9.07.2005

Moving on up...



The lady in the picture is Shawn, our soon to be temporary roommate.
It's a rental, a little out of our price range but we'll manage.

8.18.2005

7.25.2005

Verbal stumble of the day.

I was listening to an NPR piece on poisoning, specifically Dr. Edward
Pritchard, the "philandering poisoner." a murderer who was also a
ladies' man.

The expert said this:
". . . if I can be crude, he couldn't keep his trousers on. He got many young girls in the cunt. . ., er, in the country to follow him . . ."

7.18.2005

A bathtub filled with brightly colored machine parts.

Anyone who really knows me knows I love surrealism, either because I told them or they figured it out. I'm not talking Salvador Dali posters either, nor even specifically the visual arts. What really gets my gander is surrealism in literature and humor. Their is a very real difference between pointless nonsense a good bout with a mind twisting surrealist joke. I try to model my own flavor of humor halfway between bitter cynicism and unintelligible surrealism.

Anyway, I'll save the "I love Surrealism" rant for another day.

This is what I wanted to show you:

http://www.ravenblack.net/random/surreal.html

This love of surrealism puts me in the realm of the Danes and French, who love surrealist humor.
Americans and Canadians mostly love jokes at the expense of others (White people be all like "Ooo OOOo" and black people be all "AAaa AAaa"). Most other English-speaking nations (UK, Austrailia, etc.) like puns and wordplay, save for the wonderfully surrealist "Monty Python".

7.15.2005

Rage-aholic.

I have just learned that The Lapeer County EMS threatened to pull their support and involvement with the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s program, previously called “Jail and Bail,” because, out of 150 participants, they were not one of the handful mentioned in an LA View article.

To be frank and admittedly crude, this pisses me off.

This is too many shades of loathsome for me to adequately describe.

The MDA event, wherein people are “arrested” and must post bail (funds raised for the MDA) to be let out, is a charitable event. It is not about personal or professional recognition, it is not a pissing contest to see who has the most wealth to throw at a cause for a photo op—it is for those less fortunate than oneself.

What The Lapeer County EMS is doing is false philanthropy, and I don’t even understand it. They are an ambulance service and do not need free advertising. If I am lying bleeding in a ditch, I can’t call around to get the best deal on my life.

Who are they trying to impress by this random act of immaturity?

Our article, written by Rosemary Arnholt, listed a handful and mentioned they were just a sampling of the 150. While it is nice to recognize those that do good works, if a person or organization does so for the sole purpose of recognition, it is no longer generosity. It is glory hounding, showboating, arrogant self-promotion.

And, for this perceived slight, the EMS was going to punish a non-profit organization that is doing it’s best to help those afflicted with a terrible disease. A company which services the public, which provides emergency medical assistance, is making a section of the population with a degenerative health condition suffer. Hypocrisy. Idiocy.

I have felt badly for the company in the past, believing weakness in accounting and a lack of funds to be damaging a worthwhile local business.

But they are worthless; a company to whom the public good should be precedent, and which represents itself with arrogance, bullying and immaturity does not deserve to exist.

One note, the man responsible for all of this nonsense is the director Galland Burnham. Perhaps the other employees are good people, but their spokesperson and representative has acted like an unmitigated ass.

My editor has since convinced them to honor their previous promise to the MDA.

7.12.2005

License to speak revoked.

Faux pas of the day:

I was telling my wife about the canonical list of "I like my women like I like my . . ." comparisons I came up with in college, specifically my favorite: "I like my women like I like my food: Fast, cheap and greasy."

She of course told me this was terrible, but in the same breath mentioned how the potato chips she was eating were really greasy.

What I meant to say, teasingly, but in good spirits, was "Now I just need to cheapen you up." Unfortunately my brain and mouth weren't on the same page, and instead I said "Now you just need to be fast."

To make matters worse, I tried to back pedal by saying "I know you're not cheap because I have to pay." I meant "Buy you jewelry, food, etcetera that you deserve because you are wonderful and I love you." But it sounded like I was calling my wife a whore.

Minus 1,000,000 points.

7.02.2005

25954

I am a bastard. A cold, judgmental, hateful little shit who
has probably looked upon all of you with loathing and disgust at least once. I
have no patience for weakness of mind or spirit, though physically I am far
from imposing.



I don’t talk as much as I think I do. Autumn tells me that
sometimes my introversion is taken as rudeness. Nothing could be farther from
the truth; often my silence is the only polite thing I can say. I get sick of
all the chattering clicking idiots who seek to justify, to prove their
existence with noise. The more jangling keys the more power the exude, the change
chiming in their pockets to prove their wealth, the electronic beeps and
squawks escaping from their pockets to attest to how trendy they are. And
through it all their awkward empty words, repeating the same stories again and
again, ignoring the music around them, a one-way valve of shit.



I am quiet and I am thinking. My thoughts are my own. If I
wanted you to hear them I would open my mouth and voice them. I do this to try
and avoid saying stupid, meaningless crap. I do this so that when I do speak
people will listen.



It is nearly impossible to earn my respect and keep it, but
if you ever wanted it, the secret is to listen. Not just hear, notice the
pollution of those around you, but to listen. Listening is not passive, it’s
not merely opening your self up to let the world wash in. It is actively honing
in, capturing and dragging inward, methodical dissection and processing. It is
understanding, asking questions if you don’t, but first shutting up and
thinking about it, trying your level best to resolve it on your own.



Few people listen, even to themselves. They are not ears, a
mind and a mouth, they are just echoes, pointless reflections of all that has
passed before them. All men and women are worn smooth or cracked by time, but
they also have the ability to make themselves. To create something new. But
they don’t.



Here’s a tip: if you have to say you’re a good listener, you
probably aren’t. For one thing, you’ve opened your mouth and shut your ears to
any opinions to the contrary. It is also as unnecessary as promoting your own popularity
or intelligence. These are not traits that are made by claims; if possessed
they are easily self-evident in their exercise.



If you want me to hate you, express two mutually exclusive
desires at once. Voice your biggest problem and a complete unwillingness to do
anything to solve it.



“Man, I need money, but I don’t want to get a job. I’m so
overweight, but I hate to exercise and I love to eat. I’m lonely, but I can’t
stand dating. I don’t know, but I don’t need to learn.”

If you want me to rely on you and trust you: Shut
your mouth once in a while. Solve your own problems, but if you can't,
don't be too proud to accept any help I can give. Don't get addicted to
the worthless practice of complaint or worry. Be a better person than
me.

6.29.2005

I am filled with hate.

This week I hate:


  • That Fancy Feast commercial with the woman doing Yoga, which is
    very trendy because this is the 80’s. I hate it because of the line “Is
    it love, or is it Fancy Feast?” Poor cat woman, alone, practicing her
    yoga, isn’t even loved by her cat.

  • Going to the fax machine and finding information from AARP. No
    matter who I give it to they will be insulted, but I can’t just leave
    it there or I’ll get yelled at.

  • Some random woman named Jennifer, except she spelled it “Jennapher”.

  • My own crushing lack of ambition.

  • Secretaries and receptionists who are rude.

  • Lack of air conditioning in my car.

  • My car in general.

6.15.2005

For Suzy:

Here's that Coldplay sounds just like Sum41 song.
If you don't believe me, fade the left and right speakers in and out ( In the left channel... "The Scientist" by Coldplay. In the right channel... "Pieces" by Sum41).

Doesn't mean I don't like Coldplay, even if he is another whiny British fellow. Just means there's only a handful of pop chords to work with.

When I get bored I listen to Eastern music, which has a completely different grammar. Gives me hope that there is somewhere else to go creatively.

6.07.2005

Goodbye ducks.

Our ducks were killed last night by a husky from down the street.

We normally put them in a small, lit cage near the door when it gets dark, but last night we procrastinated as we had friends over. But as Mike and Stef were leaving, the dog pushed jumped over the fence and attacked the ducks.
He seemed the happy go-lucky sort, and I don’t blame the animal. Juneau had one of those electric fence collars—his owners probably were two stupid to realize the batteries had died.

We tied him up to a post last night with a dog chain, and I assume the owners heard him barking some time in the night because he was gone in the morning, the chain not broken but unfastened.

According to the law, outside of small claims court, there isn’t much we can do. Without the dog in possession we can’t prove it, and all the owners get is a ticket for an expired dog license. Laws for animals attacking other animals are full of loopholes and there isn’t much you can do.

So yeah, last night sucked.

Update: The owner came over, a child psychologist. He did come get his dog early this morning, and he seems an alright guy, more heart than brains type. Rescues huskies from shelters and currently has four. Gave us some money and, with no sense of irony, a Duck Xing sign he painted himself (paints all manner of little wooden signs as a side job). Autumn is still pretty sad, but we're not the sort to add Greed to the stages of loss.

Our days as suburban agrarians are over for now.

6.03.2005

Habits of mine that annoy the hell out of me:

1) Whenever I am finished with a meal at my mother’s house I place my fork and knife in an X across my plate.
2) I always mark the time and location when I see an armored car go by. For instance, today at 8:57 a.m. at the corner of Davis Lake Road and Saginaw I saw a red Guardian Armored van. This habit is much more incriminating now that I have written it down.
3) I have a hard time explaining computer principles to people without commandeering their keyboard and mouse and simply doing it for them.
4) I wince or even hide when embarrassing situations occur on television, even comedy sitcoms.
5) I never believe anything I am told until I verify it myself. On the surface, a healthy habit, but it comes off as arrogant when I am dealing with someone’s personal experience or area of expertise.
6) It is very hard for me to cross any street without breaking into a nervous run, no matter how deserted.
7) I obsessively check if my fly is down, unless it is, and then I only notice it hours later, normally after church.
8) Almost anything I hear reminds me of a song.
9) Whatever word salad I am currently using repetitively this month as an exclamatory phrase. In the past: “Marzipan briefcase,” “Monkey butler,” “Sweet fancy Moses.”

5.19.2005

Counting the straws






Office stress management system


Today I devised a particularly liberating and demonstrative program to combat the legions of lost reports and fluorescent migraines.

All jobs involve a certain amount of stress, particularly the enjoyable ones as there is more emotional investment. My plan is most suited to the office/cubical, but I’m certain it could be adapted to any workplace.

It is built upon the supposition that the longer one works at a job, the more late hours and effort, the more photos, private reference books and other personal detritus build up in your little corner of the maze. Minimalists and neat freaks need not apply.

In any movie dealing with a job loss through firing or resignation, there is the requisite “putting all the personal stuff, one thing at a time, into a box” scene. By system is based on this. The more crap that gets spilled on you, the more blame shifted, and the more asses kissed you get closer and closer to just walking out the door. These theatrical moments are somewhat diluted when you have to come in the next day to box up your Muscle Men figures and baby pictures.

Here is what I propose:
Any time your have a significantly stressful event—the boss loses a five hour project or a coworker spreads the rumor that you are dating a 12 year old—instead of swearing or stabbing the bastard in the face, simply take a personal item home with you that day, size of item based on size of event. Big event: take home that big Employee of the Decade trophy. Little event: ceremoniously throw away that “Hang in there!” kitten poster.


As good things happen, or at least a significant period of time passes before another bad thing, items will once again accumulate and you stay in your job. If your workplace ever reaches the point it is as clean as the first day you arrived, the job isn’t worth the stress you are putting up with. Coworkers and employers, without you vocalizing your plans, will quickly realize what is going on and, hopefully, work to make your job less horrendous. If they make it worse, then, once again, that isn’t a healthy environment.

I believe that people feel too chained to their jobs, to dependent on constant health care and fat paychecks. They give you money and benefits; in exchange they get 40+ hours a week and your best efforts. They get nothing more, not your happiness, not the right to make your
opinions, not the right to determine your social life. Loyalty is a choice, and often required where it should be earned.


This allows you to metaphorically remove the doubts and reservations that might be keeping you shackled to a bad job, at the same time as making your possible departure easier and cleaner.

5.13.2005

AudioBook

The first letter in The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky can be found HERE or HERE. It's just a little sample, 8 minutes long and about 7 megabytes. Any mispronunciations or what-have-you should be directed to the comments section. If anyone can please to tell me if they can actually download the thing (I'm ftping it from my computer) or not, please tell me.

5.12.2005

Never underestimate a well-written letter.

Whilst searching for my resume to send along with my Peace Corps application, I turned up an angry letter I wrote in the Summer of 2003.

The background story is not nearly as complicated as I'd probably like to make it--long story short I was enrolled in an internship under the belief that I had a sizeable partial scholarship to help out and halfway through the program I was informed that I suddenly owed an extra $2,500.

I responded quickly and angrily, immediately penning a very purgative missive which I completely intended to delete before bending over like a prison bitch. Instead, I e-mailed it to some friends who suggested I remove the swears and send it along.

I did, cc 'ing my college advisor and relevant professors at my university. The response was surprising: the internship program, The Washington Center, bit the bullet and covered all my expenses and set up a private meeting in which they were apologetic and dutifully took notes as I listed my various complaints. Victory.

ORIGINAL MESSAGE:

Jeremiah,

It has recently come to my attention that we have incorrectly credited your account with $3500 from NMU.  I have learned this from an email I received from XXXXXXXX, excerpted here:

Two additional NMU students are doing internships with TWC this summer i.e., Jeremiah Brit and XXXXXXX. Currently, neither of these students is receiving NMU support, however, each student has been awarded $1,000 from TWC. It now appears that we may be able to provide each of these two students with some Development Fund support.

Without the $3500 from NMU, your original invoice should have been for $5345, not $1845 as you were sent.  It seems that you were never promised this aid, so we trust that you will not have a problem paying the difference.  I have talked to Bob Kulisheck today, and he determined that you will actually receive $1000, which he will forward here to be credited to your account.  I have therefore issued a debit to your account in the amount of $2500, which will be delivered to your apartment.

I accept full responsibility for the mistake, and sincerely hope that this will not be a burden for you.  If you need to work out a payment plan. I will be happy to make arrangements with you.  Again, I apologize for the mistake and will be happy to discuss the matter further with you if you like.

XXXXXXXX
Manager of Program Accounts

MY RESPONSE:

In regards to the money you are charging me:

As far as I know, the bill I received prior to leaving Marquette constitutes a form of legal contract. I signed it and carbons where taken by your representatives and myself. In accordance with this contract, I paid a previously agreed upon amount in return for services (placement, classes, housing). I do not recall any fine print discussing the possibility that “prices may be subject to change.”

This bill displayed incorrect information regarding funds supplied by a secondary source, Northern Michigan University, which lowered my personal sacrifice considerably; bluntly: this made it possible for me to attend, as I am not a man of means.

The error was made on your part, not mine. It is not my responsibility to collect or distribute various scholarships or grants; the task of the verification of funds lies with the collector. My checks have cleared.

I have paid the amount billed, and for you to “discover” charges once I have already invested this much time and money into what is quickly becoming a comedy of errors is grossly negligent and unprofessional. I am glad that you “trust that [I] will not have a problem paying the difference,” but I assure you that it is impossible. I do not have the money, and the only reason why I was able to attend was the fact that my parents were willing to make a large sacrifice to help me with the quantity on the bill.

And, technically, I was “promised” the money, since that amount was printed in distinctive black and white on documents supplied by you prior to my arrival in D.C.

In regards to the services I had thought I paid for:

1)      My placement was handled haphazardly and ineffectually; TWC misrepresented its ability to place persons previous to their arrival (the number of unplaced interns at the orientation was surprising, damning, and I have learned, strongly precedented); while TWC had all the necessary materials to send organizations applications well ahead of time, I still was not placed until I arrived; and I was only placed once The Hispanic Radio Network bent it’s application deadlines around the fact that the person reading my application was an alumna of NMU and TWC.

2)      The classes I am attending I do not need, nor, in fact, desire beyond my curiosity and willingness to learn; I only accepted the programming cost for these unnecessary classes once my bill was (falsely) lowered to an amount I could budget; half of the scheduled speakers and congressmen do not show up, get subs, or are late; and TWC’s complete inability to provide a textbook free of errors until the third try and a week later, when I had an assignment due the first week, is unacceptable.

3)      Housing costs are prohibitive, considering I (a legal adult) am given less rights than if I were to stay in a dormitory, I was offered no preview as towards compatibility of my roommates, and I did not even know where I was staying until I arrived and carried my luggage from building to building.

You have placed me in an untenable position; I only attempted to attend TWC based on a false dollar amount supplied by you that was barely within my abilities to reach.

Your organization has wasted my time, my efforts, and my money. You have caused me undue stress, you have destroyed various plans I had set up for this summer, you have exaggerated your abilities and professionalism, and you have already charged me twice what it would have cost (in money and effort) for me to set up a comparable internship myself.

I want my money back, in full. You have failed to uphold your reputation and promises, and you are attempting to break a contract with me.

I will require one week of rent to determine what other means of alternative housing and/or transport home I may need, and I should not be charged for this. I will require you to settle whatever monetary/credit discrepancies that exist with my university, though I have, of course, learned from my mistakes and will be making sure that it is done correctly and to my satisfaction.

Finally, it seems that you, in fact, promised this aid, so I trust that you will not have a problem defraying the cost of my involvement with your organization.

I trust you will accept full responsibility for the mistake, and I sincerely hope that this will not be a burden for you.  If you need to work out a payment plan, I will be happy to make arrangements with you.  I will be happy to discuss the matter further with you if you’d like.

Jeremiah Britt

The moral: When wronged, write a letter immediately, while the facts and emotional response is fresh. Don't be afraid to cuss and rant. Wait a day and have friends help remove the swear words and tone down the rage, but let some of it sneak by. Avoid direct insults and flesh out any complaints. Provide, or be prepared to provide, supporting documentation. Send it and CC anybody who might have the slightest connection to the event, all the way up the chain of command in every organization. Results will be had.*

*Results not guaranteed in a political arena.

5.08.2005

Dear sweet god my brain melted.

Dear god. Rap Country fusion. Western Hip Hop. Cowboy Troy.

I want it to be a joke but, man. Apocalypse now.

If you have Itunes, go to the music store and then the music video section and BLOW YOUR MIND.

P.s. It's terrible.

5.04.2005

Answer my linguistics question, get prize.

I apologize in advance for the convoluted nature of this question.

Suppose you had a conselor friend named Gether and a female aquaintance who was somewhat emotional. While writing a friend about a travelling predicament, you end up with this sentence:

"We need to get her together to get her to Gether."

The letters "together" are typed, in order, four times in a row and the sentence is still understandable. Is there a name for this? Other examples?

Also, and this is only mildly related, in primary school I remember puzzles that involved finding words within sentences. These hidden words were sometimes broken up by spaces, such as: "Mark and ABE ARe in the woods when they are eaten by this." (bear) Does this have a name?

5.01.2005

Best music you've (probably) never heard.

I'm on a real antifolk/british rock kick lately.

Check out:
Regina Spektor
Postal Service
Bloc Party
Snow Patrol
Cat Power

4.29.2005

Give me material.

I have decided to try and read and record a short story onto mp3. I need suggestions of what would be good source material. This is, I hope, the first step in me being one of those books on CD guys.

Just so you know, I'm not suggesting this completely on a whim. I have done voiceover work before, announcing for live events, television announcing, and worked for public radio as a news announcer for a local station. I have taken courses in diction and linguistics and have a good solid radio voice. I'm no James Earl Jones, but better than your average Squeaky McPuberty.

As this is just to see if I and you guys enjoy it while giving me a good workout, I'd like something in the vicinity of 20-30 pages. Nothing with crazy alien names that fanboys will bitch me out for mispronouncing either. Also I'll need some slack, as I'm a tad rusty and don't have a professional studio (though I still have some software and remember a little stuff from when I was a sound engineer).

My goal would be to do recordings of college texts for the disabled or visually impaired, get karma points, money and a free and varied education.

I'm also thinking of doing audio versions of websites that update regularly, such as blogs, news sites, etc., but I'm really not sure yet.

A sample of me reading can be found HERE.

Voice sample.

I apologize for the quality of the recording; if this is mildly liked I will buy a microphone instead of using my cell.
this is an audio post - click to play

Tags:

4.26.2005

Yes, I have anger and stress issues.

10 violent fantasies I recurrently have:

  1. I am running/bicycling at night and see a man taking out a cigarette a little ways ahead. I grab my sports bottle and squeeze some of the drink into my mouth, but do not swallow. As I approach the man, he ignites a lighter, and I spit my entire mouthful at him. This is made more interesting by the fact that it was not water but kerosene. I continue running/bicycling along as he smolders behind me. There is no reason for me to do this; I have nothing against smokers.

  2. I pick my still-running monitor off my desk and heave it at whatever coworker is bothering me that day. Defying logic, it is not caught short by its own cords, but tears its cabling out of the back of the PC, sparking majestically as it soars through the air and crashes down onto the head of my victim.

  3. I see a small child run from between two parked cars into the path of a slowly moving, but still deadly, truck. I rush to save her and either a) grab her up and jump onto the hood of the truck as it screeches to a halt or b) toss her back into the arms of her mother and get the hell beat out of me by the truck, not dead, but with a good bit of hero badging.

  4. One day I simply do not return to work after my lunch break, turn my cell phone off and read a book in the park. The violent part? While I am out the place burns down, merely by coincidence. I am under suspicion, but nothing can be proved and I even end up with a nice sum from a slander settlement.

  5. For a day I lose all inhibitions and, whenever someone annoys me, I punch them full in the mouth.

  6. Whenever I’m at a party or bar, people all dancing and jostling around, drunk out of their minds, I get the feeling I could just go up, knife the coifed hair frat boy in the kidneys and walk out before anyone noticed.

  7. Various daydreams of violent vigilantism after reading police dispatch records and/or visiting Megan’s Law related websites.

  8. Being given 11 months to live and, with nothing to lose, impossibly killing my way up the various food chains of the Yakuza, Russian and Italian mafias and other organized crime syndicates, sparing the families that run relatively clean operations (black market, drugs, gambling, smuggling) so an anarchistic hole isn’t left when I wipe out the others (white slave traders, snuff/child pornographers, those that needlessly harm innocents). Often this involves my ingestion of a particular cocktail of drugs (steroids, speed, PCP) which give me an edge that frequently results in frightening amounts of brutish torture, such as leaping on someone’s shoulders from behind and tearing their head off with my bare hands.

  9. Being physically attacked by someone in a public place (normally an ex-boyfriend of my wife’s) even after trying diplomacy. In self defense I am forced to do a side step, stomp through his kneecap and then tear his eyes out with my thumbs, as that is the only way to insure against future attacks by this assailant. Sometimes I also shatter his wrist.

  10. After a cell-phone talking tailgater finally passes me, I see them smash into the overpass far enough ahead to avoid debris, but near enough that it is unsafe to stop suddenly and I can instead pull off and park at a nearby gas station/rest stop and watch the proceedings.

4.23.2005

What are you wearing?

Blue Utility(R) boxers
White terry cloth robe (open)
Buddy Holly glasses
1 week's growth of beard
Wine Botas filled with Lambrusco

I am a sad, sad man.

4.19.2005

Haha.

I am so angry! that jackass gone and said that I got caught talking to and talking crap about . If I get my hands on them there's paybacks!

This entry automatically generated by the LJ Drama Generator!

4.14.2005

All hail ME.

If I were Grand High Emperor for life, there’d be some changes on this big blue-green sphere we call home.
(This is long, and mostly for me to mess about with. So, as you have already skipped it, don't feel bad).

Legislative: I am dictator and supreme ruler and get to trump any decision. However, I only raise my voice on two, maybe three issues a year.
All major decisions are made by panels incorporating five top professors and experts in the given field, one logician, one philosopher, one theologian (spokesperson for all major religions, majority rule), one blue-collar type from the field who can tell them if it will actually work and one child who will make sure it is understandable and not entirely insane. Service by the later five “laymen” on a panel will be similar to jury duty, but with better pay and lunches.
The main ruling body will thus be intellectuals and experts with voices given to those who live closer to reality, but the population in general will not be allowed to vote on the representative diplomats from their areas until five generations have gone through my educational program and at that point voting will be mandatory.
Their will be no unnecessary bureaucracy.
Any form or license a citizen has to submit that requires more than five pages of paperwork and one week’s wait will be reworked until it fits this maximum size.

Judicial: Laws will need to be rewritten from scratch. There will be no such thing as technicalities or mistrials. If everyone knows someone is guilty, they will not be acquitted because they pretend a glove doesn’t fit.
Each municipality will have a prosecuting and defending attorney elected (after the 5 years, before which appointed). Both will have exactly the same pay, resources, benefits and number and quality of support staff.
It will not be “innocent until proven guilty” or “guilty until proven innocent”. That is what the trial is to determine.
Those awaiting trial will be given separate housing from general jail population. Each trial for major crimes must last no longer than three weeks, or shorter than one. Trials will be juried, but juries will not be so random a lottery, but only amongst those of higher intelligence.
Crimes which hurt no one but the perpetrator (any consensual activity, drug use in privacy of home, or drinking in bar with other drinkers) will no longer be crimes. As soon as that person puts others at risk, either by entering general public or by indulging around their children, the crime becomes major.
There will be no death penalty, but there would be punishments such as chemical castration for sex offenders and a lifetime spent in a humane work camp for murders. All convicts must work for room and board.

Healthcare: Everyone gets an equal opportunity for equal medical care. any who raise personal risk for self-inflicted injuries or diseases (cancer for smokers, STDs for the promiscuous, various injuries for those who indulge in dangerous hobbies) will pay higher taxes.
Doctor’s pay will be based on efficacy. A good doctor will get better pay. Good doctors will also have great mobility to serve the areas that need it most, and they and their families will be compensated.
People infected with incurable infectious diseases will receive a simple color coded tattoo (red square for AIDS, blue circle for herpes) near primary risk of disease spread (on lower stomach over genitalia), but always in an area easily covered. It will become a major crime to spread the disease, but otherwise the person’s rights will be protected emphatically. The tattooing has bad connotations, but it will warn others of risks, be private unless risk becomes high, and will eventually help eradicate the disease.
There will be no cost for required prescription drugs, but taxes overall will be raised to help support government funding for pharmaceutical companies.

Family matters: The government will have no hand in marriages whatsoever, and will not recognize couples as married or not. That is for the individuals involved and their religions. However, contraceptives will be present in the general water and food supplies.
If one wishes to become a parent, they will have to pass very rigorous testing to make sure they will make a fit parent, whether single or in a hetero/homosexual relationship. After they pass they will receive shots to counter-effect the contraceptive and can conceive/adopt as they see fit.
All parents will receive two years off work, paid, for the first years of their child’s life. There will be no limit on number of children or anything else except that the parents be able to provide adequate care and love.

Religion: Religion will be separate entirelyfrom government. No God or gods will be endorsed. In public and government activities, the events will be started with a few minutes of silence for prayer or reflection as participants see fit. Only rare circumstances where a religious leader is a guest speaker will prayer be part of official ceremony, and that will be in addition to the few minutes of private meditation. At age 16 all children will start a class which gives a brief overview of all the major religions (including humanism and atheism) as well as independent study for minor religions, concentrating on the differences for each. Each child can then study, for spiritual reasons or curiosity, their chosen religion for two years and either pursue it as a course of faith or stay religion they were raised. Cults will be explained and described, but not forbidden.
Churches will have to turn over any profits significantly over operating costs back into their congregation with increased services or goods.

Education: Mandatory full-timeeducation from 2 until age 18, mandatory half-time education until 24, mandatory part-time education throughout life. All students must learn three languages total and at least one instrument or artistic form (theater, sculpture, poetry), though they have until 10 to decide one permanent course of artistic endeavor and can always add another later. Their will not be grade levels; classes will be organized by skill level (a 77-year-old who takes up banjo will have class with 5-year-olds). Once a student progresses significantly beyond the rest of the class they move forward. Class sizes will be as small as staffing allows.
Colleges and museums will be free, save for seminary schools, which are separate from state.

Treasury and Commerce: Everyone must work, as everyone has a skill, no matter how small, that can be utilized.
All basic needs will be provided, any unnecessary materials and activities will be taxed based on opulence and drain on society (platinum caps for teeth, cigarettes and drugs). For example, clean water nutritious but tasteless food, and a dry bed will be available to all. Current middle class living will require slightly more work, increasing as standard of living increases, with a cut-off point where taxes and impossibly high profits cancel out for individuals. Businesses are allowed to profit as much as they please, but since individual salaries would reach an upper limit, they would be encouraged to fold that money back into product development and offer successful employees shorter work weeks.
Advertising would be strictly regulated.

Rights: You are given as many rights as you have responsibilities. Children, who until they are older, cannot choose their diet, religion or bedtime will have almost no legal responsibilities outside of attending school. Everyone has the basic rights and basic responsibilities, namely they have the right to do as they wish and be free from harm as long as they do not threaten this right in others. Personal responsibility will be much higher—no more idiotic lawsuits.

Transportation: A reliable, far-reaching and free public transit system infrastructure would be built and maintained. Personal transport would be unnecessary, but private transport could be rented (weddings, trip to exotic locale).

Energy: Only the safest, cleanest, and renewable energy would be used. My personal favorite is nuclear power. All energy would have built in redundancy and safeguards to prevent rolling blackouts and massive outages. Everyone would receive a certain amount of free power, after which charges would incur and steadily increase.

Defense: Similar to Israel and part of educational process. Mandatory two years of service, with option to stay on as full-time job. Guns must be kept at hunting lodges or gun ranges.

Media: Freedom of speech and press, barring libel and hate speech. Swearing not incur fines, but a false report will. All recorded information is free after five years (movies, music, books etc.) Live performances are allowed to charge admission.

Taxes: Citzens can decide whether to pay for government services through annual taxes (cheaper for most) or on an as needed basis. The decision is made for five year periods, to discourage people from jumping back and forth.

The ruler: Me and whoever follows, will only have the pay, rights and property as the poorest citizen. No one who wants to lead will be allowed to do so. At my death the panels will elect the most qualified and reluctant to the task.

4.13.2005

Forward, into the past.

I have written my obituary as I hope it all turns out. Not because I
plan on dying anytime soon, but where, when and how I die is largely
dependent on how I live my life. It was actually kind of fun.

Obits.
BRITT, Jeremiah Joseph aged 81
years, a resident of Seattle, died Friday, August 18, 2062, his
birthday, while listening to music in his home. Jeremiah was born in
1981 in Saratoga Springs, New York, the son of Byron Britt and
Elizabeth, who later remarried Walter Berti, a loving husband and
step-father. He was united in marriage to Autumn Adell Gassel at The
Baptist Church of Hadley in Hadley, Michigan on November 20, 2004. She
followed him in death five seconds later as she sat next to him on the
couch sketching bears. Jeremiah was an impatient man who loved a small
number of people fiercely, who lived to enjoy life, avoid hurting
others and help when he was able. He was a traveler. He attended
college classes up until the time of his death and was a published
author of many unsuccessful books. Surviving are his two children
Dexter (Rosaline) Britt of New York, New York and Trinity (Mark)
Winston of Paris. Also surviving are 5 grandchildren, 1
great-grandchild, sisters Victoria (Matthew) Clark, Catherine
(Jonathan) White, a brother Athony (Melissa) Berti and many nieces and
nephews. A funeral Mass will be prayed 7 p.m. Monday, August 21 at the
smallest church in the county, Love Nondenominational Church.
Afterwards he will be immediately cremated, according to his wishes,
and a small party with his favorite music and foods will be held at his
home. Attendees are welcome to one book each from his library. There
will be punch.

4.06.2005

Damn it all, but I'm still a horrible jerk.

I know I whine about work a lot, but that’s what LiveJournal is. It’s a big box people whine into, seal shut and then stab repeatedly with the shrimp fork of self-flagellating narcissism. That's what it’s there for.

But it isn’t all bad. It isn’t hard at all (though this is one of the frustrations), and even though I’m a terrible reporter (bad at interviews for reasons listed below), I get away with a lot because I write very quickly and moderately well. The pay is low, but considering the effort I actually put into it, fair.


I have dental.


And yet I’m constantly annoyed by coworkers who, for the most part, are actually really good people. It makes me appreciate Autumn all the more, because while we have our little foibles (she occasionally leaves things out, I’m an unmitigated ass), we rarely get really frustrated by any of it, and if we do it quickly blows over. At work, however, every little habit runs icy rusted spikes along my nerves.


So, in my typical sophomoric revenge-fueled manner, I am fighting back. I’ve purposefully, if subconsciously, been developing a series of terrible habits so people leave me the hell alone. This is bad because 1. I really wish I was nicer, but discovering the stupid stuff I do all day that I never did before proves I’m not and 2. It isn’t working.


I am antisocial. I never realized it before, I actually thought I was a big talker up until recently. I realized I’m actually a quiet son of a bitch. I have chatty moments, but mostly I just listen and think loudly. This was quite a shock to me, this epiphany of the obvious. I really don’t like talking.


This was quickly followed up with the discovery of the things I have been doing to cope with forced social interaction. All my life I have been polite, not out of the goodness of my heart, but as a coping mechanism. It gives me an air of a considerate listener (And that’s why all the hos and bitches in college cried on my shoulders!) instead of an angsty loner.


Lately, the friendly, talkative work environment here that I thought I craved has exacerbated my problem. In radio and television I sat in a both, alone, and talked into a stick—I can talk to myself just fine, doesn’t bother me a bit. In college, everyone thought I was insane, and, arguably, I was, so it didn’t really matter how I acted. At The County Press there was too much underlying stress and hate to really be bothered by others. The County Line Reminder was so small (four people in a bedroom-sized office) I didn’t have to speak to my coworkers thanks to sheer awkwardness.


But now, at personable LA View, people are always staggering over, leaning in close, and then vomiting a half-digested anecdote all over my desk. It’s awful, but not really at all enough for me to respond the way I do:




  • “Popping” my mouth whenever I blink.
  • Cleaning my nails (which are already clean or cut to the quick) with staples, pen caps, paper clips or my knife when people are talking to me.
  • Staring blankly for a few minutes and then saying “What are you talking about?”
  • Delaying my responses a second to long for comfort, but just short of outright rude.
  • If asked the same question more than once (e.g. “Can you do X? Are you sure? You’re not to busy? I can give it to someone else. . .) I respond with the exact same answer I gave the first time, doing my best to preserve speed and intonation, like a record skipping. (“Yes, I’ll do it right after I finish Y. Yes, I’ll do it right after I finish Y. Yes, I’ll do it right after I finish Y. Yes, I’ll do it right after I finish Y.”)
  • Whenever the discussion ventures towards anecdotal I either A. share something inappropriate and uncomfortable or B. share something quite interesting, but walk away while I’m talking and then trail off.
  • Am horribly sarcastic and cruel to stupid questions. (“Jim said X? I just heard him say X. He said X?” “Yes, and he wants to slash your tires and sleep with your wife, but don’t tell him I told you.”)
  • If cornered, ask even stupider questions than my colleagues. (“What is this thing?” “… My pig calendar?” “You can write appointments in these little boxes? Are these dates accurate? Today is March?”)

  • If all else fails, out-digress them and derail the conversation into River Crazy. (“I was talking to Lt. Parks about the suspects . . .” “Are they Hispanic?” “Ah, no, but I have names. . .” “Jesus?”
    “No, I. . .” “When I worked at the Hispanic Radio Network I knew a guy, can’t remember his name, but it was a Hispanic name and. . . .”)
  • If I feel eyes on me to comment at a meeting, I try to somehow relate whatever it is we're talking about to my passing knowledge of poisons, serial killers and violent crimes. If I can't relate it, I'll start talking about it anyway.


I was a jerk in high school. That I am okay with, everyone was a jerk in high school. What I don’t like is that I am still a jerk. They are good people. Their failings are human, forgivable, and far less than my own. I have no reason to be this way, other than I have always been more comfortable as an observer, and audience member to the play of life.

But since I don’t like, you know, talking to people I guess it all works out. Still, kind of depressing.

4.04.2005

On why I hate installation art

Somewhere, in a third rate art gallery in the city, there is an installation piece based on my working life.



Five columns and four rows of decrepit
television sets tied together, knobless and spray-painted a careless silver,
even over their screens. Each shows the same scene, the same actors, but
different costumes, one for every day on the calendar. Faxes, notes, post-its
and other desktop detritus are caught in the cracks and crevices as if blown
there by a strong wind. In the middle, however, neatly affixed with a push pin
an on shining 20 pound linen paper is my résumé.



While Rammstein or, more
appropriately, static, plays loudly from much abused speakers, each monitor
shows a 5-second clip from a static camera in my cubicle, every hour on the
hour, twenty four of them, and then repeats. Like rice poured into a pot thirty
Jeremiahs arrive, in twos and threes, some later, some in quick staccato succession.
Water is added to the pot and the day begins to boil, slowly, interrupted by
the sudden irregular bursts as I leave the office for lunch at different times,
random chairs empty for random intervals. Each clip shows an increasingly bored
or frustrated me, on the phone, typing, staring blankly at my monitor. It
simmers near the end, I get up, not visible save for a pacing shadow cast
across my desk. Then: full-on boil. I leave, earlier each day, my departure
snaking quickly left and up across the array.



Repeat.



Colored wire connects every
monitor in a row, sticking out the sides of each row and twisted together like
the ends of the cellophane wrapping of a candy. Affixed to the left hand braid
is a box labeled “In” holding a grainy baby photo and my birth certificate. The
Outbox is empty, or perhaps contains a picture I drew of myself as an astronaut
when I was little, shredded but meticulously taped back together.

3.30.2005

More wife quotes.

Wife (in regards to her kicking my ass at Karaoke Revolution):
It's just because I know the words. It’s not I sound good.



Me: Great. I got my ass kicked by someone who can’t even
speak “good”.







Wife (angry at Xbox not intrinsically knowing her desires
and acting to fulfill them): I put the movie in, why isn’t it playing?



Me: You just took the game disk out and put that one in without
shutting it off, rebooting, or even quitting the game.



Wife: Yeah, it didn’t like that.



Me. You have
to restart and then put the disk in.



Wife: It should know.



Me: Yeah, in high school I was always putting my calculator
on top on my math book, but my homework never got done.



Wife: That doesn’t make sense.



Me: My point exactly.







Wife (to Stef, who refused to sing): Don’t make me kiss you.







Wife (message left on my voicemail): Hello love, this is
your beautiful wife. . .







Me (letting my girl dog Steve back in the house): She was
out there a while, I hope she didn’t get laid.



Wife: I don’t think she’s in heat. Are her girl parts
swollen?



Me: That’s none of my business!



Wife: You mean when we have a daughter you won’t. . .



Me: Arrrgh. (fingers in ears) Gross gross gross gross gross.

3.21.2005

Canada Post made me her Bitch

All I wanted to do was to ship a wireless Xbox controller back for repair/replacement.
A polite and efficient Mr. Brian Stone at Hip Interactive, Inc. had responded immediately to my annoyed correspondence after spending several hours constantly waltzing to the right in Red Dead Revolver. “Send it to me,” he said, “and I’ll fix it, no charge other than shipping.”
That soon turned out to be considerably less of a deal than I had thought.
I grew up in an era when the word “postal” no longer brought to mind images of a kindly, if poorly named, Mr. McFeely to mind, but instead a frothing, Uzi-totting madman, a mailman equivalent of William Foster from “Falling Down”.
This is, of course, an entirely unfair stereotype of today’s postal worker, often polite, if tired, and never surlier than your average government employee. Still, the stories of crazed postal workers mowing down helpless bystanders, no matter how exaggerated, has left an indelible mark upon me since childhood. Postal workers join the ranks of many customer service personnel that scare the hell out of me, along with waitresses and those guys in store that get things from the top shelves or carry heavy items to your car.
The controller, it’s stand and wireless receiver were packed into an old PartyLite box, and I hoped al I would have to do is fill out a label, pay $5 and be done with it. When I arrived however, I discovered a host of shipping options, customs labels and a big angry sign warning me of the new Canadian shipping laws. Confused—why is express (fast) faster than priority (of number one concern)?—I begrudgingly entered the line to find out, what, if anything, I could do.
I stood in line nervously trying to figure out it was going to be the small red-haired lady or man with a two-foot beard who would end up wearing my head as a hat. Both counters opened up simultaneously, and in a last minute paroxysm of fear I choose the weaker and slower looking red-haired woman.
She turned out to be quite nice, and explained all kinds of stuff to me I didn’t listen to before handing me a sharpie, a customs label and a printout of the new international Canadian Shipping regulations and I retired to the back counter to fill it out. She said I didn’t have to wait in line again.
I’m an American. I like my postal codes simple, logical numbers, not some irrational alphanumeric string. Still I persevered. I was allowed to write directly on the box, provided I 1) did not write informal titles like Grandpa or Blood-Brother 2)Wrote only Canada (country of destination) in the last line) and 3) Wrote entirely in capitals. While I made slow and careful scribbles, more customers showed up and a much-harried employee popped in from the back to help with the influx. It was to him I took my presumably finished form and box.
Wrong! I hadn’t written in capitals. I was berated, and as I colored and simpered apologies, he relented and told me to cross it out, try again, and fill in the part of the customs form that I had missed because it was green and I thought it was for internal use only.
I tried again, got momentarily confused as to whether it was a product sample, prayed I didn’t have to actually know the individual weights of the items in the box and entered the line. I didn’t have to wait at the end again, technically, but I hoped it would serve as penance and give a chance for the customers that had witnessed my idiocy to leave.
It was then a kindly customer, who was leaving, told me to go to the front of the line.
Once again the red-haired lady helped me, despite nearly drowning in my misplaced apologies. There was a moment of panic when she realized I had written the address to large to put the customs label in its spot, but she wrapped it half over the corner and all was well. I was so flustered I bought a book of classic automobile stamps. I then left, chastened and vowing to hand deliver any other mail I had to send to our great northern brother.

3.16.2005

Police records from Bigottown U.S.A.

Coworker FOIA'd arrest record of local rapist. Ethnicity was listed as "NON HISPANIC". Hair style was listed as "MEDIUM".

It makes so little sense I had to share.

(For the record, he is a white guy with close cropped "STRAWBARRY" hair and is balding.)

3.09.2005

She sure is lucky she bagged me.

Seriously, I'm a catch.



Wife (crawling into bed, fumbling about in the dark. Don’t worry, it’s G-Rated.):Where are you?

Me: I died because you took too long in the bathroom.

Wife: Don’t joke about that, that’s the scariest thing to me, you dying.

Me: . . . What if I was undead?

Wife: Okay, that would be scarier.

Me: No, no no. What would be scariest is if I was dead tired.

Wife: . . .

Me: Instead of “Eeeeerrrrrgh BRAINS!” I’d be all “Gosh, I’m soooo tired. I could sleep forever.”

Wife: You are a dork.

Me: . . . and then, because I was so tired, not thinking straight, I do stuff like accidentally put the birds in the toaster, or leave a boot in the freezer. OOOoooOOOOOooo.

Wife: Shut up.

3.01.2005

Theories.

Theories I hold whose discussion with my wife has caused subsequent stress betwixt us:



  1. Migraines are not caused by physiological or psychological problems, as the medical field believes, but, in fact by spiritual and moral deficiency, specifically constant sinning. Despite blaming the condition on everything from citrus to stress, the truth remains obvious. With sin (chocolate gluttony especially) one becomes unable to bear the light (spiritual purity, goodness and virtue) and must huddle alone and in the dark, in a vain attempt to hide from judgment, ala Adam and Eve. Even the softest whisper becomes a shouted proclamation of their guilt, and they shrink and hide from it. Only after they have given a sufficient penance of pain are they allowed once again into the light. The fact that most migraine sufferers are women only proves my point.
  2. Menstruation, similarly, is a disease of the spirit and not the body. The bleeding originates from the soul, which becomes cut up from a month of lying. These lies nick and slash the soul until, like stigmata, a psychosomatic effect takes place. Accompanied by a host of other uncomfortable problems, it is just God’s way of punishing the vile woman. It is no surprise then that it does not afflict innocent young girls or wise and mature women, but only the cruel and spiteful bunch between 14 and 45. Boys lie, but not as often or, more importantly, as well. The cumulative bruising to the soul often results in a shortened life span for men, women, however, build up a tolerance.
  3. That she should vacuum the damn ceilings for Christ’s sake it doesn’t take more than 20 minutes.



These are all, of course, joking.

2.25.2005

Over the river and through the woods.

This is long, so don't feel badly if you skip it.



I met “Uncle Walt,” the man I would later call “Dad,” while playing with the He-Man coversheets to my LiteBrite.



There was something exciting, pre-sexual, about pushing each blue colored peg through the outline of The Sword of Power. The soft resistance and then ecstasy, the glow from within, colored brilliance and beauty revealed.



Even more than Hasbro’s quiet comment on virginity was its strong message of conformity: the overwhelming despair I felt when my clumsy, pudgy hands went astray and accidentally pushed the peg through the unapproved blackness, a white hole to reveal my past indiscretions to me every time I flipped the switch, and no smoothing of the paper could hide the Y-shaped light of judgment peering through the tear of sin.



Of course, sitting cross-legged on the floor of my grandmother’s house, I felt only anxious excitement, the lessons absorbed but too subtle for me to yet notice as I quietly mouthed the words “By the power of Grey Skull!”



“Uncle” Walt—it was my mother’s policy for me to call all her grown-up friends not Mr. and Mrs. but Uncle and Aunt--was about to enter the intermittent phase as “Landlord” Walt. My mother and I were staying with my grandmother, her mother, while mom tried to get back on her feet after the divorce, and the good Walt offered us the basement half of his home in Rochester Hills, Michigan.



Before that my mother’s days were spent as a waitress, leaving me to the whims of my grandmother’s bizarre humors.



My grandmother is a recovered alcoholic, on the wagon for longer than I’ve been alive. I don’t have that many clear memories of the time we stayed with them in Chicago, nor the other relatives and friends. Whenever my mother and I talk about it, I always have to ask what kind of dog Uncle and Aunt Whatever had; I remember the dogs, large furry people that would put up with all kind of abuse if you just dropped your food now and then.



I do have six other memories from that Chicago house:




  1. Sitting at the dining room table with a bag of Chewy Chips Ahoy and my actual, blood-relative, Uncle Tom, listening to the tribulations of a bespectacled man whose dream was to be an air force pilot in a time before lasek surgery and breathable contact lenses. As we talked I watched Uncle Tom eat the entire package, one at a time, each cookie popped into his mouth with each breath. This was back two recipes and a size larger ago, when anything worth eating was filled with Red Dye #2, sugar and lard. My uncle now has moderate diabetes, which runs on his side of the family but not my mother’s, as they do not share the same insulin-deprived father.

  2. I was playing with my Care Bare over-sized playing cards on the front porch. The Windy City, living up to its name, tore 2 of Clouds Share-Bear and Ace of Hearts Tenderheart Bear out of my hand. They flew into the street, the Forbidden Territory and I, perhaps foreseeing their future collectability, screamed and cried. My mother rushed out and was so angry that I had scared her into believing I was hurt, spanked me.

  3. Once, setting the table, I thought I saw a ghost out of the corner of my eye, a white, ethereal nimbus that stayed only half of a second once I locked my eyes onto it. I wasn’t afraid, just curious, but it did not reappear.

  4. I had a stuffed fox, creatively named Foxy. Back when I knew how to fold paper hats, boats and airplanes he and I were colonels, pirates and fighter pilots. My grandparents’ stair case reached up to a balcony overlooking the vaulted ceiling living room. My grandfather, an engineer, was always teaching me new airplane designs and he, Foxy and I would launch them off of the balcony, judging on speed, length and duration of flight.

  5. There are four different instances involving my refusal to eat certain foods at dinner. My grandmother’s rule was that you clean your plate, no matter how long it takes you or how little you like it. She was poor when she raised my mother, aunts and uncle, and had an almost Depression era thriftiness. My mother’s rule was that you try everything, but if you don’t like it, don’t force it—presumably she made this decision because she was raised by my grandmother. As we were in my grandmother’s house, however, her laws superceded my mother’s. I was forced to eat pea soup after repeatedly telling her it would make me vomit. It made me vomit. Directly into the bowl, with no aesthetic difference in presentation. A similar instance involved cooked beets which got cold while I ate, as I always did, one thing at a time on my plate—all the meat, all the starch (potatoes normally) and then, only then, all the vegetables. Another time I spilt my water on my Wonderbread, which made it taste, as I said at the time, “like pee.” My grandmother teased me about drinking pee and I had to eat it anyway. The last involved everyone’s favorite childhood pastime: crossing one’s eyes. She kept telling me it would stick that way and it never did, until one time at lunch, while I picked at some macaroni and cheese she had enough. She hit me sharply on the top of the head, hurting so badly that, in hysterics, my eyes did stick and I stumbled to the bathroom, running into walls and crying, fearing spending the rest of my life as a freak, my grandmother laughing in the background. I would die worthless and alone, and every person mocking me would be multiplied into two people, increasing my eternal torture. I wept and vomited in the bathroom until I realized that my eyes were no longer crossed. I hated my grandmother for a long time after that. Later I learned, in her drinking days, she beat my mother so badly that she fractured my mom’s jaw, damaging the nerves and killing two of her bottom front teeth. The damage was not discovered until twenty years later.

  6. I had returned from visiting my father in Tennessee or Florida or Main or New Mexico. I was wearing a coat covered with new wing pins from cheek-pinching stewardesses (as we called them back then) and awe-inspiring pilots. Telling my mother about my trip to the cockpit (those were the days), I realized my prized stuffed animal, a Sad Sam puppet, was not in my luggage. A call to my father revealed he did not have it in California or Oregon or Texas either. I was depressed for a week, but Foxy enjoyed his new promotion.

  7. After getting a bean stuck in my nose, having my mouth, once again, washed out with soap and Tabasco for back talking, and breaking one of my toys on accident, my grandfather cheered me up by juggling eggs and upsetting my grandmother.



My grandparents moved into a smaller house after my mother and I left, somewhere in one of the outlying suburbs of Chicago. My grandmother remains odd, with a cynical, crude sense of humor that once made me laugh so hard as a child that I farted uncontrollably. She is a chronic smoker, even after being hospitalized for emphysema, flat-lining and coming back. Even after being in the hospital for over six weeks, long enough to get the nicotine and the habit out of her system. She is unapologetic about it, perhaps rightfully so, describing it as her own personal choice. She is also a hypochondriac and claims to be allergic to any number of things that make it hard for her to breathe.



My grandfather, always an esoteric figure in my childhood, making his own custom joystick for his Commodore 64 or kicking the respective asses of 20-year-olds at basketball now has a bad knee that is forcing him to retire, a fear he has long harbored.



While some of his good humor is gone, his eyes still twinkle every now and again and I think, maybe once more, I could convince him to juggle some eggs.

2.23.2005

16850

Some of the most outwardly depressing things I have seen are those commercials are the ones of the office guy getting ready to work, where the presentation is almost stop motion, each frame taken 24 hours and one second later, his suit changes with every step he takes, the season changes, haircuts, but his routine is so set that, within his clothes, he follows the same path as regular as clockwork.
The mind-numbing monotony of it all. I’m in a job I at least moderately enjoy; writing feature stories and a crime blotter for a small weekly, and still I feel as if I’m futilely clawing at muddy walls as I slide inexorably towards my grave. Even in my recreation my days are the same, watch a movie, read a couple chapters of a book, play Xbox for an hour or two, play with dog.
Times like this plague me with horrible, frightening thoughts. That we are all trapped in purgatory, not bad enough for hell, not good enough for heaven, and completely unable to remember the lives that came before and brought us to this place. And, that greatest fear of mortal man, that I will be forgotten, not only because of a life not pushed to its potential, but because it is inevitable that I, a grain of sand on and endless beach, shall ultimately be overlooked as the waves of time wash over me, bury me, pound me ever smaller and insignificant until I ultimately disappear.
I am getting evermore anxious to join the peace corps, for while it will offer, eventually, its own grove to get stuck in, I always enjoy the first couple months of blazing the trail.

2.21.2005

16445

This is for someone else to write, as I am too lazy. Good for paperback writers or perhaps a script treatment. Anti-hero, maybe, maybe religious, I don’t know. Like I said, lazy. Read The Ax by Donald E. Westlake for flavor.



Miles Alguire is the layoff guy, the outside, impersonal consultant hired by employers that have to practice some “employment restructuring” and “let people go.” Miles sole purpose in life is to walk through the doors and hand people their walking papers, accepting the animosity and anger that would otherwise go towards the management. If necessary, he even claims to be the consultant responsible for the decision of whom to fire, accepting full responsibility—and a lot of tongue lashing—from the suddenly unemployed.



Small, quiet and polite Miles listens to the violent outpourings from people whose services are no longer required.



Basically he travels around the globe to get shit on.



Miles doesn’t mind. He has his collection of jazz records, a fat paycheck, a formidable parakeet and 15 safe deposit boxes and drop sites around the world holding detailed dossiers and contact lists for his previous employers.



You see, Miles doesn’t work for the automotive, information or manufacturing industries. No, he’s a Company man, through and through: Yakuza, Italian and Russian Mafias, any organized crime ring big enough for middle management.



Times are changing. Used to be if Two Guns Eddy wasn’t pulling his weight you fitted him with heavy shoes and scuba lessons. Nowadays things are more organized, more civil. A Columbian cartel might want to drop protection for local gangs that rough up the locals too much and cause a little too much bad P.R. Miles goes in, dissolves the official ties, and the bumbling, leaderless ruffians get rounded up and arrested within a month. The Russian Mafia’s new leader is not quite as deviant as the last and wants some restructuring, upping the drug and arms sales but dropping the white slave trade and child pornography rings. Miles goes in, gives them the pink slip, dodges a few bullets and is on his way. He’s been doing it for awhile.



Miles, clever little Miles, always dodges the bullets, listens to threats but has never been so much as pushed. Miles has a secret, a dirty little secret, that he whispers in the ears of those he lay off, a little severance package for damned. Wait, he says, wait just a little while.



Next week Miles is visiting an influential Iranian gentleman who has invested a bit of money in weapons manufacture.



The waiting, it would seem, is just about done.

2.19.2005

If you have an RSS feeder.

Plugin or standalone, add this DEAD to your feeds. Returns an up-to-the minute count of coalition casualties in Iraq.

2.16.2005

More Quotes.

(At Borders)

Me: I can’t find Sin City.

Wife (pointing towards information desk computers): Did you check the kiosk?

Me: . . . I no longer like that word.

Wife: You liked it last week.

Me: Things change.



Coworker (on other side of cubical wall): Who put this here?

Me: What, where?

Coworker (supposedly pointing): This!

Me: I have no idea what you are talking about.

Coworker (now audibly shaking some papers): This!

Me: Damn you and your indefinite pronouns.



Coworker (After I discussed vodka filtration): I’ll have to tell my son. You sure know a lot about this stuff, you surprise me with new information everyday.

Me: I did go to college.

Coworker: I went to college too, and I didn’t learn so much about drinking.

Me: You didn’t go to Northern. People said all we had were bars and snow, which left heavy drinking and skiing as the only two real recreational options. And I’m afraid of heights, so . . .



Wife: I love you.

Me: I love you too. (feigning exasperation) I have to say that all the time. I think I’ll just make a sign, like Wile E. Coyote, and hold it up when necessary.

Wife: Jerk. Why don’t you just get it tattooed on your forehead so you don’t have to go through the trouble of lifting the sign? ‘I love you . . . (pause) Autumn.’”

Me: Nah, too permanent. Maybe I could get ‘I love you’ tattooed and then get a little whiteboard installed after that. ‘I love you blank,’ because, hey, you never know.

<punched in arm>



(Wherein I get one-upped)

Coworker (looking at photos of high school jocks): Why is it that they never smile? What is this pose called, looking angry with the chin out?

Me: It’s called “Macho Posturing.”

Coworker: Why can’t they smile?

Me: Because every time you smile your testicles shrink. Medical fact.

Coworker: It’s like ‘Hey, look up my nose: no brain!’

2.13.2005

Valentine's Weekend

Tried to treat the wife to a whirlwind romantic weekend in Detroit.
The stops:

4 1/2 star Italian restaurant Roma Cafe'. Oldest Italian restaurant in Detroit, the owners refused to move after the surrounding neighborhood went to pot, the result is a questionable looking establishment with bars on the windows in a terrible neighborhood, but on the inside a truly classy joint (old male waiters in tuxedos) featuring old-style cooking and almost instantaneous service.

Dirty Detroit erotic art show. Paintings, sculpture and photography, not to mention a cash bar, 1950's porn and topless waitresses. Strangest mix of people I've ever seen.

Baker's Keyboard Lounge, oldest jazz club in the world. The best music I've heard live, with great food to boot.

"Rock n' Roll is about sex, plain and simple. Rap is just about fucking; crass but to the point. But jazz, baby, jazz is about making love."
--said by a drunk me

And then the Pontchartrain Hotel.


Some pictures here.

2.10.2005

For those that like online tests and generators.

This should keep you busy for a while. I"m talking to you Stef.

Quotes of me.

At first I thought posting quotes of myself would be unbelievably arrogant and obnoxious. And then I realized: This is LiveJournal, that’s the point.



So here are a few quotes from the last week:



Autumn: What did you think of Stomp?

Me: I liked it.

Autumn: It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I wish they would just talk, instead of miming everything.

Me: I think that was on purpose. To emphasize the sound they made without using their voices. I think that was the point.

Autumn: I didn’t like that part. It had no story.

Me: Well, it wasn’t called Talk. Maybe next year I’ll take you to go see Monologue: The Musical.



(Talking about Lent).

Autumn: We (Baptists) don’t have to give up anything because we aren’t as fat as you Catholics.

Me: That’s because, as everyone knows, you burn more calories being self-righteous than you do feeling guilty all the time.



Co-worker: You want to talk to officer, officer, um, officer . . . Oh golly . . .

Me: Ah, another Irish cop.



Intern (watching video of me getting tasered): Why are you lying on the mat?

Me: Because I fell down.

Intern: Wow, was it really that bad?

Me: Yes, awful.

Intern: Then why did you do it?

Me: Because I am ridiculously stupid.

Taserist.

Fun facts about tasers.
  • Actually an acronym for Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle, proving that you too can have the futuristic devices of the 1950's. Also proves that weapons manufacturers are sadistic fucks.
  • A taser, versus a stun gun, actually shoots two sharp barbs (often straightened fish hooks) up to 50 feet connected to copper leads. The farther apart these barbs land on the body, the farther the current travels and the more it hurts--6 inches is recommended an effective distance. Effective shots can be made by merely getting an attackers thumbs.
  • The average output is 50,000 volts. It is, however, current, not voltage that determines electricity's fatality. Voltage merely hurts like a bitch.
  • The recommended duration of a jolt is 5 seconds. People have passed out from the pain after 2.
  • I got 5 seconds with a barb spread of approximately 12 inches.
  • There is a half second when you think you can fight through it, but then that moment is over and you'll never know if you could fight it because 1)Dear sweet god the pain and 2) You'll never ever want to do it again. In that way it is kind of like circumcision.
  • Any incapacitating weapon is dangerous, but tasers are actually quite safe. Few fatalities exist and they are even relatively safe for weak hearts, as their output is less than that of a defibrillator, which pacemakers have to be able to withstand.
  • That said, they are a lot worse than a cow fence and ouch.
  • A video of my electric torture is available for viewing.

2.08.2005

I left just in time.

I sucked at softball on the ice last weekend, but found some delicious French onion soup and a massive bruise on my arm in the process.

 In other news, my previous employer and current competitor The County Press has been faced with a minor snafu. While it is embarrassing, the actual preventability of the instance and responsibility of the management is minimal. Some of the people that hire into running the presses at papers are just the sort that do a lot of drugs and other petty crimes. with the comings and goings of numerous paper trucks and vendors, it isn’t surprising it went unnoticed for so long.

What I find unforgivable, however, is how they handled the cleanup. They didn’t run any story until after the competitor (at the Flint Journal) ran their piece, and when they did, they buried a 250 story and didn’t mention the location of the crime until the end of the second paragraph. Embarrassing as it is, it is a legitimate news piece and to be scooped on something like this is a very bad faux pas. Not only that, but they headlined with a different drug story wherein a mother brought her son a syringe of heroine to school. Yes, hilariously stupid, but to make that more “important” than the crime literally happening at your back door is Nixon-esque.

If I still worked there, I would have pushed for a preemptive strike—professional news story like many papers dealing with scandal have done (recent cases of plagiarism and lies) along with a very well-thought-out editorial of the “We apologize, hope you don’t lose faith, and we’ll be doing everything we can to tighten hiring practices and security” variety. But they didn’t do that. They didn’t even include comments from their own editor or publisher in their little side-story.

Bad show.

2.07.2005

Holy Frikken Crap.

A little ugly, a little pixelated, but in five years . . . The future is now.

French Onion Soup Review: Lake Inn

A-


After failing horribly as an underhand slow pitcher, but before getting beaned with a softball in the arm, I walked into Lake Inn and ordered a tall Guinness and a bowl of French Onion Soup. Guinness was good, as always, but as the waitress approached with the FOS I actually let my hopes up for the first time in a long while. Good brown crock, cheese crust bubbled over the sides, even a fine grating on top of garnish. No side bread, but a good crock doesn't need it.
Now for the taste.

Only one type of cheese, a pretty good but not excellent mozzarella, a little let down, but the broth: excellent. Not too salty, not too strong, no heavy, bitter aftertaste. Nice big croutons and full, firm onions. Delicious. Wonderful.
Good show Lake Inn. Good show.

The Lake Inn is located at 3711 Hunt Rd., Lapeer, Mich., U.S.A.

2.04.2005

Old theory.

My first CD was Silverchair’s Frogstomp, since stolen. It was purchased in simpler times, when no one really knew CD’s were grossly overpriced, when I was in high school and had a job but no expenses, and when I was stupid enough to spend $16 for two or three good songs.

Since then I have only purchased CD’s which are great either in their entirety or, at most, have one or two mediocre songs (Maroon 5’s Songs about Jane, Tenacious D’s self-titled, Sheila Nicholls’ Brief Strop, the High Fidelity soundtrack).

Today, for reasons to tedious to go into, I revisited a theory I made in high school, which applied then and I am uncertain if it applied now.

To support my proposition have I selected, randomly, the tracklistings of five CD’s I purchased during my formative years, showing that in only one instance did my collection deviate from my little number conspiracy. The margin of error is personal taste, as I am certain somebody else liked one of the fetid pieces of crap lodged between the two or three gems. I am not certain if this issue has been visited before by a music critic or other interweb denizen, but link to it if it has.

My theory was thus: music released by one hit wonders and/or schlock artists who regurgitate “music” on a biannual basis will have a bare minimum of “good” music to sell their CD. With little variance these songs will be found on tracks 2 and 5 and/or 7. The rest is mediocre at best and is normally skipped during playback by all but the most diehard of fans. Exception: track 11 will either be pretty damn good or the worst piece of crap.

Support:
1) Live’s Throwing Copper
Tracks:
1. The Dam At Otter Creek
2. Selling The Drama
3. I Alone
4. Iris
5. Lightning Crashes
6. Top
7. All Over You
8. Shit Towne
9. T.B.D.
10. Stage
11. Waitress
12. Pillar Of Davidson
13. White, Discussion
14. Untitled
“Selling the Drama” was, in a way, the title piece. “Lightning Crashes” was the best rock song, outside of Gwar, to use the word “placenta.” “All Over You” was one of my personal favorites, you might have to listen to it before you recognize it. I don’t even frikken remember the rest.
Listen to samples here.

2) Eve 6’s self-titled
Tracks:
1. How Much Longer
2. Inside Out
3. Leech
4. Showerhead
5. Open Road Song6. Jesus Nitelite
7. Superhero Girl
8. Tongue Tied
9. Saturday Night
10. There's a Face
11. Small Town Trap
This CD only had two songs I actually listened to: “Inside Out,” the chart-topping junior high poetry exercise I bought it for and “Open Road Song” which I still really like.
Listen to samples here.

3) The Verve Pipe’s VillansTracks:1. Barely (If At All)
2. Drive You Mild
3. Villians
4. Reverend Girl
5. Cup Of Tea
6. Myself
7. The Freshmen
8. Photograph
9. Ominous Man
10. Real
11. Penny Is Poison
12. Cattle
13. Veneer
A lot of people may argue for any of the other tracks, especially “Photograph,” but personally The Verve Pipe’s brand of heavy handed metaphor is a sort of music I can only listen to so much of before getting a headache, like RadioHead. I like them just fine, but they’re like musical wasabi. I think 2 and 5 were underrated, and I swear I’m not just saying that to support my theory. I didn’t like 8, and the only other one I might admit to liking is 11, the track number wildcard.
Listen to samples here.

4) Silverchair’s Frogstomp
Tracks:
1. Israel's Son
2. Tomorrow
3. Faultline
4. Pure Massacre
5. Shade
6. Leave Me Out
7. Suicidal Dream
8. Madman
9. Undecided
10. Cicada
11. Findaway
Try as I might, I really can’t remember why I bought this CD, especially as my first. I know nothing of the band and never looked for them again—the only thing I can guess is I saw a classmate with the fold out Warholian Frog poster in the CD booklet and thought “Hey, I identify strongly with quad-colored amphibians.
2 and 5 are ones I often programmed on my Sony Discman, barely edging out 4. “Suicidal Dream” was the anthem of high school Jeremiah: angsty narcissist.
Listen to samples here.

5) Stone Temple Pilots’ Core
Tracks:

1. Dead and Bloated
2. Sex Type Thing

3. Wicked Garden
4. No Memory
5. Sin
6. Naked Sunday
7. Creep8. Piece of Pie
9. Plush
10. Wet My Bed
11. Crackerman
12. Where the River Goes
Besides confusing me the first time I saw a NASCAR race, STP offers the only deviance in my random sampling. “Sex Type Thing” and “Creep” were perennial favorites, but nothing beat the parent-frightening intro to “Dead and Bloated.”
Listen to samples here.

2.02.2005

Damned.

Thank god for Autumn.

I had a dream last night of what my life would be if I had gone to work on computer software in Florida with my father after I graduated. The whole thing took place in the summer of 2007, but I had a pretty set of memories at the onset.

After working with my father for a few months I managed to immerse myself the same group of friends I’ve found in high school, college and work: sarcastic social critics immersed in pop-culture and possessing almost no ambition.

We’d hang out at this bar down there, Bull Dogs or something, munching on fries or jalapeno poppers and drinking rather a lot of beer. It became somewhat of a tradition to share ideas for books, movies etc. either those truly close to one’s heart or those purposely bad.

One night I was proposing an idea for a reality show, to catch the tail end of a (thankfully) dying trend. (For some reason variety shows were the up-and-coming fad). It was a hideous idea, and I only shared it because I was drunk and I wanted a few laughs, but one guy, a blonde fellow named Mike that was new to the group, was actually the nephew of some Fox Television executive. He ended up pitching my idea to his uncle a couple of months later at a wedding or something, and, long story short, I ended up on board as a producer.

Truth be told, it kind of sucked. I didn’t know the business that well, so I was getting shafted left and right by Fox, and my show was so mind-bogglingly amoral that it, and in effect myself, were taken as the shining example of a world gone wrong. Worse yet, I knew it was a terrible show; I had only gone on board because I was hoping to make it a farcical satire of the genre, and get my foot in the door to be a show/film scriptwriter. But Fox took it seriously and America loved to hate it, so it was successful in the same way sensationalized news is successful. And I had to stay on, contractually.

The premise was this: someone would nominate themselves or someone they knew who was taken for granted by his/her spouse, friends, relatives or boss. Then, depending on the situation, something would happen and the subject would appear to disappear, die or otherwise be lost to those that took him for granted. After a month of hidden camera’s following those left behind, the subject would confront and either thank or damn his supposed loved-ones. To make it interesting, if it was proven that he was taken for granted, he would receive the full worth of his life insurance policy. If he was in-fact appreciated but a self-absorbed dick who nominated himself, the money went to his relatives. No matter what, families were broken up.

One of the ones from the first season involved an old guy, a sweet doting husband and his bitch of a trophy wife. Sure enough, as soon as he was “lost” while on a camping trip with some buddies, she whored herself up and started spending his money wholesale. Thing is, the poor guy got to watch the hidden footage, and at the end of every episode did one of those Real World reactions to it. It was heartbreaking. The bitch kept trying to cash in his life insurance, but the company, hip to the trick, kept stalling, saying a body hadn’t been found. It was awful.

And that’s all just the history. My dream took place as we were filming one of the last episodes of the second season. Fox had optioned not to renew our contract following a lot of bad press about how we ruined families and possibly contributed to a murder/suicide. Over the two seasons I had done everything I could to sabotage the show or get Fox to cancel my contract, but every stupid thing I did was taken seriously by the other producers and turned into just another way of tormenting the participants. And people kept nominating others and themselves.

It worked the same way The Bachelor did, insomuch that we filmed the entire first season in a hush-hush manner so that people didn’t know what was going on. The second season only happened because no-one thought you could do a second season, just like The Bachelor 2 or whatever it was called.

The one we were currently filming involved a spoiled little brat, an 8-year-old girl, who didn’t think her parent’s loved her. We had arranged for her to win a spelling bee to fly out to Washington on a chartered plane, which would be reported to crash. Because the bitch was too young for a life insurance policy, and because the other producers wanted to end the show on a bang, the “winning” side would get $1,000,000. It was craziness. After accompanying the little monster on the plane to the resort we were housing her in for a month, I took another unscheduled vacation to help a friend from Florida.

My buddy, George Romeo (Hispanic, it was pronounced Hor-hey) had a little non-profit organization that helped plan camps and activities for troubled youth. With some of the blood money I had made with the show (it had a shitty title like “Did You Miss Me?” or “Taken for Granted”) I had helped him purchase a new building for his business currently housed in a ramshackle singlewide in the middle of no-where. Just as I was starting to feel like I wasn’t a complete waste of skin, helping out those in need, I woke up.

This dream sucked.

2.01.2005

Target practice.

Considering I have never been called to jury duty, the illustrious colon of the law, I have instead volunteered for its arm.

Yes, sometime in the coming week I will stand blandly as recruits shoot me with a tazer. Why? Civic pride. The possibility of a good story. Memories and scarring that will last a lifetime.

And I'm frikken stupid.

Pictures and video though, so you bastards can guffaw as I twitch and, likely, soil myself.

Stay tuned.

1.24.2005

Forward, into the past!

I recently discovered that I still own ProductsOfAnIdleMind.com until 2008. I had thought the registration lapsed in 2004, and, as I didn't want to pay the much higher fees these days I let it die. Or so I thought.
Out of curiosity I WhoIs searched it to see if anyone owned it now, and, of course, I did. I didn't have access to it however, as the original registrar, DomainZero, had gone under and it had traded hands a couple of times since then.

Also, my contact email was my old college address, and as I can no longer access it, as I am not a student, I had an annoying week and a half of faxing copies of ids and email tag.

The folks at eHost, in Mass., were frighteningly polite and prompt throughout the whole ordeal, a Human responding within 15 minutes to every email I sent, even late at night. Eventually I crossed all my T's and dotted all my J's and now have access to it once again, though I am really only able to do redirects.

My friend owns a hosting service, however, and some good server space so maybe I'll move on in to a more personal cyber space.

Wa-chow. eHost was surprisingly non-evil. So here's all the props they'll get.

1.23.2005

French Onion Soup Review: West Street Grille

C


Nestled behind a hotel and boasting a famous chef whose name I didn't bother to remember, West Street Grille has all the ambience and bustle of a popular and successful restaurant without all the bother of a good bowl of soup.

Served in a bowl, the dish nevertheless looked appetizing, but succumbed ultimately to that Achilles heel of FOS: too much salt. If the supposedly talented chef was worth his salt he wouldn't have used so much. It was so mediocre I resort to bad puns.

Not overall terrible, but suffering from a fatal amount of average. Forgetfully limp bread, thin, carelessly applied cheese and terrible aftertaste. In fact the aftertaste is the only thing that really stuck with me.

The West Street Grille is at 770 O St, Lapeer, Michigan, U.S.A.

1.21.2005

I really love soup, in a platonic, yet delicious way.

In an effort to obtain some of my life's goals I have created this.
I chose blogger because I think it better suits the nature of my
endeavor (livejournal is still, basically, just an internet journal) and
because with Hello and Picassa I can post pictures for free.
I'm also working on one called "The Aphasian" and a revamp of "Products
of an Idle Mind."

Frikken sweet

The amazing Chris has done what I was too lazy to do, syndicate my del.icio.us links to a livejournal. Add http://www.livejournal.com/users/jeremiahlinks/ to your friends if you want to see what internet oddities I uncover.

1.20.2005

Movies.

If anyone else uses Netflix, I'd be interested in seeing movies you've rated. My user email is jeremiahbritt(at)gmail(dot)com. I've rated over 500 movies, which is sad really.

French Onion Soup Review: Upfront & Company

D-


Upfront & Company is a surprisingly classy (read: expensive) jazz/music club situated in the icy tundra of Marquette Michigan. While they offer good local and professional music, have decor and a never-ending flow of beautiful people, their FOS is sub par at best.

Presentation, for a bar pushing trendy as hard as it was, was appalling. The soup was delivered in what was either a very shallow flat bowl or a slightly deep plate. There was no cheese topping.

The broth was thin and salty, appearing to have been made with a bullion cube and an extra helping of water. The onions were limp and uninspired, far too few to justify calling this dish an Onion soup. The croutons were in fact small pieces of flaccid and dissolving rye bread.

Nasty.

Go to Upfront for the music, go there for the drinks, hell, even go there for the loose women, but do not go there for the overpriced slop they call FOS. D-, Upfront, D-.

Upfront & Company is located at 102 E. Main St., Marquette, Michigan, U.S.A.