REBRANDING STARTS NOW

9 04 2008

Hello! There are going to be some changes around here. I finally figured out what I want to do with this blog. I want to use it to tell “57 channels” of worthless content/media that I find or create. So I’ll be gathering my own personal media and trying to generate “57 channels.”

This is also a place to store short stories and such. As you’ve seen.

I’ve created another new blog, Nicoleodeon, that will house normal posts. “Normal” being a relative term; I want this blog to have kind of a cartoonish feel. This starts with the banner. I may do all my posts in cartoon balloons.





Tweetin’

27 01 2008

Sorry for the lack of posts… much of the updates that I once wrote out to describe my life in oh-so-detailed form are currently being distilled into a sort of Cliff’s Notes form on the site known as Twitter. Follow me if you dare…

Here you will find my stash of longer-form posts and creative writing.

As a side note, my Web site domains and such are totally freaked as of right now.  I need to repair these.





Banner in progress

19 12 2007

As a side note, I’m working on a newer/snazzier banner design, as this one is not quite pleasing me right now.





This cracked me up

23 10 2007

Confidential to the individual coming in search of an “inflatable plumber butt costume”: I don’t have one available for sale, but I’m starting to wish I did. You can make one pretty easily. Simply dress as a plumber would and pull your pants down a little in the back.

SIDE NOTE: This company makes all sorts of *other* wonderful inflatable things, as I’ve discovered through my own Independent Research.





Lengthy List of Observations

15 10 2007

1. I’ve discovered one key issue with social networking sites: they require some form of socialization with a network of some sort, and we’re not necessarily talking about Cartoon Network. This can be a tricky affair, even for someone as super awesome as myself.

2. Stone Mountain Park = Piedmont Park + Mt. Mount Rushmore / Cracker Barrel

3. As mom points out, Stone Mountain is a lot like the Grand Canyon, albeit slightly less grandiose: It’s that one symbolic thing that you have to see, and yet many people have yet to see it. I finally saw it on Saturday, and it was, you know. Interesting.

4. A coworker attempted earlier today to explain the difference between a “block” and a “trap.” I still have no idea what he was talking about.

5. Then again, if we’re talking about any kind of subject matter relating to No. 4, you can bet for absolute sure that I have no idea what we’re talking about.

6. Everything closes so dang early on Sunday, man. It’s such a DRAG! I guess I might as well be working.

7. My phone gets so hot when I talk that I feel like I’m going to melt on one side of my head.

8. I’ve mentioned a few times that I have this issue with bees who slam into the front window, thinking they can pass right through it and then SMACK! Down they go with a little thump on the glass. I like to leave the blinds open and just watch this scene play out over and over again. OK, not really, but that’s what I see when I try to catch a little sunlight. It can be a little weird to hear that when the blinds are closed, but more often than not, they can tell that it’s an impassable surface.

9. I’ve also hinted before at a possible war of pests. The bees and the spiders are rising up now that the cockroaches have subsided and the rats are pretty much superfluous. Who will be next in this battle of bugs?

10. Doing laundry is like the worst thing ever. There’s a term for it: “Mount Wash More.” I prefer … there’s no play on Stone Mountain. Drat!

11. I’m gonna shoot up outta bed at 4 in the morning like “Aha! I must … go … to the … computer!” in my crappy Capt. Kirk At 4 a.m. voice.

12. I LOVE to slowly bite the heads off gummy bears before devouring their bodies whole.

13. ASU is ranked at No. 8 in the BCS poll and No. 12 in the AP poll. Why I care about this is beyond me.

14. I’ve been really getting into the whole standings race, because of all the incredible upsets this season. The drama! The excitement! The exasperated sports writers pulling puns out of their literary arses!

15. What a season it’s been … Stanford vs. USC was up there with the greatest upsets of all time, marking the point at which we could confirm our suspicions that there were Achilles’ heels afoot in Troy. LSU just got unexpectedly pawed… Clemson was stung by Georgia Tech… there’s really too many upsets to list. The one team I think is giving off that “unstoppable” aura this season is USF: University of South Florida. Those young whippersnappers seem like they can do no wrong. Whether that will last is anybody’s guess. They’re awfully new to this.

15. Anyway, go Sun Devils!

16. Seriously, I love reading all the crazy search terms that are bringing people to this site. It’s so awesome.





Writing challenges and musical insecurity

6 10 2007

As you may or may not know, I want to write and I have ideas in my head, but I’m not sure how to get them on paper/computer, and I don’t know what’s the best way to proceed. As I see it, there are a number of questions you have to ask yourself when constructing a piece, and here is the list of things I’m asking myself:

  • Fact or fiction? In some ways, nonfiction is way more artistic because you can talk about something that really happened and find research sources. You spend more time crafting and perfecting your art. And fiction is way more limited, because in order to add reality to an invented scenario, you have to decide upon a “realistic enough” sort of scenario.
  • “Novel” ideas, anyone? With books having to compete with far more interactive kinds of media, is there a way for the ol’ tome to get in on the business? It’s my feeling that old-fashioned book reading could benefit from a little modernity, just enough to get people in on the game. Perhaps authors can start blogs and discussions and encourage people to share their perspectives and fan art. The fan art and fanfiction (and yes, slash) are seemingly a biproduct of this sort of need we have now to be participants in the media we consume.
  • Why create a standard text story in the first place? Maybe interactive storytelling is the way to go. Stories constructed from the start in an inherently interactive manner. Don’t ask me how that would get done, but I’ve done a little research into interactive narratives and perhaps that’s a good starting point. On the other hand, reading purists know (and I feel) that text has its own value; an intimate connection with the author as the words stream through your head in a sort of musical rhythm designed to dance through the verbal centers in your brain. The resulting imagery is often more powerful than any movie, and most people can attest to disappointment at the seeing a movie after reading an associated book. The trick is you, the reader, have to be of the right mindset to receive text. More and more, it’s getting hard for me to focus on something so old-fashioned as a book.
  • So you’ve decided you want to write a fiction book. How fictional should it be? Should it be set in a real place or a fictional location? How much should this place resemble real life?
  • Do you want to play it deadpan and straight, or do you want to have an element of humor mixed in?
  • How to narrate the story? Third-person narration feels safer because the narrator doesn’t have to have a stake in the story, but first-person narration can have its benefits. It depends on how involved the narrator should be. You can even have an omniscient narrator speaking in the first person about events happening to others. In any case, how reliable is this narrator going to be? The default typically is a “journalist narrator” who uses colorful commentary to describe the situation, but ultimately steps back and lets things unfold. Still, things could be done differently. A more unreliable narrator might choose to withhold information or give their opinions. In any case, it’s something to think about when constructing a story.
  • What’s the point of writing this? To have fun, make social commentary, address inner fears of the psyche or maybe do all of these and more? Maybe there’s something out there I can’t think of. In any case, it’s important to figure this stuff out.
  • Is there a workable storyline going on here? Is this a sustainable plot? Where is this going?
  • Has this same exact story been done BETTER by someone else?

I think that’s enough for now, but I’m working on some ideas. We’ll see.

Oh, and WordPress has added a tags feature (or else I’m blind to the fact that it was there before) so I can now add tags instead of relying only on categories. Now I’m wondering how exactly I’m going to use these in concert now, seeing as I’ve been applying a tag approach to my use of categories. Ah well.

Oh, and whilst at Borders today, I purchased four CDs. One of them was a Richard Marx CD (my first) and the others were from shall I say “cooler” artists. (Remember that “one of these things is not like the other” sketch from Sesame Street?) I was a little awkward about the Richard Marx disc and I put it near the bottom of the stack. I mean, I’m not such a wuss as to not buy the actual CD, but I’m still insecure enough to try to sandwich it between more socially acceptable items and pray to the deity of your choice that nobody says anything about it. So the Kevin Bacon-esque clerk chuckles a little and asks me straight out, “You a big fan of Richard Marx?” and I flatly denied it in the same way that I might flatly deny that I have some horrible disease, which was silly, but I did it. It turns out that *he* actually enjoyed it and I squashed him without really intending to, and I felt a little bad about it.

I’m going into this awful amount of detail about this extremely mundane event because music is such a personal and telling thing, but at the same time it means nothing at all. It’s a singular reflection of one aspect of our inner emotional state, and in some cases represents our fleeting emotional and social desires. Exposing your musical interests via playlist is a bit like opening up your soul to show who you are and maybe even who you wish you were. So, then, it’s not really in vogue to be emotionally vulnerable in this day and age. Sarcasm, stoicism and a stiff upper lip are common sights. For that reason, you (me, whatever) cringe at the thought of enjoying really emotional or cheesy things, until you reach a certain point that it’s so ridiculous that you can only celebrate it. I think that’s where I’m at now. And don’t get me wrong; maudlin, over-emotional and perhaps clingy people drive me up the wall. But sometimes it’s nice to indulge, and yet I feel very defensive at the store counter. So, everyone, the moral of this story is it’s time we embraced the Softer Side of Sears. And Richard Marx.





Bleed American

7 09 2007

So where have I been all my life? Or at least this past week or so. That’s a good question. The answer is I’m currently ready to start sleeping off a long week. See, it’s Labor Day week and that means … you know what that means. So recent highlights include:

  • Working some heavy hours due to reduced holiday staffing and a desire to keep things at a reasonably productive level
  • Celebrating the contributions of the Working Man to the United States of America over Labor Day weekend by
    • A. Working (To be honest, everything is either closed or crowded, so I don’t mind working on this kind of holiday.)
    • B. Checking out the Dragon*Con (sci-fi/fantasy/anime/Star Trek/everything convention).
  • Riding the train home from work on Sunday and meeting a guy covered in fake blood holding a sign that says “free hugs”
  • Watching that guy and another guy not only engage in physical contact of the friendly-male sort, but also eat some of the bloodstuff
  • Finding out that the blood has a strawberry-mint essence
  • Getting “evil energy” drinks for free
  • Waiting in line
  • Fighting my way through crowds
  • Eating tasty Willy’s Mexican Grille chow in an eating area full of Storm Troopers
  • Watching a storm trooper trying to buy sundries in the souvenir shop without removing their costume.
  • Watching a storm trooper rip his helmet off in disgust and say to the security guard telling him to go to the other door: “Awwww, man!”
  • Not being able to tell friend from foe from security guard because everybody looks evil and weapons-equipped
  • That guy dressed as a robot with a cardboard codpiece made out of an Apple Macintosh box.

I like codpieces. They’re the best part of Ren Faires, which are otherwise typically hot, dusty, expensive and generally difficult, with often nightmarish traffic.

There’s a certain society in these Cons (at least this one) and it can be a little odd for people like me who feel sort of like outsiders. On the other hand, I saw a good deal of people doing Cosplay that wasn’t really true sci-fi or fantasy. There were Spartan cheerleaders, and I couldn’t count the number of “Clerks 2” work uniforms and Silent Bob wannabes. (Granted, there is a tiny bit of geekery present in these fandoms)

I think a funny storyline for a movie (of the cheesy romantic comedy sort) would be a person who tries to geek themself out to attract someone. I mean think about the humorous possibilities of Joe Cool…

[Pause to kill speedy roach intruder. Seriously.]

…trying to learn about D&D and putting on a fur suit at a convention. I think it would be totally sweet. Hell, I’m going to write it up.

It’s about time I got back to work on the Great American Novel. Until later, I bid you adieu. Anyway why am I dinking around on teh Internets at 3 a.m.? Shame on me.





Come on people

4 08 2007

Easy on the inappropriate Harry Potter searches, will ya?  Look, I don’t want to sound creepy, but I like to look at the stats for this blog and find out what’s bringing people here. A lot of it is to find out the dirt on Harry Potter. You ain’t gonna find it here, folks.

Anyway. I updated my family blog. I forgot to add in there a tiny highlight of today, for family members reading:  After visiting the post office again (read below) I snuck out for dinner at the Fanous (or Fanoos) Persian restaurant. Man, that place is awesome. I didn’t take an photos since I didn’t want them to think I was a restaurant reviewer or something. My plate of food was beautifully arranged and tasty too. I can’t recommend this place enough.

It’s a Persian “tea house,” which translates roughly to “Hookah! Hookah!” in English. Still, the food is the main reason people go there. It’s a lot like the Darvish tea house, but with (I dare say) lower prices and better food. I ordered a chicken kabob with iced tea and hot tea for a total of $18, including tip. It sounds like a lot but consider this: The price also included a nice appetizer selection including crisp pita pieces, Shirazi salad (cucumber, tomato and onion in a salted lemon sauce), mustokhiar (sp — yoghurt sauce with pieces of cucumber and mint), and a dip that I believe is called borani-e bademjan (zesty seasoned eggplant drizzled with yoghurt). The kabob came with basmati rice and a grilled tomato. In short, I loved it. I couldn’t finish it and I didn’t want to take leftovers with me. Which means it probably won’t last. Heck, I like this place way better than Darvish, and it’s got a pretty nice location in a strip mall on Roswell Road. But it seemed like it didn’t have the same kind of popularity that Darvish has, and it didn’t have as thick of a crowd as the other restaurants in the strip mall. Still there were definitely people there and I know from the research that was done that it has some loyal fans. All in all, the Persian Tea House model is quite different than the quieter, more intimate and more low-key kinds of Persian food you will find in the Phoenix area. It’s more aimed at the younger crowd, which I think is something that would be good to have in Tempe, AZ. If you come to visit me, family, I will take you there.

Yeah, so I had to go to the post office again to see if they would give me my mail. I guess the postman got sick of stuffing my mail in there; I let it go for too long and it was the finally last straw. Now, he isn’t delivering to my box anymore. He left a note saying it was at the USPS postal store, but I went there this evening (after the Gosh-awful heat/humidity combo settled down) and they told me I should just call at 8:30 a.m. to find out what happened to my mail. They think he might have taken it to the warehouse down the street. I’m thinking they probably threw it away or lost it. The best I can hope for is to convince him to deliver my mail again, if I promise pretty please with a cherry on top that I’ll check it more regularly. This is so stupid!

No answers yet, for now. This better get fixed soon so I don’t miss getting my birth certificate from Iowa. Anyway the USPS visit seemed like a good excuse to get the Persian food while I was out, and to get a little minor grocery shopping done at Whole Foods. (There’s a Kroger too.)

I’m also tired of dodging crappy traffic and seeing people give each other the finger for stupid reasons. On the plus side, there are fewer of those road-rage shootings in the ATL than the PHX. I suppose I’ll take middle fingers versus guns. I’m also tired of lousy intersections and broken “walk signal” buttons. I swear people break them on purpose. Also, I’m tired of the lack of sidewalks on some streets. Con(des)truction on the sidewalk leading to one of my favorite OTP shopping centers has made a trip there far more hazardous than it should be. I’ve actually stopped going there altogether since there are other plazas with the same stores that are less dangerous. And closer, too.

ALSO: Bus routes here are sometimes complicated, which is why I rarely ride the bus. I’ve only done it a few times and it’s sucky. It’s often easy to get somewhere, but hard to get back because you don’t have the option of taking multiple buses at some destinations. The stops are spaced apart from each other and the drivers won’t stop at the stops for the other route to pick you up. Frankly I think it’s pretty lame that two bus drivers drove right past me at stops because I wasn’t at the exact stop they were looking for.

And by the way, just a thought about dealing with people in general (and not to single out bus drivers, if that’s what you’re thinking — this is a generic comment): I’m tired of lousy customer service. There are way too many people out there who are making it obvious they hate their jobs. Look, I know you hate your job. Frankly, I would hate to have your job too. (Is that cruel to say?) I might even hate my life altogether. But for Pete’s sake, and we love Pete, let’s not show the world how miserable we are. Instead, let’s try to find some pleasure in life. I’m not saying sing the “happy happy joy joy” song all the time. But I firmly believe that if you can sap some tiny bit of joy from your miserable, slug-like existence, you may find your existence isn’t so miserable anymore. If that makes sense.

OH and ATTENTION ALL BURGLARS AND TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA MENU INSERTION FREAKS AND POSTAL POSTFOLKS: I be goin’ to Phoenix next week. Flight is next Friday.

Oh, and I just killed a flying cockroach in my living room! Just now. Go me. They love the crappy humid weather we have right now. I think since it has (had) been a drier, cooler summer than last, roaches haven’t been much of an issue. Now that it’s hotter and humider again, I think I’m going to see more of these fellas. Still, probably not as many as last summer.

That is all folks… time to go back to living. And sleeping. Over and out.





Gah!

20 07 2007

People are coming to my blog with some very INTERESTING KEYWORDS lately, most of them involving Harry and/or Draco.  Ahem. And then some crap about clowns.

I’ve just been … not in the mood to blog as much as I have been. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s good to get away from the computer every now and then. I certainly don’t want to be chained to this thing.

I really feel that things are looking up in Real Life. Granted, I still hate Iowa its their bureaucracy, but I can at least deal with it. 30 days minimum to process my birth certificate request? Were that many people actually born in Iowa that it takes that long? Whatever, I’m in a zen state.
I’m really fascinated with Harry Potter now as an example of a cohesive work of art. I am studying Rowling’s text very carefully because I intend to do some writing someday. Maybe someday soon.

Last night I bit the bullet and saw the fifth movie and I’m now in the process of reading the Half-Blood Prince. My favorite movie is the fourth movie. The fifth is very suspenseful though and I dig the whole deal about the mind stuff and youknowwhatImean.

My latest train story is a few days ago, I sat down and then this ogre-ish guy sat next to me. He was just really icky, like an ogre. Like something out of a storybook. Sorry but it’s true. And then, he spots a mousy mother pushing her cute little blonde daughter in a stroller, and he offers her his seat and just keeps going out of his way to be nice to her. She’s like, yeah, that’s OK, I’m fine, Mr. Ogre. And so she stands in the baggage area. And then the ogre just keeps making cutesy little faces at the little girl, and then he finally walks over toward the mother and tries to make conversation. “What’s her name? XXXX you say? That’s the prettiest name I’ve ever heard!” And he just keeps on talking to them and it’s just really creepy. I dunno. And then he eventually goes back to the seat by me but he continues to make cutesy faces at the little girl, and he takes his shoe off and starts itching his sock foot. And then at some point I got off and breathed a sigh of relief.

Oh, and then there’s the problem of rain/condensation. Today, the train made a sudden stop and water poured out of the air conditioner and onto the floor. Like a ton of it, like someone turned over a bucket. I’ve seen this happen before and unfortunately, if you’re unlucky you might get a surprise bath. Just somethin’ weird.

Thank Godness for the weekend.





Wha?

16 07 2007

I’ve been sucked into the black hole of work and sleep and the popular culture abyss, hence no writing for the last couple of days. And really, there’s nothing to report. Which is a good thing, right? Let me dig around…

Let’s see… Well now I’ve made it through a few Harry Potter movies and I think I’m starting to like the whole storyline, and I’m a little surprised at myself, to be honest.

Also, I am going to have to try to see if the great state of Iowa will send me a birth certificate to prove that I do in fact exist. This means I have to send them a notarized photocopy of my ID card. I’ll have to find someone who can do that. Oh by the way, I was born in Iowa and I can tell you there is more there than corn fields. Like, uh, gosh I don’t know. There’s a couple of good schools, a state fair, a botanical garden and the charming German Pietists of the Amana colonies. It doesn’t get much better than that. Except in Arizona.