Thursday, December 22

Letter sent 12.21.11

Dear President Obama,
This is, admittedly, a little strange: as a public figure-one whom I employ, no less-I have a sense of you but we’ve never met. Yet I’m writing a letter, something that, in this day and era has become, I hope, a bit more personal than it used to be. That you don’t know anything about me is what makes this unusual, at least from my end.

Perhaps a few details will help: I’m 39 and I just bought my first house in Portland, OR. I’ve lived in the Pacific NW all my life but I was fortunate to travel to Europe in college and that did a great deal to broaden my horizons. I’ve also been lucky enough to have enough money to indulge the occasional whim and still keep a roof over my head. I brew beer and play games as a way of making and strengthening my social circle. I’ve been dating my girlfriend for seven years and I’m very glad she likes me as much as she does. I read as much as I can, write when I’m able and walk every day to get some exercise.

I don’t expect you will read this, nor have the time to respond. That’s OK: I’m writing this just as much for me as I am to you. If this letter is fortunate enough to make it to you personally, then I count myself lucky. I’d prefer not to get a form letter back. I’m a citizen and I have some things to say. If we can’t have a discussion, well that’s alright but I’d ratjer we didn’t have a discussion because you’re the President and busy and I’m a citizen and busy than us having a ‘pretend’ discussion where I get pre-stamped responses.

Maybe when this is all over, and the letters have been written, your term is done and things settle down a little (which may be some time away, I understand) then we could have a beer. In the meanwhile, let’s get to talking, shall we?

I’ve been watching things as closely as I’m able and I’ve heard you use the phrase “it’s the right thing to do” in the State of the Union Address. I’m not sure that you and I agree on what the right thing is, unfortunately. Is the right thing to do prosecuting, with even greater vigor, whistleblowers in the government, or firing people who have a different point of view?

Does doing the right thing include using drones against faraway people, especially those whom the government has not used evidence to prove they are a threat to the citizenry, not going after the fraud on Wall Street, despite the tremendous wave of economic damage they have wrought upon not only our country but the world, or advocating the rights of corporations through things like the SOPA act, or dangerously extending the government’s powers via the Patriot act, up to and including bill S. 1867 which would allow for indefinite imprisonment, even of US citizens, accused of terrorism, and that they be tried via the military instead of the civilian court system?

Is the right thing to do to employ many of the architects of our current crises with the direction of fixing it? To allow the people to get away with crimes both fiscal and moral?

That, of course, is just a sampling of things that I am aware of and when I hear you talk about the right thing to do, I can’t help but question what it is that you know about the right thing versus what I know about the right thing to do. I accept that you are privy to information that I am not but I would be willing to bet that in most of those cases, the information you know doesn’t change a thing.

Naturally, I don’t blame all of this on you. You have to make choices and they can’t all be good ones. The health care debacle that came last year, the manufactured debt ceiling crisis; these events do not settle on your shoulders alone.

But you’re the person I talk to, because you’re the person who needs to speak up.

Which leads us to what I think is the next problem.

America suffers from a lack of vision. As the President of the US, I expect you to articulate a vision for us, to raise the bar and tell us what the great thing is that we, as a country, should be striding for.

But you do not articulate that vision. You articulate standards or, sadly, you articulate nonsense. The best example of the former I can think of is in the last State of the Union, you told us that our goal should be to cut fossil fuel dependency by 80%.

No. That is not our goal. Our goal is to cut fossil fuel dependency for personal vehicles 100% by 2030. No exceptions. That’s a goal. Anything else is a standard, is something that can have exceptions made to it.

Of the latter, the phrase ‘win the future’ comes to mind. This is a tragic use of language for anyone who is paying attention. No one can win something that doesn’t exist, Mr. President, and the future, by its very nature, is always out of reach.

My problem with that language is simple: Americans don’t like things that are unwinnable, (see our dispassion for soccer, a game that willfully accepts ties) and despise things that allow us to get away with less than our best (see the public’s current contempt for Congress.)

We want to be challenged, Mr. President. More than anything else, I think this is what is lacking: great things are not asked of us, expectations are no longer high, and when someone maliciously screws up, they are no longer punished. I don’t mean punishment for failure (although I think consequences still should exist,) I mean punishment for wrongdoing. It may have always been true that people with wealth and power could get away with more but at least in America, for a time, there was an effort to ensure that everyone was equal under the law.

This includes those who hate us. Which is why, yes, it IS hard to bring terrorists to trial in order to bring them to justice but it is something that we, as a country, need to do. It is painstaking to ensure economic equality, to prosecute for difficult crimes and yet by not doing these things, you and those like you in the Beltway, are essentially saying: We don’t think America can handle the difficult choices or make the needed sacrifices.
But we can, so long as it is fair and just.

We need to do the difficult thing, Mr. President. We need to be challenged to be our best and we, as a people, need you to articulate that goal for us, so we have something to reach for. Something concrete and accomplishable, something that does not allow for failure, something that is bolder and defies the wasteful paths of the last three decades.

And we need you to set that bar and then let us meet it. I am, as a citizen, expecting great things from you, because those expectations need to be met and I voted for you in part because of the merits you brought to the table, suggesting that you would be able to the task. Ask of us. Ask great things of us, but ask them of all of us or do not bother, Mr. President.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you, your family and friends, sir.


Friday, September 30

Crazy from self inflicted injuries

Hurt myself on Monday-something weird on my ribcage. Probably going to have to see a doc about it and that is not something that I ever look forward to. Especially with a long drive coming up, and moving after that.

A friend of mine who doesn't talk to me anymore has returned to the continent. I still see the circles of the universe she travels in from time to time saddens me that we don't talk. But I wish her safe journeys and excellent beers.

In other news, this collaborative track of Lou Reed and Metallica is not very well done. The music isn't bad-though it's not great either-but they vocals are horribly matched to the music.

And in case you can't get enough bummer in your day, here's David Simon talking about how things are going 2007.

All in all, it's a glum Friday.

Monday, August 22

New hypothesis

Men want a new sex partner at about the same rate that women want a new puppy/kitty/baby, and for about as long.

Tuesday, July 19

All things must pass

And so it will be that my sister's beloved cat, The Reverend Horton Heat will soon be put down, likely in the next few days. He's been in the family for over fifteen years and seen a lot of road, climbed a few trees, beaten off his fair share of idiot dogs and meowed his way into the house more times than I can remember.

He's old and he's very sick and it's the right thing to do. He's not himself; I got to catsit for him a month ago and while there was a little bit of old cat grumpiness in him, he mostly wanted to be left alone, or to be pet. The playing with rubber bands or strut to go outside, these were gone and he was weak and a bit frail, now. He warmed up to me near the end of the second day, sat on my lap and even slept nearby and I am grateful to have gotten the opportunity to care for him.

He's a good cat though; one of the best. Didn't take any shit and was perfectly content to walk away, unless you bugged him, then you got the bite you deserved.

Most of all, he reminded my sister that she was loved during times in her life when she didn't feel very loved and perhaps her brother was not doing his best to let her know this. She needed him and he never failed her. Not much more you can say about a good pet, is there?

He was lucky to have someone as awesome as my sister and she was fortunate-as was my family-to have him around. I'll miss him when he's gone.

I only can ask that the Universe do as it does with all good souls; guide them gently to the next place.

Godspeed, Rev.

Thursday, July 14

Unnecessary Validation

With the glory of Google+ coming up all the events that haunt me about previous social networking sites come up.

There's being made invisible, there's finding myself in splintered communities-one too silly and insular, the other too small, serious and insular and neither of them having people I connect to anymore.

I just don't have anything to say to those active and they seem to feel the same way about me. That's a theme in a couple places.

There's also just a general annoyance with the circular nature of people. I can all too frequently predict what conversation I'm going into or what will be said in response to a topic and that has become dreary. Again and again it's the same; 'Approve of my feelings/thoughts/whatever'. It does not teach me anything-and it's hard work to actually pay attention to repetition.

Yeah, yeah; it's not them, it's me. Still, it's grinding sometimes and I don't have places to bitch about here I am going for my own unnecessary validation. The irony is not lost on me.

Monday, July 11

Gear up for it

I have to get a cover letter written and a resume sent for a job. I can do this.

I can.


Friday, June 10


I'm having trouble living in the now. Part of this just has to do with a general element of gloom that has settled on me for a few days.

But part of it is about the future. I have about $120 bucks left-after all the other bills are paid, to enjoy the month with. Assuming, of course, that everything else comes in at or if I'm fortunate, under, budget.

Last night at the OBC meeting, there was a call to go get a beer at the Green Dragon. I said I couldn't afford it and someone said, 'Hey, I'll catch you this time and you can get me next.' And I still had to say no, because there isn't going to be a 'next time' where I could afford to do such a thing.

Which is goddamn depressing. Everything I do has to take the next 30 days in mind. I am already meeting someone for a drink tonight, in order to get some writing going for the beer blog and the girlfriend and I are having pizza Saturday.

So...there goes $25-ish.

Everything I do has to be about the future. Nothing can be about the now because I don't have resources to fall back on, should the future throw curveballs. So I can't be happy about the future-it's just a gigantic space of 'what ifs'-and I can't be pleased to exist in the now because the now is presenting me with opportunities I cannot take advantage of.

Tuesday, May 31


So, PAX is sold out of tickets. I will, once again, hardly know anyone. Kind of a drag, that.

/I just look forward to playing Magic a bunch and it hardly ever works out

Also, because my Dad wants to come up and see the family, I am attending the wedding for a cousin I haven't met-or at the least, haven't seen in nearly twenty five years.

However, as a result of going to this fucking event where I will see people I don't care about, I will miss an event I care very much for: Bailey's 4th anniversary party. That Fuz will attend.

In summation; August, you'd better be good.

Monday, May 16

Dead Space 2 wrapup

Finished Dead Space 2 last night. I played the game on hard (survivalist in the game language) and it's the first time I've done that in a long time. I'd read the game was a bit too easy on normal though and since I'd bought the game I had no reason to go through it hurriedly so I played on hard.

I'm not sure I'm going to play through on hard again. Even with the FAQ guidance (which I was using to make sure I didn't miss any Gold Nodes-the critical components for upgrading your weapons and armor) that game would fucking stress me out.

So I found myself in a hurry to finish the game because I was looking forward to the anxiety being over. If I play it again, it'll be at an easier difficulty level but I may take a crack at other games on hard, because accomplishment is a reward that's nice to have. But the frustration level was, occasionally, a little too high.

That said, reflecting upon the experience; it was only frustrating when I went in without a strategy-or when the strategy would just barely miss. Everything had to be very, very precise at certain points and I tend to be a little sloppy when I play videogames.

It brings me to two points though: First, the end boss.

I felt as though I had very few metrics for whether or not I was actually doing damage and no metric for how effective the damage I was doing was. I realize that health bars are gauche now but I needed something to tell me how effective I was being aside from gruesome death scenes.

Second; at one point in the game you come across a regenerating baddie who chases you through rooms. It ceases to chase you after you...take an elevator.

Really? You couldn't have some kind of system or laser defense or something? This thing survives being sawed into tiny pieces and crawls through ductwork like a snake but the harsh environs of an elevator defeat it?

Aside from that, I rather enjoyed most of it, though it plays more like a bloody horror game than a creepy event that really sucks. Granted, for 15 hours that's a lot of atmosphere to try and keep up on. The occasional splatter is advised-and probably necessary if you want to put giant monsters in the game. When Dead Space 2 is creepy, it's seriously creepy-that those moments are few and far between is alright.

What I really needed was some proper audio. The mindfuck moments have a character-a fairly crucial one-not always properly audible and that's pretty relevant to sustaining the kind of dread that the game wants to put in.

Wednesday, May 11

On groups

There was a moment last night when I stood there and realized I didn't have anyone to talk to and didn't feel like I could go up to anyone and talk to them. All I could think at that point was: I'm doing everything right, aren't I? Getting involved, being around people, helping?

Instead I just felt really lonely. Sometimes I think this is one of the primary motives behind coupling up; so you don't have to stand alone at gatherings looking awkward and feeling worse.

I also remembered that I'm 39 and some things still haven't gone away, and that's depressing too.