This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

All the Little Things I Can Think Of in One Post.

There are a bunch of small topics out there and inside my cramped head that I feel like covering. These are things that definitely don't deserve their own post. I'll try to think of as many of them now as I can.

Jill bought a CD for me (and herself, too -- lets be real here) from a band called The Bravery. They are another one of those 80's sound-alike bands, and their lead singer sounds like somebody from the 80's that I can't quite remember the name of. In truth, he sounds like Bono sometimes and like Robert Smith sometimes and like "The Church" guy sometimes and an indie rocker sometimes. i like them solely based on their liberal use of synthesizers. Thats what it's come to these days. Listening to all that techno has ruined me. Or improved me.

My "State of the Milwaukee Bucks Address" will happen as soon as this off-season completely shakes out and I can see what kind of team they have. They received great news today as their best player, Michael Redd, re-signed for a ridiculous sum of cash. Now he needs to become The Man. The Bucks' future is tied at the hip to him now. I suspect he can handle it. They also seem to have agreed to let George Karl's former henchman Terry Stotts coach the team. That is merely okay news.

I saw the finale (or an encore presentation of the finale) of the WB's Beauty and the Geek tonight. For those of you keeping score at home and taking notes on every post, this makes exactly two episodes that i've seen -- the premiere and the finale. In between the two shows, I figured out that all but two of the 6 couples were eliminated somehow, and that there were massages, dates, cooking, and all sorts of other things I'm probably glad I missed. In the end, the competition came down to who knew their mismatched partner's middle name. Hasn't that particular challenge game been played out on every season of Survivor? Do we really need that? How about a chili cook-off or some good ole fashioned rasslin'? I don't really know where I'm going with this. Next paragraph...

In the end, I probably have more respect for and less of a tendency to dismiss the sorority girls I meet, after Mindi was so awesome in so many ways on the show. But then, I don't really know any real live sorority girls, do I? Hey, anyone out there a sorority girl? I don't judge you anymore, I promise. You are smart until proven stupid in my intelligence justice system. Maybe I should have attended a college with sororities.

You know, I need to tell my stories of being rejected by women sometime. It's like a real live version of Beauty and the Geek, only God eventually walks in and leads me to a wonderful woman who becomes my wife. God didn't show up on this show, to my knowledge. It very well could have happened in one of the middle episodes.

I'm going to release a novel and sell* it in installments. You can say that's cheap and unreliable, but I'd like to think of it as slightly (verrrry slightly) revolutionary. And don't e-mail me and tell me it's been done before, because I know that. Anyway, part one will be soon available on Adobe e-book format, and you all (my audience, family, and friends) are going to play an important part in its distribution. As always, there will be more details later.

I also want to use the web space that has been so generously provided and registered for me to make some interactive fiction. EX):
You wake up in a blue room (the ceiling, floor, everything is blue) that is completely empty except for an onion bagel in the far corner. The onion bagel is not blue. There is a door to your right. You need to get to an important shareholder's meeting for your company, "Death by Potato Potato Investments". What do you do next?
1) Headbutt the wall
2) Eat the bagel
3) Go out the door
4) Pet the squirrel (What squirrel?)

Ideally, the links would lead to more story, and more links, until you win or are dead. I'm thinking of calling it, "Choose the Manner of Your Demise." It's probably in some sense what I was born to do. Can God call a person to write this goofty stuff? We shall see.

*Sell in the drug-dealing sense; i.e., the first one's free, but if you want more you'll have to pay for it.

London Bombing

There was a terrorist attack this morning in London, England. There are 33 people confirmed dead, with possibly more casualties in a related bus attack. A group calling itself "The Secret Society of Al-Qaida" or something has claimed responsibility. It's all over the news. I'm sure you all can find more info somewhere better.

This is horrible, and terrorism must be stopped at all costs. Must be stopped. Think about that.

I wonder how England will react when all is said and done. Will the people capitulate like the Spanish did or get mad and show some resolve?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

News -- Wed., July 6th

Just because I forgot: Happy America's birthday, everyone!

Now let's get down to business. Yesterday in Iraq the terrorist/outsurgent "theme" was "Attack Some Diplomats Day". A big time Egyptian diplomat was kidnapped by Al-Qaida, but two others escaped with a shot to the hand and a little scare. That makes Al-Qaida 1 for 3, which would be a pretty good average, if this were baseball. There's a lesson here for all of us, though: If you're traveling through Iraq with bodyguards, don't leave them because you just need to get a paper. Stuff's blowing up. That's all you need to know.

And three cheers for those Pakistani bodyguards, eh? Fighting off Al-Qaida is no easy task.

London was awarded the 2012 Olympics, which I predict will take a month to complete because of rain delays. It's been a good week for those Londoners -- first Pink Floyd reunites, and now this. It almost makes up for Madonna moving there. I wonder what they gave the Olympic Committee to get the bid...A year's supply of crumpets? Princess Di's secret diaries, the ones where she has an affair with Elvis and founds Microsoft? The mind boggles.

It looks like women get a raw deal yet again, as:

Men who took aspirin over five years slightly lowered their risk for prostate cancer, but women who took low doses over 10 years didn't reduce their risk of cancer, two separate studies indicate.

The conflicting results don't help settle the debate about whether aspirin and similar anti-inflammatory medicines could be used to prevent cancer. Doctors think different study designs and aspirin doses explain the contrasting findings. (chicago tribune story)

Isn't it just like Big Asprin to make a product that discriminates based on gender. This is unconstitutional! Time for a lawsuit! We need to pave life over like an asphalt highway so everyone gets the same exact amount and quality of opportunities, with equal chances of disease and mental problems. It's only fair, and fairness is what America is about. During this July 4th season, think about that.

I have to include this because it's just wacky. Martha Stewart is complaining about house arrest, and pines for those wonderful prison days. Life again becomes Office Space. "You'll go to a white collar resort prison -- you should be so lucky." Or maybe Martha's just trying desperately to keep herself in the public eye and humanize herself after her scummy insider trading scandal. All I know is: I don't want to know any more about Martha Stewart. Please stop telling me things about her.

Sadly, that's all the news I can find this morning that I care about even slightly. Oh, Ray Allen blasted away my hopes of getting him back in a Bucks uniform by agreeing to resign with the stinking Sonics. But I'd rather not think about that little nightmare, thank you very much.

Grr. Now I'm thinking about it. Darn you, George Karl.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Google Word For the Day II

Today's word is nostrum, which means, "a medicine of dubious effectiveness." A good word for our age, no? Plus, I think I got my mom a gift certificate there for Mother's day last year.

Screw it, I'm cutting my own pizza!

For two consecutive nights people have ordered deliveries and given explicit instructions not to cut the pizzas. It seems they want to eat them like big sloppy cookies. Who needs pieces anyway? I like that kind of outside-the-box thinking. It's very mind-expanding.

Actually, I'm sure it was for religious reasons -- they didn't want anything touching their pizzas that wasn't an authorized Hindu topping that can be reincarnated into later, like a cow or a pig. But why all of a sudden two of these peculiar orders in two days? This had never happened before, to my knowledge. Was there a suggestion in American Hindu Magazine or something? Are they getting the same memo from somewhere? Is there a Hindu message board that all Richardson, TX Hindus check? Is it one of those avant-garde performance-art things that they are doing just to see if anyone notices? The mind boggles.

Am I being insensitve by noticing this pattern and wondering about this?

I will give them credit for a good idea, though, because those pizza cutters don't get washed as often as they probably should, and they all have some sort of grease/meat residue on them. Of course, if you're going to get hung up on not eating meat, you should probably avoid eating out altogether, because the pizza cutter is really the least of your worries. Put it this way: The average age of a cook at a pizza place is about 17. The average state of those cooks is drunk-to-high. The average level of concern they display for possible religious issues when making pizzas is none at all. That's right. And karma's a you-know-what.

All this brings to mind a Papa John's story from about 2 years ago. I delivered a veggie pizza to an Indian student at UTD, and when I got back to the restaurant I was told that I have to go back and take them another pizza. It seems that when I was on my way back, the customer had called the manager and said there was something disturbingly "fleshy" on the pizza. The manager asked what it was, and the customer didn't know, but it sure was"fleshy". He kept using that word. I took him a second pizza that passed his inspection, and he gave me the old pizza back and showed me the piece of flesh he was so concerned about. It was a mushroom.

I don't know that this story says anything conclusive about Hindus, India, Indira Ghandi, or the virtues of meat avoidance. I just know that I had steak yesterday, and it was fleshtacular.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Google Word For the Day

So I go through the trouble of personalizing my Google start page with a bunch of stuff I'll probably just want to remove later (thanks for the link, though, Paul M), and I include the "Word of the Day", which I will use to increase my vocabulary. Well guess what today's word is -- no, it's not Epth, unfortunately. Its..."varicolored", meaning: "having a variety of colors."

Next time I expect them to have a word that wasn't just made up in the Google offices. I mean, that's a word I totally could have made up. "Varicolored"? Don't we already have "multicolored"?
Google's motto is "do no harm", but they've just made the world a little dumber, or at least a little confused.

I sure hope tomorrow's word is for real.

Pink Floyd Reunites

So, I don’t know if y’all noticed this in all the hubbub surrounding the July 4th Weekend and Venus Williams’ Triumph-like triumph at Wimbledon, but Pink Floyd reunited on Saturday for the Live 8 “Concert to Try to Guilt People into Ending Starvation”. It was an amazing thing to see, even if two MTV spares talked over the middle of the last and best song, “Comfortably Numb.” At least they shut up for the second guitar solo[1]. Seriously, in the middle of that song everything was going so well, and then they started doing what can only be described as yapping over it like hippie Chihuahuas. I haven’t wanted to slap somebody that much since the last time I saw Sally Jessy Raphael.

Anyway, they played four songs, chosen for maximum impact: Breathe (appropriate for this concert, and underrated), Money (almost a little too direct for the subject at hand – and it’s become almost a love-it-or-hate-it song for the masses, and the first song a Floyd hater will point to as evidence that they suck. Bad choice), Wish You Were Here (this song must be played at every Floyd concert – Roger even mentioned Syd Barrett for the millionth time[2]), and the aforementioned Comfortably Numb (did I mention this is the greatest song ever? It is). The whole thing took approx. 22 minutes to complete, and MTV cut out at about 18. I’m actually kinda surprised they stuck with it that long, since MTV’s target demo most likely didn’t recognize any of the songs, or even who those old guys were onstage. Maybe Landon from last year’s “Real World” could have stood in the background for the last song, drunkenly swaying and smiling with a knife behind his back and that stupid reverse Mohawk on his head. Maybe then MTV Music Television would have seen fit to broadcast all of the most important moment in music this year. MTV should rename itself “Young Adult Sex Pressure TV”, since that’s what they seem to be concentrating on most these days.

It’s hard to put into words how big this reunion was for me[3] – maybe that’s skewing my opinion of its importance a bit. You have to understand, Pink Floyd is one of my Top Five bands of all time. I’ve always been amazed by them and their atmospheric weird goodness, and it’s one of those things where if people don’t think about them the same way I do, I think there must be something wrong with them. How can you not like Pink Floyd? That’s like hating cheesecake or punching random babies at the hospital. It must be indicative of a larger a character flaw. The guitar solos, the crazy keyboards, the insane lyrics – what’s not to like?

What really happened last night is that bassist and lyricist Roger Waters rejoined the band after leaving in the mid-80’s because he hated the rest of the band and thought he was better than they were. 20 years of bitterness later, they reunited for this single purpose – to give debt relief to Africa. My theory is that they were ripe for a reunion (with a Nick Mason-penned History of Pink Floyd having come out that basically said that Nick and Roger had buried the hatchet), and were just looking for an excuse to play together again. Then the biggest concert in the world just happened to come along, and it happened to be based in their backyard. All they needed was for Roger and guitarist/singer Dave Gilmour (the real focal points of the feud) to agree to appear on the same stage. I suppose they’re both getting too old to hold on to stupid bitterness. Good for them. Good for us.

The first thing I noticed when they started playing was how old they looked. I saw the non-Waters incarnation of Floyd in 1994 in Madison, WI, and they looked and sounded old then. They are now middle aged. At least their music lends itself more to the “standing around and playing” type of concert than someone like the Rolling Stones, who are old and have to prance around on stage like they’re 20. They started things with “Breathe”, off their timeless 1973 album “Dark Side of the Moon”, which sold more than 35 million copies and spent like 15 straight years on the Billboard Top 100 Albums Chart[4]. Doesn’t that sound important? I feel like I have to defend Pink Floyd these days, with all this attention being paid to worse/less popular/less interesting bands and artists like the aforementioned Stones and The Who and Bob Dylan and The Smiths and Motley Crue. Floyd was the biggest band in the world from 1973-1982. That’s a whole decade, people. Learn to love them.

“Breathe” is just a fantastic song. Now I know why Dark Side sold so many records – once you’ve gotten stoned to “Breathe”, why would you ever want to get stoned to anything else? It sounds like it was recorded in between puffs. The song just floats. On stage, the songs floats a bit less (especially when the players are 60 years old), but still rocks. And that’s the thing – Pink Floyd came to prominence on album-rock stations playing alongside Led Zep and Styx. I never understood how the same people could like Alice Cooper and Pink Floyd, but they really did. Maybe it’s the guitar solos. The guitar solos gave them a bizarre 70’s version of street cred.

“Breathe” also worked well because it’s slow (as were the other three songs they played – even the rockin’ “Money” is deceptively slow and methodical, like Glenn Robinson). At their age, they were probably only able to play and sing things that took their sweet time. Roger Waters’ voice is shot, so Dave Gilmour had to do most of the singing. During all 4 songs, Roger was noticeably excited, and Dave was stoic and professional, as if he had been reuniting with Roger 5 days a week for the past year. I think that’s just the way he is at this age.

Like I said, Roger was really excited and animated during the whole thing. He sang all the words (including the parts that weren’t even his) into no microphone in particular. He seemed genuinely tickled to be playing these songs with the mates he created them with. I suppose that’s a great feeling. I don’t know, I don’t have mates.

They played “Money” after “Breathe”, and the less said about that song the better. Those Brits liked it, though. After that, they played “Wish You Were Here”, and Dave made my wife giggle by singing the guitar solo part along with his guitar. They finished with “Numb”, and everyone in the audience was content, like after a big meal[5]. After the song was over Roger called the other three over for an arms-around-each-other bow, and they all seemed really happy. I have no idea if Roger and Dave still hate each other, or if they plan on ever making another album. I don’t care about a tour (although you better believe I would show up with pigs on). I want to hear what new Pink Floyd music would sound like. Even if it sucks, it would be great. Does that make sense? Nobody else is daring to make this kind of music anymore[6], so it would stand out. It would be interesting. I’m sure record execs want this to happen, with record sales being as pathetic as they are. Will it happen? No. But we can always dream.

[1] And I actually saw the whole thing on AOL’s web site for free. Who would have guess that finally in 2005 AOL would actually have become good for something?

[2] The Floyd probably has a little lingering guilt over how they kicked Barrett out of the band, namely by just not picking him up on the way to a gig.

[3] To give you an idea of how hard it is, this is about the fourth time I’ve tried to compose this blog post since they played yesterday. I just can’t put the right words in the right order. Now I’m relying on my writing crutch – these footnotes – to get me through. I’m so sorry.

[4] Just so y’all know, that’s not hyperbole. It may even be underestimation, or underremembering.

[5] Maybe that was just me that was content. The people out there probably wanted more. Come to think of it, so did I. Aren’t you glad you read this footnote?

[6] I know, I know. It’s an overgeneralization. There are many Floyd-influenced bands out there, I just can’t think of them. Plus, the original is better.