Friday, February 29, 2008

Death on 501

I woke up semi-early this morning, got myself together, and hit the road to finally take a drug test that I've been trying to take for days now. I was driving down 501 with my Ipod on random and it was finding all the songs I could possibly want to sing along to. I rolled down my window letting the wind kiss my unshaven face and the sun tanned my freshly shaven head.

I saw the Waccamaw Medical Park coming up on the left signifying my supposed stop, but I kept going. For some reason I couldn't handle the apathetic traffic of four hostpitals and two dozen specialty buildings. (Plus the energy drink and two glasses of water I drank, weren't beating on my bladders door yet) I kept driving for another thirty minutes. Eventually I was driving down a two lane road in a small town, untouched by today. The dirty rolled back prizes of Wal Mart hadn't put Tom's RCA TV and Home Pawn Shop out of business. A Mr. Waffle sat at the crossroads instead of a Wafflehouse or IHOP.

I circled a small lake and started heading back toward my test. Dave Matthews "Grave Digger" came on. I've never been a huge fan of Dave Matthews. He's had a couple songs I've liked, but nothing ever made me go out and buy a full record. The group of people I hung out with in highschool always made fun of this song. I never really listened to it until today. It's a melancholy look at how much Dave loves life, but hasn't ignored the inevitable death. Dave Matthews reads several tombstones and assigns a story to each personality. He then pleads with the gravedigger to dig his grave shallow so he can feel the rain. I started wondering if my friends made fun of this song because they were afraid to acknowledge the grave. The isn't a bad song. I would actually say it tetters on a the line of being a good song.

I guess this song, seven years after its release, has finally affected me because today I was enjoying life, but I wasn't denying my death someday. For one of the first times in my life, I didn't feel like I was pushing the inevitable to the back of my mind. It felt as much a part of me as my videogames, or books, or writings, or albums, or...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Be Kind, Rewind

We just saw "Be Kind, Rewind." It's a movie by my favorite director, Michel Gondry, (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep) about a man (Jack Black) who gets magnetized (I won't say how, its hilarious) and walks into the his regular hang out (a VHS rental store) and erases all of the tapes. The owner has left the store in the hands of his only employee who starts freaking out not wanting to get in trouble with his boss. How do they solve this dilemma? They film their own recreations of the customers favorite movies. The movie was hilarious and included remakes of movies like "Ghostbusters," "Rush Hour 2," "Driving Miss Daisy," and "The Lion King." It makes you laugh a lot and cry in all the right spots. I suggest seeing it.

Other than that the day has gotten cold and dreary. We bought a Mo-ped yesterday and rode it around all day. Thats right, we own 49.5 cc's of badass scooting action. We bought it as a cheap second form of transportation. It was under $1000, gets 90 miles to the gallon, and lasts for about 12,000 miles. The only problem with it so far is its given us motorcycle lust. Sal said it best, "I'm riding it and thinking that 45 mph is fun... but what if I was going 80."

I supposedly start some working this week, although my boss never got back to me on Friday as to where I go for restraining training, my drug test, and if fact I get to start this week. So we'll see how that turns out. We also finally named the second cat "Moeba" because he slides and contorts like he has no true form. Like an amoeba.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Where the kittens run wild

I noticed that our kittens both wait for when me and Sal come home... at least Crash does. Crash sits on this end table we have next to the door and is always waiting to great us. Thomas, on the other hand, comes running anytime we are feeding the cats meat and he likes to snuggle against us and play with us.

Then there are other times when the cats stare longingly out the windows like they have memories of their ancestors running wild, catching their own prey. Sometimes I wonder if we should've domesticated animals at all. Sure it makes humans lives easier and better, but why do we feel the need to conquer so much.

War exists when one nation wants to conquer another. Medicine is the attempt to conquer disease and death. Exploration is the need to conquer a new nation or perhaps a new planet faster than our peers. Why is the human race a race to conquer the galaxy? Do we always need to take and study and analyze and organize data? Is it human nature to bend the rules of nature to suit our needs? Would both my cats be happier surviving on their own?

I watched a history channel documentary a couple weeks ago called "When humans are gone?" Like the title suggests it was about what happens when humans are gone, and the world returns to its state of normallacy only a couple decades after we're gone. Our buildings are adapted as habitats for the animals that outlive us. This isn't a comforting thought. All of the benefits our conquering have created hang on by a thread. Something as small as a bacterial strain or as large as a nuclear missile is all it would take to wipe us out.

Anyway on a lighter note, a couple days ago I was looking at the meat in Wal Mart, deciding how much beef I needed to make stir fry when I came across two odd meat combos that I've never seen in a store, especially wal mart before. One was a log of cow lard. I'm sure this is used to cook or add flavor or something, but who writes on their grocery list "4lbs of processed cow fat." The second weird thing they sold there was cow tongue. I know this is a delicasy around the world, but in the United States... specifically South Carolina... Cow tongues... Wal Mart... really?

Friday, February 22, 2008

This Crazy Week

I haven't been blogging as much lately, so here we are.

Wednesday I started getting a scratchy throat and couldn't sleep at all. Laying on the couch in my underwear having a tough time breathing at 9:10 in the morning my phone starts ringing. Its the Lighthouse Care Center wanting to offer me their computer tech job. I go in at 1 in the afternoon to talk specifics. Basically I will be running their computers and network. Since I haven't dealt with networks in several years and I know there have been leaps and bounds in the technology, I'm going to go buy networks for dummies today. Just to freshen myself up enough to where I can fix a problem should it arise.

She had me fill out some paperwork and get my first round of mandatory TB shots. She wants me to take a drug test that day, but I have to get the car back to Sallie. Whole day took 2.5 hours, not a bad day of work. The next day I have to wake up at 7 in the morning (something I haven't done for nearly a month) and go to CPR training which is supposed to last from 8-4. I get less sleep that I did the night before largely thanks to this sinus infection getting worse and our new kitten thinking its kitty play-time all night long. Total, I think I scored 2 hours of sleep. I have to force Sallie to wake up and drop me off since this is supposed to last well into when she's at work and we only have one car and this city has no public transportation. I had told Lighthouse when I interviewed to give me a couple days notice before I would have to do anything so we could procure another form of transportation. So Sallie was going to have to drop me off and I was going to have to get another person to drive me home.

Luckily the thing only lasted until noon. I called Sallie for a ride home and woke he up a second time. I wait about twenty minutes and finally she picks me up in front of an abandoned fast food donut shop, and she's not happy. Apparently kitty play-time is not only during the night, but during the day too. And everyone wanted to call her. She's not happy and extremely tired. I'm not happy cause I'm tired and sick feeling. (my voice wasn't much more than a whisper at this point) So she sleeps for two hours, I sleep for about thirty minutes and the she's off to work.

I spent the rest of the night sucking down tea and chicken noodles soup and soaking in the bath. I still feel like crap today but I have lost of errands to run. I have to call the insurance agent, figure out where my noodles and mizzou W2 forms are, possibly buy a mo-ped (cheap form of second transportation) grocery shop, take a pee test, call me job and find out when I'm going to start working, and go by the bookstore and get a network book. I'm hoping I can accomplish all of this quickly, for I need to rest and by rest I mean play this addictive game called the Elder Scrolls Oblivion. I owned it before, played it for 72 hours and still hadn't beat the game. If the game didn't have a glitch that wouldn't allow me to beat the theives guild missions I probably wouldn't have sold it. Recently they released a new version with another thirty hours of gameplay and the glitch fixed. So I'm trudging through the Mages Guild, and want to finish it tonight so I can sleep easily.

Sallie is off all weekend, which is well deserved. We are going to go to this wine bar and restaurant tomorrow night. We gave up drinking for Lent, but it turns out that one day a week you can do what you gave up. Being the good Catholic I am, I only figured this rule out, twenty-three years into my life. At least for the first fifteen years I didn't observe this one day a week rule. Other than that I think we might make some burgers this weekend, and who knows what else. we've also been playing this Wii game together called Zak and Wiki. For all the guys out there, its pretty much the most girlfriend friendly game ever created. Its about pirates and puzzle solving. The men feel good about playing as pirates, and the women find its cuteness addicting.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The top list returns- Presidents Day Edition

In honor of Presidents Day I've decided today will be my top fictional presidents list. This list was particularly hard because surprisingly Presidents usually don't play large parts in movies and tv shows. The merely make apprerances. So I had to dig deep and find five that I thought deserves this list.

Billy Bob Thorton as the President in "Love Actually." Billy Bob is always the rude and crude drunk in his movies, so when he appeared in the British romantic comedy as the president I was a bit taken aback. However, as president, he is still as rude and as crude as ever telling Britain to piss off and making a move on the Prime Ministers assistant. He gets two out of five salutes.

Cotter Smith as President McKenna in "X-Men 2." The mass hysteria caused by mutants puts this president in a tough spot. Should he force mutants to register, thus exposing their families and friends to possible violence, or should he let the mutants keep on doing their thing. Nightcrawler easily makes it into his office beating the crap outta the secret service only to return later with several of the X-men. The president is sort of a wuss, but he still manages to get to mad props for sending a military squad to Professor X's mansion only to have all of them torn to pieces by Wolverine. Since he pretty much just gets his arse kicked at the hands of the X-men he only gets one out of five salutes.

Bill Pullman as President Thomas J. Whitmore in "Independence Day." Will Smith takes most of the good lines in this movie, but who can claim that Pullman's speech before the air assault on the aliens doesn't give you goosebumps. He has me wanting to "celebrate our Independence Day" every day. Not only does he fire up the hundred or so pilots, but he jumps in a jet and flies on the front line personally kicking alien butt. I'd fly beside him and into an alien WMD (only if my missile was jammed) any American holiday. Whitmore is a certified bad ass and gets four out of five salutes.

Richard Nixon's head in "Futurama." I almost chose Nixon from Back to the Future two for running for a fifth term, but I have to go with Futurama Nixon. Nixon wins the presidency several times over in the future and rules with a robot body. (Which he uses to rampage through the city on the eve of his victory) This version of Nixon almost makes me want to forget Watergate and embrace the criminal as my president. Nixon gets three out of five salutes.

Harrison Ford as President James Marshall in "Airforce One." I've saved the best for last. Harrison Ford already gets major points for not only being Han Solo but also for being Indiana Jones. However, Airforce One would've jumped him to the top of the list anyway. Not only does he defeat an entire gang of terrorist aboard the famous jet but he does it in style. Who could forget "GET OFF MY PLANE" and then bam, punch to the face and terrorist falls miles to the ground. Mr. President I give you five out of five salutes and a "Mission Accomplished" banner.

The top list returns- Presidents Day Edition

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fast Food Knights

Sallie had a day off yesterday and we filled it with perhaps the greatest thing we could have. We had dinner at (now raise your reading voice to a bold almost yell) MEDIEVAL TIMES! We sat in the green knights section and cheered on the knight the others called a drunk. However, he was a complete bad boy. Long flowing hair hugged his shoulders as he beat every knight he fought. (Until the last one)

The food was good and the battle better. I won't ruin any of the surprises, just in case some of you end up going someday, but it remained largely unchanged since the last time I went there 5 years ago. So if you've been before, it probably hasn't chanced much.

I had a job interview on Friday for a teaching gig at a behavioral issues clinic. Its a pretty exciting job. It was basically be a "Dangerous Minds" situation where I'm the cool hip teacher that all the "bad boys" and "bad girls" grudgingly fall in love with. So hopefully things work out with that.

Today we are going to go down to the beach and do a hardcore house cleaning. Fun stuff all around.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Cat has been redeemed

So finally our new cat has come out to play... a lot.

I don't know if I explained this before, but for some reason unknown to me, I started calling the new cat Thomas, so we've just been calling him Thomas. Anyway, the cat is all up in my business now. If I'm playing videogames, he's rubbing all over my controller. If I'm typing, he's on the keyboard. (at one point he spelled "killll" which was kind of scary) Basically, if you're within 15 feet of him, he's rubbing all over you.

Another thing I've noticed is he seems to slide over everything. When's he's in complete pleasure mode his feet never touch the floor. He will lay on his back and slide across my lap, up onto my shoulder, and then down on the floor.

I blame catnip. I bought some for the cats the other night, thinking this will entertain me and get Thomas to quit hiding. How right I was. Now they tear the house apart, always running never cautiously, knocking things over, and their pupils are always dilated. For those of you who don't know, catnip's smell for some reason gives cats a high similar to a human's cocaine high. No scientists have figured out why it only affects cats and not dogs or humans, but it makes them go nuts.

On another note, I finally have a job interview at a place I'm pretty excited about. So hope and pray for me.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sore muscles from dreams

Last night I had a dream that I was going to soccer camp with everyone from my third grade soccer team. The weird/creepy thing was my brain filled in the 13 year gap from the last time I saw most of these people. (I haven't played soccer since 3rd grade)

I never got to relive a soccer game because I woke up shortly before the first whistle would've blown. However I ran drills, ran laps, and ran up and down this hill that we used to practice on behind the Bellefountaine Rec Center. The most awkward thing was an old friend of mine, that had a height problem (he was legally considered a midget) became the team doctor. He didn't know what he was doing, the coach (who I never saw, it was like Dr. Claw from inspector gadget or a Bond Villain) forced him into the doctor role. The only thing he was taught was how to check us for testicular cancer, and he checked all of us. I've never felt so embarrassed in my dreams and what does that say about my latent homosexuality?

Anyway I woke up with sore muscles. I did work out last night which is the most obvious reason, but the muscles that were sore felt very similar to how I would feel after a soccer game. I started thinking, could my mind possibly have tensed up certain receptors in my soccer playing muscles? Dreams are weird, they can affect how you feel when you wake up or cause you to wake up with cold sweats.

I got kind of tired mid-dream thought process so I'm going to move onto something a bit more nerdy. This morning I woke up early and beat Mass Effect for the Xbox. This game was touted as a "Space Opera" and took my about 25 hours to complete. It was epic. Because I beat it this morning, my gamer score finally creeped above 1,000 again. I'm about a third of the way to where I was before. So YAY!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Our new kitten sucks

We got a new kitten yesterday to keep Crash company. Unfortunately, the kitten tricked us. It was rubbing against the cage and purring the whole time we were at the Humane Society. We figured, great a loving cat. (Crash doesn't like to be pet. She likes to play... all the time.) This cat since its been home, he's stayed under the bed. He's gone to nibble on a bit of food. He's hid under the couch. He's pooped. (And then hid in the litter box)

So far, waste of $80. I hope he starts coming out.

Other than that the job search continues. I've applied to 3 more places this morning. (Total of 27 places now I think) I'm going to spend some time writing today.

I've been dropping weight like gangbusters too. I was up at a disgusting 209lbs and now I'm down to a sweet 201. Wifey and I have been working out every night, so I'm assuming I will probably get down to something around 195 before I start building muscle-mass to cancel out the weight loss. I'm ready to not have a college body anymore, and get my highschool body back.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Jason Mewes made me feel better about myself

For the past couple days homesickness and joblessness have been wearing on me. I've been feeling down about the fact that I can't seem to find a job that I couldn't have gotten without 4 years of expensive education. I had small hopes in the fact that I was going to get my alternative teaching certification and become a teacher. Today though, I found out that the teaching job I was gunning for seems to have been filled. This means that even if I get into the program, it means nothing. I can't get certified. I can't get a job teaching. Basically I would pay almost $400 in testing and application fees for nothing. This was completely disheartening.

Tonight I didn't have the urge to play videogames or even write. I found myself reading "The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith." (The director of some of my favorite flicks, Clerks (I and II), Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma as well as the creator of the well known Jay and Silent Bob characters.) This is basically his day by day blog put into a book. Most of it is a behind the scenes look at Hollywood and film making as well as some great rants against some famous folk. Each day usually starts with him taking his morning crap and ending with him watching Tivoed Simpsons while playing online Poker. However at one point in the book, he discusses one of his best friend's (Jason Mewes AKA Jay) heroin addiction because of an inaccurate portrayal and belittling of the events by a magazine.

Jason Mewes (and Kevin Smith, Smith's family, and the duos friends) went through hell during his battle with addiction. Jason promised many times over that he would become sober, and many times over the demons would take the best of him. Jason came from a fatherless, heroin addicted mother, household and was mostly on his own for much of his childhood. He was straight edge (no drugs, no booze, no cigarettes, and no girls, but mostly because he'd freeze up around them according to Smith) until he was somewhere around 18. Smith went to film school in Canada and came back to find a partying Mewes.

Mewes was arrested, went through various rehabs (thanks to Kevin Smith and Ben Afflect fronting the money for it) but nothing ever stuck. It wasn't until, but the advice of one of Jason's counselors, Smith let him hit rock bottom. Rock bottom was living in an apartment with no electricity fighting over a twinkie with his junkie girlfriend. Mewes went to Jersey, where there was a bench warrant for his arrest and turned himself in. The Judge gave him six months in rehab or two years in jail. Ever since Mewes has been sober and hasn't wanted any sort of drug.

Why did this make me feel better about myself? Because my demons are as insignificant as not finding a job right away to my liking. I still have 50 years of life to get my job eventually. Granted, I wanted it sooner rather than later, but this will allow me to pursue at my own pace. Its not like not having the great job I dreamed is going to land me on the street without any teach, snorting cocaine or Oxycotins. So thank you Jason Mewes. Through your triumphant overcoming of drugs, I feel better about my post degree life. I look forward to the next Kevin Smith film (which I assume Jason will be in) where I will laugh and love these two people that I somehow feel I've become close to thanks to the movies, podcasts, and books that I constantly devour by Kevin Smith.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Little Homesick

Over the past couple of days I've found myself a little homesick. I've been missing old friends, places, and memories. I think it doesn't help that I still don't have a job.

I've even found that I'm missing time periods. I watched Empire Records yesterday and felt myself feeling extremely sad that the 90s have passed and will never return. I was 5-15 during the 90s. I wasn't old enough to feel things about stuff or go to Nirvana concerts or probably hate my parents. Still I found myself listening to Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, and the Offspring and feeling extremely nostalgic that the small record store no longer exists because of the larger chains.

The rebellious feeling of the 90s has turned into complete crap. Everyone seems to have cut their hair, had their 2.5 children, and built houses in the suburbs. Essentially everyone became those parents they rebelled against so much. 10 years of angst filled music and movies has turned into a crap housing market thanks to over development. The power chord has been replaced by strip malls.

The only thing that has helped with the sting of loneliness is my wife (although we really dont' get to spend much time together) and Xbox live. Being able to play videogames whiles talking to some of my old friends and my brother has helped me forget that I'm half a country away at least for a couple hours.

I hope this feeling passes soon. I hope I can find new places and new friends, but the problem is I can't help but compare them to old places and friends, and Columbia has some hard memories to live up to.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Internet

The idea for the internet was a weird one. Al Gore and his friends threw the idea around of, lets give people limitless information at their fingertips through the phone lines at an astounding 56K. The military already uses a system similar to this, why not the general public.

This noble idea, once so slow that a misplaced picture could crash your computer, has morphed into a monster enjoyed and hated by people on their computers, cell phones, and gaming counsels. Our biggest problem used to be someone picking up the phone while we were cruising netscape 1.0, but now there are limitless amounts of smut and teenage turds spewing their vile on everything.

Thanks to the internet, nothing is pure anymore. A movie comes out, 2/3s of the words written about it on the internet are vicious lies, rumors and attacks, no matter if the movie is as good as Casablanca or Frankenstein. Although every now and then someone writes something witty about something in the entertainment world, but most of the time its a bunch of dick and fart jokes.

For example, today I was playing my Xbox 360 online. I'm in the midst of a warzone (Call of Duty 4) and among the exploding grenades and screams of pain, I hear a little arse start talking over the headset in his best Borat impersonation, "Do you like the smell of my meat? If you like the smell then you can taste." I stayed with this man for four games while he continued the onslaught of variations of the above, "Eat my wiener" jokes. None of them were funny, and you could tell that no one was amused. All radio talk ceased to exist while this joker talked. My assumption is, people were taking their headsets off in order to save precious brain cells. I continued to listen.

As our fifth game started (we retained 5 our of 12 players throughout these matches, the rest were noobs ("New-bies" That's another thing the internet brought, hip abbreviated words such as nades (grenades) l33t (elite) and lol.) that had not yet experienced "Borat's" hilarity. (I sweat TV producers. If you need new talent, look no further than the internet.) One brave soul finally decided to take him on and call him a "dumbsh*t foreigner." Yes this man opened Pandora's box. The worst thing to do to people like Borat, is to respond to them, and worst yet, respond negatively. This opened up a name calling "pee contest" between the two obvious 15 year olds.

I listened to these two ramble on into the sixth game, where their conversations turned into which country is better. Borat's India (at least he claimed he was from India) and the other's country of Texas. (Yes, Texas is its own country, cause I don't know anyone that thinks like a Texan.) Borat started with saying that America is a world bully, taking over every country they can by paying off the government. Tex went for the "you must be too poor to get out of your country. We're the best country in the world." Basically the normal cowboy American stereotype. BTW (By the Way) Tex was playing as a Afghani terrorist and Borat was playing as a U.S. Marine, please tell me the irony is not lost on any of you.

Now I know this has been building tension for my dear readers. How did Dan respond to these obvious girlfriendless gamers? Well, our seventh (and final) game spawned a battlefield with multiple factories, with some high grassy knolls. I was popping in and out of buildings with an M16 (I gave up the sniper rifle, my limited vision on this battlefield ruined that) in hand. Borat was one of those cocky teenagers that thinks he is invincible, so naturally he was running around making tons of noise, which means my radar was bleeping a red dot everywhere he was going. I started stalking him, in a crouched position, so as not to show up on his radar and got cut down by the shotgun, he eventually started calling his meat. (I guess his penis didn't taste as good as he thought) He ran up some metal stairs and took his place in a window missing most of its glass. He starts shooting at someone, so I come up behind him and stick a knife in his jugular. Jerk number one is dead.

Tex was a little harder. He positioned himself in a building and was sniping anyone that came near. However, he didn't know that I could penetrate his fortress through a hole in the foundation. I snuck up behind him and had enough time to decide knife, pistol, or assault rifle. I figured in his interest in the bank of idiot and decided that overkill with the assault rifle was the way to go. I took careful aim at his head and take him out. A smile crosses my face, and I quit playing for a bit. I feel satisfied.

That is why the internet is better than real life sometimes. If someone annoys me here, I can't shoot out his knee caps without facing the law.