Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Big D(eeeeez Nuts)

Well I guess I'm firmly planted in the Big D, although I'm still trying to gain traction in this 32,314,778 horse town. I've officially consolidated into one living space, taking early leave of my ultra-swank temporary corporate housing in favor of having at least one pair of matching socks in just one central location. It was hard to give up the car-wash showers and living room-to-kitchen monorail, but I'm a one-residence kinda guy, even if that residence is filled mostly with self-assembly Target furniture.

I think I'll like it here. And I'm not just saying that because I watched that "Optimism in the Face of Unbelievably Bad Situations" documentary 10 minutes ago and I'm all jazzed up on coffee and Adderall. There are things I've found that I'm definitely impressed with (the amount of plastic surgery per square mile is not one of them, but I'll get to that).

Here is one:

This is White Rock Lake, and while it's true that it doesn't always look quite this "nut in your running shorts" spectacular, it's actually a pretty good place to run. This is a good thing because I've got to have decent running circumstances or I go crazier than a taunted San Francisco Zoo tiger.

There are a few things, however, about the Big that I find a little unsettling, if not downright abrasive. They are as follows in no particular order:

Concrete/Roads/Interstates/Shopping Centers/Toll-Ways as far as the eye can see

Seriously, it's friggin' concrete jungle. Anyone who tells you differently is either lying to you or crazy. Either way you should push their face into the ground and run away. I've never seen so many Bed Bath & Beyonds in a 2 mile radius. I guess if I have some sort of bath-mat emergency I'll be all set as long as I can figure out which 3 toll roads connect to the highway that leads to US 35E-W-NS-Business-E. But if I miss it I can always make a left and catch Mockingbird S and loop around on the Dallas North Tollway and HOLY F I'M LOSING MY MIND!!!!

What could be worse? How about:

Blind, All-Encompassing Materialism

It's been said that there's more plastic surgery per square mile in Dallas than in L.A. I don't know if that's true or not, but I have noticed that the douche-bag factor here is extremely high for a state that is technically below the Mason-Dixon line. This city is all about what you're driving, what you're wearing, where you live, who you're banging, what the person you're banging is wearing and driving, and so forth. Personality is an afterthought and the concept of intellect seems to be avoided like the plague. Unless you don't drive a Mercedes E-Class that is, then it's obvious that you're just stupid.

Anyway, with all this obsession with appearances and what-not at least the people must be pretty fit and active, right?


Texas is One of the Fattest States in the Union

Tenth fattest in 2007 to be exact.

Nobody here really seems to care about fitness. Maybe it's because you can get 8 lbs of beef brisket for $0.35. Or maybe it's because there's plenty of room in everyone's Ford F-750 dually trucks to comfortably hold all the love handles and double chins you can squeeze in there and still fit comfortably into those over sized Texas parking spaces (this is true - these parking spaces are GIGANTIC!). And even if it doesn't fit, well hells-bells, just drive 3 blocks down the street to the next Target. I hear they have oatmeal cream pies on special and all the cashiers are Texas natives.

But at least everyone is friendly, right?:

Hi! Okay, never mind I guess..

So far I've waved and/or smiled at every runner I've passed (which, granted, is not that many). I've yet to even get an acknowledgment. I mean, I'm getting totally ghosted here. Maybe I've been spoiled with all that southern hospitality into thinking that people shouldn't give you the stink-eye just because you said hi to them out there on the street. Call me ol' fashioned I guess.

So, in summary, there are a few things in the Big that I've got to get used to and/or change. But, I like to consider myself somewhat of an adaptive and resilient creature and I'm sure I'll make Texas home. It's always tough when you're in a situation where everything around you is new and different. All your familiarity and comfort zones are stripped from you and you're forced to build new friendships, find new places, and just generally situate yourself again in a place that is much bigger and flatter than those quaint Dilworth streets that are quickly seeming like such a distant memory..

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Well my time in Charlotte has officially wound down to the last few Sweet Carolina moments. If my time in the QC was a roll of toilet paper I would officially be well into the frustrating little gluey pieces that stick to the roll to tell you that, A.) It's time to change the roll, B. )There's got to be a better place for the spare shit-tickets than all the way down the hall, and C.) You thought you were a gambling man but three shreds of Charmin to cover 4 fingers going into the black lagoon is a little too much risk. Think about it. Or don't, I really don't care either way.

It's funny when you reach a point in your life that is undeniably a turning point. I mean, there are always those times in your life that you can look back upon and say, "Hmm, that was a real turning point." But usually you didn't know at the time or you were too stupid or too busy watching Behind the Music to realize that you were undergoing a metamorphosis or a life changing experience. But sometimes there are those hard breaks that you know without a doubt will lead to major change, whether good or bad. These changes could be any one of number of things including but not limited too} (sorry, I lost use of my colon key for some reason) Losing all your physical belongings in one very stupid but totally ballsy spin of the roulette wheel; Being unwittingly swept into a world of snuff porn with a ring leader named PitSmack; Winning the lottery.

While my turning point did not find it's roots in anything this exciting, it is without a doubt staring me right in the face like an Ultimate Fighting champ, and I've either gotta start swinging or catch a flying knee to the chin followed by a merciless onslaught of taped knuckles to the face-hole region.

I'm moving to Dallas in exactly 2 days and it promises to be quite a shock to the system. I'm officially in the "What the fuck am I doing?" stage. Hopefully not to be followed by the "What the fuck have I done and what was I thinking?" stage. And I really, really hope not to be followed by the "How the shit did I get to be a lonely, middle aged, friendless gas station attendant" stage.

I guess maybe it's normal when you're moving on to take a look at everything that you have that maybe you've taken for granted, and that no doubt you will miss. I've made lot of friends here in Charlotte in the 3 and 1/2 years I've called this city my home. I've changed a lot as a person. I've grown and matured. I've become a runner, and that is a big part of who I am now and something that I'll always be.

I've also learned a lot of lessons. I've felt a lot of pain, and a lot of happiness, too. I've spent countless hours trying to know who and what I want to become, and I like to think I've gotten closer to some of these answers, although I also think I've learned that part of life is the constant reinvention of these questions based on who you actually have become, and what you have accomplished. I've learned that you can live like a king in a old dilapidated townhouse, and you can feel like a hopeless prisoner in a plush gated community. I've learned that there will always be people that want you to do or be one thing or another, and as long as you try to appease everyone you will always be in constant struggle between two forces. The only way around this friction is to do what YOU want to do, and not what anyone else wants you to do. I've also learned that this is much easier said than done. I've learned that it's best not to judge others, although it is always one's instinct to do so. I've leaned that good music is sometimes hard to find, but worth the digging. I've learned that one can survive the absence of TV, but you will be forced to be alone with your thoughts and this can be a scary thing. I've learned that good beer is worth the money, but cheap beer by the bucket with a group of close friends is really hard to beat. I've learned to stay close to your family and to remember where you come from. Trying to be someone you're not is like trying to keep Dick Cheney away from a "Shoot Your Friends in the Face" convention. Impossible.

I guess in summary I've made a pretty good run of Charlotte. She's been good to me, and I've been good to her (although sometimes she complained about the "love taps"). But I'm the type of guy that likes to move on before the rigamortis sets in. So, good or bad, I'm off to the Big D. I like to think it will be an exiting new chapter of my life, but who knows, it could really suck...

Monday, October 1, 2007

Airplanes Are Cooler Than Pedandtic Ramblings

I was originally going to write this post about the difference between living one's life based on the practicallity and reason of a classical mindset versus letting the free-wheeling fancy of romanticsm guide your rosy and hemp-laced life. Then I almost vomited all over my keyboard at the thought of how wrist-slittingly boring that post would be. I for one would rather punch myself in the nuts repeatedly than listen to some ass-bag blogger prattle on about how hard it is to decide between art and function. But the segway to aeroplanes? "Are you drunk, stoned and collaborating with one of your illiterate retarded Malaysian hookers again?" you might ask. No (and she's Tai godammit - that's the last time I'm going to correct you. Next time it will be a knee to the kidney, no questions asked).

Actually, airplanes are one of the few things in this world that transcend the boundaries between classical and romantic ideals. In a classical sense, the principles of flight have been designed on very brilliant yet surprisingly simple concepts of physics. In addition, a functioning airplane makes such efficient use of resources and mechanical and electrical systems as to be able to cross continents and oceans, carry hundreds of people or thousands of pounds of cargo, and break sound barriers (not all at once of course).

But airplanes and flight are also very romantic by nature. After all, what better instrument of ultimate freedom and individualism? Flying thousands of feet above the earth's surface with total control of your craft and the direction you will take is not only totally empowering, but quite liberating as well. As a pilot, you cut your own path, and the world is but a canvass beneath you, changing at your whimsey and providing scenery and perception impossible to an earthbound man.

So that's the segway, dammit, but it's not really what I want to write about.

This past week I was able to spend about 5 days in Tennessee with my father, whom I respect, admire, and strive to be similar to in many aspects of my life. My dad is a retired airline pilot who now works for the FAA. His career has literally spanned all facets of aviation, including single engine flight instruction, carrying the mail (one of the most dangerous flying gigs around, for those of you that don't know), corporate flying, airline executive, airline flying, airline training, and now working for the watchdog - the FAA.

My father has been able to acheive great things in his life because he had three things: Dreams, goals, and the ambition and will-power to make things happen for himself. Growing up I know we weren't wealthy, but my family was always well provided for. I don't recall my father ever bitching about how he had ever been slighted, wronged, or short-changed for any reason. I remember him working very hard, flying long trips, fixing things, building things, loving my mother, and somehow still spending ample time with me and my sister. All this, and I can barely find time to take my dog for a walk. Unbelievable. My father never drank, never smoked, dipped, chewed, swore, hit, yelled, or threatened. He was never shady and he never disappeared for days at a time.

What were his vices? What were his releases? To be honest, I don't know. One might be tempted to classify my dad as a puritan or straight-laced. But this is not the case either, as he has always had a great sense of humor and the quickest of witts. One of the most light-hearted and jovial men I've ever known, my images of him mostly consist of him laughing at some random joke or something he did that was goofy as all hell.

I realize that I'm probably biased, but the fact of the matter is that my dad is one of the best men I've ever known. I look at his life and his experiences (aviation was only one of many careers my father held) and can't help but feel... small. Or maybe one-dimensional is a better description. I guess I just feel like my father knows so much about so many things, and I (along with my generation of young men) am on track to a lot about a little, at best. Cultural changes, or a tragic change in the composition of today's men? I don't know..

So I had set out to write about airplanes, and the fact of the matter is that I had the time of my life in Tennessee flying with my father. My pilot's certifications as well as my love for of aviation were reborn and I can't wait to get back into the skies and behind the throttle. But as I write this I realize that although I have developed a love for airplanes and aviation, perhaps it is my admiration for my father which has been the catalyst for my love of flying, and the reason I can't wait to get back in the air to see if maybe, somehow, I can compare to him and the things that he's done both in the skies, and with his life.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Seriously, Someone Else Can Get Your Boss His Coffee This Morning

In addition to being great exercise for the body as well as the mind, running offers many unsung benefits. One of these (if you do any amount of road running) is the excitement of knowing that you could become nothing more than a clumpy, hot asphalt grease spot at virtually any given moment during your run. I guess this knowledge is always in the back of your head somewhere, but it's typically manhandled and bitch-slapped around by that part of your consciousness that thinks you're basically invincible.

I don't mean to imply that I'm not extremely careful when I'm out there, because I am. Any runner worth his salt knows to treat every car as the instrument of death that it can easily be and to never, EVER assume that a driver sees you. We know all these things, and we're very careful, but just being out there is a risk in itself so you have to silence some of these cautious voices, if just a little. It has to be this way, or we road-runners would never really get any quality miles in because we would piss our already sweat-soaked shorts at every busy intersection.

Every so often, however, I experience one of those "Holy shit, I seriously almost died just then" situations that rock me harder than a Poison coverband. You know, the kind of thing you would never tell your mother because you're glad she doesn't have insomnia and two stomach ulcers from worrying about you. Today I had one of those experiences.

I have a half marathon tomorrow (which I'm not racing, but I'll be running fairly hard) so today was a very light easy day - about 4.5 m at a 7:40 pace. Really just to stay loose. Lately I've been doing my runs in the mornings because it's been hot enough to melt sky-scrapers in the afternoons. Seriously, if you wanted to replicate running in our current weather conditions on a treadmill you would need two assistants: one to continuously pour hot soup over your entire body and one to hold a soggy pillow over your face holes so all you are able to breath is recycled steam and sweat. Really, it's pretty bad.

The problem is that in a city like Charlotte, which has such a healthy population of bankers and other less important professionals, you've got some pretty gnarly morning traffic. Even at 6:00 AM, when most respectable analysts, fund managers, and what-have-you are either just starting to shake off that early morning wood or maybe letting Mulligan out to shit in the neighbors yard, you will indeed encounter several piss ant, bitter-because-I'll-never-make-it-to-the-top, no talent ass hats out on the road driving like there's a race to get their boss' coffee and they're in last place.

In addition to this, if you know anything about Charlotte you know we've got some pretty F'd up roadways and intersections. The best way to describe it is this: Picture taking a very complex system of trolley railways built around 1670 or so and placing another equally complex, yet totally different system of "modern" roads on top of it. Now convert the railways into roads too, intersecting and criss-crossing the existing roadways in all different ways and places. It looks this way because this is exactly what happened. It's about as tangled and unsightly as a Ukrainian orgy.

It was on my way through one of these hermaphroditic intersections (Kings and Morehead, for the natives) that my life was nearly ended this morning by this bluetooth cock-neck, wielding a semi-late model BMW 325i as his only weapon and source of self pride. His entry-level, helmet licker blue imitation luxury sport sedan screamed past me at about 1000 mph, missing me by literally inches as he body-rolled through his right hand turn (I had the crosswalk by the way).

First of all, if I go out road kill style, it better not be on the grill of some pussy ass wannabe-mobile. If I'm goin' down it better be the biggest, loudest, dirtiest, tires so big they're not even legal, banged-your-girlfriend-last-night Ford Mega-ExpeHummerExcursion out there. That way in my last breath I can at least say, "I lost the battle today, but at least I was laced up against the baddest mother fucker out there."

The thing is, these things happen when you least expect them. I know two runners who have been hit by cars (one by a bus, actually), and obviously neither of them saw it coming. We all have close calls - I once had to jump up on the hood of a Mustang that almost crushed me turning right into a MEDICAL center, of all places. When these things happen, it makes you realize just how much more defensive you need to be, and how much more of your focus needs to be on the traffic around you. I like to think that every close call makes me that much more aware of the cars around me, and in turn that much safer.

I guess in a weird way it just gives me a little comfort to think that maybe if I hadn't ALMOST gotten hit today, I might have GOTTEN killed tomorrow.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Progress is generally forward moving

I'm currently training for an ultramarathon. A forty-miler, to be exact. My first endeavor over the standard 26.2 mile marathon that once separated the men from the boys, but in recent years has become, well.... commonplace. I feel the need to go longer. To accomplish something that makes people say: "......What? You mean 40 miles over like a few days or something? I mean you don't run that all at once, right? I mean, come on, that's impossible.." To which you respond with a smirk and the fewest words possible, adding to the mystique and athleticism that is you.

For all the runners, as well as non-runners, out there, I want to sum up the progression of this sport as I have experienced it, and you may or may not agree.

Beginning: You're running 2 - 5 miles at a time, four or five days a week. You are awesome and in so much better shape than all those other NON-runners out there. You look good, you feel good, and so-help-me-god if someone steps to this while you're walking down the street you will race the be-jesus out of that bastard, beat him like a rented mule, and stand over his sweaty, losery body just long enough to say, "You should've known better than to think you could compare to this. You're lucky I even took pause in my awesomeness long enough to acknowledge and embarrass you." And then be on your fine-tuned way.

Intermediate: You're running 6 - 8 miles at a time and you might even have a couple 10Ks and a 1/2 marathon or two under your belt. You're pretty much a machine, and you make this known with the condescending looks you toss to all the "joggers" out there which you so kindly share the sidewalk with. You're doing speedwork. You're doing long runs. You know your VO2 max, and you make every run count. If anyone F's with your run, they will be lucky to merely get a tongue lashing, because you take this shit SERIOUSLY.

Advanced: You're starting to adjust your life around your running. Up at 4:30 AM? It's necessary to beat the heat and be able to hit your normal tempo run speed. 70 miles a week? How else are you going to build your endurance for the Stump Jump 50K? Pretty much all your regular friends are runners, and you talk about PRs incessantly. You are always training for one race or another. You plan vacations around races. If you're single, you probably won't date anyone who doesn't run because they just "don't get it." You are becoming more boring and annoying by the day, but you don't care. You just want to run. This is a warning sign, but you do not take heed..

Obsessed: You've done a marathon or maybe a few, but you're not really satisfied with your accomplishments. You either want to run a faster marathon, or you want to run longer (ultramarathon), or both. You spend a lot of time studying and analyzing race results, ranking yourself and your closest competitors. You probably have an arch nemesis or two. You have a race or a time goal on your calendar that you may or may not be able to complete without dying. Oddly enough, you've stopped talking about running as much, because you actually wish to hide the obsession that has taken over your life. "What did you do this weekend?" "Oh, I saw Rush Hour 3." Forgetting to mention that you spent 3 hours on the trails Saturday in the 90 degree heat, and another 30 minutes picking gravel out of the open wound that your shoe had created in your heel, and another 10 minutes "talking" your legs into controling the pedals of your Ford Ranger, at least enough to get you home. And then got up the next day and did it all over again.

This sport takes all kinds of people. There are those that do it for the excercise, those that do it for the glory, and those that do it because they have reached the point where they know nothing else. The beautiful thing is that they are all right.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

One Love

The other day I became involved in one of those conversations that starts out very small and casual and progresses through a series of seemingly innocent tributaries until eventually what you've got is a roaring class 5 rapids of big ideas and very opinionated positions, all tearing and lashing out in an attempt to solve the world's problems. It was late at night and my sister and I had somehow found our way onto the topic of "humanity", or more specifically, "human value." We were in disagreement.

Before I continue I feel I must clarify exactly how we are defining the concept of humanity here. We are not arguing the concept of mankind or the human race in terms of it's existence or lack there-of. Neither my sister nor myself is irrational enough to argue against something as concrete as human existence. What we were tangled up about was the concept of humanity as it applies to man's unquestioned and unconditional deserving of sympathy, love, and resources regardless of effort, morals, or contribution to society. In tandem with this, the discussion included the debate of whether or not these qualities can be used to determine an individual's worth, or value, or if value is inherent simply because one exists.

My sister's stance on this is that all individuals - from the lowest crack-head infant killer to the most brilliant medical scientist months away from developing a cure for cancer - all have the same value, and in turn have equal claims on love, accolades, and the comforts that are available in today's world. In short, these things need not be earned but rewarded based solely on the achievement of being alive. We should love and reward everyone unconditionally. Put yet another way, we reap what we do not sow.

And my sister is certainly not alone in this view. Our current Robin Hood system is designed to take from those who have produced and give to those who have not; to penalize those with skill and drive and reward those who have neither, nor the desire to attain these qualities. The problem is that resources, like energy, cannot simply be created. If one consumes more than he has produced, this difference must be found somewhere.

I believe that man is the summation of his actions, morals, and contributions, and should be valued on the merit of these things. Love is not a flippant commodity to be doled out to anyone who may happen to pass by. It must be earned. And this is, in actuality, how we live our day to day lives. People typically do not walk the streets hugging and loving up on every stranger along the way. This would not only be very time consuming, but highly irrational. As a people, we have a natural air of indifference toward strangers until we have cause to feel otherwise. This is normal and rational. It is not until we are confronted with the ideological aggregate of "one love" that we switch gears to comply with social and religious statutes which hold us responsible for "loving our fellow man."

The issue has of course been debated extensively on both sides of the aisle. In fact, one can take it a step further, as Robert Pirsig did in Lila, and separate value into social value and biological value. Taken this way, our crack-head infant killer certainly has biological value as he is a living, breathing being. But it proves difficult to argue that he provides value to society in any way, and in fact could be said to have negative value in terms of contribution to the world around him. But in my opinion this is too easy as it gives us a means of breaking the issue down into unrelated segments, when what we're really after is a solution in it's entirety, which can only be achieved through examination of the person as a whole.

So does a crack-head infant killer have less value than our medical scientist with the ability to improve the quality of life for millions of people now and in the future? I do not hesitate to say that Yes, he does. As a people we have countless systems in place, both qualitative and quantitative, for measuring the value or "quality" of everything from fruit to financial systems. We do not hesitate to value dog breeds based on coloring or gait. Human athletes are measured by speed, accuracy, endurance, etc., and ranked accordingly. Students are rated by test scores and rewarded for superior performance. Yet when it comes to determining the overall value of an individual - something that should fall into place fairly naturally given the multitude of factors that can called into consideration - we stop short. That voice of reason that we use for virtually every other activity in our lives tries to pipe up - "Of course there's a difference! Isn't it obvious!!", but it is quickly and efficiently stifled by socially and religiously imposed thought structures which prohibit the use of reason for answers to all but the most insignificant questions.

Monday, July 9, 2007

NewAge is for Butt Plugs

So a couple of days ago I decided it might be a good idea to waste about 2 and 1/2 hours of Company time taking a "Real Age" test. In case you can't guess this test is designed to take your past life, your predicted future life, and the regression line of the lies/answers you've given regarding both and meld them together to give you some sort of crude estimate of what your "real" age is, or more accurately, what you've done right and what you've done wrong if your goal is to live well past that pleasant geriatric state and into the can't-do-anything-for-myself-and-everyone-wishes-I-would-die-even-the-people-that-love-me-most stage.

Holy F where do I begin?

Just to shake things up (and to totally piss off the gods of consecutivism) I think I'll start at the end and take a look at the age that this all-knowing test gave me: 22

Well, first of all, I must have accidentally checked the box for "Use a beer bong to ingest all fluids that I choose to consume," and I guess I picked Nickelback as my favorite band. I guess I also listed "Casual sex with multiple partners without protection or remorse" as a favorite pasttime, and "Never asked questions before snorting foreign substances up my nose" as one of the things I feel guilty about. I don't remember answering any questions about my career goals or life ambitions, but I must have answered something along the lines of "Change the frickin' world Man, and tell the F'n machine to ride my knob!"

If you know me you know that I'm actually 27 years old, and that my life doesn't much resemle that of a 22 year old . I drink a little bit, and I have fun, but I can't even remember the last time I contracted an STD, and my only vices now are gummy bears and staying up late to watch the 9:30 episode of Frasier.

I know what you're thinking. "That test was based on physical factors, not social abnormalties, you bastard!" First of all, calm down, you nutcase. Second, my point is not that this test cannot be accurate because it's entire system is currupt (not to mention designed by some greedy internet marketing dick-licker hell bent on finding something that I was interested in receiving email about). My point is "Who Gives a Good God Damn?!"

If anything, this "test" just goes to reinforce the fact that age is just a number. The laundry list of factors involved in factoring the difference between your nominal age and your "true" age is long indeed.

I've got a better idea. How about the True Happiness Test. Please list the last 5 times you laughed uncontrollably at something a good friend said. Name the last time you did something crazy with someone you've known since you were 7 years old. When was the last time you did something just for yourself, even though everyone else thought you were out of your mind? The last time you blew off work. The last time you swam naked in the moonlight. The last time you kissed someone who was not your girl/boyfriend, and who your parents would definitley NOT approve of.

Haven't done some of these things? There's still time, and you don't have to be 22 to get started. These things have more to do with life than all of the social standards and normalities that say "Graduate from a good school," and "Get married by 30."
"Have two or three kids, and send them to the best schools"
"Drive a Lexus LS or a Mercedes E Class; nothing else will really do."
"Join a country club, for that's where you'll find quality people to befriend."

And so on. You can live your whole life by the numbers and the standards, or you can spend some time examining what it is you really want out of life, devising a plan to acheive it, and then enacting that plan until you've either acheived your goal or until you're dead.

The point is that life, much like most of the things in it, cannot be quantified in terms of numbers. The amount of years you've lived and the amount of years you have left to live mean nothing without a little spritz of that thing we call "quality of life".

Friday, July 6, 2007

Fearlessly into the blogosphere I tiptoe

Before I get started I must make a small confession. Until very recently I regarded "blogging" as, well, retarded for lack of a better word. I wanted nothing to do with it or anyone who practiced it. As far as I was concerned, all bloggers could just go ahead and keep typing away in the spare room of their mother's house where they've been living since they got laid off from Best Buy. I went to lengths to avoid exposure to the presumptuous opining and unsolicited pontification of this inexplicably pompous group of folks.

It's nothing personal, I just don't make a habit of hanging on every word prattled out by lonely, socially inept middle-aged men with Cool Ranch Dorito crumbs crusted to their Star Wars t-shirts. I don't care to know their religious beliefs or their political views. I don't really give a holy dingle-berry about the hidden tracks on the new Dirt Ticklers album, and I can certainly live my whole life and never need to know the hilarious details about the time they stayed up for 72 hours straight playing Everquest because they lost a bet to their best friend Stinky.

I guess my point is that if you have something worthwhile to say, maybe you should try saying it out loud to actual people. Like so people can hear it with their ears. Remember talking? Remember listening? Remember conversations that were real and couldn't be backspaced and revised into comfortable perfection before hitting "Send"? Real-time talking?! Wtf?!

In addition, I could never quite convince myself that anyone really needed to concern themselves with whatever dribble I might decide to slap up on my "blogspot". I mean seriously, it's my life and it's barely interesting to me. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm a fairly opinionated cat. I've just never been able to get past that log in the road that might mistakenly be classified as humbleness if I weren't such an arrogant prick. I'm just not convinced that anyone out there would need to pencil out a portion of their busy day that’s no doubt filled with neopolitan ice cream, Mad About You reruns, and ignoring their children to read my post describing the extra thick coating of peanut butter that I put on my toast this morning. Don't get me wrong, it was super tasty and all and I could probably weave one helluva good yarn around all the nutty, delicious details of this part of my morning routine, but seriously.

But then something weird happened (sweet zombie jesus in a hand basket, this entry is getting really long. I guess this is how it starts..). I got an email from my sister asking me to "check out my blog!!"
_____ I'm sorry?
Please hold while I re-read that 8 times to make sure I haven't gone totally Charter Lakeside. Is my sister really joining a realm that has been reserved exclusively for deuchebags? My sister? The one who would probably think Tivo was a teletubbie if she didn't know the names and extended biographies of every children's character created in the last 9 years? (Give her a break, she has 4 kids) My own flesh and blood? I fight through the cold sweats and remain lucid enough to focus on coming up with excuses for not joining her at the next annual Star Trek convention and think of the most tactful way to say that "No sis, I have the utmost respect for Dungeons & Dragons competitions, it's just that I have this pale-weak-person phobia thing that I'm trying to work through. Otherwise I'd be all over that shit."

I mean really, where did I go wrong? If the G man really felt the need to smite me because I like to step on puppies couldn't he have just sent locusts or some flesh eating bacteria or something like any decent god-fearing deity? I mean whatever happened to taking your first-born or making you sacrifice a few virgins or something? Anyway, this all just reinforces my belief that a benevolent God is about as likely as beer-rain or an M.C. Hammer comeback. In other words, pretty F'n slim. (You hear me god!? Yeah, and if you’re listening, tell your buddy Claus that a plastic pistol is NOT the same as a Red Ryder BB gun – GOSH, that Christmas Sucked!)

Anyway, after spending the next three days in a haze of whiskey, unprescribed painkillers, and loose women, I decided to shake off my self pity and really analyze this situation. I weighed the pros and I weighed the cons. I pondered and I explored. And finally I realized.

People don't really blog for others, they blog for themselves. The act of taking your thoughts, sorting them, structuring them, and putting them down on paper (sort of, just go with it…) is not only very therapeutic, it's a way for people to document themselves. Not for the benefit of others, but for themselves. Writing is the best medium for one's thoughts to be extracted from that abstract, byzantine mess of neurons and channels that is our minds and put into something that can be looked at and focused on. Thoughts are fleeting and very easy to manipulate, but written words, while they can be erased, must be consciously reckoned with. Put more simply, changing my thoughts to chocolate chip cookies or Jennifer Love Hewitt's unbelievably perky little sweater bunnies will not change written words.

Another funny thing about writing is that it's nearly impossible to physically write down something you don't truly believe. For instance, I just tried to type out the sentence, “My luscious lever leaves lively ladies longing left and right long after I’ve left.” While this may be one mad-man of a tongue twister, it’s not remotely true. That’s why I could not type it myself and had to get Peter North in here to help me out (with the writing you sickos, geez…) But you guys get my point. Pick something dark out of your life and try to explain it away on paper and you will find that it’s nearly impossible.

For this reason, I believe documenting oneself, or “blogging,” may be one of the most honest things one can do. And I believe that it's for this reason that people share their blogs with each other, and why people actually take interest in reading the blogs of others. It's an intimate, almost voyeuristic look into someone's life. Not to mention your own.

Having said that, I think we all can agree that there are still a lot of ass-clown bloggers out there. But, it sure as hell beats watching television.