Saturday, September 1, 2012

Killing Time

"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." - Gandhi
Ah, now this is something I've been meaning to tackle for some time. My opinions on it are rather inconclusive, as they branch in different directions for different specific aspects of the topic.
Initially my opinion was that murder is murder, no matter who commits it first or last. If a parent cracks a child across the face as discipline for getting to a fight at school, what does that prove? "Violence is wrong" is certainly not the message I would glean from it. Yet many figures of so-called authority seem to embrace "Eye for an Eye" punishments, regardless of their obvious hypocrisy. This is true no matter what they call it (if a zoo housed a grizzly bear labeled as an ostrich, would that change said bear's DNA strands?). Death as a punishment for murder gets us nowhere - at least for the sake of this contention. This past school year I asked my Civics & Economics teacher why a killer who kills another killer is then killed by the government, i.e., Jack Ruby (though I think he might not have been put to death). She said that Lee Harvey Oswald hadn't been convicted yet. Still, I have to wonder why having badges and permissions and jurisdiction makes the actions any different on a basic level. This does not count self-defense or mercy, the latter referring to matters such as putting animals to sleep due to hopeless afflictions. I myself once dropped a Banggai cardinalfish into a glass of club soda because it could not swim without being blasted by the water jets in my aquarium; it was a miserable little reef fish and I saw no kinder thing than to end its life in the quickest and most painless way possible. (I'm not getting another of those for a while, if ever; they're so delicate and I'm not an expert reef-keeper!) Killing killers is not effective as a punishment.
However, if a person is a horrible villain, a dangerous one, one who might escape prison, I will now say: Go ahead! Be my guest. There's no reason to stoop to their level - humiliation, torture, and theatrical executions - but a quick and humane death will get rid of them. At least, the individuals; even if wickedness was a solid thing grounded in fact, it will never be purged in my opinion. Even if every killer, rapist, robber, and fraud on the planet were obliterated, that would make the ones who extinguished them take their place. This is a bit like the awesome manga Death Note or my own poem "Bloodrose" (on my old blog) in that exterminating every flawed person in the world would leave humanity to extinction (which would be a hell of a lot better for the other life forms, but not for us). My theory is that if this were to happen, people would soon be scared to do bad things. Good? So what if the purgers decide to go after candy shoplifters, jaywalkers? A first-grader cheating on his spelling test? Ridding the world of evil is impossible if you ask me. That being said, the especially vicious beings are sometimes OK to put six feet under. John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, deals with this sort of thing in a way. Still need to finish that one myself....
Earlier I mentioned mercy killings. Well, even if I wasn't a hyperactive teenager who needs to run around for at least an hour daily, I'd be pretty damn depressed in prison. And the though of never ever getting out? I'd welcome a lethal injection, honestly. So I think that a prisoner oughtn't spend their entire remainder of life in a cell if the easy way out is available. Of course, said convict's views may or may not differ from my own, although I doubt the system would offer them a choice; that doesn't seem like something they'd do in real life, regardless of the events contained in film and literature. I just don't see the point in keeping a surplus when they'll never be released until they're corpses.

Which brings me to yet another contention: population. This is something about which I never seem to tire of ranting, and some people simply don't need to be alive. I realize that sounds cold, but recall what I said two paragraphs ago. Some people are just not going to change, and after so many chances at redemption, I don't think they need to keep breathing. They brought their own fates upon themselves and have no others to blame (except, perhaps, Rick Perry - but that is a different issue involving false convictions and idiotic politicians). I only wonder why it is OK to put down cats and dogs - good ones who haven't harmed a soul - but serial killers and pedophiles can live for years behind bars and be considered victims of murder if such occurs. It implies to me that we are better than our bestial friends. Yes, I am a supporter of animal rights. It does not make sense to me! They don't hang or chair-zap orphans, do they?

So do I support the death penalty? Sort of, sometimes. But I'm not enthusiastic to watch people suffer and die, regardless of what my peers may think.

Friday, August 10, 2012

New Blog! (again)

I am writing this to inform whomever may be reading it that I have changed emails and that my new URL is

- "Lewis"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Last Boy in the Library

Tonight, at the library at which my Printz book club meets, our awesome YA librarian and some others arranged a "Zombie Night" and a "Vampire Night." Next week comes Nosferatu (1922), but this time we watched The Last Man on Earth, starring Vincent Price. It was a very interesting movie, although the "zombies" were apparently vampires with qualities of both monsters. When I first saw the 2007 film I Am Legend (a remake: both of these, as well as the 1971 film The Omega Man, are based on a novel by Richard Matheson), I also thought that the vampires were zombies. It was interesting that vampirism was here a biological infection rather than a demonic curse. More scifi than magic here.

And darn, I need to read Mr. Matheson's book! I believe he also wrote the short story "Mobius," which I did read. Mind blown right there, with the twist at the end of said short story.

In any case, I'd like to thank the librarians and whomever else needs thanking, for I had a very good time.

On the topic of librar-related things, I checked out several things today, mostly graphic novels this time. This includes a couple of Batman things (my first time! - go ahead and shoot me) and the fourth volume of Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN series.

Life is currently good. Oh, and as for the post's title, I was one of the last people to leave after the official closing times. Librarians and I love to chat.

Monday, July 16, 2012

White Tiger Hapkido: Day One

"As much courage as it takes to slay dragons, it takes even more courage to spare them." - Me (not sure if  it's phrased right; does it make sense? I'm still working on it.)

Today I had my first martial arts lesson. Ever. In the past I've intended it but never actually come around to it. Well, today I did and I had a blast.

The place is an indoor facility with a beautiful koi pond between the locker rooms and the area in which we do our exercises. The masters (teachers) are quite nice, and one of them told me today I ought to learn a bit of the Korean language in order to better understand certain aspects of the art of hapkido. That ought to be interesting. For those of you who do not know, hapkido is basically an art of self-defense which focuses on defending but not attacking, as it is to be used for benevolent purposes. Then again, one might want to Google it for a better explanation; I am quite a novice at the moment. Still, I enjoyed my first lesson and look forward to more of them.

On an unrelated note, I recently got rid of much of the useless junk in my bedroom, and it feels so nice, so simple, to live in a cleaner environment. This is how I intend to live, hopefully for good. It's just so much easier. Now I must check to see if that stubborn Chihuahua, Mr. Coco, feels like going for a little walk now (he fled me before, the little booger).

Monday, July 9, 2012

Write Badly

"A writer must write what [he] has to say, not speak it." - Ernest Hemingway

"Here's to failure!" - The Producers (which I still intend to watch; I've seen bits but not the entirety)

Recently I had ample funds to purchase the book The Daily Writer: 366 Meditations to Cultivate a Productive and Meaningful Writing Life by Fred White, published by Writer's Digest, whom I seem to like and trust at the moment (many books about writing are said to be full of bullshit, but I believe there are exceptions). The prompt for July 6 (just a few days ago) instructed the reader to write the most horrid story possible. This is supposed to exaggerate what may be the slightly smaller flaws of said reader's attempts at creating decent fiction. Some of the things I've done in of my crap-story thus far have occurred in ages past, including recent times, such as
  • A cliched subject (vampires, with nothing new to offer)
  • An overly unoriginal opening ("It was a bright and sunny day.")
  • Showing as opposed to telling ("He was the most evil vampire ever," and some lengthy back-story dumps which could use a more subtle spilling; Blake Snyder would have called the latter a "Pope in the Pool." One major flaw from the Lord of the Rings novels is the fact that Mr. Tolkien spelled out way too much to soak in, and in the prologue at that.)
  • Effortless naming of characters (Count Smith. What more can I say? I guess I can say that Count-anything is overdone with vampires, and while Smith may be a legitimate name, I'm planning on having Joneses and Harrises too, without any uncommon names.)
  • Loose ends (I've only got a handwritten journal page filled, if that, and I've already told - not shown - that Count Smith is the only vampire who can go out in sunlight unharmed. And I don't think I'll concoct any sort of reason for why.)
Will I bring this to writer's group this week? Maybe, if none of my other projects prove worthy - two of the three are very much intended to be at least somewhat good, and one was a "catalyst" to kick-start me into writing something, as my plotted works were not, well, fully plotted yet. Still aren't, although the quality of my characters might have improved marginally. So I've gone from trying to produce a single story in my late desperation to juggling four of them.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Is Seth McFarlane funny?

Many people absolutely adore the television show known as Family Guy. Personally, I don't understand it: the jokes seem to be utterly random and possess no real punchlines. South Park had a great example:
  • "Peter, did you do the laundry?"
  • "No, but let's not forget my date to Mexico with Gary Coleman!
...Um, what? Did I just hear that correctly? Because I thought this show was supposed to be comedic. Of course I am referring to Family Guy, as South Park is quite hilarious, if a tad foul. If someone enjoys McFarlane's work, then I won't hold it against them. I just don't see the appeal.

Yet in a recent trailer review for Seth McFarlane's new movie Ted, which to me looks like a similar strain for comedic attention, which it somehow receives, the YouTube comments absolutely blew a fuse when the reviewer said it didn't look good, and claimed that "no one can match up to Seth's bad-ass jokes" and that "anyone who doesn't like [his works] has no sense of humor." The sad thing is, many people are of this rigid closed-mindedness and similar forms of it, and yet a good deal of them are far less vicious in person, when there's no computer screen behind which they may hide as they type trollish spam to other users. In addition to that, it would be a miracle if more than an eighth of them passed basic English classes. It still makes me cringe when people type things like "im gud, u?" If they're in a rush, that's one thing, but people now use text language all the time just out of laziness and stupidity. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a person writes the possessive pronoun "your" in the place of the contraction of "you are" - in other words, I want to add an apostrophe and an "e" along with "an idiot." "You're an idiot." And I have Mr. Nantz to thank for that example, although I was no stranger to the urge then either. But this seems to have become a grammatical tangent. My main point is still that people have a right to opinions, and while I do not always respect the opinions, I generally try to respect the person.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A shout-out to John Williams

To one of my favorite composers. He's eighty years old and, so far as I know, still at it. I am aware that he scored War Horse, which was scarcely half a year ago, and that's a great trait for an artist in any form: to not only create something original, but to create many original things, unique to even each other. This man is amazing!