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Friday
Jul222005

Random download

Depressed.  Can’t seem to write a damned thing. Song stuck in my head (for three days now) is “I Know What I Know” by Paul Simon.

I promised myself that I would write at least two pages of the new book each day until I had a rough, and now, thirty days and nine pages later, I’m failing miserably.  Meanwhile, Warren has written FIVE whole (comic book) scripts in EIGHT days.  And we were wondering why he failed to attend Nerd Prom (the San Diego Comics Convention).

Random download:
            
I’ve been told by several people that my blog would be less scary and more readable if it had
a) more content and
b) a less uh-oh-able title than “media viruses,” which apparently scares the faint-of-heart into believing they’re going to catch a worm from the site and
c) if I actually promoted it, and
d) if I wrote more succinct posts, or at least warned readers when a long diatribe was imminent.

Hmmm.  Although all three of these things are ostensibly correct, I still feel the aching need to tell those who try to tell me how to run my life to give me an RJ.  (If you can’t figure out what RJ means, you probably don’t want to know).  And speaking of Warren, he gets away with calling his feed “Bad Signal,” so what up?

Oh.  Yeah.  

***Verbosity Warning: This post slightly more than 1200 words long.***
*** Duty dispensed.  Regular programming may ensue.***

Boing Boing alerted me to a “Starbucks Knockoff” in Ethiopia (via NYT.com), which I find extremely funny.  The article claims that “Kaldi’s has a Starbucks-like logo and Starbucks-like décor, and its workers wear Starbucks-like green aprons. At the bar, there are Starbucks-like ‘short’ and ‘tall’ coffee options, although Kaldi’s sticks exclusively to Ethiopia’s coffee varieties, while the real Starbucks includes Ethiopia’s premium beans among many other offerings.

“‘I’ve always loved Starbucks, the ambiance of it,’ said Tseday Asrat, the proprietor of Kaldi’s, fessing up to the obvious inspiration behind her year-old business. ‘So we created our own version of it here.’”  

I find this humorous because of two things.  

One, it reminds me of a sad thing David Bowie said in an interview about a zillion years ago (maybe around 1995) when he went on tour with NIN.  Trent and Bowie were interviewed by Kennedy on eMpTyV and Bowie commented on how incongruous and sick it was to find a Mc Donalds in Nepal. The only other bit of the interview I remember clearly was when the two of them were playing a bit of “Good Rockstar/Bad Rockstar,” Bowie telling Kennedy that her dress was based on the work of some dead French painter, and Trent responding “Oh yeah.  And it makes your jugs look big.”
                        
Two, “Kaldi” is the name of the goatherd in the apocryphal coffee-origin story quoted by just about everyone who knows anything about coffee.  Though the best version is used in The Perfect Cup by Timothy James Castle, which remains my favorite coffee book to date, I’ll attempt to summarize.

Once upon a time, there was an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi.  One day, while tending his goats, he noticed that when the goats consumed the red berries of a particular shrub, they became excited and happy, frolicking around the plains.  He took some of the berries to the village wise man, who tried the berries, and found them good.  

Of course, they’re talking about coffee, which for those not in the industry, grows on a small deciduous shrub in high altitudes within the middle latitudes.  The plant produces green “cherries” which turn red as they ripen, and the seed is what is roasted, ground, and processed with water to make the stuff you drink.

So basically, we stole the idea of coffee from Ethiopia, and now they’re stealing the idea of Starbucks from us.  Coolness.  Starbucks itself has a pretty weird origin story, or at least the logo does.  Ever wonder why there’s a mermaid on it?

Starbuck is the name of the first mate in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.  (Yes StarGazers.  The “Starbuck” on Battlestar Galactica was named after him.)  What does the ocean, Moby Dick and mermaids have to do with coffee?  Not a damned thing.  Apparently, the owner just liked it.

More serendipity, my Mom and Dad were into Transcendental Meditation (TM) when I was a kid.  They were interested in it from before I was born—I mean, full on.  We had two pics of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in a bi-fold frame draped with love beads and everything.  My mom, a StarGazer (read: Science Fiction Fan) was reading Dune by Frank Herbert when she was pregnant with me.  When I was born, she named me after a character in the book.  The film Dune was directed by David Lynch, though he later Alan Smitheed it.  David Lynch has just formed a new foundation based on TM.  According to the article, Lynch felt compelled to do so because of, in part, the state of education in the U.S.  He felt that students are “…getting pathetic educations. They’re not going forward with full decks of cards.”  

Pot.  Calling.   Kettle.

Not that I disagree, but David Lynch saying someone ELSE doesn’t have a full deck is, well, pretty funny.  This is the guy who told Trent Reznor that the soundscape for his Mobius-strip thriller “Lost Highway” should sound like “snakes shooting out of a box.”

I’ve meditated on and off for years, and I will admit it helps me calm down  sometimes, but I can’t say that I’ve experienced a radical shift in perception or anything.  Not even since my Dad gave me a mantra a couple of years ago.

Rounding out the top of the Only Slightly Less Offensive Than Telling A Journalist That Her Dress Makes Her Jugs Look Big department, How-To Goddess Barbara K! has come out with a LADIES’ TOOL KIT.  Disgusto.  We can use real tools, just like Y-Chromos!  We have hands and everything!  I just find it offensive that “Ladies’ Tools” even this version, which is a damned sight better than most of them, has to be color-coordinated and come in a nifty case.  It’s like saying that we have a biological imperative to color match!  Preposterous and totally uncool.

Speaking of gender, I found another word nerd, Melanie Spiller, who had an interesting post on the topic of gender and political correctness in writing.  Although I love her writings, she gives the following example at one point:

The student took a bus on her field trip.
The student took a bus on his field trip.
The student took a bus on the field trip.
The student took a bus on a field trip.

Spiller claims that the final sentence is perfectly acceptable, except that it could be misconstrued that the student took the bus ON the field trip, like, ON A DATE, ON A FIELD TRIP.  It’s just a strangely-phrased sentence, and I don’t care for it at all.  

Since I hate it when people use verbs like “took” for “went” etc., my version would probably be “The students (since the likelihood that only one student took a field trip is slim) rode a bus on their field trip.”  Or even better, “The students said ‘to hell with the field trip’ and went to the pub.”

Which brings us full circle, back to Warren, who is currently being awarded the post of “Minister of Pub” and is looking for header images reading “Ministry of Pub.”  He said he’d take images of female readers with hand-scrawled signs.

Wow.  I just wrote, like, 1200 words.  Too bad it wasn’t on-topic.  Maybe tomorrow.

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