Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Went to a goth club for Evie's birthday.

A goth club is a strange, strange thing. Everyone dances ...just ...not with each other. In fact I've never seen so many people try to out-ignore everyone else, including high school.

It was a bit like an interpretive dance troupe doing a play about your average G8 meeting.

And while I'm on it, can they still be said to be "dancing" if the song changes -- tempo, mood, everything -- and they're doing the exact same moves?

Monday, April 25, 2005

A giant fuck you to SUV owners.

It sucks for anyone who drives any gas-consuming vehicle, but for those of us who despise the needlessly gas-guzzling, terrorism-supporting transport of choice for your average asshole, it's a silver lining.

(PS: I've got nothing against people who drive SUVs out of necessity, such as load or weather factors.)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

On the subway earlier, saw a kid, maybe eighteen or nineteen, with a t-shirt that said something about avoiding drugs and being "high on life." I'm not making this up. But the kicker is that he had a cigarette behind his ear.

I couldn't resist.

"Is that a cigarette?"

Long pause, probably wondering if I'm going to ask to bum one.

"Yes," as he takes it out and holds it in his fingers in a demonstrative, open-for-exam sort of way, not sure why I'm asking.

"It's the t-shirt. I'm confused."

He kinda nodded, put it away, looked a little annoyed but he didn't say anything. Maybe he thought I was a serious anti-drug zealot out to give him shit.

So I'm at my grandmother's house now. Funeral is tomorrow. I'm told the family isn't fighting ..."yet." Which is precisely why I don't do the whole nuclear unit dance. What a pain in the ass it is to have people inject themselves into your life under the premise that their sister fucked your father. Ugh.

Today I had an uncle comment "no cellphone, no car? We're gonna have to talk."
"...about what?"

We haven't had more than a 2-minute conversation in the last decade, what did you have in mind? Set me straight on which bullet points you think I need to check off my to-do list before I die?

I think it's good to let them know upfront that their values are not mine and while I'm all for a good debate, they dictate precisely jack and shit in my life.

I sometimes think half of this family is held together by their need to piss each other off.
"Protect Marriage!"

From what? Inclusiveness??!

Nobody ever asks the follow-up question, "What negative impact would giving gays the right to marry have on marriage that isn't already true of heterosexual marriage?"

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

This was the cover of Time on the day I was born.

From CNN.com:

Packing on the pounds is not nearly as deadly as the government thought, according to a new calculation from the CDC that found people who are modestly overweight actually have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.

Whoa whoa whoa. Hold the goddamn presses.

What is the criteria on which we base the "ideal" weight if not longevity?

If "modestly overweight" is healthier, why is it considered "overweight" in the first place? "Healthy," by any historical perspective, is a cultural yardstick governed by modern perception of aesthetics and this study flies directly in the face of not only the entire advertising industry but even government propaganda.

Well how else can it be interpreted?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Does NOBODY else see the irony in the Catholic church's repeated inability to decide who should be the next pope? They've voted three times so far with no winner of a 2/3rds majority.

These people claim infalibility on everything from interpretation of the Bible to god's position on gay marriage ...and they can't reach a consensus on who should lead the church? Out of all the possibilities, one of them is a "best choice." Of course, only god (let's assume there is one) knows the future, so only it knows which one is the best choice. Does that mean 33% of the cardinals are frauds?


And if a full third of them are are in disagreement with god on a simple vote, how do they expect us to believe them on anything else?

Do they know the mind of god or not? How could they possibly have voted wrong??

Shouldn't everyone who didn't vote for the ultimate winner be executed as a heretic?

Ok, how about fired?
My grandfather died today after a short illness. Eighty nine years old, amazing guy. Didn't teach me much, but what he did teach me was extremely important. Namely, you only get what you put in and if you're going to do something, don't fuck around.

I said he taught it. I didn't say I learned it.

On a lighter note, the lunatic right is pissed that George W. Bush hasn't been quite the lapdog they expected after scooting the draft dodging coke fiend into office for a second term. In other words, "we bought it, we own it." Sound familiar?

"How come he's not stumping across America defending marriage?" said Burress, 63, an evangelical Christian and president of Citizens for Community Values in Ohio. "Marriage is a whole lot more important than Social Security."

This one is easy, asshole. It isn't under attack. NEXT!

Friday, April 15, 2005

My grandfather, I'm told, has a few days to live. This time I think it's legit. By "this time" I mean that he's been through a lot. Falls, heart attacks, wars and rumors of war. This time it's different.

Taking two "emergency" (for lack of a better word) days off of work to visit him.

I have no idea how to handle this sort of thing. I'm fine, I just don't know what to say to anyone else.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

p1: Iowa is for hippies!


p1: Why are you at the computer??
p2: Trying to find something good to put on...
p1: Here, take this. It'll ALL be good in a minute!
Ow. Ow. Ow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Perry Bible Fellowship is the best comic strip I have ever read. By this I mean "better than Bloom County."

For example
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Donald Rumsfeld has all but demanded that the new Iraqi rulers not purge Saddam loyalists. Now why on earth would the Bush administration want to retain Saddam backers? Because ejecting the pro-Saddam infrastructure doing so could be perceived as retribution against the Sunni Arab minority and it would rob the military forces of much-needed experience.

That's true enough, actually, but doesn't it clearly demonstrate Bush is willing to support murderers if it suits his ends?

"Remove cold-blooded killers? Make our troops safer by uprooting potential moles who leak convoy routes? Look, let's not be hasty."

Sure I realize there are political issues at stake here but that's my point. Bush isn't concerned with right and wrong. He's concerned with an outcome. Facts are purely secondary.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Saw Mindless Self Indulgence tonight. Every bit as good live as they are recorded which is pretty gosh darned rare. Love the group, hate the fans. Ok, I don't mind the fans that much, it's just that "we're different yet we all look alike" meme. You know what I'm talking about. One visual; safety pins for the girls, ICP tee-shirts for the guys and a lip piercing for everyone. *shudder

Nothing else to report. The next three weeks are going to be (a) gameless, (b) job application-full and (c) spent seeing how feesible my ...idea is.

It's actually been keeping me up at night. I haven't had this kind of can't-shut-brain-off problem since... since...

Saturday, April 09, 2005

don't stop
don't stop now
just keep on going

     - Brazilian Girls ("Don't Stop")

All decisions in my life can be categorized into three basic groups. The ones that I know won't ever happen, those I know will and those in between. Most of them fit in the last category. The never-happens are too common. The always-wills are stunningly rare.

I know I've got a lot of bright ideas and I hardly ever follow through with any of them. In fact I can think of only one that made it to fruition. So I know this is a fault of mine.

Frankly, I don't have the patience to concentrate on one thing for very long. Actually, let me correct myself; I don't have the patence to concentrate on one specific task for too long. Writing a white paper or some such would burn me right out. Granted, I was able to concentrate on writing some software for 1.5 years but that was my job. It wasn't hard, it was enjoyable, but it was also not too optional.

My "goal" is to teach English as a foreign language. In a lot of countries that requires a degree. Not a degree in English, mind you, just ...a degree. Most governments require it just to insure you're not a jackoff, but others -- generally third world countries -- do not. On the other hand, every report I've ever heard is that while you can make a living at these gigs, the real money is on the side, teaching privately. In fact I've heard that in some areas $50/hr is not at all unusual. But frankly, it isn't money I'm after.

Why am I blatering about all this? Ok, I'll cut to the chase. I've revived my long-dead idea of cycling over some seriously large distances. The idea is to "get by" for the next year, not worried too much about the "future," find a worthy organization to raise money for, get myself some sponsors, plan the bajesus out of this, then go. So much of this is fermenting in my head that I'm hesitant to write it down since it is so open to adjustment as time passes. But that's the basic goal.

Then there is the "why," which is something sorely lacking from my life.

1) I'd LOVE to teach English. I've been a teacher at RCN, responsible for both creating the teaching material and actually teaching a class. I've also worked with kids and with the single exception of the wonderful age of 2, they don't bother me at all. I'd like to think that my way-too-short year working with homeless kids helped at least one or two of them, somehow. I guess I'm saying that I think teaching is something that (a) I'd enjoy, (b) I wouldn't get sick of because each interaction is different than any other and (c) would give me some sense of accomplishment.

2) I'd like to raise money for a good cause. Special Olympics comes to mind but I'm still hunting. I'll take suggestions. It isn't like there is a lack of underfunded social problems. Considering something like Oxfam. They're currently doing a tsunami fundraiser. I'd also like for it to have international and wide appeal.

3) I need to get the fuck out of this country. The people are killing me, this administration literally takes up a serious amount of my mental with their selective as a motherfucker "culture of life" bullshit. You know, I think to myself, "thank god I don't watch tv" but then I realize how elitist that sounds, so I try not to beat on the subject too hard. And it's not even 100% true. I get in maybe ...2 hours a month. But I feel like I simply cannot relate to so many people I come in touch with and in an abstract sense, it's not their fault.

It's like being in a world full of alcoholics. Try telling them they're addicted. See the reaction you get. This week I pointed out to a (roughly) fourteen year-old girl that I stopped watching in 1994 and she said "My god, that's sad." It was if I'd just told her I didn't breathe.

My only real refuge is Ella and I'm quite sure I'd be a hell of a lot angrier if I didn't know her. She's the only person I've ever met with whom I can speak my mind without installing a filter. You know what I mean, that internal voice that scrubs everything you say when you talk to your general friends. There are subjects you don't talk about, there are thoughts you don't share.

As time goes on, the more I have to say to Ella and the less I have to say to the rest of the planet. I've become contemptuous of virtually everyone and everything. How can I not when the alpha and the omega of the interests of virtually everyone I come in contact with is television or entertainment related?

Don't they say that proximity breeds contempt?

So I need to be around people who are free of the media. Ok, free of our media and perhaps encapsulated in their own indoctrination but shit, that's a start.


So I don't know where this is going to go. Maybe in a year this will be another one of those stupid ideas that I just lost interest in. I hope not.

Today I was at work, semi-bored out of my mind, leaning on the counter and looking past the open door to the parking lot. People walking back and forth, buying shit, carting shit. They looked like ants.

I know that John Lennon said that life is what happens when you're making other plans. I don't think that "happiness" resides in some mountain off the coast of Jakarta. I just need to detoxify my head, give myself some perspective and see if I can answer some long-unanswered questions.

While I'm doing that, I hope to linger a bit and listen to what people have to say. Maybe I'll come back, maybe I'll just keep roaming and teaching, maybe I'll find a spot too irresistable to avoid.

"...many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

     - Obi Wan Kenobi

Kiss my ass. I can quote Star Wars all I want. =)

Frankly, that's one of the most profound statements I've ever heard because the older I get, the more often it's implications reveal themselves to me.

Just ...do me a favor. If all this comes to nothing, don't bust my balls about it. I know it's a character flaw, but I'm trying.
It has begun. =)

Friday, April 08, 2005

[Ella raises her hand.]

[Ten minutes later]

"Hey, look! It's like you're hanging upside-down in a donut-shaped cave!"

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Saddam Hussein watched the naming of a Kurdish president on television from his cell.

That's cool. But Bakhtiar Amin, interim minister of human rights noted:

[Saddam had] seen an election, and the parliament elected a president, and it's not like before where the transfer of power was done through the shedding of blood, military coups and invasions.

And what we just did was what? A tea party? Lessee...

Shedding of blood. Check.

Military coup. Check.

Invasion. Check.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I'm moving on June 1st unless everything seriously goes to shit. Back to Boston or thereabouts. The goal is to get a TEFL cert and get the fuck out of this country. I seriously need a different perspective. I feel like I'm forced to either live in a hole or be poisoned by the half-assed media and the half-assed people I talk to every day.

Speaking of the half-assed media, here's something interesting...

Remember that memo circulated to Republicans that noted Terri Schiavo was "a great political issue … and a tough issue for Democrats" and "This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue?" Florida Republican Mel Martinez has owned up to it ...only not really. He blames it on an aide who he claims wrote and distributed the memo "unilaterally." The senator expressed "profound disappointment and regret" at the memo.

Right. Bullshit.

The memo was leaked to the press on March 19th. It took them nineteen days to figure out the origin of the memo? Think about this. If Republicans were so "disappointed" and regretful of the wording of this memo, where is any indication they said, "hey, who the fuck wrote this piece of shit?" when it was first distributed?

No, they embraced it completely and it is 100% in-line with their agenda. They are now lying to you because it turned out that the vast majority (82%) of Americans didn't approve of their meddling. And they'll get away with it because our press is a hoarde of traitorous sycophants who have truly taken the Bush administration's warning of being "careful of what they say" to heart.

God bless each and every one of 'em.

Senator Martinez fired the aide. "Listen, take the fall for this, nobody will give a shit in a year. Here's $200,000, bye."

Ever notice -- from Abu Ghraib to Iraq intel to Terri Schiavo -- that it's always a lackey who takes the fall? It's never the boss who owns up to the problem and pays for it?

Actually, that's not true. Plenty of people have publically taken blame for the intelligence failure but everyone who did got promoted.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Sometimes the logic and ethics of the political arena can be so fucking backward that you can miss the forest for the trees. Witness the recent Terri Schiavo case; we witnessed a Republican tour de force rally around a "culture of life."

Which is interesting because in that case we had a woman in a persistent and non-recoverable vegitative state for 15 years. Terri voiced her desire to not be kept alive in such a situation by three individuals the courts -- and a total of 9 judges -- found to be relible.

So what about Angel Raich, a woman who is still alive? She writes:

I suffer from several conditions that cause severe, chronic pain, including fibromyalgia, endometriosis, scoliosis, uterine fibroid tumors and rotator cuff syndrome. I am also battling an inoperable brain tumor, seizures, and life-threatening wasting syndrome, accompanied by near-constant nausea, as well as several other diseases.

Unfortunately, she is violently allergic to every drug that her doctors can give her. Without medical marijuana, she'll die. Which makes you wonder why she has to sue Ashcroft -- a Bush appointee, just to be clear -- in order to live.

In 2003, the courts ruled that it is illegal for the federal government to interfere with the people and state of California who have voiced their desire that medical marijuana should be legal. Having lost, the government has pursued this to the Supreme Court in order to overturn this judgement and, let's be honest, kill Mrs. Raich in the process.

Where is Bush and his sanctity of human life photo opportunity? Where is DeLay's moral outrage when the goverment goes out of its way to kill a woman who wants to live. Republicans are silent because they can only side with a "culture of life" by admitting that cannabis has some redeeming value. This would be in direct opposition to their classification of cannabis as having no medicinal value which is the very foundation of their anti-drug position.

So in order to maintain this lie, they are willing to kill Angel Raich.

As a side note, I hate to come across as a plaigarist here. I swear, I came to this conclusion while sitting around doing jack and shit at work but Angel makes a very similar observation on her website which I didn't find until I started this post:

John Ashcroft you claim to have a deeply-held moral belief in the sanctity of human life. Yet, your recent actions have caused many to wonder, whose "life" you are "pro"? Why are you not "pro" my life? Does my life not mean anything? I am a law biding citizen who is not hurting anyone. The hardest part is watching the suffering in my children’s eyes as they watched me suffer, with no end in sight. I have to do what is in the best interest of my children, and what is best for them is to have me alive.

So be not decieved. These people are interested in life only when it suits them. In the vast majority of cases it is spectacularly expendible.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Do not look for continuity here. I'm just musing.

• Customers. Old customers. Old customers with tan shoes and white socks. [long, slow whistle]

• Never make fun of a person's STUNNINGLY bad parking job without being very frickin' sure that the person in question isn't standing right next to you.

• Ella wants to be old so she can be eccentric. I want to be old so I can rock the heavily textured beige plaid pants.

• I'm convinced that Gloucester/Rockport has a Stupid Pill factory and that 60 Minutes just ran a series about how the government is thinking about upping the recommended daily allowance. All my customers seem to be getting a head start.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

This is one of the funniest goddamn commercials ever. Props out to Ella for mentioning it. I've seen it about 10x, just keeps getting funnier. Every. Time. I see it.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Saw a cardinal while waiting for the bus. That has to be worth something.

I realized today that if I actually do follow through with teaching English as a secondary language, I will be enabling more people to tell Americans to fuck off in their own tongue. This made my tummy all warm and fuzzy.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Tegan and Sarah ...one of them is hot. And make no mistake, ladies, girls who can get up on stage have the same effect on men that guys who get up on stage have on women.

Ruby is still watching the mouse, sitting contentedly, paws folded under her body and eyes tracking every movement. The mouse has decided to abandon Eastwood in favor of LaLane. He ...she ...it is repeatedly leaping straight up.

Persistent little fucker.
Two more resumes sent out. Maybe I'll squeeze in a third.

I hate Friday-Saturday. I have to work Friday night, sleep (kinda), then Saturday morning. I really wish I was born in Italy or something. I don't dig this whole working-to-live thing. Why can't we work 2-3 days a week and enjoy what little time we have during the rest?

Ruby, one of the two housecats, is staring intently at the newest animal in the menagerie; Rick James. She's been doing this for ...about two hours solid now. I placed the cage on the floor to provide her with unfettered access. Their hissing phase is long gone. Rick James is still doing his best Clint Eastwood in Escape From Alcatraz impersonation with limited success, spectacularly unaware that his hard-earned efforts would be met with an immediate, certain and ignominious death if he actually pulled it off.

Something about being careful what one wishes for enters my mind.

And the fish are still eating rocks.

I wonder if my habits look as bizarre as thiers do.
Turns out the SCUL thing was an April Fools joke. I obviously fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Sweet frothy revenge will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

On the other hand, my mood just went up 30 points. I may not cycle with SCUL often but just thinking about their existence makes me giddy and stupid like a six year old girl watching puppies stumble around in a drunken, newborn stupor.
In the last 24 hours I have:

• ...knocked over a glass, shattering said glass and dousing myself with water mere minutes before heading to work. I am wet and my floor is sharp.

• ...read a funny Sinfest;

• ...found precisely zero jobs I'm suitable for (I need to start checking daily, not weekly);

• ...heard that Mitch Hedberg overdosed, proving once again that very talented people can be very, very stupid and;

• ...learned that SCUL HQ was broken into, several bikes were stolen, the tool wall was emptied and the leader has decided to call it quits.

I normally enjoy going to work, at least marginally. It's easy, I'm good at it and the day flies by.

Today I just want to lie in between two flannel sheets (while wearing flannel long johns), door shut, shades drawn listening to Vangelis, drifting in and out of lucidity while my -9.25 eyesight kinda watches the fish suck up and spit out rocks.

Getting really sick of hearing all this talk about Terri Schiavo. It's "barbaric," it's "inhumane," it's in violation of the "sanctity of life." Every goddamn time I hear someone make a comment like this, a little voice in my head tacks on "which is what she wanted." None of them seem to want to admit this fact. None.

I have yet to hear anyone critical of the removal of her feeding tubes acknowledge that this is what she wanted. See, their logic doesn't work when you remove Terri from the "having something done to her" category, does it?

She wanted to die.
She didn't want to live for fifteen years with no brain.

Why can't you critics leave people to make up their own minds about their own bodies? What is it about this idea that scares you so much?