from The Bull
Friday May 1, 1998
I can safely say that I have run out of material
to write about. Yep, I have depleted my severely limited resources of redundant
filler. That pretty much proves that the everyday life of a commoner is
certainly nothing to write home about. Fortunately, The Bull (EquityBull@aol.com)
wrote to let me in on life in the winner's circle. His babe has moved in
with him at Rolling Hills, The Bull's palatial manor and estate just on
the outskirts of Convalescent City. Fellow Dream Teamer, Eric, has gotten
married. Sheesh! Everyone else in the old gym gang has settled down with
babes, too. Well, that's what happens when the ol' monk leaves town. The
Bull also mentioned that he recently played golf with the Bishop. The Bishop
is apparently a happy man living in Monterey with his babe. Of course,
there is not much news concerning the Cardinal. The Bull has gone into
retirement again after another grueling consulting stint. I promised that
I wouldn't drop names. All I can say is that there was a huge bank merger
involved. How does he do it? The Bull has also bought a new car. I know
what you're thinking ... he already owns one of those. He has bought a
1995 Ford Taurus. He plans to sell all of his esoteric sports cars and
settle down into the life of an obscure family man. In fact, he hasn't
been to gym in several months. Say it ain't so! That must be quite a babe
to have tamed that wild carnivore known as The Bull. Do you see why this
man is a legend?
Early to Say
I have not heard from Paul or Barbara. I would
guess that Paul has finished all the repairs on his boat and put it back
in water. There were scheduled to leave sometime this week. I had hoped
that we would have met one last time, but that was not meant to be. I wish
them the best in their journey to Alaska and finally to Gatesville (Seattle).
Saturday May 2
Lori (formerly baby) and I have had quite a
rollercoaster ride insofar as our friendship is concerned
during the last few months. I don't want us to not be friends. In
effect, that would be a childish solution. We do need to step back from
the old situation and give it a rest. However, life goes on. We have to
move on, too. Where we go from here, I do not know. It's just too early
to say. However, we need to maintain our friendship. I had a nice quiet
week to myself since moms was gone. That gave me ample opportunity to rethink
my situation. I was also able to relax and calm my nerves. Seclusion, the
key to sanity.
to the Banal
I managed to buy more time with the loan people.
I have six months to get my act together. Many people have suggested that
I file for bankruptcy. I actually cannot do this because I have signed
paperwork that waived my ability to seek such a remedy. And, the outstanding
balance is really too low to go through the seven-year hassle. Now, if
I could run up a quarter-million dollar debt, then it would be worth it.
Sunday May 3
I went along with Lori and her daughter to Kahala
Mall today. We were supposed to go to the zoo but the weather just did
not want to cooperate. It was raining most of the day. The heavy winds
have also returned. As you can guess, we ended up at Barnes & Noble.
We went to Ala Mo's yesterday for the first time in a long time. As usual,
Ala Mo's was extremely crowded. I didn't feel as though I was going to
lose it, so my mental state has probably stabilized.
We made it home in time for dinner because moms
invited Lori and her daughter to come over to eat. As usual, moms cooked
up a feast. Everyone seemingly had an enjoyable time. Seems like everything
is back to normal, doesn't it? Looks can be deceiving. Sometimes I think
that I'm better off reviewing my extensive collection of hurdy-gurdies.
Just kidding! All I know is that we have returned to that nauseating level
of banality that initiated this season. Big John sent me a recipe for Rum
Cake. I should probably substitute King Cobra for the rum and see how the
cake turns out. Well, hey! Don't let the smooth taste fool ya!
Monday May 4
I have had a nagging desire to go out and "pound
the pavement" for a job. Yet, I had little motivation to implement that
desire. Instead, I have been reading a textbook on computer network theory.
I am supposed to be teaching a class on the subject at Hawai'i Pacific
University in the Fall. The subject material is mind boggling, and it goes
well beyond the MCSE courses. The technology has changed so rapidly that
I am finding I have to learn this material myself. Sheesh! What is humorous
is that no one will hire the ol' lavahead, but he will be teaching a computer
science class at the university. Is there something wrong with this picture?
The worst part is if I get a job at Home Depot or something like that.
Can you imagine?
Home Depot by day, college instructor by night. I am assigned
to the screwdriver section for the evening. Three young guys come in.
"Hey pops, where are the Phillips screwdrivers?" one of the punks asks.
I look up from the box of screwdrivers that I am stocking onto the pegboard.
I realize that the punks are students in my networks class. Their jaws
drop so I know that they have now placed my face.
"Oh, Mr. Lavahead, it's good to see you," one of the students says awkwardly.
"Ah, yes, likewise. The Phillips screwdrivers are right here." I reach
into the box and pull out a blister pack. "Hey, here's one fresh out of
the box. Say, I hope I was clear on that matter of dynamic channel allocation.
Remember that frame transmission can begin at any time. There is no master
clock dividing up time into discrete intervals."
"Errr, okay, Mr. Lavahead, we'll see you on Wednesday. By the way, do
you prefer the Stanley screwdrivers over Craftsman?"
Tuesday May 5
I could feel myself slipping into the vortex of
the abyss again. It's bound to happen since I basically have nothing to
do all day but to ruminate about my situation. I tend to go beyond the
standard ruminations which may be my undoing. This includes endless soul-searching
to find reasons why I have ended up a loser. After I sift through the ethereal
possibilities, I always seem to return to my original premise. I have made
myself a loser. I have followed a carefully crafted formula for failure.
For example, I knew that if I remained unemployed longer than two weeks,
I would have difficulty even finding a peon job. To extrapolate that further,
I have never been on any career track. In other words, I have never pursued
a real job. In fact, I never did anything by the book. I have been on vacation
for most of my 40-plus years of existence. Thus, I have never been able
to afford more than a few cans of Bush's baked beans. I didn't want any
more than that. When my homey Bart and I were homeless a few years ago,
I came to realize that it could happen to anyone at any time with little
advanced warning. Everything in life is so transient. I suppose that there
is a slight feeling of security when one has a job. There's also that false
sense of making a contribution to society. I just have to wonder. Why do
we have this need to acquire things? Why do we attach a price tag to everything?
I have little in common with my peers. I cannot
really contribute to society because I am not a spender. I have nothing
to buy. The major contribution that we as individuals make to society is
based on our consumption patterns. A job only insures that you can at least
leverage your contribution in the long run. Hence, we have usury in the
form of loans and credit cards. Most jobs mean nothing in the general scheme
of things. They are merely the performance of rote tasks upon which a minimum
of compensation is offered. Take a computer nerd, for example. What exactly
does a computer nerd contribute to society? Perhaps the nerd is involved
in the design of Web browsers. The Web browser will enable millions of
people to download hurdy-gurdy files. These millions of people will have
indirectly subsidized the nerd's compensation. The nerd has contributed
to society by providing a tool to access (for a fee) hurdy-gurdies and
eliminating the need to visit some seedy magazine shop. The money generated
recirculates through the economy and infuses some life into the e-commerce
camp. Of course, the nerd goes on a spending spree and buys anything that
would make him attractive to babes. This is life as we know it.
Wednesday May 6
Last week, I developed a new strategy to cope
with my situation. I realized that my spending habits deviated from normal
consumer patterns. I pay whatever I can up front including car insurance
and cell phone service. My recurring monthly bills include only my (and
Lori's) gym membership and my Net access fee. That amounts to about $90
per month. My gas expense is about $10 every two months since I don't drive
anywhere. So, if I even made $500 per month at a peon job, I'd still be
livin' large (in a small way, of course). When I finally begin making my
loan payments, I'd break even. Alas, I only fooled myself for a short period
of time. I realized that I would be working about 36 hours per week for
a pitiful wage of $5 per hour. That would be the epitome of true wage slavery.
Sheesh! The folly of this strategy is its basis in the short-term. I have
not even considered the point in time that I won't be living in moms' house.
Alas, I have the inspiration of my homey Bart. He is the only person I
know who can survive on $2 in expenses per week. In a way, Bart has superceded
The Master as the ultimate hermit. The last time I saw Bart, he had just
purchased a late model minivan from the money he earned as a seasonal employee
at Yellowstone National Park. I'm certain that Bart lives in his van. In
Convalescent City, he had managed to live for a couple of years in his
Camaro. He called it the "poor man's Corvette," and he parked it every
night in an empty field in the south county. Why did he choose to live
that way? Survival. He didn't choose to be a loser. It just happened. To
his credit, he never sought out welfare as an alternative. He just adjusted
his lifestyle to fit his budget.
Paul and Barbara live a similar existence. Their
skills allow for significantly more income. Yet, they live modestly. The
tradeoff is the same. Freedom over status quo. It takes a unique
personality to discard the societal pressure to wallow in the false sense
of security called the middle-class lifestyle. Go to college, get married,
work, have kids, buy everything in sight, and eventually retire. Paul,
Barbara, and Bart went a different route. They are experiencing life at
their leisure. They travel and do things now that most people are putting
off until retirement. To that end, they have sacrificed the status quo.
For a while, my journey was similar in philosophy. What happened?
Thursday May 7
I decided to take the show on the road, as it
were. I went out to "pound the pavement." The stupid part is that I had
no idea about where I should go. So, I ended up going to only one employment
agency and making an appointment for next Monday. Mind you, this took me
most of the day to accomplish. Can you see why I'm going nowhere fast?
Perhaps my heart is just not in this. Hard times call for drastic measures.
I really need to seek out The Master. Only The Master truly understands
the plight of the loser. As I've mentioned before, I have known The Master
for over 25 years. He has been a pillar of strength with the exception
of the one time that he felt "restless." The Master is a master of discipline.
In the context of a depressed economy, "pounding
the pavement" can only lead to further discouragement. There is so little
to choose from. Actually, there is no choice. One takes whatever is available.
I learned today that I can qualify almost immediately for manual labor
jobs. Yep, I need steel-toed boots! The pay is $6 per hour. I have held
off the purchase of the boots, but now it looks as though I may have no
choice in the matter.
Friday May 8
Day Two of the "pound the pavement" routine. I
delivered another copy of my résumé to another employment
agency. Once again, this took me most of the day. I didn't even bother
setting up an appointment. My only goal now is seemingly just to have something
else to do than just sit in my favorite chair and ruminate about life.
Of course, I could stay at home and read. I have a lot of reading to do.
I must familiarize myself with the computer network theory textbook for
the class I will be facilitating. I also have two Java books to read in
order to expeditiously learn the language. However, none of this really
matters in the general scheme of things. The class could end up cancelled
and I'll have spent a lot of time reading about computer network theory
for nothing. I may learn Java, but who would believe me? Anybody who reads
a Java for Dummies book can also claim Java proficiency. I'm probably
better off reading the Good Book by candlelight like a good monk.
at the Zoo
Well, the competitor called it quits a few months
ago. Now Seinfeld and The Garry Shandling Show are calling
it quits. And, the Gates One is writing an on-line journal. Of course,
millions of people are reading his journal. Only a small handful read the
other remaining sophmoric journals such as the one featured here at LoserNet.
Why is Bill's journal so popular? To answer that question, first ask yourself
why Windows 95 is popular. People are hoping that Bill will share the secret
of his success. Or, he may offer a huge monetary prize. I don't profess
to know. The hype over Seinfeld is nauseating. I cannot understand
how these sitcoms develop such a loyal following. Perhaps people seek role
models for group settings. The difference between tube life and real life
is like the difference between night and day. Contrast the fantasy cast
of Seinfeld with the real people of MTV's Real World, for
example. Real life is fairly boring and, in comparison, the pathetic theatrical
attempts by the real cast can only appear foolish and embarrassing to onlookers
and participants alike.
Saturday May 9
Lori, her daughter, and I went to the zoo today.
We took the first bus out of Hawai'i Kai and stopped at Kahala Mall. We
ate lunch at the Olive Tree Café, a small Greek restaurant, before
continuing to the zoo in Waikiki. The food, by the way, was excellent.
So far, my only prior exposure to Greek food has been the generic Gyro
at Jack-in-the-Box. That is how pathetic my world concept is. My exposure
to international foods has been limited to fast food joints, frozen entrées
and instant seasoning packets.
The zoo is an ideal place to go. It's great for
kids as well as adults. I have always been fascinated by animals and wildlife.
Watching the various animals at play can give all of us a better insight
into humanity. It made me sad to think that many of these species only
exist in zoos. The human philosophy of "manifest destiny" has all but eradicated
some of these innocent creatures. In building our so-called great societies,
we humans have lost touch with nature. Our only exposure to animals is
confined to the various domesticated pets that can be purchased at a pet
store. Thus, for many of us, our conceptualization of an animal is either
a dog or a cat. Our exposure to the wonders of nature is (once again) a
function of economics.
Sunday May 10
Did you remember moms today? I hope so. You know
that moms is a very special person. Say, what is this craze over that St.
John's Wort crap? St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is supposed
to be the natural anti-depressant, a non-prescription version of
Prozac. You know, I'm beginning to see why I stand out as such a loser.
I don't consume alcoholic beverages. I don't smoke cigarettes or anything
else. I don't take any drugs, prescribed or otherwise. I am not downing
Prozac or Wort like there's no tomorrow. I am basically defenseless against
the dark forces like the sinister kahuna. However, the Wort craze
has made me aware that, by implication, there exists a significant number
of people who are walking around in an artificial stupor of bliss. If St.
John's Wort does indeed have similar psychological indications to Prozac,
then the reason for the Wort craze becomes even clearer. Prozac has been
shown to be more than just an (allegedly) effective anti-depressant. It
is a "happy" drug, in that it makes one feel content for no apparent reason.
Some have claimed that it also bolsters confidence as well as the elusive
self-esteem. How can I compete with content, albeit drug-induced, people?
Do I need to take Prozac or Wort in sufficient quantity prior to a job
interview? Is that what it will take?
Monday May 11
I took the bus to town because of my so-called
appointment at the employment agency. It turned out that I only wasted
my day. There was no appointment. Since I do not not have any clerical
or warehouse experience, I am ineligible for those particular jobs that
pay a whopping $6 per hour. Does something seem really wrong with this
picture? I am not a genius but I think that I have the basic intelligence
to tackle some of these assignments. I sure could use some St. John's Wort
right now. Maybe I should give it a try. I'll go down to the nearest GNC
store and buy a few bottles. I'll down double the recommended dose and
I'll write about the results. How's that? If it works, then I'll buy up
the whole supply. Lord knows I'll need it to make it through this life.
Lori has been having quite a few problems at work.
The team concept seems to have gone right out the door. She is compensated
well, though. She makes much more money than I made even as a computer
nerd wage slave. And, now that I have discovered that my worth has dropped
below $6 per hour, I have decided to remain unemployed. I figure that I
might as well default on my loans, too. It doesn't matter. I'll just keep
a few extra dollars in my mattress so I can buy a few bottles of Wort.
I may even sell my Bose Wave radio for a Wort fix. Alas, that's the price
Tuesday May 12
After a long two-hour commute with one stopover
at Ala Mo's, I arrived in Kailua. I had yet another job interview, this
one with a small firm that develops telephone billing software. Kailua
and Kane'ohe (the adjacent town) are a maze of confusing streets. Many
of those streets have no street signs or ones that are badly faded. I was
20 minutes late to my interview since I could not find the place. I first
met with the former owner of the company, although I did not know that
at the time. Then, I met with two of the project managers. I can't say
that I performed well, but that goes without saying. One of the managers
kept prompting me about my interest in the job. Later, it dawned on me
that they were waiting for me to express a kind of bubbling enthusiasm
that I am incapable of producing without artificial stimuli. The sullen
looks on their faces as well as their own drab personalities suggested
a clue about this puzzling, yet common, scenario. They were looking for
their savior, someone who would infuse new life into the company not just
through innovation but also morale. If only they could see themselves in
a mirror ... tired, bored and on the verge of severe burnout. The office
itself was not much better. Small and cramped, it could do little to hide
its disheveled appearance. The rack of metal shelving which lined a hallway
was not deep enough to accomodate the obviously kludged array of desktop
computers that comprised the network file servers. The only place that
feigned any order was the kitchen, the room where I was interviewed by
the two managers.
That brings me to Lou's Business and Job Hunter's
Glossary, a new (and possibly periodic) feature here. These are some
standard terms one hears and their true meaning:
Team playing. The ability to conform to political forces within
the office. A team player is one who can continue to produce in
the long run even after discovering that most of the staff have been relegated
to duffer status.
The most worthwhile aspect of the trip was that I
was able to see parts of the island that I had not seen in a while. I
was also reminded that there still exists a portion of the island that
looks as it did way before the development. That alone was enough to postpone
my acquisition of St. John's Wort for another day.
Self-starting. The company has no formal training and orientation
programs in place, so an employee is expected to acquire this knowledge
Probationary period. The usual six-month time period which one
is given to become a fully productive member without any assistance from
State-of-the-art. A relative term which tends to be the status
quo at the low end of the mean of an arbitrary sample of similar companies.
It may also reflect an undisclosed time period usually in the distant past.
Fast-paced, exciting environment. The workplace is fraught with
demanding schedules and stacked crisis situations due to the lack of planning
and foresight. In some circles, fear is equated with excitement.
Wednesday May 13
Here's an interesting tidbit from Craig (craigot.@ssimicro.com).
He writes, "typical good for dickall' lazy, baglicking, give a damn about
bill gates hopeless yankee. why don't you go over to maui and take a great
notion to jump off mt. haleakala, if you can find the time check the spelling
and anybody who worships a sheepshagger like the bull deserves whatever
he gets." Most times I'm okay when a dumb ass like this putz writes this
kind of crap to me. Today is just not one of those days. If you don't like
what you read at LoserNet, get the hell outta here. Don't write crap like
this. If you want to pick a fight, just come here with that chip on your
shoulder. In the meantime, why don't you take your fat ass into the crapper
and do what you do best.
It sure looks like I need the Wort after all, eh?
Did you notice that guys love to make banal references to the pud when
they want to make a point? Take that dumb ass, for example. He made several
references to the Vienna Sausage and the scrotum. It's also always easy
to tell people to jump off a cliff when we don't like them or what they
have to say. Typical Jerry Springer Show mentality. I can see the
putz sitting at the edge of his recliner with a flavored ale and yelling
at the tube, "Hit 'em with the chair! Hit 'em with the chair already!"
Thursday May 14
We now join the Jerry Springer Show, already
in progress ...
"... and, Jerry, it's like I said before. Tralfaz here is a typical
good for dickall' lazy, baglicking, give a damn about bill gates hopeless
Anybody who talks about "baglicking" is probably someone
who has licked a few bags himself. All I can say is ... get some Viagra
Jerry glances over at the ol' lavahead. "Well, that's quite an accusation.
Do you have a rebuttal?"
"Jerry, first I'd like to introduce the Vice President of Marketing
A huge Samoan guy in a dark suit and wearing shades appears. The audience
applauds. Jerry has a gleam in his eye because he knows that something
"Talofa, Artie," the ol' lavahead greets his comrade.
"Talofa." This will be the only word uttered by Artie.
"Artie, can you show Craig how we sell our product at LoserNet."
Artie lumbers over to where the putz is sitting smugly in his chair.
Artie wraps his arm around the putz's neck. Artie then contorts the putz
and forces the putz's head into his own crotch.
The audience applauds fiercely. A muffled voice from the audience is
heard yelling over the applause. "Make 'em lick his bag! Make 'em lick
his bag already!"
"Baha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Haaaaa!" Both Jerry and the ol' lavahead are on the
floor laughing in unison. Cut to commercial.
Friday May 15
Paul called on Wednesday and left a message. I
was finally able to touch bases with him last night. He and Barbara are
still in Hawai'i. They will be leaving next week. Paul had underestimated
the amount of repairs that he needed to perform on his boat, so he ran
a little behind schedule. We will be meeting tomorrow night for one last
A couple of Lori's friends flew in from Boston
yesterday. Lori will be meeting with them for dinner tonight and she will
be flying to Maui with them tomorrow. As for the ol' lavahead, he'll be
at home where he belongs. Yep, I'll be spending all my time with my beloved
computer. In fact, LoserNet Labs has developed yet another loser application
called the Losernet Systematic Buzz Phrase Projector.
This is the only kind of nonsense I am good at.
Saturday May 16
I spent most of the day modifying the scripts
in some of the LoserNet pages so they would run on both Internet Explorer
and Navigator. For the most part, this has been accomplished. Even the
project of yesterday has been modified. Sheesh! I met with Paul and Barbara
at Barnes & Noble in Kahala Mall. We drank coffee and chatted in the
café. Paul had come across a few more problems with the boat, so
he took an extra week to complete the repairs. They will no longer be stopping
in Kaua'i after departing Honolulu. Rather, they will be heading straight
(if the winds permit) for Alaska. They will be there for three weeks. Then,
they will traverse the coastline down to Gatesville. Although I have not
done much else with Paul and Barbara except to hang out and drink coffee,
I can say that I will miss them.
Sunday May 17
My learning curve for Java has been a lot longer
than I anticipated. I'm not sure whether to attribute this to my own stupidity
or the quality of the materials I am studying from. In any case, Java is
not a simple language. The syntax is reasonable, but the object-oriented
crap is mind-boggling. I will never be a computer guru, that's for sure.
I believe that the only way to program in languages like Java is with the
aid of rapid application development (RAD) tools. I managed to unpack some
of the sample programs and review a few. The "bouncing heads" applet was
somewhat entertaining. However, I am skeptical now of Java's applicability
to the Web. Many Java applets would be better off if they were coded in
code seem to be the only favorable points. I'm not even sure why I am learning
Java. A programmer I am not.
Monday May 18
Way back in time, I remember having a discussion
with Paul about the business he used to own. The name of the company was
an acronym in which its meaning had something to do with early retirement.
Paul did manage to realize that goal of early retirement, by the way. However,
he said that if he had to do it again, he would not let the company grow
any larger than one employee ... himself. Why did the company grow? It
was what companies were supposed to do, says Paul. Interestingly, that
brings me to the crazy juncture with Kumu Ki'eki'e Loa (Highest
Source) Consulting and Landscape Service. Remember when I came up with
that foolish concept?
I need to sidetrack for a bit. I think that we
all know people who want to come up with the new Pet Rock and make a fortune.
We also know people who want to start some kind of business to gain financial
autonomy. Therein lies the problem. The end goal is always envisioned clearly.
It's just the means (product or service) that remain a little fuzzy. If
a product or service is not unique, then there now exists the infrastructural
problems of barriers to entry and, Heaven forbid, competitors. Pricing
is also a problem because no profit can be realized until all expenses
The underlying premise of this thesis is that my
own autonomy could be purchased for the amount of the balance of my loan,
about $26,500 or so. Mind you, this is short-term thinking at its best.
My second premise is that there must be a break with tradition. In the
case of business, we are talking about second-tier market forces. Most
of these tend to be perceptions such as product value and what prices the
market will bear (read: how much can the consumer be gouged). In the end,
most entrepreneurs will rely on cloning to enter the business mainstream.
The strategy of using a short period of introductory pricing can help in
entering the market. Once a foothold is established, the business assumes
a position not unlike any other of its kind. Given enough market share
and pricing that can meet expenses, the business can go on indefinitely.
That may be so in a perfect world.
So, what would the ol' lavahead do if he could
do it differently? What wares could he peddle? What price would he charge?
What about one dollar? The only thing he could do is buy bottles of St.
John's Wort and package each pill individually and hawk 'em at the local
Tuesday May 19
What the hell could the ol' lavahead sell for
one dollar? Certainly not his brain. The idea is not so strange if we look
at quanitity. So, really, one needs a product to sell for a dollar that
each and every person in the world needed. This is the basis of calculus
as we know it. We sum over an infinitely large amount of infinitesimally
small volumes to derive at the solution. What can we sell for a dollar?
Not much. Most junk costs more than that to produce. Then, once the expenses
are added in ... Chapter 11! Market presence, credibility, quality and
so forth have a price. That's the price consumers pay. Well, everyone needs
toenail clippers. Maybe I should run down to the nearest importer and cut
a deal for generic toenail clippers. They will sell for 99 cents retail.
Out of the 50 cents wholesale (what I get), I must pay for all expenses
including inventory, taxes, distribution and so forth. Forget it.
So, that brings me to Highest Source. What if Highest
Source were to sell its Web page design services for 99 cents? It would
take about 27,000 projects for me to gain financial autonomy. And, what
about credibility? Why pay 99 cents for a piece of crap when one can spend
$100,000 for a real Web page? Exactly. No matter what anybody says, the
Web is just a flash in the pan. If you are a small business owner or just
an individual who wants a Web presence, you would have to spend at least
$55 per hour (10 hour minimum) for a consultant to tackle your project.
You could hire a college student at $8 per hour but you would need to invest
in a computer and some kind of Web design software. The total cost would
be around $1,700 minimum. If you already own the computer, the cost dwindles
down to about $700 or so. That leaves one alternative. Design it yourself.
Even a simple design could take a novice about 20 hours. Does 99 cents
for a Web page sound real good? And, doesn't everyone need a Web page?
How about if database connectivity and scripting was also included in the
price? Of course, there will be a "no refund" policy. Now we're talking!
Wednesday May 20
The bottom line of the whole treatise is that
we have lost control of our perception of value. We want to take all we
can get (usually dinero) within the shortest possible time. Only
a fool would settle for less. Right? Speculation seems to fuel mostly every
major economic boom. How far can it go this time?
Lori managed to get discounted tickets for the
première of Godzilla (the remake). So, Lori, her daughter,
her friend, and I went to the see the movie last night. I can't say that it
was very good, although I'm beginning to identify a trend. The current
crop of films are all turning out to be multimedia extravaganzas. The real
stars are, in fact, the computer graphics nerds who create the special
effects. Dialog in film has become moot and inane just like the tube. In
fact, there is little meaningful dialog in "reel" life and real life. The
worst part, I believe, is the blatant and now obligatory lead-in to a yet-to-be-announced
sequel. Why put this crap at the end of the movie? Frankly, I felt cheated
because I must assume that I've only seen a fraction of the whole plot.
I am now beginning to see the implicit parody that South Park's
creators are giving their audience through Kenny's recurring demise and
subsequent resurrection in every episode.
In the end, the best deal has always been a night
out at Barnes & Noble. The coffee and the ambiance are both good. And,
reading books and magazines is pleasant pastime. That is where Lori, her
daughter and I ended up tonight as has been our usual Wednesday night activity.
Thursday May 21
My fascination with Java is waning, although I
am continuing with the learning process. Without a doubt, the client-side
scripting languages and dynamic HTML can certainly give Java applets a
run for the money. In fact, LoserNet Labs has replicated yet another tired
application and will be incorporating into the site soon. Once again, it
I have spent much more time at the public library.
The local branch is rather small, but it provides a quiet safe haven to
retreat to. Otherwise, there isn't much else to do that either doesn't
cost a lot of dough or is related to shopping. Today, I went to the main
branch of the library in the heart of downtown. When I was a kid, my perception
of this library was that it was huge. As it turns out, it is even smaller
than the public library in Convalescent City. Mind you, Convalescent City
only has a population of 38,000 people. That is why I often went to the
university library when I lived there. I guess most public libraries do
not need to be very large these days. I assume that most people would rather
watch the tube than read. Thus, Fahrenheit 451 should be rewritten.
The thought control people did not need to burn the books. They just need
to control the tube broadcasting networks.
Friday May 22
Well, I'm back to my old routine again. I am trying
to find more ingenious ways to kill time. No deal. The ramifications are,
of course, that I am gradually slumping back "in a funk" (as Steph would
say). Writing the journal has also become a chore. I have been trying to
avoid waxing philosophic as a means to fill the void of interesting material.
What more is there to say that hasn't already been said? How many more
times can we all lament at the Wailing Wall? I have expected more of myself
but, really, maybe I am out of my league. I am not a whiz kid. I am not
going to make an impact upon society. I will not change the destiny of
the world. I will continue to live as one ant in the ant farm. It isn't
so bad being on the second string or warming the bench, I tell myself.
Someone still brings the water in a cup. After all, it's only a game. Life's
a game. Everything is peachy as long as I'm not the water boy.
Saturday May 23
there isn't much to discuss, it's time for viewer mail! Kevin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is moving to Portland. He is certainly living up to his e-mail namesake.
Next thing you know, he'll end up here in Hawai'i. Sheesh! Portland is
actually a nice city, as cities go. Kevin will be moving there during the
nicest part of the year. One of the guys that Paul and I worked with (when
I once had a job) also wrote. Chad (email@example.com) was probably
the most gregarious person in the whole staff. It's kind of funny since
Paul and I were just discussing those days of wage slavery last week over
coffee. The Bull (EquityBull@aol.com) also wrote to encourage the
ol' lavahead to "stop thinking so much and start acting." He says that
thinking is his job. And, also thanks to Alan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
for writing in.
Sunday May 24
Lori spent all day shopping with her daughter.
Since her daughter is leaving for Summer vacation in two weeks, Lori wanted
to buy a few last minute things for her. She also bought a wind chime and
two huge almond cookies for the ol' lavahead. The wind chime is something
I've wanted for a while. Lori already has one that is very similar. It
is a simple device that emits only one tone. That's the beauty of it. A
more elaborate wind chime may be more desirable on impulse. However, upon
closer scrutiny, it becomes obvious that the forces of consumerism are
attempting to adulterate common sense. Why, the simple wind chime would
appear ludicrous if displayed in a conspicuous location. Only a larger
and more ornate chime would do its owner proud and not serve as a foolish
reminder of his poverty. Sheesh! I need to find a secure place for my wind
chime. It is to serve as symbol of the friendship that Lori and I have
managed to preserve.
Monday May 25
Today was a holiday for most people. I spent the
day working because everyday is holiday for me. I finally completed painting
the "warehouse," so I have finished the inside of moms' house. I also washed
my six-four to make it looks less like an abandoned vehicle. Finally, the
control and it appears as part of the opening page for LoserNet. Only the
most rudimentary functions are currently available. Maybe later I can add
new features like a button that will make the face of stone explode.
Out the Barrel
Perhaps LoserNet should become a showcase for loser
programming projects in lieu of future chapters of the journal. My vehicle
for creative (I use that term loosely in my case) expression may be changing
from composing incoherent rhetoric to programming dull Web scripts and
applets. Heck, there is a site which features a big button that does absolutely
nothing. That site has been around for years and is extremely popular.
The clown who designed it is probably the CEO of some Fortune 500 company
Tuesday May 26
I am really beginning to miss Windows Solitaire.
Remember when I uninstalled it because it was taking up too much of my
time? Baha! Ha! Ha! Haaaa! Or, maybe I should try to install Duke Nukem
again. My days are just filled with mission-critical decisions like this.
How do I do it?
Somehow I managed to use more than my five hours
(per month) of Net access time. The monthly fee is $8.95 plus tax. This
month, I was charged a whopping $18.91 most likely due to all those
hurdy-gurdies I was downloading. Just kidding! However, for an unemployed loser,
that is a lot of dough. Just think, I spend over $100 per year just to
maintain LoserNet and keep it free for the four people who might happen
to stumble across it. Then, to kick a man when he's down, one of the four
will send derogatory e-mail saying that Losernet was a waste of his
precious time. This is the kind of person who knows the words to the song
Roll Out the Barrel by heart.
Wednesday May 27
After briefly reviewing the LoserNet site, I came
to realize how useless it really is. There is absolutely nothing of redeeming
value. The only feature, as it were, is this pathetic journal. Of course,
this observation is another exercise in redundancy, something that most
readers are used to by now. What else could we offer to the Net savvy populace?
I found myself conjuring up a variety of nefarious projects, one being a Java-based
Denial of Service Attack Console (DSAC). Basically, it is device to send
malformed packets across any type of network in an attempt to bring down
a variety of servers. I later realized that such a device is already available.
What would bring a person to commit this kind of
desperate act? The root seems to originate in an identity crisis of sorts.
Perhaps I should say the lack of identity crisis. No matter how hard we
all try, we can probably agree that we fall into greater obscurity by the
second. And, what better example than the Web? Eventually we feel we must
strike back. When left unchecked, this attitude can easily escalate into
another Unabomber situation. This crisis may also be at the root of the
proliferation of computer viruses. Why would anyone waste time developing
more permutations of existing viruses? It would seem more plausible to
believe that the companies which produce anti-virus software are secretly
funding virus development. Now, I don't wish to suggest that most of us
are seeking fame and fortune. However, given the fact that most of are
rarely even given recognition for a job well done, I can understand the
subliminal frustration that eventually leads to sublime forms of anarchy.
And, anarchy is the ultimate denial of service.
Thursday May 28
Last night was our usual Barnes & Noble night.
Once again, I spent most of my time reading computer nerd crap. Why I waste
my time with that nonsense, I do not know. So, I looked around and observed
the reading material of the other patrons. I was surprised to see how many
people were also reading computer nerd crap. The emphasis on computer literacy
has created a real scare. People are frantically trying to at least learn
the jargon associated with computers. As I walked down the aisle in the
computer nerd section in search of the perfect Java book, there were two
guys leaning against the shelf and talking. One was telling the other that
book hastily off of the shelf. Little did they know that I'm the guy who
will be bringing down their beloved networks with my Denial of Service
Attack Console. Baha! Ha! Ha! Haaaa! Those who deny will be denied!
Friday May 29
I spent most of the day painting just as I did
yesterday. I am now working on the exterior of moms' house. Upon closer
scrutiny, I discovered that my bro left quite a bit more unfinished than
I first assessed. As usual, I have my work cut out for myself. Since
I am not exactly pressed for time, I will give myself until the middle
of Summer to complete the job.
Have you been reading all of the nonsense concerning
the Year 2000 (Y2K) problem? I think that all hell will break loose when
the clock ticks over into the new millenium. Since the situation is out
of our control, why worry about it? There are some preventative measures
that I will be taking. I plan to remove myself from as many databases as
possible, especially in any situation that I owe any dough. So, I will pay
off any credit card debt and proceed to a cash basis for that year. I do not
want to own anything that generates a virtual paper trail such as an automobile
nor do I want to subscribe to services like insurance or cell phone service.
When the toilet flushes on December 31, 1999 and all those legacy programs
running on AS/400 mainframes roll their dates back to January 1, 1900 ...
let's just say that I want to be Mr. Nobody on that day.
Saturday May 30
Lori, her daughter, her friend, and I went to the
"sneak preview" of Perfect Murder, the remake of Dial M for Murder.
Aside from the cussing and the predictable violence, it was a pretty decent
movie. The only movies I want to see, however, are Bulworth and
The Truman Show. I'm not easily entertained by the film media these
days. There's just too much flash. And, I can't understand why films are
edited such that the most interesting parts are compressed into the last
15 minutes. Why take so long to weave the story line and then drop a simplistic
ending on the unsuspecting audience? Maybe I just don't get it. I've been
out of the mainstream too long. I don't understand pop culture. I don't
appreciate the science of modern film editing. What can you expect? I was
raised during the time period that The Honeymooners starring Jackie
Gleason was the hottest thing to hit the tube.
Sunday May 31
It's hard to believe that another season has gone
by. And, the banality has not been any more banal. As usual, the future
of the journal remains in limbo. Should it just go on ad infinitum
in its present state? Perhaps not. I can think of one alternative ... writing
on an "as needed" basis. Given the level of redunancy here, the definition
of "as needed" may involve time spans of years between entries. Who is
to say? In the meantime, let us catch up with the news. My bro ended up
with the Chicken Pox. I assume that he made it through the ordeal unscathed.
Unfortunately, he was laid off from work shortly afterward. So, he is in
the same boat as the ol' lavahead right now. Lori and I have cautiously
resumed our relationship. Conversely, the rift between Lori and her daughter
continues to grow. He daughter will be leaving for Oregon on June 10th
to spend her Summer vacation with her dad and her godparents. A strange situation.
As for the ol' lavahead, he'll be here writing his usual nonsense on an
"as needed" basis. Will you stay with us? We hope so.
Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Two Orange
Remember that line from the Blues Brothers?
There's nothing like waxing nostalgic with the ol' lavahead. We'll do that
and more in the new season as we bumrush da fools.
The Keeper of Lost Lives: Banality98
© Copyright 1998 by The Keeper of Lost Lives
LoserNettm Love It, or Lose It.