Friday, January 26, 2007

Blogger beta

Is anyone else having problems changing over to the New Blogger? I was a little hesitant to switch over to the New Blogger beta, but I eventually became curious enough to check it out. But when I tried to switch my account over, it gave me an error. I thought it was just because they hadn't worked out the kinks, yet.

Then a week or so later, the New Blogger came out of beta. So, I tried again to switch. But it wouldn't let me. I got another error, a different one this time, stating that I had already tried to switch and failed. I know it failed in the past, Blogger, that's why I'm trying to switch again!

So, every week for the past month I've been trying to switch to the New Blogger, and every time I've been denied. I've even written an email asking them what I did or am doing wrong, but I haven't gotten a response.

I really like you, Blogger. And I've stuck by you when people said Wordpress this and Typepad that. So why d'you gotta dis me like this, Blogger? Why?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I just signed up with FeedBurner to handle my site feeds. It seems to be cool; it has tons of options for customizing your feed and some pretty neat tracking features. So, if you subscribe to my old Atom feed, do me a favor and switch over to using my FeedBurner feed. Thanks!

New City Devil

An all-night convenience store clerk was killed last night during an argument with a customer. The incident occurred at the Quick Stop on 63rd at around 2:30AM this morning. Two local teens witnessed the confrontation in the store, and fled when they saw the as-yet-unknown customer stab the clerk in the head. Both teens, who wish to remain anonymous, described the suspect as odd-looking, with spikes coming out of his clothing and blood on his face.

At first I thought he was just some weird guy in a costume," one witness said. "He had spikes ripping through his shirt, in his pants, coming out from under his hat. And he had blood running down his face. I thought, that couldn't be real, you know?"

The two young men saw the clerk confront the man about eating a candy bar before purchasing it. The clerk became upset and shoved the customer. The customer then struck the clerk in the head with one of his spikes, stabbing him through the eye. When asked about the spikes, one witness replied, "They looked like big horns, like horns coming out all over his body. I don't know if it was a costume or what, but they looked real."

"He was all red. And he had a really weird look on his face. Then he looked over at us, and he looked [expletive] mad as hell," the other witness said. "He looked like the Devil or something."

The two witness fled the scene, shortly followed by the suspect. The two teens called the police and ambulance from a cell phone. When the police arrived, they found the clerk on the ground in a pool of blood. Paramedics pronounced him dead on arrival.

Unfortunately there were no video tapes recording the convenience store's security cameras. Police advise the public to be aware of an approximately six-foot-tall Caucasian male wearing dark clothing. He may be bleeding from the head, and he may or may not have actual horn-like protrusions on his appendages and head.

Alex tossed the New City Herald onto his desk. His brow furled. I think this is it, what I felt last night. He stood up and turned to look out the window of his office. Something is coming. Or is already here. "What is it?" he asked the miniature cars and tiny people scampering around the street, fifteen floors below.

Miranda finding another one of us, finding Thomas, can't have been a coincidence. Something drew her to him. And drew him to us. It's as if we were being gathered all in one place. But for what? That much good in one place means that ... something's out of balance.

Alex left the window and picked up the newspaper again. He read the young men's description of the killer. A devil in New City, he thought, I hope we're ready for this.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Google Desktop Search

google desktop

I love Google Desktop Search, especially the Quick Search Box feature. I've had it on my PC for quite some time now, but I haven't utilized it much until recently. I highly recommend it to everyone.

I never go digging through my elaborately designed maze of directories anymore. I just tap Ctrl twice, QSB pops up, I type the name of the file I'm looking for (or something remotely similar), and it pops up with likely matches. It has dynamically updated search results, meaning that for every letter you type or erase in the search box, it alters the search results -- like the iTunes search function.

The only gripe I have, and it's a small one, is that you can't choose which type of file you're looking for. I would suggest a drop-down menu that lists common file types (.txt, .jpg, .mp3, .doc, .html, etc) to help narrow down results.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Old Pants, New Profession

"I think my pants are shrinking," I said to the rest of the oversized, three-person cubicle.

"Or maybe you're just growing," came the reply.

"That is my greatest wish!" I exclaimed, elated at even the posibility of grown just a few more inches. "Please, God, let it be me growing and not my pants shrinking!" I prayed outloud.

"If I was growing," I said, "I would become a professional giant."

Saturday, January 20, 2007



I created a Flickr account the other day. I'm pretty impressed with all the features it has. It's very easy to organize and tag your photos, and you can even specify where you took them -- "geotagging" I believe it's called. Very cool stuff. If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend it.

I'm going to try to post some photos now, from time to time, so no one will forget what I look like. (As if anyone could forget this mirror-shattering mug!) But you can check out my recent photos and slideshow anytime. Maybe this will encourage me to use the awesome digital camera my parents got me for Christmas. Thanks again, you guys!

I apologize for the gratuitously mushy photo this time. I'm sorry, it was the only one that I've uploaded so far in which I am not making a goofy face AND I have my pants on.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Our Dichotomy Opens the Combat

My roommate Sam and I had a good laugh over the Chinese-to-English subtitles in the screen captures from a pirated version of Star Wars: Episode III: The Backstroke of the West -- I mean, The Revenge of the Sith -- that someone ran across. The last one is the best, but I'll let you find that out on your own.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Brandon's hands quaked. He stood in the short isle of medicine and toiletries in the shabby little all-night convenience store. He carried a twelve-pack of cola in one hand and had a handful of chocolate bars stuffed into each pocket. He tried reading the labels in the little plastic bottles, but his eye sight blurred in and out of focus, and a sharp pain crept it's way around the inside of his skull. His body sagged under the weight of his pain and extra few pints of blood. He had dried blood on his hands from wiping pink tears from his eyes, and the distinct taste blood, coppery and faintly sweet, hung in his throat. He grabbed another bottle and tried in vain to read the label. I don't care any more, he thought, realizing that any off-the-shelf pain killer would more likely give him ulcers than take away even a fraction of the pain in his head. I need to drain myself. The pressure's building up. He grabbed a couple bottles of what he assumed was ibuprofen and headed down the aisle to look for razor blades.

The convenience store clerk, underpaid and overconfident, had been keeping an eye on Brandon since he had put the chocolate bars in his pockets. As he watched the oddly conspicuous man with weird and untimely Halloween costume move from the toiletries aisle to next aisle over, he noticed the man had left something behind: a pink hand print on every bottle of pills he had picked up and confusedly looked at.

The clerk came out from behind the counter to inspect the mess this customer left behind. He shook his head as he thought how much had disliked "alternative lifestyle" people. Hippies and gangstas I can handle, but I absolutely hate these heavy metal, wannabe-badasses. On his way to the medicine, he noticed two emo-punk teenagers, one with too many piercings, the other with straight, died black hair covering his eyes, ogling the pornographic magazine rack, most likely deciding which ones to shoplift. I hate emo kids, too. This just isn't my night.

Taking cursory glance at the blood-covered pill bottles, he became aggravated. "Hey, dude! You got fake blood or makeup or whatever all over these pills!" He looked over the top of the aisle and noticed the weirdo was now ferociously eating one of the candy bars from his pocket and breathing heavy. "Hey, you didn't pay for that, yet. Are you gonna pay for all those?"

Brandon didn't care, or even realize that someone was talking to him. He gulped down large chunks of sweet chocolate in hopes of getting his ever-dropping blood-sugar level back up to normal.

The angry clerk whipped around the aisle to confront Brandon. "Hey, are listening to me?" Brandon finally noticed the young man. He looked over, barely understood or cared what the clerk was saying, and opened another candy bar. "Hey, freak-tard, listen to me: Quit eating those. You haven't paid for them yet." His feigned condescension did little to cover his growing rage. "Aren't you a little old to be playing dress-up?" the clerk asked, trying to get a response, any response. When Brandon did not even flinch, the clerk said, "Alright, you goth-wannabe smart-ass, get up to the counter and pay for your shit." Brandon didn't move. "Did you hear me?" Brandon kept chewing. "Did you hear me?" said the clerk, emphasizing his seriousness with a slight shove.

Brandon stabilized himself and snapped out of his frenzied chocolate engorgement. He turned toward the clerk and, trying to keep as calm as he could manage, muttered, "Don't fucking touch me again, you piece of shit."

"Alright, that's it, goth-boy. Get the fuck out!" the clerk shouted. He stepped in and pushed Brandon again, making him drop his twelve-pack of soda.

Brandon's head reeled. He took a few steps back to regain his footing. A pain like lightning flashed down his spine and up into his head. White, hot anger was all he saw. His hands balled up into fists, and by instinct alone, he struck out at the threatening clerk. Brandon's fist made contact, though not very hard, with the clerk's face.

Brandon had not taken into consideration the long node of bone, poking through his skin just below the wrist, following his palm, and protruding several inches past the tips of his fingers.

The clerk stood, mouth open in horror, as if he was about to scream. One of his eyelids twitched. The other would have, had it not been pierced by bone.

"Holy shit!" one of the two boys by the magazine rack shouted. Brandon, wide-eyed and speechless, turned his head to them. His eyes pleaded for their understanding, for their forgiveness. The boys stood still, horrified looks on their faces, then made for the door.

The clerk's body began to shiver. His legs buckled, and he crashed to the ground, taking Brandon's arm down with him. Now leaning over the convulsing body of the clerk, Brandon tried to remove his fist, and his long, protruding bone, from the young man's face. He tugged a little, but could not pull away. He put his foot on the clerk's neck and yanked his arm back.

There was a sickening pop, like a cork out of a champagne bottle, and blood bubbled up from the man's now-vacant eye socket, pouring over the side of his head onto the ground.

Brandon looked around. There was no one to help him. But there was no one to condemn him either. He grabbed the twelve-pack of soda and ran out of the convenience store into the shade of night.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Eight-Bit Heroes

Check out the flippin' sweet Super Mario quilt Miss HB made.

Seeing this gave me an idea for a project that I've had on the back burner since I moved to Kansas City. I have an old coffee table with inlayed tiles. I also have a butt-ton of beer bottle caps. I was going to take the tiles out of the table and, in their place, lay the bottle caps in some cool pattern or design. Maybe I could make a rendering of an eight-bit hero from my youth. Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

God, Inc. and a Rant about TV

I just discovered God, Inc. by It's a pretty clever web video series about working for God in a corporate setting. If I had the resources, I would love to make a web video series like this or like Ask a Ninja. Hell, I'd just like to be involved in making it: writing, directing, shooting, editing, anything!

Every time I see something like these, I am relieved. Relieved to find that there are still creative, frugal, intelligent people out there making quality entertainment. Every time I watch TV, unless I'm watching House or Lost, I'm disappointed. I want to laugh. I want to cry. I want to be entertained! Instead, I usually chuckle a little, or grimace, and then turn off the television and read a book. Television just isn't entertaining anymore. Most of it shouldn't even be called "entertainment." Why would I want to watch people bitching at each other on some "reality" show, or watch some washed up actor learn how to dance? Most TV today isn't just bad, it's insulting. It is insulting to me to know that instead of coming up with real, actual entertain, someone shot a whole bunch of footage of ugly people being chopped up by plastic surgeons or fat people complaining about how it's hard to exercise, and called it a show.

So, when I see some quality video entertainment with decent writing, decent acting, decent cinemotography, made for less than the weekly wage of the best boy grip from The Class (My God, that's a horrible show!), it makes me smile. There are people out there who actually care about entertainment, and don't just settle for pretty people and flashing lights. Bravo, God, Inc. et al

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Freelance Clown

Maybe I chose my freelance writing career too hastily. Maybe I should be a freelance clown, instead.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Illustration courtesy of Luciano.
He sat up screaming. Blood and saliva dripped from his mouth. His arms stuck straight out, fingers extended. His muscles were on fire, his blood boiling. A raging animal, caged inside his head, pressed against his skull and clawed at the back of his eyes. His scream was interrupted by a hiccough. He gagged. He coughed, coughed up blood. The pain subsided slightly with his silence. He hiccoughed again and electricity shot through his torso. He lowered his arms and tried to breath. With erratic breaths he looked around the room, up the walls, over his body. His eyes shifted, but he saw nothing. He hiccoughed again and his vision went white. Slowly the darkness of the room returned. Pain was everywhere. It was outside him digging its way in. It was inside him clawing for a way out.

One image filled his memory. A face. A familiar face. Brandon tried to remember who the face belonged to, but all he could remember was the dream that preceded this nightmarish consciousness. He had dreamt of his father. His father was there smiling at him. He was telling a young Brandon what a good job he'd done. Brandon held a baseball bat over his shoulder, a curious bat, made of bone. As the young Brandon smiled back at his father, his father began to look solemn, distraught. "Dad?" Brandon asked, looking for assurance that his father was alright. But it wasn't his father. His father became someone else, someone familiar but obscure. Then the man who used to be his father stabbed Brandon in the arm with some unseen object. Young Brandon was astonished. He stood, looking into the familiar face, wanting to ask what he had done to deserve such violence. Then molten lava erupted from his arm and traced its way up through his shoulder into his chest and head. He had woken himself up with a scream.

The lights flicked on and a panicked Maria was standing in the doorway. "Are you alright? What's wrong?"

Brandon looked up at her through a haze of pain. She looked distorted. The white of her uniform bled into the white wall of the hallway behind her. The glaring fluorescent lights poked at his eyes like needles. He looked away, down at his arm. Still inserted in him was a suspicious syringe, empty now. He yanked it out, the additional sting minimal compared to his current agony. "No, it's just me, Dr. Tyler. Go back to sleep, Brandon," the syringe seemed to say to him. Dr. Taylor. The face in the dream was Dr. Taylor. Brandon looked down at the syringe in his hand and let it fall the floor. He hiccoughed again and breathed acid into his lungs.

"I don't know, he just got up and screamed 'He tried to kill me!'" Maria explained to the hospital security officer. "He had that in his arm when I came in," she pointed to the floor by the hospital bed where an empty syringe rested, "but he yanked it out right before he ran out." The security officer nodded and continued to write in his note pad. "I was scared to death. He this ... crazy look in his eye."

"Are you alright?" the officer asked.

"Oh yeah, I'm fine." Maria crossed her arms, as if hugging herself. "I just hope he is."

"So, I said, I said, 'Listen, bitch!' I said, 'Listen! I'll park my dick up your ass if you don't quick squawking at me," Tom said, obviously drunk. "So, then, after I left the parking garage thingie, I see her again at Swashbucklers, and I'm like--"

"What happened to your door?" the girl on Tom's arm interrupted. She, too, was drunk, but not as thoroughly as Tom, and was looking for an excuse to get Tom to change the subject.

"What the fuck?" was all Tom could think to say. He pushed open the door, disregarding the bloody foot print and the cracked jamb. Standing inside his apartment, in the middle of the living room, was a demon dressed in Tom's clothes.

The monster wore one of Tom's shirts with a horn protruding through a hole in shirt one shoulder. There were various holes in the arms of the shirt and the legs of the pants with shards of bone poking through. A pair of unlaced work boots adorned his feet. And a stocking cap crowned the distorted figure. There were crimson streaks down its face, and a blood stain on the sleeve of one arm. He stared at the two people in the doorway with bloodshot eyes.

The girl screamed one long scream and wet herself just a little bit. She tried to run, but Tom had a firm grasp on her arm and held her in front of him, shuddering himself. The figure stood motionless.

When she stopped screaming, Tom released the girl and let her shrink back through the doorway. "What the fuck, man," he suddenly bravely said. "Who the fuck are you?"

The figure looked at Tom, not menacingly, but confused. "It's me, Tom. It's me, Brandon." He paused, waiting for his friend to recognize him. "Brandon Collins."

Tom squinted his eyes. "Brandon?" Tom finally recognized his buddy. "What the fuck, man?"

"I just got out of the hospital."

Tom looked over Brandon's bloated and disfigured body. "Looks like they should have kept you a little bit longer."

"I had to leave. Someone tried to kill me."

"And they did this to you?" Tom ask sympathetically.

"No." Brandon sighed. "I already looked like this."

Utterly confused, Tom tried to make sense of the situation. "So, why'd you have to fucking break into my apartment, man?" Tom asked pointing to the door. He saw the young woman standing in the doorway, only now beginning to calm herself. Tom, as if suddenly remembering his manners, introduced the two. "Oh, Brandon this is Lindsey ... from Payroll. You remember her."

Brandon nodded. "Listen, Tom, do you have any drugs? Any painkillers?"

"Just Tylenol, man."

"I already took all that." Brandon had previously downed half a bottle of headache medicine, but it had only abated his suffering enough to think somewhat clearly. Brandon could feel his body swelling and the pressure increasing in his skull. His whole body ached. He also felt himself getting woozy. He knew this was a result of low blood-sugar content. While his body produced abnormal amounts of blood, it still only produced normal amounts of insulin. He knew he needed to get sugar into his system soon. "Do you have anything sweet? Any candy? Anything with sugar?"

Tom was confused by this line of questioning. "Maybe some soda in the fridge?"

Brandon shook his head. He'd already used the only can in the refridgerator to wash down the pills. "Look, can I borrow some cash. I need to get some sugar into my system or I'll go into shock."

Tom, drunkenly compassionate, handed his old buddy his wallet. He leaned in an pointed over his shoulder, whispering, "Listen, if you need a place to stay tonight, you can have the couch. I might even let you have sloppy seconds."

"Thanks for the offer, but I'll just take the couch." Brandon wished he could joke with his friend. But the pain was returning to his muscles, and a throbbing was beginning to drown out his thoughts. Humor was not something he was capable of at the moment. He took a twenty out of the wallet and handed it back. "I'll be back soon." Brandon shuffled out the door.

After a long silence, Tom said to Lindsey, "That dude is fucked up!"

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Have Pen - Will Write

My unofficial New Year's resolution this year was to start a career in freelance writing. I want to start out easy, writing articles and maybe doing some editing in my spare time. Hopefully, I'll make a little extra money in the process. It's a fine resolution, I think.

But what's a resolution without a goal? Luckily, inkthinker has provided me with a goal that will start me on my way. The goal is to write 120 queries in 12 months. A query is a letter sent to an editor or an agent to propose an article, essay, manuscript, etc. for publication. Writing a couple of these each week after work doesn't seem like much of a "challenge," but honestly, if I had not been challenged, I probably wouldn't have started on my resolution. So, thank you, inkthinker.

My dream is that by the time my tech writing contract is over this summer I will be able to support myself doing freelance writing full time. I think this may be shooting a little high, but inkthinker personally assured me, a little too optimistically for my taste, that I "can totally become full-time by this summer." Thanks again, for your vote of confidence.

So, here I go, off in to the wild west of writing. I'm a lonely penslinger for hire, riding the open range, just looking for a way to get by. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Anarchy, Utopia, or Both?

I'm still trying to wrap my mind aroundan essay called Society without a State by Murray N. Rothbard. At times I found his assertions somewhat realistic, but a little too optimistic about humanity for my liking. When I tried to follow his lines of reasoning, though, far beyond his examples, I began to think: "Why not? Why couldn't this work?"

The only valid worry I had pertained to monopolies. If a monopoly were to become powerful enough, it could potentially take over an anarchist society and put itself in the place of a government. In fact, this is probably how centralized government happened in the first place.

This article has piqued my interest. And I would very much like to see others' reactions to it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Poor in America

Aside from the blatant anti-liberalism in this article, it is very interesting. I have always had a hard time accepting the assertion that poor people are poor because they are being oppressed by an evil and shadowy elite class, or because they were born into a downward spiral of poor begetting poor. It always seemed easier for me to believe that people in America are poor and stay poor because it's easier than working. If someone will feed you if you do no work, but won't feed you if you do enough work to barely get by, why do work at all?

"There are more heads of household who work year-round and full-time among the top 5 percent of American heads of households than among the bottom 20 percent." If unsubstantiated facts like this can be believed, then it seems that it must be very hard to be poor in America these days. If you do find yourself below the poverty line, you should probably quit your job and apply for government sponsorship.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Thomas looked at the clock next to his bed. The red one-thirty stung his tired eyes in the dark. He rolled over and tried to fall asleep. It wasn't working.

He remembered with dismay accepting the offer to join a superhero team earlier that evening. He recalled the smile on the face of the young woman across the table. He regretted agreeing to shadow the handsome man as he went on patrol the next night. He wondered if he would get a cape.

Miranda finally closed her text book, changed into her pajamas, and turned out the light. The logarithms, areas under the hypotenuse, and lines approaching infinity paraded through her barely conscious mind, screaming for attention. With only one night left to study for her calculus midterm exam, problems yelled and shouted and called to her to solve them. Her head could barely contain the noise. But a quiet, timid thought crept through her brain and stepped away from the din and whispered to her. She smiled as she remembered Thomas's awkward grin and not-so-covert glances.

A silent shadow, perched on a rooftop, watched and listened. Alex was in a state of deep concentration, waiting for the sound of running footfalls in the dark or a muffled cry. He had cleared his mind and breathed deeply. He was still.

Out of the silent darkness, one thought slithered into his mind and disturbed his calm.

Something evil....

Before he could finish the thought, the distant sound of a police siren caught his attention. Alex dashed off through the dark.

A mysterious doctor walked through the hospital parking lot. Regret sat like a ball in his throat. Now to correct my other mistakes, he thought.

Bloodshot eyes flew open wide. Brandon bellowed, a scream that shook his whole body. "It burns!"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Gender Genie

The Gender Genie is a neat little party trick. It seems fairly accurate. Out of the sixteen parts of my serial story, Superhero, it guessed that thirteen were written by a male. The other three parts might have been judged incorrectly because the focus was on the story's female character, Miranda.

Check it out. See if it works for you.

Circa Now