Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Video primer for the hear & now

And along with seeing where we are now, I totally agree with the President that we need to also take the long view; the big picture. We need to know where we are going, not only where we are now. And maybe even where we were. Say, in 2000.

The defining moment in President Obama's prime-time news conference Tuesday night came about midway through. Nearly all the questions up to then had dealt with the ragged economy and the administration's plans to turn it around. So when a reporter asked Obama -- who, as you may have heard, is the nation's first black president -- to talk about how race has affected the first couple months of his time in office, it wasn't entirely clear how he would answer.

Unless, that is, you had been paying attention to the way Obama had focused his answers up to that point. Over and over again, he had been trying to drive home the message that he and his aides understand what the country is going through. So when ABC News' Ann Compton asked, "Has the last 64 days been a relatively color-blind time?" his answer fit right into the flow of the night. "I think that the last 64 days has been dominated by me trying to figure out how we're going to fix the economy, and that affects black, brown and white," Obama replied.

- By Mike Madden,

And I can tell you that having a President in office I nearly totally agree with has made me a better person too? See, now I'm listening to all the people attack President Obama (which is their 1st amendment right), and I because I tend to take everything personally, I have had to grow a thicker skin. I mean, people attacking Obama over the fact that making charitable donations a little less tax deductible will make people less likely to give. Really!!!

People will stop giving to great charitable organizations because they won't get to write as much off on their taxes? Talk about giving with your heart. Or not.

So yeah. People can be mean. I'll leave you with one last video, from December 2000. I love you Jon Stewart.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Words of Advice
Daily Show Full EpisodesEconomic CrisisPolitical Humor

Friday, March 20, 2009

The post inwhich I explain being smart and insane. Mostly insane.

So, what has moved me to write this blog entry? A combo of things: John Mayer's "Room for Squares" as well as things like Twitter. And putting on my sleep pants. You know, the pants I sleep in.

I was thinking that everyone gets ready for bed, in at least fashion. And some (say 50%) people take that time to think about their day. Right now, close to half the world is at some stage of sleep (from actually sleeping to just getting up and heading home to sleep), so that is 25% of people thinking about their day (either to come, or just passed). Given the times, most (say 83%) are having a hard time, so they are stressed. And given the odds (that I'm totally making up) at least 33% of those people are A LOT more stressed than I am. So, if you have been following my math (I haven't) that means, right now, at least 479,325,000 people thinking about their VERY stressful day and that have it much worse off than me.

So, when you think that, right now, at least 479,325,000 people are at the most calm point in their day and have been dealing with worse shit than me in the world, and they are thinking about it RIGHT NOW, it makes you feel small.

So the point is, as I was thinking about taking my jeans off and putting on my sleep pants, at least I have a lot going for me. And that puts me at ease. But the fact that I think about this shit is crazy. I mean, I learn more and more, and I swear I just become crazier. I know more, so I know what shit can go to hell, and what shit is going to hell. I'm smart, but I'm crazy more.
"Ignorance is bliss."
-Thomas Gray, English poet 1716-1771
from "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College" (last stanza)
Understanding the largeness of everything is nearly impossible. $700 billion here, other 1 trillion there, what's to really understand? There are millions of people out there in the world spending their time online just posting bullshit attacking who they hate. Right now. The idea that I could be one of them only makes you feel like you can't understand anything.

Or at least it makes me feel as if I can't understand anything. Which makes me wonder if I do know anything. Huh, lord knows right?

How does John Mayer fit into all of this? Well, I was reading something he just tweeted and it made me want to listen to his first CD.
Staying home alone on a Friday
Flat on the floor looking back

On old love

Or lack thereof

After all the crushes are faded

And all my wishful thinking was wrong

I'm jaded

I hate it

I'm tired of being alone
So hurry up and get here
So tired of being alone
So hurry up and get here
Get here

Searching all my days just to find you
I'm not sure who I'm looking for
I'll know it
When I see you
Until then, I'll hide in my bedroom
Staying up all night just to write
A love song for no one

I'm tired of being alone
So hurry up and get here
So tired of being alone
So hurry up and get here

I could have met you in a sandbox
I could have passed you on the sidewalk
Could I have missed my chance
And watched you walk away?
Oh no way

I could have met you in a sandbox
I could have passed you on the sidewalk
Could I have missed my chance
And watched you walk away?

I'm tired of being alone
So hurry up and get here
I'm so tired of being alone
So hurry up and get here

I'm tired of being alone
So hurry up and get here
I'm so tired of being alone
So hurry up and get here oh yeah

You'll be so good
You'll be so good for me

- "Love Song for No One", by John Mayer
Okay, if you've gotten this far... I've had a bad day. And I do not want it to seem I'm attacking anyone, but I am just saying what happened. I am as much at fault for nearly all of it too, but I find the idea of a really bad day to be based on things you expect to be there, well, not be there.

I'll shoot over the bad morning I had, which ended in a panic attack and me staying home. Then sleeping until nearly 7 p.m. I then just wanted to try and move over the funk for a bit. I sent one friend a text seeing if he was in town. Still haven't heard back from him. (but I haven't done anything else either)

I was looking forward to losing myself in poker. No poker tonight. Still was looking forward to at least spending time with friends to remind me of what I have to be happy about. Friends didn't respond to any call to hang out. (again, I haven't done anything either. Equally at fault)

But, you know, while I'm having a good night at home writing this blog, when things you took for granted aren't there, it makes you remember you have to work at them too.

And I'm learning bad things always happen all at once. When it rains, it pours. Now I go pick Mom up at the bar.
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”
- Albert Einstein

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My President can walk & chew gum. :-)

Poll: Most Americans say Obama is doing too much
Story Highlights:
* Forty-three percent say President Obama hasn't bitten off more than he can chew
* "The challenges we face are too large to ignore," Obama said
* Numbers also suggests Americans feel Obama's programs are right for the country
I want a President to walk and chew gum at the same time. I would have to agree with what the President said today. (3/18)

"I know some folks in Washington and on Wall Street are saying we should focus on only one problem at a time: 'our problem,'" Obama said. "But that's just not the way it works."

"You don't get to choose between paying your mortgage bills or your medical bills," he told the crowd in a hot auditorium. The government, too, must tackle multiple challenges at once, he said.

Associated Press

(just as an editorial note & FYI, not a big fan of Charles Babington. His bias shows. On every story. This is still the same AP right? Right?!?! "donned that cloak"? WTF?)

Mr. Obama replied that his term should be judged by whether the economy is improved, the nation has gotten "serious" about health care, made "significant progress" on energy, made education more affordable and started controlling the federal deficit.

"I would rather be a good president taking on the tough issues for four years than a mediocre president for eight years," he said. That prompted more applause.

The Wall Street Journal

All in all, the point is if he keeps this up, talking like this and actually delivering on the Change he sold us, he is going to get himself reelected. And it's going to be big. Somewhere between 1984 & 1996.

Like a man locked in a fog for eight years, I had forgotten what it is like to have a President. But even then really, I'm not sure anyone alive has seen anything like this. Except maybe from that Catholic guy from Massachusetts, you know, JFK. And I'm not talking about John Forbes Kerry.

::knock wood::

Friday, March 13, 2009

A bipolor post

#1 Jon Stewart is my generation's Walter Cronkite & George Carlin all in one. We are very lucky.

I will let what Jon Stewart said speak for me. I couldn't say anything better.


#2 It's my mommy's birthday! Yay for my mommy! I'm taking her to an early steak dinner. I took the day off from work too. I'm TOTALLY a momma's boy.

You got a problem with that?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hal Sparks & crazy me

As a writer I really hate it when I can't express myself through words. I started a story, but I just can't get anything else. Time will help.

But like this blog, I haven't even updated it as often as I had hoped.
“Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
So I write.

In the last few days (apart from a lot of craziness) I found a great CD. It's Zero 1's self-titled debut. Zero 1, you know, Hal Sparks' band. It is actually really good. Now, the way I found it is a little crazy. I've known about his band for awhile, but it wasn't until I saw Hal on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show and then heard him on David Bender's AirAmerica show. So I found a sample of the CD and I loved it. So I bought it.

Right now if I could just follow Hal Sparks around full time that would be cool. His life is just way cooler than mine. But alas, the grass is always greener...

I just wish I could snap out of this funk. Fuck, I want to be happy and weird again. Always better than withdrawn and weird. Much better.
“The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.”
- Bruce Feirstein

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Reading reading reading

"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we are not really living."
- Gail Sheehy
Over the course of the last few weeks, I have been very hungry. Hungry for knowledge, hungry for facts, and hungry for understanding. So to feed this hunger I have been reading book after book, and reading blogs, news Web sites, watching Cable News, and, really, absorbing any piece of information I can get my hand on.

So far, I've read Team of Rivals, Dreams from My Father, The Audacity of Hope, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life,
The Defining Moment, How To Win Any Argument, No Ordinary Time, Outliers, Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, as well as The Great Derangement. And more after that.
“What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us.”
- Thomas Carlyle
But reading books has only been one part of the wide array of information I take in. I love to find deeper meanings (whether or not it's actually there) in TV shows, movies, and books. It's all about people and how you deal with them. Working with people is key to getting anything done, so being smart about how you deal with people is almost more important than any knowledge and facts you may also know.

I was watching The Saint one night, and it is a great movie in which you can see how best to work with people. Give them what they want without them knowing you are doing just that. I mean, yeah, it's coldly calculating, but what part of life isn't? Not saying emotions shouldn't be involved, but one should understand the facts as well as the emotions, and then make the best move taking both into account separately.
“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition.”
- Graham Greene
And reading and writing has always been something that keeps me sane. I mean, I was writing poems, stories, and movies in middle school and high school, and it was great help is dealing with a lot of the issues everyone goes through in childhood as well as helping me work through many of the other issues that faced me then and face me now. I am more relaxed and happy when I am writing. Poems seems to help me move on after I write them. Same with letters. And with stories, books I never finish, or screenplays always give me focus while I am writing them. Sometimes I wish I would get more feedback, but I need to move on from being so dependent on other's approval. Reading lets me focus without giving up too much energy.

Also, reading is a great tool to become a better writer. As is writing this blog. It is noted in Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice doing anything before you get to be great at it. Goes for The Beatles as well as Bill Gates. And is goes for Beethoven as well as little-old me. So, while my attempts to work on my skills of crafting stories have really gone nowhere, I have been getting better, little by little, at simply using my words. You may disagree, but at last I'm having fun. So, really, little else matters.

I really wanted to talk about reading and the great power that words and books have, but one of my biggest problems has been an inablity to focus and get my point across. Welcome to my personal hell. I can be a great writer, and I could be a great thinker, but I am not a good person to really organize anything on my own. Working on the college newspaper, I always was more than happy to have people working with me to help me stay on topic.
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
- E. L. Doctorow
I remember one moment where I was trying to focus enough to write an editorial (I don't remember if it had my name on it, or if it was for the staff editorial), but I could not state my points clearly and get to the conclusion. Two of the editors (my favs, Courtney and Jessica) helped me by giving me an outline. The format I normally always use when I write, the format I use (sometimes to no avail) on this blog, and I learned it there, from them. I've come a long way, but I still have miles to go. And a lot of hours reading, writing, but not having to worry about arithmetic.

Well, I am really glad that I have actually found the passion to start reading again at a really fast pace. I'm also lucky to have my lunch's which I read over, cus I'm just that weird. So, here's to hoping I never really stop reading and loving it. And you should read more then you are. Everyone should read more.
“You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
- Ray Bradbury

Sunday, March 1, 2009

All life is a fight

Can I just say how happy I am to have a President who will promise something on the campaign trail, and then actually fight for it once he is elected. It's almost like this is how it is always supposed to happen. Ha!

So, I have started a new story. Right now it is entitled "Between Friends" and I am just SO happy to be writing again. I actually came up with a story and characters all by myself. Yay! I have the first part of the story all worked out. So I can write a short story, and maybe it will turn into a series or something. I was starting off writing a screenplay, but I really loved writing the story I just kept it that way. Maybe I will write the screenplay at some point. It may make a great short movie.

So what finally got me writing? Well, besides the totally random things in life that give you ideas, I have been reading two memoirs. President Obama's Dreams of My Father, and Anthony Rapp's Without You. So the stories of friends, the moments that change lives, and the energy just hit me all at once. So I write. It's going to be great.

I still have a little block. Just because of the part that I'm on. I have a weird way of righting. While I have the whole plot (at least the first short story) planned out, but I have to write it in order. I find it flows much better from the start if you write it in order. It at least helps me keep character and plot arcs in mind. And right now I'm writing something happening at work for my character, Mark Cameron. I just need to get to know the guy.

Oh, I really forgot how great writing is.