Thursday, December 13, 2007
I believe in the power of the individual voter.
I believe that, when run effectively, social programs are a vital part of a thriving society.
I believe that the free market needs some regulation, although perhaps not as much as it currently has.
I believe in stronger state's rights.
I believe in labor unions.
I believe in evolution.
I believe that marriage doesn't have to be between a man and a woman.
I believe in a woman's right to choose and that stem cells are not babies.
I believe in government transparency.
I believe in three separate but equal branches of government, not in a unitary executive.
I believe there is too much special interest money in government.
I believe the War on Terror is not a war but should be a police action, as it is in the rest of the world.
I believe in a progressive tax code and the estate tax.
I believe that a strong middle class is the key to a strong economy and that ours is shrinking.
I believe that politics in Washington are very partisan and combative but that is a sign of strong democracy.
I believe the Federal government does have a lot of waste and can be run more effciently, but a certain amount of red tape is desireable.
I believe in some common sense gun control measures but am undecided where to draw the line.
I believe universal healthcare is not socializim and that our society could benefit greatly from it.
I believe that a strong, questioning press corps is vital for a successful democracy and that ours is anything but strong and questioning.
That is what being a progressive means to me.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Long before Iraq was Iraq, there were the Shia and Sunni tribes, or Islam denominations. The differences between the two are religious and have been for a very long time. There is no love lost between the two.
Before WWI the two tribes were at something of an uneasy peace. I believe they existed within the vast Ottoman Empire so there wasn't a lot of competition for resources and the like. I'm not totally sure on this, they may have been beating on each other then as well but it was an internal matter within the Empire.
Anyway...after WWI, the Ottoman Empire was split up into the Middle East as it is now. The borders were drawm up by the western powers and were mostly drawn around oil supplies. The peoples culture was not taken into account (see Israel and Palestine for another example). This is when it all started to go to hell.
Artifical borders were placed around the Sunni and Shia and they were made to inhabit the same land. It is like taking blood rivals and sticking them in a cage match.
Iraq went through a variety of attempted monarchs and other puppet governments of Britain before the Brits gave up and a dictatorship was born. The dictators were able to keep the Sunni's and Shia's from tearing each other apart through some pretty nasty means and by regulating one tribe to second class citizens.
In steps Saddam. Saddam was a Sunni. The Sunni sect is the majority in Iraq and is indeed the largest denomination of Islam. Saddam brutally repressed the Shia minority for years.
Then we step in and kill Saddam. This is where it starts to get messy and ironic. By killing Saddam and attempting to force a democratic government in Iraq, we take the Sunnis out of power and put the Shia minority in power. This happened because the Sunnis did not believe the elections were fair and boycotted them, thus assuring themselves a minority in the new government despite being the majority of the population. Without someone to brutally enforce order the Shia and Sunnis start to shoot at each other. The Shia minority wanted revenge for being stepped on al those years and the Sunni, well who knows. I guess they didn't like being shot out or being kicked out-of-power.
Here is where the irony comes in. The Shia are more-or-less in power in Iraq. Iran is supposedly the next immenient threat. Guess what most of Iran's population is and their entire government? You guessed it, Shia. You see despite Saddam's faults, and there were many, his Sunni Iraq was a counter-balance to Shia Iran. With the Shia now in power in Iraq, and the Shia in control in Iran, and Sunni's running the show in most of the rest of the Middle East...it seems a pretty sure thing that once we leave Iraq there will be a Iran/Iraq alliance of some sort.
That is the pickle we have gotten ourselves in. The deal was done as soon as we invaded. The only thing staying in Iraq does at this point is delay the inevitable and just gets our people killed. There is no way to leave without all hell breaking loose but that was a given the moment we envaded. It is not a justification for staying there.
Last week, it went *poof*. It is no longer there. Now I feel excited about 2008.
The changed happened about the same time I decided to stop letting my life continue on its little downward spiral. I have just been going through the motions for sometime now. Heck, not even all the motions. My house is a wreck, bills were piling up, etc. So one day last week I finally got tired of it. I sat down, made a budget that will put me in the black by the end of January (don't expect anything expensive for x-mas this year), made appointments with my shrink, psychologist and a medical doctor (haven't seen one in years) for a general checkup. And I started cleaning the house last night.
This is a general cycle for me but this time it went deeper than usual. That bothers me but at least I feel like I'm on the up swing finally.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
There are two statements that are put out into the public discourse that are taken as fact regarding Gitmo. First, that the majority of the population in Gitmo were captured on the battlefield firing at US Troops. Second, that 30 prisoners that have been released have rejoined the fight on the battlefield. The study speaks to the first point, the second he addressed in his testimony.
Regarding the first point - and remember, this is all from the official DoD files - only 5% of the detainees were captured by US Forces. 55% of the total were found not to have committed any hostile acts against US or coalition forces. He testified that only 21 of the combatants were captured on the battlefield. Of those 21, only 1 was actually engaged in a hostile act against US Forces.
Regarding the second point, 15 of the 30 released cannot be located. Of the 15 that they know of, 3 made a documentary in London which somehow equates to returning to the fight. 7 are in a refugee camp which somehow equates to returning to the fight.
Seems the message and justifications for Gitmo may just be a little misleading.
Here is the report. The testimony should be available at Congresses website sometime later this week. It was in the Judiciary Committee.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Just look at all the bullshit stories about her hairstyle, clothing, cleavage and her laugh and the continued obsession with her marriage. When do we get the adolescent coverage of Rudy's multiple marriages? Or Fred's? Don't hold your breath.
Some of these pundits, even 'respectable' ones like Mathews or Russert, just have this fascination with the Clintons that just doesn't make sense. It is like an addiction and they can't let go. And don't even get me started on Fox 'News'.
Maybe if the media could stop being gossip mongers and actually do real journalism we could start to really get to know the candidates positions, not just what the anchors think about their hair. When the hell did news anchor's go to shit anyway? I have a theory that it was when they started to become stars. Bastards.
Don't construe this post with my support for HRC, as I said at the top I am torn. I would much rather see Edwards as candidate but if it turns out to be HRC as the candidate I'll be behind her versus any of the crazies the Republicans have as possibilities. Honest-to-god, they are trying to out-torture and out-manly each other. It's sad. Rudy can't say two sentences without making something up and he's the front-runner!
Can we maybe get some real coverage on these people's actual policies? I know it doesn't make as exciting television as Hillary's cleavage or Edwards' haircuts but it is a bit more important, I think.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
A hostile country led by anti-American ideologues appears close to developing its first nuclear weapon and, as a U.S. election approaches, the president and his advisers debate a pre-emptive military strike. Newspaper columnists demand action to stop the nuclear peril.
The country was China, the year was 1963 and the president was Lyndon Baines Johnson.
However, the same is happening with Iran. Can we get some perspective here? Why are people listening to the same idiots that over-hyped the Iraq threat and are once again beating the drums? Here is the article.
At the risk of pissing of Shana again, can we elect some adults this time?
I was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse in the mid 1990's after waking up several nights in a row thinking I was having a heart attack. MVP is pretty benign and most people that have it don't even know it. I just happened to show symptoms for it, which mimic that of a heart attack in some ways, so that's nice. My particular level of it is very responsive to lifestyle changes. Basically, as long as I eat somewhat regularly, get sleep and stay mostly away from coffee and the like I don't have any symptoms.
So I was looking into again today for certain reasons and I came across this study that says most cases of MVP have been misdiagnosed. Where they originally thought upwards of 35% of the population has it they discovered that number is closer to 2.7%. And, even better, the association with stroke or heart attack, particularly in those under 45, doesn't hold up. Basically they refined the diagnosis process and are able to achieve more accurate results.
I had an echocardiogram done to diagnose mine originally. The article I linked to has a number to call for a referral to a cardiologist affiliated with this study to be re-evaluated. I'm thinking maybe I should do it?
Monday, November 12, 2007
UNIVERSAL: Well, in a Nutshell...
"Every day after picketing, I come home and work on my long, elegant essay articulating why we're on strike. It's meant for the general public and attempts to summarize the issues. But today, I overheard something that took care of my essay in one fell swoop.
Guy (into cell phone): The writers are on strike out here.
Guy (into cell phone): Because the corporations are dicks.
I don't need to finish my essay. Instead, I can rest up for picketing tomorrow.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Take it here. Ignore their descriptions and go here for a much more in-depth description. Select your type and start reading. At the bottom there are career and relationship descriptions as well.
When you take the test go with your first impulse when you read the question. If you analyze it you may change the result. Also, the degree to which you are a particular type can change depending on your mood, etc but you will almost always be the same type or close to it. For example, I just retook the test and ended up as an ESFP, when I took it two weeks ago I was ENFP. However, both times degree I was a N or an S was very low (16% N the first time and 1% S this time) so I straddle that particular type. The other three are pretty strong and don't change much, although I was introverted when I was younger.
Anyway, here is my type:
Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving
Strength of the preferences %
33 12 50 67
Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving
Strength of the preferences %
E S F P
56 1 100 56
NOTE: ENFP is my usual type. I don't know what was going on when I came up ESFP, particulary that 100% Feeling thing. The ENFP numbers are about what I usually come up as.
What is yours and does the description match how you perceive yourself?
So I prefer email or face-to-face. Mostly email when it comes to business because I can think out my reply (you know, let the emotion go) and have a record of it.
Outside of business relationships I prefer face-to-face because that is when my personality really comes through. It is hard to make sarcasm work in email.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Federal income tax alone for 2005 brought in 45% of the federal governments income (2.143 billion). It is true that the top 1% (average salary $1.6 mil/year) paid about 40% of the federal income tax part of the pie. However, what is often left out of that arguement is payroll taxes, which is where the middle class gets fucked and the rich don't. Payroll taxes (Social security and the like) are capped one you hit $94,200/year in salary. Anything above that isn't taxed. Social Security taxes made up 37% of the entire federal income in 2005. 37%. That's 37% coming from the first $94,200/year of salary. Do you make more than that?
So to put it another way, for someone earning exactly $94,200 their effective tax rate is 6.2% for payroll taxes. For the average 1%er at $1.6mil/year, their effective tax rate is around 0.36%! Wow, no wonder they leave out payroll taxes when making that arguement.
A lot of the 'raise your taxes' stuff is talking about raising that cap on payroll taxes and making it an actual progressive tax. When the right rolls out the 'they will raise your taxes' boogyman, if you are in the middle class making under or around $94,200 you won't see a dime more taken out. If anything, alot of the plans circulated by the left lower taxes on the middle-class. Stop voting against your best interestes and research this stuff.
Challenge your assumptions.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Bruce Campbell, of Evil Dead, Bubba Ho-Tep and anything-Sam-Rami-has-ever-directed-fame, has a new movie coming out called My Name is Bruce. The plot sounds awesome if you are fan of Evil Dead (or know anything about it):
The plot revolves around Campbell, playing himself, who, after being harassed and mistaken by fans to be a character much like Ash from the Evil Dead series of horror films, is abducted from his trailer park home to fight against Guan Di, a Chinese war deity.
This is so up my alley. I can't wait!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
On Wednesday, the 17th I rejoin the grind in an office. I have taken a Software Developer position at Tiber Creek Consulting in Tyson's Corner. As far as an office job goes, they are about as flexible as it is going to get. They are focused on project deadlines and not face-time in the office, so the schedule is flexible. I get 21 days of vacation up-front (15 days + 9 holidays) and they have the rest of the benefit package including a health care package that doesn't draw from my paycheck. And they do quarterly reviews, usually with a bonus on each one and profit sharing at the end-of-the-year. Oh, and tuition reimbursement.
The interview was brutal and kicked my ass, so I'm somewhat surprised they even offered me a position. I guess it was just force of personality alone. Apparently I showed 'great potential'.
Hopefully I can get into the architecture-side of stuff where I am best and not just be a code monkey, where I'll be miserable.
So one of the arguments I keep hearing against a universal healthcare system is along the lines of "Think of all the red tape we would have. " etc etc. I think one of the main parts that this argument misses is that we already have a ton of red tape. The insurance companies are in the business of minimizing how much they have to pay out, so you have to jump through a ton of hoops to get them to pay you while you pay them.
This is a good example of what the difference between a 'socialized' healthcare system (Britain's) treats a wounded vet versus the privatized healthcare system we have here. Here is a good quote (from a version of the post that is no longer online, unfortunately) that puts the incentives into place:
The government wants to minimize the amount it pays out in benefits. This causes it to give you crap when you ask it for money for an injury incurred on its behalf. The private insurance industry wants to minimize the amount it pays out in benefits. This causes it to give you crap when you ask it for money for an injury you incurred while you were giving them money.
If the purpose of the system were to take care of people's health, though, perhaps there would be a bias in favor of... actually providing healthcare, instead of denying it.
Check it out. It's a good piece and offers some perspective.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
So Shana and I just took this test: http://www.web-us.com/brain/braindominance.htm to further determine our left/right brain scores. There are 18 questions. Shana answer 4 right brian and 14 left brain, making her decidedly left brainy. I answered 16 right and 2 left, making me decidedly right brain.
Does that mean we are a good match? :)
Take the test!
Monday, October 08, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
In the late 80's, early 90's I was probably more conservative than liberal. I'm ashamed of this but I actually read Rush and related a bit. That was back when the Republican party hadn't gone insane yet. It wasn't until the witch hunt of a blow job that I started to shift to the left to where the adults live.
So it was very interesting to me to read this post by a once staunch conservative on why he left the party. I have to say I couldn't agree more. I will never be a social conservative but I do believe in a smaller government and some other economically conservative ideals. However, until the GOP kicks out the crazy fear mongers (and Rudy is by far the worst right now of the contenders) I too will be willing to pay more in taxes in the short term than see the country continue to go down the tubes.
Seriously. Is the threat of paying a little more in taxes really enough of a reason to turn your back on sanity?
Monday, October 01, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
So for months now I've been just able to make ends meet. My full-time job hasn't been paying me a full-time salary since I came back on early in the year. That is ok, I knew that going in. The idea was I would work full-time for my contractor pay until they are funded then I would be retroactively paid the difference. The problem is, they still haven't been funded.
So I've been working a second contract to make the ends meet. This contract has been pretty good to me but it doesn't always pay timely. As a result, I've been late with some payments due to cash flow issues. The money was coming, I just didn't have it on time.
Over time I ended up in a situation where I had missed a couple of mortgage payments and had to make an arrangement with them to spread the two I missed out of six months. As long as I paid the new mortgage amount on time I'd be ok but if I missed or was late with even one payment the agreement would be voided and the past payments would be due in full immediately.
Can you see where this is going?
All would be find as long as I could invoice my second contract on time and they could pay me before the 15th each month. I spoke with them and expressed the critical nature of this and they were on board.
So imagine my surprise to find out today that they can't fund anymore work for at least 30 days, including the already outstanding invoice that I am counting on to pay October's bill. Practically, what this means is I can't even do any work until November which means I probably wouldn't get another paycheck from them until December.
Now I'm screwed. Without that income there is no way I'm making ends meet. Not even close. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
"...plan includes an individual mandate to ensure universal coverage, offers all Americans access to the same menu of regulated private insurance options that members of Congress use, creates a new public insurer based off of Medicare that anyone can buy into, bars the insurance companies from price discriminating based on preexisting conditions, and uses refundable tax credits to limit the percentage of a family's income that health costs can consume ..."
Admittedly I don't know much about the details yet but it sure seems to me that the aim of the Edwards, and now HRC plans, is to make private insurance available on-top of universal health plan for those that can't afford the premiums we pay now. That seems like a good way to get around some of the arguments (the delays in treatment) that are made when talking about the universal health care the rest of the modern world has.
Maybe I'm totally naive and this is the evil socialism. Educate me, please.
Oh, and regarding that oft-repeated quote that proves HRC is a socialist: "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."... Here is the context in which that quote and others attributed to her have been made. Stupid context, always getting in the way of a perfectly good slam.
One note here, HRC is my least favorite candidate on the Democratic side. I think she'll be divisive no matter what she does and that isn't really the best thing right now. However, I also believe more crap has been flung at her than any of the other candidates to date and a lot of it is misleading or not true, as the above paragraph illustrates. Not that this doesn't happen to all candidates, but her in particular.
"Free and responsible government by popular consent just can't exist without an informed public." --Bill Moyers
Friday, September 14, 2007
Here is the mail that I picked up, on the Jeep for perspective. It is just over two weeks worth.
Here is the mail sorted. On the right we have the mail I actually want/need. On the left is the shit. Can you believe that? I knew a lot of crap came in the mail but I didn't realize it was that stupid.
Yet another reason to put a stupid person on the flag. Do we really need that much crap coming to the mailboxes? I hardly even look at any of it.
I was camping last weekend on Assateague Island and this one woman came down from Toronto just to camp with us because, in her words, "No one else was camping that weekend". She was interesting, very outdoorsy. Had some interesting conversations with her.
In any case, in one of my random questions that just popped out of my mouth I asked her why there was a big ass maple leaf on the Canadian flag. I figured there would be some cool story behind it. Nope. It's because they have a lot of maple trees.
So that got me to thinking. What the American flag needs is a picture of a stupid person on it, because we have a TON of stupid people.
Here is an example, as if you need any. I read a post from one of Shana's friends about these two couples in a Buick or something getting it on. The guy in the back didn't want to knock his woman up but he didn't have a condom, so he asked his buddy up front if he could use his. Used. He turned it inside out because it would be too yucky otherwise, and they continued on their way. Well, the chick is pregnant and the father is that other dude.
That, my friends, is the poster boy for the American flag.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I would like everyone to meet Shana. On September 2nd at the Brassballs Saloon in Ocean City, MD we decided to date. We would have been dating earlier but I was too much of an oblivious dumbass to do anything about it. But now things are very good. :)
And speaking of being a dumbass, I haven't bothered to get to mail from my mailbox since I returned from Colorado. I just went out there to pick it up and low-and-behold there was just a single note that the Post Office has decided that my mailbox is vacant and returned everything to sender. That'll be fun sorting out.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Here is a story Darin related to me about his two oldest kids. Their house is basically my home away from home. I have my own cabinet. :)
Anyway, here you go:
Caden has been driving his yellow truck around in the basement announcing “Look at me… I’m Ryan driving my Jeep!” followed by driving sounds I won’t try to mimic in text form. Shay thinks it’s funny and they “drove” around the basement that way for hours yesterday. Shay asked Caden/Ryan if they can drive to your house and Caden proceeded to drive into the cubby hole.
Aww. I live in a cubby hole. :)
Quick movie reviews of movies I saw while in Colorado. You all know I rarely meet a movie I don't like...this more or less reflects that. I guess I just know what I like. :)
Live Free or Die Hard: I liked it. Personally I think it is my favorite of the series.
The Simpsons: It was funny, but I was somewhat disappointed with it. Too much hype I think. Plus the ads gave away a lot of the funniest moments. Maggie's first word was great though.
Transformers: Loved it! Just that they had Optimus Primes voice right made the movie for me.
Hot Rod: Holy crap this movie is awesome. I laughed so hard I was crying. I haven't done that since Tommy Boy. This'll probably be similar to Napoleon Dynamite in that it had a very poor showing in the theaters but will have a strong cult following.
Next up, Superbad!
Here are some pictures. I'll comment as we go.
Caught this place on my way out of Boulder on my first visit there. Thought it was a funny name for a restaurant:
The front range between Boulder and Denver:
A horse I once owned not liking the heat. This is Symphony:
And here is Dillon, the other horse:
Here is a local dog in front of a shop in Nederland. These small mountain towns and, to a lesser extent, Boulder and Denver have this plague of dogs laying on sidewalks so they can be tripped over. I honestly thought this one was dead at first. Turns out, he has regular visitors each day that bring him treats and such. He is owned by the shop owner:
A covered bridge for walking over a stream. This is in Nederland still:
Here is the stream it is over (taken from the bridge):
The big-ass German place in Nederland, The Black Forest:
A real penny arcade! A lot of these games were $0.01 and $0.05. In fact, a dime was too much. And the change machine would change a quarter! I don't know why but I am totally fascinated by this:
A soccer game for $0.01:
A $0.01 peep show! This machine was awesome, wish I had thought about taking a picture of the machine itself. I think I do have one but it's crappy so you can't tell what you are looking at. In any case, you put your face in this set of goggle things and drop in a penny. For about 2 seconds this scene is presented to you. Its pretty weird...totally not what I expected:
For $0.05 you can watch a monkey clap its cymbals:
The town the penny arcade was in, Monitoue (is that right Chrissy?) is known for it's natural mineral springs. They made these fountains that are always running throughout the town where you can snag some water. Here is one:
And here is a t-shirt. Probably need to edit this one a bit to make it out. Maybe some day:
In Colorado Springs, on the way to Pike's Peak, you can find the North Pole!
Some cool place I had lunch at in Evergreen outside of Denver. They have this awesome bar that people have been carving stuff into for years. Unfortunately, those pictures didn't come out. :(
And finally, a preview of my next picture post:
My favorite time of the year has rolled around again. Football and the Ren Faire. It stinks the scheduling conflicts sometimes but good times! Soon I'll be hanging out at Darin and Becky's on Monday nights cooking and eating while watching MNF. On the weekends I'll hit a college game or the faire...maybe this year I can score pro tickets.
In any case, check out my goofy ass between two beautiful chicks. Erica is in the front and Shana is in the back. Check out my white arms! Wow, that's really pretty disturbing.
Oh, and good god was it hot. 100+ degrees the Jeep said before we arrived. Humid as heck. Felt like a sauna most of the day. Totally sweated through my silk shirt (yea, silk...good call on my part). Luckily nothing a lot of wine and mead couldn't handle.
On the way home we drove through this amazingly violent storm. It was quite awesome.
Is Howard Hughes a weird role model to aspire to?
I just watched that movie again and it is totally one of my favorites. The man had such a wild life. I like to think sometimes that I've been through some of what he had just on a much smaller scale.
I need to pick-up a biography I think. I listened to 'The Hoax' on the back across the country, that was very interesting and just made me more interested.
Oh, btw, got the medicine thing straightened out on Saturday morning so all is good on that front.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
So I mentioned in my rant a few posts down that I'm having trouble getting my Cymbalta prescription refilled so I've been off it for a couple of days so far. I had a lot of trouble explaining what the withdrawal symptoms are like, I always have had trouble describing them. Well, good ol' Wikipedia to the rescue!
They are called brain zaps or brain jolts and if you have been around me the last couple of days (particularly this evening) and I seemed a little distant it was mostly because of these stupid things. In any case, there is no evidence that these 'zaps' cause any sort of damage or anything so that's good. Additionally, I don't have them as bad as it seems some people get them. But the description for what they are like is probably as close as you can get without experiencing them yourself. It really is hard to pin down what it's like.
I've had some fricken weird dreams and its obvious the whole anxiety thing is creeping back, so that's nice. But it proves to me the meds do work and work very well. So all in all it's a good reminder. I'm so putting some away for a rainy day when I get it refilled.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wow, just wow.
Does anyone actually believe there is a person or a group of persons that are huddled around a table in a back room somewhere directing popular culture so that it can "[rape] virgin teenage America on the sidewalk"? Seriously?
What am I talking about? This. Here are some juicy quotes:
"Kids are hurting," he said. And of those who he feels inflict these moral wounds, Luce said, "We call them terrorists, virtue terrorists, that are destroying our kids."
"They're raping virgin teenage America on the sidewalk, and everybody's walking by and acting like everything's OK. And it's just not OK."
This one in particular bothers me:
"We're fighting for those who don't know they have a voice, that are being manipulated by our pop culture indulging in things that, really, they're not mature enough to be thinking about yet," Luce told CNN.
The bold part is the part that bothers me. Culture, regardless of if it is the current pop culture or whatever Ron Luce deems it to be, has a great influence on people. However, to suggest that pop culture is some sort of guided attack on young people whom aren't mature enough to think on their own is disingenuous. If they aren't mature enough to make these decisions then wouldn't surrounding them with things like BattleCry and Acquire the Fire be just as manipulative? Even more so since it is a directed attempt at influence where pop culture is more a collection of what happens to be popular.
Am I wrong here? Is pop culture some directed attempt at 'raping virgin teenage America on the sidewalk'? And if it is what is the end goal here? So all the "America haters" can bring the country down into sin and depravity?
Yea, I didn't think so.
This is a stream of consciousness. I don't expect it to make sense to many people if anyone. You may read it if you wish and take from it what you can, but it's mostly for me because I'm in a particular mood. I have no idea what I'll latch onto and where it'll go. Should be educational to say the least.
I sit in a very comfortable chair and a friends house where I am currently house/dog sitting and will spend my evening. Outside it is a light mist which is something I really enjoy walking around end. It is the kind of night and the kind of mood that, if I smoked, I'd be outside sitting on the door step watching the mist while smoking. Instead, I am inside writing this.
I have had four hours of sleep out of the last 36 hours and have just returned from dinner with some close friends at Bonefish in which no small amount of Coppola Cab Sauv was consumed. As a result I have a bit of a buzz that is contributing to my openness. Normally I would keep some of what I feel is close to the surface now close to my chest. The lack of sleep, liquid 'courage', and the fact that I didn't know I was out of refills on my meds and now have been a day without are all contributing.
Speaking of meds, I take something I don't even remember the name of right now. It works on the serotonin levels in the brain to help with anxiety. A while back I was diagnosed with Agoraphobia which in my case mostly translated to a generalized anxiety but in extreme cases results in people literally being afraid from leaving their house. I've never been anywhere near that level and the place I was a few years ago when I started my journey feels like forever ago. The anxiety feels so far away. The 'Black Eyed Peas' did a song called Anxiety way back in the day that describes what I felt I went through pretty well, particularly the chorus. Here are the lyrics.
Lexapro! That's what I take. The withdrawal from it is very weird. I'm not sure I know how to describe it. I've gone for several days without before and I'm only 24 hours into this, so I think this mood is more the lack of sleep and alcohol pushing me along. Writing this feels therapeutic. I'm sure the psychologist I used to see would approve. When you fall off to sleep and your are on the edge of sleep if you have ever felt those involuntary muscle spasms - particularly around your eyes, scalp and into your hands - those are kind of what the withdrawal feels like. Whenever I move my eyes more than a bit I feel them lance through my arms and scalp. They don't hurt. It's not like what I would imagine lightning or electric shocks to feel like. Its much different then that. And I don't convulse like you do as you drift off to sleep. It is very hard to describe. Hopefully the Lexapro will be refilled tomorrow or I can talk them into a one week sample or something. This is just much more annoying than anything else.
"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" is coming back soon. Very funny show. Here are some of the Mac vs PC spoof commercials they are running to advertise it that I think are quick funny. Pervert Clown. That one is for a few specific people, you know who you are. And holy crap is Danny DeVito short. Post Coital. My Favorite. At least currently. And finally, what it is like arguing with conservatives: Perfectly Symmetrical.
I used to be afraid of flying. Actually, before I was afraid of it I loved it. I learned to walk on an airplane flying to California. I loved it so much I wanted to learn how to fly an airplane in college. For one of my birthday's my mother purchased a 90 minute introductory flight for me at the local airport in Hagerstown. I sat on that thing for a while and then one nice fall or spring day I decided to do it. I drove out to the airport and did the class room part which was pretty brief. My instructor and I walked out to the runway and approached the airplane. I remember him saying "We usually do not take people up when it's this windy out but it's a nice day and you and I are here so what the heck.". And it was fricken windy. The first sign that I should have backed out was when he was looking in the back of the seats for the barf bags that weren't there. We climbed into the plane and he let me taxi and take off. The first couple of minutes where incredible until we reached an altitude where the wind picked up. Feeling the tail shift violently from the left to the right and vice-versa wasn't too bad. Even the sudden drops were bearable. But the sudden drops and then the sudden rises were killing me. I had a white knuckle grip on the wheel and the throttle and ended up having to have him take me back and land early. I never did throw up but I was certainly green. I thought I had weathered it alright but it wasn't long after that I developed a fear of flying. It wasn't until watching "The Aviator" and seeing Leonardo Di Caprio's portrayal of Howard Hughes' fascination with flight was I able to reacquaint myself with my own fascination. Now I feel much better about it and have been on a few trips.
At dinner tonight a friend of mine made a few comments that made me feel like I was a dear in headlights. I don't know that she noticed but I sure did. In small group social situations and with people I am familiar with I am pretty extroverted. However, I keep some things very close and and when things are put out there that pierce to the heart of things it really shakes me. As much as I get along with people that see to the core like that and appreciate the honesty it forces in myself sometimes it is REALLY uncomfortable. Control is just an illusion I suppose and I dislike being stripped of that particular illusion, even if it is healthy.
Wow I'm totally loosing my buzz now. I think I'm going to stop this 'heart-to-heart' and publish it while I'm still willing to do so and the hell with the results.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Yee haw little doggies!
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
So there is a sign that says 'Please keep the lid shut to help with ventilation and odor' and I think 'how nice!'. So I open the lid, drop my drawers and sit my naked white butt down on the lid.
Now, there is a myth they busted on Mythbusters that talks about someone flushing an airplane toilet and the suction keeping the person stuck on the toliet. That immediately went through my mind as I realized that the ventilation the sign was speaking of wasn't in the room I was in but actually from beneath in the big hole containg the motherload of crap. The next effect was a suction effect that pulled air down the toilet from around my butt and croch that wasn't all together unpleasant but very VERY weird.
I'm on my final week before I head east on Tuesday. Yesterday I drove from Black Hawk to Cortez, in the southwest corner of Colorado. The drive heading into Ouray all the way to Durango was breathtaking. I'll hopefully post pics eventually.
I splurged on a suite with a jacuzzi last night that I was never able to use because of work issues, so that was nice.
Today i'm doing Mesa Verde and then on to a hotel in Alamosa. Tomorrow is the Great Sand Dunes and hopefully the Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City. Friday is the drive up Pike's Peak and then Buckskin Joe Frontier Town. Saturday is hanging in Colorado Springs. Then back up to Denver for a Scottish Festival and a play in the evening back in Central City. Monday is a rest day then the drive home starting Tuesday.
Its the third week and, as usual, i'm starting to feel like heading back.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
The Garden of the Gods is a sorta foresty area with a bunch of really tall and severe rock formations. At the top of one is a rock formation called the Kissing Camels whom I have named Adam and Steve in recongnition of Dobson's Focus on the Family.
Afterards we headed to a little town called, and I spell this wrong for now, Minatou, which is famous for it's natural mineral water springs. Throughout the town are fountains in which you can drink the mineral water. We even saw the dedication of a new fountain and had free cookies!
Dinner was next after picking up Robert. We went to a little Italian place and talked about TV and such. Chrissy obviously was hit on the head quite soundly when younger because we discovered she does not like Scrubs. Being hit on the head is the only possible reason.
After dinner I took everyone home and headed back myself.
Thanks Chrissy and Robert!
I am in a bar in dowtown Evergreen called The Little Beer that used to be a church and a drugstore. Cool litlle place. After lunch i'm off to see The Transformers then back to Central City.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
We had dinner at the Black Forrest which is fricken huge. Had a Russian Egg for a starter and the Sauerbraten for dinner. Mmmmm.
After dinner we headed down to Boulder to experience the Pearl Street Mall's night life. Walked up and down the 6 blocks and noticed a bunch of homeless kids. So that was interesting. Also walked past the 'Happiness Revolution' which was a group of six or so hippie kids that asked if we could spare a smile. Pretty funny.
Had some drinks on the rooftop of a bar and ate Yam Chips and Guacamole. Mmmmm.
Then went home and went to bed. Yay!
Monday, July 30, 2007
However, once this is done I think today will be spent in Nederland checking out all the hippie art and stuff and then dinner at this big ass German restaurant called the Black Forrest. The Black Forrest has a special place in my heart because we played a radio show there when I was in Europe the first time and the director popped a solo on me. Bastard.
So we went home and took a nap. Then we went to Nederland!
Now, Nederland is a town in the moutanins tucked away in a valleyish area on the way to Boulder. This place has hippie written all over it. Grest town! Lots of neat little shops and restaurants. And four bars!
Here is my thinking on the name Nederland. Either they meant it to be Neverland, but were too high to spell it right. Or, and I think this is most likely, it is named after my heor in Three Amigos...Ned Nederlander. Therefore, it should obvious that someone should open bar/restaurant called Ned's in which a talking turtle serenades the patrons. How cool would that be?
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
In some areas of Boulder peds can press a crosswalk button that's turns on these flashing lights that indicate that the traffic should stop. Found that out the hard way. :)
The way Blawk Hawk was described to me I had thought it to be some poor little crappy town with one casino and a gas station. Wrong. Its like Vegas in the Rockies. Big ass Casinos with all the trimmings.
Central City also has a bunch of Casinos but has little shops and such as well. And, the biggest surprise of all, and Opera house...a pretty famous one at that apprently. Been in business for 75 years. If I knew anything about opera, I was told, I would have been impressed by the level of superstars they have there. Apparently one sat next to me at the Face Bar. Ah the face bar, that's a different story.
To give you an idea, think of the old west meets a smaller scale Vegas. Black Hawk would be the strip and Central City would be the old part of Vegas...Eldin Street I think? The two cities are REALLÝ cool.
Btw, isn't Central City the name of a town in a video game? Policy Academy comes to mind.
On the way I saw the place pictured above and it looked like it was really hopping, so I decided to stop for lunch.
I am now sitting at a table inside waiting for my breakfast eggs and chili thing. Across the road is a dude that does trail rides that I think i'm going to check out.
The place is busy as heck so I sat at the tiny bar they have while waiting for a seat. I'm drinking a rather hoppy but refreshing beer as well. The people are nice and sociable which has more or less been typical up here in the hinterlands of Colorado.
On to boulder!
The timezone changes work in your favor heading west as well, giving an extra hour here or there of driving.
As boring geographically as the midwestern states can be, they have awesome speed limits. You can cover a good bit of ground with a 75 mph speed limit.
One of the annoying things, however, are the radio stations in western Iowa and Nebraska. The three Cs are mostly all that is available out there (Classics, Country and Christian). So if that's your cup of tea you are golden.
All in all the drive west was pretty fun and quick.
Friday, July 27, 2007
1) I have discovered how to update my blog via email.
2) because of number 1, expect a lot of short entries about random stuff. These are mostly for me so in a year or so when I have totally forgotten everything I can go back and look.
Wait, who am I kidding. It'll be in September I need to go back to remember.
There really is something to the "big open sky" that comes up in songs and such about the midwest. The sky is fricken huge. There are not any trees or structures to block your sight and it really is impressive. I don't know that I could ever live in one of those states but seeing that sky like that is something I would never tire of.
Anyway, I meant to post this a few days ago but didn't, so now I will. Some interesting quotes from my Breaux trip. I'll let you all try to figure out what they are in reference to. I apologize if I hurt anyone's delicate sensiabilities.
"No, that isn't too juicy."
"It's like sliding a hotdog now a hallway."
Oh, and the next quote deserves a post all on it's own. :)
I arrived in Denver last night about 4 ish east coast time. I decided to push through all the way. Dang that was a long day. 20 hours, 1200 miles and one nap, but I'm basically here. Just a 30 minute drive up the mountain and I'm there. Let the fun begin.
Oh, before I forget. I was listening to the radio and that song about becoming a rock star by Nickleback came on. The Dobson 'Focus on the Family' influence is apparent because they were bleeping out all kinds of stuff, like the word drug. Oh, but Playboy was ok. Weird.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
So I'm heading to Colorado. By car. Yes, once again I have decided to drive across country all by my lonesome. It has been a couple of years and I was starting to feel an itch to just go. So that's what I did.
I'm currently writing from a truck stop with Wi Fi (the Flying J, they are all over the country and all have Wi-Fi) in Des Moines, IA. I left my house yesterday in my car around 5:30 pm and stopped west of Cleveland, OH for the night. I've gone a total of 1000 miles with 700 more to go. My thinking right now is to try and make it to Colorado by tomorrow morning before my friend goes to work so I can sleep in a real bed. That'll be nice.
I've learned a couple of things I thought I would share on my trip so far:
- There is a town in Iowa called 'What Cheer'. Two thoughts come to mind on how this town's name a came to be. Either someone was hard of hearing OR, more likely, it is just a really depressing place to live.
- Having the back open in the Jeep when it is raining is not good for the stuff in the back of the Jeep.
- The trip between Cleveland and really until you hit Iowa has some awesome rock channels.
- Sirius antenna's do not work under the top of a Jeep. Boo Sirius.
- Jeep's do NOT do a good job of keeping bugs from whacking the windshield. Must be that less than aerodynamic shape. Eww.
This trip is totally open-ended. I expect to be back the week after August 10th but who knows. Once I get to my first destination I'm just going to do whatever feels right at the time. I have an entire army of people looking after the beast so I know he is taken care of (thanks!!).
Anyway, that's it from Des Moines. It is time to hit the road again and take a bite out of that 700 miles.
BTW, here is a link to my route: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&saddr=Ashburn,+VA&daddr=Black+Hawk,+CO&sll=40.40378,-91.32766&sspn=32.587941,48.867188&ie=UTF8&ll=40.380028,-91.494141&spn=32.587941,48.867188&z=4&om=1
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
In essence, at some point during the 80's our media stopped being skeptical of government. Rather than verifing what a source tells them they just repeat it and then when it turns out the source was using them for propoganda purposes they protect the source rather than burn them. The stories around Lynch and Tillman and the hearings on the the Hill this week show how evident this is.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Honestly, this fear mongering might have gotten Bush elected a second time but does anyone really believe this crap anymore?
He added: “The Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us.”
then goes on to say:
Giuliani said terrorists “hate us and not because of anything bad we have done; it has nothing to do with Israel and Palestine. They hate us for the freedoms we have and the freedoms we want to share with the world.”
Yea right. They hate us for a freedom. I can't believe I'm seeing this crap again from a presidential candidate.
What a dork.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Well, I was poking around and came across a transcript of a debate between a well known atheist and a well known pastor. Some really good questions are presented from both sides and it is really a fascinating conversation.
In any case, regarding the topic of this post, I'm going to link to page 4 of the transcript where they are talking about morality and it's source. Check it out and, if you are really bored, read the whole thing! :)
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Now they are also a major reason the subprime mortgage market is melting down, why 1.5 million Americans may lose their homes to foreclosure and why hundreds of thousands of homes could be dumped on an already glutted market. They also represent a huge cloud hanging over Wall Street investment houses, which packaged and sold these mortgages to investors around the world.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Friday, February 09, 2007
Despite the vast differences in their ages, ethnicity, and religious upbringing, the sexual chemistry between Roberto and Heather was the most amazing he had ever experienced; and for the entirety of the Labor Day weekend they had sex like monkeys on espresso, not those monkeys in the zoo that fling their feces at you, but more like the monkeys in the wild that have those giant red butts, and access to an espresso machine.
---Dennis Barry, Dothan, AL
That is the winner of the Romance category of the 2006 Bulwer Lytton fiction awards. Good stuff if you are bored and need something to do.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Monday night comes rolling around and we decide it is FAR too cold outside to attempt to fire up the grill. Enter the George Foremen grill. The chicken has marinated so long is has taken on the color of the marinade, namely a greenish tint. Mmmmm. We toss them on the grill and away they go.
Here is where it gets interesting. The marinade is so pungent and spicey that the steam coming off the grill is almost toxic. When any of us were within like five feet our nose would start running and we'd start sneezing. It was REALLY funny. This went on for about 20 minutes until the chicken was cooked. The entire time, while sneezing and blowing our noses, we were wondering why on earth we were going to try to eat this.
We made some rice to help cut the heat down and I had made two dipping sauces as well, one an Asian Peanut Sauce (actually left over from the Chicken Satays we made for the Uberbowl) and a creamy mustard sauce. The chicken was cut up into little pieces and mixed with the rice, add the sauce of your choice and away you go.
While, there was some serious heat to the meat. Not the same kind of heat you get at mexican restaurants because it didn't hurt your tongue like that heat does. And not like wasabi hot because it did the opposite of sinus clearing. It was a unique heat that is unique to the habanaro. It made you sweat, it clogged your sinuses, and the weirdest thing is that you could feel it the most back around where your tonsils are and radiating up towards your ears. Also in your chest. However, it was fricken GOOD. The pain said NO but your mouth sad MORE. Mmmm...so making that again.
It reminded me of a drink called Kiss of the Devil that I think I wrote about here before. It is a wine made out of habernaros instead of grapes. It looks like soapy water and when you drink it your thought process is "WTF is this shit! It hurts! Omg it hurts. Make it stop." because your entire face is on fire in a very unique way. Then, about 15 minutes later, as the feeling subsides and it starts to feel strangely good, you crave more.
Same deal with the Jerk Chicken last night, just not as potent and tasted better...since the Kiss of the Devil was pure sensation and no taste. Mmmmm.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
I have been thinking about righting a post for myself about the things he used to do so I could look back from time to time and remember. I'm taking that dream as the sign to do so. This is a post mainly for myself but feel free to read it if you like.
-would in the mornings stretch out his back so far he would basically fall over, then drag his back legs across the floor with his front legs about three feet to finally lay on his side all stretched out.
-when it was cool inside would sit on the hot air vent when the air was blowing with a big 'cat grin' on his face
-whenever the front windows were even an inch open would lay on his side and either push the entire screen out with his paw or claw through the screen. Sometimes he was even able to squeeze himself through and out the window.
-whenever he was able to get out would either just roll around on the cement or make a bee line to the grass to eat it. Occasionally he would take off but never too far and always ran back in the door when someone went after him.
-was so determined to get out would sometimes wait 10 or 15 feet from the door until someone opened in then charge full speed at the door. He would literally bounce off people and doors until he either found himself outside or lost his momentum.
-would sit on top of the tv cabinet and wait until the door was opened then bound outside.
-would sit on top of the tv cabinet very tall and proud like and look down on everyone like he owned the house. When I would go to pet him in this mood he would just raise his head further and get a bothered look on his face like the help was touching him.
-didn't like anything on top of the tv cabinet. He would wait until I was up and then get up there, look at me, and whack something off of the cabinet. Then he would peer down at the ground at it, look at me again, and turn away.
-he wouldn't really pur during the day, regardless of how much you pet him. Instead, at night, he would always come up to my room and get on the bed and start needing the sheets with his feet and pur away. He'd pur so much that he would start to drool. Cat drool is fricken nasty and he'd just drool and drool. Then, he'd shake his head really hard and all that crap would go all over the place. Nasty nasty stuff but I miss it.
-speaking of needing the sheets with his feet. He'd pick and spot and do that for a few minutes then walk three feet in a different direction a lay down. Most cats will need a place and then lay on it. Just weird.
-at night he would get his face up in my face and then just kinda ram his head into mine and push it along my face. Cutest thing ever.
-when he would sleep he would usually wrap up into a ball. Sometimes he would kind of fold his paws over his eyes and stretch, it was so cute!
-his entire goal in life was to get outside and eat grass. When I wouldn't let him out he would get all pissy and start to mope. Literally his head would hang down and he'd just walk around the house slowly and shoot glares at me, meowing this really low meow and beating up the other cats.
I'm sure I'll think of more and add on to this.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Anyway, Bunny asked me a good question responding to my 'everything is horrible' post a few days ago that I thought deserved it's own entry. She said, and I quote:
Oh and as devil's advocate: Do you also read things that encourage or positively explain religions or aspects of faith? Or is it just criticisms?
I do, I have. In fact, I love talking to people that are very religious. Not to argue with them, but to understand where they are coming from. I find the vast majority of followers are very pleasent and are fun to talk to and I have no problem with them or their beliefs. They get a lot of strength from it and in some ways I envy that. It is very personal, very sincere and usually very private.
The one's I have problems with are the one's that feel they are superior and/or shove their faith down my throat. The evangelicals. Those are the guys that I read about and am critical of. The ones that force their morality on me and are attempting to force it on the entire country. The ones that are trying to push religion into politics. That is where my criticism comes from and who I rail against. Not religion in general, but religion that ceases to be personal and attempts to become law.
Hope that clarifies things a bit. :)
You see, a friend of mine I have literally known all my life is an awesome guitarist in Richmond. Well known in the music scene there, a celebrity if you will. His day job his hanging gutters, he's been doing it for years. Well, a few weeks before Turkey Day he fell off a roof and crushed his arm. Compound fracters on both his elbow and forearm. Took three surgeries to fix it up. Luckily there was no nerve damage so he should be able to play guitar again although he'll never have full movement in that arm again.
The pisser was he had no health insurance nor workmen's comp so he is left with HUGE medical bills. So this past Friday (the 1/5/07) a bunch of local bands were having a benefit for him called Frankfest. How cool is that!? And I couldn't get down there because the shop took forever to fix the car. :(
Anyway, so there you go. At least my tire won't fall off.
Some backstory first. Early in the season the Cowboys were struggling with their quarterback. Whether to injury or desperation (I can't recall) a rookie named Tony Romo got his chance. He started lighting it up and suddenly the Cowboys were kicking ass. Very good QB, too bad he plays for Dallas.
Anyway, they manage to make it to the wild card playoff game last night against Seattle. They get the lead and it looks like they are going to win. 5 point game. The Seachickens score a touchdown but miss the 2-point coversion, so it is a one point Seattle lead (21 - 20). The cowboys get the ball and drive all the way to the 11 or so. All they need is a field goal to win the game. They throw for the in-zone on third down and the Seahawks stop them but it looks like the Cowboys got a first down on the one yard line. However, on review they didn't make it so they have to kick the field goal from 1.5 yard line. Chip shot, nothing to it. Cowboys are going to get the field goal and win the game. Here comes the poetic justic.
Romo, the savior of the Cowboys season, is the holder for the three-point kick. Has been all year and hasn't made any mistakes. The snap is made, and Romo screws it up! He fumbled the snap, makes a break for the in-zone, Seahawks tackle him. Game over! Ha ha ha! Romo screwed the Cowboys! It was FANTASTIC!
Thursday, January 04, 2007
I had to get up at 9 am this morning. I know, to most of you that doesn't seem too bad but that is like 3 hours before I usually get up, plus I went to bed at 2 am so that didn't help. I had to get up that early in order to take my car to the shop because one of the ball bearings seems to be going out. I want them to check it out before I make a trip to Richmond for Frankfest (more on that later). So I figure taking it in that early would allow them to get it in early, right? Wrong! I just called them at 3:30 pm and they STILL hadn't done anything with it. Why the hell did I get up so damn early if they weren't going to do anything with it until this afternoon? That's the first thing.
After I drop the car off I go home. I'm up for a little while checking email and the like then I decide I'm going to take a nap. I go upstairs with a glass of water and my phone (in case they actually call). The cat (Mimic) likes to stick his nose in the glass and drink the water so I set my phone on top of it like I usually do when I have my phone up there (usually I leave it downstairs). Well, and I'm sure you see this coming, I f'ing knock the phone in the water and the water onto the floor. When I finally got the phone out of the glass water just gushed out of it. GUSHED I say! I dried it off best I could and took the battery out and let it dry whilst I napped. I woke up a few hours later and stuck the battery back in. Every light on the phone came on (including the light they laughably call a 'flash' for the camera) and it just vibrated. That is all it does now. I'm still hoping it'll dry out and work again but as of this moment a glass of water fried my $600 phone. Damn it.
Back to the car. Since they dicked around all day doing god knows what if they have to order a part to fix it they'll have to wait until tomorrow to order it, which means the part won't show up until next week, which'll fuck this weekend for me. I'll need to rent or borrow a car or something so I can see Margo and go to Frankfest.
You know what it is? This bad crap happens like this when I start reading critics of religion. I'm going to have to stop reading about that shit. Damn it. It's so fascinating though! Arg.
So far, this year sucks.