Do You Feel Lucky?

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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Philadelphia Is Important

Philadelphia is a pretty major city. It's been there for a long time, and a lot of people have heard about it, and now I just want to come right out and add my voice to that same general chorus. This post is about Philadelphia.

Some people go there for the Liberty Bell. That's dead on. Go anywhere else for that, you're wasting your time. Some people go there for the beer. It's a big center for beer, as I've been informed by a man very knowledgeable in such things, my buddy: Seanibus. Otherwise I wouldn't have known to say that, but it's a true, interesting fact. So thanks for that one, Seany my lad! Feel free to steal whatever facts I may have lying around for your use, long as I get a proper attribution out of it naturally.

People talk about what kind of a sports town Philadelphia is, and it's true. Another thing Philly is known for is their regional delicacies. One is the soft pretzel. This is usually served hot by dudes who don't look up to health department inspection standards. One time on the way out of a concert at the Spectrum, one of these guys secured my sale with a simple rhyme touting the value of his hot, salty wares: "What the fuck, it's only a buck!" I was sold. It was the first time I'd heard that one, and for me at least, it immediately shot right up there with the then-regionally-ubiquitous pizza delivery box slogan "You've tried the rest - now try the best." In subsequent years I would find myself wondering, "why didn't that 'fuck/buck' one catch on more?" I decided it was due to two factors: 1. Hampered by the self-limiting price cap. 2. The fucking profanity.

The other regional delicacy Philly is most hailed for is the "Philly Cheese Steak." Steer clear of these, I will fight you for them and that's a bad move if you're you. The key to the excellence of both the true Philly Cheese Steak and the excellent Italian sub in the general Philly/South Jersey region is the roll. It is called "Italian bread." This is not french bread, it is not a baguette. It is Italian bread. You can only get this particular kind of bread from a few major bakeries in greater Philadelphia, who supply the tri-state area. And so, subs elsewhere in the nation fall flat at the foundational level (and screw it up further from there). You haven't had one, trust me. You don't know what a sub is. Go to hell.

I read somewhere that the key to the mystique for these bakeries is the unique mineral content of the water from the Schuylkill River. I suspect "mineral content" is a euphemism. Are you familiar with the Schuylkill River? It was named for the last guy to try to take a swim in it, back in the 1800s. His name was Schuyl.

Man, I thought this post was going to be tiny, but I'm chock full of facts at my fingertips when it comes to the hows, whys, whats and wherefores of the Great State of Philadelphia.

Keep it coming, Philly! Brotherly love is just the start.

He's the Kind of Guy Who

You have to understand this guy. He's the kind of guy who says to the cop, "but officer - didn't you see that? That was a sweet move!" He's the kind of guy who telecommutes, but then he'll bring his dirty dishes into work to do them in the break area sink. The kind of guy whose stock answer to whatever you ask him is usually: "good point."

He's the kind of guy who'll show up at a potluck with an enormous turkey leg that he's chawing on, and offer people bites.

That's the kind of guy he is.

Afterthought of the Day: China

I would love a collection of glazed-porcelain statuettes and figurines of bulls of varying sizes, poses and artistic styles. Some contentedly thrusting their bull-necks downward, in a grazing position. Some with head high, horns proudly displayed. A few in the traditional head-lowered, snorting, scuffing the ground with their foreleg prior to the charge. Some charging, of course. All different poses and kinds of bulls, in all different styles of artistic depiction. I mean Classical, NeoClassical, Baroque, various stripes of Modern (definitely at least one Guernica-esque one!), New Realism, old-school Japanese style, Manga/Anime, you name it.

I wonder what kind of china shop I need to go to, to get me those. I can picture the place. They would have a whole display case of these bulls, like a highly-specialized menagerie.

I would just take the whole case.

Thought of the Day: Bull

Just 'cause you're a china shop, doesn't make everyone else a bull.

Name That Tune #22!

"A great distance we have been moving across
Bereft of a thing with feathers, but not lacking a celestial body
Liberty, that's what we crave
We're all bunched up keeping hold of a vision.

Employing various conveyances,
Journeying to this country
Without sparing a glance behind
Journeying to this country

Our proper place - how distant it feels
Our burdens and supplies are low
like the calm part in the middle of the hurricane
like the calm part in the middle of the hurricane
Our proper place - not the old one but a gleaming one
We'll arrange our nighttime furniture,
cast our benedictions over the meals
the lamp of liberty gives both light and heat
the lamp of liberty gives both light and heat

All over the globe
Journeying to this country
Each time the grand ol' banner is flappin in the breeze
Journeying to this country
there's a vision they have, to convey them to that destination
Journeying to this country
there's a vision they have, that they'd like to spread around
Journeying to this country

Journeying to this country
Journeying to this country
Journeying to this country
Journeying to this country

On this day
On this day
On this day
On this day
On this day

America, it's of you
Pleasant-tasting property of freedom
this song's for you
this song's for you
On this day"

Physics and Etiquette of a Mosh Pit

It's just full-contact skipping, really.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another Contract Read-Through

So this one was totally ridiculous. Anyway, we're all about five pages in and let me tell you it is pretty grim going, if it weren't so ridiculous. And we come to a clause whose purpose just makes no sense to anybody, and somebody says, "What is this even in here for?" - and for some reason, everybody turns as one and looks at me!

So deadpan and matter-of-fact, I reply "That's the 'Bitch, Please!' clause."

Thought of the Day: Ticklish

You can tickle yourself, but it's not very funny.

Choose The Form of the Destructor

See, I've got a real disciplined mind and can keep it blank indefinitely.

So for me, at some point Gozer would call bullshit and just say "Damn it! That's your choice!" For me, it would be the blank itself. Annihilation via erasure - a slow, spreading nothingness that would convert and engulf everything that touches it into a mind-boggling absolute lack.

Not even hard vacuum! Nothing so prosaic. It would be: a spreading total absence of force, matter, energy, thought, color, heat or cold, light or dark. I can't even conceptualize what it would look like. You'd be seeing something your mind could not take in, but you would know what was coming for you: the concept of nothing, realized to an impossible but undeniable degree.

And after it's finished with you, it moves on to everything. And after it's finished with everything, there won't even be a consciousness or memory left of what once was.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Wish I Could Draw That Fast!!

I know, I know, it's sped up. But even still!



Everything boring should be taught by this method. This is way better than the UPS whiteboard dude with the Courtney Cox hair.

Advice From The Socially Ept #1: Waiting For Reply On That Inadvertantly Weird E-Mail You Sent?

You know how feel when you send an e-mail to somebody, and then you have a crisis of confidence about that e-mail? It's not like you made some huge misstatement that you could easily correct with a quick, "OOPS! wait, here's what I meant!" No, it's more a generalized awkward feeling around the e-mail as a whole. And now you're stuck waiting on the wire for a reply.

Maybe you laid a little too much on the line. Maybe you put yourself out there, a bit more than intended. Maybe you expressed yourself fecklessly. Maybe you used the word "fecklessly," with no real clear idea of what it means. Whatever the reason for the pins and needles, there's only one remedy for that uneasy waiting period that has you wondering how it will all be taken, or whether you'll be waiting forever for a reply because the other person's reaction meter needle got stuck just a bit too far towards what the fuck. There's only one thing you can do to ease the unease while you wait.

And it's easy! Just send like 3 or 4 equally-awkward e-mails to other people (definitely different people, very important!). Somebody's sure to reply on a reasonable timescale, and the more big ol' matzohs you have hanging out there, each takes your mind off the others to some extent.

Most problems are easy, you just have to think the other way.

Thought of the Day: a Hot One

Man, I love being able to walk to work in the morning. But in the dog days of summer, that sun really beats down! I think I'm going to need to invest in some kind of dude-suitable parasol, if I'm going to keep it up.

It's worth the investment. My carbon footprint is freaking enormous, something needs to be done.

I Seem To Be Taking A Lot Of Shit, Lately...Pt. 2

Okay, I'll level with you. I had a typo in the post title, and tried to run with it. It should have said "Talking...I left the "l" out.

...anyway, this ain't autumn.

I Seem to Be Taking a Lot of Shit, Lately...

...and meekly, even! It's kind of a new thing, for me. Something I seem to be trying out. It's like I turned over a new leaf on life, and the leaf said: "meek!" Spoken in that dry, leafy whisper, to which autumn gives voice.

Then I strolled out among the ground-stabbing trunks, rough with furrowed bark rushing and branching up skywards, splitting out lightning-like into limbs, branches and fingerlike twigs, leaves like sparks, leaping from a writhing canopy of high arcing jagged dark wooden bolts, down to the ground as if electromagnetized. There is electricity in a tree, a slow-worked lightning that strikes in the same place every damn day - a deep and sessile jolt that spreads its

Hey, just a second. What the hell. This post wasn't about trees.

F' it. Go with the flow, that's what I say. That's the new me!

6AM Monday Morning Thought

A procrastinator equates sense of urgency with hindsight.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Someone Asked Me About God

In the old days, when an adult said of a child, "you're not old enough to understand" - mostly what was meant was: the child was not old enough to learn to stop asking. To learn "this is just the way we believe, and there's no use questioning it." In the old days, this sort of resigned acceptance was what passed as the understanding of an adult.

That's not good enough anymore. Children (or questioning adults) who are not given satisfactory answers to "why?" will begin to believe there's nothing there to understand. And because the "there" that they are being fed is a lot of irrelevancy, all to do with human hubris, and nothing to do with God - they will be right. And so they may simply fall away from faith. Into despair. All because of a stack of irrelevant beliefs that glorify not God, but one's sect; one's little group of rules about what way to believe is best.

If you can't defend your beliefs reasonably, particularly if you insist that the world and the universe cannot be understood in terms of human reason, in terms of science, or if you try to tell people that God conflicts with science and reason, well guess what: you are needlessly harming the ability of good and reasonable people to believe in God.

I said needlessly.

God does not conflict with science or with reason. We are told we were created in the image and likeness of God. This does not mean God is a hairy biped*. It doesn't mean that each of us "is God" i.e. there is no God except each of us. No. It means that among created beings, we were created creators. We were created with the capacity, the right, and perhaps even the duty to learn all we can of ourselves, of the universe, of anything we can - so that we can take all we have been given, and from it we can create. Create an offering to God, of whatever it is we make of ourselves, of whatever it is in our capacity to know and to do.

To offer it up.

We need more humility than we have. Asking for answers is not hubris, it is humility. To ask for answers is to admit we are not infallible, all-knowing - to admit we have much to learn. Force-feeding unreasonable beliefs about God to others, and insisting that those beliefs are unseverably linked to belief in God when in fact, they have no connection to God at all - that is hubris. We push beliefs that we can't defend, whose only attraction is that they feed our desire to control the behavior of others. We hook our prejudices and ignorant biases to God, so that we can palm off the responsibility onto God, for all the biases we hold most dear.

So yeah, I try to be nice about it, but when I see a representation made that belief in God must be in opposition to sense and reason, I'm going to have something to say about that. I don't care to have my own belief in God impugned in that manner. And I don't care to see someone else - some perfectly decent and reasonable human being who is searching for what to believe, who might be perfectly willing to believe in God's truth! - I don't want to see such a one turned off and turned away by some person who just because they're more comfortable living with mind turned off, tries to push everyone else to accept and believe that turning your mind off is the only way to God.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Paradox of Conspiracy

Conspiracy theorists have more faith in the discretion and efficiency of those in power than all other segments of society combined.

The Chief Conspiracy In Operation Today

The chief conspiracy in operation today is the constant churning out of false conspiracies, targeted at the moron demographic, who enthusiastically parrot and promulgate those conspiracies to the world.

This constant camouflage barrage of fake conspiracies obscures and drowns out any chance of the (by comparison) far more mundane yet lucrative real conspiracies being spotted - or if they are spotted, believed. Or if they are believed, cared about.

The Lure of Conspiracy

The lure of conspiracy is all of the following:

1. "I have special knowledge that others don't acknowledge to be true."

2. "No one can disprove it!"

3. "The random horror in the world frightens me - not because it is horror, but because it is random. I cannot face up to atrocious things that happen for practically no reason at all, that are the work of crackpots and fanatics who do not need the gigantic assistance or blessing of nigh-omnipotent powers in order to bring off their plan. If I think about that too much, I would huddle in the corner and hyperventilate! So I delude myself that the only way atrocious things could ever possibly happen is when an improbably-complex conspiracy at the highest levels of power causes them. That lets me breath more easily. Knowing that there is a power in control, even though it does us harm."

4. "I'm smarter than others. I'm not some gullible sheep who swallows whole what the harmonious chorus of mainstream media outlets say about an event. Instead, I swallow whole what the discordant chorus of random internet dipsticks have to say."

The list is by no means exhaustive.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Very Special Fiction Friday: Featuring Tough Social Issues

Bobby was a multiracial sexually-confused atheist child born to a fundamentalist muslim mother and a fundamentalist christian father, both of whom loved their daughter and accepted each others' differences. The other kids at school embraced Bobby without reservation, tolerant and supportive of the girl's struggle over and through many obstacles. Bobby did well in school, and then entered the workforce, working hard for a good cause for several years and making a big impact on those around her. She became handicapped at one point; it was a crushing blow. Bobby thought "did my dreams die as well?" But she perservered, and found solace in the loving support of a community that opened up to return what she had so selflessly given, that reached out to her and helped her back up. Her workplace was super-accommodating in easing her back into a productive routine. Eventually she felt that her life was just as rich as before, and then suddenly in a stroke of freak luck, her mobility was restored by chance encounter with a quack healer from Polynesia, whose efforts produced in Bobby what medical science has ruled a "placebo miracle." Bursting with the optimism of an unlooked-for second chance, Bobby rededicated herself to exploration: both to traveling the greater world over, and to mapping the world within her. Most rewarding of all, Bobby found more-or-less-lasting love with her sometime-soulmate Gil, who had gone through a remarkably similar life's journey in order to find Bobby, lose her, and then find her again, (The End).

Now, maybe all of that doesn't mean a thing to you and me. But if there's a moral to the story, it's that people like Bobby prove without any possibility of a doubt that maybe all the supposed "troubles" "struggles" and "issues" that people make such a big deal out of are perhaps not such a "big deal" as they're made out to be, because if you just keep going, and if you can avoid being smeared at random across the surface of the earth by a sudden, un-aimed brutal force passing through that wasn't particularly trying to crush you, or indeed, take any notice of you whatsoever, you may end up looking back at it all and saying:

"Hey, that wasn't so bad!"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thought of the Day: Who Would Win in a Fight, an Astrologer or a Psychic?

I think in a fight, an astrologer vs. a psychic...I bet the astrologer wins.

Don't ask me for details. It's a gut hunch. You have to go with those, when you're trying to handicap any kind of violent contest. But if I had to illuminate a bit of the gist for you, I'd say this:

Discipline beats intuition, nearly every damn time.

Where Everybody Knows Your Avatar

So I started hanging out at this place right by my house, some nights after work, because let's face it I am too lazy to cook these days, the food there is delicious and the drinks are convivial. When a parallel suddenly struck me:

It's this:

You know, hanging out at a bar, as a regular at a neighborhood spot, is a lot like the internet.

I'll elaborate. It's because there's this sort of artificial community, of people who are not really your friends, but they all show up there just because it's borderline social, but really you know everybody's in there for some other primary reason. Be it alcohol, be it to maybe pick someone up, be it porn.

Less the last one, probably. At least for the neighborhood bar scene. At least, I don't see a lot of that going on in this place.

This place is kind of more high-class than that. Yeah, they serve sloppy joe's, but you can also get like a house smoked salmon on greens with wasabi aioli and bread. But get the sloppy joe, though. That was the best damn - no exaggeration! - the best damn sloppy joe I ever had in my life, and I am Joe.

So what that let you know.

Thinking about it, that's one big area where my whole comparison falls down. Because you can't get a damn sloppy joe like that on the internet! No sir.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hm?

I've been told I'm a good listener. At least I think that's what they said.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!AAAAaAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaAAAAAAAAaaaaAAA!aAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaAAAAAAAAA!AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH THIS NEW SIA FURLER ALBUM IS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Name That Tune #21!

"Interjection!
Interrogative?
Attention:

I'm no virgin. I've searched the gaze of lovers, but found no love there to know. Until you arrived.

I've kissed, and gone on many ocean voyages...but wherever I journey, I'm certain that the one for me is you. Because this love is the genuine article. You appear to me in dreams. The organ of your love is a snug fit. And I will be accurate color. Darling, my love is yours.

Disingenuous statements, I've heard them all. And I've wept. Over and over. Never again! What makes me so jittery, so jubilant about you is - you're not just another lover. You are first among all of my friends.

If it comes to pass that you have misgivings, if you find yourself asking questions about the nature and purpose of love - recall what I told you, softly, in confidence: I told you that this love is the genuine article. You appear to me in dreams. The organ of your love is a snug fit. And I will be accurate color. Darling, my love is yours.

A tender farewell to sorrow. That might be a supernova above us today. I turned over the planet to find who I found in you.

Are you not aware? Are you not aware that this love is the genuine article? Genuine article, oh darling. Genuine article, oh darling. Genuine article, oh darling. Oh yes, it's genuine. So if you should ever have misgivings, if you find yourself asking questions about the nature and purpose of love - recall what I told you, softly, in confidence: I said "a tender farewell to sorrow. That might be a supernova above us today. I turned over the planet to find who I found in you."

Are you not aware? Are you not aware that this love is the genuine article? You appear to me in dreams. The organ of your love is a snug fit. And I will be accurate color. Darling, my love is yours."

Take It from the Kid in the Corner.

No one has talent.

...when they're born. Nobody!

Talent is the end result of a long process. At the start, there is no talent in the individual. There's just a kid in the corner with crayons, for hours, drawing cars that look more like boats. Making drawings that, quite objectively, suck. There is no talent there - there is only interest. There is only inclination.

Inclination leads to application.
Application leads to facility.
Facility leads to heightened enjoyment.
Heightened enjoyment leads to increased reinvestment of effort.
Increased reinvestment of effort leads to a conscious or unconscious desire to improve.
Which leads to technique.
Technique leads to mastery.

All of this takes years. Nobody notices it much in a kid, because there's not a lot of point to noticing a kid in the corner ineptly doodling cars with smokestacks and houses with ears. But then at some point in the process, at various points in the process, people will begin to point and say "hey! That's talent."

No it isn't. People, you are wrong. It is not talent. Not in the sense that you mean. Because people mean: "talent" - something you either have or don't. Something YOU are born with, that I can't approach to. Which absolves me of my lack. Which gives me permission to suck.

Don't give yourself permission to suck.

People think talent only happens when you're born, or when you're young, and if you don't get it then than oh well, you missed out. This is a damn lie - one of the worst there is. A 3 year old doesn't have any ability to acquire and foster talent that an adult doesn't have. It's just that few adults have the patience to start anything out from scratch - at what amounts to the skill level of a 3-year-old. You never lose your ability to create talent in what you're interested in, in what you apply yourself to. You just don't exercise it, because of a new ability that you most definitely have gained:

The ability to be effectively self-critical.

As you've grown, you have gained the ability that kid in the corner didn't have - the ability to see that he sucks. To see that to begin with, he really sucks. He kept at it for one reason only: that blessed blind spot. He took an interest and enjoyed doing it for itself, uncritically. And so he got over the hump and began, only began, just barely began - to be good.

Take it from the kid in the corner. That was me with the smokestack cars, and I kept at it. I've been drawing all my life, pencils, inks, charcoals, oils, majored in fine arts painting, I love it and I love art. Art makes life great. I'm okay at it. I'm not world-class, but I've been told I have talent.

But it always makes me shake my head, the way people say it. The way they mean it. As if they admire it - as they'd like to have it. And as if they can't. It makes me sad, because as much as I know I've devoted a lot of my interest and discipline and energy in life to art, I also know I'm pretty damn lazy! Especially lately. And I look around me, and let me tell you I know people who - from scratch, with no talent - started painting at nearly twice the age that I am now. And they now are better at it than I am today. And they will keep getting better.

People like that tell you more about talent than I can. I was always told I must have been born with it. Well hell no, I was not. Nobody was.

What do you want to do? Paint? Learn to draw? Write songs? Let me tell you, I didn't start writing songs for real until I was about twenty, and I am better now at that than you will ever be.

At least, for as long as you won't get off your ass and start.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quote of the Day: Abuse

"True authority rests not in the exercise of our power, but in how well we refrain from its abuse."

Got a Problem with McDonalds?? Then LEAVE!!

Hey, if you have such a problem with McDonalds, then why don't you just leave?!! We don't need you! Why don't you just get out!?

McDonald's was founded on giving you the right to buy all those little pale paper-wrapper candyburgers they have, plus the yellow-wrapped ones with a cheese-slice in - amazing how just that little cheese-slice binds the whole thing together like a newly-discovered substance! Both of those come with those fascinating tiny-diced onion bits. And the pickle slice! A highlight.

Then there's the Big Mac - look, I don't need to tell you about that thing. You know all about it already. The Big Mac "Bill Of Ingredients" is enshrined (in chanted jingle form) as one the founding principles on which we abide, practically! The Quarter Pounder meanwhile has taken a big leap up lately, in terms of how sexy they make it look in ads. And then you have your even higher-end McBig-Angus hog-chokers! Those things represent a significant fraction of a pound of food! You can eat the FUCK out of one of those! In 3 flavors, if I'm not mistaken: bacon, mushroom, or normal.

Don't even get me started on the fries. Plato was full of shit, people: because if he wants to try to claim there's a separate realm of Ideals, whose abstract perfection can only be realized in a flawed and approximate way here in the material realm, then that dumb Greek son of a bitch never tried a hot fresh big red box of McDonald's FRIES!!! They're not always hot, not always fresh, not always perfectly-salted but let me tell you: when everything comes down the pike aligned just right, that box lands in your bag with a damn HALO around it and you cannot DENY that those things are perfection realized. Just perfection, in terms of being the ideal delivery system for piping-hot salted and greased starch. Because in that moment, each fry is a slim slender crisp golden needle, stitching a tapestry of pure simple satisfied perfection in your mouth, as it melts and you chew. Mmmm. But gobble those things fast by the handful while that moment lasts! The point made by these fries is: perfection's fleeting, but it is achievable. Screw you, Plato!

FTC MANDATED FULL DISCLOSURE: I have in fact been given a coupon by McDonalds. I was in the restaurant the other day, they fucked something up - point is, they squared it with me to my satisfaction. The counter staff was pretty courteous and responsive, I have to say, even if they weren't all...how should I put this...quite as attractive as advertised. Half the time those tv ad McDonaldses, they're all staffed up with what looks like American Apparel models! You know what I mean. Point is, that's neither here nor there - despite their rather miscellaneous appearances, these folks stepped up and took care of me. And while they may not have specifically requested that I in turn step it up, right here on the blog, and hit just one shot fair and far, right out of the damn park on their behalf with this strident yet stirring defense of their eating establishment, I must admit that this post was in some way either motivated or at least, inspired by that coupon. It was for a Frosty. Cold, thick and delicious!

Oh, hey. Wait...shit.

That was Wendy's.

Shoot. I'm terribly sorry for the mixup, folks. I'm terribly, terribly sorry for the mixup.

Wow.

This makes me look like a tool.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Doodeloo #54: I just fuckin' PIBBED IT!!

PIBB IT.

Life's a can, man. Pull the tab.

Photobucket

DEAR FTC: NO, THEY DID NOT PAY ME FOR THIS. PLEASE. I MEAN SERIOUSLY.

In fact, I paid them eighty-five cents. Worth every penny, nickle and dime.

...And Then You Die.

I couldn't resist tacking that on.

Life's A Gift

You know what? I'm pretty much a freaking idiot. I do everything I do for no reason. I don't believe there is a better reason to do it! No one can convince me there's a better motive out there to do something than "no reason." Shoot.

When I was a kid, I was about 7 years old...I had a moment. An epiphany, you might say. Suddenly I saw myself as an adult. I thought: beard, probably. Because no way was I going to drag a sharp piece of metal across my face daily! But apart from that hassle (I didn't particularly want the beard), the picture looked pretty sweet. I could eat spaghetti every night if I wanted. Ice cream? Sure! What flavor? Whatever you want! Adults call the shots! Get set for how sweet that's going to be!

And I tell you, it's just been so sweet and true to that. Adulthood rules.

Work, yeah, sure - a pain in the ass, right? Everybody says. But shit, I rule at what I do. When you rule at what you do, there's a certain amount of satisfaction there. Not because it's some dream job, but because you make a point of giving your all. Because you don't hold yourself out of being fully involved. I mean, I'm stuck there doing it, right? I'm there at work. I can't leave and go to the beach. So if I'm stuck there, why on earth would I not choose to rule? Sure yes, it's a pain in the ass sometimes to not be able to just go to the beach. But work is still WAY better than school. No homework. No teachers talking down to you all the time, condescending to your intelligence, talking at you like a kid - hell, at work if somebody decides they want to teach me something, decides I need to learn something - they broach that prospect with respect and deference! They think I need to learn something, and even better yet there's a reason for it. Wow, what a concept! It's not just this empty exercise, "oh, let's all get set to advance to the next level of hand-stamps, academia-wise." You know? I mean sure, school got pretty thrilling there too, towards the end. But work is much better.

You put in your time, 40, 50, maybe 60 hours a week...tops. Right? Not generally more than that. While you're there on the job, if your head's on straight and you commit to give your all, you will probably get quite a lot out of it! No matter that it's a "mindless" "boring" "office" "drone" job. You put yourself into it, you will make it more than that. No, I'm not talking about advancement, Dagwood. I'm talking immediate investment of your full strength, yielding immediate returns and growth on same. This is elementary life math. Anybody who sells their self short is only sabotaging their own happiness, every damn day. You're already cashing the check they cut you, right? Okay then. If you do that, but you're holding out for something...if you take the money you agreed to take, and don't give in what you're capable of...who are you hurting with that? Does this stinginess with your self help you in some way? I mean, are you getting something from it? I understand maybe you feel undervalued, or that people don't deserve the full shot of what you have to offer, or maybe the world just owes you interest on your lump sum of wonderfulness. But while you're holding yourself out waiting to collect on that, maybe consider that you're the cause of some of your own dissatisfaction there, boss.

It actually doesn't take more energy out of you to give your all to whatever you happen to be engaged in. It actually grows your all. And then at the end of the day, the rest of the day and your life is just...yours. Your life is yours. And there are so many things you can do, for no reason.

Life's a gift. You've got one. See what happens when you give it.

Bear in mind, I am pretty much a freaking idiot, though. I mean, I've gathered that.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Album's Out Tuesday!

Hey! Always ask. Don't see the album you thought was out already? Ask the guy as you're checking out the other stuff you had to pick up. He'll tell you!

"It's not out yet. It comes out Tuesday."
- the guy (VERBATIM QUOTE)





I was so pissed I missed her last tour through. But now I'm either glad or I don't mind! Because THIS is the tour I want to see her on!

Right? Right.



RIGHT!

Multitasking Is Actually a Personality Disorder

I'm the king of multitasking. I brush my teeth and eat breakfast at the same time. I sleep on the treadmill. I rock Pilates sex. I take a bath and make gin at the same time.

It gets a little sticky sometimes, but life's for living, peoples!

There's no drunk buzz like a full-immersion transdermal osmosis drunk buzz, I am telling you. Your shit will get pickled.

Thought of the Day: One or Several?

I've been pondering the difference between contemplation and meditation.

Thought of the Day: Pity, Fool

I like to think Mr. T would be very calm and happy envisioning a world with no fools to pity.

There's Two Kinds of Bitches In This World

Me.

...and everybody else.

Actual Verbatim Exchange #2: When Theology Gets Real

"Oh, you're an atheist?"

"Yes."

"Prayin' for ya."

"Don't condescend to me, you pompous douche."

"Don't f*****' sweat it. I condescend to anybody with a moral position superior to mine. It evens things out."

"What? Morally superior by what standard, exactly?"

"Well, an atheist's moral stance is firmly grounded on nothing. A theist on the other hand, their moral stance is based on something that can't be established by any means. An emphatic nothing beats an unverifiable something, right?"

"Damn right. Pray away, brother."

"Amen to that."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Always Another Crusade

I'm trying to clean up the internet. I download tons of nude photos and photoshop clothes onto them.

But I fear it's a losing fight. How can one man stem that tide?

Surfing the Silver Lining #1

Certain aspects of modern life seem to have been improved in some ways, by bad things happening. Surfing the Silver Lining is a recurring feature, a grab-bag of items from the recent to the historical, from the global to the personal, wherein we take a moment to look on the bright side of the bad news.

Of course, no one is trying to say the bad stuff is good! Yet we can still look at the whole picture clear-eyed. There's no sense pretending it's all bad, when we can all benefit from the judicious application of a little positivity, here and there, only as warranted.

Hitler did an awful lot of bad things, but he also pretty much irreversibly stigmatized a style of mustache that - let's face it - was never going to look good on anybody. Now, if only he had worn a goatee. It's arguable as to which is the lesser evil there, facial-hair wise.

In the 1980's, the emergence of crack cocaine and the subsequent widespread decimation of urban community life provided the stimulus to spur African American music and entertainers to new heights of urgency and gritty realism.

It's possible that the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill could have a beneficial effect on many marine species' populations. The key question is: will spill-related killoff prove to have a lesser net effect (deleteriousness-wise) than the depredations of business-as-usual overfishing? With fishing suspended indefinitely, and wildlife kills relatively low thus far, we may see a situation where many populations grow not despite the catastrophe, but because of it.

The hollower my eye sockets get, the more I realize, I have gorgeous cheekbones. Absolutely gorgeous.

This has been Surfing the Silver Lining. Stick with me as I keep the bad squarely in view - always trying to pick out the little gleams and glints!

Do You Like Beat Poetry!

Do you like beat poetry? Because, let me tell you. Okay, let me set the scene first. See, I was trying my hand at alternative styles of poetry writing. Just to mix it up a bit. I wrote a few goth poems, or perhaps it would be better to say I wrought them. Which is an understatement. But anyway, I did my best on those, the best I could; I'm glad I tried it at least. They're not embarrassing. Humiliating, maybe. Anyway, after I'd mined that vein flat I took a look around to see what I should tackle next. I took a crack at this beat poetry.

Lord.

The results are pretty fine. I have to say, the results are pretty fine.

I suggest if you like beat poetry, you go take a look. I've got a real gem for you. This is the single best beat poem I think I have ever read. Not to knock Ginsberg and Kerouac, obviously they came before - the trailblazers! - and without the broad, sturdy shoulders of those giants to start from, I can humbly say that I would not be standing before you today towering over them. Due props where props are due - that's my plain, fair motto.

But damn, if you like beat poetry - - ! Then you should really check out this little gem I just wrote. Man, I just read it again, twice! My advice for all you creative types? Find something you can take delight in, just for the sheer joy of doing it. That's what I find works.

Technically I'm in the office working today, not writing beat poetry. But you know what? There are sacrifices that must be ready to be made for art. When inspiration knocks, you are required by federal law to answer.

Or similar inherent moral/artistic requirement, tantamount to federal law. I think it's in the Patriot Act, actually.

Get Organized, Damnit!

The only point to coming in Saturday is to get one thing done after another. Pure focus. No interruptions. And no deadlines either, really. You may have 10 things that should have been done, that were due last week - but chances are none of those items is due today, particularly. Today, as opposed to Monday. Except in very rare circumstances, no individual item actually has to get done today. That's the magic of Saturday. The weekend is a sweet window of suspense wherein you can bend time, and roll back the clock on the possible. If nothing else, a job e-mailed in late on Saturday at least shows some kind of dedication, even in the face of failure. Deadline failure, perhaps - but dedication win.

First thing you do is make a list of the first 3 things you're going to do, and then do them. One right after the other. No switching, no self-distraction boondoggles miscast as "multitasking." 3 things! Not five. Three. Just that focused, just that tight.

The third thing on the list is to make a list of the next 3 things you're going to do. And then you just keep knocking pins down and setting up new ones. One right after the other.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that blogging about focus and determination isn't anywhere on any of these lists. But, you know. Some things are just "assumed."

Doodeloo #53: Senses-Shattering First Issue!!

Photobucket

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fine Dining Fine Lines #9: A Little More

When you've ordered the house smoked salmon on greens with wasabi aioli and bread, and you get part-way through it and ask them for another little ramekin of aioli, or a little more bread, they will bring it to you. They are happy to do it! But if you then go on to ask them to bring you a little more salmon - you will get the look.

You have crossed the fine line. No one knows why. It's just how it is.

Even if you had asked for a little more bed of greens (for instance), they would have had no problem with that. They would have brought that to you. But don't be deceived: you can't indefinitely perform an incremental Christ-like multiplication of loaves and fishes on your chosen dish, just because it was maybe a little smaller than you expected.

The fine line is there.

Another Fiction Friday Exclusive!

Once again I bring you a story featuring a character you won't read about elsewhere. Her name's Dawn Pitteau. She works at a Business Development Consulting Firm where there are offices and desktop computers, and problems to deal with and clients and they pay her. She's good at it. She has pretty gray eyes, and a dream for the future that just won't quite come into focus. She's a well-rounded character, and you feel for what she goes through. You pull for her. As the reader, you find yourself "on her side." Maybe something about her reminds you of your own struggle. Plug into that aspect - feel the empathy.

That's good stuff.

So anyway, the scene opens on a typical day with its vicissitudes. You may have noticed that about your own life? Typical days, always making with the fucking vicissitudes! So Dawn's arrived at the office, 10 minutes later than usual which means she's right spot on-time: 9 AM Central. There's a coffee stain soaking into her black skirt, but she's not badly scalded and it should be relatively inconspicuous as it dries. Muttering under her breath, she unlocks her office door just in time to catch her 9AM conference call. She deftly handles the first part of the call as she waits for her computer to boot up. The call is a tough one, but the way she responds to the client showcases her warmth and genuine caring, while certain remarks and turns of phrase give you an impression of her off-kilter sense of humor. At the end of the call (crisis averted!), you find yourself pulling for her even more than you already were (from where I told you up at the top, that you were pulling for her).

Then Brob pokes his head in, seeing that the call is over (Dawn's office door has a window in it, and in fact it's the little descriptively-drawn details like that that make the whole scene come alive very vividly for you; in your mind you can see the whole office setting, down to mundane items - spurred by these little descriptive touches, your imagination just fills in the rest!). Brob's actual name is B. Robert Isling, but Dawn calls him "Brob" as a joke name / pet name situation. Their office relationship is a bit flirty. So anyway - they have a quick talk about something work-related, a bit of "how was your weekend?" and then Brob's off like a shot. He's got to track down company Controller Bart Haeckle about a credit hold issue.

Dawn has a whole list of things to do that day, about 12 things. She gets through approximately 7 of them, because 10 other more urgent things come up (of which she completes 5). How many things does that leave for the next day?

She works at her desk until about 5:30PM. She saw Brob walk by with his hat on to leave for the day a little after 5PM - she saw him through the window. He didn't say goodbye. Brob looked preoccupied.

The drive home is mostly uneventful. The car that had been tailgating her was pulled over by the police! Which was satisfying, but Dawn suspects that it was probably for expired registration, or a broken tail-light. That officer didn't come up to the offender's window and say "Sir, do you realize you were tailgating Dawn?"

At home, Dawn cracks open the bottle of red wine she'd been saving. She pours a glass, and settles into the sofa cushions to watch the food network, hoping for some inspiration. Alton Brown is discussing Peking Duck. To Dawn, this just seems impractical.

The phone rings.

The Universe Is Nothing But An Infinite Cage

And an infinite cage...is still a cage. You just can't see the bars. Or maybe the bars are all you can see. Because they're freakin' infinite!

Of course, it follows that the gaps between the bars would also be infinite. You could slip through those so easy!

I got lost on the way to what my point was going to be. But whatever it was going to be, I'm pretty sure it was infinite.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Check Me On This, Would You?

Ok, so I'm making a sandwich. Suddenly I'm putting the finishing touches on it, when I spy something in the crisper and pull it out, saying "Ah!" as I do - in a clipped, very dignified British voice. Which, I did so well on the accent that I continued on in the same voice:
"Hold on. What have you got there?"
Then in a funny, slowish, oddly-pitched, still-British-but-much-less-posh-accent:
"I've got a lettuce!"
Thoughtful yet decisive:
"Hm. Is it still useable?"
Eagerly:
"Some of it is, sir!"
So my question is this. Do the funny voices make it more crazy, or less crazy?

Reminder to Self: Wait 'til the World Ends, Then...

So, when everybody's tooting noisemakers, clinking champagne flutes and breathing big sighs of relief as the clock clicks over from 12/31/2012 23:59:59 to January 1st 2013, and some wag remarks that the world didn't end after all...I'll be right there to point out that the Mayan Calendar ends its fiscal year in June.

Kind of Quiet Around Here #2: The Crazy Thing Is...!

The crazy thing is, I keep getting good ideas! I'm just not writing them down.

For instance I had a dream two nights ago that I was rushing to meet my ex-girlfriend at a certain place to beat her up, when suddenly it occured to me that I couldn't go through with it. It was all pre-arranged - she needed somebody to beat her up, for this improv thing she was doing. But then as I reached the downtown intersection where she was waiting, I saw her up ahead, waiting, looking a little anxious, a little excited, and just said, man. I can't go through with this! I can't beat her up. For one thing, she had a new haircut and it was really awful. It was way too short! Plus, it was dyed reddish - but she'd kind of teased it up and outwards so you could kind of see through it in parts? To the scalp? You know what I mean.

But the point is, the whole dream was packed chock full of interesting details - it would have made a standout installment of Open Dream Journal. But I didn't write it down! Didn't make a note of it. All those details, gone. What's left is not even worth a post.

Or the band name I came up with! Of course, I probably wouldn't have shared that here regardless. But the point is, I didn't write it down. Now I have no idea what it was.

I also had a couple short and sweet post ideas - just a great little grabber of a post title followed by some choice elaboration, maybe a paragraph or two. What the hell were they?

One of them was about some sort of business or advertising thing. I bet that would have been hilarious!

But I didn't write it down.

And then there's the idea for a computer game I had! You would be a potato plant. Putting out tubers and stuff. Then the people would dig 'em up, and depending on how good a job you did growing yourself, you could end up inspiring them to feats of culinary heights! Or maybe they would just boil you. But when I say "boil you" - that's not wholly accurate, because you'd be the plant, see, out there in the ground - not the potatoes themselves. You'd keep putting out potatoes unstoppably, but you could vary how many or how few, tweak the starch content, etc. Go all-out for abundance, or concentrate the available resources into a smaller number of truly superior tubers! The game would be called TATER MAKER.

Actually, that idea already seems pretty well-developed. There don't seem to be too many details missing on that one. I just made that up now, trying to come up with another good example of something. So that may be why it seems more fully-developed - because I did write it down!

That's the lesson, folks. Got ideas? Write 'em down.

Kind Of Quiet Around Here...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Name That Tune #20!

"The volume of the sound of our own falsehood
exceeds the volume of anything else
According to your statement, I am not nice
even as the accurate facts are not nice

but outdoors, the fresh atmosphere is so yielding
and telling me all
all

Everything I desire
is this same sensation
this proximity, this sameness
Everything I desire
is this same sensation
the night, it talks to me, I sense its words

The lowest temperature is that of the shutting-up of the main circulatory organ, when everyone requires their spirit to be made independent
But we'd be too cowardly for that.

but outdoors, the fresh atmosphere is so yielding
admitting all wrongdoings
all

Everything I desire
is this same sensation
this proximity, this sameness
Everything I desire
is this same sensation
the night, it talks to me, I sense its words"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The People Who Say The Internet Is Bad Have Forgotten About Public-Access Television.



From Portland Public Access Television's Low Comedy TV 2006 Halloween Special: Zombie Dance Party.

The Main Reason Why Is Because.

The main reason why is because. Sure, there may be all these secondary reasons, trailing after because like excuses, but at the root if it all is usually because. True, occasionally you get a reason why that is based on a "since" or a "due to the fact that," but those sorts of reasons rarely satisfy.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Everything #8





This has to be my favorite 5-minute art video anthology series.

Too Dumb To Make It In This World?

No you're not.

Seriously. You're not.

Trust me.

No, I'm telling you - hear me on this one: you're not.

You are really, really, really not.

Really.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thought Of The Day: Be Smart.

You don't have to be smart...but if you're smart, you will be.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Name That Tune #19!

"As your disregard for me increases
my distance from you decreases
you're making this pointless for yourself
As your disregard for me increases
my distance from you decreases
you're making this pointless for yourself

I'm going to be where the liquor is,
My head on the counter
I've become a big piece
of your picture
If that matters to you
or if that doesn't matter to you.
I've decided for you.

As your disregard for me increases
my distance from you decreases
you're making this pointless for yourself
As your disregard for me increases
my distance from you decreases
you're making this pointless for yourself

Look out! I nurse more secret gripes
than melancholy, solitary, black-robed officials
As you doze I will sneak into your dreams
like your student loan you've defaulted on.
Just take the path of least resistance: me.
Just permit me, permit me inside
It's armed conflict. It's armed conflict. It's armed conflict.
It's armed conflict. It's armed conflict.
Armed conflict. Armed conflict. Armed conflict.
Armed conflict.

Oh, permit me inside
my distance from you decreases
as per your implied request
my distance from you decreases"




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!

The Champion Of Breakfasts Pt.2

By the way - "an order of bacon" - four strips is an order of bacon. If somebody brings you three strips and calls it "an order," well you just straighten up your big floppy pimp hat, look that server in the eye and call shorts.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Champion Of Breakfasts

I am the champion of breakfasts. I eat breakfast six, seven, sometimes eight times a week. Sometimes I'm slaving away in the kitchen on a real masterpiece of my own creation. Most of the time, though, I eat out.

Look, I'm not ashamed of myself. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I treat it like a queen! Every place I go to breakfast thinks they are my favorite breakfast spot. They see me once a week or so, they think "hey, that guy's a regular. He comes in here. Regularly." Well that's all true, but what they don't realize is the degree to which I'm spreading that action around. I'm a big-time breakfast slut. Always on the prowl for a plate of hot, steamy breakfast.

Each place I go, I have my fave order. At the Silver Spur it's the blueberry pancakes (made out of pure justice - "The Best In The Territory" says the menu, and the menu don't lie!) and a side of crisp bacon. At Zack's, it's the corned beef hash with 3 poached eggs (I've gone on and on about that one already elsewhere) accompanied by a hunk of their hellified jalapeno cornbread. At the Walnut - shrimp and tomato benedict, baby! That dish is more fresh, tangy and delicious than getting shot in the face hurts. At Beach Street, it's the guacamole omelette - always with their signature orange muffin. So good, after every single bite I almost have to slap the counter and say, "Mah MAN!" I said almost. At the ocean street McDonald's, it's the McFluffy-Puck sandwich - every damn time, and a side of Hash-Puck to go with. At Old Mountain Inn, what else but the green onion and mushroom scramble? They make they's home fries so crispy.

Why am I telling you this.

Listen. I don't want to see any of you people storming all my favorite spots, buying up and eating all my top dishes, making me wait on a list, crowding me out! This post is not a public service. I'm not trying to clue you in, I'm just trying to show you up and strut my stuff...as The Champion Of Breakfasts.

Thought of the Day: PTSD

Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder might actually be really useful.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Thought Of The Day: On Your Roll

It's not how you roll that counts. It's why you roll.

At the end of every April I say COME WHAT? MAY!: #2 In My Monthly Poetry Self-Review

So it's June, that means it's MAY-TIME!! Time to do my monthly review of the previous month's crop of poems. I.e. the merry month of May in this case!

May is a top month in a lot of culture's calendars, from Catholics to Communists. The ancient Incan Aztecs by comparison, didn't even know what May is - despite the name of their calendar ("The Mayan Calendar") ought to have tipped them off! But though they may have been in that sense ignorant bastards, yet those of us who look to their calendar's expiration to cue the end of our world know (or feel) that they were very well-advanced in other areas. Leave that aside, it's controversial. For me personally, May is a month I hold near and dear to my heart for a lot of reasons - and this month's crop of poems bears those out in diamonds and spades, I'm pretty sure! But then, that's what this little stop-and-review is for: I don't mean to be pretty sure. I mean to make damn sure. So you be the judge! And so will I.

So: how did May treat poetry lovers on my poetry blog? ROUGH as usual! But some like it that way - I know I don't! Still, let's ditch all this further ado and in lieu of that noise, forge forward with depth, cutting criticism and (one hopes) poise, a bit of poise perhaps, for all the poise-fans out there. I always like to throw the bone to the poise-fans. Poise-fans in the house say "o"!

So: I give you THE POEMS OF MAY. Check this out, there were 31 of them. Did I nail it or what?! Right on the head! Roll call:

▼ May (31)
stay the course
quite, really
the milk I just bought
nothing beautiful
we, the underground
back arrow
Summer will come, and when it does
what you wish for
the gift of love
we'll always have hell
dedication
file tools click invert
if I could cut this glass in half, and make it full...
failures of technology
trying to duck
struggle and clash
'til death do us
a kind of person
presentation
that straightened out!
the hoarder
flown
stark and cold
brunch, for mother
osmosis
when I say "fine"
words stolen back
new middling extremes
More Rhymes Dissing Ordinary People
the fatal clue
in Octoberland

Hm. That, right there, looks kind of like a poem. And you know what? BOMP!! It is! A little tweakin' on the line-breaks, some punctuation assist, we now have "May (31)" - a fine June poem. We'll have to wait 'til next month's critique to see what I think of it. Right now, the act of creation is just too fresh.

Still, a powerful example of just how easy poetry is.

WARNING: I'm doing the critique a little differently this time. Instead of picking out only the highest and lowest to remark upon, I'm going to have at least a little something to say about every single poem. So...be advised: don't click the expand thingy unless you're really in the mood for a good, long slog of scintillating criticism and deeply-appreciated poetry appreciation.

EDIT: OK, the expand thingy doesn't work with my template. So...this line below represents where the expand thingy would be if it did work:



----------->click here to see the rest of the post, suckaaa...!<----------










(you don't actually have to click, I'm just...never mind, keep reading, or if you wouldn't have clicked to expand, then stop right at that line and go no further! And may you stew in the juices of suspense at the lack of your own curiosity!!)





I'm going to work backwards this time, critique-wise. Because that's how they display, after all - top poem newest.

"stay the course" was brilliant. Commenter willow said so: "A Lewis and Clark-ish kind of love poem. Brilliant." I can't disagree with willow on pretty much anything, and I'd advise you to not be able to do the same! Although personally, I'd have said "delightful" not "brilliant," but I'm kind of understated that way anyway. willow's always making me blush.

"quite, really" was OK. I like "grand sweeps of -iose"! "the milk I just bought" - kind of cute; it may grow on me as it ages. Or it may grow sour and moldy. That's the risk you take, and I for one will take it! "nothing beautiful" I don't like as much as I first did when I did it. "we, the underground" I am almost certain to revist! To revise. I love the sentiment, the feel; but I was not quite able to nail it on this pass. Perhaps the memory was too fresh?

"back arrow" sure sucked to start off, but then it kicked - first into gear, then ass. "hot damn," notes commenter Mel. "Summer will come, and when it does" - I liked this one. I just did. Still do. I may have to come back and revise it, it could possibly benefit by being a bit more lyrical?

"what you wish for" - grim, disconcerting. Chills one's blood with sangfroid. "the gift of love" - a throwback to my earlier goofy "love pome" style at first, but it picks up subtle heft as it goes. No wait. Actually it doesn't. I must have been thinking of another poem. "we'll always have hell" - another rather grim one, salty with the tang of bitten-tongue blood. "dedication" - I love to read! This one goes out to writers who are the reasons why (albeit, of course this broader dedication here should be considered to be non-gender specific, though the original "dedication" wasn't!).

"file tools click invert" - why did I spend so much time and effort on this when the end result sucks? It was like one of those Vietnam situations I guess. "if I could cut this glass in half, and make it full again" - there is a song I have called "Cut The Glass In Half", that uses the same basic imagery, but none of the same actual turns of phrase - and actually has a completely different point. And I like both quite a lot! But only one could be a song. Commenter Debbie was also touched, "In a good way."

"failures of technology" - this one also hearkens back to my earlier goofy "love pome" style, and also fails to pick up heft as it goes. But I kind of like it, I think it works. "trying to duck" - what the fuck. I guess that's one way to end a poem. "struggle and clash" is entirely, entirely sincere. Albeit, with (as commenter Jen observed) a "grim turn right around the middle." "'til death do us" is great! I love it. That damn bird!

"a kind of person" - I don't get it. I mean, honestly. I'm not sure I got across whatever it is I may have been trying to say here, but I don't think I did. "presentation" - here is another poem that represents a bit of a throwback to my earlier goofy "love pome" style. You know what, that style appears to be going strong; I'm not sure I can legitimately be calling these "throwbacks." "that straightened out!" - another one. Of the rarer disharmony variant.

"the hoarder" is excellent. Well done, and only a little trouble with the end, smoothness-wise. I mean the part where the ambiguity between stacks of mental calendars and stacks of physical detritus may not be entirely deliberate (ambiguity-wise). "flown" is the sort of poem that makes me think I can write good poetry. It's good. I have other ungainlier ones that I enjoy or love more, but this poem is damn gainly. "stark and cold" is kind of hard for me to critique. "brunch, for mother" is both awful and hilarious, and I think, pretty neatly done as well!

"osmosis" seems callow to me now. Is it just grousing? I don't know. If so, it's tolerably well-done grousing; but I don't know that's points in its favor. I do like how it ends - a bit of a turn.

"when I say 'fine'" is kind of a bit of soapboxing, I guess. Not sure if anything about this poem is necessary. Well, I guess there is some pretty imagery in it. Still, all a little too pat and facile, for my tastes. I wouldn't call it fine. "words stolen back" is far better in terms of imagery. I love the imagery, in fact. Though there's something about it all that rings a little guilty to me. Not sure I can elaborate on that.

"new middling extremes" oh, I don't want to like this one. I think it's the title that bothers me, makes it seem shallow or merely clever. Perhaps I should just rename it, because the poem itself is very neat! "More Rhymes Dissing Ordinary People" is just dumb. No more to say about that one, but it bears repeating: dumb, dumb! "the fatal clue" is fun, fun! I love it. It needs and misses something, though. It's missing one line, in there, someplace. Something elementary, something the game's afoot. A touch more flavor along that line.

"in Octoberland" is a nice bracing shot of autumn, to add a jolt of chilling air and early twilight into the most spring-like and lengthening of months.

And now to give everybody who read through all that a dubious bonus: a sample REJECTED POEM for May!

Or not "rejected" per se, but certainly not included:

"there's this girl"

There's this girl who's pretty tall
maybe tall as I am!
or even taller maybe, even
or else shorter than that, or else
maybe WAY shorter. That's all
cool too, 'cause she's all
casual about it
with an ass like BOMP
and some medium boobs, you know the kind
or maybe flip it: BOMP boobs,
and a medium behind
but she's got these very
very-specific eyes
ah,

that girl's beautiful

Ordinarily I'd mention, "Maybe the above poem will be spruced up, re-done or otherwise improved, to appear in some future month in full-fledged glory!"

This particular case, though...not going to say that.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Game Development Pipeline #3: Not Sure What We're Calling This One

There should totally be a laundramat game. A 1st-person shooter. Or maybe the laundramat would be just one level or area of a wider game?

Like, you'd be just going around, doing regular stuff. Chores. Grocery shopping, dry cleaning, laundramat, drugstore, liquor store etc. Errands, basically. But you'd have to fight the world every step of the way! There would be enemies. It would just be like ordinary day-to-day life, but with enemies.

You would spend your day at the office, brutally beating-down aggressors in-between performing meaningless document and chart tasks. Then you leave work and fight your way through the gauntlet you'd have to run to get home. Home would be your "base" - but the challenges don't end there! At home, you need to do the dishes, etc. Stuff would keep piling up. Dusting. That toilet needs another good hit with the comet & scrub-brush. Shoot, you're out of comet! Now you've got to go to the store, but uh-oh, there's a pack of thugs in the way, challenging your passage!

Select weapon: A) ku baton, B) stilleto, C) attempt bribe! D) uzi, E) kung fu.

It could be called Death Errand, or something. Maybe Death Grind.

Sunday Theology Post: Sarah Silverman is G_d

She's Jewish, so I'm just being respectful there. The Jews (from of old) do not permit the divine vowels to be inscribed. It was considered either blasphemy (if you wrote one vowel) or sacrilege (if you kept on writing all of them). That's the reason why today we have all this controversy over what the official name of G_d really is. What with the official consonants: YHWH, people have plugged in those gaps with all sorts of kooky variations of vowels, and then claimed: "Oh, this is the real original sacred name that was used."

Some people claim that name was really originally pronounced Y_hw_h, others say no, J_h_v_h. But we don't really know - there are no reliable witnesses!

The people who were there at the time refused to put the vowels down for posterity. So we're stuck with all these guesses. In addition to the more common "Y_hw_h" and "J_h_v_h", some claim the one true name of G_d is really "Yehu", "Yeho," "Leroy", or even "Yahu"! I refuse to omit the vowels on these, because come on. That's just ridiculous. You can't just plug in whatever mad-lib vowels you want and claim hey, that's the one true original holy sacred name of G_d! Forget it buddy!

In theory, if you allow them to do it, you'll have people coming along claiming maybe it ought to be "Yah-hah-way" or "Yoo-wooh!" The line must be drawn. I'm not going to dignify these examples of rank speculative spelling-blasphemy (or sacrilege, actually) by giving them the precautionary courtesy vowel omission. There's a fine line between being properly respectful of the matter-of-fact sacrosanct bonafides, and tacitly endorsing an abomination in the sight of Th_ L_rd.

Anyway, I've gotten quite off the original point of this post! Which, holy heck, deserves some real emphasis:

S_R_H S_LV_RM_N.

Is she some kind of glorified most high Hoo-Wah-Hay or what?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

On Shakespeare's Hamlet

The very setup itself betrays the profound lack of a basic comprehension of infinity. You don't need an infinite number of monkeys.

You don't even need an an infinite amount of time.

You just need One Infinite Monkey.

Why "Star Trek" Is Better Than Lord Of The Rings

This is why.

Because one single original-series crew member - even an anonymous redshirt! - armed only with a phaser, could (if he was wary, if he was aware of the danger) could mow down that whole onrushing army of Ents in the scene in the movie where they all attack Isengard.

Easy.

(If there is going to be any debate on the topic, it will occur within the comments queue of this post. If nobody comments, that means every single one of my readers agrees with me.)

Friday, June 04, 2010

This Week's Installment of Fiction Friday Will Be In The "Form Of" A SuperFriends Wonder Twins Fanfic!

Zan: "Hey, what sort of ethnicity are we supposed to represent? Are we Hispanic or Asian? Hispanic, I think."

Jayna: "I think we might be some sort of just 'generalized ethnicity' to cover anyone who wasn't feeling sufficiently pandered to by the inclusion of Black Vulcan, Samurai and Enekchock."

Zan: "His name's Apache Chief."

Jayna: "He likes me to call him Enekchok."

Zan: "...I don't want to think about the implications of that..."

Jayna: "It's safer for me to be the one saying it."

Zan: "I really don't want to think about it."

Jayna: "You know, if we're meant to cover the Hispanic/Latino demographic, I think that's pretty weak. I mean...we're aliens. A little bit 'on the nose,' isn't it?"

Zan: "Apache Chief should be the leader of the SuperFriends. He's the only one with any real-world leadership experience or credentials."

Jayna: "No, no - Aquaman's a king."

Zan: "Oh yeah that's true. Well then it should be Aquaman, right? King outranks chief."

Jayna: "Yeah, from a really biased, Western-European perspective maybe! And not even there. A king might report to like, an emperor, or a Pope for instance."

Zan: "They're Atlanteans. I don't think they're Catholic."

Jayna: "I'm just pointing out the relative absolute rank values. A king's not necessarily the top dog in his own system. But in the indigenous-American org chart, the chief answers to no one. He's the top dog."

Zan: "Top dog, top bear, top wolf, top eagle. It varies by tribe."

Jayna: "So wait. This is a fanfic, right? Should we be...you know. Going in for any kinky brother-sister stuff?"

Zan: "Gross, Jayna! That's just sick. You know I've never seen you that way."

Jayna: "It's the ears, isn't it?"

Zan: "The ears are a big turnoff, yes. Sorry!"

Jayna: "Screw you too, pal. Yours are the same way!"

Zan: "Yeah, but it's different for guys."

Jayna: "Another double standard."

Zan: "Sad but true."

Jayna: "You know, the very term 'fanfic' is kind of a misnomer in this case. I was never a fan of us at all."

Zan: "Oh, you're bringing me to tears - and I'm already all wet! Why don't you quit whining and peck me with that sexy eagle-beak of yours, I'm sick of hanging around in this bucket."

Janya: "Later for that. It's Friday, remember?"

Zan: "Oh yeah! Guadalupe's coming by...to fawn over you, and scrub-a-dub with me! Hey, you better get into your cage. Remember last week she was early!"

Jayna: "She can't wait to see me. That girl's a bird lover!"

Finally, A Sense Of Proportion

So I'm not into necrophilia AT ALL, but I have to admit - if I were dead I wouldn't mind being on the receiving end of some of that.

Same thing with cannibalism, really. Hakuna matata, bitches.

When I'm dead, I plan to loosen up a bit. I won't sweat stuff so much.

Thought Of The Day Before Dishonor

"Death before dishonor" sounds less like a defiant either/or, and more like you're just planning on being dishonored posthumously.

Build Yourself a Fort!

Build your fort and send a picture of it to Hattie! You may win an unspecified prize.

You know, I don't do an awful lot of promoting contests that people are running, but it's different when there's a fort involved. People should build forts! That's all there is to it. In these troubled times of ours, a good sturdy cushion fort can be the vital front line of protection within the very home itself. Where can we be more secure than that?

There's nothing like hunkering down in a fort to bolster one's sense of security!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Infamy At A Pool Hall #6: You Know The Drill By Now

Infamy at a Pool Hall is a recurring feature, wherein I recount the various shameful and infamous statements, cracks and expostulations heard at the pool hall during our regular Thursday night sessions (plus some more ordinary, unobjectionable quips included to convey the general flavor and ambience of the event). These are remarks not overheard from several tables away, where disport the sluts and ruffians from whose lips one might expect to hear such degrading filth! No: these are remarks made by our own regular group of fellows. Rude, even salacious statements, all made by the very same reliable stalwarts in our own party! By gentlemen, who to know them in their ordinary lives one would think: these gentlemen are gentlemen! Yet at the pool hall, the baser instinct takes over. The bestial side. The best that is in us devolves, is corrupted by the odor of smoky clothes and loose morals. By the bitter, full-bodied golden demon with the foamy white head. It's disgusting, in fact - potentially disgusting, to think that there could be so slim a divide between those who seem so kind and moral and upright and civilized on the surface, and the sort of base, slavering pig brigade one would assume capable of uttering such indefensible, reprehensible comments, such jibes, japes and jeers. I for one, can barely countenance the fact that I can stand there, lending my seeming sanction to this disreputable scene. That can I lend my apparent approbation to the proceedings; that I would allow my face, right there at the table, to in some way, serve as a countenance (so to speak) to these goings-on. In some way, me posting these after-the-fact accounts could be looked at as an attempt at penance. I must confess to you, for I did not speak up and quash what I could when I had the chance.

This introductory part has really ballooned out of all proportion.

"Holy whoa. She's so hot she could boil an egg by pissing on it."

"No, we play for honor here. Honor."

"OK guys. What's your take on this. Hostess apple pie: 'artificial flavors.' Hostess cherry pie: 'natural & artificial flavors.'" "What's it mean? Are there no actual apples?" "That's my interpretation." "Is it one of those Ritz recipe deals?"

"The only thing more important than a man's honor is a woman's virtue." "Well wait - not necessarily!" "True, there can be situational factors."

"Twelve - off the eight." "NICE."

"Was this your beer? Emphasis on the past tense." "Yes it was." "Sorry."

"Six in the corner." "My dick in the corner, you mean!" "Have it your way. Two in the corner."

"Man, did you see how long her feet were? She had some long feet." "So what are you saying?" "I'm saying her feet were long." "Ah. No, I missed it."

"GREAT shot!" "Nope, it's your shot. That's not the way I called it." "Honesty: good policy, bad strategy." "I'm old fashioned."

"Ok, what's your opinion of the gross sexual attributes of that chick over there?" "The skinny one with cellulite in the short black shorts and no tits to speak of?" "No, we'll get to her after. I mean the other one."

"Guys, I'm old-fashioned. Shoot your shot first, shoot the shit after."

"I'm calling the eight in the right corner off the break." "Bold call." "The pool gods favor the bold." "I'm a pool-god agnostic."

"Is it just me, or did that guy lose an argument with his barber?" "No, he won the argument. That haircut's all spite."

"Call your ball, call the pocket, hit your ball first. Simple? Yes. Complicated? Maybe."

"I don't normally cry when I make a shot that good." "It's okay, it was emotional for us all."

"Well sorry, what can I say, I'm old-fashioned." "That's the third time you said it. Is repeating yourself old-fashioned?" "No, you're thinking of alzheimers. Similar but unrelated."

"That shot wasn't clean." "Was it dirty?" "Hey, I tried to be nice."

"From now on, I'm going to use the word 'controversial' as just a general-purpose positive adjective." "Example." "Let me think about it. I want to give you a good one."

"Guys. This is pool, here. Prioritities. Time and a place, ok?" "What are you saying?" "I'm just trying to improve the collective focus."

Quote of the Day

"Hopefully-dopefully!"

Out Of Croutons?

Out of croutons? Try a piece of toast instead! Fresh from the toaster - cut it up into hot, crisp squares and toss it on!

Look. It's not going to be anywhere near as good. I didn't say it would be. I never put it out there as an adequate substitute! I just said "try it." You'll be disappointed, but glad you did. It's a little bit better than nothing.

It's really amazing what a difference stale bread makes.

Self-Portrait Beard Update (Revised): No I Haven't Had "Work Done"

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Self-Portrait Beard Update: NEVER SEXIER

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Improve Your Odds.

If you stick a knife into a toaster, you may die.

If you live a long life eating right, plenty of sleep and exercise and no drugs, you will definitely die.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I Revised Yesterday's Poem In Subtle Ways!

Please everyone, I want to make sure no one misses this - I totally just revised yesterday's poem! Go take a look. The differences may seem subtle, but that's because they are very subtle. Yet you might be forced to agree - the overall improvement is profound. If you had a look yesterday, have another look again today. Don't give up on it! It's better than it was.

If you didn't happen to have a look yesterday, I can't help you. I don't recall what the original version was, specifically, or what the exact changes were. Like I said. They were subtle.

The poem is called "if doubt" and I think it's pretty good. Maybe a little stilted, maybe a bit formal in the way it's phrased. It's not one of those "Yo Yo Yo! Bitches on a Yacht" type poems that I occasionally toss off and regret thereafter, it's got a little more class to it than that. It's like a love poem in the high old style, and that means maybe just a little bit stilted on the lingo.

I shouldn't have pointed it out, people are going to be all, "what's he talking about? It's not all that stilted." And so it isn't! It's not some ren faire bullshit thee and thoufest. But I didn't say "archaic," I said "stilted." Some of the language is just a bit elevated. As in: on stilts. That's the likely origin of that term, if anyone wants to pass it along to Straight Dope Cecil and use me as an authoritative source.

Oh, sorry about what some might see as me padding this announcement out needlessly. But heck, it's been a little sparse around here lately. So when I get something exciting to announce, I go to town on it!

You know, poetry fans, if you haven't been keeping up with my poetry blog, I think you owe it to yourselves to take a look in on it from time to time. I'm averaging like a poem a day in there, and I'll be honest with you: some of these poems are hard as hell to describe. You might want to judge for yourself. You'll be looking at a poem in there, and it will be so tight, or compact, or epic, or succinct, or some other defining characteristic, and you'll look at it and you'll just go, "that poem's a fucking beast. That poem beats other poems in the FACE."

And I'll appreciate that. I'll think to myself, Thank you for your discernment; thank you for noticing that, about my poem(s). I've worked hard, I've been trying to advance the form. Because I'm sick of people giving poetry a pass! My whole attitude is like: "poetry is vital!! It has something to say to us, here, in the year 2010 and beyond!!" People question me on that point and others, and I just cut to the chase. I say "hey bud, any time you think you're man and/or woman enough, step on down and I will battle you at the POEM SLAM."

I'm just that serious, and I don't lose. When I'm on the mic at the poem slam? Oh yes. People are like, taking notes. I'm putting on a symposium.

Man! I'm really hyping myself up a bit, here. I got the poem juices flowing! My poetry senses are tingling. I might just have to rattle off the first whole week's worth of June's poems in the next 24 hours. Or not. WATCH THAT SPACE Y'ALL!

MUCH LOVE TO ALL MY POETRY LOVERS!

Name That Tune #18!

"I'm glum because I'm alone in this night-furniture.
I'll either whine about it or give myself some feline-style first aid.
My head hurts! and the hurt says this: you're better off alone.
Morning follows after the darkest part of night,
and the day will witness whether you seize it or not

People criticize my unyielding facade, but it's only for when the light's on.
People say my manner is very brutish, but it's only until I darken the room.
and then I say, come with me, come after me - way, way, way below;
until you've seen everything that I've nocturnally envisioned.
This world is miraculous indeed
but its appearance can leave you deceived."




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!

Quote of the Day:

"Just finding somebody shouldn't be enough for anybody."

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Overheard At The Bar

"Blood's just red sweat, right?"

Just Push Play

An epic in miniature from Fall On Your Sword.



They got game.

Combating Negativity In The Workplace

[Ed: This is actually a 'Monday Work Blog' post. It had to be moved to Tuesday because of the holiday.]

In the neighborhood of productivity, disapproval is a sinkhole of bad feelings. It erodes the foundations of the homes where some very important families live: the Process-Improvement family. The Teamworks. The Morales. The McProfits and the O'Revenues. Disapproval undermines all of these happy neighbors, and disrupts the harmony of their productive little world.

Disapproval does that. It's disapproval's fault.

So as far as I'm concerned, there is NEVER a good reason to express disapproval. It's just a bad way to put it! Put it a good way instead: whenever anyone says something or advocates a course of action that you feel is idiotic, and/or would be ruinous, don't disapprove of what they say. Just don't. Instead, express your immediate, vigorous approval of the opposite!

Example: "I think it's a great idea not to do that!"

So positive, and so easy. By expressing yourself with positivity and enthusiasm, you get your point across more effectively, and without all the ego clash and hurt feeling that disapproval brings down.

Try it out. You'll see - and so will those around you.