Friday, February 29, 2008

Justice League: The New Frontier

I like comic books. I like movies. Rarely are these two mediums a very good mix. For starters, what works on the pages of a comic book rarely work well actually acted out in 3-D. And no matter how good the special effects, some things just don't look right. The best recent example is The Fantastic Four. Great, great comic book. Lousy movies (worse, they're even lousy for KIDS movies).

For my money, the best comic book adaptations have always been animated (remember BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES from the '90s?). Recently, DC and MARVEL have gotten the hint, and have started producing a bunch of direct-to-DVD animated movies based on their respective books--JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER is the latest.

It's also the best one I've seen.

Rather than doing a typical, been-there-done-that retelling...this JUSTICE LEAGUE movie has a little bit of a twist to it. The film takes place not in modern times...but in the 1950's (during the Cold War). The United States has turned on it's super heroes (whose masks could be hiding communists!). All the character designs reflect the time period. The animation is top-notch, as is the voice talent.

Watching this film, I was transported back to those footie-pj's/cold cereal Saturday mornings of my youth. But one word of caution--this ain't exactly for kiddies. It's not "R" rated or anything, but is more violent than the typical cartoon (I think it got a PG-13 rating). There's blood, and people *gasp* do die.

But if you're an older, mature comic book fan--who yearns for those Saturday mornings of should check out JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER.

Behold! The Wall of Achievement!!!

Yesterday my diploma finally came. I was relieved for two reasons: first, I was glad that there wasn't a mistake after all...and I really did graduate. The second reason is more insidious, you see--I got to expand my "Wall-o-Achievement."

New Additions to the wall are highlighted in red (my B.A. and my NaNoWriMo certificate):

And yes...I realize that I have a problem...I am a sick, sick man...

Limemonkey Life Update

Not a whole lot going on here in STL-land. Tomorrow I'm working 4 (yes, that's right 4 as in one more than 3) High School Basketball games. They're having the quarterfinals at UMSL's gym...and I'm guarding the basement entrance, which is for members of the press (read: pimply faced college interns with mikes and steno pads). I've been assured that tomorrow will be the sort of hell that only 3,000+ people can bring. Yay.

In the meantime, today is my day off. We're shopping. I got my diploma and (more importantly) my Federal Tax Refund! This money is more than enough to keep us afloat until one of Leah's jobs come through (and she starts getting paid). My job has gotten better (for the most part). But I found out I'm going to lose a bunch of hours the last week of March (Spring Break) and over the summer...thus once again putting the bug up my butt to find a better job.

I'm on page 105 of my book. I lost motivation this week to work on it. It's not gotten terrible, but the last 5 pages have needed the most work thus far. It's a little shocking, since the first 100 were so good. I guess, even if the next 100 pages were shit...I still wrote 100 good pages. That's something, right?

If you're on Facebook, then you know about the party I'm throwing the weekend of March 15. Leah's going to be out of town (Chicago, picking out dresses with her sisters), so I decided to have a bunch of my friends over to eat pizza and play Rock Band...oh, and to see who amongst them would be willing to be in my half of the wedding party. I need a "best man/woman" and "groomspeople" (I use these strange terms because I'm determined to have Becky on my side). Should be fun, hopefully the Police will show up (either with handcuffs or Sting, whichever).

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I work with a bunch of international exchange students. India, France, Korea, Spain. They come from all over. Saturday's I work with this chick from France, who shall I put this? Very outgoing.

Anyway, she attracts lots of male attention--so usually we're mobbed with people. Saturday was no different. One of the University police officers decided to stop by and have an extended chat. For whatever reason, people love to try and solve my employment problems. Mostly I get the whole, "Have you ever thought about writing?" or "You could write a novel!" response. Gee...really? Really? You know, I never thought about writing before! You're a genius!!!

So yeah, I've yet to meet someone who could give me a very good answer.

Well this Police Officer actually gave me a pretty good idea on Saturday. He told me I should go teach English in another country. I was like "But I don't really speak any other languages..." However, I guess this isn't really that big of a problem. Apparently all you need is a Bachelor's Degree to participate in most of these programs. But where would I go? I'm not too keen on going to some barren, God-forsaken hunk of rock, where everyone speaks a strange language...

He suggested a country he was very interested: Japan. I found out the Japanese government sponsors a program designed to help their fellow countrymen/women become more "international." One of the ways this is done, is by teaching them another language. Apparently it doesn't pay much ($28,000 a year--which is more than I make now), but you do get to go to Japan for a year. I went online and did a little research today, and found out that the application process doesn't start until September.

The possibilities for video blogs alone, is mind boggling. My family was actually in favor of this (which shocked me, because my parents are very anti-travel abroad). What does everyone/anyone think about that?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Smoke on the Yangtze"

Leah's computer guy at UMSL brought this one to my attention, it is probably the coolest thing I've seen all week.

For the love of all that is good...PLEASE watch this. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Guitar Practice: Day One

So after my "pre-employment orientation" (which I attending a month after I got the job), I came home and hung out with Leah until her interviews (she had two today). Once she was gone, I got out the guitar and starting trying to figure it out. I've never mastered an instrument before, but I guess there's always a first time for everything.

Boy...there is a long road ahead.

Exhibit A: Me trying to play the opening riff to Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" (which is the traditional "first lick" all kids learn)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Guitars & Arrows

I'm back home in STL-land. In less than 24 hours I drove 464+ miles. Why? Why on Earth would I squander my day off on such an endeavor? I really wanted my guitar back, that's all I can say.

Anyway, it wasn't all flickering white-lines this weekend, I did actually get to hop out of my car for a while. I got to see everyone back home, that was good. I try to get home about once a month (just so they don't forget me).

But, unfortunately, I couldn't stay very long--so we had to make do with the time we we spent time together the best way we could, with arrows!


Saturday, February 23, 2008

100 Pages!

Well I'm nearing the end of my shift...I just wanted to hop online to brag that I finished editing the first 100 pages of my novel today. It's taken me forever, but I am now officially 1/2 way through my current manuscript. I still have another 100 pages to read/edit, but I am much closer to writing again (and finishing the damn thing).

I'm getting off work and driving to KC, I hope the drive goes as fast as this long, long shift of mine has gone (despite having no work, it's whizzed by).

Anyway, think of me tonight around 11:00PM, that's when I'll be steering my sleigh into town.

Friday, February 22, 2008

"...Rock'N'Roll ain't no riddle man. To me it makes good, good sense."

From the lead story on Yahoo! "Can Video Games Save the Music Industy":

Older bands have benefited from Activision's guitar monster [Guitar Hero], too. Cheap Trick saw digital sales of "Surrender" go from 58,000 in 2006 to 161,000 in 2007, and classic rockers Kansas watched downloads of "Carry On My Wayward Son" more than double from 119,000 to 297,000. Kansas also claims a more visible result of the video game effect: younger crowds. Where previously their shows might have been attended almost exclusively by an audience old enough to worry about interest rates and cholesterol, now they've got front rows "filled with young teenagers."

It's a whole new ballgame, all thanks to video games

Like AC/DC said:

"We're just talking about the future/Forget about the past/It'll always be with us/It's never gonna die, never gonna die."

No Video Blog

I wanted to film one, but none of you people played ball!!! I tried calling someone (albeit to prank them) but no one who reads this blog (whose number I have) picked up. I did get my sister, Amber on the phone...but the conversation we had got so serious, I didn't have the heart to prank her.

Anyway, I was out all day anyway. Me and Leah went and did the Wedding Registry thing (Target and Kohl's, thus far). Then we went to the movies--twice! We went and saw BE KIND REWIND (a charming Michel Gondry film) and CHARLIE BARTLETT (which, like my friend Katie said, was fucking brilliant). Go either, because they were both good. Better yet, go see them both.

Tomorrow is going to be super busy for me (10 hours of work, followed by a drive home to KC), so I probably won't get anything interesting posted until Monday.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


A Collage I made...

...for Leah, a long time ago. I think it was for our first V-day (I may be wrong about that). I just know that it was for some money-spending holiday. I was living in the dorms, and I had no money (as opposed to now, living in an apartment with no money). Anyway, I cleaned it up a little in Photoshop. Enjoy, Leah:

The "Pepsi Vampire"

In keeping with yesterday's theme of vampires, I thought I'd share a strange recollection I had earlier. After I wrote my review of the new Vampire Weekend album, I thought about how inappropriate the band's name is. That's a big trend in music--having a really ironic name. Whatever.

Anyway, it got my thoughts wandering to other "inappropriate vampires" I've known over the course of my (very short) life.

My parents tried very hard to keep me and my sister out of daycare. But, things happen, and when I was in fourth grade we were both enrolled in an "after school" program at a church next to our elementary school. It was fine, for the most part. But some of the kids were really strange. One of them would run around, flapping his arms like bat. He used to tell me and my sister that he was "a Pepsi vampire." Whatever the hell that meant (I guess he sucked blood out of the necks of Pepsi cans).

Besides his blatant eccentricity, what made his claim so compelling where his two incisors--they were very narrow and pointy...almost like fangs. I'll never forget that crazy fucking kid. Never.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Vampire Weekend Videos

From our good friends at YouTube. Check out these videos from Vampire Weekend (it's good stuff):


"Oxford Coma" (Live on MTV):

Vampire Weekend

The latest "buzzband" that every publication is hailing as "the next big thing" is a little Indie-Rock band from New York who call themselves Vampire Weekend. After being less than blown away by some of the previous "buzzbands"/flavor-of-the-moment groups--I listened to the bands self-titled debut with much trepidation.

Having lower expectations protects the cynic from a crushing failure...but it also leaves one a bit disoriented when there is a fantastic, unexpected triumph. That's what VAMPIRE WEEKEND is--it's a fantastic triumph.

With a name like Vampire Weekend, I bet you're expecting some sort of industrial/goth rock, right? Wrong. This band sounds like GRACELAND-era Paul Simon and early 80's Police (you know, Stings band?). They're a four piece rock band, but they use a LOT of Afro-beat in their music (lots of rhythmic drumming/shakers). I was also surprised by how much organ was used throughout the record. Overall, it's a strange blend of classic rock and world music. It doesn't sound like it was made by rich, white, east coast kids. And that's a good thing.

Vocally lead singer Ezra Koening falls pretty close to the previous mentioned Mr. Simon--but with a strange British accent. It works, but reminds me a bit of Bloc Party (who actually are British). Anyway, the songs are fantastic. From the cheery strings on "M79" to the blistering (yet breezy) 'white dude's reggae' (think OUTLANDOS d'AMOUR) of "A-Punk."

One of the great things about a record this unusual, and unconventional, is that I honestly can say this is a record for just about anyone/everyone. Fans of music everywhere, take note.

Jason gives VAMPIRE WEEKEND an "A."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Future "Life-Projects" #1

Well, blame The Beatles for inspiring another crappy musician. I've talked about how we don't have cable here at the Casa de Limemonkey, right? Well we still don't have that luxury, so most of the time we watch DVD's. We've been watching ER (a guilty pleasure of mine), but last week we were in between seasons 4 and 5 with nothing to do (season 5 was on it's way to us). So, for whatever reason, I decided to watch The Beatles Anthology.

I got it for Christmas a few years back, and I've seen it all before--just not in order. I liked to skip around. Well, as most of you know, I'm a big Beatles fan, but what you might not know is--I don't trust people that say they hate the fab four. Leah, however, falls into a more difficult category. Since I've known her, she's claimed to love The Beatles, but when pressed it was obvious that she knew very little about them. So together we spent last week watching The Beatles Anthology. Now that her knowledge of the Beatles is where it should be, I have no problems marrying her.

ANYWAY, when it was all said and done with--I found myself wanting to make music. Rock Band didn't cut it. So I called home, and asked about my guitar. About 5 years ago, I bought a (fairly decent) black Ibanez acoustic guitar. I enrolled in lessons out at Longview, but I had to drop them (and all but one of my other classes) because I was working full-time at Uni-Guard (and my grades were suffering). All I remember about my lessons was that the guy was creepy, and we were always in this cramped little photo-booth of a room.

I didn't all, so it's no great shock that I didn't learn how to play. I think I went to three lessons before dropping out (the last class was basically me showing up and telling him I was dropping). Then, once it became clear that playing guitar was "too hard" I gave up and filed my black beauty into my closet.

Meemoe with my guitar (on Acid+Photoshop)

Well, I want it back. I called home on Saturday and worked it out so my sister Amber is going to meet me in Columbia (the half-way point between STL-land and KC) with my guitar on Friday. Now, I know what you're thinking, "Jason! You have no money, you can't pay for lessons!" You're right, I can't. But then I remembered my dorm-mate Mitch, who used YouTube videos to learn how to play bass. Viola! I'll use the net and books to learn! So that's what I'm going to do. The internet guides I've been reading say that I need to practice for 30 minutes 5 days a week (easy, I'll just do it first thing when I wake up). I found this "most excellent" Asian kind who is like a prodigy, on YouTube...he's already taught me two riffs I'm itching to work on ("Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple and "Come As You Are" by Nirvana).

I'm working on memorizing the strings and fret positions tonight at work (actually, a lot of this stuff can be done with a pen and paper) and I'm working on learning guitar tabs. All the while STILL working on my book and STILL looking for a job.


They tell me this is the main riff to "Smoke on the Water." Sweet.

My Paychecks Make Baby Jesus Cry...

Yeah, so I'm sitting here...paying bills (which is always a cure for depression, I find). Anyway, all I have left is rent and my car payment. I can't pay them till Wednesday, when I get paid. When I woke up today, I was so happy.

"You're getting paid!"

Yes, yes I am. Unfortunately, after I pay our bills we will only have about $200 (which we have to live on for another 2 weeks until I get paid again). Holy shit, talk about a kick to the nuts. I guess I'm lucky, that there's going to be anything left over.

Leah has a big job interview today (making like triple my current salary). Let's all send her positive thoughts/energy today at 4:00PM.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"There Will Be Milkshakes"

Funny, stupid clip...this was what was going through my head when the "milkshake scene" occurs at the end of THERE WILL BE BLOOD.


Yes, There WILL Be Blood

I got pissed/frustrated and stomped off all by myself to the movies.

I went and saw Paul Thomas Anderson's THERE WILL BE BLOOD, mostly because of the Oscar-hype, but also because the trailer looked interesting. So, when the lights went down on the theater I was in (which was JAM-packed with a mostly 65 and older crowd) I had no idea what I was in for.

The first 15 minutes, there is no music or speaking. Just Daniel Day-Lewis sweating it out in a silver mine. Then, slowly but surely, the madness began. If you have no idea what this movie is about here it is in a nutshell:

Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview, who is an "oil man." He goes around and sells himself as a caring single father, who (for a sizable piece of the pie) will help people who are sitting on oil. His methods are questionable, but for the most part--he seems like an okay guy. Then this boy shows up in his office, and offers to tell him where there is a shit-load of oil. Seriously...A LOT OF DAMN oil. So much oil, the boy tells him, that the black stuff is literally bubbling up out of the ground. This lead sends him to a small southwestern town where a lot of simple people are being controlled (protected?) by another young man who claims to be a profit from God.

The rest of the film is these two characters duking it out--for oil...for money. As a whole, the film is pretty good. It's really long (like 3 hours). I'm not sure if it needed to be that long, but I honestly can't think of a single thing I'd take out. Anyway, what makes this film so amazing, and great--as a piece of art, is Day-Lewis. His performance is amazing. Actually, all the performances are amazing.

Like a lot of critical "darlings," I can't say that this movie is for everyone, but I was really impressed with it. I'm not sure if it's the "best movie, ever" like some people out there make it out to be, but for what it is, it's good. Overall, the Limemonkey says check it out on DVD after it wins Best Picture.

Oh, and as a side note...the infamous "milkshake" scene has what is probably the greatest/most memorable film quote I've seen in years.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

RETRO Gaming

We all do it. As we grow older, we tend to look back on the past with fond, rose-colored glasses. I'm not "old" yet, but I am getting older. So like everybody, I've been going back and replaying the movie in my head. I've noticed that certain songs, movies, and books have a kind of "memory footprint" on them. What do I mean by that?

Well, for instance, whenever I hear "Touch and Go" by The Cars I think about driving around late at night in my first car (Chevy Corsica). That's pretty common--songs do that for people. But I've noticed something that can really only happen to people of my generation, and in that I get the same feeling from certain video games.

When I first got my first XBOX, one of the first games I had was a strange little game called JET SET RADIO FUTURE. Never heard of it? Not many people have. It's a sequel to a Dreamcast game (JET SET RADIO), where you skate around spraying graffiti on a neon/cartoon-ish Japan. The gameplay is fun (though simple), and the cell-shaded graphics/art style is cool even today. Another really cool thing about JET SET RADIO FUTURE is it's soundtrack, which is all this really crazy techno/trance/J-Pop. I've tried many, many times to locate this game's soundtrack (both legally and illegally) with no luck...which is a shame. I did however, discover California rapper Marty James this way (his old band Scapegoat Wax is featured on the soundtrack).

Anyway, I went to the mall on my day off with Leah, and I was in a FYE when I decided to look for it. I'd been looking off and on for the past few weeks in a bunch of local game store, but so far had struck out. I know, I could have just ordered it online--but what's the fun in that? This game isn't the first HALO, it was sorta unknown when it came out (all the way back in 2002), so I knew finding it now would be a challenge.

But, the Galleria FYE had it! It was a bit overpriced (a six year old game for $20) but I was so happy to have found it, that I picked it right up. I went home and eagerly put it into my XBOX 360, hoping to God it was backwards compatible (though all XBOX games are supposed to be compatible with the 360, this is not always the case). Anyway, this is all really geeky and probably not that interesting to those of you know don't play video games, but skating around in this game is the most fun I've had (game-wise) in ages. I don't know what it is, but for some reason this game really does it for me.

So, if you play video games--what's your favorite "little game"? the one that you love and you have so many fond memories of, that most people don't even know existed?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Because time waits for no man...

I'm stepping up my efforts to finish THE MOSQUITO VINE. If I'm going to blow off high-paying jobs for it, I may as well start taking it more seriously. One of the things I learned from NaNoWriMo, is that I can get a ton of work done...if I treat it...well, like work!

So, I got up today and finished the first edit on pages 1-50. Tonight I'm taking 51-70something with me to work on. My goal is to have all this editing done ASAP so I can finish the damn thing soon.

How is it so far? Well as I go deeper into it, I'm finding more things to fix or change. I'm killing a lot of adverbs (I have no idea why I use so many adverbs). This problem was first pointed out to me by my friends Mike and Paul, who told me I was "adverb crazy." This made me really self-conscious of the problem, but oddly enough...I still do it when I'm writing. I'll just pile them up, until there is a nice little pyramid-stack of "-ly" descriptors. Ugh.

For the most part, I'm still really pleased with it. I know there is a 25-30 page chapter (written over Thanksgiving in New Mexico) that's going to have to be parred down, and frankly--I'm looking forward to getting to that. But last night, I finished editing/reading Chapter 1, and it ends with this great kicker (that I forgot all about) and I was floating--yes, floating the rest of the night I was so pleased with it. So that's good.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"World's Biggest Christ Struck By Lightning"

Okay, for the record--that was not my headline, that's the headline of the DRUDGE REPORT. I read that (and saw this, actually pretty awesome picture), and just had to laugh. What a strange thing to happen.

Read all about it here.

Also for the record: I am going to hell.

Two Red Folders

I have two folders. One is what I've been taking to work, with pieces of my novel (and my letter writing material). The other is one I started using today--it's filled with resumes.

Yesterday, at work I got a call about a job I applied for last week. It kinda hit my by surprise. I ended up talking to an HR woman for a really long time. She told me that she liked what she heard, and that I was going to be sent along in the process. She said that if the hiring manager liked what he saw, I'd get an interview. Ten minutes later she called me back and said that if I wanted one, I could interview this morning at 10:00AM. I jumped on the opportunity.

So I went this morning, in my green shirt and black tie (God I hate that tie) and had my interview. The job is a good one. The job will pay me double what I make now, and if I'm able to learn to sell--I could expect to make truck-loads of money. One of the phrases they threw around (a lot) was "100K."

Now, I don't know about you...but that's pretty much beyond anything I ever hoped/expected to make. Fundamentally, it sounds like a very stressful/shitty job. It's cold calling. I would be an I.T. headhunter. This is a good company (been around since 1976). I would get health care. I would be able to work at home--I would HAVE to work at home (50 hours a week min. but I get paid for overtime, I also would get commissions--but I would also have a base salary).

This is a great opportunity, and yet I don't want to take it deep down. Why? Because I know it would be the final death blow to my writing. I know that if I'm working 50+ hours a week (making "a 100 calls a day" (cold calls)) that I would NOT want to do anything no the weekends. I'm not 100% sure I could do this job, but I could probably get by. Problem is--I can tell that I would have no passion for it.

So I have these two red folders. Neither are very easy or safe/secure options for me. One is an extreme long-shot...the other is still a long-shot. Even though I think it's probably not the smartest choice, I'm not ready to give up on my dreams. I'm not ready to admit defeat on what is more than likely something that will only ever make me feel good (as opposed to something that will make me money). My current job is improving slightly. My boss returned to work yesterday, and things are finally starting to be organized once more.

If this job was even remotely along my interests, I would have no qualms about taking it (were it to be actually offered to me). But it's not. Not really. This, dear children, is why the Limemonkey is in reality a very stupid man. This is also why you will never think of the Limemonkey as a "rich" man. I'd like to think that turning down the possibility of great sums of money, in the name of my passions, said something about me as a man (other than what a fool I am)...but I'm afraid it doesn't say very much.

If you are a mother--thank God I'm not marrying your daughter. If you are a woman--thank God you're not going to be my wife. I foresee much poverty...

Friday, February 08, 2008

Across the Universe

Because we are poor, me and Leah stayed in tonight and watched a movie. Leah had Netflix send us ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. The basic premise of this film is similar to that of MOULIN ROUGE! from a few years back (take modern rock songs and put them together to tell a story in the grand tradition of Hollywood musicals). ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is different only in that all the songs used are Beatles tunes.

I'm a HUGE Beatles fan (Beatlemanica) as you know, so this interested me highly. I was not prepared for how freaky, how weird this movie was. Overall, it was a decent film (I maintain that MOULIN ROUGE! did a better job on the narrative front, but I think ACROSS THE UNIVERSE was limited in that it was only using Beatles songs) but man did it get weird. It's basically a love story wrapped in a period piece. Lot's of stuff about 'Nam (always call it 'Nam, it makes you sound grizzled). A bit of sex/drugs and rock 'n roll (but it was don't expect a lot of reality, still I was surprised at how much of the 60's culture was depicted).

While the film doesn't use the Beatles catalog in strict sequential order, for the most part it starts out with a lot of what I like to call the "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" Beatles (you know, the one's who want to just hold your hand). But as time passes, the tunes get weirder and weirder (as they lads from Liverpool started messing around with LSD and feedback)things get pretty freaky.

I guess it depends on how you define "weird," but in my opinon--this movie is pretty damn strange at times. What moment did I say to myself, "This movie has gone of the deep-end?" Was it Bono singing "I Am the Walrus" in a cowboy hat? Nope. American soldiers carrying a gigantic Statue of Liberty over a blood soaked Vietnam battlefield (while singing "I Want You(She's So Heavy)")? Nope. The strange cheerleader-lesbian sub-plot? Nope. Watching Eddie Izzard prance around like a heavily medicated clown? No, that's was actually pretty normal for him...

For me the weirdest part was seeing Joe Cocker (yes, that Joe Cocker) play a street bum AND a pimp (two separate characters). Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Overall, if you're a Beatles fan...well you'll probably like it. But just know that it's more of a 2 hour surrealist music video, than a film with a pressing narrative. "These kids...they love each other...something happens to tear them apart...they come back together," seen it before a million times. Still, for what it was, it wasn't bad.

Meemoe No Longer Running for President!

With Super Tuesday over, Meemoe has faced the sad reality that he will probably have to wait another four years to be President. He sat up all night, checking CNN's website for election results. When I asked him which State had his name on the ballots he looked at me with a usual blank stare of dino-confusion. The little gears in his head have turned, and I think this morning--he finally got it.

So, I'm sure he'll be announcing his decision to "pull out of the race" to all his supporters on his Facebook group "Memmoe The Dinosaur for President 2008."

Don't feel too bad for him, though...he's already planning his next career move...

This Book Has My Number...

I still can't sleep. One of my favorite things to do is read in the tub, so that's what I was just doing. Because my life seems to only have one theme right now ("Finding a Job"), I was reading one of the books my sister's boyfriend bought me (as a Graduation gift).

I found this particular passage to be, shall we say...eerily accurate--From that perennial classic, I'M AN ENGLISH MAJOR---NOW WHAT? (page 214):

I find that there are two kinds of people who sing the praises of the English major the most: English majors who are secure in a job, and non-English majors who are secure in a job. It's very easy when you're got a job--especially one that puts an English major's talents to use--to talk about how flexible and versatile and tremendously valuable is the major in English.

I suspect that this en
thusiasm is not shared by the English majors working as security guards or in an industry they dislike.

Wow, suddenly I don't feel so alone anymore.

If Your Life Isn't What You Want It To Be, Change It

It's nearly 2:00AM and I can't sleep. Tonight was the worst night I've had yet at my new job. I'll spare you the boring details (you're welcome). I don't know what's happened to me. I've always done what I'm "supposed to do," in the humble hope that by doing so "everything will work out fine."

I went to college, because that's what I was supposed to do. There (and in all my years of schooling) I did you work, got good grades, and for the most part kept my head down. That's me, always doing the work--assured by "everyone" that as long as I do that, things will work out.

Well guess what? I got out of school and it turns out that's a load of horseshit. Just keeping your head down, eyes on the prize, "coloring within the lines" doesn't count for anything. No one cares. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but since December 17 when I graduated I have feel like I haven't done I missed a step. Why is that?

There is no step to miss, it's just that life doesn't follow any sort of "rules." There is no natural next step beyond school. You don't get out and magically become a different, better person. I'm still the same fucked up mess I was prior to getting my diploma (which by the way, STILL hasn't come yet). It's sink or swim out here, and thus far--I feel like I'm wearing lead shoes. I don't know what I'm going to do, but just "keep on, keepin' on" ain't cutting it--not by a long shot.

Sitting home and filling out endless online applications isn't getting me anywhere (7 tonight before I first tried going to bed). My dead-end temporary job is only making me hate myself--and making me miserable. Not because it's dead-end, but because I know, 100% that I am wasted there. I wish I could take the near constant abuse and belittlement, but it's turning me into a monster. There was an incident tonight, and I'm probably going to get a phone call in the morning. When I do, I'm telling them they have two weeks to find another punching bag. I'm done.

I realize that if you're life isn't what you want it to be, you have be a grown-up and make it what you want. The only problem is, I don't know how to do that...the only up-side is, I don't think anyone else really knows how to do it either.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Last Gasp of Youthful Idealism

Last night I got into a flame-war on Facebook. I should have just gone to bed. See, when I get home from work, I come home and put on my pj's and read my email. Since Facebook has basically become the new (crappier version) of MySpace, I was hit with like 10,000 different (inane) requests. Join the "What Color Are You?" application.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, then consider yourself lucky. Anyway, one of the creepiest features of Facebook now, is that you can see what your friends do. Did they send someone a message? Join a new group? Then you'll see it. And that's what happened to me. A friend of mine joined a group called "Think Before You Ink." I thought it was an anti-tattoo group (which is natural, right?). Turns out it's a group trying to stop a lobbyist from dismantling the Affirmative Action laws in our state.

Now, my position on this issue is about like it is on Abortion...I don't really agree with it or like, but I can see that in this imperfect world that we live in--it should probably exist. I scrolled down and saw this exchange on the message board. The first message was from a kid (younger than me, in college):

Affirmative action is damn racist. If someone does better than another person, there is no reason the less qualified person should get the job. It's ridiculous. It promotes racisim and segregation.

The next message was a reply, this is what it said:

Well Herr Schwab, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, the opinion you share with all white supremacists. Sadly, bigoted white guys giving other bigoted white guys all the best jobs for centuries is what led us to this point - oh, but as a white guy I guess that's not your concern. I'd be careful though, because after the white supremacists who share your views dispose of all the blacks and latinos they'll come after the gays. Better watch out Chad.

I clicked on the second guy's name and discovered that he listed himself as a "faculty" member of Webster University (a school out here in STL-land). I was shocked. I was appalled. The fact that someone would write such a hateful, venomous post didn't shock me. I'm used to ignorant/stupid/reactionary people online. I'm used to people calling other "Nazis" just for sharing a difference of viewpoint. What amazed me was that this person was a college professor. I was compelled to write me a private message. This is when things got crazy.

Here is our back and forth exchange:

I happened upon the "Think Before you Ink" Message Board, and I happened to notice your very aggressive/hateful post that you made. For some reason, I clicked on your name and was shocked to see you are a "faculty" member of a school!

I don't agree with the person you were taking issue with, but I think what you wrote was ignorant and hateful. I'm not sure if the best way to fight hate is with extreme hate. You basically called the guy a homosexual--why? Rather than try to use logic or reasoning, all you did was name calling. Not only is that immature, I think it's really counterproductive.

I was going to join this Facebook group, but I don't want to be associated with a group that bears such a hateful post. Also, I think it's pretty lame to infer that someone is a Nazi just because they share a different viewpoint. Unless they are actually killing Jews and other undesirables, all you are doing is spitting on the memories of everyone who died under Hitler's regime.

It's "faculty" like you that make me glad I graduated. This nation's institutions of higher learning seemed to be filled with hypocrites and phonies. You are both

To which he replied:

Hmmmm, who's name calling now? I'm sorry you misunderstood my post, I wrote it in haste and was not clear. My fault. Your reactiveness on the other hand is your burden, not mine. Unasked, I will offer this advice: when you get angry start with a question rather than an assumption. The creator of that group started with a question and I clarified. He was satisfied and I was chagrined. Thankfully for me and unfortunately for you, your rush to judgment and rapidity in branding me a hypocrite and a phony is far more hateful and full of animus than anything I wrote.

Then I wrote:

You mistake my disappointment for hatred. Do you see how your post did nothing to further the cause? In fact, you've put off someone who agrees with you! You are a hypocrite because the cause you champion is meant to help make the world more equal and fair--a more peaceful place. How is calling that guy "gay" doing that? It's not. You're a phony because you don't care about people at all. If you did, you'd be more concerned about making that kid understand your point of view (as an educator isn't that your life's mission?) so that he can come to the realization that this cause is noble and correct.

I am sensing a lot of venom in you, that's not what this cause or any other needs.

Then the nutty professor said:

First off, just to set the record straight, I never called the guy gay. I failed to connect the dots between hatred of one group and another and eventually everyone. I was writing fast, not well. Second, you wrote me, I didn't write you. You attacked me for what you perceived incorrectly, I didn't attack you. Call it venom if it assuages your guilt, but that's still your problem. If I wanted to be mean and venomous I would go Garrison Keillor on you about English majors, but I'm not like that. You don't know that cause you don't know me. My students adore me, more importantly I touch their lives deeply sometimes, others I connect with marginally, others not at all, it's a crap shoot - and more importantly still, despite the fact that I am a great educator and mentor, it is still a job, not a calling. This ain't the high priesthood, I work for a living. By the way, not to be critical, because after all you want me to step up to the plate and really be a teacher, don't you, well okay, you are too damned sensitive, you should toughen up. If this bothers you enough to keep you out of a group who's cause you agree with then I can't imagine what kind of groups you would be comfortable with. There's always going to be someone you don't like. Tag. I'm it. Big deal.

Well gee, this has been fun, but it's past my bedtime. Nighty night.

This was the last thing I wrote to him:

I think this is just another case of a person (you) acting with (very) lowered inhibitions due to the impersonal nature of the web. I am fighting, I've been trying to get you to see that what you did was wrong--it was. But to you this is just some sort of sick game.

I know how hard it is to admit when you're wrong, it's human nature I guess. I don't care how many times you say it...but your post is not being "read incorrectly" and it wasn't "written in haste" or whatever. You attacked that kid, and you basically called him a homo.

I'm a big boy, I know that this is the web. I see posts like yours all the time. What got to me, was that you are a teacher and that kid is someone's student. I guess all of my youthful idealism isn't fully dead, because I couldn't believe you would just attack someone like that.

I'm done debating this with you, I just hope that in the future you try and think before you write--whether you like it or not, you are held to a higher standard.

What would possess someone, a teacher--who should know better, to attack someone who could very easily be one of his students? I get that teachers are people, and that they aren't perfect. I also get that people are dumb and insensitive online...but it bothered me that he was okay with making such a post and attaching his picture and name to it--for the world to see.

I guess I'm too much of an idealist. I guess I hold people to a standard that is far too high. What do my teacher readers think about this? I think it's a given the guy was out of line, but what do you think--am I over reacting here? Should the fact that the guy is a teacher not be an issue. It's seriously the only reason I got into this thing with him.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Progress & Encouragement

Whenever life starts to get me down, my thoughts always turn to writing. Today I went to work, and even though I'm really getting into THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS--I took the first 20 pages of my novel. I'm started to get the urge to work on it, but's been so long since my mind was in the place, that I'm afraid I've forgotten where I was (and what I was doing).

The "rules" of NaNoWriMo discouraged the reading/editing of what you were writing. So when I sat down to read on my break, I had no idea how good or bad it was going to be. I was actually very worried. I would really like to complete a novel (one day), but I knew that I wouldn't be able to finish THE MOSQUITO VINE if what I read sucked.

So, I sat down...with bated breath...and it surprised me. Sure, there were a few little mistakes (no real typos, just words that were spelled correctly but used incorrectly), but I have to say--I was very impressed. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the first 12 pages are the best fiction I've ever produced (yes, my ego is that BIG). Will the other 150+ pages stack up to that? Hell no. I'm realistic. I know that the further I go, I'm bound to hit crap...but those first pages have really pumped me up. Not only am I excited about reading the rest of it, but I can't wait to start working on finishing it.

Indy Fights...Aliens?

Bet you thought that with CLOVERFIELD's release I'd have no movie to obsess about, huh? We'll you'd be wrong. The new INDIANA JONES movie is shaping up to be all sorts of awesome. The film's title: AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL sounds strange (but then again so does RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, right?).

Anyway, a leaked picture of the titular crystal skull got leaked (and then pulled) from the net. I managed to snap up a smaller version of the image...

Looks a little...dare I say it, alien? Is Indy going to be fighting the Russians for alien artifacts??? Also interesting is this leaked image of (a very dirty) Indy. What's the in the background??? Looks like a mummmy--FROM OUTER SPACE!!!! *Dun-Dun-Du-Dah*

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Music Taste/Money Correlation

Let's not beat around the bush here: I am fucking poor. Das Diebstahl ist Spaß.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I love music. Big, big, big, music fan. All kinds/genres. For the most part, I'd like to think I have good taste (I know that everyone says that, but for the most part it's true). Here's the thing--I think it's wrong to download music. Just plain wrong. That's why my CD collection is so huge compared to most people my age. My generation has no problem just downloading away. The notion of owning the shiny disc is irrelevant to the 30 and under crow these days.

But for the most part, I've stuck to my guns and bought CD's. But now, I am very poor...and without getting too technical/confessional about it, let me say I am swimming in new music (without it greatly impacting my delicate financial situation).

I'm a fucking thief. There, I said it. Come take me away FBI.

Anyway, at first it was cool. There was a ton of stuff I wanted but couldn't buy. Most of this stuff was music I'd only heard about but not actually heard (if you understand, nod your head). Some was good, most was crap that I flushed down the digital toilet...THE POINT IS--I can listen to WHATEVER I WANT. I'm talking kid in the candystore, that's where I am with music.

What do you think I'm listening to? Good stuff...right? Wrong. Try again. Driving into work today, I thought to myself, "What the hell am I doing? I can listen to any sound recorded by man...and I'm listening to Huey Lewis and the News??? Phil Collins?"

The sad truth is, music fans, that when the shackles of money and the humiliation of having to hand it over to a clerk for purchasing are removed...we revert to something less than ideal. We become crappy Pop fans.

But why? What happened? Back when I had more money I was dusting my giant, Led Zeppelin boxset and thinking "boy do I have good taste." But when I don't care if it costs me anything, I mysteriously gravitate to stuff that I'm embarrassed to admit I like.

Das Diebstahl ist Spaß.
Jason's Going To Work Mix:

1. "Sussuido"-Phil Collins
2. "Power of Love"-Huey Lewis and the News
3. "Uptown Girl"-Billy Joel (Joel is cool, but that song ain't kids)
4. "Free Falling"-Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (I had to have one non-embarrassing track, right?)

This is just another reason I need to get a decent paying job (soon). If this continues I may have to stab pencils into my eardrums.

Happy 2 Year Anniversary, Dear

On February 5, 2006 I was in the library trying to write. I wasn't working on anything for school (heaven forbid I do that), instead I was trying to work on some "creative fiction." And it was hard. No matter what I did I couldn't get anything (decent) to come out. So I got up, and stretched my legs a bit.

I was on the top floor of the Thomas Jefferson Library, which is where they keep the "periodicals." That's just a fancy name for "not books" or "bought at a news stand." Anyway, I started picking up these "not books." They had so many, on a variety of subjects, most were pretty boring (HERBS, the magazine? I'm sure you find that interesting, but I don't...) eventually a writing magazine caught my eye, I leafed though it--looking for an answer to my problems.

"An article on writer's block! Perfect," I mumbled among the stacks of magazines.

One of the things the author suggested was starting a "blog." I'd heard a lot of "blog" talk, but didn't really know too much about them. I knew that a lot of annoying people used them as public diaries. Which isn't what I wanted to do...but I'm afraid that's all THOUGHTS OF A LIMEMONKEY is, at the end of the day.

I can justify it, though, because I don't live in KC anymore. Maybe someone there is interested in the small, mundane things I do out here in "arch-land." I will say that this blog has kept me in contact with people who I'd otherwise probably never hear from again. That's a good thing. Anyway, if I stopped today--I'd still have two years worth of strange, boring, and sometimes mildly entertaining posts. And at the end of the day, that ain't bad.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Even Though You Didn't Want One, I Wrote You A Letter

One of the funniest things I ever did with my buddy Steve happened one long overnight shift. We were monitoring a bank of CCTV's and we were both getting a little punchy. Looking through the various drawers of the security desk, we found our boss's stash of stamps. We decided to put them to good use. I can't remember which one of us found the birthday card, but once we found it we knew what we had to do.

We were going to wish a stranger happy birthday. Everyone has birthdays. Even strangers. We got the phone book out and picked someone at random. We each wrote a little "happy birthday" message. I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but it was something along the lines of "hey, don't know when it is...but when it comes around next time--happy birthday!!!"

Now, imagine if you went to the mailbox and got a birthday card from two goons you didn't know. Just out of the blue, it's not even your birthday. That, my friends, is a memory. That's a story you tell at parties..."Listen to this guys! There are some really strange people in this world..."

I like doing that for people. I like giving people strange stories to tell. Like the kids who got to go home and tell the tale of the wild man who yelled (from a speeding car) "I know where you mustache!" That's a story I wish I could tell.

Anyway, I got up today and wrote a few letters. Since I haven't gotten any new bites, they were all to my family and Terri. After I put the stamps on my letters, I recalled sending that birthday card, and decided to send a random letter to someone in the white pages. Instead, however, I ended up looking for anyone with my last name living in the St. Louis area. There was one. I didn't know of anyone in my family (distant or otherwise) living in the STL area, so I was intrigued. What was even better was the first name--there wasn't one given, just the initials "G.L."

I don't know about you, but that sort of thing stokes my imagination. I imagine a very old, kindly looking woman. "Glenda Lee" she's called. She lives in a tiny little house, full of glass knick-knacks and lacy/frilly things. I can see her getting the mail and finding my letter. She can't read it without her reading glasses, which she perches at the tip of her wrinkly nose. Her cat, Mr. Sniffles, will purr and rub himself across the back of her legs while she reads my letter.

Here is what I wrote to "Glenda Lee":

Dear G.L. ___________,

You do not know me, but I am a fellow __________. I moved to St. Louis nearly three years ago to attend school at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now that I have graduated, I have decided to take up permanent residence in the greater St. Louis area (as I have found a wife here, and enjoy this part of the country). As I was writing letters to my other relations, a thought occurred to me—namely that I was the only ___________ in this area, looking in the white pages I discovered that I was incorrect.

My grandfather was Ivan ___________, he resided in Independence Missouri until his death several years ago. As far as I know, he has family in California and that’s about it. Even if you aren’t “officially” related to me, in my heart I consider you family since we share a relatively uncommon last name. Even if we never meet, I feel better knowing that there is another __________ living in such a close proximity.


Mr. Jason A. __________

P.S. Please forgive the forwardness of this letter.

It was only after I wrote and sealed this letter up into an envelope that I realized what a strange/weird little man I am. If anyone needed proof, there ya go.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Another Call for Letters

(you'll probably need to click on that to read it)

Если вы читаете это, то вы очень хороши на других языках!

I really want a Podcast (?)

I've been toying with having a postcast...for a few months now. It started out with the usual, "I think doing that would be fun!" Then it slowly became, "I could do that...I could do a really good job. Really..."

I've gone to the bookstore and thumbed through the seems complicated (and slightly costly) but not something I couldn't ultimately figure out. I have more than a few people who could probably walk me through some of the more tech-y things, if I got stuck. And yet, despite this urge, I do nothing.

Part of the problem is, I'm in a bit of a time/money crunch (which, will probably always exist in some form or another). The other problem is, I don't want to start podcasting only to have it end up like the guitar, photography, art, cooking, model building, writing, etc. You know, the things I start but never finish. It's embarrassing to have a life cluttered with cool things that have fizzled out.

Ultimately, I think the biggest thing holding me back is lack of interest. Not on my own part, but rather the world's. This blog has little to no readership (as far as I can tell) outside a few people that know me personally. And that's fine. Beyond keeping those people up-to-date (cos I don't call anyone I know enough), I like being able to search through my old posts to see what I was up to last year. It's also a nice place to store some of my photos (some exist only on this blog after my old laptop's massive meltdown over the summer). A podcast would really only be good for entertaining others, and would be a lot more work. Do the three people that check this blog really need a podcast that they'd feel obligated to download?

If I had a podcast, what would the format be? Well, I'm sure music would be the chief focus. I'm not too familiar with the shadowy world of podcasting/music distribution but I think my podcast would be pretty illegal. There are bands that you can play on podcasts, but frankly--most of them suck. So I'd be like my hero Michael Butler and just play whatever the hell I want...and hope that no one sues me.

Besides music, The Limemonkey Podcast would also feature interviews with random people--and possibly feature little bits and long, spiraling rants (see Kevin Smith's Podcast). Frankly, I just can't see how I'd be bringing anything new to the table. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe that's the real reason why I don't finish anything I start. I know I'll never really add anything to the larger world, so I just throw in the towel. Or maybe I'm just chicken-shit/lazy.