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Friday, May 21, 2004 
periodically i go ego surfing (i google myself) to see if anything interesting turns up.

this is probably the strangest one i've come across. (yes, item #5 is "bad taste music exchange news & other garbage" & links to the bt news page, though i don't recommend clicking it because who knows what kind of cookies or web bugs you might come down with?)

i'm going to be crazy busy at work the next few days; i just got a priority A+ assignment with deadlines that were already tight before factoring in that i'll be spending a very extended weekend in lakewood for rr8... so i have a lot i need to get done by wednesday... which means there might not be too many blog entries before i return from lakewood in june.

tonight at midnight indiana time i'll be tuning in to the free zone on wicr, 88.7fm... you should listen too, since there just might be some st! or awia in the mix. then tomorrow morning if i'm up early enough i might go to this open house thing at the irving (TEC will be playing, as will noiseman433's new group). awia news for more about both the radio show & the open house.

Thursday, May 20, 2004 
back in march i posted about a bush medicare vnr. people were upset that this government propaganda was being paid for by taxpayers & passed along as though it were journalism. vnrs are actually common practice, but at least the story got the media to acknowledge their existence & the ethical questions surrounding them.

now the general accounting office has officially ruled the vnr as illegal propaganda.

things are really going poorly for bush these days; everyone has actually started questioning him publicly. too bad nobody started doing that two or three years ago when it could have made a much bigger difference.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004 
all this iraq news is depressing: us soldiers are torturing & molesting iraqi prisoners, guys named berg are getting decapitated, the head of the iraqi governing council has been assassinated, the u.s.'s public reputation is in ruins (if there was anyone out there who didn't hate us before, they all do now), people are dying (civilian & military, iraqi & non-iraqi), & the only possibly more depressing than what's happening over there is the reactions of rush limbaugh or michael savage types, who continue to sink even further into a spiral of ignorance, arrogance, and good old-fashioned hate...

it's bad enough to know there are people like that on the radio, but you can kind of pretend they're just crackpots & nobody takes them seriously. unfortunately, millions of people do take them quite seriously, & these dittoheads & savages like to litter the internet with their garbage... yesterday i mentioned a post i'd seen on imn, but this one is much worse: they must be wiped out. even if that means destroying their mosques and their women and children. i no longer look at those people as being human, i look at them as an infestation that must be irradicated. i wouldnt feel at all guilty for killing any of them! posts like that make me sad to be a hoosier (& a little sad to be human).

so instead of hate, let's talk about a happier subject (but another one that inspires much republohate): love, or at least something that goes together with love like a horse & carriage. that's right: gays (especially lesbians) are legally getting married in massachusetts! (well, those marriages are legal until at least 2006, though if the reactionaries have their way it could be banned again in nov 2k6.)

it's a great day to be gay in the bay state (hmm... first the san francisco "bay area", now boston, "the bay state"?). and hell, it's a great day to be the bay state, because there is a lot of skrilla comin' in... simple math shows that if more than 1,000 gay couples filed for marriage licenses (that's just on the first day) at $50 a pop, that's $50,000 for one day's work... and that's just for the marriage licenses; it doesn't include the money spent on actual marriage ceremonies, hotel stays, receptions, & nonstop partying! one can only guess which is louder: the constant ringing of the cash registers or the deafening orgasms of hundreds of lesbians (& gay men) celebrating with their first fuck as married people. because let's face it, the first thing you're supposed to do after you get married is fuck like you've never fucked before. just the thought of it is getting me excited.

speaking of tons of sex, sexin the movies (especially "unsimulated sex", or real sex as opposed to the ridiculously plastic faux-fucking that you usually see in movies) is grabbing headlines with the cannes premiere of nine songs, which judging from the description is one-half rock music video & one-half real live onscreen sex. here's a comment from the director:

"I had been thinking for a while about the fact that most cinematic love stories miss out on the physical relationship, and if it is indicated at all everyone knows it is fake.

"Books deal explicitly with sex, as they do with any other subject. Cinema has been extremely conservative and prudish. I wanted to go to the other extreme and show a relationship only through sex. Part of the point of making the film was to say, 'What's wrong with showing sex?"'

so far i'm only getting a handful of hits on google news about nine songs (fahrenheit 9/11 is getting more attention, perhaps deservedly so)... but i found a bbc article with a recent history of cinematic "real" sex that almost reads like a "must-rent foreign film checklist... seriously, i need to hit the foreign section of the video store...

rumsfeld is in some scalding hot water after the release of seymour hersch's new yorker story alleging that rummy tacitly approved of prisoner abuse at abu graib.

united press international suggests that hersch got much of his damaging info from his contacts in the cia, with more coming from sources in the us army.

Indeed, intelligence and regular Army sources have told UPI that senior officers and officials in both communities are sickened and outraged by the revelations of mass torture and abuse, and also by the incompetence involved, in the Abu Ghraib prison revelations. These sources also said that officials all the way up to the highest level in both the Army and the Agency are determined not to be scapegoated, or allow very junior soldiers or officials to take the full blame for the excesses.

President George W. Bush in his weekly radio address Saturday claimed that the Abu Ghraib abuses were only "the actions of a few" and that they did not "reflect the true character of the Untied States armed forces."

But what enrages many serving senior Army generals and U.S. top-level intelligence community professionals is that the "few" in this case were not primarily the serving soldiers who were actually encouraged to carry out the abuses and even then take photos of the victims, but that they were encouraged to do so, with the Army's well-established safeguards against such abuses deliberately removed by high-level Pentagon civilian officials.

naturally rumsfeld & the DoD deny that. but what's interesting is that the cia has also officially denied it:

"The New Yorker story is fundamentally wrong, there was no DOD/CIA program to abuse and humiliate Iraqi prisoners," CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said.


"Despite what is alleged in the article, I am aware of no CIA official who would have or possibly could have confirmed the details of the New Yorker's inaccurate account," Harlow of the CIA said.

so it would seem that the cia people are pissed off, but the cia organization is trying to cover its ass. unfortunately for the govt, it looks like the people are winning, since allegations keep coming, like the MPs' testimony that the cia was directly involved in the death of at least one interrogee.

Monday, May 17, 2004 
former top us weapons inspector david kay isn't convinced either:

Kay, who led a U.S. team hunting for weapons, said it appears that the shell was one of tens of thousands produced for the Iran-Iraq war, which Saddam was supposed to destroy or turn over to the United Nations. In many cases, he said, Iraq did comply.

"It is hard to know if this is one that just was overlooked - and there were always some that were overlooked, we knew that - or if this was one that came from a hidden stockpile," Kay said. "I rather doubt that because it appears the insurgents didn't even know they had a chemical round."

While Saturday's explosion does demonstrate that Saddam hadn't complied fully with U.N. resolutions, Kay also said, "It doesn't strike me as a big deal."

this morning i was doing my first routine scan of the IMN boards & found a new thread in the off-topic forum (sorry, only registered users can view off-topic; that way potential sponsors like the mayor's office are less likely to see all the filth & garbage on the board)... the subject line was WMD's HAVE been found in Iraq & the entirety of the first post was "...take that, you liberal commie-crat freaks" (with a "mad" emoticon).

of course, no citation of any sources, just random enraged name-calling. i'm pretty used to seeing that on IMN (& other messageboards); this type of irrational rush-style rage is well documented. but i thought i would check the news sites to see if there might be some basis to the claim or if the poster was just deluded.

it didn't take long to find the news story in question, although naturally the facts still don't come even close to proving that saddam had WMD.

the synopsis: a military convoy found one (count 'em: ONE, singular sensation... clearly not WMDs plural but one alleged WMD singular) 155mm shell that the military claims contained the ingredients for sarin gas, in a binary fashion (meaning two separate ingredients that must be mixed for the compound to become active), retooled into a crude bomb. the bomb exploded & released "a very small dispersal of agent".

one solitary round is a far cry from the hundreds of tons of sarin that bush claimed saddam had. but after more than a year of ransacking the country and finding zero WMDs, now some hawks are claiming that this discovery of one alleged WMD is proof that saddam had massive stockpiles all along. that's a pretty big conclusion to jump to, but with all the terrible news in iraq, i suppose they have to focus on anything that even conceivably support their propaganda.

assuming the story is even true (we heard lots of stories like this "during the war" & they all turned out to be bullshit), this discovery hardly proves any of bushco's claims.

1. plenty of countries own or have made sarin over the years; the sarin could've come from anywhere.
2. even if the sarin did originally come from saddam's arsenal, it doesn't mean more is out there. expert weapon inspector hans blix told the AP that he isn't convinced either (& he knows better than i would):

[blix] said it was likely the sarin gas used could have been from a leftover shell found in a chemical dump.

"It doesn't sound absurd at all. There can be debris from the past and that's a very different thing from have stocks and supplies," he said. "I think we need to know more about it."

Blix, whose inspection team didn't make any significant weapons finds during months of searching Iraq before the war, has sharply criticized the United States and Britain for their invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein's regime.

Like most people, Blix said he was convinced as late as December 2002 that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction "because we'd seen cat and mouse play" for years by the Iraqis.

But U.N. inspectors had returned to Baghdad the previous month, and as their visits to the best sites provided by foreign intelligence agencies continued to turn up nothing, Blix said he became "more skeptical."

The inspectors were ordered out just before the war began last March, but Blix has said he knew by May "that there were no weapons to be found" because the Americans had interrogated many Iraqis and offered reward money for information with no results.

Saturday, May 15, 2004 
there are a lot of unanswered questions about the decapitation video of nick berg... like the peculiar editing (which suggests the use of two cameras & editing equipment), allegedly "western" mannerisms of the captors, the orange jumpsuit, the relative lack of blood (& berg's calmness)... not to mention the bigger questions like how berg would've fallen into terrorist captivity just after being released, the fact that the govt says berg was never in US custody but berg himself told several people he was, the peculiar connection between berg and zacarias moussaoui, etc. i could go on but i could never catalog them as thoroughly as some.

a lot of bloggers are suspicious. it's also interesting to read the comments at some blogs... once the right-wing catches on to a blog, a swarm of haters flood in & begin to drown the debate in name-calling & ad hominem attacks. obviously the nature of blogging (a sort of "grid journalism") means some false leads will be followed (such as the "bulletproof vests" which are actually ak47 ammo vests) & some questionable theories will come up, but there is definitely something fishy about what we've heard so far.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 
of course the top story for today (or the only one anyone's paying attention to today) is the brutal beheading of american freelancer nick berg (i have to comment briefly just because of his name). the video is on the net; the story is everywhere (although no western media will actually link to or name the site where it was posted... nor will any of them [not even the much-hated al jazeera] show the actual video.. at most they'll show calm excerpts or photos).

white houseboy scott mclellan says

"It shows the true nature of the enemies of freedom. They have no regard for the lives of innocent men, women and children. We will pursue those who are responsible and bring them to justice."

predictably, one video of them doing bad "shows their true nature" but the countless photos of us soldiers doing bad are "the actions of a few". granted, this beheading is a horrific inexcusable crime and more extreme than any of the abu ghraib photos that have been released (so far? there are apparently 1200 more out there), but it's interesting to watch the propaganda in action.

speaking of which, some conservatives have convinced themselves that this beheading video somehow "proves" that the abu ghraib torture story is not a big deal, because the beatings, rape, psychological torture, and possibly manslaughter (if not murder) that are alleged to have taken place there are somehow morally less evil than the ghastly murder and decapitation of mr berg. even if it "less evil", that's totally missing the point of why abu ghraib is a big story anyway: that the u.s.'s justifications for this war all revolved around our supposed moral superiority, & our reuse of saddam's torture & "rape rooms" undermines that.

but far more interesting than what some reactionaries or nuts on message boards might say is what salon has to say about the effect of tech on war journalism:

There was a time, early in the invasion, when it seemed as if the American government might exercise near-perfect control over what we saw of the battlefield, and that no horrific pictures from the war would ever leak out. But in the last few weeks, with the publication of leaked pictures of returning caskets, tortured Iraqis, and now Nick Berg's slaughter, all of the controls the government had hoped to place on images from war seem to have completely failed. Digital technology -- the cameras and laptops carried by the soldiers and the contractors in Iraq, and the ability of our enemies to access the same communications technology -- has brought us a newer, far less palatable picture of what's going on in Iraq.

another tale of guerilla diy journalism, enabled by cheap digital cameras & the internet, circumventing even the strictest media controls.

i received my total for the t-shirts this morning! so it's all good. and when i called & left a voicemail to request a minor correction to my order, my call was returned immediately. like within 5 minutes. maybe i should've just ignored my phone-o-phobia & called them from the getgo. anyway, my order is now paid for & i should have my shirts by next week, if not late this week.

i feel a little bad for even having posted any complaints... aside from some slowness replying to emails (which is understandable considering just how busy they have been... they recently got a rush order of 10,000 buttons with a 2-week deadline, which is an insane number of buttons), they have been extremely helpful and courteous, & now that my order is placed & paid for, i expect everything else to move rapidly & efficiently.

just chalk up that previous post to "the aggravations of being a businessman"... dealing with all the frustrations of ordering merchandise & then trying to sell it all is not fun in the slightest, particularly if you are a social leper like me to begin with.

so anyway, i'll have the shirts very soon, all is well between me & my supplier, & i will personally contact those of you who wanted the new shirts as soon as they're in stock.

oh yeah, a few of you already know this, but here's the first official announcement: the new shirts will be glow in the dark!!! rave on, motherfuckers.

Monday, May 10, 2004 
i am growing really tired of being a businessman (& i'm not talking about the fact that some of my coworkers sound like they're having a party in the middle of the fucking hallways not 20' from my cube, showing no appreciation for the fact that some of us actually do try to work from time to time & that we might be bothered by loud pointless chatter)...

i still have no overseas distribution... out of the three places i contacted, one couldn't be arsed to reply at all, one replied to order a personal copy of the record but said he couldn't actually sell it, & one told me he wanted to sell the record & asked for shipping quotes.... though almost 3 weeks later i haven't received another reply. i even have 25 records boxed up & mostly ready to ship on over. i don't know if he's just slow, if he's forgotten, or if maybe he's decided not to carry the record but didn't bother to tell me so. so if you're in europe & are looking for a copy of the record, you can order one from me if you can put up with the shipping... otherwise, if you're waiting for a shop over there to get some in stock, you might be waiting for a very long time.

on top of that, my t-shirt suppliers must be so busy that they're drowning in cotton-poly blends... at least according to the periodic emails i've been receiving. i officially placed my order on 4/30, expecting to receive my total within 1-2 business days, & then pay it so i wouldn't have to worry until the shirts are ready. but it's not quite working out like that; instead, every couple days i end up emailing one of them to mention that i'm still waiting for my total... on thurs i got an email telling me i would receive my total "tomorrow". it is now monday afternoon, so perhaps "tomorrow" was a bit optimistic. things are now getting so delayed that i'm becoming concerned i won't even have the shirts in time for rr8.

i hate having to nag them by constantly sending emails asking about my order status, but how fucking hard is it to open up calculator, do some simple math, & send me an email with my total? i know they're a diy shop, but they've already told me my art is approved & all that. they're very nice when they do actually email me, but that's not so comforting anymore. i don't like being micro-managed so i resent having to become a micro-manager myself, however these guys just aren't leaving me much choice. i'm trying to stay calm & polite... i've been tempted to call them out on a public forum like IMN to see if that gets their attention... but that wouldn't be nice. even writing this blog entry about how frustrating i am dealing with their silence isn't all that nice (which is why you don't see the name of the business in this entry [although you could find it easily enough by fishing around through the site])... all i want to do is pay them for my order! it's like they don't want my money.

once i sell all this crap, i don't think i'll be too motivated to buy a bunch more merch to sell... i'm not sure it's worth the hassle.

the chilling effect caused by recent fcc paranoia (inspired, as we might all remember, by janet jackson's breast) rolls on... & indianapolis is in the news for having a censor-happy radio station. from the nytimes:

The producers of "Masterpiece Theater," intent on staying in the good graces of a Federal Communications Commission increasingly vigilant for instances of indecency, took a step last month they never had before. They chose not to make available to PBS member stations an unexpurgated version of the critically acclaimed British series "Prime Suspect," and instead sent out two edited versions: one with all of the salty language edited, and another with only some of the possibly offending words excised.

Taking similar cues from regulators, an Indianapolis radio station pre-empted words like "urinate," "damn" and "orgy" from going out over the air during a recent broadcast of Rush Limbaugh's talk show.


A similarly vigilant technician had his finger on the "dump" button at WIBC-AM, an Emmis station in Indianapolis, during its broadcast of Mr. Limbaugh's syndicated program on March 3 — one day after Emmis informed its employees that the broadcast of material it deemed offensive could result in their suspension or firing.

In an e-mail message to the station's program director, the assistant program director wrote that the delay was used 11 times that day for Mr. Limbaugh's program. "I can only guess we are erring on the side of safety given that I don't know of any instance a licensee has ever been fined or cited for airing Rush unedited," the assistant program director wrote, "but we'll continue to do these cuts until we're directed otherwise."

that's something to be proud of: "hey, we're so timid we censored the word 'orgy' out of the rush limbaugh show!" there's no faulting rush, though, as this is one of the few issues where he's on the proper side...

Sunday, May 09, 2004 
a week ago i posted about the supreme court reviewing the treatment of prisoners at guantanamo bay, & how naive some of the govts arguments in that case sounded now that photos of abuse in abu ghraib have turned up. the nytimes is a week behind me as they dig up an interesting passage from those arguments. (the supremes might also want to pick up the daily mirror, where a british citizen who was held at gitmo for two years tells his sad tale.

the photos are blowing up into a huge scandal. bush went on arab tv to talk about them, but he did not actually apologize. people noticed. scott mcclellan then apologized on bush's behalf to the white house press corps. then the next day, bush appeared on tv and announced that he had personally apologized to king abdullah of jordan. the press reinterpreted this as a public apology, which he technically had not. either way, the pseudo-apology has not done much to rectify the situation, & bush himself has not taken responsibility for any problems: he's pawned that off on rumsfeld.

times are hard for rumsfeld. some remember his past statements about how little he thinks of geneva conventions & many are calling for him to resign. the president publically stands by him, but even the prez is pretty pissed... not only did bush chew rummy's bitch ass out, but then the white house leaked that it had happened. & when rummy was being grilled by the senate on friday, he admitted that there are much worse photos out there.

maybe worse pictures need to come out before some people come out of denial... rush limbaugh and a disappointing number of others think the abuse scandal is no big deal, likening it to "innocent" pranks like fraternity hazing. now, if frat boys like to sodomize each other & rape each other's women, then good for the frats (but not so good for the sororities). but regardless how harsh you think this stuff is, as buzzflash points out, it does classify as torture under the UN conventions. and the word is that at least 25 prisoners in iraq & afghanistan have died, which is more deaths than frat hazing causes in a decade or more...

the military has announced its first court-martial over the torture scandal, with more to follow. it remains to be seen whether any of the "private contractors" who were involved in these brutal interrogations will face justice, or what will become of the military intelligence officers who egged it all on.

this story is so big & deep i'm sure i'm missing some juicy details, & i can only imagine what more will come out in the next few weeks...

Saturday, May 08, 2004 
last night we watched the movie stoked, a documentary about mark anthony "gator" rogowski. he was one of the first professtional skaters (skateboards) in the '80s, a poster boy for skating and vision street wear, & a vertifcal skating legend. but eventually he began to lose his popularity, especially when street skating started to dominate the scene. with his career fading, mark started to spin out of control... ending in rape, murder, and incarceration.

here's an old juicy story from the village voice... it has some details that weren't in the movie (like the fact that gator & brandi appeared in tom petty's "free fallin'" video).

Friday, May 07, 2004 
so michael moore has a new movie due out soon: fahrenheit 911. it explores the deep bonds between the bush family and powerful families from saudi arabia: not just the saudi royals but another family you might've heard of: the bin ladens.

miramax, the once-upon-an-indie film company that was swallowed by disney awhile back, financed the film. but this week disney forbade miramax from distributing the movie.

moore cried foul, saying that disney was pulling out because they didn't want to piss off the jeb & the bushes. eisner denied that, spouting some baloney about how disney doesn't want to be deal with political material.

FAIR has a more intriguing suggestion: disney doesn't want to piss off the saudis, because eurodisney has its own ties to the saudi royal family. (they also thoroughly debunk the assertion that disney is apolitical)

Thursday, May 06, 2004 
i met her on our first week of freshman year, college. for whatever reason (i think she was in a class with one of my floormates), she ended up on our floor & hung out with a few us in the lounge for a while. i ran into her again the next day and we spent some more time together then... soon we were hanging out often and became close, as close as i'd been to any female outside my family.

she was pretty, smart, and friendly to the point of unintentionally coming off as flirty. that last bit was very important: girls like that always caught my eye when i was lonely and starved for attention. so of course i immediately became infatuated with her, and before too long i was convinced i was in love with her. maybe i was. probably i was.

she figured out my feelings pretty quickly. but she said she wasn't interested in me that way, and no amount of talking, moping, or anything else would convince her to give me a chance. i could never figure that out, and i resented it a bit. but she was one of my best friends, so we kept hanging out... no matter how depressed i got or what horrors i could imagine, i always clung to that hope that someday she would "realize how great we would be together". which naturally only made it all hurt more.

i'd been infatuated before, and i'd been rejected before. but in those cases either the girl never found out about my feelings (if i ever even spoke to her), or the girl would reject me & there'd be a hard break, where i would grow very melancholy for a day or a few, and in that time would get over it. at least enough to function. a lot of the time also i would distance myself enough from the girl that we wouldn't speak much anymore. it wasn't pleasant, but the rejection was easier to take if i didn't have to deal with the girl in question.

this time it didn't work like that. there was no hard break. i was too close to stop talking to her, & i still hoped she would give me a chance. so instead of one moment of rejection (which i had coping mechanisms for, as awkward as they were), it was a long period of continuous rejection that lasted a year. to this day i think that was really unhealthy for me, probably the last thing i needed now that i was in college trying to break out of my shell and explore the new freedom that comes with going away to school.

(i feel the need to point out that she was an extremely nice person who never meant to hurt me. i'm not even sure how much she did hurt me: i probably did most of it to myself. but the effect on me was the same.)

when i try to go to bed at night, often it's hard to shut my brain down enough to fall asleep; i just keep on thinking & can't get distracted enough to drift off. that has always been the way. but during this time my nocturnal thoughts would take a turn for the nasty. i would work up these elaborate un-fantasies, nightmare scenarios where she would say & do awful, malicious things to me for no reason... tell me she hates me, decide never to speak to me again, hell i hardly remember the terrible things i would imagine her doing, but i do remember lying in bed awake at three in the morning, four in the morning, fucking six in the morning, bringing myself to tears because i was so freaked out that she didn't love me, wouldn't even give me a chance at romance... i couldn't turn these thoughts away or shut out the voices. it was like having recurring nightmares, except i got even less rest because i didn't have the benefit of falling asleep first.

i was young and foolish. i did stupid things. and i grew jealous, intensely jealous, of other men she became involved with... so she hid them from me, which only made it worse when i later found out (not that there were that many, but there were a couple). one time she asked me what i'd do if she turned out to be a lesbian (a serious question; she was young & confused too). i told her i didn't know what i'd do... & i might even kill myself. jesus, what a guilt-trip to lay on the poor girl... what terrible pressure.

i even started smoking pot for her. not because she asked or pressured me to; she knew that i still had a straight-edge streak leftover from "rebelling" against the tie-dye-wearing, jimmy-buffett-listening yuppie pseudo-hippies from high school. no, i started because i peer-pressured myself into it, as if she would have a sudden change of heart if we had one more way to bond together. now, she had nothing to do with why i continued smoking, but i started in some lame attempt to impress her.

one night a few months after we met (i think we'd even been hanging out that night), i was drunkenly talking to her on the phone & i ended the call with "i love you". i immediately regretted it & wouldn't have said it sober. but i said it, so i panicked. i'd seen enough bad fiction to know that "i love you" is not something to say lightly, so i freaked out like now things would start going horribly wrong (like they'd been so right in the first place). turns out she hardly even noticed, because "i already knew you loved me" she said. that was the first (& so far only) time i ever told a woman i loved her (excluding family, & perhaps also exclusing anonymous love letters, which aren't the same at all), & it didn't do much for me other than add to my ever-growing stack of traumatic memories. nothing happened, nothing changed.

this went on for awhile. i was on a college campus surrounded by gorgeous young women... some of them were quite pleasant to look at or even stroke myself to, but i wasn't really interested in them because they could never live up to the fantasies that i'd built up in my mind about how perfect life would be if "she" would ever give me a chance.

a few months later, another phone call: somehow our conversation turned to my relationships with women. she took a position of encouraging me to pursue women i like rather than suffer silently (not the first time i'd had that conversation with someone, nor was it the last by a longshot). somehow she didn't realize that this whole conversation was about her (i was pretty certain it was a coded conversation... yes, she was a little flaky... just flaky enough to hurt me without meaning to), & it went so far that she somehow convinced me i should try to kiss her.

i had hope again (after all, it was her idea), so later that day i made my move & went in for the kiss, in the hallway right outside my room. it went horribly... as soon as she saw me moving in she turned her head, and i glanced off her cheek. it wasn't one of those hollywood moments where the woman resists until the kissing starts but gets caught up in the passion of the moment... she deflected my advance & i effectively bounced off her cheek. there was no kiss, only awkwardness (i would have to wait more than a year for my first kiss).

she felt terrible for her part in setting up that tragedy, but for me it was one of the most traumatic moments of my college years (the others being when i got carjacked, & when i got arrested for possession). my mood went into a deep tailspin... a few days later, realizing i was desperate for some kind of change, some symbolic gesture to represent that i had at least some control over my life, i got a haircut. that was a big deal: so far i'd had a full head of long hair, & this was the first time since high school that i got it cut short... i had the sides & back shaved off (as was the style at the time), got the rest trimmed to the top of my ears in a "bowl cut". thus began my haircut cycle of cutting the top short, then growing it out, then cutting it again.... i'm still in that cycle today.

the haircut worked: somehow it helped bring me out of that funk. but still there was no hard break; i didn't get over her. no, that happened in february, & my feelings for her lasted throughout that summer. i even took a greyhound out to BFE that summer to visit her in her tiny hometown of like 600 people.

sophomore year she moved off-campus, so i didn't see her quite as much. i finally got over her in late september, but only because an encounter with another woman managed to distract me: after a long night of hanging out & drinking with girl #2, we ended up laying down together & girl #2 even placed my hand on her breast (outside the shirt). turns out that after girl #2 sobered up she wasn't so interested in me anymore (or maybe i just scared her off), so that didn't really get me anywhere. but at least the spell was broken & i was finally able to move on.

we remained close friends, although the awkwardness always remained, despite the fact that my love, or infatuation, or whatever it was had dissipated. plus, i was now fully able to resent her for having refused me for so long, something i couldn't really let myself do while i still thought i was in love with her.

not too long after that she started dating, & the three of us would hang out... i became fairly good friends with her new boyfriend, although i was never 100% comfortable with him and could never figure out what he had that i didn't... eventually they got married (i drove down during the summer for the wedding, apparently one of her only friends who bothered to do so)... then she got pregnant... by this point we'd been drifting apart & after graduating i didn't keep close contact with either of them (i've similarly lost touch with many of my college friends). last i heard they had two kids, but that was a few years ago... i wonder what they're up to now.

for a long time afterward i dealt with the psychic fallout from all this, & to some degree i'm sure i'm still dealing with it now. of course there were good times, happy moments together that i wouldn't want to give up. but with all the intense pain, dragged out over a full year, plenty damage was done, self-inflicted or otherwise. eventually i found other women who would give me a chance, & while usually those ended within days or weeks, at least i got to kiss them (& more) before they rejected me... & some of those even turned into fulfilling relationships... after all, i have a girlfriend now who i care about deeply & i'm very happy with (except for the long-distance aspect).

but in all that time i've often wondered what went wrong, what went right, & most importantly whether i was even in love at all. i thought i was at the time. i had a closer personal bond with someone than i'd ever had before. but it was all so painful & disillusioning. is there such a thing as unrequited love? love is supposed to be a good thing--fraught with the pain that always accompanies human relationships, to be sure--so how could something as frustrating, tortuous, & one-sided as "unrequited love" be real love? if it's not real love, then wtf is it? just some grandiose form of infatuation?

even worse, if unrequited love is not real love--if the one time i truly thought i was in love, i was mistaken--then how could i ever know if i found the real thing?

these kinds of questions nagged at me for a long time, & since i was never really in a position to come up with solid answers they just drifted to the back of my mind. now that i'm actually in a committed long-term "couple" relationship, i find that i've never really dealt with these outstanding issues that have been fucking with my head for almost 10 years (i started college in the fall of 1994).

after spending most of the morning typing all this out, i'm leaning toward the conclusion that yes, i probably was in love. and because it was so agonizing, ever since i've been fighting myself not to let myself become that vulnerable again. sure, i've been infatuated with plenty women since then, & fell for some of them pretty hard. but as irrational as it is, maybe on some level i've avoided opening myself up the way i did back then, as if doing so & just letting it happen, just accepting that i'm falling in love again would cause my girlfriend to turn on me, to deny me in the way i was denied all those years back.

which is totally crazy. but these sorts of things tend to get crazy, don't they?

now i might be full of shit. but it makes sense, at least right now.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004 
greg & the people at punkrocknight have been kind enough to post these photos from the genitorturers show. some are a bit blurry but you can see some of the costumes, strap-ons, and a glowing dildo protruding from an ass.

this won't be so much a genitorturers review as a collection of observations, notes, and anecdotes, because there will be little here with the cohesion of a full review.

i showed up maybe halfway through the opening band, pitbull daycare. both bands consisted of vocals, guitar, bass, drums (i'm always amazed at how desperately people cling to this format for their bands) & played "industrial rock" as typified by stabbing westward (with less electronics) or any of the dozens of similar bands out there. the opening band had at least a dash of electronics, like they'd open up a song with an interesting sound before turning it into a rock track. the genitorturers had virtually no electronics. without their distinctive "goth" dress and subject matter, neither band would be very distinguishable from any other rock/metal band out there. so needless to say i wasn't very impressed by the "music" side of the show (although nothing was so cheesy it made me laugh).

i stayed near the stage in between sets so it would be easy to move up front when the genitorturers played. dj rony spun some tracks; he tried to mix but hasn't mastered beatmatching (tip: there are many ways to mix without beatmatching... i know from experience. but if you're mixing one beat with another, they need to be beatmatched or they will trainwreck. i've been known to trainwreck on purpose but i rather doubt that was rony's intention). the band also soundchecked while the dj music was playing, which lead to some interesting sound clashes.

lots of people were dressed up in their usual goth regalia. some were not (like me). but my favorite audience member was the blonde, dressed in jeans and pink blouse like she just left the sorority house, but who was being led around on a leash by another woman. neither the yuppie clothes nor the leash would've stuck out in isolation, but together they made for a bizarre juxtaposition. maybe she just got off work or something.

eventually the genitorturers started. the band has three dudes on guitar, bass, & drums, the hot female (gen) on vox, and a couple actors (one of each gender) who would come out periodically in costume and be abused for a moment.

i was right near the front of the stage. directly in front of me was some guy who kept fainting... i mean he must've fallen or half-fallen 1/2 dozen times before he & his friends finally got the sense to move him away from the stage so he could sit down or something. i'm not sure if he was woozy because of the sight of blood or drugs he did before the show or what... i suspect it wasn't alcohol because drunks usually stumble while walking around, not while just standing still. gen poured water on his back & talked to him, but it did little good, & eventually he left the stage area...

surprisingly, although gen seems to be pinup girl for the band (just look at all the pics on their website), she kept her clothes on throughout the show, never removing her corset, fishnets, or whatever you call those pants that look like panties except they're worn on the outside. she did periodically vanish backstage for a costume/prop change, but i was expecting her to slowly shed her outfit over the course of the show, or at least maybe cut her fishnets off.

of course, the disadvantage of seeing this at a public club for a rock show (especially here in the f'n bible belt) is the prudish public decency laws. i can only wonder if, given free reign, how much rowdier the genitorturers would be (if at all).

anyway, gen's clothes never really came off, although she rub on herself a few times and admittedly looked pretty good in her outfit, crouching or posing like a rockstar. the lewdness and nudeness came mostly from the actress, whose outfits usually included red tape over her nipples (stupid indiana laws) or, for one costume, fake rubber nipples.

some of the actress's costumes included a pseudo-fascist uniform, a nun, a geisha, a hospital patient outfit (complete with bandages and fake blood), and many more. at one point she spat stage blood at the crowd (getting some on my shirt, in my hair, etc). at another point early in the show, she was onstage & turned around to reveal a glowing dildo sticking out of her crotch... gen played around with it before finally pulling it out (it had a ball on the end that was inside the actress, so i'm pretty certain that was real penetration, not illusion) and giving it to the crowd. during the encore, the actress really surprised me by bringing out a half-nude local girl, laying her down, and pissing on her. they tried to obscure the money shot from view by holding a large REPENT sign in the way, but being very close to the stage i did see my share of labia. it's not every day you get to see snatch at a rock show (particularly a performer's snatch), so that alone probably made attending worthwhile (although i could have done without the urine itself).

all in all, there were plenty of dildos, strap-ons (though not as many as i expected from the photo gallery), spankings, simulated sex acts, rubbing of phallic objects on crotches (though again not as much as i expected), and unusual costumes. there was also some piercing, mild bondage, and in the finale they simulated driving a large nail through a rubber penis, complete with stage blood oozing out the tip.

so it was a good, memorable stage show, which is what i went to see. personally i could've used more fetish show & less rock band... you typically had to watch most of a song before anyone in costumes came out to get freaky. i'm extremely curious as to whether they held back because they were in the bible belt... there were definitely some freaky moments but there would be several minutes of "hey we're a rock band" in between. maybe if i want to see a real fetish show i need to do it at a private club (preferably not in indiana). but the genitorturers did pull off the combo of rock band/fetish show very well, better than i'd seen it done before.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004 
urg... tough choices.

so enduser is returning to dnb night tonight at the melody inn. i would love to go there & support sonicterror.

but there's a conflict. specifically, tonight is the first ever indy performance by the genitorturers at birdy's.

up through this morning, i figured i would go see enduser (even though i just saw him at the melody on march 27). but now i'm beginning to think that i really should go see the genitorturers.

pros: it's just $5, i know i will enjoy all the music, and i know the guy personally so it would be good to show my continuing support.

cons: i have seen him within the last 6 weeks, and have probably seen all the other djs who'll be performing as well. plus, it's basically just a bunch of dudes standing in front of laptops or turntables... good music but not too exciting to watch.

the genitorturers:
pros: i've never seen them before, i'm interested in checking out the venue (never been there before), and there will be crazy fetish people galavanting around stage half nude & doing god knows what onstage (much more fun to watch than a guy with a laptop). plus, i might know more people there.

cons: it's $12 ($7 more than enduser), and no matter how much i love their stage show, the music will probably be kinda cheesy, at least for my taste.

so.... great music with no stage show, or great stage show with cheesy (but not intolerable) music? that's a tough call. all other things being equal, i would probably pick enduser. but since i've seen him play a few times, including recently, & i've never seen the genitorturers, i think i need to pick them. i might be disappointed in the long run, but there's only one way to know...

just got a surprising email from unszene:

dude, i think it was because you posted a link to my page that fucking MATMOS contacted me for buttons!!!! holy shit!!!

for some of you, matmos needs no introduction. for the uninitiated, let's just say that they're about as popular as you can be & still be somewhat experimental. so to me or unszene, they're a "big name", though the average american has surely never heard of them.

i've never had any direct contact with the guys at matmos so that was a bit of a surprise, if indeed they found the link here (the only other explanation is that connie took one flier for unszene's buttons to san francisco... where did you leave that again, connie?). i guess it's not a huge shock, since i'm only two degrees separated from matmos (having met lesser and wobbly during my last trip to the bay, and having given both of them copies of maura's milk chocolate bath), but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. it's comforting to think that people (other than my close friends) are actually coming to the site and getting something useful out of it.

and since i'm thinking of going back to the bay in august, maybe i really should contact those matmos boys... it would be cool to hook up or even set up a show out there.

Saturday, May 01, 2004 
a couple days ago the supreme court heard testimony on a case involving guantanamo bay, and whether the govt has the right to detain prisoners there indefinitely without access to lawyers or the court system. that day on npr, i heard someone arguing that the govt needs to keep lawyers out because "the united states does not torture". the implication being that since we couldn't use torture in our interrogations, we needed other tactics (like infinite detainment, i guess).

then the pictures came out. 60 minutes ii published photos of iraqi prisoners being humiliated and sexually abused in abu ghraib, an iraqi prison. other publications followed and more pictures came out. bush denounced the torture and blamed it on individual soldiers. but according to an army report acquired by the new yorker, military intelligence knew of and approved it all... because it aided interrogation. lots of gruesome details in the new yorker article.

it's hard to believe that if military intelligence encourages this type of behavior in abu ghraid, they wouldn't do the same in guantanimo bay.

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