ArtLung, blog of Joe Crawford [January 2008]

January, 2008: 17 posts.

Holidays Officially Over


Back at work, kids will go back soon-ish. A new year has begun in full force. Jobs to be done: get Wii fixed, get out of debt, get a handle on taxes, figure out where Leah and I will live next. I’ll ship the Wii today. The rest are nontrivial, but can be managed.

Citizen of the Month

From The Two Sisters

A diary is all about connecting to the past — but only through words. Here, the past was coming together in the present…in actuality! Two women from the same father, both testing the waters to see if this vague family bond matters in any tangible way. Who needs Brooklyn hipsters laughing at old diaries when I could witness real life?!

So awesome. I started reading Neil Kramer’s blog in the middle of last year, and to be honest I skimmed it. He’s a very funny guy, also very real — in person. I initially found his blog a bit too arch — too clever clever. But the new strain of authenticity mixed in with the clever clever I really like. I think I even understand the clever clever persona a bit more. You might enjoy reading Citizen of the Month.

Credit Cards: Pro, Con

Interesting “debate” — caught one of these links on Reddit:

Con: Ways Credit Card Companies Separate You From YOUR Money

Pro: 25 Reasons to Love Credit Cards

My household is definitely of the “con” variety, with Leah and I working on getting completely out of debt. I’m also an avid Dave Ramsey listener, which further reinforces, and signifies this choice. The “Pro” post is especially weak, especially considering almost all of the things cited as being the province of credit cards can be done with debit cards.

Wacom Bamboo Fun (small)

Got a new toy with a gifted Apple Store Gift certificate (a $100 gift cert goes a long way). Just played with it. There will be more with this. I miss my old ADB 6×8 Wacom, but this looks pretty nifty too. The size of the Wacom Bamboo is “small” (not the medium or large) but it seems to work like a Wacom, which is what I was going for. It comes with Painter Essentials 3, which is what I used. Works fine with Windows Server 2003 (don’t ask).

Behold, my hastily executed doodle!

First New Drawing

Happy Birthday Leah!

Happy Birthday Leah 2008!

Older, Still. Random Long Rambling.

“Mind the noose and fare thee well.” is in my earbuds this morning. Got a lot done so far this morning. Much yet more to do.

TMBG Lyrics for the morning, from Older:

You’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older
And now you’re even older
And now you’re even older
You’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older
And now you’re older still

Go ahead and watch the video:

Seriously though, Leah’s a year older, but still a beacon of awesome.

Leah with fish eye lomo on her birthday

And also in the vein of awesome, aging, and cool, Professor Sassy Lee “Matt” Sassburton, Esq. and his lovely wife Beth are expecting! I knew Sassy when he was knee high to a pup, or thereabouts, but I’m pleased as punch as I know whatever the sex of the offspring, he or she will be inculcated with a deep knowledge of haberdashery, unit testing, grinding rails, and Simpson’s trivia. Leah and I wish the bun in the oven, as well as the bun’s parents, only the best.

You know, I had planned this to be a short post, but mayhaps it has a need to be longer. Perhaps I shall address some miscellany. What else has been on my mind, you may endeavor to ask?

They say in social situations to avoid discussing politics and religion. So let’s be anti-social and address a bit of both.

Politically, very interesting things are afoot here in these United States. I’m excited to see energy and elevated participation in the Iowa caucuses and in the New Hampshire Primary. Let’s run down my opinion of the candidates, at random off the top of my head. The best part will be at the end when I have to look up whoever I forgot and pretend I have an opinion about them.

1. Barack Obama. I like him. He seems to be a straight shooter with upper management written all over him. I like that I my spidey sense doesn’t tingle with “Plastic Robot!” when I watch him speak. I would like him to be President.

2. Mitt Romney. “Metallic plastic robot!” But seriously, if I were voting for a CEO, I like him, maybe. I did like that the guy was pro-Gay marriage at one time. That’s pretty cool. I nominate him to be manager of my local Fry’s Electronics.

3. Dennis Kucinich. Not a robot, and definitely I could sit down and play some Apples to Apples or Rummy with that guy. I would like him to be my Mayor. He cares about stuff.

4. Hillary Clinton. Oi. TOO. MUCH. BAGGAGE. No offense to the baby boomers, but we need to be rid of their ilk in the Executive. We have a baby boomer in the White House now and it’s been nothing but trouble. Is this ageist? Sure. Tough! I would like Hillary to be my District Attorney. I don’t want her to live in Washington D.C. anymore.

5. Rudy Guiliani. DO NOT WANT. That dude is an opportunistic, xenophobic idiot. Great District Attorney in New York, crappy Mayor. Didn’t screw up things for about a week in September, 2001. Screwed up everything since. The cops and firemen who worked for NYC were screwed. And while sometimes you can tell that somebody’s doing good if their underlings are unhappy, this does not appear to be the case for Rudy. Also, he’s like the Anti-Family man. How many marriages has he screwed up? Who am I to judge, but then, I am not running for President, right? I nominate him for Baseball Commissioner so he can focus on something he can’t screw up too much.

6. Fred Thompson. I nominate him to go back to playing lawyers and Congressmen in TV and Film and please stay the hell away from any government that has any jurisdiction over me.

7. Ron Paul. I like that kid! He or whoever is responsible for his campaign totally get the internet, which is wonderful and terrifying. If It were, say, Ron Paul vs. Hillary Clinton in the general election, I would vote for him. I nominate him as Grand Ombudsman and Constitutional Scholar of the United States. I know the title doesn’t exist — maybe he could work for the Office of Budget Oversight or General Accounting Office. I want this guy checking on the legality of what our crazy stupid government is doing. I also think I’d love to spend an evening drinking beer (or whatever, I’d probably have a shandy so I can keep sharp) with the guy. He’s smart and a little crazy, and I dig that.

8. John Edwards. Kind of plastic, but I like him. He has an emphasis on helping out the little guy that I really like. Unlike everyone else on the planet, I think trial lawyers rock. They’re actually an essential check on idiocy. I wish the court system worked with better speed though. He’s like a character from a Scott Turow — which is apt since he’s a lawyer. I nominate him to represent me personally should I get into legal trouble or become a character in a legal thriller.

Here’s where I’m not sure who I missed. Let’s consult Wikipedia and expose my ignorance to public shame.

9. Mike Gravel. No idea. The fact I’ve not heard of him can’t be good for his campaign though.

10. John McCain. Oh, right, yeah. How could I forget John McCain? I voted for him in the California open primary in what, 2000? I don’t think he’s the President we need. I find his incredible range of views on the current administration, Iraq, and everything else — confusing. I liked him better when he appeared to have principles. I nominate McCain to be my neighbor across the street who tells great stories about Vietnam, Congress, and running for President. I look forward to grilling burgers with the guy.

11. Mike Huckabee. I got a soft spot for this guy. He’s likeable, funny, and makes terribly funny quips on nearly any TV show he appears on. He’s a serious Christian Evangelical, and he’s got a sincere streak of feeling for those who are in need. He doesn’t think the government should be abolished, a switch from most of the rest of the field. If he were running against, oh, Joe Biden, maybe I’d vote for him. But he’s so good on TV. I nominate him to be guest host of the Tonight Show, or perhaps Letterman. I could also see him as School Board Commissioner (but keep him away from the science textbooks!), or, more likely, Governor.

12. Duncan Hunter. Isn’t this guy one of those crook Republicans? Oh, no, I’m thinking of Duke Cunningham. I don’t know anything about Duncan I can’t read on Wikipedia, so I’ll abstain from nominating him for anything.

13. Alan Keyes. I nominate Crazy Alan Keyes to make me giggle at his asinine principled positions. I liked him better when he was harmlessly pundit-ing on political talk shows.

Aaaand… That’s my election wrap up! I get to vote in the February 5th Election here in the State of California. I encourage all twenty of my readers to vote in this election, even if you don’t really think it makes a difference. I think this democracy thing might catch on if more people did it.

This morning I made muffins. This afternoon I had leftover Cobb Salad from Roxy’s Deli. Today’s a pretty good day by food metrics.

Oh, right religion. Nah, not today. Go enjoy your day. More blogging next week.

Petition: Aggressive Action by the ZFT

Kill Ugly Radio | Frank Zappa & Elsewhere » Petition: Aggressive Action by the ZFT

First, read it:

We the undersigned petition the Zappa Family Trust (ZFT) to cease and desist from making threats of legal action against FZ tribute bands, FZ fan sites, Zappa music festivals and other related activities that are designed first and foremost to honour and promote Frank’s music, despite not being ‘approved’ by the ZFT.
While we applaud the work that the ZFT has done – especially in recent years, with the Zappa Plays Zappa tours and the release of CDs & DVDs such as Buffalo, Wazoo and Baby Snakes – we do not see those threatened by the ZFT as being in any way detrimental to Frank’s legacy. Indeed, while recognising that there truly can be no real substitute, we perceive any attempt to curb such alternative activities will be more likely to have a detrimental impact on the legacy.

We consider that the ZFT would be better targeting those who produce and sell Zappa bootleg recordings and pirate memorabilia – of which there are a numerous examples on the Internet. If the ZFT are to unleash the lawyers, they should be aimed at them and not us – the truly devoted fans.

Next: sign it!

Bebo: Yet Another Social Network

I’m working with Facebook Apps this week and in looking at it I note that apps are roughly compatible with them. So I signed up for Bebo. Anyone else in there? Here’s me:

Bizarre Data-Mining Oddness from Sprint

The Figure 5 in Gold

The Figure 5 in Gold: Charles Demuth’s Art & William Carlos Williams’ Poem

I Saw The Figure Five In Gold

This has been sitting in draft mode for a few weeks now, and now here’s the real thing. I think the first time I ever saw this painting was when I was in the 6th grade in New Orleans. It struck me as beautiful, and mysterious. I always loved making alphabets and seeing the variations in how to create letters: at the time I think I taught myself calligraphy. When we lived in the Philippines we had a section at La Salle Green Hills that was strictly penmanship – we practiced loops and pen control. And I always loved to draw. So, letters — bubble letters, calligraphy, signage, geometric letters, handwriting, block printing — all of this was probably swirling in my head when I was confronted with this image. The idea that a letter could be the subject of a painting was probably so strange I had to love it.

Which I do.

The End of Uncov

A blog I have mentioned before that I enjoy is closing. I hate that. Uncov, the foulmouthed CS-heavy blog. is closing, as an afterthought, Ted writes:

Oh, right. One more thing. This is the last Uncov. Ever. I have been getting tired of it, and this has been manifesting itself in my writing. After seeing the spectacle at the Crunchies, I think it’s finally time to quit.

Bummer. I enjoy cranky tech blogs. They’re a nice antidote to the pure rah-rah blogs out there. Bye, Uncov.



Nothing today. More tomorrow. Photo from two weeks ago.

Movies Owned Which Can Predictably Induce Crying

Found Object

A) Cute B) Disturbing C) Funny D) All of the above E) Other

Music for Trapping by Elliot Lawrence

via Vintage Ads

The Misc For The Week

Douglas Crockford on Change:

Change isn’t good enough. The word change doesn’t include a direction or an intention. We have had a lot of change over the last seven years. Most of it was in a seriously wrong direction. We will be feeling the effects of that change for decades to come.

I say no more talk about change. We’ve had enough. What we need is reform. What we need is progress.

Harper’s Magazine discusses our President’s favorite painting. via kottke

Marc Sageman has a new book out called Leaderless Jihadreviewed by the Asia Times Online.

Eliazar points out an Economist story that indicates CDs are dead with the kids today:

IN 2006 EMI, the world’s fourth-biggest recorded-music company, invited some teenagers into its headquarters in London to talk to its top managers about their listening habits. At the end of the session the EMI bosses thanked them for their comments and told them to help themselves to a big pile of CDs sitting on a table. But none of the teens took any of the CDs, even though they were free. “That was the moment we realised the game was completely up,” says a person who was there.

William Gibson’s prose is supposedly, again, in development to be motion pictures — Hayden Christensen to star in Neuromancer?Two Gibson Adaptations, But Only One Peter Weir Movie. We’ll see.

David Byrne discusses the fact that some dolphins have culture. And this gets us into the territory of “what is culture?” Fairly interesting territory.

In documentary news, Jason Scott has begun editing GET LAMP, a film about text adventures.

Joshua Porter reminds us of the cruel fact that knowledge and learning require pain. ((Insert heavy sigh here)).

In John Scalzi’s post Celebrities: Ruining Everything, Scalzi is eloquent, funny, and insightful:

As for respecting celebrities humble enough to keep their political opinions to themselves, allow me to suggest, humbly, even, that this fellow really ought to grow up a little. What he’s really saying is that he doesn’t want his fantasy image of celebrities messed with through the inconvenient fact of a celebrity being an actual person. But, alas, celebrities are not merely poseable action figures for our enjoyment and control; they regrettably come with thoughts and brains and opinions and such, which they may wish from time to time to use and express. Possibly some of these celebrities will be not particularly astute in their opinions; you could say the same about real estate agents, plumbers, doctors, bloggers or any other group of people, including, alas, politicians. I wonder if this fellow also only patronizes real estate agents, doctors, plumbers, etc, who never express a political opinion outside the confines of their own brain, and if he does, if as a consequence he’s become quite the handy man.

As for me, I’m tired but it was not a bad week, taken as a whole.

Abort, Retry, Fail

If at first you don’t succeed.


Hey y’all. Getting back in the saddle after not feeling too well. Also, I did a rough draft of my taxes and it looks like we need to save a pile of money or The Tax Man is gonna be mad. But have no fear, we have payment options. Developing.

The internal voice I’m cultivating is the voice that sounds like this fictional character:

Steve Earle / Walon

… that voice is one so clearly informed by real writing, real recovery, and a real and difficult life that I can scarcely look at the screen without being moved. I’m going to try and get some music by him too. I need to add him to this list. He may have a small part, but it’s an inspiring one to me.

Not Very Helpful, Really

But rather entertaining.

Bird Helps Me Work

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