Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Little Things

I am blessed and cursed by the play and intricacies of the little eddies and whorls of events that encompass and provide constant causation for the unseen and unsung mechanics of this magnificent world. Lately I have been more blessed than cursed by these nearly minute circumstances. Tonight's post, while perhaps not quite an ode to the little things, is at least and certainly a celebration of how small objects, events and circumstances can so perceptibly describe and massively impact all of our lives. So to these things I write in grace, with humor and from observation.

~ Post Preamble ~

It has been a long day with friends and good people. This is a time in LA when the evenings get cool. I shan't say "cold" because of my friends and brothers in far colder climes. It is nights like this when the temperature drops and I come home to a dark apartment, empty of presence save for my own. I come home, turn on the wall heater, and curl up to the warm blossom of radiating heat and let it open around me.

Thumbs. Little, fragile, important. Today, from the love of exercise and physical activity, my thumbs are bruised to a degree I've never seen. I've asked my trainer to begin incorporating reflex exercises into our sessions. We added a new weight exercise. Using two 2-lb weights, we take turns throwing the balls at each other at random directions. This involves diving low with one hand while stretching high with the other as two small weights are always in the air. From catching the hurled weights, in which the use of thumbs of is repeated, I have thumbs near doubled in size. Two of my smallest digits are now black and blue and as tender as a steak cooked medium well. Every minute I feel their injured presence with every flexion and

::This is NOT Penis Cream::
I have spent my whole life as a jester and probably as also a fool in such a degree as is necessarily associated with jesters. My adult years have only tempered my jesterhood but ne'er will this be wrought out. If it should ever empty, please know that pod people have invaded and I am no longer in my right mind. In short, sometimes I'm an ass. A few weeks ago i ran out of checks. I needed checks to pay the rent. So a few weeks ago i visited my online bank dressed only in the finest garb that a bachelor does when online
banking: a t-shirt and a glass of milk (it was cold, i needed the shirt). While perusing the créme de la créme of today's elite world of online check art i noticed that i could also order a personalized rubber stamp with my address on it. Why, if I had a stamp with my name on it, I'd be somebody. I might even be famous someday. That logic degraded when it came time to listing my address for the personalized stamp production. This is what i ordered:
Oh, my address book is out of date. Please send me your current address so i can send Christmas cards.

Idea originated from Steve Martin as a skit on SNL. Thanks Steve!

Does anyone know if Alanis Morissette is single yet? If you see her let her know that I'm totally cool and awesome. Oh, let her know I smell like roses but manly roses: like what you'd get if you mixed a bouquet of roses with gun oil. She probably doesn't like guns, so tell her it's from a sensitive gun. It feel really, really, really bad when fires a round and instead of bullets coming out a flag appears that says "Hey, I'm totally sorry for scaring you, but you did break in to my house and that was naughty. Now be a good lad and call the police while I pour us some tea." On second thought... that's awkward. Just tell her I say "hi."

::Doughnut or Donate::
The local Albertson's is not unique save for it's location. The halls exceed at creating such a manifest beigeness that it's difficult to recall specific details. I dare say the past sentence was more exciting in explaining the store's passive presence than the it's use of mute beige. While in line to purchase my goods, at the last moment possible to add an item of purchase to my list, i look over and see a laminated sheet with bar codes for $1, $5, or $10. Ah! Of course, it's seasonal donation time at Albertson's. I ask if it's too late to donate and he says "No! There is still time. What would you like?"
"I'd like to donate please."
"How much?"
"Five dollars please."
He rings me up, hands me the receipt and says i can pick up my items over there. His hand gently pushes the air in a direction behind me. I am confused. I dont't think i'm supposed to get anything for donating.
He now points to a location on the receipt and shows me where i've made my purchase of five doughnuts. We have a minor back and forth to clarify any miscommunications in the end I decide that the hassle isn't worth having him refund the doughnuts and charge me for a donation. I can just as easily give away doughnuts as I can dollars. So I have 5 sugary, stale sweets - that kind of stale, sweet stickiness that congeals after too many hours in the air and not enough hours in tummies. I ask the cashier what donut he would like. Any doughnut is fine with him. One down, four to go.

::The Current Word Processor and Self Publishing::
This entire missive, and many others like both published and unpublished, is written on two small devices and requires two pieces of software. The total weight of the hardware may be as heavy as two pounds but it feels like that like less a half. The iPhone is the heaviest component as it carries all the brains. The wireless keyboard though greater in volume weighs noticeably less. The software I use to write with is an iPhone app called "Office 2." It cost me about $3. The other piece of software used is "" at a mere zero dollars and zero cents. The phone I bought used at $100 and the keyboard, new, at $80.

::A Final Image::
A candid snapshot at the company holiday party this year, disco themed. Can you dig it?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween Remix! :: Four Chopsticks and a Lighter

First, if you are eighteen years or younger please do not read this post. If you have the sensitivities of someone who is eighteen yours old or younger, I recommend you also pass on this post.
Today's post is an offering to the lore of Halloween. I can't say what you are about to read it true, should you decide to read it. However, I can't say it's not true as I have no just means to measure the veracity of the events in this story. What is true is that this is a story and that it has absolutely nothing, at all, whatsoever, to do with daily life. So, if you're looking for the next humorous or heart-breaking story about a trip to Mexico City, New Orleans or somewhere else then I recommend you skip this entry. Also, if you don't like to read, might I recommend you skip this post. However, if you don't like to read I should have mentioned much earlier that reading will be required. So, if you are learning how to read to find a point where you won't have to read anymore, this would be a fine place to not read anymore.
If however, you like dark stories with mayhem and a fair shade of supernatural all wrapped up in a macabre bow, then perhaps you should continue reading. Not everyone that appears in the beginning of the story lasts until the end, and not all the words within this seasonally dark tale are polite.

:: The Story::
    Halloween happens as Dusk lays down her roots over the wired and tenacious city of Los Angeles. She settles her roots settle deep into the minds and soil of the expansive city, from the Palisades to Manhattan Beach and out east to Ontario. Every day light rests it's guard over the land and gives the Night free reign to charge or discharge the moments of man and their affairs over fellows, colleagues, friends and family. Where the night allows the day to settle lay beyond the reach of sight, just beyond the horizon, in lands freshly reacquainted with the light of day. Here Dawn uproots the mayhem of the night before, replacing nightmares with the first visions of the rising sun, and isolation with waking neighbors. But this night, in this city, Halloween comes quickly and conspires with Dusk to lay poison in the roots of night's take of the land, from the dying light to the death of last starlight - a moment when the hours stop their clockwise momentum and the eyes of sidewalk passersby twinkle with a curious, livid darkness.
The night is upon us now in the City of Dark Angels as Halloween awakens both ancient, and modern, misdeeds left unresolved. Four people shot dead at Sepulveda and Pico, 1932. Arson at Von Brauerstein's Mortuary, Rancho Cucamonga, 1971. The ghosts of victims and criminals alike awake from the sleep of death for one night to avenge a stolen fate or further seal an untimely end. This is the tragedy of Halloween's poison should a stolen fate remain sealed for the watch o' another year. This is also the redemption of Halloween's trickery providing a night free from death for the slain to seek vengeance in whatever manner required as this night promises no morality nor imparts a righteous requirement for living or dead. Should vengeance for a stolen fate prevail, a soul is at peace and may pass as it wishes with the gift of resolution; whereas the soul of the attacker passes to a place undesired for length of time there is no purpose in explaining. However, it may happen in the reverse where resolution and vengeance is not won this Halloween, where by the hour of the clock moving once again brings starlight and then the dawn, and those left unsettled are pulled back to the sleep of their death waiting the eternity of another human year to rise and try again. There are still those beyond the living and the dead but this night plays no special role except as a night to further the goals of the chess game of humanity when tonight the rules are reversed. This is a night where innocence is defined only by what drives a soul, whether with or without a body, and not by the mistakes of the past.

This Night in Santa Monica...
17th and Ocean Park. Santa Monica, California. Halloween is seen largely as joyously mischievous with no ramifications for the night's endeavors save an eventual dentist's visit a month or two from now. Parents walk hand in hand with their children; both young and old dress up pretending to be cowboys, law suits, sexy fairies, or elf princesses. In LA's famed west side is Santa Monica, a residential combination of trendy, safe, progressive and conservative. The costumes that parents and children wear may not be clearly aligned along age or gender lines. A sexy and demure fairy may walk with her 7 year old cowboy, or a well dressed man may walk alone from a liquor store with a cowboy hat covering his eyes and a bottle shaped paper bag, grasped in his right hand. This man may be a dentist or lawyer by day. Tonight he is the first step for a freed soul hoping to last one more year. This is one of many stories like this in Santa Monica, and similarly of thousands more throughout LA, all on Halloween.
This block of Ocean Park is quiet, gently swept by the constant breeze of the Pacific and snuggles quietly under the cover of night. Along the north face of Ocean Park stand an array of two-level, concrete and stucco dwellings for humans. Each stucco box spans half a block and is unique only in the small variation of count and sizes of glass panes. All dwellings are variations on prefab building codes from the late 50's. On 17th is a soccer and football field, part of John Adams Middle School, paved with AstroTurf and field paint. On the street is an array of cars whose models, years and makes define a collection of students, professionals and an occasional vagabond. Three blocks north of 17 and Ocean Park is Santa Monica College, collegial gate of the world to the land of Southern California, feeding directly to universities like UCLA and USC. Standing on every block for miles around are tall, often elegant, and slightly bowed (either from wind or gravity) palm trees. These trees, their look, and slender, statuesque posture are out of place among the tended urban sprawl and yet we wouldn't recognize these blocks of Santa Monica without them. Just beyond the line of sight from SMC the cowboy hat walks east out from the Korean grocer (who may soon have his own Halloween story should his temper keep its current course) with eyes hidden from the dark cast by the absence of light between the street lamps. His paper bag sways forward and back, keeping pace with his quickening Nikes as the cowboy hat leans forward with the ocean breeze at his back. Two blocks up and waiting stands a collection of bones. At best this specter is a partially complete skeleton, misshapen, ill-fit, leering, and charred. The bones describe a large frame and bulky human when alive. The cheekbones are high and the forehead slope back. Every surface is slathered with mud, crust and dirt. His breath is the rasp of wind over dry bones and his exhale is dust. Merry costumes and the people within walk past, through and around the skeleton, unknowing, unseeing and uninvolved; tonight the devil in the bones fights to stymie 4 lives and needs a living skin-bag to touch reality. The empty eyes fixate on the approaching cowboy hat, staring with a dead smile that only empty teeth and dread intent can create.Though he has the world to see, the skeleton waits for his cowboy hat suitor.

Five blocks down a group of trick-or-treaters pack into a two-door hatchback. Every arm, leg and painted face of the SMC students climb in hand over fist to make room for the others. The sexy spider girl climbs in first. Her legs are covered with enough fabric to maintain decency by the letter of the law. Behind her pile the androgynous Justin Bieber, the lazy trick-or-treater dressed like a broke college student, and lastly the sexy devil at the wheel. The engine sputters to life, begrudgingly, at the behest of sexy devil's turning key. The wheel turns and slowly pulls the car into traffic, heading north and east to Pico and Sepulveda. The turn signal clicks off and the group disappears into traffic. Back on Ocean Park and 20th the skeleton walks from the invisibility of vision, just behind the all-night laundromat awash in the darkness of neon reds, and steps in line behind his mark. Cowboy hat takes a full pull from his bottle shaped bag allowing the skeleton to step inside and ignite a dark glory of purpose. Halloween takes a step forward tonight as both parties are set in motion against each other, vindication versus suffering.

Four Chopsticks...
Dark Cowboy Hat walks down the street toward an empty car. The skeleton is a good fit for his host, but not perfect. His legs are now stiff being too long for the physical body. His knees never straighten as he walks for fear of ripping through his host. The must remain in tact our the occupier falls out. His posture leans to the left under the weight of the new skin, muscle and sinew. His arms dangle at off angles defying symmetry from any view. Unable or uncaring to be at home in his new host, the collection of bones walks Cowboy Hat toward a black hatchback with red stripes, a bullet hole and cracked, tinted windows. The car sits ill parked between two islands of light cast by the street lamps. Though it sits motionless with its lights off, the front end is pulled far into traffic waiting for a driver equally matched in its desire for vehicular harassment.
Dark Cowboy Hat opens the door to the mid 80's Mustang and after a few minutes of bending broken or dislocated joints finally reduces his posture enough to fit through the open and rests his bones in the driver's seat. He leans far to his left, unable to raise his arm more than a foot, and reaches for the door handle, pulling it shut. Though matched in menace with the driver, the car is well greased and slides easily with the Dark Cowboy Hat's stiff movements and dry joints. Once in, he reaches for two pair of chopsticks from within his host's denim jacket. He breaks each pair into singles by splitting them at the base. He rubs their split joints together causing splintered wood to flake and fall. As he finishes each stick he lays them gently on the dashboard. Once all are set on the dash, the dread smile stretches out his jagged hand to arrange each stick so the narrow ends point directly through the glass to the street ahead. His hand rolls over each stick until they are spaced 15cm, 35cm and 20cm apart. With no notice to the public, nor requirement of key, the 'Stang pulls into traffic heading East to Sepulveda on Ocean Park. The pair are now out of sight.

A Lighter...
We are grateful for the moments that go well for us, that bring smiles and cast away foreboding. We are grateful for raises, kittens, children or a good blow job. We are grateful for the light that doesn't go out as we walk beneath it at night. We are sometimes even grateful for the gift of waking up after night passes, and almost exclusively are we grateful for these gifts - large and small - when the light does go out, when the sex is bad or when our children embarrass us publicly. Almost always are we grateful for everything, including the bad, after a near death experience like vehicular assault. Smelling the foul stench of the airbag, the loud ring deafening your ears, the lapse in memory or culture and the immediate check of body parts after a head on collision. "Get out! Get out!" you yell inside your head. "Can I walk?!" you ask everything and nothing around you and you find only the stench of crunch answer as only they can "Take a step and find out on your own". These moments, when compared to any other day, make the sun brighter and your loved ones far less irritating, if indeed you are lucky enough to walk, crawl or be pulled out alive.

The four trick-or-treaters are recent friends with a shared heritage; they are all from Seoul though they did not know each other then. Each has come of their own accord to California, either by family or personal choice and all are studying at Santa Monica College preparing for their applications to UCLA. By their parent's pressuring three of them will go on to study lawyering or doctoring, except androgynous Justin Bieber. He will be studying computer science hoping to land a job in video games. Ideally he'll be working on "Star Craft," the most popular game in Korea when he was younger.
The group of new friends drive east on Pico over 34th. Just as they are about to pass Trader Joe's, Spider Girl shrieks for the car to stop and turn in to grocery. The rolling, metal beige hangs a sharp right into the parking lot and everyone slides left screaming and laughing. Tonight everyone is grateful to have the security of their friends, creating a little Korean island in a land of round-eyes, hippies, and thugs. The car rolls to a stop in a parking space. The hatchbacked, metallic beige sits in idle as Broke College Student pulls the latch to the door and kicks it open. He pulls his chair forward to let out Spider Girl and watches her legs as she goes. His eyes are relaxed and his smile still persists from the fun so far. Everyone is excited about what additional fun the night will bring and who... will hook up with who. A few minutes pass and the three inside the car are telling what appears to be a series of fabulous jokes. At least I surmise this from the continued exasperations and suffocating laughter, but I don't speak Korean so I can't be sure.
As Spider Girl exits the store she feigns a sexy catwalk strut from the 'automatic caution door' to the sidewalk. Her flame red, knee high, patent leather boot catches a cement crack and she topples forward just barely catching her own fragile weight with her other equally red, knee high, patent leather boot. In the middle of her not-so-life-threatening stumble a bauble of plastic tinkers to the ground with faint scratching sounds and settles on the ground. It catches Spider Girl's eye. She looks quizzically, can't remember having a lighter, then figure's it's probably Broke College Student's. He smokes after all. It's a disgusting habit but she feels a soft-spot growing for him regardless. Maybe she can help him slowly quit. She picks it up and piles in the back. Spider Girl clutches the lighter tightly knowing he will want it and so wants to keep it safe. Maybe he'll even think to appreciate her kindness, hopefully with a kiss. New to the car and hidden in the recess of the hatchback, a pair of four, faint eyes hover in the back of the rolling beige, immobile and watching. The car signals right and off they drive back into the night and to the theater of a destiny created years before their arrival.

A Race to Eternally Patient Fate...
Spider Girl pulls the lighter from her pocket and starts trying to light it. Fwick, fwick... nothing.

Approaching from the south where Ocean Park and Pico merge a black mustang peals down the road, long past Cloverfield and Bundy. He is not the loudest machine on the road this night as a group of daytime accountants, dressed in denim, chains, beards, and skull face paint, roars westbound on their Harleys. The volume of the exhaust stealing their own dignity while throttling an engine designed to choke for air and never get enough. The 'Stang heads over 32nd, 34th, 38th, running each red light. Faster and faster Dark Cowboy Hat pushes his steed, kicking the clutch in and downshifting to 3rd reaching 75, 80, 85. The four chopsticks are aligned as before at 15, 35 and 20 cm apart and aimed at the open road beyond the windshield.
The 'Stang takes a series of two soft rights where Ocean Park empties on Pico and crosses scantly over Exposition. Through the first corner the mustang almost swipes a rolling beige vehicle then turns abruptly away southeast on Exposition.

Fwick, fwick... nothing. Fwick. Spider Girl smiles, leans forward and wraps one hand around Broke College Student's eyes. With the other hand she reaches the lighter to a space next to his ear and tries lighting it again. Fwick, fwick. Startled, he jumps an inch, turns around and grabs for the source of the noise pulling the lighter from her hand.
"Where'd you get this?" has asks.
"It's yours, right? I found it on the ground."
"Well it's mine now! Perfect timing. I needed a smoke!"
"Not in the car!" yells Sexy Devil.
"Relax! I'll roll the window down."
Fwick, fwick... nothing.

Driving south east on Exposition, Dark Cowboy Hat slows to 50mph and searches for street signes. Up ahead, and soon to be passing by, he sees a sign that reads "Sepulveda." He immediately cuts the wheel to the left, pulls the e-brake, and steers into the skid sliding to the east curb of northbound traffic on Sepulveda and Exposition. The car revs down and when the smoke clears from the shredded tires, a woman with a seeing mouth and empty eyes sits motionless at a bus stop. Her bald spot turns to look at Dark Cowboy Hat, followed immediately by her seeing mouth, agape and staring at him through her jaws. Her eyes stay as they were, looking south at a rabbit and a lounge singer walking together and bickering, but still holding hands.
The driver's right arm raises slightly, bent at the elbow and flicks two fingers back, gesturing the woman and her seeing mouth. She walks over, eyes still on the rabbit and lounge singer but mouth gasping slovenly for air as each fat-leadened leg steps forward. The driver in the hat raises a single finger and twirls it. The sausage finger of the woman's hand excitedly points to a chopstick. Dark Cowboy Hat exhales dust in a low moan and turns his head from one side to the other. She points again at the chopsticks, this time reaching for one. Dark Cowboy Hat grabs her finger in mid theft. In a single twitch he flips her figner backward, beyond the crack of bone, the pop of broken cartilage and snap of torn sinew, breaking or tearing everything inside.

Fwick, fwick...
"Well I guess this is as good a time as any to quit smoking."
Fwick, fwick.
The metal beige nears Sepulveda after being stuck at every other traffic light. K-pop plays loud on the worn speakers. Sexy Devil and Spider Girl are singing along as androgynous Justin Bieber drums on the back of Sexy Devil's head rest.
The eyes in the back are still in the back. They are still and still they are waiting.
An unlit cigarette hangs from Broke College Student's mouth, begging to be lit and smoked.

The woman hobbles back to her bus stop, groaning while trying to breath and see. For her trouble she has lost an egg while gaining the skin-bag's wallet, which is useful even for the dead. She's given up trying to reset the backward finger and instead rifles through Cowboy Hat's unadulterated wallet.
Dark Cowboy Hat takes his newly acquired egg, places one end on the dashboard while his fingers hold the other end up. For one moment he is still, and then with a twist of his fingers sets the egg spinning on end.

Sexy Devil sits at the light in the right hand lane and flicks the lever that starts the turn signal. Androgynous Justin Bieber pulls a comb through his hair; his heart pumps stronger at the thought of tonight's party and the girls and boys he'll flirt with. Will they like his costume? Spider Girl leans forward and begins whispering softly to the back of Broke College Student's head rest. The walk sign for pedestrians turns orange and counts down from 10 seconds.

Anticipation begins. The journey is less than a block from ending. The skeleton master pushes Cowboy Hat's left foot on the clutch. He uses his host's other heel hold the break while throttling the gas with the toe of his Nike. The egg wobbles slightly but is still spinning and somewhere in the back of the physical brain Cowboy Hat thinks to fight his usurper, but too many years of drink combined with the last swig of bottle shaped paper bag adle his resolve.

Inside the mustang Dark Cowboy Hat pulls of his hat and throws it on the seat behind him. A cool slick darkness covers the mass where a face should be. It smiles then raises its head to howl, stretching its neck. It bellows a deep, guttural howl, gravelly and course. The spinning eggs decelerates and starts to wobble. One more year of freedom is about to be sealed.

The pedestrian light flashes and counts down: 3, 2, 1. Sexy Devil begins to turn and accelerate. Halfway through the turn she slams on the brakes when a four ghosts in matching Sketchers and empty eyes walk in front of the car.
"Haiii! You almost killed those people!"
"I didn't see them okay?!"
The tallest ghost lights a cigarette as the quartet walks past.
"Oh man! Not fair, I want a smoke!" he reaches within his pocket for the lighter and Sexy Devil begins again, slowly. As the car sheepishly rolls out, the ghosts in their cool sneakers are gone and the desperate eyes have returned to he recesses of the beige vehicle.

The Mustang's engine now roars in unison with the driver's sick humming. The host's lips now show sign of disease because bodies only last so long without their entwined owner. The egg slowly winds down...
and finally falls over.
The driver releases the clutch and brake while slamming the gas. The tires peal then catch and the black stallion shoots out into the street.

Sexy Devil accelerates the beige and in a flat out run, the car just reaches 20mph heading south on Sepulveda. Up ahead, a pair of headlights drive up and over the median then go dark. Back in the beige, the backseat trick-or-treaters are busily singing along to K-Pop as their heads bounce on or near the rhythm. Broke College Student feels a the itch and the pulling allure from the cigarette hanging in his mouth. He pulls the lighter out and holds it to his mouth.
Fwick, fwick...

The mustang crosses the meridian and is now seconds from colliding with the beige. Each chopstick is aimed at one of the passengers in the approaching beige just seconds away from...

"OH My God! You Ass!" Sexy Devil sees the lighter ignite and the and cigarette tip start burning. With her left hand on the wheel and her right reaching out like a frantic feline, she grabs the cigarette from his mouth and the lighter from his hand in a fit of three to five swipes then throws the whole set out the window.

The demon driving the Cowboy Hat skin-bag which is driving the mustang sees the world slow down in this moment of exhilarated pandemonium like the world slows down for all the living in the moments before, during and after a collision. As the white paint lines race into the grill and are consumed by the vehicle the fell demon loosens his grip on the wheel and relaxes.
The owner of the body registers his death only moments from now just as Sexy Devil throws the lighter and cigarette outside the window.

"Hey! My cigarette..."
The four eyes from the back of the beige launch forward the moment the lighter and cigarette reach the outside air. The eyes fly toward the lighter and cigarette.
Suddenly the car is flooded with white light from just outside the open window.
"GGAHHHH!!!" The car fills with shouting. Sexy Devil reflexively pulls the wheel away from the noiseless explosion and toward the right. Her hands are rigid vices at the wheel and her blood becomes as battery acid from the torrent of adrenaline. In this car everyone is sharing the same adrenaline rush as the mustang approaches.

Mustang, Skin-bag and Demon alike see the explosion but only skin-bag attempts to slam the brakes; he is overridden by both demon and mustang. In the blinding light the demon makes one last correction to the right. He slams his fist on the dashboard sending the chopsticks flying forward. They explode through the windshield leaving four small holes behind with small crumbles of broken glass. They are flying into the brilliant white light ahead. Through the explosion come four pairs of eyes reaching out with a force. The mustang is too alarmed to register the intruders; they pass through the windshield with no difficulty and reach into the skin-bag. The mustang races forward with the drunk human, leaving behind the eyes and the skeleton in their grasp.
The car races through the now dying burst of light and drives straight into a tree back in the meridian.

The rolling beige passengers are screaming for the desperation of this moment and they hope that God, any God, will bring sanity or quiet. Their car rolls to the right and quickly decelerates as the aging brakes fight to keep up with the hunk of rolling metal they're attached to. The car pops up on the curb and rolls into a bus stop bench then rolls another 25 feet before coming to a stop, in an empty administration parking lot, a few feet from the glass wall of Park, Hyatt and Burke.

Cowboy Hat sees the tree approaching and has .1 seconds to begin crying before ...
A horrid wreck of metal explodes against a tree as fenders crunch over door panels, a battery explodes, glass ruptures and is pushed forward by the skin-bag flying through the windshield, head first and body broken as it passed by and mangled the steering wheel and dashboard.
The chopsticks are buried six inches into the tree trunk just below Cowboy Hat's facial impact.

25 feet back, on the lane lines in the middle of the southbound lanes of Sepulveda, three pair of eyes are standing around the skeleton as the fourth pair of eyes is still strangling the limp set pf bones. In fury and passion, and from years of torment the fourth pair of eyes forces every last bit of passing breeze from the air that was once Skeleton's throat. Wringing the bony neck, his hands clasping tighter and tighter, and convulsing under pressure, tears form in his rage-red eyes, hate pours through his hands and creating enough pressure to spin a frail spider web of red veins in his eyes. His pupils dilate. Skeleton's vertebrae start popping. As the grinding sound of dry bone compressing against dry bone becomes audible to the others in this Halloween quartet. The eyes shoot quick glances at each other; dispassion becomes concern in their raised eyes. They look down at the fourth, choking a dead skeleton. The pale shapes of what could be their bodies flutters in and out of visibility with the strength of their growing worry. Skeleton looks up one last time and is met by Fourth's fist across the bridge of his nose, now broken. Fourth beats him a few more times but no amount of fists or force will remove the dead skeleton's malivious smile. Fourth is now leaning on top of him, crying and howling wildly, beating his decades old adversary with both fists lost in rage, in an animalistic orgy of violence fueled by suffering.

Sexy Devil and Spider Girl are the first to lift their heads, bloodied from minor scratches. Sexy Devil has the worst facial injuries where the airbag pushed her glasses into her face lacerating the skin around her nose and eyes, but leaving everything relatively undamaged and nothing major injured. Broke College Student is leaning forward and starts rubbing his neck, after he stops screaming. Tomorrow he'll have muscle problems in his neck. The lap belt kept him from sliding forward while the shoulder belt kept his upper torso from flying forward hinged at the lap belt, which would have otherwise severely damaged his spine, if not broken it. Androgynous Justin Bieber put his hands up in a defensive position just before impact where his head then slammed into his fingers breaking three of them and bruising his face.

Back on the cement, as Fourth reaches the climax of his tortured and violent outburst, outline of a square traces itself as a small, thin depresseion of the surface gravel. The thin line traces back to it's origin, becoming a square the about 4 feet wide and long. The cement beneath the skeleton opens. The demons bones separate as the hole widens, each sliding in until the skeleton as a whole dwindles to nothing. Fourth begins to fall forward with the last of the skeletal remains. Fourth's rage turns to panic as balance slides out from beneath him. Before he falls in completely he is grasped and suspended by the remaining trio.

The door closes and the skeleton is gone. The passengers in the beige are safe and have begun walking out of the car, stumbling like zombies without the sense to look for brains.

The four pair of eyes and their souls are free this night for all nights. This night has seen the positive change of fortune in one story long needing the relief of justice and of suffering ended. Sometimes by miles and sometimes by minutes the quartet has missed this triumph.

Halloween on this night has brought the chance for people to end their suffering, should you deign to call the dead people. But, we all know that we are more than our bodies, more than our brains, and are more than the collection of actions and thoughts that filter through our physique and mind. We are all and each a presence with an intention and a will to bring action and change to the world before and around us.
Dawn will come soon. Clocks will restart under the black sky and Halloween's poison recedes from the land and those souls whose untimely ends are left unresolved begin disappearing. The woman who watched the world from her open mouth has succeeded in avoiding the hole in the Earth for one more year.

Day comes and brings no comfort to those fortunate children whose worst problem was eating too many sweets. The light of the sun fixes many problems and sets many things to rest but has yet to counter the powerful effect of industrial strength sugar consumed in large quantities.
Hug the person next to you. Give them your affinity and generosity. Be grateful for the Life you have before fortunes shift and the only thing you have left are memories of things you forgot to be grateful for.

Friday, October 28, 2011

On being Global Citizen with an American identity and a Latin Heart

Please know this post has been typed entirely with my thumbs on an iPhone in a hotel in Mexico City. What follows is a post about being a global citizen. It is not entertaining as I hope most of my posts to be instead what follows are the reflections of an American citizen and world traveller. Please note that I use the word 'patriot' in the post and do so with honesty and without pride. The following perspective presents a fond affection for America and the World beyond, specifically Latin countries. This post is not well suited for American nationalists or anti-American practitioners.

My trip to Mexico City is almost done. I fly out Sunday to head back home. As I write this it occurs to me that the more I travel the more I appreciate both foreign lands and my country. I would consider myself an American patriot by choice. For many intellectuals and people of great intellect this choice may be seen as unintelligent or nationalistic, as if by being an American patriot I am proud of the horrible or dumb shit the US does; I am not. 
I have grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle and culture. The US embraces individualism more than other countries I've been to, at least as a general rule. In the States, I feel that people are often judged more for their accomplishments than for their connections or charisma. Of course the general population of the US is not without their adamant first impressions or biases (which still manage to fantastically infuriate me) but my Life has been about self-redefinition and I have been fortunate to be successful in each transition. To be able to choose my Life and succeed at each step is a blessing. 
In the US, if I don't like something I can change it (not all the time, but often enough) either by communication or quitting one thing to start another. To many this endeavor would be applauded as 'gumption,' 'moxie,' 'initiative,' or 'drive.' In the US, if I fail at something I can do it again even if I have to move to a different place in the country. It is easy to move around in the US, and despite a fantastically varied political and religious climate, over 95% of all Americans I've met respond well to an honest 'hello' and a firm handshake. In some instances it is wise to continue conversation no further and I wait the waters long enough to get a sense of the local tide of people's politics and mood before speaking openly. I find this wise in any situation and country. 

I am American by my devout pragmatism and celebration of the individual and cultural variety. I welcome and bless the concept and discussion of new ideas. I believe that a human can recreate, define and mould themselves and that this is a necessary journey before any human could call themselves an adult, even if the chosen mold is the one already present or in effect. I believe in the strength of the individual and the ability of one person to make a difference without requiring all people to make a difference, because depending on the scope of affect I think all people already do. 
Yet all this industry and self sufficiency has created a distant, mistrustful or angry social culture. I have certainly been no stranger to this nor an innocent bystander, and there are certainly pockets of Americans who are as warm as the sun in an August field. However, after my trips to Brazil, Spain, Italy and Mexico, I would say I have a Latin heart. 

Maybe it's the left ventricle or upper aorta. Hell, maybe it's the anterior, lateral cochal with a side of mitral valve. Wherever or whatever it is, I do know there is a certain openness, humor, humility, and joviality to each of the different friends I have made in each of the Latin countries. It should also be stated that my data is skewed and may be naively formed based on the small sampling size of Latin citizens I have met worldwide. However my sampling size of Americans is large and spans multiple coasts, biomes and states which brings some legitimacy to these feelings. 
This of course detracts not an inch from the amazing Americans I have met who have a home in the fondest berths of my heart. 
It occurs to me that I am part Latin because certain social norms. 
First) Vulgar humor is the norm in Spain, Mexico, Italy and Brazil. I don't mean mean or angry humor. I find no joy in that. What I am writing of relates more to dirty jokes and liberal uses of slang because it's fun to cut up and let loose, not for any lack of self-respect or intelligence. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most intelligence people each country has to offer. 
Second) Greetings and goodbyes are warm. In these countries the men give a vigorous handshake or a hug, or both. An informal quality can be quickly established without question. 
Third) Passion and vivacity. This reason is currently more ambiguous in articulation as the description itself is ambiguous. I can't say American adults are known for laughing aloud, especially in public as if a rule exists about avoiding it. In Mexico at a business meeting where large sums of money have been exchanged, professionals can still be found to laugh out loud and exchange a few jokes. 

For these reasons and more I am happy to be aware of and to occasionally take part in Latin cultures. For the reasons of celebrating the strength of the individual, the industry of business and ability of an individual to guide her/his destiny I am happy to be an American. 

I am grateful to be a citizen of the world and have my home in the US. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Apartment Tour

A viewing of my apartment is long overdue. For over a year I have
referred to it in many forms from the modestly self-deprecating
"improbably small" to the more sarcastically self-deprecating "I just
found a shoebox. This will make a great lean-to." Of course, when a
worldly view is taken, my apartment is described modestly as "not that
bad" and when seen against the most ravaged areas of the world it is
described with blunt vulgarity as "pretty fcking good" or as described
with a rated G vernacular "a king's palace." While not all of these
descriptions are correct they do all give a nod to it's relative place
in the world and I hope with whimsy or humor.

I've given the topic of displaying my apartment great thought. Do I display the inherent glitz or glamour of living in LA, which is missing from my apartment? Perhaps I showcase the with an artistic air only an illustrator / programmer could. Maybe, a nod to the great mystery novelists of Los Angeles, Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy, is in order. I've decided on an amalgam of the last two. What follows are photos in the style of artistic mystery. All photos were taken using low light to enhance the thrilling excitement found in a good mystery novel, with avant-garde compositions to reflect my artistic nature. This exciting expose was shot at night with the lights off.

The first image in the series is taken at night with the lights off. Notice the slanted perspective, the daring contrapasto of line and shape. Is that a shadowy figure lurking with ne'er a thought of charity? Or is it the top of my bunk showcasing a new, softwood portable shelf I designed? It's the shelf of course! It's hard to see in this photo but the shelf and feet of the shelf were joined with handmade dowels. The shelf has yet to be finished, but already the quality of a solid 4" x 10" x 2' board can be appreciated.

This second picture adds further mystery with an ominous red light. It's placing is daringly off center creating a heightened anxiety to an already riveting composition. The light draws the viewer in forcing him or her to ask "Is that a laser sight for a sniper rifle? Is the picture's hero figure about to be iced by a government conspirator?"
No! That's a picture of the smoke detector inside my apartment at night with the lights off. The red light means you know it's working.

The third picture is dark, smokey, filled with a dread foreboding brought to silently thrilling life by the silent juxtaposition of decanted angles and bold chiaroscuro. The viewer is often heard thinking silently to herself: "Oh god! what fell thug waits in the shadows just beyond the door?" The answer?
Why just to the left of the door is a framed series of etchings tastefully framed. If you look closely to the right of the door, you'll see custom made blackout curtains adding to the ambience of a photo taken at night with the lights off.

This last photo required me to really stop down to f64 and focus on resculpting the available light to describe a haunted scene. The lens choice was a prime with post-expressionist tendencies creating veritable Manet zeitgeist.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Two Circumstances

:: Necessary Preamble ::
   Greetings... I've been remiss as of late in sending out updates of the postings. The last mass messaged posting related to an impending time zone change for the city of San Francisco. This was my addition to this year's April Fools tomfoolery. Shortly after that I posted a follow up blog describing where exactly the comedy was in the April Fools day post. This later followed by a rousing post about the taste of oatmeal and which artistic endeavor was most similar to the bland sludge that is McDonald's oatmeal.

There have been many goings on of late. Work is going well. I have a distinguished collection of vodkas, which I hope, would be proof to anyone with even an inclination toward the clear, Russian indulgence that Grey Goose is not the best in vodkas. Some people are snooty about beers, and many more about their wines, whereas a few of us (outside of Russia) prefer a sip or two of vodka chilled from the hoary frost of the darkest tundra (aka your freezer, in modern parlance).

In the past year I have travelled to strange lands (Las Vegas) and foreign shores (Madrid and Berlin/Potsdam). I have slain mighty beasts (the little flies that accumulate in the garbage when you forget to take it out) and constructed a chamber so sumptuous as to light the hidden fires of even the most modest of women (it’s a nice bed really made from 2”x6” boards with a lovely, embroidered fabric on top... and its affect on the elegant gender... ummm, I may have indulged in just a wee amount of hyperbole... okay, I lied. Totally.)

The First Circumstance...
Two new circumstances are occurring in Life at this moment that seemed to have crept out from nowhere. I’m often a rambling, roving, unsettled kind of guy. I’ll move one place for a while then another and another and another, never staying long enough to leave an indelible mark on the physical location but just long enough to make lifetime friends. With as much moving as I’ve done, I can do that pretty quickly by now. Don’t worry, it’s not a race, but I would totally win. With all seriousness, or at least as much as I can muster, I’ve decided to chart one of these very important, newly arrived, Life circumstances using a rubber chicken graph. The first newly arrived circumstance is that of nesting. The rubber chicken graph below clearly explains my nesting trends over the past eighteen years.

“The Rubber Chicken Graph, originally conceived by Steve Martin. In this graph we see the largest rubber chicken with boxing gloves represents the nesting trend while in California. It’s important to note the position of the cloud in relation to the sun.”

The Second Circumstance...
The second, and equally impactful Life circumstance to surface recently, is an old habit which I’d enjoyed most of my Life and over the past 10 years I’d lost track of, my art. I won’t write much about it as conversation about art is never a good replacement for art.
The first set of illustrations are a series of portraits I’ve been working on

The next set of illustrations shows a progression of images from initial sketches to current state.

~ Game Art ~
Some friends and I are working on a game for cell phones. What follows is a series of illustrations from the early art phase of the game. The first set is a series of random character studies.

The next set is from the same game set, but are a series of vehicle illustrations.

~ A Tattoo for a Friend ~
A friend of mine has asked me to design a tattoo for him. It will eventually end up on his right arm. It is based largely on symbols used throughout the Dark Tower series, by Steven King. It's still a work in progress, as are most of the illustrations in this post, but it's a welcome start to an old practice.

Lastly, the beginning of what may, or may not, turn out to be a comic... (done with pencil, and art markers on watercolor paper)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Food Slurry, in my mouth...

At the airport...
    So I'm here at LAX with plenty of time to spare for my 1:30a flight. I am happy to have been able to select emergency exit row seats for both seats. I asked about the cost of first class from LAX to MEM and the airline saw fit to ask for $1100. I saw fit to decline. As per food at the airport at 12:31a I haven't decided if McDonalds being the only place open is added insult to the cost of first class, or if that it's open at all is a blessing in a day that has otherwise been extraordinarily long and perhaps even grueling. 
In an eleventh hour save, McDonalds is apparently now offering oatmeal. It looks like lumpy glue and tastes like water with wood pulp. Fortunately the overpowering mixed flavors of blandness and gluey water pulp are occasionally broken up across the slow slide along my taste buds with short bursts of fruity parts. Yay fruit. 
Were I to compare the flavor of said oatmeal to art, or an artistic attempt, I admit to being lost for an adequate comparison. It's not like the following things:
1. A child's drawing - this art has varied acceptance in the art world and even without it decades of pseudo acceptance this art form still possesses chaotic lines, drastic colors and sometimes a failure to define a central composition making it far more exciting than the taste I'm currently trying to forget. 
2. The Dada movement - eventhough a toilet, a shovel and graffiti are accepted objects of art in this movement, this art also represents a move toward celebrating counter-culture and general silliness. This would be as if someone created Jesus pancakes, gave him a curly mustache and topped him with M&Ms: clearly more exciting than mouth gruel. 
3. Impressionism - I weep to think it's possible to compare what I'm eating to such beautiful art. After checking the dipstick in my tear wells I find that I am not crying and find therefore that this comparison is not possible. 
4. Cubism - I am admittedly not a fan of cubism but still think there's more thought behind the execution of this art than the quantifiable amount of flavor failing to slake my tastes at this moment. To further prove this point, the Cubist movement did generate Picasso's "Guernica" and that's pretty damned great. For some reason, if Cubism were translated into food, I think it would feature grilled, flayed asparagus. It's textured, bold, continental and straddles that line between tasty and healthy very well. 
5. Russian Literature - This one is getting close. Russian literature is depressing and can leave the reader wondering aloud "Why God? Why?!" I wondered this same thing while spoon feeding myself what I continued to reassure myself was healthy and character building. However depressing Russian lit as an artform is, it's still intelligently crafted, moving and well respected for its artistry and passion. 
6. John Singer Sargent & The Muppets - any comparison of either of these to the ill-textured gloppy-gloop, now passing into the temporally abstract space of memories while causing little to no impact in the digestive processes, is just plain ridiculous. 
7. Self-indulgent art - this is worse than the oatmeal, but still more exciting because of the existential peril inherent in self-indulgent art. 

Wait!! I think I have a comparable visual media whose roots grow, however long ago, from an artistic source: paparazzi photography. It's bland, bleeds together and occasionally

Monday, April 25, 2011

First Trip to Vegas

          Vegas is a tiny wellspring of hearty diligence, an oasis of the bacchanalian senses along a street known as "The Strip." It might be five miles long, but then again, if you're counting the miles along The Strip you're not the target demographic for Vegas' main industry, monetized gratification. Vegas is what I thought LA would be. In comparison, my experiences in LA have been tame. Driving down The Strip, in Vegas, has more excitement, flash and pizazz then I honestly was expecting. This city built on the power of neon attraction. As an exotic dancer reveals the wonder and fullness of her breasts, Vegas opens herself wide for the neon show down under beneath. It is a neon rose whose synthetically velvety petals bloom full with the varied colors of lust for money, power, sex, escape, food, importance and stature, all blooming full in varying degrees of each. In its lesser displays of desires immediately gratified, Vegas can entertain a tame or moderate sense of lust bringing an often enjoyable passion to a day or trip. The desire for great food, new shows, a little extra pocket cash and beautiful people are mainstays of human desire in a society that can afford them. I make it a habit to wonder about the very nature of things, as if to divine their unique characteristics into one definition. To that end I posit there's something more to Vegas than the electric sex of neon lights promising orgasmic payouts from the loosest slots. A brief scan of American television programming should dispel all question about our need for Vegas to exist and can even give a glimpse as to the nature of the role that Vegas serves for us, as a nation. Vegas is, as I can see, America's DIY, personalized reality show. It has all the makings for it, easy access to: risk, sex, food, and other people blindly seeking the same thing in close confines of each other. Is your life missing a spot of drama? Need to invent a little fury, chaos, joy or sadness to make meaning out of Life? Perhaps you need to create an obstacle and then overcome it? Vegas baby... In Vegas, you star in your own reality show, YouTV. For most people visiting Sin City, one episode on YouTV is gambling.

Personally, I hate gambling. Hate it. With a roiling, intrinsic fury I hate gambling. I hate the uncertainty. No... that's not true. I hate the certainty that I'm going to lose my money. After even a cursory review of 'the odds' at winning in Vegas, I can not spend my money on that. I have nothing against gambling in a moral sense. Gambling is nothing where there is no one to act on it. Gambling is just one of those things that people praise when it pays out and scorn when it runs them dry. I am no fickle friend to gambling. I am no friend at all to it, except I guess for my $3. I was staying at the Treasure Island hotel last week, on official business for work. During my stay I did approach and court a slot machine, one among many of the herd of silly play toys. This being my first forray into gambling I learned a few things real quick. First, as you approach a slot machine you run the gauntlet of the slot machine's manipulative foreplay: the casino floor. The casino is designed to keep you in. There are no clocks on the walls. All clocks are swept clean from even the memory of the casino floor. Bright colors, fight for your attention over the flashing lights and clamour of almost winners so close to winning they come close to blowing their load of cash on the very next bet. For slightly serious gamblers and beyond, the alcohol is free and delivered by women in short skirts; that's a one-two punch: a pair of gams delivering the happy juice. With ample inebriation and disorientation, the casino has you set up for the slot machine to knock you down. Slot machines are jealous, joyless bitches. They wear the prettiest faces, tease man and woman alike, sound bells of conciliatory odds in place of guaranteed payouts and create an aura of pretty, shiny, want-to-touch. The draw is visceral. But like a toxic lover, former or current, the payout is almost never worth the time and money invested.
Despite, or because of, this amazing stigma and sacred place our society has for Vegas, and gambling in Vegas, I decided to partake, to test the waters and have an experience I had not had before. I sat down at a slot machine. I don't remember which one but only vaguely where it is in relation to the elevator bank at the edge of the casino floor. I had three dollars and decided I wasn't going to waste my time on chump change bets. None of that coin crap for this high-roller. I was going to bet all three dollars in one place because I wanted the bigger payout, and wanted to get to sleep faster. So, I found one that took dollar bets, added my three and pushed the button. I remember for a brief moment looking for directions and guidance on how the payout scheme works, and how to tell if I'd won. I learned that any cash payout above $1500 has to be handled at the change counter and is not paid out in a flood of canvas bags each with well worn dollar signs on them. My gambling experience was a comedic non-event. These are the exact steps of my gambling experience:
1. read directions
2. look for place to insert money
3. insert money
4. push button
5. go back to bed.
Within five seconds of pushing the "GAMBLE ALL THREE DOLLARS YOU CRAZY TEXAN" button the machine went silent without performing any magical feat of pulling money out of thin air, from behind my ear, or even from it's own money tray. So it sat, lights flashing, sounds abuzzing beckoning the next taker to place their bets. It's like the machine didn't even notice me sitting there. There was no hug or even a hint of a shoulder shrug or 'keep your chin up champ' speech. As easily as I was forgotten from the machine's cognition I started chuckling to myself. What was I expecting after all? I gave a machine money with no pre-arranged agreement in place that it would return all, part or more than I had given it. Like a terrible lover, it took my money without blinking and made not even a motion to console me. So, in this episode of my DIY Reality Show, I bet it all and had nothing to show for it. Drama.

The Luxury Hotels
Vegas is enormous and yet all the enormity is encompassed in a small section of a small city. I say Vegas is enormous because when experienced from what appears to be the most locally common form of transportation, the human foot, The Strip stretches on beyond normal limits of the human attention span. Impeding the limits of the human attention span is the intricacy and planning and partially comendable skullduggery with which each blaring speaker, neon sign, lewd poster, flashing marquee, outdoor coverband, and alcohol vendor is placed. But forgive me, these are just the intruding sights to see at ground level. Look above street level and you'll fall humble or greedy at the colorful, windowed mountains sitting idly, bright and gaudy yet all the while immovable and silent. They are as mountains built to reflect our desires and our deepest wishes while being just as out of reach to us as those same desires and wishes. You can see the mountain tops and even walk to its street-corner base and as long as you remain at the base you'll never be able to reach the top of the mountain. You could crane your head, squint an eye and hold your arms in a position just so and from that one very specific and limited view you could say you've reached the top and achieved your dreams and yet in the next minute when you close your hand around the mountain to embrace your moment you'll capture naught but air and an invented memory of greatness. These mountains of Vegas are the luxury hotels.

Try as hard as the bohemian, anti-establishment sentiments of artists may, art will always follow money. Vegas is a strong, proud and jaw slackening example of how art thrives in a culture of money. I hope to return to Vegas numerous times to witness more of this in its highly unexpected manifestations. The one place I was able to see art thrive beyond mere means of survival was at The Wynn, and specifically at bar / lounge combination of the Parasol Down and the Parasol Up.
The Parasol Down is a delightfully enchanting bar sitting in a nook surrounded on either side by grand circular stairs. In an attempt to describe the Parasol Down in a sentence or, to be succinct about the environment created by Parasol Down; It is a vivid explosion, in red, of Victorian decor sensibilities, magnified by the vibrancy of the world through a child's eyes and nestled in a private nook between two grand staircases. If you do believe in, at least the possibility of, a world slightly removed from our own and wonderously inexplicable, the Parasol Down is surely then a mirror to a world whose heart beats with a living imagination. Above the grand stairs, in anticipation of rain that will never come or an unexpected precipitation of fabulous, hang gargantuan parasols of bright colors, shapes and designs. Imagine the color and heart of Seuss with the fantastic imaginings of Tim Burton; these are the great parasols that mark the bar / lounge combo. The Parasol Down creates an ambiance bigger than its square footage and is certainly a place I'll be returning to when next I visit Las Vegas. The Parasol Up, at the top of the dual, grand, circular stairs, is a lounge in the same style and serves at the conduit from / to the gambling floor. As you journey beyond the Parasol Up toward the exits here you'll find artistry as well in the mosaic floors, select botany and vivid lights.

Path through Vegas to the Other Side and a Final Olfactory Comment
With enough sobriety, when the casino floor and the slot machines can be seen for something other than their anticipated fiscal rewards, Vegas is fun. Having an appropriate sense of the clear chasms that await anyone who falls from their own grace, is one way to ensure your safe passage through. If you go gambling: never carry your debit/credit card on you, bring your own watch or timer, bring only an amount of cash you are comfortable with losing and assume it is lost before you start playing, bring friends with you who pay their bills on time and successfully manage their debt to income ratio. Vegas can be a lot of fun.

Oh yeah, Vegas sometimes smells like strippers and despair.

Friday, April 1, 2011

45 Minutes for April Fool's Day

After taking informal surveys from a few readers, it seems that perhaps my April Fool's Day joke was shrouded in too much research, or too many words. What follows is a defense of my joke meant more to explain that my article was indeed a joke. In this defense I'll even be pointing out where the comedy is.

In order to explain the comedy I'll list what was fact:

#1. Fact: The first paragraph is entirely false
#2. Residents did, in fact, send in postcards to a Haight community betterment association. These residents also sent in postcards asking for a 45 minute timezone offset. This much is true. The call was for residents to send in ideas to make The Haight an even better place to live.
#2.a. I know all three people who sent in postcards on behalf of a new timezone. Only one of them was a resident of SF in his youth, but not of The Haight. The second person was his wife, and the third person was a mutual friend of the two
#3. The Haight is a trendy neighborhood in San Francisco.
#4. That creepy bunny in the photograph is an actual art piece sitting approximately 3 feet above the sidewalk and standing roughly 3.5 feet tall.
#5. Edwin M. Lee is the current mayor of SF and was actually appointed mayor by the San Francsico Board of Supervisors in January 2011, after Gavin Newsom became Lieutenant Governor of California
#6. Certain Bay Area communities actually target the gay community through means of entrapment via night sting operations in public parks.
#7. California is a majority Republican state
#8. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 is real and it does provide local exemptions for daylight savings observances
#8.a. I have no idea if there's a loophole that would allow any part of the US to create their own timezone
#9. There is no international governing body for time zone regulation
#10. Gary, IN does share the CST with Chicago.
#10.a. People are pretty sure why this is the case.
#11. Turn of the century San Francisco (before the great quake) was a dominating industrial, agricultural and economic force in the state and country.
#11.a. The quake changed San Francisco's future permanently
#12. The Standard Time Act of 1918 is real
#12.a. Before this legislation, Railroads were the governing forces behind standardizing time across the nation. Before trains, no one could travel fast enough across the country to require a standardized time. All clocks were set by the timing of solar noon.
#13. I once saw the remnants of a Chinese New Year parade.  I saw these remnants at night.
#14. I'm pretty sure many people regard Rep. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as a horse's ass.
#14.a. I'm pretty sure many people are proud to be represented by him as well.
#15. Jean Quan is the mayor of Oakland.
#15.a. She is the first Asian American, and first female mayor of Oakland.
#15.b. Oakland is the 6th largest city in the US
#15.c. A Wikipedia article says she's a Democrat
#16. Windows 7 is an operating system
#16.a. It has been known to find new hardware though none has been installed
#16.b. It will nag you to install updates
#16.c. it will force close all applications in order to restart and install new updates
#16.d. You will lose data when it force closes applications to install new updates and restart
#17. Marc Copage was a child actor and was in the 1960's TV show "Julia"

If it's not listed above, then it ain't true.

The Jokes... those funny, funny jokes...
#1. That any city would adopt a timezone that is: a) applied only to the city and not the rest of the state, and b) that is an amount of time as odd as 45 minutes off... totally hilarious.
#2. Nasbatz... I love funny acronyms
#3. I'm pretty sure people wouldn't look to San Francisco as a place to take the moral high ground
#4. My friends and I really did write post cards to a Haight community betterment association, demanding that The Haight start its own timezone.
#4.a. We did this to help give credence to this April Fool's day joke
#4.b. We really did mail them to the Haight betterment association
#4.c. They were postage paid so it seemed like such a waste not to send them
#4.d. We sent them in over a month ago... he he he
#5. Mayor Edwin Lee's "voluminous political teet." I giggled the whole way through that section.
#6. Mayor Edwin Lee could never have passed as Marc Copage...

Edwin M. Lee: from Wikipedia

Marc Copage (right): from

#7. That any populist rallying slogan printed on t-shirts, banners, store fronts would be as verbose as: "The Bay Area Conglomerated Cities and Municipalities are at the Height of their Combined Fortitude when the Leadership of Aforementioned Cities and Municipalities are Ratified to Unify On the Nasbatz Legislation"
#8. Teabaggers, Indibaggers and Massbaggers. That's just funny.
#8.a. I considered other states: Illbaggers, Mainebaggers, Carolbaggers, Pennsylbaggers, Arkbaggers
#8.b. Some states just didn't lend themselved well to this joke: NewYorkbaggers, Vermontbaggers, Floribaggers, Louisibaggers
#9. Though a potshot, and low hanging fruit in the joke tree, the characiturization of a teabagger was preposterous enough to be comical... I think.
#9.a. The icing on the cake in this charicaturization is the reference to "Mr." instead of "President" Obama.
#10. Timebaggers? That's just ridiculous... and therefore funny.
#11. The construction of a completely faricated history of Asian Immigrant practices to maintain time with their homelands.
#11.a. I have no proof that this happened, nor any proof that it didn't.
#12. I wish my description of dealing with Windows was more fictional. Certainly a computer can't defecate its source code from USB ports, yet.

So, that's about it.
Thanks for reading.
Sleep well.
No more jokes.

45 Minutes for San Francisco

This article has been reposted from a previously posted article about a crazy new time zone that's supposed to start, tomorrow, in San Francisco!

:45m for San Francisco
AP - Reuters

"45 minutes for San Francisco" is the latest political cry to sweep through San Francisco, California, and even some state's rights advocates throughout the country. In a surprising move that shocked the California political system today, the City of San Francisco will begin observing it's own time zone. With the surprising support of the California Senate, starting today, San Francisco and most of the surrounding Bay cities will be changing their clocks to the North American Standard Bay Area Time Zone (Nasbatz). This new time zone will place San Francisco, and the whole Bay Area, an additional 45 minutes behind PST.  How this shift will impact the financial and political landscape of California and our nation has yet to be seen. Many Californians were surprised by the eleventh hour push from the state legislature to enact Nasbatz. Some citizens were even unaware that Nasbatz was on the ballot. When asked to comment on why the new time zone legislation was pushed through, the general consensus among lawmakers presents a unified voice: "San Francisco needs to set a new moral standard that all Californians can be proud of. While Hollywood and Los Angeles have had decades to set this standard, the Bay Area Communities feel now is the time to proudly move forward for a better California. Step one is to further separate ourselves, in time, from our misguided brothers and sisters in the South of California. Let them continue playing with cameras while we get to business."

What started out as an innocuous series of mailings to a neighborhood suggestion poll, multiple residents initially urged the Haight (a trendy neighborhood in San Francisco) to create a new time zone 45 minutes behind the current Pacific Standard Time. Eventually this local demand caught public support, spreading like wildfire to the mayor's desks for multiple Bay Area cities: Vallejo, Berklee, San Francisco, Hayward, Redwood, Marin County, Sausalito, Palo Alto, San Jose, San Rafael and San Mateo. The Haight, long known for its bleeding edge intellectualism, and socially progressive leadership, is the home to this newest political call to action.

The Haight has always been an exceptional source of socio-political leaders for the bay area communities.

Eventually spearheaded by San Francisco's mayor, Edwin M. Lee initially took this fledgling community movement and let it suckle at his political teet until it could stand on its own. Though it can be easily observed that under the tutelage of Mayor Lee's voluminous teet Nasbatz legislation grew to  public prominence, some suggest there exists a more self-serving motivation behind Mayor Lee's voluntary teet nursing of Nasbatz.  Appointed just a few months ago, by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Edwin M. Lee was promoted to Mayor of the city in January 2011. Mayor Lee's earlier political endeavors have to date been, at best, modestly documented. As of the date of publication of this article, it cannot be confirmed nor denied that Edwin M. Lee was working under the stage name "Marc Copage" on the 1960's TV show "Julia." In an attempt to fill the well worn shoes of previous San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, Mayor Lee stated that "I am a big boy now and can legislate all by myself." Some San Francisco citizens are wondering if this new time zone legislation is an attempt to secure the seat of San Francisco mayor, or if he is truly working on behalf of the City by the Bay. Said one San Francisco native: "Any mayor that frees us from the stigma of that Hollywood s__hole in So Cal is totally the mayor for me." Mayor Lee has held many discrete meetings with other mayors from the Bay Area cities, calling on their support to create a unified local government voice. An unidentified source credits Mayor Lee with the populist rallying slogan printed on t-shirts, banners, store fronts seen throughout the Bay Cities: "The Bay Area Conglomerated Cities and Municipalities are at the Height of their Combined Fortitude when the Leadership of Aforementioned Cities and Municipalities are Ratified to Unify On the Nasbatz Legislation."

Strong support for the Nasbatz legislation came from the Bay Area's LBGT community (BALBGT). To date, some of the Bay Area police forces still practice harsh entrapment policies by way of public sting operations, focused on the LBGT community. These operations are held at night in public parks. BALBGT claims that these illegal entrapment practices will be easier to spot with the additional 45 minutes of daylight. While the "45 minutes for San Francisco" slogan is the most predominant, and the "The Bay Area Conglomerated Cities and Municipalities are at the Height of their Combined Fortitude when the Leadership of Aforementioned Cities and Municipalities are Ratified to Unify On the Nasbatz Legislation"slogan is a close second among citizens, BALBGT has adopted their own variation: "45 minutes for Justice."

In terms of public support, California Legislatures are appealing to their largely Republican base in order to garner public support for the Nasbatz legislation. While California passed the law recently, It is set to take effect today at 12:45a when the time in the Bay Cities will reset to midnight. Statewide lawmakers realize the relative difficulty in passing muster on a national level. To preemptively subvert the anticipated political fallout, The state's defense of the NASBAT time zone is a two pronged offensive: a call to state's rights and an unseen loophole in the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which allows for local exemptions from DST observance.

Teabaggers unite for "State's Rights." 
Throughout the state, and even into the national political theater, Teabaggers are rallying behind this is as a clarion call to unify support for state's rights. Teabaggers from as far as Indiana (Indibaggers) and Massachusetts (Massbaggers) have planned multiple public, political sit-ins. Said one Massbagger, "You know, we're just hear doing our part to support the Constitutionally mandated rights of the individual states. This is just another attempt for our illegitimate president to push his socialist agenda on the working men and women of this great country ordained by God himself. We've brought our signs and are ready to make a raucous. You can see where my 5 year old drew a thin mustache on Mr. Obama."

Historical Precedence
There is no international governing body regulating the use, procurement and enforcement of time zones. This has made the adoption of new and creative time zones a simple matter for most nations. Even in the United States, various segments of the US adopt time zones which are counter intuitive to their geographical location. Further to the point of the San Francisco natives in favor of the new time zone (Timebaggers), the state of Indiana has segmented its time zones along political boundaries. Indianapolis and as far north as West Lafayette are situated in EST, while Gary is in CST with the rest of Chicago. Why Chicago has embraced Gary when Indiana hasn't is a curious political question which is still unresolved. Beyond these localized situations of time zone offsets, San Francisco's history with time zones is more colorful than is remembered in modern times.
The city's first discussion of time zone change started as early as the beginning of the 20th century. At the time, San Francisco was establishing its financial and political dominance in the area through its agriculture, mining and shipping connections to Pacific nations. Many of the city's Asian immigrants kept time with their town, regions or nations of birth. Even as late as 10 years after the ratification of the Standard Time Act of 1918. They maintained this temporal similarity to keep cultural ties and practices with their relatives and business associates across the Pacific. This separation of time across strict cultural lines created two distinct day cycles in the city. One day cycle was the standard day practiced by Caucasian Americans and was originally set closely to the solar time zone and eventually to PST. The second day cycle of the Asian Immigrant class almost completely reversed day for night. This large disparity in day cycles effectively created and allowed for the near unchecked propagation of San Francisco's thriving underworld and black market. While most Caucasian Americans slept during the night, some would find back alley opium dens and brothels which were open through most of the night. Though modern times have unified the day cycles into what was PST and is now NASBAT, Chinese New Year parades in San Francisco still last well into the night.

Political Opposition Responses
Mitch McConnell (R-KY), often understood to be a general horse's ass, had this to say on the matter: "This legislation once again shows the audacity of tax and spend liberals too lazy to wake up with the rest of an already lazy time zone. How will this new legislation reflect on our troops who are fighting wars abroad? This is a time to send our support to the fighting men and women of our US military. I have it on good authority that the soft on defense liberals have encumbered an otherwise conservative and law-abiding state. What the hell is a Nasbatz anyway?" Asked Rep King (R-NY), "What's the Islamic population percentage of The Bay Area?"
Jean Quan (D), mayor of Oakland, has opted to keep Oakland out of the effect of the new Nasbatz legislation, seeing the adoption of a new time zone as a possible rift inside the state. Specifically, Mayor Quan stated that her "city is an industrial and economic linchpin and has more important things to worry about than the bickering between Los Angeles and San Francisco."

The letters that started it all. 
     At time of publication, the editors at AP - Reuters were able to attain a selection of the letters from the original Haight Neighborhood letter writing campaign. These letters are being posted here.

Software Updates
In order to ready their user base, both Apple and Microsoft are expected to roll out operating system updates allowing for the new time zone NASBAT. While Apple's update is expected to be released under the name of an uncommon East Asian Panther species coated in an air of tragic coolness, the Windows update will require users to run the update as an administrator, asking when they'd like to be reminded to restart Windows every 5 - 10 minutes eventually nagging the user into submission wherein the OS will force close all applications before users have time to save their data. It is expected 1 in 8 Windows 7 systems will indicate new hardware is found, subsequently informing users they have 30 days to purchase a license for the new Windows 7 NASBAT time zone operating system update for the new time zone update operating system update system. Earlier versions of Windows operating systems will merely defecate source code out the computer's USB ports.