I like stuff.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Yes yes.

No matter how random things might become. No mattter how stupid it might get.

When all is said and done, I still feel like I won.

Even if it's the small victory. Even if it's the call of the simpleton.

I win, even if that wasn't what I'd ever hoped for.

Come on, prove me wrong, I dare you.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fieldtrip and a flashback

So I went out for a drive today...

It's been almost half a year since all of the Diedrich's on this side of the county shut down. Been missing it.

I've also been busy working on another project that I hope to have done in the next day or two, so until then, here's a repost from the forgotten blog archives, from roughly three years ago.

It's another spin off an old favorite, Erik vs. Newspaper Peddlers.

Out having a cigarette, some guy walks by and asks if I'd seen a kid selling newspapers. Told him "Not recently." (accurate. a year or so ago I got one of the "Hi, I'm from a low class neighborhood and I'm selling newspapers to go to college" types.) So here's the usual handler. Wonder where all the kids are.

Go back inside. A little while later, I hear a muffled knock as a kid knocks on my neighbor's door. Looked through the peephole to see some nondescript kid trying to hand the chinese lady next door her "free paper." Wander off to tell Amanda that the newspaper kids are back.

Look through the peephole again. The woman is now holding the paper, clearly trying to give it back to the kid. Looking upset. Resolve not to answer my door when the kid tries, even though the lights are clearly on.

minutes pass.

Look again. Still trying to get rid of the paper. Still upset. Kid still repeating the same lines.

minutes pass. (Ain't TV time grand?)

Look again. Kid is still there. Woman getting really frazzled now. I think that I shouldn't do this, but I go out.

Erik: Hey, she doesn't want the paper. I've heard you out here for a while now, and she clearly isn't interested. So just take your free sample and go try somebody else's door.
Kid: But she's about to say yes!
Erik (to neighbor lady): Do you want the paper?
Neighbor: No.
Erik (takes the paper): Then close your door and have a good night. (hands paper to kid) Here's your paper back, go try someone else.
Kid: Man, why'd you have to interrupt like that, she was about to say yes!
Erik: It's after nine already. Too late for this. Just go.
Kid: Man, that's fucked up.

So I'm having a hard time judging how pissed off the kid was. Clearly enough not to offer me the special subscription rate. Probably not enough to throw a rock through a window or come back.

I'm a little paranoid about that latter situation, but I'm currently rationalizing it that I've seen these types before. There's always a guy with a van who brings in a few strapping lads to canvas the complex with their high-pressure tactics. Eventually he rounds them all back up and I presume drives off to the next apartment cluster. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. So these kids have probably seen all sorts of doors lately, and I'd be surprised if the worst they had was some would-be samaritan blow a sale for them. Probably don't even pick out one complex from another anymore.

If I was an educated man, I'd say these kids are probably runaways that do this for room and board. School fundraisers don't drive kids around in vans, right?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Things that look like food but aren't.

Not Food.

I have a friend that seems to be really into the idea of plushie food (example: mypapercrane) I think this might be something that I'll never quite understand, but I suppose it's still somewhat less mysterious than "plushie organ transplants" or "plushie adult toys".

Somehow, in the context of GM food, the chemical stew that is much of what's sold on store shelves, and the occasional story regarding E-Coli outbreaks, fiberfill and googly-eyes are a fairer sight.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Rut.

"Fate has a funny way of knowing what you bring
One shot, one chance is yours for changing everything
It all seems so perfect now, it all seems like you're impressed
And given half the chance you'd know it works out for the best

This wasn't up to me but the damage is already done
Let me introduce myself: you're in the presence of a brand new number one"
-Tub Ring

So this was a thought first verbalized the other night while on the phone with a friend, but I suspect it's been bouncing around for a little bit, and perhaps it is time to develop it a bit.

I'm in something of a rut. After several rounds fighting the alarm clock and its evil, evil "snooze" button, it's straight into the routine:
  • Get up.
  • Brush the teeth.
  • Get presentable. (as much as is feasible, anyhow)
  • Throw on some clothes.
  • Turn on the computer.
  • Check email and a few websites.
  • Pet the cat.
  • Scoop up the contents of pockets from yesterday and load up.
  • Grab the badges so I can get past the gates at work.
  • Lock the door.
  • Drive to Starbucks and order a "Large Iced Coffee, unsweetened, no room." (I just can't bring myself to say "Venti", but at least I stopped arguing with them. Give 'em a couple bucks. Throw the change into the tip jar.
  • Back in the car.
  • On the freeway. Merge at roughly the same place every day.
  • Brake as traffic bunches up at roughly the same place every day.
  • Get to work. Park.
  • Put on Badge #1. Grab Ipod. Stash phone. Lock car.
  • Walk 15 paces toward gate.
  • Walk back to car and check to make sure I rolled up the windows.
  • Walk to gate. Realize I forgot to pack something for lunch, again.
  • Drop off coffee and Ipod at desk. Go check to see who else is around.
  • Work.
  • Eat lunch.
  • Work.
  • Drive home, usually stopping at a grocery store or Trader Joe's for the evening's meal.
  • Sit in front of the computer for a couple hours, reading email, checking forums, watching stupid things on youtube, whatever.
  • Eat.
  • Optional activity: Go for a walk. Draw. Drool. Whatever.
  • Check to see if anything new is on the Tivo. Watch an hour or so if it seems interesting.
  • Go to bed too late.
  • Lather
  • Rinse
  • Repeat
And with the rare exception, that's my week. The weekend comes and goes in a flash, with variations involving "not work", "trying to do something creative", "trying to get out more", or "vowing that I'll get to things like cleaning the apartment next weekend."

So it goes.

To some degree, it feels like I've got nothing to look forward to. You know that relative time concept where expectation of the future makes it feel like ages before it'll get here? Like a kid waiting for Christmas, or a birthday, or summer vacation. Yeah, I look forward to the weekend, and by the time it's here, it's almost already gone.

So what've I got right now? I got through high school. I got through college. I got some job. I'm thankful for these things, and thankful that I've got a roof to sleep under, food to eat, and don't really spend much time trying to figure out how to make ends meet. I'm blessed in that regard, but there's only so much life-enrichment that comes of that.

Many of my friends live far enough away that I don't get to see them very often. Some are married or having kids and moving on to the next stage. Some are just good folk that I've met through this intarweb thingy and never in person. It's enough to make you feel sort of disconnected.

Maybe I'm reaping the effect of all of those years of care-free goal-less "Why plan beyond tomorrow?" living. Maybe it's time to start thinking about "What comes next?" so that I can start working toward it, and maybe even slow down the clock again waiting in anticipation to see the benefit of efforts.

Damnit, I'd like to say I achieved something more important this year than entering my fourth decade.


(see also, "Bust that Cycle")

Sunday, May 20, 2007


So last thursday was a friend's birthday. Got some of the other internet types to help me out and we made him a video that can be seen here.

Big fun to be had by all, except it turned out it was another friend's birthday the same day and I missed it. So I got the crowd back together and made another video, and this one can be seen here.

I'm almost caught up with all this birthday nonsense.

And, of course, there's growing pressure for me to start a video blog. Which I'm not entirely sold on yet, especially considering the sporadic nature here, but I've not ruled out the possibility.

If you think this is the sort of thing you might want to get in on, go check out The ORG

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Repost: IKEA Nesting Instinct

Ok, so in the blog consolidation effort, I left behind a lot of material that may never see the light of day again. Here's an example from just a little over a year ago:

Well, having given the girl my futon when she moved out, I found myself with a pretty substantial cavity in my living room. So for the first week, I piled up a bunch of the girl's refuse stuffed animals and whatnot (I think I paid for most of 'em. They might as well had some utility before they hit the dumpster) so that I could sit in only minor discomfort while getting my bi-weekly television fix. (With all the PBS cooking shows and the new Doctor Who episodes, I gotta keep that tivo clean)

So, I enlisted the help of a cow-orker that owns a truck, and we went off to IKEA today to find me a new couch. And we tested all of them. The entire leather line was thrown out of the competition on general principle. Maybe I've never sat on a really nice leather couch, or at least never acknowledged it, but the IKEA-grade of leather furniture seemed little different from the highest of the high end "pleather" or vinyl stuff. There's no way I'm paying a premium for something I'd have to peel myself off of on a hot day, and yet still be compelled to treat it as if it were a fragile little thing of beauty. Forget that noise. So we sat on everything else, much of which was immediately discarded as "I could build this myself out of cinder blocks and phonebooks, it's that comfortable!" or the "I think they used the complementary airline pillow design philosophy for this one: Three sheets of kleenex in a sanitary slip cover."

There were a couple that passed both the comfortable test, and one was easily deemed the most comfortable couch they had there:

R: "Damn, this is pretty comfortable."
E: "I concur."
R: "But what's up with the color?"
E: "The tag says it's brown."
R: "It looks purple."
E: "But the tag! The tag, I say!"
R: "It's kinda ugly."
E: "They usually have some stock colors. Lemme go find IKEA sales guy and see if they've got it in blue."
E: "I think I might want to buy that couch. Is it in stock, and do you have it in your standard navy blue?"
ISG: "No. It only comes in brown."
(oh no, a dead milkmen flashback:

We went to the Phillie Pizza Company
And ordered some hot tea
The waitress said "Well no
We only have it iced"
So we jumped up on the table
And shouted "anarchy"
And someone played a Beach Boys song
On the jukebox
It was "California Dreamin'"
So we started screamin'
"On such a winter's day"

....ok, enough of that)
E: "Huh. Brown, you say. I guess we'll keep looking."
So we examined the next-most-comfortable couch, and it too, was pretty comfortable.
R: "So how about this one?"
E: "It's not bad. I like that other one better."
R: "It's ugly."
E: "Yeah, I know. But it was darn comfortable."
R: "This one's pretty good."
E: "It's also nearly three times the cost of that other one."
R: "Still cheaper than what I paid for my couch."
E: "Yeah, but you bought yours from a department store, and even if was marked down due to going out of business, I gotta say: that other couch was more comfortable."
R: "Still cheaper..."
E: "How long is this couch? 12 feet? I don't think it'll even fit in my place."
R: "Did you measure your wall?"
E: "I can't be bothered by silly things like actually knowing the dimensions of stuff. Count yourself lucky I remembered to look up directions to this place *before* we left."
R: "I think it might fit."
E: "I really don't think it will. Sure, I can have a nice couch, but I'll never be able to leave my apartment again because the door will be blocked. So at best, when the cat and I finally starve to death, I can die knowing that I got to expire in luxury."

So we made another circuit of the sofa & armchair department, briefly considering a pair of recliners instead before deciding they too were incapable of measuring up to the comfort of the ugly couch, not to mention that the price would've suggested just going with expensive couch anyhow. Well, that and my unspoken reasons that buying matching recliners was probably more wishful thinking (that one wouldn't go completely unused most of the time) as well as a component of the Ricardo-separate-bed phenomenon: You just can't cuddle on a recliner, and even if you manage to, you probably wouldn't want to. Granted, I've got no cuddling prospects lined up, but I'm surely not going to preclude the opportunity with something as trivial as a furniture purchase.

Everything kept leading back to the ugly couch.

E: "It's just so much more comfortable than everything else."
R: "It looks weird."
E: "Yeah, but if it turns out to be that hideous, I can always buy a slip cover for it or something."
R: "That'd be annoying."
E: "Well let's get logical. This couch is currently under fluorescent lights and tucked between Screamin' Red Polyurethane Thing and Pea Soup Awful Cordoroy thing. It's hard to gauge anything in that context. Besides, if the worst that happens is I end up buying it, and I'm stuck with an ugly couch. An ugly couch that is better-priced and more comfortable than everything else we're seeing here. Utilitarianism wins. I'd rather have something that is affordable and functional.I'm going to go find IKEA sales guy again."

So they wrote me up, things got paid for, and we loaded the identical twin of the floor model into his truck. Drove it back, dumped it in the apartment, and drove off to get some lunch. Came back, stripped off the layers of industrial plastic wrap and set it up.

R: "Actually, it looks pretty good."
E: "Different lighting, and I think it's growing on me."
R: "I'm not saying your decor is bland, but it's the only real color in here. It looks nice."

So I'm declaring victory. Sure, it isn't something I would've picked out normally, but it works. It's a good couch. I broke it in by taking a nap on it (while watching this week's PBS episode of American Experience (it was about the boy in the bubble), and the cat even joined me. She's sleeping on it right now, in fact.

But this leads me to a different problem: I'm proud of this and I fear I'm falling in line with the Palahniuk-inspired concept of the "IKEA nesting instinct." I've boasted about my couch acquisitiion to a few people already, and I've even caught myself saying stuff in line with the quote: "That's it. That's the last sofa I'm gonna need. Whatever else happens, I got that sofa problem handled."

But I don't think that's what my excitement is all about. Sure, I got a good deal on a manufactured good that I'm happy with. The more pertinent concept is that this is the first purchase I've made in a long time for myself. No compromise. No arguments. No shelling out dough for something I was secretly unhappy with. I went to buy a couch, and it was a fucking win on all fronts.

And that feels pretty nice right about now.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Like a Wolf.

Monday, May 14, 2007


So it's been over a year since my last relationship crashed and burned. When it happened, I told myself that I was going into dating exile, figuring that one doesn't crawl out of that crater and immediately jump into something else without carrying a lot of baggage along for the ride. Maybe if you're talking nine weeks, iffy if you're talking nine months. But you're just asking for trouble when the order of magnitude is in the neighborhood of nine years.

So I spent some time being a weird guy, sorting through all the emotional cruft and whatnot, and have slowly been coming out of it.

Unfortunately, the way my life's been going lately, the only time I seem to meet new people is at work, and I tend to think that anything there would just be troublesome (No fishing off the company pier, Don't dip your pen into the company inkwell, etc.)

Along the way, someone gave me some advice saying "Do cool stuff, and you'll meet cool people"

So I said, "Hey, I can do cool stuff! I'll do that!"

I was speaking with a friend last week who clarified it a little (somewhat paraphrased) "Yes, drawing, blogging, music, whatever. But you're not going to meet nearly so many people until you figure out something cool to do OUTSIDE OF YOUR APARTMENT, you idiot"

Somehow, this almost makes sense to me.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

This one's for a friend.

And so is this one.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


So I've been trying to organize my apartment and get rid of some of the detritus I've accumulated over the years, and instead I found a tone generator and my sampler and I'm thinking of how to incorporate them into the current rig.

Stupid brain.

Hey, the sampler takes old PCMCIA memory cards. I wonder if I could fake it into using an old compact flash card with an adapter. I wonder where my adapter is.

Stupid brain.

Panic on the Streets

I'm not a big webcomic reader, but when I read about stuff like this, I do wonder where we're going.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

For consideration

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


After several years of living here, I finally saw Bob for the first time.

He'd be the resident skunk of the apartment complex.

Cute little bugger.