Wednesday, December 19, 2007

RANT: The Cabbage Patch

I apologize in advance for this rant. It is the byproduct of not enough sleep and a farcical conversation during an otherwise-uneventful rehire committee meeting. Read on at your own risk.

America, you're really starting to piss me off with your solja boy dance and your one-two-step and your bumping and grinding. I think it's high time we got you back to your patriotic roots. For far too long, hips have been too close together or dance moves too choreographed. Not since the 70's have things been this lame. We need a hero, a saviour for modern times. We need something to ring in 2008 with a real dancing bang.

Friends and neighbors, we need to bring back the Cabbage Patch.

I know that you're scoffing, possibly laughing, at the return of such a ridiculous dance, but it needs to come back. WHITE PEOPLE CAN DO THIS DANCE. Hell, I can do this dance. It's easier than the Running Man, doesn't require any backspins, and it works for damn near any song. It also gives me carte blanche to use my fists to keep the skanks offa my junk while I'm trying to bust a move to the latest MC Chris jam. (If you don't know who MC Chris is, stop reading now and google him. His backpack has jets.)

So when the apple drops and the latest thing from rapper-o-the-day comes on, bust out some old school Cabbage Patch and get your groove on. Only you can help breathe new life into this dance.

Hey Macarena!

-The Caveman

Friday, December 07, 2007

RAVE: Bad Religion

Watch and learn...

Seriously, just stop thinking. Put on the ol' blinders and move forward toward some unknowable goal. The world will be fine so long as you don't notice, and even better if you just don't think.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

RANT: Manipulation & Subterfuge

So, I'm a bastard. I know it, admit it, and live it. I've been okay with it for quite sometime. Born fatherless, it seemed to be my lot in life. In the intervening years between birth and now, I've gotten pretty good at getting people to do what I want. It's really not that hard, and it has served me well on this long and winding road that we call life.

The problem with being good at something is that you get that much better at noticing when other people are doing it too - especially if they're doing it badly. Since my revolution is one of the mind and of thoughts, I figured I'd help out and offer some tips rather than just bitch about how crappy and transparent people that don't have a natural talent for this sort of thing really are. Read on if you want, but I have to warn you that I intend to be ridiculously arrogant, unrepentant, and downright mean.

Have some fucking principles. I can't stress this enough. You'll sleep better at night if there are certain lines that you just won't cross. Learn the limits of your conscience and set your lines a few notches back. You'll be glad you did when you can look yourself in the mirror in the morning and not want to retch. Me? I use my powers for good: helping people, making bad situations better, getting folks to think and grow, and generally trying to better my lot in life. I've been called a "Nice Machiavelli" and I'm rather proud of that distinction.

Learn to shut it off. If you're constantly playing politics and analyzing people, they become tools rather than real folks. Stepping stones if you will. Figure out who you don't need to be manipulative with or, better yet, start out honest with everyone and only switch gears when your hand is forced. Friends and lovers should be off limits, unless shallow and meaningless relationships are what you're looking for. This piece of advice will help because you can't fool someone forever, and if you spend enough time working your magic on someone, they'll eventually get wise and wind up resenting you.

Get a cat. I really mean this one. Few creatures in nature are as manipulative as felius catus and fewer still are as nice to have around. Get your cat young and watch how they train you from the get go. Sure, you'll get them to pee in the box, but they'll have the last laugh when you're late for work because you just have to stop and pet them.

Recognize your betters. If someone catches you or you find yourself being manipulated by someone else, accept it and learn from it. Don't keep it up if you get busted, but continue to submit on your own terms if you find yourself on the receiving end. In the first scenario, you only make it worse for yourself. In the second, you change the game and can start playing on your terms. Either way, you'll be better for it.

Honesty really is the best policy. Most of the time, you can get what you want by just asking for it. If you're forthright and honest, your reputation will carry you (and make people less likely to question you when you really do need to be manipulative). When you can, tell the truth and be transparent in your motivations. When you can't...

Lie. Lie. Lie. Go big. Tell a whopper that's three tiers deep. Then believe it yourself. Lie with sincerity so that you seem honest. Defend the lie. Make love to it. Keep it afloat until it rots and falters, then try to resurrect it. Apply bandages (read: more lies) when it oozes the puss of untruth. As soon as you fess up to a lie, you'll never be believed again, no matter what a stripper tells you. If you've resolved to tell a lie, ride it out to the bitter end. A bad lie can die, but grudges born from untruths rarely do.

Remember what I said about principles and honesty. I wrote that for a reason. You need to stick to your guns whenever possible, or you're just another lying scumbag.

Pick your fights. Win some, lose some. Engineering a few losses along the way that don't really hurt you sets the stage for bigger things later. Knowing when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, when to walk away, and when to run will help you look for win-wins that everyone really wants. Learning to lose graciously will set the stage for bigger wins in the future.

Don't step to me. If you're reading my advice on manipulation and putting some things into practice, then you'll remember to recognize your betters. I'm thinking three steps ahead and I'll usually see you coming before you even start wanking in my direction.

Good luck. You're going to need it.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


So, last night I got together with a bunch of old friends and pretended to be an anarch in a classic WoD one-shot. We revisited the Convention of Thorns and reenacted it for the benefit of a friend's small tabletop group. Damn, it was fun.

It was the kind of fun that got me thinking about other games, ones I've been involved in executing and the ones that have risen up to replace it now that I'm no longer running the local live-action scene. Thinking on it even more (a welcome distraction from other stuff I've had to think about recently), I hearkened back to my days as a player in these games. In so doing, I came to a very important revelation.

Being entertaining trumps the accumulation of wealth and power, no contest.

D&D, the founding father of RPGs, has created what can best be deemed a hostile player-vs-gamemaster relationship. The players control characters in the relentless pursuit of points, power, and wealth while the gamemaster tries to inhibit those accumulations and (gods forbid) perhaps separate players and characters from some of the stuff they've accumulated in the name of challenge, story, and drama. Somewhere in there, the value of entertainment got lost in the shuffle, and the spirit of sitting around the campfire and sharing stories to entertain was corrupted.

As Bob Dylan would say, "Sure was a good idea, 'til greed got in the way."

I think back to all the times I've had the most fun gaming, and they all come down to those moments where everyone hated me or I was most assuredly going to die a horrible death - but someone was reacting to it and things moved forward. I've been the guy in the black suit curling his mustache and tying pretty Penny to the railroad track. I've been the shadowy manipulator behind the throne that everyone knew was really in power and wanted to usurp. Heck, I've even been the lone fruitbat human in a houseful of vampire - delighting in fooling them and making them figure out who I was, why I was there, and what I wanted. It never once crossed my mind that the points and powers I'd worked so hard to accumulate would go down the drain along with the character sheet when I died, because I knew that in dying I was making fun for other people. I've never been content to hunker down, keep my head low, and accumulate points so that I could eventually hang with the other people that had lots of points and get to play the "real" game. I marched into their meetings, challenged their right to be there, and sometimes I got killed for it. I always always always had fun, and I like to think most of the folks I played with did too.

So next time you're contemplating how many more sessions you have to ostrich through to raise your MC or buy that power that'll allow you to finally take your place in the danse macabre, stop and ask yourself where the fun really is. Challenge the people with the points to use their unassailable monstrosities to create fun for others. Point out that you can still roleplay and have fun without being unstoppable. Rub somebody the wrong way so they react in character. DO SOMETHING!

And remember, you can't win at an RPG, but you can't lose either.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

RANT: National Novel Writing Month

This is a guest rant from The Mad Hack. Anyone interested in writing for Caveman Rejoice! can submit rants to my e-mail address. Submissions must include the word "fuck" at least once if they fall into the Rant category, "fucking" if they fall into the Rave category, and with be ignored if they don't fall into either.

It's November. Around this time of year, it's important to take stock of our blessings, stuff our faces until we drift off into a coma, and arm our checkbooks for the diabolical Season of Giving that hits before we've even thought about making that first leftover turkey sandwich. This is also the time of year where we must take a good, long look at ourselves and admit the following universal truth:

Real writers don't do NaNoWriMo.

That's not to say I'm a quote/unquote Real Writer. The fact that I'm loathe to participate in such a vainglorious waste of time is only one of the few characteristics me and Real Writers have in common. (That, and the drinking. I'm really starting to catch up with them on that one.) No, I admit that I'm nothing but a Hack and a Literary Whore. I'm very in touch with my realities, so I hate to see so many people lying to themselves. So, maybe in the Spirit of Giving, I've taken it upon myself to shed light on a few of the most damaging NaNoWriMo delusions that have claimed many a hapless, amateur wordsmith.

Lie #1:
I can finish my NanNoWriMo novel.

No, you can't.

If you've been sitting on your ass for the last decade of your adult life wanting to write a novel, with a few ideas for a novel, but you never seem to have enough time to get to it, then you will not finish 50,000 words in 30 days. (Not unless 25,000 of those are the word Fuck.)

The secret—and the only secret—to finishing a novel is to write Every Fucking Day. And, if you haven't been writing Every Fucking Day since Jan 1, you just don't have the dedication to get your word count. Writing Every Fucking Day is a hard habit to develop—you have to be so addicted to words that you're willing to shun social contact, stop feeding your family and your pets, forget how to surf the internet and skip Grey's Anatomy every now and then, even if it is the special episode where Dr. McSexisons humps the leg of the new Nurse McNipplesons or whatever.

Want to sleep in late? You won't finish your novel. Want to go out to that bitchin' keg party? You won't finish your novel. Want to make sweet, sweet love down by the fire? Well, you see where this is going. Anyway.

Lie #2:
My NanNoWriMo novel will be good.

No, it won't.

To be fair, the makers of NaNoWriMo do not protest that anyone will come out of November with a publishable manuscript, but they're speaking in words, and words are so very hard to understand. Too many people just don't get it. If you're balls deep in chapter sixty-four and you've only got two hours left before December 1 hits, and you've skipped lunch every day and gotten up at five am just to plug out another thousand "Fuck's", and you're dripping sweat onto the keyboard and you haven't realized the phone's been ringing off the hook for a week because you're writing so goddamn fast…then you're not writing well.

Writing well takes several months. It takes thirteen drafts and that year you spent arguing with yourself about whether or not you should use "While" or "Whilst" in the second-to-last sentence of chapter ninety-two. Sorry to tell everyone this, but, really—writing a novel is not only difficult, it takes a long-ass time. Which brings me to the final, most destructive fallacy:

Lie #3
: NaNoWriMo is good because it encourages writers. (Y R U So Meen 2 Me?!)

Truth: Fuck you.

But, you say, NanNoWriMo is about encouraging people to chase their dreams! It's about collecting a group of like-minded individuals in the guise of a contest to encourage them to attain their literary aspirations! Okay, sure, that's all very good-natured and charitable, but there's only one problem—writers shouldn't be encouraged.

Writers should be spat on, kicked in the shins, dragged through the mud and left naked and soiled in a back-alley corner sprinkled with broken glass. If you lie in bed all day with bon-bons at your fingertips and a throng of NaNoWriMo fucks cheering you on, then you're not going to get any better at writing than, say, Danielle Steele. (The world does not need more Danielle Steeles.) But take a fist to the teeth a couple times after reeling out of an all-night bender covered in your own wretched pain of existence, and all of a sudden its "Holy Shit, the asshole can Write!" Pain is art, people.

In fact, I believe in the benefits of Writer Abuse so much, that I insist that everyone who's ever put a word to page in the attempt at fiction go directly—and I mean now—to this site:

Take some time. Peruse through the archives. Memorize every passage. And, if you can make it out with your teeth and your resolve to write intact, then By God, you're ready for the royal ass-kicking that is Writing. You're ready to commit, man. By all means—go forth and wax poetical on the most recent pile of self-important blither that you dare to call a novel.

Just make sure it's over 50,000 words. And don't fucking wait 'til November.

The Mad Hack is a published autthor with entirely too much free time. She had the honor of being the Caveman's main squeeze for several years. She's also smarter than most of you and very pretty.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

RANT: LiveUrinal

Dear readers,

A long time ago I made myself a promise that I wouldn't use this blog as a place to talk about my day, what I ate, or how my home life is going. I vowed that even anecdotal bits I posted here would have some kind of social context. I swore that I would never piss away somebody's bandwidth with tripe that you either didn't really care about or probably shouldn't be reading anyway.

I've upheld that promise, but the temptation has been strong. I've been told that airing one's feelings to the masses and droning on and on about one's day slakes some folks' morbid curiosity. I've been told that it's harmless exhibitionism, and that nobody gets hurt. It has been hard not to succumb to the evils of online journaling. So tempting that I've given up the fight.

Have no fear, gentle reader, as I've given in by getting myself a LiveJournal account. Random crap about me, my car, and the meals I have each day will be restricted to that particular no-fly zone. No, I won't link to it from here (or from my MySpace). No, I won't cross-post things. But yes, I will occasionally post random daily drivel there to get it off my chest.

It's catharsis. It's liberating. It's drivel. And, yes, on some level it's sad. So why do it? The only answer I can muster is that sometimes chronicling our days and our feelings can help us remember them better. The reverie of recounting the annals of one's day (up to and including what tasty things we had for lunch) revitalizes us and provides encouragement.

It also helps me keep this place free for important stuff, like advice on hooking up and how to seek male empowerment at your local Hooters.


-The Caveman

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

RAVE: I love my cellphone

So over there on the left is my cellphone. It matches my car. It matches my iPod. It even matches a few pairs of shoes I'm pretty fond of seeing on the fairer sex. I'm really not all about color coordination or even accessorizin' (cause I never cared too much for the money, but I know right now, honey that it's in god's hands, oh but I don't know who the father is...), but seriously, I love this phone. It has a feature that nobody should ever be without - self-ringing speed dial.

Yes, that means that you can hold down one of the buttons on the side and the phone will ring as if a call were coming in. It even defaults to a pre-selected contact from your phonebook (I chose my Mother). Tonight, my cellphone saved my life. Specifically, this feature saved my life.

You see, I'm addicted to CraigsList, and I was ever-so-slightly hot and bothered after a near sex encounter with one of those special ladies in my life. CraigsList became my backup. I've been chatting up this gal I met there for awhile and I decided to relieve some stress by finally meeting up with her. I drive down to the little bar down the road from my house and look for this gal that's been sending me some really nice pictures of someone that I found out later was, most-assuredly, NOT her.

I ordered a beer at the bar, just like I said I'd be doing and up she walks (she got there fast). Turns out she's not even blonde, not all that busty, and either cleans up really nice for a boudoir photo or is some kind of lycanthrope that gets really not good-looking when the sun goes down.

Just so you know, I'm not completely shallow and a I was completely horny, so I decided to buy her a drink and chat her up - as if something cool would mysteriously happen or she was there to screen me for her actual hot friend that was waiting in the car for me. We open with a discussion of the weather and me establishing that I'm the most desirable male in the bar and that she's very lucky to be here without being insulting when it starts. Turns out she is the girl from the ad. Turns out she's coming off of a bad relationship and really just wants to fall into something. Turns out that she simply can't...stop...fucking...talking about said ex. Thirty minutes into this, I'm no longer aroused from my earlier exploits and I just want to escape.

So I hold down the .mp3 play button on the side of my phone through my pocket on the sly and "Woke Up This Morning" comes chiming through my jeans. I look at the front screen and, lo and behold, it's my Mother. "Well. I'm sorry. It's my mom. I have to take this." I step outside for a minute to get better reception and return a minute or so later with the sad news that my dog has died. I'm just sad enough to be convincing and I'm free from a night of finding out more than I ever wanted to know about just how much of a jackass some guy named Rob really is.

Thank you LG. I love you, your company, and the blessed and wonderful phones you create. You've got a customer for life.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

RAVE: Zen and the One-Night Stand

Sometimes we do things a lot of times, sometimes that leads to the belief that we've become "experts" in our field, and sometimes that really is the case. For me, that thing that's been happening with pretty good frequency has been the one-night stand. I won't claim to be an expert at hooking up (as there are plenty of those on the ol' intarweb that'd be happy to provide advice) and I'm going to just assume that you know how to acquire, perform during, and (hopefully) end a single-night encounter. I'm also going to assume that you're male (as most of my readership claims to be). I'll tack on some advice at the end for the ladies because I'm all about equal opportunity, but girls really don't need to be as prepared as guys do. All they really have to deal with is years of societal conditioning to believe that they're whores for not marrying (or at least pursuing a relationship with) whoever they decide to get freakly with - and that's more an issue for you and your therapist than for you and random guy writing a blog. So here's some helpful hints for the guys:

BE PREPARED. I can't stress this enough. Get yourself a messenger bag and stock it with the following items:
  1. Condoms. Even if you shoot blanks or you're infertile or whatever, put a rubber on your willy before you go and do anything silly. Get a variety of types (ribbed, lubricated, non-lubricated, colored, flavored, warming, tingling, etc.) and make sure they're stored as close to room temperature as possible.
  2. Lube. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that two fingers across the clitoris will part the red sea and you'll be swimming in the waters before you know it. Fact is, humidity is not a symptom of arousal, and some women take quite awhile before they start gushing (and some never gush - much love for nature). If you get around enough, you're going to regret not having some on hand. KY makes tingling and warming lubricants that double as massage oil, so it's a double whammy.
  3. A scarf, and old necktie, or a handkerchief (make sure it's clean). Never underestimate the value of a good length of tie-able material. The average silk tie that you wore to forensics tournaments in high school can masquerade as a blindfold, a rope for binding or lashing down, and a convenient sweat rag. The one time she asks for light bondage and you can't deliver will teach you the value of just such an implement.
  4. A travel alarm clock. If you don't have an alarm on your cellphone (or you don't have a cellphone), this'll be the lifeline that keeps you from missing that important meeting the next day when you fall asleep that night. It is ALWAYS better to wake up before she does because it spares her from having to wake you up and kick you out.
  5. One change of clothes. I hate nothing more than driving home the next morning wearing the same socks I wore the night before. This'll also prove to be a lifesaver when you sleep through your alarm and have to borrow her shower so you can make it to work on time. If you wear the same clothes you wore the night before, your co-workers WILL know.
  6. Something to leave a note with. If you're doing things right, you're up before she is and you're on your way out. Leave behind something handwritten that specifically references something you did the night before (not the sex) and how much fun you had. Include your number if you really enjoyed yourself - because sometimes these things evolve into regular booty calls. If she's awake already, leave the note somewhere she can find it when you're gone. If it wasn't good, leave a note anyway but omit your number. It's just polite.
All of this will fit in a standard messenger bag. Keep the bag in your car except during the summer months (so you don't overheat the condoms) and pass the thing off as something you still had packed from a business trip earlier in the week or something you use when you go to the gym. Don't get it out until you're certain that you're going to get laid. Bust out the toolbox too soon and they'll start thinking that this is something you do regularly (and they don't need to know that). Forewarned is forearmed, and it really sucks to have to break the rhythm to run to the convenience store for a lubber. Most of all, NEVER EXPECT A GIRL TO BE PREPARED. Wrapping it up is your responsibility.

HER PLACE, IF POSSIBLE. Honestly, you don't know how things are going to turn out. Do you really want her knowing where you live? Also, remember where she lives as it sucks to get kicked out a killer party by that girl who owns the house that you forgot to call after a night of world-rocking.

IF YOU CAN'T PUT OUT, GET OUT. Seriously nice girls will still want to roll around with you if you have a bad case of whiskey-dick. That's because they're being nice. Failing to become aroused after a gal has already agreed to let you have your way with her is about the most insulting thing you can do. If you can't think of some other way to make sure she gets her cookie that she's amicable toward, you're best bet is to retreat into the night.

NO MEANS NO. Sometimes a girl has talked herself into it, then gets the cold feet. Stop whatever the hell you're doing. Chew on her ear a little, and ask if she's sure. Forced penetration is rape, even if she did bring you home with her. She knows what she wants and doesn't want, and stopping when you're told to might at least net you a BJ.

For the ladies, be prepared. For the most part, my gender is lazy and used to being taken care of by women (we all had moms at some point). Be as straightforward as possible. If your husband will be home at nine, wake a brother up in time to get the hell out of dodge. Most importantly, warn him if you have roommates/children/pets, because I love nothing more than walking around a naked and conquering after the fact and bumping into your BFF on her way out of the shower is a recipe for awkward. If you're done, tell him to leave. If it sucked, call me and I'll help you out.

I'll talk about booty calls some other time, as this post is getting long.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

RAVE: Creaky Insomnia

I don't journal online. Most of what I write has some kind of social conscience, deeper meaning, or commentary on basic human nature. Sometimes I get anecdotal, but I'll never post something like "Today I ate food and it was good. Then I pet my cat for three hours while watching randomly televised drivel." You don't want to read that almost as much as I don't want to write it. With that in mind, I'm going to rave about my inability to sleep.

Why a rave? The answer is simple. Your friend and humble narrator is ever-so-slowly going mad from lack of sleep, and yet he cannot find the wrong in that. It has always been a dream of mine to die of some kind of brain-rot disease (syphyillis anyone?) that drives me batshit insane before I buck the ol' kicket. I like the ASC (altered state of consciousness) I get when I can't make myself rest. I like meditating in favor of crashing out. I like that people wonder if I'm okay because I look tired. Most of all, I like pushing past it and getting things done despite my sleep-hating brain.

I can't describe how liberating it is to walk around like everything is Fight Club, especially knowing that it'll only last a few weeks (a month, tops) before I crash out something fierce and things go back to normal. There's this weird sense of detachment, like very few things really matter. Sure, I pay attention when I need to, but I could very well be dreaming right fucking now. You probably have no idea how awesome that really is. If I could cut back on the smoking, I'd stay like this forever.

To end things off, I'll tell you about the other thing I enjoy about insomnia. That's fighting it. I can work out until I'm tired, fuck until I'm tired, or fuck for awhile and then work out. I can go out and find someone to do one of those things with me (usually the middle one). When I engage in strenuous physical activity, I sleep like some mystically contented baby (I know that real babies don't sleep all that soundly, hence the added mysticism). It's the best sleep ever.

Creaky insomnia please release me and let me dream about makin' mad love on the heath, tearing off tights with my teeth. (And don't get me started on the sex dreams.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

RANT: My Culture Doesn't Always Win

I feel sorry for the earth's population,
because so few live in the USA.
At least the foreigners can copy our morality.
They can visit but they cannot stay.
'Cause only precious few can garner the prosperity.
It makes us walk with renewed confidence.
We've got a place to go when we die,
and the architect resides right here.

We've got the American Jesus,
overwhelming millions everyday.

Yup, it's another 9-11 blog. I'm sure you're sick of them by now. I'm sure you've been told a million times in the past six years about how 2974 people died during or as a direct result of the single largest terrorist attack on American soil since Woodstock. I figure if you've read this far that you're hoping I'll say or do something different.

Friends, I intend to deliver on those hopes. Instead of highlighting the tragedy and the loss of life or tooting the horn of my favorite political candidate (Cheney/Cthulu in '08 - why vote for the lesser evil?) I want to preach a message of peace and tolerance in a sea of "Never forgets" and "God Bless the USA"'s.

You see, the United States of America is the greatest country in the world. We enjoy a strength of diversity not found anywhere else in the world. Even living in Kansas, I can bask in the joys of a cultural melting pot - with nationalities, ideas, and ideaologies so varied even I can't keep 'em all straight. I can get that same level of culture and variegated ideals pretty much anywhere I go - 'cause the only culture truly indigenous to this mass of land we all walk on are the Native Americans.

Say what you will about how our freedoms have diminished since the attacks, but remember that is some places in the world you'd be executed for voicing those opinions. Harp on the tragedy of the attacks, but remember that is some countries incidents like this are practically commonplace. Just remember that, for the most part, those people that are different from you are Americans as well. Hate the folks that commit acts of terror, not the culture or country they come from.

America! Fuck yeah!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

RANT: Bushido and the Strong Pimp-Hand

I found myself wishing the other day that everyone who failed me would be inclined to gut themselves in shame. Fortunately, it didn't come true or there'd be a lot of dead sum bitches out there (me included). It did get me thinking about old codes and modes of behavior. I know that I wasn't around for any of them, but I find myself missing 'em nonetheless.

Most old codes of conduct were created to keep badass muthafukkas from just killing less badass folks and taking what they wanted. In Europe, rich guys with estates and armor and horses and mandates from richer guys with more estates and more armor and better horses followed chivalry to avoid solving everything with a strong sword arm.

In ancient (meaning before WWII) Japan, the baddest muthas of them all had to figure out a way to keep all of these hereditary-title warrior-caste badasses in line. I'm sure they had a big damn meeting where they fought a lot about what "Ways of the Warrior" were the most important. In the end, it came down to Courage (not being afraid to do stuff), Honor (doing stuff that is right), Sincerity (saying that stuff like you mean it), Compassion (being nice most of the time, especially to one's lessers and guests), and Loyalty (doing all of that stuff to honor your lord, clan, and ancestors). I imagine a lot of blood spilled on floors over whether or not "One Night Stands With Hawt Geisha" was actually a virtue. "Hatin' on the Ninja" probably came up as well. With the code in place, another samurai could still gut you if you stepped wrong, but he couldn't do it just 'cause you'd smudged his obi.

Flash-forward a little bit to the mean streets of major cities before guns came to the fore. I'm talkin' blacksploitation/Clockwork Orange-style. Whole new sets of societal norms came to the fore to keep folks from just up and killing other folks. It made (and still makes) good sense that you'd step lightly around other ultra-violent people, even if you were ultra-violent yourself. Fighting all the time just gets you dead. Sure, the virtues didn't have fancy names anymore, but there was still a Way. It might've been cane-upside-the-head-do or strong pimp-hand-do, but the Way was intact.

I'm sure there's some kind of code in place now, but for most of my adult life it's been either "avoid conflict" or "resolve with extreme prejudice and little regard for collateral damage." Maybe I'm just not seein' it, or maybe it's gone. Either way, I miss it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

RANT: Feeding Cats

That's Guen. Yup, she's prettier than you. Yup, unless you're a certain Hack, it's very likely that I love her more than I'll ever love you. Kinda makes you feel bad for any kids I might have someday (or that I already had and don't know/remember), that I'll likely love this cat more than even my own seed.

But you see, Guen saved my life once, then later she was a catalyst (sorry for the pun) for saving it. Her and her sisters (RIP Kalibeta), form the basis for one of those clever mantras that I've lived by for a grip, that being "No matter how bad it gets, always feed the cats."

You're probably wondering how Guen saved my life (or you don't care, but I'm going to tell you anyway). Well, a long time ago, I did something dumb. I really wasn't strong enough to recover from the dumb thing I'd done on my own, so I sought escape wherever it could be found. I piled bad stuff on top of dumb stuff until I really didn't want to do any stuff at all. At that point, I tried to snuff it. I look back now and think What a fucking coward. but back then it made perfect sense to me based on how bad I'd let things get. I laid out a plate of Fancy Feast, took 30 pills that definitely weren't meant to be taken thirty at a time, washed them down with some scotch, and went to lay down on my waterbed one last time.

So I'm dozing off. At that dosage, I'd be long gone before anyone would notice, and there wouldn't be anything doing if they had. My eyelids get all heavy-like, and up jumps this little ball of grey-and-brown fluff. She sits down right beside my head and starts howling. It was the mournful kind of howl that made me get out of bed and let her and her sister out of the bathroom when they were too young to be sleeping with a big guy like me. I rolled my head to one side, reached over to pet her, and the delicate orientation that kept my body from purging (If you're going to kill yourself with pills, lay down on your back. Do not look sideways for any reason. The rationale being that even if you pop, you won't be able to expel all of it in time.) was thrown completely out of whack. I puked my guts out over the edge of the bed, and I lived.

I know she's an animal and she didn't mean to. She probably just wanted attention or was gripey that she couldn't eat food as fast as the other cats because she had a cracked hard palate (thanks, non-window-propping-open fuckers). Still, she didn't cry like that unless something was wrong. I don't know what she knew, but she saved me.

After that, I developed an entrepreneurial streak. Those cats were going to eat and eat well as long as they deigned to stay with me. I sold some things I probably shouldn't to some people I probably shouldn't and got into some scrapes and did some more bad shit I really don't want to cop to right now. Through it all (even the convincing of a random junkie that our house was, in fact, completely dry whilst said junkie waved a gun in my mug), the mantra of "feed the cats" kept me going. Hell, after while it even made me a better person (after all, if something happened to me, who would feed them?).

Now that I'm a responsible, new-car-owning managerial-type, I've sorta grown beyond this simple mantra. Sometimes though, I really wish I'd stayed where I was. The simple act of caring for something else was livening, and occasionally, I long for that simplicity again.