Tuesday, February 19, 10:20 CST

I read Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing the other night. Excellent. Harsh, not entirely easy to read, but excellent.

Watched Die Weiße Rose in German yesterday. It tells the story of a resistance group based at the University of Munich during WWII. It doesn't end happily. The White Rose is a good English-language summary of the group's history.

tunes

  • Weezer
    • Weezer (Blue Album)
    • Photograph
    • Take Control
    • Dope Nose
    • Fall Together
    • Keep Fishin
    • American Gigolo
    • Slave
    • The Dawn
  • OAR
    • If Only She Knew
    • To Zion Goes I
    • About Mr. Brown
    • City on Down
    • Black Rock
    • On Top the Cage
  • U2
    • Rattle and Hum
    • The Joshua Tree
  • Dispatch
    • Gut the Van
    • A big pile of mp3's
  • Red Wanting Blue
    • Tag Your Thigh
  • Led Zeppelin
    • Led Zeppelin II

Friday, February 15, 13:05 CST

Stuff happened this week; stuff I could have written about. Thus I didn't write about it, because stuff was happening. From where I sit, this isn't a bad state of affairs. Otherwise, I'd be writing about nothing happening, and, well, screw that.

Wednesday, I turned 21. I drank some beer with friends. It was ok.

a fragment of chapter the first

What he had in mind was something epic. Something grand scale, like the fat science fiction and fantasy novels he used to read, but not really fiction at all. The kind of thing that they'd say defined a generation, like On the Road or The Great Gatsby, except it wouldn't really be noticed by the kinds of people who said those things and if you actually read it it wouldn't seem so damn overrated. It could have a cult following, and a hundred years from now, someone might stumble across it and realize he'd really had something to say, and he'd been right all along, and maybe if more people had noticed way back when the world would be a different place. But it wouldn't really be the kind of book that inspired a movement or anything, it'd just describe what was there so you saw it clear for the first time, and even though he might write other things, this'd be the one that every now and then would change somebody's life.

That was the kind of book he wanted to write, at least when he wasn't daydreaming about being a rock star, finding a girl, or joining a revolution in some distant time when things made sense and you could latch on to some nice, clear cut ideological point like raising humans for food is bad or our alien overlords are despotic bastards and just run with it.

He would quite happily have settled for the girl. On days when he was feeling particularly honest, he admitted that everything else was probably just a convenient distraction from this fact. Even the book. In the face of the music he listened to while daydreaming about being a rock star - loud, melodic, and full of often clever lyrics expressing what it's like not to get laid - he was forced to admit that he would probably more than settle.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be.

Tuesday, February 12, 9:35 CST

How can there be insufficient memory to paste a kilobyte of text?

And why can Pagemaker not import a Photoshop file? This actually puzzles me more than anything else... Weird memory errors I expect. Part of life with Windows.

But let's just suppose for a moment that you're the company which develops both the industry standard image manipulation and page layout software. Mightn't it serve your interests (never mind your customers, market domination is more important than product quality, right?) to make these packages consistently interoperable? Just maybe?

Friday, February 8, 13:47 CST

Come to think of it, maybe I should just go with the monument to insignificance thing.

If you built a Towering Monument to Insignificance, would it still be insignificant?

Thursday, February 7, 16:20 CST

So I'm applying to UNL. Well, to transfer to UNL. Whatever.

Early today I fired up XMMS, added everything in my sound directory to the playlist, randomized it, and hit play. If I weren't going to hit pause when I leave the room, it'd finish up in a little more than four days.

Still earlier today, I looked at the three years worth of Brennen's Home Page updates that I don't have archived here. I had every intention of dumping them into the archives, and then I realized how stultifyingly mundane they are.

Still, I suppose I'll go ahead and do it. It's just a little depressing what a monument to insignificance this all is.

Tue Feb  5 21:50:16 CST 2002

So let's say you had this huge rackmount server chassis, complete with giant cooling fans that sound something like a jet turbine, support for multiple PC-on-a-card doohickies, and like a dozen giant flashing LED's on the front...

Ok, actually, I don't know where I'm going with this. But let's say you had a monster like that sitting on your desk. Wouldn't that be something?

Tue Feb  5 9:44:24 CST 2002

Ya know what? I hate Adobe products. Just flat hate 'em.

Well, maybe that's a little strong. But if anyone can convincingly demonstrate why it'd be worth my time to actually learn Photoshop, Illustrator, or Pagemaker, I will be mightily impressed.

Things I should have picked up on a while ago: In vim, there's a format function that's the equivalent of Pico's ever so nifty ^J-to-justify, only more flexible. Just hit gq, followed by an object to format - lines, paragraphs, whatever. So gqj fixes the messed up line wrapping where I inserted this example. Considerably faster than manually fiddling around with line breaks.

On a similar note, if you share my contempt for the [tab] character and 8 space indents in source code, vim's got a simple solution:

" Make tabs 4 spaces wide; probably a bad idea unless you're expanding
" tabs.
set tabstop=4

" Expand tabs into spaces.
set expandtab

" Shift 4 spaces on indenting.
set shiftwidth=4

Monday, February 4, 19:50 CST

and the other kind

Listen to more Weezer.

Stare at the phone in the corner.

Dammit.

Sunday, February 3, 16:08 CST

Musical imperatives.

Listen to OAR.

Listen to Weezer.

Stare at the guitar in the corner.

Friday, February 1, 15:47 CST

critic

So I went and found the piece Saalon was ranting about earlier today...

Hollywood myth and fairy-tale stories have always existed a heartbeat away from each other. The first hour of ''The Lord of the Rings'' occupies that Disney-Spielberg-Lucas territory to an almost deadening degree, with its ''Seven Dwarfs''-like hobbits and Obi-Wan Kenobi-like wizard. (This seems to be the ultimate destination for distinguished British actors like Alec Guinness and Ian McKellen. Watch your back, Jeremy Irons.) Mr. Tolkien came first, of course, and it's eye-opening to see what an influence he had on those who followed, but it's also somewhat disturbing to see that the movie of ''The Fellowship of the Ring'' doesn't go far beyond Disney, et al.

Hollywood myth and fairy-tale stories have what?

It's a shame Mr. Tolkien is unavailable for comment on that assertion, but it's probably enough to know that he'd likely rip Mr. Siegel a new one (in the purely verbal sense) with far more skill than I can manage.

I could spend more indignation on Siegel's insulting assumptions about what he clearly fails to understand (not because he dislikes the film - his deficiencies in taste don't bother me any more than mine should bother him - but because he's wrong), but... Well, at some point it's just not worth the effort. There's this thing about critics: Most of 'em aren't much more qualified to have an opinion about art than you, me, or any other random individual. Even fewer are especially capable of conveying that opinion in a way that's worthwhile in and of itself.

You want a sweeping, overbroad generalization? Criticism doesn't mattter, and critics matter even less. (Even when I'm playing the part myself.)

No, it's not entirely true, but I'm fairly certain you could go through life believing it and lose no happiness thereby. Henceforth, it's what I'm going to remember when I stumble across this sort of thing. This life is too short to burn much of it on trying to shout down foolish men.