Bin Laden Is Dead…

I feel a lot of different ways about this… none of them the “all warm and fuzzy cuz’ I’m an Amurrican an’ this is our whupass” that I think I’m supposed to. 
1) Americans the world over are now bigger targets than we were before… of course, with moron fundies burning copies of the Koran, that ain’t sayin’ much.
2) Our troops in the Middle East are bigger targets than they were before… see above… and that makes me very uneasy – I still don’t believe we should have gone in the first place… I mean, let’s get real. Saddam and his WMD’s were an excuse, we’re pretty much stalled in Afghanistan (feelin’ them ol’ Russian Invasion Blues) – low and behold, we found Osama in Pakistan, where everyone and their grandmother has been saying he was for quite a while… our good ally Pakistan. Not living in a hole, living out in the open… and we’re in Afganistan and Iraq why? 
And as I have an acquaintance headed for Iraq in July, that’s even more unhappy on a personal level.
3) He was a human being… now, I can’t go the whole “the death on any one diminishes us all” route… and if I let my emotions influence me… I remember people holding hands as they leapt from one of the towers – that’s still an emotional kick in the balls anytime I think of it… but Justice is blind, immune to the extremes of emotion and we must strive for Justice.
He was our enemy – but it’s not as if he didn’t have good reason to be. yeah, there are concrete, historically documented reasons we’re hated in that region (world-wide, actually) and how can I completely and totally blame people for hating us when we’ve gone out of our way, as a nation, to give them so many good reasons to?
4) The people who need to know he’s dead will never believe it. A hundred years from now, there will be people who believe he’s still alive, granted immortality by Allah so he can continue the war against the Great Satan.
We have DNA proof. We have photos. Who knows what other proof we have? None of it, not one single shred of it matters. He Is Not Dead.
The burial at sea will only fuel those suspicions. 
And yeah, I’m sure that there are Birthers out there who are convinced it’s all just a ploy to rob them of their thunder… you have no idea how much that depresses me.
5) As a friend of mine, Matt Borgard, said: “Yeah I can’t wait for the magical day that we discover a better fuel source than oil, and the world’s interest in that hellhole of a region just disintegrates.”
Problem is, the fundies will never let that happen since Israel is an integral part of their Map of God’s Final Curtain Call. So we’re going to be involved in that part of the world for the foreseeable future, surrounded by those people we’ve given so many reasons to hate us… hell, at this point, if I was Israel I’d be distancing myself from the U.S. – they’ve already got enough people who want them dead – an issue they exacerbate every chance they get.
But the fundies are going to be so happy at this victory over the Satanic-Cabal-Known-As-Islam that they’re bound to find new stupid things to say and do. This will funnel right back into numbers 1 & 2.

So yeah, we finally got bin Laden, I hope it gives Obama a big boost in the polls, since I still feel he’s better than any alternative the Grand Old Misogynistic-Privileged-Racists can put up, but I’m not getting the whole “My-Crank-Has-Been-Yanked-By-An-Angel” feeling that a lot of people seem to be manifesting.
It’s another day, another man done gone, we’re still in a Recession-That-Feels-Like-It-REALLY-Wants-To-Be-A-Depression-When-It-Grows-Up, the Plutocracy still reigns from on high and really, if you wanna be blunt about it, nothing has changed for the better, quite probably the opposite.

Listening to: Hells Bells – AC/DC
Mood: a little dark, it seems

Wakin’ Up On The Wrong Side O’ The Bed…

and then courtesy of music, gettin’ my shit straightened out.
Any time I start to doubt my belief that music, in all its many genres and forms, is literally the Voice of God (yeah, my conception of the Deity has a billion voices, and there’s a lot of ’em I don’t like, but that doesn’t change their holiness), I have an experience like this morning, where I wake up in a mood so foul the dawgs even avoid me (well, besides Conan, who very quietly and gently sits between my feet and lets me know he loves me no matter what) – and then music takes everything I thought was a problem and a pain and puts it in perspective as those Voices of God cradle my soul and lift it up.
In that elevation I’m reminded that nothing stands between me and happiness but myself.
It truly is a Blessed way to start a day, and my thanks to Tim Collier, Larry Hughes and Don Ferree for providing this morning’s grant of Grace.

Listening to: “Desolation Row” – My Chemical Romance
Mood: jubilant

Well, That Was A Nice Time…

Cen-Tex Writers Group meeting today – Read Out, the meeting held on those rare fifth weeks of the month… well, the two new members who were going to attend cancelled out, possibly because nobody would really feel all that comfortable with a first encounter with a group when it’s meeting in a member’s home, so Mike and I were the only two there and had a really nice visit, I scored his duplicate copy of “The Zinn Reader”, Howard Zinn’s writings on disobedience and democracy. What ya had dere was your basic drinkin’ coffee an’ shootin’ o’ de shit…
Next week is Naming the World, our writing exercise meeting – really need to get started on that before the last damn minute.
Today’s music has been an odd mix of Bill Conti’s score to “The Right Stuff” and the “Sucker Punch” soundtrack… possibly the “Watchmen” soundtrack a little later…
Lee’s playing “Section 8: Predjudice” on the XBox, my wife’s out shopping for shirt patterns, I’m catching up on email, there’s a roast in the oven and all is pretty right with the world.
Well, other than that rampaging sinus headache thing that leapt up and laid me low… and my wife will not use the power tools I’ve given her to drill a hole in the side of my head! Can you believe the nerve? The gratitude of some people leaves so much to be desired.

Old and Bad Memories

Last night at ‘Abusing-the-Universe’ writers group, the issue was raised as whether or not an intelligent main character in a story would ‘dumb down’ his conversational style when talking with his friends/squad mates (he’s military). One of our group members was very dismissive of the idea that he would and challenged the author to do better.
I disagree, at least among friends… you find a level of social interaction everyone’s happy with and that’s the level you stay on, for the most part… it’s generally not the height of intelligent discourse. You may go to that height on occasion, but most days, you’re just a bunch of people, hanging with each other.
But the whole thing put me in mind of an experience I had concerning perceived intelligence.
For the first seven-and-a-half years of my academic life (longer, actually, if you count kindergarten) I went to school in the same town I was born in. From 4th grade on, classes were divided into A, B & C groups, and depending on the year, how the wind blew, what the Chinese astrological sign was, either A or C was the ‘Advanced’ group, B was always the average group, and whichever of the two, A or C, wasn’t the advanced group was the ‘Slow’ group. I was always in the advanced group, I never really thought about it, most of my friends were there – it simply was the way things were.
There was bullying – never doubt that for an instant, but it was never based on or related to my intelligence in any way. I was fat, I had a goofy haircut, I was athletically disinclined, I was a mouthy little shit – take your pick.
Then my mother and I moved to Del Valle for about half a year and I received a first-class education in the perils of being different in any way at all… it just so happened that this set of lessons was primarily focused on my intelligence. I was smart, that was different (at least to the bullies – and face it, when you’re getting the shit beaten out of you, it’s the bullies’ opinions that really matter) and so I fixed that problem.
I got dumb – and did so in a right sprightly manner.
It got better… I stopped standing out… new victims raised their heads.
But my perception of myself remained ‘dumb’.
Moved back to Smithville, back to the people I’d grown up around. It was high school, a whole new kettle of fish – no A, B or C bullshit. Course material I wasn’t interested in, I struggled. I know now that I was smart enough to do the work, but it sure as shit didn’t seem so at the time. I gave lip service to repeated exhortations  of “You’re more than smart enough to get this” but deep down I didn’t believe it because if I did I would get hurt – physically beaten – and I never wanted to go back there again.
In a rather unsurprising bit of rationalization, courses that I was interested in, I excelled at – and that’s because they were simple – they had to be, you see, or I couldn’t have done well at them. When friends struggled with them, I had no choice but to believe they were even less intelligent than I was. (By comparing test scores, that theory was to a large part borne out… though how I could simultaneously hold myself as ‘stupid’ and score as high or higher than classmates I knew were damn smart… well, that certainly wasn’t the most fucked-up set of conflicting beliefs I held, but it was close.)
It took a long time – years – for me to get over the “I have to be stupid or I’ll get hurt” issue. It was so much safer, emotionally, to go on believing that. Still run into echoes of it now, and it’s been 30+ years.

So, in a situation were everyone isn’t your friend, you either force yourself to fit in or you don’t… fine-tuning the ratio comes later, but as a rule, unless you feel safe and are sure you’re safe, you stay the fuck away from ‘different’… the nail that stands out gets the hammer and getting the hammer is bad.

Odd what you remember, 37 years later – my primary tormentor in Del Valle, can’t remember his name, want to say it was ‘John Davis’, but I’m pretty sure I’m wrong about that, pale yellow hair, effectively translucent skin – got to see a lot of it on his legs while he was kicking the shit out of me in gym class/P.E. – he got expelled after the worst of the beatings I got – not because I ratted him out, but because the dumb cocksucker threatened another student with a knife.
I pray to God there’s a hell and that vicious prick’s in it. I’m not at all comfortable with the amount of hate I still feel for him, but feel it I do.

Listening to: “Glenn’s Flight”, Bill Conti, “The Right Stuff” soundtrack
Mood: it’s been better

General Running-On at the Mouth

somewhat crappy realization – going through my LJ archives and reading posts from the last time i thought “first star” was in its final editing pass. then again, i suppose i really shouldn’t bitch too much – nobody ever said that turning a story written as episodic erotica into a coherent story was going to be easy.
same for “on a road going nowhere”…
’cause if anyone had ever said that, i’d be looking for them, wearing my boots, intending to plant one of said boots in their genitalia with all the force i can muster.

tonight should be an interesting ‘abusing-the-universe’ meeting… or not. i dealt with a perpetual thorn in my side in the critiquing process by simply ignoring said thorn – it really wasn’t worth my time in the first place. being me, that means i’m feeling somewhat guilty about it… being me, i will get over it.

lately, aside from a little Paul Horn, the music seems to be Ry Cooder & V.M. Bhatt’s “A Meeting by the River” on ‘repeat’. restful, beautiful, unobtrusive.

well, time to get ready for ‘abusing-the-universe’… later, kids

Finally Writing Again…

Not writing much, only 1600+ words so far, but it’s more than I’ve written in quite some time. “Funny” scene occurred to me last night in one of the periods when I wasn’t sleeping (there were quite a few of those) and so it’s the opening scene of a story set in an alternate universe to the major universe I write in. (“Oil”, “First Star”, “On a Road Going Nowhere”… all are set in the same universe.)

I’m thinking that as far as major stories/pieces/works (such as they are), this makes three that I write in. Those two and the Steampunk timeline of whatever-the-hell-that-story-ends-up-being-called… short stories aren’t necessarily set in any of the three.

Not that I’m worried about any of that for any reason other than it’s one of those odd little obsessive things I’m occasionally heir to… “what world is this story set in?”

Thoughts on Serial Killers…

so, i’m slowly working my way through Harold Schechter’s “The Serial Killer Files” and finding out that some of the “conventional wisdom”, especially as portrayed in television and films, doesn’t hold up under examination of the evidence.
“Most serial killers are white males”… well, in the U.S., maybe – face it, the socioeconomic and family factors that help produce psychopaths are endemic in the black population of the U.S.
“But there aren’t that many black serial killers!”
A question I asked myself and answered, courtesy of what I’m learning:
“Who do black serial killers kill?”
“Who cares, as long as their victims aren’t white.”
yeah, serial killers tend to stay in their own racial groups (except when they don’t) but overall, that’s accurate. but who really cares, in society at large, if another ten or twenty or fifty or a hundred blacks on the bottom rungs of the economic and social ladder go missing? who’ll notice? what news media will report it? it’s an undeniable truth of white privilege that crimes against white are investigated much more thoroughly than in any other racial group, crimes against the wealthy draw much more attention, so as long as the killers are even semi-smart, they have a pool of victims they can hunt in at will, and society-wide, no one important is going to take much notice.
for that matter, look at the killings in Juarez, Mexico… who really cares if poor factory-working women are slaughtered? yeah, it gets some press – and every time it draws an uncomfortable amount of attention, the police put up another sacrificial suspect and claim the case is closed.
and the killings just keep going on… not even their own police care enough to pay the problem more than lip service.

and that answer keeps popping up in my head…
“Who cares, as long as their victims aren’t white.”

Listening to: the dogs playing with each other
Mood: a little too dark for this close to bedtime

A-Kon Is Drawing Closer…

20,000+ people… g’ddamn, that’s a lot of folks.
I’m thinking that in order for us to get together with anyone, the short time we’re in town, it’s going to be cell-phone-bingo and setting things up in advance as to where we’ll be or somesuch. I may just put out a general message on WasteBook and see how wants to link up at some point…

watching the PBS documentary series “The Conquistadors” – still playing with the idea of writing an alien invasion piece where all of Earth is treated exactly as we treated the Native Americans. it won’t have a happy ending.

May have found “Saying Your Goodbyes” a home – a game company is starting to publish fiction, and that story does have a strong gaming tie-in. We’ll see…

working on manually archiving my LJ posts… from 2002 on… damn it’s boring… i foresee a LOT of documentary watching while i grind on this project (and yes, i’ve looked at archiving programs and can’t get any of them to work right)

Listening to: some inane damn program on HGTV in the background
Mood: sleepy

Courtesy of an old friend…

Listening to Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle’s soundtrack to “One From The Heart”… never seen the film, not sure if I ever want to (it might not be anywhere near as good as the music), but the soundtrack is pure joy to listen to. To me, it’s always been like listening to a piano-bar-opera, sad and sweet and funny and tragic.

I’m just a scarecrow without you
Baby, please don’t disappear
I beg your pardon, dear

I got a bottle for a trumpet
And a hatbox for a drum
And I beg your pardon, dear

I got upset, I lost my head
I didn’t mean the things I said
You are the landscape of my dreams
Darling, I beg your pardon

 – “I Beg Your Pardon”, Tom Waits

Just another soundtrack I owe Tommie Dunnam a lifetime of thanks for introducing me to.

Listening to: Little Boy Blue – Tom Waits
Mood: wistful

Good Morning, One and All…

So, it was a long, but overall fruitful, Work-In-Progress meeting… about four hours long, so my nap time was pretty much eaten away. Worth it, however, as several very good points were raised about the story I’m workshopping. Rie came over 5-ish and we talked – okay, she spoke coherent English, I spoke fluid Zombie – but we managed to bridge the communication barrier. Lovely supper of sausages for ‘hot dogs’, both regular and jalapeno (mmm, jalapeno) and watched “Watchmen – Director’s Cut” as Rie hadn’t seen it and Dorris and I hadn’t gotten around to watching the BluRay copy Lee got me a while back.
Then Jim went to bed, after the apparently-mandatory-meander-about-like-a-senile-bastard period, which lasts about half-to-three-quarters of an hour. Now, as of 4:30, after five hours of sleep, Jim is awake again. Don’t you wish Jim would quit speaking of himself in the third person? Jim wishes he would.
Got a pot of de-caf chirping at me… ah, life is better now.
I sometimes wonder about the effect one of my medications has on me – I lie in bed, completely coherent, not wanting to get up, ideas flooding my brain. Once I’m up though, my mind gets foggy and I can pretty much kiss all those nice, intelligible ideas I had ‘good-bye’. Odd… why should being upright make such a difference. (And yes, I’ve been altered enough times over the course of my life to know the difference between “thinking I’m sober/coherent” and “sober/coherent”… vast difference.)
More later…
Y’know, someday I need to just sit down and have a Zack Snyder fest – “Dawn of the Dead”, “300”, “Watchmen” and “Sucker Punch”…

Listening to: Requiem K626 – W.A. Mozart
Mood: brain-fogged and bleary-eyed – but better than yesterday