Monday, January 30, 2012

Rocketman


I drew this while hanging out alone. My mind does weird things

Eve in LEO


Found this old drawing I did. Eve entering the battle over the Earth.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fountain Hit

A short story:

I had been hit hard from the left side. It was disorienting; no context and suddenly I was grasping at anything to try to catch myself from hitting the ground.

Those split seconds are like looking at old photos; something is blurry and in motion, another thing is perfectly in focus and completely still. The edges are faded and everything seems basked in a surreal light. A moment captured perfectly and imperfectly in its own way.

The ledge of the fountain was perfectly in focus; the round river rocks that had been mixed into the cement to make an urban 70s style fountain were completely discernible. I noticed that the fountain was not a dark gray as I had always assumed but full of colors; subtle tones of maroon, green, indigo, burgundy, orange. Marbled little rocks that had been tossed around by natural forces. Pieces of sharp boulders had fallen from the tops of mountains and been gently polished into round and smooth river rocks. Some construction firm had pulled them from someplace down river and mixed it with cement to place it here, in the middle of a concrete jungle; the centerpiece of an ersatz babbling brook.

My phone passed as a blur in front of my face, made the cracking sound that hundreds of dollars of micro-electronics makes when it hits an unyielding surface and splashed as three pieces into the water.

My hand flashed out, grabbed the ledge, and planted on the corner. Time resumed its normal pace and I exhaled what was left of my sentence in an expletive of frustration and bewilderment.

“I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else, I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry.”

My ears were ringing and the heavy numbness of getting hit in the side of the head overwhelmed me. My legs briefly disappeared under me and only my hands held me up. “S’ok, who’s someone else?” I heard myself ask. It was really a lot of questions rolled into one.

“My mortal enemy,” the voice was shorter than me. I tried to turn my head to see what force had hit me. I started falling again and tried to see what had just radically altered my day once more but failed once more. “Are you ok?” The voice suddenly took on a sex--female.

My pride suddenly hurt a lot more than my face. “Yeah I’m fine, mortal enemy?” I turned and sat on the ground, leaning against the walls of the fountain.

“Ex-girlfriend.”

My pride crawled into a corner and started tying a noose for itself. I had just been sucker punched by a lesbian half my size and the ringing in my ears had given every sound an unpleasant resonance. “My phone.--”

“It’s in the fountain,” I heard a splash as she threw her hands in to reach for the phone parts. As I tried to compose my thoughts I noticed passersby staring at the fountain. The midday sun escaped from the spring cloud that had been hiding it and rested on the small plaza. Heavy drops of water dripped on my shoulder. I looked up and realized that she had jumped into the water without a second thought and retrieved the pieces of my phone. I started to speak.

“Here you go, I’m so sorry” she interrupted. I noticed her for the first time. She had a frizzy head of curly auburn hair. Her jeans were soaking wet to her knees and her long-sleeve hung heavily on her arm as water streamed off the cloth. In her hand were the parts of my phone.

I extended my hand tentatively and pulled the parts from her hand. I put the pieces on the ledge in the sun to dry them a little. A slight breeze passed through the plaza and a shiver overcame her. She used her dry hand to start wringing her wet sleeve. As she did so I noticed a pink bracelet that said, “I heart boobies.”

I started to get up and got dizzy; I sat on the fountain ledge. “It’s ok. I’m sorry I’m not your mortal enemy. That was a good hit.”

“I’ve been saving that up. I should have known you weren’t her. She’s in Virginia anyway,” she realized that she had mistaken me for a woman, “not that you look like a woman. You um...you just wear a similar sweatshirt and walked like her.”

“I walk and dress like a woman?”

“That’s not--I mean--I’m so--”

“Don’t worry about it, I’m fine,” my humor returned to me a little.

We sat there for a minute or two more as I tried to regain my bearings. We got up to go, shook hands, and smiled weakly at each other. She went to the tree where she had tied her dog up with a bungie cord. I realized that I had an extra dog-leash in my pocket.

“Hey, do you need a dog leash?” I called after her.

She turned and looked a me sheepishly. “Yeah, I really do.”

I walked up to her and handed the leash off. We laughed tensely as I did so and we parted ways--she a little more conscious of her target, me a little more conscious of my gait.

Friday, January 27, 2012

GOP Adrift

Why the GOP is not looking so hot right now.

The GOP isn’t looking so hot right now. The party is leaderless, directionless, and unable to get out of its funk. The nominees are either perceived as fake or crazy and their voting constituency is uninspired. There are three recent events that have been playing in the media that illustrate this decline well. The invocation of Reagan in argumentation, the recent Keystone XL pipeline, and the seeming split between GOP elites and the base.

The first issue is the use of Reagan in Republican rhetoric. Reagan’s policies aside, he has been used as if he were a perfect presidential example; the pinnacle of Republicanism. This is patently untrue--the Gipper had some modern conservative ideas but was largely a middling president who went back and forth working with Congress to raise taxes and expand the government for the majority of his time in office. His personality was winning, and his policies were hardly radical. In fact, the Republican party has moved far to the right since Reagan was president. It has moved far more drastically than the Democrats have moved left and what Republicans consider the middle used to be on the fringe in Reagan’s day. Reagan and other moderate Republicans at the time have all espoused this at one time or another and it is a well-documented fact. So appealing to Reagan in the Republican primaries has become akin to calling on Paul Bunyan--a larger than life character with dubious basis in fact.

This is indicative of a disconnect in the rhetoric of the party these days. This sort of Reagan brandishing has come to be an empty symbol. What substance can such an invocation have when the candidates (and the voters for that matter) aren’t sure what that means? The answer is none.

The second issue is the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama was required--as part of the payroll tax extension deal--to make a decision as to whether or approve the construction of the proposed pipeline that would extend from Louisiana to Canada and go through the critically important Ogallala Aquifer. The Republican line is that Obama has shown himself to be a partisan president that bends to the will of environmental special interests at the cost of American jobs and energy independence.

Maybe the president is but Keystone XL does not prove that. The facts seem to suggest something far different. Keystone XL would have been a union construction--a core voter group for Democrats. Obama, in voting to approve or deny a permit was already in the hot seat with two core voting blocs of the Democratic party. Strike one.

Obama eventually went the route of the environmentalists. But that’s not necessarily true either. The process for approval is long and often tedious; sometimes redundant. In a local project with minimal environmental impact--say clearing a few acres of forest with no known endangered species--the process of determining whether and environmental impact statement (EIS) is even needed can take up to six months. On a transnational pipeline that process can take years--like three at least (the amount of time that Keystone has been in the works).

Certainly the Obama administration was wary of its previous attempt at fast-tracking with the Solyndra scandal so it is understandable that Obama was more cautious about an enormous pipeline that goes through the middle of one of the most susceptible aquifers in the nation. Strike two.

The project isn’t dead either, it simply needs to continue with the process it was on before Congress made it a rider amendment to a completely unrelated bill. In fact, if the process continues as needed it is likely to be approved and construction will start sometime in the near future. No jobs were killed through Obama’s refusal of approval; merely a postponement. In fact, if Obama had fast-tracked it the project would have likely ended up in court and be litigated on for a minimum of ten years while multiple environmental groups file suits to halt action. It is unlikely that under any circumstances other than the regular process the project will enter the construction phase. Strike three.

What’s important about this is a clear misunderstanding of how the Federal government works. It is also slightly unnerving to think that the presidential contenders think it is ok to assert executive authority over the democratic (as in government not party) process.

The GOP has managed somehow to lose on every bit of this issue starting at the payroll tax and extending to the fiery rhetoric that wholly disregards the American system of governance as well as managing to be woefully uninformed about political realities. It’s more directionless anger that doesn’t manage to quite make sense.

The third point is the seeming split between the Republican elites and the base. This has been used a lot by Fox News in particular to discredit Romney. First of all I think it’s clear that the Republican elite is not uniform in any way--in fact it seems to be just as split on its options as the base. Fox News clearly has many conservative pundits with extraordinary influence--party elites who run in all the tight circles and drink in smoke filled back rooms. And people like George Will, John Sununu, Rich Lowry, and Anne Coulter all have very different views about who should be doing what and where the party should be going. The elite seem just as fractious as the base.

Yet at the same time many of these influential figures have accused the GOP ‘elites’ as being out of touch somehow. The GOP elites have become a scapegoat for why Romney is doing so well and the Tea Party isn’t getting more of a say. But that just can’t be true. At the end of the day, the primaries rely on the masses instead of the elites for a decision. It appears that the base is selecting Romney just as much as the ‘elites’ are.

Perhaps it is more attributable to the sense of feeling cheated that seems to be emanating from the party. Republicans consistently say that their votes for Romney are really votes against Obama--it’s an indication that none of the candidates are right and no one in the party is happy with that. The elites become the other on which to pin the troubles of the party itself.

And therein lies the problem. No one in the party is taking responsibility for its state. The candidates invoke a mythical bygone era, the political reality is distorted, and the vision of the future is lamely unrealized as someone else’s job. The party needs to get itself together if it is to win elections or get its policies passed. The Republican party is adrift without a rudder, and everyone seems to be paddling in a different direction. If the GOP wants a victory this fall it needs a compass to find its bearings, a steady drummer, and an effective captain to find favorable winds.

Unscientific Method

Ok, let’s talk about this. Go ahead, read it. It’s the Wall Street Journal Publishing an editorial from 16 scientists who say that there is “no need to worry about global warming.”

There are many things to address here. And I think I will leave the majority of the big questions to the experts in the field. So let’s talk a bit about the crux of the argument that is given. Not all scientists agree that global warming is real. That is 100% true. Not all scientists believe that. There are approximately 5-8% of scientists who don’t believe in global climate change.

And being a dissenting voice is great. In fact that’s all part of science. Dissent and alternative hypothesis/evidence is very important to improving our scientific base of knowledge. All of the best renegade scientists were not only brilliant but adamant challengers of the status quo.

So if you are really worried about something in the field and think that the evidence or conclusions are wrong then you go do some experiments. And that’s where these 16 scientists stopped being scientists. In looking on Wikipedia (yeah, shoddy research) all of the scientists that signed had a section on their dissenting views on climate change; none of them had peer reviewed papers. Fewer even worked in relevant fields of study.

A critique of group thinking has merit. We need rebels to tell us that we could be wrong. But we don’t need contrarians for the sake of being different. These scientists conveniently bypassed the scientific method by posting an editorial about global climate change. They weren’t reporting on findings; instead they were conjecturing as to other causes of global warming--which isn’t real.

And the public shouldn’t be concerned about reducing CO2 because plants love that stuff. They grow so well when there’s tons of it. And the earth could just be warming naturally even though CO2 is a known greenhouse gas along with many others that humans have been pumping into the air for the last three centuries and we’ve been depleting our CO2 consuming life-forms drastically so the greenhouse gases stay longer in the air and that exacerbates the effect and don’t mind the last 20 years as being the hottest on record and getting consistently hotter. It’s all cool.

But even if the earth is just warming naturally we still need to be figuring out what to do about the effects. Things like the fact that coastal cities are at risk to rising sea levels and the economic problems that could cause.

But that doesn’t matter because the scientists that work on this have some sort of economic agenda to help third world countries? According to this editorial, it is wrong to worry about the state of our natural environment (and to rigorously study the global climate), to work on sustainable future solutions that may not adversely affect human health and lead to energy independence, and--y’know--the polar bears thing.

I propose this. If you have a problem with the scientific literature then design an experiment, record the data objectively, and if the results come out differently then publish them in a peer-reviewed journal. Don’t bypass the system and complain from the outside to the public that the majority of scientists are practicing the scientific method and coming up with a consensus. It’s not dogma to rigorously experiment.

Final thought: Climate Gate 2009 was a hoax--look it up on the Daily Show. It was a bunch of pro-industry folks selectively picking quotes out of context and in context it clearly showed the scientists following the scientific method. What irony to accuse people of manipulation when that is what you do to make your case.

You don’t believe climate change is happening then explain the data with rigorous scientific experimentation and repetition. Same goes for all science based policy. That is all.

Urban Family Public House

As you may or may not have noticed I haven’t posted in a while. It’s because lots of fun stuff has been happening. And I’m exhausted because of it.

Crystal was in town for a night and Ciera and I hung out with her. We explored two places: Carta Oaxaca and Urban Family Public House. Both are in Ballard and both are awesome. Carta Oaxaca is a bustling Mexican restaurant that specializes in their mole dishes. And they are awesome. I scarfed their food down and soaked up the busy atmosphere with a Dos Equis (it means two Xs in Spanish by the way).

Great little place, I have to go back there with Ciera. I scrambled to pick her up from her work downtown but terrible drivers kept slowing me down. Bicyclists that think I can see them in the dark--I can’t see you. Bicyclists that think it’s ok to run red lights and ride in the middle of the lane--it’s not. Cars that think it’s ok to change lanes without signaling--it’s not. Cars that think it’s ok to reverse in the middle of the road because you missed your turn by fifty feet--not ok.

So driving took a little longer than if there weren’t any people there. I still made it there on time. And we made our way back to Ballard where there is an awesome little place that just opened called Urban Family Public House. These guys have 20-30 German style beers on tap and are very knowledgeable about their brews. The beers aren’t Bud Lights so expect to pay a bit more but it is totally worth it because the beer is cool and so are the owners.

Crystal happened to know one of the owners from her work and he seemed like a cool dude. Ciera and I will be returning if only to check in and say hi again.

And yesterday we went to see Erin Jorgensen’s main stage performance at On The Boards. I loved the piece; conceptually brilliant with haunting lyrics and innovative use of the Marimba; if only life were as beautiful as the simple composition of her encompassing pieces. the use of light, color, and audio effects pulled me into her world and from then on we were on her ride. It was funny, it was sad, it was a dream I couldn’t quite remember.

So yeah, it’s been quite the week.

Barack You're In


That's what Michelle Obama said!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rand Paul Missed His Connection

Just a little catch-up on my life and then I want to write a little bit more about the GOP political scene right now.

On Saturday Ciera and I performed our Missed Connections piece to a small crowd of artistically minded people. They seemed to like it. Ciera and I are going to try to clean it up and audition for 12 Minutes Max with it. So we are excited about that.

After the Town Theater’s first big event we went to a couple of bars in Capitol Hill. And when I was stuck in the crowded club trying not to get molested by a Ronnie D look alike I realized why I don’t go to these places anymore. The entire clubbing experience lies in the desire to do a mating dance on a crowded and sticky floor. There is adrenaline and energy, alcohol and cigs; a life full of anticipation, sweat, and excess.

And it’s all because you hope that you go home with someone or blur the loneliness into waste and feel comfortable against another warm body. You stand in the cold in line; sit in uncomfortable and dingy chairs; pay too much for social lubricant.

Even hipsters in Seattle go to these clubs; but they are dressed like they are about to see the greatest indie band that you have never heard of. It is bizarre to see Mr. Skinny Jeans Bedhead Flannel guy dancing to Mariah Carey.

It happens though; all in the name of fun. And that seemed like the perfect coda to Missed Connections.

Ok so, let’s take a look at Ron Paul.

Ron Paul’s big claim to fame is his libertarianism. Libertarianism can very generally be summed up in a couple of favorite quotes of mine, “Ima do me, you do you.” “You do what you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.” “Government should be small and protect us only from the most egregious violators of the law.” “I’m from Nevada.”

That last quote actually may be one of the best--seriously. Nevada is considered one of the most individualist states; one that embodies best the rights of the individual over a strong and pervasive government.

Libertarianism is interesting politically because it does not make one a Democrat or a Republican. In fact, being a libertarian has been put on a grid with liberal and conservative occupying the x-axis and libertarianism and authoritarianism occupying the y-axis. So, one’s political beliefs can stem from a fundamentally liberal or conservative perspective but the way one would implement the laws determines one’s libertarian or authoritarian orientation.

Ron Paul is a conservative libertarian. He has many classically conservative values but is a strong advocate for “getting government out of our lives.”

In the last 20 years this movement has grown drastically, and with the rise of groups like the Tea Party, has heavily influenced the Republican party--as well as the Democratic Party. Arguably, during the W Bush years many Democrats were liable to call themselves libertarians chiefly because of their opposition due to expansions of government--particularly executive--authority such as warrantless wiretaps, indefinite detentions of US citizens, and suspension of habeas corpus. In fact, Democrats for a long time were adamant about shrinking what they perceived as an out of control military industrial complex that had eroded our democratic (as in democracy not the party) ideals.

The crux of libertarianism is what Ron Paul has called ‘Constitutionalism.’ Constitutionalism is a problematic term for me and I will use it for clarity’s sake with the caveat that I briefly explain my reservations. The word constitutionalist implies that the believer is dedicated to a strict interpretation of the US Constitution which is fine.

But the term implicitly hints that someone with opposing viewpoints does not know or respect the Constitution. The terminology doesn’t actually leave much room for debate on a document that was very intentionally made with vague language and provisions for revision because our Founding Fathers knew two things: they couldn’t agree on everything, and their forebears wouldn’t either. The US Constitution is one of the shortest of any country and one of the least informative.

The Bill of Rights had to be added after the ratification of the Constitution because people were so skittish about the Constitution’s brevity and lack of individually enumerated rights. Several states nearly rejected it for two reasons: it created a strong central government, and it did not guarantee individual rights.

The amendment process was created and with it the phrase, “the Constitution is a living document.”

Ron Paul’s Constitutionalism is realistically another interpretation of the US Constitution. It’s not wrong, it’s strict though. And strict in a way that can be difficult to defend.

Not every point mind you, but certainly a few. So now I'm going to go through the issues on his website; it jumps around a bit so keep up. Most glaring is Ron Paul’s position on abortion. I know this is hot water but we must wade in.

So I’ll just quote his website on this one so as not to make a fool of myself. Also, there is no such thing as a partial birth abortion according to my friend who would be definitely informed on this (haven’t specifically looked it up myself and I won’t argue the point too finely as that’s not the point I’m trying to argue, but look it up if you have some time).

Ron Paul would, “effectively repeal Roe v. Wade and prevent activist judges from interfering with state decisions...by removing abortion from federal court jurisdiction through legislation modeled after his “We the People Act.”

That sounds like he would increase states rights, but look at his mechanisms to do so. It requires federal legislation to over-rule Roe v. Wade. He justifies his action as anti-activist judges. But that argument fundamentally does not hold water. Ever since McCulloch v Maryland (1819) the Supreme Court has asserted its power to interpret the Constitution not explicitly outlined by the printed word.

Our ‘activist judges’ are merely trying to apply the Constitution to an evolving world. There is certainly nothing in the Constitution about computers, yet we hardly make the case that judges are being activists for allowing warrants to search the digital archives. It is plainly absurd to limit a cop to a traditional search of a digital device (something akin to that one scene in Zoolander where Owen Wilson breaks a computer open to the files inside).

When it comes to abortion, Ron Paul would lean on his powers as an executive in conjunction with the legislature (big government anyone) to dictate what local judges can and cannot do.

One last bit on Mr. Paul; his descriptions of the abortions he was ‘forced’ to witness are plainly illegal and/or inaccurate. And his site unethically lies about what organizations like Planned Parenthood can do with the federal funding they receive. Let me be clear, organizations like Planned Parenthood are not allowed by law to use any federal funding for abortions. Period. Only a fraction of Planned Parenthood centers even provide abortions; the rest provide low cost medical access and information--rigorously backed by the latest advances in the medical and psychological field--to provide quality care to low income or at risk individuals. Planned Parenthood’s primary goal is to prevent the spread of disease, unwanted pregnancy, or dangerous and illicit behaviors through access to information to help people make smart decisions. Their goal isn’t to harvest fetuses; it is to lower the incidence of abortions as much as possible. The states with the lowest access to these services have the highest rates of abortion or teen pregnancy. Sorry, little rant there.

Anyways, Ron Paul’s Constitutionalism may not be his strongest suit, and many pundits like to blab on and on about how he isn’t a real Ayn Rand Objectivist--yadda yadda yadda. But he is fairly consistent with his lassaiz-faire (French for hands-off) approach to governance. Excepting how he sees his executive power (able to easily bend Congress to his will which takes either a radical victory or an authoritarian executive) he does believe in letting the states free.

Ron Paul believes in drastically shrinking the footprint of most of the government: military and social services. In a Ron Paul world we would have a sustainable homeland defense but not much else. We would probably have something similar to Kennedy’s (and believe it or not Obama’s) vision of our military. Small elite units backed by other force-multipliers that could surgically take on any future military challenges. Not bad, but that does mean those cuts could severely impact our industries. Lockheed Martin and Boeing have been severely hit by the recession and cutting back on contracts to the two aeronautics manufacturers would most likely mean their bankruptcy or the lay-offs of tens of thousands of workers.

Mr. Paul would like to do that for most government agencies and the companies that the government contracts to. His policies would mean the contraction of jobs and economies reliant on our government in massive numbers. This would result immediately in the loss of over a million jobs (2 million were lost in the Great Recession) in the short-term and the long-term contraction of such jobs that could be worth many millions more.

His belief is that this workforce would be picked up by the Free Market; new innovations and industries would flourish under a freed up system; one radically devoid of the red tape that hampered industry before.

Well, not really. Think for a second. The government currently subsidizes most of the food on our tables heavily and only a few large conglomerates own the majority of America’s food supply. Removal of said subsidies could make prices skyrocket but not necessarily result in higher pay for workers. In fact, workers would probably take a pay cut in industries such as beef and corn.

I’ve written plenty about how the Free Market is just as utopian as a Communist Society. Realistically we have a democratic and capitalist society that has an interplay that is far from absolute in any sense. A capitalist economy has to play by the rules of a democracy; plain and simple otherwise we end up like China on one side or the failed Articles of Confederation on another (EU anyone?).

But Ron Paul does stick to his guns. And so does everyone else. That’s sort of the problem. There has been no legislation even hinted at by the Obama Administration, the Democratic Senate, or the 2009 House of Representatives to limit gun rights. Gun control for liberals (the Democrats’ main voting bloc) is one of the lowest priority issues; the NRA has even successfully loosened gun restrictions in several states. The only people it is an issue or even a threat for, are candidates trying to stir up voters. The days of Reagan, HW Bush, and Clinton are over and most Americans can buy almost anything short of a rocket launcher.

Ron Paul wants to end the Fed. Two reasons this is probably not a great idea: the EU and president Jackson’s pet banks. And as always, the Articles of Confederation. Central banking is very important to a modern functioning economy. That the Fed may need reform or an audit is actually a pretty good idea. The Fed isn’t directly accountable to really anyone and could use a little oversight. But if that were to happen Ron Paul would have to use the Federal Government to limit our central bank--a distinctly un-libertarian approach.

Unions. Ron Paul is all for the Right to Work. That’s generally a person’s way of saying that they want to limit the power of unions. And I don’t like corrupt unions or unions that force me to join them just so that I can work. But then I look at the nuance of the situation; right to work states have some of the highest rates of poverty and poorest quality of life conditions. State legislatures that have ‘freed up the labor market’ by limiting severely the collective bargaining rights of workers have found that they face some of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation and some of the worst economic problems of any states.

States with right to work laws tend to have boom or low skill labor industries that are impermanent and do not employ highly skilled workers. These industries have a tendency to leave states in 15-20 years and leave behind boom towns without a fallback industry. My thesis adviser spent a lot of time working on that and I also came across a fair amount of it for my thesis. So yeah.

I would love some labor reform though. Union bosses and the structure of unions could use a lot of reform to ensure that skilled laborers are allowed to work and that corrupt fat cats aren’t exploiting the working man. But considering how CEO pay has ballooned out of control; I’d say that wealth disparities lie more in companies refusing to disburse profits more equitably to the workers who put in the work and much less in annual union dues. In fact, the failure of pay rates for workers to rise with CEOs can be seen as a failure of unions to bargain effectively.

Ron Paul has character flaws--racist newsletter whatever. All of those personal attacks are so blah. Realistically Ron Paul has been an effective debater and a shrewd organizer on the campaign trail. He refuses to go away and has presented effective (and far better thought out) policies and views than his rival candidates.

His forceful attitude and unorthodox approaches make him not only a candidate to watch but a candidate whose views will have a resounding impact on the Republican (and probably Democratic) party for years to come.

I think that his long-haul approach to the campaign could be an effective strategy. I think that he is smarter than the other candidates. And I generally respect Mr. Paul for hanging in there even though the media insists on ignoring him.

Rand Paul was recently detained by the TSA and searched. He missed his flight. Get the title now?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Contra 2/2

I think I’m starting to get the GOP argument. See, Obama just outmaneuvered everyone, and that has to be unfair somehow. It is a rare instance in politics where everyone wins. And surely not everyone can win. At least, I think that might be the GOP rationale. Obama just used effective economic policies to create a situation where everyone at the table got an advantage. Perhaps except the Republicans who have little, if anything, to really (as in genuinely) be mad about.

So let’s go to foreign policy a little. In Libya, Obama’s policies have garnered him widespread support in the country because the revolutionaries insisted on support but not military occupation. The US let France take the lead, and they are happy with us because they got to use their coordinating chops. And we still provided the big firepower and didn’t lose American lives. Cheaper than Iraq, more effective at regime change, and it yielded worldwide respect.

Sometimes there is a need to use a blunt hammer as the tool. But if that’s the only tool in your tool kit then everything starts to look like a nail.

We got Osama bin Laden. And we did it by pseudo-invading an ally’s territory. But we didn’t say sorry about that. And the notoriously unstable Pakistan got all butt-hurt and is now dealing with the potential collapse of (another one of) its civilian governments. But this time it looks like the civilian government is standing up to the military in a radically different way; one which could pry loose their semi-fundamentalist Taliban sympathizing grip on the nation.

We removed troops from Iraq. He ended the highly unpopular war and did so in the timeline that he set out. This is such an unpopular issue as to be a moot point. Who cares what the result was at this point; it definitely hurt our ability to successfully negotiate any foreign policy with even our allies. Even Iran has been more amiable since our exit—despite its saber-rattling.

There was no apologizing here, by the way. The Obama administration has put steady pressure on Iran, tightening sanctions and unilaterally (as well as multi-laterally) taking actions in the United States’ national security interests.

Again, I’m just not sure what the Republican rhetoric is saying and I’d love to figure it out. Obama has not shown himself to be shy to take action, use the free market to his advantage, strike a balanced partnership between government and his agencies, decrease the governmental footprint, and lower taxes for the vast majority of Americans.

He has been the captain in a terrible storm that was brewing for some time before he took office. He has largely steered this nation through it with a consistent moral fiber and strength of leadership that has been far from perfect but certainly well-played.

The issue, more or less, is that there are plenty of things to attack Obama on. He is not perfect nor is he ‘conservative’ by any means. The big problem is that the Republican candidates—and Obama’s detractors as a whole—insist on trying to contradict him at every turn.

Frankly they look like whiny babies. Nothing he does is right, even when it’s what they wanted. If the GOP wants to put up a campaign that really has the stuff to take down such a calculated man then they have to concede that sometimes politicians—regardless of party affiliation—really do care about their constituency and can actually accomplish good things. Obama is an American and devoted to trying to keep this nation great. Sometimes there are disagreements about what policies are sufficient or if the tact was correct. There is nuance in everything.

The thing is that the party of Reagan is now unrecognizable as such; it is obviously struggling with its identity; searching for its soul and defining its image based off the utopian dream that Obama is not accomplishing somehow.

Just a few things that strike me. Newt Gingrich getting mad at John King for asking a bit about accusations from his former wife regarding his desire for an ‘open marriage’. Gingrich shot at King saying that no one had any business in his personal affairs, calling it part of his private life (and implicit in that assumption the right to privacy).

So there are two things here. First, Newt has railed against the right to privacy as established in the Griswold v. Connecticut. The decision basically asserted that there are implicit rights to privacy even though the constitution does not explicitly lay those out (a combination of the 4th and 10th amendments). He (along with other candidates) has called it a prime example of activist judges at work trying to create law without having the authority to do so.

Second, Newt was one of the most vocal critics of President Clinton’s illicit affair (glass house and stones anyone?) and called for his ouster because his moral failures had clearly invalidated him as a leader of this country.

Finally--because this is far too long--I would like to point out the small government mantra that we keep hearing. Under the last three Republican presidents (Reagan, Bush, and W Bush) the government has drastically expanded its scope of powers, its ability to directly monitor and detain citizens without due process, and has even raised taxes a bunch.

The party of Reagan is not a mantra; there were many nuanced philosophies of government and they were subject to the realities of a limited executive (even though the last five presidents have expanded that office drastically). If the candidates truly believed in powerful states and a small government I would expect their advocacy to sound a lot more like the Articles of Confederation--and that worked so well before.

I hate to end my argument on a political-historical joke (it makes me sound like an ivory tower liberal) but I grow tired of being confused and pose only a final plea to the GOP candidates. Please get it together, because I can’t waste time analyzing every tree you see as out of place--there is a forest out there and seeing it will help you all cut down your contradictions.

Contra 1/2

I don’t want to presume to know what goes through the Republican candidates’ minds. I really don’t. But I would like to dissect their speeches a bit. Because I can’t really get a grasp on their positions right now.

Let me explain. Obama has been portrayed lately as a crony capitalist and as a socialist. He’s into food stamps, can’t create jobs for union workers via Keystone XL, is beholden to special interests like unions that hate the free market, and is a Wall Street insider that helps out only the most luxuriant fat cat Americans.

I want to emphasize that this isn’t about what I think of the president or his electability; this is about what his critics have been saying and the relative obscurity of the attacks levied. Let me be clearer about some of the arguments tossed out by the Republican candidates so far and their inherent contradictions.

Obama is apparently an anti-union environmentalist that doesn’t see the upside to creating nearly 120,000 union jobs for the Keystone XL pipeline that would bolster America’s energy independence. Yet he’s made the largest investment into domestic alternative energy of any president. No matter on that though, Solyndra was a $200 million debacle; the product of his crony capitalism—it was a rushed decision that put the American people at risk in a bid to create jobs and tout domestic energy policies.

But wait; isn’t that exactly what the Republicans demanded less than a month ago so that the president could extend a tax cut? The answer is yes. The Republican leadership tried to force the president to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline before all of the required environmental and economic studies had been completed on the assumption that the pipeline would create jobs. So I guess that makes him a flip-flopper?

One final word on this; the unemployment rate is on track to steadily decrease throughout the entirety of this year to levels not seen since before the Great Recession.

And speaking of taxes, I really don’t understand the argument that is being made by the GOP right now. The GOP refused to extend a tax cut that would benefit small businesses and the middle class—saving people thousands of dollars on their tax returns for 2011. The party of no new taxes almost deadlocked Congress into failing to pass a valuable extension to the payroll tax.

But guess what the candidates have been saying about Mr. Obama? He has been raising taxes and all he’s a tax and spend liberal. The budget speaks for itself; despite our massive debt, which I will talk about later, Obama has steadily shrunken the government by reducing the number of government jobs and lowering the tax revenue coming into the United States’ coffers by (surprise) lowering taxes for low and middle income workers.

Even for all of his rhetoric about raising taxes on high earners, Obama has failed to even successfully pass one bill to raise taxes on corporations or high-income earners. In fact, in his bid to close tax loopholes—something quite agreeable to the majority of the public, businesses, and most non-Tea Party politicians—he has failed to even get that done. So our government has continued to shrink steadily while non-governmental jobs have been added to the marketplace.

What about Obama’s draconian regulations? Well, that question may be trickier but again lies with our Capitol Hill politicians and much less with the president. Much has been said about the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; an executive regulatory commission that has the job of overseeing the financial industry and making sure it does not exploit consumers. Congress voted to approve this agency in the wake of the housing bubble’s collapse. This was an extraordinary event that exposed some very negative practices that had allowed the financial industry to take advantage of consumers. When the candidates talk about so-and-so who lost their job and their home and the American Dream; they are talking about people who were victims of lenders with extraordinarily high interest rates (some could be and are currently as high as 365%) on loans. At the time of the housing collapse, the average American savings was -11%. Then the banks started repossessing and foreclosing.

If you keep up with the news at all you are quite aware of the many predatory, semi-legal, and definitely illegal things that banks and credit companies have been doing to their clients. I will not go over them here. So Congress created the CFPB as a way of making sure that a repeat didn’t happen. Like any executive agency the president was required to appoint the members of the commission subject to congressional confirmation. The trouble was that the Senate refused to even vote on Obama’s appointments.

Obama, in fulfilling what he was legally required to do, has incurred the wrath of the GOP for ‘overstepping his bounds.’ Yet he has also been depicted as weak for not doing enough to stop predatory practices and as a Wall Street ‘crony capitalist’ who isn’t doing enough to curb corruption in Manhattan. Except at every turn the GOP has stymied his efforts to do such things because that’s against the Free Market.

So this brings us to the deficit. Aside from the fact that government debt is drastically different from household debt—short story, debt doesn’t matter as long as the country grows fast enough and America is growing fast enough—the Obama administration has added $1.4 trillion to the national debt. Large spending measures such as the bank bailouts and the take-over of GM (which saved thousands of jobs I might add) which were already in motion as Obama took office were passed with overwhelming support in both houses. Obama has also added several modest pieces of spending to his legislative agenda during his term as well.

But let’s contrast spending with spending. His predecessor George W. Bush added over $5 trillion dollars to the national debt through his two terms and short-circuited a surplus with tax-cuts that have yet to be repealed. Bush’s ‘tax cuts’ actually ended up raising taxes after ten years for the wealthiest 95-99.9% but curiously cut the taxes of the .1%--or people earning $2.6 million or more per year. Talk about class warfare and a problem of spending. Even if one is to accept the argument that Obama—and by proxy liberal tax and spenders—are outrageous class warfaring government expansioneers the argument must also be extended to his predecessor extending to at least W and probably as far back as Hoover--and let me emphasize that this includes Reagan.

Ok, but what about Obamacare; the reckless piece of government intervention that kills American jobs and tears Liberty from the bowels of this country’s heartland? Well let’s start with the first bit that has been pretty unanimously agreed to by experts in the medical field. Most of the provisions were sorely needed to fix a damaged system. So the majority of the law is fairly uncontroversial. That has to be pulled off the table--not up for debate.

Secondly Americans pay a ton for healthcare. But we suck at getting a bang for our buck. Healthcare costs in the US are some of the highest in the world but our quality of care hovers in the upper teens. The stuck-up Europeans, the Moose-headed mounties, and the Godzilla fearing Japanese all pay less with their socialized systems and tend to get better care. Basically, they don’t use a socialized system to deliver a better end result. And of course there are problems with their systems--long wait times--but there is no denying that our life expectancy is far from the highest in the country and our costs are higher. We just aren’t getting what we paid for.

A big portion of this problem is that hospitals and doctors are legally required to give medical care to anyone who needs it regardless of whether they can pay. Naturally those that can’t pay tend to skip out on bills, neglect to get adequate preventative or early treatment, and often use far more expensive emergency services. So the entire system is swamped and the costs get passed on to the responsible guy. Obamacare’s solution was the individual mandate. It requires that all individuals purchase some form of medical insurance. This guarantees people access to health services and defrays the cost put on the public enormously. How much?

Well $500 billion. That number might seem familiar. It’s what the candidates in the GOP have said the president has taken away from Medicare. In reality that is the projected savings of Obamacare’s individual mandate in the first decade or so. It’s technically a cut to Medicare, but it’s more like the extra dough in your pocket when you quit smoking--you just don’t spend it on that stuff anymore. Look it up the non-partisan Congressional Budgeting Office said so--more or less. With Obamacare the government actually got smaller, by half a trillion dollars.

And the health insurance industry is expected to pick up 40 million customers by 2014. A major boon to the industry. And because insurance companies are now allowed to trade across state borders, costs for the consumer are expected to decrease as well. So Obama used principles of the Free Market to regulate and improve an industry that asked for certain provisions all while shrinking the government and providing superior services to everyone.

Thursday Homemaggedon

This is google news on Thursday. It was blowing up with my hometowns under attack. Rare to see those two cities in the news--let alone together.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gary and Jenny

Based upon things I've actually seen walking through Seattle.

A couple short stories.

Gary

Gary was a large man; he didn’t hide it. And the weather wasn’t going to make him. He had on his cargo shorts, his tube socks, and his rocking out t-shirt to go with his awesome hardcore rock hairdo. He didn’t mind that there was snow falling lightly around him, or that the roads had turned into big piles of slush.

He was headed to 7-11 and no one could stop him. So he naturally was in a rocking mood.

At the light a bus stopped in front of the cross walk. And Gary had his stage. He started in with a guitar solo, “neer, whaaa, ne-weearrrgh, yeah!”

His body moved to the beat in his head. His arms flailed wildly. He took exaggerated steps and pounded out the awesome solo with his feet. He stopped in front of the bus and looked at the bus driver. The two stared at each other for a moment. Gary stopped his dancing.

Then resumed; with more force. Because being Gary meant rocking it out all the time. And not rain nor snow would stop his mission to rock out whenever he felt it necessary.

Jenny

Jenny couldn’t find a sled. But the hill was full of snow. And she wanted to go down so badly. She had on her skinny jeans and her awesome hipster boots; her brown down coat, and her pixie cut hairdo. Jenny knew what she wanted out of life. And right now she saw a sledding hill that needed a sled. The road had been closed because it was far too steep to drive up or down. But it was excellent for sledding.

There were no sleds around. The tragedy of living in a clean city is a lack of sledding materials; cardboard boxes, plastic bags, and container lids--absent. Jenny surveyed the scene and found her solution. Of course! The sign that was used to close the road. Just fold up the legs and use the slick metal surface as a sled.

She put it on the ground; kicked it a little. It slid a little. She kicked it again; it slid again. Jenny paused and looked around, shrugged and committed.

Jenny laid down on her stomach and thrust herself down the hill. Her makeshift sled moved a foot and stuck firmly in the snow. She thrust herself again, the sled was just stuck a bit. A little more gravity would loosen her from her rut. She scooted and pushed inching further down the grade. Then it came unstuck, and she cruised down the hill. Down and fast she picked up speed.

Then she was out of control. Too fast, too wild. Her eyes went wide as she heard the sound of traffic turning into the road that was closed.

Fire and Ice

When it snows in a city that has no snow removal capability the enormous truck with giant tires and heavy duty 4x4 technology has the last laugh. And for two days every year he is king.

The rest of the time he’s a jerk and all of those guys in Smart cars can go, “ugh I bet that guy’s carbon footprint is way bigger than his tiny dick. Oh no, I spilled gluten-free locally made organic hummus on my Patagonia cashmere.”

My carbon footprint is teensy because I walk to work and no weather stops me because my two feet work better than chains or even giant treads. So I beat out everyone and they can all suck my very average sized genitals.

Sorry mom, I know you read this. That was uncouth. But dad, I hope you laughed at that, because you said I should do more comedy.

There is a big fire in Reno. Lots of people have been evacuated and they evacuated the base of operations because the fire got there. It was Galena High School. Reno has now experienced its second major fire in three months. The old joke is that it’s so close to hell you can see Sparks. I don’t think that is much of a joke anymore.

People have been sledding down Queen Anne Hill. It’s shut down and national news. The official forecast is ice and freezing rain and, “go home now!” No joke. The city has issued a release that says, “go home now. It’s not going to get better.” Maybe if they got a snow plow one inch of snow wouldn’t paralyze a metropolis of nearly 3 million people.

Anyways, people sledded down the hill even though parking enforcement tried to stop it by putting police tape across the street. I’d hate being parking enforcement. It’s a job where all you do is make people hate you. Nobody is ever happy to see parking enforcement. “Thank god, I ran out of money for my parking meter thirty seconds ago and really need to be fined 100 bucks for my discourteous infraction. Thank you so much for making me a better citizen.”

It’s cold and wet outside but Ciera made a lovely dinner and brownies. How wonderful it is.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Missed Connections vSemi-Final

The nearly final version of the piece. Come see Ciera and I perform it this Saturday at SPACE in Pioneer Square.

Missed Connections:
Preamble--if you get lost, trade lines. Names that are not M or F denote deviations from the ‘main’ story arc.

F: If loving you is a crime...I should be frisked and cuffed immediately!

CHILL: I'll come over and we can chill (takes a picture of penis) Like it says I'll come over we can chill, have a fun time, watch a movie, or something else. I can sleep on the couch if you want. Reply to this post?

SEARCH: I looked up your name on facebook but couldn't find you anywhere I even googled your name and couldn't find you. Well I hope you read these things cause I thought we hit it off and would love to talk to you again. If this is you I hope to hear from you.

WRITER: You always asked me to write you a missed connection. Well here it is. Do you remember the first night we spent together? We willed ourselves to stay awake afterwards. I can sit here and reminiscence about all the moments we had together. But I think that night will always be my favorite.

CLOSED: (melodramatically) Closed. Facebook closed. Linkedin closed. You hate me. Everyone hates me. I’ve nothing left. I won't be here anymore. Don't look for me. It will be like I never existed. No one cared enough to even give me a hug. It's really all I needed. To feel cared for and loved.

All: (Sigh) Reply to this post?

F1: Unless all of the following points are true

M: Use your 'back' button to exit this part of craigslist

F1: I am at least 18 years old--(scoffs) yeah...

M: I understand 'missed connections' may include adult content

F1: I release craigslist from any liability that may arise from my use.

All: (one bored, another monotone, another flabbergasted more or less) Choosing safer sex for you and your partner greatly reduces the risk of contracting STDs including HIV.

F: In the barber shop there was the hottest guy waiting for a haircut. He had beautiful blue eyes and a maroon ball cap, and no wedding ring. He was sitting in front of the pictures posted on the wall for the types of haircuts offered, and my kids kept standing in front of him... I apologized, and he said--

M: that’s fine (laughs)

F:--and laughed. My son wanted the NIKE sign shaved into his head and I said NO, and the guy started laughing.. Just can’t get you outta my mind! Chance of you reading this or ever seeing you again is slim to none, but hey never know right?

M: I don't know if you look here anymore or think about me. It's hard to move on without you, I don't know how long it will take to get over you, I wish I didn't have to, but that's not my choice.

DOE:Well that wasn't very productive I saw you today and basically ignored you because I'm afraid if I look at you I will just stare at you like a deer in headlights. I have a pretty good feeling you are married anyway since you are older than me and seem to be a well pulled together person but I do have a little crush on you even though I rarely see you. I guess you could say the place where I see you is the the type of place where you don't have an opportunity to really talk much anyway you are busy and I don’t want to make you feel awkward . Reminds me of a school girl crush--though I’m kinda 10 years past that cut off. Anyway that’s all.

M: It's like you're Hell bent on hurting me..

F:????

M: Yes! I would like to purchase the bucket...all four of them...Your incredible smile and beautiful eyes really made my day!

F1: I saw you at the store. I think you saw me! (winks and M waves back) Hope you see this! Email with a description of me and what I had in my hand so I know it's you.. I helped you again at the bus stop? Hope to hear from you soon.

M: We chatted about soaps and scents... Your voice deep and sexy... Your laugh incredibly contagious... Your smile precious... Your hair beautiful and flowing... We chatted about a few things... I was interrupted by a call. I wanted desperately to tell you how beautiful you were in my eyes... My heart was racing. If you happen to read this please write back. Id just love to make a new friend. (Smiles, waits alone on-stage. Smile becomes strained; fades to neutral then worried).

F: (Something physical) Do you know how many of us are out there? If you really want her, she needs to know you are talking to her!

M: Trying again with more details. We talked about electronic cigarettes and dildos in the store. I'd love to talk to you more about it (winks and smiles). (Waits, gets frustrated, looks at phone. Walks to bus stop, and stands, notices girl standing there). We were at the wrong bus stop. You had brown hair and a red jacket with the hood on. When I first walked by you smiled and said hi. I was kind of shy, but we kept smiling at each other. You gave me butterflies and it felt good. You have stunning eyes, so much so it made me nervous when you spoke to me. I haven't felt like that in a long time.

PBNJ: Half a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich for sale: it’s half a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich that I could not finish eating...also includes some chips and a pickle spear! Asking Price is $1.50, but other offers will be considered. If interested send e-mail.

M: Unless all of the following points are true. Use your 'back' button to exit this part of craigslist. I am at least 18 years old!

F: Once, a few years ago when I was still angry at life and you had just moved here, we hung out a few times. I see you over the counter about once a week, and your smile sticks with me for days. I'm not angry at life anymore, and I'd like to see you again, but I don't want to put you on the spot and I have no idea if you're even single. Perhaps we could watch football together? Not really, just a familiar reference.

GAY: Nervous morning swimmer - Not sure if you'll see this, but thought I'd try. You're at the gym a few mornings a week. You're average height/dark hair and eyes/lean/hairy/uncut. You and I swim around the same time most mornings and catch each other's eye. I've gotten hard and jerked for you in the showers and sometimes you start to join me but then stop because you’re nervous. You're always hard or semi-hard when we're in there, though. I see your wedding ring and I know why you're nervous, but I just wanted to reach out and tell you that you don't have to be. I really want to help you explore further but will respect any limits you have. If you're interested in taking things somewhere more private, email me and let's talk about it. I really hope you see this because seeing you in the mornings and not being able to do more with you or at least talk about it is making me crazy. I'm not a stalker...I'm just an admirer and I see from your hard on that you at least feel the same way a little. If you see this and email me, tell me what kind of speedo we wear...we both wear the same kind.

CLOSET: I hate the very thought of you! So keep crying asshole. You are so fucking stupid. You make me sick. How can I make you understand me? What the fuck do I have to do to get it through your thick ugly fucking head? If you ever come near me I'll spit on you.

ST NICK: I was your secret Santa, but the thing I really wanted to give you isn't something you can wrap in a bow. Well, you can, but it gets in the way. You're taken, I'm taken, but man am I taken with you. If you ever want to get your jingle bell rung by an elf who can keep secrets, come on down to my north pole and let's get sledding

F:Casey Webb About 5 foot 6. Where is he? I need to find him.

NEW: Happy New Year. (Pause) Day after new years I waited for you to cross the bridge first and wished you Happy New Year. (F echoes happy new year) Coffee?

RANTINA: I was outside, ranting to two of my friends -- one of them a boy, the other a girl, they're dating each other and unconnected to me -- I, myself, being connected to no one. I was probably smoking, though it's not really a habit of mine. We sustained eye contact and you smiled at me, I smiled and probably blushed, simply because you're adorable. Anyway, I'm writing this now because I still think you're beautiful and probably very interesting -- and let's face it, that eye contact packed a lot of punch. Say hi, or otherwise leave this nothing but a happy memory.

M:I traveled back in time today. An angel came to my life last year and planted her seed of love in my heart. And until now I wasn't brave enough to cherish and water that seed. I found the courage to overcome social mockery and travel back in time today and water the seed. I like to think it's not too late.

F: Any ways I was working at the time and my boss was with me getting things for the office but I saw you and you looked a little sad and out of it, I thought I could cheer you up I know I caught your eye cause I was winking at you and gave you a little wave and kiss when you grabbed your bags. I have not dated for awhile and love to know your name, when I asked the cashier if you were someone I might know she said you had a geico bussiness card?? you did not look like a insurance salesman but could have been your day off who knows ,, so if you see this please give me a reply? wont you?

M: Why didn’t I say something? We gazed at each other just as I was leaving, hopefully there wasn’t just cilantro in my teeth but nonetheless maybe you could have helped me get it out...with your tongue?

F: I helped you find your bus...you said--

M: Thanks for all the trouble.

F: Nice ass by the way. (Stands at stop and watches the bus pull away)

M: I should have jumped off that bus when we looked at each other and smiled as the bus took off. It was around 6 pm and we were both waiting in the rain at the same stop. You're gorgeous. I regret not getting off the bus and pursuing you. Hopefully you read these things. Most likely you don't though. I want to know you.

F: (from CLOSET) How can I make you--

M: Reply to this post?

DUMBASS: Someone gave my dumb ass a leash yesterday. I was super stoned yesterday walking my dog on a bungie cord like a damn fool and having a really hard time with it, and some guy who was totally not impressed gave me a dog leash he had in his pocket right across from Clippers cafe. I wanted to say thank you, and that I owe ya something, cause you saved my life. I’m not usually such an idiot, I just got too stoned to function like a proper human. haha! thanks dude.

DESPERATE MAN:Oh god you're beautiful!!!!! You were sitting across from me and a few seats over on bus 71 today heading into downtown. You were so beautiful that I actually almost handed you my card so you'd have my contact information. I don't know why I didn't. Your beauty literally almost killed me. Everything but your face vanished for me. There was no bus, no people, no noise. Just your absurdly gorgeous face. Please, by whatever powers there may be in this world, let me find you again. This time I won't pass it up.

SEE-YU: I see you at the coffee shop all the time! I have seen you at the local bar, which is amazing since neither of us go very often. We pass each other driving all the time but the most amazing thing was when I went to a memorial service yesterday and you were there too! wow! I sure wish you would ask me out!!!!

M: (F taps out syllables) beautiful day. The sun is bright. My friends are back

F: (simultaneously with M) I saw you at the store. I think you saw me! (winks) Hope you see this! Email with a description of me and what I had in my hand so I know it's you. Casey Webb; about 5 foot 6. Where is he? I need to find him. I thought we had a connection and i was sad you never asked for my number or my name. Well I'm letting you know I'm interested.

M: (simultaneously with F) I saw you smoking outside your car early this afternoon in the Outback Steakhouse and Burger King parking lot. To the guy working the Jack in the box drive thru just wanted to say thank you for being sweet and the free dessert. Yes I will buy the bucket, all four of them!

ASICS: Nice Asics. I’m not a stalker. I’m not desperate. I just like your face. No need to respond, if you read this just know I have more to talk about than shoes.

WRITER: You always asked me to write you a missed connection. Well here it is. Do you remember the first night we spent together? We willed ourselves to stay awake afterwards. I can sit here and reminiscence about all the moments we had together. But I think that night will always be my favorite.

F (simultaneous with M): Tell me my name. Tell me what I was driving. I think I heard your friends call you Matt or Mark. Your Scrubs had me hot and bothered. To Mr. Katie Perry. You: tall dark and handsome. I miss being young with you. Reply to this post?

M (simultaneous with F): Tell me what I was wearing. I was lingering a bit. You were driving a black Lexus. We made eye contact for a fleeting moment. You have stunning eyes. I miss our goodnight texts that were really more like huge paragraphs. Reply to this post?

Repeat?

F: I miss you everyday. I miss our goodnight texts that were more like huge paragraphs. I miss our dog that you kept.

WRITER: You always asked me to write you a missed connection. Well here it is.

F: I miss being young with you. They say in life you love one person the most. They have a part of your heart that no one else will ever get. I want you to know it was you I gave it to.

M: Please if you read this or anyone who knows who this beauty is, respond! I long to know even just your name...

M and F: What I would give...to hug you, see you smile, take in your scent...I do love you. I do...I just can't show you how much...And I want to...So bad. This is hard. Despite my outward happiness, I miss you so much...

M: Ok. Just had to get that off my chest.

F: Reply to this post?

Seattle Snow 2/2

It was like that in Spain a bit too. I remember--and I’m sure my blog can attest to--the inadequate sidewalks in inclement weather. In the rain the sidewalks were slippery; transformed into the least fun ice rink in the world. When it snowed it was even worse. The snow would melt on beautiful stone sidewalks and turn into an invisible layer of wet ice. I stood at the entrance to the Plaza Cervantes and watched people slip violently on the alabaster stones--the slipperiest ones. Umbrellas would shoot in the air; large middle-aged Spanish women fell on their ample butts.

Spain, I spent one semester there and yet I can’t help but wander back there in my mind. It is like that with Australia too. Two weeks when I was twelve and it stays with me so indelibly. Those types of experiences are memorable. Always memorable. We don’t always know what comes with us but when we travel like that, the memory sticks. Like snow on the ground. Most of life is snow falling on a warm pavement; quickly melting away. But a few gather; settling on our minds and making everything quiet for a moment.

I’m waiting for Ciera to get off work. She works at Fireworks in Westlake Mall. It’s a funny little kitsch and much more expensive than kitsch store. She got a ten minute break to hang out with me. We decided to go to Dilletante across from her store. It serves chocolate and coffee. It’s funny how two bitter flavors can be so good with the snowy weather. I got the most bitter, darkest chocolate mocha I could. And it tastes like a little bit of heaven. Last night we listened to all sorts of music; let it play in the background while we worked and cleaned. The apartment is really finally clean. It took so long to get the hallway cleared, but it is. Gentle tunes carried through the apartment, driving us to keep working.

And I collapsed on the bed when the place was clean. I reached for a cup of tea and rested. The snow had ceased falling long ago; the night retreated away from the warm lights of our home and I drifted to sleep.

Seattle Snow 1/2

Things you don’t really hear in Seattle. “Is there a coffee shop near here?”

It snowed here in Seattle. It usually snows at least a few times a year every year here. At least that’s what I’ve heard. But the problem is that with just a little snow the city shuts down. Ciera and I wandered around Queen Anne yesterday. The side streets weren’t plowed and cars struggled to move through the layer of ice under the layer of slush under the layer of beautiful fluffy snow.

We walked to Kerry Park and took a picture of white noise. A gray canvas stood before us completely obscuring the city. It was quiet and beautiful like snow always is.

We secretly hoped that it would snow us in; keep us inside and keep us from our work. But that is difficult of course. We make our money off our hours these days. It’s hard to make that stuff up. Every fun hour is a lost dime; a pittance but far more than we can afford.

Today I walked to work like I always do. But this time I left a little early. The sidewalks were completely frozen. I should have brought a sled to go down Queen Anne hill because any other way was a mess. Little baby steps down a mountain. One foot in front of the other as I used the feeble traction on my shoes to keep myself upright.

It was that moment when my feet went up hill and my face jerked toward the steep incline covered in ice that I realized how precarious bipedalism is. It has many advantages but I couldn’t possibly say that walking downhill on spindly stilts on icy terrain was one of them.

Seattle doesn’t know how to deal with snow. The city rents their snow plows from Oregon. King County has six snow plows. Martial law has real meaning after several days of snow here. And that may very well be the case. We are due for more snow; three whole days. And it’s going to be a doozy. Nearly a foot over three days. Try not to laugh if you are from the mountain west or the north east. We have rain on lock down; but a few inches is crippling.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Watching People Watch the Sunset

Then they aren’t here anymore. Sometimes people just disappear. And that important connection is lost.

I wonder what would happen if there was a line for yellow lights? There is a stop line at intersections, but what if there was a line--determined by a traffic engineer--that let you know if you could safely pass through a yellow light without changing your speed. If you hadn’t passed that threshold and the light turned yellow; it would indicate to you that you should begin braking. Ciera said that would create a problem though; people would just push that boundary.

But I think it would wade out the assholes (who we know exist) from the people who are genuinely unsure about how to react when they see a yellow.

I also don’t get cyclists. Some cyclists tend to have this, not a car so I don’t have to follow the rules of the road mentality. Being on a bike does not give you permission to run red lights or fail to yield to pedestrians. Cyclists can be jerks just like drivers of cars. It is important to be courteous on the road.

And people in Seattle do crazy things too. Like the big black woman who crossed the street nowhere near a crosswalk at night. I barely saw her; mostly because she blocked the headlights of the oncoming traffic. She was a ghostly black specter crossing the road. Pedestrians; please use the sidewalk. It’s fifteen extra seconds of your time and keeps me from hitting you when I am driving.

We don’t have to live in enormous bubbles all our lives and wear foam clothing, but we do have to keep an eye out and be courteous. Like, not opening your doors as wide as you can when you are parallel parked on a busy two lane road at night. I can’t see the door or you getting in. I just can’t; it’s the nature of darkness.

I just wish people cared more about their own well-being. I get lucky seeing these things. Sometimes we aren’t so lucky. And after having been in a car crash I can say that it’s not fun.

Also, there was a beautiful sunset yesterday. I didn’t see it. But I saw it reflected off the building across the street. And I saw the people in that building taking pictures of that sunset. It must have been awesome.

Tidal Catch

Early in the morning, just as the tide would be its lowest, I would wade out into the water with a bucket. The morning air held a light breeze but the summer sun was already enough for me to go without a shirt.

I was ten, or twelve, and my summer skin had set in. I was never nearly as tan as my cousins or sisters but by the end of the first week at the beach house, I barely would need sunscreen. A little diligence at keeping myself out of the sun during the hottest hours and I could wander the landscape without fear of a severe burn.

My sandals were nearly useless, and by the time I made it inside the bay to the shallow tidal pools, I had removed them. My feet had become calloused in only a matter of days. Rocks with barnacles were merely a nuisance. Besides, the other layers of sea-life generally provided me with sufficient cover against the sharpest rocks.

Inside the bay was a huge array of life. Crabs walked by swiftly and if I wasn’t careful I could easily step on them. Small schools of fish followed the swift current of the tide moving out. Seagulls called out as they found a clam that had become revealed by the tides.

In the shallow waters near the shore, little rock fish darted back and forth between the rocks avoiding my footsteps. Every now and then I would encounter a great many sea stars; red, blue, purple, orange, green, and a great many other colors.

The real treat was a sun star; enormous starfish with eighteen or more legs. They moved through the green seaweed slowly but surely, devouring anything in their path.

The water slowed and it became slack tide. The sun suddenly seemed warmer. A low wispy cloud lazily passed over me. The sky seemed bluer and the pines seemed greener. I plunged my hands into the knee high water. It shimmered in the light.

I kept my eyes out for my target; it was a matter of patience. First you spot the fish, then you learn to move close enough to it to grab it. The final motion of grabbing was the most difficult part. It required speed and concentration. I had worked with my cousins to become good at this practice, and over the course of several summers, we were able to capture large populations of the fish.

They were always small and inedible. The largest were silver dollar sized. The act of catching a fish was the achievement. I imagined myself to be a Native American; capturing the bounty of the sea and gratefully returning it when I was done.

I spotted a pipefish, a long thin snake-like fish that looked like the reeds it called home. I grabbed it, pulled it out of the water and felt the coarse scales. I filled my bucket with a little water and put the fish in.

I continued this practice of spotting fish and sea-life until the tide shifted and water started flowing into the bay. The water was much cooler. it filled the bay slowly and the tiny temporary islands that the low tide had revealed, were immersed. Atlantis disappeared and my bucket was full. I headed home to study them; when I was done I released them and went inside to eat lunch.

Non-Violent 99

I want to take a look at Occupy Wall Street briefly. It’s fallen out of the news cycle and everyone seems to be questioning what happened to it.

What I want to focus on is something off about such a potent populist movement. The Stranger reported this week that the Occupy Seattle movement has faded quickly after the failure of a vote to be a non-violent movement.

Obviously I was not there for the discussion, but it was reported that there was a logic surrounding the down vote that armed uprising may at some point become necessary. I will not deny that charge, but I refuse to affirm it.

Let me put it this way. Real civil protest is successful because of its non-violent philosophy.

If we want to unshackle ourselves from an oppressive terror; it requires a methodical outline of contingencies. Gandhi started and succeeded in a complete non-violent revolution against one of the most powerful forces in the world. Despite an oligarchic rule and an economic engine that represented a huge portion of the UK’s wealth, Gandhi was able to get the ruling elites to acquiesce to his demands.

Violence is always possible; we are humans after all. Our history is full of armed uprisings and massacres; millions have died just to taste freedom.

And in America we have that freedom so many others crave. We can speak openly, we can protest, we can vote, we can gather, we can do all the things guaranteed to us by the first amendment.

A movement that can purge itself of hatred and the conviction that harming another human being is necessary to make a point is one worth standing up for.

It’s hard to believe that a modern democracy would listen to its people or its demands. Yet that is fundamentally what we believe. Despite what people call ‘realities’ a democratic people have the power to enforce the change they want non-violently.

To believe otherwise; to believe that our constitutional right to free speech must be somehow set aside because our elected officials are somehow illegitimate is to poison the well for everyone. If someone is so willing to fight to overthrow their government on the assumption that they are self-righteous enough to buck our democratic traditions then the question that sticks most prominently in my mind is, “what rights would be guaranteed under your system?”

Would a ‘new’ government do a better job of guaranteeing my rights if the revolutionaries had thrown them off in their zealotry? Would my voice count if it were a minority one? The answer is no.

To believe our system has failed is plain wrong. We still enjoy our freedoms and our system of government still works. Ample proof can be provided in how the rhetoric has already shifted to the language of the 99%. Non-violence, in all situations where it is possible; where there is still energy for change and debate, must be exercised and adhered to. Without reason we are just gnashing animals that tear inexpertly at our enemies’ flesh.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thread

I am drained. I have had these dreams. Vivid dreams that last the entire night. I wake up and the only thing that stays with me are emotions and flashes.

A green hill, deep fog. Suddenly I am chased and my heart beats quickly. I have a six-shooter gun but it’s a pop-cap gun. I wander into a home I knew at some time in my youth. I see the family; interact as if I had never left. The same familiarity, the same comfort. But I don’t recognize the people and I don’t remember their names. But I speak and I answer every question correctly. I trust my gut but not my mind.

I am on an enormous boat. It is full of cots and people my age. I am in seventh grade and I am traveling to escape something. I see a classmate. She dances and asks me to join her. I dance with her. “I never knew you were so much fun.”

“I never knew you were,” she replies. My dreams are a fragment of a life never lived. Interactions never had, and a world never seen. I do not mourn its absence from my life. Life is a series of enjoined threads woven into a fabric. I’ll never explore the entirety of the fabric. I choose to follow one errant thread after another.

I do not regret the path not taken. I do not miss it.

But I do wonder about it; my life if...I get that to some degree in my dreams. I follow threads into a different fabric and pattern. I follow them to a different point. And I suppose they all are as nonsensical as dreams. My life included.

I am drained. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately. I don’t regret my life but there are things I could have done better. I could have been a better person. I want to be a better person. I am not very good at doing that when I don’t feel safe. I lash out; I become cynical and mean; I don’t have an excuse.

Being a better person is a full-time commitment and often we fail. In fact, I believe it is a series of failures. Success in this instance is merely the lack of failure. I guess that’s ok with me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Craigs v1 (3of3)

cont'd

M:I traveled back in time today. An angel came to my life last year and planted her seed of love in my heart. And until now I wasn't brave enough to cherish and water that seed. I found the courage to overcome social mockery and travel back in time today and water the seed. I like to think it's not too late. (while this is happening events rewind to the beginning). Yes, I will take the buckets!

Time Passes

F:someone is on the naughty list moonlighting You deserve a wedgie! And a thousand kisses : )

M: I was your secret Santa, but the thing I really wanted to give you isn't something you can wrap in a bow. Well, you can, but it gets in the way. You're taken, I'm taken, but man am I taken with you. If you ever want to get your jingle bell rung by an elf who can keep secrets, come on down to my north pole and let's get sledding.

F: (sees/hears this and becomes heartbroken hands him back his present)

M: (beat) I don't know if you look here or think about me. It's hard to move on without you, I'm trying...been seeing her for about a week now and anyone would be very lucky to be in my place because she's beautiful and sexy. She really likes me, but I'm not into her, probably because I'm not over you. (F Starts talking) I don't know how long it will take to get over you, I wish I didn't have to, but that's not my choice.

F: (While M is talking) I have your xbox. You handed it to me the other day. I have to get something off my chest. Your look has changed. I saw you in those pants. I couldn't help but imagine what they would look like off of you. If you read this and can keep it to yourself, reply and I'll get back to you and we can talk.

Interlude (Interrupts main thread):

PBNJ: Half a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich FOR SALE: It’s HALF A PEANUT BUTTER AND STRAWBERRY JAM SANDWICH THAT I COULD NOT FINISH EATING... ALSO INCLUDES SOME CHIPS AND A PICKLE SPEAR! Asking Price is $1.50, but other offers will be considered. If interested send e-mail.

End Interlude:

(The piece starts to break down; a chorus erupts)

F: (simultaneously with M) I saw you at the store. I think you saw me! (winks) Hope you see this! Email with a description of me and what I had in my hand so I know it's you.

M: (simultaneously with F) I saw you smoking outside your car early this afternoon in the Outback Steakhouse and Burger King parking lot.

F (simultaneous with M): Tell me my name. Tell me what I was driving. I think I heard your friends call you Matt or Mark. Your Scrubs had me hot and bothered. You: tall dark and handsome. Reply to this post?

M (simultaneous with F): Tell me what I was wearing. I was lingering a bit. You were driving a black Lexus. We made eye contact for a fleeting moment. You have stunning eyes. Reply to this post?

Both: What I would give....to hug you, see you smile, take in your scent.....I wish you felt better.... About everything.  I do love you. I do.....I just can't show you how much anymore..... And I want to.... So bad. This is hard. Despite my outward happiness, I miss you so much...

M: Ok. Just had to get that off my chest.

F: Reply to this post?

Craigs v1 (2of3)

Cont'd. All of these are from actual posted missed connections

Interlude:

GAY:Nervous morning swimmer - Not sure if you'll see this, but thought I'd try. You're at the gym a few mornings a week. You're average height/dark hair and eyes/lean/hairy/uncut. You and I swim around the same time most mornings and catch each other's eye. I've gotten hard and jerked for you in the showers and sometimes you start to join me but then stop because you’re nervous. You're always hard or semi-hard when we're in there, though. I see your wedding ring and I know why you're nervous, but I just wanted to reach out and tell you that you don't have to be. I really want to help you explore further but will respect any limits you have. If you're interested in taking things somewhere more private, email me and let's talk about it. I really hope you see this because seeing you in the mornings and not being able to do more with you or at least talk about it is making me crazy. I'm not a stalker...I'm just an admirer and I see from your hard on that you at least feel the same way a little. If you see this and email me, tell me what kind of speedo we wear...we both wear the same kind.

CLOSET: I hate the very thought of you! So keep crying asshole. You are so fucking stupid. You make me sick. How can I make you understand me? What the fuck do I have to do to get it through your thick ugly fucking head? If you ever come near me I'll spit on you

End Interlude

F: I helped you find your bus...you said--

M: Thanks for all the trouble.

F: Nice ass by the way. (Stands at stop and watches the bus pull away)

Interlude:

EXHIBITIONIST:you-white car; parked, sexing it up. Us-tan Blazer you parked nearby. We were in back and my wife got so horny as you both got it on so hard. Would like to do it again. If you get this please respond and tell us what kind of car or what color she was wearing when she got out. We are a very cool couple in our 20's and discreet; love public fun.

End Interlude

F: I looked up your name on facebook but couldn't find you anywhere I even googled your name and couldn't find you. Well I hope you read these things cause I thought we hit it off and would love to talk to you again. If this is you I hope to hear from you.

M: I should have jumped off that bus when we looked at each other and smiled as the bus took off. It was around 6 pm and we were both waiting in the rain at the same stop. You're gorgeous. I liked your style from what I observed.. I regret not getting off the bus and pursuing you. Hopefully you read these things. Most likely you don't though. I want to know you.

Interlude:

JPOP: You were reading on the 49 bus from downtown to Cap Hill. I don't ever post on here, but I thought I'd give it a shot. You are an incredibly attractive man who was reading on the 49 bus that goes up Pike around 5:15. You were wearing a blue jacket with what seemed like an orange liner and a black and white scarf. Beard, mustache and thick black glasses sitting next to an asian woman wearing a scarf with red snowflakes. I doubt you saw me because you were reading , but I'd love to meet you and grab coffee or something.

DESPERATE MAN:Oh god you're beautiful!!!!! You were sitting across from me and a few seats over on bus 71 today heading into downtown. You had long straight dark hair and looked partially from Asian descent. You were so beautiful that I actually almost handed you my card so you'd have my contact information. I don't know why I didn't. Your beauty literally almost killed me. Everything but your face vanished for me. There was no bus, no people, no noise. Just your absurdly gorgeous face. Please, by whatever powers there may be in this world, let me find you again. This time I won't pass it up.

End Interlude:

Craigs v1 (1of3)

This is the first draft of the piece Ciera and I are working on for the Town Theater

Philosophy: love has no boundaries; the sexual preferences of the characters portrayed are malleable and represent the full spectrum. It is the job of the people putting on this production to make the characters not only consistent but also to capture the people free of yet utterly constrained by our societal constructs. After all, the internet is similarly boundless—go crazy.

F: beautiful day. The sun is bright. My friends are back.

M: (frowny face) I don't know if you look here anymore or think about me. It's hard to move on without you, I'm trying...been seeing a girl for about a week now and anyone would be very lucky to be in my place because she's beautiful and sexy. She really likes me, but I'm not into her, probably because I'm not over you. I don't know how long it will take to get over you, I wish I didn't have to, but that's not my choice.

F: I hate the very thought of you! So keep crying asshole. You are so fucking stupid. You make me sick. How can I make you understand me? What the fuck do I have to do to get it through your thick ugly fucking head? If you ever come near me I'll spit on you.

M: It's like you're Hell bent on hurting me.

F: (melodramatically) Closed. Facebook closed. Linkedin closed. You hate me. Everyone hates me. Ive nothing left. I won't be here anymore. Don't look for me. It will be like I never existed. No one cared enough to even give me a hug. It's really all I needed. To feel cared for and loved.

All: (Sigh) Reply to this post?

F1: Unless all of the following points are true

M: Use your 'back' button to exit this part of craigslist

F1: I am at least 18 years old--(scoffs) yeah...

M: I understand 'missed connections' may include adult content

F1: I release craigslist from any liability that may arise from my use.

All: (one bored, another monotone, another flabbergasted more or less) Choosing safer sex for you and your partner greatly reduces the risk of contracting STDs including HIV -- you can get answers to your safer sex questions.

M1: I'll come over and we can chill (takes a picture of penis) Like it says I'll come over we can chill, have a fun time, watch a movie, or something else. I can sleep on the couch if you want. Reply to this post?

F2: Umm...no thanks. (puts on uniform piece, smiles, holds up buckets)

M: Yes! I would like to purchase the bucket...all four of them...Your incredible smile and beautiful eyes really made my day!

F1: I saw you at the store. I think you saw me! (winks) Hope you see this! Email with a description of me and what I had in my hand so I know it's you.. I helped you again at the bus stop? Hope to hear from you soon.

M: We chatted about soaps and scents... Your voice deep and sexy... Your laugh incredibly contagious... Your smile precious... Your hair beautiful and flowing... We chatted about a few things... I was interrupted by a call. I wanted desperately to tell you how beautiful you were in my eyes... My heart was racing. If you happen to read this please write back. Id just love to make a new friend. (Smiles, waits alone on-stage. Smile becomes strained; fades to neutral then worried).

F: Do you know how many of us are out there? If you really want her, she needs to know you are talking to her!

M: Trying again with more details. We talked about electronic cigarettes and dildos in the store. I'd love to talk to you more about it (winks and smiles). (Waits, gets frustrated, lights a cigarette, staring at phone. Walks to bus stop, and stands, notices girl standing there). We were at the wrong bus stop. You had blond hair and a red jacket with the hood on. When I first walked by you smiled and said hi. You were with a friend. I was kind of shy, but we kept smiling at each other. You made gave me butterflies and it felt good. You have stunning eyes, so much so it made me nervous when you spoke to me. I haven't felt like that in a long time.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Aimee Mann is Our Cleaning Lady

There is so much time spent cleaning. A small apartment has so much to clean. I have fully spent over three hours today just cleaning. And it’s a daily ritual.

I can’t stand the ritual of cleaning. Ciera mostly cleans the bathroom and I clean the kitchen and that still is a lot of cleaning. It drives me insane. slowly but surely. I can’t believe how much there is to always clean. Clean, clean, clean. It is always a verb and never an adjective in this place.

Is that how the rest of my life is going to be? Cleaning?

Always going to entropy. Everything. I read a book called The Information. It’s an entertaining history of how we use and transmit information. An interesting question brought up in the book: if you burn a book what happens to the information contained in that book? The fire doesn’t burn brighter and the words cannot be extracted and given to somebody to keep. The information cannot be retrieved from the burned pages. And yet the book is far more valuable than another one with pages filled only with a random assortment of letters. Perhaps consciousness provides us with the only way to fight entropy.

Of course, information is still subject to decay because of the media we use to store it so we can’t--as of this moment--physically fight entropy through order and information transmittal.

But this still presents an interesting possibility: time’s linear pursuit of decay is not set in stone.

Until humanity finds a way to garner entropy I will be cleaning my house. There are pine needles everywhere. Last night Ciera and I got our Costco membership. Now we can buy things in bulk. The question is where do we put it? I am so confused about our place. On one hand it appears we have fairly little, but in another sense we have far too much. We got rid of the Christmas tree and it still doesn’t feel like there is a ton of space here.

Perhaps we do live “in a shoebox” as the famous cliche goes. Or perhaps we are no good at optimizing our space. I’m just unhappy with how hard it seems to keep this place clean.

I’m sure this sounds whiny but I can’t get past it right now.

Cheating Out and In

The last two posts (and many posts I have put up previously) is a great example of my major critique of many pieces--it needs an outside eye. I wrote quickly, didn’t double-check it; and pressed it before even evaluating the substance.

So it came out flat. It came out uninteresting. It came out forced and highly irrelevant. It came out almost offensive and stereotypically.

But what I was looking for was honest and needed real gravitas that I couldn’t lend to it. And one read through with Ciera was all I needed to understand that it was an incomplete piece. An outside editor is important for me because it is easy to spin off into my own little world. It is easy to create a set of rules and believability that exists solely in my own mind.

Delivering the meaning to the masses is a difficult prospect. Good writers can impart not only their perspective but the inner imagery--perspective that they experience the world. That is an important distinction between bad writing and somewhat half-way decent writing.

Without that element the audience feels cheated. I felt cheated reading my own work. Last night we saw the Hollywood version of The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. It was good. But I don’t understand why Hollywood even made a version of the movie. The original Swedish version was much better and if the only reason for the Hollywood version was a presentation for English audiences or to make a quick buck then I feel cheated. It was easy to see from an outsider’s perspective that there was little gained from this version except for 22 bucks from Ciera and me.

“Either we will make it big sometime because our art is found or we’ll be broke and obscure because no one cares for what we do,” I said to Ciera. I was musing on the subject because I wouldn’t find myself on a reality show anytime soon and I certainly wasn’t about to sell out. Ciera won’t either. And I thought about how that presented a challenge to us. We do what we love and are going to pursue that regardless of our financial situation. Sticking to our guns might not give us millions of dollars, or it could. Who knows?

Maybe someone with an outside perspective does.