Friday, December 23, 2011

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Find your language! It's fun! (Click to enlarge)
However you express it in your native tongue 
or what your local customs are, here's wishing 
you and yours a happy, healthy, stress-free 
holiday season!

Monday, November 28, 2011


I was just wondering if a reward is still necessary on "Wanted" posters. I mean, are we more likely to call the police if we spot a baddie on the lam and money is offered? I don't think so. Not any more anyway. Back in the day, I'm sure a reward was a huge – even necessary – incentive to do one's civic duty. But rewards aren't special now, they're commonplace. I don't have an inordinate amount of faith in humanity's capacity to do the right thing simply because it's right, but I bet most people would turn in a kidnapper simply for the attention and kudos it would garner them. And, hey, people do the right thing for the wrong reason all the time.

Still, if I did spot a fugitive rapist, pedophile or murderer, no one would have to pay me or promise me 30 seconds on the evening news to turn him or her in. I'd do it for free.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


(To all those not from the United States, tomorrow – November 24 – is Thanksgiving.)

I was talking to Christy the other day and realized, much to my chagrin, that I always seemed to be venting about something bad. Or, at least, something that I thought was bad enough to spend quality time with her venting about. I realized that I was becoming a chronic whiner. One of those people that always has something dire going on in their life. One of those people that always seems to have a little black cloud hanging over their head. One of those people that you cross the street or take the next elevator to avoid. One of those people that you're loathe to bump into and ask, "How ya doin'?" because you don't really want to hear a litany of the crap that's happened to them since you last avoided talking to them.

Seeing myself on the precipice of this abyss wasn't pretty. Diving headlong into a bottomless pit of self-pity and drowning in a pool of negativity ain't pretty. So I made a vow a couple of days ago to not say anything negative for 24 hours (in a row). I think I made it, more or less, but it was hard. It's amazing how easy it is to start spouting about the woes of your life to anyone who'll listen. But I made it, regardless. Mission accomplished. Christy reminded me that, even when lots of bad stuff happens, there's always – and I mean always – good stuff that happens too. We just forget about it sometimes. Or think it's not really worth mentioning. Or we relegate that good stuff to life's B List because it's not as important as the A List crap.

I wasn't entirely successful in my quest for a vent-free day, but I came damn close. (And Christy? If I wasn't as successful as I think I was, I don't wanna know!) And it felt good. I found myself looking for positivity, and I found it. Pretty much everywhere.

So, to that end, the following is a list of good things that happen to me every day, often, and sometimes.

1) The Boys: There's something about my cats trotting into the bathroom while I'm using it that just warms my heart. Seeing their little furry faces in mine first thing in the morning usually starts my day off right.

2) My mom: We have the silliest conversations about nothing and they always leave me grinning. She does more for me than for herself and I honestly don't know what I'd do without her.

3) My fireplace: I bought my first set of fireplace tools ever, picked up some Duraflames and haven't looked back. Napping in front of a crackling fire is heaven on earth.

4) A car for 3 weeks: I don't have a car of my own (long story), but I recently got to be custodian of my mom's car for 3 weeks while she traveled. I didn't actually use it every day, but knowing it was parked out there was nice. The fact that she trusted me with her car was even nicer. (Note to self: Get a car next year!)

5) No line at Wal-Mart: Wal-Mart can be hell on earth. But the other day, in the rain, I was able to pop in there, find what I needed, and there was one guy in line in front of me with 3 small items, and he paid with cash! 5 minutes, in and out.

6) WIC neighbor: My neighbor Ashley, whose hubby won't be back from Afghanistan until at least July, just had a baby and she's on WIC. Every so often, she has extra wheat bread, milk and apple juice. And what does she do with all that extra stuff? She gives it to yours truly. Finally! A cool neighbor!

7) Skype: It still gives me a stomach ache when I try to figure out how they can offer video Skype for free. But it seriously rocks. Soon there's gonna be a generation that doesn't remember what it was like to have a long-distance relationship without free long-distance, texting, emailing and Skype.

8) Organizing: I moved recently and it was a bitch. Obviously, I've moved before, but for some reason getting unpacked and put together was especially challenging this time. I had a burst of energy recently (thank you, Christy) and got a bunch of stuff done last weekend. So much so that I was able to light a fire since all the melt-ables in front of the fireplace were finally put away. (See No. 3)

9) Rain: This morning I was awakened by pouring rain. I got up, opened the blinds, and went back to bed. The sound of the rain on the window lulled me back to sleep. Rainfall is the most wonderful 'white noise' in the world.

10) Christy: She's my good thing every day, often and sometimes. Even bad days are better because I know she's there to tell me everything's going to be okay. As David Gates from the 70s rock group Bread would say, "Never let her go".

So these are some of my good things, big and small, sometimes and always. I hope you have some thanksgivingness to reflect on too.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Daggers (er...Duggars)

Okay. Lest anyone think, because I have a blog, I'm up on current events. I am not. And, oddly, I'm not ashamed of it. But when I have a strong opinion about something "current", I try to do at least a little homework.

The Duggars.

I was cleaning my kitchen the other day and had the TV on, mainly for background noise. When I'm up early, "The Today Show" usually entertains me enough to forget that I'm washing dishes or cleaning the previous nights' unidentifiable muck from my stove. I was innocently, almost happily, scrubbing a pan when I heard a story begin about "The Duggars". I swear to Rudy that I'd never heard of them before. So I half-listened and continued my toiling. (Keeping a spotless kitchen while creating gourmet meals is something I don't do, nor do I aspire to. But if people think I do, more power to me.)

While eavesdropping on my TV I overheard Ann Curry talking to The Duggars about their 19 children. The number 19 piqued my curiosity, so I turned the water down low so I could half-pay attention. After a bit of small talk about their existing 19 progeny, I glanced up at the television screen as Ann thrust the microphone into the face of Mrs. Duggar and gleefully asked, "So, I understand that Number 20 is on the way. How do you feel about that?" I stopped scrubbing.

Really? I thought two things, simultaneously. 1) "You have her on the show and she must be ecstatic, so why ask?" And 2) "What sane person welcomes a 20th child when they already have 19?" And, actually, Thought No. 2 was a precursor to Thought No. 3, which was, "What sane person wants 19 children in the first place?" Mrs. Duggar went on to explain how child No. 20 was a blessing, yada, yada, yada. (I'm paraphrasing, hence the 'yada') and they're eternally grateful that God's will allowed them to continue pumping out babies. Again, I'm paraphrasing, but the sentiment is legit: neither Mr. or Mrs. Duggar have any problem having so many children.

My consternation has nothing to do with 'pro-life', or 'right-to-life', or religion or, really, anything incendiary (but don't get me started on Mississippi). My question is this: What psychological dysfunction compelled you (The Duggars) to believe that it was your moral or religious obligation to have so many children? 20? TWENTY? What kind of house would you need to raise them in? The Brady Bunch had a 3 bedroom house and 3 brothers shared a room and 3 sisters shared a room, and Dad was an architect! Even he couldn't find a way to give at least the oldest kids a room of their own.

And how do you afford to take care of these kids, nearly two dozen? My girlfriend Christy said, in her infinitely plain-spoken wisdom, "Well, that's why they pimp them out to the networks for a TV show." So, of course, me being the insensitive cad that I am, answered, "So if the parents are pimps, then the 20 children must be...". I didn't finish the thought, but by golly, I wanted to.

We're turning people into celebrities for having too many kids. (Yes, I'll say for the record, that I think 20 kids is too many.) As a mostly-proud American, it makes me wonder what foreigners are saying about us. I mean, hell, foreigners are denigrating us anyway, but this kind of thing just seems like a gimme. "Hey, did you hear the latest? The Americans are giving those baby machines a TV show!" "What people?" "You know -- the ones with all the children."

Really. As a nation, from the government on down, we've already credit-carded ourselves into the poor-house. We're not a super-power anymore even though we keep acting like one. Do we really need to give the rest of the world more ammunition to attack us?

I don't think we should turn into China and start passing laws about how many children we should be allowed to have. But shouldn't common sense kick in and tell us when enough is enough?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Don't Jet With Jet!

Who I Should've Used
I was about to open with a nice, grandiose comment about how I've been gone so long but, thank goodness I'm back, blah, blah, blah. However, it seems that nearly everyone has been so busy lately, I don't seem to have, um, been missed too terribly. But I'm not worried. My cats, my girlfriend and my mom still love me. Dammit.

I was trying to figure out what to write about. I'm still kinda fried from moving so some of the deep stuff I've been knocking around my noggin is gonna have to wait until my brain isn't so batter-dipped. But—speaking of moving...

I'm finally in the Seattle area. Yippity-doo-dah! A few years ago, I moved from one state to another and hired a mover to do all the heavy lifting. That move went off without a hitch: the guys that packed me up and loaded me onto a very big truck were punctual, polite, professional and honest. My stuff arrived in a few days and all was right with my world. This move, however, was the exact opposite. Herewith, my warning: Don't use a moving company ya ain't heard of.

And before any of you start rolling your eyes and saying "Well, duh!" out loud to yourselves as you read this, I need you to know that I swear I did my due diligence. I visited their website to check em out, and they looked pretty legit. (Being a graphic designer, one of my first superficial opinions of a company is based on how well-designed their website is.) Then I went to the BBB website and looked them up. Not only did they have an A- rating, they were even members of the BBB while many companies are not. (You don't have to join the BBB to be rated by them.) Then I looked up their rating on half a dozen movers association websites. Everything...checked...out. Why, I even called a former customer of theirs and chatted with him about his experience. Two thumbs up from Mr. Former Customer.

So I went for it. And about 6 weeks later came to wholly regret it. Holy crap. They showed up the day of the move and the foreman took a cursory glance at my apartment and proceeded to jack the price up to nearly double the estimate I'd lived with for weeks. He did me the "favor" of bumping it back down a little and, in the same breath, demanded a $150 cash, off-the-books tip for "his guys and supplies" before they even began the job. (He subsequently hammered Christy for the tip every time I left the room.) A very long story short, they made a mess of my apartment and the surrounding area, tried to steal some of my tools, ransacked my refrigerator and took 12 1/2 hours to pack a 1-bed-den apartment. I didn't give him the $150 tip.

Three and a half weeks later, my stuff finally arrived at my new home. The good news: the crew that unloaded my stuff was headed up by a guy who knew his sh*t. The bad news: he still showed up a day later than he said, so I spent an entire day sitting in an empty apartment. Waiting. (That's a bit of artistic hyperbole. I only waited four hours, but it felt like all day.)

Without getting into all of the nuances of how Middle Easterners do business ("No, no, no – I do you favor, my friend! I give you good deal, my friend.") or how annoying the guy who moved me was ("You have enough glasses for ten people, my friend!" "You have too much stuff, my friend!"), I'll say this: DO NOT USE JET VAN LINES, INC. Yes, that's a direct dig at the actual company that mangled my move (and my mood) for the better part of a month.

I'm now in the process of filing a claim with a third-party company that facilitates this sort of thing. I'm keeping fingers crossed that they'll elect to imprison the staff and demolish their headquarters. But I'm not holding my breath.

On the plus side, I couldn't be happier that I'm finally up here! I'm in the same state and time zone as my two favorite women, the weather's beautiful, the scenery is even more beautifuller, and my new digs rock.

But did I mention that the move sucked?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Leeeaavin', on a jet plane..."

Well, this is it! I'm heading up to my new home so I'll be offline for a couple of days. But...

I'll be baaa-aack!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Monday, August 1, 2011

What the...?

Troll (n): One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup, message board or other forum with the express intent of causing maximum disruption and argument.

Trolls...trolls...trolls. They're like traffic: a sad fact of life that we bitch about but can't really do anything about.

Most of us who have spent any time at all on a public forum, blog or in any open online community have had to suffer a troll. Our coping mechanisms in dealing with these digital degenerates has ranged from open, bald-faced hostility ("WTF? What a f*ckin' loser!"), to confusion ("I wonder if...? Are they in the right place?"), revenge ("I wonder how hard it is to actually develop and send a virus?"), frustration ("What the...?"), derision ("Get a LIFE!"), and finally to resignation ("Crap. Here we go again...").

I didn't really know what to expect when I began this blog. I mean, I know what I hoped for: a place to voice my thoughts about this and that. And, maybe if I was lucky, a place to share those thoughts and ideas if anybody bothered to show up. The one thing that never really occurred to me was that, along with you all, the trolls would show up. We engage in discourse — sometimes heated, often funny, always enlightening — and like silent flatulence in a crowded room, they show up and stink up the room. And no matter how much hand-fanning and breath-holding we engage in, we can't ignore them. We just have to wait patiently until the air clears and we can breathe free again.

But who are these people? Who are these Dandies of Dumb who insinuate themselves upon us with virtual impunity? And why do they do it? Well. We all know who they are. These people are morons with too much time, too little sense and questionable hygiene. Losers who don't have much of a real life that entertain their fevered yet smallish minds by swooping into random blogs, puking on said blog, and swooping back out, giggling maniacally to no one but themselves.

But recently I've discovered that, though this theory may be true for some, it is not true for others. I've discovered that some trolls are wives and husbands, aunts and uncles, brothers- and sisters-in-law, co-workers, even friends. My goodness, some of them are seemingly normal people! Surprising? Yes. Disturbing? You betcha. Fascinating. Yeah, well, that too. It fascinates me that folks that ought to have something better to do choose to waste time trying to bug strangers or even people they know when they ought to be spending time with family and friends.

The only remedy I've found for these...people is something I heard right here: "Don't Feed the Troll". It seems apparent that ignoring them is the best way to get rid of them, at least temporarily. Of course (as Christy ironically noted), by posting this discourse I've just given them far more attention than they deserve. But what the hell – f*ck em.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Oops Upside Your Head!

Little Denny coulda used a little more rod.
My parents spanked me. I didn't like it, but it worked.

I just got back from visiting my mom and my girlfriend. So how did corporal punishment pop into my head, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you. The flight there and the flight back. Kids. Annoying, hyperactive, earbud-wearing, laptop-using, seat-kicking, snot-nosed little mini-people. That's how.

I'll just focus on "Tommy". I wanted to put a ballpoint pen through Tommy's eye. Tommy was about eight and decided that he had to comment on everything. EH-VEH-REE-THEENG. Now I can't blame him for being fascinated with air travel. The first time I was on an airplane – I think I was three or four – I loved it. I loved everything about it. I loved the smell of jet fuel, the way the planes looked, the sound of engines revving up before takeoff, the thump of the wheels on the tarmac as we touched down, the view out the window ("Mom, why are the buildings so small?"), the way the seats reclined, the way clouds looked close-up. So I don't blame Tommy for any of the random, enthusiastic observations he made throughout the two-and-a-half-hour flight. But did he have to muse so loudly? Did he have to push, bang and kick my seatback during at least half the flight at irregular intervals, usually just as I was dozing off? The answer, apparently, is yes.

But I can't really blame him for that either. I've gotta blame somebody though, so I'm gonna tag his dad, who was sitting right next to his precocious offspring the whole time. I wanted to put a pen through his eye too. Because Dad was the one that let Tommy get away with yelling over the sound pumping into his oversized head from the buds pressed into his ears. Because he was the one who let his son test the tensile strength of the tray table's hinge by opening and closing it compulsively and with ever-increasing vigor. I kept twisting my body around to shoot Dad the your-kid's-bugging-the-shit-out-of-me look and he ignored it. At one point little Tommy was leaning forward and had his face mashed up against the window, inches from my ear and decided to make a tsk'ing sound with his tongue and teeth. Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk. Now three minutes may not seem like a long time – it's only about the length of your average Beatles song –  but it is when an oversize-headed eight-year-old is tsk'ing a staccato into your ear at 37,000 feet while you're vainly trying to sleep away a cramped flight in coach.

When I was Tommy's age, my parents never let me get away with stuff like that. No, they didn't slap me upside the head in public, but they did spank me. And that would make it clear that inappropriate behavior simply would not be tolerated. I'm all for corporal punishment. Absolutely. Totally. 100%. Spare the rod, spoil the child? Nope. I got whacked. And it worked. (My mom could accomplish this kind of discipline with The Look.) I realize that being a parent can be frustrating, challenging, daunting and plain old tiring. Parents pick their battles and sometimes have to decide to look the other way when their kid acts like Charlie Sheen's love child. But if people choose to have children, and choose to take them to the mall, the movies, on a flight, out in daylight amongst other humans anywhere, they're responsible for doing their best to keep their kids from bugging the crap out of everyone within eye- or earshot.

I still love air travel. I still love the way clouds look as I pass through them en route to cruising altitude. I still like the way jet fuel smells. And I still had an amazing vacation. But lazy parents with obnoxious kids on planes bug the crap out of me.

So yes, my parents spanked me. I didn't like it, but it worked.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm baaa-aaack!

Hey Folks! I'm back to the land of heat and humidity and rarin' to go with...something. I have nary a clue what to post anew, but I'm thinkin' about it. Always thinkin'... 

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Karma's Kool

I was in the shower the other morning, and I started...pondering. (The acoustics in the shower are great and it's easier to hear my mind think.)

I was thinking about karma. I'm not Buddhist and don't really know much about karma other than what I imagine most people know casually. What goes around comes around; do unto others – that sort of thing. I suppose my definition of karma is along those lines. When I'm contemplating doing or saying something I'm not sure I want to do or say, I work it through my mind by asking myself how it could potentially come back and bite me in my ass.

What I ended up musing about in the shower was motivation. What is my usual motivation for doing the right thing? And are those motives pure or self-serving? I mean, from a karmic standpoint, am I doing something good because I'm just a nice guy? Or do I do the right thing because I just don't want something bad to happen to me later?

Looking back, a lot of my thinking about karma started when I began to learn about religion. And before anyone gets their hackles up, this isn't about to turn into a rant about religion. I do have my problems with certain organized faiths, but this ain't about that. What it is about is reward-based good works. How many people do stuff so they can get stuff in return? From what I've learned, many religious belief systems are based on retribution for not doing what we're told. If you don't believe this or believe that; do this or do that, you're going to hell. Well then, of course you're going to do what you're told. Who wants to spend eternity in eternal damnation? But is doing the right thing for the wrong reason – or out of fear – still the right thing? Does the end justify the means? "Yeah, yeah, I'll volunteer at the soup kitchen, but only because I don't wanna go downstairs when I die."

I'm still not clear on my reasoning for doing the right thing sometimes. When I find myself questioning my motivation, one thing I do is try to figure out how I can help someone without their knowing it. It's not easy. More often than not, I think most of us expect – or at least hope – for some recognition or acknowledgement when we do something for someone. But what if we did someone a favor behind their back? What if we borrowed a friend's car and filled up the gas tank and got a car wash and didn't tell them? (Call that one carma.) Would we be pissed if they didn't thank us? Would we be disappointed if they didn't notice? Well, yes and yes. But should we be? Shouldn't the self-gratification of doing something nice be enough reward in and of itself? Should we really need a pat on the back for doing what's right anyway?

I say yes. Sort of. Being grateful to ourselves for doing the right thing is self-rewarding. But those we help should express their gratitude to us as well. In my little Steven World, that's karma. When you do unto others, they'd better thank you for it, dammit!

However, there are times when a tiny kindness perpetrated on an unsuspecting neighbor can inoffensively go unacknowledged. Grab your buddy's trash when you're taking your own out to the Dumpster; hang the new phone book delivery bag on her doorknob because you know she has trouble bending over.

So karma's cool. It keeps me honest. On those occasions when I'm not sure what I should do, karma helps me decide. I figure if I spend half my time doing the right thing simply because it's the right thing do, and the other half doing the right thing because I don't want a karmic slap in the face, I'm doing okay. Ultimately, I believe the ends do justify the means, regardless of motivation. If I help someone out of altruism or fear, in the end, that person's still been helped.

Thank you still makes it go down easier, though.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Knock 'em Dead!

So. It's been an…eventful couple of weeks.

Some of you who visit here regularly know that my girlfriend, @Christy, had a health scare recently. When it happened, her biggest concern was not being able to come see me for a visit we'd planned for months. We live in different states and haven't seen each other since New Year's, so it was a huge disappointment for both of us. But not being able to get on a plane stuck with Christy the whole time she was in the hospital. Her mother and I, on the other hand, quickly relegated the missed trip to well-there's-always-next-time status, and thanked our lucky stars that Christy was still alive. In her condition, a flight would likely have killed her.

Killed. As in died. Dead.

Other than two grandparents and an uncle, I've been fortunate to have never had to face the death of a loved one. I don't know if this is true for everyone, but the death a family member seems almost…normal, expected. It's no less tragic, but somehow it seems to be a natural Circle of Life thing. The death of a partner is different. Our partners are our peers, our contemporaries. They're not supposed to die. At least not for a long, long time.

The notion of Christy nearly dying hasn't really sunk in yet. I'll be going about my day, working, cooking, cleaning – and it suddenly hits me that she was in the hospital because a bunch of doctors, nurses and various technicians were saving her life. The reality of that sort of floats at the outer edge of my periphery. I understand it on an intellectual level. "Yes, this is what happened. This is what could've happened. This is what's going to happen next." But when I think it's about to really sink's gone. I'm left kind of dazed and not sure what to think or how to feel.

In the last few days, Christy and I have been Skyping (thankfully from her condo and not from her hospital bed any more), and we both realized how often we tossed around...death. In our every day speech, we use words like death, die, dead and kill so casually. And now it feels intensely weird and wholly inappropriate.

"Dude, if you say that one more time, I'm gonna kill you."

"Geez, last night I slept like the dead."

"Man, I coulda just died when she said that."

"This morning I felt like death warmed over."

"Omigod, I was scared to death!"

"No, no, I'm dead serious."

It's freaky. When one of us catches the other saying something like that, we remind the other, pause, and then burst out laughing. I'm wondering if it's some sort of evolutionary psychological thing, that we toss around death so casually because to think about it seriously all the time would be, well, a bummer. If we didn't laugh about our mortality, we'd just wander through life in a funk, waiting for the Grim Reaper to tap us on the shoulder and tell us it's time. ("Time to go, Sport!")

I imagine if we really over-analyzed it, we'd probably realize we can substitute a word that's the complete opposite of death and dying more often than not. So, for the time being, instead of exclaiming "She's gonna die when she gets this", Christy and I are saying things like "She's gonna love this". I'm sure it'll wear off eventually, and we'll start tossing death about as casually as ever. But for now, talking life seems...better.


If you'd gotten on that plane a couple of weeks ago Christy, I'd have just died.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

WARNING: Inbox Is Full


Sometime over the last couple of days, I realized that keeping in touch is a little like cleaning my cats' litter box. I do it when it needs to be done, and before I know it, it needs to be done again.

Don't get me wrong. Having people to keep in touch with is far better than not having any. Having too many people is where I get hung up. Sometimes I just find myself overwhelmed trying to call, email, Facebook message, comment, chat, text or otherwise reach out to people that I'm overdue to reach out to. What ends up happening is I put it off just long enough to start thinking, "Great. If I call him back now, I'm gonna have to come up with an excuse for why I didn't call sooner." So, naturally, not wanting to lie about my delayed response, I simply don't call back. At least, not until a reasonably obnoxious amount of time has passed. So that's my problem.

I learned long ago that problems often fall into two categories. One is a "quality problem" (Omigod, I've got so much money I just don't know what to buy!). Having too many friends and family to keep in touch with is definitely a quality problem. The other category is, well, everything else.

What I also learned long ago is that it's my problem, not anyone else's. Those who have been here before know of my aversion to drainers: soul-sucking social leeches that wring every bit of good will from the saintliest of people by talking endlessly about nothing – the same nothing over and over and over again. These are the folks that I need to establish boundaries with. I need to realize that it's okay if I call them back, talk for a polite amount of time (30 or 40 seconds seems fair), and then cut their gabby asses off mid-sentence and move on to the next drainer. Email should be even easier. I don't have to write a book when replying to everyone. A short note letting them know I'm thinking about them is enough. Gotta work on that...

One last thing, which I'll humbly file under Cell Phone Etiquette: don't use me as a 'filler'. If you're driving home from work; if you're in the grocery store; if you're at the bank; if you're ringing the doorbell at a friend's house and contact with them is imminent, don't fill up your semi-down time by calling me. If I'm not important enough for you to earmark a dedicated slice of quality time to get in touch, don't bother.

I've gotta go now. My mental inbox just dinged again...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

This is a Dust Mite. This is Also My Brain.

Dermatophagoides farinae

I have two excuses for not posting anything for...well, I was gonna say "a while", but really, it's only been a couple of weeks. It just seems longer. Anyway, my excuses: 1) I've been really busy with work, which requires me to spend inordinate amounts of time on the computer. And 2) I've been really busy with work, which requires me to spend inordinate amounts of time on the computer.

But I will be posting something new soon. I promise. Really.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


O.K., before I go any further, let me state for the record: I'm not turning this into an art blog! I'm actually working on a new 'topical' post (to follow shortly), but I was coerced into sharing some of the stuff I do during my day job as a graphic designer and an illustrator. However, most of what I get paid for is pretty dry stuff - flyers, ads, business cards and the like. So what I've included here is stuff I've done mostly for myself, and I'm actually pretty proud of it. It's just a hodge-podge of illustrations and paintings I've done over the years, both in and out of college.

About the Art: The work I did in college is a combination of airbrushed ink, and acrylic and gouache paints. (Gouache, pronounced gwash, is opaque watercolor.) I did the computer "paintings" by first drawing the outline in Adobe Illustrator and then transferring that image to Adobe Photoshop so I could airbrush in the colors, shadings, highlights, etc. None of the computer images are photographs.

Anyway, here's my stuff. Hope you like 'em. :-)

Wheel [airbrush, pen and ink] When I was in college, I tried to do one painting per semester as sort of a sanity check. Most of our 6 hour classes invariably involved doing stuff we didn't really want to do. (I only did 2, so I was nuts most of the time and fit in perfectly.) So this painting was something I wanted to do. My major was graphic design, but I entered this piece in a juried illustration exhibit and it was selected (a big deal). I loved this painting and, unfortunately, it was lost in a fire. (Ironically, the fire didn't destroy it; the firemen did.)

Just Because [airbrush, pen and ink] This is another "sanity-check" painting while I was in school. Just an abstract mish-mash of images I found interesting. (FYI - My initials, "SCB", are in here...somewhere.)

Still Life [airbrush, ink and gouache] I did this when I was into a lot of New Age music. (No haters! It was the eighties.) Lots of electric harps and tinkly little bells. Anyway, this is what I "saw" when I listened to some of that stuff. I was going for abstract and airy.

E.T.'s Dad [airbrush, pen and ink] Before I went to art school, I went through a bit of a comic book phase. There is absolutely no "concept" about this guy. I just thought he looked strong and benevolent. I also didn't come up with the name "E.T.'s Dad", but I have no idea who did.

AHHHH! [no. 2 pencil and ink wash] This was an in-class assignment when I was in art school. Our 'studio' classes were 6 hours, so I had plenty of time to begin and complete a project in a single afternoon. The assignment was to illustrate an emotion. (We got lots of "artsy" assignments.) Well, mine was frustration. So I had Jessica, the girl sitting next to me in class, make this face over...and over...and over again until I was done. I felt great afterward. And she was frustrated. Mission accomplished!

Maria [airbrush, pen and ink] This was the first portrait I ever did, and it is maybe my favorite painting. Unfortunately, it was of a cast-iron bitch who happened to be my college sweetheart at the time. Sigh. Choices...

Happy Face [adobe illustrator and photoshop] Follow up portrait of Maria.

Watch [adobe illustrator and photoshop] Though I've actually only earned about $9 doing commercial illustration, I try to keep my skills up. One way I do that is to recreate photographs I find in magazines. I saw this watch ad and decided to draw it on the computer. There's something I like about the challenge of analyzing a photographic image and then figuring out the best way to do it on the computer. (I've actually earned a bit more than nine bucks drawing things, but most of my paying gigs are graphic design.) Click on image for enlarged view.

My Ride [adobe illustrator and photoshop] The best way I know to learn how to use computer illustration software is to play with it without the pressure of an actual paying assignment. This geeky-cool new Photoshop filter came out that could render chrome super-realistically. So I decided to play. This illustration started out as a single, chrome sphere. Then it just spiraled completely out of control and ended up the ass-end of a Ferrari. (Click on image for enlarged view.)

Mikey-Mic [adobe illustrator and photoshop] I saw a photograph of this microphone in a piece of junk mail I got and I just knew I had to try to recreate it in the computer. Again, this was just a fun thing for me to do strictly for myself. (Click on image for enlarged view.)

Boom Box [adobe illustrator and photoshop] During an extended (and welcome) slow period at work, I decided to draw my CD player. I think because I started my art career learning the airbrush, I've always been intrigued by reflective surfaces (chrome, plastic, steel, etc.), something the airbrush is ideal for. That sensibility carried over into my computer work, so I that's why I find myself doing so much 'technical illustration'. It's also a helluva lot easier to draw things than people!

Alien Space Frisbees [adobe illustrator and photoshop] Honestly, I don't know why...

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Electric Security Blanket

I was thinking about something. (shocker)

Some of you already know this, and some of you don't, but I had Internet woes recently. Sadly, AT&T is my Internet provider. Long story short, my Internet connectivity started acting up ("intermittent signal strength") one Friday, a tech was supposed to come by on a Saturday and didn't; a guy finally came by that Monday afternoon and I was back up and running after he tracked down a single faulty wire outside. But this isn't my point.

I realized how quickly we've come to rely on some of this "new" technology. I know that's not a revelation, but I wanted to put it out there anyway. I still feel like cell phones and the Internet and even home computers are new, but they've been available to us common folk for over 20 years. 20 years! And they're no longer luxuries or novelties. They're the automobile and electricity of yesteryear: they're necessities.

Kids today can't do homework without Internet access. You can't fill out a job application at home without Internet access. And if you fill one out elsewhere, you still need to know how to use a computer. If you're expecting an important call, the caller is no longer satisfied with leaving a message. They expect you to be available the moment they need you. Dinner, movies, the grocery store, driving, I don't care – if I call you, you'd better pick up the damn phone. Because everyone's got a cell phone. Hell, my cats have one! (They share.) And if I can't talk to you, I'll email you, or IM you, or text you, or leave you a Facebook message. (I could rant a whole post's worth on all that crap, but I'm trying to lighten up so @Christy will still like me.)

But this isn't my point either.

My Internet was down for about four days. Three and half really. And I...was climbing...the friggin'...walls. I felt like I'd been dropped on the far side of the moon. (Not that the near side would've been any better, but you know what I mean.) I felt so out of touch and cut off. And it was ridiculous. My phone worked, my Internet worked some of the time, I saw neighbors, went to the store, watched cable TV – and still I felt completely out of it. I was almost giddy when the dude said everything was fixed. I pumped his hand and clapped him on the back. It was like I had a new lease on life. And I didn't. It was just my freakin' Internet, people!

My point (finally) is our complacency.  I realized just how reliable these things truly are.

I get unreasonably frustrated when I try to make a cell phone call...and it doesn't go through. Or I try to text someone won't send. Or I try to get online...and my modem is flashing that steady, smug uh-not-today-buddy red light. I'm like, "Bu-, bu-, how can this not be working?" And I forget that all this stuff works, like, 98% of the time. My body breaks more often than that. And this stuff works flawlessly. Most of the time, my calls go through without a hitch and the reception's crystal clear. My Internet access allows me hours of uninterrupted pleasure without so much as a hiccup. My computer (an obscenely overpriced but cool-as-shit iMac) is the most reliable piece of machinery I've ever owned, and works perfectly all the time with virtually no maintenance.

But —

When these things act up (and, like all conscious, living things, they do), omigod – I'm a mess. I'm...untethered. I'm panicky. My heart starts racing, my palms sweat, my mouth goes dry. My mind starts spinning scenarios of having to replace everything I own and how I won't be able to afford to – what am I gonna doooo? – and I'll have to go to the library for the rest of my years to access the Internet and use pay phones or pester more fortunate neighbors to make phone calls and I'll have to move and start taking the bus and eating cold dinners and make do without air conditioning or running water and my cats will leave me and...AAAHHHHH!!!

So. That's what I was thinking about.

Have a nice day! :-)

(My cats don't really have cell phones. Yet.)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

When Bright People Go Dim

I think I'm a reasonably bright guy. I know enough about enough to be pretty adept at Small Talk 101 at parties. (I can carry on a conversation about most things just long enough so either you don't realize that a) I don't know what I'm talking about, or b) I don't care what you're talking about.) I would say I'm a jack of all trades and a master of one.

However, I've still managed to do incredibly stupid things. And much to my dismay, after years of intense and brutally honest self-reflection, I realized that most...okay, pretty much all the dumb stuff I've done is my fault. I'm gonna go ahead and throw Embarrassing and Humiliating Things into this confession too. (It's amazing how often dumb leads to embarrassing.) To wit:

The 10 Dumbest Things I've Accomplished:

1) Married the Wrong Woman: When she got so drunk on Game Night a year before before we wed that she put the guacamole in the dishwasher and we laughed about it, I should've known she was...wrong for me.

2) Defrosted My Freezer with a Hammer: I had no idea that hacking a gash on the inside of a freezer wall would render said freezer inoperable. The mist shooting out of the hole didn't clue me in as much as the thawed, soggy food did when I got home that night. (Dry cereal for dinner.)

3) Didn't Pay Taxes: Because it was more fun to spend all my money. Really? I'm a freelance graphic designer and I was warned that the IRS went after self-employed people with a gleeful vengeance. Naturally, that didn't stop me from living high on the hog until they nabbed me. (NOTE: It still bugs the crap out of me that every paycheck I've ever gotten shows what I earned and what I actually got to keep.)

4) Trumpet Lessons: This one really isn't my fault. Honest. In third grade, we were offered a choice of several instruments and I chose the trumpet; pleaded with my parents. Hated it! I hated practicing. I hated the way my mouth felt after practicing. To this day, my parents have branded me a quitter because I didn't commit myself to the trumpet at age 8. (Apparently they thought I was going to be the next Wynton Marsalis. Oops.)

5) Joined a Health Club: Never in my life have I felt more insecure than when I was trying to look cool in a gym, surrounded by studly guys who could bench press me without breaking a sweat. Whatever 'working out' I do now, I do at home. In the dark.

6) Hooked Up With A Woman In a Bar: See #1

7) Believed Everything My Parents Told Me: Again, this one ain't my fault. We're supposed to believe our folks. Then I discovered that they're not always right. In fact, they sometimes lie for their own nefarious purposes. (Summer camp in Southern England is not the same as camp in Southern California. We still make family jokes about Camp Cornwall.)

8) Thought I Could Control a Cat: If my cats had thumbs, they'd eat my canned food. As it is, they can still gain access to every square inch of my apartment. In the dark.

9) Made Apple Pancakes Without a Recipe: It seemed so easy.

10) Exchanged Phone Numbers With People I Don't Like: 'Nuff said.

Thank goodness I'm brilliant now and don't do anything wrong anymore. Ever. ;-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Waste is a Terrible Thing To Waste

My Oral-B electric toothbrush died last week. I was innocently preparing to indulge in my nightly ritual of oral hygiene when I clicked the 'on' button, began brushing and the little motor inside just...stopped. Naturally, I shook it, slapped it against my palm, looked at it inquiringly, placed it back in the charger briefly, slapped it again, and finally concluded that it simply didn't work anymore. And I was mildly pissed. I take reasonably good care of my stuff because I generally can't afford to replace my stuff. So here I stood with a mouthful of toothpaste, contemplating my new-looking yet dead toothbrush. And I started thinking about where I'd find a new battery for it and how much it would cost. Of course, there is no new battery available for it. I think I knew that, but denial is a powerful thing, so I Googled it anyway.

Fast-forward to yesterday when I received my brand-spankin'-new Oral-B Sonic electric toothbrush. (NOTE: I'd continued using the dead brush in the interim, which is kinda like going up an escalator that's turned off: It does the job but it feels...wrong.) The instructions that came with the new brush told me how long I had to charge it before I could use it (12 hours), and it told me something else. It told me how to dispose of the battery when "the usable life of the toothbrush was over". And I thought, "So now products are announcing their impending doom?" When did that start?

About a month ago, I replaced a Shark hand-held mini-vacuum cleaner that I paid $69.99 for. (As advertised, it was a beast, although I never had any spilled ball-bearings lying around that needed sucking.) Again, I was going to simply replace the battery and discovered that a replacement was indeed available...for $30. Really? The new Dirt Devil mini-vacuum I ended up getting instead was $20. I remember years ago when my first Sony Discman stopped working, I took it to a electronics store to get it repaired and discovered that it was cheaper to replace it than to fix it. Even then, in my youthful ignorance, I sensed that something was terribly wrong.

At what point did replacing gadgets, as opposed to fixing them, become the norm? How many plastic trees were felled so I could use up my 'things' and simply add them to a landfill? Are the Energizer Bunny's days numbered because fewer and fewer things have batteries that can be easily replaced? Is my shoebox-full of AAA, AA and D batteries going to be obsolete before I get to use them? (Fortunately, my remote controls and authentic Darth Vader Light Saber still require the use of my trusty Duracells.) A close friend of mine recently shared a bit of post-modern consumer wisdom with me: She buys the cheapest thing she can find because it's cheaper to replace and breaks the same as the expensive stuff. Sigh.

It just seems like a cryin' shame that so much of what we use today – DVD players, vacuum cleaners, cell phones – has become entirely disposable. I'm old enough to remember when the only thing I threw away was the packaging, not the product.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Civil Rights 2.0

I was a kid living overseas during the height of the civil rights movement in the late sixties and early seventies. I'm still not sure whether I consider myself lucky to have been away during that tumultuous period, or that I somehow missed out. I consider myself a progressive, even brave person and I'd like to believe that if the need had presented itself, I would've been right out there, waving a sign and doing my best to stick it to The Man with all the other angry, idealistic people.

Civil rights, or rather the idea of civil rights, seems so basic, so much of a no-brainer, that it shouldn't even still be an issue. But, of course, it is. We've all heard a variation of the story about how someone's cousin's best friend's wife's sister didn't get a job someplace doing some-such-thing because they were white and a minority quota had to be met because of Affirmative Action. That may be so. And it's unfortunate. No one should be denied employment because of their color. (I almost used the word 'race', but we're all one race, right? Anyone out there not human?) Truth be told, Affirmative Action is tantamount to reverse discrimination. But at that time in this country, discrimination was so pervasive that bigots had to be forced, by law, not to engage in racist practices, at least in the workplace. Rocky Redneck had to hire black folk whether he wanted to or not, sometimes to the detriment of his company (too bad, Rock).

That was then. And this is now.

Reading, listening, watching, thinking. As I've gotten older and experienced more, something has continued to bug me. How equal is equal? And what exactly do pundits mean when they claim they seek equality? Black civil rights activists have fought being singled out in a negative way in favor of being singled out in a positive way. But why be singled out at all? In an effort to foment inclusion, activism has perpetuated exclusion, even separatism. There was a time when the black community in this country had to band together and toot their own horn because no one else would. But in this day and age, why is it okay to have 'black' colleges, or 'black' night clubs, or 'black' TV shows? If an institution openly touted itself as being 'white', they'd be considered racist. When blacks do it, it's socially acceptable as 'black pride'.

I'm not saying that prejudice doesn't still exist. I'm not saying that there isn't still work to be done. But how long does the current generation of white people need to be held accountable for what their great-great-great-great ancestors did? How long should black people feel that they're still "owed" something? At some point, a generation needs to say, "Enough."  

Enough with the separatism. Enough with the sense of entitlement. If blacks want to be truly integrated into all aspects of mainstream society, the exclusivity needs to stop. To be clear, my opinion is as an observer and participant, not as an authority. I'm not a journalist or a cultural anthropologist, I'm just a guy who believes a little modernization of the civil rights dogma is overdue. Just as the U.S. Constitution was written nearly 250 years ago and has since been amended dozens of times to address changing times, the thinking of the 60s needs to progress wholly into the current millennium. It's not okay for any group to continue to spout they're own ethnocentric rhetoric in the name of civil rights. Rule of thumb: If any group would be considered racist for saying something, no one else should say it either.

Rosa Parks fought for her own seat, not her own bus.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Drainers Don't Know Jack (or You)

Some of you may know who Christy is by now. Well, Christy and I were chatting a couple months ago (talking on the phone with her is never a problem!) and I was complaining about a few people that I'd gotten roped into long-winded, one-sided conversations with. One woman in particular would talk about something and then move on to another topic, and another, and another, and another, with no segue, no pause, no gap; she'd just move on before I even had a chance to comment on anything. (It was like a blog with no "comment" button.) I'd stay on the phone for hours listening to her talk (i.e. bitch) about her joblessness, her roommate, her home, her car, her computer, her phone, her family - anything and everything, all negative. It was absolutely draining. (Hence Christy's apt term "drainers".)

After several of these monologues, I realized two things: 1) I knew more about her than I ever really wanted to know. And 2) she didn't know anything about me. I can remember having relevant (at least, I thought they were relevant) things I wanted to tell here while she spoke, aspects of my life that were comparable to her's, things that might even help her, but I couldn't get a word in edge-wise. I was telling Christy about this and she commiserated with me about how difficult it is to listen to people like that. And then, casually and quite out of the blue, she said, "Most of the people I talk to couldn't tell me 5 personal things about me." I was like....whoa...

That made me really think. And it didn't take me a day or even a few hours. It hit me hard right away. Does Sally (made-up name) know where I'm from? Does she know what I do for a living? Does she know my last frickin' name? The answer was no, no and no. It made me a little angry, and then the anger turned to resentment. How dare these selfish people insinuate themselves on my life in this way! How presumptuous and self-involved of them to think that all the minutiae of their lives was so important to me that I was willing to give up hours of my day to listen to it. And it's not like they were asking for my advice or wanted feedback. They just wanted to vent. Endlessly. Totally unproductive ranting and rambling. (NOTE: In all fairness, I probably inadvertently led them to believe I was willing to listen endlessly because I did listen endlessly.)

This revelation, if you will, helped me winnow out the "drainers" from the "keepers". Congrats to myself for finally blowing off Sally and her headache-inducing ramblings. She left a few voice mails which I ignored. And then she was just...gone. I don't see her on Facebook anymore and she doesn't call me anymore. I'm absolutely certain her life is no worse without me as her sounding board. My life, however, is a bit more relaxed knowing that she's not going to be calling me anymore.

And then there was this guy who hung out by the mailboxes...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Lost Art - Addendum

You ever notice that when someone says, "Well anyway, to make a long story short...", it's too late?

Monday, January 24, 2011


I wonder if it's some sort of evolutionary thing that you can keep your bladder in check for hours on end, but it becomes almost impossible when you finally get to the bathroom.


I just finished watching Iron Man 2...again. And loved it again. I remember reading a review of it when it was first released in the theater and a critic made a snarky comment about "eye candy". Then I started thinking about all the other movies I enjoy that are replete with "eye candy" and I started wondering why "eye candy" is a bad thing. I mean, everybody likes candy, right?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Lost Art (or one of them anyway)

I realized many years ago that I have a phobia. I'm pretty sure I got it from my mom, and I'm pretty sure it's here to stay. I'm scared of the phone. Or actually, phone calls. I don't particularly like to make them or receive them. I can count on one hand how many people I don't mind talking to, which is bad since I know a decent amount of people. I hear the phone ring, I get this little knot in my stomach. Not a big one, mind you. Just a little one, like when you realize you forgot to set the DVR for a show you were looking forward to. Kinda makes you anxious but you know you'll get over it. That's how I feel when I hear my phone do its funny little new-fangled-cell-phone ring. So I started to wonder, aside from genetics (Mom): Why does it bug me so much? Why does the phone ringing make me feel like some dude just shouted "Fire!" while I'm tied to a post with a blindfold on?

And it hit me: conversation. Or, rather, the lack thereof. I truly lament the lost Art of Conversation. It sounds silly, I know. I mean, conversation is pretty basic, right? The phone rings, you answer it, you talk, you hang up. Except, more often than not, it doesn't work out that way. Usually the phone rings, I pick it up (after staring at it for a beat or two), I say 'hello', and then someone starts talking. And talking. And talking. And talking. Some of the people that call me must've been pearl divers in their past lives because they don't need to breathe. They manage to talk for hours without taking a breath. I like to say that "they speak without punctuation". You know those annoying Facebook postings where someone writes something without any capital letters, commas or periods? omg!ashleyandmejustwentoutdrinkingandgotsomessedup! That's how these people talk. I end up spending two or three hours nodding (to myself, since they can't see me) and inserting the occasional "ah" or "mm-hmm" or a generic chuckle so they know I'm still there and awake. But I find my mind wandering about 20 minutes into the monologue once I realize it's going to be one of "those calls". I start thinking about random things like updating my grocery list, or about how I've never seen "Gone With the Wind" or "Citizen Kane", or cat hair. Pretty much anything except what they're rambling on about. Why? Because I haven't gotten to say anything!

To me, conversation is about the exchange of thoughts. Give and take. I ask how you are because I care to listen to you tell me how you are, and you do the same. What I usually get is:

"Hey! How ya doin', Steven?"

"I'm good, Sarah. I went to the–"

"Omigod! You won't beLIEVE the week I've had. There was a swarm of locusts right after we blah, blah, blah-dee-blah, blah..."

It's like white noise. Just this hum of voice-sounding static. I realized that most people care far more about their own comings and goings than mine. And most people don't listen. Because, honestly, they really don't care. They're not bad people, evil people. They just don't care. And, phone-martyr that I am, I sit and listen for hours on end to self-absorbed drivel from a seemingly endless stream of 'friends'. If I could get back all the time I've wasted engaged in tedious, long-winded diatribes about co-workers, traffic, whatever, I'd be a teenager.

Now, lest I sound angry or ungrateful, I'm extremely fortunate to have a few people I truly call friends. Not acquaintances. Not intimate acquaintances. Friends. My friends can talk to me until every word in the English language has been spoken twice. And, in spite of myself and my rantings, I will probably continue to be an ear to whoever feels the need to talk endlessly and has used up all the people that actually give a crap.

But still, y'know, I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Slow drivers don't matter when they're behind us. Except that they're always in front of us.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ax Is A Noun

The term "ebonics" was first coined in 1973 as a way of identifying and even celebrating uniquely Black American speech patterns.

What. Were. They. Thinking?

If I might slide my soapbox out for just a sec (and I can since this is my blog), I think ebonics legitimizes poor and/or lazy speech and it needs to go away. Whatever it's initial intent, it does no one any good anymore. Regardless of our current president, the Black American community still struggles with overcoming racial stereotypes and preconceptions. Ebonics lets ignorant people try to sound smart while talking dumb. And that just pisses me off.

Axe is a noun. Ask is a verb. They are not synonymous. They are not interchangeable. Axing a question is not a mispronunciation; it's simply wrong. If I ax you, I'm about to chop or fire you. After reminding me of her Master's Degree in English for the umpteenth time, a neighbor once informed me (during an unfortunate dinner "date") that pronouncing ask as ax wasn't incorrect, it was just a cultural thing depending on what part of the country one was from. To which I replied, whether you're in Manhattan or Dallas, if you tell a prospective employer that you'd like to "ax a question", your interview's over. (I also secretly wondered in what alternate universe Master's Degrees in English were given to people who can barely read or write. Seemed tacky to mention it aloud though...)

So, ask me anything you like. But, please, leave the ax for lumberjacks and lunatics.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bigots Are Stupid

I was thinking about the word hate the other day and I realized that the only other word I could think of in the English language that was more often overused and misused was love. (Go figure, right?)

I'm as guilty as anyone of regularly misusing hate. It's really easy. "Oh man, I hate that commercial!" "Oh man, I hate this weather." "Oh man, I hate reality shows!" And my favorite, all-encompassing proclamation: "Man, I hate this!" What I forget is that hate is a really strong word. I should keep it in reserve for special occasions, for things I really despise. So I got to thinking, when I say hate, how often do I really mean it? I mean really mean it? What do I actually despise? Well, stupidity. And hate.

I hate stupidity. Not to be confused with ignorance. In my own little personal life-dictionary, I define ignorance as a lack of knowledge but a willingness to learn. But stupidity is a lack of knowledge with no desire to know any better. (Most of the time stupid people don't even know they're stupid.)

Take bigots, for example. Bigots are stupid. Everyone (except them) knows they're stupid. They hate because of something completely arbitrary. People are born black or white or brown or yellow. They're born gay or straight or bi or, sadly, none of the above (I'd hate that). None of which has anything to do with how well they can fire a rifle or flip a burger or balance a spreadsheet. But Barney Bigot will discriminate against them because he's stupid. Sometimes I wonder, when Barney and Betty Bigot go to the movies, say "A Time To Kill", and the racists are the bad guys, do they root for the racists? Do they go, "Huh? I don' geddit. Why is ever'body clappin' fer them colored boys?" Bigots hate so indiscriminately, if they bumped into themselves on the street, they'd probably hate each other. To hate without reason or provocation is stupid. And I hate it.

So, in summation: I hate stupidity. And I hate bigots because they're stupid and spread hate.

Maybe next time we can discuss the word dislike. Way longer list…