Author Archive

Not nostalgic

Not for any time period. Not for any relationship. Not for any past self. Career, friends, location–all great. The future looks brighter than the past, not only for myself but for the world.

My nostalgic period was between 1985 (when a bunch of family problems started) and 1992 (the year I graduated college). I looked back wistfully at the 1970s: the music, the style, the vibe, and Indianapolis–our beloved city we had left in 1978 only because my dad had needed to take a job in the Chicago burbs.

In 1992 I graduated college and went to Japan. I had a mission. In 1996 the Internet entered my life. Today, I can’t imagine living without it; in fact, it’s a big part of my career. Since 2002 I have been working in advertising and PR, which had been my longtime goal.  In 2005 my daughter was born–the world’s greatest child. Since 1992 new and good things have come my way, as well as many big struggles, so I have taken and loved the good and fought and overcome the bad and am happy where I am right now (with a healthy list of caveats to that, but such always is life).

In 2004 I moved back to Indy, and it’s exceeded all my expectations. I don’t long for the Indy of the 1970s, since the city is even better now than it was then.

I am thankful for all of my blessings. My fingers are crossed, but I looking forward to the future and, in many ways, feel that life has just begun.

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The changes in Iran are changes in the world

I pray for as little suffering as possible in Iran as great changes unfold there.

The energy coming out of that country is truly amazing. In the United States, owing to the lens of the MSM through which we have seen the country for the past several decades, we have grown used to images of crowds chanting in favor of the regime and against the US and the West. Now, however, connected to the people there by Twitter, cell phone cameras, and other technologies, we see that the people there not only look like us and act like us, they are us. We are one people in the world, and nowhere can we tolerate injustice and violence.

I don’t feel the government there can last another two months. Put another way, I feel that something good and positive and as magnitudinous as the fall of the Berlin Wall is about to happen. It has started in Iran, but it will not end there. The changes in Iran are changes in the world.

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Movie review: Star Trek–bad science makes for a stupid watch


Star Trek on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

Matt Rouge’s score: 2.0/5.0

I get the appeal of this movie yet don’t get it at the same time. Old characters come to life anew with a few decent performances (Bones was funny, Scottie less so). Some sweet eye candy. But, dammit Jim! this movie is full of bad science and other really stupid stuff. I am a skilled disbelief suspender, I really am, but this movie had too much for me to suspend. To wit:

“Red matter”
The Romulans have a big ol’ glob of “red matter” in a small space ship. A drop of red matter is enough to turn the plant Vulcan into a black hole (like Brylcreem, I guess “A Little Dab’ll Do Ya”). It is hard to understand how this matter can be prevented from destroying its container, the ship, etc.

Although a little dab destroys Vulcan, later on the whole big glob fails to destroy the Romulan ship, which requires some extra phaser pumelling from the Enterprise to be deep-sixed.

Why is it necessary to drill down into Vulcan’s core to use the red matter against it? Wouldn’t just dropping it on the surface have the same effect?

Space drill
How is the big bad drill able to jam transporter signals and cause other plot-friendly mischief? Later on, the characters are able to “beam up” from a planet to a distant starship traveling at warp speed, but the fire-spitting drill prevents them from beaming up to a nearby spaceship?

It’s hard to see how the fire-breathing drill is a good way to drill down into the planet’s core. If Vulcan is like Earth, there will be some magma ‘n’ hot stuff down there. How is the fire going to drill through that? If there is no magma, then wouldn’t it just be melting rock and creating magma?

Don’t the Vulcans (and later the humans) have any air defenses? The drilling platform has no shields and minimal defenses. Spock is able to destroy it with fire from his spaceship. Why are the Vulcans waiting for the Federation to come and knock this rather wimpy piece of equipment out of the sky? Why doesn’t the Enterprise just fire on the drill?

When the team “space jumps” toward Vulcan to take out the drill, they apparently don’t have a problem with the heat that would result from entering the atmosphere.

Spock is going to use the red matter to destroy a supernova and thereby save the planet Romulus. But, during his mission, “the unthinkable happens”: the Supernova gets Romulus anyway! Huh? Either Spock is going to eliminate the star (black-hole it!) before it goes nova, or he isn’t. After the explosion, its energy would travel outward at the speed of light and would presumably be unstoppable. There really is no “Whoops! Our plan didn’t quite work” that makes sense here.

The gravitational pull of the destroyed-Romulan-ship black hole causes the “windshield” of the Enterprise to crack–but they are able to pull away! This struck me as a small child’s interpretation of how such forces might affect a huge spaceship. A crack in the window? A crack in the ceiling? In order for that to happen, the gravity would have to be accelerating the different parts of the ship at different rates; and, if that were the case, there would no escape by dropping bombs behind the ship to push it away from the big bad black hole!

The Romulans and Spock travel through time because of destroyed-Vulcan black hole. Didn’t the Romulans have a plan that included not getting sucked into the black hole they knew would result? Also, why was Spock so near them, anyway? He was supposed to be taking care of the supernova, which, one may presume, was several light years distant. I will also add that plots involving time travel are really lame.

Even though Spock’s mother is in the process of being transported–we see the swirly lines swirling around her–Chekov says, “I’m losing her!” and she dies. What is this, some type of video game? The technology is indeed visually portrayed as requiring a person to match up one jittery icon with another jittery icon. Couldn’t a computer just match up those two jittery icons and complete the process?

The good guys gain the ability to beam onto a spacewhip traveling at warp speed by simply putting a new “equation” into the transporter. No new hardware is required–just changing the computer program does it?

That’s the major stuff I saw. There is plenty else I didn’t like about the movie, however, that doesn’t fall into the “bad science” category:

I was not a fan of the new Kirk or Chris Pine’s performance. Yeah, young and rebellious, I get it, but he simply didn’t have gravitas. I don’t think Pine is a bad actor, but this was not the right part for him. Regardless of the strength of Pine’s performance, Kirk simply did not feel like enough of a hero by the end of the movie; the plot did not produce that emotional payoff, and the medal ceremony rang false (whereas the ceremony at the end of Star Wars rings true). Indeed, the movie seems much more about Spock than Kirk (Spock even has the movie’s main romance!).

The actions of the Romulans and their motivations also did not ring true. The movie did not bring out what was interesting about the Romulans in the orignal series. These guys are just angry monsters looking and acting not much different than Pinhead and his crew in the Hellraiser series.

General dumbth
I’m no Trekkie, but I like the original series well enough. One thing that bugged me, however, about the original series and now this new movie is that, in a spaceship that looks as big as a city, all the action happens on the bridge.

Fighting with swords and axes?

Kirk is able to assume command after causing the acting captain to freak out?

The old complaint about ray guns shooting visible “bullets” of light.

And so on.

This was a movie that seemed dumb as I was watching it and really dumb right after it was over. I’m surprised that its reviews have been so positive.

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Walking in Broad Ripple

Photo by Matt Rouge: Squashed mulberry pattern on the street in Broad Ripple

Click on the photo for a larger image.

Broad Ripple is an area of Indianapolis less than 10 minutes from my house. One of my meditations these days is walking there, and for this purpose it is a most interesting environment. In a fairly condensed area, I receive the following:

  • The Indianapolis Art Center. A big part of my ritual, something I’ve done since 2006, is to walk up the Monon, visit the garden of the Center with all its sculptures, and then look at the White River from one of the two platforms that lie on the grounds. Often I also walk through the Center and see what art is on display. I really ought to take some sort of art class there soon.
  • The Monon Trail, full of walkers, bicyclists, roller bladers, etc. Life, people, happiness!
  • The woods and paths that lie off the Monon Trail.
  • The quaint shops that cater to the hippies, as well as Bohemians like myself (health food, coffee, etc.).
  • The quaint restaurants that cater to, well, the hippies and the Bohemians.
  • The bar scene. One of the biggest bar scenes in the city. Life, drunks, happiness! This is not my scene at all (except for the Broad Ripple Brew Pub on occasion), but many of the bars have outdoor seating or are open to the street, so one may enjoy the verve of drunken youth without partaking.
  • Starbucks. The people there are nice and friendly, and I often go there for my free Starbucks coffee (but I do leave a dollar tip, m’kay?). Then I do some more walking around with the coffee.
  • Streets. Bridges. Houses. Little offices. I have posted here a photo of squashed mulberries, which formed a pattern on the street.

There is a lot to take in there. I walked around there a bit tonight, around 8:30. On Sunday night the bars are quieter; there is a different feeling in the air that allows for a different form of meditation.

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Matt Rouge's Ultra-Positive Thought for June 13, 2009


The glass isn’t half-empty. It’s completely full!

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Sick baby update for June 11, 2009

In my last post about the sick baby with biliary atresia, I felt that things were getting better. And the good news is that, since then, things for our little friend have only continued to improve.

I last saw (and interpreted in the hospital for) the family on May 15, at which time the news from the doctors was more or less positive. There was an extensive discussion of the genetic disorder that the child may have, as well as its nature and cause (there are no definite answers yet). But his bilirubin was lower, indicating improved liver function.

The family returned to Japan at the end of May, and they’ve stayed in contact with me. The little one’s bilirubin has dropped even further, and photos of him show him smiling just as brightly as when I last saw him in person. My intuition tells me that things will continue to go well!

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Photograph by Matt Rouge: Tree in the water


Click on the photo for a larger image.

I took this last month while walking the paths off the Monon Trail in Broad Ripple. The tree was reaching into spring with green leaves, but, having fallen into the creek, its journey was over.

Walking through the woods is one of my favorite things, and Indiana indulges me with parks large and small of great beauty. When I walk through the trees, I find it interesting how many of them are fallen and falling, not necessarily of great age.

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Vegan Punjab choley with ultimate grain mixture!

img_0237Last year, I posted my recipe for vegan Punjab choley, and this delivers more visitors to my blog than any other post! I must confess, it’s a great recipe, as it gives you choley that is:

  1. Tender
  2. Flavorful
  3. Satisfying
  4. Virtually fat free (you use no oil, so only the fat that is in the ingredients is in there)
  5. Low-sodium
  6. Easy to freeze and reheat
  7. Vegan
  8. Delicious!

Today the photograph includes my “ultimate grain mixture.” Did you know that you can cook any grain (wheat, rye, oats, buckwheat/kasha, millet, amaranth, quinoa, etc.) in the rice cooker using the same measure as you use for rice? It’s true! Hence, this receipt:

Matt Rouge’s Ultimate Grain Mixture (Gluten-Free)

1 measure brown rice

1 measure yellow millet

1 measure quinoa

Cook in rice cooker or on stove as you would brown rice.

This sounds like a very simple recipe, and it is, but I actually came across it through years of experimenting with differnt proportions of grains. The texture and fragrance and flavor is simply to die for! It’s rich, nutty, moist–yet with a wonderful crumbly feel to it at the same time. Give it a try–I think you will be most pleased.

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Angela Hewitt played Bach's Goldberg Variations magnificently

I went with friends yesterday (May 24, 2009) to see Angela Hewitt at Chicago Symphony Center. She played Bach’s Goldberg Variations without an intermission (her only scheduled piece; it is quite long, having an aria and 30 variations). According to allmusic,

The Goldberg Variations are among the most sophisticated works ever written for keyboard, but the work does not sound like the awesomely complex compendium that it is. The music is deceptively simple and heartfelt, with a noble calm even when the performer is obliged to cross hands at lightning speeds.

Angela’s hands were clearly visible from where we were sitting, and therefore the difficulty of the piece was understandable both visually and aurally.

The performance was impeccable and astounding both in the areas of technique and style: she perfectly walked the line of mechanical precision and human art. It was simply the best performance of any type I have ever experienced.

There was no question that a standing ovation was coming, and, within a second or two after her performance, the rather full house was on its feet. Angela took four curtain calls and at least returned to the instrument to play, again beautifully, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” After the encore, she took two or three more curtain calls, thereafter going to the gift shop of the hall to sign CDs.

I must thank one of my great instructors for showing me by playing at her Yamaha her principle of “concepts” in piano performance; I could very clearly hear and understand them yesterday. I must thank a newer instructor for the introduction to the piece and the performance, as well as a wealth of other information and ideas recently imparted. Blessings to you both!

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Indiana, make gay marriage legal

In general, I am not down on Indiana. I’m a writer, so I could live anywhere, but I live here because I like it. Some people say that Indiana is “conservative,” perhaps even reactionary, but I don’t really buy it. Our state has certain characteristics that sometimes are misunderstood.

I was especially proud of Indiana when Barack Obama carried the state in November, and I was also proud to be a Hoosier when a proposed ban on gay marriage failed in 2007.

Now here is one of those characteristics: Hoosiers are practical. We have a very good, very practical governor, Mitch Daniels. We have a strong manufacturing base. We have excellent corporations based here. If something looks as though it might get in the way of doing business, it’s likely to fail here. Hence, according to the Purple Pew,

“House Democrats took a stand today against ill-crafted legislation that would have done more harm than good,” Indiana Democratic Dan Parker said. “This wasn’t a vote against traditional marriage; it was a vote for protecting vulnerable Hoosiers and promoting job growth.” (


Several prominent Indiana businesses opposed the amendment for fear it would limit Indiana’s job growth as it would send a message to the nation that Indiana is a state that subscribes to discriminatory practices. The five businesses that opposed the amendment, according to Indiana Equality, are Emmis Communications, Cummins Inc., Dow AgroSciences, WellPoint, Inc., and Eli Lilly.

Emphasis added.

Give big business credit where it’s due: they knew that disincenting gay people from being in Indiana could only do our state economy and themselves grievous harm. This, of course, was not the most noble reason for supporting the ban, but it’s a respectable reason nonetheless. Funny how a “conservative” state like Indiana gave this idiotic bill the air, whereas a “liberal” state like California actually went ahead and banned gay marriage.

The governor makes frequent trips to Asia and elsewhere to attract business and investment, and he does quite a good job. Governor Daniels, in practical Hoosier fashion, should now affirm in our state the natural right of gay people to marry. Showing that Indiana is ahead of the pack in this fashion will not only attract the best and brightest gay persons to participate in our economy and polity; it will be of great benefit to Indiana’s image–the state’s brand image, if you will. And that, too, can only be good for business.

Most importantly, however, it’s the right thing to do. Like Dick Cheney, we all have gay friends and relatives whom we know in our hearts deserve fair and equitable treatment, not to mention equal protection under the law as the 14th amendment requires. It’s time for “conservative” Indiana to take a stand.

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