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Mar. 15th, 2010


My yearly don't-deactivate-my-account post...

Nothing to see here. Move along...

Mar. 10th, 2009


A bit of housekeeping

My other blog, "Breakfast in Davenport," is now gone. I always meant for the stories in there to be collected in a book, and if that's the case, I should keep them to myself until that time. Thanks for reading, if you did, and look for something new later on down the road.

Dec. 6th, 2008


Writer's Block: Legends of Rock

There are a few concerts that go down in musical history—Altamont, Woodstock, Live Aid, the Hannah Montana Best of Both Worlds tour—as legendary experiences. What live show stands as legend in your own experience?

Hands down, Guns N' Roses in January of 1992. I drove from Superior, WI to the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN with my roommate, his girlfriend, and one of her friends. The show started three hours late, Axl was so drunk he fell over at one point, and my car broke down on the way home, but the show itself was epic. We were fifty feet from one of the speaker towers; that show probably contributed to the tinnitus that plagues me to this day.

In fact, I have already written about it over here.

Nov. 18th, 2008


The Artist Formerly Known As Someone Whose Records I'll Buy

Fuck you too, Prince.

Nov. 13th, 2008


"Waah! Stop making fun of us!"

Apparently, there's a push for the UN to ban blasphemy. First the Mormons fuck with a ballot measure that has nothing to do with them, now this bullshit? I think some people are forgetting a few things:

1. It's not blasphemy unless you're actively practicing the religion. I, as an atheist, am incapable of committing blasphemy. Your dumb-fuck little rules only apply to the people who actively choose to follow them. The rest of us will do whatever the fuck we want, whenever the fuck we want to.

2. Making fun of you for believing some silly bullshit is not blasphemy either. It is ridicule. And you would be deserving enough of it for simply believing the silly bullshit. But the truth is that your silly bullshit gets people killed. Every day, all over the world. And it fucks up the lives of countless others. We make fun of you for it because it is the only non-violent way we have of dealing with the wreckage your silly bullshit leaves behind.

3. Be careful how you throw around the word "terrorist." Likewise "persecution." We have shown infinite patience and above-and-beyond accommodation to you and your silly bullshit. We're not trying to get you to change. We just want you fuckers to shut up and leave us alone. We don't want to torture you into confessing anything, or hang you for being accused of the impossible by bored little girls, or steal airplanes and fly them into your buildings, or any of the other atrocities that you fuckers have been guilty of over the centuries. If you want us to act like terrorists towards you, or show you what real persecution is, say the word. All we have to do is start treating you the way you treat everyone else.

Nov. 5th, 2008



To everyone who voted for Obama: Thank you for taking away a little of my cynicism.

To the Republicans: Nyah-nyah! So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, fuck you!

To the majority of voters in California: Shame on you. I find it absolutely disgusting that you let that atrocity pass. I have never been so glad to no longer live in a place in my life, and if I did still live in California, this would be the final straw that drove me away.

To President-Elect Obama: Congratulations, sir. I ask only one thing: Last night you promised to be honest with us. Please keep that promise. If you do that and nothing else, you will be worthy of the trust we have placed in you. Oh, and good luck in your new job. You're going to need it.

Nov. 2nd, 2008


My one final word about the election

I've been asked to say something about the impending election. I've been avoiding it, because I can't be rational about this one. I can't even be civil about it. But why do I have to be civil? Fuck civility; I need to make my feelings absolutely clear.

So here it is:

If you vote for McCain and Palin, or if those of you in California vote in favor or Proposition 8, you can't be my friend anymore. I am dead serious. If you vote in favor of that bigoted old fuckbag and that retarded Barbie doll, or if you flat-out insult my little brother by voting for Prop 8, you can simply go fuck yourself.

I leave it up to individuals to let me know how they feel about this. And I would hope that each of you would have the balls to let me know if you're going to slap me, and the people I love, in the face in this way. I won't be asking anyone, but if I find out, no matter who wins, even if it's years from now, our friendship is over. I don't care who you are. I forgave a few Bush voters as simply being misguided; this time around, I can't attribute the conservative vote as anything but malicious, and I can't see it as anything but a personal attack.

So if you care about me, or your friendship with me, vote for Obama, and vote no on 8 if you're in Cali. If not, we're through.

Oct. 15th, 2008


Poor, poor Rutherford

(I'm going to try to post more regularly. I promise. Pinky-swear, even.)

A funny thing happened at work today. I was laying out a batch of street signs for a small town in Washington that shall remain anonymous, for now. The order was for a bunch of signs for streets named after former Presidents. Lots of towns have such a section, and so it's not uncommon for me to make signs for Lincoln, Adams, Jefferson, Grant, et cetera, streets.

But the fair city of [Stiwtsrafn] also requested a couple unusual ones: Garfield, Harding, and... "Hays."

Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States, wasn't notable for a whole lot. He was one of the first of the Dickhead Republican Presidents, a tradition that I'm sincerely hoping does not continue into 2009, but otherwise he's basically just a historical footnote. But being President does get you streets named after you.

Now, if you're going to name a street after a President, it's usually proper to spell his name right. I pointed out the error to my boss, who took it to his boss, who checked the paperwork, and nope... the mistake wasn't on our end. The customer actually wants "Hays" instead of "Hayes."

Well, hey... the customer is always right. So we're making the sign as ordered. Like my boss says, we'll probably end up re-doing it after someone at their end points out the error, but that's for another day.

But if you happen to live in the fair city of [Stiwtsrafn], or know the history teacher at [Stiwtsrafn] High School, you might want to point it out. You know, for Rutherford's sake.

Sep. 15th, 2008


The Coens have done it again

This weekend, in our latest attempt to avoid our horrific neighbors, we decided to go see a movie. As many of my friends know, I am a huge fan of the Coen brothers' movies, and when I heard about Burn After Reading, I got the impression that it was going to be the sort of Coen brothers film I really like. And I was right.

It seems like most guys my age go for The Big Lebowski as their favorite. And while I am indeed glad to know that The Dude is out there, takin'er easy for all us sinners, I enjoy their darker, harder to define films more. My favorite is still Fargo, with The Hudsucker Proxy coming in a close second. And I do believe that Burn After Reading has now secured the number three spot.

There's a scene between John Malkovich and Brad Pitt that simply has to be seen to be understood. George Clooney's character loses his mind on-screen in such a perfect way that you forget it's normally supercool George Clooney doing it. Frances McDormand kicks all kinds of ass, in a low-self-esteem-but-determined-to-get-what-she-wants kind of way. And the incomparable J.K. Simmons, whom you know as the boss of both Peter Parker and Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson, sums up the storyline of the movie in one moment: He shakes his head, sighs, and mutters, "What a clusterfuck."

But it's a fantastic clusterfuck, the sort of clusterfuck we've come to expect and adore from the Coens. This movie doesn't take itself, its characters, or its subject matter seriously, but it's so earnest that you can't really call it a comedy. And while you laugh, several times, it's an uncomfortable laugh, a laugh of recognition of the ugly truth. That laugh is the reason I see the Coen brothers' films, and it's the reason you should go see Burn After Reading.

Sep. 9th, 2008


I love big old rusty things

I have some really weird tastes and hobbies. I'm aware of this. This weekend, I got to indulge in another on my stranger ones: my love affair with big creepy dead machines.

I don't know what the draw is, to be honest. But show me a tractor rotting away in a field, weeds growing up through the spokes in the wheels, and I'm a happy guy. I like to tour old mines and places like that, to see all the gigantic equipment, quietly rusting away in a dark corner. I could spend hours in a junkyard; I even dawdle at U-Pull-It when I go get parts for my car. I don't want to see the wrecked ones, but I love the old cars that just plain wore out and now are enjoying a well-deserved rest.

Over the years I have been lucky enough to see some real beauties: the abandoned gold mines and ghost towns of central Colorado, an airplane graveyard in Kansas, and the mother lode (so to speak): the Quincy copper mine in Hancock, Michigan, home of the world's largest steam hoist engine. The big drum in the middle spins and pulls a cable up and down the mine shaft, to put miners in and bring copper out, at over 30 miles per hour (!). This thing is HUGE, and the building it's housed in is a wonderful old crumbly concrete structure that looks more like a cathedral than part of a mine. And the entire grounds of the place is littered with hunks of junk, gently returning to the minerals from which they were made.

This weekend, however, I may have found a new favorite Big Old Rusty Thing: the Peter Iredale, a British sailing ship that ran aground near Astoria, Oregon in 1906 and has been sitting there ever since. She was a huge iron thing, with four masts, and when she washed up on the beach, she became an instant tourist attraction.

There's not much left of her now, and most of what is left is buried in the silt. From the sounds of it, at high tide, she's completely underwater. But we were there when the tide was fairly low, though not all the way out, so she sat there right at the water's edge, with the occasional wave lapping around her rusty prow and washing over the stumps of her masts. It was creepy, and somehow wonderful, to stand near one of those stumps and imagine her keel buried several feet in the sand below my feet. I ran my fingers over the crinkly surface of her bow, chuckling to myself that this might be the only chance I'll ever get to walk up to a shipwreck and touch it.

I don't know why I love stuff like this so much, but I really do. I don't have any morbid fascination with wrecks, or scenes of accidents, or anything like that, just the stuff that was abandoned, because it wore out, became obsolete, or (like the Peter Iredale) just ended up stuck someplace. Part of me wants to research these things, and find out if there are any other semi-famous Big Old Rusty Things I should see before the earth reclaims them for good. Rust never sleeps, after all. Anyone have any suggestions?

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