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November 28, 2002
Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I'm thankful

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I'm thankful for all-a-y'all (as far as I know).


November 25, 2002
**disclaimer** I already wrote this

I already wrote this very nice little entry, it wasn't done, but man was it ever going in a good direction. Then my computer crashed, the damn bastard, and it was all lost forever. So, if this is brief, perfunctory, and leaves you with a sense of wanting more, that's why. It may also have an undercurrent of hostility, but it's not directed at most of you, don't worry. The rest of you, well, I just don't know what to say.
**end disclaimer**

Yeah, screw it. I'm not going to try to write about what I was trying to write about before, it's just too depressing. This should be part of the disclaimer, but I'm not even motivated enough to move it. Here it stays.

I was inspired by a documentary on Frank Lloyd Wright the other day to produce something, some work of art or works of art, that will make people think I'm a genius. That way, all of my irresponsible behavior, my failures, my obnoxious character traits, will be seen as eccentricities and practically celebrated. Certainly I'll feel under no pressure to change any of them, and after I die, people will talk about how I could never save any money and had a weakness for watching awful TV instead of, well, instead of anything else, with a little wink, a knowing smile. "Whatever he needed to do to get into the state to produce such a beautiful work, well we'll have to excuse him. He was, after all, a genius." The only problem with this plan is that in order to accomplish it, I'll have to break with most of those "eccentricities". The inevitable rub rears its head.

I had an idea that I would read the entire Homeland Security Act (H.R. 5005), so I would have the facts on my side for at least one of my rants, instead of my usual mostly-at-least-somewhat-mis-or-underinformed diatribes. It's 475 pages!! I fell asleep twice reading the table of contents.

This is a problem. How can I be righteously mad at my elected representatives if I don't really have a clue what they're up to? I know it's complicated to run an entire country, especially one with so many Waffle Houses, but there must be a better way to inform the electorate. I know, I know, it's supposed to be our duty to remain informed, not the duty of the government to inform us, but shit, lately they're taking great pains to make sure that we can't find out about anything even if we ask.

"Every spirit builds itself a house, and beyond its house a world, and beyond its world a heaven. Know then that the world exists for you. Build therefore your own world." - Emmerson

November 20, 2002
Well, the Senate passed the

Well, the Senate passed the Homeland Security Act without ammendment, allowing for the government to create a vast database of information on US citizens, ranging from what books you took out of the library to what web sites you visit. People seem to think this is in the interest of National Security. I'm really starting to wonder what it is we think we're protecting anymore.

I sent various emails to my Senators and Representatives urging them to act resposibly on the Homeland Scarrrrey Act, as did some of my friends, but to no avail. I tell ya, it's getting scarier every day. I had a conversation with another friend last night about trading privacy and civil liberties for security. I tend to be pretty strongly in favor of protecting civil liberties, so we were discussing gun control. The obvious problem is that I don't like guns, but I like civil liberties. I don't think people should have guns, especially not stupid scary people, but then again I understand that it can be viewed as a civil liberty, and people who believe in it fight just as strongly for that right as I would for my right to read anything I want without anyone knowing or caring.

In the end, I think I'm for the Chris Rock Proposal. In one of his bits, he proposes that bullets should cost $5000. Right now they cost about 17 cents. If bullets cost $5000, Rock argues, people would be damn sure they had a good reason before they shot someone, and we'd have no more innocent bystanders getting popped. I think it's a great idea. I believe we should be careful to protect the rights of our citizens, and should generally fail on the side of more liberty, less security. But liberties come with responsibilities, and if it means you have to sell your car to get a single bullet, great. The right to have weapons would be preserved, but it would no longer be able to be taken lightly.

By the same token, people who buy monster truck SUVs that get 4 miles to the gallon should have to donate one of their kidneys to a needy family.

It always seems that the country is going down the tubes, of course. In my nascent quest to be a history buff, I've been reading about the Civil War (ours) recently. Now there was a serious difference of opinion. Arguable we have a very serious difference of opinion now too, as we probably have every single day since then, on one issue or another. Though I do wish our politics were as bald-faced now as they were then. Maybe we'd get more done, have more fruitful debates in Congress, if our representatives were getting in fistfights almost daily, challenging each other to duels (Jefferson Davis did that), and pulling guns on the Senate floor (Henry S. Foote). I mean, that's serious passion, and you gotta think they didn't get that riled up because some corporation gave them a nice campaign contribution, they really believed in whatever they were saying. So maybe that's the answer; arm Congress.

I'm lately embroiled in the nightmarish world of cell phone service shopping. And that's all I have to say about that.

More stuff that I should be reading:
UN Security Council
Bob Woodward
Bill Moyers

And about a million other things. Someone want to read all this stuff and give me the gist of it? Thanks.

November 14, 2002
I absolutely insist that everyone

I absolutely insist that everyone reading this go out and see Bowling for Columbine. Go. See it. Now. I'll wait.

Wasn't that great? I mean, really, this is easily the most important film I've seen in years. If every man, woman and child in America saw this movie, you have to believe something would start to change. How could you stare such an unbelievably terrifying portrait of our "great" country in the face and say everything is going to be okay. We're doing fine. We're not. We're killing each other, killing everyone else, killing the freakin planet, come on.

Anyway, see it. I'm serious. If you want me to pay for the ticket (I'm unemployed), I will. Really.

Oh, I've also lately resolved to write something besides this damn ass journal blog. It's fine and all, and I know you guys can't quite imagine your lives without it, but it only takes me so far. I'm going to embark on a journey soon, and for it to succeed, I'll need to develop some discipline. I have to practice writing things that take more than one sitting; writing things that nobody will ever read; writing something with a purpose other than.... this.

What else.. Volleyball sucked last night, we played like a bunch of no good for anything good for nothings. Saw 8-Mile in surround sound, but it wasn't because of the theater's sound system, it was the people providing delightful commentary throughout the picture. "OOOH!!! DAMN DAWG!!! HIT 'IM AGAIN!!!" During one scene in a hip-hop club, the effect was actually interesting, as the crowd on screen cheered and yelled, it was really like being there. I hit upon the following idea, stop me if you've heard it. Just kidding! You can't stop me.

They should have talking screenings and non-talking screenings. If you want to have a conversation with the characters on the screen, voice your disapproval to their choices, or warn them against going into dark basements, you can see the 5:45, 8:30 or 10:45 showings. Jump up on the seats, throw shit at the screen, sex in the back row, go nuts. But goddamn it, at the 7:30, 9:00 and 10:15 showings, if anyone says anything above a whisper, you're out. No second chances, no warnings, gone.

The Columbine movie and the 8-Mile movie experience both made me want to move to France.

November 10, 2002
i'm sorry my friends but

i'm sorry my friends but i've nothing to say
it happens sometimes when my brain's in the way
it's hard to do this, day after day
i think and i look and i sleep and i pray
that i'll write something good, a book or a play
but for now i'm just rhyming, isn't it gay

November 6, 2002
I'm going to have to

I'm going to have to skip a lot here. It's been, like, weeks.

There were so many things during that period I thought of to write about, but most of them I've forgotten. Some of them are on various slips of paper here and there, or in little notebooks of one kind or another, but they don't mean much to me anymore. I should put more detail into my notes, "customer service" and "stoned artists" just doesn't work.

I voted today, participating in our some-call-it-a-democracy in my feeble, half-assed way. I knew something about some of the races, but not much about most of them. When that happens, I generally just go down the Democrat column, flipping all the little levers. Sometimes I vote for someone who has a cool sounding name, as long as they're not a Republican. Some of the Republicans are probably fine people, would make fine legislators, but when I gotta shoot blind, forget it. They have too high an incidence of psychos. And shit, these days, they don't need my help, they're doing terrifyingly well all by themselves. I also threw in a vote for the Marijuana Reform Party Candidate for Governor of New York. Arguably it was a "wasted vote", though I don't believe in such a thing, but I thought it important that he get at least one vote. Some of us are behind you, Pot Boy!! Go man go. Seriously, it's an important issue to me, and not just because of Twinkies. It's not about people getting stoned, though they should if they want to, it's more about the real problems that cascade from these retarded laws. Problems like overflowing prisons, violent crime, police harassment, privacy issues, important stuff.

Anyway, I voted for him. He lost.

It feels good to vote, even if I'm not exactly the model voter. At least I voted. I have earned the right to complain for another 2 years. It's my bread and butter.

Liz and I have been back and forth to Baltimore/DC/Virginia about a million times in the past 2 weeks, and we're going again on Sunday. Crazy, you say? Yes. It's been good though, rallied against the Iraq nonsense, went to my 10-year High School Reunion (freeeeeeeaky), got kicked out of a bizarre after hours club, but enjoyed the experience, came in second in a Halloween contest at a bar, and did some work on the Badunkadunk. Liz and I are really starting to seriously plan for our trip though, which is weird and wonderful. It's been one of those things, for me anyway, that was just something we talked about, but I never took it entirely seriously, which isn't to say I didn't think we would actually go. But now we're drawing maps, making lists and more lists, then losing them and making them again, buying propane cylinders and seriously considering how often we'll have use for a shower.

We're also coming up with all kinds of little things that we hope to do along the way. Themes we'll explore, things to write about, etc. To wit:
1) I'm going to start writing letters to companies detailing my treatment at the hands of their employees. With every passing day I become more agitated by the state of customer service, and I'm not going to just let it go anymore. I'm going to write letters. That'll show 'em. Really, it probably won't, but it will give me even more right to complain, and maybe I'll get some free stuff. To wit wit:
a) Today I went to the Circuit City at Union Square, surely the most unbelievable example of the breakdown of the service industry of our time. It's like a parallel dimension where there are more employees than customers, and yet none of them talk to you. When they do talk to you, they're hopelessly uninformed about the products they sell. You ask a question, they read the back of the box. I'm sure this service is useful for the illiterate, but it ain't worth a damn for me and you. Today I stood in the car audio section for 30 minutes and not a single employee said a word to me. I did my best "I'm lost" and "What's this doohickey do?" faces, and saw several employees notice me doing it, but to no avail. I guess I shouldn't have been so selfish, it was obvious that the group of at least 6 employees over by the stereos were involved in an important discussion, bopping along to the hip-hop music they had thoughtfully blasting from one of the higher end models. I considered beginning to stuff my pockets with printer cartridges, thinking that might at least attract some attention, but discovered that I'll only go so far to make a point. What I did do, though, was to talk to a manager. Many many times I've simply walked out of that store in disgust, but my new thing is not-to-do-that, so I asked to speak to the manager, told him what a ridiculous shopping experience I'd had, and he took $30 off of my $80 antenna. I was still mad, but I like discounts. So, you see, it works. I still might write them a letter, maybe I'll just write it to my brother, he's a Circuit City black belt.

I'm thinking of becoming a history buff.