August 31, 2010


I've actually been paying a lot of attention to the news, etc. lately, but haven't had the chance to write about it because there's so much to read. However, I have been working on a new song called "We the People" that was inspired by the Tea Party movement and other events. I already have some lyrics and guitar riffs worked out, and it's probably the fastest and thrashiest song I've ever written.

Because I'm so generous, I'm giving you a sneak preview of the chorus lyrics as they stand now (I'm hoping to improve on them later), as well as a MIDI version of the music I have so far (I can't record guitar at the moment because all but one of my instrument cables broke, and I need at least two for recording). As always, constructive criticism is welcome.

First, the music. This starts off with a double verse (I haven't written an intro yet), then goes into the pre-chorus, then the chorus, then a single verse, pre-chorus, and chorus again:

We the People (sample)

And here's the chorus as it stands now. Like I said, I think it can be better, but I'd like to stay with this idea:

Of, by, and for, the people have spoken
Held down no more, our silence is broken
You can't ignore the beast you've created
Change is in store, and you won't escape it


Posted by CD at 11:14 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 21, 2010

Open Letter to My Roommate

Dear unfortunate victim of social conditioning,

If you make the same sound when you sneeze that most people would make if they were shot in the stomach at point blank range, it means you're exaggerating.


- CD

Posted by CD at 12:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2010



What? Why am I not suddenly getting thousands of readers? Aren't those three words in the title THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE IN THE UNIVERSE?

Seriously, I understand the significance of this controversy (if you don't know what I'm referring to, where have you been for the past two weeks?), but bloggers seem to have forgotten that they're allowed to write about other things, too.

Since plenty has been said about it already, I can't add much, but I want to focus on a specific piece of criticism coming from the mosque's defenders.

It seems they're justifying this ridiculous project by saying that it's actually a "community center," not a mosque, even though it just happens to be centered around an Islamic prayer space and is endorsed by Hamas. Therefore, those who object to its presence are simply motivated by their hatred of diversity.

This reminds me of a scene from the Ladder to Heaven episode of South Park. I'll just quote the relevant portion here, and if my position isn't clear enough, I'm not sure what else I can do:

[Heaven. Weapons of mass destruction are seen among the clouds. Saddam is right there shouting directions]

Saddam Hussein: Keep those nitrogen capsules over there by the warheads! Right. Chop-chop. Come on!

[a bright beam of light lands on Saddam, who shields his eyes]

God: Saddam. I've been hearing rumors that you're secretly building weapons of mass destruction up here.

Saddam Hussein: Weapons of mass destruction? Nooo! This is a chocolate chip factory. See?

[displays boxes of "Saddam's Heavenly Chocolate Chips"]

God: It looks like a chemical weapons plant.

Saddam Hussein: Look, God, if I was gonna secretly build a chemical weapons plant, I wouldn't make it look like a chemical weapons plant, would I? I'd make it look like a chocolate chip factory or something.

God: ...Alright, just checking.

[removes the beam of light]

Saddam Hussein: [giggles] Stupid asshole!

[goes back to work]
Posted by CD at 09:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 17, 2010

Blast from the Distant Past

Here's something completely different.

While I was going through my computer zapping any extra data to maximize the space and performance of the new hard drive, I was reminded that I have pretty much every paper I wrote during my academic career saved on here, just for nostalgia's sake.

I don't just mean college, by the way. This stuff goes back ten years. It's actually kind of fun to read some of these and see just how much my writing has improved since then, so I'm giving everyone else the chance now.

In the extended entry are three essays I wrote in early 2000 (9th grade) for various classes (mostly English, I think). They have not been edited in any way other than spacing taking the place of indentation. I have literally dozens more like this, if anyone is interested.

Here we go...

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad was a system used in the mid 1800’s to get slaves in the United States to freedom, often times taking them to Canada, which had no slave laws. This was very important in eliminating slavery, because there were over 3 million slaves in the South in the mid 1800’s. Eventually, laws such as the Fugitive Slave Act made it even more difficult to get slaves to safety. This law made it legal for escaped slaves to be returned to their owners from anywhere, even if they were in a place with no slavery.

The Underground Railroad itself was started slowly and secretly by abolitionists and others who wanted to take a role in the elimination of slavery in the United States. It had no name originally, and was not very well known to people not involved. Eventually, slave owners found out about the operation and gave it the name “Underground Railroad.” They chose this name because it was said that if a slave escaped and made it all the way to the North, they would go “underground” and disappear for good. This also led to the leaders of the Underground Railroad being known as “conductors.”

A very complicated process was involved in helping slaves through the Underground Railroad. The following is just one example of how the system worked. A conductor visited a plantation claiming to be on official business. This made sure the plantation owner was totally unsuspecting and considered the conductor a friend. Once they had a good reputation, the conductor secretly talked with the slaves on the plantation and informed them of the true reason for their visit. A meeting place was arranged for any slave that wanted to be free, and they began a dangerous and often fatal journey from there.

The slaves had to travel through the wilderness on their own for a part of the trip, facing the risk of being caught by slave hunters or any other person in the area that happened to spot them. The Fugitive Slave Act made this part of the journey especially difficult. Eventually the slaves met their conductor once more and were transported in many different ways. They would be carried in a cart under a load of supplies or pose as being the conductor’s property. Sometimes, they would simply receive survival supplies from the conductor and continue on their own.

Eventually, they would have to stop, and since they traveled at night, the slaves needed a place to stay during the day or to spend the night at times. Supporters of the Underground Railroad that were willing to harbor slaves identified their homes by placing a lantern in the window. They also communicated with secret phrases, such as “friend of a friend,” to identify themselves as friends of the movement. Since it was illegal to harbor slaves, these people were especially courageous, sometimes even keeping the slaves in the same house as an anti-abolitionist or a government official capable of arresting them.

By continuing on this path, the slaves were able to reach actual railroads, although often times many died or were arrested and taken back to their owners. Once on the train, they had to hide in boxes to avoid detection. Sometimes, they left one train and boarded another immediately. The process eventually brought them to freedom, usually somewhere in Canada, where they could be safe from slave laws and live normal lives.

The leaders of the Underground Railroad were some of the most dedicated abolitionists, risking their freedom and sometimes their lives to see that the slaves were freed. One of the most well known leaders of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, was so dedicated to the system that she became known as “Moses” among the others for her extreme efforts to liberate all slaves.

All the events here eventually led to the Civil War, which would finally determine the outcome, an end to all slavery. Certainly this would have been much more difficult to accomplish and support without the brave men and women of the Underground Railroad.

Eliminate Television?

A large problem facing this country today is separate opinions about the fate of television. Many people say that if there was no television, students would do better in school and grow up with better morals and values. Many also complain that television is too violent.

In my opinion, these people are simply complaining about something that they could personally control without interfering with other people’s lives. Television is just too important in today’s society to simply eliminate it like it never existed. First of all, television is becoming a larger source of news and other current events information than anything else. Television news broadcasts are overtaking newspapers, and some people would miss important events coverage. Certain opponents of this position say that using television news instead of newspapers can contribute to illiteracy. You still have to be literate to read headlines, certain pieces of information shown on screen, and so on. Another thing provided by television news is weather, which you must be aware of. This can provide constant broadcasts rather than once a day information like newspapers.

Television is also a way for advertisers to have their products heard about in large numbers. As much as people hate commercials, they are a vital part of the media, and it would be hard for many businesses to function without them. Speaking of businesses, television advertising can often give opportunities for jobs or recommend internet sites that can help employment rise. Even the local channels keep people in the area informed of events on a constant, live basis.

As for the issue of violence, if children are being exposed to too much on television today, it is their parents’ responsibility to protect them. If all programming is censored, then people mature enough to handle it and distinguish reality from fiction will be deprived of something they have a right to. People don’t complain about this in movies, because they have specific ratings. This is now being done with television shows, and technology such as the V Chip allows parents to easily block out shows they find offensive.

In conclusion, television is a vital part of society today, and simply eliminating it, in my opinion, would just be taking the easy way out of a problem that can be solved with only a little compromise.

A “Memorable” Vacation

Many vacations begin with expectations that you will have a great time and everything will be perfect. Often times, however, the outcome is slightly different. The recent music trip to Virginia Beach was somewhat similar to this, and I’m sure that everyone has heard of it and everyone who was there will remember it for a long time.

My story began when the buses arrived at the school and I discovered that I could not bring my backpack along with me. Also, it was too big to fit in my locker. Analyzing the situation, I rushed back into the school and put it in the music office, attaching a note that said not to move it. I then ran back out and got on my bus, discovering that my hurry was unnecessary because we sat there for twenty minutes before moving.

The trip wasn’t bad, except that we stayed at one rest stop for about half an hour and didn’t get to eat until after eight. Also, we didn’t actually arrive at the hotel until about 11:45, a bit later than the scheduled time of 9:30. When we got up to the room, there were two beds, a sofa, and the floor, and four of us in the room. I, of course, was assigned the floor, where I would spend the next three nights. Luckily, I was allowed to use the cushions from the couch as a bed.

The next day, we were supposed to take a trip to a nearby naval base, but when we assembled, we found out that our bus had broken a belt (an omen of things to come.) This was actually somewhat good, because we were allowed to stay at the hotel and relax. The rest of the day was uneventful, except for getting lost at the mall we visited for dinner and having to search for our buses for twenty minutes. Also, one member of my group made some coffee at ten at night and kept us up making noise for about two hours.

The next day, nothing happened until around eight at night. We were supposed to go to Norfolk State University to watch a jazz band performance, but sure enough, our bus had broken down again. We were once again allowed to stay at the hotel, but were now confined to our rooms. Also, my roommate made more coffee when we got back. Finally, we all went to sleep at eleven, but our chaperone woke us up at 11:45 to tell us the next day’s itinerary.

As for that next day, we were scheduled to march in a parade at ten in the morning, and had to get up at 5:30 to get there in time. It was about 75 degrees, we had to wear heavy wool uniforms, and our bus was still not working, so we all had to be split up onto different buses and stand in the aisle to compensate for lack of seating. By the end of the parade, we were all sweating so much we practically drowned, and we once again had to load onto the alternate buses. We returned to the hotel, checked out, and went back to the buses, where we waited for half an hour while the lack of seating and the heat caused vicious arguments containing quite a lot of swearing and vulgarity.

The next stop was Busch Gardens, and the day was going well until about 4:30, when I checked my pocket and realized my wallet was missing. I retraced my steps for twenty minutes, then checked with lost and found, then looked again for the rest of the day until a member of my group loaned me some money for dinner. The only good part of the day was the awards ceremony, where Plum won awards in every category it was eligible for, mostly first place, of course. Bus five, which was our broken down bus, was fixed, and we were finally able to get our own seats. We checked in at another hotel and settled in, and I finally got to sleep in a bed.

The next day, it was time to go home. We got on the bus and left for Williamsburg to visit quickly. When it was time to leave, two members of our group didn’t show up at the checkpoint, and when they couldn’t be found, we stayed to eat lunch. The members were finally found, and we left again. The trip home was going okay, but we soon had more trouble. One of the other buses had brake trouble, and we had to stop again. We pulled into a Wal-Mart parking lot and were able to go inside to use the restrooms, then returned to the buses. After about an hour, we finally left again, and traveled at a decent pace until we pulled into a McDonald’s in Breezewood for dinner. Unbeknownst to us, this was bus five’s final destination.

After we ate, we were told that our bus had broken down and they had to have another one sent to bring us home. The other buses left while we waited in the parking lot chanting “refund” for two hours. Around midnight, our new bus finally arrived, and we all got on and soon fell asleep. The ride was uneventful, and we arrived at the school at about 2:30 in the morning. This finally ended the trip we had all been looking forward to and were glad was through. Although so much went wrong, I learned many valuable lessons. Among these are that it is easier to wake up if you are sleeping in a really uncomfortable place, technology cannot always be trusted, and it is hard to spend four days in close proximity to so many of your peers no matter how much you like them.

...I am really reaching for new material right now. Also, that last story is 100% true, and most of it was actually worse than I described it.

Posted by CD at 11:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 16, 2010


As mentioned in the previous post, I got bored while I was computerless and started messing around with my digital camera. The following images are just some of the results. As always, pics can be clicked for larger size.

First, here are some of the many-legged little bastards I spend so much time complaining about here. If I have to look at them, then so do you.

This one was near the ceiling in the living room:

Let's take a closer look:

Have I mentioned that I've now killed 109 110 of these things, and that one wasn't one of them?

Of course, it's not just the big ones, because they reproduce this time of year. Thanks to macro mode, I got some disturbingly detailed pedeling shots. This one was in the hallway:

And here's one that was polite enough to pose for me in the kitchen:

Incidentally, because of centipedes and other annoying creatures, here's what the wall next to my desk looks like:

I really should clean that.

I also ran into my old nemesis, the sac spider, in the living room the other day. Since it was resting, I fired up macro mode again and got these shots:

More in the extended entry, not all pest-related, if you're interested...

I found a fly in the kitchen that had been snagged by a spider and got these pretty cool shots:

Here's a cicada that landed on a window:

And here we have a couple of house spiders, which I really don't mind:

Rounding out the "things that are or were alive" category, here are some woodlice that wandered into one of my traps:

And finally, some miscellaneous shots. First, an awesome sunrise over New York City:

Next, an artistic shot through the peephole of my apartment's front door:

And if you've ever wondered what the top of a pepper shaker looks like really close up, here you go:

This photography stuff is kinda fun.

Posted by CD at 09:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Nightmare is Over

If you heard a huge sigh of relief coming from the direction of New Jersey around 6:15 today, that was probably me. You see, I finally got my iMac back. I'll share the details when I'm done getting all my files back on it.

For the record, I just went 16 days without a computer. For an addict like me, that's a fucking eternity.

Also, despite the fact that they took longer for the repair than they said they would, the West 14th Street Apple Store in Manhattan is pretty awesome. They did the hard drive replacement for free, and they updated my software to the latest version. Good deal.

On another note, now that I have a computer, I have some fun pictures to share that I took in the apartment while I was bored last week. You'll see what I mean.

*Devious laugh*

Posted by CD at 06:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 10, 2010

Still Not Dead

Just thought I should mention that I'm not retiring again. However, my laptop is basically dead, and my iMac is in Manhattan getting a new hard drive installed, so I'm back to using my phone to connect to the Internet. I'll share all the details when I have a computer. In other news, I've now killed 105 centipedes. Five of those were in the past 24 hours. Wooooo.

Posted by CD at 10:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack