From the monthly archives:

June 2009

Update – Monday morning. Smoke is clearing. Dave is smiling. I can’t believe I got nearly every frigging thing on my list done. Thanks to those that helped, especially J and S. I feel caught up and a tremendous weight has been lifted from my formerly overwhelmed shoulders. Maintaining a house is no joke and I’m learning a lot. The most important lessons so far, which I’d like to share, are 1) Make lists (further explanation below in the original post) and 2) Be doing something everyday to make that list shorter – thereby avoiding the aforementioned (and inevitable) “overwhelmshion”. Tasks which could not be completed have notes in red below, and I just made the final list update if you’d like to check my score.

Over my nearly 6 years as a blogger I have seen and taken part in some of the many ways in which your website can cross over and effect your real life. I was nearly lynched in the North End. You may remember the semi-successful Pork Ass Challenge. Recently I’ve been writing a lot about productivity and workflow. Less about Blade Runner.

Although I myself haven’t had a cigarette since New Year’s Eve 1999 there are many blogs devoted to nothing but the author attempting to quit smoking. These, usually futile, attempts are the perfect example of this post’s purpose – calling your shot in public. If you fail to quit the lung rockets, the drinking, the over-eating, the necrophelia – everyone is going to know because you publicized your intentions. Not wanting to appear like a weak windbag in front of your friends can enable you to move mountains. A simple blog post declaring your noble intentions then becomes enormous motivation for completing your mission. And I’m going to need all the motivation I can muster this weekend.

This is all, word-for-word, from a text file I’ve had open on my desktop and have been adding to since I got back from Gooch’s wedding on Tuesday. If you’re a GTD fan you’ll notice some of that methodology (next steps, context lists, etc.) ingrained. If you don’t know what GTD is, and you’re feeling overwhelmed by tasks at work or in your personal life, you absolutely have to buy and read the book I’ve listed to the left. It’s saved my life, and if I were a richer man I’d buy it for you – but I shouldn’t have to because it’s under $10. That, my friends, is a testimonial of which you should take heed.

 

June 20th & 21st Task List

Phone
Call Wentworth
Call Spencer re: laptop & dartboard
Call Steve Brig & Schedule alternate trailer deliveryCall Bob re: trailer rental and his truck
Call Erynn re: dates for visit
Call Brooks-Cryderman re: radiant heating – will do today. Not in office on weekends.
Call Mike Bell re: satelitte installation
Call Best Buy re: laptop and hard drive repair

Yard
Finish staining dock – Got the supplies I need but wanted to wait for sunny weather to paint.
Get stain & brushFinish dock trim
– Paint trim and install – See above.
Call Don re: tractor and whipper-snipper repair
– Repair tractor – Got the belt and took the tractor apart with the help of my neighbor and noticed a crack in one of the very dull blades which has puppy behading-potential. Going to get two new blades then re-assemble tonight with new belt in place.Repair whipper-snipper
Get belt for tractor
– Take whipper-snipper to small engine repair shop – Ended up investing in a SICK new one with an 18″ snipping diameter, brush cutting and edging features. This property needs a serious whipper snipper.
Fix lake pumpGet new foot valve. Bring old one for sizing– Add new valve, prime, get taps working – Lost the primer cap while working on it Saturday and the new foot valve shot off the end of the hose like the Nautalis. Realized I needed thread tape and got some Sunday when I went to Home Hardware to replace the cap. Almost over the finish line.
Pickup dog pooPickup loose trash
Store all tools and hardware
Clean up mess by basement door
– Burn wood – Was too wet to burn over the weekend, but everything scheduled for incineration has been moved to the fire pit. All I have to do is light a match.
Add glass and refuse to outgoing trash for Monday
Move deck umbrellaMove ladder to garage

Office
Clean office
Store boxesHang picturesOrganize Mom’s deskFile all loose documentsMove current files back onto clean desk area
Fill bank shelves and then mark for actionMove fax machine
Move hard driveGive laptop to Spencer
Scan trust documents for Janet
Clean out work and personal email inboxes

Winchester
Clean Winchester
– Sweep
– Mop
– Change bedding
Install strike plate – I forgot this can’t be done until a proper door frame is built. Shouldn’t have been on the list.
Put tread on stairs – Couldn’t find any. Will likely just cut bathtub tread to fit.

Garage
Sort trash
– Recyclables
– To be burned
To be returned
Return bottles
Mark garbage with tags for Monday a.m.
Burn the burnable

House
Laundry
Master bedroom, sheets only
Loose clothes in Dave’s room
Winchester bedding
Hang, beat and store mats
Clean back deck
Assemble umbrella
Return kegs and tap for deposit
Move bins to garage
Store satellite equipmentChange side lightbulb
Sort Dave’s room
Fix closet door
Hang mirror
Clean out closet
Hang pictures

Basement
Hang dartboard
Cover pool table
Brush pool table
Clean pool table coverClean rest of photo glass and rehang
Reclean floor re: dog and cat urineClean out and restock fridge

Smiths Falls
Get dock stain & brushGet new wallet
Get foot valve
Get laundry detergentGet stair treadGet belt for tractorTake whipper-snipper to repair shop

Miscellaneous
Go visit Dad on Sunday. Check times in letter or phone ahead.
Clothes to GoodwillGet fucking hydratedTreat head wound (long story)
Don’t get distracted (shitfaced)

I won’t get everything done this weekend. I say that because some items, such as launching the boat, are dependant on weather or other people over whom I have no real physical or mental control. Yet. I’m going to get damn close, though, and I’ll update you on Monday, beaming proudly and feeling a whole lot better than I do right now. Dave is in the weeds. Dave needs a “life” whipper-snipper. Don’t believe me? Just see item #3 under “Yard”.

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This isn’t some kind of virus alarm but it’s still a big dork deal. Especially if you’re a massive tool like I am. Apple released the latest version of the iPhone’s software today and it contains a ton of cool new – and useful – features that you don’t have to buy the new iPhone (released tomorrow) in order to get.

When I read all of the new phone’s features earlier this week, having just purchased the current one a little over a months ago, buyer’s remorse immediately set in. “Damn it – I should have waited.” As my local copy of iTunes automatically began downloading the 230 MB update a few minutes ago, that remorse was replaced with joy. A window popped up listing what was new in the update for current iPhone owners. I quickly realized nearly all of the new features I bemoaned not waiting to purchase so I could enjoy are included in this very software update for current and older models. Well raise my rent!

Here are the additions I’m particularly interested in adding to my productivity/silliness arsenal, and you can click through to a full list as there are many more I don’t give a fig about.

  • Cut, Copy & Paste with shake to undo
    Not being able to copy and paste has been a real headache for me. This is at the top of my “thank fuck” list. The shake option will also be perfect for days when you long for your old Etch-o-Sketch.
  • Landscape keyboard in key applications
    I have large frigging fingers. Enough said. Thank heavens for this addition.
  • Enhanced Messages application
    Send and receive photos, contacts, audio files, and location via MMS.
    I gotta tell you, it was weird to shell out for the iPhone and not be able to do simple things like take a picture and text it to a friend like you’d been able to do for years with regular cell phones.
    Forward and delete single or multiple messages
    Don’t you miss having texts forwarded to you by friends writing to other friends “in confidence”? Or drunkenly forwarding something personal to the wrong person? Happy days are here again.
  • Spotlight search across iPhone
    This new tool allows you to search Mail, Contacts Calendar, Notes and iPod tracks simultaneously. I can’t yet envision how this may be useful, unless you’re a big fan of Elvis Costello and he also owes you money, but I’m willing to fiddle around and find out.


The Best New 3G iPhone Apps.

There you have it, and my list doesn’t mention about 100 brand new applications, also being launched today, which take advantage of the more technical upgrades. Personally, I can’t wait for iShitPants (see the video). If you’re an iPhone owner – get updating.

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che-guevara

I wrote a high school paper about the world-famous Ernesto “Che” Guevara and I remember being more than a little confused as to why he was revered by the left, particularly many actors and musicians of which I was a fan, as such a superhero. As I was a long-banged, Smiths-listening lefty by association (young, dumb and full of… Morrissey) I tended to side with my similarly spoon-fed friends and decided I dug the guy – although in my own defense I never, ever, owned one of those fucking Che shirts. Guevara was either a complete bastard or God’s gift simply depending on which book I was able to sign out of the CCHS library on a given day. The rift, split and division continues to this day, but as far as the influence of popular culture and Hollywood is concerned, el Commandante definitely has a leg up – which is both irresponsible and unfortunate. I’ll explain.

“Knowing what we know, why do we still celebrate him?” – Paul Berman

In the years since my compass has drifted, thankfully, farther to the right. That having been said, I was still excited to devote 4 hours of my life to watching Steven Soderbergh’s Che – and I did so, in one sitting, late Monday night. I certainly enjoyed the movie as entertainment. It felt authentic, gritty, was action-packed and engaging all the way through the Cuban revolution, his operations in the Congo (which are only briefly mentioned by another character and almost wholly omitted from the film) and to the final battles in the Bolivian jungle. To the uninitiated this film’s protagonist would definitely appear to be a revolutionary hero. The movie’s slant is in no way conflicted on this point.


Killer Chic: Hollywood’s Sick Love Affair With Che Guevara

From the above video: It’s something that baffles Cuban jazz legend Paquito D’Rivera. “Che hated artists, so how is it possible that artists still today support the image of Che Guevara?” Turns out the rebellious icon that emblazons countless T-shirts actually enforced aesthetic and political conformity.

My problem with the film has nothing to do with acting, timeline, 85% Spanish dialogue, cinematography or any other technical or aesthetic aspect. It’s solid celluloid. I will never, however, recommend it to anyone under the age of 25 who’ve never read at least a couple of books/articles on the man, preferably one from each side of the aisle. If “Che” Parts 1 and 2 are the only point of reference for a young mind, which they will undoubtedly become once the DVDs are released later this year, you’d think the guy was a cross between Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Davey Crockett.

peter-griffin-cheA large percentage of Cubans remember him as the “the butcher of La Cabaña” and he is considered by many others to be the genesis of continuing politically-charged brutality in the regions he directly influenced – and many that he did not. Fischer Price: My First Revolution, if you will. As Del Toro’s Che tells Lou Diamond Phillip’s character, “A coup without an army behind it never stands a chance“. Lou Diamond, fresh on the heels of his tour-de-force performance on the George Lopez Show, nods stoically. I have to be honest here though – I think there are 12-yr-old white girls in Northern Minnesota who know they have a better chance of spotting a Yeti than seeing a revolution without violence. Then they get to college and some unkempt 3rd-year activist convinces them otherwise, signs them up for a candlelit vigil during which he tries to finger her and then buys her a Che shirt the next morning as an apology. Does anyone else see the irony in that?

The leanings of Soderbergh and his Hollywood pals are no secret, but there’s “spin” and then there’s blatant omission. Stevey can argue that he does indeed show Che ordering executions. Two of his own troops who deserted, raped and then torched the house of peasants are shot during the first half of the film. (So what you’re saying is that many of his victims deserved to be blown away in jungle clearings. I get it now, and I still love you and your t-shirt, Johnny Depp!). He can also point out that during once scene, shortly before he is dispatched, one of the Bolivian soldiers remarks, “Guevera assasinated my Uncle”. As far as ticks in the “definitely not any kind of hero” column, those calculated, punch-pulling critical additions to the film are just the tip of the firing squad.

johnnydeppche1About a year ago I was at an Irish pub in Ottawa, Ontario and watched a group of about 30 twenty-somethings, obviously on some sort of bar crawl, stumble through the door all at once. To my dismay I noticed that they were all wearing identical neon-green t-shirts with the infamous Che visage boldly printed on the front. To prove a point to my companions, I told them I’d pay the tab for the entire night if just one of the misguided students pressed against our table like sardines could both a) identify and correctly pronounce the name of the man on their spiffy new shirt and b) tell me why they admired him. I made my point after speaking to about five of them and drank for free into the wee hours.

I’m no expert on the man, but I’ve definitely gone further out of my way over the last 20 years to be able to form an honest, objective opinion of his deserved legacy than the vast majority of my peers – a desire based in large on my early exposure to a book on the Cuban Revolution which my parents had in their house. I’ll shut up now. Spend the money you’re thinking of laying down for one of these incredibly inappropriate (you now know that Che vehemently disliked artists and musicians) t-shirt, dog tag or knit hat symbols of your progressiveness and spend it instead on a book like The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty – then see if you still feel the same way. That’s all I’m saying. Viva le Gordita !

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truckstop
Sarah’s supporters wasted only the time they had to stand in the shitter line before beginning to drum up support for 2012.
From a bathroom stall seen by reader DVS somewhere in CT.

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The Frank Blacks of Our Lives

by Dave on June 2, 2009

in Musical

frank-black-photoHere were the instructions I received from Angela via Facebook yesterday morning: “Using only song titles from one artist, cleverly answer these questions. Once you’re finished, tag 15 friends and have them do it! (One bonus point for every album you can pick a song title from!)”

I did this a while back for the Pixies but this is a different group of questions so I’ll take it for another spin. I’ve linked to the different albums and managed to use every one in existence at least once. What can I say? Mr. Black is a prolific songwriter. And I fucking love him.

Pick a band/artist: Frank Black

Are you male or female? “Chip Away Boy” – Black Letter Days

Describe yourself: “The Man Who Was Too Loud” – Frank Black and the Catholics

Describe your current location: “Coastline” – Show me Your Tears

Describe where you want to be: “I Wanna Live on an Abstract Plain” – Teenager of the Year

Describe your political philosophy: “Garbage Heap” – Svn Fngrs

Your best friends: “Angels Come to Comfort You” – Bluefinger

Your favorite color is: “True Blue” – Black Letter Days

You know that: “You Can’t Crucify Yourself” – Fast Man Raider Man

What’s the weather like? “Parry the Wind High, Low” – Frank Black

If your life was a television show, what would it be called? “I Think I’m Starting to Lose It” – Pistolero

What is life to you? “My Life Is In Storage” – Christmass

What is your dream job? “King & Queen of Siam” – Frank Black and the Catholics

What’s the worst feeling in the world? “Threshold Apprehension” – Bluefinger

Your favorite means of transportation: “Blast Off” – Dog in the Sand

What is the best advice you have to give? “Mosh, Don’t Pass the Guy” – The Cult of Ray

If you could change your name, what would you change it to? “Fitzgerald” – Fast Man Raider Man

What is your favorite food? “Honeycomb” – Honeycomb

Your last words will be: “Stupid Me” – Dog in the Sand

That was not easy but definitely fun. It was definitely a good idea to pick a musician with a large body of work. And a large body. Pick your favorite band and give it a try yourself in the comments.

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sacha-baron-cohen-lands-on-eminem
Although he feigned revulsion and walked out of the MTV Movie Awards, Eminem secretly welcomed Bruno’s 69 as a vast improvement over Robert Pattinson’s face.

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