Fundamental Truths

  • In war the best policy is to take a state intact.
  • Too Much is the Same as Not Enough
  • Fear is the Mind-Killer
  • All Warfare is based upon deception.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The High Country

So, I have finally found something I enjoy doing in Utah.

Today, instead of limping around the neighborhood as physical therapy, I drove up into the mountains and started walking up an old, unused road.

And somewhere up there in the big empty, I managed to have a good time.

I saw nothing particularly noteworthy- just the mountains around me.

I did nothing particularly cool- just limped along for about an hour and a half on my bad leg, letting the snow cushion the impact with the ground.

Nothing profound, nothing earth-shaking.

Just a stroll in the sun in the high country, in sun strong enough that I was in my t-shirt in short order.

And I would have kept walking forever, if I hadn't had the dogs with me.

After all, old crappy roads have to end up somewhere.

But for just about ninety minutes, all was right with my world.

And that's worth a bit of gratitude.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

An Educational Experience

So, as part of my gradual plan to drag myself out of abject poverty, I have some hoops to jump through.

Among them, a series of online video clips by the people who determine the standards by which this profession is judged.

And dear lord, are they idiotic.

In one of these segments, clearly developed by someone who has never had a job outside of education, the virtues of a three-ring binder to encourage organization are touted.

I had several three-ring binders in my youth.

I broke or otherwise destroyed every last one of the useless things trying to make the crap fit inside.

Additionally, at 28 years of age, I have long moved past the need for a smiling, encouraging teacher.

In fact, those who know me can attest to the fact that I respond very badly to cheerful people.

And thus, I find these videos far harder than the classroom observations, online discussions, and travel involved in this job.

Because in many ways, they seem to encapsulate everything I hate about the profession, and everything I intend not to do.

Students are not morons. Even the ones who are morons do not take being talked down to terribly well.

Because if there's one thing we come out of school filled with hatred for, it's the patronizing fucks who treated us like children.

So, much as I did in some of my classes, I will nod, pretend I give a fuck, and jump through the hoops so I can leave.

My, but education is in good hands.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Burning the Midnight Oil.

Okay, so it's 11 PM. Blow me.

I find myself online and writing this because, at present, the whole damn house is fll of gimps.

I think my puppy is the only completely healthy creature here.

I, of course, am still on crutches.

My sainted father is now ALSO on crutches, and hooked up to the cryo-cuff I got with my surgery. And taking my pain meds. I'd be angrier about the loss of premium lortabs for later sale if he hadn't paid for them in the first place.

My mother just got over injuring her wrist and is now arguably the most able-bodied human in the house... but I still need to open jars for her.

Between three people, we have four good arms and four good legs.

Pretty damned pitiful.

The final float in the Gimp Parade is our old Labrador, Carmen, who is now reaching that creaky arthritic stage that all old dogs seem to achieve overnight.

Which leaves my puppy, once again, as the healthiest specimen we have. I'd cry if it wasn't so damned funny.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ten Years After

Due to a few messages about my high school graduating class' ten year reunion (which I won't be attending- not because I'm too cool, but because I'm too busy. And poor.), I've started to think.

Ten years ago, I was a very different person. Some things never change, but I can honestly say I barely recognize the addle-brained 18-year old I used to be.

Ten years ago?

I was a skinny virgin whiteboy who had showtunes in his walkman (yes, walkman), a trenchocat that looked preposterous on me, the 2nd Edition AD&D Players handbook memorized, and was convinced I knew what I was doing.

Now? I'm a stockier non-virgin-but-not-getting
-any whiteboy with mixed CDs in my Discman (I'm always behind the curve), an olive-drab jacket that looks all right on me, the Pathfinder RPG rules memorized, and no clue what I'm doing.

Yessir, I've come pretty far in the last decade.

Ten years ago, I didn't own a gun, my own car, or a computer. I owed no money to anyone.
Now I own three guns, a '97 Saturn that looks like a thousand miles of bad road, and a computer cobbled together from spare parts and bad ideas. I now have a five-figure debt.

Ten years ago, I had never been drunk.
Now, I get utterly shitfaced drunk as an inoculation about every six months, give or take.

Ten years ago, if you'd asked me where I saw myself in ten years, I would have spewed some vague blather about theatre.
Now, if you ask me where I see myself in ten years, I laugh despairingly, shrug, and say "Who knows?"

Ten years ago, I knew NONE of the people I met in Indiana. Now I can't imagine a life where I DON'T know them.

A lot has changed, and I couldn't say for sure whether the changes have been for good or ill.

In some ways, I miss the confidence of my 18-year-old self, that cocksure arrogance that I'd sort things out.

In other ways, if I met my 18-year-old self, I'd kick his ass into a fine red mist for all the STUPID shit he/I saw, did, didn't do, and believed.

One thing I do know however... In spite of the dashing of about every ambition I had at the time, in spite of the train wreck I've made of my financial situation, in spite of my continued inability to figure out what I'm doing, I'm more secure- not confident, mind you, but secure- in my own skin than that scrawny, awkward kid I was ten years ago would have imagined possible.

And thank heavens for that.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Of Taste and You

Allow me to begin by slaughtering some sacred cows.


I hate Pink Floyd.
Most Jazz pisses me off.
Dio was better than Ozzie as Sabbath's front man any day of the week.
College sports are, frankly, boring as fuck (I will make exceptions if YOUR school or its most hated rival are somehow involved).
The NBA sucks.
No car excites me in the slightest.
The allure of Will Farrel escapes me (aside from Anchorman, which, frankly, would have looked good on anyone).

Now, the point of all of this?

The point is, my distaste for any and all of these things shouldn't fucking matter to anyone but me.

But without fail, ONE of these opinions will start a war of words in any and all social settings I have ever encountered.

Which goes beyond being stupid.

Your world will not end if I hate your favorite movie or band.
But it might if you keep bugging me about it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

College Networking- The Scumfuck Method

Once upon a time, there was a very geeky hombre from the far north.

He had, through various ways and means, ended up attending school in Indiana, and, aside from the fact that the place was flat and full of people he didn't like, was making a go at getting his worthless degree.

The first two years passed uneventfully, as he drifted through school, making almost no impression beyond a few strong attachments, mostly to women he found attractive and unattainable. And then there was the Scumfuck.

Our hero and two of the women he was surrounded with ended up in a course on stickfighting. One of them found the instructor attractive, and had followed him into the course from his Hapkido. Our hero followed them because A- Why not? and B- Bashing people with sticks had a certain ring to it.

It was in this class that he would encounter his single best friend from his college years, a large fellow who often wore a shirt bearing the legend "BDSM Instructor."

As neither one of them had a sparring partner (because both of them apparently intimidated the morons in the class), they ended up as partners. They were lazy.... incredibly so. So lazy, that neither one bothered to get the other's contact information so they could actually practice. Their meetings outside of class that semester could be counted on two fingers. They did not bond over their sloth, either, but simply jumped through the hoops and came out of the class with a basically positive view of one another and little else. Our hero also got to show off his insanely poor social radar in his new friends' presence at a Halloween party, although, really, in hindsight, the
actual outcome of the evening was better, because it further cemented an important bond. The next semester, our hero took up his new comrade's recommendation to enroll in Modern Arnis.

Here was stickfighting. Here was also a class where the two of them gave a shit- and, having had prior acquaintence, actually started hanging out. They shared several important traits- A nerdish love of roleplaying games, a love of good food, and an indifference to their peers that amounted to mania.

They also got along because neither one much cared what the other did. Our hero would routinely ignore the depraved sexual acts of the Scumfuck and his then-girlfriend in the name of Warcraft III on the Scumfuck's computer.

On such foundations are lasting friendships forged.
Things got even better the next year, because the two ended up rooming on the same floor of the same dorm. That would be the year of the hallway ambush, where they terrified their floormates with toy guns from the dollar store. It was also when they started hanging out for its own sake. Neither being the sort to trust easily, being basically paranoid bastards, they came to an accord rare in the college experience of either.

The next year (our hero's last as an undergraduate) was the best. Our hero had finally found himself a girlfriend, and was head over heels in love. The Scumfuck's relationship with the psychotic cunt who would later nearly destroy him was at its best. The boys were happy... and still taking Arnis. It was our hero's only class on Fridays, and he almost never skipped it. After class, the two would walk to the Scumfuck's dorm, bullshitting, while they waited for the soon-to-be Psycho Ex to pick them up for their ritual Friday dinner.

Things had become almost domestic. When our heo's girlfriend was in town, she and the Ex had a female to talk to while the boys dicked around and contemplated world domination.

When our hero graduted, the Scumfuck gave him the graduation presents he has gotten the most use out of- a compass, a knife, and some Army manuals on improvised munitions and boobytraps. The least expensive presents are always the best.

Over the next year, while our Hero farted around working at a lumberyard and spending as much tme as possible around his girlfriend in Alaska, the Scumfuck was the only one he made any effort to keep in touch with. It was a bad year for the Scumfuck. His Grandfather (in biology- socially, the man was his father) fell ill and died. The psycho girlfriend proceeded to make his life increasingly unbearable. Our hero paid a visit to Indiana that fall, before things truly went to shit, ostensibly to work on his Graduate School application- really, to spend time with his girlfriend and to see his old comrade in arms.

By the next winter, the Scumfuck was out of school. Our hero, however, returned to Indiana in earnest, endeavoring to attain in-state residence for his second attempt at graduate application- and to be near the girlfriend, of course.

The scumfuck was a short distance across town, living with the Psycho Grilfriend downstairs from two of his old friends from his hometown.

When they broke up, and he moved in with the friends, our hero started spending more and more time there. After all, they were some of his only frends in the area.

The next year would see our hero's relationship with HIS girlfriend end.

The night he got the word, the Scumfuck had a chunk of venison in the crockpot and invited him over. There, drunk on Scotch and playing Twisted Metal: Black, our hero fed himself and dealt with the emotional shock.

The next year, he and the Scumfuck (and the two amigos) were roommates. It was a time of great poverty for all of them, but it was a year of great promise. The strange little family started to gel, in weird ways.

Our hero moved out when the lease was up (mostly because he expected to be leaving the state in short order), and did one of his patented disappearing acts. Still, after he got a job at Crane, and found the old place to be more or less on the way home, they saw more of him.

Particularly when the baby came along. The year pased largely in a blur, but the next apartment of each of them turned out to be on opposite ends of town.

No matter. The next year and a half would have our hero seeing more of the Scumfuck and his family than he had when he'd lived with them.

And when the time came for him to leave Indiana, saying goodbye to his weekends and game nights with them would be the hardest.

For all of you who found a job introduction or a spouse in college, you have my condolences. There just aren't enough awesome Scumfucks to go around.

Super Bowl Sunday

Is, as always, going to be an overproduced nightmare, a study of atrocity against the simple joy of watching large men in body armor beating the crap out of each other. Sad but true.

We have, of course, gotten lucky the last two years, and seen great football between bouts of talking head idiocy and incredibly expensive commercials.

But the game usually sucks.

So, how is it that this, the unsung National Holiday, has managed to hold on so long?

I guess it's because of people like me.

People who really do know better... but tune in anyway, desperate t see a new champion crowned, even if the game is actually an awful, one-sided blowout.

So as you sit on your couch today, cheering on the Colts (or the Saints. I guess. Fuckers.), I want you to remember-

I will KILL you if you fuck up my enjoyment of the most commercialized day of the year.

Because much as I love to think differently, I too worship at the shrine of Capitalist Amerika at least once a year.

And I hope to see some overpaid schlub in tears by day's end.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Let's get this part over with- my powers of perception are selective, at best. For example, I'm terminally unaware of social signals. I don't even know what "being given the eye" looks like.

But damned if I don't seem to put most of the schmucks I see on a daily basis in the shade.

When you jack into your headphones at the bus stop, when you stare at your cell phone for the entire duration of a bus ride, when you avoid making eye contact with anyone around you out of fear... You are putting yourself at far greater risk than an accidental contact ever could.

Because while you, like me, may find your traveling companions tiresome, it's no excuse to ignore what's going on around you.

And if you're on your headphones when someone's backing out of their driveway? You might just end up as roadkill.

So, for the love of whatever god, gods, or ethical constructs you may believe in, unplug the fucking headphones, put your goddamn cell phone away, and have a look around.

You never know what you might be missing- and I don't mean the love of your life.

I mean the crazy guy with a machete in his hands walking behind you.

Little things like that merit your attention.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

International agreements, as seen through Shrooms

If anyone ever wishes to know why the United Nations is every bit as doomed as the League of Nations, look no further than recreational drug use.

To wit.

At a certain party, an act of aggression was used as a form of tag. This made relaxing and enjoying the festivities difficult, as one could never let one's guard down.

Eventually, a conference was called, whereby a unilateral ceasefire was declared, banning the act.

The treaty was violated inside of two minutes. When asked why, the perpetrator looked around, laughed, and said "Someone has to be China."

And there you have it. The problem with international relations summed up in a nutshell by a young man out of his mind on shrooms.

You cannot make an agreement that all parties will follow all the time.

Ask anyone at that party, and they'd agree.

Death of a Language

So, apparently, the fact that language which has had exactly one speaker for the last thirty years has now died with that speaker is news worthy of the BBC's full attention.

Cry me a river.

I grew up in Alaska, a state where the languages of the native population die out at an alarmingly predictable rate.

The reason is laughably simple-

English has been made the language of government by State Constitution.

"Big deal," you say.

"After all, latino kids in the Southwest may have to learn English if they want to get ahead in the world, but they can chatter away in Spanish all they want."


But those kids can get TV from Mexico. They can cross the border, if they want. We, as a nation, have decided that like it or hate it (I love it) Spanish is here to stay. My University had a "Latin-American Cultural Center." We also had an Asian Student Union.

Back home, that simply doesn't happen.

Yu'pik kids in the Yupiit School District speak very poor English. The problem is, they also speak very poor Yu'pik, as their parents, long-since marginalized, let their vocabulary trickle away to practically nothing.

There are no Yu'pik-language television stations. The market is simply too small. There are no Yu'pik language advertisements, because it's a language with no written form, and Yu'pik people form such a small commercial block it's laughable.

And Yu'pik is FAR from being a dead language. It has a population that COULD learn their mother tongue- but more and more, it's being shown as a language that no one wants them to know.

So while intellectuals whine and snivel about the death of the last speaker of a language, we, as a culture, merrily go on setting up conditions to kill off languages we find "inconveient."

Spanish in the United States has a future. There are simply too many Spanish-speakers in this country for their concerns to be ignored. Good for them.

Meanwhile, slowly but surely, we're choking off the linguistic heritage of people who were, in fact, born in this country.

One wonders what the BBC will say then.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I think it's time we had a talk, you and I.

As many an overpaid, overstuffed waste of skin guidance counselor has said, it's important to have goals.

What they don't tell you is that if your goals are even slightly off the rails, you will get little help.

And that is where I and mine run into trouble.

Our goals, on the face of it, are simple.

We want a patch of land to call our own and the right to manage it as we see fit. Our Fearless Leader has a dream of a palace of rusty shipping containers for his family. I'm partial to a log cabin on the edge of (or maybe within) a forest with a pack of dogs running loose and an arsenal in the basement.

We want a place to call our own, to sit on the porch when we're all sixty, seventy, eighty and beyond.

Nothing too extreme, right?

Where OUR goals run into trouble is in our "why."

We have looked around, taken stock of the world as it is and where it's going, and have concluded that it is, in a word, fucked. We see a planet run by irresponsible fuckwits with no eye for the future and no conception of how to deal in the here and now.

We've seen this, and we want out. We want off the goddamned ride before the damn thing jumps the tracks and kills us all.

We are, of course, not ready. We're a bunch of basically broke losers cursed with enough intelligence and awareness to mind our situation. There are so many things we need to know how to do... and so many pieces of equipment that we either cannot afford, or that we cannot legally obtain. We've got to do our share before we have any right to truly complain... but for once in my miserable life, I actually believe in the people I'm in with. I think we can, and will do it. After all, why should anyone care?

We want to self-sustain. That's it. We don't want to conquer the world, or save the whales, or make the planet safe for Afghan babies. We don't want to tell you what to do. We don't want to tell you who you can sleep with, or whether or not to buy a gun, or which chemicals you want to get good and wasted on. And we ask to be extended the same courtesy. To be left in peace by the powers that be- the powers that have run the world into the shitter.

"Your choice is who you choose to be,
And if you're causin' no harm, then you're all right with me.
My choice is what I choose to do,
And if I'm causin' no harm, it shouldn't bother you."

Three More Goddamn Weeks

... on crutches.

This is not a good thing.

Without my left foot, I cannot operate my car (stick shift, dontchaknow).

Thus, I cannot do the ONE THING this miserable fucking state is allegedly good for.

I cannot drive to a range and get the practice with my firearms I so desperately need.

I am far too poor to afford actual training. This I can accept, until I land a real job (which being on crutches is also making hard- I can't even work part-time until I can stand up without using both hands).

But I cannot even log basic, elementary, ESSENTIAL practice.

I have never been a great marksman, but back when I was shooting at red squirrels eighty feet up on a regular basis, I at least didn't suck harder than Heather Harmon. Now, in addition to watching my left leg atrophy in the name of the healing process, I am also looking at my guns.

They look back at me accusingly.

"Motherfucker, you haven't even LOADED us since you got here."

Sorry guys. But its like buying condoms when you KNOW you're getting nowhere...

But there are silver linings. I have been accepted into a program which, if my luck stays at least tolerable, should land my pasty white ass in the middle of rural Alaska for two years. My tactical firearms training will suffer, of course, because out there, they use guns to get food, not kill people efficiently.

But I hope to learn a few key survival skills (building decent shelters, starting fires with crappy materials, preserving meat without the use of modern technology or abundant salt, trapping, navigation) and a few bells and whistles (like piloting small airplanes, maybe how to operate a boat bigger than a small Boston Whaler, perhaps some carpentry stuff). This is, of course, highly ambitious, especially since I'll have plenty of other things to do with my time, things that will earn money (for the co-op my degenerate tribe of misfits is going to purchase) and pad my resume so I can get a few more decent jobs before the whole mess goes tits-up and I have to eat what I can grow or kill.

I have a lot of time to think about this lately, because I, in my infinite wisdom, moved to a state I hate where I know no one and promptly gimped myself.

So, in summation- Time is finite, and the stuff my comrades and I need to learn is only BARELY surmountable.

Fuck me, I hate it here