photo by Ydolon

Otakuthon is now in it’s 6th year. It is the largest and longest running otaku convention in Montreal. Otaku, being Japanese for fan, in reference to animations, comics, and video games. The 2012 Otakuthon convention has it all for fans of manga, anime , video games, cosplay, and other Japanese pop culture products, like music and film.

This year will feature many events, including a LARP (Live Action Role Playing), a fashion show, a masquerade, a Sunday-morning brunch, and more.

Otakuthon was started in 1996 by Concordia students who were members of “Otaku Anime”, a club for fans and enthusiasts of Japanese animation. The club first hosted “Animethon”, which soon evolved into Otakuthon.

It is similar to Comic-Con, but without the international pomp and irritation that Comic-Con has been known for in the past. Many attendees prefer to attend in costume dressed as their favorite Japanese anime or video game character, as furries, plushies, or even one’s favorite western comicbook or movie characters. The Masquerade is one of the greatest traditions of Otakuthon. This reminds me, I need to get my costume together!

Otakuthon is a bilingual event, and runs from August 3–5.

*photo by Ydolon (Flickr)

funny-pictures-sad-white-kitten-bambi-mom

2011: year in review

2011 was a very turbulent year for me. the year started out at a party, and there were many more that followed. I had a room in my apartment that I used for painting, and a studio to practice and play music in. I had a car for most of it too. I turned 35. I got my first laptop computer, which I nearly sold. Just after I decided not to sell it, my desktop computer’s hard drive malfunctioned and hasn’t been useable since. I acquired two new roommates, one of which lasted only a few weeks. I lost my painting room because of it. I could no longer afford to keep up the studio, so I lost that too. A few months later, I sold my main bass. I started therapy. I lost my car. My grandmother passed away at the age of 90. I lost contact with some friends. I made some new friends too. I reconnected with some of the people from my past.

In 2011 we had a federal election. It went the way I wanted it to, a conservative majority, and the NDP winning most of the seats in Quebec, (for the first time ever). There were riots and occupations and class wars, and many dictators from many despotic countries around the world died, or otherwise gave up their control.

I went to the Montreal International Auto Show, and later to the Montreal ComiCon. I missed many things also, in part due to poor finances. I started the year with a credit card. Then lost my job, and the salivating bankers responsible for shipping my job off to Asia rejoiced as my infernal human nature kicked in. They raised the interest rate from obscene to ludicrously obscene. Gas prices went up and down. I had to change banks to avoid getting evicted from my apartment and made homeless by the bank. Somebody frauded me on my credit card, and later, I lost my credit card, and nearly declared bankruptcy, to the point of needing social assistance. I got robbed by a credit card company, harangued by their collection agencies, had my life threatened by them. My credit is officially bad for at least the next six years.

I also changed the formats of my column to video, and ranted a lot more sparsely towards the end of 2011.

2012 marks the beginning of a new era. May 2012 be better for you than 2011 was, and hopefully for me too. A new world begins in 2012!

happy-new-year-5772

Rosh Hashana is here again, so it’s time for Laurence Rants: Year in review.

This was one of the worst years of my life. It started with me losing my job shortly after the year began. After that, I then progressed into a downward spiral of growing debts and failing finances. I had a job briefly in telemarketing, but it didn’t last more than two days and paid me less than my employment insurance was paying me. It however screwed up my employment insurance and I was left high and dry for just over a month.

Once that was cleared up, I continued searching for work, but because the world economy is so bad, and because technology is replacing whole departments with single machines, and because of my ADD, I had a hellish time finding and keeping any work for more than a week, often without being paid in the end of it. This year ended for me in economic free-fall, from a very small amount in the bank.

This is after I had to change banks.

So here it is. The bottom of the barrel has dropped out. I’ve crashed and burned.

This was also a year of being sick for about a month or so, off and on, with various ailments.

However, as it is a new year, it is time for a new beginning. It is time to attempt to let go of the pains and the debts of the past and try to build myself back up, yet again!

I feel as though my life has not been the easiest one I could’ve had. I’m often afraid to take certain risks, I try to live the best way I can, and to be the best man I possibly can be, but then I’m always compared to other people who are vhastly more successful than me.

I must stop comparing myself to other people. I must improve and increase my skill-set to include and allow for the adaptations of new and existing technologies.

I must bolster myself up, and become that leader among men that everyone said I should become from the time I was small until my mid to late teens.

Having said this, and since this is a new year, with a new beginning, I will now begin to use a new format. My rants will now be shorter, and also they will now be mostly on video. Two weeks ago, I put up a test video, which had mixed responses. I promise that new videos will be more animated and angry than the first attempt, which really shouldn’t have been done the way I did it at that point. There will always be trolls and bullies out there, and the damage that has already been done long ago might show through.

I will also be revisiting some of my more favorite rants of the past in this new video format.

Of course there will be another year-in- review for the Gregorian calendar, 2011. when the time comes.

In closing I wish you all:

Chag Sameach, Gut Yor, Shana Tova Tikatevu.

fast-food-fish

My first video rant is about being ripped off at a fast food chain. The food was terrible, the portions to small, the quality not there, the fries stale and cold and oversalted and the fish was overcooked. I could’ve gotten something a lot better for a lot less money. It’s also about my financial situation, job prospects and the state of the economy in Montreal…

 

http://youtu.be/x_bHt5Q9FXw

anger 1

I must learn to control my anger

Control my anguish

Control my angst

 

Ranting and raving and complaining

Can all be counterproductive

I really should learn to be complacent

To become apathetic towards myself and my world

To turn into a stone, or at least a   vegetable.

I’d likely make a terrible vegetable.

Probably something poisonous.

 

I was always taught that right is right

Left is left. Unless it’s my left. Right?

Is there anything left?

I think I’m wrong.

 

The left can’t be on the right, can it?

Unless you turn around.

Half way.

Then what was left is now right. And what was right is now left.

Turn around.

I’m getting dizzy

I don’t want to fight.

And I have a bulldozer coming a little too close

And it’s advancing.

On the other side of me is a very long cliff-drop,

And the bulldozer’s driver is suicidal

And fully intends to drive his bulldozer

Over the edge

But he’s insisting on sending me down with him!

 

Argueing for the sake of argueing and

Fighting for the sake of fighting is pointless.

 

Anger is natural, and a normal response to stimuli that irritate a person.

Different stimuli affect different people in different ways.

But anger has also a chemical component

A naturally produced component that is extremely addictive

And many people become addicted

To being angry

Which is why anger management is a necessity.

 

I’ve learned somewhat how to manage my anger, but not entirely.

I know some people who are always yelling and screaming at me

About things that make hem angry

And they love to yell at me, and see me squirm and cringe

Because I don’t react much to other people’s anger.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

 

So please,

Stop yelling at me

About the idiot customer who forgot to tip you this morning,

And about the coworker who got in your way and cut you off

Or about how I never do the dishes when I do them all the time

Or about how I’m not pulling my weight when I have been all along

Or about how other people aren’t pulling their weight

 

There are even people out there

Who think I’m guilty of everything

No trial

No question

No chance of any possibility

I’m guilty.

If it happened centuries before I was born,

I’m guilty.

If it happened somewhere I have never been to,

Guilty.

If it happened anywhere or any time I wasn’t there

I’m   guilty!

I know,

I have no patience for stupidity in traffic,

I have no patience for traffic or stupidity or things and people who are in my way,

blocking me from what and where I’m going to

Thwarting me

People who tell me to be patient when they just waste my time!

 

Then there are the swindlers, the liars, and the cheats

The psychotic upheavals

There is war in the streets

In some places.

But the news media only publishes

What the man wants you to know

So some celebrity’s underwear photo

Eclipses a war.

 

Images from: http://boundariesandbridges.blogspot.com/

 

20090123_snubbed_560x275


I used to do volunteer work at a certain McGill based organization. I had been there for almost ten years when the coordinator had to take a leave of absence. She was very apologetic towards me when she announced that she had hired someone new to replace her, even though the position was both logically and rightfully mine.

Under the new hire, of course, I had to inform and advise them of how exactly to run the organization. Essentially I ran it, but the new hire got paid. I didn’t. When the coordinator came back, she again apologized, knowing full well and feeling very guilty about the snub.

A few years later, when I was still volunteering there, the coordinator left. The job was open and I applied. They hired somebody else who had never even been there. That new coordinator lasted less than a year, but she at least recommended me to the admins of the place before leaving. Finally, after being snubbed twice for the position, they offered me the job. Except only on a much reduced payment rate from the previous coordinators, because the budget had been cut.

I haven’t been back there since.

Another example of my being snubbed is when I worked for a certain warehouse in Pointe-Claire. I was up for a well deserved and much needed raise. The boss hired somebody else at a higher rate of pay instead of giving me my raise, and claimed that there simply wasn’t enough money in the budget for it. The new guy lasted about two and a half months, threatened me and my job repeatedly, and intentionally disarranged things in the warehouse so as to put the blame on me. Of course, the boss saw through it.

I don’t like it when others snub me, try to show me up, or get me fired from a job for reasons which were never disclosed.

I could complain about certain other times that has happened to me, but I don’t want to rile up anyone I’m still in contact with. Needless to say, I’ve been glossed over numerous times for certain promotions, raises, et cetera, which ended up going to others while I held my place, or was reduced or cut out completely.

While there may have been undisclosed reasons as to why I never got those two positions I so rightfully deserved, the fact remains: I was snubbed.

Photo cred:  http://images.nymag.com

bankruptcy-main-image

So a creditor has put their hand directly into my bank account without permission or authorization of any kind. True I owe them money, but resorting to illegal acts like that isn’t exactly fair, either. I’m almost surprised they didn’t send thugs to beat me up, break my legs and burn down my apartment building with me and all my neighbours trapped inside or something like that, as they do in the movies. The fact that they stole the money I was saving to pay rent was both bad timing and genuinely evil. At least the telephonic campaign of daily harassment over the payments I’m too strapped to make seems to have stopped for a while.

They also raised the interest rate without any prior consultation. They are on the “right” side of the law, but only because they buy politicians. What the credit card companies are doing is outright extortion as well as theft. So as if being poor isn’t punishment enough, they have to punish me for being punished. (If Jack Layton doesn’t keep his campaign promise to lower all credit card interest rates to a 5% maximum when he becomes Prime Minister in four years,   I’m never voting NDP again).

Now I fear that I must be afraid to trust my bank account, because Big Brother is always watching me, with his hand in my pocket, waiting for a slip-up, and paranoid that someone is always going to be coming after me for a large sum of money that I don’t have.

I wish I was never so down on my luck as to need to borrow anything in the first place. I wish I wasn’t forced to get the card for a job, only to get laid off and left with the bill for many of my working expenses. I wish I’d been given a fair deal at the outset and better support when I needed it. I wish I’d had my opportunities when I was younger and would’ve known what to do with them.

Of course, I wasn’t necessarily given the opportunities I needed, and if I was, I certainly didn’t know what to do, and therefore I severely botched that one up. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the governmental regime changes in the ‘90’s which cheated me out of a DEC and got me kicked out of university didn’t exactly help my bottom line. The fact that I chose to study in the Fine Arts department, majoring in Art History, likely didn’t help me find decent or even remotely suitable employment. It led to unstable, very low paying jobs, such as unloading trucks.

Unfortunately there is absolutely nothing I can do now to change the past. I’m 35 years old, but I have no wife, no children, and I’m living with roommates in a cheap apartment that I can barely afford my part of, instead of a large family home of my own in the suburbs. Having to constantly struggle for everything, and work far too hard for what I earn, when I have work at all. Life sucks. Sucks to be me, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that there are many people who have it a lot worse than I do. But then there are also a heck of a lot of people out there who have it a lot better than I do and still, they constantly complain and rant about absolutely everything.

It’s the people who are better off than me who I constantly see, rubbing it in my face, that often bug me. I do however realize that it’s usually unintentional.

 

800px-200508_Firework_of_Lake_of_Annecy_festival_299

Poetry for July 18, 2011.

Perhaps this is coming a bit too soon,
Since I wrote all that poetry back in June
But I couldn’t quite
Come up with tonight’s
Topic on which to rant and write.

Once upon a setting sun
A police officer pulled out his gun
And examined it, it had been fired
At someone innocent, now expired
He laughed to himself
With a new taste for blood
“I don’t even have to run!”

The sinister minister administered things
Because he wanted to reach high brass rings
Secretly he wanted to be the boss,
But he was instead the yes man,
Dealing with the dross

Once there was a man
Who built a dam
That was worth a damn.
But he’s dead now.

Some people don’t know
All the things I know
But most people
Know more than me
My view of the world
Is often cracked, warped and cynical
And I know that not everyone agrees.

My mail is slow, much too slow
I’m waiting for extra weeks
I don’t really know
Why this is so
So very slow

Strike Backlog!

I think this blow
Causing this slow
Will make it so
I must give up more control

I’m considering Direct Deposit!

All my life I’ve been called a loser,
A moron, hoser
And a worthless poser
A faker, a taker, and even a breaker
But it’s all done by a bunch of bullies
Who would likely sue me if I’d stand up to ‘em
So I might just consider
Taking the gun to shoot ‘em
But then…

I’m a nice guy
And I’m short, and fat
And broke
Needless to say, I never get laid,
But then it’s also confidence I lack

I want a man eating plant in my garden.
On second thought, maybe not.

I wish I could’ve come up with something new
But this week it just got away from me
I’d be repeating myself
If I wrote anything that’s bothering me  at the moment
I wish I could sleep,
But this heat is keeping me up.

Rod Roddy is dead.
from cancer of the mantits
around seven or eight years ago
I thought you knew that

———————————-

and another thing…
Fish, can drown.
You are not a fish.
therefore you cannot drown
except that you can
logic doesn’t always act logically, does it?

Summer is nice
It’s warm outside
Everyone wears less clothing

The shapelessness of winter
Is no longer seen
And bared bodies are now partly showing

Summer is nice
But sunburns are not
And neither are the mosquitoes

Summer is nice
But not the humidity
And not the difficulty to breathe

Winter is nice.

Nuclear explosions with mushroom clouds
Are photographed for posters to be put up on the wall
By hepcats, coolcats,   scenesters, hipsters and hippies too
And let’s not forget the punks.

And while there are combinated formations of the above in current existence
And while I happen to be friends with many of them
And while I would be among them if I were ten years younger
And yet, I am among them
And I
Am a combinated combination of the above.

643_NASA_Logo_Rocketdyne_archives_boeing_ssfl_santa_susana_field_lab_nuclear_laboratory

Will and Kate: Who cares?

I’m not going to protest their visit. In fact, I kind of like the fact that they’ve picked Canada out of all the Commonwealth for their honeymoon. However, it seems lately that Will and Kate’s Royal visit has dominated the news channels coverage since their arrival in Canada. It’s been non-stop Will & Kate this, the Prince and his wife that! I have to get my actual news from the Internet!

In reality, during from the Royal Visit, south of the border, which was formerly the world’s longest undefended border where you didn’t even need a passport to cross until the George W. Bush administration decided they wanted more revenue, Phoenix, Arizona has been hit and partially destroyed by a major sandstorm. The current administration, under President Obama, has apparently screwed up again, signing bills to take jobs away from American truck drivers, giving them to Mexican truckers.

Since in reality, this is a rant about NASA, I’ll now talk about NASA. It seems that NASA, according to certain US news channels, is soon to be dissolved, leaving astronauts, scientists and likely much of the CIA out of work.

It seems I’m still a space cadet.

When I was 10 years old, I remember being annoyed because the cartoons I wanted to watch were pre-empted by a certain tragedy involving seven astronauts. I was going to Florida the following month, and had been looking forward to watching a launch at Cape Canaveral, which my family had been planning to attend for almost six months.

The shuttle launch I would’ve gone to see was cancelled. This was because the ship had been launched late for its previous mission and returned to Earth in pieces.

Seven astronauts had died in that shuttle mission, but the President of the day, the late Ronald Reagan, did not decide to throw in the towel on the space agency, especially since the Cold War was still going on. I am, of course, referring to the Challenger disaster.

Twenty-five years later the shuttles are being retired without immediate replacements available, in large part due to the fact that the United States is broke. If the Bush and Obama Administrations destroyed anything, it was the US economy!

It seems that in the Bush and Obama administrations, the presidents of the United States have forgotten their first duty, which is, of course, to the United States. Instead they seem more interested in serving major corporations and causing wars for the profit of themselves and a few personal cronies.

I don’t know. Maybe NASA is being dissolved to reveal what’s been covered up since at least 1947, in Area 51, Roswell, New Mexico.   Remove the photoshopping out of most unnatural satellites in space photos, and reveal the conspiracies involving aliens, finally separating the fact from the fiction about it. Maybe 2012 is actually about “first contact” and therefore the end of the world, as we currently know it. Perhaps this was the reason for the sudden burst of technology and industry between about 1850 and now, and the birth of science fiction since then. Perhaps we simply needed to “catch up” to newer levels of technology.

I don’t know….

GMC_Canada_Post_Truck

Good Tuesday folks, It’s been a month or so since I’ve written a rant, so I may seem a slight bit rusty at it. Here goes nothing.

The month of June has so far been quite eventful, from doing the spoken-word and visual art shows, along with Car Stories and Infringement Therapy, in the Montreal Infringement Festival this year to getting attacked by a gorilla named Ace at the fringe. Crazy days.

The month of June has also caused me some suffering at the hands of the Federal government and the postal service. Don’t get me wrong, I feel for the postal workers, but they do make twice the most I’ve ever earned by the hour. I wonder if they’re hiring. I had to wait a whole extra week for my EI cheque, and that I was truly unhappy about. In the end, Service Canada allowed me to pick up my cheque at the location nearest my apartment.

To add insult to injury, I had to pay for parking.

I   know that I’m the little guy, but I don’t see unionization as necessarily a good thing. This is because, according to the experiences I’ve had up until now, unions have never been good to me. Usually I get hurt as a third party who isn’t involved, but then, I have also twice worked at jobs where there were unions. I got no protection and was paid very badly and had to pay 4% of my salary in dues, not to mention the ridiculous amount of unpaid overtime. Then they used the “seniority excuse” less than two months later to get rid of me – Without the possibility of EI! -ZERO PROTECTION! I WAS SCREWED!

For this reason I don’t trust unions, as my experiences with them have simply never been fruitful. When I was a student at Concordia, one of the student clubs I was a member of, The Concordia Writer’s Group, got shut down by the student union simply because they could, without any warning. When we came back demanding explanations or answers, they made some nonsensical claim about sending e-mails to nonexistent e-mail boxes.

We only found out about our quashing when we came in for a meeting one day, and the locks had been changed. It took an RCMP officer to demand they let us retrieve our own belongings, and even then they gave us considerable trouble, rushing us and standing in our way. Needless to say, I wasn’t too pleased with the CSU.

Of course, being unemployed doesn’t help at all. As of this week I’m actively looking for work again, but I strongly suspect it will be more of the same bullshit I’ve encountered my whole life. Overly demanding bosses, difficult labours, speeds too fast for me to handle, and very, very low pay. Lots of whip-cracking so that I may give most of my earnings to my landlord, to the phone company, to the power company, and whatever is left to the grocery store. I never seem to be able to earn enough to save anything, and I’m not getting any younger.

* Image: Wikimedia Commons

Recently, I was accused of a number of unmentionable crimes for which I must be punished without trial. I am in fact guilty before the trial and until proven innocent at the trial, after which I will still have these accusations lingering over my head probably for the rest of my life.

Whether I’m guilty or not is therefore irrelevant; I’m guilty as charged without trial or representation. I’m denied any chance for “legal” defense. I have to say, in my own defense, however, that while it is true that I’m guilty on all counts, real or imagined, whether truly guilty or not, especially since merely being accused is enough to permanently indict me for any crime you can think of. If fact, I’m guilty of NOT committing any of those crimes. Perhaps this is merely negligence on my part. I’ve neglected to commit the crime you’ve accused me of! I believe that is an additional charge, your Honour!

Of course, I’m not without sin at all. I have done certain things that I’m not proud of. I’ve embarrassed myself in public numerous times and been humiliated even more times than that. If you must know, I’ve even been found guilty in a court of law of a parking violation. That’s about as serious a crime as I really am likely to commit, in reality.

If it weren’t for certain evil, active movements in the mid 1990s and the activities their members committed, I’d likely be married with children and a lot more responsible now. Come to think of it, maybe those movements weren’t so evil after all, even if it left me feeling very shy and quite lonely. At least I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for. If not for them I’d likely be dead.

Just because I’ve never heard of something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. I am an extremely fallible human being who tries to get his viewpoints and facts straight, but often stumbles, trips, or outright misses. Sometimes I do incredibly stupid things, like post something that gets withdrawn less than an hour later, only to find out that too many people saw it, and likely decided that I am a monster.*

Maybe I’m just a little too sensitive. Maybe I’m just a bit too vulnerable and somewhat insecure. I didn’t give direct unwarranted attacks on anyone, intentionally. If I did, I withdrew any associated attacks by writing, speech, or physical action. People often do things to hurt me, and I tend to overreact. Sometimes I need to get it out of my system, and as a writer, that usually means that I need to write it down and post it somewhere, even if I know it can’t go live.

Sometimes I can quite resemble Obnoxio the Clown from Crazy magazine, dealing abuse where I should be dealing out humour. What can I say? I’m about as imperfect as they come. Obnoxio stopped caring what his audience thought of him and took to smoking cigars, accosting people with a defeated, acerbic and cynical tone, and usually wore a badly tattered clown suit. Obnoxio the Clown appeared only once after Crazy magazine folded, about a month or so after the final release. He was never drawn again.

When I was a kid they called me “defective.”

*   I should apologize for the insult to any monsters out there.

I think I deserved last week’s punch in the face. I probably deserved all those bullies hurting me back in high school. I most likely deserved to never have been born. I’m not allowed to be flawed or confused or mistaken. I fall into traps easily and struggle, sometimes for years, to get out of them. Enough about me. I’m not really the one with the problem here, it’s everyone else…

Unfortunately I belong to the worst species that this planet has ever known, the most vile scourge ever to evolve on the face of this planet, which we’ve scarred and destroyed in a very slow and torturous manner.   We are the most greedy, paranoid, destructive and self-destructive, controlling and confused animals ever to walk the face of the earth.

Ok, it’s true that we’ve maybe done a few good things in the past, but for the most part we’re pretty bad. We drain the oil out of the ground and use it to pollute our atmospheres and our oceans. If we truly were created, then whomever or whatever created us created a monster. Even our constructive acts and creativity come through destroying something else. Changing the form of anything effectively destroys whatever said thing was to begin with.

Take for example a wooden door with a brass doorknob. In order to make the door, first we had to kill probably at least two trees. We had to first mine the copper and the zinc out from the earth, then pound and smelt them into the form, then melt and mold the doorknob out of them. Any burs must be trimmed off and smoothed away and usually don’t get properly recycled, a process which, while conserving resources, can sometimes be just as polluting as the initial processing process was.

The world of politics would also be a lot better off if not for populations of people. It probably wouldn’t exist as we might think of it, but can you imagine wars without armies?

The world economy would also be much better off without us greedy humans, who build it up only to decimate it. If money and trade had never been invented, because humanity never existed, the wealth of untapped resources on this planet would be incredible!

I deserved that punch in the face last week.

Of course, this isn’t how it came down. And maybe I’m being a little too specific about the whole concept of just humanity itself as the problem, as it would also make sense for gorillas, orangutans, baboons or cats to never have evolved, either.

Grapefruit shouldn’t have evolved either, along with all other genetically modified organisms. According to some of the creationists I’ve read about in analog magazine, this includes humankind which, according to a certain book called “Genesis” was created over the course of a day, as the whole of the universe took only a week to create. It took “humanity” which then consisted of two organically modified creatures, one genetically engineered using the DNA taken from the rib of   the other one, and one of the conspirators, a reptilian, taught the naïve and newly created second unit to consume fruit from a tree which should have been poisonous to the first unit, ultimately created for the purposes of enslavement and sale around the galaxy. -If you believe that sort of thing.

Instead, we’ve put a new island made out of plastic into the ocean, which keeps growing larger and more toxic to the entire planet by the hour. As it is written, “For a good time…” What- Who’s been tampering with my script again?!

Damned Humans!

Sometimes I simply get caught up in the emotion of my ranting and say something stupid, or dangerous, or something I’ll regret later. I also might embellish it here and there for flavour. Rants are rants, and therefore don’t always have to be 100% fact-based when dealing with my own prejudiced opinions. I do, however, realize that the correct facts must be there, and that editing is often needed, especially when information needs to get updated. I also realize that my rants don’t always make sense, and can seem biased. Even I don’t always agree with what I write.

I can sometimes be that irascible punk who can’t be wrong but is constantly at odds with everyone else in the room. Sometimes I have to fight to get my point across. Sometimes I can be just as stubborn and annoyingly repetitive as the next guy. Sometimes, I know my attitudes and opinions will be viewed as just plain wrong. I do my best still to at least get the facts straight as I understand them.

For example, unlike some of my colleagues at Forget The Box – and being part Israeli – I am a proud, hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool Zionist. My definition of Zionism, however, differs completely from that of the vast majority of Anti-Zionists.

I know we’re nowhere near perfect, but then, I’ve never heard of a refugee from Israel, either.

I do very strongly believe that the state of Israel has the right to exist, and if she must defend herself in order to continue existing, then that’s what she must do. Peace is always preferable, but if peace is not a given option, because certain dictators don’t like your tiny democracy being in their proverbial backyards, they will not hesitate to attack and teach their peasants to hate and despise those who are in a democracy, partly because of jealousy. Many a despotic leader has taught his citizens lies, utilizing the school systems as well as propaganda campaigns. Many of these lies find their way back into North American and European university campuses, sometimes as slogans,   and are treated as gospel fact.

I find it very hard not to take it personally when somebody tells me that I should have never been born. When someone tells me that my family or ancestry should have been wiped out many generations ago, but someone screwed up. I find that extremely hurtful.

Maybe that isn’t the best example, but it’s something I feel very strongly about. I believe that terrorism in general and especially suicide terrorism is a truly deplorable practice, and I have been the victim of it.

Having said all of this, I believe that those who wish to exclude themselves have every right to. I believe that those who call themselves “Palestinians” should have their own land and country if they desire it. As Theodore Herzl wrote, “If you will it, it is no dream.” While he was talking about the formation of the state of Israel, it may   still be applied to other people who wish to build countries as well.

In conclusion, I still say, as always, “believe what you want to believe, and I’ll do the same and believe what I want to believe.” Beliefs such as these are not worth losing friendships over.

Brainy smurfThis rant isn’t about revenge.

Some people can come across in an annoying fashion, in particular when they have certain erroneous beliefs for which they feel they must preach about ad nauseum, as though they are obsessed with whatever it is that they feel they are right about. In fact, they seem to obsessively preach and repeat themselves even to those who agree with them. It’s like they are fighting a war of opinion and attempting to beat the other party into deep submission.

For some reason vegans, evangelists and politicians tend to do this with a higher frequency than most. Maybe it’s the lack of protein to the brain, or the cravings to the contrary. Maybe it’s the annoying teenage girl inside trying to get attention. As the T-shirt says, “I didn’t claw my way to the top of the food chain only to become a vegan!” (or something to that effect)

Of course, I don’t actually have anything against people who keep a vegan diet, as long as it’s not the main/only thing they ever talk about.

I also have no problem if you are a politician or evangelist by trade, but if you are, can you please leave your work at work? You can give yourselves ulcers this way! It’s true that I tend to ignore the holier than thou attitude of the annoyingly didactic. Especially when I know they’re wrong. Sometimes it’s not worth arguing, especially for the sheer sake of argument.

Flawed hippie logic states that:

If you know they’re wrong, good on you, but they should not be informed if they are the argumentative type, as they will obsess and insist that they are right, but will not listen to what anyone else has to say about the subject.

By that same token, don’t annoy them with your own didactic nonsense. You may be right, but that’s no reason to beat someone over the head with it until all that’s left is a bloody pulp. It isn’t fair for anyone to have their heads ripped off with didactic bullshit simply because your day was difficult. If you do, then you’re no better than they are.

A few years ago I was heckled during a spoken-word performance for being “too loud” for some young girls who were having a loud conversation of their own while sitting directly in front of the speaker. I simply said: “Don’t try to henpeck the farmer!” and they got offended for my calling them hens, and I was swiftly kicked off the stage, and banned from the establishment, despite my name being on the bill and not theirs.

Another time I was kicked off the stage in mid-performance, simply because somebody’s friend showed up, and to add insult to injury, not only did they kick me off the stage so that they could perform, but they also insisted on using MY gear!   Some of these people also broke one of my pedals, and stole another one, damaged my guitar, mic-stand and my microphone, and then disappeared.

Restitution was never made.

I admit that I haven’t exactly had an easy life. I also admit that I’m naturally a squirmy whiner and complainer. That’s why they pay me the thin air to write the rants.