September 28, 2000
- The incredible Face Generator. IE only, but a must see, nonetheless.
- Glish's uber-cool DHTML Magnifying Glass
It appears that half of the weblogging community (you know, the one we're all supposed to pretend doesn't exist) have their birthdays in September. All those Virgos and Libras, running unfettered on the web. Quick, someone get a fetter!
What? Um, at a fetter store. How should I know?
Hah. This is not a weblog. This is my own private web-pirate text-based internet information nodule. See? I can break paradigms too.
For a split second this evening I thought that "office" was an anagram for "coffee." But it isn't, and that's a shame. Unless you spell it "coffie." Which it ain't.
Okay, so the Fray Day thing didn't happen for me. The open mic list was eight miles long, and even though I was sixth or seventh on the list, they must have started from the bottom of page five and worked backward. But that's okay, because a fair number of people downloaded my songs via a generous link from the fray.org site (thanks, Derek). So if you were one of those people, I hope you liked what you found.
Songs? What songs, you say? Well, I'm working on a plan here. I've been up all night ripping .wavs into MP3s and wishing I had a faster connection so I wouldn't have to go to bed and let the uploads run all night, but dang it'all, it's what I gotta do. 5:30 AM §
September 25, 2000
5:04 PM §
September 22, 2000
Ever notice how no one hardly ever sings "Happy Birthday" in the movies or on TV shows? Here's a discovery.
"Happy Birthday To You" or "The Birthday Song" was first written in 1893 by two sisters, Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill. The two were schoolteachers, and the song was originally written to be sung in a classroom. The original title was "Good Morning To All." Mildred wrote the melody and Patty wrote the lyrics.
In 1935 the song was first copyrighted. Who actually owned the song for the next few decades is unclear to me, but in 1988, a company called Birch Tree Group sold the rights of "Happy Birthday To You" to Warner Communications for an estimated US$25 million. Since then, the song has brought in an average of US$2 million in licensing revenue. That's why you're more likely to hear "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" in the movies.
Today is my birthday. Happy birthday to me! 4:30 PM §
September 21, 2000
Okay, I have to admit that for a split second I believed the Second Coming Project was the real deal. Clone Jesus to bring about the Second Coming? It seemed reasonable in this day and age that somebody would bring it up eventually.
(Wait! Wasn't there a Star Trek TNG episode that centered around that very same concept? Yes! Episode #149 to be precise, entitled Rightful Heir. Kahless, the mythic hero of the Klingons, returns from the grave to rule his people once more, as he once promised. Worf exposes Kahless as an impostor, a clone created by the Klingon priests, from blood samples taken from holy relics. The clergy argued that the specifics of Kahless' return were unclear, so who was to say that cloning him wasn't a valid fulfillment of the prophecy? Huh? Who's to say?)
Um, anyway, that's when I noticed the various pleas for money scattered throughout the site ("Do not disobey the Bible. Send your contribution to The Second Coming Project today!"), all referencing the obvious dead giveaway: a Berkeley P.O. box. Then I stumbled upon the link to Adam Parfey's latest tome, Apocalypse Culture II, which examines the "project" in one of it's chapters. Mmm hm.
Well, they're not fooling anyone. Everyone knows that you can't have a proper apocalyptic website without the font-size-eight bold and blinking helvetica, all centered down the middle of the page, with plenty of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!7:52 PM §
Tomorrow is Fray Day. I'm performing two songs at the open mic. Don't expect a lot of chatter. I hate chatter, am no good at it. I'm very nervous. I hope my guitar strings don't break. I hope I don't drop my pick. I hope my songs aren't met with deafening silence. Et cetera. See you there. 3:52 PM §
September 18, 2000
Yeah, well, I had my car towed from a perfectly valid parking spot over the weekend.
It not so much the tow that annoys me. The city really doesn't need a valid reason to tow anyone they feel like. (Apparently, the street I was parked on magically became a "construction zone" between the hours of five and six A.M. Saturday morning, and then went right back to being a normal street.) At least it wasn't stolen. What really hurts is that the past week has been the first week I could park on the street legally, without having to pay for a spot. (non-San Franciscans take note: certain neighborhoods, mine included, require you to have a parking permit in order to park on the street for more than two hours at a time.)
Before that, I was spending $16 per day to park in a nearby garage. Having finally gotten my vehicle registration taken care of (US$227.00 for registration, plates and tags) and my parking permit (US$27), I was finally ready to join the ranks of hundreds of my Nob Hill neighbors, driving endlessly in slow circles around our neighborhood; hollow, weary eyes searching in vain for a parking spot in a weird, SUV-and-Volkswagen Parade of the Damned.
The key is to find a choice spot, park your car, and leave it there for as long as possible, because if you're the type who likes to hop in the car and drive three blocks to return a video, you won't be happy here in SF. I had found such a spot, and indeed was able to leave it there for seven days before it vanished. And as nature abhors a vacuum, so does San Francisco abhors an empty parking spot.
So, after making my way down to the impound lot (2 hours travel time by MUNI, most of which was spent just waiting for a damn bus to show up) and paying the tow and storage fees (US$164.50, plus I might as well throw in the buck for the bus ride), I am now pondering whether to contest the ticket. Yes, there's a ticket, too. Blocking a construction zone, it says. Of course, there were no signs saying thus anywhere on the street, and no signs appeared after the tow happened. In fact, there was another car parked in the same spot my car once occupied.
So unless someone was bringing a huge crane up Mason Street at 5:00 am Saturday, I have no idea what happened.
Now, is this a real problem? Nah. Just another minor event to further blemish my first-year-in-California experience. But y'know, it makes me think. For all the crap that Clevelanders (and Ohioans in general) put up with -- the burning river, the Rock Hall, Chief Wahoo, etc. -- at least we have parking. 3:20 PM §
September 11, 2000
Okay, here's weirdness. For the longest time (say, the last few weeks) I've been trying to remember the name of this particular Saturday morning TV show I used to watch as a kid. I remember there were three or four "brothers" who did sketch comedy in variety-show style format, similar to Sonny and Cher but, y'know, for kids. They were zany and silly and drove around in a psychedelic van. They also had this bird-like hand puppet that attacked people for what seemed like no-good reason.
No one else I know seems to remember this show. I swear I am not making this up (hmm, I seem to be saying that a lot lately).
So in today's paper, there's a lengthy article on the new Cameron Crowe film, Almost Famous. Buried in the article is a one-paragraph mention of actress Kate Hudson, who plays professional groupie Penny Lane. The same paragraph goes on to note that her father, Bill Hudson, was a member of 70's pop-rock group the Hudson Brothers, who, although they had a small hit in 1974 with the song So You Are A Star, were more well-known as hosts of a variety show that ended up on Saturday morning television.
That show was the Hudson Brothers' Razzle Dazzle Show. They did sketch comedy and had a big emu puppet that attacked people who (now I know) made fun of it. And it even had a theme song (courtesy of of Jeanette at YesterdayLand):
We're gonna Razzle Dazzle you,
We hope you will love all the things we can do
We're gonna Razzle Dazzle you,
Razzle Dazzle get yourself down,
Razzle Dazzle time to get it on,
See? I told you I didn't make this stuff up. 12:19 AM §
September 8, 2000
If my many, many insecurities don't get the better of me, I'll be performing at the open mic at Fray Day 4 SF in two weeks. Everyone gets five minutes on the mic, which is good, because I'm horrible at that whole "make chitchat with the crowd" thing, so I'm just going to try and burn through two songs. Speaking of which, here's a song I might play, and here's another, which I won't because it's Laurie's song, but a dang fine song nontheless. Someday soon I'll have seperate page for the music, I promise.
Noteworthy: There are few things quite as horrible-sounding as MIDI drums. 4:12 PM §
September 5, 2000
Pieces of a dream I had over the weekend:
So I'm standing in a huge, Ikea-sized grocery store, near the checkout line. The place is huge. I'm there because I'm supposed to be fixing the server machines at the end of the checkout lanes. Why are there servers at the end of the checkout lanes? I have no idea.
I'm struggling over a gray metal box full of wires and have half of the stuff out before it become apparent that I have no idea how to fix this thing. I jam the wires back into the box and close it.
Megan comes over from somewhere and we leave.
Now we're standing on the sidewalk in some neighborhood in the middle of the night. The grocery store is gone. It's pitch black, but there's a house with a porch light on. We go in.
There's a living room with a couch. Someone is sleeping on the couch, but his/her back is toward us. There's a staircase which we take to the second floor.
Megan opens the first door on the left at the top of the stairs. It opens into a bedroom. There's two twin beds, like a college dorm room. There's someone lying in the bed farthest from the door. The figure rolls over and props himself up on one arm. He's wearing a baseball-style long-sleeved tee, heather grey with red sleeves, with some number on the front. He looks at us, and says, "Hey. Go ahead and crash whereever, there's others all through the house." Then he rolls back over.
I turn to look at Megan and she's already sound asleep in the other cot.
I wander back downstairs. The couch is no longer a couch, but a big bed. There's still someone sleeping there, but I can't figure out who it is.
Now things start to get really weird.
At the back of the living room, there's a huge Olympic-sized pool. It's filled with water and lit from below. I can see colored lights and things moving under the surface. The living room carpet is wet where it meets the edge of the pool.
I jump in. Duh.
I sink about twelve feet to the bottom of the pool. There's a huge coral reef down here. All around me are brightly hued, iridescent fish. There's sponges, starfish, all the typical reef stuff you'd expect to see. I'm at the bottom of a trough between two rough ridges of coral, each twelve feet high, covered with all kinds of marine life. I sit down on a rock.
I look down and next to me is a book bound in brown leather with gold leaf lettering. I pick it up. The cover reads "The Tale and Voyage of XXX, XXXX Undersea XXXX." (The X parts are the parts I can't remember, because I'm told you really can't read anything in dreams, but I know that I was able to read at least part of the cover.) On the first page of the book was an ink illustration of someone who looked a lot like Frodo Baggins (circa the 1980's Rankin-Bass animated shows), except he was wrapped in a towel from the waist down and it looked like he was swimming underwater, and looking back over his shoulder as if he had just escaped from someone or something.
I continue to peruse the book. It tells a story of a great war between two undersea kingdoms. The protagonist of the story, the Frodo-looking but not-really-Frodo guy, was responsible for firing these huge underwater cannons, which shoot ten cannonballs at a time. I can't remember actually reading words, but I saw the scenes in my mind as if they were clips for a movie trailer. At some point towards the end of the story, Not-Frodo was on board a surface sailing ship, when a huge creature as big as a whale but not necessarily a whale swallowed the anchor and pulled the ship down by the anchor chain, Melville-style. Not-Frodo escaped by swimming out a porthole before the ship was taken too deep.
I close the book and stamped on the back cover in the same gold leaf were the words "from the BIBLE and J.R.R. TOLKIEN," which explained the Not-Frodo guy, but I can't remember any mention of the Bible in the story.
I'm suddenly aware that I haven't been breathing since I came down to the bottom of the reef. I haven't been holding my breath, mind you, just not breathing. I start kicking for the surface, reminding myself not to breathe in, that just because I haven't drowned yet doesn't mean I still can't. Small, pink translucent jellyfish are floating by me, circling my head as if to say, what the hell are you doing? I'm trying really hard not to panic as the surface gets closer and closer, yet always just out of reach. Why is it taking so long to get up there? I almost breathe in but catch myself and swallow a little water instead. I kick a little harder. Now I'm grasping the edges of the coral wall next to me, using it to pull myself up to the surface. Okay, now I'm starting to panic.
I break the surface and let in a huge gasp of air.
At this point, I woke up, with the realization that I had just gasped out loud in my sleep. 4:44 PM §
September 3, 2000
Cripes, I've only been here just under three months and already we've had an earthquake. At 1:40 AM this morning the apartment building started creaking as if a sudden strong gust of wind had hit it. But it didn't stop. I stood up and the floorboards were buzzing underfoot and the stuff on the mantle was vibrating. There wasn't any rummmmbbbble like you'd expect, just the sound of stuff shaking. Ten seconds later it was over.
Thank you for choosing My First EarthquakeTM Sesmic Product. Enjoy your stay in California! 2:06 PM §