Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Three Amigos

I got on the bus to work. Right away I noticed a guy talking in an annoying pattern that told me he was talking to himself. He was in his upper 40s, I'd guess, and didn't look homeless. Just talking to himself in that bitter I'm-crazy-and-the-world's-stupid way that I've seen many times. These losers will usually be mumbling conservative propaganda or make references to 1970s TV shows. You either know who I'm talking about or you don't. This kind of guy will make eye contact with everyone and everybody will turn away and try their best to ignore him. I always stare right at these guys and they will usually avoid eye contact with me. Something in my being instinctively loathes them.

Anyway, I had my ear buds out, expecting trouble, or maybe just looking for a fight because it was too early in the morning. I was near the back door, and there was a girl standing there who was clearly headed to the school I work at. I didn't know the girl, but most of the kids that ride that bus are going to my school. They're hoody kids, but I still feel like they're "my" kids.

So crazy talk-to-himself guy stood up to get off the bus and passed by this girl. I think he may have bumped her backpack, and he said to her, "Why you blocking the door? You know why? 'Cause you're a cunt." Then he repeated it: "You know why? 'Cause you're a cunt." The girl moved away from him.

Something in me must have snapped, because I stood up and yelled at him, "Get the FUCK off the bus!"


"GET THE FUCK OFF THE BUS!" I yelled again.

He started stepping off the bus. "You know what?" he said.

Oh no. He better not have a gun in his pocket.

"GET THE FUCK OFF!" I yelled. I could feel crazy adrenaline going through me.

Then he did something weird. He was off the bus, in the street now, and he tossed something on the stairs of the bus. I looked and it was a broken pair of glasses without lenses. He didn't throw them, either. He just kind of limply tossed them. Hella weird.

The doors closed and the bus drove on. I sat back down, shaking a little. I don't know where all that anger came from, but for the rest of the day I regretted not beating the crap out of that guy.

Oh, and this was on a totally full bus.

After a crazy day of standardized testing, I headed up the hill to a park to eat my lunch. As I walked along, this Hispanic guy dressed like a painter seemed cheerful so I said, "Hi, how's it going?"

"So far so good," he said.

I nodded, not slowing my pace. But he approached me like a used car salesman and said, "You know why I say 'So far so good'? Are you Irish?"

"A little," I said.

"I'm from Buenos Aires, and I have an Irish friend. He told me this joke about a guy who is falling off the Empire State Building and as he's falling down a window washer asks him, 'How's it going?' and he replies -"

"So far so good."


I'd heard it already.

And I didn't eat my lunch at the park because they were doing construction that was too loud so I ate on the bench in front of Cost Plus, pondering the ecological footprint of importing water from Fiji for Marina housewives.

At Trader Joe's I talked with the clerk who said he was reading Don Quixote and said he doesn't like it when movies are made of books he likes (such as Anne Rice's books) and I said that Don Quixote is cursed to never be completed as a major motion picture. Orson Welles and Terry Gilliam both tried and failed.

"I just hope there isn't a day when movies go beyond the limits of our imagination," he said.

"What do you mean?" I said.

"Like, when movies can do things that our imagination can't."

I thought about this for a while, and this doesn't make sense in my conception of imagination. I think that if your mind can apprehend something then it can reproduce it in the imagination. I imagine "imagination" as a bloblike memory potentiality generator web that extends all directions into infinity. It encompasses all. Even U2 3D.

And honestly, movies are a poor substitute for reality.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Other Places

I started 2 non-internet journals: 1 is sort of a regular journal to keep track of things and focus on goals and stuff I'm working on, and 1 to record my dreams.

With the regular journal I write about 100 times faster than I write this blog and get much better results. After blogging I feel empty and vapid; after journaling I feel focused and energized. Sometimes I don't know what the point of blogging is. I think I should just use this blog for art or something.

I read a novella I wrote about ten years ago called Naked Greed of the Flesh and thought to myself, "This is pretty good in some of the parts." Tomorrow I'll put up my tribute to J.R.R. Tokien, "The Softening".

Once I move I want to get a scanner. I wish I was better with photoshop and had a better handle on design. I've been reading a book at work called A Whole New Mind about right-brained thinking and the author identifies six "senses" that are often neglected by left-brain culture: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning.

I have a longer post in me but I think I'm going to sleep instead. Here's a video by a guy with a good message who still manages to come off as a twit. Your face should not be a sigh, my friend!


Friday, April 25, 2008

Is that Ben Affleck?

This image reminds me of a (brief) time in the early internet days when many churches railed against the WWW because it was full o' porn and evilness etc.

Then they realized they could make a ton of money off it. The churches that didn't start to use the internet were silenced because the internet became the new mouthpiece.


Check out Greg Louganis hitting the diving board. Supposedly he never watched a video of it because he didn't want the image in his mind that he would do anything but a perfect dive.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Famous Men

Tonight we crack open the Ninja-tek archive to uncover portraiture of famous gentlemen from a sketchbook of the late 90s era:






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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In the T-loin

In the Tenderloin a hardware store.

I walk in. Like the inside of somebody's garage. Dust and crustiness and new tape measures that seem incongruous with the festering shelves. Behind the counter a crusty old man.

"Are you the notary public?" I ask.

"Are you the one who called?" he asks.

I show him my paperwork. "Have a seat." He indicates a loppy stool.

It, his voice, sounds like a Russian accent under a pint of vodka and a hen-like wife at home (probably upstairs).

Before he begins, two black women talking in front of his store. He goes to the doorway and shoos them away.

Returns and starts over again on my paperwork. Goes to fetch his notary kit. With this he can place his magic seal over my information. Like the Middle Ages.

A woman comes in asking about a light bulb. She knows the name and number. He takes her away and returns with bulb and woman. "$21.70," he says.

"Here's $22," she says.

"That's okay," he says, as though there are days when that wouldn't be okay.

She leaves. "Now where were we..."

He returns to my paperwork, beginning again. He puts forms in front of me and I write things. He puts down a shiny gold sticker and some ink. I see his name: Hajimohamad ----- ---------. Not Russian after all: terrorist.

"That's quite a mouthful," I say.


"Does this cost $10?" I ask.

He seems to sneer, then turns to me menacingly and says, "Yes, it's $10!"

Suddenly creepy.

He finishes his arcane paperwork and then puts a bowl before me. "Just put the money in there when you leave," he says.

He vanishes to the back of the store. I put a five and five ones in the bowl. I put his pen on top of the bills to keep them from blowing away.

Leave, don't look back.

Next I go to City Hall. Then the Secretary of State's office. Finally the paperwork is done. Enough lines and paperwork and bureaucracy for one lifetime.

I get home. Remember I have to go to the post office the last of my ebay packages to ship. Catch a bus trudge up the hill to the P.O. wait in line behind a sweaty man who seems to take forever. When he's gone I go to his place at the counter and there's a B.O. stink that he tattooed upon the air.

I walk home through the avenues and up Noriega. It's still too windy but not as cold as yesterday, so it's okay.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ninja-tek FAQ

Since the anticlimactic return of Ninja-tek I've been spreading the word to the "man on the street" like Paul in the Bible. Here are the most frequent questions I get deluged with when I present this lifesaving information (and some answers you can use when dispensing Ninja-tek to your friends):

Q: What?
A: What indeed!

Q: What is Ninja-tek?
A: Ninja-tek is the mathematically-validated "astronosciencephlosophy" delivered to the heathens via its earthly prophet and savior, Monsieur Le Cutup.

Q: Who are you?
A: Hello, my name is Mr. the Cutup!

Q: Leave me alone.
A: And allow you to throw your life away on non-Ninja-tek enterprises?

Q: I don't want any.
A: You only think you don't want any.

Q: Does Ninja-tek have a scripture?
A: Yes. It can be found in the "cyberspace": here.

Q: Will I have to lie on a couch and talk about my dreams like they do in the movies?
A: No, you're confusing Ninja-tek with anal sex.

Q: Is Ninja-tek open to anyone?
A: Anyone willing to pay the fees.

Q: What celebrities are Ninja-teknologists?
A: An individual’s affiliation with Ninja-tek is a private matter and it is not Mr. the Cutup’s duty or desire to publicly discuss who is or is not a Ninja-teknologist. Obviously many Ninja-tek celebrities have been outspoken in their support of Ninja-tek and Mr. the Cutup. But that is exclusively their own choice. Although it would be remiss to point fingers, it is "rumored" (wink wink) that Tiger Woods, J.K. Rowling, Dr. Phil, LeBron James, Ronaldinho, and Stephen Hawking are Ninja-teknologists.

Q: I haven't heard of any of those people.
A: They haven't heard of you.

Q: Why do some people oppose Ninja-tek?
A: Why do some people oppose fun? Why do some people oppose laughter? Why do some people oppose air? Some things we will never know.

Q: I'm glad you accept Jesus, because I'd have a hard time throwing him out!
A: Ha ha, me too!

Q: What is your opinion on violence?
A: I have the standard opinion.

Q: Do you have a caste system?
A: Sure.

Q: How many Ninja-teknologists are there?
A: It's commonly accepted that there are between one and nine billion practitioners at present.

Q: Why does it hurt so much when I get kicked in the groin?
A: Try getting kicked somewhere else from now on.

Q: Do you believe that you are the only ones who will be saved?
A: It is theorized that some hooved animals of extremely low intelligence might also receive salvation.

Q: How long does it take before I will notice some benefits?
A: You should already be experiencing benefits from reading this FAQ.

Q: How do I pronounce FAQ?
A: Fock.

Q: Did you notice that Google backwards is "el goog"?
A: I noticed that months if not years ago.

Q: John rode his bike 10 kilometres the first day, 9 kilometres the second day and 11 kilometres the third. How far did John ride his bike in three days?
A: Kilometres!? Go back to Yoorope you bike-ridin' hippie!

Q: Ninja-tek seems kind of mean.
A: Awww. Is poor Mr. Q gonna cry?

Q: I don't think I like this anymore.
A: Fine! Who needs you! Get out of my blog! Everybody, get the hell out of my blog!

A: ...

A: Hello?

A: Hello?

A: Hello?

A: Is anyone out there?

A: Hey, I was only kidding.

A: Mr. Q. I was just kidding.

A: Come back.

A: Please, Mr. Q, I wasn't serious.

A: I won't be so mean. I promise.

A: ...

A: Fock.


Friday, April 18, 2008


... is apparently back.


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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Job Satisfaction Criteria

My friend George came up with a list of factors that determine your happiness with a job:

1. People - Do you like the people you work closest with? Do they inspire, support, and challenge you? Do you consider them intelligent? Do they share key values with you? Do you connect emotionally?

2. Company/Organization Mission - If you work for a company or organization, is its mission in line with your values? Is its mission identical or close to your personal mission in life?

3. Job Malleability - Can you alter your job? How much control over it do you have? Can you tweak it as you change and the world changes?

4. Physical Convenience - How convenient are the logistics of the job? Do you have a long or short commute? Is it comfortable to get to work? Does it pay well? Does it have the benefits you want? Is the environment you work in comfortable (e.g. city vs. country, office vs. outdoors vs. work from home, etc)?

5. Pace of the Work Environment - Are the energy level, deadlines, urgency, and general pace of your environment (company, organization) right for you? Is it too fast? Too slow? Does your job challenge you?

At my current job I only feel good about #2 and #5. I like working with students and especially teaching life skills. The pace seems to adapt to the moment and usually feels about right.

As for the #1: This is probably the weakest and the clincher. One of the teachers I work with (Gary Coleman) is hopelessly incompetent. I feel a little stupider at the end of the day just being around him, and I can't wait until I never have to see him again. Today he got into one of his regular cussing matches with a few of the boys, and at one point he said, "No wonder people call you guys retarded!"

At that point the boys didn't hold back and one of the boys yelled at Gary Coleman over and over: "You're ugly and your breath stinks!"

It's hard for me to keep a straight face as all this goes on . . . but really, I could do without it.

* * *

This morning I downloaded The Doors' first album. I heard it from my dad a million times as a kid and it was one of the first CDs I owned in the 90s, but I hadn't heard it in a while and wanted to hear "The End". So I played it through. Imagine my surprise when I noticed some of the lyrics had changed! Morrison now said, "She gets high" and "fuck fuck fuck fuck"! What the - !

Like the good wikipedophile that I am I hunted down the answer:

The songs "Break on Through (To the Other Side)" and "The End" were both released censored with the album. During "Break on Through" the part where Jim Morrison sings "She gets, she gets" was originally recorded as "She get high." The interlude singing part near the end of "The End" was censored and taken out. It included Jim using the word fuck over and over. Subsequent releases of the album have both of the original parts intact, although 1980s compact disc reissues appear to keep the verses censored.

So I guess I had the crappy 1980s reissues.

The real version for 1967 is pretty bold.

I've had a censored version in my head all this time!

Ah well. That's reality.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Family Circus Redemption Project #31


Monday, April 14, 2008


My ebay auctions just finished. Here's the statistics.

33 of 34 auctions sold
Bids total: $929.86
Highest bid: $165.50

I'm always bewildered what items go high and what goes low. But it all averages out and I did pretty good this round. I have a few more books I may do in a couple weeks or I may just take them to the used bookstore.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

John Carter of Mars Animation from the 1930s

This animation from an abandoned John Carter of Mars cartoon in the 1930s is actually pretty cool.

Like Don Quixote, the material seems doomed to never be adapted in a thorough manner.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Random Horse Pill Entry

I'm still waiting for a Harold & Kumar 2 torrent that ain't no dud. There's a review on the imdb = positive! So I have expectations.


Stats on my ebay auctions:
20 of 34 have bids
Bids total: $144.44
Bids: 47
Highest bid: $60.55
Time left: 4 days

I think I'm gonna raise my estimate to about $600, maybe even $700.


Last night I watched Colbert Report for the first time in a while. I stopped watching after I attended a live taping last year. It seemed to lose its magic like Oz the man behind the curtain not so great and powerful. But it's still pretty funny. Last night the guest was Jesse Ventura, who couldn't keep up with Colbert's wit. The guest at the show I saw was Jeannette Walls. Her book The Glass Castle is still in the Amazon top 100 (one year later). I haven't read it.


Today I got a shipment from Vitacost. They're one of my favorite mail order companies. But in the shipment they accidentally omitted my shampoo and included a jar of Horse Chestnut Complex 700 mg pills. I called and told Vitacost and they're gonna send my shampoo and let me keep the horse pills no charge. I popped one half hour ago. It's supposed to improve my "circulation" (wink wink). *Are these made from horse*


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

African Adventure

Today's episode features an oft-requested short story from the Ninja-tek archive, "African Adventure". Composed in the 6th grade (1991).


Hello. My name is Joe Clydesdale. I am a millionaire who lives in Washington, D.C. I own many great museums in the country. One of the greatest is the Marine Museum in Chicago. I often go on trips around the world looking for newer attractions for my museums.

I flew in my privately owned 747 to Lake Victoria to catch a rare fish for my Marine Museum. The name of the fish is the Fireblue fish. There are only forty-six known worldwide.

As I flew over the country of Zaire, I soon realized that I would be landing in Jinja, Uganda, a city north of Lake Victoria in less than three hours. I decided to take a nap to pass the time.

I woke up at 3:32 P.M. and my captain told me that we would be landing in just a few minutes.

By 4:45 P.M., I was in a taxi heading for the coast of the lake. We were going down the road at eighty-five miles per hour when the driver suddenly put his foot on the brake and came to a sudden stop.

I was about to ask the driver why he came to a halt, but I looked ahead and found out for myself. Hundreds of people were dancing, marching, and singing in their native tongue. There was a festival blocking the whole street.

I decided that the lake was close enough to walk the rest of the way.

I got out of the cab, paid the driver, and got my luggage out of the trunk. I had two pieces of luggage and realized that it was about half a mile to the lake.

I was about to get started when a boy about the age of ten said to me in Swahili, "I will help you carry your luggage if you pay me a dollar."

I decided that my luggage was pretty heavy, so I said, "Sure!" I responded in his native language.

After he had helped me carry my luggage to the coast, I took out one dollar from my pocket and handed it to the kid. When he was about to take the money, he kicked my chin, grabbed the dollar, and ran away as fast as he could. He did it all in one motion.

I started to yell at him in English, but I realized that he wouldn't understand and he was already too far away to hear me anyway.

I never trusted another African from then on.

The kid had taken all of my clothes and two hundred dollars, but I still had nine hundred dollars left.

At least the kid had not taken my diving equipment. I knew that I could not replace that equipment here in Africa.

After I had set up camp and had a dinner consisting of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I decided to go to bed early because it had been such a long day.

The next morning, I woke up at 6:12 A.M., to search for the Fireblue fish. I decided I was going to search for him so early because he glowed a bright red and blue color in the morning, and it would be easier to catch.

I went down into the lake at 6:30 A.M., with a diving suit, mask, air tanks, and a large net to catch the fish.

I was starting to get bored after about fifteen minutes with no sign of the Fireblue fish, when a big black cloud of gas got in my vision. Then I felt a fish bit me in the side. I hit it on the head three times, but I realized that it would not let go!

I decided to try to swim to the surface. I was about twenty-five feet from the surface of the water when the fish released another cloud of smoke. I had to do something quick!

I took the air hose out of my mouth while I held my breath and shoved the hose up his nose. He released his grip!

I netted him quickly, put the air hose back in my mouth and swam to the surface. I would have just let him go, but he had been such a nuisance and I had never seen this type of fish before.

After I had put the fish in an aquarium, I looked him up in my fish guide to see what type of fish he was. He was called the Smoke Fish because of his color and the smoke he discharges to capture and eat his prey. It also said that it was only found in the Sea of Japan and that there are only eighteen know worldwide!

This would be even better than the Fireblue fish. I decided to pack up and take this fish instead of the Fireblue fish.

After I got back home the fish made a fortune for me, and I lived happily ever after.


* What's with the OCD use of numbers?

* Every paragraph seems to start with "I".

* When the African boy kicks Joe Clydesdale in the "chin" I think I meant to say "shin".

* Jinja, Uganda is a real city.

* I made up both the Fireblue fish and the Smoke fish. They're not real.

* I don't see how the Smoke fish (only known to be found in the Sea of Japan) made it to Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is a fresh water lake anyway.

* My favorite line is: "I never trusted another African from then on."

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

China My China

Also Richard Gere's supposed to speak at the Civic Center tomorrow. Wednesday the Olympic torch gets protested.

I don't know anything about politics with China and Tibet. It just seems like China's a shitty place to live, and the U.S. government turns a blind-eye to its human rights abuse because our economy depends so much on their goods. Even if China wasn't molesting Tibet it would lose points for censorship and the virtual slavery that make their stuff so cheap.

I'm still waiting for the equivalent of birth control for military enlistment - something that will naturally lower the number of people willing to fight for a government. Maybe that's the internet and it's working as fast as it can

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Ebay Hell 2

Oy, 33 new Ebay auctions up. 58 out of 59 of the items from the last group have been shipped (just waiting for 1 douchebag to pay). I could never work in mail order because this shit is work! But this round should be the last one and even though it's only 33 auctions I estimate another $500 at least from these ones.

I can relax till next Sunday.

Then the shipping nightmare begins again.

Next things to sell: hard drive, plastic storage bins.

Then bed (but keep mattress for a while), printer, desks, dresser, then finally love seat and mattress, leaving me with only clothes and laptop. Nice!

Friday through Sunday are my weak days for blogging - they're the days I have the most time and (paradoxically) the least. I'll try to stay on top of blogging this week. Even though I no longer have readers, I like the sound of one hand clapping.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Gary Coleman and Garry Kasparov

I was gonna try to move by May 1 or 15. That seems a little impossible though and too much stress so I think May 30 is more reasonable. I really don't foresee staying on longer than that. To do so would be beating a dead horse and my job ends mid-June anyway so it'd be financially unwise.

I miss having a teaching job where I'm always on. This job is too empty. I spend half my day reading and watching the teachers I work with struggle with the students. I want my own control of the classroom, and I want students that actually want to learn.

There's a lot of funny stuff at my work because
I work with a teacher who is the worst instructor I have ever known in my life. I refer to him as "Gary Coleman" because he's similar in so many ways. He's 38 and the kids think he's in his fifties. The kids are always ripping on his bad breath, and it's true, he has some of the worst breath that seems to waft around him like his own climate system. One of the kids once told him that his breath smells like a shit sandwich. He's always getting into arguments with the kids, calling them stupid and lazy, and one day this boy who's like 6' 10" almost beat the crap out of Gary Coleman. I think he would have if I hadn't intervened. Crazy stuff like that happens every day. Because it's moderate-needs special ed (as opposed to the kids who need diapers) the classes are small and the rules are flexible. The kids use ipods and cell phones in class, bring food in, and don't go 30 seconds without using the word nigga, bitch, shit, or fuck (interestingly, I've never heard them use the word "cunt"). A bunch of the kids live down in Hunter's Point or projects throughout the city and Gary Coleman thinks he can relate to them because he's black.

The students complained to other teachers about Gary Coleman and he almost got fired at one point. He'll be there the rest of the year though, then he's gone. As for me, I'm ready to move on anytime. I get along well with almost all the kids, largely because I'm not the main disciplinarian. I refuse to give myself stress when I'm only the teacher's aide.

This morning Gary Coleman said that he needs an external hard drive.

"I'll sell you my 300 gig for $60," I said.

Gary Coleman (without even pausing to consider): "I'll buy it!"

I instantly regretted setting the price so low (he's totally incompetent with computers, as with all things), and told him it might be a little while before I could sell it because I had to clear it off first (true) and make sure it would work with a Mac (false). If I sell it to him I bet I can jack it up to $90 or so. I'll probably try even higher than that on craigslist. Then sell it to a stranger and tell Gary Coleman it wouldn't work on a Mac.

Anyway, I don't have much to write. I just don't want another blogless day.

Started listening to Garry Kasparov's How Life Imitates Chess on my way to work. How long has it been since I played chess? Last time was with students or co-workers in Seattle.

Last week I played tennis three times.

I like one-on-one games, and tennis is the first time I've done a real sport in like foreverz.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ebay Hell

My 59 Ebay auctions are over, clocking in at $744.95. After fees and fees and fees I'll probably walk away with about $650, which is fine by me. But god, Ebay really gouges these days. They're like the Mafia of internet selling: yeah, they get results, but they take a cut when you put an item up, they take a fatter cut when it sells, and then they take another cut when you're paid through Paypal. Yet it's faster than craigslist and the only way to reach a national audience and sometimes people pay ridiculous prices for my crappy books.

Still waiting for some payments - as I'm writing this my largest payer just came through with $148 - still got plenty of shipping to do, and I may put up more auctions on Thursday (so they'll end Sunday night on a 10-day run).

After my parents brought all my crap up to San Francisco I realized I don't need it, I don't want it, and I'd rather turn it into money. All these pages and I get "book nausea" where I don't want to see any of it. I'm gonna seize on that before it goes away. I really like not having things. Plus it's one of the obstacles that's holding me back from moving on.

I even thought about burning all my old journals and homemade comics from my boyhood and teen years. Those are the most irreplaceable things I own.

I've decided to stay my hand for now and just store them at my dad's ... but maybe someday I'll have the balls to tear it all down.