Saturday, June 28, 2003
more fun with google
google has this new tool called adsense which they obviously ripped off from blogger (now that they own blogger), but which i still think is a fairly good idea. you put relevant ads on your site and get paid for clickthroughs. the catch is that google gets to decide which ads it thinks are relevant. a guy named aaron swartz has put together a tool that will tell you which ads would come up on your site.
here's a list of the ads that came up when i typed in joshmag.com:
donate for charity
american cancer society
american red cross
Friday, June 27, 2003
i gotta give creds to my homegal rhet-lit jenny. she recommended prefuse 73 to me and i'll be p diddy shitty if it's not the best hip/hop album i've heard in a looooooooong time. a loooooong time. well, ok, since the last outkast. i'll admit, she's a bit suspect seeing how she idolizes morrisey and recommended throwing muses to everyone. i liked them better when they were belly. nevertheless, spot on here. go get the album. that means you rob. and mike. joey, keep buying up the justin timberlake remixes on iCrapple. you'll be happier.
Thursday, June 26, 2003
turns out jack white is a bit of a mid-century modern aficiando. who'd've thunk it?
we watched a pretty good documentary last night. dogtown and z-boys. all about the resurgence of skateboarding in the late 1970s. apparently this group of hotdoggers from venice beach were the core group that kickstarted skateboarding's popularity after over a decade of dormancy. these guys were tony hawk's predecessors. stacy peralta. tony alva. some amazing footage and a really great story.
trivia point: tony alva was first guy to actually catch air on a board. at least, first guy on record. this rich kid was dying of brain cancer and asked his dad to empty their pool so that these skateboarders could come ride it. the dad did it and the zephyr team came over and boarded the pool all afternoon. most people up until then just hugged the lip of the pool, but alva went a good foot up in the air.
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
this is the funniest show on t.v. right now. props to mike d. for reminding me about it.
did i say funny? i meant terrifying.
Monday, June 23, 2003
oh, and i nearly forgot. i mentioned in a conversation with someone (nadav? jenny? who was it?) that north koreans were cannibalizing each other. if i remember correctly, this was quickly dismissed as silly.
so, without further ado, the telegraph story. i realize it's not the ny times or npr.
decent summary of the wmd debate.
in praise of steely dan. i fully own up to listening to them in college and then getting sick of them and pretty much agreeing with everyone else. soulless, repetititve, bland jazz. apocalyptic music for the over fifty set. i think it wasn't until my second stint in japan when i picked up walter becker's solo album 11 tracks of whack. now i find myself listening to it and fagen's nightfly more and more. they've got that tired, old, lonely regret that you feel in your bones at the end of a long day. a hard day that wasn't worth spit in the end, but you can laugh about it. maybe even utter a toast.
now you tumble
now you know
Lucky Henry says hello
scratched in verses high and low
down to hell and gone i'm told
it's raining boxcars, that's for sure
from bakersfield to elsinore
for all that i care anymore
for now and forever
gone, gone, gone
Sunday, June 22, 2003
ugh, i'm sick. just took some dayquil. a lot has happened this week so i'll just try to summarize.
- finished another story (see below). that felt good for about thirty minutes. i mean really good. but now, nada.
- went to bookpunk show with kyle and jenny. it was sort of funny at the time, but much like cotton candy, i forgot just about everything that was good about it and my fingers are sticky. ben brown of so new media read a piece from his real world diary. he sounded almost identical in style to neal pollack. i'll let you decide if that's good or bad.
- owen egerton also read a piece called the fecalist about a writer who takes up crapping as a means of expressing his art. he had a good delivery style and everyone laughed in the appropriate sarcastic places. then some guy got up and tried to get everyone to sing queen songs. well, before that ben brown got up and read some erotic literature. and two zine guys got up and read some shit. then some other shit. then the guy got up and tried to get us to sing queen songs. that's when we left.
- later in the evening, jenny tried to explain her thesis as it related to album packaging and radiohead and what we all think is cool. or not cool. or some shit. then a southern belle from arkansas who worked with severely retarded kids got to talking to us about her clothes and her life and her job. she was a little on the heavy side and obviously a little desperate to talk about herself, but as she told us stories about these kids and her own weird choices that got her here, i realized that she had more to say, more things that seemed to matter, than any of the book punks that i'd met that evening. and possibly more than me. i guess if you stripped it down, she had something to say, not just a funny way to say nothing.
- got into long stupid flame war with joey about bringing his camera for our night out with mike d. we sent goofy pictures around. he pissed and moaned about not being allowed to archive his austin odyssey. i was pretty much just going along with mike's request not to have goof-ass pictures of his bloody nose plastered all up on joey's website. and i like giving joey shit.
- tried to go out with friend mike from nashville on fri. let's just say he wasn't quite up for it. so we went to thai passion and to a few bars and generally tried to make up the evening, but i was starting to feel pretty sick and tired. joey limped off with the evening's trivial pursuit award when he spotted the mole (from the tv show of the same name) and jimmie dale gilmore at thai passion. he lurched at her as she was leaving and told her how awesome she was. i have no idea who the mole is, but is awesome really the right word there? i gave in to a half-assed argument with jenny about politics and taxes which ended with me shouting, "why don't you move to finland then?" except i think i meant sweden. that's the sort of stuff you really regret saying.
- joey pissed and moaned some more about the fact that he couldn't bring his camera and take pictures of the mole. whatever. it did get me to thinking though. i don't like people taking my picture. i never have. i don't have a high school yearbook. i never took the photo. i don't have a college yearbook. again, no photos. it's rare that you'll find me in family pictures. maybe one out of fifty. i don't like what they can do with your image. i do feel like it is taking something away from me. i don't like looking at myself. i think i generally look stupid. i fully realize this is a sort of vanity, but i can only console myself, truly, by whispering softly as i look at another picture of my fake smile, "that's not me."
- played soccer game between the texas longhorns and the "al" aggies. thomas had been planning this event for going on two weeks. thomas and william and i were the longhorns and lonanne was the aggies. the rules were a bit different than your ordinary soccer game. lonanne's mom took pictures. the longhorns won 11-3. afterwards, thomas had gift candy bags for all the participants. i felt bad that i had taken some benadryl earlier and was pretty much out of it.
- continued my decline into sickness by going out again on sat. night. this time mike did show up. we went to guero's and had margaritas and tex-mex. lonanne realized that they don't really make good margaritas. i had to agree. why does everyone always talk about their margaritas? they suck.
- went to see the trachtenburg family slideshow players at the continental club. mary and diana and nadav and debbie showed up. before the show i saw jason trachtenburg and asked him what time the show started.
me: what time does your show start?
him: [after long pause] i'm trying to think of a smart-ass response, but i can't, so i'll just say 9:50 and leave it at that.
me: talk much?
- a guy named langhorm slim opened the show. i thought he was incredible. it was just him and a guitar. lameness possibility factor of eight or nine on scale of ten. but he pulled it off. he was a little like old dylan in that fast folk style, but with a high-pitched yowl that really tore the paint off the walls. he had it. it. soul. that thing that you know but don't. his lyrics were spot on, and his not-quite-polished delivery didn't seem rehearsed. i think that makes sense. at any rate, i'm sure you've experienced this. i thought he was really good and then turn around to find everyone bashing him. mary thought he sounded like adam sandler(?) mike said he was a knockoff of some guy i've never heard of. possibly so. nadav had the same look of "this isn't matchbox 20?" on his face. it just shows to go you. never underestimate the taste of the american public.
- trachtenburgs were great. same show as sxsw. everyone laughed in the same spots. his in-between song banter (which really is the show) was funnier, more austin-focused. again with the pictures though. here's a prime example of people's lives being put on display for everyone to laugh at. i felt a strange kind of sorry for the two nurses who are put through their paces for look at me. there's a shot of them in a hotel room. one's holding a can of beer and the other is holding up a bottle of whiskey. the one with the whiskey has her lipstick smeared above her lip. they're both smiling so eagerly, as if this were the pinnacle of their lives. now they're both dead and some twitchy rick-moranis look-alike bought their slides in an estate sale so he could use them in a vaudeville act. funny, yet sad. sad, yet funny.
- lonanne's mom spent the night and we got up this morning (i got up later in the morning) and went to burger king. it's that goddamn playground that gets you every time. now william's feeling sick and slightly feverish, lonanne's passed out on the couch and i'm barely holding on until 4:30 when the kids go off to vacation bible school. yep, it's that time of year again. a week of people trying to sell you their church by babysitting your kids for 3 hours every night. it's really beautiful and not nearly as craven as i'm sure i've made it sound. they do a lot of fun activities and all the boys' friends from school will be there. and did i mention it's free? plus, i don't really disagree with what they teach. jesus is god. you've got to have faith. love your neighbor as yourself. don't kill people unless they kill you. or before they kill you. if they're trying to kill you, you can kill them. or if they've killed somebody that you liked. then, they can be killed. but only if the courts say it is o.k. actually you can't do the killing yourself. forget anything i said about killing.
- ok, now i'm really sick. i'm going to take some nyquil and go to bed. just in case i don't get up: mike d. - good to see you my man. keep your chin up. and your nose. jenny from the blog - keep up the good word and give your naderite socialism some room to breathe. rorb - keep painting. mom - have good trip in alaska. nadav - get some sleep for me.
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
1st draft of new story, the ditch.
Monday, June 16, 2003
why you don't love tim duncan.
Lower than Duncan's "Q" rating were ABC's Finals ratings, which are predicted to be the worst of the last 30 years. The shooting was, at long intervals, self-parody. Only twice in six games did a team score more than 90 points. New Jersey scored 77 points in Game 4 and won. It was no accident that Duncan turned out to be the MVP of this morass; he makes other teams play ugly, too.
Saturday, June 14, 2003
second favorite line:
says he don't mean a thing
somehow he does
he'd like you to join the club
that says there's no such thing as love
favorite line from recent song:
we were drinking like the irish
only we were drinking scotch
Friday, June 13, 2003
third revision of story.
i hate this year's nba finals. i hate the spurs. what an uninspired bunch of automatons. and then there's the french guy who calls the team's gay mvp "timmy." it takes five of them to essentially put away jason kidd. i hate the announcers. bill walton is the worst announcer in nba history. that's the way he talks too. such and such is the second worst whatever in the history of blah, blah, blah. why would you make him an announcer? i hate the fact that the nets crowd abandons the stadium with two minutes left. i hate jason kidd's wife. what's her name? jomama? i hate bruce willis' hat. i hate the way david robinson smiles. he's got more gum than teeth. i hate popovich's bruiser mug. is he scratching himself with a rake every night? i hate the half-time acts. kc and the sunshine band? jewell? like my friend kyle says, let's totally ignore the fact that over half your audience listens to hip-hop.
even if i win my pigheaded bet, this sucks.
an american boeing 747 is missing.
Thursday, June 12, 2003
don't be impressed by the rocks that she's got. she's still jenny from the blog.
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
i almost forgot. a new issue of dirt.
not sure what to make of this new reebok ad. it mixes all the worst elements of our culture together? it reminds me of the neil postman book, of which i'm often reminded: the disappearance of childhood. the young are made into adults and the adults are infantilized. i don't know how many people we've known with kids who act as if they have to become an extension of disney in order to function as parents. there is no adult world for them any longer. simply kids and themselves as overgrown kids or as promoters, pimps, hustlers of their own kids' innocence.
a decent ny times article on creative writing programs in general and southwest texas in particular. what's interesting, i think, is how the article seems to want it both ways. the programs are alternately glamorized and demonized for producing writers who want to make a fast buck in hollywood. i can't imagine that it's all that bad either way. if these writers are aiming to write the next "the hours" then good for them. there aren't enough literate, heartfelt movies. five per year? and if they want to write "dr. dooliittle: baby makes three," well, then merit was never their reward.
Monday, June 09, 2003
we went to salado this weekend for lonanne's dad's memorial roping. they have a roping every year in his honor and give away scholarships. wild bill's memorial roping. her dad was wild bill. he was a railroader and a cowboy and a husband and a father and a whole lot of other shit that stands up better than most. i never really met a cowboy before him. sure, people joke about cowboys and dress up like cowboys and try to act like them in movies and whatnot, but i'd never met anyone who actually was a cowboy. he grew up in the panhandle and drove cattle when he was a kid. he knew more about this land than most of us ever will. at any rate, my toe was all busted up from surgery and i was hopped up on vicodin for most of the weekend, so i just hobbled around in this semi-fugue and reminisced about him to myself. two stories stick out and relate only in my pain-ridden mind.
he used to be called kawashi bill because he rode motorcross and his bike was a kawasaki. of course, nobody up in amarillo could pronounce kawasaki when they were drunk or sober, so they called him kawashi bill. he'd ride the hell out of those motorbikes and one time, he jumped a hill and wrecked his bike. he came crashing down and fell off. everyone ran out to him, thinking he'd broken all his evil knievel bones. when they got to him and pulled him up from the debris, he said, "hell, that one almost got away from me."
the other story is from yesterday. my mother-in-law's dad, great-granddad to my kids, but called grandad, ground down and smoothed out some horseshoes for my kids. this was my mother-in-law's idea and so she stood out near the shop while he was working on them. when william, my youngest, got his, he walked over to shirley and asked, "am i a cowboy now, grandma?"
it's easy to make someone a saint after they're dead. it's much harder to live with the notion that you were somehow blessed, for a short time, to have known them.
i'm always going back and forth on what i want on my headstone. but i think i've come to a resting point. so to speak.
that's it. i catch myself saying this under my breath in conversations. even simply to myself as a way of catching any optimism that may be leaking out. you don't know how many silly emails this has prevented. it's also a wonderful curative for any self-congratulatory horseshit one is likely to spew at the end of the day. i really think that meeting went well. i impressed everyone with my ability to speak at length on subjects i could've cared less about.
it's a reminder of sorts. nothing goes the way you want it. be prepared. like the boyscouts. shit sticks on the fan. you won't get that promotion. your job will suck. your marriage won't work itself out. people will remain inviolate and stupid. whatever you expect...don't.
take it upon yourself, upon your own very core, to make the best of whatever happens. sit upright for your back and tap that shit out like a fury. don't expect the worst. don't expect.
write a little bit every day. without hope. without despair.
Thursday, June 05, 2003
big family tree of programming languages.
solid, understated article by glenn reynolds (instapundit) on distributed knowledge and the power of google.
If we had started planning in 1993, we probably wouldn't have gotten here by now. The Web, Wi-Fi, and Google didn't develop and spread because somebody at the Bureau of Central Knowledge Planning planned them. They developed, in large part, from the uncoordinated activities of individuals.
i guess it's important to remember these things when people start carping about spam and porn and second hand smoke and terrorists; all the evils threatening the holy trinity of modern do-gooderism: children, security and health.
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
i went to a post-modernist catfight about radiohead and a music review broke out.
My point isn't necessarily to agitate against Radiohead, or Hail to the Thief, half of which really pleases me. I think they're adorable, and I like their lullabies. It's the reception and their context that I object to. Putting them up the cultural scale anywhere near the Beatles or Missy or the Mountain Goats or Led Zeppelin or Pharrell Williams is suspect. They're the Merchant Ivory of rock, reassuring people that nothing in that big bad world of popular culture has really happened in the last 30 years.
ouch. and bringing timbaland into the mix (earlier in correspondence) is just downright low. you don't ever want your beats compared to that guy.
the latest 68" x 58" from rob, a latter day ozymandias. look upon his works, ye mighty, and despair!
Monday, June 02, 2003
i forget how little i trust people.
a co-worker was telling me a story about how her car was sideswiped this weekend. the guy got out and said he'd pull into the burger king parking lot nearby. she said ok and got into her car. and then, he just drove off. she didn't think to get his license. so there she was. she called the cops and waited two hours for them to show up. meanwhile, she's kicking herself for not getting the license plate immediately, before he got out of the car. i told her that i do the same thing. it's not trust. i forget how little i trust people.
Sunday, June 01, 2003
it's been a hectic month and an especially hectic week, so you'll forgive me if i forgot to mention the fact that my favorite team in basketball lost to a bunch of choke artists and an over-the-hill hobbit named steve kerr. in biblical times, they named demons after the wind. that either says something about the wind or their lack of creativity. they should start naming demons after washed-up, skeletor look-alikes who come off the bench after six weeks of not playing and sink four out of four three pointers. steve kerr. may you rot in hell.
otherwise, things are good. i've settled all my lawsuits, as eminem would put it. finished a goddamn, knock-down drag out, long-ass side job that just about broke my spirit for doing any sort of web design work. ever. but it's done now. finito. over. money is in the bank. i'm over the hump in my new job. lonanne is starting to hit her stride with her new job. the kids start summer school tomorrow. went to barton springs. saw that nemo movie. mowed the yard. printed the pics (shirley). lonanne always jokes that i'm constantly talking about "getting ahead of the game." it's true. that feeling usually lasts all of about five seconds for me. like right now. i'm ahead of the game. for five seconds. because, i know what you're thinking. and it's the same thing i'm thinking. where's that story mutherfucker? what's next? why aren't you writing like a bat out of hell? and if you are writing, why isn't it better? why isn't it like that one thing you wrote that i liked?