Archive for the ‘thoughts’ Category

Someone Else’s Speech for Graduates

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

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.

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Day One Hundred Seven | Reason

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Seeing this made my afternoon, perhaps my day. Considering that my days lately consist mostly of working for invisible paychecks or sitting around waiting for the day to end, yes, it definitely made my day.

Every time I’ve seen things written on the backs of cars, it’s been drivel about how the driver “hearts” a certain friend, family member, boyfriend, or school group, not science. And especially not in backward-ass central Florida.

One day, reason will rule. That’s what I believe.

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Day One Hundred Two | Safe Gets You Nowhere

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

As long as I’m moving in a direction, I’ll be OK. I just can’t stand still, whatever I do.

When this year started, I had an overarching set of goals, and several subsets of goals I needed to reach along the way. And along the way, I realized many of them were unrealistic. For example, there’s no way I’m going to be in a position to move to Seattle and join the tech workforce out there within a year at this point.

So, I make do with what I’ve got. And what I’ve got is a good computer-related skill-set, a lot of talent and ingenuity, and a limitless drive. Recessionary economies are where great ideas are born, and I’ve got those great ideas brewing in my head.

This isn’t the time to play it safe. Safe gets you nowhere.

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Day Ten | Looking Up

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Day Ten. It was about thirty degrees out tonight, and I was out playing with a tripod I’d gotten earlier today. I’ve never looked up at the sky like this before.

Funny that it took a new gadget for me to go outside late at night and look up at the stars. It was probably the first time I bothered to look up in years. Not one month into this year, and already—maybe—I feel I could be changing.

I’m looking up and looking out at the world again.

Day Seven | Kismet

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Day Seven. This is a shot of a warehouse that’s probably next in line for demolition. They’re knocking down buildings to make way for a train station for the commuter rail that’s expected to open in a couple years.

I “cheated” for the first time so far today, and uploaded my photo late, but I had (good) reason to do so. At the time I shot this photo, I was on the way to get ready for a meeting with a prospective client, and that means work. Long story short, it was midnight before I got home from the meeting… and I landed the freelance gig. The money will buy me another month of living expenses, bringing my grand total “emergency fund” to three months worth of living expenses. I’m ready for an employment dry spell, even if I don’t enter one.

And the way things are looking, I won’t. I’ve got more leads on the horizon, and right now, I’m on my own.

Never burn bridges, that’s the lesson I learned today. I landed this gig through a friend I met probably a decade ago, and with whom I’ve only spoken on and off for years. She came out of the woodwork with work for me at precisely the time I needed it most. Never burn bridges, and don’t count anyone out. I believe in kismet.

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Status Message Chain

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Obviously we know by now that the internet has changed the way we communicate. Well, those of us who understand that evolution and man-made global warming are real, at any rate. So, a few friends and myself started a sort of status message chain with our AIM status messages about a certain inside catch-phrase “womp womp”. Enjoy.

Nick: womp womp

David: I refuse to womp womp. Not only is it not in my right to do so, it annoys me.

Lisa: David, my response to your away msg sir is a big “womp womp”. It’s appropriate and agitating, perfect.

Aileen: Only people allowed to say “womp womp”: Lisa, Kate, Fonz, Michelle. They don’t absuse it. Thanks, bahahahaha.

Me: I’m exercising my right to say “womp womp”.

Kate: You gotta fight for your right to wooooooomp!

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Thomas Pynchon

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Yo Yo Yo my name is Tommy PHow is it that I have not read anything from Thomas Pynchon yet? The guy’s like the Radiohead of post modern authors, and the entire literary community basically comes every decade when he writes a new book. Here’s a quick summary of The Crying of Lot 49 from the Wikipedia entry on him:

“…its labyrinthine plot features an ancient, underground mail service known as ‘The Tristero’ or ‘Trystero’, a parody of a Jacobean revenge drama called The Courier’s Tragedy, and a corporate conspiracy involving the bones of World War II American GIs being used as charcoal cigarette filters.”

Seriously, it’s like he wrote it specifically for me! Time to whip out the library card and read this “labyrinthine” novel of his ASAP. Also: If you don’t get the cartoon, you don’t watch The Simpsons nearly enough.

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Golf VI, From Photoshop to In-the-Flesh Photos

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

It must really suck to make a computer-generated guesstimate at a future car model just days before the real deal gets leaked onto the internet. If your Photoshop handiwork is pretty close to the real deal, that helps lessen the blow, but still….

Here’s what Autobild came up with, seen just a few days ago at The German Car Blog:

Golf MkVI render from Autobild

Golf MkVI render from Autobild

Cool, so they basically started off with a bodykit-wearing MkV Golf/Rabbit, added the front end of the new Scirocco, and the rear tail lights from the Touareg and called it a day. Anyway, literally the next day, I see leaked photos of the MkVI Golf in the flesh on Autoblog. And a few more photos popped up on World Car Fans the day after that.

Golf MkVI

Golf MkVI

Now, as for the design, I’m happy to see Volkswagen’s design language taking a step back from gaudy chrome to the glory days of the MkIV generation. You might remember that as the generation that started with the then-iPod of cars, the New Beetle, and basically brought Volkswagen from a near-defunct brand in the US to its former yuppie glory practically overnight. Basically, I’m already sold on the design.

A 2001 Take on WALL-E

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

I finally saw WALL-E tonight, and despite it being the highest-rated film of 2008 so far, it could have definitely benefited from a little tragedy. For the two or three people on Earth who haven’t seen the film yet, spoilers ahead:

First off, the plot is really thin, and the payoff is too family-friendly. In other words, yes WALL-E saves the day, and no, he doesn’t sacrifice himself for the good of humanity; and yes, he gets the “girl”, er, robot. In the future, Earth is so filled with garbage that humanity leaves Earth on what are essentially giant cruise ships in space, while WALL-E and the rest of the garbage-bots clean the planet. Fast forward some seven-hundred years: humanity remained on their ship all this time and forgot about returning to Earth because it was deemed uninhabitable.

This is the part of the plot that I’m totally OK with. The first act of the movie was fantastic: the sad way WALL-E went about his programming day in and day out forever, and without purpose set the bar pretty high. Then, he meets his “love interest” EVE and they save the day. The end. Lame.

Enter the 2001-esque version…

One of the reasons 2001: A Space Odyssey endures as a classic is its difficult, vague, open-ended plot. Kubrick never quite explained what happened, and left it up to the audience, but in a nut-shell, it did have something to do with death and rebirth. After all, you can never go wrong with allegorical tales representing death and rebirth, right?

So, in my attempt to turn WALL-E into a brilliant sci-fi epic, WALL-E and EVE get to humanity’s cruise ship, but what they find is scores of robots “living” out the same lives WALL-E has back on Earth: silently following their pre-programmed routines day in and day out forever. In my take, as the ship was meant to be away for only 5 years, humanity died out centuries ago. Yes, humanity is extinct, its only memory encoded into the data banks of the ship’s computer.

And so ends the second act. WALL-E has brought along a single living plant which he found back on Earth, proving that life can continue there. WALL-E, EVE, and the rogue robot cast they meet during their adventure through the ship, face off against the ship’s computer, Auto, which has been programmed never to return to Earth under any circumstance. Because it is programmed, it’s not really evil, but it serves as the film’s de-facto villain. Let’s just cast Auto as WALL-E‘s HAL-9000.

With the ship’s computer dispatched, the robots take control of the ship and set it on a course to Earth. WALL-E is damaged from the fight with the ship’s computer and in bad shape. As soon as the ship gets to Earth, EVE rushes to get WALL-E repaired, but the damage is presumably too extensive, and WALL-E powers down. The robots are able to use a fail-safe mechanism built into the ship that begins terraforming the planet—and he ship is destroyed in the process, and with it, any memory of humanity’s existence.

Thus, the crew of robots are left on Earth, and as centuries pass, life begins anew, with the robots as the stewards of the new Earth. In an ending the film hinted at, but didn’t go through with, EVE finally finds the parts to repair WALL-E, but with his memory erased, WALL-E becomes the mindless automaton he was originally, and continues his pre-programmed tasks. The film ends as it began, except instead of WALL-E roaming towers of refuse, we now see a beautiful prehistoric world.

There we have it: the extinction of humanity, a hero’s self-sacrifice, and the rebirth of life. No easy answers, and a bittersweet ending. That’s all WALL-E needed to go beyond movie of the year, to become an absolute classic.


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Dear Florida

Friday, August 1st, 2008

This year, you might make up for the mess you made of the 2000 presidential election.

Don’t fail America again.