Sunday, December 23, 2018

Repost: Boba Fett Ain't No Badass

Original Post Date: July 11, 2013

I grew up thinking that Boba Fett, galactic bounty hunter from the Star Wars Saga, was one of the biggest badasses of them all. He was the strong, silent type. He captured Han Solo. And he was the coolest dresser.

But wait.

Look at that second item again. Did he really capture Han Solo? No. He followed him. He narced on him to the government. Then he took credit for his capture when he collected his money from Jabba the Hutt. However, it was Darth Vader that would ultimately capture Han Solo and hand him over to the bounty hunter. He fired his weapon once and missed. He couldn't even be bothered to chase after the person at whom he was shooting. What if it was another bounty hunter trying to take credit for his…er, Darth Vader's, hard work. So, he was lazy as well as a lousy shot. He couldn't even load his own cargo into his ship, the damn thing floated and it didn't look like those Bespin guards were struggling. Hell, his downfall was even worse.

The next time we catch up with Boba Fett, he's hanging out in what amounts to a good ol' boys club in the backwoods of the galaxy. Hell, Princess Leia was more badass than him when bargaining over Chewbacca. She pulled out a grenade and threatened to kill everyone and die in the process. Oh, but Boba Fett pulled his gun. What are you gonna do, Fett, shoot that little monkey thing? Were you even around when Luke Skywalker entered or were you still sleeping? On a side note: Jabba's palace was a sausage party. There were two females in the whole joint and neither were much to look at.

Things happen

Oh look, Boba Fett reveals that he can fly. He also reveals that he has a bunch of other toys in his arsenal. He ties up the only guy with the light saber with a piece of string that can easily be cut. Luke only acts like he's detained to get Fett to let his guard down. While he's distracted, Han Solo hits his backpack with a long rod and launches him into the Sar'laac Pit. While he's down there, he can listen to stories of everyone else got there. Thrown in by the Jedi Knight, an explosion caused another to fall, another was thrown in by the only black guy in the trilogy. Finally Boba Fett can tell his story, "I was knocked in my defective backpack by a blind guy with a stick who had been in a coma for a few years." When the laughter subsides, he can get on with being digested for a thousand years. Frankly, if it came down to choosing someone to have my back in a fight, I'll take an Ewok or two.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

15 Years? Seriously?

So yesterday (December 1) I decided to transfer this domain name over to Google Domains since the ISC domain is already there, my blogs are all on Blogger (a Google company), and I am an admin on three other domains. It was a minor formality, but something hit me. In March 2019, I would have owned the domain for 15 years. That means that the AlienCG name that I use online is already more than 15 years old. That name came about in June 2003 when a few friends and me decided to start a video game forum called The Game Board.

I was looking for a new online alias because in 2004, you didn't reveal your personal details online. I was always obsessed with aliens and UFOs, so I was looking for an alien-related alias. I had already used Alien Underground and Alien Overground, so I wanted something new. My friend, Mitch (aka Golden Boy/Amorphous Blob on The Game Board), said, "Why not Alien Coffeeground," at which I laughed, and soon decided that it was perfect. Due to a slight over-saturation of video game related forums out there, I decided to shutter the account and sold the domain name (big mistake since over the past couple years, I could have sold it for a lot more than $50).

I enjoyed having a website and I had learned a lot about PHP/SQL development, so I looked for and bought in March of 2004 as a personal website and blog that I called Alien's Planet. I still have the original code and some slightly broken iterations can be found on The Wayback Machine at After many frustrations with shared hosting sites, I moved to the free WordPress service and renamed the blog Swamp Gas & Moonlit Reflections after having a renaming contest, and starting fresh (I did save the XML files from the old site). Eventually I moved to Squarespace where I had also started the SGMR Podcast (a personal podcast) and then to Blogger to save money. I shortened the name to SGMR and now host the podcast at

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Problem So Simple...?

I love math. Anyone who knows me will know that is a fact, plain and simple. There is a problem that intrigues me and it is so simple to state, but seems impossible to prove. It's called The Collatz Conjecture. The premise is simple:
  • Pick any positive integer
  • If it is even, divide by 2
  • If it is odd, multiply by 3 and add 1
  • repeat these steps until the cycle repeats
Put into math notation:
If n is even, n/2
If n is odd, 3n+1

Here's the conjecture: Every number (n) will eventually go to 1 using these rules. So far, every number up to 2^60 has gone to 1. 1 is the only number that repeats itself, going from 1, 3*1+1=4, 4/2=2, 2/2=1, and so on forever. It seems like a simple problem to solve, but it isn't. What seems to make this problem so difficult to prove is that there is no application for it and there is no pattern. It falls under a category of "recreational math". Prime numbers and the hunt for them are also considered recreational, but primes are used in encryption these days (although, a 10^64-digit prime is kind of unwieldy for encrypting your passwords).

Because there is no current application for this problem, there is no cash prize for solving it like there is for the Riemann Hypothesis or the P Versus NP problem. The Collatz Conjecture is a curiosity in math and I love the problem, but I know I'll never see a solution for it in my lifetime. For now, all I know is that any power of 2 goes to 1 and doubling any number that goes to one will simply also go to one. Here's a video about this problem:

Play around with yourself if you are mathematically inclined. and if you're really inclined, try to solve the Millennium Prize Problems. Those should be easy </sarcasm>.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

NaNo Prepping

What? Mygirlfriend wrote a blog post? Holy crap, I better I write one now because I don't want to look like a slacker.

NaNoWriMo is almost upon us once again, and soon I will be starting off strong, writing a few thousand words right out of the gate only to hit a roadblock and figure out where I want to go from there. That's okay though because I have an outline this year and there is no way my story could ever deviate from that…crap, it already did and I haven't started writing yet. Oh well, I'll write another post of absolute gibberish (I'll repost that one day).

In all seriousness, though, I am undertaking the task again. I lost last year due to lack of steam at the end and also the loss of a couple thousand words when I opened Scrivener on another computer before it had properly saved. This year, I'm using OneNote because it is perfectly suited to this task. I am also not going to be a slave to my wordcount (he says…) and I'm just going to get this story out. As I said above, I have an outline (which actually has plenty of flexibility) and I plan on sticking to it. That means that if I get stuck on one part, I can move to another without worrying much about continuity (What do you mean my character was three years older six months ago? Oh, it must have been a time machine accident between chapters. Wait, I'm not writing about a time machine.)

Anyway, if you'd like to participate in NaNoWriMo and write 50,000 words in 30 days and be like the other sadistic fools who take on this venture, visit for information. It's a lot of fun and you can meet new people.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

SGMR Ind. New Product Announcement

SGMR Industries. Inc. has always been committed to selling products for money to people who probably don’t need them in the first place. Since we first introduced our first product, people have been throwing money at us and clamoring for more. Well, we gave them more. We added more adjectives, and more shiny bits and sold it for more money than the previous version. That’s what we do and people love us for it.

Today, we introduce yet another, new, revolutionary, shiny, big, fabulous, and highly improved product. It will do something more impressive than the previous version and we will introduce something else that people didn’t think they needed. However, people will make a reason to need this product and they won’t care how much they have to pay for it, because it’s from us. We are excited to see how much more money we’re going to make off of this product and how many people will buy it before we obsolete it in six months when we tease our next product that will contain one more thing that people don’t need.

We will begin preorders at retail outlets on Friday morning which means that we will control the entire news cycle that day. This is our mission, and when the product is released, we will only distribute at those same retailers so that we can build hype for the next iteration. People like to stand in line for exclusive products that they spend a lot of money on to look more impressive in front of their friends. Our commitment to our customers is to make them feel more important than everybody else.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Trying To Blog Again

I have a lot of things rattling around my head that I need to get out. Primarily because NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us and I need to get writing again. I have an idea for a project this year and it could be really good, but that's not for me to decide. I do have one thing to take care of…the comments.

You, dear reader, do not see all the comments that I get. I have a ton of spam that has nothing to do with the content. They are so general that the bot that posts them posts them everywhere. Here's an example…


This comment was left on an SGMR Industries, Inc. post which are sarcastic, humorous, and not to be taken seriously. There are plenty more like that.

Some of the comments left are spam for Adwords or SEO.

All of the poster names are Anonymous and many are just nonsense that don't fit the context of some of my posts.

I have decided that instead of dealing with these comments, I am disabling comments. If you want to comment, please do so on Facebook or Twitter. I will keep past legitimate comments, but from here on out, comments are closed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Press Release: Career Day Apology

We at SGMR Industries, Inc. take our commitment to the community, and court-ordered community service, very seriously. We would like to issue an apology to the parents of students at the local elementary school if they were offended by remarks made by our President and CEO, Chadwick Fitzgerald Vanderhaven III. It is not unreasonable to perceive his comments as unsuitable for anyone under the age of 25, but it should be pointed out that nothing he said was a lie. Also, most kids in the second grade don't know what the phrase, "hookers and blow" even means.

It is obvious, when put in the correct context, that his comments made toward Ms. Johnson were meant to be complimentary. However, in his intoxicated state it is not difficult how such comments can be misconstrued. We're sorry that Ms. Johnson was unable to recognize the complimentary nature of the President & CEO's comments.

The President & CEO would like to express his thanks to the students and staff of "<school name>=?" and would like it known that he appreciates being able to use such a simple task toward his 800 hours of community service (related to last year's "neighborhood yard sale" incident). We are still amazed that the court has allowed the President & CEO to be allowed to enter an elementary school.

Monday, August 20, 2018

8. The Quest For Cool

I have to admit, painful as it is, that I have done things that I am not proud of (involving music purchases. Get your minds out of the gutter). The biggest and most egregious that I can think of is giving into peer pressure and attempting to be “cool”. I have learned since that it is not worth it, and that no matter what I do or how hard I try, I will never be “cool”. But, I was in the seventh grade and at a point when I was trying so hard to fit in. Two of the biggest albums in 1986 were Whitesnake’s self-titled seventh album (I hate when bands release a self-titled album after they have a back catalog). The other was Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet. It appeared to me at that time, in order to be cool, one must actually own these albums. So, I asked for them for Christmas (yes, in hindsight, I wasted two perfectly good gift slots on these two albums).

I had already gotten albums from Columbia House records, which was that mail-order company that sold eight, twelve, or seventy albums for a penny. These two albums were not on the “for a penny” list (most of the records on that list were falling in popularity and they had to clear them out to make room for Bon Jovi and Whitesnake). When the Columbia House catalog came in, the prices for these albums were just north of outrageous (usually $12.95 plus shipping and handling) and I was not using my allowance to pay for one album. I could go to Disc Connection and get lots of good albums for cheap. Unfortunately for me, the two albums that I was seeking to make me cool were too new to be in the used section.

Finally, Christmas vacation came, and then Christmas Day, and I got my albums. I was finally, for that short time, “cool”. I listened to them and, frankly, I only remember the hits. There was nothing else on either of these albums that stuck out to me. They were pretty bland. “Here I Go Again” was an okay song at the time, but the half-assed guitar solo ruined the whole song (there’s this choppy progression in the middle of the solo that just takes me out of it…I could go on for hours about that ham-fisted, amateurish thing that was supposed to be a guitar solo, but I won’t…makes Paul Stanley look like a virtuoso…sorry, I’ll stop).

Christmas vacation ended and I was back to school and ready to unleash my new “cool”. “I got Whitesnake and Slippery When Wet,” I said.

“Oh, sorry, Bon Jovi is no longer cool,” I was told. Luckily, I was unable to remember what anybody thought the new cool band was. I decided from that point on, I was the only person allowed to dictate my musical tastes. If I liked a song, I liked it, and if I didn’t, well, it didn’t make it into to my record crate.

The moral of the story is: Bon Jovi sucks and so does Whitesnake. Neither of those albums ever made it to a mixtape or into my CD collection and I also have not listened to them on Google Play because they are not worth my time. Life’s too short for shitty guitar solos.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Announcing SGMR Wellness, LLC

We here at SGMR Industries, Inc. have noticed a great need for health and wellness experts in our great land. People seem to be spending more money in grocery stores and not nearly enough with us. So we are announcing our newest venture, SGMR Wellness, LLC, headed up by Allen C. Grant, HWG. Allen is a certified guru by our own strict set of proprietary criteria that determines what a guru is. Anyway, here is just a sampling of the wisdom of our resident guru.

From his June 2015 seminar, The Water Industry is Killing Us.

“Did you know that you’ve been lied to all these years? You have. The Water Industrial Complex has been cheating you out of health and wellness for thousands of years. You may think that you drink enough water, but you’re not. You’re only getting half of the necessary elements that you need with every glass, but it gets worse. Ladies and gentlemen, the water companies have been using fillers in their water. They have been cheating you all this time and you never even knew it. Look at this chart (he displays a chart of a downward pointing arrow on a graph), it showing us that world’s population has been decreasing for a billion years. Do you know why? Because BIG WATER has been contaminating their product with double the hydrogen for each oxygen atom that they give you. Do you know why? Because hydrogen is cheap, but do you know what else? It’s explosive. That’s right people, the BIG WATER is trying to blow us all up! Wake up and look at this chart again, we are dying off. There are only a few people left on earth according to my statistics that I calculated. When THEY tell you that the world’s population is increasing in numbers, don’t believe them. There are only a few hundred people left on earth as we speak, but there’s something that we can do about it. 
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am introducing you to the newest revolution in water intake and rehydration. I have created a revolutionary new water bottle that is infused with pure, organic, GMO-free oxygen that will help to repair the water that has been foisted upon us for millennia. It will add that extra oxygen that is missing from traditional water and make us all happier and healthier. Right now, because of our newest corporate partnership, we are offering this new bottle not for $10, not $5, but for $49.95. If you keep drinking that ordinary water, you will die like 100% of the people who consume it. If you buy this bottle, you will know that you’ve done something good for yourself when you take that first drink. You will feel more energized and your vitality will improve greatly. What’s even better is that you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are superior to everyone that doesn’t rush to their computer to buy two or three of these bottles because the more you buy, the better and more superior you will feel. Don’t cheat yourself out of the oxygen that you so desperately need. Live a superior life.”

Ladies and gentlemen, we here at SGMR Industries, Inc. are proud to have Allen Grant on our team to help make people’s lives and our bottom line much, much healthier. Because of the great occasion of having him here, we are offering a special on the ACG Oxygen Bottle, when you buy one bottle at regular price, you get a second one absolutely at the cost of a second one. That’s two bottles for the price of one plus another. Welcome aboard, Allen.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Romance That I Never Wrote

I wrote this post five years ago today. I'm still proud of it.

I've always wanted to write a romance novel and I've always had a scene in my mind that I am finally giving myself the opportunity to share. It is only a scene, and it may surprise you. Apologies to other romance writers.
She looked down from the bedroom window into the yard and saw him sitting there in the early afternoon sun. The light reflected off his balding head while the warm breeze blew through the hair on his shoulders. He cradled his hoagie sandwich in his meaty fingers with great passion and she dreamed of being held like that. She also dreamed of feeling that strong mouth on her and she tingled when he took a bite of the sandwich.
His eyes traced upward to the window. She tried to hide, but she was locked in his gaze. The lettuce hung from the side of his mouth as a piece of turkey fell onto his large, bulbous belly that overflowed under his mustard-stained shirt. He smiled at her. His missing front teeth accented the yellow in his remaining teeth. She sighed deeply as he stared at her.
She let the top of her paisley bathrobe fall open as she moved back from the window. He hopped off the tailgate of the 1984 Ford pickup, fell down in a pile of manure, stepped on a rake which hit him in the side of the head. He made his way for the door, never letting go of that hoagie.  She knew that she would soon be smothered by him. 

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt of my never-finished romance, Smothered in Bacon and Lust, not available anywhere but here. Thanks for reading and let me know if you would like to read more things like this, or if you are filing a restraining order against me.

Monday, August 13, 2018

7. There's Someone Else Controlling Me

I decided to fast forward a bit since the details of the early years are not nearly enough to fill any significant portion of a blog. I may refer back where necessary and provide a vignette, but let's pick up in 1986 when I was 12.

I remember the PSAs during Saturday morning cartoons that talked about marijuana being a "gateway" drug. I know nothing about that as I never did drugs and didn't start enjoying the occasional beer until way later in life (seriously, not even joking). I can, however, speak to the truth of a different kind of "gateway" to a wider world.  The gateway to metal.

I was in seventh grade during 1986-87 and my brother was a sophomore in high school. He was friends with the group I will call the jeans vest guys. This is not to be confused with the "denim vest guys" who listen to country music. The jeans vest guys were the long-haired guys who cut the sleeves off their jeans jackets and adorned them with patches and artwork of their favorite heavy metal bands. My brother, as mentioned earlier, was already into bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, and of course, Ozzy Osbourne. The next step in the metal chain would be the band that was the gateway drug to even more metal.

Metallica. The album was Ride The Lightning. My brother borrowed the album (on vinyl) off of one of his friends, came home, put it on the turntable and…I was a bit underwhelmed for the first forty seconds. Here was this melodic acoustic guitar solo to start things off. Wow, really? This is…wait…holy shit! I had never heard anything so fast and heavy in my life. The growling vocals singing about impending doom due to warfare. It didn't take long for Eric to buy the album for himself and for me to borrow it and record the first two songs for a mix tape. Of course, this new found sound would not make me any more popular at school.

This brand of heavy metal was commonly referred to ask "kill your mother" music. Motley Crue, Poison, Cinderella, and other hair metal bands were fine. It was the serious underground metal that scared people. So I was listening to Metallica on my Walkman when somebody in my class asked me what I was listening to. Stupidly, I answered, and then it came, "Hey, Jasen's listening to 'kill your mother' music!" I don't remember my reaction to it all, but I probably retreated into my own mind and tried not to pay attention any semblance of popularity I thought I had fade away into oblivion. From then until I graduated the following year, I kept this part of my musical taste under wraps, but I continued to experiment with harder forms of metal, like Anthrax, Megadeth, and eventually the kings, Slayer.

If I could go back in time and talk to myself (provided it doesn't result in the collapse of the universe), I would probably tell myself, "Pay no attention to those other kids because in two years Metallica would release …And Justice For All and they will all jump on this bandwagon. You will be able say that you liked them before they were 'cool'." Of course I can't go back in time (yet) which means I also can't prevent me from wasting a Christmas gift, but that will have to wait.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Announcing Our New President & CEO

After an exhaustive six night, seven day search at our corporate meeting facility in definitely-not-Havana, Cuba, we are now fully prepared to announce the new President & CEO of SGMR Industries, Inc. We have all heard by now of the sudden "passing" of our former President & CEO (who, for legal reasons, we are not permitted to state his name) who "died" tragically in a water polo accident when his horse threw him and ran away. Also, there might have been copious amounts of alcohol involved. We will miss the former President & CEO very much.

Our new President & CEO comes to us from <Note: Attach an impressive company name here before posting this> where he spent many years tuning a fine corporate machine. His vision is exactly the same as our former President & CEO, so he will be a perfect fit in the SGMR Industries, Inc. "family".

Many business analysts have pointed out that the new President & CEO looks, talks, walks, and drinks exactly like the former President & CEO and have expressed concern that the former faked his own death and assumed a new identity in order to avoid numerous charges being levied against him by local, state, federal, and international courts. They are completely wrong, the former President & CEO "died", but unfortunately, his body was never found. Yes, Chadwick Fitzgerald Vanderhaven III bears a striking resemblance to his predecessor, but these corporate bigwigs all look the same to us. It's not the same guy, really. We swear…just not in front of congress.

Ladies and gentlemen, we will never again speak of our former President & CEO ever again. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

6. Sundays In The Kitchen

Growing up, Sundays were truly the most fun day of the week. My mom made dinner every week and my aunt, uncle, and grandpa would come over. Mom was always a good cook and her house is still the gathering place for all major dinners except for Thanksgiving. I took over that holiday when I moved into my own house.

After dinner would be coffee and dessert and listening to the oldies show on radio. My parents and aunt and uncle would go out to a local bar on Tuesdays to see the DJ who hosted this show, Bruce Ryan. If it was somebody's birthday, my dad would call in a dedication for the Beatles' "Birthday". When I was young, there was a great thrill to hearing my name said on the radio. (Today, as a podcaster, I hate hearing my own voice.)

One of the favorite songs that came up just about every week was "Little Darling" by The Diamonds. We would sing along to this song, especially the high-pitched vocals and the spoken word part. Beside that song, my all-time favorite has always been "Stand By Me", whether it's the original by Ben E. King, John Lennon, or the fantastic version from Playing For Change, where musicians from all over the world recorded various songs and they were mixed together.

Oldies still hold a prominent spot in my music listening, especially some of the stuff that wasn't always played on the radio. These days, the local oldies station only plays from the mid-60's and later, which means that I have to depend on Google Play and my own CD collection to give me the good time oldies I enjoy so much. I recommend the box set, Loud, Fast, and Out of Control, the Wild Sounds of 50's Rock. It contains many of my favorites, but no ballads. And I still sing the high notes of "Little Darling" when ever comes through the rotation.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Holistic Approach To Moving Forward

I can't remember when, exactly, I posted this...

Today, we announce new analytics in order to empower our granular, client-centric approach to fulfillment. The new economy has given rise to new enterprise algorithms that will allow for the datafication of the cloud and increase clickthrough. As we look at the long tail, we take advantage of the low hanging fruit so that we can make management visibility a part of our next generation, content marketing solution.

The more eyeballs we can get on our disruptive innovation, the quicker we can develop an exit strategy that will keep us moving forward. This is a robust sustainability that will allow us to push the envelope through the sea change and help us to achieve our milestone goals. We do have a survival strategy on the runway that can easily become a part of our DNA. This is definitely a win-win if we can reach out to the right people.

In this new information society, we need to reach out to the stakeholders and think outside the box in order to improve our Web 2.0 netiquette. The framework is in place and we have already started our modularity. With any luck, we will be able to overcome the digital divide and start a cross-platform convergence toward hyperlocal building capabilities irregardless of value-added aggregation.

Monday, July 30, 2018

5. The Formidable Years

This chapter is a collection of small vignettes since I really can't elaborate on any of this due to lapse in memory (give me a break, it was nearly 40 years ago) or the story doesn't go that deep.

As I mentioned in an earlier post (Kissin' Time, there might be a link here), the parents in my neighborhood growing  up never bought into that whole "Kiss is evil" bullshit. None of our families were particularly religious but my parents went to church every week and sent my brother and me to Catholic schools. Just because we weren't religious, though, didn't mean our parents didn't want to cart us off for two weeks of peaceful evenings.

Our neighbors belonged to a Lutheran church and, for about two weeks, they had a vacation bible school. I think they got a tuition credit for their daughter's schooling based on how many kids she could rope into going. It was only for a few hours in the evening, but those few hours each evening had to be paradise for our parents.

Each evening, we would pile into the neighbor's red Chevy station wagon and head off to bible school (I swear I could hear cheers and champagne corks popping as we drove away that first night).  I'll be honest, I don't remember much from those days. I remember Jesus-based songs and the fact that bible verses were talked about, but other than that, I probably has Kiss songs in my head and just wanted to be at home playing. I think we did this for  and then it was over, especially since I would starting school.

The year was 1979 and Dynasty by Kiss came out. Now, I'm going to make a confession here and I don't want you to hurt yourself, so please sit and hold onto something. I liked Dynasty. As a matter of fact, I still do. Apparently, some fans disliked the album because Kiss went "disco" or they "sold out". News flash, Kiss sold out with their debut album in 1974. The entire object of their existence was to merchandise themselves and make as much money as possible. </rant>

I entered kindergarten and after the usual, cliché crying and crap that kids do when left in school for the first time, I eventually settled in to the routine of what would become the next thirteen years. Mary Beth (the neighbor from down the street) was in my class, and so was who would become my first ever best friend, Travis.

Travis lived further down the street from me, but within walking distance or bicycle distance. We were inseparable once we became friends. It seems that I would actually introduce him to Kiss and then other music down the line. We would be friends (for the most part) until grade school ended, and then we would lose touch. That is until 2009 when we would reconnect on Facebook. He's married with three kids and lives down in Columbus now. He will be heard from again in this saga.

Friday, July 27, 2018

We Need Not Worry About CERN

Originally posted August 26, 2015

Dave Brodbeck (MMVH, Best Episode Ever, Spit and Twitches, personal friend and all around good guy) brought this article to my attention and I decided that I would use it as a practice exercise in taking down faulty claims about science. The author of the piece is either clearly confused and seems to be mixing up the plot of an Asylum production made for the SyFy Channel with reality, or he’s writing a satirical piece about how old folks don’t get this new-fangled technology stuff. My article is written from the perspective of the former. I have added the text from the article with commentary below it. click above to read the entire volume of claptrap for yourself. I am doing a paragraph by paragraph commentary for your enjoyment.

What “CERN” could do to our universe as early as Sept. 24 is terrifying. The goals of CERN are insane.
Scare quotes, nice touch. There is nothing significant about September 24 that could be seen as terrifying, unless a gaggle of clowns collects on your front lawn…that would be terrifying. As far as the goals of CERN go, they are simply there to learn as much as they can about the universe around us. The only thing that is insane is the amount of wrongness that is packed into this article by Mr. Robinson.

This is not science-fiction and world-leading physicists such as Stephen Hawking believe CERN could easily and suddenly, without warning, destroy our universe or at least create on earth the apocalyptic events of Revelation, Chapter 6, in the Bible. Please watch the You Tube video titled, CERN ALERT: God Particle Could Destroy Universe Warns S. Hawking.”
Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t take what somebody says about what somebody says at face value. These things must be verified, and I did just that. Hawking never said that CERN could do any of what Mr. Robinson said. He said that of the Higgs Potential, which has little to do with the boson of the same name. Our universe is being held together, theoretically, by a field that could collapse at a moment’s notice. It’s really not a big deal.

Mr. Robinson, instead of citing a research paper or an article that cites a research paper on the subject, goes to that most notable of scientific sources…YouTube. I watched the video in question and it’s three and a half minutes of my life that I will never get back. Obviously, Mr. Robinson used this as his only source for this part of the article. The S. Hawking referred to in the title of the video might as well stand for Stewart Hawking, Mr. Robinson’s mailman.

Approximately 15 recent Hollywood movies about the sudden destruction of the Earth have shown a digital clock, calendar or newspaper showing Sept. 24, 2015, as the day when the world ends. The “Simpsons” on television showed the sudden destruction of the world with Sept. 24, 2015, shown on a digital clock. The television comedy “Third Rock from the Sun” showed the alien who was the college professor lecturing to his college class, asking, "So what if the earth will be suddenly vaporized without warning on Sept. 24, 2015? The television commercial for the upcoming "Heroes" show this fall, ends the commercial by saying something big is coming and then immediately shows the date Sept. 24, 2015. Recent music videos and music productions on stage also portray the sudden destruction of the Earth.
First, because Hollywood decides to pull a date out of their collective asses for something that appears to be a conspiracy says nothing. September holds a place in our minds, especially in the US, due to the events that took place in 2001. Secondly, after checking out both the Simpsons and 3rd Rock episodes, the Simpsons never show the year 2015, and the closest thing to a date we get is 092200 on an electrical meter. John Lithgow’s character in 3rd Rock actually says, “So what if the earth will be suddenly vaporized by an asteroid strike in 2015?” Hmm, no date given, and in 1996 when the episode aired, it seemed like a good long way away.

On May 13, 2014, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated more than once during a news conference that we had only 500 days until climate chaos, to which our own Secretary of State John Kerry, who stood beside him, kept shaking his head “yes.” This 500-day period of peace before climate chaos ends Sept. 24, 2015.
Like Hollywood, I don’t put much stock into what politicians say in order to further their agendas. Stating the number of days of something is meant to signify that if we don’t act on something, in this case climate change, then bad things will happen soon. I really don’t think that Mr. Fabius or Mr. Kerry are soothsayers or prophets.

Rabi and researcher Jonathan Cahn says that the “Shemitah,” will occur during September, and that one meaning for Shemitah is collapse. The fourth of four blood moons will occur during September and historically, major Earth events occur during the fourth blood moon. Protestant minister John Hagee states that the apocalypse is coming upon us, and apocalypse means tearing down the veil.
I am assuming that Mr. Robinson means “rabbi” at the beginning of this paragraph. Here we go again, like Hollywood and politicians, I also do not put much stock in religious types when they warn of apocalypse. John Hagee not only preaches about the end times coming at the fourth of these “blood moons”, which is only a lunar eclipse, but he’s the one who made up this “prophecy” in the first place. The fact that we can predict when eclipses are going to happen means that they are not mystical symbols or harbingers of doom.

Two of the major goals for CERN is to collapse and break apart the God Particle that creates and maintains our physical world and to tear a hole through the veil that is the barrier protecting our physical universe from the unknown, non-physical universes and other non-physical dimensions believed to be located outside our physical universe.
Let start off by saying, “[citation needed].” OK, with that out of the way, the goal of CERN is to understand the universe as close to the big bang as possible. They are a particle physics laboratory and a nuclear research facility in the purest sense of the word. They are studying the nuclei of atoms. The use of the phrase “tear a hole through the veil” is meant by many writers to mean that they are seeking understanding of the universe around us. How can we discover new things without venturing into the unknown?

It was the European Organization for Nuclear Research that built CERN, known as the “Large Hadron Collider,” where scientists identified the “God Partical,” called the “Higgs Boson,” during 2012. This is the world’s largest machine, a few stories high, located 300 feet underground, and 17 miles in length. When operating at full speed, within one second, molecular particles will travel 11,000 times around the circular tubes of this 17-mile collider. Earlier, using less than one-third of the energy to run CERN than what will be used Sept. 24, the scientists almost lost control of CERN, as it destroyed the physical matter of the molecular particles inside its collider tubes.
OK, much in the way of semantics to get out of the way. The European Organization for Nuclear Research did not build CERN, THEY ARE CERN! CERN is a French initialism for the organization (Conseil européen pour la recherche nucléaire). That being said, it was CERN and several other scientific organizations that built the Large Hadron Collider. The LHC is a particle accelerator that is used to simulate conditions of the extremely early universe and it is very much under the control of the scientists. The LHC does NOT pose any risk to the well-being of the earth or organisms living on it. Oh, and “God Partical”?

Within CERN, large bunches of molecular particles are accelerated to 99.9 percent of the speed of light, eventually colliding head on, which releases unbelievable energy, heat and many dangerous things such as worm holes, dark (anti) matter and black holes. In particular, it is the creation of the dark (anti) matter and the black holes by CERN that could destroy our universe in less time than it takes to blink an eye.
Mr. Robinson appears to have the scientific understanding of a GOP presidential candidate or a head of cabbage. Apologies to heads of cabbage everywhere. “Large bunches of molecular particles,” may sound scientific to Rick Perry, but to people with some degree of understanding of science, like a 7-year-old, it is nonsense. Please, for the love of all things good, please give your readers a modicum of credit. They are actually beams of particles that are accelerated in opposite directions and then, when the speed is right, are moved into the same path. While the idea of 99.9% of the speed of light might sound “unbelievable” to you, to scientists at CERN, it’s still pretty slow. I’m sure they would love to get even closer to 100%. Worm holes? Is this an episode of Stargate? Black hole? No. The LHC will not allow for the formation of an earth-swallowing black hole, let alone one that will consume the entire universe. Finally for this paragraph, no, dark matter and anti-matter are not the same thing. Please, oh please, call a community college physics professor and ask him to explain the difference.

CERN has had more than 10,000 scientists from 100 countries involved with it, including many who have never been at the CERN site, and they are the scientists working at leading physics and research universities around the world. The CERN scientists created the internet so they could send in real time, the data generated by CERN, to the university physics labs and the smaller particle colliders located around the world. You can thank CERN for the internet and the recent creation of the super-fast quantum computer.
When something as large and complex as the LHC is conceived, finding a mom and pop collider shoppe to build it in the phone book might sound feasible, but it’s really not. I just got my latest copy of the Yellow Pages yesterday and I looked, but to no avail. It took thousands of scientists to design, refine, redesign, and debug the blueprints and schematics for this project. This is not your baking soda volcano from fifth grade that earned you a participation ribbon. Also, the internet was already past its first named incarnation, ARPANET, when Tim Berners-Lee at CERN proposed the World Wide Web, which is how you are reading this article and how I am gagging from the utter inanity of your article. The web is how we manage data over the internet, and yes, because CERN has a shit-ton of data to deal with, sending a container ship loaded with floppy disks is just not an option. Also, quantum computers are only in the conception stage at this time. It could be many decades before anything like that exists in reality, but when it does, I’m sure you will have another unintelligible piece of journalistic toilet paper for me to rip apart.

General Rolf Heuer, general director of CERN, says CERN will “open the door” from our physical universe to non-physical universes, which will allow human scientists to interact face-to-face with non-physical beings. Sergio Bertolucci, director for research and scientific computing at CERN, said there are parallel universes and parallel dimensions of non-physical intelligent beings located everywhere around us, and CERN will allow these non-Earth entities to come into our physical world and be with us.
I am now stupider for reading this paragraph.

In this way, CERN is being used as a stargate so that human scientists will be able to go to and from currently unknown, perhaps very hostile, non-physical worlds and dimensions located and currently unseen, outside our physical universe.
Let me guess, you did a research paper on how to properly pronounce the word, Goa’uld.

One of the goals for CERN is to identify and break apart the glue that holds together the molecular particles that make up our physical world. CERN destroys matter, and everything in our universe is matter. Destroying physical matter eliminates the restrictions and barriers produced by physical matter that keeps us from entering the non-physical universes around us.
The goal of CERN is to discover that which composes matter in order to better understand the origins of our universe. In order to do that, it is imperative that they collide atoms at such speeds that it is able overcome the strong and weak nuclear forces. Destroying physical matter is not possible, but converting it to energy is. Can you please explain these “barriers” that you’re yammering on about?

Starting Sept. 24, CERN scientists will be generating 100,000 times more magnetism than that which normally travels in and around our earth. This level of magnetism is needed to “speed up” and “break apart the God particle.” There will be more than a trillion degrees Celsius of heat generated from the destruction and collapse of the God particle, from the iron and gold molecular particles that they will start destroying September 24, 2015. This heat will be the equivalent of our sun exploding and dissolving. Starting Sept. 24, CERN will be entering into new territory by creating its highest destructive energy level yet, for the purpose of breaking through the glue that holds our physical universe together.
Scary sounding language, indeed. One hundred thousand times the magnetism of the earth? Is that all? I figured it would have to be more to approach the speed of light. I am currently looking at an MRI scan on my computer that was made by using a magnet 188,000 times stronger than the earth's magnetic field. Truth is, as a magnet, the earth is pathetic and weak at about 50 microtesla, that’s 0.00005T, whereas the MRI we’re using is a 9.4T magnet. The temperatures sound scary as well, except that when we look at the mass of the atoms colliding in relatively slow fashion, the heat generated will dissipate very quickly. By the way, they already broke all records for heat generated with temperatures 100,000 times hotter than the heart of the sun (27 million-million degrees, or 27 trillion)…yay, you got something right.

Breaking apart the God particle, which is the glue that holds together the matter in our universe, could destroy time and space which also keeps our universe intact. CERN scientists want to go back to a time when there was no physical matter and before the creation of our universe. In this respect, CERN is being used like a time travel machine to take scientists back before the creation of our physical universe; before there was physical matter.
Again, NO! NO! Bad reporter! Bad! The Higgs Boson is a particle that can help explain the mass of matter. That’s all. There is, as stated in one of your earlier errors, the Higgs Potential which could cause the collapse of the universe, but that would not be through any fault of ours, unless it’s my next-door neighbor’s kids who keep getting into things. I keep telling them, “If you keep throwing that basketball into my yard, it’s going to cause the collapse of our universe.” Do they listen? No, of course not.

Let me explain that long, rambling second sentence: Scientists at CERN are looking to simulate the early universe through experiments at the LHC. They are not trying to create a time machine, but I’m sure many of them would love to, as would I. I’m sure Mr. Robinson would love one, too, so he can go back in time and correct this disaster of an article.

There will be more shocking things that I will write about next week concerning CERN. Please go to You Tube and type into the You Tube search engine: “CERN,” “Tom Horn CERN,” or “Anthony Patch.” I recommend watching You Tube videos such as: “The CERN Hadron Collider was built to annihilate humanity/invade earth,” or “CERN LHC turned on in April 2015, Black Hole Doomsday Machine?” or “The CERN Deception — The Evil of Dark Matter.” CERN also has an official website on the internet.
Or, if you’re really worried, go to the CERN website and read about what they’re really doing. It’s quite fascinating. If you need help understanding the basics of particle physics, visit a local community college or university campus and talk to a physics professor. They’re chock full of information and, believe it or not, they really talking about it, too. As for you, Mr. Robinson, I am looking forward to your next “SHOCKING” expose on shit you obviously don’t understand.

I know, I picked the low hanging fruit here, but somebody had to. The shameful lack of fact-checking on this article is appalling to me. You might find typos in my article, but keep in mind that I am a one man operation most of the time. I will correct my errors and update my information if I need to. I am sure that Mr. Robinson’s article will stand tall and proud long after September 24th has come and gone with nary a hiccup from the universe.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Wrong About Everything

Tomorrow's post will be a report of an article takedown from three years ago regarding CERN and how it will destroy the earth on or around September 23, 2015. It's almost three years later and the article is still up ( and we are still here. Shocking, I know.

The article itself is a prime example of scientific illiteracy and conspiracy thinking. The author never bothers to look up actual information about CERN and uses only YouTube videos by conspiracy theorists to fill in details. Needless to say, it is all wrong. Just by reading this article, I can tell that the author was probably one of those people who forwarded emails that began, "This has already been checked out through Snopes and it's true, so you don't have to check." He probably shares memes all over Facebook, too.

I have preached the importance of fact-checking and spreading misinformation before. While this article is almost three years old, there are still people who believe that Large Hadron Collider is going to destroy the world. The original article makes all of these assumptions about CERN and the LHC (used interchangeably by the author) that could easily be checked by going to Wikipedia. This is why intelligent people won't take conspiracy theorists seriously.

Thanks to celebrities hopping on the anti-science bandwagon, more people have decided to follow them instead of taking the path of science literacy. I suppose it's easier believe in misinformation and falsehoods than it is to actually study and read even the most basic science articles. Yes, science uses "jargon" that the laity don't understand, but that because in science fields, that language is necessary and descriptive. There are articles that cut through the jargon and give simple explanations of scientific concepts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

We've Changed Our Privacy Policy

If we actually had a privacy policy, we would be changing it, because that seems to be the latest trend in business these days and that's what we do…follow trends. Currently, our policy is simple, if we have your data, we hope to keep it private, but we usually end up selling it to whoever gives us money. This goes for our employees' data as well, but that's usually stolen every few weeks when somebody breaks into our servers. Ah well, those are the breaks of running a business I guess. The really important stuff, like the President & CEO's salary info, arrest record, and various enemies lists are kept on a secret, iron-clad server that nobody has been able to crack, not even the feds. Rest assured, that his information is safe, and if you know him and have paid him a hefty amount of money, you can be reasonably sure that your info is safe on that server. Otherwise, you may want to change your Social Security number.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Chapter 4. Mom Rock

In the late 1970’s, my uncle owned and ran a small gift shop called His & Hers Curiosity Shop. Because he had a regular day job, he couldn’t run the shop during the day, so my mom did. And because I was just a tot and not yet in school, I had to go with her, which I didn’t mind. The shop only took up about two-thirds of the available space. The rest was set up like a living space.

The back area was like a living room, with a TV, refrigerator with a variety of flavors of Pic-a-Pop, and an area rug so that I wasn’t sliding all over on the cold linoleum or tile floor (I can’t remember which). I used to play back there during the day while mom worked, or went next door to visit the lady at the donut shop (this was the late 70’s in a southwest suburb of Cleveland, there was no chance I was getting kidnapped). Much of the wall decor in the back revolved around Linda Ronstadt. My uncle LOVED Linda Ronstadt...and her music.

My mom had plenty of her music on the many mix tapes she made for the car and the shop. She carried with her every day a plastic cassette box filled with tapes, both mixes and pre-recorded. She drove a 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass with an aftermarket tape deck. We would drive to the shop listening to The Eagles, the aforementioned Linda Ronstadt, Steely Dan, Boston, Foreigner, Journey, Bad Company, and many, many more (does this remind you of a K-Tel Records commercial? Kids, ask your parents)

This period of time was my biggest exposure to music. I was already listening to Kiss, which my mom also had on one or more songs on her mix tapes, but I was also introduced to plenty of other music over which I had no control. The Bee Gees were a constant, and mom had them on every tape that she made and also had a few of their cassettes in that box. Every day I went to the store with her, she exposed my young mind to The Bee Gees. Today, I own nothing by them on LP, CD, or mp3…but I also do not change the channel if they appear on the radio…it is my curse.

I was playing in the back when my mom ran next door to the donut shop. I’m guessing the store wasn’t open for business yet, and I was left there, again suburb, 70’s, safe. The shopping center was either old or new, I don’t remember, but it made funny noises and I could hear people on either side of the store through the walls. This scared me, especially since this was my first time being left alone. The TV wasn’t enough to soothe my frazzled, young nerves. I waited in the back, and suddenly, everything hanging on the walls and all of the tchotchkes in the gift shop suddenly appeared threatening to me. When mom finally returned and resumed the tape in the player, I breathed a sigh of relief. I never told her how I felt about being left there alone because I loved being at that store and didn’t want to spend the day at my grandparents’ house. They didn’t listen to music all day long.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

SGMR Industries, Inc. Origin Story

I have loved corporate humor for a long time. This is the origin story of SGMR Industries, Inc. that I wrote on June 30, 2014. 
SGMR Industries came out of an idea from last Christmas when I needed a company name for a post. This link leads to that post which lampoons the company year-end letter, or the speech that was given at the company Christmas party. I used to hate these things, because for so long, no matter how great the news was, it was always just shy of that point where the employees would get decent bonuses. So, I took it many steps further and created an entire persona for the CEO and the company itself.
It should be obvious that SGMR Industries is named after the blog itself, but in the context of the company propaganda it doesn’t stand for anything. Also, the nature of the company is not stated, but it contains every possible position that can be conceived of (this makes it easy to use as an sample company). It could appear to be a machine shop in one post and a silicon valley startup in another. The only thing that can be assumed correctly is that it is the worst-run company ever, thanks to the president and CEO, Alien Coffeeground.
Yes, I have named the president and CEO after my online identity. That’s the only thing I have in common with this incarnation of the persona. The CEO represented is not indicative of any particular CEO I ever experienced, but is an admittedly over-the-top figure who abuses his power and position for his own gain. This is basically a look at the inner-workings of a corporation through the imagination of a former employee of several corporations (that would be me…the real me). The company, as a whole, is not meant to represent any one company I have ever worked for, but really exaggerated examples of what I’ve experienced at all of them.
So, I am officially making SGMR Industries, Inc. a regular feature here as it will pop up occasionally as I need to hire people (like replacing people that might be lost, through no fault of my own, at the company’s “team building” exercise). There might also be a need to address some silly public relations debacle from time to time.
OK, back to present day.

Since that time, there was a Twitter account (closed) which I used to openly mock tech companies' new product announcements (*COUGH* apple *COUGH*). These days, I have been writing new material and it will be posted here periodically and much of it mirrors realities happening in the business world today. I am also working on a project that I attempted to start a while back.  

Monday, July 16, 2018

Chapter 3. The Gods Have Smiled On Me

Originally written May 3, 2016

The site that once was
Peaches Records & Tapes
One of the first places I ever went to buy records (I’m old, we didn’t have CDs) with my family was a record store called Peaches Records and Tapes. The location closest to my house was in a shopping center with two separate buildings. There was a shopping strip with a couple restaurants (one of those will feature prominently in this memoir later on), a drug store, and a place that I would later learn was a convenience store (It was called Treasure Island, or Isle, I can’t remember now). The other building on the lot had a dance club, some other businesses that I can’t remember, and Peaches.

Peaches was the main business and took up the most room. The building used to be a department store. It had a large rectangular tower with the bright and colorful Peaches Records sign on both of the wide sides. It stood towering over the area like a beacon on the hill or the Tower of Sauron. Below the main sign was a light up signboard that advertised upcoming albums, concerts, and events. Running along the lower facade were outdoor posters of the month’s top albums. The only one I remember clearly was Abacab by Genesis.

It was the biggest record store in the area and upon walking in, the racks and racks of records stretched as far as the eye could see. It wouldn’t be until many years later that I would find out that Peaches was a nationwide chain, but I recall the workers there knowing the customers, if not by name, by musical taste. They were willing to order any hard-to-find item and take the time to look for whatever the customer was looking for. I really wouldn’t appreciate this until many years later when only the electronics stores were selling large volumes of music.

Most of my music was purchased there early on. This was before CDs and digital downloads, when the most durable medium for music was the vinyl album. This was before I discovered the mail-order services that sold eight, eleven, or twenty albums for a penny. This was my musical Mecca, but there was one item that could not be purchased anywhere except for Peaches. Maybe there were cheap, off-brand replicas sold elsewhere, but none of them compared. I am, of course, talking about…the record crate.

A simple wooden crate, about twelve inches across and deep, and two feet long, the Peaches crate was more than just a storage box for albums, it was a rite of passage. My mom would eventually end up with six crates full before she finally allowed my brother and I to pillage and plunder her collection. I had a tiny record collection made up primarily of Kiss albums, but it was growing by the week. I was being exposed to more and more music and I wanted a place that would be strictly for all of the new albums I would be getting (especially when I discovered the aforementioned mail-order services). This crate was my birthright and I wanted to earn mine.

I know, hyperbole much? But at this time, I felt that record crate meant that I truly appreciated music and that simple wooden structure was the symbol of that commitment. When that day finally arrived and my dad assembled it for me and put it in my room, I placed all of my albums into it, except for the children’s albums. Those stayed on the bookshelf since I did not see them as worthy to sit in the same area with Kiss and Cheap Trick (more on that later).

Thursday, July 12, 2018

SGMR Industries, Inc. Data Breach

Yes, I'm back to doing SGMR Industries, Inc. posts. 

Good news, folks, we've found a way to direct media attention away from our President & CEO's latest drunken tirade, and we get mentioned in the same paragraph as Sears, Kmart, Whole Foods, Panera Bread, and other fine companies. This is truly a shot in the arm for our bottom line. We will be having a celebratory press conference this afternoon and all employees are required to attend an can make up the four hours this weekend.

So what happened? There was a minor data breach in our server room and a few names and email addresses got stolen. And physical addresses. And social security numbers. And credit card numbers. And banking details. And security questions and answers. But that's all. The data was encrypted using the always-dependable A1Z26 Encryption Protocol. The number of records stolen could have quite possibly been as few as 15, but most likely it was in the neighborhood of 1.5 billion. We will be taking steps to recover the data before it's decrypted and sold to…oh, right, it was decrypted immediately and sold off to the highest bidder. Well, for all of those people looking for a fresh start, now is your chance.

More good news is that the President & CEO's data was not involved in the breach, nor were any of the executives of the company as their data is kept on separate servers in the Cayman Islands for "tax purposes". While we would take some of the blame for this issue, it should be noted that nobody thought that anyone would ever want to break into our computer systems since they are probably riddled with viruses due to the President & CEO's penchant for web surfing while intoxicated (and without pants). It also comes as a surprise to us that anyone would take our privacy policy seriously anymore and trust that their data is safe with us. I guess we can blame the victims.

We will be live streaming our press conference for free at 5pm, Cayman Island time (we don't know time zones). You must register with your social security number and valid credit card in order to view the conference.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Chapter 2. Kissin' Time

Originally written April 26, 2016

Thinking back, I figured that the Lovin’ Spoonful album was probably a gift that my parents didn’t entirely care for but didn’t want to get rid of, so they added it into the kids’ music collection. I’m pretty sure if mom and dad didn’t much care for the album before they gave it to us, they were probably sick and tired of “Summer in the City” after that. I don’t think I ever listened to anything else off of that album except for that one song, and that was because that song had a sound that I liked. Of course, I would eventually get past that song and onto bigger and better. You might even say, “The hottest band in the world."

Kiss had already been around longer than I had been alive, but by the time I was old enough to have heard of them they would come out with the album that would redirect the rest of my life. Destroyer put Kiss on the map. I could go off on a tangent of how Bob Ezrin produced this album and would follow it up by producing Pink Floyd’s The Wall album, but hell, I was three and a half years old and didn’t really care much for that. All I knew was that the band looked cool in their black and white makeup, the giant boots, and their music appealed to me. Lyrically, I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t understand many of the double entendres that they were using, it was just cool. Just this moment, I realized that “Strutter” was about a stripper, and I’m 42. I just never thought about it (that is a conversation for another day).

Let me pause here and discuss a little something that I still read about to this day. Back in that magical time of the seventies, many young people latched onto Kiss as a band of rebellion from their parents’ music and what society as a whole deemed as acceptable. Many of those parents My parents understood that music was music and that by allowing us to own and listen to Kiss, they weren’t turning it into “forbidden fruit”. This would continue on with Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, and Dio. All of these acts were permitted in my parents’ house because they recognized that music is music.

Anyway, we were friends with the kids down the street, the older two were our ages and also Kiss fans. We used to play on the neighbor’s swing set and sing Kiss songs and just have fun. I know it sounds silly now, but when you’re a kid, that was the height of fun. Growing up, there was a vast cast of characters that I will eventually run through as I write this. Some of them have faded away completely and others simply moved into the periphery for a time. They will be introduced in due time and as the story requires.

Eventually, my brother and I would get the solo albums, Kiss puzzles, Kiss dolls, and the remote control Kiss van. Yes, Kiss was all about merchandising (say it like Mel Brooks in Spaceballs, it’s funnier) and Eric and I fell for it completely. We were even allowed to stay up past our bedtime to watch Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, which was the greatest movie of all time (at age three or four, the taste centers of the brain are severely undeveloped). I would watch this piece of sh…film many years later thanks to a friend and I really can’t remember much of it except that members of the band were in it and there was an amusement park. These days, I’m amazed that that movie isn’t listed as directed by Alan Smithee.

Kiss will come up again. And again. And again. This is because I ended up seeing the band three times, though one could be listed as unofficial since it was before their return to the makeup. For now, though, I’m going to go back to listening to their debut album and remember some of those smaller details of my early life.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

My NaNo 2018 Plans

NaNoWriMo is still off in the future a few months. Currently it's in the mid-90s and it's the 4th of July. However, I've been thinking a lot about this year's project which is in the advanced planning stages. I've thought about how I'm going to undertake the challenge this year and have decided to shake things up a bit.

While the spirit of the month is quantity over quality (50,000 words in 30 days), I have decided that I'm not going to incessantly pore over my word count. My plan is to check it and update it once a week, and maybe a couple times in the last week for verification.

I will not be writing in Scrivener, but in OneNote, which what I've taken to doing since it's readily synced up with all of my computing devices (I'm writing this in OneNote on my phone, for example). Don’t get me wrong, Scrivener is possibly the best novel-writing software on the market, but I want to switch things up this year.

I will write every day, but some days may be more productive than others. I’ve found that forcing myself to write at least 1,667 words per day makes me less productive overall. I have a tendency to want to keep going forward on my story idea rather forward on word count. That is, I don’t like to go back to an earlier point in the story and start writing from there again. I tend to want to pick up from the last events that I wrote, whether they’re good or not. I will be thinking more about the story this year since I am more productive when I have fresh ideas in my head.

I seem jump way out ahead of daily goals in the first week and then slow down after that. That’s because the idea is fresh and there are infinitely many directions I could go with the story, but that quickly narrows down to only a few directions and I rarely, if ever, choose wisely. Thinking about this, I could write a Choose Your Own Adventure style of story this year and keep going back to the beginning. Or, I could start writing thirty different stories, that way I get the day one momentum every day of November.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Chapter 1. This is Where It All Starts

Originally written April 21, 2016

A few years ago, I attempted write my memoir. As I started to write it, I felt that much of my life was way too boring as a whole. So I decided instead to pick out specific events, certain nuggets of interest and write about those instead. That would be far more interesting than my David Copperfield (the book, not the magician) life, as described by Brad Pitt’s Louis in Interview With the Vampire, “I was born. I grew up. I died.” No, nobody would want to hear the pathetic tales of a grade school kid trying to be accepted and failing at every turn. So, I turned to the events and wrote about those with little if any foreshadowing. How did I come to be declared dead by the student body of a high school that didn’t even know me? What happened before that, and that, and even before that? These are the stories that nobody would want to read, but they are the stories I want to tell.

I had gotten turned onto a blogger, music writer, and photographer named James Stafford, who was writing and posting a new chapter of his memoir, Why It Matters, weekly. There was something there that I needed to read. As a skeptic, I don’t believe that things are meant to be, but I definitely found something to connect me to this life being played out before me. Each chapter (most of them, at least) was titled with a lyric to a relevant song to that chapter for the most part (something I will not be doing). It was life affected by music that he discovered in his earliest years after he rescued his aunt’s record and 45 records from certain doom (DOOOOOOOOOM!). While his story is far more interesting than mine could ever be, I notice some parallels, and I pull some inspiration from his words. I look back at my earliest memories of childhood, to the house where I grew up, and instantly there is music…

“What kind of music do you like?” This is a question that has haunted and harassed me for most of my life. It’s a question that, when asked, sends my mind into a vortex looking for an answer. It’s a question that makes me think that the asker is convinced that it is only conceivable for a person to like one kind of music. Depending on my mood, I may choose to answer with a “yes”, or simply by saying, “all kinds." I don't only like one kind of music, but all kinds, from all genres. I've been told that one cannot like Pink Floyd and punk music because the latter hated the former. I guess then that I am violating some artificial construct of the social order because I will listen to Dark Side of the Moon followed by Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death just to spite the people who say it can't be done. I suppose I could blame my upbringing.

I was born nine months after what I will simply refer to as the greatest album of all time was released (don’t read anything into that, please). I was born into a family that loved their music. Nobody played any instruments, mind you, but I grew up with stories of my grandmother dancing around to Elvis Presley (this was at a time when parents weren’t supposed to like Elvis and even find him immoral and corrupting). I feel like there was some form of music playing in the house at every waking hour, whether it was mom playing the latest music of the day by The Eagles, The Bee Gees, ABBA (gag!), or dad was listening to a new batch of oldies 45s that he picked up at one of the record conventions, including Elvis, The Beatles, Buddy Holly, or the oddball "The Flying Saucer," by Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman, which was story of alien invasion told using song lyrics. I would dance around the living room as a little kid in my own, weird way, just soaking up all of the music around me.

The stereo was kept in the living room, the main room of the house, which points to the importance of music to us. My brother and I shared two rooms, a bedroom and a playroom, and in the latter was a record player with a small collection of records, mostly children’s records. I say mostly because one of those records, it would turn out, was a grown-up record, The Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful. I only remember ever playing one song off of this album, and while it might be way too overplayed to this day, especially on oldies stations, I still love “Summer in the City” and it still transports me back to those earliest days in the gold-carpeted, yellow and white checked walls, and that black, plastic record player. I think it was a GE Wildcat, thanks to Google, and I recall seeing the GE logo on the speakers, but then I also remember the Berenstain Bears being spelled with an “EI” instead of the “AI”, so don’t take my word for it.

Before I knew it, I would end up with my own music and that would start me down a road that I would never veer away from. I would find myself on a quest for more music. It's a journey that lasted...well, frankly, as I write this in my forty-second year of life, I am still on that journey. It all started with a crate that was, to me, more than a crate. It was a symbol of this journey and, while the crate sits idle, the journey continues...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Back To Writing

A postcard and bookmarks
James Stafford
I haven't written a whole lot for quite a while. I'm going to say that it was probably a much needed break, or something, to help me get my thoughts in order. Or it's a lot more complicated and I have an overabundance of ideas flowing through my head and would love to get them all out, except that some of these ideas I'm just slightly fearful of.

The idea that I have is a satirical look at a serious topic that some people might take the totally wrong way or read something into it that isn't there. That's not what I'm frightened of. It's very topical to the current time and very much "in the headlines," and I don't want to put my energy into something that I read about too regularly. No, I think it's time to get back to basics and continue a project I started more than two years ago and has since disappeared from the web.

My blog was on Squarespace for many years and I loved it. Unfortunately, an unlimited account was a bit pricey for my lack of readers (and later, listeners). So, about two weeks before it was set to renew, I downloaded my database and decided to start sort of anew on Blogger, which was free (and hosted my podcasts on Everything has been just fine, except that the project I mentioned above is no longer available for my adoring fans to read.

That project was/is The Crate Gods, which is a memoir of sorts, inspired by James Stafford over at Why It Matters, a musical memoir and more. I'm sure I mention this in the first chapter, but it never hurts to repeat it, after all, words are free. I started writing it and got seven chapters in and, for some reason or another, just stopped. I might have gotten sidetracked with another project, or I just lost interest in writing it at the time. Well, I decided that it's time to pick up where I left off. However, I need a little time to write it, so I am going to post the first seven chapters over the same number of weeks. Hopefully nothing will distract me this time. I will start reposting on Monday and I am looking forward to continuing this long overdue project.

Friday, June 29, 2018

SGMR Classic: Worst. Idea. Ever

I saw something today that really made me think.  While driving to work this morning, I saw a guy driving and, at the same time, shaving with a cordless electric shaver.  I'm pretty sure that the inventor of the cordless electric shaver was not thinking of this as a possible use and I don't really know why we need such an invention.  I will admit that I do own one of these devices.  I got it as a Christmas gift one year and I do like it, but I do use it while plugged in.

1.  Well, I have to travel overseas and I don't have a 220AC to 110AC adapter.  Nope.  If you travel overseas you will either have a few days to prepare and be able to get an adapter or you will already have one.

2.  I travel for a living for meetings and have to look my best.  Sorry.  If you simply fly in to an airport, the bathrooms have outlets for just such and emergency.  If you stay at a hotel, I have yet to find one that doesn't have outlets in the bathroom.

3.  I go camping and don't take a generator with me.  If you're camping in a tent or a cabin Grizzly Adams style then you should play the part.  You're suppose to be roughing it, either grow a beard or use a straight blade.

4.  I often run late for work and I find myself having to shave while driving.  If you find yourself having to shave while driving then you should really wake up earlier.

5.  If the power goes out I still want to be able to shave.  If the power goes out long enough for you to need a shave then you are probably going to be more pissed off about the food spoiling in your refrigerator.

I just can't seem to find a practical reason for the cordless electric shaver.  It sounds like it might be a good idea, but then again, there are a lot of things that sound like good ideas at the time.  OK, I'm stepping off of my soap box right now.  I have more questions during the week.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Greatest Lie Of Human Resources

Employment has evaded me. I had two interviews and they both went well, so I thought. I was even the leading candidate for one of those jobs, but in the end, I was tossed aside like yesterday's non-recyclable trash. At least I got a phone call to tell me that I wouldn't be working; the other one just sent me email with the great HR lie of all time:

Our team has had a chance to discuss your qualifications, and unfortunately, we have decided to pursue other candidates. We will keep your resume on file for six months and if another position arises...blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
To prove I'm fine, here's cats in a basket.
LIES!!!! They will keep my resume on file until the janitorial staff comes around and empties the trash cans. If it is kept, it's kept in an old, rusty file cabinet, in a folder marked with the month and the year. At the end of each month, a temp worker who is paid a couple dollars above minimum wage is instructed to pull the files from six months earlier and recycle them. At least my resume will be going to make one of those coffee cup trays so that it might see the inside of a conference room within the company.

It's possible that my resume and application sit on a server within the company somewhere. Maybe when they're desperate to drum up business, they'll pull the addresses from those applications and add them to their mailing lists. Then, when I get email, or regular mail, from the company I can momentarily have my faith in humanity restored before it's crushed under the wait of a catalog. No, I don't want to buy your products because I'm still not working and can't afford anything, cold-hearted bastards.

Anyway, here I sit, not bitter at all. Not seething with fury and waiting for the first telemarketer to call so I can unleash my wrath. No, I'm calm and cool and collected. I eagerly await the next prospective employer to email me to tell me that my skills are impressive, and I exactly what they are looking for, but for reasons, they have to choose someone else. No, I'm fine, really.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Ethics of Time Travel

After thinking so much about time travel while working on the only three chapters, I began to seriously consider the concept and what would happen if time travel were possible.

Unfortunately, the idea of time travel is possible in the realm of physics. It's a fascinating idea that should not be taken lightly by anyone regardless of how absurd it sounds. If it came to pass that a time machine was built and it found its way into the wrong hands, it could be more dangerous than any weapons of mass destruction we could ever dream up. What if a rogue nation were to possess this power and go back in time to prevent the foundation of another country such as The United States? We would never know the difference, theoretically, since we could only have the knowledge of what was and is.

Time travel is still pretty abstract at the present time and only possible in the realm of theoretical physics. While the idea of traveling back in time and seeing the world as it was or traveling into the future (if possible, see my last post) to see what things will be like, there are some serious moral and ethical issues to look at. This technology could quite possibly be more dangerous than any nuclear weapon we could create. Think about it, what would stop a rogue nation from going back to the mid-1700's to stop our founding fathers and preventing the formation of the United States? Nobody would know because the course of history would be changed and we would all know it instead of what we know now.

What about the idea of going back and changing things only in one's life? Surely there can't be any harm in that. There can be though, especially if it involves life-changing decisions that would ultimately affect key moments in life such as marriage or children. If one chose to pursue a college education rather than taking a factory job right out of high school, then he/she may not have met that special someone. I would love to determine at least one possible path of events that would result from altering the past. Even if it was meant as a noble deed, it could seriously alter history.

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Handbook of Time Travel: Chapter 3

This was the final real chapter that I wrote of this. I partially ran out of steam, but I also couldn't reconcile time travel to the future in my brain. It got to be so full of contradictions. At some point I will write out the issues I was having.

Coming Home

Once the weary time traveler has had his/her fill of the past it's time to come back to the present. It is important that the time machine is put back in the same spot where it came to rest. It cannot be stated enough, but coming home after the initial departure time is imperative. It is also critical that only approved souvenirs are brought back from the past. These can be found in the back of the monthly TTA magazine.

Placing the time machine in the same spot where it came to rest in the past insures that it will return to the present in that very same spot. Failure to do this could cause embedding in a wall. Experienced time travelers know how much leeway they have in the room from which they left. If the doors were locked prior to initial departure as discussed in Chapter 1, then the time machine will not come to rest on top of household pets or children.

Coming home after departure time is critical to survival and not ruining the vacation. It would be inconvenient to land directly upon one's present self prior to leaving as it would ruin the trip and it is untested, but could also cause an implosion of the brain. There is also that matter of possibly ripping a hole in the space-time continuum. This would be very inconvenient for everybody.

The TTA has set up a list of approved items that one may bring back to the present. There are somethings that are permanently banned such as people of the time, bugs, extinct animals and other creatures, diseases, germs, viruses and anything else that could affect the present world. One must always get the proper vaccinations before going back in time and fully sanitize before coming back.

As with departing, location is everything when returning. It is important to know where the time machine will come to rest in the present. It's also helpful to not bring it to rest on any pets or kids, so make sure the door is locked. As always, time is everything and returning early could cause some serious problems for both the time traveler and the whole universe. Bring back only approved souvenirs so as not to affect the present and future.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Handbook of Time Travel: Chapter 2

Going on Vacation

It's now time to take off for the past and a fabulous vacation. It's hard to know exactly what one might encounter, but preparation is key. Make sure the time machine is locked up securely and out of sight of any curious third parties. Remember where it's parked, though, as it is necessary to returning home. Keep in mind, what happens in the past does not mean it stays in the past. Aging is a concern, too, because the human body continues to age no matter where in time it happens to be. Finally, when coming home it is important not to get back earlier than the initial departure time because if one person talks to him/herself it could spoil the whole trip.

Things were different in the past, so it's difficult to tell what one will encounter when arriving in the past. Some times may be easier than others. Coming in during the late-1600's have pitfalls due to the superstitions of the time. Arriving in the middle of a war could result in death. Prehistoric man could go one of two ways, either the cave-persons will get scared and kill the time travelers or or revere them as gods (which may not be all bad). Pretty much, it's hit or miss on the people (or other beings), but it makes for an exciting trip.

Remember to stow the time machine in an inconspicuous location and don't forget to lock it up. The last thing history needs is a rogue figure changing things around. It also would not be be good to lose the time machine as it makes it much more difficult, though not impossible, to get back to the present. Communication from one time period to another is under investigation, the current technology means it is only possible to find another time traveler in the past and hitch a ride home. This is, however, a rare occurrence so keeping tabs on the time machine is a wise move. Being prepared and keeping the time machine safe are important, but there are some more important things to keep in mind.

One must keep in mind not to touch anything when traveling backward in time. Any action in the past can affect the present. It could also stand to reason that further back one travels in time, the smaller actions could impact the present more. It would also be a good idea to keep far away from relatives as any contact may affect present and future generations (no offense). This means that anything that happens in the past does not necessarily stay in the past (this isn't Vegas). If the time traveler meets an unfortunate end in the past, then he/she will not be returning to the present. This is, of course, a matter of debate if time traveling with another person since it would be easy enough for the non-dead member of the party to return to a minute or two prior to initial departure to warn the soon-to-be-dead party. It is thought that the instance of the same person appearing twice in the same plane of existence could cause the fabric of space and time to collapse. Because the idea has never been tested (for obvious reasons) it is only deemed, "NOT RECOMMENDED," by the TTA.

Aging is a consideration to keep in mind. Five years in the past will cause five years of aging on the time traveler. This would definitely be something to remember, especially if trying to hide a trip in time from somebody, but this will have to wait for the ethics guide. Aging cannot be halted in time. The TTA has tried to research the idea, but a solution has yet to be found.

The time traveler must be ready for anything as the people of the past may not be so welcoming to mysterious newcomers. One must keep the time machine safe and secure as it is the only realistic means of returning to the present. Touching things in the past may (and most likely, will) affect the present and future. This goes especially for people of the past. Death is a definite possibility and reversing it is difficult if not impossible. Aging is always a concern for the time traveler as the human body will age no matter what time it is. The most important thing is, though, have fun in the past.