Monday, October 15, 2007

Hey There Werewolf

I walk to and from work. I enjoy the time to myself, the outside weather, the feeling of connection you get with a city when you experience it on foot and not isolated in your car. I like - and need - the exercise. At night, it gets empty and lonely in a wonderful way, and my imagination gets moving, seeing scenes from the apocalypse, to viewing every passing car or wandering person as engaged in some dark, uderworld criminal schemes I could never understand.

Walking also allows you to run into some serious weirdos.

Now, my walk is of a decent length. Five miles, one way, which means my total outside exposure time is quite high. So, yeah, I'm going to get honked at, screamed at, etc. This is fine: it's what assholes do.

But Saturday night.... It was about 10:20. Pitch black (Austin has sixteen total street lamps, of which six work, and a total of three miles of sidewalk) when i came up on a bus stop. Two people were sitting there. And as I approached, one on the bench looked at me and said:

"Hey there werewolf. It ain't no full moon." and then he proceeded to howl.

Anyway. Here's another fantastic line from the good folks at fstdt:

"my religious beliefs are a core component of my life and make me happy, so why do i care if thier wrong?"

Yes. Why would you want to know the realities of a central part of what you consider to be the being you call you?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Real Quick

This - THIS is why people need science:

"The second is the North Star. The North Star is such an implausible thing if you think about it. This clearly visible star is so precisely positioned it is more usefull at night to indicate a northerly direction than are most compasses. And it is positioned over the most inhabitable axis of this planet as well. "

Seriously. How can you navigate this world and even begin to hope to think about maybe sort of understanding what is going on if your thouht processes is that kind of jumbled mess.

From the joy that is FSTDT

Evolution is Stupid

Did you ever feel the need for a condensed version of all of the creationist's lies, distortions, strawmen and ignorance regarding evolution all in one place?

Well check out

Oh, you'll find it all here.

You'll find bizzare slippery-slope moral "realities" based on distorted, fantasy versions of evolution no scientist ever contended (remember evolution = atheism and atheism = evolution):

"If you are an atheist and you murder 26 people without getting caught, what makes it wrong? Absolutely nothing. The only possible deterrent for killing, raping, and stealing is simply the reaction of society. So if society never finds out, what makes anything wrong? Nothing, right? There's no reason to feel guilty if you're just the result of a randomly happening universe, randomly moving forward in time with no consequence to any negative action, unless society finds out."


If you are an atheist, you should not use the word “love.” Since God is love, you should not use this term to describe how you feel about people or pets, since you do not believe it exists. Use a term like “have positive chemical reactions when near,” or other atheism-compliant descriptive terms.


If you are an evolutionist atheist, eating anything that was living is a form of cannibalism. You believe that descendants of animals and even plants could be people someday. To avoid becoming a cannibal, you should adhere to a strict diet of milk and cheese, and make sure there are no signs of living organisms in either. Hmm... On second thought... atheists shouldn’t think cannibalism is wrong, because to them, right and wrong don’t exist.

And so much more.

But how does evolution work? I always thought that different effects of natural selection and the occasional mutation led towards speciation. What is really going on?

Well, how about these shared beliefs of all biological scientists:

To believe in evolution, you must believe that your family tree includes monkeys, fish, and rocks. Many evolutionists believed that after Earth randomly formed by itself out of nothing, it rained on rocks for millions/billions of years, which somehow caused inanimate matter to give birth to a single-celled organism. Some evolutionists believe the top of their family tree is nitrogen, and still others, water!


To be an evolutionist, you must believe that fish transform into monkeys. Yes that's right. Evolutionists believe that if you move up your family tree far enough, great great great Grandpa is a fish.

And did you know:

And with all the supposed evolution that evolutionists imagine to have occurred over the past few billion years (a number than has been changing since the religion was founded), we've never found an instance of an intermediary species between reptile and mammal, monkeys and humans, dinosaur to birds, or "missing links" as many put it.

Well, then why evolution? Because Hitler and Satan worked through Darwin!

And of course Hitler’s idea of a superior race was not without precedent, because everyone knows (or should know) that Darwin himself thought Caucasians were the most evolved race... just like Hitler!

Oh, this is wonderful place. Please stay awhile, or has satan taken over your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Alcohol and School

I got drunk last night. And a few nights before that. Probably not the best thing.

While alcohol and school go together like peanut butter and chocolat - ask any college undergrad - this really is only applicable to the younger set of students. At some point in time you aren't just out on your own, old enough to know better and still too young to care, you're both old enough to know better and have a physician showing you charts and graphs of your own increasing body fat percentage.

I use alcohol to self medicate. It really is a last resort. I do a lot of running and writing and I used to read whole books for pleasure - but there are times in this insane schedule I keep where I need to calm the fuck down now . Last night was one of those times.

Running really is a more successful stress relieving venture. I feel better and for longer after a solid run. The two problems with running are 1.) It takes time. You have to run for at least forty minutes to really gain the benefits. When I get home from school at 9:00, and I got up that morning at 6:00, and have to be up the next morning at 5:00, it can be hard to convince myself to lace up the shoes. 2.) Running takes effort. Hey, I dig effort. Love it. But I can only run so many days in a row. I am not an elite athlete. By day five, I hurt. On the weekends I walk to and from work, a ten mile round trip, and my job requires me to stand, lift, and walk for eight hours. Conservative estimates put me between 30-40 miles on my feet on Saturday and Sunday. The rest of the week I probably cover only about 20 miles of running (five miles, four days a week), but that's about all I can do. Tuesday evening I hurt. Plain and simple.

So I drank. At the time it seems like I need it, but the next day I wonder why. I need to find an alternative to alcohol that has the same immediacy, but without the guilt, weight gain, and other bodily damage. And no, I don't mean different drugs.

Not that a human being has ever read this, but suggestions would be nice.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Gonna do some bitching

Nobody reads this thing, so I can feel free to indulge. Except, of course, a future employer. Who will read this, and recognize that they might be in the process of hiring a human being, with thoughts and feelings unique to themself, possibly in conflict with the employer's own thoughts and feelings, meaning I will never get a job. Because that's how this shit works. And the things that are online about me pretty much assures my total lack of employment for the rest of my life. What a wonderful modern world we have.

I can't stress enough to people that if you don't have babies and you're thinking of having babies that the best decision you can make in this situation is to just not have babies. I'm at a wonderful stage with my twins now, where every comment made to them that isn't praise, say something along the lines of "let go of the cat's head," results in a screaming, head-banging tantrum that I can't just ignore because it leads to actual physical injury when unchecked.

This happens a dozen or so times a day now, everyday. There's is nothing fun or cute or pleasant about this. From beginning to end it is a nightmare.

I have homework to do. Will I get it done? Probably. But I will do it in this strange, disjointed way, where I won't read an entire sentence to completion in a single pass through. Instead I will search for my place, find it, read a word or two, turn to a child and shout some command like "put down that knife," turn back to the paper, search for my place... and writing answers is somewhat worse. I'm passing school in somekind of psuedo-conscious daze. It's like being stoned but way less fun.

Here's an example. At this exact moment, I can only see one of the twins. I don't know where the other is, and since the house is in complete silence, I will now go searching for him. This is annoying, I am in the kitchen and the kitchen is gated off with little child blocking gates because otherwise we have babies on the counters. So I will now hop the gates and go searching for the missing baby,

Adn the missing baby was found standing on top of the dryer. Having been removed, he is now screaming full force. This goes on through out the day. pretty much nonstop.

Allow me to make this as clear as I can. I hate my life. I hate waking up in the morning. I hate going to work. (I hate my job so much, it takes all I have left just to show up.) I hate raising children. I hate being perpetually broke. I hate juggling four different people's school schedules with one car. I hate living in the suburbs. I hate having no outside social life. I don't want this. Any of this.

Doesn't fucking matter what I want. This is what I have.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

My Wife is a Stone Cold Liar - I Raise The Pity Flag

Yesterday, my wife who deals with stress (and here we define "stress" as any entity or experience that doesn't directly and immedietly lead to her physcial comfort and pleasure) by summoning the hatred of evil entities from cultures through out time and focusing this hatred like the light from a thousand suns through the lenses of her demonic eyes onto my crotch, "requested" that I take over all the duties of the house and allow her the "privilege" of holing up in the bedroom to study.

I should point out here that I already do the cleaning, the cooking, I put the babies down at night and for their nap and bathe them and change them, as well as the physical labor involved in the house, plus I am the only person with a job and have been for years now, and if there is anything wrong with the car, no matter where I am in proximity to the car, like, say, she was driving it somewhere else and a tire blows out and I was at home with the kids, it is my duty, despite not being anywhere near the car to fix it, while she gets a ride to the house and I walk to the car and spend the remainder of my evening lying under a one ton minivan praying it doesn't, again, fall off the jack,

So me "taking over the household" for the day wasn't all that much different than what I already do. But, seeing as how she wanted to make this a formal thing, I figured I could leverage this into creating some time of my own. Specifically, I asked that I be allowed the few hours this Saturday, from the time I woke up until the time I have to go to work for twelve hours, my own study time where I can research the exciting work done by both my contemporaries and that historical on Brassica rapa, the world's most awesome mustard plant. She said sure.

So you know what I did from 7:00AM until 9:00AM? I cooked crepes for six people. Crepes, which I have never cooked before, are a major pain in the ass. You cook each one of those paper-thin tasteless pancakes one at a time, waiting between crepes for the pan to reheat. Homeade ravioli takes less time.

And now that that is done my babies are FREAKING OUT. That's how my house works.

Yup. Brassica rapa. The old B. rapa .

I hate my life.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Cycle Issue #2

Cycle Magazine, the physical offshoot of, will soon (relatively speaking) have its second issue out.

This is exciting. and the magazine are creations of a friend of mine, Richard. (spawned, this is true, during an evening drinking Czech Republic absinthe on my porch). It's the truest form of a labor of love. There is no funding, there is no advertising, there are no sales (but he is working on that). This is all self produced, self distributed, self funded.

I have been critical of the quality of cycle. Specifically of the writing and the low standards for publication that it presents. Richard and I have argued about this - a big part of cycle is to represent the small press and to represent the aspirations of people currently involved in the act of creation for the sake of creation; people that may yet have developed all the skills nor accumulated the neccessary experience to truelly hone their craft. I understand this. So things that show up in cycle will be of a wider spectrum of quality. But there has got to be at least a spark, a twinkle, a little ember of talent somewhere in the pages and pages of cliched dribble that gets through. Richard, I think now, agrees with me, and the quantity of stuff that gets published has dropped dramatically. I'm not sure the quality has risen yet. But that's a matter of time.

Richard and others have been frusterated by my critique, the harshness with which I "reveiw" that which is produced. Understand, I love cycle. I really do. I love the labor, I love the desperation, the failures, the obscurity. Because it makes every little success that much more sweet. It is this love that makes me so critical. If I didn't care, then I wouldn't spend the little time I have so much as reading it, let alone allowing myself to be emotionally involved.

I want to be more involved, but I am stretched quite thin. For me, writing has always been this struggle between the desire and need to create and my complete inability to comunicate an idea to the world. I am, in short, a bad writer. (bad, like evil, like lock me up it's so terrible.) I would spend more time on writing if that time wasn't already spent writing mind-numbing research papers and brain cell suffocating reviews of other people's research papers for school. Doing that shit will take the soul right out of you and then strangle you with its corspe.

The second issue of cycle will so be out. I haven't seen it, not yet, but I have seen my contribution to it. Those bits Richard selected to represent my own output. You know what? It isn't bad. It's actually a little inspiring. I mean, I've made progress. It feels good.

I'm not sure how we're destributing this issue. The last one was free, and we placed it on some racks in independent bookstores. This one may be different. needs writers. And not just writers, but creators of any kind of medium that can be presented through a computer. The website is going through a rebirth (the servers it originally existed on went kaput, and Ricard got to learn a wonderful lesson about keeping back-ups of shit.) If you are interested, email me and check out the site.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

College Generation Update: Just like 10 Years Ago

Perhaps it's a bit of confirmation bias, but I swear I haven't heard a conversation between the two that sit in front of me in biology that hasn't involved, at least once through the length of the class, the words "beer bong." Starting next week, I'm going to keep a tally running.

I made a comment similar to this to a young lady I work with. She is in her senior semester, working on a degree in cellular and molecular biology. She's bright as can be, but gets a little defensive anytime she feels somekind of blanket statement is made about people - anybody - and when I made such a statement she accused me of belittleing the "youth culture."

How do you respond to that? I mean, I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I imagine it's not so far from reality that if we took a glance at the spectrum of binge drinkers, people who drink using homemade high-velocity alcohol delivery systems, or those people whose conversations are dominated by how "fucked up" they got and how "fucked up" they plan on getting later, we might just be permitted to apply a huristic and assume youth was involved.

But like I said, I don't have any data here in front of me. So perhaps it's purely anecdotal.

On my side of the world, where I don't live on the college campus, or for that matter, in the same city as the college, or for that matter, the same county as the college, where I have to drive 30 miles to attend class, timing this to wedge between dropping the children off for school and picking them up, and my wife's own classes, and watching the twins, and work, I am happy to report that my car has broken down this morning. Not such a big deal. I got it started, and with luck and a blood sacrifice to the car gods, I may be able to keep it running until Friday night - the only night of the week where I don't have class or work untill 11:00 - where I will take it into the dealer and they will use weasel tactics to get out of the warranty. Which is additionally fine, because as a dual-student household with four children and only one, part-time income, I am swimming in money. I see no issues getting this car - my only car - running again.

I look forward, as a near thirty year-old adult, to begging my parents for money.

My wife graduates in just under eight months. I hope we can make it. (Maybe a beer bong or two tonight will help me power through.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Where god Doesn't Belong - Or, Maybe, More Nonsense About Babies

It's no secret to the people that know me that I am obsessed with religion and fundamentalism, especially as it has to do with christianity and America.

Unlike other, more prominent critics of religion, I don't think religion breeds an inherent idiocy, hatefullness, ignorance, or destruction of the ability to percieve reality as it really is. I think religion provides an excellent framework for this. But it doesn't neccesarilly create it. There's a lot of argument to be had here, in both directions, because it isn't a black or white thing, but we'll have that discussion later at a point when there are other human beings reading this blog and I can have such a discussion and not just an argument with myself.


So I was trolling, which is a fantastic website for those of us of a masochistic leaning to be perpetually baffalled and appaled by what goes on in the world.

Now, of course, the internet has a way of magnifying an issue. Rather than keeping something isolated and local, the internet broadcasts to the entire known universe, making some closet-case's personal voyage of mental freakosicity seem more prevalent. The world probably isn't as fucked up as the internet makes it seem. I did, however, run across this quote today that I think does reflect a reality in this world:

"Contrary to what many Christians have been led to believe, there is no such thing as a 'neutral' education. All education is religious and conveys a worldview, and there is no more important decision that we make as parents than how we educate our children. Unfortunately, Christian parents allow an aggressively anti-Christian institution to form the minds of their children, and the fruit of that choice is bitter. The overwhelming majority of children from evangelical families leave the church within two years after they graduate from high school; only 9 percent of evangelical teens believe that there is any such thing as absolute moral truth; and, our children are being forcibly indoctrinated to believe that homosexual behavior is acceptable."

Two things are going on here (well, there are others, but two I want to focus on. the homosexual thing is an issue unto itself and it's presentation here just adds a level of surreal chocolately goodness).

1.) There is a mindset among the most ardent of religios people that things are either of god or against god. There is absolutely no middle ground. No grey. There is holy worship or baby-sacrificing devil blowing. So something as mundane as examining the interaction of chemicals in an aqueous solution, or looking at the affect a series of unseasonably cold weather has on cliff swallow populations, or reading a book that isn't about god, is against - not to the side - god.

It is this kind of pigheaded nonsense that leads to the craziest varieties of religion. Now, again it could be the internet amplification effect, but it appears that this thought process is growing. Thanks to folks at the Discovery Institute, and thousands of concerned citizens the nation over, we are seeing challenges to science and education from an exclusively religious stand point.

The whole separation of church and state thing isn't working out as well as it could. God is like some kind of trailer park stalker: no restraining order - no piece of paper - is gonna keep him from gettin' what he wants from a woman. We need to be a little more strick with god.

A.) God must remain wholly separate of anything even resembling science. Sure, this only further supporst crazy people's belief that science is anti god. I'm fine with this.

B.) God must remain wholly separate of anything even resembling education. When god gets into the classroom, people get stupid. He's worse than a bully.

Ugh, you know what? the babies are freaking out again. This is what they do. They create havok. It's fucking insane. There is no interaction they can have, whether with each other or their environment, that doesn't lead to horror. It is simply the most stressfull and terrifying aspect of my existence. I can't think straight. I can't do anything. While my wife is at school and I watch the twins, my life is relegated to some kind of coarse torture. It is so very, very loud, and there is no way to distinguish screams of fear from screams of danger from screams of happness from screams of screaming for screaming's sake.

I haven't had a coherent thought is 22 months. I'm in school too. You would tink, hey, since you're home for such a damn long time, I bet you get tons of studying done. This is the thought process of someone that does not have small twins. This is the thought process of someone who thinks a lack of time means having to TiVo several of your favorite shows because, gosh darn it, you have to go out with friends on Saturday night.

My friends slipped into the ether years ago. The most exciting Saturday night I've had in recent memory is the night I got a full eight hours of sleep.

If you are thinking of having children, I just - Fuck... I mean - seriously. Just think about it for a while. I have seen three movies in the past seven years . If I want to go, say, to the grocery store I have to gather four screaming idiots into a car and then herd them through an otherwise civilized place. I am the asshole that creates the nightmare shopping experience for everyone else. I swear, I buy three bunches of bananas three times a week. I was checking out, and the cashier says to me "Man, you must like bananas," and I almost penetrated his heart with one of those yellow spears.

When I found out my wife (whose reproductive parts have since been surgically rendered inoperative) was having twins and I told people at work, somebody said to me "oh, you are so blessed." And all I could think was that there are trailer parks full of equally blessed people. Jesus, I never meant to have this many damn children. See? This is the problem with our health care system. My wife and I, as struggling students, had this kind of decision to make: 1.) Rob a clinic for birth control pills, because our income does not allow us to aford insurance 2.) As a married couple, and as humans, forget that we are sexual beings and remain together in abstinence or 3.) produce babies by the gallon. We tried number 2.), but guess what. Sometimes we fuck. It just happens, and over the counter propholactics or not, sometimes a little spermy gets through and BAM more damn children.

When they extracted the last two, and she was all spliced open, I handed the doctor a twenty and said, while gesturing to the collection of exposed organs in my wifes womb/abdomen, "Do you think, maybe, since you're here and all..."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Babies for Sale

* Note to FBI: They're not really for sale. I'm just annoyed.


Two 22-month old twins. Fraternal. Blonde hair, blue eyes.

Very healthy. Strong eaters. Strong climbers. Capable of covering any surface two and half feet above the ground or less in a thick, impenetrable layer of crayon and snot with a speed incomprehensible.

These babies need a new home. Preferrably one with miles and miles of open field so they can roam and destroy. If you are deaf and own no possessions that have any value or meaning (including your home) then these might just be the kids for you.

The larger, stronger of the two babies, Leif, is capable of magnitude 11 force-fits with durations up to an hour observed. During such fits it's important to have a fully padded area as Leif will attempt to penetrate any hard surface with his head. All organic life should exit the immediete vacinity of the fit to avoid injury/death.

Darwin, the smaller, angrier of the two has learned the powers of deception and aggression and wields them to his maximum benefit.

If interested I'd be happy to trade these babies for an Xbox 360 or even a gift certificate to a decent restaraunt. I am in the South Austin area, but am willing to meet you at any point on the earth.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It Never Ends

I am sitting on the floor in a sparse room while a child not yet two years-old clings to a pillow and bangs his head in a long, slow, hard rhythm from between his legs to the crib wall behind him. Four feet across from him, another child of the exact same age, produced in the exact same womb lays squat like a frozen turkey, face stuffed into a palm tree and rhino adorned mattress.

This is how my evenings go. I sit on the floor and wait for babies to sleep. My wife, she goes to work. She watches people too. Tonight, she is a “sitter.” Sometimes she's a Nurse's Assistant. They do the nasty stuff that is too menial even for the nurses, and nurses do the work too menial for the nurse practitioner who does the work too menial for the doctor who's too busy filling out malpractice insurance forms to deal with a patient that probably has some kind of horrendous and contagious disease anyways. But tonight she is a “sitter” and she will be assigned to a room and she will sit in the room and make sure the patient in the room doesn't do anything to injure themselves. Sometimes these people are insane. Sometimes delirious. Often they are confused. Often, suicidal. She sat for a fourteen year-old girl that had attempted suicide. When people aren't in the room, she goes for it. So there's always someone in the room. Last night she was a Nurse's Assistant. They had to put a lady in restraints. A woman that wanted to “kill all the white people.” She was high. She is a regular at the hospital. A weekly.

I have to sit here on the floor because my babies can climb. I'm not allowed to put them in restraints the way they do Whitey-Killer at the hospital. Several state and federal laws prohibit me from strapping otherwise healthy, mobile children to a crib at night. So I sit and wait, sometimes for hours, for them to go to sleep. Children at this young an age, while still incapable of complex sentence structure and fine motor skills, enabled with the ability to follow only very simple, one or two part instructions can none the less devise and execute thousands of ways to kill themselves. Two children of the same age take the concept of simple suicide and working together bring it to that media darling of murder-suicide. I've watched these two in action. No amount of “baby proofing” can protect such self-destructive beings. I've seen them make napalm from stuff they purchased from a hardware store after drugging my wife and I with an organic chloroform synthesized from plants they picked from the backyard.

When (if) they ever go to sleep, if the evening isn't shot, if I'm not worn to a black soulless stub of a once vibrant happy human, I'll crawl to my room, grunt some instructions to the older children (who, while not all that much brighter than the twins are much more sedate thanks to my vast home collection of video entertainment products and the twin's chloroform, which I have saved), plant myself in my chair and open a textbook on biology or chemistry and plead with my depleted brain to just absorb something, anything from the book.

I have to broker deals with my brain. It is very worried. It is worried that I have no money. It's right, I don't, but I promise it that one day I will have money. Not so much from my studying, but from my wife's, whose skills and education are actually wanted in the job market. My brain is worried that I have two cars, one with no transmission and one in the act of losing it. My brain is worried that I have to balance two jobs, two adults in school (one in school forty fucking hours a week), two children in school, and two children in diapers on a deficit budget until a miracle happens. Again, this miracle is my wife. So the deal I broker with brain is this: ignore all this shit and I will periodically blast you into oblivion with alcohol. My brain agrees. Although sometimes it smacks me around with reality, just to keep me in line.

I am still sitting on the floor, and Leif (the youngest of my children for no reason other than he was the second one they extracted from my wife) is still head banging, still wide-eyed, still conceiving of ways to make explosive powder with the rust from an old bike that sits outside his window.

Tomorrow I will have my car inspected, I will get a new driver's license to replace the one that lists an address I haven't lived at for five years (and has a picture of a man so obese so hungover so unrecognizable that I have been rejected the service of alcohol more the once). I will buy food for my snakes, for my tarantula, for my scorpion. The cat can forge for herself. I will lift weights, I will spend quality time with my wife, with son #1, with daughter, and with sons 3 and 4. Individually. Somewhere in there I will cook 18 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner for six people), I will make notes on my biology and chemistry work, perhaps go to the Greenbelt and swim. Maybe read, maybe write. Sometimes I feel insane.

I believe in living life to the fullest. In that this is the only life we have, to live it. To go and live and experience and not fear the consequences. There are enough people that think only in the black and white that I often have to step back and explain that no, that doesn't excuse rape and murder and exploitation and whatever other nonsense that is universally held as wrong.

My son is still awake. I have sat here for an hour and his eyes won't close. I'm not sure they've even blinked. I don't think he got into my cocaine. Probably makes his own.

I wonder if it will ever be any different. Will my wife and I, both college educated people, both working, collectively making less than half the poverty line, deeply in debt and sinking further – will we ever have enough to get by? Enough to go on a road trip? To own more than one pair of shoes? I couldn't care less about Europe, about traveling there, visiting cities – oh boy, foreign concrete! - but I wonder if Europe will ever even be there. In my life, in my existence, Europe may as well not be. Because it is not now, nor has it ever been, an option. Mexico. Canada. New Mexico. Big Bend Texas. Dallas. A bar on a Saturday night. Going to a movie. They aren't. Not in my world. I wonder if they will be.

I have done the math several thousand times. If my wife graduates – If I graduate – If the car holds up - If the in laws don't decide to muscle us around – If the children stay healthy, my wife stays healthy, I stay healthy – If

We just might.

The boy is on his back and he's shaking his head from side to side. And his eyes are closed. He's falling asleep.

I've got to go to the other room now. Open a text book. Spend the rest of my night reading about cells, about cell membranes, about membrane proteins.

Because the Ifs only are if you make them. If you don't, they just Aren't.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Day So Far

I found an old image of the computer of myself fifteen pounds ago. Wow. I really gained some fat. I did a little research and found out how much I was eating back then. I'm going to go back to that. My physical efforts - running, walking, and so forth - are far superior to what they were then. I can run faster, harder, and recover with ease. Today I did a hot (88 degrees and humid) 6.5 miler. That was great.

I've got a biology test on Monday. Long week. Tomorrow I have to get up at 5:00, run, drive accross the length of Austin to drop the babies off at my parent's house where my wife and I will split up so she can go and renew her CPR credentials and I can go to my biology class and then meet back at my parent'sand drive the length of Austin again and then drop off the wife a kids and go to work at a grocery store serving people I hate until 10:30 at night when I can drive home and sleep.

On Monday I have my biology test.

On Wednesday I have to drive from Austin to San Marcos to attend the new student orientation and take various tests and meet with advisors and sign up for my classes and so forth.

I will not focus on this. Right now, I will only focus on my Biology.

Yes. There is only biology. I do not hear the babies (who are bitcing and screaming) and I am not bothered at all by the two older children sitting on their increasingly fat asses staring at the vile and evil television, playing video games that I would desperately like to play but I can't because there is nothing but biology.

Nothing but biology.

330 Days To Go

330 days.

330 tough and stressful days.

330 of our most impoverished living. Creating, fueling debt while we struggle.

In 330 days my wife will graduate and be a nurse. That's two semesters. During that time she will have to work part time, I will have to work part time. She will be spending 40 hours a week in class and clinical practice. I will be commuting to San Marcos Texas to go to school. We will be taking care of four children, including twin toddlers. We have never made enough money to get by. Not even close. And this up coming year we will make even less than we ever have and be spending more.

It's going to be tough.

During all of this I have other goals. I have to get straight A's in school so I can get into grad school. Physically, I have to cut my weight back down and maintain. I've increased my running to a solid 30 miles a week, but I want to increase the length and qulaity of my long run.

So many things.

One thing that has been dropped is my writing. I just don't have the time to dedicate the effort it takes to write coherently.

In a dual effort to maintain my sanity and keep some level of writing I'm going to chronicle the insanity of this year.

Let's see what happens.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Gonna do this thing

Goddamn it, my weight won't change. 25 miles this week. No change. 1,400 calories a day. No change. Time to get obsessive.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.27.07

Miles: 5.7
Type: Street
Time: ?
Avg Mile: ?
Calories Burned: 760

Yup. Another bad run. Another race with the devil home to the bathroom. I hate that.

Tired. Overweight. Losing momentum. Losing motivation. My weight has a hell of a time going down. It seems to be despite calorie deficit, outside of exercise. I just hang at this weight. My effort is honest, and focused.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.26.07

Miles: 6.42
Type: Street
Time: ?
Avg Mile: ?
Calories Burned: 850

I have no idea how long it took me to do this run, but I'm sure I wasn't moving very fast.

It's been raining on and off for the last week here in Austin. That's the reason I haven't been doing much in the way of trail runs. I love trail runs, but after a rain most of the trails become unpenetrable. After a week of rain most of the streets become unpenetrable, the trails become epic battles against mudslides and torrental floods.

I really am a fan of trail runs. Outside of the wear and tear it saves on your joints, it's just so much more interesting than steets. Cleaner, in an earthy, muddy, spider-infested way. There's more to look at than people and their cars. If I may go all tangent here, people and their cars make me angry in an irrational way. People with expensive sports cars represent people with more money than brains. People blasting thug music are congealed ass dropping and testosterone. People going too fast are jerks, people going too slow are morons.

You don't see that shit on the trails. Nope, just joggers, hikers, rock climbers, and evil, homocidal bicyclists. My mortal enemies.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I waste my own time

I'm starting a new book. Writing it, that is. This is a phenomenal waste of personal time and energy. I am not a good writer. I have no sense of plot, character, theme, or those things that are interesting to read. I am also a horrible speller. The part of the brain that absorbs language, interprets, and then allows reciprical response was badly damaged during the journey through the birth canal.

I have written, in their entirety, four complete novels. In addition, I have written fifty or sixty billion failed attempts at novels, various articles, opinion pieces, short stories, song lyrics (for a friend's punk band) and so forth. It all falls nicely along the bell curve of suck.

But I'm starting a new one, which means for the next month or so (I write 2,000 words a day when I write these things) I will become withdrawn, obsessive, and depressed.

In the meantime, an older book called The Best Of Gas Station Sluts is available at , a wonderful little resource for people like me who desire to create and share, but lack what the industry calls "talent." Check it out.

Mileage Report: 5.24.07

Miles: 6.83
Type: Crazy Busy-Ass Rush Hour Street
Time: 54 (+/-)
Avg Mile: 7:54 (+/-)
Calories Burned: 930

I wanted to make up for my lack of a long run yesterday, but I'm not sure I did it. I ran from my house to my older children's school. This was entriely along major streets during rush hour. Which added an element of excitement that only crossing the street in the blind spot of GED-failed city bus driver can deliver.

Outside of sucking in huge gasping lung-fulls of vehicular excrement, I got to experience the joy that is Austin during the summer. Now, some of you scienticians out there may want to point out that it is still spring. Spring is a vestigal season. We get about three weeks of it now and then five months of summer. So, here in Austin, the Summer is dominated by humidity. Running through humidity is like trying to breath through cheesecloth. Now, despite the fact that I am from the desert (Phoenix, AZ) I have never managed to adjust to heat. Once the temperature, real or imaginary, rises above 82 degrees, I'm out. Today was rough.

But I made it and the day is young. And that always feels good.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.23.07

Miles: 4.75
Type: Street
Time: ?
Avg Mile: ?
Calories Burned: 640

All I have to say about today's run is: wow, did that suck. It was supposed to be my long run for the week. Didn't happen. We'll see if tomorrow's run is the long run.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Goals of The Struggle/ Mileage Report 5.20.07

Miles: 4.75
Type: Street
Time: 37min
Avg Mile: 7:45
Calories Burned: 640

Wow. This run sucked. It was a struggle the whole way. It really should have been longer, but (excuse time) the train was coming, so I didn't cross the tracks and die, choosing instead to tack on some extra mileage somewhere else along the path. It wasn't enough. Oh well.

The reason this run was such a difficult one is this: I got my college transcripts.

I have several personal goals: (in no, particular order)

1.) Permanently tame my weight. I've made some distance in this. I used to weigh 275lbs. Now I weigh 169. Sounds good, but at one point I was down to 155. So we can see weight is still an issue. I am actively working to reduce my weight again.

2.) Actual athletesism. This goal is a bit finicky. I want to reach a level that can be called "athletic." How does one determine that? Don't know. I think it probably has to be leveled on you by someone on the outside. So I work towards this through body transformation (the shifting of body composition towards more lean mass and less fat), physical fitness (sub 20 5ks, marathon distance long runs, a triathalon) and overall mental attitude.

3.) I will get a degree. This is a big one. I have been to no less than four (4) different colleges and universities across two states. I have completed over 140 credit hours. I have been an english major, psychology major, computer science major, and now, a biology major. I clearly, one way or the other, have a problem with school.

Perhaps it is that I had a child at eighteen. Followed by another. Perhaps trying to afford a home, a family, and all that comes with it makes school difficult. Perhaps it is because my chosen occupation, programming, underwent a radical shift leaving me unemployed for over a year. Perhaps I just suck. Don't know.

But now I am going for the final push. I'm applying to my last college, the one that I am going to make it through or give up entirely and retire to a life of a stock boy. I have received my college transcripts. And they are baaaad.

So i am down.

Oh well.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.19.07

Miles: 5.85
Type: Street/Hills
Time: 48min (guess)
Avg Mile: 8:12
Calories Burned: 770

I did the same hill routine I did last week only I tacked on an additional hill. I'm certain I could have ran more but today - as I sift through my rolodex of excuses - I chose not to because it is my understanding that as you increase your weekly mileage, you aren't supposed to increase it by more than about 10%. This week will easily be more than 10% longer than last. Both in miles and daily accumulated misery. But that's for other reasons.

So the routine was fine.

This Monday I will be restarting my weight training after a prescribed week off. I take a week off every eight weeks to allow the injuries to heal just enought that when I reaggravate them, they will become inflamed and deformed and leave me with permanent, life-long maladies.

A week from today my pool opens so I will be adding a thrice weekly swim to the mix. And If I can ever summon the patience to get my bike working, I'll be using that to get to and from work.

And then I'll be a man. Or hit by a car. One or the other.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.17.07

Miles: 4.51
Type: Street
Time: I dunno
Avg Mile: Felt fast
Calories Burned: 550

I did what I would call my average run. A very typical, easy loop through my neighborhood. I'm going to have to increase the length of this loop. It's far too short. During the run today I knew - felt it on the inside - that I could tack on another couple of miles. Normally I would listen to this internal motivation, but today I sensed - felt it on the inside - that my bowels had woken right on up and I was now engaged with a race with the devil home. This happens periodically, and I know it is the result of some alien and evil sentience that has taken resident in my gut. This only ever occurs when I am at exactly the peak distance from home on a run.

I would classify today's run as short, but quality. I started at a mean pace and ended at a mean (if worried) pace.

I'll tack on some extra miles today with a long walk. Just to even it all out. My local pool opens, not this weekend, but next, so on my off days (which are also my lifting days) I'll start hitting up the pool. We'll see how that goes. I swim as well as a rock flies.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why People Believe Weird Things

Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time
By Michael Shermer

Background: Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic magazine (which I recommend) is a formal born-again, fundamentalist Christian, professional ultra-cyclist, alternative medicine disciple turned, uh, skeptic. This book is considered by many (ask me how I define that!) to be a classic of skeptical thought, philosophy and discussion. Perhaps not the rival of Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World, but I haven't read that yet (it's on my stack) so that comment is simply the culled opinion of those in the circle.


Grunt, street reaction. This book was fine.I enjoyed it and will read another of his books, but I can't give it a blazing bad-ass recomendation. Above average, given that if you're a prolific reader, reading the average becomes painful drudgery. This isn't drudgery. His writing style is clear. He isn't obtuse. He has a fine grasp of the language although he lacks flare. Which is fine. My all-time favorite non-fiction cultural review style book is Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Schlosser's writing is fast, gripping, loose and brotherly. He injects humor and opinion and backs up every claim with a mountain of documentation and research. Nearly a hundred pages of the book is simply bibliographic reference. I love it. The read is fun, informative and entertaining. He will be my golden standard for comparison.

Shermer breaks the book into sections describing in turn what is skepticism, what is science, why we should be skeptical for the first several chapters, and then spends the rest of the book dissecting specific examples of thinking gone wrong. These include such phenomenom as Holocaust denial, Intelligent Design and Creationism and Alien Abduction. These deseminations are intelligent and backed up by research, facts, and studies (look them up yourself.) And Shermer isn't dry. This isn't the same as reading a programming manual (as a former programmer I still have nightmares of parsing through pages of the most mind-numbing c/c++ books delivered to this Earth by the Gods of valium.) But I still found myself sort of bored while getting into the details of these examples. IS this Shermer's fault? Perhaps not. As an active skeptic myself, seeking out information and reading all that I can get my hands on in the worlds of science and conflicts between science and "magical thinking" and outright bad thinking, this book was nothing new. It was all things I have thoroughly studied myself.

So who would this book be for? That's hard to answer. Like Dawkins' latest book, The God Delusion (recommended), the people who most need to read it are the least likely to ever do so. Perhaps there is a receptive state that we enter into mentally from time to time and if you managed to stumble across this, or if someone recognized you in this state and gave you the book, it would help bring you over into the fold.

If you are a person that looks around you, to family, friends, and the culture at large, at the religiosity, the anti-evolution nonsense, at the snake-oil alternative "medicine," at the world of mystic spirituality and psychics, and thinks, wow, this is stupid, and you feel alone and lost as the only person that doesn't see the world through the eyes of instant credulity, this book is here to say you aren't alone.

Mileage Report: 5.16.07

Miles: 8.63
Type: Street
Time: 73min
Average Mile: 8:28 (which sucks several types of animal genitals)
Calories Burned: aprx 1200

I wanted to do a long run today, from my house to the park a mile away, through the park, back through my neighborhood. About 8 miles. But it rained last night. So when I reached the park, unless I wanted to add a swimming portion to my run, I was forced to turn around. The park, the pretty part, the part I run in, is almost entirely surrounded by the meanderings of Slaughter Creek. It would be an island except for an enterance from a different neighborhood so far out of the way as to turn a normal run into a mini-marathon. I discovered this enterance this morning after runnin to the park, turning around, and blazing a new path to make up the lost miles. It's easy to make up lost miles when you are ass-lost.

One of my goals in life is to get my doctorate in biology. I want to get involved in field work. I want to spend long hours in miserable conditions in the last wildernesses of this Earth, doing pure research. If I manage to get through college, get my degrees, and land the positions I'll need to complete this dream, there had best be a native path finder in my research group because whatever brain center that allows for a sense of position, direction, and travel was binge-drunk on out of me.

Back to the park. The pretty part of the park is the hundred acres or so that supports trees and a creek and various wildlife. I've seen deer and armadillo and coyote and rabbits. There's an additional 50 acres set aside as a model plane airfield. All little runways and mown grass. A nice place if you're really into model planes. Then there's another 150 acres set aside for disc golf.

Let it be known, now and forever that disc golfers are an evil breed of man. For months when I first moved into my neighborhood, and worked my endurance to a point where I could run for miles at a time, I wanted to run the disc golf course. It is a beautiful thing, with the highest elvation in the park at which sits a little bench. You can look for miles, and when the sun is just coming up, peaking over the horizon behind you, it is a spiritual moment (I mean that in an atheist, secular way). In order to experience this pristine glory you either have to be way fucking early, like 5AM early to beat the golfers to the park, or you have to be one hell of a runner. These golfers take their "sport" seriously. Forgive me for lumping a diverse group of individuals into one writhing mass of stereotypes, but your average disc golfer, to judge from the people at my park, is a well fed, highly intoxicated, stoned group of men. You would think this would leave them in a relaxed state.

Oh no my friend. Uh, uh.

To run through the golf course while populated with disc golfers is to find yourself in a warzone, with large, sweaty, tattooed men, clouds of atomized alcohol and marijuana like little personal atmospheres of hate, throwing eight pounds plastic blades at your body with the force of their failed lives behind them. This being Texas, and seeing as when you cross the border you are handed either a Colt revolver or a Glock 9mm as a "starter" weapon to welcome you into the state, these men, with their discs of anger, if they haven't killed you with their words, or stares, or plastic projectiles, will happily move on into full fledged warfare.

I remember playing disc golf (which we called frisbee golf, and there weren't any of these nets) growing up in Isla Vista California. It was a relaxed game consisting mainly of walking. There was an occasional throw. And then more walking. I can't remember a single time when I felt the need to kill during a game of frisbee golf, and I'm a guy who will take out a room full of people as simple collateral casualties during a bad run of Mario Kart.

So in conclusion: fuck disc golfers.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.13.07

Miles: 4.95
Type: Hills/Road
Time: 40min - 44min (didn't pay close attention to what time I left)
Average Mile: 8.04 - 8.53
Calories Burned: 600 or so

What I wanted to do today was speedwork. What happened was I got up at 5AM and my body said, quote: "Fuck you." All I could squeeze out of it was a five mile run (but I tricked myself and did hill intervals.) A lot of running sites talk about the benefits of doing hills. I read these and laugh and laugh. People talking about how hard hills are, about how they have to go out of their way to find a hill, how they dread training on hills. I live in Austin. There is no flat ground. All running is hill running. The only thing that made today any different is that I exagerated the hills. Really focused on them. Rather than do a five mile loop that might include one long-ass mile long incline, I ran six different hills up and down, in my neighborhood. I'm you're half-naked sweaty neighbor.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.12.07

I work in the morning today. Usually I get my run done in the morning. For a couple reasons: 1.) The heat seeking nuclear mosquitos haven't yet got their reactors spinning 2.) The humidity is bearable being no worse than wading at a high rate through a swamp 3.) Nobody can see me because in my neighborhood, people sleep it off until at least noon 4.) I haven't gone to work and lifted heavy shit for eight hours.

But, I'm going to work this morning. So I will do my run after work. I want to do a short run with speed. So my plan, at the moment, is a simple 5k. I'd like to see if I can break the 20min mark, but given that when I get home, the weather is expected to be ninety degrees and 90% humidity, if I can simply complete a 5k without the fire department involved will be an accomplishment.

As a side note, if, somehow, the place where I work ceased to exist before I got there today, that would be okay. I work for a Young Earth Creationist. It wouldn't be so bad if he just raptured on away.

Miles: 3.1 (5K)
Time:20:07 (Damn)
Average Mile: 6:27
MPH: 9.31
Calories Burned: 431

Well, I didn't get a sub 20. As way of concilliation, this was my first try for time. I think I can get this with in a month. I'm going to go for a walk now to round out my miles for the day. Tack on an additional 2.58 miles. I was wrong about work. I work later.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Boring Nonsense

Today is a weights day, but I won't be doing any lifting. Every eight weeks, I take a week off to allow what amounts to eight weeks worth of stress fractures and other slowly nurtured injuries to recover slightly before I reinforce them. This time I skipped the last two workouts of this cycle because my shoulder started squirting blood and crying out in pain if I so much as mentioned "military press."

So, to make up for this lack of wright training, I have been going on long walks. You may ask, how do these compare? They don't except that in my mind If I am not actively involved in some kind of activity everyday I will wake up the next day and be 300lbs again. So i take longisg walks.

By longish, I mean ten or more miles.

The local pool should be open soon. When that opens I will swim.


This is boring.

His thick, throbing pole of justice slid deep into her well oiled post-hole, and their union stood strong and hard, a symbol of this great and groaning nation.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.10.07

Trail Run.
6 miles
7:47 average mile
43 spider webs broken with face
17 actual spiders (unintentionally) eaten

It was about, maybe, shoot, 70 degrees this morning and 430% humidity. So a cool, dry day in Austin. I would guess I came back from the run weighing an additional 13 pounds from the sweat – not my own but the collective sweat of the college students secreting bodily fluids the night before on 6th street that hung in the Austin atmosphere over night waiting, with evil efluvian sentience, for the first idiot running in the morning, which was me – also, from the dew collected on the leaves of the rain forest trail I run in the morning.

Wildlife was relegated to the small and spooked. Lots of rabbits and squirrels.

I have not had a drink in two whole days. I will not weigh myself again until it has been a month. My most recent binge episode, which lasted the month of April, helped me balloon up 15lbs to my current weight of 170. This is bad. Because 170 is not sexy. It's not sleek, cat like. And I want to be sleek. Cat like. In the most heteroseual way possible, but failing that, anyway that comes off as sexy to anybody will do.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Turn Off the Computer, Turn Off the TV, Skip Work: Go Outside!

It's dangling green worm season here in Austin. A joyous time, I spend many happy hours walking, pushing my twins in their stroller, batting wildly at my face and body at each and every imagined or real twitch of the hair, trying to keep the worms at bay. It's during this season the cherry blossoms bloom, trees get their leaves back, and my front yard, which I think is now legally designated as a wilderness preserve (my backyard actually, literally, is), is forcibly invaded by a prickly bunch of dandelion guerrilla resistance fighters. I'd mow, but I'd never come out alive.

Some people call this spring. Spring is something that happens outside (that's that place between your car and wherever you are going) so I can understand where a lot of people may get confused. I come from the desert myself and outside meant hostility. Here in Austin they have these large plants called trees. (Well, they did. At least when I first moved here. Apparently somebody hung a sign reading “Every last god damn piece of Earth in Austin for sale,” and business has been brisk. Which is great. I'd much rather drive past a new Hardees every thirteen feet than another squalid abandoned block of dense foliage and life. I was getting real sick of going for walks and seeing things like rabbits, deer and coyote when beer cans, transients and SUVs are so much more progressive.) These trees provide shade and color and beauty. Compare this to the large plant entities in the sonoran desert. WWII was fought and won entirely on the American campaign of dropping cholla on enemy troops.

Spring is a “season.” Again, new, confusing information if you come from the desert, a place not so much with seasons but oscillating periods of “walking death:” the length of time as measured in minutes it takes for the human eye to dessicate in the negative humidity air. When the corpses get deep enough they act as nursery plants for other organisms and a little shade so you can go and get the mail. And so the circle of life keeps spinning.

Anyway, as for seasons, as I understand it, the Earth, a large orb of dirt and water and vegetation and concrete makes giant space circles around a flaming nuclear reactor. Because the Earth is tilted on its own axis of revolution, different parts of the Earth receive amounts of sunlight. Note: this only works if you believe in the religion of science. This pagan belief, inspired by fear and the devil, claims that information and knowledge about the world, life, all physical elements and their interactions with each other, have to posses supporting “evidence” that is “testable” and “repeatable.” You'll notice that no where does it reference the bible where all truth lies. Jesus the Christ himself once said “Fuck you and your pareidolia. I totally prefer pita over tortilla.”

There is still some Earth left. Some of it in largish stretches. I encourage those of you not afraid of being eaten by bears to get out and experience some of it. It can be a rewarding experience, as long as you heed these cautionary warnings:

1.)You cannot rewind or skip the Earth. So when you are walking and boring parts happen, which may be large swaths of your walk, you are basically stuck with the experience. You have a few choices here, the two most popular being to enjoy the sounds of birds and the breeze and the way leaves sound under your feet. The other being to bitch and whine and dream about all the wonderful things waiting for you on your television back at home. One of those choices is way more popular in America than the other.

2.)There are surprising few murders and rapes occurring just out in the open during the average walk. You'll have to tone down you expectations a level or two. To satiate your need for schadenfreude, the Internet waits patiently at home where you can insulate your emotions and humanity,and bathe in the pain of humans you have reduced to non-entities. That being said, I have seen the following things on walks : Teenagers engaged in heavy petting; teenagers and younger adults engaged in the smoking of illegal substances; one dude blowing another dude on a park bench that I came upon while running and got real close too before I realized just what exactly was going on causing me to skid cartoon style and turn and run where my lower torso actually made progress in the reverse direction before my upper torso could complete the twist; boobies.

3.)Also, outside is not temperature controlled. I'm not sure why this hasn't been fixed yet, but it hasn't and in order to go outside you may need to wear clothes that reflect the conditions (a fancy word we use meaning “reality”) of the outside environment. For instance, in a cold environment wear more clothes. I'd like to make this especially clear to adolescent females because I see you all day long at my work strolling naked through the dairy section absolutely clutching at your fridged body. Remember: more clothes = more insulation = warmth. If you must show them off, feel free to flash your titties every three minutes or so.

4.)Outside has things like rocks and dirt and bugs. Once, when I worked for an offsite airport parking garage called “Hell's Eternal Damnation Parking Misery” or something similar, I got to deal with a lively family livid that their car, parked fifty feet away from a river, parked under a tree, parked with the remnants of a french-fry heavy meal still rotting inside, that this car had been invaded by ants. They were shocked – Shocked! - that we had allowed such a thing to happen. Other people got angry when birds shit on their car. Still others are angry with the sun and its eternal light.

5.)If – and this is a BIG if – you manage to overlook all these marks against outside, and the inherent horror in the outside experience; if you can see past the lack of comfort and toilets and moisturizing creams outside; if you can delude yourself to the point that outside is “fun” and “rewarding” you may find that the experience becomes valuable in a way that the city and inside can't provide.

And then you and I will understand each other.

And then begins the real fear.