Tuesday, May 15, 2012


As far as I know I am not addicted to anything, which is one of the criteria of being an addict now that I think about it.  Let's see, I drink alcohol, mostly beer and wine, because I like the flavors and the way it mingles with food.  I don't like the feeling of being drunk, though being buzzed for a time can be enjoyable sometimes.  I have never smoked or taken illegal drugs and I have never wanted to abuse addictive prescription drugs.  It simply doesn't interest me.   I am far too concerned with organ damage, or impairing my cognitive ability, or damaging my genetic material to give drugs a try despite how awesome it feels for a minute, an hour or a day.  I suppose that sometimes I exhibit addictive behavior by doing something too often or to the exclusion of all else.  Loo calls this "binging" and it usually involves playing video games for too long without a break, or watching episodes of a show in sequence one season after another.

 What really interests me is how some people are enthralled by an addiction, I know a few people who do suffer from addiction, I lived with one such person.  It's as if saying no to themselves is impossible.  I have naively wondered why couldn't they just stop?  What is stopping them from stopping themselves?  What's the big deal?  Just stop.  But they can't.  Or they wont or they are unable to.  It's really quite sad.  I can imagine, a lot and vividly, what it would be like to be unable to deny myself, to live as a subject to myself.  I would be a tyrant otherwise.  My internal dialog would be, "Its beer o clock, lets get some!"

"I don't think that is such a good idea.  We have work later."

"Just one drink wont affect our job, c'mon, you know you want to."

"Well, maybe you're right.  Just one."
instead of, "It's beer o clock!, Lets get some."

"No, I got to work later."

"C'mon, just one won't matter."




Can you imagine?  You get an urge for something, say alcohol and you must have it right now, even if its 8am, or if you have work later or it messes up your plans.  Than you get drunk and can't make it into work so you call in sick and drink some more.

Its a life experience I don't have, thankfully, lucky me, but I empathize with those who do and I see, or at least I think I do, or imagine I do, how that life experience colors a person's personality and decision making process.  I'm not sure I am making sense here, it's just a pseudo-epiphany I had that though I may not have much money, and I spend most of my time away from my favorite people and things, I do have my health and I am not effected by addiction or psychological problems (as far as I know).  What a different life I would have if
things were different.    

PS:  After reading about free will, or the lack thereof, I think addiction is a great example of how we are slaves to our subconscious, it calls the shots and our conscious mind has to deal with the consequences.  thinking about not being in control of my brain is terrifying, though as far as neuroscience can tell, we are not in control in the slightest.  Weird.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The great Bup Escape

The other day while I was at work, Loo hooked Bup up to his dog harness (for a chihuahua) and clipped a 30 foot leash to him and corkscrewed it into the lawn.  This is the way Bup spends a lot of his time outside so he doesn't run away and terrorize the local populace.  He waited until Loo walked around the corner for one minute and couldn't see him and than he shrugged out of the harness and escaped.  Loo was shocked and devastated, and convinced she would never see him again.  She searched for six hours, but to no avail.  Bup was gone.

I came home, put her back together and had her show me where he was last seen.  She showed me the empty harness in front of the garage.  I put my writing techniques to good use, remembering an exercise that Gayle Brandeis showed me to get into character, and to know them.  (during class we thought about what it would be like to sit in the desk if were were very old, how our aching bones would not like the hard plastic, and then to imagine we were six or seven, how our feet wouldn't touch the ground and we would be looking up to everybody, etc)  So I laid down to the ground and got to Bup's eye level and started to look around.

I said, "If I were a large predatory reptile, where would I hide?" could see great places to hide under the tool chests, and under the cars, behind the shelves and next to jacks and tools.  The tool chest was closest, so I crawled over there and examined it.  There was a hole torn through the cobwebs down there, as if a baby dinosaur crawled through it recently.  But one of the wheels of the tool chest blocked the way behind the shelves, so this was a dead end.  From here I looked around, eyes not one inch from the ground.

I saw under the Firebird and a path to the other side of the garage.  It looked like a good place to hide.  I asked Loo for a flashlight and crawled over to the other side of the garage.  Here, next to the washer, clothes bins and piles of clothes I could feel the warmth of the water heater from the other garage blowing toward me.  This would be a great place for a cold blooded predator to hide. 

With flashlight in hand I pulled back a clothes bin and shined a light down into the corner behind all of this.  Bup looked back, his pupil constricting in the light.  It reminded me of Jurassic Park when Lex shines her flashlight into the T-Rex's eye and his pupil constricted.  I called out to Loo while pointing the light on Bup's face.  He started to hiss.  He knew he had been found.  I slowly reached back with the light in his face so he couldn't see me and dropped my hand on his cobwebby back.  He tensed up and gave one violent shake, but than I hauled him out hissing and bleary-eyed.  I gave him to Loo and she hugged him in joy and relief.  I was a hero.  Bup stopped hissing and acted friendly to her.  He has always liked her more.  Rotten lizard.

Stella and Bup

I write today on my day off (Ahhh, at long last) and with a large predatory reptile not an inch away.  Come to think of it, Bup is closer than my beer. 

Speaking of which Stella Artois is a very delicious beer, but we beer drinkers have noticed your lack of substance Stella.  I am of course referring to your 11.2 fl. oz. capacity, which is staggering in this day and age when many beers regularly hit the 12 oz. mark.  For shame!  Did you think we would not notice that the prices stay the same but the quantity goes down?  I'd get very upset about this if I didn't have 30 more of you in the fridge, so that's all I'll say for now.  But I will say those horrible words, most crushingly espoused by mothers around the world: I am very disappointed in you.  And that doesn't even touch my personal pet peeve regarding the paper wrapper.  I realize there is a perforated edge, but it never tears along the perforation, though come to think of it that may be a universal quality of perforated edges.

What was I talking about?  Oh yeah, Bup!  Now speaking of Bup, a two year old, two foot long, nine pound, Savannah monitor lizard, I thought I would tell you what its like to share a life with a large predatory reptile.  For those who don't know Monitor lizards are the smartest reptiles on the planet.  There is a really good nature show by PBS about this on netflix and elsewhere called Lizard Kings.  You should check it out, you can even see lizards just like Bup completing science experiments.  Bup and all his monitor lizard cohorts evolved from a large aquatic reptile called a mossosaur, look it up, but suffice it to say the Mossosaur was the tyrannosaurus of the sea, the largest apex predator at the time.  Because all monitor lizards come from this one giant, aquatic, super predator, they are all comfortable in the water and can swim effortlessly even when they have never seen water before.  They are also very smart, which is something that is hard to explain because they are smart in ways that it is hard to get used to.

Bup had a wooden cage with a swinging door that opened outwards, the door latch was one of those window clasps that you turn to lift a window straight up.  Bup found out, actually we both found out, that if you rattle to door back and forth the clasp will break internally and repeated rattling will flip the latch and open the door.  When I read that Bups were escape artists I thought to myself, psh, how can he get out of a cage with a door and a lock?  Well, he did and he explored the whole house. I had to come home from work early to find him for fear of him eating the cats or hurting the dog.  He was chilling behind the sofa. 

And though our 120 pound rottweiler Nina is loath to admit it, nine pound Bup rules the roost and Nina gives him a wide berth, as does Buddy our 110 pound chocolate lab.  But Murrs, our seven pound cat had to find this out the hard way.   When Bup was exploring the house, as he likes to do, Murr decided to stake a territorial claim.  Murr walked towards Bup and sat in his intended path and waited, stoic, proud, fearless.  Bup walked forward, moving like a dinosaur--which I have to admit is part of the appeal--tasting things along the way until he came face to face with Murr.  An epic stare down ensued between  Felis catus and Veranus exanthematicus.  Cats, it is said, have an abundance of patience, but pales in comparison to that of a cold blooded reptile.  And while they locked eyes, Murr looking down at the reptilian predator that outweighed him by just a couple pounds, she must have thought she would win this stare down being taller, unimpressed and stoic.  Bup could have been cast from bronze, he was absolutely motionless, though when Murr moved so did he.  I was on the edge of my seat, both in preparation to break up a fight and in excitement, until it happen.

Murr, incapable of waiting any longer, leapt at Bup in a preemptive surprise attack.  It happened so quickly I could do nothing to stop it.  Bup's tail came from nowhere and bashed Murr mid-flight, like an anklyosaurus, knocking her aside where she scrambled up the couch, across its length, and back down to the carpet where I could hear her running down the hall in abject terror.  Bup watched all of this, and when she was gone Bup looked forward and continued exploring, as he had before he was so rudely interrupted.

The other day I went to get Bup out of his new Bup-proof cage when I saw he had rearranged it.  There is a large beer box that functions as his hidey-hole (pet stores don't make commercial hides Bup-size), a large plastic tub full of water all of which sit atop an indoor outdoor carpet.  Well, today Bup moved all of this around so that he had made himself a cave out of all of it, and it hid him from view from the outside.  I had to go looking for him before I found him in the corner seeming poised to escape when I wasn't looking.  Bad lizard.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

JC was not my homeboy

I have a million things on my brain right now, so I dont know where this will go, but...

Yesterday I listened to a talk by Richard Carrier who is a super smart guy, holds a PhD in History and is an expert in ancient science, or about how and when and where science took its first steps.  He talks about the historicity of Jesus and the events in the Bible.  I had thought, based on what I had read a few years ago, that there was some secular account of the birth, life and death of Jesus of Nazareth.  LIke a Roman execution warrant for a one Yessuah Christ, but no.  There is practically nothing, and what remains is a huge collection of documents written fifty years or later after Jesus allegedly died that explain what it was like to hang out with Him.  Of course they can't write about it, because Jesus died fifty years or more before they got around to writing it.  Its very involved and I dont have time to go into all of it, but it is truly fascinating.

The thing that gets me though is how the Book of Daniel is a forgery.  It was written around 300 bce when Daniel was trying to be a apocalyptic prophet and applied to the Greeks taking over and killing everyone around that time.  The book of Daniel is the one that talks about the prophesy of a son of God, that comes, gets sacrificed, and God does all the stuff mentioned in Revelation, all that scary end of the world demons humping your face stuff.  So they wanted to find the prophet to sacrifice the guy to start the end of the world and get up to heaven already... only Daniel didn't finish the book in time.  He failed.  New people took his book, recalculated his end of the world time tables and found out that the new messiah comes around the year that Jesus allegedly came.  This period of time in history is plagued with messiahs, they were all over the place.  The Romans, and Jews crucified (false) messiahs left and right.  Why was this place so plagued with Messiahs?  Because Daniel said the messiah would come at that time and start the end of the world.  Lots of people wanted to be that messiah and were willing to die for it, and many did.  Is it any surprise that one of those messiahs acquired a following after his death?  Taken this way Christianity doesn't seem any more real than a failed end of the world prophecy, which the evidence points to.

In my estimation, because of the power Religion has over people and policy and the minds of millions, people will be drawn to it and ask questions.  As science, archeology and the like improve we will be able to make new inferences about ancient civilizations, culture and creeds.  Because Christianity draws so much attention, it will be studied most.  And after years of study Christianity already seems very much like the rest of religions started in that area.  Not unique, or more true, but an equally unlikely hypothesis about the origin of the life of humans.  I look forward to future years when we know more than we do now, not because religion will be undone, but because the mystery will be revealed, and we will know.  A revelation much deserved and eagerly awaited.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Bup says, "Sweet Dreams!"

The three guys who write podcast

The three guys who write (though not as much as they would like) podcast...

I joined my writing buddies Jonar and Matt in a writing podcast called two guys that write.  Now that we all like my input and have fun the name has to change to the Three guys who write.  It's a lot of fun.  And sometimes it is all the writing I can get in a week, even though it isn't writing.  I'm still thinking about it.  And that obviously worked because here I am, writing late at night before bed just for a bit.

In listening to Matt explain how he can write in ten minutes I understood how I could use his method.  Moreover I saw how I was making excuses for myself to prevent any writing at all.  I think what sealed the deal for me was when Matt said, paraphrased, "Well you could write ten minutes and make it goo because you dont have any other time to write so it has to get done now, or you could wait for more time to write, which never comes."  Which made me think about how and when I write.  I dont.  Though if I did write ten minutes a day at the end of the week I would have an hour in the writing bank, which is one hour more than I would get otherwise.  My current method of complaining and making excuses hasn't gotten me very far.

So Matt, this blog post is because of you.  And Jonar too of course because he facilitated this whole idea, which gives me hope for our little podcast; if it can help me get out of a rut, maybe it can help someone else.

While I recorded the podcast Loo recognized my moment of weakness, how I could properly defend myself.  She took this moment to sit on my shins and attempt to paint my toenails.  I tried to kick her off without making too much noise, but it didn't work.  I knew that much when Jonar said, "It sounds like you are fighting a war over there Brian, are you ok?"

Towards the end of the podcast Loo started playing DOAX Beach Volleyball.  And I was distracted by the jiggle physics.  They are off in this game.  Each boob moves independently in an unnatural way that is both distracting and off putting. 

I guess that is it.  Time for bed and sleep and all that jazz.  I look forward to my ten minutes tomorrow.  I will try to have something worthwhile to cram into that ten minute block.  So... a reva derche as they say in New York.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Strong women

In a story I like my women strong of character.  It's kind of a big deal for me.  I have always been into women, which led me to take classes about feminism or feminist studies and gender and a bunch of others.  When I see a woman in a story that is stereotyped or hollywoodized I pick up on it quickly and it turns me off, not sexually, just in interest with the story.  Helpless women that wait around for their men to do something for them, passive characters like whats her face from Twilight stories, rubs me the wrong way.  I want my women to be the arbiters of their fate and I like to see them reconcile their feminism with the task they need to do.  So while they are out there kicking ass I also want to hear about love and being a mother, that struggle between being a tough chick and a mom or a lover is so much more interesting than a sexy badass girl. 

In the movie Aliens, Ripley (a female main character) lost her daughter because she was in cryosleep for too long and her daughter outlived her.  When she finds a little girl that is a survivor on this colony she takes to her like a mother would, obviously we know she lost her daughter and we know this new girl is about the same age as her daughter was the last time Ripley saw her.  In a way she needs to make up for failing her daughter, so when the Aliens get Newt, the little girl (for those who haven't seen this movie drop what you are doing and see it right now) Ripley goes into the HIVE of the aliens and rescues her before the colony explodes from nuclear meltdown.  She doesn't wait for a guy to tell her what to do, or to go in for her to rescue the girl and she doesn't leave her behind like some kind of heroic sacrifice.  She goes in there, kicks ass and escapes with Newt who calls her mommy.  We know that is what Ripley has wanted so badly that we feel it too, the story satisfies us on multiple levels.  That's desirable. I challenge you to find another movie that addresses these issues.  You need a movie where the main character is a woman, isn't a passive character, and can move between the roles of hero and woman, either as a mom or as a lover.  Firefly does this really well with Zoe the Warrior woman.  Maybe I just like that dynamic between the lethal bad ass and the soft woman, like she can be on the 'fair maiden pedestal' but she can also step off and kick ass and climb back up there, you know, like real women.

Think of women in movies today.  Like the movie Salt with Angelina Jolie.  The movie was originally made for Tom Cruise but he backed out at the last minute so they brought in Angelina Jolie.  I like that she is a bad ass spy chick, but I get a strong masculine vibe from the character because she is very direct and kicks ass like any action movie guy would.  where is her feminine wiles?  Where is her struggle to reconcile life giver to life taker?  No, no, we couldn't have any of that, she will be bad ass number one, a role which any actor  can slip into without changing the story in the slightest.

Loo made me read some of Twilight and I remember reading it and seeing this passive character.  I finally yelled at the book, "Do something!"  Than they made a movie. Now all kinds of young girls read the book and see how everything works out for the girl because she waits while things happen to her, guys fight over her and on and on.  So the message is, girls just wait for the guy to figure everything out for you. 


It makes me CrAzY!   Glad I got that off my chest. 

Carry on.