Saturday, December 29, 2012

So Long To An Awkward Stage

But will it usher in the beginning of a new stage of growth and maturity, or one of angst, rebellion and conflict?

Our century is entering into its teen years. And like all pre-teens, it seems like it's in an awful hurry to get there. And it's no wonder.

In the past twelve years, as a species, we've come quite a way. And so have I.

I've started getting the feeling that I'm entering into my second teenage phase.

Like the rest of the world, I've experienced the wonders and the horrors of this century so far with such robust joy and deep sorrow as I would never have imagined.

I've had experiences which have made me weaker, and those that have made me stronger.

And through it all, I, like the world around me, have persevered. We've made it.

For me, personally, the past twelve years were like my first twelve years of life. I had to learn so much right from scratch.

From 2000 to 2002, I began to become acclimated to my new home state in a very different climate, both in terms of weather and culture. I solidified and intensified bonds with brand new friends while diminishing the influence of friends and family from the old homestead. I was reborn, in my thirties, as a Floridian.

Like all toddlers, I had to endure structure and guidelines in order to learn, but I reacted poorly to appropriate discipline imposed upon me due to childish and inconsiderate behavior. This cost me to lose a lot of what I'd held onto as near and dear. And in order to grow, I had to let go.

From 2002 to 2005, I struggled with the imposition of discipline and the impetus towards selfishness. And though they were rough years, they were ultimately to become the formative years, in the redevelopment and enrichment of my psyche.

Now it was time for some formal elementary schooling. I had to learn how to avoid potential pitfalls during a vulnerable stage, navigate through the rigors of pre-conceptions and expectations, hone interactivity skills to garner favor and prestige and keep ever-prescient the goal to succeed at learning as much as could be.

From 2005 to 2011, like a child going from grade to grade, I moved from job to job, learning new and diverse lessons in each "class". Each one taught me more about aspects of the next one because when it all boils down to it, experience does matter. Frustrations from one year could either escalate in the next or be alleviated almost entirely, but this was just like in school, no two years were alike.

But as in a youngster's transition from elementary to middle school, I soon started to get the hang of things. I was able to play the system to some degree and zero in on areas of interest that pointed towards more long-term goals.

From 2011 to present, it's like I've finally met with my guidance counselor and had a say in the courses I'd be obligated to take. There's still a lot of structure, and discipline is just around the corner, but multi-year plans are more predictable. And so is my response to challenges and adversity.

Much like my previous 12-year old self, I feel ready to take on new tasks with vigor and confidence. This had been lacking for much of the past few years.

And maybe I sense that the world is with me on this. Perhaps we all are ready to embark on our teenaged years together with renewed enthusiasm and optimism?

Remember the first time around? We all wanted to get to our 18th birthday. We just KNEW, we didn't even doubt, that once we got there, the world would be our oyster.

So here's to the dawn of 2013! Let's enjoy the journey and learn from our experiences, good and bad. 'Cause I know, certainly, by the time we reach 2018, we're going to find our shining pearl.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mayan Apocalypse!

It's almost that time, kiddies! The end of the world. Yay!

Ever wonder why the world is ending in a couple of days?

Here's why...

Yup. It's another Koyaanisqatsi Degauss high-quality production.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The End Of A Bad Tradition

Like every single one of the other seven billion people on Earth, I make mistakes.

One of those was the "tradition" I've carried on for the past few years of espousing my disdain for religiosity in the form of over-the-top "shock jock" (as I perceived it) style "humor". Namely, I'm talking about my annual Christmas Day accounting of the tragedies which happen to occur on that day.

I'm not going to link to those posts which exist on this blog, but in the same vain I'll, for the sake of "owning up to it", not delete them either. I have always said that this blog will endure the minimum of hindsight-aided editing in order to bear witness to my life, which, as with all of us, comes with its ups and downs and all the virtual warts and pimples as well.

Why the change of heart? Oh, rest assured, it's no relinquishment of my animosity towards religion and its blind followers. It is still the primary reason this world is as fucked up as it is and I despise how non-religious people are treated as demons by many theists who maintain that there can be no inherent goodness in a person who doesn't ascribe to their version of an almighty god.

But to use acts of random chaos, strife, and disaster as vindication of a godless worldview is stupid and wrong. And yes, today's insane massacre in Connecticut hit home that point good and well, let me tell you. I may not believe there is a God, but I shed more than a couple of tears in light of this unspeakable tragedy like any other human being.

So will death and destruction suddenly not befall the fate of the world on December 25th this year just because I won't post about it? Of course not. Shit will happen as it always does. But I'll recognize that sometimes a bitter joke that isn't funny does more harm than good.

And I think this world could do with a little less harm right now.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The First Gay TV Family?

As stated in this After Elton article, depictions of gay characters are pretty common today on broadcast and cable television in the US. But, as they also point out, that wasn't the case until pretty recently in the scheme of things, 1997 actually, when openly gay characters, thanks to "The Puppy Episode" of the Ellen show, started to literally come out of the screenwriters' closet.

But looking back at some oldies but goodies, I can't help but think that maybe there was a bit o' lavender shading to many classics that never SAID it represented gay life but can arguably be pointed at as being very, very similar.

My Two Dads (1987-1990)
Two young hipster guys gain the custody of a twelve-year-old girl after her mom dies. The girl may or may not be the biological daughter of one of them. They raise her as "her two dads".

The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1969 - 1972)
Young good-looking widower is charged with raising his young son alone. But his son and the Japanese housekeeper try to arrange a new wife to enter the scene. But it never happens. I wonder why?

Family Affair (1966 - 1971)
A never-married bachelor in his 40's with a live-in man-servant takes in his orphaned nephews and nieces and a happy, two adult men/three child family they do make.

My Three Sons (1960 - 1972)
Neat and orderly engineer and his live-in older male relative raise three boys. Not a woman to be found in this household...for twelve years?

Bonanza (1959 - 1973)
Let's face it, this is the longest-running gay family show in history. Wifeless Lorne Green raises his horse-riding, cowboy sons on a vast ranch called "Ponderosa". Ponderosa means "heavy" in Latin, implying that the plot of the show was a lot heavier than many could deal with at the time. Plus, c'mon, "Hoss" ("Daddy Bear"), "Little Joe"("Cub Bear"), "Candy"("Twink")...all serviced by yet another man-servant rice-queen dream "Hop Sing"? Oh please!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Feeling Sunday Morning Fever

Tonite I attended the final Orlando showing of the touring Broadway musical "Sister Act".

I gotta tell you, I was a little surprised.

For one, the show is only loosely based on the plot of the early '90s hit movie of the same name starring Whoopi Goldberg. It diverges in all the right places for a musical though, especially a comedy musical as this most assuredly was. Though the original film was also a comedy, this musical theater version takes it up a notch or two into the realm of light-hearted farce.

Now the jokes and quips were nowhere near as biting or potentially-touchy as those in say, "Nunsense", so it stayed definitely safe for all audiences, but it was tongue-in-cheek satirical enough about Catholic nuns to at least satisfy my tastes.

Also, the time period it was set in was the late seventies, rather than the then-contemporary times of the early nineties as in the film. This allowed for a thematic feel for the music to evoke the disco era. This was yet another surprise as I had expected the songs from the film to be used. Nope, it was all original music. No "My God" (sung to the tune of that Motown fav "My Guy") or "I Will Follow Him". Now these were my favorites from the movie and it would have been great to hear them done live, but you know what, this original music was really, really good!

I was surprised at the talent as well. They were phenomenal!

Tonite's playbill included the inserted announcement that the lead Deloris Van Cartier ("as in Cartier's") would be filled by Rashidra Scott. This wasn't an understudy replacement , it was a permanent replacement of the scheduled performer Ta'rea Campbell who had been with the tour since it began earlier this fall. Don't know what happened there, but Rashidra was flawless! I searched out Ta'rea and saw some YouTube performances of hers and, well, very similar to my experiences with both "La Cage" and "Wicked", I think I saw the better one.

I have to give it up as well, in order of my preference, for Hollis Resnick as Mother Superior, E. Clayton Cornelious as "Sweaty" Eddie Souther, and Lael Van Keuren as Sister Mary Robert. Resnick's solo "Haven't Got A Prayer" was sung a bit too well for a campy production such as this. The song was almost too serious.  We didn't want anything resembling seriousness or even suspension of disbelief...we wanted a hilarious marriage of farce and Vegas. And as the show progressed into more and more campy antics mixed with ever-escalating levels of spectacle and glitz, man we got it! Especially in the finale.

My eyes are still blinded by the sequins...oh the sequins!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe
And to love you

The Air That I Breathe - Hollies

I always figured Florida as being a relatively safe state to live in when considering environmental hazards. And when comparing it to places like Ohio or Western Pennsylvania, I guess it is.

But alarmingly, my Floridian sunshine-filled skies may not be as squeaky-clean as they seem.

My home, here in Orlando, apparently is under a constant cloud of nearly imperceptible fine particulate caused by area coal-fired power plants. Some of the biggest in the country.

I did a bit of research this morning after I got curious about one power station very close to my home in the southeastern section of town. Situated no more than a couple of miles from me, as the crow flies, is this facility, Stanton Energy Center with its two ominous-looking cooling towers.

It's kinda out in the midst of, well, nothing, since the area is pretty much just undeveloped scrub brush and swamps so one wouldn't have the frequent occasion to drive past it...unless you travel the Beachline toll highway heading towards Port Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. I noticed it looming there as I drove towards my cruise departure port last week. Of course I recognized that I'd seen it several times before when flying in or out of nearby Orlando International Airport. To me it always looked like images of Three Mile Island so I assumed it might be a nuclear power plant.

It's arguably much worse. The two main reactors are coal fueled with an additional natural gas plant and a recent token puny 6MW solar farm.

So after a little research, which was a bit difficult because it seems the local newspaper, The Orlando Sentinel, had little to say about this plant other than this article in July. It sounds to me like they're saying "Well gosh folks, at least they're trying to make things better!" Maybe because this wasn't a public service news piece, it was in the business section which is simply a primer to help rich people figure out how to become richer.

According to leading environmental watch group sites though, they have quite a ways to go in actual improvements. This plant was recently named NUMBER 1 in the nation in coal waste pollution.

And if that wasn't bad enough, the following facilities, all within a 60 mile radius of me, and, mainly to the west - the direction from which prevailing winds come - are cumulatively even worse. I've included the number of anticipated annual deaths attributable to the toxic emissions put out by these guys:
  • McIntosh Power Plant, 5 deaths per year
  • Polk Power Plant, 1 death per year
  • Central Power & Lime Power Plant, 3 deaths per year
  • Crystal River Energy Complex, 76 deaths per year
And my "friendly neighborhood" plant adds another 11 more per year.

Remember these are just the closest facilities to me. There are 8 other coal plants in Florida alone. And the air quality is affected in a radius of much more than just 60 miles...try hundreds of miles.

Here's some more fun facts I found:

Just two of the coal-fired units at the massive Crystal River Complex near Tampa puts out the equivalent of 830,000 automobile emissions per year!

And just down the road, Stanton Energy Center, all by itself, can burn up to 21 trainloads of coal, yup - TRAINLOADS - each at least a mile long carrying about 10,000 tons. How frequently? Drum roll please...EACH MONTH!!!

I'd gasp, but I really don't want to inhale any more than I absolutely need to.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Bahamas Cruise Video

Well despite the venom of my previous post, I did actually like some of the more nature-inspired and mechanical marvel aspects of my trip and here, in this short video I captured some of them. Oh, some of those pesky humans are in it too.

My Voyage Aboard The Hate Boat

I grew up in a time when modern leisure cruise ships were just coming of age. "The Poseidon Adventure" and "The Love Boat" were big successes for film and television. The romance and adventure of of these depictions were inspiration for many future cruisers. Well, okay, "The Poseidon Adventure" was a disaster film, but it did have its heartfelt, endearing and hopeful moments. It expressed that even strangers grouped together on a cruise ship can look out and care for one another. And as for "The Love Boat", it reinforced the concept that cruise ships were the "happening" place to find true and everlasting love. Or at least get laid.

But having experienced first hand my virgin voyage aboard a cruise ship this past week, I can say that in my opinion, the 1970's ideal of cruising is gone. In its place runs the gamut of all manner of humanity's vices.

From the start, people seemed greedy, self-centered, entitled, purposely rude, argumentative, vain, ignorant, insensitive, racist, elitist, selfish and stubborn. A few were open-minded, cordial, friendly and helpful, but they were the exception.

Perhaps it has to do with the whole concept of cruising in the first place. Maybe back in the 70's it was innocent, chic and novel all at the same time, but now it can't be called innocent when fossil fuels are dwindling to extinction only hastened by diesel-guzzling leisure activities like sailing on a massive cruise ship. Long ago the idea of cruising as hip or chic faded. Now it's the domain of either the old, the cheap or the partiers. But mostly the old.

The trip had its good points. But for me, those were mostly relegated to things beyond the control of other human beings like the weather, the experience of being at sea: the wind, the waves, the smells, the warmth of the sun. But whenever someone else was in the picture, the goodness was diminished.

Their faces haunt my dreams. The loud and obnoxious family allowing their kids to run amok. The very old couple who couldn't be bothered to even clap during live performances that they chose to attend. The ugly old lady who whispered to me that she couldn't understand the "niggers" accents. The fat old man pointing his cane at the porters hefting his heavy luggage yelling "Where are those idiots going?". The tuxedo clad fuck who bumped into me and looked back at me with an unmistakably dismissive sneer. The supposedly Christian couple who reveled in their bartering skills "jewing down" an old Bahamian lady from $2 to $1 for a little trinket. The redneck guys yucking it up to gay jokes in the bar.

I thought the concept of the Ugly American traveler had faded into the sunset. Well not on cruise ships.

If you ever wondered why the world hates us, take a cruise. You'll see what they mean.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tickle My Boy Hole, Elmo

Oh the recent news events surrounding the Elmo puppeteer and his alleged affairs with teen-aged boys has certainly tickled a few butt hairs. It seems the Twitterverse was a ablaze with all sorts of sordid jokes and for each of them just as many "shocked" prudes who liken joking about molestation to be as bad, if not worse, than the act itself.

Hey folks, if you can't handle mockery and low-brow humor, because you're too sensitive, then just don't read or watch it.

I, on the other hand, fully advocate, like this article's creator, just simply letting it all hang out and "going there".

Thursday, November 22, 2012

If I Only Had A Big Purple Hat...

I was actually contemplating going to a thrift store in search of a similar hat to do what this girl did. A fabulous recreation of one of my favorite scenes from "Titanic".

Of course it'd be more daring for me to do it in the full outfit!

Ah well, I'll have to settle for imagining myself playing this role as I board my "ship of dreams" next week.

Friday, November 16, 2012

All Aboard The S.S. Death Ship

I decided to book my first cruise for my upcoming vacation. It'll be a little 4 night jaunt to the Bahamas. I'm sure I'll have a blast but I am a little nervous about traveling on a big ship out in the middle of the ocean (well, maybe not the middle of the ocean, but far from shore).

Unfortunately, discovering that the ship I'll be on has a rather checkered history doesn't sooth the nerves too much. Here's what Wikipedia had on this ship's past "incidents":

Grounding off St. Maarten

After evacuating a sick passenger at Philipsburg, St. Maarten, the Netherlands Antilles on 15 December 1998, Monarch of the Seas grazed a reef while departing opening a 40 by 2 metres (130 by 6.6 ft) gash along the starboard hull. The ship started taking water and began to sink by the head. Three of its watertight compartments were completely flooded and several others partially flooded.

It was intentionally grounded on a sandbar to prevent further sinking. All passengers were evacuated by crew members and local tender operators. No lives were lost. The grounding breached two of the ships diesel fuel tanks and an overflow tank causing a small fuel spill of approximately 100 US gallons (380 l; 83 imp gal). There was also severe damage to the ship.[8][9] A joint investigation by the Norwegian Maritime Investigator and the United States Coast Guard found that the accident was due to “…a myriad of human performance deficiencies.” Reports also indicate that navigation out of the port was done visually rather than using of electronic navigation and that the relocation of a vital buoy was not reflected on charts.

The ship was drydocked for repairs for three months at Atlantic Marine’s Mobile, Alabama facilities. One-hundred and fourteen of the ship’s compartments had to be cleaned. The work also included the replacement of machinery, 460 tons of shell plating, and 18 miles (29 km) of electrical wiring.

Gas leak

While docked at the port of Los Angeles in August 2005, maintenance on a sewage pipe caused a small amount of raw sewage and an unknown amount of hydrogen sulfide gas to escape. Three crew members, Boris Dimitrov of Bulgaria; Willie Tirol of The Philippines and Radomilja Frane of Croatia, were killed and 19 others were injured. Reports said that the deaths were almost instantaneous as the crew members were not wearing breathing apparatus at the time.

Captain's death

38 year old Captain Joern Rene Klausen was found dead in his stateroom aboard the Monarch of the Seas early the morning of January 30, 2006. The ship was returning to Los Angeles from a three-night cruise to Ensenada, Mexico.[14] According to reports, the death appeared to be of "natural causes".

2010 New Year suicide

A 23-year old woman passenger jumped off the 11th deck of the ship around 4am on Thursday, December 31, 2009. The woman was reported missing by her husband, a Royal Caribbean employee.

2012 January suicide

A crew member jumped off the 7th deck of the ship early in the morning on Wednesday, January 11 2012 while en route to Nassau, Bahamas. The crew member was witnessed throwing himself over the safety rail into the water below. A search was conducted shortly afterwards with help from other cruise ships from Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, and Disney Cruise Line. The Monarch of the Seas was eventually released by the Bahamian Coast Guard, who continued the search. A life jacket was found later in the day, but the crew member remained missing.

I'll let you know if I experience any ghost encounters.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Something's Catfishy In Holland

So I'm re-watching the great documentary "Catfish" on MTV right now and it reminds me of a real-life similar situation that I think I've discovered.

"Catfish", in case you've not seen it, is an indie documentary that was (supposedly, but that's another issue) intended to be about an 8-year-old girl who stunned the filmmaker with her artistic painting talent. It turns out that the girl's mom is actually the real artist and because she has some possible social anxiety issues or whatever, she's created a complex web of lies. And there's a pun in that statement because the "web" of lies thrives and is supported by an intricate network of faked web sites and Facebook accounts.

The situation I uncovered isn't pertaining to anyone I actually know in real life, but revolves around a vlogger I follow on YouTube. I mentioned him in this post a while back when I admitted I enjoy sleuthing stalking people on the internet.

His name is Leander and he lives in The Hague, Netherlands. He openly admits he has some hefty mental health issues which currently prevent him from working and maintaining many relationships in the real world. Basically, we see him interact only with his immediate family most of the time.

But he's gone on and on, for over a year and a half now, about his boyfriend Colin. He say's he met Colin through his YouTube videos when he started posting complimentary comments that eventually evolved into flirts. In fact, these comments do exist and Colin does continue to comment on occasion. They've never met in person as Colin supposedly lives in West Virginia and hasn't gone to visit despite the fact he's supposedly an engineer who lives in his own house in the countryside.

You see, I think that there is no Colin.

I think Leander created him.

He's just a fantasy.

Leander has shared a lot on his vlogs. He shows much of what goes on, what little there may be most times, each and every day. He's put his mom and other friends on speakerphone frequently so we can hear them. Never Colin. He's shown himself Facetiming and Skyping with family and other Internet friends. He says that he and Colin Skype regularly, but he's never shown him in his vlogs. He has pictures of Colin but there are only about 4 or 5 of them total. In a year and a half. And they're the same photos available on "Colin's" sites like his YouTube channel (which has NO video uploads) and other sites.

Speaking of those other sites, I discovered that Colin's online presence goes back further than the time he started commenting on Leander's YouTube videos. Back even to when Friendster was a popular social media site and he's apparently "dating" some other guy. But wait, as you read through these ancient posts you discover they eventually broke up. Why? Because they could never reconcile their inability to meet.

Yup, another internet love story where the parties never met one another.

I haven't gotten far enough yet in my investigation as to whether or not this other guy exists either. He too could be a part of the web of lies Leander has created out of thin air. I found out that Colin's username from this time period points to a site in Indonesia, and not in English but in Indonesian. Colin is supposed to be a country white boy from the American south. Not likely he'd know Indonesian. But who would? Leander is Dutch of Indonesian decent.

Oh the internet. The great ocean of anonymity and obfuscation. If you're reading this and have never met me, how do you know I even exist?

Sometimes, even I don't know for sure.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Flag In Her Hair, And She Just Don't Care

The President walked up to the podium and started saying something like "200 years ago this nation was just a colony and..." blah, blah, blah. I knew he was conscious of the importance of his victory speech and its place in history. He was obviously trying to sound a bit monumental. But I just couldn't hear what he was saying. Not because the volume was too low, it's just that lady in the background with the freakin' flag stuck out her hair!

OMG! She was so distracting!

I yelled it out to June as soon as I noticed it, and apparently from the Twitter meme that has sprung up within the past hour, I wasn't alone.

Here's a snapshot of the scene. I mean, really! Didn't she know she'd be on camera throughout his speech? Of course she did. I'm sure those guys were hand-selected to be positioned there. Why she thought it would be okay to put her flag in her hair is beyond me.

Ugh! There are probably Twitter accounts and blogs being created as I speak.

She'll be famous in just a few hours.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

He's Back!

"The biggest comeback in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives."
- Alan Grayson...a few minutes ago.

Alan Grayson has just been confirmed as the winner of the District 9 (my district) race here in Central Florida!

Will he be as vocal as he was during his first term in outing corruption, snubbing conservative stick-in-the-muds and screamingly defending the disenfranchised and downtrodden?

Let's hope so.

Some say congress needs to be less partisan and more conciliatory. Well, that'd be fine if the Republicans were more receptive and representative of the entire nation, not just a select few. So I say, as long as they placate their radical right fringe, ignoring the poor, unfairly favoring the rich, denying rights of gays, non-Christians, minorities and women, then give 'em hell, Alan!

L'√Čtat, C'est Moi

Europa Universalis III, a game I've owned for a few years, got little play until it got a bit of a facelift and improved mechanics in its most recent expansion "Divine Wind". It doesn't hurt that I just discovered an active fan community that have made all sorts of helpful "Let's Play" videos. EU3 makes Civilization look like a kid's game. It's a micro-managing control freak's wet dream.

Though it doesn't offer an in-game equivalent to Civ's replay feature which can let you view an ever-changing map chronicling your progress (or lack thereof) over the course of your game, it does allow world map snapshots so I assembled some from a recent game and made a little movie.

Mesdames et messieurs, je presente L'Empire de la France:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's Gayle Winds, Bitches!

My favorite drag queen within a drag queen, Gayle Winds returns to let her Rhode Island viewers know that once again, if they haven't already picked up their French Toast ingredients from the mah-ket, THEY'RE SCREWED!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Voted!

But when you submit your ballot by mail in early voting, you don't get that little sticker to put on your shirt. I guess the graphic on the left will have to suffice.

Believe me, it's a small sacrifice indeed. Who needs that little sticker when you get so much more this way:

  • No long lines. 
  • No hassle of parking at the polling place. 
  • No assholes shoving handbills and pamphlets in your face, forcing you to toss that shit into the garbage contributing to environmental waste. 
  • No taking the time out of your schedule. 
  • No having to walk into a fucking church staring at that disgustingly morbid execution device with a limp, almost nude figure of a dead and bloody convicted criminal impaled to it. (Christians are sick fucks!)

Of course, as you should know, I voted democrat right down the line. Including my favorite politician ever, Alan Grayson! When he lost his re-election bid in 2010, I was downright pissed, but, not living in his district at the time, there was little I could have done about it. Now, living in Orlando proper, and within the newly-formed borders of the new U.S. House District 9 for Florida, I'm confident my vote will be one of the majority which will put him back in Washington to "tell it like it is" to the Republicans. BTW, if you're not familiar with my soon-to-be representative, here's a little sampling of a couple of videos featuring him from 2010.

Voting early is so much easier, IMHO. Of course, voting online would be even better since I had to pay for postage on the paper ballot, but I guess it isn't as secure against voting fraud yet.

But how do they avoid fraud with mail-in balloting? What would happen if I showed up at my polling place on Election Day and tried to vote in person? How would they know I already voted? Absentee ballots aren't counted until after regular voting, right? Is my name crossed off the list printed in those huge books at the polling place? Hmmm.

Well I probably already voted twice last Presidential election time so why not keep it going?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Brilliance Of Darkness

So I woke up a few minutes ago and started playing thought games. I do this a lot, actually. It can be quite irritating.

Today's thought was this:

When we look up into the night sky, we see stars and other light reflective objects such as the moon and nearby planets. But shouldn't the sky be simply a bright glow filled to the point of saturation with the ambient light from the trillions of stars not only in our galaxy but all the trillions of other galaxies?

I googled a brief synopsis of this question and found I'm not the first to ponder this.

The gist of my question is referred to as Olbers' Paradox. It's been kicked around for over 400 years in, no doubt, numerous salons and Algonquin-esque round-tables of brainy-types throughout the centuries. But it has only recently had "sufficient" scientific explanation.

Wikipedia gives one "short answer" is that it's attributed to the expansion of space which can cause the energy of emitted light to be reduced via redshift. More specifically, the extreme levels of radiation from the Big Bang have been redshifted to microwave wavelengths (1100 times lower than its original wavelength) as a result of the cosmic expansion, and thus form the cosmic microwave background radiation. This explains the relatively low light densities present in most of our sky despite the assumed bright nature of the Big Bang. The redshift also affects light from distant stars and quasars, but the diminution is only an order of magnitude or so, since the most distant galaxies and quasars have redshifts of only around 5 to 8.6.

Well, that kinda explains what happened to all the light from just after the Big Bang when the entire universe was in a plasma-like state. But I'm concerned with light sources eminently younger. Stars and galaxies of stars observable today (though, especially for the most distant sources, as they looked up to several billion years ago).

Other explanations include scattering of light by dust and other particulate matter, including the atmosphere when observing from the surface of Earth. Also the lack of the massive quantity of stars needed to make up for the decreased intensity of light through the inverse square law.

WRONG! When I ponder the paradox, it's not the light reduced to microwave wavelengths, or matter obstructions I wonder about. I wonder about the vast number of objects in the visible spectrum picked up by uber-powerful telescopes which can't be seen with the naked eye. The light is there. We know that from telescopic observation. We just can't see it.

Another article mentioned, almost as a side note, the biological limitations of our human eyes.

That, I think, is the most important factor!

So in essence, my opinion is that, in fact, the night sky is actually a bright glowing expanse.

It's a-blaze with luminosity. Has been and will be for billions of years.

We just don't see it. Our primitive little gooey ocular organs are too flawed to pick up on this fact.

So all these diversionary explanations are merely acts of denial. We, as a species, "ain't all that and a bag of potato chips" after all. I, for one, can handle the self-deprecation. I'll admit to the severe handicaps in our powers of observation coupled with our head-in-the-sand instincts and our naive hubris.

I'm just gonna go outside tonight, relax in a lounge chair and soak up some unseen rays.

Hope I don't get a star burn.

Nightmares And Dreamscapes

I've mentioned before how I find it rather annoying that I seem to have the same old dreams every time I sleep, but lately I'm finding them somewhat disturbing as well.

Why is my mother always upset in them? And why do I have such anger towards my brother and father?

And why the fuck are any of them in my dreams anyway?

In the conscious world, I don't harbor animosity (any more) towards my father and I can't say I've ever had any truly complete emotional feeling towards my brother. I mean, even as kids, I thought of him as a roommate I never bothered with. As adults, even when I lived up north, I rarely saw him and now I never do.

Last night (well, really Thursday morning and afternoon since I sleep during the day, of course) I had yet another totally weird "location" dream (see here for a rundown of my dream theme categories). I was in what I guess was an apartment that was mine, but, of course, it never existed in real life. In fact with bizarre features like shower fixtures over the bed and in the living room, it would likely never exist for anyone.

I was busily trying to get rust off of the chrome shower knobs with Comet cleanser, complaining that my brother doesn't maintain them so they get rusted. My mother is watching me and she has a scowl on her face. The showers are running getting the bed, living room furniture and me soaking wet.

And that's about it.

Where does all this come from?

Well, the "cleaning the shower" concept likely springs from the real life similar situation recently when I was cleaning my shower and tub because the maintenance guy had to come over to fix the faucet. It wouldn't close shut and water was dribbling out non-stop. That's also why, I think, the showers were running in my dream and it could have something to do with why they were getting furnishings wet since I was somewhat worried leaving for work the other night with the water slightly running that somehow the drain would get clogged and I'd come home to find the apartment flooded. Add to that the two other plumbing issues in my real life bathroom (the toilet leakage and the clogged air conditioner drainage tube) and these flooding concerns weigh in on my subconscious, no doubt.

But why are members of my family always in my dreams? And they're always as they existed more than 20 years ago.

Like unwanted poltergeists they haunt me. I wish they'd stay out of my head. I've got enough creepin' around in there.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Epic Fail: HHN 22

I so wanted to have a great time. I brought my camera anticipating a wonderful video showcasing one of Orlando's most celebrated annual events, but I never used it once.

This year's Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida was just not worth it.

Here's a little rundown of my less-than-spectacular experience of last night.

First thing that got me was the cost of admission. About $43 with tax. And that's after the "Florida residents" discount using a promo code from a Burger King purchase. Notice I put Florida residents in quotes...that's because the only verification they did of my residency status was to ask me what my zip code was. Um, couldn't out-of-state tourists just give a local zip code and get the "exclusive" discount for themselves?

I remember when a HHN ticket was less than $20. Those were, I guess, the good old days. Which brings me to my next point about last night's events, the security.

I fully realize there has to be a good amount of security but there's also a point when overcompensation can bog down an event such as having people wait in an unorganized throng outside the metal detector perimeter set up even before anyone gets to the ticket windows or gates themselves. Huh?

I had to stand in this mess inching forward ever so slowly for almost 45 minutes. It reminded me of the opening day for the Harry Potter installation at IOA. Click here to check out that fiasco.

And they even made us take our belts off. Really?

Once I was finally in the gates, I needed a beer. Luckily there was a nearby cart with virtually no wait. The beer price was expectedly high ($6.50 for a 16 oz. can of Heineken) but for some reason they aren't supplying some carts with cash registers that produce paper receipts for credit card purchases so they have patrons enter in any tip and then sign for the purchase via the seller's cell phone. I was wearing my contacts so I couldn't read the tiny iPhone screen so she clicked it forward for me. I did my usual nonsense scribble to sign for it. I wonder how much of a tip she allocated for herself? I guess I'll know when I check my transactions for that card online.

On the HHN website, there's a kind of a scavenger hunt game featured where participants can get a special game tag on a lanyard which has the ability to record your progress through the haunted houses when you touch it to a specially-marked receiver upon exiting. Like a security badge.

Well finding out where to get the badge was a chore with misdirecting information booth staff and clueless guest services staff. Once I got to where I needed to be, it wasn't much better seeing it would have meant waiting in line with others not only wanting the pass, but also stroller and wheelchair rentals. There were 12 people in front of me in line and few staff helping. So I abandoned that idea and just walked away.

I made my way to the right and came upon a choice to either enter Universal's House of Horrors or Alice Cooper: Welcome to my Nightmare. For some reason, I thought they had done each of these houses, or at least the same concepts, in past years. Either one was stated to be a 45 minute wait. I chose the House of Horrors since I figured I could continue moving in a counter-clockwise fashion and complete each of the 7 haunted houses before the end of the night. Yeah, right. 45 minutes was more like an hour and a half and once inside, the house was amateurish and crude. High school fundraiser haunted houses do better in the suburbs.

The only good thing about the haunted house experience though...the in-queue beer kiosks. they make the time pass a little nicer.

I wanted to continue on to the Penn and Teller house but I also wanted to make sure I got good seating at one of the Bill and Ted Shows. Since it was 8:45 and the next Bill and Ted's was at 9:15, I decided to make a bee-line to Bill and Ted's.

I did get really good seats for the show but finally sitting down and surveying the crowd I realized that the audience, in fact perhaps the whole park was very young. Many were teenagers and the majority seemed to be no older than 30. No problem, I thought, I like young people. But when it came to the Bill and Ted Show, I soon realized that these people have no real affection for these characters. I mean, they're their parent's generation! Sure enough, whenever Bill and Ted did their signature "Wild Stallion" moves or Valley Boy expressions, it was obviously lost on the crowd. They pretty much sat there, unimpressed.

The Bill and Ted's this year was everything I hoped it would be. It was the one shining light of the whole night. They spoofed everything from The Hunger Games to Honey Boo Boo to Snookie's baby to the presidential election to Gangnam Style. They even had a Mayan priest ushering in the end of the world.

The 20 Penny Circus was another story.

Last time I was at HHN, the Beetleguise Revue Theater had been used to present a live action send up of Rocky Horror Picture was fabulous!

Now they got some two-bit magic act which uses shills disguised as ordinary "audience members". Terrible shenanigans  And the magic acts were incredibly lame. Not amused, just feeling abused.

After this show I headed over to Finnegan's and figured I'd be able to make up for the transgressions of the night with a libation or two. Well they removed all the bar seats, so it was table seating only and though I waited patiently for about 15 minutes, and it wasn't that busy, just understaffed, I still hadn't been able to order a drink.

It was time to leave.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Oh Yes, Zombie Baby, The War Rages On

It's been a while since I've posted about the drama of my workplace and the (pun intended) insanity of what goes on there, but here I'll try to catch you up...

The turnover this year has been outrageous!

Since I last posted about it, the following employees have way or another, if you know what I mean.

Ryan, the Care Coordinator that replaced Scott. He was as gay and rebellious as his predecessor but not as committed to fighting the good fight, he left within a few months of his hire.

David, the weird evening shift staff who had the strange obsession with his wife's gluten-free muffins. He actually thought people were out to steal his wife's recipe since he thought it was worth millions. Again, as I've said before, who are the crazy people here?

LaQueen, an experienced and capable caregiver who decided the air was too toxic for her. One of the few that I've heard of that have had the deluxe opportunity to "tell off" Susan.

Theresa, the incredibly old and fragile Care Coordinator finally "retired", but the rub is that she actually became a 1:1 caregiver for one of the most wealthy residents, employed directly by the resident's father for a sum which no doubt comfortably exceeded what she was making through the Center.

Chris W. finally decided his one shift every couple of months wasn't worth it and so he gave up the ghost. No more lusting over him and his slightly furry but very tight, firm body and effervescent smile. Weep...Weep.

So we've got a slew of newbies to replace them all, but they're not the focus of this post.

We need to discuss, first and foremost:


While we had been getting along very well, so I thought, over the course of this year, recently, she had started to go into her "crazy June" mentality.

She started divulging over the course of the summer he frustrations with Eric, the other overnight staff, and how he seemed to take liberties which she felt were beyond acceptable like going missing for hours or being caught sleeping in the Activity Center or on the examination table of the doctor's visit room.

I too, agreed with her that this was getting out of hand.

But she never mentioned escalating the issue. She obviously feared an outcome of that.

While I held back from reporting to Susan the actions of Eric, I restrained from doing so in order to continue the status quo and to keep a Sword of Damocles over the head of Eric in order to more effectively control him.

This cease fire continued with June and I playing the role of concerned parents over the actions of our troublesome baby until recently when I may have exposed old wounds...

A task which required regular updating hadn't been kept up for about a month and a half by June. She'd stated, at the start of the task, that she'd be the responsible party, but later, when it fell in arrears,  denied having taken on the task. I was pissed, so I sent an email to Susan saying I would take responsibility for the task and apologized it hadn't been maintained well 'till then,

June has been in a pissy mood since this. She's now, no doubt, re-evaluating all of our interactions over the past year.

And though I'm not happy about the discontinuation of a smooth and peaceful work environment...

I totally agree.

She should be suspect.

I don't trust her.

Never have.

And though I hate a "battle zone" work atmosphere, I feel it's probably inevitable.

Hopefully, she'll soon be exposed for the lazy, vindictive, two-faced cunt she really is and be fired as soon as possible.

But I really hope she blows her top and quits first, since she'll then have no unemployment claim and will have to continue to suck the clit of her retirement-aged girlfriend in order to continue to, by her very presence, ooze her skanky pussy smell into the air of our fair state of Florida.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

YUMMY!: Lasagna!

Yeah, baby! Is there anything better? Garfield knew it, so should you!

click pic for close up

Follow directions on the Barilla No-Boil lasagna noodle box.


Use ground turkey instead of beef, much better flavor and healthier.
Increase meat to 1 1/2 pounds, brown and add to sauce.
Use a full 16oz. mozzarella in block form, slice to very thin slices instead of shredding.
Add 1/2 cup red wine to the sauce. (Chianti)
Make only 3 layers so eliminate:
5 rectangles of noodles
1 jar of sauce
1 egg in ricotta mixture
Add parsley flakes on top


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

J.J. Abrams, Eat Your Heart Out!

That's right J.J., I did "Star Trek Into Darkness" before you did!

Nah, nah!

But apparently I did my movie back in 1956...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

YUMMY!: Creole Chicken With Red Beans And Rice

click pic for close up


1 1/2 medium chicken breasts, cut up
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice
1 cup frozen corn
Zatarain's seasoning
Crystal hot sauce

Saute carrots and onion in oil/butter. Add chicken pieces, sprinkle generous amounts of Zatarain's seasoning and after mixture is browned, deglaze with a few squirts of Crystal hot sauce.

Add beans and rice mixture and modify on the box instructions to reduce water content by 1/2 cup. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

Microwave corn with a pat of butter and sprinkle of seasonings.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

We're So Screwed!

Recent news events have got me in a pessimistic mood again. I really don't think we're gonna make it folks. I watched a Star Trek movie to cheer me up, hoping I'd get all enthusiastic for a Utopian future civilization among the stars. Nah! We're gonna end up a planet of petty provincial morons brutally killing anyone who disagrees with our flavor of mass hysteria. Allah Akbar!

And then I watched this video and thought...

Oh yeah. We are truly fucked!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

YUMMY!: Stewed Tilapia With Mac And Cheese

A few weeks ago I was wondering what to use to flavor some tilapia I had and I happened to have a can of stewed tomatoes in the cupboard. I combined them and, well, it was so good, I just had to make it again!

click pic for close up


5 frozen tilapia fillets, thawed
1 can stewed tomatoes
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. celery salt
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
parsley flakes to garnish

Saute veggies in olive oil until sweated. Sprinkle dry seasonings onto both sides of each fillet, add to saute pan. Keep on med-high heat till fillets are golden browned on one side (about 3 minutes or so). Flip fillets and then add tomatoes, lemon juice and parsley on top. Reduce heat. Cover. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes, fish should be white and flaky.

The Mac and Cheese is simply Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese. The kind that comes in a bag. It's the bomb, y'all! I added a little more cheese in the form of some grated parm I had in the fridge. I also "faux baked" it since I didn't want to heat up the kitchen for just a side dish. Simply cook as directed on the package but instead of transferring into an oven-safe dish for baking, continue to let simmer on very low heat on the stove top after adding the bread crumb topping for about 5 minutes. Let sit covered for another 5 minutes and it'll taste just like it was finished in the oven.

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Don't See Any God Up Here

First Orbit Around Kerbin
Coincidentally mimicking the alleged phrase attributed to Earthling Yuri Gagarin after he successfully first orbited his world, our intrepid space-explorer Mitney Kerbal postulates the whereabouts of a divine being as well. Having now achieved the first stable, albeit decidedly eccentric, orbit around Kerbin today, our little green history maker also ponders a more prescient question: "How the fuck am I going to get down from here!?"

Ironically, I guess he'll have to pray for a miracle.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Time Tripper

Look at this hilarious video of Edward Current talking to his pothead younger self.

Here's the even-funnier video that inspired the previous. So amazing it makes you wonder if it's faked somehow. But I guess not since the kid does look like the adult. Trippy stuff, man!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Star Trek Google Doodle

Google has done it again with another fantastic interactive doodle. This one celebrates the 46th anniversary of the debut of the original "Star Trek" on American TV.

Clicking on various features not only initiates some simple animation but it propels a typical mission which includes a tribble infestation, a "redshirt" bemoaning his fate, beaming down to a planet to fight a fierce alien and besting him with a make-shift hand cannon cobbled together with "found" objects.

It's only replacing the usual Google logo for a day so I'll link the pic above to the doodle once Google saves it to their archive.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

In And Out


The three apartments surrounding mine have all been reoccupied over the past few weeks.

The one across the breezeway from me, formerly Casa de Flaming Bull, seems to be occupied by a late teens/early twenties guy, Hispanic, of course, who gets regular visits from his mother and sister. He's quiet so all's good. I have yet to actually meet him. All my information is postulated from peeping at him through my peephole. He keeps a plastic planter or bed riser thing near the front door. I think it's used as a "do not disturb" signal. I'm not sure. It sure isn't aesthetic. Either he or his mom cooks on occasion. More often than the previous occupants. And much better selection of aromas like just now I'm smelling peppers and onions. And they're not burned to a crisp! He's frequently shirtless and has several gang-style Hispanic tattoos on his body.

I'll call him "El Diablo".

The apartments opposite my bed head and the one above me, previously the domains of "Thumper" and "Senorita Corazon Solitario" are also occupied...I think.

You see, so far, these tenants have been so unbelievably quiet. I heard them move in, but aside from that I almost never hear from them. Virtually nothing from the one near my bed head and only the occasional footfall in the overhead one. These guys are either at work all the time or I'm just going deaf. Either way, I'm not complaining.

They have yet to be named.


I got irritated by a phone call I had with Ric at the beginning of August. He called me asking for help with a computer problem he was having. I provided as much information I could based on what symptoms he was telling me but since it was a problem I was not familiar with, I told him that he should Google it and he'd likely find a forum where this same problem has been answered before. He thought I was being dismissive and he expressed as much. I felt unfairly judged and though I made him aware of this, he fluffed it off. As usual.

So for the next few weeks I ignored all incoming calls from him and only acknowledged the previously commited-to plan that I'd pick him up at the airport when he returned from his family reunion in Indiana.

I picked him up last night and on the drive to his place told him, in so many words, that I didn't want to be his friend anymore.

Now you know I've done this many times before over the past few years, but this time, I assumed, on some level, he really, finally got it. It's over!

But, as I pulled out of the parking spot of his condo he called out to me, "We're all going to Key West for my 50th birthday (in February 2013), Joe, Zach, Scott and you!"

Yeah, I thought as I pulled away and drove through Lake Mary for what I hoped was the last time.

Yeah, we'll see.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Ship's Log Blog

For quite a few years now, I've been following an online ship's log of the sailboat "Magnolia". It's maintained by this American computer programmer who decided to retire early, buy a used sailboat and cruise the Caribbean for the rest of his life.

The log, much like YouTube vlogs and even blogs like this one, is often mundane and pedantic but after reading a few entries, I got hooked. Something resonates with me and it's like I can "see" in my mind's eye, his daily life, for all its excitement or lack thereof, and it becomes fascinating. I guess I equate it to what an entomologist must feel when he studies the behavior of insects for hours on end.

So in the spirit of his "ship's logs" which really are detailed journal entries of his entire day, each and every day, I present my day as it happened here on my blog in the same fashion.

All aboard the S.S. Koyaanisqatsi Degauss! Better take your dramamine.

And a few caffeine pills. LOL

Bellagio Apartments, Orlando, Florida, USA

Watched a show on PBS about Prince Charles watching home movies of his childhood. A lot of candid footage of the royals playing and being, well, kinda normal. Very humanizing to the image of the queen.

Spent time as a result of the PBS show researching Wikipedia about Lord Mountbatten, which lead to researching the IRA and "the Troubles".

Then spent half an hour looking at porn.

Caught up on my YouTube subscriptions: watched the newest uploads of Kiki756 and heard a reference, again, about The Shaytards. Finally decided to check out their channel to see what the hype's all about. First few minutes watching their videos..."Oh just another PERFECT family and their "home movie" style vlogs." but then after a few more minutes and some older videos..."Hmmm, the're kinda interesting. ShayCarl is a hoot, I can see why people like him, he's got a natural easy-going nature and he's pretty funny." But then after 15 more minutes I got bored.

Took a 3 hour nap.

Started playing Minecraft and got killed losing all my shit in some far away location. My spawn site has no trees around, it's the middle of the game's night and I'm also dying of starvation. Logged out to search the forums for a good mapper. Downloaded a few that didn't work and went to obsolete links for old beta version mappers. Finally got one that works and is pretty decent called Tectonicus Map using a GUI called Minutor. Cool.

Made spaghetti with Mid's meat sauce and OnCor Chicken Parmesan Patties.

Watched an hour or so of "Pawn Stars".

Took another 3 hour nap. Was dreaming about Minecraft so...

Played Minecraft on my newest world "Aurumnia". I want to play this on either my desktop or laptop. Tabbed out to try to search wikis on how to set up a multiplayer server for Minecraft. Either old info, incomplete or way too technically tedious. Also, requires downloads from mysterious sites and utilizing you IP Address...too risky, no thanks. Went back to my game.

Had more spaghetti.

More porn.

Another nap.

Played some Sims 3 but realized after about half an hour that the house I'm designing looks just like so many of the other houses I've designed over the years. ZZZZZZ.

Played a little Civ, but got bored with that after an hour or so.

Feeling like today has been very unproductive, fattening, nap-filled and dirty.

Took a shower.

Did some general internet browsing, thought about Bill's "Magnolia" log, read up on his past few weeks or so and decided to do something like that on my blog.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where No Kerbal Has Gone Before

My sixth rocket design has proven its ability to get my Kerbal into space.

Now if I could only get him back...

Size Does Matter

Check out this simple interactive tool. It illustrates comparative sizes of, well, everything. Everything in the known Universe from the incredibly vast Universe itself to the tiniest quantum foam and string theory particles.

Then I get to thinking of the concepts of the multiverse theory and infinite regression for the ultimate mind fuck.

This is the shit I find awesome!

I'm such a geek.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thar She Blows!

I feel like I'm a bit out of the loop on this one since I haven't been watching TV for a few weeks now and I never read a newspaper. But looky-there! A hurricane's a-comin'!

Now don't get me wrong, I haven't been hiding under a rock somewhere. I knew of Tropical Storm Isaac's existence from the Google news feeds I get on my iGoogle homepage. But I saw that it was on a westward trajectory that seemed like it'd miss Florida altogether so I paid it no mind.

But now it's south of the Bahamas, has cleared Cuba and looks like it'll steer away from the Cuban shore out through the Florida Strait and into the Gulf on an ominous-looking path.

Oh yes, the graphic above shows it staying well to the west of Central Florida, but hurricane tracking is far from an exact science. And Isaac WILL be a hurricane as it comes closer. Over the warm waters of the Gulf, storms tend to strengthen and become well-organized.

Even if it stays on this projected path, we here in Orlando will be on the northeastern edge of the storm for much of it's passing. That's where most of the peripheral wind and rain is.

Is it too late to get my hurricane preparedness kit together?

Or will the "mah-ket" be out of bread, water and eggs?

Then I'll be SCREWED!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm Waiting To Die

Cronauer: "Wilkie, something special, okay? You go into a restaurant, okay? A waitress comes up to you. You're wearing your best new suit. She comes up, she spills soup all over you, looks at you like, "Eh, I'm sorry. What are you gonna do about it, asshole?" What do you say to her? What would you say? She spilled something on your pants. What would they do... What would you do?" 

Vietnamese Student Wilkie: "I do nothing." 

Cronauer: "Come on Wilkie, It's cursing class. You're getting pissed off. What would you do?" 

Vietnamese Student Wilkie: "I just remain reticent." 

Cronauer: "Okay, she goes in the kitchen, she gets a knife, she starts stabbing you. Ste's stabbing you. She's putting forks in you. She's got spoons in your eyes, Wilk. They're starting to cut you, putting spoons in your eyes. What would you do, Wilk? What would you do?" 

Vietnamese Student Wilkie: "I'm waiting to die."

--Dialogue from the film "Good Morning, Vietnam!"

This scene scripted above is a relatively short one, and quite "throw-away" to the overall plot of the movie, but I suspect it was kept in to somewhat showcase, as I'm sure many lines of dialogue did, the improv talents of Robin Williams. Whether it was read precisely as scripted by the screenwriters or wholly made-up, or somewhere in between, it's brilliant.

It's odd what people take away from something like a movie. For me, this bit of dialogue was the most memorable.

I often contemplated the mindset of a Wilkie-like personality with utter incomprehensibility when I was younger. I mean, despite being a benign and peace-loving Buddhist, how could someone be so complacent to one's own existence to truly be honest when saying "I'm waiting to die." when describing one's thoughts in a situation that most people would feel a dire need to defend one's self?

It's kinda like the time, way back when I was about 20 years old or so, when a middle-aged woman who was a fellow student in one of my classes in community college remarked matter-of-factly that she felt close to wanting to kill herself at times.

Never when I was a young man did I ever, and I mean EVER contemplate suicide. Even now, it's a concept totally foreign to my way of thinking.

Maybe because I'm an atheist and I think there's nothing after death.

Maybe because I'm an illogical optimist and feel that it will always, given time and patience, get better.

Maybe because I'm an alcoholic and I dull my expectations out of life and just live for the next buzz.

But I'm not a young man anymore. And my thoughts are not only deeper, but sometimes darker.

And the reality of our times makes things no better...

Innocent movie-goers gunned down by a crazed man. Innocent Sikhs gunned down while in the sanctuary of their place of worship.

And just earlier today, a mother who decapitates her own baby, puts it's head in the freezer then stabs herself to death.

Why do I bother to read the news?

It makes me want to be like the Wilkie character and just lie down and...

Wait to die.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Well Look What The UPS Man Brought Me

That's right. Mildred XV is here!

I'm using her right now to type this post.

She looks and runs fine...and for just $373 with tax!

Here's her specs FYI:

  • VISION Technology by AMD
    Makes your digital photos and Web sites look amazing and gives a boost to digital music playback.
  • AMD Quad-Core A6-3420M Accelerated Processor with AMD Radeon HD 6520G discrete-class graphics
    For enhanced operation.
    For multitasking power, expandable to 8GB.
  • Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW
    Burn custom CDs and watch your favorite DVDs on the go; supports DVD-RAM.
  • 17.3" LED-backlit high-definition widescreen display
    With BrightView technology and 1600 x 900 resolution showcases movies and games in stunning clarity.
  • 500GB hard drive (5400 rpm)
    Offers spacious storage and fast read/write times.
  • AMD Radeon HD 6520G discrete-class graphics
    Feature up to 2037MB total video memory for lush images. HDMI output for connection to an HDTV.
  • Built-in webcam with microphone
    Makes it easy to video chat with family and friends.
  • Multiformat media reader
    Supports Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital and xD-Picture formats.
  • 3 high-speed USB 2.0 ports
    For fast digital video, audio and data transfer.
  • Built-in high-speed wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n)
    Connect to the Internet on the go.
  • Built-in 10/100Base-T Ethernet LAN
    With RJ-45 connector for quick and easy wired Web connection.
  • Weighs 6.1 lbs. and measures just 1.4" thin
    For portable power. Full-size keyboard allows comfortable typing and numeric keypad offers easy data entry.
  • HP Imprint finish in pewter
    Offers a stylish look.
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64-bit operating system preinstalled
    Provides a stable platform for word processing, Web navigation, gaming, media storage and more.
  • Software package included
    With Windows Media Player and more. Microsoft Office 2010 also included (product key card required for activation; sold separately).
  • ENERGY STAR qualified
    Designed to use less energy and meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy.

Monday, August 13, 2012

And Now There Are None

Everyone around my apartment moved out. Yup. Now Senorita Corazon Solitario is out. I have no idea why or under what circumstances.

One night I heard her usual footsteps (and squeeks, tee hee) and the next night...nothing. Then they came to punch out her place.

Maybe her clown came back and swept her off her feet, taking her to join him in the circus?

Or maybe she just died. Coulda happened. She sure smoked alot. And she wasn't any young mammasita.

I can see it now...

She was up there with her repatriated clown man-friend dancing like they do in that SNL skit (The Manuel Ortiz Show) and then suddenly, the hyper-beat merengue comes to an abrupt halt as she drops dead weight like a sack of over-ripe plantains to the floor.

But not before Betty White joined the fray.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Not Again?!

The post title refers to two very recent separate issues for which I can only exclaim in utter resignation: "Oh not again?!"

First was another bout of gout. Like the last flare up that I remember, it started in the ankle (Huh? Ya, I know, weird!) and eventually migrated to the more traditional toe area but not before it caused my knee to become compromised due to my gait being all a-whack.

This great inconvenience caused me to use 3 days (non-consecutive) of sick time PTO. Harrumph! I hate using PTO as sick time when I really am sick. Better used for "sanity days".

After the past week and a half in pain and discomfort, I'm finally getting back to normal, albeit a bit of ache remaining in the osteoarthritic right knee.

The second "not again" is the fact that less than an hour ago I went ahead and bought yet another computer! A laptop to replace this Toshiba I'm using at work right now.

Let's face it, computers are one of my more serious addictions. I need a 12-step program for computer-holics. I could see it now...I'd get up to the podium in front of the group and say "0111010111010100".

That's "Hi I'm Michael, and I'm a computer-holic." in binary.

I know. I know. I need help.

Monday, August 06, 2012

LIVE BLOG: Mars Science Laboratory EDL

Manning my personal command center, eagerly watching as the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover) goes into Entry, Descent and Landing on Mars.

12:47 am: Viewing a 3-D computer animation on NASA's website simulating the landing live as it happens. The vehicle is currently 45 minutes from landing, 38 minutes from entry.

1:04 am: NASA TV is on the television showing the control room (the real one at JPL in Pasadena, California). The blue-shirted uber-geeks (look who's talking) are passing out the traditional handfuls of peanuts. Huh? Wha? Beats me.

1:10 am: Powering off the cruise stage hardware.

1:11 am: Oh everyone at JPL is watching their monitors very intently.

1:12 am: JPL and NASA doing a nice job for the broadcast viewers...they have a guy narrating in layman's terms what's going's what it sounds like without him translating: Transition to tones now, were seeing carrier only, recieved heartbeats. Huh?

1:14 am: Cruise stage separating. The donut of the cruise stage flew back away from the vehicle on my simulation at just the same!

1:16 am: The capsule is pivoting into position.

1:17 am : The gravity of Mars is starting to speed the vehicle up; going faster now to about 5.9 km/sec.

1:18 am: We might get some pictures a few minutes after landing says one of the engineers...but it's not guaranteed.

1:19 am: The TV coverage shows all the hub bub being made...still cameras clicking and flashing, TV cameras all throughout the's actually quite exciting.

1:24 am: Vehicle reports entry interface.

1:27 am: Odyssey (one of the older NASA orbiters helping relay communications for this maneuver) is picking up data...much clapping.

1:27 am: PDS warning...they seem fine with this, whatever it means.

1:28 am: Standing by for parachute deploy.

1:29 am: We have heat shield separation and parachute deployment

1:30 am: Vehicle is decelerating...much applause.

1:31 am: Sky Crane deployment.

1:32 am: We are on Mars!!!...Riotous cheers and hugs, much jubilation! YES!!

We Have Landed!!

Curiosity on Mars -- Image oriented sky upward
1:33 am: I'm actually crying with exhilaration just like the guys on TV.

1:34 am: Odyssey data is very strong, and we have live pictures! Just a B&W grainy thumbnail but what a sight!

1:36 am: Another image is recieved a 256 x 256 image showing the rover's wheel on the surface of Mars with the sun setting on the Martian horizon.

1:38 am: Yet another pic showing the other side (Martian East?) facing away from the sun, the clear shadow of the lander is seen being cast upon the Martian dirt. These pics are lower quality since the cameras are still covered by a protective dust cover until all the dust from the landing clears.

1:40 am: The JPL guys (and girls) are so amped! Good for them, they deserve full recognition for this tremendous success. Now looking forward to years of hopefully stunning data from this phenomenal and crucial mission in our efforts to understand our neighbor Mars and to one day imprint onto her red soil a human footprint!