Friday, December 23, 2005

Freedom? Yeah Right!

Did you out-of-staters know that here in Washington State, voters have voted to ban indoor smoking, making our granolafied state the most intolerant state in the union towards smokers? This new law means that puffers can not smoke in bars or coffee shops and not only that, but must be at least twenty five feet from a door. In other words, in the middle of the street, dodging those smog farting SUVs.

I realize smokers aren't the most popular demographic out there but it isn't really the smoking part that gets me about this law, though I am crushed that I'll no longer be able to spend late nights at the Horse Shoe Cafe drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. No, I'm more shocked that voters feel they can tell business owners how to run their own shop. How un-American can we get!

On today's front page in the Bellingham Herald, there is an article about one business owner who refuses to have his rights taken away. Abel Jordan, the owner of Casa Que Pasa, a popular tequila bar and burrito joint here in town, is allowing smoking at his restaurant. He says he looks forward to fighting his one hundred dollar ticket in court. He says about his restaurant: "Ultimately, it's private property, if you don't want to come into my smoking bar, don't come in."

People making their own choices? My God, what a concept. Do you think we are capable of such a feat, Washingtonians? God bless you, Mr. Jordan. Tell me when and where and I'll be there with my flaming torch and pitch fork.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Outside My Kitchen Window

I peak behind the curtins here in my kitchen, beside my computer table, to see what the weather is like. It is cloudy with the threat of a cold rain. Below me, in the middle of the yard, is my landlord. His wang is hanging out of the open zipper of his buttoned trousers. He's taking a piss. His hands are on his hips.

I guess when your eighty you just don't care anymore!

Have Fun Having Gas

There is this man who works at the convenience store a few blocks from here whose head wobbles on his neck like a bobble head doll. His name is Jason and the store is called the Smart Stop. Everything you can possibly buy at that store will lead to a premature death. Beer, wine, candy, chips, The Bomb beef burrito--a favorite of mine.

In high school, the skateboarders and the pot heads would hang out in the Taco Bell parking lot, laughing and talking while lettuce and tomato would fall from their mouths onto the pavement. Here in Bellingham, the homeless alcoholics hang out at the smart stop. Skateboarding and tacos. I don’t see an obvious connection between the two. A store that devotes an entire wall to the storage of alcoholics beverages such as the Smart Stop and the congregation of alcoholics is a bit easier to understand.

I don’t know Jason. I have never approached him at the counter after laying down a pecan pie and a Steel Reserve and said, “Hey Jason. Good Evening. What did you think about that bill congress pushed through?” I only know his name is Jason because someone told me it was in conversation about the funny rubbery guy down at the Smart Stop.

His sweaters have holes in them. A lot of holes. He has a beard that looks like it is less about style and more about not wanting to shave. He is probably in his mid thirties though his age is difficult to discern. Could be twenty eight, could be forty. He says Hi-Di-Ho as a greeting to costumers as they walk through the door, triggering that HING-HUM bell. And when he speaks, his body starts waving like a gelatin cornstalk in a windstorm. Maybe I think of cornstalks because he reminds me so much of the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. Yes, now that I think of it, he is the scarecrow!

The only reason I bring up the alcoholics is because I think they hang out at the Smart Stop not only because it is a beer paradise, but because Jason talks to them and listens to them. Maybe he is one of them. I don’t know. But during his shift there is always a tin of altoids open on the counter, free for the taking.

Jessi and I stopped in for a pack of smokes the other night and were greeted by a bendy Jason, “Helloooo there.” In front of us in line, a woman paid for twenty dollars on pump three. When she was walking out the door, (HING-HUM) he called out to her, “Have fun having gas!” He mouthed the word “wow” silently to himself after the door swung shut, looked at us, and then began to chuckle and sway. He has the best attitude I have ever seen in a convenience store clerk.

“Marlboro lights!“ repeating my order back to me while smacking the pack down on the counter next to the mints. His head was drifting backwards towards the wall made of cigarette packs behind him, while his arms were reaching forward, towards the register. He reminded me of a swirling spiral galaxy. “One book or two?” referring to the books of matches he gives away like candy. Two, I said. Always get two. Jessi and I left the store. Past the bums huddled under Jason’s window, swigging malt liquor out of paper bags in December. They looked cozy. We laughed about the gas joke. I kind of wanted to hug Jason.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Golden Messenger of the Night

The image in the header of my blog comes from a dream I had a few years back. In the dream, which was set in the distant future, the world's population had dropped dramatically and the landscape had become wild once again. The majority of the population lived rurally as farmers and homesteaders. I was a character who lived in a small but comfortable shack similar to the one in the picture. The main road, more of a dirt path, ran through my property and I exchanged goods with travelers going to and from the capital. It was a very colorful and vivid dream and I remember stepping off my front porch into the bright sunshine and looking out over my property covered in wheat and wild grasses and having a feeling of complete peace.

Though the world population had dwindled and we lived a homier existence of quite country life, technology had advanced to the point of invisibility. For instance, I remember taking a shower in my dream, walking into my field, under a tiny rain cloud that formed directly over my head. Humanity had conquered the weather, allowing us to manipulate it with as much ease as turning the hot water knob in today's bathrooms. My shower was very much like the shower the woman in the image is taking.

As I was dressing out of doors, drying in the sun, a man on a golden speeder (similar in design to the ones from the chase scene through the forested moon of Endeur, in Return of the Jedi) crested the rolling hills and then flew over the dirt path kicking up dust, then suddenly was near me. He looked tired and thirsty from, what he told me, was a journey from the capital city. I invited him in to tell me news from the city over a refreshing drink. Inside, he told me the news of a princely man who was doing miraculous things in the city and rising in the political ranks. It was believed that he was the holy one prophesied to return. My heart leapt at this news and the messenger and I were both fidgety with excitement. Though the times in my own kingdom were quite and peaceful, there was still unrest and darkness in the foreign regions of the world. The prince would bring about a final peace. The messenger had come to request my allegiance; the prince had work for me to do.

I felt a great joy in this news and packed my things for the journey to the capital. The messiah had come back at last!

I don't know if it is bad luck to share such dreams or not, but that dream has stuck with me and given me a lot of hope. I have closed my eyes and seen those wheat fields countless times since the dream. I put it on my blog as a reminder to myself of the hopeful times ahead so that I might not waste away ranting and raving but hopefully create a space like my dream farm. Perhaps plant a seed that will blossom into a message of joy. I really do see good things in our future and a return of the messiah.

Dreams. Are they purely personal? Unconscious desires of the ego Or do they allow an individual to peek outside of himself into something bigger? I believe it is the second.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Inspired by Malerie's blog, here is my own lists of seven:

Seven Things I’d like to do before I die (in no particular order)

1. Sail over the sea
2. Walk in space
3. Publish a piece of writing
4. Have a family
5. Build a rocking chair
6. Ride in a hot air balloon
7. Shoot a round of golf under par

Seven creatures that I'd like to be for a day

1. A cat
2. A shark
3. A hawk
4. A woman
5. An Android
6. A mathmatician
7. A microbe


I just took a hatchet to my Television antenna in hopes of reclaiming my mind. It is going to be a difficult road to revovery, especially since I have decided to quit smoking today. A contemplative life and clean lungs. How will I survive?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Four girls. One guy. Let's get this party started!

Round One:

Man takes four girls out to the park to talk.
“Tell me the craziest thing you’ve ever done,” the standard dialogue in every episode. Three of the four girls will say something along the lines of, I made out with my girlfriend and I was naked. Three way action baby, yeah. I’m a wild girl and I love to have fun! There is always one girl that is the odd one out. The Christian farm girl who refuses to strip in the park. Oh my gawd, like, what a loser. Your cut!

Round Two:

Things really get hot now. The sun is down and our contestants have changed into their clubbing uniforms. The talking section is over, show us what you’ve got, baby. The three girls left are wild girls but of varying degrees. Two are willing to dry hump on the dance floor, one is only willing to slobber on the guys face. Sorry Girl friend, if you ain’t willing to go all the way then ain‘t getting to round three.

Round three:

Everyone is good and sauced now. Drunken slurs galore. The two mega-sluts now battle it out to prove which one is the bigger whore. Look mom and dad, I am giving a perfect stranger a lap dance on television.

The Final Cut:

Jane, Susan, both of you are fine girls, and I really wish I could take both of you back to my hotel and make hot wild whoopee to you both at the same time, but the rules state that I have to cut one of you, so--Susan, I’m going to have to eliminate you. You gave me a hickey and a boner, but I am pretty sure Jane will give me a hot STD. See ya Susan.

Man and woman grope and lick in front of camera not knowing a single thing about each other, other than that they are both wild, young, hotties.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Big Ad

The commercials out these days are more entertaining than the regular programing. This ad is no exception. It is Bloody huge, and freaking awsome!

Big Ad

Milk Duds Please

I've already bought my ticket for the opening of Narnia. I learned my lesson after Star Wars III and The Return of the King--when all those fantasy nerds were lined up around the block and I had to sit in the front row with my neck bent at a nearly lethal angle. We'll get there early this time...dressed as the Beavers.

I have loved the Chronicles of Narnia since I was a boy and fell in love with the stories again when I read them a few years ago. That there might be another world behind a closet door, or in a nautical painting, or even in the very air around a train station has been an idea that's kept me dreaming. How many hours have I spent at the edge of the world, where the sea ends and the light of Aslan's country shines bright--at work or school or in the middle of a conversation? Narnia is a place I can visit when ever I want. I just have to let my mind wander. And in that sense, Lewis really has created for millions, a refuge--a wood between worlds.

Now Narnia is the hot topic. It is everywhere posters, advertisements, articles, bookstores. Part of me says, great! A whole new generation introduced to an enchanting fantasy. But another part of me is jealous, wants to hold on to the story for myself. That is the snob in me. But it goes beyond snobbery. I fear that Narnia will just become politicized like everything else. Just like my faith. And there are signs that it already is.

Today, in USA Today, accompanying the cover story, is a big picture of Aslan in CGI with the caption, The King of Kings? I had to buy it. I read that an organization for the separation of church and state is up in arms because Jeb Bush put The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe on a state sponsored book list. While the Evangelicals are encouraging their congregations to flood the theaters and tell their children that Aslan is Christ. And while those two camps of boring people war with each other, advertisers and businesses are licking their lips, bringing in the green backs.

The theater has always been my refuge--a place where I can go see my favorite stories come to life, where I can sit in the dark eating greasy pop corn and escape reality for a few hours, allowing the world to melt away, fully immersed in fantasy. There is also a social aspect to the theater that isn’t part of the reading process. It is a place where you can share a fictional world with a group of people in real time--where everyone is on the same wave length; alone and together at once.

The groups of people that I do not want to share my refuge with are evangelicals on a mission to convert and left wing intellectuals who deconstruct the movie out loud. I went and saw the Passion of the Christ and hated it. Not because it was a bad movie but because I felt like I was at church. I do not want to hear "halleluiah" when I am at the cinema. I do not want to receive bible tracks or green peace bumper stickers when I am standing in the ticket line. I just want to be left alone with my fellow nerds while eating milk duds. That's it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Weather Channel

Someone needs to step up and challenge the Weather Channel's power. I have been in love with the Weather Channel since it came out years ago. It's like a holy shrine to the weather gods. My main complaint with their site, which I have been visiting every two minutes since the weather turned cold this week, is that it has been taken over by advertisements. And not just annoying pop up adds, but adds that are impossible to click out of. Tinker Bell darting back and forth over my screen, explosions of confetti raining down all over the web page, covering up the radar map--these are just frustrating enough for me to revert to more primative methods of checking the weather, such as walking outside and looking up.

Extra Extra! Read All About It!

If you get a chance, go out and buy this weeks edition of New Scientist magazine (Nov. 26-Dec. 2 2005) and take a gander at the cover story. In it, the author suggest that we will probably not find E.T. searching the physical universe for radio signals but we might find them in the "computational universe"--all the possible computer algorithms that exist.

Am I wrong or has New Scientist let the possiblitity of intelligent design slip through the editors? The following has kept me up at night thinking.

Talking about the complexity of alien signals, Marcus Chown writes:

" possible way to search for extraterrestrial intelligence is to look for artificial structures, such as giant triangles orbiting stars. These objects might simply be alien artefacts or a way for ET to communicate across vast tracts of the Milky Way.

[Luc]Arnold's idea is based on the fact that astronomers can already detect planets orbiting nearby stars if they happen to pass in front of their parent star, temporarily dimming its brightness. His work shows that you could distinguish the dimming caused by a strangly shaped object from that resulting from a passing planet, in much the same way that it is easy to spot the difference between objects we have built and natural phenomena--buses and trees, for example. That's becuase nature's artefacts are always more complex than our own. But Wolfram believes this will change in the future as we become more intelligent. 'All artefacts will be as complicated, if not more, than natures's.'

And that is bad news for SETI. The complex artefacts made by an advanced civilisation would be worlds apart from the simple, giant triangles Arnold envisages. In fact, they could look very much like natural objects. Which poses a remarkable question: are the stars extraterrestrial artefacts? 'They could have been built for a purpose,' says Wolfram. 'It's extremely difficult to rule it out.'" (Page 32)