ATM startups

At work last week, a co-worker asked me what I thought of Y Combinator and if it was a good idea for starting a company.

I shouted back, “Shit, if you need the money that bad, let’s walk down to WaMu and start three Y Combinators right now.”

For some reason, the other people in the office laughed.

[The Combinator metric after the jump.] Continue reading

Baud dates

Received an invite for an ANSI art showing from a friend:

She writes:

Remember the BBS days? I spent half of the 90’s on them…Wow! That dates me. An old friend is curating a collection of ANSI art at 20 goto 10 and it really makes me feel nostalgic. A lot of awesome work from the group, ACiD. I hear some of the artists are flying out too. Oh, and because I know this is what you really want to know…free drinks!

I read that and thought:

ANSI? The 90’s? That’s the lap of luxury, I tell you! You guys had 14.4k in the 90’s! If you wanted to be dated, try the days when most of the BBSs were on 300 baud (off AppleCat modems) because nobody could afford a Hayes Smartmodem at a blazing 1200 baud! And then the BBS knocked you off the only time you could get on their single telephone line because they had to transmit its Echomail over FidoNet. @#&$!

Imagine your ascii porn coming down at 300 baud. Frustrating as hell, I tell you!

—Grumpy Old Terry

ASCII terry
An ASCII art conversion of “Terry Chay” by Cal Evans

view original size to see the ascii characters.

Continue reading

Talent and tools


So often people ask what digital camera they should buy. That’s a tough question since invariably people suggest the camera they own. I tell people:

The best camera to have is the one you have on you.

By this, I mean, the best camera to purchase is the one that you’ll carry with you. If that means, you bought it because it “looks cute,” then go with it! If cute means you’ll carry the camera around and use it, then you’ll take far better photographs then most people.

I was thinking last night of my friend, Bill Tani’s, first ever blog post. In it, he mentions that real designers do not use the word “Photoshop” as a verb.

Since I’m not a real designer, that’s okay. But what he says makes sense. It is natural but naïve to think that talent can be found in tools. A real artist knows that in the end, Photoshop is just a tool, and a tool is just a conduit of the creative expression you find inside yourself.

After all, does a photographer say, I “Nikoned” that photograph?

Terry” by linoleum jet

Someone might say that “It’s easy for you to say, you shoot a legendarily (expensive) camera. But did Julie “Canon” this portrait of me? Am I “Leica”ing a photo of her?


Parting shot, xkcd-style.

Slick ad

Very impressive flash Ad from Apple.

The ad is just a regular until you click for sound and then the ad really starts up. The reason: Two independent SWF files that sync actions across themselves. Both ads have to be delivered at the same time. Clever use of shape and placement of those ads to tell a funny story.

The sound of western medicine working

Antibiotics are a pretty amazing thing.

But in my life, I’ve never seen it work, only read about it in books such as All Creatures Great and Small or heard stories about how the amazing things that happened when my grandfather was a pediatrician.

It’s now more of a preventative, or to make our cattle a little bit bigger, or keep our chickens from dying in their horrible living conditions. But every so often you’re reminded…

Being sick
Being sick

I’ve been sick off and on pretty much continuously since June. This time, it was really unusually bad. A fever brought back the cold symptoms. But the fever was a clue, that maybe, this time, it might be a bacteria also. So when I finally got well enough that I could make it out of my apartment without dying (three days), I scheduled an appointment and got my meds again—the same antibiotic as last time. It wasn’t hard when you have a hundred degree fever plus the same symptoms as before.

On the MUNI ride back, I opened the package, looked at the first two caplets. “My little, red tactical nukes,” I sighed to myself, and popped them into my mouth. By the time I got home, I was so tired from the exertion I fell straight asleep.

Three hours later I woke to noises: a rumbling, a ratatatat, then a whale sound in my stomach. What the fuck? As consciousness returned, this was followed by assorted burping and farting and all manner of disgusting symphony.

I took my temperature: 98.6, spot on. I hadn’t had that temperature in over a week.

So that’s the sound of western medicine working, I nodded appreciatively.

I still have the cold to deal with, but now was the time to eat as my appetite finally came back…and to think, with a small regret, I could’ve really gotten some payback on my brother, some of my housemates, and assorted guy friends.

And this made me think back to a phone conversation I had over a decade ago.

[more sounds, after the jump] Continue reading

High maintenance

Two of my friends over dinner discussing a third…

“I wonder if she’s ‘high maintenance’.”

Then he immediately adds, “She probably is. Women that pretty usually are.”

I quietly smiled to myself. Not because she was or wasn’t “high maintenance”—I hadn’t a clue either way—but because it reminded of a friend I had in graduate school…

[Experiments in maintenance] Continue reading

Using calls of civility to mask indecency

Cal called me out on me pointing out the Swearing Festival Celebration of Profanity event with a link to his article on civility in the public political discourse.

But really, does it prove his point? Or does it parrot the use of calls for civility to mask indecency?

I’m going to make a case that it is the latter.

[Ick, Politics. I can’t help myself. I’ll spare you from it with the jump.] Continue reading