Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It Has Been Some Time

It was not since January that I last wrote in this little box on the internet.  It is no longer January; in fact, it is a few months beyond.  Are you, the theoretical reader, interested in what has been going on in my intrepid little life?  What have I been doing to wile away the precious hours of my ever-dwindling youth?  It must be something incredibly exciting and resplendent to occupy my time such that I do not update this oft-abandoned blog, right?

I don't know.  Maybe.  I've been kind of unemployed, which means that I sit around the house looking for work and distract myself with the glittering pixels of television shows and the abundant flesh of internet pornography.  By "kind of unemployed", I mean that while I don't have a job in the strictest sense, I am keeping busy and making money, of a sort.  You know, sort of kind of a little maybe.  There are a lot of research studies around these parts looking for candidates that fit my description:  Young, healthy bored people with flexible schedules and a lack of prescription drug addictions.  Basically, I get paid to take little white pills whose names are not revealed and then fill out papers which rank my anxiousness with a number between 1 and 10.  Currently I am ensconced in the unemployed male fantasy job:  As part of an alcohol study, I essentially drink beer for money.  Why, just this Monday I sat in a room alone with beer, chips, a sandwich and a VHS copy of Jurassic Park.  I wasn't sure what to do with myself afterward; usually I drink beer and watch movies from 1993 after work rather than during.  I'm not entirely sure what the scientific reasoning for boozing me up in a laboratory where piles of entertainment magazines spill off of every table like ambrosia in heaven, but I can't question the methods of people who work at a place where ID cards are required to use the elevator.

Drinking has never seemed so official.  Each day I have to mark down how much I drank, prompting a quick double take and fleeting moments of self-evaluation.  Then every other week I am required to show up for an "alcohol session", wherein I basically drink some more.  I think observations are made by smart people.  Prior to the drinking, I have to smell glasses of beer and water and write down things about how I feel about this.  Then I chug and eat a sandwich and watch a movie while I sober up.  Science.

In addition to this, I've done a study where I had to get an MRI while hopped up on amphetamines, looking at pictures of kittens, tanks and scowling elderly gentlemen and expressing my feelings about them.  Also, I had to play a simple game in which I blew up a balloon filled with money.  The bigger I pumped it up, the more money I got (real actual money!), but if it got to big it would blow up and I would get nothing.  Not to be immodest, but I kicked ass at this portion and cleaned up.  It felt like my much-practiced Sega Genesis skills were actually coming in handy, after years of entirely wasted expertise.  A couple of "How are you feeling at this exact moment, smily face or frowny face" forms filled out later and I had a few hondo slapped into my palm.  

Yes, I went to college.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hooplah and Heresy

I am all up and graduated from a respectable institution. You may not realize this from the way that I have introduced this post, but I am now smart and have a piece of paper saying I will be mailed another piece of paper which says so (once I pay them their moneys). I graduated with an English major and I swear to you I can write better than what you've just seen. This is an informal representation of my untold mastery of the English language, one whose audience is not concerned with trivial things such as semi-colons nor asterisks. I am now in Providence, Rhode Island, living with my lady and looking for something to stave off starvation, if only for a little while.

Jobs are hard. Jobs are things you don't want to have and certainly don't want to look for. Jobs give you money in exchange for hurting you over and over again with kicks to the teeth and stomach. Jobs don't come up to you and go "Hey!", you have to go up to them and say "Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!" until they turn around, look you up and down, and walk away, at which point you have to hang onto the bumper of their car as they drive off, then you have to break into their window at night and inform them what is what. Not having a job allows me to come up with ridiculous sentences like the one you have just read. I'm not sure that not having a job is a good idea, because these kinds of sentences are terrible and harmful and we all hate them. I need to write sentences about other, more important things, like black presidents and why a band is not as good as they used to be. These are the sorts of sentences which make money, but as stated before, you can't just write them and hope someone throws some nickels at you. You have to be employed to write these sentences, which involves a big man with lots of money and two cigars dangling from his disheveled teeth who doles out checks saying something like "Boffo is kicks!" and giving a big thumbs up. Only then is what you write deemed worthy of money. Then you get employed. Employment is very important because it tells people around you that you have things to do and that you can afford to buy sandwiches. Until you become employed, you are unemployed. When you are unemployed, being on the internet or taking a nap are not acceptable because you have made no money nor collected any stories of idiots you met during the day. Without money or idiot stories, you have no licence to write silly sentences on the internet; you need to write important sentences with carefully chosen font sizes and they must be sent to people who could give you money if they wanted to. They never do.

Today is the first day of my post-graduation job hunt. I have experience in writing for actual things now, which I hope will help me find something nice and bullshitty, but I also have experience cramming bagels with awful things, which could help me find something where I have to wash my hands a lot. Providence has the worst unemployment rate in the country right now, which makes it difficult to find a word which equally expresses my combating feelings of sarcastic optimism and impending doom. I've heard all this talk about recession this and large corporation has to close all operations and fire 20 million people that and et cetera, and I can't help but let that make me feel a little nervous. I've already lost a gig due to the economy, unceremoniously cast aside like some boot at the end of a fishing line. Getting another gig may prove to be tricky. I will keep my head up, I suppose.

To get to Providence from Minnesota, my girlfriend and I took the train for two days. We were in DC briefly, standing in an ill-formed line with too many coats on for a few hours. We were unable to catch any of the inauguration or the following festivities, and instead experienced the joy that is barely-mitigated chaos in a major transit center. The train was mostly quite enjoyable, as I was expected to do nothing other than sit there and look out the window and eat on occasion, like a cat, if asked what its favorite activities were. I have had a rather hectic winter break and it is nice to do nothing once in a while.

The spell checker wants me to capitalize the word "internet". I refuse.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Smurfy Brown

Sorry I haven't been writing in this thing. This little box begs for letters to be in it, I often don't comply with its wishes. But I have had many other boxes to fill with letters, so you, the non-existent backtalker in my head who I assume sits out there and yells every day that I don't update, you need to cut me some slack because I've been too busy to write for something that doesn't either provide me with earnings or work me further towards a piece of paper with the word "EDU-CATED" in crass sparkly gold letters. Besides, do I even have any readers anymore? I seem to scare them all away whenever I don't write anything. I guess my mom and grandpa read me for a while, which is great. Hi guys! We sure ate some turkey on Thanksgiving, huh? But they're not really my target audience here. I never really had a target audience, which actually was great because I could write about poop and some new clever euphemism for breasts I had come up with. Now I feel I have to watch my language, as I'll run into my mom later and she'll say something about that dirty word I wrote and I'll feel embarrassed. "I am disappointed in you, son. We didn't send you through college so you could use your English degree to bring more filth into this hellbound America!" Shame will fill me then and I will have no options but to break down and cry for the awful sins of language I've committed.

But I really like to commit those sins. I used to feel like I could write any old stupid shit in this little blog because no one read it and no one cared. The whole advantage to this is the fact that I could write without having a grade or a boss to tell me it was not kosher. Bah.

I started this blog about four and a half years ago, basically right when I started college. Tonight I have my final final of my final year, meaning by 6 PM tonight I will no longer be in college. Holy Christ Crap, I will be out of college. That's sort of a weird thing to try to wrap my mind around. This blog which was birthed from school-related boredom began to shape in the continuing years of homework avoidance. What'll it be without that influence? Will I begin tailoring it to whoever's reading, like I sort of already have (you'll notice few mentions of chronic masturbation so far... Has Jack gone soft, or at least part of him?)? Will I stop doing it altogether? There've been numerous points in this blog's history where I simply abandoned it for far longer than I ought to have. As soon as I started to get people reading, I said "flargbargulous" and forgot to do anything about it until the point where I started to feel guilty. All the readers disappeared, as they seem to have now.

Who gives a shit where this blog will go? I never had an end goal with it; this was not some writing sample I could show to employers. It'll probably just float around for a while and be here for whenever I feel like posting something. Audience is irrelevant anyway. This isn't a blog for the people, its for me. If people want to read it, they can, but mostly, I have it for the joy of writing it. And in that sense I don't need to update all the time. I can write whenever I feel like writing, dammit. That's the beauty of it. I'm half-heartedly trying to convince my friend to get a blog, as he's been wanting to do more writing. He's coming at it with the same stance I did initially, which is that blogs are stupid because blogs are stupid. Rational reasoning need not apply here, its a blog and it is something new and trendy and houses lots of writings from people who pretend they're cats who can type and therefore should be scorned outright. My perception has changed quite a bit. A blog is just a place for you to write, something to get you to actually sit down and put some words down. I can honestly say that having this blog has improved my writing, in that it actually got me interested in doing it. Until I got this blog, I only really wrote for school. I never really realized that I enjoyed the act of writing until this blog got me to do it a lot more. When I came at writing from a more personal level and without any real purpose, it began to dawn on me that the act itself is something that I actually liked. Spending so much time writing in this fashion got me interested in writing period, and since then I've expanded that into journalism and rapping. I believe my friend could benefit from one of these in the same way I have, except for the fact that he's a little stubborn bitch-turd who thinks coming off as some sort of cranky anti-modernist Luddite somehow gives him distinction from everyone else. (yeah, i said it, come get me) I'm attempting to move away from that rather adolescent ahem ahem mindset towards one that sees things as they are despite their connections. Having a blog has been helpful to me, I think it could be helpful to him.

This is not to say I'm all on Blogger's dick and shit now, no sir. There is still plenty of unnecessary and idiotic things associated with this little slice of internet bullshit. But in the end, its gotten me to write and that has been nothing but a benefit for me.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008


After hearing McCain's concession speech last night, I could be sure that Obama had won the election. I was quite impressed with McCain's speech, which highlighted the historical importance of Obama's win as well as encouraged his supporters to get behind the new president and work together for change. To which everyone in his audience booed.

This made me sick. The man just lost an election and is trying to go out with some class, and you fucking boo the name of his opponent. There was disgusting negativity coming from that crowd, on the same level as when Sarah Palin called Obama out as a "community organizer". McCain urged for them to not boo, clearly uncomfortable with their reaction. I respect McCain for going out like this, gracefully and with no ill will toward his opponent. But I could feel the disrespect from his audience, whether or not he spurned it. I know McCain was displeased with his supporter's reactions, but, quite frankly, his campaign created this monster. The low tactics perpetrated by McCain and the republican party during this election were dispicable and specifically appealed to peoples fear and hatred. McCain ran on name calling, accusations, distractions and untruths. He instilled the venomous attitudes into his supporters, drumming up the us vs. them, red state vs. blue state, "real American" vs. "socialist/terrorist" rhetoric that will continue to follow him well beyond this election.

I voted for Obama. Never before have I seen the kind of excitement people have for our next president, and it's a real inspiration. I think he can do some real good for this country. Some of my steadfast contrarian friends remain skeptical. I don't blame them. Politics have been pretty disheartening over the past eight years, basically the entire part of my life where I have been actively concerned with politics. Everyone was feeling cynical and apathetic, myself among them. Part of me still feels that way. But I can't help but look upon Obama with genuine promise. The support for Obama has been astounding, and the reactions to his win have been overwhelmingly positive. I can't ignore the spirit that surrounds him and I can't help but feel optimistic about it.

I have been a cynical person most of my life, and I am trying my best to combat that. I know full well that Obama is not the messiah and that he is not going to be all that people expect from him. But, even if nothing else, Obama ran a great, positive and respectful campaign. His rhetoric of breaking down perceived barriers between the people in our nation is really something we needed to see said on this scale. Politics is so tied to fear and division that the people of this country have been at each other's throats throughout the Bush presidency. The Obama message is one I get behind wholeheartedly. The idea of human connection and concerns for the nation as one is a message we've needed. I refuse to fall into cynicism now, at a time when I actually feel some tinge of what has so often bandied about, hope.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Politics politics politics, politics politics politics politics politics politics. Politics politics politics politics politics politics. Politics, politics politics: Politics politics politics politics.

Politics politics politics politics, politics politics, politics politics politics. Politics politics (politics politics politics politics), politics politics politics politics politics. Politics politics politics politics. Politics politics politics - politics politics politics politics - politics politics politics politics politics politics.

Politics, politics politics politics, politics politics politics politics. Politics, politics, politics, politics.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Dirty Words

When I saw a video where a supporter carries a sign at a McCain rally comparing Obama to Charles Manson, I had to pause. It reminded me o how offended I was when Sarah Palin turned the term "community organizer" into an insult at the Republican National Convention. As she called Obama out as someone who attempt to make a positive difference in the community, the audience laughed and ridiculed him. Since then, McCain supporters have used "community organizer" as a dirty word. This technique of redefining the terms associated with your opponent and spinning them as insults is a continuing tradition among the ignorant and spiteful. McCain's and other right-wing individual's accusations of Obama's connection to "terrorism", "socialism", "wealth distribution", "anti-Americanism" are an attempt to hijack language for their own purposes.

In the era of Senator McCarthy's red scare witch hunt, the word "communist" was bandied about in an attempt to weed out the enemy within. Today, "terrorist" has replaced "communist" as the term which inspires fear in society. Right wing pundits attempt to add new words to this dirty word lexicon, including "socialist", "earmarker", and now "community organizer". Socialism as a political ideology is never actually discussed when they use the term, it is simply utilized as a smear. Obviously, socialism is evil and if you're a "socialist", you must be evil as well. Sarah Palin differentiates "real America" and, I guess, fake America? Michelle Bachmann calls for a investigation as to those in the US Senate who harbor "anti-American" sentiments. These terms are thrown around to drum up support or disdain in their strict good vs. evil dichotomy. No rational arguments are made, the words simply exist to taint those they are connected with. New words are tainted with these smear tactics all the time. Language is a powerful tool in controlling peoples perceptions.

I've met a number of women who hold feminist philosophies and attempt to promote feminist ideology, but they make sure to preface any statements made with "I'm not a feminist". Why is there this concern surrounding being a feminist? Feminism is, as the bumper sticker puts it so precisely, the radical notion that women are people. Feminism is not some crazy fringe anti-male movement, as many seem to think. It simply demands a respect for and equal recognition of women. Rush Limbaugh did some severe damage to the public perception of feminism by terming feminists "femi-nazis", hiding his hatred of women by blaming the victims. This reterming has caused many would-be feminists to avoid the label, afraid of seeming like the man-hating female fascists that don't actually exist. It's a shame that people buy into the rantings of Rush and others; I say people should be proud of their feminism and not allow Rush to steal the word away from who it truly belongs to.

Why do republicans flip their shit at the idea of "wealth distribution"? Because McCain likens it to robbery. Obama is going to steal money from your wallet and give it a deadbeat. Why is "community organizing" a joke at the RNC? Because the core of the republican ideology is individualistic, unconcerned with others and focused on self-interest. "Community" means "socialism", people sharing and helping out one another. How terrible!

Don't buy into this hijacking of language. Don't accept the definitions invented by those trying to appropiate labels for their own devices.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Think I Have A Problem, Again

Damn television. Now that I am at my parents house again, I find myself watching television on a regular basis once more, and it pains me. There really is nothing on television that's worth even turning it on, and yet I do. TV is a drug. It's much worse than any other drug available: It is easily accessible to everyone, it takes no effort to use, it is always available, and it is unrelentingly captivating. But, like other drugs, it at least gives me something to ponder. Here are my worthless opinions on the following strands of this drug I've been taking lately:


In a perfect world, Malcom in the Middle would be merely mediocre. The show is moderately funny, with manic performances and writing decent enough to continue watching. But it just doesn't strike me as brilliant or amazing, at least on its own. In comparison to other family sitcoms, however, this is Citizen god damn Kane. Certain elements can be hilarious, and when compared to other shows where I don't laugh once, Malcom in the Middle is automatically a classic. I guess.


Why, Family Guy? Why you gotta? This show is not like other shows that aren't funny. Most bad TV shows are harmless, floating awash in a sea of shit but never actually making any difference here or there. Family Guy, however, has changed the course of television comedy, and a lot of comedy in general, and for the worse. You see Family Guy inspiration in a lot of terrible shows, and the climate of TV comedy is at one of the lowest points its ever been. Watching it hurts. It's not just "Oh, that wasn't really funny", it's "Wow, they took some real time and effort to make that not funny". Family Guy's rampant and near-disease-like use of pop culture references is so grating and lazy, and has inspired filth like "Epic Movie", comedy that thinks a reference in-and-of-itself is funny. So many jokes are not nearly worth their setup: There's a bit where Stewie is the King in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood of Make-Believe, and he makes a crack about how he must be in Mexico because the castle is right next to the trainyard. That's it. That's the joke that they bothered to film, rather than animate, with live-action puppets and scenery. The joke is throwawy at best, but took someone an awful lot of work to pull off just so Seth McFarlene can say that Mexico is poorer than the United States. The show winds up being a string of non-sequiturs, thrown out by Seth as he might at a party, then diligently animated by a team of workers who work a million times harder than the piss-poor writers. The format of using near-constant cutaways and pop culture references (which was directly stolen from The Simpsons, who incorporated these techniques into actual character development and plot lines) completely eliminates any semblance of story or connection to the characters, and the show suffers considerably. It's like watching a series of YouTube videos back to back: Hey! It's the theme song from some old 80's show! Ha ha! Hey, there's a guy getting kicked in the nuts again and again! Ha ha! It's joke after joke, but so many of the jokes take way too long to get across. I know Family Guy relies heavily on the "What The Fuck Factor" (the sole comedic element many of Adult Swim's shows), and often throws you curveballs with random events and overlong songs, but so many of these strike me more as time-wasters than legitimate comedic devices. When Peter clutches his leg and goes "Aaaaah!" for what feels like ten minutes, a show like South Park would have fit in ten or fifteen jokes instead of that single joke, which is only funny in the sense that you're confused as to why it's there. Once you're hit by the WTF Factor more than once, it becomes not so much funny as it is tiring. Also, the show relies very heavily on easy gags, like crazy characters who yell a lot in place of something clever. The writers really seem lazy to me, and often place some wacky character into a situation where better shows would put a legit joke.

Here's the abstract for all those with no attention span: Fuck Family Guy.


I am a long-time Simpsons fan, and so I shall remain until the day I die. At it's core period (Seasons 2-9, if anyone's counting), this is the most brilliant thing television has ever produced. The Simpsons has influenced so much of comedy and it is consistently hilarious at every viewing. It is the rare show that gets funnier and funnier the more you see it. Of course, after the big change-up of writersaround the 10th season, there became a difference between the Simpsons on TV and the Simpsons I refer to when I say I love the Simpsons. When I say that, I'm basically disregarding anything after the 9th season (with the exception of a few smatterings of quality), and other Simpsons fans recognize what I mean. There seems to be a pretty general consensus on where the run of the never-ending show's good times end.

But! The Simpsons Movie was fantastic. Yes, it was heralded by most of the original writers, but it inspired me to start watching the show again. I have come to a revelation: The Simpsons is good. It seems to me the show is in a third era, no longer in the good nor the post-good, but a an interesting subsequent period that is not as good as it ought to be but not as bad as you think it is. This designation may just be inspired by watching Family Guy in such close conjunction, but The Simpsons as it stands today really is an interesting bit of comedy in the bloated world of bland and craptacular television. It's humor is kind of surreal at times: It can be unorthodox without relying on the WTF factor, and tries decently hard to come up with some clever lines and situations. Cleverness is the key: So many shows can be funny, but what makes a show worth remembering is if its clever. The Simpsons, as it stands now, remains one of the only clever shows on television. It's still pretty hit and miss, but at least it has some hits. There was a time when I had abandoned this show, as many fans have. If you've turned your back on The Simpsons, give it another try. If you're in the right mood and you catch it on the right day, you just might find yourself laughing histarically despite yourself.


Okay, we all know this show sucks. But here is specifically why it sucks: Every episode of the show is exactly the same. There's some problem, the family finds out about it, they get neurotic and yell a lot. Roll credits. Every episode is a different problem, but it winds up the same exact way every time. The family is nuts and I guess we're supposed to think that's funny. More lazy writing. I'm sure every script is just "[something happens]; Ray's wife finds out; Wife: 'You idiot! You're a terrible husband!'; Ray: 'Well you don't let me have sex with you very much'; Ray's mother: 'I want to be involved!'; Ray's dad: 'Pork!'; Ray's brother: 'Here we go again'; [resolution]" Yes, it was a waste of time to discover why this show is awful, but there it is anyway.

Um, that is all.
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