Thursday, February 23, 2006

Iron Gates (by Amber)

Iron Gates
They live behind iron gates,
Paying cold-hard cash to change their fate.
But deep inside they're filled with hate.
Hate for the common joe,
You know the one that no one knows.
But I don't feel sorry for him,
The ones I feel sorry for is them.
'Cause they're the ones who have it all,
But to get it they had to crawl.
Crawl upon their hands and knees,
Just like the so-called common sleeze.

Talking Vs. Singing

Ok, so I'm listening to a radio interview with Ray Davies (from the Kinks). The guys out promoting a new solo record, fine. Great. But this guy is barely understandable. He's British, so the accent is thick...but I've never heard an accent this thick before. It's like Keith Richards...but I know what Keith's problem is (too many drugs, plus he's dead). What's weird is, they keep playing old Kinks songs and stuff from the new album (which is sounds really good, by the way) and when this guy sings, he sings near perfect English! Now what's up with that? How can you sing and sound perfect, and when you talk sound like shit? Does this guy have to concentrate when he's singing? He plays guitar too, so damn...the guy must have a million thoughts going through his head when he performs...

Just a weird thing that's been bothering me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Documenting a Dream: Part III

"Figure of Speech"

That's what I'm thinking about calling my novel. It's about a future, Orwellian society where most people live and die without seeing what we would call the natual world. A few patches of green remain, however and it's here that a hapless peon...a cog of the world's vast machinery has a life changing experiance. I won't say much more--except that a fantastical creature is unwittingly released by my protagonist. This "creature" causes havok...and just might free mankind from itself. If only the oppressive government doesn't stop it first.

I'd say my story is 40% 1984, 20% Farenheit 451, 10% Bladerunner, and 30% Dr. Seuss. A strange mix, I know. Now, I can some people saying "Jason, what kind of monster are we talking about here?" No monster. "FANTASTICAL CREATURE" the likes of which has never been before. Not Godzilla or something stupid. It doesn't eat anybody either...(I'll give you a hint...the monster is in the title). I also think this would have made a hell of a Twilight Zone episode (black and white Rod Serling Twilight crappy color remakes).

Confused? I'm not, though I'm only about 30 pages into the story I'm far from finished (I'd say I'm 2/3 through the story's introduction). Have I mentioned that I'm writing this all out by hand? I must say, I think this is a better method for me (one I haven't done in years). It sucks that only one copy of my manuscript exists (it could get lost, stolen, or wet)...but I find the slower handwritting process to be much better because my mind doesn't out run my hands. Sometimes when I type, I leave out/omit huge chunks of things...or I skip or shorten what I write to keep up with my thought process. Ah, if I only had that machine from Stephen King's THE TOMMYKNOCKERS...the one the narrators wife had that processed her sleep thoughts into written pages...too bad the thing was sent from hellish aliens, huh?

Anyway, I'm doing a pretty good job balancing this project and my school work. Today was the last day of the week for the bulk of my I'm about to get a great stretch of writing done. At the rate I'm going, I could be finished with this entire thing by May! Cross your fingers...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Documenting a Dream: Part II

Well today is Tuesday, and I'm happy to report that I've cleared the first 20 pages of my new project. I have existed to call what I'm working on a novel, but at this point I can't really think of anything else to call it. The joy of writing is in full effect. The spontaneity is almost magical as this thing seems to write itself before my very eyes. That's always a good sign. I've had times when my writing was very forced and labor-intensive. I hate that, and I usually hate the finished product.

There are so many current event type things I'd love to blog about, but frankly this is just too exciting. I'm worried about my money situation right now. I need to be able to work on this thing of it to get done. As I've written in the past, I know if I even take a week off of this I could lose the drive (or whatever that spark is that's fueling me). My school for is still priority, but my free time is being devoted to this book. My girlfriend's sister is coming in from out of town this Friday, and I'm happy because other than a dinner (and maybe something else) I'm going to have the weekend alone to write. I feel a little gulity about feeling that way, but I can't really do any writing with my girl around (don't ask why...)

I have some really good news! One of my old teachers emailed me about publishing one of my short stories in another school's Literature Magazine. The story is called "The Disregarded." I guess submissions have been so low for the past two years that the magazine is in really bad shape. To re-engergize things my former teacher has decided to feature the works of alumni as well as current students. My story stayed with her and when it was time to call people for submissions she requested it specifically. This is a really big compliment. For one thing, that she would remember me is nice...but that she remembered not only the name but the plot of one of my stories is too fantastic. I guess it must have stuck with her! I'm not too optimistic about getting published in my current school's Lit Magazine (there was a lot of competition and I only submitted one poem because I didn't have any fiction short enough). I also entered a fiction contest, but I'm not holding my breath frankly. One of my English teachers read it and didn't seem very enuthisastic about it. Neither did my girlfriend.

Anyway, I'm really happy I'm going to be published again, regardless what school or where! Anything is better than nothing as I always like to say!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Documenting a Dream: Part I

I started my new project today. It was easy, but not as easy as I thought it was going to be (it never is). I went to my school's library, rented a quiet room (with a view) and got to work. I sat down and for two hours (until they closed) I wrote. I filled about eight pages of story and two pages of notes. They actually had to kick me out (the guy was like "fifteen more minutes! That's it!").

Beginnings, for me, are the hardest part--today I completed that most difficult task. Now the challenge is to continue writing. This weekend was a rare one, two freak things occured--I had little homework and my girlfriend was working. I find that if I don't strike while the iron is hot the iron hardens and I lose interest. I have to plow ahead in the coming months. That's right, I said months, because that's how long the drafting process is going to be. After that, I'm looking at a month or more of editing and revision. By then (June?) I may have a first complete draft. What I'll do with that is anyone's guess (but not something I'm thinking about or really care too much about right now).

I'm not the right person to judge my work. That said, I tend to hate everything I write. Today's work wasn't terrible, but it wasn't anything special, either. I'm not worried, however--the structure of my piece means the begining will be a bit rough. I hate genre writing, but that's not what I'm doing here. I can't say what it is I'm doing...I can't tell you what I'm doing just what I'm not doing....does that make sense?

I feel like I've been given a second chance. I think this may be my last chance to do this. I'm going to be out of school, and probably married sooner than I think. When my life evolves past this last gasp of young adulthood, into adulthood....I know I won't be able to write. This is me, living my dream. Wish me luck.

Hello Helter Skelter

A long, long time ago...back when I tried to be a creative person, I used to get some many ideas that I didn't know what to do with myself. I'd write twenty page stories back-to-back (concluded only because I was eager to start on the next project). Ah, but mine is a lazy muse it would seem. Rather than come by at a regular interval with her spores of inspiration, my muse comes by once or twice a year and dumps her whole bag of ideas onto my doorstep. She then rings the doorbell and runs away before I can open the door.

"Dear Jason, please take care of these ideas...they're all you're getting for awhile."

The last time I wrote anything (for myself) that was any good was over a year ago. Two summers ago, actually. My muse has been away for a long time. It's not all her fault, though. I was partly to blame. She came by once and I was drunk-on both alcohol and my own hubris-and decided to leave without dropping anything off. Then there's been the whole college thing...I've been sending her packages back (unopened) like those crappy CD's you get from ColombiaHouse. School's important to me, so much so that I'm wallowing in poverty rather than do the sensible thing (which would be to go part time and work full time). I didn't want my muse stopping by with soemthing that could distract me from studying (which, I know full well she often does).

Anyway, I let me guard down, and she crept into my English lit class this week. Now I knew it was her as she ran up to me. I tried to pusher her away. I tried to reason...

"But Leah wants me back on the paper....they want me back...I have school..."

It was no use, she got me. Not compeletly, though...but enough to fuck with me. So now I have this small little package, sitting in my lap. What do you think I did? What would you do? I thought "hey, this is really bad could it be?"

I opened it. Inside I found the greatest thing my muse has ever given me. Now, if I tell you what it was...then it'd be your great idea, and not mine. Not that I'm worried, this idea (should it come to fruition) will not make me a single dime. Critics too, will hate it. The reading public will ignore it. People I read, Stephen King and John Grisham will scratch their heads or laugh at the utter failure of it. Laugh that someone would waste the time to try and capture a dream.

I'm not going to tell you the plot, because, Godwilling there won't be one. Okay, that's horseshit, of course there's a plot. But it's so minor to the whole thing that it's silly to think of my idea in terms of plot. Really, what I want to do is the exact opposite of that journalistic prison I almost let the people I love trap me into. Beacuse really, I was on the paper because my girlfriend and my parents wanted me to. They know, just as well as I do, that journalism is the only hope I have for making money doing what I love (and the only thing I'm good at).

My youth is turning into maturity. I realize for the first time, that I'm going to die. Suddenly, doing what will make everyone happy isn't so important. Writing a book, getting published isn't important. I don't want to die without creating something, something that means more than just words on a page. Something more than forced reviews of artsy fartsy, PAC, alumni-loving crap. I realize now that my past attempts at writing too, have been mostly wrong. Weak, watered down imitations of stuff I'd read. The saftey nets must be cast aside.

This thing I have inside me, that my annoyingly lazy (and unpredictable) muse has chucked my way isn't so much about plot as it is a sensory doodle. Does that make sense? Instead of writing about what someone else has done, I'm going to create art. Not a novel, or short But not stuffy, art gallery art. Or "Revolution 9" either. Somewhere in between a here and a there. Speaking of The Beatles (and why not? they're great), I'd say that if this thing were a Beatles record, it would be the White Album. The White Album is great because it's way too long, and too indulgent. It's colorful (sonically), while at the same time it's very obtuse and black and white. Paul managed to both, wink acknowledgement to the past ("Honey Pie") while at the same time he gave birth to heavy metal ("Helter Skelter").

So let me finish here. I'm going to the library, to bury myself, all alone amongst the stacks. I'm not taking my laptop...I don't need it. I'm taking a spiral notebook, an ink pen, and that box my muse gave me. I have some writing to do.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Man has gone too far...

I just read an article on the about Global Warming. The ice caps are melting way faster than we've been led to believe (Bush tried to silence a top NASA scientist about it). Basically, the gist of the article was this: if we don't act now, in 10 years the global temperature will be warmer than it's been in 500,000 years. How much warmer? Only a couple of degrees, but that will be enough to alter this planet so much that we will not recognize it. The ice caps will be gone and the sea levels will rise so much that earth (not the planet, but terra firma) will be in short supply.

Is all this real? It's so hard to believe, and yet it's not. This winter, there has been three snowfalls. Today it was 68 degrees. It's not even March yet. I was walking to the Metrolink station today and was caught up in a strange rain storm. I got to the platform and noticed that everyone was freaking out. I took out an earbud (I was listening to my iPod) and what did I hear? Sirens. Tornado sirens. Why am I hearing tornado sirens in the winter? Why does New Orleans no longer exist? Exactly. Shit is starting to change/happen.

I'm not a scientist, so I'm going to stop right here on the whole "Climate Change" and "Global Warming" soapbox. I am going to say this: mankind has gone too far. I look at the world I live in, and how I live in's not right, it's not the way existence is supposed to be. Reams of paper get thrown out everyday, how much paper is there in the world if I, little old me, throw so much of it away everyday? How much paper can there ever be? Or oil, or anything else. We survive by working jobs that, often times, do not manufacture anything useful. Do you grow food? I don't. Do you make clothes? I don't. What do you do? You sit at a computer and punch is that doing anything. When we die, what will any of this button mashing mean?

1,000 years ago...100 years ago...hell 10 years ago, the world was very different. There was less and that meant there was more. Does that make sense? Take a man from 1900, plant him in 2006--this man would be useless here, wouldn't he? And yet, the second the power goes out, suddenly this man would be quiet useful. He'd probably know how to make fire, kill animals for food, perhaps even grow edible plants. What can you do? Can you do any of these things? If the world ended, how quickly would we all die. I can use a computer, but I have no more knowledge on how their insides work (or the process by which they are made) than our friend from 1900. So, with that in mind, how does that make me "superior" to him? Mankind hasn't grown or evovled in many years (decades? centuries?) I suspect. We're all just standing on the shoulders of giants...the few imortal, genius people whose brillance flourish then fade away. The rest of us live within their shadow or hoisted atop their stinking corpse.

No, if you think you're any smarter or better than a man from 1900 or 1800 you are sadly mistaken. Rather than actually knowing things, people tend to float on the great intellectual ocean...instead of diving deep and actually posessing information. Our slippery grasp of reality means we're easily knocked from it. I worry about people. I worry about what's going to happen. We've taken to big a piece of the pie, now the bill is about to come...and we've accidentally left our wallet in our other pants.

Don't get me wrong, at one time mankind was doing great things. We were achieveing, progressing forward. In 1969, a man from Earth (not just from the United States) actually walked on the moon. Let me state this again: in 1969--a man--from Earth--WALKED ON THE MOON. In 2006 we're barely able to claw our way into orbit. Sure, we have more satellites than ever, but the world's greatest superpower is having a harder and harder time getting a person into space...let alone onto the Moon.

Now, I hear you saying "but the space program is a bad example. There are political, economic factors that have stunted it...sent it retreating back to it's pre-1969 glory." This is a sound argument, however these factors are the same ones that are causing manking as a whole to snapback like an overstreatched rubber band. I used to be a History major...let me tell you something really scary.

History is not a straight line. History shows us that civilization does not constantly progress. Time and time again we see the system collapse and mankind retreats. Imagine you have a time machine for a second. Go back to ancient Rome. Walk up to an average person...and tell him about Rome's fall...and the Middle Ages (Dark Ages) to come. Think he'll listen, or believe you? Hell, maybe Caesar will try to silence you a la George Bush. This realization sent me running out of the hallowed halls of history. Right now we think things are getting better and better and that it's always going to be like this...but that's not correct. Eventually, the opposite is going to happen. No one wants to live at the end of all things...but someone will be born on the last day of everything. How sad is that? That someday, on the last day there will ever be...a person's life will begin.

I'm glad I've had 20+ years of fun. I really am, because I think the good times are almost gone. I think this is the last years of Caesar. The final Golden Age of man. Our great, great grandchildren are going to look at our ruins and wonder. Wonder and wish--wish that it hadn't ended. They'll wonder what it was like to live in a world that was disposable and air conditioned. A planet that once had ice on it. With cities, now under the sea called London, New York. The lost island of Cuba.

These are dark thoughts. But really, what's more beautiful--a sunrise or a sunset? I'll take the sunest any day. There's a cetain extra bit of beauty that accompanys the sadness. I encourage everyone I know...anyone reading this to stare, and I mean stare, at the sun as it dips below the horizon. Drink in the last warming rays of man's supremecy and greatness. The coming nightfall will be long. And permenant.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

$365 Million Reasons

So the Powerball is up to a record $365 Million dollars, I'm going to play but I hope I don't win. I'm not just saying that, either. I really mean it. Why do I play? Because it's fun, sitting around with my friends...we talk about what we'd do if we won. My girlfriend made a list/chart of who'd get what and why last semester. It's a fun mental exercise. But do I really want $365 million dollars? Hell no. I'd quit school for one thing. I'd move into a house (probably in somewhere between where I am now and my parents home). I'd become a real ass (as opposed the fake one I am now). Basically, I'd buy a bunch of stuff I don't need...and become all Howard Hughes. Grow my hair and nails out, avoid the world. I know I'd stop writing. I'd ultimately regret quitting school (though one could argue that all the travel I'd do would be a better education). I'd worry about nasty, greedy people who'd want to kidnap my loved ones (or me) for money. Beggars and relatives come from the woodwork.

What about Charity? I have a coat I really hate. This girl bought it for me, it's totally not my style. Big, bulky, puffy, dark green like a hunting lodge. In short, this coat is about as far from me as Mars (or Jupiter). I can't wear it, but I don't know what to do with it. I've had some good hearted folks suggest that I give it away to a charity. The only problem is, this coat is too nice for GoodWill. No, I'm not being a snob. It's just that it's a really nice brand, and I know that if I give it to a charity it'll get yanked by someone, someone who searches the rough for diamonds. So, I keep this nasty coat under my bed. If I won the lotto my money would just sit under my bed, gathering a film of dust (doing no one any good).

Then you hear all these cases of "lucky" people, who win big and their life goes to shit. Drug problems, divorce, violence, death. These are the ghosts that stalk and haunt vast sums of money. So, even though I play, I really don't want to win...not deep down. Maybe a couple thousand, but not millions. Millions and billions would change my life too much, and I wouldn't like that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Transcendental tears for the Material World

"What is matter? Whence is it? Whereto? The first of these questions only, the ideal theory answers. Idealism saith: matter is a phenomenon, not a substance. Idealism acquaints us with the total disparity between the evidence of our own being, and the evidence of the world's being. The one is perfect, the other, incapable of any assurance; the mind is a part of the nature of things; the world is a divine dream, from which we may presently awake to the glories and certainties of day."

Yeah, so it's been a really strange day. Not really a good day...not really a bad one. Ralph Waldo Emerson is messing with my head pretty badly. English Lit was interesting today...Man is God, part and particle. Everything but my mind is part of nature. I can't prove that anything exists except my mind (including my own body). What's a guy to do, when he can't even be sure his ass is real? I fart, therefore it is?

I do lean towards his assertion of the divinity of human beings. If there is a God, I don't think there is a heaven. Rather than being stuck in one place, I think God is pretty much everywhere (part of everything, including us). I hang out with so many religious people, and yet I have no religion of my own. I'm not a Christian, I've already decided. Nor am I a Muslim, Jew, or Hindu. I'm thinking I may have to just blend and mix up my own personal religion.

Welcome to Jason-ism.


I think the Universe and it's creation are too complex for us to ever understand. The Big Bang probably happened, but occured in another pre-existing space of some sort. I think this exposion was instigated (but not controlled) by a higher force (as opposed to a diety). This higher force I liken to gravity, but more complex and sentient. Bascially, imagine a thinking/reacting form of inertia. This force is amoral (by our standards) and may or may not even be aware of our existence.


Jason-ism believes that all life is a precious and fragile gift. One that should not be taken away, except by the cosmic gift giver (i.e. not you, so don't kill anyone). There is no real point to our lives, except to live them and of course continue the gene pool. Happiness is a path and not a destination, so enjoy the ride (don't worry where this ride will stop at, just be happy until it does).


Dying means an end to existence on Earth. A person being more than just a fleshy lump of meat, can expect to continue existing, however in a higher state that human beings cannot even begin to fathom (see ending of 2001). It's okay to be sad when a loved one dies, and to avoid death at (nearly) all costs, however death itself (as a process of life) should not be feared.

Love and Marriage:

Jason-ism's definition of love: a euphoric feeling caused by a positive stimulus. Love cannot be measured, controlled, captured, or manufactured through any means other than positive stimulus. People can love thing, places, and other people. Love can be an equal exchange of positive stimulus, but is more commonly not equally experianced. An obvious example of this is when a person loves someone who doesn't love them. A less obvious example is between parents and children. Children are often not able to love their parents as much as they are loved by their parents because they lack an emotional understanding required to experiance love. This understanding usually does not fully appear until a child becomes a parent.

Marriage is for those in the rare circumstance when love is mutually exculsive. Though love can exist between more than two people, for the sake of Western society as it remains today, a marriage should only consist of two people. Goodluck to those who attempt it!


Jason-ism does not feel it is necessary to make a list of things not to do (sins). Rather, a sin is anything a person does that is harmful to other living things. "Harmful" can be either immediate or long term. If a certain action leaves a person feeling "bad" or "wrong" then this action must be further examined. If this action (or inaction) can be found to harm a living thing this action (or inaction) must be considered a sin (or morally incorrect). Certain instances will, no doubt, ocurr in which nothing can be done (or not done) that will not result in some living thing being negatively affected. In these times, the least amount of harm must come to the the most intelligent being involved (and up from this point, in incriments of negative/intelligence). People come before animals, in these cases. However, unlike many religions, Jason-ism does not presuppose that animals were placed on this planet for any reason other than it's own existence (and not for the benifit of any other living thing--including human beings).

If an intelligent, rational person deems something to be unethical or immoral--it probably is! Jason-ism says (as does Pinnochio's cricket friend) "let your conscience be your guide."


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"Got no friends, cos they all read the papers..."

Ah, Alice Cooper.

Today was a very "No More Mr. Nice Guy" kind of day. Just 24 hours after making peace with my situation on the school paper...I get the latest issue...and boy was I fucked over. I guess as a nice little "fuck you" to me, the photo editor took some pictures and wrote a story.

See, I've had my panties in a wad because I steped on some toes and attempted to provide my own photos (seems the photo department never wants to cover my stories). So, I tried to email the photo editor (who by the way did get my request) via the paper's general email a request that a photographer be provided for my restaraunt review. I even gave him a specific time I was going to go eat at the place (so the photo guys could tag along in my car if we couldn't get a ride). Did I hear anything back? No. So I went, took some awful, crappy pictures and emailed them along with the review to my editor. All hell broke lose. The Photo editor was pissed, cos I was making him look bad and stepping into his editor was mad that I had to deal with these issues period. Apparently the correct way to make a photo request is to go to the office and fill out a bunch of paper work. See, though, no one does this cos they all hang out and together and it's all real casual for them...since they're all friends. (Ok so I'm pissed I wasn't invited to a staff party they had on the snow day last week, I admit it).

ANYWAY, I was like "sorry, I was never really given any training...most of my stories don't get photos...just trying to help the paper." Whatever, the photo editor was like "You fucked up, but you'll get your photo for the review."

Ok, so flash forward to today, I pick up the reivew...but lo and behold the photo editor went out and took pictures and wrote another review. I was pissed. What the %*()&*$???? So, I got pissed, sent him a sarcastic email, wrote my last reivew of a concert I attended Sunday night and quit the paper. Acutally I emailed my story (which was short and crappy) and said: Ps. I quit. Goodbye.

Now everyone is freaking out! My cell phone has been ringing off the hook. I've gotten like 6 emails. My dorm phone has rung like four times (it never rings). My girlfriend was ambushed by some people about it at the Student Center. I feel bad because both her and my parents really liked me being on the paper. But honestly, I didn't like it. I didn't like the process....I didn't like how I was basically used (last issue I wrote 1/2 the A&E Section). No one gave me the time of day, they all talked down to me...and then...I quit and they're all freaking out. I'm not sure why. My editor is practically begging me to call her and "talk about it." Her boss emailed me saying how much my editor appreciated my work (she didn't apprecitate editor did...this is the kind of crap they one can say a nice thing to me without it being forced or someone painful for them).

The paper isn't fun for me anymore, and they keep giving me work (that I gladly do) that never sees the light of day in the paper. I understand that not everything I write is good (actually I haven't written a single thing for the paper that has been up to my standards), and that not everything will fit in a small paper...but to give me a story assignment when a senior member of the staff has the same one (which will they run, I wonder?) pisses me off.

There' s a bunch of other stuff that led to me leaving, too...but it's a bit personal for this blog. I'm sure everyone is going to be pissed at me, but I don't care. I want to focus on my own writing now, because I don't write for me anymore. That's the kind of writing that will help me, in the end. I know that the way the paper is reflects the harsh realities of the "real world." And honestly, if I was going to be a journalist (if that's what I wanted) I'd stick it out. But frankly, the writing I'm doing is actually hurting my creativity. The paper forces me to be bland and boring. I will miss the free tickets, but the stuff I go to anymore is just the stuff no one else wants to go to.

In other news, I submitted a poem to the student literary Magazine (which I predict will not publish me) and tomorrow I'm submitting two short stories to a local Alumni Writing Club. One of my english teachers found me an essay contest for the liberal magazine "The Nation" that I'm going to do. I have a couple dozen more such opprotunities I'm going to work on instead of the paper. I'd like to try my hand at a novel again.

Today is Valentine's Day and I have to go be a boyfriend now...

Monday, February 13, 2006

High Society (A Night at the Opera)

Well Valentine's Day is nearly a poor person I have to complain about holidays. The only time I ever feel poor is when it's mandatory I buy something! Ah, Capitalsim.

With that in mind, I did some working this weekend. Thursday night I went out and reviewed a restaruant. Little did I know doing so would cause me so much trouble. I emailed the photo editor about my story, requesting a photographer. Never heard back, so when me and my girlfriend went I took my digital camera and snapped a few (crappy) pictures. When I sent these in with my review, all hell broke loose. My editor got pissed that I had to do that...the photo editor was pissed that I was taking pictures. Now that I think about it, I can see why he was mad. Afterall, I wouldn't like it if the photo people started writing. Anyway, I was pretty upset when he sent me a nasty email. I thought about quitting the paper because, frankly, this kind of shit is always happening. Last issue I wrote half of the A&E section. Not one or two stories, I wrote four! Some of these stories were quiet a lot of work. Did I complain? No, see unlike the million other reporters, I take the stories no one else will take. Most staff A&E writers only write something when they go to a concert THEY want to go to. Or review a CD when a band THEY LIKE puts one out. I started out doing the same thing, but I need money now.

Friday night me and my girl went to an Opera, "La Boheme." It was really cool, I never thought I'd go see and opera (let alone actually like it). The tickets were $45 but our way was totally paid for by the paper. After I wrote my review, I got an email from my editor about this concert that wasn't covered. I had no idea who this person was, and the concert was on Sunday night (not a good night for me, I like to loaf before bed). But I knew I needed the money, so I did what I always do. I took the assignment no one else would take. My editor actually complained a little about me giving her such short notice! Can you believe that? Truth be told, I'd known about this concert all week, but I hesitated on taking it because I was leaving it open for someone else. See, unlike me editor (how does all movie reviews, never letting anyone else write a movie review for the paper) I feel bad about taking all the stories. But when no one decided to take it, well I told her I'd go.

So I went to this concert, it was this guy I'd never heard of...Marivn Hamlisch. This guy is basically a genius. He's won three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony, and three Golden Golbes. He also wrote "A Chorus Line" which won a Pulitzer Prize. He wrote the song "The Way We Were" and "Nobody Does it Better" (for the classic James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me). Besides being a composer and piano player, they guy was really funny. The show was really good.

Anyway, I'm sitting at this thing...the only person under 40 in the whole crowd...and this lady sitting next to me starts asking my questions during the intermission. She asked me what I was doing (I had a steno pad in my lap, and was taking notes during the show) I told her. She asked me if I was bored, and if I liked working for the paper. I thought about it, and told her I wasn't bored and that I love writing for the paper. Now, do I want to make a career out of it? Hell no, journalsim is pretty damn boring, frankly. The kind of writing you do is so forced and unartistic. But, the more I thought about it...the cooler the job really is. I mean, I wish I was paid more...I'm not making but enough to keep gas in my car (forget about paying off my credit card) but there are some great perks. I get to see my name in print every week (all writers love that). I also get to go to a bunch of strange things I'd never go to unless I was foreced to go. For FREE! The tickets to Marvin Hamlisch were $60! It was pretty funny actually, everyone was dressed up (suits and dresses) then there I am....jeans, black t-shirt and a leather jacket. People really have to wonder about me. It was the same thing at the Opera with my girlfriend.

So, even though I do lots of work...taking the jobs no one else will touch...without recieveing much encouragement or praise from my bosses (my editor sent me an email this weekend telling me what a good job I do, but only after she knew I was upset) I guess I'm going to stay on the damn paper. It's a good job. Some of the staff take it WAY to seriously though. I was sitting at a meeting and some friends of mine (acutally friends of Leah's who are now my friends) came up to me and were pretty rude. "Without News there is no paper!" Of course they were news people. And they're right, of course. Shit, a few weeks back my section didn't even run (printing error) and hardly anyone noticed. But still, there's no reason to act like that (like they're so superior).

So that's my sad story about this weekend. I know I should get used to being treated like crap (and being under appreciated) because that's pretty much how the world works. It still makes me mad, though. But pretty much every job I've ever had was like this. Employers need to take the time to let you know you're work is noticed and appreciated. If I ever find myself back in a managment role I'll be sure to practice what I preach (I admit, once I was the "bad boss" I'm complaing about at the bookstore).

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thoughts on France

Well it's Thursday, which is my Friday (I live in a weird, weird world). I just finished doing some work (I reviewed a local restaurant for my paper). Now I'm just surfing the web. I happened upon an interesting article about France.

Back in January the President of France made this big speech about how France would retaliate against any attack with nuclear weapons. Turns out he wasn't just blowing smoke. Seems the Frogs have been totally refitting and retooling their nuclear arsenal. The French are now able to attack targets in Asia and the Middle East (Hmm...Interesting) with either a direct hit or with a high atmosphere EMP blast (thus knocking out all of the enemy's electronics rendering them blind, deaf, and dumb--for a good example this see last summer's "War of the Worlds").

I find it interesting that France has taken this hard stance on National Security. I mean, with a President talking tough, building an arsenal of nukes that could hit the Middle East...Sounds an awful lot like someone...but who? Oh yeah, our President! Amazing how a few years (and a little rioting) will change things. Seems the French aren't so unlike us after all. Everyone may say one thing, but at the end of the day--it's all about self preservation.

Makes you wonder why countries like Iran want nukes, huh? I honestly don't blame them. Nuclear weapons bring a new level of global notoriety...and frankly respect. People don't listen to the small, weak guy...but the big, powerful brute with a big stick commands respect. The one thing people with power fear is losing that power. Once everyone has nukes, then what? Then we'll all need to go out and get something even more deadly--the cycle goes on forever. I think the ultimate solution is total disarment...which will never happen. Someone, somewhere will want to have them. I'm sorry to say, but the genie is out of the bottle. Worse, these weapons are almost certainly destined to go off. Imagine a country like Iran with nukes. Under what kind of conditions will they be stored? Or guarded? Let's pretend the Iranians don't wipe Isreal off the face of the globe, do you think such a regime will be a good steward for nuclear weapons? I think not. I hate to say it, but I think something drastic must be done.

Mabye this time France will be willing to go along?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Good Book (and "The Pink Panther")

Ok, so last night my girlfriend and some of her friends went with me to a sneak peek of the "Pink Panther" remake. Why on Earth did we do this to ourselves? Because it was free and we are all dirt ass poor. And how was it? Well, wasn't as bad as we all thought it was going to be. Prior to the showing me and my girlfriend decided to bail if it got really lame. It was lame, but some of it was kinda funny (if you are in 5th grade, you'll love it). The best part: seeing Jean Reno dance in tights. The animated credits were also funny.

What's not funny is what happened yesterday. Me and my girlfriend (who is Jewish) were walking to the cafeteria at my school, and what did we see...but Bible pushers. Every now and then, our school is visited by these super Christians who run around our school trying to get us to take a free Bible (if you sign their paperwork). My girlfriend belongs to a local Jewish group, and last semester they complained about this--but to no avail. The school gets paid by certain groups to basically hang out and bug the shit out of the students.

Now, I am not anti-Christian, nor am I anit-Bible. But these people go too far. For one thing, there's like ten of them. They hang out in two choke points (i.e. most students have no choice but to walk past them). One place is on a bridge connecting two buildings. This bridge can be avoided, but to do so you have to walk further and outside in the elements (it snowed's really too fucking cold to do that). Their other favorite spot is at the bottom of the escalator in the cafeteria.

My girlfriend was very uncomfortable on the bride, but kept walking. Then we got to the top of the escalator--when she saw one of the guys standing RIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ESCALATOR, Bible in hand...she told me she couldn't go down there. She apologized and then bolted. Me, I was hungry so I couldn't just turn around and leave. I got to the bottom of the escalator and I told the guy,

"My girlfriend was going to eat lunch with me, but then she saw you standing here and decided not to come down...thanks a lot."

And this idiot looked at me dumbly and said (I'm not making this up):

"Would you like one of our Bibles?"

This (I'm sorry to say) is what I said:

"No I don't want your fucking Bible..."

Now, I admit I was wrong to use such language with him in public. But frankly, I get really sick of having to deal with these people. These people intimidate and bully PAYING students. We're just trying to go to and from class...not battle someone and defend our religious perspective (which for most college age people has already been set in stone). Now, I'm do not think these groups should not be allowed to come onto the school's property. Far from it. I am all for freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. However, there should be some rules.

All solicitors (such as the people who want you to sign petitions, or get a credit card, or invite you to their Frat party) should be limited in number and in location. They should have to be sitting down at a table. Tables are provided for these groups who more often than not, tend to move several feet in front of their table. Solicitors should have to stay seated and not address students unless they are addressed first. They can have a large sign, with flashing lights or whatever, but they shouldn't pester students.

Now, you may think I'm being too sensitive. Maybe I am. But tell me this, do think it's right for these people to come on campus, engage a student in conversation (bordering harassment) and tell said student that her religious text is not "real"? Because that's exactly what happened to one of my girlfriends friends. This is wrong, plain and simple. Doing that sort of thing is harassment and makes the college campus a place where non-Christians do not feel comfortable.

The problem is simple: money and religious intolerance. My college gets paid from these groups so they don't care. The groups that come to school are composed of people so thoroughly brainwashed that any kind contact with them yields nothing but "Christ is lord." You can't argue that what they are doing is wrong or un-American (which it is). They think anyone who doesn't practice their religious doctrine is wrong. Any discomfort they feel is of no concern. I can't believe the school won't do anything about this.

And people have and are complaing. Last week, my paper published a letter written by a student who complained about this very problem. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about this, but something must be done. I'm thinking about writing the Chancellor's office and the Dean's office. Maybe then, something will be done. Until then, when those creeps show up on campus my meals in the cafeteria are going to be lonely.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Hollywood Remakes

The paper I write for gives out free movie passes every now and then, this week it was "The Pink Panter." Not one to pass up free entertainment (being a poor college student), I snatched up four passes so me and my girlfriend could go tonight with some of her friends. I can't really imagine this movie is going to be any good, despite Steve Martin's involvement. What the hell has happened to Steve these days? Better yet, what's up with Hollywood? I'm really getting sick of these damn remakes. As someone who writes (and stuggles with coming up with material that's both well written and original) I can't help but get a little peeved at these studios that keep re-hashing old movies.

"King Kong"
"When A Stranger Calls"
"The Longest Yard"
"Herbie: Fully Loaded"
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
"War of the Worlds"
"Yours, Mine, and Ours"
"Amnityville Horror"
"House of Wax"

Not to mention all those crappy TV show movies, honestly who goes and sees these things?

"The Dukes of Hazard"
"The Brady Bunch Movie"
"The Honeymooners"
"The Beverly Hillbillies"

Why? Why? Why do this? Simple. Money. Everything in this world, I'm sorry to say, is all about money. These remakes are popular among Hollywood types because they come pre-loaded with a fanbase. We don't need complicated advertisements to know basically what these remakes are about...because we've already seen them! This is such a nasty trend...but the only people we have to blame is ourselves (the movie going public) who pay to see this tripe.

I'm familiar with the notion that there's "nothing new under the sun." But this love affiar with the remake is getting a bit ridiculious! They're going to make a "Smurfs" movie! Yes, that's right. Why?

There are some good remakes, I'll admit it. I enjoyed the amazingly unpopular PeterJackson "King Kong" remake. I even liked the "Charlie and the Chocolate" re-imagining done by Tim Burton. I think what constitutes a good remake is what constitutes a good movie in general. Good remakes are faithful to the original, yet at the same time take advantage of the current film technology. A good example of this is Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" which both stayed close enough to the spirit of the original text (and '50s B-movie) while improving over the original thanks to modern CGI.

In general, however, I find that (just like the music industry) the more the film industry complains about slumping ticket sales the crappier/more derivitive the movies become. If only these pinheads could get it through their heads that people will come out and see a movie if it's GOOD. Not familiar...but GOOD!

Anyway, I'll be sure to report back on how crappy (or good) the "Pink Panter" remake is. Who knows, maybe I'll be surprised.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Great American Problem

OK, so two of my classes were cancelled today, and as a result I'm done with class way early. I thought I'd take the time to set down what I think the problem with America is today.

First off, I want to reiterate that I love the country where I was born (USA). I think it's one of humanities greatest achievements. That said, it is a human achievement and is by nature flawed. The United States of America is not the world, yet most Americans would disagree. Sure, the average man or woman on the street knows there are other nations. This average person no doubt (due to a combination of nationalism and ingnorance) thinks America is superior while most other nations inferior. This being the case in all instances, even in regards to nations very similar to ours (such as Canada and the United Kingdom). This is all well and good, I understand people are fond of/love their homeland so much they can be a little overly enthusiastic. However, enthusiasm turns to blind arrogance when citizenry refuse to acknowledge that not everyone who is different is inferior. The American system of government, public religious doctrine (Judeo-Christian), and Imperialistic self-interest are not the only way to run things.

The biggest problem America has is that it is in love with itself too much. We think we've hit the right notes and want everyone else in the world to play out same tune. I think that we have hit the right notes, but it's the combination of the composition that needs to be changed to achieve perfection. Rather than spend a majority of our tax dollars fighting other outside groups to spread our type of government, the United States should shift it's focus to it's interior. I'm not arguing that we should become isolationism again, those days are over. The global community, thanks to modern transportation and communication technology has eliminated the self contained nation. Rather, I suggest the United States try harder to become a part of the global community instead of being the global community.

The lessons learned from 9/11 shouldn't be forgotten--the world is filled with people who hate and wish great harm to the Western world. As member of that Western world, the United States should pro-actively search out and destroy these people. Not because they are different, or dislike us--but because left to their own devices they would kill and maim our people. Our government (and by this I also mean average citizens) need to learn as much as they can about the varying cultures of the world. Only with pluralism can we overcome the obstacles set before us by all aggressive orthodoxy which threatens to kill this thing we hold so dear called, democracy. I say this not in the context of "no thine enemy" but of "love thine enemy." To know someone is to love them (or so the philosophers say).

Right now, in the news, some in the Muslim world are going crazy because of a cartoon. As simple and benign as a cartoon is to us in the West, this particular cartoon is causing much trouble. The cartoon I speak of was printed in Denmark and depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a suicide bomber. This type of thing would be considered in bad taste in the West, in the Middle East some Muslims want (and are getting) blood. Five people in Afghanistan have been killed as a result. There are riots throughout the Muslim world. Denmark is suffering greatly, but why? Because of a difference in cultures. Many Americans might not understand why Muslims are so upset because they don't understand that all images of Muhammad are considered holy. To draw such a cartoon is blasphemous. These types of misunderstands only help create a rift between the West and Middle East. We must educate ourselves before judging the actions of others.

Now, on this issue, I think both parties are wrong. It was wrong to depict Muhammad as a terrorist. It was/is also wrong for those who were offended by this type of hate speech to become violent. I think the best way for the Muslims to attack this sort of hatred is not with bullets but with bucks. I've read that Demark is suffering greatly economically because of this incident. By refusing to purchase Danish goods, the Muslims are making their feelings known. This will no doubt, cause the government of Denmark to more closesly examine it's media and that institutions responsibility.

Overall, the world is becoming smaller and America is becoming bigger. At some point, the world will one of these two entities will end, leaving only one. Were America a utopian paradise of wealth and understanding I'd say "goodbye and good riddence" to the rest of the world. But America is far from perfect. I think America needs the rest of the world just as much as the rest of the world needs America. There has to be a balance between existing in concert with the world and seeking to dominate it. The solutions to our problems (as well as the world's) may not lie within the hallowed halls of America, but in some other nation. Why erradicate the worlds multitude of perspectives in favor of a vanilla coated, American dominated sphere? Different systems yeild different results. By removing all but one from the planet we are severly limiting the possiblities of our species.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

www.Paradisefound! Posted by Picasa

Yep...I like girls. Posted by Picasa

Mmm....spicy Chik'n....wait...that's not right... Posted by Picasa

This is (roughly) what I look like. Posted by Picasa

This is the album artwork for the album I'll never put out... Posted by Picasa

Welcome to the maddness...

OK, so I usually don't go all bandwaggony...but I was reading this magazine for writers (I really want to be a writer) and it said one way to improve your writing is to start blogging. So here I am. Yay! (this'll probably end up as evidence someday). I'm not really sure exactly what I'm going to write about so I'm going to just riff for now...

So I just finished watching the Superbowl halftime show. Fucking Stones. I saw them two weeks ago in St. Louis, the show was awesome. Sold out, 15,500 people. I snagged tickets last minute ($150) but it was worth it. Me and my girlfriend had a great time. Another plus was I got to write a concert review for The Current (the college newspaper I write for). The review should be printed tonight, on the stands tomorrow. I'm really excited, for me it was a BIG deal just to see the Stones...let alone review them. I was a bit dissapointed with the halftime show, though. Mick's mike kept fucking up, and those dickless wonders at the FCC censored "Rough Justice." (the song's reference to 'cocks'). America is becoming a big joke. They can't get the halftime at the SUPERBOWL to sound right? And then don't even get me started on the censorship thing...Mick! Please! Next time, if you're going to sell out and play a show for Ma and Pa Kettle...please make sure they're going to give you mic that's worth a dam.

In case you can't tell, I'm pretty into music. In fact, next to writing, music is my most favorite thing. I LOVE going to concerts. Someday I'll have to post all the shows I've been to in my short 2o some years. It's unbelieveable. Rock music is my lifeblood. I love it because it's so primal, and yet so poetic. Rock music/lyrics are the poetry of this modern age. I moved from Kansas City to St. Louis to go to college...but secretly I chose St. Louis because this city has more shows a year. At least, it did when I lived in K.C. Now of course, that I live here there's nothing going on! I've seen two shows since last September--The Stones and Franz Ferdiand. Now, while both of those bands kick ass...I didn't move 200 miles for two shows. I'm excited, The Strokes are supposed to play out here in April. That should be good.

I guess my situation is a good example of "the grass being greener on the otherside." That seems to be a theme these days. Everyone wants what everyone else has. The problem is, of course, is that once we get this stuff it's never as good as it looked in someone elses hands! God knows I've had this happen to me more than 100 times...and I never learn! This, my friends, is part of what I like to call THE GREAT AMRICAN PROBLEM. Now I love American and I'm a democrat (NOTE the SMALL "D"), but I feel ashamed to a part of this country these days. And it has almost nothing to do with Bush. I am not a Bush basher. Really, I'm not. He's not the problem...we are. You and me Joe Q. Public. We've let the media and government spin out of control. Up is down, down is left. Right is wrong, wrong is right. What the hell happened? I'm going to have to write more on this later....

Anyway, like I said I like music. I'm a college student (junior). So my opinion is about as worthless as I am. I need to get a job, a real one. I don't get paid much writing for the paper. I don't even really like it that much. It's okay, but I'd rather be writing something that actually means something. The problem is though, I'm not sure what the hell that something is...

I guess I'll stop now, but before I do--let me explain the whole "Limemonkey" thing. I like monkeys and limes. I like to combine things I like to make my screen names. Easy. Get your mind out of the gutter.