Sunday, December 31, 2006

stupid toy, but not icky this time

I do love to rant and often focus on the playthings that the corporate folk make the children want. I do love also to blame the corporate folk for all sorts of ills whether or not they are truly at fault. Having boys, there are plenty of toys that may poorly impress me that I won't ever actually have to worry about purchasing or otherwise owning. However, this one is just stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Seriously, a baby horse learning to walk upright? Is that what's going on here? Seriously? Stupid!!!

more celebratin'

As usual, for the last day of the year, it's pretty damned anticlimactic. I don't expect much, but you'd think such an auspicious day would . . . I don't know . . . something.

Instead, we get rain where I live. It's gone back and forth from nearly invisible sprinkles to a fairly heavy downpour. I don't expect much more than that from the looks of the outside, unending stretch of gray sky spotted with darker gray clouds scudding past.

My cough has turned into a cough plus the drippiest of noses. I'm enjoying some lovely body aches to go with the above. It's not an overall body ache from tip to toes, so I should be happy about that. And it's easily taken care of with a mouth full of Goody's powder.

As an aside, I'd like to mention, when taking the Goody's, it's best to keep in on your tongue until washing it down. Under no circumstances should you let the powder get off of the tongue. I really don't enjoy the flavor of it, especially when it ends up coating my mouth making me gag and cough violently, thankfully making it to the sink as opposed to blowing it all over Momma. She may not know how close she came to a face full of Goody's powder.

Momma has to work for a bit, and I and the boys need to get to the store. One more episode of Naruto and I'm getting up and out. We've got our bottles for the night, sparkling wine and tequila, so we just need a little beer to round all that out. We also need cereal and graham crackers and coffee, so it isn't solely a beer run.

So that's our story. I may dip into the tequila early as an antidote to the feelings of blech bubbling up out of me. I might wait till we get back from the store so that I can enjoy a beer along with the shot.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


This totally sucks. The boys' sickness seems to be waning. Momma seems like she's done being sick. I thought I was done, but guess who woke feeling like shit two days ago? Guess who can't stop coughing again? Guess who at least has smoked a minimum of cigarettes but still can't manage to quit even as he uses a stick to shove his lungs back down where they go?

The Goodys powder seems to have taken care of the achiness. A much needed shower would probably push me even closer to feeling less like shit. Sadly, both my pairs of jeans are/were dirty. I'm wearing one pair while the other is currently in the dryer. It wasn't going to be laundry day, but I really need a clean pair of jeans for when I get around to that shower, and rather than wash the one load, I may as well make a day of it.

I'm actually tempted to take a bath. I'd love to have the house to myself, to roll up a bit of smokable treat, to pour myself a beer and to sink down into the water. I keep waking with aching the last couple of days, and a nice warm soak sounds deliriously nice.

Here's the problem with the warm soak, dry skin. As soon as our weather starts to turn cold I know that my steaming hot showers are at an end till spring. I do love a nice hot shower, but it will dry my scrawny ass unbearably. Even a tepidish shower will leave my face feeling a little tight afterward, but at least I'm not scratching my belly for the next two days. I'm sure the bath would just leech out even more of my natural skin softening agents.

I feel like crap. I smell like a hippy. Momma had to work today though she wasn't supposed to. I'm afraid to take a shower because I don't trust a certain pair of boys not to go crazy when they know I can't see them. Woe are I, boo hoo.

the smoothest

This is another one of those video posts. I tend to think of these guys as ska, but of the early Jamaican music scene, it's the ska that most gets to me. The early reggae bands, Toots for example, were really cool, but then the hippies fucked it all up.

We are lucky enough in our town to have a really hard working ska fan that puts together a huge show every year. He's done it several years in a row now, and every year it gets bigger. Little did I know this past year, late in the summer when it happened, that this band was the standout. They weren't even on the regular bill but played a local bar for the after party.

I was impressed enough to pick up their cd, but it's lately that I've really listened to it. It's one of those albums that just didn't equal their live performance, and when you get turned onto a band live, the cd can be hit or miss no matter how good it really is. Basically, I listen to it slightly more each week, and it's really gotten to me.

Anyway, the band is Debonaires. Click on the name for their Myspace page and more songs after the video makes you crave their lovely style.

Friday, December 29, 2006

nasty toys with nasty mouths

We are all familiar with the Bratz dolls. This toy makes me happy that I have boys and that neither seems the least interested in typically girl toys.

Apparently, many parents have decided that one of the toys in the Bratz line sings the fuck word in a song. I really don't know much about the toy. I'm no prude, but the picture really says a lot I think. Would you be surprised if this doll said the fuck word?

Parents, as they tend to do when their precious babies come close to a swear, or a anything they don't like, are freaking out. What I don't get is, if you buy the whore toys, how upset can you get with the word fuck? Did these parents not look at the toy to begin with? "Ooh, look, Honey, a toy that looks like its trying to get fucked. I hope it doesn't actually say fuck."

Hat Tip to the local news monkey at Knox Views on this one.

ginger ale house

I've been wanting to post this for almost a week, but Blogger kept thinking they should not let me. I tried several times to post different pictures, but nothing would work. I was afraid maybe they just hated our gingerbread house, but I suppose maybe I pissed them off personally. Either way, it now works.

The Boy keeps calling it the ginger ale house, and that's really too funny to correct, so I've been referring to it as such as well.

A friend of ours, a couple of years ago, gave us the kit, basically a mold in which to bake the different parts. Momma built the house, gave the boys a pastry bag of royal icing and the accumulated holiday candy from the last year. No one supervised or bothered them while they worked and ate candy, so no one knows quite how much candy went into the boys.

If you look in front of the door of the house you will see a green and white chewy star light mint. It may look as if someone has taken a bite. Someone did. Now it looks melted and a little gruesome. The house still stands though minus a few parts here and there. I'm reluctant to eat any of it myself, and at some point, general safety concerns will force the ginger ale house into oblivion.

Finally, looking at the roof, I'm not sure if the gummi worm is going into or coming out of the chimney. The milk duds on the chimney are smoke, and I worry about the residents and what they may be burning to produce that dark brown smoke.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

two days later

Two days have now passed since the gift extravaganza toy blowout, yet I'm still surrounded by the detritus of the frenzy. Okay, that's a big part my fault. Christmas day itself is meant for only the least cleaning.

The first day after was dedicated to relaxation. Both boys flirted with being sick throughout the day, and Momma was back at work. The toys I left out because the boys didn't clean them up, and I wasn't about to. I did however get the praline mess cleaned up, lifting the top of the stove up to scraped and scrub beneath the burners even.

Today was my own lazy day. I did wash dishes and got both boys clean. I also snuck into the playroom while The Boy was in the bath and boxed up a bunch of toys that I haven't seen played with in a while. I'd love to get rid of more stuff, but I'm not entirely hearless. Most of what went in the box was toys from fast food kid's meals. I also picked up some new toys and took them into the playroom, though we have plenty of cleaning and putting away to do still.

We have been sick, in general, for about a month it seems. We passed around a cold that never seemed to completely go away. Then Momma got some sort of stomach thing that had her puking all day. Both boys seemed to have gotten that to some degree, though all the stomach thing seems to have left us alone. Big Brother has taken up coughing again. It's gotten to a sort of worrisome stage, though it seemed less today. He does seem to have gotten the worst of the sick.

Tomorrow needs to start much too early, but knowing how early I have to be up to take Momma to work if I want the car makes another day being housebound sound not so bad. I can think of any number of projects that need to be accomplished if we didn't get out, but I also know how I can procrastinate like it was cool.

I also still have Christmas shopping to do. I have yet to see my own family, and there is less than two weeks till we travel a few hours south to have Atlanta Christmas. I suppose I need to do some shopping soon.

Okay, that was easily the craptasticest post I've ever written. I'm sure I've written one or two that were suckier content wise, but I doubt I've been this boring quite yet. I could be wrong.

Monday, December 25, 2006

this year's pralines

Last year did not find me making my annual batch of pralines. As if to make up for missing, Momma decided that I would make a double batch this year. Saturday was baking day which included the pralines.

Most of her adult family members received a basket of baked goods including banana nut muffins, chocolate and peppermint spiral cookies, pralines, and some meringue cookies that mostly turned out, though the chocolate and nut versions faired poorly compared to the regular batch. The chocolate didn't quite work how they were expected to, and the nut one? less said the better there, no offense meant to Momma's efforts.

I also made Joy of Cooking's honey cake which is the quandary cake. It's more bread than cake, and it's not altogether bad. I'm not sure how I feel about, though Momma's suggestion that I think of it as bread as opposed to cake might help. I don't know that I'll ever make it again, but it may go in a bread pan next time. Again, I have to admit that I'm not entirely convinced that I don't hate it, so next time we need a cake, I'll keep turning pages.

The pralines are always a pain in my ass. They aren't really hard to make, and again I defer to the JoC. White and brown sugar, baking soda and some buttermilk get melted/dissolved, at which point you add butter, melt and turn the heat up a little. You're supposed to not stir it from now until it hits temperature at which point you throw in pecans and vanilla. This is my all time favorite candy, the one I fell in love with in ice cream as a child. Not too many years ago, debating what to prepare for an annual celebratory holiday with family, I stumbled across this recipe, remembered that childhood love of the praline, and decided they would be my donation.

I've always, before this year, caught the upswell of foam boiling out of the pot before causing any real damage. While the mix comes to temp, you are, according to Ms. Joy, not supposed to stir it. I try to leave it alone, changing the burner heat as needed because I seem to find this block, this point where it's so close to the soft ball stage but just won't damn get hotter. I can always get it almost done, but as it cooks, it foams horribly. As mentioned, this is the year I didn't catch it. It flowed out of the pan and down into and under the burner. The mess underneath cooked into a delightful mess of carbon that isn't getting scraped off for at least another day.

I started a fire in the mess earlier today. I wasn't thinking beyond needing a cup of coffee, Christmas morning, boys want their loot . . . uh FUCK that's a fire! Thinking quick, I grabbed a cake pan laying nearby and flipped it over on the burner.

WooHoo, hero me! Except that the burners aren't somehow sealed off, leaving plenty of air flow to keep the flames going. Thinking the fire had to be out, I flipped the pan off the burner accompanied by a tiny ball of fire as the smallish flames got a new burst of fresh air. I ended up blowing the flames out getting a nose full of particularly acrid smoke.

I won't go through the pain of finishing those damn pralines. From the point at which the foaming ran out of the pot I did everything that I could think of to get the pralines done. I stopped following the recipe. Nothing seemed to be working as all my hopes for pralines got sucked into the fan and out the window along with the smoke from burning sugar and buttermilk.

Eventually, I did indeed finish them. Not following the recipe turned out a praline that, though a little darker brown than usual, was as good as any I'd ever made. They were lovely, and I continued scraping bits of praline out of the pot the rest of the day. This process does leave a messy pan, but a tastier mess you may never find. The pralines cooled and went into zip lock bags which nestled in the baskets with the muffins awaiting Christmas Eve and our trip to see the family.

Every single praline I made, not counting the two that we split between ourselves and the boys, went to family. I have nothing but carbon and partially burnt praline that flowed under the other burner to show for my efforts. They get treats, and I get to scrape.

reading 'bout eating

Momma gave me two books for Christmas, one about Julia Child's years living in Paris and Marseille in France. This is a book I'm looking forward to as Julia is a sort of hero for me. If you don't know more about her than the odd voice and the bottle of wine then you really have no idea what this woman was all about. One could almost think she lead a charmed life and at times she does seem blessed with a lot of right time right place, but she was truly an amazing and hard working person with an amazing story. Pick up the book Appetite for Life if you haven't read it already. It's worth it.

The other book is the one I chose to read first, Anthony Bourdain's A Cooks Tour. I'm not really sure how much I liked this guy based on his tell all book Kitchen Confidential which I've read and enjoyed. I always feared he's was killing a little of the magic of the kitchen, giving away our secrets, making people think it was a job they could do. Then he got his show on television, traveling the world, eating food, drinking the local brews. Who wouldn't want to do that and get paid to do so? How long do I have to wait for my Powerball investments to pay off so that I can travel the world and eat food and drink the local brews. And how could you not like the guy? He tells that monkey Emeril how it is in the real world.

That's the ticket right there. I'll call the Travel channel and suggest my idea, that they pay me and the wife and kids to travel the world looking for the coolest places to take your kids. We won't go and visit the crap places that are designed for kids because they all suck. We'll go to the real places and eat real food. We'll meet old French ladies that make their own cheese and wine and learn how to play the bagpipes on the side of a craggy old mountain and . . . and . . .and . . .

And then we swing back to reality. I'm not saying I'm dissatisfied with my food options, but reading about ol' high rollin' Tony B makes me a little jealous. I'm up to the chapter about his visit to Morocco, one of those cities that would go on my list of places to visit one of these days. We didn't get any meal worthy leftovers from our Christmas visiting. There's a zip loc bag of ham that I've mostly picked my way through. There's an even bigger bag of snack mix and another of Grandma's usual candy/cookie-like things that shouldn't be good but are. I did make a really good chicken pot pie right before the holidays that's stayed hidden, waiting for us to get tired of or run out of Christmas leftovers, which is today.

I guess them's the breaks. I'll dance with the one what brung me and be happy. But one day, all those dollar investments in the big lottery will pay off, and then I'm so out of here. Until then, it's almost time to heat up some leftovers and nibble at the ham some more.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Big Brother goes with . . . makeup?

I'm not making a big deal out of this and didn't when I stumbled upon the situation. My kids are who they are, blah, blah, blah. This isn't that kind of make up story, and it's not that kind of bathroom story, so dirty minds look elsewhere.

Big Brother takes a while to brush his teeth at night. I'm not quite sure what he's playing at night when he goes to take care of his end of the night rituals. I know that I pee and brush my teeth, but whatever he does involves a lot of chatter and stomping for the most part. When he's been in there long enough I'll semi barge in on him, but I usually only catch him getting down from the side of the bath tub or something.

When I say semi barge, what I mean is that I'll crack the door a bit, surprise him. I don't do this when he's being quiet, because those are the times he's doing what he's supposed to be. It's those other times, when he was supposed to be in and out in a couple of minutes, or when he's supposed to be taking a shower, but I can hear that he's plugged the tub. He almost overflowed the tub tonight doing just that.

Later tonight, his bed time, he was in the bathroom, supposedly peeing and brushing his teeth. The noise level indicated that he was doing something else, so I semi barged in on him. He was standing on the little step in front of the sink, certainly aware that I'd caught him with black smudges on his cheeks. What he thought I'd believe I have no way of knowing.

He denied at first that he'd been messing with Momma's make up. It was obvious what he'd been into, the only black make up readily available, sitting right at the top of the make up bag, the mascara, the stuff what goes on your lady's eyelashes. I looked around to be sure there wasn't some other source of the black smudges, but there was nothing. Presented with the evidence, he admitted that it was indeed the mascara.

He tried wiping it off with the hand towel. I tried washing it off with a rag. Neither of us found any success. I knew to use baby oil, just like Momma does, but I refused and didn't inform him of this possibility. I thought, even if he doesn't learn a lesson, it would at least be funny for Momma to see him in the morning. She's at work now, this being her latest of late nights, and I do so hate for her to miss out on the fun.

For what it's worth, I'm not really concerned with my kids wearing make up. If they turn goth or emo and try to wear makeup, I'll turn on them. Hell, I'll turn on the just for turning goth or emo, the make up has nothing to do with it. They are who they are, blah, blah, blah. I'm okay, you're okay.

Seriously, like I wouldn't notice the black smudges. And I still don't know what the hell he was up to in there. What makes an eight year old boy paint his cheeks with mascara?

I can't wait till Momma sees him.

Friday, December 22, 2006

egad, food ickiness

Does this sound like it deserves the name Yum Yum? This is the Yum Yum congealed salad from a cookbook we have. It is a locally produced cookbook from our local power company from 1971. I have a grandfather-in-law that worked for them for a number of years, hence my coming to possess this delightful tome.

Before reading, imagine what might be in a Yum Yum congealed salad. I'll give you gelatin, but then, take a moment and think. If you want, you can write down a few guesses. There aren't many ingredients at all, so play along if you wish.

Had enough? Did you guess lemon juice and pineapple? and lightly whipped cream? Doesn't sound too bad just yet. Of course now that we know it's made with fruit we know there will be sugar, so that's now a given.

Now we come to the final two ingredients. Momma is actually reading this cookbook to me as I read nonsense on the computer. She was astounded as she read and couldn't help but feed me the idea, leading me through my own guesses. She had led me with clues this far when she informed me that there were two more ingredients.

Finally, a final clue, something that Americans love. I tentatively offered mayonnaise as a guess to which the answer was sadly yes. I was pretty sure when I offered this guess that I'd be wrong, but what else fits the clue so well? The final ingredient is also covered under this clue. I'd already ruled out all meat, but my next thought was that all Americans love fried shrimp, which would have made this a truly American congealed salad, as if congealed intersecting salad weren't enough.

You're tired of guessing and demand to know what the final ingredient is. I too grew tired of guessing, but in all my years of being from the south, I had not run into quite this sort of congealed salad. I gave up.

The answer, that final ingredient, horror of horrors, shame of shames, that most busted ass completely American food product, American cheese slices.

Email me or drop a comment for the recipe. I don't mind typing up the recipe if someone is willing to make this travesty. Do you hate your in laws? Do you want to teach the kids a Christmas lesson? You'd just about have to stick your dick in this shit to make it worse.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

math talk

Big Brother: I think I'm going to be Superman for Hallowe'en this year.

Me: You mean next year? You know, this year is almost over.

Big Brother: How many more days?

Me: There's thirty one days in December? and today's the twenty first, so ten more days.

Big Brother: How many days are in a year?

Me: Three hundred sixty five.

Big Brother, after thinking for a brief moment: So three hundred fifty five days have already passed this year.

We don't really teach math around here, though we do talk about it when it comes up. And this kid has never been to a school math class. If Momma catches me posting at this point, this moment in time, she'll have my ass, so . . .

ack! shopping!

I don't hate shopping, though I'm not a huge fan of randomly browsing stores purposelessly. I'm cool at the grocery store for the most part, because I generally have an exact list of what I'm there for. In general, the only other shopping I tend to would also revolve around some sort of list of needs, and then again, knowing what I want and where I'm going makes it easy.

I'm not so sure how I feel about Christmas shopping. If I had the good sense throughout the year to stockpile great items, I'd be really happy, knowing that I wasn't going to be one of those hapless fools rushing around with less than a week to go. I actually know one or two people who do this when they can. I've gotten some great gifts from people who happened to find something in July that they thought I'd like and held onto to it.

I wish I did that, but I don't. Much of our shopping is complete, though I have yet to finish thinking of something for Momma, and we are going tomorrow night to finish up our own shopping for the E.TN family. GA side isn't doing Christmas till January, so we have the post-pre holiday lull to do that.

And there is still Momma to think about. The boys have a gift for her already, which was easy to decide on. I'm still thinking, and I've got tomorrow basically. What to do?

Oh, and cooking. We have plenty of random cooking to get done at some point. There was talk of a grocery list and even a schedule. I need to decide what I'm going to bake in addition deciding when to make the seasonal pralines. Maybe this will be the year that I make them right. I won't mention the kitchen and the cleaning I was supposed to have done, but taking time with tonight's beef stew and biscuits paid off.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

random bookery

The dining table, as usual, is quite a mess. Look past the actual ick, the milk and whatever else I should have wiped up by now, and you will find the random book pile. It's the pile of books that have built up over the course of a few of Big Brother's meals. The Boy, though not reading yet, follows suit often though with much smaller piles as a result. I'm sure this is an old story, but we're going a new direction here.

I'm always amused by Big Brother's reading choices. He may well be in the middle of a much longer book, currently rereading Eragon, but he will still often choose shorter books to read at the table. He will also often choose books that one might think him a bit old for considering what he has read.

Tonight we have a great selection. In addition to the dragon book, we have a book based on the board game Clue, Revenge of the Mummy. We also have a version of Puss in Boots that one would guess more likely to be his younger brother, but he always did like this story. We have two DK books that came with Chic-fil-A kid's meals, Children of the Americas and Kid's Florida. The last two books I'll mention are a Pokemon book and Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin.

There are more random titles I haven't mentioned. There are two Thomas the Tank Engine books that could be from either of the boys. There's also a book about Tony Hawk that I seem to remember The Boy asking about, so I think it's his this time.

My unamusing end to all this is that I get to put the books away. It seems only a short time ago that I fixed the shelves, dragging all the books out of their room as well as from the rest of the house, sorted through all the books and put them all in a sort of order. It was only the little kids books and the kid's nonfiction really. Most chapter books and more grown up books share other shelf space, and they are in need of both straightening and unburdening, but a new book case isn't quite in the works, and there's so much other crap I should (but don't) do first.

It is much easier to sit here with a lap full of books and blog about books that to do anything with books. Knowing I have to go back through and italicate all those book names isn't helping either. I hate highlighting and clicking.

Finally, as I read and edit this poor dumb thing, I can't help but think this all feels a bit too familiar, as if I've written this before. Perhaps I have.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


The end of the year 2006 is fast approaching, nibbling at the heels of the Christmas holidays. With the end of the year and the beginning of the new, we often find our thoughts drawn to the age old desire to form resolutions, to make ourselves better people.

As many of us, I've toyed with the idea in past years, thinking of those bad habits I would resolve to give up. I will say that, knowing myself too well, I've never actually made any resolutions, so I can honestly claim that I've never failed to live up to those desires. Accentuation of the positive extraction from a basically negative situation is further proof of my own cynicism than of any optimistic nature I'd prefer to pretend was the choice.

I've actually been considering seriously the entire concept of new year's resolutions, though I don't see myself making a list of things I'll immediately begin with the beginning of 2007. I'm thinking of a list of goals for myself to work toward over the course of the year.

I could easily list a number of bad habits that I could stand to make a break from, but I know that I don't work that way. What I've been missing for too long is that I need to make a point of developing good habits. Mostly, I need to begin to make better use of my time.

My default lately has been the computer, and I spend more time reacting to the kids and other household situations than is really good. I've neglected cleaning, which I don't really enjoy, to a point where we end up cleaning, not by putting things away, but by putting them in the most recent place they've been for too long that's out of the way until I really put it up, at which point I should mention, as an example, the box of tapes I mentioned so long ago. It's still where it don't go.

Many resolutions seem to focus on those bad habits we tend to pick up. I could certainly think along those lines and assume I'm doing some good. I've talked to two friends lately who insist they will quit smoking, and I wish them the best of luck. I won't be going this route, though I certainly could and perhaps even ought too. I am thinking less about losing bad habits instead developing good ones.

With the new year less than two weeks away, I plan to keep in mind all those things I do that dissatisfy me. I feel I miss a lot of opportunities, and I feel I can see where I'm at fault, though too often, in the moment, I don't really allow myself to recognize what I'm doing. I'm a terrible procrastinator, certain that I'll do these things in just a little bit, though too often, the things I do accomplish are hastily thrown about at the last minute.

real reason

Just had to share this in this hectic season of celebratory feelingness.

Hat tip to that crazy PZ Myers.

stupid mega blocks

Having children, and possibly moreso because they are both boys, we have collected a fair number of Legos. Additionally, we have a lot of Mega Blocks, very much like the Legos, but also very much unlike the Legos.

As anyone can understand, Legos and building with them, certainly have some limits as to what you can do. Lego has certainly introduced a huge variety of sets, pieces and even motors. So the possibilities themselves are limited mostly to things that are not physically impossible. As an example, we can look at a tower.

If you stick one Lego to another enough times, you can build a very large tower. Eventually it will get to a point that it is too tall. It can no longer physically support itself. A tower designed well can reach much higher than a poorly constructed one. We could also build a house with stacks of bricks for the walls, but if we use a mortar to hold the bricks together, and if we stagger the bricks and interlace them, the walls will be much stronger. It's all about design.

We can do this sort of thing with Legos because they are well made. They work well together. This is where we get to the Mega Blocks which just plain suck.

The Mega Blocks are nearly exactly like the Legos to look at. The people are constructed very differently, given more features than the average blocky Lego person. A lot of the MB pieces are designed to serve a specific place in the set. We have two, Power Rangers and pirates. They are fairly interchangeable with the Legos to the point where we've combined them all in the same tubs. One major difference is the walls that MB include. They are designed to fit onto the base and to be stackable. These pieces are really cool allowing some interesting structures.

The MB pieces are different as soon as you touch them. The plastic is even different, somehow seeming harder or more brittle than that used in Legos. Next, you're going to try to build with the Mega Blocks and you'll notice immediately that they don't quite stick together. They don't want to connect with each other and once connected don't want to stay. They are very frustrating for anyone to build with because of this.

Using both types of blocks, I've watched the boys build some interesting places. They don't care that they are two different brands because for the most part, they really do fit well together. The MB, for all the frustration when they won't stick, do eventually stick, mostly, though they create more frustration than any toy should. Frustration with toys can give us a chance to remind our kids to try a different direction. There is a difference in the frustration from needing to try something different and the frustration from poorly designed toys.

I can handle reminding Big Brother that he might try something different. But I hate reminding him, "Try not to get so frustrated. It's not you that can't build, it's that the Mega Blocks just suck. You know it's hard to make them stick sometimes, so maybe try something different."

To which he replies, "Stupid Mega Blocks."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

that four things thing

Kixque made the suggestion, and I'm jumping on it. Here's four things I've done.

Jobs I've Had

1.I was a security guard for almost three years. I quit thinking I was joining the navy after my nine month delayed entry program ran out. The summer preceding this was the summer I first did drugs and eventually started drinking.

2. I worked in the stockroom of a mall furniture store. This was my second real job, and in many ways, it should have been more eye opening than it was. I met my first real live gay that I knew was gay, and I never told my parents, and eventually this person, my boss, forced me to rethink things I'd been taught. Several years later I cried when I saw him at a pride parade because I got to apologize for some things I'd said in ignorance.

3. I spent a summer halfway across the country working as a junior counselor at a christian camp. This was the trip that made me fall in love with the west moreso than all the Louis L'Amour books ever. Sixteen years old and this was the first place I remember seeing that was so open that you could see the shadow of the clouds on the ground. This is what I did between my first and second real jobs.

4. Restaurant-the majority of experience I have is the restaurant. My first real job, the one that bought my ticket to fly west was bussing tables at a steakhouse in the same mall I'd later work at in the furniture store. Little did I know at this time that I was so soon going to find that this first job may well have cursed me. I may not currently be employed, but I know when I return, it will be to her shadowy embrace, the restaurant, the most beautiful and hateful beast, that destroyer of dreams and hope, that breeder of hell.

Movies I Could Watch Over and Over

1. We'll start with Thomas videos. I don't mean the obnoxious movie where Diesel 10 is trying to get all the steamies. I mean the videos that we rent from the library based mostly on the original stories. I'd never have thought so, but when The Boy asks to watch them, I'm as likely as not to watch and enjoy.

2. I'm a sucker for Kevin Smith's films, so I'd list his catalog here. If you have to ask, then either don't bother or go to IMDB.

3. I'd list, as a top choice, regardless of order here, would be the entire catalog of Hayao Miyazaki. I've never seen a movie of his that I didn't love. My Neighbor Totoro is one most people have seen, but he's made so many great movies, and he writes movies that appeal to both kids and adults without having to hide stuff where the appropriate audience will find it.

4. Nothing is coming to mind for another single movie. I don't tend to spend a lot of time watching movies, so I'd generally rather see something I haven't given the choice. I can think of a number of movies I'd be willing to watch a second time, but I'm always a little afraid I might waste prime movie time if I don't see something new. It's a bit of a hang up maybe, or maybe it's proof that I don't prioritize as well as I might.


1. Anything UFC or boxing and sometimes karate on ESPN Classic. I miss getting to watch boxing, and I hate that good fighting sports are all pay per view. I've mentioned in this blog before that I don't pay per view for the most part. I'm already paying too much money to watch television, and I'm not sure I'm not getting screwed. But when I can watch UFC for free, and especially the reality show, I will.

2. Family Guy is a definite favorite. However, my Sunday night schedule ends up making me miss the new episodes, so I see it when I can. I need to get the family a fucking Tivo for Givemas, Chriswanzakuh, or whatever the hell it is.

3. Miami Ink-as much as I love this show, it just ends up making me want a new fucking tattoo. I'm tired of waiting. Now I just need a couple of bucks and the right idea.

4. Fullmetal Alchemist-You need to check this show out. What happens in a universe where science and alchemy are one and the same when two young brothers attempt to bring their mother back to life? One loses his life, and his brother gives, literally, an arm and a leg to regain his brother's soul which he attaches to an ancient suit of armor. Older brother ends up with cybernetic arm and leg, and they both have great powers to perform alchemy. Reading that, well just watch it. Check your local listings. I love anime!

Places I've Been

1. Wyoming, the location of the not real job between jobs number one and two. I really want to get back out west for a visit. I imagine I'll die in the south, but that there Wyoming is awful pretty. The lightning will about make you shit yourself.

2. Snake River-The summer in Wyoming was capped off with a short rafting trip down the Snake. That was a hell of a ride.

3. You might be starting to wonder, but I'm not the most well travelled son of a bitch around. The farthest reaches of my travels extend in a rough rectangle from Florida west to the Texas/Colorado are, north from there to the Dakota brothers, back east to Pennsylvania and back. I grew up in Atlanta, the majority of those years being spent there. I have not visited every single state contained within the rectangle described above.

4. See number three

Favorite Foods

1. The bastards at Sunspot no longer make them, so consider this an ode. I still crave their portobella fries. Imagine sliced portobella mushrooms battered lightly with a tempura batter and fried and served with a red pepper aioli. The rest of their food is good, but fuck them for taking these off the menu.

2. Tomato Head sandwich at the Tomato Head restaurant. You really ought to just swing by for a visit and come have one.

3. Mojito

4. Biscuits and sausage gravy. We make a great one though Momma and I might actually come to blows one day over whose is better. Okay, we won't, but language might flow.

Websites I Visit Every Day

1. My family board, the link to which you aren't getting.

2. Like Kixque, I visit the Knoxviews, though I can't comment anymore without registering, and I just haven't felt like it yet. That feels like too much commitment or too much like commitment.

3. Not every day, but every time there's a new post, Waiter Rant. I'm going to feed this guy a bunch of soy, gay marry him, and open a hip urban restaurant.

4. I visit Science Blogs every day. I keep thinking I'm going to narrow the feed to those few writers there that I actually read, but I keep not doing that. I do have the good sense to get the feeds as headlines/excerpts, so I can wade through pretty quickly.

Friday, December 15, 2006

latest book

Once again I've finished a great kid's book that I'm almost certain Big Brother won't read. As I've mentioned, because I spend most of my library time in the kid's section, I tend to read a lot of books from that section. And for some reason, Big Brother very often doesn't read the books I pick that I want to read. I have in mind when I pick books, and I know if he read my picks he'd enjoy them. He does read the books I pick for The Boy and enjoys them, but those I pick for me he ignores.

The real reason for my j fiction reading is that I insist on going to the downtown branch library in which the kid's section is most of the basement. It's pretty cool because the kids can get a little crazy and loud and not disturb any annoying grown ups. The librarians downstairs are usually great with the kids and not afraid to assert their authority if I or other parents don't catch our kids (I mean me, and I mean The Boy) in the middle of something uncool. At any of the smaller branches I could most likely peruse the grown up shelves and be within sight and/or hearing within a second or two. But I just love driving downtown and walking the two blocks.

This installment of j fiction-I-just-finished is about yet another Laurence Yep book, The Earth Dragon Awakes: the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Considering the trauma of the event on so many people, I hate to say I enjoyed it, but I did. I've loved so many of his books, though this is only the second of this type I've read. It's a very short book, based accurately on a historic event, though told to some extent through fictional characters.

The book tells the story of the earthquake both as it happened as well as through the eyes of two friends, the fictional characters as well as their families, struggling with the situation. One is a white American while the other is his Chinese friend. Chin's father works for Henry's parents, and Chin and Henry have become best friends. The earthquake happens as Chin and his father are getting up and getting ready to go to work for Henry's family.

This book touches on so much that came up during this disaster. It's what I love about history without the boring school parts. It's a story of the time and the people as they would have been. The book presents situations that could only have happened in the San Francisco of the time, but they are situations driven by parts of human nature that exist regardless of time and place on top of the natural disaster.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

new word needed

The soy-makes-you-gay debate has shown me once more that we need a new word. The mental sickness of the anti-gays makes me sadly disgusted, but sometimes they come up with some really fucked up things to say.

I'm guessing we've all heard about the new theory by some nutsack at the World Net Daily claiming that an abundance of soy products in our diet is making our children gay. See, soy has estrogens and feminizing agents that make the boys go cock hungry. See, that's why Japan and China are so totally over run by the gays. I don't know how it's supposed to work on the girls. Maybe it makes them want to get pregnant a bunch of times and be princesses, but I suppose that those feminizing agents may actually be engayifying for both genders equally.

And here we come to the word that I need. I find myself laughing in disgust while laughing at the same time. No word that I currently have quite answers the occaision or the emotion.

Assuming that we are witnessing a major influx of the evil soy, I guess we are going to have a surge of gay children. After the generations past, the X's and the Y's and whatever else, will the next round of children, because of the soy dominance, be known as Generation Soy Gay? Are we all going to go gay and stop making American babies? Are we just trying to piss god off?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

save the world

Momma was mostly in the attic, at the top of the spring loaded steps far enough to not really hear what was happening. I was in the bedroom sorting through some mess that had tumbled from where it doesn't belong to where it belongs even less.

I heard the boys arguing about something, though I couldn't hear exactly what the issue was. I squirmed past the attic steps and made my way to the other end of the house to regulate and fix the problem.

We've gotten another load of Christmas decorations out, the reason Momma was half in the attic, this box containing the stuffed characters from the old Rudolph Christmas special as well as a large sleigh shaped basket. What I first see is two versions of Rudolph pulling the sleigh which was loaded with Charlie in the Box, Yukon Cornelius, the Abominable Snowman and a random Santa Claus. Much larger, obviously unrelated, Christmas Elmo seems to be swooping in from the sky in Big Brother's hand while The Boy stood crying and distressed.

I ask The Boy what's wrong, though it's Big Brother who answers, "I think he wants to save the world."

"Is that true?" I ask.

The Boy wails, "Yyyyyyyeeeeeeeeesssssssss."

"Can't you guys save the world together? Saving the world is one of those things that, once you get there, you might find that you need some help," I offer.

I don't know if that helped. I don't know if my aid came merely in giving them both a break from where they were. Either way, peace has been as restored as ever. Once more, the world has been saved, and I bet it's due to team effort more than any one of us acting alone.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

just over a year ago

Seems I've done too many surveys lately, taking silly online tests, tossing some pithy line in front of the copied and pasted code, and I call that a post. I remember the whole point of this thing at one time was to write, to get back in the habit of it. From there I was going to redevelop any skill I may once have had minus those horrid things I wrote fresh out of high school going through all sorts of milestones that I maybe should have done four or five years earlier, but we won't talk about that right now.

I'm not sure that I've done that, the getting to where I can write worth shit part, though I won't say I'm overly concerned either. The thing is, I was thinking recently that I was coming up on the year anniversary of this particular writing excursion. I even went into the dusty old archives and noticed the date, assuring myself that I had time. Like many post ideas that run screaming through my head, this one did. Unlike nearly every other one, this one came back.

Yeah, sometime last month, that one year anniversary came back too, though the idea to write it is here now, a little over three weeks late.

Upon rereading that first post, I see I spelled two words incorrectly. That's sort of one of my anal retentive things. I'm not sure where it came from, but misspelling bugs the everloving shit out of me. Would that I'd have thought of the spell check that cold November night that I jumped into this world of blog writery. I'm getting "everloving" and "writery" as misspelled, but "writery" is a word I just made up, and "everloving" is just going to have be misspelled. Fuck it. We say that where I come from.

Once again though, I'm sitting in the middle of unfinished chores. The boys are asleep. Momma is having a beer somewhere. I'm listening to Phyllis Dillon and having a beer. For my year anniversary, I'll introduce you to Phyllis Dillon. Hers is another sad story of immense fame in youth, beautiful woman, beautiful voice, yet she died with nothing. Hear the song that made me hunt her down in the first place, as a Christmas gift for Momma if I remember correctly, and go to Johnny Spencer's page to hear more.

If there ever was a one year celebratory post, this is one, though even that is higher praise than it rightly deserves. One of these days I'll move your ass to tears over some poignant little pile of friffery. You won't know what hit you. Until I'll just keep practicing and knowing that even the biggest anthill started out small.

Monday, December 11, 2006

again with the kids

Watching Engineering an Empire on History channel with The Boy. I was lying down, too close to dozing off to be healthy and not even aware that he was still watching. Going into a commercial break the narrator finishes up with a description of the coming segment ending with the phrase, "Descend into chaos."

At that moment, from The Boy, I hear, "Descend into chaos? Nnnnoooooo!"

the tree

After only a couple of times of being too late on the previously appointed day, we finally made it out to the tree farm and got a Christmas tree. I got the lights on it while Momma and Big Brother were at derby practice tonight, so it's glowing cheerfully in the front window.

We have one good place for the tree which is also the place we've chosen for our dining table the rest of the year. We have an oddly arranged house. There is no real room for a table in the kitchen, and there is no real dining area. We use the front window which is the less used half of the living room area. You'd really have to see our house to get it. The bedrooms, play room, bathroom and kitchen were once the entirety of our house. Momma's grandfather built an addition on the side to create the living room.

The addition is a cube, more square and slightly smaller than the original part of the house. One quarter of this space is the laundry room leaving a basical L shape for the living room. It's really an odd shape that leaves our prime dining table room as far away from the kitchen as is possible to get. We also have to move the dining table to make room for the tree. The moving of the table is a big part of our holiday tradition as is the wishing the table wasn't now stuck in the middle of the room.

The tree is up and lighted, and the ornaments await in their boxes, piled randomly behind me. Momma's schedule over the next couple of days and our need to finally do Christmas shopping may or may not effect the decorating. At some point tomorrow I know that the boys will start opening up the boxes of ornaments and that those ornaments will slowly make their way onto the tree. I know I didn't string the lights right, so I may have to add an extra string for the electric ornaments.

We've listened to Christmas music and have our tree up. I can't pretend this one isn't sneaking more quickly than the past few, but I also can't pretend we aren't always so ill prepared for the holiday. Any day now there will be a major influx of cheer like the foam that chases the cork out of the champagne bottle. For a moment I'll pretend that the whole peace and goodwill thing will finally this year come to pass, and I'll extend that with the timely viewing of a Christmas movie of some sort. Till then, I'll look at the pretty lights and throw the Elf soundtrack on one more time.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

do we have time?

Do we have time for another stupid survey? It's no more or less stupid than any other survey I've taken, though it may be more enlightening, or not.

According to the quiz I have fairly accurate gaydar. I accurately judged 16 out of 20 people for gaiety and scored better than 87% of other test takers.

I'm sure I'd love to test out my gaydar skills in real life, but Momma would want me to share anyone that showed up, and I say no to chics at the sausage fest.

Want to test your own ability to spot the gays? Well, get you click on.

me in a nutshell, "help, how'd I get in here?"

Not sure this is what I was looking for. The Brutally Honest Personality test is not giving me arguable conclusions, which doesn't mean I'm especially happy with the results. I guess I'd just rather have come off as even slightly cooler in front of the web survey. So this is it, me in a couple of sadly accurate paragraphs.

Clown- ESFP

80% Extraversion, 46% Intuition, 33% Thinking, 20% Judging

Congratulations. You are the buffoon of society, the class clown, the general funny guy/gal. Your purpose on earth was to serve as entertainment for the rest of us sane ones. We're laughing with you and at you. Some people would kill to be as funny as you. Other would rather just kill you.

You're spontaneous, fun-loving and optimistic. You're all in all an idiot.

You wanna know why? It's because you would rather have fun than concentrate on your duties and obligations. You act before you think. You talk before you think. All in all, you don't think that much at all.

You did terribly at school, didn't you? You were the class clown. Paid no respect to the teachers or to your fellow students. Paid no attention to your school work. And look where you are now... starting to regret your decisions?

Get down to earth. Find a real job and start taking care of your responsibilities. Sure, people love you, but they don't love you because they like you. They love you because you make them laugh. They love you because they can always look at you and say "Well, at least I did better off than him or her!"

...but at least you’re funny, right?


If you want to learn more about your personality type in a slightly less negative way, check out this.


The other personality types are as follows...

Loner - Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

Pushover - Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Criminal - Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

Borefest - Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Almost Perfect - Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

Freak - Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging

Loser - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

Crackpot - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

Sap - Extraverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Commander - Extraverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

Do Gooder - Extraverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Scumbag - Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

Busybody - Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging

Prick - Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

Dictator - Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Extraversion
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Intuition
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Thinking
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Judging

Link: The Brutally Honest Personality Test written by UltimateMaster on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

big kids

Big Brother mentioned that he was getting hungry and wanted to fix himself some lunch. Though I'm working to get around the trap of what I would usually have said, my first instinct was to suggest that perhaps he be a bit more patient and that I'd get to it.

My first instinct as a parent has not always gotten me into great situations or prepared the way for great relationships with my boys. I can be a bit anal in that I'd too often rather do it myself to get it done more quickly and right, but doing for doesn't give kids any experience. Experience watching your dad do everything for you is technically a kind of experience, but it's not the learning from kind that I want for them.

So I shout down the voice in my head, the one that wants Big Brother to just be patient and let me do it in a minute. I tell him to go ahead and start working on it. He can fix what he wants. And that's a little scary because it further reinforces that there are so many things that he doesn't need me to do.

This isn't the first time Big Brother has fixed his lunch, though in the past it's been confined to the classic pb&j, the easiest sandwich ever. We have a nifty cheese cutter with no sharp edges, so that's not only easy for him but for all of us as well. Side items are easily taken care of with banana chips for The Boy and banana peppers for Big Brother. Oh, and since we are out of mayo and vegenaise, and because neither son likes mustard, they get ranch dressing as a sandwich spread today.

So my patience and allowing Big Brother has saved me having to fix lunch. I did wash the cheese cutter while he worked, and I cut the cellophane wrapper from the loaf of bread for him. I also poured some ranch into a small dish so that he wouldn't end up with a torrent of dressing from the bottle when a little spread was what he wanted.

All this is further proof of them growing. I have that torn between feeling so many parents get, wanting them to stay sweet, innocent little babies that we can easily forgive anything and everything versus knowing that they are inevitably growing, learning, becoming more and more able, having opinions and asserting themselves.

For the record, there certainly are plenty of growing up kinds of things that absolutely thrill me such as the fact that, seemingly suddenly, the diaper bag is not quite as necessary as it once was. If we are going to be out for a while, we carry it with some back up clothing, though we now refer to it as a just in case bag since there are no longer diapers in it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

a question

What are we going to have instead of Christmas when the evil Darwinist gays finally win the war on Christmas? Seriously, we are at war or something, and someone is trying to steal baby Jesus and make him not be in Christmas anymore.

Seriously, it's a battle, and we all have to choose sides. Do you love baby Jesus or not?

Well it's time for his birthday, and baby birthdays are always the best. Everyone gets him little clothes and hats and toys and educational software. It's soooo sweet, and he's so darling, little baby Jesus.

But he wants to have a party, and some people think we shouldn't have a party for Jesus. Somebody's going down over this. They can't steal our Christmas and baby Jesus from us. We'll make them celebrate and party like they're supposed to, or baby Jesus will get totally mad at them.

So you better say Merry Christmas to everyone, or you hate baby Jesus.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

programming language thingy

I have no idea what this means. Apparently this is the programming language I am, and I'm sure it means I'm super not cool. I don't know why I bothered to take it, so I blame it all on Ron. Dadburn it Ron!

You are C#. No matter how hard you try, you can't convince people that you are unique.  You're composed of others' traits.
Which Programming Language are You?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

college prep toy

As homeschoolers, we find more and more that our children's path to college is not really different from their schooled friends. It's natural that we want to find ways to help this transition in the lives of those we've nurtured for so long. This nurturing and preparing so often seems to forget the nuances. We do forget the vagaries of youth as we age, as so much is different, especially for those of us schooled and raised in ways so completely foreign to what our children have been afforded. So as we prepare the children, don't forget the games. We can't very well play quarters for shots with our kids, but we want them to be able to maintain. Enter this gadget with its hand full of steel ball bearings which you bounce for points. Modeled after the popular game Skee Ball, but without the tickets and the crappy cheap toy that you trade those tickets for and with bouncing instead of rolling. Maybe your son or daughter didn't rack up the Skee Ball tickets, but you certainly don't want them racking up the tequila shots. They won't even know what they trained for till it's time to bust out the quarters and shot glasses. And as they learned at our sides how to bounce shiny things for points, they'll be saved the ruinous overindulgence in alcohol.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

poor toes

This weather is killing me. In the past three weeks, we've gone from the most miserably cold day for a soccer game, to a beautiful day that we didn't wear jackets, to a sad gray day with snow(flurries really, but some flakes stuck on a chair outside) and we are now at downright cold.

We are supposed to be in the teens tonight, which is likely if it hasn't already happened. I'd wager that we're there. The time it takes to smoke just about froze me, and it doesn't take me long to get my pollute on.

I pretend each year that I appreciate the cold. It's part of the balance of nature or some such horse shit. If nothing else it kills the bugs off for a while, unless those bugs are those new killer yellow jackets they're breeding down in Georgia. But mostly it just seems like winter is a pretty raw deal for the most part.

I try to think thoughts of sweaters and girls in sweaters, and there's Christmas to look forward to. But then it just gets cold with nothing but spring and soccer to look forward to like a distant pinprick of light. If you want to make time stand still, there's a pretty valid candidate.

The worst of it all is the feet. If my feet would actually get warm between trips outside to smoke, I'd be in decent shape. If I quit smoking, I wouldn't have to go outside so often, and that whole health thing too, and I might be able to get my feet to warm up, but then I'd never go outside at all.

Monday, December 04, 2006

more marching band love

In my parade post I mentioned a certain love I have for marching bands. This isn't something I'm hugely into, just something I've always had a certain affection for. I don't play anything, so of course I wasn't ever in a band.

I won't say I've scoured the internet looking for marching bands, but off and on since that post, I've done some amount of searching. I started with the obvious first choice, YouTube, but there were honestly too many videos. I tried to narrow my search by searching schools, but I didn't really know which schools had the really good bands. I finally just googled different search options.

One school that seemed to keep showing up, often in comments at YouTube about other school band videos, is Mississippi's Jackson State University. I then began searching them in particular, looking for good videos of their band, The Sonic Boom of the South. The name alone clued me in, and for the most part, I've enjoyed listening to and watching them perform.

Listening to them brings me to the next hassle of the search. Marching bands often don't perform in the best possible venue for recording live music. Too many videos were ruined by poor recording quality, while many were ruined by outside noise, such as fans.

If you want to view more JSU or just more bands in general try Marching Sport. Music will start playing immediately, and to stop it, click at the top in the glare off the horn. They have lots of videos of bands as well as drum lines. Many of the ones I viewed sounded pretty good, but again, considering the venue and the assumed recording devices, we can't complain too much.

So, without further ado, The Sonic Boom of the South.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

suffering on wheels

Today was a busy day. Thankfully I finally bought something for the cold that wants to kill me, so soon after I got around to being awake, I wasn't suffering as miserably. It was a great day to not feel like shit. I keep thinking every day that it's got to be about over, but this isn't the same old cold I usually get.

Momma and several other derby girls had a float in a local Christmas parade. She was supposed to make a pair of moons as part of the Nightmare Before Christmas theme, and she left early. I got the boys ready when I got up, we all had some cereal and I tried to google the exact parade location. They weren't in the local parade, but they were in the parade in Maryville, a little south of us big city folks. Not familiar with the area, I had to meet a friend outside of town and follow her in.

I really enjoyed the parade, and the boys got yet more candy. I did come away with a few thoughts concerning the Christmas parade, or at least those in this town. I haven't actually yet been to a Knoxville Christmas parade, though Momma and the boys have been to a few, and according to her, the past few haven't been that great. She saw our town's Friday night as it made its way down the street where she works, and she said it was good this year. Though the boys and I had planned to attend, we were quite caught up with Legos.

The other town's parade was quite a scene. The first "float" fooled me. We were in the parking lot of a large strip mall. The parade came from behind us and travelled the driveway directly in front of the stores. We could see something bobbing along above the head of the people closer to the beginning of the parade. The parade got a late start, and The Boy was starting to get tired of standing in a parking lot, so this should have been a great relief. However, as the "float" came around the corner and I hear the sharp shout of the carney, I knew something was wrong. Some guy, I'm guessing a carney, came by with a modified shopping cart stuffed to the top of a built on cage, with every inflatable toy you don't expect at this particular moment. Inflatabe Spiderman and Christmas go together like . . .well, like those plastic trumpets.

The rest of the parade was still a few minutes off sadly as the hawker made his way past with his offer, "Last chance to get souvenirs." We were at a parade. I thought having seen it and catching candy were the souvenirs. Damn carneys!

It was the usual southern Christmas parade I imagine. There were tiny cheerleaders, local politicians and a pair of news people. We saw Li'l Miss Sumshitorother and the runner up. I couldn't help but wanting to yell at her that the runner up is the first place loser, but I'm not mean enough to get past the thinky parts when it's that bad. There were a couple of tractors. The Shriners drove little semis, the kind that Shriners would drive.

We were next to a cool family on one side, the kind of people that'll shoot the shit with you at the parade, and on the other side was the exact opposite. Friendly family's son was certainly going for the candy, but he seemed to understand that there was enough for all the kids. Other family didn't seem to have the same scruples. Friendly family's dad was hollering at random people in the parade and seemed to know about half of them. Those he didn't know you'd have thought he did, and every one that did know greeted him with the biggest smile. He was fun attend a parade beside.

One thought based on float placement that I noticed should be dealt with. There really have to be a few floats between musical elements. Also, the marching band should always stop in front of me, but that's probably going into that mysterious other post pile that I always forget about. I should start writing these down, but . . .

Just because the marching band and those two kids on the flat bed trailer are from the same school doesn't mean they have to be right up next to each other. They are obviously two different parts of the parade, so their respective music should not bleed into each other. The two kids on the trailer, one with the marimba and the other with the steel drum, I'm sure they were good, but the marching band stopped just past us, and I could still hear them pretty well, so I ignored the two kids on the trailer. I didn't really mean to, but me and marching bands, I'm just a sucker.

The local churches were well represented in this parade, mostly in the form of great gaggles of bored looking kids in flat bed trailers tossing candy. One church however brings me to the whole point of this post. A particular item and its bearer and a travesty of engineering somewhere along the way cumulated in . . . I seriously can't stop laughing at this. The device and situation have also caused the most thought from this long day, so I'm plagued with a giggly sort of thoughtfulness.

Yeah, I mean this guy, suffering like Jesus under that heavy cross. The poor cross is way too short, not to mention the weakness in material We know it wouldn't be any good for crucifying anyone. If it were longer, the fellow could have dragged it like we imagine Jesus doing. As he walked by, he was trying to get a grip on it, and that alone seemed kind of funny. This poor dumb kid who an hour ago thought he was Chief Sumshit for getting to be Jesus is wishing like hell the other kid had gotten that honor. And even worse, as he walks past having to carry the cross like Jesus would have, his dumb ass knows full well that there are wheels on it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

search fun

While taking a gander at ye ol' statcounter, I've come across yet another hit that yielded my blog through a search I wouldn't expect to find. I do still get hits for searches involving "myspace evil."

Well, if you search "extra big dicks" I will show up. No, it doesn't just show a picture of me being ( you know, 'cuz I can be an extra big dick,) and it doesn't have anything about my really rather average genitalia. What does come up is the following blurb from a post I wrote about soccer and of course the link to that post.

i was never a really big football fan, though i do watch at least a little of ... christians that we were, we were still total dicks to these poor kids. ... the cheap kind of adidas that have that annoying little bit of extra toe. they ...

The searcher is in an island nation in the northern part of South America whose national team did a fair job in the World Cup. They were obviously not looking for that sort of post based on their search terms, and a fair number of my hits over the day came from that lovely place. I'm not really sure what to think. I do hope that their search for large penises is more rewarding in the future while also hoping that they enjoyed my blog and visit often.

those horrible wiggles

The pain of it all is still fresh in my head, though I am purging the beast with good music. The cheerfulness that is the color coded Wiggles is finally being washed away by the flesh eating corpse love of the Misfits. It's a fitting trade off in my opinion.

The episode I saw today, hopefully the only I'll ever have to watch, involved Wiggle Dork Red and an inability to wiggle. It was apparently catastrophic, as the show was devoted to solving the issue of lack of wiggle. Of course their was plenty of time for them to play music and have seizures they called dancing. I was even treated to the giggling dimwit Captain Feathersword, a particularly offensive character.

Babies can't eat the foods that older kids and adults can. It's not like we are saving the good stuff because we don't like our babies. We are giving them what they need because we do like them. We want them to have food that they can both ingest and process. A baby may enjoy the flavor of a ribeye steak, but with their little gums, the best they can hope for is to suck some of the blood out. We know this, so we nurse our babies and give them food that is texturally and nutritionally appropriate.

This is not the case with music or other art. Perhaps children won't have the same appreciation for Degas and his dancers or Lee Perry and his hip shaking syncopation. That doesn't mean that they need to be fed crap, and it certainly doesn't mean that I should have to listen to, watch or even hear something so inane as the Wiggles. Kids need good music, assuming the parents know what that is. Perhaps that's the real problem with kids' music is that the parents just don't realize the damage that this crap is doing to this young generation.

If it's baby's virginal ears that concern you then find something that is lyrically safe. Look up early rock music for an example when sex alluded to in the sparsest of terms, terms that could be assumed to mean what they said as opposed to what they really meant. Find some old jazz, back when it meant a full band as opposed to some boring three piece combo. Give them Bach and Chopin and Scott Joplin.

I won't pretend I gave it a chance, and I'm not pretending I set out this morning to attempt to give a shit. There really was nothing good on, so I stopped on Disney to see what all the fuss was about. Sadly, my preconceived notions were proven to be well founded. I knew when I saw the Wiggles that I was going to be sinking into a pit of hate, but I watched, for you dear reader. I also wanted to be able to say that I'd seen it so that I could have justification for my vile feelings.

The song about animals was really demeaning to animals. Not only is that not how a monkey moves, but the tiger isn't going to roll around and giggle with you. She is going to claw your guts out and eat them still fresh, steaming and wet, bloodying her muzzle in the gaping cavity she made in your abdomen. And pirates were not going to do a little dance with dogs while laughing like an escapee from an asylum. He was going to cut your ears off and wear them around his neck right before he tossed your ass into the churning sea, and his laugh was at you as you sank beneath the waves, not because he's insane but because your pleas for life are funny.

So do your kids a favor. Don't insult them with shitty music. Of course they are going to like it if that's what you're offering. They won't know any better, which doesn't mean that the Wiggles are good or okay. They are neither and are in fact harmful. Giving your kids their own special kids' music is setting them up for a lifetime of liking crappy music. When they bring home Justin Timberlake and think he makes quality music, when they watch The Simple Life, it will be your fault. You started them out, introducing them to a life in which the lowest common denominator is seen as high standards.

Hat tip style down at the bottom, I have to thank Zero Boss, who seems to like this crap. Were it not for his concern for sick Wiggle Dork Yellow, I could have easily and happily lived a full and happy life completely unaware, for the most part, what this childhood ruining group were really about. Now it's too late.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

unschooling blah, blah, blah

Fancy me saying the following, but if you are going to rant against something, you might actually take the time to know something about that which you are going to rant against. So we come to unschooling. This is only partially prompted by that dumb fuck Dr. Phil who seems to have a PhD in being a loudmouth jackass more than anything else.

Most people who have opted for any variety of homeschooling have plenty of experience and knowledge about public and/or private schooling which may or may not have prompted their decision to alternately provide for their children's education. We know of which we speak.

Of course the whole concept of education needs to be discussed, another point I'm not quite going to bother going into here. I could go into it because I have fairly strong opinions about it. What does education really mean in a time when most of what we think we know can easily be expected to be outdated and proven unnecessary in very little time?

It seems that unschooling is the newest horse that is going to get beaten past the point of no noticeable pulse, and those horse beaters are not really in a position to have a say. And if it ended there many of us on the pro side wouldn't care. The path to shitty laws, like the road to hell, is paved with the very best of intentions (see prohibition for more info) which makes the anti crowd think highly of themselves and their opinions, but they seem to forget the whole "to hell" part.

Please understand that we welcome everyone to their opinions. That's the beauty of a free society, that people can think any outlandish thing they want (see young earth creationist for more info.) That same freedom gives me the right to tell people that they are idiots.

Unschooling is lots of things to lots of people. Like anything in life, there are some people who claim authority to decide what is and isn't unschooling. For some it means fairly broad avenues of freedom for their children to be and act in any way they want. For some it means that they do schoolwork sitting in the floor instead of at the table. For some it might mean a fairly active life full of options for them and their kids to learn as much as they can and want to learn. That last one most accurately describes most homeschoolers and unschoolers.

Many people would say that we unschoolers are lazy parents who allow our kids to watch tv all day with no input. I'd say the lazy parents are those that let the school educate their kids and then blame those schools for their kids problems. See how that works, how I generalize about parents of public school kids? It isn't accurate for all public school parents, and I know that, but I like to make blanket statements about things even though I do know different. It's different from some bloggers who make blanket statements without the knowledge.

I know families involved in all the varieties of childhood education. I know families whose children all attend public schools and would never even consider homeschooling. I know families who homeschool some kids while other kids attend school. I know families who school their children very formally using one single curriculum. I know families who school fairly formally using a variety of educational options including curriculum for certain areas as well as a piecemeal approach for other areas. I know families who don't use any sort of recognizable schooling, families who completely unschool letting their children learn as children do when allowed, and that's the option that we've chose for our kids. I've seen all of these approaches work. It's not my place to tell any of these families that their chosen option is wrong or right.

I wasn't going to write this post, though because of the Dr. Phil fallout, it's been stuck in my brain wanting to get out. I am daily amazed at the misconceptions that people dream up and call fact. If I called fact everything that came into my head, this blog would be a far more fucked up place than I've already made it. You people don't realize how lucky you are that I practice some self control. At least I try to pretend I've done some research before I freak out on paper (okay, not really paper, but anything else ruins the flow.)

And finally, totally off topic, but Blogger needs to figure out that homeschooling and unschooling are indeed both words and that I have not misspelled them several times. I'm tired of the little red underlines from Firefox as well. I know how to spell damn it!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

more jams

I prefer certain musical genres over others, as I imagine most people do, but I haven't found a particular type of music in which I can't find some band I like. Today being library day, we have a few new cd's to which we'll shake our booties for a couple of weeks. I am generally willing to give the boys a chance to pick music from the library. Big Brother often does, though The Boy usually doesn't.

This time he did. He doesn't read yet, and he has no noticeable musical leanings other than Thomas the Tank Engine music which is kid's music that I willingly make allowances for. Usually he just gets the first thing his hand happens to land on. Today he grabbed Vic Damone. I feel pretty certain that I've heard of but can't place Vic. I just put the cd in, and I'm willing to listen for a bit before refusing to let the cd end. According to the case, the songs include both Tonight and Maria from West Side Story. That's not a bad sign.

The selections I made that I'm most looking forward to are James Galway and the Chieftains album In Ireland as well as a best of cd of George Jones. I love George Jones, but I don't actually own any of his music, so we'll have it now. The Chieftains are a band I've recently gotten into. Having listened to The Thistle and Shamrock, a celtic music show on NPR, I was sure I'd like them. My mistake the first time I picked up one of their albums was getting the album on which they team up with various country musicians to play uninspired versions of country songs. I have listened to other Chieftains albums since and know that I'll be likely to enjoy the one I picked up today.

I also picked up Danger Doom, The Mouse and the Mask. I know very little about this group other than that they are hip-hop. I seem to remember some song of theirs that I liked. I haven't listened to it yet, at least not past the first song. I put it in leaving the library and decided I just wasn't in a hip-hop mood at the time. It didn't help that there were bits from Cartoon Network characters, which I hope does not occur throughout the album. Even good music can be tainted with crap to the point that it's rendered suckfull.

Finally, I grabbed some David Bowie, a cd titled Early On. It replaced Danger Doom in the car and is not what I expected from Bowie. I'm not saying I didn't or don't or won't like it as I need to give it more of a chance, but it isn't what anyone would expect who is used to the more typical David Bowie. We were listening to Ziggy Stardust in the car going to the library, so that was certainly on my mind when Early On began. As the name implies, it's early Bowie. It has a sort of early-mid '60's garage sound, and it isn't bad. I'll just have to listen to it again without the preconceived notion thing happening.

Having basically finished this post, I've also listened to just over half of the Vic Damone, and I don't exactly hate it. He is/was a good singer, but he kind of sounds like a cut rate Frank Sinatra. That's not the worst way to be, and if it pays the bills then have at it. He sounds like grandmothers swoon over him in small southern towns that trick the law by digging moats that they fill with technically floating riverboat casinos. Suffice it to say, it's worth listening to because he picks good songs to sing mostly okay.

bottle cap school?

I'm enjoying a bottle of Honest Tea Assam Black Tea. It's really delightful stuff and could easily turn me into a tea geek were it not for coffee and beer. Honest Tea always prints something in the cap of the bottles, often some informative tidbit. This time it's even interesting, so I'll type it exactly as it is on the cap.
Tea was introduced to Europe in the mid-1600's. By the 1700's, it had replaced beer as the beverage of choice at breakfast.
When your best water is likely to make you sick, beer, because it's been boiled and sanitized, is a much better option. Tea, and then coffee, both because they've also been cooked and due to the stimulant caffeine, brought us an end to day long drunkenness and the beginning of the enlightenment. I imagine that they also helped us learn to quit pissing and shitting in our water supply, or maybe with the various scientific advances, we figured out that certain things leave our bodies for a good reason and should therefore not be reingested. Some days however, beer for breakfast isn't the worst idea I can imagine, though it made a lot more sense before having children.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I always feel like . . .

. . .somebody's fucking with me. Is it Bloglines or Blogger/Blogspot? Reading one of the blogs I've subscribed to via Bloglines, I realized that I hadn't seen new posts from her in some time, though perusing her blog, I also realized I'd missed several posts. So I did some investigating.

Turns out I've missed a number of posts from a number of bloggers. I'm really bad about not noticing sometimes when folks don't post for a while. I put people in little categories and rather than visit each individual blog, I'll just click the category and read all the newest posts by the assorted bloggers.

As it turns out, many of my favorite bloggers were not taking time off, but someone or something was. So I've gone through and unsubscribed to a few people and resubscribed hoping that will fix it. It's especially easy to subscribe to blogs now with the newest Firefox. I get a little prompt in the address bar that I click and subscribe. Ease of subscription does not lessen the annoyance of having to fix this. Hopefully I've learned a lesson about paying attention to bloggers I like and care to read.


Because I don't whine enough on this blog or in real life, I'll go ahead and share today's delight. I feel completely like crap.

Because of the rib thing that I've mentioned, I can only lay on my right side. Laying on my left side, back or stomach causes an insane amount of pain both in the rib shot area as well as in my back, directly opposite the rib thing. Today is just over a week since I got hit, and the pain is not really any less than it has been. I haven't slept for shit in a week, and it's really starting to wear on me.

The kids have been variously sick over the past week, though they seem to mostly have gotten over it. The Boy got the least of the cold, and Big Brother seems mostly over his. I on the other hand woke this morning to the usual back and rib thing as well as a lovely head thing. I feel like a sinusy cotton headed ninny muggins.

I've been a little nasaly stuffy all day, and regardless of whether I blow it out or snork it up, it sends shivers of pain through my chest. It's really pathetic, and I feel really pathetic. I know for a fact that I sound more pathetic than I feel, but it's my blog dammit.

I'm now looking forward to roughly an hour from now when I can justify drinking a beer or five. It will be close enough to pajama and bed time for the boys that I'll be okay with the drinks. I did feel well enough to cook supper, and not counting the frozen pizza from two days ago, this is the first day that we didn't have enough Thanksgiving leftovers to shirk my cooking duties.

Okay, rant off for now. My tears are drying on my cheeks, and Keith Olberman is on. Damn I want a beer, my pain med of choice.

faithful dogmatic atheists

An atheist is a person who believes that god does not exist. An agnostic is a person who does not believe that god exists, though agnostics often allow for the unprovability of a god. Though it seems like minor semantics, there really is a fair difference in that one is a belief while the other is a lack of a belief.

Faith is something that is believed, or as the Bible says, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, from the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. Christians often use as an example of faith sitting in a chair. According to the example, one has faith that a chair will hold their weight, but this is an inane example. One has every reason to believe a chair will hold them based on past performance of chairs, which is why it's so damn funny when someone sits in a chair that doesn't hold them but instead sends them ass over tea kettle. This isn't really the point here, but it is indicative of how faith can be seen as something that it isn't.

Some atheists are extremely dogmatic in their belief in the nonexistence of god. Dogmatic means to strongly hold opinion as fact. One could even suggest that these good people are atheist fundamentalists. Fundamentalists are people who strongly demand adherence to their belief system.

These fundamentalist atheists see the world in strongly black and white terms. To them, you are either an atheist with a strong disbelief in god and anything unprovable, and therefore rational, or you are irrational and may actually believe in gods, unicorns and farts that smell nice.

Atheism is a belief system, though many adherents would strongly disagree with this fact. I claim to be an atheist, and I may just mean weak atheist. I do believe that god does not exist in the form we've been taught generally to view him. I do believe that this stance is not at all provable or unprovable. Christians can no more prove their god does exist than atheist can prove that he does not exist. To me, this means that both views require faith. Don't tell the fundamentalist atheist this, as faith is completely anathema to them. Faith, to them is irrational, and they would not dare be irrational. Yet, as we've discussed, faith is a belief in something for which we have no proof.

Is it possible that there exists some broadly categorized interstellar entity with the power to have created the earth and the living being upon the earth? Nothing I've seen suggests that this does in fact exist, but I must also admit that nothing I've seen suggests that it isn't possible. I tend to doubt that it's likely, but I have no argument to stand up to the possibility of this. I would argue that god doesn't seem likely based on my view of the earth, and I'd further argue that the god I was taught about as a child seems highly unlikely to exist based on my understanding of the world. But however we dance around the argument, neither my stance nor that of the christians of the world are provable or unprovable.

That's what it comes back down to, proof. I don't think that there are any vampires, but if I were one, I'd not want my existence to become known as many people would likely want me dead, Anne Rice fans notwithstanding. Are there Martians? If so they too have done a great job of hiding, but again, the rover not seeing them isn't the same as the rover sending us proof that there are no Martians.

In the end, we come down to so many people are willing to strongly argue their personal convictions as fact. To do so is dogmatic fundamentalism, and I contend that this attitude is more ruinous to human relations than anything short of war. It is sad when self professed scientists argue so stridently against the existence of god when science should be expected to contain itself within the realms of things provable whether that proof is able to deny or confirm the existence. If it isn't testable, it isn't science.

Hat tip to PZ Myers since without his usually interesting blog, this subject would not have nestled in my brain as a grain of sand around which the pearl that is this post formed.