Tuesday, September 30, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Modernize...

Now, for the longest time I've loved the look of this blog. The layout is nice and friendly, and I like the old fashioned three-column look with the nice, wide test field for posting nice, wide pictures.

The thing is, there are some features I really want to use, but I'm not able to with this template.

Needless to say, I think it's time I change the look here, and hopefully I can find something that's not too brutal. Keep those fingers crossed.

I'm thinking a neon green background with either jet blue or flaming pink text. I want to burn what I say into your eyes. When you close them, oh yeah! You're going to still be able to read what I wrote.

hehehe...

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/30/2008 10:58:00 PM

Ooops...


So, I was going to try and post all those earlier things onto my Blogger blog, but the formatting made me very, very unhappy... 

Now, here's what I'm going to do (and this idea comes from Beth of the Nutwood Junction blog):  I'm just going to move this whole shebang over to Blogger, and then I'm simply going to link to it as an archive. 

Easy-peasy, people! 

Thanks,
Dan

P.S.  Sorry about the previous entry.  Hope you all didn't mind getting a bonus alert from me. 


[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Baby, I'm crazed...

Fiddlin'

Wooo...

Now, since every inch of my pudgy, little paws are really sore today, I'm going to try to cram as many thoughts as I can into today's picture entry. The planet's been considerably more schizophrenic than usual it seems, and to say it's not been gnawing on my brains would be a huge mistake.

First, today's picture is an attempt of mine to get creative with some off-camera lighting in my laundry chute. I placed my Vivitar flash with a blue gel under the chute and set it to bounce off the water-heater back there.

The other flash, my Nikon SB-600, is up above with a red gel.

Now, obviously, those colors make a huge difference in this black and white image. As you can see, the reds really jump out at you. And the blues? Well... If you don't feel as though you're sitting on a beach sucking Mai Tais somewhere in the tropics, I don't know what to tell you. I mean, look! It's just...

Yeah. The colors sucked ass. So, I made this image black and white and handled the opposing lights with level adjustments in Photoshop. I think it turned out kind of creepy. I mean, if I was a little more disturbed (and this laundry chute was maybe a little stronger since it threatens to crumble into kindling if I toss a wet towel down there), this is where I'd keep my victims before introducing the chainsaws, rats and meat hooks.

Thankfully, I'm a nice guy and not that crazy... yet.

Anyway, it's a neat thing, I think.


Now, the stock markets... Oh boy.

I have no idea what's going on since I know next to nothing about those sorts of things. However, I don't think the bailout is the answer since it seems to me that it is nothing more than a Band Aid on a bullet hole.

Everyone is losing as a result of this. Some are going to be smacked quite hard, and some, not so much. I don't think we'll see the the results of this corruption until several years from now, however.

Still, it's a puzzle that I don't think anyone really understands. These banks go under, yet these fat cat bosses receive millions in reward instead of a nice, long rope with which to hang themselves. Take Alan Fishman, for instance. This asshole puts in seventeen days of "work" at Washington Mutual, and for such loyal and devoted service, he's getting almost twenty million dollars as a shiny golden parachute/severance package.

He didn't earn that. He doesn't deserve it. But, America is a confused, greedy and corrupt place these days, but he's going to take it, and he's going to run off into the sunset laughing as the people he's robbed are unable to retire.

Now, I know all of you would like to be able to work for two weeks and get that sort of scratch, but we also know that should never happen because, in the real world with real money, things aren't supposed to work that way. Ever.

Nonetheless, take it for what it's worth, people. As I said, I don't understand this mess.



And, finally, AOL Journals is falling out of the tubes, and, as of November 1st (just a little sudden), you who use AOL as a blogging platform will be essentially homeless. Now, the folks over at Magic smoke are rattling on about there being some sort of means to transfer your AOL Journal over to Blogger; however, not a single one of them has said just what that procedure is or how to go about it.

Hopefully, they will share this secret wisdom soon before people start swinging knives. I know there are a whole heap of older entries I'd like to move over to my Blogger blog, but, until now, there was never an easy way to do it. Unfortunately, with AOL being AOL, I'm thinking there still isn't going to be an easy way to do it.

I'll be honest, I have mixed feelings about the end of AOL Journals. I'm sad to see them go since, not only are there some truly amazing and awesome bloggers over there who have really made a difference in my life with their words, it's where I started when I decided to immerse myself in scribbling upon the world-wide-weird. It's always been such a wild and crazy community, and I am certainly going to miss it.

Unfortunately, a long time ago, AOL started causing more problems for me than I wanted to deal with, and I simply jumped over to Blogger and was happy to maintain my AOL Journal as a mirror of my new, shiny blog. Ironically, I actually did that in orderto have some sort of back up for my mad ramblings.

Anyway, I'm sure I will write more about the end of AOL Journals in the future. We've got a month, after all. And, I hope we can make the best of it. And, trust me when I say this, Blogger is really not so bad. There is much more freedom in page layout, and you can easily add your own features and make your blog truly yours through any number of widgets and whatnots out there.

Well, I think I've typed more than enough today. My knuckles are a-screamin'. So, good luck, and don't forget that I'm looking forward to some new neighbors here on my little slice of the interwebs (so much for that quiet blog in the country, though).

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/30/2008 04:18:00 PM

Monday, September 29, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Polarize me!

Now, it's been a while since I talked about the actual ins and outs of photography as I've learned them through what can only be described as my completely blind swan-dive into amateur picture snapping. So, I'm due, people! I must have learned something along the way...

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned polarizers in the past. They're expensive, but very handy things, if you're looking to really make your pictures look deeper and and richer and all-around nicer. The thing is, here I sit talking about photography, but I rarely post any pictures of what the hell I am rattling on about, and that makes me look like a gurgling pedant.

Weird how that happens, I guess.

Anyway, here's a picture taken without a polarizer:

Now, it's not without its charms insofar as a picture of a bunch of bowls of dribbling water can be, and hey! I think I see a quarter in there that missed its wishful pitch into the fountain (that would probably explain why that big, fat check from that nice man in Nigeria hasn't shown up yet).

So, that's without the polarizer. What does it look like with a polarizer? Well... Have a look for yourself.

Notice anything different?

If you said, "Wow Dan! Your thumb really stands out a hell of a lot better against that grass with the polarizer on the end of your lens. That's just amazing," you'd be right.

Polarizers do wonderful things to colors since they cut out certain waveforms of light that can mute or dull colors which would normally be rich and vibrant.

Let's call it glare. Polarizers get rid of glare. I think anyone with a pair of Foster Grants could tell you this. For example, look at the water. Without the polarizer, none of that is really visible since the reflection on the surface of the water covers it like a blanket. However, put the polarizer on, and now you can see the scum and stones that lay beneath the surface.

Other than that, circular polarizers can be pretty damn expensive, and the one I used here was somewhere around $100 to fit on my superwide 10-20mm lens. That's a little insane, but I also have one to fit my lenses which have a 52mm filter ring, and I grabbed that one from Best Buy for $20 (and I think they're all around that price regardless of filter size).

It's a steal!

Now, it's not the best, but it's cheap, and it works much better than its pricetag would suggest. So, if you'd like to fiddle with these things, I'd recommend starting there.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/29/2008 12:06:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Warning! 'ere be whining.

Now. Today absolutely sucks, and as far as an inventory of aches goes, they start at the tips of my frigid little toes and just sort of spark their way up to the top of my neck. So, it's a bit of a drag at the moment.

On the other hand, the head's still good (I think) and pain free.

It's a little like the last time I played the game Risk, and my head is kind of like Madagascar. The world was taken over by a single horde of color (I think it may have been blue); however, on the tiny island of Madagascar, there was a ferocious enclave of red tents and towers. I was beaten back to this Ebola-laden patch of earth off the African coast, but I had hope. However, sitting across from me was a mighty general full of Patton-esque piss and vinegar, and I would need more luck than strategy if I was to fulfill my hopes and dreams of global domination and issue in a new era of totalitarian oppression.

In a few moments, I had taken bites off Africa, and my little tents began speckling the savanna. Across from me, the General attacked but was soundly beaten back. I took Europe with little struggle. Russia fell (I lost many tents in Kamchatka, but who doesn't?).

Eventually, to make a long story short, the world was mine, and there was much rejoicing.

The moral of the story is, so long as I don't have a headache in Madagascar, I can own the world (or something like that).

Anyway, In other news, I've not been taking many pictures, and I have no idea when I'll return to the whole Daily Picture thing. It's been tough for me to leave the house. It was a beautiful weekend in Wisconsin, but there were some hefty aches which kept me from hopping in my Jeep and heading out into the world with my camera. The thing is, it's not so much the pain that kept me from doing things. You see, when you've got such extensive inflammation, it just sucks whatever energy you have right out of you, and all you really want to do is sleep. So, I tried to do that, but those aches just don't make that sort of thing very easy.

Nonetheless, it's been a bitch!

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/29/2008 11:03:00 AM

Sunday, September 28, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Best Quote Ever.

So, there's this thing going on today that's being called "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." It's a funny thing. Pastors, priests, preachers and other voices for God are seeking to violate established U.S. Tax Law by telling their congregations how to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

Of course, this violates a church's tax-exempt status as they operate in clear violation of the separation clause of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

WASHINGTON — Pastor Gus Booth remembers when he used to simply encourage his congregation of 150 in Warroad, Minn., to vote each Election Day. Now, he thinks it's important to tell them which candidate should get their vote.

On Sunday , as part of the "Pulpit Initiative" organized by an Arizona-based conservative Christian legal group, Booth is set to join dozens of clergy nationwide in challenging Internal Revenue Service rules that prohibit churches from politicking by supporting or opposing candidates.

"If we can tell you what to do in the bedroom, we can certainly tell you what to do in the voting booth," said the minister, an evangelical leader of a nondenominational church, who expects to endorse Republican John McCain during his Pulpit Freedom Sunday sermon.
(story)
I love it. From the mouths of zombies comes one of the most telling displays of religious arrogance imaginable. In fact, I think that should be printed on a bumper sticker.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/28/2008 12:17:00 PM

Saturday, September 27, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Sleep Lesson #1.

Tanning.
How to sleep.

First, find a cat.

Next, set the cat down somewhere (it can be a couch, a chair, a bed, anywhere) and begin to observe the cat.

When the cat tips over, you too should feel very sleepy in one or two minutes.

If this doesn't work, might I suggest reading the biography of Michael Bolton on Wikipedia.

Now, what you see here is DeafCat completely crashed in the windowsill soaking up the sun... With all that fur... On an eighty-degree day...

I suppose that would explain the brain damage and why she tends to sit in the middle of the kitchen staring longingly at the oven like Sylvia Plath every time I cook a pizza or a pot roast.

-DP

P.S. Look! There's my Jeep. It's kind of muddy at the moment since the last time I went out for a drive, I found myself getting really bored with that whole paved road thing. Besides, there was a nice path type thing going from where I was to where I wanted to be, and if I followed the road, it would have added an extra mile to my drive. Let's face it, in this day and age, I've got to really start driving less and taking more efficient routes to save money.

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/28/2008 12:54:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] I can haz research staf now?

First, thanks to Paul for the quick and informative answer to my question about what the hell John McCain was getting on about with that whole nuclear power-plant reducing our dependence upon foreign oil statement. As Paul commented in the previous entry:
During 2004, 05, and 06 the USA generated almost 2.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity through the combustion of petroleum and natural gas, about 21% of the total national power generation for those years. In addition to reducing American reliance on foreign oil, increased nuclear power generation would contribute to a significant drop in greenhouse gas emmisions. Of course, in that arena, oil isn't the problem. Coal is, representing almost half of all electrical power generation in the country.
The Google-fu is strong with this one!

The thing is, they lumped petroleum and natural gas together to come up with their numbers, and I'm willing to go out on a limb here and say that if you split those two, you'd find that the number of oil-burning power plants to be really, really small. In fact, as Buckoclown (aka Ken) on my AOL Journal points out, that number is so small, it hardly constitutes what I would call a "dependence":
You are correct that a small percentage of our electrical generation is produced using petroleum in the US, about 2%, mostly in California (they do not allow coal in CA).
http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epat1p1.html
So, is our country dependent upon foreign oil? Yes. Very, freakin' much so. In fact, we're dangerously dependent, and that has got to change somehow.

However, would building nuclear power plants lessen this dependence? Not really.

Anyway, I just thought it was a very strange thing for McCain to say. Personally, I have no problems with building nuclear plants. I think today's technology would make a Chernobyl-level event improbable. On the other hand, the nuclear waste is a different story, and until a safe way of disposing of this crap is discovered, nuclear power will not be an altogether viable alternative to coal or petroleum.

Nonetheless, thank you very much Paul and Ken for the information. I totally owe you guys beers next time you're in Milwaukee.

Now, McCain and his confusion about our addiction to oil isn't really one of my biggest worries. In fact, it's actually kind of small in spite of how he's got the lobbyists in his pocket, and both he and his running mate are a little too chummy with, and probably willing to act in the best interests of, the oil producers in this country.

The thing that really concerns me is best demonstrated with this:

I don't want any more fucking wars! I don't want to "bomb-bomb-bomb. Bomb-bomb-Iran" no matter how melodic it sounds. I don't want to pick fights with Plain's arctic nemesis "Pootin" when he "pears his head into our airspace" (whatever the hell that means).

I think we should go back to fighting those responsible for attacking us and stop dicking around in countries that had nothing to do with those who attacked us. To treat war so cavalierly as though it's a game which will bring some level of glory to you if you are a leader, is foolish beyond words. That is the action of bully desperate for respect and taking the most misguided route to gain that respect. War is, and it should always be, a last resort. Respect is earned, and it is not something attained through fear. There is a difference between fear and respect, and these days, it seems a lot of people don't understand that.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/27/2008 11:52:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Help me!

Hey everyone!

Last night, as I was watching TV, I was flipping channels between Stargate: Atlantis (Don't judge me, Paul), the Brewers/Cubs' game (Go Brewers!), and, lastly, the Presidential Debates.

Personally, I think the debates were flat, freakin' lifeless (which is actually a good thing), but one thing confused the hell out of me.

During the debates, John McCain said that he wanted to build more nuclear energy plants. He also said that doing so would reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Now, I don't know if I'm just not grasping things, or if John McCain isn't grasping things, but what the fuck is he talking about?

Do people have oil-powered ceiling fans, toasters, and refrigerators?

Then again, maybe he's talking about electric space heaters. Perhaps, with the way oil prices are, people will be reduced to using these portable heaters to heat their homes this winter because they can't afford to use their oil furnaces.

Anyway, if all you out there can think of how building nuclear plants will reduce our dependency upon foreign oil, please help me out here. I really can't think of a single way in which they would.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/27/2008 02:31:00 PM

Friday, September 26, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] 9/26/2008 05:26:00 AM

Now, I thought you'd enjoy a little picture...

High Voltage This is the dreaded space between the garages. Somehow, it gets mowed, but I don't do it. I think the neighbor might, but I've honestly never seen him do it.

Perhaps it's the grass-eating zombies who somehow collect back here every now and then and just munch their way around before traveling off down the alley to some other poor, unfortunate span of grass.

To be perfectly honest, I really have no idea who the hell is cutting that grass, and now that I think about it, it's beginning to bother me.

I wish they wouldn't. That's a perfect place to hide some bodies. If the day ever comes where I snap, I'm going to need that patch of grass to remain untouched.

However, if someone's mowing it, maybe they've beaten me to it and stashed a half-a-dozen corpses back there, and they're just trying to keep up appearances so as not to raise suspicions.

Oh, but see... I'm smart. My suspicion is raised because I applied impeccable logic to this situation, and now I just need to exhume one body to find out how he did it. Then, I can go all copy cat, and when the plot is packed to the rafters, I can call the cops, they come and tidy up, and they arrest this unknown little lawn care lunatic.

Now, the plot can go untouched, and I can finally get that killing spree underway.

Looks like I've got my weekend plans all figured out. How about you?

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/26/2008 05:26:00 AM

Thursday, September 25, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Oh, my love...

Oh Sarah... Sweet, sweet Sarah. It's impossible to profess my love and devotion to you and your antics in this clumsy, cumbersome medium. Just know that if you weren't currently running with a man who can barely walk as a result of lugging his melon-sized prostate around the country, it would be you and me tripping happily through the snow covered fields of looking for baby seals to club so I could turn them into toasty mittens for your cold little hands.

Sarah? Lipstick or not, you are the bee's knees, doncha know!

Yes. I know. That mean man in Russia is always peeking across the Bering Strait into your bathroom window to drink you in as though you were a bottle of his beloved vodka. But, can you blame him, Sarah? You have the kind of fabulous rack that could defrost a Siberian gulag.

I'm sorry. That was sexist of me. I lose my head sometimes. It's hard not to since the only other catch coming into my house out of Alaska is a box of frozen crab legs I picked up at Piggly Wiggly, and they don't say such sweet, sensible things like you.

They are damned tasty with butter, though.

Thankfully, Sarah, as a result of your proximity to this bad, bad man, you have the foreign policy experience to handle him. And, since I live close to an airport, I have the necessary experience to grab the nearest 747 to fly up there and rescue you should the bad, bad Russian man prove to be more than your immense foreign diplomatic skills can handle.

Now, don't let that Katie person get to you, Sarah. She's an agent of evil. A liberal activist. A communist who hates baby Jesus and loves witchcraft. Don't worry. You're protected against witchcraft thanks to the nice preacher who once got a woman run out of his Kenyan town because she was using her witchcraft to cause traffic accidents. He's got an eye for witchcraft, that one. He's such a nice man for using his Jesus to bless you, and I am glad you have such nice friends, Sarah. We should buy him a puppy and see if he can baptize your teenager's baby.

But, I digress...

Sarah? It's not that you look stupid. Trust me. You do. Don't take it personally. Some people like that. After all, Benny Hill made a career out of it, and our current president was reelected and started a war with it. Stupid sells. Stupid wins. People want to be with stupid (they even have shirts made up and everything). Stupid beats evil any day in my book, baby.

Sorry... I'm a sexist bastard. But, I'm not elitist. I'm too poor to be elitist. Then again, I do live close to a bank.

Oh Sarah. Thank you for showing me how easy it is to gain experience in life. Ever since I was a child, I've dreamed of being an astronaut, but I always believed so many things kept me from following that dream. Little did I know that I could simply move to Denver to be close enough to space to call myself an astronaut.

Then again, do you like doctors, Sarah? I mean, women want to marry doctors, right? I live right by a hospital, so I've got that going for me.

How about firemen?

There's a fire station less than two hundred yards away. Think of the experience I have there. It's so close, I think I am a great fireman.

Oh Sarah. Thank you for showing me how easy life is. The only way I can repay you is to love you with my whole little heart.

Love and Kisses,
DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/26/2008 12:09:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Well... You got a really large number.

I love this quote:
"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."
What are we talking about here?

Anyone?

Yes! You in the front. What do you think?

Umm... No. I'm sorry, but we're not talking about how many red cups to get for tonight's annual all-you-can-eat chicken-fry/community kegger. Thanks for reminding me though. We should probably pick up a few more cups.

You see, this number is how our trusted Bush lackeys and cronies Treasury Department arrived at that big, freakin' seven-hundred billion dollar number of tax-payer money they seek to swipe out of your pocket without any question or oversight so as to bailout some crumbling financial institutions.

Obviously, these are the top economic minds of our nation, and, well, since they are so smart, you see, they can pull numbers completely out of their asses with absolutely no research into the matter whatsoever. It's like if my Jeep ran out of gas and I showed up at your front door and told you to give me a thousand bucks to top off the tank --no questions asked.

Now, not to get all foil-hatty and stuff, but why do I get the feeling that this bailout is not so much an attempt to fix the economy insofar as it's one last attempt by the corrupt and greedy Bush Administration to rob the American people blind on his way out of office? Why else would that chimp-faced, little coke-head interrupt prime-time television to, once again, terrify the population into believing him?

Why else would there be such a rush to pass this legislation and hand over money of this amount with the disturbing caveat that it receive a rubber stamp with no oversight, no questions, no scrutiny, no debate, nothing?

Seriously. It's amazing what these bastards believe they can get away with as they wreck the nation and line their pockets. Hank Paulson asked Congress to give him 700 billion dollars with no investigation into where that money was going or how it was to be dispersed. No plan. Just a big, fucking check.

Anyway, like I said, if I told you my car desperately needed gas or the entire economy will be destroyed and global panic will ensue, and then I asked you for a thousand bucks (or two thousand, or ten thousand?) and you can't ask me any questions about why I need a that much money. You see, that's what these assholes are doing. They pulled a monster number out of their asses with no research into how much they actually need, and they expect Americans to simply give it to them without asking or any way of knowing where that money is really, truly going.

Do you honestly trust the Bush Administration enough to do that? Do you really trust them?

The thing is, and this is a very funny thing, acting in such haste in this manner will not make things any better. And, contrary to what our duplicitous president says, we actually do have the luxury of time in finding a genuine solution to this crisis so long as we keep our heads clear. Don't let Bush terrify you into making yet another poorly thought out and dangerous decision, America.

Take his only power --the power to terrify you-- away.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/25/2008 09:44:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Ya. You Betcha der's a trainwreck, doncha no.

This is both sad and terrifying....


Yowza!

You know you're blowing an interview when sweet, little Katie Couric is hounding you for an answer.

"I'll try to find ya some, and I'll bring 'em to ya." Palin says.

Why doesn't she know?

Shouldn't she know?

There's more to being a "maverick" than simply taking criticism from both sides of the aisle. Hell! If that's the case, lots of Senators, Congressmen and every president in history could be called a maverick --even that freakin' whipped, little bitch currently running in circles trying to find a corner in the Oval Office could be a maverick.

Eeeesh!

No wonder why McCain wants to run away from the debates with his tail between his legs. The second either of these two goons opens their mouths, they broadcast to the whole world how blinkingly stupid they truly are. Just look at the video above (or read the transcript) and see if you don't find yourself waiting for an answer... an actual answer. I'm not talking about the garden-variety white noise of wallpaper rhetoric and simple freakin' platitudes. I mean an honest, straight answer.

In fact, strangely enough, I think Palin's only reasonably honest answer is her last sentence that she will find those examples and bring 'em to ya' Katie.

What is it with McCain and Palin that requires people to always WAIT for them?

These two window-lickers are too rock stupid to run America. McCain clearly can't handle more than one thing at a time, and Palin's head is crammed so far up her ass in search of God that she doesn't have the slightest clue as to what's going on in the world around her.

Really... Bring those examples, Sarah. Or, did the dog eat your homework? Just don't forget that, you know, we're not going to hold our collective breath waiting for you.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/25/2008 11:12:00 AM

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Run and Hide!


It's going to be fun watching the political right of this nation try to spin McCain's begging for a suspension of campaigning to "focus on the economy."

I don't think anyone sees this as anything other than a political gimmick, and if you do, well... stop and ask yourself what relevant committees either of these two candidates are on which would require them to be in Washington to discuss the creation of this bailout legislation?

Also, wouldn't you think that the American people deserve to hear from their potential president as to how he will personally go about solving this economic crisis in an open debate?

Also, wouldn't you want a president who is capable of multitasking in this day and age rather than one who requires that the population acquiesce to the fact that he is clearly only capable of handling one thing at a time?

Really, people. McCain is in panic mode, and freaking out over something which is out of his control and, thankfully, in the hands of others whose job it is to actually deal with. All he has to do is show up and vote (which, strangely enough, he hasn't done much of to begin with. In fact, McCain has the worst attendance of any senator --even the one who suffered a brain hemorrhage).

Seriously. It's a ninety minute debate, and it's a perfect opportunity to talk about the economy. It's a shame McCain is acting with such blatant cowardice. And, if he tries to suspend the Vice Presidential debates, that's going to be even more pathetic.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/24/2008 10:01:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Portal Z.


Here's a door for you.

Enjoy.

If it makes you think of anything, do share with the rest of the class.

Now, to help you think, I will say that this came from the abandoned airplane factory down the street. So, let your minds wander back to a time when air-travel was a new and exciting thing and that wild, blue yonder was an unexplored, vast expanse.

When the workers went in and out through this door, don't you wonder what may have been on their minds?

Could any of them possibly understand the role their creations would play in the world today?


Other than that, I'm cranked on opiates today (what else is new), and I don't think anyone should expect anything from me other than my being a drooling, unintelligible, fucking potatohead.

Yeah. I'm angry. I get like that some days, and this morning was very, very rough. My hands are shot. My knees are trashed. Feet, neck, shoulders, etc.? All fucked and filled with pain.

The thing is, I've been bitching about this stuff for what seems like an eternity, and I'm sure you're all just as tired --if not more-- of reading about my gripes, grumbles and sundry troubles. However, for whatever reason, I think it's nice to have not only an outlet upon which to unload these gripes, but it's also maybe a good idea to have an updating chronicle of these complaints in the hopes that, one day, I may be able to look back and remember just how pissed off I truly was.

It's just very strange how a chronic, endless pain can weasel its way into your every single action and thought to alter and twist the way you do simple, ordinary things. I think anyone who's ever broken a finger, sprained an ankle, twisted a knee, mashed a toe or suffered some other sort of injury for even a temporary time can relate. It's annoying.

So yeah. I think you'll find me whining here and listing the things which hurt. And, I'll apologize for that ahead of time, and if you don't want to read them, please don't. But, this is the only journal I am keeping, and it seems like as good of a place as any for this nonsense. For some reason, though, I think it's important to keep a log ofthe day's troubles. Perhaps in writing about them, I may actually find an answer, a catharsis, or some level of relief.

Anyway, I am not asking for your pity or any of your sympathy. I don't want it, and I don't need it. Trust me. In this day and age, I'm willing to bet each and every one of you have your own mountains to climb, and you all are probably saddled with something unfair, unwanted, and painful. You'd be crazy if you allowed the insignificant troubles of a largely anonymous blogger into your hearts. Really. You've got better things to care about, people.

Nonetheless, somewhere inside me is a sense of humor. Unfortunately, it's pretty easy for pain, or even a bad day, to trump this sense of humor and ability to laugh as it gets ground into the dirt by a big, unhappy boot.

Don't worry, though. In the end, it is just me writing about me. I don't think I can entertain, enchant or enlighten in every post I write, and I think I'd be an idiot to try. I'd gotten off track and forgotten about why it is I decided to keep one of these blogs in the first place. As a result, entries were forced, thoughts were inevitably strained, and when you do that in the world of the written word, you abandon the elegance that makes it appealing in the first place.

Finally, if you find this collection of words and prattle difficult to grasp, don't think too much about it. This stream of conscious babblefest is nothing more than me trying to find a way of writing about things. Trust me. I have a sense of humor. It's just usually overshadowed by my frustration. So, unloading that frustration here may actually help.

We'll see how it goes. But, boy-o-boy, I am one seriously grumpy motherfucker today. And, it's a good thing I am staying in and loafing around while everything hurts; otherwise, I would probably throat-punch a bag lady. Really... With my mood being what it is, if I went to the movies today, it'd turn into a bloodbath because the person behind me would be talking, then their throat would be slit, and I'm sure I'd have to silence the subsequent screams of all the other terrified folks because all that panicked screeching makes it impossible to watch a simple fucking movie.

So, it's best to stay indoors and see what's on cable.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/24/2008 11:21:00 AM

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Holy Heroes, Batman!

You pick the title...
This picture doesn't have much to do with this post (or the post that's going to happen in a minute or two). The thing is, I'm just not feeling up to writing much today, and for the sake of being economical, I figured I'd combine today's picture with my off-the-cuff review of the traffic accident that was the Heroes premier I watched last night. So, come for the photo, and stay for the rage, I guess.

I skipped the foreplay. There is absolutely no reason to watch an hour-long, geek-fueled, red-carpet extravaganza *JAZZ HANDS* devoted to nothing but no end of ridiculous twaddle about the "new and exciting" season ahead for Heroes.

What's the point?

The only people watching Heroes these days are the loyal fans who stuck it out through last-season's schlock-fest and are silently hoping the series can redeem itself and capture the magic that made the first season so damn fun to watch.

Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen. The two-hour premier scuttled whatever hopes anyone may have had that this once great show can be anything other than a collection of comic book cliches trundling through the same tired old story line about moral ambiguity. And, the thing that should drive the last few fans away is the predictable pairing of last season's "good guy," Noah Bennet, with the series' eternal bad guy, Sylar.

Sound familiar?

Yeah. Batman did the same thing when he teamed up with Catwoman. The humans in Battlestar Galactica joined forces with the Cylons. Laverne and Shirley and Lenny and Squiggy... The list is a long one, and when it comes to Heroes, it's insulting that the show's writers would think that people are so blinking dim to fall for what has become an all-too predictable attempt to breathe life into a floundering series by creating what is inevitably a clumsy, unnatural, and unneeded conflict.

Aside from that, the writing is as dreadful as always. Aside from a comically predictable plot built around the same tired cliches seen in the previous two seasons, the dialogue sounds as though it was sprung from the mind of a brooding, French, drama queen trying to mash Film Noir mumblings and Adam West's Batman together into a sort of nightmarish hodgepodge of incoherent gibberish about what it means to be human.

It's become a silly mockery of itself, and whatever message it may have had has gotten lost in a mad tangle of things everyone has seen before.

Then there's the comic relief provided by Hiro the Hero. Sure. It's cute. And, well, it does provide a light moment where none is needed, and it is subsequently as awkward as a fish in a pasta factory. In other words, it doesn't make a damn bit of sense, and it's just getting in the way at this point. And, don't get me started on how he trips to the future to find out that his best friend turns on him. Gee... That's new.

One thing I did find interesting is the character of Suresh, and his transformation from meek man of science into a person corrupted by super-human powers. Of course, I'm not really interested in that per se. It just blows my mind that someone thought that was a brilliant idea. Somewhere, someone was sitting at a table surrounded by other people. And, that someone sat there with a big, round, beaming face and spoke: "I know! Let's give Mohinder a power. Then, let's have that power corrupt him so he can get laid!"

Freakin' brilliant move, that one.

What's next? Mutant baby? Chosen one? Yadda-yadda-yadda?

The thing which will inevitably sink this entire show is its dependency to lean on the tired, old cliches we've come to know and expect from things about superheroes. The tagline for this season should be "It's been done. Done to death! But, we're going to hump it for all it's worth, and so long as you, the viewer, pretend that you're not bored to tears with this predictable silliness, we're good."

Now, of course I'm going to keep watching. As I said, it's a traffic accident at this point. I just can't look away. Perhaps it'll redeem itself. I actually hope it does. I want to be wrong about this show and this season, and they've got a whole slew of episodes which may or may not change my mind, so, who really knows?

Still. After what I watched last night, it's clear it's going to be a long and troubled year for Heroes.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/23/2008 12:13:00 PM

Monday, September 22, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Ugh... Monday.

Yucca Buzz.
I'm not sure what to say, really. I'm having one of those days where I just can't think of a damn thing to write about. However, I figured I'd post this picture, let you all wander your peepers around it for a while and contemplate this bee (who seemed kind of drunk) on a yucca frond.

This bee spent the better part of two hours just going back and forth on this thing. Sometimes, he'd hang from the bottom, and other times he'd stagger on the top. He'd reach the end (as you see here), turn around and go back up to the other end, only to turn around and do it all over again. And again... And... again!

I wanted to grab a tennis racket and smack the stupid son of a bitch into next freakin' week.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind bees so much. In fact, I figure the little insects have just as much of a right to do their thing as I have to do mine, and so long as they don't get in the way of me doing my thing, I'm fine with them. However, every now and then I see something like this, and I just want to unload a righteous smiting upon the clueless bastard.

Anyway, in the end, I decided to let this bee live. And, for all I know, he's still out there trapped on this plant thinking whatever terrified bee thoughts his little insect brain can compile. He's probably gotten to the point where starvation is setting in, and he's really wishing he'd packed a map to navigate the leaf.

Ah well... I hope you all have a dandy fine Monday. I'm off to the kitchen to get some coffee... Then, I'm back to sitting down and writing... Then, it's back to the kitchen. Then, back to writing... Then...

DAMMIT!

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/22/2008 11:07:00 AM

Sunday, September 21, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] She owns it.

Queen, castle, etc.
Yup.

She may be deaf. She be kind of blind. She may even not have much of a clue about anything as she wobbles around her world sniffing things with her whistling nose and mewling whatever questions she has.

However, one thing is for certain: this is her house.

Thankfully, she's friendly, and she'll always welcome you in by bumping up against you and leaning against your shin while sniffing your shoes to find out where you've been, who you've been seeing and what you've been doing.

Don't worry. She even does this to DogCat. She's pretty unfriendly to him outside of the house, and she'll hiss at him as though he's an unwanted intruder (she also hisses at sticks, leaves and cracks in the sidewalk, so he tends to humor her and avoid her silliness). However, when he's inside the house, she'll walk up to him and lean against him as though she's a drunken college chick having a hard time keeping herself vertical. And, DogCat will stop whatever he's doing and sit in place while she props herself up.

Make no mistake, though. This is her house.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/21/2008 12:24:00 PM

Saturday, September 20, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Eeek! Galactus is eating my house!

Here comes Galactus.
Yowza!

Last night... err... At about 1:00 am Saturday morning, I stepped outside to catch some night air before bed after an evening spent writing, and I looked to the skies to see an awesome "Moon Dog."

It's pretty surreal, don't you think?

Of course, since it was the dead of night and all, it took some painfully long exposures to grab these shots. But, the end result was wild. You see, normally, the sky is pretty much completely black, but thanks to the shutter staying open for as long as it did, you can actually see some color as a result of the city lights reflecting off the clouds and haze above.

Other than that, I'm sorry for not posting much today. It was a busy day, and that whole time thing seems to have gotten away from me. I swear, one second it was somewhere around noon, and the next, it's ten at night. It was a good day, though.

Anyway, I hope your weekends are going great, and I hope you enjoy the picture (I set it so you can look at the other sizes of this picture. I've had to restrict that lately, and I'll try and write about the reasons for that sometime soon).

Well, I've got to run. I'm beat and this monkey desperately needs his beauty rest... Or, a beauty coma.

G'Night!

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/20/2008 09:49:00 PM

Friday, September 19, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Have a drink on me.

G&T en fuego!
Ahhh yes.

Last night the clone and I were lounging around the outdoor fireplace swapping tales about the crazed exploits of our mad lives of turmoil. He was getting gassed on gin and tonics, and I had a beer before switching to Coke since the last thing I really want to do is play with fire with a head full of Vicodin and alcohol.

Bad things happen that way.

Trust me. I know this.

Anyway, being the accommodating (and perpetually hungry) lout that I am, some cheese and crackers were served on an old, maple cutting board.

The cutting board was placed by the fire, and conversation resumed and moved along at the sort of pace capable of two people with heads fogged from either opiates or gin. It was fun, the munchies were devoured, and, finally, the cutting board burst into flames.

It was a win for everyone.

-DP

P.S. To be honest, the cutting board broke a long time ago, and rather than get the glue and mend it (again), I decided that it would be much more fun to burn. Plus, my other brother (#2) made a replacement out of a thick hunk of maple --a single piece of solid maple. It will last forever.

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/19/2008 11:09:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Yaaar Redux!

Arrr... This here tale of a surly sea hag will chill yer pirate bones me mateys!
Granbury resident sees something satanic in team's pirate flag
Football boosters use skull and crossbones to show pride in Pirates; resident sees nothing jolly about it
By SHIRLEY JINKINS
syjinkins@star-telegram.


One person’s spirit symbol is another’s banner of doom, according to Hood County residents involved in an unlikely scrap over black skull-and-crossbones flags intended to rally football fans round the Granbury High School Pirates.

"I’ve started a big stink, evidently, in Granbury," said Nadra Arnold-Curry, who spoke up at a recent Hood County Commissioners Court meeting to register her disapproval of the black flags distributed by the Touchdown Club football boosters. "I appreciate our teams and coaches, too. But I have to stand up for my biblical convictions."
('ere be the tale)

Yarrr! She be squawkin' against our beloved Jolly Roger 'cause of her land-lubbin' ghosts. Methinks this 'ere hag be needin' a keelhaulin' to show her that a true pirate's live's a life free --be it out on the briny or upon the stones of earth. We not be needin' her ghostly rules, and since we be piratin' away from chains, we not be needin' her tellin' us what to do!

So, avast ye mateys! And, point your blades n' guns to this silly hag's lumber! We be scuttlin' her noise 'neath the sails of our regal craft The Constitution!

Send 'er to the locker me hearties!

-Captain Rustybottom

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/19/2008 11:09:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Yaarrr!

Avast, me hearties (and ye bilge rats too).

T'day be a most auspicious day, for it be talk like ye be piratin' day.


-Captain Rustybottom.

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/19/2008 11:09:00 AM

Thursday, September 18, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Welcome!

Vignette from hell!
Hi there.

This is my dark and spooky alley in the middle of the night. Over there on the left you can play basketball if you'd like. Also, if you're not a fan of left, you can play basketball on the right.

In fact, just pick a garage other than mine, and you should be set since everyone but me has a basketball hoop. I used to have one, but it broke as a result of being old and beaten up and falling off the garage from rot one of my monster dunks.

All-in-all, it's a nice alley.

Other than that, I was asked about how to nab that sexy star-pattern you see coming from the lights, and I figured I'd take a bit of time to babble on about it. For those of you with cameras, you might find this interesting and something you'd like to try. So, read on.

First, I did not use any sort of special effect filter or any post-processing effect.

All you have to do is set your apertures to somewhere around f/16 to f/20, or so. Then, point your camera at the light source, push the button, and voila! You should be seeing stars.

Now, every camera is different, and every lens is different. So, I can't promise this will work for you. I'm also not sure how it will work on a point and shoot camera, but if you have a manual setting in your camera that can allow you to adjust aperture and shutter speed, give it a try.

You also might need a tripod. After all, you're letting in less light, and as a result, you're going to need some longer shutter times.

Well, that's it for today. I'm off to drool.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/18/2008 03:16:00 PM

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shooting the Subaru.

  The Moon is set,   
And the Pleiades.
   
Night's half gone,
Time's passing.     
I sleep alone now.
                                      -Sappho
The Subaru at the end of the road.







Last night, I was out snapping shots, and I stumbled upon this neat shot.

Some may get it. 

Some probably will not.

In the end, it's not that big of a deal.




-DP

Monday, September 15, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] In the Papers...

Weird.

I appear to have a really touchy button on my mouse, and when I center-click on a link, instead of opening in a new tab, the link opens in about three or four new tabs. I figure it might not be the mouse, though. After all, I did play a lot of Asteroids in my youth, and I think, as a result, I have developed an innate and spastic button pushing technique.

Ah well... Not important.

Now, where was I?

Oh yes.

Get this:

I got an email this morning asking me if it would be okay if they printed this picture of mine in one of the local papers, and of course I said yes.

This is the second time they've asked to use a picture; however, on the first go-around, something came up, and they cancelled the edition's run of the entire section that would have contained the picture. So, that's kind of nice, and I'm sure a couple of people will see it and say "Holy shit! Dan's still alive?!?"

Somehow, this makes sense.Other than that, today I am stoned clean off my freakin' gourd.

I knew it was going to be a bad day when the aches in my hands woke me up, and the crunch in my knees sounded like someone was violating stalks of celery as I negotiated my way downstairs to make coffee and find Vicodin (they really do go together like bacon and eggs).

The thing is, I saw this coming. When I saw a weakened Hurricane Ike meandering its way into my part of the world, I knew that what remained of the intense low-pressure system, and the rain it contained, would mingle with the fifty degree temperatures to create the sort of cold, bone-chilling damp that makes for some long, achy days.

It's weird how that works.

Now, insofar as I'm feeling a heap of pain, at least I'm not the Bulgarian Women's National Hockey Team. I mean, I may feel as though I've been beaten quite badly, but I think I can safely say that, without a doubt, I wasn't beaten anywhere near as bad as an 82-0 score in an Olympic qualifying hockey game.

Yes. You read that right. Eighty-Two to Zip!

In hockey.

I didn't think that hockey scoreboards could even go that high.

Ouch!

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/15/2008 11:02:00 AM

Saturday, September 13, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] It's a dark day, I guess...

This has never happened to me before...

I can't honestly think of one instance in my years as a reader where I began a book while the author was alive, only to have that author die before that book is finished.

It's a very strange feeling that ground itself into my chest when I learned that David Foster Wallace has killed himself.

For twelve years, I've wrestled with reading Wallace's massive novel Infinite Jest, but I have found it tedious and difficult to negotiate. In fact, more than once I have cast it aside in frustration. Inevitably, though, I would return to pick away at it as though I were pulling on a scab. It's a horrible book, but it's a wonderful book.

Anyway, Infinite Jest came to me in the mail one day in 1996. It was a fucking heavy box. And, I opened it to find this comically large book inside, and with a giggle, I set it on my "to read" shelf where it sat like a threat for several weeks.

During that time, I asked one of my English instructors about this David Foster Wallace character, and as it turns out, he was either his friend or his roommate (I can't remember exactly) while they were students at Arizona. So, needless to say, now whenever I approach that book, the image of one of my favorite teachers inevitably leaps to mind, and I still feel as though it's an assignment than anything I'm supposed to enjoy.

Nonetheless, I am sad that he is gone. I can't say that David Foster Wallace was one of my favorite writers or authors, but as it is with every other human being on the planet, there are things he's done that I do enjoy, and I believe I can say without a doubt that he was certainly a genius and an immense talent, and the world is going to be a worse place without his words.

It's a shame to lose someone like him.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/13/2008 08:44:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] The signpost at the end of the road...

At the end of the road, a sign post.
When walking toward the cliffside end of a long-abandoned road where more than a couple of heartbroken teenagers have hopped in their cars and driven off the edge into oblivion over the years before the passage was closed, when you stumble upon a sign such as this, it's hard not to feel some sort of shiver.

One of my neighbors, growing up, drove her car off the edge of this cliff shortly before her high-school graduation. She was in my older brother's (#5's) grade, and I never really knew her. But, I knew of her, and shortly after that event, the road here was closed with concrete barriers, and mounds of dirt with these barricades were placed in a mad chicane to discourage those drivers from reaching their final destination (of course, if you're ambitious, all you have to do is drive off the road into the vast field on the left and off-road your way to the end).

Nonetheless, there are some ghosts here, and to be perfectly honest, I don't know how many have chosen to meet their end on this strip of pavement. And, before you jump on me for believing in ghosts, I should point out that my definition of ghost is simply the memory of those involved in a tragic and sad event. There are no sheets, rattling chains and things floating around going woooOooo... So, keep your psychics, and those goons from the SciFi Channel away!

On the other hand, there are heaps of people who do honestly believe this strip of tarmac is "genuinely" haunted with all sorts of unexplained noises like squealing tires and what-have-you. And, even better, we've apparently got our own mysterious, potentially man-eating monster carousing the lots and fields, and someone built a MySpace page devoted to their tireless pursuit of the crazed and rabid beastie they've come to call "The Manwolf." They've even got a footprint picture (of course, don't look too closely at it, or you might realize that you're looking at two paw-prints sort of on top of one another in the mud. After all, the place is a pretty popular spot for dog-walkers, and I've got the shit on my shoes to prove it. And, the claw marks on that dude's shirt? Well, when I was climbing around there, I noticed a lot of thorns on a lot of branches).

Anyway, I can see how people could get freaked out running around this place at night. There's nothing there other than what once was. There were beautiful houses and probably some very happy lives that had to be uprooted when it was discovered that the lake was consuming their yards at an alarming and unstoppable pace. Some people put their houses on trucks and hauled them to other parts of town, and others just left them to fall into the lake or to be torn down.

However, once people were gone, something strange happened. The lake stopped its steady diet of earth, and the erosion slowed considerably once the people and their houses were gone 35 years, --or so-- ago (lower lake levels probably contributed to a lot of that). It was odd though, and the timing lends a certain eerie quality to it. It's like the earth there doesn't want any houses on it anywhere west of the train tracks about a half mile up the road away from the bluffs where civilization begins.

Finally, with the story told, you can see that the words in the picture above have a special meaning. It's creepy. And, it's funny in a spooky sort of way. Thankfully, the words are just that: Words. And, the fact that I just sneezed and painted my computer monitor with a field of rainbow speckles while typing this goes a long way in proving that I am still drawing a breath and, most certainly, not dead.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/13/2008 07:32:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] The true tragedy of Ike.

This video is kind of sad.

<align=center>



Clearly, it's hard to deal with a massive storm that can bring high winds and furries. Many furries are now homeless and wandering the beach confused and lost. Their only hope is to find a generous soul whose home is still standing to feed them the vodka and techno music that furries depend upon for their survival.

People of Galveston! Please open your hearts, your music collections and your liquor cabinets so that these precious and exotic creatures can find some level of solace in these dark and trying times.

-DP
</align=center>

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/13/2008 03:07:00 PM

Friday, September 12, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Cool.

Perhaps this is the first step in the bloody coup that I've been dreaming about for about six or seven years.
Breaking News: Gov. Beshear declares state of emergency to prevent price gouging
01:56 PM EDT on Friday, September 12, 2008

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - There is some breaking news regarding high gas prices.

WHAS11 News has learned that Governor Steve Beshear plans to declare a state of emergency in Kentucky for this weekend.

Declaring a state of emergency will prompt Kentucky's price gouging laws to go into effect.

Sources tell WHAS11’s Mark Hebert that the governor is concerned about reports of people overreacting and getting into fights at gas stations in western Kentucky.

There are reports that gas around Paducah raised to $4.60 a gallon.

The governor is preparing to make the announcement at [sic] today.

WHAS11.com will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
(Story)
How's that mass-transit system in Western Kentucky? Is it anywhere near the point where people can get to where they need to be by bus or train? You know... like Europe?

No?

I think we need to start executing those guilty of price gouging. We go through this every time a hurricane moves into the Gulf.

-DP




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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/12/2008 12:57:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Blur...

Hello friends, Romans, countrymen...

No, I'm not sure why Romans should get special mention, but I like Rome. So, it's not a bad thing. Any city where people are encouraged to eat and drink until they die is certainly this particular glutton's kinda town. So, Romans? You'll always have a special place in this cold lump I call a heart.

Anyway, today there is just too much pain, and writing is very hard for me; so here's a picture for you to contemplate:

Pretty strange place for a sewer. On my hike yesterday through what was once farmland and a small community of houses, I saw this, and had to puzzle over it for a while. (By the way, as it turns out, I was talking to my mom last night, and I found out that my parents thought about buying a massive Dutch-colonial house in this area before I was born, but, apparently, my father took one look at the cliffs, took another look at his children, and realized that his tax deductions would be in near-constant state of flux considering his kids are borderline adrenaline junkies, and those cliffs are pretty damn inviting.)

Anyway, this manhole is just here... in the middle of a field. There's nothing around --no phone, no lights, no motor-cars. Not a single luxury (sorry. I'm freakin' fracked on Vicodin, and opiates tend to turn me into a drooler with a Gilligan's Island kink).

The first thing I thought of when I saw this was, if I ever find myself homeless, I think this sewer would be a perfect place to live. After all, a hovel in the country sure beats a box beneath a bridge, and we all know I really do yearn for a placid, bucolic existence. There could be nature right outside my front door cast-iron lid, and at night, I can see stars and dream of a toilet or furnace. But, I digress...

Right now, I am not in a very good mood. I'm trying to find a better mood, but it's a gray, gloomy day here and something is kicking off the aches and pains. I do know that the transition into fall, although usually very beautiful and easy on the eyes, is going to once again be a series of torturous and painful strides until I inevitably become acclimated to the new season. I'd like to say that after all this time I'm used to it, but it really is an impossible thing to get used to. I'll do my best not to whine or bore you with my tiny miseries. The thing is, this is my blog, and it will forever be an outlet for my angst, my joy, my sadness, and whatever else inspires me and trundles through my heart and mind when I sit down to compose and create. Unfortunately, lately, these aches are just pissing me right the fuck off.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/12/2008 10:45:00 AM

Thursday, September 11, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] I'm Lucky... Sorta.

Into the labrynth.
I can walk here everyday if I so choose. I can meander along these trails that are just a skip south of my house, and I can lose myself and my thoughts among the trees and weeds and sundry critters.

Even better: these hiking trails are right along the lakeshore, and I am hoping that, one of these days, when the morning fog rolls in off Lake Michigan, I can find myself once again on these trails with my camera rig so I can snap some awesome shots of the spooky wilderness. I was thinking of that as I was looking at these images I took earlier today. With just a little fog, I think I'd be smack dab in the center of a Harry Potter novel or somewhere just outside Middle Earth.

These trails are nothing more than a tangle of paths that have been mowed clear by some ambitious person. They run everywhere over the countryside where farms and farm houses once stood. Unfortunately, the abandoned houses have either been removed or they simply fell from the bluffs into Lake Michigan as the tide eroded the land beneath them in heaping, hungry bites.

It's good to have these places, I think --more so in this day and age of constant, brain-stretching input whenever we open our eyes and ears. Everyone needs to get away from time to time, and to me, that's what the world outside our doors is for. Find a place, escape, and just lose yourself with whatever thoughts tumble into your heads. It can be your own backyard, or someone else's. It can be a park or parking lot. It can be five feet of sidewalk or a ten muddy miles beneath your feet. It doesn't matter. Your inspiration and peace of mind is out there. Find it.

In other news, I've taken a bit of a blogging break (again). Strangely enough, I've just not had much to write about lately. That's not to say that there hasn't been stuff going on in my world. I've just hit a sort of wall with this whole thing, and a change of pace was clearly needed. So, I threw this grinding, lumbering wreck of a machine into neutral and just spent the week relaxing until the urge to write once again took root and began to grow. And, that's one of the tricks to life. When you do something because you want to, and not because you have to, the result doesn't matter. What matters is the act, and it can be pretty damn fun when you do things according to your terms. After all, who knows how to enjoy your life better than you?

Other than that, sorry for being so deep. I think I'm just in one of those moods as a result of helping a couple of friends negotiate their way through their respective funks by doing nothing more than what a friend should do.

Well, I'm off to crash. I hope everyone has had a wonderful week, and I hope your day, this day of a sad, never-ending remembrance, was a good one for you.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/11/2008 11:03:00 PM

Monday, September 8, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Here! Have a bug.

<span style="float: right;" com="" photos="" dpoem="" 2825562863="" title="Cicada by DPoem, on Flickr">Cicada
I kind of feel sorry for cicadas. Their life-cycle isn't something I'd really envy.

First, they're born. Then, they hibernate underground for 17 years, or so. After that nice, long nap, they dig their way out of the ground, have sex and die.

About the only thing I can think of that has an existence even close to that meaningless would have to be the New Jersey Guido.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/08/2008 12:17:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Now THAT'S a Typo.

My typing sucks. I mean, I make typos like babies make poop and cats make hairballs.

For instance, a few moments ago, I was using The Google to search for stories on the Large Hadron Collider. And, the page popped up, and all was well and wonderful and shiny and happy.

The thing is, at the top of my search results, I noticed a little blurb saying
Did you mean "Large Hadron Collider?"
Obviously, this got me thinking just what the hell it was I typed into the search box. So, I looked.

As it turns out, I was searching Google for something called a Large Hardon Collider.

Man... I'm dumb.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/08/2008 12:03:00 PM

Saturday, September 6, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] At The Beach.

Reflections and stuff.
Yesterday, I took a lumbering little hike through the woods and down to the beach near my house. As you can see, it was pretty much a really nice day with brilliant blue skies, occasionally nice temperatures (which I get to explaining a little later), very few bugs, and a handful of clouds left over from Gustav rambling his way all the way up here to Milwaukee to possibly get in touch with his Teutonic roots. In fact, you can see the dwindling remnants of ol' Gus there dying out there on the right (which is south, by the way) as he wanders over to Michigan and the good folks in Holland or Frankenmuth.

Now, as promised, the temperatures.

This little slice of the park is odd in terms of temperatures.

First, there are a lot of trees (natch). their shade keeps the earth nice and cool and damp and all that other stuff that fits that whole forest visage. That much shade really makes a huge difference.

Second, there's a deep, narrow valley running through here, and, as anyone who's taken one of those nasty, Satan-inspired, atheist science classes knows, cold air sinks.

Put those two together, and you've got a nice place to hang on a hot summer day.

Unfortunately, yesterday wasn't so much of a hot summer day as it was a seventy-two degree march into what seemed to be an early fall afternoon. And, in that tiny little valley, I'd say the temperatures were easily twenty degrees cooler. I'm sure that would have been incredibly refreshing had I not been dressed for temperatures in the eighties.

Nonetheless, it was freakin' cold, and I was shivering, and my pictures might be a little blurry.


In other, less prosaic news, I'm waiting on all sorts of camera stuff to be delivered (hopefully Monday). There were just some odds and ends and things I needed, and it's really nothing terribly new and exciting, but these are the things that will make picture taking easier for me.

I ordered a backpack designed to carry my camera and all my lenses. It's a Kata R-103. So, if anyone is familiar with it, let me know what you think. If not, well... just ignore that and move along people! Move along.

I also ordered a new camera strap to hopefully replace the scratchy, cheap Nikon number that came with my camera. And, seeing as how, these days, I am always walking around with my camera dangling from my neck, I figured comfort is important. So, I went with an Op-Tech pro strap with some bonus connectors.

Let's see... I also ordered some adaptor rings for my filters. Well, one filter. A while back, when I got my new 10-20mm lens, I also got a 77mm circular polarizer. The thing is, the filter ring on my other lenses are 67mm and 58mm, and rather than buy more expensive polarizers, I just picked up some cheap, cheap, CHEAP little hunks of metal so I can use the big filter on my little lenses (will it look dorky? You bet. But, I'm saving a couple of hundred bucks).

Finally, last and hopefully last, I ordered a tripod to replace the one that exploded on me. The old one was a cheap piece of plastic and rickety aluminum, and with one little twist too far of a tightening screw, the little mount on the top went bang, and shards of plastic were sent flying everywhere. So, I ordered a Bogen-Manfrotto. It was on sale, thankfully, and I didn't get one of their super-fancy five-hundred dollar numbers that, well, for a tripod, that price just seems a little crazy.

The one I ordered is under $150, and I'm hoping it's a little sturdied than my previous one. I've really heard nothing but good things about this company, and I am kind of excited to fiddle around with it. I figure with that, a couple of light stands, some other odds and ends, and some real estate tasks lined up, things should be pretty nifty.

I think the funniest thing is that I am actually most looking forward to the backpack. It can hold everything, and that's really going to make things much better, more diverse and a hell of a lot easier. After all, I've got some old hiking boots sitting here collecting dust, and I really do need to get out and put some muddy miles under my feet. And, well... Fall is right around the corner, and I am so looking forward to seeing how this camera handles those colors.

The only thing that sucks is that I really wish I had some mountains to play on. Don't get me wrong. Trees are nice. But, everything is so mind-numbingly flat, I feel like I'm living on a pool table. With folliage. Which is pretty weird when you think about it.

Well, people. I've got to run. I hope your weekends are well, wild and wonderful. If anyone's doing anything fun, please don't hesitate to share. I'm kind of couch-bound this weekend with a heap of aches and pains, so, you can give me a chance to live vicariously through your antics.

Ciao!

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/06/2008 05:53:00 PM

Friday, September 5, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Ouch...

Got an itch.
Well...

Today is "Shot Day," and I can pretty much tell that I am due. We had the remnants of Gustav creep through here yesterday to dump an entire summer's worth of much-needed rain on us over the course of 24 hours.

Nonetheless --and not to complain too much since I'm pretty sure everyone's sick of that by this point-- that whole damp stuff mingled with the cooler weather, and my knuckles and joints are kind of in rough and achy shape.

Don't worry, though. It's not too bad. But, it is annoying, and it sometimes knocks me into a bit of a funk.

In other news, I must have really been crashed last night as I had one of those coma-sleeps that are just so wonderful.

Unfortunately, before I went to bed last night, I let DogCat in the house, and I figured he'd just wake me up like he usually does on those odd moments when he comes in late at night to grab a snack and a nap. Normally, he just barges into my bedroom, grumbles and groans and whines at the foot of my bed, and I wake up, wobble downstairs, open the door and release him into the wild.

The thing is, I was so wildly conked out last night that I didn't hear him. He must've really tried hard to wake me up since, not only was the bedroom door flung wide open, most of the stuff that was atop my dresser was on the floor, and the lamp I keep on the nightstand was in bed with me this morning.

I'll tell you. It's a little weird waking to that sort of thing. I mean, I've rolled over and seen some strange faces first thing in the morning, but a freakin' lamp?

You know it's going to be a really weird day when you see that.

After that, it was the usual taks of getting downstairs, letting the cat out and spending the next several minutes picking cat food kibble out of the bottoms of my feet while waiting for my coffee maker to do its thing.

I was a little ticked off about that at the time, but, in retrospect, I kind of find my cat's tantrums to be pretty damn funny, and it's hard not to laugh at the image of a pissed off cat smacking the crap out of a bowl of cat chow for no other reason than the fact that he just can't work things like doorknobs and whatnots.

Anyway, that's my morning. How are you?

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/05/2008 10:53:00 AM

Thursday, September 4, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] You damn slackers!

I found this interesting:
“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”
—Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, acceptance speech, September 3, 2008
Now, this was Mrs. Palin's stab at belittling Barack Obama for the work he did in postponing his entrance to law school so as to aid his strife-stricken, South Side Chicago community when the steel mills closed, and a large collection of people were left with little to no options as to how to go about doing that surviving thing that people are generally rather fond of.

It was a cheap shot, and it missed by a mile.

Sarah Palin essentially took anyone with a charitable and giving bone to task for her own petty political trash-talking. And, she did so at a time when this naiton and this world really doesn't need the wretched, cold apathy of callous, self-serving politicos.

In reading over her speech this morning, I was gobsmacked by, not only the blatant lies and gleaming hypocrisy her speech contained, I found myself genuinely pissed off that this frigid little infant from Alaska had the unmitigated gall to attack a group of people who, though I may not agree with their faith or beliefs, I feel are doing good and positive works with and for people in communities who need them --even those in communities with a population of nine-thousand living beneath the fascist-shroud of a book-banning little tyrant.

Now, I think I can safely say that my pal Rachael would fall into the category of what qualifies as a "Community Organizer." And, if you think for one second that she doesn't have any responsibilities, well... I think, at the very least, you'll find yourself being pointed and laughed as she gasped for breath, and, at the very worst, on your hands and knees picking your molars up off the floor (it depends on just how irresponsible her day was).

Nonetheless, there are countless charitable people out there who do good works. Their numbers are independent of political affiliation and any childish, partisan bias. These are people who give so much of themselves to help those in need; unfortunately, it's clear from her frothy little rambling that Mrs. Palin would much rather stab those people --even those of her own faith and church-- squarely in the back in a sad, little game of pathetic, political pandering.

Aside from that, I've got a lot of reasons to dislike Sarah Palin. For example, during his interview with that odious toad Newt Gingrich last night, Jon Stewart succinctly pointed out with regards to Sarah Palin's teenage daughter, Bristol's, pregnancy, and the Palin family demands that it not be dragged into the campaign vernacular:
"In essence, what [Sarah Palin] is saying: 'respect my family's ability to make this decision, and elect me so that I can keep your family from having the same opportunity'."
Now, I couldn't care less about the Palin family, and I really don't think they should be dragged into this discussion other than to point out the dangerous hypocrisy of demanding that we respect something which she herself clearly does not.

Other than that, there's that whole book-banning thing. I think people who ban books are a certain sort of god-soaked paranoid. It's a book. If you are that terrible of a parent to be bothered with keeping an eye on what your kids are doing or reading, you should not force your community to suffer because of your own blazing incompetence.

However, our communities are suffering. And, it's genuinely disheartening that someone could be so vacant and dim that they would willingly attack and belittle the efforts of those who try to help. And yes. They would probably even help Mrs. Palin's family. That's just the kind of people they are. I consider that immensely responsible. Don't you?

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/04/2008 04:40:00 PM

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] A great voiced silenced.

Don LaFontaine has died.


If you ever went to the movies and sat through a trailer, you probably are familiar with Don LaFontaine. In fact, he's done over 5,000 movie trailers (and more than 750,000 TV spots) in his amazing, albeit quirky, career.

That's a lot of talking.

Anyway, one of the funniest things I've ever seen is the following video of five famous voice-over talents in a limo. It just keeps cracking me up.



He will be missed, and going to the movies just isn't going to be the same without his unique and rumbling voice.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/02/2008 09:51:00 AM

Monday, September 1, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Amazing.

It's hard to call myself an American after seeing this.


Amy Goodman, a brilliant journalist and peace activist, is arrested and rung up on bogus charges of "inciting a riot" while trying to find out why two of her producers were jailed during the Republican National Convention.

Peace activist! Inciting a riot?

I think it's the half-witted, knuckle-dragging, power-tripping police thugs who are the ones actively seeking to incite a riot. And, they're doing a good job of it. After all, the easiest way of pissing off those who seek to defend or restore the Constitution is to tear it up right before their eyes.

I'd laugh if it wasn't so disturbing. Instead, I'm just angry, and I'm tired of stories such as these coming out of a nation which lies to the world and itself that it is some sort of beacon of freedom. We are a nation of oppressed people living beneath the regime of inhuman torturers and astounding incompetence. We can not even define freedom any more. We gladly gave up our rights under the auspice of security, and we gave those rights away in order to stuff the pockets of the greedy, corrupt few who continue to send our nation's sons and daughters to die in the desert in their foolish, unjustifiable war --a war built upon nothing but lies.

In exchange, what have we gotten?

Lindsay Beyerstein has an example of that "security" we've received.

Glenn Greenwald has more.

What a stupid, stupid country we've become. If I had the money, I'd leave this country, and I'd be laughing all the way across the Atlantic. Unfortunately, I'm stuck here and left to wonder what the fuck happened to a nation where I once felt proud to be a citizen.

-DP

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Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/01/2008 11:12:00 PM