August 25, 2008
Zeno's Training Dichotomy

  • To aid in my concentration on my screenplay, to calm my raging mind and make my thoughts more harmonious with the Universe, and to generally make me a better person and a husband - I have purchased an XBox 360.

    Now that I am in one of the gaming mainstreams, I actually feel a bit foolish that I have tried to make Mac gaming work for so long. I have not yet gotten the Live thing to work but I am still enjoying the offline experience. (Portal is fabulous.)

  • We failed to go sailing this weekend, but we did see Jackshit at McCabe's. We also hiked around JPL, saw about four movies, and explored Play Del Rey.

  • I have been training someone for a few weeks, and have found myself caught up in a familiar phenomenon, one that I've experienced before when explaining technical tasks to people who... perhaps aren't up to the task. It's a phenomenon I like to call Zeno's Training Dichotomy.

    Typically in explaining a task you move in a linear fashion: Step 1, step 2, step 3. But with Zeno's Training Dichotomy, the vortex in which I am currently trapped, instead you descend farther and farther into the minutiae between the steps. Progress is more like 1 to 1.a to 1.a.i to 1.a.i.(1), etc.

    For example: let's say I need to explain to someone how to get their XBox connected with the online XBox Live service. Well, #1 is get the basic unit up and running, right? So we do that and then -

    Oh, but we're not quite finished with #1. They don't have picture yet. OK, let's go to step 1.a: let's make sure that the video cable has the right selection between HDTV and standard. OK, so then all we need to do is -

    Oh, we're STILL having trouble? OK, let's go to step 1.a.i: Is the video cable hooked up to the XBox?

    Oh - the video cable isn't even unpacked yet? I see.

    Uh, let's go to 1.a.i.(1): Unpack the video cables. So step 1.a.i.(2) might be, hook them up to the unit -

    Oh. You haven't unpacked the game unit either.

    Now, keep in mind that the original goal was to get the XBox hooked up to the XBox Live service. But we're still unpacking all the parts. We have all that networking and account creation and wireless controller flaarn to go through, and we're still unpacking the unit.

    THAT'S... how this training has gone.

    Posted by Chris at 4:08 PM
  • August 22, 2008
    Hey, look over here!

    Hey, this seems like it might be worth a headline or two, and maybe not just in the Columbus Dispatch!

    You know how we've been talking about the 2008 Presidential election for about 203 years now, and you can't turn to any network television station without seeing that they've sectioned the screen into quarters, one section per pundit, so that they can each have their say about flag pins and such? And you sort through all that info and try to make a decision?

    Well - let's pause and reflect that for certain percentage of people, weighing all that evidence and voting your conscience is basically useless, because...

    The maker of touch-screen voting machines used in half of Ohio's counties has admitted that its own programming error is to blame for votes being dropped in some counties.

    The problem can't be fixed before the Nov. 4 election, so Premier Election Solutions and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner are issuing guidelines to counties for how to avoid the problem.

    "We will continue to monitor the situation and provide boards of elections with the instruction and support they need to ensure an orderly and efficient election and an accurate count of Ohioans' votes," Brunner said in a memo released today.

    (Premier used to be Diebold Election Systems, by the way. I wonder why they changed their name?)

    Posted by Chris at 2:59 PM
    August 20, 2008
    Classes and sub-classes in and around Hollywood Blvd.

    Circus people.

    They don't just have a lot of tattoos, they are covered. NUMEROUS piercings, enough to make you wonder if it's painful for them on an ongoing basis. They appear to have just come from or to be immediately on their way to the stage to do an act that will involve flame, nudity, blades, and / or more piercing.

    There is a lot of overlap between this class and the second and fourth categories. They come in the female and male types.

    Aging roadies.

    They might be ancient performers rather than backstage support, but probably not. Usually a British accent.

    The Optimized Man.

    Head fully-shaved for minimum air-resistance as he strides purposefully down the street, zeroing on his goal. Unsmiling, because to exert one's face in that way that would spoil the overall aerodynamic shape of his perfect self. Has a bit of a glow, as if he eats only the correct foods, and takes very good care of his skin and nails. Probably rides a bike.

    Very young sluts.

    Male and female. They need a bath, clothes their size, supervision, perhaps even a home. Strong overlap wih the first class.

    Mazinga continues his search for the surplus:

    Posted by Chris at 1:46 PM
    August 8, 2008
    Note to Nintendo regarding the Wii

    You know - no thanks. I've always been a Nintendo guy (BIG Zelda fan here), but after - what, more than a year? - and I still can't find one (more than once chasing down a reluctant Best Buy employee to ask; them wearily mumbling that I should be at the store Sunday morning at 5AM to be in line if I'm serious about it), then... I can do without. Bring on the Playstation.


    NOTE TO APPLE, regarding the iPhone:

    I need a new phone. I have about five minutes of battery life in my Razor after a full charge. Crap reception. Contract is up. I'm ready to spend the money. I'm a giant Mac fan. I'm curious about this whole "iPhone" thing. But...

    I'm not waiting months. Have it in the store within the next three weeks (and have one of your "verbal," "client-ready" employees ready to transact with me), or I can do without you as well.

    I have spoken.

    Posted by Chris at 8:08 PM
    August 6, 2008

    I came back to my building late the other night to fetch a thing; and wouldn't you know it but I ended up riding in the elevator with Mr. Slash of Guns n' Roses. I was wearing my GREAT OUTDOOR FIGHT t-shirt from Achewood, and he was curious about its "3 Days, 3 Acres, 3000 Men" slogan. I told him I did not make it past the first day and we shared a chuckle, Slash and I, rock star to man.

    More screenplay writin' rules:

  • If you are daunted to write that night, why not just plan on getting a single scene done or a sequence? It is easier to say "Tonight I sort out this bit with the giant laser" than "tonight I am working on the whole movie." Sometimes the whole movie is a vast slope which shall not be climbed.

  • Don't fine-tune dialogue if you're still having trouble with the story; and anyway don't fine-tune it until it's almost time to call it a draft. It's just a waste of time. NOTE: This requires being honest about having troubles with the story. (One indication that you're having trouble with the story is that the thing is taking forgoddamever and you've restarted a jillion times.)

    New this week and every week:

    Will it be surreal? Or political? Who knows what direction it will take, all I know is it always looks too large once I see them the next day, like Large-Print Mazinga. (Note to self: that's an idea for a strip, a Large-Print Mazinga.)

    I have not much mentioned it in these pages but two weekends ago Ami and I took our first overnight voyage in the sailboat. We sailed down to Long Beach, and stayed in Alamitos Bay. It took us 8 hours to sail down (motoring for 2), and 9 hours back (also motoring for 2).

    I would have to say it's about the best thing we've done in a looong time. Long Beach is not exotic, unless you find cargo ships exotic, but to us it was like an undiscovered Pacific island. It was amazing to plan the trip, to be on the boat all day, and to sail through the dolphin highway into Redondo - not to mention spotting 2 gray whales dead ahead on our way back.

    Posted by Chris at 10:08 AM