Thursday, August 25, 2011

Heavy Metal Painting


Two posts in the short span of 24 hours?
Holy crap.

I spent the day demolishing a basement and attempting to rebuild and frame new rooms. It was a blast. After we ate supper and wrapped up shop for the evening, I used my newly-found love for crafting things and I returned to the garage to continue the mayhem well into the evening.

On impulse, I selected Dragonforce to accompany me on my mission. I'm fairly certain that I caused the neighbors and random passerbyers quite some confusion as I screamed, sawed, and painted to Dragonforce's sweet, melodic tones. As you cruise through the rest of this note, please feel free to turn up the following link to eleven and pleasantly begin headbanging at your leisure.
I used some leftover materials to fashion a gift for Paul, a roommate that has to put up with the wreckage and construction noise right outside his door. Since he enjoys inviting friends over to play beer pong, I plan on making a neat soccer-themed pong table for him. I sanded down an old section of a shelf and primed it for tomorrow's painting. I hope it ends up looking decent. Regardless, I (roundhouse)kicked open a Rolling Rock, threw my fist up in the air, and majorly rocked out to some intense priming.
Phase one: Primed.
I thought it necessary to wave the brushes in front of the camera for this shot. I'm an idiot.
With the creative juices still flowing, I ventured onto my next project. I've been yakking about carving a chess board since, oh, May, and decided that tonight was as excellent a night as ever to begin practicing on how to go about making a homemade chess board. A few weeks ago, Phill and Seth helped craft a model Lego chess board which turned out fairly well.

It was also kind of fun to spend a Saturday evening playing with Legos. Perhaps I should go out more...The chances of me meeting my dream girl would be substantially higher if I was out and about as opposed to playing with Legos in my kitchen. Hmph.

What's also cool - my dad found a little tin soldier tucked away behind a furnace hot-air return duct. The soldier's in the photo with the Legos. It was a sweet little treasure find, I'll admit.

Anyways, here's a shot of my first ever wood carving. It looks like total ass. If Pinocchio ever had a illegitimate, alcohol-fueled love child with Sorry™ piece, this is what it might look like.
Horrific, right?
It's a start. Try not to pay attention to the crack on his right hip. I kinda sorta chiseled him in half. Perhaps I'll hold off on the Rolling Rocks until after the sawing/chiseling.

                    Me bottle caps. Me precious, precious bottle caps.

Right. Well then. I'm off to either sleep, p90X (hahahah yeah, right), or watch some Premier League. If you have any artistic suggestions or recommendations, feel free to comment. I could certainly use a hand!


The Templar Knight - Jan Guillou
Meh. Still...meh.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stairway to Failuredom


A conversation about things from the 80's sparked my interest this afternoon. While speaking with a friend as she cut my hair, we discussed different ideas for an 80's party that is coming up in a few weeks.

Let it be known that I'm watching "The Song Remains the Same" while I write. It's a movie chock-full of Led Zeppelin doing what they do best: blowing peoples' minds. Page is strutting around in huge lifted shoes as Plant jiggles by himself off to the side. It's awe-inspiring. Between just the two of them, there's enough chest and head hair to choke a horse.

                              "Do you feel a draft, James?"

While the Zep isn't permissible for an 80's gig, plenty of other things are still open for use. But this is not what is consuming my brainpower for the afternoon. Instead, I was trying to remember some of my earliest memories from the (gasp) 80's. As strange as it might sound, some of the easiest memories that I could dust off involved regrettable actions on my part. I'm not overwhelmed by the fact that I can't let these things go. I mean, there's little I can do now to change them at this point in time. For some reason or another, I'll share with you all some of my saddest, most embarrassing moments. Bon appetit!

*Side note*
The camera just panned to the audience during Page's solo in "Since I've Been Loving You." Every person had a blank stare and a jaw scraping the floor. It might be the drugs.

1) Psychological Warfare
Growing up with two other brothers, people always ask me if we fought often. The answer: No, not really. However, when my older brother would, inevitably, beat me in a game of knock-out or let's-kick-a-ball-real-far, instead of shaking his hand and commending his brilliant efforts, I'd slink off towards his room. Once there, all blurry-eyed and full of 5-year-old Hulkrage, I'd mess up his bed, drop clothes on the floor, and kick stuff over. Rage subsided, I'd nonchalantly stroll off with a winning grin on my face.
When I spoke to Ben about this, he calmly replied that he never once noticed that I had ever done that. Hmph. I'm just going to have to step it up a notch next time...

2) Dearest Friend, Under the Bus You Go
Each summer, I would get to spend one bliss-filled week at church camp. The week would be filled with chewy, mass-produced meals, awkward "Oh, look a girl! Let's get her to like us by pretending she doesn't exist" tactics, and card games. Lots and lots of card games. One afternoon during recreational time, I was learning how to play Euchre with my friends in our cabin when I noticed some strange kids about to enter the adjacent hallway. From what I recall, these kids were slightly older than us, and being so, were subject to our scorn. While they passed by our open doorway, I spoke a little too loudly to my friend that those kids were "gay (or whatever classy 90's word kids were using back then)." The kids stopped, backed up, and came into the room while asking who had said that. There sat brave little me on the floor, straight-faced and sober, as I slowly raised my finger to point at my friend, Brian. Nothing happened after that, but I still feel shameful for being such a coward. I brought this moment up to Brian a few years back who mentioned that he, too, didn't remember such an event. He is a greater man that I. God Bless you, Sir Brian.

*There was just a backstage moment where some policemen kindly let in a few teenagers through the back door so that they could enjoy the concert. Completely astonished, the kids thank the officers and skip towards the show. That's how legends are made.

3) Open Mouth, Insert Foot
This last one takes place a little more recently than the others. Fresh out of college, I was working nights as a security guard around Omaha. Oh, it was glamorous. I was armed to the teeth with a company Jeep, a shiv-proof vest, and a book of Sudoku puzzles. I was also dating a wonderfully perfect gal at the time. It was a summer filled with moonlit walks, conversations over coffee, outdoors plays, and Chinese food. It was heavenly. There was one downside, however, and that took form as a large and unavoidable crossroad towards mid-August: she went to school in New York. One evening, she carefully trekked into this as-yet-unmentioned territory. My response? Something to the effect of, "Oh, yeah. I'll still write you from time to time and you can be my go-to-gal whenever I'm failing to understand future girlfriends." Single-handedly the dumbest, most asinine thing someone could say in response to that question. A Romeo, I am not.

Geez. This is getting long. Apologies.

Have I learned from my past? I'd like to think so.
Are there more stories of stupid things I've done? But of course.
But that's for future posts.

Go out and do some good, peeps!


I rediscovered a Mp3 disc that I had made back in 2005 recently. It's packed with Blindside, Jimmy Eat World, Thrice (naturally), Hoobastank, Foo Fighters, Metallica, 311...and some other bands of which I'm not too proud of. Needless to say, I found myself driving the long way home so that I could listen to a few extra songs. Yay!

Less Than Zero - Bret Easton Ellis
I tore through this in a matter of hours. It comes recommended, but it can be demoralizing. Picture Catcher in the Rye mixed with Californication.

The Templar Knight - Jan Guillou
Meh. It was a Border's-going-outta-business sale. It'll be a nice little break from anything too heavy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gee, I wish all my posts made cents...

Hello, all!

While cruising through my inbox this morning, I came across a forwarded message that had all the markings of "Psshaw! Not readin' this crap!" spam. I made a few emphatic raspberry noises, one while selecting the adjacent box and one while selecting delete, and then giggled to myself over the fact that I still derive pleasure from making those aforementioned noises. You should try it sometime, though. It's quite satisfying.

*Note: The first toot has to be of a higher pitch than the second, more drawn out noise.*

                                      ,,¡ɥʇqqqqqqqd `ɥʇqqqd,,

I tracked down the email in the deleted column and, for no odd reason whatsoever, I began to read it. Immediately, I was transported back to when I encountered my first chain letter. I was an inquisitive youngster somewhere around the 2nd grade and I found myself the lucky owner of a note from someone who I had, at the time, considered a friend. Little did I know that if I failed to pass the note on to ten of my other friends, I would break this letter's ancient streak and some unknown tragedy would befall me. I was close to tears as my mother, after having glanced at the note, lightly tossed it towards the garbage can and politely told me not to worry about it. I cursed whoever had given me the note and began to prepare for the worst. Long story short, I guess mom was right (yet again) as everything turned out to be just fine. I haven't suffered any mystical maladies of recent memory, but I do have an odd looking butt-chin and horrible luck with women.

I don't think that those stem from a chain letter from the 90's, though. It's also strange that this is one of my earliest memories, too. Hmm. Moving onwards...

I cruised through the email which told a blahblahblah story about a woman who questioned her fantastically wealthy boss as to why he stopped one evening over a penny before picking it up and placing it in his pocket. Her boss replied that he always stopped to pick up loose change since the words "In God We Trust" inscribed on the coin reminded him to pray. Bam. My perspective on finding random pennies was forever, uh, changed. I love encountering things in my daily travels that remind me to pause and thank the Lord since I can be somewhat scatterbrained as days go on.

Less than an hour later, after having ordered a coffee at the 'Bucks, I walked out onto the patio to find two pennies sitting at an open table. I put my new Penny Philosophy into action and laughed a little to myself about how amazing the world can be. I took one penny with me and ever-so-benevolently left the second one for the next wayfarer.

It sure beat the old "Oh, hell! That penny is upside down! AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE!" philosophy of years past.

I hope you're all well in your worlds! Keep a steady watch out for loose change!


Lamb by Christopher Moore - It's a comical view on what Jesus' possible antics were between the ages of 6-30.

Trying to get into La Dispute. It's random...but there's hope for 'em yet.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Afternoon ramblings (Now with more calcium!)


Pleasantries aside, I'll get right into the thick of it.

Since the creation of this page, I have been restlessly awaiting for the time at which I'll actually write a few lines of stimulating content. Comical run-ins and fan-boy worshiping of bands - however incredible they might be - should not define the extent of which I write.

Rather, I would wish to write of times where I have devised, stumbled upon, unveiled, or witnessed ideas or events that simply begged themselves to be shared with others. At these times, I feel an energy and a passion that rarely hits me. It is the type of fury that causes me to latch onto an idea, expand upon it, excitably theorize "what-ifs," and ultimately sprint off on tangents before I can sufficiently resolve the originating idea. I will attempt to explain myself more clearly, but if I should come across as a wee bit deranged, well, at least this could prove to be an enlightening glimpse into the vanishing mind of a crazy person.

While reading at a local coffee shop (a familiar site to a high proportion of these 'epiphanies'), I had the wherewithal to quickly scribble down some of the concepts that I wished to lay out on the examination table for operation. I was reading through "Speaker for the Dead," a sci-fi novel associated with the more recognizable "Ender's Game," and found myself wandering from the pages to dream and philosophize about some of the concepts that were taking place in the book. Normally what would happen would be that I would think these heavy thoughts, tell myself, "Attention, Self! Important thoughts ahead!" and then return home to eat a sandwich and inadvertently allow the thoughts to fade into obscurity.

Oh, no! Not today! The sandwiches can wait!

I'll reveal my notes to see if there's any support or interest in what I spent my walk home contemplating. Secretly, I wish to write a novel someday that would centralize a few of my thoughts on the world, behavior, relationships, etc. into one orderly, tangible place. I'll also note that I have a tendency to think an idea or passage is pretty stellar, only to come back to it the next day and think to myself, "Wow. What a load of garbage." So, some of these 'epiphanies' may not be all that great once the dust has settled. I'll also split them up over a few separate posts. I don't want your mind to wander too far. FOCUS!

We'll see where this goes...

Note 1:
Humans "advanced?"
-food, sex, reactions

In Speaker for the Dead, there is a commentary on humans feeling pity for other things that aren't quite as great as they are. The book describes the collective observation of the Hundred Worlds (mankind) as a new alien race is found on a planet. In all of mankind's existence, there was only one other life form, the "buggers," that was encountered. Ultimately (**spoiler alert**), the buggers meet a grim fate as they are systematically destroyed out of fear and misunderstanding with the unwitting help of the protagonist, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin. With the discovery of another race, the "piggies," Ender leaps at the chance to make sure that things go differently this time around. There are many more sides to this story which undoubtedly provide more depth, but I simply cannot do the book justice with my limited review. It's great; read it.

The author, Orson Scott Card, uses the piggies to critique some of the inherent flaws in man. It felt similar to the style C.S. Lewis used in The Screwtape Letters in which he used a discourse between a few demons to illustrate similar flaws in human behavior. Card describes the debates at which people argue what's best for the piggies without even understanding some of the piggies' simplest of actions. Simply put, it aggravated me to read about the actions that were discussed, however plausible and valid they seemed to be.

I left the pages at this point to daydream about this concept of mankind's place in the hierarchy of things. With technology, careers, constructions, and statuses, who wouldn't want to be human? Nevermind if one should find themselves lacking in one of these areas. Nevermind the selfishness that runs just below the surface of our skin; the first reactions to secure one's self before others (that's MY parking spot, that's MY spot in line [MY time], the you shouldn't have that, I shoulds). Nevermind the deceit, corruption, war, hatred, discrimination, and intolerance of others.

Well...I might be stretching on that last line. I need to lay off the caffeine.

I simply want to convey that while being part of the homo sapien taxonomy is unarguably great, I don't want to lose sight of where we could be going. Where we can make advancements in the way we think and communicate. Where we set our eyes onwards and upwards to greater things. It's too easy to become complacent behind this feeling that mankind is at its peak. I can certainly feel like the most dignified and evolved chap in the room during any given day, but once you place a stack of BBQ short ribs in front of me or let me pass by a swimsuit calendar at the mall and it's bye-bye 'civilized' me. I rather wish that more people would recognize this urge-driven beast inside them so we could formulate plans and means to go about dealing with it.

I wonder about what we would hold as important once we began to solemnly and resolutely address our shortcomings and ignored a few of the distractions of the world.


Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card
Lamb - Christopher Moore

Someone this summer renewed my interest in Sum 41. And yes, I can still sing along to 90% of the songs. It's miraculous how the brain works, no?

Random picture to illustrate my stance on the whole pirates vs. ninjas thing.

Ninjas win. Ninjas always win.