Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Friday, December 31, 2010

Origin story for a new Idea though I probably should work on the old ones

The Map of Ages

They say there lives or lived a being, perhaps a god who lived outside of space and time who observed simultaneously all that is, was and will be. In this god's solitude he feared madness would overtake him so while still sane he began to record all that he had seen. Think of the possibilities of such a record, a true and complete history and prophesy. Knowledge of what happened a hundred years ago and what will happen a hundred years hence, not just where one is born, not just on earth, but through the entirety of the universe. What could we mere small and tiny mortals, whose knowledge is fractured and incomplete gain from such a record? What would we give to read the mind of a god?

Blame Riverworld.
Somewhere down the line this will become expository dialogue.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

As the world turns

Okay, currently being unemployed and out of school I have no excuse not to write. None at all. I'm sick so I don't want to lay boot to pavement quite yet and also I want to enjoy the next few days but life's turns outpace me. (Did that sound snooty, damn you Deadwood.) In two days my insurance runs out, so here's hoping I don't die anytime soon. Me and my folks are trying to fix it, but that's life. Part of me wants to write about that but ehh.

Mostly I want to get back to my stories and well this blog, and finding a job, and maybe freelancing a bit.

Christmas was nice.

P.S. I should have been a business major. I will talk on that later.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I look like the smarmiest bastard

So my next big project is to create a website to market myself with. A place to put writing samples from school and my internship,as well as my resume. My dad and I had previously argued about the picture of myself I was planning to use for stupid idiotic reasons, another rant for another time.

But the more I think about it the more I hate it. I think I look like the smarmiest bastard alive in a suit. Hell, I wouldn't trust me with 2 bucks to buy myself a sandwich. I've never felt comfortable in one and only wear them when I want to "make a good impression." But now I think about it I think that's part of the problem. I'm worrying too much about the impression and not about proving I can do the job. I think I would rather have a picture where I'm in my "getting shit done" clothes rather than my "if I do what I have to do to get shit done there goes $150" clothes .

It all comes down to professionalism. Professionalism isn't about looking snazzy. It's about coming to work, doing the job right, and getting better at doing the job right. I want to believe that most of the bosses in the world realize that, but I know they don't and I am going to have to play their games. Alright, smarmy looking bastard it is then.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Things to Remember aka stuff I can steal from myself later when I want to sound clever (Christmas Style)

There was a time where everything I possessed I owed to the generosity to others.

Getting old means changing who you are, but doesn't mean you cease to be who you were when you were young. Don't run from that small boy who made 20ft long paper garlands and paper snowflakes.

Alright Mr. Spock, stoicism and all is good, sometimes damn it show a bit of heart.

The Big Bang Addendum

If I were ever to time travel to the past the first place I will go will be on December 25, 2010 AD at 10: 09 pm.

What's Next

So I just graduated, and am sitting on a decent chunk of graduation change but the question stands what now. Way I figure it, if I sit on my ass I have enough money to last me at least 2 months, but neither me or my folks would stand for that. The hope is I could get a job in New York. The problem is I have no connections there and New York is damned expensive. Where the hell am I suppose to work? Where the hell am I suppose to live?

I still want it, but if I'm going to do this I need to do it smart. I figure that I would need to spend at least two weeks up there trying to find an apartment and a job. Almost like a vacation, but not. I would shack up in a hotel and hit pavement. If I didn't find anything that time I could come home save up and try it again another time.

I figure I would need living expenses for the two weeks in the hotel and maybe a the first month in the apartment. I figure that's probably a grand total of 5 to 8 grand. Right now I don't have near that much cash so it's time I got to work.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I am my sword

I am my sword. I shall sharpen my sword as I sharpen myself.
I am my shield. I shall forge my shield as I forge myself.
I am my armor. I shall protect my armor as my armor protects me.
The best steel comes from the hottest furnace.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Broken Newsroom and Graduation

You know how I've been going on and on about how I've been busy lately. Part of the reason is that me and some friends of mine have been working on a website and mini-documentary for class. Here it is.

Oh yeah and I just got out of my graduation ceremony, though I still have stuff to do for finals week.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

War World (Draft 1 of Chapter 1)

“Kale I’m tired take the stick”

“You know Ariel, we could always just drift”

“What happens if we enter a debris field? You know the rocks out here go way too fast. We need someone to steer and keep this ship hole free.”

Ariel had known Kale since they were small. They had come up together on one of the many space stations rooming the galaxy. They had grown up at the port of the Aries watching the traders, scouts and salvagers come and go. There wasn’t much on the station itself and so the port was busy.

The scouts would bring news, mostly of what was around them They would be the first to know if another station was approaching or some moon or planet had something salvageable. The scouts would then sell that information to salvagers. Salvaging was a dangerous job. The information the scouts would give was almost never complete. Scouts seldom went planet side preferring to just point the way. Salvagers did the real work of exploring planets and telling who ever was in charge of the stations if it was worth sending an expedition, it was the salvagers who would take samples. Ariel and Kale were salvagers.

“Alright, Alright I’ll steer who knows maybe I’ll be known as the guy who was flying the ship that found Eden”

“Shut up and just steer. Eden my ass.”

“What’s that yellow dot, maybe I can get out of my night of duty”

“The sensors say there’s quite a bit of sulfur in atmo but for a quick nights rest with the suits we should be okay. Alright take her down”

As the two lower the rust bucket a silent explosion shakes the ship. Both turn their heads and realize that air is escaping through a giant hole in the hull. Both also realize that the controls are shot.

“Fuck, Fuck I don’t want to steer tonight you say. What’s that yellow dot you say”

“Just grab the emergency packs. We’re close enough to the surface so that we can use the chutes”

They jump, leaving home. The only place they had.
As Kale falls he realizes that he is not slowing down as quickly as he should. The cloth parachute is being eaten by chemicals in the air. He and Ariel hit the ground harder than they have ever from any airdrop.

Rubbing a bruised shoulder Ariel says, “So what do we do now without a ship or a way back to Canaan.”

“I’m thinking. We don’t know where we are. We don’t have much equipment and to top things off we know for a fact that this place is toxic if we stay here too long.”

Just then a red light shone from the horizon. The brief light in the night revealed an oddity about the earth Kale and Ariel were standing on.

As Ariel knelt she said, “Hey I can see myself in the ground.”

“It’s glass. The ground is glass.”
Kale knelt and rubbed his hand on the ground. “Fuck your right. We got to get out of this place.”

Another explosion went of and the two decided to walk towards it. Even if it was dangerous there was the possibility that people would be there. Maybe someone who could answer questions or even better help them get off this rock.

They walk for hours towards the flashing lights and booming noise, until finally from a ridge they see it more clearly. War. Violence but in the chaos they could not make out an army. It was just destruction. Then finally they realized that the warriors were not men but machines. Large slow ones with cannons on their backs fired into the field of glass which was now a field jagged with holes filled with sand. . Faster ones with smaller guns on their backs rocketed through the simultaneously shooing and bludgeoning anything near them.

Despite all of this violence not every machine was blasting what it could. There were smaller ones who while being ignored by the larger ones were picking up debris and cleaning the battlefield. They would determine if broken machines were still functional and if not would dismantle, store and transport what could be salvaged.

Ariel and Kale stood and watched as bombs and guns ripped holes into metal, could they even be called bodies? Most looked nothing like humans or even animals. They were machines.

“So where do we go from here,” Ariel said
“What?” said Kale as an explosion went off a half a mile from his ear.
“What’s the plan? I mean we decided to go towards the battle in hope of finding people but it looks like there are just machines down there”
Kale looked hard at the field. Thinking, he noticed something. “Every so often one of the smaller ones gets full and heads off somewhere. I guess we could follow

Robin the Hood (Draft 1 of Chapter 1)

It’s a day that makes any man think. Malik Locksley was soon to be a father. He had sworn to himself he would only marry after e had made something of himself. And through hard work

He had grown up in the eastern slum of the city. For most of his life he had no hope. He still did not know how he had done it. He scrapped and saved and begged. Then the banked loaned him the money, he needed to start the store. It was dangerous to keep it open but people need a place to buy the goods they needed. Too many good grocers had left the city. He stayed and the people thanked him with their business. Sure the young ones thought him an easy mark, but he knew everyone within five miles of that store, and when someone stole from him he would call one of the theifs relations, one they dared not cross. A mother, a father, an aunt. Malik was not rich, but he had enough to know his younger days of struggle were behind him.

People respected the man. He was generous rather than greedy, knowing how much luck played in his rise as work. He did not mind people owing him, even if it wsa not for the store. Most knew him as a man they could come to if they needed help paying a bill or feeding a child.

That is how he met is wife Sharri. Sharri’s sister was a single mother and Sharri asked him for help. At the time she was trying to become a teacher. They both talked about politics, and how things in the city needed to change. The ones with money stloe from the ones with the least of it to lose, and those just struggled on.

They saw themselves of like mind and became partners in everyway. Now she was giving birth to their first child.

“Have you thought of a name” The doctor asked.
They had not known if the child would be a boy or a girls so they both agreed on the name Robin.

“Robin Locksley” They said in unison


“Again.” Millerson thought “Every weekend. Why am I still friends with this guy. Miller was seventeen but looked thirteen. If that were not enough to get him picked on he was also a nerd. There was a time in his life when he denied that fact, but each attempt to be cool was more laughable than the last. Eventually he gave up and just ran with it. That’s when the beatings started, Every god damned day he would be tripped or punched, or stolen from. There was only one kid who had the decency to stand up for and that was Robin.

It was not a rock solid friendship though. The two were as different from each other as a stone is from a feather. Every weekend Robin would find some party or concert to go to and would drag Millerson with him. Things would be fine for a while the two would joke but before long a pretty girl would come along and Robin would follow her. Miller who would much rather be at home watching the latest stargate, would be left twiddling his thumbs.
“Hey Millerson” It was Marry.

“He does it every gd time.”

“Yeah I’m sorry for the time it was me.”

“Not your fault, its just I know it's going to happen so why do I keep letting him talk me into being a third wheel.”

“Mind if I keep you company”

“Better than drinking twenty cokes by my self. I know this pisses you off too.”

“ What d you mean”

“Its obvious to everyone you still like him”

“Everyone but him you mean. Eh Forget it.”

“You’re right it’s none of my business. So while MR. Mac Daddy over there gets his game going’ what are you going to do.”

“I was going to go home and get some sleep there’s a track meet in the morning. There is going to be some Canadian team from across the river there.”

“Good luck and kick there ass for me.”

“Will do see you round.”

Me Attempting to break my God Damn writer's block.

It's all cyclical isn't it. For weeks I've felt out of it because I haven't had the time to write something to my liking and now that I have a spare moment or two my mind is blank. As I think on the matter I realize that this is not the first time it has happened. It always takes me months to get back on the creative streak I found my self in previously, but I don't have months. If I want this grand digital experiment to continue I need to find some damn thing to write about- the election eh I already gave my thoughts on that damn thing, school - what's to say. I wake up go to class work on some group stuff, work on some projects. That's my life. Politics, the truth of the matter is that the current scene is in a state of flux and I want to give this new congress a chance to fuck up before I rip them a part. Or a little more honestly, I currently have no political opinions I feel strongly enough about to write on. The twenty-third anniversary of my birth. I feel old but I felt that way before Thursday. Nope.

In short. I am in a good mood. Damn, it's hard to write when I'm not pissed. I could get back to writing Seven Ladies, Orientation, Game, or Robin the Hood, War World, Reflections or a half-dozen other stories, but I don't remember where I wanted take them at the moment and it would take too long at to recollect my thoughts on those. Maybe if I had a week with nothing to do but sit on my ass but now I've got about an hour. By the time I figured out what I wanted to write on those again it would be time for my life to speed up again.

I got nothin'.

I could write on health care, but there is that time issue. Maybe a thesis on why Terry Goodkind's opinions on the issues of the death penalty, affirmative action, and economic regulation are wrong, if not crazy. Maybe later

Monday, November 8, 2010

Should I get personal?

I find myself in a moral dilemma I haven't been writing "me stuff" for a while because I've been busy but my mind keeps wandering to it. A while ago I started writing my autobiography, but then over the summer someone close to me died. I feel as though if I leave that part of my story out of the tale it does a disservice to her death by saying it was not important. At the same time my story is not only my story. If I tell it truthfully it would show those close to me in a moment of weakness, furthermore if I wrote the story and I liked how it turned out it would seem to me as almost profiting from her death. If I write about it honestly it could help others who have suffered feel as though they are not alone. Right now it doesn't matter all my personal writing is on hold anyway and even if it were not I am writing my autobiography in roughly chronological order so I have a long way until I get to that part of it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A shameless plug for my other stuff

Okay, so I do stuff for other sites, I have a youtube and a devart account so here are some things from them. You can get to them by clicking the links link, note to self rename that.

Based selfesteemboostfailure2 by ~cypheredwolf on deviantART

Life At-10:15 9-8-2010 by ~cypheredwolf on deviantART

Out Back by ~cypheredwolf on deviantART

Erykah Badu by ~cypheredwolf on deviantART

What I do When I'm bored 1 by ~cypheredwolf on deviantART

Monday, October 18, 2010

My World of Cardboard Speech

For the past few years I've been a bit down on my self, for all sorts of reasons, but over the summer I had a series of epiphanies. And so now I will write my world of cardboard speech.

"A World of Cardboard speech is where the hero acknowledges that this mental block has been limiting them. And because of a recent personal revelation about themselves and/or their situation they have found a way to excel past their previous limits."

Not Knowing What I Want To do Is Okay
I know some people who know exactly where they want to be in 10 years and are working really hard to get there. And you know what. I am jealous. They have things figured out, but after doing some thinking I figured something out. If there is something you want to do with your life, get on with it. Work towards it, but some folks like yours truly don't have some grand ambition and you know what? Under certain conditions which will be pointed out later that's okay.

The Golden Dream Is For Me To Get Paid To Do What I Would Probably Do For Free
I will be the first to admit I haven't got a clue as to what the heck I want to do with my life, and then it hit me. There are lots of things I want to do, but none of them could be called a job or a career. They're all just projects and I can rattle off a dozen of them. Anything else I do is just what I do to pay the bills, and you know what? That's okay.

If You Want To Get Paid To Do What You Would Probably Do For Free, You Have To Be Willing To Do It For Free

With the advent of the internet fewer and fewer advertisers, employers and investors are looking at resumes. They're looking for the stuff you already did so they can profit off of letting the dog chase the bone. This means that I have to be prepared to do the stuff I want to get paid for on my own dime for at least a while.

It's Okay If You Don't Know What You Want To Do As Long As You Don't Let It Be an Excuse For You To Sit On Your Ass All Day Watching Cartoons And Eating Frosted Flakes
The culmination of it all. As long as I am doing something I should not feel guilty for not knowing the future.

Do What Makes Sense Now
Being a student writing this blog, taking the internship I took over the summer, I don't know if those things are going to lead me somewhere or not. They are just what made sense to do at the moment. Figuring out what I want in the next 5 weeks is easier than figuring out what I want in the next 5 years and in a weird way more important. Oddly enough I owe this one to Spoony and his review of Scott Pilgrim.

In short if you want to be a writer, write damn it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why I think that it is going to be a little tougher than people think for the GOP to win Congress

As the election comes closer and closer I hear a lot of whispering on the wind about why it's likely the GOP will retake congress this election. Honestly I think it's bunk. I'm not saying the Dems are going to win, but the GOP isn't as in a good position as they want people to think.

Is not losing the same as winning
Most of the political commentators I respect say that the primary reason for the republican advantage is America's general dissatisfaction at the government. That dissatisfaction is not just aimed at the democrats but the republicans as well. Even if they win there is almost no way the electorate in the current political climate will stick with them. Within months the same people who elected them will be just as angry at those who deposed the incumbents. Put simply the dissatisfaction is bipartisan. Even if they won it wouldn't be as if they had a carte blanch mandate and to be clear it would be that way regardless of who won.

No matter who wins America is disgusted by the politics of Washington.
Politics is the art of exchanging favor for benefit it has nothing to do with government. Time and time again senators and representatives block legislation or put forth legislation not because it lines up with their beliefs, not because they think its what is right for the country , but because when election day comes they either want to be able to say, "see they wanted to do [X] and I stopped it. They want the animosity to continue because that is the platform of both parties. That's how both parties win elections, drumming up hatred of the rival party. And they both do that by trying to keep themselves politically opposed to each other so that they can later point out their differences

Last year both John McCain and Obama supported the bailout bill. I was taking an economics class at the time. The newspapers, and my professor were saying that if congress didn't do something demon days would soon be here. In retrospect it might have all been hyperbolic but there was a serious risk of a run on the banks. Banks are this country's economic backbone. For the last year we've been learning the hard way that what affects the banks affects everything else. Another professor told me that he lost, I might be remembering this wrong, about 40 percent of his 401 K. Everyone was calling for congressional action to boost up the banks. Despite all of this the republicans want to shift all the anger regarding the bailout bill towards the Dems rather than doing the honest thing and saying, "Look we here in Washington may have acted rashly, but something needed to be done. It was an emergency that could have collapsed the entire economy. We don't mean a few lost jobs we mean the entire economic system of the United States gone. The free market would have been lost to antiquity to be only studied by children in grade school classes "

On a side note: Bank runs are arguably what triggered the Great Depression. A bank run is when people lose confidence in a bank and try to get all their money out. See banks don't keep your money. They loan it out with the understanding that normally they don't have to have all the money in some giant vault because generally people are fine with letting their money sit in the bank. Think about you aren't going to stuff your retirement fund under the mattresses. That's how they make their money. They in essence borrow your money and pay you interest on a savings account so they can loan it out and get their interest on say mortgages. The bank only generally keeps about 10 to 20 percent of all of the money people give it. Normally that's okay because again nobody cares. Banks have enough to pay out what people typically want to take out, but when a run happens the banks don't have enough to pay everyone and when they're out the money is just gone.

Now a days there are some protections against bank runs like FDIC insurance which pays people back up to a certain amount but the system wasn't prepared to handle something of the scale of the '08 crash. Okay back to the election

We're talking about swinging control by only a hair
Not every district in every state is having congressional elections. What nobody is say is that really this election is about political games. Again no mater who has the majority it's not going to be enough to be considered a people's mandate. The country will still be just as divided as ever especially considering the Tea Party republican platform of, "I'm pissed as hell at the government and I ain't standing for it anymore." A new congress is not going to change that sentiment.

The Tea Party
While I where my left wing hippiness of my sleeve, I can agree with a lot of the mainstream republican platform. While I think it's necessary right now I do believe that eventually we are going to need to scale back government spending. Okay, well that's mostly it, but I don't view most republicans as crazy. Now tea parties especially on the news those guys are crazy. A lot of at least what I've seen on television is based on false premises and on occasion racism.

Even if I ignore the chicanery of the guys at the rallys which it is really hard to do. The tea party doesn't seem to have a practical platform. Aspects of it seem contradictory and impractical . The governments in debt. The tea party decries the government debt but abhors the idea of raising taxes. They want the government to write which part of the constitution allows it to act, but sometimes it's not what the constitution allows but what it doesn't forbid. Heck otherwise one third of the country wouldn't even be the country.

Most judges for good reason don't believe strict construction. We live in complicated times. For example I think the FCC should get of it's tukus and do something about this net neutrality hubub. Strictly speaking the constitution gives not only the FCC but congress no such power, not because it's a bad idea but because the founding fathers didn't even had mechanical adding machines let alone networked computing! Also trust me make the entire federal government have to operate on a balanced budget is a bad idea. Every few years we here in Michigan have a constitutional crisis because the government is forbidden to do much of anything until the budget is balanced.

I wanted to include this but I couldn't make it fit so screw it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

We're better than this

This weekend I find myself in a strange position. I am angry. Really angry. Why? Because I can never look at the sitcom the same way again.

I love a good sitcom. I rediscovered that fact this weekend. Why? Because there are very few left and there is only really one traditional family sitcom (not counting its spin off) holding the line. And, it is God awful.

I am talking about Tyler Perry's House of Payne. It ticks me off for a few reasons

We are better than this!

Right now I can name only about ten shows on the air that could call themselves sitcoms and that's stretching it. And most of them are not the traditional domesticated comedies. You know dad wife kids ect. Right now House of Payne is by default the best of the bunch. Let me say that again because you can't see my face right now.Right now House of Payne is the best live action domestic comedy on U.S .television by default.

Note: I forgot about Two and a Half Men when I wrote this but honestly I don't like it much better.

What happened to shows like Malcolm in the Middle?

There is a grand sitcom tradition out there.

Really we're better than this!

Whenever I go to a review or a forum where someone talks about how much the show sucks I always hear the same response. "Quit trying to bring the black man down." Again the show sucks I will get to why in a moment but right now, let's get dirty with the history. Black sitcoms have been around for a while and a lot of them are great. Just because it's one of the few predominately black shows on the air is no reason for it to suck. Just look at The Wire.

The Wire shows Hollywood what black actors can really do. But enough of me gushing about The Wire, my point is that it's wrong to let the show off easy just because it's black. There have been tons of really great black sitcoms.

The point of all of that was to prove simply that just because a sitcom is black is no excuse for it to be bad. All those shows made me laugh. And they all now make me think how did we go from that to House of Payne.

It gets worse
Like I said I love sitcoms. However, now I can't look at a really good one like The Big Bang Theory without it making me think, "See. This is how it's done" then getting pissed off because a show like House of Payne is going to be put in my top ten sitcoms of the year list by default.

How far we've fallen
Sitcoms have evolved. When I look at most of the sitcoms I like I see how they borrowed what was good from older sitcoms and adapted it to the current culture and technology.

Both the Everyone Hates Chris builds on The Wonder Year's narrator idea.

Unhappily Ever After
takes Al Bundy to his logical extreme.

At the end of the day one of the main problems I have with House of Payne is that it takes all of that progress and throws it all out the window. Everything in it is badly done and every time I look at it I can name a sitcom that did it better. Heck almost every sitcom I can think of, and there are a lot, had better writing, better acting, better shooting, and better editing. Again I look at them and think how far we have fallen. Part of me wants to say its production values but heck, even that's no excuse.

Why It makes me mad.
By their very nature sitcoms have to flirt with the fourth wall, but despite this almost every sitcom I watch feels organic. The characters may do ridiculous things but they do them because it's their nature.

(This is one of the reasons Malcolm in the Middle is so funny .There are several episodes where the characters are aware that their nature is detrimental to their well being yet they can't change it such as Reese in the "The Bully" or Malcolm in "Malcolm holds his Tongue")

House of Payne does not feel organic. The characters are ill defined at best. They do what they do not because its in their nature, but because the writers feel its what's needed to garner appropriate audience reaction,which by the way it doesn't. When I watched I feel annoyed not amused.

Whats worse is that people are championing this as great black television despite the fact that all the characters are one dimensional. I am not one of those positive portrayal nuts. A character is a character and not all characters are nice,but society has made real headway over the last 20 years in creating complex black characters and House of Payne shoots that all to hell.

Why it makes me sad.

Ultimately House of Payne is a symbol for how far American Television has fallen.

When I was a kid I had the TV on 24/7. There was almost always some thing on that I wanted to watch. Now I turn on my Tv may be only once or twice a week. Part of that is the lack of sitcoms on television right now. A lot of the really great TV writers out there think that it doesn't take skill to write funny but they are wrong.

The way it used to work is a show would be on the national networks or on premium channels and the cable networks would syndicate it, but now it seems they are syndicating few and fewer shows. If you don't like Family Guy or Law and Order you are out of luck.
So overall there is less variety.

There was a time when they had the time and money to not only syndicate shows but put a lot of effort into creating quality original programing, but their budgets are shrinking and House of Payne shows it.

I remember the days of The Famous Jett Jackson

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back in the tiny white box... and loving every second of it

I'm glad to be back. Being home is alright but it feels good to be back. Being at home is less normal than being here and there are certain things I missed about being here.

Pedestrian friendliness

That's the best part of living in a college town. At least from my experience they are extremely pedestrian friendly. My parents always look at me funny when I say that I am not going out because it would take longer to get to where I am going than I actually plan to spend there. I don't understand how that became the norm and it seriously erks me.


I got to be honest. I'm not a people person, but the burbs always seemed dead. I like being able to look out my window and see people walking around. I like being able to see at least 10 to 20 people walking around when I go outside. It just seems weird otherwise.

Lack of (well less of) parental politics
I love the folks. I really do, but sometimes what's a big deal to them really isn't. I like the fact that I can save time and effort by not getting into pointless arguments about whether my shirt is ironed, or about which hat I choose to wear.

Broken Schedule
With or without a job chances are in the summer that I would spend majority of the day in one spot, but here I am probably going to be all over the place. Like I said its easier to go out here so if I want to grab a slice on my way home from class its only about an extra 10 minutes in travel time and 15 in eating time. Not only that but I have classes in different places so I am not in my cube all day. I like that.

This is my space
Okay its really not but my dorm just feels like its more mine than my folks and that counts for a lot.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Are Humans Bastards?

I am considering changing one of my main core beliefs. Up until now I've held that people suck. In high school and especially middle school, I was an outcast and people treated me accordingly but most of my post-high school observations on the nature of man have been positive.

Up until recently, the biggest compliment I could give someone was, "You know what? You're alright." But now, I find myself saying and thinking that to the point of redundancy. I'm almost starting to expect it.

The rate of dickishness between middle school and now has gone from about 70 percent to 15 percent. Every now and again I write something about how people suck but now I think I'm starting to mellow on that. And then, I think about the 15 percent, the frackin' 15 percent and go back to thinking that yeah people really can be assholes.

The question I find myself asking is do I really still believe that humans are bastards or am I just afraid of changing my original position which also fuels quite a bit of my writing. Eh, I write better when I'm pissed. If I don't write for a couple weeks it's probably because there hasn't been anything in my life I've been pissed about, but you know what gets me right back to the blogosphere? A good asshole.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Should I post "I'm tired of Trying to Prove my Blackness AKA the Sterotype Lightswitch"

Okay, It's been a while since I posted anything and I was thinking about doing what I always do when I am out of ideas. Just post my old stuff. One of the things I am considering posting is a very candid very inflammatory treatise on race in America I wrote about a year ago.

The overall point is if I don't start jumping up and down about Obama it doesn't make me less black and if I reserve the right to still be pissed about slavery it doesn't make me a radical militant.

I honestly think its one of my best pieces of writing. I feel myself being a little hypocritical. One of the major points I made in the essay is they we as a society can not afford to completely ignore racial issues and have to have the courage to hit them dead on. We can not fall into the delusion that America is a racial utopia because, it's not.

And here I am a year later pondering the fact that even though I still agree with everything I said in it I won't post it out of fear that someone down the line 15 years from now will be calling me a racist or an Uncle Tom (I called out both Blacks and Whites) for things I am honestly proud I said.

In the second paragraph I said, "Do not cower and beg forgiveness for being the man you long ago decided to be."

The man I decided to be is someone who is unafraid to speak the truth even if it's the ugly truth, and now I want to renege. The more I think on it the more I want to post it, like I said both in content and voice I think it is one of my best.

You know what? Screw it. I'm posting it.

I am tired of trying to prove my Blackness... And for that mater my Nonblackness A.K.A. the stereotype light switch.

Note: I actually wrote the majority this in mid to late 2009. I am breaking my general policy of dating things when I wrote them because I want this and my decision to post this to appear together.

In the first week of my senior year, my parents visited me. My father came to my new home and he then said to me, “Why don’t you have any posters of Dr. King?” Of the posters in the room most of them were of video games or movies I liked. Honestly I prefer Sin City to Superfly.

I am tired of having to prove my blackness. I live my life by a simple code. Within reason, be who you are and do not apologize for your identity. Do not cower and beg forgiveness for being the man you long ago decided to be. I, like a damn fool, tried to bring up examples of black books and movies I brought with me, rather than just saying I am black and proud, but do I need to say it loud. I feel a furious searing rage about slavery, the lynchings, the hoses, and the dogs, but the trials and heroes of the previous generations are not mine. I am a new beast entirely.

You see folks, we here in America have a new race problem, on our hands. One I think is more important. You see we as a nation will at least reluctantly admit that those other problems exist, and might even try to make progress on them. It’s not fair that cops can and do pull over black people for no real reason. Yes, there is a wealth disparity between black and white that is partially due to the 200 year head start they had in legally owning property, which by the way included us. Yes black people receive little to no credit for the stuff we do relative to white people. Yes the light bulb was invented by a black man. (To be fair, every mad...eccentric scientist and his uncle was experimenting with the light bulb damn near simultaneously but Edison gets credit. In all honesty Edison, was more of a businessman than a scientist and generally gets way more credit than he deserves about "his" various inventions.)The Chuck Berry/Little Richie vs. Elvis King of Rock and Roll thing still sticks in my craw. (Again this is mostly because Elvis generally gets way too much credit for the birth of rock and roll. His style had been done at the time by several artists and both Blue Suede Shoes and Hound Dog are covers. All that said I generally like Elvis.)

Sorry for the aside but I'm a music nut. Anyway... (By the way the last three asides and youtube inserts are 2010 edits.)

But you know what we won’t admit? There is a stereotype light switch that works on both sides. Now to be fair I think that this transcends being black and is a problem for every minority. I read a book called No- No Boy written by a Japanese American for my lit class and had the revelation while trying to think up a thesis for my lit paper. The guy was pulled a part because he felt he couldn’t be both Japanese and American.

You see America, yes that is me proving my blackness with a Bernie Mac reference, you can be black, and you can be a part of white… ahem mainstream America, but you can not be a part of both Black America and mainstream America. Ask Dave Chappell.

When I am around Black people, if I exhibit any opinion, or habit that conflicts with Black America, but adheres to White… I mean mainstream America’s culture I am an Uncle Tom.

In an attempt to keep the white man from giving us an identity we have given ourselves a group identity and any individual who deviates from that group identity will be called an Uncle Tom.

I hate Obama, mind you not the man, not the president, I actually think he’s doing an okay job, but the racial myth that he represents. You see the guy exacerbated the problem. I was kind of apathetic during the campaign. As long as Bush was gone I was happy. But that wasn’t enough if you were black, nooooo. This guy is the first black president. The sign that we finally made it. You couldn’t just go into the voting booths and silently vote for the guy. You had to be ecstatic and God help you if you weren’t.

You know whats worse. If I happen to conflict with the negative sterotypes about black Ameica even slightly I’m all of a sudden put on a friggin’ pedestal. I’m not perfect and don’t expect myself to be, and I do not appreciate all the friggin’ pressure of being the poster child for the entire friggin’ race. That is so not fair to me. You know what I want. I want to be a guy with a regular job who makes just enough to scrap by because otherwise I wouldn’t have time to enjoy myself. I do not want to be an engineer, lawyer or doctor. I don’t want to be the perfect Cosby father figure, mostly because I know I can’t stand the dependency needs of kids. Daddy, could you take me to the bathroom? But sweetie Daddy is on the last level of Halo, you know the part where you have to memorize and then execute a fairly complicated escape plan in 5 minutes. Interruption means certain failure. But Daddy.

Okay so I’ve talked about Black America’s self prejudice but as the Animated Huey Freeman said. “I can’t blame this one on the white man. What am I saying. Of course I can.”

White people are fine and willing to believe that not all the stereotypes about black people are true, until they see one of them. They see you playing basketball of course you have to be awesome at it. You become slightly pissed off and all of a sudden you’re the angry black guy. Which brings me right back to Obama.

You see people, Obama doesn’t have the liberty of being black. He can look black but he can’t be black. Do you seriously expect Obama to give a serious and candid speech on race relations that’s not scripted? He tried … a little, yes it was stupid, and we all know how that turned out.

See black people talk about America’s racial history all the time. Sometimes I want to take my dad, shake him and go “all the slave holders died at least 2 generations before you were born. Isn’t hell, eternal pain and eternal torment enough. (I thought when I said hell I was being clear that I wasn't exonerating slave holders. People who read this on paper didn't get that message so let me just flat out say it. I believe there is a very special and by special I mean agonizingly painful place in hell for slaveholders and treasonous traitors i.e. confederates. Johnson presidential pardon my ass. If you bear arms against the U.S. government especially if you are a citizen or former citizen of the U.S. I say get the rope except for maybe John Brown. Okay I'm a history nut too. History aside over) Sure sometimes I want to go all Nat Turner, or more like granddad’s version of Catcher Freeman with the machete to be honest, but there isn’t anyone left to go all Nat Turner on.

If I decide to publicly say slavery was wrong, lychings were straight up murder, and America still has some racial issues, whit… ahem mainstream society labels me a black radical screaming for reparations.

Ultimately I’m pissed at both sides. I’m tired of hiding who I am, because of racial politics. I am who I am, and I will not cower or apologize for being the man I long ago decided to be. And at the end of the day that’s what all those previous generations were fighting for, for me to have the freedom to hold my head high and say this is me and I will not kowtow to anybody to assuage any racial crap they may be feeling.

Friday, July 30, 2010

To Those Bastards Who Say Punk is Dead A.K.A. The Detroit 2010 Warped Tour Rocked

Well not all of it. Admittedly there was a lot of downtime. But when it was hot it was real hot.
I was late and spent a about the first hour at the Kevin Says Stage. Where I heard American Sixgun's awesome cover of Folsom Prison Blues.

Then I stuck around for The Banana Convention. To be honest, they aren't my cup of tea, but they were so fun that you can't not at least respect them. Even if they aren't to your taste, you see they enjoy the show and their fans enjoy the so and so well, you enjoy the show.

So like I said, for the first bit I pretty much stuck to the Kevin Says Stage. Last year it was that stage and Ernie Ball that kicked the most ass, at least to me. By the way Longway's cover of Rebel Yell, last year oh my friggin' God. The last band I really caught there was Kelsey and The Chaos.

After that I walked around a bit and then heard an awesome drum solo and literally went running the the AP Advent Stage Again the drums were the main thing that drew me there, but the band was okay. I'm not sure who they were though.

All that said those, drums were friggin' loud and I thought I lost hearing in my right ear so I decided to take a break from the bands and head inside the stadium for a while. While in there I decided to get my bearings and figure out an actual plan. You know, figure out what bands I knew I definitely wanted to see. I decided the next show I wanted to see was Reel Big Fish

After Reel Big fish I was starting to get disappointed. I heard a lot of good bands, but nothing that was kick ass. So I went back into the stadium. And then I went see Pennywise. Prepare for long personal aside. I loved The Distillers, but they broke up so I'm looking for stuff thats like the Distillers, and come accross Tsunami Bomb, now also broken up. Anyway, Agent M on one of their songs, I can't remember which one, sings the chorus to Fuck Authority, which forevermore made me love Pennywise. They are awesome.

And the circle pit. Jesus Christ.

After the pit I needed a decent sitdown so well I went back to the stadium and it was about this time that the Tigers started practicing.

Anyway I get my second wind and end up checking out Face to Face, and having a really surreal experience because they did a cover of a Pennywise song I had just heard. Loved it all the same.

Again its about this time that I started to get tired so well, you know the drill by now, and it's not like I was alone.

This leads me to the grand finale. Okay other bands were playing but hey they were the guys I came to see. The band that made me like rock music in the first place Sum-41.

Friday, July 23, 2010

5 Obvious phishing scams people fall for

I just got some spam while fishing for some ideas. So, here are my top 5 obvious phishing scams people fall for. I'm not talking you're Nigerian princes here. I talking about stuff people still fall for.

1. Anything from a bank.
Just because it looks like it's from your bank, and has an Internet address like it's from your bank does not mean it's from your bank. Any "urgent" email from you're bank should be followed up with a call to them. The problem is that these days is that, that is such a pain that most people don't call the bank and give up and give up all that info. Suck it up and press the pound key over and over. You'll get to them... eventually.

2. Anything that looks like its from your system admin or ISP. (AOL I am looking at you.)
This is the one that inspired me to do this article. I got an email saying I was nearing my memory limit on my email only to check it and find out I'm only at 20 percent of it. Earlier this year my Mom gave away a lot of her personal info to scammers that looked like they were from AOL. ( Hey, it's just a back up for if and when Comcast acts wonky.)

The Internet is the modern gateway to the world and somebody says, "Houston the net has a problem" and people go all panicky and do a bunch of stupid stuff. Again call these people before giving away info.

3. Any email you get more than once no matter how innocent it may seem.
You're getting that email because somehow you got on somebody's automated list of schmucks. Prove them wrong by not being one.

4. Any and I mean any website that asks for your email address especially ones that only ask for your email address.

Okay, these may not necessarily steal all you're money but they're almost definitely going sell your email address to someone who is going to steal all your money.

5. Nearly two-thirds of all google ads.
Just have the confidence that you are smarter than a 5th grader already.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Laying It All Out

You know what. I am tired of people asking me what I want to do with my life and saying uh I don't know. The truth is I do know but its going to take a butt load of time and money, which I don't have right now so its on hold.But here it is. I would like to make a website that updated niche ( and maybe eventually hard) journalism with what could be called an interactive magazine.

I have a few problems with journalism as it is. A lot of it seems tailored to the last generation. So here is what I would do.

I may be wrong but, my general experience is that the current generation primarily dresses up to impress the older generation, but when we talk amongst ourselves we dress far more casually. In doing so on online media it sends a message that those guys are our audience, and creates intimacy with the audience. Lets face it though regardless you are sending a packaged message but in all honestly those guys would be my audience 'cause well,. I am one of them. Beyond that I don't see how wearing a suit creates credibility and it seems to make no sense to me.

It also seems to me that culturally my generation has less of a problem with profanity than the previous one. One thing that has always strongly irritated me, better take my own advice, pissed me off is a story that comments on what someone said and does not include what they said just because it was deemed profane. That is a critical peace of information that should not be left out of the story. Just saying somebody said something bad is not enough. The same goes for opinion.
The same goes for quotes in general.Most people I know who have strong opinions tend to use profanity to express said strong opinion.

This is where it gets weird and journalistic ethics get gray. I want a publication that succeeds because of the personalities of the reporters. Up until now the doctrine in journalism has pretty much been that the reporter should be an objective observer. I do not completely disagree, but its my publication and I want to have fun with it. And ultimately I think that if its evident that the reporters are reporting on what they are knowledgeable, and interested in will result in a more interesting publication, as long as I'm up front about this I see no problem. I always liked the escapist for its letters from the editor. Where each issue of the online magazine has a letter describing the general theme the editor has chosen for the week. By the way the escapist is a online video game magazine. To be honest I like how the escapist does things in general and think that that is where publishing in the 21st century is headed. They have tons of video.

Anyway, I think that we're now in an age were for better or worse people choose their media not just on the information delivered but how it's delivered, and a large part of that deliver comes from the personality of the publication. The problem with all this is that I don't want talking heads.

Here are a few guidelines.

  • The audience is aware that the content of the publications are dramatically driven by it's staff and editor's interests, opinions, and personalities. Like I said I would like to have regular letters, or videos from the editor.
  • As editor, I would have the responsibility of making sure that the reporters, reported on not only what interested them but they were also knowledgeable on so when they had an opinion it could be an informed one, i.e, you do not just make random statements about the story of the day.
  • Ultimately the website may have many different sub areas but it must work together as a whole. This means everyone the team should be able to work with each other when a story calls for it.
  • One reason why this maybe good or bad is that the reporters because of there general interest in the subject matter should want to report more indepthly on it. To put it simply they would know more and care more about the story.
My Generation
A large part of the personality of the paper is that it would talk to my generation. I notice a lot of differences between my generation and older generations. We have different perspectives, values, and interests. I'm tired of reading articles that were probably written by 40 somethings about 20 somethings. Even more of a sub niche is that it would be targeted towards nerds. My view of what nerdiness is defined by an intense enthusiasm and knowledge about a specific topic and because of that nerdiness the website could be incredibly varied but also incredibly in depth, as the staff itself would be comprised mainly of nerds. I also happen to believe that as a result of the internet it is easier to become a nerd and because more and more of my generation are... well nerds. If your interested in something its easier to find a torrent of information about it and develop or dig into a community.

Everybody in journalism already knows this but the days of print and print alone are gone. Sure you still need writers, but writers are not going to be enough. If one of the objectives of a publication is to swing out information in a way it can be processed, the publication has to at least look at all the ways that information can be processed and decide what works best for a story. The thing about the written word is that it allows for more detail, but sometimes at the expense of user understanding. In nutshell if its going to work I am going to need video, audio, animation, and graphics. These things not only help compress information in a way where it might be more understandable, but engages the audience and allows them to more quickly determine what stories would they like more information about so that they can make the choice of whether or not they want to read a more in-depth print article.

The web makes this available. Publications (Let me be clear I consider websites publications) can and should have multiple complementary media forms to help explain a story.

Inter Connectivity
In the olden time days of journalism a print story had a lifetime of one day. After that it was literally yesterday's news. That is not the case today and this is one of the main things I think the news world at large does not yet realize.

Stories are more often then not written and packaged in a way that assumes you know the background. The problem is we live in a world of quarterly hour updates. I may not have read that last story, but that's okay because it still exists...somewhere. There is no excuse in this online world of not making relevant stories available. Sure most pages have a few related articles but what about big stories that develop over months. That is not enough The site I know that does this best is the New York Times. They have topics pages, that collect all relevant New York Times media so that when a story is developing its easier for the reader to follow.

There is no excuse for not knowing when someone lies
To take this further I would like to see news organizations take advantage of the
near instantaneous fact checking potential of the web I would love to see in a debate where the moderator has the authority to call bullshit, or an interview where if someone is distorting the truth the interviewer is connected to a fact checking team that will help them get at the truth and also call well... you know. This could be amazing in video where people would be held more accountable for what they said.

Get to the Dataaaaa!
You could also link to the sources of information, which would be awesome, not just for news but for communication in general.We have the technology were we could set a scroll on the side of a video screen, on your computer, that would point to relevant links and graphics.

Think about it. Obama gives a speech where he says according to some study we need to do this. When he says that at the side of your screen would be a link to that study.

What really pisses me off is that youtube, youtube people the video distribution system of the masses already does this, but most major news websites don't.

User Interactivity
We are at an end of an age. The days are over were people just got their media. They want to talk to the people who make it, have a discussion about how it was made, and maybe a little input on how more of it will be made. You can't just give people an article anymore. If it was good they want to respond and they want to you to respond to their response. And the thing is that this is good. It not only shows that the audience is engaged, but may well keep them engaged. On my website I have to have a system for that. I want to reserve a time of day or the week were the reporters will be able to talk to the readers candidly, maybe even through a video digital town hall.

I would also like a place for user generated content. I would really like for this website not just to be about news but a place for people of my generation to congregate, so if people had videos, fiction,animation, or songs that I felt fit the tone of the site I would pay them and publish them, again like the escapist.

A vid from the escapist.

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