Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here we are at the cusp of the new year and I have one thing to say....

We made it through another one.

2010 was a tough year, both personally and for this great United States of America. There was considerable sorrow on both fronts, as well as unusual stress and worry.

It was a year of blessings as well--again, both personally and as a country. The last blessing of the year? My cousin is on his way home from Fort Bragg; his tour is up and he's a private citizen again.

May God grant that we all have a better 2011 and may God bless America.

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Gaming Stuff for the Troops

Today I came across a terrific opportunity to help support the Troops.

Jason, a.k.a. The Action Point, is a combat veteran and an RPG Gamer. He is currently in the Inactive Ready Reserves, but is working as a contractor helping train the troops stationed at the Bagram Air Force Base in Afganistan on various vehicles--operation, repair, safety, efficiency, etc.

He is attempting to put together an organization to help similarly-minded troops have access to RPG gaming while overseas. In his words, he is "doing what I wish there had been someone to do when I was still in uniform, but never had the time or resources to do" himself.

The movement is picking up steam, largely from word-of-mouth. Even the "mighty" Wizards of the Coast have agreed to help, donating game materials from their Fourth Edition "Essentials" line of Dungeons & Dragons.

However, a lot of the "basics" still need to be supplied: miniatures, dice, game mats, etc.

If you go here: Bagram AFB Gaming Community you can read more about the movement to provide gaming supplies to our troops, including direct links to purchase said supplies.

To all my readers: please consider supporting the Bagram AFB Gaming Community. It does not matter whether you are a Gamer or not, it is a way for you to help support those troops who are, regardless of your political views, out there giving of their time, energy, and even their lives all the while living under Old Glory and fighting for Liberty. Above all, they are heroes themselves who deserve a little bit of escapism in their lives. I know several, and have lost friends and relatives in the cause.

Please: check out the above link for more information, or head over to THIS wishlist at Amazon.com to make a purchase and donation to the cause.

Yeah. I may be a geek. But I love the troops and think this is a terrific cause. Of course, nearly ANY opportunity to support our troops is a terrific cause.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010


Yes.

It is that time of year again.

Just when I was starting to get in the blog-writing mode again, here comes NaNoWriMo. Like a Universal conspiracy, here comes NaNoWriMo to torpedo my blog again.

I am really starting to dread November and hate it when it is here.

And it is here.

"Why do it?" I hear you ask.

Because. Because of the feeling you get when you finish. I have heard it described as a massive bowel movement following a month of painful constipation. (Actually, I have only heard it described that way from my own two lips.)

You are welcome for that imagery. And at no extra charge, either.

As painful as it is, there is still a feeling of pride and accomplishment when 12:01 December 1 rolls around and you look and see a document with 50,000+ words that did not exist 30 days ago.

I think it may be as close as I come in this lifetime to actually going through labor and giving birth.

At least, I hope it is as close as I come.

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Grocery lists

Yes, I have momentarily crawled from obscurity, soon to return to my dark rock. But I was compelled to do so. I had an experience this weekend that I simply had to share with some friends, and to get their take(s).

So, I was at the local grocery store, bored out of my skull as a public-school trained teenager attempted to do basic math because the customer had handed her a different amount of cash than what she typed into her cash register.

Sigh.

Am I alone in this, or do you ever find yourself perusing the merchandise being purchased by those in front of you in the line?

Well, the thirty-something in front of me had the following on the conveyor belt:

  1. a bottle of eye drops
  2. a clear shower curtain liner
  3. two bottles of sports drink
  4. two Hershey bars (the BIG ones)
  5. four glue-strip-style mouse traps
  6. a box of condoms
Yes, all this was separated from my basic foodstuffs by a slim plastic rod bearing the name of the grocery store. And all the while the clerk was trying desperately not to laugh.

No joke: the clerk was bright red.

And I think the man in front of me caught on to the clerk's mental vibe, because after a minute or so, he also turned bright red.

Do not get me wrong--this man had and has every right to purchase whatever legal items he wishes in whatever combination he desires. But we who observe his purchasing also have the right to giggle and point.

For all I know these could be innocent purchases, the dregs of a shopping-list, all that remains from a day-long trek from store to store. It was entertainment, nonetheless.

Which you have to admit, in a long checkout line, can be pretty hard to come by.

[Cross-posted at The Spirit of the Law]

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Glimpse into the Future

This is me in 10 years, Heaven willing.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Which Die Am I?

Wow. I am not sure what to make of this.

I am a d20

You are a d20: You are a ruthless warrior. Thinking is for idiots and nerds. Doing things is what gets things done. You are the type who stabs now, and then asks questions later. Much later. And it usually involves a priest. For you, the best defense is a good offense, and the best offense usually involves burning the whole place to the ground -- at least twice. You are a whirlwind of destruction, composed of rash decisions and reckless actions. Put briefly, you are a danger to yourself and others. Good thing nobody ever listens to you.

Take the quiz at dicepool.com

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Awesomeness that is Brian Blessed

Nearly two years ago, I commented on my desire to see Mr. Brian Blessed play the role of Thorin in The Hobbit movie.

Nice to know I am not the only one to fully appreciate Mr. Blessed's work.

Unfortunately, at least according to IMDB, some idiot casting director seems to think Ron Perlman makes a better fit.

Excuse me? Ron Perlman? RON "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" PERLMAN?!?

I think I threw up in my mouth just a little bit there.

My hope for the adequacity* of this movie just dropped a bit as well.

I blame Guillermo del Toro for this. I doubt it would have happened if we had Peter Jackson at the helm. Yeah. I am one of those that thinks he did not due a half-bad job on the trilogy. I know a lot of hard-core fanboys have a problem with his vision of Middle-Earth. I did not think he did a bad job at all; in fact, I think he did a pretty dang good job.

But this atrocity is not, cannot be, and hopefully will never be, Thorin Oakenshield. Hellboy? OK. But he is not a dwarf. He is not Thorin Oakenshield, son of Thrain, King under the Mountain.

THIS is Thorin.

Or even this.








Heck, at this point I would even settle for Prince Vultan.

Yes. I went there.

Brian Blessed: he climbed Everest, played the Duke of Exeter in Henry V, and King Richard IV in Blackadder.

Now he deserves to be a dwarf.


(*adequacity: a term coined by WNYX's own Bill O'Neal.)

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Road Signs: Detour

Over at The Spirit of the Law, I have yet another new post.

It is entitled "The Scapegoat Syndrome."

Head on over, then come back and tell me whether the smaller "detour" sign is better than the larger one. I have my own opinion, but I am interested in yours.

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Thursdays

I am not feeling well today and perhaps that colors my observation.

Thursdays seem, to me, to be a bad day. Almost as bad as the stereotypical "Monday."

I hear you all asking why and gasping in horror. After all, Thursday is simply "Friday eve," right?

Wrong.

Consider: on Thursday you have nearly the weight of the entire week piled on you--stress, mistakes, etc. It is not yet Friday, from which the weekend is clearly visible and in focus. On Thursday that vision is blurry. Wednesday, the day on which the week begins the downhill slope -- "Hump day" -- is behind you. On Thursday you begin to grasp all of the yet-unfinished tasks that must see completion before the weekend, and you can see how little time remains. I think an argument could be made that Thursday is even worse than Monday.

So "Happy Thursday" everyone.

You're welcome.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Road Signs: Detour

Over at The Spirit of the Law, there is a new post by yours truly.

It is entitled "A Life of Spite"

Head on over, take a look, and let me know what you think.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Jotting Tittles: Urinals

One of my attorney buddies over in Salt Lake City just reported the following story to me.

Apparently the "high class" little building that houses their firm has four restrooms, but only one urinal. That urinal became, errr, "non-functioning after use" last week.

(Aside: for you women who have never ventured into a men's room, the urinal is a strange little toilet bowl that is turned and mounted on the wall for those members of the public who typically stand while.... well, you get the picture.)

It is bad enough that this men's room is in the basement of the building; a cold, dank, dark little room with a perpetually-sticky linoleum tile floor and an odd smell that has become part of the paint, something of a mixture of old person sweat, mildew, and stale "broken wind." (Aside: I have been there; I can testify to the foulness that is the men's room.) On top of the usual foulness, it took three days for the so-called "maintenance man" on staff to provide a bucket so that the firm's resident males could dump several gallons of water into the urinal to "manually" flush the (by then) funky-smelling semi-solid liquid out of sight. To make matters worse, it took the cheap landlord a full week before he accepted there was something wrong with the urinal that the "maintenance man" could not fix. During this time, the men in the building were left standing sitting out in the cold.

Shortly after the repair was completed (by a plumber not found in the Yellow Pages), my friend told his secretary that he was "going downstairs to see what he could break."

Reportedly he paused on the landing, stopped, and said, "I'm sorry, Jill. That sounded a lot better in my head."

Yeah, dude. Really? It sounded that much better in your head? I think my buddy needs a bit more sleep and a little less work in his life.

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Road Signs: Detour


Over at The Spirit of the Law, there is a new post by yours truly.

It is entitled "Are Tort Lawyers Drooling?"

Just in case you are interested.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

I am an American.

Unfortunately, calling yourself an American has become a dirty word. You are urged to become, and praised for your wisdom and tolerance, if you call yourself a "citizen of the world" or something similarly politically correct. If you profess to be an American, you are usually called "jingoist," "rascist," "intolerant," "war-monger," "imperalist," and any of a host of other labels.

I dislike labels. Nearly all kinds. When I walk out of a 7-11 or a Circle K with a bottle of water, the label is off before I hit the car. I peel the mailing labels off my magazine subscriptions on the way back from the mailbox.

I will admit to using labels, though. Sometimes in frustration. Sometimes it is necessary to quickly portray to another person a specific stance or outlook that you may share. Sometimes it is out of frustration, I will admit it: sometimes I am a bit of a hypocrite on the issue. But I will also admit -- and it must be acknowledged -- that not everyone shares the same view or definition of these labels. Neither is it likely that any specific label fully covers or describes any one individual.

Case in point: I consider myself to be politically conservative. Let me be clear: I am not a Republican. However, a friend of mine took me to task this weekend because I commented to him how much I appreciated a neighbor of ours being unwilling to sell a parcel adjoining the neighbor’s home to a developer who was planning on putting in an apartment building. I commented that “a little open space is nice in the area” and “do we really need more apartments in the neighborhood?” I was the immediate recipient of scorn and disbelief: “I thought you called yourself a Conservative! Any true Conservative would be in favor of allowing the landowner to do with his property whatever he wishes; and any true Capitalist, like myself, would want to see him do something productive with the land. He should have sold it for apartment buildings, because he could have gotten a lot of money for it. Either that or he should rent it out for a neighborhood gardening co-op, or maybe use it as a pumpkin patch and Christmas Tree lot in the fall and winter. He could make a load of cash from that little piece of property.”

That is when I realized: I may be a Conservative, and I call myself a Capitalist and a lover of the free-market system. I agree with my friend: the property owner should be allowed to do whatever he wishes with that property and make as much money from the land as the market will bear. But there’s a bit of the cowboy in me. That part of me loves looking out from the side of an afternoon campfire over a beautiful, undeveloped meadow filled with wild flowers, while a mountain with no man-made improvements or construction towers towers over it all as a backdrop. No sounds of aircraft or vehicular traffic. Song birds, deer, even the occasional cougar: they all pass through unmolested. Nothing but clear mountain air between me and heaven. On second thought, let me change that: This is Heaven.

I shop at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and 7-11. I like making money and I like spending money. I like buying a new hat and new boots. But that cowboy winces every time he drives down the street and sees another piece of land -- land that was part of a family farm fifty years ago -- being developed into duplexes or apartments. Green space torn up and thrown away in the name of cookie-cutter crap-quality so-called town homes. (Glorified apartments or dorm rooms, if you ask me. They are ugly and of questionable value.)

That’s why I am re-committing myself to re-labeling myself. Or maybe you can call it “un-labeling.” I am not a Republican or Democrat. I am not a Conservative or a Liberal. I am not a Capitalist, Socialist, Marxist, or any other such label.

In my opinion, I am what we all, ideally, should be.

I am an American.

We are all Americans.

We should all start acting like it, too.

Sometimes, like today, I think that there is too much focus on politics and political views.

Last week I got into a discussion of health care with a good friend of mine, who has decidedly liberal-slanted views. He actually told me, “You are a conservative I can actually talk to, because you are reasonable and have well-thought out ideas rather than just spouting off talking points.” He then proceeded to excoriate Tea Partiers, Glenn Beck, the Drudge Report, and anyone else who dares question any piece of Obama’s policies using the same language used by Olbermann, MSNBC, the Daily Kos, Nancy Pelosi, et al.

Talking points. We are all guilty of using them from time to time. Fundamentally, it is difficult to get away from them. But maybe they should be used as a springboard to our own thoughts and positions on a given subject, rather than used verbatim. Or maybe, just maybe, we should refrain from using them at all, stop all the arguing, and just go ahead and fix what is wrong with our beloved country.

Most of the people -- the real people -- in the country agree that there are serious problems. And most of the real people agree on what needs to be done to fix the problems. It is the zombies in the country that do not understand. These are the people who change their positions with their underwear, that cater to the elite, who believe (as does Senator Hatch, for example) that their constituents are not smart enough to understand what it is they do, and that’s why they need their Senators. These are the ones that are out of touch with the real people.

They are the walking undead.

Which is, I suppose, better than being a Progresstitute.

But I am an American.

We are all Americans.

Let’s start acting like it, and let’s get our country back. The one that we’re all proud of; the one that we all remember being so great. Let’s get it done and take her back.

Oh yeah.... the cowboy in me says, “Giddy up.”

(Cross-posted at Spirit of the Law.

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Nothing Like a Rant....

Nothing like a rant to wipe the dust from the blog and actually start typing.

It just struck me today....

What is it about co-workers/employees that they feel it their prerogative to comment upon others' lunches?

My office is right next to the breakroom. As such, I am bombarded on a daily basis with the smells of bad coffee, overdone chicken, tv dinners, and any of a number of rancid, disturbing smells. It is especially vile once four or five individuals have gone in to warm their lunches, creating the strange miasma of fake parmesan cheese, watery red sauce, cheap barbecue sauce, and overcooked tofu. There are days when simply walking into the breakroom (or sitting in my office) is to subject yourself to acts of victual terrorism.

So what is it that makes them think others care about what they think about our lunches? Case in point: I warmed up some homemade fried rice today, heavy on the onions and garlic, but also with plenty of peas, carrots, and other goodies. Onions and garlic just happen to have been the strongest smelling of the ingredients. And simply put: I am one who, after both anecdotal and personal experience, believe that onions and garlic do wonders for your immune system. Well, my sinuses are hyperactive and the onions and garlic were just what the doctor ordered. Add in a bit of pepper paste, and Voila! A meal to lower health care costs.

Well, my co-workers spent the next hour commenting on "how strong are those onions?" "I'm not going in his office!" "I feel sorry for any clients after all that garlic!" "How can his wife kiss him at night?!" Despite the fact that my window was open, fans blowing, and the simple fact that--in all actuality--the smell was gone from the breakroom within five minutes, I simply cannot understand the phenomenon.

(Aside: Just in case you were wondering, the answers to the questions are as follows: "Quite strong, actually, and quite tasty!" "You were not invited into my office, nor are you generally welcome to enter." "Unfortunately, my clients meet with me in the conference room, as you know, and not in my office." and "She kisses quite well, thank you, and shares my love for garlic.")

It is not just me, either. I hear them commenting on each others' food as well. Of course, never to the alleged olfactory offender's face.

Maybe it goes back to upbringing. Maybe it goes to common courtesy. Maybe it goes to IQ level. Whatever it is, I am willing to acknowledge your right to eat where, when, and what you may. While there is no Constitutional protection for food choices, I am willing to live and let live; you can eat your smelly fish or your noxious TV dinners, so long as you allow me to eat my pungent rice and my garlic bread. For us, individually, it is likely part of our pursuit of happiness.

All I know is that I resist telling them what manner of sewage I believe they are consuming. (OK, I confess, I just commented, but it was out here.) Why can I not be shown the same courtesy? You all know how I truly feel about those who surround me at the office: there ain't a soul here I would trust to have my back long enough to turn around.

Maybe it means that my staff simply does not have enough work to keep them busy. Maybe I should increase their workloads? Nah. That would seem vindictive.

I am open to ideas, solutions, or even explanations of the phenomenon.

Until then, I'm going to put my noseplugs back in and get back to writing my brief.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Expanding Lizards

Well, I am getting bigger.

No, I am not putting on weight.

The fine (and often controversial) gentlemen over at the LDS/Politics blog, The Spirit of the Law , have asked me to be a contributor to their blog.

I am honored by the invitation and excited for the opportunities. It is a chance for more writing, more discussion, more debate, and more exposure. Rest assured: my work here will not suffer by the additional writing responsibilities. (As if it could suffer much more than that which my blogpression and NaNoWriMo burn-out has already caused!)

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