Sunday, November 30, 2008

Akoha Mission: Mr. Lady

A friend of mine finally completed an Akoha mission with me, so now I have an account. Rock.
My first mission, passed on from him, is to link to a blogger. Easy enough. I'm actually surprised that this mission is worth a whopping 200 Karma points. For some reason, giving someone a book is only worth 125... odd... linking is much easier... maybe points for a mission lower the more copies of the mission are active in the world... anyway...

I've chosen the recipient of this mission to be Mr. Lady from Whiskey in My Sippy Cup.

Why did I choose Mr. Lady? As I've said before, she's flirty like a schoolgirl very cool. For everyone else, don't take it personal that I didn't choose you first. I just happen to know Mr. Lady's email address and I kind of need that information to complete the mission (unless I run into you personally on the street). But, if I have your email address or if I can direct twitter you a message.

If you are asking yourself, "what the hell is Akoha?" I wrote about it last week.

Day After Turkey Day = Turkey Day

Hmmm, stole some Turkey from my mama's plate....

Num, num, num

urhm, dishus pretty gud:

Day after Turkey Day - Still good:

Day 3: Turkey might be my favorite food:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

100 Word Challenge: Time

It's time to say goodbye to bad dreams and steam visions, and all the things that made you want to cry. The bleeding edge of the unknown is never going to stare down at you again, leaving you stranded, uncertain of your own abilities.

This time you are the one in control. Let gravity pull until it's heart stops beating--until it screams at you for your unwillingness to go down. The wind around you will tear at you.

Flap your wings thunderously. Pound against the wind fervently, certainly, without restraint.

Now, before you leap, close your eyes, take three deep breaths and dream.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday Haiku: Thanksgiving

It's that time of year
To give thanks for what you love:
Thank you for the grub

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Letter to Code Name Alice Re: Mumbai

Life is hard. I'm not going to lie to you, baby girl. Someday things are going to be really difficult. I can't stop that. All I can do is give you the ninja skills necessary to take on some of the challenges you will face. But you will face challenges that even the greatest ninja skills cannot overcome.

I think about these things when you reach up and wrap your little arms around my neck, squeezing me out the biggest baby-bear hug you can muster. I know you are really trying to eat my neck but I like to think of it as a big hug. I could hug you all day. And I think of this also when I hear of bad things happening--things that someday soon, you will have to face.

Bad things are happening as I write this. People are dying. People are killing other people. It's crazy. It's just madness. I can't explain it to you; All I can say is that it is. These things happen.

Photo from AP Photo by Rajanish Kakade: 8 hours ago: Pigeons fly near a flame from the Taj Hotel hotel in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen have stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 82 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said.
Even a ninja has to choke back some tears at the intense madness of these events. But good things happen too. There is still so much beauty and wonder in the universe. I don't regret bringing you into this world. It's awful at times but it's also fantastic and fun and enlightening.

You have this power. You can change the world. It's in your laugh. That's the most powerful ninja tool you have. Whatever happens, as long as I live, I'll be here to work out these things with you. Even though laughter won't save you through times like this one, I'll be here to give you that bear hug and we can cry a bit together and we will make it through.

These things too shall come to pass.

Photo from Reuters Pictures 3 hours ago: Firemen try to douse a fire at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai November 27, 2008. At least 101 people have been killed in attacks by gunmen in Mumbai, police said on Thursday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I was going to write something creative and all that but then I got really distracted by this new website called Akoha and I just have to give it my mad-props (kinda like my dope-show only more awesome).

Why is this site cool? Why is it innovative? Why should you request an invite and watch out for people doing philanthropic goodness to you while you wait? Read the Comic

If you haven't seen the movie Pay it Forward, watch it. Yeah, it's a little sappy and goes a little overboard in some ways but it's pretty damn good too. Akoha is a sort of a social network game version of that concept. The truly innovative thing about it is that you print up (or request a deck of) cards that you pass around in real life. When you accomplish missions, you gain Karma points. I've printed up a dozen and I can tell already that this is going to become a major addiction.

The Ninja is pleased.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Dawn is upon the village of MindCamp. The villagers awaken to find one of their kind brutally murdered, evidently by a savage, supernatural beast. The village Seer senses that a werewolf is responsible for this travesty but will need time to identify which among the villagers is really a wolf by night.

Sleep Deprivation Ninja, Werewolf Hunter, has spent years infiltrating this village, posing undercover as a wheat farmer.

Are you a werewolf?
No, I'm just a villager.
Say it to the sword.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Evening at the Ninja Fortress

We are watching a movie and a couple of sushi chefs appear on screen.

Sleep Deprivation Ninja: *puts down his Porter and Kahlua* Oh! I want some sushi!

Solar Dancer: *embeds her finger in her empty cider bottle* Let's get some.

SDN: How?

SD: QFC has sushi.

SDN: Oh... yeah... that's smarter than my idea...

SD: What was your idea? Catch a fish...?

SDN: Bundle up the baby and go to DragonFish for happy hour.

SD: Bundle a sleeping baby and drive drunk all the way downtown for happy hour!?

SDN: *laughs* I said your idea was smarter!

SD: So, go to QFC. Or Central Market; they have good sushi.

SDN: Oooh, yeah, they do... But that's far. I can't drive.

SD: Unicycle to QFC.

SDN: Hey, I'm the one without health insurance right now. I can't go unicycling drunk to QFC in the middle of the night to get sushi.

SD: You aren't drunk. You've had, what, half a beer?

SDN: Pssh! Half a beer and at least 1 shot worth of Kahlua. I'm a lightweight, you know that. If I finish this off, I'm down for the night.

SD: Maybe for lunch tomorrow. I think my finger is stuck in the bottle. *she points to the bottle of cider*

SDN: w00t! Sushi for lunch. Hmmm... OH! I've got Cherry Almond Chocolate and Peanut Butter. Dig. My sexy ninja physique is toast.

SD: Sexy toast.

SDN: ?

SD: What are you writing in your blog? I didn't say that. You sexy beast.

SDN: Ninja wins again.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ninja as Child - #15 - LA

I don't want to move to LA. Why would I want to? I have to give up my cat, Emily (named after Emily Dickinson). Dad #3 is a wannabe rock star. He covers bad hair band music and writes his own, just as cheesy as the stuff he covers. His band thinks they're going to make it big in LA. So we have to go.

When we get there, after turning down the place in Compton that was riddled with bullet holes from the previous occupant's assassination, we settle on an adobe box in the center of mexi-town. The house is on a hill, just south of the school where 9 out of 10 students are Hispanic but all the teachers only speak English. This means 3.2 of the kids in my class, including me, are white. This isn't like prison where you can team up with your like kind and form some kind of protection circle. Here, you just hope the other guys are bigger targets than you are and you try not to draw attention. I'm the minority and I'm new. I draw attention and get bullied by a kid with no fingers on his right hand because, as he puts it, "my mama smoke 2 much crack. What? You lookin' at my hand? My brother leads this gang, gringo. He'll fuck you up. Check this knife, bitch." Then he'd pop out a 6-inch steel blade with his good hand and lick it like some creepy cartoon character with Down's syndrome.

Fifth grade is a bitch.

My mom tries to alert the school principal about the weapons and drugs the kids bring onto the playground. He laughs at her, "What do you expect me to do about that? You talk to their parents. Let me know how it goes."

My mother turns on the radio every morning before my brother and I walk to school. The radio tells us whether or not it's safe to breathe the air outside today.

"Today.... is a SMOG day." That means, no. We have to eat lunch in the principal's office and spend recess indoors. The principal is some white dude underneath his horribly mega-tan, sun-torn face. He doesn't talk to us, just stares at us like we're aliens, like we don't belong here, children of some hippy who's overly-concerned with the air quality, like everyone here doesn't just live with it. Three out of five days are smog days. The surgeon general warns that it's not safe to leave your house on those days but everyone does it. They have to do it.

When we moved into the stucco house, we tried to put up some posters. Upon touching the tiny nails to the wall, massive holes broke out. Tape doesn't hold. Nothing can go on the walls, so they remain this ugly color of beige--ugly because it's the color of gringo skin, the white plague, some kind of infestation on this turf.

One Saturday morning, I head outside before my mom wakes up. This guy is running down the hill, frantically wheeling a truck tire as fast as he can. He's taking evasive action because, right behind him, another guy is chasing him with a six shooter, screaming something in Spanish. The guy with the gun fires two rounds but misses each time, the fleeing thief ducking as if to dodge the bullets. The bullets continue through the residential streets, finding homes in whatever gets in their way. I go back inside. It's probably a smog day, anyway.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fighting Malaise

I'm staring at emails and RSS feeds, projects and plans, goals and ambitions, feeling unaccomplished at my lack of progress in both keeping up with the world and keeping up with myself.
This is the time I've been anticipating. The age of overabundance is upon us.

In my parents age, the news was simple. Anyone could keep up with the latest scientific achievements, political changes, local happenings, without missing a thing.
Today, my RSS feeds are unread in the thousands. I can't keep up with Wired Top News or Science News Daily or Kurzweil AI, let alone the dozens of bloggers and specific tech blogs I follow. Just the number of scientific and programming advancements that happen each day are astounding.

I feel like I'm going to miss the introduction of a dozen massively interesting advancements while I'm fretting over creating things of my own. With so many more scientists and tech savvy people (and more growing every day), our acheivements are errupting from the fountainhead of humanity, ripping appart the spigotts and threatening to flood the cistern. Even swimming in this information is a daunting task.

Ah... Black Butte Porter mixed with a double shot of Kahlua... how much better do I feel now? Time to watch a TED talk and relax. This is as close as I can get right now to 'keeping up'.

These are not the ones I'm watching now (they are older) but they both seem to relate in some twisted way to how I feel right now:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Employment Contracts: My 4 Big Peeves

I just got a contract for an employer, who does temp staffing. I may or may not find work through them. Most likely, I won't be signing up, but I enjoy reading contracts and deciphering the legalese, marking it up with my own corrections that I must have changed and verified before signing. Invariably, when I bring my marked-up copy of the contract back to the employer and explain the folly of their assumptions, they are surprised, as if they never read the contract themselves (which they probably didn't). They then pass the contract to their legal team, which replies with a denial of changes. Only once have I signed a contract after being denied my changes. Several times (in better times), I've been able to hold companies to a higher standard and say, "No thanks. The pay isn't good enough to give up so much."

I should mention that I am not a lawyer and have no authority to give legal advice, aside from laying the law down on your ass.

Peeve #1: Legal indemnification from lacking common courtesy
[The Company] reserves the right to change, unilaterally without notice, any and all employment policies, rules, regulations, practices, procedures and programs applicable to Employee at any time and for any reason.
To demonstrate the legal power of this statement, take this possible scenario:

Immediately after you sign the employment contract, the employer decides to change the pay period rules for new employees so that new employees are paid every 6 months (or a year) instead of every 2 weeks. They don't tell you this and you work for about 4 weeks before the jig is up and you find out you aren't getting paid for another 5 months (or a year).

Now, a company would have to be run by serious assholes to pull this kind of trick and there are (potentially) local laws that protect you from your employer changing certain aspects of your employment without telling you (like yanking your healthcare and 401K) but I don't like to sign contracts that give people unwarranted power to be dicks, whether protected by other laws or not, it's just rude. Besides, is it too much to ask that I be notified?

Peeve #2: We own YOU
All information and intellectual property developed or generated wholly or partially by Employee during his/her employment with [The Company], including during any Engagement for a Client, including all intermediate and partial versions thereof, whether or not protected by copyright, will be the sole property of [The Company] upon its creation, and, in the case of copyrightable works, upon its fixation in a tangible medium of expression.
Whoah there! Take special note of the phrasing here as it says 'during his/her employment' but doesn't segregate work that you do "On the clock" or "for [The Company]". What they are effectively saying is that anything you do in your spare time, side projects, personal projects...anything creative or productive, belongs to [The Company] and you forfeit all rights and interests in such works. If you write a book while employed under this contract, they are claiming ownership of your book. If you find a cure for cancer in your DIY home lab and file a personal patent on the cancer fighting method, they claim ownership of that patent.

Technically, legally, this is total bullshit and will not stand up in court. Copyright ownership falls immediately upon the creator at the time of creation, unless the creator was specifically hired to create the intellectual property in question, in which case, the hiring party owns copyright. This means that [The Company], no matter what they say in this contractual agreement, has no legal authority to grab copyright ownership of things they didn't pay you to create--and they certainly can't take ownership of something that someone else paid you to create. Generally, there are local state laws that say as much, but, generally, it's an unnecessary legal addition to aid court battles that already have common sense on their side.

Peeve #3: Survivability of your obligations, but not mine
Either Party may terminate this Agreement at any time for any reason or no reason upon written notice to the other Party. Employee's obligations set forth herein will survive termination of this Agreement.
This one is actually scary and really screwed up. If you see this phrase in a contract, you better waive a red flag. This means that as soon as you sign it, and they have a copy, they can send you written notice that the contract Agreement is terminated, thereby absolving themselves of any and all claims and responsibilities falling within the Agreement, while you are still under all the provisions of the Agreement. How evil is that? That's pretty damn evil. I've seen this on multiple occasions. The only time I signed a contract with this phrase was once when I verified that the only obligation defined for me in the contract was to complete any work that I agreed to complete, in other written agreements, from time to time, which means that if I don't agree in other writing to do any work, I'm not obligated to do anything.

Peeve #4: You will protect us!
Employee hereby agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold [The Company] harmless from any liability for, or assessment of, any claims or penalties with respect to such withholding taxes, labor, or employment requirements, including any liability for, or assessment of, withholding taxes imposed on [The Company] by the relevant taxing authorities with respect to any compensation paid to Employee or Employee's partners, agents, or its employees.
Not only will you not try to sue us, but you will testify on behalf of us if it comes to court. You will defend us. Bullshit. You cannot contractually force someone to commit perjury or even to show up to defend you. However, indemnity is contractual. This does remove your right to sue, unless they are breaking actual laws, in which case the contract cannot protect them.

In closing:

Lawyers just pull in whatever blurbs they like that protect the company as much as possible, which usually means giving you absolutely no protection or rights. It's really important to not only read this stuff but to make your own notes and adjustments and stand up for yourself. If nobody ever says anything about these contracts, lawyers will keep making them worse and worse. However, make sure you are worth the fuss; for a lot of companies, their lawyers are $350/hour and too expensive to pay to deal with 1 prospective employee. But it can be worth it.

A contract that doesn't have at least one revision is a one sided contract.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

100 Word Challenge: Intuitive

"I'll change her. It's poopy, I just know it," says the father, intuitively.
"It's not poopy; she already pooped today," retorts the mother.
"Oh, great JuJu under the sea! There's more poop than I could have imagined." Points out the father.
Later, the father is heaving the baby into the air, playing rocket ships. The baby is laughing, going up and down and around, upside-down over the fathers head.
"She is going to puke on you." Says the mother.
"She isn't going to puke on me. I can see it in her eyes. She's having a ball." Says the father, intuitively.
*Blaugh!* Says the baby, sickeningly.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ninja Training: The Art of Disguise

Aargh! What a cute little pirate child eating her food so sweetly. Huh, what's that? A shuriken!? What is this? AAAAAAAAAaaahhh... *croak of death*

This is the sound of a pirate being fooled by my baby ninja's brilliant trickery. Truly she is learning to master the art of disguise.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ninja as Child - #14 - First Grade

It was 27 days, 3 hours and 22 minutes since the boy who would one day become Sleep Deprivation Ninja began first grade. On this day, the teacher had invited her identical twin sister to join the class. The women wore matching blue and white dresses in the Dutch style that reminisces the wardrobe of Dorothy Gail from the Wizard of Oz. Both women had applied the same grotesque amount of make-up, their eye-liner in thick swirls and rouge filled cheeks, which threatened to halt school buses, all culminating to make them appear to be at least a decade older than they really were.

One of the children began to imagine the classroom as a circus. The eerie twins, never separating, seemed conjoined at the hip like the famed circus twins of Siam. Another student wondered if they would ever learn to apply cosmetics with such horror inducing flair as the twins had managed--Halloween, after all, was only weeks away and the child who wondered this shined a bright, toothy grin of anticipation.

The young ninja only cringed in his chair, lowering deeper and deeper, hoping to vanish into the base of the floor, fearful that the verbal torment of the one teacher would be doubled with the introduction of her twin.

As the students began their first assignment, the teacher twins walked around the classroom, huddling together and whispering, with hands blocking mouths, like little gossip girls. From the back of the classroom, the young ninja could see that they were about to descend upon him. Their faces lit up, highlighting the rouge and eye shadow with emphatic creases and they scurried closer to him until they were blocking the tiny space that would have allowed him to leap from his desk and out the classroom door.

One of the twins then pointed to the young ninja and exclaimed, "See, his eyes are so blue." Her hands folded together in a Clove Hitch knot under her chin, as if trying desperately to contain her exploding enthusiasm.

"Oh," said the other, giving a little shoulder tuck and smile to indicate an agreeable curtsy.

"When you grow up, you are going to have the prettiest blue eyes!"

The young ninja casually adjusted his peripheral vision to take in as many of his classmates as possible. He inspected their faces, hoping that none were paying attention to the horror he was facing. At that moment none were, but as the ninja returned to face the terrible twins, the boy sitting next to him pointed with a chuckle. He had nothing witty to say, only a grin and a finger.

Soon the chuckling virus took hold of the child in front of the young ninja and progressed north by northwest until everyone had caught the influenza. They were not laughing at the boys blue eyes for they were not all that funny. The joke was somewhere in the way the twins were standing, dotingly, crooning in front of the young ninja.

This, thought the ninja, is too much.

At this point, the boy with blue eyes had nothing to say, only an obvious and immediate action to take.

As his eyes were the reason for this treatment, he sought to be rid of them, exchanging them with the eyes of his neighbor. Perhaps you would like blue eyes, Bobby. These words remained unspoken, but were conveyed with clarity as the ninja child reached out to pluck the eyes from his classmate. Perhaps brown eyes will allow me to vanish, unnoticed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Writing & Rives

Sometimes, I just want to write what comes to mind but I find that no language could express it. I just want to garble and blurb, pound my hands against the keys so you can hear it. I long for the future that promises a decanter for mental imagery. Is that cheating? Just to pour out your thoughts through some electrical wiring and onto a hard drive, or maybe let it float up into the ether so it can dance and meld with other people's thoughts? An open mental space... that's what I want, someday.

Today, I just want you to take a minute to listen to my favorite contemporary stand-up poet, Rives, as he tells you what it would be like if he controlled the internet:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kung Fu Baby

Are you looking at me? I see you looking at me. Hold on their while I ready my killer Kung Fu sit...

And then we found the coolest thing ever:

...and Code Name Alice shat her pants.

Monday, November 10, 2008


When you're teething, everything looks like a gum soothing possibility.

The lacquered wooden table, the rim of a chair, chess pieces, playing cards, headphones, glasses, all are variations on the basic tooth extruding algorithm. In fact, this is a fantastic representation of mechanical adaptation and learning. Code Name Alice grabs something, tests it's basic attributes against a set of requirements such as texture, size and malleability, and, once the object has exhausted all measure of usability, she exchanges it for another. It's a great system and I applaud her ingenuity but, lately, her audacity is becoming problematic.

Sleep Deprivation Ninja: Hey baby girl! What's up? Ooh, you want to give daddy a hug? Ah, that's the sweetest thing, a nice big hug. AAAAAAHHHH, she's got my neck!

Code Name Alice: Num-num-num!

Solar Dancer: Oh, you're such a baby. Give her up... Hey sweety... ahhhHHGH MA NOBES!

CNA: Num-num-num!

SDN: Um... do you mean nose. It looks like she has your nose.

SD: Mai NOBES!!!

CNA: Num-num-num!

This is more problematic when we try to socialize her with folks her age. She has been trying to eat all her friends... and strangers.

Next ninja lesson for CNA: Bite of Tranquility (it's gentle but effective)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

100 Word Challenge: Resurrect

He's one of them, a Sleeper. You can see it in his eyes, with that phosphorescent shine you only get from instant caffeine withdrawal and a whole bottle of Clear Eyes, coating them with a glossy glow. Big glassy red balls. The freaker, he probably gets up at 3am, resurrecting from the dead, pops some pills to keep awake but I bet he looses it, standing in the shower, falling back into dream. I bet he's got hops in his blood, trying to kill the bacteria that's been eating up all the sweetness in life. Sleepers, Dreamers, they're always awake.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ninja as Child - #13 - Poor

At the welfare office, you stand with sordid figures, screaming children with mothers that stare blankly at the front of the line as if the needy young ones don't exist, solo street folk who put their signs down outside, lest they appear to have a paying job, fathers who stumble in bedraggled and filthy drunk, desperate families who just need a little help and who barely hold back tears at their situation, and government employees, bored, annoyed and eager to be rid of the whole lot.

I'm standing in line with my mother and watching the other children. Some play, some cry, some hold their mothers in fear of this strange and noisy place. One woman screams at a teller, something about the money not being enough. My mother looks down at me and gives a wry smile, the kind of smile that says, forgive me for this; I'm sorry we are here; we'll get out of this someday. I smile back, the kind of smile that says, I know, mom; I trust you; we are OK.

When we have the welfare check, we are golden. The rent is cheap in our shabby apartment but we have cable TV, heat and a fridge full of food, all packed from the Grocery Outlet, or as we like to call it, the Canned Food Store. Occasionally, we would go there and see a massive pile of cans without labels. 10¢ each. Mystery food. No expiration. We would buy a dozen of them and take them home to discover, yams, cocktail sausages, unidentifiable vegetable masses.

We get Food Stamps in a fat booklet, which, when torn out and stacked, appear to be the loot from a lottery winning or a bank robbery. These are just like cash and look like fancy, large Monopoly bills. You can only buy food, candy, and any other consumable goods with them. My brother and I take a Food Stamp toy $5 dollar bill to the corner grocery and buy two bags of Doritos, Salsa Rio and Cool Ranch, and a few bags of candy bits. The shop keeper gives us disapproving looks but he's forced to take the mock money.

My mother is in school, studying whales and sociology. She's passionate about the environment and social justice. I go with her sometimes, when I don't feel like going to my school. The University is so much better. I sit in her Greek Mythology class and listen to the professor tell tall tales of Zeus becoming a bull so he could carry Europa to Crete, fornicating in the ocean on the way, impregnating her with Minotaur sons. It's awesome. I join in on the discussions and the professor doesn't mind that I'm there. He laughs like none of my teachers ever have, honestly, mercifully, humbly. In my mother's Women's Studies class, I draw on a legal pad, doodling mental mayhem, swirls and swaths of wandering jest.

Outside, we meet up with one of my mother's classmates. They talk for a bit and then he asks if I plan on going to college. Maybe, I say. I don't know. School is a drag, but college is way cooler than what I have to do now. Well, you know, the government pays me to go to school, he says. Really? That's way cool. I'll definitely go to college if I get paid to do it. I'm sold.

Being destitute, we qualified for Medi-Cal, the California Medicare system. Free health care. Shoddy health care, but free. When we ran out of Medi-Cal stamps, which happened every month, we made frequent use of the free clinics who specialized in 3rd world medicine and free prophylactics. As a child with epilepsy, needing frequent blood work, brain scans and experimental mental medications, free health care was as necessary as cable television. Who could live without it?

Thursday, November 6, 2008


When I was in college, I had so much free time that I used to laugh and scoff at the notion of the 9-5 stereotypical television character life. I couldn't believe people would stand for such drudgery. I was working as a waiter, 3 days a week, 5 hour shifts, making more than enough money to pay rent and have fun. I even saved money and had numerous hobbies. School was mostly part-time and, having made hobbies of each subject many quarters before taking the courses, school was a breeze. It was easier than working. I could go into class dazed and sleepy, keeping my head in dreamspace all day. Nobody cared.

My favorite hobby was, and always will be, to dream. Sleep was a given. I would sleep 10-12 hours a night, awakening in a slow daze that would allow me to remember epic dreams. Some of them I would write down, parts anyway, but I would always stop short of a full dream log, lest I spend all day writing and remembering, living in the memory of a dream.

Now, even unemployed, I'm working almost 60 hours a week. One full-time job for a decent pay became a full-time job of looking for work, committing to a 20-hour a week startup on nights and weekends, pending pay on project completion and revenue share, doing countless freelance jobs, all of it equating to more time working, less work getting done and less pay as a result. But if the moonlighting startup succeeds, we'll have it made. That might be retirement in a year. We'll see.

I've been unemployed for over two weeks and although I've stolen time away from promised availability and auctioned interview time to walk around the lake and join in story time with my beautiful wife and daughter, I'm so beaten by the lack of free personal time that I can't enjoy it fully. I love the brief moments I can just hold my baby girl, even when she is sleeping. I don't want to put her down. I could just hold her all night and push the rest of the world away, ignore the phone, purge my email, disconnect.

Someday, all of this work will pay off. Someday, we will be able to work only for fun. When that day comes, I'm going to be spending all my time with my baby girl, traveling the world, playing music, reading books, writing epic dreams and living them as well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Panther and the Puma

In the garden of darkness, a panther waits within a high tree. A puma softly treads the leafy floor below, searching for some place to rest.

"Poor lad, do you know where you have wandered?" asks the panther to the puma.

"Oh, sir, panther! I have strayed far from my land. I know not where upon my head should rest for solace. Please direct me to the nearest inn or vacancy of such kind that I may purchase an evening rest. I am forever in your debt, good sir for such a small but valuable transfer of neural networking. Query?"

"You talk in such befuddling verse, puma. Dare I suggest you have come from the north? Query, indeed."

"Oh, quite right you are, my friend panther. I am a northern puma, named Paladin. I am Paladin Puma, at your service, sir, here to slay the dragons or other foul lizards that may infest whatever land I happen to be paid to protect. Have you need of such service?" The puma's shoulders gallantly triumph into the air, propping his chest high and mighty, as if load bearing columns of a great warrior.

"No lizards here, friend. I have eaten all but one and that one is afraid of coming out of his hiding place, lest I tear his limbs as I have done to his siblings and ancestors. There is no need here of a hero."

"Then you are a knight errant, too...?" Paladin Puma asks in the kind of inquisition that wreaks of withered disappointment. He lowers his shoulders in sad, reflective thoughts of inadequacy. There is no room in this world for a knight errant and Paladin Puma is learning more of this truth in each place he visits.

"Oh, friend Puma..." the Panther says with a wicked grin, showing his massive incisors, clean and white. "You have no reason to be so distraught. This land welcomes and consumes all creatures who bear the mark of fur."

"That is good news and I am in such need of it. Please, show me where I may rest. It has been such a long journey from fro and to, far to near and there to here."

"If you insist... follow my path--although, you may remain on the ground. I will traverse the trees as I am born to do so."

Paladin Puma scampers along the ground, beneath the panther, looking up at his new friend and failing to watch his path carefully. Within seven steps, he falls deep into a hole, which had been masked by humans, not so cleverly, with twigs and leaves.

The panther continues to leap from branch to branch, leaving Paladin Puma in the dark, inescapable hole to be found in the morning by men and killed for his fur. Before fading from view, the panther whispers into the still quiet night, "Be a good lad and scream, friend."

The Puma remains silent.

Monday, November 3, 2008


This stuff is deadly. Just a warning. And I don't mean that if a ninja drinks it, he is likely to kill you. I had half a bottle of Venom and I almost died. This stuff is more hard core than actual snake venom.

What's even more amazing is that I found a YouTube video that tells my exact tale, just substitute the phrases "Rattlesnake" and "Viper" with "Venom Drink" and "Bruce" with "Sleep Deprivation Ninja" and you've got my story:

Sunday, November 2, 2008


EDIT: The first part of this post is no longer available due to reasons I cannot divulge without causing further upset.

I do not want it from a cow.
I do not want it with a sow.
I do not want it in a house.
I do not want it from a mouse.
I do not want it here or there.
I do not want it anywhere.
I do not want your mammal juice.
I do not want it, silly moose.
ADDENDUM: In this version of the classic Dr. Seuss story, the protagonist finally succumbs to the demands of the silly moose, only to have his heart begin an arrhythmic pulse and suddenly stop. Our hero dies for defying his principles and succumbing to peer pressure.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Haiku

In the dark autumn,
A ninja waits for children.
Jack-o-lantern scare!