blog.asurroca.com my personal blog

August 20, 2013

Someone Else’s Speech for Graduates

Filed under: humor,living,thoughts,writing — Alfonso Surroca @ 9:34 pm

One time (right now) I read this article about some guy giving a college graduation speech. It’s this speech. And then I rewrote it as my own speech, which I prefer better, because I’m young and selfish, just like the guy giving the original speech expects me to be.

What are old people good for, besides ridicule? Tales of regret.

Once, I was poor, and it was awful; once, I worked at a slaughterhouse, and it wasn’t. I’ve imbibed poop-water in a distant land, and shot a hockey puck at a girl I fancied. Once, a mousey nervous-hair-chewing new girl came to town, and moved away, and I was kind of kind to her when she was around, though mostly she wasn’t; that’s because I was selfish. Everyone thinks they’re the invincible lead in their own story within a greater world; it’s not that we don’t care, we just can’t see outside our stories.

It makes being kind tough, but as we get older, our reflexes dull and we can’t play FPS games anymore, so instead we play casual Facebook games, and we learn to slow down, and be less selfish, and give our money to Gameloft, and Zynga, and others. We realize through endless microtransactions that we’re more of a minor cog in the machine than the lead of the story.

And like that, life grinds you down into dust, but it’s like fairy dust. And if you have kids, you sprinkle them with it. Many of you have decades of the stuff on you, and inside you; you’re breathing it in right now, your parents’ lives.

I’d say “don’t be a dick”, but some Trekkie already made that speech, so I’ll just say this: In 80 years or so, I’ll be 134 with robot legs and laser eyes and a lot of cats, and hopefully some of you will have come to the same realizations I have and become kind, and when you are as kind as the Element of Kindness, and we’re all living in space, drop me a line, and I’ll say “I told you so”, and we can arm-wrestle with our cybernetic future arms and toss back a space brew or seven. Cheers.

January 26, 2011

Every (Hipster) Music Critic’s Year-End Top 10 List Explained

Filed under: humor,music,reviews — Alfonso Surroca @ 12:46 am

Upon reading this article on the predictability of year-end top 10 lists, I decided to make my own. Because someone called-out Pitchfork (and me) for being as predictable as the year-end top 10 lists referred to in that article.

10. Any self-respecting egoitst music critic is going to pick his/her personal favorite as #1. Also, Mumford & Suns is a hipster Dave Matthews Band, and fuck them. There I said it.

9. If the author didn’t understand Four Tet’s latest record, then there is little hope for him as a music critic, because it’s not dense. He’s dense.

8. This is America, and it’s OK to hate on other countries (ironically, of course). So, fuck foreign records. Exception: British bands. Because we speak their language.

7. What an amateur. Any self-respecting hipster music critic will not include any breakout successes. Rather, they will deride the bands’ rise to the top and declare them to be uncool sell-outs. “Arcade Fire? Yeah, they used to be cool, back when they were unknown and in that one Apple commercial.”

6. Obama is president. Hipsters don’t have to go on pretending to like hip-hop anymore. It’s a post-racial world.

5. The old-timer records belong further down the list because they’re only even on the list for irony’s sake. Everybody knows a good hipster has no sense of history. What’s history? Huh? Fuck history, that’s what.

4. Yes, Kanye West does deserve his own spot, despite hip-hop having no place on a modern hipster music critic’s top 10 list. Because Kanye transcends hip-hop. His beautiful dark twisted fantasy is our beautiful dark twisted fantasy. He speaks to us. He understands us.

3. This is the slot for the obvious sub-mainstream hit, actually, the one that almost made it, but didn’t. Because bands who almost sell-out but have to lick their wounds and come crawling back to college radio are the best. Oh, MGMT, it’s nice to have you back.

2. This is the spot for whichever album everyone else chose as #1, obviously. Let’s call this spot “Your Favorite Record is Only my #2 Pick”.

1. And finally, a good hipster music critic is going to put his/her personal favorite here. This is for the album that he/she either a) lost his/her virginity to, b) listened to the most while being high, c) listened to while sitting on the hood of a car looking at the night sky and musing or just pretending to be in a John Hughes movie or something. For example: 2008–M83, 2009–Animal Collective, and 2010–Beach House.

September 7, 2008

Home Project: Painting the Master Bedroom

Filed under: living — Tags: , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 11:28 pm

Another weekend, another small improvement project. This time I decided my master bedroom’s boring beige wasn’t befitting of the colorful artwork I’ve got hanging up there. Here’s what it looked like before:

Before Painting

I painted one wall a charcoal gray color and the rest of them a normal shade of gray. That little contrast helps keep things from getting boring. Painting a room the same color? Lame.

Charcoal Gray

And here it is finished. With a few details like some IKEA and Target crap like candles and shelving. For more, check my flickr photostream

Finished!
Finishing Touches

September 1, 2008

Home Project: Shelf as Workstation

Filed under: living — Tags: , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 4:29 pm

It’s Labor Day weekend, and that means it’s time for some house work. This weekend, I focused on my quasi home office room. I got wood flooring and paint, which I’ll use later. For today, I upgraded my workspace.

Here’s what it looked like before

I got this desk probably a decade ago and used it for writing/drawing in addition to computer work. Now that I’ve got my own home and considerably more desk space elsewhere, I don’t need all this desk real estate anymore. So, I set out to build a shelf after seeing such a set-up on Apartment Therapy.

Naturally, I set out for IKEA when I decided to build a desk/shelf hybrid. And naturally, it didn’t cost me much. I got the shelf, brackets, slide-out keyboard tray, and a cable organizer, and got to work.

Some drums helped hold it up while I installed it in the wall. Very helpful drums, they are! The coolest part of this shelf stems from a problem I had: I didn’t realize until after I’d purchased all the materials and unpacked them that the slide-out keyboard tray was much too deep for the shelf.

I fixed that problem like so: I drilled holes into the wall so that the slide-out keyboard tray slides into the wall.

What it looks like now….

I haven’t hooked up the computer and routed everything neatly through the cable organizer just yet, but it’s looking good already. The massively increased space from using this little shelf as a workstation allows me to pull my keyboard in closer, and much more room for my drums, making it this much easier to turn my workstation into a quasi recording studio.

More photos to come on my flickr photostream.

August 27, 2008

Mozilla Labs’ Ubiquity: The Future of the Web

Filed under: business,design,technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 1:49 pm

I’ve seen the future of the web, and it’s right here in this video below. The web used to be static. Then, it got filled with dynamic information, and “web 2.0” brought all this dynamic information together with web-based services. That was cool for a while, but Mozilla Labs’ Ubiquity prototype shows us the next step. Forget about words, just watch this video. Be amazed.

Now, I was thinking: drag-and-drop might be one of the most important functions to the user since the GUI, or multiple windows. Making the drag-and-drop function ubiquitous was probably one of Windows 95’s greatest contributions to the GUI. You might scoff, since drag-and-drop is rudimentary; well, that’s because Windows made it ubiquitous, mainstream.

Think about it: Want to open something in Photoshop? Before drag-and-drop, you had to a) open Photoshop, then b) locate and open the file(s) from within Photoshop. Now you locate the file(s), and drag them to the Photoshop icon to open the program and files with a single action. Want to attach a file attachment into an e-mail? Drag it into the e-mail window.

Ubiquity aims to make the web that simple. This user-focused simplicity does not exist on the web…yet. Ubiquity aims to change this. And I can’t wait! For a much more in-depth post on how this works, check Aza Raskin’s blog (he’s the dude behind this project).

August 21, 2008

Trout

Filed under: humor,technology — Tags: , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 9:48 pm

Next time you get a message from someone you don’t recognize with the word “trout” in their name, expect to be confused while confusing a third-party. See, there’s a flood of AIM bots running around lately.

What these bots do is troll for AIM screennames, then send apparently send a message to a random AIM user from its list. When this user responds, it sends that response to another random AIM user from its list. Neither “victim” will see the screenname of the other person—each will think they are talking to one of the trout screennames. Much confusion or anger will then ensue. And then people will post memorable conversations on LiveJournal.

So, what was my conversation like? Once I realized this was not a person I know, I started telling them to fuck off and blocked them. Perhaps I was impolite.

P.S. If you think this whole “trout” thing is more annoying than humorous, you can send the code $optout to opt-out of communications with them.

Tropical Storm Fail

Filed under: rants — Tags: , — Alfonso Surroca @ 12:31 am

I’ve lived in Florida long enough to live through enough bad-ass hurricanes to have had enough of bad hurricane reporting on the part of the local news. As soon as the possibility of a threat of anything beyond a breeze looms over the state, news agency go into Emergency Ratings Mode.

Picture a war room with frenzied people running about, klaxons blaring, and red lights flashing; now replace that picture with a one of a news room filled with news people who are, instead of eschewing important news for celeb gossip, eschewing important global news for sensationalized hurricane gossip. That’s Florida during hurricane season.

Except that every so often, the 24/7 hurricane “threat” coverage turns out to be true, and we get hit with a real storm. Actually, we’ve been getting hit with real storms a lot lately: In 2004 Florida had to deal with four nearly back-to-back hurricanes—Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne—in the span of just over a month. Then, six more in 2005, including Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Wilma. That’s in addition to dozens of tropical storms and tropical depressions.

Which brings me to Tropical Storm Fay. With the hype machine broadcasting warnings about Fay for about a week (it felt like a month), T.S. Fay zig-zagged around the state with all the speed and energy of an octogenarian. I think it’s finally passed over central Florida by now, but I stopped paying attention to the weather updates yesterday.

P.S. Don’t forget to click those links for a bunch of sweet hurricane photos.

August 14, 2008

Ghost-sex

Filed under: humor — Tags: , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 12:22 am

So, a friend started drawing ghosts today and I thought they’d make a good comic. This is me putting my money (mouse?) where my mouth (Photoshop file?) is.

August 9, 2008

Webpage Farms?

Filed under: humor,photography — Tags: , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 2:08 pm

I have the following comments: 1. These folks couldn’t come up with a name that better represents their business? 2. Has anyone even said the word “webpage” after, say, 1997?

August 7, 2008

Walmart Misplaces its Asterisk

Filed under: advertising,business,design — Tags: , — Alfonso Surroca @ 12:00 am


First off, I’d like to welcome WAL*MART—er, Walmart—to 2005! It seems the neighborhood-munching behemoth’s nearly two decade old logo wasn’t friendly enough to represent the company in this brave new world. Second, I wonder how long it took to develop this logo. Ten minutes? Fifteen? It probably took a year of focus groups consisting of old people who think lowercase proper nouns are cutting edge.

Business Week had the details on this change last month, and Brand New had a more snarky take—e.g. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

At least Walmart kept the capital; the same can’t be said for AT&T’s 2005 logo change. Hey, Walmart is working on being more environmentally friendly. All they have to do now is stop mistreating their employees, and destroying small-town America, and they just might back up their friendly new logo. In the same way that AT&T stopped being evil the moment they changed their logo. Oh, wait, never mind.

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