This parrot is dumb and your recipe is disgusting. How are you?

It took a little over ten years of encroachment, little by little. I don’t even recall when exactly it began, probably three or four years ago. But social media has finally bested me. The diatribes I see from everyone with a fucking axe to grind about something or other, pushing causes in a slacktivist rendition of “check out my mixtape, fam,” sharing rehashed content that serves as little more than a way to get some ad revenue.

For once in my life, I’d rather see a picture of your ugly baby than see another article about why your candidate is Jesus Christ and the other guy is Shitbag Hitler III. I am worn all the way the fuck out.

I don’t even know why I have 500 friends. I talk to…20 of you at the absolute most? I don’t even recognize some of your names, and it’s from those teenage years where more friends = more better person. I think every generation was told by their parents and other elders that you’ll grow apart with time, and every generation could flawlessly see the future and indirectly told said elders to shove it up their ass. And then we grow apart with time like we were fucking told would happen. But now there’s this weird tether of social media keeping us in the peripheral vision of the people we otherwise would’ve dumped like last week’s garbage.

It’s not all bad. I probably wouldn’t have known that a six-year classmate of mine, just starting to dabble with a guitar when we left high school, made it into Rolling Stone magazine. I wouldn’t have known that someone I went to college with my freshman year was in a horrific accident, and had to learn to talk, walk, feed himself, and basically become a human being again, leaving me troubled and grateful as I followed his rehabilitation. I wouldn’t have known that a particularly sharp friend of mine would decide to take up web development and become a force of nature at Yahoo and Twitch, and then go on to work with tech startups. I would have missed that a classmate met a fucking senator and could run for public office in California with really good odds. I certainly wouldn’t have known how many ugly babies my fellow high school alumni have pumped out in ten years. But, you know, that was the sort of stuff I wanted to know about in the first place.

Any given day in 2016, as I scroll through my Facebook feed, I see some shitty Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump memes; some gifs that I saw on reddit a couple weeks/months/years back; some disgusting fucking recipe in action that leaves you with a pile of bacon fried pizza cheese whatever the fuck; three or four different people hawking their Herbalife/Scentsy/Avon/Amway/other shit I should buy to facilitate their lifestyle when they could probably make more money digging a ditch somewhere; more shitty Trump memes (#MakeAmericaDrumpfAgain, oh you guys are so clever); some post from two days ago that Facebook thinks is interesting but it’s really a deep discussion on the ham sandwich somebody ate or something; one or two horribly inflammatory articles shared by my dumbass redneck classmates from high school that apparently are unaware they’re friends with an atheist from Puerto Rico; and probably 20 sponsored posts interspersed that want my click for their ad revenue, hawking shit I don’t care about on a site that would give the bog-standard computer gonorrhea. “Viral” board-approved marketing campaigns that are killing my fucking sanity.

I never asked for this shit.

See, I wanted to know when you got a promotion. I wanted to know if you’re moving somewhere new and exciting. I certainly want to know if there’s a brewery nearby making kickass beer. I wanted to know if you’re gonna give stand-up comedy a try, or that you’re going to a concert that I’m going to. I want to know you’re gonna be a goddamned astronaut, or a firefighter or a line cook or a middle manager.

I want to know how you’re doing.

I was worn out enough with the shit that I made a serious decision to go to Google+, the RC Cola of social media. When I last looked at it, it was barebones, generally limited to good conversations from bright people. That was a couple marketing meetings ago, apparently. G+ has the same affliction now, labeled as “Trending on Google+”. It’s the same shit, but because nobody’s on G+, there’s a lot more of it proportionally. Oddly, Google does not have any idea what I’m interested in despite being a Google user since 2002 and having used Chrome for probably eight years. I don’t give a shit about this parrot. I don’t want to see this new Ferrari. That picture of a church is very poorly composed and the white balance is a mess. Fuck off with your UFO sightings. Seriously, you guys have what amounts to my life story. You have everything I’ve ever done a search for. This is the best you can fucking offer?

It’s pretty much unavoidable. Pinterest has sponsored shit, for crying out loud. Twitter’s sponsored stuff has been in for years. Tumblr has it. Instagram has it. I don’t know what the fuck Periscope is, but I’d wager it has it too, or will shortly.

So here I am, in the one place that is ad-free, not tested by focus groups, not written with hopes of going viral, and maybe I’m wrong for expecting anything else of the evolution of the Everyman’s Web. Maybe I’m weak for not having a bigger commitment to writing regularly. I bet that if there was a 3 paragraph minimum to post something on Facebook with a 250 word minimum for comments there’d be a lot more dialogue that I’d want to join.

End rant, for now anyway. I’ll write more here, and IT shit is going to my new blog at bluesoul.me where I wrote a piece today on making secure, screened home folders programmatically with group policy.

First World Dilemmas

My creative impulses are dragging me all over the place. I’ve got about a half-dozen projects I want to work on and I’m paralyzed with indecision. Maybe writing them down will help. In no particular order, I want to…

– Get started on the perfume I’m making for Eve.
– Play the hell out of some Skyrim.
– Make something in FL Studio. I don’t really have a hook in my head to start with, though.
– Finish configuring the netbook for emulator play. Yesterday’s testing was mixed. It’s fine with NES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Sega Genesis, but some SNES games are choppy, particularly Super-FX enabled ones. N64 games were hit and miss, I was getting probably 50fps on Super Mario 64 but it choked up a big hairball on Goldeneye and Hot Wheels Turbo Racing. I haven’t bothered with my PSX roms. I haven’t set up Quickplay for my MAME roms yet as it’s quite involved.
– Get Quickbooks set up for Diana. She’s wanting to learn how to use it so she has another marketable skill for the future job search. The idea I had is that we can set up Shooting Star Perfumes as the business to learn with. It might get us back into making our own stuff.
– Eat the hell out of some pizza.
– Listen to some new albums that came out, particularly the new M83.
– Channel former blogging buddy Krooze L. Roy and review some old video games. I hope he reads this some time, because I miss the hell out of his writing, and I still want him to message me some time about Amplitude on PS2.

And even out of so many tempting options, the combination of pizza and Skyrim is a siren’s call I am unable to ignore. Bye.

Am I a writer? Or just restless?

There’s a certain self-righteous quality to calling yourself a writer when you have no published/paid work to your name. At that point you are closer to the truth if you refer to yourself as a “typist.” I have some friends, though, that exhibit that trait that I think is the telltale sign of a “real” writer, and that’s the urge to write almost constantly.

I have these urges, but I am usually sated by a one-liner or statement that’s been on my mind. I have several friends that are finishing up on their NaNoWriMo projects today. A novel! Jeez. I don’t think I can keep a train of thought from derailing for that kind of length. An overactive imagination needs an outlet, though, and I have many. Lately it’s been Skyrim, but other common pastimes have been making perfumes, designing houses in The Sims 3, writing, trying to come close to the talent level of my 18-year old self at FL Studio, making stepcharts in StepMania, designing board, card, or role-playing games…I can keep busy. There’s something deeply satisfying about writing, especially on a platform like this where I can toss these words into empty space and whatever happens, happens.

Every creative outlet of mine has a muse, and for writing it is two entities. The first, my long-time muse, has been Jerry Holkins (Tycho Brahe) at Penny Arcade. He puts out the most amazingly smooth, polished work three times a week and his tone just makes me happy, his sense for when to drop the flowery language and rage-curse for a while is incredible. The second, a somewhat more recent find, are several of the writers at Cracked. What’s more, they blatantly encourage writing at all skill levels. Somehow, a website that routinely publishes lists like “The 7 Most Elaborate Dick Moves in Gaming History” has become a beacon for aspiring writers.

An article that Robert Brockway (arguably my favorite writer on the Cracked staff, incidentally) put up today got me to thinking. Three posts a week on here was the idea and that fell apart rather quickly. I get a surprising amount of traffic for how little I post, so if I were to start up again I may end up with an even bigger audience. If I were a “real” writer that shouldn’t matter, but I find it disheartening to write to an empty room. And, I must admit, the fragrance industry is short on top-tier writers and I can’t help but be fascinated with the prospect of working in that industry. So expect more reviews in the future as I sharpen my nose and writing chops.

Dreamweaving Again

So the good news is I’ve gone longer without posting on here, but that’s like saying midget murder is more condonable because they’re about half a life.

I’ve started on a new web project, and with the number of features I want to build out it stands to be my most ambitious project yet, and it’s gonna require some new technologies. Understand that I really don’t like the thought of relying on JavaScript, due to long-standing grudges, but jQuery does offer features I’m really gonna need in this project, in a prepackaged solution. When I hear that there are quite a few Top 100 websites that make use of it, I’m reassured.

So, Project Havana, as I’m calling it right now, is fragrance-related and fills a niche that no other industry website has sufficiently covered. This will also serve as a website I can show as a portfolio piece for both the UI and backend. That’s still a field I’d love to do as a day job again, and I’ve also just recently found all the code for the largest project I’d worked on but was under NDA on for a year. So it’ll be good to have both projects available to point to. I’m being rather tight-lipped on the particulars to this project as I want to develop it at a slower pace, get each feature dialed in before moving onto the next one, and then when I have something worth putting out there, I can do it without regret or concern. So that’s new, as I usually throw up core functionality and build out the site as it’s live, add those features as people use the site.

I’m going to try and get back on the three-day writing schedule, we will see.

Time Management Fail

I should be getting ready for work right about now, but I feel like writing too. So writing wins for now. I’m getting myself psyched up for 2011 with plans and ideas for how I’m gonna keep things interesting for this Monday-Wednesday-Friday regularity of posting. My work schedule actually calls for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off, and I have no plans to change that. So I’ll be writing a week ahead or two.

Mondays are gonna be fairly mixed with regards to music. Reviews of varying formality, top 10s, that sort of thing.

Wednesdays, my wildcard days, will likely have a lot of gaming. That’s for sure. That and whatever else I feel like writing about.

Fridays will be split between reviewing fragrances and a journal tracking Diana and I as we attempt to make custom perfumes, we’ve got about a year of off-and-on experience with it and I think we’re going to be stocking up on some new oils too. We haven’t broken out the EOs since we moved in together, so we’re both excited to get back to it.

Unrelated note, but if you haven’t been following the Steam Holiday Sale, you’re missing the true reason of the $ea$on. You can buy 55 games for $55, for crying out loud.

Polished Turds and Reinvented Wheels

I did a pretty major reskin of the blog, in anticipation of some upcoming projects. I liked the previous theme, don’t get me wrong, but it was difficult to work with and had some nasty bugs of it’s own. This one is simple and quite a pleasure to use so far.

One thing I’ve come to accept is for the past 7 years I’ve been blogging, it’s been largely an emotional outlet. I have Twitter that serves admirably in that regard, and it’s taken away from the amount of other writing I do. I’m hoping I can keep motivated through 2011 and stick to the weekly schedule of Music Mondays, Wildcard Wednesdays (photography, gaming, rambling), and Fragrant Fridays. The latter will be crossposted on Il Mondo di Odore, a blog run by several high-profile Basenoters and some good friends. I’ve never been a contributor to a blog that wasn’t my own, so I’m quite excited about that.

The site is more secure than ever, I’m seeing the occasional 500 error I can’t pin down, but a refresh always seems to clear it up. I have four days to finish my final group project for Professional Writing and then I suspect I’ll start trying to get a feel for the self-set schedule and how much work and design I want to do. Stay tuned.

Remembering August

Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.

This month has been the best, busiest and most life-changing month I’ve ever experienced. Let me bring you up to speed.

Back in early August, Diana and I moved in together, which involved moving out of our respective cities and into a new town. We knew where we wanted to be, but even now as I sit here, looking out the window to see the sunset casting the Sandia Mountains red, it’s hard to believe that the hard work and determination paid off and we’re really here: Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The drive out here was an experience in itself, the first day was a long drive much like any other I’ve been on. The second, however, took us through the wind farms and hills of Western Oklahoma, the stark, desolate panhandle of Texas, devoid of life save for Amarillo, which seems to pop up from nothing and leaves you back on God’s definition of the flatlands just as quickly. After Texas was two hundred miles of New Mexico, and it included the most breathtaking driving of my life, through canyons and overlooking mesas and mountain ridges in the distance that evoked a thought I’d never had before, the thought that the landscape of where you call home could truly make you happy or sad, and maybe people are happier out here just because they get little flashes of the truly awesome in their day-to-day life. The fact that Diana and I still find breathtaking new views seemingly every week is confirmation in itself that we picked the right home, and in many ways I feel like I was always meant to end up here.

After moving quickly came work, four days after moving to a town where we knew nobody and had nary a box unpacked. I transferred with Best Buy to the store out here, about a ten minute drive which was great, but I was also moved into a new department, which was less great. Even though I’ve been with the company longer than a good chunk of the people here, there’s always that strange outsider feeling that comes with moving to a new store, with a new way of doing things. I floundered in my new department until two days ago when my department transfer went through, and that in itself has made a huge difference.

Perhaps more importantly wasn’t my job situation but her’s, as she couldn’t transfer store-to-store. But a little providence, maybe a sign that we’re finally getting some reward for our persistence, and she picked up a job two and a half weeks after we moved in. She starts tomorrow and it’s going to be the start of something wonderful, there’s enough artistic connections with this coffee shop that she may be able to make some contacts and friends in the local scene.

The one thing that I was both most and least excited about was the opportunity to go back to college, a real college. Most excited because it’s going to lead to a career more fulfilling than this, least excited because I’ve let myself down with regards to school and grades in the past. I decided to just take one class this semester, a professional writing class, as I’m going to be working 30-35 hour weeks all the way into the holiday season. My first day of class today, and it wasn’t until I was leaving class, walking through this busy campus with students everywhere, strangers to a man, that I realized I’m really back in school. It was an unusual feeling, something resonating that this was what I was aiming for, and for a long time, it’s been four years since I was at a real college, some of my friends from high school probably have their degrees already. It’s maybe not the cut-and-dried path that so many get to follow, but this path is slowly becoming clearer.

Finally, what may well end up being the most momentous thing to happen to us so far happened not six hours ago, at a restaurant across the street from UNM called Frontier. Diana met me there after class for a celebratory meal and she was keeping herself occupied in the meantime by writing about some of the artwork displayed at the restaurant, which is probably 250 feet long and 30 or 40 feet deep, split into five rooms, and there’s artwork displayed on every wall, if I had to hazard a count as to individual pieces I’d say between 70 to 100, mostly paintings but also a few sculptures in various media, tapestries and native blankets, and other little gems and treasures throughout the place. She and I were discussing two paintings displayed one above the other on the wall, and comparing and contrasting the two, and we got to talking about her career goals and that they’re fairly hazy right now. She enjoys analyzing the works, and writing about them, and I suggested she write about every piece in Frontier, and ask the owner if he had a list of which is which and by whom. She ended up talking to him that day, that hour, and as it turns out nobody has really asked him anything like this before. He’s setting her up to talk to some of the artists, get to know them, maybe some interview opportunities, and I didn’t mention it at the time but it seems like if the quality is there, there may be a possibility of publishing the whole thing, a Frontier art book. The possibilities are vast and the ball’s in her court right now, but the fact that the owner’s not only willing but quite interested in helping her may really get her somewhere she wants to be professionally, it’s connections like these that do more even than a prestigious degree. I’m going to be helping her with it, I can handle the photography if nothing else, and it’s exciting for the both of us.

It’s also good to know that I can still sit every now and then and write, and push out 1000+ words with no real trouble, the goal’s been an Education degree in my head for a year or two now but I can’t really rule out writing, in any of it’s forms. This is something that I’ll be picking up again almost by necessity, working in different styles again and just getting back in the proverbial saddle. The next piece is probably going to be a review of the new album by 10 Years, with a new criteria and scoring system much like how wines are rated, it’s a system I like and I’m gonna give it a shot. So, here’s a blanket apology for my recent lapses in writing, but this is also probably the best promise to myself I could make, to treat this whole experience in New Mexico for the adventure that it is, and write accordingly.

See you in September.

Niche Experiment Volume Two

Luckyscent is getting more business from me as I delve back into reviewing niche. Expect to see reviews for:

Andy Tauer Lonestar Memories
Andy Tauer Une Rose Chypree
CdG Series 2 (Red): Sequoia
CdG Series 3 (Incense): Avignon
Domenico Caraceni 1913
Keiko Mecheri Bois de Santal
L’Artisan Timbuktu
Le Labo Rose 31
Mazzolari Lui
Montale Red Vetyver
Parfums 06130 Cedre
Parfums de Nicolai New York

Not dead. Not, in fact, deceased.

I’m alive, and in fact have been writing all this time, albeit in smaller, 140-character chunks on my Twitter account. So what happened after that fateful evening of March 15th? Well, an hour or two after writing that, I sent a message to a member on Basenotes named exquisitely_me, and the message said…

“What’s new with you? :)”

The conversation’s been going on for over two months since then, and I’ve discovered some new things, namely that I love this girl named exquisitely_me and she loves me back. The gossip was a-flyin’ when Facebook had the hot scoop around the end of March, it was the first to report that…

“Daniel is in a relationship with Diana Kotyk.”

I fell completely off the map for about eleven days starting back on the 9th of this month, the last bit of communication being a tweet that said…

“Diana is going to be in my arms in five minutes tops!”

I did manage to get off one little blurb during that time, that read…

“I am having, without reservation, the best week of my life.”

My perfume reviews have been on pen and paper, shoulder to shoulder with Diana, over a vial of fragrance, or perhaps a verbal review (also known as an ‘opinion’), soft words of like or dislike, learning, exploring, and expanding knowledge of the art. She’s encouraged me to get back into writing, though, so I trade comfortable seclusion for another round of writing for the masses.

In love. That’s where I’ve been, and in fact it’s the locale I write from even now, dear reader.