8.24.2010

Yankees, Southerners, And Feeling Smug For Being Stupid

I sometimes get weird looks or comments from my "Yankee" friends when I discuss things that happen in everyday life here in the suburban south.

For instance, I was discussing with my editor Buck Wolf a story about a woman who had to kill a rattlesnake on her front porch. He felt this was a perfect "Joe Peacock" story, given my predilection to covering out-of-the-ordinary, slice of life events, such as a dog eating $58 dollars, defecating the bills, and having them returned to the owner.

I asked him, "Do you REALLY want me to cover that? It's not really news."  He asked why I felt that way. I explained that I kill between four and eight snakes each summer at my house.

Buck lives in New York. This information disturbed him. "I'm basically starting to think that True Blood is an accurate depiction of everyday life in the South," he quipped. To which I responded, "I can skin a buck and run a trot line." He feels that we Southerners need to file a class-action lawsuit against Toby Keith.

I explained that there's a lot of skills you learn as a kid playing in the woods. I learned to hunt when I was 10 years old, the year my mother married my father. I don't like to hunt, and to date, have successfully bagged only one trophy: the engine block of my father's Ford F-150. But I spent enough time on the range with both a rifle and a bow to not only safely handle them, but use them to bring down an animal if I need to.

This, to me, is normal everyday life for a boy in the South. Most of the guys I know who were born and/or raised here know how to load, unload, clean and handle a 30.06, and almost all of those know how to handle a handgun. The vast majority also know how to properly field dress a deer.

The vast majority of "city folk" I've met with whom I've had this discussion look straight down the barrel of their nose at me when I discuss this. It's as if they're actually feeling superior for not having this knowledge. It's the same attitude that slick-type businessmen who own a Lexus have with the auto mechanic. Now, I'm not saying that Buck in particular feels smug or superior to me, but he -- like most if not every New Yorker I've ever met or talked with -- simply cannot conceive having to know anything about tending to land and killing an animal. And even if they could, why would they? That's what the deli is for.

Now, Buck's a damn good guy and is no slouch when it comes to the outdoors. However, his complete inexperience with typical Southern life reminds me of other people I have met in my life who aren't so worldly. Some of them have outright stated their superiority to those who know how to do things like hunt, fish and work on a car, simply because they have more important things to do and know.

Fuck that.

The concept that someone would feel smug for NOT knowing how to do something drives me absolutely insane. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm absolutely insatiable when it comes to information and knowledge. I actually want to know how to do anything and everything the mechanic knows how to do with my car. I recognize that it takes a lifetime of dedicated pursuit to attain those skills, which is why I never actually went after being a mechanic myself. But I know how to change a tire, change my oil, replace my brakes, troubleshoot the more basic engine issues, etc. Every new car I get, I go down the list and learn how to do each of those things on that vehicle.

The same goes with computers, my mobile phone, cooking, repairing my bicycle... I don't understand why people DON'T want to know how all that stuff works. How can you exist knowing you're dependent on someone to handle the most basic of issues with the stuff you rely on? What, you might get your hands dirty? So what, that's what soap is for.

The concept that mechanical aptitude is for lesser beings is retarded. If anything, most of the "knowledge workers" I know are actually conceptualists with absolutely no basis in reality, because they've never worked with anything physical. I can point to several Information Architects / User Experience "experts" whom I like but don't respect because, time and again, they design interfaces that are completely at odds with how people actually work with an application. A designer who lacks physical experience is pretty damn useless.

I feel the same way about lawmakers who are never on the "wrong" end of the laws they create, marketers who haven't ever once had a conversation -- REAL conversation -- with someone in the "target demographic" they're campaigning to, Sunday afternoon quarterbacks who haven't once felt a chinstrap chafe their bottom lip, and so on. You might possess a conceptual grasp on the mechanics of the thing, but you haven't a clue how it actually works.

And yeah, here in the South, when you tend to your own flower bed, you learn how to trap a snake's head with a stick until you can slice the sucker off with a trowel. You also learn to bury the head before you do anything else, lest you forget and stumble across it three hours later where it clamps down on the blade of your palm. It's either that or you hire it out... And that's pretty stupid, since tending to the flower bed is a lot of fun.

I can patch a sliced finger with super glue, fashion a tourniquet with duct tape, blow the fuel out of the spark line of a flooded lawn mower, sharpen a knife on a whet stone, catch a fish with my homemade tackle and wild bait, and handle myself in a fist fight. I carry a Bic lighter, a Leatherman (well, SOG) and a first aid kit in every bag I own.

I also voted for Obama in the last election, and Libertarian (Harry Brown) in every election prior to that. I hate country music. I hate racists. I read. I write books with subtitles that don't start with "Why The Liberal Elite Are..." I contribute to jQuery plugin libraries, design ad and marketing campaigns for major brands, and can out-argue you about comics, film and anime.

Stereotypes suck. Crave learning, even if it requires getting your hands dirty.

8.23.2010

More Flavor Than WHAT, Exactly?

I was making breakfast burritos this morning when I noticed the following on the package of Mission tortillas we use:



Curious. "More Flavor"? More flavor than what? Their last iteration of tortilla? The competition? Wallpaper paste? What, exactly, are they talking about here? There's nothing comparative in this statement, simply a declaration that, when it comes to flavor, this particular brand has "More." 



Why won't they tell me who or what they're comparing this particular flavor basis against? Are these tortillas spies? What are they hiding? What is their purpose here? Did they secretly infiltrate my pantry?





Why do we even NEED more flavor? What was wrong with the amount of flavor before? I bet these tortillas can't even produce a birth certificate! These are terrirust illegal immigrant tortillas, trying to force their native ways on our meals! They're taking over this fine nation one meal at a time! They have an agenda -- they don't care how much you like the flavor, they want you to have MORE of it! They're instituting tortilla law subversively! They're going to build tortilla temples on our hallowed sites of devastation! The fix is in!



WHAT IS GOING ON??????


******

Update: This, folks, is why I don't write when I'm hungry.

Update 2: My good friend Brad Carter (he of PhoneLosers of America fame) called Mission and got to the bottom of this. Listen (mp3) and laugh!

8.19.2010

Art of Akira at Toonseum -- The Full Exhibit

Finally, I've uploaded the full exhibit from Toonseum to Flickr! Now you can experience some of the pieces I've not shown on the site until now!

This full exhibit will combine with the travelling exhibit at DragonCon to form a massive, 120-140 piece showing of original Akira production art. If you can get to DragonCon, do so!

Can't see the images? Click here

Enjoy!

8.18.2010

Mommy Bloggers: SHUT THE FUCK UP

Dear "Every single mother who thinks that the mere fact that she got knocked up and spawned a dependent entitles her to an audience of people drooling for her every word, even though the only person who has ever successfully turned that into an endeavour worth actually reading once in a while is Heather Armstrong (A.K.A. Dooce) and you are not her":

Shut up. Please. Just get off the net and tend to your child. You're missing a TON of those precious OMG moments you are so keen to blog about.

While you were typing about the coupons you tried to pass off at Fred Meyer for formula that were a week out of date and the cashier was so rude to you, your kid just vomited up a piece of plastic ring from a milk jug that you should be rushing out to have bronzed.

While you espoused your vitrol about Brett Favre earning $12 million dollars a year while your sister the special ed teacher who has dedicated her life to the education of disabled / retarded children, forgetting the fact that NO ONE buys tickets to a special ed class, much less popcorn, soda, hats, jerseys and programs of the event while they're there, your precious one-in-a-million combination of over three trillion sperm and your egg is about to break that Precious Moments cake topper from your wedding to your third husband.

GO. AWAY. Thanks.

Love,

Joe Peacock, on behalf of the whole rest of the internet

8.17.2010

I Drove A Racecar At Laguna Seca And All I Got Was This Stupid Video

So, remember when I was all like OMG I AM DRIVING A RACECAR AT LAGUNA SECA SQUEEEEE!!!! Like a 13 year old girl staring at a bag full of Justin Bieber's shaved pubis? That story finally went live today. And I shot a fun video comparing racing in video games to racing in real life. And I look like a total doof.

The piece and package is about how video games actually have intrinsic value to real-life skills, and how uneducated adults write off the entire genre carte blanche without understanding what the hell they're talking about. So I put my money where my mouth is and take a Mazda 3 around the corkscrew at Laguna Seca at speed... With no formal racing training.

The video is below. Thanks to AOL's craptastic non-user-friendly video player embed which lacks a visual cue indicating it's a video, you don't know that you have to CLICK on the video to start it. But you do now, since I told you.


Can't see the video? Click here


Let me know how much you hate it.

8.16.2010

Yet More Advice On Writing (When Will It Stop??)

My friend Alec pointed me to this article by Charlie Brooker on writing advice. It's written far more cleverly than I could ever hope to write, and ends with one heck of a brilliant point (I'm about to quote the final paragraph of the piece, so if you hate spoilers, tough shit):
To everyone who has ever emailed to ask me for advice on writing, my answer is: get a deadline. That's all you really need. Forget about luck. Don't fret about talent. Just pay someone larger than you to kick your knees until they fold the wrong way if you don't hand in 800 words by five o'clock. You'll be amazed at what comes out.

He's 100% right.

I can't think of a single thing I've ever written that didn't have some threat of physical or emotional pain attached to it before it finally squeezed its way out of my tiny little brain. But I also think this is optimal for me. I don't operate at my "best" until I get out of my own way and let the work actually flow. To completely butcher something Jeff Buckley once said: it's only in the 4th quarter when you're exhausted that the moves you make are pure and from your soul. You're not thinking anymore, you're just acting and reacting, and that's where we determine what we're worth.

I'm always in the 4th quarter. Which is why half the shit I write, say, think or do comes out all weird and desperately needs editing. But it gets out there, dammit.

8.15.2010

A New Thing I'm Doing -- Notes to Self

I realized this morning when writing on my very inspirational whiteboard covered in Photoshop magnets that Jeremy got me that I do this every single day, and have for nearly 15 years. Sometimes, it's not on the whiteboard -- it's in my little notebook, or post-it notes. But I always jot something up for myself.

So I've decided to share them with you guys on a new Tumblr thingy. Enjoy them if you dare.

8.13.2010

Baiting A Scammer

So, I got hit by a scammer yesterday.

I'm sure you've all seen the infamous "Help, I'm stuck in [city] with no money!" hacked email scam. I can't believe enough people still fall for this that it's viable. But it happened to me yesterday, with a reader of mine's email and yahoo account. Below is the email I got:



Subject: Brutal Experience !!!
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2010 20:06:58 +0100
From: Sara XXXXXX


I'm writing this with tears on my eyes due to my present situation ,my
family and i came down here to London,UNITED KINGDOM for a short
vacation and we got mugged at gun point last night at the park of the
hotel where we lodged.All cash,credit cards and cell phones  were
stolen .we've been to the embassy and the Police here but they're not
helping issues at all,our flight leaves today and I'm having problems
settling the hotel bills.

The hotel manager won't let us leave until  the hotel bills is settle
(2,000Euro)now am freaked out.Please reply and let me know if can you
have the money wire to me through Western Union we promise to pay back
as soon as we get back home.

Thanks
Sara.



Almost as soon as I finished reading, I got this IM from her Yahoo account (which, I'm sure by now, has been cancelled and closed). 

3:10:47 PM animefan850: Hello there?
3:11:08 PM joe peacock: hey
3:11:22 PM animefan850: how are you
3:11:26 PM joe peacock: can't complain
3:11:36 PM animefan850: did you got my message?
3:11:38 PM joe peacock: I understand you're holed up in a london hotel with no money
3:11:45 PM animefan850: Yes
3:11:52 PM joe peacock: how'd that happen
3:12:10 PM animefan850: I was mugged at the back of the hotel where i lodge
3:12:13 PM joe peacock: no way!
3:12:19 PM joe peacock: where you lodge? no fucking shit
3:12:21 PM joe peacock: that's fucked up
3:12:30 PM animefan850: thank god i still have my life and Passport
3:12:40 PM joe peacock: yeah no kidding
3:12:52 PM joe peacock: although if you had to lose one or the other, i'd rather lose my life, passports are hard to get
3:12:56 PM animefan850: My flight leaves today and i am have problem to sort out the hotel bills
3:13:02 PM joe peacock: oh man
3:13:09 PM joe peacock: well, how can they hold you there? just go get on the plane
3:13:12 PM joe peacock: is there an armed guard?
3:13:30 PM joe peacock: how much do you owe? I can hook you up.
3:13:32 PM animefan850: I have been to the police they are not 100% supportive
3:13:35 PM joe peacock: i got you
3:13:50 PM animefan850: 2000US
3:13:50 PM joe peacock: okay, i can paypal you right now, i still have your account from the book purchases
3:13:53 PM joe peacock: oh wow
3:13:57 PM joe peacock: okay, i can swing that, one sec
3:14:00 PM joe peacock: brb

At this point, I sign off, then back on after a few minutes to keep him on the hook.


3:16:03 PM animefan850: Hello
3:16:30 PM animefan850: Hello
3:16:46 PM joe peacock: Okay, i sent the money - i hope you get home ok
3:16:46 PM animefan850: I can't access my paypal account right now
3:16:50 PM joe peacock: why not
3:16:53 PM joe peacock: it just took my money
3:16:59 PM animefan850: You can have the money wire to me via western union outlet 
3:16:59 PM joe peacock: i sent you enough to cover fees too
3:17:16 PM joe peacock: when's your flight, i'll pick you up from the airport
3:17:19 PM joe peacock: i'm so sorry this happened to you
3:17:24 PM animefan850: No please
3:17:35 PM animefan850: I have a limited time over here
3:17:42 PM joe peacock: well shit
3:17:51 PM joe peacock: can you refund the paypal payment? 
3:17:52 PM animefan850: You can have the money wired to my name via western union
3:18:09 PM joe peacock: nah, it'll be easier if you just have the hotel call me - i can just give them my amex
3:18:10 PM animefan850: Once i get home i will do that
3:18:25 PM animefan850: the hotel is not allow cards at the moment
3:18:29 PM joe peacock: what? 
3:18:37 PM joe peacock: how do you rack up a 2k hotel bill at a hotel that won't allow cards?
3:18:48 PM joe peacock: no way, you have to reserve the room with a card, you're just messing with me. No hotel takes cash.
3:18:56 PM joe peacock: unless you met to shack up with some dude for an hour, you scamp
3:19:03 PM animefan850: Listen to me Please
3:19:04 PM animefan850: at the moment
3:19:07 PM animefan850: they are not
3:19:10 PM joe peacock: why not.
3:19:12 PM animefan850: okay
3:19:13 PM joe peacock: what did you do
3:19:17 PM joe peacock: did you break the furniture again?
3:19:21 PM joe peacock: seriously girl, you gotta knock that off
3:19:30 PM joe peacock: okay, just refund the paypal thing, i'll pay down this hotel, you can go home
3:19:32 PM joe peacock: when's oyur flight?
3:19:47 PM joe peacock: here, call me okay? 
3:20:09 PM animefan850: In few hours
3:20:24 PM joe peacock: nah, call me now
3:20:27 PM animefan850: Please can you wire me some cash via western union
3:20:28 PM joe peacock: i need to make sure you're okay
3:20:38 PM animefan850: I was hurt on my right arm
3:20:38 PM joe peacock: i don't have a western union account
3:20:44 PM joe peacock: ... uh
3:20:48 PM animefan850: You don't need account to do that
3:20:57 PM joe peacock: really? i thought your right arm was amputated after the accident...
3:20:58 PM animefan850: all you need is my name and present location
3:21:16 PM animefan850: I'm freaked out at the moment
3:21:26 PM joe peacock: if it wasn't, you better give back that trophy for the paralympics in softball!
3:21:34 PM joe peacock: so freaked out you forgot you have no right arm?
3:21:58 PM animefan850: I was hurt serious
3:22:12 PM animefan850: even not my right arm
3:22:18 PM joe peacock: right, in your serious right arm where you seriously had gangreene from that safari, and seriously had it removed :)
3:22:22 PM joe peacock: you're just fucking with me.
3:22:28 PM joe peacock: so where were you hurt then
3:22:41 PM joe peacock: are you serious? is this for real?
3:22:46 PM animefan850: Yes
3:22:46 PM joe peacock: is this jack? this is jack isn't it
3:22:55 PM joe peacock: jack, quit fucking aroudn and put susan on
3:22:55 PM animefan850: Huh?
3:23:09 PM animefan850: this is real please bring me out of this mess
3:23:28 PM joe peacock: fine, okay, if this is really you, what was my nickname for you back in IRC?
3:24:36 PM joe peacock: where exactly are you
3:24:55 PM animefan850: at a local library
3:25:04 PM joe peacock: ...right, which one dumbass
3:25:22 PM animefan850: Huh?
3:25:30 PM animefan850: Dumbass?
3:25:35 PM joe peacock: Dumbass.
3:25:40 PM joe peacock: it's what you call someone when they're fucking stupid.
3:25:54 PM animefan850: Your Father Is Stupid
3:26:00 PM joe peacock: you're right, he is.
3:26:04 PM joe peacock: you should know, you're married to him.
3:26:10 PM animefan850: good you know it
3:26:15 PM animefan850: ahahaha
3:26:16 PM joe peacock: so where are you
3:26:19 PM animefan850: Dickhead
3:26:23 PM joe peacock: mom
3:26:24 PM joe peacock: stop it.
3:26:26 PM joe peacock: where are you
3:27:02 PM joe peacock: MOM
3:29:11 PM joe peacock: well send back the 2k, cause i need it for the medication
3:29:18 PM joe peacock: and tell jack he's a card.
3:31:59 PM joe peacock: are you going to answer?
3:32:00 PM joe peacock: you fucking cunt



Drat. I was just getting warmed up.

8.12.2010

What It's Like To Be (A) Creative

I get asked periodically what it's like to be creative. No seriously, I do, and I'm not making that up just to justify a blog post. Seriously. It just happened this past weekend, in fact, which is why I'm just now getting to writing this on a Thursday.

Anyway, I am going to answer that question by way of not answering it at all and instead bringing up music.

I have this favorite thing ever, and it's anything Nina Simone sings. On the top of the pile o' Simone sits her cover of The Animals's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." The reasons why are more than what's evident in this video:

Can't see the video? Click here



It's because Nina, throughout her entire life, was misunderstood. She was a jazz singer who was very outspoken about the disparity in race equality during her lifetime. She'd sit there and watch as white men filled the clubs she sang at, who would then applaud her performances and praise her talent, then spit on her and deny her service at the counters of the local restaurants the next day.

Can you imagine? And yet, she found her soul and let it shine for us to see. She knew herself, even if no one in the rest of the world did. And that's what being creative, or a creative, is like. Not to belittle her time or her efforts by comparing pouty artsy tantrums with racism and inequality, but it's true.

Daily frustration. No matter what you say or do, it's being twisted one way or another. Someone hears your idea for a screenplay and has a better take on it, despite the fact that their only experience in the field is being a fan of M*A*S*H back in the 80s.

You demo a new website you've labored over for months to a client - one that's not only standards-compliant but also makes great use of newer User Experience conventions, and they want the menu bar to be purple - which will completely destroy the visual layout you've created by establishing purple as a click / action color.

They think your songs would be better with electric guitar instead of acoustic.

They tell you that the entire campaign you've created for a visual identity the past two months is going to be scrapped because the president of the company saw the t-shirt test print and decided it didn't "pop enough." Pop. Enough. He must have gone to art school to learn that phrase, because it certainly doesn't happen in the practical field.

Your book would be better if the main character had a beard. A fucking BEARD. Seriously?

It's frustrating. You know deep in your heart that you've put forward a product or look or sound or identity that will absolutely resonate with the audience, and it must be changed because the second you hand it over, the committee mindset takes over and everyone has to be heard. This is both in corporate environments and in personal life, by the way -- quitting your job to be an artist won't release you from the prison of other peoples' opinions. It just changes how much you lose if you flip them off and say "Fuck you" and take your ball and go home.

And that's certainly a temptation. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't ever once do this. Hell, I'd be lying if I told you I didn't do this more than ten times. But ultimately, you do yourself a disservice when this happens. You lock yourself into your own prison - the one where you're right and they're wrong; the one where you're alone at the end of the day and it gets dark and you don't understand why the hell you're there in the first place. THEY put you there. THEY don't get it. THEY don't value your judgement or time or talent.

They don't. They're not you. They HIRED you. Or asked you to do it, or agreed when you asked them to pass judgement.

Welcome to creativity.

To be truly creative is to be misunderstood, judged, passed-over, ignored, corrected and otherwise completely wrong to everyone you're being creative in front of, because creativity is the act of bringing into the world something new. Maybe not something completely original, but definitely new. A new perspective on things; a new take on how something is done or said or told or sounds. And new scares people.

Embrace that, if you can. Because it's really the only reward you'll get. And if you are able to keep your idea intact and alive through the volley of other peoples' wads of shit they throw like monkeys, you'll see that once it is in place and makes it, the reaction will be one of "Well of course that worked, it was a great idea, etc." And they'll hop right on the bandwagon.

All the while, you'll be preparing to swerve that wagon around the next curve just a little too fast for them to hang on, and they'll fly off and curse your name for not taking it easy and coasting.

And it's ultimately the only way to live, because if you're not being cursed and chastised and derided, you're doing it wrong.

Go be wrong. Create something awesome.

8.11.2010

No, Justin Bieber Getting Hit In The Head With A Water Bottle Is NOT Funny

I've been sent a particular video about thirty times in the last 24 hours.

This particular video depicts tween pop star Justin Bieber getting hit in the head with a water bottle.

Can't see the video? Click here


People think I will like this video, because I rail against hollow vapid popstar whitewash nonsense quite often. I don't. I think it's pretty pathetic that someone would hit a child in the head with a water bottle, especially when he's just trying to address a crowd he is thankful for.

His music? Shit. Utter droll cranked out by the Orlando pop music mill (and yes, I know he was a YouTube sensation early on, but his current success is the exact same manufactured nonsense as every other tween sensation).

Now, what video I do find funny and watch about once a month and crack up in hysterics because they fucking deserved it is Nickelback getting pelted with rocks at a metal festival in Portugal:

Can't see the video? Click here


Nickelback sucks cocks. They are talentless hack adults who are reaping the rewards of appealing to the lowest common denominator, and they're uabashedly proud of it. So yeah, I love seeing Chad Kroeger's head tilt back and left as a rock bounces off of it. It makes me happy.

Double standard, you say? Not even slightly. One's a kid who is enjoying the fruits of a bit of talent, entertaining other kids. The other's a waste of meat who perpetuates horrible music and ruins our culture on purpose just to make money. I wish that I could hit them AND every single one of their fans with rocks. You are all the reason we suck as a society.

And for those of you who were entertained by the Bieber Being Beaned video, ask yourself why. I think you need to know the answer to that question, and soon.

8.10.2010

Where Video Games Are Headed (A.K.A. Exclusive Content Sucks Balls)

I am sick to death of "Exclusive content" for games.

This concept has always irked me - get a special shotgun if you preorder at Gamestop, get exclusive tracks for buying it at Target. But lately, it's gotten absurd, to the point where every single retailer has an exclusive. When I bought Transformers: War For Cybertron, I had to choose which retailer to support based on which exclusive character I wanted to get (for the record, I chose GameStop because of Shockwave).

And now, they're hobbling gameplay unless you preorder a game at a certain retailer by locking off content that's already on the disc you own, unless you put in a special code. A perfect example: Bioshock 2, which had maps and characters on the actual disc you bought the day it came out, but could only be unlocked with a stupid code. And when people introduce hacks around this shit to access the content they already possess, the publisher gets all uppity and cries.

My good friend Jeremy made this image which I feel sums up what's coming for games in the future:




For those who don't know football: there are 2 conferences, the National Conference and American Conference. Jeremy's saying that soon, you'll have to preorder the game somewhere to get access to all the teams in a conference, and others will be locked out - and you'll have to make a decision which conference you want all the teams for, by choosing a retailer.

I think he pretty much nailed it.

I can't wait until publishers quit trying to tell us what we're entertained by and start making good, fun games again. Fuck this shit.

8.09.2010

Death And Such

On a flight from Indy to Atlanta. Did an Akira talk at GenCon, among other things.

One of the things I did was attend a memorial service for a very popular and prolific Fark user, The NaSkAr (Nasser). That was surreal, but also VERY real. I never met the guy. I didn't know him outside of a few posts on Fark. And yet, I sat there and watched more than 200 people fill the banquet hall of a public center and pay tribute to him.  I won't get too deep into what went on, because honestly, if you don't know a person, the details of their memorial service tend to be pretty boring (and if they aren't, you're pretty disturbed and need help). But he was definitely loved.

It made me think a LOT about a lot of things. Not really my own mortality - I'm pretty set on understanding and facing that. It's more along the lines of what I want or wouldn't want in peoples' lives when I pass.

I really hate the idea of a funeral or a memorial, because I really don't want people sad because of me. But I think that it's incredibly selfish to demand there be no service, and I think it's even more selfish to go dictating terms to people about how they should grieve. And it's horribly egotistical to begin planning something to facilitate the grieving process, because hey - what makes me so sure I'd even be missed?

But I do know I don't want sadness. I hate causing sadness in others. It's actually the exact opposite of what I want to do for people in their lives. The thought of creating something in someone's life they'll never remember well (my death) just bothers me. But it's inevitable, so I can't really plan to just not die.

I think there's two phases to what I'd want when I kick the bucket:

If I'm terminal and we know it's coming, I'd like a roast. I want people to show up and just have it out. Get their last laughs at my expense, and I get to have mine. And at the end of the day, we hug and laugh and really love each other as much as we can before I go.

No crying. Only laughing. And I absolutely refuse to let you feel bad about ripping on me. It's what I want. To not rip on me at this thing is to deny me my final wish, and that's really shitty, and you're probably a racist Teabagger asshole hipster fucktard wannabe geek who likes fucking shit music like Nickelback and read shit like Twilight and watch The Big Bang Theory like a turd and thought movies like Crash and Avatar were good, so fuck you.

There. That should be plenty of starter material for anyone left on the fence.

If not... If it's a sudden thing, and it just happens, ABSOLUTELY NO HYMNS. No churchy shit. I'm not going to the pearly gates or eternal reward or whatever. I don't know what's next after this life, but I know it's not that nonsense.

So that said, it's all rock and roll and jazz. No sad songs. No "Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckley. That goes double for "Hallelujah." Just no. I know he's my Elvis and whatnot, being my favorite artist of all time. So I know it's profound and relevant to play him at my memorial. So play "Grace." That's the song I want people to attach to my passing. It's a song about how facing your own mortality isn't scary or sad when you know someone loves you. It's about the profound nature of someone else's presence in your life and being able to let go of your own life because they made it so wonderful while you were here. And after that, nothing else but Slayer and Coltrane. If anyone makes a mashup, double bonus stuff for you in my will.

I don't want sad things said about me. I don't want anyone thinking about how the days won't be as bright or the world is lesser because I'm not in it or whatever. I want people to celebrate the fact that I got to be here. I got to share my insanity with you all and you got to experience it, and thank God I left before it got too nutty. I don't want anyone to cry, but I know that's probably not realistic... So if someone is going to cry, they have to tell their favorite joke I told them through the tears.

I don't really want flower sprays. I want hand-drawn pictures. I don't care what of. I prefer non-sequiturs -- sharks on motorcycles, or popcicles made from Star Trek ships. I don't care. The smell of funeral flowers just makes people sad. It's an awful, purfumy smell. The concept originated to mask the smell of decomposition. I'd rather people smell nice things. Someone bring fresh baked cookies.

I do not want to be buried. I want to be cremated. I want to have my ashes spread immediately. I do not want a lasting token or shrine or memorial spot. That's not the mark I want to leave on this Earth. In fact, I officially request my ashes be retained in the modest receptacle of a Maxwell House can, and then shaken into the wind where they can blow back on someone. Preferably Mike.

I hope I die in a way that teaches other people something valualble, like how not to splice electrical wires or how not to build a campfire or how not to bowl. Ideally, I'd die in a way that would make people laugh. Not in a "my God, how stupid was that guy" way but more like "Holy shit, that's both awesome and hilarious." But I suppose the only way to really make that one come true is to off myself.

More than anything, I want people to just realize that my passing isn't a bad thing. It's just what happened. And now that's over, and we're on to the next thing. I want people to never forget the great things that happened between us, but I don't want them to remember them and suddely realize they'll never happen again... Do that right now if you're going to do it, because it's true. We'll never relive any of the experiences we had together. Ever. It's just not possible. We change by the second, and so any attempt to do so would end up differently anyway.

Anyway, that's what's been on my mind the past few days.

8.05.2010

Why The Tea Party Is Full Of Shit

I promised more than a year ago to stay away from politics on this blog.

So I won't talk politics. I'll talk history, and why the modern Tea Party's willful ignorance of history makes them full of shit. But first, an admission: I was once a Tea Party member.

Not a fully-fledged card carrying (or, insane nutjob racist sign carrying) member, as they have today. But a member. Most of the Glenn Beck / Sarah Palin set want to tell you that the Tea Parties started in 2009, as a stand against government spending and taxation. This is not true.

The Tea Party Movement began On December 16, 2007, the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Ron Paul supporters raised 6 million dollars in 24 hours in individual donations. The goal was to buy a blimp -- no shit. I donated to that campaign. You'll notice, the article I link to is pretty short. That's because back then, actual campaigns for ACTUAL liberty weren't really newsworthy.

It wasn't until 2009 when the Fox News set jumped into the mix that anyone began really paying attention. And by that point, the protests were littered with racists, morons, and people protesting tax use for public programs, while standing on tax-funded streets in front of tax-funded streetlights, while being monitored by tax-funded police, firefighters and EMS.

The post-2009 Tea Party and it's supporters have consistently bent history to meet their views. They misquote Thomas Paine in the name of stopping the rampant spread of "Socialsim" in this nation. Thomas Paine was a Socialist. And they've done it under the leadership of a man (Glenn Beck) who is using his position on Fox News to cheat people by selling them horrible returns in collector gold, a moron of a woman (Sarah Palin) who "is just like them" because she sounds retarded and her entire life is a soap opera, and fully believe that Obama's going to turn this nation into a Communist collective.

I'm not sure that the corporations who have bought and paid for every political office in the United States are going to allow that to happen. But I digress.

Ask any Tea Party protester when the movement began. I defy you to find one - JUST ONE - who can actually trace it back to 2007 - and that was less than three years ago! They can't even do a few Google searches to find out the short two and a half years of history on this movement they claim to be fully in favor of. It's pathetic. They bring up the names of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Ben Franklin, not understanding that the first was a slave owner, the second was a Socialist, and the third was a Federalist and actively opposed Christianity.

The only one of those three that sounds even remotely in line with modern Tea Party members is Jefferson.

I say this in all earnestness: if you are a 2010 supporter of the Tea Party or its movement -- not an original 2007 / 2008 supporter, or a Ron Paul supporter, or a Libertarian or Conservative, but one of these fucked up ignorant yokels who actively support this latest incarnation of the Tea Party -- please, please, please go away. Don't read my stuff. Don't buy my books. Don't come to my talks. I don't want to know you. I don't want anything to do with you.

You've failed the only test I have for wanting to know you. You've willfully joined a group of people who are reactionary, ill-informed, racist (but won't admit to it - they hate the president because he's "not a citizen of this country" and "a socialist" and "a nazi" and "a Stalinist who wants to take their hard earned money" because all of those words sound way better than "a nigger"). They refuse to research their affiliations and ignorantly bend the facts to suit their needs. And they lie.

The honest supporters of the original movement, real defenders of liberty who aren't just gun-toting bible thumping race purists, constitutionalists, Christians, Muslims, vegans, carnivores, conservatives, liberals, Republicans, Democrats, or ordinary people with no political concern - stick around. I like you.

Tea Partiers? Fuck off. Go away. I'm serious. Defriend me on Facebook. Stop following me on Twitter. I want nothing to do with you. You're wearing a brand you don't understand, and while I'll tolerate and accept just about any honest political, religious or social stance, one thing I can't deal with is willful ignorance. Being stupid on purpose after being told you're wrong is something that just makes me hate you with the full force of my being.

(The same goes with extreme left-wingers, but there's not really a title that sums them up... Let's jsut say if you've ever attended a PeTA protest, thrown paint on a fur coat or a Hummer, or thrown rocks at the G20 protest, you're the same as Tea Partiers to me).


*** Update: 9:00 AM:


For those who feel I "paint with too broad a brush" becase, while you are angry and want liberty and hate Obama but YOU aren't a racist or ignorant or whatever:

You paint YOURSELF with that brush. Label yourself a member of a party who refuses to expel or disassociate from racists and gun nuts and extremists, and you're them.

There's no way to say "I'm a Nazi but I don't really agree with the whole 'kill Jews' thing, I just believe in the edicts of Social Democratism". You're a nazi, period.

Same with Tea Party affiliation. Sick of being miscast? Quit fitting the fucking role. Call yourself something else. Find a party that actually aligns with your views. Or better yet don't. Be your own person with your own identity.

But I'm not painting with too broad a brush. You're just incapable of either understanding those you've aligned yourself with or getting rid of them.