Ask a Bastard: Late Late Edition

I hope everyone enjoyed whatever weekend they had. Now, onto life’s big questions!

MenD asks:
1) As a trainee pretentious bastard, what should I be drinking in public to cultivate my image? Obscure microbrews? Anti-anti-anti-ironic “lite” beers? Mongolian barleywine?

To be truly pretentious, one needs the appropriate beverage. However, keep in mind that one can be pretentious on the cheap. As wonderful as it would be to drink Mongolian Barleywine (a friend in Boston calls that Sam Adams), it might break your bank. Therefore, I would stick with Microbrews. Microbrews are fantastic for local economies and your image. Find one you can enjoy and find a bunch you want to try in front of people you can impress.

Lite beers are for private times such as deep cleanings, the shower or just before bed.

2) I am seriously considering a pilgrimage to the Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware in the next couple of years. You in?

Hell. Yes.

Kristin asks: Why do directors,writers,producer etc., INSIST on remaking horror movies and/or classic 80’s movies?

Are they lazy or just have no imagination?

People have been remaking stories forever (Pygmalion for instance), but this recent crop of 80s relaunches (I’m thinking of the new Friday 13 and the upcoming Nightmare on Elm Street) are particularly onerous given how the just seem to be so fucking terrible.

I believe the following: They’re out of money, they want to make more money, they’re lazy and they have no imagination.

Now I do think it is possible to update or reimage something from a previous era into something contemporary and fucking brilliant (see BSG). But that takes work, imagination and willingness to say “this aspect of the old series worked but how can it exist today?” Studio’s don’t want that. Studios want Big Bangs for Small Bucks. They already own the rights to the old versions, so it is cheaper to relaunch things this way.

Shannon wants to know: Who has the best blog out today??

This is. One of the authors is brilliant and hot.

That’s all for this week! Tune in next week when I get critiqued by my cousin for commenting on Dylan’s voice!

Ask a Bastard: Nobody Likes Monday Anyway

Twenty-four hours later, I answer the question you didn’t know you had.

Chuckles asks: “OPB, have you grown soft? What the fuck is wrong with you not posting anything political in a while?”

The answer, of course, is no. I have not grown soft. Not wanting to fight–because that comes before any possible discourse–and not being familiar enough with the economics of the stimulus package (And I’ll put money on the idea that most people don’t know enough about the stimulus package) I’m not going to get involved in this particular debate.

Lately, I’ve been too busy with other things–like trying to be creative and write speeches–to think about politics. I also do not have the energy required to discuss items with the so called “loyal opposition.” Cutting through the bullshit cited by Faux News and blow hards like Rush “I’m addicted to Oxycotin” Limbaugh as well as the bullshit of the Republican (and, to be fair, Democrats who do not believe Art and Education are important to a great society) is a full time job.

Tune in next week where I invent more questions or answer real important ones.

Ask a Bastard: Zombie War Edition


Last week, Kristin asked:
Is it possible for zombie dogs to exist?

The unthinking, uncaring and lame answer would be NO. I believe that I am a thinker, I do care and I try not to be lame…so this question gets a better answer.

To the best of my understanding, in traditional Zombie Realities, animals do not become zombies. I believe in some specific stories, animals maybe vectors for zombism (I seem to remember mosquito passing it on in some story. The XBox game Dead Rising used wasps as the zombie vector). These examples appear to be the exception, not the rule.

I believe that The Resident Evil series is the Zombie Reality that made the modern the Zombie Dog. Of course, there are the evil undead pets from Stephen King’s Pet Semetery, but I’m not convinced those are actually zombies. Just because a dead thing comes back to life does not mean that said dead thing is a zombie.

There has been a bunch of research on reanimated dogs, specifically for cryogenics, but those aren’t zombies. These reanimated dogs did not appear to crave brains or survive all sorts of trauma (save head trauma). They were just regular dogs brought back to a true living state.

Personally, I think a traditional zombie setting (slow moving, spread through bites and fluid) ala World War Z would not allow for zombie dogs. This is the setting I prefer. I prefer ZombieApocolypse to ZombieScienceRunAmok.

That being said, given the changing definition of Zombie (the fast Zombie being a newer mutation) I think it is POSSIBLE to have a zombie dog. A zombie dog, specifically watching a living dog turn to a zombie dog, could be an incredibly sad and powerful moment (Seriously, who wasn’t upset at that part in I Am Legend?) but for the most part, I think it tends towards kitsch and, “look, we’re a different kind of Zombie flick!”

TLDR version:
I prefer Zombie Realities where there are no zombie animals, however, some Zombie realities do allow for Zombie dogs. I think they can be done well but most times, they are not (Resident Evil being a huge exception).

This answer, however, needs more clarification. I Want my nerd brothers and sisters to weigh on on this. So, I open the floor to discussion: Zombie Dogs?

Ask a Bastard 2: I made this all up.


Another week, another question.

Itanya asked, “Why shouldn’t I set you on fire? If I can’t set you on fire, who should I set on fire?

There are those who think I should be set on fire. Typically, those individuals come from the far, far, far right. Setting me on fire would make them happy. Now, these are the same people who annoy you. Making them happy would only irritate you further.

Now if this is a question of PvP on WoW (player vs player on
World of Warcraft), I would have to say feel free to set my character on fire. He has it coming.

As for who you should set on fire, I don’t think you should really set anyone on fire. It increases your carbon foot print and I’m not entirely sure how it would smell. It is also very illegal, and I cannot help you beat said case.

In PvP I would recommend setting someone not in my guild on fire. Pick someone from the forums, typically a really annoying player, and do it. Do it often. When things get rough, get more people so you can do it again. We have to face it: Most of the people on our server have it coming.

I will, of course, answer more questions today. The deadline is 7pm CST.



The lovely and talented VONsaves the day with two additional questions:

Who do you want to win the Super Bowl this weekend?
What movie will win the Best Picture Oscar?

Honestly, I had to look up the the teams who were playing this year. I got so disgusted with the Bears that I stopped paying attention to the rest of the NFL. I didn’t even have a fantasy football team this year–not that I ever do well in that endeavor to begin with.

But, I am cheering for the Steelers. My uncle is from Erie, PA, and I want him to be happy.

However, we’re all winners this year. The Boss will rock our socks off.

As for the Oscars

I haven’t seen a single one of the movies. I want to see most of them (I can do without Ben Button and the Reader), but I don’t think I’ll have the patience to sit through the “Oscar Day” that most theaters do (ala the one you and Shannon did last year).

I’m going to root for Slumdog; however, I think MILK will win it.

Ask a Bastard: First Answer of the New Year


Jack, who no longer blogs because, “it’s weird,” asked the following two questions:

AAB: Does history repeat itself?
Obviously, specific events don’t repeat themselves. However there are certain historic trends that repeated throughout the world. Napoleon’s winter campaign in Russia was paralleled by Hitler’s campaign in the Soviet Union. Our own “War on Terror” has borrowed the same (and least effective) methods of prosecution used by other governments (I’m thinking the UK in dealing with the Irish Question, Israel’s methods of addressing Palestinians).

I believe this occurs outside of the military and political spheres. Speculation and leverage are both considered to be factors in the Great Depression and in today’s economic problems (and both have been overseen by ineffective presidents). On a more personal level, I do believe that people without enough insight are more than likely prone to repeat their mistakes. Hell, even well adjusted people with good insight tend towards repeating mistakes–continuous procrastination, poor eating habits, always dating the wrong person– which leads to a repeat of personal history.

There are certainly elements of history that repeat themselves. The key is learning from history, including personal history.

AAB2: Can you believe how cold it is outside?
Holy crap, NO! Seriously, it’s frigid outside! It’s a balmy 25 right now! Last week, it was -30 with windchill. Fuck this crap. I’m staying indoors.

Ask A Bastard: Lost Posts Edition

Thanks to last week’s edition, I’m 99% sure of what I am I going to do. By the end of the year, I’m going to apply to there different schools for admission into an MSW program. The CSSP program, while awesome, isn’t really what I should be doing (or really, what I want to do). The money issue is only of concern in regards to what sort of private-practice or teaching I could do. Thank you, everyone, for providing me with the direction I needed.

Now I need to finish what I started. Onto the questions:

Aerin asks:
-Why did you choose Beloit for undergrad (apologies if you’ve discussed this before). Were there other schools you were looking at/investigated/applied to?
-Do you know the story behind your middle name? Just out of curiosity

As for Beloit, in my senior year at LT, I applied to four schools: Loras, Ripon, Knox and Beloit. My parents sat me down and forced me to write out my apps to all of these schools, and a few more, even though I was talking about going to a community college and then transferring to a four year school. My parents shot that idea down. They both said, “You’re going away to school.” When I kept pushing, they both told me about their college experience. My dad’s words stuck with me: “I got a scholarship to any school in Illinois, and we could afford to send me anywhere. I couldn’t afford the boarding and the books. We can send you away, so you need to go.” So I went.

I visited all four and Marquette. I was going to apply to Marquette until my dad pointed out where Jeffery Dahmer lived. That, and the consistent smell of stale beer, nixed Marquette.

I visited Loras first. Small rooms, a bad radio station and a psych department that didn’t interest me. I went to Beloit during the Prospective Student week. I met about five people who stayed in touch with me over the year, who took me to parties and my first late night IHOP trip. Beloit also gave me a huge scholarship. I knew then and there that I was going to Beloit. To be completely sure, I visited Knox and Ripon.

Knox, your Alma Mattar, was next. The tour was boring and the chalkings seemed flat to the ones I saw at Beloit. My dad and I just kept saying, “it’s no Beloit.” I spent the night at Ripon–my host was boring. He didn’t take me anywhere and he said, “most people just stay with their own friends.” He didn’t even take me to the cafeteria for dinner.

The next morning, I spoke with a football player and philosophy major. He told me a story about being pelted by food by Beloiters during a home coming game. I thought to myself, “this place sucks so bad, I want to throw food at you too.” When I got home, I called a bunch of people and said, “Beloit it is.”

I never looked back. I never regretted my decision. Beloit was the best decision I made in high school–and helped me become who I am today.

Von also asked about my middle name (Anton). Here’s that story.

My maternal grandfather was Anton Paul Pristo. My birth was difficult (foreshadowing!) and I had to be delivered via c-section. Because my parents weren’t sure they could have another child, and how much my dad loved my grandfather, they named me after both grandfathers. Martin Gleason, my dad’s father, died in 1961, long before my dad met my mom

Von also asked:

Seriously. How much damage could I have done to my vocal cords by screaming for like 2 hours non-stop? Could it be permanent?

It’s possible that you will develop nodules on vocal chords, but considering that you did give up smoking I don’t think you have done any permanent damage. If your voice starts to squeek or you’re hoarse after a week, you should see a doctor. Repeated, long term shouting can seriously damage them. What on earth were you shouting at for two hours? The Cubs?

That’s it for this week. Please, please, please email or post more questions. It gives me something to do on Monday morning.

Ask A Bastard: Turning the Tables Edition

So it appears that my friend Aerin is the only one with questions this week. Because of the low turn out, I’m going to turn the tables. I have a question to ask–and I hope you all give me some pointers.

First and foremost we have the following: Aerin asked If you were e-mailed at work by a co-worker and asked to “pray at the flagpole” – – how would you respond? What would you do?

If I got the email from a coworker that I didn’t know too well, I’d write back and say, “Thank you for thinking of me in this; however, I don’t believe that this particular event is congruent with my public and private beliefs. I wish you and yours the best for your event.” If it kept happening, I’d politely ask that they stop sending me this. I have to be polite to my coworkers–especially if I am going to deal with the promotion stuff–but I don’t have to follow their beliefs. If it was from someone I knew, I’d say, “Um. Really?” In a phone call. If it kept happening, I’d go to supervisors, deputies my director, and eventually, the media. I say the media because as a State worker, I do not believe that we should be taking company time to endorse a particular religious belief or philosophy. Fact is, I have walked out of prayer meetings before–they were for my Union, not for any work function–and I will do it again. I’ve also stated that if it keeps happening, I am going to dress up like a pirate and go as priest of the flying spaghetti monster.

Aerin also asked Also – is arguing on the internet really a waste of energy?

Honestly, I think arguing itself is a waste of energy.  I’m just addicted to it. I think debate and rational discussion is useful–but far too often it deteriorates into bickering and arguing.

I’m reading comments in certain threads wondering exactly how to address the situation… I also know that after this, I’m headed to the Republic of Dogs to discuss my position regarding the political divide.

Now for my question: How do I figure out what to do about grad school? I have debated going to grad school (for an MSW then a PhD) or Law School for years. Now I’m just confused about where to go. If I want to keep working with kids, the MSW is the most useful degree to have. But now I am thinking of a Masters from UoC’s Computer Science department. Given the economy and the threats to my field (a good number of people on the right want to eliminate my job because it’s a “waste”) I do think that it would be good to diversify. I also have a plan to integrate the Comp.Sci degree with my interest with my clients. I just don’t know what the hell to do or how to figure it out.

So, help a brother out. I’ll buy you a beer.