Thursday, February 26, 2004

A recent AIM conversation with Nancy, a friend I've known for about 18 years, brought something to the forefront of my mind that I've touched on a few times on this blog, but I have never really addressed it. Nancy and I share about 3 years of Catholic schooling during our elementary years, and with the start of Lent she asked me what I was giving up for the next "40 days".

nancys screename: are you doing the 40 days 40 nights thing
D0NNIEVEGA: what is this "thing" you speak of?
nancys screename: u know.. giving something up for 40 days
D0NNIEVEGA: oh, damn
D0NNIEVEGA: most likely not
nancys screename: ahh..
D0NNIEVEGA: i haven't done anything lent related in like 7 years
nancys screename: still a good catholic boy
D0NNIEVEGA: and on fridays', i'm eating the fuck out of some steak
nancys screename: lol seriously
D0NNIEVEGA: i'm with chris rock
D0NNIEVEGA: i don't think my diet is going to come into question at the pearly gates


Honestly, I heard on something about this past Wednesday being Ash Wednesday, and being a former catholic school kid, Ash Wednesday was always an event. Not so much because it signified the beginning of Lent, but moreso because it meant I got to walk around all day with black shit on my forehead. But I couldn't help but think about how "un-catholic" I have become.


I used to be very active in the church ministries. Nancy still makes fun of me for being in the church choir those years back. During high school, I was a regular at the 5:30 youth mass and participated frequently as an usher or as part of the choir. I was a full blown Catholic and there was no doubt about it. But as I grew older and experienced many different sects of Christian religion, I couldn't help but notice the over abundance of self-righteous fingerpointing between Catholics and Protestants, Christians and Muslims, etc. It made me sick. Hell, it makes me sick. Everybody is caught up in who's method of worship is the "right" way, but they never stop to think that maybe the "right way" is different for every person. I mean, people think you have to go to church every Sunday to live your life right, but I haven't been to church for the most part of the last six years.


I can't say that I stopped going to church because I hated church. When I do make an very rare appearance at my church, I can admit that I like the spiritual feeling I get while praying. But it bothers me how some people can live their lives without being very spiritual and come to church every Sunday because they "have to". I stopped going to church at first because I was always working on Sundays. Now, church doesn't even cross my mind when it's Sunday. I've shaken the habit that I gained from going to church every Sunday of my life until just after I graduated high school. My mom is always telling me I should go to church, but I can't do it. It's not that I hate Catholicism or Christianity, because I do believe in one God and Jesus Christ. I just don't think that there is a set path to walk . I feel that I am very spiritual and that God rewards good deeds and punishes bad deeds. If i spend 5 minutes everyday thankful for what God has given me, that is more than any paper Catholic that shows up every Sunday because of said "habit".


I mean, there are times in church where I will almost cry because I get so caught up in it. It's like opening up your soul and and having it cleansed. Unfortunately, I'd say a good 50% of people in church come in a Pavlovian manner, and pray as soon as they hear a bell ring. I was one of those people for a long time. But I can't say I'm any better than any of these people, because I'm not. My life is far from perfect and I think a few extra visits to church may keep me in check. I guess what I'm really trying to say is that I firmly believe that God is more happy that you pray everyday or at least even acknowledge His existence in your everyday life rather than going to church every Sunday. I mean shit, Lent is great and all, but why the fuck is 40 days more important than any other time of the year. Spirituality is ongoing, not an event. I've had people I KNOW that were living fault lives but had the nerve to get at me because I was eating meat on a Friday during Lent. Shit is kinda fucked up, ya know?


So, with all that said, church isn't for everybody. Christianity isn't for everybody. Spirituality and a belief in a greater good IS for everybody. I think a lot of people miss that point when it comes to organized religion. The thing is, religion doesn't have to be organized in a church or a mosque for it to be effective. It has to be organized in your heart and your soul.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

"...tunnelvision,
warped illusion,
the chatterbox is our seclusion
from productivity,
we're gettin' too involved
what you hear is what you see..."
- Group Therapy's "Chatterbox"



My dad likes to leave the TV on Fox news when he's sitting in the kitchen nook looking over bills or while working on somebody's taxes. I have to admit that up until two years ago when I watched Michael Moore's "Bowling For Columbine", I never really thought about how much our news media feeds us a steady stream of complete bullshit. I was always skeptical of the validity of television and the media, but I never could put my finger on what made it seem so shady. With this newly tuned ear, I can't help but notice how news channels like FoxNews, MSNBC, etc. focus on only a handful of actual news stories and beat them to absolute death. Recently it's been like this: "Laci Peterson...blah blah blah...War on Terror...blah blah blah....Gay Marriage...blah blah blah...Kerry vs. Bush...blah blah blah...Mel Gibson and "The Passion"...blah blah blah". Whatever, ya know? Now I hear that there are "terror" drills being held in major cities across the nation because of an increased risk of terror attacks.


Right.


Now don't get me wrong. I understand that there is a little truth sprinkled here and there. I also believe that television does have value in many of our lives. But there comes a time when you have to stand up ask why we live in a world that seems so negative. Why is there so much hate? Why is there war? Crime? Violence? Our world is painted on the television screen as something that is not. At least not to me. I wake up everyday and see the innocence in my son's eyes and I can't believe all this shit on TV.


There is definitely something wrong here, and I don't think there are as many bad people as some people want us to believe. I truly believe that we as humans are innately good natured and that there is a perpetuation of fear spread to the masses by the media. We are being scared into consuming to attain status. (If you don't buy this H2 SUV, you will not be cool) We are being scared into acting a certain way. We are scared into consuming items that will "prepare us for the worst" ("stock up on duct tape?". We are scared to the point that we yell, hurt, and murder over absolutely nothing. I wish that instead of all the stories about killing and hurting and just plain evil in the world, that the news media could do a story involving a child's innocence and genuine kindness that we all have in our hearts whether we know it or not. Why aren't the "Good Samaritan" stories we have on our local news stations covered by national news shows? It's probably because since "it doesn't bleed, it doesn't lead". Plus, it wouldn't be lucrative.


TV is good for some things. But in my opinion, it's bad for most. Chatterbox, indeed.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

"Gift Wrap" by Living Legends

[Chorus: The Grouch]
I'm about to give you that I love hip-hop feeling
I'm about to give it to you
I said I'm about to give you that I love hip-hop feeling
I'm about to give it to ya (repeat)

[The Grouch]
The same one I had when I first bumped Tribe
Or the vibe that you felt taking that Bizarre Ride
I'm gonna put it in the mix for your own ears to hear
I was a young buck then and feel I've got a lot of years to go
I'm from the O, I felt it through $hort to Hiero
Had my Walkman on everywhere that I'd travel
I'd always babble and quote what other people wrote
Use it as a theme or rule and that was cool for me
Worked it like a tool for me
They thought I was a fool to be
White and writing raps
They thought that I was acting
But I was just stacking up my skill being real
Feeling how I feel and expressin' how I'm stressin'
Now it's my profession and I'm wanting y'all to know
The love that I've got for this hip-hop only grows.

[Chorus]

[PSC]
The best that we can's better than a lot of them
When I meet a Legends fan it's just like another friend
It's the feeling that we give
The music that we live
Negative positive, how you live how you live
Positive memory of what you see, I try to give and be
Inspiration for those who try to come after them or we
Bass lines that pull you in from outside
Or inside or online, when we rhyme it's funtime!
Hands up, stand up, watch me deliver
With delivery and presence, surpassing your ability
Tranquility is silence when violence dominates
If you're the murderers why would I buy the tape?
Self incrimination, self destruction to the nation
Fascination with this death? Oh my I'm losing patience
I got into this music cause I feel y'all listening to radio
Damn they tryin' 2 kill y'all

[Chorus]

[Aesop]
I remember the first time I heard a dope ass rhyme
Yes a fresh ass verse
Or the first time on this earth
I had this thirst
To give it to ya like birth
A piece of my soul more precious than gold
I'm in the crowd man
I'm not too old to give it up
If it's tight I can get wit it
Rush to the store and go get it
Bump it if it's slumpin', hope the lyric's sayin' somethin'
Intellectual, make the beat sound so flexible
I give it to ya like a piece of my mind
Give breath over this beat with mic control refined
Give ya substance when you have nothin' to hold
You can feel this like you're in the front row!!!

[Chorus]

[Murs]
It's like oooo weee
You'd be a fool not to feel this beat knocking out your trunk
Like Mike Tyson with a steel fist
While most of these MCs was out on a field trip
My crew stayed in the lab
See we never had permission to slip
My mission to rip every mic that I'm on
Rap niggas being nice
But I remember last year
They wasn't liking my song
Now I got a couple fans
I'm making cool hits like ice in a bong
Got their bitch on my dick
She looks nice in a thong
And I'm about to give her that
"I love this cock feeling"
And that may be fucked up
But I'm right when I'm wrong
That's don't get along with funny style rap chaps
Who lack the same feeling
That I had way back and still keep to this day
When I used to stay up late just to dub Tech and Sway
But now I got my own wax and I can't get no play?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Notes from the mind of borderline psycho...


  • I've been to a ton of kiddy parties in my life, but not once have I ever seen the "pinata" portion of the party end without anybody crying.


  • Mr. Miyagi should have parlayed his healing powers into some sort of 1-800 line. Either that or he should have looked into televangelism. Either way, Hillary Swank could have kicked the shit out of Ralph Macchio.


  • Do NOT tell anybody what you plan on naming your unborn child unless you like telling people "Well, my kid is older..."


  • When I come into some money, it's not so much a nominal value of how much I'm worth. It's more of a countdown to me being broke.


  • I look back to back 10 years ago and I marvel at how clueless I was at the time. People in their 30's tell me that they feel the same way about when they were my age. It makes you realize why old people are so fuckin' ornery. They know more than ever and they're sitting in a pile of their own shit.


  • After years of masturbating I still can't seem to shake the guilt associated with it, especially when my wife catches me.


  • The other day I couldn't help but notice how fucked up my toes are. I swear, I'm like two kernels away from a cob down there.


  • Way too many people are getting married because they are finacially secure. I think people should be required to be broke before they get married. That way they can work out the personality conflicts and what not. Money can give you a false sense of security. Love can give you the false sense of uncertainty.


  • I'm an advocate for gun control, but I wish these people would stop shooting kids and start shooting people more worthwhile, like themselves.


  • You know, I was under the impression that anti-spam software was supposed to stop Spam. Silly me.


  • If Ferris was really an asshole, he would have just let Cameron die in the pool.


  • I am one of about 15 people that can admit they saw about 25 minutes of Gerard Depardieu's "My Father The Hero" in a movie theatre.


  • I don't care how hot Halle Berry looked as Storm. If they don't put Psylocke in the next X-Men movie, they are seriously dropping the ball.


  • Pornos are a bad influence. They have tricked me into believing that the best place for semen is either on a woman's face, chest, or foot.


  • I haven't taken a shower with my wife in a long time, so you know my back is REALLY dirty.
  • Tuesday, February 17, 2004

    Last week I realized that I haven't made my monthly visit to Tony Pierce's blog, so I stopped by and read that Moxie posted a picture of herself with Tony. I take a look at the comments to find that someone said something like, "Look the King and Queen of Blogs together" and I swear to you I almost fuckin' vomitted. I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm relatively new and still don't understand why people would hand out such credentials. Forgive me, but I just didn't see it. What the fuck makes their blogs so good? Hit count? Comments? I mean shit, you'd think all that would get to someone's head. You think Tony is bald for nothing?


    Bitter? Not really. I can see the appeal of these popular sites. Hell, it's enough to keep me visiting every now and then. A lot of it, especially Tony's, is VERY entertaining. I guess I've always felt that a lot of the more popular blogs are written as if they knew they were being read by hundreds, if not thousands of people a day. Those are the types of blogs that I avoid, simply because if I wanted to read ego-laced literature, I'd read the sports section of my local newspaper. On top of that, at least in the newspaper the topics of discussion would keep me up on the latest and greatest.


    I read blogs like Sahalie, probably the most talented writer I've read since I've started blogging. Her words literally paint pictures in my imagination that are so vivid I swear they are tangible. Her mastery of diction is seemingling effortless. The sweetest thing about Sahalie? It all seems 100% geniune. I like reading blogs that I know would be exactly as they are if they knew no one was reading it. You know, the kind that would be in a notebook stashed under a mattress or scribbled on a pad hidden under the phonebook and a few unpaid bills.


    But, I can't lie. I know my blog will never appeal to the masses because I write knowing that people that know me more than just a screen name will read it. If you don't "get it", it was never for you to begin with. My wife reads my blog. A lot of my close friends read it, so everything you read has to be 100% authentic or else I'd get checked by one of the 5 people that actually read this.


    So, "What is the criteria for a good blog?" is basically what I'm asking. The night I realized that I've been blogging for a year, I took a look though my archives. Just reading through what I have wrote in the past year made all the effort worth it. I wrote all this shit for me. Nobody else. I realized that I am the ultimate benefactor of all this writing. So, after all that I realized that it really doesn't matter what I think about Tony Pierce, or Moxie, or anybody for that matter. Their blog is strictly for them, and no one else. What their readers have to say about them is well out of their control. I am in no position to assume who or what they were written for, because they, nor anyone else is in any position to speak on my motives.


    So, after all that, lesson learned. Handle you and yours.

    Saturday, February 14, 2004

    Holy shit. It's been a year to the day that I started blogging and I still don't think anybody reads this shit.

    So do me a favor. Check out my archives and find a post you like. Let's vote for Joe's favorite post of the year.

    Friday, February 13, 2004

    I'm a little too lazy to blog, but here are a few things I've written on message boards around the 'net.

    In response to popular trends:

    "People put status over style. Throwbacks became a status symbol in our high schools and in our malls. Before that it was Starter parkas and Guess Jeans. Now we have Purple Lable and Von Dutch hats. Now they want to take it to the next level and make status nearly unattainable.


    In an attempt to be "different" they fade into the crowd.


    Take offense if you want. I dont' care. The fact is that society has brainwashed people into perpetual consumption in their chase for status. Check yourself. "


    In response to some good ol' Christian self-righteous fingerpointing:

    "I just think it's funny how people will ask you to open your mind and listen to what their saying but refuse to reciprocate.


    There is no way you'll teach anybody by saying "You are wrong and we are right", as if you are pontificating from the shoulders of God Himself.


    I am very comfortable with my Christian faith, but I have no problem with people who are "in the dark" as someone stated in this thread. I choose to understand the beauty of God and am willing to accept the fact that he takes many forms in order to touch the lives of more people.


    Don't fall into the trap that is self-righteous finger pointing. Handle you and yours. Your false sense of righteousness may be your sinful pride in disguise."


    Same thread, further along in the discussion:
    "I choose to be inclusive with the belief that it is not necessary to believe in Jesus Christ nor be of the Christian faith to live your life as a good person, just as long as you believe that there is a greater good.


    I had an experience in my life that made me realize that the people who point fingers the most sometimes fail to walk the path they set for themselves.


    At a Christian(Methodist) camp, I was told that I was going to hell because I was Catholic. It baffled me because regardless of how genuine a person I was, or how much I strived to walk the path of God, something as little as a label was enough for someone to condemn me as a sinner.


    I'm seeing a lot of that in here. There is a lot of fingerpointing and a complete disregard for the human element. Faith is not black and white. Sprituality is not black and white. There are so many rules and rules of conduct that different religions use to differentiate themselves. I really don't think that by me not going to church every Sunday that I'm going to hell. I eat pork because I seriously doubt that my diet is going to be in question at the Pearly Gates.


    The only reason why there are so many different religious is because of little disagreements through out history. People have died over these beliefs. People have killed over these beliefs. It has become more about how you worship instead of just worshipping. But in reality, it doesn't matter what you believe in but THAT YOU BELIEVE."

    Saturday, February 07, 2004

    Dictator or Television Sitcom Character

    ^
    |
    |
    |
    That, my friends, is the best thing ever.
    True happiness is finally getting your son to pee in his potty.

    Friday, February 06, 2004