Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ode to Spring


Coiled metal hoop
In watches beds toasters but
Slinky is most fun

well how's my attempt at a Haiku? Any opinion head on over to facebook and let me know.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cul-de-sac to Hell Preview

Well we're one week away from the first installment in my October Monster Stories. I thought I might post a quick preview. So here's a small excerpt from Cul-de-sac to Hell one of the adventures of a Paranormal SWAT team from Chicago. Come back next Friday and see how it turns out.

As they reached the steps Mike Flynn, the local Fire chief, called out to them, “You can’t get in there it’s to hot.”

“It’s OK sir, we’re professionals,” responded Wells.

Albert stepped up to the house, pulled a small icon from around his neck and called out, “Klaatu.  Barada.  Nikto.”  The flames pulled back from the door and parted allowing a way inside.  Wells, readied his sawn off shotgun and dashed inside.

Adam, Lagoona and Albert flipped the safeties off on their assault weapons and Wulf drew his two pistols.  Adam leaned over to Albert, “Really, the Day the Earth Stood Still?”

“You have to put on a show, if people knew how easy magic was, everyone would be doing it, and where exactly would that leave us?”  Albert paused and then in a more serious tone, “are you going to be OK in there?  I know how you feel about fire.”

“There’s kids in there.  I’ll be fine.”  Albert decided to drop it not wanting to push his friend.

The team quickly followed Wells into the house, staying just behind him, but always with a clear line of sight.  The house was filled with an eerie green glow from the flames dancing across every surface.  As they moved through the foyer and into the house, they watched as Wells opened every side room and closet door, checking the contents of each opening.  After five agonizingly slow minutes, they had cleared the ground floor and found no one. Wells signaled the group that he was moving to the stairs up to the second floor.

 As the team crouched at the base of the stairs, Wells slunk along the wall, the runes on his sleeves brightened as green flames dancing across his armor.  It took only a few steps for him to reach the top, and move to just past the lip.  The rest of the team prepared to follow him when then sudden bark of his shotgun filled the silence.  There was another shot and Wells quickly backed into view, and down the stairs keeping his shotgun aimed up through the opening.

“Report,” Albert’s voice was crisp and quick as the team fell in to guard positions around Wells, watching every direction.

“The house has stated a serious objection to us going onto the second floor, by way of a walking corpse.”

“God I hate zombies,” Wulf groaned.

Art and Protest

First let me apologize for the lateness of this post, I had something else written here and it just felt hollow. So, I did a major rewrite and came up with something a little more in keeping with my feelings about this issue. So without further ado....

Puff and the Train to Clarksville

“I don’t care who started it, I’m finishing it.” ~Adam

So, this week we talked about art and protest and how they go hand in hand. Since the dawn of protest there have been artists subtly and not so subtly poking the powers that be in the chest like an deranged stick wielding camper who has found a sleeping bear. I like questioning authority, (just ask every boss I’ve ever had) I think it needs to be done frequently, just so they know you haven’t been fooled by anything their trying to do. However, I also think it should be done respectfully, because I want them to treat me with courtesy so it seems fair to treat them the same way.

Of course this doesn’t mean that those being protested against have had a long tradition of reasonable reactions to having their decisions questioned. Certainly there have been arrests, imprisonments, banishments, beatings, and the occasional head decoratively presented on a pike in the town square. That doesn’t mean we sink to that level. Here’s an example of how I think it was done right…

Amiri Baraka was poet Laurite of New Jersey during the attacks on September 11th, he saw both planes hit the World trade Center, not on a television, not on youtube, not on the news that evening but through a window. As a writer he dealt with the tragedy the only way he knew how. He wrote a poem. It was angry, scared, confused, and cathartic. It was titled Somebody Blew Up America and he debuted it 2 weeks later at a poetry festival. Reactions varied from shock, to awe, to tears, to joy, and sadly to anger. Some people hated the poem, were outraged that the official poet of New Jersey could write something like this. How dear he. They demanded his job, his censor, his head decoratively displayed on pike outside city hall. Amiri, refused to step down, refused to rewrite the poem and asked simply that the people who were angry sit down and have a dialogue with him. Sit down with him, discuss the poem and why it worked and why it didn’t. Could he explain to them what they hated about it and why it was there.

They refused to sit with him, to talk, to hear. Instead they got the position of Poet Laurite in New Jersey dissolved. He never got angry, he didn’t scream and cry and rail against them. He simply nodded his head and went on to perform the poem, again and again. There is a documentary about it directed by Mario Van Peebles, that we watched in class. I feel sad for him, because the situation sucks. But I’ve heard the poem and I encourage you to as well. Make up your own mind if it’s hateful and mean or peaceful and cathartic…

Whether I agree with Amiri or not, I agree with the way he handled it. He was respectful, polite, but he never yielded his ground. I like that. I don’t want to rant about this, so I’m not going to go into any of the specific art that I feel has handled it poorly. I realize this may, hurt my argument, but I don’t want to argue with people over this. I will say that, a lot of art that strikes out at a cause they don’t like usually is done in a mean and vicious way in order to deliberately provoke a reaction of anger and hatred.

There are people who do this, and when people react exactly the way they expected their defense is to point and exclaim, look at all the things they’ve done. Look at how they’ve mistreated whatever I’m mad about. Or what every parent since Adam and Eve has come to know as the he started it defense. Honestly, I don’t find it productive. When attacked people tend to raise their defenses and close down their empathy, not allowing for the honest discussion of ideas.

However in the interest of full disclosure, about a month after the whole Chick-Fil-A thing where some groups were boycotting and some were bussing in entire churches full of people over the companies stance on gay rights, I posted this in a public forum just to see what would happen….

So I just heard, a GLBT family bookstore in San Francisco let one of their employees go because he was a heterosexual and the owners felt he wouldn't be able to relate to their customers. Apparently, it's perfectly legal to fire him over this even though he'd been working their for over a year without any complaints because there is no law against it. Honestly I think we should have one so crap like this doesn't happen anymore.

For the record 2 likes and no other response.

So tell me what you think, leave any comments below or head on over to my facebook page and leave a comment there.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Extra Mail

Hey all, I just got his amazing letter from the folks at extra-life talking about an event that gets run every year and I wanted to share it whit all of you.

Hello Steve!
I just had the best week, and I wanted to share some of it with you.
Each year, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals selects a Champion from each of the 50 states and all Canadian Provinces, and Delta Airlines flies them all to Washington D.C. to meet the president and then to Orlando for “Celebration”.
These are kids who have been through things that most of us cannot imagine, but have emerged on the other side of their medical challenges with a winning spirit and an infectious enthusiasm for life.
As part of that Celebration each of these amazing kids are presented with a medal at a ceremony attended by THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people. We are talking standing room only!
This year’s event was hosted by Nick Cannon and Jordan Sparks. As a member of the CMN Hospitals staff, we all wear a lot of hats, and this year I somehow ended with the “Alphabetize all of the kids for their medals” hat.
I’d wear that hat again for sure.
As I was helping these kids who ranged in age from 3 to 16 years old get ready it occurred to me that by any measure, many of these kids shouldn’t be here with us any more.
But they are.
They are alive and they are healthy, and their moms and dads are getting to celebrate birthday after birthday with their precious kids…
They are getting to do that because of you.
Because you didn’t sit idly by and let other people fill the world up with good.
Because you decided to matter in the lives of kids who live right down the street, in your town.
Because you cared.
Thank you.
Thank you for Sydnie, and Sim, and Kayla, and all of the new friends that I got to meet last week.
I can’t turn on a TV anymore without seeing things with the words “Brought to you by” followed by the name of a yogurt or chemical company.
But as I played with the kids, and then watched through relentless tears as they ran (YES RAN!) on stage to receive their medals, I realized that this experience was “Brought to you by….”
Thanks for that.
We are just a few weeks removed from our 5th annual Extra Life event on October 20th. Please remember that each dollar you raise is another important raindrop in thunderstorm of hope that is brewing for sick and injured kids. Please don’t let the satisfaction of reaching your fundraising goal deter you from raising it, meeting it again, and raising it again
There isn’t one minute of one day to waste… not when the stakes are so high.
Talk to you in a few days…

I hope you enjoyed the letter, and please if you have sometime I could use some help. I'm taking part in the extra-life gaming marathon on October 20th and would love to get some more sponsors. Certainly I've reached my personal goal of $200 but any additional funds would definitely be going to a good place. You can sponsor me specifically at Team Mayniacs, go to the home site and start your own group, or you can go here to donate directly to the extra life charity group. We'd love your help.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ode to Bunnies

Timmy and Mister Hide

Once upon a time
In the English countryside
Was an orphan boy named Timmy
And his bunny Mister Hide

Poor Timmy’s mother had been punished
For her dark and witchie ways
When the townsfolk got frightened
And they tested her for days

But Timmy was a baby then
And now a strapping boy
Who had no friends or family
Just Mister Hide for joy

They went each day to the meadow
Where they ran and jumped and played
Then wandered home at night
In an old shack where they stayed

But then one year
The rains did stop
And fields went brown
With dying crops

Young Timmy was arrested
And sentenced for their fear
And has he hung by his neck
Mister Hide cried a single tear

When they came to the shack
For to make some bunny stew
Mister Hide was hunched before the door
Knowing exactly what to do

As the door swung wide
He crossed the space
A fluffy white ball of rage
Destroyed the sheriffs face

He lunged from neck to neck
And blood turned the dirt streets red
He hunted through the village
Till most people there were dead

In the end he cut down Tim
Thinking he was gone
And hopped off to the mountains
But poor Tim he lived on

Poor Tim now roams the lands
Seeking strong, brave men
To stop his fluffy buddy
And bring him to his end

His blood rage has taken over
And he’s retreated to a cave
Upon the Cliffs of Dover
Where his heart is filled with rage.

And so now starts our tragic tale
As is written in these logs
About the fluffy murder machine
From the hamlet of Caerbannog

If you have any comment leave them below or head on over to my facebook page and post them there, or take part in the vote for next weeks poem topic.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Shall. We. Play. A. Game.

  Games, glorious games.
So I hit my $200 goal for the marathon over at Extra Life and as I said, I'm going to post some of the games we'll be playing.

Starting in the lower left and heading around the table clockwise we have Castle Panic it's a cooperative tower defense game where the players work together to stop a horde of orcs and goblins from destroying their castle located in the center of the board. It's a quick easy game and lots of fun.

Next, if the phrase, "blue warrior needs food badly," means anything to you, then you'll love Super Dungeon Explore and even if the phrase means nothing, you'll still have a good time. SDE is a recreation of old 16 bit dungeon crawler video games where a party of heroes must destroy the evil overlords (called Dark Consul) creature generators before the mini boss and boss monsters appear. Great fun, also cooperative.

After that is a game I picked up this year at Gencon, the best four days in gaming, it's called Dungeon Run a fun competitive game of friendship, loyalty, bravery, courage, and then you stab your buddy in the back grab the treasure and run for the entrance before anyone can kill you and take it for them selves.

In the top center we have Conquest of Planet Earth competitive game where players are different alien races trying to enslave mankind and take over the Earth. Great time, and I'm looking forward to the expansion that takes the game to 6 players.

After that is Risk Legacy a game that takes classic Risk and turns it on it's side, as you play your decisions and events you make will have lasting consequences for future games, whether it's to fortify New York, found your own city, or Nuke Greenland back to the stone-age. Everything you do effects future games. Plus 2 words BEAR CAVALRY. I have not played it yet, but I'm chomping at the bit to get a game in.

Also from Gencon, the best four days in gaming,(I have to say it it's the law) is Smash Up a game where you take two things and put them together then break a whole lot of shit. My favorites are Ninja Dinosaurs, Zombie Robots, and Pirate Wizards. Of course you could have Zombie Pirates, Ninja Martians, or Wizard Tricksters. Honestly I could go on for days.

Finally, the big dog of the day, Last Night on Earth a game of 1950's zombie invasion. A small town is over run and it's up to the likes of the sheriff, the priest, the jock, the prom queen, and the bag boy to stop them or just survive the night. Some will live, some will die, some will come back as zombies. One of my all time favorite games, and if we get enough people we may even try the awesome sounding 8 hero version. twice the missions, twice the zombies, twice the blood.

A couple of games not pictured are Puzzle Strike, and 7 Wonders, because I don't have them yet. Also, because i have to ask friends to bring or loan; Descent, Cards against Humanity and Ticket to Ride,

We may play them all or only 1 or 2 but at least we'll have options. Wish me luck thanks to every one who has donated and every one who will. I promise to try and post photos during the day, starting at 8:00 A.M. when I'm fairly certain I will be by myself playing Diablo III

So what do you think? Any games you'd like to suggest? Head on over to my facebook page and leave a comment or post one below.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object

The Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object

Well, due to a minor personal issue I was running late to class, but when I got there we were discussing the last few activism projects people were getting involved in. I have to do one as well and I’m not entirely sure what my cause will be. Politically I’m intensely personal, I don’t like making my beliefs public knowledge and take great pride in knowing most people aren’t sure which party I’m voting for. (Usually only about half the guesses are correct.) I wanted to try and raise awareness by tweens and teens about how little privacy Facebook has. The problem is, I really don’t know how to do that. I’m currently thinking of doing Net Neutrality. More thought is needed on the subject.

We also spoke on how political movements are formed. We spoke about the Tea Party and the Occupy movement. We compared and contrasted their origins, motives, power structure, goals, and leaders. There is a lot that could be said here, but as I mentioned, I’m extremely private in my political leanings.

So, alas, I will speak only the simplest truth. Both groups have good points and bad, they are too new to tell if they are as honest and forthright as they would have us believe, and in the end only time will tell who was the best for the job. I will say this for both groups, they encourage people to get involved with their government, and for that, I thank them both.

If you have any comments leave them below or head on over to my facebook page and leave a message there.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ode to Race Cars

The Big Race

Dear Dad
I write to inform you of my latest stop
Life on the highway has sure been hard
This last weekend in the hot rod race
I took out the rocket 88
I poled between the little Cobra in front
Than the pink Cadillac behind
When the flag dropped the race was on
The cars flew by built for speed
The crowd cheered for their favorite cars
Sammy crashed in lap fifty four
The Barracuda  threw a rod
A little Corvette traded paint
It hit the Cadillac driven by the black mustache
In the end no one could tell
Mustang Sally ran Maybellene into the wall
The final lap past dead man’s curve
The GTO and the Hot Rod Lincoln were neck and neck
Driving like men in a race with the Devil
But moving like greased lightning’
In her super stock Dodge
Came a little old Lady from Pasadena
I finished fifth behind Stroker Ace
The season ends in one more race
I’ll be motoring East bound and down
I should be loaded up and trucking
But as I sit in the black sunshine
Waiting for the convoy to move
I’ll see you soon
My best to mom
Tell Laura I love her
Your son
Rapid Roy

Hope you enjoyed it, If you want to lave a comment or vote on my next poem topic head on over to my facebook page. Also feel free to discuss the 24 different references to famous or nearly famous driving songs.

Friday, September 14, 2012

All the News That’s Fit to Digitize

Well, first let me apologize for the lateness of the following post I was unaware I had not actually posted it until I logged on to write up something else, so without further ado my class journal.

All the News That’s Fit to Digitize

Over the course of two classes we discussed the news and protected/forbidden speech. I try to keep my two classes separate but the topics blended so well they fell on top of one another, so I’m going to end up talking about both here. We talked about how on occasion the news goes from being news and becoming info porn. Why do 24 hour news agencies keep repeating the same story over and over all day? Also, why do 24 hour news agencies cover the same story that every other news channel covers? Part of it is ratings, part of it is corporate ownership that is forcing its own agenda on the viewers.

Let’s be honest there are channels out there that are openly biased as either conservative or liberal, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. After class I was thinking about how the news channels used to be, back when they first started. Does anyone else remember a time when CNN had a two hour block dedicated every afternoon to news from around the world? As Nathan pointed out it’s now down to 80 seconds.
We also talked about how the news reacts to something horrible. Since the class took place on September 11th we talked about the Twin Towers. I remember it was two weeks where every channel played news. Cartoon Network was the first channel to stop showing news, and it took roughly two weeks. I get that there is a need to report the news and some people just needed time away from work. Especially if they were from New York and a lot of network headquarters are in New York. I was in Ohio when it happened and it messed me up for a while, so I can only guess what it did to someone who’s view from their window changed by this. But Cartoon Network was news for two weeks, and they’re from Atlanta, where like Ohio, I doubt the felt the blow as hard as New Yorkers.

Did you know there was a teachers strike in Chicago? I had no idea. I had not seen anything about it on the news or any of the websites I check for information. I have friends in Chicago, which is why I’ve known about other things going on in Chicago, during the Occupy rally there was a riot, things caught fire. A friend of mine was posting online what she was watching on TV, Dateline was covering the riots in Chicago, in Dayton it was a reality TV show. You’d think a riot where teargas is throw, Molotov’s are hurled, and cars are flipped would be national news. And it was, sort of, they had national news reporters covering it in Chicago.

With the Primaries rolling out around us we spoke on the politics of news footage, how that’s all the news talked about. We talked about how politicians were flat out lying, and there were plenty on both sides. Though there were two who stood out for their polar opposite approach to the truth. I’m not naming names because this isn’t that kind of blog. But it did raise the question of how politicians can get away with lying about this sort of thing in TV spots, ads, and the speeches they make at conventions.

Which raises the question of what is free speech and what are we allowed to say and what aren’t we. What defines something as a lie or slander? What protects free speech? Mostly this comes down to public opinion. Which is scary and terrifying. Free speech was a tricky subject, if someone stands on a street corner and screams in support of 9/11 he will be arrested. To be fair he should betaken in to custody for his own protection because he is about to be murdered.

It’s like the West Burrow Baptist Church, who I hate. I don’t like their methods or their timing, but I would never say they shouldn’t be allowed to make their point or have their say. Of course at this point so much money has been donated to various gay, lesbian, military, religious, and so many other groups they protest I’m starting to wonder if they weren’t just a huge con devised by fund raising groups. There are a lot of things I’d like to say about the WBBC but I have been advised by my crack legal team to follow the example set forth by Penn and Teller and avoid the law suit by simply calling them ass holes and moving on, because anything else is probably liable. (A from of speech not protected by the first amendment.)

This is a lot longer than I initially anticipated so in conclusion: To Mike Diana, wherever you are….Damn dude, that sucked. I hope it works out somehow.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ode to Twisted Sister

Ode to Twisted Sister

You can say what you want
But they won’t take it
They have long hair
Captain Howdy
But they’re Hard Rockin
Fast Livinin
Maybe they’ve faded
Light a meteor into the distant horizon
They will live on
In the dreams
The memories
The hair
Of the misspent youth of yesterday
Who now look at their children
And wonder why their music is awful
And if you listen
You can hear
A young boy with a sleeveless jacket
A spiked belt
An attitude
Scream at his son
What do you want to do with your life?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Moving Up and Down the Dial

Moving Up and Down the Dial

So, I had a pretty exciting time in my Social Media class this evening. We went to the WYSO radio station to tour the facilities and see what sort of media presentations we could do as part of our final project. First though I want to than Sarah Buckingham for showing us around, you could really see here love of the station and the medium of radio in the way she talked and the things she showed us.

We talked about doing a Vox Pop short for Vox Populi and, for those of you who have not seen V for Vendetta, means voice of the people. It was basically a man on the street segment where we go somewhere and walk up to total stranger and ask them a question and record it. We listened to a few of them, one from a rally against Ohio Issue 5 about collective bargaining, one about what it means to be human, and one about the types of dreams people have. They were fun and we learned the steps to and rules necessary to make one.

We also talked about recording a commentary, that we could go in and record around 90 of an opinion about something connected to our final project. Sarah didn’t have any of these for us to listen to but I’ve heard enough over the years to get a pretty good feel for them.

At this point I’m not sure which of the two I would do partially because I find people are uncomfortable when I approach them, I’m told I can be somewhat intimidating at first glance. Also I’m not sure what my project is going to be about. So far this has vexed me the most. I’m not particularly activistic about anything. I do some charity stuff throughout the year, twice a year I enter a road rally to raise money for the Epilepsy Foundation of Western Ohio and this year I’m entering the extra life gaming marathon to raise money for Dayton’s Children’s Hospital, but I don’t really promote anything. I don’t particularly enjoy pushing my views on other people.

Finally, we found out about November 6th, when we will be taking part in election night by helping work phones, do live blogging of results and interesting news bits, and hear exit pole data. I’m really looking forward to this. I love elections. I enjoy every time an election comes up and I get to talk politics with people and thus far this year has really sucked for me. I haven’t gotten to really talk about the state of politics this year because everyone is so angry and defensive. Even more so than the last election, or the one before that. We’re becoming so insular and our side is always right and your side is always wrong that we’ve forgotten the point of the two party system is to compromise. We’ve completely stopped doing it in this country and it’s just so damned sad to me.

But enough of my pity party, looking forward to the election, and I encourage everyone to vote. Remember, history is made by the ones who show up.

As always tell me what you think either in the comments below or shoot on over to my facebook and leave a thought there.