Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My big web rant, because I am a dork.

I have been as of late, because of work stuff, been thinking about how people use the web, and one thing that struck me is our tentative we are in admitting that the web is destination entertainment -- like TV, or nightlife, or whatever.

The lionshare of time spent on the web is spent wandering, kvetching, staring at spectacle, chasing down leads, doing
detective work. The web people IDENTIFY WITH EMOTIONALLY isn't a practical toolbox, it's a livingroom occupation, an intimate place to dream.

The Web is the only medium we have that has the potential to change us profoundly every time we engage with it. True, good books can have that effect, but when we pick up a book, we are locked into a linear presentation
of data. It's more difficult to wander in most books.

With television, we surf, but more out of frustration. And the experience is necessarily siloed. Obviously, this is all old news, but somehow, we've ignored the basic behaivorial truth that people use the web as entertainment and not primarily in the sense of destination websites, but the actual act of exploration itself.

Like I stated above, it's an intimate act. It's the place we cultivate interests that aren't necessarily ready for prime time. It¹s the one place where each of us can be as geeky and obsessive as we want to be, without having to explain it to the
world. There's the hackneyed meme of the obsessive geek who uses the web to indulge his fascination with cuckoo clocks, or whatever. I think where this idea fails is that web is an internal experience, sometimes one we are barely cognizant of even as we experience it.

Yes, we are all geeks, but we are becoming more non-linear. The Cuckoo Clock guy who is using the web to obsess over cuckoo clocks is missing out on the web's sublimnity. We nibble and try on new interests, as well as indulging
our regular "public" interests.

For example, one person might wear his Yankees fandom as a public personae, but online, that same guy might spend a night geeking out on Dungeons and Dragons and never engage that interest again. But for that one night, that guy is all about Dungeons and Dragons, and in indulging that fleeting interest, he's picked up knowledge, he's changed his outlook, tried on a shallow layer of expertise and perhaps understands something about the world he never would have bothered exploring
because the cost of entry to the subject would have been too high for casual engagement in the real world, such as being seen in a Dungeons and Dragons store, or whatever. He might have even changed his mind about something.

Basically in that hour or four he was online, he has changed as person.

Now, the guy has a point of reference from where he can better judge whether he wants to take up this new interest. If it is something he wants to pursue, he has instant access to the issues and culture surrounding that topic. That¹s why the idea of stickiness is such utter bullshit. It ignore the very thing that makes the web so powerful any piece of data can lead
to any other piece of data.

So, everytime we surf, we create a story.



What if the Rastafarians are right?

That'll be awkward, come the apocalypse.

I think I'll go buy some pot, just to be on the safe side.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Buh-NAL vs. Baynul

I propose that American english speakers pronounce the word banal to rhyme with "anal".

Nothing throws the conversational rhythm of American English (standard Midland accent) off like the high faluting second beat of "banal". You're ambling along at a nice loping gait until you hit that preposterous -NAL and suddenly you are launched like a satellite set to orbit Fancy Pants World.

Say it: BuhNAL.


Certain Northeast accents (Brooklyn, Mid-Atlantic Brahmin) and well as the softer Southern variants could pull it off, but I think it doesn't sound right coming out of... me. I don't like saying it. I'm saying bay-nuh.

As to the pronunciation of the world "aunt": sometimes I say "awnt" (as per the spelling) and sometimes I say "ant". Depends on the mood, where I am in the sentence, and who I'm talking to. My preference most of the time is "ant", especially since the time I was corrected (upbraided, actually) after using "ant" by an insufferable woman I wanted to sleep with in my early twenties. That moment diminished her appeal greatly (though not totally. She was sort of hot precisely because she was such a snot about silly crap like how to pronounce "aunt") and since then whenever the subject of female relations comes up, I find myself mentally taking stock of my interlocutor -- are they an "ant" or an "aunt"-type person? Neither are better -- just different. My kids say "antie", which is also the juvenile affectionate diminutive for a pet ant.

As for the nut called "Almond", I have taken up the pronunciation "Am-und" mostly, because my sister's father-in-law is an almond farmer and that's how he says it. George (the almond farmer in-law) justifies the pronounciation this way: "To get 'em out of the tree, you gotta shake the "L" out of them. Heh."

(You might be interested to know that in the 1920s when the BBC set up a committee on standard pronunciation, it was headed by none other than George Bernard Shaw. One word which was the subject of contention was 'canine'. Plummy british pronounciation at the time was can-ine, not cane-ine. Shaw was on board with cane-ine against the wishes of all the other committee members. He said that that was how his dentist said it. One of the others remarked, 'in that case, your dentist must be American'. Shaw replied 'Of course!! How do you think I still have all my teeth?' Nice one.)

So Baynul. Try it out. Or not. But don't get upset with me when I drop it. That's how I roll.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

I dropped my goddamn phone in the toilet.

How's that for a fine howdy do? Meanwhile, the California coast has been lashed -- LASHED -- with hurricanish wind and horizontal rain, and I kept my Motorola as dry as a sparrow's egg in the nest. The worst of the Pacific couldn't moisten my phone, but somehow I can't negotiate indoor plumbing.

There is something deeper here, something about the violence the civilization metes out on the human soul being fiercer than the worst degradations of nature (the toilet being symbolic of the civilization). Maybe not, though.

All I know is I dropped my goddamn phone in the toilet.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Even more crap I did at work! Now with a bad audio interface!

Here's some radio spots I just finished. I'm trying to embed so they look semi-normal, but can't be bothered to do it right now, because I have chores to avoid, and blogging is too obvious an avoidance technique.

Friday, January 25, 2008

More crap I did at work.

I've been busy! Actually, for this project I was one writer among a couple of dozen or so. Work chums Peter and Dylan were the creative leads on it. It's a political search engine featuring running commentary from an archtypical thuggish shrill American conservative, and an archtypical flakey, marshmellow American liberal.

It's also interesting because most of the dozens of writers were real live comedy writers, instead of of agency hacks like myself. So, neat. Media convergence. Feh.

There were also myriad of web-type people doing the really hard stuff.

It turned out pretty cool, though it's still a little buggy.

You can find it at

Fun fact: the leftist also plays a villian on Cartoon Network's "Out of Jimmy's Head". His name is Matt Knudsen. There's a fun little easter egg when you type in his name.

He also ad-libbed some incredibly raunchy stuff, mostly about bodily fluids, that will not be appearing on Left vs. Right, alas.

It's fun. Let me know what you think.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I made this at work

My first music video. It was fun. On our day off we went to Magic Mountain and rode the roller coasters.

(Low rent metatags: No One Wants to Look Dumb, MSN)

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A stinking Randy Newman video? That's all I can come up with?

It's a good song. Randy Newman is, once you get past the corny instrumentation, an extremely pointed songwriter. Take Elvis Costello at his crankiest and you haven't even begun to scrape the top of Randy Newman's dark pit.

The album "Good Old Boys" will leave you with your jaw dropped at the venom of it all.

Anyway, this is a single Mr. Newman recently, and it's probably all over the internet, and you've seen it eighty times already, but I have such a woefully tin-ear and hideous timing for this sort of thing, so bear with me.

It's sort of speaks to how I feel nowadays, in my civic soul. It's been a stupid, ugly eight years, and we're (Americans) going to be paying for all the mediocrity, fear, neandrethal posturing and wishful thinking we've foisted on the rest of the world for the past eight years. The ultimate payment for this debt is the sunset on our influence. Not a bad thing, necessarily.

Anyway, here's Randy Newman singing "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country".

Happy New Year. Here's to bring sanity back.