Monthly Archives: June 2008

The Jetsons Meet the Internet

I was setting up a camera on Robin’s computer to-day and was suddenly reminded of that old cartoon The Jetsons. I remember thinking, along with everyone else, that those video telephones would be a ways off. The technology, of course, has been with us a good while; I recall seeing a video ‘phone in the Cerritos Mall’s GTE store back in, gods, the late ’80s. No-one bought ’em and the idea still proved a long time coming.

But here I am to-day, setting the computers up so that family can telephone me through the Internet while I’m on the other side of the planet, and I had to go and add a camera into the picture (pardon the unconscious pun). Now they can look at my unexpressive, bearded mug as I struggle to find an excuse not to talk for long. I hate telephones; I always have. Something about talking to someone who’s not in the room seems to bother me on a primitive level, and I find the experience embarrassing, confusing, and usually boring. And I can never remember what I really want to talk about when I’m actually on the ‘phone!

Anyroad, now we know why I delayed getting a mobile telephone for so bloody long, and why I’m almost never available through it. I’ve had this thing for just over a year and I’ve still not bothered to get a case for it, which means that most of the time it’s sitting in the pocket of my backpack, far from my hands and ears…

All that said, it might actually be nice to be able to see the folks back home now and then during my trip. I will, after all, be alone and friendless for the better part of the summer, trapped in the pounding heat of the Middle East. Who knows, I might even miss someone! Maybe even you…

‘Of Oil and Nuclear Weapons’

‘Of Oil and Nuclear Weapons’

We’re meant always to be
of terrorists, Communists, Islamists
and especially of bombs
the only country to use one of
these horrors
is obsessed with protecting itself
the fruits of its industrial

five years ago George Bush
and occupied
a major oil-producing nation
by telling Americans to be
of his chemical weapons

more recently John McCain has
that America should bomb
another major oil producer
to stop it from
nuclear weapons

two years ago North Korea
a brutal
Stalinist hell-hole
built and tested a
nuclear bomb and to-day
Kim Jong-Il got his
no more trade sanctions
no longer listed as a terrorism sponsor
free food and fuel oil and
direct foreign investment

no mere accusation
of clandestine weapons programmes
this time we
where the nukes are
this time we
where they were built
but look
there’s no oil in North Korea

American policy is nothing
if not


Once again, I am going to try to keep a journal. I’ve started one umpteen million times already, yet somehow I always manage to forget about them. I’ve frequently wondered, as someone who’s constantly writing, why have I been so slow to adapt to this “blogosphere” business? Perhaps there’s no deeper meaning or significance to this failure than the simple fact that I am _always_ slow to pick up on new habits, especially where technology is concerned. I’m just too wrapped up in ideas to deal with the technical & practical aspects of a new tool, yet at the same time have a fierce distaste for mollycoddling software; if I can’t learn to do it the way I want to do it, I tend just to put it off indefinitely…

Anyroad, here we are with another attempt at online journaling. I think I’ll try to stave off the inevitable jinx by neglecting to tell anyone that it exists for a while… see if I can get used to it first. It’ll be nice if I can pull it off, given that I’ll be overseas for the rest of the summer and this would make it convenient to catch folks up on my oh-so-important activities!

A word to the wise for anyone who’s not well acquainted with my causal writing. I can be vulgar, ironic, poetic, absurd, and polemical–sometimes all at once. If something sounds “off” to you, try not taking it so seriously. I’m not one to censor myself actively, and I’m utterly shameless in my personal affairs and generally quite outspoken in my social and political views. In the immortal pirate’s words, “properly warned ye be, says I.”