Sunday, February 29, 2004

Wang, Dang!

It was late and folks were tired and a little sentimental. There had been talk of death and ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, and such discussions often lead to trouble. Ours, however, veered toward familial expectations. Eric had turned out exactly as he was supposed to, he said, having come from a family of artists and career soldiers--he was in film school and adhered to the code of bushido. Bushido tends to be more popular among samurai than film students these days, but Eric's a good guy, and if he says he lives according to bushido, then by god, he lives according to bushido. It's okay with me.

Shifty was much the same way. Her family was made up of artists and musicians, and she was an artist and a musician. She was also kind of boring and didn't say much of interest. She said she lied a lot, for fun, but I think she was just trying to live up to the name.

The Emerald Viper and I were on the same page, only switched around. She came from a family of artists, but she worked as a "field agent" for a "government agency." For the sake of her legend I won't go into detail--the more known about her profession, the less it lives up to a name like The Emerald Viper, but I will say that she's a remarkable human being. She also has a bug collection, but it was decided by all that this too should go mostly unmentioned, for the sake of her mythology.

I come from a family of machinists and poor farmers. My dad built jet engines, and his dad did the same. My brother builds parts of cars. They all put in their time with military, each working on planes in one form or another. They were also married with babies by the time they were my age.

"But they were all storytellers," Eric said.

They weren't. None of them really, no one in my family. There is no oral tradition, no real sense of history. I know my great-grandmother's name (Bertha) because she is still alive; the others aren't spoken of. My great-grandfather, my dad's grandpa, has only been mentioned once that I can recall. He was a police officer, and a drunk, and he beat his wife. There might be a few saints too, but then again, maybe that's why they aren't spoken of.

Dad took a few college courses after he got out of the Air Force, but only because the military offered to pay for them. My mom and my grandma (Corlene, on my dad's side) are very excited about the prospect of a higher education degree entering the family one day. My brother's kids have that potential too, I think, if they manage to get away from Cincinnati after high school.

Adrian and I have wondered, more than once, why we aren't sitting on a porch somewhere at his very moment drinking PBR and talking about nailing some sweet poontang. I can't say I know the answer, and not to sound elitist or snob-like, but I don't know anyone else from our graduating class that actually moved out of the county, much less out of state.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

A Few Reasons Why Starship Troopers Is Better Than You Think

-It does such a good job of promoting a fascist, anti-woman, 23rd Century culture, most of the people who think it's a good sci-fi action movie actually buy into the propaganda they show in the film. There is more than one comment on the IMDb message boards that state, roughly, "after watching this movie, I was ready to sign up and fight some bugs!"

-"Stray from the group" mentality is always rewarded with death. Whenever someone runs ahead or lags behind of the Mobile Infantry, they're killed or maimed by giant space-bugs.

-Talking with the enemy will lead to corruption and death--the bugs ate their brains, after all.

-The Dizzy and Rico relationship is blatantly homosexual, in spite of the fact that Dizzy is played by a woman. I haven't read the novel, but as I understand it, Dizzy's character has a penis.

-In high school the kids are taught that violence is the supreme authority and that democracy was a failure that led to social chaos--then the human forces go on to do roughly the kind of thing America is doing right now in the Middle East. They're not being subtle here, kids.

-Smart Bug=Giant Vagina.

-Doogie Howser plays a telepathic Nazi who saves the day.

-My favorite thing is that the filmmakers don't really mind if you don't get it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Recurring Dreams, part two

. . . I find myself at places where I used to work, desperate for my old job back. Usually I just start working again and they are forced to re-hire me. Most recently, they shrugged their shoulders and wished me good luck on my continuing job search.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

First, a short history

I'm a gamer, alright? Shut up.

I'd never referred to it like that, gaming, as a verb. "You want to game?" Never. "You want to play D&D?" Always.

My brother was a gamer too. He played Dungeons & Dragon, in the old red box, and he supplemented it with various 1st Edition books--a Monster Manual II here, a Greyhawk boxed set there. My friends and I, in 5th Grade, created an abbreviated version of the game based on the idea that none of us actually wanted to read all of the rules. We knew how to create the characters, and the rest was rolling dice and winging it.

I was the only one digging the game enough to pine for it after the others grew tired of sitting in a circle and talking about dragons. In high school I fell in the with D&D crowd, the older kids. When they graduated and moved to far-off realms with foreign names like Toledo or Athens (Ohio) I recruited new players. Instead of the new guy I was now the seasoned veteran. Ah, the circle of life!

Those groups were fluid. It was mostly myself and one other friend, with a rotating cast of friends and neighbors from high school through (my first try at) college. The games were mostly disappointing from college on, or rather the players were mostly boring. The groups drifted apart, Adrian and I began to miss role-playing and assemble a new group, we would get frustrated and disband it, then start to miss playing again. Eventually we grew tired of the pattern, when not even talking about old games could make us want to play new ones. Dice were packed away, books were sold on eBay, and gaming (playing D&D) was over and done with.

The problem was, I still saw it as a potentially interesting endeavor, one that simply lacked the proper mix of players. I thought of an adult role-playing group as existing in the same world as a general election presidential candidate I could be excited about.

During my second (so far so good) attempt at college I got to know a dude in one of my classes. We discovered we were both recovering gamers, and one evening we discussed role-playing philosophy.

(. . .)

Monday, February 23, 2004

Recurring Dreams, part 1

I'm driving my old car, a 94 blue Escort, through a parking garage. All kinds of people--mostly kids--keep walking in front of my car, so I'm trying to maneuver around them and brake before I hit them. I keep knicking my car on the sides of concrete walls and posts.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Well, Clip My Coupons!

Congress should allow more tiny radio stations to serve neighborhoods, despite large radio stations' complaints that small ones interfere with their broadcasts, the Federal Communications Commission says.

Proponents of the small stations say low-power radio helps bring diverse voices to the airwaves as a counterbalance to the increased consolidation of commercial stations.

Wow, amid all of the tittie hullaballoo, the FCC actually does something good. Clear Channel will fight it, I'm sure, but it's a good sign at least.


I'm so proud!

Look, Civil Rights!

"San Francisco should be done flouting the law," Stutzman said. Otherwise, "it leads to anarchy."

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to think that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and the judges who have refused to stop gay marriages in the city are violating state law. He ordered the state attorney general to immediately take action to stop them from taking place, writing in a letter, "I hereby direct you to take immediate steps to obtain a definitive judicial resolution of this controversy."

The attorney general's spokesperson said Schwarzenegger "cannot direct the attorney general. He can direct the Highway Patrol. He can direct 'Terminator 4.' But he can't tell the attorney general what to do. However, we are his lawyer, and we are moving as expeditiously — with deliberation — as possible."

The matter is going back to court in March, as late as the 29th, and as early as mid-month. Mayor Newsom himself performed a marriage for a state official on Friday.

Over in New Mexico a county clerk in Sandoval County issued marriage licenses to two-dozen same-sex couples, but the state attorney general later said they were invalid under state law. In Chicago, Mayor Daley announced that he would support the Cook County clerk's decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and the county clerk said that he would happily do so if a coalition of support could be built. As of Saturday morning no licenses have been issued, but if Daley is willing, and the clerk is willing, I don't imagine it's too far away.

Wedding bouquets have been delivered to couples waiting in line in San Francisco all week, sent from anonymous well-wishers all over the country. More information on this movement, which started in Minnesota, can be found here.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Party Like It's 2000

Democratic nominee


Independent nominee


Thanks, Ralph!

(Nader will anounce his decision to run on Meet the Press this Sunday, but he's already scheduled a press conference for Monday.)

2004 is the Year of the Bleeding Ulcer

How do you get a bleeding ulcer? Hard to say, but I can tell you how I met mine. I went to eat Chinese food--and I don't like Chinese food, and by "don't like" I mean, "I would rather be goat fucked by the spiney tentacles of a many-headed nether-beast than even smell it"--but there I was, eating Chinese food, because my dear friend desperately wanted to go to a Chinese restaurant. And by "dear friend" I mean "syphilitic retarded fetus what walks."

I order something with chicken in it, on the advice of SRWW. Fast forward five hours and I'm on my knees cradling my lover the toilet, expelling every last ounce of food and dignity that was in my body. That would have been bad enough, but fast forward again to the following morning and I'm back in front of the john, on my knees and praying for death, regurgitating blood and bile and then a little more blood.

I did that a few times a day for four days. Then I went to the doctor.

"Bleeding ulcer," he tells me. The ulcer was already there, apparently. The bonus acidity from my uncooked-chicken-induced-vomiting tore it open, ripped it open, whatevered it open, and left me vomiting blood for four days. Then the doctor asks, "Did you know you had an ulcer?"

I stabbed him in the eyes and raped his grandchildren. "No," I said. "I did not know I had an ulcer." And then, "What is it, exactly, that might cause an ulcer?"

"Many things," he tells me. My back pain medication coupled with too much pop, perhaps. "Or," he says, "it could be stress."

Stress? What do I have to be stressed out about? Besides, I don't know, BLEEDING FUCKING ULCERS in my FUCK FUCKING STOMACH.

He gives me a prescription for some medicine for the hole in the space/time continuum that resides in my belly. The pharmacist is curious so I explain how it happened.

He says to me, in his pharmacist voice, "Yougonnasuethefucker?"

Right, because on top of bleeding ulcers and retarded fetus friends, I need a bankrupt immigrant on my conscience. I tell him no, I am not going to sue the fucker. Then I break his kneecaps and set his brain on fire.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

We Know What's Best For You

Meredith covered this already, but it's insulting enough that it deserves a little extra coverage.

Say, you're deaf. You're deaf and you want to watch television. You're deaf and you want to watch Malcolm in the Middle, being, in my humble opinion, one of the most creative and entertaining half-hour sitcoms ever made. (And let me just say that I'm not a big, big TV fan, but I do know what's funny. And you know what? Malcolm in the Middle is funny.) Well, sorry deafy, you're out of luck. No closed-captioning for you.

Well, that's okay, you figure. Because you're kind of a geek and you like to watch cartoons and the Powerpuff Girls are on over at the Cartoon Network. You flip over and oh, gee, no closed-captioning over there either. Huh. Well still, with cartoons on the brain, you figure you'll take in a Simpsons re-run because, you know, for a good six or seven years it was actually funny different. But hey, no closed-captioning for the Simpsons either! I guess being the longest running sitcom in the galaxy doesn't mean deaf people should be able to enjoy it.

You flip through the channels a little more, skipping over Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie because a) they're lousy shows, and b) there's no closed-captioning for them either, and you figure you'll settle for some Major League Baseball. You always enjoy a good baseball game, and that commentary is just so colorful and entertaining! Except Major League Baseball has also been disapproved by the US Department of Education to receive captioning support.

So what can you watch? Well, um, Business Week. And CNN Student News. Oh, hey, Barney and Friends!

For the full list of what you get to enjoy on television when you're deaf, check out the list at theNational Association of the Deaf website. NAD is encouraging folks to contact Congressional members and Department of Education officials to let their opinions be known on why deaf people should be able to watch television, just like the real people do, by contacting them here.

The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party

Have you ever been in a relationship that you knew was doomed but didn't want to be the one to end it?

It's like that.


The Girl Done Good


Monday, February 16, 2004

Two Degrees

Girl, that musta hurt like shit!

Turn Off Your Computers and Nap

Chris Onstadt from Achewood says it best:

"February 16: Today in America it's President's Day, a national holiday! We all just run in place and yell and celebrate Presidents. It is illegal to work."

Sunday, February 15, 2004


What I've heard from the latest Democratic debate has DEAN being not-so-tough on Kerry. He defended Kerry against White House attacks on Kerry's acceptance of special interest money, and he said, and this is a quote from Yahoo news, that John Kerry is "a fine person. And if he wins the nomination, I'm going to support him. But I intend to win the nomination."

Which sounds like an attempt to make nice before bowing out this Tuesday or Wednesday.

The full story is here.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Unhand me, you wretch.

(from the NYT)

(and in case you missed it in the comments below, no, I don't think Kerry can beat Bush just because he's a Washington insider. Algore was a Washington insider when he lost to Bush in 2000.)

David, King of Our Hearts

So, I read from the Bible last night. Like, aloud.

It was my first time.

And you know what? You know that thing people say, that "The Bible is actually a very entertaining book!", and you know how anyone with a fourth-grade education and a belief in stuff like "science" would say, "um, sure. I'll just be over here believing in stuff like evolution and math."

Well kids, it turns out the Bible really is full of good stories. Who knew?

I'm taking a class on Novelists and we're focusing on Nabokov. But for the first day of class we read from Richard Wright's Native Son, and from I Samuels, you know, that whole David & Goliath bit. Which turns out to be all of four lines long, and then you cut right to the homosexual subtext of Jonathan loving David like "he was his own soul." And the part where Saul throws his spear at David while David plays the guitar.

We read from the King James version, and when I say it's good, I don't mean it's good like Native Son is good. It's good like the Odyssey is good, or Beowulf, epic poems with strong oral traditions. The fun part is getting the facts down, then retelling the stories and embellishing. Did you know Saul did mushrooms and prophesied? Well, the kids in Critical Reading & Writing: Novelists know, because we figured it out last night.

Add this to the rad interview in the new Believer with Elaine Pagels, author of a few interesting books on the Gnostic gospels, and there are little Christians dancing in my head lately. If anyone knows of a good translation of the Bible, let me know. And by "good" I mean one that includes that homosexual subtext. Because you can't fight true love, Saul.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The Rev. in 04!

Clark isn't worth an amusing post-drop out picture. He's scary, sad, and confused all at the same time.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

I vow to say "whip smart" more often.

That is all.

If You're With Terrorists, You're Against Us's

DES MOINES, Iowa - In what may be the first subpoena of its kind in decades, a federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists.

In addition to records about who attended the forum, the subpoena orders the university to divulge all records relating to the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, a New York-based legal activist organization that sponsored the forum.

The group, once targeted for alleged ties to communism in the 1950s, announced Friday it will ask a federal court to quash the subpoena on Monday.

"The law is clear that the use of the grand jury to investigate protected political activities or to intimidate protesters exceeds its authority," guild President Michael Ayers said in a statement.

. . . more in the link . . .

Thursday, February 05, 2004

. . . and harder . . .

Do You Know Who I Am?

This pretty much nails it as far as Kerry is concerned. Found the link via Atrios.

Making It Harder and Harder to Settle For Him

"I oppose gay marriage and disagree with the Massachusetts court's decision," he said.

(quote from the NYTimes)

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Over Cereal

I was eating breakfast one day, just me and Amy at the kitchen table since Maria's school started later, and Uncle John came in. He leaned against the counter, already in his cop uniform, badge and blue shirt, and he stared at us. I pretended not to notice him, and I think Amy didn't notice him for real. She was good that way. I crunched my cereal, my Cap'n Crunch, the plain yellow kind. It rang in my ears, crunched loudly, crunched deliberately.

"You do drugs in Texas, Berto?" he asked. He had not sipped his coffee yet.

My back was to him and I did not turn around. I chewed and swallowed. "No," I said. I tried to make it light, fun. Not jokey, but definitely Not A Big Deal. But instead it sounded low, got even lower at the end of the one syllable, came out defensive.

He drank from his coffee cup, but he still looked at me. I could tell.

"Look at someone when they ask you a question, Berto." He always talked like that when he spoke to me, saying my name at the end. And he did it with other people when he was talking about me. I won't have someone in my own home acting like that, Lydia. Or, You should be spending your time with Maria. Boys his age don't need friends who are girls, Amy.

I turned around in my chair and looked at him. I didn't say anything. He was about to speak when Amy dropped her spoon in her bowl, splashed milk on the blue-checkered-with-geese tablecloth and said, "Bus is coming." She scooted her chair back. "Berto," she said, leaving the kitchen.

I left too, grabbed my backpack, and we walked together down the driveway. The bus was nowhere in sight and me and Amy didn't talk.

I'm a Little Sad

Too bad, kid. It happens to the most Republican of us sometimes.

You'll just have to keep trying to ban violence in video games from the Senate.

(Did Kucinich drop out and I just didn't notice? I haven't heard his name mentioned all night.)

Monday, February 02, 2004

College, 2.0

4.0 GPA.

"Your humble author studies for his Latin American Art, Music, & Literature final."

Oh, God

I need to stop having imaginary conversations with Pablo and start having real conversations with Jemima.