Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in O'Keefe's Briefs(tm) are not necessarily those of The Management. In fact, they are very likely not even the views and opinions of the writer, the typeface designer, god or the President of the United States. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who shares the extraordinary worldview expressed below, and should you, run. Far and fast. The Management would also like to point out that any references or similarities to any persons living, dead, or undead are entirely coincidental since we all know there are no such things as zombies anyhow.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The 2015 Kwahanzaakahmas Calendar

By some quirk of our calendar and mathematics, this year's Kwahanzaakahmas is pretty much identical to 2009's.
 
Sunday, December 20Twenny
Monday, December 21Yule
Tuesday, December 22Langeaufwiedersehenssagennacht
Wednesday, December 23Festivus
Thursday, December 24Christmas Eve
Friday, December 25Christmas Day
Saturday, December 26Boxing Day
Sunday, December 27Concession Sunday
Monday, December 28The Feast of San Dimas - (Bengals at Broncos 8:30EST)
Tuesday, December 29Ante Penultima Nocta
Wednesday, December 30Hogmanay Eve
Thursday, December 31New Year's Eve

Which team am I rooting for on the Feast of San Dimas? As I will be in Ohio at the time, I'm going with the Bengals. When in Rome... Also they have cooler helmets.

Remember: Be excellent to one another.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

tl;dr

Reading can be a lot of work, and with all the news happening all the time it can be difficult for one to keep up on current affairs. Luckily you have me. Here are a few helpful definitions of words often found in today's headlines1.

Immigrant - Infer this to mean two things. Firstly the person in question is in the country illegally. Secondly, that person has brown skin. A.K.A. Mexican.
Gunman/Shooter - White guy (with a gun which he has just used, obviously. It's safe to assume male) Probably is acting alone, has mental health issues
Thug - Black guy (may or may not have a gun, things happen so quickly and it was dark out)
Terrorist - Brown guy, Muslim
Obama***  - Any word containing the President's name means socialism. You know, probably. No one has actually looked up the definition of socialism lately.
Entitlement - Free shit for poors that don't deserve it. You pay for it directly out of your paycheck.

I can't think of any more right now, but feel free to drop a confusing word in the comments and I'll let you know what it means.

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1 - I just made a typo "headlies" (emphasis added). I almost just left it.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sentimental Fool That I Am

Like autumn leaves in a gale, I send my words out into the future. Forgive me, I'm feeling a little sappy. I'll get over it.

So the other day I set up an email for my daughter. I haven't told her yet, she can't read any way so I doubt she will care much. Now when the mood strikes I can send her an email. Maybe some random thought I wanted to share. Something I know she is too young for now, but I will likely forget. Like I said. I'm feeling a little sappy. But I look around at the world we live in and hope that it isn't actually getting worse, but I am merely more aware. I hope she is as ignorant of how shitty people are to one another as I was (until far later in my life than I care to admit.)

There you have it. I made an email for my daughter so I can send her thoughts and advice as I feel fit. I'll give her the address and password when she's older, so she can read all of the words I've sent to her over the years, and perhaps she can figure out how goddamned much I lover her.  Listen, the world needs a little bit of sappiness from time to time. Besides, maybe I can spin this into a career as a Mommy-blogger, but like a dad. So yeah, a Daddy-blogger.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

On Music and Memory

Pigface's album Fook is the soundtrack to the loneliest period of my life. I say this not to elicit any emotional response empathetic or otherwise from you, dear reader. It is merely a statement of fact. Hearing its tracks some two decades later instills a powerful sense of sentimentality, that sepia tone that memory often accords with time. Warm, comforting. Contrary to what you might think, I feel tremendous joy when one of the tracks comes up on my MP3 player during my commute1.

This morning, "Alles ist Mein" came on and I was transported back in time. The link between the music and memory is so powerful. I was sitting on the floor at the foot of my bed, playing Mortal Kombat 2, using Sub-Zero2, Pigface blaring on the stereo behind me. I remember the smell of the room, the quality of the darkness - and here I say darkness not out of any sense of melodrama, but only to set the scene as I would often play at night with the lights out. The suburban darkness has a quality to it, a stillness all its own.


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1 - Interesting fact: I have all of my music on random shuffle always. I often enjoy the little serendipities that occur. It's interesting to me, jerk.
2 - Though my favorite character to play was Scorpion.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Narrow House

So, I've been reading some Poe lately, and ran across the metaphor "the narrow house" which he used in reference to a coffin. Ah, Edgar! So morose, so beautiful. What a fantastic turn of phrase!

The piece was about premature interment. It was one of his journalistic works in which he recounts a few famous cases of people being buried alive, and then recounts his own experience. Turns out Poe probably suffered from sleep paralysis if the narrative is to be believed. Though, I think there is some embellishment on his part to imbue some sensationalism. He was, after all, getting paid by the word.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Fucking Genius Proposal

Screw modesty1. Every day - it's more pointedly obvious now that Facebook exists to show us what's on others' minds - anti-intellectualism is becoming more prevalent in our society. Beyond the norm, it's becoming the ideal. We are on the precipice, at a crossroads, in the general vicinity of some other dire analogy!

Mike Judge's film Idiocracy is coming to pass. Now, I hate to be a doomsayer, but the end is nigh and it has what plants crave2.

While people with higher IQs tend to wait longer to breed and have fewer children, the slackjawed, moronity is reproducing at an alarming rate. Call me some sort of Ivory Tower3 East Coast intellectual if you must. That's fine.

I propose a movement in practice, identical to the Quiverfull movement, though instead of breeding Christian warriors for the apocalyptic final battle, breeding children from parents of higher intellect to counter-balance the quantity of ignorami being produced. Obviously, ideologically this is the antithesis.

"But Don! *gasp* This sounds a little bit like eugenics and you know who else liked eugenics!" You might be thinking or even muttering4. Now, let's be crystal clear here, I am not proposing that we sterilize anyone. Not at all.

What I am proposing, and I think most intelligent people can get on board with this, is more nerds fucking. Come on nerds, find yourself another nerd and bone down with extreme prejudice. The future of mankind is counting on you. We need your sperm and ovum and uteri, and of course your big beautiful brains. I'm certain that the irresponsibility of deliberately over-populating the world will be mitigated by all the newly-created geniuses ready to tackle the difficult challenges ahead. You know, like over-population.

Breed early, breed often, intelligencia! Grad school is already dragging on, why not birth a few kids during the process? Trust me, your adviser understands - he or she does have to advise your classmates after all.

Down with the nuclear family! Up with the quantum family! Now is the time! Before it's too late!

Give us you pent up gametes yearning to breed free!

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1 - Sorry, Jonathan!
2 - Electrolytes.
3 - This phrase never ceases to bring to mind the tower of the princess in The Never-Ending Story. JUST SAY HER FUCKING NAME ALREADY, BASTIAN!
4 - Hey, I think aloud sometimes, too. I'm not judging. I mean, I am judging the Godwining there though. You're better than that.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Nocturnal Omissions

It was the shortest brunch menu I had ever seen. There were something like five main course options and omelets. A lot of omelets. The main courses didn't make much sense either. The point is, though I could read the menu.

I know you're impressed, but the thing is, this was in a dream. Common 'wisdom' states that you can't read in your dreams, but that's not true for me. In fact that's when I'm most lucidly dreaming. When I'm reading. It gets meta for me. I'm at once reading something, and also thinking "I thought you weren't supposed to be able to read in your dreams." It kinda breaks immersion for me. On the bright side, there aren't too many nightmares or sex dreams that also involve reading.

On more thought on dreaming. OK perhaps two. I don't often remember my dreams. They are so ephemeral, wisps of smoke. When I awake I am perhaps only aware that I had had a dream, and a brief impression of it. Then it's gone. The effect is most powerful when my alarm pulls me from the middle of a dream. And that usually portends a rough day. I wonder why that is, when you awake in the middle of the dream, are you so tired for the rest of the day - out of step? Or maybe it's just me.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Found: Poetry, Buried in Literature, Freed

There's something elegant about found poetry. It's the art of redaction or even the art in redaction if you want. The preposition is up to you. Creating found poetry is unlike writing and more sculpture. The artist removes bits and pieces here and there, a chunk off of the side, perhaps, to reveal something new that was at the same time, there all along.

In a way, it is also an act of vandalism. Graffiti. The first writer labored over the creation of the piece. A labor of love? Hate? Is there a difference to a writer? Regardless, the creation was his, and it was as perfect as he knew how to make it.  Then, along comes this vandal, this Visigoth of Words who makes his gleeful mark on the original. Changing it, making something new and ofttimes no less beautiful or beloved.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hey, There's Food in the Conference Room

Conan, what is best in life?

FREE SANDWICHES IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM!

Man, there is nothing better than free second-lunch. Especially around 3:30 in the afternoon. Wait. Is that pesto on this sandwich? Yes. Not bad for meeting leftovers, I must say. Oooh and Ruffles potato chips. Nice touch catering. Nice touch indeed. Odd that no one touched the salad. Why is that? Do people feel that since they are getting free food, then they should go all out? Like: Hey, screw eating healthily, this is FREE FOOD.

What is this? The depression?

Listen, I'll be the first to admit I have atrocious eating habits1. And wasteful? Yup, that too. I throw all sorts of food out simply because I don't want it.  I know. I'm a complicated individual. Also that whole "kids starving in Africa or Japan or wherever-that's-not-here" enticement never really held weight for me. You know, I just don't see how my overeating is going to alleviate their hunger. "Oh, no more rice for me, mama; some American kid is doing his damnedest to acquire Type II Diabetes. Thank you, you fat bastard. Thank you." Do I want you to send them my leftovers? I mean, you can if you want. I don't think that's going to help either. Aside from being a waste of money, the food will probably be inedible by the time it arrives.

Just sayin'.

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1 - I believe that the cuter the animal the tastier it is. One of my great regrets in life is not trying guinea pig while I was in Peru. Does that make me a horrible person? Wrong question, since I don't care.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Now VR is R

My father's a huge science fiction fan, though you couldn't tell just by meeting him. He doesn't wear a Starfleet lapel pin, or taped glasses, or exhibit any of the other stereotypical nerd accouterments. Also, he can be a touch technophobic - even a bit of a Luddite at times. I think these traits stem from not wanting to be disappointed.

Space travel was happening for the first time in history during his formative years. Men. In Space! ON THE MOON! I dream of a day when a human will walk on Mars, but all of that builds on what has come before.

The science fiction of the 50s, 60s, and 70s (and to a greater extent all of those fantastic pulp novels that preceded) had a lot of far-out ideas. It made a lot of promises1. It was all about what technological marvels were inevitable - a straight moon-shot extrapolation, or at least it seemed so at the time.

And this brings me to the $10 cardboard viewer kit I bought last week. This is the kind of thing that was science fiction even a mere decade or two ago, and it's exactly the kind of thing my dad will really think is neat. I can't wait to show it to him, and say, "Hold these cardboard goggles up to your face and try not to bump into anything."

Essentially, the experience is to the stereograph what the motion picture was to the photograph. Remember the View Master you had as a kid? Imagine instead of putting a cardboard wheel into it, you put your phone in, and you enter instead, a movie.

I haven't had much of a chance to explore many apps yet, but what I have seen is amazing.  Vertiginous at times. Sheer joy.

You see, as I've gotten older I've come to realize: It's not the things, it's the experiences that are important. And I look forward to giving my dad the gift of a future promised, a promise fulfilled.

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1 - Still waiting on my flying car! OK- not really. People can't seem to navigate successfully en mass in two dimensions, in three the fatalities would be astronomical.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Future Was Now

So here's the dichotomy.

1) More terror attacks. Social media is bathed in Red, White, and Blue; or rather Rouge,Blanc, et Bleue in this case. And everyone screaming "but what about Beirut? Why is no one talking about Beirut." Two questions please. First, if no one is mentioning Beirut, how do you know to whine about it? And two, are you really surprised that Western media is focusing its reporting on an attack in the West?

2) My cardboard VR viewer arrived today. With only this flimsy, $10 cardboard viewer and a free app from the Play Store, the paradigm has shifted. I don't know what tomorrow may bring, but it's here. The future is arrived.

I watch my daughter walk around the room (into the couch and then try to climb it) with the viewer pressed to her face. I read my social media and wonder at the blood-lust, the misplaced blame, and what is sure to be the ugly ramifications of same. And I wonder: What kind of a world is this? We are sliding in to a future I believe no Science Fiction has yet predicted.

The utopian and distopian side by side. The Janus-faced present.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

But Not Like Like

As someone who has spent up to a half an hour pouring over a thesaurus looking for a word with exactly the right flavor, I am astounded at the heavy lifting Facebook's "Like" button accomplishes1.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to notice or even write about the versatility of the ubiquitous little 'thumbs-up.' It can mean anything from "Hey there, hot stuff!" to "Well, that is one darn cute kiddo you got there." to "I agree" or even "I AGREE!" to a conveyance of empathy or sympathy or outrage to "This meme made me laugh." All that, and more, and all with a click of the mouse.

Look down below this post. There are -essentially- four flavors of 'Like2' for you to choose from. I can't say whether or not this is better for literacy or worse, or if it's just merely another phase of communication produced by the accelerated world of digital life. Is it a fad? Maybe. Maybe not.

But I gotta say, I like it.


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1 - Originally I had typed "pulls off," but I knew that didn't feel right.
2 - Feel free to click one, and let me know you love me. I also accept cash provided the bills are in small denominations with non-sequential serial numbers.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Big Hero Sex

After yesterday's MRA joke I got to thinking. Being the father to a daughter you start to look at the world a little differently. And some days you just find yourself thinking "Wow! How did I get here?"

There has been a lot of hoopla surrounding merchandising lately. Specifically around The Avengers toys which seem to ignore Black Widow1. There are plenty of examples, but here's another testimony to add to the indictment.

My daughter started school in September, as kids do, and that meant it was time for a new backpack. So there we were looking at backpacks, and among the pink fairy and princess and "girls" backpacks, there really wasn't much variety. Now, my daughter loves that crap, so I was pretty surprised when she picked out a Big Hero 6 bag.

We had recently seen the movie, so it must have been on her mind. Anyway, it was in the adjacent "boys" section of backpacks. I doubt she noticed, or cared about the separation of boys and girls bags. A few days later, I'm looking at this Big Hero 6 bag and I realize there are only 4 of the heroes on it. The male heroes. They cut the female heroes.

And that's where it starts. The girls aren't as important as the boys, but who cares since it's a boy's bag? What's the big deal? I care. For one thing my daughter owns it, and I am reasonably sure that she's a girl. The message is subtle, yet clear: Boys are more important.

Emblazoned upon something as seemingly innocuous as a backpack! This bias is pervasive and children pick up on these things. Don't kid yourself that they don't.

I just think it's odd from a company that makes so much money off of princesses2.

Now, I have always considered myself a feminist in as much as equality should be a given, and I am hopeful that we are living in a nascent post-feminist world. It's just things like this, the little things. These bug me, and I notice them now. More than I did before, certainly. Maybe, and I hope it's true, maybe it's because these represent the final crumbs. Aberrations that stand out all the more due to their anachronistic overtones. I hope.

After all, Captain America needs his buddy: Black Widow.

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1 - I was in the comic shop today discussing Winter Soldier, and how it's a great buddy movie.
2 - Or maybe not if you consider the commodification of submissive stereotypes etc... I should probably go back and dig more at that idea.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Spoiler Alert

I know what you're thinking: Don, rape jokes are never funny.

Really? That's what you're thinking? Wow. Moving along.

In just over one month Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens comes out. Am I excited? You bet. Episodes I, II, & III were such a let down, but from what I've seen, VII looks legit.

From what I've seen - and that's the problem.

The problem is you, The Internet. I can't log into a single website or social network without seeing a link to some new footage with possible spoilers, toys with possible spoilers, fan theories with possible spoilers. I'm worn out!

The release date is almost here, but I'm afraid I'll be sick of the movie before the first reel finishes. And let's not even address the fact that there's always that one guy1 who has to see the very first showing, you know the guy - the asshole who immediately spoils the movie for anyone unfortunate enough to follow his feed.

So come December 18th, I will be avoiding social media, anti-social media, asocial media, and FoxNews until I can see the movie. Even then I will still probably avoid the latter.


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1 - I assume it's a male, but hypothetically it could be a geek girl, too. I love a good, humorous hypothesis as much as the next MRA-bro2.
2 - Obviously, the gender of the example is merely a quirky convention of the English language. I think those MRA dudes are almost as ridiculous as those idiots and their goddamned red cup. I mean I'd prefer to get a handjob from that cute barista every time I ordered a cup of coffee, but you don't see me making a federal case over it. After all, it's just a stupid cup of coffee, and she probably has some pretty rough callouses anyway.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Crickets

I really wanted to post about "the red cup." The thing is, the whole situation is just so fucking stupid, I can't make it funny. It's just making me angry. Where do people get off in demanding that a company conform to their idea of what color a coffee cup should be, and further why the hell is a candidate for President even acknowledging this idiocy no less demanding a boycott? What. The. Hell?

Gah. Anyway.

When I left the house this morning I had a ton of things I wanted to write about. I even thought, 'Hey! I should write this down so that I remember." Guess what I didn't do?

Such is the life I guess. I really don't want this to become some sort of journal.

Dear Diary,

Today I was stupid.

Sincerely,

Don

S.W.A.K.

That'll get really repetitive.

Now, finally the reason I titled this post "Crickets" is because often that's a sound associated with silence. Which really doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you think about it. Don't. I mean I did, and now I have a headache. Let me do the heavy lifting on this one.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Promises, Promises

Well, shit. I certainly have been lazy. This is the part where I skip the excuses. Make something interesting up.  I was kidnapped by poorly coiffed orangutans. Pirates ate my eyes1. You know, whatever floats your boat.

At any rate, I am back. Much to your extreme excitement, I'm sure. In fact, why don't you take a moment to towel off.

I'll wait.

Better?

Great. Now, you will notice the fancy new design. I decided to change templates. WooOOOoo. I know! Also I made a nifty little title banner. Not that Sean's wasn't lovely, but that's pretty much how re-branding works.  

My goal here is to write a new post daily. Mostly daily. Look at that: I'm already back-peddling. Also, thank you for coming back of your own volition. I probably didn't tell you. The thing is, writing is a discipline, and I am one undisciplined motherfucker. This is not a New Year's resolution type thing. This time, it's personal.

So, shorter posts, more often is the goal. And just in time for Kwahanzaakahmas!


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1 - "But wait, Don!" You might be yelling at the top of your lungs, drawing looks from corners of eyes, "how can you be writing this here, now, if pirates ate your eyes?" I can only offer you this scant comfort: I got better?