Thursday, September 26, 2002

PROPS TO THOSE DOING REAL WORK
CB's new book The Ice Beneath Youis on the street. I ordered mine and it's here. Get yours by first stopping at CB's website christianbauman.com, and linking from there.

From the EastBay Express, an alternative in Oakland, I believe, comes this excellent write-up:

Black Hawk home: This year's most riveting return flight into the heart of darkness is Christian Bauman's The Ice Beneath You (Scribner, $13), in which a young army vet, fresh from service in Somalia, crosses the USA still stunned from what happened over there. He ends up holed up, down and out, with a friend of a friend in Berkeley among "kids in new BMWs ... smart-looking fuckers walking around with hands in pockets ... and I've never seen so many homeless in one place."

The vet "isn't me, and his experiences aren't mine," says Bauman, who lived in India for a year when he was thirteen and became a husband and father at seventeen. At 21, he joined the US Army Waterborne, with which he served in Somalia.

"I know what it is to be very young, very poor, all alone, and out of options a long way from home. And the Bay Area may be one of the worst places to be those things. It's not a good place to be an outsider looking in, to be a 'have-not.' It's not at all forgiving. Or, more important, it doesn't seem that way" to the thin-walleted newcomer.

Bauman's own first visit here "was horrible. I was nineteen or twenty, didn't know anyone, didn't have any money, and rolled into town on a Greyhound. A bad beginning, and it went downhill from there." His impressions mellowed in time.

"I love Northern California," says the author, who now lives in Pennsylvania. "The Bay Area is always such a visceral experience for me -- still is. It's warm and it's colorful and it smells good and you want to be in it. I don't pretend to be a native, but I know it well enough, and long enough, to have opinions about it."

In the novel, his protagonist finds work as a peep-show-booth dancer. His scenes in the club called XXXSTASY are as searingly real as the ones in which he's holding a gun. But hey, Bauman reminds Press Here, this is a work of fiction.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

A BRIEF NOTE
Life working in a University is one continual chain yanking by the powers that be. Budgets are parcelled out over the course of a year, allowing interest to accrue for those holding the bucks and forcing necessary purchases to be delayed for everyone else. The organization redefines the word byzantine to a degree I've never imagined. And yet, I continue to enjoy dealing with students. Plus it's kinda cool that my bosses allow me to do whatever I want, take on whatever projects I want and paint my office however I want. Yin and yang.
TAKE THAT WINDOZE USERS!
According to an article in Spymac.com, "Of the 275 million personal computers in the world today, 32 million of them run some version of the Mac OS. Folks, that's not 5%, like the urban legend has it; that's 11.6% of the worldwide personal computer market. And, it's certainly not the 3% or so recently published as the Mac's share of new computer sales.

The author goes on to make the case that by brand sold, Apple is the number one computer in the world. Although this number is probably flawed by Mac clones which continue to run to Mac OS, it still leaves Apple in one of the top spots. Pretty cool.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

POLITICS AS FLASH ANIMATION

Who says the Koreans can't dance together?

...

9/11 THOUGHT
I listened to a rebroadcast of the Howard Stern show yesterday and was struck by one thing - how much inaccurate information was put over the airwaves and how that was used to whip up a Let's bomb 'em all ! mob mentality. According to them - the impact of a third plane crash casued WTC 2 to fall, bombs exploded at the State Department, car bombs had detonated in Washington and much more.

This wasn't Stern's fault per say, he and his crew were mostly repeating reports from the newswires and television. But it was exactly that kind of The world is ending right now vibe that left such a lingering weirdness in the pit of my stomach for months.

This is not to say what happened on 9/11 wasn't horrible. But by replaying his exact transmission, Stern really captured the out of control feeling of the morning better than any rememberance. It reminded me to never pay too close attention to journalistic reports as events happen, as they are inevitably inaccurate.

Monday, September 09, 2002

GOOD RANTING TONIGHT
Here's a nice venting that takes to task all those folks on the left who whine a bit too much about their distaste for the country in which they live and breath Spleenville World Domination Headquarters: Time for a rant
TRUTH IN ADVERTISING
I tried to download a little freeware app called iBush, which promised to amuse with demonstrations of our great leaders inability to match verb tenses. Unfortunately, the little app crash repeatedly upon opening (UPDATE - turns out iBush needs OSX 10.2 to function. I was trying it with OSX 10.1.5. Oops.). Anyway, I still found the NO WARRANTY boilerplate amusing, as you can read below:

By not throwing iBush in the Trash this very minute you agree that the programmers and distributors of iBush will never be held responsible for any damage, of any kind, that might be caused by the use of iBush.

IN OTHER WORDS: YOU EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT USE OF THE SOFTWARE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK AND THAT THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS WHATSOEVER, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. FREELUNCH.APPS DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTIONS OF THE SOFTWARE WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, BE THESE REASONABLE OR EXTRAVAGANT, OR THAT THE OPERATION OF THE SOFTWARE WILL BE PLEASANT, UNINTERRUPTED OR EVEN MERELY ERROR FREE. YOU AND YOU ALONE ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR SELECTING THE SOFTWARE TO ACHIEVE YOUR INTENDED RESULTS, AND FOR THE USE AND THE RESULTS OBTAINED FROM THE SOFTWARE. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE SOFTWARE IS NOT INTENDED FOR USE IN (I) ON-LINE CONTROL OF AIRCRAFT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO BALLOONS AND ZEPPELINS, AIR TRAFFIC, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE TRAFFIC OF BALLOONS AND ZEPPELINS, AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE NAVIGATION OF BALLOONS AND ZEPPELINS, OR AIRCRAFT COMMUNICATIONS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE COMMUNICATIONS OF BALLOONS AND ZEPPELINS; OR (II) IN THE DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, OPERATION OR MAINTENANCE OF ANY NUCLEAR FACILITY, CHEMICAL WEAPONS PLANT, OR SUDANESE POWDER MILK FACTORY. FREELUNCH.APPS DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES RELATED TO: NON-INFRINGEMENT, LACK OF VIRUSES, ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF RESPONSES OR RESULTS, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL FREELUNCH.APPS BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF LIFE, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, LOSS OF FAITH, LOSS OF TEMPER, LOSS OF SELF ESTEEM, LOSS OF GIRLFRIENDS, BOYFRIENDS OR SPOUSES, PERSONAL INJURY, LOSS OF PRIVACY OR OTHER PECUNIARY OR OTHER LOSS WHATSOEVER) ARISING OUT OF USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED, BY SOME FREELUNCH.APPS REP, BY THE SOFTWARE ITSELF, BY YOUR WINTEL LOVING BROTHER-IN-LAW WITH THE BIG NOSE WHO DRINKS TOO MUCH, IF YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE A WINTEL LOVING BROTHER-IN-LAW WITH A BIG NOSE WHO DRINKS TOO MUCH, OR IN ANY OTHER WAY, NATURAL OR SUPERNATURAL, OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. REGARDLESS OF THE FORM OF ACTION, FREELUNCH.APPS' AGGREGATE LIABILITY ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO THIS AGREEMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE TOTAL AMOUNT PAYABLE BY YOU UNDER THIS AGREEMENT, THAT IS: ZERO EURO OR EXACT EQUIVALENT. THE FOREGOING LIMITATIONS, EXCLUSIONS, EXHORTATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS SHALL APPLY TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT BY APPLICABLE LAW. AND YOU'D BETTER BELIEVE IT.

Friday, September 06, 2002

HELLO AGAIN
Sorry to be so lax about the updating, but this having a full-time job at the University thing is an amazing time-killer. Not that I do so much work mind you. But the system is so badly organized that I'm expected to find my own office furniture, haul to my office (which I repainted), beg for office supplies (and internet service) and a myriad of other things that used to be handed to me in more efficient corporate gigs. Then it turns out we're not allowed to sell or even throw out worthless equipment. Instead, we have to endure a long process known as salvaging. You want to know why the state wastes so much money on education? Give me a few days and I'll show you how.

Got a very funny note from Warren of Hollywood recently that read:
I can't believe I didn't write immediately to crow when it was announced last week, but my humble little sitcom "Off Centre" was named the 2nd most offensive show on TV by the Parents Television Council. We are quite proud, and now sport the slogan, "This year we'll try harder!" "Buffy" was number one, which is pure bullshit -- somehow Satanism is more offensive than sex. Well, we can do gay porn or a threeway with the devil or something, and then we will rule!

Here are a couple of links to the PTC thing:

TV News Daily

PTC Rates 10 Best & Worst

PTC - The Week's Worst

Obviously this is the best thing that could ever happen to our show, so spread the word!


Here's the official PTC Quick Report:

Off Centre (WB/Comedy)
10:30 p.m. (EST) Sunday 

Created by brothers Paul and Chris Weitz (American Pie), this sitcom features roommates Euan and Mike, Mike’s girlfriend Liz, and their friends Chau, and Status Quo. 

Sexual content is a staple for this show.  Recent storylines have focused on Euan considering circumcision, an outbreak of a sexually transmitted disease, threesomes, and couples viewing pornography together.  Episodes have also featured storylines dealing with sexual innuendo, masturbation and oral sex.

Language is a problem for this show as well.  Frequent anatomical references and foul language such as “hell,” “ass,” “crap,” “son of a bitch,” and euphemisms for f--k are common.

Occasional mild violence is used.  For example, in a recent episode, Chau was dating a girl who enjoyed seeing him get assaulted.


Congratulations are in order, especially when one considers "Off Centre" is probably the least popular of the top ten "bad" shows cited and certainly has the worst timeslot of anything on the list. In fact, if we do a bit of creative math, perhaps we can even nudge "Off Centre into the top spot. How? Consider offensiveness per viewer.

You see, according to Nielsen's Television Ratings 2001-2002 Season, Buffy enjoyed an averaged of 4.31 million goth-friendly viewers per episode (a ranking of 124 out of 158) while Off Centre had 2.3 million lusty souls check in for each episode (a ranking of 155 out of 158).

If we can assume that on the PTC's list of the Top Ten Worst shows, each entry is 10% less offensive than the previous one, we can then say Off Centre is 90% as offensive as Buffy. Doing some creative math, we find that Buffy expends it's full 100% offensive over 4.31 million, producing an offensivness rating of 23.2 per viewer (ie: 100 divided by 4.31 = 23.2). But Off Centre, though only 90% as offensive as Buffy, concentrates its offensivness more effectively, yielding an offensiveness rating of 39.1 per viewer (ie: 90 divided by 2.30 = 39.1).

That means Off Centre is nearly 69% more offensive per viewer than Buffy! Wow!

These are obviously results worth celebrating, but please, if you drink, drive on small back roads far away from my house.