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Andrzej Somogyi's Journal
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Date:2006-09-21 22:30
Subject:What a Muppet.
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

From Reuters:
GTA Tattoo

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A Canadian man’s apparent fondness for the video game “Grand Theft Auto” has led to his arrest in connection with an auto theft, police said on Wednesday.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Shylo Kujawski — who has “Grand Theft Auto” prominently tattooed on his back — was spotted acting suspiciously in a

Vancouver suburb where several stolen cars had been reported.

Using the tattoo to identify Kujawski as a convicted auto thief, police said they then set up a stakeout that nabbed him attempting drive away in a stolen car.

Police said during the stakeout they also watched Kujawski thwart his own attempt to drive away in another stolen vehicle by accidentally disabling the car with the owner’s steering wheel lock.

Kujawski, of no fixed address, has been charged with possession of stolen property in connection with an auto theft, as well as breach of probation and driving while suspended.

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Date:2006-09-21 21:26
Subject:Apple, once again 99% of the way there.
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Given that:

  1. I’ll be on a 12 hour flight next month
  2. I simply Can Not Sleep on airplanes, and
  3. Cathay Pacific apparently has power adapters everywhere on their planes(!)

I was looking at options for powering my MacBook on the flight. Amazingly enough, there are none. Apparently Apple releases an international adapter kit, but in their infinite wisdom hasn’t released any kind of dc power adapters. This wouldn’t be a problem usually, but they also apparently have a patent pending on the MagSafe adapter and haven’t licensed it to anyone, so I can’t get anything workable from Kensington or anyone else. Power inverters seem to draw too much power and overload the 75 watt outlet on planes so I’m pretty much hosed for taking the thing on the flight with me unless I create an unholy union of a Radio Shack cigarette lighter adapter and a magsafe tip from another power adapter. Everything Apple does is about convenience, ease of use, taking your computer everywhere, the iLife(tm)(r)(etc), yet they don’t offer an extremely obvious adapter for their machines. Wonderful. Now I get to take the ThinkPad and let the larger screen smack into the seat in front of me if the dude in front decides to put his seat back, but at least the damned thing came with the power adapter I need.

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Date:2006-09-09 21:36
Subject:A guide to cleaning products.
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

So, since I’ve decided to quit living in squalor and actually clean my apartment I ventured out to get cleaning supplies today. I’ve screwed around with standard grocery store crap before but I decided to get a little more industrial this time; and my efforts paid off because I’ve never had an easier time cleaning than I have today. This is because real cleaning products actually clean, instead of sitting there smelling pretty. So my gift to you is what to look for in cleaning products:

  • Avoid the grocery store. I think they’re scared of anything worthwhile contaminating food or something so it’s all weak as hell. The hardware store is where it’s at.
  • Smell it. About to pass out? good. Can you smell it without opening the bottle? Better. Solvents that are capable of truly cleaning things smell. They smell bad. If it smells like lemon or pine or flowers, throw that crap away. We’re trying to clean, not pretend we’re on a tropical vacation.
  • Look at the label. Cartoon characters, scrubbing bubbles or any of that other crap? Throw it away. We’re cleaning, not decorating. Avoid gimmicks. Real cleaning products don’t contain teflon.
  • Read the label. Natural ingredients? Not in my apartment. Orange juice is part of what got me into this mess, stuff containing it won’t help get me out. You want big bold warnings. “Do not get in eyes if you value the gift of sight.” “In the event that the product is ingested, do not induce vomiting, as suffering will be prolonged. Call a priest.” The label should contain words, no decorations, words. The more spartan the front and the wordier the back, the better.
  • It is a known fact that cleaners containing carcinogens are better than those that don’t. Try to find cleaning products that are actually banned in your state. Safe bets of places to order stuff that works are Texas and Arizona.
  • The greater the number of other badassed solvents you really really shouldn’t mix a product with the better. You know you have a good product if there’s 3 or more other chemicals it shouldn’t be mixed with.
  • When you’re done cleaning step outside for a few minutes. When you come back in you should be hit in the face with chemicals. Your eyes should water. If you’re prone to asthma, you should be on the ground convulsing. You should need to step right back outside. It’s only then that you know your place is truly clean and squalor free.

If you’re in the middle of a serious cleaning binge, get yourself a 33 gallon trashcan, stick a liner into it and go to work. If it takes to greater than 2 seconds to decide if you should trash something or not, trash it. Cleaning can not be done with a standard kitchen wastebin. Maintenance can, cleaning can’t. The trashcan is important since you can throw stuff into it from across the room. You simply can’t do that with a bag splayed on the floor.

That’s it for now. Back to sorting, organizing, and burning my eyes out with bathroom cleaner fumes.

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Date:2006-08-12 06:25
Subject:The terrorists have won. And Bush gets a few points too.
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

I’m sure the terrorists would like to thank the TSA for enacting rules to let them get exactly what they want without anyone actually having to bother going through with martyring themselves.

Terrorism isn’t about violence, and it’s not about terror per se, it’s about marketing, impacting people’s lives in such a fundamental way that they have no choice but to think about you. Thanks to the actions of governments and the TSA they’re gradually succeeding.

I remember when airport security basically consisted of a metal detector. I’d usually travel in the steel toed shoes I was fond of wearing, the detector would go off and I’d get a quick wand down and move on my way.

Then “that fateful day” happened. Some idiots armed with boxcutters crashed a few planes and our government went into permanent freakout mode. Wars were fought, governments were overthrown, and I had to take my laptop out of its case every time I got on an airplane.

Next, some jackass decided to light his shoes on fire. Now I have to take off my shoes every time I fly. I have to plan out my footwear choice for the flight, something easily removeable, something easy to take on and off in a hurry. And due to increased sensitivity of metal detectors I have to remove my belt every time I pass through security. At the other end I get to spend a few minutes putting on my shoes, putting on my belt, repacking my laptop, pulling my phone, keys, and change out of my backpack to make getting through security just a bit easier.

Now some idiots were trying to blow up a plane with Gatorade and hydrogen peroxide. Apparently the terrists have been watching MacGuyver on their satellite feeds and thought this would be a good idea. Now the TSA has decided to ban LIQUIDS on flights. For most people this now means checked baggage when they wouldn’t have checked anything before. I’m one of those people who travels extremely light, usually a backpack and a laptop bag and now I have to either check a bag carrying shampoo and toothpaste (meaning an extra half an hour at the airport while I wait for my bag to come down the chute) or I get to take time to buy things when I get to my destination (which is actually preferable since it’s one less airport employee I have to deal with). In either of these cases, it’s the actions of the government and not the terrorists that is changing my behavior.

This post is being written from a friend’s apartment in Montreal; I was lucky enough to get in on Wednesday, Aug 9th, the night before all hell broke loose. I’m still unclear as to whether I’ll be allowed to take carryons on an international flight or if I have to check everything. I’m in no way worried about my safety and I never have been since I still have a much higher risk of being randomly shot on the way to the airport than I have of dying in a plane crash and none of these restrictions has made any difference in that.

The only net effect of stricter security screening is that people now thing of terrorists every single time they prepare to fly. I don’t think about how terrorists are trying to blow me up. I think about the useless restrictions put into place to make me “feel safer.” After every one of these things you see the articles with interviews with airline passengers:

“Well, as long as it makes us safer I don’t mind taking off my shoes.”

“Well, as long as we’re safer it’s fine for people to not be able to meet me at the gate.”

“Well, you have to be safe, right? I can just check any liquids”

And soon, after terrorists find the Discovery Channel special about drug smuggling:

“The body cavity search is fine as long as it makes us safer.”

As long as people don’t say these rules are bullshit and really do absolutely nothing to guarantee safety things will get more and more restricted.

The part that gets me is that this is such a blatent political move and none of the newsmedia is growing a pair and calling anyone on it. Bush and the republicans are heading into the midterm elections mired in an unpopular war and they need something, anything, to make them look like effectual leaders. Blair is getting hammered in Britain for his continued support of the war and was within days of being dumped as the PM. They both have a lot to gain from cracking down on a terrorist cell that’s planning to blow us up in the most insidious way possible. These message is that these people are so evil that they can blow us up using Gatoraid, but worry not, we’re here to help you. Had either administration actually cared about the war on terror, they would have arrested the plotters, changed no rules about flying and maybe stationed extra air marshals on international flights. Had they cared about fighting terrorism we wouldn’t even have known about this plot. Publicising it and adding restrictions gave the terrorists exactly what they wanted and got extra points for everyone with something to gain politically.

And now, thanks to the politicians in an election year, we all get to suffer because of sagging approval ratings and a quagmire of a war which sees 2000 of the people we’re ostensibly trying to save getting slaughtered every month.

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Date:2006-08-05 17:40
Subject:What’s wrong with this photo?
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

If you’re going to unethically touch up a photo, try to be a little less obvious about it.

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Date:2006-08-02 06:17
Subject:A little ubiquitous are we?
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Cnn pepsi advertisement

I love how advertising is now so omnipresent you can see a huge Pepsi logo in an AP picture taken of an outdoor funeral, in the middle of a desert, in a town of 8000 people, on the other side of the world.

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Date:2006-07-10 17:24
Subject:Why is this a bad thing?
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Congress having trouble passing even sure things

Is there any reason this is bad? Is there some vital legislation that we’ve miraculously lived without for 200 years that direly needs to be put into place? Seriously, “gridlock” is not and has never been a bad thing in government. You want it to fall flat on its face, because I don’t know if most people have realized this, but laws are very rarely passed that extend freedoms.

Next time you feel like complaining that government is acting too slow, just remember that when they all act quickly and decisively it’s to prevent you from doing something that you could do before.

That’s today’s bored-at-work libertarian rant.

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Date:2006-07-05 22:01
Subject:Post 4th roundup (or why cars suck (or the death of the diet))
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Long and boring warning, read at your own risk:

I think some deity was trying to tell me something when on Saturday, while pulling into the parking lot at McDonald’s to pick up some McGriddles(shut up, if you could eat an angel it’d taste like a McGriddle) for the office, the tensioner on my timing belt decided to give out. This would not be surprising for a car with 84k miles on it, however the fact that I had the timing belt changed 1000 miles ago leads me to believe something is amiss. I’m still waiting to see how many lawyers I’m going to need to get involved if the mechanic decides to give me grief about what’s probably going to be 4 grand in repairs to my engine since the tensioner “wasn’t part of the kit”. Part of this particular kit or not, when you change a timing belt, you change the tensioner. I’m getting the feeling this is going to get ugly.

After waiting far too long at the ghetto downtown McDonald’s for a tow truck my car was dragged back to the mechanic where they’re going to figure out what to do with it I dragged myself into work for approximately the 28th day in a row to get some stuff done that can’t be done during business hours until the time rolled around to head to Pala for Tyler’s bachelor party. The agenda for the evening was to get to Pala, have a limo pick us up and take us to Donovan’s steak house, eat dinner, and then head to the gas lamp for the rest of the evening.

Due to a fire in Temecula, the limo picked us up an hour late, putting us at half an hour late for our reservations at the restaurant. Unfortunately the drinking plans in the limo did not contemplate getting stuck in traffic, and 7 beers is too many to have while sitting in traffic. There were very nearly some accidents in the back of the limo (how embarrassing) but we finally made it to the steakhouse in the nick of time.

Nothing much to say about dinner, except for the fact that Donovan’s kicks ass with killer steaks, great martinis and really good single malt scotch and port on the menu.

As our driver didn’t know how to get to the gaslamp, we had to give him directions and finally just told him to drop us off in front of the hard rock café while we wandered around in a drunken stupor. Somehow we ended up at a tiki bar with such tastefully named drinks as “Komaniwanaleiya.” The tiki bar pretty much did me in for the rest of the evening’s festivities as everything after that is a blur until we got back to the hotel later that evening. There was a night club somewhere in there until I got out and went to a wine bar upstairs and sampled some wine that reinforced my dislike of pinot noir.

As it was nearing 2am and serving was coming to an end we decided to run to the AM/PM to pick up enough beer to get us through the night. Pala is apparently run by fundamentalist Indians or something because the person guarding the elevator prevented us from taking it up. This was followed by one of our party trying to bribe the guard, followed by the arrival of a supervisor, followed by the person in our party trying to bribe the supervisor, followed by pleading followed by this exchange:

Friend: Well what am I supposed to do with it then?!
Supervisor: You can take it to your car.
Friend: I don’t have a car.
Supervisor: We’ll be happy to hold it at the front desk for you
Friend: I’ll just take it to my car

At this point I was en route to the room to grab a backpack in which to hide the beer, but we all figured everyone had enough to drink and called the whole thing off. I don’t know what they’re thinking at a casino but we really shouldn’t need to reenact Ocean’s 11 to get a case of beer into a hotel room. Especially if they stop serving alcohol at 2am.

The drink tally for the evening:

9 beers
2 martinis,
3 glasses of wine
1 glass of scotch
2 mojitos
2 bloody marys
2 kamikazes
and some champagne I think.

Sunday was spent recovering from Saturday’s festivities.

The 4th was spent at home, giving my weightloss another kick in the teeth as I decided to spend it by myself cooking some filet mignon with bleu cheese and sautéed mushrooms. With some fettuccini alfredo made with heavy cream and a hell of a lot of parmesean. I had it with another wine.woot.com purchase, the St Supery cabernet, which I was happy to find was not nearly as acidic (less heat damaged in transport maybe) as the Merlot I’d had before.

The remainder of this week finds me in meetings, still sans car , working on getting a metric shitton of stuff before next week and with too little sleep. Tyler’s wedding is on Saturday, seeing if I’ll have a car by then is going to be interesting. If not, the mechanic gets to pay for a rental.

Good times.

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Date:2006-06-25 23:32
Subject:Being a Lush Rules
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

So Woot’s new store wine.woot.com appears to have a good deal this week, 4 bottles of Nicholson Ranch Estate 2001 Pinot Noir for 55 bucks shipped. It was too good to pass up. Of course I’m now petrified of the stuff getting shipped from Napa through southern California where it’s been over 100 degrees for the last week. The St. Supery I ordered a few weeks ago ended up kind of acidic, I’m not sure if that’s due to it not being that great to begin with or if it was heat damaged. The EOS Petit Sirah I got last week came out fine though, if not a little better than I remember it, so here’s hoping for the best.

The awesome thing about drinking wine is that you can go from just being a plain old drunk to being a pretentious yuppie lush. I’m not sure if one’s better than the other though.

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Date:2006-06-11 16:36
Subject:An Inconvenient Truth
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Holy shit. Go see An Inconvenient Truth right now. Like most people I thought Al Gore was a complete stiff, but had this been the Gore we saw in the 2000 election the earth would be a much different place today. Go. Now.

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Date:2006-05-02 21:20
Subject:Oh. And one more thing.
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Firefox developers: I guess enough people bitched about the slash (/) bringing up the find toolbar that you finally changed it to another character. It’s a shame that you changed it to the single quote. Now I can’t type the word “can’t” in an email without it bringing the thing up and trying to autocomplete it. While I appreciate the option to turn this misfeature off in about:config, you might want to make it a bit more intuitive. The time honored tradition of “ctrl+f” is just fine for me though, thanks.

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Date:2006-05-02 21:15
Subject:And What’s the Deal With Airline Peanuts.
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Ok, the following things have pissed me off recently:

  1. Having raspberry iced tea inflicted on me in restaurants. Why do places continue to stock the shit? If half the eateries I go to have to give me a warning about the garbage, then obviously a significant portion of the populace hates it. I seriously doubt there are many people who ask “Is the iced tea raspberry?” Only the U.S. could make hot water poured through leaves and chilled this overcomplicated.
  2. Scents in sunscreen. I don’t need to smell like a tropical holocaust when trying to avoid a sunburn. It’s not like sunscreen smells awful. It’s not like NyQuil where the licorice flavor is masking something completely evil. Just make a white paste and leave it alone. Nobody will be offended.
  3. E-Commerce sites that make you choose both a username and specify and email address. ZipZoomFly I’m looking at you. My goddamned email address is already a unique identifier. My username may not be. If it’s already in use I have to hunt around for something different that I’ll never in a million years remember. Just let me use my email address, which I’m guaranteed to remember, and which is guaranteed to be unique to me.

Damnit.

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Date:2006-04-28 21:36
Subject:Best Interview Ever.
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Crispin Glover losing his shit on Letterman:

http://www.youtube.com/v/4JpZWaXFc48

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Date:2006-04-27 19:02
Subject:Montreal
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Montreal was spectacular. Denki was an awesome host and while there was too much to ever cover in a single entry I’ll try to hit the major stuff.

ole
I had my first encounter with poutine about an hour after I got off the plane. I’d heard about it and tried to simulate it at home, but cheese curds are impossible to come by in this neck of the woods. The real thing is great. I’m surprised it’s never caught on in the states since with our waistlines it seems like it’d be right up our alleys. As a sidenote it was fun to play “spot the American” on the bus to the train station from the airport, since we tend to beat the average Canadian by about 50 pounds.

From here on out the entire weekend was one incredible blur, but here’s the major points:

    eggs
  • Climbing Mont Royal after a breakfast consisting of eggs benedict with fois gras. Fois. Fucking. Gras. With honest to God freshly made hollendaise.
  • Gorgeous weather for most of the trip, with some rain the last two days. Which is awesome since it’s probably the last time I’m going to see it for 6 months or so.
  • Meeting up Denki’s friend Josh at a bar. We shot the shit about the current government and I lived up to the ignorant American stereotype during the following exchange (I was drunk. Yeah. Drunk):

    Josh: Is this your first time to Quebec?
    Me: Quebec? I thought I was in Montreal?!
    ……..(15 seconds of stunned silence later)
    Me: I guess that would explain the license plates

  • Watching the Habs kick the shit out of the Hurricanes while eating raw milk cheese and drinking wine at Josh’s place. I tried to keep the ignorant hockey questions to a minimum in an effort to keep Josh from hating me. Oddly enough, cheese made out of raw milk didn’t kill me. And it was good. Thank you FDA for another pointless law.
  • Having hookah and a few (lots of) beers (and vodka) and coming up with the baselines of a new user interface that’s going to change the world. While some guys at the next table cut lines of coke.
  • Seeing Josh’s wife Elizabeth perform at the Blue Monday (damn I hope that’s a Vonnegut reference) cafe. She’s a great pianist and singer.
  • Trying Tim Horton’s coffee. And Timbits. I was on the verge of buying some coffee to take on the plane with me, but I think I’ll force Denki to send me some and keep it coming as the supplies run low since my bags were already overfull.
  • Getting my alcohol tolerance back in a big way.
  • Fixing an Exchange problem on a machine 3000 miles away in another country. Using someone else’s laptop. With a keyboard with a French layout. While hungover on a Sunday morning. While on vacation. Technology is grand.
  • 99 cent pizza. Which is much better than you’d think. While the place aired educational programming.
  • Having a woman at a bus stop look at us like we just killed her puppy via anal rape right in front of her.
  • Arguing open source politics with Denki’s friend Hugo.
  • Finally acquiring a taste for duck at the old port. I’d always liked it before but this was the first time I gained a true appreciation for it.
  • Seeing at least 5 people urinate in public. Most didn’t even bother facing a wall.
  • Having such a great time walking the city on Monday morning, not wanting the trip to end, that I practically forgot to make it to the airport and caught a cab with 15 minutes to spare

So yeah. That’s the Montreal wrapup. Great city, great people, and awesome friends that I feel like I’ve known for years. Also, damn, food was mentioned a lot in this. But it was great. I was totally upset when I finished traveling on Monday, totally famished, and get stuck getting a “mama” meal at Bakers. Ugh.

Finally, various and sundry pictures from the weekend. Nothing too exciting, I was too busy to use my camera for the most part:

<td></td> <td></td> <td></td>

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Date:2006-04-27 17:56
Subject:Subliminal viral marketing?
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

The trailer for the new Mel Gibson film is posted at: http://www.apple.com/trailers/touchstone/apocalypto/large.html

About 2/3-3/4 of the way through there’s a scene with a screaming monkey. If you step back frame by frame, you get one single frame of this:

Discuss.

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Date:2006-04-17 18:23
Subject:Ok, now I need to go whaling.
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Some of these look delicious!

Whale Recipes from the World Council of Whalers

This is a part of my ongoing effort to eat all of the tastiest of God's creatures.

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Date:2006-04-15 16:29
Subject:Temecula Winery Trip
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Last Saturday some friends and I rented a limo and headed to the wineries in Temecula to do some tasting and generally fuck around for the day. The limo showed up at 10 already stocked with a nice muskat and some almond champagne. Apparently, you used to be able to get hard liquor on the trip down to Temecula, but the wineries put a stop to that after too many people showed up already blitzed for the first tasting. The first stop was the South Coast Winery which I guess is the most commercial of the wineries there. The general feeling I got was that while it produces some good wines, their focus is more on their hotels and spa at this point. It had my favorite of the tasting rooms we went to though, which was well lit and wide open. They also had some really killer food on display including some awesome salsa and some pasteurized processed cheese food that was so good, you’d forget that it actually contains nothing carbon based whatsoever.

After running through their list I ended up leaving with a bottle of their Rolling Hills Syrah, which wasn’t quite as good as their Wild Horse Peak Mountain Syrah, but I figured that the difference would really only be noticeable if I were to taste them side by side like I did at the Winery. And I figured 24 versus 38 bucks, I’d save the money for some brie.

The next stop was the Bella Vista nee The Cilurzo Winery. After seeing the South Coast winery, this one was a bit of a shock. It was a lot more low-key and laid back and felt a lot older. The tasting room was set up like a regular bar, with stools. The employees were a lot more friendly than anywhere else. I can’t think of any other vineyard where you can have a discussion of Prince Alberts and penis tattooing with the staff(don’t ask). The wines were pretty decent and they had some really good sausage and crackers that I bought on the way out. I ended up with a bottle of Merlot, but they also did a blend of their champagne and petite sirah that was so good I was tempted to get a bottle of each.

Me posing while tasting a cabThe third stop was at Stuart Cellars. The tasting room here had the best atmosphere, being that it was located where the wine was being aged, but the single guy working there got swamped when a load of people from one of the tourist buses followed in right after us. We didn’t even really use all of our tasting tickets before making a hasty getaway and heading to Mount Palomar. We did however stop for a few photos.

The Mount Palomar winery kind of blends the best features of the tasting rooms at Bella Vista and South Coast. We opted for the premium tasting where you get to try some of their more expensive reserve wines. The wine that really stuck out was a blend they call Cloudbreak. I’m not sure if it was the alcohol talking or the quality of wine talking at this point but I left with a 48 dollar bottle. While we finished up our tasting there we sent the driver to get us a baked brie in sourdough from another winery and we went outside and had a picnic with a couple of bottles of wine, some sausage and cheese. After we wrapped this up it was time to head back to the limo and get back home.

I don’t really remember a lot of the ride home, but apparently somewhere along the way this picture was taken:

After we got back this was really the only incident I remember:

It puts the lotion on its skin.
Overall a pretty kickass day.

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Date:2006-03-31 16:22
Subject:God will….
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

fuck you up.

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Date:2006-03-28 20:27
Subject:The hell with nyud.net.
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

I understand the need to conserve bandwidth. And the desire to cache everything, esp. since caching gets people wet in the same way that wireless did 5 years ago, but could we please knock it the fuck off with the goddamned nyud.net links? They’re invariably 50 times slower than the original links. I’m sure their intentions are wonderful and they’re providing a free service, but don’t subject the rest of the internet to it until they have actual bandwidth instead of the carrier pigeons they’re currently using. Thanks.

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Date:2006-03-25 12:03
Subject:A bunch of monkeys.
Security:Public

Originally published at words.starblind.net. You can comment here or there.

Orbiting the sun at about 98 million miles is a little blue planet and this planet is run by a bunch of monkeys. Now, the monkeys don’t think of themselves as monkeys. They don’t even think of themselves as animals. And they love to list all the things that they think separate them from the animals: Opposable thumbs, self awareness . . . They’ll use words like Homo Erectus and Australopithecus. You say Toe-mate-o, I say Toe-motto. They’re animals all right. They’re monkeys.

Monkeys with high-speed digital fiber optic technology, but monkeys nevertheless. I mean, they’re clever. You’ve got to give them that. The Pyramids, skyscrapers, phantom jets, the Great Wall of China. That’s all some pretty impressive shit . . . for a bunch of monkeys.

Monkeys whose brains have evolved to such an unmanageable size that it’s now pretty much impossible for them stay happy for any length of time. In fact, they’re the only animals that think they’re supposed to be happy. All of the other animals can just be. But it’s not that simple for the monkeys. You see, the monkeys are cursed with consciousness and so the monkeys are afraid. So the monkeys worry. The monkeys worry about everything, but mostly about what all the other monkeys think. Because the monkeys desperately want to fit in with the other monkeys. Which is hard to do, because a lot of the monkeys seem to hate each other. This is what really separates them from the other animals. These monkeys hate. They hate monkeys that are different. Monkeys from different places, monkeys who are a different color- You see, the monkeys feel alone.

All six billion of them.

Some of the monkeys pay another monkey to listen to their problems. Because the monkeys want answers and the monkeys don’t want to die. So the monkeys make up gods and then they worship them. Then the monkeys argue over whose made-up god is better. Then the monkeys get really pissed off and this is usually when the monkeys decide that it’s a good time to start killing each other. So the monkeys wage war. The monkeys make hydrogen bombs. The monkeys have got their whole fucking planet wired up to explode. The monkeys just can’t help it.

Some of the monkeys play to a sold out crowd . . . of other monkeys. The monkeys make trophies and then they give them to each other. Like it means something. Some of the monkeys think that they have it all worked out. Some of the monkeys read Nietzsche. The monkeys argue about Nietzsche without given any consideration to the fact that Nietzsche was just another fucking monkey.

The monkeys make plans. The monkeys fall in love. The monkeys fuck and then they make more monkeys. The monkeys make music and then the monkeys DANCE. Dance, monkeys, dance.

The monkeys make a hell of a lot of noise. Exhibit A (points at himself): Monkey making noise. And when he’s done, five other randomly selected monkeys will rate this monkey’s noises on a scale from one to ten. At the end of the night, they add all the numbers up to see which monkey made the best noises.

As you can see . . . these are some fucked up monkeys. These monkeys are at once the ugliest and most beautiful creatures on the planet. And the monkeys don’t want to be monkeys. They want to be something else.

But they’re not. ~Ernie Cline

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