Monday, October 31, 2005

Revenge of the Star Wars Nerds

On behalf of all Star Wars Geeks who have been made fun of for the mode of dress, and even worse, their mode of speech, I just have one thing to say:

Ee Chutta!

Oh yeah, and one more thing:

Bo Shuda!

That oughta cover it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Poetry Time?

It's rhyming time! Actually, it's more like "me being lazy" time, so I thought I'd post something more prefab. It's an excerpt from a long form poem I've been writing off and on for over 10 years...will I ever finish?
* * * *
Then Bacchus spoke
As though he woke
From some protracted daze.
"Drink up," he said,
"And fill your head
Until you feel the blaze.

"The sudden heat
From gut to feet
Is something you must feel.
All senses fray,
Then go astray;
All hurts begin to heal.

"First suffers touch.
At first not much,
Just tingling fingertips.
But as you drink,
You start to think,
'I can't control my lips!'

"And when you speak,
All habits break:
You start to feel your worth.
Forbidden Id
Cracks through the lid,
And evil thoughts spew forth.

"Censorious mind
Cannot now bind
Your acts: You start to change.
What was repressed
Is now addressed
Out loud for all in range."

* * * *
"Soon sight turns dim.
What once was grim
Is now all fun and mirth.
Discernments fudge
When next you judge
A 'beauty's' ample girth.

"Fair features merge
With those that verge
On nearing the bovine.
Beer goggles don!
You ogle on
The homely and divine.

"No longer shy,
Your luck you try.
Abandon all your fears!
In drunken stance
Begin the dance
You've wanted all these years!

"A stranger's face
In strange embrace-
Regret is yet to come.
Don't know her name,
Or who's to blame,
But, Hey! You've gotten some!

"Experience
Has brought you thence.
It's meaningless, that's true.
Sensation, though,
Is all we owe
And all we're ever due.

"So go! Enjoy!
You're but a buoy
Tossed by the waves of life.
On crests we fly,
In troughs we cry,
No grand design, just strife."

Then Bacchus stopped.
His chin had dropped
And fallen 'gainst his chest.
He said no more,
Began to snore;
He drank too much, I guessed.

-From "Letters to Cupid, or A Quest of Love", 1995 - present

Monday, October 24, 2005

Software Analyst or Glorified Monkey Button Pusher

I was talking to my Dad the other day about how work was treating me (it's amazing how much my dad wants to talk to me about work now that he's retired...when he was working, he wouldn't say a word about it...but that's a blog for another day), and it dawned on just how much context makes a difference in a conversation. Now, I can talk to my dad for quite awhile about office politics (for a dude, he really is a gossip hound), and he might actually have something to say about that, but the second I start talking about what I actually do for work, I can almost hear his eyeballs slurping as they suck backwards into his skull when his eyes glaze over.
So what the heck do I actually do every day? "Work with computers" is about all my mom can say. My dad can be a little more descriptive and actually say, "He installs software". But, man, is it way more than that. Do you really want to know? For those of you who don't know, I work for a software company that develops database software for the healthcare industry (I can hear the slurping eyeballs out there already). Database software platforms can be super easy, like Filemaker Pro or Microsoft Access, or incredibly complex, like Oracle or SQL. Fine you say, I'm with you so far. Database software can be as easy as a front end GUI for data entry, something prettier than a spreadsheet view. But it can also incredibly complex when you design a Relational Database. Now you have to worry about referential integrity, orphan records, indexes...okay enough of that. Okay, you say, but you install the software, how hard is that? First I have to install the database, then I have to install a front-end GUI client that actually links up to this database, and I have to do it on several different versions of Windows. Throw security settings on servers and workstations, and now you start to get the idea. Installing this software isn't like downloading a file from the internet and then running the setup.exe. Now, since my expertise is installing the software, I actually have to know how the software can break...I have to analyze these conditions...analyze software...Software Analyst! Eureka!
So we're making progress here. Your eyeballs are slowly slurping back down from their hiding place. I would love to have bullet proof software that never fails, thereby approaching the holy grail of all software installers...Glorified Monkey Button Pusher...Sometimes I have days like that...good days...no headaches...the installation goes exactly step for step...all the OK and Next buttons line up just so..."I push de button...de elelater go down da hooollleee", as Baby Plucky would say. Those are good days. I can't say I've strung a ton of those days together, but hey, I wouldn't be analyst if they did.
So the next time someone says they're a Software Analyst, act like you know a little (very little) about it, and that dude or dudette will talk your ear off about software that acts like a wild animal. Sometimes you eat the bear...and sometimes the bear eats you. And the quest continues for the state of being known as "The Glorified Monkey Button Pusher."

To Blog or not to Blog

So...yeah...
Now that I've forever insulted the Bard with a title like that, I might as well make an attempt to justify why writing a blog resembles anything at all to one of the greatest soliloquies of all time (big ups to Hamlet, yo). Not to bore anyone anymore than I have to, but Shakespeare was the first English playwright to attempt portraying a character's inner turmoil in real-time. In Shakespeare's plays, you see a progression of his use of the Soliloquy from simple plot device for inner dialog of thought already in action into actual stream-of-consciousness wrestling with a decision before the act. Heady stuff (oh yes, a bad pun...if I keep writing any more of these, it won't be the last one you read, either). With Hamlet, Shakespeare introduced a character that had his own running meta-narrative (oooh...a blog buzzword...now you see where I'm going with this....). Not only did Hamlet keep talking things over with himself, he did it in a public way. Remember his play within a play...Was Hamlet the first blogger? Gertrude and Claudius seemed to think so, otherwise their reaction to the play should have been much different. Instead, they both immediately saw it as Hamlet's innermost thoughts presented for all the castle to see. We even get to see Hamlet talking to himself as he composes his play...meta-narrative while writing a meta-narrative...just...wow...
So why tie Hamlet's meta-narrative powers to something as mundane as blogging? Vanity, pure vanity...not just my attempt at a blog here, but the whole enterprise of blogging in general. Bloggers want the world to see their filtered versions of a personal meta-narrative as they describe their own personal views of the very personal world they live in. Me? I'm just as intellectually vain as any of them, so why not express my own vanity? I have a bias. I can string reasonably well thought-out sentences together. Heck, I can even sprinkle these sentences with halfway clever wit every now and then. Even better, I'm getting the mea culpa out of the way early. I know why I do it. Why blog? First, to entertain myself. If anybody else is entertained (they don't have to like it, they just have to want to read more), that's just gravy.
Do I lead an interesting life? Doubtful. What's going on in my head might be more entertaining than what I'm doing...but that's just what makes meta-narrative more interesting. I can eat a grape. Hemingway-style, that might read as, "He ate a grape, seedless, slightly unripe." But if I describe what's going on with my thoughts as I eat that grape...that's what a blog is all about. Oh, and please don't point out that I didn't actually describe eating the grape...If I did that, it would be just...unseemly.
So now that I've got my admission of vanity on the record, let the blogging begin.