What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Rocket, Man.

Spend some time with Shatner. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Lesson in the Physics of Superman Returns

Amanda and I went with our friends John and Maggie to see the new Superman movie. I enjoyed it. It made for a great summer popcorn flick to see on a weekday evening with nothing else to do. Dan Carlson does a really nice job of summing up the movie and all of the vast social implications for The Man of Steel and his legacy in America. Dan speaks highly enough of the movie considering he is a pretty tough critic, but I disagreed that the movie relied too heavily on the earlier Superman movies, which seemed to be his primary complaint. I would say that it relies a sufficient amount. Anyway, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

As I mentioned, Dan felt that the movie's style was more or less an omage or perhaps even a cut-and-paste (with 2006 tech) of the style of Superman I & II. Yes, the tights and all are the classic red, blue and yellow, the little curl is present and even the clothes and cars seem stuck in the 1940s, but, other than the inexplicable internet, cell phones and flat screen televisions, one modern day advancement stuck out very clearly to me above any other. Take a close look at this picture. Do you see those little dimples on his arm. Those little dimples on his suit are the most distinguishing characteristic of the new getup. The director of Superman Returns, Bryan Singer himself, while explaining the small changes they made to the, essentially, unchanged suit, even neglected to note them in this interview. You might be asking yourself, "What does it matter if the suit has dimples or not?" "What is wrong with Kyle that he would forgo discussion about the plot line and inherit messianic qualities attributed to Superman in the new film to talk about the texture of the dang suit?" "Who cares?" The answer to these questions is...long. So, here's the short version. It matter's, but then again it doesn't.

And here's the long version.

Have you ever wondered why a golf ball flies so far? You probably haven't. But let's pretend that you have. It's because of the little dimples that cover the golf ball. For further explaination click here. You see, I was watching a documentary on Discovery Channel about Lance Armstrong and they discussed how the dimples on Lance's jersey cuts down on wind resistance. Clicking here will bring up a window that explains it further and shows a close up of the suit.

So, why would Superman need a suit like Lance Armstrong's? Quite simply, Superman would want as aerodynamic a suit as possible. He flies fast enough sure, but if you could cut a month off of your round trip to Krypton, a flight that would normally take five years, wouldn't you? The dimples can help with that. Of course, that doesn't account for the cape, which has to create drag, slowing him way down. I don't understand the function of the cape. It obviously doesn't aid in flight, as I once thought because he was able to fly without it.

And here we come the even bigger question. Why do they give the new Super-suit the dimple technology if they aren't even going to acknowledge it? Brandon Routh wasn't really flying or in need of superior aerodynamics. If it was only for asthetics then why ignore it?

Also, what's with the whole glasses/no glasses thing. I just can't get past the fact that it is so obviously the same guy.

I guess I recommend Superman Returns. Just try not to overthink it.

The movie get 3/5 bulls.

Pumpkin, the Cutest Cat Ever. Ever!

Sometimes when I'm going number 2 my cat, Pumpkin, likes to curl up in my pants sitting on the floor. He gets all comfy and snuggled up in there and I feel bad when I'm done and I've got to move him. After all, I don't want a cat living in my underwear.

Our cat, Pumpkin, is quite a unique cat. Just in case you have never met Pumpkin he is the Great Blogs of Fire mascot featured at the top of the page. He is constantly if not always doing something absolutely adorable. Sometimes I'll be typing in the computer room and Amanda will freak out, screaming, "Kyle, come here! Hurry! Quick, Kyle! Look at Pumpkin! Look what he's doing!" If I don't go she gets really down if I miss it. So, expecting to see Pumpkin wearing a bowtie and smoking a pipe while writing a letter to the President using perfect cursive with a ballpoint pen and saying "How do you spell incompetent," I get up and move into whatever room is hosting Pumpkin's marvelous feat.

Most likely it's nothing special. He's turned himself up-side-down, or is curled up underneath a blanket with just his face poking out or maybe Amanda's got him wrapped up in a blanket, all swaddled up like a fury-faced baby Jesus. Once he was sitting on the sofa like a person and Amanda (Who had probably propped him up there) thought this was grounds to call me away from the computer. She was right. Every time. I'm a softy for manufactured gooshiness, what can I say?

I've posted this picture before but I like it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Evolution of Love

The other day I was thinking about love and how it comes in different stages and how we learn something in each relationship that we take into the next. It's basically impossible to completely leave one relationship behind just because you've entered a knew one. Even if you want to. Basically, this is how it went for me.

Childhood: Commonly known as puppy love, having a girlfriend in elementary is basically just mimicry of what we see on television and between our parents or aunts, uncles or anyone else. The affection is really still just on the friend level.

adolescence: I dated or obtained a girlfriend for a number of reasons. Probably first was hormones and the desire to just get close to a girl. Dating in high school was just a reaction to what we thought was the social norm when you were attracted to someone. Second dating was for fun, and to have someone to go to dances with. Thirdly, there was an element of status about it. Having a girlfriend was validation that your mom isn't the only one on the planet who thinks you're adorable. The funny thing is that I told at least one girl and maybe more that I loved them. I even remember talking about the future with one, talking about how life would be as a married couple. I never actually believed any of the talk, but I guess it added to the allure that we were creating for ourselves. I know that lots of people do marry their high school sweetheart, but I, for one, can't even imagine it.

Break ups as a teenager, for me, at least, was more of an ego blow than actually heartbreaking. This is especially true early on, like in 6th grade when a girl broke up with me. I swore to everyone, "She beat me to it. I was going to break up with her." Of course, the few romantic relationships that I had after that were ended by me, so I never actually got to be the breakie. Something I later would wish upon myself out of self-loathing.

College Upon entering college and scoping out the landscape of beautiful women, most of them with marriage on the brain (it was the nature of things at a Christian university, a subject which could spawn research literature), I knew right away that I really needed to be careful. There were people getting together within the first couple weeks of being on campus and pledging their undying love for each other. One needed to be careful not to fall too hard too fast in this environment.

The first girl that I dated in college taught me this lesson better than other. She was older than me and ready for something deeper. I was not. Mostly, I recognized my ability to fall in love fast, without really evaluating my true feelings. Not realizing what love really was I lured someone else into a relationship that was doomed. I learned from this to be much more careful.

My second test of the love waters in college put me in the pursuers seat. I wanted a true relationship and she just wanted a friend. I never loved this girl or even claimed to, but when I couldn't emotionally connect with her it drove me crazy. Ending that relationship was mutual and easy. We stayed friends. From this relationship I learned that not all people are emotionally compatible.

Next, I dated a girl that many, including myself, thought would be the one. I loved her, and I told her that. There was a time when I wanted to end it but I was afraid that doing so would sabotage my best chance at someone who love me unconditionally. At least in college. The Christian university setting does a really good job of creating an atmosphere where people, not only want to marry, but want to marry someone from that school. The idea is that after college comes a career, and no time to date, and even if you could date, where would you find a suitable girl. My thoughts were that the pickings were slim after we left the school and that we better find a wife here. So I pushed thoughts of breaking off this relationship into the back of my mind. In doing so I sacrificed a big part of who I was in order to conform to what she was. I fell deeply in love, but in doing so I became someone else. When I did this the unthinkable happened. She moved emotionally from me. This was my big heartbreak. I knew the only recourse was to end the relationship, as hard as that was. The main thing that I learned from that relationship was to not settle. I didn't need someone so bad that I should sacrifice myself.

By this time I was close to leaving college and was settled on graduating on my own and dealing with the significant other question much later. I still wanted to be married but was much more picky now. I was not willing to be with someone I couldn't laugh with or talk to or tell everything to. I wasn't going to mess around with someone who didn't want to give to me as much as I wanted to give to them. Pretty soon, I just decided to stop looking.

As you can imagine, this is when something amazing happened. A lightbulb went off and an opportunity was placed in my lap. There were three conversations. These conversations lasted hours and solidified a notion that had been planted in my brain when I first met her. I had fun with her and she listened to me and she seemed to care about me, but she also wanted me to know her and there was this click. There was nothing that we couldn't handle because here was someone who wasn't going anywhere. Here was someone I could trust because she loved me enough to always be herself. Most of all, she made me more of myself. This is the last phase of love. Someone you can love more than yourself because you can't imagine yourself without her. She truly became, for me, what love was about. It was way more than love, but it was commitment and dependency. Not in a bad way, where every move she or I made was controlled by the other. But, a good way, like we wanted to do things with and for each other. In other relationships I felt I had to be a certain thing to make the relationship happen, but being myself is a prerequisite for this new relationship. It was definitely different. We grew together as we grew individually and then we grew as one. We were still able to grow individually but we never grew apart. She wasn't my girlfriend, she was my best friend.

Of course, I'm talking about Amanda. I'm not writing this as a love letter to her, although she could take it that way if she likes, but more of an evaluation of the evolution of love. First was mimicking, then was experimentation and then came a narrowing down. The narrowing down consists of discovering what love is not, choosing someone who can be loved, and then finally finding out what love really is. No research went into these findings except my own experience. I'm sure that everyone's journey is quite different and I mean in no way to suggest that there is one way to find love. I think, ultimately it comes down to finding the person who makes you feel most yourself. I always thought of it as being as close to God on earth as is possible.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Death of the Internet

Watch this video. I think this is a really important issue for anyone who values the first ammendment.


Major telecommunications companies are spending millions lobbying the U.S. congress to make the Internet into a private network. In political lingo this mean abandoning what is called "Net Neutrality". In common sense terms it's about the government withdrawing our right to Internet Freedom. This V-Doc. (viral documentary) is about the current threat to Internet Freedom and how we can hold on to the open Internet and our right to communicate.

The only way the telecommunications companies will be successful is if we fail to raise awareness about this situation. If people find out about the fact that we are about to lose our Internet freedom there is no way they will allow congress to do this.

This congressional decision will set a monumental precedent, and thus, impact not just U.S. citizens, but citizens all over world.

And then this:

I don't quite understand what all of this implies except that it will give individuals less of a voice. The wonderful disagreements, decention, dialogue and arguments that help edify us all will essential cease or at the very least slow to a crawl. Basically the individuality and freedom that we have to use the internet and share information will be lost if we continue to let big businesses throw their weight around. Sign petitions, call Representatives, find out more about it. I think this issue is huge and I'm kind of sad that I've only heard about this over the last couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

This War

On September 11, like everyone else I was concerned and hurt by all the people that lost their lives. My first reaction, however was pretty skeptical. I guess you could say that I took a pessimistic stance. I didn't think that the event would pull us together as a country, yet on the contrary I was afraid that the reactionary people in power and the masses were going to call for a mass retaliation and that anger would overpower rational thinking. I was afraid that Muslims and those from Middle-Eastern countries would suffer a backlash of racial profiling and discrimination unnecessarily. For the most part I was fairly pleased to see that, in the first months after the attacks Americans responded with reasonable and united actions at those who appeared to truly be the responsible ones. I had been hearing of the atrocities committed by the Taliban in Afghanistan for sometime and was happy to see that the American government was going to do something about it, even though it took the loss of 3000 Americans to get them to pay attention.

I was shocked then, to find out in the early part of 2003 that the Bush administration had set it's sites on Iraq of all countries. It was such an about face in terms of focus that began wondering if we were even pursuing Bin Laden anymore. I still kind of wonder that. I didn't understand the fascination with taking down Saddam Hussein. Sure, he was a horrible dictator. Sure, he had committed atrocities against his own people and had invaded Kuwait in the early 1990s. This was a horrible leader who we could certainly do without. What I didn't understand was why, now when we were still trying to bring the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, were we all of a sudden turning our attention to Saddam. Well, apparently they had Weapons of Mass Destruction. This term has become so incredibly mundane that it doesn't really mean anything anymore. Basically, Iraq had nukes and or biological weapons. But you know that. You know that because Colin Powell showed the whole world at the U.N. in those aerial photos indicating the mobile weapons labs. Rumsfeld told us he knew where they were. He told us exactly their location (a fact he has recently denied.) I never saw it, but who am I? My whole opinion at this time was I hope they know what they're doing, because I don't get it. I didn't feel threatened by Hussein, I didn't feel like we had a strong case for war, and I didn't see why we were all of a sudden bringing out this old issue of Iraq. It's as if we were the jock at the 10 year high school reunion that decided we needed to beat up on the nerd one last time. And this time he was really going to it. This time, he would never get to do science experiments ever again. Of course, this time he was weaker and less prepared and we were stronger and fortified with even better arms. Am I still talking about the Jock/Nerd scenario?

Anyway, the point was that I didn't get it. I even remarked to a co-worker once that I hoped they found WMDs because then we wouldn't seem like idiots to the rest of the world and ruin our good relationships with the countries that opposed our being there. Even if we really thought that Iraq was a threat, which I doubt, why would we risk international good will. If we truly believed what we were trying to spin I think we could have eventually convinced the rest of the world. I also didn't get the American's blind lemming-like behavior during this time. I sort of expected the Republicans to be excited about a regime takeover. Oil, a new market to inundate with Coca-cola and McDonald's restaurants, contracts, contracts, contracts. Couldn't we all see Dick Cheney's mouth watering. I was mostly disappointed, as I often am, with the Democrats, as well as the general public who consider themselves independent thinkers. This was really an example of the Emperor showing off his new clothes. Where was the child? Where was the innocent voice to cry out, "The Emperor's naked!" "There are no Weapons!" It never happened. Of course, what I'm leaving out here is that Bush and his boys were taking full advantage of the goodwill they'd been given over the course of rebuilding and recovering from New York. Our country was still on a unification binder and we like it. Who wanted to rock the boat by opposing the president. As for politicians, who wanted to lose re-election because they were "soft of terrorism," or "an America hater." Anyone against the war was automatically one of these. (Sean Hannity likes to use the phrase, "the Blame America First Crowd." I think this is a great way to describe people who are willing to look inside the U.S. first and evaluate what we did wrong, taking responsibility and not simply being blinded by "Patriotism" which is a misnomer anyway. The kind of "patriotism" these people practice is really "nationalism.")

Now, we have a situation where time has passed and the political left has found an opportunity to pounce on the shortcomings of the right, who was only doing everything they ever wanted but with full consent of the left. I never really bought into the whole "you duped us" routine, mainly because I, myself, was not duped. To anyone who was not willing to accept Bush's weak explanations for war and a sly "just trust us on this one" it seems pretty obvious that the administration just wanted a war, whether it be for revenge or oil. But, with the complete failure of the current operation to show any sign of a justifiable outcome we are now completely polarized. Did we do more harm than good? Should we get out as soon as possible? What is our mission there now, anyway? My opinions on this matter are this, respectively.

Of course we did more harm than good. The idea that we can force democracy down the throats of people is what has gotten us the reputation overseas as arrogant bullies. That and the tendency of Americans that their beer is warm in Germany and that the pizza is no good in Italy. Americanization may be great for businesses and may have gotten us all the envy of the country with the greatest wealth, but it's also given distinction of "infidel." That's a term used by Radical Islam, of course, but my loose understanding of the term can be applied to just about any anti-American sentiment. Europeans, Asians, and even Canadians consider our recent problems all a case of karma. We've overstayed our welcome, in other words, and it's time to reevaluate what makes a country great. Our presence in Iraq has only strengthened the resolve of those who were opposed to us because it is another example of why they were opposed to us in the first place. We can't overthrow any government who's leaders are unjust and oppressive. We'd never be finished. There's too many of them. Plus, many of our own political and economic allies are oppressive governments. For too long we've acted as if we are the only one's on this planet that matter and soon it's going to bite us in butt. Will Iraq ever become a bastion of freedom and democracy and peace for the Middle East. I hope so, but that's beside the point. There's no way to quantify whether it was worth it in terms of lives lost versus years of oppression and what the Iraqi government might have done. The fact of the matter is that we weren't asked to overturn the regime and we didn't have the right. As a country we should follow the golden rule.

Republican's like to call it "Cut and Run" because that emphasizes the impression that Democrats are cowards, which is, of course, bull. I think that Republicans want people to believe that Democrats would have us out of Iraq tomorrow. Some Democrats might, but my impression is that most Democrats want the goal to be to leave Iraq. That doesn't mean we leave today or next week. It means that we set a time table to truly allow the Iraqi government to lead and that we allow them to call the shots as to our presence there. Make it known that we plan to help them stabilize their government, but the ultimate goal is for us to leave it to them. Our continued presence there is only hurting the already shattered American image around the world.

The Bush Administration keeps saying that we can't leave until the job is finished. This is all I've ever heard from them. I don't think I've actually ever heard what "finished" would be. Maybe they have and I missed it, but it seems that Bush has an open ended mindset for our presence in Iraq. This makes absolutely no sense to me. We were there to find WMDs. Okay, not there. Well, no what we are really there to do is liberate the people there. Well, we got them liberated and they were happy until they realized that they were in greater danger than ever. Okay what now? No, I'm asking? What the hell are we doing now?

And I think that sums up my impression of the whole deal. That last sentence in the previous paragraph. There's no plan, there's no accountability, and there's no purpose anymore.

The cynic in me thinks that there is purpose and it is the same as it's always been. Oil. But, we haven't been able to really do anything about that yet, so Bush keeps telling us, "Stay the course." Something inside me tells me that when he says that what he's really saying is, "Don't worry. As soon as this thing blows over oil prices will go back down. Rummy and me got this one covered. Hee, hee, hee!"

Friday, June 16, 2006

New RFMR Entry

Check out my running blog called Run, Fat Man! Run!. I wrote some new stuff there.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Future

In the past month I've posted three times. This, of course will not stand. My only complaint about the summertime without any obligations is that it breeds laziness. I have struggled my entire life with intrinsic motivation. I've always relied on the accountability of others to help me fullfill goals that I want to accomplish. This was true in school and is still true in my job. It keeps me going, for sure. But, when there is no accountability I am guilty of failure which explains my absense from blogging as of late.

I plan to correct this, as blogging has always been something I enjoyed and was kind of proud of keeping up. When I started it I half-way didn't expect to still be blogging a year and some change later. With the end of school and having been out of town every weekend since, I've found that I have a lot to write about but really don't know if I want to write about any of it. I sometimes find myself looking at what I've written and being bored myself. Perhaps I shouldn't care. Ideas have come to me but they usually end up seeming trite for some reason. But, here is a list of topics for upcoming blogs. I'm a list kind of guy. I suppose that I need them to separate what seems jumbled in my head. Something I can look at. Anyway, here it is.

1. Summer plans

2. What I've done so far this summer.

3. Screenplay

4. The war in Iraq

5. A constitutional ban on gay marriage.

6. The Astros

7. Getting in shape (this will be handled more on my other blog, "Run, Fat Man, Run!"

We won't be limited to this, but hopefully I'll get into a routine of some kind. First, I need to go to sleep before 4 a.m.

Monday, June 05, 2006

What's Happenin'?!

Wow. It's been a while. I really don't have a good explaination. I have been out of town a lot, but still. It's just been too long. Here it's summer now and I'm sure I'll have somethings to say. Afterall, without any creative outlet at work I'm bound to be writing a lot this summer. At least that's my plan.

So far this summer I've been to Dallas, Branson, Missouri and New Orleans. The Chocolate City was looking pretty good considering it suffered the worst natural disaster a major U.S. city has ever faced. It still has a lot of work to do, but as for their signiture creepiness and tourists' haven of decadence: still in tact. I'll probably write more later, but I needed to fill in this gap of silence with something. It was starting to bug me that I wasn't writing anything. Okay, that's all for now. I'm making French Onion Soup and watching the Astros Pregame. Let's hope they can turn this thing around. I blame myself. With all the travelling I haven't been spending enough time watching and sending my good vibes. Oh, don't underestimate my vibes. They are fairly powerful.