02/16/2012

Over It, Thanks…

Filed under: Journal — bjciii @ 08:48

When I was a prepubescent soprano in the all-boy choir at St. Edmond’s Academy waaaay back in the mid-80s, we sang Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” like millions of other choirs. I remember “So Emotional” and her other pop hits from that era because they were all blared over the radio that my parents controlled. As I got older, I remember the not-too-bad movie The Bodyguard that had a couple of good songs (but I really quickly got tired of “I Will Always Love You”). Eventually, she married Bobby Brown and became psychotic. It was probably the drugs, sure… but she lost her mind.

Now? She’s dead in a hotel room bathtub.

Everyone is making such a huge deal out of this, but you know what? She was a human being who struggled with addiction, and now she’s dead like thousands of other addicts who took one wrong ride. That doesn’t make her special, it makes her human.

Granted, she was an international superstar, so I get the retrospectives on VH-1 and E!, but what really pisses me off is that we are doing exactly what we always do: Ignoring ALL of the issues surrounding the person to deify them in death.

You want the truth? Whitney Houston squandered her talent, became a crack addict, and died because of her love of drugs.

Is that enough for Chris Christie to lower the flags in NJ to half-mast? Apparently so.

So that’s another reason why NJ is screwed up, but that’s besides the point right now. The main point is that Houston is another in a long line of celebrity deaths that sends a message to the impressionable (and stupid) American public that, despite every moronic thing you do in life, people will adore you in death.

I haven’t seen one story talking about Houston’s charitable contributions or philanthropic efforts or global awareness to make the planet better. Say whatever you want about Bono or Angelina Jolie, but those two put their money where their mouth is. The only memories of Houston that have been displayed have been her music (which, let’s face it, while catchy, should not go down in history as legendary), her tumultuous marriage to another train-wreck, and her drug addiction. Let’s call this what it is, folks… someone who couldn’t shake the monkey from her back. Yes, she left behind a daughter and an ex-husband (who, by all accounts, is heart-broken over her passing), so I feel for the both of them. That’s where it ends though. I don’t spend any more time wasting my energy eulogizing a singer who, like so many before her, chose addiction over career.

The half-mast thing in NJ really pisses me off, though… You’re telling me that a drug-addled tabloid-favorite should be given the same level of honor as a soldier who fought and died selflessly? the same honor as a someone who sacrificed themselves for the good of others rather than selfishly took care of only herself? Hell, no. We have returning caskets that get far less pomp and circumstance than the attention paid to these celebrities like Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, and that list can go on for pages and pages and pages! It sickens me that our society is so wrapped up in glitz and glamour that we are more concerned when a celebrity goes to the bathroom than with real problems in the world.

So, yeah… I’m over it. I’m tired of paying homage to flawed human beings (just like myself) when I can reserve my tears and anguish for those who really deserve it.

11/28/2011

SPAM: I don’t get it

Filed under: Journal — bjciii @ 14:02

A friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) once told me a strategy for getting dates: Hit on everyone you want to hit on, chat them up, and then move on to the next. Eventually, your schtick will work. I guess that is a telemarketing plan too because it’s also applied to the lovely world of online advertising.

First, some numbers. I did a Google search on “amount of spam sent daily”, and I got a result from Royal Pingdom entitled Internet 2010 in Numbers. I looked at it, and, after I converted the UK translation into backwards American, it was staggering. They found that around 107 quintillion e-mails (that’s 18 zeroes) were sent in 2010. Daily, that breaks down to 294 trillion (that’s 12 zeroes) per day… and 89.1% of those e-mails were SPAM (that results in 262 trillion SPAM e-mails per day).

So, for those of you like me who might not be able to wrap your head around that…

You wake up at midnight on Tuesday morning and delete everything in your e-mail account. You go about your day and make it to 11:59pm where you check your e-mail again. You’ve received 100 e-mails; 89 of them are advertising penis enlargement, cheap rolexes, pornography, and the like… and 11 are from friends, family, and your girlfriend. This happens every day to your INBOX.

Unreal, right?

I get the math…¬† for a medium that doesn’t charge per e-mail, sending out a million advertisements to a million addresses and maybe getting one or two suckers who actually want to buy “Cheap Viagra” is a pretty good return on investment. What I don’t get is that I am getting SPAM that’s written entirely in foreign languages. I’m getting SPAM advertising things that no rational human being would actually buy. I’m getting SPAM that is just spitting out ridiculous strings of characters with absolutely no links or attachments or advertising.

What the fuck, man?

As if it’s not bad enough to get inundated by crap I don’t want to buy, I get inundated by crap that no one is actually selling!

It’s unfortunate that the majority of the really bad SPAM comes from overseas (it’s plainly obvious by the, oh, I don’t know… foreign languages and butchered English), so there’s nothing that can really be done about penalizing those people / companies. It’s really unfortunate that my site was spoofed by some Chinese hackers and now any e-mail leaving “bjciii.com” gets on a blacklist somewhere (True Story: I can’t even use my personal e-mail to reply to my college instructors as The University of Delaware has blocked me).

A few years back, I blacklisted a guy from my football pool who I found out was a SPAMmer. After he joined my pool, I noticed a few more SPAMs than usual. He “apologized”, and I still told him to fuck off. I won’t insult anyone by comparing his ilk to child molesters or rapists or liberals, but I have a huge problem with that “profession”.

I don’t know… I’m thinking it might be time to shut down the ol’ site and relocate to Google and allow them to manage my e-mails from now on. I’m getting very tired of dealing with it.

10/13/2011

DisaPpointment

Filed under: Journal — bjciii @ 09:35

Throughout the 2011 Major League Baseball season, The Philadelphia Phillies emerged as “the team to beat.” Unfortunately, on Friday, October 7, 2011, that season ended with a 1-0 loss to The St. Louis Cardinals. The expectations were that anything less than a parade down Broad Street would be a complete disappointment; the first round exit was a crushing blow.

With a team featuring 4 of the best pitchers in the game AND an up-and-coming rookie, the bats just up and died. When your pitcher goes the distance, giving up only 1 run and you can’t give him any in return? It is definitely not the pitching’s problem. In a perfect microcosm of the season, the last at bat featured a weak dribbler to 2nd with Ryan Howard starting strong, pulling up lame, and ending up with a full ligament tear requiring about 6 months to recover.

That’s about how long the Phillies phans are going to need as well.

That’s not all, though… The Philadelphia Eagles, a team picked to soar atop The NFC East, NFC, and NFL has been¬† grounded with a 1-4-0 record. If you look at the talent and the schedule, there’s no reason to believe that they shouldn’t be 5-0-0 right now. Poor coaching, poor tackling, and poor blocking have lead to this horrible start. It’s a complete disappointment in a stretch that Philly fans have had their share of disappointment.

And, even though I could seriously not care less about them, The Philadelphia 76ers are in a state of limbo due to a lock-out by National Basketball Association owners over (what else) money matters. The players are bitching and moaning, the owners are bitching and moaning, and really no one outside of the die-hard NBA fans seems to care. Why? We’ve seen the lock-out in the NFL that tested our patience. We’ve seen lock outs in both baseball and hockey that have killed the popularity of those sports. The NBA is a victim of bad timing: In this economy, no one gives a flying fuck about multi-millionaires arguing with billionaires about who needs more of a cut of the profits.

There is good news, however…

The Philadelphia Union is poised atop their division and ready to launch into The Major League Soccer playoffs. The Philadelphia Flyers are undefeated in National Hockey League play, and don’t show signs of stopping. Unfortunately, we’re talking about 2 sports that very few (statistically speaking) follow even though the fans of these two teams are probably THE most rabid of the lot.

I guess the thing is that we can easily sink into a dePression unless we pay closer attention to the good things (like The Union and The Flyers). So, fans (and phans, alike), don’t worry. Everything is cyclical! There are good days and bad… these just happen to be high-visibility bad! It will get better.

Until then, there’s room on The Flyers bandwagon… we’re a fun bunch!

10/05/2011

What’s Wrong With a Little Magic?

Filed under: Journal — bjciii @ 13:42

First, I’d like you to watch this YouTube’d video clip: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Star Wars commercial

Cute little bugger, ain’t he? I hate commercials outside of The Super Bowl, so I pretty much hit the ol’ 30-second skip button (“TRIIIIIANGULLLLLLL!!!”… sorry… memory got in the way of story-telling there) and get back to my shows ASAP. This one, however, gets me to stop every. single. time.

Why? Well… it could be said that I do it because my first car was a VW GTI. I could say that I do it because the dog’s a yellow lab and he reminds me of my Luke. I could also point out that it’s frickin’ STAR WARS! The truth? It’s just so fucking cute!

I’m 36 years ancient now. I still vividly remember my days as that kid, hoping that my force powers would manifest at some point. I still remember watching fantasy shows, hoping I could have super powers! I remember trying out magic tricks to amaze, astound, and impress. Hell, when I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when the movies started coming out, I was actually really bummed that I couldn’t do that stuff. Mind, my friends, that this was less than a decade ago, okay?

My point is that we live in such a gray world with all sorts of problems, issues, and heartbreak… what’s wrong with hoping for a little magic? What’s wrong with being childlike every so often? I watch that commercial, and I feel a swell in my chest because I was that kid! I sat at tables and concentrated until I got headaches because I wanted to move things with my mind. My Uncle Tommy worked with George Lucas on the Star Wars films, so I remember sending him a letter (yes, people… an actual pencil-on-paper-mailed-with-a-stamp letter) practically begging him for a real lightsaber.

So, yeah… I love that commercial. I love it because it reminds me that people will believe because they want to believe! I’ll never understand the jerks of the world who strive so hard to strip away that magic from people. Sure, we may grow up and face harsh truths, but there’s always the memory of the little kid inside of all of us. Let him or her out once in a while… they’ll reward you beyond belief.

09/22/2011

.00 (or “What I’ve Learned in 40 Sober Days”)

Filed under: Journal — bjciii @ 07:05

Way back on August 14th, I wrote a post detailing how I was gonna stop drinking for a bit. Here I sit, 40 days later, and I can honestly tell you: It wasn’t all that hard.

First, the fact: Yes, I did it. I doubt it is any different from people who abstain from liquor during Lent (which, for those not “in the know,” is the Catholic period before Easter where we are encouraged to make some sort of change for good in our lives; most people give up something, but others will tend to force a positive behavior instead – both are acceptable), but mine was definitely wrapped up in “If I don’t stop this, I’m going to be in some serious trouble.” Starting at approximately 20:15 hours on Saturday, August 13th, 2011, I had my last beer (it was either a Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy or an Abita Purple Haze; I had a ton of both in the cooler). Since then, I’ve had food with booze in it, but I never once indulged in any wine, liquor, or beer outside of that (as was the rule that I set for myself). I was able to go to my favorite bar in the world (aka “Dead Presidents Bar and Restaurant” in Wilmington, DE) several times during this period, and there were no moments of sweating and shaking as people downed brews around me; I was fine.

So what all did I learn about myself?

  • Booze costs money. Really. Over the last 40 days, I’ve woken up with money in my bank account AND in my wallet. I would say, conservatively, I was spending $30 – $60 a night while I was drinking… and I was drinking several nights a week. In that vein, I was dropping probably between $100 & $200 a week. Eesh.
  • Beer adds weight! There I was, working out, and I still ended up getting bigger. What the fuck, man?! Over the last 40 days, I think I’ve dropped 15 pounds… at least. Don’t get me wrong, when I do drink again, I won’t be going for the light stuff; beer is beer because of the taste. That being said, I won’t drink 8 pints in a sitting.
  • Club soda + lime? Fucking awesome! Seriously. I love that shit now! I think I might actually like that better than the sugary soda and stuff I used to drink! You know what else? In 99% of the places I went while “on the wagon,” it was free! Think about that…
  • Waking up is so much easier without tying one on the night before. First, I don’t have to go to the bathroom 20 times during the night. Second, I don’t have that cotton-mouth taste in the morning. Third, there was no headache. Fourth, my eyes were okay with the rising sun. Fifth, there was no vertigo in the shower. And, lastly, I didn’t have to lay there for 10 minutes piecing together my night, trying to figure out if I did / said / texted / Facebooked / Tweeted something really stupid. That last point? Happened a lot more than I care to admit.
  • TV LIES! You don’t need booze to have a good time! For the longest stretch, I thought I needed (mentally, now… I had no physical need) beer /wine in order to be funny or witty or whatever. As a matter of fact, one of my first nights out, this beautiful woman said “Wait. That’s all you’re drinking? [referring to my club + 3 limes] But you’re funny when you drink!” I took that to mean “you are very funny, but not funny to laugh AT”, so I took that as a challenge and said “Don’t worry. I’m funny sober, too!” And, Goddamnit, I am a funny fucker regardless of my BAC! For a long stretch, I thought it was the booze that made me relaxed and funny, but it’s not: It’s me, folks. I’m actually not a bad guy!

Overall, the thing I learned most? If I stayed on that path that I blazed for myself in the early to mid-part of 2011, I would have landed in meetings or much worse. Really. I may not have had “a problem” (as they love to say in society to mask all manner of negative consequences) in the full-blown sense, but, wow… I was definitely on my way. I joked around with my favorite bartenders who always had a beer waiting for me before my ass hit the seat; now, I think they’re okay with making sure my hand closes around a club & lime instead of a Yuengling (Why? Because I still tip like a bad-ass balla’, yo). My friends are perfectly accepting of my change (some even went as far to tell me that they had my back and were happy for me), and my dad even told me some stuff that made me think I made the right choice.

So, what now?

My friend Heather looked positively scandalized when joked that I was going to drink tonight. I’m probably not. Tomorrow is my birthday, so I may meet some people out, but I haven’t decided if I want to drink or not. I mean, now, it’s not the streak that counts, it’s the meaning. If I go out and have a beer or two, that’s okay by me. I proved that, if push comes to shove, I can do it. I also proved that I don’t need it to have a good time. All that being said, I’m not going to pop some bottles (Thanks, Hunter Pence!) just to do it. I want to know that I’m able to if I so desire, but I’m in a real good space right now. I say this to let you know that if I see you out and if you offer to buy me a drink, I might be a real cheap date…

I mean, club soda and lime is free, after all!

09/09/2011

The Price of Success

Filed under: Journal — bjciii @ 14:17

I’m a Philadelphia phan (sorry, Christina… had to be done). I announce it the very first day in all of my classes, and I constantly use my teams as fodder for grammar examples. I bleed orange, I love green, and I idolize red. It’s no secret that, in the MAJOR sports (that’s right, NBA… you don’t count… ever), Philly has had exactly 2 championships during my lifetime (it would have been 3, but I was born mere months after The Flyers second consecutive Stanley Cup championship) – both from The Philadelphia Phillies (1980 & 2008). Sure, The Eagles have had a good run since 2000 (6 first-place division finishes and 3 second-place division finishes, making the playoffs each of those years and compiling a 10-9-0 record in the postseason with 5 conference championship appearances and 1 Super Bowl appearance), but this season they are expected to be THE team… at least on paper.

Let’s look back though…

The Phillies were absolutely horrid between the glory days of the 1980 & 1983 World Series appearances and the 1993 appearance. After that? Horrible again. Well, let’s not be TOO hard on them… they were in the same division as the juggernaut Atlanta Braves who ALWAYS won the East. Nothing really went right until they started getting lucky with the home-grown talent and the pretty good free agents. Now? They’ve won the NL east every year since 2007 (with this year being a virtual lock), and they’ve been to 2 World Series (beating Tampa in ’08 and losing to The Spankees in ’09). Unfortunately, after that unbelievable run, if The Phillies don’t WIN the World Series this year, they’re seen as an unmitigated failure – never mind making it there… they have to win it!

The Flyers had a storybook run 2 years ago and lost to Chicago (fuckers). Last year, they were pegged to go back and WIN, but they didn’t make it, and subsequently were labeled as flukes. They’ve always been a relatively solid team with only a handful of horrendous seasons, but they haven’t hoisted Lord Stanley’s chalice of champions since before I was born.

Now, The Eagles? Any true fan suffered through the God-awful Rich Kotite era. Any true fan remembers that first, wonderful year under Ray Rhodes until he exposed himself as a fraud and sucked the team into garbage seasons. Hell, even prior to Kotite, we had Buddy “Love ‘em or Hate ‘em” Ryan! While putting forth one of the greatest defenses in NFL history (and, yes, folks… statistically, that 1990 defense CAN and DOES rank up with Ryan’s own ’85 Bears), his teams didn’t do shit either. As much crap as he gets, Andy Reid has taken this team to the pinnacle more times in his 12 years than the last 5 coaches combined! Now that Donovan “Puke” McNabb has left (and, I swear, only 4 years too late), Michael Vick has become anointed the latest savior of this franchise. With the weapons that surround him (DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Steve Smith, Jason Avant, LeSean McCoy, Ronnie Brown, and, my boy, Brent Celek), there’s no reason why Vick can’t break records.

But…

It’s an Eagles thing.

See, no one was dumb enough to talk about the riches this team has acquired over the past few months until Vince Young, a man who no one ever accused of being smarter than a mentally-deficient rock, talked about this year’s “Dream Team.”

Ah… fuck. Remember that last “Dream Team”? The Miami Heat? Not only did they lose, but everyone LOVED that they lost because we were all tired of hearing how awesome they SHOULD be.

Now my team is that team. It isn’t like 98% of the world hates Philadelphia sports (and the associated fans) to begin with, but now there’s the spectre of arrogance looming over them? Christ… we’re fucked now. For a guy who made a lot of dumb mistakes off the field and served his time, Michael Vick is the voice of reason by saying “We’re not a ‘dream team’. We’re a bunch of guys who are going to work hard and get it done because we love what we do and we want to win.” THAT should be the soundbite, but… no. Vince Young had a chance to back off of that comment, but did he? Nope. He repeated himself. That means that the target on the collective backs of The Eagles grew to roughly the size of Rhode Island.

Success, whether real or perceived, sets a high bar to get over. In the case of The Phillies, it’s a legitimate bar because they’ve dominated people over the last 4 years and have decimated teams this year. In the case of The Eagles, it’s perceived because of how good they should be… how good they look on paper. Yeah, well… I’m hoping for a great season. I’m hoping for a Super Bowl. I’m hoping our new $100 Million Man plays all 16 regular season games AND all of the post-season.

Mainly, I’m hoping we don’t become the laughingstock of the NFL.

Ah well, at least I’ve always got my Fly-boys. Wait… they’re supposed to have an awesome year too. Shit.

09/06/2011

An Open Letter to George Lucas

Filed under: Journal — bjciii @ 09:46

Dear George:

First, with everyone in the world bashing you for this or that, let me start out by saying “Thank You.” Without a doubt, you were the single biggest non-parental influence on my young life. I was 2 years old when Episode IV: A New Hope came out, and I spent my entire childhood asking for a real, working lightsaber. I wanted to be Luke, and I wanted to marry Leia (you know… before we found out about that whole weird incest angle… shoulda planned that better, pal). I vividly remember receiving The Millenium Falcon for my birthday, and I was over-the-moon ecstatic. I remember Santa bringing me the movable AT-AT (which my sister treated like a big, gray dog), and I loved it.

So, as you can see, I was that generation that was able to fully embrace this entire universe that you created. From the Imperial Star Destroyer chasing down the Blockade Runner to Luke smiling at the ghosts of Jedis past, I drank every scene in. Yes, when I “matured”, I lost a little love for The Ewoks, but they still don’t cause loathsome hatred in me. Ask anyone of my age, and they’ll all say they still pause when we see the one Ewok go and try to wake up his dead comrade. I bring all of this up because, from the ages of 2 through 8 (the span of time between A New Hope and Return of the Jedi in 1983), I ate, slept, and drank in The Star Wars universe. Even now, close to 20 years after the last chapter was written, I still sit there and watch each of the original trilogy with fond memories. I say “with fond memories” rather than “like I was still a child” because, well, you tinkered with greatness.

I get it. Technically and legally, those movies, characters, plots, and everything related to the Star Wars universe is yours. You can do whatever you want with them, and no one can legally stop you from doing it. Hell, I even understand your argument! The technology to do the movies the way you WANTED to do them just did not exist in the mid-70s and early-80s! I get that, I do… but what you did with the miniatures and the costuming and everything else? Pure genius back then that still holds up today! Unfortunately, these tweaks you are making to satisfy your own artistic needs are shitting all over the movies we loved growing up. While you’re allowed to make any changes you want, why would you want to?

The original trilogy is almost universally adored! It would be like Leonardo daVinci waking up from a long slumber to say “Yeah… that Mona Lisa painting is pretty good, but I have a better idea… a few brush-strokes might clean up her smile a bit.” How about Michelangelo saying “I feel bad about making your penis a little on the small side, David. Let me add a few inches for you”? What’s next? A re-edit of Citizen Kane? Maybe a new ending to It’s a Wonderful Life?

Once a movie or piece of art or whatever has been released to the public, it becomes just as much the public’s as it is the creator’s. The big difference is that we have no legal recourse when someone modifies our loved memories. I’m sorry, George, but Han shot Greedo first. The edit you did to try and change the public’s perception of that fact is absolutely horrible (in both story AND execution; what is Han in that scene? The chick from The Ring?). Not only is it insulting, but it changes the character from a redeemable rogue to a fringe “white-hat” from the beginning! And that scene with the smaller Jabba that you inserted in the same movie? It’s almost the exact same dialogue Han has with Greedo (not to mention the additionally-bad edit of Han “stepping” on Jabba’s tail)! Again… just because you have something that you filmed does NOT mean you have to put into the movie; this is why people love “deleted scenes”! Thank God you didn’t screw with The Empire Strikes Back too much; that was your high-water mark. Episode IV was good, Episode V was fantastic, and everything was downhill after that.

While falling asleep last night, I was watching Return of the Jedi, and I was struck by just how much slapstick bullshit you put in there after the fact! What the hell, man?! I get it… you’re all about the merchandising now, but can you please leave well enough alone? I can overlook a lot, but the fact that you replaced The Ewok “Yub-Yub” song at the end of EpisodeVI? Unforgivable.

I won’t even bother talking about Episodes I – III because they were just terrible from beginning to end. Revenge of the Sith had its good points, but, by and large, pretty much every Star Wars fan of my generation wishes they had never happened.

I don’t live in my parents’ basement. I am socially-capable. And, no… I’m not a virgin. I just remember the joy those movies brought me as a child, and I am so disappointed every time I see the modified crap that airs on TV now. Give us back our childhoods; release the ORIGINAL versions of the movies on DVD so we don’t have to find a working VHS to play our unmodified copies from the 80s.

Sincerely,

Me

P.S. Tell Spielberg that the shit he pulled in the reissue of E.T. doesn’t fly either. Those were the biggest fucking walkie-talkies I’ve ever seen! Ridiculous…

08/25/2011

Gettin’ Biblical now!

Filed under: Journal — bjciii @ 09:46

Okay… let’s talk about the last few months in Delaware. First, we had an infestation (literal “swarms”) of stink bugs. A couple of weeks ago, we get this wicked storm which brings a tornado (even if they won’t confirm it, I’ve seen friends’ pictures of the funnel that were snapped on cell phones) to tear stuff up. Tuesday we had an honest-to-God earthquake (5.8 with the epicenter in Virginia, but the tremors were felt from North Carolina to Massachusetts) which freaked us all out. On Sunday, we’re expecting to be in the path of a soon-to-be category 2 hurricane named “Irene”.

Swarms? Tornadoes? Earthquakes? Hurricanes?

Now, I’m not saying that the rapturists are right in any way, but this is some serious shit happening here. What’s left? Well, it’s been a long while since I read my Revelations, but I think we have a few things left to look forward to:

  • Rivers turning to blood
  • The dead rising
  • The 4 horsemen of the apocalypse and their multicolored stallions

Yeah. This should be fun. I’m telling you, though… if I see a zombie ambling down the street, I’m gonna be really pissed off that I didn’t pick up that Zombie Survival Guide I laughed at my friend for buying.

In all seriousness, don’t be surprised if people DO start talking religiously about this stuff. It’s probably all just coincidence anyway, but it’s a hell (no pun intended) of a coincidence that all this happens within a few months of when people were predicting the end of the world!

What do you think? Should we have an Apocalypse Party at my house? Party like Caligula, riding to the end of the world in a haze of alcohol, drugs, and sex? I tend to think that’s the better option as a resplendent conversion to theism smacks a little too much of “cramming the night before the final exam.”

08/17/2011

Punctuate your life

Filed under: Journal — bjciii @ 13:47

Okay, folks… a little window into my early-semester pedagogy. Ready? Get a piece of paper and a writing instrument. Copy the following sentence down, and punctuate it how you feel it should be punctuated:

Woman without her man is nothing

Before you ladies start freaking out and sharpening your nails, let’s look at the two most common ways, shall we? First, a lot of men might punctuate it as follows:

Woman, without her man, is nothing.

Okay. That’s a pretty bold statement. It says that women are obviously worthless without an associated male in their lives. Fortunately, that’s not the only way to go. A lot of smart women look at it as follows:

Woman: without her, man is nothing.

Aha! At this point, we’re saying the exact opposite of what the first punctuated sentence says! Now, men are worthless without an associated female in their world!

Why do I mention this? Punctuation. It’s not just a pain in the ass that you’re forced to learn in grade school, forget, and then get chastised for it later in life. In today’s massively electronic world, punctuation is so much more important than it ever has been!! Think about it… when you need to talk to someone, but would rather not get bogged down in societal niceties or pointless conversation, what do you do? You text. You e-mail. You communicate with words but never speak them. What’s the problem here? Nuance!

Think about it… Sarcasm is so easily detected when you’re listening to someone speak. The timbre of their voice, the pitch, the accent they put on certain words… they all provide dead giveaways. However, if you look at a text where someone is trying to be sarcastic, they can’t exactly be subtle about it, can they? The subtlety lay in the vocalization, and when you’re reading it, there’s no subtlety present; it is what it is!

What’s the difference between “Happy birthday” and “Happy birthday!!”? What’s the difference between “Thanks :-) ” and “thanks”? It’s all in the delivery that is rapidly becoming lost in technology. Take a few moments and just add that emoticon or that exclamation point. I’m not even ranting about perfect punctuation and grammar, here… I’m merely stating that people might misunderstand what’s been said if they don’t see that upbeat bang (read that: exclamation point) or that winking smilie.

Don’t be stupid; use punctuation! :-P

08/14/2011

Drying out…

Filed under: Journal — bjciii @ 16:10

I really don’t think I’m an alcoholic. How am I defining it? Well, good question… I define an alcoholic who needs booze in order to function (be it daily or socially or what-have-you). I’ve heard that an alcoholic is someone who doesn’t exactly need to drink every day, but, every time they do, they drink to excess. Either way, I’m pretty sure I fit neither of those either (yes, there are definitely nights “excess” becomes the end, but those nights are fewer that I’d have you believe). I tell you all of this not because I’m trying to convince myself I’m not, I’m telling you this to let you all know that my next statement isn’t part of any authorized steps or anything… I’m telling you this because the choice I make is just one that I felt was necessary.

I’m taking a month off.

Yes, I’m saying that other than two very distinctive exceptions, I won’t drink any alcohol (wine / beer / liquor / cordials / champagne / et cetera) until September 22nd (at least). Okay, so that’s technically 5 weeks instead of 4, but the point remains the same. What are those exceptions? I feel that they are actually quite reasonable:

  • Any alcohol involved in cooking or baking is allowed providing it is necessary for the dish and I don’t “partake” on the side while preparing
  • Any wine consumed during communion at religious ceremonies

So why am I doing this? Another great question. Basically, I’ve drank more frequently over the last 8 months than I believe I have since I was 21 / 22. My reasons for doing so are mine, so don’t ask… but trust me: I don’t want to do the financial breakdown. I have only had a few hangovers, but they were enough to make me realize that I need to kick myself in the ass and get back into shape. Okay, so “pear” is a shape, but I want the shape that makes people say “wow” instead of “awww”!

Honestly, it’s not going to be as tough as people think. I only drink with friends; I never drink alone. Granted, I spend quite a bit of time with my groups of friends, but, since the people I have been hanging out with are considerably awesome, I think I have a ton of support here. We’re all well past the “oh? You’re not drinking! You’re a p*ssy!”

Again… it’s more of a health thing than a legal or moral thing. To tell the truth, I was a bit nervous until I spent last night talking to a wonderful, amazing woman on the way to and from the Night Ranger / Foreigner / Journey concert. Kristin has never drank any alcohol, and she had so much fun and was so full of life that I don’t even think I’m going to miss it. Dirty little secret here? I like beer because of the carbonation! Sure, the taste is okay, but I don’t think anyone starts drinking beer thinking “Wow. That’s good!” We get used to the taste later. After talking to Kristin, I’m extremely certain that the next 5 weeks are not only doable, but actually not the end of the world. A new diet, a decided lack of beer, and I have a feeling I’ll be half the man I used to be in no time!

Even when I do go back to drinking, I might cut out booze (liquor) altogether. Flat out? I dislike the taste and it never ends well. So here we go. I started last night at about 8pm, and I plan on going until at least the day before my 36th birthday. Let’s see how long I last. Any bettors out there?