<--DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Rising Like A Trout

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Grand Re-Opening

So this used to be my place to whine and bitch about my life. Waaa, we don't have health insurance, waaa, my wife and I aren't getting along, waaa, my job sucks. Now, we do have health insurance and my wife, E, and I are getting along nicely, and even my job is alright. Hell, they're sending me to New York for a week. Lesser men, when faced with this bland contentment, would give up, quit blogging, pack it in and, I don't know, do something outdoors. Thankfully, I am not a lesser man. I simply switch focus. I'm a family man and this will be all about the family, from the perspective of a white, middle-class, college-educated male, a perspective so lacking in the media. Truly, the world needs to hear from people like me. Granted, we run everything, but you know what they say about life at the top. It's lonely, people. White guys have feelings too, you know, although we hide them beneath a veneer of confidence, entitlement and success. But only because we are so empty on the inside. Wait a sec, the money truck just pulled up, I'll be right back...

In reality, I'm an obsessive writer and a dad and a husband and the first means I must chronicle the others in an exhuastive manner. This sets me apart from absolutely no one else doing much the same out there on the internets. But since I am like the snowflake, and Blogger don't cost nothin', it must be done. And you wouldn't have it any other way. Now, some deets for my peeps.

Name - 3 of them
Age - 37
Sex - Male
Availability - not before 9 am on weekend
Availability for sex - if you are my wife, then yes, any time
Kids - 3 of them, all sons (they will be all well hung), ages 12, 4 and 2
  • Good - I'm an early riser, I shower daily, I whistle while I work

  • Bad - I am constantly drumming my fingers or hands, I have a one track mind, I am anti-social, I smoke crack like a fiend, I default to the "smoke crack" standby in lieu of actual comedy when pressed

Also, there will be photos. For starters, check out our Santa Cruz vacation.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Boogie fever, in more ways than one

Happy birthday Nick. One year on the planet and already, you���re the best dancer in the family.

Friday, May 21, 2004


I've decided to re-engage the Trout as things have stabilzed quite a bit onthe homefront since I abandoned this place. We are doing incredibly well, financially, for the first time in two years, and I can't believe how much that contributes to our mental well-being. Our relationship is back on track, or at least it isn't in danger of derailment. However, I am noticing how different we are.

More later.

And a smirk shall rule us.

Courtesy of 1115.org comes the Center for American Progress who put together this point by point analysis of Bush's Meet the Press appearance on Sunday.

I don't mean to get all political on you, but I am ready to do almost anything to get the current assmuch out of office.

I like to watch.

'You can't fight in here, this is the war room!'I don't know who billmon of The Whiskey Bar really is, or how he can write so copiously and thoughtfully on a daily basis while maintaining a job. His post today is great and reminded me of how fucking off the charts brilliant the movie Being There is. I think it's in the top 3 for me, #1 being Dr. Strangelove, so I guess I have some sort of affinity for Peter Sellers.

Incidentally, Dr. Strangelove was written by Terry Southern, who is dead but still much cooler than you or I, something I've been pointing out in my links section for a while.

Italian Food

Went out on Saturday night with E. My parents watched the kids overnight for the first time in over 2 years. We ate at an overpriced Italian place that turned out to be quite average, although the d茅cor was nice.

Conversation with E went from trivial to serious very quickly, as we had been building up to this point for months. We talked about ���our relationship��� and how we basically don���t have one right now, with periodic interruptions by the waiter bringing us food and drink and saying, ���Take your time, sugar��� in a faux-homo accent while E was ordering. Which was odd because the guy was obviously not gay. I blame the rise of the metro-sexual for this.

Anyway, I had never had one of those types of conversations in a restaurant before. It added to the sense of dread. People around us were laughing and eating and we were like a black hole. From our expressions, you could tell there was trouble at our table from across the room. Blame was placed and then deflected in an emotional volley worthy of Wimbeldon, all conducted in that intense, hissing whisper of two people trying not to lose it in a public place.

We were going to see a movie after dinner, but it was past 10 and really, that was the only reason we didn���t go. It was odd how nonplussed both of us felt after our discussion. We talked casually about the dinner and drove home.

We had some E (the drug), which we do a few times a year. Normally, it is incredibly relieving, like an emotional vacation, and we typically spend these nights in trippy bliss, with occasional bursts of mind-blowing sex. This time, it was different. The E was bunk, for one thing, and our mood was not conducive to whacked out sex anyway. We spent about 10 minutes forcing ourselves to get high, then realized we had one left from the previous batch. We split it and got a nice roll and had a nice time, but she said afterwards that she didn���t want to do it (the E) anymore as it had lost its magic. I struggled to repress the double meaning of that statement.

Woke up the next morning at 11. I am not exaggerating when I say that neither of us had slept past 7:30 in 2 years.

So at least that was nice.

The blind leading the clueless.

In a conference call today, the term "viral marketing" was brought up. The Marketing department (aside from myself) was not familiar with this term. I would be saddened by this if not for the fact that I gained major brownie points for defining this rather aging trend to the meeting attendees, including the Marketing Supervisor.

I work in Sacramento, which is not exactly Bumfuck, Egypt.

But you can see it from there. (Pa-DUM-bum)

Either brilliant or obsessive or obsessively brilliant.

People like Paul Ford make me feel like a mental midget.

Enjoy Yourself.

I would move here in a second.

Terry Hall is the mayor and Missy is the sheriff. You hear Prince's "Pussy Control" when you're on hold with the DMV. Pretty Girls Makes Graves owns all the bodegas. Sunset starts at 2 PM and lasts until 2 AM. Condoms, coffee and vodka are free. Ghostface Killah tends bar at The Rusty Toothpick. He makes a wicked Horse's Neck and will drive you home in his hovercraft if you get too saucy.
Courtesy of Sasha Frere-Jones.

Linking in lieu of thinking.

OK, why are you here when you could be here? Eeksy Peeksy has been on my list for awhile, but I feel the need to give him a more prominent plug.

Me? I haven't had anything interesting to say for about 13 days, now.

Talk about freedom of fucking information!

This is too damn cool, a catalogue of files from Paul O'Neil's days in the Bush administration.

Thanks to Wonkette for that link. And you should all be reading her stuff on a daily basis.

Get a room!

Oh Jesus, I am attempting to bury my head and avoid the raging argument two of my co-workers are in the middle of right now. They���ve already tried to drag me into it, but I pleaded ignorance to things like server connections, XML feeds, and the existence of computers in general.

It has devolved into personal attacks and sarcasm. Christ, they should just get married, already.

Help me.

Doonesbury Kerry

No way! Kerry in Doonesbury, circa 1971.

Why are my co-workers staring at me?

Check out this cool little trick you can do at your desk. I'm a drummer at it even works on me. Damn you, neural wiring!

We have it on good intelligence...

Have you ever engaged in a pre-emptive fashion strike? Or even more obsessively catalogued, a ���pre-emptive, pre-ironic fashion strike���? That is, you can see a fashion trend coming down the pike and/or that fad from 7 years ago is just about to blossom into blissful ironic ripeness, so you take a chance and start sporting the gear before the tides have come in.

I have done this.

And I am male.

A male who is not gay.

But one who is comfortable enough with himself to admit that in high school (we���re talkin��� old school, 1983 style), I would wear moth-eaten V-neck sweaters in July because I fuckin��� KNEW they would be cool come November.

And I was right.

Unlike our President.

Wow, cool.

At the risk of this blog becoming yet another link-happy respository of ephemera, I give you this.

Sort of like the guestmap featured at right (which very few people choose to use, by the way. Of course, very few people actually visit the Trout), but cooler.

Tit for Tat

First off, I make no apologies for the title of this post. Somebody had to do it, and it may as well have been me.

Second off, I will leave commenting on Janet Jackson's right boobie to an expert, namely, billmon at Whiskey Bar. Seriously, go there, the guy is a serious writer and I agree totally with him on this topic.

Third off, you're damn right I Tivo'd the whole thing and rewound it multiple times...just to make sure.


I'm thinking of becoming a freelance spam writer.

-----Original Message-----
From: bob [mailto:bob@yobob.com]
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004 11:49 AM
To: ���Jim���
Subject: RE: That question you had

Are you tired of having your email account clogged with unwanted spam? Do you want to regain control of your online life? Shouldn���t you be able to download midget porn without worrying about your email address being sold to unscrupulous third parties?

Now you can! Meta-Spam is offering, for a limited time, a free 3-month trial offer! Just reply to this email and your account will be set up automatically! It couldn���t be any easier!

Once your account has been activated, Meta-Spam will begin scouring the Web for possible spammers. Meta-Spam���s patented software uses incredibly complex algorithms and shit to get tough on spam! This quantum leap in programming was designed by a team of Pakistani refugees who work for pennies on the dollar! You would be amazed at how much work they do for so little. Why, in the past 2 months alone, Meta-Spam has saved untold thousands of dollars by firing the entire American based programming department and hiring eager Third World denizens just itching to put their skills to work! !! But Meta-Spam has digressed.

After the initial trial period has expired, you can continue using Meta-Spam for only $39.99 a month. And the best part is, there is no obligation to continue! None whatsoever!! However, it will be virtually impossible to STOP using Meta-Spam; even if you really want to! The cancellation process can be downloaded from the Meta-Spam home page (www.meta-spam.com), which may or may not be up, depending on the whim of our outsourced Web maintenance team. If you would like to cancel your account and find that our Web site is down, you can call 1-888-555-1234. There, you will be put on hold for a minimum of 20 minutes and be forced to listen to the Best of Richard Clayderman on a 30-second loop.

If, after the requisite 20 minutes, you still wish to continue the cancellation process, an operator will assist you. Our operators have been trained in passive-aggressive customer retention techniques that are futile to resist. For real, you WILL be assimilated, yo.

So act NOW! Before NOW becomes THEN!!



Mental parental.


OK, here's the deal: E and I haven't had 24 hours without the kids in 3 years. Three. Years. So tonight, the kids were going to stay with my parents overnight and we were going to go out to eat and a see a movie and stay up all night and sleep in tomorrow. Well, the kids starting throwing up late last night.

I hate to sound selfish, but I haven't been this upset in years. All i wanted was to spend a night alone with my wife and sleep in with her tomorrow. Our next window of opportunity, and there are very few, is ina about a month. I repeat:


...but I know what i like.

Oh man, I could spend all day here.

Nothin' like good music and a close shave.

I freakin' love Radiohead and I say this with some trepidation, because they are so good and their goodness has been so chronicled that to say you like Radiohead almost sounds lazy. I really should be trying harder, I know. But yeah, I said it and this guy says it much better than I could. Some of the other stuff on his site veers sharply into pretention, but his song-by-song dissection of Amnesiac (my favorite Radiohead album, just impossibly, impossibly gorgeous) is almost as brilliant as the album itself. If you know the music, you can hear it clearly in your head as you read, which is as good a compliment as can be given to a music review piece.

And while I'm going on about music, check out the blogs of Sasha Frere-Jones and Philip Sherburne. Very fine writing on music and other things of interest. I used to work with Sherburne at one of the more useless search engines back when saying things like that could get you laid. He ended up starring in a Norelco commerical that was somehow tied in with Ask Jeeves (there, I said it) in a feat of advertising synergy requiring the services of a team of Chinese contortionists. In it, he was featured shaving at work as we all did back in those heady days because we were far too busy reinventing the economy to take care of personal hygiene in such pedestrian places like, oh, the bathroom. Much shit was given to him about that one, mostly out of jealously, of course; but as far as I remember, he was a decent guy.

Anyway, a week before half the company got canned, management decided to throw a bash at the Exporatorium, which was rented out for untold sums of pretend internet money. It was fucking cool. We had the place to ourselves all night and Mr. Sherburne and some other coolster DJ type employees spun the vinyl while we drank the free booze and ran around the place like little kids. Which we all were; we just happened to be running companies into the ground, as well.

I never worked with/for Mr. Frere-Jones, so you'll have to make up stories about him, I guess.

Class of 2011

Youthful antics are generational, in nature, and possibly progressing at an exponential rate. To whit:

My dad and his best friend from high school were reminiscing one night over a few drinks about the things they pulled back in the day. They consisted of such impossibly wholesome and endearing pranks like sneaking "cans of beer" on to the bus during senior trip, going barefoot at graduation, getting into lighthearted brawls that ended with genial back-slapping all around, etc.

As I listened, I grew sad because I thought of the things I did back in the day and I realized I would not be able to laugh about them with my son when he is in his 30's. My youth consisted of a series of pharmaceutical adventures and driving. And some stealing. And playing onstage while drunk and naked.

The thing is, if there were anybody besides myself reading this, and if those imaginary people were around my age (the dreaded Gen X), then there would be nothing in my back catalogue of experiences to shock them, because, as I said, youthful antics are generational, and you couldn���t swing a dead cat back in the 90���s without hitting some drunken idiot up onstage with his pants around his ankles and getting dead cat blood all over him.

So, the question is, will I feel comfortable discussing these things with my kids? Will the passing of time dull whatever shock value my antics once held, and render them harmless; quaint, even? And if so, just what in the hell will my kids be up to!? Shit, at the rate youthful antics have been progressing, they���ll probably be giving each other cranial adrenaline injections, passing around their genetically engineered, detachable genitals, all while wearing pants made out of pure HEROIN.

I weep for the future���

Still at it.

Upcoming Morrissey song titles culled from the ring of impossibly cool and accomplished people found within the slower.net links page:

Life Is A Series Of People Saying Goodbye
Teenage Dad On His Estate
I Have Forgiven Jesus
Come Back To Camden
How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?
Gotta hand to him, he's hilarious. Here is the link.

Um, crap.

Heard back from possible job. New status: impossible job. Read:

Thanks for coming in to speak with me regarding the writer position we were interviewing for. It was extremely difficult choosing one person out of all I spoke with, and while we have chosen another candidate for our immediate opening, I hope we can call on you in the future as we do expect to expand the department again.

I need exactly 4 drinks.

Being a normal type person, I���ve done a lot of stupid shit in my life, the usual stupid shit involving alcohol, drugs, sex, music, driving, etc. Blogcloggers that I promise never to dissect out of a misguided assumption that a) they are worth dissecting and b) I have half the talent to make them interesting (see Eurotrash, who absolutely crushes every other blogger with her wit, for that). No, the reason I mention this is that my dad had his high school friend over for dinner a while back, and after a few drinks, they began reminiscing about the ���wild and crazy��� shit they pulled back in the day. As I was listening, all I could think was, ���How cute.��� Cruising, sneaking ���cans of beer��� on to senior trips, covering houses with toilet paper, I mean, positively wholesome stuff.

I then projected a few decades in the future, when my son will be in his 30���s and I would have my graying friends over. Would we reminisce about the time we huffed rails of speed while driving to LA, or the time we took turns driving on acid, or many of the other drug/automobile experiences we engaged in? Are youthful antics generational?

Go here, now.

All I wanted was to check out some music. Man, the guy can write.

This will make you laugh very hard.

I give and I give and I give...

As the 2 of you who actually come here to read have already figured out, my blog is dull, and not intentionally so like this blog. However, I rock I on other blogs��� comments, so I think from now on, Rising Like A Trout will be comprised of an insane number of links directing you towards the torrent of pithy remarks that I spray like so much semen all over other people���s blogs. Sorry for the mess, folks. But don���t worry, I brought a towel.

For instance, here I get into an embarrassingly protracted argument about transportation options with a clever, if self-righteous, person. It may still be raging on as I write this, so I can���t tell you who won.

Oh, you must go here and here to witness a pointless sparring match with the aforementioned right-winger, in which we debate the finer points of satire; specifically, whether appropriating the last name of a United States Senator (Rick Santorum) as a synonym for post-anal drip constitutes comedy. (The answer is clear enough to most sane people: it���s freakin��� hilarious. But Arty disagrees.)

And since I���m linking like a maniac, this is the best blog entry I���ve yet seen. This guy knows it���s always wise to go out on top.

No word yet...

Interview went as well as any I've had. The guy said he would contact me either way sometime today. It's 4:00 and still no word. I sent the obligatory follow up email.

Went on a ranting rampage in unsuspecting blogs' comment spots. Spent hours arguing with a geriatric right-winger with no debating skills. Oh, I've sunk low, my friends.

My work is done here. I'm going home.

Forgive me Father...

In 2 1/2 hours, I have an interview with a software company to be their documentation guy. I cannot overstate the importance of landing this gig. As there are no atheists in foxholes (I cannot verify this as I have never been knee deep in "the shit" with Charlie on my ass), so too there seem to be no atheists amongst the soon-to-be-interviewed. In light of this, I offer up this prayer to Blastula, the Greek god of gainful employment:

Oh please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please let me get this job.

I think that should do it.

You think you're better than me!?

Seriously fucking good writing to be found here, but she���s English, so she���s got a head start.

And this guy is hilarious.

And I���m getting sucked into this whole NYC blog vortex because man, the writing is better than most anything you���ll come across, free or not. I know, I���m way behind the curve and gushing about these things is gay. But remember: I am a parent and have forgone any attempts to be hip long ago, so back off, whippersnappers. And hey, ���whippersnappers��� appears to be just dandy with my spell check. Sweet.

You're never too old to blog

Wow. I mentioned this 91-year-old blogger a few weeks back. This is his newest post about facing life without his wife of 62 years. I would say the obligatory ���I hope to be as sharp as he is at that age, etc.��� but that would be assuming that I had been at least as sharp as he is at some point in my life. This guy is a seriously good writer.

30 minutes of hugging

Finally saw Return of the King last night with my son. After the movie, I asked him what he thought of it and he said, ���The battle scenes were really cool, but the last 30 minutes were a bunch of hugging.��� I haven���t read a better review of the movie than that.

Job situation:
I���m spending this week pimping up my portfolio to look like I actually know what I���m doing. I���m utilizing the following techniques:

路 All Table of Contents and Indexes will be clickable (not to mention huggable).

路 Schematics and other graphics will be in full color and animated by the folks at ILM. Interviewer(s) will be given 3-D glasses at start of interview to enhance the interviewing experience.

路 Typographic conventions will be consistent across all documents.

路 PDF files will be configured to moan lustfully at interviewer (when the correct region is clicked, of course).

路 Liberal use of the word ���iteration��� to ratchet up the illusion that I am technically savvy.

路 Blowjobs are on the table.

路 Chapter headings will be multicolored and blinking.

路 The interview will be concluded only after 30 minutes of hugging.


Just got an email from possible job not 2 minutes ago. Wants to schedule an interview. Show me some of that online love and cross you virtual fingers for me.

This is where my vestigal (job) hunting and gathering skills kick in.

Well hooray for me, I didn���t get the job! Yep, in two weeks when this contract is up, I am shit out of luck. Actually, I did get a response from a software company about a full time tech writer position, which would be fucking sweet. The guy asked for some writing samples, which I duly sent in a PDF file I pimped up with links and graphics and shit, yo. That was on Wednesday, and since I follow ���The Rules��⑩�� of job groveling, I always wait two (2) days before calling back, ���cause I ain���t desperate. I don���t NEED you. You don���t OWN me. (Of fucking shithell, PLEASE let me get this job.)

So yeah, I���ll call the guy today. Meanwhile, the Web department is getting moved into another room to make way for���fucking filing cabinets. Please insert your Office Space joke right *HERE*. What does that mean for me? It means I get to schlep all of my shit over there so I can sit idly for two more weeks until the guy they hired comes in. Then, on the Day of Leaving, I get to choose whether I want to take it in the ass from management, or just blow the new guy before the door slams on me. Decisions, decisions���

I am quickly running out of options. I know this because I am planning to call the Two Uncles of Last Resort. As Mafioso as that sounds, they are my actual uncles, both very successful and jocular and small-talkin��� cheetahs with whom I have no relationship with aside from awkward convos at family gatherings. Oh yeah, and my cousin, who aspires to become uncle-like. So that���s three very successful family members who may have job leads. Fuck. I hate this shit.

Things I have learned:

Although I got my current gig through Monster, in general, Monster, sucks ass. Or rather, it is so well known that the competition for jobs is crazy. Plus, the listings are never that industry specific, at least not for the tech industry.

Dice, on the other hand, rocks. They specialize in tech jobs. There are new, relevant job postings almost daily.

Craigslist is the best���if you live in the Bay Area. If you live in the Sacramento area, it sucks���ass. Maybe in a year or so, when it becomes more widely used, it will be helpful.

Networking is the best way to get a job. It is also the thing that I suck the greatest at. I mean it. I sure do suck at schmoozing.

OK, so this blog may be a little obsessed and frantic for the next few weeks. It may result in the euphoric celebration of my new, lucrative gig. It may also result in a quickly spiraling depression vortex. Who knows? Stay tuned���

Jesus, Mary and holy crap!

The Pixies. Reunited. And it feels so good. At the Coachella Festival. Must go. Favorite band. Thank you to this presumably English blogger for the down low.

Unsung comedic heroes.

As I mentioned in a very early (and special) episode of Rising Like A Trout, my dream job would be to create funny (read: stupid) t-shirt designs all the live-long day. This is my latest:

Alice and I allow only the finest organic ingredients.

If you are from the Bay Area, then I apologize for the milk currently spewing forth from your nostrils. I know, I���m a genius and you must have this shirt like, now. If you are not from the Bay Area, or you haven���t heard of Alice Waters, or you simply don���t find this funny (more likely the case), then click on the link that occurred earlier in this sentence, or here, for you lazybones.

I should say that Che would no doubt approve of this appropriation of his visage in the name of comedy. Few people know this, but if the whole revolutionary thing hadn���t worked out for him, he had a fall-back career as a gag writer for the likes of Ernie Kovacs and Phil Silvers. Of course, the gags were all in Spanish, a language which neither Kovacs nor Silvers spoke even a word of, but the sheer force of Che���s personality won over the two legendary comedians, not to mention the enormous pistols he carried at all times.

Che mainly worked in the topical vein, mining 50���s pop culture and skewering such icons as Eisenhower, Marilyn Monroe, and even his more conventional contemporaries like Milton Berle. This made him few friends in show business, but things like popularity mattered little to Che. Artistic integrity and the art of the joke were paramount, and Che worked diligently in between political rallies to amass a huge backlog of material. There is rumored to be a secret vault somewhere in Havana containing thousands of unused jokes. In fact, Bob Hope reportedly searched for this comedic goldmine for decades, spending millions of his fortune on the endeavor. Sadly, ���ol ski-nose died without ever having found it.

After leaving Cuba in 1965, Che settled in Bolivia. Here, he ran into trouble with the local government and became a fugitive. One would think this would have caused Che���s art to suffer. To the contrary, the turbulent times only fueled his comedic output, so that some of his finest work, later called ���The Bolivian Material,��� came from this time period. While hiding out in a straw hut in the middle of the Bolivian jungle, Che honed his craft, abandoning broad political farce in favor of subtle, biting satire. His bit on the Bay of Pigs, written during this era, is still considered to be the definitive comedic statement on that event.

He was captured and shot by the Bolivian government in 1967. Funny to the end, his last words were reportedly, ���Is this thing on?��� At the time, the meaning of this statement was unclear, but recent discoveries have revealed his secret desire to take his material to the stage as a stand-up comedian. The world will never know to what heights Che would have taken this art form.

Just thought you might want to know.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

My tiny, hamster-powered brain is completely devoid of all thought, so instead, I bring you the fact that today is the birthday of both Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh. I just know there is some comedy to be mined here, but as I said: brain���hamster-powered���can���t���think���

Enter the Flagon

Part I: The Pros and Cons of Telecommuting
These are halcyon days for the empire of work, in its colonization of everyday life. It is an almost perverse reversal of the compartmentalization of American lives that has gone on for 100 years. Whereas in the previous century we had succeeded in fracturing our daily lives into the mutually exclusive realms of WORK and HOME (with the subsequent halving of our identities as well), we have now let WORK absorb whatever HOME-life we have retained. WORK can now occur at any time and place. However, it is a different phenomenon than the agrarian model, where work and home were two halves of a compatible whole. Work now takes precedence over our private selves. It has invaded our private spaces. When we telecommute, we are living on someone else���s time; but we are physically at home. We may be sitting at our own desks in our underwear, but we are not really in a private space. Our homes have become cells used by multi-nationals to increase their market-shares. We are being monitored, questioned.

This assault on our sense of self can be thwarted, however. Our reliance on work to define ourselves can be replaced by a reliance on beer. Alcohol is humanity���s savior from psychic enslavement by potential multi-national masters. By drinking ourselves into daily stupors, we defiantly render ourselves incapable of performing even the most mundane tasks required by the workplace of today. Multi-tasking, that hallmark of the modern worker, will be become impossible. Let���s face it, mono-tasking will be a stretch. Imagine an entire population stumbling freely through life, determining their own destinies. Hangovers will become symbols of liberation; gin blossoms will become badges of self-determination; and the alcohol-fueled one night stand���well, that���s always been pretty cool, so that would be more of a lateral move.

So yeah,

Dammit, grandma, you were supposed to throw the fight, I had 2 large riding on it.

Are you a writer who can face the blank page whether you are ���inspired��� or not?

Do you have discipline, a routine?

Are you sometimes pleasantly surprised at what pops out of your keyboard because you had thought you had nothing to say that day, but you were wrong?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, keep it to yourself, please.

On a related note, what is the purpose of keeping a blog? Is it merely a diary, recording the events of your life? Is it a cheap way to get your ���serious��� writing published? If you don���t feel inspired that day, do you force yourself to post anyway? For those of you who actually have readers, do you ever feel pressured to keep churning out the good stuff so as not to disappoint your faithful followers?

I haven���t figured out what this blog is supposed to be. I have reams of backlogged stuff dating back to high school *shudder* that I could slap up here. I almost posted something today that I wrote about work encroaching into our everyday lives. I would like to divide this blog into sections; one for fiction, one for random shit, etc., but that would take a more than cursory knowledge of HTML and/or cash, neither of which I possess.

Instead, I bring you this, from a 91 year-old blogger, regarding the passing of his wife of 62 years. This post is amazing for various reasons, the least of which is that the guy can even operate a computer at that age (my parents can barely send and receive e-mail), let alone write with such clarity and wisdom.

Not only did he post a few hours after his wife's death, but the obvious grace with which each of them exhibit during life���s final challenge is just staggering. I think the way you face death is a testament to how you spent your time on earth. In light of this, I can���t imagine either this blogger or his wife having lived anything but a full life.

Have an unctious weekend.

Breaking the first rule of party conversation.

Check out A Gathering of Fools, a very thoughtful blog about atheism, among other things. I will most likely go into my views on religion sometime in the future when it strikes me. For now, I guess you could call me an agnostic in that I don���t profess to have any special knowledge as to what the hell is going on. Because of this, I was about to launch into my assertion that Atheism = Just Another Religion, until I read the Strong/Weak Atheist definition that he provided. Very illuminating, but I still place myself in the agnostic camp.

I also commented on this post regarding another commentor (Jim) who believes in exclusive salvation. For those interested, here is my comment:

To Jim and others like him, I always say that if God is so petty and insecure as to pick and choose only those who agree with Him, then I want no part of Him anyway. I would love to believe in a tolerant and wise Supreme Being who understands how hard it is to be human and live a mindful life; who would entertain and maybe even be amused by all the things we cook up to try to explain our existence; and who ultimately would welcome all of us into a loving and eternal embrace when we die, reassuring each one of us that all of our various struggles and flailing thoughts were a valiant and unique attempt to make sense of our lives. THAT is the kind of Supreme Being I could get behind, because really, what else is there? What would be the point of being born for the sole purpose of having to jump through the right hoops to get the special prize? And as I said, if that IS the point, then I want no part of it.

I should point out that I also weirdly respect people who truly believe their way is the only way, because for me, that is the very definition of belief. People who are religious, or at least follow a particular religion, yet still accept other beliefs as perfectly valid, don't really believe in much of anything. As an agnostic, I fully support that! The only thing I ask of these people is to acknowledge that agnoticism in themselves. Admit that going to church just makes them feel better, if for no other reason that it gives them an hour to contemplate things. I'm perfectly fine with that, as I still go to church (I was raised Catholic) for the very same reason. I love the smells of a mass, the beautiful iconography, the aesthetics of the whole thing.

But that's just how I feel. Find comfort in whatever way you can. I just think it's sad to think of others as condemned for merely believing differently.

So Jim, I admire your conviction. Conviction gets things done, but in an ���end justifies the means��� way, which I believe to be ultimately destructive, based on all the evidence I have seen.
Christ, how boring. I promise not to do too much of this in the future.

I am officially old. Or: The CD vs. the Squeegee

One of Adam's posts over at A Violently Executed Blog got me a thinkin' about modern technology and the pros and cons, but especially the cons, of technological advances. Now, I'm all for making life a little more convenient and that's what "progress" is all about. But as things become more efficient, they also become more complex. This fact doesn't have any tangible effect on our lives until some device we depend upon breaks down. In Adam's case, it was his car, but it could be a million other things, like a computer, a CD player, etc.

In the very recent past, say, the 70's and 80's, most devices we relied on could be fixed by you, the layperson. If a car broke down, you could pop the hood and do a quick diagnosis because the number of moving parts that comprised the engine was relatively small. Personally, I don't trust any car where, when you pop the hood, you cannot see some ground below. The clusterfuck of wires and tubes and other nameless entities in modern engines evokes images of HR Giger and Alien movies; and any attempt to fix a modern engine is just as frightening.

In contrast, I give you the two cars I drove from the ages of 16 to 22. The first was a '67 VW Bug, which broke down more regularly than Old Faithful. However, I was able to fix the thing myself 95% of the time, and it ran for two years with NO OIL IN IT. When I was 20, I inherited a fucking sweet '64 Dodge Coronet with 45,000 original miles on it. The engine was a monster, with like, 4 moving parts, tops. There was so much open space under the hood that a small child could have ridden quite comfortably between the carburetor and the air filter. When it began to overheat, I simply replaced the water pump. Problem solved. When it wouldn't start, I got a new ignition switch and replaced the spark plugs. Presto! It started like a champ. I once pounded on the engine block with a squeegee when I heard a knocking noise. The noise fucking stopped.

This is not the case with modern devices. Aside from Canada, I blame the binary system. By definition, the binary system is a cold, unforgiving paradigm where you are either ON or OFF. You're either a big fat ZERO or you're #1! No room for negotiation, no middle ground, no squeegee banging. What that means for the layperson is that very expensive gadget that you saved up for either works perfectly or not at all.

The example I bore my friends and family with is the CD vs. the cassette/album. Case in point: between 1981 and 1984, I played a cassette of Madness' One Step Beyond almost daily. Yes, I was obsessed, but you're missing the point, here. This cassette began to lose integrity round about the middle of 1983. It squeaked as it played, some sections sounded warped; but the thing still played. Then one day, it had had enough and it snapped. Now, what I am about to say may sound strange and unfamiliar to those of you born during the 80's, but when something like this happened, we would not, nay, could not, run out an buy another copy. No, kids of that age would suddenly lurch in to full-on McGuyver mode.

First, the outer casing had to be split open, but EVENLY split open. To do this, one utilized the only tool suited for this type of job: the butter knife. Once the case was successfully cracked, one had to be careful to NOT let the spool of magnetic tape unravel. This could be done by placing the half containing said tape on its side. Then the two ends of the tape had to be re-spooled through the felt thingies and Scotch-taped together. This usually proved to be tricky as the standard width of a piece of Scotch tape was too wide, so that it had to be cut and folded. Once this was done, all that was left was to rejoin the outer casing, Scotch-tape the edges together, insert the tape into a tape player and resume skanking.

I haven't even mentioned the extreme durability of the tape cassette. It could be sat upon, tossed across the room, stepped on, etc. And talk about scalability! I've personally used cassettes to scrape ice off my windshield, as a mini-ruler and to line up rails of speed on my glass-top coffee table while listening to fucking Night Ranger! Try to do THAT with a CD!

The same goes for the vinyl LP. While not as durable as the cassette, the LP is still a very forgiving format. Scratches are an inevitable, but not a terminal, phenomena during the lifecycle of an LP. If a scratch occurs, all one must do to continue enjoying the music is to employ the time-honored technique of stomping on the floor at the EXACT moment the needle hits the scratch. This may take practice, but soon, your body becomes attuned and you can anticipate the skip without having to leave your seat.

I haven't mentioned the warm, forgiving sound of analog or any of that crap because most people can't tell the difference, myself included, unless an LP is played on an old analog receiver. Or better still, on one of those massive cabinet stereos! My grandmother had one of those and man, the sound was so supple you wanted to curl up in it.

So, once again, I have gotten off track, but my main point is still intact. The more complex our devices get, the less control we have over them. I don't mean to get all Matrix on you, but it's true. Corporations love this as it forces us consumers to come running to them for either repairs or another purchase.

I should also say that I'm no Luddite. I love new gadgets and think the digital revolution is helping to bring the world closer, blah blah. I just miss the days when I could use a squeegee to fix my car.

Releasing the fun in 2004.

We spent New Year's Eve in a way famliar to parents all across the land: we stayed at home. The two little kids were in bed by nine, the oldest got to stay up with us to ring in the new year. At midnight, we popped some champagne and sparkling cider, stepped out onto our front porch, fired off a few shotgun blasts party streamers, and went to bed about 10 minutes later.

Highlight of the evening: the slogan on the party streamers (which, by the way, are no longer propelled by gunpowder, but by blowing into a pouch and squeezing it) which reads:

Blow up the pouch and release the fun.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is my New Year's resolution.

Damn right! It's better than yours.

Grocery store cashiers have probably the most locally visible job, so that when one is spotted doing something other than ringing up your cough syrup, you get that sudden rush of recognizing someone you have admired from afar. They are local celebrities. This could very well be a condition specific to me, but I just had to get it out there. These pressing issues need to be discussed!

Let's see, what else. That song! Man, I can't get it out of my head. You know the one I'm referring to, right? Come on, let's sing it together, don't matter if you're a boy or a girl, black or white, Protestant or Catholic, let me here you sing it:

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
They're like, it's better than yours.
Damn right! It's better than yours.
I could teach you, but I'd have to charge.

Christ, that is some catchy shit.

Staying in with the family tonight for New Year's Eve. We got sparkling cider for the kids while E and I will be sippin' on some Cris. (read: cheap stuff from Trader Joe's). Haven't gone out for New Year's since the Millennium when the world damn near came crashing down. No, not the Y2K bug, I'm talking about MY world. I may or may not go into that whole time of my life in the future. I did some pretty good writing during that period, reinforcing the concept that turmoil is good for art, but I am just beginning to get over it and don't want to dredge it up just yet.

Here's to a more financially stable '04.

Stupid American Pig-Dog

I'm sure I'm way behind the curve on this one (as with so many other matters of coolness and culture) but my recent addiction to blogs has become more specific; namely, Iranian/Iraqi blogs. Sure, I'd heard the news about Raed's blog back when we (the US) started dropping bombs on Baghdad. But I had never read any until this week. Now, I can't fucking stop! Fascinating tidbits of daily life such as this one from Baghdad Burning:

The annual ritual around Christmas for many Christians in Baghdad used to be generally hanging out with family and friends on Christmas Eve, exchanging gifts and food (always food- if you're Iraqi, it's going to be food) and receiving guests and well-wishers. At 12 am, many would attend a Christmas service at their local church and light candles to greet the Christmas spirit. Christmas day would be like our first day of Eid- eating and drinking, receiving family, friends and neighbors and preparing for the inevitable Christmas party in the evening at either a friend's house or in one of the various recreational clubs in Baghdad. The most famous for their Christmas parties were the Hindiya club and the Armenian club.

At the risk of sounding like a typically ignorant American, I knew of the significant Christian population in Iraq, but I never knew that people celebrated Christmas openly there. This ignorance came as a surprise to me, because I recently watched a PBS special on this very topic, and immediately considered myself an expert on all things Iraqi.

The tragedy in Iran recently brought me the Eyeranian. This guy has posted some very thoughtful and heart-breaking stuff about the earthquake. Go there now and get yer learnin' on.

Of course, I'm always amazed at the English fluency of foreign folk, particularly those whose native language is other than Latin-based. I took 4 years of Spanish and have lived in California all of my life, but can barely order a fucking Dos Equis en Espanol. More evidence of my stupid American lazy pig-dog lifestyle, I guess.

I could go on about how THIS is what the internet is meant to be; that this vast communication network is bringing folks all around the world just a little closer to understanding one another; that an information revolution is taking place right before our eyes and it���s being driven by THE PEOPLE���. But what the internet is really about, what it���s been about for thousands of years, is porn, of course.

Anyway, I���ll probably add some of these sites to my ever growing, enlarging, engorging links section. And seriously, go visit these sites and become more informed.

Of Spawning and Mathmatical Formulas...

Our youngest son is 6 months old and he is just beginning to play with our middle son, age (full fucking on!) 2 years. Watching them play together is probably the most joyful thing I���ve ever experienced. Non-parents cannot understand this and any of them who began reading this post most likely logged off with a quickness. I don���t blame them. The joys of parenthood (as well as the frustrations) cannot be explained to those without kids. I hated to hear that kind of crap before I had kids. I thought it was a cop-out, just a justification for all present and future ���special rights��� parents have. However, one of the MANY things I���ve learned since becoming a parent is to accept people���s reasonings. Actually, my bad back made me learn this. Allow me to digress:

My dad and brother have complained about their backs for years. Every other month, I would invariably get the ���I threw my back out��� call from one of them. This meant they were laid up on the couch for a few days, unable to move freely without excruciating pain. I thought this was a load of crap, for I, too, have suffered a bad back in that it pretty much hurts all the time. However, I had never ���thrown out��� my back until one fine day in 1997, when I had a job at a wine and beer distributor (oh, the perks of that job! read: free booze also read: future entries). I was wheeling my handcart piled high with booze cases into a grocery store. I lifted one of the cases and as I bent down, I felt a fucking shockwave of pain shoot up my spine. I immediately doubled over, dropping the case of wine to the floor with a crash, and COULD NOT GET UP. I tried a few times before giving in to the situation. Some lady asked me if I was alright and I told her I was fine, despite the fact that I was curled up on the floor in the middle of a grocery aisle with broken bottles strewn about and gallons of wine spreading around me.

So yeah, after that incident, I began to accept what people told me about their personal conditions. Unbearable back pain? I hear ya. Crippling depression? I���ll take your word for it. Republican? Don���t ask, don���t tell on that one, fella.

But back to my original point. There is no more humbling experience that becoming a parent. Things that were once under control suddenly careen out of. Statements such as ���No way are my kids gonna behave like that in public��� go out the window quicker than a stockbroker on Black Tuesday. When you have a kid, you essentially surrender to something other, or greater, than yourself. And let me tell you, that is fucking hard to do, especially for us coolsters who prided ourselves on ironic detachment, because what is ironic detachment but a feeble attempt to control your surroundings; or, more accurately, control how your surroundings visibly affect you.

I���m not saying you give up your identity entirely when you become a parent. But I guarantee that 95% of previous assumptions will be rendered moot.

And did I mention the guilt? Our oldest son is 10 years old. E became pregnant with him when we were, uh, let���s say smack in the middle of a particularly irresponsible phase. We struggled BIG TIME with the whole parent thing at first. We stupidly pronounced that it would ���not change us.��� We railed against any and all traditional parenting methods. We arranged our lives so that we could still go out on weekends. And we did this for a good 5 years.

How we managed to still be ���good��� parents is a mystery to me. But I know that we shortchanged our oldest. He is a fantastic kid, but he grew up lonely, I think. And that is what got me on this whole subject. Seeing our two youngest play with each other slammed home the guilt because our oldest never had that experience. Goddamn rollercoaster, I tell ya.

All you math geeks can look forward to future entries on the Child Exponential Progression Formula. A quick preview:

If a=(1 child) and b=(a+1) and c=(b+1), then the formula is as follows:

a+0=i (an ordered system)

a+b=x (an unresolved integer)

a+b+c=! (total fucking chaos)

Oh yeah, hope all had a happy holidays!

This is not opinion

A post from Earthbound Discoball (I guess he���s some sort of blogstar, much to his chagrin) got me a thinkin��� about music. My tastes in music are catholic in that I like a little of everything. I subscribe to this quote from Flea:

���There are two kinds of music: soulful and unsoulful.���

And its corollary, attributed to countless people:

���There are only two kinds of music: good music and bad music.���

Similarly, although much more limiting, a quote from my good friend Aaron:

���I like all music that rocks.���

And this, because the Blues Brother is one of the very few perfect movies and absolutely the BEST movie about music and musicians ever made:

���We play both kinds of music: country AND western.���

Anyway, it���s the end of the year and that means it���s time for lists, so here���s a short list of some of my favorite music; at least for today. I���m not including all the shit you should already know and love. I will say that the Holy Trinity of American Music 1950-2000 is as follows:

You can���t get better than any of the Three, you just can���t. They were neither born nor created, but emerged fully formed from the spore of higher beings. James Brown and Iggy Pop each created entire genres practically single-handed, while Miles stretched to the limit the most advanced form of music yet created by puny humans. (That would be jazz.) Enjoy!

Melvins ��� They will crush you. Go buy Ozma and Gluey Porch Treatments and prepare for the onslaught. Don���t fight it, just let them assimilate you.

Dave Holland Quartet: Extensions ��� Forget about it, any musicians reading this should abandon all hope of being worthy to even wipe the collective asses of this group. I saw them live and it remains the most awe-inspiring musical experience I have ever witnessed. After one tune, the audience remained silent for a good 10 seconds, just absolutely stunned at what they had heard, then burst into applause.

Subset: The Lineup

1. Steve Coleman (Sax) ��� He should be an entry unto himself, as he has created the only forward thinking jazz of any quality in the past 15 years. Blistering.

2. Marvin ���Smitty��� Smith (Drums) ��� Oh my holy Jesus, I���m not exaggerating when I say that he is the best musician on the planet. Rhythms so complex yet so appropriate and FUNKY. I will GUARANTEE that he can play faster and cleaner than any drummer in history. During some of his fills, his arms were literally (and I mean that LITERALLY) a BLUR. He is so good that my eyes are welling up with man-tears just thinking about his goodness. Yes, he now plays on the Tonight Show band (as do other members of this quartet) but do not let that fool you. He will crush any drummer on EARTH.

3. Kevin Eubanks (Guitar) ��� It is a tragedy that this man is known mostly for being the doofus foil to Jay fucking Leno. His playing is so tasty, clean and FAST that Yngwie (fucking!) Malmsteen himself has constructed an elaborate, yet surprisingly portable, shrine to Mr. Eubanks that he takes with him on his tours of monster rock. Granted, Yngwie doesn't actually do this. However, if this were a just universe, he would.

4. Dave Holland (Bass) ��� Simply amazing. ���Nuff said.

Alice Donut ��� Why this band was not huge during the 90s is a mystery. Personally, I am glad for that. Picture a seedier, more tuneful Jane���s Addiction, then wipe that picture from your mind, as mental exercises like that are silly. Just go buy some of their music.

Hickey ��� You haven���t heard of them, and I���m not saying that to be cool, they just never made it past the punk rock circuit. However, they were the ONLY punk band of the 90s. Various States of Disrepair stands as one of the best punk albums ever. Matty Luv, the singer/guitarist, was not only a friend but the best live performer I have ever seen. The penultimate punk rock Andy Kaufman. He recently passed away, so too bad for you. Go here for more info and music.

Underworld and Aphex Twin ��� I fully admit to being WAY late on the whole electronic thing. Sure, I���d listened to Brian Eno, etc., but never appreciated modern electronic stuff until, you guessed it, I did some of the E. 99% of the genre is good ONLY if you���re on E, but Underworld and Aphex Twin can be safely listened to while sober. Underworld makes gorgeous songs that can actually be sung along to, and Aphex Twin is out there, man. Very complex stuff, but with a beat you can dance to!

OK, enough for today. I most likely will pepper this blog with similar lists in the future, ���cause that���s the thing to do, Drew.

A Christmas Wish

I've been thinking about the differences between what would commonly be described as "conservatives" and "liberals". (I should say that you could lump me in with the liberals for most issues.) Anyway, what it comes down to for me is process. What us bleeding-hearts are concerned about is process, and the process must have "meaning" or it's not worth doing. The result is almost incosequential. It's the doing that counts.

Over there on the conservative side, they are concerned with RESULTS. Doesn't matter how they get there, as long as the end result is what they intended. No whining about meaningless processes for them.

This paradigm presents big fat problems for us pinkos in that we never get anything done. Case in point, if you want to see a study in message diffusion, go to a protest rally. Holy Shitmole, the mish mash of causes is staggering. A Christmas wish: can we please agree on what a particular rally is supposed to accomplish and STICK with that GOAL for just ONE day? I, too, would love to see the weed legalized, but put away the hacky sack just for the duration of this march, mmkay?

Another case in point: satire, or propaganda in general. Us commies like our satire subtle or not at all. Case in point: Dr. Strangelove. Conservatives don't really give a shit, as long as the message is conveyed. Case in point: everything on PAX.

Of course, I'm generalizing big time, just to get my message across. Ohahahahaha!! But no, I'm a process-oriented person to the nth degree and I'm tired, people, I'm tired of fretting about the meaninglessness of a particular task. I want the moral fortitude to forge ahead regardless of how much grunt work is involved.

All this panty-wasted analyzing could be the reason behind the need for the rest of today's post, which is a shameless act of networking. In other words, I need a job, people. Or at least, I MIGHT need one come the New Year, so I'm bucking personal tradition and I'm being proactive. To wit, the following:

Dear Blogoshpere,

I have been temping as a tech writer at a large credit union located in Sacramento since September. The assignment is technically over on December 31, but there is a possibility that I will continue on until March, when a new full time position opens. However, that very well may not happen. In that case, I am screwed. More accurately, my family and I are screwed. I know, how clich茅 of me to drag the kids into the picture, especially during the holidays, but desperate times call for, well, you know.

So I am appealing to this amazing online community for leads on a job. As I mentioned, I���m a tech writer, but I���ve also done a lot of project management, mostly with Internet companies. I���m familiar with all the usual programs, including FrameMaker, Word, Excel, DreamWeaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, Visio, Powerpoint, etc. I���m also handy with HTML and am getting used to ASP, XML and Java.

Did I mention I spent the past two years teaching high school English? That was fun and challenging, but paid very little, so I went back to the private sector. Also, I can play drums and walk on my hands. Not at the same time.

Interested parties can contact me at vargaso@sbcglobal.net or in the comment section of this blog. I will send my resume to whoever responds. I live in the Sacramento, CA area, but am willing to commute to the Bay Area if necessary.

Thanks in advance. The next post will return to inner turmoil and random links, I promise.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

It���s only been two weeks and the powers that be have demanded a re-design. Besides, I read an HTML book over the weekend. Henceforth, you (meaning me) will be spending inordinate amounts of time at Rising Like A Trout. Championship of Sexy, while much loved, has been retired. The jersey is on display in the arena. In five years, Championship of Sexy will be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Please vote for him as he gave 110% each and every day out there on the field. You can currently find Championship of Sexy either on the golf course or making appearances at one of the many Der Wienerschnitzel franchises he has purchased with earnings from his illustrious career.

Why "Rising Like A Trout"? It���s from a book by Wallace Stegner, one of my favorite authors. Go out and buy these two books immediately:

1. Angle of Repose ��� For the letters sections alone, this book will kick your ass. If ever there has been a better female voice written by a male author, I have yet to see it. This is a wise book about marriage, family, loyalty and the long-haul that could only have been written by a middle-aged person, as the lessons in it take that long to learn. And by learn, I mean internalize and implement, not just ���know��� in the intellectual sense. Being a mere 35 years old, I still don���t know what the hell I���m doing.

2. Crossing to Safety ��� The book where the new and improved title of this blog came from. This is a book about life well spent.

It should be stated that these books are the farthest things from cool. This is not to say that I am adverse to ���things that are cool.��� This may come as a surprise to you (meaning me). I mean, I have a picture of a fucking TROUT on my blog. However, I spend probably too much time and energy in a pathetic attempt to remain cool, despite my advanced age and parental status. My 10 year old son is just beginning to glimpse the cracks in my armor and is now pretty sure that his dad is a big geek. He is right, of course. But anyway, what I���m saying is that Stegner���s writing is big and solid and American and of the West (but not ���Western���) and is concerned with the Long-Haul. If anything, ���things that are cool��� by definition are not concerned with the Long-Haul. The Long-Haul is boring and can only lead to Death, anyway, so what���s the point in that, right? Death sucks. Oh sure, flirting with Death is kick-ass, no question, but actual Death is for suckers. And by Death, I mean stability. Stability is boring, you can���t have hot threeway action and snort coke off the chests of groupies when you are mired in stability.

But ���things that are cool��� get stale real fast, even things like snorting coke of the chests of groupies. (It got old for me just this past year.) So what do you (meaning me) do when the chase after ���things that are cool��� grows old? That���s where writers like Stegner come in. For one thing, his characters are actually old enough to be dealing with these types of issues. They struggle with maintaining dignity while being interested in new things.

OK, I���m losing my train of thought. More later���

'Cause I got more Link than Mod Squad

So yeah, I'm link-happy today.

This is hilarious.

This is the best commentary on the capture of Saddam I have yet seen.

Another one for the t-shirt gallery at bottom right over yonder ------>.

Catholicism and nakedness.

We put up our Christmas tree last night, and damn, it looks good. Depsite my previous ranting on the subject of "the holidays", I do love this time of year. I love the hunkering down aspect of Christmas, when it's ass-cold outside and my family is snug and warm on the couch and the fire is blazing. I love all the visceral Catholic imagery, Joseph and Mary craahing at the manger for the night. (Again with the hunkering.) I love the solemn Christmas carols, especially "These Three Kings" because it's in 3/4 time and the melody has a bunch of tritones (the original devil's music!). It will be a challenge to keep our 2 year old away from all the shiny objects on the tree, however.

I don't mean to get all Catholic on you (meaning me, the sole reader of this blog), because I'm not a religious person at all. I am firmly agnostic. Who the fuck knows what the hell is going on? Not you, not me, not even the Dalai Lama. Some people have some great ideas about making time on the planet a little more interesting and compassionate, but that's as far as I go.

But I was raised a Catholic and jumped through all of their hoops up to and including getting married in a Catholic church and having our kids baptized, but not because I "believe". I just happen to love ritual; I am endlessly fascinated with how people decide to mark life's events. People are faced with a situation, for instance, "it's starting to get ass-cold outside and the crops no longer grow", and cook up ways to mark/define/explain it. Whether it be snake handling, modern-day crucifixions or getting naked in the desert (but particularly the latter) I'm fascinated by it all. And hey, that's the original meaning of the word "catholic", anyway. Check it:

"Of broad or liberal scope; comprehensive: "The 100-odd pages of formulas and constants are surely the most catholic to be found." (Scientific American).

Including or concerning all humankind; universal: "what was of catholic rather than national interest" (J.A. Froude)."

That, or I'm just non-committal.

More importantly:

I got a hit from somebody who googled "sexy Christmas gifts for wife". Ha! I love Site Meter!!

Dead on the heavy funk.

Gee, I was a barrel of fun yesterday, wasn���t I? This got me out of my deep funk. He is my new favorite photographer.

This morning while commuting to work, I drank half of my coffee. About 10 minutes later, I thought I had finished it, but picked up the mug anyway to drain the last few drops of precious caffeine into my system, only to discover I had plenty left. I love it when that happens. It���s sort of like finding money in your pockets.

Wherein the "holidays" can lick my ass...

The holidays suck ass. We���re spending over 500 bucks on presents when we most likely will not have enough money for next month���s mortgage payment. What the fuck is that about!? Is that what the holidays represent, stretching your financial limits to the absolute breaking point? I don���t mind buying gifts for the kids, I would buy them Christmas gifts before I���d pay for almost anything. But everybody else? I���m sorry, but there are some years when they aren���t going to get anything from us aside from a card. And there���s nothing wrong with that, really, but I still feel compelled to run out and buy shit like a good American because to not do so would be an admittance of failure in a way. I just can���t bring myself to show up at my parents��� house with no gifts, because I know we are going to get assloads of crap from them and everyone else in the family. Again, what is that about? My parents make a lot of money, always have, and Christmas has always been over the top, on my dad���s side. Back in the day, when my grandmother was still alive, it would take the family (about 12 of us) 4 HOURS to open presents. We���d have fucking intermission about half way in. We were TIRED from opening presents! It was ridiculous and I ALWAYS felt sick to my stomach for it. I know, poor me, typical spoiled brat, if I had grown up on welfare, I���d be singing a different tune, blah blah. Well, perhaps, but gratuitous consumption makes me ill.

So anyway, this is probably all about me not making shit for money at my ass-licking job. It���s about me crumbling under the pressure of providing for a family of 5. It���s about me dreading calls from my wife while I���m at work because I know it���s going to be about all the crap we need to take care of just to make it to the next day with a roof over our heads. It���s about me savoring the 20 minutes after the kids have gone to bed and my wife has fallen asleep on the couch and I am alone for the first and last time that day, thinking about how much I love my family but how fucking hard it is to keep it all together.

Oh yeah, blog title of the day...Championship of Sexy or whatever.

On parents who blog

Hey, remember way back in my first post when I pondered whether there were other parents out in Blogstown, USA? Oh, those were the days, weren't they? Anyway, I found one and have been wasting time at work reading her tales of parenting and coolness and the usually atagonistic relationship between the two. Do I relate? Yes, very. Should you go immediately to her site? Absolutely. Does it count as "work-related"? That depends on how you spin it, friends, now get to work!

Today's blog title: Holy Spirit Mobile Forces

Update: I've decided I'm going to kick it, Lincoln, CA style, and there's no use in trying to stop me. This is where I live, we bought a house in a town located 10 miles past Bumfuck, Egypt and it's time to accept it. Granted, I am a 35 year old father of 3 with a penchant for punk rock and jazz who has been known to don a dress when either under the influence of various substances and/or when feeling under the weather (I don't know what it is about the flu that brings out my skirt-wearing tendencies). Yes, I have moved my family from the Bay Area, world capital of liberalism and weirdo antics, to Lincoln, CA, world capital of, I don't know, flat spaces waiting to be transformed into strip malls or something. OK, our neighbors all own combinations of big-ass trucks, ATV's and fishing boats while we tool around in our sensible Saturn station wagon. Holy crap, the American flag display around here is staggering, and the support for Bush AND Shwarzeneggar hovers between overwhelming and UNANIMOUS. I know, we stand out like sore, bleeding-heart, puppy-kissing, tree-hugging, faggoty thumbs.


Despite all of this, this blog will henceforth embrace all that is Lincoln, CA. It will extoll the virtues of the mullet, which, despite the ironic qualities of this haircut having already been mined and exhausted, is still alive and well here.
I don't know, maybe we'll just move back.


I would be a happy man if I could spend my days thinking up t-shirt designs. My two current favorites:

"I am speaking phonetically."

and this.


I still don't know what to call this thing, so I'm changing the title on a daily basis until one sticks. Candidates so far:

Championship of Sexy - I really like this one, because it implies that, like, I'm a champ and I'm dead sexy.

El Kabong's Controlled Blasting - I was in Safeway getting my morning donut and the guy in front of me at the cashier line was wearing a jacket with "Dave's Controlled Blasting, Inc." written on back. I'm assuming his company is some sort of demolition outfit, but I like the vaguely pornographic ring to it, especially the controlled part. Very considerate of him to control his blasting, don't you think, ladies?

Holy Spirit Mobile Forces - On NPR this morning, there was a report from Uganda about the awful shit that's been going down there for the past 17 years. Apparently, and I had never heard of this before, a civil war has been raging, instigated by a group that calls itself the Holy Spirit Mobile Forces. It was founded by a lady who claims she is channeling the spirit of a dead Italian soldier. And this dead Italian soldier apparently wants the limbs of Ugandan babies to be hacked off. OK, we've all heard that one before, right, but it doesn't end there. Recently, a splinter group has risen, calling itself the Lord's Resistance Army. It is led by a 17 year old boy who claims the dead Italian soldier has decided to switch mediums and make his wish for hacked off baby limbs to be carried out through this kid. So now the lucky Ugandans have two (2) low rent John Edward's wreaking havoc on their country.

I could go on a rant about how Europe has totally fucked that entire continent by carving out "countries" with no regard for native borders, and then pulling out like a porn star, leaving the African people to wipe the jism of a century of imperialism off their collective chests. (And the Europeans didnt even give them a towel!). Or how the hodge podge of African and Christian religions, while sometimes quite beautiful (check out this!), usually winds up half-baked and dangerous. Or how I've mentioned onanism twice in today's post. But really, I just thought Holy Spirit Mobile Forces was a pretty fucking cool name.

Brevity is Joyce Dewitt - The original title. I thought of this probably 10 years ago, and it always struck me as hilarious, but it just isn't, really.

I could put this up to a vote, but I'm pretty sure that I am the only one who has seen this blog as of yet.

Hello...! ?

What up with the threesomes on daytime televison! ? I was eating lunch in the lunchroom and because I work in the Marketing department with a bunch of ladies, some soap opera was on the teevee. In one scene, the soap queen was the main ingredient of a soap queen sandwich, with two soap dudes playing the part of the bread. I guess three-way action, much like lesbiansim and S&M, is now ready-for-prime-time behavior. To this I say....Sweet!

The story behind Patrick Stewart's baldness

Online Mad-Libs represent the pinnacle of computer technology. Fifty years of innovation has come to fruition. There is no reason to go any further. Well done, people.

My entries in italics. (Check out the totally unexpected bald/Picard synchronicity. Eerie!)

One day, on the bridge of the flaky ship known as the Enterprise, Captain Picard was startled by the sudden appearance of a apple aboard his ship. 'Jesus Fuck!!' shouted Picard righteously as the apple began crapping. Sandy, the ship's first officer, decided to attempt to neutralize it with Pepsi, but her plan failed. Picard then asked the android, Jorge, who suggested that they beam it to your Grandma's S&M dungeon. Picard tried to do that, but the transporter began to glow a pale shade of whitesmoke and didn't work at all. in desperation, Picard called on his chief engineer, Gluon, who stated pathetically that they should find a computer which would transform the apple into a elephant. This worked, and Picard became very bald and started to assimilate, and they all lived righteously ever after.


Guess what!? I���m a big dork and here is my proof. I fully admit to being totally rapt during the entire run of this Alternate Reality Game (ARG). I even coined a term for the players of ARGs; ARGonauts, of course. Isn���t that the geekiest thing you���ve ever heard of? Anyway, I find it fascinating and you should check out this and also this, if you���re interested in the history and culture of this phenomenon. Also, if I can figure out how to put content on other pages, I���ll link you to my own inane rambling on the subject. Until then, go directly here.

There are times I am doubtful

I am a technical writer for a credit union, and Holy Jesus, can it get boring. Sometimes as I���m typing away about marketing procedures or whatever, my mind begins to rebel against the soul-crushing monotony. This is a typical result:

���Once the list has been compiled, it is forwarded to the Webmaster for insertion into Accucast. Depending on the campaign, e-mails are scheduled to be sent at a certain date, or are sent immediately, like foxes. Because of the wily nature of the fox, the emails must be monitored closely, especially when the recipient is a chicken. In this case, the email must be flagged as ���highly foxy��� and forwarded to the hound dog.���

I���ll give you a minute to recover from the fits of laughter������������.You done? OK, I���m not saying the above is genius, or even slightly amusing to anyone not inhabiting my body, so I include it here for purely informational purposes. If you use this information in relation to an illegal activity, I cannot be held responsible.

Another pathetic tactic I use to fool my brain into thinking it is being used is to write ���funny��� titles for boring documents. Most often, I use the following formula:

(black slang) + (technical jargon) = funny

For instance, if I���m writing a procedural document outlining intranet protocol, I may title the section dealing with uploading interest rates as ���The 411 on the FTPizzle.��� This has a twofold effect: 1) It makes me (and pretty much no one else) laugh, and; 2) it helps legitimize ebonics in the workplace. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), the Senior VP does not watch Snoop Dizzle TeleVizzle. In fact, it is highly unlikely he has ever heard of Snoop Dogg in either the ���Doggy Dog��� or the ���Dogg��� incarnations. Oh, the laughs he���s missing.


I wonder, are there any other parents out in blogville? You see, blogging takes time and parents barely have enough time to keep up personal hygiene. In fact, I cold use a good scrubbing myself. Any volunteers?


I write for a living all frickin' day long, so why would I want to start a blog? Perhaps describing procedures and networks is not what I had in mind.

Tokyo dreamin'.

Just recently saw Lost in Translation and have been obsessed with the flick. I wouldn't bother mentioning it if I couldn't make a nice, smooth segueway into this site, and this photo in particular. Aussie photographer living in Tokyo. Good stuff.

I found that site after reading Rambling Rhodes, where he mentioned a cool little meme that I will replicate here:

Think of 5 blogs you think people should read and 5 songs people should here. Oh, and list them.

New York in the 70's.

I can't decide whether this picture or this one is the coolest thing I've seen all week. Go here and decide for yourself.

Weird like me.

This is one of those quotes that applies to everyone and everyone alone. Ya know?

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
- Albert Camus

Courtesy of No Starting Point.

When I am nervous, my brain acts like a flat stone on water, skipping from one thought to another. This causes problems when I am working, and these problems are exacerbated when the reason I am nervous happens to be work related.

This is just a long way of saying that my future is up in the fucking air like a prom dates legs. My financial future. My emotional future. Everything. My life has never been so tenuous as it is right now, at 2:44 PST on February 12, 2004. I am waiting for a verdict to be handed down from on high. A positive result would mean financial stability; it would mean a nice, safe plateau upon which more personal issues could be dealt with. A negative result would be that last Kamikaze at 1:58 AM that put you over the edge and had you puking in the bushes. I don���t know if we could survive another hit right now.

And wouldn���t you know it? The manager just came over and said she���s working on it, but another meeting is in order before they make their decision.

That is so gay.

My place of work is not a bastion of liberalism, by any means. To illustrate this, I will recount for you a moment from today's lunchroom that happened not 30 minutes ago.

We were watching the local news and a story about the gay marriages San Francisco is performing came on. We all watched it in silence, until a woman I work with said:

"Last night we were watching the 11 o'clock news and they were talking about this when they showed couples, uh, kissing. Now, I know it was 11 at night and this is the news, but they don't need to be showing that."
OK, I'm not saying you have to get turned on by the sight of same-sex kissing (unless the members of the same sex happen to be Kate Beckingsale and Rachel Weisz, in which case you are fucking REQUIRED to get turned on), but comments like this make me angry. What if I had been gay? How does she know I'm not? In fact, to make a point, as soon as she uttered that ridiculous sentence, I turned to the balding man sitting to my right and open-mouthed kissed him during the entire commercial break. (We have a date this Friday.)

Does the fact that I did not actually do that make my argument less valid? Do I even have an argument? The answer is no. She just pissed me off a bit, and in the interest of keeping my job, I chose the online route for venting, much to your chagrin.

The stupidest thing I have ever done.

This one is hard to narrow down, but if pressed, I would say either cliff diving while frying quite hard on acid, or snorting coke and smoking weed while driving to LA.

That second one is worth examining further. When I was 18, I inherited a fucking sweet 1964 Dodge Coronet from a great uncle I had never met. It had 34,000 original miles. (The car, not my great uncle.) It was white with red leather interior. The engine was a 424 or 436 or a 666 or some combination of numbers that made it go REAL FUCKING FAST. In other words, the car was tits.

So one fine day, my friends Rob, Nate and Don and I decided we should visit our friend Pete who lived in Costa Mesa, which is a total shithole, by the way. This very wise decision was made at around 6:30 in the evening. We wisely agreed that the road trip should begin right now, so we set off in my sweet-ass car, which was christened The Cloud, as it was big and white and thundered and moved like the wind. Nice, huh?

Since we were all 18-19 years old, we were well-versed in the exploits of Hunter Thompson, whom we revered as a god, as all young, stupid red-blooded American men are want to do. In honor of Mr. Thompson, we brought along a case of beer (Blatz, $2.95 a 12er ���cause it was 1987!), all the weed we could muster, a 3-foot glass bong and some of the cocaine. I was at the wheel and the drug/alcohol binge began as soon as we hit Interstate 5. Actually, the alcohol binge began as the car doors were closing. The drug binge didn���t begin until the Interstate. I just want to be clear about this.

The car has very large and made in the 60���s, so it had the kind of suspension that simulates a magic carpet ride, even without the aid of insane amounts of substances. This effect is deceiving in that it is very easy to be speeding along at 95 MPH without even realizing it. It���s almost as easy to be pushing 120 MPH on the downhill sections of the Grapevine.

So this is all very, very stupid and dangerous so far. But we haven���t gotten to the cocaine, yet. We finished the beer around Bakersfield (maybe, maybe not, but how cool is the phrase ���finished the beer around Bakersfield���? Answer: VERY fucking cool!). The bong has been passed around a few times already. Nate peed in a bottle. There was nothing left to do but to start in on the coke. We rolled up the windows, busted out a cassette case (remember, this is 1987) and Rob lined ���em up. When it got to me, I had Nate take the wheel whilst I inhaled a big fat rail.

Then I passed out.

I regained consciousness to much screaming and ���holy shitting.��� I had apparently been out for a good 10 seconds, during which Nate had the wheel, but not the accelerator or more importantly, the brakes. Luckily, we were on I-5 and it was around 11:30 at night, which meant no cars and no steering needed. I did learn that I have a leadfoot when unconscious as our speed neared the magic 120 MPH mark. This is knowledge that is useful to this day.

Of course, as soon as things calmed down, we laughed it off and in defiance of fate, or more likely the result of being young and stupid, we each did another line. Hooray for us! We eventually made it to Costa Mesa in one piece, whereupon we commenced in more indulgences. Fucking hell, my sons are never leaving the house.

So yeah, on second thought, there is no doubt that this was the stupidest thing I have ever done. Cliff diving on acid ain���t shit. Fun, yes. Shit? No.

So, what's the stupidest thing you've ever done?

Lost in Parenthood.

Lost in Translation was a fantastic movie for a lot of reasons, but this bit of dialogue was particularly poignant.

Bob: It gets a whole lot more complicated when you have kids.

Charlotte: It's scary.

Bob: The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born.

Charlotte: Nobody ever tells you that.

Bob: Your life, as you know it ... is gone. Never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk ... and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.
Fucking exactly. I'm thinking one of Sofia Coppola's friends or family said something similar to her and she used it in the movie. That, or she is the most insightful writer around, as I'm pretty sure she doesn't have any kids.

Thanks to Defective Yeti for reminding me.

Dear editor...

I'm not going to go on about gay marriage or any other infuriating policy blunders that Bush is either proposing or enacted. If you want some food for thought, check out Adam's highly literate and reasonable writing on the matters at hand.

I will suggest that you take billmon's advice over at The Whiskey Bar and use Bush's website against him.

And read The Whiskey Bar every day, for Christ's sake. I don't know how that guy does it, but he writes more eloquently and PROLIFICALLY than any blogger I have come across.

Rachel Weisz is the hottest chick on the planet.

That is all.

Fractured English never to fail.

Online Pravda. In "English."

The movie star is certain that the best way for a woman to remain young is to have regular sex with a beloved man.

I fucked up.

Big time, most likely. We're in debt, near broke, I've been a flake with the bill paying because it crushes my spirit. Now, my marriage is most likely over. Down. Bottom. Black hole.

Why was I so stupid? Why couldn't I just get shit done? It wasn't malicious or on purpose. FUck. It can't be over because of the kids, I will endure anything for them, I can't be separated from them, her mom is in fucking New York and I have NO prospects over there, I'm just starting to make money here.

Why do women leave empowered and men are left crushed?

E. I'm sorry.

Yet more wisdom over at The Whiskey Bar.

Brilliant discussion going on over there about progressives sucking it up and voting for Kerry. Here is the original post from billmon and be sure to check out the comments section, which is filled with truly insightful stuff, including this:

Dammit Billmon, were you sitting by me when I was making the same point at the bar last night? My friend is a "well, the machine is broke and there's nothing we can do about it" Green/Nader-leaner. I basically said that eight months before a presidential election is about the worst time to figure out that the electoral system needs to be redone.

Too late. Deal with it.

The frustration I have with "money just runs everything, we have no say" people is that a fairy will come down and make everything all okay again. I'm sorry, but it just isn't like that. Money talks, whining runs a marathon. If you don't like the system, roll up your sleeves, get up off your ass and change the system. Voting to assuage your ego and then skulking off to snipe for four years until the next election is chicken-shit politics and the basest form of cowardice. Your ideal is not pure. It will not be unsullied by the actions of others.

This is a democracy, so there are a lot of people with ideas too. You learn to compromise when you grow up.

I admire their stand, but they have to get out of the coffee houses and join the real world and work with other people and this is the point I was hoping to make last night. My friend wasn't sure what caucus to attend. I suggested that he take his fervor and go to the Democratic caucus and use that excitement to influence the attendees and get some ideas on the platform.

I then said that the best example is how the the RR took over the Republican party. They didn't just sit around waiting for the part to accept them, they got inside and turned it to their direction. They took the long view and they got what they wanted. Progressives need to do the same thing and take back the party, become the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.

School boards, city councils and from there. Work outward. I refuse to give up. We can take this back, simply because most Americans believe in fair play and if we can show how this has been jobbed, we can perhaps change this thing.

"Bush/Cheney in 04: Because Democracy is for Canadians
I voted for Nader in 2000 out of idealism. In my case, it didn't really matter because I live in California and we were giving our electoral votes to Gore anyway. This time, I am more realistic.

Vote for Kerry, for chrissakes!

Trout slapping is gay.

That may or may not be true; however, it was of interest to someone who ended up on my site after. I love search terms.