Sunday, May 22, 2011

A post that would be controversial if my blog was more popular

God is kind of a dick.

Okay, I take it back. I don't believe that God is a dick. I don't even necessarily believe in God (but, for the sake of this post, let's act like I definitely do). I had to get that statement out of the way, though, so that the rest of my statements would seem less Christian-offensive in contrast.

What I really mean is, people tend to make God out to be a dick. Not atheists, but the Christians (and Muslims, too). He seems very concerned that you don't disrespect Him, that you put Him on a pedestal, that you don't believe in gods other than Him. But let's step back for a moment, and look at who we're talking about.

This person, is not a person. He is a pre-person being. A being that predates the entire universe. He, coming before biology existed, can't even be a he. What is a he in a species that has no she? It created the universe, created life, and is aware of all of our thoughts and actions. It is omniscient, omnipotent, and infallible. It is literally the perfect being. It is God.

When someone has lived a long time, maybe ninety years, we expect them to have gained some wisdom with their age. Wisdom that comes from many experiences, and seeing things from different perspectives. Well, God has seen all of history, and, not only that, has the perspective that comes from seeing the world through the eyes of every being that's ever been on it. When an ant is following a scent trail, God gets that, in a way that none of us ever will. When a bee chooses to kill itself by stinging something, God feels that fatal determination. When a junky, after three hours of hating himself, gives up on sobriety and snorts a line of meth into his nose, God feels everything he is feeling. Even murderers, and child molesters. God understands all of their thoughts and drives, because God is not limited the way we're limited, and It's not at all affected by how we believe It's supposed to be limited.

I would like to think that all of us that believe there is a God share this version of It that is actually perfect. That is full and complete. I don't think that most people believe in a God that doesn't understand a feeling that a contract killer is able to understand.

So, when I hear people preaching about an over-sensitive God, or a jealous God, or a God that's quick to anger, I have my doubts. I'm not a particularly jealous person. The more jealous someone is, usually the more we think they're a dick. Would that make me better than God in this one area? How ridiculous.

Quote the Bible to me, if you want. If God ever appears to me and tells me to live my life based on a collection of documents found and aggregated by humans, written by humans... well, why would It do that? Who decided that the Bible was the word of God, anyway? I bet it was a human.

And I won't expect God to overreact about this decision, like a touchy emperor. Because, while the devout tend to paint God as being a major asshole, I don't think that's true.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Why it's going to look like I'm not writing short stories. (I actually am)

An atom is mostly empty space. Some guy that wrote a book said something like the following: If you made an atom the size of a football stadium (but maybe round) the nucleus would be the size of a can of tuna in the middle. This would mean that everything is almost entirely empty space.

Anyway, this is the metaphor that sprung into my mind when I started thinking about the process of publishing stories, be they novels or short stories. You do little chunks of work, which are followed by long periods of doing nothing. For example, I first submitted the story The Urge to Live to Title Goes Here magazine on August 8, 2010. The next day, I got this email back:

Just wanted to drop you a fast email to let you know I have your story in my pile for review. I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks for submitting.

And so begins the first stage of the waiting game. Just under three months pass with no other word. It's a full season, which, in my experience, is plenty long enough to completely forget that you've submitted a story somewhere, much less where and what story. At this point, if you do happen to remember what you've done, you just assume it's been quietly rejected. Then, on November 11, 2010, I receive:

We're happy to inform you that we'd like to accept your story, "Hands Up"[the title at the time], for publication on the Title Goes Here: website.

We plan to publish 2-3 stories a month on the site and, as of right now, we don't know what month each story is going to be published. With that being said, it could be anywhere from January through December of 2011. If you're still interested in publishing with us, please let us know (by responding to this email). We plan to have final decisions on what month each story will be online out to authors by the 15th of November.

Why I Use My MIddle Initial

It's my goal to become a well-known author. And a software designer, and an inventor. We'll leave it at author.

Just like anyone who's serious about their long-term goals, though, I thought ahead. What would that be like? What would it entail? Is an available domain?

No, it's not available. It's parked, and it says it's under construction. It's said that for a while now.

I then googled my name, and that's when I discovered Kevin Bridges.

That's not me, but he was given the same life username as me, and, being that he's younger than me, I believe he stole it.

Kevin Bridges is a Scottish stand-up comedian, so it's not quite as bad as if I'd been born with the name Brad Pitt, or Woody Harrelson. Still, if a novel comes out, and it's by Kevin Bridges, Scottish people (my core audience) are going to be saying, "Oh, that comedian wrote a novel. I bet it's funny." Only confusion could come of this.

So, rather than Kevin Bridges, which I've been my whole life, I am Kevin R. Bridges. My insistence in using my middle initial almost makes Kevin R. Bridges my pen name, even though it's my birth name.

Another complication: I've always wanted to try stand-up comedy. But I fear there is only enough room in the world for one stand-up comedy Kevin Bridges.

edit: It's not entirely pertinent, but I'm part Scottish.

Friday, May 20, 2011

That Time I Saw a Crow Use a Car

People who know me have heard this story. I will tell it forever.

I used to work at a retail store in the South Sound Center, in Lacey, Washington. During lunch, I would cross Sleater-Kinney and go to Fred Meyer for lunch. I was concentrating on the service deli.

Waiting at the crosswalk, I saw something that I thought it was a leaf being blown across the street by a light wind, flitting between car tires in the busy traffic. But it wasn't a leaf. It was a little brown mouse. I was appalled to watch this mouse (we'll call him Arnold the mouse) try to cross four lanes thick with cars. I knew he was going to get squashed, and I couldn't tear my eyes away.

And then it happened. Exactly what I expected to happen.* A crow swooped down out of nowhere. It grabbed Arnold the mouse in its feet, lifted him off of the ground, and dropped him in front of the driver's side tire of a passing car.


It's the kind of situation that makes you feel lucky just to be there. Steve Irwin never saw anything like that. I've heard of crows being able to use tools, but I didn't know that a car was one of them.* The crow earned this delicious* dead mouse, nicely tenderized, without even breaking a sweat.

Crows are awesome.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why Your New Chevy Volt Will Never Save the World



Green living. Green businesses. Green policies. We're drowning in chlorophyll. 

How green are you? Have you been using canvas shopping bags? Did you get a hybrid car, or even an all-electric? Are you a champion for the environment? 



So what good is this green revolution? Will it save the planet? 

Let's imagine a perfect world where we could get 100% out of our seven billion (yeah, that many) world citizens to do the following:

1. Get low-flow toilets and shower heads
2. Buy a Chevy Volt
3. Stop using plastic shopping bags
4. Have a compost pile
5. Recycle
6. Eat organic
7. Turn off anything electrical between uses
8. Exhale less CO2

Anyone who bent this far backwards for the environment must be considered green. Let's take it a step further. In this imaginary Sliders-style parallel universe:

1. All power now comes from wind, solar, and marathon runners on large hamster wheels
2. Somebody cleared out that horrid garbage field in the middle of the Pacific.
3. People stopped dumping oil in the ocean all the time.

This is just about as good as it gets. In this situation, where everyone is doing all of the things that make people say, when they're doing them, "Just doing my part to save the world," the world is, sadly, still going to be fucked.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why I Don't Use Sponges

What follows is a wandering, unfocused rant about germs, and the way we're taught to deal with them.

In America, we're always told to avoid raw meat. Of course, since sushi has gotten so popular over the past decade, the rule is, "Avoid raw meat... except fresh fish."

I ate raw cookie dough/cake batter/brownie mix any chance I could when I was a kid. Now that I'm an adult, I give these things to my kids, too. Another thing we're supposed to avoid.

Also, you need to cook your beef thoroughly, to an internal temperature of 300,000 degrees. Of course, you can have your steak rare, so rare that it actually contains pieces of chewey fully-raw beef, and you don't even have to sign a waiver.

But be careful with ground beef... unless you happen to be eating steak tartare. Then you're safe, because it has a somewhat fancy-sounding name.

And always refrigerate your food. Unless there is a potluck. Then you can just leave it out all day.

And what's the result of all of this garbage? I have absolutely no idea what is safe. I used to have a friend that, for whatever reason, ate a lot of raw hamburger, and my fiance's grandmother enjoys raw hamburger as well. If a nutritionist is on my left telling me that raw hamburger will kill you, and some guy is on my right eating the stuff with a fork, like he's been doing for years, why in the world would I listen to the nutritionist?

I'm not saying go eat raw hamburger. I'm just saying that when the experts' advice doesn't mesh with reality, you should usually listen to reality, and tell the experts to check again.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

About Psychedelic Mushrooms

This is a public service announcement. About psychedelic mushrooms. Not for the sake of telling you to avoid them, or to seek them out, but simply to inform.

I'm a fairly mild person, something of a geek, and have now experienced the high from mushrooms three times, at different levels, and in different situations. Mushrooms, like all illegal drugs (and many legal ones) have many stereotypes and misconceptions attached to them. I want to share my limited experience in order to give understanding to those that are interested in the way the mind works, but not willing to become a guinea pig.

My interest in psychotropics came on quite spontaneously one day, when I realized that there were very interesting experiences right there within my reach. It wasn't a wish to escape reality, and if I did have a desire to escape, I don't think I would use mushrooms to do it. Alcohol is right down the street, and marijuana is pretty easy to come by.  I've found that I don't really enjoy either of those distractions (though a drink every now and then can be nice), and I do enjoy day-to-day life just fine.

I researched for days before I told anyone about my intentions. I read about the differences between LSD and mushrooms, the chemical that causes the reaction, and the different species of mushroom that contain that chemical. I read people's experiences at, news articles, and scientific papers.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Secret Shopping in 7 Steps

I thought I'd give a general overview of the secret shopping thing, because I always get so many questions about it.  I'll do it step-by-step.

Step 1: Sign up as a secret shopper.  It's free, just a tiny bit more involved than signing up for an email.  There are a lot of companies that do this (google "secret shopper" or "mystery shopper" to find them).  Don't ever pay a website for any kind of subscription.  This is something that, at least signup-wise, is completely free.  They may ask for a lot of information, like your gender, if you own a car, if you travel, which is simply so they can target you for different shops, like at a lingerie store, auto shop, or an airport.  Most secret shopping places will give you access to a current list of shops in your area, but it's easier just to have them emailed to you.

Sign up at several websites, since any one of them may send you only one or two emails a week, depending on where you live.  Since it's free, even if you sign up for fifteen, $0.00 x 15 = $0.00, which is a bargain.