Unauthoritative Pronouncements

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Stop Talking

I sent a tweet to all of my followers to stop tweeting about something I do not like.

Read that sentence again. Doesn’t it sound absolutely ridiculous? Who would want to say that sentence? Who would want to own up to that sentence being an actual activity they performed?

I did it, and I’m terribly ashamed of it.

I don’t barge in to a room full of people and yell, “Stop talking about football!” or “Shut up about The Golden Globe Awards!” Instead I wait out the conversation, subtly change the subject, or I leave the room. Why would Twitter be any different than that? Why should I get to scold people for talking “too much” about something I have absolutely no interest in? These days, I just scroll past. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to scroll. Problems will literally slide away.

This weekend was full of people I follow complaining about people they follow. I do not want to scold these people, because it’s really about a collective improvement in attitude and understanding, than specific actions.

Every time I feel compelled to complain about someone else’s interests, I reflect on the last few things I have talked about. Maybe I talked about computers, maybe it was a local news story, maybe it was Star Trek, maybe it was a dumb joke — Whatever it was, there is someone out there that was not enjoying it. I find that thing, I hold on to it, and it keeps me from standing on a soap box and shouting at people. I selected to follow whole people, not a topic-based mailing list, or a bunch of clones.

However, it is still very important to disagree with people; to have a discussion about certain things. That is best left to directed conversation, not broadcasts. Instead of aimless shouting, I talk specifically with someone about a topic I am in disagreement with. Maybe with two or three people.

It can feel good to let out a big, passive-aggressive tweet about a thing you have no interest in, mocking the interest “all” these other people have in it, but it’s not something people like to receive. I feel ashamed of reacting so poorly to situations in the past, and I would not want people to feel the same way.

Having said all that: Stop talking about football.

2014-01-13 22:59:47

Category: text

Andrew J Cast: The Show Must Go On


I hope the 4th wall has an insurance plan with a low deductible.

I appeared in Andrew J Cast episode 17: A Glorious Phoenix. It was about my Terrible Podcast Screenplays. He has been hounding me for one since the first day of his podcast. Unfortunately, he ended his podcast at episode 21. I technically have the longest episode of the podcast, and may have killed it.

2014-01-09 23:19:56

Category: text

Not my Cup of Coffee

Yesterday afternoon Tonx (a service that ships you freshly roasted beans on a fixed schedule) announced a new program to allow people to exchange their Starbucks gift cards for Tonx coffee instead. This is an interesting program for people that like Tonx coffee. Those people proceeded to evangelize it for the next 24+ hours over Twitter.

I don’t particularly care for Tonx coffee. I tried it and convinced myself I did, for a time, until I realized I had bags of coffee beans I didn’t want to drink. That doesn’t mean that those people that enjoy Tonx should not tweet about it, or that I should say something horribly rude about Tonx — I would never want to make someone feel bad about something they like just because I don’t share their enthusiasm.

What actually happens is that I feel insecure about not sharing in this euphoria. Many of the people talking about the Tonx offer are people that I deeply respect in the podcasto-techno-blogo-sphere. I get these momentary pangs of guilt whenever I do not like something that they enjoy. There is something wrong with my taste, and I am inferior.

I have gotten much better about reconciling this recently. I don’t like everything my friends like. I don’t like everything my family likes. If they recommend something to me, I am likely to take their recommendation seriously, but I don’t feel bad if I don’t like what they’ve recommended. I realized that the reason I feel bad about the blog-tech-pod-onians is because I feel like I’m disliking something in a dish they cooked for me. As if Myke Hurley has baked me a button mushroom casserole and I have to tell him I don’t like button mushrooms. Instead, I eat the casserole, all of it. “This is so good. My fave. Love it times infinity — plus one,” I say.

It is fine to not like something. I can even say, “Thanks, but I don’t like this.” Because we’re all adults. Myke Hurley will not cry. Marco Arment will not drive over me with his M5. Jason Snell will not ban me from computers. Merlin Mann will not eat me. Same goes for anyone else. Nothing bad will happen at all. Be respectful, enjoy a free trial (you may like it), and don’t worry about it if you don’t.

Tonx was not suitable for me, but it could be suitable for others. We are not all one hive mind, and our tastes in these matters are our own. When Nate Boateng stated he didn’t like Tonx, Linus Edwards and I agreed. Linus also seemed to feel like there was something wrong with him for not liking it. I said to him:

@LinusEdwards @nateboateng It’s not about being a coffee nerd. Tons of other roasters are still in business. It’s OK to not like something. >

I leave you with this parting thought: The title of this post was almost “Not my Cup of Joe”, because I love puns. You may not love that pun, and that is fine.

2014-01-09 21:25:09

Category: text

Vlcnr.app released



My review:

I don’t write many app reviews. In fact, I’m startled at how big the text is in this field. Silly iOS 7.

Speaking of iOS, this application cinches the platform’s place in history. With Vlcnr in the App Store, humanity had reached it’s peak.

Which is good. Because we at Vlcnr are coming for you.

Oh my. I’ve already said too much.

Love, Your CTO and friend*

2014-01-06 17:01:50

Category: link

Yet Another End of the Year

I don’t know why you are reading this Yet-Another-End-of-the-Year blog post, but I know why I am typing it. I need to type it because I need to think about it, and these days, the two have become the same thing (more on that later). I’ve been inspired by Chris Gonzales, and Matt Alexander to put finger to character. 2012, and 2013, were not especially good years for me. I don’t want to dwell on the negatives, but there were two events that shaped each of those years. I was laid off (that’s both of them). It is a very dramatic way to put it though because I was hired back both times. The revelation is that my work has become almost seasonal. It was always project based, but It was nearly seven years before I experienced the first layoff, and a year later I experienced the second. I am currently working, so don’t get too sad. It does appear it will happen in 2014 as well, and the cycle will repeat.

As a result of this, I find myself preoccupied with who I am outside of the work that I do. If I have only my work to define me, then I’ve been a nobody for 6 months of the last 24. Working hard doesn’t make me a better person, just more employable. Now it doesn’t spare me from being an unemployed “nobody”. There are still people that choose to measure me in that way, during those times. “Are you looking?” They’ll ask. “Have you considered…?” They’ll offer. To them, work is who you are, and who you are is your work, so you aren’t a person if you aren’t currently working.

In 2013, I did a much better job handling the “time off” than I did in 2012. In 2014, I’d like to think I will improve further in this area. Nothing bad happened to me in 2012, or 2013, as a result of it. Lack of a current job doesn’t mean I am not a person that’s doing well, in the grand scheme of things.

There have also been positive events that have come about because of my unemployment this year. I had been using work as an excuse to procrastinate telling my family about someone that’s been integral to my life for four years. July 2013 was that four year mark. It is now something I don’t need to deal with in 2014, at year five.

2013 was also the year I started exploring interests in a semi-productive way. I finally started work on a novel I had been kicking around in my head. It is languishing now, at the end of the year, but at least it’s been started. At least I stopped using the excuse that I would procrastinate as a justification not to begin. A constant problem for me, no matter the year.

My love of film flamed out a bit over the last few years. It was rekindled this past year in the oddest way, through podcast reviews I wrote on the iTunes Store. Podcasts are things my friend Jason tried to get me in to for many years, and I kept complaining that I didn’t have time, and couldn’t listen while I worked. I started to find time in 2011, and listened all through 2012 to one of the greatest podcasts of all time, Hypercritical (RIP), but it wasn’t until 2013 that I realized I was hooked on hearing these people talk in my ear every week. It doesn’t even matter what they talk about, most of the time, I enjoy the company (I am not lonely, see the fourth paragraph.)

I posted before about how much fun it was to write the podcast reviews this year. It really has turned out to be a highlight of 2013, which is very peculiar since they obviously don’t earn me any money. It’s a silly hobby, but it is creatively fulfilling in a bizarre way that I was totally unprepared for. The idea of writing what amounts to a very, short film for an audio-only podcast, let alone several short films for several audio-only podcasts, is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever done. Particularly the 42 page one that was done on a dare.

The podcasters that have contacted me have been nothing but kind, even though they didn’t even need to say anything at all. I don’t dismiss their graciousness in the least. Zac and Andrew are great fun, especially. Myke and Matt have been very encouraging along the way as well.

This culminated with Andrew asking to interview me for his daily podcast program. I was caught off guard, and I politely indicated that it would be a bad idea. Who am I to go on a podcast? I wound up doing it, and I’m not sorry I did. It was scary though, seeing the tweets come in, to have “followers” from what amounts to rambling. I don’t see what I have to offer them, but there they are. I keep feeling like I should apologize for being mentioned anywhere. Andrew even talked about me in a “thank you” episode along with all these important people. I’m pretty sure I blushed, but I didn’t check in a mirror.

There is no way to “pivot” this Terrible Podcast Screenplay Tumblr in to a job, and I would be sleaze if I did, but perhaps it has made me think that I might be able to find a creative outlet for these repressed interests.

Strangely, I am also learning through this process about writing screenplays; something I didn’t think I would be doing in 2013, let alone 2014. My degree is in fine arts, computer animation for god’s sake. I’m no writer, but maybe I can learn, keep learning.

Towards the end of this year, my interest in film consumption has risen. Like someone stricken by food poisoning, I’m finding an appetite again (sorry, but it’s a perfect metaphor).

One of my favorite things I’ve seen all year is Europa Report. It isn’t technically amazing, like Gravity, but it has an honest, independent heart to it. A small production putting together a tight, well-executed film. Independence is something I want to think on further next year.

2012 was the year I lost my job for the first time. 2013 is not the year I lost my job a second time, it is the year I found out my job didn’t define, or limit me. Here’s to whatever 2014 holds, cin cin!

2013-12-31 00:06:00

Category: text

Terrible Podcast Screenplays


I listen to a lot of podcasts. Mostly ones that migrated from 70 Decibels (RIP) to 5by5. Back in July, The Incomparable was having a contest asking for people to submit iTunes reviews for the podcast in order to be entered in a random drawing. I didn’t have to write anything complicated at all, but I took it as a bit of a challenge, and I did.

I picked apart every in-joke, and reference, from the show and assembled it in to silly fan fiction. It was so ridiculously incomprehensible I had to submit it. As a review, it is incredibly unhelpful to people that have not listened to many, many, many episodes.

I took it up as a bit of a side project to review subsequent podcasts in a similar way, uniquely styled by the in-jokes and references, of each podcast. The Menu Bar is a podcast with it’s own premise of being in an imaginary bar, so I started there. Bionic is a podcast where they had a bit of a nutty renaissance a few months ago, and they crafted their own super villain mythos centered on technology executives.

What I did not anticipate is that both The Menu Bar, and Bionic, would try to reenact their reviews on the air within one week of each other. It was entertaining for me, to say the least.

In the episode where Myke Hurley (host of many podcasts) read the silly thing, he said that they should have screenplays submitted for a fake movie. Naturally, I couldn’t resist a challenge so I wrote 40 pages of mostly garbage just to say I’d done it. 40 pages is also not any where near the length of an actual film screenplay, but it’s 40 pages more than I probably should have written.

I did some fake ad spots for The Menu Bar again, because they were complaining about a lack of sponsors. It was just straight parody of typical spots on other networks.

I did the CMD+Space and Accidental Tech Podcast reviews next. I am not entirely satisfied with CMD+Space’s - and it seems someone at Apple isn’t either since it hasn’t posted to iTunes yet. ATP’s got a very profuse thank you from Casey Liss, the star of the fake screenplay. The premise was that he is constantly badgered about who he is, and why what he has to say matters. So I made him an action hero in a unique situation.

While at home sick yesterday, I collected all the reviews and formed a Tumblr with the entries backdated to the time of their original publication. I suppose I could have watched TV.

Last night, while I was hopped-up on generic ‘Tussin’, I wrote the review for The Prompt. Initially, it was going to be about swapping the nationalities of the hosts, since nationalism plays a major part in jokes on the podcast. Instead, I opted to go with something more like a This is Spinal Tap mockumentary, or Parks and Rec. It turned out much better than I hoped.

I eventually want to tackle Back 2 Work, but I’ll need to think on that problem for a little while. It is easy to ape Merlin’s words, but the way he thinks is almost alien (I mean that in a Nice™ way).

2013-12-11 11:38:00

Category: link

Some Context for Our Upcoming Bombing Campaign



Paul Waldman at The American Prospect points out that nearly every American president eventually bombs something. And on average, we’ve bombed another nation at least once every 40 months since 1963. “If you’re wondering why people all over the world view the United States as an arrogant bully, reserving for itself the right to rain down death from above on anyone it pleases whenever it pleases, well there you go.”

2013-08-30 20:33:46

Category: link

5by5 | Back to Work #124: The Tuesday Afternoon Version of Me


I listen to Back to Work a lot. This week, I heard Merlin talk about his ongoing jury experience. I couldn’t help but draw connections, and parallels to my own experience. I strongly encourage you to listen to his very honest feelings he’s had about the experience.

Last November, I served for a month at the Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse on Hill Street. Like Merlin, I don’t live anywhere near this particular courthouse. Unfortunately, instead of taking “Muni” I needed to drive. Instead of reading comic books, I was listening to podcasts.

Merlin managed to encapsulate my feelings on wanting to leave, but still being honest, and it makes you sound like a perfect juror. I was never, at any point, anything other than honest in that courthouse. I saw people weaseling out of jury duty and I didn’t want to be them. People say crazy things to get out of jury duty.

Even after that, I did not anticipate the intensity of the case. The lives ruined by it. My month of my life was small potatoes.

Much like Merlin is doing right now, I looked for the opportunities around me in an area of the city I rarely visited. I parked in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which is a sight to behold as the light dances across the surface through the day. There has never been, and will never be a photo that captures that building. I went to markets, Little Tokyo for iced coffee shops and pork katsu curry, and I discovered the best lunch for your money is the Colburn School of Music’s cafeteria. I also figured out some insane surface streets through Arlington Heights (a place I didn’t know existed).



Boom. You’re welcome.

2013-06-27 23:40:00

Category: link

Proposed L.A. tax deal would help fund new Westfield mall



The Los Angeles City Council is weighing a major package of financial assistance for shopping mall developer Westfield just days after the company helped stage a black-tie gala attended by city leaders at Los Angeles International Airport.

Westfield is asking the city to help its Village at Westfield Topanga project, a west San Fernando Valley development that would house a 158-room hotel, a Costco, new office space, and an array of stores and restaurants.

The proposal, which comes up for a City Council vote Wednesday, calls for Westfield to keep up to 42% of the net new tax revenue generated by the project, or nearly $59 million over a 25-year period, according to city officials.

Meanwhile, our schools are suffering from underfunding, our public transportation is suffering from underfunding, our streets are filled with potholes, and our city’s sewage and water infrastructure are in desperate need of repairs.

But, by all means, LA City Council, give $59 million from the taxpayers to a private company to build another fucking mall, because clearly that’s in the best interests of everyone in the City of Los Angles.

2013-06-25 12:34:06

Category: link

Yahoo’s Mayer: we’re committed to monetizing Tumblr | VentureBeat





“Tumblr prides itself on being a home for brands, established and emerging, we at Yahoo are all about brands,” Mayer said on the call.

not to be too too too cynical but I know all the people I follow on Tumblr and all the people who follow me are united in one thing and one thing only: their ravenous enthusiasm for brands. “I came for the sense of a new community, one with a keen feel for the visual but with a passion for language, too,” they say, “but it’s the brands that keep me here. Sweet Christ I love brands. Let the mountains collapse into dust and the oceans all boil, but give me brands,” they cry in the night. I personally remember, as a child, pleading with my parents to let me interface with my favorite brands. And interface we did. With the brands. The glorious, glorious brands

I cried…but I’m not sure why.

Well, I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I’m on my dashboard, I just keep staring at the Radar, hoping like Hell that the next time it refreshes, it’ll have some kind of animated gif for one of those brands I’m so crazy about. 

In fact, I was just punching myself in the junk the other day and saying, “What Tumblr needs is more brands! Why aren’t there more brands on Tumblr to break up the endless stream of original content, clever memes, beautiful pictures, nostalgic photographs, links to things I care about, and that sense of community I get when I read a chain of reblogs?”

I, for one, welcome our new Yahoo brand-delivering overlords … as long as they promise to keep delivering the brands that we all came to Tumblr to be branded by in the first place.

2013-05-30 16:32:28

Category: link