My resolution for this year is to be more mischievous, to keep only but absolutely one toe dipped in sinful waters. While I instinctively reject the notion that evil must exist in the world if there is to be good, I concede we are stuck with it. As such, we might as well pay attention to what evil can teach us about being good, and living well, and use at least mildly evil acts as landmarks to plot our path towards goodlier shores. So this year I am trying to better define that line between good and evil by probing that boundary with mischievous acts, getting as near as I dare, never quite stepping over.
The acts will all be harmless pseudo evils, intended (if having any external intention at all) to do no more than confuse, entropize, inspire, and/or incite.
Among my mischievous goals for the year:
- Create intricate large scale public hoaxes. [I've already completed one such hoax, getting the attention of tens of thousands of people!]
- Graffitti meaningful messages / art in non-damaging public places. [Working on the art for this.]
- Lie pointlessly and frequently to strangers.
- Practice and use a British and/or Scottish accent in public.
- Always use random names when placing food, beverage orders.
- Intercept a restaurant delivery order, happening to catch a delivery person on their way to someone's front door, paying for that food, then eating it (or donating it to homeless people if it has meat/fish). [Almost did this the other day.]
- Send mysteriously intriguing packages to strangers around the country.
- Steal silverware from some restaurants, which I'll return later thereby undoing wrong. [One setting borrowed thus far.]
- Create, publish, promote, and win converts to my new religion. [In progress.]
- and more...
I'm pleased with my progress so far... But it's about the journey, not the destination, so whatever I achieve will be a pleasingly good enough.
My Vegetarian Dining Club actually has 410 members and 71 past events; it's becoming so popular I've decided to require approval for membership. So far I'm approving everyone, but it adds that nice exclusive touch, so that when you are let in, as I expect everyone will be, you feel that extra bit of specialness we all crave. ;) Also, restriction sets the stage for the enforcement of rules, and the crafting of club culture. Later this month we're having The Great Vegetarian Cabal of Twenty-Ten.
I am descended from a very long line of wandering fortune telling gypsies. My dad used to make 200,000 Leus a day in his summers off from school in Bucharest. He used to tell me about his single greatest act of clairvoyance. This old British couple approached him in the main square and asked him not for spiritual guidance, but the more practical kind, the location of the nearest post office so they could mail some postcards. As my dad was about to tell them he had a sudden, wrenching foreboding. Instead of sending them to the main postal branch which was just one block away, he sent them to one of the auxiliary branches six blocks away. Within thirty minutes he saw smoke rising from behind a line of shops, just where the main post office stood. A boiler exploded, setting fire to the building and killing 58 people, all but three from the stampede to escape. The elderly couple came back the next day, having learned of the explosion, and realizing their misdirection. They gave him 1,000,000 Leu (about $20 US), and their address in case he was ever in England and needed a place to stay. As it happened he did go to England about four months later as part of a school trip. He called at their address only to find one of their daughters at home. The couple had died, tragically, just a week after their return from Romania, apparently from eating some bad shellfish in Brighton. My dad ended up dating the daughter (long distance) for 6 months. He learned that had the couple died in Romania their insurance policy which had a travel clause would have paid the equivalent of $1 million US to the surviving family, not to mention what the Romanian government was paying in compensation, but as they died at home of causes which were never adequately proved, the family had to settle for little more than burial expenses. Seeing the financial (and resultant emotional) suffering of the surviving children, my dad stopped telling fortunes. He felt he had no right to alter the destiny of others, feeling on some level that destinies were fairly inescapable, and already as "ideal" as an unideal thing could be; and that his efforts only muddied the stream of life.
I haven't dressed up in costumes much in my life. And if I'm going to do a thing, I like to do it big. So, this year I decided to make my own costume, anticipating going to West Hollywood's insane 500,000 person strong Halloween Parade. I decided to make a fully playable, original ROM version of my favorite coin-op arcade game, Taito's "Elevator Action" from 1983.
I built it using a tablet pc running XP, the MAME emulator, original Elevator Action ROM, real arcade controls, Ultimarc I-PAC controller interface, inner wireframe truss (that I made), and a universal laptop battery delivering 3.5 hours of mobile fun! Also, not necessarily visible in the photos, but a very nice touch, the marquee sign does in fact light up!
Here are the assembly photos:
And photos from the event:
Thanks go to Michelle for helping motivate me to create a costume, a huge thanks to my buddy Matt, without his help and more importantly his encouragement I wouldn't have gotten it done in time (if at all)! And thanks to Andy at Ultimarc for the last-minute fast shipping, and for producing the controller board without which I'd have no clue how to build this thing.
My company, Besiex, does development and graphic design work for the #1 driver, firmware, and PC support site, DriverGuide.com. DriverGuide recently launched a major update to the site geared at radically improving usability! Our goal was to make things simpler, faster, and better. Quite rewardingly, response from users has overwhelmingly confirmed that we achieved those goals! I'm quite proud of the new site update, and pleased because our new MyUpdates site (launching soon) has been designed and developed using the same approach.