The thoughts, views and opinions expressed in the posts and comments of this blog are the product of the author alone. Nothing expressed here is intended to represent any person or entity other than the author. Everything here should be understood as the personal opinions of the author. No information on this blog will be understood as official in any capacity.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Stone soup...

Everybody, I hope, has heard the story of stone soup.

You remember...

The story is the one in which everybody in the village or wherever is getting pretty hungry because no one's crops did very well that year. One day, random-lady-A starts telling everyone how she is going to make an old family recipe called stone soup. Stone soup is this wonderful concoction her great-great-great grandmother created. It never comes out quite the same way twice because you just throw in a little of whatever you happen to have on hand but it invariably comes out as a wonderfully flavorful dish that everyone enjoys.

Well, as the story goes on, all these neighbors she has been talking to start salivating and, soon enough, everyone around has a hankerin' to try this stone soup stuff. One by one the neighbors start to surreptitiously show up at the house as she cooks. Each of them, as they arrive, just happens to have something with them to add to the soup. One person has carrots, another some broccoli. Hank, from down the way, brought a rabbit that he had caught earlier that day. I like to think that the chef of our story breathed out a heavy sigh of relief when, finally, Delores comes in with a couple heads of garlic...

Obviously, as each person comes in the house, another ingredient is added to the pot. Everyone is being social and the excitement over the soup continues to grow. In time, this glorious soup takes a shape spiced by friendship and flavored with love. Everyone gets to have some and, more importantly, everybody leaves full and more than satisfied. Hank even gets to take some home for his dog.

The moral of the story as I understand it is not, as some of you may think, that a woman with a rock and a well gets to eat for free. Rather, it comes down, basically, to the fact that there is wealth to be found in friendship and that love and camaraderie is enough to sustain us.

I don't know exactly how I feel about all that but I was afforded the opportunity earlier today to create and serve a communal meal.

It was pretty neat to get to take ingredients from different households and combine them to make a meal to share amongst a group. Each of us added something to the concoction and, when everything was said and done, all of us got to share a delicious meal with friends where everyone was able to contribute.

It was fun.

I look forward to doing communal meals again in the future and I will let y'all know how it comes together.

Cooking is like making love, you do it well, or you do not do it as all.
-Harriet van Horne-

Note to readers... I am aware of the fact that there are dozens of versions of the story of stone soup. I have read some involving a soldier or even a small group of soldiers. I even remember one from when I was a kid where the chef in the story was a hen. In my world, it was the same Little Led Hen who baked bread all by her self in an effort to teach the other farm animals not to be lazy bastards.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Believe...

I believe in magic. I believe it is there for us to harness and ride as soon as we accept it as real. I believe we should get on that, before it's too late.

I believe Dragons and Unicorns are constantly lurking just around the next bend. I believe we can see them if we just remember how to look properly.

I believe that friends are the most important thing and that to have friends means to be a friend.

I believe that whatever we set our minds to is, indeed, possible. I do not believe that there are limits to this fact. I also believe that those people who do strive to put limits to this should be kept away from the rest of us because they are dragging our asses down.

I believe that we can be who we want simply because we want to. Furthermore, I believe that anyone who tries to tell us it is wrong to be who we are, should be beaten with a stick until they come around or cease inhabiting our universe; whichever comes first.

I believe that hard work and dedication can overcome all obstacles. I believe that, properly recognized and encouraged, a person who shows themselves to be capable of both traits can rule their world with an iron fist balanced by ultimate tenderness.

I believe that all problems can be solved. I believe that human ingenuity is such that, by bending our will to a problem, we can overcome the insurmountable.

I believe that anything is possible. I believe that in our trek to the stars, we will confront our limits and exceed them on the strength of our sheer stubbornness alone.

I believe in monsters. I believe they are hiding just out of sight to ruthlessly pounce on the unwary. I believe that, armed with a fire poker, said monster can be permanently banished.

I believe that the world is full of stupid people who are unaware of their own stupidity. I believe that, every once in a while, every single one of us is guilty of being one of those stupid people. I believe our truest friends should smack us with a rolled up newspaper whenever we cross that line.

I believe that love is real and in many guises. I believe that love is returned to us by its very recognition. I believe that, when we find someone we love, we should cherish them and go out of our way to keep them safe; not sheltered.

I believe that smothering someone is just as dangerous as ignoring them. I believe that the adage, "Keep thy friends close and thine enemy closer," deserves to be reinterpreted as "try to befriend everyone".

I believe in fairies. I believe they are closer than we believe and more substantial than we imagine. I believe their headquarters is just up the way, beyond the deer-head in the road. I believe the wisest course is to heed the warning.

I believe that kindness is not always the best course. I believe that kindness can be a hindrance in large enough quantities and that it should be carefully tempered by truth.

I believe that, sometimes, violence is the answer. I believe that on occasion a little bit of violence can save a great deal of pain and that, in those rare instances, the violence should be freed of its shackles and chains and let loose until the other side of understanding can be reached.

I believe that every person we meet is meant to be either a friend or an estranged acquaintance. I believe nothing is wrong with either and that the only difference between the two is in their levels of understanding.

I believe that it is important to hold true to our individual beliefs. I believe that anyone who insists your beliefs are wrong should be forced to sit in a chair and examine their own faith until they understand where they've left the path.

I believe that understanding can be accomplished through a delicate combination of listening and hearing. I believe that, by refusing to be open to understanding others, we close ourselves off and, ultimately, make ourselves poorer for our ignorance.

I believe that knowledge is wealth and that no flavor of knowledge is exempted from this fact. I believe that by learning all we can while we are here, we prepare ourselves to move beyond.

I believe that spiritualism is every bit as valid as faith. I believe that they are one and the same and are all but interchangeable. I believe that it is a basic part of the human condition to rely on one or the other to help us see more clearly.

I believe that anger is no excuse for cruelty and that cruelty is an unacceptable byproduct of fear. I truly believe that fear can be overcome and that it is in an individual's best interest to do so.

I believe that ignorance is bliss but wisdom is joy and, while each person should be allowed to choose their own path, each person should also be educated and made aware that it is, in fact, a choice.

I believe that, sometimes, the best way to find the path is to travel more deeply into the woods. I believe that darkness is the easiest place to find the light.

I believe that the opposite of death is creation.

I believe that occasionally examining our beliefs helps us to better know ourselves.

I believe that every thing of beauty is both magical and majestic and that we owe it to ourselves to bask in their existence and be enriched by them

What do you believe?

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
-Gail Devers-

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


As it turns out, November is National Novel Writing Month. What that means is that every person who has ever even considered writing a novel is being encouraged to spew forth anything they can in an attempt to write a novel between November first and thirtieth.

In other words, no one is going to be reading this post because everyone is too busy putting their every thought in print.

The goal is 175 pages or 50,000 words. Broken down it is about a million words a day.

I have been challenged by several friends (These particular friends shall remain nameless. We will simply call them "the bastards" for the purposes of this post.) to join in the festivities and see what I can come up with.

The bastards are all writing their novels this month as well so, in an effort to avoid looking like a pussy, I have to try as well.

I am starting a little bit late and, so far, have only about 500 words down. I have nothing resembling a plan here so I am going to do what I can with what I already have floating around in my head. For those of you who know me best, that may be more than a little bit scary to think about.

What all this means to you is that blog posts are likely to be intermittent at best. (This is probably true for some of the other blogs you follow as well. Just in case you are wondering where your other favorite blogger has disappeared to.

Have no fear though... I will be popping in here on occasion to bitch about my slow progress and how crappy this unedited shit I am putting out is. Hopefully, as December and January roll around, I will be putting up some more positive posts about how things weren't as bad as I previously thought and how, now that I am editing it, my story may be shaping up into something like a halfway decent pile of shit.


Just thought I would tell you all what I was up to so that you could make fun of me for it. Especially if I don't manage to come through the finish line. (That's right... Do I know how to motivate myself or what!)

In closing, I love you all and hope this whole thing pays out in the long run. Positive energies and all that. Hooray for forward momentum and then like. Be good. Stay out of trouble. And try not to forget to laugh out loud!

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.
-Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith-

Saturday, October 31, 2009

That's just wrong...

Let me start by introducing the topic of this blog...

There are more things wrong with this video than I can count but let me point out a few things that make my scalp itch.

Why don't I start at the beginning. The yellow-orange/brown combination is bad. No one has ever looked good in this combination of colors. If you aren't forced to wear these colors together by something like school spirt, don't. If they really are your school colors, do what you can to make your parents move. Your school is going to loose and you have a better chance at a scholarship playing for a better team anyway.

Then there is the performance. Let's be honest from the start. Ventriloquists are moderately creepy on their own and their dummies don't help improve things. I don't care who you are, if you disagree with that basic truth, you need to see a counselor. Sooner would be better. At the very least, please get help before you breed. It would be wrong of you to subject a child to something so heinous.

Now let's take a look at the ventriloquists themselves. Oh gods... There isn't a single one who isn't creepy beyond imagining. First, there is open mouth dude. You seem to be trying to smile but, clearly, it is a grimace and not to be mistaken for any kind of sign of pleasure. We can see your clenched jaw and flappy tongue. We can even see the tear forming in the corner of your eye. You know, the one you have been trying to hold back since you were seven?... Just let it go and put the dummy away.

Then there is "guy with the smile". Frankly sir, you need to have your head kept in a bag, with or without a dummy. You are creepy and I can feel my insides roiling and becoming pasty with sickness when I see you. Nothing you can do will be able to fix the problem anymore. Let the dummy go and go become a clown. At least they are acceptably creepy.

Big bushy mustache man... SHAVE! We can see your mouth moving even through that monster you have on your upper lip. I understand that you think it helps mask the fact that you are talking for your doll but you are wrong. You aren't fooling anyone anyway so why try?

Guy in the back row?... You have been doing this way too long. It seems clear to me that the dummy is, possibly, your only friend and that you are very fond of him. You are probably the best in the group in doing what you do but that only makes things more sad. I am sorry for whatever your parents or foster parents may have done to you when you were growing up that caused you to be so horribly broken but I am sure there is a medication that will help.

I haven't got the stomach to go through all of them individually but I think it is fairly obvious that nothing here is right. Seriously. Nothing.

There is one more thing that I have to point out about this video. Sadly, I think that this may be the most disturbing part of all. I have no idea what might be being said in the end but I am pretty sure I caught the name of the network.


I know NBC has been going down hill for a while now and, according to some sources, may be dying entirely if they don't do something different. Here is an idea guys... STOP ALLOWING SHIT LIKE THIS TO EXIST ON YOUR NETWORK!!!!!

Sorry to yell like that but seriously, the answer is to find better programming and not to show things that scare away the few viewers you have left. I may be able to help with this. Fire both, the person who canceled "Life" and the person responsible for this atrocity. Within moments, the average intelligence in your offices will improve and then you can start looking for a way to turn things around. If you need more help, contact me. I will happily do what I can for you for a modest salary.

Anyway, sorry to have put you all through that video but I suffered through it and so you had to as well. Have fun!

Facts are ventriloquists dummies. Sitting on a wise man's knee they may be made to utter words of wisdom; elsewhere, they say nothing or talk nonsense, or indulge in sheer diabolism.
-Aldous Huxley-

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I have nothing much to say this time around. I really think it would do each and every one of us good to read/hear/watch this at least once if not every day.

Please. Please pay attention and actually take this in. Please think about it honestly and deeply. Please show it to your friends and ask them to really consider it as well.

Watch this all the way through. Really. It is important.

The world we live in today is scary. We need to change something to save us from ourselves. Maybe, with this, we can start with ourselves and the change can flow outward.

Without further ado, Lost Generation by Jonathan Reed.

I am not going to to end with a quote this time. I am going to beg you, one more time, to share this.

Thank you.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I just had a conversation with a neighbor/friend person I know and something came up that just won't leave my brain alone. I am going to share this with you in the hopes that it helps to quiet the screaming the voices are doing inside my head.

She shared a story wherein she took a friend of hers down to "the river" to go camping. Well, as it turns out this particular water has no water in it. Ergo, no river.

Oh gods did things ever take a turn.

First of all, do not tell me that I am not "country" enough to understand that it's still a river. It is NOT still a river. Rivers have water in them. Rivers HAVE to have water in them. It's what makes them a gods-damned river! If there is no water then it is a dried up river bed. It is not, I repeat NOT still a river when there is no water flowing through it!

That is something like saying to me, "Hey, what do you think of all this rain? Kinda dry, isn't it?"

No! No it isn't fucking dry! It is rain! Rain is water, water is wet! Go to your corner and HIT YOURSELF until you learn something. I don't care what you learn. The important thing is that when you come back to speak to me, you need to be smarter or I can't be held responsible for my actions.

Now... If you want to say something like, "Well, we just all call it the river," fine. You are still wrong but I can accept that you refer to it that way and let it go. But for fucks sake, don't you DARE tell me I am wrong for insisting that a river has water.

Let's go ask Erin at Wordnik again and see what they have to say.

  1. noun A large natural stream of water emptying into an ocean, lake, or other body of water and usually fed along its course by converging tributaries.
  2. noun A stream or abundant flow.
I feel I need to take a moment and point out a couple of key words I noticed in there, just in case you might have missed them...

Item number the first: ~Water~

Item number the second: ~Flow~

I would take a moment to point out the words abundant or stream but then I have to look up more definitions with more words to point out and so on and so on... It would lead to stress, anarchy, plagues of frogs, zombie wars, locusts (::cringe::) and the eventual demise of civilization and I just can't fucking take it.

::Deep breath...::


Seriously now though, I could have left it alone if it weren't for the phrase, "You don't know what you're talkin' about. You just aren't country enough..."

This is why people assume country folk are morons!

I have known plenty of people in the south and many more in the country. Some of them have even affected that bumpkin like speech pattern where they sound kind of like they are just too damned lazy to finish forming the words. I have to tell you though, some of those people are pretty damned smart! I will just about guarantee that any one of them can tell me about things I know nothing about.

What I am trying to say here is this. I am a very smart guy but I am more than willing to accept that there are things you know more about than I do. If you would care to correct or educate me on any one of those things, I welcome the chance to expand my personal knowledge. (Alright, honestly I am a bit of a know-it-all. But I swear, once I realize you are right and I am wrong, I will not only admit it but I will then apologize for ever having insisted I was correct in the first place.)

But never, ever, tell me that I am wrong on something that gods damned simple. Especially not when there are any number of ways to look and prove the truth.

So, to sum up... This is a river

This, is not a river.

Did everybody catch the difference? I hope it wasn't too subtle. (Just in case... The second one is DRY!)

You don't drown by falling into water. You drown by staying there.
-Robert Allen-

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Perception and Reality...

I think, at this point, that it is largely accepted as fact that our perception shapes our reality. That what I perceive to be true is not necessarily the same as the truth perceived by the person sitting next to me.

I think about this more often than I care to admit. If truth be told, I probably think about it a fair bit more than would probably be considered healthy by some. Even so, I give it a lot of thought.

Just about every time I sit down here to write a blog, I consider how I might be able to discuss reality, perception and truth. Unfortunately, I find that the answer to how I might do that lends itself to the probability that I would need to devote a whole new blog to the topic. Maybe I will do that some day. :p

For now, I want to share something with you that touches on perception and reality at their very root.

I am certain I have mentioned in passing the existance of something called TED talks. TED is the modern day forum where people with great minds and great thoughts gather to share their views on pretty much everything there is. I am not sure I will ever get around to searching the TED database in it's entirety but I do try to watch the talks that appeal to me.

I recommend the site to anyone out there who happens to have an interest in anything. But for now, I am going to share with you a talk I found that relates to the topic at hand.


Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
-Albert Einstein-

Tuesday, October 13, 2009



The American Heritage Dictionary (via Wordnik) defines the word friend as follows.

1. noun A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.

It goes on from there to define the word at various other levels but I think I am going to stick with the original for what I want to talk about. I do think it worth mentioning one other entry from the good old AHD which is as follows...

7. Word History: A friend is a lover, literally. The relationship between Latin amīcus "friend” and amō "I love” is clear, as is the relationship between Greek philos "friend” and phileō "I love.” In English, though, we have to go back a millennium before we see the verb related to friend. At that time, frēond, the Old English word for "friend,” was simply the present participle of the verb frēon, "to love.” The Germanic root behind this verb is *frī-, which meant "to like, love, be friendly to.” Closely linked to these concepts is that of "peace,” and in fact Germanic made a noun from this root, *frithu-, meaning exactly that. Ultimately descended from this noun are the personal names Frederick, "peaceful ruler,” and Siegfried, ”victory peace.” The root also shows up in the name of the Germanic deity Frigg, the goddess of love, who lives on today in the word Friday, "day of Frigg,” from an ancient translation of Latin Veneris diēs, "day of Venus.”

Damn! That is some interesting stuff! I am, by no means, a lexicographer. (I learned that word from Erin McKean. If you don't know who this wonderful woman is, I recommend meeting her here. She is also the entrepreneur behind Wordnik, a website dedicated to reshaping the dictionary to better fit in the current age. I encourage you all to check it out and offer your support!) But come on! The history and roots of our language are amazing!

Anyway... I guess that, in an effort to break all of that down to basics, friends are people you love.

Alright, I can get on board with that. Let me take a look at how that definition fits into my life.

I have tons of friends! Holy shit! Who knew!??

Seriously though... I have friends from every place I have lived over the years. I am going to set aside the trust thing for now (I have issues, alright?) and just focus on the people I love.

Family? Check! I may not be as close to them as many people are to their families but, whether from years of shared experiences or due to genuine connections I have formed with them throughout my life, I do indeed love most of my family. By the definition we are working with, my family members are my friends.

People I knew growing up? Check again! I will be honest here and say right off the bat that I don't really talk to many people from my childhood. (For the sake of this definition we will call my childhood anything that took place before I turned... Oh... Let's say around 13 or so.) When I really stop to think about it though, yes. Yes, there are still people from my childhood whom I love. Kieth, Jason, Duff... I may not be involved in, or even aware of their lives anymore, but I do still feel love for them. At least enough so that, if I found out they were in town, I would veritably jump at the chance to sit down and visit with them over coffee. Maybe even enough that, given the opportunity, I would happily reaffirm and revisit our friendship in the context of our lives.

So, from what I can tell I have about a hundred friends so far and I am just getting into my teens. Lets take a look at the next phase of my life.

Adolescence? Absolutely. There are a few people from this period of my life whose lives have become so inter-meshed with mine over the years that I dont think I will ever be rid of them! In particular Paul, Bob and Janelle. I see them far too infrequently and talk to them only a little more but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that these people are my friends. There are of course others, but these are the people who, if I ever needed a shoulder to cry on, they would not flinch from me in the least. More importantly, they know that should the need ever arise, I would do the same for them.

Moving right along... Eventually I moved out of high school and into college. I have to admit, I didn't do too well at living this phase of my life and, in retrospect, I can't say that I genuinely formed any bonds there. That isn't to say that the people there weren't worth bonding with. To the contrary, I do actually harbor some sadness that I am unable to name any of the people I knew then as friends. Maybe, (Hopefully?) some of them do consider me a friend and one day I will be able to return that bond when chance and circumstance permit.

::sniffle:: Alright, better get over it and move forward.

I can't think of an effective way to break down the years since school ended so it looks like the remainder of my life gets to get all thrown together.

Adulthood? Ohhh yeah. I have had any number of jobs over the years and at each and every one of them I have formed some kind of lasting love for someone. Some of those friends are people I am still sporadically in touch with. Others I haven't heard from in years but the list in my head of the people I have loved, and continue to love, in my adulthood are too numerous and too varied to even begin to list off. Suffice it to say that if any one of them ever needed my help with something and I were in a position to give them the help they needed, I would do so without batting an eye.

Scarily enough, I still have a couple of life periods (as I reckon these things) to touch on. Don't worry, I will do my best to be brief. (Insert rather long winded aside here. :p)

Tennessee? Oh hell yes. I only lived in Tennessee for about a year (this time around) but I do believe I made some lasting friendships there. I will admit readily that I am not the best at keeping in touch with any of them but I do genuinely try. More importantly, they know that and make an effort to remain in touch with me as well. I have to say in all honesty that, when I was with my friends in Tennessee was the time when I felt closest to a group of people. That group doesn't exist anymore and I still love each and every individual I had there. But when I look back with wonder and nostalgia in my eye, it is most often the group that I miss most.

Which brings us, finally, to the present. The present in this instance consists of the last two and a half years or so. To be more specific, the time I have lived here, in Austin. It has taken me a good deal of time to start developing friends here due mainly to my lack of social ambition. I am consciously working on that these days and, upon examination, I seem to be doing better than I had thought. I have several people with whom I am able to sit and converse on a variety of levels and topics and, as time goes on, some of them do seem to be turning into genuine friends and people I love. Each of them I think (and hope) knows who they are and, I hope, feels the same way toward me.

There is one person, however, from this most recent stage of my life, who deserves special mention. I have found through this time the one person I have been closest to. My roommate Manda and I have been living together since my arrival here and it has been wonderful. For the first time in my life, I have a person who I can genuinely connect with regularly and who I trust to be there as my support and sounding stone whether I need her to be or not. Even more amazingly, she has grown into someone who, even when I want to kill her for it, will tell me the honest and unadulterated truth. Someone for whom I can express both respect and love.

That isn't to say there aren't times when we drive one another insane or to the brink of homicide. The important thing is that we have both grown into our selves in such a way as to be able to accept the idiosyncrasies of one another. We have created a home together hinging on mutual respect and support and we are continuing to grow together now and for the foreseeable future.

If you find yourself without a person like this in your life, I truly hope you are able to meet one someday. Whether they be a friend, lover, sibling, spouse, parent or child, this truest of friends is someone to cherish so be sure that you do so. If you don't cherish them as they so richly deserve, I will find you. I mean it. And you really really don't want me to do that.

And so, in closing, I have friends. I am betting that you do too. I recommend that you take a moment now and then to take stock of that fact and relish it wholeheartedly.

A friend may well be the masterpiece of Nature.

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.

The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson- four separate quotes from one amazing mind

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I got an email the other day from my little sister. This fact, in and of itself, was both surprising and pleasing but when I read the message she had sent I had to stop for a few minutes to think of a way to respond.

My sister is 13 years old now and is a freshman in high school. (Yikes! That is scarier than I care to admit.) I was 17 when she was born so, while we may have lived under the same roof for a few years, we were never exactly close as siblings. By the time she was old enough to be self aware I had already stared striking out to begin my own life. In fact, over the last few years, I have seen her only when I have been able to fly back home for my (rather infrequent) visits.

Not withstanding our lack of closeness, I have always held at least a modicum of sway over her tastes and preferences. I mean, I introduced her to Rocky Horror Picture Show when she was around three and she keeps viewing it regularly this day. (Note to self: Check with sister to learn current number of viewings to date.)

I also helped formulate her musical tastes by introducing her to music I myself enjoy. Perhaps it isn't surprising that she sent me a message asking me for feedback and ideas pertaining to new music that she should listen to and enjoy. What was surprising was the reason...

Apparently, my sister is striving to become an individual. She wants to set herself apart from her peers by having her own tastes and such.

I can get behind that to a point so I sent her some ideas. I recommended listening to several different musical genres that are less mainstream than she would generally hear on the radio. In particular, I mentioned show-tunes (a long time favorite of mine), along with classical and opera as being something new for her to check. I also recommended that she listen to some oldies just because, well, they are awesome and I think everyone ought to be able to find some kind of oldies to enjoy. Hell... If it has withstood the years and is still something people want to hear then there almost has to be something in it worth listening to!

Anyway, all that being said I think that there is something more important to keep in mind. Being an individual means more than just liking things that other people don't like or are unexposed to. Being an individual does encompass that but it is also having the courage and strength of character to hold to your own personal preferences. That includes the times when everyone else likes it too.

Just because everyone likes something does not devalue it as a thing to like. Distinguishing yourself as an individual by disregarding that in which others see merit is both ignorant and stunting. (I considered making a goth or indie dig here... Something regarding the uniform of non-conformity or some-such nonsense... But then I realized it would open a whole other can of worms that I just don't have the attention span to tackle right now.)

Not that you have to like things because everyone does. That is just ignorance in the opposite (and more frequent) direction. All I am saying is that, before disregarding something based on the preference of others, a person owes it to themselves to give it their attention and thought in an effort to decide for themselves whether or not they can see it's merit.

I suppose that what it comes down to is that individualism is something that is based solely on self. If you really truly wish to be an individual then you have to be honest, introspective and strong.

In other words...

You have to like what you like without regard to the opinions of others.

And let's face it here... Ignorance is no bar to individualism. Not knowing something is not the same as pretending that you either do or do not like something.

Yeah... I think I had it right... Honest, introspective and strong (courageous?) enough to hold tight to your own individual truth.

It is nice if you can do all that without trying to ram your opinions down the throats of others too. Doing so doesn't disqualify you from the "I'm an Individual" club... But it does grant you membership to the "I'm an Individual Who Thinks My Opinion is Better than Yours" club. I like to call that one "I Need My Ass Kicked" for short.

And for fucks sake... If you ever hear yourself utter the words, "In my humble opinion," please... Just stop there. If it is humble keep it to yourself. If you think it is worth sharing, well then, it isn't humble. That's fine, really, but don't bloody well lie about it. You aren't fooling anyone, you know.

It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.
-Giordano Bruno-

Saturday, October 3, 2009

May Contain Spoilers... 4 of 4

I think I am going to try to keep this section short and sweet. This is going to cover two categories. First, off season shows or shows that show during the summer. Then I am going to rattle off a couple of British shows that are worth looking at. Then I am going to go pass out.

So off season shows...

Well for starters there is True Blood. After two seasons I still can't decide that I like this show but I can be damn sure I can't stop watching it. I don't particularly care for either lead role but I am loving the hell out of the supporting cast. If vampires are real then magic must be real. They need to find a way to bring Godric back. Just sayin.

And Leverage! Hitter, hacker, grifter, thief... Throw in a mastermind and you have an outstanding ensemble show with the potential to go anywhere! The characterizations here absolutely live up to any hype you may have heard. And on the off chance you haven't heard any, consider this hype. Rumor has it that this show has already been renewed beyond the second season but from what I can see, there are still three unaired and unscheduled episodes of season two! If anyone knows what in the world is going on here please let me know!

The one new summer show I found this year was put out on Syfy. (What the hell was wrong with scifi by the way?) Warehouse 13 is a little bit more flighty and a lot less serious than most shows of its ilk but, certainly, no less entertaining for that. It centers around a team of agents who work at recovering artifacts that are, through various methods, imbued with special powers. If it sounds hokey, it is but seriously, well worth watching. (And on a random note, I love that Claudia is a regular character. I didn't think that was going to happen and was thrilled when it did.)

Ok... Off season shows covered... Lets spend just a moment talking about some foreign programs.

By some, I mean two and by foreign I mean from the BBC. (What!? I can only speak English so I am limited on my foreign viewing capabilities!)

First off, a show some of you may have noticed on NBC over the summer, Merlin. It is a period piece which means armor and old fashioned looking costumes. It also means that it will probably never really catch on here in the states but in the UK, it has been renewed for a second season and I am looking forward to it wholeheartedly. As the name implies, it is a re-imagining of the Arthurian legend from a point of view centering around Merlin. What you don't get from the title is the fact that they are young, magic of any kind is outlawed, Uther Pendragon is still the king and Arthur is still being shaped by his experiences into the legendary ruler we know. If you know the legends you know most of the characters and if you don't know them, well, this seems like as good a way as any to fall in love with the magic and majesty that have captivated people for centuries!

And finally, before I pass out, I would like to tell you about a show centering around three housemates in Bristol, England. the show is actually surprisingly deep and amazingly done. It has inner conflict, external conflict, good guys, bad guys and enough drama that sometimes it isn't entirely clear which character is on which side. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention... The three main characters are a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost. Being Human is actually a bloody amazing show in spite of (or because of), well, everything about it! :p

That having been said, I am going to go pass out... Happy viewing! See you soon!

May Contain Spoilers... 3 of 4

New shows...

There are a few programs this season that have piqued my interest. I dont know quite as much about them as I do about the ones I have been watching for longer (duh) but I will give you what I can.

First things first, The Forgotten. Christian Slater (yep, swear to god, Christian Slater) is leading a band of volunteers who help to identify corpses. I will warn you, this i s both more and less strange than it sounds. The Forgotten is apparently a vast network of these volunteers who pick up where the police leave off. When the cops run out of leads these guys do all kinds of whacky research to identify a victim and then help bring the killer to justice. I suppose that it is kind of a new take on a cop drama but it is one I can stand behind. (Notice that none of the Law and Order shows make my list anywhere. It isn't that I don't like the shows, just that I think they have been overdone to the point of no return.)

The next show I have found this year with the potential to hold my attention is called Flash Forward. Imagine that you are driving along one day when suddenly you black out for 2 minutes and 47 seconds. Only you don't really black out. You actually flash forward 6 months and see where you will be and what you will be doing. And you aren't the only one! Every. Single. Person. on the face of the PLANET goes through the same thing. And as one little girl puts it when she trys to describe her "dream", "I dreamed there were no more good days." ... Damn...

Now everyone has to figure out what they did or didn't do and how to change it to avoid the hell that the future looked like it was going to be. And while we are at it, maybe we can figure out just what the HELL just happened here!

Oh, and by the way... An object in motion stays in motion... So when your flashback ends the world looks like Armageddon thanks to all the cars piled up and helicopters and planes that crashed and god knows what all else can go wrong in two and a half minutes... Shit, it is going to take a whole season just to straighten everything out, never mind reach a conclusion!

Then there is Glee. I don't want to like it... I don't want to like it... But I am a theater person from way back. Something about showtunes is lust making this irresistible tome.

Phew... Alright... I am calm. There are only three other shows to tell you about in the new category and I am not sure how I feel about any of them yet.

To begin with, Vampire Diaries. On the plus side, they aren't sparkly vampires. On the negative side, Glee is already stretching my ability to put up with high school drama. Conclusion... There is potential there, but I don't think I am going to be able to stick it out long enough for it to come to fruition. I hope you like it though!

Next we have Cougar Town. Pros: Not (primarily) high school drama. Cons: Primarily 40 year old recently divorced woman drama. Conclusion... Aww hell, the jury is still out on this one. I will stick it out a little longer in the hopes that it works for me.

And finally, Eastwick. You have heard of the Witches of Eastwick, I hope. Well, that is the basis. Kind of a cool concept I think. The good part is that the witches are all hot and (I think) decent actresses. Sadly, the Devil is the antithesis of this fact. At this point I am hoping that the director or someone is able to fix that fact as the season progresses. I would truly hate to have to hate a show because of a bad Devil. Hell, call the guy that played the Devil in Reaper! He was an outstanding evil and I can almost see that type of devil fitting here!

Ok... Almost done here... One more section and I can go to bed!

May Contain Spoilers... 2 of 4

Alright... Now on to greener pastures with shows that are still alive and kicking and need your support to return for even more hours of entertainment.

I am fairly certain that I am not alone in mourning the late Doctor George O'Malley but even so, I was excited to see Grey's Anatomy return for a sixth season. Season five was unbelievable and I doubt that they can keep up the heart-stopping dramatic pace they have been keeping but I am willing to watch it as long as they do. My biggest fear here is that they are going to over-extend and wind up sucking. Here is to keeping my fingers crossed that that doesn't happen.

Also returning this seasons are some of my favorites...

Supernatural, where Sam and Dean Winchester are trying to save the world from the apocalypse that they maybe kinda sort-of almost started.

Smallville, the retelling of the Superman mythos from way back in high school. Clark and Lex were best friends for years before becoming the most bitter of enemies. The Justice League is steadily forming around Clark and just last year they finally openly recognized the budding romance between he and Lois Lane. I haven't the faintest idea where season nine is going to take us but I for one am waiting with baited breath to see him finally don his costume and become the hero we all know and love. (Maybe this season they will find a way to have Bruce Wayne make an appearance. HINT!)

And let me not forget to mention Dollhouse! This show was last season's underachiever but thanks in no small part to the success of Joss Whedon's other shows it managed to get renewed for a second go at it. I cannot express just how much I urge you to watch this show on a regular basis. I don't care whether you watch it on your television, Hulu, Tivo or any other means. Just make sure you do watch it somewhere where it is counted. Please don't just download it. Downloading this show will hurt its ratings and we can't afford that is we are going to see it come back again. (Oh hell... Download it too, just set it to run on Hulu or something while you wait!)

Speaking of Joss (Hrmm... Seems I do that more than I realized...), David Boreanaz (Angel, you know, from Angel) is back for season number something on Bones and Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal Reynolds from Firefly... Duh...) is back for season 2 of Castle. Both shows are very worth checking out. I encourage you to go do so now!

Of course, also returning this year is Heroes. I have to admit, I have started getting a little but disenfranchised with this show over the last two or three seasons but this season has one big thing going for it in my eyes. Robert Knepper. Robert is one of those rare actors that is incredibly hard to recognise because he totally becomes his character. He stands out wonderfully in any role he plays but he is memorable as the role, not as himself. Does that make sense? Probably not... Bottom line: Any show with anyone from Carnivale is worth my time. Yours too! (If you are unfamiliar with Carnivale, fix the problem. I haven't the time, energy or heart to explain to you how devastating it was when it went off the air. You will love me for making you start it and then you can hate me when you see how it ends.)

The Big Bang Theory has exceeded my expectations as well. Geeks, Comics, Science, Hot Girls, Superheros... The list goes on and on as to why this show is as awsome as it is. I cannot possibly sum it up effectively for you other than to say one word. Sheldon. Watch the show, you will see what I mean.

And finally... Last years break out hit (in my opinion at least)... Fringe. At its core, this is a new, exciting twist on The X-files but as it plays out it is becoming much more with potential to go even farther. Walter is absolutely amazing and the entire rest of the cast matches him beat for beat. Even his son, Peter! (Joshua Jackson... The kid from Dawson's Creek. Not Dawson, the other one! Percy! Who would have thought the little S.O.B. would ever learn how to act?)

Seriously folks... If you haven't seen Fringe, do so. It is well worth the time of anyone who is interested in just about any genre of television there is.

Alright... That brings us to new shows...

May Contain Spoilers... 1 of 4

I don't own a television but let's face it... There are some damned fine shows out there that are most definitely worth watching.

Thankfully, we live in an age filled with computers and technology so there are other avenues available to us.

I am not going to expend the time or energy listing out to you the multitude of choices available for online viewing of television shows. Suffice it to say that if you want to see it badly enough, I am fairly certain that you can manage to do so.

If you just plain aren't sure what to watch, or if you want to add something outstanding to your already viewing schedule, please, allow me to share some of my favorites with you!

Let me start by sharing with you the shows I miss and that you should find a way to see if you haven't already.

To begin with, I am going to share with you a show that is no longer being produced on television. I weep quietly to myself as I tell you this because, after seeing what some of this season's new offerings are, I am appalled that this show didn't make it into a third season.

Life's Detective Charlie Crews (played by Damien Lewis) spent twelve years in prison for the murder of his best friend and business partner. Having finally been proven innocent Charlie was further vindicated and offered a huge settlement (rumors have it at around fifty million dollars) which included his reinstatement onto the force.

With an outstanding supporting cast including both his former partner Bobby (Brent Sexton) and his new partner Dani (Sarah Shahi, soooo very hot. And she has handcuffs ::shivers::), the former inmate turned zen detective offers an outstanding blend of drama and comedy and some of the best, most original characterizations I have seen in a very very long time.

I will mourn the passing of this show for the foreseeable future and if anyone knows of any way to convince a network to pick it back up, please, let me know so I can throw some support in that direction.

You should also go back and check out such fine shows as Sports Night, a former Comedy Central offering of yesteryear that I commend to anyone with a sense of humor. Please bear in mind that it is NOT a sports show. I swear. It just takes place at a sports show... Gods, how do you explain that...

I also want to take this opportunity to draw your attention to a show that was all too short lived. Very recently, ABC took us to new heights (literally) with a show called Defying Gravity. I will be the first to admit that the show took a little while to get off the ground (gods I'm cracking myself up over here... I hate puns.) but it was only in the last 2 or 3 aired episodes that I really began to appreciate what this show had to offer. They they cut short the season and canceled it. BASTARDS! Did Fox/Firefly debacle teach you nothing!??... Oh wait... It taught you that I will go out and buy the DvD just so I can get some kind of closure. Damn you ABC...

I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention a few others. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly were all cut short before they had lived out their lives to the fullest and all three owe their beginnings to Joss Whedon. Joss never had anything to do with Dead Like Me (unless you count a brief guest appearance by Jewel Staite who was a regular on Firefly) but I think if you enjoyed any of his work, there is something for you to find there too.

Le sigh... Now I am depressed... Better think of the shows with good news next...

Monday, September 28, 2009

The World Has Issues... Episode 2

There is a thing that has been brought up a time or two from various directions and today it struck me in a way that is reverberating around the inside of my skull, clamoring to be shared.

I think it is (mostly) self-evident when looking at the world surrounding me that, somewhere along the way, things took a turn. In particular, I am referring to the fact that happiness is thriving as a counter-culture to the one that most of us are living in.

It pains me that I have to stop and think to realize that, when I gaze around myself at the people inhabiting my world, most of those closest to me are struggling to keep depression and abject misery at bay. In fact, this truth has become so commonplace that it is just accepted as the way things are! I know almost no one who spends their time helping others actually achieve moments of happiness and joy. It seems that, as a rule, we are just too busy trying to keep each other from plummeting into the pits of despair.

Off the top of my head I can give you almost a hundred simple, daily illustrations of this truth but, frankly, I think it is so utterly appalling that I need to come at it all from a different angle.

Hence the illustration I am going to attempt to give as to how happiness has become a sub-culture that is thriving as it strives to run parallel to, and occasionally intersect with, the culture that most of us struggle through our day to day lives living in. (Yes, I know that two things cannot be parallel and yet intercept... We are using words here, not math. Alright?!)

Allow me to begin by sharing a video I was introduced to quite some time ago. It is a video documentary of something that should never have been extraordinary. Yet, because of the way we live our lives, it was not only extraordinary but also tragic, triumphant and, more than a little bit hopeful.

See what I mean? It is horrifying that we live in a world where this was so shocking as to necessitate being banned. Even more terrifying, however, is the fact that... in this day and age, so very very many people can be touched in so profound a way just by the simple act of sharing a hug with a stranger.

Another worrisome and bothersome truth is the simple fact that I find myself envious of those who seem to be in a place that they enjoy. (I know for a fact that I am not alone in this but it is up to everyone else as to whether they care to own up to that truth.) I am not saying that I am unhappy where I am.... Just... Well... You will see what I mean.

I will share two videos to show what I mean by this and then I am going to go find a way to have some fun for myself for just a few minutes. See you after the videos!

Alright, I'm back. Now where the hell are my people and why are we not having that kind of fun together just for the sake of doing so!??!

Why should it be the case that others get to have so much fun when the world doesn't see fit to furnish me with the time or opportunity to have as much fun myself. By no means do I think that those who are enjoying life should stop. To the contrary, I rather think that perhaps the rest of us should take a long hard look at what we are doing and find a way to incorporate more joy and wonder in our own lives.

It occurs to me rather belatedly that many people who know me in the world I currently inhabit are going to find all of this rather hard to accept as having come from my mind. On first impression I, apparently, come off as a dour, mean and miserable person. To those who believe that to be true, I can only say that I am sorry that you do not know who and what I really am. Everything that has been included here are sentiments that I feel from the very bottom of my heart and, more importantly, are truths that I believe in to the very core of my being.

Orson Welles, a tremendous (and sadly deceased) author gave his final interview only a couple hours before his death. At its core, this interview sums up beautifully what I have been trying to explain to everyone for years. Please, watch this last video and pay close attention to, not only the words this wonderful man says, but also to the true feeling and truth behind them.

*Merv: Are certain parts of your life really joyous?
*Orson: Oh yes! There are certain parts of almost every day that are joyous. I am not essentially a happy person but I have all kinds of joy. And there's a difference you know. Because joy is a great big, electrical experience. Just happiness is what a... oh I don't know, a warthog could be happy...
-Orson Welles on the Merv Griffin Show only hours before his death-

Friday, September 25, 2009

Embracing Me...

I have spent the last ten or twelve years in retail. The majority of that time has been in management positions and of bookstores and coffee houses. (Yes, coffee is retail, not food service and anyone who says otherwise has absolutely no idea what they are talking about.)

The application of these two statements basically breaks down to the following...

No visible tattoos. Collared shirts. Khaki or black pants. Close toed shoes... No visible sign of personality lest ye inadvertently give offense.

Fuck. That. Noise.

It is about time for me to get the hell out of retail in any case and, frankly, I am sick and tired of having a black, white and tan striped closet.

Inevitably, this leads me to an outstanding need for a new wardrobe and, hopefully, some new ink not too far down the road.

Of course... I have absolutely no sense of style so the shopping trip I just went on is probably not going to improve my image any... But at least I am willing to embrace my personality.

Personality has the power to open many doors, but character must keep them open.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beauty on the Intrawubs...

I am fairly certain that it is pretty much common knowledge that anything and everything exists and can be found on the internet. (There is also a pretty damned good chance that there is porn of it here as well.)

That being said, I spend altogether more time here than I probably should. (And almost certainly more than is good for me.) Sadly, this means I don't get out and about as often as I should. On the bright side, it means I find some truly outstanding things.

I mentioned a while ago how I am actively trying to see more of the beauty around me. When I said that, I wasn't referring exclusively to the real world. There is beauty of all kinds everywhere and, when I find it here, I can share it with everyone else.

That being said and without further ado...

I present to you, Art, Media and Beauty!


Art is contemplation. It is the pleasure of the mind which searches into nature and which there divines the spirit of which nature herself is animated.
-Auguste Rodin-

Monday, September 21, 2009

On Dreams and Encouragement...

Every person believes that they are special.

We are reminded over and over again throughout our lives that this is true. Beginning with our parents and grandparents we are told that we can do anything we set our minds to; that we can grow up to be anybody we want.

As we grow, most of us continue to have this reaffirmed to us by teachers, counselors, friends, family and anyone else we meet. Even a complete stranger, when faced with a child looking up at them with their big round eyes, will lend their voice to the masses and tell the child that they are certain to succeed as long as they put their mind to it.

There are, however, some exceptions that deserve to be noted here.

I have known people who grew up in situations that can only be called abusive. In situations like these the child is reminded repeatedly that they are not good enough, will never be good enough and will never succeed. In some more extreme cases, I have even seen people tell their children that they were, not only a mistake, but that the child ruined the life of the parent and that the parent wished the child were never born. (If you ever hear someone say something like this, I expect you to hit them immediately.)

Ain't that some shit.

Now here is where I think that part of the problem begins...

Quite often a person grows up to either emulate their parent(s) or to revile them. In other words, most people either grow to repeat the mistakes that their parents made or to make completely new mistakes by choosing a different course.

I heartily approve of encouraging a child to dream and to reach for the stars. What people need to stop doing is allowing those children to grow up believing that they can achieve anything without educating the child on what they will need to do in order to accomplish their goal.

Too often, it seems, people are growing up and becoming disillusioned with the world around them because they were ill prepared for the challenges of the real world. These are people who were never taught about the work and effort they would have to put forth to succeed. They have gotten to where they are by expecting the world to hand them their dreams simply because they want them to come true!

I think people need to have conversations with their children. By no means should we just shrug off what they say as the fanciful imaginings of youth. If little Sally tells you that she wants to become an Astronaut, find out why. Try to learn what it is that attracts her to the field and, more importantly, what needs to happen for her to get there. Tell Sally about all the hard work she is going to need to do. Most of all, find out what you, as a parent, need to do to help see the dream come true.

When your son, Timmy, approaches you after the school play and tells you he wants to grow up to be an actor the correct answer is not, "Well you did great! You are already the best actor I have ever seen!" nor is "Well, I don't know..." the right thing to say. Instead, try something more honest like, "That's great Tim. You did really well on stage today and I am sure that, with a lot of hard work and the proper training, you could grow up to be brilliant!"

What I mean to say is, don't just tell your kids that they can succeed if they puts their minds to it and, please, don't discourage them. For that matter, if I ever again see a parent laugh maliciously at the dreams of their children, I think that I may just haul off and punch them in the head. (I will then explain to the child that it was what their parent had always wanted and that I was helping to make dreams come true.)

Children need to be appropriately prepared and encouraged. They need to be supported in reaching for their dreams and bolstered by the knowledge of its achievability and how to make the achievement happen.

As you begin to take action toward the fulfillment of your goals and dreams, you must realize that not every action will be perfect. Not every action will produce the desired result. Not every action will work. Making mistakes, getting it almost right, and experimenting to see what happens are all part of the process of eventually getting it right.
-Jack Canfield-

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Talk Like a Pirate Day...

Alright! Another National Talk Like a Pirate Day has come and gone and I didn't hear nearly enough bad pirate accents!

Every year I remind people ahead of time... I call and text friends with obnoxious piratey slogans (and threats)... I go to work and spout off all kinds of verbal diarrhea tinted with pirate slang... And unless I happen to actually be wearing a pirate hat, all I get are confused looks.

I swear I can read the faces. "Is he alright?", "Oh my, you are a little touched aren't you?" and my personal favorite look, "Ahh... You are one of those people..."

Come on folks! This happens every year! I know for a fact that I am not the only one participating in these festivities! Relax and have some fun for fucks sake!

Let me break this down into the simplest terms I can.

What I am really saying is this:

Everyone, at one time or another in their lives, loves pirates. You may outgrow it and not really consider it your thing any more but if you ever find someone who can swear that they have never once enjoyed something piratey then they are either liars or have led a wasted life and have a serious problem. Therefore, it is your duty as a good and decent human being to FIX IT!

In other words...

Loosen up, relax, have some fun and, for the love of all that is good in the world, embrace that miraculously childlike bit of your Self you keep denying and talk like a gods-damned Pirate!

Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.
-Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain-

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Making Change Happen...

By now, I think I have made it abundantly clear through my posts that I am making a concerted effort to make positive changes happen in my life. A good bit of that change is happening here, on the intarwubbies, but some is happening in the real world as well.

For example, I had my roommate cut my hair for me the other day. It is something I am still cringing about but it is a positive change. I prefer to keep my hair long but, with my work schedule being what it is (i.e. being at work at 5 am most mornings), I just don't have the time to take care of it. I can grow it out again when my life is more in line with doing so. Looking all ratty just isn't going to work for me anymore. (There! I said it!)

I am also making an attempt at quitting smoking. I've gotten a prescription for Chantix. (Through use of networking :p... I have no regular doctor and no money to spare so I went through channels to achieve a goal. Yay!) Additionally, I have some of the patch sitting around that I may attempt to make use of if it seems to be something that will help me out. The plan is to stop smoking for the dual benefits of better health and better cash flow.

Also in regards to better health is getting more exercise. It is finally cooling down a little bit outside, (By cooling down I mean in the 70s and 80s versus topping out at over a hundred!) so I am going to start walking more again and I am going to make it a point to do some time on my exercise bike each day. Of course, I am planning to succeed so I am not going insane with my goals. To start with I am only going to aim to be on the bike for 10 to 15 minutes at a clip but as I succeed and settle into a routine I will increase the time.

In essence, what I am doing here and now is formalizing the goals that I have set out for myself. My hope is that, by putting this all in print, I will make it more solid and help myself to achieve what I am putting before me. It will also serve to update those who are reading this to know what I am up to and it will (hopefully) solicit support from those who are more intimately involved in my life these days. (coughHINT!cough)

Gods know I can use all the positive reinforcement I can get.

Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not remain so if you only perceive an ideal and strive to reach it. You cannot travel within and stand still without.
-James Allen-

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nothing of Substance...

So I haven't written anything in several days now. Almost a week in fact.

As an explanation, I haven't been feeling remotely up to par. Certainly not an excuse, I know, but I didn't want to post work that was sloppy or, more importantly, just plain bad.

I am still not feeling up to snuff but I need to make sure I am maintaining this habit so I am writing this as a space filler kind of thing.

Last night, I attempted to write a blog with some meat to it but the finished result was just plain disappointing. Rereading it today hasn't helped any. I am not entirely sure where it went wrong but if a fix doesn't present itself to my brain by bedtime tonight, I will probably just scrap it and start from scratch tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in other news...

There is a game developer conference in Austin this weekend and it looks like one of the after-party meet-ups may be being held in a public venue tomorrow night. I am supposed to be playing D&D tomorrow but with the way things are going at the moment, I may have to skip out on gaming in favor of attempting to make some forward movement happen in my life.

Time will tell...

Anyway, all that being said (and having nothing else to offer), I am going to close this out for now and go try for a nap. Must - needs - feeling better now!

Friday, September 11, 2009


Momentum is a funny and scary thing. It all goes back to two key facts that, I think, most of us learned back in elementary school.

1. An object in motion stays in motion.


2. Every action causes an equal and opposite reaction.

You remember this little thing, right? Come on... You know you had one.

Time and again it has been brought home to us that these two truisms are always going to be and that there is not a damned thing we can do about them.

So, of course, the next question is; How do we harness them?

I have seen diagrams and designs for perpetual motion engines using springs and elastics and any number of other things but what I am talking about is something that is a little bit more true to life for each of us.

Personally, I have lost track of how many times I have allowed myself to be caught up in the whirlwind of events taking place around me. I have been dragged behind trains of events and mercilessly trampled under the horses of emotion. The bottom line, though, is that, each time, I have allowed events and circumstances to push me into a position where all I could do is allow the storm to wash over me.

Well, all I would do, anyway...

Now I am trying something different. I am not just allowing myself to drift through the chaotic seas of life but, instead, I am offering up my own momentum. I have begun shaping the storm and harnessing its energy into something that, ultimately, will turn to my advantage.

The internet is a tool. Millions of us spend time each day floating through cyberspace, surfing on the waves of thought that have been compiled for our perusal. This blog (along with the other social media sites that I am working on) is my little corner. This is where I am attempting to manipulate the current in such a way that I will no longer be just a casual traveler but, instead, a destination in my own right.

As I grow my little corner of the world into something more substantial, this will be the cornerstone of my empire. From this outcropping will stem a steady flow of creativity and content that will draw others into my wake and allow me a stepping stone into the next stage of my life.

This is perpetual motion.

This is the beginning of my momentum.

This is where I launch my life.

The most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make sure that as soon as you set them, you immediately begin to create momentum. The most important rules that I ever adopted to help me in achieving my goals were those I learned from a very successful man who taught me to first write down the goal, and then to never leave the site of setting a goal without first taking some kind of positive action towards its attainment.
-Anthony Robbins-

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Filling space...

Just to let everybody know, I am trying to work on doing this on some kind of schedule but I am not quite there yet. This weekend was filled with work and this week and next look to be much the same.

While I have you here, I would like to pose a question to you all...

It has been brought to my attention that the blogs I have been writing are somewhat longer than what a lot of blogs tend to be. With that in mind, my question is this:

Would it be better, in your opinion, if I were to keep my blogs shorter? Or is what I am doing working out just fine for you?

That's all. I don't know if you answers will actually change what I am doing here but I am moderately curious. I know I can be a bit full of wind from time to time.

In other, more exciting news... Aion open beta is going on right now and I actually managed to get my hands on a key today! I have mentioned before how excited I am over the games release and getting to take part in beta testing for it is a huge win for me. If you like gaming, you should definately check it out!

That is all I have to say for the time being. Talk to you all soon!

May you be forty years in heaven before the Devil knows you're dead.
-Old Irish well wishes-

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Living games...

I have been gaming for over two decades now. Scary. In fact, it has been one of the very few constants in my life! (And by constant I mean that, while it may have been shoved into the background on occasion, it was always an underlying motivator at the very least.)

Let me tell you a story...

It all began when I was an innocent young lad. (Waits impatiently, glaring, for the laughter to die down.) My days were lazy and carefree. My parents owned a house close to a beach in a small community in Connecticut. We weren't right on the water but we were close enough that I was able to sneak off for a swim with my friends whenever I thought my parents weren't going to be paying attention for a while. (To tell the truth, I was probably caught more often than I got away with it but, well, I loved being in the water.)

Our story begins on the dawn of my eighth birthday. I awoke at 6 am to my father yelling at me to get the hell out of bed and get dressed. (No one is allowed to sleep in on their birthdays in my family.) It was time for us to go have my birthday breakfast. (Bacon egg and cheese biscuts from McDonalds. My father is a man of exquisite tastes.)

As we ate, my mother (who had likewise been woken up so she would know she wasn't coming with us to McDonalds) was at home hiding my birthday presents from me. This was a game my parents liked to play with us as children. They would hide the presents and you had to find them before you could have them. It saved them the cost of wrapping paper and, if you didn't manage to find them all, they could return them to the store and we would be none the wiser. (I actually think that this threat may have been followed through on once or twice. Either that or my brothers stole some of my birthday loot and my parents never caught on.)

When my father and I returned I was allowed to begin my search.

Step one. Check all the places they used last year. This plan of attack yielded me nothing so I sat down to reassess and redeploy.

Step two. Search the common areas like the living room and dining room. Our house wasn't big but it had about a million nooks and crannies. By the time I was done with these first two steps I had wasted about an hour and was still no closer to my birthday presents.

Step Three. My bedroom. This is where I struck gold! Right there in the middle of my desk was a beautiful red box with a dragon on the front! I was immediately enthralled. I had always been a fan of the fantasy genre and dragons and unicorns were my bread and butter. I tore into that package and started flipping through the books inside as fast as I could. When I noticed the dice (and what dice they were!) I was hooked. It wasn't until almost three hours had passed when it occurred to me that I hadn't had a desk the day before. (My parents thought the desk was going to be my big gift that year... Shows what they knew! :P )

It took a few weeks of asking every person that I knew as well as more strangers than I care to count, (note: People give you extremely strange looks when you approach them in a grocery store to ask whether they play Dungeons & Dragons.) but, eventually, I found a group of kids in my neighborhood to play with. (They were all older than me. My parents had missed the line on the box saying "for ages 12 and up")

That first game was amazing! I rolled up a fighter! (Being 8 years old and the youngest one in the group I wasn't expected to understand all the rules for magic yet.) I was strong and not very bright but I had a sword and armor and I was ready to kill things!

Skeletons shattered at the heavy blows I rained down on them. (Remember THAC0?)

The magic mouth was confounded when the wizard, not only knew the answer to it's riddle, but was able to stump it with a riddle in return.

The cleric saved us all when he turned the zombie lurching in our direction while we daringly fended off the group of goblins we had stumbled into.

And when, at last, we found the Dragon, slumbering atop his horde of riches... We all died horrible, screaming deaths the likes of which none of us would ever know again. (After that first time, everyone realized that n00blet characters had no business trying to hit things with negative ACs. If only we had understood THAC0 from the start!)

Dungeons & Dragons. What a perception altering tool to give to an eight year old! For years I was intoxicated by the game. Other games have come and gone through the years but, inevitably, I always return to that one tried and true first love.

Eventually, as time went on, I was introduced to other games. GURPS, Vampire the Masquerade, Shadowrun... The list seems to go on forever as I glance back at my library of gaming books. (Seriously... It's a freaking library. No joke.)

Eventually, I developed an interest for video games.

Oh sure, I had had an Atari 2600, (I still do in fact. Eat your hearts out gamers! :p) but that wasn't a video game. At least not when compared to the new and exciting world of Mario Brothers!

Now, I won't claim to be a gaming guru. I mean at this point I don't even own a television set, let alone a console game. Even so, I was pretty avid as a teenager and even into my early twenties. Still, table-top paper and dice games were where my heart lived.

Thankfully, as I grew and matured (Glares at the audience waiting for the snickering to die down.) so did my gaming style. Hack and slash became a thing of yesteryear and role playing took its place.

Role playing... What a thing of beauty! To become someone else... To sit and envision an entire life! (It was like having my very own baby. You know... Without the diapers, spit-up, crying or, really, any of the other drawbacks to actually having my very own baby.) This was when all those other gaming systems I mentioned became a big draw for me. Games built on social interactions, political stories, and plot or character driven stories as opposed to the old brute force method of gaming.

Now, just so you understand, I am not only a gamer. In high school I found myself involved in theater. Role playing became acting and, eventually, I even went away to college for it. I double majored in Theatrical and Musical performances with minors in English, philosophy and psychology. I was even good enough at doing what I do that they payed for me to be there! (Yup. I have a little pride in that.) What all of that adds up to is that I can become anyone and convince you that I am, indeed, that character. Unfortunately, I am still searching for ways to turn all that into making an actual living. (There is grifting but, well, I just have this aversion to ever going to jail.) But hey, at least I got some skills and had a great time! (Skillz, I haz em!)

And through it all, Dungeons & Dragons was there. Just waiting for those times when I really needed to get back to basics and kill some shit!

When PC games started getting big I was all over it. I had played FFVII but this new, interactive community... The Massively Multiplayer games... This was special! This was like... Animated Dungeons & Dragons! With even MORE people to play with! My first love had come back to me and she loved me still, with all her heart!

I reveled in this new and exciting world, hopping from game to game... Learning mechanics... Memorizing lore... Writing backgrounds and storylines for characters who finally had an enthralled and captivated audience.

By now, I have played so many different MMOs and told so many stories that I couldn't name all of them if I wanted to. Some I have loved; some hated. Some for years on end and others for only a day or two before realizing that I didn't fit in their world or, sometimes, that they didn't fit into mine.

These days, there are actually a couple releases coming up soon that I am genuinely excited about! (Specifically Aion: The Tower of Eternity and the rebirth of World of Warcraft with their new expansion, Cataclysm... If anyone knows whether Blizzard has announced a date yet, let me know.)

Last year, Wizards of the Coast released Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition. Like millions of others, I rushed to the bookstore on release day to buy my copy of the core books and I was genuinely excited. I mean, who wouldn't be beside themselves with glee to see the love of their life grow and become all that it had to potential to be?

That very same week my friends and I began play testing this new system. Things had been realigned in an effort to appeal to a new generation of gamers who had started out with MMOs and were just now discovering the joys of my humble beginnings. Fighters were finally a playable class again! (They had long since became boring for me. There are only so many times I can hit something with a sword before I start feeling like a one trick pony.) With new "powers" driven combat the game was reborn into a world where it could be better appreciated by a much larger audience.

Unfortunately, it has done less well among those of us who have mostly outgrown hack and slash. (Mostly but never entirely :D)

These days, I am far from alone in enjoying the role playing aspect of gaming. This new system is absolutely phenomenal for combat but it is woefully, poorly designed for RP. There is no system in place to effectively progress a character without becoming involved in what, for all intents and purposes, can only be considered grinding.

Le sigh.

I still love Dungeons and Dragons but I think that, for now, maybe a GURPS based campaign is going to better suit my paper and dice group. If that doesn't work for us, maybe I will take a turn at DMing and introduce everybody to the wonderful world of Shadowrun.

In the mean time...

MMO mechanics belong in MMOs and while I will always belong to the table top arena in many ways, I also realize that I belong in the MMO world!

I have come to thrive in the online communities where I can act out my toons. I have met some wonderful people and friends there who have enjoyed meeting my characters and playing their parts in the continuously unfolding stories that I tell with my characters. (And I have equally enjoyed playing my roles in their stories. Yay for symbiotic relationships!)

Eventually, I would like to design worlds and stories for even more people to play and interact in. My mind is constantly churning with ideas for stories, characters and plot twists. What better place for me than lovingly watching over a world of my own devising as thousands, maybe even millions of other players likewise enjoy the wonders and enchantments of my love-child? (Insert maniacal laughter here.)

Obviously, I have to start a good deal smaller than that but I am a tenacious little bugger sometimes (Alright, fine. A big bugger. Happy?) and I am more than willing to work my way there. In fact, I look forward to it!

Now to get started...

You can like train a n00b but he'll still be like a trained n00b.
-Jeremy from Pure Pwnage-

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The World has issues... Episode 1...

Alrighty! This is my take on one of the ways that the World has gone all wonky!

Today's topic?... Spirituality.

It seems to me that this is one of those key elements indicative of an individual's humanity. Sadly, it seems that it is also sorely lacking throughout much of today's society.

Let me see if I can explain.

First of all, let me say right off the bat that I am not Christian.

I am also not Catholic, Protestant, Atheist, Buddhist or Wiccan. Hell, if I am going to be honest here, my spirituality and beliefs fail to line up with any particular established set out there.

So where does that leave me?

Well... In most situations I use the word Pagan because it tends to cover a wide variety of belief systems, many of which I draw from in an effort to define my own spirituality. Maybe spiritualist would be a better term but I hate to come across all new agey.

The bottom line here, however, is that I am a spiritual individual. Not as deeply spiritual as I used to be but spiritual none-the-less.

Alright then... Why am I saying that spirituality is something that has gone wrong with the world?

Because it occurs to me that most people are lacking in this area. I mean, people swear to have faith and live by His word and all that but, for the most part, it appears to be an empty faith. People are told to do this, not do that and believe in this because it is what He wants. "You have to have faith," they say. "Have faith and He will deliver you."

Only on rare occasions have I met someone who truly felt and believed in all of this. More often than not, it seems, people go to church on Sunday, not because they know deep down in their souls that it is right, but because they have been told that it is right and they never thought about it again from that moment to this.

Even more distressing to me are the number of people I have seen desperately seeking for something that felt right to them and wound up clinging with all their might to the elusive olive branch offered to them from this or that religious institution. It seems as though the shoeless man will wear any shoe, regardless of size, provided it means he no longer has to go barefoot.

It looks, to my eyes, as if religion has taken up a post as Keeper of the Void. People have come so very very far from our animalistic roots that something basic is now missing and rather than look deep inside of ourselves to see that void and learn best how to recapture that missing essence, we turn to religion as a crutch or a bandaid.

Now, I am not saying that religion is bad. If you have faith in something, by all means keep it close to your heart and never let anyone tell you that you are wrong. What I am saying, is that faith is not the only ingredient. There is more missing from us than words and ritual can replace.

For example, look at the food we eat. Not only is a hardy portion of it unnatural but there are words in ingredient lists that 9 out of 10 people can't even identify! And as if that weren't bad enough, those people who strive to maintain an organic diet are ridiculed for doing so. The same thing goes for vegetarians and vegans. It is more than a little bit distressing that those people who are doing their damnedest to live a healthy, natural lifestyle are being put down by people who are living lives so far removed from nature that they no longer have so much as a frame of reference.

Hell, I am as guilty of this as anyone and still it disgusts me. I really need to try to keep that in check.

Please understand that I am not a health food nut. I eat the same crap most other Americans eat. All I am saying is that I can see where the desire and need is coming from. In a way, it is almost as much a religion as Catholicism. It is choosing to live a life style based on the truths held closest to someone's heart. Seems to me as if they are more or less the same thing.

Need another example? Talk to your parents... Hell talk to THEIR parents and ask them what community means. Friends? Family? Probably not followers...

Social media is an absolutely wonderful thing but once again, it is only guarding a void.

At this point, so many people live their lives through the internet that it is a wonder anyone goes out of their houses anymore. I for one, have friends I would never have known if it weren't for this machine. I mean GODS! I live with a person I met playing World of Warcraft!

I think my Grandfather would be appalled. (Of course, he would have to bite me and get over it but that isn't the point I am trying to make today.)

When my parents grew up, their friends were the people they knew from school. Everyone was in the same geographical location and, unless they had close ties to family elsewhere, that was their world. Their family were the people related to them and that they knew in person.

Followers weren't even something that existed back then. (Unless you knew some o' them freaks up the block what wears der funny lookin' robes an' calls 'emselves the Followers o' Brother Zeke or some such nonsense. Don't go near em', don't talk to 'em, don't meet their eyes, and whatever you do, don't drink their Koolaid!)

Now each of us has a million followers on Twitter, 497 friends on Facebook and Myspace, and my family are people who are 2000 miles or more away and who I talk to once a week on a phone I keep in my pocket. Shit, I get to watch my sister grow up on Skype for fucks sake!

My community is made up of thousands of people I have never even met. Yet, I don't think that I know more than a handful of my neighbors and I have lived here for well over two years now.

Once again, let me point out that I do not mean to disparage these wonderful social networking tools we have arrayed before us. I use them daily and I have no intentions of giving them up. I am merely trying to find ways to illustrate how our spirituality is suffering from the fact that we have moved so very very far from our roots in nature.

Albert Einstein is quoted as having said, "It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."

Spiritualism, I think, is an extension of the closeness we feel with the world around us; An extension of our humanity and as we have grown farther and farther apart we have lost something so basic that most people don't even realize that it is missing.

Maybe it is time we stop and examine that a little bit.

I'm just sayin'.

The gross heathenism of civilization has generally destroyed nature, and poetry, and all that is spiritual.
-John Muir, letter to J.B. McChesney, 19 September 1871