Tuesday, December 13, 2005

More for Alex and Sean than anybody else...

"...just as the past causes the present, in some sense, and the present causes what happens in the future, so the different parallel universes are linked by being part of a common physical object. Physical reality is the set of all the universes evolving together, like a machine in which some cogwheels are connected to other cogwheels; you cannot move one without moving the others. So the parallel universes are connected as inextricably as the universes of past and future."
-Dr. David Deutsch, The Ghost in the Atom

This reminded me of a few books I read once...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

R.O.P.D.R.P.W. Episode IV: Darth IHOP


















This one is based off of something Sean said the other night. It doesn't seem anywhere as good as the others, but what the hell? I have fun with it. In fact, I enjoy it enought that I may start doing it more often, if I can get enough good ideas going anyway. Beware, internet...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Excuses for Inebriation

We all know how much I love drinking games, and since I love you people so much, I thought I'd share some of my favorites.

Egyptian Rat Screw with Vodka
Just like regular ERS, except whenever you have to slap a card, you take a shot of vodka. Also, whenever you pick up a card, you have to take a shot of vodka, and whenever you don't
pick up a card, you have to take a shot of vodka. So pretty much, everyone's plastered in mere moments, so it's obviously a good drinking game. Add Orange Juice for "Egyptian Rat Screwdriver."

Gin Rummy
Just like the game we know and love, except with actual gin! Every time you put down a set
of cards, take a shot of gin. Also, every time you discard, take another shot of gin. Everyone's basically smashed by the time you go through a few turns, so obviously, it's another good drinking game. Add a little tonic water for "Gin and Tonic Rummy."

Monopoly with Tequila
It's everyone's favorite 3 hour game with a Latin flavah, if you know what I mean. Every time you buy property or pay somebody rent, you take a shot of tequila. Likely, you'll be capernoited once you've passed go, and collected $200, so it's a pretty good drinking game. If you pass out, the person you payed the last rent to gets all your money. Victory either goes to the winner as per the normal Monopoly rules, or the last conscious player. Add lime juice for "Margaritopoly."

Halo 2 and Rum
This one requires XBOX live. Get on "vivo" and pay attention in the pre- and postgame lobbies. Anytime somebody says "noob," "pwn," "look at all my kills," "I'm gonna own you," or (here's the kicker) "fucking," take a shot of rum. Chances are, you and your party members will be ferschnickered before the match starts, so it's really drinking pre-game, but still a good drinking game. Add some coca-cola for "Master Chief Petty Officer and Coke."

Well, there you go. I hope all you crazy drunks enjoy drinking yourselves into a stupor. Of course, you can substitute your favorite libations for the ones I've included, but then you lose the punny alternate titles. Substitute at your own risk, and at the risk of your amusement.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I know nobody cares...

...but at least somebody agrees with me on this. I give you an exerpt from this week's Tuesday Morning Quarterback, my favorite internet column:

Warning, serious digression: Even as a churchgoer, what gets me through the day is the belief that most things do not happen for a reason. God may be watching from afar, but tragedies past and present seem inexplicable unless most accidents, violence, sickness and other traumas are simply flaws of existence, lacking direction or larger purpose. If what goes wrong lacks purpose, then perhaps humanity may find ways to remove accidents, violence and sickness from life. Thus the idea that most things do not happen for a reason is, to me, a life-affirming thought. Digression ends.


Maybe I could have said it better myself, but since Gregg Easterbrook is a professional writer, I'll assume not.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Random Xanga-esque Post For Once...

Lazy late nights like this make me want to stay up, listen to music and read, but every inch of my body is telling me to lie down and sleep. Thing is, it's right; there's much to be done before I Zoidberg-up for the impending halloween festivities.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I prefer ham that does not come in brick form that I have to refrigerate.

Sorry kids, but I've just been spammed too much lately; I'm turning on the nifty word verification thingy.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Ears Still Ring

Just in case anyone wasn't convinced that this is a weird season for OU football, tonight's OU/Baylor game was the most exciting football game I've ever attended. It was also the loudest I've heard the fans at Owen Field at The Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium be in my ten years of attending games there. That this should all come against Baylor boggles my mind.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Casting Lots For Tots


Loteria, Loteria, Loteria! Last fall's hot button issue in state politics has become this fall's newest craze. On October 12, the Oklahoma state lottery opened for business in grocery and convenient stores around our great state. Working inside a grocery store, I got to experience this firsthand. On opening day, the lines at the Albertson's customer service center were backed up farther than I've ever seen; people came in asking me, in my green apron and Starbuck's hat, if I could sell them lottery tickets. People were smiling and relieved, like little kids on Christmas morning, the focus of their anticipation finally coming to fruition. There was a feeling of excitement and newness in the air. It was look of the wave of the future; it was the sound of the dawn of a new era! It was the arrival of Almighty PROGRESS!

I've never seen so many people so eager to throw their money away.

In last November's election, the lottery passed by an overwhelming majority. I voted against it. The main response I got to that was something along the lines of how wonderful the lottery is because it benefits education. Okay, you should sit down, and if you're already sitting, you should grab on to something, because what I'm about to say may shock some of you:

People who play the lottery do not do it to help education. They do it because for whatever reason they like gambling, or because they think they're going to make money from it. The reality of the situation is that while there are a lot of people and companies making money from the lottery, the schools don't see very much of it. If you really want to help the schools, join your local PTA, volunteer, or make a direct donation to one of the many worthwhile institutions that would be happy to take advantage of your generosity.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm glad Oklahoma's voters finally did something about getting funding for education. I just wish they would have done it in a more worthwhile way. I realize that a state lottery is like a tax on the stupid (statistically, lottery players will not break even) but I still can't condone its inception. I don't think anyone can argue with the fact that, in general, gambling is harmful to society. When overdone, it can turn into a powerful addiction that's harmful to the user's psychological health, and a slow drain on the wallet. Instituting a state lottery to pay for education is like introducing Oklahoma State Legislature Brand cigarettes to pay for highway repair. I have no problem with people gambling away their money, but our government should not be promoting a potentially harmful product to pay for things. This is why I did not and still would not vote to approve a state lottery.

Sean recently asked me if I would rather that they just taxed us to get the money. After some consideration, I've decided the answer is yes. A new tax to pay for education would be more efficient than the lottery, and as opposed to corporate welfare, or foreign aide, it's a tax I wouldn't mine paying. I'm happy to support a service that benefits my state's economy and reputation, even if it means I bring home a little less bacon each year.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Way I See It #22

"Everywhere, unthinking mobs of 'independent thinkers' wield tired cliches like cudgels, pummeling those who dare question 'enlightened' dogma. If 'violence never solved anything,' cops wouldn't have guns and slaves may never have been freed. If it's better that 10 guilty men go free to spare one innocent, why not free 100 or 1,000,000? Cliches begin arguement, they don't end them."

--Jonah Goldberg
Editor-at-large of National Review Online

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Nose of Oklahoma Smells You

This weekend, I popped down to "baja Oklahoma," as I heard it so eloquently- however inaccurately- put, with 318 of my closest fellow band members and a gaggle of authority figures and support staff to play some songs while a bunch of heavily padded guys pounded on eachother. The trip was pretty enjoyable, I'd say.

When we ebarked on our annual journey, it was cold. Who are we kidding? This is big news. Last year, we were sweating our asses off, and couldn't wait to get a shower when we got to Big D. This year, at our morning rehearsal/exhibition in lovely Ardmore, OK, we were all bundled in jackets and such. I personally thought it was lovely, once I stopped shivering. The great thing about this rehearsal/exhibition is the fact that the audience is made up of middle school band kids who think we're amazing, and people who love us. If there were a better showing of pride fan-dom, I've never been there...it's the kind of thing that boosts self esteem. They even cheered for F around the band, for crying out loud! (For you non-band kids, this consists of each section playing the same note, one after another for eight counts, and is often the first, most basic thing we do as a full band at each rehearsal) After the chilly love-fest, we ate some yummy barbeque at a church, then continued south.

This seems like a good opportunity to explain my relationship with charter buses and sleeping. It used to be that I could never take naps in a moving vehicle, no matter how tired I was. Something about the motion or the confined space kept me awake, whether I wanted to be or not. Then, in high school when we would leave early for track or cross country meets, I discovered I could usually catch an extra hour or two on the way there or on the way back if I was tired enough. With the last two years of being in the Pride, this has changed drastically. At the beginning of last season's travel, with the Texas and aTm games, I discovered I could actually close my eyes and get some sleep if I tried hard enough and ignored the people around me. By OSU, I was able to sleep at will, and in Florida, I was asleep about half the time I spent on the bus. This year, it seems I've taken a giant leap in this direction. I've found that something about being on the bus just makes me want to sleep. Most of my time in transit was spent asleep, and the times that I did stay awake, I was either wrapped up in conversation, eating, or struggling to keep my eyes open so I could watch a movie. I got more sleep on that bus this weekend than I did in beds.

When we arrived at the same old Holiday Inn the Pride's been staying at for years, there was a few hours of downtime, then a few performances. The annual highschool football game performance was actually held in Texas Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowbows) this year. For those of you who don't know, it's an ugly, sterile thing with a big hole in the roof. I was told that this was "so God could watch his team play." *shudder* That's another post for another day. But, all that repulsion aside, it was still cool to get to play in a pro stadium again, even if that means hash lines and numbers in places we're not used to. This performance had a bunch of high school football fans, about half of which seemed to be happy with us, while the rest of them booed, and yelled things about the Longhorns. After that, it was off to the "Sophomore Shit Gig," which was a silly small pep band for about 20 drunken OU fans at some bar. After that, it was back to the hotel for general free time. In my case, that meant hanging out with some other mellophone players at the little party thing the powers that be provided as an alternative to the drunken debauchery. They had giant padded sumo wrestling suits, a crappy dj, some fake gambling, and the great draw: free food. We hung around laughing at people slamming into eachother for a bit, I even attempted dancing to some songs that reminded me of my ethnicity (or lack thereof). My lack of talent was a great source of amusement to me. After about 45 minutes of that, it was off to IHOP with 11 of us to celebrate a friends birthday. On the walk over, there were some death threats, and some speculations about which was better, boot city or boot town, two adjacent western clothing stores. (Boot City looked swankier, but Boot Town had straw hats on sale...too close to call, if you ask me) At IHOP, we were seated quickly, the food was good, the service was decent, and I drank Dr. Pepper from a caraffe, so I figure it's all good. On the way back, we dodged traffic, and there were some butterflies. After that, it was off to bed.

The next morning, we ate some crappy breakfast and went straight to the cotton bowl, the crappiest college football stadium I've ever been in. Bevo smells much worse than Boomer and Sooner. I'm not just being biased here. I've walked by our ponies, and thought, Ooh, look at the ponies, they're so pretty; I walked by that poor steer and wanted to pass out...eww.

Having been on both sides of the win column for the Red River rivalry now, I think I can say that the entire point of OU-UT is to be mean. Everyone is constantly taunting eachother. Hell, Texas even has "OU sucks" as part of their fight song! (Not I've Been Workin' on the Railroad, the other one) To hear it sung last year when we were shutting them out was just laughable...if OU sucks, then what does that make you? To hear it this year, when we're getting the crap beaten out of us, was just insulting. So, I've concluded that the fans of both teams are horrible to eachother, no matter who wins, who loses, who's better, who got screwed by the refs. I will say though, we support our team a lot better than they support theirs. Last year, the Texas side of the stadium didn't fill up until the second quarter, and emptied when it was clear that we would win for the fifth straight year. This year, OU's stands were near full from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.

The outcome of the game notwithstanding, you've got to love a rivalry where both schools have a tradition of large animals and firearms.

After the game, we had some time to walk around the state fair, which was relaxing. I spent too much money on a corn dog and a cherry limeade, and then discovered these wonderful little coconut fried pineapple ring things. Those, I must say, were quite good. The Texans were fairly civil, on was polite to me at the corn dog stand, there were a few tauntings, and one guy actually barked at me.

By the time we rolled into Norman, I was ready to get lots of sleep, and lemme tell ya, I did.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wade Boggs

Smarmy Cheater, or Mustachioed Genius?

You tell me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Cookies, Anyone?

"Two all beef patties,
some kinda sauce-la la la la....
Pickles and onions and some other stuff too,
woo woo woo woo wooooo....I got it!"

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ratchet Ass

Cadillac grills,
Cadillac bills.
Check out the oil my Cadillac spills.
matter of fact,
candy paint Cadillac kills,
so check out the hoes my Cadillac fills.

Twenty inch wide,
twenty inch high,
Hold on to my twenty inch ride.
Twenty inch thighs make twenty inch eyes
hoping for American twenty inch pies.

Pretty-ass clothes,
pretty-ass toes.
Oh, how I love these pretty-ass hoes.
Pretty-ass, high class, anything goes.
Catch them in the club throwing pretty-ass 'bows.

Long John drawls,
Long John stalls.
Any stank puss make my Long John pause.
Women on cell making long John calls,
and if they like to juggle, get Long John's balls.

All my players in the house that can ride the bar,
and the balling-ass niggers with the candy car,
if you're a pimp and you know you don't love them hoes,
when you get on the floor, nigger, throw them 'bows.
All the women in the house, if you're chasing cash,
and you've got some big titties, and a matching ass
with your fly-ass boots or your open toes,
when you get on the floor, nigger, throw them 'bows.

Dirty South mind blown,
dirty South bread.
Cat fish fried up, dirty South fed.
Sleeping in a cotton-picking dirty South bed.
Dirty South girls give me dirty South head.

Hand me down flip flops;
hand me down socks.
Hand me down drug dealers hand me down rocks.
Hand me down a fifty pack;
switch a sweet box,
and goodfella rich niggers hand me down stocks.

Mouthful of platinum,
mouthful of gold.
Forty glock cal.,
keep your mouth on hold.
Lie through your teeth,
you could find your mouth cold,
and rip out your tongue 'cause of what your mouth told.

Sweat for the lemonade;
sweat for the tea.
Sweat from the hot sauce;
sweat from the bleed.
You could sweat from a burn in the third degree,
and if you sweat in you sleep, then you sweat from me.

All my players in the house that can ride the bar,
and the balling-ass niggers with the candy car,
if you're a pimp and you know you don't love them hoes,
when you get on the floor, nigger, throw them 'bows.
All the women in the house, if you're chasing cash,
and you've got some big titties, and a matching ass
with your fly-ass boots or your open toes,
when you get on the floor, nigger, throw them 'bows.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

New York Pizza and Pasta!

THEY'RE FINALLY OPEN!!!!!
(My elation can be acurately described only through the excessive use of caps lock and bold font)

WOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!

*ENTHUSIASTIC HAPPY DANCE!*

YYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!

*EXHAUSTED COLLAPSE!*

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

All Mixed Up


Yay, the 311 concert was awesome! Well, let me clarify that. 311 was awesome. The other bands playing the show were kind of lack-luster.

The first band to take the stage was a relatively unheard-of group, Ingraham Hill. They were pretty impressive. They kind of had a whiney, punkish sort of thing going, but it worked for them. Overall, they did a solid set. The twelve people that were there seemed to enjoy it.

Next was Better Than Ezra, who, unbeknownst to me, are responsible for a number of hits I heard from the KJ103 days. They were pretty good too; the lead singer really knew how to play to the crowd, and we all got to get in touch with the mid-nineties. What was really unfortunate was that all 30 people who were there were sitting down at this point, with the exception of the six down on the floor. That said, had they bothered to stand up, they would have had to sit down.

The third act to grace our presence was Unwritten Law, who, despite the lead singer's constant implorations to "get the fuck up," would have put everyone back in their seats, if not out the door. If anything, I can say that they were really good at playing their instruments loudly, and screaming. It was not what one would typically call music, but you could tell that there would be music there, if the band could just calm down a bit, and quit banging on things and screaming their heads off. They seemed pretty angry, or angst-ridden, or something, but I couldn't tell just what it was for, because the only lyrics I could understand were the eloquent "Ooh, la de da," and the profound "Where my bitches, where my hoes? I'm too fucked up to be in love." Anyway, they finally calmed down a bit to play that Seeing Red song from the radio, which was actually pretty good. I gave them an unenthusiastic golf clap as they left the stage, and waited in anticipation for the band I forked over my dinero to see.

As I said before 311 was awesome. They played stuff from their new album, some radio hits, and some songs from their older times; their set did justice to a more or less illustrious 12 year career on the national stage. My only complaint is that they did not play Flowing, one of my four favorite 311 songs. At least they played the other three. Their set was about as well executed as I've seen, everyone played/sang well, they reacted to the crowd, going as far as taking a request for an old song from a guy with a cardboard sign, and had a bunch of crazy lights and stuff. Ultimately, they put on a good show without detracting from their music, which is what I paid for.

The concert, on the whole, was a bit scatterbrained. The bands did not really fit in the same mold, but in the end, that didn't matter. I paid to see 311, and they more than delivered to make up for the lackluster atmosphere of the first two acts, and the horrible performance of Unwritten Law. Aside from one crazy guy with a torn shirt getting arrested, a fight breaking out, and the persistant reefer smoking going on all around, crowd control was pretty good. In the end, I left the Lloyd Noble Center with a smile on my face, a ring in my ears, no baby in my womb, and, more than likely, a contact high. Overall, it was a good time, despite the shortcomings.

Friday, September 09, 2005

A little amusement and sound advice from the past...

My crazy history professor read this when he was lecturing about the French and Indian War. It made my day, and I want to find a poster of it to put on my wall. It is the standing orders for a band of frontier riflemen during the colonial period. Well, anyway, without further ado...

Rogers' Rangers Standing Orders
1. Don't forget nothing.
2. Have your musket clean as a whistle, hatchet scoured, sixty rounds powder and ball, and be ready to march at a minutes warning.
3. When you're on the march, act the way you would if you was sneaking up on a deer. See enemy first.
4. Tell the truth about what you see and what you do. There is an army depending on us for correct information. You can lie all you please when you tell other folks about the Rangers, but don't ever lie to a Ranger or an officer.
5. Don't ever take a chance you don't have to.
6. When you're on the march we march as a single file, far enough apart so one shot can't go thru two men.
7. If we strike swamps, or soft ground, we spread out abreast, so it's hard to track us.
8. When we march, we keep moving 'til dark, so as to give the enemy the least chance at us.
9. When we camp, half the party stays awake while the other half sleeps.
10. If we take prisoners, we keep 'em separate 'til we have had time to examine them, so they can't cook up a story between 'em.
11. Don't ever march the same way. Take a different route so you won't be ambushed.
12. No matter whether we travel in big parties or little ones, each party has to keep a scout 20 yards ahead, 20 yards on each flank and 20 yards in the rear, so the main body can't be surprised and wiped out.
13. Every night you'll be told where to meet if surrounded by a superior force.
14. Don't sit down to eat without posting sentries.
15. Don't sleep beyond dawn, Dawn's when the French and Indians attack.
16. Don't cross a river by a regular ford.
17. If somebody's trailing you, make a circle, come back onto your own tracks, and ambush the folks that aim to ambush you.
18. Don't stand up when the enemy's coming against you. Kneel down, lie down, or hide behind a tree.
19. Let the enemy come 'til he's almost close enough to touch. Then let him have it and jump out and finish him with you hatchet.

Major Robert Rogers, 1759

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tryin' to be all 1337

So, 3dward and Ph1llip were both all h4xx0rs about Fr4nce. 3dward was totally teh n00b, and Phillip was all "w00t." He went back to Ga5cony, and was all 'Wine? Salt? R0xx0rs!!1' Ph1l was all '1 B m0r 1337 than joo. Ph34R my sk1llz'. They were all 'OMG, WTF?' Everybody got ub3r pissed, so they got to fr4gging.

There was fr4gging in the low countries.

There was fr4gging in Ga5cony.

There was fr4gging in the Channel.

All the h4xxors thought France had the 1337est sk1lls. They had the k3wlest Cavalry of the day.

3dward had all the 1337 seiges. He was much teh pwnage. He pwned in Normandy, in Calais, he pwned in Brittany.

The Black Death was teh suxx0rs. WTF?

Then Teh Black Prince was surfing around with his arch3rz. He had the 1337 sk1llz. All the haxxorz knew, 3ngland was teh pwnage. W00t.
(Of course, that's not teh end of teh fr4gg4ge, but being 1360 doesn't pwn like being 1337.)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Daring to be the Same

I'm sure most of you have read Sean's "dare to be different" post, delightfully entitled "Don't Die Your Pubes." (I still chuckle every time I read that) It got me thinking about my attitude about others' opinions of me over the years. The main theme in the line of thought has been that I don't care what other people think, but this idea has evolved for me over the years.

It was in middle school when I really started to consider this issue. I spent most of the time as a social outcast; it wasn't as though I had no friends, but I got picked on, and didn't fit in with the "cool kids," or whatever. I didn't so much care about that, but it did make me retreat into my shell, so to speak. (Up until 5th or 6th grade, I would get in trouble for talking a lot, if you can believe that) The issue didn't really come to my attention in its fullness until a couple of longtime friends stabbed me in the back. It seemed the reason cited for this was that I "wasn't cool enough." Of course, this was at the peak of my timid personality, and I had no desire for a confrontation. I was pretty down about it for a while, and spent most of eighth grade floating along socially, trying not to become a bigger nerd than I already was. It was about halfway through this experience that I realized something wonderful:

It didn't matter if I was a nerd.

As long as I was comfortable and happy with myself, it was not important if I got made fun of, or if people didn't think I was cool, or if I didn't have stupid looking pants. (You remember Jnco, right? Or were there more vowels in that? I don't know) This was the beginning of me regaining my self-confidence in areas that didn't involve being smarter than people. While I classify it as one of the worst times in my life, it helped get me ready for some of the best.

It was as though I was reborn. I, Richard Greene of 14 years, did not care what others thought of me. As I left the image-fixated world of middle school, I was ready to turn over a new leaf. With my newfound self image, I saw trends as the source of my past woes. People in middle school judged coolness on trends, and I was not about to fall into that trap. I soon found myself avoiding nearly every trend that came along. I was not one of the army of mindless preppy automatons, and I wanted to make sure everyone knew it. I was proud of the fact that I did not have the coolest new thing, whatever it happened to be.

The long and short of it, for me, was that I had to be different. If a friend started talking about what a group of people thought of them, I would chime in with my favorite retort, "I stopped caring what people thought of me a long time ago." Then, late in my highschool career, in the middle of such a retort, I realized somthing, something not so wonderful. I had been hating these trends simply for the sake of being different. I railed against Abercrombie and Fitch, ska music, Harry Potter, and cell phones for no reason except that so many others thought they were the bee's knees. I completely cared what other people thought. No more did I not care if people thought I was cool; now, I cared if people thought I was cool. What's more, I still wanted everyone to like me. I cared what nearly everyone thought. It was time to rethink my outlook.

I knew the original plan to not care was meritous, but finally realized its inherent flaws. I couldn't be the nice, likeable person I wanted to be while maintaining complete apathy. I came to accept the fact that what really mattered through the whole thing was my opinion of myself. What I really wanted all along was to be genuinely liked for my own personality and merits, after all. I needed to get back to the basics of my original outlook: that the opinions of others should not affect my opinions of myself.

The main tenent of my renewed outlook was to evaluate everything on its own individual merits. How do I like it? Since then, I've come to accept some trendy things, and shrug off some others. While there may not have been a big outward change, I've noticed a definite inward change. I can say with confidence, I am more myself today than I ever was during high school, and honestly, I'm thrilled about that. I finally understood that while daring to be different helped, in order to be truly happy, I had to dare to be the same.

Some things haven't changed, of course. I will never wear anything from Abercrombie and Fitch. Those $50 t-shirts are an insult to the America, and to little Gupta, and the bowl of rice he earned making them. Ska music on the other hand, is okay. There's some good stuff there, if you look around. Harry Potter was an alright movie. Cell phones...bought one, hate it, still convinced they're bad for society. The important thing, though, is that when I walk to class with my Nalgene bottle, wearing my Chuck Taylor shoes and witty t-shirts, I know that when I laugh to myself about the "greek" kids with their Ipods, messenger bags, and Ashton Kutcher-esque hats, I've got a good water bottle, some sweet kicks, and a chest that will cheer people up.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

R.O.P.D.R.P.W. Episode III: Meteor Showered



















Outdated? Yes. Funny? Well, to me it is.

I debated not including the small comment the meteor makes at the end, but I couldn't help but notice a resemblence he has to the characters of a certain cartoon...

Anyway, tell me what you think.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Fear the Silent Venezuelan Killers


To quote the esteemed ultraconservative religious television news host Reverend Pat Robertson in regards to Venezuela's Presidente Hugo Chavez, "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."


Now, I'm a big fan of the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. I might even say it's my favorite, along with number four and number twenty-five. All that aside, Robertson's a moron. To "apologize" for his idiocy, he came up with this little gem: "I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out.' 'Take him out' could be a number of things including kidnapping."


Presidente Chavez has talked about suing Robertson, but I would suggest something a little different. He should use his stranglehold on the policies of his nation and use some of that oil money to train up some crazy spec-ops guys. (You know they'd find some kind of major military power to help them) Then they should do a covert insertion into the United States and "take out" Pat Robertson. This could include a number of things, including kidnapping. I wonder how the Reverend would like spending some time in the South American jungles with those gracious hosts...Seriously though, it would be totally hilarious if the reverend suddenly turned up missing with evidence of military involvement. Rock on Presidente, rock on.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Amerime

When I was reading today's Penny Arcade, I noticed the add on the side was for an anime movie that had won "Best Animated Film" from some award I'd never heard of. Seeing this got me thinking about anime, and cultural differences.

Here in the U.S., animation is not the realm of serious art. It is primarily used for entertaining children, and for adults, it is dominated by comedy. In Japan though, there are many serious stories told with animation, stories that could not be describe with the typical American "that's cute." Some of these films have made there way to across the pond, (can you say that about the Pacific?) but here, anime is the realm of little kids and nerds. The closest it came to edging its way into American pop culture was Pokemon, and we all know how big that was with people over the age of 15. All this led to one question: In Japan, does anime have a broad cultural appeal, or is it relegated to the same circles as it is here?

A small aside, and then my point: I think anime is mostly silly. Almost every anime I've seen has had at least one element to place it in this category, whether it be magical cop-outs, premises I don't care a lick about, or just being really, really weird. The only anime I've actually enjoyed watching was full of more Japanese cultural references than you can shake a stick at, and believe it or not, I couldn't really relate. Even then, I couldn't escape that God-awful flying blurry background thing that seems to be a required genre cliche. Though I find anime silly, I am not against animation as a serious medium.

Here's what I'd like to see: an American company needs to make a serious animation project, whether it be TV or a movie, in an American animation style that does not rely on big eyes and blue hair. (even though you've gotta have the blue hair) (For reference, see the super-hero cartoons of our youth, with their serious, yet not weird animation styles) It would also be preferable that it not involve samurai, ninja, giant fighting robots, talking animals, the apocalypse, or otherwise blowing up Tokyo.

I'd like to hear from the true anime fans on this one. What do you think? Also, is there anything that fits the description that you might refer me to?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Has anyone ever told you you've got Yugoslavian hands?

No, of course not. That would be stupid. Just forget I ever brought it up.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Size Does Matter

Here's a little philosophy for you: I should not have to cut my cereal. If I wanted a breakfast food that was both delicious and necessary to cut, I would be eating pancakes, or large pieces of meat, or omelettes, or something. Though they are delicious, I've got to wonder why in the world the box says "Frosted Mini-Wheats" when there's nothing mini about them at all! Last time I checked, these things were supposed to be bite-sized! Yeah, maybe for Godzilla-mouthed people, but not for regular old me. Mark my words, this is a sign of imminent takeover by large-mouthed bass or something.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Trip Blog, Concise

Okay, here we go.

Sunday:
Early. Senile old man, bad vision, oblivious. Swerving, fun lane selection, broken door (which apparently makes cars pull to the left?). Good CDs, Dr. Pepper. Good Popeye's, Bad water. Fun Cajuns with fun Cajun accents. Fun cats; The Fallen Ruler, The Top Dog, The Paranoid Cat, The Bathroom Cat. Family Guy. Reading.

Monday:
Early. Le toure d'histoire Alex. Hotel. Cards. Seemingly delicious spaghetti. Swimming. Reading.

Tuesday:
Late (finally). What to do? Water park. Where? Baton Rouge, where they keep all the red sticks. Swamp freeway, Mississippi River, two Highland Roads. Blue Bayou, I gua-ran-tee; water slides and such, Alex having fun, woo hoo. Matching sunburns, not woo hoo. Sun in the eyes, swamp freeway. Steamboat Bill's, more fried seafood than at which can be shaken a stick. A red stick. Woo hoo. Spaghetti's revenge, not woo hoo.

Wednesday:
Late. Resting off spaghetti's revenge. Feliz Cumpleanos, Alejandro! More Cajuns. Smoothies, mine was the best. Uncle Joey's; Halo, dominoes with Paw Paw, lots and lots of Barbeque: ribs, chicken sausage, aw hell yeah. Welcome back to the land of the eating. Oh, and chocolate cake with lemon pudding. Clue.

Thursday:
Early. N'awlns. Brian Regan, Chris Rock. Aquariam of the America's. Seafood that starts with an L. Shops. Caffe du Monde, cool bookstore, cool antique weapon and coin store (read: history major's paradise) learned some interesting things in there. more shops, and such. Traffic, reading, book conversation. Alex's sunburn slaps him around. Back and forth. Sleeping on my stomach. Pain noises.

Friday:
Late. Recovery from sunburn beating. Oil change at Wally World (WD-40 or 10-W40?) Crappy Burger King. Afternoon with Williams family. Backyard Burgers with Paw Paw. The Island, good summer movie. Reading.

Saturday:
Late-ish. Reading. Good CDs, Dr. Pepper. Red Lobster. Unhappy transmission. Waiting. Sheena's parents, smelly van. Waiting, phone calls. Smelly van. Happy reunions. Goodbye, beard. Hitler in a giant robot. Tabs to the rescue. Good to be home.

Friday, July 29, 2005

What's a pirate's favorite website?

I don't know, but you should check this out:





My pirate name is:


Iron Roger Flint



A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from fidius.org.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

"Would you let him skateboard?"

I know you're all ready for something about my jaunt to the bayous, but first, I give you an excerpt from my current reading, Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown. I've read a lot since I started it last Saturday, and it's a very entertaining book. I can safely say that it's a good book, and I recommend it.

While I know the religion debate among our motley crew has died down, and is on ceasefire, or whatever, and although I don't exactly see eye to eye with the doctrine, this passage struck a chord with me, in light of recent conversations I've had:


Chartrand took a deep breath. “I don’t understand this whole omnipotent-benevolent thing.”
The camerlengo smiled. “You’ve been reading Scripture.”
“I try.”
“You are confused because the Bible describes God as an omnipotent and benevolent deity.”
“Exactly.”
“Omnipotent-benevolent simply means that God is all-powerful and well-meaning”
“I understand the concept. It’s just...there seems to be a contradiction.”
“Yes. The contradiction is pain. Man’s starvation, war, sickness…”
“Exactly!” Chatrand knew the camerlengo would understand. “Terrible things happen in this world. Human tragedy seems like proof that God could not possibly be both all-powerful and well-meaning. If He loves us and has the power to change our situation, He would prevent our pain, wouldn’t He?”
The camerlengo frowned. “Would He?”
Chartrand felt uneasy. Had he overstepped his bounds? Was this one of those religious questions you just didn’t ask? “Well…if God loves us, and He can protect us, He would have to. It seems He is either omnipotent and uncaring, or benevolent and powerless to help.”
“Do you have children, Lieutenant?”
Chartrand flushed. “No, signore.”
“Imagine you had an eight-year-old son…would you love him?”
“Of course.”
“Would you do everything in your power to prevent pain in his life?”
“Of course.”
“Would you let him skateboard?”
Chartrand did a double take. The camerlengo always seemed oddly “in touch” for a clergyman. “Yeah, I guess,” Chartrand said. “Sure, I’d let him skateboard, but I’d tell him to be careful.”
“So as this child’s father, you would give him some basic, good advice and then let him go off and make his own mistakes?”
“I wouldn’t run behind him and mollycoddle him if that’s what you mean.”
“But what if he fell and skinned his knee?”
“He would learn to be more careful.”
The camerlengo smiled. “So although you have the power to interfere and prevent your child’s pain, you would choose to show your love by letting him learn his own lessons?”
“Of course. Pain is part of growing up. It’s how we learn.”
The camerlengo nodded. “Exactly.”

P. 361-362, Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Not Quite a Suicide Squeeze

I'm posting tonight not so much because I have anything to say, or that I want to, but I think I need to squeeze a little something in before I depart for the bayou.

Let's see...I finished Lord of the Flies last night. Wow. That is one great book. It now takes its place among the pantheon of my favorite books. The message of the book is along the lines of Heart of Dearkness (one of those other favorites), but I think Lord of the Flies tells it better, simply because of the fact that the characters are little kids, none older than 15. Don't get me wrong, I still love Heart of Darkness; it's just no longer my sole favorite state of nature/human atavism story. So, it's on to Angels and Demons as promised. I'll keep you updated there, whether you like it or not. After that, it's the third Halo book, then Paycheck, by Philip K. Dick. I figure that ought to take me up to the school year, where my recreational reading goes pllilijaoiwehdnsiekdl. I figure then I can take up some quick, less intensive books, like maybe some more of the Area 51 books. We'll see.



I served an ungreatful ass today at work. He happened to come as I was taking a bathroom break, so I couldn't really answer the intercom, and he had to wait a bit. As I walked back up to the coffee bar, the deli manager mouthed "He is MAD" to me. I greeted the fellow in my normal cordial fashion, and he put his arms up and said "Hey, I was starting to wonder," all indignant-like. "I mean, I've been standing here what, four or five minutes?"

I thought about telling him where I was. What, a guy goes to work for six hours, and can't take a bathroom break halfway through? But in the end, I thought better.
"What can I do for you, sir?" I called him sir. I don't think it helped.

"What can you do for me? I'll tell you what you can do for me: I came in here about a week ago, and there were grounds in my coffee!"

"There were?" Blunder, outrage! Why didn't you complain a week ago? "Well here, let me get you a free cup then." The customer is always right.

"You know, instead of coffee, I think I want to go with something different [read: more expensive]. I think I'll have a mocha frappucino, a venti." Annoying. "And can I get a double espresso shot in that?" On my nerves. "Oh, and double mocha." Ass.

I went on making his drink. I went to hand it to him. "That's double mocha, right?"

"Uh huh." It wasn't. "Sorry about all the trouble, sir." He is still, after all, the customer.

"Oh, it's no problem." Now that you've got your $5.50 drink for free?

After he left, Laura, the deli manager, came back up. "I'm sorry I had to keep paging you, but he was just being an asshole. 'I've been standing there, and last week, blah blah blah.'" Yeah, he was an ass.



Well, anyway, I suppose it turns out this was a worthwhile post after all. Louisiana's going to be fun; it'll be nice to have a break from work. One thing's sure though, I'll need a good dose of Meagan when I get back. I'll also need to start learning the music for Pride tryouts, but that's less fun. So, anyway, have a good week, everyone. I'll have a trip recap shortly after we get back.

Strange but true...

Take notes kids; this one might show up on Jeopardy:

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Strangest Dining Experience Ever, or Look, I'm Rodknee, Two Posts a Day


The other day, Meagan and I were going out, and we decided we'd have dinner at Kendall's, because we were supposed to do it for Tuesday Lunchday, but nobody could go. At any rate, we went and were promptly seated in a surprisingly bare main dining room. On the window, there was a posterboard declaring that Kendall's is moving to Purcell.

"What's all this Purcell business?" I asked our friendly server.

"Today is our last day in Norman," he replied.

Crikey. I was planning on getting something new, but after that, it had to be the chicken fried steak. Boy, was it fabulous. As we ate, mourning our city's loss, we watched Kendall's come down, piece by piece. The T.V., the "Immediate Seating Available" sign, the very posterboard declaring the move, it all came down. Before my eyes, I saw all my favorite posters come down, first The Klotschville Crusher, or whatever he is, then Amanda Danger...they all came off the wall. As we were getting up to pay, I looked the Arab with the pizza in the face for the last time. When we walked by the door again, he was gone.

Meagan and I were the last customers at the Norman Kendall's. The fact that I can say something like that just boggles my mind. It is truly a dining experience I will never forget.

"Will you be following us down to Purcell?" the girl who rang us up asked us.

Well, yes, yes I will. I can't deprive myself of The Crusher, Amanda Danger, the Arab with the pizza, and of course, the best chicken fried steak ever. If anyone wants to trek down to Purcell for some grub, give me a holler.

The Most Useful List Ever

Okay, people, Shawn sent me this great thing:

This brings me to something. Yes, that's right, the rules for calling people's beds.

1. If it's your bed, you get it, no questions asked.
2. You can kick people out of your bed.
3. Generally, just friends spooning without permission is not, well, permitted.
4. Just friends spooning with permission, hey, go for it kid.
5. MURDER IS BAD!
6. If the owner of the bed is not present for the night, and they will never find out about it, go for it, kid...and by go for it, I do not mean, um, carnally. Yeah, I mean, sleepily.
7. If the bed is a tempurpedic, and is in the possession of one Alex English, he should give it to his dear friend Richard, in exchange for a cookie.
8. When using other people's beds, try to avoid leaving bodily fluids behind. We do not want this to look like a Dateline NBC hotel special.

Okay, so I guess this was less about calling beds, and more about just using them...so here you go:

9. When someone declares his or her bed open for the night, the first one in the same residence as the bed who calls it gets the bed.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

In Memoriam


Well, it finally happened. When Sean and I went golfing on Thursday, I lost my dragon. The following is a memorial to that disk that served me so well, through the good times and the bad.

Ah, when I bought my dragon, it was so pretty, all yellow with silvery markings, and no horrible dents or scars. It was the first disk I bought, and a good purchase it was. I made some wonderful throws with that little beauty, and for the two horrible throws that came along with every wonderful one, I was able to fish it out of the creek due to its lovely buoyancy.

Does anyone remember the time the dragon got run over by a truck? Boy, I sure do. Those tire marks never really faded completely away. I never liked that hole 11. The poor thing just sat in the road and the truck barreled right over it. I couldn't really say if the driver saw the thing or not. Of course, I could say "Hey, my disk got run over by a truck!" How fun is that?

Then there was the lovely drive I made on hole 1 with the aide of a tree. I wheeled around as I ran up, flung an errant shot into the air, but it struck the tree on the way out, which righted its flight and sent it ten feet from the hole. The guys behind us were just like "Nice shot!" and I was just thinking "Thank you, trees."

Who could forget the time that fat kid tried to steal my poor dragon? Probably most of you, but not me. He picked it up, I said "Little thief!" and then he dropped it. Ah, good times.

I never did like that hole 11. The hole that gave the dragon its first major scar is the one that ended up taking it. I heaved my drive into the very top of the tree with the flag in it. Thanks to the crazy vine that's growing all over it, it didn't come down. I climbed up to retrieve it, but in the end, I just couldn't climb high enough. So, someone more monkey-like, or with a better arm now has my dragon, and I am forced to get dragon #2. There's no way I'm going to play without a floating driver; I'd lose so many disks.

The only positive in this is that it happened on the day I bought another driver. It's an archangel, its blue, and on my first throw with it on hole 1, I made my best drive ever. It was about four feet from the hole, and I didn't screw up the birdie. So, there's hope for the future anyway.

------------------------
The other day, Sean and I saw an old Pontiac Sunfire with spinners. It was a hoot, but it also got me thinking, What if?....

Episode II: Pimp My Stanza

Friday, July 08, 2005

Vital Information for Your Everyday Life

We all know salt in an open wound hurts.

Coffee grounds in an open wound hurt just as much, maybe even more. Consider yourself warned.



Unfortunately, I got a slow start to reading this summer. Normally, during the summer I fly through books, but this year, with all these interesting people and this distracting technology around, I've not been reading nearly as much. It took me until late June to finish my first book of the summer. The good news is since then, I've practically been on a reading frenzy! Here's what I've got so far:


Rising Sun, by Michael Chrichton
A murder mystery and a commentary on Japanese business culture in the U.S. which I enjoyed thoroughly. Incidentally, none of the regular readers of this blog would enjoy it, so I'm not recommeding it.






Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
WWII sci-fi commentary. It seemed the whole time that the author had no idea where he wanted the story to go, and yet, that doesn't matter one bit. It's a good read, and a quick read.






Currently halfway through:
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
British Schoolboys marooned on a deserted island in the South Pacific set up their own society. It's a compelling book, and I'm compelled to finish it.





Soon Moving on to:
Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown
Highly recommended by my sister and mom, and all those crazy Da Vinci Code fans running around out there.



Yay for putting small dents in the list.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Blarg. Ducks never listen.

I've decided that I like the morning shift at work. It's busier, but the tips seem to be better, and the morning regulars ask you if you are new, and you get to tell them that you've been there nearly a year. Also, when afternoon regulars come in, you get to see their surprised faces. Then, there's the fact that people order more hot drinks than frappucinos. Yay for that. Anyway, after work, I was browsing around the internet, and ran across quite a little gem. People have asked me "What's up with 'Blarg!'?" or something along those lines. Well, this guy sums it up better than I've ever seen. He really gets it. He should, considering it's his liscence plate. He does use "erg" where I would use "arg," but I'm just glad I'm not the only user of 'blarg' out there.



Speaking of blarg, I almost had an opportunity to swim with a duck last night. Imagine that, paddling around the water with a duck, in his element. How cool is that?

Alas, 'twasn't to be. The little brown duck that wandered over to the pool, quacking its little head off at us (Meagan named him Marvin), just wouldn't come into the water. We got out of the pool and tried to herd him in, but instead he freaked out, took wing and flapped his way down to the creek. So, I guess I'll just have to wait until next time to swim with a duck. Maybe Marvin will come back.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Attention!

The following are NOT menu items at your local Starbuck's Coffee:

*Double Frate Latte (What about Srate latte?)
*Chi (Sorry, fresh out of life force here)
*Frape Mocha (We are not Panera)
*That frozen thing (It has a name)
*Caramel Mocha-Cheeto
*Chocolate Latte (That would be a Caffe Mocha)
*Caramel Mach-Chiato
*Vanilla Frappucino (There's Caffe Vanilla, there's Vanilla Bean...)


Size Interlude!
*Veinte
*Verdi
*Grand
*Grandy
*Extra Large
*The Big One


*Guatemala Cargi Cello (In all fairness, this one was probably due to poor eyesight)
*Thick Dark Chocolate (That has a name too, though we're perpetually "temporarily out")
*Caramel Mach-a-whatever
*French Vanilla [insert drink here] (Seriously, why do so many people ask for it?)
*Strawberry Milkshake (No icecream here!)
*Caramel Matchee-achee (Say it with me now: Mah-key-ah-toe)
*Tazoberry, Irish Cream, Coconut (Dis-con-tin-ued)

Surely there are others...whether or not I'll put them on this list someday, who knows. In conclusion, Okies can't pronounce Italian.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Irksome

Don't you hate it when you have the urge to write about something, but nothing interesting to write about? I know I do.




Approaching the bridge, my quarry was nearly within my grasp. It was a rise I had crested hundreds of times before, a crossing I had made in all weather, at all times of the day. I pressed forward with confidence, sure in the fact that if I could reach down to the depths of my determination, past the burn in my lungs, focused, the chase would be over as quickly as it began. At the top of the bridge, I stretched my legs as much as they would stretch, gravity pulling me closer to my goal with every bounding step.

Then, suddenly, my concentration was broken. My feet were behind me, not below me. I turned to protect my head and face; the right side of my body took all of the force of my charge. Then my legs were above me, then again behind me. A bite in my shoulder, an ache in my hip told me not to get up quickly. I listened. Even then, the blood left my head, and I stood, hands on hips, in a painful, dizzy daze.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

OMG! My Hip Just Popped Again!

Fuckin' hip. Oh, and btw- I am working on my capitalization, just for those of you who want me to start using capital letters. I went to Jazz in June breifly tonight with my amazing girlfriend. After that, I attended 'game night' with her at a friends house. OMG. Through out the whole thing, all I could think about was how smart and cute, and nice she is. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the beautiful smart ones. She's so sexy too, and she gives amazing backrubs, and neckrubs. She's got a great sense of humor too. The world might not come to an end if she left me, but it would be close. She's just so great I want her to be around all the time, I'm even willing to shave my face for her. Man, is she amazing or what? Well, I've gotta go now, but I just wanted everyone to know how great she is, and how much I enjoy her.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Introducing...

...Richard's Occasional and Poorly Drawn Random Paint Webcomic! That's right, this is the first (and possibly last) edition of my random commentary put into poor artistic rendition. Halo the other night gave me a little inspiration...let me say that I mean no offence by any of it, of course. I would make fun of you with words anyway, I'm just adding pictures this time. Also, the guy on the left should rightly be Charles, but I don't know him well enough to characturize him in stick figure, so, he's been replaced. Wellll, I s'pose that's about it, so without further ado....

Episode I: It makes no sense if you think about it.


I had a bit too much fun drawing the sword...feel free to be brutal. Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Leggo my heartstrings, Christopher Nolan

I saw the new Batman movie, Batman Begins, last night. Truth be told, I was not expecting very much, considering the last Batman movie, with George Clooney, and the cheesy as hell plot.

Batman Begins is, far and away, the best movie of the Batman series. It is on par with Spiderman in its quality. The story was good; it was well-told, and it was well-acted. I think the casting department deserves a big thanks for putting this stellar cast together. Aside from the relative unknown playing Batman, Christian Bale (who, by the way, did an excellent job) there was Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Katie Holmes, and, my personal favorite, Liam Neeson as a ninja British guy. This movie was everything Batman should be; it was dark, gritty, and rough; it was not silly at all. It didn't quite have the comic book feel of the other Batman movies, or Spiderman, honestly, I think that made it better. Honestly, I think the reason this movie was so good has a lot to do with Christopher Nolan's direction. He proved he still knows how to convey and play with people's emotions, and put out a high quality product, even in the format of a comic book movie. He even gets one of his twists in near the end.

So, in conclusion, see this movie soon, because it's high quality, a good portrayal of Batman, and does not include the Governator trying to turn any major cities into the next ice age.

In other news, while I must admire the effort at background information, I'm afraid the game mentioned was two days ago. Yesterday's game was a victory for my Braves, who snapped a 5 game losing streak with a sound pummelling of the hometown Rangers, complete with a homerun by old man Julio Franco, my favorite non-Chipper Jones player. In my humble opinion, the player to watch in this afternoon's game will be rookie Braves pitcher Kyle Davies, who appears to be the next big thing in Atlanta pitching. Anyway, it should be fun either way. I'm going to go get ready to root root root for the visiting team.

Geeze...

...one post about religion, and everybody freaks out. He he he. It's a good thing I like the attention. And, just for the record...

...my blog is supposed to look like this now...stupid code, making the actual thing not look like the preview. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

He really is a nice guy...

Okay, I know we're not discriminating against eachother or whatever, but you know how it is when you get things on your mind. The recent blog frenzy in which we've been participating has brought me to Lori's blog, where a recent post regarding the existence of God got me thinking (not so much the whole post, just a few choice things). First was this quote:

"LIFE HANDS OUT SHIT AT COMPLETE RANDOM. GET USED TO IT. Random. Random. Random. Random... I'm sick of whiney Christians. It's not God. It's Lady Luck and Y-O-U. Deal with it. "

Amen, says I. It's a crazy world, and sometimes bad things happen to good people. While I agree that "the Lord works in mysterious ways," he doesn't control everything and everyone in the universe at once. Where's that in the Bible, I ask? I've never read that part. Do you feel possessed and puppetted by the Holy Spirit? I know I sure don't. God didn't send the tornados that ravaged Moore; he didn't send the rapists that screwed up the people who call into Loveline; he didn't tell that drunk guy to drive and kill a whole family. Harsh, maybe, but also true. Which brings me to the other quote that got me thinking:

"Here's the way I see it, put plainly and simply...If God's real, he's a total jerk and he doesn't come close to deserving me to fall on my knees and worship him. "

Yeah, I wouldn't worship the sadistic kid-with-a-magnifying-glass God you think of either. Thing is, that's not the God I've come to know over the years. The God I know is not a jerk. The God I know is loving, benevolent, and rich in grace and mercy. It seems to me that the problem is that people don't ever try to get to know him. If you really try to get to know him, I doubt you'd disagree with me. Once you do get to know him, he really is a nice guy. I, for one, am proud to worship him, and feel sorry for Christians who think God is making their life miserable.

Yes, I know, I've taken the quotes out of context, but it was the ideas they express that got me thinking. If you disregard the whole atheist thing, the sentiments are pretty similar, though mine is considerably more optimistic.

Don't blame God for your troubles. Ask him for whatever help he can give, and then press forward as best you can. If success doesn't come at first, get back on the horse. God's still there to give you a hand.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Useful Things

Okay, Mr. and Mrs. Smith: Great action movie. There's not really much to analyze here. Decent story, subtle humor, not-so-subtle action...it was everything an action movie should be. I know most of you have seen it, but if you've not, see it.

We learn some useful info in this movie:
*In car chases, minivans are superior to Beemers with ambitious drivers, mainly because of their high-quality oh-shit handles.
*Home Depot-esque stores are great for gunfights!
*Yes, you really can hide a bomb in a little black dress.
*Grappling hooks from building to building in downtown New York are inconspicuous, and will not be noticed by anyone.

and, most importantly:
*History majors kick ass.

I also learned some useful ways to mess with the appearance of my blog, so don't be too shocked if things start to look better around here. (Thanks Meagan!!)

Storm chasing/tornado photography is ALL about repositioning.

Strawberry Crepes are good....oh wait, I already knew that one.

Still no word on whether or not "Bwoop!" means "Come over here" in Police Siren speak.

Also, Norah Jones is awesome.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Short Post

For Sean and Meagan. Here you go. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

As the voice of Alan Kalter echoed in my head...

As most of you know, I drove to the fabulous state of ARRRRRRR-Kansas this last friday for a weekend with the family. The vacation itself was not very eventful; it was much more relaxing than anything else. The trip up, however, was a bit more...uh, exciting?

First of all, let me say that I love OKC rush hour traffic. I'm sure the city is a bit wimpy if you compare it to DC, LA, NYC, or some other acronym, but it's a pain nonetheless. Elizabeth and I sat in the traffic, never exceeding twenty MPH for about forty five minutes, traveling a grand total of 3 miles. At the end of these three miles, my heart first rose, then plummeted to the depths of some sort of traveler's oblivion. As we accelerated up to 60, I heard the telltale thumpity-thumpity-thumpity of my left-front tire being completely screwed.

Saving it was never really an option. First of all, I didn't have adequate shoulder room to pull over on the highway. I had to drive nearly a quarter mile on the flat to the nearest exit. I pulled off onto the four-lane frontage road, and by the time I made it into the right lane, the wheel was making horrible sounds, and little chunks of rubber were being flung up at the windshield. So, with my car half in the road and traffic hastily detouring around me, I clicked on the flashers and went out to survey the damage.

This tire was in the worst condition that I've ever seen on an actual tire. Did you ever know there was woven material that resembles shag carpet in tires? Yeah, neither did I. The closest comparison I can make is a bit outdated. Remember a few years back when the firestone tires on Ford Explorers were coming apart in traffic? (The Late Show with David Letterman is brought to you by Firestone's Exploding Tires! KABOOM!!!) Well, it looked kinda like those.

If you think sitting in rush hour traffic is fun, I would highly recommend changing a tire on a busy frontage road in the heat of the afternoon. Kids these days don't appreciate high quality fun like that. It's not as though we were helpless out there. Unfortunately, I've had to change tires in a pinch before, so I knew what to do. What made it interesting was the location of the car. There was about a foot of shoulder on the road. The rest of my car was just sitting out in the lane. With the tire on the left side, I had to sit in the road to do the work, and while I managed to confine myself to the space of the right lane, the cars were still closer than I would have liked them. I had Liz stand in the road behind the car to make us more visible. Thank God she was there. The exchange with a woman who stopped to see if we needed any help was somewhat disconcerting:

"Do you need some help?" she said.
"Thanks, we've got it." I replied.
"Oh, I didn't even see you there." she chuckled.

There were five different people that tried to stop and help, which were all either, as my sister put it, "creepy-looking guys", or middle-aged women in vans. Still, it was somewhat encouraging that so many people, in this day and age of "everybody and their dog's a rapist", that so many people should stop and offer to help. It's the kind of thing that makes me smile and be happier about the world we live in.

So, after I got the spare put on, I called my dad about a good place to get a new one, he suggested the Edmond Walmart, and so we were off, 5 miles or so down back roads, and we were there. We had to wait an hour there, but we got a new tire on, and it got us up to ARRRRR-Kansas, however delayed. Of course, it was slightly the wrong size, so we had to get it replaced while we were up there, and my alignment's most likely all out of whack, but I'll get that resolved soon enough. It takes a whole hell of a lot more than a flat tire to get me down, that's for damn sure.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Hope Amidst Tragedy, or Something Like That

Yesterday, I got up early. The brakes on my car have been squeezing for a couple of months now, and I finally went to get them inspected. So, I sat down in the waiting room with Rising Sun (a good book, so far) and got down to what I anticipated being a good hour or two of reading time.

Fifteen minutes later, Rick the repair guy comes in and calls my name, then proceeds to tell me that my brakes are fine. The front brakes have about half a pad left, and the rear look like they've been done recently. So, with my car's clean bill of health, I left quick car and proceeded to drive around for the hell of it, because yesterday morning, the weather was just about perfect, 70's, mostly cloudy, light breeze; let me tell you, it doesn't get much better.

As I drove down the Lindsey extention with my windows down, singing along with the radio, enjoying the day, it dawned on me that for the past ten years or so, I've lived a mere 18 miles from a national monument, and had never been. For a history buff like me, I find that unacceptable. So here's the perfect opportunity: I've got a few free hours, nothing to do, and a lovely day for walking around outside. So, I turned over to the interstate and headed north, toward downtown, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

In the past, mostly on trips up to Edmond, I'd seen the sign for it, and thought that I should go sometime, but never actually considered it until yesterday. Really, the more I thought about it, it's the kind of thing I wanted to do alone. I could move at my own pace, be reflective if I wanted, be incredulous if I wanted, or bawl like a little girl if I wanted. Really though, I was less interested in the memorial than I was in seeing the place where it happened, refining my mental pictures of that morning years ago, getting a sense of what it must have been like for the people there.

The drive up was splendid. The interstate was moving pretty fast, and the Buzz played four or five good songs in a row, boy, was I surprised. I no problems getting there, there's clear signage for it downtown. It took me a bit of driving to find a good parking space, but that was the worst of it. I plunked a dollar in the meter, and walked over.

The memorial itself is rather lovely. I walked up from the east, where all you can see of the actual memorial as you approach is the gate to the east of the reflecting pool. Once inside, I was greeted with a peaceful scene, with lots of trees, well-manicured grass, the reflecting pool, and then the things that actually seem monumental: the empty chairs, the gates, and the wall of the platform surrounding the survivor tree. I spent the next hour strolling around the grounds, reading plaques, remembering, and just enjoying a beautiful day in the city.

While it wasn't really a very emotional morning, there were a few things there that made a particular impact on me. The first was the crappy building that would have been across the street at the time of the attack, but now houses the memorial's museum in addition to some other offices. The south wall of the building is dented, with chunks missing here and there, some windows bricked over, and two graffiti. To see some of the damage that the bomb caused still standing in a building today brought a strange sense of the past for me. The graffiti only enhanced that. The first message I saw pre-dated the bombing. It read "Don't enter the alley." There is no alley there; the building on the other side was so damaged it had to be torn down. The other message was painted on the wall by an emotional rescue worker. It read "Team 5, 4-19-95, We search for the truth. We seek justice. The courts require it. The victims cry for it. And God demands it!" These two messages from the past went a long way in helping me realize the depth of the destruction caused that morning.

Another area of impact for me was the fence line. Along the west side of the memorial, two sections of chain link fence that were part of the fence blocking off the lot during the cleanup and demolition of the Murrah Building still stand, complete with the mementos left there over the years by victim's relatives, school children, and tourists. There were things there from at least 15 states, and numerous little trinkets and pictures. What left the deepest impact though, was a picture with a note attached from the family of a New York firefighter who had done rescue work at the bombing and died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. That's more tragedy than any person needs to see in a lifetime.

Something that really amazed me there was the survivor tree. The tree is a large elm that was in the parking lot across 5th from the federal building. There's an aerial photo at the memorial of the area taken the day of the bombing. The parking lot was littered with debris; cars were thrown against the back of the lot, and just standing there was this huge tree, seemingly unaffected by the days events, a tree that I could look over and see as I studied the picture, standing there in much the same fashion, only yesterday, it was surrounded not by destroyed cars and pieces of building, but by families taking pictures, and park rangers talking to tourists. It, like the graffiti and the fence, gave a sense of continuity to the whole thing. It was a reminder of what happened there, not of the tragedy, but that life goes on in the face of tragedy.

Another such reminder, and by far my favorite moment of the morning was when I was coming back up from the fence on the west side of the memorial. As I got up near the reflecting pool, a mother duck with 1, 2, 3, 4... 9 babies in tow waddled into the pool. They didn't get any swimming done, the pool is only two or three inches deep, so they just walked through the pool, paying no attention to the people there. A little kid to my right likened them to Jesus, walking on water. They crossed the pool and went up into the field of empty chairs. The rest of the time I was there, that family of ducks frolicked among the names of the dead. It was a more profound, however unintended, symbol of life going on among horrible tragedy than any memorial designer could have hoped for. In fact, I would be willing to bet that had ducks been suggested, the designer would have been scorned, laughed out of the boardroom, and viewed as a disrespectful idiot.

After about an hour there, the sun came out and it started to get hot outside. I had seen pretty much everything besides the museum, which I was going to skip anyway. I gave the site one last look, then walked back to my car and headed for home. I left the memorial feeling like I accomplished what I came for. It definitely reminded me of the reality of the bombing, something I think a ten year old kid watching the news can't really comprehend fully. I found it quite amusing that I took the most emotional impact not from any of the symbols left there by the hands of men, not by the somewhat morbid empty chairs, not by the 9:01 and 9:03 gates, not by the artwork of young children, but what amounts to two accidents of nature. Things that you can't anticipate, in this case a sturdy tree and a family of ducks going about their business, brought me more emotion as reminders of life than any of the reminders of death that I saw that morning.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Happy Memorial Day, have a croissant.

In the news here at home, it's Memorial Day. So, happy Memorial Day everybody, and enjoy your holiday, if you're lucky enough to get one.

All the fun news is going on in Europe right now. In the E.U., there is a new charter up for approval. It was signed last October by leading officials, and is now must be approved by all 25 member nations in order to take effect in 2006 as planned. Its purpose is to "[unite] ever more closely, to forge a common destiny" for the organization's members. It includes many economic provisions that free up trade restrictions between member nations, and provisions that alter the legislative structure. It is a document that moves the union closer to the super-state it seemed, in recent years, destined to become. It has already been approved by nine countries. What brought all this into the spotlight was the vote in France. The nation that essentially founded the E.U. voted to reject the charter yesterday in a referendum election, with over 55% of a 70% turnout voting "non". The vote is making waves throughout France and Europe. President Chirac's opponents have called for changes in the government, the most radical of which have called for his resignation, and even dissolving the National Assembly. While nobody will be getting rid of the French parliament, Chirac has promised changes within the government to be announced soon. Perhaps the most significant result for Americans is that in the day since the vote, the Euro has fallen to it's lowest level of the year against the Dollar.

This vote makes sense for France, it seems. Employment is high there right now, and many have been dissatisfied with Chirac's leadership on economic issues. It seems there are varying reasons for opposition to this charter, depending on location in the French political spectrum, the proposal is opposed on economic concerns, such as loss of jobs and trade imbalance, sovereignty issues, or opposing Chirac issues.

Personally, I don't like the further unification of Europe. If the E.U. keeps getting stronger, more unified, it won't be long before it rivals the U.S. economically and politically. Look at the U.N. security council. The five permanent seats are occupied by the U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia, and China. That's two of five nations in the E.U. already, and if Russia eventually joined (which wouldn't happen for many years) that's over half, not to mention the European nations in the rotating seats. Now, I don't take much stock in the U.N. (that's for another post) but it's a telling example. Were I a citizen of one of these nations, I would probably opposed the E.U. on sovereignty grounds. I don't think, as a German, or a Spaniard, or a Latvian, I would be happy to be under the authority of a Frenchman, or an Englishman, or an Italian. This, thankfully, is not an issue for me, living in the United States, but it always seems to be in my mind when I hear about the E.U.

Back to the matter at hand, this vote in France is a major statement by the French people. While officials and commentators insist the charter is not dead, and there will be another vote, the French people have asserted their right to govern themselves, whether they're opposed to being governed by the rest of Europe, or by Jacques Chirac. It will be interesting to see where this goes in France, and in other important E.U. members, with votes coming up in Great Britain, the Netherlands, and others. While no one can call the charter dead, it is equally true that no one can deny that the political landscape has changed.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A few interesting occurences

The most interesting occurence in my life in the last few days is the arrival of new registers at work. Yes, Albertson's now has shiny new cash registers, with big, sexy, plasma screen monitors. Also, the credit card/ check system is more efficient. Woo-wee, let's hear it for modern technology.

A historical realization: Al Gore did not invent the internet: the Civil War did.

I left a comment on Sean's blog that's longer than any of my blog posts to date. I'll give you three guesses on what the subject is. (No, this is not a cookie opportunity; too easy)

Shoes are in. They're blue. I pick them up tomorrow, before I get my brakes checked.

Papa John's All the Meats pizza is a wonderful replacement for NY Pizza and Pasta's pepperoni and sausage during their remodelling.

I'm being stalked by a Mexican. Se llama Miguel. He keeps calling me. I said he had the wrong number. Entonces, dije que tuve el numero incorecto. He didn't seem the least bit deterred by either. If he calls again, I'm going to attempt to explain to him that I don't know him. Poor Miguel. He's probably wondering around area code 209 (Dallas?) sin amigos o dinero. O drogas, if that's his thing, but you know, whatever.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Fun Music Thingy, and The Clunker

This Audioscrobbler business that Rodney speaks of seems quite intriguing. I think I'll jump in on some of that action....hopefully it doesn't make my computer freak out. Honestly, the clunker has held up surprisingly well since the October crash, and the subsequent revival...

"We can rebuild him; we have the technology."

...but, then again, the fourth incarnation of The Clunker is not exactly the world's first bionic man, and while XP has made it quite shiney, and a spot prettier, I wouldn't call it better, it doesn't seem any stronger, and it's most definitely not faster. It made a weird noise last weekend, and then it stopped. I thought it was going to die, and in truth maybe it is, but I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm going to work the hell out of this thing until it keels over and dies, then buy a new one, one that truly is better, stronger, and faster. So, until then, think hard, little Clunker, and Godspeed.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

My take on Star Wars: Episode III

Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith might as well have been a large effort in damage control, and a fine effort it is. Lucas redeemed himself with this one; he gave the hardcore fans of the original movies the prequal they would have written in their heads. The movie started out somewhat confusing, (seriously, coughing robots?) which apparently would not have been the case had I watched the cartoon about the clone wars, or read all the books, or whatever. Thankfully, I was surrounded with people who knew what was up, and eventually got things sorted out. I'm not going to say this movie was a slow starter, because, in true Star Wars fashion, there was action right off the bat. What I will say is that the second half was about ten times better than the first. The fights were more exciting, the story was tighter, and, while it may even be my imagination, the dialogue was a little less cheesey. So, everyone should go see it, if anything, just for the light sabre fights. Plus, the movie's got Samuel L. Jackson, and everyone loves Samuel L. Jackson. (Thankfully, he still kicks ass in this one) Also, you get to see Yoda talk smack in this one, which, considering his sentence structure and stature, is really really amusing. The movie explains so much about the beginning of New Hope that even a mild fan of that movie would find this one interesting and informative, so eveyone should go see it.

In other news, I'm damn tired of eating two meals a day and sleeping through the whole morning. I definitely need to start going to bed earlier.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Yep, me too...blogging it up.

Like Berlin, 1945, I have capitulated.

Yes, I've started a blog, not because I have anything deep or profound to say to the deep, profound people on the internet, but because everyone else has, and damn it, it looks like fun. Baahhh, bahhh. Now I can argue with my friends about religion, give my opinions on movies, music, and other various entertainment, and whine and gripe about silly political and/or University goings-on, without putting on pants and leaving my bedroom. Hooray. So, we'll see where this goes. I don't know if I'll post all that often, but it may be everyday, you'll just have to wait and see where I take this. I just watched Star Wars: Episode III, and the last episode of Red vs. Blue season 3, and I've got a gift card for Hastings burning a hole in my wallet, so I'm sure there'll at least be something on that, if nothing else.

Oh, by the way, anybody who gets the movie reference (no, it's not to Star Wars) gets a cookie, because cookies are good.