4.22.2007 : 1:41 PM :
I'm taking a sabbatical from blogging for awhile. A long one. Like, you know, two days. My hyperwest domain name costs me $15/month for 100 megs of space. Wait, what? Yeah. I got it in like, 2001 okay? And now they're finally enforcing it so my site goes down. I have like 101.5 megs of info on there. That's like.... well, I'll let you do the math. I'm stupid, I'm overpaying, I know already. Sheesh. Somebody help me out....

So, I'm working on the switchover, the takeover, so until then, I need to figure out how to get my server to another one. Until then, here's some "come follow along" pictures from the last few days. I'm gonna set myself up as a super mobile blogger. No, not mo-blog, but a blogger on the mo(ve)bile.

I think: I blog therefore I think.

everyone's in their underwear  

4.06.2007 : 3:56 PM :
when we were young, george and i would get in trouble for being too shy. we weren't willing to approach strangers for anything. getting directions to the bathroom, how much something cost, we wouldn't do it and would put up quite a fit about it. it wasn't shyness, maybe a fear of authority, maybe who knows what. we just didn't like it and wouldn't do it. my mom used to get pissed at us.

over time, you have those inhibitions beat out of you (not literally) and you become capable of approaching anyone to ask a quick question or two. i figure it's the same sort of process for public speaking. you won't do it, you're afraid of it, then you do it a few times and you realize it's no big deal. strangely, it's been the reverse for me.

i was totally accustomed to public speaking when i was younger; even going so far as to voluntarily subject myself to annual speeches for chinese school. i think when you're young, you have so many recitals, little show-and-tells, and moments of psuedo-embarassment that you just gain a fearlessness. growing up is all about being told to do things. if you're told to go speak in front of the class, you do it. if you're told to go grab your flute to perform, you do it.

then you get older, and wiser. you realize that not everyone will be clapping after you get off-stage, or that your audience isn't automatically friendly or receptive. it dawns on you that it's your job to win people over. you start to see the bored expressions on people's faces. the yawns that tear you apart and make you wonder. public speaking becomes a challenge; and the fear returns.

aside from business meetings or being the best man at a wedding, how many of us have the occassion to participate in public speaking? for most of us, never. so when you have to do it, it's this big fear of "can i do it? won't i look like a fool? do i know what i'm talking about?" again, it just takes practice. you do fifty speeches and you'll become a pro. the problem is, who the hell does fifty speeches?

i've had occassion to speak in front of semi-sized crowds. whether it's just a gathering of volunteers for a culture show, a small library talk about blogging, being on tv for a split second, my dad's funeral, playing the flute for all i'm worth, whatever. each time it's like the only way i can do it is to totally disengage from who i am...

i wait for speech jon to take over. and invariably, the stumbly, hand waving speech jon does take over. it all happens so fast; you're just kind of going along, saying whatever it is you planned to say, and nanoseconds later you're done. stage time is like time travel, ten minutes passes in what seems like five seconds. well, that's fucking great right? just wind up speech jon when i need him and let him go.

the problem however, is that while speech jon is in effect and operating, normal jon is still there. he's watching from the sidelines and evaluating everything. and when speech jon and normal jon has to mind meld for a brief moment, both are knocked out and i'm left bereft of thought.

i wish i could be both normal jon and speech jon at the same time, without having to separate the two. i wish i could stay casual and relaxed like normal jon while doing what speech jon is programmed to do. but i can't. i need to practice telling ideas to other people. i can do it quite well in my own head, but then when i try to explain something to someone, everything seems to get lost in translation. i've been noticing that i do this even when trying to explain a movie, or why i liked a particular book, or something as mundane as that. it's a skill, speech making; transmitting an organized, concise idea to someone else.

it's something i always wish i had. it's not stage fright as much as just general ineptness. if i could stand in front of people and "perform," i could be a slam poet, a (public) karaoke participant, an edcuator, a motivator, a show off, a star.
"yeah, it's sad, believe me, missy, when you're born to be a sissy
without the vim and verve.
but i could show my prowess, be a lion not a mou-ess
if i only had the nerve.
i'm afraid there's no denyin' i'm just a dandelion,
a fate i don't deserve."
-the cowardly lion-

battlefield television  

: 3:00 PM :
it kills me that judd apatow's most successful venture is "40 year old virgin." that was such a crappy movie; now judd's name has been sullied. his actual deserving of accolades masterpiece, freaks and geeks, came out in 1999 but was cancelled after one season; because everything great must die young. his follow up, undeclared (2001), is much sillier and generally not as beloved as freaks and geeks. still, it was a critically lauded show -- and also cancelled after one season.

popular (1999) came out the same year as freaks and geeks, and lasted two seasons. this last point is criminal because despite being a good show, popular is not a classic like freaks and geeks, yet it went on longer. popular probably lasted one season longer than freaks and geeks because it was on the wb, an up-and-coming network who took a few more chances and had a bit more patience. not enough patience however, since popular ended up being cancelled after two seasons; in the middle of a cliff hanger no less, and with a third season originally promised to the creator. too bad, so sad.

having just watched the first disk for both shows, i have to weigh in: which show is better? undeclared or popular?

first, the two shows have separate settings. undeclared is set in college, popular is set in high school. classic college based shows: felicity. classic high school based shows: freaks and geeks, my so called life, wonder years (junior high), and 90210 to an extent. high school shows tend to deal with popularity and how to achieve/maintain it. college shows tend to revolve around finding yourself or looking in the mirror and making that change.

undeclared sort of takes a high school slant on college. the main character, steven, is a dorky guy who is concerned with being cool in college. of course, it doesn't dwell there, otherwise undeclared would just be sam weir gone to university, and they could have called it freaks and geeks 2: still dorky.

but luckily, steven gets laid in the first episode, meets some cool friends, and the whole issue of him not being cool is essentially dropped. the rest of the series starts to segue into slice of life college moments. boyfriend of the girl steven slept with visits; steven needs to find an on-campus job when his dad can't pay tuition; a late night support group of students confined to the common lounge while their roommates get it on, etc.

the problem was, after a few episodes, you had all these characters and amusing situations but there seemed to be no purpose to it all. perhaps it's a meta-critique of college in general, but i doubt it. there was no strong unrequited romance, no strong story arcs, and not enough direction or insight into the characters. sure it was funny, but was that it?

on the other hand, popular sucked me in with shocking revelations at the end of each episode (a technique perfected by grey's anatomy) and the continuity of the characters and situations froced me to continue watching. in the beginning, you don't really see anything fresh in storylines like: will the cool girl and uncool girl get along? can the fat girl become a cheerleader? will the star quarterback choose the school musical over football? but by episode five i was lusting for the second dvd just to know what happens.

popular is your typical cool kids versus uncool kids story. everybody loves the cheerleaders; nobody pays attention to the geeks/weirdos/nerds/fat people. classic tale, can't really fuck it up. the first two episodes of popular were a little rough for me. it was a bit like a high-schooler's ally mcbeal type of show (swinging wildly between silly montages and then "deep" scenes), but with obvious caricatures and stereotypes, and no entirely likable characters. by the third episode however, i was starting to dig the show. it was witty, mean, and they stopped hammering you over the head with big moral punchlines. i liked it. a lot.

i'll probably end up watching both shows through the first season just to get a fuller grasp of everything but i think i like popular better, simply because it has the better lines. if a girl refering to someone as "mary tyler whore" doesn't make you laugh, then we have different senses of humor. undeclared and popular are both definitely comedies first, dramas second (similar to scrubs) and i'm not normally a huge fan of shows like that; i prefer my shows to be witty, observational, touching, and without overt silliness. but hey, both popular and undeclared are light years ahead of anything on television today.

with my so called life in 1994, felicity in 1998, then freaks and geeks, popular, and undeclared in the 1999-2001 range, those seven years may represent the epoch of television teen angst -- before everything became the oc and about who hooked up with whom. throw in gilmore girls, dawson's creek, party of five, plus others i'm surely forgetting, and you're looking at the best era to have been stuck in front of your television -- and stuck you were because it was pre-tivo.

something old, something new  

4.04.2007 : 3:03 AM :
craigslist has a posting of "advice to young men from an old man." some of it is interesting, some of it is rubbish, but here's a few i'd like to highlight and reflect upon.

17. don't speak ill of your wife/girlfriend. back her up against the world, even if she's wrong. she should know that you have her back. when she needs your help, give it. she should know that you'll take her part.
i think this is very important. how else can a girl know that you'll defend her at all costs unless you actually do so? my problem here is that i don't think i should have to defend someone if they're wrong. which would make me a very hesitant white knight i suppose; or not a knight at all. ideally, a girl shouldn't even have to ask for defense, it should be provided a moment before she even realizes she needs it.
20. don't bother with "emotional affairs." they are just a vehicle for women to flirt and have someone make them feel good about themselves. that's the part of a relationship they want. for you it is a lot of work and investment in time. if they are having an emotional affair with you, they're probably fucking someone else.
i'll leave this one alone. for the record, emotional affairs are common among both genders and really, don't they just make the day go by?
21. becoming a woman's friend and confidant is not going to get you into an intimate relationship. if you haven't gotten the girl within a reasonably short period of time, chances are you won't ever get her. she'll end up confiding to you about the sexual adventures she's having with someone else.
agree, and agree. if you're going to close the deal, you'd have done it within twelve months. then again, i've seen amazing, logic-defying, instances where persistance wins. i should blog separately about that actually. but yes, for the most part, if you can't get her to like you within a year or so, you're just a friend. give it up.
22. have and nurture friendships with women.
again, 100% agree with this one. why this old man doesn't address the nifty grey area people now tend to live in i'm not sure. perhaps there's no answer to that type of question/dilemma. oh wait, he said friendship, not friend-relationship. gotcha. yeah, have friendships (just friends) with women. it'll help you out in the long run.

and for you doubters out there: yes, girls and boys can be just platonic friends. the caveat being that 80% of guys can't or won't do it.
23. realize that love is a numbers game. guys fall in love easily. you're going to see some girl and feel like you'll die if you don't get her. if she rejects you, move on to the next one. it's her loss.
tragically, this is true. men fall in a love with anything, their problem is acquiring. women have the opposite problem.

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