January 08, 2005

It woke me up at 7 a.m.

I have such a bad sinus headache that I'm considering macing myself.

Passed the six month mark

I passed the six month no-smoking--not even a puff, just some requests for others to please exhale in my face--milestone. Whoopie!

I am, in many ways, proud and happy. For instance, I haven't had an upper respiratory infection since. But I still miss it just as badly as I did the third week. (Not the first two weeks. Those are special times of despair). I wish that I would hate it. I wish that I would be firm in my resolve to never again flick a bic.

Then I remember the four years I DID feel that way. Being smoke free. Feeling that the nasty habit was so far beneath me. Only to start bumming again and finally rekindle the old connection.

You just can't tell. The one day at a time axiom stuck, I guess, because that's the way it is.

This blog helped keep me honest. Honestly. There were times I thought about it. Seriously. George's cigarettes are in the garage right now. I could easily have grabbed one during one of my "moments." One of the thoughts during those "moments" was that I would have to post it. I would. I wouldn't not post if if I cheated. I would tell you all that I slipped up, and how good it was, but how bad it feels to have to turn the clock back, and you would all tell me that everyone has a slip up and it doesn't mean I've lost the battle--or lost respect--to just pick up where I was before the slipup, and I would say thank you, I love you guys, and to be honest, I wanted to avoid that WHOLE thing.

So thanks.

Jenna, if you ever read this post, please don't EVER light one of those disgusting cigarettes. It's not just that they're bad for you. It's that they don't let you go. They cuff your hands and mess with your head, and all of your internal organs too, as long as you live. Which won't be as long as you would have. And even if you quit, they never stop messing with you.

On to month seven.

Reasons I'm Glad I Blogged It:

This one.

'cause she's so sweet.

January 07, 2005

Bad PR for Ketchum

You can imagine I'm all choked up that Ketchum's found itself in a stew of bad PR this week. Well, it may be No Child Left Behind, but apparently Armstrong Williams -- a nationally syndicated radio, print and television personality -- is one grown-up left behind, at least by the Chicago Tribune (I think that's the paper he mentioned on Bill Whoreily's show), which has 86-ed his column.

I think Williams can afford to take some time off with his quarter million dollars from the Education Department.
"Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Education Committee, as saying the contract was "a very questionable use of taxpayers' money" and is "probably illegal."

I also thought it was clever the way Williams kept referring to Ketchum as Ketchum Communications (That isn't and wasn't Ketchum's name. Used to be Ketchum Public Relations, but smartly the dirty word in its name went away a few years ago with the new logo design and branding...) as if using "communications" in the name might somehow leave the door open for pleading a simple "mis-communication" is in order here...

The Education Department defended its decision as a "permissible use of taxpayer funds under legal government contracting procedures." The point was to help parents, particularly in poor and minority communities, understand the benefits of the law, the department said.

Of course. The demographics of poor minorities listening to conservative talk radio are, well, way up there. Uh-huh.
The department's contract with Williams, through the public relations firm Ketchum, dates to 2003 and 2004. It is billed as a "minority outreach campaign" with the goal of "educating the African-American community" about the education law.

Looks like some new ways for measuring value are in order here.

Disclosure: I worked for Ketchum once upon a time. I have never been secret about my likes and dislikes. I have a few fond memories. I also think the business model of BigPR is broken for good.

Sidekick Customer of 2 Years Says Bye Bye

You may, if you were traveling round this blog two years back, remember how in love I was with my Sidekick / Hiptop when it first came out. I was perhaps one of the best early spokespeople everyone never heard about. I even talked about the thing in bed. You could call it an obsession. I talked about it with other bloggers.

And how about the time I left it on the roof of my van on a 12 mile drive and it lived for me to tell about?

Those were the good old days. That was when I had my first-run, black-and-white, not-so-flashy sidekick.

Then I spent $250 for a new color sidekick and have been unhappy ever since. My "B" key hasn't worked for a long time. The SIM card shakes loose too often. And the general reliability and ruggedness isn't there anymore. Plus, frigging T-mobile can't give me reception in my own house. Or even in my own yard. Or on half my street.

Once upon a time, I was in love.

But now I've learned.

And I've started looking. Cheating some. And I think I found the one I want next:

The Siemens SX66 Pocket PC.


-OS: Windows Mobile Pocket PC 2003 Second Edition
-Unique slider design, QWERTY keyboard
-Connectivity: WiFi (802.11b), Bluetooth®, USB, and wireless data transfer via infrared interface (IrDA)

This beauty could change my life. With this baby, I think I could really get some work done by the pool this summer. Being able to run around with Jenna without being tied to timeframes and battery wires, being able to charge on the go, being able to do some work in the parkinglot of Big Lots -- this could make me, well, really really happy.

So much so that I spent a half hour on the lame Cingular sales line today trying to get one, only to find out they're still not there--or "backordered" apparently.

Okay bloggers--How can I get one of these puppies and be working from my purse within the next 30 days?

Better yet, How can I get COMPED on one of these puppies and be working from my purse within the next few weeks?

Bye Bye Sidekick. Hello Pocket PC/Phone. How's your "B" key hangin'?

Is it me, or is it me?

How is it that I've come to the top of the UK Google Search for Bigger Dick?

I mean, no offense, but I'm hardly an expert. In fact, I've always said that penis enlargement spam was misdirected.

First they need to sell me a dick. Then they can upsell me on a bigger one.

Spammers. Will they never learn?

For those Brits arriving here looking for one, well, I'll leave it to my oh-so-valued readers to give you a heads up on what to do ...

Some things, you just have to feel honored about.

Like this.

So glad I could help.

Qumana -- I Likey.

One might call this a test. Well, one might not. But I will.
I hate test posts. Hate writing 'em and hate reading 'em. So I'll try to make this a little more than, "Is This Thing On?"
I've been testy myself lately, so what better time to try something new. Yesterday I tried w.bloggar, which memer likes very much. I didn't post with it. To me, the options offered, the default font, the preview, and just the "feel" of the writing window didn't turn me on. It felt a lot like Blogger, which isn't a bad thing, because you all know I'm three-years'-worth accustomed to writing in Blogger. But at that point I was like, if I want to have to open a program and write in something like Blogger, but without really seeing what I'm doing too very accurately, I might as well write in Blogger, even despite it's wavering reliability. That thing that woos you to a new tool was missing for me with w.bloggar.
Writers are funny this way. Keyboards and the programs we compose in are very important to the evolving process of crafting word-thoughts.
So Jon Husband leaves me a comment about this Qumana thing, which I don't know from Adam, (HEY AKMA! HEY MARGARET! HEY PIPPA!), and I decide to try it. That's where I am now. I am wooed. I like it. I like the writing pad--it resembles MS Word, and let's face it, I've got a lifetime of familiarity writing in the MSWord environment.
Plus the little tool thingy that hangs out on the desktop has these cute little arrows that let you bop it around the desktop. Paint me quirky, but I like that kind of thing. The Qumana desktop bopper thing is bigger than a shortcut icon: It will remind me to blog. I will probably get mad at it at some point. But for now I like it. (It could be a little prettier--maybe customizable with your favorite celebrity or type of lunchmeat.)
This whole thing--which I was absolutely uninformed about until yesterday--has me thinking. Will tools like Blogger become backend engines, while smart people with the nimbleness that Blogger used to have -- because they were small and stayed up late -- begin to develop a whole plethora of cool front-end interfaces to inspire and facilitate the job of, well, writing?
As I write inside this window with an MS Word type feel -- and Jon may mean this when he says that Qumana will have other templates you can load in -- I imagine maybe tomorrow, when I'm writing about the horror that is public education, I'll want a more severe workspace to inform and encourage my anger. There might be something to this. Like the mood ring of Blog Authoring tools. You know what I'm saying?
One thing that's weird -- I'd recommend fixing it -- is that when you're composing in Qumana, and you open a browser to go fetch a link you don't remember by heart (say AKMA's flickr photostream), the Qumana window doesn't register down on the little IE Start toolbar at the bottom of the screen. In other words, once the browser (or any) windows open on top of Qumana, you have to minimize them all to get back to where you were writing. Gotta change that.
All in all, I like Qumana. I'm using it. Blogger, you may now chug along at your own speed. Thanks for hipping me to this, Jon!

One other Update--the Title didn't end up in the title field--I had to go into Blogger and move it up into Blogger's Title: field.

January 06, 2005

Get the audio. Can we get the audio?


Dead, we got dead. 23,000. How'd that wave get so big? - earthquake under the sea - tectonic plates clap hands and sing - what could stop it? waves, aftershocks, earlywarning wouldn'a done no good - too little too late when it's this bigass, get ready for showtime five, four, three - Nobody does dead better than yours truly do dead we wipe our arse with you, ABC, CBS, FOX, we got tourist footage and it rawks - we are sublimest you ain't, we are bigass, waves we got waves, we got we got we got more good wave killahs coming straight at you don't you dare move - no bigger ass ugly biglyasses than us here at MSNBC - keep it right here, 24,000, we got it covered.

Roll again--get the audio, can we get the audio? The aussies--the guy on the ledge at the bar, oh shit there goes one, bald guy, sailed right by him--he's toast. JESUS NO, don't show the dead white kids--show the dead BROWN kids. You show mangled tourists and tow heads, they're off to FOX within three. Don't do it again. ONLY DEAD = BROWN. Got it? You shoulda known that from 9-11. No white bodies. WHOA did you see that? Another that's at least three kids washed out from the concrete wall--couldn't hold on, see ya later--get that up on the Web! Now!

Then Again, I Really Love Google OR On being an Internalist, not a Journalist.

Strolling through my referrals just now I saw lots of Google search results that pointed people here. Here, of all places!

I followed one of those links right back to myself, July of 2002, when I wrote something I don't remember writing. Those are the posts I like the best. A woman possessed:

So I guess I'm not a journalist, I don't report events; maybe i'm an internalist, writing from my innards out? oh shit, maybe that's not it. but you know, so what another corporate giant is charged with fraud--who in the name of bill gates ever thought organizations were honest to begin with? the default is fraud the default is screw you. command and control, sure enough, where have you heard that before? What do you expect from top-heavy behemoths soaking up hours and lives and loves and children and babies and aging parents in nursing homes and pets in crates from all of us who scurry around the bottom, the sea floor, picking up corporate litter like shells and selling a conch or two to anyone who will buy.

So where was I going with that--Oh, I know: I was going to you. To you. You. Fuck corporations, fuck technology, fuck feminism, fuch patriarchy, fuck politics, fuck meta blogging, fuck all of that. I was going to You. Who are YOU, what made you the way everyone says you are--"she's just that way," you know, the way you are when you step down into your thoughts, the things that stick in your mind, familiar enemies you're used to pushing away, been doing it so long you're really good at it now. Aren't you? No.

So stop pretending. Let them in. Let thoughts flood over you. Decide to drown in them. Decide it's okay if they pull you under. Don't swim, don't race, don't run, don't distract yourself. Sit with them. Close your eyes and let words start to wrap around those dark places, see then? what color are your words? maybe deep purple and orange and cherry, lots of them are black and midnight blue. What sounds are your words, what sounds repeat over and over--today I was thinking rice paper, and rice paper has been swirling around my head--why? it sounds like what it is, or maybe because I've been walking on it most of my life, but that's me--we weren't talking about me--we were talking about you.

How loud can you make your screams if you don't hold anything back?

Write from there. Blog from there. Not always. Not forever. But for today. Write from the inside out, not the outside in. You dare corporations to do it--to turn their business models all topsy turvy. "Hey, Look at Us. We the People. We Matter!" So dare to turn yourself topsy turvy too, flip yourself around, unzip yourself and wear your innards on your skin for a day.

And let me know when you do it, so I can link you like a motherfucker.

Oh, and by the way, sorry I missed the anger discussions that were floating around Blogaria the last two days. I was sitting with my words, and really, I still am.

In Praise of Blog Brothers and Incomplete Ideas

I like it when I get time to write. Write what I want. Here. Not what I get paid to write. Out there.

I remember when we used to finish one another's ideas. Here. A few years back. My favorite thing was to bake words with my blog brothers. That was then, before blogging required that every post be a well-formulated thesis--an entity in and of itself--flawless and final in it's daily decree for the masses to imbibe and link to. That was before pundits mattered.

Then, we jammed some. I might throw out an idea. Half baked. Not baked. Raw. Uncooked. Kind of embarrassing, but all our asses were hanging out anyway. Who cares. And someone would grab it. Gary often. And he'd throw in a handfull of chocolate chips, or he'd mean to anyway, but usually it was coffee beans. Gary was never good at telling those things apart. And then Mike would go off on the thing. And I mean off. Just off and run with it. Jesus. For the love. He would ramble and gamble and put in "print" things that'd make us say, mostly, "Oooooo. Eeeeeks." And how the hell are we supposed to download that, freak? Then Frank, you know, he'd toy with Mike, usually with a joyful zest, but Frank, man, you don't know, he can go off, you just don't see it much, well more now than then. Frank, he'd take it and recap the ingredients so far and then flip the thing right over. Just turn it over. Til you said, OH, I thought it was a pancake, but it's a bison burger! HA! where's my syrup? So Tom would come along, and by crap if he didn't take the damn burger and mold it into the finest fucking filet you've ever seen--and we're going, "Shit, we made this pancake-burger and look at Tom's filet with all that red juice, see he did it again." At which point Marek would walk in and just sit down on that piece of meat. I mean just sit the hell down on it as if he were planting his behind in a leather-backed office chair. As if that's what you do every single day with a fine piece of filet--you just sit your ass on it. And if we were all truly blessed that day, Rageboy would rouse himself long enough to come fuck up the whole works by using the creation as high-gloss latex paint, not as food at all, and we'd go--HA! It's all colors now! And then we'd start all over looking at the entire room, not just the frying pan.

My blog brothers. We made lots of things together out of posts back then.

An Odd Issy

Beat Way Down's blog book, Temporary Truth: The Case, Good as Any, for the Repression of Reason:

With first things first, Pietor Ugamoveich realized that he must obtain some kind of income at any cost, and proof of a job of some kind. As regular work was almost entirely out of the question these days because of the disturbances in the city--let us not forget that capitalism is still several years up the road--he picked up his crusty violin and headed down to the square.

Maybe there he could cut out a tune for a few life-saving rubles; either that, or back to Old Baron Von Bleakskya's rambling country estate--may the devil be damned.

Chris Locke's hardcover book, Gonzo Marketing:

The net is like a vast global city packed with displaced persons, refugees fleeing the insanity of mass media... Artists are outsiders. But artists are also outriders. A dense and crowded matrix of rainy street corners, the net offers little shelter from the elements. But you can pick up your guitar and play. Just like yesterday.

It shouldn't take 10 minutes to get one post up. It just shouldn't.

A funny thing happened on Blogger's way to Google...

It sucked.

I am again frustrated at not being able to post when I want to because blogger's bogged down. I'm ready to drop the "l" and call it bogger.

Currently I'm in Note Pad, which I hate, and I know you all have given me umpty-ump varieties of text editors you use that are WAY better so that I DON'T have to write directly in my Blogger window, but shouldn't it matter that I like writing in Blogger? Not to you I mean--it shouldn't matter to you. But it should matter to Blogger. It's the way I've posted for about more than three years. Should that have to change just because a company gets more money and loads of resources -- enough to fiddle with (oh, I mean enhance) the interface until it becomes nearly unusable?

And I hear the calls to other blogging tools loud and clear. It may become necessary. Still, I helped build this neighborhood, like my Grandfather in Ottawa, Illinois, who built his and my grandmother's first home himself, with his own hands, as did most of the neighbors on his street. That's what you did when you moved to a mostly undeveloped town to work at Libby Owens Ford in the 1930s. You were proud to be there, and you poured your heart into making your house a home.

You built it yourself. And then you stayed there. Because you built it yourself. Because you broke earth with your own two hands.

It's the same for Blogger, except that the look of that deluxe appartment in the sky-hi-hi is getting pretty appealing, especially considering my foundation is cracking over here.

On to other news...

I don't have any! HA!

Joke's on me.

Bless yous. More soon.