I’ve made it to the big-leagues!

For the first time in The Chaos Fold’s history… Godwin’s Law has been invoked.

*sniff* I feel like my baby’s all grown up now…  People are invoking Hitler in my comment threads… Its so beautiful… Oh I promised myself I wouldn’t cry!

via xkcd

via xkcd

A Note to Commenters.

In the wake of my recent traffic boom I’ve been getting some people here who have said some fairly outrageous things.  I want to make crystal-clear my policies regarding commenting, and debate on this site.

They’re both great.  I love comments, and I love debate.  What I don’t love are ad-hominem attacks, copy/pasted propaganda, and hate speech.  The worst has been deleted outright, and that’s the standing policy.  All comments go through me, but I won’t censor anyone purely because they disagree with me.  I joke around a lot.  My tongue is firmly lodged in my cheek.  Don’t take anything you read here too seriously.  If you want to strike up a conversation about politics, religion, whatever you want, I’ll engage you in that conversation, seriously and as a friend.  I welcome all conservatives, social and economic that may view this website, just as I welcome all liberals and moderates.  I’ll not tolerate any of the above from any of them, though, and final judgement on what that means rests with me.

Because if anyone’s going to shit up my website, its going to be me, and that’s final!

The Reviews Are In!

“I enjoyed it, but I got a bit queasy at one point.” -Fearless Commenter Mike on the Atlanta Saga.

“You gave me something to do besides my epically boring history homework.” – Vaastaan of CQY

I for one, think that inducing mild physical discomfort in your audience is one of the greatest things you can do as a writer.  It also fits because that entire trip was laden with mild to severe physical discomfort.

Everyone who reads, be sure to leave feedback, either in the comments or by email/AIM.  I’m going to do quite a few of these things, so I want them to be good.

Why I Am Voting For Barack Obama

I’ve taken my potshots at John McCain and Sarah Palin lately.  Childish, but fun.  I don’t think anyone can really disagree with my assessment in their heart of hearts, that is to say “Ahahahahahahahahahaha”.

I don’t want to joke about that right now, though.  I’ve talked about Barack Obama before, I’ve got his link right over there, obviously I’m a fairly left-leaning person.  I don’t support him because of doctrine, though.  I don’t support him because of his policies or his character or his judgement, though I consider those all positives.

I support him because I didn’t think I could support anyone.  Sure, come November 7th, I’d walk into the voting booth and push the button for whoever the Democratic nominee was.  I’d vote for Governor Warner, help him get elected to the Senate, I’d vote for my congressman Jim Moran.  I’d do it not out of enthusiasm though, or support, but out of desparation.

I’ve grown up in the shadow of the Capital, something I’ve often said drives people insane, and I really think it does.  I’ve said before how in the sixth grade, children of 11 and 12 had to be physically separated during the final vote during the Clinton Impeachment trial.  I was one of about six people who didn’t want to see him thrown out of office, in a class of over thirty.  We sat quietly at the far side of the room.  We knew that Clinton wouldn’t be thrown out of office.  The rest of the class sat huddled around the TV in the corner, jeering at every vote against conviction, as my teacher valiantly tried to stay in control.

That’s what Washington does to you.  It puts you in a box and then ship you to one side or another of the political fence and try to stick you at the extremes.  Black and white.  No gradients, no shades of gray.  People go nuts.  If you’ve ever seen Lewis Black perform, and wonder why he’s so angry, I’ll tell you why.  He grew up in the suburbs of this place just like I did.  And like him, I can’t go a day without seeing something that just pisses me off, and is going on not twenty miles to the east.

So you become cynical.  You become jaded.  At the age of 13, before myself or any of my cohorts could vote, the debacle of the 2000 election unfolded.  Instead of doing what normal 13 year olds might do, play video games, listen to pop music, etc, almost everyone I knew became embattled in the fight.  I remember people making Sore/Loserman pins during art class, or worse, at home, printing them out and wearing them around.  I remember nearly getting in fistfights with some of those people, because thats what it did to me.  Finally, when I was 17, and George W. Bush was re-elected, or elected for the first time depending on who you ask, I watched the attacks, as I walked to a bus stop after school to catch a ride home, I was pretty into the political process.  I didn’t have a car, still don’t.  I wore a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on my messenger bag.  As I walked, some people would honk and cheer.  Others would honk and jeer.  Still others would stop and sneer.  I’m not lying.  This is just what the place does to you.

Finally, I had enough.  I wasn’t even old enough to vote and I was tired of the whole thing.  I didn’t think anybody could restore the most basic levels of sanity to my city, let alone my country.  I didn’t think anyone could pierce that shell of cynicism, the malaise of the disaffected.  Then, as I watched the primary campaigns much as Jane Goodall might observe the chimps, I started to pay more attention to what Barack Obama was saying.  More specifically I started to pay attention to the people around him while he was speaking.  The crowds, the grizzled veterans of political wars past who sat behind him and smiled, smiles that said “He’s saying what I can’t put into words”.  I saw him go from town to town, city to city, and the people around him didn’t seem caught up in “Obamamania”.   They seemed to be proud of their country again.  They seemed to be free of that cynicism, if only for a moment.  They seemed to believe in him.  They put their trust in him.  Slowly I started to get that smile as I heard him speak.  I started to realize that the maniacs weren’t the ones ecstatically cheering his every rhetorical flourish, but the pundits who were supposed to know how everything works.  Their constant squabbling, infantile, pointless.

They were just as encased in cynicism as I was.  Some of them, even started to say what they really thought.  Hell, they said what they really thought and felt and got mocked for it by their co-workers.

For all his policy proposals and oratorical talent, I don’t support Barack Obama for that.  I support him because he can crack open even the most hardened of cynics.  He can make them feel love for their country, their country’s promise.  I’ve gone from someone who was ashamed to be an American to someone who will stand up and debate a total stranger if they talk down to my country.  Its that feeling that more of us need to have.

At the very least, I’d know I’m not the last sane man left in Washington anymore.

Fast.

So thanks to Ragamuffin Soul and The Epic Legends, the blag has exploded.  My page views chart looks lewd in its verticality.

#4 on WordPress.com’s fastest growing blogs and still counting.  Is this the Blog equivalent of critical mass?  Is the Chaos Fold about to rupture and demolish all the tubes with its awesome?  Time will tell.  In any case, I’m enjoying the ride.  Check out the Atlanta story!  I put a lot of time into it and I want to know if its any good.

The Epic Legends – Atlanta – Epilogue

The story’s been told, the first legend put to print.

Here’s what happened after.

Me and the girl in the next seat never really happened as a couple.  Our relationship began and ended on that bus.  Still, its brevity and its purity changed my whole perspective on life and love.  I learned that hardship usually has a reward, even if the only reward is coming out of it stronger.  I learned how to talk to women.  I learned I’m a good storyteller.  I learned I wasn’t the hideous unlovable monster I’d tend to see in the mirror.  Not a month later, another legend would begin.  That story’s coming up one day, too.

Tony, who I’d known since I was a child fulfilled his childhood dream and became a firefighter.  It was the only job he ever wanted and he got it, and he’s damn good at it.  Tony’s a good guy.

Colin, the vile womanizer, happened to have a girlfriend waiting back in Northern Virginia who was none too pleased about what went on in Atlanta and on that bus.  Karma’s a bitch, and so’s his girlfriend when cheated on.  I have, to this day, not seen a more thorough ass-whooping of any man by any woman, or man for that matter.

Sergio graduated high school that year.  Turns out he had a twin brother.  I was mortified.  He was also 21 years old.

As for me, I went on to perform my first spoken word routine a few days after my return, emboldened by my newly-discovered talent.  For one class period, with the permission of the involved teachers I stood before the gathered students, many of them far better friends (and my future first-girlfriend among them) who laughed raucously, applauded, and set me on my course in life, to become a writer.  I completed my first screenplay two years later.

The events of that trip didn’t make me who I am, but their contribution was great.  Like anyone, I’m a sum of my experiences.  The next Epic Legend, “Busch Gardens I” takes place in the year 2000, and is not only my first encounter with a dread roller coaster, but the first major step on my journey to the great fleeting now.

Stay tuned.

The Epic Legends – Atlanta Day Three

The conclusion of the first installment in my new autobiographical-comedic-prose series “The Epic Legends” nears its conclusion.  I was in Atlanta.  I had won the rights to the bed after a day that was both triumphal and trying.  As a 15-year-old me once remarked, it was a turning point.  I was determined to stick it out, to deal with the mental hardship of the day, and the uncertainty of the next.  My singing was done, my job, that is to say, completed.  Now it was a personal voyage.

And now, Day 3, the final day of the Atlanta Saga.

I awoke to a foreign alarm clock, a loud, nasty thing I knew didn’t belong to me.  Four men packed into a one-bed hotel room was a typical scenario for this type of venture, I had always known.  Still, the musk of three men, and one sasquatch in a single cramped room was not to be underestimated.  Still in the hypnotic haze of my prescriptions I dragged my form into the shower, a shower I quickly discovered was broken.

Broken, and incapable of producing anything but boiling streams of lava.  I believe laws of thermodynamics were broken in that liquid did indeed hit my flesh, and sear it.  In any reasonable universe water of that temperature would never make it two feet without completely turning into steam.

Five minutes in, the situation looked grim.  Fates seemed aligned against me.  I was barely awake and already I was screaming in pain.  Usually that doesn’t happen until a few hours in!  Showering at relativistic-speeds, I threw on my civilian garb and rushed down to the lobby, perhaps to talk to a friend, or maybe even my new lady-friend.  Mostly, though, I was down for another omlette.

They were really good!  Not as good as the watermelon soda, mind you, but damn good nonetheless.  I settled into one of the many chairs in the lobby and ate my breakfast, knowing full-well that the day ahead of me was going to be a rough one.  We were bound for Six Flags Amusement Park.  The final “fun” moment of our great journey, and the location at which the judges of this particular competition would present the various awards.

After an uneventful waking hour, we boarded our buses one more time.  I said my hellos to the girl to my right.  Small talk was made.

“How’d you sleep?”

“Terribly”

“Me too!  God, I wish I had my medicine”

“I wish I didn’t have my medicine…”

We talked about various things during the abnormally-long bus ride.  Small things.  Things you don’t care about, but at the same time things you do care about.  There was a connection, however slight, however threadbare, it was there.

Eventually our four-bus fleet arrived at the gates of Six Flags.  The name almost inspires fear.  At least for me it does, though that could be because of what happened within its gates.  As if it were some unassailable stronghold of a mighty nation, six proud flags adorning the high parapets.  I emerged with my group.  Tony I’d known since childhood.  Colin was a sleazy ladies’ man, but fairly nice to me.  Sergio was a yeti.  When we got inside, almost immediately three of us spotted an old white wooden roller coaster.  Something nearly ancient, but somehow still functional.  I’d been on roller coasters twice before, and both of those occasions were marked by extreme profanity and mortal fear.  I hate roller coasters.  Whenever I go on one I say to the people who drag me on it, with their promises of “Come on, it’ll be fun!” that they are filthy, filthy liars.  I’ve invoked various people’s mothers in unkind ways.  It is never pretty.  Did you know they have microphones on those rollercoasters?  They do.  That’s why I almost got thrown out of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg after screaming “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK” from beginning to end.

They apparently don’t like those screams.  “Woo” is fine.  “Aah!” is fine.  “Fuuuuck!” is not fine.  Protip.

I was not one of the people who saw the roller coaster.  In fact, I pretended not to see it.  I pretended it did not exist.  Nonetheless, I was once more dragged onto one of these fear-engines.  As I neared the entry, hearing the screams and seeing the dazed expressions of the adrenaline-freaks who were ahead of us filled me with trepidation.  At one point I believe I had to be restrained, due to my attempt to flee.

In any case I boarded the coaster.  I was fastened in a seat.  Locks were locked.  My fate was set.  Now, unlike the previous roller coaster I had been on, This one was not modern, the drops were shorter and shallower, however, due to its wooden structure, it was rickety.  You could feel vibrations.  As I accelerated past what I percieved to be the speed of sound, I soon realized a very intelligent design function of roller coasters.  The G-Forces prevent you from projectile-vomiting.  That omlette tried, but my dear friend gravity saved my breakfast, and any number of consequences.

Harrowed by my close-call with high-velocity hurling, I vowed once again, with full fucking fury of “fuck” that I would not go on one of those fucking death machines again.  I would wait outside them while the others tried them.  I would sit, and wait.

Soon, these erstwhile friends found some sort of death-tower that simulates freefall and near-death.  I could not see the appeal in such an invention and had suspicions that much like Fanta, it found its origins in Nazi Germany.  They tried, unsuccessfully to recruit me into their death cult, and ride this contraption.  I waited outside.  And I waited.  And I waited more.  I saw group after group take the ride, and group after group emerge.  I did not, however, see my friends emerge.  There was no blood evident at the scene so I came to another conclusion.  The proper conclusion.

I had been ditched!  And I was out of money!  With three hours left to kill!  And possibly three people, I wasn’t really sure, but I was pissed off!  I walked sheepishly around this foreign amusement park, statues of superheroes regarded me with disdain.  I asked anyone that I recognized whether they’d seen my cohorts.  Some of them had, and would point me in a direction where I would inevitably find nothing.  Time passed.

My anger turned to regret.  I suddenly thought there wasn’t anything to conquer here, no metaphorical mountain, no mental barriers to be shattered.  I felt like an idiot.  Then I came upon a couple of girls from our choral group.  They recognized me and allowed me to travel along with them.  I regaled them with stories not unlike this one, and they enjoyed them.  Suddenly my regret wasn’t as profound.  I was performing, as it were.  Acting the part of a contented youth.  I was far from it, but for a while it didn’t seem that out of reach.

Luckily as they had no interest in roller coasters or Nazi death machines, we were able to walk around in peace and do, well, not much of anything.  Just enough to pass the time.  Mostly I told stories and they’d listen, interject.  I figured out I was pretty good at this whole storytelling thing.  I had fun.  I was lonely, too.  Of course as every young man of 15 who’s never had any sort of romantic connection with their preferred partner will tell you, its a really shitty feeling.  There are worse, I’d learn, but again, that’s a story for another day.

The hour of the assembly came.  We made our way to the picnic area where the array of competing choirs would soon arrange for the ceremony.  There was food, thankfully.  Less thankfully the food was terrible, hot dogs and baked beans, possibly two of my least-favorite dishes in all of existence.  The lack of watermelon soda was noticeable, as it would be at every single meal to follow.  My god that shit was good.

The treacherous Colin returned with Tony and Cousin It, apologizing for missing me.  I could tell Colin was bullshitting me.  It was the end of my friendship with him.  Tony apologized, Tony’s a good man.  Tony’s good people.  I talked with a number of people.  Casually, to one I mentioned my loneliness as they prattled on about their girlfriend or whoever it was.  No good advice was given.  No good advice really can be given, the whole idea is so foreign that you’ll never really get it until you get it by nature.  I ate the cheap, crappy food and awaited the ceremony.

We won a couple awards.  Our women’s choir won top prize in their category, the men’s choir came in third.  The mixed chorus was also third.  I had no personal stake in it anyway, and was honestly glad to see it over.  It meant I had only one last trial to endure.  The journey home.  I made sure to get my medication this time.  One night of neurotic hell was more than enough for me to learn that lesson.

We had to walk an unreasonably long distance to get to our buses, buses that decided to park about a mile and a half away, at the farthest reaches of the farthest possible parking lot, which stood at the farthest end of the park.  Climbing over the fence in the picnic area would have been a quicker journey.

Still, I was oddly contented.  Maybe I knew what would happen next.  Maybe I was just too tired to feel like crap.  In any case we boarded the bus and another movie I hate started to play, this time it was “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.  Luckily for me, the pretty young lady in the seat next to me who I’d been flirting with was not much of a fan either, and we proceeded to ruin the film for the objects of our mutual antipathy, Colin and his squeeze in the seats behind us.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 style.

After the movie ended, mercifully, they’d run out of drivel to show us, so it was lights out.  Then something kind of spectacular happened.  I sheepishly turned to the girl next to me, said “goodnight” and put my head against the window and the small pillow I’d brought with me.  It was hard to sleep, the rumbling of the engine pulsed through my skull like a jackhammer, still, not to mention the noise.  All of a sudden I heard her whisper to me.

“Hey, do you mind if I lean on you to get some sleep?”

“No!  No of course not…”

And so she did.  Not five minutes after that I felt a small kiss on my cheek.  She wrapped her arms around me and went to sleep.  And so did I.  We stayed that way the entire night.  And suddenly all that doubt, all that pessimism and loneliness and fear just drifted off.  I’d won.  The mountain was climbed, the barrier broken.

It was the best night’s sleep I ever had.