Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sonic Evolution

What is it about music that makes us who we are? How has it so effectively inspired us in our lives and shaped our views and ideals? Or is it the other way around and conversely we find our music based on who we have already become? Do we find our music or does our music find us? Maybe it's a little bit of everything. I know I reflect my music and my music is definitely a reflection of me.

I've been a rebellious little bastard since I was a kid. I learned to read at a very young age and I always asked way too many questions. Come to think of it, I've been questioning religion since before I could ride a bike. That's just who I am. Moving on...

I can remember being caught up in the bullshit Vanilla Ice/MC Hammer shitwave of the early 90s, but I was six for fuck's sake. Also, who wasn't a V-ICE fan? Don't lie, you know you had that tape. At the same time, between the Haddaway and House of Pain spins on the local Top 40 station, I tuned my little boom box to KBPI (ROCKS THE ROCKIES!!!) and my eyes were opened to a brave new world of dissent. Willie B hooked it the fuck up on a nightly basis and I was introduced to the likes of Ozzy, Pantera, Judas Priest, Bad Religion, Metallica, Hendrix, and the list could go on forever.

I remember 1991 and hearing Alice in Chains' "Man in the Box" for the first time and having my mind split wide the fuck open. I was hooked. No more pop for me, although I do confess to being a loyal viewer of Yo! MTV Raps!. I was a little rocker. I was a Cowboy From Hell Breaking the Law with No More Tears in an Angry Chair with an Appetite for Destruction and a Recipe for Hate.

1994 hit and I got my first DiscMan. My mother asked me what CDs I wanted. The list went a little something like this: the Offspring, Danzig, Pantera, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden. I got rejected like Spudd Webb trying to dunk over Hakeem Olajuwon. My first four CDs my mother purchased for me were (and I remember this because all but one were fucking awful) as follows: Live - Throwing Copper (great album), Collective Soul - WhicheverAlbumHadThatAwfulSongAboutHeavenAndItsLight (piece of shit), Aerosmith - Greatest Hits (helped culture me, but piece of shit), and THE FUCKING ENCINO MAN SOUNDTRACK. Never fear, my dad came to the rescue.

Under the tree at my pops' house were the Ignition and Smash from the Offspring. Enter melancholy, in your face punk about global atrocity, drugs, women, and being yourself in the face of everyone who attempted to mold you into what society wanted. At ten years old, the title track from Smash changed my life. Watch the video below and pay close attention to the lyrics.

That was it. I was done trying to fit in and I was done with all of the bullshit. Regardless of where they went after that album, the Offspring's first three records were filled some of the rawest, motivational, "fuck you if you don't like it" punk records ever captured in the studio.

Throughout the years I've always gravitated towards the heavier things in music, but I've always been a punk at heart. Keep in mind that when I say 'heavy', I don't always mean that in a sonic sense. To quote Tom Morello, "You don't gotta be loud, son, to be heavy as shit." That holds true on so many levels. Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Tori Amos, and others like them haven't been heavy in the conventional sense, but the pure emotion and feeling that they were/are able to convey in their music is nothing less than magical.

So yes, I'm a metalhead. I'm a rocker. I'm a country outlaw. I'm a man with the blues. I'm all of these things and so much more, but ideologically, I'm a punk. My politics, my anti-establishment, anti-theistic, fuck authority attitude has always been there. From the just out of diapers me that asked how Noah fit all of the animals on the Ark and why can't we see God, all the way up to the here and now, I have been everything that my music embodies. It just took certain musicians to give my visceral angst the words to express itself.

So what is it that draws us to be so passionately enthralled with the sonic delights we enjoy? I guess it just depends on the person. This is me. This is who I am. It's not about image or tattoos or whatever, it's about what's inside. It's about that feeling you get when you hear a certain riff or verse that connects with something deep inside you. The half euphoric, half nauseous gut feeling that gets even the most rhythmically challenged of us wanting to move to the beat and break shit. That good music that simultaneously attacks all five senses and overwhelms you until you can't take it anymore.

You know what I'm talking about. If you don't, you're missing out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Am Made of Scars

So there I was, spending another uneventful afternoon alone in the warehouse. I went to the bathroom to yoo-ren-nate and I must have thought I was Travis Bickle or something because I started making faces and talking to myself in the mirror. This wasn't a pep talk or a pre-fight motivational speech (although there is a retard who's supposedly going to try and fight me at some point this evening), it was just me being a bored idiot and working on my face warping skills.

After about five minutes of me embarrassing myself despite the fact that I was alone, I ended up glaring into the mirror and making my "war face" just like Gunny from Full Metal Jacket. And there they were, looking all sorts of fucked up like a trash compactor, staring at me saying, "You dumb motherfucker." That's right, my lovely broken teeth from a very large fist attached to an equally large man. This got me thinking about every stupid thing I've done in my life that's left permanent damage, either physical or mental. It also made me think of my son. My son, the big beastly five year old monstrosity who aspires to do great things like join the Navy and become Batman when he grows up.

Before I get into how awesome my kid is, let me give you a brief history of my pain as a child:

1988, 3 years old: Sliced off my finger nail on a circular saw in the garage.

1988, 3 years old: Fell off my bike and lost the skin on my arms and legs.

1989, 4 years old: I spent the entire summer covered in thick scabs, again on the arms and legs.

1993, 8 years old: I thought it would be a smart idea to try and back flip out of a swing and landed on my face in the gravel.

1993, 9 years old: I got hit in the face with a bowling ball at a birthday party and my front tooth )(thankfully it was a baby tooth) turned black and fell out.

1994, 9 years old: I tried to ride a bike through (perpendicular) an irrigation ditch and flew over the handle bars, de-fleshing 30 percent of my front side.

Now those are just the memorable ones. Oh yeah, I also crushed my pinky in the front door of the post office because I was retarded and thought that just becuase there was space under the hinges, I should stick my finger in there. It was fine until someone opened the door and there I was, little 7 year old Cub Scout howling in agony and the poor broad coming out of the building had no clue what was happening.

ANYWAY, aside from a couple of wicked scars on his forehead (my little monster has a tendency to fall into coffee table corners), little Wes has gone through the first five years of his life relatively unscathed. He's a tough little dude, but he's been really lucky. Other kids however, are a completely different story. I see kids at the store and just out and about all the time and nothing. It's the end of August and not one of these little booger eaters has a single cut, scrape, or bruise. What the shit is that?

I remember the end of summer when I was a kid being completely different. The first day of school was always a fun time because three quarters of us showed up covered in gauze, some with casts, and everyone had Band-Aids galore all over their bodie. We looked like Bravo Company coming home from Europe after four years of fighting the Nazis.

Some folks say that every generation is weaker than the last. They say that it's because people don't beat the shit out of their kids anymore. I agree with the former to some extent and disagree with the latter completely. My "toughness" didn't come from my corporal punishment at home (which was a lot less than I probably deserved), but rather from going outside and being a dumb little turd and wrecking myself on my bike and getting into fights. It came from thinking I was Superman and jumping out of trees and tripping over my own feet when I was sprinting down the sidewalk. It came from being a normal little kid.

I see these kids today who aren't allowed to do anything unless their parents are right over their shoulders and it makes me sad. They can't go outside and play by themselves because the boogeymen might come and snatch them up. They aren't allowed to kick the shit out of each other at school, and if they do happen to get into a fight, both children are suspended and the police get involved. No one plays sandlot football or "Smear the Queer" at the park after school. I could go on forever.

Their tears come exclusively from someone not sharing. Their tears come from their feelings being hurt. Their tears come from not being able to watch their shows or play their video games. It's all emotional pain and nothing physical. It's that physical pain that helps mold who you are and gives you the confidence to be a man. It preps you for adolescence so that you don't cry when you get hurt and if you fall down or get knocked down, you get up and walk that shit off!

I guess my main question is this: What will the future men of America be like when they are adults after a childhood of being coddled and Purexed to death? How tough will they be with no bumps and bruises and scars to help them remember growing up and being a boy? And will it even matter at that point, or will we have evolved enough to no longer need to be tough in our society?

All of this from making faces at myself in the bathroom at work. I need a lobotomy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Fuck you.

And here's an awesome link to all of the lovely things that the LDS folks think about black people.


Friday, August 27, 2010

I Love Double Standards

I promise I'll get back to actual writing at some point this weekend, but it's just so goddamned easy to rant incoherently into my webcam.


I was perusing YouTube and caught a video with the same title as mine. I responded to it with a retort via my webcam. Both videos are below.

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Delicious Scuba Steve in the Flesh

A Q&A episode.

Go Back to Sleep, America...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just Because

I'm stuck here at work with absolutely nothing to do. The Marines are all gone and the only reason I'm here is because there are civilian contractors building some new shelf unit in the back of the warehouse. I have an ungodly (fitting, seeing as how I'm an atheist) amount of gas and I'm exhausted. All I want right now is some gin and juice and a motherfrackin' mustard dog. Then I can rest. "Rest for what?" you might be thinking... For KICKBALL of course. Friday morning kickball. Go Navy!

Since I've already started writing, I might as well drop some lines about a few things that have crossed my mind over the last few days:

1) I've decided that the only truly "Official" Brett Favre retirement is going to come in the form of him dying on the field. For whatever reason, Mr. Favruh just doesn't seem to know when to quit. Looking back, I suppose that maybe only John Elway got it right. Retiring after back to back championships was epic and has immortalized him as one of, if not THE best QBs the game has ever seen (even if that's not entirely the case). So, Mr. Favruh, fuck you. That is all.

2) I've come to the conclusion that my not being a civilian is tremendously beneficial to certain individuals. There are certain things that would have pushed me over my boiling point long ago that I haven't been able to do anything about, simply because retaliation on my part would have adverse effects on my career. So count your blessings, you sad sorry motherfuckers. Your legs would have been broken and your teeth would have been knocked out if it weren't for my swelling pride, integrity, loyalty, and sense of duty regarding this oh so glorious nation.

3) We're out of Iraq. "Combat Operations are over." Whoopity fucking do. There will still be endless occupation and our troops will continue to die over there. The numbers will be smaller, but lives will still be lost. We have the Dubya and Vice President Dick to thank for that. I won't be satisfied until every last one of our men and women are out of that shithole. EVERYONE.

4) TAKE YOUR JESUS SHIT OFF OF YOUR DESK. If I can't hang up a witty de-motivational poster about how much of a FAILURE religion is, or even just a simple pro-atheism poster here in the workplace, I don't want to see your superstitious bullshit draped all over your computer tower. Anything that promotes god(s) is just as irritating and offensive to me as my stuff is to you. But unlike you, I have the common courtesy to not hang up signs that say "God isn't real" all over my cubicle.

5) I love Hamburger Helper. I really think that it might be the best stuff on Earth. The trick is to ignore the amount of water that you're supposed to use and just use all milk. You need to stir the milk and the sauce mix in a separate bowl prior to adding it to the skillet. Undercook the burger when you're "browning" the beef - don't worry, it'll cook all the way through when you boil the pasta. Then, when you're all done and you take it off the stove, dump about a cup and a half of shredded cheese (Mexican is the preferred nomenclature) on top of it. This makes it more delicious no matter what the flavor is.

And that's really all I've got for now. Actually it's not, but I have to empty my bladder and I think these retards might be leaving for the day. Adios, comrades.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Debate With a Jehovah's Witness Part 1

So to eliminate any confusion henceforth, Monica is my friend and her husband was on her Windows Live account.

Monica says:
so my husband will be on in just a little k

Scuba Steve says:
Perfect. I'll be here.

Monica says:
k well it was nice saying hi have fun..

Scuba Steve says:
I will.

Monica says:
hello. good evening.

Scuba Steve says:
How are you?

Monica says:
good, yourself?

Scuba Steve says:
I'm doing great. I'm a little disappointed that there's too much artificial light where I'm at, so the meteor shower is barely visible. It's supposed to pick up in a couple hours, so maybe I'll have better luck then.

Monica says:
sounds nice, i have an affinity for all things space-related.

Scuba Steve says:
So I've heard. Congrats, by the way. I know you guys have been married for awhile, but still. Monica and I have been friends for a really long time. It's good to see her happy. You're a very lucky man.

Monica says:
Thank you. I hope you and I will get to know each other a bit during our little chat about big issues. Can i suggest a starting point?

Scuba Steve says:
I'm game for whatever, brother. I've got all the time in the world and I love a healthy conversation.

Monica says:
I will start at the very beginning. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth..." ...just joking. a little humor there.

Scuba Steve says:
Good one. I actually snorted.
Hit me.

Monica says:
i have a small disclaimer first, do u mind?

Scuba Steve says:
Not at all.

Monica says:
i am very involved in our congregation (JW), as u may have heard, but u may notice my conversations may be a bit on the logical side. is that ok?

Scuba Steve says:
That's fine. Any point of view can be thrown on the table. Most times I maintain a decent level of tact and respectability. I'm arrogant and I say what's on my mind but I try not to get inflammatory unless stones are thrown in my direction first. Saying what you feel is part of being honest and I'm a huge honesty advocate.

Monica says:
There are no stones to throw here. Let's start with the foundation of this chat. I will limit my personal opinions. May I ask what you think FAITH is?

Scuba Steve says:
My definition of faith is trust. I have faith (very little as of late) in humanity. I have faith in certain people in my life. Faith is a belief that has no evidence. I have zero reason to believe that people are inherently good, but I choose to hope for it because to survive as a species we need to put aside our petty differences and work together.

Monica says:
Thanks. The reason I ask is simply this: Most people would also define "faith" similarly. Such as you put it, "Faith is a belief that has no evidence". Would you be surprised to know that the Bible clearly states that faith is the exact opposite?

Scuba Steve says:
Of course it does. The Bible is a subjective book that claims to be the exact word of God, so faith IN God as told by the Bible would be belief based on fact.

Monica says:
The point is this: Hebrews 11:1 clearly states that faith must have a foundation of convincing, provable, and inexorable evidence. You're exactly right in thinking that just because a book says so, that dont make it so. But what about external secular sources?

Scuba Steve says:
External secular sources that say what, exactly? If you say Josephus, I'm calling shenanigans immediately.

Monica says:
hahaha. good one. no josephus talk, i promise. I just want to make sure one thing is quite clear... We will be speaking with clearly logical arguments only. Fact-based reality. Sounds good?

Scuba Steve says:
That's what I'm all about.

Monica says:
Great! Because anything else would be a waste of your time. Topic 1: Does a supreme being (aka Judeo-Christian "God") exist? I am curious as to what reasons do you have for saying no? Care to share?

Scuba Steve says:
There are two answers to this question. 1: No. The Judeo-Christian God doesn't exist anymore than Zeus, Horus, Mithra, Satan, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc. 2: I am an atheist because there is no evidence for the existence of a supreme being. If there is one, he is uninvolved with anything that goes on here on this planet. I don't believe in God for the same reason I don't believe in Santa Claus.

Monica says:
how dare you negate the existence of the flying spaghetti monster?!

Scuba Steve says:
It's a shocker, I know. Personally, I worship Samuel L. Jackson. But that's a whole other conversation. I'll save the blasphemy for a more appropriate time.

Monica says:
Well, good scientific investigation tells us that reasonably minded intellectuals "follow the evidence" no matter where it leads. So, let's start with, say... evolution.
what has evoultion proved?
it has proved that species have changed to adapt to their environment over eons of time?
That's actually quite an idealistic oversimplification of the what the evidence actually says.

Scuba Steve says:
First off, let me say that evolution does not disprove 'creation', but it DOES disprove the traditional theological creation stories that have been told over time. The DNA evidence alone is proof of evolution, not to mention the fossils. We are genetically linked with other members of the Great Ape family of primates, 97% (If memory serves) with chimpanzees. Even after that, all forms of life share similar genetic coding. For example, chickens have the genetic code for teeth in their DNA. Darwin's biggest mistake was naming his book "The Origin of Species" instead of "The Gradual Transition and Development of Life on Earth" or something to that effect.

Monica says:
thats true, except u forgot to mention that humans are linked to the great apes thru 97% of the actual 3% of the genome thats actually been decoded. thats quite a large gap.

Scuba Steve says:
Touché, Salesman, touché. That being said, if we are to believe the Bible, there should be 0% similarities.

Monica says:
remember, i'm not talking about the bible anymore. and dont forget that the fossil record does not corroborate step by step, gradual changes in life forms thru eons of time. please, look it up, all the forms of life that have been found remain unchanged and only do new forms of life appear at the start of a new geological era. That's called stasis.
each geological era produces new forms of life that remain virtually unchanged for millions of years. that's why there is such a rush to find "missing links" (so long as they dont end up like the "piltdown man").

Scuba Steve says:
And others change constantly. If we are to believe that we are all connected to the first two humans who were spontaneously poofed into existence, it's peculiar that there are different ethnicities. And about fossils:
Firstly, finding fossils at all is tough. The conditions that had to be present to fossilize bones had to be very precise. All living things are "transitional" life forms. Australopithecus africanus is an example of a transitional fossil.

Monica says:
you are confusing two vastly different ideas, MICRO-evolution (which can be observed and proven to be true) and MACRO-evolution (darwins theory).

Scuba Steve says:
Secondly, evolution is present in so many other forms of life and observable in microevolution that lack of fossilized evidence is easily and accurately supplemented.

Monica says:
For macroevolution to be possible there wuold have to be gradual, unassisted mutations from one species until it created such variation in a group of descendants that an entirely new species would be produced. This has not been proven, even in the slightest.
ASSISTED mutation (by genious geneticists and microbiologists) has been completely unsuccesful for the past 60 years.

Scuba Steve says:
Are you familiar with Stephen Jay Gould? And you don't have to go any farther than Wikipedia to find an enormous list of transitional fossils.

Monica says:
Very. Please look up what they have actually found of these fossils. It can all fit on a large billiard table.

Scuba Steve says:
Not true. And Gould mentioned gravity and how the theory started with Sir Isaac Newton observing things fall. Einstein improved on the theory and gravity as we know it is vastly different from what Newton had originally thought, but that doesn't change the fact that things fall. Darwin's theory had more holes than a barroom dartboard. Today's theory is still incomplete but it does not change the fact that things change over time. Hence the average human height increasing, different ethnicities, and all those transitional fossils and genetic evidence linking all life on Earth that Creationists continually choose to ignore.

Monica says:
There are many things being ignored, such as: If our species evolved from primates to humans, why are there still primates yet NO superior ape-man survived?

Scuba Steve says:
For the same reason that many species of animals survive while others go extinct. Environmental factors, natural disasters, famine, drought, whatever. That's an absurd argument too because modern primates are not our common ancestor.

Monica says:
exactly. the weak die off. those not fit enough to perpetuate the existence of their "lesser" species. you cannot account for the lesser primates surviving yet their superior conterparts (hence, more promising evolutionary intermediates) ended up dying off.
besides, are u aware of how they get the dates for these specimes?

Scuba Steve says:
The primary basis for evolution is on reproductive success. The most fit individuals, which, within given environments will produce the most offspring and the characteristics which provided that success will spread amongst the group. And carbon-14 dating is accurate.
If our understanding of radioactive half-lifes and atomic structure in general was even the slightest bit off, we would have never been able to create atomic bombs or nuclear power. Everything involved in all of these processes is linked in atomic physics.

Monica says:
Steve, you are very well informed about many things, yet there are a few things are not accurate. Monica mentioned to me a few things that you thought about JW's that were ill-informed. That's ok, as long as you are willing to hear the reality of it. By the way, carbon-14 only has a half life of 5730 yrs. The full amount of carbon-14 isotope decays to 0% after 50,000 years. Anything older than that cannot be dated via carbon-14.
The australopithecus africanus is said to have been around at 2-3 million years ago in the Pliocece. Carbon-14 dating does not permit that.

Scuba Steve says:
Have you seen the method of computation that is used?
And are you also saying that the Earth is "young" and not billions of years old?

Monica says:
yes, and it is flat so dont sail too far or you'll fall off. I spoke with someone at ucla about dating processes but i am not sure. please enlighten me.

Scuba Steve says:
C-14 dating can be extended past your 50,000 year mark, but it is not the only radioactive isotope used for dating. It is the most accurate, but not the only one. There are huge lists of others (again, you don't have to go farther than Wikipedia) that are used, that are less accurate, BUT can be used to measure back millions and billions of years. And really, when you're going back a few hundred million years, does it really matter if you're off by 100k? These dates are just general timeframes and not on the dot accurate. That's why you'll see numbers like, "Such and such was dated at BETWEEN 200 and 250 million years old".

Monica says:
very true. i forget that humans are not the standard of measurement on this earth.

Scuba Steve says:
As they shouldn't be. Remember, Noah lived to be 950 or thereabouts.
Maybe HE saw some macro-evolution firsthand. Hahaha.

Monica says:
hahaha! i like that. well, our first conversation turned out to be a good one, eh? i just want you to see that I am not going to come around with arguments that sound like "well, the bible says..."
trust me, you're speaking to one skeptical dude.

Scuba Steve says:
That's comforting. And I'm a tiny bit surprised you're not a supporter of Biblical Inerrancy. When Monica said you were a space geek (I am too. The Universe on History is my favorite show) I knew you'd give a good debate no matter what it was over. We should definitely do this again sometime. It was fun.

Monica says:
It has been. One thing i cant stand is ignorance by choice (I humbly include myself). Thats why i read up on everything i can. I don't mind admitting an idea I have is wrong as long as it can be proved without a doubt. Believe me, the real tough part begins when we get to the "hard sciences" (astronomy, cosmology, origin of life).

Scuba Steve says:
Well, until next time... And we should discuss the Scriptures next time. Also, microbial life on Mars would be a good subject too. I'm gonna run outside and try and catch the tail end of this meteor shower.

Monica says:
oh, sorry i forgot about the time difference. sounds good. its been a pleasure increasing my neurons with you.

Scuba Steve says:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The One

She is it. Pure poetry in motion. The most beautiful song never written. All that never was. I see her sometimes as I float delicately between sleep and consciousness, her eyes swallowing me like Jonah. She stands there beckoning, never quite as visible as I'd like. I want to run towards her but nothing is working outside of my head. I'm stuck. I cry out, warning her of all the things that make me undeserving. I tell her of shameless exploits, demented thoughts, backwards philosophy, and every bad habit that I possess and couldn't shake even if I wanted to. Still she remains. Silent, yet saying everything with her eyes, she lets me know that none of it matters. She is everything and nothing, simple and infinitely complex. The type of woman that men would go to war for. The one who makes the universe feel as big as a marble because anywhere that she isn't doesn't matter and therefore, doesn't exist. Light creeps in and overwhelms her until she's gone just as quick as she appeared. I don't know who she is, where she came from, or where she is going... I just see her sometimes as I float delicately between sleep and consciousness.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Death is the End of the Ride and You Fear It

"Oh shit, he's talking about death again." Actually, yes, I am. It was a healthy blend of Hitchens on AC 360 and Rollins Band that made me start thinking about that inevitable fate that we all share. It just seems so silly how emotional people get when they're dying. I understand friends and family, but not the individual. So bravo to Mr. Hitchens for being a man and keeping his cool through a shitty situation.

Before any of you call the cops and tell them there's going to be a suicide in Benbrook, let me say that I expect to live a fairly long and productive life and, assuming I don't get hit by a bus or gang raped by a pack of angry giraffes, I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. I just don't get the whole conversion on the deathbed thing. Like it's really going to matter at that point.

I dunno. This is short and sweet and I just wanted to giggle over the terribly ironic fact that the people who are most afraid of dying are the ones who believe in an afterlife. Go figure.