Saturday, November 25, 2006

I'm onto something good

Hey y'all,

This is fucking awesome. I've been in Vegas for about 5 days now. For those of you who don't already know, I lived in Vegas for four years. This is the first time I have been here in five and a half years, and not everyone has forgotten me. In fact, I am using Josh Ellis's laptop to write this entry.

This journey is really tough; probably tougher than I expected. It involves a lot of pain, both physically and emotionally. However, the pain is one of the best feelings I've ever experienced. I can't explain it, but somehow this experience has proven to me that I was meant for Aimless and Aimless was meant for me.

I have an abundance of really great video footage already, without really trying. I intend to put some of it up on the web site shortly after I return home to Ohio. I can't wait to watch it and work on it, and I can't wait for you to see it.

I hitchhiked from Richfield, Utah to Cedar City, Utah several days ago, then I hitchhiked from Cedar City to Vegas. It was liberating or something. It's fun and scary and interesting. Certainly a new experience.

I think I'm going to head out of Vegas on Sunday. Gonna make a b-line to Ohio so I can see the doc. I have so much to say, but I hear a beer calling my name right now. You can be assured I will have pages and pages to write when I get back home. I'd love to get some phone calls from anyone lurking. 614-738-3867.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Let's get this started

I think I'm going to break some of my Aimless rules during this unexpected prototypical Aimless trial run. It just wouldn't make any sense to play by the rules right now because I am not properly equipped. For one thing, I am wearing horrible walking shoes and my stuff is packed in two bags, instead of one large hiking backpack. Also, I am in the middle of one of America's most desolate and unforgiving regions (Richfield, Utah), so it would be stupid to head out on foot.

Here's what I think I'll do: First I'll get some stuff I need at K-Mart, like videotapes and water. Then I will head to the westbound I-70 on-ramp, where I'll write "Aimless" with a Sharpie on a page of my notebook. I'll then hold up the notebook for passing motorists to see. Maybe one of them will pick me up.

Why westbound I-70, instead of Ohio-bound I-70?

I've decided to go to Vegas, where I will try to bump into some people I knew when I lived there. Maybe I can get some lodging with an old friend for a night or two. Can't stay long, though, because I have to get back home for a doctor's appointment in 9 days.

If anyone I know in Vegas sees this and would like to meet up with me somewhere, give me a call at 614-738-3867.

I gotta get going.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Aimless is for real!

So much to say, yet so much other stuff to do...

I am alone in Richfield, Utah right now, in a Travelodge motel, after becoming entirely fed up with the bullshit I've been dealing with for the last few days.

Long story. Where to start?

I left my travel partners a few hours ago because I just don't need the shit I've been dealing with. In fact, that's exactly what I said to 1eyeJack (who I'll refer to as Patrick from now on). When he asked me what was up, I said, "I don't need this shit," and I walked off to begin Aimless. I'll explain in further detail whenever I get back home.

So tomorrow I'm going to start walking. Should I continue going west or should I head back toward home? Keep in mind, I am in a desert in the middle of nowhere right now, so I have to make some wise choices.

Wow, this is awesome, but it is scary as hell, too.

I have so much to say right now, but my mind is too swamped to spit it out. Plus I'm tired as hell. Maybe I'll get back to this computer tomorrow after I check out. Besides, I'm in no hurry to go anywhere.

One last thing: Way to go, Buckeyes!!! I only got to see the fourth quarter (which really pisses me off), but I'll be able to watch it on tape when I get home.

If anyone has any ideas about where I should go from here, call me at 614-738-3867 because I probably won't have access to any of my e-mail accounts for a while.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Goin' to California...

...with an achin'... in my heart.

Actually, I'm just going to California. No aching.

I just got a call from 1eyeJack in Cedarville. He needs someone to help him drive to California and Texas to pick up some stuff. And he needs to leave like NOW, so I have no time to write about it. Hopefully I'll have some computer access along the way, so I can update and stuff. Gonna try to take a camcorder and get some interesting footage.

See y'all soon...


You should read this

This is really good. You should read it. That's all.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm starting to feel some momentum again

A little over a month ago, I received an e-mail from Chris Weaver, who ended up on the Aimless web site via some web surfing. Chris was kind enough to provide some feedback about Aimless, which I appreciate immensely. Some of his feedback is actually very similar to some of the discussions I've had with Jay on this blog. (You are a guy, right, Chris?) But he also said some things that I haven't heard from anyone else, some things that really impressed me.

Chris's letter follows:

I just stumbled upon your website. I have had very similar ideas for making a documentary. I'd be happy to help out. But I must say after reading the whole site, you are putting way too much emphasis on the gear. You can shoot a film like this with a 200 dollar dv camera and get the exact same impact from the story as you would if the pixilation was a tad better. Its a story you are after not production values, plus I can tell you from years of experiance dragging gear all over the world that you will get so sick of all that stuff after the first week. That is, if it is not stolen from you or you end up having to pawn it for survival funds.

Anyhow I'd be happy to work with you on the project if you need it. I would make sure you really want to do it and are not just putting up walls (in the form of unnessisary expensive gear) to prevent it from happening. Also you might think about going at it half=way. Just spend a week or two documenting your city or state via the methods you propose. See if it yields something worthy of editing. I find that these sorts of stories are a million times easier to cover when you are in a completely foreign culture because people are much more willing to invite you into their lives but if it is in your own culture you are much less of a novelty and people are eager to pass you buy. Have you thought of maybe going to an english speaking country like Belize or Guyana and trying this?


The thing that really impressed me was his comment about putting up walls. I even replied specifically to that comment, saying, "I like your psychological insight about putting up walls. The question here is: Could a psychologist or psychiatrist have seen so deep? (That is, assuming you are not a psychologist or psychiatrist.)"

But here's what really impressed me about the comment: He was right. Not completely right, but very close to dead center. Even before receiving Chris's e-mail, I knew something was holding me back, keeping me from going out and making Aimless. But I also knew exactly what was holding me back. It was Pinky.

Even though Pinky seemed pretty healthy this past summer when I launched the web site, I still would have had a very difficult time leaving home for who knows how long, had I received adequate sponsorship. Even though it seemed that Pinky might end up living for several more years, I don't think I would have been able to leave him behind, because I've too often witnessed how quickly feline leukemia takes them away.

I didn't feel any kind of obligation to Pinky; I just loved him so much that I couldn't have left him, knowing I may never see him again. That may sound kind of corny, but I know that cat loved me way the hell more than any person has ever loved me. And I'm not worried if anyone thinks I'm some kind of weirdo for loving a cat so much. The fact is that Pinky's love helped me through some of the toughest times of my life. That kind of love is more important than what people think of me.

Anyway, Pinky is gone now, and there is nothing else holding me back.

Well, winter is holding me back right now. I know I could do it in winter just as well as I could do it in spring or summer, but I don't want to start in winter because I don't want the opening scenes of Aimless to be colorless and lifeless. I don't want to start in winter because that would require heavier clothes, thus more stuff to carry. I don't want to start in winter because I haven't learned to beg yet; I haven't learned how to convince people to open up their homes to me and feed me. And if I can't go out and consistently find warm places to spend my nights, then Aimless might just kill me. So I plan to wait until perhaps March or April. And once that time of year comes around, there will be nothing holding me back because Pinky now lives in my heart and my mind.

Getting back to what Chris said...

Both Chris and Jay have said that I should just go out there with a cheapo digital camera instead of holding out for someone to donate funding or a $2,000 to $3,000 camcorder. (Betty, did you say I should do it that way, too?) While I've certainly considered using a cheap camera, both before this web site existed and during its existence, I have been very hesitant to commit to that idea.

Not anymore. I think I've made up my mind to go ahead and use a cheap camera. I honestly don't know if Jay or Chris or Betty influenced this decision, but y'all may have. I really can't identify what has turned me in this direction, other than the emotional and intellectual roller coaster called life. If there is any particular thing I can point to as a catalyst for this decision, I think it's that I feel much simpler right now. Maybe Aimless is supposed to be made on a cheapo camcorder. Maybe that's what will ultimately make it attractive to viewers.

So I guess my budget has shrunk quite a bit now. Let's see what I'll need:

A cheapo camcorder;
At least 200 hours' worth of videotape;
Maybe a laptop;
A good hikers' backpack;
Good walking shoes;
Sleeping bag?
Compact tent?
A few changes of clothes.

I've surely omitted some important stuff, but probably nothing very expensive. Besides, I already have some of the things on the list. So basically what I'll need is a camera, the tape, and maybe $500 worth of other stuff. The laptop probably is not a necessity, but it would be nice to have one. So I guess I'm looking at about $2,000 to $2,500 worth of stuff (including the laptop).

I'm no longer worried about sponsorship. If people don't want to sponsor Aimless right now, then fuck 'em; that's their loss. I can easily get what I need. But when sponsors come knocking on my door after I hit the road or begin post-production, like I know they will, I won't be shy about demanding big money. I won't be in a rush to make deals with anyone, either. OK, I'm digressing in a direction I don't want to go right now.

Chris, I'm curious to know which Chris Weaver you are. Are you the Chris Weaver who works for a television station in North Carolina? Are you the Chris Weaver who had something to do with Independence Day (aka ID4)? Neither? Both?

Hey, if you're actually someone important, I respect that. I won't start nagging you or anything. All I know is that you seem to know a lot about some of the stuff I need to know about. If so, I hope you maintain an interest in Aimless. And I hope that if I ever require your expertise, I'll be able to provide something equally valuable in return for that expertise.

I think I intended to say a whole bunch of other stuff, but it's not coming to me right now, so I gues I'll sign off for now and write about the other stuff whenever it comes back to me. I wish I could let y'all plug into my brain and experience my thoughts and stuff. The thoughts just never stop, and I have such a hard time keeping up with them.

OK, I may be back soon.


Mai's America

I just finished watching an awesome documentary called Mai's America on Free Speech TV (which is only available on Dish Network). It's about a Vietnamese girl named Mai who came to the United States to spend her final year of high school as an exchange student in (or near) Meridian, Mississippi.

Mai begins her American experience with a host family you might call, uhh, rednecks. (That's what they call themselves, anyway.) Both of the parents are unemployed and the teenage daughter seems to have raised herself. The home is not a happy place to be; it just blows my mind that this family could have been deemed worthy of hosting an exchange student. Not that the hosts are bad people or anything; the household is just clearly not a healthy environment for anyone, let alone an exchange student. Mai agrees.

Before I get in very deep, let me describe Mai a little bit.

Mai is a beautiful person. I'm not just talking about her physical appearance; I'm mostly talking about her energy and the gleam in her eyes and her heartwarming smile and the empathy she shows for all varieties of people. She is caring and curious. She sees the world through everyone's eyes, while those around her seem only capable of seeing through their own eyes. She is the kind of person you just want to be near.

In the beginning of the film, it's easy for the viewer to think of Mai as naive or uneducated because she has just dived head first into an alien culture. But right away, as she is shown interacting with her host family and at school and with new acquaintances, it is clear that Mai possesses a simple wisdom that somehow eludes almost all Americans. All the people she meets are so narrow-minded and judgmental, but Mai is genuinely friendly to everyone. She treats everyone with so much respect, and she is such a positive soul, yet it seems like everyone makes her feel like a misfit.

Except for one person. Early in her American experience, Mai begins a friendship with a gay drag queen named Chris, I believe. He adores her and treats her very well. I think they can both relate to each other because they both know how it feels to be a total outsider.

After several months of living with the redneck family, Mai decides she needs a change, so she moves in with a new host family. Her new host family is a young black couple who immediately provide a much more positive environment. But even though she has found a much better place to live, she ends up frustrated once again after the couple's relationship tenses and the wife starts preaching about how Mai's gay friend made the decision to be gay. It was not a preachy kind of preaching, but Mai was clearly frustrated by the host mother's refusal to step into the shoes of a gay person.

Mai also becomes frustrated when her school friends, who don't know she has a gay friend, begin speaking judgmentally about gay people. So even though she had already asked her gay friend Chris to be her prom date, she ends up going to prom with a Spanish exchange student instead. Although the film does not show her breaking the news to Chris, I think he understood why she changed her mind. Interestingly, though, Chris later reveals that he has torched all his drag queen gear and may have chosen to stop being gay. (Don't ask me how that's possible.)

Eventually Mai gets accepted to Tulane University and earns a scholarship that takes care of about half of her expenses. To help pay her tuition, she busts her ass as a waitress, yet she still feels like she's not living up to her end of "the deal." Soon enough she has to drop out of school because she can't afford it. Then her mother lets her know she can't come home to Vietnam because she has shamed her family or something.


In time Mai ends up in Detroit, painting fingernails and toenails, being a genius slave for stupid people, before going back to Vietnam.

I wish I could explain clearly how this film made me feel. For an hour and twenty minutes I had a smile on my face because Mai is such an amazing person. She's pure goodness in every way. She's so insightful and thoughtful and amazing, but no one seems to recognize how much she has to offer her world and the world.

But it damn near breaks my heart, too, for a couple reasons. First of all, I can't understand how people fail to see the incredible person in Mai. Second, I guess I know how it feels. I believe that I, like Mai, have so much to offer the world, but no one else sees it. And I'm just puzzled for both of us.

I want to give Mai a big hug, the kind of hug that really lets someone know you care. I sincerely hope she has found a place where she can fit in, and I hope she's doing well. And if she ever happens to stumble upon this entry, I hope she contacts me because I really feel the need to know her.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Lonely pizza

I just mixed up some pizza dough for the first time in almost a couple weeks. I guess I haven't had much interest in pizza lately because I used to share my pizzas with Pinky just about every day. He loved it.

Now that he's gone, something special will be missing every time I make a pizza. I could start sharing pizza with Homer or Twerk (T-werk), but it will never be the same as pizza with Pinky. That's one of the many unique bonds I had with my little man.


A very big game

Let the shit-talking begin.

As we enter the week leading to the biggest Ohio State/Michigan game ever, I think it's funny that no one seems to realize Ohio State has been beating everyone with their "C" game this year. We haven't seen shit from them yet, offensively, because they haven't needed to show anything. While other contenders have used the second half of games to purposely run up scores to impress pollsters (or to hang in there against crappy teams), Ohio State has spent their second halves trying to improve. Usually they end up scoring a lot anyway, but that's not their objective. That's why Jim Tressel is 4-1 vs. Michigan and 4-1 in bowl games (3-0 in BCS games), with most of those bowl wins being blowouts.

Next Saturday at 3:30, Michigan comes to the Shoe. Regardless of the teams' records, it should be a great game because it is Ohio State versus Michigan. But we all know this meeting will be a little different than every other meeting. This one is special.

Ohio State could end up winning a close one. Conversely, Michigan could end up winning a close one. Personally, I don't expect either of those possible outcomes because Ohio State is loaded with phenomenal players who also happen to be team players. Ohio State doesn't fear Michigan anymore, nor do they drown themselves in unnecessary anxiety in the days leading up to the third Saturday in November. Unlike the Cooper years, this is just another game for OSU. But don't get me wrong; it's still "The Game." (And don't believe anyone from either state who EVER tries to tell you otherwise.)

My Prediction: A welcome back to reality for the team from the state up north. Buckeyes will lead 38-14 in the third quarter, then allow the Wolverines (who, by the way, taste like chicken) another 10 desperation points as Ohio State runs out the clock instead of running up the score. Final score: 38-24 Buckeyes.

But that is not the end of it. Later Saturday night, celebrations on High Street will become minor rioting, but only AFTER the asshole cops start shooting tear gas at everyone. Of course, the media will never mention the cops' provocation in their sensationalist stories. Consequently, the nation will continue believing the myth that all OSU fans are violent arsonists.

They'll be comin' to my citay...

Go Bucks!


Friday, November 10, 2006

You lost me, CBJ

Wow, you guys really suck. Is it the players? I don't think so. Is it the coach? I don't know. Is it the organization? Probably.

For whatever reason, the Columbus Blue Jackets blow ass, and I have no interest in watching their shitty games anymore. And Fox Sports, you suck too. Because of your shitty coverage, the games suck even when the team doesn't suck.

So I should go to the games to avoid such shitty coverage, you say? Yeah, right. If I don't want to watch them on TV, why would I want to pay to see them live? Besides, the owners made my decision for me when their greedy asses locked out the players and forced them to take pay cuts just so the owners could make a profit without having to do their jobs right.

Fuck you, NHL owners. Even though I like the game, I hope you all go out of business.

In case you might be wondering how this fits into my beliefs about treating people how I wish to be treated: If I was one these rich motherfuckers, getting even richer by ripping people off, I would expect and deserve this sort of hostility from regular folks like the real me. So there ya go.


Jesus died, Part II

Because I added the content of this post to Jesus died for my sins, I no longer need it here. If you're interested, the post is about why I want to know a particular Christian college student better. I think it is a very good read.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Jesus died for my sins

OK, so I was standing in front of Dino's last night (in Yellow Springs), smoking a cigarette, when an attractive young lady approached me and asked if I wouldn't mind answering some questions. She warned me that it was kind of personal stuff, in case that would make a difference. I told her to go ahead.

The girl introduced herself as Carissa, I believe, at which point I introduced myself as Ryan. After the introduction, she said she and her male companion (who was still inside Dino's at this point) were from Cedarville University. By now I pretty much knew what was coming because Cedarville is a Christian school (Baptist, I believe).

Carissa asked me if I had any strong beliefs regarding God and spirituality and whatnot, to which I answered, "Yeah, I have very strong beliefs, but I'm always open to the possibility that I may be wrong, and my beliefs may change if I see evidence suggesting I am wrong." She then asked me to reveal my beliefs. Like usual, when confronted with such a task, I was not exactly prepared to explain my beliefs because I don't think about it a lot. That is, I don't go around trying to convince people to believe what I believe, so I don't keep all the justification for my beliefs hovering around in the easy-access zones of my brain.

I guess it's kind of like trying to explain my bedroom or something. My bedroom is what it is, and I don't have to think about it much, nor do I have to memorize things about it or have faith in it; I just sleep in it. And if someone asked me to describe why I don't feel my bedroom is some kind of mystical place, I wouldn't know where to start. Similarly, my beliefs regarding God and spirituality come from what I see, what I experience, and also what I don't see or experience. In other words, there is absolutely no evidence pointing toward the existence of a god, so I don't think about it much, nor do I spend any time trying to rationalize my clearly rational stance. So, unprepared to explain why I don't believe there is a god, I told Carissa something to the effect of, "I just don't see it (God)."

I told her I do my best to treat people right. Not because someone told me to or because some book told me to, but because I believe that's the right way to live. I figured that out on my own, and I think that's a lot better than doing it only because you've been ordered to do it. I know I don't always succeed, but I honestly try to treat everyone how I would like to be treated. And when I fail, it's in my nature to punish myself pretty harshly. The best part about my way of living is that it's inherently sincere. (This paragraph alone makes God meaningless, whether he exists or not.)

But that is not the point of this entry. It was just the introduction--an establishing shot.

During my conversation with Carissa, she asked me some questions regarding how I feel about gifts and giving. For example, when someone gives me a gift (which doesn't necessarily need to be a physical thing), do I feel obligated to reciprocate the gesture or repay the gift giver? Or when I give someone a gift, do I tend to expect something in return for what I've given them?

I told her that when I receive gifts or favors, I do feel somewhat obligated to reciprocate the gesture, but I don't believe the gift giver should automatically expect anything in return. I mean, they had a choice: Either give a gift or don't give a gift. No one made them do it, and no one made them not do it. Similarly, I told her that if I choose to give someone a gift or do them a favor, I have no reason to expect anything in return. If I have chosen to give someone a gift, I have done it according to my own free will, out of the goodness of my heart, and I would be an asshole to expect any kind of repayment in return for my gesture. If that doesn't make sense to you, please ask me to elaborate.

Soon enough she got to the "Jesus died for your sins" spiel. Yeah, I've heard it a million times. Whatever. However, unlike everyone who has ever said "Jesus died for your sins" in my presence, she actually made some sense of it. For once, it was not just a meaningless, parroted talking point.

How did she make sense of it?

She likened Jesus's life to the gift question. She said Jesus led a perfect life, a life without sin, specifically for people like us. As a gift to us, he paid for our inevitable sins with his life. If we accept his gift by letting him into our hearts and by repenting (or something like that), then our inherent sins will be forgiven and we will receive another gift: eternal life in heaven with God. But if we don't accept his gift, forget about it.

Now, I know I have not recapped her explanation very well, so this may not all add up. In fact, it's not even adding up to me right now, although last night I felt like I had a pretty good grasp of the point she was trying to make. (I can hang with the idea that Jesus gave me a gift, but I don't see how acceptance of that gift is grounds for another gift. Is Jesus expecting a return on the gift I didn't ask for or what?) Hopefully I'll remember some of the details and revise this so it does make sense.

Until then, let's just pretend it all makes sense.

So why shouldn't I give my heart to Jesus? Why shouldn't I believe in a god? Why shouldn't I believe it's impossible for me not to sin? Why shouldn't I change my mind and join her religion?

Because even though this explanation may make sense, it's all based on premises that don't make sense. For me to believe her story, I must first believe that a god exists, even though there is absolutely no evidence. I must first believe that Jesus actually was the son of that god. I must ignore the reality of the life I've lived for almost 33 years and blindly choose to believe that all the ridiculous stories about Jesus could have actually happened. I must ignore the reality that most of the stories about Jesus were written by people who weren't there to witness his life, supposing he actually ever lived.

It all comes down to this: To believe her explanation, I must ignore reality and believe fantasy. Sorry, not interested.

During our conversation, Carissa said some other things that caught my interest. One was the belief that all humans sin, that we're all imperfect and there is no way to avoid sinning. Sometimes we just can't help it, yet other times we do it even though we know it's wrong. If we accept Jesus into our lives, however, all our sins will be forgiven, regardless of whether we knew our actions were wrong.

Um, I don't buy it. Like I said, I try my best to be a decent human being, and I don't always succeed. No matter how hard I try, I know I will still occasionally fail to meet my own self-defined standards of decency. Would I say it's impossible, though?



I don't know. But I don't pretend to know, either.

Aside from not buying into the automatic forgiveness thing, I also think it is dangerous, stupid, and irresponsible to believe all your sins will be forgiven. If you believe in that bullshit, it just opens the door for you to do whatever you want. You know your sins will be forgiven, just because you accepted Jesus's mysterious gift, so why even bother trying not to sin?

The scary thing about that question: That's exactly the kind of behavior I see from almost all so-called Christians. They have no conscience because their religion allows them to have no conscience. They have no conscience because their religion encourages them to have no conscience.

Well, my "no religion" doesn't allow me to live without a conscience, nor does my No God. In fact, my conscience punishes me a million times harsher than any religion or god ever could, and my sincerity punishes me a million times harsher than any religion or god ever could. Furthermore, I pay penalties for smaller things that most people would never even consider sins, like that one time when I didn't wave or smile at the old lady walking down the street as I turned out of my driveway. Yeah, I felt real shitty about that one, even though she probably never thought twice about it. I felt shitty immediately following the missed opportunity for a random act of kindness because I hold myself to some pretty lofty standards, and I'll never get over the fact that I can't go back and redo it. And no one ever forced me (or even suggested to me) that I should lead this kind of life. I figured it out on my own.

After thinking about this stuff (and lots of related stuff) for many hours both last night and today, an idea has come to me. Now before I reveal this idea, I want to make it very clear that I do not necessarily intend to act on the idea. In fact, I do not expect to act on the idea, either. It is simply a hypothetical situation relating to the differences and similarities between my life's guiding principles and Carissa's guiding principles.

So what's my idea?

I should try to get Carissa in the sack with me. Yeah, I should try to get me some of that.

Now before you go getting pissed off at me or accusing me of trying to take advantage of the girl, consider a few things. First of all, I'm not that kind of dude. Even if I wanted to take advantage of her, I probably couldn't allow myself to do it because I respect her both as a person and as a woman. I'm not going to lie; I think about pussy nonstop, just like every other heterosexual guy does. But there is a HUGE difference between thinking about pussy all the time (which is completely natural) and actively pursuing women solely for the purpose of "conning" them into unwanted sex.

Here's why I should try to get Carissa nekkid:

First of all, her rules are more permissive than mine. She knows it would be a sin for her to have sex with me, but she also knows her sins will be forgiven. She already told me there have been times in her life where she has consciously chosen to commit acts she knew were sins, although she was not specific about what those sins were. I'd imagine a few of them are pretty easy to guess: She has probably allowed herself to hate; she has probably lusted; she has probably been jealous; she has probably killed bugs or other pests. She may have even had [pre-marital] sex; I won't speculate. But regardless of whether she has had sex or not, and even though she knows it would be a sin for her to have sex before marriage, she can do it if she wants because she will be forgiven.

Now consider some of the principles I've chosen to live by. I'll try to keep it short.

Dating back to my teenage years, promiscuity has been a major turn-off for me. I don't think promiscuity is inherently wrong or a sin or anything like that; it's just not what I seek in a prospective partner because it is indicative of a personality that does not consider consequences. Conversely, unforced non-promiscuous sexual behavior (or abstinence or celibacy) indicates a personality that does consider consequences. It indicates a thoughtful, trustworthy personality. It says, "You can rest assured that this person will never cheat on you, either sexually or emotionally, because she (or he) has been true to you even before she (or he) ever knew you existed." I happen to find that attractive in a prospective mate. (And no, I am not bisexual.)

Now, if I want to find someone who leads that kind of life, shouldn't I lead that kind of life myself?

Yes, I should. So I have.

Needless to say, my dick has spent most of its life in my pants. I don't care if people think I'm a total wuss for living that way or admitting it; I happen to respect myself immensely for showing such restraint and for not stealing anyone else's self-respect. And I know my actions have made me a good catch. Too bad no one else seems to realize it.

But you know what? I'll be 33 next month and I'm way overdue for some fucking pussy!!! There comes a time when you start realizing that maybe your honorable actions never meant shit. Maybe I'm just stupid. Maybe all it means is that I'm a fucking loser who hasn't had any pussy for years and, as a result, I have no idea how to get it. Or maybe it means I'm just days or months from being rewarded for my patience, my good behavior, and all the other stuff. Maybe I'm about to meet my soul mate. Maybe I met her Wednesday. Or maybe I met her on 11/2/2004. How the fuck would I know?!?

But that is not the point. My point is that I should try to get me some of that because her guiding principles allow it and my principles seem to have been proven pointless or wrong. I have been a very good boy for way too long, and I think I deserve something for it, on the condition that I don't hurt anyone. And I just may give it a try.

Maybe there is something else to be learned from this hypothetical experiment. Maybe I should try it because it will ultimately end up showing that I am too decent to go through with it. Or maybe she'll end up putting the moves on me. Maybe by trying it I'll end up finding a good friend in her, or a soul mate. Who knows?

All I know is that if Carissa walked up to me right now and indicated that she wanted to do me, I would fuck her fucking brains out. And I wouldn't regret it, either, because I deserve it.

Jesus died for Aimless's sins.

Another one gone

My dad just got back from the vet's, where he picked up Homer after having him fixed. He told me that before he left he accidentally ran over one of the outdoor cats. (I don't think I've ever mentioned this here, but we have kind of a "cat colony," with most of the cats living outside.) It was Mickey, or as I called him, Fart. Dad said he died pretty quickly.

He was a sweet little guy, a little over a year old. Kind of annoying sometimes because he would always get on my lap and sneeze when I tried to smoke in peace, but a sweet dude nontheless.

Like most of the other outdoor cats, I made it a point not to get too close to him emotionally because I've seen too many cats come and go over the years. It's a defense mechanism I use because I have a hard time dealing with animal deaths. But I still loved him and I'll still miss him. Poor little guy.

I love you, Fart. Goodbye.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Gonna try being social

Last Tuesday I mentioned that the vision in my right eye seemed to be getting better. Well, I was wrong. After Tuesday my vision went downhill once again, giving me double vision, headaches, and nausea all the way through Sunday.

I tried a couple new things Monday--some logical things most people would probably never think of in this age of worthless miracle pills. The first thing I did was make a conscious decision to keep my glasses off as much as possible. I figured my lens might be part of the problem, especially because the symptoms seem to worsen as each day progresses. Then, later in the day, I made a conscious effort to drink as much water as possible. For all I know, my problem might just be dehydration. To gauge how much water I was drinking, I filled one of those old rectangular orange juice jugs.

Since Monday my vision has been better. I don't know if it's good yet, but so far it is better. I don't know if it has anything to do with drinking more water or wearing my glasses less. I don't know if it has anything to do with the toxic batch of dextroamphetamine I stopped taking a week ago. All I know is that my vision seems to be better the last couple days, and I hope I'll continue in that direction.

So I think I'm going to head Yellow Springs ways today for the first time in almost two months. Gonna look for Arianna Huffington's new book, On Becoming Fearless.... in Love, Work, and Life, before heading to Dino's. Maybe I'll finally meet Dave or something.

In a comment regarding my medication, on I'm not dead yet, Jay said:

The "zombie" feeling has to be your body chemistry, which your meds would play a huge factor in. You need to get adjusted to meds, and sometimes it takes several weeks to get adjusted.

My response: Dexedrine and Adderall don't work like that; they are not mood altering mindfuck drugs like Zoloft and all the other anti-depressants. These two drugs are SPEED, and they start working from the moment you take them. (Yes, I take speed every day. I take it because it's good for my brain.) Then, eight hours later, they start wearing off. Kinda like smoking a doobie, but nothing like smoking a doobie.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I have a voice

I went out and voted just after noon today. Took a small camcorder with me, to document any potential shenanigans, but I can't say I saw anything that stood out as unusual or unlawful. Additionally, I only had to wait about ten minutes, probably because I am a white person in a white precinct (or district or whatever).

Something interesting did happen, though. After an election official led me to the new touchscreen voting machine and set it up for me to vote, she began the process for me, skipping past a page I assume was instructions on how to do everything correctly. I immediately told her I would like to see the page because it was meant for my eyes and because I prefer to read instructions before beginning important tasks that depend on such instructions, but apparently it was impossible to return to the page. After she tried for about 20 seconds, I told her not to worry about it.

Although this probably was not a very significant issue, I wish I'd had the camera rolling at that moment because, in reality, something like that could cause major problems. I mean, there are surely a lot of voters who need to see that page. It's there for a reason, and I know she should not have done what she did. I know that if she was properly trained, she was not trained to skip that page without my consent. The scary thing is that I have no reason to believe she was properly trained. But if she was, we have some real problems aside from voter irregularities, voter suppression, rigged machines, and all the other real (and documented) threats to the integrity of our elections that most people still don't seem to know about.

I started touching the names of my preferred candidates when it occurred to me that I should videotape everything I do. I then took the camera out of my jacket pocket and turned it on before continuing with the remainder of my votes. I did this because I'd heard enough stories about people touching one candidate's name and subsequently watching their vote jump to the opponent's name. Having a rational distrust of our government and our elections, I felt the need to keep a record of anything strange that may have happened with my vote.

As far as I know, nothing strange happened to my votes. And in case you're wondering, here's how I voted: I voted for the Democrat in every race; I voted Yes to raise Ohio's minimum wage; I voted Yes on the Smoke Less Ohio issue; I voted No on the Smoke Free issue; and I voted No for the Southwestern City Schools' income tax proposal.

Normally I believe it is irresponsible and stupid when people vote "across the page" for either party, but we're living in strange days right now. I'm no fan of Democrats, OK. In fact, I'm no fan of any politician I know of. But the Republicans are just blatantly fucking corrupt, and we need to fire as many of those assholes as we can today because they are tearing apart the United States of America in every way possible. They've proven it over and over, and it's time for them to face the consequences. Enough said.

So while I was voting, one of the election officials asked me if I wouldn't mind stepping aside to talk to her when I was finished voting (obviously because I was taping everything I did). I had no problem with that. So when I was done, she asked me what the camera was for. I said something to the effect of, "I've heard plenty of stories about how people's votes have changed right in front of their eyes on these touchscreen machines, and I brought the camera as a sort of insurance. I don't trust these machines, and if it had happened to me, I would have evidence." She then asked me if I was associated with any group or anything. I said, "I'm an American citizen. This is all me; it has nothing to do with anyone else. I'm just a regular guy."

Moments after I left the polling place, it occurred to me that I should have taped my short conversation with her. I had the camera in my hand as I participated in a potentially important and meaningful exchange of information, but I chose to leave the power off. And I learned something from it, just like I learned something from not taping the earlier incident.

By voting today, I learned some valuable lessons about making a documentary. Lessons I really needed to learn. Lessons that will help me avoid making the same mistakes when I hit the road to make Aimless. Lessons that will someday help me recognize good stuff in time to capture it on tape. It also showed me how uncomfortable I may become at times when I finally do begin making Aimless, and it should prepare me to handle these situations better in the future.

I have a lot to learn. I know that much. I never tried to pretend I'm an expert or anything like that. But little things like going out to vote can be valuable learning tools; a lot more valuable than school. This is real-world school, and I can't wait to start using my education to create Aimless.

Let the healing begin

It's been three days since my best little buddy Pinky went away forever, and it's beginning to hurt a little less. Not that it will ever stop hurting, but I have to accept the reality that he has moved out of my physical life and now resides in my heart and my memory.

We buried Pinky Sunday afternoon in a special place. I put a few things in his box that belong with him, including a bottle of cat treats, his feeding dish, and a little note. I sure do miss him.

There is so much I want to say about Pinky, and I may do it soon enough (mostly for myself), but it's not very easy to do right now.

I love you, Pinky.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sorrow in my heart

My best buddy Pinky is gone. He died at about 5:00 this morning, peacefully. I've shed many tears in the last five hours, and I'll shed many more in the days and weeks to come because I have so much love for the beautiful boy. So much love.

I love you so much, Pinky, and I'll never forget you.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Good workers are easy to find

Last night my mom said something about how hard it is to find good workers, echoing what one might expect to hear from a hiring manager or a failing small business owner. As always, when I hear such completely ridiculous statements, I speak my mind.

I said, defensively, "No, it's NOT hard to find good workers." I then repeated her statement, adding some of the conditions that her ilk so often forget to consider when making such ignorant claims: "It's hard to find good workers who allow you to rip them off. It's hard to find good workers when you only pay $6 or $7 an hour." I continued, "If it is so hard to find good workers, then I should be getting at least a hundred calls a day from people looking for good workers."

As someone who would like to be (and should be) the owner of a small, independent pizzeria, I am 100 percent confident that I would have no problem finding, hiring, and keeping good workers. How do I know? Because I understand economics.

Now, I'm not necessarily talking about money when I say economics. When I say economics, I'm talking about the relationship between what one gives and what one receives in return. It can be money, but it can also be labor, information, services, love, or a million other things.

From now on, let's just pretend I already own a small pizzeria, which I expect to open in the coming month.

As the owner of a new pizzeria, I must invest in a lot of different things, with no guarantee of a return, before I can even think about opening the doors for business. I must develop a pizza that people will want to eat. I must offer edible side items, salads, subs, drinks, desserts, and other menu items. I must purchase adequate equipment. I must think of effective marketing strategies and spend quite a bit of money to impliment these strategies.

I must ask myself countless questions (with the first two from the target customers' perspective):

1) Why should I try your pizzeria instead of my usual pizzeria?
2) What do you offer that I can't get from my usual place?
3) How do I get people in the door for the first time?
4) How do I get people to come back?

There are hundreds more questions I must ask myself, but I'll stop here.

And the answers?

1) You should try "Ryan's Imaginary Pizzeria" because I'll make it easy for you. I am so confident that you will love our pizza, I offer a money-back guarantee. If our pizza is not the best pizza you've ever had, or if we are unable to replace your pizza with the best pizza you've ever had, I'll give you your money back. Every cent. Furthermore, if we fail to provide the best service you've ever experienced, I'll give you your money back. Every cent. Our goal is to provide every customer the most incredible dining experience possible, and I want to prove it to you by putting my money where my mouth is. You should not expect anything less from anyone. (**See explanation below.)

2) As I already said, we offer the best pizza on the planet. Now, anyone can make that claim, but do you know of any other pizzeria that offers a money-back guarantee if their pizza is not the best on the planet? Didn't think so. But here's what else we offer: A clean dining room; friendly people and great service; genuine smiles; fantastic subs, sides, salads, and desserts; community support; reasonable prices; passion for making the best food; safe delivery drivers; a wide open kitchen that shows you how much care we put into preparing your meal (as opposed to hiding behind a wall and using less-than-sanitary practices like you've grown accustomed to with other pizza places). Is that enough, because I can go on if you need more reasons to try us?

3) I get people to try us, first of all, by implimenting Risk Reversal marketing strategies such as the money-back guarantee. Of course, we must distribute thousands of pieces of our marketing materials before we can expect anyone to know we even exist. Another way to get people in the door is by sending out some free pizza postcards. If it costs me $3 in food cost to attract a family of four and convert them into lifetime customers, I'd say I'm making out pretty good. Additionally, these strategies create extensive word-of-mouth marketing.

4) Here's how I get people to come back: I serve them the best pizza they've ever tasted and I treat them like they rule because they do rule! They don't need "Ryan's Imaginary Pizzeria;" "Ryan's Imaginary Pizzeria" needs them. Same thing with employees.

These are not complete answers, but they are rational answers and they are the right answers. If you want to critique what I've said, don't look at it from a prospective pizzeria owner's point of view. Instead, look at it from a prospective customer's point of view. If you do, you should start to get it. But if you just keep thinking what people have always told you, then you will never understand. Similarly, you'll also never understand why more than 90 percent of new restaurants fail within a couple years of opening.

**If you doubt that a money-back guarantee would be effective, you're simply wrong. You think everyone will just come in and eat their meal, then ask for their money back, right? Wrong. It doesn't happen. Here's what does happen, though: People try your pizzeria instead of their usual pizzeria because you have made it easy for them. How do I know? Case studies. If you want to find out more about it, look up Kamron Karington.

Pretty long digression, eh? What was I talking about? Oh yeah, how to find good workers and keep them. So how is it done?

Just like you invested in your store space, your equipment, your marketing materials, your furnishings, your utility bills, etc., you must also INVEST in employees. You get what you pay for, and you only get what you give. If you pay superstars like chumps, they either work like chumps or they quit. It's not them; it's you!

If someone's labor earns me, the pizzeria owner, $50 an hour because they bust their ass, treat customers right (creating customer loyalty), attract new customers, and all that good stuff, why the hell would I pay that person $7 an hour? Why would I pay him or her less than $15 an hour or $20 an hour? Hey don't ask me, because I wouldn't do it.

But just about everyone else does. And when they do, they lose their moneymaker, either to another employer who will pay reasonable wages or to complacency and apathy.

Good workers absolutely are not hard to find. Good bosses are!