April 30, 2004

Sad Awakening

When I finally returned to my room last night, I was told by my roommate that my mother had called a good number of times trying to talk with me. She had finally decided to call me some time today. She did finally get in touch with me...at 7:30 this morning.

My mother calling me at 7:30 AM was enough for me to know that something had to be wrong. Both of us are well-known in our family for not enjoying mornings at all. I knew something tragic must have happened. I was right.

It turns out that my grandmother on my father's side passed away yesterday evening. They don't know why as of now, but they believe it might have been her heart. My grandmother had been a diabetic for as long as I knew her. After she had not answered both people knocking at the door and people calling her house, my uncle kicked the door open and found her slumped over on her couch. I would be willing to bet that the Sci-Fi channel was on her television (she loved science fiction).

And now my family must experience yet another visitation and funeral. Five years ago my dad had to help bury his father. It has only been just over a year since he had to help bury his daughter. Now, he has to help bury his mother.

I am going to be heading home right after my last class this afternoon. I want to be there for my family, but I am so tired of death. I'm tired of dealing with grief. I'm tired of mourning.

Posted by Randy at 09:35 AM | TrackBack

The Dumber Side: Generations of Horrific Writing

I completed The Darker Side: Generations of Horror earlier today. I had high hopes for the collection of "27 Original Stories From The Most Terrifying Voices Of Modern Horror." I was sorely disappointed.

Out of the twenty-seven stories in the book, I would say that maybe seven are worth reading. The rest were a complete waste of time.

My favorite story was "The Origin" by David B. Silva. It tells the story of a kid who we are told eventually kills nine people before he is caught. The story begins with his first killing and ends with "the origin" of his dark tendencies. The rest of the story was filling in the gaps between those two points in time by telling what happens in reverse chronological order.

"Hell Came Down" by Time Lebbon and "Armies of Night" by John Pelan were also two well done stories. The former is about a land where severe droughts have caused a sorcerer to attempt to conjure rain, but much more sinister things fall from the skies. The latter is about miniatures of army battles, the man who loved them, and the woman who killed him.

I would consider those the top three in the collection.

Overall, the stories weren't very good. The endings sucked for the majority of the stories, the plots were usually thin, and most of the characters were shallow and atrocious.

While I might recommend those three stories, I most definitely wouldn't recommend this collection.

Now I move on to Dante's Divine Comedy.

Posted by Randy at 12:37 AM | TrackBack

April 29, 2004

Compliment Psychology

Why can't I accept a sincere compliment gracefully? Why do I always feel the need to utter some self-deprecating nonsense whenever someone gives me genuine praise? Why do I always feel uncomfortable right after I am given a compliment?

I have a theory. I've been told what's wrong with me quite often in my life. My family (God bless 'em) sometimes focuses on what is wrong with people instead of what is good about them. I was the "smart kid" throughout school. This brought about hideous amounts of ridicule, teasing, etc., from even my friends at school. My friends and I were brutal with each other to the point that some people thought we hated each other. This causes me to subconsiously feel that something harsh is coming after any real compliment. I begin to feel uncomfortable when it doesn't, and I tear myself down in order to make myself feel better. Instead of saying "Thank you," I say "Thank you, but..."

That isn't right. When I'm given a compliment, I should be able to accept it without feeling guilty, uncomfortable, or simply wrong.

I've known this for some time now. So, if I know what's wrong, why can't I fix it?

Posted by Randy at 12:55 PM | TrackBack

April 28, 2004

Current Reading List

I'm bored, and I believe my muse (Melpomene according to Wheeler's quiz) is on vacation. The result? You get a list.

These are what I'm hoping to read (as of now) before I go to China in July:

The Darker Side: Generations of Horror by various authors
The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
The Purgatorio by Dante Alighieri
The Paradiso by Dante Alighieri
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

I'm currently halfway through The Darker Side. I'm fairly certain I can get through all of them. Those three by Dante might slow me down a bit, though.

This list is subject to change for any reason by its creator.

Posted by Randy at 01:12 AM | TrackBack

April 25, 2004

Misplaced, Comma

As I'm sure a good number of you know, I have been called a "Grammar Nazi" on more than one occasion. While I believe that is going a bit extreme, I enjoy being seen as a person who knows the grammatical rules of the English language.

Naturally, I almost went into shock today when I saw the following on a billboard:

"We support those, who served."

How can you massacre punctuation in a simple sentence on a billboard? I could understand a mistake in punctuation in a more complex sentence in a paper, but how can anyone let something that horrible slip by without someone noticing it?

How are these people still alive?

Posted by Randy at 08:35 PM | TrackBack

April 24, 2004

Number Quiz

Normally, I see one of these things on someone's blog, take the quiz, and don't post the results. Most of the time these quizzes aren't worth taking and give idiotically predictable results.

This one shocked me, though. It's a bit creepy. I like to think of myself in a lot of the following terms.

Seven is sometimes considered as a mystical and
magical number because of the biblical seven
days of creation, and the seven heavenly bodies
of ancient astronomy (i.e. The Sun, Moon,
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter; they
hadn't seen the others yet). You are
understanding, perceptive and bright, and enjoy
hard work and challenges. You are often
serious, scholarly, and interested in all
things mysterious. Originality and imagination
are more important to you than money and
material possessions. However, you can also be
pessimistic, sarcastic, and insecure.

What does your name and arithmacy say about you? (some simple knowledge of adding is required on your part)
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Randy at 08:40 PM | TrackBack

April 22, 2004

The Gender Genie!

Blatantly stealing this idea from the Thinklings website, I made my way towards the gender genie page and decided to see what happened when I put a few of my friends' longer posts through the algorithm.

The posts I selected were random posts which I estimated at approximately 500 words or more. I didn't keep track of the actual posts I used, but I did select at least two posts from each person's blog. I found the results rather interesting.

The algorithm accurately selected my roommate, the Cynic, Wilson, and me as male authors. It also accurately selected Ardith as a female author. My roommate and I seem to be predominately male writers. The Cynic also ranked high on the male side, but not nearly as high as I did. Wilson was much nearer to attaining a neutral score. Ardith also earned a more neutral score.

Wheeler's posts seem to be more female. Anna's and Katy's posts seem to more male. I would not have predicted that result for either of them.

I was unable to find a decent sized post by Moore to run through the program.

It's a very interesting program...

Posted by Randy at 12:15 AM | TrackBack

April 21, 2004

Champagne and Programming

"I'm going to make this whole thing with pink champagne."
--Tanaka (floormate)

I swear, what are they teaching these engineering students these days?

Only Dr. Varnell could provide me with even better quotes on the same day:

"God doesn't laugh at my programming...too much."

"Now, programming is not like dating."

Those two were said minutes apart from each other on unrelated subjects, but I wonder if they are connected...

Posted by Randy at 12:37 PM | TrackBack


by Chuck Palahniuk

You can find one review of this book by Eliot here.

I have to disagree with Eliot on a few points, though.

For one thing, I greatly enjoy Palahniuk's writing style. I have read Fight Club, Survivor, Invisible Monsters, and now Lullaby and I am still not tired of it. I like how he goes into areas where a good number of people shy away from for one reason or another. I like his satire on our modern culture. I love how he jumps back and forth chronologically in his writing.

I also thought that the book had an extremely interesting premise. The guy finds a poem that can focus a person's thoughts enough to kill someone. It would be a lie to say that I have never wondered what I would do if I had that power. My own experiences with my anger have been enough for me to be terrified at having the ability to kill with my thoughts. Seeing how someone else deals with it, however, made the book quite intriguing in my eyes. And I must say that I found the methods of coping with this deadly ability rather...interesting.

Even with that defense in mind, though, I must admit that the plot is thin. Other than people mysteriously dying and a road trip around the US not much really happens in the book. The reader is not told much information about any of the characters other than that they are mostly power-hungry in some way. I also found the ending rather disappointing.

Despite the thin plot and lack of character development, I enjoyed the novel. Lullaby is definitely not Palahniuk's best work, but it is cleaner than the majority of his books I have read. I'm hoping there is not a connection in that. If there is a connection between lewdness and quality, I may find I like Choke the best of all of Palahniuk's books. I've heard it's rather sexually intensive. I guess I'll find out when I eventually read it. Currently, I have six other books to read before I get to it. At my current rate, however, it probably won't take me too long.

Posted by Randy at 01:43 AM | TrackBack

April 20, 2004


"People who would never throw litter from their car will drive past you with their radio blaring. People who'd never blow cigar smoke at you in a crowded restaurant will bellow into their cell phone. They'll shout at each other across the space of a dinner plate.

These people who would never spray herbicides or insectisides will fog the neighborhood with their stereo playing Scottish bagpipe music. Chinese Opera. Country and western.

Outdoors, a bird singing is fine. Patsy Cline is not.

Outdoors, the din of traffic is bad enough. Adding Chopin's Piano Concerto in E Minor is not making the situation any better.

You turn up your music to hide the noise. Other people turn up their music to hide yours. You turn up yours again. Everyone buys a bigger stereo system. This is the arms race of sound. You don't win with a lot of treble.

This isn't about quality. It's about volume.
This isn't about music. This is about winning.

You stomp the competition with the bass line. You rattle windows. You drop the melody line and shout the lyrics. You put in foul language and come down hard on each cussword.

You dominate. This is really about power."

--Lullaby, by Chuck Palahniuk

Palahniuk has so many incredible quotes in his novels. I'm eventually going to go back through them with a highlighter in search of the best ones.

Posted by Randy at 06:17 PM | TrackBack

The Space Trilogy

Last night at around two in the morning I completed the final novel in C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy. For those of you who do not know, that trilogy consists of Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.

I want to try to compare the three novels to each other, but I'm finding that I can't really do that. I'm having difficulty even choosing which one I enjoyed the most. Each of the three seemed to have a completely different purpose in mind. It was almost as if the novels shared common characters just for the sake of simplicity. By that, I mean each idea being presented could have been made in an entirely separate novel just as easily; however, Lewis tied all of the ideas together by writing them as a series.

Out of the Silent Planet is an introduction to Ransom, to space travel, and to the eldils. It is full of beautiful imagery, but not the best imagery of the trilogy. It was full of thoughts concerning equality and cooperation. The point of the book seemed to be that mankind is truly wretched and has fallen far beyond what it could have become.

Perelandra by far has the greatest amount of imagery. It seems at least a third of the book is spent describing the strange planet. Ransom is sent to battle an evil temptation that presses against the Queen of the planet. A large amount of intellectual sparring is in this novel. I think this was probably my favorite of the three books.

That Hideous Strength was quite interesting. This novel didn't need as much imagery simply because it was set on Earth. The plot is more concentrated and, in my opinion, the plot moves much more slowly. I think it was the best written book of the trilogy.

I don't want to go into more detail because I'm not sure how many people have read these books. I am also fairly certain that if I tried to give a few details I would give away too many.

I really enjoyed this series and I would recommend it to everyone.

Posted by Randy at 02:41 PM | TrackBack

April 18, 2004

Movie Censorship

I do not like censorship. I hate it. I can't stand people who insist on fast-forwarding through scenes with "objectionable" content. It irritates me when words in CDs and movies are "bleeped" or muted. I heard a story just yesterday of a guy on my floor who tried to speed through the part of The Shining with the old naked lady getting out of a bathtub.

Because of this, items such as this DVD player annoy me. It basically lets the user select a level of filtering for certain movies. The company has around 500 filters available at the moment.

I can understand a parent using this tool for monitoring what their children watch in movies. However, that is the only practical use for it that I can see. If an adult wants to watch a movie and objects to certain content, he should check to see if the movie has any of that material. For example, if a person strongly objects to large amounts of violence, he should know to stay far away from either of the Kill Bill movies.

Except in extreme cases, "objectionable" content such as nudity, sex, violence, and strong language add something to a movie. It is a part of the director's artistic vision for the movie. Strong language adds an element of realism to the majority of an audience. Violence has always been a form of entertainment (boxing, anyone?). Sexual content can add a strong element of passion to a movie. Naturally, swearing just for the sake of swearing and adding nudity to a film in order to produce lust in the audience typically ruins any attempted effect at realism or passion.

I respect people who do not wish to see or hear these things for one (good) reason or another. However, I do not believe that my viewing experience should be altered for someone who could either close his eyes or not try to watch the film in the first place.

Posted by Randy at 11:16 PM | TrackBack

April 17, 2004

Kill Bill: Vol. 2

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of (accidentally) skipping a class and attending the four o'clock showing of Kill Bill: Vol. 2. I have mixed feelings about it.

For those of you who haven't seen Kill Bill: Vol. 1, you should know that it was basically a fight movie centered around the revenge of a nameless bride. She is seeking revenge because Bill, her former boss, and four assassins attack her at a chapel, shoot her in the head, and leave her for dead. The intentional cheesiness of the effects, however, seem to turn many people away from liking the movie.

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 was done in a completely different style. This movie is much more plot-intense while the first was much more action-packed. The movie reveals a great deal about the characters and gives some more background information. Naturally, there was still a good number of fights. The fights were much better choreographed in this one as well. There were still a good number of parody-like scenes concerning kung-fu movies in general. Like the first one, Vol. 2 also has great cinematography.

I have been trying to figure out why I liked Vol. 1 more than Vol. 2. I think it is because Vol. 2 seems to be more serious. It still has a good deal of humor in it, but I simply found Vol. 1 much funnier. I think part of that might be because I thought the cheesy effects were hilarious.

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 is a good movie that ends the story of the Bride's revenge in a great way. The fight scenes are still superb. Daryl Hannah plays one of the best female villains I have seen in a movie. Humor is still in the movie even if it felt a bit lacking in my opinion.

I would recommend this movie if you have seen Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and want to know how the story ends. Naturally, you would miss quite a bit if you haven't seen the first one.

Posted by Randy at 04:51 PM | TrackBack

April 16, 2004

New Presidential Candidate

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

It is my absolute honor to introduce a new candidate for the office of the President of the United States of America. This candidate truly has the answer to all of the problems that our world currently faces. This Elder One's answers may appear to be controversial, but no one has been able to prove that they would be ineffective.

Allow me to introduce:


With all of the ruthless campaigning and hypocrisy presented by the other candidates and their supporters, both George Bush and John Kerry have shown that they are not fit for the job.

Vote Cthulhu for 2004! Why settle for a lesser evil?

Posted by Randy at 02:40 PM | TrackBack

April 15, 2004

Chopping Block

Are you sadistic? Do you find jokes about serial killers funny? Do you have an extremely dark sense of humor?

If you said "yes" to any of those questions, I have the perfect webcomic for you!

Chopping Block

I must give out the following warnings for legal reasons:

We at Tranquil Madness hold no responsibility for anyone following that link. We can not be held liable for any ideas the comic may put into anyone's brain. The reading of the comic may cause laughter, disgust, remorse, pity, spontaneous combustion, and/or death.

Posted by Randy at 06:10 PM | TrackBack

Senatorial English

The members of the Consitution Committee for the LeTourneau University Student Senate should all be enrolled immediately in the English Review class.

After much thought, I decided that I did not want to attend the Senate session this morning. I quickly scoured my floor and bullied a poor, unsuspecting freshman into going for me and collecting any papers I might need from the session. He returned with a resolution that causes me to cringe every time I look at it.

The resolution concerns debate guidelines for Senate sessions. Here are some of the more horrendous errors:

"After stating his thoughts without interruption, the Senator is to take his seat."

(Can someone please tell me what the Senator should do if he is interrupted? That isn't anywhere in the guidelines and I'm not sure what I should be expecting.)

"When the rules of debate are in effect, the elected Speaker Chair is responsible for making sure debate moves along without problems, and is in charge of calling on Senators to speak. If more than one person has raised their hand, and is waiting to speak, it is the job of the Speaker Chair to choose the person who has not yet participated in the debate."

"The debate will conclude before or after the hearing of a maximum of 6 Senator opinions on each side of the issue (12 total)."

These people are representing their respective floors both to the administration and to the student body. Is it unreasonable to expect from them a certain amount of skill in writing?

Posted by Randy at 02:02 PM | TrackBack

April 14, 2004

Blog Remodelling

If you stumbled across this site in the last hour or so, you might have noticed some rather strange color combinations. If so, I apologize.

With the help of Wilson and my roommate, I redesigned the color scheme of this blog. I rather like the end result. The colors are not annoyingly cheerful, but they are not depressingly gloomy either.

At some point I will work on changing the colors inside the comment and trackback boxes in order to make them match the rest of the site. I also would like to change my archive and category pages so that they do not reach across the entire page. Until I have time, however, you will simply have to suffer.

Posted by Randy at 01:43 AM | TrackBack


I just spent an evening with the China team. This was our first time together as a full group. We've been meeting for the last few months, but the is the first time all of us managed to be together at the same time. It's quite an interesting group. We all went to Buller's apartment and watched Rush Hour 2. Now, I'm not sure why someone thought Rush Hour 2 was an appropriate movie to watch for exposure to Chinese culture. Isaiah Koh was also there.

Some of you may know some of the others that will be going on the trip. A good portion of those who read this probably think a few of them are rather unusual individuals. I would be lying if I said that I didn't share some of the same thoughts. However, after spending time with these guys, they have managed to change my original opinions of many of them.

They most definitely have their quirks, but every single person on the team desires to serve the Lord. I believe that team was pulled together by God. The team consists of multiple different personality types, a wide variety of majors, and several different perspectives on life. Since the team will be teaching English, I am glad that there will be at least one English major going with them (that's me). The team also has the minimum number of people needed for a team and, finally, more than one female in the group. It amazes me how well the group meshes together considering how different we are from each other.

I can't wait for this summer to get here.

Posted by Randy at 12:25 AM | TrackBack

April 12, 2004

The Day that Doesn't End

Ugh. I haven't slept since yesterday morning. I'm tired and I want to go to sleep. Unfortunately, I can't. I still have far too much work and too many classes coming up today.

The "candle-light vigil" in memory of my sister and the others who died a year ago yesterday went well, all things considered. Despite the cold, rainy weather, a nice-sized crowd came to the cemetary around ten o'clock at night. Songs were played, things were said, tears were cried, and people were consoled. I managed to stay at the perimeter of the crowd for the majority of the time. I ventured into it occasionally to check on certain family members and to say hello to certain people. Unfortunately for me, spending over an hour in cold, wet weather and staying up all night doing homework will probably wreak havoc on my immune system.

I guess this means that this is my first "real" college all-nighter. I've stayed awake quite late into the morning before, but never so late that I could not grab some sleep before my class. At least I've made progress in my homework tonight.

I completed three chapters in my biology workbook. The definitions for that workbook take far too long. It is entirely busy-work, anyway, but it eventually counts as a test grade. Valuable busy-work? Ha. I've also got a nice chunk of my biology lab report finished. I've still got quite a bit left to do with it, but I need to get help from those who have done it before. I'm still not sure what I need to do. I have found all necessary sources, though. Before class at 8:15, I still need to find and complete a quiz that I missed on Wednesday. At some point today I should also try to do my Calc. III homework. At the moment, however, keeping my biology grade an A is much more important than trying to bump my B in Calc. III up to an A. If that grade jumps up it will be because of my test grades.

All in all, I'm ready to climb in bed and sleep until Saturday. Sadly, it won't be happening.

Posted by Randy at 06:10 AM | TrackBack

April 11, 2004

Day of Mourning

It's finally here. I've been dreading this day for well over a month now, but time decided to keep going forward so here I am.

My sister died one year ago today. This day is going to pass by smoothly, of course. At seven all of the families will be eating together somewhere. At approximately ten-thirty (about when the accident happened) probably half of the town are going to light candles at the cemetary. At midnight everyone is going to light more for my cousin who died the next day in the hospital. After all of that, I get to return to LU and probably stay up all night doing homework (Sorry Codepainter).

I didn't expect this day to pass uneventfully, of course. That thought itself probably never entered the presence of my parents' brains. I don't want to be there. I'm tired of mourning, of grieving, and of comforting. I'm tired of everyone in my town looking at my sympathetically and attempting to cheer up my sad little heart. I'm tired of these families being stared at like animals in a zoo while they grieve for their losses.

None of that matters, though. What does matter is that my sister is dead, my parents are having a memorial service for her and the others, and I will be there for my parents and the rest of my family. What matters is that I'm going to be there.

Posted by Randy at 01:12 PM | TrackBack

April 10, 2004

Memnoch the Devil

by Anne Rice

Memnoch the Devil, book five in Rice's Vampire Chronicles, is the most powerful novel of hers I have read so far.

The novel gives the tale of Memnoch, who is more commonly known as Satan, as he gives it to Lestat, the star of the Vampire Chronicles. This version of the story of the fallen angel is quite...nontraditional. Between the story of Memnoch, Lestat is given a short tour, so to speak, of both Heaven and Hell by Memnoch himself. The reader learns rather early in the story that Memnoch wants Lestat to become a lieutenant of his in order to help Memnoch's battle with God.

Through the story the reader learns that Memnoch's major problem with God is suffering. He feels a great pity for mankind. This pity for man and anger towards God developed as he watched the evolutionary progress of the Earth. Once Memnoch learns that humans have developed souls, a series of events take place resulting in his explusion from Heaven and in his crowning as ruler of Hell.

There are a great deal of theological issues present in this novel. Suffering and salvation are the two most present, however, and seem to be the major focus of Memnoch's tale. While reading this, I couldn't help but respond rather negatively to the theology being presented. According to Memnoch, there is no Hell, only a Purgatory that God calls Hell. Memnoch tells how God did not allow humans into Heaven until Memnoch intervened on our behalf. Memnoch explains how God only allowed those who died with a pure soul into Heaven until Memnoch convinced God to let him lead the other souls in Hell until they were ready to enter Heaven. Memnoch portrays God as basically not knowing what He is doing. All things considered, this is all remarkably different from what I believe.

And then I had the revelation that should have been present from the beginning. This is the story of Memnoch as told by Memnoch. Satan himself telling his version of his story. Of course it is going to be quite a perverted version of the truth. Did the author believe any of what she wrote? By the end, I think the answer is no. Lestat himself is not convinced everything he saw was the truth.

All in all, I'm sure most of you already know whether or not you will read this book. If you have liked Rice's work, I would say read this novel. If you hate Rice, this story probably won't change your mind about her work. If you have never read Anne Rice before, I would not recommend starting with book five in the Vampire Chronicles unless the story sounds interesting to you.

(An observant reader may have noticed that I skipped a review of book four, The Tale of the Body Thief. Rest assured, I have read it. I simply felt it was not worthy of my time to review it. It wasn't a horrible story. I don't regret that I read it. I just simply didn't enjoy it the way I had Rice's other tales.)

Posted by Randy at 10:11 PM | TrackBack

April 08, 2004

Tragic Memories & Ramblings

A strange realization hit me earlier this week. I am sure that I have known this for quite some time, yet the thought never moved to the front of my mind. It seems quite odd to me the number of times that happens in my head, although I'm sure it is a common occurrence.

The realization, as I said, is more like the admittance of a thought that has been with me for some time now. While I am sure that I will always remember my sister perished on April 11, 2003, I have forgotten the last time actually I saw my sister.

Now, don't misunderstand me. I remember what took place the last day I saw her. Specifically, the last glimpse that I had of her was through my rear-view mirror as I drove away from dropping her off at my cousin's driveway. I'm fairly certain that it was a Saturday evening. I remember that a track meet had taken place earlier in the day. However, I can't remember anything more specific than that. I don't remember the way she was wearing her hair. I don't remember anything that we said to each other. I don't remember what was playing on the radio. I don't remember what she was wearing. I don't remember why she was going to my cousin's in the first place. I can not remember any single specific thing about the last time I saw my sister.

And that truly was the last time I saw her. I did not go home the next weekend because I wanted to work on a paper. I had not planned on going home the weekend she died until my mother called with the news of what happened. Though everyone who did see her body said it was unscathed, my parents insisted on having a closed-casket visitation and funeral. I never had a real chance to say good-bye to my sister's body. I don't think having that chance would have changed many of my experiences and thoughts in the next few months, but I do believe it would have helped me in those first few days.

Not remembering the details of my last parting with my sister is most likely perfectly normal. After all, I didn't know that it would be our last time together. Why would my mind memorize what happened with photographic detail? There was no reason for it to do such a thing. Nothing memorable happened going to or returning from my cousin's house, and my sister and I left each other as we always did. It was probably even more boring than usual since my sister had returned recently from a track meet and was tired.

While the anniversary of my sister's death is rapidly approaching (and falls on Easter, in fact), the anniversary of my last moments with my sister has already passed. I think it probably happened on March 27. If I really wanted to do so, I could research it with my high school to find out when the track meet occurred. My parents might even know when it happened. The thing that feels weird to me, though, is that I do not want to know. I'm a bit curious about the date we said our last good-byes, but other than that it doesn't matter to me.

And that fact makes me feel like I'm being callous towards my sister's death. It makes me feel like I was a horrible friend to her and an even worse brother.

There is more I would like to say, but I don't want to say it right now. I need time to collect my thoughts. This may be continued in a day or two.

Posted by Randy at 01:56 AM | TrackBack

April 05, 2004

S*P & Babies

I just have to link this comic before the Cynic gets to it. If you have visited something positive before, you know what to expect. If not, be warned that this is a very dark comic. The easily offended should not follow the links.

In case you don't know this, I am not a fan of little children. In fact, I can't stand them most of the time. Naturally, this means that they like me. If anyone can explain this to me, I'd love to hear it.

Posted by Randy at 09:53 PM | TrackBack


(The following post was written at the same time as my review of Runaway Jury. I decided that it would be much better as a separate post.)

What makes a lawsuit "frivilous"? What is the proper criteria to call a lawsuit ridiculous? Little more than a year ago, I believe that I would have given a very different opinion on the subject than I will present today.

I'm going to give a basic plot outline concerning the lawsuit the actual plot of Runaway Jury surrounds. A man is fired from a trading firm (I think). He then buys a gun, returns to his workplace, and kills eleven people before committing suicide. The widow brings a lawsuit against the gun manufacturer alleging negligence in their selling and marketing practices.

A year or so ago, no one would have been able to convince me that this woman's motive was anything other than greed. Her husband was killed and she lost half of her household income. She sees an opportunity to milk a wealthy industry for a large chunk of money. If she wins and the jury is sympathetic, she would never have to work again. She would use her husband's unfortunate death to ascend to a life of luxury. Are there any motives behind this other than money? I would have been certain that she has convinced herself that there were, but I would not have believed any actually existed.

Today, due to personal experience with tragedy, I have a very different outlook.

As I'm sure any regular reader of this blog knows, my sister was killed in a horrible accident approximately one year ago. In my opinion, this accident happened due to the negligence of the company involved. The facility involved did not have a fence around it, did not have warning signs in easily visible locations, and did not have any kind of locking mechanism on the container which exploded. To my knowledge, very few people in the surrounding area knew of the danger surrounding the equipment. The equipment itself appeared to be in a horrible state of decay--rust and holes were visible almost everywhere.

In light of evidence such as this, I believe that a negligence/wrongful death lawsuit is completely appropriate. My family is not seeking a financial award. Any money received from the group lawsuit is completely secondary. We want the regulations concerning the site of the accident changed. Unfortunately, the only real way to do that is with a lawsuit. As the explosion itself was caused by survivor of the accident, many people may see the lawsuit as frivilous. After all, it wasn't the company that tried to look into the container. Still, the company had very dangerous areas that were easily accessible by young teenagers.

My family and the other families may be seen by some in the same light as I used to see many "wrongful death" plaintiffs. My perspective on the matter, however, has changed greatly. Lawsuits that appear "frivilous" can be deeper than one might realize.

This rather obvious epiphany has caused me to become more interested in the facts behind lawsuits commonly seen as ridiculous attempts to get easy money. I'm not saying that all lawsuits are valid; however, I am saying that one shouldn't wave off something as frivilous without checking the facts of the case first.

Posted by Randy at 01:27 AM | TrackBack

Runaway Jury

Based on a novel by John Grisham

Starring John Cusack, Dusting Hoffman, and Gene Hackman

I guess I'll start my critique with the movie style. I am not a fan of the camera techniques used in the film. There is a large amount of shaky scenes. There are a few scenes about a third of the way into the movie that might leave a casual watcher scratching his head. However, if you are going to sit down and watch a movie and don't pay attention you deserve to be lost.

The actual plot of the film is excellent. It was able to keep my attention throughout the entire film. Supposedly, they changed the "big industry" from tobacco to gun. Naturally, since the gun industry was involved gun control was implied. I would expound more upon that issue in relation to the plot of the movie, but I would rather let the reader watch it for himself/herself and infer his/her own opinions. As the title may imply, it deals mainly with a lawsuit and juror manipulation. If I say much more I may reveal more than I would like, so I think I'll just stop here.

The movie was quite good overall. I would recommend it.

Posted by Randy at 01:24 AM | TrackBack

April 04, 2004

Mood Swings and Putt-Putt

What the crap is wrong inside my head? Seriously. Today has provided me with all the evidence I need for me to believe I am borderline bipolar. Let me fill you in on some details.

I had (yet another!) play practice today around three o'clock. This was after I had slept in until almost one o'clock. I almost had to crawl out, but I knew that I needed to get out of bed. My sleep cycle does not appreciate vast changes in it. Anyway, once it was almost time I went to see Spaulding and we walked over to the Education Building in order to run through the play yet again. I wasn't exactly thrilled about the practice, but I wasn't angry about it either. I enjoy spending time with the people in Stage Right. Pat even redeemed himself by having us run through only the second act of the play.

After that was over with, I returned to my room and caught a couple episodes of my roommate's current anime project, .hack: sign, and I even read a bit more of Out of the Silent Planet. After a while, my brain got tired (it still hasn't fully recovered from this past week's stresses) so I stopped and did nothing for a while. Eventually, the idea of playing putt-putt golf was thrown out for consideration. After some initial doubts, I was convinced to go and waited for the others to try and get as many more people to go as they could. Finally, twelve people in total climbed into four cars and traveled to the putt-putt course.

About ten minutes before we left, however, I felt something happening inside me. A depression seemed to be falling around me and it apparently decided to take root inside of my head. By the time we were actually on our way (which took far too long for reasons that aren't important), I actually felt some tears wanting to form. I fought them back valiantly, but a couple people noticed that something was wrong. I have absolutely no clue where this mood came from, but it struck hard and fast.

After arriving at the course, I decided that I was going to have fun. Due to the entertainment of watching certain people attempt to play golf, I did have fun. The depression that had threatened to take over my mind earlier had seemingly vanished. The ride back was most entertaining and overwhelmingly embarassing. I don't believe I'll ever take a few people riding around in my car. They are insane.

Unfortunately now, I can feel that mood start to creep back towards me. I'm trying to fight it away, but I can feel it sneaking around my defenses. It's been quite some time since I've felt really depressed. I'm just wondering if I am feeling it now because of my mental exhaustion. I joked earlier today that maybe it is caused from stress withdrawal.

Whatever the cause, I hate feeling depressed. I hate it. The timing of these feelings isn't very helpful, either.

Posted by Randy at 02:31 AM | TrackBack

April 03, 2004


I still feel completely mentally drained. This week has been a complete nightmare. I'm hoping that my mind will fully recuperate later and I can write something semi-intelligent.

Posted by Randy at 05:20 PM | TrackBack