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June 14th, 2012

Not My Damn Peanut Butter Too!

While at the grocery store this morning shopping for office snacks, I pick up what I think is a jar of “low fat” peanut butter. “50 percent less fat then regular peanut butter” says the label cheerfully. Peanut butter being a dietary staple, I give the matter some thought. Then I see a logo on the side of the jar that reads, “dry roasted peanut taste”. That ominous phrase “peanut taste” makes me look closer. I notice that nowhere on the jar does it actually say Peanut Butter. So what is this stuff? Ah…the fine print. Yes, it looks like peanut butter, it’s stacked on the shelves right next to the peanut butter, the label says “50 percent less fat then regular peanut butter”, but it is not peanut butter. It is peanut butter spread.


Sol was right…

Okay…you can turn my cheese into cheese food product, you can turn my lemonade into lemonade flavored drink mix, you can turn my potato chips into potato crisps, but this…This is a snack food abomination.   What’ll it be next…chocolate flavored Hershey bars???

Hershey Responds: Consumers Love Our New Fake Chocolate!

Oh shoot me now…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Not My Damn Peanut Butter Too!

April 29th, 2012

Unamused Llama Is Still Unamused

Do not seat these two together at the same table.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Unamused Llama Is Still Unamused

April 28th, 2012

Only Twelve More Years…

Sullivan posts

Tasneem Raja reports on brogramming, “a term that seeks to recast the geek identity with a competitive frat-house flavor”

Oh what a perfect match…frat boys and the computer nerds they used to beat up in grade school. Why has no one thought of this before now I ask you?

…apparently it’s real enough for social-media analytics company Klout: The high-flying Silicon Valley startup came under fire last month for displaying a recruitment poster at a Stanford career fair that asked: “Want to bro down and crush code? Klout is hiring.”

Brogramming.   Brogramming.

That daydream of mine to retire to Key West someday, spend the trailing edge of life lounging by the shore, under the starry night sky, with a margarita, and a cigar, whilst enjoying a bonfire of burning computer books, is looking better and better every year.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Only Twelve More Years…

April 26th, 2012

I’ll Bet This Isn’t Funny Either

[New And Improved!]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on I’ll Bet This Isn’t Funny Either

April 25th, 2012

Notice

I’ll endure a lot of things, but after I’ve worked so hard to earn a person’s trust a thin skin isn’t one of them.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Notice

January 4th, 2010

I Will Never Get Used To Wearing Glasses…(continued)

I discovered last September, while visiting Disney World, that glasses fog when you leave your nice air conditioned hotel room and venture out into the humid Florida summer.   Now it’s winter here in Charm City and I’m discovering that they also fog when you come inside from below freezing into your nice heated and properly humidified little rowhouse.   Damn.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on I Will Never Get Used To Wearing Glasses…(continued)

January 3rd, 2010

Department Of Random Complaining…

Dear Consumer Reports;

Please stop bitching about where they put the cruse control stalk on a Mercedes-Benz. That’s where they’ve always put it. That’s where they’re probably always going to keep putting it. That’s where everyone who drives a Mercedes-Benz expects it to be.

Love, Bruce.

PS: I notice you said the inside door panels flex when you open and close the doors on your top pick Cadillac CTS. And you gave that your top marks? Oh, and the reliability of the car is below average. Please advise: what the hell do you think a luxury car is?

PPS: Who the flying fuck mistakes a column mounted shift selector for the windshield wiper stalk?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Department Of Random Complaining…


Oh…Right…It’s Winter Isn’t It…

What is this I come home from Florida and it’s 19 degrees outside stuff?   I need a telecommute agreement that lets me work in Key West during the winter months…

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

July 13th, 2009

Editing As I Read…How To Cope With Living In A Heterosexual World…

Once upon a time my diet of fiction was huge.  In grade school I was a voracious reader of it, much to the annoyance of my teachers who often caught me at it in class when I should have been paying attention to them.  Once a dour old history teacher of mine, a man who could make World War II seem boring, caught me reading a western behind my text book and berated me for a good ten minutes in front of the whole class.  He demanded to know if my copy of Louis L’amour’s Flint was more important then history class.  It was all I could do to keep from telling him no, just his history class.

But as I have grown older my diet of fiction has dropped severely off.  Where I used to go through one or two fiction books a week, now I’m doing good if I read one or two a year.  It isn’t that I’ve stopped reading altogether.  Far from it.  I read constantly.  Between the web and the few magazines I still subscribe to, my eyes are constantly scanning words.  And I always have a book I am digesting, sometimes several, on the side table in my office with bookmarks carefully inserted.  But these are non-fiction titles.  A history of German-English relations, Death of the German Cousin, by Peter Edgerly Firchow.  A history of Walt Disney Word, Since The World Began, by Jeff Kurtti.  A history of the anti-gay witch hunts of the 1950s, The Lavender Scare, by David K. Johnson.  These are the sorts of books I read now. 

I think I know why, and it’s why I don’t like watching movies all that much anymore, or TV shows that, once again, aren’t non-fictional.  I can watch The Science Channel and The Discovery Channel and The History Channel for hours.  But very little else.  Fiction mostly bores me anymore.

At work, there is a little bookshelf in one corner of the cafeteria where staff can leave books they are finished with, for others to pick up and take home and read.  It’s a kind of informal book exchange.  When I first joined the Institute ten years ago (has it been that long?), it was just a small stack of books on a window ledge.  One day someone had left a few there with a note saying anyone who wanted one could have it.  Over the next few months some books disappeared and others were deposited to take their place.  Eventually the stack outgrew its window ledge and a small bookshelf was installed.

I check it daily, and have even fed from it a time or two.  But as I hardly read any fiction anymore my interest was mostly curiosity as to what my co-workers were reading.  As you might expect, the mix is largely science-fiction and computer technology.  There is an old Word Perfect manual there, and a Turbo-C manual, that have been waiting for a hand to lift them off the shelf and take them home now for almost as long as the exchange has been going.  About half of it cycles quickly and the rest just sits and waits for the recycling bin to come along.  But they’re like me there…loath to toss out a book that might possibly still be useful.

The other day someone left a small collection of science-fiction hardbacks, their dust covers looking almost like new.  But it was older stuff…stuff from my kidhood, when I read it voraciously.  I sorted through them and saw an interesting cover.  It was of an older man sitting in a rocking chair his front porch, reading a book to a companion who stood nearby with a coffee cup in one hand.  The man in the rocking chair seemed to be a farmer of some sort…you could see fields of wheat going off into the distance just off the porch.  His companion was a grey skinned, pointy eared bug-eyed alien.  The two of them were enjoying a restful moment looking over the book the farmer was reading.

I picked it up…it was by Clifford D. Simak titled, Way Station…I’ve never read him…and on a lark brought it home thinking I could always take it back if I got a few pages in and lost interest. 

That’s been my pattern lately with fiction and I know why.  Even back in my kidhood, most of what I read was very light on the romantic interest.  My favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Hal Clement, and others, seldom spoke of that baffling dating and mating game, which suited me fine then, and ironically enough still would, although for a very different reason.  Action writer Alistair MacLean (of Ice Station Zebra and Guns of Navarone fame), whose books I devoured, once averred that the love interest just slowed down the action.  I wondered since if he wasn’t simply, as Clarke was, a gay man who couldn’t bring himself to write about love as he knew it, and simply left it out of his writing altogether, but I read now that he was married twice and had three kids.

Clarke, let it be said, wrote one of the most touching same-sex love stories in science-fiction in Imperial Earth.  But even then he had to make his main character bisexual, not gay and there is a female love interest too.  I pretty much just glossed over those scenes, which were gratefully few.  The scenes between the two male characters had real emotion to them.  Or at least, they did for me.

That’s been my pattern.  I pick up a book that looks interesting and as soon as it gets to the love interest I put it down.  Okay…I get that I’m living in a heterosexual world.  But it is the rare straight writer who can hold my interest while I’m reading about it.  And come to think of it, those writers have all been women.  And as more and more science-fiction writers became comfortable, insisting even, with writing about sex too, I just lost interest.  I suppose I can appreciate that heterosexuals probably don’t want to read about gay sex either.  But it would be nice if their gay neighbors had the same kind of depth to their fiction shelves.  Mary Renault is dead.  Mercedes Lackey only wrote one set of stories featuring a gay male lead.  It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.  But then there was no more.  The various gay authors I’ve read have been mostly one hit wonders, and there is no good gay science fiction to speak of.  None.  Most of what I read these days that is fiction, are yaoi manga from Japan.  I have a bookshelf practically filled with those damn things.

So I picked up this Clifford D. Simak novel hoping that at least it was representative enough of its time that its love interest was minimal.  I got about thirty pages into it when I stumbled upon The Mute Free Spirit Girl In The Woods and thought…yeah…here it comes.  But then I did something, probably out of shear frustration, that I’ve always done when listening to pop music.  I mentally switched around a few pronouns and read it as The Mute Free Spirit Guy In The Woods and kept on reading.  What I found was I could empathize with the main character’s feelings once more, and my interest in the story perked up considerably.  And thus the pages kept turning.

I do this all the time with pop music.  It’s not always easy, particularly with rock songs that are über masculine male meets über feminine female.  But it is do-able.  Sometimes I need to substitute genderless pronouns to make the song make sense.  But in years of doing this, it comes to me almost as second-nature now…

You are all the woman I need
And baby you know it
You can make this beggar a king
A clown or a poet 

…runs through my mind as…

You are all the lover I need
And baby you know it
You can make this beggar a king
A clown or a poet 

…so easily now I hardly think about it.  This is how I cope with living in a world where 99 44/100 percent of the songs about love are songs about heterosexuals in love.  Sometimes I wonder if this is why my imagination is so potent.  I’m constantly re-imagining my pop culture environment to suit myself.  But no…I’ve been a day dreamer since well before puberty.  The imagination has kept me sane all these years.  Or at least, pleasant company. 

So I try this out on Way Station and find myself not putting the book down after all.  It’s more difficult then with rock songs, as I have to buffer the images in my mind as the words create them, then re-build them with the new pronouns, before actually looking at them.  I’m editing it on the fly and taking it in as I’m editing it. 

It’s…do-able, but hard.  With music it’s more the direct emotional content and the words are poetry and their images are meant to free-associate in your mind anyway.  You’re not building any specific image in your mind.  With a novel you are and re-casting an opposite sex love interest as a same-sex one is more mental gymnastics.  And I don’t have the genderless pronoun out I do with rock songs, when explicitly switching gender won’t make any sense.  On the other hand I don’t have to worry about how the words scan to a beat either.  

It is not that much harder, really, then what I do for a living when I’m trying to visualize program flow from computer code.  And I don’t have to do it everywhere in the novel, just when the love interest shows its face.  It’s work…I think it’s cutting my reading speed in half…but as time goes on I’ll probably get mentally faster at it.  As long as it doesn’t involve any actual sex scenes. 

I have a confession to make.  I do this all the time with favorite movies.  Not in real time though…that’s more then even my hyperactive imagination can handle.  But there are titles I could tell you about, some blockbusters, some just little niche films I happen to have liked a lot, that I have recast in my mind, mentally changing a pronoun as it were when the love interest appears, sometimes mentally re-writing huge sections of the plot, to satisfy my need for some reflection of my life and my own romantic desires in the pop culture.  I daydream these rewrites constantly, refining them a little every time I replay them in my head.  With the iPod, I can even daydream them to their actual background scores too.  These are favorite movies, but if you look on my video shelves you won’t see any of them there because I have them all stored inside my head, just the way I want them.

They say gay folk are more creative.  I think that’s more myth then fact, but if there is some truth to it, it’s because we need to be to survive.  We live in a world that is hostile at worst, and uncaring at best.  I wish there was more gay fiction out there.  There are probably tons of good gay writers out there…but it isn’t gay folk who run most of the publishing houses, let alone the Hollywood film studios.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Editing As I Read…How To Cope With Living In A Heterosexual World…

July 6th, 2009

Your Business Model Isn’t Working

I saw the other day that Sirius/XM has an iPhone app.  Neat, I thought.  Until naturally I saw the details.  It’s extra, on top of a subscription fee that I have been wondering for months now why I keep paying.

Oh I know…mostly.  It’s for OutQ…the only gay radio station on the planet.  Well…there’s a German one I found using Wunder Radio.  But it only plays dance music.  At least it doesn’t have the inane chit-chat programs that OutQ does.  The only thing I ever listen do on OutQ these days is Signorile.  And he’s the only reason I’d want Sirius on my iPhone.  I have tons of other music and talk options on the iPhone.  I don’t need Sirius for either one.

So to ask me to pay extra above and beyond the normal subscription price is more then too much to ask.  When I first signed up Sirius had a lot of content I liked.  They’ve systematically removed or destroyed most of it.  Swing Street is gone.  It became…somehow…the All Frank Sinatra All The Time station.  When they bought XM they brought over its 40s station…but that seems to always play the very worst most saccharine stuff my parent’s generation ever listened to.  I don’t think they’d even bother with it were they still alive.  The Trance channel is only trance part-time these days.  The "New Age" channel became the International Music channel and it really eats toxic waste.  The classical stations never play anything worth listening to.  The sixties channel seems to just play the same set of songs over and over.  I scan the dial and I hear nothing, Nothing, that is worth my time.  In the car these days, I mostly listen to my iPod/iPhone, or the CD player. 

Why am I paying money for this?  Well…because it’s still handy to have when I travel cross-country.  But only barely.  I can plug my iPhone into the car stereo and hit "shuffle" and hear more songs I like then I can on Sirius.  For hours at a time now I am listening to the iPod while driving.

Hey Sirius…bring back Sunset Cruise and I might reconsider.  I’d take that to mean you are taking your gay listeners seriously again.  Sunset Cruise was this sweet little call-in show where gay folk would call and dedicate a song to the one they love.  They ran it Sunday evenings and it was a perfect way to end the week.  I used to listen to it while I was drawing the weekly political cartoon for my web site.  It was just the thing I needed to remember why the struggle was worthwhile, and life was good after all.  It’s DJ, Pat Marino, has set up his own Internet broadcast Here, called The Heartbeat Cafe’.  If he was still doing Sunset Cruise on Sirius I wouldn’t hesitate to add that iPhone app to my subscription.  But you seem to think the kind of raunchy talk you hear constantly on Derek and Romaine is all gay people want to listen to. 

If there were no OutQ I wouldn’t even bother subscribing.  But its programming is way too narrowly focused on an urban gay stereotype that isn’t most gay people.  It had more bandwidth a few years ago.  But then, your entire channel line-up had more variety then it does now.  You are not competing with broadcast radio anymore.  You are competing with the iPhone and iTunes and the Internet.  And just like the newspapers, you are loosing because you are stuck in an old business model and you keep thinking you can drag your customers back into it somehow and you can’t.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Your Business Model Isn’t Working

December 23rd, 2008

Today Is Festivus…Air Your Grievances Here

To the ersatz friend who couldn’t be bothered to introduce me to, or even give me a contact lead on the cute single gay guy who he told me sounded like a perfect match for me: In your next life may you be as lonely as I was in this one.  Then maybe you’ll appreciate the fantastic luck you’ve had in this one enough to understand why what you did hurt so much.

To the ersatz friend who told me I was too homely to get the kind of boyfriend I wanted: Swear to god I had no idea you were so shallow.

To my idiot neighbors who park multiple large vehicles on our street, and the occasional broken down boat trailer, without a shred of thought for the other people who live here: This isn’t the suburbs jackass, and Redfern Avenue isn’t your own private driveway.  Check your deed in case you are confused about that.  Need more parking space?  Put it in your back yard.

To the morons who drag shopping carts full to overflowing to the self checkout counters…oh…wait…I dealt with them in a previous post didn’t I…?

To the jackass neighbor across the alley from me with the bright motion activated spotlight: If you have that thing out there to light up your backyard then I have a suggestion…try pointing it at…you know…your back yard, not up in the sky where it can shine into my bedroom windows like a goddamned searchlight.  Or are you watching for incoming enemy bombers too?

To the careless nitwit at the Valley Motors body shop who didn’t bother checking my rear bumper for structural damage when I brought the car in after it was rear ended: I hope your car drops a connecting rod into your lap while you’re passing a slow tractor trailer up a steep hill on a narrow country road in the only passing zone for the next 20 miles.

More cheerful Festivus complaining can be found Here

to the s/o:fark your xbox 360! i’m in the farkING ROOM with you. Talk to me!! Put down the goddarned controller and have a CONVERSATION with me! Look at me! Notice that i am in the ROOM with you, or cooking for you, or cleaning your house or doing your laundry! TELL ME ABOUT YOUR farkING DAY!!! Am i not WORTHY of your time because i’m not an RPG or a FPS or an RTS? How about when we do watch TV together, you turn of G4/TECHtv’s xbox360 video game review shows and watch something other than Adam Sessler????

The Nevada unemployment office, chase bank, the T.V. theme from Duck Tales, and Nevada drivers who text while they drive can all go straight to hell.

To my upstairs neighbors: Turn down your classic rock, if I hear Taking Care of Business one more time I will destroy your fuse box with an axe, giggling like a school girl the entire time.

To the middle aged harpies in the grocery store: If I’m pregnant, my stomach IS NOT there for you to touch at will. If you didn’t put it there, don’t touch it.

To my asshole boyfriend who lied to me this morning so he could get out of going to my OB appointment….so glad I spent hundreds of dollars and many hours shopping for your Christmas desires so you could could hide your balls and not be a part of the pregnancy YOU WANTED. The toilet was scrubbed with your toothbrush this morning, again…after I smooshed a fly with it. ASSHOLE.

To my sister: The thing that all your shiatty boyfriends have in common with each other is you.

To my mom: who forces me to attend church on Christmas Eve. I’ve told you a billion times, "I don’t believe that farking virgin birth story." Also, having a Starbucks & a Chick-fil-a inside your church is just WRONG and it’s sad that you can’t see that!!

To my brother: I swear to Ceiling Cat, if you don’t stop giving me a hard time about being a vegetarian, I will kick you in the nads.

To my roommate: I hate your boyfriend and I want him off my couch. Get rid of him and we can be friends again.
To my roommate’s boyfriend: STFU. No one cares what you have to say about EVERYTHING. And get off my couch. And for that matter, my rooommate.

…and so much more!  Festivus will officially end later tonight when Bruce is pinned to the ground during the Feats Of Strength by a trash bag full of old computer manuals he is taking to the recycling drop-off…

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

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