Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This is just to say

In living color (and you thought this would be boring, didn't you?)

And so it begins

The day and the hour is here (well almost here.) As of 5:00 pm MST today I will not be consulting the Internet for anything. That's right: no email, no last minute looking up stupid facts to impress people, no nothing. I will, however, be posting at Signifying nothing Unplugged by scanning in notebook pages:

I've already started, just to get the hang of it. (And yes I know a standard template is not the most elegant way to do this, but I don't have the time or the inclination to make something fancy.

See you in 20 days!

Sudden realizations

Notes on the universe

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oh the horror! The horror!

Or to quote another movie, "What has God done to us now."

That's right, I have a new haircut: not quite Marlon Brando baldness
of Apocalypse Now, but close.

The horror, indeed.

Hard to believe I'm giving up the Internet's tubes tomorrow.

Here' a sneak preview of Signifying nothing Unplugged!

Give the gift of despondency

Here are some holiday music giving recommendations in no particular order and suitable commentary:
  • Art Brut (listen to it before you buy, but once you get past the lead's singing, you'll dig it)
  • Arcade Fire Neon Bible (or Funeral if you don't have it we insist that you must have it and they are Canadian!)
  • M.I.A.
  • OK Go! (You will like these guys)
  • Ghostland Observatory (see Art Brut above)
  • Holy Fuck (only if you want to pay tribute to the now defunct Karlheinz Stockhausen)
  • Hot Chip (if you don't have their work you better!)
  • Iron & Wine (for a bit of laid-back American rockiness)
  • Matt & Kim (there is no way around their infectious personalities)
  • Living Things (if you don't have it)
  • Black Keys (if you don't have it and crave some fried chicken)
  • Broken Social Scene (more Canadians!)
  • Feist (even more Canadian music with a loungey kind of feel)
  • LCD Soundsystem (you must have this if you don't already)
  • The Streets (see Art Brut and Ghostland Observatory)
  • Berlin Final Countdown (for Gob's theme music)
  • Built Like Alaska (if you like hippies)
  • Battles
  • EL-P (hiphop yo yo yo yo you extraordinaire)
  • Peter, Bjorn & John (Scandinavian extravaganza!)
  • Sufjan Stevens Welcome to the Illinois (You will like this.)
  • TV on the Radio (you must get this particularly Return to Cooke Mountain)
  • New Pornographers (more Canadians, we know, but you will, you will like this.)
  • Queens of the Stone Age Hero of Vulgaris (or anything else!)
  • Scissors Sisters (for the hell of it)
  • Kinky Reina (Mexican Rockers, who'd uh thunk it!)
Discover the linked up think over at my lastfm site.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Somebody's party

Somebody's party at BestBuy, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Since the first two installments of this series have been so successfully commented upon (2 on the first, zero on the second), I've decided to post the next one:

3. It is over there

"So you want to end this?"

"I think so."

"Why? What did I do?"

"Its not so much what you did, Jesus! Its, I don't know. Its me. God. Jesus. Grow up!"

"Its me? Jesus."

"I mean I don't know! What the fuck do you want me to say? Jesus."

"What? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"



"You just sit there. You just play those stupid fucking games and drink beer."

"Give me a break!"

"That's right."

"Oh nice."

And he accidentally or on purpose kicks two beer cans out of the car that laid at his feet into the gutter as he gets out, slamming the door. "So that's it!"

He can't make out what she says through the closed car door and the blare of Wilco singing about blue sky or something. She hits the gas and speeds away into the night, barely making the corner.

He knows she is crying.

"Fucking bitch!"

He walks over to the platform and waits for the next train to somewhere else.

Next stop: poem central!

Sir Arthur C Clarke's 90th Birth day

It is Arthur C Clarke's 90th Birth day! Go wish him well.

I think my favorite Clarke work is "Summertime on Icarus," a brilliant story published in 1960 about life and death on a hot, hot asteroid.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Somebody's party

Somebody's party at BestBuy, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Told you so:

2. Finding it

Jim Householder was a real fucker sometimes. We found a couple of beers once that some stupid kids threw out their car by the train station probably to avoid the cops, and he grabbed them and started to run.

"You fucker!" I remember yelling as I took off after him. "You fucker! One of those is mine!"

Jim was slow cause he had a gimpy leg since he got beat up by a cop, and I caught him pretty easy. I grabbed for the beer but caught his arm instead, causing us both to tumble onto the concrete. It was late so no one was around. The sulfur parking lot lights of the BestBuy lit up the big red gash on his forehead.

"You dumb fuck!" he yells trying to free himself and the beer from my grip. I ripped the box out of his dirty hand.

"You're the fucker!" I stood up with the beer, and noticed that I'd ripped my fucking pants. Shit. Another trip to the fucking thrift store dumpster. Asshole.

I walked over to the curb, sat down, and pulled out both the beers. Jim was laying on the concrete looking at me.

"You want one, man?" I held one of the beers out to him and rocked it back and forth.

He got up, took the beer out of my hand, and sat a couple of feet from me on the curb.

I popped my beer open and he popped his.

God I love beer. And this was even cold because it was fucking cold as hell out.

Still. It was nice beer. I pulled my coat closer, trying to cover up the torn patch in my pants. I'm not sure if I was bleeding or not.

Still. Good beer. Good beer.

Jim was cold and bitched about it. Whatever. He shut up after awhile. He liked the beer too. I mean come on. Free beer!

We sat and drank our beers until they were gone, dropping them in the gutter where we sat.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Dallas V Utah

I really don't think I've seen the Jazz play better than in their loss tonight against the Mavericks. The only, and I will reiterate, ONLY reason they lost was because of horrific officiating. The Jazz were tight and held it together and almost stole it away from the referees.

My only consolation is that the point spread really fucked the refs on the Vegas bets.

Yeah, that's right: the referees are indeed crooked. You think that one guy was the only one?


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Somebody's party

Somebody's party at BestBuy, originally uploaded by Theorris.

This little vignette inspired me to flash fiction, or perhaps it is found fiction. It is no doubt far too racy for my family-friendly blog, and far too sexist. Oh what the hell:

We are standing in the BestBuy parking lot, swilling Milwaukee's Best. It is one forty five a.m. and the trains have stopped running. The bars have closed too, but I don't go to bars because I am flat broke. It doesn't matter that I am underage. That never matters. It is all about the cash.

"Are you going to kiss me or what?" Nikki says to me out of nowhere. She is leaning back on my rust bucket Ford Escort, her beer can up to her lips all frosted with the brightest red lipstick she could find. She is wearing a low cut tight black dress and I literally feel my eyes darting back and forth over her, not sure where to settle.

She is older than me, but not really by much. Maybe 5 years. She bought the beer.

In all, I guess I'm a pretty dumb kid who doesn't pick up on cues very well. I didn't know she wanted me to kiss her. "Sorry, I didn't know you wanted me to kiss you." I didn't even know she really liked me all that much. I don't really like her that much, but her eyes are the the most crazy violet blue. She drops her beer can and it roles under the Escort and then she grabs the front of my tee shirt in one agile move.

"Well duh!" is all she says before pulling me into a hard, hot, sloppy-wet kiss, driving her tongue into my mouth.

I freeze. She looks up to my face. The sulfur light from the parking lot lights catch in her mascara-framed eyes. "Well, aren't you just the shy one!"

I drop my beer and it roles under the car to join hers in the gutter.

The upshot of this, is that I'm thinking of writing a series of pieces based on this image, speculating as to its origins. It sort of becomes "found fiction" then, after all, although I'm thinking of throwing in some less-than-ficiton word things.

Next stop: a story of two vagrants who end up fighting over the beer. I've already got it mapped out; it is kind of like McTeague but without the doneky.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

HH's place: Richard Dawkins... need I say more???

HH has an interesting post about an email interchange with Richard Dawkins that provides me a better understanding of Dawkins's position on conciousness: HH's place: Richard Dawkins... need I say more???

I am really curious why Dawkins can accept such pomo notion as the "meme" but finds the rest of it reprehensible. You will note that he links "meme" to genetic (physical) traits. I think there is a confusion between "software" and "hardware" at this point, as I comment on in the very HH post I reference above.

Robot wars!

I want one of these robots so very, very badly.

(Thanks again to

Monday, December 03, 2007

A good reason to distrust language

Wikipedia is on the menu, according to J. LeRoy's Evolving Web: Jimmy Wales Grows Them Good and Organic. As I commented, I want to try the "Steam eggs with wikipedia." Sounds positively texty, like a 150-year-old copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Thanks, BoingBoing, you rule.

Distrust of Language

Ok I spent a good chunk of yesterday watching Richard Dawkins's 5 1991 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for Children "Growing up in the Universe" which is now conveniently found on the web. It is full of the sciency goodness that I have loved since I was a child, and, despite the title of the lecture series, is a bit more challenging than one might expect. The material, while presented in a straightforward manner, wasn't exactly 8th grade science, either. I found that quite provocative, actually, since many folks try to dumb stuff down for kids. I think Dawkins deserves credit for making the lectures interesting (with some, at times, dodgy props) yet challenging for the kids in the audience.

Through the series of lectures, Dawkins laid out the ideas about the origins of life, the influence of natural selection, designed vs. "designoid" things, how seemingly improbable structures such as the eye can evolve, and how we humans developed such big brains and what those big brains mean to our evolutionary status. I was particularly struck by the final lecture, which Dawkins explored the brain. While listening to it, I suddenly understood why he finds linguistic-based studies so problematic: he openly states that language is a dangerous thing. (One of the 3 dangerous things to humanity, the others being technology and our brains inherent ability to perceive patters or contain a virtual reality.) For Dawkins language can be easily manipulated and distorted to provoke certain behaviors (such as religion one would suppose). Dawkins also does not accept the notion that we make reality out of our world through language. He prefers some sort of virtual reality model as opposed to a linguistic model to who we understand the world. He specifically states that there is little scientific evidence to show that language existed before our brains expanded in size (although I wonder how he deals with the recently revealved language abilities of other primates) and only concedes that it might be possible that we might have evolved an internal monologue before we developed an dialog with our fellow human beings.

I think this where the impasse might be between the two fields: he discounts the influence of language, whereas linguistic philosophy makes it everything--at least as far as our perception goes. I also can certainly understand better now why he thinks that post-modernists are so dangerous: they are, in his opinion, willfully manipulating language into nonsense, and, therefore, willfully misinterpreting data.

Fair enough, but I would point out that the very thing he is attacking in linguistic phenomenology is the very "virtual reality" that he says we also have to be careful of. Language creates a reality that we narrate to ourselves. It shapes how we see the world. It influences what we do and how we do it. Language, indeed, is not an aberration of evolution but one of those peaks that Dawkins speaks of in his "Mount Improbable" analogy. It is how we make sense of this world and how we have achieved consciousness. Granted it is not everything in how we experience the world nor how we react to it, but it is the only means we have to work within the system and communicate with our fellow critters. In other words, there is no consciousness without language.

I still don't really get how Dawkins understands what our consciousness is.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Camera

National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Camera

Oh me of little faith!

I haven't seen such an enjoyable basketball game since the last time the Jazz thrashed the Lakers. As I kept going on about in a beer-induced polemic: Fesenko is the Jazz's future. They need to stop fucking around by sending him to D-League teams, kick Collins' sorry ass onto the bench, and use this kid's energy and talent to its utmost.

In the name of Bill Laimbeer, Amen.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Woe is us!

I just heard that neither Boozer nor Okur will play tonight. Oy. That's a sure downer to what I thought might be a nice route of the fucking Lakers.


Outcomes assessment

I've noticed three things about the NaBloPoMo experiment:

  1. blog writing gets much more concise
  2. blogger's don't comment on other blogs as much
  3. a favorite topic of blogging is that one has to blog

The cause of each of these outcomes is the very pressure to blog. Blogging is concise, because one feels pushed to post something. Bloggers who are consequently pushed to write something, do not take the time to read other blogs and post comments. Given that the pressure of such blogging is higher than for folks who blog a few times a week, it becomes a topic in and of itself simply because it is a noticeable change in a blogger's life.

For whatever reason, I tend to blog a great deal more than my more discursive and more thoughtful blogging colleagues. No doubt this is because of my general fidgety nature. The upshot of this, however, is that the blog every day thing has not really been that big of a hassle for me. I am glad it is over, however, in that I won't feel compelled to write when I may not feel like it.

I am also glad it is over because my blogroll will get back to normal with long discursive explorations that I miss.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Uncanny valley

For Sleepy E: Simroid: Dentistry in the uncanny valley (video) ::: Pink Tentacle. Watch the video. I don't know what is more uncanny and creepy: a faux dentist's office or a faux patient. The dentist-in-training is cute, however, despite her rather cavalier style with that dental mirror. At least she apologizes for making the Simroid gag.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The plan

So a few entries ago I wrote about the plan of not accessing the Internet's tubes starting December 13. While in New York, I came up with a better plan: I will still blog, but it won't be in the conventional sense. While there I purchased this

a Black n' Red notebook imported from Ye Olde England. I shall be writing in this text, scanning the pages, and then uploading them to this old blog. While uploading I will refrain from checking the Internet for anything else (like email or comments). The temptation, of course, will be great, but I shall resist by shouting, with my arm to the square, "Get thee behind me Satan!" (Bet you didn't know I knew that much about LDS practice, did you?) I might, too, put on a hair shirt while doing this. (Bet you didn't know I knew that much about Catholic practice, did you?) I suppose the inspiration for this came from a couple of different sources, most notably Jeff Bridges, who has had a handwritten website/blog for many years now.

So, although I will not be interacting with the web, it will still be a part of my existence. It will be a bit like living in a Panopticon, I suppose, given that I will know people are reading the stuff, but I won't know what they are saying. That makes me slightly nervous, and I've contemplated turning on extra-security in comments to keep the riffraff at bay. If I were going all hog on the effort, I might just get a post office box where people could mail me comments. Now that would be a hoot, but a bit impractical.

One thing that I don't want this experiment to turn into is a running commentary on what it is like not to have access to my beloved Internet, although I fear that will be a major topic. I don't want it to be a meta-blog, simply because I find that kind of stuff tedious. We'll see how it goes.

I suppose the biggest challenge is going to be the email thing, but having ready access to information, as well as things like my banking are of equal importance. I will steel myself by offending all my email contacts so they don't feel compelled to write me and declare bankruptcy before the experiment begins.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Weather haibun & suitable haiku

It is snowing and I sit by my window reading a book of winter haiku.

Here is a haiku by Miura Yuzuru
Snow on top
The height of the gateposts.
Here is one by Ono Rinka
A winter shower driving down--
Turmeric flowers
In full bloom.
And, finally, we have Nozawa Setsuko
Heaven and earth
Convulsing in the same breath
Let fall a tremendous snow.

I've always liked to sit and watch snow. It is a good diversion. One feels so much comfort by snow, even though it is, of course, cold and treacherous. It covers the world, making it all fresh and new, yet at the same time killing the last remnants of fall. Roads are slick. People fall on concrete. The snow falls in swirling, beautiful patterns, smoothing even that out. It is calming to sit by the window as the snow falls and read. So I take up my pencil and write in the margin next to the three poems:
Snow falls quietly
As I read by the window
Words settle my mind.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It must be some Commie plot!

Overheard in Craig Mecham's* excutive board room: "What? You can make use of old buildings if you take care of them? What nonsense is that!?"

*Mecham is the developer slavering to tear down Sugar House, SLC, Pretty Great State, Californicated, United States, The Universe.

Brunch with the Jazz

Brunch with the Jazz, originally uploaded by Theorris.

A flickr contact is working on a linguistic project about how basketball fans talk, so a few of us gathered at Fiddler's Elbow to watch the Jazz smash the Pistons. These folks were not a part of our group, but, as you can see, were equally enthusiastic. I ate way too much bacon. It is nice to meet fellow Jazz fans. Most folks I know are rather ambivalent aside from Croin, Catinlap, Middlebrow, and Hightouch.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

! Warning

! Warning, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Wasn't this dude on Star Trek?

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Facade, originally uploaded by Theorris.

The soon-to-be demolished Sugar House frontage on 11th East and 21st South is not the most attractive facade. One wonders, however, if its Californicated replacement will be any better. No doubt it will be craptastic, but appealing to Mike and Paula from Sandy and their 4.6 children:

or maybe something like this from the Yeeeee fucking haw Grand Ole Opry is more appealing:

I can't wait! Saddle up the Oldsmobile, Sadie, we're going to town and we don't even have to walk 10 feet!


Friday, November 23, 2007

The Bowling Syndicate

I must remind you members of the syndicate of its existence: The Bowling Syndicate?

When will be the next Syndicate Bowlarama? Certainly we need a holiday classic? The Wilhelm Holiday Classic is in its third year. Anyone care to join? (Don't worry you won't have to write a haiku.)

Salt Lake Tribune - A supple muse

And why wasn't I informed of this contest: Salt Lake Tribune - A supple muse?

Ah well, we shall have our own contest. Please enter your Jell-o brand gelatin-inspired haiku in the comments. Here be mine:
Carrots suspended,
You jiggle green and orange
Mighty lime Jell-0!
Next poetic project: "A Valediction Forbidding Jell-o""
AS virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"Now his breath goes," and some say, "Jell-o."
(My apologies to Mr. Donne.)

The Waiting Game is Over!

Park City Mountain Resort Blog: The Waiting Game is Over!

Strap in and feel the G's!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ubiquitous Holiday Clip Show*

I was searching for a factoid for HightouchMegastore and came across this entry from 3 years ago (cue dreamy "memory music" and wavy transition):

Admit one

part 1: "when the shooting stops there will be a movie no one will watch but me"

Ah, Thirsty Thursday! I'm not sure it gets much better than going to the ball park to watch baseball on a temperate summer evening. Well it could have been better if the Stingerzzzzzzzz actually had a chance to win. It was a sad, sad, state of affairs. The the fourth inning they were behind by 11. Oy. The only reason to stay through the whole game, however, was that you could double-fist microbrews. At two bucks a brew, I was in baseball Walhalla, pouring libations to the mighty baseball gods.

part 2: "The birds were insane/flapping all about."

It is somewhat unnerving to hear a light tap on the screen door and then have a timid voice say "do you guys smoke pot?" at 2 a.m. Having no pot and not being a pot smoker, I think I might have preferred to ignore the strange request, but you can't really ignore a knock on a screen door, especially when whoever it is can see right in the room. We all sat and looked at each other for a moment, and then one of us with enough presence of mind went to see who the hell would be tapping on someone's door at such an hour asking such a question.

The girl, as she told us over a glass of water, was very drunk. It was her birthday. She hiked up her fishnet stockings while pulling down her white miniskirt. Under her peroxide bangs her eyes were leaded black with mascara. She and her boyfriend, it would seem, had a fight and she had stormed off, to wander the streets of Salt Lake. She was from Utah county, far from home.

There was a bit of suspicion over her initially, but it was clear that she really was quite drunk, and for her own safety it was important that we keep her off the streets. Luckily she had a cell phone, and she managed to contact her boyfriend, who, unfortunately seemed equally as drunk as she.

It is strange what goes through people's heads when they are drunk.

The night wore on and two and then one and then none kept watch over her. When I woke up in the morning to the sun beating down on me from the front room window she was gone without a note or any token to remind us that she had ever even crossed our paths. There was something dreamlike or nightmarish about it all.

Entry 301-618 ( permanent) posted by Clint on Friday,July 16,2004 at 12:52:33 PM. 2 comments

*I officially jumped the shark 2 years ago when I brought in cousin Oliver and Pinky Tuscadero to bring life back into the show, to utter failure, so doing a clip show really won't hurt my ratings now will it? It is, in fact, almost necessary at this point given the fact that I am running desperate for material to fill out the rest of the NaMoBloMoMoFro commitment. Signifying nothing is officially in its 7th season as a regulation blog, after all. It all started way back when...(cue music and segue to wavy transition.)

I really need to add a laugh track to this thing. The studio audience just isn't cutting it any more.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Merry T-Giving Mo-Fros!

Merry T-Giving Mo-Fros!, originally uploaded by Theorris.

This is turning into a Thanksgiving tradition, I fear. Martinis for Thanksgiving? What the hell is wrong with me? They are about the most sickening drink known to man. Well that and Manhattans. Whiskey and sweet vermouth? Christ almighty.

Wow what a great audience. I'll be doing two shows at the Catskills Supper Club next week

As I was handing in my receipts this morning for suitable recompense, the taxi receipt from JFK had "I --heart symbol-- New York" printed at the top. The administrative assistant pointed it out, laughed, and asked if I loved New York.

"For as much money as I spent on her," I shot back faster than a New York minute, "she might as well be my girlfriend."

Bah dum dum.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Johnny Utah's!

Johnny Utah's!, originally uploaded by Theorris.

You can never get away from the ubiquity of Utah, I fear.

Well I'm back. It was a good convention and great fun in NYC. I'm tired, however.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Grafitti complex

Grafitti complex, originally uploaded by Theorris.

This expanse of buildings contains about a square block. All the buildings are painted. It is particularly cool when viewed from the 7 train rolling into Queens. I didn't whip my camera out in time, however. Stupid me.

It is quite stunning, and certainly breaks up the monotony on a gray day. I wonder how this school of art will effect building design in the future. Will we see such "decoration" in future architecture?

Spray paint is, after all, the modern fresco.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Task in New York for Tomorrow

People in New York are funny. They are actually friendly when you engage them in conversation about some relevant topic or when you are the subject of their service, but overall without the pretense of a focussed topic they ignore you. Such is life in a megalopolis, I suppose. For example, when you pass some one in the street here, the usual interaction is to say nothing. You huddle up and scurry on your way.

This suits me well. I generally dislike such trifling acknowledgments of our existence, and, I assume like most New Yorkers, just want to get about my business.

I feel compelled, however, to change my ways in the city that suits me so well (being the rude, un-noticing son of bitch I can be), and tomorrow I shall greet every person on my path in a friendly manner.

Perhaps this is noticing the difference between where I live and here. No. No. No. It is not that Salt Lake is the bastion of friendliness--in fact it is not. It is the fact that here you have the Salt Lake problem of being rude to your passers by so massively evident. In Salt Lake, however, at least you have someone who recognizes the problems of a homeless person (I've only met one so far in this visit to New York) or even a hobbling old lady. In SLC there would be at least some help for the old lady. The homeless folks, however, face a harder time. You know, ultimately, that may be why beggars are so far and few between in modern New York: there is very little tolerance for poverty or for beggars. They don't fit in the scheme. They don't survive her because the people don't tolerate everyday courtesy.

Zow. (No offense, New York, but as the song says "I love you but your are bringing me down.")

Ok, Ok, so what't the plan as I finish my Convention attendance here in the greatest city in the world? "Hello!" I shall say to the unwitting tenement dweller in my unfortunate neighborhood. "How's it going?" I will ask of the tourist hauling her luggage to Penn Station. I will give my change to whoever asks for it.

It is easy to forget the simple courtesies while living in such a large city. Yes it protects us. (As I know as a resident of a not-so-large city), but it also anesthetizes use from living. The difference between San Francisco (which abounds with beggars) and New York is vast. I feel compelled to write about that difference and what it really means. That is for latter, however.

But, Hello! How are you doing? Thanks for stopping by. Would you like something to drink?

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Correction, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Ok, I fucked up. I have no idea what I was thinking as I've seen the Brooklyn Bridge before, adn know that it is located in the Financial District. Here is an image from my camera phone correcting my previous error of naming the Queensboro Bridge with its older brother. As you can see the weather has turned bad again. It was cold an windy on the bridge. I've been warm on the subway on my day off from the Convention.

I went up the the Neue Gallery to see the Klimt exhibit. They had transplanted Klimt's artelier. It was quite bare (and no doubt nothing like it would have been in his life time) but you get the general architecture of the space wherer he created his paintings.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Queensboro Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


It is pissing down rain. Lucky for me I brought an umbrella.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fear and loathing in Times Square

I have no idea why I decided to wander over here. The convention's hotel is here, but that's about the only reason I'm going to have to come back.

What a mess. Ok, it is Times Square, but why come to this consumer whorehouse? (Funny that all the wonders of corporate prostitution replaced the sex-trade businesses that used to be here.) I was nice and took several pictures for tourists. They liked them. Maybe I should be a photographer for the masses here--well I could charge 5 bucks a photo, I suppose. See this place is infectious. Maybe all it can be is somewhere to suck the dollars out of tourists pockets.

The world's smallest room

The world's smallest room, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Here it is in all its glory. I have approximately 3 feet of walking space.

The view from my room

The view from my room, originally uploaded by Theorris.

I think I am in the world's smallest room. Ok, it probably isn't that small, but compared to the palatial room I had in San Francisco, this is smaller than a beggar's hovel. The room may be small, but it has a passable view. I'm on the 11th floor.

I am in a decidedly more gritty part of town, but it is still not anywhere near as gritty as I remember New York in the 80's.

Tomorrow I have some conventioneering to do, but I am going to get up early to walk and take pictures for a bit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Here is a portrait of Middlebrow after his augering horrorshow:

Robot body, anyone?

Now I feel extra-bad

Middlebrow lives it up with extra joie de vivre, but I still hate plumbing. Note the cool augering dood.

Blast from the past

Witness a word-thing come into being: November 2003.

Was that really 4 years ago?

I feel snubbed out.

As seen on Oprah

As seen on Oprah, originally uploaded by Theorris.

I do recommend it, however. It does seem to work. I used to get sick
every time I flew long distances. I've taken AirBorne on the last few and have been ok. Funny how it reminds me of certain German vitamin drinks that are fizzy, but that's another story.

I don't like their selling point, however: "Created by a second grade teacher." I hated my second grade teacher. Mrs. Snakefield, as we called her, was, ahem, a bitch.

If you haven't figured it out, I'm traveling again. This time to NYC, my droogies. I have some photo expeditions planned. We'll see.

Cutting Middlebrow off in the lane

Middlebrow stopped by my office today and announced that he was going to write about the Jazz. "They are looking good," he stated with some amount of passion. I couldn't agree with him more, so I thought I would cut Middlebrow off in the lane and steal the ball from him for a quick-and-easy layup of my own.

As I stated before, I believe the Jazz are going to rock the league this year. Boozer is unstoppable with his consistent double-doubles, and Kirilinko has seemingly gotten over his hissy fit from the pre-pre-season and manned-up some to return to his solid defensive game (look at all those blocked shots last night against the Kings.) He's also quick and stealthy as a cat and his commitment to seeing a play through has paid off. Okur (who's inconsistency outside of late) has found a new home in the lane, where he takes it to the basket, overcoming weaker and smaller defenders. Williams is essential to the team, of course, and has the potential this year of a true break-out season. The bench is pretty solid, and it is interesting that Collins is starting out strong again this year, although I suspect that is because he feels threatened by Fesenko's presence as back-up-back-up center. We'll see how the season goes for him, although we were tempted last night to write to Jazz announcers Boller and Booner in their "Tough Questions" bit "Why is Collin's still with the Jazz?" That would have just been plain snarky, however.

The only weakness I see for the Jazz right now is a backup for Williams, but that is due to inexperience and youth more than anything else. Give them some time. Hart has potential, although every time he comes in he looks like he is in an NCAA final rather than an NBA game. Until I looked at his bio I assumed he was quite new to the league. Guess that's what I get for not paying much attention to the teams that don't perform (well other than the Jazz). Perhaps i am conflating Hart and Ronnie Price together? That might be the case. Anyway, the Jazz are hurting for an experience point guard to back up Williams.

On the other hand we are shooting guard and forward rich. That covers a lot of territory given that in a pinch Kirilinko can make a passable, albeit gangly point guard.

Ok, sorry MB for cutting you off in the lane. My foul. Shoot two.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Being as the hypocrites...

The interaction below with lisa b. of Hightouch Megastore has inspired me to go on a 20-day Internet hiatus starting on December 13 and ending January 1, 2008. And to make it an interesting project, I will document my efforts in a real-to-goodness journal I shall purchase for that very purpose.

Why? I hear you ask. "Why not?" is my non-reply. Actually I do like to take breaks from all things electronic once in a while, but I've never documented it. Further more, you might do better to ask me something like "why don't you own a car you freak?" which seems like a perfectly more justifiable question.

Well I was going to, but it seems a bit too pushy to ask. Why the hell don't you have a car? What are you some kind of hippy?
I guess I should have, but haven't, documented my self-chosen carlessness. There could have been some good money in that, after all. I mean, my heck, Barbara Kingsolver wrote a book about buying local for a year, and there have been others. Guess I just missed my chance. Oh well. In any case, I don't own are car and I'm not really sure why anymore. Maybe that's why I haven't written about it.

Ah so going off the net is like not having a car? Maybe. I don't know. In any case, I'm going to take the hiatus and write about it while I'm doing it. I will then share the results when I return from the land of the disconnected.

Why December 13? No particular reason other than I will be done with work by then and headed out on a great long vacation. I also thought it would be cool to do 20 days. It has sort of a biblical ring to it.

Oh I was wondering about the 20 days bit. You were right to think about asking. I would go for 40 days, but I ain't got 40 days. Does anyone have 40 days to do anything any more? Not even Morgan Spurlock has 40 days!

What do you hope to learn from this experience? I think I want to explore how being hooked-up like I've been for most of my adult life changes my experience. I can already foresee a couple of problems: I do all my banking online at this point. I will have to make sure I pay everything before I go on my adventure.

So you are getting rid of everything electronic? No. Do you think I'm an idiot? I'm just going to dump the use of the Internet: email, blog, flickr, etc. I will maintain use of my cell phone (as it is my only means of communication). Since I am not a fool, I will also, if an emergency arises, violate my rule to access something that I can only get to on the Net (such as my banking) but I will document that usage as it happens.

What have you done for me lately? Not a damn thing. Hit the road, jack!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Not going anywhere near a computer yesterday/today is what I consider modern fasting. I fear this will be the standard for the next two weeks as I will be traveling extensively and cannot be sure of my connection. Oh well, so much for writing every day. Good luck to those of you who still have a heart and time for the project.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Well I'm back from San Francisco in what qualifies as a whirlwind trip. I won't bore you with the detail of my work there, as I will save that for the academic blog, perhaps, so I will excite you with the details of how I seem to have lost all ability to read contextual clues from everyday situations. In other words: I was the absent-minded professor this weekend.

This morning I walked into the Olympic Diner across from my hotel and stood at the threshold like I assumed a good patron should and waited to be seated. The waitress, no doubt the grand daughter of the Greek-born cook manning the grill, looked at me quizicaly several times. She came towards me and said something which I didn't quite make out (perhaps my hearing is going) and then walked back towards the counter. I followed her, being a well-trained patron. She turned on me then and motioned wildly to the rest of the diner. I then realized this was a sit-anywhere-you-like establishment.

"Should I sit where I like?" I asked the obvious.

"Of course!" she said exasperatedly and waved her hands. I chose a two-person booth next to the counter. Its formica top worn with age. Their menu was simple: various versions of omelets, steak and eggs, and huge flapjacks.

I actually felt kind of good about this, since it meant that I was in a truly local establishment. A local establishment with greasy floors. A local establishment where the granddaughter scolded her grandfather.

I sat and I had an excellent American breakfast, accompanied by family drama, and the grand father fry cook who looks like he would have fit right in to the 50s. There was a bit of despair in his manner, something so city. Something so how did I get here? or what the hell is all of this about? Somehow I'm not equipped to read the clues or to understand. I felt foreign in this place. I felt dazed.

All this in a nice little diner in San Francisco.

Trash day

Trash day, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The bay

The bay, originally uploaded by Theorris.

This was the view I had all day. The oil spill was farther north. Sad.


Smug, originally uploaded by Theorris.

They are putting me up in style here. Damn.

Click on my flickr link above to see more dumb picks.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I don't leave my heart any where, but I may leave my liver here

Ok that title is a very bad joke, particularly since I promised myself I would never make such a stupid topical reference to a city with a theme song, but it just struck me that there is an honor bar in the room. I kid. I kid. Actually I have a long day tomorrow.

Another question: eventhough I'm traveling on a publisher's dime, should I complain that my room smells like a very over-chlorinated swimming pool and that the air purifier was left in my room? I take it that the Hotel Adagio either has a mildew problem (quite likely for San Francisco's climate) or that the previous tenant smoked (despite the rather strenuous warning they give you at the desk about such miscreant behavior.)

I think I'm going to go out and see if I get mugged. Nah, San Francisco isn't that bad, and I'm a big guy: 6 foot 8, 280.

Hurry up and wait

So how far in advance should one arrive at an airport? I've been 2 hours early before and barely made the plane. I've been 2 hours early before and have had the joy of sitting around the airport for and hour and a half before boarding.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fun times in the old blog tonight

I'd love to keep posting daily entries, but and Comcast are not getting along too well right now. I'm sending them to marriage counseling, however, so we'll see.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Vote!, originally uploaded by Theorris.

It kind of looks like I'm voting for Dave Buhler, doesn't it?


Jazz!, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Jazz play again tomorrow night. Ah, Jazz. 2 and 2 on the season. Too bad we can't play Golden State every night.

Truth is, I am just posting this non-post because Comcast is being such a freak and I need to see if I can get it to force the issue.

What a pain in the ass. Sounds like another scathing letter form the Wookie is coming.

Rhetoric of anger, any one?

I am less friendly to our beloved Utah Transit Authority than I have been in th past:
While I understand the mechanical problems this morning with TRAX were completely out of your control, UTA could have informed all of its drivers who arrive at TRAX stations to inform riders that there will be long delays or that there would be alternate bus service. The lack of information form UTA to the commuting public is unacceptable. Having drivers roll around TRAX stations yelling at people to get on (having no idea where they are going) is not an appropriate contingency plan.

I expect a reply to this message. I am quite disappointed that you have refused to reply to my previous complaint about the bus stop on 21st South and 21st East. Is this how the new UTA runs? Ignore your customers?
I have decided to be blunt this time since my previous rather cordial letter received no response at all. I my note that my complaint to Thanksgiving Point also received no response. Should I write to them again?

Perhaps I should start a new blog called "It's Not Wise to Upset a Wookie" or "Let the Wookie Win."* What do you think?

*For those of you not geek:
[R2-D2 and Chewbacca are playing the holographic game aboard the Millennium Falcon]
Chewbacca: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh
C-3PO: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can't help you.
Han Solo: Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.
C-3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
Han Solo: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.
Chewbacca: Grrf.
C-3PO: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2: let the Wookiee win.

Update (2:30 pm): I just received the following from UTA:

I do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. At this
time I have forwarded your concern to the appropriate department for
further review. Our commitment to our customers is to continue to
improve the service we provide. Please contact us should you have any
further questions or comments.

Thank you,

UTA Customer Comments

Monday, November 05, 2007

Innocent? Yeah right

Walkie talkies!, originally uploaded by Theorris.

This is the child who perpetrated the crimes mentioned below, and many more. I settled down into a depressed teen after my father died, driven by an unknown future.

That's bound to make anyone stop doing stupid things.

Now that I've outlived Elvis, however, I feel the prankster or hellion in me returning.

Ok, it never left.

Seven deadlies

I knew it would come down to this: Hightouch tagged me to give out 7 interesting facts about myself. My first instinct, as with all things like this is to be obstinate and ignore the request. My second instinct is to actively mock the request. I will, however, comply, as I think it brings out several key unsavory facts about my childhood before the age of 10 that I want you all to realize right now:
  1. I faked being sick for 3 weeks in third grade so I wouldn't have to go to school and then lied about the reason why I was faking illness. I blamed my best-friend Spencer and he never forgave me for it.
  2. I once threw a fit at Christmas when the new Battleship computerized game didn't work right out of the box. All it needed were the batteries. My father was quite disgusted by my behavior.
  3. I destroyed a birdhouse I was making because I couldn't get a nail to go in without bending. I'm talking hammer flailing ultra-violence here. As I recall my friends whom I was building the birdhouses with were quite embarrassed by my behavior.
  4. I threw a rock at my older brother, [UPDATE 11/7/07] hit him in the head, [/UPDATE] and then when confronted by my crime lied about it egregiously and said it was a dirt clod.
  5. After the Dirt Clod Incident (as it is known in my family) I proceeded to spray paint my brother's name on the big old elm tree by our back door while my parents had taken him to Big V. To my thinking, my parents would never have suspected that I was the one who had done it.
  6. I nearly set the house on fire by playing with my sister's tanning lamp (this was the early 70's, after all.)
  7. I played chemist with my sister's perfume and mixed them all together. After being scolded for this by not only my parents but also my sister (which hurt more, I think) I decided to run away and live with the Box Car Children. I piled all my clothes up in the back yard and made it as far as the first fence line before I headed back to the house in shame.
So there you go. Facts. Just the facts.

Update: I tag Kendra!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Three more reasons to hate the 80s

At the Fat Flake Festival last night.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Dinner, originally uploaded by Theorris.

133 mo fros! 133!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Lady luck let's please let the dice stay hot

Holy fuck, I missed it. On August 31, 2007, I officially outlived Elvis.

"On a cold and gray Chicago morn, a baby's born, and his momma cries."

For lis (80s, 60s, & 90s straight out of 2001!)

So lis, I dare you to play this at your wedding: The_Smiths-how_soon_is_now.mp3 (audio/mpeg Object)?

I love the thesaurus action going on there.

Perhaps it will be this lovely ditty instead?

Or perhaps you prefer French Canadian 90's work?

I did so love 2001. Well the early part. Not the blowing up and terrorist things part.

Did I say that out loud?

Enjoy the silence

Im in yur netz readin yur blogz

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Doing my part to end world blog hunger

Lisa b of Hightouchmegastore has ordered that everyone blog every day for the month of November in honor of NaBlogPoMo or the National Blog Posting Month. Given my reputation for complete compliance to requests and peer pressure, I at first was tempted to take the entire month of November off from any sort of writing with the final post being "screw that" in regards to NaBlogPoMo. I don't mind being an asshole like that, generally, but I thought better of it as it would not be nice to Hightouch who has been a faithful reader and commenter for several years now, and I pretty much write the most inane crap everyday anyway, so it really isn't going to be that different now, is it?

So here I am, just doing my part. Small children in India will no longer have to go without blog posts about ex-kid show stars who stalk bloggers to read!

"Good night, and good luck" or is that "Courage"?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Ghosts of Halloween Past

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Back to the grind

In Profession 2005, a publication of the Modern Language Association, Harvard English professor Louis Menand writes the following in response to an article about string theory that conotates the universe to a bank card:

If you say that the meaning of a poem is indeterminate, you are accused of posing a threat to Western values--often by people who never read poetry. But if you say that the universe is like an ATM card, you get the Nobel Prize. How did humanists get painted into a cultural corner such that everything that a social or natural scientist says that is counterintuitive receives public genuflection, but literature professors are expected to do nothing but reaffirm common sense? ("Dangers Within and Without" 10-11)
Faculty members in science and in social science departments tend to regard humanists as reflexively oppositional to what they do and, therefore, as easy to discount. This perception is founded mainly on ignorance. The summaries of the state of ideas in the humanities in books like E.O. Wilson's Consilence and Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate are appallingly misinformed, but the ignorance is depressing, since it indicates that humanists have almost completely failed at explaining what they do and why it offers as good a return on social investment as genetics or economics. Humanists feed this perception by reciting predicatable critiques of the claims of science and social science. Our response to anything is, "It's more complicated." They assert X, and we say, "But it's overdetermined." They assert Y, and we say, "But there's a contradiction." They assert Z, and we say, "But the concept is socially constructed or historically contested." Humanities departments have turned into the little boy who cries, "Difference!" Humanities professors are right: there is difference, it always is more complicated, concepts are constructed. But the role of the humanities cannot be that of problematizing this and calling into question that. Humanities professors need to construct alternative paradigms, and if those paradigms are built merely from some notion of the literary, they will blow right over. (13-14)
The humanities are the study of life in its cultural dimension, which happens to be the dimension in which every human being actually operates. You can study life in its biological and in its social scientific dimension--that is, you can look at the genetic causes of behavior or at the mehtods by which individuals calculate their political and economic interests--only if you hold culture constant. Culture is no an add-on to the biological and sociological conditions of existence; it is constitutive of species identity. Culture is the medium in which we act, and it is, from a purely rational point of view, always a distorting medium. Culture is why paradigms of social and scientific theory don't work, why people tend never to do what social theory predicts they will do. Kant once said that humanity is a crooked timber from which nothing straight can be cut. That's what humanists study. We study warp. (14-15.)
In the end evolutionary biologists like Dawkins consider human culture as simply and outgrowth of evolutionary needs. Religion for Dawkins (as he states in the God Delusion is simply an aberration of some behavior that allows for the species to procreate. He is uncertain what that behavior is, but that's how he sees the world. It is not a far stretch to extend his interpretation of religion to all things cultural. They are all aberrations of, to be blunt, getting laid and having lots of babies. This reductive approach to the world, is what turns people off to science, as we can see in Menand's remarks. Ultimately people, when put under the microscope, squirm and say "but that's not me."

Perhaps that is the heart of the conflict between Humanities and Science: one field wishes to explore the rich complexity of human existence and the other wants to reduce it to data with little chance for misinterpretation in hard and fast theory.

Ah, if it were really that easy.

Whoops--there we go again!

(Cross-posted on my academic blog. Shh: don't tell anyone!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You gotta love it, baby!

Jazz!, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Remember last year when we were all excited how the Jazz actually busted out a great opening game and scored over 100? Remember how I predicted they'd definitely breeze through the second round?

Well, this is the 2007 Jazz rock prediction post:

1) The Jazz, while they will have a mid-season doldrum, will have the winningnest season since the Stockton/Malone era.
2) They will consistently score over 110 points (last year it was consistently scoring over 100.
3) They will down the Spurs and the Suns consistently.

Is this the year?

I should be so bold to say, yes.

Actually I think they will be in the Western Conference finals again. I don't think I can be so bold as to say they will win it. If they do, however, it will be theres.

In the meantime: Jazz 117 (One hundred fucking seventeen!) to Golden States' 96.