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What’s Past Is Prologue

Growing up, the family yard had a few gargantuan tree’s of various age and limited function. The sweet-gums in the front yard cast these terrible golf-ball sizes pods that crunched and pricked. The sycamores along the side of the house were good for nothing but sloughing sheets of crispy flesh and monster leafs. If their only purpose was to serve as decoration, they barely passed a such. The neighborhood did not have (and still does not have) any exit but the primary entrance from the main drag on which it sat. Our neighbors were nearly all past middle age with full-grown offspring and few kids in the age group of me and mine. It was quiet. I’m not complaining, of course.

I mention this only to say that we never had a treehouse. Not, at least, until I was 17. It was only after I was driving and, embarrassingly, only just shaving that I had found a place where my friends and I would do those things that I had imagined kids in treehouses did. We were loud. Boisterous. Admitted rude but deeply honest. There was no literal tire-swing or playfully sexist admission sign, but there were games and music and the first nights of my life in which three in the morning was commonplace. We told stories and made new ones. The club’s membership was constantly rotating, always open and never bare. Sometime people ask you “where you grew up”. I expect few people are able to answer as specifically as a single room. I grew up with plaid furniture and cackling lunatics.

After nine years, the treehouse stands as one of the longest standing traditions in my life. I guess I still think myself young enough to be surprised that I could have done anything consistently for nearly a decade. I have attended no school or held any job as long as I have worked to make a blue couch fit as comfortably as a well-worn slipper.

On Saturday, I helped take our treehouse apart. When the sun was setting, I saw the place empty but marked with the unmistakable pattern of our adolescence. Later that night I saw it put back together again in a new tree. The toys were still mostly in their boxes, but everything important was right where it was supposed to be. My friends were there. Nothing changed. Thanks to everyone making sure it never will.

Now I know that I’m not
All that you got
I guess that I, I just thought
Maybe we could find new ways to fall apart
But our friend are back
So let’s raise the toast
‘Cause I found someone to carry me home

This Looks Important

You know that standard scene in every action movie where the hero is battling the multi-million dollar mechanized death-machine and somehow finds that sweet, sweet vulnerable spot? What does he do? “I wonder what this does?” he shouts rhetorically as he reaches in and rips out a handful of sparking, colorful wiring. It’s a fun scene and I’ve never before begrudged a director’s inclusion of such well-recycled material.

But, did you know that apparently this is a thing people do? They reach their hands into the dark, horrific bowels of their well-oiled machines and indiscriminately shuffle shit around like one would do when trying to clean spaghetti from a fucking garbage disposal. These self-proclaimed mechanics are then overcome with faux-horror that their once-pristine toy now creaks and hisses like a sad, dying alien. And then, as if to complain that their pizza is later than thirty minutes and therefore gratis, they’ll call up the manufacturer aghast that their super expensive array of tubes and flashing lights is reduced to a frozen stack of silent metal; towering like an ancient monolith at the center of a long-lost, once-great empire.

Surely, they realize that the sad sack of pale flesh on the other end of the receiver is praying, silently and solemnly under his breath, that the mechanic’s entire bloodline terminates swiftly in a sad tragedy? They must understand the monster they’re creating and teasing is chained only by the social contract that one has with strangers in a professional setting. They realize this polite attitude is required, but not deserved.

Please, tell me that we live in a world where such things don’t need taught, but are simply known?

David Grohl

The Best The Best The Best

At first, I didn’t think this was something I was going to have to register a lengthy opinion on, but it’s a Friday night, the bar has been good to me, and me and the iPad aren’t quite ready to turn in yet.
I had read a little earlier from my favorite trashy gossip blog (What Would Tyler Durden Do?) that David Grohl of the Foo Fighters had been approached by Ryan Murphy (“creator” of “Glee”) to use one or more songs in an episode. Grohl responded in the sort fowl mouthed way that makes me his fan. Murphy, apparently, believes that his creation is the holy mecca of music and is responsible for launching the careers of anyone that has ever been featured on or catered for his show. This is not, as I am finding out, the first time this little sequence of events has played itself out in recent months. Both Slash and the Kings of Leon returned similar rejections which were met by much hissing from Murphy and his supportive Glee-tards. (Author’s Note: While I imagine I am not the first to do so, I came up with the moniker “Glee-tard” on my own.)
This makes complete sense to me for the following reasons:

  • Slash is famously a member of the band “Guns & Roses” which I mention only because fans of Guns and Roses or Glee will only have ever crossed paths at the make-up counter at Macy’s. Glee fans: Guns & Roses was/is a rock band from the 70’s/80’s. In twenty years, they will still be remembered. Glee will not. Guns & Roses fans: Glee is a television musical featuring sexually flexible twenty somethings portraying high school students. “Television” is that box you used to have before you pawned it to buy a case of “Old Crow”. Were I writing this two months ago, I wouldn’t have to ask you to forget this Year’s Super Bowl Half Time Show, but here we are. So if you would, please try to remember Slash for his rock-god status and not for his brief stint as Fergie’s pet poodle.
  • Kings of Leon produce the same kind of watered down butt-rock I would have thought would have been popular with the kind of people who think Glee has original writing. To be honest, I really though Leon fans would have been on board with this pairing. They would have gone together like rohypnol and Plan B. So now the Kings of Leon have their first thing in common with the Foo Fighters.
  • The god damn Foo Fighters, love’em or hate’em, are going to be remembered as rock legends. Glee seems like a semi-ideal sort of a launchpad for bands that are trying to break out of their local comic book store’s basement and into something mainstream. I happened to catch Glee’s cover of “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine and I nearly shit myself. Not because the cover was especially arousing, but because I was shocked to find out that Glee would headline an artist that it’s core demographic hasn’t already heard of. If Florence and the Machine had to swallow their pride and a teaspoon of Ryan Murphy’s man-broth in order to get a little exposure, I certainly don’t fault them for it. The god damn Foo Fighters would be the one’s elevating Glee’s legitimacy, not the other way around. Glee can pound out as many iTunes hits as they feel like, but the same could be said for N’Sync and I think we all still feel a little embarrassed about that.
  • John Paul Fucking Jones likes David Fucking Grohl and his stock trades higher than Ryan Fucking Murphy’s.

So I won’t pretend to be neutral on this issue if ever asked to speak at some panel on rock stars and network television musicals. I’m completely aware that there are infinitely more pressing issues that I could focus my attention and admittedly over-stated resentment towards, but Summer Shandy is back in season and it’s been a rough week. I’m going to stick to battles I can win.
Drink up kiddo’s.

nostalgia

The Time Machine

I’m pretty sure there are a few of you who will consider this action to be a grave misstep.  What follows will surely cause a few of you to recoil as this forced introspection re-reveals to you what once festered in the darkest parts of your post-pubescent hearts.  As a belated celebration of my (our?) 10-year anniversary whining on the internet, I present to you the original archives of the first lilkobi.com blog that have been preserved by the shear magnitude of the angst contained therein (and Google).  By opening this Pandora’s Box, I’ve surely marked myself for death but I care not.  The truth will out.

And so help me god, if I can get an XML/RSS of the MovableType era, we shall have it.

A Heavy Hearted Work of Staggering Genius

We’ve reached the midpoint of Scrabbuary and things are starting to get heavy.  I think 6 out of the 14 games have come to conclusion while the three most-recent games are very much in their infancy.  Additionally, all of my recent talking about Scrabble appears to put a big bulls-eye on my back as I’ve received invites to games from no less than two people with which I have never traded tiles.  If memory serves, those new games are not going well for yours truly.

Based on the recommendations of y’all and a few strangers on the internet, I have ordered and am awaiting on the arrival on a handful of dead tree guides:

The book on .NET I ordered for work.  Things are starting to cool off and it’s starting to look like I’ll have time to do my complete re-write of the software for our flagship product.  This is something I’ve wanted to do for the last two years since I took over this position but there just hasn’t been time.  I’ve been able to do a little tinkering, but I really haven’t had the chance to really get started.  But now may be the time.  Exciting.

Friday it looks like I may be making a trip to a brewing supply store here in Columbus.  I didn’t even realize we had such things.  I’m excited to get a feel for what this is going to entail and hope that my books arrive with time for me to skim a few chapters before jumping in.

I just finished taking apart and reassembling a 5-disc DVD player/receiver that I’ve recently come into possession of.  It was provided as broken and despite my previous trepidations about doing such things, I opened the thing up to see if I could fix it.  In spite of my degree in Computer Engineering, I actually don’t believe myself capable of doing that kind of tinkering crap you’d think would be a staple of my mental toolkit.  But the thing was free and I was bored so we’re looking at a zero-loss game.  And, hey!  Look at that.  It’s working.  I can’t say in any certain terms what was wrong with it, but after I had the thing in a couple dozen pieces and had a theory on how it should have worked, everything just went back together after a few false starts and then the thing just worked.  So!  Fair play to me.  It was a home-theater in a box kit, so of course all of the speaker cable connectors are proprietary (and many missing) so maybe this weekend project will opening the thing back up and soldering my own connectors on there.  What the hell.

OK!  That’s all for now and probably more than you have come to expect.

Choose My Own Adventure

It is become very apparent to me as of late that I don’t really have any engrossing hobbies.  I do a few little things, but nothing that takes up a good deal of my time.  I’ve got a bike, but I’m not a bike-enthusiast.  I have a pool table, but no amount of my playing it seems to improve my skill to any great degree.  I’ve “collected” things before, but I don’t see how this is something that could take up a lot of my time.  This is not by design but rather that I’m hesitant to invest any significant amount of cash (or time) into something I’m likely to end up being terrible at.  I think it’s time I squashed that self-doubt but I’ll need your help.  There’s a list of things I’ve always considered doing but always talk myself out of.  At your collective behest, I will endeavor to make an initial investment in at least one of the following:

  • Brewing beer – If we were having a conversation in 2005 and you told me that a few years later I would consider myself a “beer drinker” and even go so far as to take an interest in its gestation, I would have doubled-over in laughter and likely spilled my Mike’s Hard Lemonade.  At the time, I was fully convinced that 90% of beer in America was brewed in public bathrooms.  And, you know what, some of it probably is.  But there’s some good stuff out there and a good deal of it is made by people I know.  Maybe it’s not that hard.
  • Pa-rum-pum-pum-pum – I’m not entirely convinced I’m musical, but I enjoy playing the steering wheel.  There’s a nice big space in my office that could accommodate a little kit and I’m sure the cats will absolutely hate it.
  • Do you Arduino? – You know what I went to school for?  Computer Engineering.  Which is not, in case you are wondering, computer programming (per se). People create projects and post the instructions and demonstrations on sites like this and that.  My biggest impediment for pursuing this so far as been that I have no idea what I would make.  This probably also falls under the category of “general tinkering”.
  • iPhone Stuff – Basically, I need to buy a few books and the development suite.  I hardly think I could create anything store-worthy, but I really do like my iPhone/iPad and this just seems like the next logical step.

So far, Scrabbuary has been going splendidly.  We’re already two games down and I’m happy to report my record of 2-0-0.  The remaining games are not going well, but that’s not really the point of Scrabbuary.  It’s a marathon.  I’ll be happy just to complete it.  I consider this a tremendous step forward in Dan’s pledge to “Just Fucking Finish Something”.

Oh!  Tickets have been purchased.  Shit is confirmed.  PAX East in Boston is a go.  Jesus is fucking metal.

Board 8

Scrabbuary

Somewhere in the back of my skull, I maintain a neat little steno pad of “The Worst Ideas I’ve Ever Had”. It contains a smattering of the usual things which I won’t go into (hint: roller-skates + fireworks + Gogurt = ???). But I think I’ve come up with the first one that I am absolutely going to jump into with both feet and I’ve hitched my doomed wagon to a willing participant.

February in the two-thousand eleventh year of our lord will be known as Scrabbuary. Every day this month, at noon EST, I will create a fresh game of Scrabble featuring myself and Jay, youngest heir to the house of Drumm.  That’s pretty much as far as we got.  The games will be completed at their own pace with a gentleman’s understanding of the rules and continue to accumulate on this rigid timeline.  I expect the ordeal will continue well into March (Madness), should both combatants live that long.  I’ll do my best to keep a brief journal of the results as it should prove to be both entertaining and crucial in my future plea of “not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect”.

Be sure to check back here or follow me on twitter @lilkobi and watch my slow descent into madness.  Or better yet, challenge someone you want to murder to your own Scrabbuary challenge and let me know how it goes.  Oh, do it, pretty please.  As of this writing, the #scrabbuary hashtag yields no results.  So it’s ours!

Shuffle up and die.

The Polar Bear is a Sorcerer

New Jersey.  After a four month traveling hiatus, I find myself soon bound for the Garden State.  More appropriately, the Secret Garden State, because if there’s thriving greenery in New Jersey, it’s well hidden.  The trip doesn’t promise any particular irregularities unless the weather acts up and I happen to become stranded there.  The site of the installation is a fair distance from the airport of arrival.  After considering all of the options, it turns out that the cheapest travel option in this case is a car service.  That means, for the first time in my life, I’m going to go to the baggage claim and there will be a well-dressed chap with my name on a sign.  This is the only time I will have something in common with big shot business types.  What up.

My only real regret in taking the trip out east is that I will be missing precious days with the yet-to-be-released Final Fantasy XIII.  I’ll probably get my pound of flesh in the form of taking that Friday off.

I didn’t provide much in the way of context, but I’ve obviously procured a copy of the Penny ArcadeBiography“.  The boys over at PA are fantastic peoples and “The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade” is as good of a look into the mouth of madness as you’re ever going to get.  Their thrice-weekly webcomic has been a staple of my internet experience for the better part of a decade.  It should be in yours, too.  That is, of course, unless you think that “NES” stands for the Canadian National Employment Service.  Then this probably isn’t for you.  I slept a little too long on PAX East, which is disappointing.  If you had the presence of mind to get on board that train, I suggest you ride it and ride it hard.

At this moment, I am watching tonight’s episode of Lost (post-title reference here).  If you’ve the misfortune of getting sucked into that trap too, I need you to explain something to me: why do we do this to ourselves?  It seems they can do anything on this show and I’ll just gobble it up like mystery dick in an Olive Garden men’s room.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m in on this until the bitter end, but they better make it worth my while at the conclusion.  Series Finale: Kate gets into a naked pillow fight with the female cast of Cougar Town.  End scene.

Go see Shutter Island.  Don’t let anyone (myself included) talk to you about it first.  Opinions of any sort can only spoil that sweet, cinematic fruit.

OK!  That’s about it until next time.  The Kobers keep a pretty open calendar, let me know if you want to put some billiards and beers on the books.

Dk out.

1up

Congratulations on collecting one hundred monetarily ambiguous gold coins!  As your reward, you’ve been issued a very jovial looking jade green fungus.  Please exercise caution when consuming undercooked happy mushrooms as feelings of invulnerability and euphoria have been known to occur.  Consult your physician if these feelings last longer than 300s.

Another year has submitted to the unstoppable grindhouse that is Father Time.  Two years now I’ve been in under my current employ with no major complaints to speak of.  We picked up miss Pami as a first round draft pick and I am thankful for the presence of one other sane person around the proverbial water cooler.  I’ve been fortunate to remain at the home base pounding keys instead of turning screws abroad.  I’m sure the wife would argue differently.

I certainly don’t mean to slip into an “At the Movies” style segment here, but I will remark on a few things I’ve seen recently to possibly recruit or save you.

  • Avatar – I guess if you’re going to go see this, do yourself the favor of seeing in 3D on the biggest sheet of canvas you can find.  The Mrs and I, unfortunately, saw this in 2D on a very crappy screen (go to hell, Regal).  The story for Avatar, in case you are not aware, is just Pocohantas in Space.  It’s nothing groundbreaking and completely predictable.  But the effects are supposed to be top-notch, which they very well might have been but I couldn’t tell.
  • Sherlock Holmes – It’s funny.  And more on-target to Doyle’s Holmes than the stereotypical Holmes you might think of.  You should probably have a few beers and Redbox it.
  • The Book of Eli – We were unfortunate to be the last ones into the theater on this one and got stuck in the second row of the theater.  I’ve never had to actually rotate my head to pan across a movie screen before, and it’s not something I hope to do again.  Luckily, there’s not a lot of reading in this movie.  There is, however, a fair amount of Denzel Washington being a complete badass.

All right.  The Olympics are on.  I didn’t think I was going to care, but here we are.  Let’s meet back here after women’s curling and we’ve replenished the spank bank.