Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Status Report

Ugh, the twitter update feed for the sidebar is broke. Since the messages streaming through haven't been approved by my mullet or Chuck Norris, I've disabled the timeline until such time as the issue has been resolved. So if you want to follow my tweets, I'm @katosmullet.

Writing my personal statement for law school is hard. Really hard. Harder than pretending I care about Leibniz's ontological proof of God even. I don't find it easy to talk about myself and, what's worse, I don't have any great stories to tell about designing some nanotube thingy that circumvents a rival's patents or working on a major case resulting in big penalties for a global finance group's financial malfeasance. I'm smart, didn't graduate on time, and hate my job. Why wouldn't every law school want me ;)

You may have noticed I like to complain about stuff in this blog. Stupid bigots, what were you thinking moments in racism, famous rapists, crappy songs... Well, I plan to continue exploring such "vital" topics. Maybe some stuff about movies, too. And music I like. And other stuff. But I'd like to take a minute to introduce a new, ongoing future feature to That Texas Drawl.

I never finished my Plan II Honors Thesis. It's not because I didn't have anything to say on my topic; far from it. I had way too much to say and had too many troubles trying to pare it down to a coherent argument. Well, 8 years after the fact, I put this one little blight on my otherwise flawless academic record behind me, took my last philosophy class (and wrote the aforementioned paper about Leibniz), and finally obtained my B.A. (yay me). But I don't want to let all that thesis research go to waste, especially given the importance of my subject. So I would like to inaugurate a discussion of porn on my humble blog.

No, I'm not going to show you porn. Rather, I plan on critiquing it. And anyway, I focused on textual porn, not the visual kind so no dirty pics anyway. But over the next weeks, months, and possibly years I'd like to submit to the wide world of the interwebs the issues, arguments, and such that interested, confounded, upset, and amused me. I'll try to spell out in greater detail the goal of my project as well as introducing my reasons for rejecting the standard Freudian / Lacanian line of criticism advanced by anti-porn feminists. Party party stuff, I know.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Worst. Song. Ever.

I first became aware of Owl City's "Fireflies" when it shot to the top of the itunes download list earlier this month. I say "became aware" because I did not listen to said song at that time. I didn't actually hear to it until my twitpal @madeinkowloon blip'd it my way a few weeks ago. I know this review is coming a little late, both in terms of when I heard the song and after the song hit its peak popularity, but I just want to add that it's a TERRIBLE SONG. Just plain bad.

The song is straight up theft of The Postal Service sound. But it's like Owl City took all that was creative, innovative, and cool about the Dntel-Jimmy Tamborello & Ben Gibbard collaboration, dumped it in an acid bath of top 40 pop mediocrity, and let the resulting Frankenstein monstrosity loose on the radio to murder, ahem, bring indie electropop forward for mass consumption.

Honestly, the music isn't too awful, being snatched unfinished and incomplete as it were from Jimmy's harddrive. But that *IS* the problem with it. Whereas the Postal Service tracks were each carefully crafted, complex, and full of interesting sounds and hooks, "Fireflies" feels like gimmicky hack electronica. It's not egregiously bad, just forgettable and uninteresting.

And then you get to the words. OMFG, the lyrics to this song are the suck. Seriously, it sounds like they were written by committee of third graders. I'm not categorically opposed to songs about fireflies (re: Magentic Fields "100,000 Fireflies") but this song is entomology fail. I couldn't imagine a more blatant example of a tween panty-dropper without Stephanie Meyer's name attached to it. They are cheesy, lame, and oh so cliche.

However, I wouldn'y say that "Fireflies" is the worst song ever. That prize is reserved for this little "gem":

Until next time...

P.S. You can follow me on as dj katosmullet to hear what music I *do* like.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Breaking the seal

It's been a strange week indeed.

We had French Vogue inexplicably decide that reviving blackface would somehow get a bye in the age of Obama. The jokes were hard to swallow in Tropic Thunder and Downey's blackface there was deployed with irony in full force. "What do you mean 'you people'?" There isn't anything ironic about painting up a white Dutch model for a magazine layout. Fashion fail.

And today we find out some justice of the peace in Louisiana feels he has the right to deny interracial couples a marriage license. But oh no, he's not a racist; he has "piles and piles of black friends" whom are so privileged as to be allowed access to his bathroom. Anybody else feel we might need to search under his house and in the woodshed? Who counts up people by the pile... except, you know, Nazis and Rwandan warlords. And what's his excuse? He's just thinking of the children who, according to our good friend, will never be accepted by either the white or black community. Damn! Do his marriage licenses also include a one-way ticket on a time machine back to 1957? Please, Keith Bardwell, please stop being so helpful.

The battle lines were drawn more sharply surrounding Roman Polanski. On one side, Hollywood (notably minus Jamie Foxx) supports Polanski and thinks that slipping a 13 year old girl a quaalude and then having sex with her against her will is somehow ok when you make great movies. Journalists, on the other hand, found themselves cast again and again this week in the role of saying drugging and raping a 13 year old is not cool, no matter how many Oscars or lifetime achievement awards you may have won. You know how he lured the girl to Jack Nicholson's house? He told her and her mother he wanted to take pictures of the girl for French Vogue! You can't make this stuff up. Please sign this petition to cancel French Vogue. Do it for the children.

Tomorrow morning I will be saying goodbye to Capital One as my bank. They decided to delete all of my scheduled utility and credit card payments via bill pay. When I asked them to take care of the late fees and negotiate to re-establish the 0% interest rates on my cards as they promise in their TOS, they strung me along for 3 weeks and then said "sorry, since these weren't scheduled as auto-payments we won't help you." Which they knew from the beginning when I called on September 22 and on every subsequent call. I had to twist the arm of every rep I spoke with to get them to take a look at the notes left by previous reps. What a nightmare! I'll try to give the uncondensed version in the future so you can know what kind of pointless runaround to expect if you ever call Capital One customer service. I will never bank with Capital One again. Can't wait to see the bank manager's face when I come in to pull out all my money.

And lastly... finally got my LSAT score. Disappointed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Mullet's Diatribe: dirty foreign adoptions

And now for something completely different. This story sucks. Come on, now, kidnapping kids so Americans can have their precious "rescued foreign babies"? And we're not even talking Madonna or Angelina Jolie here. Are we now appeasing white guilt by paying brown people to steal babies from other brown people so we can manufacture a smug & superior sense because we can't stand to see a perfectly healthy baby be "thrown away"?* Well of course they weren't going to throw away a healthy baby (except in China, where not having a penis is still considered a birth defect). But I need to feel progressive and better than foreigners some how. Here, let me pay white people to pay some brown people to do some awful, illegal stuff. The white guy with the nice teeth and dapper suit said it was ok so it must be ok. Well if those people would actually do such a thing as kidnapping for the small sum of 10x what the entire town makes in a year, then maybe this baby is better off with me.

* Echoing Spivak's pronuncment in "Can the Subaltern Speak?" of the colonial alibi that white men (and women) were saving brown women from brown men.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

30 Days of Write, 15 April

"Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! Thundercats! Ho!" shouted Lion-O, his once shrunken blade growing tumescent with each booming of his voice and contorted O-face. All across Third Earth, Thundercat heads snapped up to view the shining red and black beacon calling them to action like so many Batmen of Gotham City.

"Stupid, overgrown, red-headed teenage asshole," Cheetara, the only adult female and the fastest Thundercat, muttered under her breath as she raced on foot towards their leader. "I told him to quit calling me that. It was kind of cute the first time he did it in bed but now it's just insulting."

But Cheetara had to admit life wasn't too bad for her in Cat's Lair. She only had to entertain 3 adult men since the other occupants were incestuous twin adolescents and Lion-O's gay, hypochondriac anthropomorphic nursemaid cat-thing that kept repeating his name like a stupid Pokemon or something. Her girlfriend Smurfette, on the other hand, had it pretty rough. The two blondes had hit it off at the Ladies' Night mixer for the 80's Cartoon Nostalgia Reunion a few years back. That poor girl lived in a village with a hundred horny, one-dimensional pricks, all with a permanent case of blue balls, and she was the only available woman for a thousand miles. She wasn't quite sure what being smurfed in the smurf before they smurfed her meant but Cheetara was pretty sure it wasn't pleasant, especially 10 or more times a day.

Meanwhile Lion-O stood proudly with his fully aroused Eye of Thundera pointed lewdly at the intruder.

Prince Adam stared back at his feline confronter with a mixture of awe and mirth.

So he thinks he's the only one around here with a magic sword, does he? Ha ha!

Prince Adam unsheathed the Power Sword on his back and thrust it mightily into the air.

"By the power of Grayskull, I have the POWER!" chanted the disguised hero. A bolt of lightning struck the tip of his blade even though it had been a perfectly clear sky only moments before. This impressed Lion-O, as did the special effects whereby the image of a skull-faced medieval keep suddenly appeared behind the muscular blonde man. The costume transformation into nay but a loincloth and bandoleer, on the other hand, smacked of shoujo manga and seemed a tad over the top for the Thundercat's taste.

Way too Siegfried and Roy, he quietly commented. All he needs is a tiger to complete the act.

Their complete line of action figure companions (available at Wal-Mart, Target, and these other fine retailers) had yet to show as the two tanned, hypermasculine, scantily clad 'roid heads circled each other warily, naked blades bobbing to and fro. Then the two men charged, steel meeting steel...

Ok, I give up. I can't write any more of this slash fiction stuff ;)

Monday, April 13, 2009

30 Days of Write, 13 April

Ok, I've got serious doubts at this point that I'll ever manage to catch up on these topics. I'll try to keep on top of things better (that's... what... she...) from here on in but that's no guarantee. I appreciate today's free writing assignment. Here's my commentary on a few things in the news to edu-ma-cate ya!


Best excuse for failing a drug test ever. 'nuff said.


The Decemberists are a lot like Clinic; you pretty much know what the new album is going to sound like if you own any of the previous. But this review doesn't fault the new The Hazards of Love for it's lack of musical experimentation so much as Colin Meloy's pretentiousness, "indie high-quirkiness," and flattery of English majors with its lyrics. To fault Colin for archaic syntax and $5 words is like asking why Morrissey always got to sing with that weird warble. Or wtf's up with KISS and the clown make-up after all these years. Or bitching that Scott Weiland won't stfu about his smack problem. Some things simply come to define an artist or a band. This article may not have been so irritating if it had been just a little bit funnier. 'Cuz you know what? Colin Meloy is a pretentious jerk but I wouldn't want to hear a Decemberists' album recorded any other way.


The article itself does a decent job of striking a balance between reporting the facts for both sides of the "shootin' dem der evil wolfs from this here whirlybird shoor is a rootin' tootin' good time, ya know" story until the end, where Amanda Coyne lets her politics slip in to ask who will be on the airwaves bashing Palin next year for her enthusiastic, unmitigated support for culling Alaska's wolf population. You know who will? I hope every body.

The wholesale slaughter of a predatory species to protect wild populations of moose and caribou is troubling for a whole host of reasons:
*questionable ethics of "managing" wild populations in the first place
* true goal of the program is unclear (maintain wild food supplies or turn Alaska into a hunter's paradise)
*poor scientific evidence establishes the basic premises of the program (too many wolves, wolves responsible for recent prey species population declines, etc.).

What the article also fails to explore and should be of immense concern is how the lack of natural predators will adversely affect moose and caribou populations and thus Alaska's ecological balance in the long term. But what else can you expect from a candidate who "knows" global warming is a sham since God promised never to destroy the world by flood again in Genesis (love me some rainbows) and literally prays for global conflict to usher in the Rapture?

Please oh please let the Grand Ol' Potatoheads put this crazy woman at the top of 2012 ticket. We need another easy win.


And to wrap up, an older story, but nonetheless interesting...

It's always a problem when non-industry folk report on comics for the mainstream media. The author focuses almost exclusively on the novelty of two women (popular novelist Jodi Picoult and prolific comic scribe Gail Simone) recently taking up the creative reins of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. Upon reading this article, one gets very little sense of the true subversiveness and sexual deviancy lying at the heart of Wonder Woman's origins. Here's a quick primer:

You got to love the CCA. Lurid murder and monster stories are verboten at this time but not-so-subtle scenes of BDSM skate right through when dressed up in super hero tights (or in this case a red and gold bustier). A golden lasso to tie you up and then some light spanking? Does anyone know if a drug test can find trace amounts of super heroin(e) in your system?


Until tomorrow, good night my good readers...

(Edited to make the final joke clearer)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

30 Days of Write, 8 April

Local Area Man Asked to For Comment About Local Area Man
by blcknite

Wednesday night reporters from 30 Days of Write were dispatched to the far ends of the internet in search of a story with the dry wit and sardonic prose of the Onion. Most failed to return from assignment due to breaking updates from a man claiming to drop a deuce after finishing the whole Bloomin' Onion at Outback, exchanging Passover jokes via email (Jesus was just hanging around and had nothing better to do than exchange a few yucks with the staff), or stalking their one true love from high school via Facebook (she really loves me, she just doesn't even know I am yet). Apparently there is also a lot of free porn out there as many chronic mastubators employed by 30DW quickly discovered. On the plus side, recent surging demand for alcohol-free lotion and Kleenex has boosted sales at local retailers.

When asked for comment, a local area man said, "Oh, this is one of them damn meta-jokes you ritalin-addled, post-toasty assholes are so fond of, huh? Well it's not very fucking funny. You think just because half the stories on the Onion are about a 'local area man' doing something to annoy his friends that if you openly comment about that beaten-to-death trope, that it somehow constitutes a joke? Well, mister, I got news for you. Back in my day, a joke needed a punchline or at least a pink monkey puppet thing periodically shouting 'Zoom!' after ribbing members of the audience. Now you dumbasses have your 'irony' and your 'deadpan' and you think you're hot shit. Screw you, Conan O'Lamebrain! Jack Paar will always be the best host of the Tonigh Show. Ever."

The man then proceeded to rip off his clothes and shout "Owls are assholes!" as he ran down South Congress Avenue.

Next: Economic recovery diagnosed with March Madness, expected casualties 63

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

30 Days of Write, 7 April

When I was a youngster growing up in Oklahoma, my family lived in a log house built from the foundation up by my father on a spacious twenty acre lot in the middle of nowehere. One winter afternoon many years ago, my younger brother and I, bundled up tightly in our snowsuits, waddled out the front door to play in the bitter cold. We bounded awkwardly down the hill in too many layers of warmth for comfort and across the little stream towards the flat expanse of long, wild grasses we knew lay up the other slope. Winter's arctic charm had embraced each blade with ice over night, leaving behind a great glimmering field of fragile spires pointing skyward like the spear tips of a tiny pixie army.

We mounted the narrow path upwards through the trees, the boyish joy of razing winter's troop already ringing loud in our ears with its promise of crunch, crunch. The ground frozen solid and hard made the climb all the more treacherous for the smooth soles of our little shoes so we clung to each other for support. And then we heard a whimper.

Winter in Oklahoma sends all signs of life on wing to the warmer south or deep into burrows to wait out the brutality. Several feet of snow fall every year without fail, sometimes leaving six inches or more behind from a single night's passing. The long denuded branches of shedding trees hang heavy with ice for much of the season. Electric lines weigh heavy under the burden, too, and power outages during the winter are not uncommon because cables simply snap from carrying too much load. This time of year is far from hospitable to life and yet here we were, clearly detecting vulnerable signs of it.

My brother and I scrambled a little further up the hill, our stomachs churning that intoxicaing elixir of curiousity and fear which spurs so many wild adventures in the life of a young boy. What we found surprised both of us.

Normally a dog pups during the warmer spring or summer months, Mother Nature having deigned it milder and more conducive to bringing new life gently into the world. But lo, standing before us, gaunt from starvation and trembling from weakness and cold, was a dog with a patchwork coat that looked like a ratty, discarded quilt. Her clutch of half-frozen puppies, newborn and still blind, lay in a little cavity of bare earth, shaking violently and crying out of hunger. Their mother didn't growl or bark but simply moved between us and her babies. I could see it in her big brown eyes. She knew she didn't have the strength to fight us and continue to nurse her young. She waited to see what we would do; I swear by the way she bowed her head, she was begging us two bipeds for help.

I approached this pathetic beast slowly, holding out my mittened hand for her to smell. She approached, sniffed. I rubbed her as best I could with penguin flippers and whispered softly to her. Once she was comfortable around us, my brother and I returned up the hill to our house, a warm wisp of smoke curling from the chimney, to fetch our parents for help.

My mother dragged out the dog house and stuffed it with sheets and rags and an electric blanket whilst my father followed us back to the dog with a cardboard box. Carefully we placed the entire litter in the box for transport . Bounding along side us, Sheba (as I would come to call her) with the triangles of her ears puffed up panted happily back to our house.

None of the pups survived through the spring. Many died during the coldest months either from malnutrition or illness or the effects of long exposure. But my dog Sheba stayed around to become one of my most loyal and protective companions over the years. She may have been nothing but a mutt, but she was my mutt.

Monday, April 6, 2009

30 Days of Write, 6 April

I count to fifteen
Dammit that's sudoku, right
What's senryu again, please


I see Mexico
Make me drug czar now, Barack
No Palin' around


New boss tomorrow
Clean up your desk to impress
Then I won't wear noose

Sunday, April 5, 2009

30 Days of Write, 5 April

First, a few confessions about saving the world in 4 minutes.

One, I never heard this song until our good mistress posted the link. I was only barely cognizant that JT and Madonna had even collaborated. But you can certainly ask me my opinion on the Bon Iver EP. Bother me again in 16 days and I'll let you know how the full "My Maudlin Career" record sounds.

Two, I'm glad I'm not the only one with a dirty mind. My thoughts immediately lept to that classic Steve Martin bit on SNL about his "one christmas wish" when I read today's topic. For those of you unaware of the skit, here's a link. Watch it now and remember when SNL used to make you laugh. Ah, those were the good ol' days.

Then I watched the clip tipsy posted and realized JT and Madonna were making the same juvenile sex joke I was, just with better bodies, in better clothes, with better dance moves, and making a hell of a lot more money at it than little old me. But at least our minds pay rent for the same gutter, and that's got to count for something, right?

Three, I'm willing to share that extended 31 day orgasm wish with everybody in the world if there are any beneficent imaginary wish-granters listening. Hell, I'd settle for 4 minutes a day every day for the entire year. (See how I connected it back to the topic? Clever, huh?) That's giving up 43 180 minutes of fun time per year, but I'm not a selfish lover.

So let's recap. Haven't listened to Madonna since SNL was funny. Famous people are perverts just like you and me, they just look better when getting their freak on. And spontaneous, 4 minutes orgasms every day would grind wars across the globe to a halt since we know men roll right over and fall asleep after they come.

And that's how I would save the world in 4 minutes.

PS Did you know Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere hooked up? Does this on screen uncle-niece, off screen romantic couple thing creep anybody else out? Who do the Petrellis think they are, a super powered Brady Bunch? I don't think that's what Hiro meant when he told you to save the cheerleader, save the world, Peter.

(If you don't get that joke, either you're too young or I'm too old. I concede that I watch waaaay too much TV.)

30 Days of Write, 4 April

Sorry for posting this late. As I said on Friday, playing the father role this weekend.


If I woke up to find myself in the 19th century, I think I'd have to get my Scotch-Irish-German-English butt to Boston as soon as possible and enlist on a merchant ship bound for anywhere but here. I am at best ambivalent towards our modern digital age. While I am certainly not a fan of that whole "colonialism" and "civilize the savages" thing, to imagine being able to hop on a ship and in a mere matter of several months later arrive at an exotic place that few other "people" (well, besides the indigineous folk, let's call 'em all Indians because it's easier to remember that way) have ever set foot on would be amazing.

The world certainly seemed like a much bigger place then. Every new communications and travel technology has been denounced in its time for destroying space: the telegraph, the train, radio, telephones, cars, airplanes. television, internet, cell phones, and so on. Now every destination in the world is reachable in less than 48 hours and available in a matter of seconds (depending on your broadband speed) via CNN and wikipedia and twitter. And yet as close as modern technologies have brought us in the last two hundred and some odd years, the world's people seems just as far apart as ever.

Funny how some things never change. And not in the ha ha way.

Friday, April 3, 2009

30 Days of Write, 3 April

Please excuse the brevity of this entry. I have my son this weekend. Yeah, that's the perfect excuse to dodge a writing exercise about setting. Can I just take an internet fail?

I don't have a good idea for a description of my ideal house so you'll just have to settle for a recollection about one of my first homes.


I grew up in a two story log house my dad built with his own two hands with help from good friends. My mother, meanwhile, took care of my infant brother and toddling me in a trailer parked nearby on the large tract of Oklahoma prairie we now called our own. The walls were painted a dark hue, brown or perhaps a deep red, but for one who cannot see such colors, that fact never entirely registered. Instead, my memory clings to the image of my father mounting the tall, tall ladder every few years, paint roller in hand, to apply a fresh coat to our home. Spindly aluminum legs pressing into soft summer grass were all that kept him suspended so high up, a frightening, impossible distance to fall for one who stood just barely to his waist when his feet were firmly planted again on solid earth. For all the world he appeared to me as a solitary shrub precariously perched on a dizzy, narrow shelf with roots exposed all the way down to the ground. An Oklahoma gust gently swayed the ladder and he pressed his frame against the wall for support. But up there he remained, wiping sweat from his brow onto the sleeve of his spackled blue workshit, laboring with diligence and pride until the job was done while I stood below, staring up at him in awe. You have take care of the things you love.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

30 Days of Write, 2 April

2005. Worst. Year. Ever.

As I grow a little more comfortable in these writing exercises, perhaps I'll offer up a few bits of fictional prose for your collective amusement. For now, please be satisfied with this horrendous true tale of agony and keep in mind my year got much worse just two short months later. That misery may find its way into a future blog depending on the topics offered. Without further ado...

I awoke early one morning in July of 2005 in pain. This was not your roll off the bed drunk kind of pain, but a penetrating, stabbing ache in my abdomen which can only be described as a manic carpenter gleefuly driving nine inch nails into my body over and over again. My girlfriend at the time wrote off my inarticulate groans as mere histrionics. "A stomach ache," she said, watching me roll around on the bed clutching my side, "would you like some Pepto?"

The carpenter set aside his hammer after about five minutes of making my life a living hell. I went back to sleep because I had to work the next day. Who wants to be the guy mistaking painful gas for a heart attack in the emergency room, you know? I dismissed the attack as mere cramps, due perhaps in part to my recent reacquiantance with a semi-carnivorous diet after many years of strict vegetarianism.

Twelve hours later at 4 in the afternoon, the carpenter resumed work on my body. I quickly accelerated to a definite 7 on the pain scale which a stint at a research clinic for experimental analgesics imparted to me. When the stabbing cramps not only failed to relent after 10 minutes, we (meaning the rational loved ones surrounding me) decided that I needed to see a doctor.

Waiting at the after hours clinic was torture, plain and simple. At least when waterboarded one has that sensation of drowning which brings on a small measure of comfort in recognizing it will all end soon. No such comfort was afforded to me in my misery.

I must say, my girlfriend did not appreciate the speed with which I removed my pants when requested by the female Indian doctor. But modesty has no role on stage when torment's grip has seized you for hours. The doctor perfunctorily examined me and then said nothing could be done for me here; I needed to visit the emergency room.

She left to phone ahead and craft a brief missive explaining my state. I naturally gravitated from the examination table to the floor, where I curled up into a ball and flopped around, miserable. Only at this time, when struck dumb, vocalizing only in whimpers and cries, do I think my girlfriend finally realized the full extent of my descent into helplessness in the face of my body's revolt. She took complete control, forcefully insisting the doctor inject a powerful pain killer into my buttocks before she chauffeured me 15 minutes away to the nearest emergency room.

The nurses there on duty, however, were much less sympathetic to my plight. They received my doctor's note without interest and handed me a clipboard. I could barely walk at this moment, the proffered pain killer having no effect at all. Between gasps and grunts, and relying on some intimate knowledge already exchanged, my girlfriend managed to collect and transcribe all the requisite details for admission.

And then we sat. And we sat. And we sat.

We sat for about an hour before an attendant called me back to collect my vitals. God truly shined on me this day when I discovered the hospital chose it to begin electronic medical records. And whereby only a miracle could I have found myself the subject of preliminary examination by someone who had no training whatsoever on the tablet. They struggled gloriously to measure my blood pressure, temperature, etc. and input these biometrics into the new system. Simultaneously, a much more experienced attendant nearby zipped through the entry process for a woman who elected to visit the emergency room for mildly plainful shin splints she had been enduring for over 8 hours after relocating her refrigerator.

I squirmed violently in my seat, biting my tongue, trying not to announce to the high heavens my infinite curse on God and all his angels. For fuck's sakes, I'm barely maintaining my grasp on sanity over here and they take that bitch who has sore legs right back to see the doctor? And I kid you not when I say they asked me step back into the waiting room before a doctor could see me.

I mumbled something. Or at least I tried. Having recently discovered the hard 11 on the 10-point pain scale, I gibbered my response. Thankfully, my girlfriend understood idiot babble.

"He can't walk," she explained curtly, thoroughly pleased with the Mengeleian quality with which these graduates of Auschwitz medical acadmey regarded my condition. "We need a wheelchair."

They wheeled me back into the waiting room where we waited. And waited. And waited. With my dead sister's soul as my witness, we waited there for more than an hour. My sporadic, inhuman cries of paroxsym eventually embarassed the nursing staff enough to attempt to find me a room out of sight of the other patients. After all, triage addresses the dying and then the severest pains first. If one such as me were left on monstrous display, what confidence did they inspire in those who partook of the spectacle. The periodic, venomous exchanges between my girlfriend and the nurses also helped nudge my disappearence along.

They finally wheeled me back into the medical theater and into a closet. Yes, I said a closet. No, not a room the size of a closet. They put me in a fucking closet. They literally had to drag boxes of medical supplies out before they put me in. But there was a sink in the closet, and I guess that's something.

And I waited. And waited. And waited.

Whenever the clop clop of ugly podiatry shoes approached, my girlfriend poked her head out and screamed at the unlucky souls who crossed her path. Where was the doctor? How did my hellish nightmare not add up to an emergency?

A room was vacated after an hour or so but just as quickly seized by an ambulance delivering a heart attack. Dying then severest pains, I said. My be-scrubbed driver left me stranded amidst the frantic shuffle of doctors, nurses, and interns scrambling to tackle this newest medical priority. And I sat there in my wheelchair suffering.

Eventually one of the nurses observed that I shouldn't be left there in the middle of the hallway in the ER. Afterwards, she located my girlfriend to relay my sad, sad story. I think the nurse who discovered me abandoned finally got the ball rolling on treatment. Maybe she realized grounds were already firmly laid for a medical negligence lawsuit? Regardless of case, I returned to the closet with an IV drip, a swollen jellyfish dangling from a coat rack, quick on my heels.

But nay, my good readers, my story takes not a happy turn yet. For when the nurse jabbed the needle into my arm, blood spurted violently out upon two walls and the tiled floor of the closet. 'Twas not a dribble but a gushing fountain I can only liken to the ultra violence of the most gruesome of horror flicks. I shamefully admit I am afraid of needles and like not the sight of blood. If unbearable pain borne now for many, many hours had not so thoroughly dulled my sensitivities, I undoubtedly would have passed out. My girlfriend, trooper that she was, almost did faint.

And then, only then, did sweet relief arrive. My extremities went numb first: fingers and toes, calves and arms . A cold numbness creeping closer and closer to my heart and then a series of jarring frames collapsing around my senses. Everything around me wound tighter and tighter around the singularity in my chest. When the darkness reached that tiny point, I knew I would die. My systems were shutting down one by one. The pain killer had been euthanasia in disguise.

Unmoving as a statue, I looked upon the face of the one who had fought so bitterly on my behalf for these long, stressful hours. My heart ached to reach out to touch her hand gratefully but my muscles had already surrendered to death, my will sapped to near nothingness. I whispered "I love you" and meant those words more than any of my 25 years of life.

And then blackness, utterly and completely.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

30 Days of Write, 1 April

Once upon a time in high school, I was a prolific fiction writer for public consumption. At the age of 4, I regularly cranked out 100-200 word tales of dinosaurs on a Xerox memorywriter my dad "borrowed" from work. My teenage years found me taking short stories about vampires and revenge killings in fantasy settings to regionals in the Reflections contest and even winning national recognition in the NCTE contest, complete with a letter of congratulations from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Although my interests have changed as I've matured, I still love the printed word. Adult responsibilities (and irresponsibilities) have unfortunately constrained the time I devote to committing my love to the page or screen over the years. This 30 day project will help me bracket off a small part of each day for my primal and sensual relationship to language.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It must be spring coz rape is in the air today

While I'm definitely glad Ms. Mai had the courage to stand up and formally accuse her attackers for their vicious crime, news of her upcoming nuptials leaves me with mixed feelings. Yes, I'm all for breaking the taboo of a raped woman being ineligible for a good marriage in Pakistan. The story even sounds heart-warming in a Lifetime movie kind of way when you find out her suitor, Mr. Gabol, is one of the cops assigned to protect her after her case sparked a worldwide news frenzy. Then you get to the part where he blackmails her to marry him by threatening to kill himself if she refuses. Did I mention he's already married so Ms. Mai will be his second wife? Mr. Gabol's first wife even came to plead with Ms. Mai not to reject the offer. Not to equivocate here, but it seems like she's being victimized all over again by the same cultural expectations of women.

I simply feel like throwing up my hands and exclaiming WTF.


Usually when we think about American Marines, rape, and foreign policy fiascos, the victim at the other end of our embarassment lives in the vicinity of the Ryukyu islands. This case, however, involves a young Filipino woman who has expressed some doubts about her story since emigrating to the United States from the Phillipines. While not a full on retraction as the headline seems to imply, she admits that she "may have been so friendly and intimate" with the accused after drinking, kissing, and dancing at a Subic City bar that when they later went to a van, he proceeded to have sexual relations (in the broadest sense of those words) with her under the assumption that his advances were not unwelcome or unwanted.

Here is what is purported to be a copy of her sworn statement:

As you can plainly read, she does not deny that anything untoward may have happened. In fact, she asserts very little at all, only raises questions and wonders. Of course, if the alleged victim was in fact drunk and/or possibly under the influence of other substances (no accusation implied there), could this not in fact account for her hazy memory of the exact nature of the events which transpired? And what about the shame and guilt she mentions at the end of the statement? A combination of the two seems a heady cocktail for questionable recollection.

My chief complaint here isn't about whether this particular rape did or did not occur but rather how these recent developments will effect our opinion of all previous and future reports of such unlawful and hateful acts by American servicemen abroad not only in the Phillipines, but stationed in Japan, South Korea, and all other points across the globe. Will it make it easier for military commanders to sweep such incidents under the rug and transfer the accused out of the country to avoid criminal prosecution in the host country? It seems easier to dismiss future accusations as mere female histrionics that will destroy a young man's military career and wreck his life without a fair airing of the facts. Will it evaporate the pressure of the government of a host country to leverage modifications to Status of Forces Agreements so that American servicemen can be held accountable for their misconduct? Representatives of the Phillipines government are already expressing their displeasure with the alleged victim's recent statements because of the huge consequences pursuing a trial, conviction, and negotiated sentencing have had on foreign policy.

Rape is an ugly thing, no matter where it happens. Unfortunately, when it happens at the intersection of a super-power's global strategic interests, "good liberty" abroad for American servicemen, and the oft-exploited human resources of the host country, things get that much uglier, ambiguous, and political. My only hope is that the truth will set the innocent(s) free in this case, whomever that may be.