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"What's he singing?"
"Funk soul brother, check it out now, funk soul brother, right about now."

"And that's all?"


She tosses an incredulous look from the passenger seat.

"I just don't get you, Derek."

Update on the things I'm working on:

  • The Sheyenne River Speedway has asked me to design a new website for them in exchange for advertising. Amongst other things, I'll probably get a 4'x8' section of track wall for an ad. w00t!
  • I'm considering a redesign of the Receipt Site, purely cosmetic, plus new info in the FAQ, plus I think the site needs a Press Package.
  • I need to do something with Destiny's site, but I'm not sure what.
  • I'm working on developing the blogging software I wrote for this website into a marketable product, to compete with Greymatter, Blogger, and Moveable Type.
  • Yes, I know Shopping2001 hasn't been updated, despite the fact that 2001 has ended. Lots of keying to do, some programming too.

Derek Recommends:

camera: Olympus C-3020 Zoom

In the past week, I've had two coworkers ask for recommendations for a cheap, quality digital camera. This is what I came up with, although Amazon is quite overpriced.

Daily Condition:

on radio: MPR's Morning Show

my condition: Tired...economics class wears me down.

I'd like to know what it takes to get included in the bloggies. Does the fact that I wrote my own blogging software, which rivals MT and GM in abilities? Maybe I'm not using Blogger or Diaryland, which means I don't have the avantage of inclusion in their lists of users. The webrings I am subscribed to bring very few readers; next to none, for that matter. Despite the redirection from the previous website, there are still few new readers. I'm kinda out here on the edge, doing my own thing since Septemer 1999, far longer than most blog writers. My design is okay, but some of the competitors in this year's Bloggies are either annoying, useless, or crash my browser. Maybe I'm just bitter.

Either way, I'd like to attract more visitors to my weblog. I promise to update regularly now, and I've been quite successful as such since Xmas. I've got plenty of fans out there...

My personal webring does bring some visitors, but not that many. I maybe should add a link on the Receipt Site. Early on, I kept my other works separate, to create an air of mystique - that Derek was just Derek, void of identity. Now, it seems I've put too much personality into that Derek. That's not bad, though - I love it, I enjoy interviews, so I guess I should add this site to the list of sites at the bottom. Let's use the "comments" section, people - any suggestions on building blog traffic?

Out for drinks at Space Aliens with coworkers, the conversation turned to the fact that my face is on a coffee cup.

"See, Derek, I'm the kind of person who should really like that sort of, know, I'd like that..."

"Fame? Attention?"

"That's it -- attention. You'd think that I'd love to have that kind of attention, I'm outgoing, and you're quiet, you're a hermit who doesn't draw attention to himself. But -- you really like it, you get into it. You're the one who gets interviewed, and is in magazines, and you're down with that. Me, I wouldn't...I'd get annoyed by all those people bothering me."

"You wouldn't like it if some radio morning show called you at seven in the morning for an interview?"

"Hell no! I'd be pretty fucking pissed! I'd probably hang up on them."

Daily Condition:

in cd player: Titan AE Soundtrack

my condition: Today is my 3rd anniversary of working here - that's the longest I've done ANYTHING in my life.

Long sleeved black shirt, black slacks, black leather jacket, black shoes, black socks, I thought I was the coolest until I stepped out into the sunlight.

These slacks are BLUE.

I hope the Compaq technician I spoke to last night gets paid what he's worth. In the end, we determined that it was me that screwed up my iPaq Connection Point, the damage is not covered by warranty, and that it is unrepairable. However, We reached this conclusion after an hour and a half of trying things, testing things, installing other things, removing network cards, putting in other network cards, trying different protocols, traceroute, ping, winipfcg, and whatever else you can think of. He knew what he was talking about, unlike the other 2 Compaq techs I've spoken with. Maybe he was wrong, maybe there is still something untried, but I am satisfied with his answer.

Plus, I tore the Connection Point apart at 1am this morning, so I doubt my warranty applies anymore. There's an entire working wireless PCMCIA card inside it, which makes it worth my money.

In the fine tradition of other blogs, I've added the ability to leave comments on the posts I make. This works for almost every piece of content on 11111001111 - the editorials, about, and linklist are the only ones which do not have commenting ability. It's still in Beta-testing, but I stole almost all the code from the Receipt Site, so the viewing & writing of comments should be equally bug-free. We shall see! Have at it.

Destiny brought home the book Henry Hikes to Fitchburg from the library a while back, and I thought it was great. It's a little parable about the value of time, inspired by the work of Henry David Thoreau. Henry is a bear who agrees to meet a friend in Fitchburg, and how they get there.

The author, D.B. Johnson, has now written a sequel, Henry Builds a Cabin. NPR's Weekend edition talked about it this morning - have a listen. They read the entire book on the radio, plus discuss the background of the story. The greatest quote ever, regarding the impact of starting children on Thoreau's work early:

"The reader of this book will somehow flash on it when he's in junior high and say "Henry David Thoreau - wasn't he a bear?"

Daily Condition:

on Radio: Sound Money on MPR

my condition: Tired; We went to Harry Potter last night. Didn't get home until after ten, and the film started at 7:30. Excellent, but long, movie.

Derek Recommends:

film: Zoolander

There's plenty of humor to keep it moving, and there's really only one joke which falls flat. Lots of talented people in this movie; it's tough to take cartoony characters and make them round, sympathetic people.

Additional features on DVDs, such as commentary tracks, storyboard samples, deleted scenes, really appeal to me as an artist. I got The Crow for Christmas, and I watched all the extras this morning.

The people on the commentary track talk about how long it took to get a good script revision, what sort of things they had to cut, what worked and what didn't. The deleted scenes clearly warranted deletion -- they didn't fit the theme of the movie, they were unneccesary, or they did nothing to help the story itself. There are pages of poster samples, storyboards for scenes, and production sketches.

As an artist, this is an excellent reminder of how the first try rarely is right, things always need to be revised and changed, even great artists do stupid things in early production, and fine art takes lots of time. When watching a movie the whole thing comes together in under two hours, so it's easy to forget that being an artist it takes more effort than appears on the screen. It's validating, to look at the things I've done wrong, put on the shelf as unattainable, and have on the workbench, and compare that to the similar troubles of artists I admire.

1/12/2002 Strip Club

I said this in a forum on the Receipt Site: "... as for personal ads, I think I'm way too cynical to find someone via a meat-market advertisement." Cynicism has prevented me from looking in traditional places for a girlfriend; I don't think it is necessary for me to date, but it would be nice to have someone close. The cynic in me sees a bar, and the single women seem to radiate desperation, trying to connect with someone who you have no starting point with. Starting an innocent conversation has that hidden agenda behind it, even though a relatively benign objective, and that feels disingenuous. This also goes for personal ads like above - both sides have something they want for the other, but aren't comfortable asking for it from a stranger. Ultimately, the hidden agenda ends up being sex. Sex drives the relationships found in a bar or via a personal ad, even if sex is held off for marriage. Nobody marries solely for financial stability; sex comes unified with marriage. The majority of the people taking out ads want a lover, not only a roommate nor just a buddy to watch TV with. The driving force behind trolling for a partner is because you want to get something from them, and that makes me look at dating with a jaundiced eye.

And you wonder why I don't have a girlfriend?

This brings me to last night -- I and some friends ended up at The Northern, a "gentleman's club" barely a stone's throw from my office. I've never been to a strip club before. There were four men and two women in our party, and we sat in the back, near the bar. One friend commented how she felt sorry for the dancers, disapointed by the fact that he dancers couldn't find a better way to make money. Another friend responded that the dancers know exactly what they're doing, and that's why they are doing it. As with personal ads & singles bars, I felt the samy cynicism at The Northern. And, truthfully, I wasn't turned on by the goings-ons.

The dancers don't rub themselves against customers because of sexual attraction or desire -- it's because the men (and women) patronizing the Northern are customers. It's the money, it's the show, it's the job. Like Wil Wheaton, the dancers are performers. They are just people doing something that they have a talent for, and earning money for it. Who mourns Bruce Willis because his sympathetic character dies? The public realizes the distinct seperation between the person & the person's performance when it's a play down at the community theatre, but not at a strip bar. Theatre patrons allow themselves the suspension of disbelief to look at the performers as the characters, but that suspension evaporates when shaking hands in the lobby with the actors.

The same suspension of disbelief exists at strip clubs. In talking to other men who have been to strip clubs, they admit that they understand the women aren't dancing because the customers offer sexual satisfaction. Men know that the reason the dancers gyrate and flop around is to fill up the bank accounts. Still, the men go; they put aside the not-so-hidden agenda of the dancers, and allow themselves to believe that the woman on their lap really is attracted to their manly virtues. Men voluntarily forget that the dancers aren't after hot meaty sex, and they line up to have breasts rubbed against their heads and shove their sweaty fivespots into g-string straps.

I lack this suspension of disbelief. Like the people who remark "oh, that teleporter is so fake" during a movie, I've let myself forget that the feigned smalltalk of the singles bar is also a show, the performer only trying to achieve their wants and needs without vocalizing the truth. I must start to ignore my assumption of the obvious, and let my suspension of disbelief fog over the knowledge that interested parties are trying to get something from me. Naked women do turn me on, and I admit I'm partly looking for a sex parter in a girlfriend, but my cynicism sours the taste of the things I want. I wouldn't mind having a mostly naked woman in my lap - and I can, if I let myself believe that the stripper really wants it too. I could have a girlfriend too, if I let myself believe that sex is the last thing on a single woman's mind when she says hello.

Daily Condition:

In CD Player: Moxy Fruvous, Bargainville

my condition: If I went to bed now, still significantly earlier than usual, would that be so wrong?

I was just poking around, looking for nothing in particular, and I found PHD - Piled Higher and Deeper. In a world of GPF and User Friendly, this is a freshly funny geek comic, plus I really like the style of drawing. Now that I'm a returning college student ("Older Than Average" is the proper term, I believe), looking at entering grad school within the next 4 years, this comic strikes home. (original source: Lisa Michaud.)

Nigger. Randall Kennedy's new book, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word discusses the origin & evolution of the word, and the reasons why I'm supposed to just say "N-word" when Dr Dre gets to say "Nigger." Terry Gross interviews Mr. Kennedy on Fresh Air today; listen to the interview - it's a great introduction to the book, which I have not read. I would like to read it now after hearing Gross & Kennedy discuss it, openly using The Word in context.

Daily Condition:

listening to: Car Talk on MPR

my condition: trying to clean up after Christmas. Trying to find space for all the gifts Des & I recieved.

More positive press about my chess club work; sure, I'm a hack, I'm no expert at chess (not by any stretch of the imagination), but I do keep the kids interested. Who'da thunk that there would still be 20+ kids that would stay after school an hour once a week to play chess? I think it's more important that I keep them having fun than to mold any of these preteens into a chess expert.

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