Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! Here's wishing you the very best and a pleasant and safe holiday season!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

To All Those Friends I've Ignored

I'm sorry. It's nothing you said. I'm not angry with you. Really, there's nothing bad between us. I'm sorry I haven't called and I'm sorry it's been so long.

See, there's this thing where I hide in my shell and don't reach out to my friends. Nothing happened, nothing caused it, there's no real reason. It's what I do, it's what happens. There are good friends of mine that I haven't spoken with in years. Years. I'll speak with them again, I just haven't lately.

So to any of those friends reading this, and you know who you are (and, unfortunately, there are a lot of you), I am really, truly, honestly sorry. We will talk again soon.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Family and dinner. My younger cousin bought a house. My older cousin is pregnant with her second. This year we had "Tom The Turkey," raised by my uncle. Excellent meal. My grandfather is degrading faster and faster. My grandmother, too. These get harder and harder.

We're not close. My family that is. My generation - we swore we would be different, we would keep in touch, stay together, be the glue. We're not. We're not friends. We're each crazy and messed up in our own right. We watch our parents and grandparents move in their patterns. We see each other on the holidays and mean well, but we didn't change a thing.

I know that every family has its problems - its flaws and blemishes, its skeletons and secrets. We are no different and I watch us tear apart for it. I don't know that the happy families exist. I don't know one. Not a one. When my grandparents are gone, the larger family will disintegrate into non-communication and fade away. Twenty years from now, one of us will say to their son or daughter or nephew or niece: "You have cousins in New Jersey/Texas/New York/Massachusetts. We haven't seen them since your great grandfather passed away."

It saddens me.

It's not even that I really want to keep up with these cousins. I don't need the family to persist as it has. It's a wild, growing element that will become what it is to be. I just don't want the next generation, the toddlers now and the ones soon to come, to have the same unresolved curiosity that I sometimes feel. We had family in Germany, in Europe, in Israel. Had.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

What the...

Strolling around the grocery store this evening and what do I spot? A SIXTH HITCHHIKER'S BOOK?!???! Why was I not informed?! How did I not see this coming??!? FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS STILL GOOD IN THIS WORLD, WHY WAS I NOT TOLD??!?!!

Incidentally, the novel is titled And Another Thing... and is authored by one Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series of young adult books.

We apologise for the fault in the communication. Those responsible have
been sacked.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


–verb (used without object)
  1. to be or become weak or feeble; droop; fade.

  2. to lose vigor and vitality.

  3. to undergo neglect or experience prolonged inactivity; suffer hardship and distress: to languish in prison for ten years.

  4. to be subjected to delay or disregard; be ignored: a petition that languished on the warden's desk for a year.

  5. to pine with desire or longing.

  6. to assume an expression of tender, sentimental melancholy.
  1. the act or state of languishing.

  2. a tender, melancholy look or expression.

I languish. Very little-to-no progress in any real way. I have a good idea, though. I think I'd like to get into publishing, preferably fiction or graphic novels or comics. Try some sort of radical career shift and see what happens. After all, it can only get better from here, right?


Well, that might be the case assuming I did something about it. In the absence of real progress, work at my current job continues unabatedly. I have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks. No one yells at me or says anything anymore. I think we may have reached some sort of compromise, an unspoken understanding that I'm a colossal fuckup and that I do good work when I do work and little that my bosses say can or will affect this state. I'm sure I'll wear down their patience at some point, but obviously not yet. As long as I don't screw up in some huge manner, and as long as I'm still good for the bottom line, which I currently am, my bosses are nonconfrontational enough that things will continue and I will be employed and paid.

I keep thinking "we'll see how long that lasts" but it's already lasted longer than I thought it would so who knows. As someone recently put it to me, perhaps things haven't yet reached that threshold where I force myself to act. Is complacency so bad? Am I really (that) unhappy in my current position?

I don't know. All I do know is that I continue to languish in this self-made purgatory. During the week I internally scream and fight against my daily work, while on the weekend I sit around directionless and immobile. I took a nap this afternoon for 3.5 hours. I watch television. I watch movies that I've seen half a dozen times already. My head runs in circles and I don't know what to do with myself. If that's not languishing, I don't know what is.

I know I'll break this cycle some day. I also know that I've said and written that before to little effect. Ah well, more another time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Notes to Self:

For the past 2.5 years, I've been living in fear, waiting for the axe to fall, waiting to be fired. I've been given numerous warnings from my bosses. I've told friends of mine that I would be surprised to make it another x months or that I would most likely be gone by x date. I've gone into work many days wondering if that day, today, would be my last.

But I'm still here at the same firm, in the same position, doing the same things, reacting the same way.

It's about time I choose to change.

And in view of something about how writing it down makes it even more true...

Unless they fire me first, by the end of this year I will quit my job.

Since I've just been given another warning that first clause may hit regardless, but let's see how things go -- I would prefer not to leave on bad terms if I can avoid it. There are a number of ancillary goals to work towards on the way, but I think the above is step one, goal one. A lot of my unhappiness comes back to my job so why do I cling so voraciously to it? Change.

I'm not going to set down everything here quite yet. I'm going to work on some of the more personal, initial steps first -- changing my attitude and behavior. The rest in due time, first steps first.

It's not that I can do this or that I will do this. I am doing it. Starting here, starting now. Change.

Food For Thought

From: Epiphanies on Weight Loss

Select quotations (blockquotes omitted for readability):

The more self-examination I did, the more I realized that being overweight wasn't my problem at all. Being overweight was a symptom of my real problem - apathy. I seemed to be content to allow the world to just pass me by without getting into it, or getting anything out of it.

I believed that not liking roller coasters was my preference - my own choice. In truth, other choices I had made were the ones that ultimately influenced my preferences.

I think if I choose to like different things, maybe I will like different things. Maybe I can have the life I choose to live instead of one where things sort of just happen.

Something about how writing it down makes it even more true.

1) If you don't choose to live your life a certain way, you will live it anyway, but not on your own terms.

I realized that I am a product of the choices I have made. I turned out exactly the way I was supposed to be. Eating isn't the thing that made me fat. My whole life was what made me fat. More importantly, I haven't been victimized by my choices. My life is simply cause and effect. If I want different output, I need different input. Plain and simple.

3) Don't wait for a certain set of circumstances to become the person that you want. Become who you want to be now, and let circumstances change afterward.

4) You can enjoy whatever you choose to enjoy.

So, if I can learn to love beer and cigarettes, surely I could learn to love walking/jogging/biking/etc. I can't really explain it other than saying, I just told myself to enjoy these activities, and somehow it worked. Now, I get up every morning before work and do a two mile walk or jog. In the evenings I do 10 miles on the bike, or another walk or jog. I can't explain why I enjoy it, other than this is what I have chosen.

5) Don't look find reasons to not be fat. Find reasons to be thin. Positive reinforcement is the only way to really achieve any personal goal.

I decided however, that I wanted my life to be very different from how it was in the past. I wanted to teach myself to enjoy new things. I wanted to be open to experiences I haven't had, and to enjoy things I didn't know I might enjoy. And this became my motivation.

6) Live the change you want to be.

This particular epiphany yielded a startling result. I no longer missed the things from my former life. Sure, I'd like to have a slice of pizza, but I don't miss it. I don't crave it. I remember having fun playing computer games like World of Warcraft, but it just holds no appeal for me anymore. These desires and interests leaving me didn't happen slowly like I expected. It was kind of sudden. I used to eat several thousand calories a day, now I don't. I used to spend 15 to 20 hours a week with computer games, and now it's pretty much zero. I'm not really better or worse for any of it either - just different. I don't think there's anything wrong with eating an entire large pizza, drinking a sixer of beer, and playing World of Warcraft until four in the morning, I just don't have the desire to do that anymore.

7) Weight loss isn't the problem, it is a symptom of a different problem.

So I started to wonder. What does weight loss have to do with making my bed every day? The answer is "nothing". So what is the bed making about then? I realized that the reason I was doing it is that I had cultivated a new sort of personal discipline. I wanted my life to be different, and it was. In fact, the weight loss isn't the thing that has opened things up for me. It's all of the other epiphanies. The weight loss is only one benefit of the lifestyle changes I have made. Self-discipline is another. All of the good things happening in my life are under a bigger umbrella than I even realized I had raised. The desire to be different hadn't just changed the things I expected it to change for the better. It had changed a lot of other things for the better, too.


I think people only need to realize this: You are whatever you have made yourself to be. If you're happy with the result, then don't go changing for anyone. But if you aren't, you are the only one who can change your life. May as well start right this second.

When I tell people about my weight loss, they always want to know what program I did, and I always tell them. But I'm now believing that the program I'm on matters very little. It is just one of many possible successful paths. It was the decision to change and the desire to put that plan in motion that was most important of all.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

"Real Fact" #361

The pineapple is a very big berry.
So sayeth the Snapple cap. So say we all!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Out-Side

"Legend tells of a realm known as the "Out-Side", a vast open space where a fearsome burning orb hangs overhead, casting a harsh light over the land. Some say that to venture Out-Side is like unto death, as many have forever forsaken their blogs and messageboards and parents' basements once they have tasted of this strange and eldritch plane. Still others claim that the mystical "Life" may be found in the Out-Side, and that endless adventure and fantastic experiences await those brave, or foolhardy, enough to abandon their keyboards and pass through the portal of Frontdoor." - oball on OotS boards
-- Signature of bubba0077, seen here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Truer Words Ne'er Were Spoke

Over at Boing Boing Gadgets, Steven Leckart posted his enthusiastic first impressions regarding the recently released iPhone 3G S. This happens to be Mr. Leckart's first iPhone and he's been looking forward to it for some time. The first commenter had this to say:
It's awesome that you own up to being an irrational fanboy. You are a beacon of insanity in a far too sane world and I love you for it.

Sadly for you, I am not a nubile young starlet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sometimes, Some Ways

Sometimes I wish I'd made this blog (more) private and/or anonymous. One of the reasons posts have been so infrequent is that I can't write about the things that matter most to me. I cannot describe the things that are happening, the thoughts flitting through my mind, the fears and hopes and anxiety and happiness and sadness.

In some ways this is a good thing. One of the reasons not to draft such posts is that I know they can (and most likely will) come back to bite me. In these days of ubiquitous internet access and search engine savvy, less is more. Presence, yes, but tempered with self consciousness and self control. The younger netizens will and are learning this lesson, but too often only after it is injurious. Sometimes I like to think I know better.

In some ways this is a bad thing. No ranting and raving. No fists raised against the sky, shouting in the storm amidst the tempest. No solicitations or sharing. Just silence punctuated by the occasional sigh with no further explanation or context. There is a distinct absence of truth and soul and that I truly regret.

In some ways this is frustrating. Frustration on top of frustration. If I cannot write about that which is of primary importance to me, most other words seem pale and wan in comparison. Better to say nothing than something feeble and half-hearted?

Sometimes, someways, somewhere, somewhen.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tidings For An Addled Time

It's been rough the past few months. January was good, but it's been downhill ever since. I've been fairly angsty of late. Where am I going? What will I do? How will I get there? (Not that I know where "there" is, of course.) How does one measure "success"? Time progresses and I do not.

Work suffers, WoW playing increases. About a month ago I took stock of my finances. Since then I've attempted to curtail expenses, though Memorial Day sales enticed me to pick up more clothes and, thus, my expenses haven't significantly diminished.

I sit at my computer and--

I'm not sure what to do, how to kick start the inevitable upswing. I measure my current status by my work barometer. This has strong correlations to income and perceived job security. Income to pay off accruing debt. Job security for a job I am unconvinced I want to retain. Circles and circles, but circles don't lead to new patterns. I'm still waiting for a light bulb of inspiration.

It's probably not so dark and dismal a painting, but too often it can feel that way, painted in shades of fear and uncertainty. Probably why diversion is such a central tenet for me. Movies, music, books, graphic novels, computer games and board games.

I know I will break free from this, I just don't know when or where. Not right now, not today, not here. (But soon?)

Friday, February 20, 2009


I had an epiphany today. I figured out what I want to do. I want to be a comic editor.

One of my morning reads linked to this post over at Kung Fu Monkey. From there, I perused its predecessor. Later on, I found this article elsewhere.

I love comics and graphic novels and, without having to serve as a pivotal basis of original content generation (e.g., the literal art or story), it seems like a comic editor fits an interesting role. Part management, part creator, part overseer.

I also feel like some of the skills I've learned from my past 3 years as a patent agent could come to bear. Often times I need to coordinate with inventors in order to discuss their thoughts on my interpretation of their work. There's quite a bit of organization and juggling required, not to mention deadlines and the like. Plus a fair amount of writing, editing and reviewing. I'm not sure yet what the pitch will sound like but I think I could make it work.

It intrigues me. I'll have to look into it more, learn what I can, see what I see. For the moment, it's an idea, a possible direction, something to explore. So we shall see.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


Stories bring things to life. My favorite purchases, my favorite pictures, my favorite memories - all are intertwined with a story.

I went to NY Comic Con yesterday with a friend/co-worker. I purchased quite a few things including: an original sketch by Ben Templesmith (sketch is of Medusa from Wormwood and, I believe, was a random sketch not used for anything in particular), also some signed comics from Mr. Templesmith (he drew a heart on each cover - kind of neat to see a little personalization with the signature), a limited edition signed print from Greg Horn (it's the '09 NY Comic Con Lithograph of Phoenix, limited to 100 pcs), and a limited edition set of Dawn prints by Joseph Michael Linsner (Dawn and the seven deadly sins, celebrating 20 years of Dawn, limited to 2000 sets, Linsner signed each of the eights prints for me).

I love the art that I bought, truly, but I was also purchasing stories. This is art that, in an ideal world, will eventually be framed and hanging on my walls. And each of these pieces will have a little story to go with it about how I met the artist. Oh the stories aren't very moving or even interesting, but I met them. I saw them sign them. I was there. And these are the evidence, the centerpieces.

It's a concept Hugh MacLeod is fond of espousing - marketing as story-telling. If you make your product the centerpiece of an experience, something upon which the purchaser can build a story and relation, then you have achieved good marketing and you should prosper. Sell the story and the rest will follow.

Or something like that. (I am hardly a marketing guru like Hugh or Seth Godin. I just admire them from afar.) But I know of the concept, I recognize it as valid, and I believe in its power. I know it to be true. And so it is for these purchases.

Twenty or thirty years from now, when I am far removed from this place and time, there is an excellent chance that I will have that original Templesmith sketch on the wall and I will look at it with fondness. Someone standing next to me may turn and ask what it is. And I, in turn, will briefly relate how I met the artist at a comic convention in NYC oh so many moons ago and how pleasant he seemed to be. He's from Australia and he draws incredibly weird things. Tentacles and worms and mad hatters and vampires and, as the picture shows, a stripper named Medusa who guards a rift/portal/thing using tattoo snakes that she controls. Templesmith.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Logic & Illogic

So much of my life is ruled by logic. Income and expenses. The clock. A+B=C. Most events are assumed to prescribe by this ill-conceived notion of cause-effect, sequence and consequence, before and after. It is when events fail to abide by these concepts that we decry the lack of logic.

I like to think that I inject a certain amount of illogic into my life and the lives of those around me. While I generally subscribe to logical notions like cause-effect, I also believe in chaos and its unceasing swirl of illogic. Sometimes there is no explanation, no reason, no rationale for rational explanation. Sometimes there just is.

I am often prone to irony if not sarcasm. What better way is there to mock logic? If the fated, logical answer is A, what more can one do than pointedly, and sarcastically, announce not-A? It is with this attitude that I often approach things. If something is clearly difficult or onerous, you are wont to hear me quip: "I'm sure that will be fun." If there is a best move or answer and I think it obvious, I will likely advocate another, incorrect option.

Sarcasm is proverbially said to be the lowest form of wit. I disagree. While perhaps not the highest (said tier being reserved for knock-knock jokes involving fruit), sarcasm certainly can be wielded as an art form whose usage decries even its own existence with a singular retort.

But I digress. I am a slave and a supplicant to the logical fallacies of this world, and yet I bask in the chaos and illogic that infuses us all. For example, I absolutely adore the underpinnings of chaos theory, wherein a deterministic system devolves into chaos.

I swear this post had more cohesion before I was waylaid by contemplations of the meaning of sarcasm and irony. And now? Now it is a half-formed jumble of incoherency. I would attempt to revive its direction only now my head is directionless and I am clueless. (Tends to happen as the day goes on.) Notwithstanding this failure, it is posted in the vain hope that there yet remains some hint of truth amidst the chaos.

Perhaps that is the tale -- amidst the chaos there may yet remain a nugget of truth and definition and order. Or perhaps the world is lost at a sea of chaos, much as this post is lost to inane ramblings and half-formed conceptions. Does the indeterminacy of it yet drive like a needle through your mind?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Down The Rabbit Hole -- Rabbit Hole Day '08

(From Boing Boing.)

My rabbit hole was a cold Thursday in January. It began like any other with my arrival at the office. Despite the Styrofoam coffee cup in my hand, I was half-asleep, trudging through my morning ritual on autopilot. Even sitting at my desk, loading up my morning websites and checking e-mail accounts, my eyelids sunk lower and lower, hindering my meager efforts.

Sitting there, eyes closed and brain stalled, I heard the sound of slithering, a rough surface rubbing against carpet in a rhythmic pattern. At first I dismissed the noise as a byproduct of my latent consciousness, but the volume steadily increased. At some point the peculiarity of the swishing seeped into my head and my eyes flew open. It sounded as if something large in the hall was approaching the door to my office.

Silently turning my head towards the doorway, nothing appeared out of place. The sound continued to grow, approaching din-like proportions, until a man-sized figure came into view. The.. thing sported the head of a fish hunched over a man-shaped body covered in glistening, gray-blue scales, each about an inch wide. Its lower jaw protruded below a maw of black, a row of fangs readily apparent. Its "hands" and "feet" were webbed masses with little differentiation between fingers or toes. The creature dragged a tail behind it, leaving a dark, wet stain on the mottled carpet.

I froze, afraid to move lest I attract its attention or incite it to anger. As it slowly trudged past the doorway, I could hear melodic overtones like faint bells sounding at random, barely audible over the friction of its tail. The man-fish continued moving to my left out of sight, the slithering noise slowly diminishing until it became the merest hint of an echo.

Blinking my eyes, my mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water. Looking at the floor, I could barely discern a smear of damp, darkened carpet running past the doorway. My brain churned with the half-remembrance of my vision. Even as I struggled to preserve the clarity of the image, he slipped from my grasp. In the end, all that remained was a half-formed, hazy image of a hunched-over figure.

To this day, I am unsure what transpired that morning. Whenever I glance at the brown-gray carpet of the hall, I see a faint trail along its path. Sometimes I sit in my office staring out the doorway, listening in my mind to the rhythmic swish-swish and soft tubular bells. I hope to see him again someday. And I hope that when I do see him, when next he passes my threshold, I have the courage to say "Hello."

(Edit: Happy Birthday Lewis Carrol!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Immanentizing the Eschaton"

The phrase is from "Doktor Sleepless," one of Warren Ellis' current projects. Excellent book so far (I'm not finished with volume 1 yet). According to issue 4, "immantentizing the eschaton" means bringing on the end of everything, i.e., inciting the eschaton. Do not mess with Warren Ellis. He is King of the Internet.

A friend of mine commented on my lack of posting and, though I don't have quite enough time to give this post the attention it deserves, I thought it high time I put something up in place of that outdated Amsterdam one.

Work is... unsettling right now. A week ago Monday, they let someone go. Oh it was one of the "new" people (hired about six months ago) and it wasn't unexpected (one of our big clients drastically scaled back their work at the beginning of December), but it's a little off-putting. Yesterday, another of the new people resigned. The e-mail states that he wanted to go back to school, get a Ph.D., pursue a career in academia. Both of the aforementioned new people were unexperienced. Another of the new people, this one being experienced in the field, was told last week that he needs to "become profitable" within a month or he's gone. As for the rest of us here at work, the quantity of work is drying up a bit. None of us are overloaded, as we all were a year ago.

As for me, I don't think I'm in danger of losing my job. Do I want to lose my job? That's the real question. I know I want a new, different job, but I also want to weather the declining economy. I want to survive and, in this case, that means keeping my job until I get a new one.

Last night, I bought an iPhone. Yay. I am tempted to use it to begin Twittering. We shall see if that comes to pass.

While I was at the mall last night, it hit me – the downturn in the economy is making the world a scary place. Oh I've always been pretty insulated from the bad things(TM), but now the recession is making it real. The mall is already a pale shadow of its former self. More stores are closing all the time and the mall is becoming a hollow shell filled with empty stores and hanger-ons. It's starting to become real now and it's scary.

Home, car, family, dog, World of Warcraft, all going well. Catching the occasional movie. The DVR is a godsend. New furnace recently. A while ago, mom was in a minor car accident on her way to school. She's fine and her car is undergoing repairs.

As for me, well, I'm surviving. When I returned from my trip, things at work had changed. I was given a new system to implement and changed to an hourly rate. I swear the vacation did me well and I returned ready to work. I'm not working enough, not yet, but it's been better than it used to be and my bosses are okay with me. I'm getting things done and putting in time.

But I'm not happy. Though things have improved a bit, I'm still not happy with my career and I still view this as a temporary gig. Someday I will have to get a new job, move out of my mom's house, make my way in the world. In many ways, it feels like I've stalled for the past 3 years. I don't regret any of it, I almost never regret things, but I do need to change it at some point. Fear keeps me from diving over the edge, though, so no radical changes.

But it will change. It must.