Friday, December 31, 2010

Tideland - To the point movie review

Jeff Bridges dies and gets stuffed. A train blows up.
4/5 doll heads

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Star Wars IV A New Hope - To the point movie review

Luke Skywalker whines about doing his chores then blows up a space station, killing thousands of innocent civil employees. Alec Guinness evaporates.
4/5 light sabers

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fired! - To the point movie review

A self absorbed actress tells unemployed people about that one time when Wood Allen fired her.
2/5 pink slips

After.Life - To the point movie review

An oft naked Christina Ricci dies in a car crash. Then, mortician Liam Neeson apparently kills her. The I'm-a-Mac guy is in it, too.
4/5 doses of hydronium bromide

The Living Wake - To the point movie review

A "dapper dan" sort of hobo with no social awareness plans his own wake. Eddie Pepitone throws lunch meat at him.
3/5 slices of ham

Date Night - To the point movie review

Tina Fey and Steve Carell are mistaken for criminals. Zany antics ensue.
4/5 pratfalls

Rough Magic - To the point movie review

The plastic actress Bridget Fonda does some card tricks then turns Paul Rodriguez into a sausage.
3/5 talking dogs

Run, Fat Boy, Run - To the point movie review

Simon Pegg gets in shape and runs a marathon.
4/5 blisters

The Road - To the point movie review

Viggo Mortensen protects a kid for a while then dies.
2/5 dead trees

Saturday, December 18, 2010

When I open my brewery: Christmas beer edition

This is something I spend a lot of time speculating. Not that I have any serious plans, I just like to dream.

So, here's my latest idea: One year my Christmas beers will be named for Santa's reindeer line up. The deer come in pairs - Dasher + Dancer, Donner + Blitzen, Comet + Cupid, and so on - except for Rudolph. My beers will be based on this idea of pairs so, for instance, the Donner beer would be an old ale and the Blizten beer would be the same beer except also aged on oak. Get it? Each pair will be a classic style for the first name and some enhanced version of that same style for the second name.

Of course this leaves Rudolph standing alone. That beer would be the kinda typical over-the-top holiday beer with spices and fruit and such.

Sounds good, right?

Friday, December 17, 2010

'tis the season

Merry Christmas all you rich and privileged out there!

And fuck you, you working class folk who'll be paying for this for decades to come. You deserve to be bent over the table and raped in the ass because you didn't have what it takes to become absurdly wealthy and corrupt.

...and to all a good night...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sick of being polite

One might not realize it in reading some of the older posts on this blog but, I am really a diminishing guy when it comes to discussing politics. Typically the extent of my conversation is to only ask for clarification from someone who has just spouted something political out of their mouth. Or, more commonly, to say nothing at all. My thinking has been that nothing I will say will convince those who disagree with me of my views and there's no point in going 'round with someone of like mind. In both cases, I have to wonder what's the point?

Well, one reason to reply is sanity. Being liberal and progressive, I tend to look for a better way, a smarter way for my nation. Conservatives do what they've always done, look for any reason to cling to the past. Another aspect of the current batch of conservatives that we have in the US today is that they are willfully ignorant. In the face of contradictory facts, they refuse to reconsider their conclusions.

Take the birthers. For years these delusional people have clung to the idea that Obama is an illegitimate president because he was not born in the US. Initially, this was a legitimate question to pursue. Obama makes not secret of the fact that his father was Kenyan and he spent some of his schoolboy years overseas. So, a check into the state's records to see if he was, in fact, born in the US was something worth looking into. Unfortunately - or fortunately if you are someone who wants to willfully cling to the appearance of truth that a myth can produce - the state of Hawaii destroyed their paper birth certificates some years back. The government went to an entirely electronic method of keeping those records. So, the "original" birth certificate of Barack Obama isn't available. Nevermind that legal proof exists in the form of those electronic state's records. Also, nevermind that the state repeatedly and opening provided those records as part of the normal course of business to anyone that requested it. That is it did until the requests started coming so fast and frequently that the office couldn't keep up, let alone take care of any other business. So, in the face of undeniable evidence, these birthers like flat-earth believers of moon-landing conspiracy theorists, cling to the idea that Obama is an illegitimate president.

So what, right? There are crazies at the fringe of every party or movement, isn't there? Yes, there is but, what sets apart today's conservative movement is that the birther belief, like a stalwart religion, infects right to the core. Where other fringe beliefs stay on the fringes, the conservative party embraces them. Members of the movement, from nationally syndicated TV and radio personalities to elected officials at every level from local mayors to members of both houses, openly and often bring up the question of the president's legitimacy based on the birther myth. In spite of the fact that contrary evidence exists and they have undoubtedly been presented with it, they willfully cling to this ignorance.

Bringing up the idea that the problems that plague us exist in both parties presents another aspect of the current political debate that drives me up the wall. The two party system that has grown up in the US gives us the idea, perhaps even compels us to search for a sense of balance. Both parties are corrupt. Voting is a choice of the lesser of two evils. There is no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. This false equivalence creates an easy excuse for lazy political awareness. If there is no real difference between the parties, would possible reason would one have to be engaged in the debate.

I will admit that the two parties begin with very similar cores. The two modern political parties in the US are corporatist and are competing for power. This is the money in elections issue. Politicians on both sides have to kiss corporate ass in order to get reelected. But, beyond that horrible truth, the parties are very different. Republican politicians, once they reach a point of power do nothing to help the collective lives of their constituents. Civil rights and the quality of life simply don't come up on their radar screens. They have grand, libertarian-light theories about creating a laissez-faire atmosphere for big business that will eventually create jobs.

This creates a party where it is okay, even comfortable to be racist, homophobic. It creates an atmosphere that allows hate. It doesn't matter if one group or another suffers because this doesn't affect the lives of the corporations. And, creating divisions based on hate and differences is a great way to drive votes during elections. If I can scare you about the horde of Mexicans coming to take our jobs and marry our daughters, then you will vote for me when I promise to protect you from that horde.

So, what does all of this have to do with my sanity? I can't not speak up any more. It has nothing to do with saving the nation or anything grand like that. I hope for these things but, they are really out of my control. It is about the individuals in my life who choose this willful ignorance and align themselves with an organization that demonstrably has the opposite of their best wishes at heart.

I must have an outlet. I can no longer keep quiet in the interest of politeness.

I realize that this is kind of lame to have gone on so in defense of bickering politics online but, it is a big deal to me. Yesterday, after getting three separate entries in the Top News feed on my facebook page that were clear examples of this willful igornace, I kind of lost my mind. I deleted my freindships with the posters, one of whom is one of my oldest real-life friends. Then I thought to myself, fuck this, I'm not going to put up with this shit anymore. Then I posted this:

Feeling a little pissy tonight. Borrowed from my fb friend and colleague Danilo: The Republican Party and their Tea Party pals are racist, homophobic hatemongers. Anyone who remotely disagrees with this basic statement of fact should immediately unfriend me.

Danilo posted this on his page a couple of months ago and I remember admiring him and wishing that I had his courage. I wholeheartedly agree with this, as harsh as it might sound. But, I was intimidated to post it, or even a watered down version of it on my wall, for fear of offending.

Disagree? Try this. Name one piece of legislation introduced by a Republican since 2000 that specifically, not theoretically, improved the lives of individual Americans. Or, name one piece of legislation that came out of the right that sought to protect the civil rights of any group. This time frame gives you the period of greatest Republican power in recent memory. During this period Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, the White House and even the Supreme Court so if they were really interested in doing anything these things, this is when they would have done it.

(Here's a related exercise that might strike closer to home for conservatives. What's your pet issue? What's that one thing that, above everything else, keeps you in or at least aligned with the Republican party? Is it abortion? Is it gun rights? Is it fiscal conservatism? Okay, then, name one piece of legislation presented by the party during that time that sought to move things in a direction you'd like to see them go on that issue. You can't. And this was the period during which your party had the greatest power. Still believe that they have your interests at heart?)

I'm done with not trying to offend. Why should conservatives get to shout their made-up facts from the mountain tops and I don't. I will begin, now, calling lies lies. I don't really believe that I can make any real change by having a few arguments. But, at least I won't have to swallow all that horse-shit anymore.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sometimes...

Sometimes the support that I receive from my friends is overwhelming. Thanks to everyone who wishes me well. (And fuck all of you all that don't!)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Because it just wouldn't be fair otherwise...

Proach (me): http://desstories.blogspot.com
RavenCorinnCarluk:http://ravencorinncarluk.blogspot.com
AuburnAssassin: http://clairegillian.wordpress.com
DavidZahir: http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/
xcomplex: http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/
Frodo: http://annvevera.blogspot.com/
FreshHell: http://freshhell.wordpress.com
Aimeelaine: http://www.aimeelaine.com/writing/blog/
Anarchicq: http://www.anarchicq.com/
*RomanceWriter*:http://staceyespino.blogspot.com
Forbidden Snowflake: http://www.alleslinks.com/
razibahmed: http://www.southasiablog.com/
CScottMorris: http://cscottmorrisbooks.com/
Aheila: http://thewriteaholicblog.wordpress.com/
LadyMage: http://www.katherinegilraine.com
leah Raeder: http://words.leahraeder.com/

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This is it.

Welcome to my second contribution to the Absolute Writes monthly blog chain. Once you're finished with my entry, please check out the links on either side of me - *RomanceWriter* and laffarsmith.

This month's topic is growing up. My first impulse is to make the forcedly lighthearted declaration that I will never grow up. I'm just to wacky, just having to much fun! Of course, that's not really true. Anyone trying to sell that is already grown up and trying desperately to cling to some notion of childishness. Someone who will never grow up wouldn't have considered the topic.

I am grown up, aren't I? So are most of us. And I think that the most surprising thing about it is that there's not more to it. This is it. I expected to be given a key or realized some truth at some point. I expected a bright line to appear somewhere in life that, in the crossing, would have made me a grown up. I mean, after the life initiation of puberty, we deserve something like that don't we?

Nothing happens. And it doesn't happen so gradually that you don't even notice it not happening. None of the traditional signposts of life are what you expect. You graduate high school but the next day your mom is still telling you to clean your room. You turn eighteen and now have the ability to vote with the other adults. Statistically, you probably won't. If you do, nothing changes when you turn in your ballot. You turn twenty-one and nothing much happens except some friends might take you out drinking. You graduate college but you're still just a kid looking for a job.

At some point, years later - almost always a moment that's only remarkable for its insignificance - you look around and realize that you are grown up. When that moment arrived for me, I was first a little amused then just pissed off. How could this be it? Grown ups know things. They know how to do stuff and how to get stuff done. They have opinions that should be respected. They run companies, they are people's bosses, they serve in public office.

But I shouldn't be one of them. I didn't know any more than I used to. My opinions weren't worth any more than before. I didn't have any employees. I never even got a freaking key.

The Whole Chain:
aimeelaine - www.aimeelaine.com/writing/blog
AuburnAssassin - http://clairegillian.wordpress.com/
Collectonian - http://collectonian.livejournal.com/
DavidZahir - http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/
FreshHell - http://freshhell.wordpress.com/
Simran - http://theglutenfreefoodblog.blogspot.com/
Proach - http://everythinghistorical.wordpress.com/
*RomanceWriter* - http://www.staceyespino.blogspot.com/
Breddings - http://breddings.blogspot.com/
laffarsmith - http://www.writersroundabout.com/

Monday, March 01, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I've Gotta Write About What?

This is my first month to participate in the blog chain at Absolute Write. Check out I do it all for love and Writing about Love to keep the chain going. I'm glad to be a part of it; should be a healthy exercise. But did they have to choose love as the topic? For fuck's sake!

I've been furiously scribbling my thoughts and feelings since elementary school. My English teachers loved me - although they were continually confused by my love of writing and my casual relationship with grammar - and my gym teachers hated me. The feeling was usually mutual.

I'm a stereotypical Midwesterner. My protestant, tea totaling parents raised me to believe that we should think about our feelings as little as possible and to talk about them never. I've held true to this system as much as possible. It really helps me avoid that oogie feeling.

And, in a lot of ways, I'm a stereotypical dude. I mean, when it came down to finally picking a genre in which to write I wound up in nonfiction writing about beer. I wouldn't say that I chose it - I actually kind of fell backwards into it - but I've been incredibly happy doing it and wouldn't trade places with anyone, except maybe a beer writer who makes more money that I do.

So, my point is, am I not that last person in the world to write about love?

Clearly. We're already six paragraphs in and I still haven't even come close to the topic at hand.

I don't write about love. I tried it a few times in short stories and briefly in the novel that is languishing on my hard drive. And I wrote plenty about it back in my teenage years before I knew what the hell I was talking about. It's difficult to write about. The feelings are simultaneously so common and so extraordinary that to capture them one is left in that horrible place between silly cliché and absurd metaphor.

I am in love. I met my wife and partner in college and we've been very happy together since. This is our sixteenth year together although we have only been married a little over five years.

This is how all that happened. Celeste - we'll call her that since it's her name - was fed up with her employer constantly raising her health insurance costs. So, she dropped it. She had told me that morning that she would do it if her cost went up x$. When it was announced that it would, she emailed me with the news.

I went to my HR person and asked if I could put Celeste on my insurance. Even though everyone at work knew and liked Celeste -- she's the likable one of the two of us -- the answer was no. Corporate didn't recognize our arrangement. So, I replied to Celeste's email with, "well, I guess we'll have to get married."

I called the marriage license people for our county. $55 and three days later, we were married on our lunch break. Her adult son and my parents attended the 5 minute ceremony at the court house and joined us for Chinese buffet before we had to get back to work.

Celeste loves this story. She loves to tell it. She loves everything about it: the emailed proposal, the lunch break wedding, the Chinese buffet honeymoon. Can you think of a more perfect woman for a dude who writes about beer for a living and gets that oogie feeling whenever emotions are brought up?

So, I can't write about love. But, I sure know it when I've got it.

Other Lovely February Bloggers
Aimeelaine - www.aimeelaine.com/writing/blog
Charlotte49ers - http://www.amandaplavich.com
AuburnAssassin - http://clairegillian.wordpress.com/
Breddings - http://boozingear.com/blog
*RomanceWriter* - http://staceyespino.blogspot.com/
Claire Crossdale - http://theromanticqueryletter.blogpost.com
Collectonian - http://collectonian.livejournal.com
FreshHell - http://freshhell.wordpress.com
David Zahir - http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/
Harri3tspy - http://spynotes.wordpress.com
Sneaky Devil - http://sneaks-myfantasylife.blogspot.com/
Frodo - http://annvevera.blogspot.com/
Upsidedowngrl - http://noellenolansblog.blogspot.com/