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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Useful Latin Phrases


"Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur – anything said in Latin sounds profound."



It's true; when it comes to witty/pithy sayings, nothing does it better than good old Latinate. The ultimate romance language, from which most European tongues originate. With the notable exception of Greek, Latin is the most important language of Western Civilization, because it forms the core of so many other languages, and almost all classical literature is drawn from it.

But here's why I love Latin: it makes for great quotes! Seriously, I never sound more intelligent than when rolling a string of the good old Latinate off my tongue. It's impressive in ways that makes librarians all hot and bothered. Not to mention the fact that the quotes are themselves damned useful for arguments, debates, educating the ignorant masses, or just plain discourse and conversation.

Here's a selection of Latin phrases that every good Saboteur Academian should know, from legal arguments to proud declarative statements. Learn 'em, love 'em, live 'em.



Acta est fabula plaudite. The play has been performed - applaud!

Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.

Audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeret. Slander boldy, something always sticks.

Veni, vidi, vici. I came, I saw, I conquered.

Cacoethes scribendi. Bad habit of writing.

Coitus more ferarum. Congress in the way of beasts (having sex doggy-style).

Carpe diem. Seize the day.

Carpe noctem. Seize the night.

Alea iacta est. The die is cast. Said by Julius Caesar as he crossed the Rubicon with his army into Italy proper. A point of no return, unless through victory or death.

Luctor et emergo, victrix. I struggle and I emerge, victorious.

Cogito ergo sum. I think there I am.

Bibo ergo sum. I drink, therefore I am.

Credo quia absurdum est. I believe because it is absurd.

Esse quam videri. To be, rather than to seem.

Fortes fortuna adiuvat. Fortune favors the bold.

In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro. Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book.

Media vita in morte sumus. In the midst of our lives we die

Mundus vult decipi. The world wants to be deceived.

Obscuris vera involvens. The truth being enveloped by obscure things.

Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius. Whom the gods would destroy, they first make insane

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen? (Not originally an Allan Moore phrase.)

Sapere aude. Dare to be wise.

Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc. We gladly feast on those who would subdue us. mock-Latin motto of the Addams family.

Piscem natare doces. You teach a fish to swim.

Sic et non. Yes and no.

Tempus edax rerum. Time, devourer of all things.

Ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant. They make a desert and call it peace.

Quis leget haec? Who will read this?

Vi veri universum vivus vici. By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe.



Most of these phrases come from Ovid, Virgil, Tacitus, with a sprinkling of mock-phrases and Greek-to-Latin translations. They're pretty random, I think, and mostly hard to find - unless you spend hours on Wikimedia like I do.

Be sure to employ these conversational ploys with extreme prejudice, because otherwise you'll just look like an over-educated ass.

Cheers my fellow saboteurs!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Love Songs


Even though I'm not loving someone, in love, on love, getting loved back, I still can't stop being a hopeful/hopeless romantic.

Always wanted to get into a serious enough relationship to be cheesy and make a love-song mix of Epic proportions. I'm not talking about your Barry Manilow/Barry White shit; I'm talking about the good stuff, the passionate compositions you'd play in the background while having sex. (Or, making love if you're extra cheesy like me.)

Here's a small selection of some of my all-time-top love and love-making songs, mostly modern so's I & ya'll can feel relevant.



I'm Yours, by Jason Mraz. Starting off with this classy pop-piece that's been getting more radio play than even Britney Spears. I swear, I was flipping through the dial and heard it playing AT THE SAME TIME on a smooth jazz station, a soft rock station, and a pop station. Despite the overplay, this is a great song - Jason Mraz does scat singing at the end that is awesome.



Doo Right, by Man Man. This is an amazing piece for how short it is, complete with firework effects and passionate piano pounding. The lyrics are something so random but still romantic, almost like you feel in love with someone from the Psych Ward at your local insanitorium.



Oh, Is It Love, by Hellogoodbye. [Note: this version doesn't have the actual beginning of the song, which is really a very beautiful opener. But this was the best version I could find. Again Youtube always has to make things so difficult...] Gotta love the angsty teen love songs, if only because they're so much effort you can imagine it bleeding.



Meet Me In The City, by The Black Keys. Originally a Junior Kimbrough song, this hard-rocking love-sickness, all about a man wanting his woman who still lives in the South to come up North and be together with him in the city. If you like this you should definitely check out the original, although this one is just as good.



Pale Blue Eyes, by The Velvet Underground. Great great great song! Got a soft slow bluesy-quality and Lou Reed's voice just seems to float up out of the infinity. Perfect for those car-rides in the middle of nowhere, holding each others' hands and rubbing your thumbs together.



By My Baby, by The Ronettes. [Don't mind the album cover for the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing.] This one I had to put in here, because goddamn I love this song. Can't really explain it except to say that it's awesome, and powerful, and will never, ever die.



As I Rise, by The Decemberists. Nice little diddy. Short and sweet and folksy. I often listen to this during those lazy days where I stay in bed as the sun shines allover my blankets. All you need are the arms of a lover and bam! The perfect position for forever.



The Trapeze Swinger, by Iron & Wine. This is a long long song, but maintains a strange sort of ambiance so that you hardly notice it. The voice like gentle-feather brushes, finger touches, small kisses, is something you can equally fall asleep to as makeout to. Honestly, I think Iron & Wine is the Barry White of yours/mine/our generation.



Creature Fear, by Bon Iver. Imagine waking up holding the hands of your lover, slowly realizing your fingers are still intertwined, still holding each others' hands, and she looks so very beautiful laying like that. With equal parts soft interlude and passionate chorus, this song dominates my list, for no other reason than that For Emma, Forever Ago has taken the world by its chordal-throat. Also, on the album this song melds into the next track a bit, and that kind of makes it difficult to pin down just one song from the whole LP to call "romantic". The whole damn thing is romantic as all hell, romantic and sad and very much worth listening to.

Anyways, hope ya'll enjoyed the songs, and maybe even pick up a few of them yourself.

Cheers

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sandcastles




Did ya'll ever build sandcastles? Maybe not like the ones in the pictures, but even just a turret-mound? Nowadays the shit has become an art-form unto itself. With tournaments and competitions, and world-class prizes, this childhood past-time is now something for serious individuals only. No amateurs, please.

Used to love grabbing buckets full of sea-water, building tall towers right next to the tide-line, lil' baby legs awkwardly positioned to keep the incoming ocean out and away from my latest creation. Sometimes they'd be huge, sprawling complexes with gates and moats and a bridge. Sometimes they'd be simple towers rising as high as my short arms could pack the sand.

Never got much into the details though. No doors or windows or other finery like that. These were plain creations to say the least. I just liked the building.

Makes me nostalgic for being five years old again. Wish I could go back with my little shovel and my little bucket and just play on the beach all day again, lost in the seemingly important task of getting this frickin' sand to stay put.

Oh well. Here's some more crazy looking sandcastles for ya.









***BONUS***

Random line I overheard on the MUNI today.

"Brevity is a beverage I'd like to drink."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Torture for Beauty


So, this past Saturday I did a stupid thing. Probably the stupidest thing in my entire life. Probably the single most painful idiotic experience this sad pathetic little dweebster from southern-Cali ever did.

I'm talking, of course, about a body-wax.



YES! Finally convinced by roommates and semi-regular lovers to quit the man-scaping. My monthly hours-long shaves to remove the pesky bristle that covers the bodies of all truly eastern-European Jews. The Heb hairs. The Kike locks. I'm talking about the hairy-backs only found just west of the Caucasuses; long, black, coarse, with more kinks than the crooked-little-man in his crooked-little-house.

Does that gross you out? Sorry ladies, but real men have hair - lots of it - and in places you wouldn't expect. When the next ice-age hits, you'll be sorry you spent all that Nair on yourself. "No, I don't have a coat you can borrow. This one is in my skin." Welcome to a difference between the sexes, the biological barrier that keeps you in the kitchen, and men out in the fields hunting wild woolly Mammoths for dinner - killing Mastadons just because we can.



HOWEVER, I am a firm believer in trimming, which dates back to my bygone water polo/swim team days. Used to razor my youngest older-brother's back before games; a pre-tournament ritual to ensure minimal drag when the water gets absorbed into the follicle. Dragged you down because now you've got an extra ten-twenty pounds from that new-grown hyper-masculine chest.

I've become surprisingly comfortable with growing it out and then shaving it all off, rhythmic-timed to the weather's change. Long in winter, short in summer. I've got a seasonal coat. Works real nice, but creeps out the roomies.

This time, like I said, was different though. Looked up waxing specialists online. Wanted an expert with decent prices and skill to give me the ultra-smooth unstubble. Show off my baby-abs in Golden Gate park. Roll my shoulders like Brad Pitt. Get the ladies thinking I'm just another prepubescent young dude ripe for the... fucking.

Something like that.

But seriously, decided to try this out, see how I like it, because in case you've never done it like I do, shaving HURTS. (At least, with the amount of hair I have it does.) Stuck in the bathroom for hours, sweating, slips my hand makes my skin get cut, razor bumps, stubble growing back after the first day. Just wasn't worth it. Nu-uh!

I go to this place called Wendy's Hair and Nails, over in the Marina. Must be the only place of its kind not run by a scary Asian lady. Instead I got a cute little white woman, post-prime, looked like she must be someone's mom. Asked me to take off all my clothes so we can get right to it. (I was late for the appointment due to my habit of always getting lost the first time I ever go somewhere. But never the second!) She gave me the all-over look - twice - and then handed me a towel, for my dignity.



At first I think I'll be fine. This isn't 40 Year Old Virgin. I'm not Steve Carrell. Then she starts yanking and it's all I can do to not jump off the table and punch somebody in the face. It hurt that bad! Couldn't curse because there was a little kid out in the hall (a clever stratagem on the establishment's part, no doubt) so I had to invent my own expletives.

Out comes the hair on my legs. "Jesus!" Then my inner-thigh. "Mother of Christ!" The butt. "Holy bunches of oats!" Stomach. "Sons of Solomon!!!" Chest. "Odin's one-eye!!!" And finally, the Dreaded Spot: my nipples.

No one to hold my hand. I ask her to get the whole thing at once. She obliges. Hot wax is SOOOO not erotic in this situation. Lays down the fabric and gives me the three-count. She pulls and...

"BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL!!! ooooooooOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!!"



No shit-kidding. I thought I was going to die. Felt like someone had sliced open my nipples with razor-blades and then poured lemon-juice on them. Hurt so much I tried passing out but instead I looked down at my chest and saw blood-spots where there used to be hair.

Guess movies can come true after all.

Other areas where it hurts a surprisingly large amount: upper-back, belly-button, ankles, and toes. (Yes, I even have hair on my toes. Fuck off with you.)

All in all, was getting waxed for an hour and a half. The next appointment had to wait. Cost one-hundred and ten dollars; tipped Wendy twenty plus, and bought some lotion, because the woman had to endure my chicken-shit-eating ass faux-cursing, talking faster than the Flash to ignore the pain.

And, of course, I had the brilliant sense to wear a white t-shirt that day. (How do you get your own bloodstains out? Anyone know?) So the public-transit ride was just awesomely awkwardly embarrassing.

Don't get me wrong, the results are undeniable... [insert sarcasm] I'm sure the next few weeks my body will be pretty well-appreciated - by burn-victims! Geebus p cryst, the cost + pain is too much! Dunno how girls can get the Brazilian bikini wax. Must feel like having your vagina ripped open with a thousand pin-needles.

Here are the pics. Before and after:

[Before]







[After]















Don't mind the lame poses. Never had much experience trying to flaunt my body like the bros. See all the irritation? There was blood, actual blood, until I washed off and used a little aloe vera.

Yep. Look totally sexy, don't I?

Sometimes I wonder how I get myself into these things. Then I remember it's because I'm so fucking stubborn. Should've left after the first rip! But noooo, wanted to go all the way, had already told people I was. Couldn't back down. Oy vey... Now ya'll know why my life is so crazy; it's because I'm a damn fool.

Anyhoo, so that's my story. Had an experience, and now I think I'll never do it again.

Feel free to comment, to ridicule, to laugh, and to sympathize.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The illustrated version of my life


Sometimes I need the support of outside sources for my confidence, like cartoons, comics, trashy fantasy novels and math rock. There's nothing more gratifying than seeing yourself in someone else's work of art. The sheer vindication is staggering. Almost gives me hope... almost.

Here's a montage of panels from XKCD reflecting myself:



















XKCD is the zeitgeist of my life.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Internet Intelligence


There was a time, when I was in high school, where I would spend hours arguing with people online, through forums, chat-rooms, instant messaging, and even email. Why? Because someone was wrong, and I felt the inexplicably strange urge to correct them.



These conversations/discussions/arguments would last for days, weeks, sometimes months. I once got into it with a guy over whether one team in a video game was better than a different team, based solely on the fact that one team had superior long-range fighters. That was it. I spent two months dredging up facts, testimonies, circumstantial evidence, and all other materials to support my point. And you know what that fucker did every time I came up with these well-constructed arguments? He'd type, "You're lame."

Yeah. What a douche.

All that hard work, wasted on a fucking dumbass. I could've been writing a novel, or learning to dance, or playing music, or SOMETHING, besides discussing the merits of Starcraft over an internet forum.

Yet, spending all my time arguing with complete idiots trained my mind, and my words, for debate. These "flame wars" taught me the power of rhetoric, especially when employed through writing. Not to brag, but I got very good at it. I learned how to wield both logic and passion. I could whip up a thesis in minutes, with all the correct grammar and word usage. Or I could pour my emotions into a few well-constructed lines filled with taunting and condescension.

Sometimes people would actually get so mad that they'd embarrass themselves trying to win. Sometimes, they would get so pwned, that they'd actually leave the forum altogether, never bringing attention to themselves again.

Teenage boys on the internet really have no mercy.

But what's the point of it all? I eventually asked myself. The obvious answer came to me: there is none. Arguing on the internet is a waste of time. Even if you win, you lose, because you still got caught up in it. You can't change anyone's mind; their opinion will always be the same, no matter how you prove things (if, indeed, things can be proved at all).



Yet people still dedicate themselves to showing off, to trolling forums looking for topics that they can inflame, not thinking about adding to the discussion so much as feeling superior. And even regular bystanders waste themselves to tell you when they think you're wrong.

For instance, I made a poorly researched comment on a blog I follow by Siditty. Truth be told, I didn't really care for the topic, but felt momentarily interested in contributing to the discussion. I gave my opinion and went to bed. When I went back to check the comments, I noticed a fuckload of angry responses to what I had written. Some of them were downright frothing at their metaphorical mouths over it.

Really? You're going to get emotional over my opinion? You're going to take the time to tell me what's what? REALLY? It just boggles my mind... Someone cares that I am wrong ON THE INTERNET. (Whether I was or not isn't the point.) Good lord people, this ain't the end of the world! If you don't like it, then why let it bother you? Why does it matter?



Afterwards, I felt compelled to make my own personal reply. This blogpost is it.

It got me thinking... Some people, without the ability to fact-check at will via Wikipedia or Google, without reading their favorite blogs, and news-sites, without the internet, they have nothing to talk about it, nothing interesting to say and, most importantly, they know nothing at all.

I call this internet intelligence.

They're smart only because they can push all the buttons to get the right answer. It's a higher form of lego-block building. A more complicated set of putting the round peg into the round hole to get the tasty treat. The tools are what make them appear superior, rather than any inherent qualities they actually possess.

Sad, isn't it? But was nice to realize the truth of their ignorance.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Gender Disparity


Recently saw the movie Adventureland. It was awesome.



Here's my movie-review-styled opinion:

Kristen Stewart should stop doing films with sexy teenaged vampires and stick with quirky romantic-comedies. Jesse Eisenberg did a good job too, even though he did seem like a frizzy-haired version of Michael Cera. Lots of angsty love mixed with hijynx and alternative-rock music. Definitely worth seeing, if only for a glimpse into the madness of Bill Hader as he attacks some Jersey-looking douchebag with a baseball bat.

[SPOILER ALERT: THE FOLLOWING MAY CONTAIN INFORMATION THAT WILL RUIN THE MOVIE FOR YOU.]

Something I noticed - that is the main focus for this blog-post - was that when Em (Stewart's character) fucks up the budding romance with James (Eisenberg's character) by sleeping with Connell (Ryan Reynold's character) while simultaneously dating James, who discovers the truth and confronts her. In typical cinematic female fashion she runs away to New York, leaving things a mess and giving up on any chance they may have had together. When James goes to track her down, she admits her mistakes and then tries to let them both go their separate ways. Of course, James convinces her otherwise, and the movie ends in the expected "happily ever after" way.

However, there's something I noticed as I was watching. In books, movies, and even real life, when romantic interest goes bad, the girls always give up and move on, but the guys, they nearly kill themselves trying to find a way to make things right again.

Seriously! When a guy messes up the relationship in a movie, does he just give up? No! He has an epiphany, runs back to the girl, and rekindles their love through something-or-other. But when the girl messes up, she gives up and writes the experience off as bad luck/bad timing/bad judgment. It's only after the guy has come to find her that she can get past the mistakes she made and be with him again.

The point is: girls give up. Guys do not.



Is this chauvinistic? Is it a cleverly hidden misogyny of the entertainment industry and our culture? I'm not sure... But when I thought about it, I couldn't come up with many examples in fiction or film that contradicted it.

Even in real life, I had trouble thinking of stories I'd heard where so&so got back together because the girl had the guts to go and make things right. The myriad people I've talked to always emphasized what the guy did to fix the relationship/marriage/love/whatever. And this wasn't just men, but women too, who were often the most vocal in their stories about what happened.

So, let me leave you with these thoughts. Why is it that women do not take a more active role in the relationships they cultivate with men? Why don't they fight for it like men have always been expected to do - and are often portrayed doing? Is it part of role guys and girls play towards each other? A deep-seated cultural expectation that men are the assertive, aggressive ones who must always take the initiative? Or is it something else entirely?



Curiosity compels me to ask: do women really care at all?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Creative Spotlight


I want to share a webcomic that has started to dominate my funny-bone. It's called, American Hell, by Irishman Eolai.



A strange amalgamation of crudely drawn sketches and lines of amazingly hilarious insight. This webcomic is a bit off in terms of its jokes and philosophy, but I like that. Eolai turns humanity on its side and then takes notes. Normally I'd be offended by his lack of artistic talent, but somehow the jarring, nearly Pablo Picasso in style drawings seem to heighten the effect of his eccentric wit. They reflect the imperfections inherent to life and reinforce the randomness of the helter-skelter humor.

There's a deeply cynical viewpoint that criticizes as it entertains. We're shown the sad truth on multiple levels in such a macabre way that you can't help but outwardly laugh and inwardly cry.

Eolai is a bit of an asshole, and acknowledges it, which gives his work the power of apathy, the greatest objective lens in existence. (I can't help but also mention that even though this guy is Irish, the comic is based off American life with American characters and American humor. That, is talent.) He just might be the reincarnation of Oscar Wilde.

Here's a small selection of some of my favorite pieces:







Pretty good, huh? Niftycore to the max, and there are so many more!

Check out his stuff at American Hell dotcom [Link]

Cheers

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You love me / You really love me!




So, just a quick update on the book and other pertinent information.

According to the numbers I got from my publisher, we've shipped out over 200 copies! That means 200 books have been purchased, whether by people or by other distributors. Awesomecoretothemaxjacks!

Sadly, I know for fact that at least 40 copies were purchased by me, for all those people who helped out, and for those pesky family members who deserve freebies. But still, a respectable 160ish. (Ain't too shabby, huh?)

Which brings me to my next point. I know there are a lot of you out there who're like, "wheres my free copy? whaduhfuxup???"

THEY'RE COMING! The publisher ships things to me a lot slower than to Amazon, B&N, because that's called customer service. (And also because I buy my own books at a significant discount, so it's only right that my ass gets to wait.)

As soon as they arrive in the mail I will immediately go out - in my nightie even - and ship them off via UPS for your pleasure. (Y'know, you're all such a pack of rabid dogs sometimes.) Satisfied? Hopefully, because I'm just a poor self-publisher author with no one to love me like I like to be want to be need to be.

[cue: puppy-baby-doll eyes]



Now that I've distracted you with cuteness, let me just say thanks for all the support and congratulations! I am embarrassingly proud of myself, and it's good to know other people agree that I should be. The compassion, the curiosity, the cheap-labor and free-rides have been invaluable.

Thanks guys!

.

.

.

P.S. If you haven't gotten a copy yet, then you better do it before I shank you in the night like a balls-tripping hobo-ninja!

Only 22.95, and, if ever we meet, I'll sign it for you! Or you can just forge my signature and say that I did... Don't worry, it'll be our little secret.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

To all the haters out there


We know who you are.



And so does the government.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Passing time tonight


Instead of taking the effort to blog more "creative content", I'm just going to post a bunch of pictures that are mostly about what I'm thinking of.

"Bad timing"


"Mr. Lame Hearts"


"Dead bunny day"


Now and again is a lot more often than you'd think...