Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Beyond a Grunt

"How's life treating you?" he asked me.

I paused and thought about it. This question came from someone who I actually respect. So, should I give him the usual answer of okay, or an actual answer? Okay seemed to be out, because that wouldn't have meant anything. An actual answer would have been too long for the greeting/small talk he offered. The pause seemed to long to me, so I opened my mouth.

"Good enough," I said, "that I shouldn't complain about it, but bad enough that I still want to complain."

He smiled, "That just means you always have something to talk about."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Where Goes The Happy?

I came to work today filled with leftover happy from yesterday.

Early in the day, SHTK and SMSN argued over what time the main clock should be set to. SHTK then came over to me to bitch about us having to stay three minutes longer this evening (like any of us are actually working during those first three minutes of the day) and got really pissed at me when I interrupted her to let her know that I thought SMSN was right and SHTK was wrong. She's been glaring at me ever since and sort of snarls when I make a joke.

Then TMSV was working on files that were returned from storage because they couldn't fit into the boxes and she was doing stupid things, things that will make my job harder when they get shipped out again. I asked her not to do those stupid things. I know I wasn't diplomatic about it because I was surprised, even though I shouldn't have been, that she'd be so stupid. She basically told me to go fuck myself; she'd do what she wanted to do. Later, when I went over to ask her a question related to a piece of work I had, she got all huffy, like I had no right to interrupt her while she's sorting through her pile of work.

And I was so damned happy when I got here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Grown Apart

People who need something from each other come together.

Eventually, something changes -- a job is found, a hobby is pursued, a move is made, a fight is had, a new person is discovered -- and that need isn't there anymore.

Some try to hold onto what they had. They visit when they can. They call and talk on the phone. They e-mail back and forth. They try to recapture what they once had.

In time, the visiting stops and there are less phone calls and less e-mails. The calls and letters that do happen become more terse. The conversations stay on the surface. Questions that attempt to delve are pushed aside with a joke, or are just ignored. Both do this, not to be cruel, but because they're not where they were and don't feel the connection they once did.

Then one doesn't return a phone call or answer an e-mail in a timely manner. The other waits, waits for a while before calling or writing again and the other hopes for an answer. When the answer comes, it's a sentence about being busy and a vague promise to write later.

The other waits again. After a time, the other quits waiting. Not out of spite, but because it's just not on the other's mind anymore. It's not as important as it used to be.

And the phone calls and the letters stop.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

2008: The Odyssey Ends

Arthur C. Clarke is dead.

I've only read a few things that he's written, but there are many authors that I like were inspired by the man, like the guy I'm reading today, Stephen Baxter.

The biggies of the golden age of sci-fi are almost all dead now. Bradbury's still about. Who else?

Writers like Clarke have an impact that lasts far beyond their death. I just hope that the fans of the future remember the past.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Many Days

Two years ago, I wrote this about what I was going to be doing with my life: "Live my life like I'm living it until I find a way, a thing, or a person to make me want to live it in a different way."

Two years.

Funny, how little things changed in that much time.

'Course, when I think of some others, I think about how much their lives has changed in those 738 days.

Friday, March 14, 2008


This year, because of the leap year, I don't have to use vacation time to not be at work on my birthday. Thank you, Leap Year.

This year, WingB and I are going to The Cartoon Art Museum. She doesn't know it yet, but later we'll be hopping onto MUNI and riding down to The Sunset for Thai food. It's totally worth it. All the stuff I've had around Market is too greasy, and I'd rather not do greasy if I don't have to.

If anyone else is around on that day, feel free to join us!
In other new, this is the third week without me writing a story. *sigh* Yeah I know what's supposed to happen next with the conversation. Part of me is lazy, a small part of me has been busy, and a large part of me just isn't read to put it down yet. Soon, hopefully. I know how many I've done and how many I wanted to have done by now. I want to catch-up, but I'm just not into right now. Soon.
Did you know that on years, like this one, when the 17th of March falls on or after Palm Sunday, St. Patrick's day falls on the Saturday before Palm Sunday?

It's true. It's supposed to help us stay true and stuff for the holy week before Easter. You know, no drunken parades and pissing in the street the week before we celebrate Jesus's rebirthday. Not that that'll stop the people of Boston, it's still an interesting thought.

Me? I'll be doing the corned beef and cabbage thing on Sunday, after I go shopping. This way the veggies won't get too soggy before I get at 'em.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Feel Like A Dick, Again

Kalinara of Pretty Fizzy Paradise fame decided the other day to start a flame war on her blog.

I read through the first set and thought it was pretty funny. So, I left one of my own, attacking one of the commenters (or should it be commentators here?). I felt like such a jerk after that.

This morning there were more, and two aimed directly at me! I thought it was even more funny having people insult me in the flame war. I left another comment trying to burn the two who went after me and then a general insult to the whole board. And I felt like an even bigger schmuck.

The main reason I think I feel like such an asshole is because, for a moment, it felt so damned good to say horrible things to decent people.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Low Man

Last week SMSN was out of the office. She's the person called "lead clerk." She's called this because the last time they made someone in her class the "supervisor" it blew up in their faces (Of course, it didn't get any better when that person was raised to the actual supervisor class, but I digress.) She came back on Monday. Each day since then, we clerks have received an e-mail from her telling us different ways that we have fucked up.

The first one was right on. One of our jobs is to make sure certain documents have been signed. If they're not signed, we get them signed. If we just send them on, they can't be processed. And since EVERYTHING that moves a file is on a deadline, the longer things like signatures go unnoticed, the more likely our office is going to be dinged. So, we all need to be more vigilant about the signatures. (The main problem with this complaint, though, is that out of the fifty or so files that were sent to her last week that SHE's processed, only one didn't have a signature. I think for the most part, we're pretty good about this one.)

In the second one she reminded us to put the date and our initials at the top right of the front page of every document that we process. The problem with this one is that when the documents get to her, the first page she sees isn't always the front page. If we send stuff to secretaries, they readjust it. As do the judges. So, if she doesn't go through everything, how does she know that we didn't initial it? I understand, though, that it's easier for her just to say we aren't doing something, rather than actually investigating.

Today's e-mail told us that we aren't putting lien paperwork in the right place in the files. Liens have their own special brad on the backer. They all go there. Someone (a secretary) brought a file to her attention where a lien was on the main brad, not the lien brad. Her e-mail told us to remind US not to put the liens on the first brad, but on the second. 'Course, she didn't remind the secretaries to do this too. And they put a lot more liens into files than we do, since most liens come in while the files are with the judges. It's our fault, though. It must be.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Buying Books

On Sunday, after going to a movie, I spent about two hours wandering around Barnes & Noble. For Christmas, I got a gift card and I still haven't used it.

It sat by my phone in its little holder thing for about a month. One day, I thought I'd use it, so I pulled it out and put it in my pocket. That day, I was distracted by something, who can remember such things, and ended up not going to the bookstore. When I got back to my apartment and emptied my pockets, I decided that the best way for me to spend the money on the card would be to put it in my wallet. So I did. And there it has sat.

On Saturday, I took a walk. North to no where in particular. I was sort of on a quest to find the house that appeared in Pollyanna; I didn't know exactly where it is, just a general location, which was fine since my main goal was to just get out and move. myPod in my pocket and headphones on, I headed out the door and walked. After a while, I'm not sure how long, I turned and walked east and when I got tired of that I headed south because I knew south would take me to familiar ground. I saw many houses that were probably built at the turn of the century (one of which may have been the Pollyanna house, but I haven't seen the movie in a long time, so I couldn't have recognized it), many more that were built in the fifties and sixties, and was glared at by many people just my general aimlessness as I moved. Eventually, I ended up on Fourth Street and followed it into the downtown area.

On my left was Barnes & Noble. I decided to head in. I started to wander, picking up a book to glance at here and straightening a shelf there, but felt very uncomfortable. Not anxious, exactly, but bad. My head started aching and many parts of my system were screaming for me to get out. I did. I hurried, but didn't run, out and crossed the street without worrying about which direction the traffic moved. Before I knew where I was going, I turned the corner onto the street where my apartment is.

Sunday, I woke up earlier than I wanted to. Sure, the clock show 8:30, but I knew, inside, that it was really 7:30. I puttered around my apartment, cleaned up some comics, showered, things I often lazily do on Sundays. At some point, hours later, I decided I wanted popcorn for breakfast, and the best way to get popcorn, even though I have stuff that can be zapped and one of those cool stove-top poppers, was to go see a movie. I called the theater and listened to the list of movies and choose one that I thought could be interesting and also started soonish so I wouldn't be too hungry when I got there.

The movie got out a little after two and I didn't want to go back to my apartment. I thought I'd try the bookstore again. At best, I thought I'd find a way to spend my gift cart. At worst, I'd end up like the day before and leave.

Artfully, I dodged the contingent of Girl Scouts and their militant parents standing outside, hocking their disks of sugar, and went inside.

First I perused the books on clearance. The Barnes & Noble here doesn't have much in the way of novels on clearance and what it does have tend to be things I don't really enjoy reading, like mystery and thriller books. There were some fantasy books in there, but they were by authors who are problematic for me, most notably among them is David Eddings. There was a Neal Stephenson book in there; it may have been a The Baroque Cycle book, but I didn't see those words on the cover. Plus, I though the Waterhouse family in Cryptonomicon was some of the most boring stuff in the book, so why buy a book that stars one of them from the 1700s interest me?

Then I wandered through the tables with books placed on top. Most of them were in the trade style and none of the tables were completely covered. There were some interesting covers, but the only things that really popped out to me were books that I'd already read.

From there I moved into general fiction. I wandered up and down the aisles with no purpose. I looked, read author names and titles of books, and picked a few up to read the description and check the price. Nearly all the books in that section are trade size. There were several that looked interesting. I weaved my way through the section and worked my way out.

Into the science fiction/fantasy section I plunged. I started with authors I like to see what they have in paperback that I haven't read. Then I tried to find books that I'm missing and want. Then I just looked.

Next I wandered over to the humor section. There, I found The Complete Far Side and The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. Each set is $150. They sure looked beautiful, though. There were also several The Complete Peanuts books, but not the third and I don't want to go out of sequence. Silly as that may seem.

I looked at the new stuff and best sellers and crosswords and audio books. I imagined myself as a mighty chef as I leafed through the cook books. And I wondered why I shouldn't spend the money on a really nice, leather bound journal that I'd probably never write in.

Eventually, I found my way back to the fiction section and started thinking about what I should buy. Should I buy a couple of the fiction trade books at $12 or $13 a pop? That'd spend the card and I had some cash that would have covered the tax. How about some pocket sized sci-fi? That'd be three book. Or maybe use it to take a small chunk out of a big purchase? I could do that.

But if I do one of the first two, or mix the genres, what do I buy? Do I buy things by authors I know I like by haven't read? Do I buy things by someone I haven't read before, but think may be interesting? How do I narrow it down to just a few? And will I have time to read them?

I left the store. My hands were as empty as when I came in.

That was when I realized how slow of a read I've turned into recently. I used to finish a book a week, at least. Usually two or more. Now, I struggle to finish one in a week and a half. The one I'm reading now I've been on for two weeks already. I'll be finished in a day, but a 675 page novel in two weeks is way longer than it used to take me. I think it's because I don't have a comfortable place to read.

The choices in my apartment are: my bed, the wooden chair I use at my computer, a horribly uncomfortable futon, and the floor. When I was last at my parents' house, I spent most of one day reading. (Exciting, I know.) I moved from couch to chair and back. I sat up. I slouched. I rolled onto my back and then my side, sometimes propped up by the arm rest, some times not. That day, I finished one book and got around 200 pages into another.

It was a good day for reading.

I'd like more of those.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Daylight Savings

One of the most common complaints I've heard today, among coworkers, about the time change this weekend is that people are now waking up when it's still dark outside.

I don't get it. Why is waking up before the sun rises a bad thing?

We do it for months anyway, why does it matter?

It's not the lack of light that makes you more tired the mornings after time change, but is that what they're thinking?

I just don't understand.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Interview, Questions by Johnny Logic

1. Whatever happened to your comic book collaboration with Michelle? Have you ever considered collaborating with Matt on a comic?

The comic collaboration was supposed to be with Michelle, Matt, and Mario. (I never realized that they're all "M" names until just now. Jeez.) The book was going to be about three interconnecting stories for at least six issues, two drawn by each artist and each artist's story focused on one character. My job was to plot each book with a page, or less, of text and then I'd work with the artist to do the dialogue when we got to that point. Two and a half years ago, Matt, Michelle, and I got together and hammered out the basic characters and the world they lived in. About two years ago Matt, Michelle, and I met and talked about the three artists' sketches of the characters and I'd written sort of detailed plots for the first three issues so they'd be able to work on a comic and when we met next, we could see what'd been done. About eighteen months ago we all met and only Michelle had actual pages penciled and had thumbnails plotting all the pages of her issue, Matt had some more sketches and a couple of thumbnails, and Mario had a few more sketches; at that time I gave them all my basic plots for the next three issues and some reference material for drawing. That Thanksgiving, Mario, Michelle, and I got together and talked about the business end and I learned that neither one of them had done anything extra. (Mario had just had his kid and Michelle figured she could slow down because the other two had done squat.) Since then, Matt has sort of quit; Mario occasionally calls or e-mails, but still hasn't worked on anything; and Michelle and I have sort of talked about just the two of us trying to do six issues for the character that was going to be her focus.

That's pretty much where we are. Michelle has some pages and thumbnails. I have print outs of all the sketches that had been e-mailed between us. I still have my notes and plots. And I don't think anything is going to be done.

Michelle's working of getting her architecture license, or something like that, so that's what she needs to focus on. Matt is being Matt and sometimes other things. And Mario's probably being a family man supporting his wife and son.

Me? I'd love to see this thing happen, but I can't draw a bean, so I can't do this on my own.

2. I know that you have written fan fiction—is there any chance of us seeing it? What was the plot?
Other than the fan fiction story based on Queenie's Punks stories, I haven't really written any fan fiction. I've read way more than I'd like to admit to. (And for the record, I prefer the hetero slash stuff, if the regular slash gets too into the squishy details, I just don't find myself reading it, I skim. Actually, I like the stuff that does the sort off "boots scene" love stuff better than any slash. I'm there to read a story about characters I like, if I want sex scene after sex scene there are other websites that have much better written jerk material.) If I ever said that I've written fan fiction, I was lying. I really haven't.

I wrote the beginnings of a Star Trek: Voyager spec script a long time ago. I think I got the teaser and the first act or two and then plotted the rest. I know it's posted here, but I don't want to look it up right now. That script I started writing to send to Paramount, but I didn't finish it and the show ended and then I never finished it, but often wished I had.

I also plotted script for how I would have started the sixth season of Gilmore Girls and wrote the teaser out and, I think, a few lines from the first act, but nothing more.

And that's all the fan fiction I've written. In a notebook there are some ideas for stories based on the Harry Potter stuff, but taking place in the USA wondering what sort of an impact Voldemort had across the Atlantic and how the wizards of the US are different from the British wizards. I have an idea that'd take place in the Marvel Universe about a young woman who doesn't want to register with the government and how she tries to hide herself. And then there are the obligatory Star Trek stories that rattle around in my brain.

Will you get to read any of them? I doubt it. Since they're not written and who knows if they ever actually will. If they are, though, they'll probably be posted as a Fiction Friday.

3. As an eighteen year old, what did you imagine yourself and your friends doing ten years from then? Does this question depress you as much as it does me?
When I was eighteen years old, I didn't imagine myself ten years down the line. I knew what I was going to school to learn, but I never pictured myself actually working. Even when I figured out that engineering wasn't the path for me, I still didn't really have a picture of myself in the future. Well, I sort of did: I was older, balder, and fatter, but nothing else. There were the occasional flashes of fame and fortune and hot, sweaty love, but I knew those were only dreams.

Friends, though, I thought I had some idea for a few of them. You, I was sure, would have your PhD and be teaching at a university slowly becoming cynical about the laziness and listlessness of your students and wishing that you could just focus on your research. Many, I thought would go on to much more creative endeavors than they did. One turned out exactly as I feared. And then there are those who I don't know how they turned out, but wish I did.

Sometimes it saddens me that my friends aren't necessarily as successful as I wish they were, but maybe they will be one day.

4. I love getting recommendations from you, so what are your top ten television series?
(First, thanks. I sometimes think that people ignore things I recommend until someone else says they're good or I physically force the DVDs or books on them. That tires me.)

This is an impossible question for me to answer, in the way it's stated.

I don't like doing top ten lists; that's so limiting and, I think, sort of demeaning to the people reading them, as if they can't figure out that if I list my favorite things they have to know which I like better than the other so they can find the BEST. It's especially hard when things may be similar in form, but so different in content. I don't think that's right.

Another reason is because me just rattling off my favorite shows will be full of many tried and true shows that nearly everyone likes. How many more lists do we need that have I Love Lucy and All in the Family on them? Sure, those shows are probably the two most brilliant and influential and funny sit-coms ever, but should I go on about them here? I don't know. Yeah, they're two of my favorite shows, but it seems like they'd end up on a lot of top ten lists. Or what about my love of Star Trek, even the crappy ones, or Buffy, or the new Battlestar Galactica, do I need to expound upon those? Or even the drastically under-watched Freaks and Geeks or Firefly or My So Called Life that everyone now seems to have watched? I don't think that would be worth anyone's time unless I go well into the details of why I like them.

So, what I'm going to do is list some shows from the more recent past that I can't get enough of and rank them in three categories: Shows That Weren't Watched, Shows That Didn't Find An Audience, and Shows that Made It.

Shows That Weren't Watched:
It was, sort of, about two girls, one blonde cheerleader and the other brunette geek goddess, who were forced to live together. What it really was was a scathing satire of the teen dramas that were once all over TV. The first season, it started out seeming like a normal teen soap, but its satire quickly moved into the scripts building to the season finale that had all the finale clichés you've ever seen. It's still one of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV. The second season wasn't so good. It seems like the network decided it didn't was the comedy as much as the overwrought melodrama that's found in most teen soaps. Still, I like this show a lot and think more people would enjoy it, especially the first season, if they tried it out, too.

Grosse Pointe.
Like Popular, it's a satire of the teen drama genre, but it's a behind-the-scenes sit-com of a teen soap rather than pretending to be one. The premise basically is that the way things are among the cast and crew behind-the-scene is more like high school than the high school drama these people are working on. I also like seeing the difference between the characters on the show and the actors who are playing the character, which makes me want to know what the actors playing the actors are like in real life.

I don't get what's wrong with the world that this show only aired four episodes. You bastards out there have to get with it. What's wrong with people?!... That's enough of that.

Shows That Didn't Find An Audience
Arrested Development.
I have to admit that for as much as I watch them and try, I don't understand people. People say they want something new and different, but when it comes, they don't go with it. Or maybe people were uncomfortable with the way that this show took the family sit-com type and decided to build it around a family of narcissists who were much more concerned with money than with each other, even though they kept on saying, "Family first." Me, I thought this show was brilliant. From the narrator to the odd bits of self awareness to the quirky characters to the running gags, there isn't an episode that doesn't make me laugh.

I don't think I've ever watched a show that had more heart than Everwood. Sure, some times it sank into the depths of angst, but most of the time it carefully balanced itself between the sweet and sour that shows can fall into. It was the story about a distant father moving his kids to a small town after their mother died. It was about a family trying to become a family. It was about the adults as much as it was about the kids. The producers actually came up with true reasons that brilliant kids wouldn't go to top schools. They weren't afraid to let the emotions be honest. And while I think that the series finale was too pat for such a rich and complex show, it was nice that they had the opportunity to end it rather than leave it hanging. The worst thing about this show is that only the first season's on DVD. When can I get the other three? Hell, if all of Roswell can be put out, this show deserves it. Oh, and even though it had four seasons I say it didn't find an audience because after it's second year, it was always on the bubble as to whether or not it would come back the next year because it's audience, although loyal, was on the smallish side, even for the WB.

Veronica Mars.
The first season was as close to perfect as I've ever seen. There is not a crappy episode in the bunch. The second season was less focused, but it had enough really good episodes to more than balance out the not so good ones. I still haven't seen the third season, but I'm sure it's good. I like me some spunky, modern Nancy Drew, which is who Veronica Mars was. And the supporting cast was so strong that I thought if they ever wanted to do an episode where Veronica was missing, they could have pulled it off. Not that I'd have wanted that to happen.

Shows That Made It
Gilmore Girls.
Fast paced, sharp dialogue was the reason I started watching this show. Well, the dialogue and Lauren Graham, who delivered so much of the dialogue. Back when the show started there were rumors that Aaron Sorkin was really the creator because the words popped like they did on The West Wing. He didn't, though, but it's a nice comparison for the show about a mother and daughter who were as much friends as they were anything else. All fans will agree that there were five excellent season of this show. Many will say that it went way off track during the sixth, I wouldn't, though. I saw that sixth as taking a deeper look at the relationship between mother and daughter and how similar they are. Most would say they lost their spunk. I'd say the spunk was always a cover and the other fans didn't pay attention to what the characters were really like. Most would tell me, politely, to fuck myself. I didn't see the seventh season, but I know how it started, and it didn't start happily. Still, the first six are some of the best hours TV has produced.

King of the Hill.
While The Simpsons and Family Guy started out at a slower pace, they quickly became more and more frantic until it got to the point that the beginning of the episodes didn't have anything to do with the end. King of the Hill has, to me, always seemed proud how it could take its time to tell a story. I like the pacing. I like the confused relationship that Hank and Bobby have. I like Dale's love for his son who isn't really his son. I like Bill's insecurity. I like Peggy's over confidence. It's one of the few cartoons out there that seems more character driven than plot driven because the characters are so well realized. All in a quiet town in Texas.

South Park.
Often crude, sometimes mean, but always funny. I don't really know what else to say about this show. I like it. The animation's pretty awful, but that's the point. The kids are sometimes way to smart to be kids, but I can get over that. It has scenes that are amazing, like Cartman riding an ostrich in the future surrounded by otters riding their own ostriches. It's willing to call bullshit on religion, the best example was when the boys started a church to save the souls of the kids and Cartman stared asking for money so he could get $10,000,000. Cartman is one of the most brilliant evil little bastards ever.

Some may have a problem with me labeling this show that it "made it," because it was cut off after a cliffhanger, but it had four seasons and a miniseries to tie everything up. Sure, the miniseries felt like it was 13 episodes worth of plot in four hours, but how's that any different than Serenity? Anyway, this is a show that I really like because of the insane science fiction, like the worms that brush your teeth, and it's willingness to make pop culture jokes. How often does the hero on a spaceship get to make a crack about Star Wars? Not often enough, in my opinion. Then there are the wonderful special effects, I'm still always impressed with the starburst effect, beautiful. Oh, and Muppets. There are Muppets. Sure, Rigel looks like a puppet, most of the time, but practical puppets are so much better for the actor to act with. The other major puppet star, Pilot, hardly looks like one; he's brilliant. And the alien make-up, by the Henson Company, is outstanding. Only Michael Westmore comes close to them, but he rarely has the mandate to use prosthetics with gears and motors.

5. What are your favorite nonfiction books?
Well, I don't really read nonfiction. Ever. I have some books on myths, but are those considered nonfiction? I don't think they are.

I've read some memoirs and biographies, but not many and I was rarely satisfied when I finished them. Do those count? If they do, then I'll choose Dancing Barefoot, by Wil Wheaton. It only has four stories and it only has a hundred and some odd pages, but I liked it a lot.

Nonfiction doesn't often tell stories. People may use them to make arguments, but no matter how good the writing is the books always seem to be broken into points. They read like: Here's what I think; Here are a bunch of chapters that support what I think and hopefully help you to think what I think; Here's why those things should have made you think the way I thought. I fought against that form of writing in college and I'm not a fan of reading it.

I bet, though, that if I picked up a book of essays that analyzed a TV show I liked, I could get into it. Like something about feminism and Buffy or the metaphysics of Star Trek. I'd rather buy a novel, though.

6. Are you an agnostic? If so, are you an agnostic about Zeus and the Easter bunny as well? Why, or why not?
I'd consider myself an agnostic, yes. No so much because I want to save my ass in the end, but because I'd really like to be able to believe that there was real magic in the universe. Sure, science does and shows some amazing things, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to think things into existence?

While I try not to limit my agnosticism to the Judeo-Christian-Muslim singular God, I am not an agnostic toward the Easter Bunny. If there are fuzzy creatures like the platypus and the echidna out there that can lay eggs, why not something that looks like a rabbit? Really, though, my agnosticism, toward beings, has to do with gods and such. Beings that are supposed to be omnipotent and omnipresent. Higher than us. And, in fact, looking at how messed up and chaotic our world can be, I think the idea of a pantheon of petty, asshole gods, like the Greek or Egyptian or Norse gods were, interfering with people makes more sense than one God doing it to us. I think I could only really believe in the one God theory if I took It as the clockwork type, who built the universe and let it go while It went off to do something else and occasionally comes back to see what's going on, but doesn't really care about it.

7. You have seemed pretty jaded this political cycle. Is there anything that would make you give a monkey's tit about it? What would your ideal presidential candidate look like?
I've been pretty jaded about the last several political cycles. I just don't have the idealism that I once had about our process. It really started at the 2000 election. It wasn't because Bush got the presidency because the Supreme Court decided to over rule Florida law and stop the recounts. No, my problem was how all sorts of people suddenly started to think they were politically aware.

I was in a basic writing class in college and we had to write an essay that explained something, anything. Over half the class wanted to write essays explaining how the Electoral College worked. Why did they want to use that as a topic? Because they were shocked that the President of the USA wasn't actually voted into office by the popular vote. These were students at a university, ranging from first to fourth year students, who had just learned about the Electoral College! The first time I remember hearing about the Electoral College was in fifth grade. I didn't understand how it worked until my civics class in eighth grade, but I definitely knew how the popular vote was turned into electoral votes which actually elected the president by the end of that school year. And it clicked, these people are the reason that morons and criminals get elected all the time and if most of the electorate is that dumb, how could I be surprised anymore?

The recall election here in California was the next thing that pushed me deeper into my pit of political cynicism. Recalls are to boot people who commit crimes out of office. It was not a crime to let failing business fail and die and therefore have less tax money. Yes, the deficit was large, but that's not a crime. I don't care who anyone voted for on that ballot to replace the governor, I care that more than 60% of the people voted to recall an elected official who just happened to be the man in charge during an economic slump. Even if there was a recall on the governator for the $15 billion dollar deficit, which I believe was the number that we had back then, the state's running now, I'd vote no, because he didn't commit any crime but being stupid, and that's not a good enough crime.

I guess the only way I'd really care is if I thought the average person voted based on more than sound bites, more than a smile, more than a slogan, and more than because the other choice is worse. I'd like to know that the average voter would read the slogan "Change We Can Believe In" and wonder how wanting to build more fences and increase patrols along the border is a change that we should believe in. I'd like to know that the average voter would ask if all the oil company contributions have something to do with why she's been such a staunch supporter of the war. I'd like the average voter to get "The Straight Talk Express" to actually talk straight and explain why a man who pushed for campaign finance reform no longer wants matching funds so his campaign doesn't have to deal with the restrictions he helped to create.

None of that's going to happen, is it?

As for my ideal presidential candidate... well, my candidate would have to be absolutely candid with the people. My candidate would be willing to admit that taxes are necessary to the nation we have. My candidate would forcefully speak out against the military spending. My candidate would be realistic about the bullshit war on terror and admit that there's no good way to deal with the shit this administration got us into. My candidate would say that the best way to stop illegal immigration is to help build up the economies of the Central and South American nations rather than keep then under the heel of the US. My candidate would admit that the only way to save Social Security is to make it so that all Social Security funds are only used for Social Security and not a place for the Representatives and Senators to dip into when ever they want to build bridges to nowhere. My candidate would want to rebuild the USA's reputation in the world and use that to bring about a more peaceful world. My ideal candidate would never be able to be a candidate. He or she probably wouldn't get enough money to even enter one primary.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sad News, Everybody

Gary Gygax died this morning.

I thank him, and his co-creator, for the hours and hours of fun I've had with my friends over the years. And even though I'm not playing, I think I'll roll some dice in his honor tonight to say good-bye.

Monday, March 03, 2008

F*cking Who?

Okay, I have to preface this by telling you that I would never endorse anything that has anything to do with Jimmy Kimmel unless it's really funny. That said, I offer up:

I'm F*cking Matt Damon
I'm F*cking Ben Affleck

I hope that one day I can buy the songs for myPod.