Friday, December 5, 2008

House agrees to write legislation to bail out auto industry...

I just read the the front page of the New York Times. In response, I wrote all of my representatives to convince them to vote against another cataclysmic mistake in a series of cataclysmic mistakes. Here's the text of my letter:

I ask you, with utmost urgency, to oppose the $25 billion bailout for the big three auto companies. Though there are numerous reasons to vote against it, I will focus on just one: the source of the funds.

According to the New York Times, the $25 billion is likely to be taken from "subsidized loans intended for developing advanced fuel efficient cars." I think this sends the Big Three the wrong message. If we give them money that was intended to be used to revamp the industry, it will encourage them to continue nefarious business practices that caused their collapse.

To understand their backwards mentality, turn on any TV and watch the car commercials. These companies are emphasizing big vehicles that conform to an outdated concept of "manliness." It is obvious that these companies are not listening to consumer demands for smaller more fuel efficient vehicles; otherwise they would have evolved their business model according to their customer's desires.

We cannot reward a private industry that fails to supply consumer's demand. Bailing out these companies not only undermines our capitalist system, it will rob the American people of crucial funds that should be saved for progressive policies that provide jobs for our ailing economy.

Once again, vote NAY to any piece of legislation that provides the auto industry with tax dollars. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Matthew Brinn
Concerned Citizen


I urge you all to copy this letter (or write your own) telling your representatives to vote against any legislation that allocates funds to bailing out the auto industry!

-Matt

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

T. Boone Pickens discounts everything that Stephen Moore thinks/says...

T. Boone Pickens, the biggest advocate for the expansion of wind energy in America, argued his cause against Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal.

Pickens began the argument by stressing the necessity for America to relinquish its dependence on foreign oil by embracing green energy technologies. He expanded on this point by providing thorough knowledge on existing resources, their allocation, and the feasibility of maintaining our current lifestyle. In short, we can't. According to Pickens, who has worked and managed energy plants for his entire life, if America scoured its lands for nonrenewable energy, it'd be able to provide just four million barrels of oil a day for a limited number of years. Currently, the USA consumes 12 million barrels each day.

Moore, at this point, interjected with his views. "Oil doesn't come from the ground, it comes from our minds," he said, "I don't believe in peak oil."

Pickens, obviously flustered by the remark, emphasized the cost of drilling in these places. "Yeah, we can drill 30,000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. It'll cost $120 million and, if we're lucky, we'll get four billion barrels, not the 20 billion figure that is being tossed around Congress," he argued. On more than one occasion, Pickens was able to provide statistical and monetary information that Moore was unaware of. Throughout the course of the debate, Moore repeatedly nodded his head in agreement with Pickens rebuttal. "Yes, well, you'd know those numbers better than I would," he said.

This, in my opinion, is a microcosm of America's energy ideologies. On one side, you have pragmatists who realize that our lifestyle is unsustainable and needs to move in a new direction. On the other side, people blinded by their preference to maintain the status quo skew figures and refuse to accept basic facts. Whether you believe oil is running dry or that it'll last forever, the truth is that oil is destroying our environment so, therefore, it's killing us. We have made the basic technological innovations to leave fossil fuels behind, but special interests only concerned with today's profits are hampering our progress. Let's move forward with these new ideas so that one day, years from now, we can watch this debate and chuckle at Stephen Moore's ignorance because, honestly, that's all his opinion deserves.

-Matt

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

President-Elect Obama addresses governors...

Earlier today, President-Elect Obama called a meeting with the governors of all fifty states to discuss his plans to launch a coordinated effort to fix our financial situation.

I just finished watching his statements on C-SPAN, it was as refreshing as it was moving. To hear a politician humbly ask for help, not just from his Democratic buddies, but from Republicans as well, put a smile on my face. One thing in particular that he said nearly brought a joyful tear to my eye.

He said, "I offer you [Republicans] the same hand of friendship and the same commitment to partnership that I do to my Democratic colleagues. There is a time for campaigning and a time for governing...We are not going to be hampered by ideology while trying to get this country back on track. We want to figure out what works."

He went on to discuss his desire to try gubernatorial ideas from either party that work on the state level in Washington. I can't remember a time when an American leader had the pragmatism and the humility to ask for help in such a way. Later, during the press conference, Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania said that such a meeting during a transition period was "unprecedented."

As trite as it is to say at this point, I'm excited. I have that nervous excited feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

-Matt

Monday, December 1, 2008

George W. Bush apologizes, hopes history will gloss over the last eight years...

In an interview with Charlie Gibson that will air later tonight, George W. Bush expressed hope that he will remembered for combating the AIDS virus.

Let's take a look at an important statistic, provided by Avert.org.
Notice the downward trend once Bush takes office in 2001? No? That's because teen pregnancies, AIDS, and other STIs have gone up since Bush took office thanks to a faith-based initiative to force schools to teach abstinence only sex education. The result is the same amount of teen sex, but less forethought to use protection. So, according to statistics, Bush wants to be remembered for spreading sexual ignorance.

I guess that's better than being remembered for eliminating civil rights, over 4000 US deaths in an unjust war, sitting idle during a global economic meltdown, and refusing to act during the most destructive natural disaster in our history. If you look at it like that, he chose wisely.

-Matt

Revamp...

Yes, I've been neglectful, but let's try something new. See that new header? It means that this blog is taking a new direction. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to start writing about issues (talkin' 'bout the issues but keeping it funkay!) that I have some insight on. Things like, the global economic meltdown, the crazy people that are being thrown to the forefront of the "new" Republican party, Obama's transition to the White House, and maybe this huge thesis I have to write over the next six months on the politics of the Great Depression and how they are being rehashed, day by day, in the waning months of 2008.

Bored? Too bad. This is what I've been thinking and reading about, so this is what I'm going to write about. Stick around, hopefully I'll say something smart..:-)

-Matt

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Senator President Obama...

It's been a long month. My absence, which I've learned has filled countless buckets with the salty tears of disillusionment, can no longer be tolerated. It is time to speak, so speak I shall.

Last night, at 6:30 PM, I was frantically pacing across a cold tile floor, my heart racing, my hair graying. At 7:00 PM, I was driving. Erratically. On NPR, I heard news of hope.

"I'm standing in a hotel conference hall where Republicans are meant to be gathering for a victory celebration. The cheese is out, the tables are set, but there are only a few people here, and they don't look very happy. Judging on each Party's party, I'd say the Democrats have this one in the bag."

I smashed through my door and turned on my computer and television. As I watched MSNBC, C-SPAN, CNN, and Fox, I surfed New York Times, Washington Post, Electoral Vote, and Digg. My eyes strained, my mind stretched, and my fingers flew as each passing moment brought news of both victory and defeat.

"Obama has taken both Pennsylvania and Ohio. McCain's road from here is VERY steep."

At 10:30 PM, I cracked the first of many smiles.

As the West Coast polls closed, it was clear the end was in sight. New data was pouring in, Obama had taken Virginia. My mind eased and my fingers slowed. In a few minutes, John McCain would concede the election.

And concede he did. I hate John McCain's policies. I hate John McCain's temperament and judgment. I DESPISE the way John McCain ran his campaign. HOWEVER. I have a deep respect for John McCain's graceful bow to the better man, and his sincerity in wishing that his followers band together with the rest of the nation to solve the problems of tomorrow. Kudos John McCain, you have regained your dignity.

At midnight, November 5th, 2008, history was made. President-elect Barack Obama walked on stage with his family, thanked the crowd, then delivered the greatest speech of our generation.

---

Today, we turn the page on eight long years of fear. Eight years of lies. Eight years of secrets. Eight years of war, of fundamentalism, of divisive hatred. Today, we look forward to eight years of hope. Eight years of truth. Eight years of transparency. Eight years of peace, of hard work, of unity.

Many difficult days preceded today's triumph, and many difficult days lie ahead. But, now, with the dark days of despair behind us, we can turn our eyes toward the warm, distant light ahead and work to break the chains of ignorance that have held us back for so long. Today is both the end and the beginning. A long and difficult road is ahead of us, but I'm ready. Ready to stand up and fight for my future, ready to work tirelessly to restore the ideals upon which this nation was founded, and ready to embrace the hardships that await us.

Today, for the first time in my adult life, I'm not ashamed to call myself an American..:-)

-Matt

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fight the bailout...

For those that don't know, both the House and the Senate passed a bill to use $850 billion taxpayer dollars to bailout Wall Street investors and conglomerate banking institutions. The stock market continued dropping. On top of that, President Bush side-stepped the whole democratic process prior to the passage and had the federal reserve print an additional $630 billion. In short, America will soon be the victim of hyperinflation much like Germany after World War I.

I wrote my Congressman urging him to vote against the bailout. Surprisingly, he responded.


Dear Mr. Brinn:



Thank you for contacting me about Congressional action to address our
nation's economic crisis. I appreciate hearing from you.



Today the House of Representatives debated H.R. 1424, the Emergency
Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. This bill aims to prevent harm to
Americans that would result from a collapse of our nation's financial
system. I voted for H.R. 1424, which passed by a vote of 263 to 171.
President Bush promptly signed this bill into law.



I share my constituents' anger about this mess and how we got here. The
government did so much wrong, and while Democrats in Congress tried to
set them straight many times, we obviously did not do so strongly
enough.



At the outset of the debate over the original, unacceptable Bush-Paulson
proposal, I argued that the bill would need to include these principles:
taxpayer ownership and protection, aggressive oversight, and help for
homeowners. These principles are all met in part, but this bill is not
perfect. For one thing, the Secretary of the Treasury should have even
greater limits. The cost recovery from the financial district should be
sooner. I dislike the Senate's adding extraneous tax provisions. Every
Member of Congress has a better idea of how to fix the problem, but no
one has 218 votes for his or her plan. This is the compromise.



As I can tell, there would be harm in doing nothing. The crisis is real.
We need to act quickly to staunch this crisis of confidence, because if
credit locks up, it affects ordinary Americans, ordinary homeowners, and
every small business. It is already happening.



Some have suggested we defeat this bill to teach a lesson to Wall Street
highflyers. We could do that. We could teach a lesson to Secretary
Paulson, President Bush, and the regulatory agencies. We could teach a
lesson to the mortgage companies who entice borrowers to get over their
heads. We could teach the Senators a lesson not to attach extraneous
things to a financial bill. We could let the credit markets freeze up.
We could let small businesses fail to meet next week's payroll. We
could let college students drop out because they can't pay tuition. We
could leave farmers, homeowners, and factories out in the cold. Would
that teach the right lesson to the right people? I don't think so.



Instead, I supported this bill because there is more harm if we do not
act, because of its improvements, because it will cost far less than the
original Paulson proposal, because it adheres to the principles we laid
out at the beginning of the debate, and because it includes a temporary
Alternative Minimum Tax fix and my own property tax relief initiative.



We will be making a serious mistake, however, if we do not act further
to address this crisis. There remain long-term problems: problems of
bond traders wheeling and dealing in paper with no thought of the homes,
factories, and people behind these bonds; problems of some employers who
show no allegiance to their workers; problems of families who even in
good times consume more than they save; problems at regulatory agencies
that revel in the unrestrained trading.



We have more to do to address our weak economy, which we learned today
has seen a loss of 159,000 jobs in the last month. I will continue to
lead efforts in Congress to get to the root of the problem, repair bad
mortgages, and to help middle class families. We need a program similar
to the Home Owner's Loan Corporation (HOLC), which the Federal
Government created in 1933 in that mortgage crisis. The program, which
lasted 20 years, shored up a collapsing market by purchasing delinquent
mortgages at a discount and working with homeowners to restructure the
mortgages into more manageable terms. Congress and President Roosevelt
authorized HOLC for $4.75 billion - or $76 billion in today's dollars.
With this investment, in its first two years, HOLC helped more than 1
million homeowners. When the HOLC finally ended, it showed a net $14
million surplus for taxpayers. We should not wait for a new
administration to address our nation's pressing economic concerns.



Again, thank you for contacting me about this crucially important issue.
I look forward to hearing from you again about this or any other matter
of concern.


Sincerely,

RUSH HOLT


---

He told me that Republicans were to blame and Democrats had been trying for years to avert this crisis. In short, he lied to me. I replied.


Dear Mr. Holt:

Thank you for the quick and lengthy reply. I appreciate your sense of duty
to maintain a dialogue with your constituents. However, I must say that I
fundamentally disagree with your decision to turn a blind eye to the
majority of Americans by voting yes for this bill
(http://tinyurl.com/4gox6n). Understand that this issue is the defining
issue of this generation, so your failure to listen will cost you my vote
and the vote of everybody I know come November 4th.

Here's why.

You said, "I share my constituents' anger about this mess and how we got
here. The government did so much wrong, and while Democrats in Congress
tried to set them straight many times, we obviously did not do so strongly
enough."

The blame for this economic mess does not fall solely on Republicans,
Democrats, Wall Street Suits, or Irresponsible Homeowners. Here are the
facts.

The federal reserve cut interest rates to a record low after the dot-com
bubble, allowing homeowners to purchase houses beyond their means. Both
Republicans and Democrats are to blame for supporting mortgage tax
deductions which gave additional incentive to these buyers. Real estate
agents continually sold large houses to families that couldn't afford them
so that they could make more commission. The Clinton Administration pushed
hard for low down-payment requirements for middle and low class families.
Mortgage brokers gave uncredited buyers adjustable loans with interest
rates that grew exponentially over time. Wall Street firms turned these
high risk loans into Mortgage Backed Securities, while the Bush
Administration turned a blind eye. Finally, it was everybody's fault to
believe that the housing bubble would continue expanding indefinitely.
(http://tinyurl.com/4tsmnf)

Market bubbles, by definition, must pop. We are at a critical moment in
America's economic history, and we need to choose our actions wisely. The
right thing to do is to let the financial institutions at fault collapse,
which will provide opportunity for a larger number of smaller banks to
take their place. More banks means more competition. This will drive
housing prices down to their true worth while providing new jobs in the
banking sector.

At this point, depression is inevitable. We should take our punches now by
letting the conglomerate banks fail, having the market correct itself in a
year or so. Instead, you've decided to print $800+ billion dollars in
order to temporarily save these failed institutions. Instead of allowing
the market to correct itself, you've inflated the bubble to the point that
a pop would cause global economic Armageddon. Where is the $800 billion
coming from? Surely not through taxation, that would bankrupt millions of
Americans causing riots in the streets. No, the plan is to create this
money from thin air, destroying the value of our currency and driving the
price of necessities sky high.

By voting yes for this bill, you've made your choice. Unfortunately, it
was the wrong one, and America will pay the price. You and everybody who
voted for this bill are to blame for the inevitable economic crisis that
will come, so don't be surprised when you lose reelection on November 4th.
You'll have earned it.

Sincerely,

Matt Brinn
Concerned Citizen


---

I urge you all to write your own representatives to let them know that they will lose reelection if they continue to ignore their constituents. It's time to stand up and fight for our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..!

-Matt

Friday, September 26, 2008

The first presidential debate...

Post 150!!!

The first presidential debate has happened. It lasted 97 minutes. The moderator, Jim Lehrer, was disappointing. His questions addressed broad concepts rather than clear issues, and he did a terrible job keeping the candidates in check. He was supposed to moderate the debate. Instead, he posed questions that allowed the candidates to recite their talking points and argue semantics without having to cite their sources. John McCain took full advantage, extending his answers well beyond the alotted time and changing the subject with long-winded anecdotes. Barack Obama had the decency to ask Lehrer to continue at one point, but he, too, was guilty of taking advantage of Lehrer's meekness. Hopefully, the next two debates will have better moderators.

As for the actual content, John McCain kept his cool better than anybody expected. For the majority of the debate, he answered his questions with a level head, but most of his responses had zero substance. Half the time, Senator Obama had to interrupt him because he was supporting his points with pure falsehoods. Barack Obama successfully rebutted dozens of times throughout the night. His constant interjections of "Not true, John" did well to dismantle many of McCain's tired talking points.

The climax came during a question on dealing with foreign leaders, when John McCain vehemently disagreed with Barack Obama on the importance of talking with Ahmadinejad of Iran. McCain forcefully defended his refusal to talk to aggressive foreign leaders, while Obama dismissed him as erratic and undiplomatic. This exchange showed Senator's McCain's true temperament, a frustrated man whose worldview is racist and Americacentric. The best jab came when Obama asked McCain if he'd refuse to meet with Spain, referencing McCain's gaffe last week. He had no response.

The closing remarks of the candidates were particularly important. Barack Obama spent several minutes talking about the world's opinion of the United States. Having recently spent several months abroad, his vision of bettering America's standing on the international stage resonated with me deeply. McCain's closing remarks on placing trust in his experience did not.

The outcome of this debate will not be considered the best case scenario for either candidate. John McCain, on the surface, was able to hold his own. Elementary investigation into his points would reveal his inadequacy as a candidate, but that doesn't mean he will lose any blind supporters. I think Barack Obama successfully strengthened his base support and his performance will usher left leaning independents to his side. It's too early, however, to declare a winner.

-Matt

Thursday, September 25, 2008

You can't beat our meat...

Unless, of course, our pork is drawn to look like a giant penis. Then, I guess, you COULD beat our meat. If you really wanted to...

-Matt

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Looking up...

A couple of days ago, towards the end of my shift, I happened to notice something wonderful. Though the primary purpose of carrying a camera is to ward off attackers with a blinding flash, capturing photographs is a little known secondary feature. Abandoning a customer desperately in need of a pretzel, I zombily* shuffled outside to photograph a phenomenon...
Ooooohhhhh...

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh...

Later that evening, I was visited by extraterrestrials. A brilliant spherical light appeared in the sky above me. It remained stationary for several minutes, then disappeared behind a cloud. Moments later, it reappeared. For several hours, it hovered motionless in the sky. I was able to capture a photograph of the UFO...
I apologize for the graininess. My camera doesn't take night photos very well, so this is the best that I could do. I'm truly honored to have witnessed such a profound moment in history. I ask that everybody lay down their arms, hold hands, and welcome our new alien overlords in peace..;-)

-Matt

*-No, it's not a word. Yes, I used it anyway.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fail...

I didn't even make it halfway..:-(

-Matt

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm out of ideas today...

Thirteen days of NaBloPoMo hath sucked away all of my ideas. Here we are. Today, I went to work. I came back from work, defrosted some Italian sausages, and read lots and lots of political articles. Nothing new today, except Barack Obama is now losing the election...

...
...
...

.. I'm hoping the presidential debates change that. I can't imagine anybody will watch them and see John McCain as a more capable man for president. The first is Friday, September 26th at 9 PM EST. Also, Sarah Palin finally did an interview. Our potential vice president didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was. Good...

...
...
...

..I'm sorry for today. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better...

-Matt

Friday, September 12, 2008

Elementary school throwbacks...

This semester, I'm taking Math 101, officially titled Math for Liberal Arts Majors. Yes, it's bullshit. I knew that going in, but it's a requirement to graduate, so there isn't much use in complaining. Twice a week, I'm treated to a dull lecture by an ancient man about different types of elections (plurality votes, weighted votes, etc.). I struggle to maintain consciousness. On Tuesday, I lost the battle before leaving my house. Today, I made it all the way to the math building...

I sat down in my usual seat, center row, three seats from the front. The professor called my name...

"Brinn?"

"Yes?"

"We made a seating chart last time, you weren't here."

"..Okay?"

"Well, that seat is taken, you can't sit there."

I looked around. Half the class hadn't bothered to show up. There were no less than ten empty desks.

"Um..ok?"

"Now, you can sit in any of the seats up front, or move back two seats."

"Wait a minute. I've been here every class except the last one. I've sat in this seat every time. Who sits here?"

"Doesn't matter, I have a seating chart, you can sit two seats back."

I gathered my stuff and moved two desks back. The class collectively chuckled. Nobody came in late to claim my former desk. I now sat in the last row, all by myself...

A seating chart? In COLLEGE???

I knew I looked a bit young for my age, but this... ... ..what's next? Scheduled bathroom breaks? Snack time? Recess?

I know...

It's nap time...

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...

-Matt

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cheating...

Here's ANOTHER article. We NEED to DO something. James Carabelli, the head of this blatant offense to the American people, must be called out...

(586) 731-6217

Call the Macomb County Republican Headquarters and tell them to cease and desist. The word needs to get out, tell everybody you know to do the same...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A late night excursion...

A couple of months ago, HBoO and I went to a local diner in Trenton, NJ. At 3 AM. Where else do you go when you crave a delicious slice of blueberry pie during hours that some describe as "wee"? For reasons unknown, I ordered a hamburger instead of pie. Don't blame me, I think I was drunk at the time...

HBoO ordered waffles with ice cream. It was the most delicious meal that you could have at 3 AM in Trenton. Our waitress' name was Melanie. Melanie was a former heroine addict who now worked the 12-6 AM shift at a Trenton diner to keep herself away from dealers. I don't judge her, heroine is expensive. I did chuckle, however, when she handed me this...

"Dude, last night was awesome! I entered this all-you-can eat wing contest and ate 75!!"

"That's nice, but I've got you beat. Last night, I consumed an entire German city."

"Dude, shut the fuck up."

"No, I have the documentation to prove it!"

"... ... ... ... ... ..you win."

:-D

-Matt

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What the hell, America...

I'm following this year's presidential race very closely. I use Electoral Vote to keep track of whose ahead. They've developed a brilliant algorithm that compiles polling in every state to figure out where the candidates stand with electoral votes. Yesterday, Barack Obama was ahead 301-224. That's a huge margin, enough so that no cheating at the polls on election day could change the outcome. Today, it's a lot closer, 281-230. That's a 26 vote shift in less than 24 hours...

What caused the shift? Could it be an article from Time magazine that destroys Sarah Palin's lies about her fiscal responsibility? Or was it Barack Obama's truthful (albeit slightly hypocritical) refutation of Sarah Palin's verbal attack on our Constitutional rights? In truth, it's neither of these. The reason why the McCain/Palin ticket is flying high is that they are hogging all of the media attention...

The day Palin was announced to be McCain's VP, the internet EXPLODED with anti-Palin hate articles, some ground in hard facts that would obliterate most Vice Presidential Candidates, but others that were a leftist version of pure Rovian lies. A message to all of the political blogs, news media, and anybody that is outraged over how awful Palin is. SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!

You are right, everybody knows it, but you are ruining this election. Her pick was a TRICK and you fell for it. Obama was way ahead in all the polls, his acceptance speech was the stuff of historical legend. This election would be wrapped up right now and we'd be on our way upwards if it weren't for the entire country's obsession with demonizing the most underqualified VP pick in our nation's history. Enough people know that the McCain/Palin ticket is godawful, but your constant hate mongering is siphoning our nation's attention away from what matters. Do you want nuclear war with Russia? Do you want our economy to continue spiraling downward? Do you want to be jailed without trial for exercising our first amendment rights?

Of course, you don't. Stop talking about Palin's Troopergate and let's focus on some real issues. Namely, how the hell I'm going to get a job next year in the middle of our worst recession since the Great Depression...

-Matt

Monday, September 8, 2008

Everybody call their local election office...

Earlier today, I read this article . If you are a first time voter, or you've recently changed your address, go here and make sure that you are registered. Apparently, voter registration offices are violating the National Voting Registration Act by purging duplicate registration forms without contacting people. Millions have already been purged. Battleground states are the most affected, so there may be some foul play involved. If you plan on voting in November (which you SHOULD), call and make sure you are registered. We don't need another fixed election destroying our Democracy..!!!

-Matt

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Jonah Hill isn't the only one...

Cool people know what I'm talking about. The rest of you should watch this..;-P

-Matt

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I've played Spore...

Two years ago, I saw this video. Every day that has passed since, I've waited with crippling apprehension...

Yesterday, the wait was over. Somebody torrented Spore, and I was on that shit immediately. The game is now mine, and I've been playing it almost non-stop since last night. As a single celled organism, I've chowed down plant matter. As an awkward two-legged beast, I've danced to impress stronger creatures, sang to the point of embarrassment, and spat poisonous goo at my enemies. In the tribal stage, I've beaten the shit out of rival chieftains with axes. Unfortunately, twelve hours after I had so innocently began, I was forced away from my computer to pee. It was a desperate struggle to avert my eyes from the awesome.

I have yet to play the 'civilization' stage or the 'blow the fuck out of whole planets with giant lazers like Darth Vader' stage, but I can only assume that they are as good or better...

I'd like to take this time to apologize to my professors. If stopping to pee was that difficult, I can't imagine how I'll ever leave the house to attend class. I'm sorry, but I don't think it's going to happen. I'm sure you'll understand...

For those that don't know, playing a highly anticipated video game is much like scoring a vial of crack in a back alley after going a week without eating or sleeping. Your heart races causing increased blood flow, serotonin and dopamine is released, and you slip into a dream world for several hours as real life concerns fade into the past. When, for whatever reason, it's time to stop playing, your body feels drained, your stomach pangs with hunger, your eyes bloodshot from the intense focusing and the lack of sleep, but your mind wants more. Eventually, you feel nothing but pain. You play on. As your grades drop, your friends stop calling, and your family casually mentions something about a nice doctor who would love to talk about my deep seeded issues, it dawned on me that it just wasn't worth it. BUT I COULDN'T STOP!!! I played on, through carpel tunnel, through arthritis, through the horrible stench of weeks without bathing. My boss fired me, my car was repossessed, my landlord terminated my housing contract, but, sitting in a Starbucks, I played on. One day, my hard drive crashed. It was all over. I wept for days, then, I died...*

Every word of the above story is true. Learn from my mistakes, and avoid Spore at all costs, or you, too, will suffer a similar fate...

-Matt

*-Based on a true story. Certain events may have been exaggerated or fabricated.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Let's talk about John McCain...

I saved this one for last because it is the most important. Last night, John McCain made his acceptance speech. On the surface, it was generic, uninspired, and devoid of substance. After a second glance, however, it becomes a harrowing look at our potential future. John McCain must not be elected in November. Using only last night's speech, I'll tell you why...

1. If elected, John McCain will preemptively strike Iran and start a war with Russia.

Though he touts himself as the candidate with the most foreign experience, John McCain spent little time talking about his foreign policy. However, in a few short sentences, he promised global war with nuclear consequences.

"Iran remains the chief state sponsor of terrorism and on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons. Russia's leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power. They invaded a small, democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world's oil supply, intimidate other neighbors, and further their ambitions of reassembling the Russian empire. And the brave people of Georgia need our solidarity and prayers."

Iran is not the chief state sponsor of terrorism, that title belongs to Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. Osama Bin Laden was a native Saudi. War with Iran is senseless, unfounded, and irresponsible. Russia did invade South Ossetia, but not for oil. Georgian forces, trained by the United States in Iraq, launched a preemptive strike to reclaim South Ossetia, leveling the city of Tskhinvali and killing 2,000 civilians. Russia responded with force because ten of their soldiers were killed in the attack. In supporting Georgia so steadfastly, John McCain is telling the American people that he is prepared to start a war with Russia.

2. If elected, John McCain will not hear his dissenters.

Last night, towards the beginning of his speech, an Iraq war veteran named Adam Kokesh held up a sign that said "McCain Votes Against Vets", referring to several instances where McCain voted against bills to give veterans better pensions and health care. Amid soaring chants of "USA! USA! USA!", McCain quickly curbed his anger, smiled, and said, "My friends, my dear friends...please don't be diverted by the ground noise and the static," as Kokesh was handcuffed and dragged out of the building by several security guards. This tells me that John McCain has no ears for a second opinion. If anybody objects, perhaps even a majority of U.S. citizens, he will not hear it.

3. If elected, John McCain will, once again, employ trickle down economics.

On paper, it might work. In practice, see Herbert Hoover, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. John McCain wants to cut taxes for wealthy business owners and maintain or increase taxes for everybody else.

"Cutting the second highest business tax rate in the world will help American companies compete and keep jobs from moving overseas."

No, it won't. Reorganizing our education system so that it teaches our children a variety of skills suitable for a constantly evolving workplace will keep our jobs from moving overseas. American companies already compete pretty damn well. McDonalds, Starbucks, and Wal-Mart come to mind. It's the people who work for these companies that spend their money recklessly and stimulate our economy. Giving them more cash can only help our situation.

A vote for this man, more than continuing the failed policies of George W. Bush, will further degrade our international standing, throw us into a deep depression, and trample our civil liberties. A vote for John McCain is a vote to destroy the ideals this country was founded on in the name of ignorance and false securities.

---

This is the end of my profiles on our candidates. You make the choice, you be the judge. No matter what, though, make sure you DO choose, because apathy is infinitely worse than any candidate in the history of American politics. Participation is vital. Don't squander your opportunity to take part..:-)

-Matt

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Let's talk about Barack Obama...

In my last entry, I said that I was voting for Barack Obama in the upcoming presidential election. In this entry, I'm going to explain why...

The first time I heard the name Barack Obama was back in September 2007 while eating a slice of pizza at a local restaurant. The TV positioned above the doorway was tuned to MSNBC, the volume just loud enough to be audible. The issue being discussed was Barack Obama's lack of patriotism due to the absence of a flag pin on his lapel. I distinctly remember the camera turning to a very serious Hillary Clinton who said, "I wear a flag pin on MY lapel, I don't understand why somebody who loves this country wouldn't!"

At that moment, I knew I would not be supporting Hillary Clinton...

The next time I heard news of Barack Obama was in February. The primary race between him and Hillary was neck and neck, the articles plastered all over the internet. It was about this time that the Jeremiah Wright "scandal" came to prominence, one of the lousiest fabrications I've ever seen the mainstream media latch on to. Not only was the quote "Goddamn America" taken completely out of context (I watched his entire sermon, it was one of the best condemnations of tyrannical policy that I've ever seen), but Jeremiah Wright had absolutely nothing to do with the campaign. I'm glad it happened, though, because Obama's response was the most mature speech on race in recent history. From then on, Barack Obama had my full support.

Then, something happened that nearly crippled my hope for the future of America. In late June, the house and the senate passed an updated FISA bill which granted retroactive immunity to the telephone companies that participated in the warrantless wiretapping extravaganza that occured under the Bush administration. The bill set a precedent saying that phone companies could spy on American citizens without their knowledge and not be held accountable for violating the fourth amendmant of the Constitution. When I learned that Barack Obama supported this bill, I was upset. What really broke my spirit, though, was when he announced that he'd filibuster against the portion of the bill that granted retroactive immunity. He refused to follow through, a lie that betrayed his core supporters and called the message of his entire campaign into question.

After months of thought and research, I've returned to the Obama camp, albeit with a much more pessimistic view of America and its politics. I now know that Barack Obama is not campaigning for me, the twenty something cynic. He is campaigning for the average American. The poorly educated, xenophobic, apathetic average American. And that's fine. There are millions more average Americans than there are of me and, in this country, they are more important.

When elected, Barack Obama WON'T balance our budget. He WON'T put an end to the fundamentalist drivel that pervades our education system. He WON'T usher in a new cultural revolution that garners the respect of our international peers, and he WON'T stop the corporate lobbyists from running our government with their bottomless bank accounts.

However...

Barack Obama WILL be a well-spoken and intelligent face for America. He WILL diplomatically discuss foreign policy issues with world leaders, hopefully earning our country some international respect. At home, he WILL be the positive face that the poor and middle classes desperately need.

When I vote for Barack Obama, it won't be because he is a demi-god capable of solving our mountain of foreign and domestic issues. I'm voting for him because he understands the wants and needs of the majority of the American people. He cares deeply for the average American, something that is integral to running this country, but also something that I will never understand. This November, I cast my vote for Barack Obama, the man willing to sacrifice everything he has to inspire a backwards nation to work for a better tomorrow.

-Matt

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Let's talk about Ron Paul...

Last night, the former Republican presidential candidate, Ron Paul, made a speech addressing the issues of our country. Dr. Paul is a wonderful statesman, a great orator, and a Godsend to the floundering mess that is the Republican Party, but I would never vote for him. He has given hope to millions of apathetic citizens across the nation, and, for that, I respect him more than any of the other candidates. But, I fundamentally disagree with many of his policies. This is dangerous territory for an internet geek such as myself, but I feel like I have a valid and informed argument...

First, I want to talk about the positive aspects of Dr. Paul's campaign. It started as a grassroots effort, which I think is awesome, and he spoke to a demographic of people that is so largely overlooked by our politicians, tech nerds and internet people. For years, we have been the disgruntled voice of the 'other'. No candidate, celebrity, Playboy spread, or new device was beyond our criticism. Who could possibly win over such a disillusioned group?

Then, about a year ago, a tech savvy friend linked me to this video, and told me that this was the first time he had ever been excited about a politician. I congratulated him on his new found interest in politics, but dismissed the candidate as a radical idealist who would never make a difference...

A couple of months later, the internet buzz hit and Ron Paul was suddenly a champion of liberty and a symbol of hope for America. You couldn't refresh your browser without seeing a new Digg article about how awesome he was. But, much like I predicted, the Neoconservatives in control of the Republican Party dismissed Dr. Paul as an extremist and threw their support behind the terribly unprepared John McCain. The debate seemingly over, I turned my attention to the Democratic primary, mainly focused on supporting Barack Obama in his lengthy race against Hillary Clinton...

My interest in Paul was rekindled after the FISA debacle. I was a full-fledged Obama supporter, and while his voting for the FISA bill hurt, it was his lies about filibustering that made me second-guess my support for him. Unlike many of my internet peers, I didn't immediately denounce him, but my hopes for his candidacy were changed forever. I started reading up on Ron Paul, and was excited to learn that his movement hadn't been stifled by his inability to get elected. When I heard that he was organizing a rally to combat the Republican National Convention, I was ready to throw my full support behind him. Here was a man that had a sense of respect for his beliefs and the beliefs of his fellow Americans. He was unafraid when faced with opposition, and he refused to play the silly game that the mainstream media used for better ratings...

But then I realized something...

A strict constructionist view of the Constitution didn't work for our founding fathers, and it won't work now. Thomas Jefferson, the leader of the strict constructionist movement at the turn of the 19th century, realized that adhering to nothing but the document was severely limiting. He won the presidency in 1800. It was called the "Revolution of 1800", because, prior to that, George Washington and John Adams enacted Federalist policies that technically undermined the powers given to the executive branch by the Constitution. Jefferson's election was supposedly meant to reverse these policies for the greater good of the nation. When he took office, he realized the National Bank, a Federalist creation, was working really well and decided to keep it. Furthermore, in 1803, he made the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the size of the nation. It said nothing in the Constitution about the government's power to purchase land, but Jefferson did it anyway, because he knew that it would be good for the country. I don't discredit Jefferson for reversing his policies, it was good judgement on his part to put the nation first and his personal beliefs second.

This anecdote shows a historical precedent for Ron Paul's movement to drop all policies that aren't laid out by our Constitution. He holds a praiseworthy position, and many of his beliefs, particularly about the War on Drugs and the War in Iraq are in league with my own. However, the complexities of our current republic, flawed though they may be, are much better suited to deal with the issues of the 21st century.

I'm voting for Barack Obama, not because he is a perfect candidate, but because he understands how our system works and will be a driving force in bettering our image abroad. He won't solve all of our problems, but he will make us feel better about them...

-Matt

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

To all potential cat owners...

Behold, your future. It shall be filled with painful scratches and bleeding buckets of blood...

If only I could train him to unleash his paws of fury on my adversaries, the world would be MINE!!!! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Until then, I guess I'll just rely on the mice to enact my evil plans of doom...
-Matt

Monday, September 1, 2008

Everything should be free...

Sometimes, I go to book stores. What's nice about a book store is that they let you use their merchandise, then leave without paying. You can't do that in other stores. I'd like to walk into a kitchen appliance store, use a blender to make a delicious smoothie, then leave. What a shame that kitchen appliance stores are not as cool as book stores...

I'm a free sample whore. When you ask what someone's favorite day of the year is, most will respond with Christmas or their birthday. Not me. Free sample day at the supermarket trumps all. Let's think about it...

One day, you go to the supermarket expecting to buy your food. On this particular day, however, all the food is free. Not only is it free, but friendly faces are cooking and serving the food to you as you browse. It's like tailgating without having to pretend you like sports. Can you imagine a better scenario? I submit that you cannot!

What if other stores had free sample day? What would happen if you walked into Best Buy and a series of randomly placed tech geeks were handing out free video games? What if Victoria's Secret had underwear models providing girlfriends everywhere with free laced panties? I'll tell you what would happen...

Everybody would do all of their shopping on the various free sample days. Corporate profits would fall drastically. The drop would result in millions of workers nationwide being laid off, not because of their bosses' inability to provide paychecks, but because everybody would be at home playing free video games while lying in their free beds eating free cheeseburgers and getting lap dances from their girlfriends who happen to be wearing free laced panties. The global economy as we know it would crash, wars would end, and all of the lobbyists and politicians would have nothing to argue over...

What..?

I can dream, can't I..?

-Matt

Sunday, August 31, 2008

NaBloPoMo...

I know. It's been a while since I've posted. What's that? Apology accepted? Why, thank you. That was very kind...

As you can probably tell from my nifty new badge on the left, I just joined NaBloPoMo. September is my month. Thirty posts in thirty days. Wish me luck...

Oh yeah...

I've been keeping up with tons of election stuff, so don't be alarmed if the insanity of current events creeps into my posts. I promise not to rant. Other than that, next post will be September 1st, and there will be a daily entry through the end of the month. Thank you all, and goodnight..:-)

-Matt

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And so it begins...

Today, classes at TCNJ are in session. My first class, Introduction to Atheism, was canceled because the professor is currently attending a conference. Wow. Good start. Either I have a professor that doesn't give a shit, or he has orchestrated a deeply symbolic lesson teaching his students that not even his own classes matter because, in the end, we are all just dust in the wind. Brilliant.

Or...

I just paid a large sum of money to sit in my underwear playing video games on Compy II all day...

...
...

..Dust in the wind. Right.

My next class, Math for Liberal Arts Majors, was really interesting intellectually stimulating boringasshitomgwtfisthepointofthis not that bad, but I have a hard time remembering the details because, on the way to campus, I saw a kid fall off of his bike. I pulled over, not to see if said small child was in need of medical attention, but because I was laughing so hard I couldn't see straight. That's a driving hazard, so I pulled over. I saved lives. I think that warrants a medal, or maybe just a key to the city. Either one's fine, I'm not picky...

Today set the tone for my senior year at college. Here I thought I would take myself seriously, perhaps buckling down to do some work. In response, I get a canceled class and a hilarious distraction. Good. This semester is going to be AWESOME..:-)

-Matt

Sunday, August 24, 2008

On the campaign trail...

I'd been putting it off for a while, but today I had my first opportunity to volunteer my efforts for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. I've had prior campaigning experience, volunteering my Saturdays to phone bank and canvas for Patrick Murphy in the 2006 Congressional elections. Registering people to vote is fun and potentially hilarious, everybody should try it...

I can't say the same for Republican campaigns, as I have no experience with their side, but Democratic volunteers are laid back and time flies when you are arguing with unregistered voters about Obama's terrorist qualities...

Says an unregistered voter to a Jewish volunteer wearing a "Vote Barack Obama" pin written in Hebrew, "What the hell is that?"

"It's Hebrew, it says "Vote Barack Obama"."

"Cheebrew? Is that the language that Muslims speak."

And let's not forget the still bitter Hillary supporters. Says another unregistered voter, "Barack Obama is ARROGANT! How the hell could a guy pick some unknown guy for his running mate when Hillary has the same policies and 49% of voters want her to be there. He doesn't listen to voters, he's ARROGANT!!"

When the four of us weren't fending off the failures of the American education system, we discussed policy issues as they pertained to the local population. I found the other volunteers to be very well informed on campaign strategies, recent news, and the voting histories of BOTH candidates. The two hours I spent registering people to vote in the mall turned out to be tons of fun, not just for the unintentional hilarity, but for how cool my fellow volunteers were. So, no matter which side you support in the upcoming election, do yourself a favor and volunteer. Not only will you make a difference as an active member of your society, you'll probably have fun, too..:-)
-Matt

Friday, August 22, 2008

Beware of guard cat...

...because doors are not an obstacle...

-Matt

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Spontaneity...

Yesterday, HBoO and I randomly decided to go to Grounds For Sculpture, a massive park filled with monstrous pieces of art. We stopped at the visitor's center to pick up a map before entering a small bamboo forest. After a few turns, we stumbled upon this...
As we stared in amazement, I heard a rustling in the bushes. Turning quickly, I instinctively pulled my camera upwards and snapped a photo...
GAH!!! After a few seconds I realized these cutouts were part of the piece. A few seconds that cost me a pair of clean underwear. We exited the forest and mosied on down the path where I noticed a peculiar addition to one of the sculptures. HBoO fervently insisted on my not taking a picture because, in her words, it was "GROSS AND DISGUSTING OH MY GOD GET AWAY!!!"
Frozen in terror, a petrified HBoO nearly became a sculpture herself...
Thinking quickly, I found the perfect solution to an otherwise dire situation...
With the problems of the day behind us, HBoO and I returned home, fully enriched by our experience..:-)

-Matt

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The big day...

Everybody goes through this. Weeks and weeks of doing absolutely no physical activity, then, one day, it hits you...

"Ugh! I'm fucking disgusting..."

Now, I don't have the usual body afflictions. I'm skinny, so my laziness doesn't yield saddle bag thighs or cankles. It does, however, make me look like a horrible heap of skin and bone with absolutely no form whatsoever. Couple this with an extended period without shaving, and you have one unhappy person. Did I mention the smell? I have no air conditioning in August, do the math...

Suddenly obtaining a new computer with a processor and video card capable of playing Civilization IV, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Rome: Total War means I've been sitting on my lazy ass for the last couple of weeks eating Cheez-its and screaming at a series of zeros and ones. My shower called, it was lonely...

Every year, at about this time, I get the urge to start exercising. I always pick something that I'm bad at in hopes of improving myself.Two years ago, I ran laps around my campus in lieu of all the smoking. Last year, I biked several miles each morning before work because I never really rode my bike when I was a kid. This year, perhaps after being inspired by Michael Phelps, I decided to start swimming. I'm a terrible swimmer. I can float for about five minutes before my body decides that drowning is a better option than surviving. A couple of years ago, I almost died in the ocean when a riptide pulled me out to sea. Yeah, swimming is the logical choice...

Today was the big day. After putting it off for weeks, I wanted to get in the pool and start bulking up for winter so that I can get SAD and watch myself wither away. I put my bathing suit on, got in my car, and drove to campus. With my school ID in hand, I approached the door to Packer Hall and gripped the door handle. Then, I looked up...

"PACKER HALL WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE FOR ROOF REPAIRS! SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE!"

I guess I'm destined to be a hairy, smelly sack of skin and bones. Sorry, HBoO..:-/

-Matt

Monday, August 18, 2008

Everyone knows it's Butters...

"Well that's ME!"

My sister found a kitten roaming around a parking lot where she works. Now, I have a kitten. My first solo pet experience. The details of why the cat is now in my possession is, for the purposes of this blog, inconsequential. He's mine. His name is Butters, and he is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Except when he scratches. And bites. And licks my nipples in the middle of the night while I'm TRYING TO SLEEP!!!

But, seriously...
And...
And, further more...
The cat is (miraculously) housebroken, he plays with his toys, he eats properly, he does what he's told. So what if little Timmy is sobbing in a corner right now mourning his lost kitten? Finders keepers, Timmy. If you loved this kitten, you would not have let it be kidnapped! I bet you won't let Kitty #2 chase cars on the highway. Lesson learned...

Anyways, meet Butters. If all goes according to plan, I'll be LOLcat famous in no time..:-)

-Matt

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Poopsicle...

A couple of weeks ago, when HBoO was on vacation in Myrtle Beach, and my finger was busted, and my cable was shut off, and my computer was crashed...

...
...

..Let me start over.

It was oppressively hot. Lying naked in a pool of my own sweat, I struggled for ideas to combat the velocity of the molecules in my house. My house was killing me, and I needed to get out.

I stumbled outside to my car, the will to survive strong in my mind. I drove to an ice cream shop and bought a root beer float. I sat down, took a sip, and a wave of cold victory washed over my being. Then, I looked up and saw this staring me...
I turned to the closest employee, "Are you aware that there is a giant turd over there?"

"What?"

"A massive piece of fecal matter wearing a sailor cap just asked me a nonsensical question."

"Um..."

"..Nevermind."

Can anybody provide an explanation..?

-Matt

Monday, August 11, 2008

Not for the faint of heart...

WARNING: The following contains bugs. Big scary ones...

I took this picture last time I stayed at my parents house...
AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


At first glance, it's pretty freakin' scary. But take a second look. It's almost as if I had opened his bedroom door around bedtime and found him poking through a certain section of the Sears catalog. You know...THAT section..*wink*

Anyways, this picture needs a caption. Whoever makes me laugh wins a prize.*

*-Prize may or may not be a simple "congratulations". Rules and restrictions apply. Prices and participation may vary. Copyright 2008.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

*Gasp* I've been memed...

If anyone has been reading my comments, they'd see that Melinda, a fellow blogger, has sent me a meme. It's midnight, HBoO is passed out in my bed across the room, what the hell...

7 Interesting/Random facts about myself

1. I hate carrots. Anybody that knows me knows that I eat almost anything. Sure, I'll be the world's most douchiest douche about the quality of the food, but I'll definitely eat it. And, I love trying new foods. HBoO's parents STILL think I'm lying when I tell them that their Filipino food is delicious. Pancit? Mmm. Lumpia? Hell yes. Bitter Melon? Seconds, please. Carrots? GET THAT SHIT AWAY FROM ME!!!!

2. I've stolen more than my weight in candy bars. Ask the Newcastle Tesco Express where all of their Peanut Butter KitKats have gone. I stole at least three every day for four months. Are you a Snickers? Watch the fuck out, because, before you know it, you'll be melting in my pocket...

3. I recently flip-flopped on my dealings with sickness. Back in the day, I shunned all medicine, relying purely on the "pretend-it's-not-there" method. Bullshit. Now, I take twice the recommended dosage of all over-the-counter medication. Especially Nyquil. It works, you should try it...

4. I currently work at a Philly Pretzel Factory. It's the easiest job I've ever had. Every day, customers walk in the door and ask me what we sell. I say, "Pretzels." Occasionally, they'll add, "Do you have anything else?" To which I reply, "No."

5. I'm severely right handed. Yes, it's a real condition. If my right hand/arm becomes incapacitated, don't ask me to open a door or hold any objects for a prolonged period of time. I'm not being mean, I physically can't.

6. There is an extra wide gap between each of my big toes and the rest of them. This has prevented me from wearing sandals since puberty. Everyday, I thank God for this deformity because it means I'm incapable of becoming a bro. No popped collars for me, thank you very much.

7. Ever since dropping acid, I've gained an extreme appreciation for clouds. Often I'll stop whatever I'm doing just to stare at them for a few minutes. Don't be alarmed, I'll eventually snap out of it.

---

Now, I'm supposed to ask seven other people to do this. Why seven? I guess sleep is out of the question tonight...

-Matt

Saturday, August 9, 2008

School's out for summer...

I finally have a new computer. This means that I can upload and photoshop pictures again. How liberating..:-D

I moved back to TCNJ early for several reasons. First, and foremost, I needed to get a job and establish myself in Ewing. Second, alone time with HBoO. Third, and most pertinant to this entry, I wanted to sneak on campus while nobody was around to take some artsy farts pitchahs...

So, here they are. This, for those that haven't seen it, is where I go to school (when I'm not gallivanting in England, of course)...
Here we have the TCNJ lake. I practically lived here freshman year. Not only is it a beautiful view, it's slightly isolated from the rest of campus and is, therefore, a great place to ponder...
This is the center of campus. On a normal day, 6,000+ 18-22 year olds are shuffling back and forth, either going to class or planning their next drug-fueled adventure...
The Science Complex. Many a drunken fool hath bathed in that fountain...
Here's the courtyard between the library and the dining hall. Again, completely abandoned...
No, geese! Anna Paquin does not attend TCNJ!!! Fly away home kthxbye...

Ahhh, it's good to be back. I forgot how much fun it is to write and photoshop every day. More entries to come, most likely in shorter intervals..:-)

-Matt

Friday, August 8, 2008

News of the day...

Today, August 8th, 2008, 08-08-08, an historic event has occurred...

No, not the 29th Olympiad...

No, not anything to do with Barack Obama or John McCain...

Today is a day of abortion and adoption. Compy II, it's production delayed indefinitely, was aborted. In an attempt to ease the suffering of all those involved, I decided to adopt a replacement. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I'd like to present...

*drum roll*

COMPY II
Dell Studio ftw..:-)

Also, the Comcast situation has been completely resolved. For those that don't know, here's Part I and Part II...

I traveled great lengths to Comcast headquarters in Trenton, New Jersey. There, I faced a dreadfully long queue and several disgruntled employees...

"Hello, good sir. I recently had some trouble setting up the internet in my household. The wonderful people at Comcast told me, over the phone, to come here and replace this modem."

"...I doubt your problem is the modem. *scoff*"

"Nothing against you, sir, but you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Your associate recently rewired my whole house to ensure maximum efficiency. I've spent hours on the phone trying to establish a connection with your database. One of your very own colleagues instructed me to come here and perform this task. Now...GIVE ME MY GODDAMN MODEM!!!!"

"... ... ...*hands over new modem*"

---

Today, two great issues in my life were solved. I have a computer, and I can access the internet in my own home. Life is soooooo good..:-)

-Matt

Predicament...

Earlier this evening, HBoO and I snuck into her basement room through the secret back door. It's now 1:32 AM. I'm sitting at HBoO's desk typing this entry while she sleeps in her bed across the room. All of the lights are off, it's pitch black. I hear footsteps upstairs, no doubt her roommates getting ready for bed.

I have to pee...

There are two bathrooms, both located upstairs. HBoO's roommates are awake upstairs, neither know that I am here. If I walk upstairs, they will definetely hear my footsteps and come running with baseball bats. I would sneak out the aformentioned secret back door and do by business in the dark solitude of the backyard, but the noise will cause HBoO to stir from her slumber.

That half empty bottle is tempting...

It's going to be a very long night...

-Matt

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Comcast strikes back...

A few days ago, I returned to my house and found my cable to be shut off. After everything they put me through, you'd think this wouldn't happen, but, it did. I called them. It turns out, they had revived the account of a previous resident of my house, then, when they realized the error, shut it off. Without contacting me. So I set up an account in my name. They said the installation fee would be $44. Why? I already have a cable box and a modem. I know FOR A FACT that they can do registration over the phone. But, no. They had to switch the devices because of the error.

So, on Saturday, Comcast returned to my house. For $44, they unplugged the first boxes and plugged in two new ones. This time, however, there were no computers in the house. I assured the technicians that I could handle calling the company to have them register my modem when Compy II arrived. They were in my house for twenty minutes. That's $132/hr to plug in a box...

*fills out job application*

Today, my roommate moved back in. He had a computer, so I called Comcast to register the modem. They took me through the step by step process, again, but, this time, the internet did not work. An hour of trying things in the phone technician's manual. No internet.

Says the internet technician through the phone, "I just don't know. I've never seen anything like this. I need to ask my superiors. We'll call you back at some point today." *click*

The forces of evil are stronger than ever. My armies are scattered. My best friend is frozen in Carbonite. I'm one handed. There is no hope..:-(

-Matt

Friday, August 1, 2008

I can't wait any longer, so here's some mini-book reviews...

On an average run-of-the-mill day, if I was bored, I'd go visit HBoO. We'd keep each other company for hours and hours, the time would fly by. If HBoO wasn't around, I'd use my computer to check my email, read news, watch movies, play video games, and/or listen to music while playing guitar. If, for some reason, my computer and guitar were unavailable, I'd watch TV. If there was no TV, that's okay, I would still be able to listen to music on my iPod. If, in some abstract hypothetical situation, I had none of those things, I would just go to work, spending my days earning money...

These are the things I do to entertain myself. This week, however, HBoO is on vacation. My computer crashed. Comcast (those meddling bastards) shut off my TV thanks to an error in billing. My iPod's hard drive crashed. And, to top it off, I smashed my right index finger in a car door, putting me out of work and crushing any hope of playing guitar for a couple of weeks...

...
...
...

..so this is what I've been reading...

Coraline by Neil Gaimen
A little girl named Coraline moves into a new house and discovers a secret netherworld behind a sealed doorway. After narrowly escaping, Coraline's parents become trapped in this world and it is up to her to rescue them.

Three words. Creepy (and) as (and) fuck. I believe this book was written for teens, the story is quite simplistic, but what a chilling tale. Gaimen REALLY knows how to provoke fear in the hearts of his readers. The illustrations helped...

Do yourself a favor and read this one in the middle of the day. Otherwise, expect nightmares.

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris
I read Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Kids in Corduroy and Denim before HBoO let me borrow this one. Apart from the usual hilarious memoirs, this book included a section of short fictional autobiographies taking the perspective of a cast of characters that only Sedaris could dream up. I laughed. I cried. I'm surprised that this was written before the cesspool of entertainment known as the internet came to fruition. Barrel Fever, written in 1994, was way ahead of its time.

World War Z by Max Brooks
A historical account of the zombie apocalypse from the perspective of those who survived it. George A. Romero invented the modern zombie and used his horror to present a political message. If anybody can be named his successor, Max Brooks would be on the short list. His first plunge into the world of the undead, The Zombie Survival Guide, laid out the ground rules. World War Z put those rules to the test. It passes. Throw in some healthy criticism of our society, and you have yourself a damn good book. However, it's not for everybody. Brooks takes his material very seriously, and it shows. It reads like an actual historical account, not a work of fiction, so the casual reader should stay away. But, for those that love zombies or history novels or both, World War Z is definitely worth the read.

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
A beautiful model gets her face shot off, her homosexual brother dies of AIDS, and a lot of other weird gross shit happens.

Everyone calls Chuck Palahniuk a shock novelist. I don't see it. Maybe it's because I spend so much time on the internet. Tubgirl? *shrug*. 2 Girls 1 Cup? Meh. I'm desensitized. Palahniuk's graphic descriptions of "felching" made me chuckle. This book is fast paced. And confusing. And strange. But that's what I expected, so I can't really complain. I'm not going to spoil it, but the ending is a revelation that makes you go, "Whoa!". But then there's another one. And another one. And another. By the last chapter, my "Whoa"'s became "WTF"'s which became *eye rolls*'s. I don't know. I liked Fight Club. Maybe it's because I saw David Fincher's movie first...

---

That's all for now. HBoO comes home on Sunday, by then I'll have probably read Galapogos and Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and Rant by Chuck Palahniuk. Compy II is still in production, so there may be some more entries like this in the future..:-)

-Matt

Monday, July 21, 2008

Compy II is in production...

After the tragic death of Compy, I immediately set out to find a replacement. I ordered Compy II Friday, a Dell laptop customized to my specifications, but it's projected arrival date is August 6th. No computer for three whole weeks. *twitch!*

I know it's sad and pathetic to all of the older people out there, but what do I DO all day to keep my mind occupied? HBoO went home this weekend to play piano for church, and I've never experienced such mental anguish. Sitting in my small room with no computer, access to the internet, friends to hang out with, or a job to go to, I did all the things I could think of to occupy my time. At 10 AM on Saturday, I read Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris and a good portion of Alice in Wonderland. I played guitar for a while, then took a drive to TCNJ and walked around the campus taking pictures. After that, I ate some sushi, drove home, took a shower, and looked at the clock. Many of the day's hours remained. The library was closed, so I couldn't take out any more books. I lacked the funds to buy anything with entertainment value. The rest of the weekend scarily resembled this...

This Friday, HBoO is leaving for a family vacation. She'll be gone for eight days, and I'll be alone in my house again with no computer. I need suggestions. Anything to occupy my time. Your help is much appreciated and will contribute to preserving my sanity...

Thanks in advance..:-)

-Matt

Thursday, July 17, 2008

RIP Compy 2005-2008...

A couple of months ago, the first signs became apparent. Like an unexpected cough on a made-for-TV movie (thanks David Sedaris), the initial appearance of the belligerent BSoD (Blue Screen of Death) meant that it was only a matter of time before I would be saying goodbye to my good friend Compy. As the BSoD became more frequent and basic operations took more and more time, I started planning ahead for the future. I knew the end was near when I hooked Compy up to an external hard drive. It's own had become a diseased, burnt-out shell of an organ...

And, just yesterday, Compy's operating system shut down, never to be uploaded again. RIP Compy, I will miss thee...

Stay tuned for when I get a replacement and can write some more blogs. Until then, a hiatus..:-(

-Matt

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Comcast experience...

Today, I have the internet. Let's say that first. I shouldn't be upset, because I have the one technological development that I could not live without (sad, I know). But HOLY SHIT, what a fucking process...

Two men showed up at my door to install both digital cable and high speed internet. Wait, no. Let me start again. One man showed up at my door, the other was already lounging in the back of the van on a cigarette break. After taking a quick look around the house, the other left to join him. After fiddling with the box outside for fifteen minutes, they entered the house and stood baffled at the crappy wiring job my landlord had done. Finally, they got to work, but, once everything was hooked up, I still had no TV or internet. Instead of contacting somebody who knew what to do, they both decided to call their friends and discuss their plans for the evening (drinking and smoking with homies). Their next order of business was to offer me drugs, to which I suggested they call Comcast directly and ask for assistance with the job at hand. This proved successful in the TV department, but access to the information superhighway (LOL) was still beyond our grasp...

Then, the unexpected happened. The two professional internet technicians decided that connecting me to the internet was beyond their qualifications and left. Yeah. They were gone and I was alone in my house with no internet. Again. Luckily, they had left a copy of my receipt with a previous owner's phone number on it, so I was able to call Comcast and get ahold of a representative who registered my modem and fixed all my problems. Now, I have the internet. Well, sort of...

This is where cable and internet should be...
But this is where the talented Comcast technicians installed it...
This should make my landlord and housemates pretty happy...

...
...

-Matt

Friday, July 11, 2008

Two for one special...

It feels so good to write blog entries, I think I'll do another..:-)

HBoO and I were just sitting in her bedroom, both furiously enjoying our newfound connection to the internet when, suddenly, I got an IM...

"INTANETS!!!!"

"Where??"

"RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!!!"

*turns head*
AAAHHHHHHH INTANETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...

...

Maybe you had to be there..>_>

-Matt

Time slips away in my absence...

I'm cursed. Every time I find myself in a new location, I have serious issues with obtaining internet access. Some of you may remember an instance where I disappeared from the face of the earth for six crucial days. When I returned home from England, my parents had set up a fancy new encrypted wireless connection. They were pretty pissed when I enlisted the help of HBoO's dad to hack into their system and unlock the internet to the public, but what was I supposed to do? My parents can barely email, they would have called some guy who would charge $500/minute to type in a few IP addresses and check a few boxes. And, here we are, all moved up to my new house near TCNJ, and more shit has accumulated on my proverbial fan. I thought my housing contract provided internet access, but, alas, it did not. It'll be fixed on Sunday, but tons of stuff has happened and, damnit, I need to write about it on the internet..!

HBoO and I went to New York to see our favorite Broadway show, Spring Awakening, and HOLY SHIT SON!!!! It was the best thing I've ever seen. Seriously. My parents bought me tickets for my 21st birthday and, because they obtained them so far in advance, we got front row center. FRONT. ROW. CENTER!!!!

Any Broadway show would be an orgasmic experience in that position, but I got to see Spring Awakening, THE coolest show ever. For those that don't know, it's about a bunch of naive 19th century German teens who discover their own sexuality. Yeah. For the uninitiated, that sounds pretty damn retarded. I was skeptical last year when HBoO made me listen to the soundtrack, but it grew on me really fast and became one of my favorite albums. Seeing it live, however, is an experience beyond belief. No words could possibly do it justice, so do yourself a favor and drop $100 to see it. Right now. Stop reading. This is not a joke..>_>

That's all for now. I have more stuff to say, but this entry is becoming too eclectic. More to come, expect regular entries starting Sunday..:-)

-Matt

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The situation...

I moved up to TCNJ on Sunday, and my house lacks internet. I'm at the library right now because I'm HARD x CORE, hopefully I'll get up the courage to call the local internet company and tell them that, if it isn't too much trouble, they should be at my house one day next week between the hours of 8 AM and 6 PM where I'll be waiting diligently and without complaint. *World's largest eye roll*

Expect updates in the unforeseeable future..:-)

-Matt

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Heartwarming explosions...

Earlier tonight, I was driving home from HBoO's house when, suddenly, I saw a brilliant white light in the sky. This light was followed immediately by a loud bang, so my initial reaction was one of indescribable woe and anguish...

"Fuck. I'm dead. I died. I'm dead."

Fractions of a second later, the white light in the sky expanded and transformed into dozens of smaller red and green lights branching outward in a circular pattern away from the epicenter. This familiar combination of sound, color, and shape tickled my occipital lobe, telling me that I was not dead, but, instead, witnessing a fireworks display.

"Ooooohhhh!!! Aaaahhhhhh!!!"

I pulled over to the side of the road, now noticing that several other motorists had done the same and watched the tail end of the show, my eyes all lit up like a puppy in a window and my heart skipping a few beats...

I love fireworks..:-D

-Matt

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Urban legends come true...

The other day, as I slowly drifted in and out of consciousness while working at the pool store, I heard a very peculiar sound. And by heard a very peculiar sound, I mean smelled an incredibly pungent stench. Who had walked through the glass double doors other than...
SASQUATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!! RUN AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wait a minute...

Why is Sasquatch wearing socks and sandles? I can understand being shirtless, he has enough body hair to keep himself warm in the coldest of winter months, but since when has Sasquatch started dressing like an unfashionable dad, and why is he asking me if we sell Ph Rise..???

Oh wait, it's just your average Piper Pools customer. Nothing to see here folks, let's move along...

-Matt

Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm not handy...

There is one thing that makes me more frustrated and upset than anything else, and that thing is Doritos. Aside from that, however, I can't fix things. Give me a step by step procedure on how to build something (IKEA, I'm looking at you), and I will flounder. I was not born with the ability to mend broken appliances, toys, or machines. Even things that aren't broken but need routine maintenance, I will inevitably fail in epic fashion...

The big thing that made me think of this today was a flat tire. As I drove from work to home, I felt a slight wobble and, upon inspection, found that a nail was embedded in one of my rear tires. Luckily, I was in my driveway when I discovered this. Now, however, I face the ultimate dilemma...

How the f--- do I fix this..!?

Usually, when things like this happen, I accept that the thing is broken and choose to live peaceably. Take, for instance, the receipt machine at work. The end of the paper roll is splattered with red ink so that a hard working employee (not unlike myself) will realize that the roll needs to be changed. This involves the simple process of placing a new roll in the machine and slipping the end through the feeding mechanism...

Yeah...

I can't feed the paper through. I just..can't. My brain shuts down and I don't know what to do, so I go stock some shelves until somebody else takes the register, realizes the paper needs changing, and does it. I fail. What the hell is wrong with me..!!??

So I have this flat tire. There was nobody around to fix it, so I took it upon myself to figure out the solution. I watched an instructional video on the internet, saw that it was quite simple, and went to work...

Step 1: Find a spare tire.

First obstacle, and it's much too high. The fact that I'm writing this blog entry instead of continuing my quest to fix my car is proof that I fail at life. I suck. I lose. Somebody kill me...

At this point, I'd rather move to the mountains of Bhutan, grow a big fuck-off beard, and do rain dances with native children than fix my flat tire. Now then. Where can I find me some plane tickets to Bhutan... ... ...

-Matt