Saturday, December 18, 2004

quote of the day (test)

William Sherman

William "Tecumseh" Sherman should be well known to all Civil War history buffs. Moreover he should be well known to all Americans for his quotations. He was a clever wordsmith yet always said exactly what he felt. I'm going to use this blog to highlight some of his words.

I make up my opinions from facts and reasoning, and not to suit any body but myself. If people don't like my opinions, it makes little difference as I don't solicit their opinions or votes.

If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast. (My personal favorite here.)

If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.

It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.

The carping and bickering of political factions in the nation's capital reminds me of two pelicans quarreling over a dead fish. (Even then it seems.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Something very apropos

"What I would like to do is use the time that is coming now to talk about some things that have come in mind. We're ini such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it's all gone. Now that we do have some time, and know it, I would like to use the time to talk in some depth about things that seem important...

...Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks...."

-Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig 1974

How's that for a pertinent observation? In 1974 our modern era was moving quite a bit faster than it had been. In fact in 1974 our modern era was beginning to move and since then it has increased it's speed in a geometric fashion. In 1974 our communication was limited to telephone, mailed letters, books, and of course conversation. We had time for sunday drives, walks through the park. Children didn't have play-dates. You didn't send an "E-mail card" for someone's birthday. People didn't have "Instant Message" friends, computer databases, the world wide web, or PDA's. There weren't CD's, MP3s, MPGs.

Thank you Robert Pirsig.

Friday, December 10, 2004

An interesting development...

An interesting development in the process of freedom has been made known to me. As I suspected the price of "freedom" is beginning to grow. A newly passed bill will allow the "nationalization" of ID cards. Think this is good? Wrong. It will divert countless resources towards the tracking of supposedly "free" Americans. Thank you Mr. Bush! I hear that next year we begin building walls that seperate us from Mexico and Canada. Report immediately following.

Congressman Ron Paul Denounces New National ID BillThe U.S. House and Senate have passed a sweeping new intelligence bill that contains provisions for a de facto national ID card. Congress passed the bill despite having only a few hours to read the 3,000-plus pages final version.During the House debate, libertarian U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) rose to the floor to denounce the bill, particularly the national ID provisions.“National ID cards are not proper in a free society,” Paul declared. “This is America, not Soviet Russia. The federal government should never be allowed to demand papers from American citizens, and it certainly has no constitutional authority to do so.“A national identification card, in whatever form it may take, will allow the federal government to inappropriately monitor the movements and transactions of every American,” Paul continued. “History shows that governments inevitably use such power in harmful ways. The 9-11 commission, whose recommendations underlie this bill, has called for *internal* screening points where identification will be demanded. Domestic travel restrictions are the hallmark of authoritarian states, not free nations. It is just a matter of time until those who refuse to carry the new licenses will be denied the ability to drive or board an airplane.“Nationalizing standards for drivers licenses and birth certificates, and linking them together via a national database, creates a national ID system pure and simple. Proponents of the national ID understand that the public remains wary of the scheme, so they attempt to claim they’re merely creating new standards for existing state IDs. Nonsense! This legislation imposes federal standards in a federal bill, and it creates a federalized ID regardless of whether the ID itself is still stamped with the name of your state.“Those who are willing to allow the government to establish a Soviet-style internal passport system because they think it will make us safer are terribly mistaken,” Paul concluded. “Subjecting every citizen to surveillance and screening points actually will make us less safe, not in the least because it will divert resources away from tracking and apprehending terrorists and deploy them against innocent Americans! Every conservative who believes in constitutional restraints on government should reject the authoritarian national ID card and the nonsensical intelligence bill itself.”Unfortunately, Republicans and Democrats alike failed to heed Paul’s warning. The bill was passed by the House 336-75 with 67 of the dissenters Republicans defying strong pressure from President Bush. The bill then passed the Senate 89-2. It could be signed by the president by week's end.Interestingly, just one day before the U.S. House vote, the British government also announced plans to introduce biometric national ID card starting in 2008. According to Prime Minister Tony Blair: "With terrorism, illegal immigration and organized crime operating with so much greater sophistication, identity cards in my judgment are long overdue."Opponents say the battle against a national ID, and the fast-growing national security state that supports such tyranny, will continue.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The SUV conundrum

Why do people drive SUVs when a car might suffice? Is it possibly due to the fact that affordable midsize and compact cars no longer have frames? I would think that is a distinct possibility. Frames make a vehicle a bit stronger but they also add mass to a vehicle. A vehicle with less mass gets better mileage and costs less to manufacture. SUVs are, for the most part, built or based upon truck chassis which have a higher mass, are more rugged and of course with the larger mass are inherently safer to drive. Yes they use more fuel, but what are you going to sacrifice more willingly: the safety of your family or fuel economy?

Also most of the SUVs these days are built with ride quality in mind, not off-roading capabilities. So these vehicles ride more smoothly due to the engineering and the longer wheelbase. They may be a bit more cumbersome but they are more pleasant to drive.

Yet another reason is that Americans like to spread out; simply put they like their space.

Maybe this will answer the question of the SUV.

Monday, November 22, 2004

nuclear, biological and CHEMICAL weapons of mass destruction

There are those that say "there never were any 'WMD's' in Iraq." There are those who say that there was never any proof that they even existed. I decided to do a really quick search to see what google could come up with for it's first 10 hits. Check out these sites: (an entire page dedicated to those who were slaughtered at Halabja)

And this from our esteemed government:

I want to quote a bit from that page as I find it particularly expositional concerning the Baath Party regime led by one Sadaam Hussein.


Halabja was neither an aberration nor a desperate act of a regime caught in a grinding, stalemated war. Instead, it was one event in a deliberate, large-scale campaign called Al-Anfal to kill and displace the predominately Kurdish inhabitants of northern Iraq. In an exhaustive study published in 1994, Human Rights Watch concluded that the 1988 Anfal campaign amounted to an extermination campaign against the Kurds of Iraq, resulting in the deaths of at least 50,000 and perhaps as many as 100,000 persons, many of them women and children.

Baghdad launched about 40 gas attacks against Iraqi Kurdish targets in 1987-88, with thousands killed. But many also perished through the regime's traditional methods: nighttime raids by troops who abducted men and boys who were later executed and dumped in mass graves. Other family members — women, children, the elderly — were arrested for arbitrary periods under conditions of extreme hardship, or forcibly removed from their homes and sent to barren resettlement camps. As Human Rights Watch details, Iraqi forces demolished entire villages — houses, schools, shops, mosques, farms, power stations — everything to ensure the destruction of entire communities.

I just think that it's important to have an historical basis before one says "there never were any WMD's." It's also important to have a perspective upon a regime that set about the systematical destruction and genocide of an entire race for no other real reason than that race's very existence and proximal location. The last few times there were such attempts at genocide we sat aside and watched; The European Jews, The Ukrainians under Stalin, The Cambodian People under Pol Pot. The saddest part of this latest genocide is that we didn't even pay attention.

If given free reign would Sadaam have used his chemical weapons, if there were any remaining, again? The answer is probably yes. Sadly, until 9/11 happened most of the citizens of the USA didn't really care what happened in the Persian Gulf/Middle East area.

So where do we go from here? Our troops are mired in a war which is being waged by politicians, we've forgiven Iraq it's outstanding loans, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

We, the American peoples, must realize that the democratic republic that we cherish is not the best form of government for everyone in the world. But we must also stand up to those countries that would threaten other countries for the sake of their own gain. And we must support the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are fighting whether we agree with or disagree with the "why" that has caused them to be there.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


I've been thinking about some stuff that has happened in my life, and in doing so I realized that I have probably hurt many more people in my life than I have helped. I know that the chances of them seeing this entry are quite small but I feel the need to apologize to them all. I'm sorry for all the wrongs that I have done, I am sorry to have hurt you. I am sorry. I cannot promise that I will not commit any new wrongs. But I will try not to commit any more than I already have. I can only hope that you will see that the past years of my life, while successful, haven't been that enjoyable. Again I am sorry.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


A friend of mine suggested that I add this to my blog. I've done so even though this blog is generally not a political site, nor a site for bashing anyone. I had to think about it for a short while due to the fact that I don't know in what context to present it. In the pretense of context I will offer this: This is from a message board in which I occasionally participate, it is a response to a person that I respect despite the fact that he holds opinions which are the polar opposite of my own.I have my opinions, you have yours; both are valid. Here it is:

I do not doubt that soldiers and others told Kerry of horrible things that had happened in Vietnam. I do not doubt that horrible things occurred in Vietnam. I do not doubt that Kerry felt quite badly about those things, nor that he felt compelled to do something about it.

I think it was best said by General Sherman (not too sure but you seem to be a quite capable "fact" checker) when he said "War is Hell." Do you think, or more appropriately did Kerry think that the things that happened in Vietnam were first times that they had ever occurred? Ask any veteran of the "Island Hopping Campaign" of WWII how things were on Bougainville. Ask a survivor of Iwo Jima. Ask one of the few that survived Guadacanal. Do it soon because they're dying at an alarming rate. Ask them what they saw. Ask them if they knew some of their fellow soldiers had necklaces made of ears. Ask them if they knew anyone collecting skulls of their enemies. Ask them if they knew anyone that participated in rape. Ask a survivor of almost any war.

War sucks. War creates criminals. War time situations are deplorable and loathsome. The only thing you can rely on in a war situation is your fellow warrior. John Kerry was a fellow warrior. And instead of keeping the faith with others he broke that faith. Whether compelled by a few shocked conscripts, a few disgusted officers or the "make love not war" crowd, he broke that faith. If you don't feel that way, go to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and ask a few of the guys that work at the wall how they felt when they came home after the war, and were greeted not with "welcome back" signs, but with banners proclaiming them to be "baby killers." They weren't welcomed home with hugs and well wishes, but instead were spat upon. John Kerry was a poster child for the "free love" and "Hippie" movement. He broke the faith and turned upon his fellow soldiers, sailors and Marines.

Kerry destroyed his fellow warriors credibility when he lied about his experiences in Vietnam. He threw away their comradery and respect when he tossed his medals aside. He spat upon them when he testified about war crimes being the rule rather than the exception. He disrespected them when he united with "Hanoi Jane Fonda." And he disowned them when he met with Viet Cong leaders in Paris.

So talk to me about your "facts" and you'll read them one way and swear it's the correct interpretation and I'll read them my way and swear it's correct. But don't ever think for one minute that Kerry didn't break the faith of the men with whom he served. Because there, you'd be dead fucking wrong.

Comments are encouraged and will not be deleted unless they contain profanity or vulgarity.

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Martin Niemoller:
“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

I think that this quote is quite powerful and quite an example of the naivete of humanity in general. It ranks up there with Orwell's "All pigs are equal, but some pigs are more equal than others."

I guess that there are times when we need to speak up for other's rights because the consquences of not doing so outweigh the possible benefits of doing.

Friday, October 29, 2004

For What is this I see before me?

I have been sick the last few days. I went to work on Wednesday and stayed only until 9am to take care of whatever critical issues that might creep upon the body shop. I went home and slept on and off all day. The next day I felt no better so I called in sick. Again I was in bed most of the day.

This sickness hits me every other year or so it seems. I lose what little voice I have for two days, my chest tightens like a vise and my head and body ache as if to make living an agony of torment. My nasal sinuses slowly fill with pressure and make me feel like my head will soon explode. I can think of no better activity than sleep, blissful sleep, to consume this pain. Yet sleep is precious and does not come easily.

The medicines available for coughs and colds and influenzas have gravitated towards one major trend: they all want you to remain awake! I search and search through the various over the counter medications and find the one or two night-time medicines. These medicines are not only hard to find but they are not clearly marked.

I've no idea why this seems to be the case, but it does. And when I'm sick I want to sleep! Who are these people that want to be alert and still go to work spreading virii and bacteria to the people closest to them? Who are the ones that want to pay their bills with money that is literally crawling with infection? I say fight back, call in sick once in a while when you are sick. Let's have a real "sick-out" people. If you are contagious: stay home! Damn you all! This is probably why I got sick. Stupid people going to work and breathing illness, spreading your disease through a friendly handshake, a pat on the back, expelling spores laden with death. What will it take for people to learn this? Will it take a pandemic of incredible proportions?

Sadly, I think so.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

What is intimacy?

Certainly this is not a typical post, yet it is. All of the feelings and observations that I share here are of an intimate nature. My random musings and lackluster epistles provide emphasis upon the very "who" that I am. So in a way this blog is quite intimate and personal.

But what is intimacy in particular? I know that we in America have decided that an "intimate moment" is a moment having to do with sex. But is sex all there is to intimacy? I should think not. There have been many times in which I have had sex but not shared intimacy with my partner. True intimacy is a deeper feeling of nakedness than just nudity can provide. True intimacy is a feeling of utter helplessness and exposure, yet a security in that openness that transends description.

I have shared moments of intimacy that did not include sexual activities with friends both male and female. These intimate moments where judgements were not made, are some of the most precious times in my life. I can remember them from afar and sense the feelings of abandoning all pretenses and still feel safe. If those moments were true intimate moments, I can see how a couple could stay married for decades and never lose the love for each other that they had at the beginning of the marriage.

Perhaps I should say that intimacy is a truthfulness, a joining of sorts in which two individuals can be recklessly honest and so together emotionally that the rest of the world truly does not matter.

I am open to any and all comments on the subject.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

another day another something something...

I have discovered that I have just what it takes to annoy and then piss off anyone with whom I'm attempting amicable relations. I can insult people without even trying. That's yet another of my talents which deserve cataloging. No story. Just a revelation.

another day another something something...

I have discovered that I have just what it takes to annoy and then piss off anyone with whom I'm attempting amicable relations. I can insult people without even trying. That's yet another of my talents which deserve cataloging.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The cough syrup inquiry

As most people know, I have not partaken or indulged in any intoxicants since the year 1993. This was a monumental decision for me as I have a strong addiction to alcohol. I've been told that in my Irish-American heritage it is actually referred to as "the sickness." Anyhow, I stopped cold-turkey and have never looked back. I don't casually drink either, as somehow I feel that my participation in social drinking would lead me back to a full-blown 12 pack a night habit. So with exception to prescribed pharmaceuticals, I have been intoxicant free for 11 years and some months...but there was that one night in college....

To set the stage appropriately I must provide a bit of background: I was taking a general anatomy course and studying between two and four hours a night on that course alone. I was cross referencing the illustrations to the reading material and back again to the lab sheets. At this point in my studies we were learning the circulatory system, the names and locations of blood vessels and such. . .

There is a drinking game called "asshole" and though I do not remember how the dynamics of the game proceed, I do recall that it is usually played with alcoholic beverages. And that there is someone, the president I think, that is in charge of saying to the rest of the players "drink, asshole!" Alas I played this game one night after having visited the local infirmary for a semi-serious cough. Seeing as I had no desire to drink alcohol, and still wanted to join in, I allowed myself to be convinced to drink cough syrup. The first bottle (only 8 ounces, thankfully) went down in about 45 minutes. I couldn't really feel the effects after just one bottle, though my throat did feel quite soothed and my mouth had that lingering sweet syrupy feel to it.

After another round of "asshole" the second bottle was drained and I was quite hyper, feeling energetic and just a tiny bit disoriented and dizzy. The third bottle was about halfway drained before I decided "to hell with it, I'm finishing this thing even if the game is over." I drink it down as if it was the sweetest elixir known to man.

My head began to swim, my pulse raced, I coulc barely stand still as the active ingredients had their way with me. After another hour or so of hanging out with my friends I decided to return to my dorm room. My roommate immediately knew I was a bit intoxicated and kept pressing me for answers as to what I had been drinking or smoking. I told him "I'm not drunk, I'm medicated..." and I continued my stumbling, rambling ways for about 45 minutes. So as I lay down to attempt sleep my head was spinning, as was the room. I dropped off to a very troubled sleep...

I vividly remember my dream that night, though it might better be classified as an hallucination. I was walking through a cavernous artery peering closely at the structure of the arterial wall, noticing where the smaller arteries branched off, the capillaries and such. From around the darkened corner I felt a vibration, as if an army was marching towards me. I also heard a song, the theme from the cartoon "Mighty Mouse." "Here I come to save the day!." My confusion broke long enough for me to see a formation of elongated white blood cells swaying from right to left, "marching" past me.

A phone call aroused me from my hallucination at about 7am, I proceeded to the dining hall and related the entire episode to my friend as I played with my food while he ate.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Today is...

Today is a brand new day and I'm at a brand new position within my department. I had and have told myself that my positive attitude will prevent any negativity from darkening my mind's proverbial shores. So far that approach has worked fairly well, though I am quite exhausted by the sheer effort that it has required. Although this exhaustion could also be due to the fact that my second cup of coffee never materialized this morning. I went to the communal coffee urn and it was quite bone dry. It may just be me, but a second cup of coffee seems to hit the right spot and enable me to carry out my duties with nary a terse word. Perhaps it's just a luxury that I might do well without. Caffiene certainly can be an addictive force in one's life, I am discovering.

So now instead of being the one that is called with parts orders, I am the one doing the calling. The change of pace should make me appreciate more the calls that come in for missing parts and such. I also have the pleasure of dealing with those most insistent for their parts: The bodymen. Bodymen have a penchant for discovering the littlest details which drive me crazy. The majority of them don't speak english as a first language, and of course they want everything now. The earned income among bodymen would make a bank CEO proud. The sacrifices that they make to work 60 and 80 hour work weeks are tremendous. But I would say that the rewards justify those sacrifices.

So after a bittersweet return to hockey this past week, I am confronted with the new position in the bodyshop parts department. I will keep everyone updated on my moods, problems and challenges in future posts.

Friday, October 08, 2004

I realize that

I realize that the election is the key issue right now, but I still don't understand why everyone wants to convince me to vote their way. I had a discussion with one of my best friends last night and neither of us tried to sway the other's opinion, we merely stated our opinions and moved on. Whatever happens I'm sure we'll still stay friends. I'm sure that we will both move on even though we are somewhat opposed in our viewpoints.

Alas what is a Libertarian to do in this world of majority rules?


Cats in outer space

It all goes back to the pre-history of man, I think, that vision of attaining entry into space. Or conversely, obtaining exit from Earth. It's symbolic of our human need for adventure and our human need to feed our egos. No one wants to be left behind I think. But who will lead us in our foray out to other planets and eventually other solar systems?

I think it should be one of the most cautious of the earth's creatures: The housecat. The housecat is usually very quiet but seems to be the perfect observer. It is a master of stealth, a born hunter that is not easily bored. Those who have housecats know that they can sit on windowsills for hours on end, watching the outdoors, observing the movements of small mammals and birds. Housecats have outstanding night vision and prefer to be active during twilight and predawn hours, which of course are the perfect hours to observe the true behavior of subjects being observed. They can sleep deeply yet awaken in almost no time at all and be prepared to run away or to defend themselves. The housecat is more prone, of course, to avoiding conflict than it is to initiating it, though there are a few that do enjoy the occasional all-out brawl. These individuals can be identified by various scars, scabs, ripped and torn ears. Of course these housecats have spines which flex both ways which enables them to jump and leap over greater distances than a two-legged, stiff spined human.

The largest problem I see with the housecat being the ultimate space explorer is that they don't seem to like to wear helmets. However with great patience and a little bit of anesthesia I have found that they will wear their helmets for at least 2 minutes before squirming out of them. Perhaps if we were to coat the helmet with a fish oil solution we could increase that time period to one which would be more acceptable for exploration protocol. There is a slight problem with communication though, but that could be adjusted for by mounting a tiny camera either inside the helmet or directly to the cat's fur.

I believe that the housecat would have minimum impact upon the observed environment, provided that we send along a small box filled with clay pellets. The only other difficulty is the hair-ball debacle and despite numerous attempts by scientists, zoologists and homeowners have failed to resolve this most serious and disgusting of issues.

*disclaimer: No cats were harmed in the writing of this blog, though I did have to chase my cat around the condo several times before she would leave me alone.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

An addendum

Just thought that it was curious that the following article appears almost on the coatheels of my posting about TWA flight 800....

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Well here we are again

Here we are again. We're all where we either feel comfortable or where we feel bored. We're doing those things that we do to alleviate stress or boredom. Or maybe we're just blog-surfing to stimulate our collective intellect. I can say that I'm not sure what I'm looking for or what I'm doing here.

Heavy thinking is mostly done on little or no sleep in my case. I haven't slept well the last few nights and my thoughts have turned to the meaning of existence, both the existence of humanity and the existence of myself. Who are we and why are we here? These are the questions that have founded religions, created borders and ultimately enslaved or slaughtered millions of people throughout history. If I were arrogant I could say that my life's purpose is to make the world a better place. If I were very arrogant I could say that and believe it as well. However, the miniscule amount of knowledge that I have tells me that if I were to cease to exist, the world would move on without me, and never miss a beat.

Strange isn't it, that we live our lives in a blur, creating contacts with people, engaging in conversations, pushing ourselves, stressing work over relaxation, creating self-importance based upon our position in the hierarchy and yet, when it's all over, it's all over. People move on. People move past. Possibly we've left a smile or two on the faces of those we knew. Maybe it's selfish for me to want to be remembered when I die.

The way to become immortalized, as far as I know, is to have children. I don't want children because the world is a terrible place and also because despite the joy of it all, I don't want the responsibility of being a father. Sometimes though, I do think that I could be a good parent.

So I'm guessing that my mood is pensive right now.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

what's your sign?

Recently there have been questions regarding the writing of this blog. For whom do I write? Is it for myself or is it for my audience? I must say that truly I write for both. The opinions I express are mine and mine alone yet somehow I think that they may have some sort of an effect upon the greater world. So in that respect I write for the audience. Perhaps the only effect that this blog will have is that someone reads it and says: "This guy is nuts." If that is the case then I have diluted my insanity by a factor of one. I don't think that this particular blog is powerful enough to change the world but I can hope that it gives the reader the chance to scratch his or her head and say "hmmm."

On a very personal note, my return to roller hockey was Sunday. The knee has healed enough so that I can skate on it, yet my confidence level is quite low. I'll be participating in my Sunday morning league but not the Friday evening league for the next few weeks. I do want to push the envelope a bit, but I don't want to push so hard that the knee doesn't heal fully. Oh yeah, we won the game, which was a playoff game. I had the ugliest goal ever: a shot from the slot the goalie gave up a rebound, the rebound was shot into the goalies pad, the second rebound came out to me and was shoved in 5-hole. Watch out Robitaille: I'm looking for your job next! (non-hockey fans won't understand this, so don't even try.)

As you know there were debates last week of the presidential variety. In my opinion both candidates lost. Kerry looked good and used alot of important sounding words but failed to utter a single complete sentence nor did he say anything of any substance.. Bush said "uh" too many times and seemed more amused at Kerry's ideas than even I was.

Listening to Kerry made me think back to 1976 and listening to a certain peanut farmer from Georgia. Both of them want nothing more than to "talk" about the worlds problems. And talk they would, for talking is a way of seeming busy, seeming active, when one is vacillating from one extreme to the next. If my clothes are dirty do I "talk" about getting them clean? Do I consult with the soap to see if it is prepared to work in conjunction with the washing machine and the water? No, I put the clothes into the washer, add soap, close the door and flip the switch. Action accomplishes deeds. Talk does two things: first it gives absolution and second it prevents action from being taken. Action, whether wrong or right is more meaningful in the long run. If you don't believe me, I'm sure I can find 52 former hostages that would agree with me. (and don't get me started on the "it's on... it's off ... it's on again" rescue effort of 1980.

America is not in a "crisis of confidence" anymore, I'm not sure that we ever were. We were mired in the aftermath of a terrible war in which afterward we left many servicemen behind, and the ones we brought home were scarred both by their experiences in Vietnam and the reception that they got when they returned to their beloved country. Part of the responsibility for that reception lies squarely upon the shoulders of John Kerry. He sold out his "band of brotheres." I will never be able to look him in the eye with anything more than contempt.

Bush, it seems didn't even complete his required National Guard service. Not that I'm amazed by this, in fact I think it's par for the course. Politicians have come past the point where military service is a requirement. They and their families believe that they are above putting themselves into harm's way. So be it. Cowards one and all. Bush's agenda is still far from being complete. He went into Afghanistan and Iraq conducting military operations in which lives were lost. Thankfully more of them than of us. That still doesn't have much bearing on the fact that he had NO PLAN for success. The words that he and Rumsfeld and Cheney are saying make very little difference: The US precipitated and conducted a civil war in Iraq. People question why the oilfields are being protected by the US military operations. There's a simple answer to this (not that Bush could remember it:) Oil is one of Iraq's natural resources, if the oilfields are destroyed then Iraq's chances of surviving as a self-sustaining country are virtually nil. There are only two countries that purchase Iraqi oil in any large volume: France and Russia. Now tell me why France wouldn't sign on to help the US oust Hussein?

I don't have the answers to any of these dilemmas, but I'm quite sure that "talking" about the problems won't make them go away. I'm sure that not having clear cut plans of action won't make them go away. I'm sure that neither of the major candidates will make these problems go away.

The world is more complex than we want to think it is. War is more horrible than we need to watch. Man's inhumanity to man knows no boundaries. There are no simple, clear-cut choices that will keep everyone happy.

On another note for all you conspiracy theorists out there: I viewed a "History Channel" program Sunday evening that discussed TWA Flight 800's "crash" into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New Jersey. And to those that say that Bush ignored terrorist threats... That "crash" happened on your beloved Clinton's watch. And nothing ever came out of it. Sad really.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A minor epiphany

Ok so I'm an adult now. Whooppeeeee! My minor epiphany occurred yesterday while I was discussing, of all things, spicy foods. I realized that adulthood is about making choices based upon consequences. I think it's kind of sad that it has taken me this long to come to that realization.

On another note, the song that I've been working on has pretty much solidified into a working model. I think it will need one more facelift before I'm done.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The 28th of September

I spent a few minutes this morning persusing other blogs. I have discovered that apparently I write too much per each entry. And perhaps I should add photos to make my blog more "interesting." So I shall do in an upcoming entry.

The rest of today's entry will be somewhat of a diary-esque entry.

Yesterday was Monday and I was a bit tired for no reason at all. Work was slow and as we all know that is when boredom and a general malaise settles over me. Luckily I had my blog to write things to. Last night I practiced guitar a bit and watched monday night football. My Redskins looked like crap for the majority of the game. They finally got it together with oh... 9 minutes left in the game.

My knee, it seems, is still in the healing process. I'm not sure what I did to it. I have very little lateral stability and quite a bit of pain that accompanies it. I've been wearing a soft brace for about 3 weeks, and took off three weeks from my hockey career to aid in the speedy recovery. I think it would be beneficial for me to join a health club so I can work on core strength and flexibility.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Some of my favorites

I know that I've said alot about music, and since you know that music is important to me I thought I'd create a list of some of my favorite albums, songs and songwriters so that my influences can be seen. Perhaps you'll even listen to some of my choices.

Pink Floyd's "The Wall" is one of the best albums I've ever heard. It has flow, a good story, and incredible songwriting. The guitar work is so emotional and still sends shivers up my spine after all these years.
The Moody Blues "Days of Future Passed": Wow! This one goes back a few years but offers something fresh on every listen. The orchestral work is moving and of course the songwriting is superb. Everything falls into place in this album, pulling the listener into the experience.
Queensryche "Operation Mindcrime" is probably the only 80's concept album that really rocked. Sure it launched the group into fame, but it's too bad they are best known for "Silent Lucidity." Geoff Tate's voice is a thing of beauty and the dueling guitars blend seamlessly. I wish that the group would have developed into better songwriters though, since the follow up albums were lacking in that area.
AC/DC Highway to Hell & Back in Black; Quite possibly the best hard rocking, power chord albums of all time.

Metallica's Kill 'em All. I heard this album for the first time at a friends house. He had bought it from an import record store. This was before it was released in the US. Our jaws were on the ground for at least an entire day. This was the music that we were looking for. Fast, heavy, relentless. Their subsequent albums were incredible as well, then came the "Black album." Sorry but I lost all respect for them after that.
Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti. This double album is perfect for a long night of anything requiring a sound-track. From the growling guitar in "As I lay Dying" to the mediteranean influence of "Kashmir" this album is Jimmy Page's answer to "Hey you stole that riff from Robert Johnson."
Well that's probably it for albums for right now. I think it's time to discuss songwriters and songs:
Bob Dylan: What can't be said about this guy? He's done it all; political commentary, storytelling, social commentary, the abstract. Bob Dylan is Americana, even if he refuses to be identified as such. His songwriting is prolific and has spanned at least 4 decades that I know about. This guy is a living legend. My favorite songs by this guy are: Don't think Twice, It's Alright, Tangled Up in Blue, Knocking on Heaven's Door and of course All Along the Watchtower. Sure I know that some of them are mainstream, but's DYLAN!
Pink Floyd: They always seem to put the right note exactly where it belongs. They never, it seems to me, have too many or too few notes. They've always made me feel whatever it is that they want me to feel. "Great Gig in the Sky" is a perfect example. I feel lonely, overwhelmed yet somehow hopeful when I hear this song. To me David Gilmour is the perfect guitarist, not necessarily the most skilled but definitely plays with more feeling and emotion than anyone I've heard today.
Speaking of emotional playing one cannot exclude Gary Moore. This guy has chops. He can rock with you, make you boogie, or capture the tears in your song while his guitar sings and cries. Check out "Parisienne Walkways" or "Still Got the Blues" if you want to know what I mean.
Randy Rhoads was and would be the best guitarist in the world if he still walked this earth. This guy transformed heavy hard hitting metal into something that could adapt, a force that could drive you to soaring heights. He is the reason that Ozzy succeeded in his departure from Black Sabbath. Just listen to the way that Randy combined blues driven rock with classical driven intensity. Give a listen to the solos from "Mr. Crowley" and think about this: There was no finger tapping involved at all, everything was either picked or hammered on. The guy was a genius. I wonder how much of a metal god he would be today if he lived. We miss you.
Iron Maiden made metal fast and exciting. They gave us "Eddie" and all sorts of double entendre to work with, the songwriting was clever and descriptive. Songs like "The Trooper" and "Flight of Icarus" made us think of history and mythology in ways we never thought of them before. And what about the "galloping horse" rhythm? Enough said, they make the cut.
In the same breath as Iron Maiden, one cannot help but discuss Judas Priest. Rob Halford's voice is an inspiration to all the screaming metallions out there. He is the metal god. With the guitars of Glen and KK fueling the heavy metal flames, Priest ruled the metal world of the 80's. Listen to Victim of Changes or Screaming for Vengeance if you want to hear his incredible vocal range. I think that these last two groups inspired more would be guitarists than any other bands combined. These guys rocked.
And out of Europe, Germany actually, came the Schenker brothers and The Scorpions. And it was good. Who hasn't wanted to "Rock you like a Hurricane' or had a "Blackout," who hasn't listened to Klaus's voice and wondered how he sings so well in English yet when he speaks...oy ve!
There are too many more hard rock interests for me to elucidate: groups like Kiss, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble, Steely Dan, Foghat, The Cars, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kix, Dio, Danzig, Helmet, Dokken, Skid Row, Ratt; Cake, solo artists like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Neil Young, George Lynch, John Lee Hooker, BB King, Albert "the ice-man" Collins, Jim Croce, Paul Simon, Frank Black, Billy Idol, Jimi Hendrix. The list could go on for about two hundred more names.
As far as my classical influences go, (and yes, I do listen to classical music) I am absolutely astounded by the hard driving rhythms in Tchaikovsky, by the smooth flow to Strauss, by the sheer inventiveness of Mozart and the ever present sadness in Beethoven.
Music, in the short and long runs, is a very important part of my life.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Watches and stuff

Ok please tell me this: Why would a manufacturer design, build, and market a waterproof watch that does not have a waterproof band? I bought a wonderful Timex watch with all the features that I need: Clock, Date, Alarm, Chrono and countdown timer. This watch says on it "WR 200M." Yet the band is made of some woven nylon material with a velcro closure. Who would buy such a thing? Me, that's who. After wearing a watch for over 30 years of my life, I must remember now, to remove it before showering. I'm not good at that. I hate change, it scares me. My options, I think, are to either buy a new watchband or to remember to simply remove it as I enter the shower, or go swimming or wash the truck.

On another note, I have discovered that my mid-day musical creativity and inspiration is fairly non-existent. I think I'll have to adjust my jamming schedule to fit into my creative schedule. On a lighter note, I will be recording the song that my friend and I have been working on. I'm going to do it at home on my 4 track and see what kind of results I get. I don't have a bass at home, so I'll need to borrow one, but for the rest of the song I have an idea where I want to go with it and where it needs to go. I will try to lay down some vocals as well, though my voice sounds somewhere in between Tom Petty and Bob Dylan both with sinus congestion. The other problem I think we'll have to solve will be the drum problem. I don't have a set, he doesn't have a set. He does, however, posess a drum machine program, but it seems pretty complicated and quite detailed. The other conundrum is that I don't want to record in mono, so I need to find out how I can upload the stereo tracks to the computer program.

Just another day in the life.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


I've been turning a musical jam into a song, co-writing with a friend of mine. I've said before that he was a much more gifted theorist than am I, after yesterday I realized that even more than that, he's a more highly skilled guitarist as well. I didn't feel smaller or humbled jamming with him though, I felt more of an urge to play more, to play harder and to regain that which I've lost through disuse.
The song is turning out quite well. I'm beginning to feel alot more comfortable with it. In the past I've done everything myself when writing. This time I've got someone to share ideas with someone that has a different background than I do. Had I been doing this by myself, everything would have been written, recorded and filed by now, never to be heard of until I shared it.

As a child I remember an old religious song we used to sing:

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Won't hide it under a bushel no
I'm gonna let it shine...

Maybe I've been letting my light hide under a bushel when I should have been letting it shine.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Report Suspicious Activity

I live in the Washington DC metro area. There are various message boards that give drivers "real-time" traffic information to prepare them for traffic jams or stop and go traffic ahead. When there are no traffic snarls or snafus these boards advertise "Report Suspicious Activity Call 1-800-942-TIPS." Call me un-American if you will but these signs are the most anti-American thing I've ever seen.

"Report Suspicious Activity." It's not a request. It's a demand. What's suspicious anymore? People cannot video their vacation without being suspicious. People cannot take pictures in front of national monuments without being suspicious. You cannot park near a public building without being suspicious. What is suspicious activity? We don't know our neighbors anymore, so how do we define "suspicious?" Is it suspicious that our neighbor has set out several boxes marked "for charity" in front of his/her house? Is it suspicious that they have begun sweeping their stoop only on odd numbered days? What is suspicious? What about the neighbor that pulls her shades during the day and comes out seldomly? Is that suspicious?

"Report Suspicious Activity." This makes me think of a wonderful tale by George Orwell. This makes me think of some sort of governmental police that can spy on private citizens, questioning them, sequestering them, and ultimately detaining them for no other reason than suspicion. Wasn't there a governmental machine that did that before? Oh yeah they called it the KGB. Or maybe I studied this in my history class, but then they called it "un-American" activities and they were headed by some guy named McCarthy. Now they call it "Homeland Security."

Homeland Security and "Suspicious Activity." So now we have the greenlight to point fingers at anyone we do not like, anyone we do not agree with, anyone we deem "unacceptable" by our own skewed standards. The government can listen to our phone conversations without providing search warrants. The government can detain us for no reason, for an indefinite period of time. This is your government folks, a government that would restrict your freedoms because they deem them "suspicious." Don't speak Arabic, certainly not in jest. God forbid you say the word "jihad" on the phone. God help you if you say it on a cell phone, or should I say "Allah" help you?

Our freedom is at stake. You see, the terrorists have already won. They won because we have signs up that tell us to "Report Suspicious Activity." They won because our congressmen were debating the torture of prisoners who were and are named "enemy combatants." They won because we shut ourselves inside our four walls and a roof expecting freedom to be won by the rhetoric and vitriol of the politicians. The terrorists won because we don't respect each other anymore. They won because we forgot what the "U" in U.S.A represents. They have won because we worry more about the football season than we do the war in Sudan. The terrorists have won and all we can do now is "Report Suspicious Activity."

Now some of you will say that I am being negative, that these signs give us someone to call, giving us an alternative to hindsight. Think what you will, say what you will; I am right. Give this government the ability to usurp the Bill of Rights and you can kiss your Freedom of Speech and your Freedom of the Press goodbye. This isn't the prohibition era people, this is real-time, this is real life, this is reality here and we're kicking back watching them take away the rights of the accused, all the while shaking our fists in the air and goading our government agencies into dehumanizing these people more. But we're not thinking what would happen if that was us, or one of our loved ones being falsely accused. No, we're not thinking about what the real agenda comes down to.

I hate Bush. I hate Kerry more. I'd rather have a man of action, even if I don't agree with his actions, in the White House, than have a man who vacillates and wavers and in the end accomoplishes nothing but the waste of valuable time. If it were up to me, I'd rid the Senate and the House of all career politicians and start over. But I cannot say that without arousing "suspicion." If you feel the need to report me, here is the number again: 1-800-942-TIPS.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

A really really quick blog

I just wanted to blog this site

As a Libertarian I think it's important for others to know what we stand for, and why we stand for it. Peruse, analyze, and decide whether you feel the same way.

Up all night

I suggested to a friend that I jam with that we turn one of our jams into a song. He's a much more gifted music theorist than am I, he is also immensely talented and uses his knowledge quite well. I am more of a "feel" player that knows next to nothing about theory. Our styles complement each other very nicely, I think. I really enjoy listening to him while we play, and I think he enjoys listening to my noodling as well. I haven't co-written a song in over a decade so I'm not sure how this process will work out. I digress. So we've agreed to work on arranging our jam into a song. The first step is to write bridge and chorus parts as well as an intro and an outro. I think that this process will be the most difficult. Then there's the lyics, which kept me awake for a bit of last night. I think I've got a grasp on the tone and feel of those. For some reason though, I woke up last night and could not get back to sleep. I was playing the riff again and again in my head, trying to figure out harmonies and melodies, bass lines and leads. Yep, I'm an obsessive one. I think it will all work out though. I have ideas for everything but the intro. Well I have an idea for how it should sound, but I'm not sure of the progression, whether the intro should be clean or rough, when the bass should enter, how the bass should enter, or pretty much any of the details that make a good intro to a song.

I don't know why I get on these kicks, but I haven't written anything (musically that is) in a long while and I get excited just thinking about getting my creative streak running again. I just hope I can hold on to this excitement long enough and make it through this one song. I tend to ramble in music like I ramble in life and it is difficult for me to concentrate long enough on one thing without a million other things popping into my head.

There are a multitude, one might even say a plethora of questions in my mind surrounding the this piece; should the original riff be the intro/chorus part? what kind of a structure do we want the song to have? Who plays what where? Do we need a chorus? What will the song's "hook" be? How will my friend and I write together, will it be strained? I can think of a dozen more questions but I'm sure that you get the general idea.

Now if my friend reads this he might get concerned, but there's nothing to be concerned about. I'm sure that everything will work out, I just need to put some of my feelings out there. I'm sure that this song will turn out quite nicely, paving the way towards other collaborations in the future. If it doesn't turn out well, and we discover that we cannot work together then we've learned something in the process and we should continue to jam.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Give Peace A Chance...

I don't ever expect to look at a newspaper and see a headline that reads "No one was killed yesterday, no one was murdered, tortured, maimed, raped or otherwise harmed." Maybe I'm jaded, maybe I'm realistic. I expect that war and strife will forever be assosciated with humanity. I expect that somewhere people will be starving while "overlords" or "warlords" or someone with some might is stealing their food, meting it out for obedience and favor. I expect that somewhere a government, or a governmental entity is sanctioning the rape and torture of women and children. I expect that somewhere in the world there is a cabal plotting the destruction and murder of large numbers of innocent persons. I expect wars to be waged in the names of gods, of liberties, in the name of revenge, in the name of righteousness. I expect that atrocities will be committed, bodies mutilated, diseases spread.

I am reminded of a line from one of my favorite movies The Mission, "If might makes right then love has no place in this world." At least that is the side of me that sees the futility in killing. My "greenpeace" side, as it were.

In truth I see no reason to expect that peace will ever exist. I have no reason to believe that human beings will ever get along, or coexist in harmony. People will always develop disagreements. Even persons that love one another will disagree and become angry with each other from time to time. Parents become angry with their children, wives become angry at husbands and so on. That is the inherent nature of the human experience. At times we place demands upon others that they refuse to meet. We then issue ultimatums; either you do this or I do that. When the ultimatums are not met anger and frustration enter the mix. Sometimes anger spurs us on to make decisions that seem logical at the time but are quite irrational. We then give ourselves permission to entertain these thoughts and ultimately act upon them. Thus is the way of governments.

Zealots are a different nature. They are those that proclaim that their way of life is closest to their god and must be followed all others are blasphemy and must die for their ways. These persons care not what lives they destroy, for it is all in the glory of their master. Ah yes, glory. The glory of a mass suicide, or a car-bombing, or the hijacking of an airplane and the ultimate mass murder of those persons who have nothing to do with decision making or the politics involved. Self-righteous murderers are the worst, for they can not be made to see the inherent evil within their acts. And punishing some only strengthens the resolve of the others, yet to let them lie peacefully only allows them to regroup and conspire again. So how do we rid the world of these murderous zealots?

The truth of a war is that it should be brutal, it should be violent, it should take the lives of innocents, it should be ugly. The only war that should be waged is a total war, affecting the lives of everyone involved. A war should be carried out with extreme prejudice, exterminating everyone in it's path. Cameras should be focused upon the carnage, audio recordings made, the slaughter should be recorded, dated and filed. War is a horrible occupation, a horrifying entity, an emotional, cathartic, chaotic event which should be played out for the world to see in hopes that people would identify with the victims and not the victors, that they would empathize with the vanquished and realize that life without war would be best for them and theirs.

Alot of people will misunderstand this, alot of people will think my idea brutish, hawkish and cold. Believe me when I tell you that to sight down the barrel and pull the trigger is a hard task emotionally, when one knows that to squeeze that index finger is to take a life. The one that feels the worst about what he has done is the soldier or Marine who kills his foe. It doesn't happen at that moment of the kill. It may not happen while that soldier or Marine is in the combat zone. Often it happens years later. Often it drives them to the brink of insanity. Do not think that the nightmares of veterans are all about being killed, some of them are of the killing. The ultimate goal of the warrior is to end his war and put down his weapon forever. This too, should be the ultimate goal of those who create the wars, but, as I said earlier, I do not expect this to happen.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The 15 minute blog

Okay I've got 15 minutes before lunch, I'm not that busy and I wanted to write something. I've no idea where I'm going to go with this and sometimes that just seems to be the most fun time to write. Rambling can be fun. Rambling is kind of like that old time passion of a sunday afternoon drive. It's not where you went that was important, only how you got there. If you take the interstate highways and freeways you don't see anything. You don't feel anything. If you take the backroads and the by-ways, the business routes and the country lanes you actually get to experience the area. I guess what I'm saying is that the truest part of the trip is the journey itself.

The whole concept of truth, however, escapes me. Truth is personal. Truth is subjective. Truth is postulative. Truth is theory. In some of the discussions I have had I have discussed topics from religious dogma to simple faith. Regardless of the doctrine being discussed, all seem to have one commonality: the presence of a soul, a spirit or a life-force. Call it what you will, in order for any sort of religious doctrine to hold up to scrutiny the human being must have this undying energy. Does that make us unique among the rest of the animals on earth? Does that mean that we don't really die? I don't know. I am not making a unification theory that proves or disproves religion.

I know that some of you are thinking that I'm odd, my ideas don't follow a logical process, nor do my writings. If there is indeed a "truth" out there, it has to have spawned from a beginning. And this beginning, for most people, began at Genesis 1:1. For according to the abrahamic faiths, those words predate the universe. So therefore discussion of religion and truth is non-exclusive. Even scientists who believe in the "Big Bang" theory of universal origins don't know what caused the conflagration.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

The gems that we are

It's time for my Saturday posting. I've been thinking about alot of things to write about, most of them seem kind of banal and commonplace. I decided to write about something that seems to make perfect sense to me; how people are somewhat like precious gemstones. I'm not saying that people are cold, inanimate objects. I'm not saying that people are decorations to be worn and displayed. I'm not saying that people themselves are the gemstones, just that some aspects of a person are quite like some aspects of gemstones.

When you meet a person you see one side of that person usually. You may share a common interest or two with that person, but usually not much more. You see one facet of that person. You meet one facet of that person. Sometimes you are intrigued and want to learn much more about that person, you want to see the other facets of that person. Sometimes you see the flaw in that facet and you focus only upon that flaw. I have friends, or more appropriately acquaintances, that I only get to see one facet of their lives whether it be the work facet or the hockey facet or the music facet or the whatever facet. They too only get to see that one facet of my life.

But like a finely cut gem we all have more than just one facet. We cannot demand to see the rest of the gem, we cannot command it to show us the precision of the cuts, the perfection of the polished surfaces. We need but to turn the stone. We need but to seek the other sides of the story. We need to look further than the veneer and finish further into the stone to see what makes that stone unique.

In the human realm that is tantamount to asking questions and offering ourselves under the scope as well. So there is a large amount of trust involved in this process. Discovering the flaws in the gemstone lives of others gives us a chance for self-reflection upon the flaws and foibles in our own lives. But this process is also quite a liberating one for what could be more compelling to trust except the the freedom that one finds in exposing the truth and having it be accepted?

Life is a series of trusts, of friendships, a process of discovery of the world around us and also the world within us. Self-discovery is probably the most important part of this life. How can one expect to meet life-long friends, form relationships, and create partnerships without this very process? We are born an unfinished, uncut gem. The shape of the stone, the clarity, the color are added with each experience that we live through. Nietchze said "That which does not kill me makes me stronger." I believe this to be true, to an extent. That which we survive lends to us strength, that which we prevail over adds confidence to this strength.

As we learn of ourselves we can choose to concentrate upon the the positive aspects of our lives, or we can concentrate upon the flaws. I do not know why some people would concentrate upon the negatives that are within these gemstone lives, but some people obsess about the "badness" or the "wrongness" of their lives. I have a friend who continually wants to know why I am his friend. He sees within himself a worthlessness, a non-deserving person. I cannot understand this. He, at times, professes to hate everyone that surrounds him, even those of us who do love him. I wish I could enlighten him as to the positives in his life, that he is concentrating upon the flaw, not the gem.

I have other friends that I have had the opportunity to see the entirety of their facets. I have learned the whole of their gemstones. Looking at the whole person shows how the flaws or less than perfect parts add to the individualities of the gemstone-person. You can see the flaws for what they are: differences that should be celebrated. People don't fit into a mold. People aren't the product of cookie cutter technology, neither are gemstones.

A gemstone is usually hand cut, by a master who has had years of experience and can "feel" how the stone will react to a certain type of filing, or cutting or polishing. Unfortunately the masters that cut people's gemstone-personalities are sometimes inexperienced and allow the flaws to become more prominent that they should be. In fact, after a certain age, we become our own gem cutters. It is a travesty of sorts, but in other ways it lends us a certain credibility and gives us an awesome responsibility as well.

I guess that the point to this posting is that every day you have the opportunity to affect someone's day in either a positive or a negative manner. If you have a penny, leave one at the counter. If you need one, please take one. But don't take more than you give. Don't become so caught up in your own facets that you cannot see the flaws within yourself. We are all human, and we are all in this together.

Friday, August 27, 2004


Alot of the people I know realize that I "blog." Most of them don't have any idea what a blog is, nor do they understand the significance of what having a blog means to a blogger. Surely very few people will read our blogs, and even fewer will comment upon them. I don't think that a large audience is desirous. For me the weblog is a way to stay ahead of my madness. It is a way for me to communicate the internal questions that have plagued me for a long time, in hopes that someone can share some enlightenment upon them.

My blogging is out of purposelessness at times, staving off the rigors of industrial sized insanity and the feelings of helplessness that accompany them.

Anyways I'm at work so I'll talk to you all later.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Goals and assists

I've always wanted to write. I've found that I cannot, no matter how hard I try, write conversations that well. Perhaps it is because I am not a conversationalist at heart. I'm more of an orator or a lesson giver. I do not make good conversation. I don't get hints. I am horrible at making segues. Maybe one day I will learn the art of conversation. I've never understood the art of small talk. I tend to think that talking about mindless things is pointless and without meaning, so I generally don't do it.

My goal is to learn how to write conversations, so those of you that know me...please engage me in conversation and make me talk about insignificant things.

Just a quick update

For those of you that have followed my postings; I'm dogsitting again. Yep, Sophie is back and is still enriching my life. I've not gotten much sleep since friday, in fact last night I was awakened several times by all sorts of squeals, moans, snores (yes she snores,) and yips. The one vocabulary word that I've learned for sure sounds like "EEEE-OOOOOO-OWROOO" mean "I need attention now." It's hard figuring out what type of attention, sometimes it's "I want on the bed" sometimes it's "I need potty now" and sometimes it's "Why are you sleeping when I need to be social?" Between 9PM and 6:30AM we went out, got up, got down, ate, went potty, drank water and went outside to sniff about 10 times.

The cat is not standing her ground now, she's just being a scaredy cat and hiding. I try to spread my affection evenly, but then the dog begins her "EEEE-OW-AROO"-ing and it's all over.

Is this what it's like having kids? I've never parented but I'm sure that it's something somewhat close. Do parents have to split their affection at times? It's got to be confusing, troubling and somewhat painful to do.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Fascination Street

One thing that has fascinated me since I was a child watching Kung-Fu on television has been the Asian philosophy of life. I am fascinated by the culture. I am fascinated by their concepts and ideologies. The most intriguing to me is the concept of honor.

Our own westernized belief system portrays honor as a personal thing. A thing that is carried by one person. It could be a title, a name, a position or some other sort of status identifying marker. But what is honor really? Is honor in the way that you approach something or is it in the way that you perform some task?

What is it that makes men want to die for honor? Is this type of honor what we call the "glory" of war? Is it heroism? Perhaps fighting for one's beliefs is so important that dying for them is considered honorable. Is vengeance honorable? To avenge one's loved ones or one's fallen comrades? What makes a man willing to die by the very same sword that he carries? To die by the sword, whether it is one's own or one's enemies' is not folly in some cultures. I do understand this honor, for I have carried a weapon in the face of death. But I do not fully understand it.


We call judges "your Honor." We stand when they enter or leave the courtroom. In most cases we don't even talk to them. They are so far above us that we actually pay professionals to talk to them for us, at quite a large expense, I might add. Last week a judge resigned because he was caught masturbating while he listened to a case.


Perhaps the way of defining honor would be by defining what it is not, like defining light by saying that it is not dark. Or to define truth by saying that it is not a falsehood. So is honor the absence of shame? Is shame the opposite of honor? Perhaps. But possibly there is more to it than just shame.

Perhaps the absence of shame combined with pride is the equivalent of honor. Perhaps honor and pride are the same sword, wielded by the same swordsmith. If so, could we then substitute the word "honor" for the word "pride" in cliches? Does "honor" come before a fall? No, that doesn't seem at all appropriate, does it?

Perhaps dignity and honor carry the same meaning, in a western world. In an eastern world however, I don't think that dignity is the same. The only word that I can think of that carries my idea of the eastern concept of honor is the ancient Greek term Arete. Arete is a word that is indicative of perfection. Perfection in mind. Perfection in soul. Perfection in body. Arete. This word is beyond definition in English, as far as I know because it is too encompassing. It is a total of all things perfect and all things perfected. Maybe this is where true honor lies. Is it possibly that in all of our trevails, all of our modernizations, all of our idiosyncracies we have forgotten the true honor?

Do we have to revisit the ancient in order to find honor in ourselves? I think we do. I think that perhaps honor is a concept that is beyond typical definition due to it's inherent objectivity. I used to think that honor was depicted in one's actions and in one's dealings with others. But I am beginning to see that honor lies within the soul of the human being as well.

Is honor truth?

Honor is because humans exist. If humans did not exist would the concept of honor have ever been? Does that make honor a transitory concept? Does it make honor any less real? Does the non-existence of an entity negate the ideal of a concept? I don't know.

Perhaps you, my readers, have some sort of evidence that points out how honor has affected your lives.

What is it about believing in something so dearly that one is willing to die for it, one is willing to face certain death for a cause. What cause is so important that death is preferable than life without it? The only idea that I can think of is liberty. The reason for this is that individuality seems to me to be the only true ideal worth fighting for. I cannot say enough about the pursuit of individuality. We are all different and those differences should be embraced, not shunned. Those differences should be celebrated and exploited not hidden and shamed.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Why is it?

I'm wondering why some people can be incredibly cool in some situations and then total jackasses in others. What makes a person lose their temper, lose their control when confronted by challenging obstacles? I take challenges personally and I internalize them. I don't hold grudges. I do my best and if my best isn't good enough I keep doing my best until it is good enough.

I know I think too much. I know I generalize on these pages. I know that most of you have no idea what I'm talking about. I don't know why I don't name names and detail experiences like other bloggers do. I guess it's that the things I write about are generalizations of everyone's experiences, or at least I'd like to think that they are.

I was talking to a friend last night and he was concerned about sounding pretensious. Even though we were discussing pychological and philosophical issues in which pretensiousness is almost a prerequisite. I don't fault people for not wanting to seem pretensious, though at some point we all are somewhat pretensious. I want to let that friend know that our discussion was enlightening and interesting. His depth of analysis really astounded me. I can only hope that he continues in life as a free thinker.

I have another friend with whom I was chatting this morning. He did the typical friday night thing: went to a club, got drunk, took a female home and had sex. Usually I'd be pretty happy for the guy. But in this case he was stupid. He has some form of hepatitis, I'm not sure which one. Yet he didn't feel the need to communicate this to the female that he had sex with. She could not make an informed decision regarding her participation in the sex. Yeah, I have a huge problem with that. I equate what my friend did to taking a partner home, putting on a blindfold and randomly shooting a handgun around the room. The female has a chance of not getting sick, a chance of not beoming infected with this particular type of hepatitis, but also she has a chance of contracting this disease. Please people, if you are too drunk to have an open dialogue about your illnesses, don't have sex. There are too many people in this world that are the unwilling and unwitting recipients of diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS because of a partner that is too embarassed, too drunk or too self-centered to discuss their predicament.

I am continually surprised by the human body and it's limitations. Last night I played in a round-robin roller hockey tournament. There were three teams, each with six players and a goalie. My team played the first two games, had a game off and then played the final two games. That's right, four games in one evening. The first game we won. I'm not sure how we won the game because the team we played against had alot of high-calibre players. They could shoot, pass and skate circles around us almost at will. The second game we lost, we just didn't have the energy to compete against the fresh legs of that team. We rested during the third game of the evening.

We played the fourth game and had a come from behind victory. The team was on fire. Everyone was skating, everyone was talking, everyone was back-checking. It was a thing of beauty to behold. I've never been so proud of a team as I was after that game. We were tired, we were sweaty, our legs were like jello and were were victorious. I could have cried. After the game when we were shaking hands with the other team, one of them decides to talk a bunch of smack to one of my teammates. It looked like it was getting serious, so I grabbed the guy from the other team and skated him away.

"Get the F*** off of me." He said.

"Back off." I said.

This went on for a few minutes, until he decided that backing off was a pretty wise thing to do. I let him go and nothing else happened. It felt good sticking up for my teammate (who is also one of my best friends) and though I know he could have handled the situation, I don't let people step up on any of my friends.

By this time we were dead tired. I guess exhaustion is a better name for what we were experiencing. I've been truly mentally and physically exhausted only a few times, most of which were in my Marine Corps days. I think that the everyone on the team was running close to the "E" after the third game. Two minutes of rest and the fourth game was on. This was the championship game, every thing was riding upon this one single, solitary game. We would win or lose based solely upon our performance in this last game.

They got a quick goal and deflated us early. We started chasing them and stopped playing our game. We were tired and made many mistakes, which they capitalized upon each and every time. We'd lose a faceoff and they'd score. We, or more appropriately I, would make a defensive coverage mistake and they'd score. I felt like crap. We stopped talking to each other in lieu of yelling. Instead of playing the patient passing game we started playing the "one man against the whole team" game. In real life hockey isn't like a video game, but when you're tired you make critical mistakes. With 7:37 left in the third I approached the face-off circle, mid-court. I started my Patton-esque speech. "There's seven thirty seven left in this game boys, you guys gonna live or are you gonna roll over and die?" I won the face-off back to my guy, he passed it across to the other D. Two guys chased him, he found me in the seam, I used their D as a screen and shot it high stick side. SCORE!!!!! I got back into the face-off circle. "There's seven minutes and seven seconds left in this game boys, do you wanna live or do you want to roll over and die?" I won it back to my guy. He couldn't find the opposite D, the other team was wise to what we were trying to do. We struggled for the next few minutes. I was the walking, skating and living dead. I went to the bench. I could barely lift my legs to climb in.

We lost the game. We came in second. Second out of three teams. I could sit here and complain about this or complain about that but the truth is that we were out of gas. We didn't have the energy to beat them. And they played a great game. I know they were tired too, but they really took it to us. My hat's off to everyone on my team: Jamie, Jan, Jason, Juan, Mike and Pat. You guys gave it your best. My hat's off to the winning team: Andrew, Chris, Chuck, Jay, Jono, Kevin and Tucker. You guys played a great game!

That's all for now I think.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Impulse control

I'm trying to combat some of my addictive behaviors now. I guess the major one is my addiction to tobacco. I've been using smokeless tobacco for about 16 years now. I know that I'm addicted. I've tried to stop on several occasions. It never seems to work. I don't know what else I can do to fight it. But I'm going to see if I can go a single day without using it. Who knows, maybe I'll win this time. Maybe I won't.

I wonder though, what is an impulse? Why do some of us have them and others live their lives free from them? Impulse. Does it control me? Why? What do I tell myself to justify following an impulse? How do I give myself permission to perform this self-destructive behavior? These are questions that I really need to answer as I go along.

I know that last night I was in a dark place. I don't apologize for what I've written, in fact I celebrate it. The words that I wrote were justified at the time and seem somewhat morbid but they were real, they were honest. The feelings were real. I don't know if I'm crazy or not, but I do know that sometimes I think I am. I don't feel in tune with the rest of the world. I see no need for "reality" tv programs.

I'm out of words for right now.

Monday, August 16, 2004

I've recently become re-acquainted with one of my oldest friends. Music. I've began playing again with some sense of urgency. I didn't realize how badly I missed this friend. I never seemed to exist without him in some shape or form yet I stopped playing my guitars. I stopped writing my music and my lyrics, never considering that they would call me back to them. I guess that the things in life that are important to someone never really leave, they always seem to resurface in some sort of way.

I think the inspiration for me to play again was from a friend. His drive and desire for music was a reflection of the same drives that I had years ago. I only wish that I had followed through with those drives and held fast to the aspirations that musicians often hold.

Welcome back into my life old friend. May we never be estranged again!

I've also been thinking alot of who I am and why I am that way. I watched the movie "Butterfly Effect" last night. The strange thing is that I had it figured out quite soon into the movie. I do that quite often. The movie made me think about life, my life in particular. Not necessarily what I would like to un-do, but more of what decisions and actions I have taken which have had a dubious effect upon others.

Life is an endless stream of connections; connections between people, places and things. How many of those connections have I botched? How many of those connections have I had a positive influence upon? I cannot answer that question very well. I cannot say that I've done nothing but good, for I know differently. Connections. Decisions. Interplay. Relationships. I am somewhat afraid to make those connections. I am somewhat fearful of what making those connections entails, what the consequences of those connections will be. I realize that this may seem like cowardice, but only because that is precisely what it is. If I could sever all the ties that I have made in my life, what would the ramifications be? Would those with whom I have established contact with be better off, or worse?

I am a fool for thinking of these things, I think but only because I shouldn't be worried about them, according to some of my friends. I cannot say that I would like the world to be a better place, because I don't know what a better place would be like. There has to be oppositism in this world to make it work. Without darkness we wouldn't know the light, without cold we wouldn't know warmth, without pain there would be no pleasure. Without the ocean we would never know the pleasure of the desert. So without war, we wouldn't know peace.

One of my other friends came back into my life. His name is insanity. I can feel him creeping up behind me. I can almost look over my shoulder and see his eyes staring at me. It's no use avoiding him, he travels whereever I go. He drops in at night while I am sleeping and reminds me that my mind has a will of it's own. My mind is sometimes a parisitic being, feeding upon my emotions and not letting me experience the things I want to experience. I feel my mind telling me to stay home, telling me that safety lies withing my comfort zone. I don't want this. But my mind has almost assumed control over everything that is my life. My brain wants me to engage in addictive behavior and dangerous behavior. I haven't had an honest belly laugh in years. I haven't felt true happiness since my childhood, and even then I'm not sure that I felt happiness.

I used to be comfortable in the spotlight. Now I don't even want my pictures taken. I eschew photographs. I want to be the ghost in the machine. I want to help others succeed, not succeed myself; not if it means the inquisitive eye of the spotlight, homing in upon my every imperfection. There are times I want to disappear. There are times I want to pound my head into the wall. I have often joked about teetering on that narrow line between sanity and insanity. What people don't realize is that I'm not really joking.

I see the world in many different ways. Every day I see the world of underlying form: The world that physicists see which has almost 100% space. The world where concepts and ideas aren't fully defined and cannot be defined. The world where I am an idea and the rest of the world is an idea as well.

Music has been one of the rocks that I have held to that make my life seem real and meaningful. I am glad that it has decided to visit me again.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Ramblings of an ineffectual nature

I don't know what I want to say today. I haven't slept that much in quite a while. It always happens when I read Pirsig, or when I think too much, or when I'm babysitting my parents dog.

You see Sophie, who is an older Pekingnese, has never been around cats. I have a cat, Wendy (affectionately called DoDo) who has never been around dogs. DoDo is eight, Sophie is thirteen. Sophie has very little hearing, one eye, she can't really see much with her good eye though, and she enjoys sleeping, eating, and whining. She has an assortment of whines, grunts, barks and yips that mean various things. I don't really know the language that well, but at least I know the alphabet at this point.

The cat and dog have an interesting relationship. The cat wishes that the dog didn't exist. The dog isn't sure whether she should be friends with the cat or constantly alert me to the fact that the cat is present, and is possibly a threat to my well being.

Last night the cat finally made her stand. Usually she slinks about, staying to the shadows and in the corners, or underneath the bed. Last night she decided to take her usual place on the bed, just next to the pillow on the right side of the bed. Sophie had no idea that DoDo was anywhere near, that is until DoDo decided to perform her usual nocturnal cleansing ritual. Even a dog with sight problems couldn't miss this performance. There's the cat, one rear leg pointed skywards, smacking and licking various parts of her anatomy, ostensibly to remove dirt from her fur, but I know that she's just showing off her flexibility. It's her way of saying to me "Look at me, my spine flexes both ways! And you think opposable thumbs make you better." Yes, my cat is smug.

I digress. So there's this tabby cat, lounging, stretching, cleaning herself on my bed. Sophie notices her and decides that the presence of this creature poses an immediate threat to my person. The growling, whining and yipping commence. Normally the cat would run, flee, hide. But not this time. She doesn't even blink. She continues her ritual, which apparently is too important to interrupt for the likes of a half-blind, mostly deaf senior citizen dog which couldn't jump onto the bed without the assistance of either a set of stairs or a human.

My cat has never held her ground for more than a millionth of a second before. Perhaps she's getting used to the dog. Perhaps she's just tired of the dog. Perhaps she's planning my assasination. Usually without provocation this cat will run and hide. She hides when someone knocks on my neighbors door. She hides when the barometric pressure drops. If I clap my hands she'll jump straight up about a foot. She is, in short, a coward. And yet the moment that she decides to make her stand is when there is a dog present. A semi-blind aged dog, but a dog nevertheless.

The entire night went like that. The cat standing her ground and the dog barking, yipping and growling. Yes it was peaceful, no I didn't get much sleep. Thankfully the dog will be going back to Mom's tonight.

I think the whole rigamarole about dogs and cats is very similar to our own problem with non-english speaking immigrants. It's all about communication. The only difference being that dogs and cats cannot really learn the other's language and use it to communicate their intentions. They can, however, if they are exposed early enough to it, learn the other one's language enough to know what certain postures and gestures mean. Perhaps this is something that humans can learn. I know that acceptance of differences can be taught at an early age, but it needs to be reinforced continually throughout the development of the child.

Maybe I'm just a dreamer.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Headaches suck

I get migraine headaches. They suck. For those of you that have never had a migraine headache, please let me try to describe the experience.

Sometimes you get a warning that you're about to have one. Sometimes it is an unexplained smell. Sometimes it is a cloudiness in one eye that just doesn't go away. Some people see "auras." I've never seen an "aura" so I have no idea what that is like. I usually get the cloudiness and the smell together. I can't describe the smell. I only know that when I smell it, I'd better be close to some Excedrin Migraine.

Okay, so what happens after the smell/cloudiness? I usually start to yawn alot. I'm not tired, I'm just yawning. Then I feel the pressure build in my left temple. It feels like a little gremlin is inside my brain pounding away with a spike hammer. My left eye begins to become sensitized to light. Everything begins to hurt. Thoughts hurt. Smells hurt. Light hurts. Pain hurts. The pain begins to intensify until it reaches a state where the pain is so bad that suicide seems like a winning option. By this time the pain is all that you can think about, all you expect and the one thing that you want to escape.

At some point in this process the rest of your body begins to revolt as well. Your bowels desire to turn loose, so does your stomach. Sometimes this happens simoultaneously. This doesn't offer relief, only more irritation as the smells, tastes and after-effects reach the rest of your senses.

There are various ways of dealing with migrainous pain, none of them are effective at all times. I've taken pills, suppositories, shots. I've used massage therapy, accu-pressure and mental visualization techniques. I've used herbal remedies as well. The only true way to defeat a migraine is through time. My time used to be about 14 hours. It's down to about 7 to 9 hours now. That's 7 to 9 hours of being almost completely incapacitated though.

That being said. I had a migraine last night.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Modern convenience equals mobile annoyance

It's not enough that our homes are filled with these hand held devices that "make our lives easier." No it's not enough. We don't have to leave our chairs to adjust the TV, turn on the stereo, shut off the ceiling fan or to do anything with our VCRs, or DVD players. I've even heard about remote controls for home computers. What the hell is that about? Doesn't anyone want to move anymore? Doesn't anyone want to experience life?

Remote controls for the television are nothing new however. In fact I think the concept of remote control for the television appeared shortly after the television was introduced. But of course the individual didn't "hold" the remote control, per se. The remote control was usually the closest child available to the parent watching TV. I fondly recall conversations that sounded alot like this: "Turn it to channel 9, now back to 7, put it on 5 for a second, no, back to 7. STOP FLIPPING IT, you're gonna break the dang thing. Turn it up! Will you turn that down a little? Use your head!"

Oh yeah, the original remote control was, most often, the youngest able bodied child in the room. Let's not forget those "wired" remotes that were pretty popular in the early 80's. The cord was never long enough or it was too long and tripped over quite often.

But that was the adventure in entertainment back then.

Now the "modern convenience" has become so prevalent that I'm not even sure we recognize how annoying it is. Cell phone conversations at the dinner table, at the grocery, on the highway. Beepers and those annoying "Nextel" sounds everywhere you go. What about the remote control key fob that almost everyone has for their automobile? How did people ever get along without being able to unlock their doors from 50 feet away? My truck doesn't have a remote. I use a key to unlock the door. Get over it people.

All these beeps and whistles aren't convenient; they are annoying. I don't want to hear you put a call on hold while you deign to talk to me, I don't want to hear your car horn "honk" next to me because you turned on the alarm. I don't want to hear your "nextel" or your pager or your panic button. You are the source, not the symptom.

Monday, August 09, 2004

The router saga (raiders of the lost blog)

I'm trying to recall all of what I wrote in the lost blog from last night. As I had spent 45 minutes on it, it was insightful, poignant and funny. I will try to recapture all of this as best as I can. This entry will probably be none of those. Life is like that, when you get two steps ahead you get knocked back at least one and a half steps, sometimes three. Here goes nothing. . .

My internet connection at home has become a bit of a burden, a worrisome, meddlesome, irritating, annoying burden. My roommate, as I had stated in an earlier post, purchased a router. Of course we are quite cheap people and we purchased the one with the largest rebate amount. I think it is a "linksys" or something like that. I'm sure it works fine. (NOT) So since one cannot have two cable modems we have a router now. (Does that make me the LAN administrator here?)

So we bring the router home and my roommate hands me the router. We run the cables, we hook the cables up, and we plug in the router and power it and the cable modem up. HEY! We have internet in both rooms. YAY! Not more than 15 minutes later the internet cuts out. Huh?!? We unplug and plug the power cords back in. We're back up. Ok, must have been some sort of a glitch.

I can't get the internet to work on a regular basis so I call my friendly assistance guy. His name is TJ and I think that he's beginning to hate me. Yeah, I know his name, he knows my name as well. He must dread seeing my account number come up on his screen. "Here comes that computer idiot again." Is what he has to be thinking every time we speak.

"Unplug the router."


"Unplug the cable modem."


"Turn your computer completely off."

Check (3 minutes later of course, I want to shut windows down properly.)

"Wait for 1 minute. Power up the cable modem. Now power up the router. Turn on your computer."

Check. Check. Check.

Pause for about 3 minutes while the little gerbils inside begin to run on their little wheel.

Okay the internet works now, I say goodbye to TJ and begin the process of checking out all of the required programs. Explorer works, AIM works, BearShare works. I'm back in business.

About 2 hours later, which is conveniently an hour after the help desk closes, the connection fails again. I perform the power down ritual once again. It comes back up. I'm happy. It crashes. I'm frustrated.

I call my IT friend. I interrupt his spades game and his latte drinking to explain my catastrophe. He asks me what the computer did when I installed the software. Software? There is software involved? I asked my roommate. Somewhere in his room there was a router box with an unopened installation cd. Ok, ok, ok. Eureka! Yippie-ki-yay motherf*ker!!!! It's a software problem. I install the software and continue onward and upward.

Everything works. Explorer works. AIM works. Even BearShare works.

I start entering a blog entry, 45 minutes later I hit the "publish" button.


Server not found? I hit the "back" button on the browser. White screen. I hit the "refresh" button. White screen. The little windows flag in the top right is waving like it's actually doing something. Yeah, it's freaking mocking me now.

The cursing begins. My roommate asks what's wrong. I tell him that for the rest of the evening, if he hears cursing that his best course of action is to laugh to himself and not approach me or my room. He agreed and I was able to continue my ranting and cursing. After about an hour of messing around with the connection, I was able to write my previous post.

I feel better now. But in the future, if any of my readership knows of any problems that I might encounter...please let me know. This learning by trial and error makes me a miserable son-of-a-gun.