Weekly Wrap Up #2389

Thoughts for the week. Because thoughts posted on a Friday probably won’t be read and I can’t think of anything else to post on the Instagram. Even I’m tired of posting dog pictures.

– I finished “Suicide of the West”. I do recommend it. The author has an understanding of classical history that makes me wonder what classes I took in school. I vaguely remember learning something about the pilgrims and I think there was something about robber barons and Egyptians. Definitely pyramids. I remember pyramids. The libertarian in me mostly liked the book, but I’m probably not smart enough to know if I really do or not.cruise2

– After swearing I wouldn’t watch another one, I sat through most of the second Jack Reacher movie. Firstly, what the hell did Tom Cruise do to his face? There’s a weird Wayne Newton thing going on. Second, on what planet did someone think Tom Cruise would make a good Jack Reacher?

– Sticking with the movie theme, I finally watched “The Last Jedi”. Brace yourselves Star Wars geeks… it was unwatchable. Horrible. I’m out.

– On the golf front, I’ve spent approximately 83 hours at the range in the last few days. I’ve got the ball going in the air about 40% of the time. Only a few clubs have been thrown. To the ten year old having her first lesson, I apologize for the words you heard. Those are golf words and you’re going to have to learn them at some point.

– Here in Idaho we went from cold and wet to 100 degrees. To all the friends and family we convinced to move here… you actually believed me when I said we don’t have much heat until late August? <insert Dr Evil sinister laugh>

– Several hundred dollars in ice cream (don’t ask) sitting in the freezer is not conducive to the diet. If this is some sort of Zen/Buddhist/navy seal willpower thing, I’ve failed.

– I’ve been mountain biking with the hound quite a bit lately. It’s pretty hard to tire out a Vizsla when you can’t keep up with him (see ice cream note above). mtb dog

– I’m going down the vitamin/supplement road. I saw some stuff on YouTube, so it’s got to be legit. D, B12, apple cider vinegar. I chase it down with bourbon. Not sure which one is making me feel better.

– Been doing the time restricted feeding thing for a bit now. Down 10 pounds. If I could keep my feeding window from being mostly nachos I’d probably be able to ride uphill better. The downhill part is going well (something about mass + velocity).

– Mrs Troutdog and I officially cut the cable cord. Doing the streaming thing only. The interface sucks and I don’t have the patience to find anything to watch. The end result is that I rarely watch TV anymore. I’m not sure what I’m doing with my time now, but it’s not TV.

– I’m developing a serious love/hate relationship with old people. Some of them are the coolest patients and I could spend all day listening to their stories. Some of them are the nastiest human beings you can imagine. Generally, If they weren’t a nice person to begin with and managed to make it to 80+, there is no filter anymore. Don’t be one of those people.

Until next week (unless I win the lottery, turn pro on the senior PGA tour, get picked for Dancing with the Stars, or the zombie apocalypse)…


Dean Vernon Wormer: Here are your grade point averages. Mr. Kroger: two C’s, two D’s, and an F. That’s a 1.2. Congratulations, Kroger. You’re at the top of the Delta pledge class. Mr. Dorfman?

Flounder: [drunk] Hello!

Dean Vernon Wormer: 0.2… Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

I Had A Thought…

The other day I was thinking. Trust me, it doesn’t happen very often and when it does it usually involves BBQ, adult beverages, and delusions of mountain biking greatness. So when an actual thought parachutes down, I pay attention. The last time I had a thought I ended up subscribing to a survivalist box of the month club and a monthly delivery of Japanese snacks. I never said my thoughts were good.

Anyway, I was watching a pretty interesting movie documentary called “Cartel Land” that describes how a Mexican autodefensas group fights back against a ruthless cartel. All the elements you’d think of pertaining to cartels were there -vicious, inhumane acts against the population. Threats to kill family members if you speak out against the cartel. Bribes and payments expected to keep your business from being burnt down. Acting with impunity due to a lack of law enforcement and government corruption from the most local official to the federal level.

Here’s where the thoughts drifted in. The first was that this doesn’t look anything like the Cabo where I enjoy vacationing and drinking fruity adult beverages with tiny umbrellas. Second was that fighting the cartels and the drug war is exactly like what the world faces with ISIS and general Islamic terrorism. How do you fight a threat like that? It’s not conventional. It’s not something an army can solve. Simply bombing drug dealers from the air won’t stop it. The population won’t resist when they’re afraid that aunt Martha and cousin Jo-Bob will be beheaded if you speak out. Without fixing the government corruption and having a basic rule of law and infrastructure that people respect, there’s virtually no way to root out the problem.

My point? I’m not sure. I rarely have one, but in this case I was thinking about the ridiculous statements most of the meat puppets running for office have made regarding terrorism. If your candidate of choice says anything resembling standard military actions against ISIS, ask yourself – would that work to solve the drug and cartel problem in Mexico or Columbia? If not, why would we expect it to work against an insurgency in the middle east?

If your candidate of choice espouses this, then he or she is a bloviating fuckwhistle who has no business in public office. (sorry for the expletive – that’s my new favorite term I stole from somewhere).

My approach is still the time honored, sternly worded letter. The UN has multiple templates you can use. Nothing like some good firm prose to set evil-doers to shaking in their boots. Combine that with the threat of sending in Justin Bieber to do non-stop concert appearances and boom – problem solved!

Monkeys And Script Writing

The infinite monkey theorem states that an infinite number of monkeys in a room with typewriters, given an infinite amount of time, will produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Or Matt Groening. Recently Hollywood has embarked upon an ambitious effort to validate this theory. Fox studios bankrolled flotillas of monkeys, all tethered to tiny little typewriters (the monkeys were unable to manipulate iPads)  in giant air-conditioned warehouses. Thousands of monkey handlers kept the “writers” comfortable with banana smoothies and back rubs while they banged away at their tiny little keys. The result? Ridley Scott’s blockbuster hit Prometheus.

I’d be curious what the public thought of movies in the 60’s or 70’s. Were they bored with The Graduate or Hang ’em High? Today it seems rare when a movie has a great plot that feels original. There seems to be only two development tracks in Hollywood when it comes to big budget movies these days. The first track is a remake of an older film or TV show. Why waste money on a good story when you can re-hash something already done? The second path I’ll call the effects track. Otherwise known as “I have a gazillion dollar special effects budget and have already started blowing shit up (CG of course). The action figure production line in China is already in full swing. Someone should probably write some words to go with all this cool stuff.”

Prometheus felt more like the later. However, they certainly didn’t shy away from the implied tie to the original Alien series. The problem is that the monkeys, while certainly doing their job admirably, have little grasp of plot lines and story continuity. Dozens of plot lines never seemed to come together. Lack of clarity on character motivations. Understandable since monkeys, while seasoned space travelers, have little experience in the corporate world. They also have little understanding of basic human anatomy. Otherwise you wouldn’t have a primary character running, rapeling, and doing basic alien dodging (don’t worry, no spoilers here) mere minutes after major abdominal surgery. Uh, wait this is the future. Never mind. I forget that we’ve solved basic physiology issues in the future.

Oh, and if you’re going to invest a truck-load of cash in a mega star like Charlize Theron you may not want her to deliver lines like a robot. Unless she is. Or is she? Hmmm… Call me crazy, but for all that money I’d think you’d want your big star to have more than five minutes of screen time. And more nearly naked push ups. Just saying.

Rust In The Brain

This writing stuff is hard. It’s obvious that I put my brain on energy conservation mode quite a few years ago. Knocking off the rust and getting it working again has been an interesting process the last few weeks. I frequently have all kinds of ideas for stories, a novel, and blog posts floating around in my head. Usually they appear when I’m nowhere near a computer.  By the time I sit down to write they’ve disappeared. Potentially discouraging, but I’m reminded of a favorite movie scene in “Get Shorty“. Bo Catlett is talking to Chili Palmer, trying to convince him that they could write a screenplay themselves. It’s simple according to Bo: “There’s nothin’ to know. You have an idea, you write down what you wanna say. Then you get somebody to add in the commas and shit where they belong, if you aren’t positive yourself. Maybe fix up the spelling where you have some tricky words… although I’ve seen scripts where I know words weren’t spelled right and there was hardly any commas in it at all. So I don’t think it’s too important. Anyway, you come to the last page you write in ‘Fade out’ and that’s the end, you’re done.”

I’m heartened by that because all the pesky grammar, commas and shit, tend to get in the way of my creative process. I know I have the next great novel in me if I could just stop worrying about punctuation and spelling and stuff.

Speaking of rust in the brain, I find it interesting that I’m less rusty when I first wake up in the morning. I know some folks struggle with basic motor functions like speech and movement until they’ve had multiple cups of coffee and an hour of warming up by the heater. Oddly I’ve never been that way. Be it writing or programming I tend to solve problems and come up with ideas when I sleep. When my eyes open in the morning my brain seems to be clear and sharp. I can’t count the number of times I’ve struggled for hours in the evening on a programing problem or how to fix or build something with little success. Go to bed and I’ll wake up with the answer. Hmmm, maybe this means I should start taking naps during the day? I think I’ll start that today.