Playing with Gmail

As you may know, I work for Novell, and I lead their collaboration product line which for the last decade has centered around the GroupWise email and calendaring product. I’ve spent that entire decade “doing email.”

Google has their “Gmail” service in beta, and their approach looks unique. They’re paying for it by running ads based on the content of the message you’re reading, and instead of being able to file messages in folders, you categorize them and locate them via relevance searches.

The industry is abuzz about whether or not this will fly. Me, I’m doing a little investigation, trying out the beta product to see how it works. I’ve already changed to my gmail addy in my LJ profile (howard.tayler AT It’s going to restrict me to a web browser for these personal messages, but hey, it’s a research project.

I may redirect all my schlockmail there, too, for the time being. After all, the true test of a communications tool is how it holds up under load, and how effectively you communicate when you have to use it.


Eve 6 and Explicit Lyrics

It’s a real bummer discovering that your favorite song from one of your favorite bands has an “explicit” version in which you can FINALLY understand the lyrics, and they a) don’t make sense, and b) have completely gratuitous profanity.

The song is “Promise” by Eve 6.

Lemme say first that in general I love the lyrics from Eve 6. They’re evocative, poetic, and extremely literate. That they bind these lyrics to kickin’ crunch-chords and a great beat only improves the delivery.

I don’t get out and buy albums much anymore now that I’m not running sound for a comedy troupe, so the only Eve 6 album I have is their first one. Yesterday I bought some singles via iTunes, and I paid for “Promise” by Eve 6 twice — once for the non-explicit “radio” version, and once for the explicit version.

The lyric in question runs like this:

“I promise not to try not to [mute] with your mind”
In the non-explicit version the odd turn of grammar and the clutter of instruments masks what should have been obvious. Even if you’re not familiar with the song, you probably know what’s going to go in the [mute] spot.

Grrr… WHY?

Consider first the double-negative. “I promise not to try not to…” means, in effect, “I promise to.” In context, that’s not what’s meant, unless the singer is schizo. A simple change to “I promise that I’ll try not to…” would scan almost as well and make more sense.

Consider now the profanity. The phrase “f*** with your mind” is used all-too-conversationally these days, and is a cheap shot. Sure, sure, the metaphor is vivid: violation of intimately private spaces (the mind) with what SHOULD be intimately private tools (genitals). You take the concept of “rape” and blend it with the concept of “emotional abuse,” and you have a very powerful meme. Great. IT’S BEEN DONE. In the non-explicit version of the song, muting the f-word renders the whole phrase powerless. REPLACING the word, however… THAT would have been artistic.
“mess with your mind” may lack some of the power of the mindrape meme, but it’s alliterative. In the context of good song lyrics, it’s BETTER. Especially if you have to do a non-explicit version of the song. Grrr…

There’s a band that actually did this quite well. Nine Days, “Story of a Girl.” The non-explicit lyric is:
“How many lovers would stay
Just to put up with this every day and all day”

The explict one is :
“How many lovers would stay
Just to put up with this sh** day after day”

The non explicit lyric is more poetic, conveys more meaning (not just every day, but ALL day) and will reach a broader audience by virtue of it being non-explicit. My only gripe there is that when I bought the Nine Days album the version of the song I got was not the one I wanted.

Moral of the story: I’m glad I used iTunes. The lesson I learned yesterday only cost me 99 cents.


I’m back, I’m busy

Got back this morning around 10:00am. The hardwood floors here in the house are now refinished, and that means that instead of returning home to a nice nap on the couch, we came back to a nice move-the-couch-back-where-it-belongs.

Oh, and scripting, and coloring, and 200 unread Novell-related emails, and 500 Schlock-mails (most of those are spam), and Chronicles of Riddick opens today.

(I caught the 1:15 show).


Last Day…

I wish I’d brought my USB memory key. Then I could upload pictures for you right now, but as it is you’ll have to wait for me to get back tomorrow afternoon.

Yesterday Sandra and I hiked to the first and second tier of falls in Primrose Cirque (the half-bowl canyon thing that the Aspen Grove Family Camp sits in the base of.) The first falls are visible from camp, and you can grab a 60x spotting scope and get a really good look at them from the comfort of a lawn chair. The 2nd falls are hidden just above them in a little grotto, and are much more magical in appearance.

While looking through the scope I spotted a group of hikers coming down the mountain. We met them later as we hiked, and I told them I’d seen them — pointing out the blue sweat-pants with the white stripe, and the fact that they all had hiking staves. The kid with the sweats was a little spooked, but got over it.

Anyway, we hiked all morning with a couple of other grown-ups, and took lots of pictures which you can’t have because I didn’t want to spend the extra hour last Saturday running to the office to grab my USB key. On the way down we ran into Link’s age-group who were on their way up for a picnic. Fortunately they were not far enough into their hike for Link to beg to come back down with us. That’s happened before, back when I was the counselor with the crowd of 5-6 year-olds, and we ambushed a hapless pair of parents on our way up.

The morning of the hike was hot. By mid-afternoon clouds had rolled in. By evening it was drizzling. I snapped a photo of the cirque shrouded in mist on my way back to the cabin. During the night there was heavy rain, thunder, lightning, and the wondrous sleep I associate with that kind of weather.

This morning there was slush on the porch-rail, and snow only a few hundred feet above us. I went to the same spot where I’d shot the misty mountains, and got a shot of those same mountains dusted with new snow. I’ll post the photos later. The breakfast we had was perfect for the weather, and vice-versa: scrambled eggs with biscuits and gravy. I told the chef (John Thill) that he was going to have a hard time topping this one. The staff will expect this sort of serendipity in the meal planning every week.

Today all the kids are doing indoor games, because it’s cold and wet outside. The new Aspen Lodge here in the center of camp is just what I wish we’d had back when I worked here, and we had very, very FEW places to play with kids indoors on those two or three days during the 10-week summer when it rained hard enough to keep us inside.

This afternoon is supposed to be “Water Frolics,” a set of swimming-pool games. I have every intention of giving those a wide miss if they’re held at all.


Writer, Illustrator, Consumer