Monday, March 28, 2011

The Camel Club

Not usually the kind of books I read, "The Camel Club" (593 pages) by David Baldacci turned out to be a pretty good recommendation from my mom. From the book:

"Welcome to the Camel Club. Existing at the fringes of Washington, D.C., the Club consists of four eccentric members. Led by a mysterious man known as "Oliver Stone," they study conspiracy theories, current events, and the machinations of government to discover the "truth" behind the country's actions. Their efforts bear little fruit - until the group witnesses a shocking murder... and they become embroiled in an astounding, far-reaching conspiracy. Now the Club must join forces with a Secret Service agent to confront one of the most chilling spectacles ever to take place on American soil - an event that may trigger the ultimate war between two different worlds. And all that stands in the way of this apocalypse is five unexpected heroes."

Though a few years outdated, "The Camel Club" is still an interesting look into American foreign policy and the supposed war on terror. Through his writing it's clear that Baldacci leans a little to the left politically, a nice surprise for me with this kind of fiction. I don't want to give up more of the plot than I have to but I will say that the book is well written and easily finished in spite of the myriad of characters and plots that move wildly from chapter to chapter. The only other major complaint was the wild and somewhat unbelievable turn the book took toward the ending. In spite of this I enjoyed the novel well enough to recommend it and to check out the three other novels in the Camel Club series.

Thunder Clinch!

Not that this is big news or anything since it was expected but I'm still stoked the Thunder have officially clinched a playoff berth for the second year in a row! Most likely they'll win the Northwest Division shortly in the Western Conference as well. Unless something unlikely happens Oklahoma City will host the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. Thunder up!

The 5000 Question Meme, Part Two

Tried to post this yesterday but I was having some issues, that's what I get for downloading IE 9...

I've had a hard time getting motivated to blog lately, today is no exception. From Sunday Stealing:

Cheers to all of us thieves!

26. Who has done something today to show they care about you?
My neighbor came over earlier and asked to borrow some money. Does that count?

27. Do you have a lot to learn?
I'm not sure how to respond to this.

28. If you could learn how to do three things just by wishing and not by working what would they be?
A foreign language. To play the piano. The ability to pick winning lottery tickets.

29. Which do you remember the longest: what other people say, what other people do or how other people make you feel?
Definitely how people make me feel.

30. What are the key ingredients to having a good relationship?
A water bed?

31. What 3 things do you want to do before you die?
(1) Travel more, especially to southeast Asia and South America.
(2) Punch Dane Cook in the face.
(3) Move away from Oklahoma.

32. What three things would you want to die to avoid doing?
Nothing comes to mind, today is not a good day to die.

33. Is there a cause you believe in more than any other cause?
Nothing really stands out above others though I am passionate for certain causes.

34. What does each decade make you think of:
Getting older.

35. Which decade do you feel the most special connection to and why?
Probably the '80's since this is when I came of age.

36. What is your favorite oldie/classic rock song?
Too many to pick a favorite but I really dig "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac.

37. What country do you live in and who is the leader of that country?
The good old US of A. Our leader is that one guy, what's his name? The Muslim one.

If you could say any sentence to the current leader of your country what would it be?
Dude, really?

38. What's your favorite TV channel to watch in the middle of the night?
Without question Cartoon Network.

39. What Disney villain are you the most like and why?
Maleficent. She's quite evil.

40. Have you ever been a girl scout/boy scout?
No and I loathe the boy scouts as an organization. I like the girl scout cookies.

41. If you were traveling to another continent would you rather fly or take a boat?
Either would be fine. A boat adventure would be cool but it would have to have a bar and maybe a casino.

42. Why is the sky blue during the day and black at night?
Because your mamma told you so.

43. What does your name mean?
Beloved and it's true! Though it should mean modest.

44. Would you rather explore the deeps of the ocean or outer space?
The ocean. “Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence.”

45. Word association

What is the first word that comes to mind when you see the word:


Meat: Head.

Different: Strokes.

Pink: Is the new black.

Deserve: Moose.

White: Album.

Elvis: Toilet.

Magic: The Gathering.

Heart: Ache.

Clash: London Calling.

Pulp: Orange juice.

46. If you could meet any person in the world who is dead who would you want it to be?
The Cryptkeeper.

47. What if you could meet anyone who is alive?
It would be cool to go tanning with John Boehner.

48. Is there a movie that you love so much you could watch it everyday?
No there isn't though I do have some favorites but too much of a good thing isn't.

49. You are going to be stuck alone in an elevator for a week. What do you bring to do?
An e-reader and lots of food.

50. Have you ever saved someone's life or had your life saved?
I was saved from getting crushed by an elevator when I was 16.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Imperial Bedrooms

Bret Easton Ellis never seems to change. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I think a little of both in his sequel to "Less Than Zero" 25 years later with "Imperial Bedrooms" (169 pages). From the cover:

"Bret Easton Ellis's debut, Less Than Zero, is one of the signal novels of the last thirty years, and he now follows those infamous teenagers into an even more desperate middle age.

Clay, a successful screenwriter, has returned from New York to Los Angeles to help cast his new movie, and he's soon drifting through a long-familiar circle. Blair, his former girlfriend, is married to Trent, an influential manager who's still a bisexual philanderer, and their Beverly Hills parties attract various levels of fame, fortune and power. Then there's Clay's childhood friend Julian, a recovering addict, and their old dealer, Rip, face-lifted beyond recognition and seemingly even more sinister than in his notorious past.

But Clay's own demons emerge once he meets a gorgeous young actress determined to win a role in his movie. And when his life careens completely out of control, he has no choice but to plumb the darkest recesses of his character and come to terms with his proclivity for betrayal.

A genuine literary event."

As I stated above this is typical Ellis and the gang's all here from 25 years ago, the same vapid and disgusting gang. In a nutshell people who take human nature to the extreme, people we all know in real life. What makes this novel so different from "Less Than Zero," other than the advance of time, is that there's an actual plot this time around scattered with some conspiracy elements from "Glamorama" and a chapter involving a couple of prostitutes that makes one think of Patrick Bateman from "American Psycho."

Obviously the satire, violence, sexual gratuity, and reoccurring themes from all his novels are what keep Ellis fan coming back for more. Again, I enjoyed this novel for these reasons but one has to wonder what more Ellis can do. A worthy read for fans, maybe not so for the uninitiated. If you haven't read anything by Bret Easton Ellis, start with "Less Than Zero" or "American Psycho" to see what I believe was his best work.

Apparently the movie "Less Than Zero" should be skipped. It's obvious in this novel the disdain Ellis has for the big screen adaptation of his work.

"Disappear here." Again.

Crime and Punishment

"If he has a conscience he will suffer for his mistake. That will be punishment-as well as the prison."

From the dust cover of the Modern Library version of "Crime and Punishment" (629 pages) by Fyodor Dostoevsky:

"'Crime and Punishment has upon most readers an impact as immediate and obvious and full as the news of murder next door,' wrote critic R.P. Blackmur. 'One almost participates in the crime... it is the murder that only by some saving accident we did not ourselves commit.' In the whole literature of the ambivalent relationship between man and the crimes of which he is capable, Crime and Punishment stands supreme for its insight, compassion, and psychological fidelity. The story of the murder committed by Raskolnikov and his guilt and atonement is without a doubt the most gripping and illuminating account ever written of a crime of repugnance and despair and the consequences that inevitably arise from it. 'Dostoevsky's novels... leap out of their historical situation and confront us as if they had not yet spoken their final word,' said award-winning Russian translator Richard Pevear. And the Washington Post Book World deemed Dostoevksy 'the most compulsively readable of novelists we continue to regard as great.'"

This is my third reading of "Crime and Punishment" over the last twenty years. The novel made a profound impression upon me during my first reading in High School. Maybe the biggest literary impact of my life with maybe the exception of Shakespeare. In any event I would definitely classify the classic in my top five novels of all time.

Simply put the story mostly follows Raskolnikov through his brutal act of murder of an old pawnbroker and her sister, through his guilt and paranoia of the crime, to his ultimate redemption and spiritual rebirth. The story is also filled with numerous memorable characters and their own stories that all seemingly come together to shape Raskolnikov and the eventual outcome. What was so powerful about the story, for me at least, was the torment that the reader can't help but feel with Raskolnikov as he struggles with his crime and guilt. I literally writhed and wrung my hands along with the protagonist, truly a credit to the narrative skills of Dostoevsky.

Another interesting aspect put forth in the novel is Raskolnikov's theory of the ordinary man versus the extraordinary man. He asserts that the extraordinary man through his superiority is not responsible to the same rules of society as the ordinary man. Indeed the act of even murder can be justified for the extraordinary man if his actions will benefit a larger group of society and culture as a whole. What happens when one who thinks they fall into the extraordinary group finds through guilt and regret that he is only ordinary?

A novel I would highly recommend to any reader. The story is dark and can have a profound impact on the reader, probably it's biggest strength. On the downside, the translation and narrative from the mid 1800's can be challenging. The Russian character names and similarities between some of them could also be an impediment to the enjoyment of the story.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The 5000 Question Meme, Part One

I really hope this doesn't turn in to 5000 questions. From Sunday Stealing...

Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. Who are you?
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

2. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?
1) Don't bore me with your bullshit.
2) I don't want to hold the baby.
3) Don't ask me to feed your cats while you're on vacation.

3. When you aren't memes like this one what are you doing?
Usually studying proper grammar!

4. List your classes in school from the ones you like the most to the ones you like the least (or if you are out of school, think of the classes you did like and didn't like at the time).
I like English, Political Science, and History. I hated the classes taught by lazy ass coaches.

5. What is your biggest goal for this year?
To try to get out of debt.

6. Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Not here. Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, or in the mountains.

7. What stage of life are you in right now?
The denial stage.

8. Are you more child-like or childish?
Definitely childish.

9. What is the last thing you said out loud?

10. What song comes closest to how you feel about your life right now?
"Time to Pretend."

11. Have you ever taken martial arts classes?

12. Does your life tend to get better or worse or does it just stay the same?
The same with peaks and valleys.

13. Does time really heal all wounds?
Nope. Tricky time never slows.

14. How do you handle a rainy day?
I go stark raving mad, wetting the bed, starting fires, and abusing small animals. I actually like the rain.

15. Which is worse...losing your luggage or having to sort out tangled holiday lights?
Losing luggage. I don't take the lights off the tree after the season, they get thrown away with the tree.

16. How is (or was) your relationship with your parents?
It's good, hung out with them today in fact.

17. Do you tend to be aware of what is going on around you?
Usually but after the fifth shot things tend to get hazy.

18. What is the truest thing that you know?
People suck.

19. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Intake supervisor at the County Morgue.

20. Have you ever been given a second chance?
More often than was necessary.

21. Are you more of a giver or a taker?
Taker. The ring is mine!

22. Do you make your decisions with an open heart/mind?
Both. Good ones with my mind, bad ones with my heart.

23. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?
When my pinky toe was shot.

24. What is the most emotionally painful thing that has ever happened to you?
Writing this meme.

25. Who have you hugged today?
My mom and yours.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Of course today is the day we all celebrate the patron saint Peppermint Patty! Don't forget to wear your green. I think I'm gonna give the liver a rest this year and do some reading and watch some round ball. Cheers!

The Oklahoma Senate is Still Hard at Work

Saw this the other day at

"OKLAHOMA CITY -- Anyone convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Oklahoma would have to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for two years under a bill passed by the state Senate and sent to the House.

The Erin Elizabeth Swezey Act passed on a 45-0 vote Tuesday. It's named after a 20-year-old Edmond woman killed by a drunken driver. A second DUI conviction would require the ignition lock for five years and a third would lead to the device being installed for eight years.

The lock includes a device that detects alcohol and the driver must blow into it. If any alcohol is detected - it will not allow the vehicle to start.

Those convicted of DUI would also have the words 'interlock required' printed on the driver's license."

Hmm. I guess I really don't have anything against this kind of legislation although I think the "interlock required" flag on a driver's license is a little mean spirited. Basically if you want to drive for the first six months after getting a DUI you have to have one anyways.

So what does everyone think? Should the consequences of a DUI be more severe? Speaking from experience from my DUI two years ago next month, I spent a lovely night in the Oklahoma County jail, spent thousands on fees, fines, and probation costs, not to mention lawyer fees and I'm still on probation to boot.

I appreciate the Senate wanting to do more to curb people from driving intoxicated but I thought we were in a crunch to finish the legislative session. How much time and effort was spent on this "feel good" bill? When is the very conservative legislature going to tackle the budget shortfall, economic growth and job creation? Just wondering. Oh well, at least our children will be able to learn intellegent design in the next school year...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vacation Top 10

The top 10 things I learned on vacation skiing brought to you by SPAM:

1) As I've found in other parts of the country, bartenders who don't know how to make Vegas Bombs don't know how to charge for them either! The link provided is missing one ingredient, Malibu rum. One bar charged me three dollars for my favorite shot which can be as costly as ten dollars here in Gooberville. Cheers!

2) I'm old and my knees can't handle moguls anymore, if they ever could reasonably well.

3) Cajuns don't order toast with their breakfast. According to my sister-in-law you have to order toast bread otherwise you may never know what you're getting toasted.

4) Southwest either lies or no longer has 99 dollar one way flights, at least out of Albuquerque. I drive up with my parents to Durango, Colorado for the trip and stayed an extra day after they returned back home. I hitched a ride with my brother back to New Mexico hoping to find a cheap flight back to Oklahoma City. Though I still had a long traveling day it was so much better taking a couple of flights home rather than driving.

5) Speaking of flying, two checked bags through American Airlines costs sixty bucks. Those dirty bastards!

6) Fat Tire is still the holy grail of beers. I wanted to bring some back with me but I'm sure it would have been another sixty dollars to check it, did I mention American Airlines are a bunch of dirty bastards? Fat Tire is shipped cold and since it has an alcohol content higher than 3.2 percent it is illegal to import into Oklahoma. Yeah I live in one of those states.

7) If you're ever in Albuquerque, New Mexico, check out the 66 Diner especially for the milk shakes. I had a bite of my brother's chocolate banana shake and it was quite tasty. The 50's environment of the restaurant is also worth a look.

8) I definitely need to wear sunscreen when skiing. I never learn and I figured this lesson out too late (the last day). I'm now dealing with and itchy face, scalp, and neck as well as healing blisters on my nose and forehead. I don't remember Durango being so sunny but I've never skied this late into the season.

9) A GPS devise is to my brother as a butterfly is to a kid with ADD. He'd rather play around with the electronic devise than watch the road while driving.

10) I hate Oklahoma City. I learn this every time I'm away and have to return home. Boo.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What I Did on Vacation

Just kidding, I also made some time for some sleep, a little...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Burnt Toast Meme, Part Two

Courtesy of Sunday Stealing:

Cheers to all of us thieves!

17. Who would you like to show up at your door to say they love you?
No one, my house is a mess!

18. Last furry thing you touched?
My face.

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?
Does nicotine and alcohol count?

20. Do you miss film or does digital work for you?
Digital works just fine for me.

21. Favorite age you have been so far?
5 was a pretty rockin' age.

22. Your worst enemy?
Too many to mention, you know who you are.

23. What is your current desktop picture?
Just a blue background, pretty boring, huh?

24. What was the last thing you said that was funny?
"A priest, a rabbi, and Godzilla all walk into a bar..."

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?
A million bucks, then I could fly American Airlines!

26. Who can't you say “no” to?
No one, saying "no" is easy.

27. The last song you bought or downloaded?
"Fucking Perfect" by P!NK.

28. What time of day were you born?
I believe in the early afternoon.

29. What’s your favorite number? Why?
8675309, found it on the bathroom wall.

30. Where did you live in 1987?
The Big Woo.

31. Are you jealous of anyone?
No one that I can think of off the top of my head.

32. Is anyone jealous of you?
Most people should be since I'm so fabulous and very humble.

33. It's been almost a decade. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
I lived in a little apartment and I remember watching the events unfold on TV while I was getting ready for work.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Burnt Toast Meme (A Day Early)

I'm doing the whole Sunday Stealing thing a day early since I'll be headed to Colorado tomorrow morning for a ski trip!

Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
Holy shit these pants are tight! I may have to go up to a 31 waist.

2. How much cash do you have on you?

3. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?

4. Favorite planet?
Omicron Persei 8.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
I don't know I cleared out my recent calls. Most likely it was your mom.

6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?
"You Are the One" by Shiny Toy Guns, not that my phone is ever in ring mode.

7. What shirt are you wearing?
A tuxedo shirt.

8. Do you label yourself?
No, just my underwear with "DMH."

9. Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing?

10. Bright or Dark Room?
Either. Dark is better for sleeping.

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
Completely wretched POS that should be stopped at all costs. Translation: I don't know who took the survey before me.

12. What does your watch look like?
Black leather band with a large, square face.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Oozing on the sofa watching Adult Swim.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
"Yes." From my dad verifying my disbelief that the dreaded Swooners of Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State in college basketball.

15. Where is your nearest 7-11?
23rd and Penn. You do the math.

16. What's a word that you say a lot?
Felicia or drown or douche bag, wait, that's two words!!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Oklahoma Senate is Hard at Work

This story is a couple of days old but I just had to comment. From The Tulsa World:

"OKLAHOMA CITY — The southbound Interstate 44 bridge that crosses over the Red River into Texas will be named after former President George W. Bush under a bill approved in the Oklahoma Senate.

The Senate voted 40-5 on Tuesday for the bill by freshman Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City.

The bridge is located in Cotton County in southwest Oklahoma. The measure also directs the Department of Transportation to create signs to be placed on the highway.

The House will now consider the measure."

Are you fucking kidding me? Other names considered for the bridge:

The Dr. Paul Joseph Göbbels Memorial Bridge

The Bridge Over the River Red

The Mission Accomplished Bridge

How fitting that Oklahoma, home of some of the worst bridges and roads in the nation, is naming a bridge to Texas after one of the worst Presidents in American history. It sure would be nice if the legislature would tackle some of the big issues facing our state, like maybe jobs or the budget shortfall. Instead we're treated to bridge naming, allowing intelligent design classes in our schools, and ending collective bargaining for state employees. Stay classy Oklahoma!

Keith is Back

Of course I'm speaking of "The Official Not-For-Profit Blog of Keith Olbermann" called FOK News Channel. Naturally I was a fan of Keith Olbermann before his sudden departure from MSNBC. I know he's a little over the top. Sue me, I'm a liberal/progressive. I didn't watch his show consistently but I did enjoy tuning in to see some of his commentaries and especially the worst persons in the world segment. Now I can see (or read) this same kind of information on the blog. Enjoy.

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter

And I can't believe it's already March! There's a lot going on this month.

First up I'm heading to Colorado this weekend for a family ski trip. I'm going to try really hard to not "disturb the peace" and stay out of jail!

Mardi Gras is the 8th, unless you're Mel and the Captain and inadvertently celebrated last Tuesday. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Of course the 17th is St. Patrick's Day. The last time I can remember "celebrating" this holiday was freezing my ass off with my niece a couple of years ago waiting in line to get in to Baker Street Pub and Grill. Do Catholics have to forgo celebrating green beer day due to Lent? If I were Catholic I would give up Lent for Lent.

The prince of darkness and all that is evil, also known as Timmy, celebrates his 31st birthday on the 6th. I'm working a wedding with him the day before, we'll see if either one of us survives...

Last but not least, March is March Madness time! The greatest sporting event since the blood baths at the Roman Colosseum. My Cowboys still have a slim chance to make the big dance. Though they enjoy a decent RPI, their record in the Big 12 is a big turkey. If they can beat the dreaded Swooners this weekend and make some noise in the Big 12 Tournament, I think they might just get an invitation.

So what does everyone else have on tap for March?