Tech Support

So, I am about to eliminate 99% of your need for “Technical Support”.

Well, maybe 99% is an overestimation, but I like to think positive.

We all have that friend who “knows computers” that we like to call when we have some sort of oddity with our computer. Sometimes, we are that friend.

So, I am about to inspire you, educate you and as the Chinese proverb goes, I am going to teach you to fish.

P.S. (wait, is that bad grammar in the middle of a writing before completion to add a P.S.? Why yes it is. Good to know)

By the way then, no that is not from a Biblical proverb, Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. It is in fact an old Chinese Proverb, if you question this for any reason, I will then give YOU the tools to determine otherwise.

See, back to that Teaching thing. Yay me.

So, first things first we need a problem. I am going to use a recent issue as the problem, as in, an issue that is so recent I am having it now.

My hard drive on my laptop is making a clicking sound. That sounds like a real tech kind of thing I suppose. At least enough that one might be worried about it, as in me, as in, hell yes I am worried.

Ok, so the first tool we will need is an internet browser – I am hoping you have one and know how to open it because if not – how in the hell did you get here?

Open her up. Well damn, that does not sound right. Also, very sexist of me to assume YOUR internet browser is female. Maybe it’s a male browser, how the hell do I know?

So, Open your Browser up. There, less offensive. Go ahead, I will give you a second to do it.

Ok, now in your address bar type in www.google.com

You saw that coming right? I mean, who would not see that coming. Stay with me though, because again, this is teaching you how to fish, and by telling you to go to Google would be just pointing to the lake, and saying, the fish are in there. Get em.

So, we (I) decided that we were going to deal with my hard drive making a clicking  sound – so, go ahead and type that into Google. Tell you what, unfair, that is making you do everything – here you go just click this image below.

AND – Wammo – you have fishing rod in hand, hooked baited and ready to go!

So, the thing to remember about any and all fishing trips, is using the right bait for the waters you are fishing in.

For example, if you are looking for the President of Bulgaria in 1944, it is probably not a good idea to put into Google, “Pudding Recipes”. Yes, sarcastic, but you understand the point. WHATEVER you are looking for, be specific.

Also, Google should probably be your homepage if it is not already. Why? Because there is a lot of shit that is unknown to us all, and knowing, is half the battle. (Thank you adolescence with GI Joe)

By the way number two – Wikipedia is NOT fact. So double check your shit if you end up there. Reading a real book is also not a bad idea once in a while. Really, its kind of nice.

Oh, by the way, on our little Hard Drive deep sea trip, I checked the first three links, all of them, unsurprising, said that I may be dealing with a potential hard drive failure.

So, I am busy backing my shit up.

Now, you can head out into the world, ok, “digital/virtual” world and catch yourself some decent fish. Now, when you call up that friend of yours who “knows” computers you can say…”So, my drive was making a clicking sound, and after I Googled it, it seems like it may be going to fail…”

Damn that is a sexy beginning to any conversation.

Enjoy your day.

And remember, with great power, comes great responsibility.

Published in: on February 23, 2012 at 5:13 am  Comments (1)  

Why I am not watching Comic Book Men.

FANDOM

I have always been a big Kevin Smith fan. His film “voice” always felt like it closely mirrored my own personal voice. More days than not that I purposely or inadvertently quote him. As my wife refers to it, he is my “man crush”. I accept the label. I am a fan.

I joined Twitter for no other reason initially than to follow his tweets.

I have listened to every Smodcast episode, some of them more than once.

Some episodes of Smodcast that were my favorites were when he would bring Brian Johnson or Walt Flannigan on. There were times, as they would be talking and busting each others balls where I do believe I shed a few tears from laughing.

The moment that Tell em Steve Dave spun into existence, based on these same two guys and the addition of Bryan Quinn, who had been wrapped into this group for years but I had never known, I was hooked.

The simple fact that nothing about this Podcast felt “developed” the fact at times they would just bitch at each as if they forgot they were being recorded. The meshing of personalities and experiences, was gold.

I was now looking forward to Friday nights Tell Em Steve Dave as much as I looked forward to Sundays Smodcast.

I cannot give a timeline when it all began to color. I know the event though. It all shifted for me over a web address.

THE SAGA OF GITEM

How best to explain the Saga of Git em. Yep, a real name. Well, not god given, but I cannot tell you his real name, I don’t know it. Git em Steve Dave was I thank an uber fan of Kevin Smiths, his online handle became Git em based on the characters that Smith created. And so well portrayed by Bryan and Walt.

www.tellemstevedave.com was registered by Git em a few years ago (by the way – constructing that sentence, and all others that contain the words “Git Em” is difficult at best – but dammit, stay with me!)

Git Em was brought on Tell Em Steve Dave, and it came to light that he owned the domain name. http://www.tellemstevedave.com

Now, what I am going to do here is sum up my experience of the exchange, I am not quoting anyone, I am only providing my opinion.

First and foremost, you cannot listen to TESD and not KNOW if you show up on that show, there is the strong likelihood your balls are going to get slapped around a little. So, thus is expected.

It was presented that the domain name should be given to the Podcast, because Git Em was a fan. In the spirited exchange, a cash offer WAS made for the sight, (by WALT no less – a man who prefers not to part with a single dollar if 35 cents will cover it) Git Em did not accept the offer, but held off, because, if I may frame the moment…

Here you are sitting in a room with three people that not only you admire, you like, and you are fans of. Huge fans. Suddenly, you are now talking some sort of business transaction on a product that you do not really know the value of. It does have value, and aside from any personal involvement, or fandom, what is it?

Now, for reasons that I cannot explain, Quinn “appeared” to take the fact Git Em would not give up the domain name as a bit of an insult. Not really understanding why as a fan he would not want to just give the domain, besides, what was it worth? There were a few shots taken at Git Em’s website, (which if pressed I do not understand, but then, its not MINE to understand) and overall the tone just became uncomfortable. Overall, uncomfortable.

At this point – so what. The REASON I loved TESD was that shit did not feel scripted at all and at times there was awkward.

THE CASCADE OF EXPERIENCE

If this story died there, I would actually not have batted an eye.

Twitter had opinions, and they directed them at Git Em. Quinn also, which seemed to fuel additional frustration towards Get Em.

During following shows the topic would come up, and Quinn would have the same energy he did originally, nothing flattering regarding Git Em, saying he was blocking him on Twitter, and that he was done with him. Etc.

By the way – the price Git Em finally settled on to ask for was $1000. If anyone has ever attempted to buy a vanity domain AFTER the product existed, you will realize how cheap that price really is. So, ultimately Git Em was not attempting to finance hisCancunretirement.

Overall, as it progressed my take away became this.

This was a moment where a Fan was treated poorly because he was a fan. Here was someone who at best was trying to make a couple of bucks from a product that was worth, in reality far more. Instead of a “business” deal being struck, even remotely privately, he was villianized, and bullied.

The Bullying was the part that was the hardest to stomach and the moment that tipped the tables.

If you are willing to publicly burn down the house of a Fan, because he has something you want. What value are you then putting on ANY fan?

So I stopped listening. I unsubscribed, and after a while after I realized the issue was not actually going away, I stopped following TESD on twitter. It was quitely done, with an email to the guys letting them know why I did it. Because if I am making a choice based on other people, hell, might as well tell them.

No issue. I am one person, who gives a shit if I listen to the show and/or follow on twitter.

I stopped ordering any comic from the Stash, although, in a year I MIGHT have spent a hundred, maybe two on books. MAX. Not a big deal, I just always like the idea that I was ordering shit from Kevin Smiths store, and Walt and Mike are two fucking guys who KNOW their shit.

The cascade has brought me to a question my wife asked two weeks ago.

“You going to watch the show?”

I gut checked myself for two weeks. As silly as it may be, if I were to watch the show, then I would be going back against every decision I have made over the last few months. So, No, I won’t be.

Which I realize is sad. Sad because they are busting their ass, all parties involved, to bring this show to air, they are putting more of themselves out there than I would personally be willing. I WANT to support the show.

However, as the cascade effect happened, I realized that one moment, one decision, one emotionally charged debate, lost a fan.

Here is the redundant silly. Git Em, still listens to the show, still follows them on Twitter, and will undoubtedly watch the show.

Published in: on February 12, 2012 at 3:56 am  Comments (4)  

The Legend of “Monsters”

“Monsters” –  Gareth Edwards

The back-story of “Monsters” should almost be its own little film. Writer, Director Gareth Edwards, a cast of two and a crew of four travel across South America shooting scenes where they can, when they can, with whomever might be standing around as their supporting cast. “Guerilla” Filmmaking in what can only be considered the purest sense, sans actual guerillas.

 There is a heart to the whole production story that is so unique and captivating.

 I can easily say this film is so beautifully shot.

Edwards comes from a visual effects background, and does have a fantastic eye. With the writer and director himself carrying the camera, each shot is framed and captured with a direct link into the creative vision. The landscapes ofSouth Americadid nothing but lend to the overall richness and Edwards was able to deftly capitalize on them repeatedly.

The look of this flick easily compares to any large budget “studio” film.

However, if you were to close your eyes and listen, you would realize the visual is what carries the abundance of the weight of the film.

Two cast members were on direct payroll, Whitney Able and Scoot McNairy, whom on a side note I personally applaud, working inHollywoodand keeping the name “Scoot”. The supporting cast was chosen by what appears to be open casting calls, which equaled standing in the middle of the street and asking the fruit vendor if they were “Open” to being in a movie.

The local, literally, off the street cast did an amazing job, and delivered more genuine performances than many that would consider themselves “Actors”. I am sure South America was awash with various passersby headed off to rehab once shooting was done, to keep in the spirit of theHollywoodintroduction.

Edwards had an idea, a concept and a vision. Unfortunately it felt like the talky part of that vision was secondary to how it looked.

A little about the story:

Space probe harvested ice from a moon, came back to earth, broke up, deposited life forms in a strip across South America, and six years later we begin our journey.

The “Infected Zone” is an area that is quite clearly labeled. There are many shots of our lead actors standing in front of or near a sign labeled “Infected Zone – You are Here – Monsters There”. Avoiding the area would seem quite simple.

Our hero, photojournalist Andrew Kaulder (McNairy) is in town to grab some shots of the beasts themselves, when he is pulled off that assignment to check on the bosses’ daughter.  Samantha, (Able) the aforementioned daughter was caught up a bit in a Monster versus Marine Versus Hotel drama.

Here is where there I discovered a vast difference between the look of “Monsters” and the logic of “Monsters”. Now mind – I can forgive a few pieces of thought that must be suspended for a little plot advancement. However, when I have to remove my entire brain from its little pan in my skull, there is a conundrum.

Kaulder, is now tasked with taking our little magazine heiress Samantha to the border.

Now, one ponders at this moment how much this little ladies father really cares for her.

Of all his resources, money and power, he decided to send “The Photographer” to save his little girl. Now, I mean not to speak ill of photojournalists the world over, I am simply saying that were my daughter in possible peril south of an inhospitable “infected zone”, I might send more than a digital camera and a train ticket.

There is an unspoken chemistry between the actors, probably because they are married in real life and a lot of that carries to film, however, there is no explanation early on why there would be any chemistry. If anything there is an aggressive attempt to cause strife between the two, which does not come off as much as “tension” as Kaulder is just a dick.

The writing feels a bit clumsy, attempting more so to underscore the visual story. Its cinema, its a visual experience, however its not so visual it looks more akin to vacation photos: “My Horrific Summer InHonduras; with Monsters”.

So, after multiple pieces of bad luck, each one accompanied by the now mandatory “Monsters are Here” sign – and the occasional pan away to helicopters flying in the distance, (another side note: perhaps having daddy rent one of those?) we find our heroes in the “Infected Zone”. I am not worried about spoilers, because if at some point from opening titles to ending credits you did not already realize they would eventually be there, then you are unable to read my printed text.

The movie progresses, with what feels like one cockeyed reason to take the next step after another, with some possible subtext on immigration, cultural awareness and more than one awkward scene of vulnerable teen like angst. 

I am making light of a very ambitious project, and being a non fan of “Hollywood” as it sits, and the sameness they crank out, I enjoyed this flick for being different, to a point.

It was good. With a little help on the writing, it could have been great.

There is a moment, at the end of the movie that carries a shot that has so much heart it moves you. In that moment, that captivating few seconds, you can feel Edwards’s intention, his desire, and ultimately in that shot you can see the movie he wanted to make.

Published in: on May 27, 2011 at 3:05 am  Leave a Comment  

To Critique the Critic

There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.Audre Lorde

I am not a filmmaker. I am not a critic. I may spend some energy “critiquing” a film, (admittedly, very little energy) but all that makes me is a fan with internet access.

I never view a flick for free, number one no one ever offers, number two I think one major element of a film is “Was it worth it?”. Where does it fall in spectrum of preferred avenue of viewing? Worth shelling out the bucks to see it on the big screen? Better to wait and support your local video store with a reasonably priced rental? Or, is it relegated further down the wactchability food chain that a cable viewing will be just fine?

Now, sometimes there is a movie that is simply unwatchable, so unwatchable that if someone offers you money to view; negotiate a higher payment. Of course, this is said knowing there is an audience for virtually every horrible idea ever committed to celluloid.

I think there are elements that influence you in regards to a film, elements that are as important to the viewing as the film itself.

Was the flick seen in theater? How full? What kind of showing, mixed or did you catch the Friday night PG13 crowd?  Did you see it at home? Alone? When you sat down to watch the flick did you sit down to watch or did you sit down to critique?

Every film should be watched. First and foremost you should experience your viewing. Even horrible films had a dedicated cast and crew trying to create something, so you should at least be willing to try and lose yourself in the story before you pull your head up and declare it crap.

Oh, and crap some of it is. Far too many times I will watch a flick and wonder exactly how the hell did this ever see the light of day. Wonder what happened in the creative process where NO ONE was willing to just pause and wonder aloud “I’m sorry, but we all realize this is shit right?”

I have grown into the opinion that most “professional” critics lost their way long ago. I think that once you are paid for your opinion, your opinion becomes skewed, your prism becomes a little shadowed and hesitant.  Unintentionally, but once it is your job to be opinionated, you cannot help but be overly opinionated.

When you sit down to critique a film, you forget why you fell in love with film in the first place. To go on a journy, being taken somewhere outside of the bounds of reason. To be challenged, being reminded the world is larger than you. Or sometimes, all you want is something as simple as enjoying the idea that toys become animated when your back is turned, and keep watch over their own.

Published in: on May 25, 2011 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment  

“Fuck you Mr. Smith” – A review of “Red State”

This has actually been posted elsewhere – I originally Posted it on Reddit.com. I broke my single sentence rule on the review, so I was reluctant to post it here, being a man of principals and all. Then I remembered, I MADE the damn rule. So break it I shall, based on newly minted principals.  

Henceforth The “Red State” Review:

Fuck you Mr. Smith.

I was a fan. Your entrance into the “Indie” scene was as eloquent as it was brief. With the sale of “Clerks” you were truly no longer an “Independent” film maker. This was not a shortcoming in my opinion.

Dialogue being at the heart of every flick, and there always being a glimmer of your own heart in the process, it kept me coming back for each successive “Smith Flick”.

You were the “Clerks” guy! “Silent Bob”! You were approachable, you appreciated your audience and unlike so many other characters in Hollywood, you did not speak through a publicist, it became a perpetual flood from your mouth to the worlds’ eyes and ears.

Throughout my enjoyment as a Fan, on thing always carried well in my mind, if I were so motivated, I could make a film.

You presented that fact at what seemed every opportunity, if someone wanted to be a filmmaker, a writer, a director; they need only decide they WERE such a thing.

This brings me to my viewing of “Red State”, a flick that can be classified as nothing less than a true independent film. I had some expectations; there had been some buzz, so I believed I was in for a different kind of “Kevin Smith” film. This is what was promised, except that was not what was delivered.

What was delivered was something else entirely. I was disturbed. The story unfolds at first in a very device like fashion and a little bit of clunky exposition allows for the main elements to be outlined. The first ten minutes read like a beginners guide to filmmaking checklist.

You know where the flick is headed and with this genres tank coming up on empty, there is just nothing new to offer.

Until about fifteen minutes in, then much like the feeling you get when a small child falls from a piece of playground equipment, the world slows a little and things become very, very surreal.

Moments ago you were reading your book, looking up and giving a smile, now you are locked in you seat, watching, powerlessly as the world folds in on itself.

“Red State” does break traditional rules of filmmaking, it simply ignores them. It sidesteps perception, it takes a meandering trip through moral implications, right and wrong, good and bad and leaves you breathless, spent and wondering what the hell just happened.

Michael Parks gives a powerful performance, a performance that burrows its way into your skull and refuses to leave. John Goodman is the everyman, and brings nothing but grace and gravitas to his own role.

There was such honesty and subtlety to each character, each and every cast member took their moment of film, and owned it. 

In the end what becomes truly horrifying about this little tale, is how possible it really is.  

So, until this moment Mr. Smith, I have always felt like I could be a filmmaker. That dream, is now fractured.

So, with respect, fuck you sir.

There will be many to say this film “Redefines” Kevin Smith, personally I think that we have all been “Defining” him wrong to begin with.

Published in: on March 18, 2011 at 6:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Phishing – Neither Rain, Sleet or Snow…

I don’t know  – maybe its my Nyquil induced sensibilities – or perhaps its just that I have not sat at this desk in two days so the volume of email was surprisingly high, and this just stood out.

 

However, it does lead me to just acknowledge the .01 seconds that passed and I thought this might be legit. The attatchment was a Zip file, which, of course was the first sign this was bogus.

 The second sign was the fact that your email address is not automatically encoded on the stamp when it is affixed to an envelope.

The third is the fact the post office has extreme difficulty telling the difference between WILLIS and WILLIAMS even though the address of each is dramatically different.

I discarded the idea that the USPS brought in a highly trained CSI team to extract fingerprints and saliva DNA from my wayward letter to Uncle Pete reminding him that I do not, indeed need a pair of leather chaps.

My point? Given the fact that time is compressed into micro seconds, and our attention is usually being harassed by seven items at any given time, including what’s for dinner, is that a hairball or a caterpillar and why is the dog eating my shoe? Wait, when did we get a dog?

Nefarious elements, while at times laughable given the various Nigerian attempts to give me millions, are CONSTANTLY looking for new ways to take advantage of all of us. It is damn straight easy to allow our guard to lower for the briefest of seconds, so stay awake, stay sharp and stay safe.

This message brought to you by the Council to Castrate Cyber Criminals.

 Zenbyte

C3 Vice Admiral

Published in: on October 6, 2010 at 5:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Where I Am

When we pause, stop and take a glance around in our everyday life, are we ever truly satisfied with where we are? I hold to the idea that there must be folks that are content with their post in life, however that same emotional solace is elusive to me. Mind, I am not unhappy with where I sit, on the contrary, there are elements of my everyday that I deeply appreciate and love. People in my bubble of relationships, happenings that I can only look on and see I was a fortunate benefactor. These lead to moments of contentment. Moments of quiet reflection when I appreciate that my path has been interesting and my journey not unexceptional. Are these small moments a glimpse at the truth or are they simply a moment when the mind idles down and the subconscience does not force its dominating will on the conscience? 

I would harness these moments, but for fear of a substantial loss to my person. The persistent, albeit wearing, sensation of dissatisfaction is a fuel. It drives the machine that is determination. It creates an impossible hoop that my little emotional dolphin cannot jump through, no matter what fish is dangled on the other side. It forces me to swim faster and deeper. It pushes me, even when I arguably spend as much emotional energy pushing back in resistence. 

Is this internal struggle and conflict the true picture of the human condition? Or again, is it simply flattering to my emotional IQ to feel I have the most rudimentary charcoal like sketch of understanding? 

I will continue to puzzle. I will keep playing with the pieces, turning the damned things over until I figure where they fit, or jam them into place. Who knows, maybe the picture created by the jamming them unwillingly into a new location will be far more interesting that the one originally intended. 

Published in: on June 19, 2010 at 1:53 am  Leave a Comment  

How much does Chunk weigh anyway?

Made it to a scale.

Forktruck was able to get me over my balcony and truck me down to the local stock yard to use their super scale.

It is not that bad, as of yet, but I will admit when I turn just right, the boxer briefs do tighten up as if thats the case. Hmmm… I flatter myself. Fine, I admit, its the waistband only!

Whatever.

Anyway – the weigh in ….. drumroll (or is that just my heart banging away in my chest?)

279 Pounds.

There was actually a .5 in there but dammit I like round numbers. Besides, shoes, hair, and ummm, dental plaque have to at least add up to the other half pound I recon.

Onward sails the SS Chunky into hopefully, umm, more shallow waters? Yea, well you try and work out the damn sailing analogy. OR is that a metaphor? No, analogy works.

-Zen

Published in: on March 29, 2010 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  

De-Chunk – Step 1

Add a hyphen and spell check just loves you. De-Chunk.

It actually sounds like the official title when Southwest Airlines asks a “Larger” individual to deplane.

“Attention Passengers, but we will be experiencing a slight delay, the plane is being De-Chunked for the safety and comfort of all passengers.”

If for the briefest of moments you think I find that process acceptable, you are missing the whole point of my personal De-Chunking process.

So, with an imitation drum roll –

Step One (01) in my quest to De-Chunk.

 “NO MORE FAST FOOD”

 Why you ask? How is that really any kind of step or plan? Well kids its like this, I REALLY like fast food. Who wouldn’t? Its Salted Fat fried in Lard and Dipped in Cheese. Its Nirvana for less than Six Bucks, and it takes less than Four minutes to have it in your hand.

So, knowing I am lazy, I am choosing to NOT do something first. Instead of, “I will walk two miles a day” and never removing my potato chip stained arse off the couch.

So – there is step one. This is day one. And – there you have it. All the news that’s fit to report.

Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chunky Monkey – An ice cream named for me.

I am lazy. Really, I am. It took me ten minutes to use a toe to hook an Oreo that slipped to the carpet. Damn cat almost made it there before me! Ha!

So, to the point I am lazy.

I find, quite frankly, that being lazy requires considerably less work than say, being active or productive or any of that other crap you ginseng drinking, oat bran eating, track jogging people do.

I would once luxuriate on my soft little sofa and watch you bobble by with your clothes all sweaty and your face all strained thinking, damn that looks like work. Then have another sip of milk shake. Hey, its all natural, mostly.

The problem rises when I realized I began to sweat as I refilled my tumbler of gravy and mashed potatoes.

I would find myself a little winded when the remote slid out of my reach, to land somewhere near my feet.

I stopped wearing pants. (Less for chunky reasons, more for plain comfort)

I need to make a change. 

I am WAY too lazy to make any kind of drastic change. I could craft some grandiose plan that reads like an invasion of Normandy with the Chunk Battalion taking the beach in multitudes of push ups and laps.

Yea, I am not going to do that.

 What I AM going to do, is actually keep an honest record of my “process” which will be many weeks of absolutely nothing changing. 

So, bury your expectations, I am not exactly the motivational type. I am just a real person, with a real issue that plans to take real steps (well, yea, TRY) to resolve or at least LIMIT the issue.

SO – Step one will be taken shortly.

You are still here? Go take a walk – least to the kitchen to grab some sort of refreshment. I recommend fresh fruit. (Chunky code for grab a doughnut if there are any left)

Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm  Leave a Comment