The Love Lives of Cats and Dogs

Cat and Dog HuggingI, like many other singles of my generation, am a member of several dating websites. I’ve tried out both paid and free services with varying success, and can’t remember the last time I asked someone out in person. Honestly I think it might have happened a grand total of one time in the eight years since I graduated from college.

When browsing a dating site I start with a few general criteria: Does she live close to me? Is she within a certain age range? Does the site’s mystical relationship algorithm think we’re compatible? And, of course, do I find her attractive enough to check out her profile? I try to take the last criteria with a grain of salt, of course; online profiles can be deceptive, whether intentionally or otherwise, and sometimes pictures just don’t capture how someone actually looks in person.

The thing that surprises me, however, is that I’ve come to feel that the most important factor in a girl’s profile is how she feels about cats. She can be well-read, smart, funny and generally great on paper, but if she hates cats, it just won’t work out.

On one hand it’s a practical consideration. I live with four cats, two of which are mine. If the girl I’m dating doesn’t want to hang out at my place because I have cats, she probably won’t be cool with moving in together someday if I want to bring my cats along for the ride. On the other hand it says something about her temperament if she doesn’t like cats and isn’t willing to put up with them.

I grew up with both cats and dogs, and I wouldn’t mind getting a dog someday. However, I know that dogs are a lot of work and that I’m not ready to devote myself to training, exercising and housing a dog right now. I don’t have the patience or the yard necessary to make it work. I have cats because they fit with my lifestyle and I happen to like the furry little bastards (except when they wake me up at 7am on a Saturday).

What I find when I go on dates is that my perspective is a rare one, at least when it comes to the sort of girls I find interesting. I mostly seem to meet passionate dog owners who rave about dog ownership; in theory some may write on their profile that they like cats or don’t have an opinion, but in practice when the subject comes up in conversation, the truth is that they just don’t like cats and can list a few reasons why.

I guess what I’m saying is that what I’m really searching for is a woman who will take me, cats and all. I wouldn’t mind having a dog in my life, so I don’t think it’s too much to ask that she be willing to put up with my cats. I might be willing to compromise in other areas of my life, but I can’t imagine not having at least one cat to my name.

The only thing worse than a girl who hates cats? A girl who hates to read. Shudder.

Marked By Ash

There are a number of cool “mix tape” creator websites out there now. The notable few I’ve run across are muxtape.com, mixwit.com, and imeem.com. They’ve all got their own individual strengths… Muxtape works with iPhones, for example, but it seems like iMeem has the best selection, and Mixwit has the most customizable look and feel.

In any case, I’ve thrown together a playlist. The Jim O’Rourke and Pernice Brothers songs were the main inspiration for this mix – I built the rest around that general sound and lyrical tone. Enjoy!

EDIT: A downside of iMeem, apparently, is that some of the songs are shortened to 30 seconds when the playlist is embedded. If you click on the “standalone player” option, or go directly to the page on iMeem… you get the full version. How on earth does that make any sense? Suddenly less impressed with this toy.


A Blog in Miniature

As you may have noticed, in the last week or so my blog has come back from near rigor-mortis to being chock full of super-short posts. To put it simply, I’ve been inspired by some web 2.0 goodness, and it feels great!

It all started when I signed up for a Twitter account. I discovered pretty quickly that the 140-character limit encourages regular off-the-cuff updates, much like a Facebook status feed, but with way more flexibility. I started posting cool links and random thoughts and it actually felt like updating a website regularly could be fun again.

It still didn’t quite feel like I was updating my blog, though – Twitter lived only in the sidebar of this site when I first started using it. After chatting with a few folks about really enjoying Twitter, Mark recommended that I check out Tumblr.

The interesting thing about Tumblr is that its seems more like a blogging mindset than anything tied down to a specific service or tool. I’ve never used the actual site itself, but I’ve taken what I perceive to be the Tumblring principles to heart.

Basically the impression I get is that a Tumblr blog, much like a Twitter, is all about short updates, but in a more multi-media fashion. Instead of status updates, you post that cool picture, video, song, quote, link, etc., that you stumbled across, mostly in the name of sharing, and generally with little or no commentary. The basic principle is the same, though – breaking free of the constraints of essay-style blog posts and just putting your thoughts and interests right out there.

I also came across a post where the author explained how he had configured del.icio.us to regularly update his site with daily digest posts full of his newest bookmarks. I’ve used del.icio.us intermittently for a few years now, but I’ve been thinking lately that I really need a good way of storing all the cool links and articles I get sent during the workday.

My problem with del.icio.us has always been that I tend to bookmark articles as “toread” and never come back to them. So far I’ve found that adding the links to my blog as a digest post helps me remember to watch the videos I save for later and read the ten-page articles I barely have time to skim at work.

Overall I’m pretty happy with my blog “makeover”, although I may continue tinkering. For anyone interested, here are the WordPress plugins and scripts I used to revamp my site:

Twitter Tools for regular Twitter digest posts and built-in posting from WP, and a mash-up of twitter.js and an existing Twitter Widget for my sidebar widget

QuickPost for the Tumblr-style posts, just because it automates a lot of the post creation and automatically sticks your entry into the appropriate category.

Postalicious for the del.icio.us digest posts. Highly customizable, and much better than the built-in options on del.icio.us (which I couldn’t get to work).

“No Country For Old Men” – Charlie Rose Interview

Part one of this video is a pretty interesting sit-down interview with the Coen brothers, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem. If you haven’t had a chance to see No Country For Old Men yet, you may want to hurry up and go see it – it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in a while.

You need to have flashplayer enabled to watch this Google video

Whoa, AMC Keeps Making Incredible Television

I already knew they had something good going after watching Mad Men (5 episodes left to go on my DVR), but check out the promotional images they’ve released for their new show, Breaking Bad, which premieres in January 2008:

Breaking Bad promo image

According to the site, the premise is as follows: “AMC’s addictive new series, Breaking Bad, is a darkly comic drama that captures life at a moment of irrevocable change. In the ultimate mid-life crisis, a high school chemistry teacher takes a match to his straight-laced existence – turning a used Winnebago into a rolling meth lab. Everyday life combusts in this uncontrolled experiment with the American dream.”

Not only that, but it stars Bryan Cranston, the dad from Malcolm in the Middle (I didn’t recognize him at first!) I think AMC might be turning into the new FX as far as edgy dramas go. Hopefully they’ll release a trailer soon.

Austin Film Festival: Day… um… All The Rest

So when I first started attending AFF, I had a fairly ambitious plan to blog daily about my experiences, but… as you may have noticed, this went by the wayside pretty quickly. I’m a blogging wuss, I know, but what can I say? Attending more than 12 hours of festivities in one day tired me out pretty quickly.

Here’s everything I attended after Thursday:

Friday

“TV Drama Today”
“Finding the Voice: Dialogue”
“Writing Comedy for TV”
“A Conversation With Glenn Gordon Caron
“Film Texas BBQ Supper”
Reservation Road
Numb

Saturday

“Juno: From Script to Screen”
“Production Team: Friday Night Lights”
Control
“Conference Wrap Party”

Sunday

Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist
Juno

Monday

Neal Cassady

Wednesday

Two Tickets to Paradise

Continue reading “Austin Film Festival: Day… um… All The Rest”

Awesome. Just… Awesome.

Today was an exciting day. I’ll let ThinkSecret do the talking:

At a town-hall meeting with employees Thursday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that all full-time Apple employees will receive a free 8GB iPhone, while part-time employees who have been with the company for more than a year will also receive a free iPhone.

So, thanks to the kindness of Steve’s heart, this time next month (we have to wait until the huge customer demand is satisfied) I’ll have my sweaty palms on one of these:

iPhone

Then I’ll just have to pick a plan and start being one of the cool kids. It’ll be great.

P.S. Go see Live Free or Die Hard. It is 100% mayhem, and entirely stupid/awesome.

i am internet hip now

I contributed to a “boingboing”:http://boingboing.net post! I feel validated by the internet. “Check it out”:http://www.boingboing.net/2005/09/28/harvey_dangers_new_a.html!

Remember that band Harvey Danger? They’ve released their new album in MP3 format, for free, on the internet, using BitTorrent, working on the principle that this is actually a good way to promote your album, especially if you’re a little indie band. I’ve only listened to one song so far, but it was pretty cool. We’ll see how the rest of the album turns out.

work & mr strange

so i’ve been complimented on how quickly i’ve picked up the details of my job position. apparently this department is a pretty busy one – i’ve been told the workload will probably stress me out a little until i get used to it – so when it became clear that i was pretty on point already, people were already saying “where were you months ago when we needed you?”

from what i understand, i’m going to start off doing two main things:

the first involves going through people’s applications for education discounts and reseller purchases and making sure that they’ve plugged in all the right information. this is pretty straightforward; the most important thing i have to do is make sure i don’t forget any steps, because if i do, these folks can’t make purchases. the second involves me using this special customer service e-mail program where i’ll mostly deal with customer questions involving lost passwords and accounts that don’t seem to be working.

once i’ve got myself a cubicle and all the proper login information, i’ll basically be left to my own devices, and will be able to zone out listening to music while i dot the i’s and cross the t’s. and if i’ve got any questions, everyone who can help me will be on ichat.

the benefits of being a full apple employee – as opposed to just a contracted temp like me – are pretty incredibly awesome. there’s a gym on-site for employees, they get great benefits, and there is of course the much-coveted employee discount; one time a year, you can make a big purchase like a computer, and you get *25% off the purchase*.

let’s say you went crazy and got a dual 1.8ghz g5 and a 20″ flatpanel, more memory, a 160 gig hard drive, etc., which comes out to $3522 before tax. you’d save _$880_ with an employee discount and would only pay $2641.

cool thing is, though, that you don’t even have to use your discount sometimes, because they have quarterly specials just for employees. that g5 we just looked at might be even cheaper!

now, from what i’ve been told, the average to become a “badged” employee is about seven months lately. they’ve told me a couple times, though, that since the department is growing, there’s the possibility they’ll badge the temps quicker than that.

now that i figured out the video editing issues, i don’t actually need to get a new computer any time soon. i can wait. seven months. or more, really. according to some of the forms i signed at volt, i can last as a temp up to a year, and then they’ll reassign me somewhere else. of course, it seems more likely that if i keep this job, i’d become badged well before the year is up.

this, by the way, is the first time i’ve gotten a job that seems like it’ll actually require my brainpower. it’s a nice feeling, although i do wonder what sort of stressful life i may have found for myself…

also: i started reading “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1582344167/unsquaredance-20?dev-t=1Y3EPK63R73F26PRKG82%26camp=2025%26link_code=xm2 this week. i was lucky to find it on sunday at half price books. especially lucky because this past weekend was the grand opening of the new half price books that went in near my neighborhood, in what apparently used to be a grocery store. because it was their opening, they passed out coupons when i checked it out on friday, and one of the coupons gave you 50% off one item only on sunday. when i went to the big one that afternoon, however, it was jam-packed with people, and the line for the registers wrapped around the whole store. luckily, though, the coupon was good at any location, so i trekked over to the one on 183, walked in the door, went to the bestseller shelf, and found the exact thing i wanted. JS&MN is a pretty big bestseller lately, and only comes in one of those huge hardbacks that cost an arm and a leg. this copy was marked at $14. so i got it for $7. i was pretty proud of myself. so far the book sort of reads like a great lost Jane Austen fantasy novel, except it’s also hilarious on top of that. (if you hated Jane Austen in school, i hope you wouldn’t hold it against this book. it really is very drily funny.)

Wha?


I took this picture tonight, and within ten minutes of uploading it to okcupid, three girls messaged me, one of whom was pretty damn cool and who i had an excellent conversation with for a good half-hour. who’da thunk it?

EDIT: Doug, i don’t know why you had to post your comment twice. i didn’t delete it, although i do have to despam the comments regularly, so i might have gotten it accidentally or something. as for my receding hairline, i always make a point of including another picture that clearly shows how much hair i actually have. jerk. see you at juan’s on sunday.

my kitty no longer has any testicles

my kitty no longer has any testicles. right now he’s taking his angst out on the delicate private parts of a stuffed monkey, who probably deserves it. actually, jackson has been pretty frisky and happy for a cat missing his manhood. so far it hasn’t affected his personality at all, which is cool. although the constant biting will have to stop.

this afternoon i watched yojimbo, which lived up to the hype. there’s something i’ve noticed about some of the “classic” movies – they don’t always deliver on the promise. there have been so many supposedly great movies that have underwhelmed or terribly disappointed me. for example, i watched “Night of the Hunter” recently, which was supposed to be one of the scariest movies of all time. this might be a symptom of my post-modern jadedness, but i just thought the movie was kind of okay. i could see how it was probably revolutionary for the time, but…. to me, it was pretty dated.

yojimbo, on the other hand, was a fucking badass movie, and i knew it as soon as i saw toshiro mifune and his macked-out self. it was to cool to watch it knowing that i had been remade as a western twice… since the movie is basicallly just a “western” in samurai clothing. i actually wish i could think of another word for that particular genre, because it can exist without requiring cowboys and shoot-em-ups, despite what you might think. i’m sure someone trained in the jargon of film could deconstruct the whole thing for me right now (come on all you rtvf majors!) but what does that matter. you know what i’m talking about.

i also watched old school tonight, which i thought was really funny… and everyone else thought it was just alright. i mean, i suppose it could have been a whole lot funnier… and the climax was pretty blatantly a ripoff of animal house, but every movie about a fraternity is going to pay homage to that particular film… it’s impossible to miss. well, maybe “the skulls” didn’t, but that movie was made, i’m assuming, by people who had had no actual contact with a fraternity (i’ve never seen it, but i’m probably right). speaking from personal experience, old school was written by people who did actually know what fraternities are like. i mean, we’re even planning our own ky jelly wrestling event… (probably kidding, although i wouldn’t completely discount the possibility.)

i have a feeling that it’s the kind of movie that gets better every time you watch it, kind of like PCU, which i must have seen 1.5 bajillion times now.

blogs suck, especially mine

blogs suck, especially mine. but that’s okay. no more empty promises about more updates or better designs. i promise. ha. anyways, life’s been swell here. I went to see part two of Tom Stoppard’s trilogy (The Coast of Utopia) I got there half an hour beforehand and got a great seat for ?8. I was rather proud of myself. I have all three of the plays, and will be reading them again later on. I hope. I swear more than two people used to read my webpage, but then it used to be slightly interesting. or something. i mean, i used to post things. and, like… have a webpage. hmmm. this whole personal web-presence thing is kind of funny.

i’m starting to look forward to returning to the states. sort of. basically i just miss my friends and family. i know i’m going to miss being here. i’m not going to miss the thirty people that i spend all of my time with. i want to kill them all – or at least spend a good amount of time away from them.

tony came for a visit this weekend, which was cool. it was kind of different from when brendan came. brendan was very quiet, didn’t bother anyone, but still partied. i hung out with brendan and aaron and we went to the tower of london. it was pretty cool. on the other hand, when tony came, him matt and aaron all partied until after 5 in the morning and repeatedly woke me up. last night, i was awakened when bree turned on the tv to watch the world series (played at 2 or 3 in the morning here). i was also awakened by people tripping things, turning on lights and talking to each other. at four-something a.m. tony’s alarm went off and he didn’t wake up. it went off so loudly and for so long i almost thought i was hallucinating. it was pretty annoying. finally it turned off, but then tony had to pack his shit up. in the dark. that took forever.

i guess it says something about the difference in brendan and tony’s personalities.

it seems like no matter what i do, aaron builds up a grudge against me. it explodes every once in a while, and then things are fine for a day or two after we’ve worked things out. but then he starts giving me funny looks and saying things to me, no matter what i do. i went into the other room and saw a bag of cookies and asked “whose are those?” and he screamed out “I KNEW IT! I KNEW YOU’D SAY THAT!” then the next day he had some M&M’s and others had asked for some, so i asked if i could have one, and he yelled out “I KNEW IT!” again and slapped his knee. i said “if you don’t want to give them to me, don’t” but he glared at me and handed me the three m&ms he had poured out. if i don’t ask to use his food, he gets pissed off at me, but when i asked if i could have some of his chocolate spread, he gave me a funny look like i was a moron. we had to go get photos so we could pick up our plane tickets to italy, but i’ve hurt my knee. i didn’t want to walk on it anymore – it was just painful enough. so, i told him i was going to rest instead of getting the photos. he got frustrated with me, as though i was trying to sabotage his travel plans – except that he didn’t need me to go along at all. and the list goes on and on. basically i can’t wait until i’m not living with aaron. i think we’ll be much better friends when we’re not roommates. i want to like him but he keeps doing things like the above. and sure enough we’ll have another fight soon, probably within a week or two. hopefully not while we’re in italy.

the trip began on thursday

the trip began on thursday at noon. after a pretty long busride we ended up in liverpool. we didn’t get there in time to go to the beatles museum that day, so we sat around for a little while then went out for dinner at an italian restaurant. i discovered how some italian words are actually pronounced, but i couldn’t replicate the sounds myself. the waiter was trying to be quite instructive, though. after dinner we went to a pub next door called The Blob. yes, really. we went there because they were advertising pints for just over €1, which is nice compared to the €3-4 average in london. turns out, though, that this was a pub for 60-year old alcoholics on their last legs. we were the youngest people there by far, and it was pretty uncomfortable (for me at least). at one point we saw two gray-haired ladies get in a shouting match before one was kicked out. later, a police officer came in and starting berating an odd-looking man wearing thick glasses. after growling at him quietly for a few seconds, the cop picked the guy up and dragged him outside without much fanfare. the guy was handcuffed and tossed in the paddywagon. we took this as our cue to move onto greener pastures. we had noticed that all of the young attractive people were heading in one direction, so we followed them. the first club we went to was called the walkabout. this was absolutely filled with women wearing dresses whose main feature was the lack of fabric. i swear to god that half of the supermodel population of the world was in this bar. the ratio of girls to guys was way off, so most of these women were just standing around looking super-hott or were dancing with each other. naturally, i didn’t talk to any of them, especially since i hadn’t shaved and was wearing a crappy sweater (i was expecting to go to a club). we stood around ogling the beautiful babies for a while and then left when they started playing really annoying songs. the next bar we went to promised €1 for everything (this was a lie. some things were more.) this would have been exciting for me, except the cover was €2 and i only had €3. so that was sort of that. i sat around feeling stupid and eventually left once enough people decided they wanted to walk back.

on friday, we went to the beatles museum. it was sort of interesting, but i could probably have gotten more out of a book. once the history got more full of events, there would just be big plaques on the wall full of dates. it was way more reading that it should have been. so that was that. we also had to go to the “transatlantic slavery museum”, which is my idea of fun, let me tell you. we then had an incredibly boring tour of the city that showed us which parts of the city had to do with slavery. my head was freezing the whole time. around 5, we left liverpool and went to holyhead, where we would meet our ferry. there were children on the streets who looked at us like aliens and who had possibly never seen a bus before. it was fun. the ferry was really cool – restaurants and bars and shops and a movie etc. etc. etc. very nice. when we got to dublin it was pretty late so i just went to sleep.

on saturday we probably toured something in the morning (i can’t remember. it probably sucked). for lunch, we ate at the Bad Ass Cafe, where Sinead O’Connor worked when she was young. it was pretty good. in the afternoon, we went and had a tour of the guiness factory, which was the best eight euros i spent all weekend. when you got to the top you got a complimentary pint of guinness and an incredible view of dublin (eight stories up). i also bought a shirt and a poster. that night we went on a musical pub crawl, which was really cool although there weren’t discounts on pints. our tourguides were hilarious and very talented.

sunday was the worst day of our trip. we woke up early in the morning, drove two hours and had the pleasure of touring “the famine museum”. this really pissed me off, simply because it was obvious that our professors chose this destination probably because they were interested and because we “should be”. it was also annoying because it seemed tailored to a class that I’m not even in. so i was dragged along when i really did not want to go. the afternoon was slightly better, but not much. we drove a whole bunch more and ended up at an old monastery, which was very pretty but not necessarily worth all the time on the fucking bus, especially since these two things basically blew our whole day.

we left for london on monday, and spent something like nine hours traveling. it was nice to be back, although i have to go to dublin again sometime.

and that was that.

on tuesday night we went to see a production of Ivanov by Anton Chekov. it was really well done. the stage was interesting because the audience was on both sides of it – i.e. i could stare straight at the audience members across the way. it was really funny and well-acted.

unfortunately, the tube-workers are on strike again, so we had to ride the bus home. the tube is down all day today, which kind of sucks, but i do need to do some homework. gah.

anyway, i think that’s it for now. i think i’m going to redesign the website very soon now as well as post some video and pictures. look forward to that, but until then, sign random things in my guestbook.