Thursday, December 31, 2009

Note to self (2010)

Dear Me:

If you are reading this, it's 2029, the machines have taken over. It's up to you to send Kyle Reese back

If you are reading this, I am already dead

No, seriously. I'm about to tell you all about yourself as of December 31st, 2009.

First, the basics. You are 22 years old, you graduated from The College of New Jersey on May 15th, 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, and you've been happily dating Melissa for over 2 1/2 years. The good news, you have a great job working as a clerk for the U.S. Census Bureau. The bad news, you still live at home with your parents.

Why, you ask?

You currently have $44.05 in your bank account. Your monetary ventures since graduating from college, to put it lightly, have been a little less than lucrative. Still, you've managed to succeed modestly, gaining valuable political campaign experience as a Field Director for the Atlantic County Democratic Committee and as Communications Director for the Hammonton Democrats. And, even though every single candidate you worked for lost, you managed to gain respect from everybody involved. I think the energy from that experience carried over to your current job, where the people you work with are really fun to be around and you get great benefits like "working 40 hours a week" and "daily lunch breaks" and "getting paid."

In other news, Melissa's job at the library has allowed you to catch up on your reading (Her decision to pursue a career in Library Science, in addition to being awesome, stands to benefit you greatly). In just the last couple of months, you've read 5 1/2 novels, including the first of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?, and Dune. And though you haven't been able to keep up with video game culture as much as when you were 13, you picked up the latest Western RPG for Christmas, Dragon Age, and it's pretty freakin' awesome...

..Wait, stop. Will my potentially 53 year-old self think that Dragon Age was important enough to include on an annual life update? (I certainly hope so, but probably not.)

Moving right along, the national political stage has been in shambles for the past year or so, particularly since Barack Obama took office on January 20th, 2009 (you were there by the way, the inaugural address was awesome!). From the cries of "Socialism!" and "Death Panels!" on the right to the Filibuster-proof Democratic Senate dropping the ball on the public option and voting for a piecemeal version of Healthcare Reform on Christmas Eve, American politics has been a roller coaster ride of laughable proportions. I'm sure you'll be a much better judge of this year's historical importance (Behold! The power of hindsight), but I'd say we've accomplished a lot.

So, that's you in a nutshell. Also, the events of 2009. Also, video games for some reason. I hope this has been informative (entertaining?). Regardless, I'll be back next year for another update.



Friday, September 4, 2009

New Political Developments

I got a job!

For strategic reasons, I cannot reveal the details of my duties or who I'm working for, but I can say that I'm making enough money to start saving for a move, and it involves working in the political arena (Yay me!)

I woke up at 6:30 AM completely unaware of what would unfold today, my first day on the job. I showered, dressed, ate three eggs, and drove to my new workplace where I met my new boss. He sat me down with a hot cup of coffee and we began discussing strategies to implement over the next two months. As the pile of scribbled notes, business cards, contacts, and research began piling in front of me, I slowly came to terms with the nature of my new position--Boss man! Nananananuhnuhnuhnuh nanananananuhnuh nuh BOSS MAN!!! (BANG! POW!)

For this organization I have three colleagues (four if you count my boss), and I have the most experience in our collective field of work. Technically, I'm entry-level, so yeah. When I realized this, I did my best to take charge; developing schedules, setting policies, giving input on mission strategies etc.

Coming into today, I assumed I'd be chief wordsmith. I left the office today directly in charge of the whole operation, including five staffers. Will I succeed?

Stay tuned to find out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rob Andrews Town Hall in Glassboro, NJ

I was there.

Standing in line for two hours, listening to a barrage of unsourced generalized questions, rude yelling, and the spread of proven falsehoods. A few legitimate concerns got through, some really informed people showed up. Overall, however, this wasn't the tastiest slice of Americana.

After having my ears pierced by blood curdling screams of "NO ABORTIONS FOR MY BABY!!!" and "AMERICA IS THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!! DURRHHH!!!!", it was my turn at the mic.

"Good evening, Congressman Andrews. My name is Matt Brinn, I'm 22 years old, and I'm from Folsom, NJ. You said earlier that this Healthcare bill would cost $1 trillion over the next ten years. How many people here showed up because they think that the cost is way too high?"

The flag-waving crowd goes wild. Obama supporters sit silently.

Wait for it...


..Wait for it


"Where the HELL were all of you when George W. Bush was wasting $3 trillion on the war in Iraq? How about when he gave $700 billion to the CEOs of the banks with no oversight?"

Stunned silence from the flag wavers, roars of approval from the Obama crowd.

"Sixty four percent of all bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. Congressman Andrews, I commend you for standing up in front of us today. I'm a recent college graduate, and I'm uninsured. I'm currently looking for a job, hence the suit, and more people agree with you than are represented here. Thank you."

As I exited the building, I counted four high fives.

UPDATE: I made the Courier Post. Page 2 of the article says:

"And Matt Brinn, 22, of Folsom, turned the opponents' enthusiasm against them when he asked audience members to clap if they objected to the cost of reform.

'Where the hell were all of you when George W. Bush spent $3 trillion on Iraq,' snapped Brinn, drawing a fresh round of cheers from reform supporters."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Unfinished thoughts...

Here I will collect a number of thoughts which I believed would make for excellent blogging, but didn't make it past the first sentence or two.

- First and foremost, I have a job interview on Monday, August 24th with Democracia USA, a nonprofit organization that registers Hispanic voters in the tens of thousands each year. Details in the days to come.

- Driving down an interstate highway is a nerve wracking experience for most drivers. What unsettles me the most is the bits of exploded tire strewn about the shoulder of the road. Violent murderous accidents, it seems, happen every few feet. Clean up crews find it important to remove crushed cars and dead bodies, why not the destroyed tires?

- How much of a road repair construction company's budget is allocated to the purchasing of orange rubber cones? All of it, I think, judging by the thousands of cones forming an impenetrable wall around each individual project.

- Why does a single black hair insist on peaking its head out of the small mole near my hip no matter how many times I tweeze it? You'd think it'd get the message.

That is all.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Philadelphia Zoo

HBoO and I went to the Philadelphia Zoo today. We saw lions and lemurs, flamingos and monkeys, tortoises and pelicans, and a zillion other animals big and small. One thing I noticed, the Philadelphia Zoo needs to hire a new person to write the little blurbs about each animal. You know, those little signs posted next to each habitat that give you the name and basic information about each animal. Not to be a snob, but they were written poorly.


I remember reading:

"A wonderful animal at the zoo is the pelican." Was this written by a kindergartener?

"Animals are awesome." Stamped onto several of the bird displays.

"Africa south of the Sahara."There's got to be a more succinct way to say this. Perhaps that prefix that reminds me of delicious sandwiches on torpedo rolls can be used in this situation?

I guess what I'm saying is, I really want/need a job, and "Zoo Signpost Technician" fits neatly within my qualifications. Why is the person who crafted the text on these signs employed as a writer and I'm not? *Pout*


In other news, swan-shaped paddle boats are really fun. Ask HBoO, we pulled off some pretty impressive maneuvers, including a series of hairpin turns and a complete spin at full speed. If the summer Olympics introduced a new sport at the 2012 games, and that sport was "Trick Paddle Boating," I'd definitely expect to take home the gold.

The end.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Opeth, the king of misheard lyrics

Since the dawn of musical recordings, lyrics have been misheard. Without those trusty liner notes, we'd all think that Jimi Hendrix was excusing himself to kiss some guy, Bruce Springsteen was lit up like a douche, and Elton John was embracing Tony Danza ever so gently.

However, the progressive death metal band Opeth takes the cake. When deadly badgers aren't making his weed and he isn't fixing his pants, Mikael Akerfeldt and his thick Swedish accent make their best effort to make growling vocals sound discerable. The result is almost always an uncanny valley of lyrical hilarity.

Here's the song Bleak from the Blackwater Park album. I'm going to write out the lyrics as I hear them.


Hearts still beating from the claws
Self defeating of the laws
Ribs are aching from the blood
You are fading from my sight

Rancor morning, coldness lingering in sun
Shrouding to nightmares of the sun

I am moving closer to your side
You are luring me into the night
Who is crying for you? I am.
I am dying fast inside your tears.
Rancid towards the reament faster yet
Clearing thoughts, my mind is set

Devious movements in your eyes
Lead me from the hills
Reconcile white clouds with your lies
And fills them with me
You're closer to final will
You're staring right past me in dismay
A liquid seeps from your chest
And drains me away
Mystery conshrouds your thin white man
and draws me without
Coping this mop this diamond veil
It's splendor is might

Help me cure you
Atone for all you've done
Help me lead you
A sonic taste of gum

Devious movements in your eyes
Lead mefrom the hills
Reconcile white clouds with your lies
And fills them with me
You're closer to final will
You're staring right past me in dismay
A liquid seeps from your chest
And drains me away
Mystery conshrouds your thin white man
and draws me without
Coping this mop this diamond veil
It's splendor is might

Let's all see David
tainting a phantom

Tried shrill
shivering claws
I hated with words and a feast to come
Crabs in my way sparked tradition
This is all you need


Here are the real lyrics.

What are your favorite misheard lyrics?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kids with brain cancer should be allowed to be vampires if they want to

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of a show titled "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"?

A lethal dose of camp? Check. Bad makeup? Check. Intriguing plotlines with multidimensional characters that provoke deep philosophical debate? Huh?

I spent the last two days in New York City with HBoO glued to the TV watching the second season of Buffy. For those that don't know, it's Joss Whedon's first series. Before DollHouse, before Serenity, before Firefly, there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A ridiculous premise, Sarah Michelle Gellar is a 90 lb. martial arts expert who kills superhuman vampires in a small California town, Buffy succeeds in transcending and/or subverting almost every norm of television for teens.

I'll give you an example...

In one episode, a childhood friend of Buffy's moves to Sunnydale (the small town where the show is set) and attempts to court her. In the process, we learn that he is affiliated with a group of dorky goth kids who want to become vampires. Foolishly, he makes a deal with the show's ultimate baddy to deliver Buffy (the Slayer) and the dorky goth kids to the real vampires in exchange for immortality through vampirehood.

For the first three quarters of the episode, this kid is portrayed as the usual weekly threat to Buffy and her friends. Towards the end, however, when Buffy is fighting the kid in an attempt to save everybody, his motives are revealed. He has brain cancer and rather be immortal as a vampire than suffer the torments of a malignant terminal illness. He ends up getting his wish, but, seconds later, Buffy puts a stake through his heart. The theme, quite plainly, is that there is no such thing as pure good and evil, just endless shades of gray.

That's some serious shit when you consider that the title character's fighting stance looks like this:

But, seriously, it's really good. If you haven't already, check it out.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Hello again" and "The internet has officially destroyed my attention span"

Wow. It's been almost three months. Please excuse me while I list my excuses for not blogging...

I was:

1) Looking for jobs
2) Getting back in shape
3) Re-earning lost college credits...
63) Dead at the time...
546) Scaling Mt. Evere...
87767) I'm stupid

There. Now that that is over with. Let's pick a subject and begin where we left off (Not politics, that's like my job now).


I'm currently rereading the Lord of the Rings trilogy because I am the paramount manifestation of cool. Much like the guy who calmly walks through a ghost town wearing awesome sunglasses and long trench coat that flaps badassedly in the wind,

I sit alone in my room catching up on the lore of a fictional race of midgets with hairy feet.

Those two are pretty similar, right? ..Right?

So, I was reading The Fellowship of the Ring when I realized that I have absolutely no attention span when reading a book. My thought process goes something like this...

"Setting down his lilies carefully on the grass, he ran to the tree. There he saw Merry's feet still sticking out--the rest had already been drawn further inside. Tom put his mouth to the crack..." LOL "...and began singing into it in a low voice." I wish they included Tom Bombadil in the LOTR movies. But, no, I don't. It just wouldn't have worked. I was bored to tears the first time I read about him. Now, though, I'm a much better reader. Maybe I should reread a lot of the stuff I hated in high school. Nah, that stuff sucked. "...'I was too careless on the hill-top,' answered Strider..."Wait, Strider? When did Aragorn show up? Aww shit, I did it again. Now I have to go back and reread like..three chapters. Damnit, I don't feel like it.

And then I put the book down and don't pick it up for a month. Does this happen to anybody else, or am I functionally retarded?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

President Obama channels Abraham Lincoln in a speech on national security...

President Obama made a speech last night criticizing the previous administration for undermining the United States Constitution while simultaneously proposing to suspend habeas corpus for "enemy combatants," a move that is in direct defiance to the Geneva Convention. After refusing to release photographs of detainees being tortured, and now holding POWs indefinitely without trial, Obama has succeeded in increasing the opacity of his self-proclaimed transparent administration.

While standing in a room alongside the United States Constitution, Obama said, "...there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases because evidence may be tainted, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States." So, for the past eight years, we have held prisoners without trial with no clear evidence of crimes committed.

He continued, " administration has begun to reshape the standards that apply to ensure that they are in line with the rule of law. We must have clear, defensible, and lawful standards for those who fall into this category." In order to deal with these (innocent until proven guilty) detainees, Obama says he will change international POW laws so that prosecutions can be made. Until then, these people will be held indefinitely without trial.

During the presidential campaign, both Barack Obama and John McCain were looking to align themselves with principles mandated by (arguably) our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. Unfortunately, by breaking international law, Obama is initiating a wartime policy that Lincoln would have supported. In September of 1862, Lincoln issued the following statement:

"Now, therefore, be it ordered, first, that during the existing insurrection and as a necessary measure for suppressing the same, all Rebels and Insurgents, their aiders and abettors within the United States, and all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments, resisting militia drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practice, affording aid and comfort to Rebels against the authority of United States, shall be subject to martial law and liable to trial and punishment by Courts Martial or Military Commission:

Second. That the Writ of Habeas Corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter during the rebellion shall be, imprisoned in any fort, camp, arsenal, military prison, or other place of confinement by any military authority of by the sentence of any Court Martial or Military Commission."

Lincoln allowed all supporters of the Confederacy and conscientious objectors of the war to be imprisoned by the military indefinitely without trial for the duration of the Civil War. Now, without any evidence of crimes committed, Obama is circumnavigating international law and our own military courts in order to hold POWs in the War on Terror without trial.

It was wrong then, and it's wrong now.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Wow, that was fast...

As I lined up for the history department's graduation ceremony, the professor who taught my least favorite class in my final semester bumped into me. She turned and I watched as her expression instantly transformed from annoyance to confusion. "Matt, you're graduating? I wish I would have known, your grade for my class would have been a little better." I had absolutely phoned in my efforts for Modern Latin America, a class that neither counted towards my major nor was it required for liberal learning. After accidentally misreading my program planner, and, thinking I needed a South America course to complete my major, I wasted my final college course on her boring class. But she didn't know any of that. "Thanks," I said, "I passed, so that's all that matters."

Yes, I've completed my college education. Like millions of others across the nation, I, too, was forced to wear a black cellophane cap and gown while enduring extreme temperatures. I was packed into a football stadium, where I had to listen to faculty, students, and guest speakers drone on about how lucky I was to graduate during the worst economic climate since the Great Depression.

In fact, a terrible economy has been the signature motif of my senior year. In my final semester, I wrote a 26 page thesis comparing our time to the Great Depression. I wrote articles on how the economy was negatively affecting my part time job, how it was forcing my little sister to choose military service over a college career, and how my fellow graduates were moving home or incurring further debts in post-graduate programs because of slim job prospects.

I'm moving home. I have no job and no money. It feels a lot like the plot of a Broadway show or those stories that immigrant great-grandparents tell. "I arrived in New York with the clothes on my back and $12 in my pocket," they say. What will I tell my great-grand kids? "I arrived home with a fancy piece of paper and a mountain of debt," I'll say. It doesn't really have the same ring to it.

I sat near the back during the ceremony, right in front of a professor who has been a member of the department since 1958. Having to sit through the pomp and circumstance fifty-one times makes the whole thing a lot less significant, I learned, because he was whispering loudly to a fellow faculty member throughout the duration of the ceremony. "They should teach them how to fold their diploma into a paper hat," he chuckled, "Then they can use it when they apply at a fast food place." I turned to him and smiled. "I hope mine comes with instructions on how to fold a paper airplane," I said. Then I walked up and smiled for the camera.


Monday, February 2, 2009

GOP Fail...

Last week, in an attempt to appear relevant, House Republicans banded together to vote down Barack Obama’s $819 billion stimulus package. After four straight years of heavy losses, however, the move became nothing more than a symbol of the GOP’s imminent collapse. The bill they opposed passed 244-188. Plagued by dwindling numbers, outdated ideology, and a homogenous “rich whites only” image, the Republican Party is now being forced to make a choice. Change or die.

The success of the Republican Party since the Reagan Revolution was made possible by the coalition of fiscally conservative bankers and socially conservative southerners. This unlikely team put Ronald Reagan in the White House in 1980 and 1984, took over the House and Senate in 1994 to combat Bill Clinton, and narrowly won George W. Bush the presidency twice, in 2000 and 2004. Partially in response to the failures of the Bush presidency, and partially due to the lackluster campaigning of John McCain and Sarah Palin, the coalition collapsed in 2008, forcing fiscal conservatives to jump ship as Republican rhetoric swung into the realm of racism and fear. The result was a Democratic sweep, putting Barack Obama in the White House with a near filibuster proof Congress.

The scramble since November 5th has been as entertaining as it is pathetic. Lacking the ability to block liberal legislation, the Republican Party has transformed into a party of socially conservative whiners led by Rush Limbaugh, a controversial conservative pundit. In a short article published just before inauguration day, Limbaugh wrote, “…I’ve been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are…I hope he fails.”

After a week of dodging questions related to Limbaugh’s treasonous remarks and his newfound central role in Republican policy, President Obama issued a statement. He said to Republican leaders in Congress, “You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.” This was said soon after John Boehner, House Minority Leader, cited the funding of bike paths, Planned Parenthood and a cleanup of Washington DC’s National Mall as the reasons why Republicans refused to support Obama’s massive stimulus package. And, despite Boehner calling Republicans “the party of better ideas, better solutions,” recently on Meet the Press, their only contribution to the political process as of late has been the enigmatic SarahPAC, Governor Sarah Palin’s pompous tribute to herself.

The collapse of the Republican Party, as wonderful as that sounds, is dangerous for democracy. Since the bitter Republican/Federalist rivalries of the 1790s, America has maintained a balanced government with two viable parties keeping each other in check. As the Republican Party implodes and the Democrats enjoy their unbridled chance to lead, a strong opposition party with fresh ideas must rise from the ashes of neo-conservatism and provide Americans with their most important right. Choice.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Matt is tagged for a meme, signals triumphant return...

Some anonymous person (HBoO) convinced me to write 25 things about myself that are reasonably unknown.

Here we go:

1. When I was a kid, my bus stop was a quarter mile down the street. My friend and I would walk past several ranchers to get there, each with its own dirt or stone driveway. One of the dirt driveways had a deep hole that would always fill with water when it rained. During winter, the water would freeze, creating a miniature ice rink. Every day, we'd "skate" on it or smash the thin ice with our feet, at which point we'd pretend to drown. The water was just a few inches deep which leads me to believe that my 9 year old imagination was just like LSD.

2. Once, I challenged a kid on my street to a race to the top of the street and back. I lost the race...and my dignity.

3. I have a small mole on my right thigh that always grows a single black hair. It may or may not be cancerous.

4. I hold my cell phone in my front pocket. If I forget to put it there before I go out, my pocket periodically vibrates.

5. I brush my teeth the exact same way every time.

6. I often think about trying stand up comedy.

7. I don't know how to properly use a tissue. When I have a cold, I snot rocket into a toilet.

8. I shower with my back facing the water.

9. Though I owned and played Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, and Sonic and Knuckles for several years, I never beat any of them.

10. I owned NHL 95 for Sega Genesis. Often I would create a character named Matt Brinn and give him maximum stats because I'm awesome.

11. I used cheat codes to beat Grand Theft Auto III, but not Vice City or San Andreas.

12. I think my favorite cheesy song from the 80s is Cum on Feel the Noize by Quiet Riot. Honorable mention-Sand Castles in the Sand

13. If all else fails, I have a great radio DJ voice.

14. And a movie trailer voice.

15. In a world...

16. I joined the internet community on July 1st, 2001 at the now deceased with the username "MangaMan". I participated in lengthy Dragon Ball Z debates and text RPGs.

17. I say LOL out loud when I think something is only kind of funny.

18. When I did Tae Kwon Do, we had to memorize the meaning of each form that we did. I can still recite the meaning of the white belt form from memory.

19. Chun Ji means literally the heaven and the earth. It is in the orient and is interpreted as the creation of the world or the beginning of human history. Therefore, it is the initial pattern played by the beginner. This pattern consists of two similar parts, one to represent the heavens and the other, the earth.

20. My favorite movie is Amelie. I'm not afraid to admit that I bawled when the cat moved the beads. I still tear up when I see it.

21. No other movie has made me cry. Grave of the Fireflies came close.

22. I recently watched Firefly, the Joss Whedon show that got canceled after 14 episodes. It's the best show I've seen since Cowboy Bebop. I guess this means that one of my favorite things is sci-fi western comedy dramas that last a season or less before releasing a movie spawned from DVD sales.

23. Bad acting in a good movie stings my soul. Bad acting in a bad movie makes life worth living.

24. When I take my glasses off, I'm compelled to rub my eyes incessantly.

25. It's been thirty hours since I've consumed a food that isn't pizza.


Wow, twenty five things is too many. Until next time...