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Aug. 27th, 2008


Karma... you're soaking in it

It seems there was a tiny little sprinkler malfunction at the DNC in Denver.

In the Fox News booth.

Now, I'm not normally given to schadenfreude, but... oh fuck it. Yes I am. This story made my day. Suck it, Fox News. And here's hoping that your insurance company calls it an "act of God" and refuses to pay up.

Aug. 13th, 2008


In which I say some terribly un-PC things

I haven't said much about this on this blog, because I didn't want to really say the things I've been thinking. But it has become apparent that familiarity does breed contempt, and generalizations are sometimes very accurate, and I have discovered an entire ethnic group that I don't like.

Basically, it all started with this nasty, unusually hot summer we've been having in Oregon. It pretty much feels just like California around here right now. Not quite as hot as in the middle of the San Fernando Valley, where three digits are the norm for most of July and August, but plenty hot. And dry. We haven't had a drop of rain in a month. We had rain every day until mid June, and then it just stopped. And someone put the knob on "Broil" and left it there.

We live on the second floor of an apartment building overlooking a swimming pool. We chose this view over another apartment, which overlooked a Dumpster. For most of the summer, we would have preferred the Dumpster.

Every kid in the apartment complex is in or around the pool, all the time. Thousands of them. Most of our neighbors are Hispanic, which means they each have eight kids and zero discipline. And they all love to blast some sort of noise that they seem to think is music. And they hang out in the stairwell and jabber away, with the echo and the lack of weatherstripping on the door making it sound like they're standing in our living room. We are surrounded by noise, of various degrees of unpleasantness, for most of the day. We might have been able to pick a worse apartment complex, but I think it would have taken a conscious effort. It's hell here. We hate it.

We yell at them to turn down the music. We report them to the apartment manager. We call the cops. Everything is a temporary fix. Just when I think we've gotten through to them, I hear one of their bratty little spawn out on its balcony, blowing a toy horn across the courtyard. Its parents seem to think it has the right to do this. There is almost always garbage in the parking lot, and usually it includes beer cans. Cars with no mufflers buzz up and down the parking lot at all hours, blaring the same shitty excuse for music. None of them go to bed, or in fact even go inside, until about midnight. On weekdays. Five of their kids were playing in a pile of discarded furniture next to the carports when I came home. In the middle of fucking suburbia! The buildings were all painted earlier this year, and now they're all trashed-looking again.

We signed a year lease on this torture chamber, never imagining that it would get so bad. Honestly, I had no idea the Mexicans from California had discovered Oregon. I thought we'd be rid of them, moving up here. Had I known, I might have suggested we move to Canada. Surely they can't cross TWO borders to annoy us, can they?

I haven't seen any signs of anyone trying to improve their situation, or taking any pride in their homes, or anything. There doesn't seem to be any purpose or goal to anything they do. All they seem to do is consume and reproduce. Oh, but they're all Catholic, so they're all "God's children" and therefore special, in their opinion.

(You think I'm being racist, don't you? Fine. YOU live with the fuckers for a while.)

We have to get away from here. We have to have a piece of land we can forbid people to set foot on, and a structure with its own freestanding walls. We need some peace and quiet and sanity.

So we started looking for a house, just to keep ourselves sane. Then we found out we could break our lease if we pay a one-month penalty. Sold! Just let us find a place, and we're history. Once we're gone, they can trash the place, for all I care. And I'm certain they will. They're already working hard at it.

We thought we had found a place, but the inspection didn't go well. And then we started thinking about it, and even if we fixed everything that was wrong with it, it still wouldn't be right. So instead of rushing, we're trying really hard to take the time to find the right place. Which means we're stuck here for a little while longer. It's supposed to be in the nineties all weekend. It's gonna suck.

Oh, and the book is on hold until we move. I can't even begin to concentrate with all this goddamn racket.

Aug. 11th, 2008


But... if we don't beat them up, how will they know we're scared of them?

Just because it's been a while since I posted something that absolutely disgusted me:

It's Okay to Beat Up Gays in North Carolina

Jesus Handjob Motherfucking Christ on a fucking Wheat Thin. Is there anything you fucking Christian rednecks aren't terrified of? Seriously, how empty and shallow and meaningless are your lives, that you put so much time and effort into worrying about what other people do in their bedrooms? And isn't the whole "he's difern't, so we hafta hit him" thing getting just a little bit old? Look, you retarded inbred hicks. No one wants to fuck you anyplace you don't want to be fucked, so just fucking relax and live and let live, all right? Bloody hell, you people make my brain hurt.

And, although I realize that logic is not your strong suit, I feel I must point out that since you draw the line based on your belief that homosexuality is not an immutable characteristic (which is fucking bullshit, by the way), your precious Jeebus lies on the same side of that line, since Christianity is demonstrably a choice. What this means for your sister-fucking school kids is this: If it's acceptable for your kid to beat up another kid for being gay, it is equally acceptable for the gay kid to beat up yours for being Christian. Didn't think about that, did you? Fuck, you people are dumb.

Jul. 25th, 2008


What hath Gwen wrought?

It's time. I'm calling it. The worst song on the radio, summer 2008, is "Love Remains The Same" by Gavin Rossdale.

"But," you're saying, "He's the guy from Bush! Everything Zen! That kick-ass song from that werewolf movie! How can he do anything that sucks?" Well, go find a download or pop over to YouTube and check it out. Hear for yourself.

See? Lame. Lame, lame, lame. And overplayed. It's on the "alternative" radio station at least three times a day while I'm at work. And I don't even listen to the radio all day, so it might be more often. But why? Is it popular just because of who it is? Is it payola? And more important, how could a former rock demigod like Gavin Rossdale possibly record such an insufferably lame song?

I have a theory. I'm going to blame his wife, Gwen Stefani.

She did some cool stuff in the past. "Spiderwebs" was a cool song. And she looked really cute walking around barefoot in that blue dress in the "Don't Speak" video. But then, it all went wrong, somehow. And now, not content to break up No Doubt, not willing to rest on her laurels after making the world a slightly more horrifying place with the atrocity of "Hollaback Girl," she has set her sights higher (or is it lower?) and somehow convinced, cajoled, forced, or possibly just allowed her husband to record a ballad so horrid it would make John Waite cringe.

Now, don't get me wrong; there's nothing wrong with lame songs. But there is an art to lameness; you can't just suck and call it a day. You have to get to that Phil Collins place, where you know you're lame, but you make it work for you. And you can't half-ass it. Phil gives his lameness his all, and in the process becomes just a little bit awesome. Same thing with Richard Marx. Steve Perry. And, perhaps the king of kings, Barry Manilow. These are the levels of lame that you have to shoot for.

Miss that mark by just a little bit, however, and suddenly you're Kip Winger.

Gavin, I get it. You love your wife. She makes you want to do all sorts of sappy things, write cheesy songs, give up your hard rockin' ways and sing ballads to her all day long. I understand, really. But come on, man; either do it or don't.

I'll expect better things from the next single. Step it up a notch, or go home.

And Gwen, shame on you for allowing this.
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Two all-beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese...

I'm not crazy about fast food in general, and I usually try to avoid McDonald's in particular. I can't remember the last time I had anything from beneath the Golden Arches that wasn't breakfast food, and even that was over a year ago. And it's got nothing to do with a certain mustachioed crusader and his movie about eating nothing but McDonald's, although I'm sure my health is better for it. I just want my food the way I want it, and it's too much hassle to special-order food there, or pick out the bits I don't like.

But this weekend, since I'm bacheloring it anyway (my wife is scuba diving), I think I'll stop by good old Mickey D's and drop a few bucks on a nice Big Mac. I suddenly feel compelled to show my support for McDonald's.

And why, you may ask?

Because it pisses off the fundies. What better reason could there possibly be?

In case you're not up to speed, McDonald's, among a bunch of other charitable contributions, gave like twenty grand to a group that supports legalizing gay marriage, and had a float in the San Francisco Pride Parade. It was a nice gesture on their part, and a good way to get some positive publicity after Super Size Me. But as these things tend to, that one little gift was blown way out of proportion by the Christian right, and for the way they tell it, McDonald's has graphic images of the Hamburglar bending Mayor McCheese over the counter on the side of every Happy Meal box. McDonalds, in the eyes of these wackadoos with too much time on their hands, is trying to poison their children with the "Gay Agenda" (insert dramatic music here).

Now, I'm straight, but I'm familiar enough with the gay community that I can say with absolute certainty that the only "agenda" they have is to get right-wing Christians to leave them the hell alone. And I think it's wonderful that such a "traditional American" company as McDonald's is throwing a token of support their way. That's real progress. And I fully understand why it sticks in the collective craw of the right-wingers. But you know what I have to say to them? Tough shit. The times, they are a-changin', and McDonald's is changing with them. Get over it, and mind your own goddamn business.

My worry is that this boycott will have at least some teeth to it, which is too bad. Sure, the world could do without fast-food restaurants, but McDonald's does a lot of good with their burger money, more than a lot of big companies do, and it would be sad to see that go away just because a bunch of prissy fucks care what other people do in private.

So that's why I'm going to go eat at McDonald's this weekend. Maybe for lunch tomorrow. A big greasy slab of Americana. A reverse-boycott. A piping-hot French fry in the eye of all the assholes that make the word "family" sound sinister. A taste of freedom. (And don't worry, honey; I'll have salad for dinner to counteract it.)

Jul. 2nd, 2008


Pretentious Wanker Lane

Part of my new job is making street signs. Yes, I know the letters are too small. No, I can't do anything about it; there's a specification I have to follow.

Anyway, several times I have seen streets I know from my own neighborhood, which is kind of cool, and as I gain familiarity with the Portland area, I find that there are more and more street names I recognize. And it's fun, because I've always liked to see the street names of different areas, and try to figure out what regional influence created them.

But there are some that just have to be seen to be believed: Jewelberry Avenue, Crystal Coral Drive, shit like that. I know exactly where these streets are, even though I've never been near them. They're in suburbia, the cookie-cutter wasteland of sprawl that has grown around the edges of every American city in the past thirty years like a fungus. These pretentious signs hang over crooked streets full of shoddily-built McMansions with overpriced Japanese SUVs in the driveways, full of glassy-eyed automatons who sold their souls for a plasma TV and vote Republican because they're scared of their own shadow.

I should know. I grew up in the proto-suburb of Boulder Hill, Illinois, in a once-lovely valley between the towns of Montgomery and Oswego. Our house was a precursor to the McMansions of today: bigger than it needed to be, thrown onto its foundation in such a hurry that floors creaked and doorways leaned from day one, crowded onto an irregular-shaped lot on a tiny street that went nowhere: Beau Meade Road. Gah.

Some people, I know, might think this is sour grapes, that I'm just jealous of the money these people have. That's true; I am. But I won't spend the seventy or eighty hours a week in a cubicle it takes to afford that lifestyle, and even if I had the money, I'd skip the oversized house and ostentatious jacked-up-station-wagon (which is all an SUV is, really) and revolving debt, and fix up a little house and drive a beat-up old sports car that's paid for. (Hey wait; that sounds like what I do now!)

So enjoy your shiny stuff and credit card bills, denizens of Pretentious Wanker Lane. But keep in mind that the guy who made your street sign is laughing at you.
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Jul. 1st, 2008



I don't even know what to say:

Barack Obama Loses His Fucking Mind

Wait, yes I do.


Listen close, you fuckers. My right to IGNORE your retarded fucking bullshit TRUMPS your right to shoot off your fucking mouths about it. Your made-up shit deserves NO respect and NO special treatment.

Fucking hell. I never thought I'd be questioning whether to stay in this diseased rat-hole of a country even if a fucking DEMOCRAT gets in.

I sincerely hope this is just an empty campaign lie, Mr. Obama. If not, you can kindly go fuck yourself.

You know, I WAS gonna buy a bumper sticker from you. Now, no fucking way.

Jun. 30th, 2008


No static at all... and not much good music, either

I recently started a new job. For the past three weeks I have been making street and highway signs for a company in southeast Portland. The pay isn't great, but the work is simple, and the commute isn't bad, and the people are good. It's not an ideal situation, but it'll do for now.

And so, for the first time in a long time, I've been listening to entire days of FM radio. And it only took me a week to realize how much I really hate it.

Commercial FM radio has nothing to do with music. That's the basic problem. The music exists only as something to fill up space between advertisements, and to maybe help the record companies shift a few CDs. This is done by selecting one song off the CD that seems the "catchiest," and playing it and it alone as many times a day as possible. There is a name for this: it's called "heavy rotation." And I hate it with every fiber of my music-loving being. It makes no sense to me from an artistic standpoint; often the radio singles are the songs the band considers "throwaway" songs, the stuff they put on there to make the record company shut up. They're almost always the worst song on the album. But a lot of times, they're the only song you hear.

Ever. For all time. My new co-workers have made a game out of "twofer Tuesdays," when the classic rock station plays back-to-back songs by the same band. They try to guess what the second song will be when the first one is played. Obviously, all you're ever going to hear are former radio singles, so unless it's a Beatles song, or someone equally prolific, there are only at most ten or so possible songs for any given band, so it's really not that hard to guess and be right once in a while. Confine yourself to whatever is on that band's greatest hits album, and you'll be in the ballpark. (I always lose this game because I guess the song Iwant to hear next instead of the one they're most likely to play.)

The local alternative-rock station has tried to counter this with some of their features, namely "Track Seven," in which they pick one album per day and play all the songs off it over the course of the day, and "Perfect Playlist," when they have a listener come in and play the five songs they most want to hear. The problem is that the albums they pick for Track Seven are dreadfully obvious choices, and most people's Perfect Playlists are full of nothing but radio singles.

Now, apparently I'm the odd-man-out when it comes to music anyway, because even when I find something new I absolutely adore, I don't play it over and over again, because I know I'll get tired of it. So I ration it out. That way, when I do listen to it, my appreciation for it grows instead of diminishes. This is why there are some CDs by "one hit wonders" that I know backwards and forwards, and love every track, because I didn't just burn myself out on the single. From talking to people, I gather that no one else does this.

Oh well. I have now reloaded my iPod with full albums that I enjoy, and so I just listen to that. I'll rotate the albums out when I want to hear something else. Keep your Twofer Tuesdays.

Jun. 6th, 2008


It shouldn't even be a contest

Well, we've got our nominee for President. And as usual, he wasn't my first choice, but he was higher up his respective list than John Kerry was on his. I'd rather have seen Mike Gravel or John Edwards up there, but I like Barack Obama. And I like him even more after watching his acceptance speech, which was eloquent, gracious, passionate, and not easily summed up in a sound bite, which is why I recommend that you watch the whole thing. It's 29 minutes long, but worth it.

And already there are rumblings of the sort of sour-grapes factioning that messed things up for Kerry, and Gore, and nearly messed up Bill Clinton's second term. People who supported Hillary Clinton are, here and there, making noise about not liking Obama and therefore entertaining the possibility of not voting for him.

This is unforgivable.

Barack Obama may not be the person you were hoping would get nominated for the Democrats, but it's official. And we're not going to uproot the whole two-party system in the six months between now and the general election. So it's simple, really; you have to vote for Obama. Because the alternative is unthinkable.

John McCain is an amoral, batshit insane, complete and utter motherfucker. He is a contemptible excuse for a human being, let alone an American who wants to serve in public office. He deserves to be recalled from his Senate seat, though so do many Senators. He is a liar and a warmonger and is thoroughly incompetent at the job of leading, because he doesn't want to lead.

He wants to rule.

We've had a batshit insane and totally incompetent ruler for eight years now, and look where it's gotten us: stuck in a war and a recession, neither of which those who caused them are willing to fix or even acknowledge; hated and ridiculed by nearly every other nation on Earth, scared of our own shadows, retreating into our dark living rooms with the shades drawn to spy on the neighbors and soak up passive entertainment from the idiot box in the corner. We are, in short, exactly where John McCain wants us to be. He will give us four years of the same, only more so.

Will Obama do any better? Is there any substance behind his Mr-Smith-Goes-To-Washington optimism? I don't know. I like to think so, but we can't know that until and unless we give him a chance to try. That's the point. You can't wish problems away; you have to try to fix them. And even if your fix doesn't work, you have to try something else. You have to be willing to take a chance on something or someone, because your only alternative is putting up with things the way they are. And I don't know about you, but I'm pretty goddamned sick and tired of the way things are.

So enough with the petty squabbling bullshit, okay? I'm not going to tell anyone to vote for Barack Obama. I am, however, going to beseech people to vote AGAINST John McCain. America deserves better than that piece of shit. We deserve a chance to mend.

May. 1st, 2008


I'm giving you a longing look...

Well, here we go again. I'm still out of work and I just finished my latest freelance graphics job, so I have time on my hands. And I am under orders to get my ass going on the next novel.

The working title is Shape Shift, and it's about a werewolf. I have a good outline for it; I know what happens; I know who the characters are. Time to actually start writing the sucker.

So wish me luck, and don't expect much in the way of rants for a while. Because starting today, everyday, I write the book.
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