1. 1. Nativity scenes shall only include the following characters: baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, magi, shepherds, angels, various barnyard animals, and the popular "with a tale as big as a kite" star. Santa Claus was NOT present at the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! Neither was Ms. Claus, the Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, or Rudolph.

  2. 2. Many people seem to believe that simply lighting a character makes it suitable for holiday decoration - this is not so. The lighted lawn flamingo, gnome, college mascot, football player, or frog is just an amusement for your other times of year.

  3. 3. A lighted Santa head suspended from a flag pole outside your door is NOT festive. It's just creepy.

  4. 4. Inflatable characters seem to be popular these days, and it is important to make sure they are fully pressurized and completely weighted down. Otherwise you may have scenes of "Santa on his back after a hangover," "Frosty contemplating joining Jenny Craig after staring at his stomach," or "the Grinch doing something completely inappropriate to the Holiday Polar Bear."

  5. 5. Look at your neighbor's house. Then look at the other houses on your street. If they ALL have the EXACT same holiday stick-in-the-ground Santa/Christmas tree/"We Wish You A Merry Christmas," that you got from the kids in the high school band that wanted to make money off a few pieces of plywood, then maybe it's a good idea to sit this year out and use this piece for 2005.

  6. 6. If your entire house is lit in blue, then it is NOT festive. It is Superman's Fortress of Solitude

  7. 7. One Christmas train is neat. Two Christmas trains are fun. TEN is over the limit - your house is not brought to us by Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you!!



I'm not smart enough. I'm not good looking enough, not strong enough, fast enough, coordinated enough. I'm not smooth enough, charming enough, or tactful enough. I don't exercise enough. I don't give enough. I don't love enough. I don't resist enough, and I don't give in enough. I don't sing well enough, speak well enough, write well enough, draw well enough, think well enough.

I don't succeed enough. I haven't used enough of what's been given to me. I've fallen to the same temptations over and over again enough to make any of you wonder if I'm Christian enough. I don't preach enough, pray enough, witness enough, or study enough. I don't discipline myself enough. I haven't got enough to do enough to make enough of a difference to think I'm worth enough.

But thanks be to God.

Through Him, I AM ENOUGH.


My mom is an avid crocheter (crochetist?), so I felt inspired to post this:
BBC NEWS | Mathematicians crochet chaos

The idea for the "Lorenz manifold" model came to the couple during the Christmas break two years ago.

Dr Osinga, who learnt to crochet when she was seven, was relaxing by crocheting some hexagonal lace motifs.

Prof Krauskopf asked her: "Why don't you crochet something useful?"

Eighty-five hours of work and some supporting steel wire later, they had something almost a metre across which looks not unlike a big Christmas decoration - which is what they are using it as.



A couple actually:

  • Toy Numero Uno: Get you some Firefox. If you haven't yet, you're really missing out and exposing yourself to all sorts of internet diseases and maladies.

  • Toy Numero Dos: Proceed to download the Mouse Gestures extension. Wave your mouse around and conduct your browser like Beethoven at his 9th Symphony (albeit you won't be deaf when you do it).

  • Toy Numero... oh, dangit, what's "three" in Spanish again?? I should know this...: Assuming you already have a blog, go download the BlogThis extension. Makes creating quick blog entries faster than a... um... fast...thing...by incorporating a new item into your right-click context menus.

And while I'm at it, an interesting quote from Patagonia's manifesto on ChangeThis:
Gerald Amos, a member (and of the Haisla Nation in Kitamaat, northwest Canada, recalls a friend of his father who would leave home in the dark to paddle to his trapline four miles by water. He would spend the day walking the lines, checking and resetting the traps. "Along the way back to the boat,during the late fall and early winter, the coho salmon would be still in the creeks that they passed, so they would stop at one of these creeks and take a couple of coho, which they would clean and pack home in their backpack together with what-ever animals they had taken in their traps. The fish provided them with their supper later that night."
Such lives are often called subsistence, which brings to mind the barest, hardscrabble survival. But there is another way to look at them. At Patagonia we choose to call them “economies of abundance.” In an economy of abundance is enough. Not too much. Not too little. Enough. Most important, there is enough time for the things that matter: relationships, delicious food, art, games and rest.
-- Yvon Chouinard (owner of Patagonia)



"For loving God is keeping his laws: and his laws are not hard."

- I John 5:3, Bible In Basic English

It's the holidays, so sorry about the long gap between posts. Look at me, always apologizing - I'm such a people pleaser.

I'm not going to make it a habit of delving deep into religious issues, but I think I get an exemption on this one, because it has more to do with faith. I came across this passage recently as I was reading the Bible on my PDA (an excellent idea, by the way. I've got 5 different versions available all in the same place - that's another post sometime.) and I just stopped down on it. I couldn't help but think "are you sure?" I think most of the time I see the walk I have as a Christian as hard, not easy. Of course, then I remember that this was written by a man who spent the last part of his life in exile on a remote island, denied access to his family and most of his friends.

So here's my question for you - whatever your belief, do you think keeping its laws is hard? Even if you're a hedonist and you seek only to pleasure yourself, 24 hours a day, is that hard?

Just a thought that came to mind. Thanks for listenin'.



Hi everyone. I'm taking a look at my own blog (I like to call it a "retro-blogo-spective"), and I see it's been a while since I last posted. Yeah, um... sorry about that.

But the good news is that I've got PLENTY to talk about - a huge, glorious accretion of blogable ideas that have been floating around my head. So, with deference to my less-geeky friends, let's bust out the fun of the HTML unnumbered list:

  • Have you ever seen that guy? You know him. He wears long-sleeved button-up shirts all the time, and always has one too many buttons undone. Without an undershirt. See, there's the button at the collar used for strangling hapless males and for incorporating the shirt into a "tie & suit" configuration. That one can be open, not a problem. But then, there's the NEXT one. THAT, my friends, is part of the shirt - part of what's keeping it on your body as a modest article of clothing. What do you gain by undoing it? You're trying to impress the ladies with a little more...WHAT? The average man just doesn't have the same kind of blessings as the average woman there, so what's the deal??

  • You know, occasionally I visit some random web site that a friend has fowarded to me, and I get a little chuckle from it. However, I recently realized that many of my friends may not have ever found these little gems of online gold, where they could receive chuckles of their own! So I list them here, my friends, an offering of my generosity. Try not to enjoy them all at once.

    1. BadgerBadgerBadger - a pointless, random, and I think fun endlessly repeating Flash movie.

    2. Zombo.com - I dare you to find the point where this site repeats.

    3. Astronomy Picture of the Day - not so much a funny web site, but some INCREDIBLE pictures come through here every day. Most of them are PRIME wallpaper candidates.

    4. Digital Blasphemy - another great place to get wallpapers. I think I used one of their pictures for a class project once...

    5. Jib-Jab - home of President George W. Bush and Former Presidential Candidate John Kerry's thrilling rendition of "This Land Is Your Land." I hope they come up with more stuff now that the election is over.

  • So I went to the doctor's office recently. And, as you know, this whole process involved a LOT of waiting. Being a mind of constantly restless motion, I don't do well with waiting, especially those moments after the nurse has seen you, and she leaves you alone in the room with those fatal last word - "The doctor will see you in just a minute." Let's get real, it's NEVER a minute. So what do I, the admitted PDA computing geek that I am, do to cope with these moments of blank-white-wall boredom? I pull out my trusty PDA, and within seconds I'm listnening to MP3s through the on-board (and remarkably good, all things considered) speaker and playing Zap! 2016. Imagine the look on my doctor's face when he enters the room to the sounds of Basement Jaxx and seeing me cheer at my success in destroying virtual alien ships. Good times.

"And the music keeps on playin' on and on..."



So here's your crazy story of the day - my dear wife goes to take our lovely kitten to the Vet. No, no, that's not the crazy part. Anyone can do that. The fun begins when the vet turns the cat OVER. Why is this so amazing, you ask? Did the cat then spontaneously combust? Was there a little tag on our kitten's belly saying "Open Other End?" Did the cat land on it's feet, even though it was being held up-side down? Well, let me start at the beginning:

Ember, our cat, came from the pound. Folks, if you're going to get a cat, rescue one from the pound. Trust me, once you go there, you'll want to rescue all of them in some ill-fated "101 Dalmatians" inspired manouver. This, my friend, is a bad idea, because you will become the "woman with 100 cats," even if you are a man. However, anything you can do for one or two of them will make a difference, especially for your new furry companion.

But I digress.

You see, we rescued this very cat of ours for two reasons: it was a young kitten, and it was a girl. Getting a girl cat was an important part, because my dear wife didn't want the cat claiming property rights over everything we have through the distribution of bodily fluids, if you catch my drift. So we went to the pound, got this adorable little black kitten with strikingly blue eyes (they've since turned gold), which was identified as a girl.

The crazy part is that when the vet turned our dear kitten over today, he discovered that this is indeed NOT a girl cat. We have a BOY. Apparently, it's very hard to tell the two apart until things have developed, and we'd just reached that point. And honestly, that makes sense. I mean, how many babies would you be able to tell their gender if you saw two side-by-side wearing just a diaper and no silly bows in their hair or color-coordinated clothes? Now, you can tell a boy baby from a girl baby even before they're born, but they don't have fur. So, happy for me, there's another man in the house. At least until he's neutered. Because we listen to Bob Barker.

Sorry if this all rambles a bit. I'm writing it on my PDA late at night in bed, so there's not much power of cohesion left in the ol' grey matter.

If you'd like to see some pictures of Ember, click here, here, here, or here.



Come one, come all, let's give this site a whirl. I'm excited about what this new home for "The Swan Speaks" could mean, and I hope you guys enjoy my ever-so-lovingly generated content. Right now I'm visiting my best friend from college, and using his 17" PowerBook to make this posting. Let me tell you, technology is something sexy alright. Got this sleek Mac with a screen wider than anything one could possibly ever need it for, and I'm posting all through the miracle of Wi-Fi. I DO love my life sometimes.

So, sit tight, hold on, enjoy the ride. We're going to have a lot more going on here, and i even plan to import the posts from the Xanga site, so you can enjoy previous rants of utmost hilarity. More from the Swan later....

"...You came to me like wine comes to this mouth, grown tired of water all the time..."



When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary....

Wait, never mind, let me try that again.

See, I like Xanga. They've managed my online ramblings sufficiently well, and nobody's been hurt in the process. There's even a few bells and whistles available on here to make most bloggers feel warm and tickly in their stomach as they edit their site's look and feel.

Unfortunately, I have seen more. I have been informed of perfection. I have seen the light, and the scales have fallen from my eyes. When I was a child, I surfed as a child, and I blogged as a child. The first was taken care of with Mozilla Firefox. The second, my brothers, has been fullfilled by the joy of Blogger.

What is this to say? What, then should we do? Simply be advised that there are newer and greater realms for the Swan to enter, and a new one is forthcoming. If you've got to check it now, go to stoplookingswan.blogspot.com. I'm throwing a lot of test crap up there, so it won't look entirely beautiful for a while. AH, but when it does.... oh yes, when it does...

Keep your eyes open, go check out my other workspace for a while, and I'll fill you in with more as it comes.



Those of you that know me (and you probably ain't readin' this thing unless you do) know that I have a real love for A Cappella music.  I'm a singer of some talent myself, and I'm tellin ya, there is NO experience like being inside a sweet vocal chord.  Now back in college, when P2P was hot and MP3's were flying around the net with reckless abandon, I began collecting great a cappella arrangements of mainstream secular songs.  It's really amazing what happens when you take a song you already like from the radio, and then transplant it into this new environment of the voice

For example, one of my faves right now is "Where The Streets Have No Name," as done by U Penn's Off The Beat.  You'd never know a slowly crescendoed shimmering guitar intro could be replicated ably by a group of voices, but it can baby, it can. 

Now, if you wanna get up on this hip music, you've got a number of options.  The first is to buy one of the "Best Of College A Cappella" albums coming out every year.  They take the most relevant and top-notch stuff and cram it all into one disc of loving goodness, so you're really not doing your $17 an injustice by purchasing one.  In fact, I'm going to see if I can convince my wife that it's a worthwhile purchase myself...or perhaps a quality Christmas present....

There IS another way, but the road is narrow and the way is rough, as it were.  You enter at your own risk, because this is the world of the electronic frontier as ravaged by packs of roving RIAA lawyers.  THIS is the world of the MP3.  Lord knows I'm not interested in one of their suits, so there ain't no way I'm hosting music on here.  But, if you were so inclined, you might follow this handy search link here to get some of this stuff for free.  Don't tell them I told ya, and we'll be alright.

And hey, if you can't find what you want, shoot me an email.  Maybe we can work something out.  I mean, after all, I am a nice guy.

"Set drift on a memory bliss..."




Take a look at the timestamp at the bottom of this little post-y-thing, and you'll see that there's not much time left in the business day.  And I wanna leave.

Have you ever met someone that had a laugh that was intensely annoying?  There's a lady here that fits the bill for me.  Hers is the open British "HA" with a jarring glottal stop chainsawing through, and I swear it drives me nuts.  Said woman's husband also works in my team (don't get me started on THAT), and I have no clue how the guy can stay married to her.  YES, simply because of that laugh.  It's just that bad. 

Went to a little informal party at work today for my wonderful boss (and I'm not being sarcastic - she's great to work with), celebrating her 35th anniversary with the company.  Thirty-five years!  Is that even possible with anyone from my generation?  Certainly, the key to her extended tenure is that she works for one of the largest corporations in America, and was able to move around within the company to keep from burnout.  You know, I would love to be able to stay with a  company for that long, but I just don't see it happening.  "Back in the day" companies valued experience - today it's a liability.  Maybe I just haven't met "the right one," but I view myself as a mercenary of sorts - talented, highly effective, independant and motivated by the paycheck, not the position.  At this point in my life, my talents are available to the highest bidder - the company that puts together the best package for me to enjoy.  Don't get me wrong - I really like this job, but that doesn't mean it's until death do us part.

Geez, that was dark.  Let me cheer you up with a little funny called Meow Skywalker.



So yes, the posting has been a tad infrequent of late.  You've seen me apologize for this, you'll likely see it again.  Let's move past all the pleasantries and get into the goods then, shall we?  I don't have a case of the Mondays today, I've got a case of the entire freakin' week.

  • GET yourself an RSS reader. Do it now, don't wait, get over there and yet ya some. (For my friends with PDA's, a partnership of MobileRSS and AvantGo will make your bones shiver with joy.)  Lemme get this post done with, and I'll give you all a list of my current favorite RSS feeds.  Don't know about RSS, OPML, or the world in general?  There's the links - go take care of that.

  • Mrs. Baird's makes these cinnamon rolls you can find in most vending machines, and I tell ya, they are GOLD for your $0.75. Of course they're not healthy, and of course if you can avoid eating from a vending machine at all costs you should do so, but when you're fungry and all you've got is a few Washingtons, hit up the digits for these things and enjoy.

  • BLEW through Cory Doctorow's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" this weekend, and I enjoyed it immensely. When I was in high school, I read "Neuromancer," not knowing it for the cyberpunk bible that it is. Turns out I like the genre quite a bit. Right now I'm working on "Rule of Four" by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason, which I'm also finding to be a good read.

  • Isn't it ironic that I work in Marketing, love promoting products and ideas to consumers, and yet can't stand the banal, fake, and hedonistic images staring back at me from the Kroger check-out line?

  • I'm going to download the most annoying cell phone ring I can find and put it on full volume. Then I'm going to leave my phone on my desk and find an autodialer on eBay to call it incessantly during the day. I have heard no less than FIVE Christmas-themed cell phone rings from colleagues surrounding my cube. Has someone pushed the "Become Awash With Stupidity" button on Earth's master control system and failed to notify me??

  • See that girl on the left, the one sitting next to me? She's my wife, and she's the most amazing person on this planet or any other currently known. Sure, if they discover Vulcan in my lifetime we may have to rethink this, but for now she's got it covered.

"I feel love..."


9:31 A.M.

...and I've just consumed enough caffeine to reach consciousness after the Labor Day weekend.  I love the holiday, but then Tuesday is a BEATING.  I now feel competent enough to speak to others of my species. 



So I had an epiphany recently.  Not a huge one, mind you, but one that I think is good enough to share with you, gentle reader.  It all started Monday night...

The dear wife and I had the great chance to go to the Cowboys game that night - their third preseason game.  If you ever have the chance to go to a preseason game, I highly recommend it - it's cheaper, less crowded, and you get to see some up-and-coming elements for your team.  The 'Boys left their starters in until the 2nd half, when they were apparently scared off by the halftime performance of Warner Bros' recording star Big & Rich.  So, we decided to head out at the end of the 3rd quarter.

We made the long trek with many other fans who had left the game to the parking lot, got in my car, turned on the key, and I'm quickly rewarded with a half-hearted series of clicks - battery's dead.  I get the joy of walking up to a complete stranger, who happened to be nice enough to help me jump-start the car.  We make it home, and I spend a few minutes on the phone with my Dad and doing some experiments to confirm that the battery is indeed the problem.  (My dear wife believes that this step was completely unnecessary, but we won't get into that argument now.)  Having identified the culprit, I make my way to Wal-Mart at a little after midnight.

And that's when it hits me - shortly after I walk into the concrete box that is America's largest retailer and one of the largest companies in the world.  You know there's going to be a very odd assortment of people, and it reminded me of this study I saw one time that said something like over three-fourths of millionaires shop at Wal-Mart once a week - some surprisingly high number like that.  I've just spent almost half an hour Googling to find it, but here is the best similar citation I could come up with. 

So then that led me to this:  we're all thinking about the upcoming Presidential election, and how we would evaluate which candidate we'll vote for.  Everyone's got their own decision metric, whether it's a detailed platform analysis, pure party-line direction, or your own Magic 8-Ball, and I think I've come up with mine - I want a President that I could imagine seeing after midnight shopping at Wal-Mart.  Take away his title and all the Secret Service agents, and I want a guy that I wouldn't do a double-take at seeing him at Wal-Mart.  Why?  Because I want a man that I somehow intrinsically know is in touch with real people, the kind you don't find at Sipango tasting the cool merlot of the month, but the folks that shop for a family of 4 on a budget at their local Wal-Mart.

Now, I'm not going to get into which candidate I think that is - you've got your own decision to make.  I just think the man we should put in office is the man that has something in touch with real people - like the ones I found while I was looking for a new car battery.

"It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine..."




Something I've got to master is the art of the quick, dirty and pithy post.  After all, doesn't blogging mean you put up what's on your mind as soon as you can, without thinking about it?  Sure it does.  You know it's true, because you're reading it on a blog.

So I happen to work in the realm of email marketing.  Yes, yes, I believe you could call us a spam factory, but at least we're using a proprietary confirmed opt-in list, and not sending to the great unknown.  That alone is a big leg up.  But the question of today is just what we send.  You know, I've been reading that ol' Cluetrain Manifesto I mentioned earlier, and parts of it are really starting to jive with me.  One of the main things it says is that we've lost the art of voice, of communication from one real human to another.  See, corporations don't have voice - they just speak in dumbed-down, politically correct, washed-through-legal-a-hundred-times speak.  Just take a look at the next piece of corporate email you get - I know you'll be able to tell it's not a real person in a hearbeat.  And why is that?  Because humans write in a way that's not condusive to the staid, tried and true world of corporate marketing.  What's worse, some of the most boring emails and copy have enough success to keep them going - regardless of what you send, some people are going to pick up on the deal and go for it, simply because it meets their needs at the time.  Get a few of these folks together, and you've got enough ROI to rationalize what you're doing in the corporate world. 

But let's step back for a moment.  Can we do better?  Can we make more of ourselves?  Is it possible to be a solid, reliable company and yet actually make someone laugh with our corporate communications?  Yes.  I believe so.  And to make you believe, I'm going to give you some examples:

Enjoy all that, ya' hear?

"I'm breaking the habit..."



I'm sorry, I hate myself for it, but I can't just let this abomination go by.  It's time to take ol' Al Trautwig and throw him under the bus again.  My latest example is from the Men's All-Around gymnastics, where Paul Hamm won the first gold ever for the U.S.A. in that event. 

Example #3:  It's right after Paul finds out he's won.  NBC is doing a quick montage of his routines leading up to winning the medal, and they're at the last one - the high bar.  Paul does his last flip and begins to release for his dismount when Al utters these words of utterly insipid brainlessness:

"The air has been let out of the balloon.  And with those mighty lungs from the Midwest, Paul Hamm has won the gold."

Ladies and gentlemen, WHAT the MESS is THAT??  What in the world was mister Al trying to say?  Paul Hamm won the gold... with his LUNGS??  Al, look at me.  I know you're trying to use the sweeping metaphors of dramatic sportscasting like those found on old NFL films, but PLEASE, lay off them a bit and let the moment shine!

In an interesting corollary, apparently this on-camera vaccuum of common sense is spreading.  Soon after Paul comes off the gym floor, he has a quick interview with one of the "sideline" reporters.  You know them - usually women, mostly good looking, not really expecting much in the way of hard journalism out of them.  (Melissa Stark is an incredible example who's managed to escape the last part of that stereotype.)  This reporter, and I'm sorry I couldn't find a bio for her, corners off Paul and proceeds to ask him three questions.  The first two were pretty silly, but the last takes the cake:

"Paul, what did you learn about yourself during those last three rotations on your way to the gold medal?"

Now, let's think for a moment.  The man has had about 5 minutes to even know that he had the gold medal, much less reflect on it.  There is a much greater-than-zero chance that the moment hasn't even sunk in, or made a solitary dent.  He's in the blissful shock of incredible success that athletes across the world live for, and you're asking him to take a metaphysical assesment of the greatest moment of his LIFE?  What has he learned?  Not a thing yet, except he looks great in GOLD, woman!


"I've been downhearted, baby, ever since the day we met..."



Go ahead.  Click on that link.  I dare ya.  That little site will mess with your mind.  I found that thing on Penny Arcade and, for a second, thought it had reduced my computer's processing capacity to somewhere between that of a blender and a parking meter.

So, yeah, it's been quite a while since I last posted.  My dear friend Jess has dutifully shamed me for being away for so long. By the way, DO go check out her blog.  She does it up righteous, and has been for much longer than I.  I think I've got somewhat of an explanation, though, if you're willing to hear it.  See, I always think that you've got to put together some seamless treatise in your mind before you blog, and I just hadn't had enough thoughts congeal to become worthy of a post yet.  However, if you'll read the rules of blogging, you'll see that one should blog on a regular basis, as your ephemeral "readers" will want to see good content at least once per week. Now, I don't disagree with that at all, and in fact feel somewhat self-saddened for having not adhered to said rule. My other friend, Adam, would tell me to quit being such an egoistic little pansy and wake up to the fact that I have no readers, and so there's not a soul to care what text meanders its way onto this page.

But you're here.  And I hope to make your life just a little bit happier.  I'm such a people pleaser...

In case you haven't figured it out, I've got a lot of random stuff, because I am far overdue. Stay with me - there's a great prize at the bottom of the box.

So lately, like much of the population, I've been checking out the Olympics.  My dear wife likes the women's gymnastics, so we've been watching a lot of that - also because NBC has seen it fit to flood their primetime slots with the stuff.  So there's three commentators, and the main guy - Al Trautwig, the one that comes from the "broadcast" side as opposed to the "former athlete" side, is a COMPLETE idiot.  I mean, my natural tendency isn't to be so harsh, but this guy is a major distraction.  Now, since he's supposed to be the broadcaster type, I don't expect much out of the guy.  Have a good voice, read well, don't get in the way of the athletes doing their thing.  Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to get that last tenet. 

Example:  One of the U.S. gymnasts does poorly on one of her exercises, could cost the team the gold.  Dude doesn't make a graceful transition, say something about how hard she's worked or how far she's come, OH NO!  He just comes on the mic and says to his "guy who actually knows something" - "Damage Assessment!"  I mean, he might as well have called the guy Scotty!  A completely appropriate response would have been to say "I can't do any more, Captain, she's givin' me everything she's got!" 

Example #2:  Uneven bars.  Random small chick from China completely and gracefully deviates from her planned routine to cover a mistake she made.  Dude remarks that wouldn't the judges deduct for that?  NO!  The judges don't care if you follow some kind of mythic flight plan!  They just want you to do what you got, and do it well.  "Guy-who-actually-knows-anything commentator" is about to jump off his seat in joy, and "broadcaster" dude just doesn't get it.

The individual competitions are coming up next, so I encourage you to direct your boob tube there - if only for a good laugh.

Terrible segway, but could someone please explain corporate America to me?  I just read a segment from The Cluetrain Manifesto that's got me completely depressed.  They compare how business organizations are structured to that of a fort, and you know, they're right.  We go to work and sit behind solid walls to separate us from the distractions of family, artistic impulse, and whimsy so we can become productive little automotons.  I totally understand the concept of coming together with your co-workers for continuity's sake, but why can't I just log in the rest of the time?  I work on a WEB SITE, you'd think we could all be nice and online about how we work along with what we work on.  Someone, just wake up the U.S. and let them know that we have left the days of "going to the plant to work" far behind with the rotary phone.

Ok, I know there's more rattling around in this brain of mine, and I think it will make its way on here later today.  For now, I'm gonna post this (mainly so I don't lose it to some random catastrophy), and head off to lunch.

"Fa, fa fa fa, fa fa fa...."



Hello, everyone.  The ritual beating known as moving has been completed, and I am free once again to let my thoughts be known to you all.  Sure, since I use my work computer to post most of the time, I could have done so earlier, but it's better to be late than never, right? 

SO much to talk about, so grab a hold and hang on.

Found a couple incredible web sites recently, and this is the kind of mind-blowing stuff you gotta read so you can expand your horizons.  I shall list:

  • Blogdex.net - boy this is a fun little site.  Ever wanted to tap into the cultural zeitgeist of the blogging community quickly and easily?  Need to impress your more nerdy friends with your grasp of the cogent topics of cyberspace publishing today?  Here's your site.  Lists "the most contagious information currently spreading in the weblog community."

  • Gapingvoid.com  - This nugget of gold came to me from visiting Blogdex. This is the personal space of one Hugh Macleod, whom I've discovered to be an INCREDIBLE thinker and artist. His day job is a Creative Director for a UK advertising/marketing shop, but for fun he does cartoons on the back of business cards. He purposely limits himself to that 3.5"x2" space every time, leading to some extremely consise and powerful editorializing on life, business, and whatever topic he feels like at the time. My personal favorite of his? Right here:
    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

  • The Cluetrain Manifesto  - I've linked here to an online book that distills what Cluetrain.com is all about. Basically, four guys thoroughly involved in large companies within the high-tech industry started this web site with a posting of 95 theses about how they thought e-commerce, and marketing as a whole, should be handled. Many comments, discussions, and rants later, the same four wrote this book. I've only finished the forward and the actual theses so far, so I may talk about it in further detail later. So far, it's becoming one of the most influencial books I've ever read.
SO, that there's what I've been up to lately. You'll hear more from me about the book later. Let's get this on ye olde web site, and I'll come back with more stuff in the near future.



Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I haven't posted in a little while.  You're ok, you'll get over it.  See, my dear wife and I (see picture to the left) are in the wonderful process of moving.  So, since computers don't seem to work that well when they're stripped from their lifeblood of energy and jostled around in a car for a bit, I might be a bit absent from daily postage.

But while I'm at it, let me speak about moving.  Generally, it's terrible.  Packing up all of your worldly possessions into transportable containers and taking them to another location is always going to be difficult, both physically and logistically.  Then there's this stuff called furniture, which never seems to fit into a box.  Good luck with that.  But the worst part is not just getting your stuff to a new domicile, it's what to do with it once you're there.  In your former residence, stuff had a place, even if it was "somewhere in the middle of pile #3."  In the new residence, you must create new places for the stuff, thus defining it's spacial identity once again.  This process is often called "getting settled."  THAT is the real beating here, because until that's done you're not really home, just stuck in some moving limbo.  The old apartment, however cramped, tiny and poorly laid out, is comfy right now.  The new apartment, however roomy, fresh and better located, isn't there yet.  I know it will reach that fabled Xanadu sometime, but for now, it's just like I'm living in some show-home. 

By the way, let me do you a favor.  See that little thing to the left that says "subscribe to stoplookingswan?"  You should do that.  This way, you'll always know when I put some new tidbits of wisdom up here, and I'll think I'm cool because you care.  It's a win-win situation. 

"I'm the center of attention in the world inside my head..."



Just blending my allegories left and right here.  Like many of you, I'm gently emerging from the fog of a wonderfully relaxing weekend and squinting in the glaring fluorescent light of corporate life.  So, to relive my time off, I'll tell you about the movie I saw with the rest of the world: The Bourne Supremacy.

Given the binary choice of liked it or not, I'll definitely say I liked it.  This movie plays to some of my basic strengths - guy movie, car chases, hand-to-hand combat, secret agents.  Matt Damon is a great actor (see definition below) because he put TONS of time into training, so that when he's just pointing a gun at somebody, you actually believe he would use it.  Bruce Willis in "Last Man Standing" has a similar effect.  It's worth it, too, because it gives Matt's character so much more depth.  I do, however, have to mention the filming style chosen by director Paul GreengrassHe calls it the "unconsidered" camera, which means this is not your regular Steadi-Cam movie.  He uses a free hand-held camera often, and it makes things a lot more viscereal, jolting, and intense.  If you ask me, it plays well to what the script is trying to do.

In the interest of fair and balanced reporting, check out Mr. Cranky's review - he didn't like it.  Of course, he doesn't like anything. 

I really didn't mean to make this a review site.  Hopefully I'll post something more diverse soon...



Just testing out my PDA onhere - it's got Wi-Fi, you know. Some guy in my complex has a WAP set up, and he was kind enough not to encrypt it. How thoughtful. So, I'm taking advantage of this situation to send my thoughts to cyber-space.



You'll notice below what I'm watching now. 

I feel it would be appropriate for us now to have a moment of confessionTom Cruise - 100% overrated.  Now, while I'll happily fritter away my hard-earned shillings on movies he is in (Minority Report being the most recent), the guy isn't an incredible actor (no, wait, I lied - the last was The Last Samurai).  Think about it, every movie he is in, he's Tom Cruise as...whatever.  Specifically, I'm watching him be Tom Cruise as the vampire Lestat, but I've seen him as a fighter pilot, a tortured future policeman, a NASCAR drivera secret agent, a bartenderand even a guy dancing in his underwear.  I'll say he's truly entertaining in about half of these roles.  Overall, Tom Cruise is a machine.  He's famous because he's famous, because he brings together the combinations of actor and director and producer and everything else that makes a good movie.  Mel Gibson is another example - he can even do it while he's not in the movie (Passion of the Christ).

Now, let's talk about a real actor; Gary Oldman.  When Gary plays a character, he IS something else.  Rosencrantz, Lee Harvey Oswald, Dracula, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, that crazy Russian dude that tries to steal the President's Air Force OnePontius Pilate, Sirius Black - this man does it ALL, and makes each character look completely different. We need both types to make the movie world go 'round, but I'm much more impressed by the latter.




I like it, think I've got some of the kinks worked out.  Let us post.


TELEKINESIS.  Telekinesis, ladies and gentlemen.  My world would be 1000x better if I had telekinesis.  Think about it - I'm sitting at my desk right now wasting valuable time writing this.  If I had telekinesis, I wouldn't have to worry about the impending dangers of carpal-tunnel syndrome and could just type away with the sheer power of my MIND. 

Oh, but wait, it gets better.

Imagine simple tasks like mowing the lawn, tying your shoes, refilling your drink, even driving to work.  ALL could be radically changed with the glory that is telekinesis.

So let me get into something else real quick:

What I like: "My Radiostation" from launch.yahoo.com.  See, there is NO chance your average radio is going to penetrate the stalwart walls of corporate business here, so all musical eminations are thanks to the miracle of the Internet.  Now, this lovely service lets you start out by rating a few different genres.  Then, as you're playing, you rate songs/artists/albums.  All of this information goes into what gets played next.  Burt Bachrach comes up?  Tell your service to never play him again, and skip the song - you have thus exorcised the demon.  It's good times in an otherwise bleak cube farm.


So you hear about it all the time - so-and-so's got a great blog, hey come read my blog, I posted this link on my blog.  Well FINE.  I'm always claiming to be the hip and cool online expert (if you're laughing right now, I know who you are), so it's time I published my written words into the great forum of cyberspace.  This shall be my first entry - I'm sure there will be more, as soon as I look at this one and see how cool it turns out.