I write the software for Geneffects and tend bar at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC.

Monday, August 30, 2004

I Hate Billy Sugarfix So Very, Very Much

Yesterday Billy left a voicemail saying how he's heard of this new great new lunch joint named "The Outhouse." He wanted to see if I was available to go to eat with him so that we could try their specialty, "the Brown Hot Dog."

His voice sounded so earnest that I didn't think about what he was really saying. It didn't cross my mind that he was fucking with me and, in fact, was joking about eating poop. I was busy so I didn't return his call and finally sent him this email last night:


Sorry to not get back to you. I got your message, but then had to go to work. Those brown hot dogs sure do sound good and, in fact, I think Monday would be the perfect time to go out and eat those suckers if you are available (that is).

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Fahrenheit 451 VS. 1984

These two future-sucks-and-bigtime works top the high school canon (notable third: Harrison Bergeron, Vonnegut), but their theories on how we get there are apogean.

Orwell's 1984 has Oceania ruled by an all-controlling upper-class, the Inner Party which frequently surveys, intimidates, tortures and brainwashes normal Party members (the middle class) while suppressing the proletariat with ignorance and trivial distractions. Liberty is restricted to such a degree that thoughts against The Party are labeled "thoughtcrime" and punishable by death.

In Bradbury's 451 the world of the future looks similar to Orwell's vision. Thought is controlled by an all-prevalent media power, but the enslavement of the people is self-imposed. Books are burned by the Firemen not because they contain knowledge which could provide enlightenment and provoke revolt - they are burned because they tend to contain thoughts unpleasant. It is this future vision which I see as the more probable of the two. Of course the transition will be far more subtle. Books will not be burnt. They will be buried under dust.

Misconceptions of Sex

Two excerpts from this week's Savage Love:
  • One of the kids at my Catholic school was proud to teach the rest of us guys all about sex. He had peeked in on his mother and her boyfriend and explained it as follows: The man puts a balloon on his dick, and then uses his dick to insert the balloon into the woman's pee hole. Then he puts his lips to the woman's pee hole and inflates the balloon until it pops. He knew it popped, because his mother screamed when it did. We believed him, because his story was just too bizarre to have been made up.
  • When I was in the sixth grade, our friend Tom, who lived on a farm and thus had instant credibility in our group concerning all things reproductive, told us that when we were older we would have to have sex, but as males we would get no satisfaction from it. When asked to explain, he replied, "When your ear itches and you scratch it with your finger, what feels better, the ear or the finger?
Also good is the "trying for puppies" story. These tales are simply begging to be incorporated into a work of fiction.

12 Oz Curls

"Hey, y'all like that beat we wrote? You like that beat? Who wants to hear more of that beat?" You know, I actually do like that beat you wrote, but I think I liked it better when Slayer played it... when they wrote it the first time.

A good defining moment of why the band - a duo-DJ act which transmogrifies sampled song loops into their own music, uh, style - sucked came during the finale song. "Hey, yo, we're gonna play you a song and we knows y'all knows tha wurdz, so let's hear y'all sing-a-long!" All right then, maybe they have a hit I don't know about that got some radio time. Let's hear it. One of the guys then proceeds to hit "play" (you can see him do it with almost an exaggerated motion) and out comes a Rage Against the Machine song in its original, unedited form. They do not add anything to the music, nor do they try to rap on top of it. They simply do a bad-ass pantomime and the crowd goes wild as it is the best thing they have heard all night.

I was doing lights because it was slow at the bar. Keep in mind: I am not a light man. I mean, I kind of know my way around a dual channel lighting console, but I would not want to do that for a prime-time band. That's why I had no problem with doing it for that show. My philosophy was that there was no way I could make the performance any worse. With the nothing-to-lose attitude, I actually did an okay job. In fact, I think I totally did that RATM song right.

Post show Kemp and I hit OCSC. After we warm up with a few 12 oz curls we start to think its a good idea to go, like, work out at the all night gym or something? 'Cause we're all drunk and stuff? Soon plan becomes action and next thing we're sweet-talking the 3AM shift girl to let us try out the equipment. We hit those machines for an hour and a half(!). Time kinda flew 'cause In between sets we drink some beers we had stashed in the locker room.

Finally we leave and go watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force, eat old Harris Teeter chicken and drink some single malt scotch Sonic Youth left.

Wait, what do you mean? Why would I have felt like a battered sack of donkey nuts the next morning?

Thursday, August 26, 2004


As I was biking back I was thinking of some of the things about which we talked. Constructing one's-self and whatnot. Also thinking about the different persona we assume in the presence of different people. Sometimes these shards of personality are so different that shifting from one to another is as jarring as jumping from the pool to the hot-tub (or the other way around; whichever is worse). Around you I am a nice guy and, in general, fairly unconfident and searching. Around others I am hyper-confident and often a complete ass. For many I am a solid type-A, but for a select few I slip back to the B of my youth.

I have to think: for whose benefit do these shards exist? Are they the best way to communicate with these various others? Are they defense mechanisms? Do they exist because there are, in fact, several facets of myself and each of these needs to be expressed and I seek differing venues in which to express them? It gets to the point where you, I, don't really know who I am.

I doubt these shards facilitate communication. With only a very few people do I really get to the crux of my true meaning when I communicate. Maybe like two or three. Plus, I am only guessing that these people are understanding me based on how they are communicating with me and how I am interpreting their messages. Again, these moments are rare. After all, what is the purpose of communicating who you truly are? What can you hope to gain? You bank on some sort of personal growth at the risk of emotional vulnerability. No, most of the time the message I am communicating speaks nothing more than, "buy me."

I do believe that Senior Type-A is a result of early defense. He came out in elementary school, totally gave up in junior high and high school, then re-emerged in college. College was perfect for that sort of thing as not only does no one else know you, but they are all going though a similar flux in their personalities. Just about everyone wants to make a lot of friends and be popular so, initially at least, they are pretty accepting.

Then, as the years wore on and Monsieur Type-A was assumed more and more, he became that grotesque face you are warned will stick if you keep it up. Eventually it became difficult to pull of the mask or to even distinguish where it ended and I really began so married to my flesh it had become.

But dammit, what am I selling?

So that's all I really want to say for right now.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

I Have to Wash My Hair, Jesus

Being an agnostic is not an easy thing. After a while you feel like the one gay son in a conservative-but-trying-their-hardest-to-understand family. "We've just met this really nice girl for you and she would like for you to take her out... maybe hold her hand for a little while, who knows? Just give it a try. You can always go back to being gay if you don't like it. We love you, son."

Agnostics often mistaken as atheists, but to an agnostic an atheist is just about the worst thing you could be. Agnostics base their entire faith (if you can call it that) on, if there is a God, not pissing it off too much. Openly denying the existence of God, as atheists do, seems like not a great idea. No, an agnostic is one who admits complete and utter ignorance of any sort of divine truth. The word was coined by 19th Century British scientist Thomas H. Huxley and is based on the greek word "gnosis" meaning "knowledge" and the prefix "a" meaning "without." Agnostics are blissfully ignorant and many prefer to keep it that way. They will say that they know enough to admit that they really know nothing.

At its heart, agnosticism is a spineless, yellow-bellied take on the divine (e.g. they will capitalize "God" because - who knows? - a lowercase ‘g' may be that final straw to earn them a spot in the hot place). The hope is that if there exists an afterlife then St. Peter, Muhammad, Zeus, Jimi Hendrix, or The Thousand-Armed, Seven-Faced All-Seeing God-Head - whoever turns out to be in charge - will see that our poor, misguided agnostic was really doing the best that they could given the myriad of religions and philosophies. "How could you not have known the purpose of life was to eat as much ice-cream as possible," TTASFASGH will ask. "I put four places you can buy it on Franklin St. alone. What more obvious of a sign did you need?"

Before I go on, I should mention that I am one of these gutless, misguided souls. I am an agnostic.

Before I go on, I should also mention that for several months I worked at the now-defunct Mayberry Creamery as a scoop jockey. You meet an interesting array of people in food service, and this job was no exception. One person, TTASFASGH bless him, gave me a twenty-dollar tip while another thought he was being a philanthropist by dumping the sparse contents of the "leave a penny" cup in my Andy Griffith "gone fishin'" tip jar.

David, the owner, had the idea to reach out to the community and started "The Mayberry Meetings" - a once-a-week meeting at the Creamery where - theoretically - anyone could stop by and take part in the religious or existential topic of the day. Theoretically. Often it was the same four people - David, Chris (youth pastor at David's church), Harley (David's longtime friend), and me (!) - but I was the only one getting paid to be there.

The sessions were a welcome diversion for me from the often brain-freezingly slow pace of the Monday evening shift. An added bonus was that when the conversation got a little heavy on the "Brian-is-hellbound" topic, a customer would miraculously materialize and deliver me from the flames and sulfur.

The customer looks around and then finally asks for a sample of the coconut ice cream. I hand it to her.

"This has coconut in it!"

"Yes, that's the coconut ice cream you asked for."

"But you didn't tell me it would have coconut in it!"

One Monday it was my last week at the Creamery, and it was pretty obvious the likeliness of my attending future sessions would significantly decrease after that day. The topic was, "does anybody deserve anything?" The Christian front maintained that Jesus has given us better than we deserve. The lone agnostic felt that we - humans, animals, trees, Republicans, etc. - don't really deserve anything. Take a look around you. What makes us as Americans so special that we deserve all that we have? We have it really well here, and we're really not entitled to any of it.

All during the meeting Chris, the youth pastor, seemed edgy. Finally, toward the end of the meeting (and my shift) he came out with it - he wanted me to cast aside my willful ignorance and come to the side of Jesus. "There were many better things I could be doing with my Monday evenings," he said, "than driving out from Durham to take part in a religious sausage party" (I paraphrase a bit). "But," he continued, "I do it for one person, one lost soul. There is a reason you came to work here, Brian. God is trying to tell you something."

"Perhaps, Chris, rather than you teaching me, my purpose here is that God wants for you to learn something from me," I offered, though I knew he would not consider the possibility.

"You've come a long way, Brian. When we first started having these things you would say, ‘I don't know if God exists,' and now you're talking about him like he's real."

What I didn't have the heart to tell him was that it gets tiring for all parties involved to hear an agnostic begin every thought with the Agnostic Declaration of Ignorance. The ADI is quite long, and I will not repeat it here. Still, I recognize that many people have different ideas for the embodiment of God - nature, math, love, sex, money, Jesus, Dean Smith, etc., so sometimes when I am in their presence I will adopt their vernacular purely for the expedition of conveying ideas - not because I believe in their particular framework.

"Brian, I don't get ‘points' for this. If someone comes to Jesus as a result of my testimony, I don't say, ‘all right, Lord, put another mark on my tote board!' I believe - I know - that the Gospel is truth and I would not be a good Christian if I did not try to help you understand and accept that truth."

"That voice you said I had in me five paragraphs ago - the voice of God - I do have that, but it is not telling me I am misaligned. I feel in my heart that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing."

Gentle reader, I was not a particularly popular kid in school. I would ask girls out and be handed the "lets be friends" speech time and again. "What's the beef, man? I mean, I'm a cool guy," I would say to myself after hanging up the phone and maybe crying a little bit. For whatever reason these girls had - maybe it was because I said things like, "what's the beef?" - they had no problems with telling me I wasn't dating material. I could never figure them out, but here I was, years later, finally understanding how they must have felt. Here I was, shamelessly telling this young child of God that I would rather wash my hair than go out with Jesus.

Geek Life

I've never done online gaming, but, as a nerd, the subject interests me. At first I thought this person's story would be super-boring, but then I gave it a chance and found myself fairly captivated. Give it a shot:


Thursday, August 19, 2004

Dear, Owen Wilson!

Oh, Owen! Your twinkling eyes and charming, off-center smile haunted my dreams again last night! We were in an episode of the Gilmore Girls and Lorelai was wearing this stunning blue sequined dress with a low cut out back and the sides were kind of cut out too and you could almost see her boobs! I think you were her boyfriend or your were going out or something, which kind of made me mad, Owen, but after all it is just the TV and not real life so I was only kind of miffed for like a second. The night was gorgeous! Straight out of a fairy-tale which I am sure is just like every date with you! Well, then the dream gets kind of fuzzy and I guess the show ended or something because the we see the scene where you are at your house and you have a white towel around your waist and you are laying on a table on your belly like you are going to get a massage or something but there's no one around to give you a massage (can it be me?). You can tell from the music that we are about to discover something dark and creepy about you (your character, I mean! LOL) and so the camera zooms in on your face and stays there a moment, but then it pans down your back to where your towel is and we see all this hair poking out. And then suddenly your towel like flies off and we suddenly see that you are a Centaur! "Oh, my God! Owen Wilson is a Centaur," we can almost hear the whole nation screaming! But then it gets kind of weird for a Gilmore Girls episode and we see that you are not a normal Centaur, but some sort of mutant Centaur that has a horses head where your butt is! The horse can talk and it starts telling these knock knock jokes which were soooooo corny and not even funny, but I kinda laughed anyway.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Some Bush Quotes and Comments

After emailing this video clip of Bush being a drunk ass, a friend of mine wrote back with some quotes that made for an excellent synopsis of the Bush psyche:

Bush: "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job.'

Laura Bush: "He doesn't need to evaluate and reevaluate a decision. He doesn't try to overthink. He likes action."

Former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill: "The only way I can describe it is that, well, [in cabinet meetings] the President is like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people. There is no discernible connection."

Former foreign policy advisor Richard Perle (who designed a lot of the Iraq war): "The first time I met Bush 43…two things became clear. One, he didn't know very much. The other was that he had the confidence to ask questions that revealed he didn't know very much."

Bush: "I have not looked back on one decision I have made and wished I had made it a different way."

Former speechwriter David Frum: "Bush had a poor memory for facts and figures… Fire a question at him about the specifics of his administration's policies, and he often appeared uncertain. Nobody would ever enroll him in a quiz show."

Bush: "...I don't spend a lot of time theorizing or agonizing..."

Bush explains why after being told, "America is under attack," he kept reading My Pet Goat with Florida elementary school kids.

The president had tried not to look shocked. " 'America is under attack.' I'm trying to absorb that knowledge," Bush tells Newsweek. "I have nobody to talk to. I'm sitting in the midst of a classroom with little kids, listening to a children's story...and I realize I'm the commander in chief and the country has just come under attack."

What would George Washington do? Hmm... He'd probably sit here and keep reading My Pet Goat.

Bush: "I do remain confident in Linda. She'll make a fine Labor Secretary. From what I've read in the press accounts, she's perfectly qualified."

Bush: "What's in the newspapers worth worrying about? I glance at the headlines just to kind of (get) a flavor of what's moving. I rarely read the stories."

Bush, 2000: "I do know I'm ready for the job. And if not, that's just the way it goes."

Bush: "Will the highways on the internet become more few?"

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Can I use the phone?

As I approach the doorway I see a neighbor standing forlornly in front of her door becoming steadily more soaked by the rain.

"Is everything all right," I ask?

"Yeah, uh, no.. can I use your phone? I'm locked out of my house."

"No probalo."

I want to be neighborly, and this seems harmless enough. I invite her inside and to make herself at home, then I give her the phone. The conversation I expected is quite divergent from the actuality.

"Hey, it's me, what's up?" ... "Yeah, it's an autoimmune disease where your body attacks your colon" ... "I didn't hurt a lot, but I did bleed a lot." ... "suppository" .... "enema"

After about ten minutes of this, "oh, I'm locked out of my house. Could you come by ASAP?"


I've expressed my hatred to cancer to my friends many times before, but with little to no explanation. The disease is not a battle that I have personally had to fight nor one afflicting a loved one. From where, then, does this animosity spring? And it is animosity. It is anger. Every time I see a child, barely able to walk, and bald from chemotherapy I am swallowed in sadness and then regurgitated on the floor by hatred. Hatred for this disease which is so prevalent, so insidious and so blind. The best I can do is call the Red Cross and schedule a plateletpheresis appointment.

I suppose that a lot of my anger stems from the fear that a person I care for will fall victim to cancer. The people whom I care for I care for so very much; it is difficult to say what I wouldn't do for them. And the thing is, I would be so powerless to help them.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Satan or Not

According to Revelations 13:18, the name of the devil is actually a person's name where if you add up the numerical values of the letters you get 666. A famous example is "Hitler" adds up if you set A = 100, B = 101, C = 102, etc. I just wrote a web program that can figure this kind of thing out for you! Chiggigy-check it:


So go ahead, see if you could possibly be Satan! If you are, don't worry, because you are in good company - "Bush", "Cheney", and "Ashcroft" are in the pool with you. If not, then you share in the ignominious ranks of "Kerry" and "Edwards".

Saturday, August 07, 2004

On the pill

Trying to rid my mind of any trace of 70's porn, I got some of the moder-day download-able type. I started a-thinkin': before widespread contraception, to see a woman in a lordotic pose meant more than she thinks you'll be a good lay, it meant that she believed you were, at least genetically, a good person. Now the role of sex has come full circle and is not bound by the cords of reproduction. Still, almost nothing is better than jacking off listening to Bach's O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden. Explain that, Charles Darwin!

The Devil in Miss Jones

GUY walks into video store

GUY: Lord, oh, man... porns from the '70's are not for the faint of heart.

CLERK: I could have told you that.

GUY: Yeah, well, thanks for the warning. I can understand those were hairy-er times, but they could have at least applied some makeup to those sores.

Video store winces in disgust. Some say "arrrgh!" A seven year old begins to cry

GUY: So, yeah, I want to renew this for a few more days.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Sacred Duty of Motherhood

Vitalogy is back! ...At least for now.

It seems hardly conceivable that any wife could be willing to forego this divine joy of motherhood and this sacred duty of homebuilding, for the unnatural claims and doubtful pleasures of fashionable society; yet such wives we are assured there are, and not a few. In the larger towns and cities--the so-called centres of civilization--it is said that, with many society-ladies, motherhood is dreaded as a curse and prevented by crime. Undoubtedly, so far as they are concerned, the sin brings its own punishment, and the punishment is sufficiently severe. It makes no difference, that they are for the present unconscious and dreadless of the harvest of woe whose seeds their jeweled hands are sowing every day. It will come soon and fast enough. In broken health and blighted life--in loneliness and lovelessness--they will realize, at last, that they are reaping as thy have sown. But the crime against society--the sin against government and race--the infidelity to marriage vows and obligations--the putting out of the light of a home--the blighting of human possibilities of greatness and worth--the destruction of a factor in the purity of society and the strength of a state, what personal suffering of the wretched criminal can atone for this? During an eternity of misery--could she suffer it--this sin would grow blacker by all the smoke of her torment, and greater with every groan of her anguish. The sufferings of the sinner cannot undo the sin; albeit, it is ordained, by the organic law of our being, that the sinner shall suffer. We see, however, still more distinctly, by the lurid light of such a crime against nature and society, how essential is that second condition of home, which we have named as the relation of parents and children.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Of Life, Ergo, Cycling

Through my life I have maintained a general love for the living. This panaphilia wanes and waxes, for sure, but has been consistently present. There are times, though, when my disgust for acts of specific humans throws a disfiguring divot in this sphere. A time like when the basic sanctity of an individual. of a friend, is torn and discarded.

It, pain, suffering, is to be expected and is, in fact, logical consequences of the existence of happiness and satisfaction just as a hill for the Tour de France is the result of a rewarding downhill. Knowing this, as they have traversed hills such as these thousands of times, does not prevent the cyclists from exclaiming, "oh Jesus Christ, this sucks."

So, to all the cyclists negotiating this particular climb I say that I am sorry and that I can neither believe that this hill even exists nor why so many are forced up its wretched slope.



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