Sunday, December 17, 2006

One More Lap

And then there was one. Just finished up the penultimate semester before graduation and I am exhausted. I didn't take as many credits as the semester before but this one kicked my ass a little bit harder.

At least I never have to speak French like a performing monkey ever again.

I have three weeks to prepare for the last burst around the track. That means the resume is getting updated and the list of companies is being compiled, the Monster and Dice accounts are being re-activated. Should probably put up a regular kind of website as well.

Next semester is gonna be glorious.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hey Jim Nussle,


You smarmy, greasy political climber. I hope you choke on it as you waddle your fat ass off into political obscurity.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Internalized Barriers to Accomplishment

I started writing again last week and here I sit, after stringing together three days of work on a story, I ran into a big honking roadblock, me.

When you read about writing (something I do way too much of) one of the cardinal tenets of the faith is that you have to write something every day, no excuses. The reason for this bit of dogma is two-fold. First, writing everyday develops a habit. If you write everyday, not only does the quality of your writing improve (theoretically), you are more likely to brush aside the transient distractions of the moment to sit down and start typing. The second reason is that it's harder to get back into the groove if you skip a day.

So what's the deal? Why have I honked off the past couple of days and gotten out of my little groove? I'd like to think that it was because life got in the way, but that wouldn't be the truth. The only real thing I've had to do this summer was show up at eight a.m. for a two hour calculus class.

Why am I sitting here typing this out for free when I could be putting some work in on a story that could be sold?

Why do I sit at the computer and create an excel spreadsheet to track what work I've done like record ideas, keep tabs on my progress on those ideas and hopefully track submissions down the line? I could be working on one of two stories that are already open in Word.

Why do I sit down and cruise the internet, reading message boards and blogs that I'm only marginally interested in?

Why do I continue to sabotage myself? Why do I consistently step on the little seedling of writing aspiration that pops up from time to time?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Interesting Quotable

I saw Clerks II yesterday. Overall a good flick which I think might actually be the best one yet. I was worried that the fat guy who made Clerks back in '94 wasn't going to be able to make a movie in the same spirit because he was so far removed from the place where his main characters were at. I was wrong, he did a good job, but I still don't know how the fuck that movie made it past the MPAA.

Anyway, I was reading his blog and went backwards a ways until I came across an entry about all the good ideas he had, but never acted on. This quote jumped out at me:

"When you’ve got what you feel is a cool, original story to tell… fucking tell it quick. Because if you don’t, sooner or later, someone else will."

"Keep Your Jesus Off My Penis"

One of the things that annoys me about the True Believers (tm) is their insistence that any criticism of their religion (fuck the other ones) is somehow an attack, even when it's a legitimate criticism. "How can you be so cruel as to say that religion may not be the best thing to ever happen to humanity?" they wail and cry, gnashing their teeth for theatrical effect. Instead of taking a critical look at their religion (both the tenets of their faith AND the history of their respective institutions) they just piss and moan about always being under attack by the moral degenerates who don't agree with their particular brand of superstition. All the while, they remain blissfully ignorant of the real reason they piss a lot of people off.

If you are a True Believer (tm), I'd like you to lean in closer and read the following very carefully. I'm about to lay some wisdom on you. Take this information to heart, and you may no longer get the eye-roll from many of the people that you talk to. This could lead to a much healthier social life that expands beyond your fellow Sunday morning faith warriors. Get ready, here it comes:

Some people aren't interested in your god.

There it is. Now go ye forth and cease to annoy.

BTW, check this little ditty out. I think it sums up pretty well how most people feel about the True Believers (tm) and their insistence that everyone else play by their rules. (First time I've tried to embed a YouTube. Hope it works.)

**Disclaimer: Many religious people are perfectly content to keep their religion to themselves and go about their business without being an annoyance (as far as religion goes, anyway.) If you are one of this seemingly vast, silent majority, I'm not talking about you. You're fine, go forth and leave me the fuck alone.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Let's try this again

So I started writing again. I've been playing with it on and off since I was in high school, but was never able to keep it up long enough to get published. Oh shit, who am I kidding? I haven't been able to finish a story yet.

Why the change now? I finally got the DVD for American Splendor a couple of weeks ago and it may seem strange, but it kind of inspired me. Yeah, Harvey Pekar may not be a paragon of publishing success like the Harry Potter chick, but he was able to get off his ass and DO something instead of spending his life as a down in the heels government file clerk flunkie.

I guess that means that I will maybe start writing about my writing as an exercise and maybe even post updates about my progress. Maybe that would actually be a decent motivator, who knows? Probably also add some links to writers resources I will find down the road.

Wish me luck, fellow ponderers.

BTW, 401 words.

Friday, July 07, 2006

In Dishoner of Ken Lay

The motherfucker should have died in a cage, not a soft bed at his palatial Colorado vacation home.

In Dishoner of a Real and True Son of a Bitch:

Mr. Bad Example
by Warren Zevon

I started as an alter boy, working at the church
Learning all my holy moves, doing some research
Which led me to a cash box, labeled "Children's Fund"
I'd leave the change, and tuck the bills inside my cummerbund

I got a part-time job at my father's carpet store
Laying tackless stripping, and housewives by the score
I loaded up their furniture, and took it to Spokane
And auctioned off every last naugahyde divan

I'm very well aquainted with the seven deadly sins
I keep a busy schedule trying to fit them in
I'm proud to be a glutton, and I don't have time for sloth
I'm greedy, and I'm angry, and I don't care who I cross

I'm Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
I like to have a good time, and I don't care who gets hurt
I'm Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
I'll live to be a hundred, and go down in infamy

Of course I went to law school and took a law degree
And counseled all my clients to plead insanity
Then worked in hair replacement, swindling the bald
Where very few are chosen, and fewer still are called

Then on to Monte Carlo to play chemin de fer
I threw away the fortune I made transplanting hair
I put my last few francs down on a prostitute
Who took me up to her room to perform the flag salute

Whereupon I stole her passport and her wig
And headed for the airport and the midnight flight, you dig?
And fourteen hours later I was down in Adelaide
Looking through the want ads sipping Fosters in the shade

I opened up an agency somewhere down the line
To hire aboriginals to work the opal mines
But I attached their wages and took a whopping cut
And whisked away their workman's comp and pauperized the lot

I'm Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
I like to have a good time, and I don't care who gets hurt
I'm Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
I'll live to be a hundred and go down in infamy

I bought a first class ticket on Malaysian Air
And landed in Sri Lanka none the worse for wear
I'm thinking of retiring from all my dirty deals
I'll see you in the next life, wake me up for meals

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Insert Ben Franklin "Security and Freedom" quote here

The two historical Americans I hold in highest regard are Ben Franklin and Mark Twain. Ben Franklin made more of his talents and circumstances than arguably any person in the history and pre-history of humanity. Mark Twain was the most brilliant American writer to ever put ink on a piece of paper. The world could be a much better place if they came back and contributed their impressive talents again.

I'm loathe to utter a cliche, but sometimes a cliche is so fundamentally apropriate that it demands to be used. Ben Franklin once said something to the effect that those who are willing to give up a measure of freedom for the sake of security deserved neither.

Enter stage right: The New York Times. As I'm sure most of the domestic readers of this piddly little blog know, the NYT recently disclosed a program used by the Bush Administration to sift through massive amounts of bank records looking for some kind of information about terrorist spending. If you think I'm going to launch into some kind of tirade about the legality of this program, think again. A stoned, semi-retarded, one-legged frog can understand the fourth ammendment.

Enter stage left: The Insane Right-Wing Posse. The calls for jihad from the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, etc. would have been deafening if they weren't blunted by the fact that most people know that these folks are batshit-crazy. To hear them screaming about it, you'd think that the "Gray Lady" was running a terrorist hostel in the middle of Manhattan. Even the inbred politicos got into the act, calling for a McCarthyesque investigation of the newspaper. Even the president popped his head out of the little bubble universe where he normally resides to chastise them. And just as soon as it started, it went away. Apparently this program wasn't quite so classified as they would like us to believe. Turns out the President has been talking about this program for quite some time now, when it is politically expedient to do so, of course.

Do you ever get the feeling that the leaders of our country might just be overmatched by the terrorists? It's kind of like watching a chess match between two equally confident, yet clearly unequal players. Is there a reasonably intelligent person out there who doesn't realize that the terrorists are smart enough to actually be operating under the assumption that their financial affairs were being scrutinized and were taking steps to hide from that kind of detection? These guys are clearly crazy, but not dumb.

This administration seems to be operating under the dubious assumption (one of many) that freedom is not compatible with security. The Insane Right-Wing Posse trumpets this misconception at every turn. According to the powers that be, you simply must give up some level of freedom to achieve some level of security. I'm sure whats left of their hearts are in the right place. Unfortunately, their brains are in the wrong place. This thinking is the hallmark of three types of people: The intellectually deprived, the intellectually lazy and the intellectually dishonest. This administration seems to favor the doctrine of least resistance. They seem unwilling to take the effort to create policies that protect both freedom and security. I know they aren't stupid, most of them anyway. Why is it that instead of expending the effort to safeguard one of the things that makes America great they expend even more energy trying to hide what they're doing?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Nice Little Video About Atheism

Think atheists are bad and add nothing to society, take a gander at this:


Friday, May 05, 2006

Winding down

Just finished the busiest semester I've every had, seven finals in three days to cap off a class schedule that looked more like a full time job.

Indications are that my grades will be okay. There might even be a nice surprise or two. Not that anyone reading this gives two pulls and a squirt.

Next up, in five days I will be taking two summer classes to meet the math requirements for the computer science degree.

So what am I gonna do during my five whole days of summer vacation? Play video games. I've had Baldurs Gate since it came out almost a decade ago and I have never gotten very far with it. So maybe I'll give it a try for the next few days. Then there is always The Movies and Restaurant Empire.

Lots of options for this old college student, yesiree.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

An Incredibly Sad Song

The Green Fields of France

Well, how do you do, Private William McBride,
Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside?
And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done.
And I see by your gravestone you were only 19
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916,
Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly?
Did the rifles fir o'er you as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus?
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?
And, though you died back in 1916,
To that loyal heart are you forever 19?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

The sun's shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard that's still No Man's Land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man.
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

And I can't help but wonder, no Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you "The Cause?"
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Get back to me when you have the cure for cancer

The exercise in mediocrity and shallowness that is the university newspaper is doing a series of articles about the different religious groups and organizations around campus. In the inaugural column they are talking about something called BASIC. Basically (hehe) it's a nice little organization that exploits the fragile situation that many freshmen find themselves in. They target these kids and get them to show up to the lame meetings with the retarded "christian" rock band (an oxy-moron if I ever heard one.) Some get the hell out, some stick around for the food and punch, some get sucked in.

Anyway, the part that got my attention was one kid at the end equated his evangelism with "sharing the cure for cancer." No. No. Shit no. It's not the same as a cure for cancer. If one was so inclined, one could make the argument that evangelism is the exact opposite of disseminating a cure for one of the biggest killers in this country. How much human misery has sprouted from evangelical religion* in the past few thousand years? How many people have been killed, raped, beaten, tortured, etc. in the name of the spreading the word of the christian god?* How many cultures and lives have been ruined by missionaries and their backers? If anything, evangelism is running a close second to money as the root of all evil.

Not to mention that these freaky uber-nuts are just plain fucking creepy. "Do you have a personal relationship with the lord?" If I was interested in one I would have surrendered my spiritual cherry to him a long time ago. Piss off, nutjob. And don't come back until you actually got the cure for cancer.

* Disclaimer: Yes, I realize that there are countless folks who count themselves as christians who don't cause all that much trouble. If you are one of this vast, near invisible, silent majority I recognize that you are not evil and/or schizophrenic. Willfully delusional, maybe. But not evil.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Four Down, Three to Go

So I probably won't be getting any hits from Antarctica, but last year, against all odds I triumphed with at least one hit from each of the populated continents (science teams and penguins don't count does not a populated continent make.)

Will I make it repeat? Can my infrequent, mostly not all that insightful, captain obvious blatherings cause enough people from far-away places to stumble on my little corner of the internet looking for naked pictures of Sabine Ehrenfeld and/or Pamela Anderson?

Only time will tell.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ben Franklin was a blogger

Waaay back in the day there was a young, slightly chubby fellow going to and fro amongst the streets of Philadelphia. He showed up one day with enough money to buy a couple of bits of bread and went about finding work as a printer. Eventually he managed to get his own printing press and started circulating bits of printed paper on his own. He became a renowned man for many reasons, none of which would have come about if he hadn't started self-publishing his own newspaper.

Close to one hundred years later, another young man from Hannibal, Missourri set out to make his fortune. When he was a teenager he helped his brother to print a self-published newspaper, often contributing humorous anectdotes when a few extra inches of print were needed. He made his way out to the west coast and made a scant living writing about the shenanigans of the silver rush towns in Nevada. He also became a renowned man, but without his journalism, he would have just been another riverboat captain.

Granted, these were men of extraordinary talents. Some would say that they are among the best men who have ever lived, men who really do only come about every century or so. Would you even want to live in a world that was not enriched by the contributions of these great men? What if they had lived in a world where they would have been excluded from their seminal occupations because they didn't have a degree from a good college? Would their stars have shined nearly as brightly if they were not allowed to partake in that profession because other, larger newspaper companies filled to the brim with degreed men and women from those "good colleges" were able to squeeze them out not by the quality of their product, but by the sheer bulk of the resources at their command?

I don't even try to count myself in the same league as anyone who does journalism for a living or even just likes doing it. But I do know what's right. Before a person from one of those prominent news companies with the degrees from the "good colleges" looks down their noses at a blogger, before they proclaim that bloggers are not qualified or entitled to breathe the same rarified air that they breathe or enjoy the same legal protections that they enjoy, they should think about this: Every last one of them has a job, every last one of them got to study journalism, every last one of them EXIST only because someone without that degree from a "good college" self-published a bit of printed paper on their own.

Friday, February 17, 2006

It's all a wash in the end

"For every person that offends you with their vulgarity, there is a person who is offended by your stodginess."