tin omen

moveable type


And to think, I hesitated.




So I went to the comic shop today...

... and after a bit of tooling around I settled on my second purchase of Transmetropolitan Volume 2. The bartender I loaned my first copy to in 2003 no longer works at the bar I loaned it to her at and the bar has changed hands, so.

I got drunk.

Walking home, I thought about comics.

Came up with a bitch of a Wolverine elseworlds, which I'll probably have forgotten in the morning.

Realized I've been waiting for Appleseed volume 5 since high school.

I'm 26.

Realized the only other comic I'd even think about buying would be a Kishiro-drawn Moore-written modernized interpretation and extrapolation of Pervert Club focusing on gender identity issues. As opposed to, say, women's underwear.

I know Ross can do superheros. I'd absolutely LOVE to see his take on drag. Put him on covers and give me a lifetime subscription.

And now you know all about what the kind of comics I want to read. Go take a look at the stock of your friendly local comic book shop - these sorts of things are not on the shelves.





Back to the grindstone.




This Transmission Is Coming To You.

Some good news:


Still getting used to the position of the hard drive (warm!) and the "enter" key being one over from where it is on pismo. Unsurprised that a not-fucking-around install of 10.4.1 and apps eats about twelve gigs. Enjoying the wireless, the form factor, and the weight. This thing is a feather compared to my Powerbook.

Much much love for Ryan Beck-Buysse, who cut me a deal that made a long-overdue and much needed portable upgrade possible.

I need a fucking vacation.

The where and the how are practically immaterial so long as it's Not Here.

Any one of a small number of local girls I don't see nearly enough of are welcome to attend so long as the conversation never touches on how I'm fucking up my life and/or theirs. My disinterest in hearing about other people's ideas of how I can and/or should improve myself would be why I'm aggressively single and why I go to bars to look at girls as opposed to talk to them.

Notebook, iBook, a couple of bristol pads, a few changes of clothes and a motherfucking couch.


Bills need to be dealt with This Month Dammit, big installation at work (everyone happily assuming I'm doing the work of an employee who hasn't been replaced yet), stilll Editing ATC and I'll be goddamned if I'm taking time off before that's done, etc, etc, etc.

Oh, and I'm getting ultimatumed by people I haven't hung out with in awhile because - get this - I haven't hung out with them in awhile.


No time off for me!




The chassis is a lot smaller than I thought it would be.




Words are weapons, sharper than knives.

Makes you wonder how the other half LIVES.

Every single one of us, the devil inside. Etc, etc.



Bitch, bitch, bitch.

I bitch a lot. I have reasons, much in the same way a lawyer has business cards. The way, sometimes, a lawyer has a pulse. I bitch a lot, and a lot of the people I know bitch a lot. Bitching indicates an unseen need for a change in the environment. In my case, it means I need to boost my blood sugar.

Bitching is a symptom of a greater issue that rarely has anything to do with whatever you're bitching about. Forget the target. Consider the ammunition. Introspection is an incredibly useful tool, and a harsh mistress to loose lips. People don't care about your problems. They have their own, and they spend large amounts of money and time getting away from them. They might care if you're famous, but the kind of people that give a shit about the problems of famous people are the glazed-eyed lardmissiles shoplifting Weekly World News out of the grocery store, sneaking it out in their industrial strength hair rollers. The kind of people who can't find Mexico on a map.

My coworkers bitch a lot, and frankly, I don't get paid enough to listen to it. I get paid enough to run a high pass filter over it, listening for keywords. I drop the rest- it's bitching to bitch, whining to whine, blithering just to hear ones own voice and calling it doing something when really, it isn't. Doing something is doing something, and bitching isn't doing something unless you're a lawyer or a client of a lawyer, in which case you're still required to do some work, in the form of framing up your bitching in legalese- the language that turns your whining into an unearned paycheck.

Most people, I've noticed, bitch because they're dissatisfied. It's great when they realize this, know the reasons. Makes it easier to listen- in some cases it's actually helpful to get the weight of a situation off of your head so you can move on. Great for periodic stress relief- make a career out of it and you're not contributing to society, you're just a whiner.

Then there are those who bitch to bitch, whine to whine, and who will never, ever realize the fact that they're doing it to themselves and using whatever comes along as a scapegoat to justify their own inability, inaction, laziness, etceteras. They're paralyzed without somebody to whine to, they're useless without mountains of emotional support, and they'll never get anything done unless they have a babysitter to listen to them bitch and complain about how fucking hard doing anything is.

If you were an observant kiddie, you noticed that your parents actually paid your babysitter for the privelege of putting up with you. If you weren't, you take it as a given that there's always going to be someone to hang your neurosis on- someone to do your thinking for you, someone to motivate you. Proxy-parents for kiddies who don't want to grow up, face the world and kick it in the fucking nuts. Put a dent in it.

Life isn't going to hold your dick while you piss. Life is, in fact, eventually going to get sick of your whining and start ignoring you, because ultimately, bitching isn't doing, and if you're not doing, you're never going to get anything done.




(Yes, I frequently feel shitty. Sometimes more so than others, with weekends usually being the situation that proves the rule. :P I should probably just stop drinking, honestly. People I care about are going to read this and assume Bad Things! :O)

Went to Laga feeling like shit (upside- talked to Adam, turns out we both have sleep anxiety. "upside" in that I'm not the only one, it's some nasty shit and he handles it much better than I do.). Had a couple of well drinks and promptly suffered glycemic meltdown. Gallons of cold sweat, an angry god vomiting down my spine. Cleared up after a half hour or so. File for future reference and move on.

Have a few more drinks, Absolute instead of Well. Social things, etc. happen. Walk home. Halfway home, the hole in my head reappears. Instead of being situated above the brainstem it's moved to the forebrain, left. Need to shit. Figure I'll get home, allow my ass to sneeze and then force myself to vomit. Finger down the throat, etc. Remember (fondly) actually feeling GOOD the morning after nights I get so drunk I puke.

Get home, paint the bowl, flush, wipe, flush. Finger down the throat, wiggle around, gag. Repeat, spit out some mucous. Repeat, spit out some blood. Mildly surprised and concerned. No finger, gag. Spit blood. Wash face. Spit blood. Muscles completely reject the tension- necrotic spaz-out back of neck, entire jaw. Spit blood, bile taste in back of mouth, feel like I've been clocked upside the head with a phone booth. Right upper jaw throbs like it's broken, like there's glass embedded in my palette. Burns to swallow, upper right hurts from strain- in hindsight, it wasn't even a tug, the fucking muscle group just BROKE at the slightest HINT of USE. Stabbing, relentless.

Stomach full of vodka. Tried to purge the mess, failed. Get to live with the consequences, spitting up blood instead of Absolut. Throat raw, feels like I've puked a freight train. Bowl says otherwise, bowl says less than an ounce of mucous, less than an ounce of pinkish blood. Raw.

Back of my throat burns like napalm. Right side of my face feels like an old sixteen ounce glass soda bottle was shoved into it at high velocity, throbbing.

Fingers pause. Surprised I can type at all, fucking dead alive that something, anything even works at ALL. The hole in my head is usually above the brainstem and wasn't there nearly as much when I smoked and now I feel it every day and it feels like I got hit with a bus in the jaw- it fucking HURTS and I did it to myself but I can STILL. FEEL. THE HOLE.

Fractured splinters of pain across the right, sometimes the left jaw, above where the wisdom teeth would be, below the eye sockets. Throat is RAW, throat BURNS. BURNS LIKE ACID. Can't think, clown will eat me. Entire head in a vise, barbed wire agony with The Hole at the fucking center dear gods STOP



Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

The basic disruption of reality occurs.

Or should.

Sitting here roiling in technolust and locking into the lust addiction, the thrusting empty longing for useable hardware. Suction. Alas, the spare six grand sitting around to affect such a transition reclines in another life, its place in this one occupied by a lock into this funky situation in which Work and the home Work Station exert a magnetic sort of brainsucking reek, sucking motivation like a cheap whore salivates, saturating pubic hair.

Lot's of gear to rework, lots of shit to throw out. Hard decisions versus inertia, the iron maiden of personal preference, social morres, ease.

It's a slow process, the slack and the ennui and the boredom and the struggle to surmount the dumb realization that this isn't it, this isn't the place, or the time, or even productive.

Sluggish, the life of self-imposed temporally unladen goals.




Okay, so. Yeah. Uh. Soft but solid sludgy light as a feather heavyweight bodyache congestion overdrive, with a side order of stressed out ligaments (hands). Stuffy, sneezy, achey, dopey, and the other three dwarves sort of thing. Staring at Pittsburgh Deviants while a sixteen minute video runs through its looping paces. Anaesthetic contact-numbness mindsludge, opposing loosely-knit pins and needles deathrot of monday, tuesday, and most of wednesday. Slurpy, disassociated.

Likelihood of burning my first sick day after paychecks show up: 95%
Likelihood of going on a NyQuil bombing run tonight : 100%.



Impulse Control

Genocide is as fundamentally Human as masturbation. Everybody's done it- it's just not the kind of thing you talk about at parties.

- Fell out of my mouth in conversation with mad_jester, Jungle Mike and Sugar on the smoke deck, CMNH shipping dock. Asked to repeat for posterity.




~5:30 Sat., 18/Carson. 71, breezy. Slept forever.

Implemented new ATC site last night, came up w/a better method for mugshots as I was lying in bed. Had to force myself to wait. On deck first thing @ cmnh. Dreamt, walking barefoot, had been for days, perhaps. State of clothing unknown, no boots, feet tar-black with city filth and not feeling it. Not feeling it at all.

No hangover. Precipice of caffeine withdrawal but no hangover. Can't afford another one, at least in Oakland. Sun in my eyes, sunglasses, breeze curls notebook against my wrist. Small letters, thin ink, careful, legible. Wish pencilling and inking were this easy.

54c, Scott on the crosswalk. Connected at home long enough to scan weather, away log. Typo on transition 10, requires fix, repost, reprint. Ditto cast- method in mind.

Beautiful day.



Deal of the Century.

New Zealand (like all countries) is run by a bunch of fuckwits.

Bruce Simpson built a cruise missile on his own free time. Rather than give him a raise and a promotion, .nz has effectively blacklisted him.

Bruce has put himself on the market. (src=mdxi) For sale to anyone willing to pay a reasonable salary plus relocation.

You can buy 15+ years of professional experience in electronic hardware design and implementation, 15+ years of software development experience, the benefit of 5-years hard-core R&D into modern pulsejet technology, and 10+ years of small airframe design and construction all in one slightly aged package.

With Mr. Simpson, and ten ninjas, anything is possible.




In todays mail: a belated birthday card from my grandmother. Grandma explained that the delay was due to insufficient funds.

My grandparents have been married for over 50 years. They have raised four sons and a daughter. They are, in fact, great-grandparents. They are senior citizens, they have worked their butts off their whole lives, and they deserve a rest.

My grandmother and grandfather do not deserve "insufficient funds."

My grandmother and grandfather do not deserve to be living paycheck to paycheck. To be watching every single penny like it's the last one they'll ever see.

The timing of the birthday card was phenomenal. I'm in a similar situation and would have fallen critically short otherwise- todays mail and a surprise gift from a coworker who knows my situation, and suddenly payday is in reach. That's not the point. I have another ten, fifteen years before this sort of thing should be eating my brain and causing ulcers. I have another ten, fifteen years to chase payday, catch it, lock it up and domesticate it.

My grandparents, by all rights, should be past this. They know what they're doing.

The economics and the priorities of the American government dictate otherwise. Savings were emphasized in the forties and fifties- these days, a good chunk of the economy itself is hung up in the concept. Lawsuits are filed. Enron comes to mind. Corporations screw people out of a few quiet years of reflection and gardening and suddenly you're pushing eighty and realize you've been doing the nine to five for the last sixty years.

Four daughters and a son. Nine (ten? I've lost track...) grandchildren. One great-grandchild. It's the twenty first century, and my grandmother still has a day job. A day job that doesn't quite make ends meet.

Feels disturbingly familiar.

Reading the card, I felt old.

Very old, and very cold.



Now is the Only Thing that's Real.

Last night I was drunk. In Philadelphia, which is quite a drive. Got home around dawn. Wrote this somewhere in between a brief detour called New Jersey and Allentown, around which point it became more prudent to pass out.



Memory Lane

Today I'm twenty five years old.

Quarter of a century.

Old, in other words. Closing on 30.

I've spent some time here and there throughout the week compiling a non-inclusive history of the last 9,132 days of my life. It's far from complete, but I believe it's detailed enough to give you a general idea as to what I've been up to since the lease on the womb expired and I moved Out.

I've been busy.



Elf Booty Got Soul


One of two cinderblocks from The Evidence Log, the pictographic proof and reference of my journey to North Central PA. This one was taken in the park near Lock Haven on the third during our preliminary testing of the technique we developed for use on the fourth. The second was taken behind the barn near the house Xeno grew up in.


While neither shot is professionally composed (see the The Evidence Log for technological details), I personally feel that both of them define my opinions and memories of North Central- an area that was at its peak in the nineteenth century. Tioga, Lycoming, and Clinton counties are all completely covered in trees, much the way Pittsburgh is covered in exhaust fumes, sewage, and rain. And it's all second growth- the lumber industry has moved almost entirely to the southern part of the hemisphere, leaving farmland and light industry behind. Oh, and several Wal*Marts.

Speaking of tall green things:


The tree on the property line between my parents house and the Worthington's fields- the barn and one of the outbuildings sits in Tioga county, and the house (the white smear) sits in Lycoming. Must play hell with the property taxes. Neither my parents nor my sister were home- while I could have easily let myself in, it just didn't feel right to do so. This image was taken near sunset on the fourth of May. I like that tree- I've always had an odd sort of soft spot for it, for some reason.

That hasn't changed- though my narcissistic streak died a quick and silent death in the late 90's, when I was removed from the desolation of Liberty- which might explain why there aren't many current photographs of me floating around. Proximity and Xeno's suggestion produced this one:


Yes, the vehicle could be anywhere. Doesn't change the fact that it was somewhere between Lock Haven and Williamsport at the time of exposure, around seventeen-thirty yesterday. I hate pictures I happen to be in- I have yet to see one taken from a decent or flattering angle- the only ones I'm happy with are self-engineered- it's easier for me to avoid the weird angles, since I can't see them with the equipment I have access to.

The rest of the images taken on the Photo Safari are in LOC, where they belong. The ones that don't belong there are still on my hard drive, and are mirrored on Xeno's.

It's lateish. He's asleep, and I'm awake and alone in North Central for the first time since the winter of 2001, when I flew through in a brief blast that only vaguely resembled a winter holiday. Back then, Xeno's hair was about a quarter of an inch long. These days, it's past his shoulders on his way to his scapula- no doubt aiming for an eventual rendezvous with his anus, which is liable to make for all kinds of defecatory {in}convenience.

The technology of this vacation amuses me- with a crossover cable and an extra ethernet card, I'm routed into Xeno's cable line through his XP box- a box that gave us no end of connectivity problems as his sound card noticed the ethernet board, screamed a fit, and caused XP to suddenly and frequently Prefer Not To in interesting ways. Having broadband away from {home|work} has been both convenient and intereting- we tried playing Diablo, but IPX hated us something fierce, so we settled on Quake III- a game Xeno was certain he'd hate until he found the railgun, the shotgun, and gibs. Three days and a thousand frags later, we're Blue Team and he typically carries 3/4 of the kill count on a 100 frag round against five bots (three tards for me and two normals to kick my ass and occasionally his). Between that, iTunes playlist sharing, using simple networking to swap files, and getting completely FACED Tuesday night while spreading the results all over IRC, I can definitely say that technology seems to have changed our lives for the better.

Phase One (North Central) is complete. Phase Two (Pittsburgh) begins when we wake up. I'm not sure how Phase Two is going to play out- I have to work, and I'm a terrible host- my accomodations aren't nearly as accomodating, so to speak. Fortunately for our extremely limited resources, Phase Two will be briefer than Phase One- Pittsburgh is, unsurprisingly, quite a bit more expensive than North Central. Though once I get through the Work Thing on Thursday, I'll be reprovisioned on the money front and will be happily footing the bill for the rest of the Vacation.

Oh, in other news- over the last five days, I have seen a total of ONE khaki-clad asshole with a cel shoved up his aurifice. Compare against the countless dozens of similarly outfitted mentally defficient status-impared urbanites in Pittsburgh. I like the country- the locals are just as ugly, but the place is loaded with plenty of green, very few humanoids, and is, generally speaking, far easier on my face than Pittsburgh.

Of course, I've hit right before Allergy Season- if this little jaunt had happened a month to six weeks from now, the Green would be making a very active and aggressive attempt to kill me.

Funny what a little time off and a total of one energy drink in four days (Sobe Adrenaline, though I've been snorting coffee like it's going out of style) can do for ones perspective. In a way, I'm not looking forward to going back- though I am looking forward to discerning what sort of impact this brief change of perspective will have on my daily activities in the Iron City.

More information on that as the situation develops.



~11pm 34 degrees, 54c


Pen is nearly dead. :P. This means I need to hit downtown for spares (checking bag first...-) (coughs up a spare of questionable quality) So. That's good.
Radiometric is back in testing : need to put grids back on the source tomorrow. My back is still sore- if not worse. Backpack aggrivates. Weather is cold and damp; Roy is up front chatting w/ some girl w/ multicolored hair.

Worried about focus. Current >_< on Gravicon has me split, which is wasting clock cycles on deliberation. Irritating. Sensation that a vertebrae is about to pop out of my spine : more so.

Spammed Warren Ellis and got pr0n art production proposition within four hours of each other. Should ponder the karmic signifigance of this at some point.

Mouth tastes like coffee. Asprin, bar, home.




For execution during April 2004:

  1. Juggling G3s
    1. SCSI card and drive move from Gridlock to Cambria.
    2. Cambria loses USB/Firewire card for second SCSI card or IDE card. USB/Firewire card causes conflicts in OS 9, unstable. No problems in OS X. Box will be dual booting.
    3. Boot Cambria from 10.2 install on 4g UWSCSI from Gridlock; copy OS 9 install to 4g drive, format 80g IDE. Machine is repurposed as general use legacy box: VDR in 10.2 and quicktake / RCAS i/o in 9.
    4. Gridlock gets 4g Cheetah from Cambria. RAM transplant: 128 into Wire. Machine is left with empty PCI slots or fast SCSI, 4g drive. OS 9 install and applications, pass off to the waiting list.
    5. Wire gets the leftovers. Specifically, +128 ram.
  2. Juggling Linux
    1. ~, mysql database, and apache config on massive backed up and transferred to maniac.
    2. massive goes offline.
    3. 7300 is rebuilt using parts from 8500. Namely ram, possibly hard drives.
    4. SCSI controller and drives from massive transplanted to 7300.
    5. Fresh install of debian.
    6. move massive backup from maniac to 7300, reimpliment.
    7. 7300 will take massive's old IP due to moveable type configuration quirks.
    8. massive will be rebuilt using leftovers from G3 juggle. Options at this point are either OS X OMFGWTF box or linux. Or the machine will simply be offlined.
  3. 7300 build
    1. 256 (8x32) ram from 8500. Ram from 7300 is stored for future use.
    2. PCI 10/100 ethernet board from Gridlock.
    3. PCI 2930 SCSI from Gridlock
    4. third slot empty
    5. internal drives : one of the 2g will probably stay for use as an OS 9 bootloader. Secondary will be replaced by 8g from massive. Or 4g. The development that massive is being used for is presently in the ~200 meg range and is not expected to exceed ~300.
  4. Disposal or location juggling.
    1. Powerbook 520 is dead. Needs to be discarded.
    2. Duo 230 still works and functions for the time being as a scanner stand. VIAO desktop case is junk and needs to be thrown out.
    3. Inwin case needs to be gutted. Find the bad SCSI drives and discard.
    4. 7100 is junk. Wipe hard drive, pull boards, toss.
    5. MacTV needs to be put into storage.
    6. Sparc has never been used; do not have the necessary equipment. Presently a monitor stand. Storage or reimpliment in new furniture arrangement.
    7. Indigo2 will be placed on top of wire and cambria as a monitor stand., or under the 7300 for the same purpose.
    8. 8500 requires disposal. Blown arbitrator chip makes serial and PCI busses unuseable. RCAS and mobo video works. Network and ADB work. Internal disk is being odd: may toss to someone on the waiting list as a replacement/upgrade.
    9. A/UX box is fine where it is (end table)
    10. Inwin works as alarm clock stand; should be filled with working SCSI equipment and offlined for future use.
    11. Massive needs to be relocated from its current position. Options are storage or the present location of the Quadra 650.
    12. Role of the Q650 will be assumed by the rebuilt Cambria; obsoleting the Q650, which can then be placed in storage. Machine still has functioning OpenBSD install.
  5. Overall goals:
    1. Removal of Gridlock (passed off to current person on the waiting list)
    2. Removal of 8500 (passed off to next person on the waiting list or decomissioned- may cycle out to Roy for return of 9500, which I have no use for at this time.)
    3. Removal of 7100.
    4. MacTV into storage.
    5. Transfer of massive from 9600 to 7300, 9600 offlined as furniture for the time being
    6. Projected machine roles:
      1. Maniac will continue as workstation.
      2. 7300 will become web development system.
      3. iMac will be emergency-use-only and/or fileserver (currently fileserver)
      4. Cambria will become backup dump location and general widget box for things I can't do with modern equipment or linux.
      5. wire will be run through a base debian install and offlined until its planned role as router/web face is financially feasable.
      6. Pismo continues in a reduced role with use being reduced by planned purchase of medium-capacity USB pen drive.
    7. Prepare space for acquisition of storage equipment (planned for May 2004 at present)
    8. Reduce clutter and overall volume of technology in the living area.
    9. DUST.



South Side

Dogs and pot and loud music, oh my.

22:43 < solios> fagbot: doot for my neighbors being obnoxious. Again.
22:43 < fagbot> FUCK THAT NOISE




Because I felt like it:

Jacket pocket, right : One leather glove, one pack of Camel Lights.
Jacket pocket, left : One leather glove, two disposable lighters, key ring, work ID.


Outmost slip pocket : Bus schedules for 54C, 51C, UV loop. Ticket stub from trip to Philly in November of 2002. o_O
Outmost pocket (the small one) : Snapple Replacement Meal (strawberry), two cans of Red Bull. Wallet. Shitty mechanical pencil. Neon blue pilot pen. Solar powered calculator. Button (H. Dean doesn't suck.), one pack of condoms (Trojan, ultrathin lubricated), glasses case containing either spectacles or mirrorshades.
Middle pocket: grey thermal sweater containing plastic bag containing Powerbook.
Big pocket: One liter of filtered water. Metal packboard (Camel Reds sign), sketchbook, bristol pad, binder of ATC hardcopy synch, notebook (five subject, with pockets), copy of The Ticket That Exploded by William S. Burroughs. Wetsuit 2.0 Goretex case (Aftermarket, designed for Powerbook Duo series powerbook. Two compartments, metal backing)

Wetsuit 2.0 case: Powerbook power supply, headphones (large compartment), two kneaded erasers, two #1 microns, two #5 microns, one #3 micron. Pencil sharpener. Pencil case containing ten pencils : B, 4B, 2x 3H, F, 3b, 2H, HB, H, 6H.



Silicon Valley puked in my bedroom.

I removed the first floor air conditioner and stuck it in my room today. It belongs to my roommate, but it's a known thing that I pay the entire electric bill and live in the hottest room in the house (the attic). Couple that to the physics of heat rising and cool air falling, and it makes perfect sense. So I moved the thing. In the process I popped the breaker for my room twice, which resulted in three *nixxen going BLAM! and two MacOS machines dropping.

I spent a very large amount of time error checking the machines individually, and then stress testing the breaker by bringing them up one at a time. I finally settled for the left being completely operational, and the right having essential operating capacity only. In the process I rebuilt my 8500 completely, as either the PCI bus or the IDE card I was using had decided to vomit on me. The machine has been upped from a 6 gig IDE and 128 ram to two 4 gig Cheetahs and 256 ram. No problems yet, but the thing is off.


For illustrative purposes:

The Left.

[conveniently and unintentionally erased during cleanup operations in April of 2004]

In use and running: Power Macintosh 9500 with G3/300 processor, 128 megs of ram, three 16 meg video cards plugged into the monitors (Trinitron, 1280x1024; Applevision 1710AV, 1280x1024; Apple 15" multiscan, 1024x768- all millions of colors). 9 gig Ultra wide SCSI on an orange micro board for OS, 4 gig 10krpm fast SCSI for swap and share point. Attached: Wacom tablet, Extended II Keyboard, serial cable for Quicktake 150, Apple Pro speakers and Cambridge speakers, webcam, microphone, PowerKey, SCSI CD burner. The machine is connected to the network via an Apple branded 10/100 ethernet card. Use: Stereo (iTunes, mounted from Server), light graphics work and games.

Also on the table is an iMac running OS X 10.2, with 288 ram, a 60 gig IDE drive and an Iomega cd burner. Kensington Orbit trackball for input device. Backup drop zone, file organization and light web desting (apache with PHP).

That black blob near the iMac keyboard is a spare battery for my powerbook. Lower right is an UMAX piece of shit scanner, a Duo 230 and dock (unused, as the 230's keyboard is ass), and an empty Sony VAIO tower case. Between the 15" and the iMac in the back is an 8 port 10/100 switch.

The Right

[also conveniently and unintentionally erased during cleanup operations in April of 2004]

20" Apple trinitron, which hops between all systems in the pile. It's sitting on top of a 7300, which is a G3/300 with two 2 gig drives (one OS 9, one Debian Linux), 176 ram and 4 megs of VRAM. THe machine is unused due to current power grid strain. Under that is a Sparc Server 20, unused for the time being. Underneath the //gs monitor is wire. G3/266 with IDE CD, SCSI zip, 9 gig 50 pin SCSI for /home and /var, and 2 gig UWSCSI for the rest of the OS, which is debian linux. 128 megs of ram. Realtek POS ethernet, Apple UWSCSI, Adaptec 2930u SCSI. The machine has no functional sound or internal SCSI.

Next to that is the 8500, which functions solely as a passthrough for the playstation. The cd burner the PS1 is sitting on top of is plugged into the 8500 through the power supply, so it powers up when said machine is on. Specs are listed at the top of this entry.

The last two cases are Gridlock, the file server. G3/266 with 256 ram, 80 gig IDE (media), 60 gig IDE (personal data), 4 gig UWSCSI (OS) and 8x black SCSI CD internal. PCI cards are same as wire save for an Apple branded 10/100 nic. Inwin server case has a shorted power supply to operate without a motherboard, and contains two SCSI chains- 4 gig and 2 gig 50 pin userlands and two 9 gig SCA drives for OS and applications toolbox. The Syquest and Zip are non functional and used as front filler so dust doesn't get into the machine. The SCSI chains are 50 and 68 pin respectively, and are cabled into the MT through motherboard SCSI (50 pin chain) and the Adaptec 2930U (68 pin). OS runs on one of the SCA drives and a PCI slot fan has been added to the case. Gridlock serves audio to the 9500 and files to all systems on the network, functioning as a longterm storage bay.

Not featured: The 5300, 650, 7100, 8100, 6150, wgs95 and MacTV that are eating up space on the floor.



Well. That sucked.

I'm pretty sure I just totally skullfucked a relationship. Which wasn't my intent, in all reality. So I came back home, blasted Sponge : Plowed. Primitive Radio Gods. 3 Doors Down. Queensryche : I don't believe in love. Def Leppard : Animal.

Whee. I really suck ass at this "conveying emotions" thing. That giving a girl more than the impression that she's a convenience and little more, which is about as far from the truth as my ass is from Neptune. I suck ass at conveying emotions, and I excel at wreaking maximum damage with my attempts to explain something as simple as "I feel like complete shit tonight, it has nothing to do with you, my stomach hurts, my energy sucks and I'd rather not subject you to untold hours of me sucking because I'd rather our time together were :) instead of :|."

Something got garbled in the translation between my short circuited brain and my mouth. Funny how I can keep track of a conversation when I type, keep my mouth shut and blast music.... but with the tunes off and the keyboard out of my hands, my brain just seems to shut off or hit the "stupid" flag. Go me.


In other news, ATC is go. The phenomenal shittiness of the last 30 hours has likely been due to the fact that in finally starting a project that's been in some stage of development for the last nine years, I have broken some severe inertia, offended the gods and generally incurred the Wrath of Crom.

So in theory, if doing a four page kickstart results in projectile vomiting, loss of balance, a weakened stomach wall and a greatly damaged relationship with a very very cool girl, then by the time I finish the first major section of the story, the earth will open up and swallow Pittsburgh whole while all kinds of other equally bad things happen to the rest of the world.


Balance, folks. The harder you push, the harder the Great Magnet pushes back.

This is going to get really interesting.

23:43 < Xenothaulus> Messages from brain to fingers are easier than brain to mouth
23:43 < solios> especially when I can backtrack my statements, rather than them disappearing right out of my head.
23:43 < Xenothaulus> ;)
23:43 < Xenothaulus> s/Crom/Krom/
23:43 < Xenothaulus> Just so you know.
23:44 < solios> :P
23:44 < Xenothaulus> "the earth will open up and swallow Pittsburgh whole while all kinds of other equally bad things happen to the rest of the world."
23:44 < Xenothaulus> So everyone else is going to win the lottery, or what?
23:44 < Xenothaulus> !
23:45 * Xenothaulus discovered an irkle server dedicated to PR0N!!
23:45 < Xenothaulus> SERVER
23:45 < Xenothaulus> not channel
23:45 < solios> See?
23:45 < Xenothaulus> SERVER
23:45 < Xenothaulus> Yes
23:45 < solios> See?
23:45 < Xenothaulus> Saw Reloaded again today, had kickass steak sandwich, got into beta and discovered all your pr0n are belong to us
23:45 < Xenothaulus> I'll probably die in my sleep tonight
23:45 < Xenothaulus> That's how these things usually go, you know.




This is not a good town for psychadelic drugs.

This $place is getting to me.

$place where $ would be the value of location or plane, depending on wether or not one would consider the internet a plane or a place- much like Pittsburgh or certain other things that could be described more efficiently as a state of mind or Like There Only Not. Some such eloquence of the state that is a totality of being bored with the universe, per se.


In the sense that it's not boredom- more the sensation of realizing that we are, in fact, out of gack. In the Sultan Sea sense of the term. You must excuse me, but I am the ocean, and we're creeping into high tide here, kiddies. Bring you life preservers. The mind recoils in horror.

Which is interesting, because you can actually watch yourself behaving in this terrible way- and the dialogue doesn't have to make sense, now does it? I've snapped out of the mother of all suckholes through brute force of jogging. Did it again last night and blew out the right ankle through a shin splint- boots laced too tight. Pumped the first night through a ritual finish, out of which came the mercury redesign on Wednesday. Thursday has been maintenance and analysis. I've been fixated on video games and jogging- flash back to junior high, when it was final fantasy six and two miles a day. Flash forward to the present reference point, when it is final fantasy eight and twenty minutes on a tight loop, getting the lay of the area and going off at midnight or so while cds are burning, files transferring, doing it because that, kiddies, is what needs to be done.

So. Streamline the network and disk storage. Run backups. Run through FF8 instead of looking at pr0n. Run, Solios. Run. Crave sammiches.

This is my empire. I've come back to claim what is rightfully mine.

Not your average talking my ass up into doing something speach. I refuse to plot out the possiblity- think too much and you start working up excuses and get too busy planning to execute. Right now we're moving in a direction, refining and reprocessing, figuring out where things stand and how to execute. Burning off the brush with a flame thrower. Getting the lead out, as it were. Preparations for seige and redefinition of structure.

The importance is the process, and the process is the goal at this point in time. Fuck big plans and eventual objectives. Those were graduating high school, graduating art skool, becoming a successful dungeon master. Getting the MP3 collection properly tagged and organized. Mastering Drone. Right now existance is a sea of redesign and tweaking, rebuilding and restructuring. Finishing off the material worth finishing and discarding the shit that's too old to bother with anymore.

The last who the hemmoraging FUCK knows how long has been subpar coasting existance and that fact is reflected in my line work. The subject matter I doodle is historically a reflection of the greater picture, which is why anything outside of the preferred focus looks like shit when I sketch it out. The idea, then, is to align the life with the subject matter, rather than the reverse. I'm out of school, I'm done with college, I have a stable job. My options are either stagnate like everyone else or fucking do something- namely, the something I've been wanting to do since ever and have been putting off forever.

Of course.

Everyone else can just fuck right the hell off- meaning the everyone else in meatspace; the people that rip shit on professional artwork when they have yet to master human proportion and perspective. The people that bitch incessantly about money while simultaneously glossing over the fact that their plans to resell stimulants at a markup went up their nose- substance abuse and perceptual beatdown are things that are obvious to others, rarely to the self. I've had enough of watching other people bitch about situations they put themselves in, and have been inundated long enough to percieve the common thread and draw some conclusions.

There's no principal to suspend you. No teachers to glare at you. No classes to fail. No exterior carrot hanging in front of your face. No academic grants, no student loans. No fallbacks or excuses. You're on your own, and you have absolutely nobody to blame for sucking but yourself.

That's the gist.

Right now I'm standing on a flat plane with a pile of Construx. Rather than stare up at some inscalable wall and whine and bitch about all of the things I'd like to do, I've finally realized- the fucking ladder isn't going to build itself. The more time you spend thinking about the ladder and forming plans to build it, the more the parts sit there and do nothing. Much like this essay- which is simply expending resources in a public environment while waiting for a section of the situation to download, allowing egress.

I have a base. I know where I am. No point in looking around at destinations I can't reach. Time to focus on the ones I can.



Marching Orders: An Analysis of Motivation

SS Beehive, 1946, 19 Feb 2k3

"No more human sacrifice," she said, "I'll just have a dry martini."

Annoyance. The beehive goes in spurts, with longer and longer loops of absence and shorter and shorter loops of attendance. I'm here on business, so to speak- a friend of mine and I had made plans to hang out a long time ago and she dropped me an email this morning asking what I was up to this evening. The answer was either hammering on Fugu, my "new" OpenBSD box, fucking with my network, or not much of anything. There's about four gazillion things I should be doing- upkeep, lan layout, apache testing configurations, working on Fugu... and that's just the stuff that I would be doing if I wasn't sitting here- it's not even the To Do List.

The Beehive has outlived its usefulness- at least at this stage of the game, when everything that needs done involves pushing the metal into batch processing, or attacking one machine for serving and another for development- work that involves, in its entirety, at least two machines to be done optimally. Struggling with OpenBSD so I don't have to kill myself with it in July, when I'll be needing it. Configuring a home developmental webserver that walls off my file server from the hypothetical outside. Rebuilding a bitchbox.

In other words, Nerd Things.

I'm here because I agreed to meet here- or rather, postulated the notion. And I'm running ahead of schedule, so I have about thirty minutes to kill. This unfortunately involves being exposed to the populace, which is and is not a good thing. In lieu of my recent exposure to Paul Graham's essay (here), I'm seeing the beehive social dynamic in a new light. Additionally, after assimilating the essay and writing up my own response (filed in LOC), I got to thinking about the concept as a whole, and analyzing my own history with it.

I've never liked large groups of people- my lameness filter has a tendency to kick in and thrust me to the outside, where there's much less distraction and, hypothetically, fewer people that are going to bug me. This is an issue in the beehive, as I know so many patrons that coming here to Do Work is completely pointless anymore. Productivity- at least in a useful form- is difficult to attain when people are constantly stopping by your table and paying their regards. This is no fault of their own- I am, by all intents, misusing the coffee house these days. They're doing what you do in a place like this- meeting people and hanging out with them. I'm trying to avoid that- consequently, I've been avoiding the place.

Though it has its benefits- a musician friend of mine just handed me a CDR of his latest to rip, which piles on with some material I have been sent from Germany to examine. You get to a certain point with being Known for whatever reasons, your skills and tastes become evident, and after awhile, you don't have to go looking- material falls in your lap. Same thing happens with operating systems, applications, video material, drinks, and so on and so forth.

But I digress. Also, my headphones suck.

The timefiller point I was building to is the personal analysis of Mr. Graham's essay and the things it got me thinking about. In one sense, it's all good- as any patterns or motivations that can be gleaned from hindsight analysis can be applied to the present and future. If anything, getting another piece of the puzzle is always interesting for its own value, especially when it's just stumbled across.

People keep piling into the place- happy hour and homework are finished, time to be social.

Digression for the sake of the obvious, a downside of working in total public. The point is the back analysis- I figured out something, at least a small piece of it. Back in high school- 11th and 12th grade- I was in great physical condition. Literally. Ripped, carved, whatever- I was in excellent shape and looked it. This is no longer the case, despite the subject coming up for review on occasion. I smoke, I drink, I eat right before bed and none of it's healthy. Cyberpunk lifestyle- fitness got dropped somewhere along the line.

Fitness is a matter of personal motivation- clearly under the present conditions, the motivation is lacking. I'm different now, but the same basic desire is there. The drive, however, is not. In retrospect, this deals largely with two factors. The first being that my father is in excellent physical condition- I conditioned myself with him, as he was an immediate resource of tips, suggestions, the routine, and would encourage me without driving me into the ground. It wasn't a keep up contest- I did it and asked if I could join, and he accomodated. I wanted to be in good shape, and look like it- but I also, at the time, had ulterior motives.

These became obvious at the beginning of my senior year. Gym class. 200 inverted crunches, batman style- the only guy that could pull it off. I remember clearly some kid from the peanut gallery as I stomped out of the lockerroom (I never "walked" in gym class- I stomped, stormed, or attacked)- "Holy SHIT! Hinder got RIPPED!"

Indeed. That was part of the point, really. It was obvious, totally, that I was in shape. You don't fuck with someone that looks like he's going to leave you sore for a week. The condition registers subconcsiously. I was no athelete, but that damned sure as shit didn't make any difference. I had something to prove, and I'd proven it. The benefits were great- being in shape makes you feel good, look good, and affects your body language, endurance, and stamina in positive ways.

Then art school happened, and I had other priorities. I had also lost my fitness peer, as my dad was three hundred and some odd miles away, still doing his thing- whereas I was learning the city, learning the applications, adapting to a new social situation. Emphasis on that last. Environment and expectations changed. There was no athletic base to prove against, no fitness impetus. The priority was delisted and filed in hibernation.

I've been taking issue with my noticeable reduction in lung capacity and my lack of being in shape lately- the essay, in combination with my present line of thought, clicked these things together and gave me an insight into the underlying reasons for the change in priorities and the fact that despite the topic being under consideration on a rather frequent basis, nothing has come of it. There's no outside pressure or motivation- there's nothing to prove. It's now a matter of personal impetus with no obvious goal or, ultimately, the punk rock smugness of knowing- and proving with your presence- that you're better than your surroundings, on sheer physical merit.

My history of self motivation is essentially negative in essence- there is a wealth of things that I do for sheer enjoyment, but progress- real progress- the DRIVE to get something done and do something that is incredibly difficult, time consuming, and otherwise annoying, is born out of a desire to not necessarily demean others, but establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm Better. Better in the sense that I can set my goal and achieve it regardless of circumstances or distractions. I can, given the impetus, achieve my Will with a savage sort of self-determination. Define. Redefine. Clarify. Execute.

This falls down without a sense of urgency or need- laziness kicks in and it's easier to not do a thing than it is to exert effort. The logic behind this can be broken by applicaiton of Heinlein's World's Laziest Man- you do one thing extremely well and bust your fucking ass at it to get out of doing something that you really don't want to do. Memorize a few dozen mathematics tables to get out of physical condition. Develope autopilot to get out of the stress of flying. Build a network to learn the trade without paying for it and sharpen your job skills to the point where you've maximized the time you spend at work getting Better.

That sort of thing.

Reangle with an eye towards the discovery- motivation is most successful when there's more to gain than personal satisfaction. Motivation works best when it's external. When it's to prove a point, flex skills, or shut the peanut gallery the hell up. The upper tiers of the popularity structure in high school are the perfect motivation for developing artistic skills- I can do something you can't- and for physical conditioning- I'm in better shape than you and I don't play sports. The art has lived on and translated itself online. People consider me to be good at UI design. Why? I make pages I'm happy with and I have very high standards. Some people like my artwork. Why? Because it's different, and I intend to keep it that way. Now sit right back, as a matter of fact, and let me show you how it's done.

In the Real World, being Good at what you do- or being considered good- is slightly more detrimental than it is in high school. In HS, the upper tiers of the peer group have no choice but to admit to your skills in some fashion, even if it's trying to demean you so they can feel good about themselves. They're tools. The Real World brings peers, or people who think they're peers- and people who want to learn or get tips and/or instruction from you in the ways by which you do things. It's an annoyance and a distraction when you're not in the mood for it. Hence the lameness filter. New targets to acquire- a new situation to rise above and prove oneself in needs to be found, or presents itself in a different fashion, as the game has changed.

Sounds almost predatory, doesn't it? I suppose it is in a way- I have the skills I do through being exposed to the right software and the right media, having the necessary skills to actually prove to myself that my instinct of "fuck, I can do better than this." is actually correct. Follow through on the hunch, prove the point for self satisfaction. Eventually, the skills get to the point where your personal satisfaction is getting noticed and starts drawing a crowd, after a fashion. Filtering the glut of sand that comes your way at that point and learning to filter for the diamonds- the right opportunities, the things you want to do- is a philosophical tangent. Being able to figure out what's good for you and achieving it are two very different faces of the coin that seperates instinct, hunches and talent from the drive for success. The point here is looking at the drive- where it comes from, what causes it, and most importantly, how to focus these things into something of value.

For me, discomfort is the drive. Sick of machines crashing? Get six and a switch, task each one with one of the things that you do. Problem solved. Sick of the high school gym class making you its bitch? Rip yourself into shape and go juggernaut. A computer animation major with a severe distaste for CAM software? Learn motion graphics and pass on merit of doing something totally unexpected- hone and perfect your skills later, after the school puts the application into the course curriculum. Unconventional and extreme solutions to annoying problems that aren't going away- the extremity being part of the joy of the solution- "Hey, I pulled 47 1/2 hours straight to get this thing done, so stop with this 'coming in late' stuff." Not proving myself just to prove myself- proving myself because I know I can do it. The situation provides the motivation. Scrap those factors that result in the push, scrap the urge.

Which brings me back to the fitness thing, and the new challenge- deliberately generating a situation in which it's condusive to get back in shape. Personal merit will work for a period of time, but there's a push that's needed to keep the concept running in the long term in order for it to pay off and become as habitual as email. Life after high school and college becomes a life of self motivation- something many people aren't big on unless their survival instinct kicks in. Training and certification to keep your job, drug testing, things like that- guidance from outside the situation. The carrot on a stick that keeps you in line.

So how does this work when you're passionately set on living by your own rules, and you're getting along just fine bending the situation to fit your needs without breaking yourself or the machine in the process, with all parties coming out on top? Where's the New Enemy when you have pretty much everything you want, or are slowly working on achieving it? Where's the kick in the face to get back in shape? The kick in the face to start the web comic? Who has the cattle prod?

At one point, the cattle prod was the popular kids in high school. I used them for exactly what they were good for, though it took me a few years to realize that my punk rock defiant approach to the situation actually catapaulted me into making the right connections and decisions to get out of the situation without causing more of a scene than I may have wanted to at the time. At the AI, the cattle prod was the 24 month deadline- graduate by 8th quarter or die. AI produced one of the first motion graphics demo reels (that I'm aware of) and a 400 meg in depth multimedia cd that blew the doors off the instructor ("You could get a job with this!" - Mr. Simpson)- a 20+ file assignment for a third level multimedia class that mandated something like fifteen screens. Overkill. 70 page documented self analysis, comparison contrast of first and eighth quarter mentalities with documentation and commentary from a psychologist for a three page comparison/contrast essay. Total, unreasoning overkill. The results? People know what you're capable of when you get your ass in gear. They look at the extremity compared to the baseline and either think you're nuts or see where you're coming from. Frequently both, which is fine by me.

Sounds like a lot of back-patting, but all of the above can be substantiated. I sucked at CG modeling, so I lit and texured well. I hated my graphics abilities for being so limited (re: experienced) at the time, so I poured a campaign world I had been developing for years into a disk, figuring the completion of the presentation would be weighed favorably over the quality of the aesthetic execution. In other words, I used what I was really, really good at or had already accomplished to cover up the areas in which I was defficient.

Same thing with physical conditioning- yeah, I could barely bench 120 and could do, at best, 3 pullups. But I could do 200 inverted crunches and leg press 450 without blinking an eye. Extremes in one or two categories belie the weakenesses or defficiencies in others- and I am not, by design, the master of any single discipline. There's too many of them and not enough time in the day. If I'm the master of anything, it's assembling my mediocre skills to work together as something that's far greater than the sum of the parts. World building, if you will- the world in question could just as easily be a web site or a DVD as a campaign setting for an RPG.

So. We have what I'm good at, and my penchant for going totally over the top. If not to prove a point, than to get the thing done- I do my best work under intense stress. Throughput is increased, the distractions drop off, and I'm getting a massive self-education in how to optimize workflow in order to accomplish the task. This works fucking fantastic in high school, in college, and in certain field jobs such as game programming- to paraphrase one of my AI instructors who had worked in the industry: "Three month deadline? Hah. You play Quake for 12 weeks and don't sleep for two."

This is, for many of us, exactly how it works. Urgency is the incentive. Obey the Fist- you either get it done or you get the hell out and look worse because of it. Constant urgency, on the other hand, will burn your ass out like a sparkler and you'll be sitting at home under your blankets watching Cowboy Bebop DIVX on your laptop and wondering why the hell you haven't finished your personal project yet. This line of reasoning could branch into analysis of doing what you Will against doing what you're good at, which is something all creative people have to deal with- but I'm getting closer to the point, or the question- how to create that sense of urgency.

How do you kick yourself into getting in shape when there's no incentive? How do you kick yourself into doing a web comic when there are no deadlines, no profit, none of the little motivation incentives that come with deadlines at work, high school bullies, or your TI screaming in your ear at five in the morning?

The immediate answer is to Redefine The Enemy.

How's that? Good question. The postulate being to develope, find, invoke or bring down some serious smack upon yourself, by your own hand- kick your environment into kicking you into doing what you want to get done. Give the situation the tools to give you the incentive. Stick your own damned foot in the bear trap and fire the Remington 700 at the jaws. Hope you don't miss.

Self Improvement isn't masturbation- depending on how you define it. Ikea furniture, khakis, cel phones and that nice care? Wanktastic. Being in good shape, being artistically productive, and doing what you want to get done? Spot on. An easy approach to this is to remove all distraction- get rid of everything else until all that's left is you and the resources you need to do the Thing. Self Destruction in the eyes of a consumer society- you don't need a DVD player to draw a web comic. You don't need a cel phone to composite video. Socially implied conveniences do nothing to get this sort of work accomplished. What are the distractions? What are the opiates? Why are you fucking around with OpenBSD when you could be sketching characters? Simple- you're avoiding the task in favor of something just as satisfying, but ultimately, of much less consequence and impact on your life and hopefully, the lives of others. You're productive, but it's a false productivity- it's an active distraction. You're being productively lazy.

Works in the workplace, and my knowledge of computers - expansive for my age (23) and exposure time (5 years)- sure as hell wouldn't be what it is if I didn't dedicate so much of my time to slacking off in the name of research. In the meantime, however, I'm out of shape and I've been meaning to do that comic since 1994. The capacity is there, in terms of talent, knowledge, and capability- yet the incentive has given way to distraction. This is ultimately unproductive when it comes to the stated goal- that being getting what's in my head out.

To that end, thanks to the essay that inspired this and the output contained herein, I have some ideas that merit exploring- the beginnings of a way to beat the situation into kicking my ass into getting this done.

I'll keep you posted.



Gimp useability.

Posted as "Make the GIMP useable, PLEASE!" on Macslash.


I make pretty stuff for a living. So I use what's best, not what's current. Unfortunately, what's best for my needs at work - and for web- is definitely NOT what's current. Right now, I've completely given up on Adobe and am pinning my hopes on the GIMP.

My problem with the Gimp is that it's graphic software built by geeks who need to occassionally work with graphics- not graphics software built by geeks for totally, start raving NON geek artists.

I gave the REAL gimp (run through Apple's X11 release) a spin a few weeks ago and saw a lot of the potential immediately. The biggest problems were that the graphical interface was anus and the keyboard shortcuts were far worse. The control key on a Mac keyboard is in the least convenient place- I hit Apple/Command with my thumb and control with my pinky, which is a pain on a powerbook and just as annoying on an extended keyboard- this is a serious issue for me, as I use the keyboard quite a bit in photoshop. Ten minutes in the GIMP and my pinky was sore. :P The biggest advantage was that GIMP running in X11 was just as fast as Photoshop 5 running in Classic... both of which are faster on my hardware (G4/733 with 1.25 gigs of ram) than Photoshop 7 running natively. Oh, and both GIMP and Photoshop 5 bring up the SPOD almost never, whereas PS 7 has a sick habit of SPODding like a mother and stealing focus like it's going out of style.

So the GIMP needs a more "professional" interface, which is basically just fine tuning what's there now... and it needs to be highly configurable from inside the app- NOT by editing text files. Widget clicking sort of things like "rulers off by default" kind of things.

The one thing GIMP really, really, REALLY needs- more so than my gripes listed above- is to have a completely customizeable keyboard layout. Like Quake. Photoshop doesn't have it- going from 5 to 7 means you spend a month cursing and praying you'll meet an Adobe developer in a dark alley so you can beat the shit out of him, as many of the heavily used keyboard shortcuts have changed.... when they quite clearly had no reason for doing so.

If the GIMP key bindings can be changed inside the app- meaning blipping through pref panes, not whacking a text file- then it's a simple matter for someone like me, who's practically hard coded for Photoshop 5 to install the GIMP, map all of the tools to all of the Photoshop 5 keyboard shortcuts, and.- BLAMMO! - drastically lower the learning curve.

If the GIMP project implemented exactly that, I'd wipe photoshop 7 off of my workstation in a heartbeat. I'm keeping 5, though- type tool handling is just the thing for after effects open captioning. :-)

Commercial software houses are hooked on the revenue stream like a junky on heroine- unfortunately, their apps have all but peaked and recent releases have been nothing but ass in terms of performance and useability. Adobe is starting to go downhill rapidly... and the GIMP has nowhere to go but up. :-D

(If you think I'm talking out my ass, feel free to tell me. If you think my ranting makes sense, I rant some more here.)


In closing, the state of commercial software could be described in four words:

It's the economy, stupid.



Identity Crisis.

I'm an artist. At least I think I am. Even if I have shit for self esteem when it comes to the medium, think most other artists are assholes, would rather soak my head in a septic tank than go to an opening, and am much more versed in, say, SCSI than Impressionism.

I also vowed almost a year ago to start a web comic during my 23rd year.

...and I'm installing Open BSD 3.2 onto a Quadra 650. I have been, all day. Off and on. Strange install process and definitely not for newbies. Somewhere between AIP and this morning, I picked up a few dozen computers, hewed them down to ten, acquired more OS Install media than I have comic book pages, and generally gone completely fucking bugshit in computers. I'm putting together what I'd like to be a firewall because I have time to kill and am going to need one in six months. Well, firewall and router. Hypothetically, anyway.

I'm in a somewhat unique position of knowing how to make pretty things Right, rather than being sucked into the bullshit designer jingoism of Macromedia products- I laugh in my roommates face when she gets that misty look in her eyes about Flash, tell her I don't have the OS X version of Director because we're done with using it at the Museum (nevermind that I'm the one who's really pushing the Mac software end of things), and I've generally come to favor free as in speech, Apache, PHP, SQL, and laughed my ass off when Macromedia figured out a way to turn a CMS into a product... all of my designer friends thinking this kicked ass and the pleasure I got from informing them just how snowed they were by the Macromedia hype machine underscored something interesting- I'm not your typical web designer.

I'm also not your typical "artist with a web site", either. Fortunately, in both cases- a statement that might piss some people off, but hey. I've never been one to take complements and I've never been one to lie out my ass when my lameness filter is blowing steam out the redline. I do, however, try to be professional and refrain from letting friends and associates who are looking to show off their work know exactly what I think of it- unless that opinion is complementary. It's such a pain in the fucking ass to find artistic peers in meatspace. Most of the ones I've met through the AI or through the Beehive are victims of the media culture- sucked up into fan art and easily inspired and influenced by games, movies, television. Art as the icing on the escapist cake. Engaged in subject matter I'm not the least bit interested in- or was at one time, only to have set it down or lost interest in it for any of a myriad of reasons.

The icing of the escapist cake is the issue here- more importantly, the escapist cake itself: a cake many people either don't realize they're eating, or relish as a gourmand- the latter either incapable of realizing that there is, in fact, more to life or worse, realizing and choosing not to partake. The internet and the endless obsession with computers- macintosh, interface architectures, device architectures, expansion architectures, operating systems- is analagous to television, pop music, movies. My mind lets the tech fixation off the hook under the aegis that it's productive, and ultimately useful, even if it's answering someone else's questions. I take pride in not going to movies, not watching TV, not caring about politics, not being addicted to the things I hate. It disgusts me to see these fixations in others. What do they do? What are their ambitions, and why in the flaming shit aren't they busting their ass working towards them right fucking NOW GODDAMNIT instead of wasting their lives discussing just how funny they think Kung Pow: Enter the Fist really is?

Yeah. I'm an artist and I'm blowing a day dropping BSD on an old box. And you know what? At the end of the day, I'll have BSD on an old box! Web development. Fucking with AFS on BSD. Learning things. Routing and firewalling. DHCP service. Something useful - ultimately in the job setting, if not on a personal level.

Obviously people get something out of the experience, or they wouldn't be doing it- entertainment is a vice, and for me, my entertainment involves keeping my mind occupied- not lulling it into being passively glutted by NTSC. I'm more about being occupied than dulled, getting bang for my buck than just zoning out in front of the idiot box. I used to be a hardcore TV junky, stuck on movies and games- having my own machine and net access allowed me to shift my addictive personality off of an inherently unproductive medium and onto one that has proven to be vastly educational and interactive.

I've learned a great deal from the "swtich" from TV to internet as a means of entertainment, and if anything, I use it in much the same fashion as I used other media before I had a computer- tons of information assimilation and the occasional round of entertainment. The web just makes it easier on both counts- a reference in a webcomic becomes a google search in another Mozilla tab while I continue to assimilate the totality of creative output.

And yet- despite weening myself off of passive entertainment, bottling it down to literally a "no other options" standpoint of recovering from hangovers or being stuck at work waiting for the bus for a few hours... active entertainment is just as seductive, just as ultimately unproductive, and if anything, far more deceptive. It all boils down to motivation, distraction, and just how easily accessable that distraction is.

Naturally, the more available it is, the more likely it is to be used- witness the number of smokers and drinkers against the number of pot smokers and coke snorters. Trust me- it ain't legality. It's moral inclination and availability of resources. The alcoholic and the cokehead are one and the same- two different buzzes; one a matter of resources and some "luck", the other a matter of the state saying you're old enough. Neither are better or worse on a base level- it's not the resources or the taste, it's the application... too often being one of escapism on some level. Life sucks, get a fucking helmet.

Drugs are a vehicle, not a parking lot.

Drugs are whatever you define them to be. The way I see it, a drug is anything that makes you feel better about life. Uppers make you feel good about it. Downers make you forget about it. The internet is a downer- submerse in access and suck up information. Communication. Oh, hey- I spent ten hours online. Neat. Bills? Food? Oh, shit.

The funny thing is, once one stumbles into IRC, there's really little need to go to coffee houses or any place physical in order to socialize. This is mixed, in that on irk, you're online, so you're still easily distracted- yet you don't have to worry about assholes, the pissed off, kids, the genetically decrepit, or any of the other bullshit annoyances of being out in public. You're still not getting anything done- just like television, just like sitting in a coffeehouse getting hassled by the underaged about whatever bullshit they're incapable of dealing with rationally this week.

Yay rants.

This started off as me being mildly disgruntled about being, allegedly, an artist- and finding myself sucked into tech. Back on subject, please, as I'm digging myself a bit of a hole on the above tangent- one that I can't decisively conclude without pissing off other people, namely myself! :-P

Tech is another outlet for the addictive personality- escapism. We've covered this. This mindset is best defined, in my experience, by mindless consumption. I've tried to spin it positively by restricting the urge to things that are useful or truely interesting, but at the bottom line, a huge amount of input does not automatically engender a huge amount of output.

That's the problem.

I'm not as productive as I want to be. This could be explained from any number of directions, and boils down to the fact that there's less urge and vision to output creatively than there is to research and assimilate. At some point the "shit or get off the pot" impulse kicks in, and it's tempting to just sit there, read the newspaper, and hope your roommate remembers it's been her turn to buy toilet paper for the last two weeks.

Explains things pretty clearly, actually. What I'd like to be the bsd box is low level formatting for its third installation attempt- I've had a photoshop file open on my workstation for the last two weeks, and I've been half contemplating reorganizing my CDRs again, just for efficiency. Fortunately I have a site design built that I'm proud of, even if I'm slacking on implementation, and things seem to be getting themselves under control. I know I'm missing something or forgetting something, though- and that's what's eating me. >:-|



Martial Arts of the Mouth

Written at the Upstage during the hour of 2200, 25 January 2k3

Physics and equilibrium- enlightenment and social engineering as martial arts: the social end being more studied in my case. Enlightenment would be shielding and preventative maintenance: social fu being the devensive weapon and mindset.

Play this up against the five elements: Spirit is the Will, perspective and volition of the situation. From there, the other elements are tactical tools, particularly in the situation of argument.

Air- Ambivalent, open, transparent. Inviting.

Fire- Heated, scathing, destructive. A tool that must be used carefully, as its explosive nature fuels the temper and makes one look foolish when one loses control of oneself to the heat. Tactically, the goal in dealing with an opponent is to spark their fire- fan it with air, and then drown it in water.

Earth- Stubborn and unyielding, also the center: piped through Air, the voice of immutable logic. Piped through fire, the voice of ignorance and immaturity.

Water- To which one might apply Bruce Lee's philosophy to the social realm. Through Air, allow your opponent to sink int o the depths- Water and Earth will ignite his Fire, drowning him.

With Water, if the opponent is Earth, he will drown. If the opponent is Fire, he will be snuffed. If he is Air, he may know better and arouse your Fire or bring out your Earth- a situation to defensively avoid: a situation that does not affect Water. If the opponent is Water, then the situation coexists: though Water can be heated into Air. The tactical use of Fire and Earth will excite Water to steam, becoming Fire.

A social art- a dancing game and the tools of argument, debate, and tactical victory. Manipulating the elements in conversation can achieve many goals- calming another or, in the passive aggressive sense, carefully inducing your opponent to drown himself with his own ego: thus agitating him- possibly to the point of pyschic attack, at which point physics and the laws that govern matter and energy bring down your opponents negative mentality upon himself, and he is removed, by his own attacks, from your path.

Fact and logic are tools of Water, and positive tools of Earth. Opinion and emotion are tools of Fire, as opinion wedded to ignorance is the negative tool of Earth. Filtering opinion and emotion is a tool of Spirit and awareness of emotion or passion (passion also belong to Fire) are key to success with Water- the goal of social arts being to ignite the passion of opinion and/or ignorance within your opponent, his attacks becoming infuriatedagainst placid Water. Careful application of Fire excites him further, until his core of Earth is revealed and he drowns, a pebble of ignorant opinion in a sea of logic.

One, you lock the target.

(or the basic "why mercury is here").

Like you care. I have time to burn on a render, so what the hell. Might as well put MT to use and start filling the system up with something that actually looks like content.

Mercury is several things: It's a distraction, a tool, and a pattern recognition utility of sorts. Much like my old anti-blog, Dichotomy- a dumping ground for angst when it happens and stupid or funny stuff when it comes up. In short, things that have absolutely no relevance to revision. Point of fact, I should probably move LOC here, as that material is old, shite, and should be here if anywhere for contextual reference. Mercury is intended to reflect where my head is at when I feel like dumping it onto the webernet. MT has the flexibility to keep this completely self-contained, which is one less site I need to maintain through a combination of Simpletext, Dreamweaver, ssh and ftp.

And the goal here is to get things organized, or a little more clear- while I figure out exactly what's going to be done with the projects I've set for completion and startup this year. The War Against Distraction unfolded through the Screaming Room, AD4k, Dichotomy and started to seep into revision, where I don't want it. TWAD is a distraction in and of itself- a certain failure of awareness. Shooting my mouth off, saying yes because I can, as opposed to no because I'm not really all that interested and would rather be doing other things- keeping an eye on the particulars and actually working towards some greater goal.

This doesn't exactly come easily, if you hadn't noticed.

I doubt it will, and wanting it to runs counter to how I think- struggling against that would only slow me down and create more of a hassle. The idea has always been to know my limitations and put them to work, turning them to my advantage- something that's worked quite well with regards to accumulation of computer hardware and overall artistic throughput.

This falls down when it comes to large scale projects- saving for a Serious Machine, getting a webcomic started and keeping it running, finishing a novel. Planning and doing the little things- character design, site design, site builds, plot work and the occasional piece of cg- come either easily or naturally. Keeping focused on the bigger picture, however, does not- working towards a larger goal would be easier to do in chunks, and steps, which is where my current Big Project comes in- scanning, organizing, sizing, scaling, commenting and displaying over six years of Strange Art- while getting related creative output into similar shape. The scale of said project is pretty rediculous, all things considered- fortunately, this is one with damned near all of the content complete in some form, and most of the work has been done.

The idea, of course, is to have achieved /something/ - a finished body of work I can point at and say "There. Look. I did something. Now STFU and sit down." I haven't had something of this level of completion since Drone, my short film- and before that, my demo tape. Both smaller in overall scale, all things considered. Both also having nothing to do with my focus of late, which is gearing itself towards getting something of substance rolling, leaving all the little ragtag, unfocused bits behind, or boxed up and filed accordingly.

It's all moving towards a common goal- and it's going to keep taking rest stops until I lock the passengers in the car and floor it.

liquid (desc.)

Liquid: a subsection of Mercury, which is in liquid form within the typical human temperature range. The blastbin for more premeditated content than the craptastic sphincterfest of the front page.