Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Fiction Friday: CONTAGION PLAGUE: a Gripping 1st-Person Thriller Written In One Go, Stream-Of-Consciousness-Style!!


The vault door clanged shut with my shoulder behind it, and the automatic seals engaged. But was it too late? Had the contamination already escaped? I sank back against the corrugated steel wall of a door, and looked up at the red warning light. It was hooked into the air filtration system. It stayed dark.

For how long?

I should start at the beginning. I'm Jorgen Haeckler. No that name sucks. I'm Tristan Owsald, a top researcher who some see as too cocky, too arrogant - a token personality flaw to make up for how sheerly capable and competent I am in so many other bewildering arrays of areas that have nothing to do with how great a scientist I am. I wiped Sharon's lipstick from my mouth, and looked at the dark streak it left on the back of my hand. At this moment - was she still alive?

For how long?

Her lipstick on my hand was dark red, like the warning bulb. I looked up at it again. The tiny, coiled filament waited in its vacuum for the juice to hit - the signal that would set all the alarms singing.

Lost my train of thought. I was telling what you need to know. I was telling you about me.

I'm tall and lean, with soft, sandy hair and hard eyes. I graduated from a combination of the top universities in the world, on a special degree program with an accelerated course of applied research that resulted in me being awarded the Nobel Prize upon graduation. A coup, but I took it in stride. My work could save billions, but I'm more concerned about the billions it could make. So when the government tapped me to head up a top-secret project, I wasn't interested - what's in it for me? But ultimately, the irritating guy they sent to recruit me pushed my buttons a bit, and the challenge the project presented was too appealing for my ego to resist. There I was.

And now here I was - sitting on top of a catastrophe that had just about stopped waiting to happen!

The warning light stayed dark.

One red glass bulb, between me, and all the blood of all the world on my hands. I could still recall my first day on-site. It was only 7 months ago.

How had it all gone so wrong so fast?

"Well, if it isn't the whiz kid himself? Welcome aboard, Dr. Owsald." Lemuel Sarkass held out a meaty hand, which I shook perfunctorily.

"Thank you Dr. Sarkass. How about bringing me up to speed on what we're doing here?" My eyes betrayed no hint of my irritation at this "whiz kid" bull-shit!!

"Well, as you know, DNA is the foundation of human life. But here, we're trying to do stuff with it that the reading public wouldn't understand." Sarkass's actual explanation was way more technical. I'm cutting you guys a break, here.

"Sounds risky." I observed. "What are the risks?"

"Well, the risks...first, you need to understand we've got a first-class crew of people here, a real cast of characters with all sorts of individual quirks and motivations, and various tangled backstories and loyalties. Most of them are young hotshots like yourself, and the team in general is a volatile cauldron of sexual chemistry, but they're all absolutely tops in their respective fields. They know what they're doing. And as a team, we've developed all kinds of protocols to keep any of the risks from happening, so as long as nobody has built in any secret overrides to further some covert scheme of theirs for personal gain, which then backfire in unexpected ways unleashing some unforeseen catastrophe, we can be pretty complacent that none of the risks are going to materialize."

"Go on." I prompted. "What risks?"

Sarkass spread his beefy hands, a bit sheepishly. "Well, you know, basically, the risks are...zombies."

"Zombies!?" I cried, incredulously. "Oh, come on. It's been done!"

"What risks do you suggest?" Dr. Sarkass countered, defensively.

"Well I don't know. Anything but zombies." This was turning into a project I did not want to be associated with. I saw myself as a trailblazer.

"How about this," I offered. "DNA is basically a long, twisty snakey thing. What if the risks of what we're doing are - if things went awry, there would be a certain risk that the DNA itself might become sentient, punching its way through its nuclear membrane and bursting through cell walls, converting more and more neighboring stands of DNA and linking up into bigger and bigger strands, eventually into huge rampaging strands of DNA that could rip their way out of the body and act on their own - giant strands of independent DNA, self-sufficient DNA that no longer needed a host body to survive?"

Sarkass scowled, thoughtfully, rubbing his chin with porky fingers. "That is certainly one hell of a risk," he mused, approvingly. "The death for the subject would be excruciating."

"Horrifically so." I was warming to the premise. "And since we're talking DNA here, the giant visible rampaging strands would only be half the problem. With the visible threat would come an invisible one."

"The rogue DNA would shed microscopic copies of itself," Sarkass continued, "...copies that would drift through the air, seeking new hosts to burrow into?"

"And convert. Precisely." I nodded with grim sangfroid.

Sarkass's brow furrowed worriedly. "Something like that could work its way through the entire population of Earth's organisms - infecting each organism's own DNA from the inside! Meanwhile the fully mature giant DNA strands that would be birthed from the death throes of those unfortunate hosts would attack and batter down any defenses we could erect to keep them out." Sarkass whistled, admiringly, with a touch of alarm.

I was ready to bring it home. "Eventually, there would be nothing left on Earth but naked strands of giant DNA, interlocking in new spiraling forms sprouting from the ruined foundations of life as we had known it - every formerly living thing's body mass, reduced to a wreckage of burst cells and pulped tissues."

"Not even any molds or bacteria left for decomposition..." added a young, stunning female researcher, walking by. Her white lab coat clung to her every curve, like an unusually well-tailored lab coat.

"That's Sharon DeGras, senior researcher and chief of containment," noted Sarkass, as Dr. DeGras walked on, waving over her shoulder distractedly in a manner simultaneously charming and insolent.

"She's sharp." I noted appreciatively. "And 100% right about the microorganisms," I added, returning to the grim premise we'd been examining. "All life on the planet is substantially identical at the genetic level. Nothing would be safe."

"That's some risk!" Sarkass said again, under his breath.

"Thank you." My voice was curt, matter-of-fact. "Now: what measures are we putting in place to keep that from happening?"

Sarkass stepped back, clearly unprepared for what was just as clearly the obvious, inevitable next question.

I shook my head in disapproval. I could see I was going to have to take matters into my own hands!

The Bill of Rights: Widely Misunderstood

OK, now that I've started on this political kick, it's going to be real hard to get me to stop. Once I get on a tear about politics, I am up on the soap-box telling it from the mountain like it is - and people will just have to put up with it until they've finished letting me have my say!

So: The Bill of Rights: Pretty Straightforward? Or...Widely Misunderstood?

Sharp-eyed readers know already, from the post title. The Bill of Rights is one of the most widely-misunderstood bulwarks we have. We can't properly apply the Bill of Rights without an understanding of what the Founding Fathers meant by that, what they were getting at, what their intentions were. And it's pretty obvious to me from a close reading of the biographies of the Founding Fathers involved, a perusal of their private letters, and my general assessment of the mood and character of the times as reflected in the language of the Bill of Rights itself, it ought to be clear to anyone that the Bill of Rights was intended as sarcasm. The Founding Fathers were being sarcastic, there.

A lot of people missed that. I admit, the tone is pretty subtle.

See, but now that I point it out, everybody's going to feel pretty sheepish. Sorry about that folks! But it can't be helped. Go read it for yourself, go ahead. The Bill of Rights is positively dripping with sarcasm, and the early drafts were even worse! But Hancock was like: "Come on guys. We don't need to make it that obvious. They're going to think we're insulting their intelligence. The American people are pretty sharp, let's credit them with being able to pick up on a few subtleties."

Madison's original draft of Amendment 1 is particularly telling:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Suuuuure we won't. Or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press - why would we do a thing like that? Or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Because we reeeeeally want to hear those petitions and grievances.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pluto a State? Pt.2

Here's another option: we can add Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and reclassify Rhode Island and Washington D.C. under the same new designation: they would all be Dwarf States.

Puerto Rico a State?

Shoot, I hope not. The flag we have now looks so harmonious and well-balanced! Those 51-star flag designs look like Betsy Ross ate too many stars and puked on the blue part.

Why can't they just be a District? What's good enough for D.C. ought to be good enough for P.R.!

If we let Puerto Rico be a State, I say we need to demote Rhode Island or something to compensate. Otherwise, what kind of message are we sending? Next thing you know, here come Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands! SCREW THAT!!

Shoot.

I do, however, support full Statehood for Pluto. We'll make it fit.

EARTH MONTH? Earth Month? Now wait just a minute.

I only just saw this this morning, but apparently some organizations and entities are referring to an "Earth Month." Now, it's a good cause and all, but enough is enough. And do they mean April or May? I clicked a couple places, but they don't specify what month they mean! Shoddy. If they mean May, I call that shitty planning more than anything else, to have Earth Day in April. But if they mean April, well I hate to pull rank but April Is Poetry Month. STEP OFF, Earth.

Heck, even just having an Earth Day is pretty fucking discriminatory against Mars, when you think about it. We're all up there, tear-assing around the red dusty hills in our remote-control probes - don't those things have a carbon footprint? Where's the awareness for Mars, huh?

"Earth Month" can kiss my grits. End of in-depth analysis.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April Is Poetry Month, As You Know

So April is Poetry Month, as you know, and I'm on a push to get back on track. I'm sitting at 101 poems at this moment, for 2010, on my ostensibly "poem-a-day-on-average" blog. It's called A Pocketful Of Poesy - you should check it out! I recently added an RSS feed link (RSS are read, violets are...never mind). Conceivably, you could never miss out on a poem of mine again.

But anyway, 101 poems for 2010, when anyone with an ounce of math in their brain could tell you we're on day 117 of the year! So that's a bit behind pace. Admittedly, not as bad as last year, when I fell so far behind pace I had to pull out a 104-poem November just to be in reach to hit 365 for the year! That was a pretty epic push. And anybody who wants to claim quality suffers from deadlines - hey. Go read November '09. Those poems stack up right next to my best. That's right. I flow under pressure like the bottom-most layer of a glacier, and many of my poems are exactly that cool and smooth of flow. And some of 'em are about as heavy! So those of you who poo poo my methods can just...!

Um. Excuse me. I seem to have gotten a bit sidetracked. There's really no need for me to be so defensive about my monumental triumphs! Ahem. My apologies.

So anyway, it's early goings yet for 2010, but I'd like to catch back up to the pace I've set for myself. And April being poetry month, the timing couldn't be better. So here's how it's going to happen: 20 poems in a little less than three days.

No hill for a climber! Twenty, or at least 16 poems at any rate. 16 will draw me even with the pace, but I'd like to get a bit ahead of it if I can. So for the rest of April, and then continuing at a more stately pace, those of you who already know you like poems, well damn, now you will damn well know where to go to GO GET THEM! Those of you who aren't sure whether or not you like poems, all I can say is: try some. They're not for everyone, but then neither is bathing. It's a question of degrees of couthe.

Or I guess you could go also here. She's better than I am, to be honest. There are other spots too. Lots of good poets out there! I guess I'd put myself in about the top fiftieth percentile, if I had to rate me.

We artists don't really like to do that.

Name That Tune #13!

"The things you ask me are a heavy load
You wish me to be completely honest
You question me on the nature of things
and ignore what I have to say in response
You tell me that I'm being too quiet
But if I say something, then I'm stupid
Eventually after some time, I come to a conclusion
To take off and desert you
what comes out of your mouth,
your exceedingly florid, oversentimental words betray you
what comes out of your mouth,
it's not possible to give creedence to you."




Questions will be posted each Wednesday at noon Pacific Time, 12pm. Except today's, which was late! (sorry)
Submit your comments NAMING THE SONG that is being paraphrased. Answers will be posted at some point after 5pm. THE QUESTION REMAINS OPEN until a correct answer is posted! Once a correct answer is posted, scoring is closed.

Scoring is as follows:

First correct answerer gets: 1 point!
Tardy correct answerer gets: 0.3 point!

On Not Having A Speech Prepared

I'd like to thank God for believing in me when I myself wasn't sure I existed. I'd like to thank my mom and dad for getting me into this mess! I'd like to thank my friends, all of them, too many to name, and besides - some of them would probably consider themselves to be "more acquaintances" anyway, so best not to stick one's neck out and force an embarrassing clarification to be made. Heck, while I'm at it, I'd like to thank my acquaintances! What do these silly social designations matter anyhow? I'd like to thank my ex-girlfriends, except for that one.

I'd like to thank my ex-wife, whoever she turns out to be.

I'd like to thank Bill. Bill, whoever you are, that note you left on my windshield has motivated me to be more considerate in my parking ever since.

I'd like to thank the physical laws of the universe, which a lot of people sadly take for granted. But how could we do science without them? Speaking of the sciences, I'd like to thank Alfred Nobel, a dynamite philanthropist as far as I'm concerned. Top notch! His Nobel Prize is what I really would like to be accepting right now, but since they don't seem to see fit to have a category for me, I'll take this thing. I'm happy with this thing.

Does anyone know what this statuette is supposed to be depicting? I like it. Kind of swoopy!

I'd like to thank the sculptor.

I'd like to thank the orchestra. What is that number you're playing just now? Beautiful! Very stirring.

I'd like to thank the lovely young lady tugging emphatically on my arm. Patience, dear! People are watching. Please, now.

I'd like to thank Shakespeare. Hey, you have to admit, he did it first and in a lot of ways, better. Let's not lose sight of that.

Let's see. Who else. Oh okay, fine - BYE.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quote of the Day: Sensitivities

"For the record, I'm okay with anybody insulting my intelligence. As long as they don't insult my stupidity!"
<3

That's a heart.

That's supposed to be a heart.

I don't know if I like the idea that a heart is less than three!

Open Dream Journal #76: The Dental Hygienist From H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks

So I had a dream I was a dental hygienist. "Big deal!" you say? Well, that depends on what you consider a big deal, and whether you are being sarcastic.

Anyhow, it was probably because I went to the dentist this past Monday (look for the resultant poem "No Cavities, Ma!" which I'm sure will eventually be completed based on that experience). The experience at the dentist's was fine! But this dream was horrific. I was a dental hygienist as I said, but as the dream progressed, something weird was happening with my tools, or with my patient's teeth. The first couple patients of the day were routine. Then I got to my third patient, and my scrape-hook was finding all these tiny holes. The patient was in tears - she'd never had a cavity before!

My next patient was even worse. It was like his left upper molars were literally crumbling under my tooth polisher! Another patient's incisors came loose as I flossed them. It was awful, it kept getting worse and worse and I was just like (to the dentists), please, send me home, I am having a bad day! But the dentists were like: "We're too busy. Hang in there."

Meanwhile, the patients were wailing from what I was doing to them. And in the waiting room, on the way out as I conducted them to the receptionist to schedule the elaborate followups that would now be necessary, and tried to comfort them, they recoiled from me. It was clear they blamed me. But how could it be happening? What was different from every other day? Why me and not the other hygienists? Why would they not just send me home!!

I was having a bad day.

I can still see the trembling chins, the tearful red-rimmed eyes glaring with fear and accusation, hollow cheeks and collapsed lips shamefully hiding the remains of ruined smiles. The look that says: "You did this."

No, I'm kidding. I just made all that up, I never had a dream like that! It was more a day-dream, as I was relaxing in the reclined chair. Day-dreams count, right?

Wow, "Open Day-Dream Journal." Now there's a whole other kind of concept.

I assure you, most of my day-dreams are far more pleasant. But when you're strapped in to that reclined chair, your mind drifts to dark places sometimes.

Not a Big Fan of Wilco

I'm just not that big a fan of Wilco. Cool band name! It's the band itself, I'm not too crazy about. I mean, don't get me wrong - I respect their musicianship, and their standing! You can't have too many prominent bands flying the standard for the Quality-Rock genre. "Qual-Rock." Whatever you might call that. But it's their music I'm not really too sweet on. I could take it or leave it. In practice, mostly leave it, I guess.

Who's the main guy, Jeff Tweedy? From Uncle Tupelo, right? What a shitty fucking band name that was. "Uncle Tupelo." Shit. Well I guess I owe Wilco a great debt of love if I never have to hear about another album from Uncle Fucking Tupelo. Lord what a weak band name. You'd be better off calling your band We're Actually Fags. Not that there's anything suggestively homosexual about Uncle Tupelo! And who cares if there is (or was)? Seriously - people who get upset about things like that, they're just sad relics of a bygone and benighted mindset. I have no axe to grind on the human sexuality tip! I was just trying to pick an egregiously weak band name, and I accidentally settled on one with some potentially offensive overtones - or I should say, offensive to some. Offensive to those who get offended at what their shadow might be doing behind their back. So whatever. Sue me. Okay fine, I'll come up with a more neutral bad band name example: "Lord what a weak band name. You'd be better off calling your band Pretentious Hicks."

Actually, the other one was better. Marginally.

Anyhow, Wilco. I'll say this, that main guy (Tweedy) - I like the look of him. He's got a real classic cut-of-the-jib for a Qual-Rock frontman. Very much the look of someone who could easily have been in "The Band." By the way, I'm not too fucking crazy about that band name either, let me tell you. Underplay creativity much?

But yeah, Tweedy. He looks the part. Those angular jowls.

So anyway: Wilco. In my next Wilco installment, I will be doing an in-depth review of some of their music. I'm sure it'll be fine. I'm just not that big a fan, is all. But I'm sure it will be fine. One time, I almost bought an album of theirs - it was a live album, and I believe members of the Young Fresh Fellows guested on it, and they covered my favorite Young Fresh Fellows song ("I'm Not Bitter"), and I almost got the album, just for that. But in the end, I didn't. I just...it didn't seem worth it, to wade through all that Wilco just for that.

Not that Wilco is bad! Hell no. They're pretty justly respected for their place in the firmament. If they didn't do what they're doing, who else could do it? Who else would do it? Nobody, that's who!

I don't want anybody to go distorting my stance on Wilco, here. I'm sick of people taking what I say, and twisting it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another Thought, For Another Day

I'm in the mood for a transcendent, exalting, moving experience.

Fuck - who isn't?

Thought of the Day

I'm o with a touch of k.

I'm Through With Naming Songs!

I am writing too many songs, too fast. I don't have time to name them anymore! Naming them was slowing me down, and not my forte! I write the song, is that not enough? Let someone else name the song! Does not a Pulitzer-winning journalist have someone else to slap the headline on? You bet he does!

Or she.

Someone else will just have to do it. Someone will come after me, and name the songs I leave behind in my wake. Someone else with the time and inclination to do so. Hopefully not the guy in charge of naming New Order songs! Some great songs, they had - but absolutely not named worth a damn. Whoever named those songs, he had no knack for it.

I won't say "Or she," there. I have reasonable confidence in Gillian Gilbert's sound sense and reasonableness. I can't believe she was the source of the problem.

Advice For A Life Lived On The Edge

Always, always:

Drive as if you're about to get pulled over.

Work as if they're deciding whether to fire you.

Make love as if the other person might be cheating, and you want them to be like "whoa, why cheat on THIS?"

Smoke as if facing a firing squad.

Drink as if every beer might be the one drink that pushes you over into alcoholism.

Speak as if the first word you say is the one that matters most, and every single word after that matters a little bit less than the one before. Let your sentences trail off, implying reams of further meaning.

Sleep as if you had goals to accomplish even in the dream world. I can't be overly-specific here, you'll have to work out your own goals from context.

Yawn as if to break your jaw.

Fish like the fish were all reincarnated Nazis.*

Mow the lawn as if maybe you're living in a Stephen King movie. And maybe it's Maximum Overdrive.

Cry as if thinking about something even sadder than what's actually happening.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

An Entomologist's Perspective

I'm not an entomologist, but a header like that can't help but add heft to whatever I've got to say about ants.

I object to the use of "forage" in relation to ants. To me, "forage" involves going out into the wild and rooting around in the underbrush, moving foliage aside to see what's underneath - hoping for nuts and berries, but maybe settling for snails or slugs if my culture has a way to make them palatable (I'm not sure mine does). Point is, it's a lot of work! Whereas to an ant, everything is so huge. They can't move foliage. But they don't have to, because since everything is so huge, all they have to do is keep walking over it, or across it, or up the side of it until they find something good to eat. Basically they're out for a pleasure stroll, and their whole path is strewn with goodies!

If you or I were out walking down a wide promontory, and we kept finding cupcakes that someone had left there, well is that what you would call "foraging"? Of course not! Yet this is all the ant does!

In fact, watch those cupcakes - chances are they are crawling with ants.

Baby Names Pt.2

Another trend in baby naming (see Pt.1) that I'm getting way out in front of right now is the Double-Girly-Reverse. This is when you take the feminizing suffixes that are used to turn boy names into girl names, and you apply that feminizing suffix to a name that is already female:

Examples:

Michelleia.

Jenniferette.

Theresaline.

Gertrudelle.

Yvonnica.

Lindanique.

Ah, but why is it called the Double-Girly-Reverse? It's called that, because the resulting baby name should then work for a boy. In much the same way as a grammatical double-negative flips the meaning back to a positive, or how two wrongs make a right: basic math.

Now, don't be confused by such nonsense options as taking a male name, adding the feminizing suffix, and then slapping a masculinating suffix on the back of that. That just doesn't work, syntactically. From a sense perspective, it's nonsense - the resulting name would be fit for no child of either sex:

Alexandraer?

Come on.

God's reading habits

Every day God reads us infinitely, like a favorite book known by heart - read for sheer love and enjoyment. God may be able to flip ahead, to peek at what's coming, but we are the authors. Each of us writes our own story. God just supplies the pages, for us to fill.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Trike: "Boy I Was Wrong"



Nobody cares about songs like this.

Well I care!

It's April! It Is Not Summer!

So walking downtown, to get a decent family-sized breakfast for myself, like I do. And there's people walking around down there in bathing suits! Down town! Right on the street! Right in public!

I want to make it clear, this isn't a prudery issue. In Santa Cruz, people have the legal right to walk around in public buck naked within the city limits, as much as they want to. Right there in public. So this isn't a prude issue, here - this is a fashion faux pas issue.

It's April, people. This isn't summer. Take those bathing suits off. Please. Have you no shame? Take 'em off.

My goodness, it isn't even that hot! Or even warm! In fact it's downright cool - I wore a light jacket and still had to walk on the sunny side of the street. Damn chilly on the shade side. What the hell, people? Bathing suits!

It's April. Am I the only one having a problem with this?

It's April.

I Think World War I is On The Cusp of a Big Public Appreciation Renaissance

Think about it. The doughboys! The trenches...the mustard gas. This was pure war, before all those Geneva Conventioneers came in muddying the "all's fair in Love and War" waters (you'll note the Geneva Convention explicitly does not apply to Love - more hypocrisy!). And then just when it couldn't get much worse, ostensibly-neutral Spain unleashed the first and, to date, deadliest bioweapon of all: the Spanish Flu Pandemic. The Great War was no holds barred, and boy did it leave its mark! Yet, there's almost no movies about it. Arguably, Gallipoli is about it. Slim pickings, once you get past Gallipoli.

I want big-budget blockbuster meditations on the cost of the era of global conflict upon the innocence of the human psyche, and contrasting the radical change in self-image for America and Americans, going into it all unsure of their place on the global stage, coming out of it pretty much running things - committed to a future of heading "Over There" to foreign lands and bailing their ass out (really, this set the trend for almost all relevant future history so far!). I want a booming nostalgia propaganda poster t-shirt industry, themed around the War. This was really the cusp of the dawn of the Golden Age of propaganda imagery! It has been nowhere near fully-exploited. I want big iTunes compilations of the hits of the age. What were the doughboys whistling in the trenches?

I want massively multiplayer videogames where Archduke Ferdinand is a playable character.

("dibs")

They say "war is hell," which is a hard truth that has a lot of truth in it. But they also say "war is cool" and "war sells." Or maybe they don't say that, but it's clear from the whole reams of war-related pop culture that war is pretty cool, that war sells pretty well. Yet the War To End All Wars got the shaft on that aspect! I think like with most things, the timing was off. By the time that whole thing was over, the whole world was like "Man, kind of sick of war right now. Can we use something else to fuel our burgeoning creative media and pop culture explosion? How about global optimism, seasoned with a dash of expressionistic existential angst?" Which was about the worst thing they could do in retrospect! Who even watches those movies now?

When WWII finally came along, and re-energized everybody's appetite for all things war, the movie industry was in full swing and the marquee matchups were poised and ready to take full advantage: that whole wild Hilter vs. Churchill vs. Roosevelt vs. Tojo vs. Stalin vs. Mussolini cage match played out in flickering black and white on the glorious silver screen, right in the face of the spellbound public! And by the time the dust settled on Victory Day, it was clear that the real winner, in the hearts and minds of the muddled masses, was war. But specifically: the winner was World War II.

It was too late for the Great War. It got passed over. Too late for One - it was all about Two. Well I say, it's high time to give the Big Red One its due.

My Identity Was Stolen, But OK

So my identity got stolen, but the timing is pretty good because I did some pretty awful things a while back, and I've been getting the sense it was all just about due to catch up with me.

Can't catch up with me now! My identity got stolen.

Who knows where it's off to, on another amazing adventure...

Honestly? I'd been getting a little bored with it anyway.

Infomercial Hell, or Just How Life Feels at 5:27AM?

The longer this goes on, the more I can't stop dying on the inside!

Thanks again, Popped Culture!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Doodeloo #45: Notes from the Meeting

Photobucket

Gog-Bo the Dragon-Murderer Pt.2: The Awesomeness Wars (The Prelude Begins)

Look. You better go read the first one first, or this one's not going to make any sense!

"HAAIII!!!" Gog-Bo said with a shout! He was twelve.

It was little more than a year since the events of the previous installment, yet Gog-Bo had grown two hand's breadths in height and had packed on about twenty pounds. He was still kind of a skinny dude, but it was all muscle. He kept his skills with the blade - and the blade itself, his twice-blessed, triple-cursed longsword The Wicked Shimmy - well-concealed, as he awaited the hand fate had dealt him to play out.

The sun beat down. All around him was wheat. The summer harvest. His grim grey eyes scanned the wheat-choked horizon. Would today be the day? Would marauding soldiers from some far-flung, dominion-hungry foreign power come cruising into view, burning the fields wantonly as they go? Would today be the day for Gog-Bo the Dragon-Murderer to repudiate his Uncle Kwuk's small-minded plans for his cramped, tidy future bereft of glory as a simple laborer on the family farm? Would today give cause at last for Gog-Bo the Dragon-Murderer to sprint to disused Barn #2, retrieve his well-sheathed blade from its place of deep concealment, and finally - to draw forth The Wicked Shimmy from its deceptively dull scabbard, to put the hard lessons drilled into his mind and muscles by his Aunt Mo to the test, writing an essay in ringing steel, cleaved air and trailing blood-red ink with the pen of his rune-worked blade?

Gog-Bo ruminated on the prospect, not without a certain grim satisfaction. Suddenly his eyes lit upon the top of the head of a figure, coming up over the rise. He straightened up - poised to tear-ass towards disused Barn #2 if the newcomer proved to be a stranger (possibly hostile! In these parts, strangers were not trusted). Gog-Bo disliked working this side of the property. Too far from disused Barn #2. He could see a good ways, but if a group of hard-charging horsemen came over the rise and made straight for him, he would be hard-pressed to make the barn and claim The Wicked Shimmy in time. He could handle himself with or without the blade, but against a cadre of armed, charging horsemen...Gog-Bo didn't like to think about it. He had mentioned his concerns to Aunt Mo once, but she dismissed them - jovially accusing him of wanting to shirk his chores. He! Gog-Bo! The Dragon-Murderer, shirk his duty? Never.

Anyway, it turned out that the figure coming up over the rise was Parsella, the teaching wench from the local Rune School, down by Hewn Stone Sacred Circle Crossroads. Parsella was better-educated than anyone in the nearby land. No one knew more stories of great Hyootmal, fierce god of storms and battle, or of Feyweidl the goddess of housework and sexual fidelity. Parsella laughed always, and spoke with a warm, cool voice. Gog-Bo had a fierce crush on her. He often reflected upon the idea of her, while he was alone. Gog-Bo blushed at the recollection. To Gog-Bo's chagrin, somehow, no matter what words he tried to use in talking to her, he always managed to come out looking like a fool.

What the hell did she want? What errand had brought her all the way out to Uncle Kwuk's farm?

Gog-Bo's eyes narrowed. He straightened his posture unconsciously.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Craving Chinese

So I've been craving Chinese, lately. The cuisine, I mean! Specifically, I've been craving General Chicken. More specifically, I've been craving General Chicken from Tam's on the Westside. But that's too long a haul! The food would be cooled by the time I got back.

So I decided to call one of the places here in town, closer to me. Take a chance. Try a new place. I'll be honest...I was a little nervous. Nobody's General Chicken is as good as Tam's! That stuff is better than CANDY. It's slightly citrus-sweet, crisp, hot, juicy, spicy, there's nothing in it but chicken and sauce and some peppers. It's all that plus a side of rice. So satisfying!

So this new place was nice, they were nice on the phone, I showed up, it was all very cute and nice. I arrived on time and my food was ready that instant. I paid and ran to the car with my hot bag. I was pretty hungry, and I'd been wanting that damn General Chicken for some time. It's been preying on my mind.

Man I tore out of there with that food. I actually ground the gears a little! Which I never do. They call me Mr. Smooth On The Clutch, for the most part.

As I slid up to the stop light, I smelled metal. Like burning breaks? I didn't think I ground the gears that bad! Aw, my poor car. I'm sorry car!

I always apologize profusely to my car, when I wrong it. Because the love is real between us.

Then I sniffed a few more times. Wait, is that the food? Uh-Oh.

HISTORY INTERLUDE

THE LEGEND OF GENERAL TSO

Many do not realize, there really was a "General Tso" of the famous "General Tso's Chicken" AKA "General Chicken." He was a hard man, a stern man. He commanded armies, to whom his word was law. But he was also a delight in the kitchen! After a lackluster day of battle, where his troops' performance was uninspired, the General found fault with his mess chefs. "This chicken you serve the men is bland! Tasteless! Uninspired! From now on, serve the men the same delicious slightly citrus-sweet crispy hot juicy spicy chicken that I myself make for my own dinner!"

"But sir," said the head chef. "Your recipe is a state secret! Any who see it must be beheaded."

"So it is," nodded the General himself, sagely in that wise way he had, which always inspired a certain confidence in his leadership. "Then the secret must be broken! From now on, I give my most inspired culinary creation to all!"

There was much cheering in the camps of General Tso's army that evening, and the next day, well-fed, fortified by that most sumptuous of traditional Chinese meals, the General's men went out and slaughtered the other army so thoroughly that history no longer records who they were, or what they ate!

The rest is History. The rest is Legend.

So anyway, I got home, I ate my General Chicken. It was quite tasty, but not as good as Tam's.

Nowhere's is as good as Tam's.

Thought of the Day: On Justice

They say that Justice is blind, but if that's the case, what's the blindfold for?

When I Was A Kid, #6: Up, Up,...

You know when I was a kid, I thought Superman had to say "Up, Up and AWAY!!!" in order to be able to take off. I thought it was like, a trigger of some kind.

Now that I'm older of course, I realize how ridiculous that is. Just from a purely scientific standpoint.

Name The Tune #12!

NAME THE TUNE whose lyrics are being paraphrased here:

"Occasionally, you are a John Cusack film.
You have a drawn handgun aimed at your noggin.
You are thinking that you're crazy, irrational.
You're upsetting the furniture in an eatery
in a town in a particular direction.
Summon the constables, we've got a nutcase!
Chase after him, down below,
he went into that disreputable saloon!
In a town in a particular direction,
on a planet that has reached the end.
Males from over there, women from over here.
In a town in a particular direction,
on a planet that has reached the end.
Males from over there, women from over here.
Women from over here."




Questions will be posted each Wednesday at noon Pacific Time, 12pm. Submit your comments NAMING THE SONG that is being paraphrased. Answers will be posted at some point after 5pm. THE QUESTION REMAINS OPEN until a correct answer is posted! Once a correct answer is posted, scoring is closed.


Scoring is as follows:


First correct answerer gets: 1 point!
Tardy correct answerer gets: 0.3 point!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The San Jose (Hockey) Sharks Logo Is Counter-Productive!

Take a look at this guy:
Sharks Logo
How's he going to score any goals! He just bit his stick in half.

Now, you might say no, that's the other guy's stick. But bullshit. We can see both his pectoral fins - he's not holding anything. He's not packing any extras. That was the only stick he had, and he just bit it in half. Good job.

Well anyway. Regardless of that fact: "Go Sharks."

A Right To Tourism?

"A right is not something you lack, that the government has to give you. A right is something you already have, that the government is not permitted to take away."

Now, please take a look at the story in this link.

Vacationing a Human Right, EU Chief Says
"The European Union has declared travelling a human right, and is launching a scheme to subsidize vacations with taxpayers' dollars for those too poor to afford their own trips."

This is why it's important to focus on what a right really is.

Among other things, you have a right to free speech. To believe as you choose, religiously or not. To feel secure that your property will not be seized, nor your other rights abridged, without just cause and due process. You have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - which doesn't mean you can't die, or that you'll be able to do anything you please, or that you'll find happiness! But it does basically mean that you can do what you like, as long as you have the means to do it and you're not abridging anyone else's rights by doing it.

None of these rights cost anybody a dime - yet they are the most precious things we have.

The ever-expanding definition of what is ours "by right" is analogous to another high-concept government grail: "the moral equivalent of war." We have witnessed a never-ending effort by government to brand the effort to deal with this or that scourge as "equivalent to war" in importance or urgency - the war on drugs, for instance. William James (an anti-war activist) originally proposed the idea as an alternative to war, a way to serve war's function in a society (getting a populace to rally together in the face of a threat) without actually going to war. But we see in our times that the true use of declaring a moral equivalent of war is to get people to accept that because of the direness of the situation, the government can do whatever it wants - and damn our rights.

It's a distraction tactic - just as "giving us new rights" is a distraction tactic.

Efforts by government officials such as this EU guy to "broaden" the definition of rights attack the problem of rights from another angle besides just distraction: devaluation. And oh, how we eat it up! We love hearing that this or that wonderful privilege or perk has been declared our right! That means someone has to give it to us. Truly we have shit for brains. They come bearing gifts, gifts for free, to be bestowed upon we grateful masses of morons, and they call them "our right." They distract us with these wonderful new rights that they can't actually provide - not uniformly, not well, and not for long (assuming the promised benefit ever materializes at all).

But in the final analysis, that payoff - the failure to make good! - is every bit as important as the distraction that the promise provides. Because as things get steadily worse, it will not seem out-of-line to us that our real rights slip away. Our rights will have first been lost amid the sparkle of the bribes and baubles which have promised to us and called "rights," and finally as the government fails and fails to deliver on what they have promised, we will by then have accepted that that is what rights are: just another thing the government promises but can't deliver.

Next time someone offers you a "new right" for free, think hard about what it is you're really buying into.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Needlessly Inflammatory Cracks #...Honestly, I've Lost Count: Baseball Edition

If you ask me, any baseball player in the record-books during the modern era who wasn't all juiced up on the 'roids ought to have an asterisk* after their name.

...and it would say:

*moron

Nah, I'm just kidding! Just a bit of a joke, there. But of course, you knew that already!

None of those guys are in the record books.

Oh, This Is The One


"This Is The One" - The Stone Roses

Quote of the Monday

"I've never been so simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kill Bill 1 & 2 in 60 Seconds

Now they did this a while ago and I saw it then, or rather, I barely escaped seeing it! But I hadn't seen Kill Bill yet, and I didn't want it to spoil the movie for me.

Which it most assuredly would have. It's all there:


Thanks to Popped Culture! Like, more than a year ago.

I Can't Stand It! NO WILLPOWER

Every time I'm looking at a sink-full of dirty ol', smelly ol' kitchen dishes, and I tell myself "MAN! I don't want to deal with that before breakfast! I'm just going to do one plate, one each of knife/fork/spoon, the little pan and the spatula. I'll deal with the rest later. AFTER breakfast."

But of course, I have no discipline, no willpower. I fall down on honoring the promises I make to myself. Once that hot, soapy water starts to flow and churn, I'm in there with the sponge and the rubber gloves and I just...I lose all control. It starts small: "Oh, I'm washing forks and knives and stuff anyway, might as well wash all the silverware." But pretty soon I'm washing dishes I have no possible immediate use for. Dishes I have no idea how they got dirty, dishes I didn't even know I had.

I swear, I think those dishes breed in the sink. I have more small plates than I used to.

When I finally tear myself away from the sink, when I can finally step back - not because I've truly regained control, but because there are no more dishes to do - what a pathetic sight I must be at that moment. As it dawns on me once again, that I simply cannot control my own actions - that my will is not enough. I need help, but who can help?

Who can help you not do the dishes?

Ragged breath, face red and hot with shame, blinking back tears, gasping...my mind returns and I see what I've done...good Lord.

There's nothing else for it but to throw in the towel. There's nothing I can do. I'll make some breakfast. Dirty up some more dishes.

The cycle begins anew.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A New Species Has Been Discovered!

It's a germ.

Don't worry! It doesn't infect us or anything, or at least if it does get in there it doesn't cause any symptoms. It's just kind of harmless. Not exactly notable - this germ isn't getting a wikipedia page any time soon, I don't think.

And I wouldn't call it "new" exactly, either! It just hadn't been previously described and officially named in the scientific literature. So some guy took a real close look at it, and pored through all the germ listings I guess, and it wasn't there so he said: "Dibs! I'm naming that one after me."

He wanted his name on a germ.

Well, I'm not going to aid his self-aggrandizing cause by naming and publicizing his damn germ for him here on my blog. As far as I'm concerned, leave that germ alone! It's not bothering you. Let it go its own path, anonymous and unmolested.

I swear. These scientists have nothing better to do. They just don't.

Seems Like "Social Mores" Could Be Abbreviated "S'Mores"

I think the amount of confusion this would cause is greatly offset by the upside: you could get so many more people talking about social mores.

There wouldn't be that much confusion, anyhow! The pronunciation's totally different. S'mores. S'more-ays. So if somebody said, "I don't have any s'mores," you could just be like: "bummer! It would be great if you had some s'mores." But if someone was like: "I have absolutely no regard for s'more-ays," you might want to edge away before replying.

Because that's kind of messed up. Get that guy some s'mores.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

So Finally I Did the Most Obvious Thing Ever

So I was thinking "midnight snack" - and then it hit me:

STEP 1.

Bread

STEP 2.

Butter

STEP 3!

Bread N Butter
Aw yeah.

And you know what Step 4 is.

I'm Not A Jerk, Really, But I Am An Antisocial Misanthrope

I'm antisocial. Bordering on being a misanthrope. And when I say "bordering on" I mean like Bermuda borders on the Atlantic.

Meeting people? Social situations? I'm like "FUCK, this again?" And that's about exactly how enthusiastic I am about it! On the inside.

But you'd never notice. If you met me, you'd be like, "who's this genial son-of-a-bitch, with his confident handshake, amusing and informative patter, inimitable steely glint in the eye and raw sex appeal to burn?" You'd have me pegged dead-wrong, though. All those things are true things! But they only represent the truth of outside-me. The persona-man. El Facade-o.

It's not a lie, the facade. It's a true thing - the facade is it's own true thing. Don't kid yourself: how others see you is a reality of its own!

But on the inside, I'm like: what a nice person that person seems like. It's a shame I hate dealing with personal interactions and social situations of all kinds, because this person seems like just the sort of person with whom such grueling ordeals could actually be enjoyable. Not for me, though! Nope. Not a chance. Not my bag. Hate that crap.

I'm an antisocial misanthrope, but I know my limitations.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Baseball: A Recurring Feature

So I was eating dinner, and there was a baseball game on (I like to eat at the bar, as we've established). I could not believe how rich the game was. Rich with meaning. Like a poem, or some thing you just notice after seeing it for the thousandth time. I sat there, just watching it, and it was incredible how many sharp, spot-on observations I made over the course of only 30 or 40 minutes while I ate dinner!

Less than that, actually, because after a certain point I asked the guy, "Hey, can't we put something else on?" But in that brief time, that baseball game was an amazingly rich source of inspiration to me. I kept writing down little bits, interesting scraps and chunks, to be expanded into perhaps, vignettes or anecdotes later. I've parceled out those little seeds of inspiration into like, 16 posts, to be finalized at a later date. I'll dole 'em out on a staggered schedule. I don't want to spend all my gems in one big splurge!

So Look for it! Right here on Consider Your Ass Kicked!

Your new source for baseball.

It's so funny, how they'll be standing out there in the middle of the field, or the court or whatever, and they'll be standing in one place and the ball will come right down to them! As if called.

Or, who was the first guy to bunt! Some jerk just decides to hold his bat out there, instead of swinging for it! I bet that cleared the benches. "You can't do that!!" Eventually after a big yelling match somebody said, well technically, he did it - he can do it. The game was forever changed!

Or: about how they have to run over and stomp their foot on this...square bag. And then they all act like that's so significant!

So anyway. Watch for far more trenchant, inspirational and in-depth posts about the National Pastime from me in the future. Like I said, probably about 16 of 'em. More, if I watch any more of it!

We'll see how it goes.

Who knew baseball could be such a rich source of primo grist for my insatiable mill? It just goes to show you: never stop learning.

Doodeloo #43: It's About That Time!!!!

Photobucket

Devastatingly Ineffective Battle Strategies #3

Step 3. Pull off your own head and throw it at your opponent.

Name That Tune #11!

NAME THAT TUNE whose lyrics are being paraphrased here:

"The year before 1990. Math and a hot season. Descend! Groovy noise from a percussionist. Rythmic, melodic art form - impacting you with great force due to the fact that I know you have spirit. Siblings, male and female, hey! Hearken unto this if you're failing to hit. Be-boppin' while I'm crooning. Donating what you're receiving. Believing what I believe and, while the man of African ancestry is perspiring, and the regular tempo and words with similar-sounding stressed-vowel sounds are tumbling! They must hand over what we desire, what we require hey! Ha ha! Our right to express ourselves is just a right to be deceased, we must battle the forces that are! Battle the forces! (Battle the forces!) Battle the forces! (Battle the forces!) Battle the forces! (Battle the forces!) Battle the forces! We must battle the forces that are!"

Questions will be posted each Wednesday at noon Pacific Time, 12pm. Submit your comments NAMING THE SONG that is being paraphrased. Answers will be posted at some point after 5pm. THE QUESTION REMAINS OPEN until a correct answer is posted! Once a correct answer is posted, scoring is closed.

Scoring is as follows:

First correct answerer gets: 1 point!
Tardy correct answerer gets: 0.3 point!

Sometimes I Come Up With A Real "Grabber" of a Post Title!

But then the content is dumb. What a letdown.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Could I Possibly Stop Posting Different Live Versions of This Song?



Not really, no. I couldn't. Not possibly, anyway.

"You will love this one, you will love this one - 'cause if we create something magical, honey...

There are times that come, there are times that come - only once in your life, or..."

- "Twice If You're Lucky"

Brash. That's Me. Brash. And on that note, the quote of the day:

"I eat question marks and 's' exclamation points!"

Open Dream Journal #75: That Was Some Freaky Movie, or Something

Wow. A lot of dreams lately!

Well, two.

I had this dream last night. It was what should probably be considered to be quite a horrifying dream, except I wasn't in it. I was never in it. So I never felt directly horrified. It was more like a movie, although I felt my reactions to it were directing the action, somehow. Thank God that doesn't happen in theaters (although surely out there, there's some future-interactive-tech-evangelist who thinks it would be a good idea. That's because those people are soulless assholes who have no concept of what good or bad art is).

There were all these characters who were made known to you in various scenarios, and it was like the world we know, but with various bizarre sci-fi elements grafted on. Each of the characters was being forced to live their life over and over, the same period of time unfolding different ways. There were times when the two main protagonists, who were in love but it was never going to work out, were on the run from the government; or else they were living the same scenario from the other side, helping the government track down or fight back against this robot menace that was taking people over from the inside, burrowing through their flesh with mechanics and paralyzing their nerves so they couldn't feel the pain while it was happening, only a loss of control that eventually saw them totally taken over. Then they had to live through it all again, only this time they were themselves taken over by the robots, or one of them was, and the other was bereaved (needless to say) or didn't know it had happened (in yet another run-through).

There were many other characters, characters whose lives played out in crisis over and over again, with different sides of their character revealed each time, and different outcomes each time. There was a gang of children who'd lost their parents, or who hadn't lost their parents but had run from them because of various factors, or were trying to rescue their parents, or who had been turned evil. There was an older guy who kept trying to help people out, and was surprisingly good at it! And you loved him. And he died, like...so many ways.

It was also a little like you imagine reincarnation might be, because even though each character couldn't know what had gone before in the previous scenarios of their lives, still you got the uncanny sense that those lessons carried over. But since the situation kept changing too, it was like an unfair challenge. There was an overwhelming sense that things would end badly, and they did keep ending badly. But each time, there was such a close margin - to where you could see the people you cared about could almost win, just once!

This was a really weird, intense dream! It kept going and going. I feel like it went on for 3 hours, I swear. Like a really long movie, like a James Cameron movie. Except it was good, you wanted to see what happened. Even though it was also unpleasant, it felt like it was developing and building toward something. It really was as if it was a movie. It was as if the movie were a meditation on the topic of alternate universes, all of them infected by the same insidious problem, that was spreading through them all, expressing itself differently in each. In several of the versions, it was the government that was bad - and the robotic influence was somehow on the side of the "good guys"! Parts of the dream were like a bad Steven Spielberg movie. Other parts of it were like the Twilight Zone in color. I remember one vividly horrifying scene where a character we know and care about is lifting a mask, to fit it to her face. She needs to put this mask on to pass through some danger undetected, undercover - or so another character has told her. It is a mask similar to the fright-masks seen in a famous Twilight Zone episode, and when she fits it to her face she stiffens, starts convulsing - she makes an awful, strangled scream and is pressing it against her face against her will. The mask's veins bulge, and you realize with a shock it is more-or-less her own face now, but with a horrific expression.

And then just like that, she lifts her hands away, the expression clears from her face and she says "Ah! That's better." Big breath, relieved.

But she isn't who she was anymore.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Life In Balance: It's All About Directing Your Energy Into Things That Feed Your Energy, Not Into Things That Drain Your Energy

Huh, that post title is considerably less pithy than I thought it was going to be, when I started typing. But that makes it a perfect example of what I'm talking about! Typing? Feeds my energy. Editing what I've typed? Draaaaaaaiiiin...

One thing is good - I was killing myself with long hours at work, but then I made a personal commitment to keep my sanity going. Which was: first thing I do every night when I get home is play 3 songs on the guitar and do a hundred situps! Which often psychs me up to the point where I then go on to do a whole session, working on songwriting and/or my full workout regimen (a variation/update on my old, abandoned Crash Fitness Regimen).

I think what was bothering me more than working those long hours, was that I was letting it sap my energy to the point that I would neglect more personally-rewarding things. DUMB!! Because the whole point of this post is - if you can just commit to it, if you can commit to just putting in that little bit of energy to do those personally-rewarding things whether you're really "in the mood" for it or not, well just that little energy you put in yields you a metric bumper crop of energy back, in return! That's an energy investment you have to make. That's what keeps you going, smiling like a sap despite all life has to throw at you!

The toughest part for me is keeping the proper form on the situps while I've got this big-ass Fender Acoustic in my lap. Especially when I'm doing barre chords! Proper form is so important, to produce a clean chord sound without muffled strings while preventing abdominal muscle strain.

Thought of the Monday

Somedays, you get the tiger by the tail. Other days, the tiger by the tail gets you.

But every now and then, the tiger by the tail gets the bull by the horns!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thought of the Day: On Film Acting.

Christopher Walken is a walking special effect.

The Internet Wrecks Our Dreams, and I'll Tell You Why Pt.2

Say, if anybody thinks the previous post is depressing, keep in mind: the dreams in question are only subject to being wrecked if our priorities are all screwed up in the first place. If we've got the wrong dreams.

Because as I said in an even-more-previous other post, if your dream is to make art, then nobody on Earth can stop you. But if your dream is to make a living at art, well. You're kind of a sell-out, aren't you? A sell-out before you even see a dime!

The Internet Wrecks Our Dreams, and I'll Tell You Why

It used to be, the only really amazingly talented people we knew were famous people. For the most part! I mean, every now and then you'd have someone tell you about "this really amazing guy" or girl they know, "she's incredible!" "you've got to see what he can do" winding it all up with "[ he or she ] is going to be famous!"

Because that's how it ends, right? Amazing talent, plus time and effort, equals famous! Sure. And if somebody like that who we knew, who we came across in our own personal experience didn't become famous, we'd just assume that some weird fluke had occurred. Because that's not the way it's supposed to happen!

And then we'd observe how sometimes, even just pretty good talent + time and effort = famous. Don't tell me it ain't so, we've all seen it! And then sometimes, we'd even see it happen without the time and effort. Or...with no talent, whatsoever.

So the rest of us had hope, too. "Hey, I'm pretty talented." "If this person's famous...I can do that better than they can!" We felt like we were right on the cusp of the fame-barrier, there, talent-wise. Because we couldn't see how much talent was really out there, just outside our field of vision. Impressive, amazing talent. Talent that makes you go "wow." Talent that nonetheless, doesn't make a damn bit of difference to the chance of getting famous, or making any money at it.

We never knew about how many people there were out there, way better than us at what we thought we could do better than Mr. or Ms. lower-tier famous. And so we thought, I have a shot!

But now! Here comes the internet! And I don't know where you hang out on the internet, but I'm constantly running across people who seem really amazingly talented, you know? Better writers than me. Better singers. Better artists, better musicians. I'm talking, WAY better than me. It's humbling! And the more of them we run across, for the most part we now realize, with a slowly-dawning, ever-growing sort of numbed dread, that there is almost zero chance that these way-more-talented-than-we-are people will ever be famous. Almost all of them will never find a workable way to get people to pay them for what they're talented at, for what they love.

And so, inevitably the cold conclusion comes: probably, neither will we.

Thanks, internet!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Thought of a Friday afternoon:

Perfection is a good star to steer by, but it's not the real endpoint of any journey.

Open Dream Journal #74: The Meeting of Unintended Consequences

This was a weird one. I dreamt I was in the middle of a work meeting. The whole high-performance planning committee was there, the GM, the Director of Operations (yes, we have both a GM and a Director of Operations - that's just how serious we are!), the heads of Sales, and Marketing, and Production, and naturally I'm there as well. The CEO isn't there, but he usually gives those meetings a pass. There are about a dozen or so people in the meeting, and every one of them is chanting and banging on the table.

Pounding with their fists. Rhythmically. One pound per syllable of chant, and what they're chanting is: "Unintended Consequences."

"Un. In. Ten. Did. Con. Seh. Quen. Ces."
"Un! In! Ten! Did! Con! Seh! Quen! Ces!"
"UN! IN! TEN! DID! CON! SEH! QUEN! CES!"
"UN! IN! TEN! DID! CON! SEH! QUEN! CES!"

The volume and vehemence of the chant is steadily increasing. Everyone is looking around at each other, glaring meaningfully, making and holding eye contact with different people and just going to town pounding on this chant. I have no idea how it started! The situation was already in progress when the dream began. And I'm the only one there not chanting and pounding. Because I don't know exactly what's up, you know? I'm not going to just throw in my endorsement on this mob-style hostile pep demonstration.

Nobody's looking at me, though. I keep worrying uh-oh, maybe the eyes of the whole room are going to slowly gather and settle on me alone, as the beat goes on, because I'm the lone holdout. But it doesn't happen. Perhaps they're used to me being the lone holdout? I have a few points of principle I like to stand on, from time to time. Anyway, they take no notice of me. They just keep pounding and pounding, and yelling, and glaring around at each other with increasingly intense worked-up fury.

"UN! IN! TEN! DID! CON! SEH! QUEN! CES!"
"UN! IN! TEN! DID! CON! SEH! QUEN! CES!"

I woke up giggling. It was such a weird allegorical version of about how productive most work meetings can be.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Thought of the Day, After the Fact

I don't put thought into anything I say until after the fact.

Infamy At A Pool Hall #5

Once again, Infamy At A Pool Hall! I can't believe some of the piggish things actually said out loud at the weekly pool session, by person or persons right there at my own table! From amongst that same group of regulars, who you would never suspect capable of such utterances, if only you only knew them only from their eminently professional work personae. The only way I can even deal with the cognitive dissonance of that harsh juxtaposition is to post snippets of those shameful things (plus some non-shameful remarks for flavor and context) right here. On the blog.

"I think everybody here would be a lot better off if we didn't couch our points in needlessly inflammatory rhetoric. I'm not saying anyone here has done that."

"I said the shot needs strong English, not strong language."

"Pool is the purest game there is that involves balls."

"Ahhhhh. That's a nice, cold glass of beer. What is this?" "Sierra Nevada, mah man." "Same old, same good!"

"You know what, Dan? Dudes like you and me are in short supply. If one of us died, there would be only half of us left."

"Six in the side."

"I hate this song, man. Man, I really hate this song. If the hottest chick I knew was like, alright I'll give you a bl** job, but this song's gotta be playing while I do it, I would be like: 'FINE. Just get it over with already.'"

"If it goes in off the eight, is that still legal?" "What do you think??"

"Every life is an equal collaboration between the individual, and the universe."

"Okay, politics, you want to talk politics? Here's my take on politics! Sometimes we all, as a society, we go: 'the system doesn't work, it's too hard to get anything decided. Everyone's all tied up in their bureaucracy and their vested interests, there's a big roadblock and nothing gets done. We need to just bust up the system a bit, give one dude the power to do what has to happen.'" "Yeah?" "Yeah, that's what happens. Inevitably." "So what are you saying?" "I'm saying: that's a bad move." "I'd agree."

"I'm going to call the eight ball in left corner pocket off the break, here." "DO IT."

"So what do you think about Amanda? She's been kind of vibing me lately. She's giving me this vibe like, oh, I'm not particularly interested in this guy but he's alright I guess." "Yeah, she's hot. I'd say go for it." "I'm not really into it." "Well okay then - problem solved!" "Yeah I guess. Thanks for putting it in perspective!"

"Dude. Level with me here, okay? Serious. Does God exist?" "Yes! Hell yes God does."

Every Life

Every life is an equal collaboration between the individual, and the universe.

This Post Is Sexually-Harassing All of Its Commenters


WARNING: The remarks in this post are specifically directed towards each and every one of the people who comment on the post. So if you post a comment, consider yourselves harassed!

Hey. You're pretty cute.

I like your top. If you're wearing a shirt, let's just say I'm talking about the shirt.

Sex is nothing to be ashamed of, but I still love it when you blush.

Ooooo, I just thought of something that you might like to put in your mouth. You guessed it: a Snickers. And oh yeah, I'm talking a FUN-SIZE Snickers. That's right.

Do you walk on guy's backs?

I hope you got a receipt for that, because it's definitely going to set the alarm off.

In the sexual congress, I'm a filibuster.

Hey. You know what?

You're pretty cute.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What A Wonderful World: The Death Metal Version



Thanks to Popped Culture for this understated and uplifting gem.

Today Was Just Another Day In Which I Did Not Get Drunk.

Today, I didn't get drunk. Now if I were an alcoholic, I'd say I was doing pretty well, there. With that. One day at a time! Right? But since I'm not an alcoholic, I don't even know. Can I even brag about something like that?

Screw it, I'm bragging about it anyway. I DIDN'T GET DRUNK TODAY, PEOPLE!

I'm not saying it's an accomplishment, or anything. Just a fact about me. Another nice, random fact. File it under the filing cabinet.

Jeez, but it makes me wonder: when was the last time I got drunk? Really rip-stinking drunk! The kind of drunk where you wake up wearing way too much underwear, like ten pairs, and nothing else? Or the kind of drunk where you wake up ten feet up a tree in nothing but a Snuggie and a stethoscope? Or the kind of drunk where you wake up one shoe off, one shoe on, went to bed with your stockings on? Or whatever. You know what I mean. These specific examples are probably a little far-fetched, but you get what I'm getting at. You wake up in a state of disarray, of some kind.

Man. For me, I honestly can't remember! When was my last big ol' sloppy dumb drunk? The alternate question to get there could be: when was the last time I woke up HURTIN'? And trace it back that way. But nope: I run up against a wall there. A false trail. Because last time I woke up HURTIN' - I didn't drink at all that time. It was a case of food poisoning, which is not a reliable indicator. Food poisoning is more or less "sobriety-neutral."

I guess...OK, I think the last time I was really drunk off my ass was probably February '09.

So, yeah. I got a pretty good streak going, people!

Tips On Dining Alone

Sometimes you just want a nice filet mignon, and you don't feel like cooking it. Most of the good steak places I go have a bar, and they don't mind serving you there. I just sit at the bar. Of course, sometimes, to some people, that might send an undesired message. So while I'm sitting at the bar, I scowl a lot. I just keep that scowl coming. I work it through its permutations. Pensive scowl, quizzical scowl. SCOWL OF PURE UNDIRECTED HATE!! It keeps the help hopping, and the unwanted sociables at a distance.

Of course the waitstaff already knows I tip well. It's probably more that than the scowl that keeps 'em hopping. Plus, maybe they just want to hurry up and get me out of there. I may tip well, but I'm not exactly good for business.

If anybody braves the scowl-created dead zone to strike up a conversation, I have this completely incomprehensible invented language I've been working on, that I revert to. It works much better than fake french or fake German - you can never tell who can speak what real language! Believe me, nobody can speak this language. Of course I have to be careful and pay attention - to make sure the person hasn't already witnessed me speaking English to the staff, or they'll just think I'm some kind of asshole.

Of course, I could just sit at a 2-top, and not be bothered. Nobody's going to walk right up to my table and start making small talk!

But it's more fun to sit at the bar.

Name That Tune #10!

NAME THAT TUNE:

"Your temperature must be lowered. I'm serious! I am going to see to it that you further your education. Very deep in you, apiary product, you have a requirement: my sexual organ. I will give it to you. Do you want an entire amount of sexual organ? Do you want an entire amount of sexual organ?"



Questions will be posted each Wednesday at noon Pacific Time, 12pm. Submit your comments NAMING THE SONG that is being paraphrased. Answers will be posted after 5pm! Once answers are posted, scoring is closed. Scoring is as follows:

First correct answerer gets: 1 point!
Tardy correct answerer gets: 0.3 point!

Aw, Yeah #4: Clean Clothes.

What a luxury this is to have done all that laundry, and have whatever I want to wear.

I've chosen my least-favorite shirt. Get it OUT OF THE WAY.

I hate being stuck with it at the end of the cycle.

It's Okay If You Don't Want to Comment on This Post

It's OK. It's not a very good post, I know. It's kind of slight.

There's probably not very much there for anybody to latch onto, run with, or express an opinion on.

It's okay, I understand if it's not really...if you don't want to comment on it.

I get the message.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Shout-Out to All You Scantily-Clad Babes!

Hey! All you scantily-clad babes.

How are you doing?

This is my shout-out, specifically to you. Feel free to leave a holler at me in the comments. Tell me what you're wearing. Tell me what you're not wearing. Keep it respectable, though please.

Note: this is NOT a shout-out to all you nude babes out there. No offense, nude babes! It's just, look. I'm kind of an old-fashioned guy, so I'm always a little bit bashful interacting with nude babes, unless we're talking someone I really know. Otherwise, I wouldn't be likely to just, you know, "shout out." I'd be much more likely take a wait-and-see approach, as in: "Hm, this person is completely naked. Is she about to put clothes on, or what? I better hold my tongue for the nonce." See, a time like that is not the time to shout out. Could cause an unwanted startle: "What the hell are you shouting for?" And besides, what would I shout, anyway? "WooooooOOOOOooO!" Probably; yes. But as we've established, I wouldn't shout at all, so the point of "what I would shout" is moot.

Honestly? I'm just not sure what it is with you nude babes. What's your story, with the whole "no clothes" angle? I want to be clear, I'm not criticizing. I'm certainly no prude! And the human body is nothing to be ashamed of, but still. If you're naked, then where's the mystery? Actually, wait, that's not true - the naked is kind of a mystery in itself.

I've gotten off-track, here. The point is that I'm far more comfortable shouting out when presented with scantily-clad babes, than with nude babes. Nude babes, I'm going to hold off on the shout, at least until I get a sense of what the situation is. Maybe I'm going to be called upon to break out my charcoals and do a sketch? See, there is absolutely nothing lascivious or inappropriate about THAT outcome! Suddenly everything is all perfectly socially acceptable - and SHAME on those of you with your suspicions of prurient excess!

Yet even if the situation would have been developing along that innocent artistic path, suppose I'd suddenly decided to just haul off and shout "WooooooOOOOooO!" at the first sign of nudity! Well, that would almost certainly have derailed the delicately, artistically developing vibe. So as you can see, as an artist, as a feminist, I have to have a little more class than that. I just have to.

You know, I don't want to leave all you very heavily-dressed babes out in the cold on this one, either. Bundled up in your scarves and hats and coats. I can't make this a shout-out to you, as I've already specifically reserved the official "shout-out" aspect to those babes who are in fact scantily-clad, and I don't want to renege on that now. But still, to all you conservatively-clad, comprehensively-clad and even excessively-clad babes, please allow me to say:

"Hey. How do you do, there!"

I guess that about covers it.

Burritos Are Crazy!

Burritos are crazy, who would put all these ingredients into a tube, and then bite into it expecting flavor harmony? Beans! Like, a real hot paste of beans. Shredded cabbage or lettuce. Some kind of meat. Some tomatoes, maybe some tomatos. Some sour cream, possibly some guac. Some chopped green onion. And rice! What the hell, how the hell did that all get decided?

Here I am eating one, though. And damn if it isn't good!

Crazy.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Twice If You're Lucky

An Easter Monday Meditation: Taking Back Easter?

The Christian holidays are well and truly co-opted. Taken over by their secular mascots. There's no way to get 'em back! Christmas has been completely Santatized. Easter has been Bunnified. There's no way to get 'em back. There's just no way!

Unless...maybe next year, Jesus comes straight out of the tomb with the candy.

Think about the revolutionary effect that could have? It's so crazy, it just might work. Leave the eggs out of the basket, though! Just bring candy. The candy alone should do the trick.

My guess is that when Jesus brings the candy, that bunny isn't going to be able to give away egg one. Game over, Hop-stuff.

I'll be honest with you, I have no idea what to do about Santa. His kung fu is strong. He has that whole operation up there. He's very deeply entrenched.

It Suddenly Just Struck Me #3

It suddenly just struck me that I've never told anyone "I've never been more insulted in my life!" So now I'm trying to think back. I need to figure out the single worst instance of me being insulted. You don't want to let something like that pass!

Once I figure out who it was, it should be a snap to apply retroactively. Assuming I still have their phone number! If not, I'm sure I can track them down somehow, in this modern age. I'd also let them know that in the event I ever get insulted worse, by anyone else, I'd be sure to give them the update. So they know they're officially "off the hook" - that somebody else has finally insulted me more.

It wouldn't be right to leave that hanging over their head indefinitely.

Straight From The Dome! A Free-Style For the REAL FANS!!!

Pop pop ka-pop, I drop a rhyme like a stop sign stops cars!
You don't know who I are, but I told you so, so "har har"
I gotta laugh, my rhymes eat wheat and spit out the chaff,
but you got a gluten allergy so I gave you a rash!
I'm not making fun of that, it's a struggle for you I bet,
to meet your dietary needs with that requirement,
"word"
I said it loud so you heard
Your ears treat my rhymes like
my wallet treats dollars!

I had to switch the metaphor there,
so say "holler!"
but when I throw my hands in the air
you just don't care, I'm just a lemon
-lime juggler, you've seen that act before
but not with such savior-faire,
because I do it with a twist,
I don't push, just persist
I squeeze the sweet and tangy fruits
in mid-air, then I offer you the juice
and you guzzle!
and then you say "ahhh!"
my rhymes are so refreshing
like a massage! At a day spa!

take two parts cold rhymes
and a part of iced beats
no not beets like the vegetable
although those are sweet
I mean the beats like the drums
I pound a rhythm out, SON
and I call you "SON" there
in a non-condescending way
so say "hey!"
- I rhyme a bunch of ways
some are better than others,
but that's the nature of variety!
"The spice of life" they say
- but who are "they" huh?
The same "they" who victimize
the victims of paranoia?

That's deep, yo.

Word to yo otha-mutha, yo ("Earth").

That means "protect the environment"

Peace out. "CONSCIOUS"

I'm Finally At Peace With The Goofy-Looking New Money

I'm finally at peace with the current currency (see previous rant). That's because I finally figured out the true purpose of the new money. It makes sense to me now, why they had to screw it all up, and make it look all goofy-looking. They're trying to foil time-travelers.

Suppose I've got a time-machine, and I go back in time to the 80s, or the 70s, or the 60s or any such time rockin' time period as anyone might be interested in. Then when I go to pull out my money to buy something - the jig is up! Nobody's going to accept those goofy big-head presidents! I'd be detained and questioned, and most likely, I'd be stuck in the grimly-detailed, period loony bin. Far from my time machine escape route. Well and truly screwed.

OH SHIT! I hope they didn't use this angle in Hot Tub Time Machine. I would look like such a "biter." But wait, they couldn't have - who gets into a hot tub with money?

Anyway, I bet what happened was, the U.S. authorities noticed over the years that there would be periodic appearances throughout modern U.S. history of "counterfeit" currency, whose only real defect was a future date on the bill. Otherwise, these bills were a genius reproduction of U.S. currency - pretty much undetectable! And who looks at the date? It's like these "counterfeiters" - whoever they were, clearly some outfit or organization, because their work would appear in spurts widely-separated in time and space throughout the 20th century - were deliberately showing their ass by printing such perfect bills with just the impossible future date on there to stymie the authorities.

Well eventually, the unthinkable became obvious. This wasn't a counterfeiting operation at all! These were real bills - from the U.S. Mints of the future. The U.S. Secret Service (whose job it is to deal with counterfeiters and by extension, whose job it became to deal with time-travelers) finally connected the dots and proved that there was no organized counterfeiting ring at all, just disconnected instances of time-travelers going back in time to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate / currency values between future and past. Traveling back in time to procure tchotchkes. Memorabilia. Anything abundant, considered cheap and tawdry in its own era, but which by the time traveler's era has become rare, scarce - and valuable.

In fact if you think about it, it's pretty obvious that the scarcity of these sorts of items in the present is almost entirely due to the time-travelers themselves. Going back and buying them all up in the past! Then taking them to the future to hoard, gradually letting them trickle out slowly on e-bay. Or the future equivalent.

This is how their whole operation is financed.

Anyway, thanks to these dicks, we can look forward to our own money getting goofier and goofier about every 15 years. A regrettable situation, but I don't see any other way to combat the problem, so I'm at peace with it. Now it's true, this approach won't deter the serious operators, who have already got era-specific bills stockpiled. But at least it will put up a barrier that your petty operators (or "small-timers" as they're called on the anachronomemorabilia dealer circuit) will find it hard to get around.

It's like putting a bike lock on your bike.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Thought of the Day: to the Punch

I always thought the phrase "beaten to the punch" had to do with a party beverage.

Thinking About Easter

I've been thinking about Easter because it's Easter. Easter means Jesus rose from the dead, but it's supposed to be after 3 days in the tomb, I'm not sure that works because if he died pretty late on Friday and got up pretty early on Sunday, that's only like 1.5 days in the tomb. Jews go with sundown as the end of the day, so let's say they got him in the tomb before sundown Friday. He spent at least part of a day Friday, probably like 0.2 of a day, then the whole day Saturday, then how early did he get up on Sunday? Pretty early, I guess! It was a big day, he had a bunch of stuff planned. So I'd guess he only spent 0.3 of that day in the tomb, tops.

Still, with the traditional figuring of days, the way Jews would do it, if you spent any part of Friday, all day Saturday and any part of Sunday in the tomb, they'd just say "three days." Because it's at least some part of three days. I just want to get that out of the way as quickly and as scholarly as possible, because some wise-guy always tries to bring that up.

Actually, that might be the first time I really heard or thought about that, but those wise-guys. You just know there might be one out there, trying to make a snide point with "math." You just want to pre-empt the wise-guy at his own game, sometimes!

So somebody said to me that the lesson of Easter is about how Jesus rose from the dead so we will too. That's a good lesson I guess. Is that the whole lesson though? It could mean more than that! I think about Jesus being God, and that makes me wonder about other things too. God. God goes and creates the whole universe, and then looks at us squiggly things over here in the corner and says: "I want to try being one of those things for awhile." Any way you look at it, either God was just really bored, or else maybe the lesson is that humanity itself must loom pretty big in the scheme of things, for God to want to try being one of us for awhile? And with a plan to get killed over it, too, in a really painful way! There has to be some pretty incredible reason for that. We must be kind of a big deal. Maybe it's just, maybe atheism is just a way for people who are uncomfortable with how big a deal we must be in God's eyes. So they can just sort of, avoid the issue.

It's one of the big mysteries of the faith, I guess. I can't solve it on the internet.

Easter's a pretty cool holiday. When I was a kid, I used to dye some pretty kick-ass eggs. All the kids would gather round, and there would be a strong smell of vinegar. But we wouldn't poke holes and blow out the yolks! No, we'd just hard-boil 'em. Within a week or so, all those painstakingly-colored eggshells would be cracked and peeled, colored bits and flecks carefully caught on paper towels to be balled up in a crunchily crumpled wad and trashed, and the egg inside would be eaten up.

Those eggs were not meant to last.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Doodeloo #41: The Girl Made Out Of Red Brick Wall

The Girl Made Out
The Girl Made Out Of Red Brick Wall
Of Red Brick Wall

Hm. Grimmin' It Up A Bit In Here.

I need to push a little whimsy I think. Balance the scales.

I know. I'll draw something! Since when does that ever fail to lighten the mood.

I wonder what it's going to be.

I Kill Because I Care.

Actually, I don't kill. I never kill at all. Not one bit!

So what that let you know.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Not A Humor Blog

I just feel the need, once again, to point this out: this is not a "humor blog." Have I pointed that out before? Because it isn't! Nor is it a "comedy blog." If something's funny, maybe that's more down to your sense of humor. Which - hey! I'm not criticizing! I'm happy for whatever joy I can bring to the world. Various shapes and forms of joy.

But regardless. This is not a humor blog, and I'll tell you why: because when you think about it, humor is depressing.

Humor is the snap back of your expectations, from the stretch of a world that refuses to correspond. We laugh at the ridiculous difference between what we thought, and what is. We laugh at how obvious it seems, in retrospect. We laugh at how silly we were, not to see it coming. This is why a joke suffers on the second telling: no surprise, no expectation snap-back.

What's a mystery to me is why laughter feels good. Why what is ultimately a reaction to disappointment - of expectation, of preconception - feels good. Yes, I know it helps us cope. "We laugh so we don't have to cry." We laugh because we can, we're glad we can laugh because it does feel good - but why is laughter in us at all? Why does it help us? Why is this good-feeling, ticklish emotional release built into us, when the other animals don't seem to need the reflex?

Animals cope with their hopes being spectacularly dashed, just as we do. Animals survive their own ridiculous setbacks - which in a million You-Tube videos, we find just as hilarious as our own. Yet the animals, by and large, don't ever seem to see (or need) the joke. Why don't animals need to laugh, when their expectations upend? Surely fate is just as implacable and inconsiderate to schemes of mice as it is to schemes of men. But the animals, they just pick up and keep trucking. We sit back stunned and have an emotional reaction. Why do we need to do that?

I believe it is because we are fundamentally wrong about the world, in a really stupid and silly way, and animals aren't. An animal doesn't expect to be treated fairly by the world. We do. And every single time we're shown that well no, the world isn't fair - it strikes us anew, that old joke on us. It strikes us anew no matter how many times the joke's on us. We laugh to find we slipped back into expecting the world to be fair. We laugh because we haven't learned our lesson.

It is our reaction to this essential silliness and wrongness of ours, that is at the root of the laugh reflex. We are ultimately always and only laughing at ourselves. Of course sometimes we laugh at others in the predicament of having their own expectations comically upset - situations in movies, or on tv shows, or even in real life (but hopefully not right in their face!). But ultimately we are laughing because we know that we share the same basic expectations that we see so tragically and comically proved wrong. The joke could be on anyone, but the rimshot tolls for thee.

Well go ahead. Laugh it up.

I've learned my lesson and I can't laugh anymore.

A "Fiction Friday" Snippet.

So a man walked and walked, up through the tall soft grass, up and up to the top of a huge, round hill. The hilltop was bare but for a low, broken stone wall, and down the far side of the hill tumbled a darkness of low, thick, mossy trees overhung with a dense canopy of leaves, deep and rustling.

The man peered into the spaces between the thick, gnarled, branching trunks. Here and there lay small specks of light like bright, odd-sized pennies gleaming upon the dry mottled matt of wide, rusted leaves. The man's gaze lingered, and became unfocused. The view from the hill was an Impressionist painting. His watering eyes strayed upwards. Wp above and over the darkness of the forest, to the lake beyond, a dark deep field of blurred blue burned with sparks, spots of splintered sunlight dancing and swimming on a surface of shifting facets. Beyond the lake, looming from far below to high above him, jutted the massive towering expanse of Mt. Poopydoodoo.

The man, dazed from the dizzying view, sat back upon the low broken stone wall, and drank in the adjectives.