2 April 2008 | Godlessness | 2 Comments

This will become an atheism oriented blog. I’ve been reading a lot of atheist books and blogs recently, and they all arouse strong feelings in me about the evils of organized religion and religious fanaticism. In my daily life and work, there’s not much I can really do about such things except speak out. This blog will be one of the form in which I speak out. I’ve also been wearing the red atheist “A” (a lapel pin) that Richard Dawkins and The Out Campaign have been promoting to increase visibility of atheists and the public perception of them. Sadly, statistics show that atheists are thought of very poorly as compared to other groups (minorities, gays, Muslims, Mormons, et hoc genus omne), something which I linked to in an older post.
It’s interesting how I’ve come to realize over the years how strongly atheist I really am. It’s been a slow realization. I recall that in elementary school when I first began to think on the idea of God having created the universe, my first question was “But who created him?” It didn’t make any sense to me then (3rd or 4th grade, I believe) that the universe necessitated an act to create it but somehow a creating god did not. I’ve also always had an issue with Christianity, the most prominent religion in this country. It’s manipulative and controlling, and it always seemed to me that those who preached its ideas were more in it for themselves and for the sake of having more people on their side than they were for the benefit of others. It’s always seemed very selfish to me.
I slowly came around to atheism as I began to know atheists in real life (a kid in high school, my friend Jason in Florida, others). I didn’t yet say to myself or others that atheist was what I was, but it made the most sense and I respected it most. The one “click” moment I really know of was reading Clayton James Cubitt’s (a/k/a “Siege”) blog on Nerve.com where he referenced his atheism and I thought “Me too.” Since then I’ve not shied away from the label.
In the past month I’ve read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, which really got my blood boiling against religious fools; The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by August Comte-Sponville; and The Quotable Atheist by Jack Huberman (who also authored The Bush-Hater’s Handbook and Bushit!). I bought, as well, Everything You Know About God is Wrong and The Portable Atheist. Daily I am in the habit of reading Friendly Atheist and Skepchick.
Oh, and going far enough out to be poking fun and belief, I’m thinking of buying a Flying Spaghetti Monster pin.

Obama has done more in the senate.

21 February 2008 | Politics | No Comments

Hillary’s claims of actions versus rhetoric really fall flat after reading this:

Fewer senate accomplishments, despite 4 more years

Long time, no sea.

16 June 2007 | Life | 1 Comment

I have missed the ocean recently. Karen and I really should plan a trip to Florida.

Large updates: Karen and I were married one month ago today. One month and one day ago today I was promoted to Associate Team Leader. Things are going well in Chicago.

I really need to write a great deal more. I’m seeking some more challenge in my life, and not finding it in many places. The greatest challenges, though, are those within myself. So – procrastination and its elimitation. That’s a challenge. Losing the 20+ pounds in fat I put on late last year is another. So, I should be writing more and riding (my bike) more. The latter I already seem to have a handle on.

I now have 5 typewriters. I think that’s a bit nutty, don’t you?


17 January 2007 | Life | No Comments

So, I’ve been quiet, I know. I’ve owed an update for many months, as well as a comment here or there. I haven’t updated my LJ, Myspace blog, nor my iw.electricbrainreserve.com blog in several months (not since July for that last one). What’s been going on with A., you wonder?

Well, for starters, in September, Jonathan and I moved into a new apartment. On Broadway in Lakeview, just south of Addison, so it’s nearly dead-center in Boystown. The neighborhood is nice, the apartment is nice, the rent isn’t too shabby. And, as of December 27th, Karen is living here also. Yes, after a mere five months of dating, she’s moved in – and it’s awesome. I’ll spare you all the excessive hyperbole of how things are wonderful between us (because, trust me, I could hyperbole the hyperbole) and just say that it’s perfect. We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas here together, I met her parents in September, we’ll be visiting mine in March and attending my best friend Shannon’s wedding in June. Wonderful, I say again.

I bought a sewing machine in October, I think (not too long after moving in here, is all I know). An old Sears Kenmore, in pristine condition, with all the manuals and fancy parts and bobbin spools and buttonholing attachments and whatwhat. I went to the Brown Elephant (this thrift store down the street that I frequent too much, which happens to help support Howard Brown Health Center) to buy one, and found a somewhat “okay” machine for around $30 that I brought up to the counter. The guy asked me if I wanted to look at one that I had just come in which he had back there. Same price, INFINITELY better condition and features and whatnot. In a nice carrying case, too. And from the late 40’s or early 50’s, it seems from the manual (photos with pictures of women dressed for the decade with the caption “Home economists at work in the Sears Kenmore lab”).

Work is going quite well. I was put in charge of some serious Holiday Ordering business over the season, and it went spectacularly well. I loved the challenge and doing something different, and got compliments from many TL’s and the STL. So now I’m taking on a bit more responsibility in other areas that are in need of organization currently. There’s 3 more Whole Foods opening in Chicago this year, and there’ll be plenty of opportunities to move up, so I’m getting on that train. In fact, there will be one just down the street, about 1.5-2 blocks from me, across from The Brown Elephant, in June or July. That will be quite nice – it will be in a nice area, quick to get to, and I’m going to go for a higher position that I’m certainly ready for.

I bought a piano (also at the Brown Elephant, haha) in November for $200. Nice deal, and it ended up being stupid cheap to move even though we’re on the second floor. A spinet, so it’s not some huge beast, but it sounds quite okay, though a tuning is planned and the repair of one key. Karen practices on it quite often, almost as often as her cello, and it sounds quite good in her hands. I myself need to practice more often.

My brother turned 30 on Tuesday, which I suppose can seem a bit freaky. He and Eloisa are also expect the second baby in a couple of weeks (or less). So I’ll have my adorable niece Sage AND a new awesome kid to visit when Karen and I go there in March. :)

So much to post, I don’t know if I’m missing out on anything. Ask me something if you feel the need to know anything, I don’t know what else I need to include. I’m nursing a short glass of fine sake and feeling quite peachy.




1 July 2006 | Life | 1 Comment

While walking home from work tonight, there was the most beautiful moon. Nearly a sliver of a crescent, and deep orange. I wished I had my better camera with me. The zoom on my digital would not have been enough to capture the sight accurately.
As I walked up Sheffield, I passed a ‘guy’ – a stereotypical beer commercial guy type – wearing a T-shirt that said “Hung Like a Republican”, with the elephant logo on it. If I hadn’t been so absorbed in the music I was listening to on my iPod, I would have stopped to express my sympathies for his plight.
I dislike this tiny apartment more and more with each passing day. The hot water is typically less than lukewarm, and takes a great deal of time to get hot. I feel I waste an insane amount of water just to get it warm enough to do the dishes. This place is also still way too small for me. It’s a heinous job to clean it, as even when as organized as it possibly can be, it’s still crowded.
I am excited about visiting my brother and his family the week after next. It’s really not good that my niece will be nearly two and I’m meeting her for the first time. Yes, however, that is my own fault for not visiting them more often.
Software update recently updated all 3 of my Macs to 10.4.7, which has eliminated the glitch that caused random freezing and crashing when running the mlan software necessary to use my Presonus Firestation. Great news, as I don’t have to buy a new audio interface. I loved the features and the sound of the Firestation anyway, so it would have been a tough situation to find something new that I like.
My new issue of The Wire arrived in the mail today. Again, I cannot reiterate enough, that I think this is the single greatest music magazine ever. Not pretentious, no caustic insulting reviews, and spanning genres beyond disparate – genres spread far and wide, scattered to the winds. Current 93 is on the cover (or the one man who is the driving, and only constant member, of the group). I recall how much Myke C-Town loved them, and feel I should give their music another chance. Dark can be good, but dark for dark’s sake may as well be goth, which I loathe. This issue also has a good article on Die Tödliche Doris. I have all of their works (you can download them all free from their website) – dark, but for humor’s sake. Very bizzare, avant-garde, and (dare I say it?) absurdist. Again with Ant and the Absurdism, eh?

Here I write

8 June 2006 | Life | No Comments

Today I have somehow found the motivation to write something. Minor updates of sorts, nothing spectacular or exceedingly fascinating here.
I’ve been walking to and from work instead of taking the train. It’s 2.6 miles each way, about a 35-40 minute walk, depending on my energy. I’m glad to be getting some regular exercise, even if it is not much. I must begin running again.
I measured the distance that I’ve been walking with a wonderfully useful website, MapMyRun.com. It allows you to enter a starting address, and click on points in the map to track your walk/run. It’s based on Google Maps, so it has that wonderful satellite view for any areas where there are no streets. I used it to measure the distance of the run I’ve done along the lakeshore – about one mile, it turns out. That’s why the run/jog/walk back was so terribly heinous when I would do that – I was already traveling a mile in one direction. I will go back out and do that again, definitely, and build up to longer distances. I want to run the Chicago Marathon next year. It’s the only marathon in the country that doesn’t require you to qualify to enter.
If you are interested in the different ways I trek to work or my little run along the lakeshore, MapMyRun allows you to create a profile and save it. Mine is here.
I’ve been trying to cook more at home, to save money. Today I’m making some seitan from scratch. I think I’ve discovered the trick to getting it the exact texture I want. It turns out that the more you knead the dough before simmering it in the broth, the firmer the seitan will be. I have always been a fan of the softer seitan, or of the ‘wheat meat’ type seitan (which I have no idea how to make – how do they get that stringy consistency?). So I’ll be doing considerably less gluten kneading in the future.
I’ve not written anything in so long, it’s worrying me. I started writing some bits and pieces of new songs on Tuesday, though, which is good. Very sharp, bitter stuff, as per usual – the Morrissey sort of bitter, where laugh cruelly at the humor in it. At least I do. I enjoying writing that sort of thing greatly. I may make an attempt and bringing my vocal abilities to the open mic next Tuesday.

I drank

21 May 2006 | Life | 1 Comment

I drank more sake than I should have last night. To be honest, I’ve been on a bit of a binge the past few days, consuming massive quantities of things I shouldn’t. Sugary sweets (two bags of Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies, nearly a pound of dark chocolate covered espresso beans, chocolate covered ginger, vegan marshmellow fluff, etc), alcohol (the aforementioned sake, Johnnie Walker Red, the last of my Maker’s Mark, a Pabst Blue Ribbon), nicotine (a hookah last night at Samah). I feel used up, wasted, damaged today. I’ve got to stop doing this. Tomorrow I must eat well and be productive. I must cease wasting my time with nothing. I will clean, I will write, I will record some vocals. I realize my largest problem (and likely the cause of all my distraction and procrastination) is that I am a sensualist, an aesthete, a hedonist. I am too much in love with experience, with sensation and pleasure, with taste and smell and touch and sound.

That realization comes with the harsh doubt of its correctibility. I this something I can fix so that I may be able to focus easier and accomplish things? It is seeming less likely, but there is a great chance I am incorrect in that.

I am

17 May 2006 | Life | No Comments

…sticky. My face, my hands, covered in sweet and sticky juices, and I’m doing my best to lick myself clean.
I’ve been cutting mangos for most of the morning. I am improvising a mango chipotle stew (I love improvised cooking – though I own more vegan cookbooks than you could shake a carrot stick at – I get a great deal of joy from making a dish up on the spot), and, as I love mangos more than any other fruit, more than nearly any other food, I am taking to opportunity to suck, lick, bite, and chew every last bit of mango flesh left on the pits and the skins as I prep my fleshy fruit. I’m going to have to wash my face thoroughly after cooking, as these sticky sweet drippings are making ‘flavor savor’ quite the aptronym today.
I love food. I doubt you could find me a vegan, though, who does not love food, who does not take a great deal of joy and ecstasy from the act of eating or even making food. The vegans I know all talk more about food than other people, cook more often than other people, and eat even a great deal more than other people (fat and skinny vegans alike).
I must go dice the onions now, and chop the chipotles, cut the corn kernels from the cob, give the cilantro a rinse…

Hatin’ christians.

12 May 2006 | Life | No Comments

Why? We’re opinionated, but harmless. And, not to mention, we actually think.

James Jean

12 May 2006 | Art | No Comments

I came across James Jean’s work yesterday while I was wasting time. Dark, yet not grotesque or obscene, and sad, and beautiful. I particularly like this piece.