Friday, April 30, 2010

I Want My MTV!

I want my, I want my M.T.V.
Now look at them yo-yo's, that's the way you do it

You play the guitar on the M.T.V.
That ain't working, that's the way you do it
Money for nothing and your chicks for free
Money For Nothing - Dire Straits

Well, my financially strapped landlord really did! He finally did it!

He took away my MTV.

And all the other "cable" channels as well, reducing the Bright House package to the cheapest one: allowing only local broadcast channels and a couple insignificant cable ones.

Oh, but the Christian cable channel is sure one of them! Can't let poor people go without their Electronic Jesus! (And, of course, the "loving" preachers providing you with the 800 number that you can call to donate to!)

Alle-fuckin-luhia!

Meanwhile, here's the roll call of the ones I lost...may they rest in peace.

TBS

CNN

CNBC

MSNBC

The Weather Channel

Fox News Channel (well, this ain't so bad)

ESPN (who cares)

ESPN2 (who cares squared)

SUN Network (a local Florida cable channel featuring local sports teams...another who cares)

Speed (I gotta say I never watched this channel devoted to car racing...I'm sure it sucks)

Nickelodeon (never watched it)

Disney Channel (never watched it)

Cartoon Network

We Television

TV Land

USA Network

Lifetime

Discovery Channel (oh how I'll miss you)

A & E

History Channel (oh no, now it's "Life After TV" instead of "Life After People")

Animal Planet

TLC

AMC

FSN (Some other never watched Florida channel)

Hallmark

DHC

Style

Soap Network

Lifetime Movie Network

Travel Channel

Bravo

Golf Channel

tru TV

HGTV

Oxygen

E!

Comedy Central

BET

Spike TV

Syfy

FX

CMT (zzzzzz, again who cares)

VH1

CSPAN

and of course

MTV

Which, like everyone in my age group, I stopped watching around 1989 but still...

That's not the point.

It's about the options. All those options.

And the fact that my landlord's savings won't be passed down. My rent doesn't get lowered due to this. So now I essentially pay the same for a much reduced benefit due to no fault of my own.

Anybody know of a decent place to rent in the area?

With free (and FULL) cable, please.

More Movie Madness

I may not have a job and surely this hobby doesn't pay anything but I'm having fun the past couple of days playing with Windows Movie Maker.

Here's another creation.

It's really just a study in sound clip and still photo editing, but I set it to be interspersed with some kick-ass Roy Orbison so I think it's cool. It's a synopsis of my original screenplay "Only The Lonely". I wrote this about 2 years ago and have wanted to at least do a treatment like this for it for some time now. Well, I certainly now have the time for such leisurely exploits, don't I?

I'll always have the original copy of this video on my hard drive for my own amusement, but as far as the YouTube copy embedded below, who knows how long that'll last. Me thinks they may have a problem regarding the copyrights to the song, even though I used only a snippet of it here and there. So I expect they'll eventually discover it and give me a warning to either mute it or replace the music.

Of course, the artiste I am, I can't have my work be stripped so unceremoniously so I'll just delete it from YouTube when the time comes.

Until then, enjoy:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tribute to Foundation

One of my favorite authors in the world was Isaac Asimov. And his Foundation series of books were, to me, pure perfection.

It's a boy thing.

The Foundation books didn't have that yucky romance or sappy sentimentality like other novels. It actually didn't even have tons of gratuitous up-close violence or action. It was mostly dialogue. Dialogue among men. Talking manly things like planetary conquests, socio-political trends and space travel. Oh, and money. Yes they were all about power and wealth. Manly things.

The most memorable thing about the books to me was its vast scale.

Between the casual way dramatic locations were described like the metal-clad capital world of Trantor and the various far flung locals throughout the galaxy and the sporatic printed pages of the Encyclopedia Galactica throughout the books, one sat in awe of this huge universe with mouth agape.

Unlike the comparative kiddie fare offered up in Star Wars, the delineation between good and evil wasn't always so clear with Foundation. And because the story unfolded, throughout the varies sequels and prequels, over the course of many millenia, what once were the good guys, may have turned bad, and vice verse.

Suffice it to say, I think this series is one of SF's best.

And so, to pay homage to the (finally) soon to be produced film slated to be released next year, I created this little trailer:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Twitter Happy

As you can see by the embedded stream in the righthand sidebar, I've gone Twitter nuts.

I held off for the longest time in joining in on what I saw as merely a fad for the shallow and idiotically vain. But now that I've tasted of this sweet nectar, it seems magically alluring to me.

Many of the celebrities I follow on Twitter seem to eschew the basic "nerd alert" standard and actually have a semi-conversational stream of meaningful public announcements of more-or-less important events and topics, or are consistently RTing (retweeting) others in the Twitteratti. How nice for them, but like corporate users of Twitter, ultimately, how boring.

I like my style. From the articles on Twitter I've read it's more akin to what's most popular out there anyway. Just simple little blurbs, mainly about mundane occurrences in my day, often with a humorous theme.

But for a person like me who has no friends or family actually following my tweets, it does seem a tad sad.

Like I'm that washed-up hippy living in the trailer park with his scrappy dog "Rocko". He's long ago lost it and has a conspiracy theory about everything. He has a weak radio transmitter and hosts his own daily informational diatribe that he broadcasts to the world in order to warn them about...well, whatever. Unfortunately, his equipment is so underpowered that the signal barely makes it out of the trailer park.

You know, like the Woody Harrelson character in the movie "2012".

That's me, tweeting to the deep, dark vastness of the Internet.

If only to just listen to the sound of my own pitiful voice.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Three Drama Queens At Sea

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 156

Yup. Just over 5 months.

I don't remember what it's like to work for a living anymore.

I'm sure it will come back to me soon.

The magical money spring is drying up.

As anticipated, the unemployment coffers will be empty after this week.

The FLUID web site has only a single line of text advising claimants to call into the customer service line when their benefits run out. I guess this is to apply for an extension. And does everyone qualify for this extension? I would guess not. But in this economy, who knows.

I called the number but a recording said their systems were down and that I should hang up and call again some other time. Ugh!

So do I hold out for this federally funded extension which might cover another 6 weeks, or do I start to really hit the pavements now? Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

In other news, last week Ric and I got our Universal Orlando Power Passes. Now they're $122 with the tax and that's after the $25 discount for bringing in a Wendy's cup. Thank you Mr. Credit Card. I'll pay you back, slowly.

Went to try out the new Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Roller Coaster. I couldn't fit. Yet again I had to endure the embarassment of the kids stopping the ride so I could get out and be placed into the fat guy seat. But guess what? I couldn't fit in that one either! Yup, like Kraken at SeaWorld I can't ride the ride at all 'cause I'm too fuckin' fat! This blows!

The polite kids running the ride gave me two Express Passes so I could use them on another ride but the park was pretty much dead as far as other patrons so it was a quick walk on with no wait on even the most popular rides.

Of course Ric loved the coaster so I sat on a bench while he rode it again and again. I didn't mind except that the experience put me into a "need to get fit" mood and I switched from beer to diet cokes for the rest of the day.

The day wasn't a total wash, I fit on all the dark rides like Simpsons and Spiderman. I even fit on The Mummy so I got to ride at least one coaster. I didn't even try for Hulk or Dueling Dragons. I remember from the last time we were here (December '08) I could barely fit then. And only in the fat guy seats.

On our way through CityWalk between the two parks, we visited the T-shirt booth that Ric's new friend Joe works at. Joe is from South Dakota and is mostly Sioux. His boyfriend Zack just moved down from there and is Ric's new roommate. They're in their early 20's, have no car, drink regularly and smoke pot.

Will it be like old times at Ric's house now?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's A Miracle! Really?

Yes, you know me. I can't help but look at the black and tarnished lining in every cloud.

A big news story this weekend here in Central Florida has been the saga of Nadia Bloom, an 11-year-old girl missing for four days and found, miraculously, by a lone searcher in the swamps near Lake Jessup (which happens to be about 10 miles from me).

The man that found her, James King, relays amazing detail of the circumstances of his discovery of her despite days of searching by hundreds of volunteers. All thanks to his personal communication with...yup, you guessed it...the Lord!

According to Jim, the Lord told him where to look and he is very vocal about his faith and stuff. Every other phrase is something like Praise The Lord or Grace of God and such shit as that.

I'm not alone in suspecting that there's got to be more to the story...

1. How could the parents let Nadia go missing in the first place? Reportedly, her mother says Nadia was riding her bike around the block and didn't come back from the other side of the block like she usually does.

HUH! Why was she out of sight?

You see, Nadia is autistic and from her pictures and video of her, I would estimate somewhat severely so. Autism is difficult for parents to deal with, perhaps more so than mental retardation or mental illness like schizo-affective disorder. All because the child can be what we used to call "high-functioning"; intelligent, good in subjects at school, even excelling (sometimes freakishly) in some subjects (remember "Rainman" and Dustin Hoffman's character counting dropped toothpicks).

But they lack, in almost all cases, some very seemingly basic social skills making them extremely vulnerable to all sorts of predators, especially nefarious people with unsavory sexual urges. They should never be out of sight. Ever.

2.  This guy James King says God told him how to save Nadia.

Really? Well why did God need a middleman? Why not inform Nadia herself how to find her way home? Couldn't God speak to an autistic child? Or are there limits to God's communication?

And God created a miracle by guiding James to Nadia.

Really? Well I guess this was to make up for the other stuff God did within the past couple of days:

  • Earthquake in China kills over 500.
  • Train derails in Italy. 9 dead.
  • A huge chunk of glacier breaks off and causes a tsunami in a mountain lake in Peru. Town wiped out.
  • Crazed man goes on stabbing spree outside a Chinese school, kills 2, wounds 5 others.
  • Twitter starts putting ads on its site, further commercializing the Internet.
I like this post to a Yahoo newsgroup which may be the real truth:

Actually Supreme Leader Sarah Palin found Nadia as she parted the water of swamps while leading her flock to the land of American apple pie. I can’t wait to hear how this is Obama’s fault.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Hello Death, I'm Another Year Closer!


Happy Birthday to me! Yay! (Glug...glug...glug...)

Monday, April 05, 2010

Three...Two...One...Yawn.

3:01 am: I woke up feeling somewhat rested but still quite groggy. After all, I'd only went to bed around 11:00 pm so that meant I'd gotten just under four hours of sleep. I was having some rather disturbing nightmares anyway so it was just as well I was getting up.

3:25 am: I'd showered and made a pot of coffee enjoying a cup of brew with a splash of Coffee-Mate Belgian Chocolate Toffee creamer. A lifelong black coffee drinker, I've lately been getting into adding flavored creamer to my previously calorie-free beverages. Just what I need, more fat and calories. Yay.

4:38 am: Alright, enough dicking around! I gotta get going. All the websites I visited looking for recommendations said to get there about 2 to 3 hours early. Surely though they meant if it was scheduled during the middle of the day or something right? Not the pre-dawn hours of the morning on a weekday, right?

4:45 am: I went by way of the major interstates rather than country roads only because I've had a fear of rather thin one lane each way roads that cut through the heavily forested and undulating countryside ever since that accident two summers ago. Turns out my fears also extend now to interstates. Especially in the middle of night with fast moving 18-wheelers whizzing by. I white knuckled it all the way, surely pissing other drivers off with my consistent speed at 5 miles per hour slower than the speed limit.

5:25 am: Man! This sure was the long way. Still on the interstate, though at least it was now Rt. 95, not I-4. Yes I had consulted Google Maps before leaving and saw that my intended route took me well out of the way for some 15 miles before I would be able to catch 95 South heading in the correct direction. But I just couldn't face that Rt. 46 again, even though it was almost an "as the bird flies" shot from my house to my destination.

5:45 am: What a site to behold! A massive traffic jam at this hour as I made my way down an off ramp in this sleepy coastal town. As the caravan of hundreds of cars I was suddenly a part of inched its way slowly towards the east from the highway interchange to the small town center I could see locals gassing up their cars and grabbing their morning coffees at the gas station. No doubt they looked at us as an inconvenience at best. Descending like vultures on their quaint, picturesque seaside village. At least they'll only need to put up with hassles like this for about 4 more times this year. Then, perhaps, never again.

6:05 am: Oh it's getting very close now and I could only inch my car ever so slowly through what were now waves of pedestrians, some running, kids in tow or being carried. All with cameras and camcorders. I too had my camera and even my laptop with me, hoping to have found a convenient and safe parking spot and to hopefully have found a free wifi hotspot. With every available millimeter of parking space filled though, my hopes were quickly fading.

6:09 am: Here's a spot! Hooray! I squeeze my car into this parallel parking spot some 6 blocks away from the waterside park I'd intended to be. I can still dash there and make it, I hope. But NO! There's a guy here informing me I couldn't park here. He lives in the house across the street and needs this 3 feet of curb space to be empty so he can back his car out. Oh brother!

6:12 am: I turn down this dead end, thinking there might be spaces here. Nope. Disturbingly, as I'm making a 23-point turn to get back out (well, not that bad but still an inelegant reversal for sure) I see that the trunk of an unoccupied parked car is wide open, its contents appearing to have been rummaged through. Oh my, I don't think it's very safe here Nugget!

6:14 am: Someone exiting a parking space at a just opened up bakery hails me to indicate a soon-to-be-free spot. Yay! But just as I slide Nugget into the spot, the radio, which has been providing regular updates for the past hour, suddenly breaks off the music and I hear a clear but staticy voice: "3 - 2 - 1, and liftoff! It's an early sunrise at the Cape as the Space Shuttle Discovery lights up the sky..."

Damn it! I'd known for sometime that Nugget's clock was off, but I forgot to calibrate it! It was actually 6:21 and unlike the numerous times before that I've gotten up early to watch the launch on TV, there wasn't a second's delay.

So I got out of my car, and two workers from the bakery joined me and we stood in the small parking lot facing east. Much of our line of sight was obsured by buildings and trees but nevertheless the dark pre-dawn sky glowed an eerie orange and we watched silently as the bright flames shooting out of the rocket blazed upward and left a puffy trail of smoke in its wake. A minute or two later, we could hear the growling rumble and then we heard (and felt!) a double sonic boom.

The bakery folks, being locals, had seen it all so many times before, no doubt, so they retreated back inside while I continued to watch. But after a few more minutes, other than a tall arching column of smoke that stained the cloudless sky, there really wasn't much more to see.

The title of this post suggests I was not impressed, but that's not it precisely. It just seemed like a lot of trouble to drive out to Titusville and end up with a view not much better than if I'd stayed home. Oh sure, I was some 35 miles closer, but I was still 10 miles away.

What did I expect? Well, frankly, I wanted to have the fillings rattling about in my teeth as the clearly rotating massive boosters lifted the Space Shuttle majestically right in front of me. I wanted to see the thing rise up from the tower and fill the sky with such brilliance as to need to shield your eyes. I wanted to smell the aroma of burning rocket fuel and see flecks of cinders rain down around me.

I wanted to be able to say "I was there!" with pride and glee whenever someone in the future mentions the last launch of a Space Shuttle in the dark. The last one.

Well, in retrospect, I guess I am proudly and happily able to say that!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

SCRAPBOOK: Whistle While You Work (Part 2)

1997-2000
DialAmerica Marketing
Orlando, FL


2000-2002
Sears Home Improvement Products
Orlando, FL and Altamonte Springs, FL



2003
U.S. Grants Resources
New Orleans, LA


2003 and 2004
Parker, Murray and Associates
New Orleans, LA


2005
Convergys Corporation
Lake Mary, FL


2006-2008
Symantec Corporation
Lake Mary, FL


2009
Embarq, Inc.
Apopka, FL


2009
Chase Cardservices
Lake Mary, FL

SCRAPBOOK: Whistle While You Work (Part 1)

You haul Sixteen Tons, whadaya get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store
16 Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford

Thanks again to Google Maps Streetview, I've assembled another collection of curbviews. This time: All the places I've worked at over the years. More photo album style than scrapbook I'll restrict commentary on each location since if you search through my regular and FLASHBACK posts you can find plenty written about these jobs and the effect they've had on me.

1979
Site of Bijou's Bar and Bistro (now, as you can see, a Mexican restaurant)
Woonsocket, RI


1980
Site of Baram's Dry Goods (now a Tattoo Parlor)
Woonsocket, RI


1980-1983
Site of Howard Johnson's Restaurant (demolished in 1988 to build this McDonald's)
North Smithfield, RI


1984-1986
Though this isn't actually it, there were some similarities. I worked at Wrentham State School, a state institution for the mentally retarded. This picture (since Google Maps Streetview didn't even get close to the Wrentham campus) is of Worcester State Hospital a few miles away. Cool looking building, huh? I think they demolished it though.
Wrentham, MA


1986-1987
Blackstone Valley Center ARC (only had satellite view)
Pawtucket, RI


1987-1989
Cranston Center ARC
Cranston, RI


1989-1990
Amego, Inc.
Offices in Quincy, MA
Group Home in Plainville, MA


1991-1997
ARC of Northern RI
Woonsocket, RI

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Life Astronomic With The Capt'n

I just woke up from a really fascinating "location" dream. (For a thorough categorization of my themed dreams, see here). Or would it be "cinematic"?

In it I was among a party of travelers. I don't think we were actually scientists or explorers, but accidentally ended up at our destination ala LOST.

We "landed" (more like just instantly ended up) on a dwarf planet/large asteroid. The thing apparently could be circumnavigated on foot in 2 days so it mustn't have been more than say 25 miles in diameter. It was bleak and gray like the moon but there were large patches of green "forests?" on the sides of the mountains.

And this place indeed had some huge mountains. The surface was littered with massive cliffs and crags spiraling, in some cases, to almost a mile in height. Yeah! It must have looked like the spiked ball on a ball and chain mace from just beyond its orbit.

We had to decide where we were going to camp (or perhaps permanently live since I think we'd all abandoned any hope of rescue). Oh, I forgot to mention...the planetoid had gravity and an atmosphere equal to that of Earth. Oh, I know that doesn't make sense but it's true. 'Cause, well, after all, it was a fucking dream!

I wanted to live in a nice comfortable valley but as the vegetation (and, I guess, water) was on the hillsides I couldn't. What's more the bottoms of the lowest valleys filled each night with a deadly greenish gas (chlorine, perhaps?). So living on the "sea level" of this place was out.

Well, there was no "sea", so I guess that wouldn't be sea level, maybe "lowest latitude of exposed crust" would be more like it. But would the top layer(s) of dirt be called "crust"? I mean this thing was too tiny to have a molten core and mantle like Earth. It must have been a solid cold hunk of rock throughout. Would it be defined as just a solid cooled core, or would its assumed former layers still be so if just in name only? (These questions keep me up at night folks...I'm such a hopeless geek!)

So I agreed to live on one of the least lofty slopes. And all was good.

Until one day when someone suggested we all gather in a hidden elevator they found. It was built into the interior of the tallest mountain and went straight to the top! We did as they suggested much to my dismay. The elevator shot up like a bullet and before long the silvery doors opened up and we were above the atmosphere on the summit of this rocky crag amidst the stone cold, dead silence and darkness of space.

As we each stepped out of the elevator we were slowly swept away, up and out into deep space. For here, our distance from the "core" of our new home world was too great to sustain gravity's hold on us and the centrifugal force of the dwarf planet's spinning on its axis propelled us on our way.

As I woke, I was slowly drifting in the vast vacuum of space, unaffected by temperature or lack of oxygen, etc. Just peacefully and aimlessly drifting...

Drifting...

Drifting...

Forever.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Rhode Island's Katrina?

It's not really mature or sensitive to make light of peoples' plight during a disaster. But since when have I ever been either.

Check out this video highlighting the predicament of some rather, eh hem, salt-of-the-earth folks (ie. poor people) in West Warwick (Kent County's version of Woonsocket).

Damned Providence Journal site didn't have an embed option but here's the link.

It's like New Orleans of 5 years ago. Only this time the victims are all white.

The interview and accompanying images between timestamps 1:40 and 2:15 are just...well, you'll see...so worth it!

Thank God, at least, they all rescued their cigarettes!

Now someone needs to hose down those filthy elderly people.