Archive for August, 2004

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More Spam Comments

August 31, 2004

After deleting about 150 spam comments from this blog over the past week, I finally realized that my existing method of dealing with it is no longer working well enough. So I … did some stuff that I hope will work better.

I’ve been getting between 10 and 100 a week for a while now from these losers. Talk about slime. People who will spew their shady commercial messages across everyone’s web sites just so they can climb a notch on the google rankings and make an extra nickel. No social conscience whatsoever. Just take what they can grab, piss on everyone else.

Don’t get me started.

Anyway, I think I’ve thwarted them. Again. For the time being. Knock on wood.

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Belief and Evidence

August 29, 2004

“It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

– William Kingdon Clifford

I at first wrote a lengthy entry in which I agreed with the quote above, but upon re-reading it I decided that everything I wrote was entirely superfluous so I deleted it. It turns out I have nothing important to add.

Except this disclosure: I have no real idea who William Kingdon Clifford was. I just read the the quote somewhere recently and liked it. I see that the online encyclopedia Wikipedia has this to say about him: “Much of Clifford’s contemporary prominence was due to his attitude towards religion.” Read their entire entry on the English mathematician and philosopher here.

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(Mostly) Chick Music Vol. 1

August 23, 2004

(mostly) chick music vol. 1Okay, I have a thing for female vocalists, I admit it. But rather than fret over whether or not it’s pathological I think I’d rather just share the love. The plan works like this.

1. I publish an amazing mix CD on iTunes featuring some of the female artists mentioned in the previous post (plus the two lonely male artists also mentioned).

2. You buy it by clicking here.

3. ???

4. Profit!

Actually there’s no step three or four and there’s certainly no profit. I get nothing if you buy the mix – but you do! You get a great CD and maybe get introduced to some artists you didn’t know about. So don’t delay! Buy now! And when you’ve bought and listened don’t forget to come on back and let me know what you thought about it.

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Cool, Tall, Vulnerable and Luscious

August 20, 2004

lizphair.jpgI want to be cool, tall, vulnerable and luscious
I would have it all if I’d only had this much
no need for Lucifer to fall if he’d learn to keep his mouth shut
– Liz Phair, “Perfect World

“Hey. What are you here for?”

I was at the Marcus Amphitheater at Milwaukee’s lakefront attending the 1999 Lilith Fair. My friend Bruce and I had left our wives guarding our seats while we went to find sodas. Now two or three young women were challenging me near the concession stand.

“What are you here for?” one of them was asking me. “Did you come for the chicks or did your wife drag you here?” I’d like to report that I said something clever like “you mean I get a choice?” But I think I said something like “Uh, I’m here for the music, same as you.” I had a perfect right to be there, male though I am. After all, Lilith Fair is a celebration of women, not a celebration for women.

Bruce and I made our way back to our seats but the incident continued to bother me long after. I was a big fan of Sarah McLachlan at the time as well as some of the other performers. What cause was there to assume that I was there merely to “get chicks” or to pacify my wife? (And now that I think about it, don’t they amount to the same thing?) It had been a sexist remark, obviously expressing disdain for men in general and me in specific. She obviously felt emboldened by the heightened level of estrogen in the air that night. But mostly I thought it odd that she assumed I just couldn’t be a fan of these women performers.

Especially since the truth is I’m especially partial to women musical performers. I hadn’t thought too much about this curious fact until recently when a woman colleague noticed something strange about my iTunes library. “All you listen to is chick music!” she said. She was teasing me, it’s true, but in a good-natured way, not meaning any offense. Her comment got me thinking, though, as these types of things often do. What she said was true: my favorite albums and artists are a who’s-who of women musicians and singers. Bj√∂rk, Frou Frou, Indigo Girls, Jem, Toby Lightman, Alanis Morissette… the list of women goes on and on.

Two weeks after the “chick music” commment I bought a Jack Johnson CD in a self-conscious attempt to prove her wrong, but I ended up hating it.

So what is it about female singers that I like so much? Perhaps this predilection of mine is indicative of some deep-seated hang-up I have about women. Maybe all these singers represent some archetypal woman in my psyche. But who is she? And what is it that I want to hear her say? Or sing?

Whatever my issue is, it’s getting worse not better. Just the other day I went to the public library to get some new martial arts books. On my way out I decided to spend five minutes idly flipping through the CD drawers, hoping to add some interesting listening material to my list of checkouts. I found Peter Gabriel’s Up. I’d been a huge fan not too many years ago. So had been my favorite album once upon a time.

But I also came across a Liz Phair CD while browsing there at the library. I’d never owned any of her music, but I’d lingered several times over her album Exile in Guyville on the iTunes music store. The library didn’t have that one but they did have something called Whitechocolatespaceegg. I grabbed both CDs and left.

Here I am two days later. I haven’t listened to Peter Gabriel at all but I absolutely love the Liz Phair CD. She’s a tad punk and slightly subversive. Like Joan Jett meets Elvis Costello (another male artist I used to like a lot that I never listen to anymore). I like Whitechocolatespaceegg so much I think I’ll have to buy Exile in Guyville now, too.

Anyway, if it’s true that my female singer fetish is really about some internal woman image in my head, I still wonder what she might be trying to say to me. Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure it’s not “hey, what are you doing here?”

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I Am Not The Drummer

August 16, 2004

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of Blink 182. Such a declaration may seem laughably obvious to you, but to four hapless web surfers it wasn’t so easy.

Apparently this rock group named Blink 182 used to have a drummer named Scott Raynor. My first name is Scott and I work in a building called Raynor (The Raynor Memorial Library here at Marquette University). Because the words “Scott” and “Raynor” both appear in this blog, it’s pulling in fans of this former Blink 182 member. They thought – for a moment at least – that I was the former drummer of Blink 182. Incredible? Check out the comments on this entry.

And now that I’ve written “Scott Raynor” in this entry, I’ll probably just get more of these guys.

Doh! I said it again!

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Olympic Martial Arts

August 14, 2004

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you know that the 2004 XXVIII Olympic games have begun in Athens, Greece. NBC is the media company providing television coverage for the games here in the United States. Check out their site here. I found it possible but incredibly tedious to find the information I wanted there, so I painstakingly complied it here to save my fellow martial arts enthusiasts the trouble. Here, is the schedule for all the Judo and Taekwondo coverage provided by NBC on all their stations. Note: the information is localized for me, using my channel numbers and so on; your mileage may vary slightly. ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN.

Date
Time
Network
Channel
Event
Sunday, August 15 12:00 AM Bravo 60 Judo – Men’s 60kg and Women’s 48kg Gold Medal Finals
Tuesday, August 17 12:00 AM Bravo 60 Judo – Women’s 57kg Gold Medal Finals
12:35 AM NBC 4 Judo – Men’s 73kg Gold Medal Finals (American Jimmy Pedro is a contender in the 73kg category.)
Wednesday, August 18 12:00 AM Bravo 60 Judo – Men’s 81kg & Women’s 63kg Gold Medal Finals
Thursday, August 19 12:00 AM Bravo 60 Judo – Men’s 90kg and Women’s 70kg Gold Medal Finals
Friday, August 20 12:00 AM Bravo 60 Judo – Men’s 100kg and Women’s 78kg Gold Medal Finals
7:00 PM Bravo 60 Judo – Men’s and Women’s Heavyweight Finals
Thursday, August 26 5:00 AM MSNBC 46 Taekwondo (LIVE)
6:00 AM MSNBC 46 Taekwondo (LIVE)
5:00 PM CNBC 47 Taekwondo – Gold Medal Finals
6:00 PM CNBC 47 Taekwondo – Gold Medal Finals
Friday, August 27 12:00 PM MSNBC 46 Taekwondo – Gold Medal Finals
Saturday, August 28 5:00 AM CNBC 47 Taekwondo – Gold Medal Finals
12:00 PM CNBC 47 Taekwondo – Gold Medal Finals
Sunday, August 29 7:00 AM CNBC 47 Taekwondo – Competition
11:00 AM CNBC 47 Taekwondo – Gold Medal Finals (LIVE)
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Reclaiming the Earlier Chapters

August 13, 2004

My previous post is a textbook case of getting all the facts right and totally missing the point of the story. Yes it’s neat that dad left all these pictures and everyone is having a good chuckle over seeing me as I used to be. But there’s more going on here. There’s a bigger story.

When I moved to Wisconsin I was fourteen years old. I came by myself, leaving behind everyone I knew, leaving behind my entire life (such as it was). As time passed it began to seem as if my earlier childhood in Los Angeles was someone else’s story, not mine at all. A large disconnect grew between my life on the West coast and my new life in the midwest. My memory of these years faded to a frightening degree. It was as if fourteen years of life eroded into disjointed and half-remembered episodes having nothing to do with the person I’d become.

These pictures bridge that gap. They help me reclaim that part of my life. I like that.

One of the most profound pieces of advice I ever heard was: be the hero of your own story. But what good would it do to write the story of your own life if chapters one, two and three are missing by the time you’re halfway done? None at all. But a visit with my dad and some old photos help me remember and preserve them.