Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I hate summer 

The air is hot and oppressive. I can feel my hair becoming limp and sticky. I feel my scalp get wet. My clothes stick to me and then freeze to be when I step inside. I can't sleep because of the heat. When I use AC, I feel guilty about how much it costs.

God, I hate DC summers.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Something to prove 

From Acidman:

I gotta ask a few questions. I look around today and I see a lot of spoiled-assed people running around acting as if they know their asses from a hole in the ground when they don't. Life is just too soft anymore.

1) How many of you people know how to drive a vehicle with MANUAL TRANSMISSION?

Sadly, no, but I keep meaning to learn.

2) How many of you people can make popcorn on the STOVE, in a POT, the old-fashioned way?


3) How many of you people ever saw a drive-in movie?

No, but I'm not a fan of movies in general.

4) How many of you people know how to bake a potato without using a microwave oven?

Can I cook it with a campfire? If so, then yes.

5) How many of you people can build a fire, first time every time, in the woods? Even when it's raining?

Not in the rain.

6) How many of you people know how to skip a rock?

Used to. It's been years, though.

7) How many people know the way to tell when a watermelon is ripe without touching it in the field?

No clue.

8) How many of you people ever handled a firearm and hit what you shot at, without being "afraid" of the gun?


9) How many of you people take care of yourselves without relying on government to do that job for you?

Yes. Despite the government, I'd even say.

10) How many people ever stood up to a bully and never had to fight him again? Even when you lost the fight. How many people have balls enough to do that today?

Yes, but I didn't lose.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Glad I'm not a fiction writer 

I've tried my hand at fiction. I've written a few short stories, and I have the required always-in-progress novels on my computer. But I know that, if I'm to make a living as a freelance writer, I must write non-fiction, and I must write what other people want to read, not necessarily what I want to write. It's a job.

That said, I have a short story coming out in the next issue of Journal of Asian Martial Arts. I'm proud of the story, called "The Sword and the Hurricane." I enjoyed every minute of writing it, though, and as I said I'm proud of how it turned out. And I love the magazine, and I'm flattered that my words get included in it. But without naming numbers, it took as long to write as my Bethesda Magazine articles, and the payment scarcely compares.

I'm just glad writing short stories isn't my dream job.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Destruction of Holy Books 

It isn't the medium, it's the message that's important. I get the same thrill reading the words of the Star Spangled Banner online as on paper. Thomas Paine's message that "These are the times that try men's souls" have the same rhythm and power in html as in print. The Song of Songs is just as profound. The gospels contain the same message in searchable, Microsoft Reader format as in a pink Precious Moments Bible.

The only interesting scene from the movie Day After Tomorrow (about the destruction of the world through a made-up global cooling storm) concerned an athiest gripping the Gutenburg Bible. The main characters are holed up in a library in New York, and they're burning books for warmth. This man has a death grip on one of Gutenburg's original Bibles, lest it be accidentally burned, because without what the book symbolized, without the printing press, man is nothing. And I could agree with him, to a point. And that point is death. If the question becomes death or the burning of a copy of the Gutenburg Bible, then I'd relutantly burn the Bible. However, if I thought that this was the only copy of the Bible left AT ALL - well, let's just say I don't ever want to make that choice.

A man whose blog I read destroyed a Koran. Actually, more than one. He videotaped shooting the books and posted it to his blog. Yes, he acted like as ass. He'd be the first to admit it. But he bought the books. And he didn't destroy the text - there are other Korans. The message still exists, even if those copies of the books don't.

Still, he got a fatwa called on him. For destroying paper. People want his head and his body in two separate piles.

I'm not worried about him. Well, I am, but I have faith in his training, his awareness, and his arsenal (I think he has more firearms than I have ammo for my Glock. And that both speaks well for him and poorly - I need more ammo). He can take care of himself and his family. I worry about the sanity of someone who would threaten to kill another for damaging paper, even if that paper symbolizes something greater than man.

Anyone who knows me knows I love America. I have pictures of flags in my office. I have all four verses of the Star Spangled Banner on my wall. I have a picture of St. Louis' cathedral in New Orleans. I have lots of pictures of my mixed race family. Destroy any one of those, or your own copies of any of them, and I'll get really pissed off. But unless you're burning the last Bible or destroying the Bamiyan statues or killing a person, I won't stop you. I won't advocate a law against you destroying what's yours.

Man cannot destroy the word of God. Man can only act like an ass. God can take care of Himself if He wants His words undamaged.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Current events 

they've been killing children and nobody seems to care
they've been laughing at my god, my god, I wouldn't dare

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A petty complaint 

Books and magazines are heavy. I learn this every time I lug a stack of packages to the post office to sent them to troops overseas.

It's too early in the morning for me to sweat. Ugh.

(Happy belated Inependence Day)

Sunday, July 03, 2005


It's rare that I want to spoil a book by telling too much of the story and revealing the ending. But given the bad rap the Raindow Party by Paul Ruditis is gettin by people who obviously haven't read any of it, I want to clear the book's name.

I picked up this book because, as a writer who is working on a novel about teenagers, I wanted to see how another auther dealt with the topic of oral sex. A Rainbow Party, according to the book, is an oral sex party where the girls all wear different shades of lipstick and the guys try to get as many different colors on their penis as possible. Sound shocking?

The only character in the book who has ever heard of thes kinds of parties hears about it from Donovan, a talk show lamenting the state of today's teenagers. She thinks it's a great idea, given her desires to be with as many guys as she can and her desires to break up and create couples among her classmates. The other characters in the book only hear of the party from her, and they all have trouble believing such a thing exists.

The book has many literary faults, like trouble with dialogue, the necessary "I wonder if I'm gay" character, some questionable sexual experiences, and a narrator who floats from character to character even within a scene to provide internal monologue. But he does succeed in describing the fascination, reluctance, and fear that teenagers feel toward sex, even oral sex that isn't "real sex." As the characters debate going to the party, as they fear ridicule for not going, as they fear being completely unprepared mentally for oral sex, they are portrayed sympathetically and realistically. Each character haas different feelings, from the president of the Celibacy Club to the boy who leaves his girlfriends house just after they've been busted for fooling around and immediately hooks up with her best friend.

And most importantly, almost no one comes to the Rainbow Party. Almost no one wants to come, and finally they realize that that's okay - they don't need to go, they have better things to do like preserve a relationship built on mutual respect and trust, try to pick up that hot chick who's been watching them play basketball, and deal with a mother who's just found out what her darling girl has been up to.

There are two instances of oral sex in the whole book. Both have interesting backstories and consequences. Neither is written gratutiously. Neither dwells on the sexual aspects but instead on the emotional impact and the consequences.

This is not a great book by any stretch of the immagination. But the character's views toward oral sex are, in my experience, real. And the fact that only one character had ever heard of a Rainbow Party, and even then from a TV show lamenting the state of teenagers today, coupled with the mass condemnation of this book, speaks volumes about how we want to see teenagers.

If you read fast, this book is worth reading (I read it in a night). If you read slow, I've already highlighted the key points, so the decision is yours.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Baby Names 

Remember my review of the book Baby Name Wizard for CurledUp.com?

No, you don't. That's okay. Just check out this website.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?