[ f e c k l e s s ]

Monday, February 28

Aha! So that's where I get it!
It's one of those Washington-style sentences, full not just of double negatives but also of semi-negatives and pronouns without antecedents. So you have to read the sentence backwards, casting out pairs of words in the (usually vain) attempt to find a kernel of meaning underneath. As in: "He was not among the least likely to be skeptical about repudiating the override of the veto."
--Chris Caldwell, in Slate's Breakfast Table.
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Thursday, February 24

(and probably not just because I said nice things about him. Heh.) Oh, and it looks like I've been quoted in Dutch.
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Derek liked what I said! wo0t!
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Friday, February 18

I didn't link to this before because it wasn't as massively cool as it is now. This is just wonderful. It's aesthetic and useful coding at it's best. Take a look at some of the java code--it's purty. I want to write code like that when I grow up. Oh, and you can look up feckless on it now too. Yay!
 (1:15 PM | #)

I want to work for these people. They made blogger, and pyra (although I'm still not really sure what pyra does, exactly) and the seem really cool. I am not nearly geekified enough to work for them yet. I must work harder.
 (11:07 AM | #)

"And if I were to walk into your digs there in South Of MArket, would I perhaps see a receptionist sitting behind a $2,000 SGI flat screen handing out fortune cookies customized with your logo burned into each thin strip of translucent and possibly carcinogenic plastic folded inside, telling me that you're burning through your first round in the form of useless gimmicks and hardware dressed to impress?"


"And, upon venturing further inside, would I be accosted by at least two dogs, one in heat, and some guy on roller blades on his way to a foosball tournament on the second level of the space you're paying way, way, way too much for?"


"And once I had managed to avoid being wrangled into a good-natured game of nine-ball by an Odwalla-wielding code grrl raking an ironicly fish-shaped comb through her fuscia locks, would I encounter an ad hoc meeting taking place in the center stall in the men's room because all the meeting 'spaces' are already occupied by an assortment of, you should excuse the expression, marketing types trying to figure out how to sell your services when you have yet to legally obtain a name for your dot-com?"

"Fish comb?"

"And as I was sitting under the exposed beams and metal girders, listening to some droning, pirated thump-thump music being pumped from the MP3 server which has no doubt been given some cute and violent network name like Pink Thunder or Bloody Pussycat, will I be amused by the assortment of cheap plastic gumball machine trinkets and McFarlane toys depicting mechanical dino-terrors influenced by the stacks of Manga in the corner?"

"Um, I don't..."

"Been there. Done that." I stood up and extracted the laptop from my shiny black Respect LapPak, explaining, "I'd love to sit and chat with you, but I have some Sims to torture."

--Lance makes me laugh.
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Wednesday, February 16

I am very, very happy with this city today. This is probably because it has stopped raining (at least for now). In celebration, everybodyshould hop over to see sfstories right now. Derek is my favorite writer/designer. Whatever certain well-intentioned but poorly socialized folks have to say.
 (7:38 PM | #)

Friday, February 11

Man, I think someone needs to get out more.
Smoking in bed. Sharing a cigarette. Watching David Bowie in "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence." This is heaven: the convergence of bed, you, smoking and David Bowie.
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Thursday, February 10

Y'know, I just want to go out on a critical limb here, and admit--nay, proclaim!--something to the world at large.

I liked Hudson Hawk.

I liked it a lot. I say this because I'm tired of seeing it slandered in the press as an example of bad movies second only to Ishtar (which I never did see). I say this because it needs to be said: Hudson Hawk is a glorious and fine movie on many levels. I have seen it many times, and will see it again with pleasure.

Do you require reasons? I will give you reasons.

  1. It stars Bruce Willis. Therefore, it is a Good Movie.
  2. It stars Sandra Benhard as a villainess. Mrreeeow.
  3. Andie McDowell is a spy-nun-love interest forced to imitate a dolphin. This is the only correct casting of Andie McDowell.
  4. The bit with the dog.
  5. The pope-phone.
  6. The bit where Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello blow up bits of gorgeous old ruins with rocket launchers while singing "Side by side."
In summation I can say only: Catch the Excitement. Catch the Laughter. Catch the Hawk.
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The best of all, though, is Goodbye Chunky Rice. It's perfect. It's by Craig Thompson. It made me sniffle. It's about love and the ocean. It stars a turtle named Chunky Rice.
 (3:52 PM | #)

Another Small Press Expo discovery. I was all sick of goth comics and then I picked up a copy of Little Scrowly. It's about a cat, bitchy airhead goths, and the netherworld. I . . . think. Anyway, it's good, and seems to be a spin-off of Chi, which is pretty much about the same things.
 (3:47 PM | #)

In a scene that simply reeked of wacky San Francisco-ness, Zawinski packed the Board of Appeals hearing with at least 150 fans sporting "Save SF Late Night Culture" stickers -- most of whom were pale-skinned and punk/gothic fashionable enough to qualify for parts as undead extras on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
Er, whatever, Mr. Leonard. (Jaime Z. gets to look all cute in this Salon puff piece)
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Wednesday, February 9

Just sent this off to a domain name registrar with particularly egregious marketing practices: bulkregister. Probably has grammatical errors in it, but who cares--everyone knows marketing monkeys aren't literate.
To whomever is in charge of your marketing--

Please remove my phone number (XXX-XXX-XXXX) from your database.

That said, a few more issues:

  1. Your e-mail was sent to a large group of individuals, but you did not blind-CC it. This means that I and any other people on the list can easily see each other's e-mail addresses. This is stupid, rude, possibly illegal, and a breach of privacy. Research into proper e-marketing methods would have alerted you to this problem. Simple precautions would have avoided it.
  2. We should not have to *ask* you to remove us from your list. And if we do ask, your database should be up to the task of cross-referencing names and phone numbers so that this whole "give us your phone number and we'll remove you from our list" schtick is unneccessary.
  3. Don't use automated telemarketing. It sucks, it annoys the potential customers, and half the time it doesn't even work correctly. For example, my annoying phone call started off with a machine voice saying: "[beep]Wrong number." Classy, that. I didn't wait around longer than it took me to find out the name of the company that was needlessly bothering me.
  4. In case it wasn't clear, I will never use you service. Nor will any of my friends or coworkers after they hear this story. Such is the price of incompetence.
  5. Feel lucky. Normally I charge $75/hr for this sort of advice.
Be happy!

James Reffell
NorCal District Marketing Coordinator
Robert Half International

The last is stretching the truth, but with these sorts of imbeciles running around, I probably should go freelance and gouge people like that.
 (2:14 PM | #)

Ohmigod. Do I was at the Alternative Press Expo, right, and who was there but Chris Isaak!!!! [Keith Knight: You are the man. I worship you. I will purchase your books.]
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Tuesday, February 8

In honor of John Dvorak's new Microsoft conspiracy theory which has been much linked of late, I am rechristening this site:
feckless--promiscuous browsing
 (4:46 PM | #)

Heh. I just peeked at Warren's newest column over at comic book resources. He says:
I will not call it "TwenCen", all you cultural-theory poseur scum.
Ha ha! I win. TwenCen will become common usage. Little girls and boys will insult each other as follows: "You're so twencen." Cultural-theoretical-poseurical evil scum like me will prevail. If Warren Ellis is agin it, it's bound to happen!
 (3:45 PM | #)

In honor of the Expo (and since I'll probably be running through the list of new books I sampled there in the next few days) I added a list of my essential comic book sites on the right side there. Go wild.
 (3:39 PM | #)

I made it to the Alternative Press Expo this weekend. I went on a small buying binge, picking up a long sought after copy of From Hell (comments later when I can think about it more clearly), and a whole bunch of single issues from people I'd never heard of (or heard good things about but never read). I was also most pleased to see that Jeff Nicholson, of the massively surreal and bitter and brilliant Through the Habitrails was present with his new series, Colonia. Since Habitrails is one of the finest self-published comics ever, it's nice to see more work from him. Judging by the first issue (Time travel! Talking ducks! Female pirates! Fish-men!), Colonia ought to be damn entertaining.
 (1:53 PM | #)

Mine will probably never be a christ centered home.
 (9:49 AM | #)

In another blow to any chance of a social life, I built a new computer. For the first time since 1993 I can play contemporary computer games (well, some of them at least). To figure out what I wanted to get, I used the following method:
  1. went to arstechnica and looked at their budget box recommendation.
  2. used pricewatch to find inexpensive resellers, and then resellerratings to pick the most trustworthy.
  3. having decided on transcend, I ordered a bunch of stuff (the case came from centralcomputer, becuase it's down the street and I could carry the box home easily.
  4. ordered about $475 worth of stuff (motherboard, ram, celeron 466 & fan, video card) and had it shipped to my office.
  5. had amazing fun geeking out and building it from scratch--something I hadn't actually done before, despite years in the desktop support trenches. I even used heat conductive goo between the chip and the heatsink. For the moment, I used my old hard drives, monitor, cd-rom, and sound card. Spiffy new ones (and more ram) will be forthcoming when cash flow is recovered.
  6. (As well as a digital camera, and dvd player, and a barbie dream house, and a pony . . . .)
Anyway, what with me playing Fallout 2 and Homeworld, and Eva playing Final Fantasy 7 and (soon) Omikron the Bowie Project, well, we've been busy. See you in the summer.
 (9:37 AM | #)

I swear, someone else used prole before I did. I just don't remember who it was . . .
 (9:07 AM | #)

Monday, February 7

Pet vocabulary peeve of the day: reek vs. wreak.
(As let slide by Salon today.)
Reek means to emit smoke or a foul odor, sometimes figuratively. Wreak means to bring about or cause something to happen. I reek of garlic, I wreak havoc. Got it? Ok.
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Friday, February 4

Top Ten Reasons So Many Civil War Battles Took Place At National Parks
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Thursday, February 3

Oh look! The bomb squad is hanging around my building. Wheee.
 (11:26 AM | #)

We won!

Y'know, I just love living in a city where the good guys win even some of the time. We may not have been able to elect Tom Ammiano, but we got him in the runoff, we got all of his propositions passed, and now this. I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy from watching the democratic and beuracratic process work.

I may be libertarian-ish on social matters, but I'm incredibly impatient with knee-jerk griping about "the gummint" and "beltway insiders" and that sort of bullshit. Most of the people who run our local, state, and national government work very hard, believe in their jobs, don't get paid nearly what they could in private industry, and on the whole do a decent job. Those of us who try to reform governance when we feel it's in need of reforming should never fall into the trap of cynicism--but it's all too easy to do so.

Some folks may feel that San Francisco is a lost cause politically--but that's just defeatism. Hell, I don't think Washington D.C. is a lost cause, and let me tell you, the nastiest local politics here look like a cakewalk compared to that. So, while it's refreshing to leave a (small) political battle happy because we won, it was even more refreshing to watch all the small but important matters that were brought to the board before ours handled well.

[wave of flag, sound of trumpet and drums, end fervent patriotic moment]

 (9:42 AM | #)

Wednesday, February 2

Ladies Who Lunch.
I explained what they were: "A lady who lunches is a woman who wears pink Chanel suits, owns a poodle, pays twenty dollars for three carrots arranged neatly on a plate, and does charity."
No, I hadn't heard them called that either. But it's perfect.
--from Ouch, via riothero.
 (3:39 PM | #)

Heh. I just caught another quote from the Bowie transcript below:
Being a journalist is a horrible life, endlessly looking at your watch wondering when the pubs open.
 (2:56 PM | #)

Prole is now my official source for all things wacky and Bowie. Feeding Eva the latest nonsense from the goblin king is always fun. Today's offerings are a bad joke (original to prole?) and a discussion of cheese:
Fiona Campbell: This may seem inane, but do you appreciate the finer qualities of cheese?
David: Blimey, you've really homed in on my likes, cheese is right up there with coffee, both deadly and both irresistible. Requiring guts of steel, the most potent cheese I've ever had is from France, with the enticing epithet Devils Shit, Merde Diable, it can kill a donkey at 100 yards and is delicious on a water biscuit.
--from eden
Bowie joke: 'Oi, Mistah Bowie, didn't ya useta be queeor? And then ya married Iman...'
--from prole, presumably.
 (2:42 PM | #)

You know you're having a good day when: The barrista at Starbucks gives you your mocha for free.

Actually, I suspect she gave it to me for two reasons. One is that I've been bugging her to be careful and get her arm checked out for carpal tunnel and repetitive motion problems--shed been wearing a brace to make it feel better, but not going to the doctor. I think she finally went, it looks like she got a better brace and she's been banned from the espresso machines (it was the twisty motion that was killing her). Two is that I told her a brief version of my getting canned from Imagine story.

Basically, whatever their other reasons were, I found out later that the only comments my boss and senior coworker gave to the staffing agency I now work for when they asked for references is that I was a very "calm" employee. Putting this together with some of the comments that my boss made at the time, I get the impression that they that that since I wasn't busy panicking over every little emergency they had, I wasn't taking the job very seriously.


First of all, anyone who has known me in my (now thankfully retired) tech support persona knows that I take it way too seriously. I just internalize it, rather than spazzing and running around like a headless chicken. I do this partly because it doesn't help give an impression of competence to the people you're assisting when you spaz, and partly because it doesn't actually help you fix the problem, either. This goes double if the problem is, given the circumstances, unfixable. "It's all about managing user expectations," as the person who first trained me in desktop support always said. It's also because I tried to keep some perspective about the issues I was working on--fixing some idiot sales guy's laptop because he's too lame to figure out how to work a Macintosh for Christ's sake, is never a priority, whatever car he drives. Fixing the production machine just before a print deadline is. I have a feeling that some poor overcompensating schmucks may have been personally wounded because they're less important than they thought . . .

I carried around a big cross of self-doubt because I got fired from Imagine for a long time--I still have some of it. On one hand, I can always say to myself: "Worst that happens is you get fired. You've survived it before, and you can survive it again." I'd rather not have to, of course, and the flip side of that is the ever-present nagging paranoia that someone might be thinking of firing me again. This even now that I proved my tech support competence in a much more demanding environment (and got offered a promotion & full time position) and have moved on to another field. I figure I'll only really escape it when I'm working for myself--at which point I'll have much larger, more immediate, and very real failure anxieties to cope with. (I can't wait.)

 (2:24 PM | #)