Sunday, December 10, 2006

Modern American Poetry

Jen and I sat around this evening, surfing the intarweb and eating applesauce. I noted that my Google talk icon was a bear, and she noted that hers was a red wheelbarrow. It is, in fact, a picture of a red wheelbarrow accompanied by some text which asks, "Does anything really depend upon a red wheelbarrow?" She explained that this was in response to a poem she had to read for a modern American poetry class when she was in college. She then found an explanation of the poem, which seemed both pretentious and stupid to me.

"Does this person sound full of shit, or is it just me?" I querried.

"Yes!" she countered. "The only reason I made it though modern American poetry was because Lorraine and I shared chocolate covered espresso beans at 3am, making sense of things."

"Hey!" I screamed. "That sounds like a modern American poem all by itself." And, so I repeated it, in poetic verse, which I will now share with you.

Meaning, by my fiance

Chocolate covered espresso beans.

at 3 am

making sense of things.

There is also the following haiku, which I found earlier this week when I was supposed to be working:

Haikus can be fun.
But sometimes they don't make sense.
Refrigerator.


Don't even try to understand it. It's too complex for your tiny brain.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Heavy Weather

An e-mail from my roommate this morning:

It was 62 degrees when I left work this morning. Of course it's 34 degrees right now and the wind is gusting to 60 mph. I watched the neighbors' roof blow right off his carport. If it weren't for the stand of trees I was too lazy to cut down when I first moved in, that roof would be in Michigan right now. I couldn't help but laugh. I'm not really a sadist, but another neighbor has this huge dog kennel, they also have a huge dog. The kennel was lifted right off the ground and tossed about 30 feet. It ended up in the alley behind my house, so did the dog. Fortunately the dog appears to be ok. He's sitting right in front of the roof to the carport barking at it. He's seems to be encouraging it to get free as well. Who knows, its a crazy day, maybe they will run away and have a very happy life together. Perhaps my roommate will write a play about it. "Dog on a cold tin roof." Right now I'm just wondering when me and my house will blow away. Maybe we could land on a wicked witch. I really need more sleep.


My response:

The play is already written. It's scheduled for performance this spring, starring Al Pacino as the dog and Rosie O'Donnell as the roof. I've already been contacted about the Pulitzer. If the house blows away this afternoon, perhaps you will land closer to church and will not then have to put up with rush hour traffic on the way there this evening! Either way, I expect you to pay me real, green money for losing all the stuff in my room.

There's at least $27.52 worth of useless junk in there


Today is a lazy Friday indeed!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Fever Sets In

It's been a while since I posted anything. Sorry about that. Rather than write a real post, however, I have decided to mine the depths of my past, pulling out an article I wrote for Swine, Inc. back when I was in college. It is, in fact, one of the articles I submitted to the Society of Professional Journalists who, in response, gave me some kind of award for journalistic excellence. Which I found amusing. Because I wrote the thing in 20 minutes while nursing a hangover.

So, Abbie, to answer a question you have asked me on several occasions...THAT is why I have no respect for journalists.

Here's the article:

I saw a Christmas commercial on t.v. last week, and I wanted to find the nearest pencil and jam it into my ear. Christmas isn't a holiday anymore. It's an institution. It's a business as big as Starbucks, McDonald's, Microsoft, and Disney all rolled into one gigantic ball of plastic smiles and fake happiness.


It's only supposed to happen once a year, but we know better. Christmas sneaks in earlier each time around. First we had Santa right where he should be, sitting happily in his sleigh for the last few weeks of December. Next we had whispers of reindeer and elves at Thanksgiving. After a while, we started seeing kids dress up as Rudolph and Mrs. Claus for Halloween, and now we have idiots hanging Christmas lights just after labor day, planning their decorations to match the leaves as they change color.


The Christmas season is now almost a quarter of a year. That’s a longer lifespan than your average grasshopper.


Pretty soon we'll see Santa sticking his fat ass into summer barbecues, March Madness, Easter. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around we'll have out-of-control snipers taking potshots at the big guy during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. We'll have effigies and protests, and ritualistic Santa hunts involving double barrell shotgun toting rednecks stalking mall Santas at shopping megaplexes, laying out the carcasses on the third floor of the parking garage to clean and dress the kill.


“Look here, Mary Sue,” they’ll say. “I shot me ten Santas. Call the kids in from the mud harvest. We’s eatin’ good this year!”


What happened? When did Christmas turn from a regular holiday into a culturally accepted, cannibalistic religion celebrated by excessive debt and self-immolation? Has our culture really sunk this low? Do we work like frenzied dogs all year just to buy our friends and family expensive crap they don't want or need?


It's a disease and none of us is immune. We look at our credit slips and bank account statements each January, when sanity has returned, and we say to ourselves, "Never again." But when the weather turns cold and the leaves change color, the fever sets in again like it always does. Going broke every December doesn't dissuade consumers from buying into this feeding frenzy. All the department stores have to do is play "Jingle Bell Rock" or "Here Comes Santa Claus," and we’re off to see the wizard. Our eyes glaze over, our pulse quickens, and our battle-worn credit cards come out for yet another season of bad carnage.


We lose our minds for weeks at a time, like a heroin junkie in search of his next fix. We know what we're doing is wrong, but we can't help it. It's all in the name of fun, after all, and we tell ourselves that we deserve this, even as we spend ourselves into oblivion. No wonder the rest of the world thinks we're crazy and selfish. We spend the better part of the year either preparing for or recovering from the drunken orgy of mass consumerism, paying no heed to the problems of the rest of the world or our place in it.


Christmas is no longer just a holiday. It's the holiday. It’s no longer a celebration of one's faith and a time to bask in the joy of family gatherings, unless of course you consider two-for-one lawnmower sales in the middle of winter a heartfelt expression of Godly worship. The dilution of a joyous holiday is sickening and only goes to show how far down the drain we have come.


But never mind that now! Sears is having a special on wool socks and ratchet sets. The time has come. The fever has set in. Grab your money and let's go!


Imagine what I could have done if I'd sold my soul and become a Real Journalist(tm)!

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Sasquatch Speaking Tour, 2006

The library at the large state university in Ohio where I work puts on these public readings on a weekly basis where staff members, faculty, students and the like choose their favorite books and read them out loud to a group consisting of one or two people who dig that sort of thing and a bunch of completely uninterested college students who just happened to be in the area. Because I record the library news podcasts, and because my responsibilities at work leave me with a great deal of free time, the organizers of this event asked me to be on call as a last-minute fill-in, just in case somebody backed out at the last minute.

They, too, are followers of the, "if you can't go with the best, go with the Sasquatch" way of life, apparently. And for that I applaud them!

A few weeks ago, I got the call that a professor who had planned to read something about Brazil or Portugal (one of those obscure eastern European countries, anyway) had backed out in favor of trekking downtown in search of new and exciting ways to fill his incessant needs for heroin and crack cocaine. In short, they needed the vocal stylings of the Sasquatch, and they needed them in short order. So I grabbed a book from my shelf and proceeded to WOW! the five or so people sitting in the seats next to where this glorius event takes place. I did such a great job that two or maybe three of them were still awake at the end.

A student worker from the Office of Information Technology was on hand to record the event, and even though she fell asleep midway through and started drooling all over the equipment, she did a fine job. If you're interested in hearing my pathetic warblings, go here (and click about 30 minutes in) to listen as I read chapter 1 from To Own a Dragon by Donald Miller.

At the very least, I'll put you to sleep with my dulcet tones!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Schmoopy

So I proposed to Jen on Sunday. I had this big thing planned, too. When I got back from my conference in California, I was going to take her out to a nice French Restaurant, stop at the build a bear store (because to say that she likes stuffed bears is like saying Winston Churchill “liked” to drink on occasion), and then head over to this cool fountain where I planned to pop the question. This was where we got together back in February to have dinner when she was in town briefly. It was very cold that night, and we joked about how we should go to Canada sometime when it got warm. I remember walking along the shops at Easton, thinking that if I saw her look at me the way she did in the moonlight that evening, I could be happy.

So, like I said, I had this big thing planned. I went out last Thursday with Meg to look at rings and, in less than hour, found what I thought was the perfect one. Christy went back with me on Saturday to confirm it. I dropped some cash on the table, they slid the ring across with a knowing, sideways glance, and I set my mind on waiting for the big day to come. I was nervous and excited at the prospect, but I kept in all in check by repeating my plan, which I felt was a good one, if somewhat generic.

Then stuff changed. She hung out at my place late on Saturday night. I drove her home because she was too tired, and then brought her car back to my place. I then drove her car to church Sunday morning where everybody met (she lives with some friends of ours and caught a ride with them). After church, she and another friend went consignment shopping and I rode back to her place with our mutual friends.

Jen got home from shopping around 5 or 6, and everybody hung out for a while. Jen and Christy watched television while Chad (Christy's husband) and I worked on [project deleted until release forms signed] Later, we all watched some television. We hung out. We talked. It was nice.

It started getting late, so Jen drove me home. She sang along with the radio the whole way and maybe it had something to do with the way the moonlight came in through the window, but all I could do was stare at her and smile the whole way. Instead of dropping me off and heading straight home, she came in to visit for a while. She lives at "party central" for our group of friends so we don't get much time for just us. It's nice to have some time alone, even if it is late on a school night.

We got to talking about the usual stuff and that talk turned to our plans for marriage. It was the joking, kidding kind of stuff, and maybe it was the moonlight again or maybe it was the way she kissed me back when I tried to kiss her goodnight, but I just couldn't help noticing how spectacularly beautiful she was (and still is). It was like that night in February all over again. If I could just get up the courage. If I could just get up the courage.

"Hypothetically speaking, what kind of ring would you like?" I said.

"I don't know,” she said. “Something unique."

"What about an elephant-shaped diamond? Would you like an elephant-shaped diamond?"

"No."

"Would you say no if I proposed to you right now with an elephant-shaped diamond?" I asked, smiling.

"No. I'd say yes."

"What about a pink, heart-shaped diamond?"

"You wouldn't buy that even if you knew I really wanted one, which I don't,” she said. “I know you better than that."

"Right," I said. Then I waited a second and continued, "What about a twenty dollar bill that’s been folded up to look like a ring? Would you say no to me if I proposed with one of those?"

She laughed and said, "No. I'd say yes. Then I'd take the ring and use it to buy gasoline."

"You wouldn’t be able to drive your car, then." I said. "Becuase you'd think the gas was too precious a gift to use so flippantly."

"Right," she said. “ I guess you know me, too.”

"Ok. So elephant rings and no dollar bills. I know! What about a plastic ring from a cracker jack box? Would you say yes to that?"

"Yes. If you proposed with a plastic ring from a cracker jack box, I'd say yes."

"Hold on," I said. "I've got one in my room. I'll go get it."

I went into my room and, at first, I planned to come back out and say that I couldn’t locate it, that it was probably gone forever, and that she would never be able to marry me because I had lost the plastic cracker jack ring. I didn't think I would do it this way. Then something changed. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was the weekend, I don’t know, but I pulled out the real ring instead. And I went back to the living room and said, "I'm sorry. I couldn't find the plastic ring. All I could find was this."

Then I opened the box and revealed the ring I'd picked up just that morning. She started crying. And her mouth fell open in shock. And she covered her face with her hand the way women sometimes do when they're overwhelmed. And she looked at me with the most beautiful, surprised look I have ever seen. I told her about the big event I had planned, that it was really going to be awesome, that she would really have loved it. I told her that I really wanted to make it a special proposal, because I wanted it to be something she'd remember, and that maybe it was the moonlight or maybe it was just the fact that she's the most beautiful woman in the world, but I just couldn't wait any longer.

And then I said, "Will you marry me?"

And then she said something I couldn’t hear and I said, "Could you repeat that? I couldn't hear you."

And then she smiled and said "yes."

I put the ring on her finger. I kissed her, and she kissed me back. And then we sat like that for a while. Holding each other. In the moonlight.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Danger, Will Robinson.

The state of Ohio, in its infinite wisdom, has apparently loosened the stringent vision requirements for motor vehicle operation, thus granting me another four years of driving. It was close, too. I had to guess on some of the letters and numbers. The deciding factor was either a B or an 8. I had already missed one number on the list and if I missed this one they'd take away my license. I took a quick glance at the patterns of previous lines and guessed that it was the letter. The DMV manager then sighed in relief and said, "Alright. You made it."

Which is a good thing. Because it looked more like an 8 than a B to me.

Those of you who live in Columbus are now on notice. If you're anywhere near the large state university in Ohio where I work between the hours of 7am and 6pm, and if you see the magical Conto swerving precariously across lanes and running lights, watch out. I'm not drunk. I just can't see you.

Friday, September 08, 2006

No Shit, Sherlock

In an e-mail I received this afternoon from a professor regarding a website I created for him:
"I see that you used CSS sheets when you created this page. That's good! It should make things very easy for you to make these changes (he listed several pointless changes he wanted on the site, changes I had implemented earlier and then removed at his insistence). CSS sheets is (sic) a powerful tool in web development. Please come see me if you need help learning how to use it. " (sic)

My response (not really):
"Yeah. I know how stylesheets work, dumbass. I created the website, remember?"

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Party

We had a party at a friends house this past weekend to celebrate Caty's 30th birthday. It was a smashing good time. I'd say more about it, but I'm currently at work and work is busy at the large state university in Ohio. So take a look a my sister smoking a sotag and slap a smile on your face. Summer might be over soon, but that doesn't mean we don't still have some time left.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Wahoo!

Reds tied for first
Ross, Castro lead late rally; Cards lose in New York
BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

SAN FRANCISCO - The Reds started the epic 10-game West Coast road swing by moving into a virtual tie for first place in the National League Central.

"It was nice to get off on the right foot," catcher David Ross said.

You could say that.

...

The win - coupled with St. Louis' 6-2 loss to the New York Mets - puts the Reds in a virtual tie for first place in the Central. The Reds are 67-61 with a .5234375 winning percentage. The Cardinals have a .5238095 winning percentage.

(article)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

E.E.S. Update

I saw the eye doctor this morning and I now have an Exploding Eyeball Syndrome update. It seems that the disease as spread to the other eye! Where, before, my right eye was mildly astigmatized, it has now begun the slow descent into insanity we "saw" in my demon left eye. I wore my contacts to see the doctor and he was able to determine that, with my contacts, I can see about 20/50 in my right eye and about 20/500 in my left. Here is what I see with my right eye, and here is the same picture seen with my left.

Without my contacts, my vision is much worse.

This would be why I can't see anything. It would also explain why wearing the contacts causes my eyes to itch and get bloodshot all the time. My cone-shaped corneas are degenerating so quickly that the outside rims of the contact lenses are left flapping in the breeze, which causes them to be uncomfortable to wear.

I have to renew my license in October. Here's hoping I'm able to fool the cunning bastards at the DMV into giving me four more years to terrorize the good citizens of Columbus, Ohio!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Still Hanging On

Rally upends Astros: Aurilia, Clayton deliver big hits as Reds pick up half game on Cards (source)

All night the crowd of 24,110 at Great American Ball Park was begging for some offensive fireworks.

It took a while, but the Reds obliged - big time.

The Reds scored four runs in the eighth inning - three on a home run by Rich Aurilia - to beat the Houston Astros 4-3 Monday.



Sunday, August 20, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Badness

You know its going to be a bad day when you get into work on the first day that everyone is supposed to move into your building, only to find that the switches for one of the major networks have gone down, none of the staff computers will connect, and the network administrator is on vacation.

Time for some ghetto networking, courtesy of Sasquatch Inc!

ADDENDUM:
1) Oh yeah ... and the room full of faculty computers I disasselbed and organized into neat piles for moving yesterday has apparently disappeared as well. The movers don't know what happened to them!

2) Oh yeah .... and the website I recently finished was rejected by the people who need it because I gave them everything they asked for down to each adn every explicitly annopying detail, and they ended up not liking it. They want me to do it all over again ... by Monday!

3) Oh yeah ... and the alcoholic faculty member in my office was the first to arrive this morning. Having discovered that her office is in a shambles, she has decided to blame me, saying she won't leave my office until I tell her what happened to her desk. Now my office smells like Bourbon and Vicodin.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hopping The Pond

An exchange this afternoon between me and the director of my department at the large state university in Ohio where I work:

Director: Are you all set up for the conference in October?
Sasquatch: Yep. Airfare and accomodations are settled. All that's left is waiting.
Direector: Do you have any other conferences or training classes you'd like to attend in the near future?
Sasquatch: Not yet. It's hard to find stuff that's relevant to my position.
Director: Check out some universities in Europe. They're a bit ahead of the ball when it comes to [technology thing you don't care about].
Sasquatch: Europe?
Director: What? Have you never been?
Sasquatch: No. No, I haven't.
Director: Well this should be fun for you, then.

Put this on the list of many reasons why I love my job.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More on abortion

I sat quietly, listening to other people discuss the issues of abortion the other day,and this is what it was like.


Instructions: Make sure that each video is loaded fully by clicking the big play buttong and then hitting pause. Once the videos are loaded, hit play on each video as quickly as possible. Turn the audio all the way up.

Also, smack yourself in the face with a sledgehammer while this is going on.














Babies Everywhere

I was on my way to work yesterday, when I saw what appeared to be an older model Ford Escort with no less than two hundred plastic baby dolls glued to the hood, roof, and doors in a the fashion of Chihuly art. What struck me as odd, aside from all the plastic babies, was the person who drove the car. He wore a Pizza hut uniform. Keep in mind. It was slightly past seven in the morning.

Several questions floated through my brain at that moment. Why all the babies? Why the pizza delivery uniform? Who was ordering pizza at seven in the morning and why would the dleivery driver show up in a car covered in babies? Was it performance art? Was it a political statement? Perhaps something about abortion? If so, what is the statement? There weren’t pictures of aborted fetuses, like the kind you sometimes see on huge billboards. The babies weren’t disfigured. They weren't arranged in such a way as to convey some sense of meaning. It was simply a large collection of plastic dolls super glued to a car as it drove around the campus of the large state university in Ohio where I work.

It was a lot to handle that early in the morning, so I sat there for a second and then went to work as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

Monday, July 31, 2006

WTF?

It's been a while since I posted anything. So here's a video.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Wise Words

In the Team Cynical(tm) meeting this morning, one of the team members brought up an issue sent in by one of the librarians at the state university in Ohio where I work. Once the issue had been discussed, the aforementioned team member took the time to share the librarian's e-mail signature. It went like this: "There are no problems in life which cannot be dissipated by a good book."

The cynical team member then laughed and said, "Yeah, I'd sure like to see how a book is going to help dissipate your problems if your arm is caught in a wood chipper."

Several other Cynical Team Members laughed, and then one of them spoke up. "Wait," he said. "If you had read the instruction manual, chances are your arm would not have been caught in the wood chipper to begin with." Everybody grumbled agreement.

They may be cynical and they may have a bleak outlook on life, their jobs, and any purpose or meeing in life, but at least they have a sense of humor!

It's The End of the World AS We Know It (and I feel fine)

I get into work this morning and I find these stories waiting for me:


7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Indonesia, Java struck by 6-foot tsunami
A powerful earthquake sent a 6-foot-high tsunami crashing into a beach resort on Indonesia's Java island Monday, killing at least five people and causing extensive damage to hotels, restaurants and homes, the president and witnesses said.

and this…

Israel Ground Troups Enter Lebanon

Israeli ground troops entered southern Lebanon to attack Hezbollah bases on the border, but they rapidly returned to Israel after conducting their military operations, officials said Monday.

and this…

Next target: Tel Aviv
Hezbollah rockets yesterday killed eight Israelis in the strategic northern city of Haifa - amid new fears that the next round of missiles could be headed for Tel Aviv. Officials believe Hezbollah is plotting to hit the country's second-biggest city, and worked through the night to install upgraded radar and radio systems that could detect an attack.

and, finally, this …

Many still flock to N.J. Winking Jesus
The raucous revival atmosphere is gone; the curiosity-seekers have long since moved on to the next big thing. But the "Miracle on Jackson St." - a plaster statue of Jesus that some say opened one of its eyes a year ago - is still drawing scores of religious faithful to Hoboken."Since God opened one of the eyes, you have faith," said Vincent Ortiz, who often prays before the statue - and its gleaming blue right eye - on his way to work.

Bring on the four horseman. Bring on the Brittney Spears/Aerosmith/Run DMC super group. It’s time for Armageddon!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

World Domination

Today, while speaking on the phone with my girlfriend, I heard her say the following in response to all the bad craziness going on in Israel, Lebanon, and the rest of the Middle East. "In the future, we should make it a requirement that all politicians have played RISK to some extent in their childhood."

I then said, "They've fallen victim to one of the classic blunders: never get involved in a land war in Asia."

She followed it up immediately with, "Only slightly less known is never to go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line."

Reason #4,976,453 why I love her.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Bored on a Friday

I was beginning to think nothing interesting would happen today. Then I read the following quote from Frank Zappa, in response to a popular rumor, which made me laugh like a three headed sloth:

"For the record, folks: I never took a shit on stage, and the closest I ever came to eating shit anywhere was at a Holiday Inn buffet in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973."

I don't know why, but I just couldn't stop laughing.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Spam Haiku

Among the volumes of spam I get each morning at my work e-mail addres, I recevied two e-mails with the following subject lines, written apparently in haiku:

Spam Haiku #1: An ad for financial investments
"No," I said. "Let's wait."
She spoke of very simple things
How much would she have?

Spam Haiku #2: You can figure it out.
Inadequacy
All things are greater with size
enlarge your penis.

Either there are some creative spammers out there, or the guys writing code for human language approximation are getting really good.

more idiots

Regardless of what you think about this issue, you gotta love this picture. It's been sitting in my pictures file for weeks and I have no idea where it came from.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Idiots

Read this, then read this, and then laugh like a banshee. (source)














Monday, July 10, 2006

The Sasquatch: Asshole

Over the weekend, a friend of mine laughed at me and my failed attempt to quit caffeine. The best part, he said, was that I had been so smug and self-righteous about it. This made me a bit nervous, since I really hate it when people act like that I make a sincere effort to stop myself from acting like that particular kind of asshole whenever possible. The worst part, though, was that he claims to have read such smugness right here on my blog. I went back and checked my previous entries just to be sure and, lo and behold, I can’t seem to find anything that was exceptionally self righteous with respect to my brief respite from caffeine slavery.

Here is one paragraph from an entry on June 23:

“I gave up caffeine. Yes. Me, the guy who is single-handedly responsible for bringing Diet Mountain Dew into the mainstream through continuous consumption of the sweet nectar, has given up his nasty vice. It’s been almost four days since I quit and, now that the gremlins have stopped gnawing on my head, I’m beginning to see the world through new, clearer eyes. Continued side effects include, rampant dizziness, unending exhaustion, a powerful and unquenchable thirst, a constant ringing in the ears, and a slightly more mature outlook on how to approach the world. Perhaps I should go back.“

I guess the “slightly more mature outlook” comment could be viewed in that light, but I figured it would have been outweighed by all the physical maladies I listed previous to that statement, most notably the rampant dizziness and ringing of the ears, which have continued throughout the inexorable relapse you all knew was coming. That, and the admission in the very next sentence:

“Oh yeah. I might also be diabetic. Have a nice day!”

Which ended up not being true, but still made me feel a bit on edge that afternoon. In the very next entry on June 30, I began with the following, completely humble statement:

“I am the man!”

But, of course, I meant that in respect to the web design project I had recently completely; a project which failed, by the way. I know this post was not in reference to caffeine in any manner, however, since later in this post, I say the following:

“In case you couldn’t tell. I’m back on the caffeine. And, lo, it is a good thing. At least until the stomach cramps start, that is.”

As far as I can tell, I wasn’t being an asshole about the whole thing. I never claimed that quitting caffeine made me a better person or that I was somehow morally superior to all others for abstaining from it. I don’t do that shit, and I don’t even like to pretend to do that shit because people who act like that piss me off. So if you got the impression that I was being a smug, self-righteous asshole in any way, shape, or form, please accept my most heartfelt apologies. It was either a miscommunication on my part or a poorly phrased attempt at humor.



Friday, July 07, 2006

Discombobulated Whirl

People. People. People.

There's an hour of work left on a Friday afternoon in this foul year of our Lord, 2006, and I can think of nothing better to do than write something, especially since the construction people of the large state university in Ohio where I work have apparently decided to put the totality of their technical acumen to good use through banging large, metal wrenches against thick, percussive poles endlessly, for hours upon end. Seriously. It's like they're going for a fucking record or something. My eyes have stopped working and the devastation of Meniere's disease upon my inner ear has persuaded the desk in front of me to jump ten feet to the left at random intervals all day. Just when I think its safe to start work again, somebody puts my office on spin cycle and everything flies around me in a discombobulated whirl. This means that even if I wanted to do real work I can't because my office won't let me.

Driving home should be fun.

So what are you up to? Is work going well? Are your various and sundry public service endeavors turning out like you had hoped? I realize that sounds sarcastic, and I apologize. I don't mean to be. I actually have a deep respect for whatever the hell it is you do. You're an amazing person and a testament to all that is American or Canadian or whatever nationality you are. I don't mean to be this way. It's just that, in my current state of mind, I can't help but sound like an ass.

I crossed the street this afternoon in search of a chipotle burrito and ran into a telephone pole. I mistepped while trying to avoid a homeless person who simultaneously begged for spare change and wished God's blessing upon all those who declined to share the contents of their emaciated pockets. He moved this way and that like a professional dancer in rags, jumping and thrusting his appendages at queer angles like a gazelle with loose tendons. I don't think he saw me coming, because after he imparted the wisdom of Job upon two college students who failed to notice him above the din of their iPods, he leapt backward, thrusting his arms in the air, shouting, "God say's it's gonna be all good!" His trajectory left him in my path, which would normally have been an easy thing to avoid. Unfortunately my aforementioned vertigo took that moment to tilt the earth downard and to the right, and I ran face first into the pole. This was a lucky thing, though. Because at that very moment a city bus blasted through the intersection at nearly 50 miles per hour. I might be a match for a VW Bug, but a city bus would have eaten me for lunch, which would be ironic since it was I who had recently sought noontime sustenenace.

The circule of life, indeed!

Alright. Enough babble. Everybody return to their regularly schedule programs, and I shall return to my previous love, professional yodeling. Ah the fun memories I have from my days as head yodeler on the professional circuit: the oppressive crowds, the thrill of competition, the sexy leiderhosen, the suffocating stench of sauerkraut. It was an amazing time but, sadly, it is another story for another day.

Yodeleeeee HEEEE hooo!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Call me Milton

I’m wasting the final minutes of a pre-holiday Friday afternoon at the state university in Ohio where I work, writing meandering dialogue for a play that won’t seem to start moving and listening to The Killers’ Hot Fuss album. It seems I am not quite the man I thought I was in my previous post. The layouts I designed didn’t quite fly like I had hoped. But that’s ok. I have all next week to really mess things up.

I also learned this afternoon that, despite administration’s intimations to the contrary, I am moving out of my office in August or maybe September to make room for visiting librarians who may or may not be here until next Summer (2007). I get to move my tiny little lab, my boxes full of wires and connector thingies, and the two workstations and desks for my student workers into an office that is slightly smaller than where I currently live. This office is essentially a hallway between two major offices on my floor.

Oh yeah. It doubles as a storage closet!

This is good news, though. It means that once I get moved in and everyone realizes I am the loose tire without a valve stem, I can make the casual suggestion that perhaps working from home will serve as a viable alternative to on campus employment while the library renovation plans get started. Once the library renovation is completed (somewhere between 10 years and 200 years from now), I can move back into the storage closet. My student workers should have graduated by then.

So it looks like fun times here at Sasquatch Headquarters! Wahoo!

I’m sure they’ll get it all worked out. And if they don’t, I’m not too worried. It means I get to hang out in the comfortable computer labs with my laptop while they decide what’s going on.

Veni, Vidi, Vici

I am the man.

I just designed two separate and somewhat complicated Wikimedia layouts and stylesheets for the library wiki we’re running at the state university in Ohio where I work. Additionally, I set up an off-wiki account request form, finished up some scripts for another site, cleaned up my e-mail account, and even had time to check out all the blogs I’ve missed in the past week. Not only that, but I did it all before noon.

In case you couldn’t tell. I’m back on the caffeine. And, lo, it is a good thing. At least until the stomach cramps start, that is.

Now that I’m finished with work-related work, I’m off to work on the three plays I need to write over the next two months. I hope your Fourth of July weekend is exciting. Try not to pour acid all over your eyeballs... like I did last year...when I was completely sober...no, really, I was...I'm serious...stop looking at me like that.

Given all the fun going on the Middle East right now, why not check out the Armageddon Flow Chart, just to see how close we are to destruction.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Updates from The Sasquatch

So the play is over and everything is pretty much back to normal here at Sasquatch headquarters. There are a couple of interesting things going on around here, most of which you would likely rather not hear. But I’ll tell you anyway. Because this is my site and I’ll do as I please, thank you very much.

Did I mention that I have a girlfriend, now? If not, I do! Her name is Jen and she lives in the original home of the Sasquatch, Cincinnati. We’ve known each other for a while and we’ve been interested in each other for a while. Only neither of us had the guts to say anything about it. At the risk of sounding sexist, I should have said something about it earlier, but I didn’t. No matter. The present is what counts and at present we are together. Here is a picture of us together in Toronto over Memorial Day weekend.

** ** ** **

Now that the play is over, it would only seem logical that I should move onto other projects. Or maybe pay attention to my real job. Thankfully, that is not the case. I have several other dramatic performances to begin planning. The first is a play I’m writing for the Columbus area Firelight Theater Company (which does not yet have a website). The second is a collection of one acts I’ve been writing, which Wildwood will likely perform. Now, those of you out there in the know might start thinking to yourselves, “woah. The Sasquatch is writing for two separate theater companies!” Not so fast, bucko. The same people populate both companies. One is church related and the other is not so church related.

That means I can actually say bad words in the non church-related company!

Finally, I have yet another play I’m writing, which is for no group in particular, based on the book of Job. It's a comedy, though, so don't be afraid. I probably won’t finish that one until next year, though, since I still have to write The Book™, and start that cartoon with Chad.

I’m also thinking about going back to grad school, only this time I’d study library science instead of Information Systems. Sure, Library Science isn’t what it used to be, but I think the industry is merely undergoing a massive change, and those with library degrees as well as an I.T. background will find themselves in high demand in the near future. If not, at least I’ll have a happy pile of debt to deal with. That has to count for something, right?

I gave up caffeine. Yes. Me, the guy who is single-handedly responsible for bringing Diet Mountain Dew into the mainstream through continuous consumption of the sweet nectar, has given up his nasty vice. It’s been almost four days since I quit and, now that the gremlins have stopped gnawing on my head, I’m beginning to see the world through new, clearer eyes. Continued side effects include, rampant dizziness, unending exhaustion, a powerful and unquenchable thirst, a constant ringing in the ears, and a slightly more mature outlook on how to approach the world.

Perhaps I should go back.

Oh yeah. I might also be diabetic. Have a nice day!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pointless Essay #Q: Tolerance

The library of the large state university in Ohio where I work had a staff appreciation lunch on the big lawn today. I had the opportunity to sit with two ladies from the Slavic and Cyrillic library, and we talked about our jobs. I learned that the two ladies are from very different backgrounds. One is Bosnian and the other is Croatian. That might not mean much here in America, but in Eastern Europe that’s like saying one is Sunni and the other is Shiite, or one is Capulet and the other a Montegue.

One is a Hatfield and the other a McCoy.

Due to the nature of their collection, they often have guests from Eastern Europe over to visit. They will stay in the city of the large state university in Ohio where I work and spend their days pouring over the vast collection of ancient literature and whatnot. The ladies told me that their personal heritage can sometimes come into play.

“We have to warn people that I am from Serbia and she is from Croatia,” one lady said, “because sometimes they make inappropriate and disparaging comments about one race or the other if they don’t know. It might not sound right to us here in the States, but that’s just how they do things over there.”

We went on to talk about the geographical landscape of Eastern Europe and how, in order to retain their history, culture, and heritage, many groups also retained the social prejudices that went along with it. Otherwise, they argued, this heritage would be lost forever. ”It’s unfortunate,” they said, “but that’s the world they live in.”

After this happy conversation, they asked me what I did. I told them that I sat around all day, watching movies on my computer and posting to my blog and they smiled, saying that it sounded interesting. (actually, I told them what I did and they were immediately bored beyond belief; which is ironic, considering they deal with ancient Slavic tax records all day). They asked if this was my first experience working in a library and I said that I had worked as a Circulation manager at the highly esteemed University of Cincinnati Medical School library (you can’t spell SUCKS with out UC!), and that this was the city in which I was raised.

“Cincinnati’s a weird town,” one of them told me. “I’ve never understood it. Everybody there is so f**king conservative. I hate it.”

“Yes,” the other lady said, “What’s the deal with you people?”

Now I understood that they were joking, but I still found it mildly ironic that these ladies, who had spent a great deal of time discussing the great pains to they take in order to avoid offending people with Slavic backgrounds, would so easily speak about Cincinnatians and conservatives in such broad, derisive, and stereotypical terms, especially when you consider that they had never met me and knew nothing about me.

I told them that Cincinnati was a lot like Eastern Europe when it comes to tolerance and diversity and the acceptance of outside cultures. Due to its geographical landscape of surrounding hills, the city developed through small valley towns in between the hills which, for many years, remained isolated from the others with only a few rare exceptions. As the city grew and the towns expanded, the small pockets of civilization had to choose whether to give up their individuality and welcome outsiders or remain as they were. Many of the small towns refused to accept outsiders, which is why many people who move into the city from other locations can still feel like outsiders even after living their for over a decade. It is also why the city feels like it is stuck in the ‘70s, and has slowly begun a cultural descent that is eaten on one side by the aging population of those who were here in its heyday and on the other, the rampant flashy, suburbanized, tract housing blandness that threatens to destroy most cities across America.

I went on to say that, while the county is excessively conservative, the city is actually quite liberal. There is a vibrant arts and music scene, there are major sports teams with rich histories, and there are two major universities that contribute to the global community of science, art, architecture, and literature. The majority of Cincinnati’s politicians are democrats, and nearly every mayor in the city’s history has been rabidly liberal. This is the city that spawned Jerry Springer, remember.

“Well they need to stop being so damn conservative and just get with the times,” the ladies said, and we moved on to discuss other things.

I was surprised, though, that these women, who were open to other cultures outside the American landscape, would be close-minded when it came to domestic differences. This is, I think, a problem with the way we view society here in America. Have you noticed that both sides of the political spectrum make it a habit of accusing the other of close-mindedness? It’s almost to the point that this has become the defining characteristic of “those with whom we disagree,” and this is likely a large part of why so many people on either side of the equation refuse to discuss issues with people who challenge them.

This is a gross misconception about society as a whole. Most of us work with people who think differently. Pro choice people work hand in hand with pro life people. Homosexuals and conservative Christians shop in the same supermarkets. Democrats and Republicans sit next to each other at company picnics, eat the same food, drink the same beer, and often laugh at the same jokes. We are not as different as the popular beliefs make us out to be.

So how do we define cultural diversity and tolerance? Does tolerance mean that we should accept differing opinions as equally correct, even if those opinions exist in diametric opposition? Does it mean that we should recognize our differences and merely learn to co-exist? Or does it mean we should recognize people’s right to be wrong about stuff, realize that many of our deeply held beliefs and convictions are likely just as wrong, and commit to learning from other people through community?

I’ve always believed it’s the third one. While it is the most difficult, it can also be the most rewarding. It means that some of us conservative Christians can learn a thing or two about standing up to opposition (like Christ did) through the struggles faced by many in the homosexual community, many at the hands of our brethren. It means that socialists and free market capitalists can finally come together and realize that where one idea is weak, the other is strong, and that an economic ideal likely exists with both ends of the spectrum working in concert. It means Eastern Europeans realizing that historical mistakes really do repeat themselves if we fail to learn from them, and that the correct response to this repetition is not to sit back and call those involved close-minded, but rather to actively work towards quelling those mistakes before they get started.

And it means that fat, bald, white guys from Cincinnati should realize that this is a difficult thing for Eastern Europeans to do. Or anyone else for that matter.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Only A Week Away

ADDENDUM: Many thanks to Chad for the trailer production and to Poindexter for taking all the snazzy pictures.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pointless Essay: Reasonable Faith

P.Z. Myers over at Pahryngula has an interesting post on faith, arguing that it is worthless in modern society. He has this to say:

“Faith is a hole in your brain. Faith stops critical thinking. Faith is a failure point inculcated into people's minds, an unguarded weak point that allows all kinds of nasty, maggoty, wretched ideas to crawl into their heads and take up occupancy. Supporting faith is like supporting people who refuse to be vaccinated: they're harmless in and of themselves, they may be perfectly healthy right now, but they represent fertile ground for disease, and they represent potential severe damage to the social compact. When you're in a culture that worships Abraham's insanity, you're fostering the nonsense that enables the Son of Sam.”

In response to somebody else’s post about the idiotic pseudo-requirement that politicians must be people of faith in order to advance, PZ continues further with this:

“When the core of the institution is an acceptance of irrational, the ones who will climb to the top are those most able to exploit the delusions of the masses, or who are most earnest and unhesitating in their endorsement of foolishness.”
PZ is showing his hand. He launches into a derisive rant about faith without ever having defined it for us. To him, apparently, faith is an acceptance of the irrational, not an acceptance of something that, while rationality may exist to varying degrees, is not or cannot be proven beyond a certain extent. According to PZ, believing in the Flying Spaghetti Monster requires faith, but adhering to a scientific description, which is merely an inexact human approximation of reality, as truth and not an approximation of such requires absolutely no leap in logic. Science requires faith as well, and if you disagree, please explain whether you believe the Big Bang or String Theory of cosmogony (or something else) and share with us the perfect line of logic that has lead you to this conclusion.

Then give me a reason to believe that naturalism is the only valid system for determining existence and reality. I’m all ears.

P.Z. states that all religious belief is irrational and that we should conclude that statements of faith are merely the actions of small minds that do not wish to do the kind of work necessary to succeed. P.Z. makes the classic atheistic mistake when discussing issues of faith and spirituality. When confronted with an idea he either cannot handle or disagrees with, he merely changes the rules so that he does not have to. He argues from preclusion. He says that the supernatural cannot exist because its very existence does not fit into his limited, naturalistic worldview. The supernatural isn’t natural therefore it doesn’t exist. The astute observer will realize, of course, that it is quite irrational to assume that all of existence can be defined by our understanding of science, especially given the fact that scientists themselves claim there is a whole lot out there we just don’t understand. This kind of thinking requires a great deal of – oh, the irony – faith.

It’s easy to call yourself the tallest man in the world if you limit your definition of humanity to those people who are your height and shorter.

Don’t get me wrong. I actually agree with some of what Dr. Myers has to say. I don’t like the idea that politicians must pander to certain sections of religious society in order to get elected. I also believe that people quite often rely on faith as a crutch and refuse to think about things deeply. There’s a quote in the Bible somewhere that says as much, too, I think. It says (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Why are you still messing with this easy stuff. You should have moved onto meatier things a long time ago. Get moving!” I don’t like the big Bang argument that goes like this: “God said it and BANG, it happened.” This type of thinking severely limits human understanding and it cheapens everyone as a whole.

This does not mean that we should discount all faith in every situation, only those which are clearly irrational. This, of course, begs the question. What is rational? This is the position he should have argued. P.Z. obviously has some issues with people who believe in God. He thinks it’s irrational, but rather than explain the distinction between the kind of faith required to accept something that is irrational and the kind of faith it takes to believe something that is completely rational and yet not proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, he assumes all faith is obviously counter to standard logic, refuses to address those things he finds irrational about Christianity or any kind of religion for that matter, calls those who are open about their faith some nasty names, and moves on. In short, he sidesteps the argument because he lacks the mental cajones to engage in the debate.

He says that faith is a “hole in the brain,” but I wonder if he believes the same of his own.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Morning

It’s Friday morning and I can’t work. It’s not that I am incapable. It’s just that I really don’t want to do what I’m supposed to do today. All I want to do is sit here at my desk, surf the Internet and listen to Common through the fat headphones I found in the pile of crap my predecessor left when she moved on to other things.

I’ve never been much of a fan of rap and r&b, mostly because I’ve held strong to the belief that if you’ve heard one person scream about “bitches and ho’s” you’ve heard them all. This album is a bit different, though. Through the first few Mingus-inspired measures of the title song “Be,” to the inclusion of Umar bin Hassan from The Last Poets on “The Corner”, it’s a solid album, and it makes me wonder if there is more to the genre than what is commercially successful. It makes me wonder if there is a whole school of rappers out in the same vein as Nas, Mos Def, and muMs, people whose lyrics are based more on poetry and real life than the standard mindless chant you hear on the radio.

Don’t worry. I don’t like most popular music, not just rap. I believe the plague of midnlessness exists in all genres. It dominates, even. My mom says I’m a music bigot, but I’m not. I just don’t listen to bad music. What’s wrong with that?

** ** ** **

It’s raining again today. It’s been raining nearly every day for the last week and half. I’ve always wanted to live in Seattle. Now it seems that I do, except I don't get to look at the ocean.

** ** ** **

I put up a poster for the play yesterday, and slowly but surely people stopped by to ask what it was. I told them it was a play I had written and that even though I am a terrible actor, I’m going to actually be IN the play. I told them they were all welcome to attend, if they like, but that I cannot be held responsible for the sudden and violent urge to vomit after listening to me warble like a three headed chicken onstage. They laughed and said that, after my reading of Young Goodman Browne a few weeks ago, they were sure I’d do fine.

I warned them. That’s all I can do, really.

** ** ** **

If you’re having a bad day, watch this and smile.

Monday, May 15, 2006

City of Boulder, CO To Institute Newspeak

Citizens encouraged to turn in neighbors for telling bad jokes. "Finally we have the freedom of controlled language," say city leaders.

From the Denver Post, by David Harsanyi:

There's a famous joke that goes like this: What's the difference between a Rottweiler and a Jewish mother? Eventually, the Rottweiler lets go.

Now, some Jews may find that joke offensive. I don't. But if you're insulted, and you live in Boulder, you're in luck. Soon enough, you may be able to report me to the authorities.

Tuesday, the Boulder City Council will take up the matter of allocating public funding for a "hate hotline," which would give residents an opportunity to report incidents in which Boulderites use tactless language.

...

So, it seems that since purifying our thoughts is still beyond technology's reach, Boulder will now attempt to achieve politically correct speech codes in other ways.

The council should realize, however ugly it may be, Americans still have the constitutional right to be racist, homophobic, Jew-hating or even to make bad jokes - as anyone who's heard the one about the redneck who invented the ejection seat on the helicopter can tell you.


Round them up and send them to the Ministry of Love. Maybe they'll lose their minds when they run into Michael Palin wearing a creepy baby mask

Friday, May 12, 2006

Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

This post is going to be about baseball, just so you know.

When the season started, I was skeptical. The Cincinnati Reds haven’t had a good team in almost 6 years and they haven’t threatened to have a serious shot at post season play in over a decade. They have a good offense, sure, and they have had a few decent pitchers over the years, but for the past couple of seasons they seem to have lacked that extra “something” that turns a good team into a great team.

The Reds have done well this season, but the question of legitimacy has sat at the back of my mind throughout all of it. They’ve started well a couple of times, and one season they even made it to the All Star break in first place. But each year they fall apart. They loose a couple of close games, they loose a couple more, and before you know it management has traded your favorite players to Pittsburgh for a bag of Doritos and a six pack of Iron City Ale (which sucks, by the way).

Last night the Reds’ de facto ace, Bronson Arroyo, was on the mound and he was stellar. He pitched eight innings of shutout baseball with 8 strikeouts and only 1 or 2 walks. He got a little wild in the eighth inning, so they took him out in the ninth and sent in the closer, David Weathers, with a one run lead. He promptly gave up a run to send the game into extra innings.

The Reds were deep into the bullpen with their fourth pitcher by the eleventh inning, and things weren’t good. White gave up a homerun to Nick Johnson, and the infield followed that up with a series of blunders that let the Washington Nationals take a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

It was getting late and I was tired, so I went to bed without watching the bottom of the eleventh. There was no way they could pull it out, I thought. The Reds were doomed. That’s it. Game over. Zip up your fly.

So, imagine my surprise when I checked the newspaper this morning and saw that the Reds came through in the bottom of the inning to win 5-4. The winning hit was a three run homerun by Ken Griffey Jr. who, before last night, had been on the disabled list for over a month. I imagine it was very exciting.

The Reds are certainly not the best team in baseball, and they do have a lot of questions; most notably the bullpen. But I’m beginning to believe that they finally have the confidence it takes to win. It probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but it does to me.

It’s a nice feeling.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Strange Thing

A funny thing just happened. I walked across the street to visit my drug dealer (aka the people who sell Diet Mountain Dew and Orbitz cheweing gum, which I use to mask my Tourette's-induced facial tic), and on the way back I heard the whistling solo from the song "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon. I was reminded of the scene in The Royal Tenennbaums where Gene Hackman's character at the kids dart across a busy New York street, enjoying the warmth of a fun summer day. I had the sudden urge to dart out inot traffic and put my cares to the wind. Just then a city bus blasted through the intersection in front of me at no less than 50 miles per hour.

It's a good thing I'm not impulsive.

Addendum:
Pagoda. Where's my havelina?

Pointless Essay number (previous plus one): Abortion Ideology

I recently discussed the issue of abortion with somebody, and I was left with the distinct impression that he had made up his mind about me and my opinions and my reasons for holding the opinions that I do well before the conversation started. I suspect he had made up his mind about me well before he even met me. In response to this person, all I have to say about abortion is this:

*** *** *** *** *** ***

Quick. Tell me your opinions on abortion. Go ahead. Right now. Tell me. Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Pro-death or anti-choice? Which is it? Make up your mind right now and tell me. Quickly. Let me know. It’s easy. All you have to do is say whether you think abortion ends a life or whether you believe it is just a ball of lifeless flesh that a woman should be able to get rid of without provocation from outside influences. It’s a simple decision, really. Do you believe that killing babies is ok or do you want to force women into pregnant servitude? It’s not a big deal. Just make up your mind which camp you want to be in and relay that information to me so I can conveniently compartmentalize your entire thought process into a simple box which I will lovingly and gently smash into teeny tiny little pieces for being the exact polar opposite of everything I believe. You are wrong, whichever decision you make, and I will ridicule you forever for your stupidity and heartlessness and small mindedness. So make your decision. Go ahead. But remember, whichever decision you make, it is wrong. Because you are a bad person no matter who you are, and I don’t really care about abortion, women’s rights, the life of the child, the people involved, the emotional impact, or the far reaching societal consequences of this momentous decision. All I care about is how much I hate you. So make your decision. And do it quickly.

There is a lot more blood to spill after yours.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Atheist Test

It's not exactly true, but there are parts of it that are dead on. ..
    The Pyrrhonian
    The results are in, and it appears that you have scored 44%...
    Quietly confident and aloof, the Pyrrhonian recognises that religions exist and that people subscribe to them, but manages to keep well out of it all. Pyrrhonians came to the realisation long ago that all matters of faith are beyond the scope of reason or argument, and thus retains a clear-headed skeptical approach to religion in general. They refuse to place belief in anything for which there is no proof, and regard the majority of theistic claims as irreconcilable. Leading a life of tranquility undisturbed by religious concerns, the position of the Pyrrhonian is enviable, if a little frustrating for others at times.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Decaffeinated Apocalypse

I was going to quit drinking caffeine today. I had it all planned out, too. I brought six of those Crystal Light drinks that were on sale at Kroger’s last night and I had a schedule worked out where I would have one bottle of Crystal Light and then refill it with water. This would last me most of the day, I calculated, and when I got home I would either drink a bottle of caffeine free pop or several glasses of water through dinner, play practice, and the remainder of the evening.

It’s a great plan, but it didn’t work out like I had hoped. You see, the bottle of Crystal Light was only 16oz as opposed to the 20oz bottles of Diet Mountain Dew to which I have become accustomed. I drank the first three at 8am, another one at 10 while I was at a meeting, and the last two I downed in conjunction with my lunch at noon. For the past two hours, I have sat at my desk, staring at the clock, thinking about how great it would be to have a cold bottle of Diet Mountain Dew to sip on. That’s when the headache started. It was small at first, just a tickle above my left eye, but it spread quickly across the left hemisphere of my now bald head where it currently sits, throbbing with each successive heartbeat.

So I went across the street to the Vietnamese Deli and purchased not one but two 20oz bottles of Diet Mountain Dew. The headache has lessened and if I’m lucky it will be gone by this evening, allowing me to focus on remembering my lines for the play (lest Abbie should decapitate me and feast on the remains).

All this caffeinated fun got me thinking. What would happen if there was a national emergency and suddenly we were without the niceties we currently enjoy? What if, for instance, all the power went out, or all the major us cities were destroyed in nuclear explosions? What if the Stay Puft Marshmallow man came for us all?

Those that weren’t killed in the original marshmallowy onslaught, would undoubtedly be confused for a week or so afterwards. Many would put aside their differences and band together as a community in a way similar to what we saw in the aftermath of 9/11 … for a time. Soon there would be food shortages. Soon there would be contaminated water. Soon the prescription medications would run out. Eventually, we’d all run out of our particular version of Diet Mountain Dew. And then were would we be?

I’m talking about disaster of biblical proportions. Old Testament, real, wrath of God type of stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together.

Mass Hysteria.

All because we’re too damn dependent upon Diet Mountain Dew. The sad thing is that I know all of this and yet I keep drinking the stuff. Because when you get right down to it, Diet Mountain Dew is one tasty beverage!

And my city would likely be incinerated anyway.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Professionalism and Crocs with Chainsaws

[words deleted for work-related reasons]

And here’s another good thing. Somewhere in Australia, a couple of ranchers were cutting down a tree with a chainsaw when a crocodile, who was tired of all the noise, chased them down and stole it. He then proceeded to chew on the chainsaw for over an hour and half just to get it to shut the hell up.

I feel that way about my alarm clock sometimes.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I never could get the hang of Thursdays

You ever have days when you feel like you'e an amazing asshole? That everyone around you merely tolerates your presence, waiting for that blissful moment when you are gone so they can go back to the regularly scheduled program of their lives? You ever feel like jumping into a car and disappearing, not because anything is bothering you, per se, but because you feel like you are a bother to everyone else? Even though you know in your head it isn't true, you still can't shake that feeling. It pervades all your thoughts and actions for the day, keeps you silent, makes you invisible.

I'm not a big fan of days like that.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It's an ILLUSION!

Read this article from ETV and cue the music to "The Final Countdown" ...

Illusionist DAVID COPPERFIELD's latest trick may be his most practical -- the celebrity foiled an attempted robbery using his powers of illusion.

Copperfield and two women were walking in West Palm Beach, FL when they were robbed at gunpoint. While the two women were forced to hand over their
purse and money, Copperfield did what he does best: he performed an illusion.

When the robbers told him to empty his pockets, Copperfield, who was carrying a cellphone, wallet and passport, used his sleight of hand and pulled out his pockets to reveal nothing... the contents were gone, and the robbers were none the wiser.

As the robbers fled the scene, David took down the license plate number and aided the police department in quickly apprehending the suspects, who were also linked to five other armed robberies within the same week. David himself was amazed at the fast response time and the efficiency with which the West Palm Beach police and detectives apprehended the armed suspects.


The most shocking aspect of that story is not that David Copperfield was able to foil the robbers. It was that he was able to convince not one but TWO women to hang out with him. That is a feat of magic right there.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tha Conference: Day 2

Day 2 of the conference is off to a great start. I first took part in a session about setting up OSX labs in an educational environment (shut up, Nate). I was hoping for something good after having watched the Microsoft guy crash and burn yesterday, but I was sadly left wanting. The presenters were a couple of early twentysomethings from another state university in Ohio, and rather than show examples of what they did, they instead spent an inordinate amount of time praising themselves for finding solutions to simple problems. For instance, they spent twenty minutes explaining, in detail, how they rebooted a machine. For those of you who don’t know, rebooting is very simple. If all else fails, just unplug the damn thing (don’t do that).

So they started to talk about an easy solution for maintaining software upgrades when a couple members of the audience asked if they had tried RadMind. They hadn’t heard of it. Now I’m not up on my Apple software, but I would have at least looked around for readily available systems utilities before I bragged about how smart I was in front of a group of IT professionals; especially Mac enthusiasts, who adhere to the tenets of Apple philosophy with the devotion of a Muslim.

* * * *

The second session was supposed to be on the wonders of content management systems. Unlike the previous meeting, I was actually interested in this topic. Unfortunately, the presenter spent too much time at the bar the night before and was unable to make it. We decided to have a roundtable discussion group with those few who remained, in hopes that the presenter would awake from his drunken stupor long enough to vomit web development knowledge before us. I was going to stay, because I haven’t had much experience as a CMS admin and I wanted to see if I could pick something up. Then one guy asked, “Does anybody know what a content management system is?” And another responded, “No … hey I hear they have free donuts in the lobby.”

I left after that.

* * * *

I could have gone into another classroom, but I decided instead to head across the street in search of a Diet Coke. I don’t like interrupting classes anyway. When I got downstairs, I stopped at an ATM to pick up some cash, and came across two other Microsoft Reps who wore expensive suits, slick shoes, and were in the process of arguing about whose car was nicer. One man withdrew what had to be almost $1000 from the ATM and then hurried to the local restaurant. I approached the ATM and looked at this screen, which read the following:

“Do you have another transaction? Yes. No.”

“Hmmm,” I thought to myself. “Does Bill Gates feel like paying off my student loans? He’d never notice. I could probably throw in a Mazarati (spelling?) while I’m at it!”

Don’t worry. I was honest. I told the machine there were no more transactions, withdrew 90% of my remaining balance and spent all of that on a Diet Coke across the street. Unscrupulousness is not in my nature. At least, not on Thursdays.

Now, if I come across a Xerox rep, I’ll punch him in the face and steal everything he has. It’s what Bill Gates would want.

Off to lunch…

More to Come. Check out Conference Day 1 here

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Conference Thoughts, Day 1

I am at a conference this week. So I plan to include my thoughts as they come in the following pages. I will update this page each time I have a new thought (please, no jokes about my inability to do so).

So I just ate my introductory lunch and it was interesting to watch the hierarchical structure of things. First and foremost, you had the administrators. These are the guys (and they are all men, so don’t assume that I’m using the indefinite article in this instance) who have somehow risen to the top of their perspective organizations and rest high on the hog of all that the taxpayers and various and sundry supporters of higher education can offer. They wax poetic about their self importance and contain within their minds a simplified idea of how their organizations are structured, the intricacies of the inner workings of colleges and universities, and the bloated assumption that those around them actually care what they think. These guys jumped to the front of the buffet line, no questions asked and no apologies given. They attacked the front two tables so they could be seen laughing at each presenters vapid jokes and cajoling with their brethren over the alleged levity of this afternoon’s endeavors. In conversation, they whisper vague generalities and eye the room in a mad sweep in search of somebody of greater importance than you. Faced with a conversant well versed in the art of ass kissing, they will talk for hours about their successes. Faced with a person capable of seeing through their thin veneer of intelligence, however, they take personal offense at each criticism and quickly extricate themselves from the tense situation.


Next, we have the posers. These people are the upper crust of management. They are of reasonable intelligence and at one point in their pathetic careers, they knew what they were doing and possessed a zeal and a work ethic that drove them to produce great things. But after early success, they traded in their intellectual prowess for vain grabs and large stacks of dollars, which they use to purchase large homes, fancy cars, and trophy wives/husbands. Unlike the administrators, these people know that their status in life is overvalued and that, had the driving force in their lives been truth as opposed to greed, they may have achieved a more fulfilling state. This produces a sadness that, while cleverly masked with shiny suits and polished teeth, is still plainly visible in the eyes. They sit two or three to a table near the back of the auditorium, blithely engaging in pointless conversation, forever seeking out the hotel bar or the attractive, young newcomer, whom they plan to use to fulfill self indulgent fantasies about a life that could have been.

After this we have the cynics. These people come from the same stock as the posers, but chose an alternate route. Unfortunately, their lives have been dominated by a large and unwieldy stroke of bad luck that has provided them none of the extravagant comforts of poserdom along with no intellectual opportunities. Their once bright eyed exuberance has faded, replaced by a hatred for what they do and those with whom they work. They are usually unshaven, dressed in cheap clothes fro Meijer and Target, and they spend most of their time either in quiet solitude or on long rants to coworkers about the relative stupidity of the world in comparison to themselves. This is my category, in case you were wondering.

Finally, we have the young and the restless. These are the people who graduated less than a year ago, and have finally got their claws into what they believe will be a career as opposed to just another job. Their minds are still blinded by an idealism that has been with them since birth and which was only bolstered in the façade of collegiate schoolwork. They believe that banality is beneath them and that they will reach the stratosphere of both intellectual and moral pursuits in short order. They actually believe that the remaining members of the conference are as enthusiastic as them, and they engage in conversation under this precept, allowing themselves to be sullied by the dark hearted cynicism and psychopathic tendencies of everyone else. Don’t feel bad for them, though. They will quickly realize the truth. They will soon see that all of this action today is a mere moment of the strutting and fretting Bill Shakespeare mentioned when he spoke the world as a stage and the moment each of us has in the limelight. They will realize this and then they will join the rest of us in pursuit of something we know not for reasons we can never fathom.

Our lunches finished, the master of ceremonies takes the stage. The crowd cheers. Let the game begin!

* * * *

There is a large, fat man sitting on a chair, sweating buckets. His cell phone rings incessantly and every time he answers it, he sighs with exasperation. He pops a new piece of Orbit gum in his mouth every five minutes and looks around the room as though in search of a clock which will give him a time different from that which his wristwatch states. He wants out of here as fast as he can. I feel his pain, and I hope that I am not in his position when I am nearing the end of my career. I hope that I’m on a beach somewhere warm, thinking back to a life well spent and people I loved. Either that, or I hope to find myself cut down in a hail of gunfire from some nameless thug who tried to kill the children who cower behind me and then run away, my death having given them another shot at survival.

One or the other.

* * * *

Reading through the guest list of this conference, I noticed three people with whom I used to work at a different state university in Ohio. One of these people has the unfortunate last name of “Fish,” and the equally unfortunate appearance thereof. I remember, back when I was still in their employ, I offered greater assistance to their respective offices, proposing all sorts of interesting projects and activities I could undertake. They turned me down cold. Now I am their equals. And not only that, but my position (at the larger state university in Ohio) is not in jeopardy of being cut due to the extreme budget crunch in Ohio’s collegiate system (thank you Bob Taft. No, really). I cannot say the same for them.

Revenge is dish best served, regardless of the temperature.

* * * *

There is a guy standing in the corner wearing blue jeans and a baseball cap with the logo of a large tractor trailer distributorship in eastern Ohio. Nobody wants to talk to this guy. He’s wearing the nametag and cheap lanyard they give to everyone, so we know he’s here for the conference and he’s standing next to the clock (at which everyone steals furtive glances), so we all see him. But his demeanor is of one who does not understand even the minimum décor of professionalism and he is thus banished to the realm of freaks and losers. Still, this man has a job and, given the percentage of BigWig™ attendees at this little shindig, chances are he’s relatively well versed in the information technology field and relatively well paid as well (at least, as well paid as you can be in the academic arena). This proves once and for all that, even though we pretend to be corporate, we still make room for those who think and live outside what is traditionally considered “normal.” Were that not the case, I would likely be unemployed. Or worse, I’d be flipping burgers for minimum wage at the local Burger hut.

* * * *

So the rest of the conference wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I actually learned something. And when I got tired of learning something, I gave up and worked on the next round of plays I hope to write. Everybody wins!

There was one funny moment, however. I sat in on a Microsoft demonstration of the new Windows Vista operating system. The guy, a born and bred Microsoft junkie, went on and on about how Vista makes vast improvements over XP in both usability and stability. He made particular mention of the new searching functions and file management system. Shortly thereafter, he meant to show us how the new file management / searching function works … and the machine crashed … and he couldn’t get it working again.

That was pretty damn funny, and I can just hear Nate laughing at me as I type this.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

weeeeee!












Quicktime Video. Click at own risk.

What the?

In a recent prep sheet for mathematics exam at Washington State Community College, students found the following question:

"25: Condoleeza holds a watermelon just over the edge of roof of the 300-ft Federal Building, and tosses it up with a velocity of 20 feet per second. The height of the watermelon above the ground t seconds later is given by the formula h=-16t^2 + 20t + 300."
Are you as outraged over this question as I am? I mean, seriously, what is the professor thinking? What could have possibly been going through his mind when he made that question? Come on! Everybody knows that the acceleration due to gravity is 32 feet per second, not 16! The equation should have been h=-32t^2 + 20t + 300. What the hell are they teaching kids these days?

ADDENDUM:
It turns out that I am an idiot. It would seem that the equation in question is (g/2)*t^2 + vt + h. This is why I am not an engineer.

So i was wrong. And this professor IS a racist.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Monday, April 10, 2006

Recalling History

Last week I had the privilege of attending a neat historical reading from the memoirs of Bill Yenofsky, a World War II veteran who's tour of duty took him through Africa to Rome and Germany and many points in between. Bill’s daughter Susan read her father’s words while he added a few extra words of explanation and apology throughout. You can listen to the whole thing, if you like, right here.

CACCC Update

Pat Robertson: "The problem is not that you have asthma. The problem is that you haven't been having enough sex!" [link]

Friday, April 07, 2006

More words of interest

Today is “African Tribal Drum” day in the dance studio beneath my office. Only now it has more of a Middle Eastern feel to it. Like a strange combination of some as-yet-unreleased song from Sting and a Muslim call to prayer screamed from the top of a minaret. The bass shakes the floor beneath me and the bongos provide a running rat-a-tat-tat which dances over the singers, who belt out melodious soprano melodies in strange languages I don’t understand.

It’s really quite cool.

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In response to yesterday’s missive on the dualistic nature of Christ, I received this happy e-mail:

“I hate it when you creationists try to pretend you know what you’re talking about. Adam didn’t live with God in the garden of Eden. There is no God. Darwin was right and you are wrong.”

I was shocked when I received this, mostly because I had no idea that people actually read this site. At best, I had hoped that a few of you might print it out and use the pages to line the bottoms of your bird cages. But even that requires work, and I assumed it was probably just too much to handle.

Seriously, though. I wasn’t talking about creation versus evolution. I was talking about God’s relationship with man as it is described in the Bible. It’s a story, and as with any story you can include descriptions that are factual, metaphorical, symbolic, and a whole bunch of other literary terms I never bothered to learn. In the case of evolution and creation, I have to say that it doesn’t matter to me whether it was strict creationism as some believe or some subset of the standard opinions on evolution as others, myself included, will state. Either way, the creation versus evolution debate says nothing about the existence of God or his interaction with humanity unless you either have an overvalued perspective of the significance of your scientific opinion or a strict, formulaic understanding of scripture.

Granted, there are a few things about evolution I don’t understand; macroevolution, in particular. I believe Kurt Vonnegut said it best in his book Timequake when he said, “Believing in evolution is like believing a tornado could rip through a junkyard and build a Boeing 747.” Some of it just seems a bit far fetched. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. And I am more than man enough to admit that I’m too stupid to figure it out.

With respect to religion, however, there are only two types of people who have problems with evolution and Christianity. There are those who have been taught the tenets of strict creationism since birth and have never questioned its validity, and there are those who believe in a strict, literal, and formulaic interpretation of scripture. I reject both ways of thinking, so lumping me in with that crowd is small minded. You should have asked a question first, instead of jumping to conclusions.

My interpretation of scripture, that relational story I mentioned in my last post, leaves room for both evolution and God. And if it ultimately isn’t evolution, I think it’s obvious that there will be some sort of scientific explanation for how the world developed from the Big Bang to where we are now. After all, there seems to be a scientific explanation for almost everything else, right? Science doesn’t preclude God and God doesn’t preclude science. I believe that God, being the definition of truth and logic (and many many other things) would likely use science in his creation schema. And if not evolution, then something else equally as confusing.

Like I said, I’m too stupid to figure it out.

My main point in the previous post was not to claim that evolution is wrong. It was to claim that when you look at scripture with the idea of a story in mind, you can contemplate the deeper meanings the authors intended. When you look at things literally, without respect to the whole of human nature and how we view the world, it doesn’t make sense. And you envision a lot of useless debates that need not exist.

With regard to your second statement, “God does not exist,” I have only this to say. What reason(s) lead you to this conclusion? I welcome your response.

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I’m ready for the weekend. So here’s a picture of a sad pickle.