October 16, 2004 Header
everybody knows it hurts to grow up but everybody does it's so weird to be back here let me tell you what the years go on and we're still fighting it and you're so much like me i'm sorry - ben folds (Still fighting it) ... ARTLUNG (October 2004)

Joe’s natural enemy: Broken $30 DVD Player

I just spent 45 minutes tearing apart a broken $30 Wal-Mart DVD player. It stubbornly stopped working. Stopped playing. Stopped ejecting. Stopped even letting the tiny green LED light when plugged in. It just got broke.

So I was going to, you know, throw it away. But I couldn’t remember if I had left a DVD in there.

Seeing as how it would not turn on, this was a problem.

In some sense it’s a Schrödinger’s cat type phemonenon. There both is and is not a DVD in the dead player when I’m not sure there’s a DVD in there. So in some sense a tiny kitty will die if I don’t manage to open the DVD player.

Problem is, the damn thing will not open, no obvious manual switches. I unscrew a few screws, but the front plate won’t budge. I use a large pair of scissors to get rid of the plastic, stubborn, front plate. I had to wrestle with it a great deal. I hurt my hands. Screwdrivers, scissors, a bit of swearing.



No DVD inside.

And that, kids, is how I spent 45 minutes this morning.

I’m going to enjoy discarding that DVD player.

Born Under Punches

Another week is whizzing by at a frantic and learn-a-rific rate.

Some new LAMP Host clients upcoming.

New changes over at WebSanDiego.org coming up.

Doing great in Spanish Class, C++ tambien. Printing a group project for Technical Writing as we speak.

My xhtml + css chops are improving daily.

The p/t gig is just fine. Got paid. Man what a load off my mind that was!

Therapy was wonderful Wednesday. Rain was awful. Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain, telling me just what a fool I’ve been.

My cuz who lives in Korea (not the Northern one) is in town now.

Also some of my Georgia relations are in town this weekend. Wacky confluence of travel arrangements and football games.

And man, Leah has been painting up a storm. I sure hope she puts some photos of her work up soon.

Time’s up. Class in 30.

(Oh, and my favorite song this minute is “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)” by Talking Heads, thus the title of this post)


“Catastrophisizing” is the word I learned today.

It’s a habit, and not much of a real word, but the meaning is clear enough.

And it’s a habit I inflict on others, and more, myself.

It’s not my job to fix you or teach you a lesson.

No, Donny, these men are nihilists. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

My favorite quote from this weekend is from Roger Ebert’s review of Team America: World Police:

If I were asked to extract a political position from the movie, I’d be baffled. It is neither for nor against the war on terrorism, just
dedicated to ridiculing those who wage it and those who oppose it. The White House gets a free pass, since the movie seems to think Team America makes its own policies without political direction.

I wasn’t offended by the movie’s content so much as by its nihilism. At a time when the world is in crisis and the country faces an important election, the response of Parker, Stone and company is to sneer at both sides — indeed, at anyone who takes the current world situation seriously. They may be right that some of us are puppets, but they’re wrong that all of us are fools, and dead wrong that it doesn’t matter.

I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

My Favorite Kind Of Feedback

A correspondent named Imelda writes:

Thank you for helping us solve the flash mind reader puzzle – my two children were starting to believe in the “magic” – and I wanted to let them know it was a scientific/mathmatic solution.

No need to contact back. Just a big thanks.

It was a delight to write my Flash Mind Reader debunking piece. Glad you enjoyed it!

Bruce Sterling to teach design at Art Center Pasadena

My hero, Bruce Sterling (his blog) says in his latest Viridian Note:

The going is getting weird. The weird are turning pro.

I have been asked to take a year-long guest residency, teaching design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

This school is in the Los Angeles basin, the epicenter of Southern Californian car culture, the etymological origin of the term “smog,” and a metroplex that arm-wrestles Houston every year for the crown of the most polluted city in the USA. If there’s a heart to the Greenhouse beast, well, it can’t be far from Pasadena.

I’m taking the job. It’s time to become the change we want to see.

For the year 2005, the Viridian Pope-Emperor is becoming a design professor. I have a number of ambitious developments in mind for Viridian list, because, starting January, design will become my career. I’m leaving Texan and I’m becoming Californian. For a while, anyhow.

The Pope-Emperor asks your prayers.

My friend Chris and I used to dream of attending that school. He for transportation design, me for advertising or painting. The fact that Bruce Sterling is going to be living in Southern California makes the little hamster-in-the-wheel in my brain start running faster and faster and faster.

To a certain percentage of people, I suspect this is huge news. I know it is to me.

Octubre Surprise

No, no estoy muerto. Estoy estudiando. I’m chilling out. Thanks for the concern.

Man, I had such a week.

Monday I kicked ass on a Spanish test. I studied, and did well.

A little client work, but not a whole bunch, actually.

A bit of friction at the part-time gig. Communication is hard man. I don’t do as well with HR as I do with my tech co-workers.

Man, I really love building websites. even ones I’m never going to see in action, behind passwords. Even ones I’m never going to put in a portfolio of mine. It’s gratifying work. And man, I’m so happy I’ve started doing “Daily reports” at the p/t gig. What’s a “Daily Report?” Okay here goes… I worked at Jamison/Gold for several years. It was a wonderful time for me. I got to work on HTML at a time when the technology and browsers were changing and dynamic.

Part of that job was delivering, via email, a “daily report” — as I remember it, we were asked to tell the two founders and the main project manager what we had done that day, what ideas we had, what frustrations we had, what successes we had, how we worked with others, everything. In retrospect, I loved that. It was a way of venting off the frustrations of the day for me. It was a way to keep a tally of our thoughts, for the managers, it was a way to keep track of what we were up to, what ideas we had, and when we left for the day.

These days it’s a way for me to keep the promise to myself that I leave the p/t gig at work. When I walk out of there I’ve committed everything to CVS, I’ve put all my thoughts into bugzilla, and I’ve reported status to those there. If I got hit by lightning they know what I was up to. It’s so cool to go in there and listen to my Steely Dan, Ben Folds, Frank Zappa, The Cars, et. al., work like crazy. When the time’s up, I’m out of there and on to my life. Off to my studies. Off to my Leah. Off to the next part of my life. For so long my work was my life. No longer.

Well, perhaps that’s not entirely true. Web technology is a big part of how I program, interact with people, and get news. But the perspective I’m gaining lately in personal and educational areas of my life is splashing over to professional areas.

Right now Leah is working on some gifts for her kids for Christmas. It’s so cool to watch her work. Earlier she was painting. I love that woman.

I have some bad news. My sister’s cat — Ferris — died this week. Eighteen years old! My mother had to put her down. It must have been 17 years ago or so that I drew this: ferris in repose. Ferris could have had a whole blog on her own. The cat cheated death several times. Sometime maybe I’ll tell you about the time I pulled Ferris out of the engine compartment of a 1985-ish Toyota Camry.

Time marches on y’all. Sorry for the light posting. I obviously can’t promise that this blog will be up-to-date the way it once was. But suffice it to say that my life is interesting.

Take care you guys.

Lyrics of the Week

The Cars … Don’t cha stop

right here I’d like to melt inside of you
right here your kiss is totally new
right here your hands are soft and creamy
right here your mouth is wet and dreamy

and it’s just what I like
so dim down the light
(don’t cha stop don’t cha stop)
(don’t cha stop don’t cha stop)
if it makes you feel good
(don’t cha stop don’t cha stop)
(don’t cha stop don’t cha stop)
(don’t cha stop don’t cha stop)
(don’t cha stop don’t cha stop)


Clarity is a gift you can sometimes give yourself.

But more often it’s a gift you receive by the grace of others.

Thank you Leah.

Thank you Mom.


What about Poland?

Quote of the day:

They deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that’s true. We were taken for a ride.


Mr. Kwasniewski is the President of Poland. (via ABC Australia)

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