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Chan790's Journal - Archives
Posted by Chan790 in General Discussion
Sun Jul 31st 2011, 11:42 AM
Have you ever looked at the origins and classical definitions of "Liberal" and "Progressive"? They in no way reflect us or what we're about...we really need an identity that doesn't tie back to Cold War and pre-Cold-War connotations that we're beyond ambivalent about. Something forward-looking and reflective of our current mindset and objectives. It would help immensely.

Some questions I don't think we really have answers for that we need to answer for ourselves (and shouldn't be answered for us by the current office-holders or leadership) before we can answer "What happened to our party?"

What are the unimpeachable collectively-held characteristics of a modern Democrat?

What can't you believe and still be allowed in the tent?

What does our core coalesce around?

Who are we anymore? Who aren't we is just as important.

(Conservatism has the answers to these questions at-hand for them, but it took them decades of being marginalized to formulate and to purge the baggage of the history of their label...and I'd rather skip the 40 years in the desert. 20 interrupted years of Reagan/Bush governance was plenty thanks.)
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Posted by Chan790 in Latest Breaking News
Tue Aug 10th 2010, 10:32 PM
A political outsider takes two high-profile lumps, it's a safe bet any future electoral adventures will be dead on delivery. CT's Democratic party has a deep bench though, deeper than most states, that Ned's been allowed to skip ahead of twice for willingness to finance his own campaigns; inability to win though makes him a lame duck.

Don't worry, we've got plenty of good liberal Democrats to run. Democrats that can win. I'm already excited for the beating we're going to put on Lieberman in 2012.
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Posted by Chan790 in The DU Lounge
Sun Jan 31st 2010, 09:40 AM
This is actually one of my favorite stories...it was so bad that even in the moment I was trying so hard to not laugh at her and feel a little bad about myself.

A small amount of background is required: I am a vegetarian. I do not exclusively date veg*ns, in-fact I generally prefer not to because it tends to go hand-in-hand locally with something that annoys the shit out of me: hippies and granola-freak potheads...I really hate that entire scene: potheads, Phish-fans, hemp-clothing wearing, infrequent bathers who won't wear deodorant...Hartford is infested with them. I am a hardcore foodie. I don't tolerate liars, hypocrites or people who rationalize bad-things well; I'm somewhat hypocritical in that doing exactly this was a major job-skill of mine in a past career: I made people believe things passionately that not only were not always true but occasionally irrational even. I tend to be very very direct, almost confrontationally-so, and speak my mind.

I met a woman, we'll call her Emma, through a work-function where she was contracted to provide PR services. We got to talking and the fact that we're both "PeTA people" came up; also she's a "vegan" (The quotes will be important later. Oh, so important). We both grew up on farms. The guy sitting next to her smelled like farm-sex and patchuoli. (Okay, that was even amusing.) She's militantly-feminist and that scares guys. That's cool with me. Also, she hates my boss, Karl...I think Karl is a prick. She's an avid hiker; I walk everywhere. She's cute. I'm...modest: what I lack in classic good looks I make up for in charm and cleaning-up-well. I'm pretty awestruck with her.

I ask her if she wants to join me for lunch since she hates my boss, probably doesn't want to listen to him spend the next 90 minutes taking credit for her work and the prick decided that I was not going to be invited to the luncheon for my own work-project...it's not good for the stake-holders to see the sausage-makers, I guess. So...we go to this super-fancy cafe in the park overlooking a pond and the community rose garden (Anybody who has ever lived in Hartford knows the precise place.) because I'm a signer on the organization's card and entertaining a good contractor who works cheap is within my purview...that is to say: Karl is buying lunch.

So...we sit down and the waiter comes over to take the order. I let her order first...it seemed I don't know...it seemed like a good idea for no good reason at all. She orders a BLT, mustard, no mayo. I stare silently over the top of my menu. I have a stunned pause. I order some sort of creamy vegetable soup, I think (was it the Squash Bisque? I think it was)...I don't even remember. The waiter walks away and I say "you know that there is bacon on that, right?"

"Bacon is a vegetable."

"Um...no, it's not."

"Bacon is my favorite vegetable."

"What part of the bacon plant does bacon come from then?"

Suddenly, we are having a very loud argument in the restaurant about men's (my) need to oppress women (her). It's her body and she'll put into it whatever she'd like. (Mind you, I might be able truly care less what she eats...I have an issue with her co-opting labels she's not entitled to. Labels I aspire to and fall short of constantly.) I'm not trying to have a personal autonomy argument with Emma...I was trying to preface a make-out sesh behind the pond house perhaps. I decide to leave, pay the bill on the way out the door, leave an additional $40 in case she wants anything else...and left her to enjoy her sandwich in peace and walk back to work.

About halfway there, I realize that this is nearly karmic...two individuals who work in the area of public manipulation getting in an argument about (to borrow a word from Stephen Colbert) truthiness and honesty. Sat down at my desk, composed my letter of resignation. Printed it. Signed it. Wrote an email to Emma (which she never responded to) and left. Never looked back.

To this day, among my friends and I, the proper response to any statement where the stator is simply trying to avoid an uncomfortable truth which would force them to re-examine their actions or thinking is "Bacon is a vegetable." (Though...it's really really not.)
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Posted by Chan790 in The DU Lounge
Fri Jan 01st 2010, 09:58 AM
That's one of seven:

  1. I resolve to give up cynicism, sarcasm and my bad attitude.
  2. I resolve to wear sunblock so that I can keep passing for 24.
  3. I resolve to keep losing weight (started at 320, going to 220, got to 252, now at 275) and take off all the weight I gained over the holidays.
  4. I resolve to start exercising again.
  5. I resolve to do 5 things to work towards my goal of becoming a development professional.
  6. I resolve to finally manage to live on my own.
  7. I resolve to tell my friend S exactly how I feel about her if she becomes single during 2010.
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Posted by Chan790 in The DU Lounge
Thu Sep 17th 2009, 09:37 PM
(adapted from a recipe from Veganomicon: The ultimate vegan cookbook)

Place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. The cream will solidify and rise to the top. Scoop the cream off the top and reserve the coconut water for another use. Actually put all the ingredients and utensils in the fridge overnight...the colder everything is, the better your results will be.

1/2 cup coconut cream
1 cup soy milk (or any other non-dairy milk you'd like. I'd not recommend coconut unless you want coconut-flavored ice cream)
3/4 cup sugar
6 oz. silken tofu
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until consistent. Pour into ice cream maker and follow instructions for your ice cream maker.

This recipe is for vanilla.

For chocolate, reduce sugar by 1/4 cup and add 8oz. of cooled melted chocolate to blender.

For peanut butter, increase sugar to 1 cup and add 1/2 cup of peanut butter to blender.

For red bean, replace peanut butter in above recipe with 1/2 cup pureed red beans.

For green tea, add 2 teaspoons of matcha powder.

For coffee or espresso, replace 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk with 1/2 cup cold espresso or strongly-brewed coffee.

For any berry, you'll need 3/4 lb. of fruit, thinly-sliced-or-chunked. Add 1/2 of fruit to a saucepan with 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 7 minutes. Cool to room temperature and add to blender. Add 1/2 fruit to ice cream maker.

Generally, ice cream flavorings get added to blender and anything you want in the ice cream (chips, cookie dough chunks, fruit pieces, nuts, etc.) get added to the ice cream maker.
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Posted by Chan790 in The DU Lounge
Fri Mar 20th 2009, 12:43 PM
blue-eyed, blonde, hearty-stock, toothsome, "childbearing-hipped". I do have to say it's not all Republicans and Conservatives (I know some lovely people just like you or I who happen to be Republicans but don't flaunt or politicize everything so you'd never know unless you asked.)...it's a certain and large cadre though of vocal devotedly ideologically-conservatives though. It's the Aryan ideal...whoever said Hitler's dreams for building a master race was dead never watched Fox News Channel. It's writ large for the world to see:

Conservatism is fascism.
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Posted by Chan790 in The DU Lounge
Sun Feb 08th 2009, 09:25 PM
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. - Anna Karinina, Leo Tolstoy. Chapter 1, first line.

I can't recommend a single book. Every aspiring writer is also unhappy in their own way; there is no book entitled How to write a good short story that isn't a lie for that reason. I recommend a number of different books to address different issues. Some people need help finding their voice as a writer. Some have no sense of plot. Some need help finding the time, energy, space and drive to write. These are clearly not your issue so we'll gloss over them.

Your first question is one it seems you know the answer to, but don't know that you know it because you've approached the question from the wrong direction. There is no way to quantify what makes great short stories great because it's not the same. It's uniquely true of each piece. The Lottery is a great short story because it hones in a primal part of ourselves that we're scared of, every line every word of that story forebodes; we'd like to think that because we're civilized enlightened creatures that couldn't happen anymore...then Jackson destroys that and it shakes us. The Swimmer is a great short story because it presents us with a realist plot of a man to do something both meaningful and absurd which ultimately doubles as an allegory for the slow-unraveling of a life and the spiritual-bankruptcy as possessions replace relationships and society glosses over that void with the illusion of false-happiness and a "stiff upper lip", a plague which Cheever sees as prevalent in suburbia. It poses a question which makes us think...If a nice house with a picket fence, a swimming pool, a car in the driveway and the nuclear family is the American dream, why are we so unhappy? Once, through his actions, Neddy finds himself outside of this illusion, he is lost. The end of the story is a parable...you can't go home again...but also a cliffhanger: Who would ever choose to go back to the illusion and if you can't go back to the way things were...where do we go from here? What makes one great is not what makes the other great. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry is a great short story because we all wish we could be that selfless; we feel for the characters at the same time that we suspect that they've learned something in their sacrifice which we'll never know.

So...where do we go from here as writers? I tell all starting-out writers (regardless of their chosen writing format) the same things:

1.) Write what you know and what you enjoy reading. If you enjoy cowboy stories, write about cowboys. (Larry McMurtry) If you enjoy the psychological drama of family life, write about that. (Henrik Ibsen) If you're a unhappy mid-level executive with a rich escapist fantasy life, write about that. (James Thurber)

2.) Show, don't say. Which one really tells you something about Damon?:
  • Damon was a bad man.
  • When Damon needed smokes, he'd follow an old woman home from the supermarket and into the elevator. Once the elevator started moving, he'd crack her skull with his pipe-wrench and steal her wallet. Easy money every time and no worries; any witness met the same fate.


3.) Adverbs suck badly. Don't use them, they're lazy and suggest poor verb choice. Again, which one reads better?:
  • George walked slowly in the gutter.
  • George skulked in the gutter.

The exception to this is when the adverb itself tells us something which can't be said in a better way (often in opposition to the verb):
  • Nathan Hale marched warily towards the gallows, lingering for one opportunity to escape with his hard-won secrets which he knew would never come. He remained a soldier's spy until his end.


4.) Don't be afraid to have fun with language. Words tell us everything in a piece of writing. Be creative in your word-choice, a great word out of context can describe the unspeakable. As the nails entered, Christ's wounds fulminated. Fulminated means "to explode with rage." or "let loose with profane invective." Find the character's voice...Juliet's monologue from Romeo and Juliet (Act II, scene 2) sounds awkward coming from Dolph Lundgren, adults don't say "poopie" and 4th graders don't say "whereas". Sometimes you want to break the rules of word-choice, it makes a story interesting.

5.) We have 5 senses with which we experience the world. Yet most writers get hung up on two: hearing and sight. I like to give my pupils a challenge to write a short story describing an experience by a blind deaf man. As Henry picked up the new food in front of him, he felt its' flaky crispness even as the gooey chunky insides glommed between his fingers. It smelt of his father's orchard and his mother's hearth. In his mouth, it tasted sweetly of apples imbued with spring rains and the warmth of the sunshine. Apple pie would never taste as joyful to anybody else.

I don't really buy into that New Yorker style of writing or the "take the last sentence off" thing. A great first line and a great ending can make a mediocre middle great. I do think the one way in which that is true is that a lot of starting-out writers just don't know when to stop writing. You don't need to say "Happily ever after." although I did once to finish a really depressing story, it was the right ending for a story about a case of mistaken identity which ends in a public execution...because it was both unexpected and somewhat cynical...it certainly wasn't a happy ending for at least one character.

You're absolutely right in a sense, grant writing is short story telling...the motivation is the same. Tell a story, tell me why I care. Help me see the problem or the world differently. Connect with the reader. Grant writing is about touching the emotional core of the reader, same as short story writing. I'm taking a online course in grant-writing now and one of the things that they keep saying is "don't describe the proposal, tell the story of the proposal and what the grant will do."

As for approach I take when tutoring...most of my pupils come to me with a writing piece in hand that they want to make better rather than an idea they want to write about. It helps me see what they need help on. In those cases that they have an idea but not a piece, I help them flesh it out and then send them home to write it. It doesn't have to be well-written but it's easier to work with a first draft than a premise.
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Posted by Chan790 in The DU Lounge
Thu Jan 01st 2009, 08:26 PM
I'm trying to write a screenplay myself and I'm finding that writing is still hard for me. (DU is what I do to procrastinate and distract me from what I should be doing.)

I minored in creative-writing in college and it's never been easy...it's a hard slog and it comes from a very-dark place for me, but I had teachers who saw unique talent and kept on me to pursue it. I really hated the kids in my classes who'd come in looking like they've slept well and talk about how they wrote their assignment in an hour. Meanwhile, I'm sitting there in the same hoodie I was wearing yesterday with an unlit cigarette hanging out of my mouth, a cup of coffee in each hand sitting behind a manuscript that I've edited to the brink of death; you could ring blue ballpoint ink out of it I've stabbed it up with so much revision and slashed it with strikethrough. My revenge was winning the awards, accolades and A's while they got "good effort" B's.

But yes, even if you've got to torture the word fairy to write that well...it might be worth it.
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Posted by Chan790 in Latest Breaking News
Sat Dec 27th 2008, 01:28 PM
Imagine if another culture took offense at the consumption of turkey. After centuries of eating turkeys, for even quasi-religious celebrations, these people come to you and tell you to stop killing the turkeys. If asked why, they reply with some variation on "They are wonderful and beautiful creatures and if you cannot see that then you are just evil!"


I frequently do make that claim and equivalent ones about pigs, deer, bears, wolves, woodpeckers, eagles, chimpanzees, whales and other living things. I fundamentally disagree with your premise and its' basis in cultural absolute moral-relativism. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. (commonly mis-attributed to Edmund Burke) It is our duty as moral beings to stand up and protest against evil acts and wrongheaded thinking, whether borne of a single diseased mind or cultural tradition. Further, the knowledge of the illegitimacy and wrongness of an act does not have to widely-held to be objectively true. Cultures, faiths and even unaffiliated masses of humanity are potentially and frequently wrong to the undertaking of evil.

You might argue for a fundamental difference between humanity and animals. I see that we are animals and that a human-supremacist POV is a folly reserved for beings who think they are the top of the developmental chain; how different that opinion might be if we were to be chattel, just another resource to be exploited by a life-form that thinks they're superior to us and might exploit us for whatever purpose? The only end is the one that leads to the acceptance of objective moral truths independent of speciesism, a line in the dirt that we (if not all) hold cannot be crossed and violation to which will be met head-on. Certainly all killing is wrong; this is but one example of one effort working to end one ongoing violation of that one objective truth.

This is indeed a clash of cultures and traditions. But I would argue that that is not the fault of the cultures who are being forced to change.


That is exactly what is it on both counts. One does not negotiate with cultural evil even when based in tradition. We have a moral obligation to confront evil whatever the form or source. One might go so far as to argue that it is intrinsic to humanity, certainly it is central to the very basis of liberalism. While we draw our liberal tradition from a broad inclusive base of experiences and beliefs making it a diverse and accepting school of social thinking, it has always been a necessity of liberal thinkers to maintain a strong inflexible filter of moral truth based in reason. The 20th century phenomena of permissive-relativism is anathema to liberalism, discernment of good and evil through use of reason is our compass and the heart of liberalism. Make no mistake, liberal thought is not a pacifistic school of thinking. We're not going to slowly-drift in the direction of the betterment of humanity, we've got to fight for it and that fight sometimes does mean that we've got confront entrenched evil in the form of tradition and subjugate malformed cultures.

It is exactly that simple.
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Posted by Chan790 in The DU Lounge
Wed Oct 29th 2008, 08:12 PM
it's based on an assumption that all certain knowledge can be quantified and assigned value. That means somebody has to be the impartial and objective arbiter of the value of knowledge. (A premise I can objectively reject even based on the limited knowledge of being aware of what I do not know. Omniscience is necessary to assign value to knowledge.) Otherwise we have to assume that all knowledge equal in value and scope. In that case who am I to say the quantity (because quality is unknowable) of my knowledge is greater than that of others?

An example...I have an IQ (tested) of 174. I'm certain that my coworker Kay would score less highly...but is that a reflection of intelligence or of the questions skewing in my favor? I might read more books and write publishable poetry and have a college degree and be a champion debater but she's a trained diesel mechanic and paramedic; it seems to me that my ability to put words together is by-and-large a lot less useful...even if many people put a higher value upon it. The valuation of knowledge is foolish...literally the undertaking of fools. That leaves only one metric: Do I know more than she does, sum in toto? That's an immodest and unprovable claim.

I voted that I'm of average intelligence knowing that the vast majority of people would concede that I'm more intelligent than they are. Not because they're wrong but because they're not objective and thus can't be right.

All philosophy after Socrates is bullshit, all intellectualism is classism and sophistry. Debating one's intelligence is the ultimate in narcissistic navel-gazing.
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Posted by Chan790 in The DU Lounge
Tue Jul 22nd 2008, 02:28 PM
liking what you've been told to like by our fine corporatist overlords.

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Posted by Chan790 in The DU Lounge
Sat Jul 05th 2008, 07:35 AM
one which should be more-regulated for reasons I will elucidate.

I think the concept is a good one, however the execution is poor. I, unfortunately, come in contact with the child-tether on a frequent basis. If used as designed or for the purpose intended and wielded by a responsible adult, it would be a reasonable and practical solution to a identified problem. They, in my experience, almost never are.

I most often see these devices used by a certain type of overbearing-yet-absent, neurotic-yet-distracted parent as a surrogate for their responsibility or as a blunt instrument of control. I've seen kids tied-off by one (like one ties off the family beagle to a lamppost to enter a store.), I've been children yanked-off their feet by one (as a means of compliance to a verbal command or because the parent was startled to attention by the less-dangerous thing their toddler was about to do.), I've seen children injured by them: one end in the hand of a disinterested parent more concerned with their scone, latte and their conversation partner than their child, the other end attached to a child who is turning blue because the intersecting 4 feet of leash is wrapped around table legs, stools, displays, etc. throttling them. I've seen them used to literally drag a child through a supermarket.

I almost never see them used correctly. There lies the problem. Adults are too irresponsible to be allowed tether their children. That's a sad state of affairs. In the hands of the immature, those uneducated in their use or those not properly respectful of them they're no less dangerous than a loaded gun.

A leash is not a babysitter. It does not give you permission to take your eyes off the child. It most certainly should never be used to abuse a child and its' use to control your child must be applied as lightly as possible.
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Posted by Chan790 in The DU Lounge
Thu Jun 19th 2008, 06:06 PM
(^^^that was a title.)

I'm sitting here, put pen to paper
the first time in months, words work
wrapping themselves around white pages
Nothing seems relevent for a topic:

I got a haircut, it's not new.
I might have a roommate,
but not if
I can't find a new job.
I might have a girlfriend but
I'm not sure I want her,
she scares me. You can't fuck up like
I fuck up a lot
and keep someone interested
unless she's crazy.
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Posted by Chan790 in The DU Lounge
Sun Jun 15th 2008, 11:18 PM
Hartford is a charming city with a low cost of living, a rich ethnic mix, an educated populace, and a rich history.

We also have the excitement which comes with a high crime rate and an active gang culture.

We also have a lot of bars and insurance executives. I'm not sure how those go hand-in-hand, but I'm pretty sure that there is a correlation.

Hartford has a pedestrian-friendly downtown. This is because it is impossible to drive anywhere because all the major streets in downtown are one-way in the same directions (West and North).

We used to have an NHL team. This differentiates us from FL which has two poseur franchises currently pretending to be NHL teams.

We're a gay-friendly community. There is even a banner on the church on Main St. which says "We're a gay-friendly community."

Our mayor is bi-lingual. He sounds like an idiot in both languages.

We're efficient. The Park River doubles as a sewage main.

Hartford has a thriving art community. There's me, my friend 'rissa and the guy who makes statues of Elvis out of chrome bumpers.
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Posted by Chan790 in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue May 06th 2008, 08:46 PM
anybody should need to reach out to anybody. Anybody who does not fall in line behind the eventual Democratic nominee wholeheartedly is not truly a Democrat, but the sort of partisan we're better off without. Period...end of story. Have a nice life.

I wanted Kucinich...I'm a hardcore veggie human-rights-supporting anti-war godless eco-leftist (In other words, they're both distasteful to me)...I'm supporting the winner. If someone can't do the same, I question whether they are in need of a good solid look in the mirror and some soul-searching. We are Democrats, we support the Democratic candidate. Unquestioningly...because we have seen the alternative and it is an ugly hawkish evil old man. I will not lose to John McCain. I will not.

Who is the real enemy: McCain or the sort of partisan who would rather see the country and the party torn apart just because they didn't get their way? I say both. Fully. Completely. Totally. I will yield no quarter to either. I will call anyone who says they will not vote for the Democratic nominee on their bullshit. They are my sworn enemy.

I know that many do not agree, but I think we have a presumptive nominee. I may not like him, but I will support him with my blood, my sweat, my tears, the soles of my feet and my money. Because I am a Democrat. Because he is the Democratic Party nominee. Because there is no other.
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