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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Rant: Chicago Alderman Wants to Ban Energy Drinks

It's been a while, but hopefully I'm back (at least for the time being). Hopefully getting back into the swing of writing in general will open up some new creativity channels and lead to some of my other artistic pursuits that... also aren't going so well.

So what better way to get back into my Blogger-posting than with a classic topic:

Chicago Aldermen Trying To Ban More Things

The proposed-ban du jour is Energy Drinks, but only those that are "a canned or bottled beverage which contains an amount of caffeine exceeding or equal to 180 milligrams-per-container and containing Taurine or Guarana."
Read more!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Brief Rant About a Sad Place

For those of you who don't know a lot about me yet, let me just state that I'm not really an animal lover.

I had a dog (Bichon Frise) growing up, and I did love her with all my heart, right up until that li'l girl passed away on February 13th, 2001. There will never be another like her, and I accept that. Every animal is different; not necessarily better nor worse. The next day, February 14th, 2001, I had all four wisdom teeth removed and then learned I'm allergic to penicillin. But that's a different story. This is a story about animals.

Later that year, I moved off to college. My experience with pets since then has been off-and-on; mostly off. I joined a fraternity and we had a community dog (American Bulldog) named Miller who was a decent creature. Others were more attached to him than I was; I accepted him for who he was and we had a few moments together but nothing that made me feel too attached to him.

I had a brief ownership of a newt, who I believe was suicidal. He refused to eat his food and instead ate one of his arms off. It was a short-lived experience and put me off of pet ownership for a while.

I moved out and into an apartment. It was several years later and I took in two red-ear slider turtles from Chinatown. I'm going to rationalize the decision with "I was young enough to be stupid enough to make such a decision." Their names were Tank and Tardy. Tank lasted a month. Tardy lasted a little over a year. That was the end of my pet ownership for a long time. I had enough friends to keep me socially occupied, although they all had CATS.

Eventually they had four cats, all female, living in their apartment. It was a big enough apartment, and a few of them stayed away from people (for the most part). I'm not a cat person. Never have been, probably never will be. Visiting their place and seeing the cats, it just reinforced my mindset that I'm not a cat person. I never had any malevolent thoughts about them (except for ONE time involving a window and what some could consider "dangling" but I still maintain was "prolonged rescuing"), but I knew I'd never really like them in any capacity.

It's about at that point I resigned myself to the belief that I was probably not a nice person because I really don't care for animals much.

And then we fast forward a few years. Those friends and I lost touch, I eventually wound up with a girlfriend, and she moved in with me. She made a decision that we were going to own rats as pets.

Now I have other friends who were also rat-owners. I knew a fair amount of stuff about it; I'd played with them on occasion, and I wasn't completely adverse to the idea.

So we got our first pair, Moose and Reese. When Reese passed away, we knew Moose shouldn't be alone, so we went with a rescue group and adopted Bubsy and Scampi. Moose passed away a while later (he was my favorite rattie and the one I've really connected with the most), and we planned on getting two more to join Bubsy and Scampi. An unfortunate situation arose and Scampi passed away recently. Our idea to adopt two more then became a decision to get three - and this time we went with a breeder so we'd hopefully have less random problems by not knowing their genetic history. So now Bubsy has three young'uns to play with (or get annoyed by): Michelob, Bailey and Guinness.

So now that you know the full story, and hopefully you understand that while I'm still the guy who'll propose that we eat all the overpopulation of dogs and cats to solve both the overpopulation and the world hunger problems at the same time; I'm not a completely heartless individual.

Except for cats. I still remain fairly heartless towards their kind.

And this brings me to The Sad Place. I live in the city of Chicago, and near the Orange Line, which is on the south side. I've done my exploring, and around the Pulaski station, I found this place called the "Super Mall". I was expecting to find something akin to a mall like in Los Angeles, but bigger. Instead, I found what can only be described as (and FourSquare has it labeled as) a "flea market". A mishmash of 4' by 6' stalls where an almost-entirely Spanish-speaking populous have set up their little shops full of overpriced trinkets, gewgaws and outrageous clothing. Also it contains at least TWO different tattoo parlors / piercing stations. And deep in the heart of this claustrophobic nightmare, there sits The Sad Place.

The Sad Place is a "pet store".

Now, the entrance to Super Mall clearly states "No Pets" are allowed, so it's curious to see a store selling pets inside. It would suggest that anyone buying a pet is in violation of Super Mall rules and needs to be punished. Well, the owner of this "pet store" needs to be punished more.

For starters, you know you're approaching The Sad Place because you can hear the unmistakable cacophony of about 200 parakeets trapped in about 5 different cages. And that's where you can feel your heart start to ache. I'm not ever going to agree with PETA on pretty much anything, but seeing a bird in a cage just makes me as angry as it makes me sad. Bird ownership just seems like a completely rotten thing to exist in the world, except in circumstances where it's allowed to exist outside of a cage. If a bird can't fly, you had better be fattening it up to eat, because keeping it in such a sad existence is just abhorrent to me. I'd rather EAT a parakeet than be responsible for having it live and die in a flightless caged existence.

Now I've been to The Sad Place a few times, and the only things he used to have there were the multitude of Pitiful Parakeets, and some tanks full of Doomed Fish, and maybe a cage of feeder mice and some snakes in terrariums. But today on our visit, it looks as though his business has expanded.

Well, it's still the same 4' by 6' space, but now there's a wider variety of animals suffering and waiting to be taken to a possibly-better life.

The first thing I saw (because I recognize them now from a distance) was the Rat Tank.



They were all black hooded (that I could tell, since there were about 8 to 10 in there, all huddled together on one side of the tank) and it took me a visit to the other tanks before I made some realizations. At first glance, it just looked pitiful, seeing them squished together and looking depressed. No activity, just a clump of animals banding together and possibly trying to sleep (don't know how anything can sleep near the incessant squawking of the Pitiful Parakeets). I moved on to see they now have a tank of gerbils, a cage of guinea pigs, and a cage of rabbits.



My girlfriend pointed out when she saw the rabbit cage that it's hovering over a pan that catches the droppings, and there was a ton of poop just sitting there, technically in the open air. That's when my eyes went to the water bottle hooked up to the rabbit cage: EMPTY. I saw one attached to the guinea pig cage: EMPTY. Then I went to see if the rats had water. Well, you can't strap a water bottle to a glass tank. And there was no water dish inside the tank, so I'm now under the assumption they had NO WATER. My girlfriend pointed out that it looked like the wood chips used for bedding/lining in the rat tank looked to be pine, which she knows better than I do is a not-good thing for rats. I was more concerned over the lack of water, the absence of food in ANY of the cages (though we're used to having free-fed rats and maybe I can give him the benefit of the doubt and accept that he might have feeding times for them - none of them looked particularly underfed/malnourished, but I'm not a vet), and the general inactivity of almost all of the creatures.

This is where we started whispering to each other about what constitutes as "animal cruelty" and if it would be better to contact the ASPCA or the BBB to make a report against The Sad Place.

Just to confirm one of my suspicions, I asked the guy running the place how much he was charging for the rats. Once he understood my English, he told me they are $7 apiece. I asked if they are all boys, and he replied that "It's a mix." I didn't need to ask if they were all spayed/neutered because I am 100% certain the answer is no.

I took another long look at the poor ratties, and saw one of them with its paw out on the glass. As if it were reaching out for someone to notice and rescue it from this existence... I couldn't stop myself from getting in one last photo...



It wasn't until I got home and took a closer look at the photo that I realized why I was subconsciously drawn to that paw, reaching out. Take a look at the fingers. You'll see that one of them is missing. I can't jump to any conclusions about how it happened or place any blame on anyone or anything for that particular circumstance. I just know that it affected me and has made me that more depressed to this about The Sad Place.

As we walked away from The Sad Place and off to try and find something less depressing to fill our Saturday, I told my girlfriend that if it weren't for the fact that I know there's nothing I could have done for those ratties, I would have bought them all and considered it a rescue. She reminded me that 1) it's not a rescue if it's just putting more money into that guy's pocket, 2) we don't know anything about them and don't have quarantine space for them to keep our current pet rats safe, and 3) maybe there's something else we can do to help.

She reached out on Facebook and got some suggestions to call 3-1-1 and make a report against them. She's already done so tonight, and I know her particular complaint includes a lot of more-specific things about The Sad Place, like the fact that they're keeping a bearded dragon in the same tank as iguanas or something and that they're non-cohabitable species.

(There's also a tiny tank with a scorpion and one with a tarantula. There's nothing reportable about it, I just don't care for either of those things.)

So I'm asking for some reader support and if you're in the Chicago area, please also call 3-1-1 and file a report about them and their deplorable conditions. The address of the Super Mall is 5220 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60632. The phone number for the Super Mall is (773) 581-9200.

Maybe we can complain to the Super Mall, since these little spaces for vendors don't seem to have much by way of shop names or phone numbers or anything.

If you don't want to believe me, or call the city to address a problem you haven't seen for yourself, I suggest you go and see for yourself and maybe it will affect you the way it's affected me. I consider myself to be a fairly-heartless individual when it comes to animals, but even a monster like myself doesn't believe that animals deserve this kind of life. (Except maybe for cats, but that's something to address another time in more detail.)

So that's my story about The Sad Place. If you want to help, please do so and reach out to me and let me know we're not alone in this. If not, I don't really blame you. I've scoffed at my fair share of boo-hoo animal stories, especially the ones on TV where they show you the sad pictures and try to make you give money.

Well I'm not asking for money. Just maybe a call to 3-1-1. Or a comment of support. Or a comment that I'm a monster anyway - at least I'll know you read this.

Oh, and if you are a person who 1) disagrees with my statements about bird ownership, 2) finds me to be a worthless shell of a human being for my loathing of cats, or 3) thinks that rats are disgusting and not actual pets, then let's agree to disagree for now and maybe we can address those issues in future posts.

Other types of comments are more than welcome. Please comment and let me know you've read this and also have an opinion about it. Read more!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pitch in an Elevator

I've decided to blog once more. Pick up the electronic pen and get some public opinionating done.

To aid me in my journey, I picked up "31 Days to Build a Better Blog". And Day 1 is all about the Elevator Pitch.

So, I took a glance up at the top of my webpage and it looks like I already have one:

"RANTS ABOUT POLITICAL ISSUES, OTHER STUFF IN GOVERNMENT, OPINION PIECES ON THE NEWS, AND OTHER WAYS OF COMBINING REAL NEWS WITH REAL IDEAS AND POINTING OUT REAL STUPIDITY WITH REAL HUMOR. THE TITLE IS BASED ON ONE OF MY MOST POPULAR RANTS ABOUT VEGETARIANS DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT AND HOW EATING STEAK CAN SAVE THE PLANET."

Okay, so I already have a BAD Elevator Pitch. Now it's time to take another look and see if I can shorten it and re-vamp it into something more meaningful...

Read more!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Yelp Extended Review: Heaven On Seven

We headed into Heaven On Seven completely excited over the prospect of their "all-you-can-eat" deal being available every day for lunch and dinner. We sat down at the table, ordered our drinks, and took a look at the menu. We found the AYCE section, but were a little dismayed that it only featured fried chicken, fried catfish, gumbo, jambalaya, and a bunch of sides. Yes, you could have as much as you want, but how much of those items would we want, after browsing the very exciting rest of the menu?

And that's when we saw it: "Jimmy, Feed Me!" - the chef's selection of Seven Heavenly Courses. It's basically paying $35 per person to tell the chef, "My meal is in your hands." For us, it was like being a celebrity judge on Iron Chef or any other Food Network judging show. We didn't know what we'd be getting, but we knew there would be seven rounds to see what our chef would be offering today.

Our server informed us it was pretty much "an appetizer round, then a soup round, then pretty much a bunch of smaller-portion entrees. He also made sure our table had no allergies. And while there are foods that we each dislike (I am not a fan of tomatoes; she dislikes sweet potatoes), we decided to throw caution to the wind. After all, if the CHEF thinks it's delicious, maybe our preconceptions could be wrong.

Read more!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Endless Shrimp, Endless Misery

I see going to Red Lobster as mostly a celebration / special occasion place. The prices are way up there, the portions aren't really that great, but when the ol' anniversary rolls around, I know the little lady is going to want lobster and as long as we're paying for lobster, I might as well do so at a place where they have endless Cheddar Bay Biscuits to keep me happy.

In fact, Red Lobster pretty much has accepted that's all they're good for, since every time you come in, they seat you and flat-out ask you if there's a special occasion you're celebrating. Because they know it's a rare event that someone just says "I'm hungry for dinner - let's just go to Red Lobster."

Well, the special occasion we were celebrating tonight was the seasonal return of the Endless Shrimp promotion. It's one of the only times I'll volunteer making the trip and paying the price to eat here, because it's one of the only times I feel I can finally get some of that lost money back and really make it worth my time. But the past two times we've been to this place for the Endless Shrimp, it's just gotten worse and worse. Today just topped it all with a one-two combination of ineptitude and inattention.

To start, we had a comfort issue situation. The booths are Red Lobster are not fat-person-friendly, and when we were seated at such a table, it took about 20 seconds of wedging and squirming trying to fit my ass and gut in appropriately that as soon as our server came, I asked if it would be possible to get seated at a table with chairs. She was very polite and could see exactly why we were requesting it, and she went to ask the hostess about it. Sure enough, 2 minutes later we were on our way to a table with chairs where I fit much more comfortably (as long as we staggered seating with the other tables so my chair could pull out enough with nobody behind me and they could do the same for our empty chair).

Unfortunately, this table was located in what I am calling the "Inattention Zone". Read more!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Product Review: Mega Marshmallow Munchie

Disclaimer: This post will be moved to my new official review blog once it has been chosen and launched.

The name kind of says it all - this marshmallow treat is "MEGA".



In fact, it's so rather large that until I picked it up to read that the serving size was 1/2 of the packaged treat, I felt that it was more of a meal than a snack.

You see, I grew up at a time when marshmallow treats seemed to really take rise in the marketplace.

And when I speak of "marshmallow treats", I am of course referring to "puffed rice mixed with butter and marshmallow and cut into bar shapes". Some call them "Rice Krispies Treats", but that's like calling all tissues "Kleenex".

I know that Rice Krispies cereal had been around for a long time before I was even born, and other puffed rice cereals, and that people had been using them with butter and marshmallows to make these treaty bars for quite some time. That's not the point. I was around for the official launching of the pre-made Rice Krispies Treats bars packaged and available in the supermarket. Since then, their popularity seems to have only gone up. Whether it's using a chocolate-y puffed rice cereal, or even a different cereal altogether, there's always something new going on with marshmallow treats.

Which brings me to the Mega Marshmallow Munchie. Which, as I mentioned, deserves the title of "Mega", as referenced here:


My hand may not be considered a large one, but it is still an adult hand, mostly obscured by the treat in question.


As for the taste, let me just say that it offers a very good amount of marshmallow, to the point where you can see the ribbons of sugary goodness when pulling off pieces. And you may likely be pulling off pieces, just because of the sheer size and thickness of the bar. It almost hurt my jaw just trying to get a full bite going. It was also difficult to get that bite due to my salivation at the idea of consuming such a monstrous treat.

I think that the only apt description when it comes to taste is "too much awesome".

Yes, the flavor is quite awesome. This particular treat came equipped with a sprinkling of little mini chocolate chips and rainbow-colored sprinkles on top. They added a nice bit of texture and flavor, but I'm glad they were only on the top and not throughout the entire bar. That way you get bites where the chocolate chips shine through and bites where you're just enjoying a well-made marshmallow treat by itself.

In the end, I do have to include the "too much" phrasing to the description. This is not meant to be a solo endeavor. The nutritional information (which I think is bunk when it comes to non-nutritional things in general) does state that the servings per container is TWO. Of course, the Food and Drug Administration also ridiculously seems to think that a serving of ice cream is 1/2 of a cup, but that's a matter for a different review.

I struggled in a delectable battle and inevitably did win, but even I (a very fat man) felt it was too much to be doing alone. But I would rather overeat than be "that guy" who wrapped up half of his marshmallow treat in plastic wrap to save for later at another appropriate snacking time.

So that's the story of the Mega Marshmallow Munchie. It does come in more flavors, but this is the one I had on hand to review. I'll either add a new review if I get hold of the other flavors, or just edit this one to include them.


Read more!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meet Squamous, the Baby Tumor

If you know me, you also know that I'm moderately crazy when it comes to random discussions and creative trains of thoughts. Now tie in a cripplingly-boring as well as cripplingly-stressful job and you'll find that birds of crazy feathers tend to flock together.

That's why a few co-workers and I have set up a group Skype chat that we use to have random conversations (with a few standard ones thrown in when work gets super-busy and we communicate along any chatline possible to get results).

And then, this happened:

(Names have been changed to protect those who don't want to admit having such ridiculous conversations)

[2/23/2011 9:01:43 AM] [Me]: My nose is fucked up because I
swear I smell Kasha. It's a dish made of bulgar wheat.
[2/23/2011 9:03:24 AM] [GP]: hmm
[2/23/2011 9:03:30 AM] [GP]: maybe you're having a tumor
[2/23/2011 9:04:07 AM] [GP]: i meant to say "have a tumor" or
"having a stroke" but apparently changed my mind in the middle
[2/23/2011 9:04:20 AM] [GP]: having a tumor sounds like it's
just suddenly exploding in your head
[2/23/2011 9:05:00 AM] [Me]: Or giving birth to a lump of
cancerous cells.
[2/23/2011 9:05:31 AM] [Me]: My tumor baby! I shall name him Squamous.


Squamous
And thus, this little guy was born.


So the rest of the past few days have been all about random conversations and then Squamous throwing in his two cents regarding the situation.

Squamous's First Tooth
Sometimes there was nothing in the conversation to warrant a drawing...

Squamous Vader
I believe someone was making a Star Wars reference thanks to someone's Darth Vader ringtone going off when this was created.

Squamous is Displeased
This little guy is going to be my wallpaper, eventually.

Sleepy Squamous
Sometimes we could all use with a little nap.

[10:46:50 AM] [GP]: anyone need help with anything?
[10:46:59 AM] [GP]: [YL] is pretty free today
[10:47:37 AM] [SF]: I might have something for her. just a sec
Squamous Needs Help
[10:58:55 AM] [GP]: I'm thinking it will be difficult. He is a
tumor after all.


[2:29:28 PM] [JL]: hahaha
[2:29:42 PM] [JL]: Face it [SF]. You're a day late and a dollar short.
[2:30:14 PM] [SF]: I have about 20 things I want to say,
but all would just be to much for this
[2:30:21 PM] [SF]: mostly not in good fun
[2:30:23 PM] [SF]: lol
[2:31:02 PM] [JL]: haha
[2:31:05 PM] [JL]: Dont hate
[2:31:13 PM] [Me]: If you have to hate, draw it in MS Paint

Squamous is made of hate
At least he's self-aware. That's a good thing, right?

Squamous Dancing
Do you ever really NEED a reason to have a tumor dance party?


Okay, just one more... And possibly my favorite Squamous picture so far...

[4:46:04 PM] [Me]: I made it happen, cap'n.
[4:46:10 PM] [Me]: While I was rappin'
[4:46:26 PM] [Me]: about bear-trappin'
[4:46:32 PM] [GP]: you should stop now
[4:46:37 PM] [SF]: Cause [GP] was to busy flappin
[4:46:42 PM] [Me]: and yappin'
[4:46:43 PM] [GP]: oooooooohhhhhhhh!!!!!!
[4:51:58 PM] [Me]: ...sorry, I was just nappin'
[4:52:23 PM] [SF]: I've just been over here tappin
[4:57:54 PM] [SF]: [GP] just over there mappin how he
can go wappin over the flappin
[4:58:26 PM] [GP]: I'm not sure what that means, but you better
take it back
[5:00:20 PM] [Me]: I challenge "wappin".
[5:00:42 PM] [Me]: NOT A WORD!
[5:01:01 PM] [SF]: I will wap you upside the head... then
you tell me

Squamous - Gone Wappin'
Guess which 'censored' bar is my favorite??


So that's an introduction to Squamous. He's my tumor baby and perhaps this coming week we'll have all forgotten about him. Or maybe he'll be our new group mascot and share his insights on other random topics of conversation.

We'll just have to wait and see...

What do you think of Squamous and his misadventures thus far? Leave a comment and let me know!


Read more!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Commercial Insanity

I am a consumer whore, just like the rest of you. If I see something that I want, I usually buy it - especially if it's on sale. I have rather good brand recognition when it comes to food and certain household products, and admit to a degree of brand loyalty when it comes to some items (unless the sale price warrants the betrayal). So naturally, I must watch commercials.

Lately, there have been a stream of nonsensical commercials that I think need to be brought to attention and called out for the craziness that they represent.

No, I'm not talking about hyperbole (like like the MGD 64 commercials where the guy drinking a beer containing 30 extra calories per serving is on an exercise bike while drinking in order to combat those extra calories) or even logical fallacy (like that drinking a particular brand of beer will make hot chicks fall in love with and/or sex you). For all intents and purposes, most beer commercials do things right.

Hillshire Farms, in this particular commercial, does it wrong.



First of all, we have the main male characters, who I'll refer to as "SweaterVest" and "DenimVest".

Hillshire1
"Did your mom pack you a fancy square plate to eat your lunch? My mom just slipped a corndog inside a pocket on my denim vest."


Now SweaterVest clearly has a Hillshire Farms sandwich for lunch. And somehow, he also has a fanciful square plate with which he will be eating said sandwich. No, that's not a napkin. It's a small plate, just the perfect size for a sandwich to rest on. DenimVest then issues the following challenge:

DenimVest: "Jump rope you for that sandwich."
SweaterVest: "Fine!"

And that's where logic really jumps out the window. The "challenge" is just the term "jump rope". Are you supposed to be figuring out who is best as jump roping? Can jump rope the fastest? Are you whipping each other with a jump rope until someone gives up??

Also, the prize for winning this challenge is... the sandwich? SweaterVest, you idiot! You already had a sandwich! If you win, is DenimVest giving YOU a Hillshire Farms sandwich? You've just contractually obligated yourself to participate in an extremely vague competition wherein the only possible positive result for you is keeping your own sandwich, which will clearly be left unguarded while you are performing the challenge!

And thus, the "competition" begins - apparently by hijacking two girls and their jump rope that they were clearly using prior to the DenimVest vs. SweaterVest Challenge was ever issued.

Without a referree or any judge mentioned of any kind, we're subjected to some shots of each challenger performing jump rope acrobatics. Yes, both SweaterVest and DenimVest apparently have mastered the delicate art of competitive jump roping. And then... wait a second... what the heck are you boys doing?

Hillshire2
This competition has clearly been downgraded to "playdate" level.


Now you're not even competing! You're just playing jump rope together while a multi-ethnic group of fellow schoolmates watch on, flabbergasted! And the sandwich is clearly vulnerable! Won't somebody think of the sandwich???

Oh yes, the girls have thought of the sandwich. Their sly facial gestures to each other clearly indicate that they are in cahoots and have been planning this ruse for quite some time! Playing jump rope during lunch time, in hopes that some fools will simultaneously abandon their food and fall into their jump-rope-related trap! It's all falling into place, Bertha! I know, Mousey! Initiate Operation Double-Dutch-Delight!

And so, the mighty have fallen. With a series of whipping and jerking motions and twists, somehow the jumprope has MAGICALLY looped itself perfectly MULTIPLE times around the two pitiful boys. The pitiful boys who, despite being nimble enough to perform some complex jump-rope hand-holding "challenges", have managed to stand perfectly still and in the right place for the looping ensnarement that has occurred! Nothing short of witchcraft could have been used in this plan, based on its results. And to the witches go the spoils! The two girls raise their Hillshire Farms sandwich halves high in victory, while waving their winnings in those poor boys' faces.

Hillshire3
"If we ever get out of these jump ropes alive, we will fucking BURN YOU AT THE STAKE."


And there's nothing that DenimVest and SweaterVest can do, but watch as these harlots taunt them and prepare to eat the trophy that was so viciously being fought over in a manly competition of jump roping.

Except for the fact that the witches didn't use very strong or good magic. Those ropes are loose as hell, and not even properly binding the two of them! DenimVest is clearly able to move his arm and hand! Their legs are unbound and, if working as well as a team as they were while double-dutching, the two of them could easily move as one unit and strike vicious blows upon the maidens who have violated the sanctity of the Schoolyard Challenge and perloined the trophy! But alas, their minds have apparently been turned to mush. They not only accept defeat that the girls have won (while clearly not having been really defeated at all) and succumb to the powers that be - which are now telling them to celebrate that which has been lost.

Hillshire4
Despite being within striking distance of the sandwich-holder and having a hand free and capable of striking, DenimVest decides to let bygones be bygones and celebrate the fact that at least SweaterVest has still lost his sandwich as a result of this endeavor.


Go Meat, indeed. Go directly to hell for making such a ridiculous commercial.

What do you think? Am I crazy for expecting my commercials to make at least a modicum of sense?? Leave a comment and let me know!

And then Digg this article!

Read more!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Ronald McDonald and the Food Liberation Army

article-1353729-0D0B74F3000005DC-133_634x349

No, this picture is not a fake. It is, however, a horrible spoof of an Al-Qaeda video - a spoof perpetrated by a Finnish group calling themselves the "Food Liberation Army". They have kidnapped a Ronald McDonald statue and are holding it 'hostage' unless the McDonald's corporation answers certain questions about its manufacturing process.

Questions that specifically include:

1. Why are you not open about the manufacturing processes, raw materials and additives used in your products? what are you afraid of?

2. How many tons of un-recycled waste do you produce each year? Why do you not publish that figure?


They state that if the questions are not answered, Ronald will be 'executed' on Friday the 11th of February at 6:30pm. I believe that's in England's time zone.

These kids need a goddamned Happy Meal, if you ask me. Because they apparently do like the food. Which just makes this thing 3 extra levels of ridiculous.

I found out about this news event from Fark.com, referencing me to this website which was in turn sharing the information from a UK news website. So forgive me for the fact that this is not all that new of news.

The video released by the FLA group goes on to state that "though they are fans of McDonalds burgers and fries, they believe that the food they love is being destroyed."

You. Idiots.

First of all, you're calling yourself the "Food Liberation Army" - yet you haven't liberated any goddamned food, other than into your gullets. How the fuck do you even "liberate" food in the first place? You can't set something free that's already dead, especially after it's been processed into food. All you've done so far is steal a statue and place a hood over its head in a mocking video. It's not food, and you haven't freed it. You want to KILL it. The "sweet release of death" does not count as liberation, especially since it's a fucking statue and not alive or dead at all. In fact, it has clones of itself in every damned restaurant in the franchise!

Is your next plan to rob a McDonald's of all its Chicken McNuggets, and then set them free in a field, where they can live out the rest of their days in peace? where they don't have to suffer under oppressive human rule, awaiting death by consumption, until they are... consumed by wildlife or a passerby hobo?

And how do your random questions being answered make any difference in the grand scheme of things? Un-recycled waste amounts and more detail of the ingredients used in the manufacturing process of McDonald's food? They're a publicly-traded billion-dollar company. This shit is already available information. Try asking the Food and Drug Administration, or the Health Bureau or whatever governmental body in England would have investigated and would know the manufacturing processes after approving them as upholding the health code? Hell, McDonald's spokesperson even said that they are willing to engage in constructive conversations with our customers, stakeholders and the media - which means that if you weren't acting like idiots, you'd get your answers even faster.

This is, all in all, an unnerving trend where groups of idiots think that by giving themselves a ridiculous name and spoofing acts of terrorism, that they are entitled to whatever they want and have the moral high ground.

You are wrong, Food Liberation Army. Your moniker is ridiculous. You have committed an act of theft. You have made insipid demands for information that could easily be attained through various legal channels. You have lampooned the acts of terrorists and deserve to be punished for both making light of actual horrible acts as well as encouraging others to do the same.

I know it comes as no surprise that I would side with McDonald's here, but after such an incredibly-dumb act has been perpetrated by such a group of incredibly-dumb criminals - wouldn't you agree?

What do you think? Should McDonald's negotiate with these "terrorists"? Leave a comment!

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Doodle - 01/31/2011


Doodle_110131, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

It was an interesting weekend, and it's inspired me to draw more. Maybe even try out a ZINE.

So here's all of my idea for today, just the title card. FYI: Moose and Reese are the names of our pet rats.

Unfortunately to most it will look like a knock-off of Two Lumps. Even though that is totally about cats, and mine would totally be about rats. And less funny. And more-poorly drawn.

...Back to the drawing board?

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Doodle - 01/27/2011


Doodle_110127, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

(Now in COLOR!)

I don't know how to put this into context other than provide you with insane ramblings that LED UP to this statement. It just doesn't make the statement make any more real sense...

Me: The space-time continuum works in very mysterious ways. And the result is fortunately always Chicken McNuggets. It's the only reason why they're allowed to exist. The universe demands it.

Coworker: Nuggets feed the time line. Without them, time would collapse in on itself, destroying the universe.

Me: Now we're getting into a philosophical "Which came first: the Chicken McNugget or Time Itself" debate and I unfortunately have other shit to do.

And that's just PART of the conversation. I'm sparing you all the prequel which included who is having sex with whose mothers and the "I am my own grandfather" paradox/conundrum. Maybe another time. Maybe another doodle.

Later! I unfortunately have other shit to do!




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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Doodle - 01/26/2011


Doodle_110126, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

Expect a lot of updates in the "Optimistic Pessimism in Action" series of doodles. This is my most favorite example of my particular brand of "optimistic pessimism". Sometimes it's referred to as "double-negative", in a grammatically-correct sort of way.

Basically, in my line of work, despite it being anumber-crunching data-related job, very very little of my job is absolute and hard-fact numbers. This is why I cannot state things are 100% certain. They are just as little uncertain as possible. Et cetera.

Just another doodle done, thanks to a giant project finally being put to bed (for the day) at 4:30pm on a workday.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Doodle - 01/25/2011 (2)


Doodle_110125b, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

It's the LOVE that makes it taste so special. And the GREASE.

*Nugget Not Drawn To Scale

*Margins of Error Estimated at +/- 2%

*Your Nugget Results May Vary

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Doodle - 01/25/2011 (1)


Doodle_110125a, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

Brother, Can You Spare a Hug?

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Comment Protocol

Hello, Dear Readers.

I regert to inform you all that commenting on this blog has now been changed so that Anonymous guests cannot leave comments.

Basically this was done for three main reasons:

1. 99% of the comments being left here are spam
2. 99% of those comments are being posted anonymously
3. It increases my depression to know that every day I get 6 to 10 comments, but they are all SPAM.

Maybe my upgrading to this new system of registered users being the only ones allowed to post comments, the spam will stop.

Unfortunately, it is likely that the comments will also stop.

But if I have to choose my specifio reasons for being depressed, I prefer the reason that "I am alone in the world and nobody cares about my opinions" rather than "I am not alone in the world but the only beings who care about my opinions are all spambots".

So please. Leave me a comment. Please?? Read more!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Attention Commercials: The "Holiday Season" Is OVER.

I am reminded of a SuperBowl moment from many years past in which a "wardrobe malfunction" led to a series of debates and news stories regarding what constitutes as "offensive television broadcasting" and the fact that the FCC was allowed to fine the television broadcasters a hefty amount because of the damaging/offensive nature of what they allowed to air on their channel.

But which is really more psychologically damaging and deserving of a strict penalty and fine for the broadcaster: a split-second viewing of the nipple of a major celebrity or holiday commercials that are aired outside of the holiday season?

In my opinion, I can think of incredibly few scenarios in which the viewing of Janet Jackson's nipple could put a human being into a homicidal rampage. And yet it seems that way before Thanksgiving and way after New Year's are we all bombarded with Christmas-related commercials - and the urge to kill rises. It's a wonder that you don't see murderers throughout the month of January on film in high-speed chases with the police, then led off in handcuffs sporting a murderous grin while softly humming the particular holiday commercial jingle that finally drove them over the edge.

I present to you two commercials that, if not stopped immediately, will be what you hear humming from behind prison bars in February by convicted killers with icy stares and sinister smiles:




I get it, Hyundai. You found an indie band called "Pomplamoose" consisting of two members who have a certain sound that really belongs on NPR and it's wacky because now you can bring them to the public eye and sell some cars while promoting Christmas.

CHRISTMAS IS OVER. NEW YEAR'S IS OVER. HANNUKAH IS REALLY OVER. You have no right to continue promoting a "Holiday" sale! Cease and desist immediately!

The FCC should fine any television broadcasting station which continues to allow the airing of advertisements related to "winter holidays" after 11:59pm PST on January 1st.

For our sanity. Think of the children!

What do you think? Do you also feel murderous rage when watching holiday commercials after the official holiday season is over? Leave a comment!

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Back for the New Year with New Gripes!

Happy New Year 2011 to everyone!

After long last, I'm updating the blog. I really need to get back into writing things, getting a little frustration out (in the form of scathing reviews or opinionated articles, not necessarily related to the actual items frustrating me - that's what my personal journals/blogs are for!) and getting back into the swing of things.

Also - reaching out to the world again. Tired of hiding here in the apartment with my girl and my pets, especially now that the winter is upon us and there's even less enticement to leave my comfy jammy-jams and into the great wide cold void that is the outside world for the next few months.

Oh, and you can also chalk this up to "New Years Resolutions" that will undoubtedly fail. I hope it won't, but I know I can't keep up with daily updates or anything. Work schedules and girlfriend schedules simply won't allow that. But I can say that I'll give it some effort to keep this blog up.

Maybe in time I'll get comments that aren't spambots.
Maybe in time I can generate some revenue on this blog somehow.
Maybe in time I'll do all those things I've been meaning to do...

Write reviews on Yelp, write about my recent travels to L.A. to visit family and some old familiar places, write about the current state of the world and all of the things that just piss me off in general.

You know, the usual.

SPEAKING OF THINGS THAT PISS ME OFF:

"Truvia" Commercials.



I can't fully explain just why this commercial fills me with such misogynistic rage. Perhaps it's the insipid way that the following words were combined in mind-numbingly-dumb jingle format: "made my butt fat", "self-control down the drain" and "skinny jeans zipped in relief".

That's right - SUGAR is to blame for your lack of self-control and resultant large ass. Not the fact that you're eating DESSERT with your morning coffee instead of even a SEMI-nutritional breakfast. Or that you find comfort in eating due to low self-worth or self-esteem or the myriad of other psychological reasons that make people overeat. Or the fact that you're genetically likely to have a large ass because both of your parents also had large asses.

I'm a fat person, and you know who I blame for it? Me. I don't blame the food for making me fat. I blame me for shoveling that food into my gaping maw. Just like YOU SHOULD, YOU BITCH!! Are you really telling me that the fact that you decided to sprinkle sugar into your coffee in the morning causes you GRIEF? How about NOT sprinkling sugar into your coffee??? DID YOU TRY THAT???

No - you were waiting for science to come up with something magical that gives you all the satisfaction of sugar but without the meager 40 calories or whatever that a normal human likely adds to their morning libation of caffeine.

(They did that a number of years ago. Several times. Like with Sweet 'N Low, Equal, Splenda, and a number of off-brand products made with a variety of calorie-free sugar substitutes.

Oh, but this one comes from a plant. Awesome. Enjoy having plant-based artificial sweetener in your coffee.

I still hate you, Truvia Bitch. At a subliminal, liminal and superliminal level. I loathe you and the marketing company that decided to come up with one of the worst commercials of the year that I would expect has singlehandedly led to a rise in the number of random violent attacks on women, who likely all happened to be using this particular brand of artificial sweetener.

What do you think? Do you also feel something in your subconscious when watching this commercial that fills you with something dark and evil and violent? Leave a comment!

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Stupidly Good Prices



I just got back from a shopping trip, and I need to vent this little gripe of mine.

Before I get started, I need to explain that I am a fat man. Obviously, I enjoy food and drink in mass quantities, so I'm prone to buying in bulk. I'm also a firm believer in the free market and that businesses should be able to run themselves however they see fit. For example, I am completely against the smoking ban in restaurants. If a restaurant owner wants to serve clientele that smoke, that owner should have every right to be a smoking establishment or have a smoking section and a non-smoking section. Certain people would refuse to remain customers, but certain people would become regular customers. The idea is that it's up to the business owner of who should feel ostracized.

But I digress, this is not a smoking rant. This rant is about stupid food prices.

Before I go any further, please keep in mind that I'm not complaining, really. I just find it to be stupid and I need to vent about things that I find to be stupid - whether that stupidity creates benefits or burdens for me.

Now I am a math person, and I rather enjoy working my brain when I'm in a supermarket, comparing prices per unit and figuring out where the best deal would be between brands or between package sizes. I understand the marketing behind the bulk savings, where the more you buy of a product, the lower the price per unit. Get a single unit of yogurt for a dollar, or get a six-pack of that yogurt for four dollars. It's cheaper than buying six individual units, so you have to decide how much yogurt you want and how much you're willing to pay for it without getting screwed over.

And then there are times when I come across some pricing that just makes me want to go crazy.

I will take one example that I find most often: milk. Milk almost always comes in two container sizes: a half-gallon and a full gallon. One is obviously twice the size of the other, so I could understand if the smaller size were $2.69 and the larger size were $2.99 - you only pay 30 cents more and you get double the amount of milk. That's a good deal. That's a sane and rational pricing model to convince people to buy the larger size and sell more product.

But unfortunately, that is NOT the pricing model I often find. I often find them selling the half-gallon size for $2.99 and the full-gallon size for $2.69. And I want to punch someone. After I've grabbed the large container and put it in my cart, of course.

What is the logic? Where is the sane and rational thought in this pricing model?

I stare at the numbers and the following scene plays out in my head.

The customer picks up a half-gallon of milk and says, "I think I'll buy this much milk today."
Then the supermarket attendant rushes up and says, "But why buy only a half-gallon? It's even cheaper to get a full gallon of milk for 30 cents less!"
The customer replies, "But I only want a half-gallon of milk - I don't think I'd be able to drink that much milk before it goes bad."
That's when the supermarket attendant grabs the full gallon of milk and shouts, "Let's make everyone happy then! You want to pay $2.99 for a half-gallon of milk, so I'll pay you 30 cents back and I'll just pour half of this gallon of milk onto my head! Then you get your half-gallon of milk at a lower price and I get a lovely milk shower!"

And then the milk starts getting poured everywhere and eventually I realize I've been staring at the milk case for 10 minutes and I really wish some old lady would pick up one of those half-gallon bottles just so I could see if it would really happen.

But that's basically what the supermarket is doing. They'd rather you pay less money to waste half a gallon of milk. And it's not just milk. My other favorite instance of this faulty logic is at McDonald's. The McDouble sandwich is a burger with two meat patties and one slice of cheese, and it costs one dollar. Guess what costs MORE than a dollar? A cheeseburger! One meat patty and one slice of cheese and it costs on average ten cents MORE than a McDouble. If you want to buy a cheeseburger, McDonald's will pay you back 10 cents to eat an extra burger patty.

This one I HAVE actually acted on. I saw this little old lady ahead of me in line order one cheeseburger. I had to stop her. I leaned in and said, "you know, it's actually cheaper to get the McDouble and it comes with an extra burger patty." She gave me the classic "well I don't know if I'm hungry enough to eat that much" excuse and I flat-out responded that she could throw away that extra patty and she'd still be saving herself money in the end. The cashier looked at me and made this half-shrug, half-smirk as if to say "he's not wrong."

AND SHE DID. She bought a cheaper burger that offered more food and she threw away the extra food. McDonald's paid her 10 cents to throw away a meat patty. Of course, one can also debate that McDonald's standard burger patties aren't even worth 10 cents each, but that's not what I'm getting at.

What I'm getting at is that it's an incredibly stupid thing for a business to do. But that business has every right to do it. And we as customers have every right to take advantage of it.

And now I'm off to enjoy half a gallon of milk that the supermarket paid me 30 cents to purchase.

Because I'm fat and I know a stupidly-good deal when I see one.

Please Digg this article if you also find it weird that it's always little old ladies in these scenarios.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Random Nostalgia - Writings

I used to be a rather proficient writer. At least in high-school terms, compared to the average high-school student, at my high school. Okay, so maybe I wasn't the best or really anything blose to great in the grand scheme of things, but I felt I was creative and I enjoyed writing, and it continued into college and eventually weblogs.

In fact, I used to write for a website called WritingUp.com before it eventually collapsed and I tried to salvage as much of my writing and readership base that I could. To rather no avail, judging by the number of readers I get over here on my personal weblog. But the fact remains, I was intrigued by writing and I think I was pretty decent at it.

So in going through really old files, I've stumbled across a folder I used to have on my old computer back in high school and reading through some of my old stuff really creeps me out.

I'll let you be the judge of whether it's good or bad. I just want to share some of it with the universe instead of letting it gather virtual dust in a file folder that's survived four separate computer transfers.



First, some poetry. Keep in mind all of this was written many many years before I even lost my virginity, let alone had a real girlfriend (since I don't think "online girlfriend" counts):

Untitled

You are my friend,
Strong and beautiful.
Gentle and loving.
Full of life; not afraid of anything
that may stand in your way.
I have found in you
what I thought I had lost in others.
You have helped me to know that I have a chance to make it.
You not only listen, but hear what I say.
You not only look, but you see me.
I trust you more than I trust myself.
I am thankful I have found you.
I hope you know how much I love you and I hope
you understand how much you truly mean to me.
You are my friend and I care...


I miss...
the late night chats
the questions you ask
the laughter we share
the songs on the radio.

I even miss...
the temper tantrums
the tiny fits of jealousy
the cold shoulders
the uneasy silences.

I miss...
the heartfelt hugs
the warm embraces
the tiny stolen kisses
the long passionate ones.

I truly miss...
you in my arms
holding you at night
watching you sleep
waking up next to you.

Wherever I go and whatever I do
my every thought, my every moment
Is filled with you.
I miss you...


Even though you Don't Know It

How I love you so
I think it all the time
Then I think some more
To tell you in a rhyme

When we lock our eyes
I hope you feel it too
That we are so close
With a love that’s true

Though it seems I’m sad
When I walk away
To you I make this promise
From you I’ll never stray

I swear I’d even wait forever
If that’s how long it took
For both us to be together
Like lovers in a book

And so that you will know
Just exactly how I feel
I’ll swear to you my life
Then secure it with my seal

Often I’ll recall
The day I first met you
I picture you so perfect
And I knew my love was true

But now you’re in my mind
Every day I live
And it is to you
That this poem I give


Untitled

From the first time I laid eyes on you,
I felt something inside, and hoped that you did too.
That night I dreamed about me and you,
Wishing that when I wake, it would all come true.

You have been on my mind,
Ever since I talked to you that first time.
I tried to get you out of my head,
But my heart told me to love you instead.

Being next to you, I feel like I'm in heaven,
Give me a chance and I'll adore you 24-7...
I hope you'll see that we were meant to be.
Please... will you go out with me?


A Wake-Up Call to "The Lovers"

Hark, ye angels! In that
World, some say, above.
Prepare to meet thy rival
In the art of knowing love!
For she alone is strong enough
And alone she understands
The meanings of my diction
And these movements of my hands.
Yet still, I write! To teach
You, that poor multitude,
What you've been missing
By obsessing with pulchritude,
for she alone, with her charm
And wit, and wondrous social graces
In one hour could give a thousand times more joy
Than a hundred pretty faces...
You blasphemers claiming love is found,
Will ne'er comprehend, nor care,
What she and I go through each day
And the torches that we bear!
We alone! The proud, the few!
Unappreciated every day!
We'd rather have a hand-picked tulip
Than a heartless rose bouquet!
And your chocolate boxes, neatly wrapped!
The warmth gives us such a chill...
We'd rather have a scoop of some warm chicken soup
From a friend who sees when we're ill.
You superficial cretins! Materialistic monsters!
Why say "cute" or "pretty" when
We don't care! We'd rather hear a
Well-placed compliment like "witty".
She is the one who truly deserves the best
For being so kind. Her soul and her mind
Like mine! We have so much in common...
Two bodies; One soul, intertwined!


Sharing Days with You

I get to see you every day,
But I know I'm never seen
And every time we chance to talk,
No one knows just what I mean.
Well today's my chance to prove to you
That I don't like being ignored,
Or pushed around, or only used,
Whenever you are bored.
If you could have looked deeper,
You'd see my love is true,
And I could have been so happy,
Sharing days with you...

We'd be walking together, holding hands,
Lying together in the park...
Talking, relating, conversing, and waiting,
Watching the sky grow dark.
And after all was said and done,
We'd end our cozy date,
But that will never happen, girl,
Because you wouldn't cooperate...
Whenever you would talk, I'd listen,
Whenever you want, with me you'd be kissin',
We'd just hold hands while the dewdrops glisten,
Now think of all that you are missin'...
You brush me off, you just don't care,
Because if you really do,
Then I'd be there instead of here,
Sharing days with you...

But I could give you one more chance,
now that you know how I feel...
And maybe we could try again,
And see if love is real...
But you'd have to promise to cherish me,
For I am one of the precious few,
Who love you, girl, and who'd rather be
Sharing days with you...

Oh I know my looks aren't perfect,
And at times, my mind's askew,
But I wish you'd just look past it and let me
Share these days with You...


Untitled Sonnet

I dreamed a dream, of love, of life, of you,
Though you were there, you played a minor role.
I want you in my life if love is true,
Yet just to see if we might share a soul.
I hoped a hope, that firmaments above
Would break apart, and let the angels fly.
So you could 'scape and share with me your love,
For if you don't, I fear that I will die.
I planned a plan, to flee and search you out,
To calm and comfort you; hold you so tight
We'd fuse, form one, and I would never doubt
That anyone for me could be so right.
With dreams, and hopes, and plans, I lived my life,
No motion, action, or you as my wife...


My Friend (Dedicated to Kellen "Flip" Cassidy)

Oh friend, think of me. I know you will surely go far.
Keep dreaming your thoughtful dreams. Keep wishing on that falling star.
Oh friend, wait for me. I'm coming just around the bend.
Together we'll travel, side-by-side, laughing and singing 'til the end.
Oh friend, believe in me, when all of my hope is gone.
You're the only one who keeps me smiling. You keep me going strong.
Oh friend, laugh with me. We'll be joyous all the day.
One smile from you eases my pain and washes my worries away.
Oh friend, talk to me. Tell me what you want to know.
I'll reply to you, and you to me, and together, our minds will grow.
Oh friend, sing with me, with your voice so cheery and bright.
A duet to last the ages, with our songs for day and night.
Oh friend, pray for me, in times when I am ill.
I'll do the same, and we'll remain friends together still.
Oh friend, discuss with me, so I can understand your views.
I'm sure they will inspire me when I'm down with the blues.
Oh friend, stay with me, through good times and through bad.
Together we'll we exuberant, and together we'll be sad.
Oh friend, look at me. Tell me, what do you see?
For maybe, some of the things I see in you, you just might see in me...


Okay, I'm getting a little emotional, so I'll finish this up quickly with something that's not poetry. It's a book I started trying to write. I know, a book? Me? Anyway, my crazy idea for the book was that it would be called "HAVE YOU EVER" and it would be a collection of short writings written by a crazy person with each section starting with the phrase "Have you ever" and going into insanity from there. What follows are the first (and only) two pieces of writing for this book.

1

Have you ever seen yourself?

I don't mean in a mirror, or the metaphorical sense, or your conscience. I'm talking about seeing yourself, standing in front of you. Of course, sometimes you're not standing, you're sitting, or walking, or laying down, or punching the real you in the nose.

I see myself a few times a week...

But it's never a happy time. I don't really like myself now, because the me who I see and talk to isn't very nice. It seems that every single day, the actions I make apparently ruin my life in the future. And the me I see gets to tell me what I've done wrong and how it's going to kill me in the future since the last time he visited. And after every single visit he makes, and tells me what I've done wrong, even when it seemed so far from wrong when I did it, I try my damnedest to fix the problems I caused the days before, and in the process, I screw up even further in the future. So I've come to a conclusion: I'm doomed. Every time I do something good, the effects are somehow devastating in the future, according to the other me. Every time I do something wrong, the effects are worsened tenfold. And if I sit and do nothing and contact no one and go nowhere and say nothing and ignore all stimuli and shut myself off from the world, I've missed a list of possibilities and opportunities that all ruin my life in the future for missing... I'm doomed.

You know, I tried to tell my problems to friends, and I was shrugged off. They told me, "It's called a CONSCIENCE, so deal with it." Now, from all of my previous understanding, as well as the movie "Pinocchio", I understood that a conscience was merely a voice. Also, this voice is supposed to help you, to inform you when you make mistakes, and to help remind you not to make them in the future. He is NOT a voice. He is NOT helpful. And he is NOT my conscience. He exists merely to make my life miserable. And he's not a figment of my imagination, because he knows things. Things that only someone from the future could know... Like who is going to fall down right next to me, or when I'm going to get slapped in the face, or what the essay question is on a pop quiz I haven't taken yet. So this doppleganger me can't be imaginary...

And then people tell me I've got schitzophrenia. I tell them I don't hear voices. I see me. So they say it's a prophecy. I tell them that prophecies are sent from God. This me is not all that holistic, in my opinion. So they tell me to shut up. And I get yelled at by me for not speaking my mind or talking too much. It varies, depending on how the future me wants to torture the real me that day...

And week after week, the cycle continues. Me acting, the other me twisting reality. And then one day, I couldn't take any more of it. I got angry. I don't usually get angry. But I got angry. And the next time I saw me, I walked right up to him, punched him in the cheek, as hard as I could, and told him to just shut up because he says too much and I don't want him saying any more about anything. And then I reached up and felt my cheek... There was a bruise there... And I remember the fake me telling me the exact same thing four days before.....


2

Have you ever seen a cloud?

From the inside? I have. I was there last month, and I don't think I ever really returned. It started innocently enough, and yet not so innocently at all...

It was a rough week. People hated me, I was insulted, I didn't want to carry on... So I went to the top of the grassy hill I visit every now and then, and I just wept. I just shouted, "Isn't there supposed to be a better place than this world?" and I slipped. But I slipped up. I felt my feet fly out from under me, and I awaited the seemingly inevitable "thump" of my back hitting the ground. Instead, I felt the "thump" of my head hitting a tree branch as I was propelled upwards.

And right now, you don't believe me. You shake your head and remind yourself that this book is fictional. But you've never been there, and you wouldn't understand.

I just kept rising, and I saw the cloud. The one cloud in the sky that day. As I approached, it started to grow. Not grow in sight from getting nearer. Growing immensely, and opening up. Now I've been on many an airflight, and I recall flying through clouds. I must not have flown through THIS cloud... As my ascension slowed to a halt, I realized I wasn't standing. I was hovering, floating, wafting, and just simply there. But I can't fly. I couldn't fly... I waved and flapped and huffed and puffed, but I couldn't move. And I so wished I could explore the bright area in front of me. And I moved. Effortlessly, swiftly, and haphazardly. It's hard to move yourself with your mind when you're still wondering why and how you're in a cloud. And then I saw it.

The obelisk.

The glassy figure, shining in what appeared to be the center of this meteorological phenomenon, shone with a brightness that hurt my eyes to look. But I kept staring, absorbing the rays of light it brought forth from its unknown power supply. And I reached for it. Cloud. And I kicked it. Cloud. And I wished with all the strength I could muster up. And the obelisk said, "Cloud." And I believed it. After all, how could a glimmering geometrical figure in the sky ever be wrong? So I asked the obelisk, with as much force I had left after my revelation that a shape just spoke, "Why am I here?"

Cloud.

"Is this the happier place I wanted?"

Cloud.

"Can I ever come back here again?"

And the cloud parted down the middle, and vanished. the obelisk moved closer to me, and touched my forehead, and it felt warm. And when it moved back, I felt my forehead, touching the warmth, feeling it on my fingers. Blood. And I saw the grass. No clouds...


I'll post more later, as I unearth them and decide they're worth sharing with the universe. Back to the pile...

Oh yes, please Digg this article - and spread the word that I used to be a crazy little writer!

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Random Nostalgia - "The Otaku Hour"

This picture is being posted here as a result of a self-inflicted nostalgia spiral.

I am currently in the process of looking for a piece of fiction co-authored by me and a high school friend, dated 2002. In the process, despite the fact that this is a computer I purchased in 2009, I have somehow managed to transfer very old documents between my computer systems as I have gone through them, dating back to my family computer from my own high school days.

While navigating the labyrinth of old files, I came across old pictures (that I must remember to post to Facebook or Flickr or something) and deep in the recesses of a random folder, I came across this atrocity.

So here's the story.

Back in college, I used to host a radio program. My DJ nickname was "Chibby" as a play on words referring to the "chibi" style of Japanese animation found in many animé series. This is related to the graphic that appears three times in this poster, which was hand-drawn in Santa Monica by a Japanese-style artist that I paid $10 to have done. Ever since, it's been one of my most-commonly-used avatars for myself.

The radio program was called "The Otaku Hour" ('otaku', for those of you not familiar with the term, is a derogatory word for super-nerdy-loser-fanatics in Japan - I know, they see it as an insult and nerdy white Americans are proud to be considered one) and it centered entirely around Japanese music and culture.

I ran the show for 2 years (the 2nd year is when I expanded my timeslot to the 2-hour block shown in the poster) and many episodes were co-hosted by my buddy Erick, who played straightman to my wacky foolishness on the air.

Anyway, the DJs were putting up fliers and posters to promote their show in the new studio, which featured soundproof glass walls so the IIT students could see in (but not hear us, the radio DJs, unless they were at home with their radios and in a 2-mile radius from the campus).

This was my entry.

I think that's all the information you really need. The rest is just trying to understand what the hell I was thinking (and I frankly don't recall most of the logic) and then trying to fight these images out of your head before the nightmares come.

Well, back to the nostalgia...

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