Jake’s got a gun.

Sometimes I get a little playful at work. The corporate environment can sometimes beg for a break in the monotony of politeness in emails, etc. Today I invited my friend Jake to take on some silliness.

From: Me
To: Jake
Hey Jake. Were you able to test those scripts last week?


From: Jake
To: Me
I meant to tell you about my progress the other day but then the other team hasn’t yet responded. I’ll prod them a little bit and let you know how it goes.


From: Me
To: Jake
Aren’t there tests you can conduct from your end? Do you have a gun you can use to persuade them?


From: Jake
To: Me
well, I actually ran the modified versions of the scripts and it sorta worked but there were discrepancies between what the new script and the old script were pulling when it ran on schedule. I’m hoping someone from the other group can tell me why


From: Me
To: Jake
Would you please expand on what you mean by “sorta”?
I’m also going to need an answer on the gun issue.


From: Jake
To: Me
I was trying to send you zip files of the new scripts and the report results of both old and new scripts so you could see for yourself but my email client keeps crashing when I try.  The short version is that the new script is only pulling a very small subset of the data.

And yes but that would violate my parole.

Then Jake decided to IM me.

Jake: you want me to bring over copies of the data?
Me: No. Just give me the gun. I know what to do.
Jake: that would also violate my parole
Me: Jake, you gotta stop getting in trouble man.
Me: You're killing me here.
Jake: with a gun?
Me: The data can wait. Let's take a look at it tomorrow.
Jake: sounds good
Jake: I'll be remote tomorrow
Jake: but we can figure something out
Me: There's always a way.
Me: Especially with a gun.
Me: Unless your name is Jake.




Nostalgia Entertainment System

NES Classic then and now

Welcome to the era of nostalgia! Kids born in the late 70s to the mid-80s are now reliving their childhood with the help of Nintendo. Now you too can earn mythical internet points for spending money on a console and taking a picture with said console, when you can download NES ROMs and an emulator for free.

I’m not the gatekeeper to fun. If this dude wants to spend his money on a NES Classic to re-live some old games, more power to him (Nintendo power?). However, there feels like there’s a sheen of pretentiousness to the Nintendo Classic. No one gave a fuck about old NES games for the last 10-15 years, except vintage gaming enthusiasts. There have always been NES consoles available to the public. So what’s up with the hype?

Well, I’ve got a theory.

We are in full swing into a nostalgia era. Think about it, we’ve been bombarded by nostalgia in the movie theaters in the last 5-10 years. Pixels, Jurassic World, Star Wars: A New Hope II: The Franchise Awakens, The Karate Kid, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Total Recall, RoboCop, X-Men First Class (sort of), Star Trek, Star Trek II: Into Fartness, etc. It was only a matter of time before video game manufacturers got an idea in their head to reap the benefits of people’s nostalgia. I hear SEGA also released a “classic” version, but it’s been reported that their re-release wasn’t really well thought through (no HDMI output, etc).

I can’t wait for this era to be over. It’s so fucking boring. Thank goodness I’ve got my video games. If you need me I’ll be playing Call of Duty 16: Space Ghost Recon Warriors and Battlefield 10: 1776.

Instagram bots: cease all motor functions

For a long time I resisted Instagram as a medium for sharing photos. The interface and the constant stream of photos with retro filters reeked of pretentiousness.

“HURR look at me and my friends. We look like we’re out of some old photo album from the 70s.” Every Instagram user, ever.

It wasn’t until earlier this year that I finally decided to sign up so I could subscript to a cool car decal account and follow a few other people. Hell, I kind of wanted to join in on some of the fun with sharing some non-serious photos (no coffee/food photo rule still applies though). I also figured it would be a good way to connect with some people with similar photography interests.

Holy fuck was I wrong.

Instagram is mostly filled with “like” and “follow” bots that randomly interact with your account when you

  • Follow someone popular
  • Use a popular tag
  • Sign in

The other day I decided to follow all sorts of fitness icons that I also follow on YouTube. Within a day my account started getting “followed” by other, smaller fitness Instagram accounts. I don’t post fitness photos. I don’t post fitness motivational posters. I mostly post pictures of me and my dog or random shit from around Chicago.

Of course, using popular tags was the most understandable way to receive bot traffic. I mean, that’s how a lot of articles try to trick search engines to funnel traffic is to flood their pages with popular tags. I get it. Social media is a “numbers game” and you want to get as much exposure as possible. But at some point there is an apex of diminished returns. There are only so many tags you can throw on a photo before people will ignore your shit regardless.

I’ve noticed that just merely signing in will get bots to “like” one of your photos in order for you to check out their profile page, which 99% of the time is a business or an Instagram “personality”. I found this out after going a week or two from signing into Instagram, then after signing in and browsing my subscriptions, within a minute later an account would “like” one of my most recent uploads. This could be confirmation bias, but the pattern keeps reinforcing itself all the time.

This seems to be a growing trend among lots of social media platforms. A lot of them seem to cater to the same vulnerability of being subject to bot farms, of which a lot of people feel like they need to buy “likes” from in order to stay afloat and relevant among these platforms’ popularity algorithms. This is what it feels like to be afloat in the sea of banality with sensational titles and tags.

I want to look at “real” people’s photos. And not pictures of fucking restaurant meals, latte foam, or the same tired old selfie mirror style shot, or stupid memes. They’re more boring than studying the mating thrust depth of insects. I want simple beautiful photos of people just being people. Or nice thought-out photos of environments. Or clever themes.

But then again, it’s not my right to say what I want on a free platform. On a free platform, I’m not the user, I’m the product. It’s my information that’s being used and sold. If I’m so fucking hip, like I’m the Sheriff of photographs, then it’s my job to do something interesting, right? Maybe.

Maybe I just need to find more quality people to follow on Instagram. If I come up with a good list I’ll post a follow-up to this blog post.

Hold the door.

“Why is this door always locked? Do you have to insist on locking the screen door as well?” I’d always ask my dad when I would visit. He was a real stickler for home security.

Weapons near every door and large window. A gun near his nightstand. You know, just in case a crazed intruder decides to kick open the door while my father is finishing his 5th glass of Scotch while watching his baseball game. Or Football game. Or hockey game. Or while passed out in his bed.

Every time I would come over for a visit, I’d have to wait for him to unlock a series of deadbolts, handle locks, and of course, the fucking screen door. Of all things in the holy name of home security, the aluminum screen door is just a few ounces more of a deterrent than those wretched “Neighborhood watch – we call the cops!” signs I would see in the windows of old folks’ homes.

It wasn’t too much of an inconvenience. If anything I was mostly bothered by the absurdity of the situation. I would poke fun at him. “Gee dad, I can see the newspapers now: Crime foiled by aluminum screen door, thanks to diligent ex-cop.” He never found those jokes very funny. I mean, he’d smile and take a little bit of his annoyance out on me with an extra-hard hug. Dad’s do these things, I suppose. But I always persisted that it was time to drop the charade. “You don’t live in a crime-ridden neighborhood, dad. Lock the doors when you leave, sure, but there’s no need to be locked up while you’re home. No one’s going to invade your home with you in it. Surely not in the middle of the day on a Sunday when everyone is outside walking around.”

The logic just never set in. He had his ways and I would not be successful in ever persuading him.

Then comes this morning. I’m reminded of the absurdity. The jokes. The fake newspaper headlines.

I have come home from my morning walk, settled in, fed the pets, ate some breakfast, and took a shower. The girlfriend had gotten up to get ready for her day. She walks down to the front room and I hear the click of the deadlock. “Did you just lock the front door” I said. We live in an apartment building that has a buffer of one locked front door to the building and locked back gate. “Yes.” she replied.

She says “I don’t want anyone just walking in.”
“But no one will walk in. Our apartment is locked down.”
She says “The locked door will prevent it anyway.”
I respond sarcastically, yet annoyed “Just because it’s true doesn’t mean that’s not crazy.”
She says “I just like the door locked.”

Fine. I’m an unwilling participant in, what may be the most pedestrian magic trick of all time. Ladies and gentleman, come witness the unbreakable fortress that no one wants to get into at 7AM: my apartment. Thanks to the bravery and diligence of my girlfriend, and my father before her, I will never have to worry about an intruder during my brief periods of visitation occupancy.

Thank goodness for useful idiotic behavior.

“Attention passengers. The risk has of intrusion has now been reduced to near zero. Instead of 15 locked doors a person must get through, now 16 locks have been engaged. You are welcome. You are safe.”

Just like people who suffer from OCD, or people who just have to make sure the oven is turned off, even though they just checked 5 minutes ago, they are making their world, not mine, safer one inconvenience at a time.

“Attention shoppers. There are armed guards outside of the grocery store. A Brazilian armada might attempt to invade the store. In a land-locked state. You’re safe at Corporate-Co Shopping.

We’ve stocked emergency gas masks behind the Customer Service desk just in case our relationship with Canada goes south and they decide to use biochemical warfare on our store. We’ve got your backs.”

Turning a light switch on and off. Meditate. Celebrate. You’ve ensured that the flow of electricity has stopped. You are one with the universe. You are in a warm blanket. Disengage the lock. Engage the lock. A happy reminder that no one can breach your fortress. Click. Clack. Your childhood innocence will surely come back.

“Attention all patients. You must wear this jacket to prevent your own hands from harming yourself.”


You can never be too safe.

Rest In Princes

So now that Prince is dead, are we tinting our Facebook/Twitter/Instashitpic avatars purple? Are we sharing pictures of Prince as if we just saw him in concert? Are we suddenly the biggest Prince fan in the universe?

Autobots… assist me with my Mac problems?

So the other day I was doing research on a problem with a group of Macs freezing up. I found this website where, after ~20 seconds of reading a conversation, this fake chat box pops up.

“Oh hey! How may I help you? I’ve got a girl avatar and a pretty sounding name so I look legit!”

Bot suspected. Bot confirmed.


Hello, Brotho.

Since the death of my father, my brother Joe and I have broken our pseudo-silence and have become closer again. This is after a few years of him going through his “I’m pissed at absolutely everyone in the world because I don’t know how else to cope” mode. The tragedy is it took the reality-shaking death of our father a few months ago to get him to snap out of his internal struggles in order to realize there is, in fact, finality to everything.

Since our father’s death we’ve been emailing each other 3 -10 times a month. It’s been therapeutic to say the least. My brother. Whom I helped take care of since I was old enough to understand how to hold a spoon and feed him. Joe. The only person who I can say anything to and have the ability to read precisely what he’s saying to me just by looking at his face. His raw body language.

I am a body reader.

You know when a certain holiday rolls around and you’re reminded about a favorite food or dish you can’t wait to have again? The yearning. The anticipation. Continuing a close relationship with my brother, at this point, is kind of like that. Familiar. Good. Heartwarming. Filling.

Since my brother and I have been talking, my girlfriend and I recently talked about me streaming video games for him so he and I could interact in a more personal way. Something that we used to share when we lived together. I’d play video games and commentate. He’d watch and laugh.

So far he’s liking it. The therapy continues.

In some ways I feel like one of those people who do nice things for other people, not because they’re benevolent, but because they want that tiny rush they get from getting someone’s appraisal. Slightly selfish with a side of selflessness. I also feel like my brother doesn’t have a lot of time left. He’s getting old as he’s approaching 40. That’s like “65” in Cerebral Palsy years. His health is also deteriorating as he spends most of his life sedentary, lying on the floor. He rarely gets out. I know he’s also in a lot of pain. He’s usually hopped up on pain killers when he’s not sleeping.

It makes me sad sometimes. But then I think that only bitches would be sad for my brother. Only a bitch would look at his life and feel sorry for him. I love my brother. I don’t want to lose him – but I will. I know it.

So I play video games, turn on my camera facing toward me, hit “Begin Stream”, and hope I put a smile on his face.

Jailcell Guffaw

The ability to tell jokes should never come under arrest. One should be able to joke about anything they wish, regardless of who might get offended. They way I see it is this:

A comedian is kind of like a musician. The audience is like a stringed musical instrument. Some sounds come out louder and more clear when the strings have some tension.

To abandon the tension in all of the strings, for fear that someone will get offended, the result would be a poor-sounding song. The comedy would be lost. The art would die.

This is why comedy has to constantly push boundaries – to keep tension in those strings. To keep the art alive. To discover new sounds. And most importantly, to make sure those sounds exist for future generations.

“Dad! Wake up!”

Sometimes I stop and think to myself “What if I had shouted at my father when he was dying on his hospital bed? What if I said ‘Hey! Dad! This is your last chance to wake up and get better! WAKE UP!'”. I know that, at the time of his death, and even the night before his death, I knew the absolute truth: My dad’s body is fucked up beyond recovery. Cancer. Multiple infections. He’s done for. The only task that remains is mercy. So he shall have it and become one with death.

Not even all of the stupid fucking “spiritual” or “energy” stones, my sister brought to his hospital room, could save him. Oh, how I wanted to throw those stupid stones out of his window every time I saw them. I wanted to shake sense into her and her mother. Oh, how I wanted to scream. Of all the wasteful things we do when a loved one is dying. I bet hard that medical advancements would prevail and that my father needed rest, not visitors. The social repercussions is that my brother Pete and I have been branded as “those whom didn’t care”. They don’t understand. It doesn’t matter.

Sometimes I feel guilt, in that I should’ve spent more time with my father in the hospital, but then I keep returning to my remembrance of how messed up he was; how incomprehensible and sporadically responsive or cognitive he was. Such a sad state to see someone who used to represent strength and wit, to become so frail and bewildered.

I don’t feel guilty anymore – just occasionally sad and haunted by what I’ve seen.


I used to sit in the dark with headphones on. I would play “December” by Static-X over and over. The calm, dark, swaying intro would lull me into a sense of sub-conscience. I would think about life, death, the unknown.

“I still feel the cold – of long past days
I knew my worth – put in my place
It’s no surprise – I realized – some time before”

Sometimes I would catch the track before it went to the outro and restart my CD player to loop it all over again. Over, again, I go on my journey into the darkness in my mind thinking about loved ones and my life; what I want, what people want from me, my brother Joe, if I would stay in Salt Lake City or move away to a big city.

Sun shines through haze
I put my thoughts – toward future days”

I wear what I love on my sleeves. Sometimes I’m practically waving a flag sewn with threads of my passions. Most people know I’m a Static-X fan. When the first album came out I picked it up with my friend Breno and drove to my house. We must’ve listened to the hit songs at least a dozen times in the driveway. Breno seemed to like it. But I was in love. This music was hot, heavy, and gritty as hell. It had attitude, style, and flair.

I’ve followed the band for years but never went to a show. That’s the odd thing about me. I’ll listen to a band’s music until each note is etched into my brain but I don’t care to go follow bands around their concerts. Perhaps it’s the crowds that dissuade me. But the funny thing about Static-X is that among my circle of friends I never found anyone who really loved them as I do. So I guess I just enjoyed them in my little corner. My dark room. My psychological ship.

Yesterday Lisa mentioned to me that Wayne Static has died last Saturday. At first I thought she was joking (as she sometimes does, darkly). But once I noticed she was serious I ran to my computer and fired up Google.

[ W a y n e S t a t i c ]

First result: “Wayne Static passes away at 48.”

I was hurt. Angry. Confused. The man I had been following on Twitter and Facebook all these years, the man who was a vegan and enjoyed 4-wheeling in the outdoors with his wife, dies in his sleep the night before a trip to a big tour. It feels like losing a close friend. A man who spoke to my soul through cheap headphones or blown out car speakers.

Here I am, 14 years later since his first album came out, listening to “December” over and over again. This time I have not gone on any voyages. Wayne has. Now he is gone and his lyrics haunt me.

“It’s no surprise, I close my eyes, and close the door.
Feeling so old. Years pass like days
Vastly changing. So many ways.
My eyes perceive – yes I believe… in nothing more”