VOX Creates Chaos Rift; Awakens Great Old One

The blogging website known as vox.com announced this past week that it was shutting down its servers as of September 30. The site was apparently drastically undervalued by its owners at SixApart and the announcement of the site’s impending closure has created a widespread panic among vox’s loyal and dedicated users. The news was so traumatic, the resulting chaos has grown to epic proportions. Scientists report that the vortex of entropy that first appeared in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of California about 81 hours ago, is now so massive it has begun tearing at the very fabric of time and space.

One Seattle man, who spoke under the promise of anonymity, said he had evidence the rift created by the vox chaos is a direct conduit to the domain of the most malevolent entities in the universe. According to our source, these beings were Earth’s first occupants and are “baleful, vile monsters with nothing but malevolent contempt for all mankind who want nothing more than to eradicate every last human and retake Earth for themselves.” Our source also says they will be lead by a tentacled behemoth called “Cthulhu, the Great Old One.”

So far, there has been little progress in shrinking the vortex and closing the crack. The notion that the end of days may well be at hand has driven many victims quite insane. One victim was quoted as saying, “Floob floob floo-conka nata bloob po po. Hmmmmmm?”

“It’s pretty much SixApart’s fault,” claims our anonymous source. “They could’ve handled it more elegantly, you know? But we could always tell their hearts were never totally into it. Little things, like losing posts to the ether for no discernible reason. That, and the spammers. Oh god, the spammers!”

So what does our source recommend you do if you had a blog at vox?

“Port it over to WordPress and keep on blogging. Life is short, so I say live it to the fullest before Great Cthulhu disembowels you and you die realizing you’ve wasted your life — realizing that being slowly torn apart is the most <expletive deleted> exciting thing you’ve ever done.”

If you live near the chaos rift and are experiencing bouts of depression or confusion, you should see your doctor for an evaluation. Should you ever you find yourself being torn apart by a being from beyond our dimension, you’ll need to dial 9-1-1.

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Posted in All Things Eldritch | 42 Comments

You Pray So Hard On Bloody Knees

“Hey! Yeah! I’m the one that you wanted.
Hey! Yeah! I’m your Superbeast.”
Posted in All Things Eldritch, The VOX Years | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The Thing That Could Not Be

Not that I’ve been posting much anyway, but I think this may be the last thing I post here at Cthulhu is my Copilot (though I will jealously guard my trademark on the title for future endeavors). The reasons for my departure are many but, as pitiful as it seems, the most significant one is going to end up being a lack of internet access…

Republicans filibustered* the unemployment extension again last night, which means serious impending hardship for Karin and me, despite the fact we have always been hard-working, law-abiding taxpayers. We’ve lived as the Right would have us live, yet we find it more and more difficult to pull ourselves up by those magical bootstraps Republicans keep flapping their jaws about. Turns out that conservatives are simply wrong in their blind belief that hard work is all you need to get by and that only lazy deadbeats ever suffer poverty. Wrong. Obviously wrong.

Nevertheless, I feel it incumbent upon me in this time of back-assed elitist fuckery to tap the unemployment issue for more evidence as to just how wrong Republicans are. If I have to be silenced, then at least allow me to scream with all my might one last time. So here goes:

Republican Unemployment Lie 1 – “We aren’t against unemployment benefits.”

Republicans say they don’t have a problem with extending unemployment; they claim what they have a problem with is growing the deficit to pay for it.

Calling that a specious rationale would be a gross understatement. If the Right would please dispense with bullshit justifications, we might eventually be able to discuss this topic intelligently. Nietzsche put it best: “The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.”

Conservatives had no problem with Dubya creating the god-damned deficit by launching into poorly planned wars while simultaneously cutting the very taxes that were supposed to pay for them, so this right-wing reasoning that it is unfair to spend that same government money to help Americans survive pretty much betrays the condition of their priorities.

It should be noted that federally backed unemployment extensions have always been funded by emergency spending and as Michigan junior Senator Debbie Stabenow succinctly put it, “…if 15 million people out of work isn’t an emergency, I don’t know what is.”

Republican Unemployment Lie 2 – “Reallocating job-creation funds will work better.”

Republicans say it makes more sense to renege on the stimulus packages already allocated elsewhere – namely, funding to help create new jobs – and use that money to pay unemployment.

Cripes. Again with the poorly reasoned arguments! What they’ve basically said here is that you can pay for unemployment or you can pay for job creation, but funding both is just plain unthinkable. Can’t be done. Of course, we get no intelligent explanation as to why this is. It’s a lot like how they don’t want people being on welfare, but they don’t want to help pay for schooling so people can get off welfare.

But, see, Ezra Klein points out that “taking the money for a bridge that was to be built next month in order to fund unemployment benefits for next week is like bailing water from one part of the boat into another part.”

It is a perfectly insidious way, however, of making the failure look like the fault of the Left: Republicans offered to rape job-creation funding – an offer they knew Democrats would reject because it’s so stupid – so that they could then point the finger at Democrats as turning down unemployment extensions. In fact, it didn’t take long for Michigan Republican Representative Dave Camp to do just that. He said, “Americans are not receiving their unemployment checks because Democrats refuse to pay for these benefits… We could pass this bill with broad bipartisan support if Democrats would just agree to pay for the spending.”

Dave Camp is a duplicitous, lying fucker who fully typifies his greed-based political party. What’s worse is that he knows it. Every greedy son-of-a-bitch in the world is aware of his own greed. Every sane person understands right and wrong. But not everyone is entirely honest with themselves.

Republican Unemployment Lie 3 – “There are more important things than money.”

It’s true, but not when said by a 21st-century Republican. To them, nothing is more important than money; not millions of unemployed Americans with no source of income; not homeless children with untreated diseases; not countless species of innocent animals ingesting crude oil; nothing.

OK, fine, it could be successfully argued that right-wingers value spite more than money since they’ll spend everything they have just to keep from having to share any of it. And I guess the fact they will hemorrhage money into retaliatory wars means their cowardice also outweighs their greed…

…so I guess we’ll call this last one a “grossly misleading statement” as opposed to a “lie”. An insubstantial difference, really, but it would be hypocritical of me to knowingly misrepresent the facts, wouldn’t it?

Well, it’s been an interesting experience, this blogging thing. I’ve met some really cool people with whom I hope to never lose touch. I’ve also met a few real pieces of shit that I sincerely hope I will never have to encounter again as long as I live. If you’re in either of these groups, chances are you already know it. Do try to choose your actions accordingly, would you?

*Yeah, I used “filibuster” as a verb and I’m OK with it. I mean, it’s not like I blew up a bunch of children, polluted the ocean, and fought with all my might to keep basic rights from certain types of people. That would make me a true asshole.

Posted in Critcal Politcal | Tagged | 34 Comments

Just Be Glad You Can’t Taste It

This post is going to be a bit mish-mashy, like it was concocted in some sort of compositional Crock Pot – a Mulligan Stew made of words. My Cajun peeps can think of it as a gumbo post, although my readers in Kentucky and West Virginia might be closer if they described it as more of a burgoo.

Anyway, the point is this post has no point. It’s basically the bastard result of my shallow need for attention copulating with my guilt over posting so infrequently. In other words, this post has serious personality issues, but they aren’t its fault.

Sessions with my new guitar student are going satisfactorily, though I have encountered a challenge that, while completely unforeseen, does not surprise me in the least. In fact, I wonder why I didn’t realize it sooner.

One of the notable things about J – after his mechanical expertise and strong work ethic – is the fact he is home-schooled. To my mind, there’s really nothing inherently wrong with that, as long as the parents are themselves educated and have at least a moderate level of teaching ability. J’s mother is a smart enough woman and her son is certainly no dummy. I won’t say the boy’s education has necessarily suffered for lacking the direction afforded by the public school system, but it has definitely taken a different path to reach its ends.

Last Saturday, a bunch of us were in my next door neighbor’s garage doing a little jamming. My neighbor D was on bass guitar and, during a lull, started laying down this somewhat funky 4/4 rhythm. The kid on drums soon joined him with a matching beat. Wanting to keep it simple, I played a basic four-bar I-IV-V-I progression that I figured J could easily mimic. He knew the chords in his sleep and the changes were slow and right on the beat.

After a half hour of trying to get J’s playing to match the rhythm of the bass and drums, it dawned on me that having not been assimilated by the  Seattle Public School System, J never had to learn about ostinato patterns by singing “Ta-Ta-Ti-Ti-Ta.” (That isn’t to say his mother didn’t give her children any musical instruction; J’s little sister can sight-read sheet music and has mad piano skillz.)

So my lesson plans need a little retooling. 5×7 index cards need to be converted to flash cards. Well-known, ultra-simple songs with strong, definitive beats need to be chosen and ripped to mp3. Most importantly, I need to graciously accept the fact that I have no choice but to revisit Ta-Ta-Ti-Ti-Ta and all the mind-numbing monotony that entails. All the chord knowledge and shredding skill in the world isn’t worth diddly-squat if you can’t define a basic rhythm.

Karin reminded me this morning of one of my all-time favorite quotes:

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
–Friedrich Nietzsche

Interesting little fact: Hollywood hottie Megan Fox has this particular quote tattooed down the right side of her torso. I like her.

I’ve been thinking a lot about something my therapist said to me recently. I was describing how certain people who know me well seem to be constantly pushing my buttons in attempts to piss me off. I cited several sensitive examples that were weighing heavily on my mind (one of them had caused me to yet again refuse to speak to my mother).

I told him, “Doc, there are just certain people who simply make me feel angry, frustrated and unhappy.”

He said, “Your emotions, as unconscious and autonomous as they are, are still yours and yours alone. No one can make you feel a certain way. Rather, you feel certain ways when you engage certain people.”

That might seem like he’s picking nits or even disguising false wisdom with fancy wordplay. But the more I think about it, the more I realize he’s right. It is, after all, up to each individual to ensure their own life has purpose. Gee, you’d think I’d have already gleaned such an utterly Existentialist idea by now, considering my love of Nietzsche.

“The important thing,” he continued, “is to determine why you feel certain emotions around certain people and then to look at repairing those things, if possible.”

“Can’t the reason simply be that certain people always try to upset me?”

“Perhaps, but not likely. Those actions you perceive as deliberate attacks are almost assuredly the exact opposite. Most people are far too preoccupied with their own struggles to spend time contriving ways to get at you.” He gave me a comforting smile. “We humans are selfish like that.”

“Yeah, I guess we are.”

Our hour was up, but he made sure to sum up in clear terms: “Your emotions are all very important, Kirk. They are not the enemy. Emotions helped mankind adapt to countless hardships over the course of millions of years and they continue to do their job to this day. Learn to take advantage of their function without being dissuaded by their many forms.”

Easier said than done, Doc.

I’ll end with this sweet little riddle I heard on Mythbusters the other night:

What is all red and smells like blue paint?

We’ll see if anyone gets it right in the comments. NO FAIR answering unless you figured out the answer on your own. If you’ve heard the joke before, you’re disqualified. I want to give peeps who haven’t heard it a chance to guess.

Posted in Can I Say Something?, Guitar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

TGIDG

It means “Thank God It’s DG” – you know, because today is Friday – but now that I look at it again, it kinda reminds me of the comments being left by the spammers currently spreading through VOX like a pestilent infection. Seriously, what is it about gibberish that these creeps think will give me confidence in their fly-by-night scams? Sorry, but even if I thought I needed a vacation in Singapore, a banal self-help philosophy, and something called a “dlagktly flggithurathzkl”, I’d be disinclined to purchase them from a cadre of faceless imbeciles on the internet.

True story: I recently deleted a comment from a spammer on a song I had posted. The comment read, “I agree it is good good idea”. Well, that’s “good good” to know, and I’ll tell you why. The song was a condensed telling of Poe’s horror classic The Cask of Amontillado and, well, I sort of like to avoid doing business with people who feel burying someone alive behind the remotest wall of a wine cellar is a workable solution to a problem. I mean, what if I happen to miss a payment on my new dlagktly flggithurathzkl? Next thing I know, I’m serving as fancy, organic insulation in the walls of some mansion in Southeastern Europe. All because I bought a dlagktly flggithurathzkl I didn’t even need! No thanks.

Anyway, that’s enough about those murderous spammers and their evil plot to build their mountain-top houses from our dried bones. Let’s look at pictures of the Deej.

This first one shows DG in one of his daily rituals: “bird watchee”. Every morning, without fail, DG saunters into the bedroom and, if there is no easy way up onto the bed via piled laundry, begins meowing until I lift him up to his favorite spot by the window. He will sometimes stand staring out the window just like this for 30-40 minutes, depending on the level of bird-and-squirrel activity.

Pardon me, but would you have any Grey Poupon?

No? Then, might you possess something grey that I may poop on?

DG is in no way a coy kitteh. What you’re seeing here is merely his method for getting whatever the hell he wants.

DG’s look of controlled annoyance. His look of uncontrolled annoyance has never been photographed because pain and the sight of my own blood always make me forget I’m holding a camera.

There he is. My world-famous, hyper-photogenic cat. One of these days, I’m going to get out a black Sharpie and add mock seal skin spots to his white area so he looks like he’s wearing a king’s coronation robe. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

No? Just me, then…

Have a terrific weekend, peeps! 😀

Posted in The Book of Deej, The VOX Years | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

The Slacker Parallax and Reciprocal Prosperity

I know what you’re thinking. And I’m sure that from your vantage point, all evidence would suggest that I have been quite the slacker.

Not true. I haven’t really done anything bloggy at all (and for that, I apologize to all my beloved VOX peeps), but it’s only because I have been so gosh-darned* productive the past couple weeks.

As you know, I’m a middle-aged man with severe ADHD hyperactive spaz who has difficulty concentrating on menial tasks can’t focus for more than five minutes on anything that isn’t fun or fascinating. That’s why I don’t blame you for not just automatically assuming my absence was from being super-busy hanging doors and fixing cabinets. You couldn’t possibly have known a jangled jumping bean like me could spend a sick number of hours recording and processing guitar tracks for a CD of original songs or teaching music to a budding, young mind.

Oh, but you know what? Before I go into any of that, I want to take a second to tell you all about Karin’s newest accomplishment, because it sort of dwarfs any of mine…

See, despite the terrible fact Karin has been a habitual smoker since she was fifteen, she hasn’t smoked a cigarette for three days AND she’s done it without transforming into a psychopathic harpy! In fact, she’s been downright wonderful. They say the first three days are the roughest stretch; if that’s true, then Karin’s gonna kick this addiction’s ass inside-out! Way to go, babe! 😀

OK, so, back to focusing on me.

I recently acquired a new guitar student. We’ll call him J. This kid (he’s sixteen) has an insatiable desire to know all there is to know about music theory and how it applies to the fretboard. That’s significantly more amazing than it sounds. I’ve been known to kick paying students to the curb simply because they didn’t really want to learn anything beyond a few AC/DC licks and I gotta tell you: it’s exciting and rewarding to have a student who isn’t satisfied simply playing the intro to Hells Bells over and over and over and over. And over.

There’s another aspect to this new arrangement that has nothing at all to do with music, but is probably just as reaffirming and important to me. May I tell you about it?

When J originally asked me if I would be willing to show him a few things on the guitar, I told him I’d go ahead and show him everything, so long as he had the time and the desire.

“But,” J replied, “how much do you charge?”

“Money isn’t one of the requirements. Time and desire. That’s all you need.”

We were standing in my front yard. J looked around for a minute, seemingly deep in thought, then said, “I could take care of this yard for you. I mean, I can tell you hate mowing and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s blackberry vines.”

I should tell you J and his older brother are well-known throughout the neighborhood for their mechanical expertise. As I’ve watched them grow up over the past 12 years, their single undying obsession has been gas-powered objects (preferably gas-powered objects that mow, whack, chop, cut, or slice). It will also help to know they and their little sister are raised by a single, formerly abused mother who makes a very modest living. Both boys work to help her with the bills, but the sad fact is things like taking guitar lessons usually aren’t even an option for boys like J.

Then again, accepting charity wasn’t an option to him, either, so he proceeded to find a workable alternative to the almighty dollar. As most of you know, I despise laissez-faire capitalism and all the subtle inequities inherent in it, so I was nothing short of delighted at his suggestion. J came back that same day and worked on my yard for three straight hours. By the time he was done, my yard looked better than it has in years. And he’s so curious about music, our hour-long sessions usually get stretched to two or three hours. It’s win/win.

Geez, I was going to say some stuff about my new guitar effects processor and how it lets me record my music with professional-level quality, but what would I say? That the songs sound frelling awesome? That I barely sleep anymore as a result? That having such an amazing tool at my disposal has caused me to completely rethink how my songs are composed, arranged, and played? Yeah I could say all that stuff, but I’ve gone on too long as it is.

I’ll see ya.

*My mother says the reason she never reads my blog is because I use too many cuss words.

Posted in Can I Say Something? | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Choice Words for Brandon Halcomb

There’s an expression I quite like that goes something like this:

It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

It’s a sentiment I’m guessing Kentucky high-school student and self-absorbed whiner Brandon Halcomb was never exposed to (or simply never quite understood). Halcomb wrote an open letter to Vice President Biden chastising him for using the “f-bomb” in a private conversation with President Obama. In doing so, Halcomb revealed unequivocally to the world that he is a fool.

But I have to say that if you can wade through the painful syntax and practically non-existent capitalization exhibited by the Kentucky Crybaby, his extraordinary bit of pitiful whimpering is actually quite entertaining on a couple levels.

Now, let’s not forget that Biden was whispering and had been caught only because his microphone was still on. A grave error, to be sure, but it’s not like he stood up in the middle of Congress and slung the term directly at another person out of impotent rage.

It’s laughable that Halcomb is all over Biden, who used the f-word in low tones never intending to be heard by anyone but the President, when it’s well-known that former Vice President Cheney openly attacked Senator Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor with a seemingly well-practiced “fuck yourself”. Biden’s use of the word was with regard to the importance of health care reform; Cheney’s was for the express purpose of publicly slandering a member of Congress.

The other way in which I found Halcomb’s argument entertaining is in the ludicrous assumption that Biden is beholden to apologize to him at all, as if the Vice President of the United States feels the need to make reparations with some busybody high-school punk who clearly has a biased agenda and hasn’t lived long enough to even be considered aware enough to vote.

Seriously, how can Halcomb act so sanctimonious about the well-being of America when the most important thing he can come up with to put before the VP is an admonishment for using an expletive? The economy is suffering, oil is poisoning the ocean, and China continues trying to kill our children, but this dork has his panties in a wad over a swear word.

Talk about fucking stupid.

Brandon Halcomb really should spend more time on his English homework and less time on his soapbox. Maybe if he studies really hard and finally gets a grasp of basic compositional rules, he’ll be in a better position to judge the language used by others.

Posted in Critcal Politcal | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments