In the end, I chose stone. #003 – The Idea (fiction)

I was bored to death. Summer, 1999. My roommate was busy with a friend and they were loud, so I called Andrew from my cell while sitting in my air-conditioned car. Doing that today would be like tossing flaming dollar bills out my window every 5 minutes. But back then gas prices were not too shabby and I hadn’t even stopped to consider the pointless carbon footprint my little 45 to 60 minute running-car phone calls were stomping into the ozone layer. Then again, I wasn’t considering much in those days besides my own problems. And any, any way to take my mind off the crippling depression I was keeping to myself.

Andrew and I knew each other since the 9th grade.

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Premature publishing, a lesson.

Sorry about that previous post. It was scheduled while I was away, busy. Look for it, if you are looking for it. Both of you. In a while. Thanks. Hope it’s worth it.

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In the end, I chose stone. #002 – Coping Through Chemistry (fiction)

It started out innocently enough in the early 90s. The one person I loved in the world, truly, died as she tried to help a dog that had been hit by a car just off a freeway off-ramp. As she tried to move the hurt dog off the ramp, she was struck by a car coming up off the freeway. Someone distracted. Someone her age. If it happened now, people would have blamed it on a cell phone or texting. But the only excuse this girl had was that she was returning from a very relaxing massage. In any case, in an instant, this girl took the girl I loved away from me. It took me months just to get the energy to return to work. I used to look at her picture in bed, right before trying to sleep and usually failing. One night it felt as if she were really there with me in my dream. I spent months after that trying to make it happen again, failing each time. I recalled the vivid dreams I experienced when I was trying to quit smoking with the nicotine patch, so on some nights I’d refrain from smoking for a few hours before bed and throw a patch on, hoping to have a more vivid and memorable encounter with my dream-Rebecca. I had plenty of vivid dreams on those nights, but none of them featured her in any form. After months of this I gave up, but still looked at her picture before bed. Usually more out of habit than hope.

One of my friends talked me into going to a party one weekend. It was really more like a party-rave hybrid of sorts. Lots of neo-hippies mixed in with hipsters and actual, real, older hippies. I ran into an old acid-head friend of mine and we got on the subject of dreams. I told him about my experiments with the patch. He reached into his pocket and came out with a plastic bag. Inside the bag was a small perforated sheet of paper with a cartoon Kurt Cobain face on each small perforated square. I gave him a puzzled look.

“Yeah, I know. Too soon, huh? The last batch had a picture of Barney and I swear I saw flying Barneys in my trip. But subtle flying Barneys, you know. Like they weren’t really there most of the time. I’d look to my left and a flying Barney would land on a street sign or fly out of a car’s sun-roof. It was okay, but it wasn’t fun either. Sure didn’t inspire me or anything.”

I laughed. He gave me a serious look.

“You know this shit isn’t healthy, right? But screw it. I get it. I don’t blame you. But I swear, if you snap off about a quarter of one of these before you flop down to sleep tonight, after you spend a few minutes looking at her picture, she WILL show up. And you’ve done this shit before, right? I mean you have, I was there. And at that low a dose, it’s not only as safe as 800 micrgrams, it’s practically like not taking any at all. These hits are pretty low dose anyway. So you’ll be taking like 50 micrograms, tops. Not even a trip, more like a deep thought or something. Here, take half the sheet and tell me what happens, man.”

He paused and looked out into empty space.

“I miss her, too. She was always fun to be around and you sure as shit were more fun to be around while she was walking amongst. ”

“No, I couldn’t.” I replied motioning for him to put it away.

“Yes, you could and will. Look, try it once and if it doesn’t work out you can flush the rest. Blockbuster doesn’t check for LSD last time I heard, right? I mean, if they did you’d be out of a job by now. I know you’ve dropped at least twice since you started there. Just try it!”

I nodded and took the sheet from him, placing it in my jacket pocket.

“And if you plan on dancing, trust me, don’t just leave those in there, bare.”

I slipped the outer cellophane off my pack of cigarettes and put the hits into it, folding the illicit package carefully and tightly before putting it in my wallet.

“That’s better, man. Have fun out there tonight. I’m going off to meet some friends that are bringing a party bus down into the canyon. Big speakers and shit. Beds, a roof you can hang out on, should be fun. If you see us come down the road and we set up, come on by.”

“Thanks, I think I’m gonna call it a night though. I’m not ready for being social yet, not on this level. Too hyper, too intimate.”

“Yeah, I hear that. Gets to me sometimes, too. But I have a duty.”

We both laughed and I started toward my car, waving to him as I walked away.

“Thanks again!”

“No prob. Sweet dreams.”

I got home, watched TV for a couple of hours, put on the patch, placed a quarter dose under my tongue and drifted off to sleep.

and it worked.

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In the end, I chose stone. #001 – The Telephone and the Unseen Dance (fiction)

Right off the bat I’d like to say it’s good to be back, and if you were expecting ranting and raving about music, politics, Internet policy, law, the riaa, the mpaa or other subjects near and dear to my frigid heart, I’m so very, very sorry. I’ll still do a bit of that here. But for now, I’ll be throwing up (apt perhaps) some of my fiction and semi-autobiographical writing from time to time. Enjoy. And if you do not enjoy, again I’m very, very sorry. Maybe the next one will be better. For now, here’s a bit of what I’ll call an autobiographical fiction mash-up. Once I have about 40 or 50 of these, or when I feel it’s reached it’s logical or illogical conclusion, I’ll slam them together and self-publish. Then audio. After some polish, of course. And corrections. And corrections…

The focus of the next several (25 to 30) posts will be a fictional work. If you find it mildly amusing or entertaining, let me know. Some of it is out of sequence and some of it may remain out of sequence, perhaps with date stamps on the chapter pages.


——————————-

open grave and phone off the hook

2 disconnections.

The Telephone and the Unseen Dance

The phone rang at about 10 PM, much later than he would normally call. I said hello and there was a brief silence, followed by an inhalation.

“He finally left us, Scott. It was yesterday. Sorry to be so abrupt, I went over it for hours before I called and I just couldn’t..” I interrupted..

“It’s okay.     It’s okay.”

My voice cracked a bit. I could feel a wave of feeling creeping up from the bottom of my abdomen, like the feeling I experienced having first tried LSD. But this was more, and without any possibility of warmth. It was like a cold wind.

“He was comfortable, Ariel said he just.. seemed like he was drifting off to sleep.”  Dan said in his best comforting voice.

“With Ariel we might never know how it really went down” I replied with a hint of anger, realizing how the cold of my rush had slipped into my words, calling my father’s death an “it” and reducing it to far less than it was to me at that moment. Far less than it would be to a stranger who had not even the slightest knowledge of my existence. Dan inhaled and exhaled again audibly.

“Well, that could be true. But if it is, would you even want to know? Is that something you think would help you through this? Knowing his suffering in detail?” Dan asked, with just a slight hint of restrained frustration.

“Would it help? Knowing the truth? Of course not, but when were we promised, ever, that the truth would HELP? I do want to know. His whole life is a mystery to me, the least I could ask for is the details of his death. Something, finally!”

“I know, I know.” Dan said.  “I know this .. this is hard for me, too. Are you alone?”

“Is water wet? Any other obvious questions you want answers to, Dan? Would you like to know if the Pope makes a sound in the woods when he shits on a Catholic boy?”

Not a sound on the other end but a few more breaths, saying nothing but conveying another restrained frustration. The kind of thing you can surmise without a word with a friend, even on the phone, when you’ve known him for 20 years. 2o years, that day, felt like a long time for the first time in my life as I tried to clear my mind and say something else. Something, anything about something else. Nothing came up. Then, as always, Dan rescued me.

“You know there’s really no excuse for that. Maybe a shower or two this week, followed by a shave, and the ladies would be flocking to you again. The fact that you haven’t been laid for 3 years now and counting (counting, being emphasized loudly) is not the fault of your looks. It’s almost like it’s a choice you’ve made.” Dan scolded me. “And that humor of yours, as adorable as I find it, isn’t exactly going to make people comfortable.”

“Well, it IS a choice. I wonder if it’s a good choice every day. But by the end of the day, when I find it impossible to sleep and unmotivated to do anything BUT sleep, I remember that it was a good choice. Not bringing some poor woman down with me into that pit. You know I tried that for five years. And I have to say it was so wonderful, that experience. Watching someone vital, energetic, generous and loving turn into a bitter, cold person.”

“Well, honestly she seems to be cold mostly toward you.” Dan snapped back, defending her as he always did. Like a bad old habit.

Then again, without his defenses, we might have ended it all a lot earlier and saved both of us a lot of pain. But is that true? Or did it just give me one or two happy years that I wouldn’t have had otherwise? Hind-sight. I hate that shit. I chuckled a little.

“True.”

Photo Credits:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/iversonic/706767033/sizes/l/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/remydwd/30436534/

Resulting mash-up license:

Creative Commons-Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic. (link)

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The Virgin DataDongle and the rest of this nonsense.

Let me say that I’m not picking on Virgin Mobile  in particular here. All providers are to blame for this anti-competitive, “let’s agree not to compete in THAT way” nonsense. Hey , you over there, with the big fat wallet. Yeah, you. Want some new revenue, endless good karma and customer love while sticking it to those telecos that want to charge you more for being bigger than everyone else? All while still being able to say you’re not doing any “evil”? (coughgooglecough)

Link to original story that inspired this rant:

Virgin Mobile USA offers Broadband2Go service with no contract

Summary: When the service goes live after this month you’ll be able to grab the Novatel Ovation MC760 USB dongle for $150 sans contract. Pay-as-you-go VM Top-Up cards can be purchased in the following increments: 100MB, 250MB, 500MB as well as 1GB.

First off, 150 bucks for a dongle? Radio Shack has netbooks for something like 99 bucks WITH a competitively $*)C# you in the 4$$ data plan to match. But that’s if you like paying about 1600 bucks for a 300 dollar netbook in the end. And I do mean IN THE END!

Just now, while you read the last paragraph, clueless parents of teenagers who don’t give a crap (or just ignore) what something costs their parents opened their mail to find a 480 dollar overage bill from their data provider of choice. And they all collectively messed themselves in the driveway, shocking thier neighbors with expletives and planning some kind of restrictive revenge on their **actually fairly clueless and mostly innocent when it comes to this** teenage sons/daughters.

This really happened. Stick your head outside and listen carefully. Hear that distant “fuuuuuuuuuu” sound? That’s them.

Kind of a hissing noise, but with a distinctively human/animal overtone.

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. This all reminds me of the early 90s. Give me UNLIMITED (at almost ANY price) or give me NO NETBOOK. All these providers will have to adapt the second one has the guts to provide unlimited accounts. Either that, or eventually just be an also-ran who dies further down the line like AOL. 60 bucks for a GIG??? What do they think this is, texting??*

(which is significantly more when not unlimited.. yeah, try something close to one million per gig with no plan, about 190 thousand per gig with a conservative plan, about 70 thousand per gig with a more liberal, realistic plan)

These prices really do hint at the idea coming from someone who asked “how much is data on the iphone.. let’s match that” and nothing more. How about some competitive pricing? How about 45 per gig? 50? On second thought, how about I just wait until someone you compete with gives me a 119.00 a month unlimited plan without caps? How does that sound?

(oh, you just re-think that for a second, it may sound bad, but try to remember the first time you went over on your minutes and come back to reality with me on this one . I worked in this industry for a long time and it was not unusual for me to talk down a parent with an 1800 dollar bill in front of them catching their tears while begging me to reduce it)

Oh good, because you should start getting really comfortable with the idea. It’ll happen. In the meantime, I would actually talk to my neighbors with wi-fi, make deals and visit places with free wi-fi.  I can wait this out.  I suggest as many of you as possible do the same until the providers figure out why it’s so dark where their head is and why customers seem to default on their contracts. (oh.. who knows?.. maybe they had to pay ALL of their bills that month instead of just yours?)

That’ll do, pigs, that’ll do.

Best advice I keep hearing from people who look into what they’re getting themselves into before buying? Go buy a cheap netbook with wi-fi and take your chances until things get truly competitive.

Lastly. Yeah, all that “de-regulation” really helped to ensure ongoing, healthy competition in the marketplace, huh?

“I was there when they killed the Internets and all I got was this stupid DMCA!”

*Text Messaging is the Biggest Scam of the 21st Century

Posted in anti-competitive, consumer rights, data plans, dmca, eat the rich, law, netbooks, tech, technology, virgin, wireless | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Miss The Indie Rock Playlist?(4th update)

If you miss dear old Criznittle’s Indie Rock Playlist, there are some facsimiles, imitations and copycats out there. None of them measure up, but if you grab them all it could be close to good enough. There are quite a few to choose from now, which was not the case before Crizz stopped doing them a few months back.

Just goes to show how much the guy is missed. Some of them are put together well, some of them seem more intimate and personal, like they were made just for their friends. Here’s the selections I know of right now(and their most recent updates):

Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlist:

http://tinyurl.com/cwnvtm

Nice one, the most popular of the playlists I could find. More label stuff than I’d like, but VERY good selection. Kept up to date, organized well and easy to use/transfer. (m3u playlist next month? please?)

Indie 69:

http://tinyurl.com/d2qfgj

69 tracks, pretty diverse, more unknown bands than some of the others. Still pretty good.

Clever Eleven:

http://tinyurl.com/cqag3o

Seems associated with a blog or show or something. Did not update for April as far as I can see. Nice selection of 11 tracks plus some bunuses, usually every month.  Pretty mainstream stuff, mostly. More than some of the others, but a good small selection. You’re sure to find something you’ll like.

CUT THE CRAP Playlist!

http://tinyurl.com/dxrvkw

What a great name, and pretty fitting, too. LOTS of good stuff in here, oddities, really, really new stuff and … only thing I didn’t like was discovering something from the 90s in there. It took me out of the moment and I lost the plot for a bit. But then it all went back to normal and I was back to my neophile (no, not neophyte, neoPHILE.. I don’t care if I just made it up, it sounds right and if it’s not a word already, it should be and is now) fix.

Scharfy’s Indie Mixtape:

http://tinyurl.com/da7j28

Nice list, really. Not sure if he’ll continue. Hope he does. Some truly indie (by action rather than by genre) stuff and some truly new stuff here.

Creative Commons Cast:

http://tinyurl.com/c5o7vc

Just one “episode” so far. It’s a live show, too, according to the info. But the tracks are individually downloadable in the torrent rather than strung together with talking in-between like a podcast. ALL Creative Commons artists. Surprisingly good.

Nitrosoxide’s Indie/Rock Playlist:

http://tinyurl.com/dgraur

The most important thing to know about the name of this playlist is the slash. It’s not just about indie rock, it’s indie SLASH rock. So you will see oddities like Bob Seger tracks from the 70s, alongside Jim Noir alongside INXS. Which is odd, but honestly not everyone grew up wanting to vomit when two of those came on the radio. It’s his taste and bless him for it. TONS of new stuff, too. So don’t consider it a diss. It’s a damned fine playlist.

Dan and Trulle’s Playlist of the month:

http://tinyurl.com/c5ygj6

Yeah, it’s metal. But damnitt! I’ve been looking for new metal lately that doesn’t sound like a parody of itself or a soundtrack for  greasy-haired hunchback teens to yell “FAG” to. Better luck next time I guess. (gotta love Sepultura and L.O.G. though)

That’s all I got for now. I’ll come back and edit and point back to it when I find more.

UPDATED: Another one(make that FOUR) found.

daKradhas Indie Rock Playlist

http://tinyurl.com/d8dpaz

Have not had a chance to download and listen yet, but it looks like another good one. This one has a focus on music from Austria(and some Germany) but with bands from everywhere included. 42 tracks and the submitter seems passionate. So it should be a good one.

Twelph’s Indie Rock Playlist

http://tinyurl.com/c82akr

Looks like a great list. A few dupes, but only so much new music can come out in a month, so no criticism there, just an observation. The selections ARE great and it’s another winner. Hope he keeps doing it. And 100 frakkin’ tracks, too. Lots to choose from.

Also found a series of torrents AND a show called “Pocket Soup”, from the guy that brings you Starpilot.

Pocket Soup

Show Page:

http://crazyradioguy.tripod.com/

Torrents:

http://tinyurl.com/omhggy

B-azzz Playlist

http://tinyurl.com/opscrc

Indie-Pop-Electro-Funk-Jazz-Rap-HipHop-Rock-Mash. That’s how it describes itself. I found it hard to figure out what exactly is on the thing because most of the tracks have song name and no artist listing. Have to download to find out for sure. But maybe that’s part of the fun? Not knowing? I would say what I think, but I have not had the chance to grab it yet. Will update when I have.

More as I find them……

Posted in bittorrent, creative commons, free music, indie rock playlist, music, pirate bay, playlists, the pirate bay | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My first copyright violation notice.

After years, and I am talking probably close to 17 years on the “downloadable content of some form or another Internet”, I was just today sent a copyright violation notice. The source of the e-mail shall remain un-named of course, for fear of retribution (you cannot put anything past these scumbags, honestly).

The funny thing is that after all these years of downloading mostly music and TV shows, with the occasional obscure film unavailable easily elsewhere, I recieved this notice in reference to a film I have not seen, will not see and would NEVER download.

So, I can download something like (and I mean LIKE, not specifically) “The Dark Knight” and get away with it, (I have not downloaded this film and would not as I have paid for it and watched it in the cinema already, albiet much later than everyone else) yet… I get sent a notice for illegally (hrm!!) downloading a film I have zero interest in. I have no wireless connection, no-one on site with access to my network who downloads via bittorrent and no chance of any kind that anyone broke into my house and downloaded when I was gone. Hell, even grandma’s computer is on the fritz and not even connected to the network anymore.

So how does this happen? Anyone? How do I get a notice from a major company representing a major hollywood studio claiming I have downloaded a major film of theirs that I wouldn’t watch for free even if they had a free screening in my living room, catered with an open bar??!!

Hacked? Doubtful. Not only would I say I have great security, I would say with absolute confidence that I have the BEST home network and personal computer security in at the very least a 100 mile radius, if not further. (those bay area folks are sharp, so I must admit there are at least 3 people with better habits and systems in place)

Could someone have spoofed my exact i.p. address by chance? If so, why has it not occurred at least once already?

To add insult to injury, my choices for response were limited to essentially …

1. Yes, I did it, sorry. Please don’t rape my bank accounts for the next 11 years.

or

2. I don’t know what you’re talking about, so I must be a flat out liar and yes I’d love to get on your list of repeat offenders so that you can sue me the next time you guys screw up and assume I’ve ripped you off.

WTF??

I will not go into specifics on my response, since my suggestions of how they could place certain body parts into specific orifices were detailed enough for them to google the details and discover this blog. But I assure you that if the person who received my response did not burst into appreciative and respectful laughter, “they” at least felt like such a complete asshole for associating with “their” employers “they” considered for at the very least several minutes the option of throwing “themselves” off the nearest bridge. (see, I’m hopeful that multiple  suicides are possible)

Has anyone else had to deal with this recently? My provider is for the most part hands-off. I can run servers with a home account. I have never had any kind of run-in with them in the past. The servers I DO run offer up ONLY creative-commons content, and mostly that which I have created myself. I would say that compared to most people I know, I have significantly less copyrighted content than the norm. I would call it insignificant. I mean, how many times do I have to pay for “Houses of the Holy” before I’m allowed to grab a copy for my mp3 player? 5? 6?  Try 11. (Zepplin is a guilty pleasure of mine) Most of what I have that was grabbed from TPB is stuff I have purchased already in the past. The rest is new stuff, some of which I have purchased. Most of which I would not, if I had ever been given the chance to hear it on radio first. (thanks a lot for the diversity, local radio, now GFY) The rest? TV that I already pay for.

This whole little incident is personally a bit disgusting to me. I’ll get over it, but it still pisses me off. I would NEVER even download the film you accused me of stealing, free or otherwise.

Any other similar experiences out there? It’s my first, so maybe I just need to ignore it and move on. It must happen a lot. Maybe it’s a scare tactic. Maybe they see something I’ve created experiencing more attention on the bittorrent sites than something they claim to be losing money on? So they think this is a way to stick it to me a bit and screw with my content delivery? Conspiracy theory at best, but my mind is racing right now.

But I do know what my reaction will be. I’ll find a way to download with anonymity and seed the FUCK out of that one movie that you claim I downloaded. For YEARS! On purpose. Even if I end up being the lone seeder. And at full bandwidth.

End rant.

Posted in anti-american, assholes, bittorrent, consumer rights, copyright, creative commons, dmca, eat the rich, law, mockery, pirate bay, riaa, the pirate bay, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment