Cleveland Auto Show 2004

Sunday, 29 February 2004

I went to the Cleveland Auto Show to­day and checked out what is go­ing on the in the world of au­to­mo­biles. Boy was it a zoo. I don’t like crowds that con­sist of myr­iad groups of peo­ple all go­ing in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions with at­ten­tions not nec­es­sar­ily di­rected in the di­rec­tion they are di­rect­ing them­selves, all mov­ing at dif­fer­ent speeds. Especially when I want to walk slowly and look at things. Saw a cou­ple of cool things, in­clud­ing a V-16 1000hp bat­mo­bile look­ing thing called the Cadillac 16. Apparently they run about $300k and are spe­cial or­der items only. They prob­a­bly only get 5 miles to the gal­lon as well. The car I liked best is a Saturn con­cept called Curve, which I think, is due to be re­leased next year. It is quite sharp look­ing and around $20k, or so ru­mor has it. I saw a Volkswagon Phaeton [a sweet name that I am glad has been brought back, even if by a for­eign car com­pany]. It was a $104k Volkswagon though, which was in­con­gru­ous to say the least.

Then I went down­stairs to where the clas­sic cars were. One of the first I saw was a 1961 Corvette Convertible, one year younger than my dream Corvette, but in al­most all other ways iden­ti­cal. There was also a sweet, Auburn Boattail and even a Hudson. I think one of the rea­sons I like well main­tained and re­stored clas­sic au­to­mo­biles is that each one is a tes­ta­ment to the love and ded­i­ca­tion their own­ers have for these works of art. Each car has its own story and they are all so much dif­fer­ent than the cookie-cut­ter au­tos of today’s man­u­fac­ture, that I can’t help but be drawn to them.

Here are some pic­tures:

Lesson

Saturday, 28 February 2004

I re­ally like this re­design. Although for what­ever rea­son, IE doesn’t like pars­ing it like a nor­mal browser should. That is why there is an un­coded break be­tween the flame ban­ner and the div con­tain­ing all the text. for what­ever rea­son as well, though the im­ages are the same width as the div, the layer ap­pears to be one or two pix­els longer. Only in IE that i have seen how­ever. The site looks per­fect in Firefox. 

Something hap­pened last night that scared the tar out of me and pissed me off at my­self to no end. I up­loaded the re­designed pages and when I ran the re­build in MT, some mis­cod­ing on my part started to eat my archives. I thought I had lost a full year of en­tries. I checked 5 or so ran­dom in­di­vid­ual archive files and they all looked the same. the mas­ter archive in­dex also linked to all dead files. thank­fully i was saved by my daily en­try archives, which i have never linked to but ex­ist nonethe­less. once i calmed down and re­al­ized this, all was well and i got some sleep. i’m al­ways go­ing to backup my archives be­fore this. MT has rec­om­mended it, but i never re­ally lis­tened. this call was too close for me not to re­spect the in­struc­tions in the fu­ture.

Penguin

Friday, 27 February 2004

I once spent an en­tire day dri­ving a pen­guin around New York City. I didn’t ex­actly ask to do this but I’ve been paid to do stranger things. My boss was a six foot four inch Samoan with a chipped in­cisor and per­ma­nently af­fixed an­tique avi­a­tor glasses. I was only al­lowed to call him Mr. McFitz. I knew that wasn’t his real name but he didn’t pay me to ask ques­tions. What he paid me for was pre­cise and ac­cu­rate de­liv­ery of what­ever was in the boxes that I loaded onto my rental truck.

One day af­ter I had the truck pretty much full, McFitz [as I called him to my­self] brought me my de­liv­ery route. He had this pen­guin be­hind him too. It was a strange pen­guin, didn’t re­ally look like it was in a tuxedo, didn’t look par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in any­thing ei­ther. It shat on the floor as I watched. McFitz said to me:

Take my pen­guin with you to­day. Give it what­ever it wants.

Sure thing, Mr. McFitz.

I replied. I picked up the pen­guin, which smelled like fish for some rea­son, and buck­led him in the pas­sen­ger seat.

My first stop was the City Cricketstocker. The pen­guin didn’t do much on the way there, just looked at me out of its lit­tle eyes and shat again, this time on the seat. I thought it might be a lit­tle warm for the crit­ter, even though it was win­ter, so I turned rolled down the win­dows and turned on the air con­di­tion­ing. I got some pa­per towel from the guys at the Knick to clean up the pen­guin shit in my truck. When I came back out, the pen­guin has some­how man­aged to un­buckle it­self and was wad­dling around on the floor near the gearshift. It had also shat again, this time on my de­liv­ery note­book. I could tell this wasn’t go­ing to be the best of days.

I hopped back into the truck, picked up the pen­guin and was promptly bit­ten. I fig­ured it must be time for the pen­guin to eat so I got back out of the truck and went into a bodega for a tin of sar­di­nes or some an­chovies or even lox if the place was kosher. I ended up get­ting all three, but by now I was way be­hind sched­ule. I was go­ing to have to pick up my pace. Damn pen­guin. I opened the can of sar­di­nes and chucked it over to where the pen­guin was sup­posed to be. I said ‘sup­posed to be’ be­cause the pen­guin wasn’t there. Shit. No, re­ally, there was just a larger pile of pen­guin shit in the pas­sen­ger seat. The pen­guin was sit­ting on the dash­board right be­hind the steer­ing wheel and was star­ing at me.

I picked it up again, got pecked again, plopped it un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously in its own pen­guin poo and took off for a place that spe­cial­ized in jerked chicken and black mar­ket golf equip­ment. The pen­guin ate its sar­di­nes, quite sul­lenly I might add, and be­haved it­self.

When I came out of Ludwig’s Hole-In-One Jamaican Food, a short and fat and old Hispanic lady was peer­ing in­tently at my pen­guin. For the record, I’d like to say that the pen­guin was peer­ing just as in­tently at the old woman.

How much for el pollo?

Apparently she thought the pen­guin was for sale and thought it was some sort of chicken. The truck gave a lurch and rolled over the woman. I looked in the driver’s side win­dow and saw that the pen­guin had re­leased the hand brake. It was now firmly po­si­tioned be­hind the steer­ing wheel and it gave me a look that said ‘Get in the pas­sen­ger side or get lost.’ I clam­bered in on the pas­sen­ger side, got pen­guin shit on my hand and was forced to sit in the poo that I had put my cap­tor in not long be­fore. I no­ticed that it had the im­prints of two webbed feet right be­fore I squished down on it.

The pen­guin took off, go­ing the wrong way down The Avenue of the Americas, bar­rel­ing to­ward Chinatown. We knocked over every­thing in our way. I still don’t know how many peo­ple we ran down, how many street ven­dors will vend no more. It was ter­ri­ble. When we got to Canal Street I lost con­scious­ness.

Two min­utes later my alarm went off.

Grouch

Thursday, 26 February 2004

Within the last week I have been in con­ver­sa­tion with three dif­fer­ent peo­ple, at dif­fer­ent times, on the same topic. I say things that hurt the feel­ings of my friends and fam­ily and, ap­par­ently, I do it pretty of­ten. There was no hes­i­ta­tion on the part of two of these peo­ple in say­ing so, once I brought it up. I have known that I put my foot in my mouth and say the wrong thing on a reg­u­lar ba­sis for years, but I didn’t re­al­ize I hurt so many peo­ple that I care about. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feel­ings, so I don’t know why I get so mouthy. Maybe I do want to hurt peo­ple and just hide it from my­self. It seems like I come at life from a neg­a­tive point of view, al­ways dis­sat­is­fied. I need to un­der­stand why I am like this. Does my dis­sat­is­fac­tion arise as the re­sult of be­ing taught to ac­cept only the high­est qual­ity of work and be­hav­ior from my­self? Did I pick up my ease at ver­bal abuse from be­ing yelled at by my fa­ther? How can I ex­ist in both of these par­a­digms si­mul­ta­ne­ously and with­out ap­par­ent com­pli­ca­tion? More im­por­tantly, how is it that I have friends who put up with my shit? They are some damn good peo­ple. I was look­ing through my first posts from two years ago and it doesn’t look like I have changed very much. I thought I had gone through some per­sonal growth, but fun­da­men­tally I re­main a grouchy, hurt­ful per­son. Even this post is in­dica­tive of my prob­lem. I need to fig­ure out how to change, how to make my happy, gen­tle and easy­go­ing side my ba­sis in­stead of what I strug­gle for. First off I am go­ing to have to stop teas­ing peo­ple and only be frank when peo­ple ask me my opin­ion. I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. I’ll add that to my list of things to work on.

Ash Wednesday 2004

Wednesday, 25 February 2004

Mardi Gras is over and now that Lent be­gins it is time to re­pent for all the crass, vul­gar, in­dul­gent and le­gion other sin­ful things that I have done since last Lent. I won­der if forty days is long enough. More than the long stretch of Ordinary Time dur­ing the sum­mer, more even than Advent and, masochis­tic as it sounds, I like Lent. It is a time for sack­cloth and ashes, rec­og­niz­ing mor­tal­ity and at­tempts to whit­tle away at im­per­fec­tion. Since I tend to spend most of the year in a state sim­i­lar to this, Lent is a nat­u­ral fa­vorite. So, I am sup­posed to sac­ri­fice some­thing for the forty days and I am sup­posed to strive to im­prove some­thing. This is sup­posed to make me a bet­ter per­son, and what it boils down to is dis­ci­pline. If I have the grit to hold on to what I am work­ing on and the gump­tion to deny my­self some sort of plea­sure then I should end up stronger. [pos­si­bly more an­noy­ing to peo­ple, but that is there prob­lem].

This Lent I am giv­ing up sweet­meats, can­dies, pas­tries [not muffins though] and most im­por­tantly, choco­late. If I want some­thing sweet, fruit will do. I am go­ing to im­prove my pa­tience [es­pe­cially while dri­ving], which has been in rel­a­tive short sup­ply since my time in NYC] and to ad­mit when I am wrong, or ig­no­rant on some topic. [this will be hard be­cause I never know what I am talk­ing about].

So I’m walk­ing around to­day with a smudge mark on my head. Someone told me I look like I’ve been punched. I’m also fast­ing. No meat. I had a bowl of oat­meal for break­fast and will have mac­a­roni and cheese for din­ner. I might put some tuna and some veg­gies into the mac­a­roni as well. Even though Fish on Fridays [and Ash Wednesday] was ini­tially started to feed poor fish­er­men, I feel that it is use­ful still. Now it is an­other sac­ri­fice that is a re­minder of the sac­ri­fice that Lent cul­mi­nates in.

Many of the peo­ple bitch­ing about The Passion of the Christ, which opens to­day, com­plain that it is vi­o­lent or anti-Semitic or his­tor­i­cally in­ac­cu­rate or blah blah blah. Well, it is sup­posed to be vi­o­lent, it is about the ar­rest, tor­ture and cru­ci­fix­ion of a per­son. As for anti-Semitism, there might be sub­tleties that I am un­aware of [not hav­ing seen the film] but peo­ple who com­plain that it makes the Jews seem re­spon­si­ble for killing Jesus are fools. Jews and Romans or Romans and Jews if you don’t like the or­der of the billing, were there. The type of peo­ple that killed Jesus isn’t the point, that peo­ple killed Jesus is the point. The fact that it opens on Ash Wednesday, when the Church en­ters a time of re­pen­tence and recog­ni­tion of mor­tal­ity [Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall re­turn] is no co­in­ci­dence. Humans suf­fer and die. Jesus, a hu­man, suf­fered and died. Other hu­mans did this to him. I was taught that Jesus went through the tor­ture and in­dig­nity and cru­ci­fix­ion will­ingly, for hu­man­ity. I re­ally have no de­sire to see The Passion of the Christ, I have not seen any Mel Gibson in­ter­views [since I don’t have ca­ble] but I think the point of his film is to make us aware just how much was sac­ri­ficed. I don’t talk about re­li­gion of­ten be­cause it makes me sounds like a fa­natic in­stead of just a lu­natic. If you are still with me I am sur­prised.

Rent Fest

Tuesday, 24 February 2004

Hollywood Video has this great coupon gizmo go­ing on where you can rent up to three new re­leases for the full five days at 99 cents each. last night i rented In the Cut, Lost in Translation, and Solaris for 5 days and a measly $3.21. with­out this won­der­ful coupon [a pile of which i have at my apart­ment] rent­ing one of these films would have cost me $3.79 plus tax. adding to this cool­ness is the fact that if i get In the Cut back to Hollywood Video be­fore mid­night tonight [ac­tu­ally i re­turned it this morn­ing] i gain $1 dol­lar of credit on my next pur­chase. this might not sound like hot shit to some of you, but when you are poor and like to watch as many movies as i do then it is ver’ ver’ nice.

In the Cut is only the sec­ond Jane Campion film I have seen [the first one be­ing The Piano]. I liked the fem­i­nism of The Piano, but not of In the Cut. Every man seemed a rapist, every look di­rected to­ward Meg Ryan was a vi­o­la­tion. It is hard to tell if any man is a good man un­til the very end. I’d have to watch The Piano and In the Cut again, and next to each other to tell for sure, but I think Campion might just be re­hash­ing the same old thing again and again. [I think she had it right in The Piano ex­cept for the very end of the film.]

It seems like only men care about look­ing in In the Cut. Meg Ryan and Jennifer Jason Leigh only seem to care about ‘get­ting a dick in­side [them].’ The cam­era makes both male and fe­male bod­ies into beau­ti­ful things. In fact, the cam­era makes every­thing it sees into a beau­ti­ful thing. I’ve got no com­plaints in that re­spect. Campion knows how to pick her peo­ple. There is a lot of hand held, long lens, shal­low depth of field, blurred fo­cus stuff go­ing on that I think is sup­posed to re­flect the un­cer­tainty of the thriller genre. But for me it also seems to say, ‘I don’t know how to an­swer the ques­tions I’m ask­ing.’ Of course, Campion’s point could be that the ques­tions can’t be an­swered.

As a thriller [they don’t do much for me] it re­minded me of any Scooby Doo episode. The vil­lain could be any of sev­eral char­ac­ters and ends up be­ing one you never re­ally ex­pected. It was well done in the sense that I never knew who it could be un­til I found out who it was. Its worth a watch, if just for how pretty it is to look at. I’d like to talk it over with my film the­ory pro­fes­sor. I might send her an email ask­ing if she has seen it. Kevin Bacon is in the film too.

Tonight I watch Solaris.

Codes, Communication, Art

Monday, 23 February 2004

I love lan­guage be­cause it is a code; be­cause it is so mal­leable. I love watch­ing young peo­ple pick it up and turn it into their own code. My Classical Greek pro­fes­sor once said that babes and chil­dren cre­ate and change lan­guage more than adults. I sup­pose this is be­cause chil­dren are still be­ing in­doc­tri­nated, don’t know all the rules, make their own. His ex­am­ple was caca, a baby word for shit. Once chil­dren be­comes ex­pert enough work­ing within the lan­guage, I sup­pose they start work­ing within the code, chang­ing its pe­riph­ery in­stead of its nexus.

Where I am now, as a rel­a­tive adult, I can love lan­guage be­cause within this code oth­ers can be cre­ated, cod­i­fied, de­stroyed, rein­vented. Simile and metaphor are per­haps the most ba­sic of codes within The Code. Puns, rid­dles, dou­ble en­ten­dres — these are, per­haps, the sec­ond level of spe­ci­a­tion? If I am in a con­ver­sa­tion with two peo­ple, I can speak one sen­tence that has vastly dif­fer­ent mean­ings to each per­son. Or, at least, I can do it if I am suf­fi­ciently skilled in cre­at­ing these codes.

This breaks down when a code is mis­in­ter­preted [al­ways a threat] or when a code is only un­der­stood by the per­son cre­at­ing it. Skill level comes in when a code is cre­ated and dis­sem­i­nated. The skill is teach­ing oth­ers how to read the code. Communication is an art, and Art is com­mu­ni­ca­tion. blah blah blah.

Poetry, paint­ing, sculp­ture, these are art forms that to a great ex­tent have be­come es­tranged from gen­eral so­ci­ety be­cause their code is no longer ac­ces­si­ble. Or, per­haps, it was not ac­ces­si­ble for so long that most peo­ple lost in­ter­est in it. or maybe its just TV. yeah that sounds fine.