Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Storming the Gates

The candy smell of rot is in the air.
I can smell them just as they
must smell us

I hold the boy close
resting my chin on his sweaty hair
His body is shaking
I try to hug it out of him, hug the panic away

I can hear their moaning now,
their endless billowing mantra

I think of bed sheets on the line
the feeling on my fingers
as I hold them to my face
breathing in the sun dried cotton

I tell the boy
about the convoy that has flanked them
about high caliber artillery and armored battalions
about reinforced fortresses that the undead cannot overtake
where his parents sleep safely

I create a world with heroes, kingdoms, myths and eras
It took God seven days and I do it in moments
The boy must know my whispers are only lies
but I pray they comfort him

I have wondered about what lurks
behind their dried out eyes
They can track and discern
dismantle and feast
there is something going on in that cold grey slop
even if it can no longer register pain
or recognize their families

I’m not wondering about that now
The sound of planks being smashed and torn off the windows
inject both our hearts with poison
The boy grabs my ribs so hard it hurts

I hold the oily revolver to my nose, and the smell of gunpowder in the
chambers reminds me of my grandfather

I whisper to the boy about
his pipe and cardigans,
the drafting table where he designed ships for the navy
and his view of the Hudson river from his office

He had a long warm face and spoke warm things to me
and I don’t tell the boy that I’m glad
he didn’t live to see this happen to the world

The moaning is closer, more fevered
I promised the boy I would never let the zombies take him
He must know what that must mean now

The door is pulled from its hinges
and the gun fires twice

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Smoove moves

Someone I went to high school with changed his facebook status to: just found out my friend John lost his mother last night.

Now don't get me wrong - I like the guy, he's really a nice person, but WTF!? I can't give my friend condolences. And really, I can't give him condolences to pass to a stranger.

It's basically a bum out status that nobody can do anything with.

Rant over.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

For Sale: One Pack of Wolves

For Sale: One Pack of Wolves
Own Your Own Wolf Pack! 7 fully grown and highly aggressive timber wolves. Loyal, but require regular activity and feeding. Buyer must pay shipping. Motivated Seller.


******

Struggling with my first crowbar,
my apartment was full
of the thick musk of sawdust
and the squealing of wood being pried from nails.

The crate burst at the seams
like a cymbal crash
my apartment was full of wolves
and ruined upholstery,
furniture
and decorations.

How shiny they were
all brand new
glistening of slick fur sheets,
shining of eyes like mercury,
glinting of teeth lined up
in rows of sweating ivory arrowheads.

Constantly grooming and nipping in
a violently writhing heap
like pissed off snakes
in a pillowcase.

******

That first night was awful
howling at the moon, TV, new cage
and neighbors knocking at ceilings and floors
with broomsticks and shoe-heels
as if that would help.

I lay in bed, thinking about
the tundra, forest and steppes where they may have
once hunted in packs, flanked their quarry and
huddled at night for warmth.

I wondered how much it would be to ship them home.

******

The next morning,
in a stroke of smug irony
I wore my red hooded sweatshirt
and took them to central park.

They sniffed at flowers
drank from fountains
chased a yellow frisbee
and devoured the man who threw it.

It was nice to see them perking up.

They moved from prey to prey,
with the lethal efficiency a Rio street gang.

They tore apart
the couple kissing on a plaid blanket
the mother and her six year old son
who mistook them for a dog sled team

They disemboweled they street investor
who screamed for mercy into his mobile phone headset.

The old lady was torn limb from limb,
her remains folded over her walker,
decanting gallons of blood.

3 joggers
a bicyclist
a mounted police officer
and his horse
came apart like pulled pork.

Indignation, entitlement, desperation, blind panic —
devoured in a tsunami of graceful brutality
as were six college students and one mime.

******

For Sale: One Pack of Wolves
Own Your Own Wolf Pack! 7 fully grown and highly aggressive timber wolves. Loyal, but require regular activity and feeding. Buyer must pay shipping. Motivated Seller.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Franksgiving

Seeing as my kids don't eat food, and neither jade nor I like turkey - I mixed it up and threw together a non-traditional thanksgiving meal.

I made a hybrid roast stew. Potatoes carrots onions, herbs, stew meat. About 4 cups of chicken broth and a Guinness in a roasting pan. Broiled for an hour, baked for another 90 minutes.

I made a pumpkin pie, which never set, and a dutch apple pie - which was delicious. I made soft pretzels that were inedible, but I attempted again yesterday with a new recipe, and they came out fine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For Alexei

These are some pictures of Fort Collins for my friend Alexei, who lives near Kirov in Russia...

Starbuck's - the National coffee chain where Americans spend too much for flavored hot water.



Old Town, Fort Collins, Colorado. "Old Town" is a designation for a part of newer towns that are old or historic - the rest of Fort Collins looks different. In the Northeast of the United States, where I am from, the cities are older, and there is no "old town".



Old Town Fort Collins



We have a lot of train tracks running through town.




My house


My car

Horsetooth Reservoir - the highest point, with the notches, looks like horse's teeth. Or at least somebody thought that.


More of Horsetooth


More old town


My favorite walk-in restaurant - "La Luz" is Spanish for "The Light". They make great burritos.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wow

i've been away from my sweet blog too long. video

here's a tidbit to tide over my hungry blog

Friday, October 3, 2008

Don't touch that belt...



I am now of the mind that the belt is the most disgusting part of the wardrobe. Consider a public bathroom. Someone exits their stall, to wash fecal matter from their hands. The belt has been cinched and is fully engaged. That means those feces-afflicted fingers manipulated both the buckle and tongue of the belt. To a lesser extent, the pants and underwear are similarly tainted. But at least those get washed.

Even the most hygienic of people seem to do this - i do it myself. I've never seen anybody walk out of the stall with their pants and underwear down around their calves, wash up, and then dress.

Skeevy.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman


Paul Newman finally succumbed to Cancer, and died at the age of 83. I have a fondness for Paul Newman the actor — not just in his performances, but in the risks that he took as an actor.

Initially dubbed as a Brando knock-off, Newman quickly grew into his own. From Cool Hand Luke and The Hustler to The Verdict and The Color of Money, he inhabited characters that had the potential for greatness, yet were mired by their own failings and weaknesses. Roles in The Sting, Butch Cassidy, and Slapshot showed the otherside of Newman - the wry trickster who was able to get you to laugh at and with him.

Whereas Brando's performances were outsized, so were the roles he demanded. Newman broke from this, playing more understated characters. Brando may have amazed us with his realism, but Newman's performances were believable, and inhabited cinema realities that were equally credible.

His strength as a performer was potent, and his impression was clearly felt on a generation of actors, from greats like Robert Redford and Robert Deniro to almost greats like Burt Reynolds and Mickey Rourke.

In a time when politicans are throwing around the word Maverick like cheap rice at a wedding - Newman was a true maverick - from his choices as an actor to his humanitarian pursuits. With his passing, one more of the movie star greats has left us.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Homophobia

I was discussing homophobia the other night, and I have some views on this for the record. I have some theorize on why homophobia is the way it is.

Paranoia of Others
I feel as though homophobia has a different shade of bigotry than other types. Unlike ethnic and cultural biases, homosexuality can occur in any society, in any race, and in any gender group. So in a sense "gayness" can happen anytime, anywhere. Someone could come out of the closet at any time. So there's a paranoia of others.

Paranoia of Self and "the Spectrum"

We were in agreement with the concept of a sexuality spectrum. Few people are "100% straight" or "100% gay". I think I'm on the spectrum enough to recognize a guy that women would find attractive — I wouldn't confuse George Clooney for George Costanza. And I think most people who fall into a homo or hetero bucket are similarly on the spectrum.

This is in contrast with what society has been telling itself — until recently, we've lived in a cultural landscape populated with John Wayne on one side, and Richard Simmons on the other, with no gray area inbetween. For one to have thoughts that puts oneself on the spectrum, yet be shaped by this black and white dichotomy creates a tension. There's a paranoia that if you aren't "The Duke", you must be the guy in leotards, making sweating to the oldies with limp wrists.

And the pressure is high, because of the stakes that society has created. Homosexuals are marginalized, the victims of prejudice and violence. Outing yourself as a homosexual has long been the social equivalence of bankruptcy. You lose everything - your friends, sometimes your family. You essentially have to rebuild your life from scratch. I can see why that is terrifying - ignoring the fact that these pressures are created by the intolerance of our own society. I do feel this paranoia crosses gender lines, but is generally more pervasive and vitriolic among men. And I do feel that masculine stereotypes in western culture is tied more strongly to heterosexuality, then feminine stereotypes.

Introspection and transcending the Spectrum
When I was in high school, I had some very private and tense moments, where I simultaneously couldn't stop thinking about homosexuality, while being terrified that that meant I was gay. At the same time, I wasn't aroused by the thought of sex with men, and I was very aroused by women. Still, I was shaken to say the least.

In time, I realized that introspective people consider all ranges of human existence. Part of intelligence is to consider that which you are not. What would it like to be Asian? To live in Ancient Rome? To be a tree? To kill someone? To win the Nobel Prize? To eat a live octopus? How can we not consider these situations at some point in our repose. And when the consideration is aimed at wondering what being gay would be like, the questions are pretty specific and graphic. What would it be like to live with someone of the same sex, to have a sexual relationship with them?

But because of the self-paranoia, this specific type of consideration is terrifying in our culture. We wonder - does this mean I'm gay, and I just can't accept it. In the John Wayne/Richard Simmons world - simply thinking about gayness means you are gay.

Ultimately, I matured to a point where it just sunk in that the physical act of homosexuality was totally unappealing to me on a visceral level - like the idea of eating a live octopus is totally unappealing to me. And the crisis passed. Of course, the difference is that there is no cultural paranoia that I might secretly want to eat octopus.

Preventing Introspection
I believe that people are either fundamentally introspective, or they are not. non-introspective people do consider other possibilities, but I would say those considerations are more pragmatic, and often subconscious.

For this group of non-introspective people, considering alternatives is probably like the edge of your peripheral vision. Those things are there, but they just don't ever get examined or pursued - it just fades into grayness. By not considering these things consciously, you are unable to follow the train of thought to its conclusion.

When it comes to homosexuality, that means a subconscious consideration that is never fully completed, and therefore a crisis that is never resolved.

To deal with the paranoia of this particular unresolvable crisis, firewalls are created. There is a "I'm not going there" mentality. But in doing so, the paranoia is actually heightened - because rational thought is not allowed to hold court. In the void of rational thought, the paranoia takes over.

And you see it in heterosexual relationships. We catch each other, and issue warnings. "You sound like a fag." "What are you, a homo?" "I'm not gay, but..." It's like we create this linguistic warning system to make sure we stay in the John Wayne tent.

Catching Gay
There is a perceived immorality about homosexuality, despite the fact that its been poven to be largely biological. This misunderstanding is based on the unresolved crisis, and a self fear that one could still be gay, if the firewall were to be breached. To cope with that incorrect assumption, homosexuality is characterized as an immoral act, and that its some type of cult. This actually reinforces the latent fear that one could become gay, and that a homosexual person would want to turn you gay, like some type of vampire.

At the end of the day, you can't catch gay. You are either gay or you aren't. I'm speculating here, but the compartmentalization one does to avoid thinking about homosexuality is probably light years away from the type of self denial and compartmentalization that occurs when somebody really is gay, and is exerting maximum force to prevent consciously accepting it.

Fear based silence on issues
The paranoia runs so deep, that to talk about gay issues seems to automatically implicate somebody as secretly gay. I'm sure somebody reading this post might come to that conclusion about me. It's unfortunate, because its the type of reactionary panic that prevents more open dialogs about homosexuality and homophobia. The kind of dialog that would allow better acceptance of not just homosexuals, but for heterosexuals to accept themselves. After all, if the paranoia is that you could be turned gay, or choose to be gay, doesn't that actually weaken one's own tie to "John Wayne" straightness - its like a broad based, cultural insecurity. One that has left millions emotional and physical casualties in its wake.

The future
My personal wish is for homosexuality to be accepted as a biologically initiated characteristic, like left handedness. I don't want our friends and our children to have to grow up in a world where if they are gay, that it becomes a stigmatizing event. I don't want to see a world where being called gay or a fag is an insult - just like I don't want to see racism.

Unfortunately, unlike these other prejudices, homosexuality is one rooted not in fear of others, but in fear of what may be lurking in oneself. Even more sad and ironic, that fear prevents the type of self exploration that would lead to a reassuring and anti-climactic conclusion. It seems as though we as a society are becoming more tolerant, but that we still have a long way to go in the self-honesty department.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello

Hi guys. Thanks Jo - I'm sure I'll do better than your crap ass posts.

Let's get things started with a little MJ to melt your brain. He may or may not be a monster, but while the jury is out, let's watch some of the sickest footwork I've ever seen...



and through that I found some asian kid who one ups the moonwalk... I'm not even sure what I'm looking at here - but that's sick, yo!

Retiring

I'm passing over the reigns to brant, a good friend of mine. I think you'll see no dip in quality, since there wasn't any to begin with. I'll pop back in from time to time, but I'm leaving it in his capable hands.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

In logolounge


Logolounge publishes an annual selection of 2000 logos. My logo for front range vista got in from over 33,000 submissions. So next summer, unless disaster strikes, I'll be able to head down to Barnes and Noble and find my logo on the shelf. I could pretend I don't like to toot my own horn, but we all know that's BS.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Palin's Speech

8:37 - Sounds gracious, and enthused about McCain (of course).

8:38 - Painting McCain as maverick. Making pollsters and pundits (media) the enemy.

8:40 - McCain military service - tied to success in Iraq. Makes mother of soldier connection ("I'm one of you" moment). Makes her own family's service record known.

8:41 - almost angry "USA" chants.

8:42 - Calls out her kids, and references her current family challenges.

8:43 - Uses her husband to establish blue collar credentials, and her wholesome life choices.

8:44 - Acknowledges women's rights.

8:45 - Connects her "heartland" upbringing to Harry Truman (former Vice President).

8:45 - Hockey mom/Pitbull joke - insinuates her toughness.

8:46 - Rips on Obama as community organizer. "Guns and Religion" comment. Accusing Obama of flip flopping, and apparently that "Rookie" Obama is also an elite insider.

8:48 - Why are these speeches about getting people to boo.

8:49 - Now she's teeing up on the press.

8:50 - Challenge the status quo? With four more years of republicans in the white house?

8:52 - She is reaffirming her commitment, and referencing her history as reformer. It's unsettling that she sees the executive branch is in need of reform. I can agree with her on that.

8:54 - Power of veto. Her record showing vetos to save half a billion dollars. Claiming her fiscal acumen. "Bridge to Nowhere"; she opposed it, (but she didn't mention than when she was running for governor, she supported it)

8:56 - Fighting for offshore drilling. These guys are all ready to stoke the coals of the Cold War. Because that's what we need right now. Will she acknowledge that it doesn't make any short term difference? I guess not. How is that energy dependence? Apparently not drilling is "doing nothing at all".

8:59 - Rips Obama on not authoring laws. Rips him for not referring to Iraq with the term "victory". Rips on the Democratic set (okay, we deserve that one.) Associates him with unsafe relations to terrorists. Rips Obama for wanting human rights accorded to enemy combatants. Associating him with Big Government and money. Here comes the "TAX Attack" - don't polls show that Americans are more worried about benefits right now? "A massive tax burden".

9:04 - "Change to Promote Career" = Obama; "Career to Promote Change" McCain. Getting nasty again. People keep promoting McCain as bipartisan, but then the speaker makes incrediblly partisan statements. Wow - really natsy, and painting legislature as weak, do nothing. "path to Presidency is not supposed to be journey of personal discovery". I can't even keep up with the shots being taken.

9:06 - There was any fear that she was going to be all smiles, she's dispelled that. I think she's succeeded in eliminating any question from the minds of Hillary supporters. Pretty nasty - not as bad as Rudi.

9:10 - It's pretty hard to take positive statements and negative statements, alternating so rapid fire...

Wow.

Watching the convention... Rudy Giuliani is really getting nasty and personal. He's also objecting to statements that the press, not the Obama campaign, made, yet the latter the credit for making them. That's pretty disappointing. Mrs. Jones just got in, heard the speech on the radio, and had a similar reaction. Policy aside, that's wasn't a very classy move as a convention speaker. Rovian politics, here we come...

Problems with Palin & Abstinence Training

The McCain camp is coming out swinging hard. I understand (if I don't totally agree) that the personal lives of candidates should be off limits. But what I've seen is journalists asking questions about her lack of experience are getting snapped back at. If she is the reformer, outsider - journalists should have the right ascertain if the label "neophyte" is also applicable.

The next issue is her daughter. Look, early pregnancies happen all the time - I'm not going to judge that actions of teenagers. What I will be critical of is Palin's staunch pro-abstinence education stance. It didn't work here, and it doesn't work in most places. In 3rd world countries, its even less relevant. Children can be a blessing for the right people, but if they aren't, there's no putting the genie back in the bottle. And I haven't heard of people who are applauded for deciding to keep their STDs.

Abstinence is lifestyle decision. You can't enforce it - I was listening to NPR this morning and a female delegate interviewed was quoted as defending Palin's stance, saying essentially: Look you can teach it, but kids go off and make their own decisions. Exactly; but then what is the point? So that you have the moral self satisfaction of leading the horse to water, and then be blase about the fact that it died of thirst in front of the trough? Bravo.

As a parent, if you want to impart those values, fine (although that didn't seem to stick here), but in terms of education, protection is what is going to work. It accommodates not just choices - like abstinence - but people who are born homosexual. A christian, right-wing diatribe on abstinence is going to fall on deaf ears if gay and lesbian students feel ostracized already. of course, there is the latent insinuation that whatever happens to homosexuals not practicing abstinence is their own fault. Or what if your parents don't share the same values as a school with a right-wing agenda. Certainly the parents can fill that void with proper education - but then the school is doing a disservice to its students.

I'm getting a little tangential here, but the main point is this: the right to teach value-based abstinence is questionable, but its failure is not: In the past 8 years, money to fund abstinence has gone from 60 million to over 176 million (source - Advocates for Youth). Mathematica Policy Research Inc., a non-partisan group found that abstinence does not lower the rate of teen sexual activity. If supporters are going to fight for the right to teach it, shouldn't they be held accountable for both its failure as a program, and the money that's been tossed down the drain. Of course, that money is probably spent every 3 days fighting the war in Iraq, but one rant at a time.

If teens are going to ignore or fundamentally disagree with abstinence training, to engage in sexual activity without understanding the importance and logistics of protection - then we're just punishing them. It's the equivalent of telling your teens not to drink and drive, but when they call you drunk from a party at 1AM, you decide not to pick up the phone. Roll over and go back to sleep good parent: they can get home some way - and you've done your part; any trouble they into is their own fault for not listening. Maybe some kindly date rapist with abstinence education under his belt will give your daughter a lift home.

``````````````

Bringing this back to my original beef with Palin - I respect that she may have been picked in part for her conservative views, to appeal to moral conservatives and the Christian Right. What I don't respect is this shell game that the McCain camp is playing, expecting Hillary supporters who were enthused to elect a female to the white house to suddenly drop their values and IQs, by voting for somebody who's policies couldn't be more different. The gender card is definitely being played here, to the detriment of everybody, including the McCain campaign.

The liberals get slammed as being intellectual elitists - I'll wear that badge with pride as a smart, smug asshat. But being a moral elitist? A holier than though hypocrite who believes the only help needed to be given by the government is in the form of morality brainwashing, and that services shouldn't be funded that can benefit those who haven't fully adopted those values? A sink or swim mentality to your own constituents?

Yeah, I'll take the intellectual elitism, thanks. Not that the past 8 years haven't been fun.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Snap Judgements: Don't hide the bromance, bro.

At first this looked like the back of any X-Games watching, pseudo counterculture participating meathead's truck.


But wait a minute... what's that in the window?


That's so cute!

Friday, August 29, 2008

IE 8

I've made little secret of my disdain for internet explorer - From how it handles padding to rendering fonts, web sites just look uglier on IE.

I had to laugh when I about the IE 8 beta, and tech pundits making hay about its new "porn mode" - a mode that hides it from cookies and site tracking.

I don't love Safari (Firefox man myself), but Safari has had this feature for a while now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

LAX?


The Game finally released his "I'm going into retirement after this album", LAX.

I feel like he and 50 Cent are manifesting their beef, by seeing who can put out a worse album. I like "The Documentary" - any album that gets heavy production support from Dr. Dre is going to be bangin'. And "The Doctor's Advocate" actually improved on his debut. Despite not having Dr. Dre at the soundboard, Scott Storch and others helped make a classic west coast gangsta rap album. It actually sounded like his flossing was deserved. He was free from having to hawk G-Unit garbage, and his estranged status from Dr. Dre as a result of his beef with 50 Cent almost made it a concept album - he was a Ronin rapper, torturing himself over losing the hand of his mentor. Honestly, after Ghostface, Doctor's Advocate single handedly makes The Game the second most listened to rapper in my iPod (sorry Snoop, Meth and T.I.).

So WTF happened to LAX? Scott Storch makes a single, unimpressive appearance. The production is disjointed, and worse - just bad. So are the guests. I love Raekwon - but he's got no business trading lines with the Game. Ice Cube? Talk about irrelevant. I'm probably more authentic than Cube these days. And then we're not even going into the R&B heavy garbage.

Technically, The Game improves his flow with every album. He even double times his flow on the opening track. But he spends so much time canceling out righteous desperation with nihilistic flossing that he makes DMX and Snoop Dogg look like should be honored by the NAACP. Gone is the lost son of Dr. Dre (my thoughts and sympathies go out to Dr. Dre, whose 20 year old son was found dead the other day) - and we just have a guy who is los tin his personas.

Rappers retire the way Michael Jordan and Brett Favre do. But when the Game comes back, Dre or no Dre, I hope he gets his head back on.

I'll say one thing - LAX is so bad, I actually just put on Fiddy's last album, Curtis - and its actually not bad in comparison. At least 50 is focused - even what he's focused on is making ends while shitting on the hand that pays.

Don't be part of the problem, be part of the solution:
If you want a better west coast album - Keak Da Sneak's "Deified". The king of hyphy is back, his warbling graveling caterwauling fights with production that's been called "too bombastic". I think it kicks major domo ass. Best West coast album of the year so far.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stuff this white guy likes

I posted a link to the well circulated stuff white people like blog a ways back, and picked up the paperback for my vacation in July. The author, Christian Lander, has an interview on the AV CLub, and buried in it was statement that beautifully articulated my own criticism with white hipness, and my own complicity.

"But you're just as guilty of the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses' mentality as your parents or grandparents. It's not a display of wealth. It's about a display of authenticity and taste. And so it's just my anger about that competition. And what I'm angry about is, I just can't stop myself from doing it."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Taking the dive into Blu-Ray

Well, after going through 3 dvd players in as many years, I decided instead of buying another value priced DVD player, to bite the bullet and go blu-ray. My rationale is that according to articles, the electronics cartel aren't going to allow the price of leading blu-ray players go down to 300 dollars until well into 2009. So If I were to buy another DVD player, I probably would still wind up behind when I eventually did buy a blu-ray player. I'm also guessing there will be a media conversion to blu ray in 2010, at which point new releases will be harder to come by. I'm a traditionalist in the sense I don't like to steal movies or music - so I think the a digital medium being connected to the home theatre is still a few years out, and a few years more before its acceptably turnkey that Mrs. Jones could use it while I'm out. So for the time being, blu-ray is the new medium, and probably the last hard medium for watching movies before downloads finally replace the existing model.

So I picked up one Blu-Ray disc to see how much better it was. Even on my 32 inch 780p, it looked noticeably better to me. The contextual UI is a lot more user friendly, and I put in Batman Begins on DVD to see the up conversion. Also - much improved. It didn't look as good as the blu-ray disc, but much better than when it was played on a traditional DVD player.