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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Resurrected, living in a lighthouse - if you leave here, ships are gonna wreck"

Time (part 2) - so yesterday I reeled on and on regarding our insignificance in time. Well today, I'm going to stick with time as my topic, but not time the cosmic concept, but rather time the resource and I'm going to scale it back down. If a man lives to be 100 years old, he will have lived about 876552 hours. Looking at that number, it initially seems long, but then you think about it and it really isn't. Let's continue to break it down mathematically. 100 years is about 36523 days and you sleep and average of 6 hours a night? Sounds good for a lifetime, it's probably more, but for the sake of argument. 219138 hours of our life gone right there just sleeping...not that I'm putting down sleeping, I'm just saying that we sleep more in our lives than we work and that is a major time drain. So 657414 hours left in our waking lives. Of course, you have to work from the time you're 20 (approx.) to 65 (it's going up, but for now we'll stay there) 40 hours a week, minus two weeks for vacation for 45 years? 90000 hours working in a lifetime. 567414 hours left. But we went to school for 12 years, plus college - about 35 hours/week for 36 weeks/year for 16 years? 20160 hours spent learning, worth it sure, but it still adds up. 547254 hours remaining...about 62% of our lifetimes remaining.

Now to venture off on somewhat of a tangent - I drive to work five days a week. It's 45 minutes one-way. I drive to school two-three times a week. It's 60 minutes one-way regardless if I'm driving from home or work. I'm currently driving at least 690 minutes a week just for work and school, that's ignoring the fact that I drive elsewhere as we'll round it up to a good 750 hours a week and that should handle vacation driving and whatnot. I've been doing this for two years now, approximately, meaning that I've spent 78000 hours over the past two years in the car! This stuff adds up, people, it's ridiculous - the average American watches four hours of TV a day. Nevermind that this takes up a quarter of a person's waking life (if they get 8 hours/night), but think of what that extrapolates out to! 1456 hours a year doing nothing! Granted, I enjoy watching TV myself but you can't let it control your life and you certainly can't sit in front of it for four hours a day. Time is a lot more precious than I think any of us truly appreciate and that's another thing we, as humans, should improve ourselves on.

"The lions and the lambs ain't sleeping yet."

That's what I've got for today - more tomorrow? Ta.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Time and Space

Time - on Friday I posted about the mind-boggling concept of space. Today, I think I will continue on that theme, but this time ventured towards the mind fuck orgy that is time. There has been life on Earth for, what did I say Friday? 3.7 billion years, with man barely breaking the 15,000 mark at this point, if it is even that high. We are merely a blip in the grand scheme of life on Earth - yes, I am only going by time versus life on Earth because if I go with cosmic time, I'll barely be able to wrap my head around it.

Ironically, I'm short on time here at work, so I'll make this brief.

Dinosaurs roamed the Earth for 160 million years, give or take a week or so. Now during that time they obviously evolved greatly and some theorize that they continued to evolve into modern day birds but that's neither here nor there in terms of this discussion. The point is, as a species - or, I suppose more specifically, a class of vertebrae animals they survived 160 million years until some global catastrophic event probably occurred, more than likely something of a cosmic nature that was of no consequence of something done here on Earth but rather something that unpreventable. Mankind, on the other hand could essentially destroy ourselves effectively within 10,000 years of existence. Granted, we've had 70 millions years of mammalian evolution to back us up, but how much progress have we made in the past 10,000 that makes this truly possible? Exactly - it's like iPod memory sizes, how quickly we figured out how to build a society and then destroy it. Impressive, humans.

I think the point I'm trying to make with both of these posts is truly how insignificant we all really are. Now I'm not saying that we are a meaningless and pointless species, I just think we take ourselves too seriously and hold ourselves in too high regards for many of our own limitations which we are practically blind to see. What do I suggest? We need to work towards utilizing more of what was given us, and I'm not just referring to natural resources here on Earth - I'm also talking about brain power and skills. If the most effective use of our opposable thumb thus far is hitch hiking than we aren't trying hard enough. Just my two cents, of course. So that's what I've got - we are all insignificant. Tomorrow - there is no God and other common human beliefs destroyed by logic! Ta.

Friday, April 25, 2008


The Universe - so for the Hubble Telescope's 18th birthday, NASA has released high definition pictures of galaxies colliding (see Hubble Gallery at Wired). A couple of things I would like to discuss here, the first being - how dangerous of a place is the universe? I mean the fact that life has remaining somewhat stable here on Earth for some 3.7 billion years is amazing considering everything that could have happened, cosmically, that could have ended it. Think about it - let's say you are a species on a relatively unimportant planet orbiting around a minute star (like us). Let's say, hypothetically, that our great galaxy which has no regard whatsoever for our well being, is pulled towards, or pulls towards us, another galaxy. What happens to us? All of a sudden there are stars everywhere! And how close could these stars get? Who's to say? Just judging by those pictures, it would definitely fuck some things up. And what's more, speaking universally, some of those galaxies are 500 million light years away! That means that if the dawn of man (approx. 10,000 years ago) had someone built a rocket that could travel the speed of light and left towards these colliding galaxies, they would only be 1/50,000 of the way there! That is mind-bogglingly insane to think about the size of the universe, and for those who think that we trashed this planet and just need to move to another solar system and start over - Alpha Centauri is 4.37 light years away, the fastest object in space we have ever successfully launched traveled at a tenth of the speed of light - 43 years to get there. And who's to say there is even a habitable planet there? The closest one THOUGHT to be able to support life is 10 light years away. Long story short, we're boned. In other news, the concept of life outside of this planet - how could it not exist? I mean, yes there's no evidence (there isn't - if you think there is, then you're crazy) - but what are the odds in the enormity of the universe that life only was able to form in a stable environment in one place? Really? Think about it - we're not alone and odds are that any life is so far away, even in cosmic terms, that we will never ever know it and their would they.

So those are my words today - have a nice day. Ta.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

2008 Summer Movie Preview

Movies - these are all movies I am at least quasi-interested in this summer.

The Ruins (4-4) : pros - Jena Malone, looks to be an interesting concept; cons - horror movie made in the past five years with an 'interesting premise; verdict - would like to see it in theaters but honestly, it probably won't be worth the extra money versus renting it.

My Blueberry Nights (4-4): pros - Natalie Portman, Jude Law; cons - Norah Jones (seriously?) in the starring role, looks pretentious; verdict - I don't think this is even in full release yet, so it'll be a rental for sure.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (4-18): pros - Judd Apatow productions, who doesn't love a good break-up comedy?; cons - none that I can see, although comedies have a tendency to disappoint with their hit-or-miss nature; verdict - if money is available, would love to see it but no real pay versus renting it.

Baby Mama (4-25): pros - Tina Fey, remember Mean Girls?; cons - Amy Poehler has a tendency to irk me; verdict - rental.

Harold & Kumar... (4-25): pros - sequel to a cult classic, premise has potential; cons - marijuana humor tends to run thin quickly, really a second one?; verdict - rental, make a marathon out of it.

Iron Man (5-2): pros - another comic book to major motion picture (see Batman, Spiderman, X-men); cons - another comic book to major motion picture (see Daredevil, Spiderman 3, Catwoman); verdict - this one might not even get rented...who casted Robert Downey, Jr.?

Speedracer (5-9): pros - theatrical firework show, Christina Ricci (she's a cutie!); cons - high risk, this could be terrible; verdict - still out, I'll have to keep an eye on the reviews and any more trailers that come out. I'm interested and it should be amazing to watch, but so was Beowulf and that was a big snore and I didn't even have to see it to realize that.

Prince Caspian (5-16): pros - one of the top three (in no particular order) or the Chronicles of Narnia series, Disney looks to actually be doing these right; cons - only that it's impossible to translate books to the big screen seamlessly and thus I'm sure to be disappointed about adding or removing something; verdict - will probably see it opening weekend.

Indiana Jones (5-22): pros - it's Indiana Jones! Those movies are all good! Shia LaBeou; cons - Harrison Ford isn't a young Han Solo anymore...; verdict - will see, eventually, probably soon after it comes out.

The Happening (6-13): pros - M. Night Shyamalan at his most mysterious since the Village, Zooey Deschanel; cons - M. Night Shyamalan at his most pretentious since Signs, Marky Mark (without the Funky Bunch); verdict - we'll take a wait and see on this one as well.

Get Smart (6-20): pros - Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway; cons - none as of yet; verdict - opening night, be there or be square.

Wall-E (6-27): pros - Pixar+Disney=Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., the Incredibles; cons - Cars; verdict - looks promising, but you can tell that Pixar's original idea bank is starting to run a bit thin. Will see in theaters, but not right away.

Hancock (7-4): pros - Will Smith (on 4th of July weekend where he never misses) and Justin Bateman; cons - there is no intel on this movie as of yet; verdict - still out, who knows what this is going be like.

The Dark Knight (7-18): pros - the reincarnation of the darker, more faithful (to the comic books) Batman, Heath Ledger's last film which he was getting raves for before he died; cons - they cut out the Joker's body bag scene because it might "upset" people; verdict - opening weekend if not knight or night...get it?

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (7-25): pros - dude, it's the X-Files! Original cast!; cons - the first movie wasn't all that great and that was 10 years ago, how high can our expectations be?; verdict - wait and see.

There is also Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, Pineapple Express (8-8) and House Bunny (8-15) but there isn't enough on any of them to make a reasonable analysis.

What movies are you going to see this summer?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Giraffes today my friend, giraffes

Sorry for the lack of posts - it's been crazy busy, here's a short one.

Economics- let's talk about economy, that sounds productive. It just occurred to me yesterday that success breeds success, but not necessarily in the terms that you might be thinking. Let's take an example of a hot dog stand - now, for argument's sake, let's say this hot dog stand could have an infinite number of customers. You open your hot dog stand and you sell 100 hot dogs at a $1 with a $.10 profit on each dog, or you just made $10...pretty sweet deal. Now, let's say you sell 1000 hot dogs at the same price, so now you made $100 but you could also, if you knew you'd sell at least 1000, lower your prices to $.91 and make the $10 you originally made. Here's the good news about that - you lowered your prices, you get more customers - you get more customers you can lower your prices, decreasing your profit margins without decreasing your total amount gained. Now, I know what you're saying - you can't lower the prices under $.90 because that's the cost of producing each dog - and I say, you're right, except when I have more customers, I can buy all my ingredients in bulk guessed it, lowers the cost per dog. Under this scenario, one could eventually be paying only $.01 per dog and selling them for $.02 and you'd only need to sell 1000 to make the original $10, but of course you'd be making more than just that because come on - how many hot dogs would you buy for $.02? Cosmic.

Cover Songs - I heard a terrible cover song the other day. As a matter of fact, I've been hearing more and more bad cover songs recently, so I think it's about time we write some rules of cover songs.

1. Don't cover the Beatles unless it's for a Beatles' tribute album, in which case one band should record one song per album and the album maintain it's original order. Come on people, it's the Beatles - let's not rape their genius. Also, playing Beatles' songs live is strictly forbidden unless you are a Beatle (looking at you, Panic! At the Disco) except "Birthday", but only if you're shamelessly promoting someone in the audience and you acknowledge that it's a Beatles' song which you fail to do justice to.

2. Don't release your cover song as a single (The Ataris - Boys of Summer)! This will overshadow the other songs on your album and will cheapen the effect of the cover.

3. If you record a cover song, add something to the song - make it different. If someone listens to your version of a song and says, "this isn't the original, is it? It sounds a little weird..." this means you fail. People should know that it's a cover because it merely references the song, doesn't make a carbon copy of it. This is particularly true for Christmas music...if your "Jingle Bells" sounds like the million other versions of "Jingle Bells" out there, then try again.

4. Don't cover your favorite songs...this one is tricky as there's something to be said in paying homage to your inspiration, but don't pay tribute by butchering your favorite song! Pick a song you like, but you feel you could add to with your years of listening to it...this song is missing a second bass line playing the riff in round with the first. If it's perfect in your mind already, what are you going to prove by recording it again?

5. Acknowledge the fact that it's a cover, as in don't take it so seriously and give some indication (probably in your liner notes) that this song was originally done by so-and-so and if you really respect whoever, listen the album it's on so that anyone who likes your version can go back and grab the original if they want.

Let's end the crappy covers now! Ta.

"If I could get a hamburger everytime I was, that'd be great."

NOTE: I wrote this yesterday without an Internet connection and then forgot to post it later.

Obesity - today, I want to talk about fat people. Now I'm not talking "heavy" people who are probably a little unhealthy and could take better care of themselves, some might even argue that I fit into that category myself, so I'm not going to talk about them - no, I want to talk about the kind of people you see at buffets that make you stare. The kind of people who inspire you to say things like, "if I ever get like that - roll me off a dock" I'm talking 300lb plus and not being exceptionally tall or a football player or something. We have some residents here who are here because they are too fat to take care of themselves...what? How do you let yourself get like that? And then - they don't even do anything while they are here, they aren't trying to improve themselves or their sickening situation - they sit there and beg for food and candy and pop or just lay in bed all day because they don't want to get up. Honestly, I can't understand how someone can be so lazy they don't want to get out of bed, what level of lethargy have you reached where that becomes too much of a chore for you? Now I understand liking food, I love certain foods, but at what point do you have to say no? Now the reason to bring this up is because we are currently raising a generation where obesity will be an incrasing problem. Now, I'm not going to point fingers at video games, I'm going to blame the parents - nothing is wrong with video games, the trouble is just getting your kid a game system because you're too lazy to spend time with your kids yourself. All too often, you hear of bad parents who were "shocked" by the time responsibility that goes along with having a kid...really, shocked? How is that surprising - they aren't self-dependent for at least the first eight or nine years of their lives, if not longer, and even then you have to supervise them because their decision making skills lack common sense! Right there that's a minimum of twelve or thirteen years of constant supervision...yeah, that seems time consuming to me. Idiots. We currently live in a society that all too often rewards laziness, as long as you know how to fill out a form and work the system, maybe throw in three months of employement here and there to make it look like you're trying than you're banking. How is someone supposed to learn responsibility if the state pays them either way? Obviously I have drifted off on a tangent, but weight is a serious issue in this nation and I think it stems from laziness. Of course, I couldn't go without complaining about the flip side of the issue - eating disorders. People so concerned with image that they literally starve important is appearence, really? Now I can respect a diet - shed a few pounds, fine, but you still have to take care of your body and provide all the necessary vitamins and protiens to ensure a vital life. It's a thin line people, you have to eat and live right, or else your body - which is suprisingly more fragile than I think we would like to think - will break down. I try and I probably could do a little better, walk to dog more often...I'm not immune to this laziness that I complain about, so am I a hypocrit? At least I'm putting some effort...not sitting in a nursing home, because I'm too fat to do anything, begging for hamburgers and peeing on the floor because I'm too lazy to be toileted - you don't even have to do it yourself, someone lifts you and puts you on the toilet and it's still too much work for you? Seriously? Sorry if I seem a little bitter, but I just don't understand these people and how they could care so little about their bodies. If anyone has a hint - let me know - I'd appreciate it.

Sorry for the somewhat pessimistic, angry post...I'm actually in quite a good mood today, but once I get on a ranting topic, I really need to rant - songs tomorrow and possibly some "Root of All Evil" - we'll see. Ta.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

He has eloped from this world...

Luck - Today's topic will be a bit silly to help me deal with what is becoming an increasingly stressful day - luck. I bring this up today because I am wearing my boxers with elephants on them because, although not directly, I have a job fair this afternoon. Now, while getting dressed I didn't seek them out - I saw a pair of boxers that made me say "meh" and then I saw the elephants buried a little bit and I said to myself "I always do better in elephants." Is this my lucky underwear? Does the underwear I'm wearing truly effect the course of events on my day? I have no idea - I doubt it, seems a bit...far fetched, to me...but some people believe. Luck in general I think is a misconception we label things we don't want to figure out - a guy heaves a basketball from half court and it goes in...he wasn't lucky, he happened to throw the ball at the right angle with the right velocity and spin on it - it was physics people. Granted, he probably didn't sit there and figure out all the figures he would have needed and he probably couldn't do it again exactly the way he did it before, but more than likely he has at least some experience with a basketball and basketball physics. Furthermore, if he did just happen to guess - like we did in elementary school - can we really call it luck that he got it or a successful calculated chance? On a multiple choice examine, you don't know an answer so you guess - are you lucky if you get it right, or did you use logic to determine the answer that was most likely? I think tomorrow I will continue this discussion (I'm a little busy today, and on second thought tomorrow isn't looking good - but I'll try and if not tomorrow, Friday) and expand it into other superstitions like black cats, mirrors and ladders, etc... What do you think?

Monday, April 14, 2008

"It's okay to eat fish because they don't have any feelings..."

Food Chain - Yesterday I got in a somewhat joke conversation with my supervisor regarding my former vegetarianism and what led me to that lifestyle. Here is a train of thought on the topic...

Why did you become a vegetarian? Because I felt there was no need for another living thing to lose its life when there is a completely viable alternative.

You eat rice, don't you, is rice not a living thing? Way to catch my wording there, yes - rice is a living thing, but it is a plant and not an animal.

What's the difference between a plant and an animal and what makes a plant's life worth less? I'm going to have to go with the brain is the primary difference, the ability to adapt one's environment (to an extent) versus adapting to the environment.

So what makes other animals different from humans? Technology, the ever challenging task of manipulating current technology and innovating to make our lives easier. Other animals can be argued construct technology - a bird's nest for instance, is the use of resources and knowledge in order to construct something for use in daily life - however, it is nothing compared to a physical building which not only requires resources and knowledge, but year's of human history has gone into efficient and effective construction methods and purposes maximizing the use of said resources and uses of the building. So in many ways, I suppose one could conclude that history is what differs animals and humans.

Now I'm no longer a vegetarian, although I still feel strongly for it...just not as strongly as I once did. The decision to return to meat has a lot to do with the fact that I'm no longer the sole provider of my own food, although I'm slowly turning her onto the idea of at least eating less meat. Anyways - how do you feel about the relationship between plants and animals and humans? Is there a set food chain that we should respect or follow? I don't know. Ta.

"Your lyrics lack subtlety! You can't just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!"

Because I was in the mood this weekend to rent some Futurama (no, I don't own them...yet), I've decided that my Monday post shall be Nathan's top ten Futurama episodes. This week is going to suck at work, so forgive me now if I phone in my lunch posts with laughable topics, at least for now.

(in no particular order - at least for now)

1. Space Pilot 3000 - the first episode, loser Fry is frozen and reanimated in the year 3000. Introducing all of the characters, in addition to the future itself, hilarious.

2. The Cryonic Woman - Fry gets a job at the cryogenic building he himself was frozen in only to reanimate his 20th century girlfriend. Pauly Shore and hilarity ensues!

3. War is the H-Word - Bender and Fry are enlisted to go to war, Leela enlists to help her friends. We learn Bender's top ten most used words.

4. Roswell That Ends Well - A Supernova and metal in a microwave send the crew to the 50s where Fry accidentally becomes his own grandfather.

5. Jurassic Bark - the sentimental episode, Fry finds his fossilized dog from the 20th century and debates whether or not to clone him.

6. Spanish Fry - probably the best bad plot to laughs per joke ratio, Fry's nose is stolen to be used as an aphrodisiac, but while retrieving it Bender reveals that the real aphrodisiac is located downstairs. Best running gags throughout the episode in any show, ever.

7. The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings - The Robot Devil is one of my all-time favorite characters and when he loses his hands to Fry in a deal, he must pull off a ridiculous plan to get them back.

8. The Farnsworth Paradox - The Professor builds a box that contains a parallel universe. The crew must then follow Zoidbergs (A + 1) through other universes to get back their original universe as Hermes (A) plans to destroy the box containing the universe in the sun.

9. Parasites Lost - Fry eats an egg salad sandwich from a space station truck stop and ingests parasites which work to improve his body. When he discovers that Leela only loves him because of the parasites he vows to destroy them by traveling into his own body.

10. Hell is Other Robots - Bender gets addicted to electricity, finds religion, then is sent to hell after being tempted in Atlantic City. Who'd have known that hell was actually in New Jersey? Well actually...

So that's my list - enjoy. Ta.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Root of all Evil!

Root of All Evil - Has anybody else been watching Lewis Black's new show on Comedy Central, The Root of All Evil?? Let me give you the basic premise - they set it up as a court type environment where two comedians attempt to persuade Lewis Black that two popular items in modern American society, usually people, are the root of all evil. For example, last night's show was Paris Hilton versus Dick Cheney, last week it was beer versus weed, etc...

The show's premise makes for enough laughs to make up for time spent watching, although it's rather hit or miss depending on the comedians presenting their respective cases. So anyways, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to discuss the two topics weekly, although perhaps in a more serious tone for the sake of proper argument. This will also help me not dry up topic wise (although I don't actually foresee that happening for a while).

Paris Hilton versus Dick Cheney - on the one hand, Dick Cheney is in a position of power and clearly abuses it without any sign of remorse, but then there's Paris who's famous for being did that happen? I'm too busy today to discuss this...we'll keep this on our "to talk about later" list.

The Riches - Anybody watch this show on FX? It's pretty's all about these con artists who kind of happen upon this fake life that they set themselves up with, constantly attempting to get out of people discovering their real identity,'s pretty interesting and I have to say, wickedly well acted. I kind of came in during season 2 (on right now) so I'm thinking of renting season 1 to catch back up.

Anyways, today's been another hectic day at work so another half-ass post. Hopefully more tomorrow. Ta.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"I would never put my name on an inferior product"

Enterprising... - The Simpson's Ride - Universal Orlando

Good idea or bad idea? I for one like the idea, as both a fan of the show and a fan of amusement parks in general. Just to clarify, it is just a singular ride, from what I hear - replacing the old Back to the Future ride at the parks. Part of me is also a little annoying that they elected to call it "Krustyland" as oppose to "Itchy and Scratchy Land" which is what the show used, but who am I to judge them based on silly details? I think it'd be even better of them to make it more of a midway environment with multiple rides and maybe take some of the focus off of the main family and onto Krusty, who is the namesake for the area but I understand the reasoning - that some people who aren't as obsessively familiar with the show may not get the same joy out of going to Krusty's amusement park without having the context of it being a Simpson's spin-off. On a side note that may interest some of you, the same park is building the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I'm short on time today and a bit busy, so I'm afraid that's it for today's post. More tomorrow - promise. Ta.

Kids Today...

The YouTube Generation - I'm concerned, ladies and gentlemen, I'm considered about the directions society is going. It's not so much what the generation behind us is doing, since I'm sure it's nothing really new in the grand scheme of things, but rather why they are doing it. Allow me to explain - I've done stupid things in my day, there's no denying that and I accept that reality. Most of my friends have done stupid things that I know about, others have done stupid things I just don't know about it. Every does stupid things when they are young - this is a fact...however, recently making the news has been stories about teenagers doing stupid things so they can post the video on YouTube. Now, I'm not a huge fan of YouTube, I like it I suppose but this isn't a thousand monkeys with a thousand video cameras making Schindler's List or anything, this is a bunch of idiotic people making mostly idiotic videos. So when you hear a story about a bunch of teenagers in Florida inviting over a former friend for the sole purpose of video taping a vicious beat down, it's troubling...mostly because they were obviously arrested, making one question whether or not they thought of any of the possible consequences of video taping something so illicitly illegal. Obviously, former friends have been beat up before by their former cliche - but nobody was ever dumb enough to film, let alone the sole justification behind the beat down was the video taping itself! What's wrong with these kids? Are they really that desperate for attention that posting a video on YouTube for a bunch of strangers is really going to fill whatever void in their lives? Really? Then there is the story of the marine who threw a puppy over a cliff in Iraq for a camera phone...okay - and what did we gain from doing this? Yes, there's some question of the legitimacy of the video (based on the audio) but regardless - what's the point? The really scary thing about all this is, I sometimes wonder of which generation I'm apart of...I think I'm in the general age group of the rest of these losers and yet, I'm not that stupid and I can't think of anybody I know who is either. This is a troubling trend and because technology only makes it easier and easier for these idiots to make asses of themselves on a grand scale thanks to the Internet, I'm afraid it'll likely only get worse before it gets better...if it gets better at all. Granted, we all do irresponsible things in our youth - it's natural youthful indiscretion, but I don't think any of my high school hijinks made the local news let alone Good Morning America! The only stupid teenage prank I remember making the news was those students who put a bunch of animal carcasses in the Gull Lake (I'll need my fact checker on this one) parking lot. No, I don't see the point in it either, but I'm sure it seemed funny when they came up with the idea...granted it's a bad idea and should have been shot down before implementation, but again - we all make mistakes. Ridiculous, I say - therefore, in addition to discussing this topic, I'm asking all you lovely participants to look for more stories of people (particularly young people, although extending it to all generations would be just as interesting) doing stupid things for cameras resulting in terrible consequences (since the whole Fear Factor concept doesn't really apply to this because they get paid) AND also stories of teenagers doing good things, so we don't lose complete faith in the next generation...or our generation, depending on how you look at the age groups.

Dream Car - going along with the concept of my dream life, I would like to talk about cars. Now cars differ from houses in many ways; where a house can be a complete reflection of one's private self (if these walls could talk...) and can be a combination of both form and function, a car must be function above all other things. Furthermore, a car is a reflection of a person's public image...a person living in a trailer, but driving a Cadillac is a perfect example of this - their outer image is someone of luxury, whereas they choose to live in a relative dump. It is easy to assume that these people put perception above reality. I'm a much more practical being, and I believe that my car and house should say the relatively same thing about me (and, consequentially, my income bracket). Because this is my dream car, I'm completely open to assume that I am successful and wealthy, although I still choose to succumb to current technological limitations. Now there's a couple things I don't need - a muscle car? No thank you. Big trucks or Hummers or anything like that, I can do without. Vans and station wagons I avoid on principle. Personally, I've always taking a liking to the Jeep company. In particular, the Cherokee (and Grand Cherokee) and more recently, the Liberty. Now Tori would like a Liberty (perhaps by the end of the year, if we play our cards right) so that handles that for me (we have a 'what's mine is yours' relationship). I've also formed a kind of soft spot for the Jeep, the Wrangler is in no way shape or form a practical vehicle - it's like a convertible in Michigan, you can only use it six months out of the year - why bother paying the extra? However, I have this soft spot because during my Taco Bell days, this cute girl would come through the drive through very frequently in an orange Wrangler. It was fun, she was cute - I'll be honest, I formed a bit of a crush on the combination. What's funny about that story is that one day Josh called me when he was working and had me come up to the building and she was eating there with her boyfriend but the Jeep wasn't there...I had already quit at this point, so I figured I'd probably never see her again, so I had to ask - what happened to the Jeep? She sold it! At the time I was in the market for a car, or at least I would be for that particular Jeep, but was gone. Because of that story, I want an orange Wrangler as a recreation vehicle...something to take to the beach in the summer, stuff like that. Bonus use is that it's a crappy, cheap vehicle perfect for the kid who turns 16 first! Now for me...currently I drive a little blue Kia Spectra and I love it. Yes, I got the plain Jane model (I named her Winnie after the Wonder Years character, but I should have named her Jane since she has NO features). The Spectra is perfect for right now in my even matches the house, which is almost as plain and simple as the car. This being said, this is not my car of the future. I think my car of the future is going to end up being one of those luxury sedans. Gas mileage is important to me, but so is comfort - for some reason I feel rather natural in this commuting lifestyle and regardless of where I end up, I'm sure I'll be spending much more time than is probably preferable to most in my car and therefore, comfort is a must. Now I like the sporty look to cars, I prefer foreign to domestic and because of these preferences I think my dream car is in the Lexus S series. Like I said before, performance doesn't matter much to me, but availability as a hybrid is. For Lexus, this only provides the upper end of the S series, but that's okay because they all look good to me. I'm going to require a wicked sound system, naturally, that probably has an internal hard drive for mp3s and a GPS. So that's my dream car...maybe I'll be able to get it in the not too distant future, but probably at least somewhat distant and now the only question that remains is color. Ta.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"I don't think she's a good historian at this stage in the game"

Life List: new entry, design and construct dream house...this is already on my list, actually, but I'm going to expand on the idea in my post today. I'll recap my list now, since even I forgot some of this stuff.
  • Write and record a song, if not a whole album
  • Write something and have it published
  • Design and build my own house - have bowling lane in the basement/garage
  • Own a boat and actually use it
  • Bowl a perfect 300
  • Visit all 7 continents and, assuming it's commercially available sometime in my lifetime, the moon.
  • See the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the natural world, the modern world, etc...
  • Attend music festival (minimum 100 bands)
Dream House: there are certain features in architecture and landscape design that I am drawn too and I would like to discuss them now. For starters, I am not an architect and while I've always been drawn to that particular career, I am currently on a programming or bust path that I'm afraid if I veer off of, I may never find my way back. This being said, there is nothing that doesn't prevent me from eventually going back to night school to get a degree in architecture as well. I already plan on getting my Bachelor's via night school once I get a programming job somewhere. Also, I have no intention on building this dream house any time soon, therefore technology and personal tastes will inevitably change drastically, therefore it would only be natural for me to plan on doing this again in, let's say, five years again - based on where I am then, I should be able to better gauge my own future.

Now in my previous 'dream life' post (Modern Man's Hustle), I decided to very specific in regards to certain features of the house and of geographic location. First, both of these things have already changed since writing that in October and second, geographic location in particular isn't nearly as important as previously implied. As a matter of fact, the concept of being on Lake Michigan itself is actually a lot less attractive to me right now...but I'll explain all that later, let's start with some features.
  • The home has as small of an ecological footprint as technology proves possible at the time - building materials made of recycled goods, solar panels, etc...
  • Tori would like to be on a lake, but I see myself more on a river, like a gentle, wide river flows through the backyard so that we can have a dock and maybe there's a shallow area a little upstream where we can skip across on rocks to the other side. This river will attach to a larger lake, which I don't mind sharing with others as long as there are no motor boats, only rowboats and the like.
  • I would like to have a couple of acres...I'm not greedy when it comes to land by any means, understanding the upcoming struggles with urban sprawl and overpopulation, I have come to terms with the fact that land will soon be a rare commodity, it'd be nice to have. This is where not being geographically restricted comes in handy - I'd like similar weather as we have in Michigan, but I know Tori likes the deep South, so perhaps someplace in Kentucky (my childhood dream state) or Tennessee would be nice.
  • I would like a mountain backdrop, but not snow peaks - I'd like hiking area but come on, I'm not climbing a mountain, I just want to walk up and down some big, heavily wooded hills (again, the Appalachians fit nicely in this description).
  • Tori and I have been talking a lot about houses, just in general, and we've decided that an indoor pool would be best regardless of location. I still like the aforementioned hour-glass shape with a Plexiglas floor providing the ceiling for the basement and also the in-pool bar, but I'm not criminally attached.
  • As of late, I've taken to liking a more spread out, ranch style home versus the more upright type house I described earlier. That's not to say I'm going to restrict myself to a single floor - certain aspects I really like require multiple floors like the vaulted ceilings, the lighthouse design over the breakfast nook and I've always had a spot for spiral staircases, I would probably just spread the first floor out with the master bedroom and bath, then put the kids on the second floor or something.
  • Tori and I would like a greenhouse, although we'd also want a gardener to do the main garden part (we might take care of the vegetables or whatever).
  • Tori would like a wraparound front porch and while I'm not really sold on that idea, I'm not a front porch guy (I'd rather see an understated front door myself), it does have a certain charm to it. A large back deck is an obvious must, as well as a big tree centralized in the yard perfect for a nice tree house.
  • I would also like to design and implement a unique and creative communication system throughout the house - something like a Lego train that can go everywhere in the house carrying small packages and/or written communique.
  • An extensive library of books, music and movies is a must.
That's it for now - what about yours? Ta.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Top Songs

Posting Frequency - lately, everyday I've been posting in my regular journal during lunch. I am going to make an effort to do the same in here as well. I have plenty of thought-provoking thoughts that I can discuss with myself, or whomever has the time to join me when they do come. Therefore, one reading this should expect more posts...I hope.

Top Songs - today, drifting off from my previous couple of subjects (which I plan on re-examining at a later day), I will present to you my 'top songs' list and hopefully (time willing), the reasons why they rank the way they do. Now, the way this list is compiled is quite simple - it can fit on an 80 minute CD (it clocks in at 1:18:17, so I could actually fit a ninety second song on there somewhere, but I choose not to because it would cheapen the concept by suggesting that qualifiers need only to fit the time requirements versus actually quality of music). The reason I choose the CD qualifier is mostly for it's objective guarantees that the substance is of the highest standard because it needs to fit within the time limit, constricting myself to rules (which I often break in these instances - but never with this particular list). The other reason is that I like the idea of handing someone over a solid object (in this case, a CD) and saying 'this is me, this music will show you a glimpse of my world.' So, without further ado, the list (I has previously constructed such a list, so I may reference this from time to time, although I don't have the exact list on me so I cannot do a contrast and compare for you today...maybe tomorrow or something).

1. XTC - Dear God
This song is more atheist than myself, I think it quantifies my doubts in the Bible perfectly. It opens the CD, not because it is my favorite song of all time, it's more of an aesthetic approach, opening the list with a true, crystal clear statement of a major facet of my personality.
2. The Elected - Greetings in Braille
This song is my true favorite song of all time for various reasons. The first is it's main theme, which is give or take, nostalgia (which comes up often on this list, you'll notice). From the chorus ('If my senses fail, stay with me till they go, 'cause I don't want to be alone, greetings in braille, they'll describe everything') to the final bridge ('I miss Tara and Mellisa, Ellen and Jordan, you'll never have friends like you did when you were young, but our bodies were pulled away, swept out to the sea') it just captures me perfectly. This song comes highly recommended.
3. The Beatles - Here Comes the Sun
Ahh, yes, my hidden optimism. The beauty of this song (and actually, most Beatles' songs) is in it's simplicity. Trying to review a Beatles' song is always a mute point, so that's really all I have to say about it.
4. Bright Eyes - Nothing Gets Crossed Out
For a long, long time this was my favorite song because, again, it captured me in a moment. It's all about worrying about growing up, and all those doubts that crop up when you're out on your own and alone and you have no idea what you are doing, and while time solves all problems, I still feel that way more often than I would like to think and this song always speaks to me in those darker moments and it makes me feel less alone, less afraid. It's like a good friend, it's always there when I need it.
5. Cursive - Driftwood: A Fairy Tale
See online alias, AKA screen name. Yes, this song is the inspiration behind the name 'DriftwoodProse'. Basically, if you've never heard this song before, it's a re-writing of Pinocchio. It all revolves around the phrase 'liar! liar!' and it speaks of 'wooden boys' and 'empty love' and then, he leaves her because 'he has grown tired of her' and walks into the sea, and then the song concludes with a resounding 'and now I wonder how I was name is Driftwood'. It's a beautiful song (that gorgeous album when Cursive used a cello) and the twist at the end is nearly priceless and sometimes, that's always how I feel.
6. Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine
This song has so many features that I love. That soulful bass line, the crescendo in the strings and then that longing for that love. It truly is dark and empty when it's missing, if you've never felt it you don't notice it, but once it's there and you lose it, this song hits that mark perfectly. If I ever get around to getting Otis Redding's 'Dock of the Bay' this song will have some stiff competition to remain on this list, but it might win on reputation alone.
7. Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
Ever feel alone in a crowded room? I know it's probably cliche to pick a song off of 'The Wall', but honestly no song captures that social anxiety I occasionally feel better than this one.
8. The Smiths - There is a Light That Never Goes Out
On the previous list, 'Girlfriend in a Coma' got the nod for my Smiths selection (I don't purposely attempt to get my favorite bands in here - see White Stripes - but odds are they became my favorite band by ranking a song on this list first)...but this song gets it this time because it's a beautiful love song ('and if a double decker bus, crashes into us, to die by your side, oh what a wonderful way to die') and it fits my situation now (married, versus yearning) that is finds itself in such honored company.
9. Rilo Kiley - Pictures of Success
It starts with a simple line, 'I'm a modern girl, but I fold in half so easily when I put myself in the picture of success' and ends so sweetly, 'they say California is a recipe for a black hole and I say I've got my shoes on and I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go...' This (like Nothing Gets Crossed Out) perfectly describe that anxiety about growing up...'it must be nice to finish, when you're dead' - who's never felt that way? Knowing what lies ahead (California, black hole, my future), we know it'll get here but waiting truly is the hardest part - I'm ready to be there already, I'm ready to be done with it all. Another highly recommended song.
10. The Fiery Furnaces - Benton Harbor Blues
It's named for the town it was recorded in, which speaking generally isn't that too far off from old Kalamazoo and let me tell you, if you had to list to a song about Kalamazoo (not Glenn Miller, sorry), it'd probably sound like this. From the haunting train tracks beat, to the sparse use of various noisemakers throughout the song (sparse for the Fiery Furnaces, if you are unfamiliar) and the occasional echoing voices. This song should be retitled 'The Midwest Blues' because it literally defines the whole region. No, the Furnaces aren't for everyone and I accept that, but I love 'em so and this song will likely be on the list in every form unless they record something even more beautiful.
11. Belle & Sebastian - Your Cover's Blown
When selecting a song to represent Belle & Sebastian on the list, it was a tough choice (again, I don't purposely select songs based on artist, but from the start they were on the list). I could have gone with 'The State I Am In' 'If You're Feeling Sinister' 'Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying', 'Get Loose' or ' Piazza, New York Catcher' but then I had to go with this B-side from the 'I'm a Cuckoo' single for a few reasons. 1) again with the lonely in a crowded room theme. 2) it's a funky dance song which was AMAZING live. 3) it's all about trying to find that special someone and then all the stupid sleeping around people tend to do so they can move from one to the next and it makes no sense, and why do people do that and then you meet them and it's like...well, just listen to the song and it'll take a couple of listens to capture what I'm talking about, but it's there.
12. Division of Laura Lee - There's a Last Time For Everything
I had this song for a couple of years before I actually listened to it. I remember the moment it captured me - I was living at the RIT Inn and I was doing laundry, I had my Ipod on and I was doing homework in the little laundry room they had there. It was like two in the morning, a warm autumn night so I had the door open and this song came on and I stopped my homework and just listened while the breeze kissed my face and it hit me - this song is brilliant. I think it's about a break up, but there's so many other ways to take it. Now, technically, this is two songs separated by about a minute or so of what songs like waves crashing on a beach, which then intros into this synth driven optimistic song about how we have to do things on our own and whatnot. Basically, this song is entirely responsible for me taking a look at what I was doing at RIT and realizing, I wasn't doing anything and it was time to take a step back and focus on something else. This song changed my life and not many can say that - another highly recommended.
13. Cursive - The Recluse
Congrats to Cursive for being the only band to appear twice on the list, not to mention both songs are from the same album. I think the opening line capture this song and why it's on my list entirely - 'I wake, alone, in a woman's room I hardly know' - again, this touches on the loneliness theme and the things we do, but later regret, to try to defeat that empty feeling we get sometimes. Again, great use of the cello on this one as it carries the sparse guitar arrangement, which is understated beautifully, and it all comes to this conclusion of being unwanted and you'll always be lonely and yeah - it's depressing, but sometimes when you feel that way, it's best to just have someone (or a song) agree with you and then you realize it's not so bad.
14. Harvey Danger - Old Hat
This is probably the most recent addition to the list (not based on year recorded but rather since being added to the overall music list, it then found it's way to this particular list). Again, nostalgia is the theme and it's generally optimistic and I think that's why I like it. 'I forget what my friends look like, and they forget why they like me, but that's old hat - I'm so happy, how do you write about that' Enough said - highly recommended.
15. Electric Light Orchestra - Evil Woman
From what I've learned from these 22 years on Earth is that women are crazy, vindictive, deceitful, manipulative and generally bad news. No, I don't think I'd want to live without them but this song nails that 'evil woman' mentality. It kind of goes along the lines of one of my favorite math problems - girls=time*money, time=money, girls=money*money, girls=money^2, money=root of all evil, girls=(root of all evil)^2, girls=evil. Seriously though, chicks are insane.
16. Led Zeppelin - Going to California (Live from the How the West Was Won album)
To conclude the list, I wanted something timeless, something that had the essence to fully encompass everything else that came before and be a prelude to the next potential list. Led Zeppelin was formerly represented by 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' which never really fit in with the rest of the list, and it doesn't truly describe me anymore, but this song is timeless and qualifies as something that is 100% me. It's a song in motion, but sad and regretful at the same time. It recalls that nostalgia that comes up on the songs above, but it's still moving forward, anxiously, into the unknown. I choose the live version for a few reasons - 1) I like live music and I've never really fully captured that on this list, and 2) it's a lot more emotional, more honest than the studio version. This song is a lot more subtle than most other Led Zeppelin songs, which I think it another reason it fits so well on this list...this is the true me.

So that concludes my list - if anyone would like a physical copy, or to just download the list or any of the songs, just let me know and I'd be happy to share these wonderful songs with you. If anyone of you would like, post your own top songs list and I'd be happy to read through them and share those experiences with you. That concludes this post - ta.