Monday, April 9, 2012

Fun Break

So I'm getting off of Spring Break, but it was a great time. I figure Monday is as good a day as any to let you guys know what all I've been up to, I guess. I got a job working as a freelance writer at my town's newspaper, getting paid a dollar for every column-inch I write! It's not a ton of cash, but it's easy money for writing!

I hung out with my two best friends friends a couple times this weekend and we did a bit of a different smoking setup (that involved me having what I imagine a bad acid trip feels like o.O), and they brought a friend of theirs along both times. I've seen her before but we've never hung out, and I dare say, I've taken a strong fancy to her, to say the least! She's extremely beautiful, and easily one of the coolest girls I've met. She smokes like a chimney (lol) but I can deal with that. We'll see how it goes! Kind of tough to keep in contact not having her number and her barely using facebook, however.

About 2 more weeks until the Social Distortion concert I'm going to with one of my two best friends. He's even getting us on the guest-list so we can skip the whole damned line (maybe backstage pass too?) That's going to be bloody amazing. Did I mention THE TOADIES are playing, as well? Yes, THE TOADIES are opening for them. I'm stoked just by THAT.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Our Love That Never Was



Quick... Think of her name. I imagine all of the guys here immediately jumped to HER. (Sorry ladies. Think about him. I imagine all the ladies here just jumped to HIM.)

I think we all have that one girl. The one who stole our hearts and *never* let go. No other girl could ever possibly hold a bigger place in our hearts and minds. She must have taken more than half and left the rest for all the other girls to split up... Sometimes it's our first true crush, sometimes it's a first girlfriend, sometimes it's that girl you fall for on the train... Whoever it is, she never leaves your mind. I'm stuck at home on a Saturday night, no friends to hang out with, no cigars to smoke with friends (I've picked up smoking a cigar once a week or so with my two best friends. We kick back in the park, listen to Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, etc while musing on life and the world), no alcohol, nothing to do. So here I am, back on Blogger, to share my *HER* story.

Time travel back two and a half years, to August, the beginning of the school year. A friend of mine had dated HER freshman year. The beginning of sophomore year, I suddenly found her extremely attractive. I talked about it with another great friend of mine, who was also friends with her. Eventually, she ended up texting me about a class project. I knew this was my chance. We started talking pretty often, mostly via text. We were each probably sending 50 to 100 texts per day. In essence, texting constantly while we were awake and not busy.

As this progressed, I fell in LOVE with her. I really can't put it in words. It was enough to still twist my gut to this day, and probably for decades to come. I held onto this feeling until one day I couldn't help it. I sent her a massive text explaining how much I was in love with her in the middle of the night. The next morning she replied: "I already have a boyfriend and you know that..." Writing that text was one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my life. We continued texting constantly with this now known and on the table. A couple months later, I reiterated the point to make sure she knew it, considering it was never even mentioned, and she knew...

It carried on and on for months with me constantly telling her how she was the most beautiful girl I'd seen, etc etc. I wrote her poetry, helped her through depressed times, and tried to be there for her at all times. I forgot to buy her flowers on Valentines Day and really beat myself up over that until I realized that her birthday was a week later. The day before, I went and bought a bouquet of flowers after asking what her favorite flowers were. The giddiness and look of sudden joy that swept across her face still haunts my dreams to this day. It was one of the best feelings I had ever known, making her feel that way.

She thanked me several times and we continued talking via text. I had gotten to the point of writing and sending her poems daily for a few weeks in the middle of the night so she'd have something nice to wake up to. As the year wore on, however, things turned a bit for a southwards course. She always said it was her chronic depression. It was more likely a way to ween me off of talking to her all the time... A way to make it easier.

She would go for days or a week at a time without replying to any texts that I or our mutual friend sent her. Eventually, she would start replying again like nothing had happened, explaining that her depression had been severe during the silence. This continued on for several months until the middle of May, 2010. This was the end of it all. She stopped replying to my texts and I decided that there was no use and I would simply wait for her to contact me. I didn't send her any texts for the whole month. I figured that I wouldn't get a reply until she was ready anyways, and this way I would know I wasn't annoying her and she really was interested in talking to me. She never did contact me...

I was standing in the hall, feeling quite down in the dumps. I looked up and saw her and she saw me. She walked up to me and gave me the most loving hug I'd ever felt. It was the greatest thing I'd ever felt. Pure bliss and joy. Something I really hadn't known, still haven't known since... Then I woke up from my dreams.

It's been two years since this all happened. I texted her last night that I was sorry for being too pushy and crossing lines by buying flowers, telling her how beautiful she was, etc when she had a boyfriend. She still hasn't replied to this either, and it is indeed her phone number... I texted her once before a month or two about a gig which she said she would attend (Nope. She didn't).

Damn, somebody fetch me a cigar and a glass of rum. I need to forget it all for a while tonight.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

They've Come for the First...

I saw this on /pol/ linked to RT, but after reviewing the bill's text myself, every word of the article is true.
See this to see for yourself: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr347eas/pdf/BILLS-112hr347eas.pdf

They're taking away our right to peacefully assemble. The House and Senate are finalizing the remedial version to send to Obama. They silently took the 6th with NDAA 2012, and now they've come for the most important aspect of our country - the ability to protest our government. In essence, if you assemble in protest anywhere near *anybody* protected by the Secret Service, you can be fined and imprisoned for 10 years for breaking Federal Law. Want to protest an event Obama is present at? TOO BAD. Want to protest one of the candidates for the GOP who has been granted Secret Service protection? TOO BAD. Want to protest near presidents of foreign nations (Say... the G8 protests coming up?) TOO BAD. It will also be a federal offense to protest near any event Congress deems Nationally Significant (This title was created under Clinton and has included about 3 or 4 dozen events, including States of the Union, Innaugurations, Party Conventions, Super Bowls, etc)

Say goodbye to the first. I'm sure the rest are soon to follow...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Number Stations

I saw a post online today that got me interested in something completely new and different... Number Stations. I've always had a latent interest in some day getting a HAM or Shortwave Radio and learning to use it properly, but I haven't really thought about it intently in recent times. This post asked about info on "Number Stations" and naturally, I fired up trusty Google, and immediately was fascinated. Turns out there are stations across the frequencies that transmit series of seemingly random numbers, letters, or sounds. There are theories abound on what these stations are, but two seem to be the most commonly presented. Either they are encrypted communications between intelligence agencies and spies in the field, or they are transmissions used by drug cartels and other underground networks. Whatever they are, they are bloody *fascinating* to me. The idea of tuning in a short-wave radio and being able to listen to these intelligence or underground transmissions of important data, whether they're one-time use encrypted to be unbreakable by any means or not, seems exhilarating. All this information is buzzing past us as light that is at a non-visible frequency, but it's still there, and able to be seen and listened too... Just not deciphered. Apparently this 'phenomenon' began sprouting up during WWI, and has persisted since. It was extremely prevalent during the Cold War, for obvious reasons. Communicating with spies in a unbreakable code anywhere in the world was probably an extremely useful tool of the time. Even today it is used and must be useful.

Do any of my readers here happen to be into HAM/Shortwave radio? I'd love to learn more about what kind of neat stuff can be done over the airwaves, and potentially buy a radio to get started with picking up some neat stuff (Especially these number stations!)

Here's a video recording of one: (Note I do NOT own or claim rights to this video in any way, shape, or form.)
As you can hear, some can even be quite creepy sounding!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why SWToR < SWG

I'm going to in a bit of a different direction with this here post. I had to write 5 paragraphs tonight about Achilles and the trials and tribulations he went through in the Iliad for tomorrow, so I'm kind of "Wrote-Out"! Thus, I figured I'd go off on something easy to write... going off on a tangent!

So I started playing Star Wars Galaxies about 6 years ago (6th grade, right after the NGE). It wasn't the best game by any means (The NGE apparently killed a lot of the fun), but it defined several years of my adolescence. I resubscribed on and off over the years. I never did max out my character's level, but I had some of my best gaming times in SWG. From pissing around as an annoying storm-trooper middle schooler to my times in an AMAZING Roleplay community, I had my fair share of fun. The Roleplay community was the best, however.

It was attempted two or three times, and fizzled out each time, but proved fun for everybody. The first two, Project Uncle Owen and Project Normal Homestead were the ones that nearly succeeded. In essence, we didn't want to roleplay as soldiers in a war of Jedis and Stormtroopers like pretty much the whole rest of the game. We wanted dynamic, interesting characters we could relate to who were "regular" people. The community decided on a server, and we set out on our Roleplaying adventure. We spent about 3 or 4 hours roleplaying along from a major city on the planet Tattooine to the most desolate location we could find on the map. We built a player city up from scratch. Our own economy developed, and dozens of individual story arcs took hold between our couple dozen characters. The complexities wove extremely deep. I really can't explain it properly. Most roleplay is just "Oh, this is fun. Thanks for escapism guys!" This was like we had a whole other life, and was some of the best gaming experience I've had. (If anybody from PUO or PNH happens to read this, this was brandonman on the forums, jolinar/jolinaya the criminal in-game).

Besides these RP communities, I spent a lot of my free time roleplaying a storm trooper and constantly socializing on the Europe-Chimaera server. I learned quite a bit of European cultural nuances (I use summat and innit quite a bit nowadays!). I made many friends despite my middle-school age. I even had one of my best real-life friends start the game around when I did. Eventually, he quit playing the game and moved away. All of us from town lost contact with him a few months later by email and have never heard from him since... (Alex Clarke, if you see this, hit me up!) I digress. SWG gave me some of the best gaming experiences in my life.

Fast forward to the end of 2011. I heard that it was going to be cancelled in December and got myself resubscribed by the deadline. I planned to max out my character's level in the last 2 months of the game and have some fun on the last day. Well, it turned out, when before there were thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people on the Euro-Chim, there were now *maybe* 15 active at a given time (That was European PRIME TIME!). I was disheartened and didn't attain my leveling goal. Well, the last day came on a Thursday... And I saw the date and logically assumed it would be a Friday as the last day... It wasn't... I missed getting to say goodbye to a game and community that influenced me so much... :(

On to the comparison. I started SWToR with one beta weekend play, and pre-ordered and started it a few days before release. So far, I am EXTREMELY disappointed in this "Successor" to SWG. Everything is ridiculously linear. The story line runs in a line. The planets are a collection of buildings connected by straight closed off paths. SWG was whole planets to explore... Even the SPACE COMBAT is linear. It's seriously like playing a rail-shooter in an arcade. 8 or so years after the initial release of SWG, and this is the best MMO's have to offer? They've digressed in my opinion.

The community aspect has also been poor so far. Several instances split up each planet. Nobody really communicates in any way except "Join my party to finish this quest up". There isn't that sense of allegiance to your server like we had in SWG. We don't really know anybody else on our server. There is no player housing like SWG. We can't have anything like the PUO and PNH projects, which defined two whole summers of beautiful evenings. We can't build our own cities to create camaraderie in guilds or friend circles, or set the scene for fantastic role playing, or even just provide one with a sense of pride in his self or guild. No nothing. The community is just a collection of people running around doing quests and killing each other in PvP here and there.

The game mechanics are completely standard and unimaginative for 2012. Completely linear in my opinion. No sense of community. I'm likely going to drop my subscription as soon as I've maxed out and tasted the end-game... I myself will be keeping an eye on the SWGemu project. Any old Euro-Chim players of SWG, hit me up!

Monday, February 20, 2012

'Twas a Long Break

Hello everybody! I took quite an extended break from blogging, and I do apologize! It'll take me a bit to get back in sync updating you all on the current news of the time, but hopefully I'll hit my groove again! Of course the conflict with Iran is in the limelight right now, as well as the Primaries, so I'll do my best to keep everybody up to date with these! I imagine my next post (Hopefully tonight or tomorrow) will summarize current tensions between the U.S./Israel with Iran.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Primaries

Hey, thought you guys might dig the article on the Primaries structure I wrote for our school newspaper!

It's a year that is a multiple of 4 once again, and as we all know, that means it's election time! Some have expressed confusion over the exact structure of the Republican Primaries that are all over the news this time of year, so I'll do my best to break it down in simple terms to make the structure understandable! As I'm sure we all saw with SOPA/PIPA (There are several other bills on the table now that are much more dangerous, or bills in recent history with worse possible outcomes, but that's another story all together), politics can affect people, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. We have this great system that is called a republic that only works if the population expresses its opinion. Do your part to make the system work as it should by understanding the election process and casting your vote for your favorite candidate!

Presidential primaries were started in the early 20th century in hopes of giving citizens a bit more control over the presidential election. Each state has a specific number of delegates to send to the party's National Convention after the primary elections are finished. In these primary elections, there are three typical structures. The first, the Open Primary, allows any person in the state who can legally vote to vote for who they want to see as the candidate for a specific party. The Closed Primary allows only those who register with the party to vote (You must register as a Republican to vote in the Republican candidate in a closed state, for example). In the Semi-Open Primary, one does not need to be registered with a party to vote in the primary, but must write in and state which of the party primaries (s)he will vote in, and (s)he may vote in that, and only that, primary.

A few states hold caucuses rather than primaries to determine who takes their delegates. These differ in structure in several ways from primaries. For a caucus, there are numerous sites throughout the state (Iowa has 1,774 for example) where people converge for the caucus. Unlike primaries, each candidate has a representative at each site to give a speech in hopes of swaying undecided voters. After the speeches, the people who show up for the caucus write down their choice on piece of paper, and these are counted. These counts choose the county delegates, who then go on to select the state delegates to send to the National Convention.

In most states, the candidates take a certain number of delegates based on the votes cast in their favor (meaning several candidates receive delegates). In a winner takes all state, however, the person with the highest number of votes takes all the delegates for the state. Later on, at the party's National Convention, these delegates vote (based on the number of delegates taken in each state by each candidate) to officially choose the candidate for the party. This candidate then goes on to face the candidate of the other major party to take the Presidential position. Numerous other parties also choose representatives, but in recent history, the only presidents have been those endorsed by the Republican or Democrat parties.

Obviously, Barack Obama, the incumbent for the Presidency, will be the Democrat candidate, so no Democratic Primaries will be held this year. The final Republican primary will take place on June 26th in Utah. The most important day, “Super Tuesday”, will take place on March 6th. On Super Tuesday, ten different states hold their primaries on the same day, making this date one of the most important in the whole primary race. For us as Illinois residents, the primary will be held on March 20th. The Illinois Republican Primaries are a Semi-Open Primary, meaning that you do not need to register with a political party to vote in them, but may only vote in one party's primary. To be eligible, you must be 18 by the date of the final presidential election in November. I urge everybody to research the positions of the candidates and go out and vote on March 6th. Be sure you are a registered voter! I myself will be out on March 6th, rain, snow, sunshine or darkness, rocking the vote for Ron Paul. Our system doesn't work unless people get out and vote, so be sure to do your part to choose what candidate you believe will be best for the Republican party!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bad to Good

Well, I was continuing to see the beginning of the end as Megaupload was taken down a couple hours after Blackout Day (Probably a show of force by FBI & DoJ). Well, the almighty unspeakable board pulled through.

I went to dinner quite enraged. I arrived home to discover that the Department of Justice website, the FBI website, the MPAA website, the RIAA website, and several others had all been taken down by, as the media still likes to call it, the "Hacktivist" (God I hate that word) group "Anonymous". Well, I rejoiced and immediately got to work getting up to speed on the happenings. This was quite a triumphant retaliation if I may say so myself. Dox were put together of Lamar Smith and the CEO of MPAA, Chris Dodd. Let's hope that this helps get them to back off on their grasping at power, and that the people keep fighting back. I think we could be on the road to turbulent times. Given the current direction the government is headed, a turbulent era with a new government rising up for the people would be the best thing for us, in my opinion.

There was also talk of a complete "blackout" of buying anything from RIAA, MPAA, etc. No media purchased over the month of March to cause massive profit losses in Q1. Given how well blackout day went, it's not implausible that this could make a serious dent in their profits, which would send a serious message, given enough cooperation. I also remember seeing talk about a DDoS of the DNS root servers for the whole nation, but haven't seen any more discussion from this. Would likely be *too* devastating for everybody, and would be virtually impossible, although apparently it was tried before and nearly succeeded.

Thoughts on the mass takedowns? I'm hoping people keep the pressure on this government. It's gotten way out of hand.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's working! It's working!

Well this morning, I accidentally woke up a bit late and was marked an excused absence and stayed home, as I was "sick". ;D I spent most of the day working on putting the finishing touches on a 17 page paper that's due tomorrow and studying for a physics test. I think both of them should go pretty well. Wish me luck there!

Despite the fact that, as my readers know, I was told Nobody cares about that politics crap a couple weeks ago in regards to SOPA, the blackout has caused virtually everybody that I know in my school to at least acknowledge SOPA, and many are posting the Google petition page. Feels good! Several supporters of the bill, and one of the original cosponsors have dropped support. They pushed voting back once again to February under pressure. The Blackout seems to have been too much for the bastards. They don't want the vote to go ahead while this pressure is so heavy. Let's hope that pressure keeps up over the coming month and this crappy law does not pass. Don't forget, however, that these guys aren't saints if they strike down SOPA. Almost all of them voted for legalizing indefinite detention of US Citizens at Obama's beckoning on New Years Eve... But so far, IT'S WORKING! IT'S WOOOOORKIIINNNNGGG! (To quote the worst Star Wars film, if you can even call it Star Wars!)

I found a recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara (I really dig cooking but can never find good stuff to make!) and whipped some up. It didn't turn out too bad, but I think I screwed up the sauce. Is the egg *supposed* to not undergo cooking? We'll see if I'm hurling my guts out tomorrow!

I haven't had any of my lengthly narrative stories to post, as nothing major has really happened to me, for better or worse. I'll be laser tagging (AGAIN! This time my lunch table organized it) on Friday, and going to a show of several local bands (all filled with immature jealous people :P) for a little bit on Saturday. The immature jealous environment could make for an interesting evening. Next friday, my band will be playing our 4 hour show at our local American Legion! Expect a fun-filled update there!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

BLACKOUT

So, who else is kind of looking forward to the SOPA blackout tomorrow? I'm hoping that these dumb-asses of my generation might start waking up to the fact that politics actually *affects* them. GASP, an interesting proposition: Politics might actually affect your life :O. Anyways, this weather is ridiculous. 50's in the middle of January in STL? Weird.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Around the World... Or Not

First off, I'm finally reaching the point where I'm feeling pretty comfortable that I can get through 4 hours of material for my band's show successfully (Although I'll probably need a few reminder notes here and there on chord progressions!)

Anyways, time to tie ourselves into the title. This evening, I was taken back to July and August of 2011. A few months prior to that, I had been planning a roadtrip to Los Angeles for a few weeks over the summer with friends down Route 66. I wanted to take a few weeks off from life and experience a whole new world. One where I was free to travel at any pace I wanted, where I was free to do whatever I wanted within legal limits, and most importantly, where I could begin seeing and experiencing hundreds of new situations. I really don't know how to word this, but those of us who have had wanderlust know exactly what this is. My words did no justice to wanderlust, but it can't be explained... Only felt. Well, my Mom decided to put the dampers on this. She is usually very liberal with letting me do things, but decided that this could be legally grey and that she simply didn't want me doing it.

Well, in July, I had a new idea. I had a dream. A goal. Something I wanted to do with my life. Not just a plan of action like I have now (Go to college and hope that I enjoy training in journalism, otherwise I'm S.O.L.), but a goal to work towards that would basically fulfill what I feel I want out of life at this time. I wanted to travel the world. I spent weeks, maybe even a month, doing as intensive of research as I could. Between my summer job I had and this dream, almost all of my time was preoccupied. Every night, I fell asleep to dreams of seeing the ends of the Earth. When life got tough and I would have normally had a straight-up breakdown, I just had to remember what I was working for.

Hours of research helped me prepare a budget of about 10,000 dollars (Plus several thousand of extra spending money) to spend between six and 12 months travelling around the world seeing China, Thailand, Bali, India, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Between my job I had at the time, several thousand I had in savings, and the hopes of getting a job during the school year, I began to see my dream for my life taking a tangible form. I prepared my case for my mother. I would defer enrollment at college for one year (You gain admittance, just wait one extra year). I would seize what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world and discover my true self. It would help me actually find what I wanted to spend my life doing, rather than blindly choosing journalism. I would learn about diversity, tolerance, understanding other cultures, adventure, fun, myself, etc. Well... I presented my case over dinner one evening...

At which point she exploded on me and thus began a lengthy argument with her accusing me of being hostile while I timidly (You haven't seen timid til you've seen me argue my case with somebody that's not my age) tried to present the benefits. Eventually, she simply told me no, and that if I went, she would never support me fiscally again. A month of dreaming for the experience that would change me for a lifetime went down the tubes. From this point on, the only goal I've had is booking small-time gigs for my cover band. Every now and again I'll consider getting a passport, subtly deferring enrollment, and preparing my trip until I realize that in my despair following the crushing, I never did find a job. At this point, it would be virtually impossible for me to ever reach the funds needed.

Well, tonight, a good friend of mine (Coincidentally, the one who went to trivia night) were talking, and this topic came up. The fire has been re-lit. If I could simply acquire enough money to fund it (and he could as well), I would hop on a plane this summer (Maybe with him as a travelling companion), throwing caution to the wind on the homefront, and seeing the world before I die and I'm still at an able-bodied age, as I've always dreamed of doing. I imagine my mom would come around to the idea and take me back eventually...

But alas, 10,000 dollars doesn't just simply land in your lap, whether it would fulfill your life or not. So, here I sit blogging another evening rather than preparing to relax on a beach in Bali, or see the great pyramids, or... I should stop before I sadden myself to death.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bored

Well, we came in third last night for the trivia night out of 10 or so teams. The categories were pretty lame, with most of them focusing around sports. It wasn't the best time I've had lately, but better than nothing!

So now I sit here tonight, EXTREMELY bored out of my wits. It's too late to go out and do anything with friends There's virtually nothing for younger people to do around here besides laser tag and bowling (Which I swore off after becoming progressively worse each time I went during a couple months of bowling each weekend). So, does anybody have any ideas of what I could do with my time? I get progressively more bored with the mundane routine day in and day out stuff. I'll probably end up being an adrenaline junky here in the future.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Snowy Trivia

So we got our first snowfall of the whole winter the night before this past one! Several schools in the area closed, but ours, which is actually quite notorious on the local news for not calling off school for severe weather and some questionable administrative choices, followed their normal procedure. I can't blame them though, the roads really weren't bad enough to warrant a snow day, but our senior class won't have to make up snow days for some reason, so I'm game for any snowday! Despite there being *maybe* an inch or so of snow, it packs quite well. I think I made the most perfectly formed snowballs I've ever crafted waiting to ambush my dad after taking him to pick up his truck he was having work done on. Everybody put your thoughts to making sure this doesn't happen on January 27th, however. I don't want attendance to my band's show cut because of some stupid weather!

I'll be at a Trivia Night to benefit our local Rotary Club tonight with my parents, a couple of their friends and friends of said friends, and one of my friends (The same one who I'm going to have help with my Mayoral campaign :P) Wish us luck! I'll report back with how it went!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thinking Back - A Chance Encounter over Gyros

So today was a nice day of relaxation. The day, of course, wore on very slowly, considering it was school, but my evening was great! No homework to speak of, and no obligations whatsoever. The toughest decision I made was in choosing where to eat. I ended up at a great Greek Gyro place.

It's called Lily's Gyros, and is owned by an Italian couple and their son. Online, people claim it is the best Greek food east of the Mississippi River in the St. Louis area. Some even say it exceeds those in the city. Personally, this and a mall restaurant are the only places I've had Greek food, so I have very little frame of reference, but given what I've had at Lily's, I imagine it holds up! I've been to the restaurant several times before, but I figured a quick synopsis is in order. If any of you are within driving distance of Fairview Heights, IL, it is well worth the trip!

From the outside, it looks like a revamped fast food restaurant. Maybe a Taco Bell or White Castle? I know that it was in fact a major fast food chain at one point before eventually closing down. The building definitely looks familiar in that regard, but I'm not sure. As you open the door, you are immediately greeted by a site that makes any restaurant or building that much cooler... A small news rack with the Riverfront Times. Only the coolest of the cool serve up the RFT every week this far east. (For you non-St. Louis types, the Riverfront Times is a *free* weekly newspaper. It covers everything from important national news that impacts St. Louis in some way to concert reviews to calendars of events that are coming up. (And of course, ads upon ads for sex drive and penis extension, as most papers have nowadays :P)

I ordered my 7" Gyro and water without any major events, and finished my food in complete peace. The lamb-meat Cucumber sauce (Sounds disgusting, but it's what they use on Gyro's, and it's AMAZING!), tomatoes, and onions all combine to create a delectable flavor that you simply can not get enough of. Top it off with Soda and you've got yourself a match made in heaven. Personally, I'm drinking mostly water nowadays for health reasons. Soda isn't the best to have on a regular basis, and I'm trying to cut back different foods and such to narrow down some of my skin stuff.

I noticed their sign above the door that shows the pizzas they serve up, Greek style, and I was intrigued. I know what I'm getting next time ;D

Thinking of this restaurant does, however, take me back to the middle of the summer when I went there on my own for the first time. (I started a Wednesday ritual where I actually went out to eat *without* my parents and they went out with each other. I was a sheltered boy growing up :P)

As the man before me ordered, he didn't seem any different than other people. A bit larger and jollier, but I didn't expect to engage him in conversation. After we both got our drinks and sat at our tables, I ended up at a table caddy-corner from him, facing in his direction. We exchanged names (His name has been lost to the sands of time, for me unfortunately.) He asked me a bit about myself, and upon hearing I myself was without a fine lady friend, proceeded to offer me some life advice.

I don't remember all of the details, but it left a strong impact on me. He first told me about how he met his wife in High School, and they had been happily married for decades. He brought up many points for me to try to remember on treating a lady right and maintaining a healthy relationship. He explained the details of gentlemanly behavior, numerous tips on finding the "Right" one, and maintaining a stable household with children. For some reason, this is the advice I remember most vividly. He asked me "If your children end up directly opposing your wife, but you think the kids are right, what should you do to keep things stable?" I figured that depending on the circumstance, helping the wife view from the childrens' points of view would be optimal. He then explained to me that no matter what, parents need to present a united front. If they do not, the children will see weaknesses and, willingly or not, pit them against each other to achieve what they want. If there is a dispute, the parents should always do it in *private*. For some reason, this advice stuck with me, and is one of the few pieces I remember vividly.

Our conversation went on, and he went to a more spiritual side of things. This is when I found out that his wife had passed away a couple of years ago. I felt extreme empathy for this man, who had just shared a large chunk of his life story and numerous tips with me, as if I had known him my whole life. He explained to me that religion had helped him immensely. When he finally turned to Christianity, he found peace in his life. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I myself am a firm agnostic-atheist, but his story did make me think. For the next couple days, I did in fact try to feel a spiritual connection with deities, but to no avail.

Anyways, we talked for a while more, and finished our food. I left a few seconds after he walked out the door, waved to him in the parking lot, and have never seen him since. Every time I go to Lily's Gyros, I still wonder what happened to the man. I often keep alert, thinking I may see him as I walk in, or he might walk in shortly after me, but it has never happened. I'd love to hear him tell me his story and advice once more, so I could commit them to memory more, but I doubt it will ever happen. Ah well, I did learn from him, and have felt a bit better about life whenever I think of this encounter. If I were still a Catholic/Christian, I would assume he was sent by God. I still wonder if this could be the case... If not, it was a wonderful chance encounter that at the time I felt would change my life course dramatically. I may not have altered course that much, but I'm still doing my best to live my life better thanks to him, wherever he is now.

No Updates

sorry I've made no updates this week! My band and I have been in overdrive working to build up enough material for our 4 hour show in a couple weeks. We're up to around 50 songs (We'll see if I remember them all :P). I've also been working on a 17 page paper. I'm finally done writing it, and all I have left to do after today is do corrections to it. I'll hopefully have a more quality post later this evening!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mayorhood

So, as I'm sure you all have gathered, I'm an extremely politically minded person for my age. Well, one of my not so dumbed down friends, a couple other friends, and I all went laser tagging (Yes, again! I scored 1st, 1st, 11th, and 1st in our four games, out of 40 or 50 people :D) Well, afterwards, we started on one of those crazy idea conversations that are always so fun to have... It eventually went on into some basic number crunching and brainstorming when we went back to one of our friend's house for a couple hours.

I'm hoping to get an acceptance and a decent scholarship from the University of Southern California (In Los Angeles). Yes, California's politics might conflict with my viewpoints, but I'm all for trying out new and different places in hopes of building up fun life experiences. As a musician, LA looks like a decent place (Might be cut-throat, but could be an exciting time). I would have gone with UT-Austin (MASSIVE live music scene in Austin Texas), but my guidance counselor (Known as the worst counselor you could *ever* be graced with throughout our school, even by the teachers) seems to have screwed up on getting school forms in on time.

Anyways, I digress. We decided that if I go to Los Angeles, we would organize a Mayor campaign with him as my Deputy Mayor to be appointed! Of course, I would be running on a Libertarian leaning platform (With strong funding to the police department, medical services, and education but slashes to less important sectors)

Oh, and free bacon day... and free ice cream day, of course. One day per year, the city government would pay for a large but limited amount of bacon for all legal residents. Another day, the government would pay for a very large (and again limited) amount of ice cream for all legal residents! People vote for me would be given 2 free strips of bacon as a sign of good faith and thanks. This of course would be a first come first serve basis. Buying a few strips of bacon for half the population of LA, we discovered, would be *ridiculously* expensive. You can do the math, with about 4,000,000 people there.

Obviously, we would purchase a double-decker bus for our campaign. Our logo would be a bacon strip with our website branded into it. Rather than 'waste' money on Television, print, and internet advertising, we would harness social networks... and the underground... to spread our message. Templates would be provided for 'artists' to spread the word! :P Yard signs, Bumper stickers, etc would be sold to recoup costs. For only 9,000 dollars total, we could hire aerial advertising (aircraft carrying large advertisement banners) to fly the city for an hour of every week, throughout four months of campaigning. Flyers would be distributed *everywhere*.

We would hope for donations from people who support the bacon cause through our website to fund most of the campaign. With our campaign only costing a total 100,000 dollars (Half that if we were to cut out the need for 5 campaign workers to assist us and a building to provide a base of operations), we figured we could maybe even draw a net income!

Obviously I'm being silly with this, but I figured I'd share the fun I had this evening in designing the best campaign ever (WHO could pass up free bacon and icecream, with a campaign only costing 50k?!) I figure I've had a bit too many pessimistic posts here, and was due for a light hearted one!

In all seriousness, I'm thinking I should run for mayor after I'm done with college and financially established... Even better, run in my tiny home town and almost be assured a win! Anybody else ever toyed with this concept? Any other ideas for things that would make me an * irresistible* candidate?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Disinterest is Cool - Interest is Not

I apologize in advance, but I come to you once again with a somewhat gloomy state of the nation/world post.

For my senior year of High School, I chose to join our school's newspaper team, since I am tentatively thinking about entering the journalism field. In previous years, the school newspaper has been filled to the brim with tons of bullshit surveys on unimportant topics, a few stories on sports, and a feature story on some major school event (such as prom). It was basically good for a good laugh (at its poor execution, content, and spelling/grammar), and nothing else. Luckily, this year, a new teacher has taken the helm and wants to make it a somewhat reputable monthly (rather than every few months) circulation in the school.

A couple days ago, I arrived at the meeting for our upcoming late January/early February meeting. I have only had one other story (With two previous issues. One of which my article disappeared at printing) in the paper this year, which was what I based my SOPA article on this website on, with a few minor changes to make it apply to the readers here rather than those at my school.

Well, as people are making comments on the previous issue, all positive, our Sports Editor (Nowhere near a sports person at all) commends everybody for great articles on meaningless high school bullshit, but decides to indirectly single me out. "And about politics stuff... *ahem* Not saying any names..." He stares directly at me, and everybody else catches on, too. "Honestly, nobody gives a crap, and I don't think it had a place in the paper. It was also too long for High Schoolers to read." If I was a typical human being, I would have lashed back with the fury of a thousand suns, shredding him and the rest of my generation to pieces, but instead I took it without saying a word. Everybody except for two agreed, with one only disagreeing because she thought it looked interesting but had no clue what the fuck I was saying (Unable to comprehend basic English words, I guess.)

This brings me to the idea of disinterest with this generation. Now, if it's been the same for centuries, sorry to be spouting off what people have said forever, but I don't have first-hand experiences with previous times. Is it just me, or does it seem that as the years have gone on, each generation since the 60's has found it to be cooler to be disinterested in topics, *especially* politics? It seems to me that corporate America has slowly but surely been dumbing down the people and pushing perspective this way, since it fits with their interests. George Carlin put it best "They don't *want* a population capable of critical thinking. It's against their interests."

I think everybody notices the giant dick that both the government and the corporations are shoving up our asses, but it's not "cool" to care about this or try to change anything. Everybody accepts it, acts like they don't notice it, and doesn't seem to care. Things seem to be going on the wrong path. One or two more generations on this path and we'll have complete totalitarianism. What happened to the youth of the late 60's who questioned everything their government did? Who protested in every city around the world? As Thompson put it, "There was madness in any direction, at any hour, you could strike sparks anywhere." Every time I read that book or watch the film (No I'm not a stoner or hard drug user. Most I've used is alcohol and caffeine, though I've always had an interest in the soft stuff...), I get chills with this short piece of fantastic writing, which described a whole social movement, and its collapse. It seems we are still living in a state of collapse, always falling, and never reversing the tide.

Those of us who show interest in what the government does to us, or strongly support a candidate (besides the shitty ones who the media makes popular - Case in point, 2008 election) are viewed as eccentric, annoying, batshit crazy. Why are those who take an interest in their future the ridiculous freaks, while those who are willing to so docile as to not even fight for their most basic rights the heroes of the story? Some of us try to show these people what is happening, yet they laugh at us for being stupid, easily swayed, eccentric, too opinionated, or... gasp... INTERESTED IN POLITICS OR ECONOMICS :O

Sometimes I think that maybe I should purposefully start backing the shittiest, most destructive government officials I can, just so I can watch all these sad saps realize how wrong they are. Maybe after the Constitution is *officially* dropped, their rights are gone, the elections don't matter in *any way*, the internet is completely locked down, they're stuck in a military prison for suspected "terrorism" for the rest of their lives... Maybe then they would wake up and fight for our rights. Then again, maybe not. Maybe they would still want to be "Cool", always accepting the shittiest fate given to them without so much as a fight. Because, face it, Politics just isn't cool, broski...

Does anybody see any hope with this current generation? (The one that is in the High Schools and Universities). Personally, its my own, and I see nothing for it except the rat-race and economic enslavement. Please prove me wrong. I would love to see hope here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Iowa Caucus

As I'm sure many of you know, Mitt Romney pulled out a win by 8 votes over Rick Santorum at the Iowa Caucus last night, with Ron Paul trailing behind by a few percentage points. I'd just like to provide a bit of commentary on this event.

First, is anybody else surprised they would call it with only an 8 vote lead? Given the margins for human error in polls, I'm really surprised this wasn't done again just to be sure, or Santorum didn't call for a recount or something. (Maybe there's a rule to keep Caucuses from being too large that they don't recount? I'm not sure)

As you might have gathered, I myself was pulling for Ron Paul all the way. I still find it a bit fishy that Rick Santorum exploded out of nowhere to effectively lead the state. Nobody seems to take him seriously, he performs poorly at debates, and he's friggin' crazy. (Has anybody seen the story he has confirmed where one of his children died at a premature birth? He and his wife took the dead fetus home, introduced it to their children, played and talked to it, and slept with it in their bed. Yeah. A sane fellow to be in the White House.)

I might sound like a typical Paulbot, but I sense chicanery. This virtual nobody in the debates that has very little following whatsoever, and was far back in the preliminary polls, jumps out of fricking nowhere to nearly take the whole state, all while the counting facilities were moved to an undisclosed location? I'm probably being paranoid, but it seems quite sketchy to me. Oh well, there's many other states for Paul to take, or for somebody sane to rise up in.

I am quite happy that Newt Gingrich performed so poorly. He has some decent ideas on domestic policies, although I don't agree with much of it. He falls into the war-mongerer category (With everybody except Paul it seems) when it comes to foreign policy, however. And of course, he has some serious shadiness when it comes to inside dealings and corruption. Let's hope he doesn't take all the other states by storm.

Michelle Bachmann dropped out of the race this afternoon after her poor performance. I don't think I know *anybody* who would have been willing to vote for her. Her vocabulary consists of "Obama", "Fault", "Obamacare", "Iran", and "Weapons". Did she really expect to get anywhere at all?

Enough rambling by me! Who are you guys pulling for in the GOP Primaries? I imagine I might see quite a bit of Huntsman. I hear a bit from some of my intelligent friends, but haven't gotten a chance to look into him yet. Seems he performed poorly in Iowa, sadly.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012: My Money's on One HELL of a Year

Well, my New Years festivities consisted of me spending time with my Dad and two of his friends sampling some beers I haven't gotten the chance to try before, and sharpening up my Euchre game (Which is getting up to a decent level, if I may say so myself!) I arrived home kind of disappointed I didn't have any of my *own* friends to spend New Years with, but hey, it was fun none the less.

Unfortunately, the evening seems to have gotten crazy in a less than positive way on the political front. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 was passed late at night by President Obama from his vacation in Hawaii. He said he had "serious reservations" about signing the bill due to the indefinite detention section, when Senators have taken the floor stating President Obama his self in fact requested that protection of US Citizens from this be dropped from the bill. If you have not been following the development of this, I'll briefly summarize the controversy.

Every year, the government passes the NDAA to prescribe funding to the different branches of the Military. This year, things got a bit suspicious. Section 1031 and 1032 specifically allow the *indefinite* detention, WITHOUT TRIAL, of anybody who is even *SUSPECTED* of being a terrorist, or somebody who supports Al Qaeda. Given the government's numerous definition of "terrorist", this could be used to crack down on OWS protesters, those of us who disagree with the mainstream political agenda, dissenters, etc. Sub-section (e) of Section 1031 seems to protect US Citizens from indefinite detention, but the ACLU, lawyers, and numerous Senators and Representatives believe this is not the case, and this bill could theoretically be used to detain US Citizens indefinitely. Several of the opposing senators to this bill have even taken the floor stating that Obama *demanded* indefinite detention of US Citizens be included in the act (I watched the video from C-Span myself). This could easily lead to a police state that cracks down on any dissenters and throws them into FEMA or military camps forever. The question is, will they use it this way? Only time will tell. I bet they might if the world continues on the path it's following.

In other news, some crazy stuff went down with the OWS movement and the police, once again. First off, I IN FACT was watching a live broadcast (Justincast) by Justin Pool when this occurred. Somewhere around maybe 2 AM EST (Not sure on exact time), police cornered off a mass of people who were marching towards Zuccotti Park and arrested them all. Some protesters, including the broadcaster, were able to bypass this capture and join another group. About an hour later, police on scooters seemed to be escorting the group. As the group reached an intersection, Paddy-Wagons, more scooters, and dozens of police arrived. They surrounded the marchers on the sidewalk with officers and scooters. They informed them that they were blocking the Sidewalk (By walking on it?) and that they *MUST* disperse. They pointed them in the direction to disperse towards. As people then followed orders and headed this way, police officers arrested dozens of the completely non-violent protesters who followed police orders without dissent. They forcefully shoved out the live broadcaster. As they were rounding up the protesters with seemingly no justification, they saw an Observer for the National Lawyers' Guild talking on his cell-phone just outside the encirclement. Several officers sprinted towards him, yelling "DROP THE PHONE", "GET OFF THE PHONE", tackled him to the hood of a nearby car, handcuffed him, and shoved him into the Paddy Wagon.

Strange things were afoot in New York. I'm hoping this isn't the beginning of the repercussions of NDAA 2012. Had you been watching the feed live, you too would have been completely *Disgusted*, watching US Citizens being trapped and arrested for following police orders. Welcome to the Police States of America

I think the last stand of the people is coming soon. If we don't take back our country now, they will likely have unbelievable power over us, making any resistance impossible. We can hope that the election of 2012 helps solve this problem (I'm a supporter of Ron Paul all the way, but if we don't clean up ALL of Washington, nothing can get done). I doubt, however, that the election will be able to change much at all...

Thoughts on the current state of affairs in the US?