On My Monitor, the Markers Are Life-Size

This is perhaps the best use of a whiteboard ever. Also on BoingBoing. It wasn’t the intention, but this is a really nice summary of things you will simultaneously be incredibly tempted to say yet should probably never say in the presence of a whiteboard. Except number 21, which is almost always called for, in my conference-room experience. However, they left out one of the most important ones: dropping the F-bomb. Always drop the F-bomb. Fuckin’ A.

fuckstickAnd I’m really glad Sterling brought up whiteboards, because it’s a really nice segue to/incidence of synchronicity with this screen cap from the Daily Show the other day (okay, two months ago, I’m a DVR addict, what can I say?). I have no idea what was going on, and I only just happened to press pause on the DVR at the right moment, but this is what I captured. What do you supposed this guy did to piss off his coworkers so much?

And because it deserves to be Googleable and saved for all time, here’s the original whiteboard translated to text:

TOP 100 THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT SAY DURING (YOUR) REVIEW

1. Dunno
2. I was trying to think outside the box
3. I, kinda…sorta…wanted to…
4. You’re a dumb dumb
5. I love you?
6. Ummm…
7. I’m really interested in hybrid forms and deconstruction.
8. I’m not sure I want to be here (even though that is how you really feel)
9. But I’m soooo cute
9a. Awww…. I am sorry u feel that way
10. I was going to make it better but then I didn’t.
10b. The leprechaun told me it was good
11. I regret not going to (insert school name here)
12. But I like Avant Garde/Optima/Souvenir
13. What exactly do you mean by post modern?
13b. I’m going to kill you all!
14. I can’t think of a response.
15. What? Huh?
16. I’m not really into type
17. Is it design? I don’t know.
18. And what’s wrong with the 90s?????????
19. You’re not the boss of me.
19a. It was just a goofy piece!
20. Actually, I don’t really know what I’m doing (even if you really don’t know)
21. I call bullshit on that!
22. Whatever
23. Uh huh ok yeah.
24. Yeah right
25. I’m sorry, what was that?
26. Mom (whine)
26(2). (Because) I like it! Or Because I felt like it!
26b. My cat ate my printout.
27. My printer wasn’t working
28. Chill out! It’s only design
29. Yes I know I sound like a dumbass

All Your Rip-Off Hosting Solutions Are Belong to Us!

Only open this if you have an incredibly-robust pop-up blocker and as much love as I do for ESL press releases. On second thought, just don’t go here.

href=”http://press.xtvworld.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5438

Instead, read it here (all typos are ibid, of course!):

Want a Dollar a Day Self Administered WWWebsite?

It’s like magic! There is nothing to download, nothing to install, no HTML coding, no FTP uploading; nothing you need do except surf your site’s URL then input the correct password key. This is the virtual equivalent of opening a *Safety Deposit Box* at an old-fashioned money-type bank, except that all your valuable ideas, information and images are stored in our higly secure, always-open, *drive-thru* databank.

show the full press release here (safe)

I think I’m going to start using *air asterisks* in all my sentences. And join one of them old-fashioned, money-type banks.

And for the record, a dollar a day for a web site is what we in the business call a *bad deal*. But for a WWWebsite it might be okay.

Build Your Own RV

One of the best things about the Internet is that I no longer have to send a SASE to find out about things like how to build your own teardrop RV trailer. Remember the SASE? Loompanics Unlimited! Lindsay’s Technical Books! All the best things in life used to come to us via SASE.

buy plans from Kuffel Creek Press

And mark my words, I will build a teardrop trailer. Of course, as someone who has peeled off the skin of an RV trailer and crawled into the subfloor (15 years and 40 pounds ago) to fix a leak, I knew this was theoretically possible. There’s no magic to the manufacturing process. But this gives me renewed inspiration to bend sheet aluminum to my will.

Take 5-Megapixel Stills While Recording Video!

Oh yeah, and do it with a deck of cards. Talk about a feature you desperately needed and didn’t even know it, Casio nails it with the new Exilim.

I’m currently in the market for a digital camera, ever since my Kodak DX4900 started showing an ugly design flaw in the way the docking station charges batteries. And really, 4-megapixel is way-crappay at this point.

The question is, do I go hard-core and heavy-duty with a Canon Digital Rebel XT, or even better a Canon EOS 20D (insert Homer Simpson salivation sounds here)? Or do I go with something I’m likely to actually carry around with me like the Exilim? The thing is, I’ve been down the SLR road with Canon before. And while the pictures came out noticeably better than anything you’ll take with a point-and-shoot, actually taking them becomes a radical commitment in terms of time and luggage. Dell had those big boys on sale last week, and I missed it, but that’s put the idea in my head, so now I’m really wondering what my next step will be.

And hey, how come Canon never came up with a 35-mm, 400 ASA-equivalent digital capture replacement back for my A-1?

Hey, Professional Photographers of America, Go Fuck Yourselves!

Seriously, each and every one of you. Take a 1200mm lens and ram it right up your own ass, please. You can start with the camera end, but make sure you work it around real good while it’s in there, because then you’ll start to get an idea of how you’re reaming the rest of us. And Walmart too–all you guys can just sit and spin.

I tried to let it go. I counted to ten. I even took a walk around the neighborhood. But this is really bugging me. Who are these guys that become professional photographers? Because they’re a whole new level of prick than most of the cynical “professionals” I’ve had to deal with.

Hey, camera jerks! Remember when you used to have to get a talent release from the subject of a photograph, you parasitic fucks? Those sure were the bad old days, huh? Now you’re riding this wave of intellectual property insanity right into the new millennium, aren’t you, you money-grubbing bastards? You ever hear of “work for hire,” you mental midgets? I was already never going to use one of you feckless morons again in my life, but now I’m going to make it my personal crusade to inform people about the need for a complete release of photographer’s copyright attached to any contract for services, and to dissuade people from using the services of any photographer who doesn’t offer this up front.

And just for the record, the very first thing I did when I got the CDs of my wedding pictures–which I had to fight and argue to get the photographer to agree to provide, of course–was copy them, and then copy them again onto one master CD, and then take that to Costco and have them run off two prints of each. I think I’ll go do it again right now, just for the hell of it, just in case you can’t feel me stabbing my middle fingers into both your eyes. So take that, you greedy shits.

A Rare Pleasure

Sure, there are a lot of them. In this case what I’m talking about is reading a book in one sitting, or in one period of awakeness which I think is what people really mean by this. I mean one sitting? How long can a person really be expected to go between breaks for bathroom, carbonated liquids and jumping in the swimming pool? In my case, I’d say an hour, max. Still, it’s a luxury. And it’s also a choice, choosing to give up most other forms of media (save music) and interaction and just read for a day. And I have to face it–I’m a slow reader, so it takes a day, or a good chunk of one. Maybe this is why summer is particularly good for reading: long days.

Anyway, I finished two books today, and both were surprisingly good. The first one was Camouflage by Joe Haldeman, which at the very least is going to win an award for the most Amazon SIPs involving the word “changeling.” Even beyond that impressive accomplishment, I was pleasantly surprised. When I picked this thing up off the “recent” rack at the library, recognizing the venerable Haldeman name, I kind of assumed it would be a short, pointless read in the later-life Clarke model. You know, that thing that happens to old sci-fi writers when they attain a certain age and status and absolutely anything they can vomit into a Word document and email off to the publisher will garner a six-figure advance and library buys? Yeah, this is why I go to the library instead of buying books these day. And yet this book was actually pretty good. Yes there were a lot of reused tropes and outright cliches, but with a 24-hour sci-fi channel on every TV set in America, what do you expect? Sometimes you need to trot out dueling, shape-shifting aliens one more time. Oh, and don’t forget enigmatic alien artifacts and a corrupt government with its finger on the panic button. And notice I’ve used only links to visual media to illustrate my point. That’s how pervasive and mainstream “sci-fi” concepts like these have become. I don’t think any of us would be too surprised if we suddenly found out we were in love with a deadly, immortal, shape-shifting alien with inscrutable intent. And yet, pretty good.

But that was read over the course of several days. The book I started this morning after finishing that one and still managed to finish today was the real surprise. Again, a recent-rack find, I’m not sure what drew me to Mick Foley’s Tietam Brown. I’m not even sure what makes the Austin Public Library order a book like this. I guess I must have heard of it, or the author. Still, the jacket description of Foley as “wrestler-writer” was off-putting. And I’ll borrow a little from an Amazon review here and say it was “dark, sad and sickening.” Yes, I agree, wholeheartedly. I disagree with the argument that it received good reviews because “only wrestling fans read it.” No, this book stands on its own. Wrestling doesn’t even come in until two-thirds of the way through. It’s mainly about abuse and evil and loss and deception–and above all, family–so yes it can be painful to read, even for a person who hasn’t had a lot of first-hand experiences on the receiving end of those things. And yes, it plays the race card, and the sodomy card, and the misogyny card, and the dad-fucking-the-neighbor-woman card. But these are called “cards” for the simple reason that we can understand them and they can be played to us. Maybe this is Jerry Springer’s or Chuck Paliniuk’s influence, but maybe, also, it’s our cultural heritage. I mean people do grab each others breasts and balls in inappropriate and inexplicable circumstance. People do put their tongues in other people’s asses more or less willingly, and they enjoy it. It’s just that not many writers can be honest about these things while incorporating them into a coherent narrative. And I’m not going to say it’s ultimately redeeming, because in the universe of modern fiction that would just make it pat. But it is satisfying, and a good read.

What this has made me realize is that I’m having better luck lately with pseudo-random picks off the library shelf than with “professional” literary recommendations. I got burned badly by Michael Ventura and his recommendation to read The Sea Came in at Midnight. I’m willing to consider the failing my own. I may very will be of the wrong generation, or not smart enough, or simply not well educated enough in literature, and most likely all of the above, but I didn’t get it. It never pulled me in, never struck me as something worth finishing. I did finish it, but I couldn’t tell you what it was about. I might have tried after the first chapter, but beyond that it just faded into obscurity and irrelevance. For me, for this audience of one, it was just trying too hard. And ultimately I didn’t care and still don’t.

Foley tries hard, certainly, in Tietam, but he tries and succeeds. His characters at their most bizarre are at least comprehensible. You can see how people could be this fucked up, because people sometimes are. There’s no magic. No falling back on the spirit in the sky. You can see how bad things happen to bad people, and later have it revealed to you that things just happen, without value being applied, to people who are at best ambivalent and who are often mislead, full of illusions and morally confused. Shit happens. And Foley, I think, captures and presents this more clearly and more honestly than Erickson. Don’t write him off as a literary Jesse “The Body” Ventura.