Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Trav the Spazz:
Rough Draft

Ok, so for Creative Writing we had to do a non fiction peice, a memoir. Now I intially baulked at doing anything so pretentious, mainly since I'm only eighteen- but I knew that I had to do the assignment and I'd never really thought about how I got to wear I am in life, how I think and such and I believe that large part of who I am now I get from the music I listen to, the friends I keep(the music being something that we both share, along with computer). Yes John I'm a Geek, give me six months and I'll dig up my membershipcard. So with out further ado, here is a rough draft, with a barebones qausi-outline.

As a kid living in suburbia, you aren’t really exposed to many different subcultures, maybe some of your neighborhood gang plays street hockey, or you all ride BMX bikes, what ever it is, my friends and I all played videogames. Just a bunch of kids whiling away their afternoon at a hill, or burning our eyes in front of a TV with another fatality in Mortal Kombat, Or playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on Joe's playstation.

When I was around twelve or thirteen years old I picked up my copy of “Tony Hawk's Pro Skater”, playing it to death. Several iterations later, on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 I found that I really enjoyed a specific song on the sound track and asked Evan, a friend who'd come up for the weekend and was into more obscure bands then what was on the radio. So I asked him what this band was, when we sat down and played Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4. I really liked it but had not heard of the band before, matter of fact I didn't really know much other then that I had deselected all the other songs in the game. So when Evan and I went to the mall, we tried to find the band, Flogging Molly.

The specific song was Drunken Lullabies, which turned out to be the name of the album. So I bought the album and took it home, ripped the shrink rap off, and stuck it in the CD player and was enthralled. I listened to the album so much that after a couple of weeks my dad told me to listen to something else, or I'd wear out the grooves on the CD.

I flipped the disc over and was amazed to see all the lines on it, different then what you'd normally see. So I just kept playing it, figuring if it broke then I'd get another CD. Over the next several months I listened to that CD at every time...Maybe I alternated with Dave Mathews, but I always stuck it back in.

It sounded like folk but with loud guitars and a further rock sound. I'd never heard anything similar before. So naturally I go look at about and find that it represented of a whole genre. I dive headfirst into “Celtic Punk”. This means it sounds sort of like River dance, but more rock ‘n roll too it; which means it sounds cool. I went to California, with my Mom, and one morning we went out to breakfast and the waitress mentioned The Dropkick Murphy's another Celtic punk band. The Dropkick Murphy's are more of a punk band and less of a Celtic themed influence. Sure it was there, but it didn't completely cover all their songs.

For my 15th birthday my Mom said I could go see The Dropkick Murphy’s, since they were playing in Norfolk, near where Evan lived. We went down (it was a four hour drive) and Evan’s step dad Steve took us to the show. The opening band, The Casualties came out and looked hellish freaky, with bright colored hair, sticking up in all different ways, leather jackets with patches, a large portion of the audience looked different too, leather jackets, piercing and tattoos. I was sort of scared, but I’d heard that most people wouldn’t give you any trouble, as long as you stay out of their way. I was amazed to see a little kid, younger then Evan and I with a tee shirt and a jacket, with messed up hair. I thought that that was cool and figured that if the little kid could do that, then I could. My dad wouldn’t go for the spiked hair, but the band shirts shouldn’t be a problem.

Evan came up one weekend, and we went to the mall and the mall had a Hot Topic, it is where you can get band Tee-shirts and other punk and or Goth merchandise and music. I was afraid of going inside, because they looked, different: tattoos and piercing, all around, but told Evan that after being around all the people at the concert, that it wasn’t a big deal. Surprise Surprise, the people were friendly, showed me where the punk albums were on the rack, and I had fun, looking through them all.

I got a CD then, since that’s all I had money for, and picked out some shirts for my Christmas list, since that was two months away. At this point I had no real clue what punk was, much less this sub-genre, which had bagpipes in it but I wanted to learn and bought several albums from what people had told me was classic punk: The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, The Bruisers, Bouncing Souls... and a whole slew of others. I fell in love with punk; everything from super fast hardcore, too much slower bands, The Pogues comes to mind.

I got an XBOX game system as a present for getting my black belt, and when the next “Tony Hawk Pro Skater” XBOX game came out, naturally I picked that up, and in the process I worked my way through the soundtrack and having liked several songs proceeded to get familiar with their CD cataloged. My dad's friend knew more about these bands, having actually grown up in the 1970's and 1980's- unlike me, doing my growing up in the new millennium. Tony Hawk's Underground included a song, “Mommy's Little Monster” by Social Distortion, a band from 1979 in Southern California,(who are still touring in 2007) I thought that this song, was really great, it was highly energetic, simply shocked me with its subject matter, since the other songs while different, just hand’t quite seemed this outrageous; the lyrics as follows:

Mommy's little monster dropped out of school,
Mommy's little monster broke all the rules.
He loves to go out drinking with the boys,
He loves to go out and make some noise.
He doesn't wanna be a doctor or a lawyer get fat and rich.
He's 20 years old he quit his job,
Unemployment pays his rent!
His brothers sisters have tasted sweet success,
His parents condemn him, say "his life's a mess!"
He's mommy's little monster, he's not afraid to admit it.
He's mommy's little monster, don't wake him in a fit!!!
Mommy's little monster shoots methadrine,
Mommy's little monster had sex at 15
She left home for the streets,
She couldn't deal with all that heat.
She had fun with the boys in the band,
In her eyes it will never end.
Her dad asked what happened to her face,
It could have happened in any place!!!
Her eyes are a deeper blue, she likes her hair that color too.
She can even wear a dress, that doesn't mean she'll ever confess.
She's mommy's little monster
She's mommy's little monster
She's mommy's little monster DON'T TAKE HER LIFE AWAY!!!

It was this song which caused me to further my interest in punk, I liked how it was fast, catchy and I felt the lyrics important, because I could look around at my school and see people who would fit that description. Both intentionally and unintentionally the irony is that those people, while not punk as now commonly labeled by society; by their actions in fact sum up the ideas conveyed in the song, although they try to not admit that they would intentionally act out.

My dad's friend had all the other Social Distortion albums, and he burned them for me, and so I listened to them, yet none had really struck me like that song. I branched out into more political bands, Anti-Flag primarily coming to mind, although the Dead Kennedy's were featured on my CD player, but they were a bit too sarcastic and annoying. I started listening to them after I met my friend Mike in tenth grade, after he moved halfway through the year. He also had band tee shirts, and I’d heard, even listened to some of the bands. Right off the bat I that that was a good omen. When we had a long term sub, I moved over and we started talking. The sub let us listen to music, so we swapped Discmans, and since we were supposed to be watching a movie about Gandhi and further more I enjoy history, I took the notes and got the answers. I think once I got up to go to the bathroom he looked, but ya know I can never be sure. Summer is right around the corner and we just spend the summer at my house, or his, goofing off and playing videogames.

By this point, I was listening to The Bouncing Souls, The Clash, another Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphy's CD's. So after meeting Mike I was exposed to more bands and subsequently I started listening to more then four bands. After only hearing a song, off of the Rock Against Bush Album Volume 2 by a band called Rancid, I downloaded some songs and the bought three albums that week. Rancid had a sound vaguely like The Clash, with ska mixed in as well. They would have a large amount of songs on each album and they played loud fast songs, but they were very catchy, making excellent anthems.

If you wanna make the move
then you better come in
it's just the ability to reason
that wears so thin
living and dying and the stories that are true
secrets to a good life is knowing when you're through
black coat, white shoes, black hat, Cadillac
yeah, the boy's a time bomb

The chorus, with its repetition of the word black, is very easy to memorize and it sounds cool, which is always important to teenagers. So Mike and I hung out, and he took me to see MXPX, a band he liked that I’d never really heard of, until he put the CD in. It was at the 9:30 Club, a place in DC that plays host to some punk bands, and other “alternative” types of music, but they’ve also got mainstream stuff too. Mike and I go with my cousin, and we miss half the show since my dad wanted to drive us. It wasn’t to bad, since MXPX had only just started. Near the end of the show Mike took me into the mosh pit. This was a big group of people who ran around hitting each other and smashing themselves into those on the outside. It was fun and I emerged unscathed and then we left for home. I went to a couple of more concerts, Dropkick Murphy’s another Flogging Molly tour. Mike joined a band and I go see them when I can.

Recently, I decided to stop toadying to what I thought others wanted me to look So now I spike my hair, use a large handful of hair gel, throw a studded belt around my waist, underneath the one threw the belt loops and I took a couple of safety pins and patches to my beat up leather coat. What do I care what others think of me, I know myself and if they don’t like it they can go fuck off and harass some one else. I don’t drink or smoke, never taken drugs- so what? I don’t need to mess with my body in such a manner, I’m fine with how I am now thank you very much.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Johnny Rumble:
A History Of Stupidity

It's human nature, right? Stupidity. It's universal. Do something stupid, and live to tell about it, you will tell about it. Or at least, much to your dismay, your friends will tell the tale. Do something stupid enough, and you might go to jail, or involuntarily remove ones self from the gene pool.

Well…I’m here once again to regale you with my own tales of stupidity. All of them. Or at least the ones I remember.

Age 10-11. It’s winter in North Carolina. There’s snow on the ground, and ice on the roads. I believe it was a Saturday. There was a hill in our neighborhood that had probably a 10-12% grade (the maximum allowable limit of the US Highway system is 6%). Some close friends of mine and myself set out for this hill for some sledding. Now down at the bottom of this hill was a holding pond that, when not filled, was covered in rocks. And I don’t mean little tiny gravel rocks, but rocks bigger than Robin Leech’s ego. Fucking large. Not quite boulders. Anyway…we knew full well what was down there, but hey, we were kids. Invincible and indestructible. All four of us were being stupid and standing up the sleds as we were speeding down the hill, striking poses and having fun. Well…I get it in my brain to jump the curb at the end of the cul-de-sac at the bottom. In a flimsy plastic sled. Into the afore mentioned empty holding pond. Lemme say that what I lacked in jump distance I more than made up for in a spectacular crash. Fortunately, I didn’t break anything, but the sled did snap in half, and the whole left side of my body was a giant bruise. Boulders hurt when you hit them.

Age 15 or 16. It’s fall if I recall. Maybe Summer. Doesn’t matter too much. My best friend on the planet is having a small party and there’s at least 3 cases of swill there. And not the good stuff. I’m talking like Minnesota shit beer. Like some drunk pissed in a can and called it beer. So after my friend consumed about 6 beers and I consumed about 3, we had to take his friend Nicole home. Nicole lives 12 miles away. He’s fairly inebriated, and I’m just getting that way. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a license at the time, nor a car, nor could I drive my friends manual transmission. So we set off together, figuring at least two sets of beer goggles might equal one set of normal goggles. Fortunately, it did that night. We got her home, and helped a couple of stranded bikers on the way back. Kids…do NOT drink and drive. It was stupid.

Age 17. Spring time in Oklahoma. I had just received my driver’s license after months upon months upon excruciating months on a learners permit. My father had just bought a 2003 GMC Sierra. Regular Cab, short bed. Four point three liter V-6. Victory Red. That truck was cherry. Was. Not two weeks into having my license, I’m out skipping school with a couple of friends (Shea and Brandon). I get the absolutely brilliant idea to go driving on a dirt road. Perhaps driving isn’t the right word. More like rally racing. I’m going close to 80 mph on a dirt road, power sliding the hell out of it. I’m drifting around corners, jumping whatever is in my way. I’m in the middle of this absolutely perfect slide. I’m counter-steering properly, the perfect angle, the perfect speed, it’s beautiful. Minus one thing. Divot. More like a pot-hole to be precise. Just seeing it at 65 mph, it looked big enough to swallow small Toyotas whole. Best I can figure, the left front tire (the trailing front in this case), entered the hole and jerked the steering wheel out of counter-steer and caused the truck to track straight into the ditch on the side of the road, through a barb-wire fence, back into the ditch and onto the road. I come skidding to 100 feet away from the crash and I’m just plain tweaking. Instant scenario states that I could have died, along with my two friends. Who are both screaming like girls. Acceptable for one, slap worthy for the other. What makes this uber-stupid though…when I get back to the school, I call my mother and say the truck has been vandalized in the parking lot. Cops are called and they show up. And I proceed to lie my ass off. Stupid, yes…I know. I eventually do come clean, and end up footing the $2600 repair bill. I started my life in debt. And remained that way for 11 months until I turned 18. Brilliant.

Age18. Last day of high school for both my friend and I, and we decided to skip it and go hot tubing instead. While there was no alcohol involved, we did have to break into this upscale apartment complex in order to get to the hot tub. Had to jump a 6 foot gate to do it. No problems there. Later in the day however, my friend and I get the genius idea to go bridge jumping. For those that don’t know what it is, the basic premise to find a bridge that’s crossing a body of water (preferably a river) that’s at least 20 feet deep. The bridge we found was at least 40 feet from the surface of the water to the road deck. Now normally this wouldn’t be a problem. But it had been raining the classic Oklahoma thunderstorm all day and yesterday. Tornados. So this particular tributary of the Canadian River was rain swollen and quite fast. Naturally we jump. Lemme tell ya, those few seconds of free fall were awesome. It was fun, and I’ll do it again in a heartbeat, but it’s defiantly not one of my smartest moments.

Now I’m almost 20, and I haven’t really had the chance to do anything stupid since then, but I always am looking for something to add to the history. There’s been lots more stories, mostly nothing really funny or good, but these are the finest I’ve got. Not much, but defiantly something.

Johnny Rumble

Monday, April 16, 2007

Johnny Rumble: Moonlight

What I wouldn't give
To climb high into the clear moonlight
Riding upon a long tounge of fire
One thousand miles per hour
Blissful freedom from myself
I loose the reins
And touch the face of God.

Johnny Rumble

Johnny Rumble: Self Interview of a Sociopath

"So would you like to tell me why you were running?"

"Running is such the wrong word to use was more like 'Taking a leave of absence.' But to answer your question, I needed a vacation from myself, my priorites, and my ever nagging need to stress."

"Without telling anybody? Do you know how many people you had worried?"

"Not counting family? Not that many. Maybe a couple of people."

"You said you were running from stress...would you like elaborate?"

"Stress...yeah, I said stress. I was stressed about life, love, politics, family, friends, or the lack there of, and the general welfare of my health as a whole."

"You said a lack of..."

"Friends? Yeah, that's what I said. I can count on with two fingers the number of people that I communicate with on some sort of usual basis. Kyle and Brittany. That's all. And I hate it. One person knows pretty much everything that goes through my mind at any point in the day, and yet is 1000 miles away, and one I stress that is becoming a repeated cycle of events that becomes boring and montonus."

"So am I to understand that you desire more friends?"

"Mmhmm. That I do. I wish I had as many friends as I did back in High School. A group that understood my problems and issues and loved me for just being there...come to think of it, I didn't really have that in High School either. But I wonder if that wasn't my own fault for being an absolute asshole to most of them."

"You say them...who are they and why were you so, as you say, and asshole?"

"Who? Kelley, Kayle, Emily, Samantha and Dorthy mostly, but there were other...lesser...characters. Why was I so freakin' mean? If I only knew, I'd try to correct it. I belive it stemmed from the fear of having to move again and having that sence of lose, so therefore I held them at an arms reach and became an un-emotional fucktard with a give-a-shit attitude, when really, I wanted to become one with the group. Either way, I don't think it really would have happened anyway. Even after five or six years, I was still too much of an outsider. That "arms distance" thing. Don't get me wrong, there were moments with all of them that became etched into my memory. Kelley when she confronted me in halls to try and figure out what the hell was wrong with me, and who I subsequently blew off. Emily, when kept on trying to get me more involved. Bible studies, her sisters wedding. Sam when she spent the mornings of our Senior year just doing nothing but talking or going to breakfast.........fuck, I guess they really did try to bring me in. If there was a way I could apoligize to each one for my absurd behavior, I would, but a nagging feeling tells me they no longer care.
What I really wonder is if they think about me as much as I think about them and how they are doing in thier lives. Or really if they even remember me."

"What about others?"

"Yeah there were others. My first real relationship, Megan. A moment in time I both I could fix and forget. She was a fine lass, but when I met here and dated her, she was going through huge life troubles, and I wasn't ready at that time to put in the time and effort to make it work. That whole affair is something I'd rather not dredge up, but I do know that I don't want to go through life constantly clinging to the hatred that has built up in me against her. I'd love nothing more than to bury the hatchet against her, but at the same time all those old memories tell me to bury it in her skull.
Then there's Katlynn, Val, and Ashley. I don't even know where to begin with those three. Katlynn...nice girl, don't get me wrong, but she's...she dosen't feel the need to push the envelop of her life in the directions I wished she would, and in retrospect, the relationship that I had with her wouldn't have worked in the end. Same thing with Val, only tack on the fact that she's way to emotional for me to have really started a relationship with. Ashley is/was pretty cool, and I'd say was the wild child of the three."

"You seem to know a lot of women. Were you interested in dating any of them?"

"Of course. All of them really. I know some wouldn't have worked, and some might have, but crushes are a natural thing arn't they? Hell, it's really what got me started in all the female friendships I've ever had."

"You mentioned a Brittany a while ago. What about her?"

"Ahh...Brittany. You know, oddly enough, she's the one that caused me to run in the first place. Don't get me wrong, she's an awesome friend, and something more, but I do wonder why we're doing this. She's leaving in the middle of summer, and I'm leaving in August. So why put all this time and effort into something that both of us know for a fact will just have to end? Hell, I didn't have any friends here, but would it have that big of a deal to tough out not having a social life for another six or eight months? But then I remember that it was my fault that this whole thing went down the path it did. I'm a big romantic. You know, candle light dinners, whispered terms of endearment, sitting under the stars huddled in blankets...and I guess the possibility of having that type of relationship again was too much to pass up. Do I regret it? Not in the least. But that dosen't stop me from wondering 'why?'"

"Guy you have any?"

"Yeah...a few acctually. Kyle, my best friend, Sean, another really good friend, and to some degree, Spencer from college. I love them all like brothers, and respect all of them highly, even if Spence is a Chelsea fan. But the problem becomes that all of them are 1500 miles away, and I have no real way to communicate with them the way I really need to."

"That being?"

"At the pub with a beer, or just driving around, or just sitting on the couch watching TV. Normal guy stuff. Blowing stuff up optional."

"Is there anything that you really worry about?"

"Yeah acctually, I worry that the only safe place for me is in a padded cell. You know, people tell me a joking matter that I should be taking pills and drugs, but I wonder if behind that joking face, they arn't really serious, and if they are, then why not tell me that I need to seek out professional help? Honestly, I they really feel that I need to be on some sort of prescription then I should hope that they would be comfortable enough to tell me so.
I also worry about wether if I'm really growing up, or if I'm clinging to childhood ideals and not taking anything in my life seriously enough that it's damaging all that I have right now. A Peter Pan Complex I think it's called."

"If you could say anything to them all at once, or even indivudually what would it be?"

"Hell, I don't know...prolay something to the effect of, 'Sorry I was such a dick most of the time I could have been getting to know you as a person better, and given the chance to do it over I'd try harder to be a better friend than I was.'"

Johnny Rumble

Johnny Rumble: The Military Industrial Complex Or The American Facination of Under-Funding What It Loves

There are certain people within the American culture that make the claim that the citizenry of the United States are absolutly in love and totally obsessed with having this huge military might that we possess. There are movies glorifing the military life style (Jar, In The Army Now) and the wars that are fought (Saving Private Ryan, Windtalkers, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket), games all about using military tactics (Medal Of Honor, America's Army, Rainbow Six), not to mention the absolute media control that is excerted within the Complex itself with all the major media outlets being owned or funded by compaines that provide weaponry and supplies to the Military.

If America's people are so in love with our military, then where are the new KC-X tankers that are needed? Or why are we only getting 189 F-22's to replace over 350 F-15's, not to mention pick up the slack of the retiring F-117's (2008), and gradual draw down of the F-16 until the JSF project is finally certified for front-line duty? Where are the new bombers to replace the aging B-52, which, might I add, all all crewed by avaitors younger than the plane itself? Why do members of the military (not to mention all the dependants) live in mold-infested, run down, out-dated housing that would only be fit for a projects in Oakland, CA? Here's another really good question...why are members of Congress (Congress, not the Pentagon, who abhord this idea totally) more C-17's to the fleet than are needed, and then forcing the Air Force to pay for planes they didn't want?

The public's facination with the Military is a sham at best and a farce at worst. The American people are in love with the IDEA of a totally modern military that will stomp shit all over the world, but when it comes time to acctually pay for the ideas, Congress and the people Ho-Hum about how there's not enough money to upgrade and modernize. In addition to only loving the idea, the public's only focus is upon the pointy end of the spear (i.e. The front line troops and front line aircraft), and never upon anything behind providing the thrust to make that point work (maintance crews, Store-keepers, Logistics).

America may love it's Military in idea and concept, but HATE the acctual product. Welcome to the future of flying 50 year old planes, and shooting 35 year old rifles. Our Military of the Future. Take a Bow.

Johnny Rumble

Trav the Spazz: Linux Redux

Ok, So I've tested the Fedora 7 KDE live cd test 3, and it detected the wireless card and I even saw the networks- this is a first so far. Now all I have to do is get it to connect and We're money folks. But progress is progress. IF Fedora 7 doesn't work I'll try Sabayon, a variant of Gentoo. So currently I'm waiting till 24 May when Fedora 7 is released.

on another note, a poem:

I wish yet another pane of glass was smashed,
Meaningless rebellion, another poseur action
Though I feel happy, never any anger
However long I hope, it's always the same.

Such cheer, yet see how quick,
It spreads: For ever rotting
All those around.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Trav the Spazz:

alright ladies and Gentleman,

So I finally did it, I fucked up Loki(yeah i named my Laptop after a Norse god, since I thought I was doing something right, but I ended up having to re install XP) so bad trying to install Fedora Core 6 and of course I never made backups.

So recently I've delved into Linux and have tried two distros, Kubuntu and Opensuse. Kubuntu was fine, but at the time I didn't know that I could restart X (the GUI) when the OS restarted in a console mode. Silly noob that I was(and still am) I said the hell with it, and booted to windows and proceeded to download OpenSUSE 10.2. THis proceeded to work fine, but I couldn't get wireless to work, so I then reinstalled kubuntu, but Didn't like it as much as OpenSUSE. I wanted to try at least one more distro before I went to opensuse and had heard good things about fedora core6. So I proceeded to download that. Only it took the whole week to get to 97.5 % and the day before I got SH4 - a sub sim game which caused my laptop to overheat, and of course what happens when it guessed it it shuts down, and I bet you can even tell me what happens next. Yes the torrent stopped and no it didn't resume. Shitty opera widget- or more plausible, would be operator error.
So since all that work was wasted, I just went down to the bookstore to get a fedora core book with the OS attached. As I debated between two books, I met a dude named Bryce, who was nice enough to put up with my blundering questions and errors. We had a plesant conversation, exchanged email and so hopefully I can learn more about computers, since I really do find them Im regretting dropping that computer class I signed up for- but in all probablility it wouldn't have been alll that helpful, cos I know who to use word(mostly) it does what I need it to at this point. SO i got the fedora core 6 unleashed book , took it home and installed.
Now this is where the fun begins: I chose all the default options and it installed, tells me to take the dvd out and reboot. On reboot i get a GRUB error 22 and being the lazy bastard that I am, i just decided the hell with it and reinstalled XP from the recovery I meant to do this before I to college anyway, so It's not entirely bad, the music is all backed up on the iPod, so all is well. I'm afraid of installing FC6 until I know what I did to cause the GRUB error. and if I don't know what do to I can always just install Opensuse, i know at least that should work.
One of the tech guys at school recommended Free BSD, so now I may look at that too, I'm not sure I need more opinions...and currently the Fedora IRC chats aren't exactly nice, maybe its cos its 2:00 PM east coast time, possibly better reception at night...or I'm just a really ignorant chap who can't ask a question properly.

on another note my dad and I pushed His girlfriends beemer up the street cos it doesn't start, that was fun...

So now I'm gonna relax, and I've got to work on easter Sunday, how fucked up is that...I wasn't sceduled, but I just can't say no...I'm gonna fix that now...Ill still go in tommorow, but I'll be damned if I stay later then what I'm sceduled.

So now I've named my laptop Loki, cos Well, its a tricky son of a gun. and It's my laptop, so I'll do what I want...cos I said so....