Friday, October 31, 2008

10,000 spoons when I need a knife

What is it to bare our soul? Does it mean confronting our own fears? For so long I believed that self-honesty was the key to life. If I could be honest with myself about my shortcomings, about my faults, then I would be able to relax. Because there would never be any realizations that took me by surprise. I would never wake up in that alley. But maybe the realization I'm heading towards is that there is no solution. Maybe there is no hope. But maybe there is.

A girl asked me today if I could tell her about Spain. I went to Spain to study this summer. So what do I have to say about it? Maybe anytime you don't have to worry about anything you will have a magical time. But at the time I was discovering a love affair with cigarettes that helped me write. I had my first cigarette in months today. It wasn't as good as I remembered. All I could say to her was that I felt free. That although I always figured my priorities to start with conquering myself in the homeland, my time in Spain was happy. But I couldn't say if that was because of me or the country.

Why do we ramble? Is rambling just a cop out for me? Because I can form ideas I just know it. And yet, I cop out. I scribble this shit and call it art and hope someone will love me. I do so knowing full-well that everyone wants to be adored, respected, admired, hell even noticed. So do I deserve that? When other people put more effort and more heart into their writing, into their songs and lives than I do. They say my generation feels entitled and I do. But am I wrong? As humans are we not entitled to some admiration. I put in more effort than most but less than some. Where is the cut-off?

Somebody tell me...

I wish someone would tell me how much I have to write to cleanse my soul.

Maybe its forever.

I miss everything and I am utterly alone in more ways than one.

But sometimes I feel consolation. Because there is always solace to be found somewhere.

Thanks for the line Alanis, It IS ironic. Oh wait, it's not, it just sucks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Open Your Golden Gates

Why can't I find some good conversation? I've tried almost everything. The strictly platonic craigslist board? No help at all. I'm just desperate for someone who can carry a thread.

It makes me wonder if I'm alone. The only thoughts I've heard/read similar to mine have been on other blogs. Has the intellectual died? I mean come on! I am in the San Francisco Bay Area. Isn't this supposed to be the intellectual capital of the western united states?

I hope it's not. Note to prospective residents: Don't come here looking for intelligent discourse. You will just have crap thrown in your face all day long by the San Francisco pseudo-intellectuals. I am in utter shock by the lack of rationality here. Remember that South Park episode where Kyle's parents move to San Francisco and the neighbors keep sniffing their own farts? It was surprisingly accurate.

Yes we have a higher ratio of Pri'i to people than most other cities. And there happen to be a lot of capital D Democrats. In fact there is even a member of the Green party on the board of supervisors! But if you have ever visited SF you've probably noticed most conversations are just a battle of who can be more hip and liberal. They go as follows:

Pseudo-intellectual fashionista: Hi I'm Aubreyeh Lee Smith-Johnasson-Africa

Pseudo-intellectual # 2: Wow thats so liberal that your parents hyphened their last names!

Pseudo-intellectual: Yeah well they are like, you know, like totally progressive..

Pseudo-intellectual # 2: So I work for a non-profit that helps dying toucans in the congo

Pseudo-intellectual #3 (fashionista): That's like so rad! Animals are like so much more important than humans. I don't wear fur.

Pseudo-intellectual # 2: Totally, like, I think humans are so, like, bad. Haha like Bush haha... He is like so dumb.

Pseudo-intellectual: Thats like.. why I'm like voting for Obama

Pseudo-intellectual # 2: Ew..I'm writing in Karl Marx

Pseudo intellectual # 4: OMG are you guys talking about politics? How can you vote for Marx? he isn't socialist enough...

etc etc etc.... (I could go on and on and on)


"Forever competeing for that one moment of self-aggrandizing glory, in which you hog the intellectual spotlight, holding dominion over the entire shallow, pointless conversation. Oh we're not worthy!"

- Say Anything: Admit It

I am so tired folks...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I had a bad week..

No clever titles here folks, I hate to say I'm burned out. On a positive note I saw my old music-business professor who remembered me as a good songwriter. : )

But enough about me. Let's talk about musicians. Old musicians.

If you're a guitar player you've no doubt come across older guitar players who have just got it all figured out. You know those guys in the clubs who say "yeah man you're pretty good but you gotta play more blues.." Those guys who are a dime a dozen? So there is a certain [old] guitarist I have been around for the past few months and because he's made a living playing guitar he feels the need to proselytize his musical opinions on everyone. In short:

No one wants to hear your original songs, they are a waste of time:

Play more blues:

Knowing jokes is more important than being good if you want to be successful:

Old music = good, new music = shit:

So I possibly agree on the third one. But this guy is just killing me. Just because no one ever wanted to hear his original songs doesn't mean that people don't want to hear others'. Newsflash: Every song is an original song. And songs for most people don't originate as a way to get work, they originate as an outlet of the soul. People write songs because their hearts/sould command them to. This is something that professional "guitarists" like him might not understand.

Anyways regarding the old music, I called his bluff (or whatever you want to call it) and bought some of the [old/outdated] albums he raves about. They weren't the worst thing I've ever heard. But they sure don't live up to today's standards. I hope I'm never stuck in the past. Not that there isn't good old music, who doesn't love Bob Dylan, Hendrix, or Roy Orbison? But there's a reason most bands from the past fade into obscurity.


Peace & Love

I'm not done yet

I hate the way everything ends. The way the chaos melts away into dullness. I hate the denouement and how necessary it seems. Because these people's lives we read about always settle down. And in a way it is sort of like defeat. And if there isn't one? Everyone sees those hippies in Berkeley who are stuck in the past. So what do we do? Embrace it?

In other news I tried out the G1 phone from T-Mobile. It is a pretty good phone but lacks totally in the media dept. Hopefully the linux crowd gets a whiff and takes android to new heights.

So here's my comparison of some smartphones and their best features:

Blackberry: Blackberry has this awesome feature where you can be working even when you are at home or on vacation and you can try to read emails on a tiny screen because they might be important.

G1: The g1 has a product scanner that you use on the barcode of a product to see where else it is for sale in the area. You can also get product reviews on that product. Then Google will send you targeted advertising.

iPhone: The iPhone has this great feature where you can be a snot-nosed douche-bag and compare everyone else's phone and computer to your own. You are also automatically in the applefanboy club which means instant friends if you go to a new city and don't know anyone.

Nokia 9300: If you own the 9300 and you are building a house and are short one brick, you can use your phone as a brick.


.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sheer Stupidity

It just kills doesn't it?

In other news, if things don't go the way I plan in my life it WAS for lack of trying.

I'm fucking aggravated.

There are so many compelling options, all of which involve the metaphorical middle-finger.

I digress and that is my point.

Peace and love and love and love, or so one would hope.

Hope is a funny word. Usually it implies being fucked with no recourse. So you count on fate or luck to fight the battles you can't.

Right? Right?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

5 lessons from the collapse

If there's 5 things you should learn from the collapse of the housing market and the subsequent turmoil on Wall St., here they are:

1: Every bubble bursts. Just because its been prolonged for thirty years doesn't mean it won't burst. If you want to see some bubbles in the process of being formed, go check out whats happening on the COMEX or wait until money comes back into the stock market. Any stock with the word solar or wind in it will shoot up. Later on, Wall St. will realize these companies don't do shit, aren't making any money, and are in terrible debt. There will be a massive sell-off leaving only the good companies at "fire-sale" prices. Speaking of Wall St.;

2: Wall St. traders are for the most part dumb as shit. Why the fuck else would high-cap stocks with NO DIVIDEND trade at 30X book value? Because Wall St. refuses to trade on the intrinsic value of ownership of stocks. Instead they trade based on their emotions and the alignment of the stars at the moment.

3: If you go into debt to buy something, you should be damn sure you actually want it. Consumer goes into extreme debt to buy house (0% down subprime loan at 10% interest), ibanks are leveraged 30:1 to buy securites based on those mortgages. Demand levels off, prices go down, borrowers default on all levels and all that leverage comes back to bite everyone in the ass. Are we still discussing how this crash happened?

4: The government is owned by the rich and powerful. If you aren't in that club you're basically fucked government-wise. Remember all those people asking "Where's my bailout?" Well it still hasn't showed up. And no, Barack Obama won't solve your problems. He's not in Washington to help you out. If you had read The Audacity of Hope, you would have read that Obama mostly hangs out with investment bankers. Have you seen any of them asking "Where's my bailout?" No. Because they know where it is.

5: Don't buy houses in shitty places like Stockton. Just because its a huge fucking house doesn't make Stockton any less shitty. (Sorry for dissing your city if there are any of you left with a house there)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Goddamn piece of %$# stock market

There is a saying among conspiracy theorists and Austrian economists that goes as follows : "Play Wall St. like a ponzi scheme." Unfortunately, I don't know how to play ponzi schemes as they are hard to call. I've sold off most of my long positions and bought the DXD. Lets hope this crash continues.

Anderson Cooper named "you the consumer" his tenth culprit of the collapse. I thought that was bold, but not entirely untrue.

What is the deal with stocks anyways? They are always so overvalued.

workin' for "the man"

Note to self (and everyone else). If you have to participate in an event for which you have to write something, consider ALL the people who will attend. I was honored in an event yesterday in which a self-written short bio about me had to be read. In that bio I had written a few disparaging things about "the man" and how excited I was to end up working for him followed up by some comments on my love for money. It was written as a humour piece but soon after arriving I realized the audience wasn't going to be as receptive as I'd imagined. It turned out that the keynote speaker was a well known I-banker and there were several other "prominent" people in attendance. But afterwards we talked at the meet & greet and he told me that working for "the man" is great. He was serious but that leaves me questioning whether the humor was lost on him.

Atheist Blogroll

Hey everyone,

I've been added to the atheist blogroll, a cool compilation of atheist blogs for you to browse through. Thanks a bunch to Mojoey. When I figue out how to add the blogroll you will see it over to the right.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First List

I'd hate to be a political blogger. But don't vote for one of the two parties. They are both corrupt, controlled by the same folks, and there to serve the interest of the same people (not you by the way). That being said, here is a list of the top 5 acceptable people to vote for (write-in).

5. Michael Savage - Michael Savage is a total asshole and I disagree with many of his main platforms and sometimes hateful speech. But he'd probably make a good president. He's too self righteous to be bought out.

4. Dennis Kucinich - Dennis Kucinich is the only member of congress who made a solid effort to impeach. 'Nuff said. He might tax you more, but he will keep government transparent. Oh yeah and civil liberties? He'd protect those.

3. Ron Paul - Ron Paul is one of the few respectable men left in congress who can has hold his own in a discussion and who understands the fundamental problems in America. He's a politician but not a crook. And like Kucinich, he cares about your civil liberties.

2. Me!!! Woo!! - I am your favorite atheist blogger. I would do a great job as president.

1. Adam Carolla (w/VP Dr. Drew) - Adam Carolla may just be the smartest man in America. From addressing the always overlooked issue of teen pregnancy to telling the Hatfields and the McCoys (read: right wing bible thumpers and ACLU douchebags) to shut the fuck up and get along, he could take us in a great direction. And his violent temper would always be kept in check by the soft-spoken and intelligent Dr. Drew.




Speaking of Adam Carolla, Striker is the worst goddamn radio host on the airwaves

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Beat Goes On

First it was elementary school.

Verdict: Useful

Then middle school.

Verdict: Shitty

Then High School:

Verdict: Kill me now

And now here I am, I guess you could say in my "college years" and how does it feel...

Well sociology is a bullshit major but it was my favorite class. I loved every second of that class and I miss it nowadays. I feel like I learned a lot that year. Psychology was great. Philosophy was amazing. The music I studied was ok but a little too formulaic. I don't know. I used to love learning more. I've just been in the same situation for so long now that I find it hard to concentrate. There's only so much soul searching a person can do before they need to take a break. I am at that break-point. If learning is a life long journey then I am stopping at a hotel to rest and recharge. At this point I've gravitated towards the less souly, more quantitative subjects and its a nice break from all that thinking. Realizing abstract relationships is easier than confronting relevant ones. I'm burned out. I'm jaded. Wow look at how unique that is... So what do I do? I'm too tired to pursue hedonistic desires, I don't even care enough. And the pleasures of the mind, the intellectual pleasures, they are lost on me for the time being. I just want sleep. I can never fall asleep fast enough. I lay in bed trying to clear my mind but I just end up reflecting on my day. My strategy has been to wait it out. But I could be wrong. I could always be wrong. I've exhausted my supply of enthusiasm in the past 2 years and now I'm paying the price.

How to Lose Traffic and Alienate Readers

Sorry SF Litquake, Toby Young is more talented than Dave Eggers. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is not as good as How To Lose Friends and Alienate People.

But why do I say that? I say that because the most difficult thing to do as writer is come to terms with yourself. And although you could say that Eggers is just as introspective, he hides behind a shield of "heart" that Toby Young is unafraid to strip away.

It kills me when writers or artists refuse to acknowledge their own selling out. And Eggers definitely HAS sold out. When they try to hide the glee which comes from success. At least acknowledge that you love it. That you want to capitalize. Recognize your own greed instead of trying to distance yourself from your own emotions as if to say "I am NOT smug, just reflective."
Eggers hs done great things with his success and that makes him the better person for it. But purity suffers when you agree to a buy-out. Toby Young is still alienating people.

The Birds and the Beezies

Every community has its characters. And one of them is always the "good guy." There's always that guy who stands for truth, justice and the American way (by American I mean the ideal, liberty and the pioneering spirit, not necessarily our current foreign policy of supporting foreign dictators and exploiting developing nations economically). There's always guy who takes a stand for love as opposed to just sex, who suggests charity instead of investment, who favors natural highs over synthetic ones. There was a time when I thought I was that guy. But it turns out I'm not.

I was just never cut out for unbounded optimism. I guess that's part of the reason I'm not religious. Because everything in life is either a gamble or a compromise. And although I'm a gambler, I don't consider myself that lucky. Like Pascal says, religion is ultimately a gamble, you put your vices, your pride, and your intellectual integrity on the line when you bet on it. If you become a born again, you go all in. So if you win, lucky you, you get eternal life and happiness, and you get to watch all of the nonbelievers who doubted your faith (how dare they!) deal with the resulting fire and brimstone. But if you lose... well fuck it, your dead anyways, who gives a shit right? No! Wrong! You're fucked! You missed out on all the world has to offer. I mean you only had one shot. If you had $1,200,000,000 and a few days to live, would you go to Vegas and bet on a horse race that didn't take place until the following year? I wouldn't! I'd spend the money as fast as possible on gourmet meals, the finest drugs the world has to offer, hookers, and a jet. IF YOU KNEW THERE WAS NO GOD WAITING ON THE OTHER SIDE, SO WOULD YOU. Because to me, knowing that you are going to die before you find out if you won or lost makes gambling lose its luster. And considering the fact that most religion is the invention of man, and that there are so many different choices you could make when it comes to religion, your odds are infinitesmally small of a) picking the right religion in the first place, and b) having that religion actualy work out for you post-death. Like I said, I'm just not that optimistic. I guess you could say I'm betting against Pascal.

But excuse the digression, I'm really not writing about that today. I'm writing about the "nice guy" from earlier. Today I read something written by one of these "nice" guys. It was about the difference between love and sex. He was writing about frat parties and reprimanding "beezies" who attend despite knowing the guys just want to get laid. Then in a bold statement. He did the unthinkable. He critiziced guys for wanting to get laid. His exact words "Try love. Trying making a connection. Grow a pair and just enjoy life."

...

Love and sex are different. Together, they are more than the sum of their parts. Having love without sex just won't be as good as having love with a healthy active sex life. And having sex with someone you don't love won't be as good as having sex with someone you do love (to be honest, I can imagine situations in which it would be). But just because they are better together doesn't mean one can't have value without the other. As a guy, I must say that there are few experiences that rank as high as blowjobs when it comes to physical AND emotional pleasure (but among them for me would be a hot rocks massage while a little bit high, the consumption of great pizza, and that lucid and relaxed moment while falling asleep if you have been up for over 20 hours). There's nothing wrong with sex and people need to realize that. When are we as a society going to get off the idea that happenstance sex between consenting adults is in any way wrong? It happens. And the "must love" militia just makes it more difficult and looked down upon for those who are looking for a spanking good time without putting all of their emotions on the line (as one does in a relationship).

So please. Whether it be frat parties, swingers' parties, lingerie parties, or other sex driven parties I haven't mentioned, refrain from telling others to avoid sex. You however, can avoid it all you want.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lollabalooga

Throughout the 2008 campaign, John McCain has made repeated efforts to distance himself from our beloved GWB. It seems now that pentecostal VP nominee Sarah Palin also is putting some distance between herself and the current president.

Greenpeace applauded George Bush for the first time in years today. According to Kenneth Weiss of the L.A. Times, "The Bush administration on Friday declared a small, isolated population of Beluga whales in Alaska's Cook Inlet as endangered species, rejecting claims from Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin that these small, white wales were on their way to recovery." Sarah Palin on the other hand has lost the militant whale-saving party's endorsement.

In case you didn't know, Beluga whales are known mostly for their small size, white appearance, and fine caviar. Yes, it seems the McCain camp will stop at nothing to disagree with Bush as the days wind down toward Nov. 4.

Politics...

Name Change

I changed the name of the blog (It started out being called confessions of a college atheist, a tribute to my favorite blogger: college callgirl). I soon realized that I don't have confessions to make. Unfortunately, my mistakes and shortcomings have all been painfully public.

The Bi-Weekly Grind

Scene: Me sitting at my desk, waiting for my hot chocolate to cool down. Me wishing I had a piece of ice.

A coworker approaches, "Oh I remember what I meant to give you!" He walks off.

3 minutes later:

He comes back with a piece of paper "Reading material" he says. It is a page of jokes. The first is about a retired florida couple having an affair at a sex therapist's office and as a result of medicare it is cheaper than a hotel. It is genuinely funny. There is also a joke about a scientist and a farmer. Not funny, but clever in the way that jokes are.

Scene: I sit at my desk staring blankly at the computer screen

I work on my personal statement. I try to sound as if music has taught me humility. I try to sound like I am mature and interesting. I try to hint at talent without outright saying it. I try to sound like I am just a little smarter than I am, but without stretching it so far that I seem unnatural. I try to tell a story about what music means to me but it doesn't work. It frustrates. I give up.

Scene: I sit at my desk reading a newspaper:

The phone rings. I answer it. I transfer the call.

Scene: I sit at the computer blogging.

Here I am...


hope your work days are as interesting as mine.

The New Me

One day there will be a new me. There will be a me with better vision. There will be a me who has finished The Beautiful and Damned. There will be a me who has read Shakespeare. There will be a me who only owns one style of sock and one style of underwear. There will be a me with straighter teeth. There will be a me with whiter teeth. There will be a me who can debate existentialism. There will be a me who is not intimidated by math but excited by it. There will be a me with bulging biceps and defined delts. There will be a me with a six-pack. There will be a me who went on to a four-year college. There will be a me with a black belt. There will be a me who can improvise jazz licks on the guitar. There will be a me with an archtop guitar. There will be a me who made a fortune in stocks. There will be a me who can melt hearts with a song. There will be a me who can arrange ideas in Spanish. There will be a me who has thought in Spanish. There will be a me who has met people with good ideas. There will be a me who has inspired ideas. There will be a me who has broken a heart. There will be a me who can love and love and love. But that me will be a me who has not forgotten who he used to be.

I am content with myself not because of what I am right now, but because of what I will be.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Derivates

Talked to my math teacher today. He's a good guy. I am stuck on a proof that is kicking my ass. Damn you Isaac Newton! If anyone can explain how to derive the symbolic derivative of a power function, let me know.

Monday, October 13, 2008

24/7 Fitness

I've always hated the gym. I don't know if it's the threat of staph infection or the general damage to the self esteem from seeing the vivacious milfs I will never have glistening beneath fluorescent lights. Either way, I force myself to go.

The first thing I considered was steroids. It was during the time I was trying to save the last remnants of my first significant failed romance. Not only did the girl I was dating have a thing for large muscled he-men, she had a problem with my lack of assertiveness. The only thing I knew about steroids was from health class where we watched a short film about a football player (Ben Affleck) who decides to up the ante for his rural high school football conference. He ends up going completely nuts after a few cycles resulting in him killing some people and getting kicked off the football team. "Shit" I thought "I am the least aggressive, most passive person I know. If steroids turned him into O.J. , the most they'll turn me into is Larry King." Unfortunately, unless you are willing to approach the hopped-up Ben Affleck characters at the gym you won't get very far trying to find decent steroids.

Following my failure to procure anabolic goodies, I tried taking it too far without steroids; sobriety, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, trader joe's etc. It lasted about a day.

So now I am back to trying to fit the gym into an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle. I can't give up fast food, late-nights, occasional cigarettes, powdered donuts, soda, caffeine, or drinking. So I try to offset it all with some serious exercise. Who said life was fair?

Everything in moderation right?

This is not a blog about Atheism

This is a blog about me and my life. I happen to be an atheist. It isn't a huge part of my life and there are other blogs which are more dedicated to the topic itself (if that's what you're looking for check out friendlyatheist and atheistblogger). I am just a guy, musing on life & love without a cushion of faith to fall back on when things go badly. I'll let you know if one day the idea of "God" wins me over. Then maybe this will morph into one of those "I found God, wanna hear about my spiritual Journey? (P.S. I think I get to skip in line at the pearly gates if it ends up converting you!)" blogs. But for now I am living life in the Bay Area trying (read: pretending) to be a musician and writer. These are my stories.