of meeting the other night, one Alex Nall. There was a time I read comics far more, from the Sunday offerings, to Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side compendiums, right on up to your X-Men and so on. Though I've strayed, I'm glad to have been brought back by someone like Alex, to see there are still those holding the torch, that there's still a beautiful honesty accompanied by nice art, and that the fundamental problems and struggles we have are age-old, in spite of shifts in outward appearance.

This all runs the risk of sending me off on a bloviant tangent, but I'll stop here since several sentences back I said I'd leave you. Sometimes I'm bad at goodbye.

At any rate, tally it up as one more thing I'm thankful for.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


There are words that rise and fall in popularity in our world. Several years back with the beginnings of the Google book project you could search in one of the offerings of Labs to see a word's popularity graphed by year. I am certain I once posted about this and that you can still do this but as I compose this (I'm trying to set a record for saying "this") post from my hi-jacked and out-of-date Firefox browser that presents much content in Japanese, I'm going to forgo looking for a proper link out of, well, laziness.

If you're a reader of this here blog from time-to-time, you'll note that, from time-to-time, I get incredibly (and probably unreasonably) frustrated by such excessive use. In the past that word has been "awkward" and oh how I'm aware that this is one half of the title of this blog. In the past that word has also been "sexy." Neither has completely disappeared, but hey once you vent to your blog I mean where do you really go from there? Seriously, if the entire world hasn't taken notice based on the 30-50 hits I tend to get, then I just don't understand. Maybe I need to learn a way to be more...disruptive?

Okay nail, I'm going to hit you over the head here. Disruption, disruptive, and any other use of this word —I'm so disrupted I can't even think what all of the forms are and I'm deciding not to Google on my predominantly Japanese browser —have got to stop being used. Now it's true, it's a function of what news you focus on, who your friends are in social media and, once you've seen a word, how much you choose to focus on it (there's a scientific term for this phenomenon that I also won't Google — go brain!), but I promise you, DISRUPTION is everywhere. It's the buzz word for how to be entrepreneurial and innovative and attract attention to change or, um, disrupt, the status quo. But most of these things do no more to disrupt the status quo than but to place disruptive, disruptor, and so on more firmly in the ether. Because hell, as I'm sure I've said, and at any rate I'm sure you just know anyway, when you use a word over and over its emphasis, its power, is diminished.

If I wanted to distract from disruption I could cite the prevalence of overly-enthusiastic language storming through the web in the form of sites like Upworthy that contend that everything happens to simultaneously be the most mind-blowing, earth-shattering, life-changing shit in history. The only thing there might be more of than canned enthusiasm on that site is share buttons. It's the other side of the Epic Fail coin, a movement that was nice and eponymous. Ordered regular, got decaf! Not epic fail. And look, I get it, we're about click-throughs on this Internet — which I know well from not getting a lot — but holy hell, how about a little gradation? Think if every day I took the biggest shit of my life? Well shouldn't I realistically start to worry about my colon, my diet, and perhaps the size of my asshole?

I apologize for the use of profane language in the preceding paragraph, but should it not be expected in a place where griping is listed near the top of the list? So hey, let's disrupt things. Let's stop calling everything disruptive. Let's look at a thesaurus. Bollix? Upset the apple cart? These are excellent. You can even abbreviate that last one as UTAC. I can't wait for that to be the name of some new agency! UTAC that one right to the bank...

Monday, November 18, 2013

I'm From Nowhere

As good old Facebook seeks to expand how much information it has about you, it's been desperate to know my hometown for a little while now. It does a good job of assessing where I'm probably from based on how many of my friends claim a certain place as their hometown. But what is really excellent is the last option: I have no hometown. As it is, even my hometown had a hometown. Well I suppose you can say it still does. At any rate I'll continue "suffering" through my incomplete profile.

I'm not a good Facebook user. Too many people send too many requests. The problem of course, is that sometimes I want people to see messages or notifications I send them on there, but I'm likely lost in the same world of mass they are on my end. Ah the social media vortex. Instead I stand at the edge from time-to-time and do my best to not let gravity pull me fully in.

Speaking of gravity, the gravity of language is something I consider probably far too often. It ties into what I was just getting at all too well. When there's so much presented to us so easily, how can we boil down to what matters? Well nevermind that since I'm not going to come to some grand epiphany at the time being. Instead I'll just have fun reading apartment listings that say things like "Heat, Water, and Garbage included!" Now you might think that an apartment full of garbage wouldn't appeal to anyone but Oscar, but remember the old adage: "one man's trash is another man's treasure." I wonder what the implication of that adage is for women...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hall of Wien

For whatever reason, Wien has been on my mind today. I suppose it's simply Wien being pronounced ween and the last syllable of today's holiday, coupled with my childish amusement concerning speculation as to residents call themselves Wieners. I mean, they're either Wieners or losers, right?

And speaking of losers, we've definitely got Ventra. As I mentioned in the past and as you might have noticed if you were a Chicago transit user, the system is performing rather abysmally. And it's tough for the employees of the CTA, many of whom I have interacted with over the years, and many of whom I like. People get pretty frustrated with the service already and there's a tendency to take it out on someone wearing the logo. Throw in another wrench with Ventra and I worry about the remaining hair on the already one-third bald head of a man at my nearby station.

CTA's pretty aware of just how unenthused riders are with the crap service — though not aware enough to have considered not implementing the unnecessary "upgrade" in the first place. Alas, profits [for someone]. The result is that the stop I get off at every morning has recently acquired a new jovial man to greet everyone and to tell us all to have a wonderful day. I know why he suddenly appeared and I'm sure other riders do too, but that doesn't stop me liking the guy. Using such a tactic only makes me dislike the CTA even more, but hey, I'm transported most of the way to work without having to do anything but stand there. That can be a little more difficult at rush hours, but hey, other people want to travel most of the way to and from their destination without having to do anything but stand there too. Some of them even sit.

In the spirit of Halloween, Kind was giving out bars this morning. I could have sworn when these launched they were nothing but natural ingredients but now they've got the soy lecithin and the soy protein isolate of every other "bar." Or perhaps they were always loaded with these artificial goodies and now they just choose to report it. Either way, doesn't seem so kind to me. What I mean is they're not the kind of thing I want to be putting in my body. Not at a premium cost, and [almost] not for free. But not eating free things that aren't good for you wouldn't be following the spirit of the day. Sometimes you gotta give into the spirit.

A Happy Halloween to one and all.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

All Hallow's Eve's Eve

If you're a regular reader of this blog, that probably means you're me. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you also know I am a harsh taskmaster to myself regarding posting four times a month. And though that corresponds quite nicely to weekly, sometimes I get behind. And while I can get behind getting behind (as well as getting behind a behind), I can't abide the missing of deadlines. Not when I know they exist. I've never missed a deadline I knew existed. The problem is I'm just not always aware of the deadline.

Those lines are pretty dead, which is only fitting for The Day of the Dead, or day of the undead if you will (you must, it's my blog). But I've no burning desire to talk about vampires, nor zombies for that matter, even when cranberry.

Tomorrow there will be children and adults in costumes but so it was today and perhaps every day since last Saturday. Sure I understand how excited people get for Halloween (actually, I don't entirely, I'm not much of a costumer of note), but hey it's already a franchise, so go and enjoy how you like though, if you're using fake blood, maybe it's time to stop using Heinz since they too have gone to the conglomerates. Businesses of the world are always falling to conglomerates, so I guess Heinz was just playing ketchup. Independent companies can continue to join the dead it seems.

Anyway, tomorrow there will also be candy, and you don't have to be from Mars to be excited about that. After all, you could also be a dentist...or a doctor specializing in diabetes.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Somewhere in a Vienna Airport...

There's a book I wrote and had published in limited (5 copies) release -- since I had a coupon code for free printing and I love deals. The secret romantic in me has a lot of love for the found object and it perhaps being a sort of serendipitous event. To that end I'd decided I should drop off a copy of said book somewhere in Europe while there with the wife-to-be. There was a most excellent venue presented to me in Prague, but alas I wasn't carrying it. Or I may, in fact, have just been too nervous about it. Probably overzealous to drop it in the Kafka section. With a touch of sadness, I czeched out.

Nearing the end of our journey another great and eclectic book shop within the Museumsquartier that might be this place presented itself. Again I don't recall whether I was bookless or ball-less in the circumstance, but once again opportunity passed. After all, it's a little embarrassing to stick your own book into a place like that.

So at last I gave into halfway guerrilla marketing, purchasing the latest Junot Diaz book at an exorbitant rate in a Vienna airport book shop, and replacing it with my own offering. Inside was just an inscription hopeful that someone would pick it up, read it and, most importantly and least likely, enjoy it. Who's to say how much of this will or has taken place as one thing I didn't do was include any sort of contact information, save even a link to this blog or perhaps a twitter account.

At any rate, between the swapping of [book] places with another writer from New Jersey, and that the book is about an itinerant and then left in an airport, it all seems to have come in not too far shy of 360 degrees. Sometimes you don't get to find out where or how a thing ends up. And since fiction is about inventing outcomes (or lying and calling them invented -- one might use the terms "repackaging" or "repurposing"), an invented future for this work fits just fine.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tee Mobile

But isn't every tee mobile so long as you pull it out of the ground? Or you throw it on as shirt. Tea can easily be mobile as well, as it was for a certain tea party. Mobilitea even has it built right in. And, just in case, a list of the other set of tangents I might have selected. But maybe tea's not your bag. But look, what I'm really getting at, unfortunately, is T-mobile, and this ad I didn't see on TV a few minutes ago, but just as I typed that, the ad appeared again, a couple of parents saying something about their son for this Catch Jeremy campaign. And I went to that link because I'm familiar with the name. And if you've read this far, don't go to that link, unless you already have, in which case it's too late. And we could discuss how stupid it all is, but honestly, that's the first thing I'm discussing for the month of October? Synopsis: thinner Jared aka old Verizon guy is meant to be globe-trotting and has a crappy international data plan. I think. I just scrolled a bunch to avoid wasting even more of my time. Basically, if Evan Ratliff from Wired could be found trying to stay off the grid, it wouldn't be very hard to catch this idiot.

The woman to whom I've recently become engaged wishes I weren't engaged in this right now and instead maybe mentioning the fact that we've become engaged. So I, who clings to a vague anonymity on the internet (but clearly, with what I linked above and the fact that I'm blogging at all is quite vague indeed), will make quick note of this milestone. In real life this is a huge deal (at least for me, who plans to do this once), but here on my nonsense blog, actually it still matters. In a place where absolutely nothing and thus everything is sacred, you've got to keep track of the milestones.

 And that's a wrap.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Running Out of Ideas

There's a phrase "running out of your mind." In general it's come to mean when you run so well, so beyond any expectation, that the reality of it is difficult to grasp within the standard boundaries of the brain, which tends to operate on logic and limits. For me I always thought of it as those rare moments when I'd run and my body was moving independently of my mind. Mind you this doesn't happen often and perhaps it's not something every runner aspires to. I tend to think of this in race specific scenarios, meaning those races where I don't think at all for the majority of the race and just latch on, mindlessly to another runner, with hope the leader. I wait as long as possible to take action. This does happen on routine runs as well. I'm just moving, and don't have to give thought to anything as I almost can't feel my legs.

This is different from the runner's high. The runner's high I describe as an often elusive feeling of effortless perpetual motion — different than not even feeling my legs, it's a touchy and semantic training ground here. I can seemingly go forever and considerations of pace are ludicrous, just as they would be when running out of my mind. There are no limits, there is no beginning or end though you stop at an arbitrary and predefined point. I have never had the runner's high in a race, though I have run out of my mind as I said, and the distinction is likely drawn upon due to nerves. Running out of your mind, for me, is to tell yourself for the longest time that it's not a race, it's just running. Oh sure, at some point it becomes a race, but you seek to delay it.

Now I take back what I said about the runner's high in a race. It's been there. Once. In the scenario I expected to win and my opponent's attempts to be in the lead or anywhere near me were actions to which I took offense, which is a stupid and, unfortunately for me, natural occurrence. I want to be in the lead. We can be there together, but if I sense you upsetting the delicate balance, I want to get away, I want to be alone. This is what I think of as the loneliness of the long distance runner. For me I want to compete, I want to win, but it's just so that I am alone at the end of it all, until I am scared as that arbitrarily defined finish point approaches that I am truly alone, and scared as well that I am not.

But that race I spoke of was a time trial training run against three separate pairs of legs belonging to teammates. I ran away from the first and the second started when I approached. I ran away from the second and the third started when I approached. And as he took off at a speed I knew he couldn't sustain, the runner's high struck. I walked him down as the old racing phrase goes, and I was alone as I like it and I stopped, finally, where my coach was waiting, but I could have kept going.

Thoughts of this spawned from my run this morning, where I did something separate from all of this, I ran my mind out. A spike in the heat fatigued my body through dehydration, with salt depositing on my face in the wake of evaporated sweat the way it often did in the past when I felt 13-15 miles was the natural morning's activity after 13-15 drinks. This was called a weekend. And when it's through, the world appears brighter. Yes, my goddamn eyes seem to take in more light. I don't know why this happens exactly, but I do know that I like it. This is why you can believe a person when they say running is their drug.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jer-see, Jer-do

There's a joke, a pun, some wordplay in there somewhere as I write this from nowhere, nowhere but the toilet that is. What better place? Speaking of what better place, what better place than Jersey, my home of homes, for its true that I lived there for the better (and worse) parts of 24 years. Any and all such trips to the motherland awaken within the beast a certain forlorn peering into the past, tinged with wonderment that the you that was then ever even existed. Certainly it shaped the you of now, but with how out of touch with the you of old you are, it seems strange.

Anyway, Jersey is as lush as ever. Along the Raritan towpath you wouldn't guess at the factories that surround Newark Airport, or the entities that constituted the cast of the once-relevant (and then, only in certain social circles) Jersey Shore. Alas, fitting that they've fallen victim to the almost unknowable past of my own Jersey, albeit theirs easier to access due to prodigious quantities of video, picture, and other digital content.

Jersey also brings, for me, the relaxed and easy humor of old friends. So, for whatever else, thanks for that Jersey. I'll see you again, not soon enough and too soon.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tuned In

I'm never actually at the cutting edge of newly released, or underground, or "hip" music (I'm classifying all of these as separate items though there is inevitable crossover). As I age, it's only getting worse. I do, however, know some songs. Now it's one thing when a new song bites on an older tune that maybe we're expected to only have a vague subconscious association with, but when new songs take their cues from other popular songs not even five years out, well perhaps it just speaks to the increasingly ephemeral nature of memory and lasting impressions. After all, we're bombarded with so much content, we simply can't remember as far back as we might have -- there's only room for so much.

What that introduction is getting at is quick observations on listening to a couple of new Fall Out Boy tracks. I'm more than happy to say I enjoyed a couple of their past songs, but generally they just don't do it for me. No big deal. However, in listening to "Just One Yesterday" I'd say it's rather impossible to hear the beginning of the song and not start singing "There's a fire, burning in my..." in your best Adele voice. As youtube comments show, I am neither the first nor the only person to observe this. As far as "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark", I couldn't help but hear Kanye West's "Power." It's not identical but it sure is close.

Something much more worth noting however is the switchover occurring at the CTA to the new Ventra system. This has been going on for quite sometime, and it's pretty obvious where the real gains are. Apparently the technology was getting outdated, but the old CTA VP of Tech just happened to work for Cubic, the company that got a $454 million contract to implement this new necessary technology? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. I mean, poor Cubic went through the trouble of creating this new technology, we couldn't just have them sink that development cost by not giving them a bloated contract, could we? The good news is they'll now cut a bunch of jobs to make up for budget shortfalls. And they'll increase the fare cost by 33% starting in 2014. I'm not an accountant, so care to tell me how the $454 million implementation works in conjunction with the apparent $10.3 million per year in losses the CTA's taking?

At the transit stops they've been giving out nifty pamphlets too, to explain how the Ventra system is better! Fewer cards to keep track of! Actually no, you only ever needed one. Whether it was the papery piece with the magnetic strip like the MTA or MBTA or the plastic Chicago Card Plus you could tap on the machine, that was it. So far I see frequent moments of the Ventra scanners going down. The more technologically advanced you make a thing, the more opportunities it has to have something go wrong. Everything Ventra'd, nothing gained.

As we said in my safety patrol days then, "Start walking."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Future is the Second After You Read This

Though it was a little warm yesterday and a bit humid today, we're settling in on what is fall. The days are already notably shorter, though it's still a blessed eight weeks until the terrible shifting of the clocks. Wake in darkness or leave work in darkness?

But for now people are still riding their electric skateboards and wearing their cyclist's equivalent of a dashboard cam, which is just a camera on their head. In the case of the former, it was just one dude, and while the technology to have a motorized skateboard isn't new, I don't think I'd actually seen one before. If you were expecting that they guy looked and acted like a douche, you'd have been correct.

As for the cyclist with the headcam, this isn't that new either, but once again I'd never seen a person wearing one for general consumption. Also, rather than being attached to his helmet, he had it on his forehead. Nor did he appear to be a very competent cyclist, leading me to wonder just what kind of footage he'd capture on a typical ride. It might be time for me to wear one when I run to take note of cyclists being extreme assholes. This isn't anything unique to cyclists, assholes abound, but it's well-established that I have a gripe with cyclists.

It's a successive string of natural environmental enemies -- cars pose a danger to me too, especially the frequent stop sign rollers and cell phone involved Range Rover drivers (lots of drivers have pulled dumb shit, but there are a disproportionate number of Range Rovers and/or my brain recalls them with greater ease). But cars, pedestrians, and runners can universally agree on hating cyclists. It's a shame because as with any group they're not all bad. Some simple things worth remembering might be: if you want the road rights of cars, you're going to have to start observing traffic signals (things like stop signs and red lights), and moving into the blind spot of a bus or making a right turn across and in front of a bus is not really a good idea. And whatever I say, just remember that your helmet is your seatbelt.

I know what you're thinking, it's a good time for a snack.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Digitally Speaking

After thinking I had put down all that I might need to regarding observations in Central Europe, there was something else I put my finger on that I asked my traveling companion/roommate/girlfriend to corroborate, namely the decided lack of digital plug-in of the general populace. That sentence is one horribly convoluted way of saying we didn't see a lot of people staring at their cell phones. Given my general technological griping here in this interspace, it should come as no surprise I counted this a plus. People were instead actually engaging with one another or, even if they weren't, they were at the least not consulting some device but instead simply enjoying the quiet.

Sure, there were instances of it here and there, like in airports where there were business men making business calls using business terms as they went on their business travel, but even then it was using just the phone operation of the "phone," that part of the handheld device that seems to get less and less use.

The other thing about the bulk of Euros we encountered: they love t-shirts with any and all American words. Phrases that don't make any sense? No big deal, it's got English on it! I think I know where to start out selling my t-shirt line called something like "American Word." It was endearing and disturbing at the same time.

Lord knows I could keep on going on about things such as this, but instead here's just one more American word for you: later.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Language of Disappearance

Whenever I travel to a place where they speak a language other than English -- a rarity -- the trouble is that the inhabitants of this place speak English. Sure this is in a lot of ways great for me, one not very adept at other languages, but I can't help but think it's also a shame in what it tells us about alternative cultural appreciation here. After all, we don't provide all these other peoples the benefit of speaking their language when they travel to the old US of A. Then again, they wouldn't be learning English if it weren't a business and lifestyle necessity. Alas, such is the cost of globalization, progression, unfication, quotation marks wherever you think I intended them.

At any rate, it's easy for the visitor to cast the wistful eye at foreign places without a full grasp of what it is to actually live there. What I can tell you in my latest visits is that in the Central European cities of Prague, Budapest, and Vienna, people do not run without shirts on. Even sizeable tourist groups from Italy (granted they happened to be teenagers), land of fashion that would attract a skeptical eye in America, do not understand the shirtless runner donning short shorts. I'm still on my quest to discover what it is about this situation that sets so many ill at ease. After all, in Budapest for instance there is no shortage of baths, where same-sex nudity is unquestioned, and in Prague there are ample banners for escort service -- not to mention the city being well-known for its technically illegal, but blind eye more than turned and in fact approving of services to improve tourism. Hell in Prague I'm pretty certain I encountered a Brit taking good advantage of such access (I took his photo with a barely obliging woman at 6 in the morning) and in Vienna another Brit seemed to have brought an escort to 9:00am breakfast. But look, by no means should you run without your shirt on. A shame that Freud's no longer over at Berggasse 19 to help come to a precise psychoanalytical conclusion

And now, at this point, it's natural to wonder if the likes of Mozart and Beethoven went without wigs when they were out on long walks (maybe not Beethoven since he was blind) composing the classical music we still listen to today and, if so, whether they were looked upon strangely by peers. After all, "wiggin' out" is derived from the situation of one entering society without one's wig on, hence exposing the true self. Witnessing a person wig out makes people uncomfortable precisely because it exposes true nature and innately we fear the dark inner self.

On that note (a b-flat according to Wolfgang Amadeus), I'm going to head back to reality.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Summery

Well shit, it looks as if the summer is nearly through, even if fall technically doesn't begin until late September. Calendars aside, the weather has been decidedly fall for some weeks now round these parts. It's a shame because while I'm quite the sweaty beast, one of the benefits of living in a climatic zone that has notable seasonal differences, is those notable seasonal differences. If it's going to be cold as monkey nuts (assuming those are always served chilled, or right out of the freezer), it'd be great to have summer last at least its usual length.

The kind of summer I'm talking about is the kind of summer going on here. Sure it's doofy britpop selling teenage sex but that's not a new phenomenon and at least they're obvious about it with the giant inflatable banana and all. Come to think of it though, the people in that video are primarily wearing slacks and there is many a long sleeve present, so that's not quite the summery heat I'd meant. What a video like that really drives home is that I've been missing one heck of a beach party for probably 17 years now.

The last thing I'll say about the weather is that it allows for those bringing about the return of dressing like these lads not having to worry about looking a slobbery mess.

The boutonnieres, I admit, haven't actually hit yet for regular daily consumption, but I can only imagine it's just a matter of time.

But young folk have reason to dress sharp. After all, they are surely applying to jobs like these. And rather than be discouraged by reviews like this one,  I would think they might be excited by the prospect of a trusted colleague "pour[ing] feces down their throat." I suppose that is what they mean by shit job. It's great to see Bob Bland, CEO respond directly. Honestly though, for being Mr. Bland, it sure sounds like an exciting place to be.

Speaking of exciting places to be, I'm sure we've all got one. Well, at least more exciting than this dark corner of the Internet. Perhaps those Mods above could head to 1996 and drive the limos for Blackstreet. Play on playas.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Secret

No not Victoria's Secret, that delightful self-help book. The secret is that there is no secret and I don't understand how someone could read that book and not feel cultish, weird, and a bit dirty. But that's just because I have a negative outlook and bring it to that book or so the story might go.

I actually think there is something to having a positive outlook on life, rather than dwelling on the negative, but unfortunately thinking positively about things doesn't actually make them happen. For the privileged folk spewing the fecal matter in this fine piece of print, I suppose this works. Or maybe one day they awaken in their vapid wasteland of a life.

But hey, I'm actually a relatively positive guy or positively a relative guy, I always get those confused. Take today, where I put on my shirt before my pants for about the first time ever and the result was such that I'd tucked only the back of my shirt into my waistband (when really none of it should have been tucked), and meanwhile my fly wasn't done up. Did I freak out? No, I took it in stride, laughed to myself and apologized to the large group of schoolchildren that had to witness it all.

Even with my fly down, my secret wasn't revealed.

Until next time internet, you stay data rich.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Life in Contechxt

Frequently in life of the flesh and in life of this Internet I go about bemoaning technology. What better sounding board for it than the medium(s) it/themselves, right? Focusing on the Internet in particular, I once spent a great deal of time on here. As it happens, I still do, as for eight or more hours per day at a workplace I am in front of a screen and connected, and here I am now in hours at which I am not at a workplace. That alone is 33% of the day. And given that I sleep ~ 6 hours/night, we're talking 4/9th of my waking day, so ~44% on weekdays. Except tack on maybe another hour to be unsafe and that's 9/18 or a full 50% of my day (on weekends probably 11% or less), 25% for sleeping, and in the 3-4% range for a run so I'm left with about 21% of the day.

I'm leaving out cooking, eating, pooping, commuting, and some other things. That isn't a whole lot of leftover time, even with my reduced web use. As is often mentioned, it's not the presence of technology so much as what we do with it. And for me, it's often been about reading. Of late it's taken me to stories with 'beginners' in the title. If you've read this far, do yourself a favor and read the high quality Raymond Carver short story  "Beginners" (thank you Internet for making it available). And then maybe if you've got more time, sit yourself down to absolute beginners. Where that book deals with the absolute beginner as the never before existing teenage class with expendable income in a backdrop of 1950's England, now we've got the technagers who won't have experienced life before the web. But thanks to it, they can know all about Webb.

Well shit, that's July.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Life: All It's Hacked Up to Be

A few weeks back, I started to get some unsolicited emails from a site called Afroromance that I had in fact not signed up for and which I chronicled rather unexcitingly here. These kinds of things happen, though I'm not sure exactly why someone would have registered me for such a site. I assume there must be some technique whereby my clicking somewhere or filling out some form would then allow them to steal my personal info. I hope they're having fun with that.
Still, in seven or eight years of Gmail use, this kind of thing largely hasn't happened. Sure, part of that is a function of my not just plopping down my email address everywhere, but it's also probably a credit to Google (even if I might espouse their evils at times, even on this blogging engine powered by them).
Signing up for a new Yahoo account in order to use messenger for work purposes however quickly resulted in someone creating a Twitter account for me that follows the following: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, and two Chris Paul fan accounts. Seeing as this account had no tweets, I do have to wonder if this was created purely to boost followers for these NBA stars. And I wonder if it was this same industrious human or automaton that went and sent up a Facebook account for Solomonodero Mubido. As it happens, I like this as a pen name, though I might drop the fourth 'o' in Solomonodero to be just Solomondero. One less syllable gives it better rhythm and tongue sound.
Speaking of sound, this sounds like a good time for me to wrap this up. Solomondero out.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Six Years, Six Days

The title is the period of time this blog has been live. It seems like a long time. Every now and then I wonder of the implications if I'd kept a journal (men's diary) for this same period of time. But alas Diaryhea never afflicted be.
Back to the standardly unstandard contents of things here, the other day I was wondering whether the TV show Will and Grace has double entendre implications, like not only are the stars of the show named Will and Grace, but there was a suggestion of a theme of the show being these qualities. Survey says, doesn't matter.
Back in the day I watched many an episode of W&G, or any other NBC sitcom. It certainly was skewed by not growing up with cable TV but, with the exception of Friends, I felt like a lot of solid comedy was coming out of primetime NBC. These days I wonder if there is anything or if there will be anything so zeitgeist-defining as a Seinfeld. We have so much choice at our disposal, that we simply aren't tuning into universal programs anymore. I'm pretty sure NBC trademarked the slogan "Must see TV," and I have to wonder if they could use that anymore.
These days my TV viewing is confined to Pretty Little Liars, my latest entry in the teen market. Things get a little sexy on there sometimes, which is a surprising for ABC Family (I say this not watching any other ABC Family programs). 

Perhaps halfway through the second season of the show I started to wonder if it weren't all just some elaborate coffee ad as the main characters are ALWAYS DRINKING COFFEE. Or rather they're not drinking it, but at least holding coffee cups and raising them to their lips in avatar/advanced/devanced improv fashion. The point is that the implication is that they are drinking this caffeine-imbued beverage. Again, ABC Family, teenager see, teenager do.

I can't tell you precisely what it is that ropes me into shows like this, but I can tell you precisely what begins to turn me off and it's the repetitive, formulaic structure and manufactured emotion meant to move the viewer. The nice, dizzying 360° camera rotation around a character in despair, accompanied by some pulse-raising swell of string music. It might work the first time, but when you have to do it over and over and club me over the head with it, I remember the decided lack of music whenever I might have a little bout of anxiety. Then again, I'm not dealing with a serial killer/stalker in my day-to-day life, so I've got it pretty easy and perhaps if I was dealing with this as a high-schooler things would spin 360° and the orchestral sounds of my own experience playing in an orchestra would swoop me up.

The real problem — aside from my perhaps overanalyzing is that TV, books, movies, and so on are concentrated slices of life. With the ability to pick what is shown, just as you and I pick what we tell in our stories to one another, you've got to pick well. If I tell you the same story over and over you might get a little tired of it (I have done this, people have pointed it out), and that's what happens here. Things aren't evolving, the same mistakes are made — and hey, sure, we do repeat ourselves life — but any artful crafting is removed in the name of keeping the machine going. Characters just do the thing to cover up the plot twist rather than acting consistent with character.

And I wouldn't be keeping with character if I weren't getting frustrated by a show lingering while continuing to watch JUST TO SEE AN END. But I can change, and I could always just write some fan fiction.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Indeependants Day

I'm definitely phone[tically]ing this one in over here. The fourth of July which we celebrate as a day of independence draws forth the particular effort of titling this here entry. What exactly constitutes independence and freedom is on the brains of people these days given a certain frozen-element-room named individual who released information regarding our government's consumption of "personal" information. Other countries are bummed we were keeping tabs on them, but then they should probably have been doing a better job of keeping tabs on us. So long as you're keeping tabs on the tabs being kept you're all set.

The inability to account for some tabs is of course also a major problem for worldwide economics, from the monetary trust standpoint of whose money is where and who exactly owes what to whom and can we expect them to repay it, but as well from the will people want to continue doing business with us considering the other tabs we're keeping.

Let's forget all of that though, and just enjoy our fellow Americans and grilled meats and meat-substitutes and beers of rice and once of Milwaukee in cans showing pride in America and owned by worldwide conglomerates. Made in America is more a think of maiden America (even if, sure, some production of these beers is still stateside). And let's blow some shit up. For the day that is tomorrow let's be independent from the things that worry us about this country and this world.

More than two-hundred years later we're still in the hangover of our jubilant celebration of breaking free of our oppressors, only to casually remove mention of the atrocities committed since that split, at home and abroad. But I get it, I like beer too.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


That's about what anything I could say for the moment would amount to, but as per my general desire to meet my self-imposed monthly quota, I'm rocking the midnight hour post.

In uninteresting news I'm clean shaven for the first time in, well I can't remember. It's an odd experience seeing the old (young) face, especially as it's hardly aged in twelve years. I don't know how the clean-shaven do it from an upkeep standpoint.

Perhaps I was subconsciously influenced by the clean faces facing me from the stage at Book of Mormon. As the first musical I've ever attended, I might also make it my last, not because it wasn't good, but on the contrary, it was just so up my alley that perhaps only Marc M. could outdo it.

Less talk more rock.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Legaré, Leg hair

Courtesy of the womanfriend I am aware of this joke or strange trend in China. I guess the old adage of wanting what you can't have applies even to body hair. So much for backhair being awkward and this blog even having a title.

Of course, I was hoping for a leg hair brand that tried to sound maybe fancy and French, but Legaré is the opposite, making furniture construction a less hairy experience by removing the necessity of tools. But alas, the world will always need tools.

Now I know that the Blackhawks have already gone and won another Stanley Cup championship, but I'd been meaning to prop up these hilarious quotes from Boston's Brad Marchand describing the status of Patrice Bergeron for Game 6. In describing Bergeron's readiness to return:

''He was crushing some food.'


"He's good. He came back with us and everything so hopefully he can play. He looked really good today. He had a nice suit on, very dashing. Obviously, he's a big part of the team and hopefully he can play."

Crushing food is always a good sign I suppose, but how one looking dashing in a nice suit indicates their readiness for some tough hockey might be tough to say. Chevy seems to think looking dashing in a suit has a lot to do with...well, something.

And if you're a big New Order fan as I am, and even if you're not, you might want to check out this Baywatch music video for "Regret." Please take note of Hasselhoff in the beginning, and the woman reading a magazine spread on New Order. Don't sleep on Peter Hook really getting down on bass either. Take four minutes and watch is all I'm saying.

I'm not saying much.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Civic Pride

This has nothing to do with loving your little Honda. They seem to be good, reliable cars though.

Every now and then I plop down on this here blog and opt not to do a nonsensical analysis of whatever-the-hell rife with free association and instead editorialize. Well, if being technical (and I often am nitpickingly so) just about all of blogging is editorializing and, if we (I) want to get more aggravating I could completely disavow the possibility of objectivism and say that any reporting of the facts is still editorializing. But there is a line, editorializing falling on the side of admitting you have an opinion and asserting it. You can say you're trying not to be biased all you want, but hell we all are.

In that bias then, I've got a deep appreciation for the city that has been my home these past four years. So when I stumble upon ancient editorials from visiting "New Yorkers" who have a love for the city, it's a good reminder of the quality of this place. We get a little hung up on asserting that something is better in relation to something else. This is important, there should be standards and there's a need for comparatives, but sometimes, you know, you can say what's good about something, without saying it's better or worse than anything else. When you throw in the comparative, you're giving it credit, probably too much. Leaving it out isn't ignoring it exists, even if someone might then try to argue that that's what you're doing. Chicago is not New York, or LA, or San Francisco. It's sister city to places like Paris and Moscow, which is cool, and Chicago wouldn't be the place it is without all of these other cities existing, but it's still its own beast. And so are they all.

I think my fascination with Chicago is one shared by many, that it has an underdog nature, even though in many ways it's no underdog at all. But that's a moniker it can't really shake despite all of the things that come out of here. And plenty of that is by design: it wants to be seen as working class, even though there's no shortage of extremely wealthy people, no shortage of those in poverty, no shortage then in disparity of wealth. And while for some the "second class" title is the chip on the shoulder, for others it's nothing more than an acknowledgement that that's how we're viewed. Because that's life in general: some people will understand you, some won't, some will hate or love you, and it can be for the understanding or the lack thereof. You can embrace being different without hating people who just want to be the same. It's easy to forget that, for some people, it's just as hard to fit in as to stand out. That not everyone wants to stand out even in our fame hungry nation.

America loves the front-running, free-wheeling style of a New York, the glitz and glamour (seriously, I used the British spelling?) of LA, and they also really love an underdog. People will argue over hot dogs and pizza. I don't eat hot dogs, and I generally prefer east coast pizza. But Chicago's got a lot more than just that, and if I don't like it, I can always move.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Old Trends

​So the womanfriend and I probably her first to be fair have been noting an annoying trend developing in the past, oh three months or so. It might go back longer, but certainly began with the warming of weather which, in Chicago, has undergone several iterations. Anyway, the trend is the playing of music from one's cell phone, i.e. without headphones. Sure I've noted a handful of black train-riders doing this for quite some time, with seemingly no knowledge and definitely no concern that they might be bothering anyone. But there will always be outliers or, if the trend develops, the early adopters. The trend has expanded to include jogging couples (something in me rather dislikes jogging couples to begin with) and the plight of humanity: teenagers.
Of course what it represents is a reversion to the days of the boombox, without again, as the womanfriend put it the cachet of carrying around a heavy(ish) device. She did not use the word "cachet" because she is not a pompous windbag. I am not always so fortunate. Plus, while boomboxes weren't killing it on the audiophile front, music blasted from your phone sounds even more like utter garbage. I may not want to hear your music anyway, but at least have some damned standards about sound quality! In 80s Cusack terms, it's about like this:
Perhaps the film title might be amended to Text Anything.
Another strange trend, or perhaps better branded as business tactic, is when bad restaurants do a redesign. Same bad food in a shiny new package! But I assume they're doing the math, and the large upfront cost of remodeling is somehow more economical that a long sustained cost of better chefs and better ingredients. There's also the fact, I suppose, that with the same dogshit appearance, even if you upgrade your food quality, people won't expect it so long as you have the same dogshit appearance.
At any rate, for the time being, that's a wrap.

Friday, May 31, 2013

A Mother's Value

There's a flower shop I pass on the daily (seriously, who says "on the daily?") that advertises roses for $12.95 per dozen. This is there everyday on one of those sand-filled sandwich boards, except for the days preceding Mother's Day, when roses were running at $14.95 a dozen. My 3 semesters beforing aborting a Math major, and one semi-entry-level Philosophy class thus lead me to the logical conclusion that mothers are worth, in the grand sense, $2.00 per dozen roses. Which is to say 200/12, reducing to 50/3, or 16 and 2/3 cents per rose. The standard cost of a rose is, okay, I'm not going to do the precise math of 1295/12, and instead round up to 108 since my goodness it's just shy anyway.

(50/3)/108 is then equivalent to x/100, so that (5000/3)/108, or 5000/324, or 2500/162, or 1250/81, or 15 and 35/81 so ~ 15.4%. So then, mother's are worth 15.4% of a rose, and it thus takes more than 6 mothers to equal one rose. This assuming all mothers are equal.

But what this really means, is that math is important. Is it more important than mothers? That is so qualitative rather than quantitative, but one thing we can say is that Math helps us understand the value of mothers. They're not quite the commodity that fossil fuels and precious metals are, but they are unique.

So where was this post on mother's day no one is asking. And to this non-question I say: exactly.

In the meantime, have a little fun with Gizoogle (I dug it on the dinky running website I go to too frequently).

Also, I've yet to be blacklisted anywhere, but thanks to someone signing my old email address up at (albeit with another human's name) I can say I've been biraciallisted. I wonder if it was the same person that tried to register a tumblr account to me. Ah privacy.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Month of May

Not the month of things you will or won't do, but the month of things you might, or you may, however it is you prefer to say. May is a little more polite. Might is connoted with strength, so maybe more conviction.

You have to think maybe May is May because it may choose to be spring or it may choose to be summer. It may choose to set you up for a great three months of summer, or may choose to crap all over you. Hey, maybe you're into that.

So what am I even talking about? Generally a good question.

Well, one thing I'm talking about since they may be making a comeback, is jump boots. I can't remember the first time I caught wind of these (many years), but I thought they made less sense than rollerblades (which totally make sense in certain situations). The thing is, even when I recall these originally launching, I don't remember anyone actually owning a pair, but that could have been skewed by the fact that the demographic I associated with was one devoid of Venice Beach attendees. According to the link I embedded up there, that is the demographic, and a way better source than the "official" site.

But I suppose everything old is new again. Maybe their advertising has hit the late night TV circuit — I'm really out of the traditional broadcast/late night cable loop. Whatever the cause, just about two weeks ago now I witnessed a man running in them on Chicago's Montrose beach. He was also wearing a black Cowboy hat, black tee, black spandex (the dude was a time bomb). I figured I could chalk up his jump boot use to this attire more than anything else until I witnessed, just a week later, a woman running in them across North Ave, right by the old Second City. While I was experiencing middling dehydration effects from foolishly exerting myself in the heat, she looked the peak of discombobulated leisure moving with the pace of amble if not the relaxed grace through the crosswalk.

Might be time to go ahead and dust off the jumpsoles, brother.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Mammary of Light

Alas and alack at long last I've finished The Wheel of Time, a time I thought might never come. In fact that time came some weeks ago now and like a lot of long-anticipated things it was a touch anticlimactic. But I mean, hell, even the author didn't live to see the end so I guess there's something to be said for seeing it through. As much as books and movies and TV shows have no ending that might quite satisfy us, they still have definable endings and accessible timelines. It's something that Youtube and Facebook and all are trying to give us for our lives, even if that's not what they're really trying to give us, but the question then is what are they giving us? We've got an easy means by which to create and post video, create and post content and updates on our lives, but to what end? The end? An end? The Wheel of Time turns, assholes come and go, and so on.

And farting dehydrates dehydration, or maybe not, but it is what one Internet searcher wanted to know, and coming in just shy of the top 20 was yours truly, thanks to one of my parody efforts, penned and placed on my largely defunct parody blog. That was quite the near run-on. The internet: weird catalog of once ephemeral moments. Sure, these things are still ephemeral, but they're now accessible, which removes some of the magic. No cameras allowed has a nice ring to it.

Coming back to The Wheel of Time, for as much fun as I've made of it and myself for reading it over the years, it was a good ride. From embarrassing cover art — seriously they try damn hard to make Romance and Fantasy have the most embarrassing covers — to excessive repetition of character thought patterns and descriptions it had a nice familiarity to it. So anyway, RJ and WoT, so long, and thanks for the memories.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Sometimes I think of how I studied this language for five years and seem to retain very little of it. And then sometimes I'm looking at the browser entry bar and I see a search string labeled "from age" at the end of a url, but the words are put together so it's "fromage," the French word for cheese.

And hey, sometimes cheese is all I've got. Good thing I love pizza.*

*I'm not crazy (something a crazy person might say).

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It May Get Warm

What day is it? 4/30 Sure the Spin Doctors were talking time not date when they said 4:30, but that's what you get with free association. I have no idea what you'd get if you charged for it.

Earlier I was trying to find fountain pen ink and I was really hoping this search string would hold up for when I searched for pen ink at Staples. I think I've got a pretty associative mind, but how you get from pen ink to Pringles and Keebler snacks I'm not exactly sure. Yet dammit, of course when I checked that link just now it does in fact return actual pen inks. Perhaps the elves had temporarily hacked things. Perhaps I should have taken a screen cap. Perhaps it was a special moment for me and my outdated version of Chrome.

Still, you can find Pringles at Staples if you search that directly proving I'm not completely insane/didn't just imagine ink tube images as Pringle housings. And I'm inclined to agree that Pringles are a staple office supply. My brother once described them as ideal for a driving snack because they don't grease fingers like a standard potato chip. This is both disconcerting and correct, and a great reason to have them as an office snack. No need to get up and clean your hands. Of course, just be sure you've got skinny wrists or deft tube dexterity, else Pringle extraction or service can meet with a hiccup.

Of course, I also had to be sure Keebler goods were present, and they are. Incidentally, the top "also viewed" item for Pringle consumers is copy paper, but for the Keeblerers, its latex gloves. Those crazy elves...

Oh, and right, it was warm today, which was the impetus behind titling this entry such as it is, but given the oft unpredictable Chicago weather that May not be the case in the ensuing days. But the heat's a treat, so long as it's just the right amount, eh Goldilocks?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bot or Not

I'm not talking about the silly old Svedka ad campaign that I've talked about at least once before, I'm talking about my most consistent blog readership: bots. For a while it was just lonely Googlebots that would step into my dark corner of the internet (sorry, no capital for you here almighty internet). And it would originate from the Mountain View HQ. But even Google branched out a bit, sending their bots from the fine Canadian city of Toronto (go Jays). Perhaps they know of my old affinity for that team.

But Google's got competition form the Bings and Facebooks, the ruling families of the Americas. Bing's been working to get relevant as a legitimate search engine since obvious placements in Gossip Girl. The thing is, they might be [relevant], but I'm another of those who synonymizes Google and search. There's Google, and there's google. So even though you're googling things on Google, there's a separation. Google knows all about everything I google because with search I'm not very frugal.

I hope the bots like what they find here. I doubt they do. After all, to crawl and index my meandering thoughts can't be very much fun for them. I was reading a book on publishing recently and it advised one to be structured in order to establish themself (can this be back in common usage? Yes, good, okay) as an authority on something. But see, my place is as the authority of these seemingly inane things with a smattering of the old actual soul getting in the way sometimes. Oof, it also advises regularly creating content so users have a reason to come back. USERS. "Hey, that guy's content sucks," says one. "I know," says the other, "and such small portions!"

As inhuman as blogging tends to be, I do bring in my own humanity sometimes. I don't generally like it, and I don't imagine the bots do. I'm one of those still trying to be publicly private. At least part of it's that I think something's less meaningful when you simply share it with everyone. And at least part of it's that I think that good ideas can come from anywhere, the anonymous factor. It's for the opposite reason that people go around misattributing quotes. We take the quote more seriously coming from someone we respect. But how'd we go about respecting them in the first place?

So even though blog is short for weblog, I always think of it as the B-log, as opposed to the A-log. Let's hope my A game is really better than my B game. Then someone might be more game to read it.

**The blogger plans to return to whimsical inanity to close out the month.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Age of Reason

Well, that time that approaches some of us has approached me. I speak of the age known as thirty. You could call it an arbitrary milestone. I might. But either way, I now get to refer to everything as "shit I did in my twenties." I also get to say everything I do in the hours leading up to it is the last I do of that thing before I'm thirty. You can do this for every year. It could be annoying, or it could be fun. I might let you know how it plays out, but probably not.

At any rate, it's arriving very soon and I expect to hit it feeling only a day older than twenty-nine.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Right around the time I caught news of today's tragedy surrounding the Boston Marathon, The Smith's "Ask" was playing in my headphones. It's easy to look for signs, connections, and reasons in the wake of tragedy, and I couldn't ignore the lyrics:

If it's not love, then it's the bomb that will bring us together.

It's an innocent enough sounding line out of context, but even aside from right now I'd always thought a bit prophetic, a bit of historical reference that has too much truth, part of the poetry of Morrissey's often mopey lyrics (of which I happen to be a fan). But the unity and bringing together of people in the wake of tragedies like this is always met with the counterpunch of divisiveness. People get caught up with blame and conspiracy. It's Patriot's Day, Lexington and Concord, start of the American Revolution. This and much other potential symbolism was on my brain, I couldn't avoid it.

These are things you connect to the why of someone would ever do this. There are a lot of reasons, and reason is a hard word to use, because reason I tend to connote with logic and it's only in the logic of the perverse mind that there's reason to kill off innocent people. It's left a lot of people not feeling good about the state of humanity, that acts like this are committed, but as terrible as I find this (I happen too to be a runner, and to know people who were running, and to know people who reside and work in the city), the last thing I would like to see is quantification to measure this tragedy, because tragedy is immeasurable. It's your own connection to the events that form your opinion on it.

I'll just hope we come out of this without the wrong people being blamed, and without overzealous response. We don't need more literal physical security, just people that don't do shit like this. I liked it better when bombing a marathon meant simply that you were physically wiped out and ran like shit.

Monday, April 8, 2013

April Fuels

As I cook dinner, I often like to throw on some tunes and sometimes those tunes can include Miley Cyrus' "The Climb." I find it a pretty solid and enjoyable tune, and until I looked up the lyrics, [wo]man, I thought she was saying "there's always gonna be an uphill mountain" and I thought, "Silly Miley, it has to be uphill to be a mountain, otherwise it's a crater." But it was I who was silly, as she's only saying there's "always gonna to be another mountain." And yet, every time I hear it, I can't help but think the lyrics to be uphill mountain. I guess that's part of my climb.

None of that is even close to a joke, and neither is abstention. As I sit here drinking extremely watered down homemade espresso I have to wonder what it is that accounts for such an abstemious nature. Sure, going without heightens the experience and effect of the effects when indulgence is indulged but what is it that compels one to compulsion and compels another to dispel dependence?

Anyway, speaking of abstention, I abstained from posting this on April Fool's day, (by a whole week in fact as abstention met interruption) since the line between serious and joking is a line I favor so much there was no need to blur it even further with a day devoted to deception — but not in the evil, dastardly sense, just a good old-fashioned prank of sorts.

Things you shouldn't abstain from, whether visiting or residing in Chicago, include  Andersonville's Swedish Bakery and, while you're up there, Brimfield, which is probably the best arrayed/themed store I've seen in quite some time — might just give you Cabin Fever (note: I've never seen this movie and you will not meet a terrible demise by visiting this store). The unusual Woolly Mammoth doesn't suck either.

You know what does suck? Caribou closures. I'd say this seems odd when, for instance, they just put in a new one in the Wicker Park neighborhood I've called home for a few years now (technically I think their location is Bucktown, six corners of one, half a dozen of another) but it definitely happened for Peet's sake.

When a proprietor of a business of beans has the beans (the means) to purchase another proprietor of beans it means someone's going to get roasted. I always found Caribou employees about as friendly as you can get, so I'm sorry to see many of the Chicago Caribou hunted to extinction. While I Cariboo the decision, it'll be argued that business is business and the bean counters have to be accountable for their bean counters. For the folks at German conglomerate Joh. A. Benckiser, it's just one more coffee brand for them to Jimmy Choo on.

Thanks for stopping by…you stay classy Planet Earth.