I have an autistic brother, and he can't defend himself.

He isn't a secret, but he isn't known either.

I meet and talk to a lot of people each year, and I form friendships or close acquaintanceships with a handful of them. However, there are a lot of people who know me who don't know I have a brother, and to press the subject further, many don't know he's autistic. I don't talk about him much or at all, but it's not because I'm trying to hide his existence. It's quite the opposite, really; I'm unconcerned with who knows about him. Instead, I lack a real relationship with him – he is not active in my day-to-day life, so there's not much to tell. I should explain the relationship I do have with him, but in order to do that, I'll need to go over my sordid history. Please approach this with an open heart because I am not proud about a lot of what you'll read.

My brother is the only reason I live in the United States of America. If he didn't exist, I would be in Israel. I'd have served in the Israeli military and finished college there. Of course, I'm theorizing. Any number of factors could have resulted in a direly different history for myself, but one fact remains true: We moved to the US for my brother in 1983. That move did not come lightly either. My parents were well-established in Israel, having lived there since the mid-60s, and all their friends and family lived there. Actually, all of our family still lives there. My parents, my brother, and I are the only ones in this country. Back when we moved, services for autistic children were not as good in Israel as they were in the US. I cannot attest to the disparity, but it is why my parents sought out schooling for him here in New Jersey at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center.

So we moved, settled, and began new lives. My life was already rather new – I was not yet a year old when we moved – so as far as I'm concerned, I've only ever been American with the exception of some household traditions. Eventually, I developed a conscious level with which to interact with people, including my brother. I cannot say I honestly understood what autism was, but I did know my brother was different, limited. That was the kind of thing that was obvious. He has Fragile X Syndrome, and the severity of it is high enough that it is immediately apparent that he's autistic, though he lacks the physical features you might recognize in Down Syndrome. It's not the same as your friend's cousin with Asperger's, who "seemed normal" until something appeared a little off. He didn't "grow out of it" or get better like Jenny McCarthy's child.

When it came to playing with my brother, I did so for a few years without major issue. We had figurines and Milton Bradley games that we would play together. I remember that we had two memory games, one blue and one green, which involved placing pictorial cards face down and trying to match pairs. (You had to have played a variation of this.) For a really young kid of four or five, this game is pretty engaging. My brother, of course, was seven or eight. Despite being aware of his autism, mostly because of behavior that I'll get to in a bit, it did not occur to me that we might mentally diverge from each other. Rather, I did not posit that he had stopped moving on the intellectual path I was just starting.

With my ever-growing interests, we played together less and less. What we did share was television. A lot of children's television is engaging to broad ranges of ages, after all. While I still had a vested interest in PBS and Nickelodeon programming, we'd watch that together. I remember that he really loved Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? But when I say that we watched the shows together, I mean we were two people in the same room watching the same program at the same time. We were not really interacting or talking. Well, we were, and that is where this story gets sad for me but mostly for my brother.

I would goad him continually. If you know a severely autistic person, then you might be familiar with how they handle being confused or agitated. Like many others, my brother is self-abusive and easily agitated. Like a little child, it does not take a lot to set him off. You may have seen the newest Tumblr sensation, Reasons My Son Is Crying, which brings a humorous photo-journalistic focus to the very random reasons toddlers will cry. Imagine that if instead of crying, he got really angry and hit himself with one or both of his hands. That is my brother and many autistic people – I can't even say it's just children because this behavior lasts for life and often gets worse as the person grows stronger. It is only in the last few years that I've come to understand it for what it is. My brother is not so much angry at someone or something. You can see it on his face. He's angry that he can't understand whatever has triggered him, and he is forced to relive that anger over and over as mentally capable people guide him for reasons he doesn't understand.

I was a terrible brother. The more aware I was of our differences, the more I would do things to push him over that edge. Why? I wanted him to just once respond like a normal brother. That is probably the most disgusting, reprehensible, and vile use of the word, "normal," I can think of. It carries with it such loaded projections of how a person should be while ignoring what a person isn't or can't be. But that's what it was, and it took me years to gain enough perspective to understand what I was doing. I would tell him he wouldn't be going to school, his favorite place, the next day, or I would tell him to go to his room for no reason.

Seriously, imagine that someone is threatening your right to control your life for no reason at all. You already wouldn't understand why, but you at least have the privilege of coming up with reasons a person could do it even if they are all unjust. My brother can't. He can't tell if I'm lying or just being mean, if there is a good reason to tell him these things, or if he's mishearing. What he can tell is he's being told something he doesn't want to hear, and lacking justification or rationale, he's angry about it.

Of course, this didn't happen minute after minute or day after day, per se, but it happened often enough that I can tell you that I was a terrible brother. Now, I tell you I never did anything that would directly harm him (hitting himself being indirect harm) or put his life in danger. I've pulled him away from walking blindly into the street, and I would do my best to make sure he did not try to lick the sharp end of a knife. But that doesn't make what I did do better. And my parents were not blind to it, either. I was punished many times when they caught me, the worst being for randomly pantsing him at a public lake. I tried to pass it off as an accident, stating I tripped and grabbed his bathing suit.

There is more to my side, which doesn't justify my actions at all, but shows how a child can be bullied into bullying. School for me was a lot of torture. It was never violent, thank goodness, but I was ridiculed on a daily basis. I didn't play sports or do anything cool, and I was really smart with a straight-A transcript until high school. This invited constant teasing that only got progressively worse when the other boys' hormones kicked in well before mine, and I didn't show an affinity for girls. Although I did grow up to be gay (or always was), at the time I was being teased, I wasn't really attracted to anyone, guys or girls. But like the usual non sequitur of "not one so the other," because I didn't like girls, I had to like guys, and that just wouldn't fly.

I hated the other kids, and I hated myself for being uncompromisingly different in every wrong way possible. In an abuse begetting abuse situation, I turned my attention to one who was weaker than I was, my brother. Again, this is not a justification. I could have been a better person at any point and chose not to project my anger against someone completely innocent just like the kids who teased me could have done. But I wasn't, and I didn't. If there's anything I can be thankful for is that I was not sociopathic enough to directly physically abuse my brother like he was an animal or an object. What I did was bad enough, though, and there are no excuses for it.

The only person I can and should apologize to is not really capable of processing my apology into forgiveness. He doesn't treat me like I did anything at all, though. It's almost worse because I suffered no consequence. When I entered high school, which was in a different town with different students, I was bullied less. I also bullied my brother less. I wrote those sentences separately and without a conjunction because I don't want to definitively relate the two. What I do remember for sure is that I was just tired of bullying, and my brother was not going to react like big brothers on TV. I mean, without having another older brother and with all the older brothers of my family living far away, what other root for what I expected my older brother to be could there be but TV? In that, media is dangerous; it will convince you that you and your life are not normal. I fell for it. My brother is not a very special episode. He's not done with autism after thirty minutes and a small PSA.

Both before and after I stopped bullying him, we kept to ourselves when we were not interacting poorly. I was really invested in TV and eventually had my own to watch without him, and he still had those figurines and memory games. When I got into music in 1995 (yes, there was a specific year I decided to acknowledge music), I started watching a lot of MTV and VH1. My first musical love and first CD was Alanis Morissette. What with music being plainly audible, when I would watch on a shared set, my brother eventually came to watch with me because it caught his attention. He also liked Alanis, which I was happy about. Celine Dion, who I hated as a singer, was also becoming popular, and my brother latched onto her music like a baby to its mother. Music was a thing we eventually shared again even if we had different tastes. I value that because we actually were into it together for a while, and I was civil.

In the year 2000, I graduated high school, and my brother was officially too old for public schooling for autistic people. That is a tragedy in and of itself, by the way, because many autistic people love it; it keeps them engaged and interested all day compared to coming home and having little to do. If you think about it, if you're always five years-old, you always want to go to kindergarten and see your favorite teacher and your friends. That was school for my brother. But I digress. In that final year, we found a group home for him to stay in, which is where he has lived since for thirteen years.

My parents bring him home to spend the day on Sundays, taking him back after dinner. If there's a holiday, they'll bring him for a few days, and they'll change up the schedule as they see fit. So despite everything else I was doing, while I lived at home and for a while after, I made an effort to eat dinner with my entire family. Although my brother and I kept to ourselves otherwise, I tried to make sure there was this time for us to share even if it was sitting across from each other at a table and eating quietly. I live more prohibitively far now, so I come on a few less Sundays, and someday, I may move too far to come that often at all.

But I love my brother. I do. And I regret all the terrible things I did to him when I was younger. Mentally, I'm completely flagellant about it. Every now and again, my mother will recount something, and she'll ask me, "Why did you do that?" I never answer. Her being angry with me for that handful of seconds is quite gracious  compared to what I probably deserve. Regardless, now you know I have an older, autistic brother.

More importantly, I hope you have a little more insight into what a large portion of our population has to deal with: people like me before I grew up. There are people who think "retarded" and "stupid" are the same thing. They're not. Although "stupid" is generally pejorative, "retarded" really means something. "Retarded" is not corny like music, a game, or a party. It means a person who wants to understand but can't. It means a person who hurts himself because he's angry he can't understand. It means a person who cannot even entertain a what-if scenario for being mentally able to understand.

It is a person who can't defend himself from you, from me, from ignorant people, from legislators who treat him like he's diseased or unworthy, from "professionals" who don't feel obligated to treat people equally, from people who stare and judge, from people who vote that they don't want a group home in their neighborhood, from parents who leave their autistic children with hospitals or homes never to see them again, from parents who don't get their children evaluated for fear of embarrassment or responsibility, from monsters who physically and sexually abuse the silent who can't articulate what's being done to them, and also from themselves.

We must protect them, the bare minimum being changing our understanding. You'll be surprised at how much you don't know once you begin to dig. One good resource for information and outreach is Autism Society. They are better than me. I wrote all this based solely on my learning from life, but those sites can help you get to studies and other people who can properly educate.

Thank you for reading.

Edit: Please also check out Supersiblings.org for more insight into the family dynamic.

Update 4/2/2015: Removed some ableist language and links to a problematic info source. I would also like to note that despite the differentiation I argue between "retarded" and "stupid," words that insult intelligence can also be ableist and often classist. Think of why you use them if ever.

For reasons that should be clear, I did not write my brother's name in this blog. This is to protect him and the residents of his group home.


Small Coughs of Dust

In a further fit of self-improvement, I've also been attempting to clean the apartment, our humble abode. Somewhere down the line, I let life pile up in various areas of the place, and all that life is covered with dust. I'll be honest, life becomes bleak when you let it pile up with gray dirt. And that bleakness makes way for further lack of ambition. I know our couch is clear, our bed is clear, and the kitchen is as good as it gets, but to some extent, the apartment isn't livable as it stands. The walk-in closet in the living room was not very walk-in. My desk was not usable as a desk. Our coffee table has no room for a cup of coffee and barely functions as a table. It goes on, but honestly I find it amusing that as you let stuff pile up higher and higher, furniture ceases to function as it's intended and instead becomes a shelf. I feel up to my ears in shelves, and until recently, I wasn't doing much about it.

If you watch a show like Hoarders, the common answer to the question of how things got so bad is a befuddled "I don't know." If you ask when, you get the same answer. I am feeling a bit of that "I don't know" right now. However, that's a knee-jerk response. If I had to think about it, I could name a few occasions of where giving a fuck stopped being an option. A home reflects its residents, and our apartment was beginning to represent people who weren't trying, maybe one person more so than the other. I'll be honest, with how down I had become about my body and various other aspects of my situation, I couldn't help but stare at my pile of unopened mail and think, "Why?" No one said anything. I'm just responding to that tiny screaming voice inside me attempting to compel me to open the mail and do something with it. The doing is another halting block, though. As long as I don't open the mail, I won't have to read it. If I don't read it, I won't have to throw it away or shred it or respond to it or call someone. There's never just one decision to be made, and I guess I haven't been in a decision-making mood until lately.

On May 7th, by some unknown force, I decided to take care of that walk-in closet in the living room. Scratch that. I know the force. The Monday prior, we had to empty the closet so Verizon could some and install their FiOS technology through the crawlspace down there. For the bulk of the week, then, Francesco and I lived in Box Town, population: 2. Five of those boxes, set in the dining room, were mine, and they were all relatively heavy with stuff. I moved into the apartment with all this stuff, mind you. The biggest box, easily twice as big as any of the others, was really staring me in the face. It stared me in the face when I wasn't even at home. I couldn't help wondering, "What the hell do I have in there?" The answer, my friends, is junk. All the boxes were full of junk. Junk, as I'm using it here, can stand for useful items, useless items, nostalgia, photos, birthday cards, notebooks, poems, artwork, art supplies, and other past-life viscera that I clearly have not looked at or needed for over two years.

Emptying this box was certainly a journey and one I was having on my own. Francesco was otherwise occupied with The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and plus, I could not expect him to tell me what to do with my own stuff, not at this point at least. Thus, I don't mean to imply I needed or wanted his help, but rather that you can't help but feel very solitary doing this kind of thing. You're perusing your own life as it is kept in a box, and no one can really treat the items with the same regard or disdain as you. I won't say that I laughed or cried, but I definitely felt something. Though in the end, I realized those somethings I felt only lasted as long as the item was within view. For two and a half years, I clearly wasn't missing anything in this box. I wasn't feeling any longing for the photos, any purpose for the art supplies, any need at all for any of it. In fact, my ignorance towards the contents of the box should stand as a testament to how little all of it really meant to me. And there were four more boxes!

I don't need to go over every item, but I'll let you know that I threw out and recycled so much stuff and all with relative ease. The "hardest" things to throw out (if you'd call it that) were the photos, of course, because those are visual depictions of memories, ones whose images I could not muster to save my own life. Letting go of an image in time can be scary, I'll be honest, but at the same time, I have not forgotten that the situations behind these photos have ever occurred. One day, I will forget, but maybe even that means something about their relevance in my life now. Ten years ago, I ate in a restaurant with a purple-haired guy named Nick, and I had stolen a sign off the Boston Red Line before dinner. Where does that fit in my current life? I don't even know Nick's last name or what he's doing nowadays. Five paper bags of paper and notebooks, one garbage bag full of useless wires and chargers, and one garbage bag full of plastic trinkets later, and I was down to just the one biggest box. It's not even full. The biggest question now is why did I move with all that crap? I did a big clean of my bedroom before I moved out, and yet these things were absolute musts going forward.

Skip forward to yesterday's project of cleaning off my desk. There were significantly less challenges here except for the dust, the goddamn dust. It was really like all I ever did with that desk was put things on it and never take them off. At the very least, I wanted to get some Pledge down on the wood. As awesomely efficient as a Swiffer duster is at cleaning up dust, it can't prevent all of it from entering the air again or more importantly, from entering my nose. Rather than being surrounded in nostalgia, I was mostly engulfed in a cloud of permanent dust swirling around my head. There was dust in the boxes, don't get me wrong, but they could not match the bunny-attracting power of my desk. Nevertheless, I got rid of a slew of junk including CDs containing drivers for hardware I don't own anymore and cardboard boxes for games which didn't need to be kept separate from the games I had in sleeves. Again, I moved with those boxes, and I do recall getting rid of a slew of game boxes before I moved, but I'm talking about the big kind. You know, the ones that were easily ten times the size of the CD case inside and had some labyrinthine cardboard structure inside to keep the case in the same center of gravity. So yesterday, I got rid of a lot of the smaller kind where I could. Some of them were simple sleeves for equivalently sized DVD boxes.

The feeling of isolation yesterday was mostly exacerbated by the fact that poker night was happening in the dining room, but I was okay. As I said, there was a lot less nostalgia going on at my desk. Next up is the coffee table which is full of the previously mentioned unopened mail. The only nostalgia there will be me crying over the ability to see the grain of the wood on the table.


Big Bowl of Joy

On Saturday, Francesco and I had the pleasure of trying something new for the first time (hence it being new, ahem). First, I’d like to state that we are total foodies. If something sounds delicious and it is moderately accessible, we will pursue it above all odds. If it’s supposed to be the best, that makes it all the better. For the most part, this desire for deliciousness led us down a remarkable path. Whereas I derive joy simply from eating something delicious and comforting, I gain the second bonus of Francesco’s joyful weeping. He doesn’t bawl at the table, but you see him get sniffly and moist around the ocular cavities. It’s a sight to behold certainly, and this trip provided no exception.

Saturday’s trip brought us to Ippudo NY on 65 4th Ave in Manhattan. This restaurant is a house of ramen. Of course, this requires a bit of disambiguation. Posting on FaceBook that we were eating ramen that night provoked responses of nostalgia for college days where Nissin and Maruchan were the norm in ramen. Admittedly, I enjoy those as much as the next guy, but real ramen served the real Japanese way offers a wealth of depth unseen in freeze-dried noodles and accompanying salty flavor packets. Of course, I have little to vouch for how the Japanese do it, and despite claims of being the Ramen King, for all I know the founder of Ippudo is considered a slop monger in his native country. (He could even be French!) Still, Ippudo manages to bring enough of a sense of authenticity that an American can appreciate without traveling too far.
However, I shan’t let this post go too far into restaurant review without being anecdotal. Initially the idea came from my friend, Jeff, who I’d consider worldly. He studied languages in college (though he didn’t pursue it as a career), and he’s always traveling. So when he recommends a place regarding a culture I honestly know little about, I take his word for it. It’s not that I know nothing about the Japanese, but I won’t pretend for a second that I really know their culture. Maybe Jeff doesn’t either, but that’s neither here nor there now. So Ippudo is the place he recommended, and on Tuesday, he told me we had reservations for 6:30 PM on Saturday.

Steadfast to this time, Francesco and I proceeded to New York taking a relatively early bus if only because I fucking hate rushing to my destination once I arrive there, an all-too-common occurrence especially when there’s a concert to attend. We arrived, took the subway, and were within blocks of our destination. Given our early arrival, we casually walked around the nearby streets if only to expedite the passage of time which had been slowing to nearly a crawl under the burden of our mounting excitement. We passed through an entire Ukranian festival; it was a block long. At around 6:15 PM, Jeff texts me to inform me he’s on his way but will be a little late. At 6:25 PM, Francesco and I go in to claim the reservation and just wait for Jeff.
Enter Front Cunt. I don’t mean to be entirely crass, but I do think she means to be a cunt. Our foray into this exciting world of world-class, top-rated ramen is a roughly 5’9” Japanese waif of a hostess with frizzy unconvincingly colored curly hair and a “Shut it down!” attitude that could bring our troops home from Iraq. However, this shiba inu poodle mix actively chooses not to use her powers as a bitch to end wars but rather to deny any semblance of class or basic customer service at the very front of a restaurant. I’ll note to you this restaurant is pretty trendy. Of the people waiting, they all were similarly-aged as myself and in small groups. This wasn’t Applebee’s in a mad rush to seat baby boomers with eight children none of whom are capable of listening to their parents or sitting without disturbing the other patrons. No, this place was pretty chill considering the wait time for people walking in is a coolly delivered “one hour thirty minutes to one hour forty-five.” By all this I mean to say, Front Cunt had little reason to be stressed out. She was running the show.
Upon mention of our reservation to her, she immediately stated, “We don’t take reservations over the phone.” I had no idea how Jeff made the reservation, but if he tells me on Tuesday that we’re game for Saturday, I believe him. Front Cunt offered no option to try and work with us aside from a short interrogation about the name and time again to both of which she quickly denied the possibility that the reservation existed. She could’ve read Seventeen Magazine for all it mattered; the answer would’ve been a tersely communicated NO. Jeff arrived within ten minutes of our dismay (and texts and phone calls) and went in to attempt to resolve. It seems he had made the plans through his friend, Lightning (picture provided for depth of possible references), who is a manager there. He asked about Lightning, and she quickly said, “He’s not here.” She didn’t even mean to imply that he wasn’t there at the moment. She wanted to convey that Lightning never existed in the first place.

It seems Lightning was running late for one reason or another. Details skipped, and he managed to get us in at 7:30 PM without consequence. Later, it was reveals that Francesco delivered Front Cunt a victorious raspberry as he passed behind her on the way to our giant tree trunk table. Thankfully, the service and Lightning himself were completely cordial. We had arrived prepared with the menu in memory’s tow, and I quickly ordered the Akamaru Modern (photo left), lovingly described thusly:

'The original tonkotsu' soup noodle with Ippudo's special sauce, miso paste and fragrant garlic oil; pork chashu, 1/2 seasoned boiled egg, beansprouts, kikurage & scallion

Except for the 1/2 egg, this seemed to be the perfect fit for me. In fact, the word, “garlic,” was enough to attract my attention, but still, it was a welcoming description even if I didn’t know what the special sauce was. At the very least, I knew it couldn’t and shouldn’t be fast-food’s uninviting combination of ketchup and ranch dressing. Jeff had the same, and Francesco ordered the original along with extra pork. I failed to mention pork is nearly his favorite substance on this earth next to diamonds, so a broth made from pork is just that much more intriguing to his porcine palate.

The food arrived in minutes, and quickly I picked up chopsticks and pretended I knew what I was doing. I’m not sure what it is about those ubiquitous sticks, but they mock me. In fact, I told Jeff before I began that one chopstick would most likely end up in the eye of one of the girls sitting across from us. However, after a good mixing of the sauce with the broth, I managed to make my way through the bowl heartily. Note also that the photo only shows the top of the bowl. The bottom is a good 8” below that and it is full of brothy, noodly goodness. I won’t pretend to be a food critic, but there was just this amazing depth of flavor in the broth like none I’ve had before. There was a great salt flavor rather than a great saltiness like something seasoned with a heavy hand. Rather, the salt was inviting, and so was the rest of it. I am not sure what each individual flavor I tasted could have been, but believe me that there were a lot of them packed into this amazing bowl of comfort. The noodles were super long and al dente, but they weren’t overly filling. The pork was like a soft bacon-flavored pork chop for lack of a sophisticated vocabulary to describe it. One way or another, the entirety worked for me, and the more I dug and twisted and spooned and slurped, the happier I was. I seriously did not want it to end, but it ended on a high note. I was full, but I was not sick from it. The portion was as appropriate as ever despite the daunting size of the serving.

It seems while I indulged and talked to Jeff on my left, Francesco was in his own foodie dreamland swimming in his piggy tears. (He noted to me that had Jeff not been there, he might have actually mustered up a good cry. Curses!) And so he ate “the best thing [he’s] ever eaten in the States.” He’s eaten a lot of wonderful things here, so it’s a bold claim, but I know he meant it. He even sank his chopsticks into a second serving of noodles, termed “kae-dama,” which was his goal from the get-go.

The food was good. The company was good. The conversation was good. It was a good night, which after parting ways with Jeff, ended with a nice walk back to Times Square in Saturday’s fortunate weather. If you’d like to go to Ippudo, I definitely recommend it. Before you suffer the stone demeanor of Front Cunt, though, I suggest you show up early, put your name down, and go look around for a while. Otherwise, you might just be hungry enough to mistake her hair for a fuzzy mop of ramen.


The Big Nothing of Atheism

I provide for you a definition:



1. the doctrine or belief that there is no god.

2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

I think I subscribe more to the second definition than the first one.  But then there’s this:


A denial of knowledge about whether there is or is not a God. An agnostic insists that it is impossible to prove that there is no God and impossible to prove that there is one.

That suits me better in some ways. Frankly, I’m not entirely sure why the term, “atheism,” implies an active disbelief in God or gods, but I suppose that’s the more commonly accepted understanding of it. But if you take the word apart based on its Greek roots, it means, “without god,” which is accurate. I live a life without God, gods, what have you, and I make few qualms about it.

Vehement atheism bothers me to some degree. I met some asshat atheists in my day. I’m talking about people that don’t believe in God (and yes, it’s GOD they are attacking) that they feel the need to impress such an idea upon every Christian (and yes, they are Christians) they can. I’m not going to pretend that Christians or members of any other religion don’t proselytize in many ways, but at the same time, if you don’t believe in any religious doctrine, why do you give a shit what people do believe in? Doesn’t vilifying a god imply that you believe it exists enough that you feel the need to attack it? I don’t get the concern. I don’t understand why someone inoffensively expressing his own religious ideas on the internet, either from a Bible quote or a simple thanking of God or Jesus for the day, must be met with such derision. I do not speak without reason, though. This article prompted this need to blog. Jump down to QuasimodoM’s comment, and you’ll read the spark. Go further, and you’ll read the fire…the idiotic fire. Initially, I missed QuasimodoM’s line of “Everyone is selfish and lives in sin,” but even with that line, I think the backlash was out of line.

Is there some rule stating that hefty video game play slowly nullifies the existence of God and reason? Of course, I’m assuming that any of the people who left these comments are over the age of 15 and don’t listen to Marilyn Manson as their pied piper of choice. It doesn’t matter, though. It is an adult article about an adult law which affects minors, black eyeliner and all. So when someone says he doesn’t support the law (good) because it is reliant on the family to choose (good) since everyone is selfish and lives in sin (bad), perhaps we can respond with a simple “Why?” or “I disagree entirely.” Comments stating, “This law proves there is no god,” followed by others stating, “There is only one God. The universe proves that there is God. The universe did not come from a ‘big bang,’” and summed up with “Just stop the religion talk. Take that somewhere else. We are here for games not religion.” all kinda lead down the dark path of irrelevance and quagmire, somewhere I don’t enjoy being when there is a greater topic at hand.

I don’t think there is a god of any sort. I don’t think Schwarzenegger has proven that. I don’t think anyone else has disproven it. I’m just saying that’s how I am. I guess, I’d more correctly label myself as an agnostic since I don’t think we have all the info, and I certainly don’t subscribe to a doctrine of godlessness. I don’t wake up everyday thankful there’s nothing out there. But you know what? I am happy in my beliefs, and living “without god” does not mean I don’t have any. It certainly does not mean I believe in the devil, which is also a god. One “doctrine” I do go for, though, is that if your beliefs make you happy and don’t hurt anyone, then there can’t be anything wrong with them. So shifting back to the discussion, I think everyone is at fault and nobody chose to appropriately bring the discussion back around without simply attacking one another. So maybe QuasimodoM is right in that regard, but he started it.

Moving on, though, I could elaborate more on what I do believe in and where it’s got me. I think we don’t know how the universe was created. I love science, and I do think science more successfully demonstrates truths in all aspects of life. It doesn’t mean we do have all the answers. As much as evidence as we have towards the Big Bang Theory, I’m not convinced that we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that that’s how things happened. Also, while it does serve to explain how the universe got the way it is now and how it will be, it doesn’t say where the matter came from. I believe in evolution and all its fun (and depression, but that shall be another blog), but I don’t know if we know exactly how different species developed, every factor and how to predict the next step for any of them. I know the religious counterargument is that both the matter had to come from somewhere and that life is simply too beautiful and too complicated to just be accidental. Insert God. That never made sense to me. Why aren’t we happy with just not knowing the answer? And yes, I am happy with the idea that we don’t know the answer. If we knew everything, what would be the point of discovery? What do we have to pursue if we can fill in some generalization to answer every question? It doesn’t make sense to me. A theory is just that. It stands until someone can outright disprove it, but that does not make it absolute. So let’s leave a question mark and move on to things we can prove or demonstrate.

I also think we have one life and it’s in our current corporeal form. I think when we die, it’s over, and that’s that. Again, I’m happy with this idea. We are given a finite time to get the most out of what we were given, and that’s so amazing. It’s unfortunate if I should die tomorrow, but I don’t think I’ll be spending a fucking eternity lamenting it. Do people understand how long an eternity is? Why do people want to spend an eternity doing anything? I mean, I understand how pleasant it is supposed to be in Heaven, but I really think that when others think of Heaven, they aren’t imagining forever. They say, “forever,” but the idea of the term ends when it does. In order to truly enjoy eternity, human nature would need go out the door when we die, because no human can truly just enjoy the continual nature of eternity. It’s really long. The great motivator to do anything is even the smallest conflict be it hunger or despair. We strive for betterment because of the negatives in place. What kind of life is it in a world with absolutely no strife? Why would we bother to move at all if we’ll never grow uncomfortable or hungry? I understand that I could just be demonstrating a complete misunderstanding of the concept of Heaven to those who love the idea, but that’s just how it comes across to me. Either way, I think there’s some beauty in being given a short time in the grand scheme of the universe to make our own mark in history and to affect others.

I don’t believe in a soul. It’s awesome that we all are so amazingly different and have individual personalities, but I don’t think that’s evidence of a soul. I don’t think science can determine everything that makes a person tick either. I think we just don’t really know why we tick the way we do, but I also think that’s amazing. Honestly, I think the discovery of whatever it is that we call “the soul” may be the final discovery for mankind and may just be the end of our species. (Yes, I think humans will die someday and that there’s nothing wrong with that.)

Maybe it seems dark or depressing, but I assure you, I’m anything but. I’m extremely cynical; I admit it. However, I am truly happy that there will always be the question of “Why?” I don’t even care if someone else I never met and never will know knows the answer to one of life’s great questions. I’m almost happy I don’t know that answer either. I’m happy I don’t think there’s a supreme being running the show. I’m happy that people are the causes of their own successes and their own demise. I’m happy that there are factors to the universe which affect us all, but we don’t know all of them, and we can’t explain them all. I’m happy I have one life. Damnit, I’m gonna make this life earn the name of Gil if it kills me.


Tragic Computer

My computer has been something of a touchy subject for me as of late. Well, my current computer hasn’t. Actually, it’s pretty wonderful thus far, but that’s mainly because it’s brand spanking new. However, if you asked me yesterday (most likely you would not), I’d have felt a small mix of rage and shame about it. Travel down memory lane with me, and someday, I’ll make it to the point.

My first computer was a Commodore 64/128, that is, it could handle both types, though without peeking at Wikipedia, I couldn’t tell you the difference between the 64 and the 128. Either way, it was a hand-me-down from a family friend’s son, Oren. (Not O-ren.) Being my father’s son when it comes to technology, this was the utmost blessing. I loved that computer and all its limited abilities. I remember attempting to pen my first novel in its substandard word processing program. I remember playing some hack of Mario on 5.25” floppy disks. I remember Print Shop. I even had access to a BASIC editor, but like Legos, the depths of my imagination never soared in the medium, and I was reduced to copying directly out of a BASIC game book Oren had given me in addition to all the hardware. (I failed also to mention the complementary dot-matrix printer.) Still I had my fun. However, I did not receive this “gift” at an appropriate time. It may have been my first computer, but Windows was already happening around us. I grew out of it, and soon, my father wanted to join the hub-bub himself.

So I received my Macintosh Performa 6300. It may have been 1994 or 1995, but the computer was actually relevant to the year. You may, at this point, wonder how I got from Windows to Macintosh with nary logical leap between one and the other. I also wonder this because I don’t know what provoked my father to buy our first Apple computer. Still, I loved the fuck out of it, and it was my friend on many an adventure only hampered by the limited amount of games available for both PC and Mac. I think the OS was 7.5.1 or something of the sort, but I do recall upgrading it myself up to 7.5.6. (My foolhardy father ignored the recommended system requirements and went to OS 8 and OS 9 after I had moved on thus creating a Macintosh Chug-a-lug.) On my Performa, I used my first copy of Photoshop 3, which was a trial version. In order to save my work, I would do a screen capture and copy it into some other standard program on the computer. My experience with the interweb also began here, as my friend Steven LeVine let me create a username on his account on AOL. I think my first name there was BloodCrzy; my morbid interests are another blog entry entirely. Anyhoo, this computer was my first opportunity to start making graphics and making electric friends, and that lasted me throughout most of high school.

In 1999, I think, I had received my first PC, or should I say, Windows PC, since all home computers are PCs technically. It was a Compaq Presario. I had a new found sense of excitement there, too, since finally, I had Windows like all my friends, and I had access to all the games normal humans did. However, it wasn’t long before the computer proved to be a pile of shit. The Presario coupled with Windows ME proved to be a combo for failure as it was the buggiest piece of crap I ever used. At this point, I cannot really recall what specifically went wrong, but went wrong it did, and I had enough after about a year. My father did, too, but instead of seeking out a new computer by band, he and our neighbor sought it out by part.

From 2000 until this morning, my PC has always been built for me with part repeatedly being swapped out for newer and/or better ones. The only constant throughout all my computer’s iterations was the processor: AMD. Also, the bulk of those years was spent using Windows XP once I had replaced my Windows 98. Complain as you will, but it was probably the most stable of the Windows versions in the past 15 years, though Windows 7 is proving to be popular now. I had always been comfortable with this kind of computer, and it certainly made me more intimately familiar with the insides, which most people have never seen. When it came to worrisome repairs or replacements, I could usually count on my friend, Sam Steele. He’s seriously responsible for 95% of all my troubleshooting for my computer over the years, and even though he’s since moved to San Francisco, he still plays consultant. However, about a month ago, it all went downhill.

My computer died. It had started dying well before then, but I assumed its occasional inability to power on correctly was the cheap-o Dynex power supply that I had purchased. I was wrong! After some back and forth troubleshooting, it was determined that my CPU had died. The very object that makes a computer a computer died. That was disappointing. Consulting with Sam and such about hardware replacements just proved to be convoluted. I won’t go into the thick of it, but in order to maintain what I had going also meant a complete lack of progress in terms of technology. So I bought a Dell! To be honest, my home brew computer was never perfect anyway. For the past 5 years or so, I had it splayed open like a whore in order to keep everything cool.All the panels of the computer were all over the place, and anyone could witness the “we all look like that inside” experience that was the exoskeleton sitting at my desk. It wasn’t an ideal experience by any means.

I got my Dell Inspiron 560 while I was at work today, and thus far, I’m pretty happy. It came preloaded with Windows 7, so I can once again join modernity. I’ve got a Core 2 Quad processor, 1TB hard drive which I’ll never fill, and an nVidia graphics card. Oddly enough, I could not find this combo through Dell’s website or even my work’s discount site. No, this magic combo, which I purchased through Dell.com only appeared when I searched the processor through Google Shopping. I don’t suggest searching for it now, either, since I can no longer find it myself.

I understand this blog entry is pretty mundane, but I guess it’s nice for me to see where I came from. Of all things, I am most amazed by the generations of storage media I’ve managed to witness. Remember ZIP disks? FAIL.


Up From the Grave (and Right Back In Again)

Yesterday, I had the incredible delight of seeing a good friend from grade school, Carl. He and I were buddies all the way through to 8th grade, but sadly, we went to different high schools, and then his family moved to Massachusetts during our senior year. The last time I saw him in person was when I went to visit him there shortly after I graduated. Other than that, we had little to no contact. I suppose, though I don't immediately recall, I found him somewhere on the interweb, and we managed to maintain an email correspondence about 4 years ago. I last emailed him in July of 2006 about some random garbage, and then yesterday, he emailed me back stating he's in New Jersey and asked if I was in Monmouth County, which is where we grew up. Honestly, my answer suffered some brevity because I more or less told him, "Nope. Come find me." But he did!

To be frank, I was a bit nervous about seeing him. Probably 20 minutes before he arrived, I had this sudden panic: What if we have absolutely nothing to talk about or in common? You know this has happened to you before. You're out somewhere, and you run into someone you abso-fucking-lutely loved in school/work/whatever. Your immediate conversation is an amalgam of "OMG Hi! How are you? What are you doing? Where are you living? How's so-and-so?" and it goes on. But once all the how's are answered, they devolve into what's, and then it becomes "so..." and it's over. You no longer are pulling pranks together. You no longer are going to your favorite place every Friday. You aren't even dealing with the same issues. What the FUCK was your friendship about? This is so awkward! I mean, it's lovely to see the other person, but there's nothing, not a goddamn thing to talk about from there. You don't even want to suggest doing something you used to do. The magic is gone.

Sadly, it becomes worse when you know you're in the area of someone you used to see all the time, and both of you actively pursue hanging out. You actually schedule hours of your day to devote to seeing this amazing person. I think my worst experience with this was the last time I went to the Bay Area in California. I actually went with a friend from high school, but she and I are still friendly and communicate without issue. We both were friends with this girl when we were in high school, and she lives in San Francisco. We made arrangements to meet up with her, do a little shopping, and then go to a Bad Movie Night together. Well, it wasn't the reunion I hoped for. I used to see this girl so often and pick her up in my car and go see independent movies together. I had such high hopes. But the night was mostly, "So..." Every now and again, she'd mentioned something particularly strange that happens or happened, but it was as interesting as reading one of those Strange Yet True books they had when you were little. Then the bad movie was actually so bad, it was humourless. (Star Wars Holiday Special, if you're curious.) My friend and I left early, and other than minor phone calls, I have not spoken to the other girl again.

Yesterday was nothing like that, though. Carl arrived, came in, sat down, and we just chatted straight through for a while. Of course, we asked how the other was, what the other was doing, and all the usual stuff, but we actually managed to chat about recreational time, relationships, and more. He was down here just for a high school reunion, so he had to go to that, but we managed to convince him to come out to dinner with us, and that was also lovely (if anything, because Francesco loves his barbecue). I also insisted he stay with us after the reunion. We have a free couch bed, and I cannot fathom seeing someone I respect so much overpaying for some dumpy motel. On second thought, though, we only had a wall unit for air conditioning, so maybe it would've been worthwhile. Oh, well.

Anyhoo, I appreciate life's little surprises, and this was certainly unexpected. My biggest ambitions for the day were for Francesco to cut my hair and for me to clean the bathroom. Only the former happened, though, once I received a text message (in perfect English, mind you) from Carl stating he would be over in an hour. I did, at the very least, vacuum the wall-to-wall carpeting that was our bathroom hall full of hair. To think I'd receive a reply to an almost four-year-old email and get to see someone I hadn't seen in almost ten years who I went to school with almost fourteen years ago is just an awesome drop of good fortune. I'm not one for signs, karma, or luck, but it was nice to have someone successful, intelligent, and interesting drop by my life so randomly. I hope to see Carl again, but even if we don't intersect, I find his visit yesterday to be inspirational. I could be. I really could be.

Note: Carl also is the first house guest to remove the sheets from the bed, put the couch back in order, and move our coffee table back into position AND pay for dinner. And he's single, ladies!


Light a Fire Under My Ass

Something I find really interesting about animals is their constant motivation. Yes, they don't have bills to pay, but when it comes to survival, they do anything and everything. It comes more easily to some animals than others, of course, but they always want to do whatever it is to live. Humans think they do, but movies like Saw are quick to point out that most humans only care about living when it is in immediate danger. Very basic actions like eating right and exercising just do not hold much importance for the average human, at least the average human in the United States. Even sedentary pets do what they can to jump around and stay agile, although being trapped indoors for years takes its toll on them at some point.

Where is it that humans go wrong? I know we learn behaviors from our parents and our environment and so forth, but honestly, how far does sheer laziness go back? Who was the first human that just did not want to get up and go to work, be it scanning items in a supermarket or clubbing a deer for food? I'd go on, but it's pretty clear where this is headed. Of course, I don't just have an outsider's interest. I think I suffer from a lack of motivation, ambition, and initiative.

I think I know where it may have started. When I was in grade school, I had a straight A average in school, was skinny, and liked to run outside and play. I was constantly recognized in school and by my parents for my achievements, and it was quite validating. Come high school, hours of studying (which I never had to do up to that point) paid off in a C grade, and I was very clearly not the best in my class anymore. I'm not sure if school was too easy beforehand, but I do know that as the challenge grew, I did not. Couple that with a rather horrific time coming out to my parents in the following year, and the recognition stopped completely.

I will not be petty and simply blame these things for my current situation. When it comes down to it, I clearly didn't feel motivated to work harder to achieve more (note that the coming out episode had little to do with achievement but just added more stress and broke initiative a lot). So here I am, more than 10 years later, and I'm overweight, out of shape, and underpaid at a job I really enjoy but does not utilize any of the skills I went to school for. This is not to say I'm not rewarded, but the rewards come for other things. I am rewarded with trophies when I play my PS3 games. I am rewarded with amazing taste when I eat tacos from Chipotle. I am rewarded with unwavering love from Francesco. As much as I love these things, in order to lead a completely fulfilling life, I need these rewards: a high salary appropriate for my age, a creative workspace, a healthy body, an organized lifestyle. Why I do not push myself completely befuddles me.

One of my favorite shows to watch on TV is The Biggest Loser. Here are people who have reached such a low point in their lives that they finally take it upon themselves to do something about it. Yes, there is a monetary reward on top of the life reward, but one must realize, these people are completely embarrassing themselves by putting it all out there. Until more than midway through, America is watching these people take off their shirt for the weigh-ins, revealing folds of fat, huge stretch-marks, and other unsightly features all in a disproportionately large body. These people are helping push lean turkey and filtered water while quite apparently not being poster children for such products - these are the people, after all, who we see in restaurants and think, "He shouldn't be eating anything at all!" And every week, these people cry, vomit, pass out, sweat, fall over, and lose their shit over a cupcake in the room, and the vast majority of them never see any money from the show, not the $250,000, the $100,000, nor other challenge prizes. Most reality shows are embarassing, but most of those contestants look good to the American public. I'm sure a poll would show that people would rather watch Snookie than Michael.

What does this all mean for me? I don't want to hit rock bottom. I don't want to embarrass myself in front of the nation. But these people are willing to do it because they know failure would only lead to more embarrassment. They basically have created a vicious cycle for themselves and upped the ante for achieving personal success in body and mind. I am currently not in a position to be embarrassed in such a manner, but do I want to get there? No. I stated that. So what's my problem? There are people who never get down and still manage to be motivated. My vomit rather than current contestant, hunch is that I need to feel, even taste, the rewards of living a good life, but since I'm not doing so now, and since it will involve hard work, I'm settling for smaller rewards to move me along.

It's not a way to live, but now it's all out there. So if I don't succeed, I'll suffer some modicum of embarrassment. For now, here are things for me to do in no particular order:

  • Acquire Adobe Suite CS4 or CS5 somehow
  • Reacquaint myself with Flash and learn ActionScript
  • Redo my website entirely with the concept I've had for months now
  • Buy, read, and learn HTML 5 as soon as O'Reilly releases their damn book
  • Start regular exercise
  • Join a gym or find a reasonably priced gym that I can afford
  • Eat better
  • Put myself on the graphic designer market again
  • Find a good graphic design job
  • Make money
And that's it.


Controlling the Weather And Looking Fabulous

I have this perpetual desire to be extraordinary and phenomenal. It borders on unreal, though, as oftentimes I imagine myself to have some hidden super power that nobody else on Earth could possibly have. Of course, I never came up with anything particularly original. I don't read comics, but anyone who has would recognize any of the machinations that pop into my mind. Given the opportunity to map my new powers to a character currently in existence, Storm from the X-Men has always been on the top of my list.

I enjoy her powers immensely, and part of the reason is they have the potential to be both destructive and constructive. I like the idea of balance, and control over the weather definitely provides opportunities to maintain such a structure. Of course, as much as I love Ororo Munroe for all the fierceness that she is, I don't want to embody all her characteristics, most notably her claustrophobia, which has little to do with her power, but it manages to incapacitate her at the most inopportune times.

That being said, I think there's a downside to her power possibly not discussed in the X-Men comic. I'm sure many people are aware, whether superficially or intensely, of chaos theory. More or less, it flows with the most metaphysical of ideas that every action has a consequence that cannot be instantly determined. Commonly, the example given is a butterfly flapping its wings has the potential to cause a tornado halfway across the globe. Maybe to some, it seems like nonsense, but we've all witnessed incredible domino effects in our lives, so I don't see why an example such as that should be so unusual. Of course, the theory doesn't imply that the tornado appears the instant a wing is flapped or that it has to happen at all. Either way, imagine the consequence that creating a tornado can have on a space across the globe. Hell, consider the consequence it could have on the next town over. In that respect, Storm's powers maybe inherently be more destructive than I ever previously credited her. We witness daily the continually changing weather conditions often to polar extents, and sometimes, meteorologists are just way off the mark. They are good at giving an idea, but honestly, they don't know anything until it happens. They may as well peer out the window and just let you know about that in case you haven't crawled out of bed yet.

So would I still want Storm's abilities granted that they could be fucking it up for everyone? Yes. It would certainly give me something to do, I imagine. Also, it would garner an incredible amount of attention. I guess that flows into themes of fiction through the ages, though, where super-powered persons are trapped by their governments and prodded. I don't wish to be prodded or studied. I just want to fly around and melt the snow when I see it. (Yes, that is ultimately more destructive, but I am allowed to be selfish in my imagination.)

I guess I am skirting over why I feel the need to imagine myself not just better but fantastical. I can't say I'm totally sure. I guess even at my peak, I've always felt there's someone better than me, but that's true for everyone. Nobody is literally the best ever at what he or she does, just the best recognized by the public. Recognition is something powerful. I have been recognized for various achievements, mostly through school, but who doesn't want the world to recognize their achievements? Not too long ago, I wondered if I had ever saved someone's life unintentionally. Bringing more chaos theory into the mix, I suppose I'll never know if some good decision on my part ultimately saved someone from dying or going down a dark path. That is neither here nor there, though, because I will never know and neither will the world.

Maybe I am just egomaniacal, or I have a complex. Either way, I enjoy my fantasies. At the very least, I know they'll never happen, so you won't see me jumping off a building in a foolhardy attempt to fly, nor will I go up against a group of thugs robbing the bank I visited on my lunch break. I'm a total sissy and I have such little muscle in my arms that when I flex, the space around them buckles inward. But it provides me some comfort to fantasize about what could happen if there just the smallest semblance of magic in the world. We all have to believe in magic and miracles sometimes. I don't care what religious background you come from, one way or another, you have to have wished for at least the sun peering through a dark cloud.

Even if it isn't overt, I think there's something to the friendships and relationships we build which seems almost magical. It's amazing how the people around you are such factors for change in your own self, how they influence everything you do and how they have the power to bring you up and break you down. When it comes down to it, though, love is an indiscernible thing, but it can heal you. It doesn't have to cure cancer, but imagine your ills without somebody there to smile at you sometimes. It isn't lasers out of my eyes, but if my love can save someone's life unknowingly, I have to learn to be thankful for just that.


The Internet Is Killing the English Language

I know it's never a good idea to make sweeping bold generalizations about anything. However, I think it is readily apparent to anyone who has browsed a social networking site that the English language is dying a slow death in terms of spelling, grammar, composition, and more. I'd say vocabulary, too, but I'm not sure the internet is killing that so much as the sheer apathy of this nation's citizens to learn more words.

What is clear to me is that our nation's youth (who grow or have grown into our nation's adults) feel that they are being let loose in their language when typing a message, a status update, or a treatise on weekend social inebriation. I don't know who is letting them do this, but it isn't I. The idea that Facebook or MySpace, for example, is not grading its users or preventing them from succeeding at a high level job creates this idea of great personal freedom to relax, for lack of a better word, their grammar. This, in and of itself, is a problem because many areas, exterior to Facebook and MySpace, are not as forgiving. I will note, though, that indeed, climbing the career ladder does not result in getting tagged in someone's photos of debauchery and will not get you three more pigs for your farm. Applying for welfare will not poke you back. And certainly, no matter how high your grade is on that English thesis paper, it will not like your status (not even in matters of irony).

The Internet has fueled an instant reward system that growing people value more than long-term rewards. Television is not helping, either. The Hills and Jersey Shore are more than exemplary in demonstrating that you can be dumb as dirt, one-dimensional, and embody all the poorer characteristics of being human and still succeed in life - success here is determined by fame or popularity and money. There's no major need to be smart. It may seem completely related, but I digress a little in that it does not require a great intelligence to have minimal mastery over the language you've been speaking since you were a child. It really doesn't.

That leads me to cell phones. I will not deny that it does require major effort to type entire words in a text message on a numeric keypad. I became a rampant texter myself when I still had a Motorola Razr, which does not have a full slide-out keyboard or a touch screen. But I persisted. I persisted because I could not fathom to send even my least-liked of friends a message stating, "LOL. I kno bcz she tot nds new bewbs." I'm not even entirely sure that's how someone would type an abbreviated text message, but it demonstrates a point if I have one at all. What I do hope I am conveying is somehow this need for brevity translated onto the Internet though the Internet itself predated the cell phone boom. I fail to understand that given a full keyboard and some minor typing skills why someone cannnot type full, clear English words nearly as quickly as it takes to type what I consider to be the brain's version of excrement.

Worse still is the majority response to my umbrage is "It doesn't matter. It's the internet. LOL." (I'll get to "LOL" later or in another post entirely.) Is that true? Does it really not matter solely because it is the internet? I can tell you it most certainly is not. A friend of mine, who is a teacher for the English department at a university, has vouched that he has received essays, entire essays, in "text speak." Maybe my brain is on another echelon, but I have enough trouble as it is reading the one to two sentences that people often type as their FaceBook statuses in text speak. To read an entire essay, which I should hope my friend does not, is another threat to my sanity entirely. This is where we delve into the slight possibility that schools and workplaces might even accept this drivel as standard.

If you are with me at all on this, you might think to yourself that that possibility is so slight it is practically non-existent. To that, I point out to you that a quick glance at the writings of our ancestors (or yours; I was born in a different country) will reveal that nobody wrote like we do during the time of the founding of our country. Admittedly, the most popular works were awfully romanticized in their English use, and there definitely were those who spoke like a scullery maid, but you have to realize the Constitution was written in what people then would consider English. As much as I love this language and all it has to offer, that document is Greek to me. Yes, I can grasp what is written, but it just does not read as easily to me as writings of contemporary society. I can read today's legal jargon with a lot less stumbling than I could read The Scarlet Letter (which is a verbose piece of garbage anyway).

More or less, English is changing, and the majority influences its direction. So my fear is that 100 years from now, text speak will become the norm. On top of that, I can't imagine what the literati will be speaking. I am only assuaged in that I am sure that form of "evolution," if you will, will not occur for quite some time and ideally after I'm dead. In the meantime, I attempt to correct and I metaphorically bring my red pen to every forum, but are my corrections followed by asterisks really making a difference? If all of us jumped on the grammar Nazi boat, do we have the power to change the flow of language? I am severely doubtful. Furthermore, I know the problem is present in other languages, too, though I do not know to what extent. At the very least, it is bad spelling.

As a little aside, I do wonder if the situation is poor at all in Hebrew, my birth country's language. Written Hebrew is comprised generally of consonants, and vowels are not placed unless there is a need for that sort of differentiation. Some consonants stand to represent possible vowel sounds, but that's it. For example, if we were to apply it to English, the sentence, "David cooks an omelette," would be written, "Dvd cuks an omlt," where vowels in that sentence demonstrate where there would be some indicator of the correct vowel sound for that word. The difference, which I cannot demonstrate well is that switching around letters in Hebrew, which would be just a typographical error in English resulting in a fairly recognizable word still, actually results in completely different words being written. Hebrew is dependent on the order in which the consonants are written, so I'd like to believe even an imbecile in Israel would notice that he just typed the wrong word entirely. I can't prove any of this without going and looking, but it is a curiosity.

Meanwhile, keep your red pen handy.


Let's Get Clean

This, my soon-to-be friends, is my first blog in a million years. I had a blog on a different site starting probably from before the term, "blog" came into fruition. So it begs the question: Why would I start a blog on a new service when I currently have one?

  1. Just like shedding your fat pants when you lose a lot of weight, I choose to shed the weight of my previous blog. I just don't feel that the bulk of my life from 2001 until sometime last year is of any importance anymore, and I certainly don't want to read about it anymore. That being said, clearly if there's something relevant, I will mention it here. It goes without saying. I will make a firm effort not to be esoteric here. If there is something worth knowing, and it's not visible in the last few posts, I will refer to it specifically and clearly or link to the post.
  2. Blogger is owned by Google. My new phone is a Droid. I only do web searches using Google. My email service is provided by GMail. If you're not noticing an obvious trend here, I don't know how I can explain it. There's a certain lifestyle, one that one is not born with, that I choose to completely immerse myself in.
  3. I have different goals with this blog. Whether or not it becomes famous and I dye my hair pink and ask Carrie Prejean about her views on "opposite marriage," I would like a more accessible blog this time around. I want to write with careful consideration of the random reader. My previous blog was very personal and very emotional, and though it was completely public, it contains a lot of garbage that only my "friends" at the time could understand the extent of it. First of all, I will not blog if all I have to say can be summed up in a FaceBook status. I hope I will have a nice flow of things to say or mention from my life, but it will not devolve into an amalgum of posts that make me and everyone involved look like whiny teenagers. Note: I don't plan for every blog to be totally insightful, but if I don't have some sort of narrative to give, it's probably not worth mentioning.

I've reached the standard list size of three items, so I'll leave it at that. I won't go into explaining everything "about me" now. You will learn all there is to know simply by reading, which is another goal (ha, four). I will apologize if a lot of my philosophies will be inspired and/or exposed by talking about my job, but when you work full-time, I think it goes hand in hand. If anything, you may walk away learning why I find something that sounds incredibly boring on paper so fascinating in actuality.

This blog has become obnoxious enough. Enjoy my mission statement until something else of value is excreted.