Sunday, December 31, 2006

If This Is Goodbye...

The world is bigger than any one person, but at the same time, it isn't. Our perceptions and perspectives define how this crazy planet and its events unfold before our lives. Everything that happens, and I do mean everything, is completely and unequivocally subjective. From our wars, to our World Championships, to even our weather. It's all subjective.

To him, Iraq and Afghanistan represent the ultimate in America's attempt at "saving the world." To her, Iraq and Afghanistan represent an exercise in futility. To me, it's all just a fucking waste of money and people.

To him, the Saint Louis Cardinals winning the World Series represents a return to form for a long and storied franchise. To her, well, she doesn't care. To me, it just means that San Diego Padres weren't the best team in the league this year.

To him, snow is a great change of pace, a chance to test out the four-wheel drive and his underdeveloped survival skills he learned in the Boy Scouts. To her, the snow is a distraction, a sign that tanning on the beach is months away. To me, it's just a reminder that I'm not where I want to be.

2006 was a year of polarization. A lot of great events occurred, as every year, but the theme this year just seemed to be one of dividing. From the illegal immigrant issue to a political party falling apart because of a cabinet member. Wars, taxes, and the omnipresent stalwarts of religion and politics. We're further from being one nation, one world, than we've ever been. Traditional alliances, from countries to corporations, all seemed to break apart this year. And, in an appropriate twist, large pieces of the polar ice caps decided to break off. All in 2006.

On a smaller scale (well, to everyone but me, that is), my life also polarized. I've written about what happened to me enough, and I'd really like to move beyond it, so I'll spare you the details here. But, the point remains... my life was split, irrevocably. My family, even though I am physically closer to them than I have been since 1995, is further from me than ever before. There are one or two that I have actually become closer to, but my family, as a whole, is less and less a family, and more and more a group of strangers that I share a blood type with.

There was, admittedly, one bright spot for me in 2006. And it's as subjective a bright spot as something can get. No one in my life, including the bright spot itself, sees itself as a bright spot for me. But I do, and right now, that's all that matters. I'm terrified that it's going to disappear from me in 2007, and that's going to break my heart, but I don't really see a storybook ending to anything that involves me anymore. Life is essentially a wind, and we go where it takes us. Even if it's a dark place.

This past year was also the year I realized that mortality is a fact, and that it's waiting for all of us. Several friends were killed this year. Several heroes, too. People I'll never see again, or ever have a chance to meet. Gone. The ones whom nature took were the lucky ones. The others, well, they were braver men than I.

I was angry this year, of that there is no doubt. Angry, and full of hate. Along with realization of mortality, however, I also realized that hate is a very heavy emotion, one that I can not sustain for long. Neither can sustain, nor want to. I've been trying to bury hatchets, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so, but I've been trying. I needed 2007 to be the year I could cut my ties to my past. Unfortunately, thanks to some long-term issues, I know already that I will not be able to.

Ultimately, I don't know what 2007 holds for me, for us. Such is the irony of our existence... the ability to change the world, but the lack of foresight to do it. I don't know if I'll be around at the end of 2007, I will never again assume that I'll live through anything, and I don't know if you'll be around, either. I hope so, but hope only gets us so far.

So, if this is goodbye... goodbye, and thank you for everything I owe you thanks for. Maybe in a year I'll say goodbye to you again.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Don't Look Back in Anger

I'm kicking a dead horse here, but 2006 was a very difficult year for me. The most difficult, actually. Dreams turned into nightmares, plans fell apart, and life became almost completely reactive. It seemed like every path I tried to take on my own wound up blocked, and the ones that weren't led nowhere.

2006's bane, as my friend likes to say, was for me something as simple as misplaced trust. I'm a very loyal person, and I expect the same kind of loyalty from the people I consider my friends. Unfortunately for me, the one person I placed a great deal of trust in this year decided to, quite completely, screw me. Long story short, I had paid this person's bills for the two years she attended graduate school. I'm talking rent, utilities, phone, cable, internet, and even her dog's and cat's vet bills. All in all, it wound up almost $9500. Attach the interest and the late fees she promised to reimburse, she was looking at $14000. Anyway, the plan was to move to Los Angeles, where I had helped her land a rather lucrative job at CAA (Creative Artists Agency, the most powerful agency in Hollywood). There, we would work steadily, with her taking the reigns on the bills until we were square as far as the money was concerned. Of course, and I should've known this years ago, she had other ideas and, in a manner that would make Steve Miller proud, took the money and ran.

Okay, fine. I'm pissed. I started a little revenge plan. I almost went through with it, too. But, I had begun talking to someone who, in that cliché way, made me want to be a better person. Seriously. I'm not making this up. I wouldn't make something up that makes me look like a hopeless sap. I, for better or worse, wanted no new skeletons in the closet to hide from this person. Slip inside the eye of your mind, don't you know you might find a better place to play. And that I did. A wonderful place to play.

So, it's October, and things are looking up. I'm burying hatchets, rebuilding bridges, working my way out of this mess that is, ultimately, my own fault. Nobody told me to trust this girl... in fact, many people told me not to. But I did anyway. So, chalk one up to Jeff's lack of objectivity. But, things are looking up. Until I ran into another, for lack of better term, traitor.

Another long story short, my privacy was invaded in that worst of ways. Like, George Bush granting the NSA carte blanche bad. I confronted the invader, and was basically told to leave. That was fine, I could handle that. I walked away, repeatedly. For some odd reason, this jerk kept coming, and it culminated in a fight. Those of you who know, know that I am fairly well trained in combat, and the fight was hardly fair. I never threw a punch or a kick, but injured my opponent and won in the matter of seconds. And then I was arrested. I used the last of my money I still had from getting screwed the first time to bail myself out of jail (which was a rather long process... to get to that money was an adventure in itself).

Revenge here wasn't really an option. I won't say why, but rest assured that as soon as I can get out this hole that I'm stuck in, I won't be coming back for a very, very long time. Of course, this situation is also, ultimately, my own fault. My anger in the matter is as much aimed at myself as it is the opposing party. You said that you've never been, but all the things that you've seen, they slowly fade away.

Now it's December, and I'm finally getting over it. Not on my own, no, I'm far too weak for that, but the help I'm getting is astounding in its effectiveness. And it's help from someone who doesn't know she's giving it.

Last night, December 26th, I tried to get to bed early to get back to a work-oriented sleep schedule. It wasn't happening. Thoughts of getting even were once again running rampant in my mind. As I lie there, I just kept getting more angry. And then, like it always does, a random image of a smile penetrated my anger. I woke up, listened to some music that reminded me of that smile, wrote a song lyric, and went back to sleep. Calmly, I might add.

I'm trying to put 2006 behind me, literally and figuratively. I can't do it on my own, I lost that ability sometime while I was in the Army. Anger was too effective at keeping me alive and ahead of the game in the military, and I can't forget that. But I can see that smile, saying to me to not look back in anger, to look forward with that sense of optimism that I had at the end of 2005, when 2006 was looking like it would unfold as the best of year of my life. Don't look back in anger, I heard you say.

And I won't. Well, I'll try not to. It's a good philosophy. Don't look back in anger.

At least not today.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Pointless Holiday Musings

It's the day after Christmas, and I'm even more bored now than I was yesterday. Of course, I could take my dogs out, but my foot hurts and it looks as cold as hell outside. I'm a wimp, what can I say?

Pointless Musings

Since Friday the 13th is the supposed day that Jesus died, does that make Jason more of a Christian than, say, Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger?

I got nothing I really wanted on Christmas except for a phone call. And that phone call was all I really wanted.

Why do some Eastern Orthodox celebrate Christmas on January 7th? I was thinking that this might have something to do with "The Twelve Days of...," but that actually makes 13. Uh oh, we're back to Jason Voorhees again...

Speaking of 13, the Chargers are 13 and 2. Nyah. Anybody have a line on playoff tickets? Anybody? Please?

The Godfather of Soul is dead. Long live James Brown.

Saddam Hussein has been ordered executed within 30 days. Seriously, are we trying to make things worse?

Tiger Woods was voted the Male Athlete of the Year. Because, you know, he's so... athletic... I mean, you see that fist pump he does after putting a birdie? That burns calories, man.

Japanese scientists became the first to capture a giant squid on videotape. And then they summarily killed it. I'm all for research, but that just seems wrong somehow.

The best CDs of 2006 are as follows (in no particular order): Alexi Murdoch's Time Without Consequence, Peter Bradley Adams' Gather Up, and Ray LaMontagne's Till the Sun Turns Black.

Best album title goes to David Sylvian for Dead Bees on a Cake.

New Christmas music tends to suck. Old Christmas music tends to rock. Must verify this thesis with XM radio.

While most things I can think of are the result of good intent, bad execution, I'm chalking up Kwanzaa to the opposite. Bad intent, good execution.

Although I won't admit this in public, I finally heard a Shawn Colvin song that didn't make me puke. And then I heard another, and another. Do not rub this in, Miss You-Know-Who-You-Are.

Anyone else think that Heroes is a rip-off of the comic series Rising Stars? Then again, it's no accident that Jeph Loeb is a producer on Heroes, is it?

I just heard a kick ass cover of Sting's "Fields of Gold." It's by Eva Cassidy, check it out.

Why on Earth is there a law that makes selling whale puke illegal? Is there like a vicious, violent black market trade for whale puke? I mean, seriously... Whale puke? Heroin, I get, but whale puke? Whale puke?

I'm returning to North Carolina briefly next month... and I can't believe that I'm actually looking forward to it. How things change in a year, eh?

Five more days to this horrible year. C'mon, 2007. To be honest, that one only looks marginally better. C'mon, 2008.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas, Really

Well, it's another late night forced upon me by my foot injury. And, as usual, I have nothing better to do than to write something. Strangely, I feel good right now. A simmering calm in a storm where everything else has gone wrong. Maybe it's because it's Christmas, or maybe it's the empty glasses and bottles cluttering my desk in front of me. Either way, the end is worth the means.

No rant from me tonight, I promise. I just want to say, plainly and sincerely, Merry Christmas to all of you. Some of you got my blanket email I sent out a while ago, and I apologize for the cheesiness of that, but I'm too lazy to send out cards. Even if I weren't, I probably wouldn't send out cards anyway, but that's beside the point.

Merry Christmas. To all of my Army buddies, to all of my military friends, come home safely next year. To all of my film industry friends and acquaintances, Happy Hanukkah (I know you're all Jewish, or pretend to be... bet you wish you had my last name, don't you?). To my family, I know I'm not the closest of sons, brothers, uncles, or relatives in general, but know that a part of me misses all of you. To my friends who don't fit into one of the above categories, sucks to be you. Just kidding...

Seriously, Merry Christmas, and may you all enjoy this soon-to-be fleeting euphoria that I'm feeling right now.

Oh, and if some of you are worried that I'm turning into an inexorable sap, don't be... I'll be back to normal in 2007.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

All I Want for Christmas...

Well, it's Christmas Eve. One day to go. And, given the nature of the high-tech world we live in today, I figured I can get one more request to Santa in, via the oh-so-wonderful world of MySpace. Yes, Santa has a MySpace page. Don't let it fool you, at first glance his profile makes him look like a simple fat guy with a reindeer fetish, but the elves are a dead giveaway. He's a complicated fat guy with a reindeer fetish AND an elf fetish.

Anyway, my list is a modest one, so let's begin...

1. World peace. No, scratch that. It'll never happen anyway.
2. Bigger yard for my dogs. I'm getting real tired of the beagle moving his poop around so I can't help but step in it. And don't think I don't know you're doing it on purpose, asshole.
3. Higher alcohol tolerance. Holy shit, I'm a lightweight again. Well, scratch this one, too... it's keeping my bar tabs low.
4. New car. An Aston Martin is preferred, but I'll take anything that costs over $60k and doesn't look like a rapper drives it.
5. New job. That last one I had was essentially a rip-off. You want me to take over marketing? At what salary? My response: "I quit, have a nice Christmas."
6. My unemployment check. You gotta love those. Freeloading jerk-offs. Wait a sec...
7. Less snow. Much, much less snow. And more heat. Much, much more heat.
8. Oakley to be a little more clear on their replacement policy. I'm going to be confused about that for a while, I'm sure.
9. Four years without mention of a Bush or a Clinton.
10. The Chargers to win the Super Bowl. Win, not just get there.
11. An HDTV that costs more than my new car. And is bigger. With accompanying DTS+ sound system. I'm a glutton, what can I say?
12. Eli Manning to break his leg. Does Santa tackle at the knees?
13. My cats to quit pissing on my stuff because they think the snow is my fault.
14. I'm going to break down and ask for an iPod. If there was ever anyone in need of an uplifting soundtrack for life, it's me at this very moment. Although I hate iPods... and cell phones... and indoor plumbing... the stone age was much simpler, man.
15. Adjustable sample rates on MySpace profile songs, in case I'm ever stuck with dial-up again... I can't hear my own damn profile songs.
16. A trip to Europe, a trip to Africa, a trip to Asia, a trip to South America, and a trip to Australia. I'd ask for a trip to Antarctica, but ever since I saw March of the Penguins, I'm afraid that one of those baby-stealers will try to take my unborn children.
17. Dinner in Hawaii.
18. The USA to figure out what the fuck it's doing in the Middle East. No, scratch that one, too... doesn't look like that's ever going to happen, either.
19. Baseball and hockey to shorten the length of their seasons. And for baseball to expand its playoffs. It is, after all, America's favorite pastime. Or was, until that last strike... funny how Canada's favorite pastime becomes more popular after a strike, isn't it? Damn northern liberals. It's all a conspiracy. Go Ducks!
20. To have that fantastic indie music that's exploding just below the radar to replace that crap pop music that's imploding everywhere else.
21. To have the weddings I'm invited to outnumber the funerals. I'm really tired...
22. To rebuild all of the bridges I've purposefully or inadvertently burned over the last 28 years.
23. Ah, fuck it... Peace on Earth.
24. Her.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I Should Be There

I was looking at some photographs just a little while ago. They were pictures representing a life I had what seems a long time ago. Pictures of friends, of colleagues. Pictures of that enormous family called the Army.

Some of men I saw in those pictures are dead, some are maimed, still others are psychologically different than when I knew them. Most of them are alive, thankfully, but even they're changed. Maybe more aloof on the outside, but harder on the inside. Some, though they won't admit it, and neither will their friends, are burned forever with fear. Or worse, hate.

These are, for the most part, men that I lived with, trained with, drank with, and shared with experiences that only those who serve could ever even conceive of. Some were even men that I trained, a youthful arrogant expertise bestowed upon even more youthful arrogance. As a teacher in the military, you always know that what you teach can and will save your student's lives. You always know it, but you don't always realize it. I never did, not while I wore a uniform. It wasn't until earlier this year that the realization finally hit me, when I learned that a close friend of mine lost a foot and the use of an arm. He was my replacement when I left Fort Bragg. He was where I should've been. He was where I should be.

In the last couple of years, I've learned that four men that I served directly with have been killed in one of the theaters that we're currently fighting in. Another two have lost parts of their bodies. I'm terrified of calling my friends who are still in, for fear of learning of more dead soldiers, dead paratroopers. As bad as that is, I'm even more terrified of the possibility of one of them asking me, blaming me, "Why weren't you with us?"

When I got out of the Army, I had mixed feelings. The war was intensifying, and I knew that most, if not all, of my former units were going over there. But, I had a plan in life, one that did not involve the military, and I was eager to get that plan started. That plan, as most of you who read this blog know, self-destructed this year, leaving me wondering what exactly it is I should be doing.

Being a soldier is, to this day, probably the single thing I'm best at. I'm certainly no writer, I can't seem to land in a city with enough filmmaking to really see if I'm good at that, and everything else I do is pretty much half-assed or over my head. But being a soldier? A paratrooper? A combat engineer? Damn, I was good. And I never even wanted to be.

2006 has officially left me a wreck, but luckily for me, 2007 is on the horizon, and I'm going to have a lot of choices to make. Choices that will, out of necessity, determine exactly what I'm going to do with the rest of my life, however long that may be. Will I rejoin the Army and once again put on a uniform? Maybe, and the possibility is strong. I almost signed back up this year.

It's notable that Christmas of 2006 will be the first Christmas since 1995 that I've spent "home" with family. In between those years, I usually spent Christmas day working, taking another young soldier's duty so that he could go home and be with his family. It never bothered me, I always felt that I was helping someone out. But here, now, I'm not helping anybody, not even myself. I shouldn't be "home" this Christmas. I don't deserve it, nor do I want it. As far as I'm concerned, I don't even have a real fucking home. I should be over there, with the rest of the 20th Engineer Brigade.

Do I think I can make a difference? No, not really. No one soldier ever really does. But a part of me wants to be with my friends, my old soldiers, most of whom outrank me now. I don't care about this stupid war. I certainly don't give a shit about the politics behind it. But soldiers, as cliché as Hollywood has made it, don't fight for anyone but themselves and their friends. I'm not sure soldiers have ever fought for anything else.

I should be there.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

XM Radio: Saving Music One Genre at a Time

I love XM radio. Seriously. And not just for the commercial free playback, but because of the extreme, unmatched variety of music.

Not too long ago, old man Bob Dylan claimed that the last 20 years of music just plain sucked. At the time, I was inclined to agree (although I felt that there was more good music than he did). However, ever since being introduced to the full glut of XM radio channels, I think I have to change my opinion.

It's true that regular FM stations tend to not play the best of tunes anymore. Top 40 all seems like crap, alt rock is becoming way too emo, and even emo is becoming way too emo. Heavy metal is in a sad state of affairs, with most of the new bands just trying to pretend that they're devil worshippers so the freaks come to their local Wal-Mart shows. Even hip-hop is starting to sound decidedly just, well, hip-hop. Most of you know my theory behind why this is, and, combine that with my theory that mass pop culture is mostly contrived programming, and there you are... music sucks.

Well, maybe not.

Along came XM radio, which provides a venue for all of those "not-on-regular-rotation" talents (and I do mean talents) that truly are progressive, truly do know what they're doing, and are truly artists. I can honestly say that I scan almost every XM music station to see what new sound some obscure small-label artist has come up with. Just a few months ago, I was worried that I was doomed to be that cynical, long-haired fruitcake at the end of the block who only listed to classic rock stations. But, thanks mainly to XM channel 50 (the Loft), I have an enormous new music collection that I wouldn't otherwise have.

Once again, I'm rambling... but it all boils down to this. The masses are easily fooled. Everyone bitches about wanting something different, but in the end, the public just wants the same old hits rehashed and repackaged over and over again. Pop has always been somewhat of a bad word in the art and music community, and now I definitively know why. Of course, pop has always been a good word in the producing community, and that's a little sad. Although I do believe that the public is easily fooled and programmed into what they'll end up liking, I don't believe that the public is inherently stupid (well... no comment). They can be "retrained" into recognizing talent, instead of bump and grinding to that inevitable one-hit wonder.

Or maybe I'm too optimistic.

Eh, none of this my concern. I'll let pop culture solve the pop culture problem. In the meantime, I'll be listening to XM.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I Thought I Had It

I wrote something the other day. It was rather profound, in terms of me, anyway. Brutally honest, a tad poetic, and maybe a little more internal than I had intended, but I wrote it. It just sort of came out that way.

After I finished it, I quite literally sat back, let out a deep breath, and smiled. I was happy that I wrote it, if not more than a little confused. Not confused because I didn't understand it, but because I didn't really know where it came from. It was just kind of there.

Fear set in, as I looked at the printed pages resting on my desk. I didn't want to read it. I didn't want to risk the realization of the words I had written being false. At that point, I believed wholeheartedly what I produced, but I was still afraid that I had lied. I'm not sure why I would lie to myself. I guess in this case, the subject matter was a topic that I enjoyed daydreaming about, and we all know that more than the occasional lie peppers our daydreams. People are sort of built that way.

Me being the editor-oriented idiot that I am decided, almost out of reflex, to flip through it quickly. I assure you, my intent was quickly. But, I saw one of those damn typos and it hit me, I absolutely had to read it, because I can't stand errors. Especially those that might disrupt the comprehension of the piece. This was too important to me. What can I say? I'm just kind of nutty like that.

So, I edited it, briefly. Didn't find any more typos, but found a couple of things that needed to be changed. Nothing was wrong, or inaccurate, but I have nit-picky aesthetic, and I don't like my writing to look like crap, much like this blog currently looks. But, hey, I sort of can't sleep, and I've got nothing else to do.

Now the piece is, for the most part, finished and ready for its intended audience. Only, I'm not entirely sure who that intended audience is anymore. I knew when I wrote it. Hell, I could've sent it off for publication, so to speak, as soon as I had finished printing it. But now, I just don't know. Of course, given this tumultuous year, I shouldn't have expected anything else. I haven't known a damn thing about a damn thing since I left North Carolina. I thought being older and more experienced was supposed to help people figure things out, but I guess I was kind of wrong about that, too.

So here I am, up at 2:30 in the morning, typing randomly about something you probably have absolutely no idea about. And there it is, sitting on my desk, with no one to read it. It's often said that the pen is mightier than the sword, that words have power. But I think mine are waning, listless in a world where physical contact is becoming more rare, and more valuable. A year ago I could talk my way out of anything, write my way out of even more, but now? Now I'm just another yutz with a self-important blog that nobody reads, sitting up at night, alone, freezing my ass off, with little to look forward to. And my work? It's turning into an embarrassment. Things just sort of happen that way, I guess.

I was so happy when I wrote it, and now I'm nearly the opposite of happy. Perhaps I'm just tired, but I can't help but thinking that I almost had it. This piece could, theoretically and in actuality, change my life. When I wrote it, I thought that it could only change for the better, but now I'm thinking it will only make things worse. It probably wouldn't, but now I'm almost too scared to take the chance. Kind of the way things go, isn't it? Especially as of late.

I thought I had it. I almost had it. Almost.

A Violent Quiet

When I was 10 years younger, I jumped out of an airplane for the first time. The experience, to say the least, was surreal. It wasn't a skydive, mind you, but a practice jump for the US Army Airborne. I wasn't spending money for the luxury of experiencing an adrenaline rush to tell my friends about, I was being paid to learn how to fall from the sky, gun in hand, and kill people that someone I'd never seen told me to kill. But as I was falling that day, not a thought crossed my mind. Just a pure and violent quiet.

I remember seeing the parachute finishing its blossom, angel wings of silk opening to make sure I lived when I hit the ground. A weapon of cloth ensuring that when I landed, I could get up and shoot my enemies. I remember watching the C-141 flying away from me, dropping fellow would-be paratroopers with the same, deceptive care. But I don't remember the experiencing the pain that I do remember feeling the next day, soreness from a military harness and knees buckling at 20 feet per second. And I don't remember a sound. It was just a pure and violent quiet.

At 18, I knew that would be an experience I would never forget, but I never realized that it would be an experience that would eventually alter my view of the world. I can't remember exactly when, my life is full of anachronistic memories, but the phrase "violent quiet" worked its way into my mind, and attributed itself to almost everything I had experienced.

As a soldier I was often exposed to pictures of the dead. Sometimes the dead lay there peacefully, almost smiling. Other times they lay in pieces. I'll never forget the image of an Iraqi man whose body was in the front seat of his car, his head in the back. In either case, the stillness of the moment betrayed the violence with which the dead met the end of their lives. Even when a man or woman clearly died in their sleep, I knew that at the smallest level, their heart, their mind, their billions upon billions of cells, fought a war that they could not hope to win. A violence, external or internal, followed by quiet.

The tragedy of September 11th hit me in much the same way. I remember watching hours and hours of the footage of the aircraft striking the twin towers, as I'm sure everybody does. But I do not remember the sounds that accompanied the images. For me, America's greatest tragedy of the young 21st Century was, both inexplicably and completely expectedly, a violent quiet.

A couple of years later, I was involved in a car crash that spun my truck around backwards, flipped me over, and slid me into someone's yard. Again, I can't remember a sound. Well, that's not true, I remember my radio playing after I had stopped moving. But during the violence, I didn't hear a thing.

Certain people like to say that we, as a race, are becoming desensitized to the violence around us. They blame it on television, movies, and even music and books. But I don't see it. I can remember the explosions and the dialogue in the most violent of movies. Songs that sing of crime sometimes stick with me, and my imagination paints the most violent pictures of all when I read a book. In real life, however, part of my mind shuts off. I think it has to. I think if it didn't, I would go crazy. I don't remember the screams of people that have died, but I remember the screams of those that lived. Why? I'm not sure, but I think life has a way of being loud when it knows it's going to win. Maybe that's why babies cry so much when they're born. The sound itself reassures those present that life has taken hold, or is taking hold. Death, in noise, is a far off place.

But the quiet... that wonderful sense of solace... merely hides the violence behind it.

We're not desensitized. We're evolving. Our survival lies in our ability to move forward and not live in the past, and overpowering memories of death, true death, hinders that. Think of the veterans from all of humanity's wars. Certain sounds trigger painful memories, some elicit violent reactions. Clearly, these men and women haven't found the peace within themselves. They're still fighting the sounds that shouldn't be there. The sounds that are lying to them, telling them that violence is what life is ultimately about.

Perhaps that's why we need violence to be, in the end, quiet.

Monday, December 18, 2006

MySpace Recommendations

Given a recent incident on MySpace (actually, given A LOT of recent incidents on MySpace), I'm going to pretend I'm holier-than-thou and write down some recommendations for a successful MySpace experience.

1. Don't use Internet Explorer as your browser. It's horrifically easy for hackers and hijackers to cut into your private information and use it against you, or use it for their own purposes. Use Mozilla Firefox instead. It's much, much more secure.

2. Change your password often. And I mean often. Like, weekly. Or at least monthly. Okay, maybe semi-annually. Just change it once in a while, okay?

3. Don't click on bulletins that tell you to click on something. A lot of those are hijacker/trojan horse type applications that insert a code into your MySpace page. These codes usually do something stupid or mean (or both) to your page and your friends' pages. Unfortunately, since most MySpace users are nearly computer illiterate (or, at the very least, html illiterate), they have no way to recognize the malicious coding in their profiles.

4. If you are, in fact, web illiterate, change your layouts fairly frequently. Make sure you delete EVERYTHING from your page and rebuild it with the new coding. This will ensure that the old malicious coding is deleted.

5. Run your anti-virus software regularly. And if you don't have one, get a spyware program and run that just as regularly. SpyBot is great and can catch some MySpace baddies.

6. Be careful when downloading or cut-and-pasting MySpace layouts and codings from third-party sites. And for fuck's sake, don't get those stupid "MySpace trackers." They don't work unless somebody else has that same tracker, and then a whole lot of people can look at your personal stuff that you don't want looking at your personal stuff.

7. Limit the types of html coding you use in your profile. Some of them (like the recent Quicktime FUBAR) allow assholes to more easily hack into your page.

Got it? Good.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everybody. And I mean that sincerely. I'm even wishing Merry Christmas to all you jerks that don't subscribe to Christmas. That's right, for everyone that celebrates the older Hanukkah and the completely arbitrary Kwanzaa, I'm wishing you a Merry Christmas, too.

I am, as most of you know, as agnostic as a person can get. I don't know which religion is right, I don't know what happens when one dies, and I don't know if there is a God, gods, or just a big bang followed by an assload of evolution. Christmas, to me, is simply a time for family, a time for loving your fellow man in that cliché way, and a time for giving and receiving. That's what it means to me, and you know what? That's a great meaning, if I do say so myself.

I understand the Christian connotation of the holiday, but I also understand the historical pagan significance of it, as well. The nativity scenes don't bother me, Christmas carols don't bother me, and I absolutely fucking love Christmas trees covered in snow. That being said, I respect Hanukkah and what it stands for. In fact, I respect every other religious and pseudo-religious holiday that happens around this time of year. And even though it's a completely arbitrary, faceted, 20th Century anti-establishment invention, I even hold some respect for Kwanzaa. I mean, shit, anything that celebrates Peace on Earth in one form or another is worthy of respect, right?

But what's really starting to irritate me are all the idiotic, ignorant, and self-important assholes that are trying to pigeon-hole Christmas as a holiday that the "white Christian" is trying to "hold down the man" with. Seriously, shut the fuck up.

You hear about the rabbi who complained about the Christmas trees in the Seattle airport? Well, his complaint got the trees removed. Way to go (although, he does have a legitimate point... one I have no problem with, but his dumb ass threated to sue), dickhead. You hear about the person that was so worried about being politically correct that a Christmas choir was ordered to stop caroling because Sasha Cohen, a half Jew who happens to appreciate Christmas, was in the area? Holy fucking cow. ENOUGH ALREADY.

Screw "Happy Holidays." It's "Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah."

Yes, it's true that America was founded on what were basically Christian ideals for a "promised land," but they were ideals that recognized the need for what is essentially an agnostic form of government. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and all the others ultimately knew that peace in the new land would never be accomplished without peace between the religions. That's kind of why the United States doesn't have a state-sponsored religion. It just so happened that most of the inhabitants here (American Indians notwithstanding) were Christian. So, obviously, Christmas took the lead as the primary winter holiday.

But guess what? Over the years, Christmas in America was altered by capitalism and the ever-growing "melting pot" that was the American populace and has become, more than any devout Christian is probably willing to admit, a non-denominational holiday. It is, in this country, celebrated less as the supposed birthday of Jesus Christ, and celebrated more as a time for the (loose definition here) "spirit of Christmas." You know, that fat guy in the red suit with the reindeer on drugs? Last I checked, Santa wasn't in the Bible, and just ask the boys of South Park who would win in a duel, Santa or Jesus.

It's time we looked beyond the religion and alleged ethno-centricity of Christmas, and let the American spirit of Christmas take hold. We're one country, one people, and we deserve to celebrate the end of the year without a bunch of assholes trying to destroy the one thing that lets us love each other without feeling embarrassed about it.

Jerks.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Los Angeles Chargers

I'm not a conspiracy theorist or anything, and I truly love my Chargers, but it does seem a little odd that the best season in San Diego history since A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR, AWAY... is happening right when the Chargers are trying to force their way into a new stadium deal.

Yes, the team, led by the Spanos family and their wicked-evil yes-man, Mark Fabiani, are currently in negotiations with National City and Chula Vista to try to work out a stadium deal. Yes, the Chargers have committed (verbally, anyway) to staying in San Diego County. Yes, LaDainian Tomlinson and company are bringing out all of the fair weather Charger fans that have been hiding the last couple of decades (I guess that's not fair; San Diego always has fair weather).

But... Anaheim, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Antonio have all made overtures to the team. And, as it stands right now, the team will be able to negotiate with any or all of those cities come January 1st, 2007... perhaps the time when the Chargers are making a convincing Super Bowl run. Can anybody say, "Increasing the market value?"

Let me back up and set something straight before I continue... I truly, and wholeheartedly, believe that the San Diego Chargers are the best team in the NFL right now. Not because of conspiracy, but because of talent. I mean, shit... look at who we have on the team.

Continuing: (and I'm rambling now... what can I say? I'm at work) if the Chargers leave San Diego, I'm no longer a Chargers fan. That's not to say I won't be a Tomlinson fan, a Rivers fan, or a Merriman fan (I do root for New Orleans, a la Drew Brees, after all). But, I won't be a Chargers fan.

The scary thing is that out of the four cities that have expressed interest, the Chargers would be a good fit for at least three of them. Think about it... the San Antonio Chargers? Well, little known outside of San Diego is that a stallion used to be the Chargers logo. I guarantee you that a move to Texas will prompt the stallion's return. The Las Vegas Chargers? Electricity? Lightning bolt? All in the Sin City of Lights? Come on... And, last (and the most frightening), the Los Angeles Chargers. Another little known fact is that the San Diego Chargers started off as the Los Angeles Chargers. This would just be a case of a team moving back to its original home.

Ugh.

We all know that San Diego's city government is recovering from a shitload of corruption right now, and is in no position to support a team trying to upgrade a seriously outdated stadium. We all know that the Spanos family has ties to the Los Angeles and Las Vegas areas. We all know that San Diego, other than the Padres, can't seem to hang on to a sports team to save its life (the NBA's Rockets and Clippers, anyone?).

In all likelihood, I'm moving to Los Angeles next year. One would think I'd be happy that the Chargers might move there. But San Diego is, and always be, the county I call home. And I don't want to see my beloved team leave my home.

Fuck the LA Chargers.

Poetry

This blog does not contain a poem, so get that out of your head. It does, however, pertain to that old cliche that "life is poetry." Yes, life is poetry, and all lives are poems. To take it further, as the film Dead Man tried to convey, even death is poetry.

Life is full of the highest highs, the lowest lows. Basically, unless you're Pablo Neruda, poems are the roller coasters we think we ride in life (Neruda had a gift for what life really is, so don't take that comment the wrong way). Mountains are made from molehills, fish become twice as big, and those damn "ones" always get away. Recite a funny story at work and we become Mother Goose. Put our lives on paper and we're an Epic along the lines of Milton.

As this year comes to a close, it's clear to me that no year of my life has been closer to a poem than 2006 has. More than that, this year has become a movie script (quite literally), complete with plot points, pinches, and a climax. Poetry in image, so to speak.

It began with the fruition of a plan nine years in the making. A career on the horizon, a journey to the other side of America, a world revolving into fingertips. That planned stalled, mainly due to the attempt to make another person more comfortable. A diversion to a home never called home, and a forgotten life that should not have been remembered. That "another person" decided to ultimately fuck me, and left me in a great deal of debt. I was effectively further from my goal than I had ever been before. A dream shattered, with a grasp on life that began to slip. So, I went out, joined the "real" workforce, and started getting back on my feet. I even got some film work along the way. Things were looking up, then another person decided to fuck me based on a disagreement of principles. Principles that, I assure you, exist nowhere else in the world (for the record, I'm still reeling from that one... the result is pending).

And yet, despite all of that, the end of 2006 is looking quite good. It's fitting in a way, poetic, that the worst year of my life is turning out to be the year that could have the brightest ending. Nothing's in stone, of course, poetry never is, but she's playing a larger role in my life right now than I could have ever dreamed. Work is steady, paying well, and I can almost count the days until debt becomes an afterthought. And my writing? Well, I'm writing... that's all I can say, and that's something. But she's in my life, helping to guide it, helping to inspire it... helping me write my own poetry.

I won't say why (yet), but December 12th, 2006, will probably go down in my history as the best day of my life. Poetic, isn't it? The best day of my life occuring in the worst year of it?

And with a screaming heart, a spirit rebuilds on a foundation of softly spoken words in December.

Sappy, aren't I?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Aliens and UFOs

Last night I happened to wander outside and see a bright, blazing light over a ridgeline. Now, my first thought was that it was one of the three planets aligning, until I realized that it was twinkling. Soon after that, I realized that it was moving. And, very quickly after that, I realized that it was a jet airliner whose navigation light just happened to catch me at the right angle.

So... no UFO for me.

Which brings me to my point. I truly and whole-heartedly believe in life on other planets. I have to apologize to all you religious universal-centrists that think we're it, but this medium we Earthlings occupy is just too fucking big for us to be the only life in it.

That being said, I don't really believe that we've been visited by life from other planets just yet. I can't explain away all of the abduction stories (unless they're drug related), but I'm pretty certain I can explain away the "alien ship sightings."

Think about this... aliens flying UFOs would obviously be from cultures FAR more advanced than ours. I mean, shit, these little gray-skinned fuckers would be flying half-way across the galaxy just to mutilate cows and kidnap neurotic alcoholics after hours, right? So anyway... these intelligent aliens could probably figure out (rather quickly, I might add) that all "Earthling" aircraft have red lights on their right, green lights on their left, and navigation lights somewhere on the fuselage, right? Please tell me you agree with me so far, even if you don't agree with my conclusion... because if you don't, you scare me.

Okay... back to the point. So, these aliens are flying around like drunk idiots, getting seen by drunk idiots on the ground, and getting reported to drunk idiots who watch The X-Files and take the show a little too seriously. What follows is a bunch of crazy conspiracy theories, even more bad television documentaries, and the occasional good movie (albeit amid a plethora of crappy ones).

To avoid all of this, why wouldn't the aliens, these intelligent aliens, just mount lights on their spacecraft similar to the navigation lights on our aircraft? I mean, anybody from the ground who saw blinking red, blinking green, and a nav light would immediately chalk the fucking thing up as a regular aircraft... even if they hadn't seen that particular type of bird before, right? Oh, sure, there'd still be the occassional "Oh, fuck, E.T!" guy, but for the most part, sensible people would be like "Oh, look, flying plane."

I'm rambling... but you get my drift. If the aliens can't figure out how to fool us which such a simplistic technique, then I highly doubt those little bastards can figure out how to fly into New York City undetected, rip some poor lady out of her highrise apartment building, and fly off into the night sky without anyone asking serious questions.

I mean, right?

Saturday, December 9, 2006

D & Diamond: Two Reviews

Two reviews here, one bad, one good. I'll bet you can guess which is which before you even read this...

First up is Jack Black's highly anticipated (I think) Tenacious D: the Pick of Destiny. I'm not really going to go into much detail, as I'm pretty sure people got what they expected from the film... but I thought it was lame. Yeah, it was kinda cool how Black and Gass served themselves up and rehashed much of their CD into a movie of sorts, but it was ultimately weak and lame. Yeah, it was kinda cool how Black and Gass poked some fun at Hollywood and made what almost qualified as a musical, but it was ultimately boring and lame. Yeah, it was kinda cool how the stupid high school kids in the theater thought they were cool just because they were watching the movie, but... wait, no, that wasn't cool.

But hey, a friend of mine was one of the assistant directors, so I can't bag the film too much. And the scenes with Tim Robbins were, admittedly, very funny.

On to better things, that being Blood Diamond, Edward Zwick's latest entry in action-packed tear-jerkers (following Last Samurai, Courage Under Fire, and the uber-great Glory). Fantastic, fantastic movie. Relevant (in a just-maybe-a-little-too-liberal sort of way), well-directed, extremely well-acted (although Jennifer Connelly, despite looking gorgeous, was somewhat of a weak spot... but that's still saying a lot for the film), and beautifully shot, the film just rocked. There were times when it almost seemed it would delve into cliché territory, but it expertly skirted it instead.

And, say what you will about Leonardo DiCaprio, but the fucker can act. If he doesn't win an award for either this or The Departed, then the Academy will have exposed itself as a fraud.

Bottom line... skip Jack Black (unless you're in its very narrow target audience) and get a load of Leo.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

One

It's a very important number, one. Never mind the fact that all other numbers are multiples of it, one, itself, is a very important number. The most important number, in fact.

One day can ruin your life. One day can save it. When you're born, despite the fact that you (hopefully) are born to two parents, you are a single entity, alone in the world. Just you. Can you remember your parents the day you were born? Of course not. That's because the first few days, months, maybe years of your life, it was just you. One person. Maybe that's why we don't remember that part of our existence... it's not because we can't, it's because we don't want to. It was just you, one, after all.

One event changes your life. Perhaps it was a move, a career shift, some other choice of some kind. That one event leads to another single event, maybe it's compounded by another single event. But we're all living in a series of things happening once.

This year is a great example of this phenomenon of "one" in my life. One person almost destroyed me with one action. Later, another single person made things much worse for me... again, with one action. And the chain of one labored on. Life, this year, seemed destined for nowhere.

But, your one life tends to be a little, I don't know, funny. As quickly as one thing can make things worse, one thing can make things better.

In my case, that one thing happened about 2800 miles away. One event. An event not even remotely related to my situation. But it happened, and it opened the door to one chance.

Eventually, that one chance turned into one e-mail. From there, to use an old cliche, one thing led to another. One poem. One song. One phone call. And, as quickly as the year turned sour, it turned into something to smile about.

One person. One woman. And one day... well, you know.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Lying Awake in the Dark

You're there, less than an hour before your alarm goes off, lying awake in the dark. Your mind is calm and your body is well-rested, but still you're far too hesitant to climb out of bed. After all, it's warm under the blankets, you're comfortable, and the world seems like it's going to wait for you for another hour, anyway. Why ruin the solace?

Maybe your blinds or curtains are just a little open and you can see night slowly turning into day. Maybe all you can see is the passing by of the occasional early riser trying to get a jump on the work day. Or maybe the window's frosted over, or you don't care to look outside. Here, now, in your little corner of the room, everything is all right. And all you're doing is lying awake in the dark.

You look at your clock, or your cell phone. Time seems like it's standing still. Acts like it, too. You could swear that it's been 15 minutes since the last time you checked the time, but it's barely been four. You don't mind, though. Your thoughts are racing; life is somehow understandable as you stare at the ceiling.

Somewhere in the distance you can hear your dogs stirring. They're getting ready to greet you when you bring them breakfast. Or maybe you don't have dogs, don't even like dogs, but can hear your neighbor's. Everything is routine, everything runs like clockwork, everything is safe.

Then it hits you. You're in bed... alone. Sure, life is fine, the night is calm, the morning light even better. But she's not there.

You wonder what she's doing. She's in a different time zone, three hours ahead, so maybe she's met someone and is starting the next chapter of her life... without you. So you glance at your phone again, only this time you don't care how many minutes you have left until the alarm goes off. This time you're wondering whether or not you should call. Wondering whether or not she even wants to hear from you.

Or maybe she's simply on vacation, and you're missing her warm body beside you. Then again, maybe you've never had her warm body, and you're lost in a daydream wondering what it would be like. Would it be like a movie? The two of you made love until the sunset, then you woke early to watch her sleep while the blue light from the night sky reflected from her body.

Perhaps she is there, and as you stare at the ceiling, you take cadence to her soft breathing. Maybe you move her hair from her still closed eyes, watch her forehead wrinkle because of a bad dream she's having. Maybe catch a smile.

A quick panic as you realize you haven't checked the time in a while. The beautiful night is almost gone. You're still dreaming, but you're not.

And, as always, life's little quiet moment passes you by just before the electronic beeping of an imported device tells you that it's time to start your day. And, as always, you wish you could continue to lie awake in the dark... your thoughts alone, one way or the other, with her...

Tomorrow, I think I'll call. And maybe, just maybe... the next time she lies awake in the dark, her thoughts will be alone, one way or the other, with me.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Traffic Musings

None of this will be anything new for anyone who isn't a moron, but I just feel like writing some things down pertaining to driving...

If you're in the left lane, and someone behind you is going faster than you, get the fuck out of the left lane. Passing on the right is dangerous, makes both drivers look like assholes, and is just downright inconvenient.

There are these cool little blinking lights on the sides of every vehicle. They're called turn signals... use them... even if you're just changing lanes. Hell, ESPECIALLY if you're changing lanes.

Speaking of which, if someone is nice enough to use their turn signal to try a lane change, have some courtesy and let them in.

Oh, how about this... try turning on your turn signal when attempting a lane change BEFORE you check to see if anyone is coming. Seriously, have you ever seen a driver check, turn on a signal, realize they're probably not going to get let in, turn off the signal, then cut someone else off anyway in a fit of impatience? IF YOU LET PEOPLE KNOW YOU WANT OVER, they're more likely to let you over... but this requires giving them enough time to actually notice your stupid signal.

Turn your damn brights off before you enter a curve or cross the crest of the hill. Unless you're really observant, you're not going to know if someone is coming... someone that you'll blind coming around the bend. And if you are really observant, you'd turn your damn brights off anyway, so don't try to justify my previous statement.

Don't tailgate. That just tempts people like me to slam on the brakes.

When you're at a stoplight, it would be appreciated if you spent at least 90% of your time concentrating on the lights, and only 10% looking for your favorite CD, not vice versa.

And finally (for now), get off the damn phone.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ode to Eli Manning

I am, it's no secret, a Chargers fan. Die hard. I grew up on Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow, and the bolts have never left my system.

It's also no secret that I absolutely fucking hate Eli Manning. It's no secret that EVERY Chargers fan absolutely fucking hates Eli Manning. Eli Manning, to put it simply, is a piece of shit.

Eli, for those that recall (and even those that don't), snubbed the Chargers on draft day in 2004 when he declared that he didn't want to play for San Diego because, more or less, the team wasn't committed to winning.

So what did the Chargers do? They drafted him anyway, then traded him away for Philip Rivers and three draft picks. One of those draft picks wound up being Nate Kaeding, the best Chargers kicker since John Carney. Another became Shawne Merriman, perhaps the best outside linebacker in the NFL. So, in those regards, thanks Eli, you stupid punk.

And now the rub... since the Eli debacle (his real name is "Elisha," mind you), the Chargers have gone 12-4, 9-7, and are currently 9-2. The Giants? Well, they went 6-10, 11-5, and are currently 6-5. That's an overall record of (San Diego) 30-13 to (New York) 23-20.

Who's committed to winning?

Damn sure ain't Eli...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Script Reading

This is a bit of shameless self-promotion...

Are any of you out there screenwriters? Or hoping to be? Well, if you are, you're going to need readers to critique your screenplays and provide you with coverage that will help make your script as good as you can make it. And I, my friends, am just such a qualified reader.

I've written coverage for dozens and dozens of scripts, some of which are currently in preproduction and beyond.

I hold two degrees in English, am well-qualified to critique and edit the readability of your masterpiece, and have studied under Frank Capra, Jr. and Dorothy Rankin as a script reader. I'm also a screenwriter myself, and know what you need to be motivated, as well as what you need to be improved.

And I'm cheap... and bored... so I won't hurt your wallet or your clock. In other words, I'm a low risk venture to see if your script has real potential. In fact, if you're happy with my coverage, I can even help you locate other readers that are "closer to the action" (albeit MUCH more expensive). Those that know screenplays know that screenwriting is long and terrifying journey, and I'm as good a first step to take as any.

Send me scripts. Call or email for pricing. If you'd like to see some of my coverage before hiring me on, let me know and that can be arranged.

I'm so ashamed...

Random Givings of Thanks

Personally, I think that Thanksgiving is a painfully and obviously arbitrary holiday, but whatever...

Some things to give thanks and not-so-much-thanks for this year:

Thanks to my friends who helped me get through a shit time in my life.

Not-so-much-thanks for the person who single-handedly put me there (not that I hold a grudge... anymore).

Thanks to the idiots who are making the "Global War on Terrorism" a de facto screw up.

Thanks to the NFL for putting a third game on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanks to Kay and Sagremor, my two cats who have actually stuck around.

Not-so-much-thanks to the asshole "retiree" CEOs who give themselves $400 million pensions while the rest of America struggles to make ends meet.

Thanks to John Kerry for informing me that I was in the Army because I got bad grades in school. I was under the impression that I held a sense of duty that many no longer hold.

Thanks to my muse for putting me back in a writer's mindset.

Thanks to my dogs for putting up with my lack of attention giving... that'll change soon, I promise.

Thanks to my sister for editing my writings for spelling and grammar at no charge.

Thanks to PH for lending me a shitload of money (five figures, seriously) to keep my head above water.

Not-so-much-thanks to Chevrolet for making the third-door latch on S-10s an easily broken piece of shit.

Thanks to the screenwriters of Casino Royale for making James Bond cool again.

Thanks to Martin Scorsese for making back-to-back films that truly inspired me.

Not-so-much-thanks to George Lucas for refusing to remaster the prints of the original Star Wars trilogy for DVD.

Thanks to the paratroopers who have entered my life, but will never be able to enter it again thanks to a really fucked up war. You guys were the best.

Thanks to the filmmakers who brought work my way at the exact moment my career seemed to dead-end.

Not-so-much-thanks to the man who had me arrested because he lost a fight that HE started.

Thanks to the networks for fielding the best television programming on the air since, well, the day I was born.

And last, but certainly not least, thanks to the people who are trying to make sure that 2007 will be that "Best Year" that 2006 should have been.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Casino Royale: A Review

Bad. Ass.

Those words are as good as any to describe the new James Bond film. So good, actually, let me repeat them: Bad. Ass.

Daniel Craig, ladies and gentleman, pulled it off. The "return to basics" worked. The script was excellent. The dialogue? Top notch for a Bond film. The controversial "reboot?" No longer a controversy.

Bad. Ass.

As implied, Mr. Craig delivered the goods convincingly and expertly. Sure, he's a departure from the traditional Bond mold, but as I mentioned previously, he's not far off from Sean Connery. One or two missteps in dialogue delivery, and his look is still "not quite Bond," but he delivered. That being said, the "not quite Bond" look might be intentional, given that the franchise is attempting to show the development of the character, rather than a character who has already (quite literally) "been there, done that."

The Bond girl, who hailed from Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven, was great, as was the other Bond girl who met an untimely demise early in the film.

M, played by the phenomenal Judi Dench, was once again perfect, although given the "reboot" nature of Casino Royale, I think they should've cast a man, if only to allow Ms. Dench to return once the (re-)development of James Bond catches back up to "present day."

Perhaps the strangest characteristic of note for the new film: it stayed remarkably true to the book. Admittedly, it's been a while since I read the Fleming novels, but the only other Bond films that seemed to even try to stay close to the books were From Russia With Love, Thunderball, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and those were all made in the 60s.

Then again, maybe it's not so strange, given the glut of competition from other celluloid spies such as Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer (I'm noticing a strange "initial" coincidence here).

Anyway, go see the damn movie. It's great. The decision to bring in Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) to touch-up the script definitely paid dividends. For the first time in a long time, a Bond film seems aimed at every demographic imaginable, and hits them all. Yes, ladies, there is more in Casino Royale for you to identify with than in any previous Bond film (unless, of course, you're one of the countless women that would prefer to bed Pierce Brosnan than Daniel Craig).

Bond, like Batman and Superman, is back... and looks like he's here to stay.

Bad. Ass.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The James Bonds

Tomorrow is the movie event of the year... well, for me anyway.

Casino Royale, the 21st official Bond film, 23rd total Bond film, and the third motion picture (including television) version of Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, opens tomorrow. With it, we are presented Daniel Craig, the sixth actor to play Agent 007 in the official series of films. And, with him, we are presented with what is either a bold new era of Bond, or another run of crap.

Daniel Craig is, in my opinion, a much better actor than Pierce Brosnan. However, as an ex-girlfriend pointed out, Pierce Brosnan looks more like James Bond should look (in other words, she'd rather fuck Brosnan than Craig... and yes, that's actually what she said). Basically, we're about to find out if Craig can pull off the role of 007 with his acting ability and physical presence. Then again, I'm also of the opinion that he's closer to Sean Connery than any of the other Bonds have been.

Speaking of the other Bonds, how are those late-night drunk-initiated arguments about who the best Bond is going to go now that there are six candidates to argue about, instead of five. Wow... that was a run-on sentence, wasn't it?

Anyway, the best Bond for me was Pierce Brosnan, believe it or not, although I don't think that any of the others have been particularly bad. In fact, the one I think was the worst (George Lazenby) was in my favorite Bond film. Oh, the irony.

I'm rambling, aren't I?

Oh, yeah... Brosnan was the best Bond, per se, it's just that his scripts were so friggin' monotonous that he didn't get a chance to really shine. Dalton was probably the best actor to have played Bond. Connery originated the role, so you can't discount his contribution to the character. Moore was funny, and in my second favorite Bond film. I've already mentioned Lazenby.

I'm rambling, aren't I?

Bond is back. Go see Casino Royale. The trailer makes it look like the best Bond film ever, but I guess that's what trailers are supposed to do, no?

007.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Whirlwind

Reap the whirlwind... whoa...

GM (yes, that GM) offered me a job... don't really want to take it, but it's good money and might allow me to transfer to Los Angeles.

My little independent film script is generating some interest... crazy. Seems too good to be true, which means it probably is.

One of my scripts, Theorem, was just labeled as "blockbuster material" by a Hollywood reader. Does this bode well for my screenwriting future? Is it a fluke/flash-in-the-pan? Spin me around and... well, never mind...

Just applied to graduate school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The first of two intended Masters degrees... the second I want to get from the University of California, Los Angeles. What can I say? I'm vain and I think the MFA, MFA on my business card would look cool.

More reality TV show jobs are coming my way... maybe... and it's another maybe if I can take them or not... double maybes? Probably not good... as in double not good. Fuck me.

If I move to Vegas, I've got a place to live, but I have to ditch my dogs... that's going to seriously suck. I get to keep my cats, though... provided they don't run away before then.

Have a court date on the 30th. Wish me luck in staying out of jail. No, really... wish me luck in staying out of jail.

Have a physical on the 29th. Wish me luck in increasing my VA disability. I like free money. Don't lie, you do, too. You just won't like my free money as much as I will.

Trying to join an Army Reserve unit in Bell, California. It's in spitting distance from LA (literally... you can spit to Bell from Los Angeles) and involves a $15k bonus. I should probably bite my tongue and sign the fucking contract, shouldn't I?

Got a new cell phone plan (finally). If you have Sprint PCS, call me... it's free now.

About 20 pages from finishing another script. CIA thriller... I like it. I think it's better than Theorem, which means it probably sucks.

The Departed is the best movie I've seen all year and the second Scorsese movie in a row to really and truly affect me.

Somebody save me (and by somebody, I mean a beautiful, intelligent, talented, and sexy woman who will buy me Chargers season tickets next year... provided she's employed and not in grad school, in which case I'll buy the tickets myself and bring her with me).

Life is a whirlwind... and what a fun ride it's been so far...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Wild and Crazy Idea

I want to make movies; this is no secret. I want to make movies now. This is also no secret. I'm trying to make a movie now. Until just then, that was a secret.

I have a script floating around a bunch of readers and other screenwriters, getting marked up with red pens and the subject of late night phone calls concerning "character development" and "story structure." It's a good script, and with the help of one, two, or more writers, it's going to be a great script.

Now, one of my readers mentioned that this script isn't "commercial" material. I know this, I knew this, and this script was never intended to be pitched to a major studio... from it's inception (and it was borne of real life, I assure you), it was intended to be a so-called independent film.

Of course, until a few days ago, I had no intention of filming this script myself.

Well, technically, I still have no intention of filming this script myself, but as of now I'll be more involved than I original had planned.

To make a getting-longer story stay shorter, a few friends, a few acquantainces, and a few strangers have been talking about fixing this little movie up, raising between $4 and $5 million, becoming guild/union signatory, and filming it for a possible run at Sundance and similar film festivals.

I say, "why not?" Life has a funny way of throwing people and ideas around, and this seems as good a throw as any other.

Let me know if you want in or can help in any way.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Cigarette Musings

Until October 30th of this year, I hadn't had a cigarette since December 24th of last year. In fact, I hadn't had tobacco of any kind since December 24th of last year.

But, on October 30th, I took a drag of a friend's cigarette while sitting in a hotel bar in Elko, Nevada, drinking beer.

Fuck me.

Strangely, I didn't have another cigarette until two days later, when I returned to my real job and suddenly became very depressed. I know, I know... that's not an excuse, but it's what happened, so shut up. Since then, I've had about 40 cigarettes... not a high number, given the usual number of cigarettes smokers light up in a day, but still 40 more than I hoped to have smoked in 2006.

Anyway, I only had four today, after having five yesterday. I'm going to try and keep tomorrow down to three or less. I hate being a smoker, I do. Aw, fuck it.

On the flip side of things, I'm getting real sick of cities, states, what-have-yous passing laws limiting where smokers can smoke. Seriously, at least provide loopholes so businesses can open "smoker only" establishments if they want to.

In California, I had an inkling to open a movie theater that would have one or two screens physically separate from the main cineplex and ventilated separately, and would allow smokers to smoke while watching the movie. But, no... the way the laws are set up this is completely illegal. Pretty stupid, huh? I can't fathom the idiot non-smoker that would complain about a separate building allowing smoking, but I guess they do.

That being said, even I admit that six feet between a smoking section and a non-smoking section in a restaurant doesn't quite cut it... but come on... if a business is willing to invest the money to ventilate and physically segregate the smoking section from the non, why can't they do that?

Ridiculous.

Good thing I'm temporarily broke, because I think I just pissed myself off enough to go buy a pack of smokes.

I'm so pathetic.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

I Have Nothing to Say

No, really. I have nothing to say. I'm bored off my ass, the election results are starting to pour in, China is about to take over the world, Britney Spears just filed for divorce... and I have nothing to say.

I think I once told a friend of mine that the more I write "meaningfully" (i.e., things that aren't blogs), the less I blog. That seems to be the case. I just sent a script out to one of my readers last week, I'm about 25 pages and a rewrite away from sending another one, and I'm doodling all sorts of doodles in preparation for the next story I'll attempt to put to paper.

End result = boring, banal, pointless (even more so than usual) blogs.

Ah, well...

But, hey... did I mention that Britney filed for divorce?

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Army Musings

Ah, what an insane week for the military and the war-at-large... So insane, my musings actually sort of have a point today. Well, as much of a point as I give a shit about making.

The Army Times (and its sister publications) is calling for Donald Rumsfeld to step down. It's about fucking time. That dude lost my respect years ago (although he once commanded it), and I'm surprised that it took this long for a Gannett-published periodical to make such a statement. He's the symbol of everything that's wrong with what's going on over there, and yet somehow, the fucker keeps his job. Is it all his fault? No, of course not. But he's the god damned Secretary of Defense, and the captain goes down with his ship, so to speak. Bye-bye, Rummy... I hope.

Army recruiters were caught on videotape lying to potential recruits. AWESOME! While I'm against the grain on this one and believe that this is the exception and not the norm, I'm glad this shit has been exposed irrevocably. Seriously, telling a kid his or her chances of going to war are "slim to none?" The bastard who said that should be demoted and permanently assigned to Baghdad.

There's long been a myth floating around that Hollywood gets uniforms wrong "on purpose" in order to prevent actors from "impersonating military personnel." Um, yeah... anyone who believes this is an idiot. There are no such laws, Federal or State, dealing with Hollywood movies. The laws that do exist specifically restrict the impersonation of with intent to deceive. Films, inherently, are granted that exception. Sorry, servicemembers who believe this one... you're all wrong.

The Army is doing away with the sort-of-ugly-yet-full-of-history Dress Green uniforms and is going with Dress Blues for all. While I like the idea of eliminating some of the decorum from the closets of our soldiers, I'm not sure I agree with it completely. Eh, I'm on the fence... I'll address this later.

And I still think the Marine Corps should be absorbed into the Army. The opposing arguments I still get from the members of the fleet simply convince me more of this with each passing day. I'd post some of their statements, but I don't feel like insulting our boys in green today by revealing how stupid many of them are.

This war, to date, is a failure. And that's all I have to say about that.

Our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen are still heroes. And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Things I've Noticed About Battlestar Galactica

Due to some (rather surprising) popular demand, I'm going to bitch about Battlestar Galactica again.

First bitch: it's a definite... the political alignment of the show has gone from interpretive moderation to a clearly left-wing slant. Hmm... could the upcoming elections possibly have anything to do with plethora of Bush-jabs found in the show? Not that I mind Bush-jabs, but come on... BSG was much better when everyone could argue about everything. TRIALS WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!!!??? Where the fuck did they get that idea? Hmm...

Second bitch: can we please get some character consistency? And how about some intelligence? As if any idiot couldn't have figured out Gaeta wasn't pulling some sort of strings. Oh, and how about some memory? "Trauma" or not, there's no way Tyrol's moronic wife is going to forget that somebody helped her get away. In fact, I'm pretty fucking sure she'd have mentioned it right after it happened. Which leads me to...

Third bitch: the show's writing this year is even worse than last. So far, we've had a horrible premiere, a good second episode, an okay third episode (with some inconsistent physics... BSG? Inconsistent? No...), and a crappy fourth episode. Even season two was 50-50. Oh, the good ol' days.

Fourth bitch: I finally started liking Starbuck last season, and now I hate her even more than I did before. And she's actually worse-looking with long hair. For an actress, I think that's a historical first.

Pointless Musings

Studies are now linking cell phone use to male impotence. Right on. Fuck global warning, Samsung and Nokia are killing the world one ejaculation at a time. Gross concept, isn't it? But true...

Scions have got to be the ugliest cars on the road since the old Saabs.

The new Saabs rock.

Madonna may have discovered that her name in Chichewa/Bantu means "distinguished white lady," but around me it means "arrogant, self-righteous moron." Do you feel like Angelina yet, you wannabe-Brit lunatic?

Shawne Merriman needs to just admit that he screwed up so he can quit making himself look like a jackass.

The NFL having regular season games "overseas" is pretty stupid from a fan's point of view. It's also pretty fucking smart from a businessman's point of view. Ah, how money makes the world go round.

I'm still pissed that Anaheim took the "Mighty" out of their hockey team. Bastards.

Even though he's, well, (fill in a degrading adjective here), Tom Cruise seems a rather appropriate choice to run United Artists. Quaint, somehow. But he's still a (degrading adjective).

Watch Bullrun on SpikeTV next year.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Leaving

For the second time this year, I left a job in the film industry. Yeah, this time was just a little PA work, but it was still on a set, was still an awesome time, and is still what I want to do on a permanent basis. But, I left. Not because I wanted to, mind you, but because I couldn't stay on the production for whatever reasons.

Anyway, as I was driving back to the drudgery of the so-called real world, I was hit with sort of an epiphany... leaving, and by that I mean leaving anything, really sucks. Even when where you're at is a really bad spot or who you're with is a really shitty person, leaving still sucks... well, fundamentally anyway. Why? Shit, I don't know... maybe it has something to do with a subliminal recognition of "touch and go." Maybe it's something more, something less... I don't fucking know. I just know that leaving sucks.

It's a good thing that arriving really kicks ass, or we'd be one pathetic species.

But leaving still sucks.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Waking Up

2006, for those of you who follow what I do and where I go, was supposed to be the best year of my life. Well, those who follow know that 2006, quite clearly, has not been. In fact, along with 2000 and 1989, it's been the worst. 2000 and 1989, however, have the advantage of only partially sucking, while 2006 has been a bane pretty much since New Year's Day.

Like all things, though, there is a silver lining to this crappy-ass year... I've learned a lot about a lot, especially myself. I can now recognize, without fail, the type of woman I will wind up with. That, in and of itself, is something to smile about... in this year not worth smiling about.

I've learned plenty of other things about myself, too. I know that I am more proud of having been a soldier than proud of having been anything else in my life, or ever being in the future. I know that the military truly does create the best friends a person can have. College friends don't come anywhere near close, and childhood friends are more an obligation similar to family than they are true friendship. I know that I have never, not once, been truly in love in my life. I thought I have, and I've definitely been lustful over women, but I've never been in love. Not really. But I do know who I'm looking for, and like I said, that's something.

A bad thing I've learned is where my temper comes from, and why it comes. Most of my friends can attest to the frightening nature of a "pissed off Jeff," but I think I've finally got that fucker under control. Well, maybe not totally, but at least I know where it lives, and, like the woman, that's something.

The one 100% positive claim to fame that 2006 will have, however, is that my writing has finally become writing, instead of a collection of thoughts followed by the rapid motion of typing fingers. What I write is finally becoming alive. My writing is finally, like the rest of me, waking up. That's no claim to the quality of it, just a claim to the honesty of it. My words are, after 28 years, ringing true... and hopefully, after 28 years, so am I.

It takes a long time to get here... admittedly, a lot of people probably do it much more quickly than I, but I'm here now, and the view, while currently obscured, is a good one.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Touch and Go

Every day we wake up, we're somebody else. Our experiences today will be different from the ones that we had yesterday. Our lives are, technically and theoretically, always changing. Nothing stays the same. Nothing remains familiar. Lovers are really strangers, strangers are really friends, and enemies are really those who refuse to admit that we're all more alike than anyone realizes. Life is touch and go. We touch, are touched, wish we were touched, and we move on, sometimes not even knowing why we move on, or even what we've missed.

Touch and go.

Life was interesting a couple of years ago. I was finishing up my first bachelor's degree, activated by the National Guard, and on my way to that fun little desert that is the Middle East. In a small PX in Fort Stewart, Georgia, I mentioned that I needed a padlock for one of my bags, but didn't have the money on me. Later that day, when I wasn't near my bunk, someone found my stuff and left a brand new padlock on my bed. To this day, I have no idea who this person was. Touched. And gone.

I remember getting my dog, Jax, after I got out of the Army. I bought him a doghouse so he could stay dry when it rained and I wasn't home to let him in the house. He wouldn't go in it... not even when I put food inside of it. I talked about this in one of my classes in college. The guy sitting next to me, a tall, gentle-looking black man, said to put sawdust on the floor of the doghouse. For some reason, dogs like the smell and the comfort it provides. I never tried it, but I never forgot the advice, either. Advice from a stranger just trying to help. I feel like shit that I don't know his name. Touched. And gone.

Life moves in circles, in waves, fuck... it even moves in squares and dodecahedrons. Why is it that I am alive, able to walk (although barely), work every day, and play with my dogs and cats? Why is that my replacement in the Army no longer has his foot... or his arm? Why is that I am able to talk to my father, but refuse to because of the friction between us? Why is that several of my friends want so badly to talk to their fathers, but can't because they're no longer living? How can one person leave so indelible a footprint on a person's psyche that a script, a poem, or a song is written due to that footprint? How is it that other people are forgotten as soon as you meet them?

Touch... and go...

We are not a species that can stay in one place long. We move on, from place to place, day to day. Not because of some instinctual need for survival, but because of some higher need for more. Why are we the only species that needs, unequivocally, to love and be loved? Why do we pretend that our pleasant emotions are tied into what's familiar? Why do we assume that our hurtful emotions stem from fear and the unknown?

We are the only living thing on this planet that is capable of touch and go. The only one. Everything else is tied into a natural cycle that repeats itself over and over again, and will repeat itself until extinction or the end of time. Touch and go. There's a reason we're capable of it. A reason so simple to comprehend, most of us refuse to acknowledge it when life seems too much to handle:

No matter what happens to us in life, we can always move forward.

Touched.... and gone...

Writer's Mood Revisited

Crazy world, this is. Very. Things happen that you don't expect, obviously, but when things happen that you've never even considered, well, that's when you're in trouble.

Case in point. I was betrayed by somebody last Sunday. Now, I've always said that betrayal is the worst thing you can do to somebody, and it is. This one is going to cost me a few thousand dollars, a few months of my life, and a little bit of sanity. Fuck yeah.

The strange thing is that I'm writing again... like, seriously writing. When I wrote about my lack of "writer's mood" before, I figured that it was just life in general that was keeping me down. Well, given the evidence today, that's just not the case. Life is looking very, very bleak at the moment, yet I'm still writing. Most of that is my reluctant muse, I'm sure, but given the hit I just took, I should just want to curl up and die. But I don't. And I'm writing. Ironically, it seems that the more I really write, the less I blog. Blogging, it seems, is a clue that I'm not really writing... well, maybe not given the circumstances, but it sounded good, didn't it?

I'm making no sense, am I?

Eh, who cares? I just finished a script and I'm editing it now. Hooray for me, sort of.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Blog Updates and Pointless Musings

I was just thinking about a few things, some of which I've already blogged in the past about, so I decided to update my thoughts, as it were.

1. People who enter their own IMDb information are still idiots.
2. Controlling America's borders = smart. Building an actual fence = stupid.
3. George Lucas should never have fucked with Star Wars.
4. Voting and driving should be privileges left to those who have actually graduated high school.
5. I no longer consider the electric toothbrush one of the two greatest inventions known to man. Toilet paper, however, retains its top spot.
6. Tom Cruise is still gay.
7. Dan Brown is still a bad writer.
8. People really need to learn the difference between "your" and "you're." It's quite literally starting to drive me insane.
9. If people want to smoke cigarettes and die, let them.
10. Pennies would be more cost-effective were they worth two cents (I just realized that "penny for your thoughts" and "put your two-cents in" would mean the same thing were this the case... clever, aren't I?)
11. Catherine Zeta-Jones is NOT a good actress.
12. Celebrity does not a Hollywood star make.
13. The Marine Corps should be a part of the Army.
14. San Diego is the greatest city in America.
15. If everyone drove motorcycles, traffic would be less of a hassle.
16. "Musicians" should know how to read music.
17. Actors are generally overpaid. Athletes are not. And I'm really tired of hearing about how teachers, cops, and the like are underpaid. Go get different jobs.
18. Battlestar Galactica got off to a bad start, but the second episode of season 3 was actually good.
19. The San Diego Chargers look for real, don't they?
20. If I had to pick between my muse and Natalie Portman, I'd pick my muse. Those of you who know me well know how big of a statement that is.

Pointless Musings

Former Florida Congressman Dick Foley is clearly one sick bastard (you know, the "page" guy), but the real sick fucks are the idiots who turned his situation into a political one.

America Online being free is great. In a strange twist of fate, I was going to get rid of it the week they switched over from a pay-for service.

XM Radio is like God's gift to music. I have more to say about this, so look for a pointless blog in the future.

Ms. VD, I don't really hate my readers. I actually despise them. Just kidding. I love you all, but only on Wednesdays.

I can't wait for Thursday.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Portrait of a Muse

I'm hoping that some of you have noticed that the quality of my writing has improved a bit recently, with the probable exception of yesterday's blog (which was written under the influence). My long-time blog readers will remember that lull in my writing in which I couldn't get into a "writer's mood." Well, I must say that my writer's mood is back, and, so far, better than it has ever been before.

I have written a few poems as of late, two of which are easily in the top five of the best poems I've ever created. In addition, I knocked out a song lyric for a friend's sort-of birthday present, and it wasn't bad (in my humble opinion). I'm also in the middle of writing the best lyric that's EVER come out of my mind. That may sound arrogant, but it's undeniably true.

Screenplays are also once again pouring from my fingertips, and I'm ten pages away from finishing one and about 15 pages into another. They aren't perfect scripts, but they're both good... Again, that sounds arrogant, but trust me... they're both good.

To sum it up: I'm writing, the writing is good, and life is good. And it's all due to my muse. She's a wonderful muse, almost solely responsible for the script that I had finished last year (Theorem), and absolutely solely responsible for the music I've been playing and writing. Like I said, she's wonderful.

What makes her so? Well, what usually makes a muse wonderful? Right out of the gate, she's beautiful. Sure, she claims she's "just a Carolina girl," but she's also the most attractive Carolina girl I've seen in the 10 years I lived in North Carolina. Beautiful, gorgeous, and sexy are words that fail to do her enough justice. She's hot, and that's even too weak a word for what she really is.

She's also intimidatingly smart. She has to be, for she's going into a medically-related field, and is likely going to have a doctorate before I can even finagle a master's degree. World concepts come easy to her, as do many of life's frustrating concepts... and she's wise beyond her years. You can see that in her eyes... and hear it in her voice. A voice so calm, so soothing, one could sleep through a battle were she whispering to you.

And she's sweet... very sweet. I won't elaborate here, because I don't want to accelerate my heart rate before I go to sleep, but she's sweet... very sweet... or did I say that already?

A brief description of this muse... brunette, about 5'3" tall, just turned 21, powerful and very stimulating legs, and skin as perfect as a Clairol advertisement. The very thought of her smiling makes me smile... and the very thought of her upset pisses me off...

She's my muse, and she deserves to be as inspired as much as she inspires me.

Intimidating... Inspiring... The Portrait of a Muse.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Carolina or California: A Crossroads

What a strange place to be in right now. Of course, the preceding sentence probably makes no sense to you, since you probably don't know what strange place I'm referring to.

Well, let me break down "life according to Jeff" for you. There are two things that, to me, equal a successful life. Two main things, anyway. Of course there are thousands upon thousands of individual things, moments, thoughts, events, conflicts, etc., that make up the entirety of a successful life. But for the purposes of now, let's just break it down to two. Now, I don't want to sound like some silly astrologer, but the two things I'm referring to are 1) career, and 2) love. Or, somewhat less aesthetically pleasant: money and sex.

But let's stick with career and love, as I'm feeling sentimental today.

First of all, however, let me fill you in on a bit of history here. I spent my formative years in Southern California, which explains my love for all things San Diego (Chargers spanked the 49ers today, by the way) and my attraction to Los Angeles. I spent the last 10 years of my life in North Carolina (minus one year in Korea, but whatever), where I attended three different colleges on my way to three degrees. In between California and Carolina was Nevada, which is, not entirely without irony, where I am at this very moment.

Now that you're even more confused, let me tie all this shit in: life is career and love, which are somewhat frighteningly represented at this crossroads in my life by California (career) and Carolina (love). Even more frightening is that neither is a sure bet... in fact, both are long-shots at best; blatant impossibilities at worst.

In California lies Hollywood, the ultimate goal of my career aspirations since at least 1997. That's right, nine years of my life have been dedicated to preparing for Hollywood. I want to write movies. I want to make movies. Where else do you really do that than in Los Angeles?

In Carolina lies, well, a nameless beauty that I can't help but be infatuated with. And believe me, I've been trying incessantly to get her out of my head... to no avail. I want this girl. Not in a "stalker-obsessive" way, mind you (I swear), but I want this girl. More than anything. Repeat that: more than anything.

So, here I am at a crossroads. In California lies my nine-year objective, my working future, my career of choice. In Carolina lies my, for lack of better non-poetic term, my heart.

Either way is a complete risk. Neither way guarantees anything. In fact, both ways probably guarantee that the path that I don't pick will no longer even be an option in the rest of my life. I can usually find a middle-ground when it comes to life-altering crap like this... but not this time. This time, I don't have a clue. My mind tells me California. That other organ tells me to pull a Good Will Hunting and "go see about a girl."

I guess the choice is going to be made for me in one way or another in the near future... but until that happens... what a completely nerve-racking way to live a life.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

MySpace After Death

As I sat around one day, twiddling my thumbs... I was probably at work, mind you... I got to wondering. You know, all the crazy things one wonders wonderfully about when he or she is supposed to be doing something far more important. Yeah, that kind of wondering. Stuff like, "Why did my parents become vegetarians?" and, "Why is chocolate the only flavor of ice cream that possibly tastes better when it's been freezer-burned?" As you can tell, I worry about the state of the world quite often. Of course, there were more serious questions, like, "Why can't I get the one girl I want to go out with in the world to like me... even just a little?" and, "Where, oh, where have my little cats gone?"

Then, the ultimate question hit me... the one that pertains to us all in this glorious virtual world of communication known as the Internet... "What the flying fuck will happen to my MySpace page when I die?"

Seriously, in the real world (the one that few of us even bother with any more), the problem of "virtual property" after a death is becoming a big one. In fact, I even read an article recently concerning email accounts after one dies... it's important, too... go find it and read it... and no, I read it after I formulated the MySpace after death question... so there.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, the real world. Anyway, so what happens? Has Saint Peter installed the Internet at his desk in front of the pearly gates? Does he have a MySpace page with which to message Tom and ask politely to close Joe Schmoe's MySpace account because Joe had a little too much to drink and veered off the bridge into the foamy brine? And what about Satan? Oh, wait, I know... Satan is the one that posts and reposts all of those stupid ass bulletins that morons can't seem to get enough of.

But what if you're not a Christian? Does Allah play? I know Muhammad can't show his picture on his page, but does he have a minion that screams at Americans for their disparaging and immoral pop culture while deleting MySpace pages in the glorious afterlife? And what about Jews? Hindus? Sikhs? Baha'i's? Buddhists? Never mind that last one... Buddha doesn't seem like he'd care. And I'm sure the Scientologists just take their Thetan-invaded laptops with them to their Heaven, so they probably get to keep their MySpace pages when they die.

And the agnostics? Well, they obviously don't know what happens to their MySpace after death, and they probably don't really care. The atheists? I know this one... there is no MySpace after death.

Seriously, folks... this is something we need to figure out. Tom can only handle so much.

Pointless Musings

I've only recently come to the conclusion that the music of Steely Dan is really, really bad. Anyone know who the idiot was that signed Steely Dan to a record deal?

Wilmington, North Carolina should quit trying to pretend that it's a "little Charleston" or a "little Savannah" and start trying to pretend that it's a "little San Diego." It'd be a much nicer place that way.

Even though I was born there, Jacksonville, Florida, should not have a football team (Los Angeles Jaguars, anyone?).

Why can't some roommates grasp that leaving a shower curtain extended keeps the mildew from sticking the curtain together and turning it brown?

Why are women willing to break the sound barrier on large highways, but absolutely terrified to pass people on two-lane ones?

I'm not sexist, I'm just curious.

Not that kind of curious.

I hate you all, except for a certain brunette who absolutely and unequivocally does it for me.

But I hate the rest of you.

Really.

I do.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Irony of Cats and My Life

I have, in my lifetime, owned nine cats. Ten if you count the stray Pete and I tried to adopt before our hateful, anti-people, anti-animal landlady kidnapped him (her?) and shipped him away.

I received the first of those nine cats while I was living in Fayetteville, NC, in 2003, I think, from my girlfriend at the time. She had caught Lancelot in her old neighborhood and brought him to me. He was a doll, I must say... big eyes, scared shitless of my dog, Jax, and loved to attack my toes and my eyelids while I slept (the latter of which is quite frightening when you think about it). I didn't have him long. A stupid fight led to Lancelot running away in the middle of a golf course. I found him a few weeks later, but by then he had been acclimated to running with the other feral cats... and besides, some old lady was taking care of him.

My next two cats were Galahad and Guinevere (noticing a pattern?). I was to pick up Galahad as part of my apology for scaring Lancelot away, but when I got to where I was to get him, I noticed Guinevere. She looked a lot like Lancelot, which was one of the reasons I picked her up. Little did I know that this decision would turn my household into a fucking zoo. Galahad ran away shortly after I moved to Wilmington, NC, in August or September of 2004. He just really wanted to go home to Fayetteville, I think. He ran out of the house while I was shooting a student film. One of my buddies offered to chase him down, but I assured him that Galahad would come back. I was wrong. At the time, Galahad was my favorite cat.

Guinevere ran away while I was stuck in Dayton, NV, this past June. I saw her out the window, walking by my dad's truck. Had I known that was the last time I'd have seen her, I'd have went outside to play with her one last time. At the time, she, like Galahad, was my favorite.

While still in Fayetteville, Galahad and Guinevere had a litter of four cats. We named them Gawain, Tristan, Merlin, and Vivianne. Merlin and Vivianne were given to my roommate at the time, Joe, while my then-girlfriend convinced me to keep Gawain and Tristan.

Gawain died while in Wilmington. He had been sick, came home with some cuts from a fight... my girlfriend let him outside on accident. I never saw him again. When he had disappeared, Guinevere had been gone on a "vacation" (she came back later), so, as before, he had been my favorite.

Tristan disappeared last week. He wasn't my favorite, but he had been my girlfriend's favorite, and I feel a deep and quite strange sense of guilt for having lost him. What makes it worse is that the day he disappeared, I could've sworn I heard a stuck cat meowing from underneath my truck as I drove to work... my dumb ass chalked it up to the radio, but I'll never know for sure, and it makes me ill.

While in Wilmington, Guinevere had given birth to another litter of Galahad's children (he had run away by this time). This litter was named Arthur, Kay, Sagremor, and Isolde. For some odd reason, I kept all of them.

Isolde ran away the day after Guinevere did. I don't know why. Maybe because she was mad that I just spayed her two days prior. I've seen her and Guinevere together once since then, but it was in the middle of the night in an open field a couple of miles from me. They looked healthy, and none of my traps were working, so I forced myself to let them go.

Arthur died early in August of this year. He was sick, and one day decided just to go somewhere and die. I'm still sick to my stomach about it. Guess what? He had been my favorite, too.

Kay and Sagremor are all that are left of my nine cats. The irony here is that, prior to leaving Wilmington, I had decided to get rid of two cats in order to alleviate myself of some of the burden of taking care of so many animals. Guess which two?

I sure am glad that I'm stubborn when it comes to pets.

I was going to tie this story into something relevant, but I've just depressed myself... have a nice day.