The Cultural Significance of Killing Things, My Man-Child Neediness, and Facebook Rehab.

 

[Editor’s note: This is an especially long article. Some of you do not seem to mind indulging the author with this on occasion. For the rest, it is recommended you wait until a pretty lengthy dump is brewing down there.]

Greetings virtual friends and acquaintances!

I racked up another internet fight recently, this time about sport hunting. Instead of doing the prudent thing, and leaving it the hell alone, I ended up with a sourpuss face, staring at my computer screen. Again. Like an idiot. This was even after I pledged to avoid politics for the summer.

My views regarding sport hunting never seem to be addressed, so I easily slid into troll-slaying mode to feverishly offer my position on American dunderheads that travel to foreign lands in order to murder things for fun. Foreign soil sport hunting is basically one step short of a Hostel movie for me, so I was readily chomping at the bit to add my two cents.

Now, plenty of people despise hunting for a number of reasons. The death of innocent animals, the animal cruelty aspect itself, sad memories of watching Bambi as a kid—I get that. Not my biggest problem with all of this though. Some fear that the hunters themselves represent an immediate threat to other humans in the area and in the community. Campers, wildlife enthusiasts, Harry Whittington. Sure, again, not the beef I have.

My beef? I don’t like people that enjoy killing things.

At the very least, sport hunting is a shitty, shitty hobby. I understand the cultural significance, I understand the bonding experience in certain rural subsets of our culture, and I get the historical significance of hunter-gatherers, and the importance of being able to be self-sufficient. I certainly know, and have met people that I like immensely, that are thoughtful people, that also happen to hunt. Not many, as I will address later, but they are out there. I just don’t get sport hunting in the context of modern, western life. Certainly not in its most mundane, indefensible, lowest common denominator iteration.

Of all the fucking things to do with your time, that you could do, that we now have the ability to do, you want to what?

“Get up real early in the morning, dress up in camouflage gear, sneak around in the bushes and crawl through the mud, bugs, and elk shit for most of the day.”

Okay, that’s fine, I guess. Seems a little pointless, and unpleasant.

“The shittier the weather, the better.”

Alright.

“Also, if any sizeable wildlife meanders by, or Harry Whittington, I need to shoot it in the face.”

Oh, I see…

Here’s the thing, the act itself, the act of stalking, and killing animals—while I find it abhorrent—does not bother me nearly as much as the fact that people enjoy doing it. They go out of their way, planning for weeks, out of their way to be able to enjoy murdering an animal.

Now, I know that many sport hunters consider themselves libertarians, or at least fall somewhere along the conservative end of the political spectrum. I don’t like that either, but combined with the joy of murdering, and what you get is a human recipe for my sourpuss face. I typically fucking loathe these kinds of people, in the way that makes my eye twitch and my delicate anus clench in defiant reflex.

And I am not even talking about the backwoods Billy-Joe-Bobs spending the entire day drinking a case or two of Miller High Life in a crow’s nest. That is just ignorant rednecks having some bro-time in a tree shanty. Probably wishing they lived in a state where it was okay to fuck each other. I am not talking about the Trump supporters.

I am talking about all the responsible hunters that sport hunting apologists are always on about. Always using the whole carcass, always responsible to the environment, very safety conscious—yeah I get it. They are careful, methodical killers. That is so much better.

What prompted this communiqué was yet another Facebook friend-of-a-friend, should’ve been a tête-à-tête, ended up being a public squabble—kind of social media experience. Basically another meaningless exchange that needlessly put me in a bad mood. Which, considering the political climate, seems to happen all too often as of late. Even when I have strip-mined my friends list almost bare of conservative ideological ore. My row with virtual acquaintances on my own page regarding the election recently is solid evidence I am in need of another lifestyle adjustment.

This cat fight (meow) was prompted by yet another American exceptionalist, traveling to a foreign country (this time Canada) to kill a wild animal. Maybe you saw it in the news. I am not going to include one of the many articles, just google “Fuckface American Bear Murderer” to get the latest. He had some choice, American things to say about said bear too, as he was crouching over its dead body, which pissed me off. Also, as it turns out, the bear suffered terribly for a day before it died. He didn’t bother tracking it until the next day to get his photo opportunity.

I mentioned on my internet acquaintance’s feed that I thought it would be a good idea if sport hunters were required to publicly show their tiny penises before being issued a hunting license for excursions like these. It would make it easier for the rest of us to understand. Someone took exception to that. He also didn’t like my use of the word ‘murder’ in respect to hunting. I suggested ‘reverse bioengineering’ to appease.

In my opinion, the bear got off easy. The bear only had to endure one day with this human dental visit. This walking root canal. Granted, that day ended in death—and not the good kind, the “trips and accidentally shoots himself in the face” kind—but the “grr, at least let me finish my morning bear shit” kind.

For extra man points, he was hunting with a spear, so I guess he couldn’t have shot himself in the face. Maybe next time he will really man-up, and go hunting Canadian bear completely naked, covered in honey, with a lobster fork duct-taped to his limp dick. Go stab the bear with a tiny dinner utensil attached to your flaccid micro-wiener, Josh Bowmar. I’ll bring the hoisin sauce for that one.

I feel surrounded by these assholes 365 days a year, and their apologists in America. Even in a major metropolitan area, I still feel their presence locally and in the news. No matter where I live in the states, I can’t turn my head without catching sight or sound of some sort of demonstration of conservative, gun-loving dumb-fuckery, or some sort of distortion of the reality involving the second amendment. Not a day goes by without a defender in the rotation, on with the talking heads, every damn day espousing the virtues of one passage in the constitution, towing the line for the NRA.  And I can’t turn on the news for one solid fucking week without some American somewhere, murdering a bunch of people.

As far as the recent online hunting exchange is concerned, it was tame, as these things go, and it ended shortly after he asserted, with absolute confidence, that not a single hunter—not a single sport hunter in North America mind you—not a single one hunts because they love to kill. So I realized I was again, wasting my time, and I packed up my virtual soap box, and left.

And that got me thinking again, along with a lengthy chat with my dearest friend, Peter Athans:

What the fuck is social media even doing for me these days?

[Before I continue, I just want to state that this is not an epically long rage-quit of Facebook. Nor an indictment of my friends or their online contributions. So, onward then…]

Do I need my Facebook feed to get my news? No. I read a good 100-150 articles a week. I would guess that, on average, less than a handful are from my Facebook feed.

Did Facebook ever get me a job? Nope. Hell, I stopped writing creatively, right about the same time I joined. (My poor, abandoned blog!) Although I do write a great deal, from time to time on Facebook, probably because no one read my blog.

Did I really need to reconnect with that kid from third period gym class? Alternately, did I really need to know that the popular girl from high school still doesn’t want to bone me? (But I’m better-looking now, Christie! Sorta.) No, and definitely not, respectively.

What about all the people I lost touch with in Chicago from the nineties? Okay, that was literally last century. It was also effectively another lifetime. Another person. Has anything other than a casual window dressing view of each other’s current lives come from this? No. Albuquerque in the oughts? The same. Nice for sure, nice to have the window, but hardly substantive.

What about all the people I never would have met outside of social media? What about all those people I met over the last decade, that share some of the same political, social, scientific, and secular sensibilities, that share some of the same struggles and ambitions? Can any one of them signify the importance of our virtual friendship? I mean, beyond the illusion of living in a larger world? I don’t think so.

Finally, and most importantly, what can I say about what I have brought to the table for anyone via social media? A couple of funny articles? A well-written line here and there? This long-ass, winded, gas-bag of a post? A heartfelt condolence. A birthday wish.

My birthday wishes are the bomb.

I am quite fond of my Love Letter to Great Britain as well. I wouldn’t have written that had it not been for my Facebook friends across the pond. But these are few, and far between.

Hardly enough to justify the huge block of time I used to spend, and still spend scrolling through a motherfucking Facebook feed. Every fucking day, I lose some time, some sizable track of time, just lazily scrolling through a motherfucking feed of mostly mundane thought-barf and news fodder. Then I reload and do it again! It is an endless stream of baby pictures and political memes. World events and food images. Momentary frustrations and joys of daily life. And gun nuts. Let’s not forget the fucking gun nuts.

And that’s cool. There is nothing inherently wrong here. It just doesn’t merit the time I have given it. The question is, why am I still devoting so much time to something that now brings me so little pleasure? That’s easy, I think. Facebook is a drug.

Facebook is like any other drug. The early years are mostly positives with few negatives. As anyone that has experienced addiction will know, towards the end, it is almost all lows with the highs long ago left behind. Facebook, sans all the niceties, sans the initial new car smell, is a vehicle for short-lived (ultimately meaningless) outrage, and immediate social gratification. It is the cocaine lever in the rat cage of insulated interaction. And it is a recipe for an afternoon malaise that can turn into a monumental, decade-long time-suck. It already has.

This is no revelation here, as folks have been talking about adjusting their online presence, since there have been online presences.

Let me jump back a second, because there is a funny angle to this—there is also my neediness.

I like feeling like I know some people that I probably wouldn’t know otherwise, some that are successful and famous. This is fine, if you are fifteen. I am going on fifty, and I still get a little rush when Todd Stashwick tells me about something going on in Hollywood land. That’s why I stopped calling him. I felt like a fawning fanboy.

I recently friended Don Hall (and this is the funny part), who is well-known in the Chicago improv community, and friends with both Stashwick and my close friend Peter Athans. Now I friend-requested him from an honest feeling of kinship, but I was also demonstrating my neediness that Facebook is happy to facilitate.

Here’s what happened. Don got sucker-punched by a Facebook debacle turned flame war, and had decided to leave Facebook for a while. I was unaware of the second part. Since we had just become virtual acquaintances, I thought he might have accidentally unfriended me. Or worse (gasp!) he did it on purpose. So I sent a new friend request, which he accepted after a few days.

So a few days go by and Don’s posts are back in with the rest of my feed. He posted about the book he wrote: Nam. I thought to myself, “Wow, improv actor, director, podcaster and war author, this guy is impressive.”

A few days later and he wrote a short blurb about how Obama is the worst president ever. I thought to myself, “Wow, Don is really laying on the sarcasm! It sure is cool to barely online-know Don today.”

Still Clueless.

By the time I got through the ultra-conservative frothy rant on white nationalism, I was scratching my head, because you know, I am so smart. This was at least a week after I had continued a private message chat with Don Hall, or who I thought was Don Hall, while he was on a hunting trip. This still hadn’t clued me in. I had friended Don Hall, American Nazi, not Don Hall, Chicago improv treasure.

This was my horse-blinded neediness. I was subconsciously ignoring pertinent information, because it didn’t fit the narrative I had adopted, and because I wanted him to be my friend. A very bland and innocuous neediness for sure, and one that probably would never have come to the surface otherwise.

This was Trump supporter level neediness though, exposed differently. This was a particular kind of neediness that is nurtured by the intellectual laziness and lack of accountability inherent in a virtual reality. And Facebook feeds that monkey like a stealth banana. And I feel like an idiot because of it. Well kind of, because once it dawned on me (finally), I laughed really, really hard. And that is always fun.

Okay, jumping forward.

I still see the value social media has for me. This isn’t me taking a giant dump on the virtues of Facebook time. This isn’t some sort of hatchet job on the lives and interests of the people I know, virtually or in meat space. I honestly enjoy reading about your wallpaper choices. I like seeing vacation pictures. I like being reminded that John Oliver is funny, or that Rick and Morty is coming back sooner than expected. I like the funny stories about jingoistic coworkers or hero pets saving grandma. And I like sharing my thoughts with you.

Just not at the expense of my every afternoon or evening. Or morning. Sifting through an endless stream of mostly meaningless fluff. And that is my fault of course; I choose what to do with my time. Unless of course, it is an addiction. I can guarantee I did not choose those last few years of drinking. Sick as death every third day. No one chooses that.

Most people I know have fairly busy lives, so online time management isn’t an issue. I was shitty with my time management even before I was crippled by avascular necrosis. Now I can’t do most of the things, almost all of the things physically, that I used to be able to do. If it involves the use of my legs, I am probably not doing it. As far as excuses go, excuses are excuses, but being disabled is still a pretty good one. From a predominantly prone position, my options are limited. I had a pretty heavy online presence beforehand; now it is my primary interaction with the world. So it is time for an adjustment.

Some folks I know have left social media entirely, others deactivate their accounts from time to time, coming back in a month or two. Many revel in the world of social media, feeling perfectly comfortable in their digital landscape. Whatever floats your boat. Again, this is not an indictment of social media.

Me? Well, I’m an addict. I have an addictive personality, so the smart call would be for cold-turkey abstinence. It may come to that, but I think I am going to give the plan I discussed with Peter a try first. Plan A called for a radical restructuring of our political process, and then a downsizing of my Facebook time. Plan B will have to do for now.

I am just going to wait. I am going to have nice, normal mornings, then I am going to get my day going, and then have a nice, normal evening, enjoying dinner, and maybe an episode or three of whatever we are bingeing that week. Later, when I am back in bed, possibly watching late-night television, I will check my Facebook feed. That’s the plan.

If I contribute, even something as long-winded as this that keeps me up writing late into the night, well that is fine. I have always done my best writing in the wee hours. Or at least I used to. And even if it amounts to pointless drivel, it is still a muscle that needs a workout. My editing skills alone have taken a beating from atrophy.

What I am not going to be doing, is spending an inordinate amount of my day in ideological echo chambers, lazily scrolling through my feed several times over the course of an afternoon, and getting into political or social dogfights with people I don’t know, just to knock somebody’s  dumb dick in the dirt.  All of which do nothing for me now but put a sourpuss on my face.

I am also going to try and wait before I post, or respond to something inflammatory. Give it a brisk re-read in the morning, post if deemed acceptable, then leave it alone until Charlie Rose is on.

So why the fuck am I still doing something in a way that has clearly become bad juju for me? Because on some level, many levels really, I need the connections. Even as an only child, with a healthy love of alone time, I am not an island. I need to connect with people.

And because Facebook is a drug, and I am an addict.

See you tonight.

 

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The Global War of Capitalism–Twenty-Five Dollars at a Time

So my friend found Kiva, where you can start off by getting a free $25 loan to someone around the world that is in need.

Fruits & Vegetables – Uganda

Make a $25 loan on Kiva and empower an individual to start or grow a business, improve their home, go to school, and more.

In this case, this guy:

Image

“Teodoro, age 45, runs a local brew business in Kagadi, Uganda. He is a hardworking man who has been engaged in his business for over 10 years. His primary obstacles are inadequate capital to facilitate his business and customers not paying on time.”

“Teodoro’s most immediate goals are to build a permanent home for the family and to secure the education of his children. He would also like to buy land that he will use for growing crops.”

“Teodoro intends to use this loan to buy building materials for the completion of his house.”

I looked Teodoro up and also found his competition in the fruit and vegetable industry. I found Umbuti Fufu that was busy kicking down his grass hut, biting his plate lip and selling the bone in his nose to make do for the month. Umbuti is pictured here without bone:

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He writes:

“I also live in Uganda, thanks for empowering my competition. Now my fruits and vegetables will wilt, rot and die in my wicker baskets of shameful capitalism. Thanks a heap, white devil from Chicago with huge American penis.”

This kinda pissed me off that Americans, under the guise of  philanthropy could unwittingly be party to this kind of blatant capitalistic favoritism.

I implore Americans to make a $25 loan via Kiva to assist Umbuti Fufu in the noble effort of crushing his enemies that also make a living with fruits and vegetables. It is unfair that Umbuti is thus far sans imperialist American dollars, and hence at an unfair market disadvantage.

Here are a few things your $25 loan via Kiva will provide Umbuti in his quest to even the playing field unfairly unbalanced with huge American dollars by a man with a huge American penis. Mr. Fufu would also appreciate the opportunity to cleave a machete blade into the heads of his fruit and vegetable competition. Anyway, here is what your twenty-five bucks will help purchase:

1. Machete

2. Fruits

3. Vegetables

4. Ninja outfit

5. Indoor plumbing

6. New hut

7. Nose bone back

Don’t make me call in this guy:

Image

He will seriously fuck some shit up, and Omar knows how to take a machete to the face.

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A Boycott List for Concerned Christians

I read a short piece about how this image has caused a bit of a ruckus amongst the always Jesus-like Christian community. They are boycotting Oreos for this heinous sin. I thought I would include all of Kraft’s products listed on Wikipedia so that dutiful Christians will know all the products they need to boycott.

A1 Steak Sauce
Africana (Romania)
Air Crisps
Ali Coffee
Alpen Gold (chocolate) (Hungary, Russia)
Arrowroot biscuits
Back to Nature
Bagel-Fuls
Baker’s (chocolate)
Balance Bar
Bassetts Allsorts (sweets) (United Kingdom)
Better Cheddars
Boca Burger
Bonox
Breakstone’s
BullsEye Barbecue Sauce
Cadbury plc
Café HAG
California Pizza Kitchen (grocery store items)
Calumet Baking Powder
Cameo (biscuits)
Capri Sun (juice drink)
Carte Noire
Cheesybite
Charada (Peru)
Cheese Nips
Cheez Whiz
Cheezels (Malaysia)
Chicken in a Biskit
Chips Ahoy! (cookies)
Chipsmore (Malaysia, Singapore)
Christie (Canadian division of Nabisco)
Claussen (pickles)
Clight
Club Social (crackers)
Cool Whip (non-dairy whipped cream)
CornNuts (snack food)
Coronita (Peru)
Côte d’Or
Country Time (powdered drink mix)
Cracker Barrel Cheese
Crystal Light
Daim (Sweden)
Dairylea (Europe)
Delissio (Canada)
Easy Cheese
Eden processed cheese (Philippines)
El Caserío (Spain)
Estrella (Sweden)
Field (Peru)
Fig Newton
Figaro (Chocolate) (Slovakia)
Filipinos (snack food) (Spain, Portugal)
Freia (Norway)
Fudgee-O (Canada)
General Foods International
Gevalia (Sweden)
Grape-Nuts (breakfast cereal)
Green & Blacks (chocolate) (United Kingdom)
Grey Poupon (mustard)
Handi-Snacks
Halls (medicated sweets) (United Kingdom)
Harvest Crisps
Honey Maid
Hospitals
In-A-Biskit (Australia)
Jack’s Pizza
Jacobs (Europe)
Jacob’s (biscuits)
Japp (Scandinavia)
Jell-O (gelatin dessert)
Jet-Puffed Marshmallows
Jiagai (China)
Kenco (United Kingdom)
Knox (gelatin)
Kong Haakon (Norway)
Kool-Aid (flavored drink mix)
Korona (Ukraine)
Kraft BBQ Sauce
Kraft Caramels
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
Kraft Dinner (Canada)
Kraft Easymac
Kraft Mayo
Kraft Bagelfuls
Kraft Peanut Butter (Canada)
Kraft Singles (pasteurized prepared cheese product)
Kraft Sandwich Spread
Kraker Bran
Lacta (Brazil, Greece)
Lefèvre-Utile
Lucky crackers (Taiwan)
Lunchables
Lyuks (potato chips) (Ukraine)
Maarud (potato chips) (Norway)
Marabou (Sweden)
Maxwell House (coffee)
Maynards Wine Gums (sweets) (United Kingdom)
Mellow Bird’s Coffee (United Kingdom)
Milka (Europe)
Miracle Whip (salad dressing spread)
Miracoli (Germany)
Mostro (Peru)
Mikado (United Kingdom)
Nabisco
Nabob (coffee) (Canada)
Natural Confectionery Company (‘natural’ sweets) (Australia & United Kingdom)
Nilla
Non-Stop (Scandinavia)
Nutter Butter
O’boy (Scandinavia, Estonia)
O’smile (Taiwan)
Onko (coffee)
Oreo (cookie)
Orchard Crisps
ORO Saiwa
Oscar Mayer
Grated Parmesan cheese
Pacific crackers (China)
Philadelphia cream cheese
Pigrolac
Planters
Poiana (Romania)
Polly-O (cheese)
Premium (a Nabisco brand of saltine crackers)
Pretzels
P’tit Québec
Prince Polo
Pure Kraft Salad Dressings
Ritz
Ritz Metro
Royal baking powder
Saiwa (Italian Division of Nabisco)
Seven Seas (salad dressings)
Saimaza (Spain)
Sanka (decaffeinated coffee)
Shake ‘n Bake
Simmenthal (canned meat)
Snackabouts
SnackWells
South Beach Living
Starbucks (grocery store items)
Stove Top stuffing
Suchard
Svoge (Bulgaria)
Swiss Crackers
Sugar Wafers
Taco Bell (grocery store items)
Tang
Tassimo (single-serve coffee machines using pods branded as T-Discs)
Teddy Grahams
Terrabusi (Kraft Foods Argentina)
Terry’s (chocolates)
Terry’s Chocolate Orange
Tiger Energy Biscuits (Southeast Asian countries)
Toasted Chips
Toblerone (Kraft Foods Switzerland)
Tombstone (frozen pizza)
Triscuit (snack cracker)
Thinsations
Trakinas
Trebor (sweets) (United Kingdom)
Twist
Twisties (Malaysia)
Uguan (China)
Vegemite (Australia)
Velveeta
Wheat Thins

Taking a closer look at this list, it doesn’t seem very LGBT heavy for sales.

All the way up to Claussen pickles is either unknown to me or something I would expect to find in a South Carolina dorm room. I love Claussen pickles by the way. Friggin awesome, so now I guess they are gay-loving awesome pickles. I used to drink Capri Sun as a kid. No one would miss much if that product fell off the planet. Cheez Whiz? That is like meat and potatoes for fag haters. Cool Whip? I would love to see the southern evangelicals boycott Cheez Whiz and Cool Whip. There would be casualties.

I don’t know what Fudgee-O is but I am going to get some the next time I am in Canada. Fig Newtons suck. At least twice a year even I crave Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Perhaps the one percent of one percent that has fooled you into voting against your own self interests, and hating anything that isn’t exactly like you has never tasted the chalky, cheesy goodness of this national staple, but I sure as shit know you have. Go ahead, take that away from your cross-eyed spawn. Better lock your bedroom door at night.

Kool-Aid? Seriously, you are going to boycott Cheez Whiz, Cool Whip, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Oreos and Kool-Aid? What are you going to feed your kids, …rocks?

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Why I Love Fantasy and Why this Shit Sucks.

This is an indictment of fantasy. I love fantasy and science fiction. Not like, love. It took a good friend to hammer it into my head that fantasy movies and television have always sucked. Entertaining? Yes. But in the end, if you really take a good, hard look at it, the fantasy genre sucks balls. Just because it’s better now versus say, The Sword and the Sorcerer, doesn’t mean I want to watch nine hours of hobbits walking around New Zealand. I want Game of Thrones to be breathtaking. I want it to crush me. It hasn’t. So here are a few points I would like to make concerning GoT and fantasy films in general.

Hey hot lady that can push smoke demons out of her cootchie. If you can push a fucking smoke demon out of your cootchie that can kill anyone…the next time a possible future king puts his hands around your throat, smoke demon cootchie the shit out of him.

Hey mystical huge dogs that are awesome. If the only awesome thing I get to know about you is a rumor that is told about young king stark riding you into battle and crushing foes, then in season three could you show up and eat a fucking doggie treat all magically and shit?

Dear small dragons: Um, okay, I would like it if you weren’t something that the neighborhood alley cat might accidentally pee on. I know you are small. Get big, breath some fire and fuck some serious shit up already. You are dragons.

Dear Peter Dinklage: I would totally watch this show if it were just about you. It wouldn’t even need to be Game of Thrones. It could be Game of Dishes. Every week I watch you clean a fork that has egg yolk caked on it. Seriously, you are such a pleasure to watch. I would also like to be rich enough to afford the privilege of setting a very expensive drink on your head.

Hey Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. My friend Ariana wants to put a vicious vaginal hurt on your package. So does everyone else. So fuck you. Also, congrats on looking like a Ken Doll from planet handsome.

Hey Nikolaj, if you ever want to just talk or maybe have some coffee…

Dear writers of Game of Thrones: More boobies does not equal plot. Sorry, dear HBO, more boobies does not…oh fuck it. We all like boobies. Thanks.

Hey undead blue-eyed dudes that we haven’t seen since episode fucking one (okay, Snow killed one later on). It is hard enough putting up with season two of The Walking Dead, if you make this show any shittier I am going to have to stop telling Ariana that How I Met Your Mother is a fanciful work of relationship destruction.

Hey ridiculously hot actresses that have thus far refrained from boobage-showing. Screw you too, those naked, recurring wannabees blow you out of the water. Except you Sophie Turner, a friend of mine turned beet red when he found out you were only fifteen. Seriously, we were all secretly ashamed.

And finally, what the fuck Hollywood? Is it that hard to tell a story in this genre? Is it that fucking hard to just tell the same stories in this genre that are told and have been told since the beginning of time? Where is our Shawshank Redemption with elves and unicorns? Where is our Brazil with nightmarish reality and Terry Gilliam firing on all cylinders? Okay, he nailed that one. Where is our Dances With Wolves with hot blue bitches and sentient 3D dandelions blowing in the wind? I beseech you. Yes we like to look at pretty fantasy worlds. Tell us a fucking story.

p.s. That little shit boy king needs to die a horrible fucking death. Please try not to talk about it, show us a horrible fucking death. I would actually watch an entire season of his prolonged death. It is such a good performance that I wouldn’t mind dating his mother with ill intent.

So here is my point. Those of us that have spawned from the nerdery love fantasy and science fiction. We love fantasy so much that we refuse to believe that the novels that changed our young lives have been brutalized in a different medium. I remember the first time I read Tolkien. I also remember when I stood in line with my then step-father and it was around the mother-fucking-block, to see Star Wars. We can blow Lucas as much shit as we want I suppose, but we have Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. We have nothing for fantasy. The eighties cheese of films like The Sword and The Sorcerer have just been updated with richer producers, and it seems that no one understands what all of the works of the geniuses of fantasy really mean to us, and cannot fathom for even a second how to express them on film. Most of us are just so damn happy, giddy even, to embrace anything in the genre that it doesn’t matter what the product is. I guess it is like being a Cubs fan.

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Live Through This. Lived Through That.

I think I have figured out how to fly again. If I just pretend that the plane might go down and I just might end up on FUCKYOU Island, where there is a hatch, a dog, a polar bear, and an actress with a great profile…

Live Through This

I have been struggling with a particularly debilitating irrational fear for over a decade now. A fear that has, over time, grown to epic proportions. I have always thought that there is great importance in being able to face your fears. To stare terror in the eye, and say “Fuck you terror.” Unfortunately I am finding that this is an incredibly difficult feat to accomplish.

Albert Brooks made a film a while back titled “Defending Your Life.” For some reason the concept of that film has always stuck with me. I have wrestled with the significance of challenging the dark corners of my mind for a long time now. I don’t think I can live with myself if I don’t make an attempt to face the things that frighten me. And this one thing chills me to the very core of my soul.

I had heard once that the majority of people that enroll in Psychology classes do so in hopes of learning more about themselves. I am of the opinion that irrational fears develop over time quite often due to a childhood trauma that was left unresolved. At least that is an idea I took away from my psych classes at Syracuse. In my case, I think I needed to replace the very real fear I experienced during childhood with an irrational fear during adulthood. It’s almost as if I need to be afraid of something now because I was imprinted in my youth; perhaps feeling that fear is just a normal part of everyone’s life.

Tomorrow morning I am driving down to a remote air strip an hour away with my closest friends, and I am jumping out of an airplane. In order to impart the gravity (no pun intended) of this decision, I must explain the degree to which I am terrified of flying. I used to fly all the time, in fact I quite enjoyed it when I was younger. Somewhere along the line, perhaps when I felt I was dying from a drug overdose in Boulder Colorado, all of that changed. Slowly but surely, over time I experienced more and more anxiety over flying. I haven’t stepped on a plane in over ten years, and now I can’t even look at a plane on TV without becoming uncomfortable.

The idea of jumping out of one at 17,000 feet doesn’t exactly thrill me either. I don’t know if I am going to be able to do this, but I don’t know if I could stomach the humiliation of backing down either. More importantly, I don’t know if I could look myself in the mirror anymore if I don’t go through with this tomorrow. My gut has turned over and over these past few days as the impending date with doom approaches. And in the moment of truth, I am hoping to learn something about myself. I don’t want to go through this life afraid of anything, and I hope that is enough to carry me through this and give me enough strength to follow through.

I see three possible outcomes for this adventure. One, I could back out. Somewhere along the way tomorrow I may just be overcome with fear and unable to do it. Two, I might reach deep down and find the determination I need to go all the way on this one. Three, I may “bounce.” I don’t like three at all, or one for that matter. But three definitely sucks. I guess though if I do die facing my fears, there really isn’t a more poetic way to go. Any bets?

Lived Through That

Well, in the end it was twelve of us who were crazy and stupid enough to drag our asses out to lovely Ottawa Illinois to experience the thrill of gravity first hand. Since I am writing this it is obvious that I have survived, unless Microsoft’s ever increasing hold on the market reaches even into Nirvana. It was a lovely 80 degrees here in Chicago, not a cloud in the sky. The air was dead still, which I thought was a good thing, but apparently “no wind” means no ability to “flare” for landings. I’ll get to that part in a bit.

As we were driving up I looked over at Peter and said, “the next time someone asks me to do something completely insane when I’m intoxicated, I am going to remember to tell them to fuck right off.” Peter looked back at me, and he is always good for a quote, and said, “You know Hemingway once said something about that. I think he said, and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘People should be made to do what they said they would do when they were drunk. That way either two things will happen, people will start doing a whole lot more when they are sober, or talking a whole lot less when they are drunk.'”

We arrived at Skydive Chicago at around noon, and first up was all the documentation and of course payment. The documentation was literally three pages with perhaps 25 articles all saying in slightly different ways “You can’t sue us. You can’t sue us if we fuck up, and you can’t sue us if you fuck up. You can’t sue us if the plane fucks up, and you can’t sue us if the pilot fucks up. You, complete idiot that you are, are putting your life in our hands and we take absolutely no responsibility for it.” The cost for this day in the sun? Two hundred and thirty dollars. That includes a personal video and snapshots.

Next up, training. It sure was hard to pay attention when all you can think about is plummeting at the acceleration of 9.8 meters per second every second towards the earth. Of course that acceleration only lasts for approximately 3.5 seconds, leaving you traveling at roughly 150 feet per second. I tried to pay attention though, all the safety checks and crap we had to go through while we were in the air. Right, like I am going to remember all that shit right after I step out of a perfectly good airplane. The training lasted about an hour and a half, and was pretty thorough despite my inability to focus. I knew some of that shit he was babbling about could become extremely important at some point in the day, but it was all becoming so surreal at that point.

At about two o’clock we suited up. I was wearing a very fashionable blue jump suit. Speaking of clothing, I was somewhat despondent when I woke up in the morning and I was actually looking around for padded clothing in my drawers, like that would make a fucking difference! Realizing the futility, I just started grabbing shit and saying things like “Okay, I guess I could die in this underwear.” Anyway, so I finally get to meet my tandem jump partner. Get this; his fucking name was “Dangerous” Dan Fears. Is life too fucking weird or what?!! So “Dangerous” Dan and I are going through all the things I need to do to not piss him off, while Woody my cameraman is asking me questions about how excited I was. There is a point in the Video where Dan says, “Yeah man we’re going to kiss the sky…see if gravity is still workin’ today!” And then you hear me mumble, “I’m sure it is…”

Well the moment of truth was upon me. We walked towards our twin propeller plane with looks of pained excitement. Dan and I were first in, which subsequently meant last to leave. It was a tight fit for the first six of us to go. With our tandem partners and a few other experienced jumpers and the cameramen there were about 24 people in the plane. We had to sit legs apart on the floor straddling whoever was in front of us. Once the plane was loaded we were off. I felt strange, butterflies and all, but not scared really. I realized I hadn’t flown in a decade and recognized the importance of this decision. As the ground flew away I think I just resigned myself to inevitability of this whole thing happening. It took maybe ten minutes to reach ten thousand feet, which is when Dan started hooking us together. During a tandem jump, you wear a special harness that connects you to the master; he wears the parachute on his back. You are responsible for pulling one of two cords that must be pulled to deploy the chute. You are also responsible for not flailing about and sending the two of you into an uncontrollable spin after leaving the aircraft, henceforth pissing “Dangerous” Dan off to no end. During the ride up the experienced jumpers were fucking with all of us, telling us the plane was losing oil, and we had to return, throwing their friends out of the plane. The levity served only to relax me even more. I was far less frightened than I thought I would be.

At thirteen thousand feet it was time to go. It started happening so fast I couldn’t even think about it. Peter was out first, disappearing from my view in a flash. One by one we inched our way towards the door and hurled ourselves into the oblivion. Before I knew it I was the last man in the plane. Well, ok Dan was behind me so technically he was the last man. My cameraman had already pulled himself outside the plane and had his video on me, while I leaned out and tried to hold the exit position that Dan had taught me. My mind was blank. There was no terror, and only a nominal amount of fear. Distant fear that couldn’t break through the surreal energy that surrounded me. And then he pushed us out.

Gravity has a way of waking you right up! Holy Fucking Shit!!!!!! Holy Mother Of Fucking God, Shit, Jesus, Balls! Those first three seconds of extreme acceleration were insane!! We spun once and Dan regained control, tapping me on the head to let me know it was time for the free fall position (arms out at your sides like you are being held at gunpoint, and your legs bent at the knees behind you) and that he had deployed the drag chute. I looked at my altimeter that was strapped to my left hand and it was fucking dropping fast boy! My camera guy was literally five feet from my face, which I found a bit disconcerting, but I was too busy soaking in the moment. The curvature of the earth was incredible! My cheeks were flapping in the wind, but on the tape you can see a smirk (My smirk) on my face. It all was going so fast it was hard to do all the checks I was supposed to do. But “Dangerous” was behind me grabbing my hands and putting them where they were supposed to be. What a fucking rush! It was my job to look at the altimeter and flash a “five five” hand signal to Dan at fifty-five hundred feet, and pull the ripcord. The time went by so fast and we had already dropped eight thousand feet in less than a minute. I checked my altimeter, flashed my hands, reached back and yanked away!

Then everything just stopped. The rush of the wind and roar of our descent was over. Our chute opened perfectly, and by comparison the remainder of our trip felt like a stroll in the park. Dan let me bring a portable camera, and I took some shots. We did some turns and watched the others below us as they landed. As we floated back towards the earth, Dan thought it might be a good time to tell me that this was an “Experimental” parachute and he wasn’t sure how well it was going to “flare.” “Whattya mean Dan?” I asked somewhat helplessly. Dan told me that because we had no wind it could very well be a tough landing, so we needed to practice our landing procedure. Which we did a couple of times and the chute seemed to “flare” quite nicely, bringing us to a halt in mid-air. Unfortunately the chute decided it was not going to “flare” as the ground was rushing towards us and we hit hard. So here I sit before the keyboard now with two severely bruised and battered legs. We hit, my knees buckled from the force of the landing, and I fell forward. “Dangerous” Dan rode me like the bitch I am for almost twenty yards. I can barely walk, but damn it, this is the best pain I’ve ever had.

Walking off the field in our jump suits, Peter, Chris and I did our best “Right Stuff” impersonation. Seriously, we felt like we were ten feet tall. On the ride home I would periodically snicker, Peter would say something like “I can’t believe we just jumped out of an airplane,” and Chris would yell something out the window. Riding by the Sears Tower I felt like I could reach out and uproot it with one hand. The adrenaline and energy lasted the rest of the evening, and my description of the event pales in comparison to the experience itself. There just are no words to describe the feeling you get from beating something that has been beating you since before you can remember. Sure just getting on a plane would be facing my fear, but jumping out of one was like grabbing fear by the balls and making him call me “Sir.”

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For Peter, New Religion

New Religion

I want to start a religion. Everyone else seems to have a religion. You’ve got your Christians, Catholics, Buddhists, New-agers, your Satanists, Mormons, Pagans, the list goes on and on, with a mind-numbing number of offshoots and splinter groups. (It’s funny because I’m sure any of those sects would most likely be offended to be mentioned in the same sentence with the rest of em…isn’t that funny?)
I want to start a new religion. And I want to have just as many fucked-up rituals and beliefs as everyone else. I’m human, I’m allowed. It’s part of the whole humanity package it seems.
First of all my new religion needs a name. Now, it has to be catchy……for the kids.

THE PRODIGAL SONS OF EXTREME ARROGANCE

Mission Statement:

We are so confident that we are right we don’t even need to kill anybody.

Holidays, Rituals, and other excuses to do kooky things wearing ridiculous ornate attire:

In the spirit of all other religions we will, on every Wednesday, pull a card from the tarot, place it on a cross, sit cross-legged, wear a funny hat, psychically heal someone, and sacrifice a rat.

On every seventh Thursday we will fast. …until lunch.

During any Solar Eclipse, we will run as fast as we can towards the edge of the Earth, in hopes to accidentally shove the Fanatic whackos in front of us off the face of existence. Stopping just short of the end of the block because we are out of breath and need a cigarette.

Every Saturday will be known from now on as “Holy Keg Day.”(mushrooms optional)

On the first Tuesday of every month we will stand outside abortion clinics with “Free Mandela” signs looking like we don’t know what we’re doing.

On the first Monday of every month we will stand outside state prisons with “Free The Fetus’” signs still looking like we don’t know what we’re doing.

On every Sunday of every month (in the south) we will stand outside our local liquor stores with “Free The Scotch” signs looking like we know exactly what we are doing.

And on the 24th of every December we will hack down every pine tree in sight and make a go-cart out of it, set it on fire and push it towards a Nativity scene.

Fervent Beliefs:

The Earth is flat, but the Universe is really, really round.

Cigarettes don’t kill people, people without cigarettes kill people.

Anyone with a definitive opinion on anything needs to go stand at the edge of the earth and wait for a Solar Eclipse.

Anyone at the edge of the Earth without a cigarette, gets pushed off first.

Christians make good pillows, Catholics make good coats.

Questions/answers:

The glass isn’t half full or half empty, I just want to know which fucker drank out of my glass…

Owning everything isn’t nearly as interesting as ruining someone who owns everything.

People that live in glass houses need to wake up and smell the cost-effectiveness that is brick.

If a tree falls in the woods and no one heard it, that means we are likely to get off Scot Free and hopefully we hit the Republican Senator we were aiming for.

Goals:

The systematic deconstruction of society as we know it, along with the acquisition of some really good piece of ass.

More ass in general.

Peace for all mankind. Food, kindness, love. A shared belief that we count for something. That we matter. A true brotherhood. Who’s with me?

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Sex and Roomates Revisited. You All Have Been There.

Oh this has been a long time coming. Finally, my chance at redemption. Finally I, Brick Shaft, was about to even an old score…or at least… get on the fucking scoreboard. I was about to wipe the slate clean, win one for the Gipper, and wake up the whole neighborhood. The King has returned! So I crept into our apartment, noticing my roomy’s door slightly ajar. The soft murmurs of peaceful, non-sexual bliss emanating from his room.
“Yeeesss.. they’re here…” I said to myself with unbridled glee.
The sounds beyond were awash with the gentle hum of mindless television, and the “cute if you’re desperate” shallow snoring of the infamous “Bob,” my constantly fornicating roommate.
“This place is a shithole..!” Blurted my guest with a look of utter astonishment on her face.
“Shhh, they’re sleeping. Don’t ruin this for me,” I whispered.
“And try not to accidentally clean anything,” I added.
We tiptoed into my room, leaving the door open for optimal auditory transference.
“You sleep here?”
“It’s rustic, just pretend I’m going to be famous some day.”
“Ok.”
The stage was set, and I felt like the nervous star on opening night. This was going to be big. This….. was going to be huge! I’d endured a years worth of sweaty, loud, orgasmic nights the likes of which haven’t been seen since Sodom and Gomorrah. Now it was my turn…
I set the mood with a little romantic lighting…
“Mind if I put the TV on mute?”
I tantalized our nostrils with the fragrances of love.
“I just need to pick up some of this dirty underwear off the floor,…hey could you reach over and close my sock drawer?”
I showered her with flavors of exotic dreams.
“Hey, you hungry? I’ve got half a summer sausage and some Wheat Thins.”
Yes the mood was perfect. Her every word screamed, “I’m yours.”
“You know what Brick, you’re lucky I’m a single mother desperate for a good fuck; five years ago I would’ve slapped you stupid, lifted your money clip and took a fucking cab ride home…”
“Here’s to your lovely children…”
Finally, it was go time. The house was quiet, almost like Christmas. Our nickers were hung by the radiator with care, and not a sound could be heard….except the loud moaning of a woman reaching orgasm.
(slap ……slap……slap)
“oooohh uuoooohhhahh!”
(slap…slap…slap…slap)
“ Yeah! Hear that fuckers! Wooohooo! I dare ya to walk down the hallway…I double dare ya!!”
(slap..slap..slap..slap..slap)
“Oooh yes….Oh….arrghhhooohh”
“Yeah Goddamnit wooo! Ride ‘em cowboy! I’m comin’ back atcha I’m gonna keep on comin… You hear that you good for nothin’ rabbit-fucking roommates! The walls are SHAKIN’, and the earth is QUAK…oh fuck, I broke the condom, hold on honey…
Goddamn fucking Trojan-enz. Worthless ass condoms. I snuck back down the hall to check on fuck central. Not a peep. All was quiet on the fornication front.
“What the…”
I waited a moment. Held my breath. Nothing.
“Oh man! I know you’re in there! It’s high time you listened to me for once Goddamnit!”
Silence. Nothing but the whir of a fan and the static from a television that had been left on.
“I’m doing some serious fucking over here for once you know!”
The cat stared at me from across the living room as if to say “Get over it Shaft.”
I however would not be denied my moment of triumph. I marched back into my room like MacArthur,.. only naked,.. prepared to wage a final battle. She was already sleeping.
“Hey! Wake up! (clap clap) We’ve got some serious fucking to do,” I announced.
“I got mine, you get yours.”
I stood at the crossroads, staring into the depths of the void. Broken down, and beaten, I stared into my soul…and found the strength…the strength to do…..the impossible!
I sucked every toe, licked every instep, massaged every thigh, caressed every buttox! I slobbered my way through adversity, commanding an erection and a green light from the body before me!! I …through will…and will alone….made her scream with the utmost of ecstasy,…sucking and fucking my way into the core of her very existence!!!!
We climaxed together in a moment of absolute bliss that has rarely been seen in the history of the universe!!!!!
And then I fell asleep.
As I stepped back into our apartment after escorting my date to her cab the next afternoon, I was greeted by my beloved roommate “Bob.”
Bob: Did you call a cab?
BS: Yeah, I had someone over, she needed to get home.
Bob: Oh, well the cab company called to make sure you were still around.
BS: We didn’t keep you up or anything did we?
Bob: Didn’t even know you were here.
Carol: Hey Brick, how’s it going?
BS: Fine, didn’t keep you up did I?
Carol: No why? I slept like a baby.
BS: Uhuh.
Bob: Brick met someone.
Carol: Really?
BS: Yeah really…shouldn’t you guys be fucking or something..?
Carol: Well now that you mention it, we didn’t have sex last night…..and I take it you did….wow…what is this a leap year or something?
BS: Yeah there was an extra day inserted just so I could fit this into my busy sexual schedule…
Carol: that’s nice, you’re so funny..
Sigh, foiled again.

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