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An Announcement for Bastille Day 2010

Posted in 104, awesomeness, buy pile, comics, effectiveness, freedom, inspiration, mobile, n900, phones, science, smartphones, technology, wireless on July 14th, 2010 by Hannibal Tabu
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I’ve got something to tell you. Parts of it will be sprinkled all along this blog, but the stuff that may get people really talking about might be at the end. Just FYI.

For the last two years, I’ve had something on my mind that I want to share, and the date I pick is normally around the holiday known in some parts of the world as Bastille Day. The funny part is that I don’t even celebrate Bastille Day.

I’ve made no secret of my belief that Great Britain is probably the most vile nation to ever wipe its poo-caked hands across the earth, largely through their colonial sequel. There’s plenty of reasons to hate the French — ask the people of Senegal or Cote d’Ivoire, let alone any World War 2 enthusiast — but I don’t have any particular antipathy towards them over and above my general distaste for Earths imperial nations.

Still, the whole “storming the Bastille” idea always spoke to me, kind of like Guy Fawkes Day. Whether you win or not really isn’t the issue — you want your kids and their kids and their kids’ kids to know you didn’t bend over, relax your muscles and take it willingly. For years, my brain always perked up around July 14th or November 5th, like I should be doing more to try to take over the world.

So, when I was planning to launch the first version of The Hundred and Four, I chose Bastille Day because it was near SDCC (when lots of people would be reading my reviews column at CBR) and because I’d been working on it for a few months.

Not enough months by any stretch of the imagination, because within a year my ambitious little “online literary symposium and journal” fell to disrepair and neglect. Four grown men just couldn’t find the time, and that’s fine.

My second Bastille Day was a much less ambitious project — do a blog about stuff that wasn’t me. That didn’t seem so hard — most things aren’t me. I reviewed smartphones, I blathered about music and movies, I generally had a blast. However, in the end, the issues of syndication and dividing the very limited attention of whoever is willing to read my work seemed to make it a needless appendage, like a seventh toe. I’ve often used “simplify” as a motto, so I rolled the “brand” of the Hundred and Four into my main blog (as you see from the header above) and left the website as a random digital playpen for my own amusement that’s not seen by most of mankind.

I’m always working on a ton of projects. I have something in the works I’d have loved to make my Bastille Day announcement this year (as it did feel like something should happen), but the ink hasn’t even hit the paper, let alone had time to dry. There’s other things in the hamper — I’m also three quarters of the way done with my third novel, I’m reading poetry at the Fifth Annual Power of Art celebration, August 14th at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center (better announcement to come). There’s a million things that happen every day as a father and a husband that I could crow about, amazing accomplishments my wife or my daughters make.

Today, however, is something else.

Anyone who’s read my rantings regularly over the past year or two knows that I am superbly interested in mobile computing. I’ve spent a lot of mental energy (and actually a lot of money, when you look at my smartphone budget for 2010 alone) getting into the idea of the mobile experience. I’ve said often “apps are traps” and I don’t wanna spend the majority of my focus working on one platform (iOS, Android, Symbian, WebOS, et cetera) only to ignore the rest — the marketplace is too big for that. I like “thin clients” — mobile enabled websites that work just as well on virtually any web-enabled phone in the world.

So I built one.

The Operative Network: Mobile Edition

Coming at you through your smartphone now ...

With great pride and humility, I present to you The Mobile Edition of The Operative Network, which should work on anything from a Palm Treo or old-model Blackberry to the most powerful phones on the market. You can use the number keys on your phone to navigate. You can get a sampling of what you’d find on the “big” website (I hesitate to call it the “real” website, because the mobile site isn’t “fake” … stupid English language, another thing you can pin on Great Britain and their “the sun never sets on the British Empire” shtick), including poetry, fiction, my resume and even some mobile-exclusive stuff.

Remember what I said about stuff that might get people talking? Here we go.

In the blog section, not only can you get my world-watching “what fascinates me” linkroll (updated infrequently and incessantly, depending on when you look), but you can see the first 2,000 characters of the latest blog posted right here. Why not just do the whole thing? Couldn’t find an RSS reader that would work, or an easier way to syndicate to mobile. That could change.

Anyway, aside from all that, the crown jewel is the Tumblr-powered “Greatest Hits” page, which will spotlight/syndicate the best of all the areas of my interests — linkroll, Twitter (when I get back to it … oh, you didn’t know? I took ), blog … and it’ll feature “as-they-happen” sneak previews of my Buy Pile column. Between the hours of 5:30PM-9PM on Wednesdays, I’ll post quickie comments about how the comics are going, what looks likely, what looks terrible, what zaniness is happening in the shop like the epic Namor McKenzie vs. Comics Ink case, which remains some of the finest comics scholarship I’ve ever seen) and so on. That will not happen anywhere else. The “Greatest Hits” is a different experience than the Soapbox (“Didn’t you try that with the Hundred and Four and it didn’t work?” “Shut up, this is different, this time the Soapbox will help feed it … stop interrupting me!”) that will be exclusive to mobile visitors.

Why am I doing this? Well, I wanna start this as … hang on, almost let the cat out of the bag. Too soon. Suffice it to say, I’d like this to be a vanguard for more content from me, proliferated in more ways. I’ll take stuff from my Fictionaut page and repackage it there (particularly The Messenger). More poetry. More … Hannibal. I think that’s a good thing.

As with all things, your mileage may vary.

So that’s the news for this Bastille Day — Hannibal launched a mobile site. Thanks for reading and riding this far with me.

Playing (Music): “I’m Feeling Myself” by Nipsey Hu$$le feat. Lloyd

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The good, the bad, the ugly and the stupid

Posted in awesomeness, blame society, blog, blog fu, celebrities, culture, politics, science, wackness on June 1st, 2010 by Hannibal Tabu
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What is blog fu? This is blog-fu! Roundhouse kick to your consciousness, you beezy!

DON’T FEAR TOMORROW: First let’s look ahead in as optimistic a way as possible. Through plenipotentiaries, I found this page at Pink Tentacle, which outlines bold architectural plans from a Japanese construction firm called Shimizu. How bold? Well, their first plan is to surround the moon’s equator with solar panels and ship the energy back here with microwaves and lasers.

Solar panels on the moon

A Japanese company wants to surround the moon's equator with solar panels

Crazy talk? Of course it is. I can see far more potential for swaths of fiery destruction along the earth’s surface than wireless recharging for my smartphone. However, it could work, and in doing so could finally start the species moving up the Kardashev scale towards finally becoming a Type 1 Civilization. Bet big, win big, you know?

It has been said that the only thing nobody makes more of is land. These guys say screw that noise in a major way. Self-sustained environmentally sound floating cities. You know, for when you’re not vacationing in a space hotel or irrigating the deserts of the world. This sort of stuff really gets my brain going. I love it, even when they have no idea how to get there. Pick the spot, find the way.

TROUBLE TODAY: That was good for the future, right? Because stuff’s still all kinds of screwed up in the here and now, including this Guatemalan sinkhole which looks like it could swallow towns and dreams. It hungers! There seem to be a disproportionate number of high-body-count disasters in the “developing” parts of the world, but on the other hand, we’re saddled with Perez Hilton and Heidi what’s-her-name that can’t even eat due to installing the same high grade plastics they used to make Cher and Beyonce.

My home boy Craig is always tuned in to the BBC

Reality TV shmuck Heidi Montag has, at age 23, had more surgery than five normal people

SPEECHLESS: We did good, we did bad … right, “ugly.” How about this?

demotivational posters

That’s just not right at all.

JUST US: That sinkhole from a couple of paragraphs back is bad enough in and of itself, but then there’s also the chilling Supreme Court decision that … you know what, I don’t even need to tell you what’s wrong, that’s what Sonia Sotomayor is for … take it away, Sonia!

“Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent — which counterintuitively, requires them to speak,” she said. “At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so. Those results, in my view, find no basis in Miranda or our subsequent cases and are inconsistent with the fair-trial principles on which those precedents are grounded.”

I don’t care about the details of this one case (PDF). I care about the slippery slope that this decision creates, how much more leeway has been given to a law enforcement and judiciary structure that has a long, checkered history of miscarriages of justice from kings and commoners alike.

Stuff like this is why we’re stuck in a type zero civilization. Facepalm city.

Look … just try to figure something out, okay? Sheesh.

Playing (Music): “Power” by Kanye West (yes, it’s new music from ‘Ye — better get it while you can)

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Blog Fu: The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

Posted in business, history, music, science, society, sports, technology, warfare on July 30th, 2009 by Hannibal Tabu

“… if you ain’t hip to the rare house quake, shut up, already … damn!”

- I’ve been increasingly concerned about increases in the crazification factor of people wandering around in what I indulgently will refer to as “western society.” I’ve read recently about a 23-year-old pregnant woman found dead with (hang on) the baby cut out of her stomach.

Then there’s the Texas death row inmate convicted of stabbing his wife and baby to death, ripping their hearts out, and while waiting for his first trial (brace yourself) plucking out his own right eye and eating it before being considered “clearly ‘crazy,’ but he is also ’sane’ under Texas law,” or so Judge Cathy Cochran wrote in a 14-page statement accompanying the court’s brief order. Worst of all, he was Black. Like we needed that on our tally …

Speaking of Texas, don’t forget the woman who dismembered her newborn baby with a knife and two swords (wouldn’t expect a baby to put up that much of a fight) before eating parts of his body and brain before failing to kill herself.

Oddly enough, the one that bothered me the most is the 51-year-old mother who took her teenaged son hiking, waited until he was looking at scenery and then shot him to death, first in the head and then in the chest before eating a bullet herself. This after methodically disposing of a family pet, calmly buying the gun and composing a lengthy suicide note … that gave no reason why the boy had to die.

Now, anybody who’s ever read my work can attest to the fact that I have no overly sentimental attachment to life, human or otherwise. Death happens. I don’t think it’s a big deal. I once told someone that the only crime I couldn’t get my brain around was rape. Theft, sure, all day, makes sense, get yours. Murder? Well, yeah, there are times I can see people considering that the best choice. But these killings … I don’t get it. I’m nowhere near crazy enough to see the line of thinking that leads to these behaviors. Moreover, with the eye guy (who looks strangely like he could be related to Chris Brown, IMNSHO), the amount of focus you have to have to block out the make-you-pass-out levels of pain from plucking out your own eye, and then staying conscious through the shock and bleeding long enough to eat it … that’s the stuff of nightmares, in my mind. All this “oh, some people got shot” or “she ran them down with her car” stuff is pansy by comparison. I can’t even write stuff this bananas. So that’s been haunting me for a few days …

- At least they didn’t have sex with a horse … repeatedly.

- In completely unrelated news, UCLA will no longer allow the three-times-a-year Undie Run. This “tradition” started after I was long done with college, and involved the students of Cal State Westwood to boot, so I’d never even gotten close to it. But it seemed like a fun and largely harmless thing (what’s a few arrests, assaults and a burglary between friends?), so I’m almost sad to see it go in that it makes the city marginally less whimsical.

- Back to people getting killed, this at least made me laugh like a silly bastard: Cracked’s Five Real Life Soldiers Who Make Rambo Look Like a P***y. The Finnish sniper was fantastic, but the 19-year-old Yogreva Singh Yadav and US candidates Alvin York and Audie Murphy just made me giggle like a schoolgirl on E. All the fancy training, all the skills one can amass, and the second you find somebody who wants it more and catches you at the right time, boom, you’re in a bag. Ask those Soviet or Pakistani or German soldiers. Hilarity.

- Apparently, due to science and da intanet and what have you, women are getting statistically more beautiful in the US while men remain pretty much as we always were. Yeah, okay. I’ve got no argument there.

- How cool is the idea of transparent aluminum? Aside from the idea of a wrap you can cook in and see through, it apparently “created is a completely new state of matter nobody has seen before,” said Oxford University Department of Physics Professor Justin Wark. “Transparent aluminium is just the start. The physical properties of the matter we are creating are relevant to the conditions inside large planets, and we also hope that by studying it we can gain a greater understanding of what is going on during the creation of ‘miniature stars’ created by high-power laser implosions, which may one day allow the power of nuclear fusion to be harnessed here on Earth.” Now that’s cool.

- I don’t need to go into the Skip Gates thing — I’ve long said Yankee Black folk are way too comfortable with their fancy “freedom,” and need to be more strategic. No, I’m more bothered by the Nuttworld case where a Black man got hit in the face by a piece of wood-wielding white guy on a Bay Area street, and the eyewitness didn’t think to report it. Plus le change, plus le meme chose, fool.

- I am bothered, however, by how often I have to tell Black people that the great pyramids were not and could not have been built by slaves. Let alone that the only large influx of people into dynastic Egypt (Kemet) were not poor desert wanderers looking for freedom, but bloodthirsty invaders, so quash that theory as well. From non-Black people, this seems fairly predictable in a sad, mass-media-and-Charlton-Heston-influenced way. From Black people? It’s a tragedy, IMNSHO, to have so little regard for your own roots. Admittedly, this was an area of fairly intensive study for me, but still …

- Speaking of Africa, I’m consistently bothered by the fact that the continent is apparently connected to the net via an extension cord looped through the Nigerian equivalent of Pookie’s back window, especially because of how often it stops working. I need to find out what’s at the “good” end of that cable, and it’s hard to do since the official site looks like it was coded in 1997. Oy.

- Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not really out to get you. A military coup planned by Dubya’s granddad? Scientologists raiding the IRS? Explosion-proof Hitler? Cracked also noted seven insane conspiracies that actually happened including the tragic fate of Guy Fawkes (one day, I wanna write an alternative history story where he succeeded).

- Foxes in Germany steal shoes — pass it on.

- To celebrate his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, please enjoy the wit and wisdom of Rickey Henderson.

- I need to check out Street Sweeper Social Club, which is made up of Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello and the illustrious and praiseworthy leader of The Coup, Boots Riley. There’s also a new free song for download I wanna check out from Goapele.

- I guess this and this mean I’m never gonna get the $200 I was owed from that Luniz review I did while Jesse Washington was editor.

- I love taking a nap.

- To be honest, I don’t have a lot of the so-called 100 Essential Skills for Geeks … but I know some people who do. Those people are extraordinarily useful to know.

That’s more than enough for now, and my blog-fu file still has literally hundreds of links. Whee!

Playing (Music): “Cornbread” by Freestyle Fellowship

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