I make myself cheese sandwiches in the kitchen at work fairly often these days, in an attempt to save money and also eat something besides junk food, which the rest of my co-workers seem to subsist on happily, but makes me nervous about my health. I am making cheese sandwiches because I forgot to buy coldcuts.

So, while I'm doing this, have been asked on more than one occassion if I am a vegetarian. It's funny, because they never notice if I'm eating, say, a turkey sandwich, or Taco Bell Crapitos. It's funny that people assume that if I'm eating a meal without any meat at all in it, then it must be because I never eat meat. Even when I do have meat available, I very often choose to eat a cheese sandwich, or some other non-meat-involved meal. Sometimes I don't eat vegetables with my meal. It makes me wonder if all thes people always include meat in all their meals that to see someone eating one sans meat is so unusual.

Of course, they also wonder why I walk to a deli that is less than a mile away instead of driving.

Also, I'm pretty sure some of them think I'm gay. To their credit, when presented with the Dance Dance Revolution pads that they intended to use tonight, I did say, "Honey, I don't need to follow directions to dance." and snapped my fingers. So I can see where that assumption may have come from.


So, I looked in my archives, which appear to be either functional, or non-functional, depending on the alignment of the planets, and I realized that last year, I wrote nothing about the terrorist attacks. I remember why. I didn't feel worthy of doing so at the time. Many other bloggers were writing moving, poignant and captivating pieces about their thoughts. Hell, many of them were there or witnessed it first-hand. My story is nothing in comparision.

I use this blog as a place to remark upon and help me cope with the insanity that infuses the culture, politics, and behavior of well... pretty much everyone everywhere. This insanity is a combination of ignorance, shallowness, greed, foolishness, bad taste, and a million other minor sins which come together into something that makes people drive like morons, get all excited about plasticy pop stars or buy chocolate-flavored french fries. It's mockable, and it's funny and I'm guilty of it, too. We all are, don't deny it.

Then there's real, actual, tangible insane insanity. The kind that, well... makes you think that killing thousands of innocent people (or even killing one innocent person) is going to make some sort of political statement (Guess what, terrorists? It doesn't. Once you start killing innocents, then you're the bad guys, no matter how vaild your political beliefs are. That's the way it goes.). I believe very strongly that there is humor in everything, and humor can help people deal with tragic situations, but one must, of course, be very careful. So I'll just tell my 9/11 story, like everyone else has done. I won't claim that it's interesting, it's not, comparitively, but here it is:

I was working as a tech support representative for Electronic Arts at the time. I would listen to NPR or KGO (News Radio) in my car on the way to the train station on my way to work. That day I tuned into my radio just before the plane hit the pentagon. So i was fortunate (?) enough to hear the rest of the events as they unfolded. On the train I had no idea if more planes hit or what was happening aside from the people chatting on their cell phones around me.

EA's main building has a large lobby with televisions set up that show commercials for upcoming titles. Today the commercials were not on rotation. Instead, all the televisions were tuned to CNN, C-SPAN, ABC, anything that had coverage of the attacks. I stayed and watched the coverage for a little while before heading upstairs. People who were unaware of the events came in and walked past the televisions, then did a double-take as they realized that the screens were not showign commercials, but live coverage. We were used to seeing things explode on the TVs.

In the office, work was all alfutter with peopel talking about what was going on. Small portable televisions had been hastily set up in the cubicles. It was only my 4th or 5th day there, so I went along into the training room, where things proceeded fairly normally, considering.

Needless to say, the phones were not lit up that day, although we did receive calls. We even took calls from New York. That's right, people wanted to get their video games working when their city was under attack. Maybe they needed the escape. I don't know.

After I started working the phones, the only two 9/11-related calls that I took were some woman who was very upset that the Sims main page featured a character from Command and Conquer (apparently she felt that, in light of the attacks, it was innapropriate to show uhh... soldiers, or something), and one man who was wondering why he was banned from his Ultima Online account after he was merely walking around stating his opinion about "them towel-heads, 'scuse me, I mean ay-rabs".

I didn't know what to feel, but it felt bad. I wante dot be cyncial about it and feel differently from everyobyd else and see something in it that no one else could, but I think it was a little too severe for that. I didn't write about it. I went to work the next day, and the next, and the next after that.

The flags are back.

It's been one full rotation of the Earth around the sun since we last were shocked and surprised to see, holy shit, airplanes being flown into the World Trade Center and, Jesus Christ, the pentagon. I had hoped to spend yesterday not thinking about it, not being exposed to all the overabundance of media that would be flooding every media source in the nation. But I have to drive to work, and the flags were back.

Last year, driving up highway 101 after the attacks, every overpass had an American flag hung upon it. Now they've been once again taped up to the chainlink fences, and of course I'm right back to a year ago. The weather's the same. I'm driving the same stretch of freeway, and there are the same flags hung in the same places.

Of course, I was never a big flag-waver. I love this country and the ideals that it is supposed to stand for as much as the next guy. Duh, I love my freedoms. Duh, I value my security. Duh, I appreciate our nation's diversity. But for me, the flags never represented that. Too often I've seen them flown by anti-immigration zealots, wrapped around politicians who spew idiocy at me under the guise of patriotism, or hung in the windows of some SUV that's cutting me off on the freeway, whose driver probably couldn't name the first three amendments if his freedom depended on it, or made into fucking bikinis, cigarette lighters, and commemorative plates. Now, it's going to be forever associated with the terrorist attacks.

It's not the flag's fault. I can't blame it. It never asked to be mistreated, misunderstood, appropriated and exploited in this manner. It was supposed to stand for something special. It was supposed to stand for our freedoms, our republic, and our indivisible nation. When people call burning the flag desecration, well, of course they're right. But what I think is an even more profane descreation of the flag is commercializing it, using it to promote hatred, disunity, or jingoism, or just displaying it becuase everyone else is.

So, the flags are back, and they'll be around for a while, either until they get blown away or CalTrans decided it's been long enough that they can uphold their policy of not allowing anything to be hugn from overpasses without looking unAmerican and takes them down.

The trick for me, I think, is to not be negative about them every time I see one, to not be reminded of the attacks (yeah right, have you ever tried to not think about something? Of course you have) and to just try to remember what they are supposed to stand for, not the ideals that other people keep trying to attach to it.

I pledge dedication to the ideals represented by the flag of the United States of America, and with our republic, for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Yes, I know how it "really" goes, but that's is how it goes for me. I'm not going to pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth, but I used to be a graphic designer, I realize the importance of symbols (I also realize the importance of good visual deisgn, but that's another sotry), and I'm certainly dedicated to the concepts originally intended to be represented by the flag. And I'm not going to let anyone attach any others to it for me.


Not today. Maybe tomorrow, but not today.


I wonder what the crossover rate is between "Blind Date" and "Cheaters", pretty high, I would imagine.

"I just took the longest shit in the world."
"Length, or time?"

Furthermore: Fudgie Wedgie


That is all.

Wow! Why was I not aware of this fantastic Cheaters show before? It is so great! Who are these people, and how does Cheaters get to all sign release forms? "Yeah, it's cool if you show that footage of me being humiliated by my girlfriend in front of that nighclub. Where do I sign?"

Now, I don't watch much television, seeing as how I don't have cable, and the four channels I do get are severely not interesting aside from the fac tthat they go out whenever an airplane flies over the house, so I'm pretty unaware of what's going on with popular TV culture. I can't believe the shit I see when I do get a chance to watch, though. It seems American game shows have learned a lot from the Chinese and Japanese humiliation-style shows I've seen in the past. Don't even get me started on the commercials. It's like I'm in a foreign country every time I actually watch the tube.

I was happy to see that the Cheaters team were equal opportunity detectives, though. The second portion of the episode that I saw this weekend involved a gay man name Brock Mayo who, as being named "Brock Mayo" wasn't hard enough, feared that his boyfriend may be seeing someone else while he was out of town on business. Of course he was, since I'm pretty sure Cheaters wouldn't bother to show footage of the instances where the significant other wasn't cheating. So Cheaters showed Brock the footage of his boyfriend making time with this other dude Chad who happened to be Brock's good friend (so he thought), and said, "We then showed the footage to a very frazzled Brock."

Now, I felt very sympathetic for Brock, and Cheaters must have been aware of what they were saying here, but being the dork that I am, I could not help from thinking,

When you've gone away,
Boyfriend will go out to play,
See what Cheaters has to say,
Now you're frazzled Brock (clap clap)
Now you're frazzled Brock!

I think it might be fun to call up Cheaters and concoct an elaborate scenario in which I am caught seeing my girlfriend's mom on the sly, butI sincerely doubt that the nessecary parties would be all that interested.


Can you rent a sheep?