Peace? Yesterday, I wrote something


Yesterday, I wrote something about Peace, and I made an offhand comment about how everyone wants Peace, except the military/industrial complex.
I didn’t think much of it, since I’m always making stupid, throw away remarks, in conversation and in my writings.
Well, I got this email, and it’s made me think about it a bit more deeply:

Interesting comment on your website:
“Of course everyone wants peace (except the military/industrial complex, but I digress).”
As an officer of 14 years in the Air Force, I would suggest to you that anyone who’s been shot at in a conflict, or faced the potential for that, is pretty disposed toward wanting peace. It’s not just a hypothetical concept for us, it’s our work environment.
I notice that you consider talking to William Shatner as a first step toward peace. Good for you. I think people need to be a hell of a lot nicer to each other, perhaps more so to strangers because that’s more unexpected and may have a longer positive effect. But that seems to be as far as you want to go. Let me point out to you some of the things that I, a member of the military/industrial complex, have done for peace:
– 4 years pulling 24-hour shifts in an ICBM launch control center during the final years of the Cold War
– another 4 years at the Air Force Academy, teaching cadets about how the military works in concert with (and, preferably, defers to) diplomatic, economic, and informational means of national influence
– deploying to Macedonia, being forced to wear civilian clothes and have a bodyguard due to terrorist threats, so I can help them develop a military that works under the control of a democratically-elected government, rather than a military that IS the government
– returning to Macedonia and donning a baby-blue beret as a UN peacekeeper so a war in neighboring countries wouldn’t spread into a nation that was just starting to make it
– sewing a NATO patch to my uniform and deploying to Bosnia to keep the locals from killing each other long enough to get their economy started so they might see the benefits of peace over war
– parking myself in a little cubicle in Alabama for 2 years developing plans for responding to terrorism, plans the existence of which I had hoped would deter a terrorist from attacking
– attending funerals at Arlington Cemetery for my former Academy students who have died in the line of duty
– serving as an active member of the ACLU chapter in every state where I’ve been assigned and working with youth-oriented support groups
I’ve given up a lot to do that. I’ve lived in places I didn’t necessarily want to live. I’ve taken on responsibilities most people won’t accept (when you were 23, were YOU prepared to accept a job where you might have to kill millions of people? I didn’t particularly want to do it, but somebody had to be prepared to, thanks to the threats to this country). I’ve had to keep quiet about my religious beliefs…I’ve accepted less pay than my peers from college. And yeah, I’ve been shot at.
And a lot of people in uniform have done a hell of a lot more than me.
I applaud your efforts to be nicer to people. But feel free to get down off your high horse and quit making generalizations about people of whom you know nothing. Contrary to what Charlton Heston, Barbra Streisand, or Rush Limbaugh may think, a career in the entertainment industry may give you a “bully pulpit” but it doesn’t make you an expert on public policy.
Just my $.02 worth. Feel free to tell me to go [fark] myself.

Well, far from telling this writer to go fark himself, I have to apologize, and clarify.
I have always supported the members of the military, who are in the field, sometimes getting shot at, whether I agree with the war, or not. Regardless of how I feel about it, leaders are going to fight wars, and people are going to be involved in those wars. I think that I can support the men and women in the armed forces, without supporting Bush and Company.
Matter of fact, I so support the men and women in our armed forces, it really pisses me off when I see a president using them in ways that I think are inappropriate. But, this writer is correct. Being in the public eye does not make me an expert on any policies, at all…I told him in an email that I was just a guy, with a webpage, who talks about stuff that’s on his mind. I never meant to be on a high horse (when I’m on a high horse, I’ll make sure you know), and my generalizations were in the spirit of humor. I mean, all people who generalize are idiots, right?
So, consider this another step in letting Peace begin with me. If my comment yesterday offended anyone, please accept my deepest and most humble apologies, and please read it again, focusing on the larger message.
And let’s not forget that there are people, like this writer, who are, right now, 11 days before Xmas, far from their families, and nowhere near a Dr. Demento CD and a fireplace.
I hope everyone is having a nice weekend.

Peace I saw this sticker


I saw this sticker today. It said, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
My first cynical thought was, “well, duh. everyone wants peace.”
But, as the night wore on, I got to thinking about that. Of course everyone wants peace (except the military/industrial complex, but I digress). How can I make peace begin with me?
Well, I did some puzzling on that, and here’s what I came up with: letting peace begin with me is pretty easy. IT begins with me when I say, “Thank you,” to someone. It begins with me when I let a car in front of me in rush hour traffic. It begins with me when I take a chance talking to WFS. Peace can begin with all of us, and, cumulatively, we can and will make a difference.
Think about it.
Think back to the last time someone you didn’t know did something nice to you. That good feeling stayed with you for hours, maybe even days, didn’t it? You can’t help but spread that feeling to the people around you, and they to those around them, and so on.
I got all bent out of shape about the person who put me on all those mailing lists. I got really angry. I’m pretty sure that whomever did it is coming here to see what I’ll do about it, and I played right into his hands.
So, I’ll let peace begin with me. Fark it. There’s worse things in the world than this.

Watery Fowls Boy, what a

Watery Fowls

Boy, what a day. If you live in Los Angeles, I hope you got to see the AMAZING sunset we had tonight. Ryan took pictures from the car while we were driving home, and as soon as I fix the gallery, I’ll put them up.
We got our Xmas tree last night. I’m so torn about that…on the one hand, I totally hate the idea of killing a tree and putting it in the house for a few weeks…but on the other hand, it’s such a long-standing family tradition, and, especially after the loss of my Aunt Val, I’ve realized how important traditions are to me.
Example: I listen to this guy, Dennis Prager, on the radio here in LA from time to time. Dennis is very conservative, but he’s not a jackass conservative reactionary like Rush or Sean Hannity, who’s recently been thrust upon us here. Dennis is very honest, and amazingly smart. He’s also not one of these idiots who toes the line no matter what. He talks about issues of morality, without succumbing to demagoguery and hyperbole. (Jesus, I feel like I’m writing an essay here. Score me an extra 3 points for big, important-sounding words). Suffice (there I go again) to say that, even though I’m pretty out there on the Left, I can listen to Dennis, and, although I disagree with him often, I always think a second time.
So, today, on his show, Dennis was talking about the importance of tradition in human existence. He was talking about the difference between having a day off, and having a day where we engage in some sort of tradition. It’s the difference, to me, between not going to work and drinking beer, and finding a Veteran to thank, on Veteran’s Day.
So, tradition is very important to me, and this recently came up, at my mom and dad’s house.
The whole family was there, and we were talking about Xmas dinner. My brother was pulling for this German potato salad that we have eaten since we were kids, but never as a holiday meal…I mean, getting together at mom and dad’s for Melted Salad is just awesome, but I was really not into it for our Xmas dinner meal. I wanted to have the traditional turkey, candied yams, mashed potatoes and stuffing, punkin pie, and the whole thing…and I was getting a lot of resistance from the rest of the family about it, until I explained to my mom how important it was to me that we have what we’ve always had, because it wouldn’t feel like Xmas to me otherwise, and, eventually, they all came around.
What I didn’t realize, until I was listening to Dennis this morning (while stuck in traffic on the Four-Oh-Farking-Five-Freeway-Farking-Farking-Farking), was just how important that tradition has become to me.
This is my 5th Xmas with Anne and the kids, and we’ve really established our own traditions, and tonight we’ll have the mashed potatoes and turkey meatloaf, then we’ll build a big old fire in the fireplace, while we drink egg nog and hot apple cider, and decorate our tree, while listening to Dr. Demento’s Greatest Xmas CD.
Bring on the Jingle Dogs, dammit!

Score one for the good

Score one for the good guys

Charges to Be Dropped Against Russian Computer Programmer
The Associated Press
Published: Dec 13, 2001

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Charges will be dropped against a Russian computer programmer accused of violating copyrights on software made by Adobe Systems Inc. in exchange for his testimony in the trial of his company, a spokeswoman for the programmer said Thursday.
Dmitry Sklyarov, 27, had been charged in the first criminal prosecution under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Sklyarov and his employer, ElcomSoft Co. Ltd. of Moscow, were charged with releasing a program that let readers disable restrictions on Adobe’s electronic-book software. The program is legal in Russia.
Sklyarov was arrested after speaking at a hacking convention in Las Vegas on July 16. He lives with his wife and two children in an apartment in San Mateo and was working on a doctorate in computer science.
AP-ES-12-13-01 1602EST

Breakfast Anne doesn’t go into


Anne doesn’t go into work until late in the day on Thursdays, so she usually sleeps in and I get up with the kids, get them ready for school, and all that jazz.
So this morning, after I took them to school, I came home, and made Anne breakfast while she was asleep. Strawberry waffles, freshly ground coffee and OJ (the drink, not the murderer and drug dealer).
It was awesome. After we ate, we walked Ferris, who chased birds and attacked sprinklers, then went and watched Ryan’s school play.
It’s been a good day. If you haven’t, make your wife breakfast some time. It’s cool.

Sheep Go To Heaven I

Sheep Go To Heaven

I was so damn impressed by CAKE on Monday, they are the only band I’ve been listening to. If you want to hear them for yourselves, you can tune in to the RFB, where I’m streaming some CAKE while I work on the website.

Nugget Well, someone has been


Well, someone has been out of town.
Someone has been too busy to update his website.
Someone has been spending time with his wife, instead of his posse.
I think we all know who I’m talking about…
Damn you, Adam Curry!! Write a damn story about Ace of Base, already!
So I’m back from outerspace, and I just came in to find you here with that sad look upon your face. I changed my stupid IP, I even changed my URL. The only thing left to do is put up pics of naked girls!!
Yes! Rhymin and stealin.
Enough with the vague references, Wheaton. Get to the point.
Yes. Sorry about that. I bet you’re wondering where the hell the Star Trek updates are, and why the hell you can’t comment on these little perls of wisdom that fall from my mouth behind the firehouse, to say nothing of the absence of Soapbox and galleries.
Well, first things first: The Trek updates are being *gasp* edited by me. They’re important, and I want them to be just so, and that means it’s taking time. Hey, it was worth the wait for the slashdot interview, right? (wasn’t it? ::fret::)
The comments will be returning when I get Movable Type all configured to my liking, and I import all the old entries from Greymatter. Soapbox will return when we get the server issues worked out. I think we’ve moved now, but I haven’t had a chance to talk with loren, so I don’t know.
What I really want to talk about today, is Amway. But I won’t. What I will talk about, though, is the KWOD Boomer and The Dave’s Twisted Christmas concert last night, where I got to sit in with the band “Nine Inch Males” and play my harmonica, and stuff.
How’d all this come about? When I was going to be on Weakest Link, NBC asked me if I’d do some press for them, to promote the show. I told them that I’d dig that, and they gave me a HUGE list of radio stations to call for some live interviews. Normally, I’d link to the old entry about this, but…yeah. Broken. Sorry. Take my word for it.
One of the stations I called was KWOD in Sacramento. I used to listen to the morning show on KWOD (That’s pronunced “Quad” not “Kay-Wad”) when I’d go to visit my brother up in Hella (which is what we called Sacramento back then) while he was working and living up there. So I sort of felt an affinity for Boomer and The Dave, and I told them that. We had a GREAT interview, and The Dave asked me if I’d be interested in coming up on December 10th to be part of the Twisted Christmas show. He mentioned that Cake would be playing.
That’s all it took. Cake is in my top 3 bands of all time. The only reason they’re not number one is because I have this sad attachment to Depeche Mode from when I was a kid…but I’m getting help for it.
So, long story longer, I piled me, my wife, my brother and his fiancee into a rental beast, and we drove to Hella on Sunday. I did the morning show with Boomer and The Dave on Monday morning, and then attended the concert last night.
It was so goddamn cool.
We got to go backstage, in this big arena. Now, it’s the first time I’ve ever gotten to do that, and it was exactly like “Almost Famous”, as totally lame as that sounds. But it’s true. Anne, Jen and I ate dinner backstage, with the roadcrew, and sat at the same table as the guitarist for Cake. Now, when we were sitting there, I didn’t know that he was who he was, which I guess is okay…if I hadn’t been going on and on about how much I love Cake and that I can’t believe I’m getting to see the best band ever…fortunately he didn’t say anything, which is good, because I would have been pretty damn embarassed. I mean, it would be like me sitting within earshot of some Trekkie completely freaking out about TNG, or something. But it was totally cool. Eating beef stroganoff, which I normally hate, but, hey, it was Rock Food (TM), so it was okay by me.
After eating, we got to go meet some of the bands who were playing the show. Tantric was really cool, even though I’m not crazy about their music, while 2/3 of Alien Ant Farm was really cool. Let me tell you something about AAF: The lead singer was really nice, the bass player was beyond cool (even gave me an autograph for Nolan, who is crazy insane for them), while the guitar player was a complete dick. I was stunned at what a complete A-hole he was, and how badly he treated all these kids who were waiting to get his autograph. Made me glad that I really go out of my way to make people feel good when I’m doing autographs for them. Also made their music less enjoyable for me to listen to, knowing what a jerk that guy was. I sure hope he was just having a long day( I know they’ve been on tour awhile).
Now, here is how much I love Cake: I actually waited in line so I could meet them, and tell them how much I love their music. It was funny, because with each passing moment, I got more excited, and more nervous, fearing that they would be lame, like the AAF guy was…and, again, it reminded me of what it’s like to be on the other side of that autograph table. It was some nice perspective.
Finally, I get to the table, and I tell the first two guys, “I don’t have anything for you to sign, but I just wanted to tell you how much I love your music, and how much it means to me.”
I was trying my best to not sound like a freak…I mean, there’s a fine line between “I really love your music” and “I’m a complete freak who drove 6 hours to see you”. I know, because I’ve met both of those people, many, many times, at conventions.
I guess I didn’t come off too badly, because I met the whole band, and they were all cool to me! Even the lead singer, who I’d been warned could be kind of a jerk from time to time. They were so nice to me, and totally made me feel like they cared that I liked their music. I was so moved, that after I walked away, I ran back, to tell them thank you for being so cool and nice, because I’m always afraid that the people I admire will be dicks when I meet them. The lead singer told me that it really meant a lot to them, that I went back there and told him that, because he worries that people think he’s a jerk from time to time. So that was really cool.
The show starts, and I play my harmonica with the Nine Inch Males, and I was told that I “wailed”. Wailed! YES! ROCK!
I totally got to tell a guy to “rock out with your cock out”. It was hellarad. Hella. Hella. Hella.
Tantric played, and they sounded really good, then AAF played, a great show which I would have really loved if that guy hadn’t been such a dick. Then it was Sum 41, who were amazing, even though I’m not really into them. They also came off as really nice guys, too.
Then, it was time for Cake.
They are even better live than I could have ever hoped for. They just owned that place, and their stage presence was incredible. They were just beyond cool. They played nearly all of my favorite songs, including “Stick Shifts and Safety Belts”, “Nugget”, “Never There”, and “Sheep Go To Heaven”. They closed with an amazing, haunting, beautiful version of “Jolene”.
If Cake is ever coming to to a show within 6 hours of your house, you simply must go.
Matter of fact, if you don’t have them already, you MUST get their new CD Comfort Eagle, and my personal favorite, Fashion Nugget.
It was a GREAT 36 hours, which I got to spend with my wife and brother, and future sister-in-law. A huge thank you to my brother’s friend Bill, who let us sleep on his floor, to Boomer and The Dave at KWOD 106 for inviting us up, and, especially, to CAKE for not being dicks, and giving me the most memorable concert experience since I saw the Concert For The Masses back in 1989.
I gotta take more road trips like this one.
All that other stuff will be worked out in the next few days, promise. :)

Saturday Look at me! I’m


Look at me! I’m a cowboy! Howdy, howdy, howdy.
Yes, I realize that I have not made good on my promise to update regarding Trek X, but it’s actually taken me this long to just get the smile off my face and catch up with stuff at home.
I’m sorry for the delays, but I’ve just gotten so damn busy this week. We’re doing yet another move for the site, because the traffic is just insane. Loren and I have been moving everything over to a new server (last time it was just it’s own IP, my bad), and poking at it with sticks to make sure that it works. The site may be unreachable for 24 hours or so, when we do the DNS update, so I’ll apologize in advance for that.
There are wonderful stories to tell, from this week, and I will tell them, but my house really needs to be cleaned up, and I really must wash my clothes…I’m running out of socks. :)
Oh, I’m also working on getting the old GM entries moved into Movable Type, which I’ll be using as the new journaling solution. Also, watch for a nifty phpWebsite-based section, opening sometime next week.
Hope everyone is having a great weekend.
Go Lakers.

Am I annoying or not?

Am I annoying or not?

I’m trying to catch up a little bit on emails (there were over 100 when I got home this morning), and this is one of the things that was sent to me.
Thanks, Nina.

50,000 Monkeys at 50,000 Typewriters Can't Be Wrong

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