Represent Thoughts

I’m refactoring some code on my Covid-19 dashboard app and listening to an old Nine Inch Nails album “The Downward Spiral”. Odd to think of this album as “old”, as when it came out I was in Jr High. I remember copying Trent Reznor’s lyrics on pieces of paper and pseudo-anonymously slipping pieces of Trent’s poetry in her locker. Eventually someone told her I liked her and she passed a message back saying she liked me too.

But dear god I didn’t want her to know. I wanted her to feel the mysticism of Trent’s lyrics. I wanted to have a crush on someone and for them to not know. And now that she knew, I didn’t feel that way any more. I don’t know why I felt that way. It’s like the thrill wasn’t there. The challenge.

“Oh, she actually likes me too? Never mind. I’m not interested.”

Cringe aside, there were a lot of themes to the lyrics in this song that I didn’t understand. Such as Trent’s vile outlook on violent behavior and the pain he felt with losing loved ones or going through trauma. Sitting here, on my golden throne with studio speakers hearing his album remastered with near perfect clarity; here I am postulating about a man’s feelings from the early 90s. Back then I think I loved the edgy and dark tones because I didn’t understand them; because I pretended to understand because I wanted to feel deeper things than what an aspiring teenager could feel at the time.

I was listening to “hurt” and going through all of these old memories I had in Jr High. As the chorus crescendos, I remember back then of having this very, very stupid idea of what love was and all of these supposed “memories” I could have had with the girl I had a crush on. But now, as Trent Reznor wails “and you could have it all… my empire of dirt….” I think about new people this time.

The people I’ve let down. The people I’ve hurt. The loved ones I miss so terribly.

Sometimes I think about an old friend I had back then. Chris. Chris Allen. I was walking home from Jr High one day and as I proceeded along the elbow curve of the street, there was a grassy patch that lead to a cliff that oversaw a gully. And on this patch was a large gathering of kids around two who were about to get into a fight: Chris and a school bully.

As I trotted up to the crowd I could see them starting to get into it. A jab here. A haymaker there. A little bit of dancing around. And then BAM! Chris got socked right in the face and went down. The bully got on top of him and started to throw in a few more punches before Chris inevitably started crying. And who wants to keep pummeling a kid who’s crying?

As Chris got to his feet, he wiped his tears and put his glasses back on and yelled out to the crowd: “See!? This is why fighting doesn’t solve SHIT.” as if to declare some un-dodge-able gotcha. The bully stopped and made a sudden motion, stepping back toward Chris as if to say “What’s that you little punk? Did you want round two?” and Chris whimpered. The bully proceeded to walk off.

“What the fuck did you do!?” I said to him. “Proving a point” he replied. “Looks like you got your ass kicked.” I said back. He looked at me. Bleeding from his nose. Tears drying on his cheeks. He brushed me off and said he wanted to be alone as he gathered his things and headed toward his house. I went down into the gully, which was a shortcut to my house.

I looked him up on Facebook. He’s appears to now be a furry and is alone.

That beating must’ve really left a mark.

Not so fast

“I am vengeance.
I am the night…

“Also… do you have any Snickers bars? Thanks.”

Me, as a bat-faced Batman

My mom (or family/friend) bought me an unlicensed “Batman” costume which included a mask that was the shape of an actual animal bat, rather than a mask that looked like Batman’s head.

I always thought the bat mask was a bit odd, but young me thought there must’ve been something special about that costume, seeing as only a super-scary version of Batman would wear an animal bat on his face. If I were a criminal and some guy in a cape wearing an animal bat on his face, declaring he was the embodiment of justice, vengeance, and the night – yeah, I’d shit my pants and opt to go to jail.

So then it was in agreement – at least with myself – that I was pretty threatening and to be taken seriously as a crime fighter.

Then there was a Halloween a few years prior, where I asked my mom to make me a “Sonic the Hedgehog” costume. She was beyond pure excitement that her son had asked her – voluntarily – to make a costume for him. “Sonic” was a new and very popular video game character for the Sega Genesis home entertainment system. A character I highly regarded at the time.

“A hedgehog? You sure, honey?” my mom asked, a little confused. “Yeah! With spikes on the back and everything!” I replied hurriedly with a little bit of gusto, expecting my mom to have the same current working knowledge of video game characters and their attributes as I did.

I was so excited going to bed that night. Me, the only kid at school in a Sonic the Hedgehog costume. I’d run circles around the kids during recess. They’d all be jealous of me. They’d wish they had a mother like mine, who was savvy about video games and Sonic. I could hear my mother using the sewing machine in the other room. I think I might have been so excited, I could’ve peed a little if I wasn’t careful.

The next morning I woke up and ran into a dining area. My mother had sewn a vest, with what looked like thousands of curly hairs from a wig sewn on the back and a face mask that was altered to look like some kind of animal’s face.

“What do you think, sweetie?” my mom asked. “What is this?” I replied. “It’s the hedgehog costume you wanted! Doesn’t it look adorable?”

Adorable. That’s the word my mom used when /she/ thought something looked very cute and she wanted to sell me on the same feeling by using such a charged and grotesque word to a young little boy.

“Uh. I don’t know. This wasn’t exactly…” I stopped. I could see my mom’s face start to waiver. As if I was about to drive a dagger straight through her heart.

“It looks great, mom.” I said, as she hurriedly started assembling the pieces over my body and applying makeup to my face, so that you couldn’t see the skin around my eyes when you put the mask on.

I did not end up running circles around the kids at school. I ended up telling them over and over “I’m a hedgehog. No, not the video game character. An actual hedgehog.” All of the teachers loved that my mother made something, rather than buying some knock-off item at a Halloween costume shop.

This is what I get for not knowing a hedgehog was an actual animal and looked nothing like the character I had grown to love.

Either way, I was a really great bat-faced Batman.

“Show us your tits!”

I went for a run with the dogs and could hear Guns N Roses playing at Wrigley. Unreal.

The last time I saw them was at the Delta Center in Salt Lake with my brother Joe and his aid, Rod. Of course we got to sit in the handicapped section for one of the best concert views of my life. In more ways than one.

Before the show started, the camera of the Megatron was panning around to various people. Fat drunk bastards giving the “HELL YEAHHHHH” fist shake. Young couples going to what was likely their first heavy metal show, as well. And finally, a very attractive older woman (every woman was older than me at that age – I think I was maybe 10? 11?) with long dark hair. The crowd started to chirp as she noticed her newfound notariety on the screen.

She stood up and stepped out into the main aisle of the stands. Then she moved her hands underneath the front of her makeshift t-shirt top, made a few unseen gestures with her hands near her chest, then whipped her elbows up to show the underside of her bare chest. Two pairs of fingers covered her nipples.

She danced seductively as she kept her fingers tightly pressed for about 3-4 seconds – which for me it seemed to last about 3-4 eternities – and then sat back down. The stadium roared tremendously. Hooting and whistling popped around us randomly. The woman smiled as she walked back to her friend, tucking her shirt back down and making a gesture to her mouth with an open palm, as if to say “OMG I can’t believe I did that!”

I looked at Joe and Rod. They looked at each other. Rod said “Holy cow that was AMAZING!” Joe squawked in excitement. I felt kind of embarrassed, as I wasn’t yet old enough to know what had just happened or what was acceptable for me to do, so I smiled.

The Megatron camera panned around to a few other people. I no longer cared about what was on the screen, as my eyes were scanning for where the woman was sitting. I knew I had to find her. I don’t know why, but I knew I would.
And then the crowd started to roar one more time. The Megatron camera panned back over to the woman, who was being asked to leave by security. You could see each security guard motion their fingers, curling towards themselves with the authority of about $7.25 an hour.

Boos started showering down from the crowd at the security guards, as they kept asking the woman to stand up and come with them.

As she stood up and walked back out into the aisle, the crowd cheered for her again. She smiled, raised her hands outside and above each shoulder to form a human “Y”, then took a formal bow and began walking up the stairs in her high heels, with her reluctant and very disappointed friend.

I don’t remember a single song that Guns N Roses played that night.

Talk to you later.

There are some things that have been hard for me to talk about in the last 2-3 years, which are emotionally painful. I assume many people won’t care to hear about those things, therefor I don’t talk about them. The pain never goes away. Sometimes it gets better. Sometimes it gets worse.

If I talked about those things with someone, maybe those emotions wouldn’t be so painful?

This is why I reached out to a therapist. A professional who has a bag of tools to show me how I can work through my own sets of trauma and pain. Not to banish my feelings, but to give me strength to overcome them and move on.

The Weeknd’s music video saga of “After Hours” is one of the best things I have discovered.


The Weeknd is a soul/hip-hop artist from Toronto, Canada. He originally got his start by uploading music to YouTube and getting discovered by the very successful rapper “Drake”. After The Weeknd started to become successful, he decided to move to LA.

For the last few albums, The Weekend has been doing a character progression, where with each album, he transforms into a new character, taking place of his previous character – sometimes violently (2 albums ago, he metaphorically kills his other self so that he can move on into his new image).

These videos touch on themes of melancholy, fame, soullessness of people in LA, drugs and alcohol, murder, corruption, and obsessions with plastic surgery. I can’t begin to describe the depth of thought and effort that went into these videos, The Weeknd’s character, and the music he produced and sang.

Each main canonical video has a lot of references to popular or “cult” films, such as:

“Heartless” and “Blinding Lights”
* Casino
* Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

“In Your Eyes”
* The Terminator
* Psycho
* Leatherface

“Save Your Tears”
* Joker/The King of Comedy
* The Dark Knight
* Eyes Wide Shut

“Too Late”
* Frankenstein
* American Psycho

Below I will list the title and description of each video. There are a few videos that are more of an aside (even though they’re canonical) and don’t really flesh out The Weeknd’s main After Hours character, but I still like them.

Note: I highly recommend listening with earbuds. The music is great and there are sounds from the videos that can’t often be heard on laptop speakers. 

Snowchild (animated)

This is what I would call the “prequel” or interlude to his story. This is about The Weeknd growing up in Toronto, facing hardships, finding success, and ultimately telling himself (and the people in his life) that he’s leaving for California. At the end of the video, his former self arrives at a casino in LA and sees what would be the character we transition into the next video (the man in the red jacket with sunglasses and a mustache).

I’d recommend skipping this video and maybe coming back to it, if you like. I really like the song, so I’ve watched this video about 5 times now.


At first I wasn’t really into the style of the music on this song, but the choreography and style of the video had me hooked instantly. I was drawn into this character and couldn’t get enough of the style of the video. 

Blinding Lights

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this song. When “After Hours” was released early in 2020, this song was on the top of the charts for a really long time. Very 80s synth pop. Well produced (much like a lot of his songs).

Until I Bleed Out (aside)

You can skip this video. The Weeknd’s character is “coming down” from his all-night bender from the previous 2 videos. He’s in a ballroom having a bad trip. There’s not really much going on, story-wise, but I did appreciate it.

Blinding Lights (Live on Jimmy Kimmel)

The Weeknd performs “Blinding Lights” on Jimmy Kimmel. The production on the set is amazing. The entire video is done in one take, I think. The end of this video goes straight into the next video, which is a short film called “After Hours”

After Hours (short film)

This video begins where the “Live on Jimmy Kimmel” video left off, where The Weeknd leaves the set of the show. The music in the background is the titular song of the album. Near the end of the video, when the people get into the elevator, I’d recommend turning up the volume, as there are subtle sounds in the background.

In Your Eyes

Now we’re getting into some really fun stuff. My kind of stuff. This video has a lot of references to “thriller/killer” movies, like Psycho, Terminator, and Leatherface. There’s only a teeny tiny bit of gore. You’ll probably not even notice it.

Too Late

This video continues our character’s saga (even though I didn’t think could’ve been done given what happened in “In Your Eyes”) by being picked up by a couple of “hot chicks” in Hollywood. This might be the darkest of the video set, as there is a bit of gore, but it’s not on screen for very long, and there are some very dark themes.

American Music Association 2020 Performance: “In Your Eyes” / “Save Your Tears”

This is a live performance done in one take that spans almost the entire length of a bridge in Los Angeles, choreographed with timed fireworks. The Weeknd’s face has now been altered by the women in the last video. It’s a very fun performance and even though it’s an aside, I highly recommend watching this one.

Save Your Tears

The final video in the series. He metaphorically pisses on the Grammy awards and the rich elite and mocks people who chase fame and the culture of wanting to be accepted and to do whatever it takes to feel accepted and wanted. Enjoy!

Dear Apple: Quicklook support

Hold onto your turtlenecks and jeans, I’ve got a doozy of a complaint and I’m about to employ the most hardened and air-tight argument in the history of the modern technological era:

It’s fucking 2021. Where is .webm and .gif support?

I get it. In the 90s and early 00s GIFs (pronounced “gif”, btw) had comparatively bloated file sizes. In the 10s, iPhones and OS X were increasing their market share. But come on, guys. Why do I need to open a web browser just to view a WebM or GIF that I’ve downloaded?

I just want to watch this loop I have, of a guy defend an attack from a political terrorist, rear his fist, and absolutely clean his clock. Like, I could watch this almost all day.

Funny bit: I can’t upload the webm I talked about to this blog software (WordPress). Maybe I need to change the title to “Dear Apple/Wordpress”?

Dear Firefox: Clickable Recommended Plugins

Dear Firefox,

After reading this article ( about over a dozen Firefox and Google Chrome plugins that have been sending data about their users, I decided to make sure I didn’t have any of these plugins installed on my browser.

At the bottom of the plugins page, your browser had recommended a few plugins to me. I didn’t want to add them right away, so I thought I’d click on each plugin to see what the reviews said and to learn more without adding them to my browser.

But I can’t click on them.

What kind of campaign is this, to only give me the option to install these plugins first before being able to learn more about them?

I can’t click the title or the icon. But I can click the author? Sure, that means instead of one step, I might have to take 2 to 4 steps to find the intended plugin page. But seriously? In this era of UI design, no one chimed up and said “Hey, why don’t we make the titles and icons linked to the plugins?” Did that person get run over by a train that day? Because corralling users to add plugins without verifying them is another cherry on top of your recent scandal.

Putting down the sword

I’m finding myself typing out a comment, either long-winded or succinct, in my long fight against people being wrong on the internet, then thinking to myself “What the hell am I doing?”

So then I highlight my comment, delete everything, and close the tab.

I was last on commenting on some user’s needless update about a grocery store layout change and how they posted it in the “Safety” category, which spams my email box. The use of categorizing every non-issue on “Safety” happens a lot, and I was about to deliver a tongue lashing to my village idiot.

But then I realized that, after about 5-6 years of arguing with people who have caverns for brains, I’m just so tired of dealing with this shit.

I’ve gone as far as deleting all of my social media apps on my phone. All they do is make me feel empty. I fill up on dopamine and when it comes time to do the shit I really want to do, my brain pokes me and says “c’mon Zan. Let’s go back to YouTube or check Instagram again. I bet there’s something new on Twitter! Hey, maybe someone is wrong on Facebook and you can type out a 4 paragraph comment, pointing out just how wrong they are! I mean, they won’t change their minds and you won’t feel better, but you showed them how wrong they are!”


I’ve decided to invest more of my time with shit that matters. I’m going to code a lot of shit. I’m going to take pictures. I’m going to play with my dogs. And at the end of the day, I don’t care who knows. When I go out, I won’t be taking a picture for the “likes”. I won’t think about who might comment on what. Because it doesn’t matter. These fellow dopamine drones don’t give a flying fuck about me – and that’s fine. I don’t care about a lot of them either. We’re all in a basket, clamoring for a little bit of attention (give me some of that fucking dopamine, yo), all while we’re slaves to the master algorithm.

I suppose that because my profile has a bunch of false information, the algorithm doesn’t know exactly what to serve me.

“Maybe some chicks from Nebraska? Uh, Bernie Sanders stuff? How about some custom hoodies? CLICK ME! INTERACT WITH THIS STAR WARS PAGE, YOU FUCK!” – Facebook, probably.

Good ideas are able to rise up when bad ideas are able to be shot down.

I was thinking about, how lately in the US, the idea of policing speech has been on the rise. Many political activists have taken action to bully and silence other groups – all in the name of “justice” or “good will”.

However, the perceived benevolence of these activists are merely a mask over a body of fascism. These so-called arbiters of “acceptable speech” fail, again and again, to realize that the essence of good, progress, and freedom, thrive in an open market. To close the gates and govern what people can say, only serves to harm progress and has a higher rate of breeding contempt among those with perceived inherently bad ideas.

For instance, I want to preserve the freedom to debate a racist, a flat-earther, an anti-vaxer – in an open forum – in order to show them how and why they are wrong and detrimental to society. If I punish and silence those, who’s beliefs I find otherwise detestable, they will only choose to seek refuge. The bacterium which consists of their hateful or ignorant views will continue to thrive in the dark and moist abscesses of society, rather than out in the open, where those ideas can be combated and ideally defeated.

A good example of defeating bad ideas is the case of Daryl Davis, a Black man who intentionally attended KKK rallies to try and befriend KKK members in order to dispel the racist and hateful notions by many or most KKK members. In this instance, if the government were to punish and silence KKK members from speaking, this man would not have an opportunity to change people’s minds and reverse the detrimental effects of such types of hateful beliefs, such as racism – and these KKK members would seek further refuge from being visible, and thus from the ability to having their opinions challenged.

So, to those who seek to silence ideas you disagree with: instead summon your own inner bravery and defeat their ideas in an open forum. Debate them honestly, strongly, and with integrity.

Obliterated Drunk at 4:30 PM

I heard two men shouting just up the street near my home. I was walking the dogs just South of my place about 100 feet away. I noticed they were crossing the intersection, heading toward my front yard.

I bent down to attend to some dog duties when I heard one of them shout. I looked up and one of them stumbled and fell into my fence. His friend stammered and tried to help him along. The two seemed to be discussing something when only one of the men proceeded to keep walking.

As I approached the intersection, I started to gain a better line-of-sight, as to what was going on. An older man was standing, partially hunched over, faced away from me near my gate. He’s partially obstructed by the corner of my fence.

He clearly didn’t look like any of my neighbors. Was he a delivery guy? No. He’s sort of, just standing there? Odd.

I make it across the street to clear the edge of the fence and can now see him entirely: He’s pissing on my front lawn. Great. So I decide to call out to him in a friendly, yet authoritative manner.

“Excuse me. Can I help you?”

Seconds seem like they crawl by before the man registers someone is behind him. His hands burst into a clumsy ballet to put himself away, as I can see his elbows dance along with his pants shifting back and forth. He gingerly skips a few steps, stops and then slowly, calmly, and coldly stares at me to barely utter these words:

“Forgive me.”

His eyes looked lost, floating away in a sea of forgotten sobriety. A part of me felt bad. Another part of me wanted to tell him off for being so brazen and disgusting, with us being right up the street from a grade school.

I stood there and stared him down. It seemed like 10 whole seconds. He finally turned and started walking up the street towards his friend, who I could now see was embarrassed to be seen among my waning ridicule. As he took a few more steps I started to make my way inside my front yard only to stop and look again to make sure he was going to keep walking.

He stopped a final time and turned to me one more time, with a little more anger in his face and voice, to say “I got piss all over my pants!” as if to say “It’s your fault this happened to me!”

Sorry, dude. That’s a small price to pay.