30.12.02

Eh, we'll stick with the tender realm of fantasy: I link to these gents because Tycho's reading of the whole MAVAV situation is poetic, consice, and so completely true that there's no need to juice it up any more. In fact, I've come to respect the man a great deal for his acrobatic use of language and a sense of humor much like my own. Kudos.

"Pickering, why can't a woman be more like a man?"

I have also enjoyed Conquest, hosted by that cool guy who played a bald English monk in Babylon 5 some years ago. Last night I watched that in tandem with Mail Call, and I left the television with the sense that I had actually learned something, engaged my brain, and been entertained all at the same time. It is possible to do that without subjecting people to abject humiliation, ABC, so stop making shows about marriage contests! From what I've heard, marriage itself is quite a game anyway.
I'm gonn kill sumbody.

I'll take any opportunity to hide from this mass of stinking people. One thousand bodies will have traveled through the submarine by 5 p.m. this day, and perhaps a dozen will remember it. Humans as a species are dying out, to be replaced by people.

Is it just me, or is George Will something worse than an idiot? Dare I say, jackass? I do. Godammit, I need something positive and uplifting to happen on the news tonight so I can quit whining.

29.12.02

LOTR: The Two Towers is not as good as The Fellowship of the Ring, but it's still pretty damn good. I don't like movies that tack on cheesey monologues and too much music, but Gollum was brilliant, and who doesn't love a wisecracking dwarf?

Star Trek: Nemesis is not as good as The Wrath of Khan, and I want people to stop comparing the two. Khan was the only movie where Starfleet was portrayed as a real military institution instead of a loosely Navy-like exploration consortium, and everything in it was still new. Picard uses the same LCD on his desk that I have, and the tricorders are just PDA's with extra plastic now. The Whiz Bang has gone, and so, sadly, has the inspiration for the series. Nemesis is 100% predictable, right on through the tragic ending, and so we have no reason to connect with the characters at any level.

The End Of The Year Coctail Mixer (at someone else's house) was endlessly entertaining. I could not imbibe anything myself, but a few guys there more than made up for my apostasy. There's nothing like listening to a story about Norse mythology being related by a happy man on the floor who holds a beer bottle filled with gin and tonic and insists on spelling out the name of Thor's Hammer. (It's Mjolnir, BTW, not Mjilneer)

"Ssshhhh! I'm guarding the house!" - Gir

24.12.02

"We can all know everything without ever knowing why, It's in every one of us..." - John Denver and The Muppets

Balls of turkey in sweet and sour sauce on rice with fresh baked crescent rolls for Christmas Eve dinner. Yum. The retailers and the news people want us to feel bad because we didn't spend money on dancing plastic Santa dolls and poorly written Christmas cards. I say, that's Capitalism, baby! I think we would all be better off if S-Mart and their ilk didn't waste energy and resources manufacturing things no sane person would ever want to buy in the first place.

For further entertainment, read this article.

Merry Happy and all that :-)

23.12.02

The signs are misspelled.

The Goddamn signs are misspelled.

MAINTAIN SPEED THRU TUNNEL.

Was it too hard to add the "o-gh"? Do drivers not have the patience or the mental capacity to parse and understand a word made up of seven letters instead of four? What the fuck was the decision process like here? It's not like "maintain" is monosyllabic, or better suited for signage. Why?

I hope that you are getting along with whatever family you have this season. As an old woman in an anime once said, "In this world, people must cherish whatever ties they have."

BTW, Mr. Wall Street Journal, if I get sued by Bandai for lifting that line without permission, then and only then will I follow standard journalistic quoting practices with my blog.

21.12.02

Tunnels affect people in odd ways. I'm talking about the tunnels that you have to drive through, Hampton Roads and all those. The tunnels around my home city aren't particularly long, but 98% of the people who drive through them slow down by 10 MPH despite a complete lack of impediments. There is nothing, nothing that would warrant a drop in speed, yet it always always happens. If the roads were empty but for yourself and two people immidiately ahead of you, one in each lane and driving side by side, you would be forced to slow down because people don't like driving the speed limit through tunnels, regardless of whether they're in the passing (left) lane or the cruising (right) lane. If there were any appreciable danger inherent in driving through tunnels, I feel certain that some government agency would post signs to that effect. But lo, there are signs in place already, instructing drivers to maintain their current speed through the tunnels. That they don't is a good measure of the individual idiocy of most people who have a license to drive.

This gentleman is hilarious.

19.12.02

Aisling is back home for the holidaze, all's right with the world. I guess there's really not a whole lot more to say. My friend Wonko The Sane is, perhaps even as I speak, preparing a massive essay on modern morality and the source of our human consciousness as a response to my inquiry about strip clubs. I'm starting to think that I'm mainly dismayed about them the same way I am dismayed with boxing. It is, as the great Hunter S. Thompson would say, a purely atavistic endeavor, and as such represents the triumph of our most basic animal instincts over the "higher" reasoning that we sometimes engage in. At those moments, there is truly nothing to separate us from the beasties we believe ourselves to be superior to. It's an act, if you will, of willful de-evolution, and in my opinion we've already backslid dangerously towards our wilder side. To deny it exists would be foolish, for it is true that we are merely a more active species of great ape, and every once in a while you have to toss a raw steak into the cage to keep that beast happy. But there are those of us who let the beast run free, and those who keep a firm hand on the lock. I get nervous when anyone talks about buying the thing a leash.

Gee, maybe I had more to say after all.

18.12.02

You know those days when Chaos seems to take over and nothing goes quite like you planned? In an effort to fix up some nasty wiring, our Fearless Leader has cut power to one half of the ship. It's kinda fun, actually, walking through an unlit submarine. Spooky! It's a good thing I know the layout of every deck like I know a keyboard.

Searching for food-related props to use as display items in our mess deck, I came across a web site that sells nothing but fake plastic fruit. Somewhere, in some fading industrial district in some dirty old city, there's a warehouse full of #300 artificial blueberries, Bartlet Pears, and Zuchinni. More landfill. Damn, but that's depressing. How many fake plastic fruit factories do we really need, people, huh? As a society, I mean. I just feel that we should somehow be able to soldier on into the future without being weighed down by acryllic waffles.

16.12.02

I love maintenance season on The Sub. No people, no uniforms, just loud music and power tools and harsh chemicals that burn things.

On another track entirely, I loathe commercialism. Try walking into a Target, or WalMart, or whatever local megachain is in your area. Pay attention to every little bit of plastic and metal and cloth on their shelves, then close your eyes. Imagine every single item that surrounds you as future landfill. How many Targets are in your city? The country? How often do they rotate through their entire stock in one year? Hundreds of square miles of cheap plastic dancing santas and Brat playdolls and fake trees, and all of it, all of it, will one day be used to plug up one of those unsightly canyons in the southwest that those poets and artists are always going on about.

So, in the true spirit of generosity and holiday cheer, everyone on my holiday shopping list (which is really pretty short) will get, instead of a gift card for more crap, a simple letter, and the knowledge that the $20 I would have spent on something they didn't need anyway will instead go to a local soup kitchen so that some families who can't even afford the paper and pen for a wish list, much less anything they would care to put on one, will have something decent to eat for a few days out of an otherwise wretched year.

Just a thought.

14.12.02

And I quote:
"WWWWWWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW
WW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Thus wrote "a dude" as a review of The Novel. Three unsolicited and apparently unique reviews in as many days... hmmmm. I guess it was so good that he had to hold down the O key for ten whole seconds, instead of perhaps just two. It's nice, and I suppose it's the thought that counts, but I'm also cynical enough to suspect that this was a none-too-clear attempt at sarcasm. Am I missing something? Is it easier to put down a line of six dozen letters than it is to simply say "This was good" or "Stop writing, jackass"? The review was unsigned, so I can't even email "a dude" to ask.

I harbor no illusions that The Novel is a grand peice of high-quality literature, but Great Jeebus it's tough to know what wrong with it if no one tells you.

13.12.02

"My gallant crew, good morning"
"Sir, good morning."


A debate arose today about the nature of "empowerment." Either it's come to mean something other than it's Webster's definition, or I just don't understand it correctly. Two of the women at my place of work made the claim that Strip Tease joints are a form of empowerment for women. The word itself means, "To give power or authority to; enable; permit: as, science empowers men to control natural forces." My question is, What power are women seeking that they can gain only by performing as the objects of men's sexual desires? The power to turn men into drooling zombies? You can do that just as easily with a bucket of chicken.

"I hope you're all quite well.
"Quite well, and you, sir?"


The power to control your own life? There is a great deal of money to be made as a stripper, certainly more than working the grill at McMeaty's. But dancing takes place on a far more personal level than ordering a hamburger does, and yet is just as devoid of personal meaning. You could replace the brain of a dancer with a computer programmed to rub and gyrate at random intervals and fulfill the same desires in the man. Guys don't go to strip clubs because they actually care about the strippers, they just want to get their rocks off.

"I am in reasonable health and very happy to see you all."
"You do us proud, sir."


It just seems to me that people do it for all the wrong reasons. Maybe the odd "empowered" individual is simply busy "celebrating their sexuality," and that's perfectly natural and healthy behaviour. But all I see in those places is the face of the guy who washes down the peep booths after a dozen half-drunk slobs have jacked off in them. Ask him if there's any nobility in his profession.

We also debate international politics at work, but that's been done in this space already. Besides, I've never really codified my personal feelings on the Sex Industry, and I'm still seeking input.

12.12.02

Well Sucker Man, let it be known to all that even though I'm glad you have a friend in the Lonely City, I would hope, and still do hope, that you would find something better to do with your time together than submit to that horrible physical display of where "reality" TV is taking the 21st Century viewer. As for myself, I have a complaint to log about the lovely people for a few more days I get to call classmates.

The setting of this tale is that my class last Friday watched an absolutely horrible B movie called, "The Rapture". Although it starred David Duchovny with a mullet, there were faults to be found. The movie was about the Evangelical Christian idea of the end of the world resulting in a Rapture, where God takes all the good little girls and boys into heaven, and all the people not on the list, get to stare at Heaven, from Hell, which in this movie was convientely located across the river.

So in class on Tuesday, my wonderfully articulate professor dared to ask for our opinion of this film. The responses varied from "I didn't like this part" to "I thought this part was creepy" to "I thought it was stupid". Although you make think it silly of me to expect more out of people who pay $35,000/year to attend this great intstitution, I think I am justifiably angry. I will grant them that some parts were "creepy" and that the movie was horrible as a whole, but surprisingly it brought up religious ideas of God, the afterlife and salvation rather intelligently. As I found, I was the only person in my class who dared to think that my professor showed us this film for an educational purpose, and also the only person who had the guts to admit that I understood that educational purpose. It must really be silly of me to think that a group of 18-21 year olds who had enough interest in a class titled Philosophy of Religion to sit through it for 3.5 weeks, would also bring that interest to class everyday and turn it into meaningful discussion. I am also sad to add that when asked why "The Shawshank Redemption" was a good movie, more blank stares ensued, until I chimed in of course.

You must know that this rant stems from 3 weeks of these kids, and I mean children, staring at my professor like he's speaking Elvish. Thus, in vain, I continue to search for a companion in this place that shares the same educational goals and articulate nature as myself.
Okay, that worked. Let it be known to all that Aisling is indeed my dear younger sis, which makes me her elder bro, I guess. Separated by one million miles in space yet joined by 99.99% of our genetic code, as siblings go, we are closer than most.

So don't be too disappointed, sis, when I inform everyone that Tak dragged me, kicking and screaming and biting and punching, to the limited showing of Jackass Live. We spent the requisite amount of time mocking everyone else who was there, the pale youth who mope about mumbling "I'm disaffected" while inhaling cancer and reading Inferno to prove that they're really literati at heart. Although any criticism on our part was blunted by the fact that we each paid cash money to watch a guy named Steve-O light his head on fire. After the destruction of my brain cells was complete, Tak managed to get an autograph and mug shot with a few of the fellows who were also in the movie, who complained loudly about all the pretty girls they had to kiss. I suppose the only real reason that I went is that I'm a Big Sucker, and Tak's one of the few people in this city that I would even consider, much less be happy to call, my friend. If I was a super hero, I'd be Sucker Man.
This is a test of the Emergency Formatting System. Please Stand By while Liam experiments with things he should already know how to do.

11.12.02

I think the fact that anyone wants to read that hella long novel is a compliment. I would be surprised if there was one other person besides my mother that wanted to read my writing. Granted my skills aren't quite the quality of my highly published bro.

I really hope Jon Stewart doesn't leave the Daily Show, mainly because I think primetime would ruin him. He would be restricted and cheesy and God forbid he has a laugh track. Well, I guess I'm a skeptic and I've lost most of my faith in quality programming and I use two words in that defense: "reality TV". I rest my case. God speed Jon Stewart, may you avoid the tragic traps set by TV management and may you bring yet another small glimpse of intelligence to TV.

10.12.02

I will watch "Tough Crowd" tonight because Janeane Garafalo is in it, and for some reason, she's one of the few "celebrities" that I actually find interesting. It's a good thing, right, to be attracted to a brain instead of a body? Yes, I thought so.

This guy from Belgium just wrote me to ask if I was still planning on finishing The Novel, because he's really enjoyed it. Allow me to provide a skoch of background: The Novel, posted title "Somewhere In-Between," is an El-Hazard based fanfiction that I've been working on since, hold on, since March 30th, 2001. It was to be, as I planned it, a 180,000-word Epic the likes of which the nerd repository of Fanfiction.net had never seen, except in the dark corners of the Dragonball Z section (which, at last count, made up about 98.9% of the total works on the entire site. It's hideous.). It was originally available only on my Self Monument website, the El Hazard Netwerk, and only about a dozen people have read it that I've heard of, and eleven of them are from the El Hazard Fanclub Mailing List. I was going through an extended infatuation with all things El Hazard at the time I started this monstrosity, and it's been harder and harder to continue it recently.

So this email was completely unexpected. It was kinda sweet, too, although it's somewhat discouraging to any prospective author to learn that, for the entirety of it's existence, your work has been viewed by approximately twelve people, one of whom lives in frickin' Belgium. It does, however, illustrate the potential of the internet for removing the traditional barriers of national prejudice for free communication between all the peoples of the world. Or something noble like that.

Anyways, the newspaper says that Jon Stewart will be getting his own NBC sitcom, starring Steven Colbert. I don't know if I'm happy, or just cautiously optimistic.

You know who would be great to take over The Daily Show? Janeane Garafalo. Yeah.

6.12.02

As the Coughing Souls say, "You know that but you go on... on."

I have three English papers to write by next Wednesday, and a bitch of a math final to study for. This is not a happy time, oh campers, not at all.

"Slenderness, slenderness, slenderness, fire..."

Apparently, despite my staunch Anti-Person Stance, the man at the top thinks I should keep my job. This is nice, but I wish he'd let me do it once in a while.

"Her body like soft serve, drippin down in the dew sun..."

This song makes me miss home. Springtime downtown in The Springs was just tops, man, and with my high school right next to the parks and shops and restaraunts I'd spend Monday mornings drinking inexpensive coffee and playing chess instead of living in Drafting 101, writing a deli review for the school rag, buying "Before These Crowded Streets" on the day it comes out without even realising it, kicking a hackeysak in Mythology class.

"And ever since then I got dissemminated..."

It seems awful to believe that at this early stage in my Known Existance, I would look more fondly upon my past than my present. But I suppose we do that anyway. Romanticising the past is a truly universal fetish, like mocking people by using British accents, or leaving $20 bills in our pants when we wash them.

"Everything is fine fine fine, fine fine fine..."

5.12.02

If an epiphany occurred the other day to bring some great slice of tender knowledge to me, then it's corrolary poked it's head in late last night.

The Crown Loyalist platform may be popular now, due to it's aforementioned simplicity, but it is ultimately self-defeating, because it relies on people to _never_ discover it's true purposes. People may on the whole be oblivious to the truth of the world around them, but the most expensive perfume can only make a rat smell lovely on a temporary basis. At it's core, it smells, and all the rat has to do to lose his cloak of pleasant aroma is step in one too many puddles.

On a totally unrelated note, the computer lab that I set up for school is steadily falling apart under it's new managment. They gave me independent study credit for giving birth to the poor kid, but the foster parents of the school's Information Technology department are turning it into a brat. I loathe the loss of control over it's fate, I guess because the originator always feels that his work will always be superior to that of whoever comes after him.

4.12.02

Thank you, Jon Stewart, for making something perfectly clear to me, in your obfuscating way.

Given the choice, the Great Unwashed Masses, the Victims of our Tee-Vee Fast Food Era, whom the Left and the Right disdain with equal vanity, will prefer a message that is easy to understand if not totally connected to reality to a message that is difficult to think about yet ultimately sensible. This is why the Republicans have succeeded so brilliantly, and why the Opposition has not made progress. Jon Stewart had a talk this evening with the staunch liberal editor of the oldest newsmag in the nation, The Nation. He repeatedly asked her for a simple summation of the ideals that Liberalism stands for, and she either could not or would not provide it. It may have seemed to her that Stewart was merely attempting to "dumb down" the argument, but his point is clearly valid. Given the above maxim, the Republicans (or Crown Loyalists, to the Regal, Appointed, Annointed Bush) will always hold greater sway over the national debate, for their message is simple and easy on the tummy. The Opposition wants you to have a hernia in the shape of national policy, but few will seek the pain of actually having to digest information with their brains.

2.12.02

I will only do this once, for a dark rage burns in the recesses of my being.

I HATE CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN PUDITS. I hate George Will's blind slavery to his twisted riteousness. I hate Bob Novak's grimmacing margarine-coated superiority. I hate Rush Limbaugh's blubbering, mouth-frothing cross-eyed incandescently idiotic excuse for rhetoric.

Thankfully, there are things that I love, too. I love the sound a human makes when you've just finished explaining a complex idea to them, and somehow you hit on that magical fact that cascades the sweet light of understanding upon a corner of the universe that to them had been dark and mysterious, and they say "Aaaahhhhh... I get it" and gaze in wonder at the problem they have just been taught to solve. It is the sound of a brain being switched on and humming with real activity. It is so rare that I nearly weep when I chance to hear it.

1.12.02

"People only notice what you tell them to notice, and then only when you remind them." - Korn-something, from "The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay."

I can't deal with them today, at least not the way a proper employee should. "Is this their lockers?" "What are these, lockers?" "Are these their lockers?" "Were these lockers, for the men?" "Is this where we go out?" "How do we go out?" "How do we exit?" "Do we have to back to get out?" "Do we go up these stairs?"

Restrain. Calm. Breathe. Bah!

30.11.02

366 days ago, over 4,000 zombies - I mean, people - visited the submarine. 1 day ago, only 1,700 showed up. What explains the difference? Perhaps it is the powerful anti-People field I have developed as a natural defense against Stupidity. But, hey, the fewer, the merrier.

"Expert" financial analysts on the evening news crack me up. "Well, we've seen an incredible rebound in consumer confidence in the past two days, thanks to strong retail sales. It looks like the cheaper Multi-Marts are going to attract more business than the expensive department stores this year. People sure are responding to those early holiday discounts. Oh, and did I mention that the sky is blue and white?"

Meanwhile, He-Who-Was-Not-Elected sneaks in another slash at the federal payroll. By this point, I'm just kind of sad. It's like watching a bomb explode in super slo-mo, and I'm one of it's many victims; powerless to stop it, yet doomed to be a witness. I hope for a brighter future.

28.11.02

Does anyone doubt that our world is unmaking itself? In the Neilsons last week, ABC's travesty "The Bachelor" came in at #3 on the list, while the critically acclaimed, beloved-by-all-who-think-and-watch-TV "West Wing" got in at #15. The previous week was a slightly better story, with each show coming in at #11 and #12, respectively.

I celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday of mourning as well as gratitude. We obtained our bounty through coersion, theft, and outright genocide, and while there's not a day that goes by I'm not thankful for growing up in America, we should take time today to fess up to how this country truly came to be. I mourn for the First Americans who lost their lives and their homes to our own mindless expansionism. I hope that someday I'm in a position to truly make a difference for these people that we've forced into poverty, and if that time comes, then I will be thankful.

27.11.02

Yay Harry Potter! This one's much better than the first, although the final scene made no sense. It's also pretty intense for those younger types, I don't know that I'd take my 8 year-old to see it. Although there was a toddler in the theater with us that was left to roam around he aisles during the film, for his parents seemed blithely unconcerned for his whereabouts. I was fairly put off by that.

So the enlightened legislators of our state have decided that Patriotism should be mandatory, and have therefore decreed that all children in the state school system shall be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, regardless of personal or religious beliefs. This strikes me as an exercize of power for it's own sake, with no real benefit to the citizenry.

Also, I ask why any person with a brain would think it necessary to make something like a tax cut permanent. Everyone, particularly law makers, should understand that economic conditions change as swiftly and as constantly as the weather, and what sounds like a good measure one year may have drastically different consequences for the next. Again, it seems that the Administration is merely flexing it's political muscle, quite apart from the fact that this tax cut package was a disaster to begin with. It's a way of saying, "Look how powerful we are! Whee!"

24.11.02

All law enforcement officials and Federal legislators/judges should have the words "Truth, Justice, Peace" tattooed on their bodies somewhere, just as a reminder of what they're supposed to be doing.

That Bush, boy oh golly. He's pissing people off left and right, and my friends and I agree that if this continues, and the Dems offer up a real candidate, then He-Who-Was-Not-Elected will not be re-un-elected in 2004. We can only hope.

23.11.02

Setting: John Miller. ABC's "20/20". Barbra Walters answering e-mail in front of an iMac.

This scene made me happy. No, a better word would be jubilant. There it was, shiny metal arm suspending a display of pure marble white with an Apple stamped on it's backside. Barbra goes on to introduce some report she's coming up with for next weeks installment, something rediculous about how silly people are about being oblivious to warning lables. Oh, wait, it was Toxic Mold, I remember now. Sometimes, house mold gets ugly, then it gets toxic, and then it kills anyone who doesn't use disinfectant on their kitchen floors.

John Miller responds with a perfectly wooden, inflection-free, "Wow. That certainly got my attention."

Sometimes, this kind of banal stupidity is just painful to witness. It's like watching someone stick their ankle into their mouth and choke.

On a happier note, it snowed today. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

21.11.02

I used to think that my friend Wonko was truly crazy, because once he told me that it's too much of a pain in the ass to have to eat. Anything. At the time, my organs were all functioning properly, so I said, "No way, man, there's nothing like the satisfaction you get from a full belly. I love eating."

Then, my organs quit working properly. My diet has been severely restricted (the two staples, coffee and pizza, are big no-no's), I've lost weight that I didn't have to loose in the first place, and we don't even know what's wrong yet. I now rather resent the idea that my body needs constant feeding, especially since it has to be some slight variant of the same mush I've been forced to subsist on for the past month. I mean, honestly, doesn't it just take up huge chunks of your day? The concept of eating itself is not abhorrent to me, indeed, prior to this malady I heartily enjoyed sitting down to a good meal. I just don't think it should be mandatory, that's all.

20.11.02

I'm almost encouraged. I whine a lot about the general stupidity of the human race, but tonight, it was as though the universe took a smart pill. The Daily Show was brilliant, with Mr. Colbert's analysis of why the Democratic party has failed in it's opposition of the GOP, and Jon Stewart interviewed a young man from Tennessee, Rep. Harold Ford (D). He was concise, intelligent, charismatic, and he clearly cared about the state of the Dems as the Opposition party. This is a name to watch, and I desperately hope that he can maintain this level of honesty and dignity through all the political Nastiness to come.

19.11.02

The first permanent link has been placed in the left hand column (hopefully). I happened upon this by pure chance, and I'm extremely glad I did. I have yet to monitor them for any length of time, but it appears that the good people at Spinsanity.org are actually serious about what they do. Essentially, they take a good hard look at all the political rhetoric that's clogging our airwaves and newspapers, and expose the logical fallicies and partisan spin behind it. They're equally critical of Dems, Liberals, the GOP and arch-Conservatives, but to be fair, the truth is that they're hard on anybody who uses spin tactics to lower the intellectual threshold of the discourse in our nation which passes for "serious debate."

Feed Your Brain. Do some reading at their site, and start thinking for yourself.

18.11.02

On ABC News this evening, they had a report on how acrimonious feelings towards others can contribute more to poor health than a penchant for donuts and milkshakes. (Aside: Peter Jennings should be made Ruler of the Known Universe. He is Benevolent and Wise and would bring an end to hate and suffering. End aside.) I was going to use this space to rant again about how stupid people are, but I guess I need to concentrate more on the good than the bad if I don't want a heart attack. One of the questions on a stress test they featured was, "Are you frequently disappointed in the behavior of others?" I'd say it's more like constantly.

If you're just not smart, then hey, I'm incredibly dense sometimes too. That's okay. It's the _willful_ ingorance that gets to me, because there's no reason for it other than the fact that almost everyone is too lazy to use or improve the contents of their minds in any fashion. Tell me I'm wrong. Please. I want to be wrong.

17.11.02

Holy Fuck.

I keep some older issues of Time magazine by the head, for reading material. So this is from an older issue, but still, it deserves comment:
"'All the people who were in the family [health insurance policy] catgory screamed miserably: "I wouldn't have had all these children if I knew you were going to cut our family allowance!"'"

Holy Fuck.

Something's terribly wrong with this picture, that a parent is even capable of thinking of their offspring as an expense instead of a human being. They are stating, if not explicitly, that their children are no more than _lifestlye accessories_, to be indulged in only when you can get good insurance coverage on them. "If I had known that you were going to cut our family allowance, I wouldn't have started spitting out babies like a factory." "If I'd known I was going to get drunk, I wouldn't have had so many beers." "If I'd known I was going to lose my money, I wouldn't have fallen for that pyramid scam."

Holy Fuck.

These are the prisoners to the allmighty urge to Hump, the breeders of our race, good for nothing but expanding the gene pool. This quote makes me despise the Great Unwashed Masses even more. Am I being an eletist snob? No, I merely have respect for human life, as this person manifestly does not. To paraphrase our most popular angry white boy, "Apparently, they 'ain't parents." These are exactly the kind of people who should not be reproducing.
"Throw away your television..."

Poor Tak. She and her hubby have this gorgeous new house that's three stories + basement + two car garage. It's massive, and the interior is pretty much the same as my Mustang's was when I bought her, all torn up. It will take weeks of solid work to get the bedroom, bath, and living space cleaned up and organized. I repeat, it's _massive_. I will never understand why some people want such tremendous spaces for themselves when the only family they have to share it with is a pair of cats.

But I shouldn't bash someone else's dream. My own ultimate home would be some kind of small decomissioned warship that's been sitting in ordinary for years and years. Although, the Mustang has been quite a job to work on, and she's still got a long way to go... I guess I'm just some sort of pathetic romantic when it comes to fixing up rusted old junk.

To each, his own. Yeah.

16.11.02

What a wasted day. Working on a submarine is cool and all that, but sometimes the people you have to deal with just suck the life out of you. The Stupid Quote of the Day: when someone walked into the crew's dining area, or "mess," they proclaimed confidently, "Wow, this must be the nice place!"

Conversations between the people that work there and the guests run, inevitably, along the same lines every single damned time. If you're in the torpedo room, sitting next to a torpedo, they point at it and ask you "Is this a missle?" It takes every ounce of self control I have to not respond, "Yes, that's why it has propellers." If you're in the crew's mess, it's "Oh, is this where all the guys ate?" Again, I want so badly to say, "No, the tables and benches are exclusively for playing checkers. They ate in their bunks." If you're in one of the engine bays, it's "Are these coffins or something?" If it's the stern room, they point at all the lockers and ask, "Are these lockers?" Or "Is this the morgue?"

For general understanding, I work on board a WWII-era fleet submarine on display in, well, Anywhere U.S.A. You start your tour in the front, and walk back through the ship to the exit. The stairs you use to exit look exactly like the ones you use to enter, and the door at the top of the stairs sports a big red sign that says EXIT. I can't count the number of people who have walked up to me, pointed up the stairs, and asked, "Is that where we go out?" Or entered the last room, and turned right around, telling their children that they have to go back to the front to leave.

I've lost so much faith in humanity that it depresses me. Every once in a while, a child or even a parent will display some genuine interest or spark of intelect, but in 99% of the cases, they come, they see, and they leave without learning one damned thing about the remarkable men who served their country and won their freedom aboard our boat.

Enough bitching. Tak told me to watch South Park this evening, and so I shall.

15.11.02

"Dear Samurai,

I am the manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance
department
of our bank.Before i wrote you,i prayed to god to reveal to me an
honest and
reliable person whom i can work with to achieve this deal of my life.i
believe it is you."

The poor punctuation and capitalization, not to mention the fact that my real first name, obviously, is not Samurai, indicate that this message was written by a very stupid person who hoped another very stupid person would read it. I'd like to find the person responsible someday, so I can slap him upside his (or, I guess, her) thick skull. Perhaps that's a tad bit too much to ask of the universe at this point, though.

In an act of unapologetic consumption, I drove to the mall yesterday and bought "By The Way," the latest from a certain breed of Peppers. There's not much out-and-out Rock, which means that they've probably matured as a band or whatever, but there's enough there that I really dig. "Dosed" I think is the strongest song on the CD that I've found so far, but I have to listen to these things for weeks before I really get a feel for all the songs on their own.

So tired... ugh.

14.11.02

So I fall for a Dutch auction on eBay that's selling a trio of TiBooks, the 800 mhz model (this is before the new 1 ghz models were released). It's also a pre-sale, which means it could take anywhere up to 30 days for the thing to actually ship once you've won the auction. I got mine for roughly $2,500, which is not a bad deal at all. So, 30 days pass, and the seller is either unable or unwilling to tell me when my laptop will actually ship. 37 days pass, still no sign, and still no cooperation from the seller, despite the fact that I left a "good faith" Positive in his feedback profile (I've learned my lesson, thank you). So I ask for a refund.

It's now two weeks since then, 44 days since the moment I won the auction - which was paid in full immediately, BTW - and still no refund. I've half a mind to just cancel the payment, but then I won't be able to use that credit card to buy a new TiBook right off Apple's web site. Arg! sums it up. Reccommendations?

13.11.02

I logged onto the internet this evening with no clear idea of what I wanted to do while I was online. I needed no new files, hadn't any fresh e-mail to check, no pressing unread articles. It just seemed like the thing to do, as natural as, I don't know, grabbing a bag of pretzles. I have fallen deeply in love with Chimera, which so far outperforms every other browser I've ever had. Perhaps I just wanted to find an excuse to use it.

Scary.
A handful of things in the paper this morning grabbed my attention, most notably this news about how the Democrats continue to roll over on this Homeland Security deal. I quote from David Firestone and Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times: "The agreement gives the Bush administration a free hand to jettison civil service rules in promoting and firing workers in the new agency, and allows the president to exempt unionized workers from collective-bargaining agreements in the name of national security." Sweet Jeebus, what's this man really after? The only thing the Dems managed to get in there is a caveat that the collective bargaining exemption must be renewed every four years. Any Democrat worthy of being elected to the presidency would have to let that exemption slide right on into oblivion.

The second bit of political polemic comes from Bob Herbert, again of the NY Times: "Over the next couple of years as many as three (or more) Supreme Court vacancies could open... Bush has made it clear that he favors justices in the mode of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. With two more justices like that, progressive government would be caught in the devastating trap of a right-wing assault from all sides - the White House, the Congress and the courts, with the Treasury drained of all money for new initiatives." (Thanks to tax cuts).

Doesn't anyone else see what's going on? The most blatant, un-democratic power grab in recent memory, by a party with no ambitions but saving money by cutting taxes and programs, fighting a suicidally unpopular war, and removing the US from any international treaty which pretends to make life better for millions of poor people around the globe. As far as I'm concerned, Americans didn't vote for this agenda (not with a 32% turnout rate), the GOP just has the loudest voices.
Watched "Jackass" tonight with Tak, a not-so-hideous coworker buddy of mine. Without revealing too much, I can safely say that it is a movie about a bunch of remarkably stupid guys doing amusingly stupid things to each other. It speaks firmly to the three year-old in all of us, the one that still wants to make a cape from a bedsheet and leap off the roof to see if we can fly. Next film to feed the child with: "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." Next film to await with baited Gawd-I-Hope-It's-Good breath: "Shanghai Knights." Next film to rip into confetti with my bare hands: "Extreme Something Something," the one where some snowboarders foil some international terrorist plot to do something gruesome to someone.

12.11.02

I propose a new department within the government, a Department of Human Decency. The DHD would be responsible for distributing the new Common Sense License, which would be required for appearing, at any time and in any circumstance, in public. The CSL could be attained through passing a Common Sense Test, or by graduating from a 40 hour class. Either way, the requirements for setting foot in public areas would be:
1. A person must bathe at least once every 48 hours, using real soap and shampoo (unless they have no hair, in which case the shampoo requirement could be waved).
2. A person must brush their teeth and/or use mouthwash at least twice every 24 hours.
3. No man or woman will be allowed to use and then exit a public restroom without washing their hands with soap and hot water.
4. No man or woman will be allowed to abuse, verbally or physically, theirs or any other child.
5. In order to qualify for a CSL, one must provide documented proof that they participate in some form of voluntary or community recycling program, if such is available in their area of residence.
6. If any CSL holder is caught dropping litter on the ground, their license shall be immediately forfeit. If they drop it within clear view of a trash can, there shall be a $50 fine as well.
7. No man or woman will be allowed to use profanity (fuck, shit, bitch, hell, etc.) in the presence of any child 16 years of age or younger.
8. All holders of a CSL will be required to vote in state and national elections.

Common sense, as we are so fond of saying is no longer common but indecently rare. The number of people I deal with in my line of work that violate at least one of the above rules (and, on occasion, all of them within five minutes) is far too high, and it has become apparent that people no longer feel responsible for themselves. It might seem a bit extreme to try and legislate something like bathing, but until we get this down pat for a few generations, it's the only way to make sure everyone does it.

10.11.02

I've made several attempts at some sort of journal in the past, most recently with a small home made site that was broken up when Apple started charging for it's .Mac services. Time will tell if any of this will actually stick.

A journey through idiocy, indeed. It seems that no matter what sort of job or career one might carve out in this world for oneself, one will always, always, always have to deal with a depressingly large number of idiots. Whether you deal directly with the public, as I do, or only with a handful of co-workers and managers, idiots seem to be an all-pervasive force of nature, as constant as the tides.

I personally think that my head is rather large, but I suppose that sort of thing is entirely subjective.