how i graduated

i'm educated... this paper says so!  where do i pick up my check?
We (Anthony and I) completed some more for the Halloween display last night. We finally decided how and where to hang the flying crank ghost motor assembly. We used plumber’s tape and screwed right into the stucco on my porch roof (it will hang in front of the window on the right in this pic, taken when our house was still being built). We also mounted a blacklight so that it’s out of sight and shines on the ghost. The whole idea worked out great, the motor assembly is out of view, and all the trick-or-treater sees is the moving ghost, bathed and glowing in UV light. Now I just have to build the ghost! We also built a fog chiller, which neither of us was too impressed with… so I may change the design; as well as cut PVC and began drilling boards for the graveyard fence. I plan to have all the decorations up by this weekend, so I can at least get a week’s worth of use out of them before Halloween. Sharaun and I also need to get a pumpkin and carve it. Can’t forget that! Owell. In the middle of hanging our FCG, I got a phone call from Zeb. OK… who is Zeb? Rewind to college, my three closest buds are Thanh (10), G.C. (Greasy Cuban), and Chris (image courtesy of G.C., unfortunately Chris isn’t pictured). Zeb is Chris’ friend from way back, and he and I occasionally chat. Anyway, he’s in the Navy and has something to do with the Blue Angels…. which is totally cool to me. I always forget to call people back, sorry Zeb.

I was thinking the other day about college, and how the heck I ever got out of there.. I kinda managed to pull one over on UF…. ummm… or pull a few over, I guess. I got that extra 1 credit for an “independent study” with Dr. Carnes, which was actually nothing – I did absolutely nothing on that, didn’t even move a muscle in effort or fire a synapse in thought. My senior project was an absolute joke, although I spent a good deal of time on it – it was really very simple. (I desinged a Bike Safety course for gradeschool kids, using Macromedia…. with like 5 other people.)

Also, we managed to get that “Navigating the Internet” class accepted as a technical elective. We knew that several technical electives fall under one generic course number, and without actually going back and researching it – there’d be no way for them to tell whether that number on the transcript was “Advanced Data Structures in C++”, or “Navigating the Internet.” (Heard they changed the numbering system the very next semester though!)

Not only that, but I was able to swing getting that COBOL programming course accepted as a tech elective. I mean, writing COBOL programs never took over 10 minutes, no matter how complex, and I got an easy A in that one. And then there was that summer course at UCF, it was a 4000 level course taught under the Mathematics Department, but it was called “History of Mathematics” (actual syllabus from when I took it! I love the internet.) and was mainly for future education majors. Thing is, UF doesn’t see anything but the course number, so it’s their guess as to what class it might have been. Could have been “Galois Theory and Elliptical Curves” for all they know. Got a fast and easy A in that one as well.

Then I also got that 1 credit for my so-called “internship” at Raytheon. Which was really nothing more than me coming in late and leaving early for 5 days (sometimes 4) a week. I wrote one DOS batch file during that “job,” nothing more. What’s more, I got paid good money to sit at that desk and download Grateful Dead mp3s all day (note: most proxies block that link, since you can grab gigs of mp3’s there so easily – not Raytheon!). Also, I managed to “recalculate” my GPA based on BCC and UF courses being weighted equally, giving me a nice round 3.01 overall average… when my UF GPA was a little lower. Looked much better on the resume.

I am glad for that Internet class though, for my final class project – I had to “create” a web page, so I retooled my Beatleg site using CSS and Java, and made it much more accessible and readable. Still using that redesigned page today. And, although I don’t sell them anymore, I wrote my cd sales customer database during my “internship” with Raytheon. So at least I made some money off of all my loafing…

Having just outed myself as a charlatan, I must say in my defense that I worked very hard in school… no… I’m for real… I did. Honest.

Dave out.

talk to you tomorrow, when i’m rich

Gort! Klaatu barada nikto.
Strap in, I’m gonna jump around from subject to subject here…

Kristi was nice enough to do an Evite for our upcoming Halloween Bash. That way we can track who’s coming and whatnot. It’s a pretty cool service, I wonder what they get from it? Obviously they harvest street addresses and phone numbers for junk mail/calls – so I guess that’s how they make their money. Anyway, I thought it was super cool of her to hook that up.

Holy crap this cracks me up. Some of my favorite lines would have to be Remember, you will sleep with the hat on. and Some abductees report success with helmets using only 5 sheets of Velostat but 8 sheets are recommended as the aliens transmit a tremendous amount of energy. Good thing the only major skills you need to make the “screen” were learned by most in kindergarten: Dexterity, use of scissors, adept at cutting and shaping paper… because the aliens may have taken away your mathematical faculties. Something else I find funny is that the “inventor” of this “hat” has chosen to use tape to secure the telepathic-thought-blocking Velostat liner to the hat. Dude, could you at least do the abduction-paranoid a small favor and make their insanity a little less obvious by maybe suggesting they sew the junk into the hat liner or something? The guy who owns/runs this site also maintains another site which hosts tons of creepy images drawn by children who have supposedly been abducted by aliens. To me, it’s a sad site. (Sorry for the B-List Benz)

My God, I’m listening to 3wk’s classic feed right now, and “Friday on My Mind” by the Easybeats is on. Talk about a serious flashback. I can remember listening to this song in 7th grade, when Kyle had moved to Cocoa. It was the first day he met Amber, she was babysiting near there – and we walked the couple miles to go visit her. Hearing the song, I can almost feel the sun on my back as we walked… almost hear the road crunching under our feet. So insane how music can bring memories back like that. Music and smells really work for me.

I know none of that makes much sense to anyone who doesn’t know anything about Kyle, Amber, etc. So lemme give y’all a lightspeed primer. My family moved to FL from CA in ’88. The real estate agent who sold us our house had a daughter that was my age, Robin. Robin and I began dating; I met, and formed friendships with, Kyle, Joey, and Andy. Amber was Robin’s best friend. The boys met Amber, Kyle dated her first, then Joey, then Amber and I simultaneously cheated on Joey and Robin with each other. Everyone broke up (well, Andy never dated anyone), and I started dating Amber’s friend Charla. There ya go, the soap opera of my pre-teen romances – from 7th grade through 9th. (Here’s a flowchart for those who were confused by the Friends-esque hookup party we were having.)

The lottery is up to 60-some-odd million tonight, I am so winning. Nevermind that I haven’t bought my ticket yet – I’ll get some on the way home. Talk to you tomorrow, when I’m rich. Dave out.


well... some people collect 'em...
I think I’m an obsessive collector. I tend to latch onto something, and try to collect the hell out of it. Sitting back and taking a real look at it, I can remember it starting way back in gradeschool. When Garbage Pail Kids initially came out, I collected them in earnest. Before that it was Star Wars or He Man figures. In 4th and 5th grade the musical monster within me had been awoken, and I would hunt through record stores to find any Depeche Mode cassettes I could get my hands on. Progressing on to middle school, I met Kyle, and my eyes were opened to real music. I dove headlong into the Beatles (and classic rock in general). It wasn’t long before I had several hundred cassette tapes. The “rarer” and more obscure the band or recorded material, the more I wanted to own it. The obsession only increased in high school when I found out there were such a thing as Beatles “bootlegs.” The idea of owning unreleased recordings, of being among that elite few that have 40 minutes of Paul rehearsing Blackbird, had incredible appeal to me. So, throughout high school I dropped gobs of cash on illicit Beatles recordings, Radiohead “imports,” scarce Prodigy cd-5’s released only in Luxembourg, etc. The music phase of my collectaholism lasted all the way into college, and even trailed me out to California. I continued to trade cd’s online and amass an impressive (and quite relevant, IMO) collection.

The only problem with collecting music is that it was taking massive amounts of my time. I had to burn cd’s, go to the post office all the time, organize the new stuff I was getting, scan artwork, print artwork, not to mention actually find time to listen to the new junk I was getting. Eventually, the time it took to orchestrate trades just got to be too much for me, and I slowly let the habit taper. I crafted a “stock” e-mail which politely declined any new trades, and I pretty much pulled out of the Beatles bootleg “scene” altogether. I still have several unopened mailers full of cd’s sitting on my desk from the last few trades I did do, and several stacks of jewel-case-housed cd’s that are begging to have their artwork printed and be filed. I just lost the drive somewhere along the way. I mean, if a spectacular trade comes along – I might still jump at it (the last one I did was for nearly the entire Woodstock festival on something like 20 cd’s – the real Woodstock, 1969), but for the most part I’m done with trading in bulk.

As the music trading ebbed, I subconsciously moved onto obsessing over other things I could collect. Most of the time, I don’t even realize I’m “collecting” things, I just start amassing things – and for some reason get interested in all these variations, which inevitably leads to me wanting all kinds of something. After music/Beatles it was pipes, I scoured Ebay for estate pipes, buying them, cleaning and restoring them, and then smoking them. I even started collecting different types of pipe tobacco to smoke in the pipes I was collecting.

The phases come and go. He Man, M.U.S.C.L.E., cassettes, cd’s, pipes, etc. Now I’m back around to Garbage Pail Kids again, which is a collision of my collecting fetish and my get-back-my-childhood fetish (the latter of those two being a blog topic all of it’s own). Even the Pac Man project was tainted with my collect-’em-all mentality. I had to have every original game, which meant thousands. My Halloween thing? Just another way to collect and horde cool stuff. I dream of the day I can own every episode of the Andy Griffith Show on DVD. I started collecting the “History of Middle Earth” books that Tolkien Jr. published posthumously for his dad, just to gather very scrap of his writing. My PC at home contains every original NES, Genesis, SNES, and N64 ROM, and the emulators to play ’em. (Yeah, the video game industry outpaced my “gaming” skillz right around N64 and the intro of fighting/1st person shooters. If you have to use more than about 3 buttons and a D-pad, I’m out. Don’t ever ask me to “strafe.”)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand… I suppose the whole collecting thing goes deeper than just straight-up collecting. My theory is that it fulfills a two-pronged need. Prong one being more about elitism, notoriety, renown, etc. “Dave has the coolest music collection!” “Have you seen it, it’s insane!” “Tell us about your Garbage Pail Kid collection Dave!” “Where did you ever get so many pipes?” “This Pac Man machine is so awesome, does it have Galaxian?! It does?! Oh man, this is so rad.” Prong two being about my need to always have a “project.” Hence the Pac Man machine, the Halloween setup, the blog… Something I can work on, perpetually if I’m lucky.

Lately I’ve noticed my collecting has kind of changed shades. I get the feeling that it’s becoming less about concrete objects and more about “remembering” stuff. Probably because, for some unknown reason, my memory is crap most of the time. So I write stuff down, I take pictures, I make webpages, I keep journals. I collect stuff that’s in my head; collect it into words and pictures and stories, and document it all so I don’t forget it one day. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be good for a laugh because you heard I’m driving to some gas station 30mi away to get the last new Garbage Pail Kid I need to complete series 18b… but I’m just saying…

Dave out.

how’s shit?

step away from the Duplos Lex
Back at ya with another blog. How’s shit? Good? Nice to hear, me too. I started keeping a text file on my desktop, called “blog_ideas.txt,” where I can scribble down things that I think might be interesting or funny to put on the blog.

Somehow, I got to thinking about Legos the other day. Legos were the ubiquitous toy when I was a kid, my brother and I had piles of ’em. We had the normal primary-color ones, mixed with the Lunar Moonbase grey and black ones, mixed with the brown Pirate Ship ones. All kids had Legos, kids whom God had forsaken had Duplos, and some who had been double cursed had those damn generic ones that didn’t fit Legos or Duplos. These kids had to play with their generic “interconnecting block toys” all alone in the corner, building things like “walls” and “floors” with their flea-market-grade junk. Duplos were to Legos as Go Bots were to Transformers. Funnily enough, in doing a search for Duplos – I found out that Lego actually makes them. I wonder if it’s always been that way?

Anyway, my brother and I used to have these competitions where the idea was to build the ultimate indestructible Lego vehicle. In the beginning, the designs were simple car-like vehicles. As the contest progressed, our vehicle engineering processes changed – and the designs slowly evolved into something like Lego-bricks with wheels. As a rule, you had to leave a hollow spot in the center for a driver. Other than that, we’d build these three-deep Lego squares, making sure to never align the block seams. We’d stand on the dang things to make sure the blocks were ready to withstand their impending beating. Once our cubes-on-wheels were finished, we’d roll them at each other across the kitchen floor, where they would collide head-on somewhere in the middle. Whoever’s vehicle could withstand the most beatings won. If it got boring, we’d simply drop them directly on the ground from increasing heights until they gave way, or maybe throw them into a wall. Man, Legos were awesome.

I’ve really been into the Shins latest album lately. It’s got such a 60’s feel to it, with some tracks sounding almost like some crazy Forever Changes era Love and Odessey & Oracle era Zombies mix. Basically, it’s a really great album. Winamp at work has been stuck on repeat with a tracklist consisting of that Shins album, and the new Snow Patrol. Both albums have really grown on me of late. If you get the chance, check ’em both out.

Here’s a list of all the “last meals” Texas’ death row inmates have requested before their executions. Fried Chicken seems to be extremely popular, and there are some surprises in there too – like the guy who wanted “1 bag of assorted Jolly Ranchers.” What a strange thing to keep a running record of on the internet.

OK, I can delete “indestructible Lego cars” and “death row meals” from the “blog_ideas.txt” file. That leaves “binary log, physical layer” and “movie computers.” Yeah, you’ll just have to wait and see…

Oh yeah, and check it out (two in one day):

Justice Department files notice it will appeal judge's ruling that set back its case against alleged 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. Details soon.Appeals court rules national "do-not-call" registry can be implemented while court considers whether it violates telemarketers' free speech. Details soon.

thanks for the confidence

ahhh... young love
I was busy today scouring my folders for photos for the soon-to-be-launched “cast of characters” page, picking out good ones, cropping them, resizing them, and working them into the flow of the page. When I decided I wanted to include some older pictures (pre-digital camera era by a long shot), I busted out some old boxes from the garage and fired up the scanner. It was during my picking-through of some old school pictures that I found something that made me wanna do this late-night Sunday blog.

I have this box of old stuff from my gradeschool years. It used to reside in our extra room when we lived in Florida. We had a house where the previous owner had converted the garage into a den and spare/junk room. We piled boxes and crap in that back room, and for years that’s where this box sat. Unfortunately, the drainage or sealing of that room was not done properly, and during a particularly floody day one year, that room took on a lot of water. A lot of the stuff in the box got ruined, mildewed, and just nasty. But before I moved to California, I cleaned up as much as I could and brought it with me. I was sorting through that box today, looking for some old school pictures of myself to add to the “cast” page.

Wedged between my Bausch and Lomb Science award and a crispy/moldy 5th grade project on birds, I found one of the coolest things in the world:

This is the first “love letter” I ever got. I was in kindergarten. Man, just seeing those hearts catapults me back to when I got this thing. The scan above is the front of the envelope (you can click all the images for larger versions). As you can see, my name is not spelled right.

Here’s the back of the envelope, they spent some time on this part – color and all. I swear, I was the happiest kid on earth when I got this thing. Thank God my folks had the presence of mind to save this. I can almost feel how good I felt when I got it. Oh yeah, did I mention it was a love letter from two girls? Apparently their names were “Christy and Shelly.” Now, I looked hard for my kindergarten class photo, but couldn’t find it. If my memory serves me correctly though, these two foxes looked they were in at least the 3rd grade. Once a pimp, always a pimp… (they still got the name wrong though)

Inside the letter was another “handmade” envelope. Again, some time was taken on this one. Looks like this might be from Christi alone, and it also looks like Christi was kinda dumb / kinda smart. Why do I say this? Well, she’s now taken to spelling my name correctly, but she’s forgotten if her own name ends with a ‘Y’ or an ‘I.’ Seems she has been completely mentally obliterated by her love for me, and is clearly losing her mind with lust.

Inside the inner-envelope, was this piece of notebook paper. Now Christy has gone back to the ‘Y’ spelling, and my name has once again reverted to “Daivd D.” That’s OK, because there are like four-thousand hearts on this page. There are even hearts that have hearts inside of them. Some of the hearts have been cleverly turned into balloons, and either Christy or Shelly had the shakes, or there’s confetti flying around. Also, there are what appear to be water spots on the note – which leads me to believe that their emotions were so strong, these poor girls were actually sobbing while they wrote this letter. This is for real love, y’all.

Also inside the inner-envelope, a very small scrap of paper with yet more admonishments of undying love. I don’t know if it matters which side is “side one” here, so I’ve shown both of them. The left one seems to have some intense imagery, including what I make out as a sand-dollar, a ninja star, and a flower. In reality, these are all supposed to be flowers – but hey, we were in kindergarten, and these girls were most likely super hot for five-year-olds (we all know brains don’t get handed out on the same day as looks). On the flipside, we have a simple message: : “Lovig David,” there’s a nice blue stamp there too. Ahh… this was the best day of my young life thus far.

Well, there ya have it. My very first love letter. Reproduced here in all it’s awesomeness. I’m really glad I could share it with you. I honestly can almost remember how good it felt when Christy, or Shelly, or Christi, or both of ’em, came up and gave this to me. I was ecstatic.

Christy and Shelly – thanks for the confidence.

frank’s 6th day

if i was a bum...
Anthony’s new truck got here yesterday, he drove it back from New York in three days. Let me be the first to say that this truck is friggin’ awesome. Sooo sweet. You could live in it. As a house.

I’ve always had a fascination with areas that can be self-contained living environments. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had daydreams about living in small places, but having enough amenities to sustain me. I used to have a favorite one about a cave, and another about a bomb shelter. The idea of being in a small area that’s somehow protected from an attack (why, I have no idea) and that provides me with sustenance is an awesome one. I thinks that’s why I loved the movie Cast Away so much, and why I dig Thoreau’s Walden too. It’s where my love of camping comes from, where I get my love of the Hobbit-hole that Bilbo lived in, and also my frequent thoughts of “what if I fell down a well.” I guess it’s that aspect of solitude and self-sufficiency that really appeals to the hunter-gatherer in me.

Somehow, this tangent was coming back to the truck. I mean, fo rilla. This truck is insane. It has a GPS LCD screen, heated seats, an underwater-driving-enabling snorkel, CB radio, roof rack and spotlights, winch kit, tow kit, argh!! It’s rad to the bone!! It packs so much into such a small area, all this cool stuff encased in a body reminiscent of a small army-tank (ok, not really at all – but it’s that way in my head).

TiVo mentality has taken over my brain. During the day, I find myself wanting to pause, rewind, and very often fast forward various goings-on. Sometimes I wanna do those last 30min of sleep each morning in slow motion. Those are the best 30min of the whole night. People are talking to me, and I just shout out “rewind” like the TiVo in my brain is gonna be able to figure out what I mean.

In other news, the long promised “cast of characters” page is nearly done. I really want to add some pictures to it, so that will probably take a few days to get finished. Other than that, it’s pretty much ready to go.

It’s Frank’s 6th day in the army. I wonder what he’s doing right now?

I’m out.

7th grade flashback

houses of the holy
Got my TiVo installed today. I have decided that I love TiVo. When the dude came to hook it up, he immediately liked me since I was bumpin’ to tha new Outkast jams in the computer room. It took him a while to hook the thing up because the phone wire to the family room was all hosed. Once he puzzled that out, I was up and running, pausing live TV and telling him to make me a sammich.

Last night I got a little crazy and decided to scan in some pictures. Not just any pictures though, there is a story that goes along with these. Surf over to here to check ’em out: 7th grade flashback. Andy (or Kyle or Joey for that matter), if you’re reading – I think you’ll enjoy these. I know I got a kick out of looking at them again.