Sunday, July 31, 2011

She being brand new

By e.e. cummings

she being Brand
-new;and you
know consequently a
little stiff i was
careful of her and(having
thoroughly oiled the universal
joint tested my gas felt of
her radiator made sure her springs were O.
K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her
up,slipped the
clutch(and then somehow got into reverse she
kicked what
the hell)next
minute i was back in neutral tried and
again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg. ing(my
lev-er Right-
oh and her gears being in
A 1 shape passed
from low through
second-in-to-high like
greasedlightning)just as we turned the corner of Divinity
avenue i touched the accelerator and give
her the juice,good
was the first ride and believe i we was
happy to see how nice she acted right up to
the last minute coming back down by the Public
Gardens i slammed on
brakes Bothatonce and
brought allofher tremB
to a:dead.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I didn't think I was in the bathroom that long, but when I came back to my desk there were two bootleg movies of some recent theatrical releases sitting next to my keyboard.  I quickly slid them into my bag and looked around.  No one made eye contact with me.  I have no idea who put there here.  Is this a turning point in my life? Am I starting down that shady road of back alley dealings and quick hand-offs in a crowded food court?  Will the made-for-TV movie of my life decide this was when it all started going downhill?

I wonder who will play me...


I hate that game you play with your coffee when you're trying to get whatever that floating thing is out of there.  If I put the same amount of concentration and focus on other facets of my life I'd SO be the boss of you.  And you.  And you. 

Obscure Reference You Won't Understand

Erik and Sallah fixed our air conditioner.  What's Sallah gonna do next, keep me from eating a poisonous date?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pearl Jam Twenty

The trailer for Cameron Crowe's documentary about Pearl Jam looks pretty good, yo.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I don't harbor ill-will toward people often in my life, but when I do...  Last night when I got home from my sweaty, stinky, hour-long commute which included walking and waiting and riding on a crowded metro train, I discovered that our house was no longer being "air conditioned" although I could hear the air conditioner running.  In the end we had to sleep sans AC with the promise that a repairman would be arriving at our house promptly at 7:00 AM this morning.  The motherfucker never showed.  (I save up my swear words for rainy days and decided to spend one - sorry.)  We haven't had AC since yesterday evening and now we have to start over by calling a completely new repairman and waiting for him to show up.  Meanwhile, my wife, child, and dog are all panting at home. 

If I'm not careful I might snap here at work at the first person who asks "Is it Friday yet?"

Monday, July 25, 2011

Knights of Badassdom

For Some, "Gamer" Still Means "Social Outcast"

Anders Behring Breivik was a likable loner, a seemingly harmless Norwegian who masked his sudden disappearance from society to prepare for the biggest single-handed massacre in recent history with a modern affliction: Video game addiction. Breivik, 32, the confessed terrorist behind a bombing and shooting spree that left nearly 90 dead, many children, said he used a claimed World of Warcraft gaming addiction to prevent those close to him from prying into his personal life in the days, the weeks leading up to his twin attacks in Oslo.
In his 1,518-page manifesto, Breivik writes that it is important to avoid suspicion from relatives, neighbors and friends while planning your attack.
Say you play World of Warcraft or another MMO and have developed an addiction for it," he wrote. "Say that [you] are going to play hardcore for the rest of the year and it is no point trying to convince your otherwise. Inform them that you will be busy doing that in the future etc. Tell them that you are ashamed of it and you don't want to talk any more about it. Make them swear to not tell anyone! (You just effectively prevented any more questions from that person AND made the individual assist you in protecting your cover from everyone else.)
This "credible project", he writes, will "justify your new pattern of activities (isolation/travel) while in the planning phase."
Don't get me wrong: the perception of gamers as loners that Breivik used as a cloak to hide his actions is almost inconsequential in light of the devastation that Breivik caused with a bomb and his shooting spree. But it is also bothersome that, for some, gaming continues to be a sort of accepted addiction.
It's a reminder that for a portion of society, gaming is something alien, foreign, perhaps dangerous. For these people, gamers are by definition social outcasts.
Gaming didn't make Breivik a killer—or even a more efficient killer, despite his claims. (It would be disingenuous to presume that Breivik didn't learn something of, say, military tactics by playing games—that verisimilitude to real world warfare is part of the reason we respond so strongly to games like Modern Warfare 2—but any real knowledge he gained is a rounding error compared to what he learned by actually shooting weapons in real life.)
Reached for comment over the weekend, Australia's Home Affairs Minister, who is currently dealing with a modernization of the country's game rating system, perhaps summarized gaming's connection to this atrocity best.
"Clearly there is something wrong with this person to cause such devastation in Norway," Brendan O'Connor told Australia's ABC television. " But I'm not sure that the argument goes that as a result of watching a game that you turn into that type of person. I think there is something clearly intrinsically wrong with him."
I've wrestled for days with why the twin Oslo attacks have bothered me more than the thousand other acts of violence I wrote about and reflected upon while covering crime for newspapers for a dozen years. Some of those crimes were no less atrocious, the human toll no less terrible.
But this case connects with a part of my life I've always seen as harmless: Gaming. That Breivik would kill so many in some atrociously misguided attempt to win people over to his extremist cause is ghastly, that he in some way has a connection to me because we enjoy the same hobby is sickening.
It's also a reminder how easily this hobby can be misconstrued. Perhaps it's worth taking a moment to reflect on your own gaming habits to see if you're doing anything to perpetuate those stereotypes. It's certainly OK to play lots of games—it's okay to make them your primary activity as far as I'm concerned—but after a human tragedy like the killings in Oslo, it's worth taking a step back and remembering that we're all part of communities outside of games, too, and that striking a balance between escapism and fraternity is well worth the effort.
Well Played is an internationally syndicated weekly news and opinion column about the big stories of the week in the gaming industry and its bigger impact on things to come. Feel free to join in the discussion.


Amy Winehouse is dead.  Our world suffers for her loss.  Her life was tragic, but her talent was extraordinary.  In my mind I always view the "troubled" artists in a naive way: "Boy, I can't wait to see what she does after she gets clean!"  But that's not going to happen and now we'll never know how awesome she could have been. And that makes me extremely sad. 

Her friend and fellow Brit Russell Brand wrote a touching and poignant piece about Amy HERE

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sharks can smell yearning from miles away!

So... This place exists.  And that means I have to re-prioritize everything in my life so I can someday get there. But seriously, how the heck am I supposed to concentrate on work knowing that this place exists?  God, maybe you'd like to field this one... How do I go on knowing that at the end of my work day I won't be driving to where ever this pier is and taking off my shoes and running across that blue water to that tiny island where I probably will never wear another pair of pants again in my life? Well, God?  I'm waiting...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Twenty Years

Nirvana's album Nevermind is 20 years old this year.  It's difficult for me to attempt to put into worlds how NECESSARY Nirvana was to the world. 

The year was 1991 and this young lad had just graduated from high school.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Fortunately, I was smart enough to know that I should probably go to college.  But even that decision was a disillusioned and directionless one. I knew I couldn't stay in Huntley - 1991 was the year my journey began.  And Nirvana provided the soundtrack.

From a historical perspective, Nirvana can be put upon the shelf with the likes of The Beatles.  In a world swamped with Talk Dirty To Me and Dr. Feelgood, "grunge" music snuck in our collective back doors and had sex with our girlfriends.  Grunge grabbed our acne faces and slapped the Whitesnake right out of them.  Thank God for Kurt Cobain (and all the other lesser Seattle-based grunge bands who motivated and inspired him).

Strangely, it was morbidly fitting that he died young.  I was very angry at Kurt for killing himself. I felt like he abandoned a entire movement of disillusioned youths taking their first steps on journeys that would mold them and form them and make them legendary.  Or so we hoped. 

I also pitied Kurt because we now know he was in a lot of physical pain. A pain only drugs and suicide could quell.  Also, I'm not so sure Kurt wanted to be a leader of a generation.  It landed in his lap and he wasn't given a choice.

Regardless, Nevermind changed the landscape of music and most likely saved a lot of lives.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Skinny Dipping to Work

Bracing for the heat wave. Like it matters. There we are sitting on the train sweating through our monkey suits and some prick has the nerve to warn me about the looming heat wave.   

I could really go for a swim. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Music Appreciation: Dum Dum Girls


Bought some Cherry Coke yesterday.  Tastes like seeing Rambo: First Blood Part 2 in a movie theater in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Shortly after seeing the movie I bought a Rambo poster.  On the poster, Rambo has his bow pulled back with the explosive arrow tip in the foreground. Boom. Fat kid bedroom.

Rambo, which replaced Indiana Jones, was later replaced with Robert Smith. Boys Don't Cry.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Last I dreamed I was a cop chasing a bad guy down a dark alley and I accidentally shot my partner in the foot.  As far as interpretations go is this a good sign, or a REALLY good sign?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

All Star Break

Yesterday the elderly, female security guard at work stopped me to talk about baseball.  She favors the Phillies and erased all doubt in my mind that she wouldn't be able to stop a wild maniac from entering our workspace.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tiny Bees Clung to Us

like hats in a high wind, though
there was no wind and the border
lay only a mile or two ahead.
Cross it and be free, we thought,
holding each other a last time
before dashing out, heedless of patrols
scouring the hills for we who were hated,
we who believed.
And because of our belief, perhaps, the bees
were soft and stingless
all through that day, warming us, whispering
of secret ways, humming a tune we followed
like a path.
And later, what a night it was! Loving
in a roofless ruin, starlight
falling over us like music we had never heard,
like joy's lanterns, diamond bees
spending themselves as we were spent, lighting up
the dark hives over which we knew God
bent as though happy
or blind.

By Christopher Howell


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Adventure Time

The opening and then me on ukulele.  As you see it ain't hard.  Three chords. Boom. Fist pump. BTW, we totes watched this show all weekend because Cartoon Network ran two marathons and that makes us awesome.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why U2 is Awesome

Why U2 was, is, and always will be one of the greatest bands that ever was.  The story via Buzzfeed: A blind guy held a sign up at a Nashville U2 concert that read "Blind guitar player. Bring me up" and Bono did.  The the guy got to play his wedding song, All I Want is You, and keep the guitar.  Amazing.

Last Night

I saw a rare Suicide Squeeze play last night. Michael Morse was on third base and started running for home plate on the faith that Laynce Nix would successfully lay down a bunt thereby stealing home.  It worked.  The Nationals won.  I also ate a chili dog and some Cracker Jacks.

Nats Park

The chili dog from Ben's Chili Bowl was a bad choice.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nats Game Tonight

I'm going to the Nationals game tonight.  My first visit to the new Nationals Park which I hear is beautiful.  And also, the Cubs are in town.

It'll be a symbolic night for me because I have chosen to wear the same hat I've worn all summer:  My red curly W hat.  Any other year prior to this one I would've been sporting the old blue C hat with all the rest of the transplanted Chicagoans.  Not anymore.

The only thing I haven't decided yet is what catchy insults I'll use when harassing the sad Cub fans! (Years of pent up frustration as a Cub fan should result in some gems!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


SoulPancake asks:    How are you connected to the universe?

Obviously, we're all connected to the universe in similar ways, so I guess the question should be How do you perceive yourself connected to the universe?  Religious people will say something about God, scientists will say something about molecules and atoms, hippies will say something about weed.  Wait, what was the question again? 

Here's another question: Does is matter if we are aware of our connectedness to the universe?  I say no.  In fact, I'll go one step further and say knowing how we are connected might be detrimental to the connection.  Nothing kills a relationship faster than knowing you're in a relationship.  "Wait, are we dating now?"

The beauty of our existence is its obliviousness to its inner workings.  If the wildebeest knew the alligators were lurking in the river they'd stop going to the river, in turn eliminating both wildebeests and alligators.  I say ignorance is bliss.  Eat up, boys.


Monday, July 4, 2011

This Is What You Shall Do

By Walt Whitman

This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

(From The Writer's Almanac, July 4, 2011)