Sunday, February 27, 2005

Copywrong?

Yesterday I received an unexpected comment from an anonymous and disgruntled administrator. It said:

Sir,
You realize that you can't just paste code linking to photos on other people's websites on your blog, right? Besides the fact that it is ILLEGAL to use photos owned by another party without permission, it is unacceptable to steal our image and our bandwidth through linking directly to it.
Remove these photos at once, or we will take swift legal action.
Consider yourself warned.

At first I was a bit taken aback. Then I was disgruntled. I don't often like to be told what to do. Especially by unidentified internet marauders. I'm no business major, but I remember what I've been taught to do when someone crosses my legal or moral boundaries.

First, ask them nicely to stop or fix the problem. You'd be surprised how well most rational people respond when you explain to them that they are crossing a line.
If that fails, move on to the next step, explain what action will be taken if they don't comply. Try not to threaten at first. Threatening can sometimes scare people off but occasionally gets people to dig their heels in.
Finally, take whatever action you explained in step two.

Obviously this administrator did not learn these steps. He also failed to mention which picture to remove (I'm not an asshole I would remove them if it really ticks someone off) so I'm at a loss. I'm not about to go through all my linked pictures and delete them all. So now we get to the good legal part.

I'm a mother-fucking journalism major. So what? Well it means that not only have I studied media law, but I've also got a knack for turning up the truth of faulty claims. Lets look at the legal argument.

The claim is that I illegally stole his copyrighted material. The truth is, a lot of discussion is going on over what is legal and illegal on the internet. There's a good article about it from the NYT here. The people over at Bitlaw have a conservative but comprehensive look at internet law. In their section on links they explain the importance of linking. Really, linknig is the heart and soul of the internet. It lets you zip from one set of info to another. One possible argument, that I am passing the picture off as my own or that I am stealing it, are unfounded. That is mainly because it comes from the owners website and the people viewing my blog are technically the ones getting the image directed from the other site. The people at bit law say I might be a fault because my work is a derivative work, or a work that relies on someone else's copyrighted material. I cannot deny on firm ground that it is in fact a derivative work.

A Sticky situation? Well I have an ace up my sleeve. You see, I don't make any money off the truth blog. Not a single penny. And in copyright law there's this awesome little thing called The Fair Use Statute. I won't bore you by breaking it down point for point, but the main idea is, since I am making no profit off of the use of the image and since my link to the picture has no effect of the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work (he is not going to lose readers or $$$ for my use of the photo) then my use of the picture is protected under the fair use doctrine. BUTTTTTT...

There's this nasty little thing called the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act. It's part of this ridiculous Digital Millennium Copyright Act that Clinton signed into law. (You Legal Eagle's can check out the DCMA's Full Text) He might be able to get me with this one. This is some seriously vague legislation. It's really aimed at people stealing music, not hotlinking and using up bandwidth, however, it's quite possible it can be applied here. But in any case, before taking legal action, he would have to tell me exactly what copyrighted material I am infringing upon and request that I remove it.

And finally, his argument about stealing bandwidth, I guess all he said was linking to his picture and using his bandwidth is "unacceptable." It is probably a dick move and a breach of etiquette. But I'm not sure about the illegality. There are millions of people out there claiming it's illegal and not a single one backing that up with any documentation. I'm guessing that since you can protect it from happening if you want, leaving it unprotected means it's fair game. So to my anonymous commenter, I'd recommend going back to my three steps at the top of the post. Then figuring out exactly what picture is yours. And then writing me an e-mail. And Would it kill you to make it a nice one?
I'll add this to my hockey victory earlier to make that two on the day.
Light it up.

If you came here looking for the truth than tonight maybe you found it. Here's the truth: Don't be afraid to let something take you. Stand up. Admit you're not special. Realize when you've lost something good and don't ever forget when you won something only because you fought for it. You can come here day after day. You can watch 24 on Monday and Scrubs on Tuesday and West Wing on Wednesday and The O.C. on Thursday and Bernie Mac on Friday. But all it's going to do is numb you.

If you spend enough days sitting there letting all the stimulation run you and eating with sorority girls and convincing yourself that it's OK not to feel, that it's fine not to get worked up and there's no reason to stress you'll probably live longer. You can sit there in your rocking chair at 85, thinking of all the places you still want to go and reading my obituary. Our obituaries. Of all those people who died 10 years before you because they stressed out and they got worked up. They stared down someone ferociously and they let their hormones get the best of them and they drank pepto-bismol by the bottle to handle that stomach stress pains. They let themselves live on the edge, even though they were peeing their pants. It's been six weeks and four days since I've felt any emotion but agitated and helpless to make a change. It's been 47 weeks exactly since I've had a fire in my belly. A real one. The kind that makes you want to give up everything you have for something you love, for something you believe in.

I used to get ferocious. I could narrow my eyes into slits and grit my teeth and tighten my stomach and move like a tiger. And people would go "whoa, where did that come from?" From my belly, I told them. That's where everything you want comes from. It's the center of desire. You think it's a coincidence that the place you feel hunger is the same place that feel fear? Not a coincidence at all.

The next time someone tells you to just be happy with what you've got, smack them across the face. Love your life. Fill it up. Never stop filling it up. Fill it up with everything that's important and a couple things that aren't just for some contrast. Let stuff go. Make sure it's important stuff. Let it hurt when it's gone. Let it cut a hole in your life. Then patch it up and keep on going. Don't ever be full. Tomorrow I'm going to wake up and my stomach isn't going to growl, it's going to roar. And I'm going to feel something that I haven't felt in a long time. I'm going to feel empty. But empty with an appetite. And god be with anyone who gets between me and my meal. It's another perfect day.









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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Smug I Am

Baby don't whisper those things in my ear. You know I love you or I wouldn't be here. But I can't be that guy yet. How am I supposed to sing the blues if I get everything right the first time? If I'm twenty something and I get that job and a wife and a house in the hills. What the hell am I going to bleed? There's some hard times to come because underneat it all they got to. Maybe I want them to. And you gotta go far away. That's why we've got the telephone lines.

I said the very first day that I walked through the door at the journalism school that I never want to work for a newspaper. The journalism school is just a means to an end. But then they hammer you down. They sit you there with valadictorians and kids on academic scholarships and the teacher knows exactly what he is doing when he pokes us and prods us all into competing with each other. He makes you want to be better than those stuck-up private school kids. You gotta have the best stories and the wildest sources and the best quotes. And there's this crazy voice that grows in the back of your head. I have to be the best. I want to work for the New York Times. I want to work at the Washington Post. I'm going to be the best reporter that ever was. I wnat to be Jeff Jarvis, start a magazine like Entertainemnt Weekly and then have a blog where I get to have a running dialogue with the NYT executive editor.

Then one night you're sitting on the couch with some MSNBC reporter's mumbling dorwned out by the Marvin Gaye disc you just slipped on. And you're deftly unhooking Hawaiin Girl's bra behind her back with one hand, shirst still on. And all you can think about is how your story on gender roles in sports is going to knock the smug smile of that little reporting prick's face. Then just as you get your thumb and first finger in there enough throw open all three hook at once it hits you: I don't even want to be a fucking report anyways. Then you lose it.
Fuck.
I'm sorry baby.
It's not you.
I just have a few things to figure out.
Like how I'm going to wipe this smug smile off my own face.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The flu swept through my house like an Indonesian tidal wave. Not funny? Well after all four roommates adequately recovered from bedridden stupor to only a horrible hacking cough, the weekend was upon us. Finally I was confident enough to venture out into the chilly natural air. There was a sweet satisfaction that came with getting on the bus again and riding across town. Walking a few blocks and strolling up to the dimly-lit red-brick house around 10 P.M. And if I wasn't feeling healthy enough yet, the 10 perfectly-aged girls standing inside the doorway made me perk up quick. It's a tough life when the other kids who work in the sorority with you throw a party and invite only your co-workers and the 80 girls. You gotta bring your A game because it means you have to entertain about 10 ladies a piece. And the whole, "why don't you massage her back...that's it... now just give her a little kiss" routine will only give you about 45 good minutes of entertainment before they start to get restless. I would recommend a few other games. Spin the bottle is a classic for a reason. There's distance ping-pong ball shooting with no hands allowed. Don't forget the pinching game and of course the old but fantastic strip poker. How we went through 3 kegs I will never know. But plans are being formulated to make this a weekly occurrence.

And there you were waiting for me to wax all philosophic with you. While I was getting drunk with sorority girls. Shows what you know. Sucker.

Monday, February 14, 2005

A Tidbit For Your Ass

It was the kind of conversation you only have around sunset.

When the superficiality of the days starts to fade and all you’re left with is the sun-parched core of what’s real.

It’s the little things, he told me simply.

But as my eyes wandered from the ring of sweat encrusted on his cap to the remnants of weekly chores wedged under his fingernails, I could tell that he was not a man who paid great attention to detail.

He followed my gaze with his wise brown eyes.

Not those little things, He murmured.

Then what?

The ones you don’t expect.

The smell of a childhood friend’s house drifting on the breeze.

The smug expression of the turtles as they crawl by slowly but contented.

That way her hair felt in the afternoon rain.

But I can’t remember those.

You don’t have to.

They remember you.

And they will return to you when you need them.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

From The Second of July, 2004:

It's Friday afternoon and it's a holiday weekend and I didn't want to stay at home. So I called the boss and said, "I'm not coming in today." I didn't want to hang around so I went to the airport, cut the line and told the Lady at the counter, "I need to get to NYC RIGHT NOW!" and I flashed my US ******** Team ID card and she said, "Let me see here, I think we can do something for you." The next thing I know I was on a plane. And it's a holiday weekend so I decided fuck it and called the G2K from that phone in the seat back in front of me that no one ever uses because it expensive and anyone within 2 rows of you can hear the entire conversation. And what did I tell her? "meet me at Rockefeller center in 2 hours, we're going to see Conan." First she thought I was lying so I told her to look at her caller ID. She did and it said Somewhere over Ohio so she said, "oh snap, I'll meet you there."

And I took the subway. But I don't really know my way around so I got lost and barely made it. I was in NYC for 4th of July weekend to see the G2K and to see Conan and to say "fuck you" to any terrorist who thinks he can scare me this weekend by trying to blow something up. When I got to the NBC studios the G2K was waiting for me and even though I was worried about how she might look since I haven't seen her in almost 2 years she wasn't fat, in fact I think she was skinnier. And her hair was just the same length as I remembered it. We sat down and Cedric the Entertainer made me laugh and Jason Bateman was a tool and who the hell is Yoshi Amao and but I saw the Big Red Haired comical genius and after the show G2K squeezed my hand and whispered to me she had a surprise for me. She led me backstage to kick it with Conan. I told him he was really tall and he said that it was just the camera
lens that made him look tall but I said I was standing next to him and that there was no camera lens and he said that there is always a camera lens. It was weird and beautiful.


We hung out for a while and then she said, "lets go home" so we rolled to Grand Central and caught the commuter train. And now she's waiting for me upstairs. And I'm blogging. But the TMG stumbled onto my blog just and she called and asked where I was. I told her I was in NYC but she said, "I read that on your blog and I don't believe you." And I hadn't even posted it yet. She told me I had a lot of run on sentences. I told her it was for effect. She called me a tool but still she doesn't believe I am in NYC. So I told her that it's the motherfucking Truth Blog and to read the damn subtitle. Why doesn't anyone ever read the god damn subtitle?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

If You Came Looking for Wheat Fields You Will Be Disappointed

Sometimes I wonder if most of you are the kind who lay there staring up at the ceiling just waiting and wishing for something new to happen. Dying for that change to just jump you on some idle Tuesday while you're sitting in front of a screen or riding a bus or wasting away in class. Sometimes I play the keyboard like a piano. I'll have music rocking in the background and I'll stand up and kick back the desk chair. I'm pounding, pulsing, bobbing my head while my index and middle fingers scramble across the keyboard to cover all of the keys. Probably make some funny faces too. Sometimes I pound cause I'm on a role.

Sometimes I pound cause I hate everything about what I'm saying and about blogging. Sometimes it disgusts me. At the end of the day what do I have to show for myself except unintelligible 0's and 1's stored on some far-off server in a dark, climate controlled room. I walked by an architect surveying a site where a new building is going to be built. I sat there and watched him for about five minutes. Ah to build something with you hands, I thought. In a year or two that guy is going to stand in the exact same spot and radiate a paternal pride over his creation. And I'll just have a lot more words.

In another life I would have been an engineer. Maybe if they started dosing me with ritalin I could have done it. But instead my brain cells were flying around too fast to worry about adding fractions and drawing straight lines. I was too busy dreaming about Thundercats and Transformers. About girls and strangers and far off places I wanted to see. As soon as I have a house I'm going to buy an old car and an old motorcycle and I'm going to take them both completely apart until I touch every nut and bolt personally. But until then I guess I'll just have to be satisfied with days like today. With words. I put two valedictorians in their place before lunch. Then I interviewed THE Tony Pierce for an obviously-biased journalism piece about bloggers. Then I met with a reporter from CNN. If that's not enough I've got a night full of pretty girls and margaritas ahead.

But Afterwards I'm going to go home and stare at the ceiling just like you. I won't ask for any changes. No. I've been there. I'll just lie there waiting for that moment to come. When I breathe out long enough that my heart stops beating for just a second. When that voice in my head stops screaming "I want more." And everything's quiet. Finally quiet enough to spot that faint whisper coming from deep down. Finally enough to catch my soul mouth, ”Just right."

Monday, February 07, 2005

It didn't matter that my house sat at the top of a circle. I didn't care that the houses my four closest friends and I shared nearly the exact same floor plan. And it didn't matter that there was nothing to do. Ever. Wasting away in suburbia. We would hurl nerf projectiles at each other across the yard. We would play street hockey until the bright orange ball would slip away into darkness. We knew that one day we would have to fend for ourselves. But it didn't matter then. I could cross my back yard, hop the fence and be at Tank's front door. maybe 50 steps to Hyphen's front door. Just up the hill to JG's or the Almighty Quinn's. Summers by the pool.

Do you remember? when all we ever wanted was to be bigger. To be stronger. To get into all those places that were grownups only. We wanted to be listened to. When everyone talked to you like you were dumb but you already knew better. Look at those fools , we used to think.

Later We rode bikes to school. We had girlfriends and crushes and made fun of each other’s dick sizes. We wanted to be kings but we didn't realize that we already were. We wanted to run the world, to be the best, the smartest, we wanted to rise above it. Deep down we probably all still do. Each in his own way. And now we wear glasses and have tattoos and sideburns. Cars and girlfriends and maybe loans. We have futures but we also have some past. Something real. We can look back and see how far we've come.

People listen to us now. We go wherever we want and sometimes we don't even look back. And soon our games are gonna end. We'll think about these days. When we still dreamed for ourselves and not for our kids. When we dreamed of fighter pilots and astronauts and movie stars and musicians. of writers and professors and big cities. We'll remember before the time we made history. Our history When we thought we were so grown up but were still such stupid kids with nothing but dreams and words and whatever stuck between our ears. And realize we were kings.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Today I got two presents. One was a comment from Paige, who I would definitely ask out on a date if I lived in Canada, even though she isn't the dating type. Unfortunately, I don't think I can live up north because all my veins are close to my skin so I get cold really easily. Last time I was in Canada I got frostbite on the tip of my nose, but it was in Quebec so I just blamed it on the French. Anyhow, The other present was a pity gmail from, um, I think he's from here but my internet investigative skills have succumbed to my ADD.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the Hawaiian Girl is in Texas all weekend so I don’t' get to go on my self-proclaimed date with her until next weekend? You can chalk that one up on the list of Reasons Why I Fucking Hate Texas right below their incessantly poor skiing and their obsession with football. So in revenge, I went out with another one of my sorority-slave coworkers before dinner last night. We made a mini-vacation out of the beautiful weather we've got right now, put on our Hawaiian shirts, went to the deck-bar just around the corner and proceeded to drink Coronas until my stomach actually felt like we were in Mexico. Then we stumbled around the corner to the sorority for dinner, where we made sure that each and every one of them knew just how surly and drunk we could be. Needless to say it was not an awe-inspiring moment.

But unlike Thursday night, which I would love to tell you about except that I remember very little, last night we were on a mission to sober-up for my newest obsession: Ice hockey. I pay this university a good chunk of change every year and I've decided to get the most out of my money by abusing as many free programs and facilities as possible. So when I found out the Rec center offered free drop-in hockey at 11:30 p.m. every Friday, I decided that it didn't matter if I had been on skates maybe 5 times in my life (none of those in the past 10 years), I was going to learn how to play. Now 4 games and a couple of bruised limbs later, I not only learned how to hockey stop, but I even scored my first goal and ban inserting the i the word, "eh?" into as many sentences as possible (Maybe I have a chance with Paige after all).

And in a final note, we have had a dog staying here all week. He is leaving today. I love dogs. Usually dogs love me. But I learned that he doesn't like to be pet anywhere other that the top of his head the hard way. I gave the usually calming stomach rub which was followed up but a painful but not invasive finger-bite. I think the rule should be that if you are staying on my couch for the week, I should be allowed to at lest rub your tummy. So who needs a place to crash?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The design of www.lowculture.com is so smart I don't know why more of us aren't using it.
On the left: The bullshit we deal with everyday that doesn't really matter.
On the right: The bullshit we deal with everyday that matters.

On The Left: I was sitting at lunch today in the sorority(you didn't forget that I work in a sorority, did you?) with one of the maybe 4 girls I wouldn't kick out of bed after I'd gotten what I wanted from her. I was making fun of one of the standard Gucci girls and repeating how sorry I felt for that poor boyfriend who thinks he's found someone special. I had half the table laughing with me and all of them were girls. That's when the west coast girl with the Hawaiian name laughed, turned to me and said, "we need to hang out this semester. I only saw you once outside this house before break." And I said ya, but you're so tall I don't think we can do anything standing up. And I raised my bushy left eyebrow just enough for her to get it. She smiled. Then she got up said bye and walked off. And just before she walked out the back door, she peeked over at me just long enough to see me smittenly staring. And I was enjoying my stupid smirking too much to pretend like I wasn't staring.

Don't even know if she wanted to hang out or go out or chill out or fuck out. But then I remembered reading Tony's 5 tips about courting the ladies. And tip #1 was:

if you want to go on a date with a fine young woman, tell her that its a date. say, hey wanna go on a date? odds are she'll say yes. im 111 years old. ive asked a few girls out on dates. Im no puff daddy but rarely will a chickie pass up a chance to do something other than the same old same old on a friday night. so tell her whats up and that way everythings on the table.

So when I saw Hawaii Girl again at dinner, I asked her if she wanted to go out on a date. And she giggled. "I don't think anyone has ever asked me out so officially like that before." And I told her how I had to be official now that I am training to be a Secret Service agent. And right After I thought, damn, I should have said the XBI. But that's OK because if I hadn't already bagged it, that secret service line and the smile line pushed it over the top.


On The Right: Iraq is voting but far from democratic Social Security, State of the Union, Cheney in a fur-lined jacket. blah blah blah. This just in, no one has sent me a gmail in nearly 2 and half months now. Oh, andRoses really smell like pooh-pooh-pooh.