Roy vs Halloween - Halloween Wins

This will be the second in three Halloweens that I've gotten all dressed up and spent the night sitting at home. At least this time it's by choice. I thought I had something going here with the pumpkin carving and the mask. I've been making a papier mache mask for the last two weeks, when I had time, in hopes of pulling out some sort of crowd stopper this year. But two weeks spare time hasn't been nearly enough to craft anything worth putting on and the mask sits entirely unfinished.

Tomorrow I'm set to help my dad move the last of his big furniture into a new apartment. So the anticipated early morning heavy lifting ain't exactly encouraging me to get out and get rowdy tonight. It's mostly mood though. Call me Boll Weevil, I just don't feel up to it. I might manage some cheap-ass pizza and a rented movie, but a full-on human gathering sounds to be more burden than anything else right now.

Anyway, here's what I might've looked like had I attended your gathering. I did not.

Honey, you can't afford me.

Extremism is Required

A year or two ago I read the teachings of Jesus and discovered that they were nothing at all like Christianity. That they were much better and more profound than anything the Christians in my life - including two years Christian schooling and my father's life-long Seventh Day Adventism - had ever led me to believe.

Aside from being an unflappable peacenik, Jesus, it turns out, was a rabid anti-capitalist. Who knew? Certainly the Christians didn't know. Not by the looks of their opulent homes and driveways full of consumer toys. Not according to the contents of the church parking lot, for sure.

I was so overwhelmed with the image of a spiritual leader who advocated the development of -- can you believe it? the spirit! over the stock portfolio... over the body or even the mind, that I decided to take this Jesus fellow up on the challenge.

He said to forgive everyone, so I did. He said to love everyone. I made a best effort at that. It wasn't easy but it wasn't quite as hard as you'd think. He said to sell off everything and give the money away: Done. "Take up your cross and follow me." Right-o, where we goin'?

This isn't the time or place for my story, but what I gained from doing as Jesus taught was a life rich with challenge, suffering, and most importantly, reward. I gained a life where the world was a game, at some points a sad and desperate game that could still fill the players with despair, but always a game. Life was innately foolish, and yet I was indeed living it. I was a participant! I was alive. And I realized just how often that hadn't been the case.

I eventually lost grip of the fundamentals that led me to the road and kept me in good spirits and good stead throughout my asceticism. When I look back I can see a number of personal weaknesses, challenges I failed to overcome, that eventually amounted and chased me back to our present ease of death. But one of the most surprising deceptions that led me from the good path was the very self-deprivation prescribed.

Maintaining my own lack of goods became itself a distraction from my goals. The struggle to remain poor in the face of opportunity and the good-will of a community became an impediment to the cultivation of my spirit, much as capitalism had been before it -- though surely to no equal degree. I felt guilty when I had more than ten dollars in my pocket and when someone offered me work I regressed into intellectual capitulations. This guilt-laden inner turmoil served only to shrink my otherwise expanding outer awareness back down to the blind, pin prick of self; quite the opposite of my intent.

I've read tales of 'Bud' the Buddha and 'Sid,' Siddhartha. Both end in the same conclusive phrase: "The Middle Path." I hate that term. Maybe it's the phonetic resemblance to "middle class" or "middle ground," but the verbage seems to me to lend itself the air of an enabling device; of a justification for lethargic conformity. It turns my mind to the bourgeois: that race of men who've made a whole from one third chastity, one third sin, and one third vacant opportunism. "The middle path" is so easily misconstrued that the phrase itself may be to Buddhism what Christians are to Christianity - a red herring.

One of my favorite books is 'Siddhartha' by Herman Hesse. Hesse's Siddhartha isn't a prince, but simply a well to do young Brahmin. You might say he's an upper middle class kid at the top of the pyramid, ready to go far in his family's aristocratic circles. But he quickly realizes that the path he's on doesn't go anywhere. Accruing all knowledge, as is the practice of his peoples, hasn't led any of his elder counterparts to true enlightenment, and his own studies have done little to soothe his aching soul. So he heads into the wilderness and joins those who seek enlightenment through suffering; who pursue their inner peace by numbing both body and mind to all the world's woes. They think every thought, suffer every pain, deprive themselves of all comfort until no misfortune can move them one way or the other. Of course, Siddhartha soon decides that for all his pains he is grown no closer to enlightenment and that any relief he has found in these practices, be they of his father or of the wild monks, is merely temporary. He muses, most entertainingly, that he can see no difference between such lofty meditative methods of silencing the ego and drowning his soul's confusions in a bottle of rye. Both Brahmin and drunkard awake the next morning to meet their pains renewed.

His path is long and wild and soon enough he decides to taste the richness of what he calls the child's life, embracing the more common paths of sexuality and commerce. It begins as a game and it is very entertaining and fulfilling when played as a game. But these worlds slowly infect him. He starts to take them seriously and they lose their charm. After some time he awakes to find that he is nolonger pursuing his goal of enlightenment but that he's been indoctrinated into a cornucopia, an orgy of the self -- exactly what he first set out to overcome.

In Hesse's 'Siddhartha' the key is not the middle path, but the fullness and wideness of the Buddha's life that enable his enlightenment. By old age he has seen so much of samsara - the endless cycle of life and it's worries - he's walked through so many of it's layers that he finds his final peace in embracing it all. All is samsara. All is life. All is death. All is suffering. All is joy. All is ignorance. All is wisdom. All is hate. All is love.

It is not the moderation of some middle path that brings Siddhartha home to eternity, but the sheer extremity of his existence; the breadth of his life. In the end he knows compassion and understanding for all men because he has walked a day in every shoe. He finds freedom from want by having embraced the wants of all; by knowing the sincere pursuit of every foolishness; by knowing all samsara to be a necessary elixir that must be tasted in full.

From my personal journey I've learned the greater happiness there is to be found in the absence of the comforts modern existence demands. To those who seek it deprivation is a comfort to the soul, for what's sake they are wise to let the body rot. But where deprivation ceases comfort it becomes penance for uncommitted sins. It is pain for pain's sake and there is no rationalizing it.

Between opulence and destitution lie a better way, perhaps. But it is surely not an equidistant. Extremism is required.

The Pumpkineer

Pumpkin of Doom

Maw and I caught us a twenty-two pounder today. Boy, I tell you, I widdled him something fierce, too. Sure enough'll last him, I reckon! Chaw!

One love.

Summer of the Shark

You people are really fucking stupid, ya' know that? Are you aware? just how ridiculously goddamn retarded you are? Yeah, you nibble-nuts. See me pointing? You!

Just want to take a quick sec to put things in perspective for all you dipshits at home. Every year, I'm told, six-thousand people in the US die falling off of a ladder. There are 1500 accidental deaths by firearms. And around 1600 people win no less than a million dollars playing the lottery. This all per annum.

Now put those factiods in your pocket for a minute (you dumb motherfucker, you) and follow me back to the oh-so distant year of 2001. In 2001, prior to a couple of planes flying into a couple skyscrapers, the news - not the tabloids, now, but the Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Barbara Walters, "You're watching CNN," tick-tock 60-fuckin-Minutes, news - was out there for months, screaming at the top of their shameless dollar-whore lungs, about shark attacks. Did you hear me right? Yes, I said "shark attacks."

Early in the swimming season they latched onto an attack survivor's story and for the entire rest of the summer could not shut the fuck up about sharks, attacks, and shark attacks. They were so adamant in espousing the danger to the world's swimmers, that they dubbed summer 2001, "The Summer of the Shark." Yes, I'm serious. I was there. It happened. Look it up.

The results? Coastal beaches everywhere received less swimmers. In other words: You ignant' fucking people actually believed this shit about shark attacks. You actually believed that sharks had suddenly decided to go to war with human beings. Oh, you can try to say you didn't believe it - that you didn't fall for Walter Cronkite's horseshit lies - but the numbers tell a different story. You and yours weren't at the beach in '01. You were at home, on the couch, tuned in to the sensationalist, ratings driven, propaganda that passes for American journalism. You were buying, reading and consuming the very media that was unabashedly lying to you, and in the most blatantly obvious manner. You were enabling it! You were tuning in and paying their sponsors. You were feeding the beast that was eating you alive you stupid human-fucking-waste.

And in retrospect? What really happened in the "Summer of the Shark?" Shark attacks were down 15% from the year before. You were more likely to win the lottery; You were more likely to fall off a ladder and die; In fact, you had a better chance of being struck by fucking lightning than being attacked by a shark in the summer of 2001. They were lying to your face the whole time - all summer long! And you, because you're such a rubbernecking, trailer trash, 'Faces of Death' renting, professional wrestling fan, idiot - lapped it up like a kitten at a leaky cow udder. You ignorant asshole, you.

Now this year, with just two months left out of 2009, that same media that advised you so well about the imminent threat of sharks growing legs, coming up on land, and eating your babies while they're still in the womb, is pulling out all the stops to make sure that you don't forget for a minute about the massive viral outbreak what presently threatens to sweep the nation snuffing out your childrens' lives in a tidal epidemic that's sure to leave more bodies than survivors! Look out America! Run for you fucking lives! It's H1N1! It's 2009, "The Fall of the Flu!" Boogedy woogedy woo, dipshit!!!

As of this very day, H1N1 - aka "the swine flu" - is reported to have claimed all of 1000 American lives this year. Now since you're so fucking stupid, I'll go ahead and do the math for you, and project a total of around 1200 deaths by year's end.

In other words: You are more likely to be accidentally shot to death by a neighbor cleaning a gun; you are more likely to win a million dollars in your state's lottery; you are way, way more likely to kill yourself while changing a light bulb than you are to die of this H1N1 that the media is skull-fucking for ratings' sake.

And so long as it's stuck in there, let's give it a twist and see if we can't break it off by pointing out that 30 times more people will die this year thanks to the good old fashioned, every day, over-the-counter strains of influenza that don't nobody give a shit about right now, because they're all too fucking retarded for this month's "7 Action News: Special Report - Death by Swine" hysteria bullshit.

If you got an H1N1 vaccine, you are dumb. I'm using simple words now; I think I've run out of other ways to express your intellectual lackings. You are dumb. You probably voted for Bush and against socialized medicine. You're dumb. You probably own a Swiffer Sweeper and drive an SUV. You're fucking dumb! You probably think eating at 'Subway' is a fucking diet, because you're really, really fucking dumb, mang.

They have got you! They own your ignorant, cowish ass. You buy whatever they're selling. You lap up whatever they pour in the bowl. You are one ridonculous fucking numbnut motherfucker, you are. And you're the problem, by the way. It's you. Oh, it's all you! You're why democracy don't work anymore. You're why capitalism has eaten the soul out of this nation. Put it this way: You're the shit-for-brains that talks up how evil Walmart is, then turns around and goes shopping there. Cause you "just can't beat the deals. Sure I know it's run by Satan, but it's 2 for 1 on Swiffer pads this week! Who needs self respect when you've got coupons!"

It's the Summer of the Shark, you dipshit. Tune out! No. Not in... Out! Yeah! That's an option. Yeah, if you press the red button again, it actually turns the TV off. No shittin' ya. You know what? "H1N1" is just "leet" text for hiney - as in butt. As in, "We be fucking you good tonight, America. Tune in at 11 for more major-market consolidated-media dick up yo' ass."

God! You're just so fucking dumb!

(That 1600 lotto millionaires figure seems high, don't you think? I'll bet the internet is lying to me... again!)

'Distance' by Long Shot Party

Yep, I'm covering 'Distance' again. This time I've ventured to sing it in the original octave and register. Look out! As always I have little idea what it is that I'm saying here, but I like it just the same! More so, in fact.

After much study I've decided the lyrics to this song, as subtitled by the fansub group Dattebayo, are just wrong. I've come to this conclusion by comparing an alternate lyric sheet to the album-version of 'Distance,' finding the words much easier to enumerate there. It is clear, by the lyrics heard in Long Shot Party's music video, that Dattebayo got tripped up somewhere, presumably by the steady mixture of Engrish and Nipon-go throughout the song.

It certainly wasn't happy news to discover this fault in Dattebayo's translation, since that's how I originally learned this song. It meant breaking myself of the first delivery, which is none too easy - mind you - when you don't speak the language you're singing; when you first learned the lyrics phonetically! Well, eventually it sunk in... as evidenced by the absolutely flawless performance above.

Yes, you are welcome, mankind. You are welcome indeed.


I met it first a few weeks ago, I don't know where. Then a few days ago Ian and I were at a bar, skillfully unweaving Aristotelian precepts, when all our labors fell and shattered - we lost our place - and lost control, overcome by hysterical laughter at its sudden, unanticipated presence.

Now, I don't know why, but today - days later - it finally happened. I should've seen it coming. I woke up this morning and there it was at the foot of my bed, whispering in my ear as I drug myself out and up and toward the shower. I rode the bike to work today, thinking I'd lose it in the cold, hidden beneath coat and scarf; let it chase me naked through a brisk fall morning at a 12mph wind chill. But it managed even nude, it was with me there as well.

And as soon as Kevin walked out the door just now I couldn't help it. Alone in the shop I finally lost control. It got inside me, took over, and I saw myself... I heard myself singing:

"I've got a feeling... that tonight's gonna be a good night. That tonight's gonna be a good, good ni-i-ight. [...Got a feelin']"

It's the slight overlap at the end that seals it for me. I'm helpless in the face of rounds. Like red heads and innocence they disarm me.

Well, let's live it up.

Wild International

They say that in war the truth be the first casualty. So I dig in: Selector - I, the Resurrector - fly my shit; sever your neck wider than ever with my tongue dipped in funk arsenic. Burn this illusion, this lie, with straight arson shit! Your arsenal's stripped. Power aint full jackets and clips, it's my ability to define phenomenon. Raw Crenshaw, '84. Boogie down before L.A.

When the war break off, where you be? Take off? Stand in full face off? with the M1 millimeter, let the rhythm of the chamber hit 'em. Let the rich play catch with 'em. Better yet, make 'em, eat 'em, and shit 'em till they so full of holes that they drown in their own.

I'm like a nail stuck in the wrist of they Christmas. Don't need radio to leave their family a witness.

Muhammad and Christ will life? ...will lay your body down to a tune, so wild, international. In the desert, full of bullets, let your body rot. With my chrome, with my verse, with my body. Rock!

In this era where DJs behave - be paid to be slaves - we raid airwaves to be sane. And what's raining from the station? Cash fascination like living dead.

Fed agents distract us fast from a disaster's wrath. For sure, air war was flooded like the 9th ward on the AM. On the AM! Turn and face them. Hatred and mayhem! "Slay them!" "Dangerous!" I take razor steps. It's the swing from the bling to the bang on the left! It's the murderous return: boom back, full strap. Your six that got clipped, you can't clap back.

With minimal lift and criminal flow I'm killing 'em soft and billing 'em fo' everything stole. And once again I'm that nail in the wrist of they Christmas. Watch me make their family a witness.

Here I've transcribed Zach De La Rocha's lyrics for the song 'Wild International' from the band and album One Day as a Lion. I've attempted to give it a traditional paragraph form and remove some of the signature lyrical flow. By adding punctuation and breaking the lines on the thought, rather than the beat, the ideas distinguish themselves more clearly.

I shall now, in pompous arrogance, interpret these lyrics. I will expound upon them, putting things in that aren't really there, and freeing whole volumes of thought and text from just a few syllables. I advise that you stop reading here and go form your own opinions instead. (I should consider the time taken to write this a self-indulgent waste.)

The first verse sets a violent tone for a song considered on whole to be a blisteringly angry threat and a call to armed revolution. The first line, a simple derivative quote, ("In war, truth is the first casualty") sets the stage for a few of the song's prevailing notions of thought control and military media warfare. De La Rocha builds himself up a little at the beginning, annointing himself the resurrector of truths lost to the veil of war. Slitting the enemy's throat is symbolic of an inability to make rebuttal. Stripping him of his "arsenal" is as well, a claim that there can be no argument to the ideas that follow. Power lie not in military might but in thought. Wars are born of men and minds, not means. No army on Earth can withstand the might of its protectorate. Power is reason and who controls their own mind is more powerful, and dangerous, than all armies.

The second paragraph is much benefited by punctuation, almost that it need not be further considered. It begins with the challenge: When the war between man and his oppressors begins, where will you be? Will you run from the fight. Will you desert mankind to the shelter of them who promise you only subjugation. Or will you stand against the powers of the world that have so long bound you. Will you seize and hold the will to stand and kill the capitalist oppressor as he and his have so long been the murderers of men, and worse?

The pitch to chorus is tough. A nail through the wrist of Christmas... Well, that would be a disappointment to anyone, to say the least. The truth and death of Jesus as received during the celebration of his birth. Forced recognition of sobering truths despite an effort to remain blind to them.

"Don't need radio to leave their family a witness." An incredulous threat, intended to remind the consolidated media and Pentagon propagandists, brought to flog later, that no amount of media censorship, hype, or spin can wipe away the real images of death and destruction when they land in your own backyard.

The third paragraph and chorus is a challenge. I've transcribed the first line as "Mohammad and Christ will life?" And I've followed it immediately with "...will lay your body down." If heard correctly, I find this an unexpectedly poetic and intoxicating pun, capturing with a masterful terseness the hypocrisy inherent in both religions. The collective gods of Christian and Muslim world alike espouse doctrines of peace and life, while in practice Jesus and Mohammad, God and Allah are all equally likely to spray your blood across the sand impiously, unbothered even to grant sport a grave, leaving corpse to rot in open air. All these gods are more often the trumpet heralding war than leading to peace.

"to a tune so wild: international," begs mention here as it distinguishes the type of war being condemned in the chorus. De La Rocha is a militantly minded artist, and I believe, an advocate of violent revolution. Thus it is not war in general he is deriding, but these foreign wars of aggression, empire, and capital gain. A civil war of liberation and self determination would presumably be just fine by him.

The last line of the chorus ("With my chrome, with my verse, with my body.") may be less thought out than I will suggest, but I imagine it the sudden juxtaposition of the speaker to the position of the dead. De la Rocha is here entertaining the notion of himself dead or dying on the sand of a foreign nation, and so the listener is juxtapositioned with him. All to die and disappear, mind and body, on foreign soil, with none to care; least of all them that led us to the fight.

The second verse begins with the consolidation of media. I suspect some personal ire in this songs mentions of radio. One Day as a Lion can't be getting any radio play from the Clear Channel syndicate. Of course they mustn't have expected much airtime considering the lyrical content of the music. I know well the great frustrations suffered from beneath a glass ceiling and One Day as a Lion along with Zach De La Rocha earn the right to their anger as poets and musicians only allowed so many decibels, so large an audience, and so far a reach by the consolidated media interests at large.

So while it is as likely that the second verse's opening lines regard the Pentagon's hypocritical propagandizings in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those populations' attempts to publish and air their own responses without being detected and destroyed for it, I enjoy these comments as a more domestic affair. To be clear, I find these statements regard widely the consolidation of media, the lack of intellectual diversity, and the absence of perspective and individuality across mainstream outlets. I do not mean to imply that this is purely, or even first, a personal slight by a poet scorned. But that scorn may feed the flames of the song's overall vitriol.

"And what's raining from the station? Cash fascination."

In the bible Jesus says that you cannot serve both Mammon and God. Mammon is the personified representation of greed. No one can serve two masters, says Jesus, and he teaches that too friendly a relationship with money, goods, comforts, and convenience is enmity with God. You cannot be spiritually sound, says Jesus, and know the want of money.

Today our current policy in Afghanistan is outwardly and unashamedly to "whip a little industry on 'em." I have heard the opinion voiced by an average news anchor - not a crazy, fascist, CNN talking head - but by a run of the mill, wallpaper reporter that in order to stem "religious extremism" in the middle east, America's policies should be to increase the capital opportunities available; spur entrepreneurship; and encourage new fiscal markets. In other words, "we can destroy the belief system that leads them to resist us so zealously, by slow and unnoticable means until all that remains of it is dogmatic ceremony, if we can erect a middle class of relative ease."

It's a perfectly logical conclusion. I've seen it work wonders to those same ends here at home in America. And I cannot believe how unrepentantly Satanic capitalism and America really are. Nor how acceptable this depth of evil has become to the average citizen. When "America's enemies" say that we are the great Satan, it's because we are. We are trying to destroy their culture. We are trying to drive a wedge between them and their God. We really truly are the modern embodiment of Lucifer's will. Nice to meet you. Beverage? Towel? Hot poker in your ass?

I'd like to think that the two word phrase "Cash fascination" embodies all of this and more, both abroad and at home. It also sets up the next few lines of the song as they regard the racist attempts at deflection and Marshall law following hurricane Katrina. These being the "looting" claims of the fascist capitalist demon fuckwad cocksuckers.

A merchant city under water; no meaningful response from the Federal government; tens of thousands of unrepresented people sleeping in a sports arena, and under armed quarantine for the disease of being poor in a disaster (and therefore libel to do anything!); civil rights abuses piling up one after another; and all the media can talk about or show is a few opportunists running off with soggy stereo equipment. So much so that enough heads turned from a city in peril, unassisted by all the systems supposedly in place to help them, to the "need" for Marshall law and national guardsmen. The need to start shooting down anyone walking out of a Piggly Wigglies without a receipt scotch taped to their forehead. Finally we see this government's concern! Not people. Property! "Quick get the guns and protect the lifeless inanimate sundries that those cold, wet, hungry, homeless people are trying to walk off with!"

"the swing from the bling to the bang on the left." The media was able to blow up a few incidents of looting to the point that America was able to accept the use of military force for the purposes of policing an American city. This leads right into "the murderous return." That sacrifice of constitutional grounds that can never be undone. The powers-that-be winning another precedent enabling them to come in and hold the peace by overwhelming intimidation and lethal force.

An alternate interpretation might leave De La Rocha speaking from the perspective of the media throughout this latter half of the verse; mocking their fear mongering and laying bare the racism innate in all those suggestions of an impending danger posed by a large black community suddenly homeless. Like animals the white man caged but wishes he'd just gotten rid of, broken loose and threatening now - this race of dark savages - to infiltrate our nice, white villages and carjack us all to death for fried chicken and watermelon money.

Another interpretation of this last section could leave it spoken on behalf of the people: A violent outburst of hatred toward the establishment. The "swing from the bling to the bang on the left" could prophecy the shift in the populace from their obsession with comforts and goods to the stronger desire for a just and humane world. This leaves the rest of the song as a string of threats against the establishment.

The last line before the pitch to chorus is a beautiful enigma to me. He could be speaking from the perspective of the authority, who, during a crisis, is hovering around in helicopters gunning people down over a stolen TV. I prefer, however, to think that he's returned to his earlier push toward violent revolution; that he's speaking on behalf of the people, as they regard the powers of oppression. The proletariat, finally armed, having found it's resolve to seize control, is at last "killing 'em soft and billing 'em fo' everything stole."

Or it could be a song about puppies. One of those two.


I am man and you are not. This is your world. You belong to it. You are sated by it, happy of it, and none to your fault. But I am an accident. This is not my world and I am not happy of it. I'm not meant to be here. But I am stranded. I am made myself the butt of a woeful cosmic joke.

In eternity they gambled, "What do you think would happen if we took one of us - a spiritually developed being; a consciousness who desires meaning and virtue, life and love; whose goals would not abide the comforts and trivialities of a life lived only for the sake of living still... What would come if such a being, unawares, were bore upon a planet of hairy, tick-eating ape, and left there to believe in it his natural home?"

The pot must ever grow among my kindred, casting bets on how it all shall surely one day end for me; or yet how it must one day still begin. For it can not be fairly said that my life has much begun, though false-starts do amount in me aplenty.

But what should happen to a spiritual being set among the squalor and feces of a race of primates? What mechanism might he find by which to cope amongst a peoples dedicated in every proposition to acquiring the largest bunch of bananas readily available, be they either on the tree or in some fellow other's apish paw. To always seek and take the largest cache, by lawless force as needs shall be, and spiting every meal come them of the un-bunched abundance budded, budding freely over and about.

Then to guard the loot's the thing! First to heap up treasure, then to lay aground the thicket, sharpen claws, beat chest, howl thunder. For peace among apes is only come of sinew's fear; of the one's supposed death and loss upon the other's much labored image of insurmountable virility.

And last to gorge! When gathered and preserved, to overwhelm the senses with the excess of the ill-got gains. To have as much and more as can be had, that some be lost to vomit. The primate's life: to live for sake of living. Every carnal comfort bought to ease the road to death, and nothing more pursued.

What becomes of man as born to ape? So decrees the cosmos to test the supposition and I am born. Though true the pool slows growth as I grow older. The odds, at first predicting a romantic teenage suicide, have long since turned to favor natural death, as there to be preceded by long and pitiful, unlikely, apish life. Such even that the parlour of heaven's gamblers has turned from roguish curiosity to the laments of guilt and despair.

They expected more of me. I am one of their own and here they find me lived amongst the apes; choosing here to stay. The suicide was much preferred to this. They would have found it just and right and beautiful, and I'd returned to my compatriots to cheers and laughter; the multitude's hands rapped upon my back. But fearing death too greatly I taught myself, instead, how well to suffer and remain. And heaven suffers with me for it.

They meant to see me killed - a god amongst heathens, man amidst ape. "A flame too alighting of the truth to be politely tolerated must be squelched at hands his own or otherwise." So they thought and right they were. But I have out-stepped their suppositions, hiding what alights of me beneath a bushel. I have thinned the air that feeds the wick and learned to breathe in shallows. I am a disappointment to my gods. So do I apologize. I must be putting on an awful show.

I am a man set among apes and I have likened it to a great cosmic wager. It is nothing less! though at once it may be more. Perhaps the ancients planned that I'd alight in these prosimians a thing or two before my passing... before they killed me for it, or I myself. Perhaps it were a task to come and do and die and then go home, and be again among my kind in joy and love and laughter of the trip; failure no disgrace so long as prodigy return me home to kind.

Oh fear of fear that heaven is not something I must earn my place among but one to which I first belonged. Fear of fear that, here beneath the bushel, walked among the monkeys, my posture doth decay. Fear of fear of fear that on that day I die, I die too monkey to go home.

Television is Like This

Television is like this:

Imagine you're fourteen years old again. Imagine you are a fourteen year old male. You've hit puberty. You've thought you were in love once or twice. You've experienced a lot in fourteen years, really. And lately you've become painfully conscious of other people. Nolonger do you run and play with mindless, uncaring joy as a child does. But now you are all too aware of the outer world's assumptions, expectations, and opinions of you.

Your tastes are changing. You've become interested in music and art on a new, perhaps more spiritually profound level. Sure, you're still just a dumb fourteen year old, and you probably think whatever they play on the popular radio station is great, but you are learning to experience music and other forms of art in a new way; a way that seems to impact you personally; that speaks to you directly.

And you've just begun to entertain a sort of rebelliousness and angst. You now find yourself unconsciously probing the boundaries of your world; bringing challenge to the so-called conventional wisdom, and to those authority figures who, until now, guided and predisposed all your understandings.

You are a fourteen year old male. You're evolving. You're growing. You're becoming spiritually aware. You've been on this planet fourteen years and there's a million miles ahead of you, sure, but your personal journey of self-discovery has undeniably begun.

And let's suppose that as you are undergoing all these changes and awakenings, the outside world, all your friends, all the people you've been told are cool, whose footfalls are to be noted and imitated, are all at once telling you, in the friendliest, most sincerely compassionate manner, about all these things they think you would really, really like... as a fourteen year old male.

They give you names of bands and television shows. They give you authors and movies. They give you artists, games, women, foods, and flavors... So helpful are they to point you at those things which they believe you, in your present state of mind and at your level of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development, would find illuminating, intoxicating, diverting, and entertaining; that would make your world - your very life - a richer, more prosperous, more meaningful and enlightening journey.

And with all these kind suggestions overflowing the basket of your open arms you take yourself to a video shop to pick up the number one film, that very gem of celluloid theatrics that all your friends and peers joined together to laud above all other works, as that which would most pierce the fourteen-year-old male soul.

You bring it home, put it in the player, and press play. And it's fucking Barney. 'Barney the Purple Dinosaur - the Movie.' Or it's an hour and a half installment of 'Elmo's World.' You're a teenager, the bud of a man, and they've got you watching 'Hannah Montana on Ice.'

Then you turn on the radio to the sound of the DJ pitching you into one of those "great songs" by one of those "awesome bands" your peers mentioned. And it's an 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' cover.

You look again at the list of foods to try, and they're all Gerber brand. The women meant to satisfy your raging hormones are boyish and dull, the games are peg-in-hole, and the artists all color-by-number.

Television is like this: Imagine you're a twenty-eight year old male and the whole world is trying to give you just what it thinks a being of your emotional, intellectual, and spiritual maturity will want; will desire to see, consider, and discuss. And every single one of them is so sure they've got it right that they all, a thousand different media outlets, each employing hundreds of thinking, reasoning human beings to choose and produce the content they find worthy, all of them independently but simultaneously conclude that what will benefit you most, what will most endear you to them, what you really truly want to see and hear is "Dave Letterman had sex with staffers."


Lord send me boyish women and Elmo's World.

HijackThis crashes on Event 1000 - msvbvm60.dll

The Problem

I've seen this twice now. HijackThis crashes after being open for a bit, to the tune of a nondescript error message. In Windows Vista: "HijackThis has stopped working." Sometimes you'll get a few minutes use out of it before the crash. Sometimes just a few seconds. Sometimes it won't crash at all. It's only ever a problem on a laptop (I think) and this time I encountered it on a Gateway M-2626u running 64-bit Vista.

The Details

The application error log reads like this:

Faulting application HijackThis.exe, version, time stamp 0x466838c1, faulting module MSVBVM60.DLL, version, time stamp 0x4791a724, exception code 0xc0000005, fault offset 0x0005d26c, process id 0x114, application start time 0x01ca43853341371a.

At first I figured there was a virus on the machine crashing HJT on a timer event. Wrong. I figured msvbvm60.dll had been corrupted and so I tried replacing it. No change. I finally noted that the application seemed to crash when I was dragging the scroll-bar or maybe resizing the window. With this in mind, I thought the video drivers were somehow the problem; 64-bit hardware drivers are always suspect. But again, no.

The Solution

In the end the culprit lie in the touchpad, or rather Synaptic's touchpad drivers. HijackThis crashes, for whatever reason, when you trigger a mouse-scroll event using the right or bottom edges of the touchpad. It's very difficult to come to this conclusion unless you are intentionally trying to scroll this way. I wasn't, but I must have been catching the edges of the pad as I used the mouse and triggering a scroll; that made it very hard for me to see what was causing the application to suddenly die at such odd intervals of use.

The file that enables the scroll functions in question is the "Synaptics Pointing Device Driver" at "Program Files\Synaptics\SynTP\SynTPEnh.exe"

Disabling it in the startup routine via 'msconfig' will prevent HJT from crashing, though it will also disable the scroll functions of your touchpad; something most people never use and that only gets in the way, anyway. (Much as it did here.) I say turn the thing off.