Trying to leave...

... but this guy wont let us. Well, him and the snow and ice buildup. I dont know his name, so i call him Elrod the De-icer.


Analog blogging

Sorry for the few day delay in posts... Jackson, WY isnt exactly the most connected town on the tubes. But a lot of you (and I do mean a LOT... like three times more than last time) will be getting your analog blog posts (aka postcards) in the mail soon. Well, you Americans anyway... The postal people say that international postcards can take a while.

3 more days in Wyoming, then off to Nashville, then Lexington, then a bunch more bouncing around before I finally get back home. And I'm almost done with the book... Crazy times.


Want a cheesy postcard from Joe?

This was popular last time so I figured I'd do it again this year.

If you would like a postcard from me from Jackson Hole, WY, email me your address before midnight on Friday Feb. 20. Im mailing them Saturday Morning. Woot!


I feel like I'm about to go fight some Cylons

The past 2 days at Jackson Hole have been utterly fantastic. We've gotten about a foot and a half of new snow since we arrived, and for the first time in at least 7 years, we have no beginners on the trip - just me, Mike and Andrea.

So, we've been trying some more intense stuff... Steeper faces, going off rocks and through denser trees, etc. So I thought I'd get a helmet. What do you think?

And also, there'll be a REAL blog post at some point in the near future. For now, I'm purposely letting my brain go to mush and staying off the net. Which is why I must leave you right this seco


The yearly Valentine's Day rant

Every year, I rant about Valentine's Day being a ridiculous "holiday" where men buy cocoa-flavored objects and jewelry to keep up with the party line that these things on this day mean you love someone. This year, I decided to just talk a little bit about what I see love as.

I am a very happily married man of six years (seven in June).

We're happily married because we truly enjoy being with one another every single day of the year. Every day is a special day in our relationship. Just last night, we had pizza and watched Battlestar Galactica DVDs all night - something that means a lot to me, because my wife is anything BUT a geek. But she gave the show a try because she knew I'd enjoy watching it with her. It might as well have been Christmas.

The same goes with CSI on my end - not something I'd have ever picked up on my own (and used to make fun of), but she loves it, so I watch it with her. It's a special event for us.... It just so happens, that special event takes place whenever a CSI rerun is on.

We buy each other gifts whenever we find smething that we think the other one would love - sometimes, obvious gifts, and sometimes risks that end up being far from a bullseye... But the thought counts. I bought my wife a pair of binoculars during a grocery trip to Sam's Club the other day. She's not a hunter, never had an interest in spying... But her favorite spot on the planet is our back porch in the spring. She has bird and squirrel feeders all around the back yard because she loves watching the animals. So, I got her a pair of binoculars so she could watch them closer.

She loved them.

Today, on Valentine's Day, we'll spend the day together doing a CPR class for certification, then go hang out with our nephews. When we get home, we'll watch a little more Battlestar Galactica and gasp at all the dramatic moments and laugh at the silly parts and just plain enjoy being together. Just like every night.

Love takes work - HARD work - three hundred sixty five days a year. You have to work at it. That's the secret. You make the choice that you're going to sacrifice whatever it is going on at the moment in order to be with this person you love, because that makes them happy - and they do the exact same thing for you just as often as you do it for them. And it's not really an effort. You just do it.


My Take on the Kindle / Audiobook thing

I've been asked a bunch lately what my take on the whole Audio Rights vs. Amazon Kindle "read aloud" debate would be. I have no dog in this fight (currently) because my first book is published under Creative Commons, and you can do very well whatever the hell you want with it. You can photocopy the thing and give it out for free if you want, and that's the point. But with the new book coming out through Penguin, with an agent and contracts and whatever... I suppose at some point, I'll have to take a stand one way or another. SO.

My take, simply:

From a legal standpoint, there is an argument here. From a "licensing" standpoint, you have rights: publishing, audio, video, performance, etc. Each of those rights have a pricetag. You negotiate on those rights when you sell your book. If you establish that a publisher has audio rights to your book, they get to be the ones who do the audio for your book. If you establish that a publisher has performance rights for your book, they get to be the ones who control performance of your book. The argument is that the Kindle reads aloud (audio) and performs (performance) your book without said rights being paid for through royalties or license agreement.

From a logistics standpoint, any author who allows that argument to stand for even half a second is an asshole. Not wrong, per se... Just an asshole. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation (whom, full disclosure dictates I state, I support financially) noted, reading a book aloud to your kid at night constitutes an audio performance as well - should you be sued for reading a bedtime story?

Basically we're at yet another great crossroad, where the intention of standing laws established long ago has been completely invalidated by current technology. Like music, video, tv, movies, books have finally reached a point where the freedom technology gives them to prosper, grow and earn more awareness with new customers actually infringes on laws designed to protect them.

As I've stated numerous times before: any artist - not "creator in it for the sales", but ARTIST - couldn't possibly care less who's giving who their work, so long as they get the credit and earn a new reader / listener / viewer.


A whole bunch of random stuff about the times

Sometimes, I want to change my relationship status on Facebook to "It's Complicated" just to see what people would say.

* * *

I know more names of people from my high school through Facebook in 2009 than when I was actually IN high school in 1995.

* * *

I was in high school in 1995. That thought is somewhat staggering, but not nearly as staggering as the thought that it's already 2009.

* * *

I think the only people who mind getting older are the ones who were "cool" when they were younger, so they see that as the prime of their life. They come around teens and young adults when they are in their 30's and they're seen as "old" and they can't handle that they don't fit in with a peer group they identified as the pinnacle of their emotional development.

* * *

When I was younger, all I wanted to be was a writer. I went down career paths that led me through technology and development, and all day long I daydreamed about writing. Little did I know, those 15 years spent learning to write code would actually enable me to write stories in 2009. Just goes to show, all paths lead where you want them to lead eventually.

* * *

I started my first book in 2002, and released it in 2005. I started my 2nd book in 2006, and am releasing it in 2009. When I think it takes 3 years to write a book, I shake my head and wonder how the hell that could be... Then I go look at my website and see I've actually written about 10 books worth of material in those six years. And again, I shake my head, because it's a sure bet none of the rest of that stuff will ever see print. But hey, it's out there.

* * *

I wake up every morning wondering when Penguin is going to figure out they've signed up a total hack who has no idea how to actually write. Then I realize that, even when they do, they can't get out of the contract, and I go back to sleep until noon cause that's what "writers" do. And I'm a "writer" now.

* * *

We have a pool going on exactly when Digg is going to wish they'd pulled a MySpace and sold out before everyone figures out they're just a haven for bots and marketing drones. I have my money on this June.

* * *

How is it that I'm in the best shape of my life at 32 -- I can bench press a Volkswagen and run 5 miles in 45 mins -- and yet I'm still nowhere near "slim"? What exactly does it take to look like the dudes in the WWE (besides steroids)?

* * *

Signs of the times: in 1999, I had a little over 10,000 CDs and 3000 LPs. I didn't have enough shelf space or storage for all of them, so I had to put a lot of the cases in the attic and go up whenever I wanted to swap out what was on my shelf. In 2009, I have somewhere around 400gb of music. I don't have enough storage on my iPod for all of it, and so I have to leave most of it on my server and go swap out music whenever I want to listen to different stuff. The moral? Technology always improves, but logistics are logistics. Also, I spent WAY TOO MUCH of my income from the 90's on CDs.

* * *

I've stopped writing in my paper journal. I do all of my writing on this thing or Mentally Incontinent. I've noticed two things: a) if you take the sum total of my writing over a given period, the stuff I've generated since 2008 is more positive than any other point in my history, and b) I speak my mind to people a LOT more, since I'm not internalizing conflict and channeling it to paper.

* * *

My truck is a 2004. The interior has more in common with my father's 1991 F-150 than a 2008 model. It blows my mind that in 5 short years, we've gone from CD players and a radio to GPS, Sattelite radio, MP3 players, bluetooth and OnStar as standard loadout on vehicles. Makes me want a new car.

* * *

2009 is the year that the Vatican finally endorses the fact that species evolve. It would seem to me that, for the first time since Copernicus was spared the death sentence, religion might be evolving as well.


"I got a mortgage I couldn't afford and it's ALL YOUR FAULT"

This story on NBCNewYork.com about at-risk homeowners on the brink of foreclosure storming the wealthy neighborhoods that house mortgage company CEO's is one of those that make you scratch your head.

On the one hand, you're probably like me in that you're middle class, you work for your wages, and you hate the fatcat CEO's raking in our tax dollars as bonuses for literally destroying our economy. So you probably would love nothing more than to take a hammer to a broomstick and get it all splintery, bend the fatcats over, and then shove it exactly where you were hoping I wouldn't suggest you'd shove it.

On the other... No one held a gun to these poor stupid people and made them take a mortgage they couldn't afford.

Now, I'm a HUGE advocate for lendee's rights - when someone blatantly targets races or genders or youth and offers them credit they can't afford by LYING about the terms and never disclosing the massive balloon payments that come with such a loan, that's loan sharking, and that's wrong. Evil. Terrible. The people who do this should be hanged without trial.

But mortgages don't work like that. They just don't. A mortgage is usually over one hundred thousand dollars. It's usually 30 years of liability. And it ALWAYS comes with paperwork explaining just what the fuck that all means. And when you get greedy and live outside your means, that doesn't make you a bad person - it just makes you stupid as hell. And stupid people deserve what they get. Of course, there are people who have been laid off and are at risk, or people whose entire businesses dried up and are at risk... And those people I feel for, because my mother was one of those when I was a child. It's a hard fucking life, and not only wouldn't I wish it on anyone, but I will actively help those who I know who are facing that situation.

But this article doesn't focus on those folks. It focuses on the 50-year-ARM crowd who, in all liklihood, bought a home they couldn't afford because they figured that it could do nothing but appreciate in value, and they could "flip this house" in 2 years and 11 months - one month shy of the balloon mortgage inflating.

Like I said, I hate the CEOs and bank men who are liberally stealing from our tax dollars and make a habit of raping the middle class to keep themselves upper class... But this? This is not a fight I support. You dumbasses who took out mortgages you couldn't afford deserve what you get.


Military Presses for CHRIST!

I remember very clearly a traveling ministry that came to speak at my church when I was about 14 years old. They were called "Power Force" and were comprised of about 10 or so bodybuilders, strongmen, and athletes, who all put on a dazzling display of strength and power tricks before a stunned audience.

They would drive nails through wood with their bare hands. They could crush a soda can with just an index finger and thumb. They could rip a phonebook in half. They could bench press six hundred pounds. And all of these things somehow related back to the strength of Christ's love and the empowerment they felt from believing in Jesus... Or something like that. I was 14. I was probably staring at some pretty girl in the pew across from me.

Now, I'm not picking on people who feel empowered to do things through their religion, especially things that are really of no consequence to anyone. They weren't flying airplanes into buildings or bombing abortion clinics - they're just, you know... Bench pressing for Christ. Or something. So mostly, it's harmless... But even at 14, I didn't quite get this. It made no sense to me.

Anyway, I got to thinking about these guys today, so I decided I'd look them up. And if I'm not mistaken, these are they.

I dunno... I just find it so fucking strange that someone would dedicate their lives to bending iron rods into hoops in the name of Jesus. I mean, does this really accomplish anything substantive? Are there people out there who have found the lord through watching a freak pound nails into wood with his bare hands?

Again, I'm not picking on Christianity or Christians... Just these nuts. I'm not quite sure I get it. I don't think I'd get it if these folks were praising Allah through feats of strength, or transcending material desire for Buddah through these acts, or intending to impress Shiva the destroyer or lure Thor and Loki from Asgard... Whatever religion you want to introduce, I'm not sure how ripping a phone book in half really does much in the name of it.

I dunno why this popped into my brain today... It's just been one of those days I guess. I will say, though, that no matter what you think of the Bulging Steroided-Out Muscle Junkies for Christ, their domain name is fucking unwieldy. At the very least, they should get a handle on that thing.


Impotent rage

You ever just want to haul off and hit someone?

Not just anyone, mind you... Someone deserving, like a person who flicks their cigarette butt out of the window on the highway, or the guy who yells at a server in a restaurant just because he can, or that jerkoff in front of you who stopped at a yellow light and wouldn't let you go through because he's a timid fucktard?

And what sucks so much about it is that, even though ALL of us feel this way from time to time (let's be honest - most of the time), if you saw someone toss a cigarette butt on the ground and then a guy behind him just hauled off and slugged him in the head, you'd probably gasp and go "HEY! That's way over the line!" Even though you secretly would be thinking "That said, the fucker DID treat the Earth like his personal ashtray, and while social dogma calls for my outrage, I'm really very glad you did that."

The sad fact is, if you do what all of wish we could do, You'd be the tool. You'd be the prick. And so you just eat the rage and grumble to yourself.

Isn't that a shame? I mean... We all feel like there's some justice needed, and yet we all feel the vice of society clamp down on us once we consider turning thought into deed.

So here's my proposal: Spit on them.

Yep, just a nice wet wad from the back of your throat. Hock it up and spit it right on them.

See, they're jerks. This is a fact. And they deserve something in the way of retribution. And we all secretly deep down know that some sort of bringing-in-line is in order... But none of us can get out of the way of social implication when it comes to actually ACTING on our rage. We can't get it out of our heads that society abhors above all else someone taking matters into their own hands and doling out REAL justice as they see fit.

So this is a bit of a middle ground. This is a way to get right with the overall balance of how things SHOULD be, without tipping the scales completely over and making you the bad guy. Someone litters -- spit. Someone takes too goddamn long at the salad bar picking all the ham out of the pasta salad, leaving only noodles and peas -- spit. Someone talks loudly on a cellphone during a movie -- spit.

Spit on the motherfucker. It's that easy.

And if they get all outraged and start yelling and whatever, you can just tell them "You just violated a social doctrine. You know what you've done is wrong, and you believe you can get away with it because no one in their right mind will take the negative hit to their social standing by hitting you. So, instead of hitting you, I'm dishing out equal justice. You get my spit. And if you break the rules again, I shall spit on you again. And again, until your clothes are soaked and you're awash in my saliva. It'll be like french-kissing me, but with your whole body. So knock off the nonsense."

And if they hit you, they look like pricks. Battle won.


More photos from the worst model ever

My sister sent over some more photos. W00t! Yay, pictures of me!

She had to use the VERY wide angle lens.


AZ, HI, MI, MO, MT, NH, OK, WA Assert Soverignty

I saw this on DailyPaul.com, chased it down, and found a bunch of other blogs that are talking it over.

It's not really mainstream news (yet), but cropping up on blogs across the net is the story of states who are asserting the 10th Amendment (The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people). It could be a lot of smoke, or it could be a whole lot of people finally taking an assertive stance now that the Bush administration has left.

Either way, this is a good thing.

AZ: http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/49leg/1r/bills/hcr2024p.htm
HI: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/07-1372.htm
MI: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(21rmjiv1sl0wvw55yxurwl55))/documents/2009-2010/Journal/House/pdf/2009-HJ-01-22-002.pdf
MO: http://www.house.mo.gov/content.aspx?info=/bills091/bills/HR212.HTM
MT: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billhtml/HB0246.htm
NH: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2009/HCR0006.html
OK: http://www.ok-safe.com/files/documents/1/HJR1089_int.pdf
WA: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?year=2009&bill=4009

I'm going to Handsome Boy Modeling School [pics]

Penguin asked for a photo for the upcoming catalog. I have none that were worthy. My sister is a professional photographer.

The problem solved itself.

Below are some of the shots from the session yesterday. This is the first time I've ever actually taken a photoshoot seriously (well, except for my wedding day). I actually like how these turned out.



(From Mike, who has a habit of making my phone chirp with ridiculous pictures at 4:ooAM when I'm trying to sleep, which causes me to laugh and ruins any chances of slumber)


Christian Bale going ballistic... And I completely sympathise

Tons of people are going apeshit over this supposed Christian Bale freakout. Apparently, his Director of Photography walked across a scene during filming, interrupting the entire shoot. And if his recording is accurate, it's the 2nd time it happened.

Now yeah, he says the naughty f-word a whole bunch, and threatens to kick ass... And yeah, if you've never ever been a part of a shoot of some sort, you'd think "oh, how unprofessional of Christian. He's a wacko lunatic, and he's off his rocker, and he's a jerk, and blah blah blah."

But if this guy is supposedly a pro, and he interrupts a scene like that, it's probably worth every word Christian had to say to him. I've never shot a movie in Hollywood - my biggest setups were about $10,000. And accidents do happen, and you have to reset and start over and toss out the film / video and get everyone back on focus and hope that things go smoothly.

But when it's because someone is just being careless (or worse, purposely fucking around), that frustration you feel now has a target. And there's more than once I've wanted to grab a goon by the neck and throw them through the windshield of a bus. And usually there was no bus around - but such was my anger, I'd seriously contemplate walking the fucker down the block by the neck until I found one, and then hurl him through it.

Whatever it is you do all day - whether serving tables or serving subpoenas or preparing lunches or preparing for surgery - imagine prepping for hours - HOURS - to get to the point of what it is you are about to do, and someone just mindlessly comes and slaps the food tray out of your hand, or warns your intended subpoena target and they bolt, or spills turpentine in your customers' soup, or sneezes into your patients' open chest cavity... And then, does it AGAIN.

Tell me you wouldn't want to kick the mucous out of their nose.