Saturday, June 30, 2007

It was one year ago today...

...that I said good bye to Subway, thinking I would never again go back...and we all know how well that worked out.

I wish I'd had a camera with me today on my walk home. I walk through a field that is right behind a car lot. Apparently in an effort to deter birds, the dealership has installed these large plastic or ceramic owls on top of the light posts. Today there was a big black crow sitting on the head of one of the owls. It just struck me as I most go try to sleep. I'm in a lot of pain, and I have to be back to work in 11 hours...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Afraid to Shoot Strangers

I've been an Iron Maiden fan for years, especially their more "progressive" music, so when I found this video on YouTube today, I just had to share it...since I still think that the war in Iraq is absolutely insane, and has been since before we went in...

After all, the people in Iraq (most of them) are just ordinary people like you and me that want nothing more than to live the best life they possibly can. Most of us don't want to be dragged into the insanity that we all now find ourselves in, and yet that's exactly where we are, and sadly, I don't really see anything getting better in the future unless we as people stand up to our governments, and tell them that enough is enough!!!

Enjoy the video...

Silly, silly me...

It was always my understanding that Article 2 of the US Constitution clearly showed that the Vice-President is a member of the Executive Branch. Apparently, because VP Cheney casts the deciding vote in the Senate, he thinks he's not a member of the Executive Branch, and therefore doesn't have to give up information that's required of members of the EB.

And when questioned by the Senate, he's answered that it's inappropriate of the Legislative Branch to ask questions about secrecy of anyone in the Executive Branch.

What? Did I miss something? So, apparently, Cheney is in both branches, and in neither...does that make him like an electron? So, if he's like an electron, does that mean that if we don't measure him, he doesn't exist? Could we possibly ignore him out of existence?

It's ridiculous that this administration thinks it can say and do whatever it wants without any repercussions...but even more ridiculous is the fact that basically nobody is willing to do anything about it. The Dems in Congress just seem to be happy to have some power, and don't want to risk losing it.

Maybe it's time for a revolution...not the violent military type, but maybe it's time we as Americans let our government know that we want change, and we want accountability...

But, there's probably a reality show on TV tonight, so maybe we should just try to ignore him out of existence...but acknowledging that we're ignoring him will probably mean that he continues to exist...

Guess I don't have the answers...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Star Trek meets Monty Python

I've always been a Trekker, and I'm a big Monty Python fan too, so I found this very amusing...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hometown Baghdad

I stumbled across this interesting documentary today called "Hometown Baghdad." It's told from the point of view of regular people living in Baghdad. There are quite a few "episodes," and I haven't watched all of them yet, but from what I've seen, they don't take a pro-US or anti-US stance. They're basically just common everyday people like us trying to survive an insane situation.

The other point they're trying to get across is that the people of Iraq are just regular ordinary people like the rest of us. They may have a different culture and different beliefs, but they still have the same passions, loves, and fears as the rest of us. I think too often the government and media in this country tries to portray the people of Iraq as being "different" than us...but let's face it, we're all human, and that's what matters more than anything else!

Click on the title of this entry to watch some of the episodes.

Greg Bear hits The Daily Show

Award winning SF writer Greg Bear was on The Daily Show Thursday night. Although I don't think the audience necessarily "got him," it was interesting listening to him talk about where he thought terrorism was going to come from in the future.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Asimov spam

I'm feeling very cranky today, but rather than posting about my job, or my ribs, or the heat, or the chimp in the White House, I figured I'd just mention some of the spam I've been getting lately.

A lot of it has had words like "Trantor" and "Hari Seldon" and "Psychohistory." Is nothing sacred? Now these idiots have to fill my bulk mail folders with lines from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series? That was one of my favorite series ever in science fiction, and now it somehow feels dirty.

Ok, not actually kind of made me laugh the first time I saw it. Do they really think that someone is going to see "Hari Seldon" and decide to open their stupid e-mails?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'm sick of the heat

Today was the third day this week that we've set a record high, and I'm sick of it. I've never liked the heat. I would much rather deal with a foot of snow and sub-freezing temperatures. And it doesn't look like we're going to get a break any time soon. They're calling for above average temps for at least the next week, and we could chase some more records, including the possibility of hitting 100 on Sunday.

It also doesn't help that I walk to and from work...but it sure is burning off this little gut that I've put on.

End of Rant

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Another novel excerpt

If you're interested in reading another excerpt from my novel The Opium of the People, Word Weavers on MySpace currently has a sample from the book, but it will only be posted for a few days. Simply click on the title of this entry to read it...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Star Wars Robot Chicken

I don't know if any of you caught the most recent episode of Robot was a Star Wars edition. George Lucas even appears in it (and it was really him.)

Overall, I wasn't all that impressed with it. Like most Robot Chicken episodes, it has some funny moments, but a lot of it's kind of stupid. If you want to see the episode, you can click on the title of this entry, and it should take you right over...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Atheists are immoral?

This is something that's been floating around the blogosphere quite a bit lately, and it strikes me as being absolutely absurd. The premise behind the idea is that because Atheists don't believe in God, they can't have any idea of what being moral if morality can only come from God. But one God's morality is another's immorality, so who's right?

If you look at the animal kingdom, you will actually see a lot of moral behavior. In general, animals don't kill each other indiscriminately, at least no more than humans do. A wolf will not kill another wolf if it bares its throat, and there is quite a bit of moral behavior among the great apes and the cetaceans. In fact, I think humanity could learn a lot from the bonobos and the way their culture works. I know a lot of people might get upset about me using the word culture in relation to an ape, but I think it's the right word.

It's almost impossible to define "morality," because like I've said, it varies from person to person, but I think most of us would agree that the majority of criminal behavior is immoral, right? Therefore, if Atheists truly are immoral, you should see a much higher percentage of them in American prisons. This, in fact, is not what you see at all. Roughly ten percent of the American population is Atheist or Agnostic, and yet in the American prison systems, the number of Atheists and Agnostics is about one-quarter of one percent...significantly lower than what would be expected if Atheists were truly immoral.

This idea of immoral Atheists so permeates American culture that in a recent poll, people put Atheism as the one thing that would make them most likely to not vote for a presidential candidate. Gender, race, and even sexual orientation were not seen as bad as being an Atheist.

This argument, however, will fall on deaf ears among the more radical religious people because fact does not matter to them...only what they believe on faith...

Friday, June 15, 2007

To script or not to script, that is the question

During my freedom from a real job, I wrote a novel based off of my short story A Problem in Translation. That manuscript is currently wandering around New York trying to find a home...I wish it well.

After finishing it, I realized how much I really enjoyed the story, and I decided I would start working on a script based off of the book. I was plugging along nicely, and then took a break from it in February. During that time, I watched several SF movies, and came to a rather dismal conclusion. The script I'm working on is paced much like 2001: A Space Odyssey, which not surprisingly, is one of my favorite movies. However, the current movie crowd doesn't seem to understand 2001. Instead, they want dramatic special effects with ships blazing across the screens and explosions, lots and lots of explosions. There are only a few space battles in my book, and they're very brief. Expanding them wouldn't make sense to the story, since the interaction of characters is much more important. Yeah, can you imagine Hollywood picking up something like that?

Still, the half finished script is sitting here on my desk, and I have to admit that I'm considering finishing it...although it might make more sense to start on another book...which I probably have a better chance of selling.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lil Bush

Comedy Central has a new cartoon called "Lil Bush." In the show, Dubya is eight, I think, and he hangs out with his little friends Lil Rummy, Lil Chenny, and Lil Condy. I have to admit that when I first heard they were doing this show, I really started looking forward to it. I thought it was a great idea with a lot of potential.

Last night was the first episode, and I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed. A lot of the humor was almost South Parkish, but it did have it's moments. Lil Jeb is portrayed as a complete moron, which I guess is pretty appropriate. There was a scene where Lil Bush was beating Lil Jeb with a crowbar, and there mom tells him to stop it because he might need Jeb to fix an election for him in the future. There was also a great scene with Lil Bush trying to figure out how to use a dictionary, and screwing up the pronunciation of every word...classic.

Most of the show was just dumb humor...still, I'll give it a chance. Based on the pilots of the shows I used to watch (Star Trek, Babylon 5, Northern Exposure), I might never have enjoyed those shows...but eventually I did.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Still alive

Nothing much to report here. I'm off today, so I'm basically spending the day icing the ribs hoping they get doesn't seem to be working. I'm beginning to think that the reality is that I'm going to have to find a desk job of some kind, which will probably mean customer service...not exactly my first choice for a job, Subway is actually better, but my health has to take precedence over everything...

No writing news to's been kind of quiet on that front since I've gone back to work...but I'll learn how to budget my time again one of these days...

Monday, June 04, 2007


Just before my freshman year of high school, I had reconstructive chest surgery to correct a problem I'd had since birth. Basically, the cartilage that connected the ribs to the sternum continued to grow, pushing the sternum so deep into my chest that when I took a deep breath, my sternum would rub against my spine. The doctors had said it was one of, if not the worst case they'd ever seen...but like the Six Million Dollar Man, they rebuilt me.

Now that I'm getting older, the surgery is beginning to break down, and as things move around in my chest, the pressure on the ribs causes stress fractures. If you've ever had a stress fracture, you know how painful they are. So, today was the first day at Subway, and all the movement has caused severe fracturing in the lower left rib. So severe in fact, that when I got home from work, I laid on my couch for about an hour just trying not to move...because as long as I didn't move or breathe, I wasn't in too bad of pain.

I'm generally not a wimp when it comes to pain. I have a fairly high pain fact, I stopped requesting pain medication 48 hours after they'd rebuilt my chest...and that was a five hour surgery.

I'm hoping that this is just something my body needs to adjust to, but if it's not, then I'm certainly not going to be able to do my job. I'm of no use to anyone if I'm doubled over in pain half the time. So, I may be forced into getting some kind of desk job, doing telemarketing or something...

More than anything, I just wish all the ibuprofen would kick in, because I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight with as much pain as I'm in, and I have to be back at work at 5 am again...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Back to the slave mines

Tomorrow it's back to work for me. The first couple of weeks will probably be a hard adjustment for me, as I try to get used to not being the person in charge, and as I try to adjust to being on my feet for 8 or 9 hours a day, and as I try to squeeze all of my "fun" work into the time allowed by my "real" work. As a result, my posting here might drop off for a bit, but I'll get it back quickly...unless of course you guys want to hear me saying over and over again, "I can't believe I have to do something that doesn't make any difference in the world."

Didn't think so...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Let There Be...

This is something I wrote many years ago. It's not really a's more of a satire. I had a couple of comedic zines interested in it, but no one seemed to be willing to take the chance. Maybe it was because not all of the words are mine, and I freely admit that. Someone else wrote most of this long ago, but it wasn't the "person" most people give credit to.

I finally stopped submitting it, because I knew it would never see publication, but I've now decided it should be out there so that everyone can see just how big of a smart ass I really am!

By J Alan Erwine

In the beginning, God created heaven and Earth.
And the Earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light.
God looked upon the light and said, “Not bad. The photon thing; both particle and wave, pretty clever.” And God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. Thus was the first day.
And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters above from the waters below; and it was so.
And God called the firmament heaven. Pausing, God shook his head. “Let it be called Heaven. The capital letter made it good. “Not bad,” He said, “but I feel like something’s missing. Oh well. I’ll work on that tomorrow.” And thus was the second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under Heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God shook his head disapprovingly before he smiled. “Let the land be in several places,” He said, “but let it appear as if it was once all in one place. This I will call Continental Drift.”
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of waters he called seas. “Not bad,” He said, “but any deity could do this.”
Then God said, “Let the Earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the Earth.” It was so, and God thought it was good, but still found his world lacking. God then said, “Let the world bring forth plants and fungi to tempt any creations yet to come.” And God saw it was good. “My creations must be tempted away from me in order to prove their love of me,” God’s deep booming voice echoed across the vast emptiness of the cosmos. Thus was the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of Heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. And let them give light upon the Earth.” And it was so.
And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; He made the stars also. God then paused and shook his head. “They have form, but do they need substance?” He asked. There was another pause before he realized he was the only being in the universe. The Supreme Being shook his head again and sighed. “I’ll give them the appearance of substance for now. They can become real later if they must. They’re mine to do with as I please.” God knew it was good, besides, no one expected a deity to be perfect on his first attempt. This would have to be enough for now. Thus was the fourth day.
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the Earth in the open firmament of Heaven.”
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind; and God saw that it was good, but not good enough. He paused in thought, but creating great beasts was tiring work. He could not conceive of what else his world needed. Thus was the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the Earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the Earth after his kind; and it was so. God saw that this was good, but still not good enough. “Let there be bones of creatures that never lived, and let those bones be buried deep beneath the Earth.” He didn’t know why he created the bones of creatures that never existed. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.
God looked down on the world and realized He hadn’t accomplished what He’d set out to do. He stared upon all the creatures of the Earth and realized what was missing. And God said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the seas, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the Earth. Let him be a god in his own right.”
So God created man in His own image, and God blessed them. “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the Earth and subdue it: and have dominion over everything. Behold, I have given you all of this.”
And God looked around in His omnipotent and omnitient way, seeking to see the futures of His creations. He shook His head after a moment of contemplation and then uttered one word…”Oops!” He then disappeared so that He might try again somewhere and somewhen else.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Battlestar Galactica

It's been announced that next season will be the last for the new Battlestar Galactica. I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing...mostly because I've never been able to decide if I really like the show. I'll watch several episodes, and it gets so dreadfully melodramatic that I decide I'm done. How many times can we watch them try to turn up the emotion to such a high level that it almost becomes laughable?

That's when I decide that I'll watch one more episode, and if it doesn't get better, I'm done. That episode always blows me away. I wish there was more consistency from the writers. Let's just have good plot and stop trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator of the television audience.

Of course, when the fourth season begins, you can bet that I'll be there to watch it, and considering how much time I've invested (wasted) on this series, I'll probably watch all 22 episodes...but it better be damn good!