Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Re: Re: New Dictionary Entry

In response to a comment from Jessica, I have labored further on finding the most accurate definition of the Brock Effect, and I feel that the current revision shall satisfy all ends.
Brock Effect, The n. - The resulting effect thereby which a person is almost certainly guaranteed to enter into a monogamous relationship with another individual after casually dating and expressing interest in Jon Brock and being subsequently denied (or vice versa) because it would [just not have worked out]. Although this relationship would be defined as a rebound relationship--given the 9(b) definition of ‘[on the] rebound’, empirical evidence has shown that this is not true. Statistics have indicated an 83% probability of the effect’s occurrence in the real world.
Any further amendments to this definition will not be recognized and/or published due to its inherent futility.

Re: New Dictionary Entry

Via an email I received from a friend:
Is it the guys who ultimately decide against dating further or is it you? I propose a new entry:

Brock Effect, The n. - The resulting effect of becoming single after casually dating and expressing interest in Jon Brock and being subsequently denied because it just would not have worked out. This effect often leads the rejected to what is commonly referred to as "rebounding," the desire to be in a monogamous relationship with whomever will have you to replace the desire one had to be in a relationship with Jon Brock.
I think this is a fair definition, although some edits are needed for clarity. Also, there is too much credit being given to Jon Brock at the end of the definition. Here is my proposed revision:
Brock Effect, The n. - The resulting effect of remaining single (for no relationship ever came to fruition) after casually dating and expressing interest in Jon Brock and being subsequently denied because it would [just not have worked out]. This effect often leads the rejected to move on and find someone with whom they are actually happy.
Can we all agree on this sufficient definition?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Dictionary Entry

Brock Effect, The n. - The resulting effect of becoming a member of a monogamous relationship after having casually dated and ultimately decided against doing so further with Jon Brock.

Good News For Seattleites With Reykjavik In Mind

The Seattle Times Online is reporting that
the Northwest will gain a new nonstop route to Europe when Icelandair begins service between Seattle and Reykjavik, Iceland on July 22.

The airline is stepping in with the new flights just as Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is preparing to end its Seattle-Copenhagen service on July 31.

Icelandair will offer four flights a week departing Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 4:30 p.m., arriving in Reykjavik at 6:45 a.m. the following morning. Flight time will be about 7.5 hours.

I actually took the SAS Seattle to Copenhagen flight when I was traveling to Cologne, Germany in August 2003. This is by no means interesting news, but I have wanted to travel to Reykjavik for a few years now, and the possibility of getting there much more easily is now being presented to me. Although, the ticket cost is around $900 round-trip. Ouch. A plane ride to Iceland or a huge chunk of debt paid off. Hmm. Decisions, decisions.

*Photo from en.wikipedia.org.

A Walking Endorsement

I only came across this today, but apparently American Apparel printed these t-shirts back in November 2008. Their website has this to say:
American Apparel believes that sexuality should be celebrated, not condemned. But Proposition 8 is just that, a condemnation of the basic right of marriage of an entire group of people based on their sexuality. We're proud to stand against Prop 8 and what it represents. In November of 2008 our Legalize Gay shirt was originally printed to give to protesters at rallies and marches. The response was so overwhelming that we had more made and distributed them to our stores and put them up online.
I'm hoping to purchase one soon. They have six colors from which to choose: red, pink, purple, teal, army, and asphalt (as pictured). I like that one the best. I was hoping that some portion of their sales for this item would go towards non-profit groups that are working hard to give us gays our equal (and deserved) marriage rights. They (American Apparel) has also been pushing for immigration reform with their "Legalize LA" t-shirts.

*Photo from American Apparel website.

"...With Our Light, Mouth-Watering Entrees"

Michelina's Lean Gourmet Cheese Stuffed Rigatoni. That is what you are feasting your eyes on, and I consumed for my lunch. There were six, six!!!, rigatoni in the carton. Light? Definitely. Mouth-watering? If I was starving...maybe. You need to rethink your advertising Michelina.

On the plus side, it's only 6 grams of fat and 220 calories. I think I can live with that, after the meal (that could feed a small family of four) I devoured last night. My insides hurt from having to make room for all the food.

What's on the menu for lunch tomorrow? Looks like it's going to be Five Cheese Lasagna. Mmm. You can see what other delicious meals Michelina has to offer here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The AFA Hates 'Family Guy'

From an email I received Wednesday night*:
On March 8, Fox network aired Family Guy, a perverted and sickening program, into the homes of millions of Americans. This episode was rated TV-14 DLSV by FOX, meaning that in the network's opinion it was appropriate for 14-year olds. It aired during prime-time.

The content of this program was so explicit that I can't even begin to describe it here.

Click here to watch these scenes or read our detailed review. WARNING: These scenes taken from the Fox program Family Guy are highly offensive.

Even more offensive is Fox's view of Christianity. At a "straight" meeting, the speaker talks to gays about Jesus and tells them, "He [Jesus] hates many people, but none more than homosexuals." Incidentally, Pepsico helped sponsor this program (BoycottPepsico.com.

You really cannot get the full effect of the show's portrayal of Christianity without watching the video or reading our review. You will hear the tone and sarcasm very clearly.

The FCC has a duty to enforce the law and fine Fox for this sickening violation of broadcast decency standards. In addition, your local FOX network affiliate did not have to air this episode. Obviously, they do not care about your local community standards.

It seems to me that the AFA is just bored and looking for things to attack.  I mean, if they really had this heated of a reaction to the program, why did it take them 17 days to voice their message of scorn and moral concern?  I also find it peculiar that of all the offensive material that Family Guy portrays, the episode that has homosexuality at its center is the most offensive.  In the AFA's detailed review, they highlight the following perversions:
  • Peter, the husband/father figure, turns gay after taking an experimental shot of the gay gene.  He was paid $125 to take part of this experiment to prove that being gay is not a choice.
  • Peter and his new lover make out in a restaurant.
  • The lover tells Peter he has arranged an 11-way gay orgy.
  • Lois, wearing skimpy lingerie, is turned down by her now gay husband.
And my response: it's not, it'd be okay if his new lover were a woman, straight orgies are the only kind of orgies, this is what is at stake if the homosexual agenda is legitimized.

*I would like to also point out that I posted this before Slog did.  I did not steal it.  Don't believe me?  Check the date/time stamps.

Public Service Announcement: Fires

Some Thoughts Regarding Religion

I understand why people seek out religion (or spirituality): comfort.  But there are logical arguments to be had with that.  For me, to be religious or spiritual is to subjugate one's self to an entity that is unequivocally unknowable, and in doing so, one is surrendering all of his or her own power as a human being.  This is flawed.

I was raised Catholic, and by that I mean that I went to a Catholic grade school, high school, and university (albeit, it was technically Jesuit).  Do I value, if only indirectly, the things I learned from those institutions?  Absolutely.  I learned what was fundamentally right and wrong.  I was taught to be a good person.  But there comes a time in every one's life where reason surpasses that of faith and/or being told what is and isn't in the world, and everyone must decide how to accept the world.  This I know: I am not a theist.  I do not support any form of religion (that is, formal).  That being said, the next question would be "does that make you an atheist then?"  

Not necessarily.  For me to argue that there is not a God is the equal, but opposite, argument that there is a God.  I would be considered guilty of the same [seeming] error that I accused my opponent of making.  I believe that there is no way to know the existence of God, and so, I "throw my hands up" in indefinite uncertainty; I neither accept nor deny that there is a God.

The whole point I am trying to make on this issue is that I absolutely refuse to subjugate myself to a Being that I do not know exists.  That is absurdity at its worst.  Would it provide me with comfort to know (believe) that I am appeasing a God with every good deed I perform?  Yes.  Would it make my life easier to know (believe) that there is an answer and explanation for everything, and all I have to do is believe that God made it so?  Somewhat.  But given all this, I prefer the existential nightmare over the subjugated will of happiness.

It Just Occurred To Me

It is amazing how thoughts can wander into one's own mind at any given point.  For me, it was after I urinated only moments ago.  Does anyone remember how the first-person-shooter games of the mid-1990s had a "Kid Mode"?  Well, perhaps it wasn't called that, per se, but something to that effect.  I seem to recall games such as Duke Nukem 3D and Rise of the Triad had an option to turn off the blood and gore in the game so it was appropriate for your kids to play.  Well, it struck me as peculiar that there would even be such an option, because the kids are still playing a game where they go around killing people!  By that logic, violence was okay for kids to participate in virtually so long as it didn't depict actual effects (such as blood).  Hmm.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wonderful Things Happen At The Library

Yesterday was the last day for me to turn in three of my checked out books--I read none of them--and it was the last day that Andrew Sullivan's "The Conservative Soul : How We Lost It, How To Get It Back" was going to be held for me to pick up. After work I dropped off my many things at my apartment, and then headed down Madison Street to the Seattle Public Library. It was at the fifth avenue entrance that I inserted my three soon-to-be-overdue books into the magical book conveyor belt--oh, technology.

From there I entered the library and proceeded down the illuminated escalator to retrieve my book on hold. I found it without any problems, and then headed back up the escalator to pay my debt to literary society (90 cents) and check out. However, the woman at the desk (would she be a librarian? I do not know) informed me that I needed to pay my fines back downstairs.  No problem.  I went back downstairs, and wow.  There were four European guys hanging around, and they were very attractive--to say the least; I hate the use of double adjectives, as well as the word "hot" to describe something other than a state of temperature.  The point is that I got to check out some very deserving European guys.

After that I got in line, with a woman already at the counter checking out.  I could overhear the conversation she was having with the woman at the counter.  Apparently her library fines were 17 dollars and change.  If she could pay the fines down to 15 dollars or less, she could check out her books.  I noticed her search through her purse and eventually fall short of making that mark.  The woman at the counter suggested that she could go find an ATM to help her out, but with that seemed a bit over-the-top for the situation.  So I took it upon myself to reach into my bag, knowing that I had a handful of quarters and mixed change in there, and walked over to the counter to offer my assistance.  "You can just have whatever you need out of this," I said as I stood there holding out a hand full of loose change.  The woman was very appreciative, and even took less than what she needed.  The woman at the counter asked her if she knew me, and the woman in line replied that "no, he's just a nice guy", or something to that effect.

I had done my one good deed for the day, and I was satisfied.  And yes, I am fully aware that giving out a little bit of change is no big deal, but it's the gesture of kindness that counts in situations like these.  Give me a break here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Only In A World So...

...shitty would this happen. Four* Oakland, California police officers have died, and for merely performing a routine traffic stop. The New York Times reports
Three police officers in Oakland, Calif., were gunned down on Saturday and a fourth was critically wounded in an afternoon of violence that began with a routine traffic stop and ended with a grim 9 p.m. news conference to announce the toll of one of the worst days in the police department’s history.

The police said a 27-year-old gunman shot two motorcycle officers after being pulled over at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, killing one and wounding the other. The gunman then fled to a nearby apartment.

A manhunt ensued through the streets of the East Oakland section of the city. When the police tracked down the gunman and burst into the apartment, he shot two more officers with an assault rifle, killing them both, before he was shot dead by the police.
*The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the wounded officer in question (John Hege) has died from his wounds.

No Gay Marriage, But Polygamy Is Okay

Part of the Slog's morning news included an article from the BBC that reports how
"Some 40,000 people in the US state of Utah live in illegal polygamous families in which a man takes more than one wife. These fundamentalist Mormons have now begun a campaign for a change in the law they regard as discriminatory and unfair."
This does not mean, necessarily, that the Mormon Church is officially launching a campaign to legalize polygamy. The article specifies that "in 1890, the mainstream church outlawed polygamy." However, I am very interested to know how the Church goes on this one. Will they collect millions of dollars for a campaign to legalize an attribute of their own Church practice? Or will they remain steadfast and denounce any such law that would allow polygamy? Well, if they choose the former, then they will have to explain how it is legally justified for men to have several wives, but two men or two women cannot marry. I eagerly await to see how this all unfolds, if at all.

The California Supreme Court, as of today, has still not issued a legal opinion (verdict) with regards to the legality and constitutionality of same-sex marriages in that state.

Washington Domestic Partnerships Likely To Stay

After conversing with a friend who works in the State House, and doing some research of my own, it appears that the expanded domestic partnership rights bill will be approved by the House and sent to Governor Christine Gregoire for signing into law.

The Senate passed the bill (SB 5688) on March 10, 2009, and issued this report. The House issued this one. The bill allows for virtually the same legal rights for same-sex couples as those provided to opposite-sex ones, short of using the word "marriage". Furthermore, another high point of this bill's life in the legislature is that it was amended to not include it on the next general election's ballot. That is to say, it will not be put to a vote of the people (such as we saw happen, albeit in a different context, in California with Proposition 8).

The House Judiciary Committee will be including the bill in their hearings tomorrow, March 23rd, as well as in an executive session on Thursday, March 26th.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Mac & Jack Experience (And My Terrible Writing)

About a year ago I was in search of some secondary income, and I applied for a barista position with Trabant Coffee & Chai in Pioneer Square. Part of the application process included a questionnaire that required some creativity (something this blog lacks, remember?). Here is one of the questions I had to answer, and my seemingly over-the-top response. I have decided in favor of not editing any parts of it.

[Question]: Pick a food or beverage that is not coffee-related and describe to me the experience of consuming it in as much detail as you can. Please assume that I have no knowledge of common foods such as tomato, chocolate, oranges, etc. Be creative and descriptive.
[Answer]: One thing I do enjoying drinking is beer. I do not care much for mass produced beers such as Budweiser, Coors, or Pabst Blue Ribbon. I have a strict preference for a mild (amber) micro-brew. For this experiment, I choose a pint of Mac & Jack Alaskan Amber. Brewed in Redmond, my pint does not have to travel far to get to my favorite bar for consumption. I give my order, pick up my pint, and pay the bartender. I sit down with my chilled glass filled with Zeus's tears (if you collected them in a glass, they would taste like Mac & Jack). I lift the glass to my nose, and I take in a long breath to prepare my palate for the goodness of what is to come. I lift the cooled glass to my lips and take a sip [Flash]. I'm in the sky, walking on a cloud, surrounded by nothing but blue skies. Angels are singing sweet music for me. [Flash]. I am back at the bar, not fully aware of what I just experienced. I know it has something to do with the beer I just consumed. I let the taste linger in my mouth...the bitter taste of the hops (the dried conelike flowers of the plant; from the late Middle English, "hoppe")...the subtle hint of caramel (liquid velvet)...and the crystal and pure water taken from a comforting waterfall. Five minutes have now passed, and my lucidness has long since evaporated. The beer and I have become a synthesis of unfathomable desire. My glass is now empty; the beer inside me. The second beer arrives, and I shudder. This one is even more crisp in taste (such as if tiny pins were pricking your tongue) than the last. One can only hope that a third is en route. [Note: I've been reading quite a bit of postmodern literature lately]
I never heard back from them. Paliacci rolled around four months later.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Seen While Driving Down 45th

I will now wonder, for the rest of my life, where that truck might have taken me had I followed it. It's the truck that got away.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Late Night News Posting

I am tired from my work week, and thus, do not want to fully comment on several news stories. Instead, I will just link them for you should any of them peak your curiosity and/or interest.

The Pope remains steadfast and righteous in refusing to endorse condom use for Africans inflicted with HIV/AIDS. (9 out of 10 children with HIV in the world live in sub-Saharan Africa).

Gary Locke, former King County Executive, and Washington Governor, has his Senate confirmation
hearings today (Wednesday, March 18th).

95-million year old Octopus
fossil is found in Lebanon.

This country is a nation of
obesity. (66% of adults in the USA are either overweight or obese).

Technology is a disease infecting our
court system. (Google, Twitter, Facebook).

Former President George W. Bush makes his first public appearance in Alberta, Canada. (He did not slam President Obama, unlike Dick Cheney, who
cannot keep his mouth shut).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Found On Metro 16 Bus

Do you practice safe bus riding?

Rebuilding A Library

Times are tough, and so I have sold off nearly 90% of all the books I once owned. Now that I have the shelf space, and time, I am slowly rebuilding my personal library with hardcovers. A few are unread first editions, others are just hardcovers of books I like. Here is what my library consists of thus far:
  1. "2666" by Roberto Bolano
  2. "Tree of Smoke" by Denis Johnson
  3. "Beautiful Children" by Charles Bock
  4. "The Boat" by Nam Le
  5. "Snuff" by Chuck Palahniuk
  6. "Sea of Poppies" by Amitav Ghosh
  7. "Watchmen" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  8. "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
  9. "How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone" by Sasa Stanisic
  10. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
  11. "The Pets" by Bragi Olafsson
  12. "Glamorama" by Bret Easton Ellis
  13. "Underworld" by Don DeLillo
  14. "Philosophical Investigations" by Ludwig Wittgenstein

Sunday, March 15, 2009

And Nothing Ever Changes

The fact that A.I.G. continues to distribute executive bonuses, regardless of prior arrangements, is nothing short of criminal. Here is a giant insurer that has already been given over $170 billion dollars of American taxpayers' money, and yet, they still have the audacity to pay out an additional $165 million in "retention" bonuses. From the New York Times:

The bonus plan established for the financial products unit before the federal government stepped in called for $220 million in retention pay for 400 employees for 2008. About $55 million of that was paid in December and the remaining $165 million was paid on Friday.

The retention plan also calls for another $230 million in bonuses for 2009 that are due to be paid by March 2010. Combined with the 2008 bonuses, that would bring the total retention pay for financial products executives to $450 million.

I'm sure I can speak for most Americans when I say that I do not give a damn about your bonuses. We all get a paycheck, and we make it work. Your company screwed up royally, and yet we all have to suffer the consequences. As I said, nothing ever changes. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner could only pressure them to lower their next year bonuses by 30%. This is inexcusable. There should be no compromise. Cut the bonuses out completely or A.I.G. should be cut loose. Good luck.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Almost As Good As Real Italian Food

It sure is good too.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bus Bums Should Be Running The Government

They all seem to think they have the answers to the nation's (and sometimes world's) problems. Today, on the Metro 18 bus headed to Ballard, I had the pleasure of overhearing a gentleman explain a few things about legislation that is being...well, he did not clarify if it was law, or being voted on, or was merely a talking point. The fact of the matter is that the guy was spewing pure idiocy. How do I know? Well, I took what he claimed and searched all I could for some semblance of truth. None exists. Here is what he claimed:
The United States government is giving free health care to Mexicans in Mexico City.
I wanted to shout at the guy to cite his sources for this seeming atrocity, but I knew better than to give this guy the satisfaction of dignifying his nonsense with a response. What did my search come up with? Well, for one, as many should know by now, President Obama signed an executive order rescinding the "Mexico City policy" which
"directed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand this limitation and withhold USAID funds from NGOs that use non-USAID funds to engage in a wide range of activities, including providing advice, counseling, or information regarding abortion, or lobbying a foreign government to legalize or make abortion available."
It all becomes so clear now. This idiot thinks that the U.S. is directly giving taxpayer money to the governing body of Mexico City to provide its general population with free health care. In fact, foreign assistance monies get delivered to the United Nations Population Fund, which gets distributed amongst groups of nations that are in urgent need of medical funding. About the UNFPA:
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.
Maybe you should read a book, or a newspaper, or just in general, Mr. Bus Bum.

Cupcake Delicious

Before I saw Watchmen with a coworker, but after I had the pleasure of overhearing the politico-economic rantings of an absurdly uninformed stranger on the Metro 18 bus, I ventured through the double doors of Cupcake Royale (on Market Street) in Ballard. Although it was not my intention, I proceeded to fall into the role of the bumbling customer, but with a penchant for apologies and third party commentary. I think everyone needs a t-shirt claiming to "legalize frostitution"; I will take one in pink please.

[Note: after searching their website, I came to find out that the pink shirts are only for babies. Another dream of mine has gone down the tube].

Anyways, after making some self-deprecating remarks to ease the moment with the cashier, I finally ordered a "Dance Party w/Holly Hobbie" (see picture above) and an iced short nonfat latte. The cupcake was delicious, as the frosting was soft; and if that is a short latte, I cannot imagine the size of a tall latte (my usual drink of choice). My verdict for Cupcake Royale: go for the cupcakes, stay for the cupcakes. Mmm.

I Do Not Want To Be The One To Watch The Watchmen

Several people I know have given very critical reviews of "Watchmen" (the film), and after viewing the film myself, I would have to agree with them. Transforming Watchmen into a feature film proved to be an impossible endeavor, based on my side-by-side comparison. I have read the graphic novel, and I enjoyed it for the multitude of messages and ideas it presented. The film does not glorify these messages and ideas, as it should have, and therefore it can only succeed as a stand alone action flick. It fails on that level.

For those that have read Watchmen, they will understand what is going on throughout the movie regardless of how it unfolds. Had I not been already aware of the plot, I would have been confused from start to finish. There are huge back stories in the comic that are impossible to place on the screen. As for those that could be placed on the screen, the splicing of the scenes creates problems of continuity.

Furthermore, the soundtrack did not flow well with the events in the movie. I am afraid I cannot give much of a positive review to this film. On the plus side of things, though, the movie is sure to gross a fair amount of money.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why I Absolutely Love The American Family Association (A.F.A.)

I love the AFA because they send me these very important emails urging me to "get this information into the hands of as many people as possible by forwarding it to your [sic] entire e-mail list of family and friends."
"President Obama has given the ok [sic] to destroy human life in the name of scientific research.

Embryonic stem cell research is immoral and ineffective. It is immoral because it destroys human life at its earliest stage of development by harvesting the stem cells for body parts. It is ineffective because it has yet to be used a single time in any therapeutic application.

Researchers must get their funding from taxpayers for embryonic stem cell research because they can't convince private sources to invest. Private investors know there are no proven uses for embryonic stem cells. It's all hype, hope and theory."
The last part in bold, which was my doing, sounds so familiar. What is it that I'm thinking of? Oh, that's right! Religion.

The email further adds:
"But adult stem cell research, on the other hand, is ethically benign and is already being used to treat over 70 diseases and conditions. If taxpayer dollars are going to be spent on stem cell research, that's where it ought to go.

By reversing funding restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, Pres. Obama is making every American taxpayer complicit in immoral, life destroying research. This is a terrible example of political ideology trumping sound science."
"...making every American taxpayer complicit in immoral, life destroying..." Where was this argument when former President Bush decided to invade Iraq? U.S. troop fatalities since March 19, 2003 (through January 29, 2009): 4,228. 1,241 of those were younger than the age of 22. Immoral? Life destroying? Apparently not.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Re: For Immediate Mass Distribution

The Washington State Senate bill (SB 5688) that I mentioned here passed by a vote of 30 to 18. There is hope after all. Read the Stranger's Slog post here.

Proof Of Why I Am Disgusted

My original post:
I've been trying to give equal attention to opposing views of mine, and frankly, I am no longer willing to do so until the opposition actually has something of value to state. I do not belong to any political party, but my political positions can be summed up as socially liberal and fiscally conservative (except when it comes to my own spending). While it may not be the best, the Democrats are actually making an effort to get things done. The only thing I hear and see the Republicans doing is spewing messages of hate and anti-progress. What kind of a world do we live in where the de facto leader of the Republican party (Rush Limbaugh) glorifies the anticipation of a liberal Senator's death due to cancer? What kind of a world do we live in where it is 'free speech' to hold a placard that says "Dan White : Hero for Killing a Queer"? [Note: the person holding that sign may or may not belong to the Republican party, but seeing as how the religious right aligns itself with the Republicans, I think it's safe to connect the two.] What kind of a world do we live in where a Senator glorifies the anticipation of a Supreme Court Justice's death due to cancer?

I am absolutely disgusted.
And now, here is the proof of why I am disgusted:

Photo via flickr (JaysterDotCom).

And now for the in-your-face moment:

I've Seen The Future...

...and it looks grim.

Film Review

I had the pleasure of watching "Il y a longtemps que je t'aime" ("I've loved you so long") last night. The film certainly had both good and bad qualities to it, but I enjoyed it more so than not. It is the story of two sisters, one of which has been in prison for the last 15 years, and how they come to resolve their own personal struggles with life. The most interesting aspect of the film is that it does not provide a backstory. The viewer is held in suspense for two hours; the climactic moment does indeed come in the closing minutes.

After laboring over this post for more than a few minutes, I have decided that being a film critic is just not for me. Therefore, here is my rather intimate review:
if you have mother issues, if you are quiet and reserved, if you are capable of feeling emotional pain, if you have ever lost anyone in your life (death or otherwise), then you will not so much 'enjoy' this film, but rather, you will understand it, and relate well to it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Daily Dose Of Art

"Will you ever get the hint?" by Sam Brown (explodingdog.com).

More Song Lyrics To Express The Unexpressed

I don't know if this is helping me or not.
It's a good thing tears never show in the pouring rain
As if a good thing ever could make up for all the pain
There'll be no last chance to promise to never mess it up again
Just the sweet pain of watching your back as you walk
As I'm watching you walk away
And now you're gone, there's like an echo in my head
And I remember every word you said

It's a cruel thing you'll never know all the ways I tried
It's a hard thing, faking a smile when I feel
like I'm falling apart inside
And now you're gone, there's like an echo in my head
And I remember every word you said

But you never were, and you never will be mine
No, you never were, and you never will be mine

For the first time, there is no mercy in your eyes
And the cold wind is hitting my face and you're gone
And you're walking away (away)
And I am helpless
Sometimes wishing's just no good
'Cause you don't see me like I wish you would

'Cause you never were, and you never will be mine
No, you never were, and you never will be mine

There's a moment to seize every time that we meet
But you always keep passing me by

No, you never were, and you never will be mine

'Cause you never were, and you never will be mine
(You looked happy, and that's great)
No, you never were, and you never will be mine
(I just miss you, that's all)

'Cause you never were, and you never will be mine
No, you never were, and you never will be mine

There's a moment to seize every time that we meet (hey, yeah)
But you always keep passing me by

No, you never were, and you never will be mine
'Cause you never were, and you never will be mine
(You never were, and you never will)
You never were and you never will be mine

There's a moment to seize every time that we meet
But you always keep passing me by

No, you never were, and you never will be mine
*Lyrics via Robyn, "Be Mine!" (Robyn).

Now Accepting Donations To Raise My Children

Does everyone still remember Nadya Suleman, the mother of (now) 14 children? Remember how she already had six children and then went ahead and had eight more? It must be difficult to raise all those children on food stamps and disability checks. What could we do to help? Maybe someone could set up a web page to accept monetary donations. Oh wait, she's already done that. I know that these children are innocent, and they came into this world through no fault of their own, but shame on anyone who feels compelled to give their money to a woman who made these wreckless decisions. She will not receive a single penny from me.

How Do I Feel Right Now?

This should be an indicator:
You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.
With a single pillow underneath your single head.
I guess you decided that that old queen was more space than you would need.
Now it's in the alley behind your apartment with a sign that says it's free.

And I hope you have more luck with this than me.

You used to think that someone would come along.
And lay beside you in a space that they belong.
The other side of the mattress and box springs stayed like new.
And what's the point of holding onto what never gets used?

Other than a sick desire for self abuse.

And I try not to worry, but you've got me terrified.
It's like we're in some kind of hurry to say goodbye, to say goodbye, to say goodbye.

You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.
You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.
Lyrics via Death Cab for Cutie, "Your New Twin Size Bed" (Narrow Stairs). Also, I swore to myself that this blog would never be used to display personal/emotional banter; this is an exception, and I apologize.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It's Always Gay In Philadelphia

This is, hands down, my favorite moment of the television show, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia:
Executive: I thought you guys were taking me to dinner?
Frank: Come on…who doesn’t like to watch a naked woman swingin’ round on a pole?
Executive: A gay man, for one.
Mac: Huh?
Executive: I’m gay.
Mac: No! You’re so big and tough! You do not come across as gay.
Frank: You don’t look like a gay guy.
Dennis: That’s because he’s a bear.
Mac: Huh?
Dennis: Yeah, he’s a bear. You see some guys are twinks and others are bears. This gay guy’s a bear. By the way we’re totally okay with that. To each his own.
Frank: Wait, wait, I’m a little confused here. What’s a twink?
Dennis: Uh, a twink is small and slender, like Mac.
Mac: Whoa, no, I’m too muscular. I would be a bear.
Dennis: Ohh…don’t think so bro. Not hairy enough.
Frank: Smooth.
Frank: I would be a bear.
Dennis: Nah…see now I don’t think you’d be a bear either. As a matter of fact, I don’t know what you would be, because you’re definitely not a twink.
Frank: I’d be a top, that’s for sure!
Dennis: Maybe.
Mac: Can a twink be a top, or is that reserved for bears?
Dennis: I’m sure there’s a great deal of switching back and forth, but I think more often than not bears are tops, unless they happen to be power bottoms.
Frank: What’s a power bottom?
Mac: A power bottom is a bottom that is capable of receiving an enormous amount of power.
Dennis: Actually Mac, you’ve got it backwards. You see a power bottom’s actually generating all the power by doing most of the work.
Frank: Does the power have to do with the size or the strength of the bottom?
Mac: Now Dennis I’ve heard speed has something to do with it.
Dennis: Speed has everything to do with it. You see the speed of the bottom informs the top how much pressure he’s supposed to apply. Speed’s the name of the game. Right buddy?
Brilliant. And informative.

Set On Repeat (On My iPod)

One night, recently, I was enjoying myself at a friend's apartment, and we were listening to the M.I.A. 'channel' on Pandora.com. The song "Cobrastyle" by Robyn came on, and I really enjoyed it. The song is actually a cover of the Teddybears' (featuring Mad Cobra) 2004 single of the same name. I couldn't help but listen to the song over and over again ad nauseum.

I figured I would give her other songs a chance, so I listened to the 30-second samples, and I immediately became infatuated with her song "Handle Me". As an added bonus, the album also features a somewhat techno remix of the song. I purchased both. I've been listening to both songs nonstop for the past several days. I think this is due mostly to its lyrical content. The acoustic guitar and synthesizer crossover is done really well too. Give it a listen, won't you? The music video is interesting enough as it is. She merely maneuvers around a box that is seemingly in a fixed position. Enjoy.

You Can Purchase [Insert Book Title] From Amazon.com

Okay. That's great. I can purchase a book from a website. Simply wow.

I was reading a book review of Malcolm Gladwell's latest "Outliers" and at the end of the article was "You can purchase Outliers from amazon.com". Like I said, simply wow. When I think of a book, I don't think of receiving it in a box within 7-10 business days; I think of a bookstore. I think of holding the book in my hands. I think of how it would look on my bookshelf. All of those things are removed when I buy a book from amazon.com. For the record, I've never purchased a book from Amazon. Would it be too much to include local bookstores in your purchasing-plug? It is quite simple: You can purchase [insert book title] anywhere books are sold. Done.

Furthermore, if you are going to come into a bookstore, ask for a book, then compare our (the publisher's) price to what Amazon offers, then don't waste my time. If you are so concerned about price, buy it on Amazon. One doesn't need a formal lesson in economics to understand the difference between a giant online retailer and a local independent bookstore.

I'm Afraid I'm Going To Have To Issue You A Citation...

...for being so sexy. Bow chick a wow wow.

Or, I'm here to fix your cable? your leaky faucet? your pool? Did I miss anything?

Which 'Watchmen' Character Am I?

The obvious answer is, of course, The Nite Owl [II] (Dan Dreiberg). The results are via Quizilla.com:
You are Nite Owl. Some may consider you a recluse but deep down you're a really good guy who wants to do the right thing.
Well, I try to be a 'good guy' whenever I find the chance. I guess I can be a real asshole, like Rorschach, at times.

For Immediate Mass Distribution

If you do not already know, there is a bill in the Washington State Senate (SB 5688) that would expand the legal rights for domestic partnerships. This is not gay marriage; it is a proposed bill granting equal legal rights of which heterosexual couples already have. Let me be clear, heterosexuals have legal rights that homosexuals (myself included) do not. I am sure you know other gay and lesbian people amongst your family and friends, and they are legally less-than-equal as well.

There is currently an attack ad campaign fighting against the senate bill, and if it continues, Senators up for re-election will feel pressure to vote it down, and we (gays and lesbians) will continue to be discriminated against. The attack campaign is misleading in that it argues that domestic partnership rights would threaten and "redefine marriage". The word 'marriage' is nowhere to be found in the 'domestic partnership' bill, and thus could not possibly redefine marriage.

Please help by calling your Senator (and Representative) and tell them you support the domestic partnership bill. If you have friends and family elsewhere in Washington, please urge them to do the same. There is absolutely no reason why homosexuals should not have the same rights that the vast majority of people have. None. Please help fight this campaign of fear and intolerance.

From the Stranger (SLOG):
What needs to happen? Supporters of domestic partnerships who live in swing districts--i.e., outside of Seattle--need to make personal contact with their senator and representatives. Tell them about how your same-sex relationship is lovely and you support domestic partnership rights, or say that you want your lesbian daughter to have the same rights as your straight son (or whatever is personal to you)...Call them. Send an email. Live in Seattle? Call your parents or friends who live in the suburbs and ask them to help.
For information on the legislative process or to leave a message for a member, contact the Legislative Hotline at the in-state toll-free phone number 1.800.562.6000. For complete information about the Legislative Hotline, please see the Legislative Service Center's Contacting Your Legislator page.

I'm not going to remain quiet about this.

Jon Brock

*Many thanks to Erin for the edits (and firm support), and Rene for the firm support.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Here It Is, For All The World To See

Ladies and Gentlemen...the Marchstache:

Also known as: "the child molester", "the rapist", and "the 70s gay porn star".

No More Wasted Time and Energy

I've been trying to give equal attention to opposing views of mine, and frankly, I am no longer willing to do so until the opposition actually has something of value to state. I do not belong to any political party, but my political positions can be summed up as socially liberal and fiscally conservative (except when it comes to my own spending). While it may not be the best, the Democrats are actually making an effort to get things done. The only thing I hear and see the Republicans doing is spewing messages of hate and anti-progress. What kind of a world do we live in where the de facto leader of the Republican party (Rush Limbaugh) glorifies the anticipation of a liberal Senator's death due to cancer? What kind of a world do we live in where it is 'free speech' to hold a placard that says "Dan White : Hero for Killing a Queer"? [Note: the person holding that sign may or may not belong to the Republican party, but seeing as how the religious right aligns itself with the Republicans, I think it's safe to connect the two.] What kind of a world do we live in where a Senator glorifies the anticipation of a Supreme Court Justice's death due to cancer?

I am absolutely disgusted.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Book Review [Updated]

There was a book cover photo here, but I believe the publishing website pulled it.
I've been burned out on reading for weeks now, and I'm glad to say that I finally started (and finished) an advanced reader copy. The book is "Shuck" by Daniel Allen Cox. It's essentially the "diary" of Jaeven Marshall, a 20 year old male prostitute living and partying in New York City. He comes to live with, and inspire, an artist that is having trouble finding his inspiration. In the meantime, Jaeven spends his time trying to submit his short fiction to literary magazines and publishing houses, all the while turning tricks to support his increasing crystal meth addiction.

On the whole, it was easy to read, but I think it lacked the literary quality that I would normally enjoy. I wasn't too enthralled with the numerous accounts of what could be done with foreskin (such as using it to hold a pen and signing autographs). Furthermore, the plot was too simple, and didn't come to a conclusion at the end of it all. If I were to give it a grade, it would get a D+.

How Many Days Has It Been Since November 4th?

I don't know. But I do know that today is the day in which the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in support of and against the passage of Proposition 8 -- the state initiative that banned gay marriage from the California state constitution. Two things must be ruled on: 1). will proposition 8 be overturned and subsequently legalize gay marriage (again), and 2). if proposition 8 is not overturned, will the gay marriages performed up until November 5th be nullified? The Court is said to render a verdict within the next 90 days, but some say the ruling could come as soon as later this afternoon.

Update - The outlook is bleak.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Some Thoughts On Why Our Economy Is Failing

I'm not going to pretend that I know the exact reason why our economy is failing, but I will offer up some observations. In my opinion, based on what I've read in the news, our economic problems have been conceived by pure and utter greed. Yes, greed. Why do I say that? Well, if you've been paying attention, you'll see that the people who are responsible for this mess are the ones who were trying to swindle as much money out of people as is possible.
  1. Stanford Financial Group
  2. Enron
  3. American International Group
  4. Bernard Madoff
  5. Telecom Businesses, Retailers, and Collection Agencies
Those are just off the top of my head. Capital One is another creditor that tried to swindle someone in particular: me. A few years ago, someone opened a fraudulent credit card account using my name and social security information. I suspect I know who it was, but I have no verifiable proof. The bill was nearly $700 and I was annoyed to receive it. Annoyed, because this was the third time someone had stolen my identity. I did what I was suppose to do. I contacted Capital One's fraud department, and reported it as a fraudulent account. They informed me to file a police report, which I did, and then fax it to them. I heard nothing after a few days, so I called again. I was explicitly told that until a suspect is arrested, tried, and convicted, I am responsible for the payment of the bill. I could not believe this was happening to me. Apparently, this is something that Capital One is notorious for doing. They try to swindle unknowing consumers into believing that this is the standard procedure for cleaning up their credit. Wrong.

I needed to have an attorney send them a letter telling them to mark the account as fraudulent, to stop harassing me, and to clear my credit record of this account, or be subject to litigation. Very quickly thereafter, I received a letter from Capital One stating that it was fraud, my record is clear, and I owe nothing.

As I said, we wonder how our economy is faltering. Perhaps it's due (in part) to people and businesses of power trying to swindle other people out of their money. These are just my thoughts.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

If I Were Ever To Start A Band...

...I would have an awesome band name. I found it today in the book I'm reading. Ladies and Gentleman, please welcome...

Running from Lions with Manes of Fire

Good Things Are Bound To Come, Right?

From a Seattle Times article regarding gang membership in Seattle:
The FBI estimated in March 2008 that 10,000 gang members and associates are operating in King County and pose a "high" level of threat. According to a Seattle police report written last year, "in some areas of the city people are crippled by fear of gangs and are afraid to walk in their own neighborhood."
Peak recruitment for gang membership occurs between fifth and eighth grades.

Primary factors that predict gang membership for teens are academic failure, low commitment to school, persistent anti-social behavior and associating with peers who engage in problem behavior.

Recent data show an increase in key predictive factors: 2,929 Seattle Public Schools students were considered truant during the 2006-07 academic year, a 15 percent increase from the previous year.
Either this is new information or I'm just naive, but the point in bold is absolutely troubling.

Starbucks Is Holding Steady (For Now)

Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, has announced that the layoffs will cease for the time being.
Since resuming the CEO role early last year, Schultz has tried to fix the chain's slipping profits by cutting 8,700 jobs, closing about 975 stores and making a dizzying array of menu and other changes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fact Or Fiction?

According to Google...
  1. Jon likes to have sex.
  2. Jon likes to lounge by the fireplace and write his novel.
  3. Jon likes to keep his work fresh and contemporary.
  4. Jon likes to sleep in cupboards and dresser drawers.
  5. Jon likes to design for both print and 'new-fangled media' as he calls it.
  6. Jon likes to hurt me.
  7. Jon likes to spend time with friends and family.
  8. Jon likes to drink.
  9. Jon likes to highlight one of his most recent completed works to share with you his enjoyment of painting.
  10. Jon likes to make Sushi and biscuits whenever he has something to celebrate, which he force-feeds to his colleagues!
Which are fact and which are fiction? You decide.

A Sense Of Temporary Ownership

I was riding the bus last night, and I noticed that a guy got up out of his seat, grabbed a bus schedule, and proceeded to sit back in the exact same seat he was in previously. Now, this was on an articulated bus with about four passengers total; i.e., the seating options were in abundance. However, he decided to go back to his seat somewhere near the middle of the bus. Why would he (or anyone) do that? He could have just as easily sat down in the seat right next to the bus schedules. No, he felt compelled to return to his exact same seat. I'm sure we've all done this as well, but we probably don't recognize it. Is there a sense of temporary ownership in selecting a seat on a bus? These are questions with no right or wrong answers. Comments?

U.S. Government Now Owns Over 80% Of A.I.G.

According to the New York Times, the U.S. government has just agreed to give American International Group (A.I.G.) an additional $30 billion dollars in an attempt to further stabilize the failing insurer. The article continues:
The intervention would be the fourth time that the United States has had to step in to help A.I.G., the giant insurer, avert bankruptcy. The government already owns nearly 80 percent of the insurer’s holding company as a result of the earlier interventions, which included a $60 billion loan, a $40 billion purchase of preferred shares and $50 billion to soak up the company’s toxic assets.

The loss that A.I.G. is preparing to report on Monday would be the largest ever by any company in a single quarter. Still, of the $62 billion loss being reported, only about $2 billion is a cash loss. The rest is the result of noncash items like write-downs on the value of the company’s assets.
If I know anything about how the stock market works, I would imagine that A.I.G. stock prices will dip significantly at the start of Monday's trading day. We shall find out.

[Update] - Well, A.I.G.'s stock price did not dip, but the market is down significantly. The Washington Post has the news:
The Dow plummeted 93 points, or 1.3 percent, to 6,969 about 24 minutes into trading -- a level not seen since 1997. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 1.4 percent, or about 10 points, while the tech-have Nasdaq fell .5 percent, or 7 points.

Shares of AIG were up 7 cents, or 17 percent, to 49 cents in early trading but are off 99 percent for the year.
Read the rest of the story here.

What Else Can New York Tax Its Denizens On?

New York Governor David Paterson has proposed an internet download tax in order to help curb the vast deficit that that state is currently facing. This would specifically include downloads from iTunes as well as pornography. NPR has the story here.

Kindle Eliminates Books, Hearst Eliminates Newspapers

The Hearst Corporation, which owns several magazines, newspapers, and television networks, is planning to release a wireless e-reader for its newspapers. Granted, this does reduce the costs of resources, labor, and logistics, but it is also another step toward "killing off" the printed news and entertainment. *After writing this post, I discovered that the New York Times is already publishing on the Kindle (via Amazon).*

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Books. Books. Books. Books. Books. Books.

Click on the photo for full size.

Ugly Sweaters Are Not Making A Comeback

That doesn't mean we all can't have a little fun in the mean time, right? Check out this gem that I found at Value Village. It's Eddie Bauer. I just can't come to terms with the fact that in mid-1990s this was the fashion; people paid $40+ for this crap. I should also note that I have no intention of wearing this ever again, except when trying to be comical. There was an Ugly Sweater party last night, hence the picture. It's a size medium. Does that mean that people were typically fatter in the mid-1990s than they are now -or- people have shed away the pounds and/or the preference for oversize sweaters? This is what puzzles me. To top off the evening of terrible clothing, Rainier beer was served. Gross, but my compliments to those who purchased it.

*And of course a cute gay guy had to show up to the party while I was wearing that hideous piece of crap.*