The Blob

Friday, August 23, 2002

My epitath

In coffee, there is hope.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

I am the empiror of the highway

Every day, I am reminded that I am surrounded by people much smarter than I am. Except when I'm driving, of course.

Those darned figure skaters

Classical music has been ruined for me. Don't get me wrong. I love classical music. I love a lot of different music - in-yer-face rock and roll, cafe latte jazz, alternative, you name it. But please spare me your In Sync or Mariah Carey. It's so last year. Besides, all the pop singers whine when they sing. And did I mention that I am allergic to commercial music? You get the idea.

So how does figure skating ruin my love of classical music? Just this. Here I was at work, serenaded by this lovely medly I'd assembled of Chopin, Beethoven, Bizet and Vivaldi on my iPod (playing through speakers in my office) when WHAM! It hit me! I could not think of these beautiful pieces without saying to myself, "A double-toe-loop! A toe-double-axel! And into a sit-spin!" I started trembling to see if....DAMNIT! SHE MISSED HER TRIPLE LUTZ!!!!

Dick Button, I'll get you for this. It's all your fault. Wait! That's it!! I'll blame this all on the Russian mob. Yeah, that's the ticket. Thank God this doesn't happen when I listen to The Doors. Yet.

The latest installment in further adventures of Java, the Wondercat

Faithful legions of readers of my self-important blogs are learning a lot about Java, our Ocicat. To mere mortals such as ourselves, we refer to her as either Java the Wondercat or simply, The Java (as in The Donald, The Steve, etc.). Below is yet another reason why.

First, you must understand that Java is not just the smartest cat I have ever met. She might be the smartest animal on this planet. Which makes me wonder if she is even of this world. Spend five minutes with her and you will understand. If you ask her a question, you get an answer. If she wants you attention, she'll jump up and flick on a light switch. I am not making this up. Java knows how to open door knobs. And there's more.

Anyway, yesterday morning, she was sitting on the bookshelf in our bedroom, looking out the window at the world behind our house in Irvine, California. Our zero-lot-line yard (well, more a patio) backs up to Orange County land. A large hill looms up behind us, blissfully blocking our house from the rest of the world. It also means that we have a front row seat with the world of nature. Every night, we are serenaded by at least a half dozen coyotes, howling at full volume from less than 50 yards (typically at 4 AM). Hundreds of birds land in our patio each morning. Deer have been seen nearby, and we are visited on occasion by grey squirrels, raccoons and bobcats. Overhead, we have owls, hawks, heron, ducks and turkey vultures. It's like having Animal Planet without having to pay for it. Crikey!

But I digress. Java was sitting by the window, looking out on all this. Suddenly, she started to scream. Loudly. Rita, my beautiful wife, ran to the window to see what on earth was going on. To her astonishment, Java had seen a tragedy in the making: Tony, our neighborhood hawk (we're pretty sure he's either a Sharp Shinned Hawk or a Cooper's Hawk, for those of you with binoculars) had spotted a little grey squirrel and was about to do a Desert Storm cruise-missile number on him, rendering the squirrel into breakfast. What Rita saw was that Java had anticipated all this, and was screaming to the squirrel in cat (or animal language): "GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE!! NOWW!!!!!!!!" This of course totally pissed off Tony the Hawk, who spent the better part of 10 minutes screeching back at Java for blowing his cover.

Move over, Lassie. You got competition, babe.

iPod, therefore, I am

I used to worry about the voices inside my head. That was before I got an iPod. Now, instead of hearing, "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" I envelop my world in music. (Wasn't this the same technique used in One Flew Over The Cuockoo's Nest?) Seriously though, my iPod is what I've been dreaming about all my life. It's more than a thousand songs in my pocket (favorite new pick-up line: Is that a thousand songs in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?). It's a thousand moods. For the first time, I can create a theme for whatever I'm doing. It's like being an acoustical interior decorator.

Secretly, we all live in our own Rotoscope world. We're all Walter Mittys. We just don't admit to it publicly or on The Oprah Show. My iPod makes all this happen. In Technicolor. And at the risk to being dragged away by Federal Marshalls, I will admit to this: I even drive with my iPod. So, arrest me already.

But you'll never be able to take my iPod away. iPod, therefore, I am.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Reminder to self: I'm lucky.

I live in a place where I really want to live. I am married to someone who really loves me. My kitten loves me. At least I'm pretty sure of that. So long as I keep scratching that spot under her chin. And I like the people I work with and for.

Is anything wrong with me? No. The only thing I need to worry about is taking all this for granted.

A posit on blogging and dark matter in the universe

If I write it, will they come? Or, to paraphrase Steven Levy, is all this just so much "dark matter" as he refers to relatively unknown blogging sites like this one? I hope not. Much as each of us spend our surfing time at the corporate mega sites, I've always found that some of the most interesting places on the Web to be sites created by children. Crude, simple, unsophisticated, but so very human. Be it a 4H Club report on the growth of a pet calf to kiddie art, it's so wonderfully un-AOL. These are sites you won't find at the top of the list on Google. Or the top of someone's mind. But perhaps someday, when future archeologists examine what happened in the early 21st century, blogs might be the best record of what really took place.

Taken that way, maybe dark matter really matters.

Who hacked my kitten's Website?

This is an outrage. A few years ago, I created a little Website about our innocent little cat, Java. It helped me learn about html editing. And it was a sort-of pre-blog blog, an ode to our fuzzy little friend.

So earlier today, I go to make the blog below, and linked to the site, which for reasons beyond our comprehension, we leave on AOL, even though we don't use it anymore. Go figure. Anway, I casually revisited the site only to discover that some overly flowery sicko had decided to hack our site. You bet I'm cheezed. Please. Leave your Christian preachings elsewhere. I make it my practice not to dump my religious beliefs on others. I don't think it's too much to ask the same.

Update: My wife took the site down on Sunday night. We're bummed. But don't worry. Java will return to the Web again soon.

Stop, Dave. I can feel it, Dave. Stop, Dave.

I'm not getting old. Just more tired. One of life's cruel jokes is the alarm clock. I mean, here you are, deep in a peaceful state of sleep, when we're violently yanked into the land of the pre-caffeinated. What kind of sadistic joke is that?

The irony is that humans are the only creatures on this earth who hate waking up. My cat? No problem. She can't wait to start her day. She stretches, up goes her tail, and she starts purring like, well, um, a kitten. Ditto for the birds. Their songs are an anthem to a new day. There's a lesson here for the rest of us. But explain one thing to me: why is it that cats and birds don't need Starbucks?

Oh, that's right. They don't have to go to work. Judging from what Java, my cat does most of the day, that should explain it. Short of eating dry food every day, being a cat would not be so bad. I'd think about it more, but I'm tired.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Wittle Aminals are people, too

Why is it that we consider other animals in the world to be lesser than humans? Our laws and social customs give us license to exterminate or treat with abandon the very creatures that both make our world special and which may provide us answers to many of the most important questions that we have. If only we would take the time to realize this. It dumbfounds me that we think nothing of killing an animal (after all, it was only an animal, right?), but we have strict laws against killing of other humans. (Unless you're a celebrity, of course.)

Call me a tree hugger. But I'm not. I'm a lot like you. But if you disagree, and I hope you don't, take time to consider it. If we can have the right to kill animals, why shouldn't they have the right to kill humans? Taking this further, perhaps its the reason why the world of humans should give more consideration to saving animals that make our world a special place, before we lose the opportunity.

A case in point: wild cats. Okay, get ready for a shameless promotion. They are magnificent animals, remarkable in their athletic abilities, beautiful to the eye and perfectly designed for what they do. The sad thing is, they are disappearing rapidly. But there are good organizations like the Feline Conservation Center in Rosemond, California, who are doing something about it. Click on the link and go to their site. If you want a dose of overwhelming cuteness, look at the Births section. Enjoy. Remember. And think of what you can do for animals. They do a lot for us.

Here's to you, Dad.

If only my father could have seen this. He loved to make diary entries. He loved sharing his thoughts and his writing with others. And he was a man who always had something to say. If only he could have lived a few more years to see this day, imagine what what might have been. It's one of the reasons I am doing this, in part to honor my father.

There's no guarantee that what I write today will survive into tomorrow. In fact, the archive quality of digital media may not last as long as something written in pen or pencil on paper, and surely, no where as long as words or symbols chiseled into stone. But the legacy of the blog could well be that stories and memories are passed along. To think that successive generations let their best ideas and memories die with them is sad. Perhaps even tragic. It is better to learn the lessons of the past by reading them and acting on these than to repeat the mistakes of the past instead. Perhaps now, we have a chance.

As I continue my entries, I will keep the memory of my father in mind. Perhaps I can have something to say that embodies even a sliver of his brilliance. That would be a satisfying thought.

Forgive me for saying this, but I guess I'm the new kid on the blog.

Don't worry. Give it a bit of time. I promise to make this little corner of the world much more interesting. Ambition can be a dangerous thing sometimes.

Is being critical of Hillary Clinton politically incorrect?

Monday, August 19, 2002

Being Java

I want to be a kitten. Not just any kitten. But Java, the wondercat. Java lives in our house. Well, let me restate that. This is actually her house. We just get to sleep here. She is, as they say, the master of her domain. She rules her world with an iron paw. But Java is a benevolent dictator, demanding and giving attention in equal measure. She is an Ocicat. And probably the smartest cat you ever met. Ask anyone who's met her. They will agree.

It's late. I'm tired. And Java is expecting me. But stay tuned. There are more dispatches and adventures to come.

When I'm not a geek at work, I'm a geek at home.

YOU WOULD THINK that after a day of churning away on a Dell PC laptop, that the last thing I would want to do at night is to sit down to a Mac. You would be wrong.

Okay, kill me already. For those of you who don't use a Mac, I'm probably a worthless pondscum in your eyes. But hold on. It's fun to try something different. It's fun to experiment and make mistakes. And for reasons all to obvious to the hard-core, a Mac is simply fun to use. It's a door to explore through, a source of entertainment I wish I had years ago. Maybe it's because everything looks so damned good on one. That colors are more vibrant. The icons are gorgeous and have a reason for being. And, well, it's fun. After a day's work, it's good to know that a computer can be fun. God knows, it should be more than a tool with a noisy fan.

Start. Enter.

I'm on my way. This is the first entry on what I hope will be a fun little adventure. I created The Blob as a small wordplay to "Blog" based on that classic B-Movie horror flick starring Steve McQueen. The Blob was unstoppable. Hopefully, if I apply some editorial license, I can go one better. But it's a chance to rant, to rave, to be an InstaPundit, to simply express myself. And with a little luck, I may have something decent to say.

Stay tuned. I feel a synapse coming.