Monday, September 17, 2012

Goodbye Ms. Downey

Pictured here reveling in their superiority to
the commoners who walk beneath them
On August 24th, 2012, my dear friend Katie Downey put on a fancy dress and became Katie Mueller. 

There was also some guy in a tux, he seemed nice.

I love going to weddings because they are all about three people.  In order of importance it’s:

1. The Bride

2. The Groom

3. Adam Jones

Not many people know that, but it’s true.  Now, I never interfere with ceremonies, toasts, or pictures, but in those brief moments when it’s not about the bride and groom, it’s Adam Jones’ time to shine.  Buffets, open bars, and dance floors are my ancestral home and where I feel most at ease.

Then I get to win.

Pictured here bowing in appreciation of
the applause, ‘cause I’m a classy bitch.
See, the reason that I rank so high on the list during an event that ostensibly has nothing to do with me is that I understand the game.  Weddings are a contest that one can win, and I always win.  All I have to do is catch the garter belt.  The reason that I always win is that I’m not afraid to knock a bitch over to catch the prize in a Once-in-a-lifetime Championship Underwear event.  Any fear of trampling innocent partygoers in what some believe to be a harmless tradition is washed away by a half-dozen flutes of champagne. 

On this particular evening the groom decided to toy with us by aiming the garter to and fro, up and down before he released.  Normally I refused to be manipulated, but there is no room for shame in a garter toss; I circled the crowd as his aim shifted.  In the end, it fell short, almost directly behind him.  I dashed forward and landed in a power slide, beating out my closest opponent by mere inches.  So powerful was my slide, it left a streak on the floor.

Pictured here suspiciously eying something to my right.
Whatever it was, I’m sure I protected everyone from it.
I then proceeded to mingle and dance maniacally, both of which are easier as a drunkard champion.  There were so many of the best people I know there.

This goes down in my book as the best wedding that I have so far attended.  Good job everyone.

We all love you very much, Katie.  I cannot express how much joy I hope is in your future, but I have no doubt that it will be there waiting for you.  Consider yourself blessed by the Reverend Doctor Jones.

Only once the last song began to play did I reveal the true glory of Adam Jones.
Pictured here being awesome.

 Anyone have any awesome wedding experiences they’d like to share?

 Oh, and all the pictures were from the lovely and talented Annie Gannon Kaufman.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Short Story: Squirrel Troubles

One of the things I wanted to do with this blog was to use it as a vehicle to share the short stories and poems that I write.  I also wanted to start writing short stories and poems...

So now I have!

Below is a tiny little story that I recently put together and I'm sharing it with you here on  If you have any comments of suggestions for future material, let me know in the comments.

Love you!

Squirrel Troubles

              When the youngest McMillan girl moved out, she put her childhood toys in the attic of her parent's shed. Each treasured memory was placed lovingly, for she would be back for them one day (there was just no room in her new apartment). To make sure that her dolls were sufficiently content without her, she fashioned a tea room out of her old play-sets and put it by the window overlooking her family's orchard. There were tiny tables, cups, counters, and even a functional piano. When it got dark, she hung up a couple of strings of old Christmas lights so she could keep working. Once she was satisfied that everything was in order, she climbed down the ladder and embarked (as bravely as she could) upon her new life.
              The toys in the attic sat undisturbed until the cold winds of autumn came. The walls of the McMillan house became home to a nice family of field mice, the barn took in some owls, and the attic of the shed became a hangout for some of the local squirrels. Murray, an older squirrel, was still tough from a lifetime of hard work, but beginning to wizen. It was Murray who first found the attic and took to passing out acorns of the farmer's hidden cider to others who happened by. This caused others to happen by quite frequently. After a few weeks of experimentation in various states of sobriety, a young squirrel named Chauncey learned to produce something quite resembling the Blues from the tiny piano. Chauncey, though young, had lived a turbulent life and was able to express it through notes sometimes haunting and sometimes mellow. Folks would stop by under the glow of the forgotten Christmas lights, offer Murray up a bit of food, and enjoy the company, or just a quiet drink by the window.
               Gary was usually quite lively. He was the type that tried to be a bit more clever than he was. Some of his jokes would have people clutching their sides and twitching their tails. Other jokes brought out the one halfhearted laugh that trailed away as they looked for something that needed them to be elsewhere. That night, though, Gary was the quiet drink by the window type.
               A lady-squirrel climbed the ladder and placed the acorn she was carrying on the counter. Murray popped its top, scooped out its guts into his food pile, and filled it with cider. After making some small talk and placing a kernel of corn by Chauncey’s piano, she made her way to Gary’s table. “Is this seat taken?”
“Shelly! Hey, yeah. I mean no, it’s not taken. Please, have a seat.”
She set her drink down and got comfortable. “So, what have you been up to?”
“Nothing interesting. Looking for food, chewing holes, same as ever. What about you?”
“Same thing, I guess. The other day I thought I heard something, so I stopped everything and looked around. I think I nearly had a heart attack, but it turns out there wasn’t anything there. I do that a lot these days.”
“Yeah, me too,” he added with a laugh. “All the time I’m like ‘Huh? What was that?’ and it’s never anything. I swear, sometimes I think these woods are haunted.”
“Yeah, wouldn’t that be something?”
“Heh, yeah…” They sipped their drinks and tried not to be uncomfortable for a while before he continued. “So, I haven’t seen you in a coon’s age. What are you even doing here? I thought you moved out to the Dodson farm to be with your new man.”
Her body sunk. “He…” Her voice trailed off and her eyes fell to her cider. “There was… an owl.”
“Oh, oh no,” Gary whispered. “I am so sorry. I hadn’t heard.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Shelly shook away the memories that had begun to creep back into her and resumed the confident posture that had given her so much comfort. “It was a while ago now. I tried to keep my life out there going, but it was too much. I just moved back about a week ago. Trying to start fresh.”
He offered her a warm smile. “Well, it’s good to see you.”
“Thanks. You, too.” She couldn’t help but return the smile. “So what’s wrong?”
“How do you mean?
She indicated his seat at the table. “You’re sitting in your sad drinking spot.”
He looked down at himself. “Ah, right. It’s just, I’ve been seeing this one girl for a while.”
“Things not going well?”
“On the contrary, things are great. In fact, I’m trying to figure out a way to ask her to marry me.”
Her little voice shrank a bit. “Oh.” She traced her paw aimlessly across the doll’s table. “So why the sad drinking?”
“I’m trying to think of some super romantic way of doing it.”
“Why? You’re no good at that kind of thing,” she teased.
“I know! That’s the problem. See, her last boyfriend was that kind of guy. He’d write her poems and bring her nuts with little hearts etched into them.”
“Well, if he was so great, why did they split?”
“She caught him taking his nuts to someone else.”
Shelly chuckled a bit. “Then maybe she’s better off with someone without as much… imagination.”
“Heh, that’s what I’ve been telling her.” Gary took a deep breath. “I know she loves me, but I also know that she misses the good parts of that relationship. I can’t give her a lifetime of it, but I should at least be able to do something romantic when I ask her to be my wife. She deserves that… but… I don’t know if I can.”
She took a long draught of cider, was about to speak, and then took another. Once she had wiped away the drop from the side of her mouth she replied “Of course you can. You’re one of the best squirrels I’ve ever known. You may not be a hopeless romantic, but you can do anything once you’ve set your mind to it. Tell me, how did you meet?”
He wanted to thank her, but she changed the subject too quickly. “We met right over there by the bar. I overheard her talking about how nervous she was going home. The cat had been in the trees a lot recently and she wasn’t sure what to do. I offered to walk her home. We got there safe, talked a lot, and really hit it off.”
Shelly furrowed her brow and rested her face in her paw. “Squirrel-Jesus, Gary. You really are thick. Just get her and some friends and family here, tell them all that story, and say something about how you would like to be able to watch over her and walk her home for the rest of your lives. Bingo-bango, you have a fiancée.”
“Wow, that’s a good idea.” He looked off in the distance at nothing in particular. “Yeah, that fits the bill. I think that’s what I’ll do! I owe you one. Tell you what, next time I come up here, I’ll bring an extra acorn. Your next drink is on me.”
“That sounds nice. Be sure to tell me how it goes.”
“But, you’ll be there, won’t you Shelly?”
She hesitated for a couple of beats before she answered. “Of course I will… that sounds nice. Anyway, I should get going.” Her words were strained and empty as she stood to leave. “Lots to do.”
“Oh…okay. Well, it really was good seeing you. Let me know if there’s ever anything I can do. You’ve been a great help.”
“Yeah, I’ll make sure to do that.” She waved and walked to the exit.
Gary lost himself in thought about the upcoming proposal, and wedding, and honeymoon, and family. Shelly climbed down the ladder and embarked (as bravely as she could) upon her new life.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gremlin Gripes

I have recently taken to storing my hammer next to my computer.  I have felt the need to remind it that I am the boss and how much damage I can do to it.  Nuisance after nuisance have troubled me for weeks, and half of them have come from my computer.  I am not a Luddite.  I am not a newb.  I do computery things for a living and I generally know wtf I'm doing.  However, I have faced a string of Murphy's law type tech troubles and have come to the only reasonable conclusion:


There are one or more mischievous fey following me and sabotaging every computer I use until I am so mad that I am reduced to a sputtering mass of flailing rage.  I needed to find relief, so I turned to the place I was sure had the wisdom that could deliver me from this chaos:

The Internet.

Now, I was hoping for some Grade-A quackery right off the bat.  I thought I was in immediate luck when I found a search result called: Warwick Davis - Get Rid of Your Gremlins.  Sadly, it has to do with an adult education program in the UK in which he was participating.  I was at least able to get this sweet midget/gremlin pic, so not a total loss.

As it turns out, gremlins have become a metaphor for self-doubt in the self-help community, which diluted my "how to get rid of gremlins" searches with instances of people trying to improve the lives of others.


In my search I did find this delightful satire on Hamster Republic on the nature of Technomancy and how it applies to your computer.  It's a little lengthy, but it does posses some valuable insights into the supernatural evils that are computers, such as "Take a screwdriver, open up your computer, and take a look at the circuit boards. They are usually green, and are covered with complex patterns of thin copper lines. These are Circuit Runes, written in arcane and ancient languages that describe the magic spells that bind the imps to the chips."

I was able to find a genuine spell to get rid of gremlins, but sadly, it only works on laundry machines. Seems awfully specific, but hey, if that's your issue, then it's super-convenient.

I found a gremlins listing on handy little supernatural bestiary.  Turns out that the natural enemy of the gremlin is the pigeon.  However, I have never been able to catch a pigeon and I'm not willing to pay the $265 it would take to get the cheapest set.  This site claims that they can also be lured into empty beer bottles.  Now this makes sense.  I usually drink heavily when I'm cruising through the vast sea of inappropriateness of the Internet, so there's usually bottles strewn about.  A few weeks ago I started to keep things a little cleaner and that's when everything went downhill.

Life lesson learned?
Drink more and stop cleaning up after yourself.

That won't last long, I have too much to do.  My liver, education, and I could use the help of my wonderful readers.  You guys have any advise on how to get rid of/appease these guys?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Communication Issues: Updated

I know that I’m not a normal person because things like this keep happening to me. People will come up to me and say things like:

“Hey Adam, you want to go to Florida and hang out on the beach with us?”

See, I know that to them, what they’re trying to say is:

“Hey Adam Jones, you want to go somewhere nice and do something fun with us?”

But what I hear is more akin to:

“Hey Adam Jones, you want to go to the inner city and let an AIDs riddled whore spit in our mouths?”

My reaction is this:

“What? No. GOD, no. Why would I… wait, is that something you want? That’s awful. Have fun with your garbage and disease.”

I have absolutely no desire to go to the sweltering crotch of America and roll around in its detritus. I’ve been all around this great big country of mine and the place that I loathe the most is Florida. Not even Texas, and that’s where guns and racism come from.

I have not hated my life exactly once while I was in Florida. It was the winter of 2009. I was on a job in Orlando on the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It was a beautiful 70° F, that’s about 21° C for my international readers. In the middle of winter. Tomorrow’s heat index is predicted to be around 105°F/40°C. Did you know that it’s around 34°F in Christchurch right now? Try harder, Florida.

You might be tempted to say something like “But hey, Adam Jones, aren’t you being a hypocrite? It’s already 105 in Atlanta, and at least in Florida there’s the beach.

The beach is exactly the problem. Do you know what the beach is? It’s crushed rock and dead things. When shellfish die, their shells don’t decompose, their flesh rots out or gets eaten, but their gross outside-bones just get smashed up and a lot of it washes on shore where it’s fashioned into misshapen castles by excited children. What fun.

It’s not just the psychological component, either. Sand is physically awful, too. The scorching hot debris gets caught in every crevice and orifice of the human body and proceeds to be more obnoxious than children in a movie theater, or a restaurant…

Or a beach. Children are pretty terrible in the best of circumstances, but when you gather a couple hundred of them and let them do whatever they want, they’re monsters. Loud, squealy, disgusting monsters. It’s not just them, either…

Do a quick image search for beaches and you’ll end up with something like this:
Fucking gorgeous, right?

If that were the beach, I could probably learn to love it. That’s not the beach, though. This is the beach:
The swell of humanity disgusts me.

Why not throw a couple hundred adults in on top of everything else. They tend to be a little less squealy, but no less loud or disgusting. I don’t like crowds to begin with, but no one seems to give a shit about basic humanity at the beach.

Oh, and that’s not to mention the 18 hours round trip with three people and one giant in a 2-door Yaris.

However, I’m trying to be more social and less judgmental, so I decided to go. Who knows? This may be the best trip ever. This may be the one experience that changes my mind about beaches forever. I may fall asleep for the rest of my life wishing I were back on those sands…

But right now I just feel like David Tennant in his last few seconds as the Doctor.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quirky

You know what I love?


Know what else?

All of my friends.

Know what we have in common?

We are some strange, strange people.

People can spend a lifetime trying to fit in, when all that does is suppress the wonderful, weird, kooky quirkyness of us all.

I try, but it's difficult to put my finger on exactly what it is about us all that's just a little off. Maybe that's it - Maybe it's hard to tell because we're just a little off, but in a whole lot of ways.

I found the above photo somewhere lurking in the world wide web. I have no idea what's going on there and that makes it so much better. It does help me refine my point a bit, though. When it comes right down to it:

Are you willing to put on your lobster suit and have a day?

Because we are. I can only imagine the moment when a lobster suit arrives at my door. In my mind, it is a glorious moment, indeed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Phylactery

I fucking love phylacteries.

So Jews have this thing where they take some strips of parchment with particular verses from the Torah, put them in little black boxes and strap them to their arm and forehead.  This allows them to bear a symbol that their hearts and minds are in dedication to god.  I only found out about them a couple of years ago when I was walking through the airport and saw the two Jewiest Jews I had ever seen.  A quick Google search for "little boxes Jews wear" led me to the fascinating history of the Tefillin, or phylactery.

I was particularly fond of this because sometime before, completely independently,  I had started wearing a pill fob on a belt loop with important lessons that I had learned written on scraps of paper inside.  There will always be difficult times and in those times we sometimes forget the most important things about life.  So whenever I get upset, I'll open up my little silver box and remind myself.  You can see it in just about any picture of me that includes my waistline.

I can't help but feel that these two practices share a philosophical link.

So Liches have this thing where they take their soul and put it into a small item, usually a box or bottle, called  phylactery.  This allows them to operate their undead bodies remotely.  If their bodies are then destroyed, perhaps by a wandering group of adventurers, no damage is done to the spirit and the body can be rebuild in a matter of days.  In order to permanently destroy the Lich, you must first destroy its phylactery.  However, they are usually guarded by powerful spells, powerful creatures, and hidden deep within keeps or catacombs.  It's a pretty ingenious survival plan... well... depending on your definitions of survival.

Either way, phylacteries are about taking something of great spiritual significance, and putting it in a small box.  There's something about the idea that I find fascinating. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Orion

So, another possible contributor to my overwhelming ego might be that I was named after highly influential mythical figures.  My full name is Adam Orion Jones.  I'm really only out-shined by some guy named Jesus Superman Gandhi.  Jones wasn't my last name at birth, I took it on when my old step-father adopted me.  I had the chance to change it back when my mother divorced him, but I kept it because:

1. I had never known my birth father at this point.
2. I had built an identity as Adam Jones
3. It was so common that it didn't feel tied to my step-father.
4. It had such a nice ring to it. "Adam Jones" flows very easily.

The super common last name added sort of an everyman appeal to these legendary figures.  I liked it.  But I've gotten a bit off topic.

Stories about Orion are extremely varied in Greek mythology.  There are many different versions of his life and deeds.  Many of which were fairly awful, but these were the Greeks. All of their heroes were sometimes villains.

However, it was universally agreed that he was super tall, handsome, strong, talented, and generally awesome.  
It's a lot to live up to.

Did you know that Orion was such a badass hunter that Mother Earth created a giant scorpion just to kill him?  Okay, he may have been planning to kill every animal on Earth, but still, that's a hell of a way to go.  It's no wonder that I hate scorpions.

The other legend of his death involves his goddess lover Artemis being tricked into shooting him in the head while swimming in the ocean.  Coincidentally, I also don't like the ocean.

Still, I think the next dog I get will be names Sirius. (His dog was so awesome they put him in the sky, too.)

Any of you guys feel compelled to fill delusionally large shoes?

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Nightingale/December Song

N was one of my favorite entries from last year, so I wanted to have fun with this one, too. 
Also, pro-tip: When looking for inspiration for subjects starting with N, doing a Google search for "n word" is not a great idea.

Ooh, I know!

Let me share some music with you.  I rarely ever do this, but I've been inspired recently.  My friend over at The Modest Peacock has her Music Mondays and I thought I'd horn in on that a little.

There is a song that really helped me out a while ago.  It's by a band called Sunset Rubdown on their Dragonslayer LP back in 2009.  It's called "Nightingale/December Song."  I hope you like it!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for McCoy

Look at him majestically holding that... item.
If your name is Dr. McCoy, you're probably a badass.

I think part of my love of being a crotchety old man at any age probably stems, at least a little, from Doctor Leonard McCoy.

Here is a man who is on a space ship where people are fighting, dying, sexing, exploring, inventing, and overacting and all he wants is for those damn kids to get off of his lawn.  That is some master level curmudgeoning. 

The wonders of the universe have no appeal to this guy.  He's seen it all.  He's not impressed. He's a doctor.

I'll admit, I haven't seen the original show since I was a kid.  The character was probably a little more in depth, but I remember him as being a grouchy savior of mankind.

I wish I had a tie to match my fur.
As I was becoming a teenager I found myself struggling between the seemingly mutually exclusive virtues of brawn and brain.  That is, until I acquainted myself with Doctor Henry McCoy.

The X-Men taught me about the dynamics of social conflict, the shapes they could take, and ways to resolve them.  They also taught me that like Hank, you could be strong, visually off-putting, brilliant, and compassionate.  It's a lesson that is just as relevant in my life today.

This guy was a super genius who mutated in the Beast.  He is crazy strong, agile, and a highly skilled fighter.  So what did he do after he gained this outstanding physical prowess?  He dedicated his life to science and Mutant equality in politics. 

Grade A Badass.

Shown here having excellent taste.
My favorite, though, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is Doctor Karissa McCoy.  I first met her on April 16th, 2011 and my life has been immeasurably more excellent since then.

Yes, she is beautiful, intelligent, kind, blah, blah, blah... that's not really the important part.

See, I grew up as an only child, didn't have a lot of friends, wasn't too social, never had a long term relationship... I was alone a lot.  I think partially as a result of this (and probably a bunch of other stuff) I have become pretty self centered.

Over the last year, this woman has begun to teach me how to open myself up and care about others in a genuine way.  I still have a long way to go, but without her I may never have started.

I do recognize the irony of complimenting someone else  by saying how they made me less self-involved, but I think it's a start.

She also likes Ponies, Doctor Who, and debating the possible homoerotic subtext of Fight Club.

Also she has great boobs.

The Dr. McCoy family is so inspiring, I was shocked when I learned that this guy wasn't a member.

I wish he was my mentor.

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Lessons

Life is a constant stream of lessons.

Such as I didn't think of doing L is for Life until I had already conceptualized this post and written that sentence.  Bother.  Well, there's always next year.

I am entranced by the relationships between mistakes, wisdom, suffering, and joy.

There are times that I look at humanity and consider myself one of the more wise among them.  However, the only reason I ever make any good decisions at all is because I've made the bad ones so many times that I eventually realized what I was doing wrong.

I still make as many mistakes as ever, perhaps more; just not the same ones.*  Experience and personal growth open up whole new worlds of mistakes to make.  Each error brings knowledge and insight that I try my damnedest to absorb into myself.  Sometimes it works.

Recently I've been making a lot of mistakes.  Some pretty big ones.  I'm trying not to get overwhelmed by it all (that's a mistake I've made too many times before).  Instead, I'm focusing on the lessons.  What caused this?  What can be done to fix this?  What can I do to make sure that this never happens again?

As Long as I Learn my Life Lesson, I can nail this down and move on to a whole new world of mistakes.

*One of the lessons I still haven't learned is how to use a semi-colon.  I have no idea if that was right.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Ketchup

It seems that I know a lot of people with K names.  All of those people wanted me to write a post about them.  Some of them flip-flopped, some of them remained firm, but all of them scare me.  If I followed through with any of them, I feared I would be stabbed.

I had a lot of things to say, but instead, we get this.

So let me tell you about how much I love ketchup.

When I was a child, my step father would put ketchup on the sandwiches he would make me.  I grew up thinking that was normal.  I thought a lot of things were normal back then...

I've since learned right from wrong in reference to how ketchup is traditionally used.  The main benefit of that knowledge is that I now understand when I am turning the tangy delight into a wretched abomination of tomato slather.

I'm not so obsessed as to put it on everything.  For instance, it has no place in desserts.  I admit that, now.  However, I do think that it has far greater uses than many give it credit for.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for J. R. R. Tolkien Can Eat a D!€% (with cursing)

So I've never read any of the books, only watched the movies.
I began thinking: Wait... what?

There are several things that I just don't fundamentally get,
such as:

The One Ring
So there's this ring.  It has four powers:
It makes you invisible.
It drives you mad.
Everyone wants it.
Bad guys can track it

Seems like a pretty shitty deal.

It was never satisfactorily explained to me what the importance of this ring was.  It could maybe control the other rings and their wearers?  Why not just have everyone who was wearing a ring take theirs off?  I'm sure there was a reason, it's just that no one ever told me what it was.

What the fuck was this guy?  I'm sure that he was more than just a big flaming eye, but what was he?  Why didn't he ever do anything?  As far as I can tell, he didn't actually have to exist for the story; everything would have happened the same way without him.  He contributed nothing.

Okay, here's the part that really baked my noodle.  I could not figure out what the deal was with wizards.  There was no magic academy, no school, training program, or anything.  Where do wizards come from?  Are there only like, two ever?  Where the shit does magic stuff come from?  Do you not have to be a wizard to do magic?  Then what the shit does being a wizard even mean?

It finally got to the point where I broke down and consulted the internet.

Me: What the shit is Gandalf, anyway?

Internet: Gandalf is an Istari.

Me: Okay... well... what the shit is an Istari?

Internet: The Istari are a group of Maiar.

Me: Oh.  Huh.  I see.  What... what are Maiar?

Internet: The Maiar are lesser versions of Valar.

Me: Seriously?  You're doing this?  Okay.  What are Valar?

Internet: The Valar are the physical forms of the most powerful Ainur.

Me:  I swear to shit, what the shit?!  No, calm down, you're Adam Jones.  You can do this.  Okay internet.  Tell me.  What are Ainur?

Internet: The Ainur were created by Eru Ilúvatar.

Me: Fuck you, I'm done.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Imagination

When I was a small child I was confused by the concept of imagination.  I thought imagination was being able to have completely new ideas spark from nothing into your mind.  I couldn't do it.  I thought I was broken. 

All I could do was take things I already knew and swap around bits to make some kind of composite.  I never created anything new, I just rearranged old stuff.  It felt more like a mathematical process, there was a logical progression behind it.  I regarded this as a pale substitute for imagination.

As I got older, my list of things I could swap around grew tremendously.  After a while, it wasn't just pieces I could swap around, but whole concepts and abstract thoughts.  I could mix and match just about anything to get whatever new thing I needed, but it was still never a new thing.

I honestly couldn't tell you when I realized the truth.  It wasn't that long ago. 

I'm sure that there are people who have imaginations that work the way I thought it did.  I'm also sure that those people are absolutely insane.  Imagination isn't a magical genesis which leads to something from nothing.  It's finding new ways to express what you already know... No, that's wrong.  It's finding your way to express what you already know.  That is one more reason that you should never stop learning.  The more knowledge that you gather, the more colors you can paint with.

Information inspires imagination.

I've recently taken up poetry.  I find that going on walks helps my creativity get started.
What sorts of things do you guys do to get your imaginations flowing?

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Hello

All day I've been trying to think of a good H word and haven't been able to come up with anything.  Then, all of a sudden, I think of three really good ones, but they would take a really long time to do well and I'm getting pretty tired.  Maybe one of those can be for next year.  I'm going to go light tonight and just say HELLO!

Isn't that nice?  I've always liked the word hello.  I'm sure a quick Google search would enlighten me, but as of right now, I have no idea where the word came from me.  It's a couple of nonsense syllables that mean nothing, it conveys nothing.  It's just a nice little sound that sort of indicates "I acknowledge your existence."

Feeling like you don't exist is a terrible sensation.  Walking around all day without anyone making eye contact with you or speaking to you can be surprisingly disheartening.

So if you can help it, if you can keep it in mind, make sure you smile to the people you pass by for the next couple of days.  Look them in the eye and say hello.  It might just do a world of good.

Has a simple act of acknowledgement ever changed your day?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Goblin

The history of Goblins in mythology is rich, fascinating, and not what I plan on talking about right now.

I probably first became aware of Goblins in 1986 with the movie Labyrinth.  I don't recall ever feeling any particular way about them at the time.  I think I just sort of took them at face value with sort of a "Sure, that makes enough sense, I suppose" attitude.

I think it was probably 1994 by the time I noticed Goblins again.  I saw them frequently while playing the new game Magic: The Gathering.  They were very different from the ones that I had seen before, but were still unarguably quite Goblin... whatever that was.

I then learned about D&D Goblins.  Later on I started LARPing, and they had their own unique Goblins.

These creatures were the first example I ever noticed of creators drawing upon a common mythos and interpreting it differently, but still staying true to the identity.  The interesting thing is that there is no one Source of Goblin.  The entire idea is one that we're all making up together and we just know when it's right.

In my creative writing class, someone wrote a snippet about Goblins preparing to ambush a couple of travelers.  It was meant to be an example of building tension.  

The teacher: Why are their swords rusty?
Me: Goblins aren't known for their maintenance, they're scavengers.  If their equipment breaks down, they'll just steal new stuff.
Teacher: Well, if they're scavengers, maybe you could have them use old farm equipment as weapons.
Me:  Sure, if it was their first time out, but the first people they're going to ambush would be people with better weapons.
Girl Next to Me: Wow, you sure do know a lot about Goblins.
Me: Well... yeah... I do.

Thing is, I didn't even wait for the author of the piece to respond.  I started reflexively talking.  Somewhere along the line I became so intimately familiar with Goblin Lore that it just became natural.

I think one of the reasons that these things have fascinated me for so long is that they have severe weaknesses, the most of any fantasy creature.  The fun part is that they have strengths to make up for each of them.

Weakness: A Goblin is pitifully weak.  A single one could be overwhelmed by a surly child.
Strength: There is no such thing as a Goblin.  They have a habit of overwhelming their foes with sheer numbers.

Weakness: They are cowards.  When intimidated, they will scatter like bugs.
Strength: They are vicious.  If they keep their morale up, they will gnaw through any defenses.

Weakness: They have no social structure.  If a Chief or a Shaman can display enough power to intimidate enough followers, they may be able to keep a small tribe in line for a while, but this will inevitably break down.  Goblins are irritable and violent, as if the entire species has just quit smoking.
Strength: They can be rallied.  When given an inspirational leader or a fearsome overlord, Goblins can be rallied to complete a single, simple task to the best of their communal ability.

Weakness: Goblins are fantastically stupid.  Your typical example has no ability to predict the outcome of an unfamiliar situation.
Strength: They are wily and obsessive.  Their ability to think outside the box is unparalleled.  This best shines through in any tinkering or engineering that they do.  Goblin creations are dangerous and flawed, but will usually do what they were designed to, if only once.

But most of all, they're fun.  They never get bogged down in things like image, politics, religion, or personal safety.  They are the ultimate expression of living in the moment.

As more iterations get more popular, the public idea of Goblins begins to solidify.  I imagine that from now on, your average nerd/gamer is going to immediately think of World of Warcraft Goblins as their standard.  I don't think that there's any thing wrong with that, really.  They're a pretty well-rounded example, in my humble opinion.

However, I could do with a few more like this:

Anybody else have any thoughts on these little green gems?

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for Facebook Can Eat a D!€%

I've had a love/hate relationship going on with the Facebooks for quite some time now, but it's recently taken a vicious, personal turn.

Like an old person, I long for the days of personal contact. If you have something to say to me, why not just call? Because it's just not efficient anymore, that's why. I'd be on the phone all day. It's a quick and easy way to keep all your ducks in one row, I get that.

The problem starts when people rely on Facebook as a tasteful and reliable way to disseminate information. Don't be surprised that I didn't know that you were pregnant just because you put it on your wall. Maybe 15 of my other 500 "friends" posted something before I got on and I'm too lazy to scroll down.

So now I have to be on all the time or I miss everything that’s going on. It’s become a social convention that if I try to buck, I’ll just get left behind. Except that I’ve already been left behind.

I’ve been learning how to behave around people my whole life and honestly, I learn slower than most. I know you’re not supposed to talk about a woman’s facial hair, shout “scrotum!” in a public place, or type in all caps. These things have been drilled into me since I was a small child. I’ve had time to get used to these rules and follow them somewhat instinctively. However, as technology grows, they keep adding new rules and I keep missing a few here and there.

I know a dozen tips and tricks to not getting stabbed on the subway, but I don’t know to be super careful when browsing through the profile pics of a girl you just met. Your buddy might bump your arm and make you accidentally press “like” on a 10 month old picture of her and her mom. Nothing says “I’m not a weirdo” like “Hey, you and your mom are super-hot. I approve.”

Any of you wanna share a story about how technology helped you humiliate yourself?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Evelyn

That is some hot shit, right there.
There are just a handful of couples that we know are supposed to be together - Jack and Jill, Romeo and Juliet, Adam and Eve... well, if you're gay there's Adam and Steve.

I'm not what you might call a Christian, but it's hard to fight the notion, this bizarre sense of imposed identity that there's supposed to be an Eve out there that I'm supposed to be with.  Truth be told, I've never even met an Eve.

Many, many years ago I latched onto the name Evelyn as a real-life equivalent.  Strangely enough, I always equated this name to myself.  In video games I almost exclusively play female characters.  My thought on this is that if I'm going to be staring at someone for many hours of my life, I prefer it to be a hot chick.  That said, due to the nature of video games, I still want to identify with these characters.  So, when it comes time to name them, I want to give them a feminine version of my name... except that there isn't one.  There's no Brian/Brianna, Joseph/Josephine, Francis/Frances version of Adam.  The only thing that ever felt right was Evelyn, so that's what I name all of my lady-selves.

I'm just egotistical enough to want to name a child after myself, but what if I have a girl?  I decided I would name her Evelyn.  I realize that it doesn't quite fit.  If a guy named Romeo married a woman named Karen and named his daughter Juliet, it would seem weird to me.  However, I don't care.

Then I actually met a woman named Evelyn.

Photo by Coilhouse
This woman is so prolific that just glancing at her itinerary drives me to nap.  Also, she is mad talented.  When I first met her, she bossed me around and posed me like a doll for photographs, before introductions.  So, super hot.  If she didn't live 1,000 miles away, we'd be knee-deep in babies by now.  It's probably better if she doesn't know that I've been calling myself Evelyn for years.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Draw Something

So remember how I have this rare disorder where I pass out and have seizures if I laugh too hard?

You should, it's hilarious and true.

Well, it hasn't been an issue for several years.  I've learned to recognize the signs of an oncoming fit and avoid them.

Until yesterday.

You see, I have recently become acquainted with a game called Draw Something. You are given a choice of three words.  You draw one of those words.  The other person tries to guess what it is that you have drawn and selects the word out of a pool of 12 letters.

Now, some people's first instinct is to draw things as photo-realistic as possible.  There are some truly amazing artists out there.  It's worth a Google search.

Me on the other hand, I like to draw as simply and poorly as possible and see if people still get it.  To my continual pleasure, they do.  I would love to read a paper about how complex ideas can be communicated through simple images.

I have also found that the more ludicrous the images I draw are, the more amused I am when someone actually guesses it.  I sent my friend an image that looked suspiciously like a pitch black phallus with a red tooth pick and he immediately and correctly guessed that it was meant to represent Darth Vader.  Well, as it turns out, this was enough to trigger my seizures.

As it turns out, it is awkward to explain to your teacher that you were late to class due to seizures brought about by a cartoonish Darth Wiener.

In the meantime, I'll keep sending out pics like this:
I drew this myself.
Have you played this?  Do you know the joy?  Share your experiences with me.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Charity

Oh, humanity, why must you leave me so conflicted?

I hate you, don't you see that?  You rape, and murder, and write really bad fan fiction.

However, on the other hand, you make donuts, and glitter, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  Also, for some strange reason, you occasionally help a stranger who needs it.

I believe in you, humanity.  You beat me, you call me awful names, and I don't even have that fetish, but I still believe in you.  If you're going to get any better at all, you need embrace and nurture every aspect of charity.

So the lovely lady in the picture over there is going to help.  She's working with the St. Baldrick's Foundation to help the fight against childhood cancer.  She is going to shave her head to show solidarity with the kids undergoing treatment.  Now, I may have called her a monster in an earlier post, but I think that this makes up for it.

She needs help, though.  So if you, Dear Reader, Aspect of Humanity, would like to help out a little of your fellow man by making a donation, you may just leave the world a little better place.

The donation page is here: Donation Page

Ooh, also, as a bonus: She has agreed to send in a lovely picture of herself after the shaving.  I anxiously await posting that.

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Bucket List

I think about death.  A lot.

Not in any way where you need to alert the authorities or anything, but it does shape much of what I do and why.  Death is one of the most profound and universal of human experiences, and we spend most of our lives pretending that it isn't there.  If I were to constantly acknowledge death, could I ever spend a moment wallowing in self doubt or eating a cold can of soup?

Yes, I love soup, but no to the wallowing part.

It all goes by in an instant and I want to get as much of it as possible.  For that, I need a plan; One must be ready to go when opportunity knocks.

So I've decided to officially organize a list of life goals, how I'm going to accomplish them, and I'm going to share it all with you.

There is a new page on  It is my Bucket List page.  Whenever I meditate perfectly and get new answers to the question "What do I want to do with my life?" I will be putting them here.

What do you have on your Bucket List?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Allons-y

Eleven months have passed since I felt the weight of April bearing down on my weary shoulders.

I almost missed it.  It wasn't until mere moments ago that I realized that it was A-Z season again.  I was tempted, sorely tempted to let it pass and be free from its tyranny.  However, I am on a constant journey towards personal growth.

For over four years I have been in the limbo between smoker and non-smoker.  I'll quit for many months at a time and then fall back to old habits.  I learn something about myself every time I fail.  I'm able to quit for longer periods, fail for shorter, and not fail as hard.  Eventually I'll win.  All I have to do is not give up.

It's the same for blogging.  There are many things that stand in my way.  Each time my momentum is blocked, I learn more about how it happened and learn to avoid it in the future.  The trick is to not give up.

Very well then, I shan't.  You and me, Dear Reader, we're going to have some fun.  I'm taking you with me on a magical letter ride.  I'm gonna take you to places you've only dreamed about.  I'm talking about those kinda dreams you get after watching Metropolis, Se7en, and Legend, eating three ramen burritos, and taking some cold medicine.  In other words, sexy.

I accept this awesome alphabet adventure.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

To My Greatest Fan

Okay, most of the traffic to my site comes from Ukrainian phishing sites, but a few of you are actual human beings.  When the time came to celebrate one whole year of, I planned to take my most loyal of human readers and send them a gift in appreciation.  Then the time came and I found myself too wrapped up in other things and I let it pass, but I never forgot it.

Then finally, a couple of weeks ago I got it done.  Without a doubt, the most influential human fan of this blog is a beautiful woman named Melissa.  I know that she's beautiful because I've Facebook stalked her.  She lives in New Zealand, which I suspect is another reason that I procrastinated so long... the shipping was notable.  However, since I was going to do it, I was going to make it worthwhile.

Fist of all, I sent her this wonderful Adam Jones t-shirt.

I included with it this exquisite trophy which exemplified her achievement.

When asked what she would like from America that she could not easily get in NZ, she replied, "maybe an owl?"  So I sent her Professor Featherbottom.

I drew her a picture of a llama dressed as Coolio, framed it, and sent that, too (frame not pictured).

And I even sent her a personalized, hand-written letter (personalized, hand-written letter not pictured).

Now, I'm not often on the Facebooks, but I was on today and it told me that today was Melissa's birthday, so I thought I would take a moment to wish her a happy birthday.

Happy birthday!

P.S. - I don't even care if this is way too stalkery.  It's what you get for acknowledging me.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Vaginas and Their Monologues: A Beginner's Thoughts

So it was recently Leap Day, that magical time that comes along every four years and gives us a whole extra day.  We take that day and do with it things we might never do during the real years.  This year I went to go see The Vagina Monologues at Emory University.

It had been skirting around the periphery of my awareness for over a decade and I had no idea what it was about, so it seemed like a pretty good idea.  I love vaginas, I may as well hear what they have to say. 

I donned my gray pin-striped suit and the traditional Leap Day colors of blue and yellow.  I had to go buy a yellow tie for this.  As far as single colored ties I had black, white, silver, blue, red, and green, but I didn't have yellow... orange or purple for that matter.  The reason for this is that I have never seriously explored the art of clowning.  But hey, Leap Day makes fools of us all.

It was a gorgeous evening and I couldn't have been in a better mood.  Once I got there, the first thing I noticed was that I was the only straight man in the entire building.  There was only one other man in the audience.  He was a well-dressed, clean-shaven black man with happy eyes and emphatic gestures.  I don't know for an absolute fact that he was gay.  Given a completely different context, I may have never had the thought.  However, as it was, if someone put a gun to my head and asked me if he was a homosexual I would say "first of all, if you want to know if he's gay, you should probably ask him yourself instead of assaulting me.  Second, since I have to guess, I would say that performing fellatio is probably on his to-do list for the week."  There were two other men.  They were the producers and most certainly gay.  There really isn't any room to theorize about that.  Trust me.

Before I go any further, let me say that I had a great deal of actual, sincere fun at this show.  It was touching, joyful, mournful, tragic, provocative, and humorous... and all in the right mix.  The acting wasn't very good for the most part, but I found that did nothing to stop me from liking it.  Even though the delivery was often off, it was clear that the women on stage believed what they were saying.  They felt it and that made me want to feel it.  I recommend this completely and whole-heartedly.

For the most part the show was about self acceptance, sexual pride, and human equality.  These are all concepts that everyone can appreciate and I really enjoyed seeing them from an angle that I was not completely familiar with.

The next part of the disclaimer is to say that I think it's a terrible shame that we have spawned a global culture that necessitates this show at all.  Some people may think that's the wrong message to pull away from this, but I don't think so.  If we had that world of absolute gender, racial, and religious freedom that we all deserve... well, I just don't think we would need this show.  As it stands, though, it is absolutely vital that women get together and demand acceptance from others, each other, and themselves.

But some of that rhetoric was absolutely ludicrous and I spent most of the show with an enormous, likely inappropriate, grin.  I've come to understand that I feed off the mildly-to-moderately inappropriate.  There is a tension when a situation is slightly off kilter from what it's supposed/expected to be.  That tension creates energy and that's what fuels me.  A big enough elephant in a room could feed me for a week.  Some of these lines were so sublimely ridiculous that they became a fine delicacy.  If you ever get to see the show, do what I did:  Envision all of the women as men who are talking about their peni.  It changes the entire vibe of the show and even further illustrates gender inequality.  Imagine a man in stage saying "I love my penis.  I am my penis.  My penis is beautiful, powerful, and the lens through which I see the world.  It is my physical and emotional center."  No one would put up with that.  And they shouldn't, it's ridiculous.  Genitals will always be important, and in this cultural moment it's great to have solidarity and vag power, but once we get to gender equality, there won't be much difference between an innie and an outie.  Personally, I don't think anyone should ever feel like they're just a walking, talking reproductive organ.  That just doesn't seem healthy to me.

(I know I'm being super cautious and pre-defensive here, but in my experience, women hate it when you laugh and their privates.  No one likes that.  So I'm trying to find away of saying "With all due respect, your shit is hilarious.")

So this naturally made me want a Penis Monologue.  I don't want to subvert of co-opt the original purpose, but I'm jealous, envious.  It seems like it would be nice to be so open and honest about that sort of thing.  I would like to be a part of the spirit of the movement, but I don't really have a vagina to offer to the cause.  A quick Google search showed me that there were a few attempts at these man shows, but were handled mainly as parodies, satires, and such.  That's a real shame.  I feel that there's a real need for the real thing.  I expect a certain amount of resistance to the idea.  You know when you're a kid and you find out about Mother's Day and Father's Day and you ask "Why isn't there a Children's Day?" and your parents inevitable reply "Everyday is Children's Day," and that answer seems pretty cheap, but you let it go because you don't want to argue and eventually you realize what they mean?  I think is basically the same thing when a guy says "Hey, why can't we talk about our peni?"  Someone inevitable says "Everything we say is about peni."  Actually, they might use the word penises because they don't know about fun plurals.  Anyway, there's no real forum to talk about those tender moments of manhood.  There should be, though.

Gender equality goes both ways and men need to be given room to grow, too.

I know, I know, it's a complex topic and I'm not doing it justice by just touching on it and running away.  I know that there's a lot more to be said, but that's what you get.  I'm sleepy now.