Friday September 29th, 2017 15:00 25 years too early

For whatever unholy reason, I’m still on Epitaph’s presser list, even though I haven’t written a single published graf in a decade. But I’m not going to be the one to take myself off, lest I miss learning about things like Propagandhi finally releasing a new album.

It’s been many, many years since I paid them much attention. In my reactive return to the album that made them instant punk legends, it did strike me how this little ditty was true in its time, but has never been more so than now:

(for those less adept at translating this type of vocal barrage)

Mark your point of failing. It begins where you concede.
Hesitate. Procrastinate. Sedating.
All configured to impede your path.
You need a good kick in the ass.
Now take a step back and have a long hard look.
Hold it to the light and read it like a book.
Analyze the past and present to see what is to come.
Now wrap your lips around the barrel of the gun.
Mark my point of failing. It began where I gave in.
Comfort. Convenience. Placating.
Construed to suck me in, to their trap.
I need a good kick in the ass.
As time passed I realized we don’t need rules to survive.
Just common sense and means to subsist.
So from here on in I will resist.
I’ve finally realized. I’ve found my way at last.
It’s finally evident.
We all need a kick in the ass.
The basis of change: educate! Derived from discussion,
not hate, not myth, not muscle, not etiquette.
Intellect, not “re-elect!”.
Status symbols yield to respect between sex, species, environment.

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Sunday November 22nd, 2015 02:06 Post change, ergo propter break

Every time I touch someone’s computer and, a week later, they wonder aloud (or in print) if it had something to do with what I did, this plays in my head:

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Friday August 8th, 2014 00:19 The Amazingly Ignoble Spiderman

After having read quite a number of review titles – I never read reviews before seeing a movie if I can help it – and playing the truly awful PS game, I was avoiding watching Amazing Spiderman 2.

I’ll not go into the whole thing, but it took a mere 20 minutes for them to get to the thing which bugs me the most about both of the recent movie series: Spiderman is not a weepy little twat.

In this incarnation, he gives up on dating Gwen because he’s seeing images of her father everywhere and it’s making him feel so bad and he promised and so sad and…


The reason I find the Spiderman story so compelling is because his character is built on tough decisions, consequences and how he deals with them. When he decided to walk away from Gwen, it was about the lesson he learned from Uncle Ben’s death and his desire to protect Gwen even if it meant they couldn’t be together and his responsibility to the city and oh my god so much more than some whiny teenager whose feelings make him go pee-pee in his underoos.

Spiderman is a character of strength and sorrow, stature and selfishness, survival and susceptibility.

And he deserves better than this.

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Tuesday October 22nd, 2013 01:39 In which Will Smith attempts to shed his last remaining goodwill from the Fresh Prince

I just had the displeasure to watch After Earth.


This one really got to me. Why? Because it was good filmed entertainment while still managing to be a horrible movie.

Let me splain:

Ignoring any and all markers of quality, it was enjoyable. There was some suspense and action and it moved along at a good pace. They set up a story, told it and concluded it. From the ‘I want things to happen in front of my face such that I get the sensation that a movie is occurring’ standpoint, you can’t go wrong.

In every other aspect, they did.

We won’t cover all the points, as the major ones are far more than sufficient.

For starters, they made me wait a half an hour before I knew why I should give a shit about what happened in the first half an hour. Not in a clever, suspenseful, can’t-wait-to-find-out way. More like running someone over with your car, then driving on to the hospital to let the EMTs know where to pick him up.

This is a two character movie. Up until the point at which they made their casually-located revelation – that the kid had a sister who protected him from an evil monster while dad was away, and they now blame each other for the incident – all I have to go on is that Junior wants to impress Daddy, but he’s a bit of a failure (and whiny to boot) while Daddy is a stereotypical dickish military father.

Pro tip: when you write a movie and keep things from the audience, let the words ‘critical character development plot point’ serve as a danger sign.

I needed to know that up front, so I could build a mental image of their relationship such that, later on when that relationship is tested, I can view any successes as a triumphant overcoming of past troubles.

Which I did not.

This story is really rather good in concept. Come on. Humans flee earth then, by horrible happenstance, a boy and his father end up back on the now-overrun by hyper-evolved killer animals planet, where the boy must face his fears and the father his misplaced emotions to simultaneously survive and forge a deep bond that transcends years of family strife? Um, yeah. I’ll watch that.

But not if you’re going to fuck up the order of the story.

Or if you’re going to put Jaden Smith in it.

Okay, when he was young and cute, he and his dad did Pursuit of Happyness and it was great.

As a teenager, he’s a kid whose range extends no further than the fact that he was born with a permanent look of worry on his face.

The movie is 100 minutes long. He is angry for four of them, angry-crying for three, pathetic-attempt-at-badass-faced for two. Little bastard was worried/scared for the other 91.

We get it, Will. You’re proud of your son. That’s wonderful. Now keep him the fuck away from the set while Daddy is working.

While you’re at it, buddy: every single hardass military father in every even halfway decent movie that’s had one has taken a second or two to show a little emotion to the inevitable child character in the film. Did you have bad plastic surgery, or is that the face of a man who just realized that his son is a crap actor?

Whew. Glad I got that off my chest.

Now to go watch a movie with a military father-son combo in which unavoidable circumstances forces a cooperation that makes the young strong and the old look deep inside to face the long-dormant feelings within.

I’m shooting for something better than After Earth.

Major Payne will do.

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Wednesday August 21st, 2013 16:41 How to lose friends and destroy television shows

I’ve been watching Naruto for a decade now. Just that. No other anime, except for the occasional movie.

That was up until I heard about Attack On Titan. I’m thoroughly glad that I decided to give it a shot, because it is amazeballs. The story is complex and full of satire and social commentary. The main characters seem to get deeper by the second, always with hints that there is much more to know. The animation is absolutely superb.

After that, I had to ask: what else am I missing?

Since I have a Cruchyroll subscription, I just added a bunch of things to my queue that seemed interesting at first glance. One of which being Sword Art Online.


Once again, I was blown away by what I saw. What an incredibly clever premise: maker of immersive virtual reality game holds 10,000 players hostage in the game world so that their virtual deaths become physical and the only chance of escape is total victory. Then they went and animated it beautifully.

Couldn’t. Stop. Watching.

For about 6 episodes.

I have never seen a good thing go so badly so quickly. Before I knew it, they were throwing out the game rules (which makes so much sense for people literally trapped in a computer system), the characters had massive, inexplicable shifts (hey, girl who is a total badass: could you suddenly turn into Scarlett O’Hara, but bring back the badassness when it’s convenient?) and plot ‘twists’ that left more questions than they answered, which would have bothered me if I cared to ask in the first place (the final boss is actually the in-game character of the crazy game creator who was pretending to be a player and he decides, for practically no reason at all, to challenge the main character to a duel that ends the game only 3/4 of the way through).

They spent all of eleven 20-minute episodes (I’m ignoring the bit where our two heroes literally take a break and go hang out by a lake for three full episodes) on the entire game. The entire, 100-level MMORPG that, according to the story, lasted two full years.

I was more than a little pissed off about that experience.

Not to say that I stopped watching. Because now it’s total train-wreck syndrome. The big hero is now back in another VR game where he’s – no joke – a fairy and his in-game wife from SAO has had her living consciousness magically transferred between games by a rapey-eyed subordinate of her IRL software-exec father. He’s keeping her locked in a birdcage and ruling over fairyland in between implementations of his not-at-all-psychotic ‘I’ll molest her until it makes her want it’ plan.

Sad to say that you can, in fact, make this shit up. You just shouldn’t.


Since writing, I’ve watched four – four – more episodes, and they have managed to introduce a cousin-incest love interest and a spot of tentacle molestation. Jeebus.

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Tuesday June 25th, 2013 14:57 This is not George McFly


Last night, I got a chance to see the first of three in-person appearances by Crispin Hellion Glover at IFC Center. For this one, he was doing a dramatic reading of his books and showing his 2007 film, It is fine! Everything is fine. along with a Q&A afterwards.

I always knew that the dude was weird. But that was stone cold nuts.

The dramatic reading of his “books” – which are cobblings of 19th century novels that have a grand total of zero to do with the original story – was definitely the highlight of the evening. He was all over the map, skipping huge sections of pages for no apparent reason while meticulously reading every word of others. Kind of like a Speak and Spell on meth.

Standing up on the stage right next to giant projections of each page, he got way into it with hand motions and very deliberate walks back and forth. Never more so than in the one book that has no physical version – the rest he actually cut and pasted and drew – which just so happened to be entirely in German.

He managed to be hilarious and deadly serious, which played directly into one of his rambling answers to an audience question, which we’ll get to later.

Let’s talk about this movie for a second.

Immediately upon departure, my first palpable thought was: Well, I guess I can cross ‘seeing a 60-something man with severe cerebal palsy getting a hummer from a 20-something redhead’ off my list.

Because that very much did happen.

The basic plot was that this guy, Steven C. Stewart who is very real and does have c.p. and in fact wrote the movie, goes about romancing, seducing and sleeping with a bunch of young, beautiful women, and then he kills them.

Hope you’re not waiting for more. I’m done explaining the plot.

So, I sat there for 74 minutes in a constant state of ‘no way he…she wouldn’t…is she gonna…oh what the…seriously?’

It was only afterward, during the Q&A, that I even learned that Stewart had written the movie and that the inexplicable nursing home scenes at the beginning and end were in fact “reality” and the entire middle was a dark fantasy sequence. Also, it was a fantasy he concocted while he was, in real life, shoved into a nursing home by his family and kept there for 10 years.

Not only was he trapped in his body, but now his trap was trapped. Can’t blame a guy for having some pretty dark thoughts then.

Stewart wrote the movie with the intention of it being a 70s horror-movie-of-the-week style picture. So the bad dialogue (note: I could only understand him 10% of the time, so I’m just assuming his was equally bad) and odd settings and obviously too-good-looking women were intentional.

He set out to “show that a person which a severe handicap and disabilities have feeling to and sometimes can go over the edge”, and definitely accomplished that goal.

Well, after I figured out that was the goal.

WTF, man? That’s like sending a guy into an industrial building then calling him an hour later to say “By the way, the sprinkler system shoots out concentrated sulfuric acid every 20 minutes, so watch out for that. Hello?”

If I’m going to see a 60-year-old’s junk, I want a goddamn good reason. Beforehand.

Crispin’s Q&A went on to discuss his distaste for corporately funded and distributed movies and the homogenization therof, with which I totally agree. He discussed the lack of philosophically challenging material and the fact that while playing tragedy as comedy is common, playing comedy as tragedy is a far finer art that is rarely seen anymore.

Well, of course it’s not going to be seen if you have to explain it to people before they see it.

Because the other thing you don’t see much anymore is indie directors who will give the audience a break by just telling the story instead of forcing unnecessary psudeo-artistry upon it.

All he had to do was a two-second effect, right at the beginning, when Stewart fell over and hit his head to indicate that the rest of the thing is a fantasy. Or, if that seemed a bit obvious, absolutely anything else that might indicate that you mean one thing to be real and the other not. That wouldn’t have taken the impact down a single notch. In fact, it would have played even better into the 70s tv movie aspect.

Being obtuse is not the same as being creative, McFly.

So, with some hindsight, it was in fact a very good movie that erroneously assumed that the audience knew what was going on in advance.

Oh, and a special p.s. to my fellow audience members:

You suck.

There was one decent, simple question: What were your influences for this movie?

If you knew anything about Crispin Glover, you knew that the answer would turn out like it did. It was a 30-minute ramblefest that touched on about 10 different aspects of this movie, his other movies, his career, his dealings with theaters, his opinions on the modern movie scene, etc. etc.

I was there to hear him talk. I’m fine with a ramblefest. What I’m not fine with is each subsequent dickhead making their “question” less about getting an answer than getting the particular answer they wanted.

First there was the rambling stoner who wouldn’t shut up after he’d had a response to six different parts of his dribbling prattle, none of which contained an actual poser. Then, the ‘I’m a disabled performer’ girl who felt the need to not only mention that, but the names of all the related organizations she belongs, then directly telling Glover that making this movie constitutes activism despite him repeatedly saying that activism had nothing to do with it. Hers was a simple casting question, once we got around to it.

I walked out just after the ‘guy who didn’t have any original thoughts and obviously waited to ask a question until he could form something intelligent-sounding from bits of other questions and answers mashed together.’

Thanks, guys. All I wanted was a picture with Crispin, and you ruined it.

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Wednesday June 12th, 2013 00:10 The folly and virtue of long-held loyalty

Today was a good day.

An expensive one, but a good one nonetheless.

I scored tickets to the long-awaited NIN they’re-not-calling-it-a-reunion-of-which-I’m-glad-because-we-never-considered-them-to-be-broken-up-anyway Tour.

for short.

Last weekend, however, I was at a party with some fine folks at which it was discussed that young kids lack the deep devotion to music that so many previous ones held. They don’t identify themselves with a genre or even very general swath. They don’t really care about the lyrics or whether or not they even agree with them once they do find out what they are.

Doubtlessly there are exceptions, and those lucky few will likely get to experience something like this. The immutable excitement of getting to once again see a band you’ve loved – I still listen to Ghosts all the time kind of love – for what not only seems like but is damn close to your entire life.

It’s been   censored   years since I’ve seen them. There are many bands that I can say that about. But you don’t get like this for the ones you haven’t followed every step of the way since.

This is all a bit of a turn from last night, when I once again completely changed my video game loyalty.

Because this:

I heard all that I needed to hear in those two divergent E3 performances.

Five years ago, I had never bought a single thing that wasn’t Nintendo. True, my brother had a Sega Genesis when we were kids. I just barely touched the thing. Still, the Wii was seriously disappointing and I’d just come to NYC to live in a tiny little apartment where swinging your arms around to play a game was less than practical.

So I went and got the best system at the time: a 360. There were more games and Sony was acting a fool all the time. It was a no-brainer.

The tables have turned. Microsoft’s playing NSA Spy-At-Home with an always-on Kinect and required Internet check-ins with Mom and simply insane used game policy.


I’m the type who hears “you can’t do that with this software and hardware” as a likely-won challenge. Even normal people were screaming for joy when Sony announced they’re not pulling any of that crap. Again: no-brainer.

I haven’t always been right in choosing which loyalties to hold on to and which to abandon. But man, did I nail those two.

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Saturday May 25th, 2013 10:37 I am not a Millenial

I tried to read through this, one of the latest “let’s try to break down the new generation” stories, but I am so done with this whole thing.

I am so very, very tired of people defining everyone born after ’79 as a goddamn Millenial.

I was born in January of 1983, and every single time I read one of these diatribes, there is a blanket look of confusion and surprise plastered across my face at all the things that these kids don’t know and never experienced.


The truth is: there is very little difference between me and any given person who was born in 1978.

I loved my Gremlins 45s with the read-along books. In 1994, I was distraught over Kurt Cobain’s suicide because I did and still do love Nirvana. I also remember watching the white bronco that year. My first R-rated movie was Total Recall. I never wanted to be someone else so badly as when I first met Bastian. I know how to operate a reel-to-reel. My brother and I drove the shit out of our aunt demanding to see her recorded-from-NBC-with-the-original-commercials-intact copies of Star Wars all the time because we did not yet have a VHS player at home. I had the Enter Sandman/Stone Cold Crazy cassingle. Friday visits to the video store were a religion. The elder Bush’s presidency is a clear memory, as is the end of Reagan’s. It was a crushing disappointment when I learned how unlikely it would be for me to be a contestant on Legends of the Hidden Temple, despite the fact that it was filmed just a few hours drive away. My first video game was not on an NES. It was Mattel electronic football (which I remember as being a lot bigger).

Look, I got a million of these. The point being: what in the holy fuck do these people think I have in common with a 10-year-old?

We’re not the same generation. We’re barely the same species.

People, particularly people who get paid to write authoritatively about this topic, need to get it through their thick skulls that generational striations have become incredibly thin. Think, McFly. Think.

See? A reference I can make because I saw the damn thing in the 80s. Both sequels: in the theater. Find me a teenager who knows about velcro-topped basketball shoes.

My wife was born in 1986, and her sister is from ’89. While the two of us have a strong cultural/experiential connection, we don’t know what the hell her sister is talking about half the time. Her brother, who’s just turning 21, makes sense far less than that.

It’s an insult to me to say that I am of the same stock as people who’s first memory of Alfonso Ribeiro is from The Fresh Prince and not Silver Spoons. And it’s an insult to those people to tell them that they’re no different from someone who didn’t exist before iPods.

I don’t know how the generations should be broken up. I’m not an anthropologist nor do I have enough concept of what younger people experienced to draw those kinds of lines. But I do know that the line, as it exists now, is way off.

So until that’s fixed, stop calling me a Millenial.

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Friday April 26th, 2013 10:57 The Shining on the big screen: Mind. Blown.

I am generally fine with watching portions of our culture wither away and die.

Newspapers, video rental stores, AOL, the Republican Party, etc.

But I pray to His Noodly Appendage that the small theater sticks around until after I am gone.

The IFC center showed The Shining all month as part of a Stanley Kubrick series. The marquee caught the eye of myself and a friend when out one night, and we immediately decided that we had to experience it the way people did 33 years ago.

At first I was all:

In my defense, that thing starts out sssssslllllloooooowwwwww.

It was just kind of cool to be seeing it in a different setting and on a really large screen. Nothing special.

Then I got a bit:

The vastness of the settings and the moodiness really began to wrap around me after a while. Being 16 inches from the person next to me didn’t detract much from the sense of isolation that Kubrick managed to create through shot after shot of showing the characters as tiny in comparison to their surroundings. And being in front of a giant screen, inundated with these images, further reinforced the feeling.

Wasn’t too much longer before I was:

I think that everyone should know the name Kryzysztof Penderecki. Though, it’s hard to truly appreciate his work on this movie without seeing it in the theater. Knowing how haunting the music is at home, I thought nothing of preparing for that aspect. Then the volume hit me.

At home, the high-pitched whines and jumpy strings are guaranteed to make you adjust the volume, or at least think about it. In the theater, it’s significantly louder than any reasonable person would play it in their house. At times, it’s downright uncomfortable. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Now you’re isolated and having unpleasant things forced on your brain. I didn’t even notice at the time that the tiny-person-big-background shots started to come in closer and closer as Jack descends into madness.

By the time that axe comes out, you’re very:


Now you’re seeing all kinds of completely fucked up shit and it’s moving ten times faster than before and that music is still pounding against your skull and you manage to forget the anticipation despite having seen this movie 20 times before and then that bitch sitting next to you laughs at the “Here’s Johnny” bit and it’s only for a second that you consider chopping her up for ruining the moment with whatever happens to be handy but it’s only one more second before you don’t have a choice but to go back to watching because oh my fucking god this is infinitely better in the theater.

There was a time before I was born when directors used the theater as part of their art. You knew your viewer would be watching under a specific set of conditions because there were no other options. You couldn’t rent a movie reel for your home projector. You see it in the theater, while it’s running, or not at all.

The Shining came out at a time when VHS was around, so Kubrick wasn’t technically bound by this structure. Didn’t stop him from exploiting it and making something that was best experienced within those confines. I can only imagine how seeing that movie in that setting for the first time would have been terrifying.

Downside of all this: that copy I have at home is now totally useless. It will never again be more than a shadow of the real thing.

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Tuesday August 14th, 2012 20:20 Let the geek wars re-begin…for the thousandth time

Gee, thanks for bringing up that shameless linkbait trash from Forbes that all of us successfully forgot about months ago. Particularly with an opening graf that so clearly shows that you’re way behind on this idea (Or perhaps I was asleep when everyone chimed in back in March to say that the first they ever heard the term “fake geek girl” was in fucking Forbes).

This latest in the monumentally stupid “what’s a geek?” moron-a-thon, like many of the others, makes some salient points. And, like virtually all the others, misses the point entirely.

The original post got so close to it. Even referenced Oswalt’s famous piece. Too bad she had absolutely no understanding of purpose behind the saturation-until-destruction theory, nor was her extremely random list of four maybe-a-geek-thing-provided-the-right-context-and-a-lot-more-detail self-proving points.

The new one whines on an on about how it’s so hard for a girl who considers herself a geek, paying absolutely no (due) deference to the generations before her who didn’t get to write about this on the Internet, not only achieving a more complete catharsis than saying it out loud, but being almost immediately lauded with praise and beset by agreement. This after making the tired “there’s no test for being a geek” argument (while dropping a reference to her love of Farscape) that every whiny little blogger makes when someone challenges them to put up or shut up.

Because, people, there is a test. And you have to pass it to be a geek.

And this test is hard.

There is no general list of things to know about. The list is extremely specific. It is specific to the thing you love and obsess over.

Provided that the thing you love is not some pop-culture nonsense like the color of each Kardashian’s stool from last Tuesday.

Nobody gets to be a general “geek”. You get to be a geek about this thing or that thing or a dozen things at once.

But you still have to pass the test.

You have to know more about that than any casually-interested person ever will or ever will care to. Way more. Because it matters to you. It’s important.

Me? I need to watch every episode of Doctor Who or Naruto the second it arrives. I’ve pretended like I could wait and get double the awesomeness the next week around, but that doesn’t happen. And Naruto has filler. Bad filler. About 200 episodes of it. Maybe if they go through some more filler before then next iteration, I’ll watch the entire Doctor Who 2005 series again. But I can’t do that, because I’m on season 5 of Gilmore Girls because when I went back to watch the first one, I just kept going and went all the way through again. Plus, I was planning to do all of Buffy again next. Doesn’t really matter though, because I’m starting to be able to play out the scripts to all of them, plus about 6 other shows, without turning the set on.

I added on the extra package storage to my bases on Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances. But it’s pointless. I’m never away from the game. I collect them practically the minute they arrive. I’m online 18 hours a day there and think about every possible configuration and attack path and how much time or resources each individual action will take and whether my long-term strategy is really a good idea and how can I experiment with other methods before it gets too late to change it all up again.

I could single-handedly bring down Vegas with my brand new game “Has Kyle seen this movie?” Every deadbeat in town can just spend a couple hours betting on “yes” before he begins yet another failed craps marathon and that cycle plus the infinite free drinks they hand out would run them to ruin. I have seen so many movies that Kevin Bacon is no longer required for the Six Degrees game, though he really does help it along. So many of them have been bad, yet I haven’t given up on more than 2 or 3, ever.

These are the things I haven’t become so entrenched in that I’m now paid to do them.

Still, I don’t pass the test as, for instance, a Doctor Who geek. My friend Vivian is one. She’s seen all the shows, reads the comics, goes to Gallifrey every year and wiled her way into lunch with some of the writers. I’m neither a proper “gamer.” Can’t rifle off characters from long-gone Sega franchises, only know of some of the upcoming releases. My ‘cred’ is limited to the fact that, when I really like a particular game, I play it into the ground. So too with movies. Ebert could wipe the floor with me as could a non-arthouse film student (I loathe and don’t count their knowledge of movies that are only entertaining if you’re someone who makes boring movies just like them. Watch some Whedon, assholes).

Could do all these things too. Don’t. Just like those things a lot and they’re easy to get into so I happen to participate frequently. Watched the shows and the movies, played the games. Stopped there. Dedication, not obsession.

The computer geek test is passed with flying colors. Not just because of my current knowledge. If I don’t know how to do something, I figure it out even if I didn’t need to do it in the first place. Asking someone else to do it is a last resort and they damn well better show me how so I don’t have to repeat that shaming. Were Ed McMahon dug up to hand me an oversized check, I’d go back to school and get myself so many degrees that I could build one from raw materials.

Could not do all these things. Do. Can’t help myself. It’s a level at which I’m only ever pretending to not be absolutely astonished that everyone on the planet isn’t as fascinated as I am and that those that find it fascinating are so foolish or lazy that they’re not doing anything about it. Do they not see? Do they not understand? Because, me, I need this.

This is, in my eyes, the core of the Oswalt Principle™.

That’s what it used to be about and until we get back there a lot of people are just wasting a lot of breath and sounding stupid while doing it.

In: Computers, Music/Movies/TV, OtherNo Comments


IT guy, dev, designer, writer.

Got a degree in print journalism from UF but history dealt some bad cards to that industry, so I moved back to an earlier love: the computer.

Was recently at ZMOS Networks, but am now the Senior IT Associate at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

My name is moderately common, as are a couple screen names, so always look for the logo to make sure you're reading something with official Km approval.

You can get to me directly with kyle(@)