Monday, June 29, 2009

Go go gadget webcrawler!

Coworker "marveling" at the speed at which I reported on Michael Jackson

So, you might have heard that was the first to report the news that Jacko has shuffled off the mortal coil. It was fascinating to me to watch how the news spread around various news sources. I heard the news while flipping through the TV channels while the dogs were outside. E! broke into some show I was momentarily engrossed in (I think it was 1001 Biggest Celebrity Divorces or some other such dreck that you can watch for 2 minutes at a time) to say that Jacko was dead. Huh...I toddled over to the "Real News" stations and they had started to report he was in the hospital.

Back upstairs to my computer to see what I can find. Indeed TMZ is reporting the death, but no one else is saying anything except that he's been rushed to the hospital. Over the next hour, I watched as MSN, CNN, Yahoo! News, TMZ, the Drudge Report, E!Online and finally the LA Times reported the news. For a few minutes, Yahoo! had a headline saying MJ was dead, and then in the article quoted TMZ as reporting it.

It was REALLY weird to see which sites updated every 2-3 minutes and how. When the LA Times called it, all the stations started reporting it as more of a fact. Meanwhile, I was engaged on IM with my friend who gave me the title of this post. Did TMZ actually know that MJ had died or were they taking a pretty even bet that they'd get all sorts of kudos for being right? Later that day, reports were surfacing about Jeff Goldblum and Harrison Ford being dead...what's news these days?

I'm glad that over the weekend I renewed my acquaintance with the pre-severely effed up Michael Jackson. The one that was a unassailable genius. I never really realized he was the first black artist on MTV. You know, the channel he helped DEFINE? I had no idea that getting him on there was a struggle. All jokes aside, it would have never occurred to me that Michael Jackson was "black" in that sense...I thought he was MTV as much as Duran Duran, Madonna and The Police.

Anyway, food for thought. As tiring as I think the coverage of the death is, I really am looking at it from a cultural perspective. It's not Princess Diana's death, it's not Elvis or John Lennon dying. Is that good? Bad? Who knows.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The King is dead. Long live the King.

Michael Jackson, The King of Pop, 1958 - 2009

"First Vincent Price and then Michael Jackson! How many MORE people involved in the Thriller video need to die before you realize it's cursed?!?"
Comment made by Debi. She's seeking professional help

Well, unless you're dead, you know both who Michael Jackson is and that he is dead. And within 5 minutes of CNN confirming the news that he was dead, Larry King had Celine Dion, Smokey Robinson and Cher lined up to talk about it LIVE. Wow, when I think of people that can and should speak to Michael's career, those are the top three on MY list...of "WTF would THEY know?" celebrities.

Michael Jackson was an integral part of the most embarrassing moment of my teenage years (ok, maybe second most, but no one knew about the first). When my sociopathic stepfather came to pick me up one day from school when I was sick, he had to drive around by the sports fields to load my bicycle into our gold Pontiac J2000 wagon. No biggie right? Except for the part where it's the middle of a class period and approximately 1/6 of the school is out on said sports fields. So? Oh, did I mention that he was playing Thriller (the song, not the album) at top volume? And singing along? So that you could have heard him from the next street? Yeah, REAL cool. I remember him wearing a polyester shirt, too, but that could just be embellishment of the story.

Mike and I were talking about it, and his comment was that he feels bad that anyone dies, but MJ's passing doesn't bother him. And I said (without thinking, per usual) that he'd already done everything except continue to embarrass the world. Perhaps unfair, but the dude's life was seriously effed up.

I doubt I'll miss him. I'm certain to be annoyed by the outpouring of grief. I do recognize him for the true and utter genius he was, but the world has been missing that part of Michael Jackson for many, many years.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I've always wanted to be a euphemism

Comment to Chris after becoming aware of my IM classification

For those of you who live your life on IM, you might know that you can put together groups. Personally, I have a "main" group that lives at the top of both of my programs, and then I have various groups below based on how important it is to see you without scrolling. I only have two groups in my personal IM, but seven or eight in my work IM.

Chris doesn't close his IM window when no one is talking. Weird to me, because I ALWAYS want things to GO AWAY off my desktop. Anyway, I walked up yesterday, and I was in a window called "Euphemism". So I excitedly said "I'm a euphemism?" only to be told I'm one of many. But still, it's better than being a dysphemism...on second thought, maybe it's not.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Good News! They broke out the bagpipe music!

We live in a boring middle-class (for Seattle) neighborhood. Aside from the insanity during the snow storm when we had prowlers, a burglary, and an elderly gentleman whacking off in someone's driveway, it's pretty quiet.

Sunday afternoon, there was a BBQ somewhere down the hill behind our house. Aside from the fact that I've been feeling quite poorly and wanted to nap, it was no big deal. I closed the windows and turned on the fan and napped quite nicely.

Seeing as the party had been going strong when we got home around 3:30, and this being the aforementioned boring neighborhood, it never occurred to us that it would be bigger and better as the (Sunday) evening progressed. Gosh, was I pleasantly surprised.

As I'm getting ready to head to bed around 9:30, I mention to Mike that the party is getting louder. It actually sounds like they're starting the keg stand portion of the evening. I'm puttering around the bedroom putting up clean clothes, playing with the insane dogs. Ten minutes later, I kid you not, the bagpipe music started up. It was obviously not live and it was VERY loud.

Now that I think about it, perhaps a neighbor put that on. The party got quieter after that, and while they impressively went until at least 11:30, it wasn't too bad.

But most of all, this story allowed me to Google for "bagpipes". And this is the picture it gave me on the first page. I've never been so, um, hrm. It's like Mel Gibson got drunk and decided to play the bagpipes. And the drummer? Mesmerizing. Google is the BEST. TOY. EVER!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This is the thing about power...

Superpowers by David J. Schwartz

Right around Memorial Day, someone posted some "information" to a mailing list I belong to. I don't remember the exact content, but it was something meant to illustrate how pointlessly our government is spending the lives of our military personnel. This hit a nerve with many people on the list. To me, and others, it felt disrespectful. It could have been posted on any day that wasn't dedicated to those who have laid down their lives so that we have the luxury of being disrespectful.

I dislike the conflicts we are in as much as any bleeding heart liberal. I think we are in them for the wrong reasons. I think that as a country and a species, we refuse to look backwards to learn any lessons. I think that the elite always make the decision to go to war and the expendables in society fight them. Sometimes the elite join in the battle, but the rules are always different for them.

During the ensuing email discussion, the original poster brought up how our government got into the war in Iraq being all about if there has ever been a war that was NOT about politics. I don't care why you're going to, religion, genocide...whether you're pro- or con-, it's political. That's not good, bad or indifferent in my book. Life is politics, but "politics" has taken on a nasty meaning.

Right after this, I came across this passage, and it was the most eloquent statement of my views I've seen.
    This is the thing about power, I think. To some people – those of us who have none – anyone who has it and uses it is a villain. To those who have it, anyone who tries to stop them from using it is a villain. Because we’re all the heroes of our own story, no matter what horrible things we might be doing.

    Sometimes people do terrible things with the best of intentions. I don’t think that makes them less guilty. But if you understand their reasons, you might find it more difficult to condemn them out of hand. You might find it more difficult to call them villains.

    On the other hand, sometimes people do terrible things with the absolute worst of intentions. But even there, I don’t think they’re supervillains. I think they’re just people.
I think I believe in evil, but I'm not sure I believe people are evil. Those that knew or knew of my ex-stepfather can probably attest that I've lived with evil. But is the person evil, or just the deeds? I don't know the answer to that, but even if people can be evil, I don't think there are very many of them. I think most everyone does what they believe is the right thing. They may qualify as lunatics or assholes or idiots or angels depending on who you ask...but they believe they're fighting the good fight. Anyway, I wanted to share.

The sound of music confuses you


I don't remember who said this to Tony, but it was probably Kate. Mike says we can't re-watch all of NCIS for at least two years. Unfair.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Put down the rose-colored crack pipe

Superpowers by David J. Schwartz

I must start using this phrase. I think I shall use it on my boss tomorrow. For no particular reason.

If I still have anyone reading, I'm TRYING to keep up. I have no excuse except being a slacker.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I've found exactly two things: Jack and Shit

Superpowers by David J. Schwartz

I finished this book, and there are still a couple of quotes coming. I was really intrigued and a little moved by this book. Of course, it's hard to completely sell me on a book if you can't use at least ONE quote for a screen name. But, you'll read it if you like and won't if you don't. I've given up on trying to get people to read things I like.