Friday Fives – up in the air

I can’t give you the Friday Fives, yet.  They are written, and it involves an amusing (to me, anyway) situation on the plane.

Plane girl, are you here?

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Peter Coyote – still alive

You know that face, don’t you?  Generic handsome actor type, right?  In the parlance of ‘the Jerk’, he is likely a “random milk eating bastard!”  More than his face, you know his voice.  These days (in his 70s) he does more voice work than anything.  I have a weird ability to identify voices, and I heard his on the Ken Burns epic Vietnam documentary I am trying to power through.  Ironic it is his voice, as he was a great protester of his time.  Peter Coyote was the uber -hippy.  The proto-hippy.  One should argue he was the greatest hippy of all time.

He was there in Haight Ashbury scene of San Francisco, as a leader of the ‘diggers’.  These guys weren’t just freeloading dirtbags looking for handouts… like most there by late 60s. He was running a free food store and medical clinic in the neighborhood.  He was committed to leadership and public service and justice… Superman type stuff.

I am not talking about that Peter Coyote above, I am talking about this one.  Same dude!

peter coyote

Trust me, this is quietly revolutionary, and needs to be recognized.  He was in San Fran during all the summer of love stuff.  He was there with the Dead, and the Airplane, and Allen Ginsburg is probably running around nude somewhere in the background.  Wavy Gravy is still mild mannered comic Hugh Romney.  Coyote isn’t in a band.  He isn’t selling drugs.  He isn’t hanging out.  He is managing the community… for FREE.  Need medical care?  You sure do, dipshit.  Need a meal?  How about some books?  Anything you need, free.  He didn’t just talk about free love, he did shit!  This man is a fucking hero!

Perhaps you see the super handsome pictures and think ‘ah, cut his hair, sold out… became a yuppy.  They all sell out in the end, brother!”    You shut your mouth when you are talking about Peter Coyote.  No, he didn’t sell out, he became a Buddhist monk!  Hot damn that is bad ass.

It is interesting he has made his living in entertainment, but he is a blessing to us all.  Go find Peter Coyote and give him a hug for me.  Even if he runs you off, it would be with that silky voice that would make it all worth while.  While so many in the 60’s talked a good game… and either got rich or went starving as a result… Peter took the middle road.  God bless his Mahayanist soul!  In looking for pictures of this great man, I found this… his autobiography.

Gotta admit, I had no idea.  However, I have already downloaded the audiobook.  My review will be over here, but you can just assume it will be gushing and fawning.  As a straight guy, can you be gay for someone’s voice?  Because I am, dammit!

Friday fives – flying with the fish

Image result for fish mandala

If you could be either a fish or a bird, which would you be, and why?

A bird, so I could fly.  Why?  Let’s go back to the age old dilemma:  if you were a superhero, would you choose invisibility or flight?  No one asked, ever, if they wanted to be a fish.

Pasta salad or potato salad?

Pasta salad.  I’d rather be a fucking fish than eat potato salad.  Who writes this shit? What did I do to deserve these questions?

Burgers or Brats?

Either would be fine, thank you for asking.

Would you rather it be 10 degrees too hot or 10 degrees too cold?

The warmer.  I have some heartiness and reserve built up from growing up in Phx.

Is youth wasted on the young?

No.  here is why:  like everyone on earth, I would KILL (you) to have the brain and knowledge and experience I have now in the body of a 20 year old.  Were that possible, 20 year olds would be ambitious and unstoppable monsters.  Its best they are stupid and harmless narcissists who simply drive very badly and believe marketing.

Friday Fives – elders, dance crazes, and sprinkler compactors

Invent a drinking game to play in the retirement home. 

Every time someone around you mentions a body pain… 1 shot of bourbon

Every time someone around you complains about the staff… 1 shot of high fiber protein drink

Invent a new must-have kitchen appliance

The ‘trash compactor’!  Take all your waste, and do what industrial companies do… smoosh it down to a tiny cube.  Take up a smaller waste and global footprint… and take our your garbage less often.

*** wait… you say this exists?  Your Aunt had one?  Yeah, 30 years ago.  When was the last time you saw one?  Why aren’t these everywhere?  Why aren’t these mandatory?  Ron Popeill, get on this shit!

A new fashion craze takes over the nation. What is it?

Minimalism.  Clothes are expensive, so is hoarding them.  Most climates are getting marketedly warmer, as promised.  So far this year, Colorado is having is second hottest summer in recorded history.  So, clothes become super light weight, and people began printing them at home.

“Well, gonna do a dance and it goes like this  And the name of the dance is ” (Name the dance)

I actually got this to take off in a club in Mexico.  It’s called the Sprinkler®.  You mimic the activity of a rotating sprinkler head.  HEY… don’t laugh. Apparently, the shopping cart is a thing.

45s, LPs, Reel Tape, 8 track, cassettes, CDs, MP3s.  Invent what is next.

Air.  Nothingness.  People won’t buy physical music anymore.  It is all virtual, or in the cloud, or on your phone.  Physical media is becoming a thing of the past, which is a shame.  How do we capture it for posterity?  How do you listen if you internet goes down?  I still buy physical CDs.  Now… get off my lawn!

Friday Fives – childhood memories and dubious inventions

What image or scene from a children’s movie/show did you find disturbing?

Pretty much everything in Alice in Wonderland.  It’s a story about taking mushrooms and potions to get and small.  Hookah smoking caterpillars, and a queen whose only words are ‘off with her head’.  Everyone she meets it beheaded.

What kind of fucked up shit is that?  Btw, it’s my favorite book in the world.  I can, and will, go on endlessly about it.  With all the drug references, and that great Jefferson Airplane song, you may think it was written in the 60s.  It was, the 1860s.  It was written by a Reverend who had a doctorate in theoretical mathematics, and wrote books on the subject.

He was rather embarrassed about writing such trivial silliness, so he used a pseudonym.  Lewis Carrol is actually Rev Charles Dodgson.   Other coolness, there is an actual Alice in real life.  Here is a photo of her.  Her name is, or… was… Alice Liddell

My first tattoo will be a reference to that book.  This is what I am getting.  It isn’t just the white rabbit from the story.  It is drawn by Ralph Steadman, who did all of Hunter Thompson’s iconic illustrations.  It’s a great story, maybe the greatest.  But maybe not for little kids.

 What is a favorite scene/image from childhood that stays with you?

Nothing I can think off of the top of my head.  That ok?  But… thanks for trying to traumatize me.  Bully!

What’s on TV that no one is watching but should be?

No idea, we don’t have cable.  It means we watch a LOT of PBS.  Know what is fucking dope on PBS?  Frontline.  It’s as if 60 minutes and Ken Burns had a baby… I don’t think I have ever seen one that wasn’t compelling.  They could do a Frontline on eggplant color separation technology and it would be earth-shaking.

What’s playing on the music player that everyone should be listening to but isn’t?

Well, I don’t listen to radio, so I can’t speak to that.  When I say I don’t listen to radio, I don’t mean I am a thoughtster® that only listens to Terry Gross.  It means the antenna in my truck is busted, so the radio doesn’t work. With that being said, what I listen to is books on tape.  So should you.

Remove one letter from the name of a TV show or movie. What is the premise of the new show?

The Greatest American Her.  It follows a narcissist, a la a Kardashian, who has super powers of vanity.

 

 

*** Thoughtster – that is a word I invented about a week ago.  I am imagining a pretentious Sting stroking his beard and pontificating on some boring ass bullshit.  Same would work for Ian Anderson.  While I love Jethro Tull (even seem them live), their singer Ian Anderson is a pretentious windbag and elitist a-hole.  Nay… a thoughtster!  You are likely picturing this guy.   Yeah, he was that guy.  Now… he’s this guy.  I am picking on him because one of the things he LOVES to drone on about he pretension.  Imagine a John Cleese character who takes himself too seriously.  Actually… that would be John Cleese, wouldn’t it?

Now, go ahead and add that to your Microsoft dictionary, because you’ll be using it all the time!

thoughtster

I invented this.  and that.  and that.  Know what else I invented?  A laptop that has a 10 key build in.  Know what else  The fact that your cell phone a clock on it.  I was in the cell phone business when there was about 3 out there, in 1997.  Phones didn’t have internet back then, or caller id, or texting, or color, or cameras, or vibration.  They didn’t even have the time on them.  At Nextel, I suggested it to the engineers, and can even explain how it would work.  The phone pings the cell site, which has a very sensitive clock attached, for billing purposes. The phone has a battery.  I explained, in more sciencey terms (the MDap, to the HLR, to the VLR.  TDMA based).

they said thank you, nothing else.  Less than 6 months later, clocks appeared on our phones.  So, I can’t prove I did this, but I am confident I had a significant hand in it.  True story!

this reminds me of a character in Alice in Wonderland, since we are talking about it.  This guy was a total doofus, called the ‘White Knight’.  He ran around bumbling into shit, and claiming about everything ‘I invented that!’  Like… flowers and gravity and horses… he invented that!  Maybe the White Knight is my spirit animal.

Friday Fives – job satisfaction

Image result for air conditioner mandala

Do you enjoy your work?

Yes.  Been doing it a while.  I am good at it, which I am confident I could prove empirically.  I do enjoy it, which is a big part of why I have been doing it so long.  Also, though… I have been doing it so long that it is my primary skillset.  In that sense, I am trapped… but joyfully so

Are you overpaid or underpaid for the work you do (or last did)?

Fairly paid.  Wait… who is reading this?  I want a raise, you greedy soulless corporate bastards!  I am fine, though.  I don’t do anything dangerous, and I work in a safe and comfortable environment with people I appreciate it.  I could do it for less, but I’d certainly take more.  Where is the line?  deleted Colfax hooker joke went here.

What one thing do you dislike most about your work?

The alarm clock.  Being a night person, even a 10 am start is tough.  I have written about this before, but being a night person is a curse!  In high school, and college, it was GREAT.  In the adult world, it is wildly inconvenient.  Cry me a river, huh?  Just sayin’, I used to have a schedule that started at 2 pm.  Best thing about that?  NO ALARM.  Maybe I wake up at 9 am… maybe I wake up at noon.  Thing was, with that shift, I never saw my friends or wife or the world. I missed those things, and those things missed me.  So, I am back to days like a grown up person.

What one thing would make your work life happier or more satisfying?

Work from home.  Been lobbying for it for years.   When we first tried it at Sprint… we had the funniest problem – attendance.  True story!  Then, there were problems with productivity.  With so many distractions (tv, kids, dishes, cleaning, sleep)… how do you get people to work?

So, when I built our WFH program*** at Business Care, the very first thing you had to be was meeting or exceeding all your metrics.  It was VERY successful, very popular, and super paid for itself.  Once people got a taste of work from home, they would do everything to keep it.  It is important to note, again… it paid for itself.  Not just in productivity, but we were able to sell a whole building.  This was as Sprint was going under (which they have been doing for about 15 years now, since they bought Nextel).  That saved us a ton of money, and the technology is absolutely available. We were doing it ten years ago.  During one of the big blizzards, my department was the only one open… because the city was closed… but all our people were safe and warm at home.

think you can get people to come in for over time during a blizzard?  it isn’t even safe or sane to ask.  If people are just chillin’ at home, though, they would take a couple hours of over time easy.  I know, they tell me all the time.  20 years ago, we thought all tech jobs would be work from home.  I am not sure why that isn’t the case.

Plus, and this is my own fault… we live far out.  Like… down a dirt road, no street lights, cable company doesn’t go that far, and we are on well water.  So, any and every commute is a long one.  It’s still worth it, though.  Can’t imagine ever living in the city again, god willing and the creek don’t rise!

Do you try to fit into your workplace’s culture?

You’d have to ask my peers.  I am an odd duck, for sure.  But also helpful and with a good attitude.  I am certainly no weirder than Rick, if that is what you are trying to get at.

 

 

 

*** “when I build the work from home…

I should say I mean that in the Al Gore sense of ‘inventing the internet’.  I obviously can’t take all the credit, but I did a lot of the heavy lifting, and I was a big part of why it was successful.

Why the Departed is garbage

Image result for the departed best still

So, it took me ten twelve years to write this.  I didn’t like it when I saw it the first time.  I figured with a cast like that, I should re-watch it.  I couldn’t even finish it.  Here is why >

Too many good actors who are acting their dicks off because they are in a Scorsese movie.  It’s like watching the second set of String Cheese Incident.  You got 6 or 7 guys playing as hard as they can, at the same time, for 90 minutes.  Remember the old jazz dictum… ‘it’s also about the notes you don’t play’?  Apparently, acting in this movie becomes some kind of unnecessary contest to see who can chew the most scenery, and make the cut to be in the trailer.

To have that many stars, you can only assume they all worked for scale (minimum wage for movie stars) just for the chance to work with the great Scorsese (who is great.  And at the making of this movie, he had less Oscars than Eminem.  Not academy awards… but Oscars)

One can only assume their compensation, since it wasn’t money, was every actor got to do an over the top soliloquy every time they were on screen – Oscar bait

I love mark Wahlberg, but his acting in this movie is SO forced, it hurts.  And here is what is silly.  The movie is about ‘Southies’.  Those are the real bad asses from the poor, Irish, South end of Boston.  The guys from ‘Good Will Hunting’… they were supposed to be Southies.  Mark Wahlberg really is a Southie.  He is playing himself at 20 years old, basically.  You might think he would just try some natural low key acting.  Oh no, he acts like every scene will replayed for ‘Best Actor’ roll in packages for years to come.  Plus, it appears he let everyone swear as much as they want.  There is no subtlety in ANY of the performances.

How is the story?  Well, spoiler alert… turns out EVERYONE is a cop.  Even Jack Nicholson’s character is an informant.  This whole story line is clearly an homage to Whitey Bulger… who was still on the lam when this was filmed.  They just caught Whitey a few years ago, when he came out of hiding to kick Johnny Depp’s ass for that weak-ass portrayal in the biopic.  Whitey still, quite amusingly, denies he was an informant.

Everyone dies at the end.  With all the big names, people are STILL crying for a sequel.  A sequel to what?  The story where everyone was a cop or an informant, and they all died by the end.

Marty got his ‘make up’ Oscar for this… if nothing else… to even the score with Eminem.

The movie had the perfect cast, perfect director, and perfect backdrop of poor working class Boston.  That is Wahlberg’s real life.  And don’t think he even has to act to be a ‘thug’.  Remember he was once convicted for trying to beat a guy to death for being Asian.  Yeah, Southie’s roll that hard.  Remember, in the movies, when they say ‘working class’, the subtext is ‘poor white people who are violent and misogynist wife beaters… but are really golden at heart and just what a shot at that American dream’.  ‘Working Class’ is such a violent and over-used pejorative.  It’s the guy with a few prison stints, a couple ex wives, and isn’t afraid to fight.  In the movies, anyway.  How about my folks?  They both worked full time and over time to give us a perfect life.  There were no factories in our story.  Mercifully, I never had to hear shit like ‘we work hard, and we play harder’.

I mean… to make this movie great… you have everything, and everyone, you need.  Instead, we get a film that just feels so forced.  Can we go back and give everyone a shit ton of valium before they shoot this thing.  Even in the stills these guys are over-acting.

Image result for the departed

Image result for the departed

Image result for the departed

The movie I am probably more excited about than any movie I have ever been is this same group.  Marty Scorsese doing a mob movie with Deniro and Pacino and Pesci and (all too obvious choice of) Ray Romano.  This just finished filming, and comes out next year.  It’s called the Irishman, and is based on a book you need to read before you finish this rant.  It’s called ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’.

I talk shit because I LOVE these fucking actors.  I LOVE these stories.  Look at the books I read, they are all mafia these days.  Currently, I am reading (err… listening to.  That is how I get all my books these days) is called ‘Mafia Prince’. It’s the story of Crazy Phil Leonetti, Little Nicky Scarfo’, The Chin… et al. All the books I read are by and about the real guys.  There is NO need for fiction when it comes to the mafia, because the real shit is so goddamn crazy there is no need to embellish.

But this cast for the Departed is its own problem.  Too much talent.  Too many great minds trying to make their mark.

There is a reason they are all rich and successful.  The problem is, you can’t put that much talent on screen.  In football, you have the QB.  ONE quarterback.  He gets the girls and the glory and the blame and the shoe deal.  However, it is the other 10 guys killing themselves to make him look good.  What about the offensive lineman?  Can you name one?  These guys get hit EVERY play, they NEVER get to touch the ball, and they are only noticed if they screw up.  That is how you need to build a cast and a story.  Don’t know why I am instructing Marty on how to make a mafia movie, he invented it.  Plus, he invented the music documentary… the ‘rockumentary’.  I expected better, mister!  Now, please don’t have me wacked.