Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ebony & Ivory

I have heard, time after time, people making fun of Ebony & Ivory. Yet, it's an inspiring, catchy song with a great message. Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney - two musical legends in their prime playing together... I'd love for someone to explain to me once and for all why so many people consider it to be uncool. Because i don't see it at all.

I will always love it. It will always be nostalgic for me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Has anyone else been noticing that the media no longer calls George W. "President Bush"? Instead they've often been referring to him as "Mr. Bush", even though he's still the current president of the United States of America.

I think that says a lot more about his failed presidency than most might realize.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We Could Be Heroes

It may be true that deep inside, every one of us wishes to be a hero. And while a small percentage of us have yet to realize that desire, I believe that we all have the potential to make it a reality. It's merely up to each of us.

Nobody in this world is greater than any of the rest of us. Think of the most heroic, brave, and influential people in this world; the first that come to mind. Then, realize that they all began their journeys as you and I did. They are merely people like us... no better, no worse. In most cases, the only difference between them and us is a burning motivation to fulfill a dream.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Use Your Own Illusion

Enough already about the new Guns N' Roses album, Chinese Democracy. Yeah, I get it. It's the first new GNR album in fourteen years. So much excitement wasted for an overrated band who once had three good songs. (Sweet Child O' Mine, Welcome To The Jungle, Paradise City...) It's not even the actual band this time around, as only Axl Rose remains from the original lineup.

... And Axl Rose is a complete fuckass.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Crash And Burn

I have yet to officially weigh in on the current economic recession.

This is not so much a devastating blow to the modern way of life, as it is simply the natural balance of society correcting itself. Whether it's justified or not, there is a part of me that's enjoying this "economic crisis". It does affect me, however. I do have money tied up in multiple retirement accounts. Yet, it's all still somehow refreshing to me. For years, I've stood by witnessing the appalling levels of shallow materialism and disgusting greed in this world; of my fellow Americans specifically. Too many of us are selfish morons who too easily buy into the fallacy that bigger is better; that more equals power; that quantity ensures happiness.

I wish my fellow humans would just stop for a moment and take a deep collective breath. I wish them to ponder, for once, the true necessities of everyday life. I want them to think about the very few things they actually need to get by - of which many people take for granted when they are lucky to have them, by the way - and I also want them to think about the piles upon piles of irrelevant possessions they have that are merely taking up space. It's okay, of course, to enjoy a hobby or two, or to keep sentimental items. Unfortunately, most 21st-Century Earthlings so far have misleadingly believed that the more posessions they have, the better people they will become.

It's very sad, really...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Red, White & New

There's little or no doubt that the United States is on the verge of a paradigm shift. A first in recent memory, I face this time with a sense of hope and faith in my fellow Americans... pending tomorrow's election results of course.

You might say my countrymen are beginning somewhat of an American reinvention; a fresh start. And as I leave for Jakarta this election day to pick up my soon-to-be-wife, I find it oddly coincidental and reflectively appropriate that she will be experiencing America for the first time, exactly when the U.S. begins this new journey. In a sense, it gives me the chance to discover a new-and-improved America through fresh eyes. I'll be vicariously experiencing this at Dian's side. While I'm very excited to share my freedom and my endless opportunity here with the love of my life, I'm also a bit nervous at the possibility of her being let down by my country in some way. Perhaps it won't live up to the hype and praise the United States has been known throughout the world for over the last couple centuries. (The past eight years haven't exactly been productive for us.)

One thing is clear to me however. No matter how this election ends up, it's refreshing and inspiring to see the passion of the American people resurfacing. It's well overdue and it's been dormant for far too long. It may not yet be entirely obvious, but the American spirit is still alive and kicking.

The heart of America is still beating.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Gimme Shelter

There is a pet store in my hometown named Pets Are People Too!. I've always agreed with that sentiment. Whenever my family has had a pet over the years, we've always considered them to be members of our family. I think that's the way it should be. Pets are really not much different than children, in fact. They're alike in many ways. They need lots of attention and care. They need to be fed, sheltered, cleaned up after... sometimes brushed, sometimes bathed, etc. They are just as much a member of your family as you are.

This is why I have such a problem with people selling and buying animals; breeding them for profit, mostly. I find it appalling and extremely sad. Millions of animals are put to death every year because they can't find good homes. Yet at the same time, you have a bunch of these shallow bitches and uncompassionate fucks who literally buy into all of this "purebreed" nonsense. Canines especially get the shitty deal when it comes to this. Would it be alright to treat children this way? I don't see a difference. Should we sell our children to people for profit? Should we charge more if certain kids are a "purebreed" of certain ethnicities? If you're even the tiniest bit compassionate, this concept should sound completely appalling and ridiculous to you. That is how I feel about the breeding-for-profit of pets.

Please join me in refusing to accept this horrid practice any longer! If you'd like to have a pet, great! But please, please, PLEASE visit your local shelter first! You'll find many great animals who would be ecstatic to finally have a caring family and a loving home. They will appreciate you giving them a chance at a new happy life, just as much as any human would. They will be your best friend.

The bottom line: Going to the shelter will not only save a life, it'll save you a lot of money! It's better for everyone!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oh, Golly!

Does Sarah Palin remind anyone else of Principal Victoria in South Park, whenever she speaks?

Monday, October 13, 2008


Dear Senator McCain,

Throughout this historic race for the presidency of the United States of America, I can't help noticing that you continually express contempt for your opponent, Senator Obama, because he never uses the word "victory" when referring to the war in Iraq. This is where I have a problem. In my opinion, there is no "victory" in war. Ever. In any war, nobody wins and the entire world loses.

This "victory" you and your insincere, hypocritical sidekick speak of does not exist. The only productive way to work out the differences in the world must be through diplomacy, not military action. I'm just your average middle-class American male. I don't have multiple homes or hold any political science degrees. I don't host parties for the wealthy and elite, nor do I own a fancy tailor-made suit. But even I have figured this shit out. I seek peace and prosperity, not conflict. And I believe far and away that the vast majority of the world's population does too.

Everytime you talk about victory in war, it scares me. Especially since it's too often followed by thunderous applause.


P.S. The American public is much smarter than you give us credit for, and we see right through your bogus misleading claims. (But if we do end up sending you to the White House, I'll retract this statement.)

P.P.S. Oh, and can you please teach your running mate how to properly say the word nuclear? Thanks.

Full Of It

You know all those people who compete in eating contests around the world? Do you ever wonder how many times a year these people clog up their toilets when they're practicing at home? Do you wonder how much money they spend annually on toilet paper?


Yeah, me neither. I was just asking.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Karma Chameleon

It may not always be too obvious to others, but I consider myself to be the world's biggest advocate for Karma. Good or bad, I love to see people get what they deserve. At the drop of a hat, those around you will remind you again and again that life isn't fair. In my experience unfortunately, it seems to be true. So many good people out there seem to get shit on in everyday life, while some real pieces-of-shit sorry excuses for human beings seem to be rewarded often for the misery they bring to others. We see it in politics. We see it in the celebrity-worship scene. We see it everywhere. This is one reason I have such a difficult time believing that a benevolent god, or any for that matter, exists somewhere out there.

If I were God, embracing Karma would be at the top of my things-to-do list. Everyone would get exactly what they deserve.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Back To Life

If it's one thing that this seemingly world-wide financial meltdown is teaching us, it's something that I've already been aspiring to most of my life: a more simple and more enjoyable life.

"The things you own end up owning you."

It may be a random quote from a random movie - which would be David Fincher's Fight Club - but it's a very true thought to keep in mind. Although I have never been one to surround myself with the "finer" things in life: fancy clothes, fancy cars, fancy dinners, etc, I have recognized that I still have things around me that I simply don't need. I have been gradually unburdening myself of these things that take up unnecessary space in both my home and in the back of my mind. Until you try this for yourself, you won't understand how much more refreshed and free I've been feeling with each item I've learned to let go of. And I've been thinking for a long time now that the rest of the world, and most particularly my American neighbors, should give it a try and learn to free themselves from the plastic and gold prisons they so often create for themselves.

Now the economy is tanking world-wide. Now people can't seem to afford the oversized houses they bought, or the gas-guzzling vehicles, or the over-convenient electronics, etc etc. The media is sharing stories about "ordinary" folks who are deciding to simplify their lives by cutting back on all the excess, seemingly trying to portray them as groundbreakers; economic role-models who are sacrificing so much. It's all bullshit. None of us should have been buying into all this consumer excess in the first place. For a country full of self-proclaimed Christians, we don't seem to mind being greedy, status-symbol one-up-er compulsives. I thought I had always heard that things don't make you who you are; that money can't buy happiness...

Maybe I'm the only one who heard wrong.

Then again, maybe I'm the only one who's been paying closer attention.

The Legacy Of "W."

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I rarely go to the theaters to see movies anymore, but this is one I have to see and give my full support to. (I'm going to today!) It's about time someone had the balls to put something like this out, and I hope people really give it a fair and open-minded viewing (most won't, of course). No doubt many of the extremist, religious fanatics of the world are protesting and complaining about this film right now. I guess freedom of speech is something those people don't truly embrace.

Nevertheless, since losing my hero, George Carlin, earlier this year, I think Bill Maher just became a new one for me. Yet I have always had respect for him because of his courage and willingness to question and analyze whatever the people of this primitive world spit out at him.

Great job, Bill! I am supporting you 100%!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I'm an 80's kid. And I still like Michael Jackson. I don't care what anyone else out there says. And I don't care much about all the past allegations regarding the children. Sure, he's strange. And sure, some of his actions can be pretty inappropriate at times, but I believe he truly cares about the well-being and happiness of the children he befriends. I also feel sorry for him because his own childhood was such a mess. If I'm wrong about him somehow, I have no doubt he'll pay for his actions however he must. But back to my point: I actually see two Michaels. One is a legendary musical performer. The other is the trainwrecked celebrity that now appears alien to the Michael we once knew. I still see Michael as the former.

Here's a guy, when it comes right down to it, who can bring a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people to a collective captivation. He can inspire them, make them shed tears of joy, and make them scream and cheer in thunderous unison. And he can do it all merely through dance. There's something magical and extremely fascinating about that.

Somehow, when Michael dances, the outside world seems to stop for a few moments to appreciate one of the most basic of primal human behaviors. They find it so refreshing to witness someone who not only has an obvious passion for what he does, but who also has clearly dedicated his life to creating his own unique and innovative style. It's not the fact that he is one of the most successful artists in modern music history. It's not the awards he's won. It's not even the fact that he has released hit after hit after hit throughout his life-long career, or the musical family he came from. All those things help of course, but when all is said and done, it's the dancing that makes Michael so memorable and great. I have yet to see another star come along who is on that level, and I am reluctant to think I ever will.

I am still, and always will be, an MJ fan.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fortune For Today

"You will soon gain something you have always desired."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Boy Who Once Bled Baseball

I used to be the biggest fan of baseball in the world. It was my life. I played it, I lived it, I breathed it. It flowed through me like The Force through a Jedi Knight. The Seattle Mariners... that was my team. I would go to every game I had the opportunity to see, which may have not been many, but for a kid growing up in Idaho - 300 miles away - I was able to witness a good share. I watched every other game I could on television. When I couldn't catch the televised games, I'd tune them in on the radio. I was the biggest fan, and I thought that would never change. It was who I was; my childhood destiny. My second skin.

In 2001, the Mariners had an amazing season. Winding up a summer full of club records and fond memories, including the All-Star game that happened to be held in Seattle that July, they ended up breaking the record for most American League wins in a season with 116. I was at Safeco Field the night they tied the record at 114. It was surreal to me. And since I was living in the Seattle area by then, everything seemed to be going according to my teal and navy blue-eyed prophetic ideals.

But by the time 2002 came along, something had changed.

I began to observe everything a little more closely, from a slightly different viewpoint. I began to notice more "family" nights at the stadium. I noticed more women filling the stadium; showing up late, socializing and not watching the game at all, comparing purses, blabbing on cell phones and pointing out the hot guys to each other. I noticed the hyper sensitivity to anything resembling curse words or "inappropriate behavior" from fellow fans. The ballpark foods were gradually morphing into something from a superficial wall-street yuppie bullshit cafe. A gradually increasing crowd claimed to be fellow fans, but only when our team was in the middle of a winning streak. The players seemed to forget the concept of teamwork altogether... caring more about their salaries, their social reputations and their personal statistics than about the game they are so lucky to be able to play for a living. I began noticing the heavy Christian overtones, everything from the players' ponderous God-praising during every post-game interview, to the over-dramatic performances of "God Bless America" during every seventh-inning stretch. I also began to realize that the colors in the stadium were not even that of the home team. They were instead the colors of all the sponsoring companies who have the ongoing compulsion to smear their logo feces into every aspect of the game... the merchandise, the food and drink containers, the free promotions, the tickets, the field itself... even the scoreboard is so heavily soiled in advertisements that it's hard to catch the score at a glance anymore. And the games on television are basically squeezed within four-hour-long commercials. Even in between the commercial breaks, the play-by-play commentators can't seem to stop talking about the sponsors. Ryan says, "This game is brought to you by shut the fuck up and play ball!"

It's not about the game anymore. It's merely a business now. The game of skill and strategy we once loved now lies dormant in the small-town fields and city streets of the world. Until the business is removed from it and the passion is rekindled, baseball will remain one more unfortunate casualty in the world of commercialism.

Billie Jean

(Click on the image to view it full-size.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

God, Or No God?

Hi there. Welcome to present-day Earth.

War, hate, fighting, corruption, fear, anger, vengence, racism, prejudice, bigotry, genocide, slavery, crime, murder, torture, rape, child molestation, cannibalism, famine... earthquakes, blizzards, landslides, tidal waves, typhoons, hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes, tornados, lightning storms, floods, meteorites, forest fires, pollution, global warming, plane crashes, train wrecks, ship wrecks, car wrecks... disease, AIDS, cancer, malaria, e-coli, influenza, pneumonia, polio, plagues, viruses, heart attacks, sunstroke, frostbite, death, misery, suffering, infant drownings, stillbirths and miscarriages, birth defects, SIDS, animal cruelty and neglect, euthanasia, lonliness, homelessness, despair, sorrow, alcoholism, drug addiction, derangement, psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, suicide...

If there really is a God out there, he must be the deadbeat Father who comes home drunk day-after-day and beats the shit out of our Mother Earth. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and omnipresent, yet He is so easily dismissed from responsibility for any of these things? I'm not buying it. I see one of two things going on here...

One: God just doesn't give a shit about us or the world we live in. If this is the case, it's time we learn to take care of ourselves and our planet, and stop waiting for Him to do it for us. Why should we worship and dedicate our lives to someone like that anyway?

Or two: There is simply no god.

The latter is far more logical and believable. It makes the only sense to me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fortune For The Day

"Travelling to the south will bring you unexpected happiness."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thought Of The Day

Guns are not the problem. The problem is that people want to use them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

One, Two, Three... You're Out!

I don't hate anyone in this world. There are many people I have little or no respect for. But hate? No.

The way I have learned to deal with anyone who seems to cause problems for me: I just cut them completely out of my life in all aspects, and move on. I break off contact... step one. Rid myself of any connections I may have with them... step two. And part with the sentimental items I've kept in the past which I still associate with them... step three. Then, I forget them and move on to brighter and better things. I don't ever give them the satisfaction of holding my attention, good or bad.

"Hate is baggage. Life is too short to be pissed off all the time."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weight Up, You Guys!

There are so many contests nowadays regarding weight loss. "Whomever loses the most weight will win [enter name of latest electronic fad here]!!" You see them on television, you hear about them in your community, or through work, or through school, or in any other social setting. These weight-losing contests are all over the place.

I don't believe people should be rewarded for doing things they should have been doing in the first place. For example, there's a man who is lazy, unmotivated and unable to control his own eating habits. He finally learns how to balance these things at forty years old, and he's rewarded and treated like some kind of role-model? I don't get it. What about all the people out there who have exercised and eaten healthy for years, never letting themselves become overweight and unhealthy in the first place? Where are their rewards? It's a fucking stupid idea to celebrate the lazy in this world, and it's unfair to everyone else. "But the rewards are just meant to help motivate people to become healthier.", you might say. Well, those who have little or no weight to lose don't even get an opportunity to win the prizes at all in these contests. And if anyone truly deserved a reward for their hard work, it would be these people. Shouldn't the desire to avoid heart disease, diabetes, stroke, fatigue, high blood pressure, cancer, asthma, sleep apnea, gallstones, and high cholesterol, among many others, be enough motivation for us to try a little harder to control our weight? No? Fine then, how about the desire to just look good naked?

I guess only when there's a free iPod to be won...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Here's an easy way to help make a difference: Make a point of picking up at least one piece of litter each day and disposing of it properly.

If everyone did this each day, we would collectively be picking up somewhere in the vicinity of 6.7 billion pieces of trash every day! Now imagine if everyone picked up more than one piece per day and made more of an effort not to litter in the first place. We would quickly have a litter-free world to enjoy. It wouldn't be that much of an effort for us as individuals to do our part, as it hardly takes any energy at all to dispose of trash properly. Unfortunately, too many people in this world are too lazy to even make that effort. It's really very sad.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Material World

Let me clue you in on something: Materialism essentially equals low self-esteem. The more you find yourself equating happiness with wealth and accumulation of possession, the less your level of self worth.

Whenever I see someone walking around decked out in flashy jewelry, designer clothes, a fancy watch, etc, I never envy them. I do not automatically have respect for them or assume they are rich, which is no doubt what they aim for by wearing these things in the first place. Instead, my very first thought is always that this is a person who has an extremely low self-esteem. This is someone who thinks so lowly of themselves, in fact, that they feel the need to dress up in shiny valuables in order to feel more important and accepted in society. All that matters to these shallow people is how others view them, and I find that very sad and pathetic.

It's overkill. It's unnecessary. It's lame and insincere; phony and sophomoric. It's all pretentious bullshit and it's everywhere around us. I'm sorry to tell you, these material things you surround yourself with will not make you happy. Only you can make yourself happy, and it doesn't cost a thing to do it. All it takes is an honest look inside yourself and the willingness to become something better. If you do this, you will soon find that you don't really need these material things at all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Incredible Adventures Of Kelbo, The Pathological Liar - Chapter 1

I suppose it all started when I was five years old. It was July of '85, and I had just finished writing my first book. It wasn't a novel really, just a modest collection of musings and anecdotes. You see, I was often called a child prodigy in the literary world. Day after day, I would lock myself in my room, staring at my autographed Richard Simmons poster for inspiration, and writing page after page of my random thoughts and experiences. By the time I was fifteen, I had already written twenty-five best-selling books and become a self-made millionaire. My most famous book, 1001 Ways To Castrate A Gerbil, sold seven million copies alone! Unfortunately, by sixteen, I had lost my passion for writing. It was no longer a challenge for me. I had switched my focus to other projects in life.

I decided one day I would join a professional rowing team in Panama and study calligraphy. I lived in a small log cabin, just on the edge of a beautiful river. It was so beautiful in fact, that the sun left a golden trail every evening upon sunset, and the mornings were full of happy little chirps and calm waters. I lived there for just over four years, until the day I was picking special Panamanian raspberries in my garden, and got pricked by a thorn and contracted West Nile virus. At the time, I was unaware of the virus and kept picking raspberries until collapsing. I awoke in a local hospital and was forced to eat lemon-lime JELL-O for thirty straight days. My nurse, a transexual trumpet-player by the name of Gilda, was good to me. She would fluff my pillows each night and sneak me issues of my favorite magazine, Coitus Weekly. When I had finally recovered from my illness, I was sad to say goodbye. But she and the doctors wished me well and bought me a brand new baseball mitt, a pair of rubber gloves and a gallon of vaseline as parting gifts.

The following day, I left Panama and headed north, towards my home in the United States. I felt it was time to move on in life. New adventures would surely await me...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

There May Be Something Wrong With Me

You know when you finish brushing your teeth thoroughly, and the gooey white toothpaste residue has dripped down the sides of your mouth? Do you ever put down the toothbrush, glare into the mirror, show your most sadistic grin, and pretend you're an immortal day-walking vampire who just fed on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?


Just me?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

One Small Thought For Man

In my opinion, the best thing for the human race right now would be to discover alien life. The moment we finally have solid evidence of a species from another world out there, people will finally begin to see how full of shit religion is.

There's nothing I'd like better than to see this disgusting world of religion turned upside down. All these phony, power-hungry, hypocritical individuals trying to force-feed us more of their bullshit explainations. Explainations, no doubt, created merely to discourage us from anything resembling questioning or logical conversation. No free thought allowed.

I would love to hear the christian church (not capitalized on purpose) try to explain why, as it turns out, we are not the superior of God's children after all.

The moment of first contact; the discovery of, or communication with other life in the universe, will mark the beginning of religion's downfall. And I can think of no greater possible "giant leap" for mankind.

Trent Speaks Out On Fur!

One more reason I have an enormous amount of respect for Trent Reznor:

Thoughts To Think About # 12

A person may find success in their work, but their true success shines in their passion.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


After months of waiting, Dian and I are finally approved! Step one is finally complete. Now, on to phase two. We have some more waiting to do, but it should only be two more weeks before our case is forwarded to the U.S. embassy in Jakarta. Until then, Dian is starting her new job, which should keep her busy and distracted from this waiting, while I shift my concentration to planning our Vegas trip and marriage details.

Everything is going according to plan so far; ahead of the expected schedule even. Dian is my life, and I can't wait to finally have her here with me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kicking Ass, Taking Names

I've never been unhappy with my name. It seems simple to me; straightforward. It may only be four short letters long, but there's two syllables crammed in there. Plus, I got that really cool 'Y' in there too. Is it a vowel? I don't know! Sometimes I suppose... Very mysterious.

But the primary reason I've never disliked my name is the fact that there are really no longer versions of it. Ryan. That's it. Done. That's me.

Let's say, for example, I was born a 'Jim'. As a young boy, I would no doubt be known to everyone as Jimmy. "Hey Jimmy!" they'd say, "Let's go ride our bikes until dark, you doodiehead." I would remain as Jimmy until my mid-to-late teens, when I would begin taking on more adult-oriented responsibilities. "Dad, it's Jim now. Call me Jim. I'm not a little kid anymore." Jim it is. "Hey Jim!" they'd say, "Let's go drive around and get fucked up, you shithead!"

One day, perhaps in my late twenties or early thirties I will marry. My wife and beautiful but unplanned daughter would expect me to be the dependable one. Fully responsible and defined. Intellectual, mature and elegant. Times have changed. Please, call me James. I am not that crazy little bike-riding troublemaker anymore. Nor, am I the carefree naive young man I once was. I am a grown-up man with a grown-up life in a grown-up world. And my name is James. "James!" they'd say, "Come on over for some tea and cookies! And bring the family, you old dog."

Not me.

I was born a Ryan. I grew up as Ryan. I suffered through my teens as Ryan. I am still Ryan. I will always be Ryan. There will be no longer versions of my name in order to make myself sound more important and mature. There will be no having to correct people at every family reunion of name changes. My name will always be the same, and I find a sense of comfort in that.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Power Failure

I recently heard the following sentence on CNN: "Because of high winds, about 250,000 people in New England are without power." I thought, "Gee, when you think about it, about 275 million people in the United States are without power. They just aren't aware of it."

--- George Carlin
(taken from his third book, When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Today I saw something really sad.

I saw a young boy, maybe ten or twelve years old, riding his bicycle while trying to steer with one hand. His other hand was holding a cell phone to his ear. As I passed him on the highway, watching him swerving and paying no attention to anything around him, I could only shake my head in disgust.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thoughts To Think About # 11

Each one of us has the potential to do something extraordinary for this world. What is it that you can do?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Silent Screams

One of my favorite questions to ponder:

If trees could scream, would we still cut them down?

...It's a very interesting question, and I'll even take it a step further. How exactly do we know they can't scream? We don't know that. Perhaps they scream on a frequency we humans do not have the capacity to hear. Perhaps they have alternate ways of expressing their pain. Are we that arrogant to assume if the human ear cannot hear something, the sound must not exist?


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Macadamia Nuts

In under ten minutes, I just created the following as a joke for a friend. I'm sorta proud of myself:

(Click on the image to view it full-size.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dear Papa Joe,

Yes, the picture above is of Mt. Rainier. I took it, and I feel that now is the perfect time and place to post it, for a couple of reasons. Some might say this is now your view of the very mountain that watched over you during your entire life. Perhaps it is some kind of poetic justice. But aside from that thought, as I took this picture, you happened to be sitting right next to me. It was taken early in the morning on our way to Reno; the very trip I mentioned in the note I wrote for your funeral service.

Just for the record, here is that note:

I will never forget my most recent trip to Reno four years ago. Not just because it was a fun weekend. And not because it was when I first learned to play roulette. I'll never forget it because I got to go with my grandpa. I'm not sure I ever told you, but I had a really great time on that trip. Aunt Nean and Mark were there, they remember. It always amused me to see your eyes light up whenever we stepped foot into a casino together. That look, it turns out, must be hereditary.

When I was little, I thought my life would abruptly end the day you were watching the Seahawks on tv under your new headphones. Apparently, I had decided it was a really good idea to max out the volume because I couldn't hear the game. Unfortunately, I didn't realize at the time I was only turning up the volume of your headphones. I can still remember hearing the distorted sound of football commentators blasting out of them from across the room. You yelled something incoherent and quickly threw them off your ears. I ran upstairs faster than I had ever run before, and hid under a bed for about an hour.

When I finally got up the courage to come back downstairs and face you again, I was surprised to find that you weren't mad at me at all. (I would have been.) I think it was then I realized that no matter how tough and reserved you seemed to be, you always kept a soft spot for us kids. You loved each of us in our own way, and we all came to know that.

At the risk of sounding cliched, you were our family anchor; our rock. You kept us all on a straight path and told us exactly what you thought. Honest to a fault. Even to the very end, you kept your quirky sense of humor and unfaltering strength. I will always admire you for that. And I believe I speak for all of us grandkids when I say, we love you and we'll miss you Papa Joe. Rest well.


I feel like I was able to sum up most of what I wanted to say in that note, however, there is another thing that has been bothering me recently. I often observed just about everyone in the family (with very few exceptions) making fun of you behind your back before your health faded. They would make comments about you, assuming you couldn't hear them. They would roll their eyes and sigh. In my eyes, they seemed to treat you less like the man they cried for at the funeral... more like an annoyance; a burden; an unworthy test of patience. Perhaps I don't know the full story, but I always felt like this was a classic case of people not appreciating what they have until it's gone. They should have understood how lucky they were to even have a father, a husband, a grandfather... at all. Many people out there in the world never even had that privilege.

I know they all loved you, as you loved them. And perhaps that was rarely, if at all, communicated from either side while you were still here. But it still bothers me. I just hope everyone in the family has finally learned to appreciate those around them while they can.

But enough about all that. We all miss you, and it will never be the same without you. I hope wherever you are now, you're at peace.

Goodbye Papa Joe.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

...And You Don't Know Me (Entry 2)

At work each day, I wear four colored pens in my shirt-pocket, in the following order: blue, orange, purple, red.

Yes, this is in fact my own silly little way of paying tribute to the Ninja Turtles. And I think it's perfect that the band I wear around my neck everyday - to hold my employee badge - is green.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dear George,

As I checked at work this morning, like I do every day, I was not expecting to see your picture. Immediately my heart capsized, and I felt a strong rush of hollowness. You died last night.

A little over three years ago, I had decided to write you a letter. It was a five-page thank you note, really. However, I never did get to send it because no matter how hard I tried, I could not locate a mailing address for you. I kept it these years in the hopes that someday I might get the chance to get it to you somehow. But now that can never happen. Now it is too late. The world just lost another one of the good guys.

The following is the letter I wrote. I hope you would have appreciated its sincerity...


Dear Mr. Carlin,

My name is Ryan, and I'm twenty-five. Having been raised in a christian environment, I grew up believing everything people told me. I never knew to question anything and I certainly didn't think much for myself.

I remember being over at a friend's house one day when I was about ten or so. He had put in this comedy cassette that belonged to his dad, which turned out to be What Am I Doing in New Jersey?. This was the very first time I ever heard your material, and I remember it well. We would laugh each time you'd say "damn" or "shit", and memorize our favorite lines to say when our parents weren't around.

Skipping ahead to my teen years...

I found myself buying that old cassette I remembered so well. I gradually picked up more albums and became a fan. My high school life was abysmal enough with all the shit I was trying to process in my head. I was in a very bad place for a long time, and each day I found myself questioning the point of life. Yet, I always had your tapes to help me laugh whenever I needed to... and trust me, I needed to.

To make a long story short, you helped me through many difficult times. You taught me many things in the process, like how to laugh at life and to not take everything so seriously. You made me want to be an intellectual. You made me want to be funny. You made me question the world and everything we bullshit ourselves into believing. Most of all, you taught me to think for myself. I like to think that you freed my mind. And for this, I'm writing to say thank you.

As I said before, I'm twenty-five now. Life is much better for me. I'm confident in my many opinions and outlooks (which I never had any of before). I've become an intellectual, an observer, a thinker, and a dreamer. I owe this all to you, as I cringe to think how I would have been had I not had you in my life in some form. People have told me that they think I'm the funniest person they know, perhaps due to my sophisticated approach to comedy, as well as the random goofiness I love to amuse myself with, both of which I learned from you. I even had the opportunity a couple years ago to catch you in Vegas! I had moved down there for a couple months trying to find a decent job. Then I heard you were going to be at MGM soon and knew I had to go. At that time, I was almost broke but bought my ticket anyway. I never thought twice about the money and would have paid twice that in an instant. I ended up sitting center-stage, pretty close, for the first night you were there. I showed up early and even happened to be the first one in line that night. Needless to say, the show was amazing, and to this day I've never laughed so hard, or for so long, in my life. And though I'm near Seattle right now, I plan on flying down to Vegas to catch you again sometime. I'd love to buy you a drink or something and thank you in person, but that's not likely to happen so I'm trying not to bullshit myself too much.

To sum this up,

[Holy shit... five pages!]'re the reason I've turned out to be who I am now. I can't honestly say I have any idols, but I do have certain people I respect and admire immensely. You are at the top of that list for many reasons, and you've inspired me more than anyone ever has. Often I'll be contemplating some random event and I'll catch myself thinking in classic Carlin style... that's when I know I'm on the right track. I also share your outlook on people when you say you love individuals but despise groups. I'm the same way. And this world could really use more individuals like you.

So... thank you so much for taking the time to read this, Mr. Carlin. And from one individual to another, thank you for everything. I'll never forget it!

--- Ryan Bollman

P.S. I've always enjoyed the fact that you played Rufus in the Bill & Ted movies I love. They've always been favorites... and I'm not just kissing your ass.


(I have to mention that I had the opportunity to see you perform for a second time here in Seattle last year. I believe I may have laughed even harder.)

Farewell, George. You will be sorely missed, especially by me. Although I never had the opportunity to meet you, I still always felt I knew you somehow. You taught me so much, and I thought of you as somewhat of a mentor; like I was some kind of distant apprentice. It won't be the same without you, but we will find our way. You may now be gone, but your material and your spirit will shine on for many generations to come. Rest well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Heavy Shreddin'

Until you feed your old confessions of teenage love through your shredder... until you rid yourself of all those juvenile love notes from would-be romances... until you learn to finally let go of all those nagging what-ifs and could-have-beens throughout your rollercoasting life... you will never know true peace of mind.

There is nothing more liberating than letting go of those things that plague your past and keep you from growing and evolving. It's time to realize they are all in the past now. It's time to realize you don't need those feelings anymore. Now you have new ones.

It's time to move on and start living for today.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."

--- Albert Einstein (January 3, 1954)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Blogger Has Two Faces

Today at work, on a certain medical history questionnaire, I noticed a patient had listed his religion as "babtist". Being quite unfamiliar with this religion, I can only assume he is a worshipper of Barbara Streisand. I always knew Ms. Streisand had a loyal fan base, but I never realized she had her own religion. Interesting...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Common Sense 1 - Jesus 0

Parents Pick Prayer Over Docs; Girl Dies

WESTON, Wis. — Police are investigating an 11-year-old girl's death from an undiagnosed, treatable form of diabetes after her parents chose to pray for her rather than take her to a doctor.

An autopsy showed Madeline Neumann died Sunday of diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that left too little insulin in her body, Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said.

She had probably been ill for about a month, suffering symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness, the chief said Wednesday, noting that he expects to complete the investigation by Friday and forward the results to the district attorney.

The girl's mother, Leilani Neumann, said that she and her family believe in the Bible and that healing comes from God, but that they do not belong to an organized religion or faith, are not fanatics and have nothing against doctors.

She insisted her youngest child, a wiry girl known to wear her straight brown hair in a ponytail, was in good health until recently.

"We just noticed a tiredness within the past two weeks," she said Wednesday. "And then just the day before and that day (she died), it suddenly just went to a more serious situation. We stayed fast in prayer then. We believed that she would recover. We saw signs that to us, it looked like she was recovering."

Her daughter — who hadn't seen a doctor since she got some shots as a 3-year-old, according to Vergin — had no fever and there was warmth in her body, she said.

The girl's father, Dale Neumann, a former police officer, said he started CPR "as soon as the breath of life left" his daughter's body.

Family members elsewhere called authorities to seek help for the girl.

"My sister-in-law, she's very religious, she believes in faith instead of doctors ...," the girl's aunt told a sheriff's dispatcher Sunday afternoon in a call from California. "And she called my mother-in-law today ... and she explained to us that she believes her daughter's in a coma now and she's relying on faith."

The dispatcher got more information from the caller and asked whether an ambulance should be sent.

"Please," the woman replied. "I mean, she's refusing. She's going to fight it. ... We've been trying to get her to take her to the hospital for a week, a few days now."

The aunt called back with more information on the family's location, emergency logs show. Family friends also made a 911 call from the home. Police and paramedics arrived within minutes and immediately called for an ambulance that took her to a hospital.

But less than an hour after authorities reached the home, Madeline — a bright student who left public school for home schooling this semester — was declared dead.

She is survived by her parents and three older siblings.

"We are remaining strong for our children," Leilani Neumann said. "Only our faith in God is giving us strength at this time."

The Neumanns said they moved from California to a modern, middle-class home in woodsy Weston, just outside Wassau in central Wisconsin, about two years ago to open a coffee shop and be closer to other relatives. A basketball hoop is set up in the driveway.

Leilani Neumann said she and her husband are not worried about the investigation because "our lives are in God's hands. We know we did not do anything criminal. We know we did the best for our daughter we knew how to do."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jimmy Swaggart, Christian Hero

I'm not sure what's more disturbing... this man claiming to be a representative of Jesus Christ, or the thousands of sheep who mindlessly follow him.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

First Sight

I tell you how I love you
and how good you are for me
I've told you how I feel
now let me tell you what I see

I see you when the birds are out
I see you in the rain
reflecting in the shiny drops
from lightning in my brain

I see you in the moon at night
I see you in the sun
I see you in my future too
You are the only one

I see you walking next to me
and in the clouds above
I see the world I never knew
before you showed me love

I see your hand inside of mine
I see us walking tall
and though some fights may happen
I'm not seeing them at all

I see you in my screen at work
I see you in my car
I see us sleeping very close
and traveling very far

I see you sitting with me
in the summer at the lake
I see the many Christmas pictures
we have yet to take

I see you growing old with me
but this is no surprise
I love you, and you love me
I see it in your eyes

I see it all so clearly now
I see you as my wife
I have no fear and feel no pain
In you, I see my life

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thought Of The Day

You know those little oxygen absorption packets that come in food packages to help keep the food fresh? When they make those packets at the factory in abundance, do the factory workers have to wear oxygen masks?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thought Of The Day

Teasing a 350-pound tiger is not the work of a brilliant mind.


Police: Victim drunk during tiger attack

SAN FRANCISCO - One of the three victims of San Francisco Zoo tiger attack was intoxicated and admitted to yelling and waving at the animal while standing atop the railing of the big cat enclosure, police said in court documents filed Thursday.

Paul Dhaliwal, 19, told the father of Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, who was killed, that the three yelled and waved at the tiger but insisted they never threw anything into its pen to provoke the cat, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.

"As a result of this investigation, (police believe) that the tiger may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims," according to Inspector Valerie Matthews, who prepared the affidavit. Police believe that "this factor contributed to the tiger escaping from its enclosure and attacking its victims," she said.

Sousa's father, Carlos Sousa Sr., said Dhaliwal told him the three stood on a 3-foot-tall metal railing a few feet from the edge of the tiger moat. "When they got down they heard a noise in the bushes, and the tiger was jumping out of the bushes on him (Paul Dhaliwal)," the documents said.

Police found a partial shoe print that matched Paul Dhaliwal's on top of the railing, Matthews said in the documents.

The papers said Paul Dhaliwal told Sousa that no one was dangling his legs over the enclosure. Authorities believe the tiger leaped or climbed out of the enclosure, which had a wall 4 feet shorter than the recommended minimum.

The affidavit also cites multiple reports of a group of young men taunting animals at the zoo, the Chronicle reported.

Mark Geragos, an attorney for the Dhaliwal brothers, did not immediately return a call late Thursday by The Associated Press for comment. He has repeatedly said they did not taunt the tiger.

Calls to Sousa and Michael Cardoza, an attorney for the Sousa family, also weren't returned.

Toxicology results for Dhaliwal showed that his blood alcohol level was 0.16 — twice the legal limit for driving, according to the affidavit. His 24-year-old brother, Kulbir, and Sousa also had alcohol in their blood but within the legal limit, Matthews wrote.

All three also had marijuana in their systems, Matthews said. Kulbir Dhaliwal told police that the three had smoked pot and each had "a couple shots of vodka" before leaving San Jose for the zoo on Christmas Day, the affidavit said.

Police found a small amount of marijuana in Kulbir Dhaliwal's 2002 BMW, which the victims rode to the zoo, as well as a partially filled bottle of vodka, according to court documents.

Investigators also recovered messages and images from the cell phones, but apparently nothing incriminating in connection with the tiger attack, the Chronicle reported.

Zoo spokesman Sam Singer said he had not seen the documents but believed the victims did taunt the animal, even though they claim they hadn't.

"Those brothers painted a completely different picture to the public and the press," Singer said. "Now it's starting to come out that what they said is not true."

Sunday, January 13, 2008


You may have noticed that I haven't written much at all lately. It's not because I have nothing to say. I do. In fact I've been so busy lately, with so much on my mind, that I haven't found the time to really keep anyone updated. So here's what's currently going on:

  • I am now in love and engaged. Back in September, I flew to Indonesia and spent my vacation with Dian. Her and I had an amazing time with each other! While sitting on Kuta Beach one night in Bali, I asked her to marry me. Since then, I've hired a lawyer to take care of our legalities and get Dian over here as soon as possible so we can finally be together. The paperwork is essentially ready to submit now, and I hope to sign the official papers by the end of January. Once the papers are signed it will most likely take another five to six months for us to get the visa approval. As you can imagine, it has been anything less than easy to be stuck 8,500 miles away from the one you love, especially when there's not a damn thing you can do about it. But we're communicating as much as possible in the meantime... getting through one day at a time; reminding each other how much we want this (and each other) and how it will all be much better in time.
  • After Thanksgiving Day weekend, I decided to stop getting drunk. No more hard alcohol for me. And since I've never been a fan of beer, I am essentially limiting myself to a couple of Mike's Hard Lemonades here and there. There were many reasons I came to this decision... Health. Money. Responsibility. I didn't like who I was becoming when I was drinking so much. I was blacking out for hours at a time. I didn't feel like myself anymore. I suppose that's exactly why most people enjoy drinking, but I didn't like that feeling at all. Above all of that, I've promised myself that I will take care of Dian the best I can. And I've come to the seemingly obvious conclusion that the only way to take care of someone is to take care of myself first.
  • I had a nice Christmas. I spent it with my parents as usual. I watched The Wizard Of Oz in its entirety for the very first time. Yes, the first time. We did our usual tradition. Among some of the great gifts people got me this year was a little mp3 player. It has somewhat revolutionized the way I listen to music at work now, and I use it all the time.
  • Speaking of work, it has been going fairly smoothly recently. I've been getting slammed with more and more work, but I'm not complaining. That's why they call it work. I've been working a lot of overtime lately too. All the extra money is going towards the lawyer fees that are currently only halfway paid off. Every extra dollar helps...
  • ... Which is why I've also been getting serious about cleaning up my place, sorting and organizing; weeding out things I no longer need or use. I plan to spend some time on Ebay this week, selling many things to get a few extra bucks while simultaneously freeing up more space in my room. I'll also be donating many things to Goodwill. I'm excited about this project...
  • I've been finding myself more and more involved with benevolent causes as well. I've started up, and am moderating yet another myspace page: It's not much yet, but it will be an ongiong effort. As soon as life begins to calm down a bit for me, I'll dedicate more time to developing it.

In the meantime, I will try to get back to writing more often like I used to. I have much material stewing in my head, and it's only a matter of time before it spills out bit by bit...