Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Living Hell - Audio Version

In 2003 I wrote a few fictional articles for Halloween. One of these articles entitled, “Living Hell”, was one of my favorites.

So this year, I decided to make it into an audio file for Halloween.

This decision was a last minute one, and I basically wanted to see if I could throw something together quickly.

It’s taken me several hours to accomplish, because like anything involving a computer there were many stumbling blocks that got in my way.

In the end, I managed to cludge together a fairly decent attempt at entertaining audio.

I hope you enjoy listening to this file as much as I enjoyed writing, and now reading, it for you.

Click here to listen...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech Rampage

I can’t sit back and listen to the sad story of the Virginia Tech slaughter without making my own comments.

The thing that makes my comments different from the news is that I am not going to try and place the blame for this on anyone but the shooter.

Before the smoke even cleared the President of Virginia Tech, Charles Steger, was chastised for not warning the rest of the students after the first shooting earlier in the morning.

There was no reason to warn everyone because two people were shot. In case you have been living under a rock, and I find that many people seem to these days, there are shootings that take place on any given day in most cities across our country. They just happen so frequently that it’s not major news.

Check out the police blotter in your city sometime to get a little dose of reality. This is why you don’t flip people off on the freeway, or venture into areas where scary folks are hanging out.

The simple fact is, after the first shooting took place, there was no clue that more were on the way. The police were on the scene and they did not think to raise the alarm campus-wide as well, and they are the professionals!

Next, for all of the folks who think the guns were the problem, chill out just a tad. There are millions of guns in this country, but not millions of Virginia Tech incidents.

There is talk tonight, after the multimedia package that the gunman left has been gone through, that it shows obvious signs that this was going to happen. News commentators site that because he did not speak to people, wrote disturbing things, and was angry all the time, this should have been prevented.

What they don’t offer is how. Shall we imprison everyone who writes dark things? Is it time to begin arresting people just because we know they’re going to do evil? How the heck do you know!!! What trial is done that will dig into everyones medical records and personal writings? Is it time to start listening to people who rat-out there friends and lock people up because they just don’t look or act like everyone else?

We have all seen, and known, creepy people in our lives. I have crossed their paths through my entire life, whether in school or at work. As far as I know nobody I have known has ever ended up doing something like this. Should I have turned them in and ruined their lives because I suspected them being a tad nutty? I think not.

It’s time for everyone to take a step back, take a deep breath, and approach this incident from reality and not stupidity.

I am truly saddened for those who have lost someone in this terrible action by an obviously evil man. This does not mean that I am willing to jump on any of the current bandwagons to condemn someone for this clowns actions. It was not the fault of the Virginia Tech President, it is not the fault of the guns he used, it is not the fault of his doctor, it is not the fault of and system. IT IS NOBODY’S FAULT BUT THE PERSON WHO PERFORMED THE DEED.

You are NEVER going to be able to predict every type of these actions. The unfortunate truth is that the only time you can catch these people is when they stray and do bad things.

Perhaps the one thing I will agree on, is that if someone is diagnosed as being harmful to either themselves, or others, they should not be allowed to obtain a weapon through legal means. Will this prevent them from getting a weapon? Perhaps, or perhaps not. It may slow them down or possibly even prevent something like this altogether.

Before you respond to this story, and tell me I’m wrong because you blame something or somebody, you’d better have some facts to back up your statement, or you might as well just crawl back under your rock.

A disturbed killer is gone, and the only bright spot in this incident is that he took his own life so we don’t have to subject the country to years of him in court, or the expense it would incur. It’s going to get enough press as it is.

Let these people rest in peace, remember them, mourn their passing, and then move forward.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Do You Dream Of Insect Adventures?

Perhaps it’s the late hour, the movie I am watching, or just the fact that I’m on another business trip, but suddenly I felt like it was time for a new article.

It’s not just my imagination. It can’t be. They make movies about it, they write books about it, everyone talks about it, so it must be true.

Life is too short.

Unfortunately life ends abruptly for too many people. When the Grim Reaper comes there’s no “do-overs” and no second chances. When that time comes, I wonder how many people have regrets of not living life to the fullest.

What does living life to the fullest mean? I guess for some it means traveling all over and seeing as much as they can of this world. For others, they enjoy giving everything to help others in need. The sad thing is, I think most people never realize what they want to do until it’s too late.

We can’t all live out our dreams because of money, obligations, and that pesky little thing called reality.

Why it’s true that some have risked all to chase their dreams, and have succeeded, many others have pursued some of the same dreams and have met with disaster.

Sometimes, as romantic and exciting as it may seem to drop everything and head off in search of your utopia, it is much more difficult to let your dreams float on by while you remain sane and practical.

I have written an article before about how the grass can appear to be greener on he other side, and I suppose this is just a revisit of that same concept.

Don’t feel as though you must abandon all hopes and dreams, but merely temper them with thought and intelligence. There should be no reason to destroy your life in the pursuit of the enticing greener pasture. That green pasture you see could very well be artificial turf!

Taking all of this into consideration, I can also give a nod to the notion that you only live once. If it’s possible to bend reality just a bit, to realize some of your dreams, or to enjoy life a bit more, then I say mold reality into what you would like it to be. Just don’t bend reality so far that it breaks.

If you want to start a new business, for example, then go for it, just don’t quit your current job and plunge your family into bankruptcy to do so. Be smart. Start your new career by seeing how much you can do while still maintaining a healthy financial lifestyle. Once you have proven yourself in this new course then you can look into sliding out of the safe job and dive full speed ahead into your new found desire.

Is there someplace you have always wanted to go, or someone you have always wanted to see? Go do it now, or very soon. The older you get, the more difficult it will become to travel and do the things you have always wanted to do.

Visit family and friends before it’s too late. See the Grand Canyon, or go on that exotic vacation you have always wanted to take. Playing it safe is one thing, living in a vacuum-sealed bubble because you are to confined in your current thinking is another.

I would rather do the things that make me happy now, rather then wondering if I should have done them as I lay on my death bed. The limit you take these adventures to must be weighed by the consequences they will bring.

Destroying your family by traveling the world in search of new insects might not be very smart. After all, your family should always come first. On the other hand, your family should not be the factor that stifles your life. They may not understand what you desire, and that’s okay. As long as your actions do not harm others then I say go in search of your insects, just make them short trips and don’t lose sight of what should be coming first in your life.

I love the Wiccan Rede that states, “An it harm none, do what thou will”, which is similar to many religious thoughts of the “Golden Rule” which basically states, “Treat others how you wish to be treated.”

Live life to the fullest, don’t be afraid to visit those you care about, because life is too short to sit around wondering if you should have taken that kayak trip five years ago, or told someone you loved them.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Musical Dreams

Listen to music without any speech
Just close your eyes and let your mind reach
Feel the tune through your ears and down to your bones
For the full effect you must use headphones

Immerse yourself in the low and the high
Go on a journey up through the sky
Keep your eyes closed as you travel along
Enjoy every note of this magical song

There’s no need for drugs, alcohol or other
This trip is courtesy of your sister or brother
Talented people, with musical genes
Turning us on to their wonderful scenes

Avoid the screaming and other harsh things
Embrace the soft, the wind and the strings
Your spirit will lift and your soul will sail strong
Like a ship on the ocean you’ll ride on the song

Turn not completely from the talent of voice
For there too is a time when it’s just the right choice
The power of words and the message they bring
Can make your heart open to join in and sing

My tale is all true with music the key
To unlock your dreams and set them all free
Large or small you can break the mystical seal
Good music and headphones will make them all real

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sunglasses At Night

Many people are trying to reinvent themselves.

As humans we tend to never be satisfied with our appearance. Whether it’s clothes, weight, hair, shoes, or something else, we are always trying to do things that change our looks and perhaps redefine who we are in the eyes of others.

The nice thing about traveling is that I get the chance to observe other people heading from and to places all around our tiny planet. Sometimes you can almost guess where people are heading by the company they are keeping and the clothes they are wearing.

An example is that I have seen many women dressed like they were going to diner in a fancy restaurant, and pretty much in every case they were meeting a special someone when they landed. Most of the time it was seen to be a boyfriend rather then a husband based on the absence of rings on that special finger.

Families are rather easy to pick out as they herd their offspring along, trying to keep track of each other, toys, strollers, ipods, coloring books, baby dolls, travel games, the list goes on and on. This is normally accompanied by statements about them heading to Grandma’s house or to an amusement park such as Disneyland. The obvious appearance of returning Disneyland families are the never-ending amount of “Disney Wear” and bags that they have.

Then there are the business folks. Toting briefcases, dressed in suits, and talking on their cell phones arranging meetings and discussing issues. Tending to fall into this category on most of my trips, I get to dress in jeans and a t-shirt and haul my stuff around in a nice backpack instead of using the more stuffy look of briefcase and a suit.

As casually as I am dressed, I am still doing work most of the time I’m traveling. Sometimes there is the exception when I feel the urge to put down my Blackberry and type an observational article for my website.

Some of the more amusing people are those that don’t typically fit into any particular mold. What is the deal with wanting so bad to look cool that you go overboard? These people are not just trying to look cool for the time they are traveling, they are probably just extending their normal “Joe Cool” look they wear at home.

One example is the people wearing these low-riding jeans that hang down to their knees and expose their underwear. Fortunately I see this fad moving along and these clowns are becoming fewer and fewer. More then likely it’s because they finally got tired of having to constantly pull their pants up. It also might have something to do with looking more stupid then cool.

Next we have the people who seem to love to wear their sunglasses so much that they wear them inside. Even at night I have seen these “too cool for you” people come strutting off the plan at night with their mirror shades on. News flash, you’re not cool, you look like an idiot.

Realistically we should not judge people by how they look or what they wear, but let’s get serious for a moment. If you’re walking around at night with your cool-rays on, there is definitely something more to you then meets the eye. After all, if you look around and your “style” is so unique that absolutely nobody around you have seem to adopted it, chances are you’re so far out of the fashion world that you look more like a freak then a fashion idol.

As I type this I see a girl, maybe in her twenties, wearing ripped blue jeans, and a wonder bread t-shirt. This normally would not have attracted too much attention, but she is also sporting a Mohawk! If that’s not all she curled up across several seats and is apparently going to sleep. Again, it’s not so much that she is sleeping at the airport, I have even had to do this a time or two, but it’s 1:13PM. Most of the time you see this type of behavior early in the morning, or late at night when folks have been traveling all day. When you combine all of these things together in a complete package, it’s just funny to see.

Hats are another interesting thing to watch while traveling. Personally, I find the knit ski-type caps itchy if worn too long, but here I sit across from a guy in a t-shirt and jeans, working on his laptop, wearing a ski cap. If it was snowing in the terminal, this might make sense, but it’s not. There are two folks from different groups wearing Australian-style cowboy hats, and an older gentlemen in a t-shirt and a bowler type hat. To be fair he did walk up with a type of suit jacket on, but a bowler and a t-shirt just looks a little odd.

As usual there are the few kids (or adults who have not grown up yet) wearing baseball caps. And here’s something I never really understood, the act of wearing your sweatshirt hood all of the time. Is this another attempt at looking cool, because I really don’t see the need to constantly be under a hood. This is coming from a guy who is wearing a hood from a cloak in his avatar picture. I guess the difference is that I did that to look mystical, I don’t walk around that way (unless it’s snowing and I am wearing my traveling cloak outside, or it’s Halloween).

As I take another quick peek around me I see the rest of the folks, though interesting, are somewhat normal in their appearance, and my plane will be boarding in a few minutes so I’d better get this posted.

The next time you look in the mirror and are trying to decide to what level you would like to take your coolness to, I would caution you to error on the side of subtle rather then bizarre. If you choose to dress in the extreme, don’t be offended at the looks you will receive, or if you end up in someones blog.