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:


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.


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.


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.