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Thursday, January 30, 2003

i don't mind coding, but i absolutely hate talking about it. it's not just the general geekiness of it, although that sometimes does make me wince. the reality is, i just don't want it to consume that much of my life. i've got friends that want to talk about it like religion. hey, i just figured out how this whole j2ee thing works. or java vs. .net. or linux vs. microsoft. or let's talk about OOP. guess what? i could care less. in a certain context (at work) i care b/c it's how i make money to support my family. but i want it to be like that little sandbox. you get in and get sort of dirty and play with some of the toys. then you get out and you leave the dirt and the toys there. some people want to carry the toys around with them. they pull 'em out at lunch and want to show me. hey look, it's a fucking blue truck. yeah. i see it. it's a blue truck. where's the sandbox again? i'm sure this'll get me in trouble at work. hey co-workers. hey boss. i really love my job and i'll be a good robot for the 8-10 hours a day you've got me. i'll try not to be a fuckup. i can code pretty goddamn fast and i'm not an idiot. the rest of the time is mine. and there's a whole life out there.

posted at 11:40 PM | link | (628) comments

i don't have any decent comments about the state of the union. i've spoken to some people who liked it or who have told me other people liked it. i guess there are a lot of polls out, but i haven't kept up with any of them. i sat in class and was perfectly happy to bash the way bush says "nukular." that's still amazing to me. and depressing. also his astonishing leaps in logic. we're going to cut taxes so we can pay for a bunch of bloated gov't programs and a possible war. i feel like there's a huge gap between his rhetoric and what he actually ends up doing. maybe that's just the cynic in me. he's actually going along quite a bit with the u.n. while mouthing all this heavy "good vs. evil" language. i've thought about it all so much and feel pretty much powerless over the whole situation. should we go to war with iraq? not now. maybe later. that's about the best i can come up with. seems like, so far, the gov't is doing the same thing. i know. i know. i've stood up for bush in the past. i honestly don't think he's an idiot. if that makes me a raging sociopath, so be it.

posted at 11:32 PM | link | (0) comments

Monday, January 27, 2003

the site was down due to that crazy-ass sql server bug. or virus. whatever. my hosting company sucks. gearhost. that's right. it sucks. but, it's cheap and they know they've got me on the price. just not reliable. so, that's why site was down. email was also unavailable. my apologies to the 2 people who look at this site.

here's the latest story. first assignment for class.

more ideas for short story titles:

everything i learned the hard way
breakfast tacos
don't take my word for it
voice mail
it didn't mean anything

posted at 10:38 PM | link | (863) comments

damn damn damn damn damn.

posted at 8:11 PM | link | (0) comments

Sunday, January 26, 2003

well, it's super bowl sunday. la is sick so i may have to stay home and watch from my couch. so far, i've won $40 from betting on the raiders. thanks rob. $20 more on this game. several people have questioned my raiders loyalty and my interest in football in general. as for the first jab, i need only point back to that time in college (this would be the summer of 1992 for all you tykes who were in the chess club way back then) when i was THROWN IN JAIL for an altercation involving my raider's baseball cap. as for the second, it's true, i have been avoiding major league sports for the better part of 5 years. why the sudden turnaround? for me, it's really the noticeable underdogs. the raiders were underdogs all season. scrappy and old like the wild bunch. gannon is a career journeyman who will get the MVP award. rice was kicked off the 49ers b/c he was too old. romonowski has 4 super bowl rings. many considered this tim brown's last year. jeez, it's like a whole team of john elways. as for basketball, there's the mavericks. another scrappy set of cast-offs and under-valued white guys who came to be treated like kings. they won 14 games in a row at the start of this season. they've schooled everyone from yao to shaq in how to play the game. and they're also not quite what you'd expect and not nearly as popular as the overrated lakers or the equally-overhyped yao. anyway, i'm sure i've missed plenty of seasons of underdogs. somehow, i've just come to need them more.

posted at 12:19 PM | link | (772) comments

things i noticed this week:

girl scout cookies are a total rip. at least by 27 cents. here's the real thing though: i don't want them.

everyone's a critic. the trick is finding people who can mirror and improve your own internal critic.

when raising kids, it's important to separate your own frustrations from discipline. is the orange juice spilled all over the floor really worth getting that upset about? it seems like it is if you've had a bad day. better to clean up the orange juice and tell them it's o.k. now there's a lesson.

what do boy scouts sell? my son asked me this and i didn't have a good answer.

a zen saying: eat when you eat. walk when you walk. talk when you talk. and die when you die. i would add to this: write when you write. don't let other things distract you from the moment.

office gossip gives you this feeling of control over events that are peculiarly random. it's no different than gambling. you speculate as to why this guy got fired. maybe it was just that he sucked. people will consume hours trying to rationalize the event. the boss didn't like him b/c he questioned everything. or the company is going down and we need to save money. i think carnegie said "don't saw sawdust." if you want to know, go ask the boss. if you don't like his answer, tell him. or don't and go about finding a different job.

i'm good at figuring things out on the fly, but absolute shit at remembering how i did something. every complex task feels like deja vu.

my wife has a tough job. i try to help balance things out, but she gets the kids ready in the morning and picks them up from school in the afternoon. that's a big deal. i know b/c this week she's been sick in bed and i've had to do it. i'm exhausted. don't underestimate walking in someone else's shoes. it's cliched, but powerful.

that "don't saw sawdust" bit seems to apply well to my job, but not to my writing. writing seems to be all about sawing sawdust. even ingesting it.

posted at 8:43 AM | link | (0) comments

Sunday, January 19, 2003

started the short story workshop last week. really solid. the prof. has a good clean bead on writing in general and artful writing in particular. he likened writing to capturing the vivid and continuous dream. he was erudite and funny and could pick up on just about any reference. recommended a carver poem about bukowski to me after i said i liked both. i feel hopeful and nervous about producing something worthwhile. as always. there are 6 other students in the class. 3 women who all look to be over 30. one teacher. one marketing writer. one graphics designer. 3 men as well. one sales guy, me, and a total force of nature named greg. greg looks to be in his mid-to-late 50s. he's tall and has a white beard. he burst into class 10 minutes late wearing a windbreaker and a ny yankees cap. i can't do the guy justice in a few sentences, but suffice it to say that his 5 minute introductory who-i-am rant should have been recorded and made available to psychology students everywhere. just totally nuts. "my name is greg pen name is john mcarthur...i'm single and celibate and i'm on 3 different cold medications so i can't hear myself...that's why i'm talking so loud...i want to get back to basics...write like hemingway in cuba in his shorts, standing up, banging on the typewriter, smoking a cigar, with a bottle of scotch..." absolutely hilarious. i'm sure the prof. isn't looking forward to a whole semester with this guy. as we were walking out, i told him that i thought the guy was good source material. he said "he's all yours."

posted at 9:36 AM | link | (1873) comments

sxsw coming up again. brother bluford sanders will be in attendance this year. bucho writes to ask if heckling would be allowed. i told him as long as he doesn't shout out requests for old sabbath songs. or bryan adams. but seriously, looking forward to the whole crew going out. hopefully, we'll get some mp3z up beforehand so we can sample out the crap before sitting through it.

posted at 9:21 AM | link | (771) comments

Saturday, January 11, 2003

the court date for my stolen (and recovered) vehicle is off. apparently, the young dude who stole my car is up for a murder rap in plano. so the da is going to allow him to get off on time served (180 days in jail so far) and pack him off to the plano jail for the murder trial. i am almost constantly amazed and then i think, "yeah, that pretty much makes sense." i always think this. "that pretty much makes sense." nothing ever makes sense, but in a way, that makes sense. there goes my stolen-car-trial-in-dallas story.

posted at 10:37 AM | link | (783) comments

we went to the bob bullock texas history museum and they had an exhibit on texas music. there was a big display about eck robertson. this is my wife's great-great-grandfather. her mom's great grandfather. apparently, the story goes something like this: my mother-in-law's father was raised by eck robertson b/c his dad ran out on him. then he ran out on my mother-in-law's mom. she remarried and that man adopted my mother-in-law. confusing? i still can't keep track of it. at any rate, the primary thing about eck robertson is that he was the first musician to record a commercial country music record. one of the first and most influential fiddle players as well. sometimes you can still be surprised by recent history.

Eck had two special tricks he did while fiddling. One was the "normal" trick fiddling; tossing the fiddle or the bow in the air, catching it and not missing a beat, playing behind the back, fiddling while "laying down on the stage and doing somersets" and so forth. He played the tune "Pop Goes the Weasel" for this performance. His other trick was to make his fiddle talk.

posted at 10:23 AM | link | (842) comments

skip the hooptedoodle

posted at 10:11 AM | link | (318) comments

married 9 years as of jan. 8th (wed). elvis' birthday. always pick a date the coincides with another date. of course, we didn't really do that. it was the only time our university's chapel was available. they let alumni use it for free. i remember how beautiful she looked that day. i had no hand in planning the wedding. i was in japan at the time. i only had to fly back, suit up and stand straight. oh, and i picked out a bible verse to read. part of the whole methodist thing. ecclesiastes chapter 3 of course. i'm an ecclesiastes man through and through. to everything there is a season, and a time and a purpose under heaven. who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward into the earth? who indeed? 9 years for us. sometimes going up, sometimes down. mostly up now. 9 whole years. amazing even to myself at times. elvis would've been 68.

posted at 9:25 AM | link | (0) comments

Saturday, January 04, 2003

as sure as god makes little green apples...uma will kill bill.

posted at 10:21 AM | link | (890) comments

Friday, January 03, 2003

i've started cooking a little bit more. last night i cooked some beef tips in gravy and green beans. i tossed a salad and put in little walnuts. ok, the walnuts came with the salad. it was in one big package. but still, i heated it all up. not the salad. i also made a special meal for the boys since they won't touch beef tips in gravy even though it sort of looked like chocolate ice cream. that's what my oldest son said. i thought it would've been a mean trick to tell him that it was ice cream. that'd be used against me later for sure. so i made them corn dogs and macoroni and cheese. and wine. i poured a nine dollar bottle of wine for my wife and i. i don't mind cooking if i have a little time to do it. i'm obviously not a great cook, but i certainly wouldn't mind getting better at it. and my wife appreciates it. she hates to cook. she tells this to all of our friends, hoping to gain some sympathy i think. "i hate cooking," she'll say, looking at me like i'm supposed to pipe up and offer the counterweight to that statement. "oh, but i love it." i think this is what has prevented me from actually trying to cook. i didn't want her to win. i still don't. it bugs the crap out of me that we'll be the stereotypical "husband loves to cook, wife hates it" couple. you don't think there are a lot of those, but there are. ok, not that many. i just hate the way the husband sounds when he pipes up like that. it doesn't help that the wife seems bitchy about it. but really, who cares anyway, right? it needs to be done. a friend of mine once told me that marriage isn't 50-50 like most people think. it's 100-100. i'm not sure what the 200 signifies. maybe it was 100-0. at any rate, you get the idea. you can't just put in half the effort and expect the other half to be filled in for you. you have to work on what you can do. you can't control the other person. the counter-intuitive logic in this is that generally, when you change, other people do too. i think a lot of fucked up shit happens b/c people are trying, wishing, scraping by, hoping to change the other person. you can't change other people. you can only change yourself. i know that sounds half-baked and cliched and, jesus, i'm really not all that life-smart, but it's true just the same. so, i'm cooking when i can.

posted at 10:04 PM | link | (0) comments

either make excuses or write. needs to be in big letters over my computer. over everything.

posted at 9:33 PM | link | (0) comments

lines i can't really do anything with:

the sun whispering in my ear
i'll go around for one more year

there's something about the shine that a new year brings

who says the earth is round?
all i see for miles is ground

a bum on street corner: "what're you gonna do with your life?"
me: "you call this life?"

i guess there's something for everyone
when there's nothing much left

just tell her you love her
and that you'll always be
around to yell at the phone bills
and kick the old t.v.

they used to name demons after the wind

posted at 9:27 PM | link | (0) comments

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

movies i've recently seen and liked :
adaptation. hell house. insomnia (original norwegian version). catch me if you can. 13 conversations about one thing. 8 mile. bowling for columbine. the ring.

movies that were overrated or that upon further reflection i realized were total crap:
lotr: the two towers. my big fat greek wedding. minority report.

movies which a variety of people have told me to see, but that i have absolutely zero interest in seeing:
far from heaven. y tu mama tambien. the quiet american. gangs of new york. princess mononoke. harry potter and the chamber of whatever. chicago. antwone fisher. the hours. sunshine state. frida.

movies that i think i might like, but will prob. be disappointed by:
igby goes down. time out. talk to her. lovely and amazing. the pianist. about schmidt. 25th hour. narc.

2 general comments:

- i def. liked adaptation the best and though several critics have pointed out that the final third seems to negate the first 2/3 of the movie, i don't think there was any other way he could've ended the movie. i liked the whole movie through and through even the bits at the end that seemed to confirm the forulaic nature of the movie. i think kaufman (sp?) was thumbing his nose at hollywood by ending in that way. you want me to adapt muthafuckers? ok, here it is. the first car wreck scene was about the biggest emotional gut punch i've yet to witness in a movie. it shocked me to tears almost instantly. i thought all the actors were flawless. even the guy from office space.

- although it was visually stunning, i was slightly bored by the lord of the rings sequal. the hobbits fared the worst. it was exactly like the soap opera segment that you want to be over with so you can see the other ongoing narratives. i hated the 2 storylines involving the hobbits. it is amazing to think that jackson has recast the movie into this non-hobbit action film, having removed or whittled away the significance that tolkien gave to the hobbits. in the movie, it's really all about the action hero men and that surfer elf dood. "mr. frodo sir..." even the actors playing the hobbits were just dreadful to me. vigo mortenwhatever fares the best. the movie is like one big ad for new zealand and that guy.

posted at 8:52 AM | link | (2582) comments

happy new year. coming up...

- the court trial in dallas.
- the short story course.
- sxsw in march.
- teaching my dog not to tear up paper products like there's no tomorrow.
- the matrix reloaded

posted at 8:40 AM | link | (705) comments


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