February 20th

OK, not that anyone’s reading this anymore, but I didn’t like the idea of just leaving a post up with no explanation as to what happened.

Basically, because of my work, I try my best to keep a low profile. Someone got a bit too close, so I shut it down. Also, I found that I didn’t really have anything to say anymore that I couldn’t say on Facebook with less effort.

I’ve been back on the Home Planet for the past 7 months and it’s been amazing. I work my ass off and never see my wife and spend the weekends playing Mr. Mom, but it still beats living on that shitty backwater planet of Trafalmadore.

I never want to go back there.

Don’t get me wrong. The Trafalmadorian people were amazing. Gracious, tenacious, caring, and completely undeserving of the crappy hand they’d been dealt in life thanks to a certain cigar smoking bearded dictator who just won’t let go and die already.

But I never want to go back there.

The other day, someone in my office was microwaving a can of SpaghettiOs. I almost threw up when I caught a whiff of it as I had been forced to consume so much of it during the 2 years we were on Trafalmadore since there was no food to be found anywhere.

I will never eat canned food again. I feel kind of like Scarlett O’Hara when I say that.

I know there are worse countries to live in, and that others have been through worse, but I really can’t see why anyone would ever want to voluntarily live in such a craphole as Trafalmadore.

Wonderful people, great culture, shitty country. That’s the bottom line.

OK, all for now. Perhaps I’ll check in later, though I doubt it.

Just wanted to clean this site up a bit.


Decimosexto de Junio


A complete transcript of a chat between myself and a work colleague who IM’d me out of the blue:

Leston, Shannon (Boise, ID) [8:16 PM]:
i went to the most awkward dinner yesterday

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:16 PM]:
with whom?

Leston, Shannon (Boise, ID) [8:16 PM]:
Marcie set it up with some other of our work colleagues, and the only guy I knew bailed

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:16 PM]:
who was there?

Leston, Shannon (Boise, ID) [8:16 PM]:
So, it was me, my husband, Mike, and two other couples and Marcie

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:16 PM]:

Leston, Shannon (Boise, ID) [8:16 PM]:
Lilly Rodriguez and spouse

Leston, Shannon (Boise, ID) [8:17 PM]:
and Marcus something and spouse

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:17 PM]:

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:17 PM]:

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:17 PM]:
still waiting for the punchline

Leston, Shannon (Boise, ID) [8:17 PM]:
no punchline

Leston, Shannon (Boise, ID) [8:17 PM]:
it was just a weird dinner

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:18 PM]:
ok. great….

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:18 PM]:

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:18 PM]:
you should blog that

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:18 PM]:

Leston, Shannon (Boise, ID) [8:18 PM]:
thanks for being such a smart ass

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:18 PM]:
…or at least use it as your Facebook status report

Leston, Shannon (Boise, ID) [8:18 PM]:

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:18 PM]:
Hell, I’ll blog it.

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:18 PM]:
I’ll even spice it up.

Astro, Vance (Trafalmadore City) [8:18 PM]:
Make everyone laugh…at you.

Leston, Shannon (Boise, ID) [8:18 PM]:

Decimoquinto de Junio


In Marvel’s Secret Wars #4 (1984), when a mega-powerful cosmic entity named “The Beyonder” drops an entire 150 billion ton mountain upon the home base of the Marvel heroes, the Incredible Hulk holds up the entire mountain by himself and actually grows stronger, the angrier he becomes.

As I lay in bed last night struggling to go to sleep, one thought kept drifting through my head:

“Wouldn’t something like that be physically impossible?

If the Hulk were indeed that strong, wouldn’t the weight of the mountain coming down on a single point, plus the instability of the ground underneath his feet (in comparison to the weight above his head) force his body to just push through the mountain – like a tack being rolled over by the tire of a car?”

I suddenly had my doubts.

(And why would a God-like sentient being of limitless power want to walk around in a white track suit anyway? Stupid Beyonder…)

Duodécimo de Junio

El Barco

Tomorrow is Abby’s last day at the Spanish School. Today they had their big “Happy Vacation” production at one of the nicer tourist hotels in Trafalmadore City.

I couldn’t attend, so I asked Mrs. Astro to video it for me.

When I pulled up in the driveway, I was dying to know how it went. Mrs. Astro had the DVD player already hooked up to the TV.

“You want to see it?” she asked with a slight twinkle in her eye.

“Yeah, of course. Let me see it!” I said. I was excited. Abby’s first public performance.

Mrs. Astro turned on the DVD player and I could instantly see Abby dressed in the red pants and white shirt uniform that had been specified by her teachers. Just like all the other good young Commies.

The music began and the teachers started herding the kids on stage. Abby was last, and it didn’t look like she wanted to move.

A teacher stood over her and tried to push her out, but Abby burst into tears and then dug in.

The teacher finally managed to get her on stage as the rest of the three year olds began their primitive gyrations, but Abby just stood there with a terrified look on her face and sobbed.

The music continued towards the climax and Abby made a half-hearted attempt to lift her arm with the others in what looked like a Nazi salute, but then the song was over and the rest of the little children hustled off the stage.

Abby sulked down the steps and then ran immediately towards her Mommy who was busy videotaping the whole debacle.

The last image on the DVD was Abby looking plaintively into the camera and whining, “Mom-mmyyyyyy!!!”

Mrs. Astro stopped the DVD and looked at me with an impish look.

“Yep,” she said. “And that was that.”

Undécimo de Junio

El Viejo y El Nineto

Decimo de Junio

Ropas Vieja

Novento de Junio

Creepy Baby Doll

Sometimes I want to punch Ira Glass in the face for trying to be so smugly hip and cloying. But with the episode of This American Life entitled “Turncoat“, I’m reminded why I listen to the show in the first place.

The premise is fairly straight forward: How individuals went against the wishes of their communities and how they were perceived and treated afterward.

By far the most compelling part of this episode is a story entitled “My Way Or The FBI Way”, which recounts the story of Brandon Darby and how he went from being a left-wing militant anarchist to an informant for the FBI.

I haven’t even finished listening to the story, but on two occasions yesterday (upon arriving at work and arriving at home after work) I found myself unable to get out of the car because I was listening to the story on my iPod and wanted to hear what was going to happen next.

I think the reason I like it so much is because it just confirms what I’ve known all along: That the extreme left-wing social protest movements of our era (anarchism, eco-terrorism, communism, PETA), while being seemingly attractive in their profession of wanting to care for the planet and the lives of all human beings, are at their core really just about the elevation of the group at the expense of individual liberties.

Brandon Darby begins the story as an angry young man who has spent the majority of his life living on the streets. He is self-educated, hates the police, hates authority figures, and wants to overthrow the government of the United States. With his colleagues in the activist community, he spends years trying to figure out the best way to reject the conventional bourgeois morality of their parents to create a perfect Utopian society.

But yet, as he actually travels the path where his convictions take him (including a meeting in Hugo Chavez’ Caracas where Venezuelan intelligence officers try to convince him to go into the jungles of Colombia so he can meet with the FARC and be trained how to “bring revolution to the swamps of Louisiana”), Darby realizes that he’s not a revolutionary at all.

He begins to see the limitations of leaderless consensus in accomplishing any true goals and begins to suspect that the people he’s been associating with all these years might actually be a bunch of hypocritical, self-serving frauds who don’t care so much about helping people as they do about imposing their belief system on others.

In other words, patchouli-smelling fascists.

Here’s a snippet of dialogue I particularly enjoyed. Brandon has organized a collective of anarchists and communists named Common Ground in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in order to provide food and medical supplies to the stricken denizens who had largely been abandoned by their state, local, and federal governments in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

NARRATOR: “Meanwhile, Brandon found himself in an organization with hundreds of volunteers and no clear hierarchy. Others in Common Ground wanted to run the organization by consensus where everyone gets a say and no one walks around telling the other people what to do.

But Brandon came to believe that the volunteers did need someone telling them what to do and what not to do.

BRANDON: “Folks would take over the kitchen and decide because they ran the kitchen, they wouldn’t tell you this before they took over the kitchen responsibilities, but then once they took over the kitchen responsibilities it became a vegan kitchen. It was like, A: We’re relying on handouts here, like we don’t have money to buy food ourselves, you know, to feed people. And B: The people we’re serving don’t want vegan food. They might not like Ginger Noodles every day.

And they’re like, ‘Well, our kitchen has decided that we as a kitchen crew have decided that, through our process, we’re not going to serve oppression. And it’s like, ‘Well, I’ve decided that you’re not going to work in the kitchen.’

A lot of people were mad because, ‘Well, I don’t consent on working in a church because churches are patriarchal, churches are..’ And I’d say, ‘Well, don’t work in a church. But we’re working in a church.”

I can’t wait to hear how it ends.


The idiot in the chicken suit waving at your car as you speed down the Highway of Life.

The Fine Print

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What It’s Like Down Here

"Every time I think about back home it's cool and breezy. I wish that I could be there right now just passing time."

"Everybody seems to wonder what it's like down here. I gotta get away from this day-to-day running around. Everybody knows this is nowhere."

- Neil Young (1969)



May 2015
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"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

I Love My Country, But Fear My Government



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