Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fear and Loathing in Overland Park pt 25-35

The next section of blogs takes up the month of June of 2008. We're cooking with oil now kiddos. Again, this is just the first parts of the 84 (so far) blogs of Fear and Loathing. We'll be back with a bang in a big way soon. That's a promise. For the time being, some golden oldies.

Part 25

Professionalism and the movie trailers

"In this day of professionalism it's just another way of getting the best out of the resources that are available and are within the rules, and we can't argue with it because it's within the rules."

-Justin Langer

Driving toward the Company parking lot took a little longer this morning than usual. The banana boat decided to idle longer at the stoplight on 119th and Quivira.

And a horn blared behind me. A middle finger raised to the sky.

The boat started to inch forward. I was provoking the other driver at this point. The sky was provoking my mood and my distaste for this idiot in his little white BMW with the windows rolled down and black horn-rimmed sunglasses on his face while there was cloud cover in the sky.

Not a single ray of light was shining toward his little piece of German engineering.

As we crossed the lines and made our way onto 119th, the white BMW pulled next to me, and with the windows down on both autos, his middle fingers flailing and suggesting that I do things to myself reserved for after work and not while on the way to the Company, our eyes met.

It was a supervisor.

Someone who knew me. Someone I knew.

And the thought of professionalism slowly tip-toed across my brain. From the look on his face, it tapdanced under his eyes and he quickly sped off in the same direction as my yellow behemoth of American craftsmanship.

Professionalism is a joke.

"Professionalism is environmental. Amateurism is anti environmental. Professionalism merges the individual into patterns of total environment. Amateurism seeks the development of the total awareness of the individual and the critical awareness of the ground rules of society. The amateur can afford to lose."

-Marshall McLuhan

There is something very wrong with the world. There is something sad about the way that a person looks at you with disgust in their eyes when all you've done is tried to get your car to move a little faster up a hill or even a slightly steep incline.

There is something wrong with all of us.

And I am no better.

When I saw his anger, hatred, and frustration, it was only matched by the way that I felt about him. He is stupid, ignorant of the issue. He is a waste of human space.

So I started thinking about it while at the Company, while stepping foot into the building and the cloud cover grew darker and drearier and more disturbing, my eyes darted back and forth.

The Company seemed emptier than usual. Like I had stepped foot in a building inhabited by no one. It seemed like the beginning of a movie trailer.

"The only 'ism' Hollywood believes in is plagiarism."

-Dorothy Parker

Someone had co-opted my life and made a movie trailer out of it and was filming the events and what was transpiring. The stress had finally caught up with me and made me think that my life was worth watching on a big screen for 2 plus hours.

Hollyweird had caught up with me again.

My idea of fame and fortune was swept under the rug as I continued to think of professionalism, and had a chuckle while searching the internet at the Company after being suggested that it was not a worthwhile thing to do while at the Company.

Was I being professional?

Was Hollyweird being professional in remaking every single movie under the sun?

No, no they weren't. And no I wasn't.

That is the first step on this numerous step program for fixing the problems of the world. Realizing you've made the mistake that those who you have issue with are doing the same.

I've made the most fatal of errors and started to look like the enemy. Like the other. Like the narrator when I'm supposed to be Tyler Durden.

So the changes would have to come in a sweeping fashion. Right?

The idea then sprang into my head: would this movie trailer/preview/teaser carry suggestive material not suitable for younger audiences?

Yes. Yes it would.

Would the following preview be considered red-band and NSFW?

Yes, yes it would.

Would my life be shown behind rose colored lenses and look and feel like A Beautiful Mind or would it get down and dirty and show all the little evil secrets that this ugly mind has behind it?

The latter.

But that's the truth. That's the way to start being professional.

Lay it all out there and let people decide whether they want to view it or not.

"Unlike some actors we'd rather not name, the gecko always knows his lines, he never refuses to come out of his trailer, and - except for the occasional fly - he doesn't expect special dietary considerations on the set."

-Steve Bassett

Let people see the warts. The scars. The terrible hidden secrets you didn't want them all to see.

And that's why movie trailers are lies. That's why they are the worst feature of the film universe we wrap our heads around and follow so blindly these days.

Everything is so crisp. So bright. So new feeling and sounding.

Everything looks new and exciting.

The Dark Knight looks like a new movie when it actually features villains and plots similar to the original Tim Burton films or (VelociJesus forbid) the Schumacher films.

Hellboy 2 is Pan's Labryinth with Hellboy and the gang back for more antics. And it looks cleaner and dirtier at the same time.

Sex and the City: The Movie looks like a commercial you would see for the repeats found on TBS.

Speed Racer is an old cartoon.

Iron Man is a comic book. Same with Incredible Hulk and Batman and Hellboy.

Nothing looks new.

What happened to all the adaptations of books? There usually are a ton, and in recent memory, I can’t think of very many.

The trick is to make it exciting and professional.

"I can't remember a time in all the 38 years I've worked at CBS News when I've been prouder to be a part of this organization. I see our people in Baghdad risking their lives every day and now what our reporters in New Orleans are going through. I'm just in awe of their courage and their dedication and their professionalism."

-Bob Schieffer

I'd give anything to be one of those reporters.

Show a level of devotion and professionalism never previously seen.

But Velocijesus knows that might not happen while working for the Company.

And you know that Hollyweird will never feel the same way either. You think Michael Bay is devoted to anything except the almighty dollar and the CGI-explosion? You think Spielberg, Lucas, and Ford made Indy 4 for any reason other than the almighty dollar?

There is no professionalism.

It is a sight to see if you can find it.

There will come a day when you look at the television or see a news report regarding the inevitable remake of Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, the Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, or The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Wait, there's already a remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

I knew that.

Once the report comes through the wire for the remake of Abbott and Costello meet the Wolfman, I'll think, what took so long.

Nothing is sacred.

Nothing is perfect.

Nothing in Hollyweird is about professionalism.

On last night's MTV awards ceremony number 667, Mike Myers resurrected Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar.

And I could only wonder why? Why trudge what we loved so much for so long through the mud and see how it works so that you can make some more money instead of doing Love Guru 2 (you heard it here first, this time, the whole movie takes place underwater and he assists Aquaman make fish-love to his wife) and make Wayne's World The Early Years (with, of course, fully CGI-Wayne and CGI-Garth).

They may as well get to work on it soon. I mean, it's not like Myers and Carvey are getting any funnier as the years go by. Unfunnier, yes. Funnier, hell no.

There are only so many ways to salvage Hollyweird and its professionalism.

And in the same instance, salvage professionalism in the workplace.

It all starts with you.

It all starts right here.

The buck stops here. This is where you give the ticket to the ticket taker and this is where it all begins.

With you.

That movie trailer with people falling under tractors because of plants or greenhouse gases or whatever the hell the Happening is all about? Don't go see it.

Don't waste money on what Shyamalan calls a throwback to old horror films.

Put your money where your mouth is.

Stay in and watch a movie from the local rental house. Redbox (we see enough damn blogs about the free rental coupon every week) or Blockbuster. Rent something you've never seen before but have always wanted to watch.

Grab Blade Runner.


Seven Samurai.


Raising Arizona.

The Marathon Man.


Something where there is character. Something where someone worked really hard to make you care about the characters and care about the plot revolving around them.


Edward Scissorhands.

Plan 9 from Outer Space.

This Island Earth.

Jaws 3D.

There are so many movies out there that are not being mass-produced and remade and redone and revamped and remastered and thrown into movie theaters so that a new crowd of people think that the remake of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is actually the first adventure of two bumbling moron kids through a mall and through time.

I can only assume it will happen because I've seen it.

Someone told me how much Transformers the movie was ahead of its time. And all I could do was smile. All I could do was think, it sure was, in 1984.

But it will happen.

It will show the true reality of Hollyweird.

And it's your choice whether you allow it to do so or not.

It's all up to you.

"People used to want to see the same old thing, but nothing in the marketing of 'Stealth' made it seem truly original. All I remember from the trailer is the airplane, not the characters. And all I remember from the trailer of 'The Island' is the concept, not the characters. 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith,' 'Batman,' 'War of the Worlds': those trailers were about characters. That's good for the movie business."

-Doug Liman

**Didn't he direct Mr. and Mrs. Smith?

Hollyweird will only learn when we stop following them blindly and stop accepting what they force-feed us. They will only learn once we make the choice to stand up for something better, something more professionally made, something not just churned out.

It's our turn now.


Part 26

Friendship and one-upmanship

One-upmanship is the systematic and conscious practice of making one's associates feel inferior and thereby gaining the status of being "one-up" on them.

-From Wikipedia

There was a massive storm last night. A massive upheaval of the things we have seen. The things we have known. And the people who inhabit our lives.

The banana took me on a ride. A ride that stopped at the local record shop to pick up the new Weezer red album.

It felt like a friend had come back to me.

All while it felt like another so-called "friend" or associate continued the one-upmanship goal to ridicule someone I deeply care about.

That's right, I care about people.

Understandably, the drizzle, the rain, the downpour created something in my head. A gray cloud stuck above it.

My eyes were open and the disgust welled up deep.

Does a friend really make another friend feel less about themselves? Isn't a friend supposed to be someone you can always count on to have your back? To stand up for you? To fight tooth and nail to protect you and make you happy?

"Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief."

-Marcus Tullius Cicero

Weezer brought that opinion out of me.

The Red Album felt like an old friend coming home. Coming to visit and staying for the weekend. Getting a smile to crack across your face when otherwise you normally would not.

And then bam! Like a strong gust of wind, more one-upmanship. This person and I have the same issue with certain friends that have decided to take it upon themselves to act like they are better than us.

Turn their noses up to us.

Show off like anyone but them really cares about what they feel is better than what we have.

In the recent not too distant past, my supposed best friend turned his back on myself and the other friends in our little entourage because all we did was talk about the same things and do the same things.

The same things for the first 8 or 9 years he had no issue with until recently.

So a cold war began.

A friend cold war.

Which should never happen.

And now I see that person embroiled in the same topic as mine. The same actions transpiring against that person to make them feel like less of a person.

"True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides it evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing."

-Baltasar Gracian

Have you ever had a friend or family member who was poisonous?

Who made you feel like less of a person?

What did you do?

Did you cast them off like the shackles of the past so that you could move forward and change the things about you that you do not like, not the things someone else doesn't like about you?

That has been the point of this ongoing look at Overland Park, so far. The point has always been to take a look at everything and everyone around me and around us. The way that we look at the world. The way the world looks at us.

It has always been about choice.

It has always been about your own personal choice and not letting someone else decide for you what's best for you.

"Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing."

-Elie Wiesel

That's the way it should be.

Friendship should be all about the sharing of what two people have to offer for each other. Not one person thinking they are better than you and forcing you to believe that and you feeling terrible about yourself.

Friendship is meant as two people offering each other their hearts.

Friendship is about trust. Honor. Respect. Loyalty.

Not deceit. Backstabbing. One-upping.

That's why I rarely see my friends as friends. I see them more as brothers. The ones who have stuck around.

Like-minded individuals who make things better. Who see the genius in my insanity. Who see through the gonzo and into the heart of the thing.

Those are my brothers.

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival."

-C.S. Lewis

There is a point to that.

Look at your own life.

Are you constantly trying to one-up someone that you supposedly care about? A co-worker? Friend? Relative? Spouse?

Someone on the street as you're traveling along nodding your head and their lane is about to end, aren't you trying to one-up them as a driver by not allowing them to merge into your lane?

Aren't we doing this all the time?

Look at your own life.

Change something.

Affect the change in you and maybe, just maybe, that person who is constantly trying to one-up you will stop. Will realize that you don't care. Will realize that your life is so much better than theirs because you are living it freely.

You are the change.

Maybe that person will see that you've changed and you are surviving without their friendship. That you are blossoming in your own right. Changing the world one step at a time in your own mind because there isn't someone there to tell you that what you are doing is not right and that it can't be done.

See how much better your life can be when you do this.

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."

-George Washington

Think of it in more modern terms.

We are all on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, here, and every other social networking website that the world has to offer. And what is the ultimate goal there?

To gather as many friends as possible and look as popular as possible.

When in reality, the people with the most friends on these sites, the Tila Tequilas of the world, are just exactly what they look like. Whores.

They are whoring out their friendship to look popular.

They are all those people we despise.

All those people we want nothing to do with.

And yet, some of us want to have just as many Myspace friends as them.


Do you think that someone that lives in Oregon and has the same taste in music as you is really your friend? Really truly someone you can share your deepest, darkest fears with and show them who you really are?

Do you think that doing anything of that nature with your favorite band on Myspace or Facebook would truly do anything except make you look desperate and sad?

Just like Tila Tequila?

We live in a world where friendship isn't truly perfect. Isn't grasped and held onto and believed in the way that it should be.

We live in a world of reality television, greed, one-upmanship, a world that we should greatly despise and hate, but we find ourselves in the same shame spiral as the next person while watching Flavor of Love 17 and wondering who will get the next STD from Flava Flav, when we should be out looking at the world, seeing the beauty that is all around us, and hanging out with the people who truly care about us.

Do you think the television cares that you're there, watching it? Is the television your only true friend?

Don't allow it. Don't sit there and take it.

Change something.

And as always, the choice is yours.

"A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself."

-Jim Morrison


Part 27

The devil's in the details.

"These days, the wages of sin depend on what kind of deal you make with the devil."

-Kara Vichko

The heavy rains and the clouds dissipated and the sky opened up. And from within the sky there was a face. Followed by a voice. A shining beacon of light followed by a large gust of wind coming hard and heavy as the night sky rushed in.

There was more to the picture than that.

As I opened my eyes, I realized where I was. In the seat of the car. Driving. Behind the wheel of the behemoth. I had looked away for a short period of time, only to find myself hugging the wheel and rolling slowly across the pavement down Quivira.

It must have been a dream.

I stopped the car and stepped out. Looking to the sky, there were no clouds. Just bright blue and little bits of white sprinkled throughout. Like the sky had attempted little mistakes on the drawing board and needed to start over.

So what was it?

What was the light breaking through the skies above me in my head, in my dreams, behind my eyes?

As I stepped back inside the banana yellow behemoth, a voice seemed to ring from the dash. Not a voice on a cell phone. A low-pitched growl. I hadn't checked the odometer in awhile, and what did I see?

The last three digits were 616.

The original mark of the beast.

The Number of the Beast

He was there. It was there. But how could someone who chooses not to believe in a higher power above believe in a higher power below?

"But Satan now is wiser than of yore, and tempts by making rich, not making poor."

-Alexander Pope

The devil is in the details as they say.

I sprinted from the tank with keys in my hand and stood at the side of the road. Watching. Waiting. Figuring some massive graboid would reach from the depths of the Earth and tear asunder all that metal and wiring and leave the yellow boat a hunk of metal on the ground, rumbling and quietly sobbing.

The details are this: I had made a deal with the devil.

Not one like Spider-man made ridding the world of their knowledge of his secret identity or his marriage.

Not like Johnny Blaze making a deal to save his adopted father and in return damning his soul as a Spirit of Vengeance.

Though I will say, the regular Marvel Universe, where all the regular adventures of all the regular characters take place, is known as the 616. Coincidence?


There is no coincidence here. But there are scores of coincidences.

Someone coined it as the 616 universe. My odometer rolled to end with 616 miles. 616 could be someone's home address. Grand Rapids Michigan has the area code of 616.

The coincidences come out because you are looking for them.

But there was still a deal made with the devil. The devil that is the Company.

"To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?"


I work in a cube. I sling numbers. I am Jack's wasted life.

And that is the deal we make. We sign our lives away for the promise of bills paid. For the contract set in front of us while on what appears to be a fantastic job offer is actually a rite of passage. Signing your life away to a devil that you know.

You sign it with blood and it seals your fate.

Just look at today's job market. Even if I wanted to leave the Company, to break free from the shackles of the depressing sense that follows me, the clouds that hang above me everywhere I go, the job market is down.

Millions of people without jobs.

And those millions of people feel that the devil is getting its due. That's why they have lost their jobs.

But there is a certain sense of glee that I get in searching. In looking. I feel like I am accomplishing something.

I am fighting for my own life.

So what I do? Do I get back in the yellow boat and clasp my hands together and pray to the God I don't know or the devil I do?

Do I take it upon myself to figure it out on my own?

"I call'd the devil, and he came, And with wonder his form did I closely scan; He is not ugly, and is not lame, But really a handsome and charming man. A man in the prime of life is the devil, Obliging, a man of the world, and civil; A diplomatist too, well skill'd in debate, He talks quite glibly of church and state."

-Heinrich Heine

And with this, there belies another problem: everywhere we turn these days, deals are struck with a devil of some sort.

We make deals with the devil and sign contracts to appear on Rock of Love or Flavor of Love or Herpes of Love or whatever new show that MTV or VH1 wants to dole out to us in weekly installments of depressing idiot wrangling.

And the television that shows us these images? The image in High-Definition glory soon to be transferring all cable to digital? Isn't that another form of the devil?

It's everywhere.

It's everywhere you look. It's everywhere you are. It's in everything we do. But is there enough ignorance in the world to make it go away? Or is the ignorance we feel towards these devils what keeps them alive? Keeps them striving?

I got back in the yellow behemoth as it would have been towed and there is no money currently for that. And as I rolled forward, I clasped my eyes shut. Tight. And it flashed before me again.

I have to get out.

The shaft of light broke through the clouds once more, and before me was a vision in the middle of the street. Something shining bright. Something that seemed beautiful.

But upon opening my eyes to actually see it for what it was, it was nothing more than a discarded hubcap.

"The spirit that I have seen May be a devil, and the devil hath power T' assume a pleasing shape, yea, and perhaps Out of my weakness and my melancholy, As he is very potent with such spirits, Abuses me to damn me."

-William Shakespeare

So I put it to you in this fashion, what are your devils? What are the things that you have sold a piece of yourself for?




Duties at home or in relationships?

Or did you physically sell your soul to the devil?

As a realist, I do not believe in the devil. I do not believe that there can be a physical manifestation of all that is evil in the world (besides Tila Tequila and all those Hollyweird harpies).

I believe that because the way the world works, we sell bits of ourselves to those around us, and make what would normally be a full and beautiful person be less than that. They have given a piece of themselves (if you wish to call it a soul, by all means, that is your choice) to something that they despise. A place of business. A friend who is toxic. Something of that nature.

And the devil is asking for their due.

What then?

What do you do when the devil comes to collect on the promise you made?

At the Company, I am in a transition phase. And by that, I mean, I am trying to make change. Break free from my blood contract. But it won't be easy.

And it never is.

Anything you ever truly want can be easy, or it won't be worth fighting for. We've all heard that. We've all been blessed by that little tidbit of knowledge.

But is it true?

"I think if the devil doesn't exist, then man has created him. He has created him in his own image and likeness."

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Did we fashion our own devils so that the things we care about would be worth fighting for? Have you ever made something so much harder just so that the end process, the endgame or goal, would be so much sweeter?

I have.

It's a daily struggle I battle.

On my trips to the Company and home, I hang my head in shame as I drive a small road toward the beast with a billion backs. And I hate. I am disgusted. I want to rend flesh from bones. But do I?

Do I attack the people around me because the Beast has a face?

Or do I struggle with the knowledge that I can overcome this beast. I can be better. I can strive higher.

I can do so much more knowing who I am.

And that is why I constantly strive to tell you loyal readers that.

"There was no need to look anywhere else for the evil bastard. He had the fighting instincts of a badger trapped by hounds. The badger will roll over on its back and emit a smell of death, which confuses the dogs and lures them in for the traditional ripping and tearing action. But it is usually the badger who does the ripping and tearing. It is a beast that fights best on its back: rolling under the throat of the enemy and seizing it by the head with all four claws."

-Hunter S Thompson

You always have a choice. There is always the or.

This humble look into the world around us has always been about choice and about the or and I pose that to you again. The choice is yours: do you succumb to the beast, do you roll over and die to the devil that you have created, or do you overcome it?

Do you yield to an opposing force that seems so much stronger than you, or do you fight much harder than ever before for the things that you believe in?

Are you the badger or the hounds?

Will you be torn to pieces by all the things that are infiltrating your life, or will you keep yourself together in spite of the agony and move forward inside and out and become something better? Someone better?

Will you allow yourself to be what others see you as, or be who you see yourself as?

You can either be the strong or the weak.

In each aspect you will face a devil. In every part of your life, you will face something bigger, harder, and tougher than you have ever faced. And you can either yield to that opposing force, or laugh in its face and take solace in the fact that you can never be defeated?

The choice is yours.

I will always choose the or. No matter what.

No matter how difficult it seems or what is facing me. I will choose the or.

I will not be the deal.

I will be the devil if need be.

"An apology for the devil: it must be remembered that we have heard one side of the case. God has written all the books."

-Samuel Butler


Part 28

Rock and the rockfest

"It's not music, it's a disease."

-Mitch Miller

Playing right now is Weapon of Choice by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, which sure feels like the perfect definition of today's thoughts. Today's look will be Rock and/or roll and how it affects us daily. With certain feelings expressed toward Rockfest.

Saturday started out like any other. Overcast. Cloud cover. Yellow behemoth waiting in the wings to be taken for an adventure.

An adventure deep into the heart of the city. Deep into the heart where the Liberty Memorial stands, proclaiming that you have arrived.

And I-35 was such a pain in the ass.

It was a breeze. Heading NB to visit with some downtown Gonzos before making my official trip toward Liberty. Downtown first to the P&L for some lathering of the SPF kind and some Wii Tennis.

And passing the Johnson Drive exit and getting stuck in a line of cars 100+ deep was part of the adventure. Maynard proclaiming for me to take his hand while I became deeply engrossed in the rattling coming from the yellow auto rambling and rumbling around me, it hit me:

Rock and roll was doing this to the world. The overcast. The thick traffic. This was rock. At its finest.

"Rock 'n roll is the most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear."

-Frank Sinatra

And there it was.

Rock and roll was disgusting. Disturbing. Violent and angry.

And I like it.


Finally hitting I-35 past the entering Missouri sign, the traffic let up. Opened up. And so did the sky. The sunlight shone down. And the music changed and kicked into a slower song. Strange how that works sometimes.

The yellow behemoth below me feeling the same things. I had to get off the highway, and the shining beacon of the Broadway exit allowed me to do so. The yellow behemoth could sit tight, could be appeased to the gods of rock, and be allowed to take a breather before entering the arena of rock.

Before entering the arena of brutality that Frank Sinatra was so afraid of.

After parking, a group of Gonzos and myself played some Wii Tennis at another gonzo's home. Fun. Fitting. Sweating.

We lathered up as true rockstars we were with SPF 45 as the Rockfest was about to begin, and made our way, following the fashion of Ink and wearing our Converse, our button down shirts, our aviators, or just being plain old comfortable.

It was easy.

"As I define it, rock and roll is dead. The attitude isn't dead, but the music is no longer vital. It doesn't have the same meaning. The attitude, though, is still very much alive - and it still informs other kinds of music."

-David Byrne

The idea of rock and roll is dead as I type this and Trent Reznor proclaims how I am the Perfect Drug and I'm reminded more of Saturday.

Getting to park in a VIP parking area. The VIP tent. Better parking. Free food and drink.

Is this rock?

No, it is not. It does not fit the definition of rock and roll as it was created, and as Frank Sinatra saw it and most others still do. The idea of dirty, down in the mud, angry music, that fits the definition of a million people, young and old, that see themselves through those lenses.

Rock doesn't involve VIP.

Everybody parks on the grass and fights for the same parking spaces.

Rock doesn't go back stage because they are VIP. Rock goes backstage by fighting their way through the crowd and paying someone off, either in cash, drugs, or sexual favors.

That's rock.

Dirty. Disgusting.

And a hell of a good time.

"The typical rock fan is not smart enough to know when he is being dumped on."

-Frank Zappa

But I'm not here to dump on most of the fans (some, but not all). I'm here to dump on most of the bands.

The Gonzos and I went to see ASHES dIVIDE, one of our new favorite bands. We entered the venue around 130 and caught the end of some band that sounded like a bunch of the other bands that would be heard during the day, not a one of which was remarkable.

And there we were, in the middle of the second stage, 4 rows back, and Billy came out. Billy Howerdel, weird-looking dude, but what a musician. And they played 5 songs, in and out, less than 40 minutes. Pure rock.

And the crowd didn't hardly move. Between the gonzos and I, there were about 15 other people moving around. Trying to enjoy the music. The rest were probably there to get a good spot for STP later in the day.


Why go to a rock concert and stand in the way of people who are genuinely interested in the musicians playing on the stage? Why stand still and get in the way of all those people who care about ASHES dIVIDE and what they are saying and doing when there are people genuinely there to rock?

Because of hysteria.

"Rock and roll might be summed up as monotony tinged with hysteria."

-Vance Packard

The people standing still were there to rock. To hear something new. Same reason as I went.

Besides the interest in ASHES dIVIDE, I felt nothing for the other bands playing. Heard of most of them, couldn't care a bit for Saliva, and the rest all got a big meh from me.

But the gonzos and I didn't stand in the way of those people wanting to rock out to their favorite bands. We stood back and watched. We were out of the way, listening to the loud hum coming from the speakers, and just enjoying the people watching.

And there were some people.

50,000 people.

Looking on at the crowd from afar, you'd have sworn George Romero was filming a zombie movie. Or someone was about to infest the crowd with some crippling virus that would overtake 50,000 people in the span of seconds.

Besides the stink of sweat, grime, dirt, and of course, weed, there was warm beer. Vomit. Probably blood.

It was all around us.

The rockfest was turning into what rock is meant to be. Not pretty. Not beautiful. Not about girls and guys making out and trying to get with each other.

It was about being dirty and down in the deeps of what is base and human in all of us.

"Rock and roll music - the music of freedom frightens people and unleashes all manner of conservative defense mechanisms."

-Salman Rushdie

It was freedom.

Freedom that was blessed upon all of us.

And it made me smile.

So what that there was so many strange people. Weird people. Beasts some, beauties other, but there were so many people there just to see their bands.

Enjoying Saliva. Chevelle. STP. Whoever. They were there for the music.

They were there, wearing what they wanted, looking the way they normally do, and letting it all hang out.

It was choice.

It was rock and roll.

It was everything it was supposed to be.

Yes there were people that looked disgusting. Gross. Nasty teeth. Grimy hair. Tweekers. Freaks. Rejects. Nerds. Goons. Dorks.

Any label you can think of, they were there.

And that was the best part of Rockfest.

They all came out to enjoy the music. To enjoy the day. To enjoy rock and roll.

They made their choice and not a one of us could stop them. Not a one of us could tell them to be different. To change themselves.

Because the essence of rock was sustained by the freaks, by the weirdos, by us gonzos.

We were there to rock.

And we were rocked.

For the most part.

My gonzos and I didn't stay all day. The day ended with a parking ticket on my behemoth and a rush hour drive not anywhere close to normal rush hour. I-35 was the demon struggling to defeat us on our way into Overland Park, but our rock could not be stopped.

It could not be contained.

It never will be. It is a disease and one we have freely chosen. We are here to stay. Or leave whenever we choose. That is rock.

"Rock and roll doesn't necessarily mean a band. It doesn't mean a singer, and it doesn't mean a lyric, really. It's that question of trying to be immortal."

-Malcolm Mclaren


Part 29

This week in film:

"They'll fix you. They fix everything."

-Alex Murphy

Here we are in the middle of the week, and Gooch stole another idea from me. Or I gave it to him as we're the same person of one mind. Anyways, here goes nothing:

Marvel is moving forward with the Iron Man sequel in 2010.

Robocop film being planned for 2010.

And here I am with no produced screenplay of a remake of a sequel with further prequel possibilities. What is wrong with me?

Hollyweird has struck oil, gold, and platinum all rolled into one, and they are missing certain crown jewels as they do. Certain jewels that could be easily remade and people may find the need to remake (and Hollyweird, I demand credit for these ideas if you do).

Great Escape remake with Katherine Heigl?

Reading the headline on Variety (damn you Variety) made me think that's what we were in line for. A remake of one of the greatest man/war movies/Steve McQueen actioner The Great Escape with Katherine Heigl in the main role. Can anyone else picture this now?

Get a group of women together (go the route of Bad Girls and just reunite that cast along with Lohan and all those Hollyweird prostitutes) and you've got a movie. Set it in Guantanamo and play it for jokes. The gonzos would get it and think it either ridiculous and hysterical (like Bad Girls) or just a plain waste of celluloid (like every other movie Katherine Heigl has appeared in).

It's about the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints in Utah and the polygamy, and she's playing the woman who wrote a memoir about it. I wonder if they'll get James Marsden to play her love interest and just make it 27 Dresses 2: Electric Wedding Glue?

But seriously, the dude that played Maestro in Seinfeld and the evil landowner/real estate buyer from One Crazy Summer could play Heigl's husband, and it would work for the age difference too. I'd see it then.

"Dead or alive, you're coming with me."

-Alex Murphy

My suggestions for remakes go so far as to incorporate the old, the new, and the just released (and will steal an idea floating out there in the blogosphere currently).

This week see's the release of The Happening, which M. Night Shyamalan probably put a little bit of effort into (not the name mind you, as anyone could think of the name The Happening and have it be related to just about anything going on in the world).

So remake this film:

Call it The Crappening and have it be Joe Dirt 2. Or call it the Crappening and have the shock ending be the Golgothan from Dogma is the villain, the one causing all the crazy shite in the world from his massive disgusting piles of turds that he has flung against the walls of the world.

And you've got yourself a remake (I prefer the Joe Dirt sequel, but that's just the opinion of this humble opinion-maker).

"Let me make something clear to you. He doesn't have a name. He has a program. He's a product."

-Bob Morton

And that, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, weirdos and gonzos alike, is the opinion of the Hollyweird. It is a product. It has no name. It has no opinion. It offers nothing to them besides the almighty dollar. So why don't we all just shut up our complaining and just spend our money like nice little lemmings and jump off the cliff every time Michael Bay makes a film?

Puny Peter Bart is making me ANGRY!

We are the opinion-makers, but our opinion doesn't count. Some 60-something song-and-dance writer/studio whipping boy gets to make his opinion count for something. He gets to badmouth the fans and comment on the bigger picture while the rest of us, me, you, and everyone you know in a regular fashion, has no voice.

No voice.

We may complain about the Hulk looking fake. We may complain about Michael Bay sucking at life. We may complain, same as Jon Favreau, that 2 years doesn't seem enough time to make a movie on par with the original (even though we all want to see the sequel now).

But our voice doesn't matter to Hollyweird and the executives out there.

We are part of the product.

Part of the creation of the end product.

They look at broad strokes across the board. They look at what television we watch and what scores the highest ratings on a weekly basis (reality TV, sports, awards shows) and then they base the way the film on how we watch and view and consume.

We are the almighty consumers, and all we amount to are numbers on a screen. Bank accounts blossoming. Profits rising. Stocks going through the roof.

All we amount to are ticks on a chart or a graph. All we come out to be is money lining their already fat pockets.

"I had to kill Bob Morton because he made a mistake. Now it's time to erase that mistake."

-Dick Jones

Remake idea number 662: Citizen Kane, starring the WWE wrestling sensation Kane as the Rosebud loving, snowglobe owner. It could involve top ropes, cage matches, Shawn Michaels, and Bret the Hitman Hart could be the rival of Kane. And explosions galore, as directed by Brett Ratner.

And I guarantee it would find its way to number one at the box office.

Remake idea number 663: The Wizard of OZ, starring JK Simmons, Ernie Hudson, Harold Perrineau, and Lee Tergesen (and many more). Christopher Meloni could play the Wizard of the Oswald Maximum Security Correctional Facility who is capable of going to great bounds to get drugs, shivs, and everything else for those inside the prison. HBO could air it the same week as it's Hollyweird release, and it would make as much sense as seeing 4 geriatric women with shoe-faces roaming around NYC together complaining about men.

It would open huge overseas.

Remake idea number 664: Predator, starring that guy from NBC's show going into the wilds of the jungles of South America and searching for a Predator intent on destroying its prey and we come to find out that this predator is not of this world. Predator played by Michael Jackson or I don't know, Richard Simmons.

The Sci-fi crowd and the reality TV watching crowd would eat this up.

"I'd buy that for a dollar."

-Bixby Snyder

That's all they want. Your money. They don't care for your opinion. Your precious mind. They just want something flashy to come before your eyes and make you forget about your worldly troubles for all of 100 minutes or so.

Remake idea number 665: Breakin' as directed by Adam Shankman (my wife watches dance movies, and I hate them so much). Idea for this is simple: a young man from the wrong side of the tracks is in trouble with the law for B&E and goes to a dance camp and falls in love with a rich girl from the right side of the tracks. Shock ending: young man and woman go out in a blaze of gunfire and crack-smoke while dancing their way into the Federal Reserve Bank Bonnie and Clyde style. Could be filmed in a fashion similar to Sin City and get the man crowd in there with promises of nudity, swearing, and gun/drug use.

Plays huge in the 18-25 market of stupid people.

"Come on now man, you're making me nervous. Come on, you can't do this! Don't mess around! Hey! Hey! Hey man, now don't get cute!"

-Clarence Boddicker

My final remake suggestion for the day pains me the most. I know there will be a day when this movie is remade. And I know that when that day happens, a piece of my life will eek out through my nose and escape into the ether (as I'm sure will happen for many of the rest of you).

Remake idea number 666 (that's right, the sign of the devil returns): Ghostbusters. Starring Dane Cook (urgh), Martin Lawrence (urgh), Ben Stiller (urgh) and Jack Black. Directed by whoever directed any piece of crap that Ben Stiller has been in or Michael Bay. I'm surprised this hasn't been remade yet with this cast or the Apatow crowd (Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, and Paul Rudd as directed by Judd himself). But with my cast in place, you're sure to strike it rich at the box office. No heart. Pure explosions. Ghosts as played by people from SNL or MadTV or Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly and Seann William Scott could show up in small roles. And just take a massive crappening all over our childhoods right then and there like Hollyweird is doing with GI Joe and Transformers and Robocop and Red Dawn and all the rest.

Just put 4 people in it that no one cares about (Dane Cook is a perfect example of someone with zero screen presence at all) and just make it big, bombastic, stupid, and put some adventures in it. Put some music in the background by My Chemical Romance to bring in emo kids or whoever and make a Burger King toy tie-in and you've got yourself a hit movie.

There, not so hard to be a Hollyweird exec, now is it.

This is all on our shoulders. We are going to have to show our power to Hollyweird. Don't accept some paltry excuse for a movie. Don't accept something sub-par.

Don't see The Crappening in theaters because it's just more of the same. Flashy special effects. No story. And terribly laughable acting all around.

Try something different.

Read a book.

Ride a bike.

Go and rent the original version of the movies or better yet, purchase a reprinted copy of the original screenplay of your favorite movies and put on plays in your own backyard. Re-enact your favorite scene from Red Dawn in a local park before you waste 10 or more dollars to watch some idiotic reject from the CW trying to emote in the middle of a field covered in snow while screaming WOLVERINES! or whatever they change the name of the group to (since they probably can't use that name anymore and would have to change the name to Wallabies or something).

Do yourself a favor and make your own choice.

Don't accept something sub-par and rushed. Don't accept a product that slaps of desperation and greed and money-grubbing nonsense.

Do something better for yourself and change the world.

It's all in your hands.

As Captain Planet would say: The power is yours.

"Bitches, leave!"

-Clarence Boddicker

*These quotes brought to you by the fine folks from Robocop. God I love that movie.


Part 30

The truth in a Gonzo fashion

“You wake up at Seatac, SFO, LAX. You wake up at O'Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, BWI. Pacific, mountain, central. Lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time. You wake up at Air Harbor International. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?”

The truth is found within.

The truth about Gooch and myself.

The truth, in a Gonzo fashion.

Who is the narrator? Who is Tyler Durden? Are we one and the same? Or are we something else entirely?

Driving into the Company was a strange feat. The yellow beast didn’t want to cooperate. The rumbling below from the undercarriage creeps up my leg as I make my way into the parking lot and the wafting smells meet me there.

The door opens to women overly perfumed and men trying to hide their femininity in too much manfume that they stink up everything they touch. The men’s room smells of a strip club only there’s less glitter on the walls and the lights flicker less.

I am corrupted from the inside out when I step inside the doors.

Recently, I have made it abundantly clear to any and all people of interest, higher, lower, on the same scale, that I am unhappy at the Company. That I am seeking comfort from an outside source and that I have once again opened the flood gates to the offers of a change in scenery that have recently popped up.

I am Jack’s wasted life.

I feel incomplete as I step into a meeting with my management team. I feel inept as they make mention of my future with the Company. I feel strange as the money seemingly offered slaps with the tinge of desperation from both ends of the table.

They are desperate to have me. I am desperate to make more money.

One of my gonzos said it best: this has happened before.

And it has.

I allowed myself to stay with the Company one year previous because the offer of money and responsibility was made, and my mind was changed.

I sold my soul.

I am Jack’s cold sweat.

All I could think in this instance was am I the narrator? Am I Tyler? Was Gooch facing the same issue in a different time zone earlier this same day and I just wasn’t aware or would he face this issue later and do something differently?

Was I the narrator or Tyler?

Would I sell out again in the face of recession, in the face of adversity, high gas prices, rising cost of living, would I sell out for a higher profit margin?

Or would I step up.

“This was freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.”

Hope was lost on each single step taken in the Company.

Making deals, either behind closed doors or in the open, had kept me there for the time that I had stayed. And now faced with another choice. The choice of stress, ulcers, agony, desperate crippling depression, all for more money in my wallet, all for more money in my bank account.

I thought of the things I need.

The things I want.

The things we have. The debt. School bills. Cars. Gas. Apartment. Hope was lost in the face of the decision in front of me.

“When the fight begins within himself, a man’s worth something.”

-Robert Browning

And there was my answer. I could not sell out today. I would fight myself tooth and nail. I knew what the Company offered. And I knew what Tyler would do. What I should do. I should tell them no. I should tell them that money is not the issue. There is no respect. No faith.

No hope from within.

I should tell them that I am not actually living this life that I see before me, but I am a figment of their imagination.

I am the way they wish they could think. Act. Dream. Talk. Everything and anything they wished they could be, I would be.

I was the change. I envisioned myself throwing myself through the table. The cabinets. Taking my fight directly to them. Getting in their little worlds and upsetting everything around them while taking their money to infiltrate all aspects of their lives.

I became Tyler.

I am Jack’s smirking revenge.

“I wanted to burn the Louvre. I’d do the Elgin Marbles with a sledgehammer and wipe my ass with the Mona Lisa. This is my world, now. This is my world, my world, and those ancient people are dead.”

There would be offers.

There would be hope.

But that wasn’t the issue. I looked into the face of the demon, the smiling, smirking vision of better futures, easier living, costs rising, and I fought back. I used what I knew as the truth against what I knew as a pipe dream.

I fought the beast and lived to tell about it.

But before everything could be tamed and claimed as defeated, I struck a wall. The world is about to swallow me whole for the decision I was about to make, because there would be no way to live in the face of the rising cost of living. The recession we faced. The grief. The disgust. The mayhem.

We had our great war now, and it wasn’t just a war of the spirit. It was going to be against the world around us, and I was worried about money.

“You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.”

I couldn’t worry about those things. What I was doing was right. The decision I would make would be the truth, as I saw it. The truth in front of me. The truth was that nothing would be perfect, no matter the decision I would make, but I had to make the decision myself.

I had to be the change.

I had to be the narrator and Tyler Durden all at once.

I had to be the focus.

“All a gun does is focus an explosion in one direction. You have a class of young strong men and women, and they want to give their lives to something. Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don't need. Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don't really need.”

I say this is the way the world ends. This is the way the world begins.

All at once it hits me.

I am Gooch.

Gooch is me.

I am the narrator.

Gooch is the narrator.

I am Tyler Durden.

Gooch is Tyler Durden.

We are all part of the same compost heap.

I have found the focus I so clearly lacked and realized that I am the choice. I am capable of choosing which person I am. Whether I am the anarchist, the sellout, the lover, the fighter, I am the focus. I am the choice.

I am the or.

I will not be swayed by the money offered because I know what comes from the Company’s offer of money.

Waistbands bigger and bigger.

Hard to breathe.

Chest pains.



Medical issues that probably involve cancer and all the other terrible afflictions of the world that they are feeding us through our feedbags. We are cattle. We are being raised, poked and prodded, for the greater God of production values and an assembly line of creation and completion.

What matters the most is the bottom line. Not the person.

What matters the most is keeping us well-fed, fat and happy, and keeping us from questioning the authority around us.

“May I never be complete. May I never be content. May I never be perfect. Deliver me, Tyler, from being perfect and complete.”

I will be Tyler and question.

I will not allow them to feed us lies.

Whether it’s the Company or the government or my parents, friends, whoever it is. I will not be fed puppy dogs and rainbows when the world is shark attacks and tornadoes. I will not be fed a lie to perpetuate the truth that I want.

I will be the truth.

I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

I am the or.

I am everything there is in the world that I want to be.

I will make an effort to never be content no matter where I hang my hat. I have lost hope and faith in the things and people around me, but all that does is open the door to find out the truth.

It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.

I will be the choice that the world deserves. That my wife deserves. That the gonzos deserve. I will step inside the world and find out what drives me.

I will be the choice that motivates me. The or. I will suggest always, I will struggle always, I will never be content to give up and be happy with my lot when there is always so much more.

I am motivated by never knowing exactly who I am.

But I know that Gooch and I are the narrator and Tyler. Only that we change periodically.

And I know that there is so much more going on behind the scenes that you will never get me to give up. You will never get me to make the easy choice.

The easy choice may be more money, but I would rather struggle and make my life through motivation and grief than intolerance and greed.

I am the or.

I am the truth.

It is your choice what you are.

It is your choice if you are the narrator or Tyler. Who will you be? What will motivate you?

“You aren't alive anywhere like you're alive at fight club.... Fight club isn't about winning or losing fights. Fight club isn't about words. You see a guy come to fight club for the first time, and his ass is a loaf of white bread. You see this same guy here six months later, and he looks carved out of wood. This guy trusts himself to handle anything. There's grunting and noise at fight club like at the gym, but fight club isn't about looking good. There's hysterical shouting in tongues like at church, and when you wake up Sunday afternoon you feel saved.”

*Brought to you by the kind words of Chuck Palahniuk and Jim Uhls. Deliver me from Swedish furniture.


Part 31

A little Crisis goes a long way…

“In the present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

-Ronald Reagan

Crises precipitate change.

You’ve heard it before.

You’ve understand change and crises in your own life.

But it isn’t until the crises crashes down upon you, grabs hold and won’t let go, that it doesn’t feel real. The crises of the world don’t matter to you until you’ve hit rock bottom.

Or until you truly think about what you are. Until you have your own crisis of confidence.

This weekend saw the yellow behemoth backed into and the wheel well mashed. It saw an adventure of Incredible Hulk-like stylings, thoughts and ruminations on my future, a party (or something like a party), and a lot of angered tones and migraines.

The problem of migraines has started again.

It has followed the caffeine overload right into the alcohol overload and back again. There are periods of time, dips and wanes, where the low tide and the high tide affect my caffeine levels.

Some days I’m high as a kite. Other days I’m low as a slug. For the last few days I’ve been lower than a slug.

For the last few days, the crisis has been killing me. But this isn’t about my crisis. My crisis is pale in comparison to those afflicting the world around us.

So let’s take a look at those, with an eye towards those people in Overland Park who just feel that they are better than everyone else, that their problems are in reality, bigger, and more affecting than the problems facing people all over the globe (though not completely centralized in Johnson County as a lot of those taking the trek into the Crossroads and P&L are from that same notion).

There is an energy crisis.

Let’s all take a moment to let that sink in.

Fuel costs are up. Production is down. Gas prices are so high, people who never thought they would ride a bus after being soured on that proposition after kindergarten are now riding the Metro to get groceries, run errands, and go to work.

Carpooling should be up, but it’s not.

We all complain, we all think gas is affecting us the most, and we still pay for it.


Because this crisis is strictly a crisis for the wallet, for most people at least. They aren’t thinking of the higher problems. The worse issues that are right there in the background.

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity.”

-Richard Nixon

There is some opportunity playing out here in the face of the oil crisis. The world created by George Miller in the Mad Max franchise is so close to reality that I can taste the Interceptor burning fuel behind me as it barrels onto my location.

The Road Warrior and his Aussie pals are going to be a part of this scorched Earth that was set in the near future (probably the early 90s since the movie was made in 79).

I can see Toecutter and his gang gunning it down I-35 coming toward my Yellow Behemoth, probably thinking it looks just like Max’s Interceptor.

And all I can say is, that’s about the only opportunity befitting this crisis. That, and hopefully less reliance on fuel as the only source of energy for most of the world.

Opportunity is knocking world, and it’s on you now.

What other crises are facing this world?

“The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.”

-HG Wells

The man knew what he was talking about.

Will we look at this energy crisis in upcoming years as something hysterical? Will those of us, now in our 20s-30s, talk about the good old days when gas cost us 2 dollars a gallon as opposed to 12?

Will there be a day when none of us think any of this is funny?

What about the crisis facing the world in the sense of the government? Big Brother? The idea, the concept, of government as Big Brother has also been around for a long time.

Sci-fi movies have been getting it right, it seems, and we’ve been laughing it off.

We’ve been looking at films like Timecop and saying, no way, the world will never be like that.

And yet, here we are, in a society that now almost seems like someone went back in time and changed something so drastically that the world doesn’t seem like it was yesterday.

We are pounded with massive tornadoes one day, and sunshine and scalding heat the next. We are torn apart by heavy rains and flooding one day, and the next is bright, crisp, cool summer weather.

We are watching the news about how things are going great in Iraq and the war will be over soon, and here we are, still at war, still fighting overseas, with no end in sight. Did someone go back and change the world? Mess with the outcome of an election and make it so that they won certain states?

Did some part of our government go back in time and find a weather-changing device (ala The Flash’s villain the Weather Wizard) and make the weather so dastardly that we’d never know what it truly held?

Is the world going to end?

“I know my fate. One day there will be associated with my name the recollection of something frightful, of a crisis like no other before on Earth, of the profoundest collision of conscience, of a decision evoked against everything that until then had been believed in, demanded, sanctified. I am not a man I am dynamite.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

I am dynamite.

I am the change.

I am the crisis.

That is the only way to see through this.

We all understand that our great problems are nothing compared to the world’s problems. But there are people, like those Johnson Countians, who think their problems are so much more profound, so much more abrupt and life-altering.

Case in point: while on my weekend venture, a stop-off was made to the local health food store as the wife and I are in the attempts at changing our diet (and spending immense amounts of money to do so).

A couple, one I am assuming was in their mid-30s, walked past us, and a look of disgust came over the woman’s face as she saw another person on a cell phone. She turned to her hubby and said “I f-ing hate cell phones.”

Now, we all hate cell phones. None of us like them too much.

But the woman was the face of Johnson County. Picture if you will a woman in her mid-30s. Dressed as if trying to be a trendy mom (i.e. city shorts, tank top, big gold bracelet, massive diamond ring, the works).

A trendy mom only inside the health food store for trendy purposes.

Probably drives a massive SUV that gets 6 miles to the gallon (or maybe she drives a 6000SUX, for all the Robocop fans in the room, and gets 8 mpg).

And then it hit me.

My problems, my crisis of confidence, of self-esteem, whatever crisis I was having, was so miniscule compared to those facing the world, that I wouldn’t let it change the face of who I was.

I would overcome it because I chose to do so.

I would be better than it.

I would be the dynamite that forces the change that is necessary.

“The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life – knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live.”


I know what the world means to me. I know that there are things about the world I would gladly change and make better.

If I had the power, I would change the world. I would change the face of the world so that genocides would need not happen and Darfur would be safe. I would protect people from fuel costs and from biblical weather.

If I had the power, I would stand up for what was right. But I will do that anyways.

The crises that are affecting me, in my heart, my mind, have affected my ability to see through the darkness and see the light in the world. That is my problem. That is something I will live with.

The crises affecting the world around us should be stopped in ways that only certain people have power to stop.


Public figures.


The people who have the power, who are doing nothing to change the face of the world. Because in their arrogance and their own self-serving worth, they don’t care for the world around them.

They don’t care that someday soon I may have to shoot an arrow through my counterpart Gooch for some of his gasoline and overthrow a local BP station.

They don’t care that in my basement I am working on a flux capacitor so that I can go back in time to the old West, where diphtheria, malaria, and various other diseases may attack my better senses.

They don’t care that I’ve been working on a new version of ED-209 so that I can use that to get to work, and nothing will stand in my way.

They don’t care that I have to live in an imagination world to have a better life since all the news in the world and all the changes seem for the worst.

“Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself. He imposes his own stamp of action, takes responsibility for it, makes it his own.”

-Charles De Gaulle

The only question to ask yourself is what type of man, woman, or child are you?

Will you be the change that you are looking for, or will you allow the crisis to kill you?

Will you be the dynamite or the property laid to waste? Will you be Mad Max or the Toecutter?

Are you the hero, fighting for truth, justice, and the Australian way? Or the villain, standing still and letting the world change everything but him?

Who are you?

Are you the or, or are you going to remain stagnant and complain about the way the world is killing you?

It’s time for change.

It’s time to embrace the or.

It’s time to embrace something better.

“Conflict builds character. Crisis defines it.”

-Steven V Thulon


Part 32

Special effects master, Stan Winston, has died.

“As an artist for art’s sake, I have my own sculptures that I do for myself that I can spend as much time as I want on. Part of the creative challenge of this business, is to go, you know what, I've got this much money and this much time to do this job. I will do the best I can within those parameters. That's what being a professional is. That's not art for art's sake. This is the motion picture business. If you only do stuff that you have all the time and money to do, you would never work in this business.”

Stan Winston was a genius.

A legend.

He was a man of myths and legends, of monsters and madmen, and he was known to be a genuinely sweet guy.

Hollyweird just got a little less weird.

He was an auteur.

A man with a vision.

The director of Pumpkinhead (yes it is a guilty pleasure, only because it’s so bad but just such cool creature effects).

You pick a movie you loved in recent history, since the early 80s, and more than likely, if it involved a monster, his hand was in there somewhere.

Because he was a genius.

Is a genius.

He was a man bigger than life and taken too soon.

There was so much more he could have shown us.

He did the effects for the first Terminator, listed on IMDB as the special Terminator effects. He made the cybernetic humanoid Arnold look as real as possible in the early 1980s.

He worked on the monsters for Monster Squad.

Monster Squad was one of my favorite movies as a kid. Better than Goonies in my opinion. Better than all the other movies most kids watch growing up and wear the tape so thin that you can’t watch it on your VHS player any longer.

My gonzo brothers and I were first in line when the DVD was released and will be first in line if ever there is a Blu-ray release.

He was the facial basis for the Wolfman, who did have nards, and it is still the coolest looking werewolf I’ve ever laid my child or adult eyes on.

Watching that movie recently, the wonder I had as a kid was not lost. Sure it wasn’t as funny as I remember. Sure it didn’t age that well.

But it was Monster Squad. What more could you ask for?

“People who are afraid to go to horror movies are generally afraid their whole lives. People say to me, 'Do you have nightmares?' I never have nightmares! And I go to movies and see the most bizarre things in the world, and go... Wow that is really sick, how fun is that! And I don't have to carry it around. I think that's very healthy.”

I follow the same boat as Stan.

I am capable of putting terribly gruesome images in people’s heads, gross things that no one would ever in their right mind ever want to have in their heads, and I can put it there.

I know people so afraid of spiders that just the hint or the joke of one in the same room as them, they jump for the sky.

I know people, and have seen movies with people like this, so afraid of snakes that they cry and whine like little babies.

I know people afraid of public bathrooms, people in enclosed spaces, and it just gives me a slight chuckle.

I don’t think I’m invincible, I just don’t get easily scared.

And here’s why: When I was four years old, my gonzo dad and I watched two movies together. The first two movies I ever remember (and this will age me as well, and if you’re offended by how old I am, go to hell).



Still two of my favorite films of all-time.

Just me and my dad in a pitch-black house, watching skinned guerillas and armed forces go up against a seven-foot tall warrior from beyond the galaxy and another group of colonial marines go up against the worst scum of the universe.

People getting skinned.

Torn in half.

Blown up.

Seared with acid.

Hit by massive tree trunks.

Heads exploding.

And there I was, with my four-year-old eyes, opened to the wonders of Hollyweird and the brilliance of Stan Winston.

He worked on Manimal, Leviathan, Congo, Predator 2, The Relic, Small Soldiers, Instinct, Inspector Gadget (coincidentally the film that made me want to dabble in screenwriting and directing as it was such a bastardization of everything I cared about growing up and lead to additional bastardizations like Transformers and GI Joe).

Lake Placid, AI, End of Days, Jurassic Park, The Thing (best horror movie ever made), the Terminator films (still only consider there to be two with no television shows), Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, Iron Man, Big Fish, and the list goes on.

His hands were in so many of my favorite films of all-time, it was a complete blow to the stomach to see this genius struck down at the age of 62.

As witnessed with his work on Iron Man in the effects of creating the clunky first armor and working on the rest, you knew his work was only getting better.

You knew there was nothing this man couldn’t do.

And now, his genius is gone.

And the world of Hollyweird should take a deep breath and be saddened by this.

The man with more class and ability than most others was there.

He was everything you could ask for in a genius intellect who worked in most of the movies you’ve probably seen and his hand and presence was probably felt in most of the other ones, either from someone who knew him, worked with him, or appreciated his work.

“He was experienced and helped guide me while never losing his childlike enthusiasm... He was the king of integrating practical effects with CGI, never losing his relevance in an ever changing industry. I am proud to have worked with him and we were looking forward to future colloborations. I knew that he was struggling, but I had no idea that he would be gone so soon. Hollywood has lost a shining star.”

-Jon Favreau

There are things to take from the loss of genius and I hope that somewhere someone in Hollyweird is thinking about this.

When a genius like Stan Winston is lost, there is no way to fill his void. But there are ways to remember him. And the best way is to follow his method.

Follow his open-mindedness and grow.

Hollyweird has an insane problem with looking to the past and what worked before and just redoing it.

Winston and a few of his counterparts have always looked to the future.

They embraced the or, the weird, the strange, the dark, the disturbing, and they’ve touched corners of our lives with their insanely real effects work and monster work in films that we have all known and loved.

The best thing to take from Stan Winston is what he did for Hollyweird. He was all the best parts of it.

Yeah he worked on crummy movies and did insanely good work on them. But he was there, for the most part, doing his thing, doing his best with what he was given, and doing a damn fine job of it.

I had the luck of meeting him, briefly, in Chicago back around 2002 at a comic convention.

He was walking the floor and appeared to be looking for a friend or family member. I didn’t keep him too long, but I stopped him just long enough to tell him what an honor it was to meet him and how amazing his work was and what it had done to my life.

I am certain he got that all the time and people were always telling him this wherever he went, but he was kind enough to shake my hand, thank me for telling him that, and smile.

He was kind enough not to walk away in the sight of a gawking fan and think I was weird and not want to be anywhere near me.

He was kind enough to accept me as a human being.

To accept my or and my weirdness. Now we just need to accept his, accept the fact that he is gone, and do our best to keep the or alive and keep Hollyweird from tarnishing his good name and remaking the best of his films in terrible fashion.

If they’ll all but put a moratorium on remaking Orson Welles and Hitchcock films, films with the touch of Stan Winston should be allowed to stay exactly the way they are and be preserved as such.

And that will always include Monster Squad.

“You have to understand that rightly or wrongly, I consider myself an artist and I consider the work that we do art. In helping to tell stories by creating these characters. I came out as an actor. I am not a technician. I am a techno-ignorant, but I love creating characters and telling wonderful stories. Thinking of myself as an artist doesn't allow me to think of size having to do with importance.”

*Most quotes belong to Stan Winston unless otherwise noted.


Part 33

George Carlin, one of my personal heroes, has passed away

And yes, Gooch and I are the same person. So sue us.

We lost a hero. A trooper. A gonzo life coach. We lost a friend. A relative. Everything we wanted our comedy to be and then some.

And I found a website with a group of his quotes that make me laugh and make others laugh, and as opposed to just posting a link to the site, here are those quotes, in their entirety. I write long entries anyways, so to get my feelings for the man and how he was a personal hero to me, read below. By the way, dirty language found within. OH NO!

  1. 1.I don’t have pet peeves — I have major psychotic fucking hatreds!
    2. Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
    3. Swimming is not a sport. Swimming is a way to keep from drowning. That’s just common sense!
    4. A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.
    5. Have you ever noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?
    6. I wanna live. I don’t wanna die. That’s the whole meaning of life: Not dying! I figured that shit out by myself in the third grade.
    7. I used to be Irish Catholic. Now I’m an American — you know, you grow.
    8. You can’t fight City Hall, but you can goddamn sure blow it up.
    9. If the Cincinnati Reds were really the first major league baseball team, who did they play?
    10. Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.
    11. If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.
    12. No one knows what’s next, but everybody does it.
    13. There are 400,000 words in the English language, and there are seven you can’t say on television. What a ratio that is! 399,993 to 7. They must really be baaaad. They must be OUTRAGEOUS to be separated from a group that large. “All of you words over here, you seven….baaaad words.” That’s what they told us, right? …You know the seven, don’t ya? That you can’t say on TV? Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits.
    14. The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.”
    15. The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.
    16. Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it.
    17. Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money.
    18. Weather forecast for tonight: Dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning.
    19. If it requires a uniform, it’s a worthless endeavor.
    20. If you live long enough, sooner or later everybody you know has cancer.
    21. You know the good part about all those executions in Texas? Fewer Texans.
    22. Soft rock music isn’t rock, and it ain’t music. It’s just soft.
    23. Reminds me of something my third-grade teacher said to us. She said, “You show me a tropical fruit and I’ll show you a cocksucker from Guatemala.”
    24. As soon as someone is identified as an unsung hero, he no longer is.
    25. If a movie is described as a romantic comedy, you can usually find me next door playing pinball.
    26. The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other in opposite directions.
    27. I knew a transsexual guy whose only ambition is to eat, drink, and be Mary.
    28. I put a dollar in a change machine. Nothing changed.
    29. If you’ve got a cat and a leg, you’ve got a happy cat. If you’ve got a cat and two legs, you’ve got a party.
    30. You can prick your finger — just don’t finger your prick.
    31. By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.
    32. Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but anyone going faster is a maniac?
    33. Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do “practice”?
    34. I don’t like to think of laws as rules you have to follow, but more as suggestions.
    35. I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.
    36. When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat.
    37. Eventually, alas, I realized the main purpose of buying cocaine is to run out of it.
    38. I never fucked a ten, but one night, I fucked five twos.
    39. I never joined the Boy Scouts. I don’t trust any organization that has a handbook.
    40. I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a man nailed to two pieces of wood.
    41. Have you noticed that most of the women who are against abortion are women you wouldn’t want to fuck in the first place? There’s such balance in nature.
    42. So I say, “Live and let live.” That’s my motto. “Live and let live.” Anyone who can’t go along with that, take him outside and shoot the motherfucker. It’s a simple philosophy, but it’s always worked in our family.
    43. Catholic — which I was until I reached the age of reason.
    44. Here’s a bumper sticker I’d like to see: “We are the proud parents of a child who’s self-esteem is sufficient that he doesn’t need us promoting his minor scholastic achievements on the back of our car.”
    45. I love and treasure individuals as I meet them; I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.
    46. Beethoven was so hard of hearing, he thought he was a painter.
    47. Don Ho can sign autographs 3.4 times faster than Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
    48. God bless the homicidal maniacs. They make life worthwhile.
    49. I’ve never seen a homeless guy with a bottle of Gatorade.
    50. One great thing about getting old is that you can get out of all sorts of social obligations just by saying you’re too tired.
    51. If Helen Keller had psychic ability, would you say she had a fourth sense?
    52. What year did Jesus think it was?
    53. George Washington’s brother, Lawrence, was the Uncle of Our Country.
    54. Have you ever wondered why Republicans are so interested in encouraging people to volunteer in their communities? It’s because volunteers work for no pay. Republicans have been trying to get people to work for no pay for a long time.
    55. In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem.
    56. Once you leave the womb, conservatives don’t care about you until you reach military age. Then you’re just what they’re looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers.
    57. “One thing leads to another”? Not always. Sometimes one thing leads to the same thing. Ask an addict.
    58. No one who has had “Taps” played for them has ever been able to hear it.
    59. Property is theft. Nobody “owns” anything. When you die, it all stays here.
    60. The best thing about living at the water’s edge: You only have assholes on three sides of you, and if they come this way you can hear them splash.
    61. The future will soon be a thing of the past.
    62. The planet is fine. The people are fucked.
    63. The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.
    64. Boxing is a more sophisticated form of hockey.
    65. The only good thing ever to come out of religion was the music.
    66. I think everyone should treat one another in a Christian manner. I will not, however, be responsible for the consequences.
    67. Bowling is not a sport because you have to rent the shoes.
    68. “When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?” This title offends all three major religions, and even vegetarians!
    69. Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.
    70. And now, in the interest of equal time, here is a message from the National Institute of Pancakes: It reads, and I quote, “Fuck waffles.”
    71. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
    72. Whoever coined the term “Buyer Beware” was probably bleeding from the asshole.
    73. Cloud nine gets all the publicity, but cloud eight actually is cheaper, less crowded, and has a better view.
    74. Have you ever noticed that the lawyer always smiles more than the client?
    75. I’m always relieved when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I’m listening to it.
    76. Just think, right now as you read this, some guy somewhere is gettin’ ready to hang himself.
    77. The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.
    78. If all our national holidays were observed on Wednesdays, we could wind up with nine-day weekends.
    79. “Meow” means “woof” in cat.
    80. Most people with low self-esteem have earned it.
    81. Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.
    82. “No comment” is a comment.
    83. If a man smiles all the time, he’s probably selling something that doesn’t work.
    84. You can’t argue with a good blowjob.
    85. Most of the time people feel okay. Probably it’s because at the moment they’re not actually dying.
    86. So far, this is the oldest I’ve been.
    87. Instead of warning pregnant women not to drink, I think female alcoholics ought to be told not to fuck.
    88. Do you think Sammy Davis ate Junior Mints?
    89. When you think about it, attention-deficit order makes a lot of sense. In this country there isn’t a lot worth paying attention to.
    90. The Golden Gate Bridge should have a long bungee cord for people who aren’t quite ready to commit suicide but want to get in a little practice.
    91. I think I am, therefore, I am. I think.
    92. If the cops didn’t see it, I didn’t do it!
    93. Hooray for most things!
    94. Capitalism tries for a delicate balance: It attempts to work things out so that everyone gets just enough stuff to keep them from getting violent and trying to take other people’s stuff.
    95. I don’t have a fear of heights. I do, however, have a fear of falling from heights.
    96. What was the best thing before sliced bread?
    97. May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.
    98. Life is a zero sum game.
    99. Somehow I enjoy watching people suffer.
    100. I have as much authority as the Pope. I just don’t have as many people who believe it.
    101. It isn’t fair: the caterpillar does all the work, and the butterfly gets all the glory.

By beholding to my Gonzo lifestyle, the counter-culture had a few heroes, all of which seem to be petering out in recent years.

We lost Hunter to a gun, the only way he’d ever want to go anyways.

Bill Hicks was lost years back to pancreatic cancer (something my flip-side Gooch’s hero Swayze is struggling with currently).

Rodney Dangerfield and all the comedians who gave comedy something that will never be lost, something that comics from now until the end of time will be aping, are lost.

And the counter culture is missing yet another hero.

George Carlin was a hysterical presence to be around. Just being in the same auditorium with him in Lawrence back in 2004 caused a stir. The followers of Fred Phelps boycotted the event of course, and the inside was like the exact opposite of the Fred Phelps camp.

People from all walks of life: hippies, conservatives, liberals, students, moms and dads, parents, grandparents, you name it, they were there at the Lied Center, and they were all hysterical having to wait. The electricity of the room, the emotion, it was all palpable. Like you could cut it with a chainsaw and you’d still be missing chunks of what was seeping around that room.

Then he came out on stage. An old, angry man, and he was still a presence to behold. He was much larger than he let on. He looked so much smaller than the titan you remember, the loud booming angry man heard on your dad’s records when he wasn’t home from work yet or his old HBO tapes or cassette tapes or what have you. Reading the books in secret. Listening to the tapes down low. And then getting to discuss them with my dad while I was still less than 10 years old is still a memory I hold tight when talking about the 7 dirty words and what they all really meant.

My dad was a big proponent for my gonzo lifestyle as it is today. He’s the reason I’ve fashioned my life after these freaks and weirdos. And he embraced it, just as I did.


Carlin came on stage and the room just exploded. It was perfection. It was amazing. It was downright one of the funniest live performances I’ve ever been in the presence of (followed the same year by Lewis Black’s wonderful performance in KC as well).

And he left the stage, seemingly mid-joke, to leave us wanting more.

And he has left the physical plane at 71 years old, to leave us wanting more.

One of my gonzos said it best: he’s up there, making Jesus laugh.

Now I may not believe in the same crazy religious things as some of you, and in fact, would go so far as to think some of my atheism is due to George.

But I do think this: regardless of what you believe in, he’s somewhere else just completely railing on about something that’s pissing him off. He’s out in our collective ethos telling us to remember him or don’t, it’s all good.

I do know that I will watch Car Wash tonight. Youtube some Shining Time Station. Pop in Jersey Girl, Dogma, or Jay and Silent Bob. I even used to watch his TV show where he played a cabbie.

He was my hero. I truthfully don’t know if any of my heroes are still gonna be alive after this (one left I think).

He just wants us to laugh. And to expect more from people in power. And to make our own choices.

That is why I will always hold George Carlin in my heart. And someday, we will meet and share pork chops.


Part 34

Politics and politicos

"Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds."

-Henry Brooks Adams

Driving into work, the yellow beater changed to a Red Yaris (for the week, more on that later), there was something hanging over. Some cloud cover, some disgusting anger, some rattling in the rental beneath me.

And since the engine sounded like a lawnmower amped with a weed-whacker motor, I knew it couldn't be the rumbling power.

Man I miss the beast.

No, something worse. Far worse. The idea of politics. The idea of our differing opinions about who is the better master race (I mean, better political regime) and why would eventually come out.

No matter how much I kept my head down.

No matter how much I kept myself free and clear and unavailable to the concerns of the public and the private sector of the Company.

I would not be embroiled in these commentaries. Dissertations. Arguments. Clashes of ideals.

I would be above it all because I choose not to lower myself to the idiocies of the common arguments.

"Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof; it is temporary expedient, often wise in party politics, almost sure to be unwise in statesmanship."

-James Russell Lowell

I chose to be part of the or and distance myself from picking a side in any of the arguments while at work.

The people who genuinely know me (my wife, friends, closer co-workers, you the vast readership of the world of Ink) know that I am very highly opinionated.

But as they say, there is a time and a place.

And I'm not very stately. And I don't compromise well.

Arguments came up recently about the smoking ban. Abortion. Lightrail. Mass transit and mass taxation.

People piss and moan that their way is the best method. That they are correct and that everyone who thinks they are wrong is an idiot and a moron and please won't you see things my way.

It happens all over the place.

And it happened gruesomely at the Company today.

And all I could do was sit and wait for the yellow beast/red babyshoe to take me away from the stupidity of those people who argue for arguments' sake.

"I will not rest until I have transformed the landscape of American politics."

-Newt Gingrich

And the argument came in the form of an email. The last bastion of hope and creation for the modern worker. The last place for free speech and open dialogue. And it was co-opted by one bastard with too much time on their hands.

The email was one of those mass forwarded emails. One of those emails that seemed like from a 12 year old who feels that if the chain is passed along their greatest wish in life will come true and Billy will ask them to the dance or the sock hop or whatever and if they don't pass the chain along then their household pet will be horribly disfigured and they will be unlucky in love and everything else and will lose any Olympic game they attempt to perform at. And don't get me started on the Olympics.

It was from an idiot. Sent to an idiot. Mass sent to a group of idiots. And forwarded onto me for my perusal. Probably to gain this anger and frustration. To push the walls down and let the waters rage in.

"A man of active and resilient mind outwears his friendships just as certainly as he outwears his love affairs, his politics, and his epistemology."

-Henry Louis Mencken

The email regarded Barack Obama and boiled him down to stereotypes. Questioned his ability to lead because he has family in Africa. Because he has a Muslim background. Because his father remarried and his mother remarried, we shouldn't trust him as our leader of the free world because he called his grandparents white folk.

To quote my flipside Gooch, the fear of a black planet rages on, and it's disgusting.

People who thinly veil their arguments by using racism and not outright saying I could never vote for a black person running for president, they play things coy. They try and act like that has nothing to do with what they're saying.

They couldn't vote for someone who is Muslim or at one point practiced that religion.

They couldn't vote for someone whose parents remarried a number of times, but who himself has never been divorced.

They just are so blind to the fact that they are racist idiots, that they are blind to the fact of who they really are and what inbred rejects they are, that they could have just come out and say it as opposed to trying to play coy.

I deal better with people who are on the level. You want to be a racist? You're a jackass, but I know how to deal with outright racists.

But you want to try and hide your racism? Then you have no reason to be around me.

You want to force your opinions on someone else? You want to suggest that people shouldn't vote for someone because of his middle name? Then may I offer this:

John McCain's middle name isn't truly Sidney. It's Crypt Keeper. That's right. He's the Crypt Keeper. And he's fighting for your votes for the presidency of these United States of Embarassment.

You want to call me a communist? By all means, go for it. I would gladly abide by the rights and freedoms that it would offer, but people like John McCain and all the racist idiots out there who are too greedy, money-hungry, and too full of themselves for the common good, bastardize communism and turn it into something disgusting.

Communism is a theoretical economic system characterized by the collective ownership of property and by the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members, according to

So would I gladly follow communism if not for the heartless criminals that disguise it as something good for the people and instead use it to advance themselves?

Yes, I would. But it only works in theory. Just like war. Just like a global game played to see which person is the best in that sport.

It's all in theory.

Doesn't everything work better in theory?

"Politics ruins the character."

-Otto Von Bismarck

So the question then: what happened when I argued back? Did I choose the high-road or did I show my teeth?

I showed teeth. I bit and gnashed against bone and spread the word of anarchy. I told people that their choice should be made based on the character of the person running, not the color of their skin.

Their political background, not their name.

I upset a few people.

And I got in my Red Baby-Shoe and made way for home, through the dark clouds and the quiet of the radio playing some worthless inane babble from some idiot who didn't have a clue what they were complaining about.

And I wonder why I have so few friends. Politics has taken them away.

"Without alienation, there can be no politics."

-Arthur Miller

As the 4th comes close and you question liberty and you question your freedoms, remember this:

You have the freedom to make a choice.

To choose for yourself.

To be a part of the or or to be part of the machine.

To be free or to be a slave to the system that has been seized upon you and is struggling to rub your existence off the face of this Earth in the form of trillions of dollars of debt for your country and a recession closely following behind.

What do you choose?

Do you choose the argument or to rise above?

To stand free or to be shackled into the ground?

To rise above and fly high in the sky or be found with your head in the dirt, complaining about how many people want to hang out with you because of your belief systems?

Make the choice.

I have.

I choose the or.

Someday I will run for Sheriff under the Gonzo party and get myself a nice little corner office and a gun. That's my choice. And maybe go into politics as an independent third party on the Freak Ticket.

Or maybe I'll do something else. It's my choice, isn't it?

"If politics is to become scientific, and if the event is not to be constantly surprising, it is imperative that our political thinking should penetrate more deeply into the springs of human action."

-Bertrand Russell


Part 35


“All healthy men have thought of their own suicide.”

-Albert Camus

As I’m writing this, music is playing telling me to fill my life with something else. To open my eyes. That suicide is the coward’s way out.

But is it really? With all the death and destruction around, what are we confronted with every day of our lives? Our own mortality is around every corner, and it guides us along our paths. Doesn’t it?

I have to believe that it does. That the idea that someday I will be dead is what keeps me alive. Most times I joke.

Out of spite is why I’m still here.

Spite for the “God” above that most people see as the creator of life and the one who guides our every movements. I’m here out of spite, because if I had committed suicide on any of the number of occasions it has presented itself to me, then I would have had to admit my mistake or his mistake.

My mistake being that if I died and was at the pearly gates and there was a God, I would have to admit that I was wrong all this time. And God would have to admit he was wrong about me. About my fate. About my reality.

And that is another reason I stick around. I don’t believe in fate or destiny. I don’t believe that there is a pre-ordained way your life will go, which is yet another thing that offends people about my talking of suicide.

I’ve spoken to gonzos and friends and family that I felt like suicide was in my cards. That my lot in life was to go out in a blaze of glory and be forgotten. Because that is what happens when you die. People forget you ever existed.

“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.”

-Albert Einstein

But is suicide really the way to put punctuation on your life? Is it the same as quitting a job, as Bill Maher put it? Is suicide something glamorous that many people idolize and don’t really understand exactly what it is?

Like Suicide Girls?

A group of women with tattoos and piercings and they glamorize that name for the sake of selling pictures and advertising on a website.

Emo kids who don’t really understand the emotion of the act but just think their life is just the most terribly bad existence to ever face the Earth. Kids with no real problems at all, that live in suburban homes and have loving parents but listen to horrendous music like Good Charlotte and wear black tight clothes all the time, shun the sun, and shop at Hot Topic with their parents’ credit cards and drive their new BMWs.

People have been dressing in black for years and whining about their emotions kids, you’re not original and you never will be.

Those people who glamorize suicide and cut themselves for attention are a different beast altogether. They are the cowards. People like Hunter Thompson who put a gun in their mouths and put the punctuation on their lives are not cowardly.

They are just taking fate into their hands and spreading the good will that “God” offers them.

“To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?”


But as I’m sure you’ll be able to tell, my gonzo nature makes me question just about everything. Question my own mortality and my own thoughts on death and life and living out of spite or hatred or anything else.

I’m not certain what to think.

Is suicide the true man’s way out? Is it a coward’s way out?

Back in 2003, September 11-13 was a very dark period in this writer’s life. John Ritter died of heart trouble on the 11th. We all knew and loved him from the Problem Child movies, Three’s Company, and various other things. Didn’t really care for 8 Simple Rules, it was just, the dude from Three’s Company was gone. It was strange.

September 12th, 2003, Johnny Cash died. One of the musical titans. The only country musician I will ever and have ever enjoyed listening to. A man who transcended the world of music and was above it all and was destined to die a dark death but lived an amazing life.

September 13th, 2003, my friend, Justin Marts, killed himself. He committed suicide the night before and was found on the 13th. I worked with him at that point for just about a year at Toys R Us and I considered him a friend. I had seen him on the night of the 12th and we were discussing the newest A Perfect Circle album that was coming out and he wanted me to burn him a copy when I had one and he wanted me to come over and play him in Halo at his place. Then the next day at work, I was confronted with the terrible news that I will never forget.

Red faces in the breakroom. No one could understand it. And that day was one of the worst rainstorms I ever found myself standing in for the rest of that day. I was outside for a good solid 2 hours, waiting for something, anything to brighten the day. And it didn’t.

This year reflects that year in very many strange ways. George Carlin died. One of my personal heroes, similar to Johnny Cash. Tim Russert, a man I respected and enjoyed watching, died, similar to John Ritter. Stan Winston died, a man whose monster work was so much better than anything we had ever seen and was truly before his time.

And a famous comic artist named Michael Turner died of complications from cancer. 37 years old. Way before his time. And his art just kept getting better and better.

A pall rides over these days. Something is hanging over in the sky. And the question of mortality and death has hit me almost as hard, if not harder, than that weekend in September 5 years ago.

“Suicide sometimes proceeds from cowardice, but not always; for cowardice sometimes prevents it; since as many live because they are afraid to die, as die because they are afraid to live.”

-Charles Caleb Colton

Am I afraid to die? Am I afraid to live?

Does living equal failure at all times?

It does. Life is failure.

But isn’t that the beauty of this gonzo lifestyle I hold onto so dearly? It is. I understand, from my past experience with pain, suffering, and suicide, that there are failures to be had. I understand that it can sometimes be the way out.

But is it the way out for all of us?

I have a wife now. I have a life that I’m trying to constantly make better by attempting to figure out what I want to do with my life and I am constantly fighting to give my wife something so much better for her life than she could have ever expected or wanted.

She’s a dreamer, and so am I. But she believes in a higher power, and I don’t. So it’s a struggle.

Every day is a struggle.

But doesn’t that make it worth living? Isn’t it safe to say that if it wasn’t a struggle, if there wasn’t a battle involved, that it might not be worth living?

If I didn’t go through so much personal pain and growth before I met her, would I relish it as much as I do now?

Or would I just blindly throw it away and put a gun in my mouth and take that pain away?

“Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean.”

-David Searls

And that’s the issue. I’m not here to tell you never to think of suicide or death. I’m not here, I’m never here, to tell you that life is worth living and you’re a coward if you seek death instead of life.

I’m here to give you a choice.

Look at all the good you can accomplish, even if that just means staying alive out of spite and writing these blogs and telling people what has happened to you and maybe, just maybe, helping one person deal with their own problems.

Or maybe I’m here to write for myself and work out these problems for myself. Do you really think of me as Gooch and Gooch as me, are we one and the same or are we all one and the same and this is one big love-in?

Maybe I’m just here to say: I have no answers. And that’s the beauty of life. That’s the reason to keep living.

To find the answers.

To figure out a way to be remembered and not completely forgotten once I’m gone.

To figure out a way to spread the gonzo lifestyle of Hunter Thompson and the Or that I so want to be a part of all of your lives.

Or to just be remembered by those who loved me and those I loved and have my life passed down and my fight and my struggle and my choices passed to all of the future generations of my name.

Maybe I just want to be a human and live out this existence, and find a way to gain immortality without actually being a Highlander.

There can be only one, and that is a choice.

Do you choose to live, or choose to die before your time?

Or do you choose to just do whatever feels right when it feels right and make a name for yourself anyway you can?

I choose the or. I choose to live in the or and to do so for the rest of my life here on this plane of existence, even if there isn’t anything above me.

“We can consciously end our life almost anytime we choose. This ability is an endowment, like laughing and blushing, given to no other animal… in any given moment, by not exercising the option of suicide, we are choosing to live.”

-Peter McWilliams


So that's the first 35 parts of my manifesto, if you will. You'll see why in the next few days I'm re-posting blogs here. But I've still got 50 more to go. Yikes. Hope someone is actually reading.


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