Tuesday, October 31, 2006

These are of course the boys, and they are of course wearing their Halloween costumes. The Boy is a darling little cat. He was especially cute telling people "trick or treat" and "thank you" with a quick "meow."

Big Brother is the grim reaper. He looked like the reaper in person, but this picture gives him a bit of the Emperor Palpatine showing us the happy side of the dark side.

Hallowe'en etiquette

This isn't a new irritant for me. It is certainly a seasonal irritation manifest each year on Halloween night when all the darling ghouls and monsters roam the streets in search of candy. I know that in some cases, the kids might get a little crazy, perhaps making a run on the jumbo size package of toilet paper for use in decorating a favored teacher's house. My rant has nothing to do with those generally expected hauntings, those kids acting out as the character they've chosen to dress up as, the over indulgence in sugar for the night and into the next week. No, my ire is aimed at a particular type of parent.

Part of trick or treating, in my humble opinion, is the walk. Trick or treating, whether in your own neighborhood or in a more candy conscious neighborhood, is an active affair. I won't deride those people who choose to trick or treat outside of their close streets. The street we live on is fairly empty and involves quite a walk to the nearest candy giving homes as there aren't a lot of young kids or even young parents. I also don't include our more rural friends for whom a nice walk door to door is nearly impossible.

In my opinion, it is not acceptable to drive your children door to door to trick or treat.

I'd love to think that this is not something that happens across the country. I'd love to believe that only a few people down here in the south really think it's okay to drive house to house to trick or treat. I wonder perhaps if these asses are just trying to hit more neighborhoods so that they can get more candy that they then freeze in order to avoid buying candy throughout the year. Perhaps they really are just asses that not only don't care to spend the time with their kids but also think they're ability to purchase the gas is justification for using more than their share.

A major bonus of trick or treating is the walk. Halloween is a great evening to spend time with your children and neighbors. The walk is always fun, meandering up one side of the block with the kids, admiring those costumes on all the neighborhood kids, enjoying those homes where the residents put a little extra into their decorations.

We visited with a friend tonight who was at one time our next door neighbor. We don't see her nearly enough, and she loves Halloween as much as (if not more than) we do. There were lots of families out walking the street, some large groups trailing children and strollers in their wake. The street was pleasantly crowded with happy kids collecting their sugary due. However, the street was also filled with cars roving slowly, stopping at the houses with the light on to disgorge themselves of their young content. The parents sat in the car waiting while the kids ran to the door.

Along the same lines was a particular mother I saw tonight. She was also doing the drive-by trick or treat, but she was doing so with a very young child attached to her hip. Attached to her opposite ear was her phone. The child was not old enough to need much candy, and I must admit that no child really needs candy regardless of age, but that's not the point. I don't care that she was trick or treating with the young child, but how much can it be for the child when not only is the child not old enough to understand, but the mother talks on the phone while carrying her child around? How rude is it to the candy givers that this mom couldn't bother to talk to them any more than it took to get her candy? This mom is a side rant, but she's indicative to me of the attitude I see in the drive-by trick or treat.

Finally I'll mention the safety issue. Driving a car on a dark street on that one night when you can most assuredly expect children to be out is just not a great idea. The potential for accidents when mixing night time, cars and children is not something that should ever be overlooked. The fact that you will willingly avoid that tiny bit of exercise is distressing, especially considering that you are out to accept a bag full of sugar and empty calories.

So, turn the car off, drag your ass out of it, and enjoy the holiday. Save a little gas, maybe save a life. Enjoy your children and all of childhood on this great holiday when we know the dead walk the earth. The dead are coming straight for those of us that drive-by trick or treat, so take warning.

Update: my kids are eight and three, below that age at which they are too cool mor Momma and me. As Audrey pointed out in the comments, while she did drive, she let the kids walk the street without Mom for this reason. This is allowable, assuming that your kids are in fact cool. Most kids are not cool, but I'm not jumping into the ps vs. hs rant right now, and that tends to color my attitudes toward childhood coolness. An eight year old in name brand clothes and a swagger? Not cool.

Also, teens pretending to be costumed by wearing a Scream mask or angel wings atop their regular clothing are not in fact costumed, though the Scream mask along with requisite robe is a costume. Teens in general should not be trick or treating, but then one has to sometimes allow for spontaneous desire to relive childhood provided the teens (or even adult in rare instances) do in fact don a true costume.

Friday, October 27, 2006

love boat . . .

. . . la-la-la love boat, or something. I've never been a fan of the show, though I will fess up that I've seen an episode or two. I'm thinking back and guessing it was those trips to Grandma's house as a child. It's not a show my family would have watched at home, but I could imagine it was one of Grandma's stories.

So what the hell does a stupid t.v. show have to do with anything? Thanks to Chris for tipping me off that my marriage is doomed to failure, the actual news coming from good ol' Scott.

So, according to Scott, my marriage is a love boat marriage that won't last once the loving stops. Our family is not grounded in the teachings of an interstellar entity, nor are we tied to a church "family" that can ground us. Hell, without believing in god, we are moral degenerate sinners just interested in the flesh and fornication and probably boobies.

So, you're stuck in a love boat marriage that is based on some fairly sound qualities. Yet you suddenly realize that you're damned because your marriage is founded somewhat on love. You know that love has no place in marriage, yet you aren't sure what you're missing. Let's ask Scott.
A strong family finds its purpose in God. (Ephesians 3:14.)
A strong family finds its hope in the Gospel. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4.)
A strong family finds its home in the local church. (1 Corinthians 12:18.)

Wow, just follow these simple rules. But god doesn't exist, the gospel is a collection of barely related myths and legends, and I absolutely detest both church and the kind of people you find there. Now what?

I must say that, based solely on his own words, that Scott sounds like a real dream, as he mentions explicitly that he often hurts and offends his wife. My wife and I often disagree on things, and we sometimes have complications that arise due to misunderstanding each other, but I really can't say that we often hurt or offend each other. I also don't try to make her subservient to me. That would sink this love boat marriage almost as quick as one of us trying to bring the Jesus. Jesus and dominating the partner are really bad for marriage in my opinion.

So what have we learned? A strong marriage is taped together with god. A strong marriage doesn't involve trust or communication, just lots of god, heaped on with the big spoon. Add the gravy of patriarchal leadership and salt and pepper of matriarchal submission, and you've got yourself a marriage that will last the ages. Love, trust, equality? Those are for suckers!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

marriage, the gays are good for all of us

As much as the recent ruling in New Jersey concerning gay marriage seems like a promising little candle in the dark, I'm afraid of what the ruling may reap in other elections around the country. We live in sadly backward times that seem like the worst of our history is coming back to haunt us all too often. How will NJ affect my own state that is sadly a little less liberal than some. Both our Senatorial candidates are against gay equality.

But for now, I want to look at this ruling as possibly being a good thing. Beyond what it can hopefully do for gay equality, what it can do for us all is possibly more hopeful. We can't force churches and religions to accept certain standards of morality and acceptance, so what we have to do in regards to religion is to take marriage away from them. They are corrupting the idea as much as (if not more than) anyone else.

My wife and I are atheists. We were married in a Methodist church by her grandmother's minister at that church. This wasn't a man we met for any longer than it took to get the "counseling" and then get married. He was a nice enough guy for what it's worth, and we certainly mean no harm to his belief system, but the whole point of it for us was the legal aspect. We were newly pregnant and rearranging out life to prepare for this event.

As an aside, pulling out is not birth control. This is a statement I make quite often to the people around me, many of whom may not know this fact. I make it as the chance arises because I feel it needs to be known. Birth control is easy to come by and functions quite well for the most part. Pulling out is not effective as a birth control option. Tell one person this news this week, preferably someone young.

Now, back to the marryin' that was the point in the first place.

We were married in a christian ceremony for the benefit of our families. We both come from extremely different backgrounds. She was raised Methodist, while I was raised Baptist. Neither of us cared at all about the actual ceremony other than that it was a nice thing to have, and given more choice in the matter, we would very likely have held a wedding of our own design. I can only imagine how that would have turned out, but with pending baby to think of, we couldn't really party that hearty anyway.

So, I'm committed to remain married by having sworn to a god that I don't believe in, or as I see it, my wife and I, in addition to having created children together, have agreed to a certain relationship with each other. We signed some legal documents at the City Hall at the Mall office where we also get our driver's licenses renewed and can pay city taxes. Momma took my last name, so we had to visit the federal building to get her name changed on her social security card.

So, I've told you a little about my wedding. That in no way tells you anything about my marriage. There's this certain relationship I have with my wife that I don't share with anyone else. It has nothing to do with legal or church business. The church part of this relationship began and ended at the ceremony, and Momma was pregnant and wore white. She was pregnant enough that those of us who knew were sure it showed a little. Her grandmother wasn't happy when she heard sometime later, but what can you do? She was happy enough at the ceremony.

All this begs the question, what the hell does the religious aspect of marriage have to do with shit? And why don't they just leave gay people alone already? Why do christians still give a shit that, if I wanted, I could go 69 on a dude all night and still get up in the morning and do my job and love America? And maybe I have a really sweet job, and that dude and I have a very deep and committed relationship, and we also have a child. Perhaps my employer would like to provide insurance for my family like he does for Johnson's family in the next cubicle over. Johnson, a deacon and choir director, married a girl and they have kids too, meaning that they also have sex. Johnson and I both love our respective spouses very deeply and want to provide for them and our children as best we can. But Johnson isn't doing a dude in the pooper, so his family is valid, while mine is not? Because that's what it comes down to. That's the only difference. If you found that Johnson's wife liked a little anal once in a while, would you condemn them?

Monday, October 23, 2006

on both metal and holiday (xmas) music

Yes, I will in one single post discuss my feelings on both metal music and those timeless songs we all know as Christmas music.

First I will freely admit to a near loathing of most Christmas/holiday music. In some instances, the overt religiousness of the songs is just wearing thin over time. In other instances it's just that the songs mostly suck long and hard. As with any genre/style of music, I will happily acknowledge those rare songs that actually do not suck.

My feelings about heavy metal are not quite as strong. I can easily avoid hearing metal for the most part, and if the singer isn't doing that stupid growly thing, I can nearly enjoy it when I can't avoid hearing it. As mentioned above, there are of course those bands, Black Sabbath before Ozzy left, that made amazing music. What I've heard lately calling itself metal does seem mostly to suck, but that's not where I'm going with this.

This post is all thanks to Chris and his posting of the link to Twisted Sister at Myspace. They've got four Christmas songs up that are worth a listen if you don't think Satan will come out of the metal and rape your soul. Growing up Baptist enough will do that sort of thing to you and make you think some fairly crazy shit.

Momma and I, mostly through Momma's efforts, have amassed a small collection of Christmas music that we can both enjoy. She's had a similar aversion to Christmas music, though hers seems more stylistic in that she's as tired as I am of the same old songs being trotted out each year. Christmas music gets mighty pervasive, a situation I dread anew each year. But I know that we have our stash, and when it gets too much, and I actually feel like hearing Christmas music, I can retreat to the safety of that stash.

Certainly this discussion begs the question, as an atheist, what am I actually celebrating at Christmas? I don't believe the baby-saviour-king story, and I don't especially care for winter itself, so religiously and solsticely, it's a pretty pointless holiday for me. I'm not even going to pretend I think world peace is attainable given the human track record for not settling problems sensibly, so that whole plea-for-peace aspect of Christmas is mostly annoying because no one ever really means it in the end. In the end, I think Christmas causes just as much despair as joy.

But I find that regardless of my true nature, I almost somehow every year seem to enjoy Christmas, debt be damned, and I tend to blame it on the kids. Metal? I don't entirely not like it, but I also don't really like it. In the end, Christmas and metal in general just don't seem made for me.

I considered briefly adding a link that would indicate the sort of warping discourse I was given considering the evils of metal in my youth. Many people remember metal from the '80's as part of their personal history. I remember metal as a slide show in a dark church auditorium, and I was then scared of those two kids I knew that actually listened to metal. Once I got into googling the different ways of phrasing that would get what I was looking for, I decided that I would neither relive nor offer to others that particular slice of my history. Google it yourself.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

this test says I'm not the problem

The Stupid Quiz said I am "Pretty Smart!" How stupid are you? Click here to find out!

I'm pretty cool with this, especially considering I don't feel like the sharpest cog in the something or other. It's one of those days where I have all of the six pack, but the little plastic thing that keeps the cans together is missing. I'm a wee bit hung over and damning the whiskey. But at least my stupid is little.

Monday, October 16, 2006

idiotic grocer bagging

I've mentioned at least once before what has become a constant source of irritation in my life. Of course, I've mentioned many constant sources of irritation, but the jackassery that is grocery bagging at the local store just astounds me.

This is the list of items I purchased at the store: one six-pack Highland Brewing Company Oatmeal Porter, one package extra firm tofu, one package Asian style bean sprouts, one bunch green onions, one zucchini, one package shittake mushrooms, one bag of dog food and one jug of automatic dishwashing detergent. There were also two packs of cigarettes, but those don't really matter in the bagging process. The cashier is as likely to hand them directly to me as she is to send them down the conveyor belt to the once retired bagger stealing his grandson's job because his guvment checks aint quite cutting it these days.

They always bag the beer, and I refuse to use the bag when the beer comes in a convenient carrying case, has a built in handle at the top, weighs several pounds and has corners at the bottom just waiting to rip through those bags and lose me my beer. Sometimes they double bag it, but they never don't bag it if I tell/ask them not to, so these times are extra wasteful.

The zucchini, green onions and bean sprouts were in one bag, and as I put them away after arriving home, I noticed that my mushrooms weren't there. I worried at first that I'd left them at the store, and I thought about it for a moment, making sure that I had indeed purchased mushrooms. I've not gotten mushrooms plenty of times as the more exotic mushrooms often don't sell quickly in this part of town. They sometimes get a little old, and I passed over some oyster mushrooms recently when I saw the funk exuding onto the inside of the package.

My mushrooms and tofu, both of which could easily have been in with the produce, were in the same bag as the dish detergent. Why? I really don't know, but perhaps Grampaw Baggem counts out the items and loads the bags by number of items as opposed to a much more intelligent system whereby produce and chemical agents don't inhabit the same bag. All the produce and the tofu combined weigh less than the detergent, which would also be a sensible concept to keep in mind when bagging.

So that's my rant du jour, assuming I don't swing back by with some more pissoffedness. Damn, I just went and made up another Harold Ford Jr. word. I'm now going to the garage to create an aura of ensmokedness with a cigarette.

And in case anyone cares or was wondering, a stir fry. The mushrooms, zuchini, green onions and tofu, but probably not the bean sprouts. I don't know what I'll do with them.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

jobs held in my town since early 1998

I grew up in Atlanta and moved to Charlotte, NC less than a year after achieving the legal drinking age. There I became a restaurant person, however that happens. Do we choose that job for ourselves, those of us that become lifers, or does that job choose us? I tend to believe that it's more a combination of factors for most of us that we find that this is where we belong. One has to understand the very nature of being a restaurant person to get this, and to the rest of you, I say make up a god and thank him or her that you found something else to do. We are certainly happy that you found something else to do.

And now we are on to the real meat of this post. We learned in early 1998 that Momma was pregnant. She wasn't Momma then as there were no boys then. Big Brother of course was in production, and we had no idea about The Boy. We had no family in Charlotte and felt that, with a baby on the way, some family would be nice to have close. Our choices therefore were Atlanta or Knoxville.

I won't name names here as I list the number of restaurants I've worked at. And for all the places I've worked, it's not nearly as bad as it sounds, considering the actual average turnover rates in the industry is about 300%. There are in every restaurant some small percentage of people who've put in some years at the same place whether it's a gaudy chain store like TGI Fridays or a really cool local place like the Tomato Head. I know I said I wouldn't name names, but these are not places I have worked just yet. I never rule out a restaurant that I haven't pissed off as a potential employer, and I never know when I might end up at one of these places, so I won't say anymore about either.

The first place I worked in Knoxville was a brewpub that wanted to grow into a local chain. As it turned out, the original location in a different part of the state was the only one that lasted as far as I know. I worked here about a year. I climbed the ranks and proved my worth, and I thought that I was in line for a decent promotion. I cared about the place and worked hard. I put in the hours when I could, but I also had a pregnant wife at home. Big Brother was born while I was employed here.

I watched two kitchen managers leave before I achieved any standing as an authority figure, and then I watched the next in line get fired. The next person the company gave the job to had no idea what he was doing. I was constantly fixing problems that he created. One day I'd had enough and yelled at him most of the day. In retrospect it was a real asshole move, but I'd really had enough. The general manager met me the next day. She was getting the kitchen ready, was even wearing chef's whites as if she expected to be in the kitchen all day. Our entire conversation:
her "I didn't expect you to come in today."
me "I don't know why I did."
and I left.

Some time while employed here I delivered pizzas for a while. At some point between the time Momma quit working to have a baby and the time that she could go back to work we ran short of money. Delivering pizzas is easy money, and most pizza places need drivers all the time making it an easy job to get. It's not bad money assuming you are used to not having a hell of a lot of money in the first place and really need the money.

Next came my first downtown job. This was a turning moment in our life in this town. Prior to this we weren't really downtown folks. We hadn't really had a lot of time to explore the town and find our places. The brewpub I first worked at was in a shopping center somewhere to the west of The Strip. The next job was in the Old City which is part of downtown, and since then, I've stuck downtown.

This new place is still there and doing well though under new ownership. The new ownership and I just didn't get along which is why I got fired. The previous owners owned the place for mos of the three years I worked there. They also owned two other stores, though their small chains involved a different state for each store. Their specialty is really good pizza and top quality beer. It's a great place if you ever get a chance, though the guy that now owns the one here is kind of a tool in my opinion. The pizza place is the only one of his places I'll bother to go, and I don't even eat there anymore.

I made pizzas for three years. I still love the concept of the place as I saw it at the time. The emphasis was on the place as opposed to maximizing the amount of money the place can suck in. I really do understand the incentive of profit, but if you create a great place, you can make enough money. Why push it just for the buck? And that's probably why I got fired in the end. I hated what the new owners were about, and I still have a sense of loss. I was doing pretty well for myself at that place, and I was happy to help it along as much as I could. I understood, I think, what the original owners had in mind. This store was the farthest from the home and the hardest to run, so they decided to sell it.

From there I went down the street to a really cool little steakhouse. I actually only bother to go now for brunch. I do want one day to go in and order a particular steak that I made way too many times not to have eaten one myself. The same place mostly unchanged is still where I left it with many of the same staff members. The owner owns a couple of other local places, and I worked at two of his locations during the period I worked for him.

This owner is a decent guy. He's the only restaurant owner that I've personally had the pleasure of working with in the actual kitchen. He still gets in the kitchen and sticks his fingers in the mashed potatoes. He still gets in the kitchen and cuts the beef loin into steaks. He never came across as a kitchen guy to me, but he seems to know what tastes good, and he makes sure sometimes that he gets it right, liquid margarine and all. He's also the kind of guy that you pray wears overalls to that Friday night shift because they hide his ass crack.

As I began working at the steakhouse, I held a week long job at a different restaurant, a short lived second job. Momma wasn't working having gone and had another baby, and the steakhouse job wasn't quite giving me the hours I needed at first. I had to wait until someone got fired or quit so that I could start working more.

The week long employment was at an absolute shit hole in the center of downtown. It's a place to get drunk in, and the food isn't the kind that anyone even bothers to try with. I've heard it described and have described it as Shoney's with a bar. It sucked so much that at the end of the first week, as Momma was dropping me off at work, I actually asked her if she didn't mind if I didn't go back. It was nice that within a couple of days I began getting the hours I needed with the steakhouse owner, because I wasn't going back.

I quit the steakhouse to take a chance. It was going to be the cool new thing. A local couple had opened the new bar that was the place to be. Based on what I thought this place was going to become I jumped ship at the steakhouse and went to work making sandwiches. This job lasted almost exactly a year before I couldn't take the owners' antics anymore. They still own a building that is half finished. The second floor is used to store the supplies that could be used to fix the second floor and a box of umbrellas that people have left.

That job was great fun and stuff, but I soon realized that I needed to get the hell out. I was really unhappy with how I felt that I'd been treated. With the completion of work on the second floor, I had expected that a larger kitchen and some real fun would begin, if they had ever finished the second floor. It took me that whole year to realize that the owners had no intention of every finishing the second floor. In fact, the position that I held as their single cook no longer exists. I wasn't the only cook they ever had there, but soon after I left they completely discontinued the lunch service that I had provided. I still miss what could have been.

From here I went to work at the other brewpub. This location has been a brewpub since we've lived here. It's now the fourth brewpub that it's been since we lived here and the fifth if you count before we moved here. It's a decent place now, and I really hope that it stays there for a while. The brewer is certainly the best commercial brewer in town, though I have no idea how many home brewers there are, so I can't say that he's the best brewer, but he does make good beer, and I'm always happy to enjoy his beer.

The food menu at this place is hard to describe. It's not bad in a sense, though they seem to go out of their way to make things as easy as possible. Almost the entire menu is comprised of prepackaged items that they try to make taste good by adding loads of butter and salt and cheese, and sadly, it works up to a point. It's not especially good, but it's not bad to have with a pile of beers. The beer really deserves better though.

Momma had been making sushi for a while when she got the chance to take a step up at her restaurant. To get the promotion she would need to put in more hours and have some amount of flexibility. To achieve that, the owner was willing to pay her enough so that I didn't have to work, so I left the brewpub and became a stay at home dad. I'm still a restaurant person. I don't doubt that I'll be cooking again at some point.

That's how I've averaged a job a year. It's not really as ugly as it seems. One entire year at the same restaurant is actually a long time. I made pizzas downtown for three years. I was management there even beyond the confines of the kitchen. I sometimes miss the cesspool that is the restaurant industry, but that's okay. I'll be back. These years at home are only recharging my batteries for when I come back and own this whole fucking town!

yep, late Saturday night

This isn't Momma's usual late night at work. That's generally Friday, but this week, because the head chef went and had his anniversary, he thought he should hang out with his wife. Regardless, it is her late night, the boys are in bed and asleep, and I finally turned the tv.

Speaking of soccer, I may not be playing tomorrow as our game is at six. It's the latest I can remember ever having a game, and between me and Momma, I'm the one that gets to find a ride as it falls within the same time as derby practice. Momma can watch the boys at her practice, and if I'm on the field, I can't really watch the boys at all. I also haven't decided if I'd be willing to miss this one game and just attend derby practice instead. I've been considering some personal involvement in the next match, and my attendance at the practices between now and then would be necessary for me to do what I'm doing. If I play, I have to make some phone calls tomorrow and get a ride, and that's tempting, but I really need to spend some time at derby practice and do some name learning among other things if I'm to be involved.

Big Brother also had no game today as this weekend falls on some side of a fall break for the school kids, and some people save up their travelling for now. I never know when these sorts of holidays show up for the school kids. It's always fall break from school for us, unless it's some other season break.

It was a beautiful weekend for the Brewer's Jam, but this is also the first year that I haven't attended. The date snuck up on us two years in a row, though last year we got the word about it from a friend who had moved to a different state but was coming back for the event. This year I heard about it through the mentions on the local NPR. By the time Momma and I realized we couldn't attend, it was too late to figure out how we could. I could have gone for a short time today, and I would have had fun, but it just didn't seem right somehow. We could have all gone as a family, and we would have had a great time. Without the family though it just wouldn't have been the same. There's always next year.

The Brewer's Jam is an annual event, a lovely and huge celebration. For less than you'd spend on a night out you get to roam around with music, usually good, and beer from a metric shit ton of micro breweries. It's always a great time. We always run into lots of people we've known over the years. The restaurant business breeds odd relationships between people due to the turnover. We've lived here eight years and I've worked at . . .thinking of how many places I've worked. As a matter of fact, I'm finishing this post right now and starting a new one based on where I've worked in just eight years. I'm kind of astounded at the number.

I just realized that I had to have missed at least two Brewer's Jams as it's two years older than my existence in this town. That's what I get for linking to shit.

And that's my weekend in the boring condensed version. Be happy you don't get the long version. So much longer and so much more boring.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

different direction with these videos

My last post, a lazy gathering of videos from You Tube, featured some country ass music that I love, and that's fine for me. However, if you like a whole different kind of swing in your thing, check this out. We start with a pair from Ella Fitzgerald.

And for some variety, I'll toss you some Sarah Vaughan. She offers nothing but love . . . oh, and a helluva voice.

Friday, October 13, 2006

brain not working . . . here's some videos instead

Maybe Johnny Cash did it better, maybe not. Either way, it's damn fine song, and here it is, those damn Cocaine Blues.

It's starting to seem like it might just be Hank Williams III night, and if we're sticking with a single artist, we'll also stick with one topic, inebriation. So pour another shot, pop another beer, light another smoky treat.

Keepin' on keepin' on like I do, more Hank for you. Yeah, we're still doing drugs cuz we dance with the one what brung us.

Maybe it was them pills I took, maybe it was that gallon or two of beer. Maybe, and this is more likely, I've taken one too many shots to the head and just don't think right. Either way, Hank's coming to my town soon, and I'm going to go see him and drink beer and holler at his scrawny ass.

derby pictures

I know I promised pictures from the recent derby match, and I'm finally going to offer those. Momma had already snagged a couple to our computer, and these are the two I'd have used anyway. Here is the link to the Flickr page of the photographer that took the pictures. He does take really good pictures as one can easily see from poking around his page. Checking out his different photo sets will certainly prove that. Enjoy the pictures, and if you're close enough, make sure to swing into town October 29 for the next round of girl on girl smash and bash.

I love both of these pictures. That is indeed Momma beating the Betty's pivot two different times. Roller derby is fun enough, but when it's your wife blasting through the pack, and you can almost see the little lines of flame growing from her wheels, one gets a whole new and special feeling.

I keep thinking I might one day ask the photographer about snapping a few pictures at a soccer game, but I doubt anyone needs or wants a picture of me hitting the ground, and that's pretty much how I play.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

bogdownedness, Harold Ford is making it up

Senator Harold Ford Jr., in a debate with Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, actually used the "word" bogdownedness to describe the situation the US finds itself enmeshed in in Iraq. Pretending for a moment that it's a real word, I guess it is not inaccurate, but there's the whole not real part. I also know that I myself sometimes misuse prepositions, but if you'll pardon me, "in which" can go straight to hell and die.

I've got the debate playing in a little window down at the bottom of my screen, and I'm listening to Bob discuss his way out of wanting to raise the minimum wage. Apparently only young people just getting started are making minimum wage, and for them it's okay because they don't need the money anyway, and too little pay is incentive for people to get better jobs. He doesn't seem to understand how low minimum wage is when compared to what people need to earn. He also doesn't seem to understand the relationship between what the minimum wage is and what you can expect to make in some jobs. If the minimum is $5.25, and you make $7, then you are making 25% more than minimum wage. Perhaps that sounds like crap to you, and perhaps it sounds like even more crap to people who could stand to make more money regardless of the job they are doing. At some point, out of respect for the person and what they need, out of respect for hard work at any level, people should be able to make a reasonable living.

Bob is also really good at jumping back in time to questions that he should have already answered. Harold Ford is getting annoying jumping back to some question of illegal aliens working for Corker and dumbass Corker keeps taking the bait. He really ought to have just let it go. I don't like what either of them have to say about immigration. I really dislike the phrase "illegal aliens." This is one of my dishonesty issues that I have with politicians because the fact of the matter is that this phrase is hiding the fact that these are real people with real lives and real families. Corker described being in Arizona and looking into the desert at the path that had been worn in the sand by the illegal aliens. How many thousands of human feet have trod the desert to wear a path in the sand, and why aren't we seeing their faces instead of their status?

Ford supports drilling in Alaska. I'd like to believe that we are approaching a sensible view of energy, because I want to believe that we are finally reaching a point where we can no longer ignore it. Maybe the current regime is helping push the issue, which I'd prefer, hoping we approach it now while we have time. He didn't elaborate at all on this stand as he didn't answer the question as it was asked but merely said that yes he does support the drilling.

This is the closest I've gotten in years to really looking at candidates, and this debate pretty much explains my stance. I don't really like what either of these guys said. Bob Corker, the republican, seemed like an ass speaking to his people. His answers seemed really ignorant, as if he just said what he was supposed to say, and he spouted the party line for the most part. Harold Ford Jr. our democrat, seemed to be trying to give the right answers. It was as if he knew the audience and what this particular group wanted to hear. It all had a sort of Clintonality to it. (I too can make up words.) But he was a lot more on top of things than Corker. He seemed like a decent guy, likable, knowledgeable, desiring to be honest even if he is a politician.

I don't generally watch political commercials, but having heard some things about Ford, I almost started to watch one which begins with a shot of him sitting on the arm of an airplane seat, tie loosened, sleeves rolled up. He was riding the "terrorists out to get us" theme which immediately turned me off. I didn't even bother watching the rest of the commercial. And I really hate that we are being sold candidacy based on protection. I want liberty, not protection. I'm not a child, and I don't want a government that treats us as children. Ford was no different in this respect than any number of people running for office this year. The sad fact of it is though that he's still the best choice in this race.

There is my opinion. I'm feeling the bogdownedness of modern day civic duty. I'm once again offered the vote, my right as a human, not just an American, and my choice is whether I'd rather the cat merely shit on the bed or shit AND piss on the bed. Hmmmmmmmmmm . . . can you give me a minute?

It just makes it hard to want to even bother voting sometimes. I'd rather there be some other sort of apparatus for determining our political representatives. I need to keep that thought in mind, because here again we have another post for another day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the coal comercial I hate

I've been seeing a new coal commercial lately, and I get just a little more pissed off each time I see it. The first time was bad enough, as I stared gaping at the television at the audacity of the people behind it, and I considered then that I was going to have to write something about this. According to the commercial, the US has 250 years worth of coal. WOW, suddenly oil isn't that big a concern. We have plenty of coal, and we are working daily to make it cleaner. Okay, so you can make coal burn a little cleaner, which isn't really saying much. What's a little cleaner than filth? But what about getting it out of the ground? Have you ever seen what a mountain looks like when you blow it up to get at the coal underneath? We can't make mountains, but we can sure as fuck send them straight to hell.

Monday, October 09, 2006

beat up by girls

There is a special, for lack of a more appropriate word, feeling one can find playing against a team of girls from the local high school. My soccer team didn't have a game scheduled yesterday, so we met to practice at the local AYSO fields where some of us coach and some of our kids play. At the same time, the high school team was practicing. They agreed to scrimmage with us for a bit, though neither team was complete. With the loan of one of our players to play keeper, they had eight players to our eight, so the sides were mostly even.

I admire those girls mostly for getting in our faces and not backing down in the least. I have to doubt that they very often play against a team quite like us, but they didn't show any sign that they cared. The single fault I could find with this team would be with their strikers. They weren't great at timing their shots and didn't put the power into most of their shots. With a little work in timing and power, they could easily have burned us. As it was, we and they were pretty evenly matched.

I took a few spills here and there. Some of it was my usual inability to stay on my feet (I'm a slide tackling fool), but I have to think that some of it was trying not to hurt the girls, trying not to be as physical as I would be against adults. I found myself contorting oddly on occasion trying to keep some semblance of not being overly physical or aggressive. My payment for this is to feel like they dropped me in a sack and threshed the grain with me. The scary moment of the day ended up being the least painful. I kicked the crap out of one of their girls, but the kick was one of those freaks moments of soccer. She had passed the ball a moment before my foot came in, and I kicked the very bottom of her cleats with the top of my foot. I'm doubt she even noticed, though I was certain for a moment that I had to have done some damage to myself. Apparently I'm okay though as the foot doesn't hurt at all today.

Typically, in our regular games, I don't care about gender. Getting on the field basically erases that, though in my mind, it only applies to adults. Playing against those much younger girls, I felt a little protective. Certainly I want to win, but even against adults I don't want to win at the expense of other players' safety. Now make that team the smaller and younger one from yesterday, and make all but two of them girls, and I find I try harder to be cool to them than to beat them. As we played they demonstrated that this wasn't a concern to them, so I slowly played a little tougher.

It's always great to be on the field, no matter who you end up playing. The day was perfect for soccer, mostly cloudless, temperatures in the very low seventies. The game wasn't overly serious and everyone seemed to have fun. Their coach was on the field with them, and compared to the other coach I've mentioned in a previous post, she was a joy to be around. She seemed to respect her team as people. Instead of shouting commands and micromanaging, she spoke loudly enough to be heard and gave advice. She wasn't telling them what to do, but she was telling them the best option in a given situation. She spoke like a cross between a good coach and a good keeper.

Aside from the feeling that I got beat up by girls, I had a great time yesterday. Meaningless games for practice and fun are always more fun than league games where we care about our standings. I'd like to think that playing against us, though we didn't really force them to play that hard, had to have been good for them on some level. I have to think that situations like this can show the girls that their being girls isn't always a factor. We weren't boys and girls yesterday. We were all soccer players, no more, no less. I feel that, if they took nothing else away from the game, that would be good for them to see.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

more oddish visits

A popular blog post subject that I've used and have seen used is the searches that bring people to our pages. If you have a blog, there are many free services, such as Statcounter, that can allow us as bloggers to know more about people visiting. Often people find our blogs through some very odd searches. Just as often, some seemingly mundane search brings visitors to a post that is odd or funny in relation to the search itself.

So here is the odd search of day. Click this link and enjoy. Pay attention to the text on what is at first glance an average Google search page.

impeach bush NOW!

First off, hat tip to Ed at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, which is at Science Blogs. As I scroll through the headlines from Sb in Bloglines, his headlines pull me in more often than many other of the bloggers there.

Today he's mentioned what's become an old story. Legislation gets signed by the president with a little p.s. telling us that he has read and has decided not to be bothered by the legislation. Once again, our elected official Bush has flipped us all off, told us that he is smarter than anyone else and that he will do whatever the hell he wants.

I've asked the question before, and I even left it as a comment at the blog mentioned above. So far I have not been answered, and I haven't found a good enough answer on my own.

Why has Bush not been impeached? Why have the American people not fired him? If you had an employee that acted as he has, you would have fired him long ago. I've fired people for less than he's done.

When we found out that President Clinton was getting head, every Republican in the country raised a stink. The entire nation ground to a halt as we spent millions on investigations to learn for certain what had happened. He lied to us, and he probably lied to his wife. I personally was pretty sure that he'd gotten some head, and I still don't care. It's a minor thing, especially when measured against his accomplishments as president. The Republicans think getting your dick sucked is worthy of impeachment.

I wish someone reading this would leave me a comment and name one good thing Bush has done in his presidency. Helping out his family and friends doesn't count. Enriching major corporations doesn't count. Starting a bloody, bullshit war doesn't count. I want to know of one truly good thing that Bush has done that wasn't directly for his own benefit. I want to know how he's kept from being impeached.

Finally, to the Democrats. Are you Democratic office holders in this country that scared of him? Are you such pussies that you won't do what's right? You have lain in the streets in front of the Republicans and allowed the party of the wrong to trample and piss all over you and done nothing to stop the evil. You sometimes make stirring speeches and condemn the president and his henchman, but you haven't done anything real. Fuck talking, get in the game and show us.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

the make up game

Thursday night was the night we, Big Brother and his U8 team mates, made up a game that had been rained out a couple of weeks ago. There were a couple of other, older all girl teams also playing, though overall, it was a nice quiet night at the fields. Saturday mornings are a whole different story as the droves of people show up for the regular schedule games.

I thought I had a good line up going into the game, but they just didn't get into it at first. Add to that that the other team was a good bit more physical than my guys. They got several goals ahead of us out of nowhere in the first quarter, though we stopped them for the most part after that.

The following quarters we held our own. We kept the other kids from scoring, but we couldn't seem to get the ball into their goal more than a couple of times. We ended up losing the game, but I can't blame my team at all. A couple of the goals were most likely our own fault, due mostly to the confusion of that many little feet right in front of the goal, all trying like hell to be the one to put the ball where it needs to be.

This all comes back to an issue that I've faced before and possibly even mentioned in a post. Part of my coaching ideals involve teaching the kids to play the game right, to obey the rules. I'm not in any way suggesting the other team didn't play fair, but this does get at my issue because they were so much more physically aggressive than my guys. Some of my guys are younger, haven't played that much soccer, and several of them have just moved up from U6. Soccer as something more than just running and kicking is still pretty new to some of my team, and to run up against the team we faced had to have been a bit of a shock.

So, my dilemma, how do you get kids six to eight years old to play tough and aggressive and also make sure that they are playing by the rules? How do you teach them or let them learn that, if you are hurt, we will take care of you, but most of the time you aren't really hurt?

Playing with pain isn't always a bad thing. I've done it, and I will do it again. It's part of doing your best in sports sometimes. Playing with an injury is a whole other story, and I do not want my team to be so driven that they will make an injury worse in order to please me or their parents or anyone else by playing when they should be done for the day. I have no respect for the idea of playing through an injury. For the team's sake, it makes sense for the injured to step aside and let fresher legs take the field. It makes sense to limit the injury as much as possible so that you can heal quicker and rejoin your team as an able bodied member.

When you are a child, hurts are a big deal. I'm not a little kid, and most of the hurts I get are really no big deal. I've known real pain, and I know my body well enough that I know when I'm really hurt and when it's just going to be a nasty bruise later. I can't expect U8's to know that, and I don't want to introduce ideas that are unhealthy. They are kids before they are soccer players, and they need to know that we will take care of them, but they are also learning to deal with things by themselves, to accept life's/soccer's bumps and bruises.

We have a game Saturday and back to practice Tuesday. Based on the two games from this week, I'll decide how to approach practice. I've spent a lot of our time on dribbling and passing, but at this age, passing in a game situation is hard to remember. I know these kids have the hardest time trying to think to look up and find a team mate. Once they get the ball it's beeline for the goal.

For all the frustration of getting beaten up a little, I have to say that I watched one of the most dramatic games I've ever watched. There is of course a measure of heartbreak whenever your kids lose a game, but our kids played so hard. I tell them at every practice and game that all I expect is their best, and I know for certain that they gave their best. We got surprised by all the quick early goals, but once our guys settled down, they fought like hell. I am so proud of them. They didn't give up for one second, and that is one of the best lessons I think kids can take away from sports, to never give up.

Friday, October 06, 2006

terror and stuff

Certain countries seem more likely than others to export terror as we've come to know it. There is a certain terror associated with the knowledge that we really can't know for sure when something or other is going to be attacked with bombs. Living in the US, we can of course make educated guesses at the sorts of things we are likely to see attacked, assuming another attack on our soil is likely to happen.

Certain countries seem more likely to have a population of scared people who are willing to put up with a lot due to the fear of abuse and death. Certain countries have this fear combined with another fear of invaders entering their country, of being caught between two warring factions that would each think they were acting in the best interest of the frightened party in the middle.

That frightened party in the middle probably wants just to be left alone to live his life. Or perhaps she just wants to live her life dressed as she personally feels is appropriate. Maybe they both just want to be. Maybe it the rock music they like. They certainly don't want a gut full of bullets from the local Islamic law enforcement club because they wore shorts on pants day. Neither of them want to step on a land mine or drive past the convoy as the IED goes off.

There are all kinds of terror. One kind stalks the streets with a gun at the ready, damning all who disagree with a particular translation of an esoteric text, carrying out sentences based on dogmatic judgements.

Another kind of terror sits in a whole other position of power. He runs an entire country through fear and intimidation, trying to convince us all that he is saving us from certain doom. His true desire seems to be power, and he will stop at nothing to attain this power. He too plays by the rules of an ancient text. His story has been told before, rising to greater and greater power on a wave of scare tactics and xenophobia. He buys friends at the expense of true safety, at the expense of the people and the land.

There was a time, in my younger days, when I loved to discuss my American Empire theory. I'm sure we can all say it together, the thing about all empires crumbling eventually. I loved talking about it and laughing about who would be against the wall first. But I've come to a point where I'm afraid we might have just lost something good. Our country had such potential there for a while, and maybe we still do. But given the power structure as it stands, regardless of the particulars of who holds which now, I think we might have finally gone too far.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

big party

Momma and Big Brother took a trip to Party City today to finish picking up party supplies. Of the things that she intended to buy, she let him choose the motif. The invitations had already been purchased and even mailed, though barely on time, but due to running late for something the day we bought the invitations, we didn't have time to buy any of the other stuff, which I'm getting to.

He picked Harry Potter invitations which are pretty cool. I like Harry and his pals, and I'd love to be eightish and go to a party with a HP theme. He also picked HP plates and cups. The napkins however are Power Ranger and the goody bags for the guests, whatever the hell you call those things, have Sponge Bob on them.

His final present showed up today on a UPS truck. He's wanted a skateboard for the longest time, but we've put off getting him one. Knowing a very little something about skateboards, I refuse to buy him some Wal Mart piece of crap that sticks when you turn and throws you off. That one actually came from Target, and I could conceivably fix it, but it really is piece of shit. We can get him a good one at a decent price, built from the deck down, at a local shop, but we've put it off. And we still are.

For a short period of time, in and around wanting a skateboard, he's also discussed rollerblades. Those get pricey and kids grow straight through stuff like that, so we've been a little leery of that as well, which was probably for the best because he was never really gung ho about them, but added to the list, he wouldn't have been upset to get them. He isn't getting them, at least not this time around.

As they will, the fates have turned yet again, and this time we broke down, or I should say that Momma broke down. Big Brother now wants a pair of quad skates. And yes he'll grow out of them, but he can wear two pairs of socks for a month till his feet grow, and by the time Chriswanzakuh comes around, he'll outgrow them and get a skateboard in time for the cold months. It'll work perfectly. It was of course roller derby ultimately that brought the quad love. With his own skates, he can skate whenever he wants now.

Momma feared that the quads wouldn't arrive in time, but our experience with the internet purchases and shipping has been pretty good, frighteningly so it seems. Thank you UPS.

Just a quick note to UPS while I'm on the subject, solid brown as a color scheme really flat out sucks. I'm not personally against brown, but there's also green, which looks nice with brown. There are other colors, but we won't be listing them here. That really isn't part of the original story. But honestly, a little something to break up the monotony, a little dash of just about any color. Brown is pretty simple to work with, so I'm not really asking that much. If I worked for them I'd wear a name tag that said my name was Drab. I'd listen to the Cure and drive around crying.

the grass

I'm developing quite a grudge toward one of our neighbors. The neighbor on one side does a normal job on his lawn every week to two weeks. He does a decent job of it, nothing fancy or elaborate. He does have a riding mower which makes me a little jealous, but he also has a decent patch of grass to mow.

The other neighbor is the one making me have issues. He is fastidious in his once every single week lawn care regimen. He takes it very seriously, and his lawn shows the effort. It's not a showpiece as such, but it's nice and always looks good.

It would be so much easier for me if I mowed at least once a week, and it doesn't really take that much time. We do have a fair piece of land to wander over behind the mower, but it's only difficult because I let it be. And it's not that I hate doing it, which I do, it's just that I get lazy and put it off.

There are certainly more contributing factors than laziness. I've finished the mowing in time to cook supper too many times. There is special feeling when one is cooking supper while the sweat of manual labor dries on you and the grass is still sticking to your legs. There's a whole other special feeling knowing that your kids are going apeshit while you are in the shower, and I hate taking a shower when Momma isn't here to keep the craziness down somewhat. I never know what I'll exit into otherwise.

So the grass grows taller, and I can see the neighbor from my kitchen window as he casts a disapproving glance at my yard. Well suck it neighbor man! Not all of us care that much, and some of us have things to do other than spend one day in seven getting crazy busy with the lawn. I could also make fun of his Big Dog brand shirt and the fact that he tucks his shirt into his jeans even when doing yard work, but I won't.

My whole point here is that I'm starting to get really bothered just seeing this neighbor. I know he hates my yard and my jungle like grass. Hell, he should appreciate that it makes his look nicer, but somehow I don't think that thought crosses his mind.

My options here seem limited. I could get into the habit of at least keeping the grass height reasonable, or I can continue to grow more aggravated by his glances at my yard, or I can just ignore him entirely. I've been working on a combination of the last two for this summer, but summer is almost over. If I can remember to get that one last mow in I'll be happy through the winter though.

The last mow is fairly important. I didn't get it in last year leaving the grass just too high for my wishes. The yard looked especially hellish all through the winter, but by that point it was too cold to mow, of course. And each spring rolls around, I have the same thought. Each spring I swear that this is the year I maintain the yard as opposed to sporadically mowing it just enough to appease the neighbor somewhat. So, I look forward to the last mow, and I know in my heart that, promise or not, next summer will likely be the same thing all over again.


One of these days, I'm going to make a real effort to not be such a lazy procrastinator. I know for a fact that I've said those same words before, many times over the years in fact. Yet saying and doing are really not the same thing.

The current bit of not doing involves Big Brother's birthday party. He is currently mere hours away from being eight years old. The party is mostly planned, and I've IMed a parent to invite his daughter since her invitation is still sitting on the desk, right in front of me, with no address. He did email his address to Momma, but since she doesn't check her email that often, we had to find alternate invite techniques. I'd have called him days ago, but knowing that he works third shift, I'm never eager to call very early in the day.

The party is set for this Saturday, assuming something doesn't come up, and we still haven't gotten all the supplies we will want. That trip is set for later today. I also need to think of something to cook the next two nights to add to the list Momma is going out to purchase.

It seems every year we are running around at the last minute to figure out his birthday. Last year got so bad that we just took him shopping for gifts. This year we actually have all them purchased or ordered as of now, but his big gift, somewhere en route we hope, is on order and will arrive sometime.

We had actually planned to plan a decent party. We were going to do it at a local roller skating rink, and we were going to plan it early enough so we could save enough money for the party. That didn't happen, and now that option is off the table. So we are going to do it at a park to avoid having all those kids at the house.

And there is more procrastination in my lack of having gotten the house presentable. It wouldn't be that hard to maintain, but I don't seem to do things that way. From the yard work to the house cleaning, I'm very adept at allowing things to get way out of hand before I fix them. And sadly, I know how much easier maintenance is versus huge cleaning jobs or mowing grass that's grown over a foot tall.

Maybe I'll just keep enjoying being a lazy bastard for a couple more months. I'll be overly lazy in an attempt to rid my system of the lazy procrastinatory leanings, then, with the new year, I will resolve to stop being so lazy. And then all my problems will be solved. Yeah, that's what I'll do, and future parties for the boys will be so well planned and executed that people will be astounded at the glory of it all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

this here thing here

Because all, or some, of the cool kids are doing it, here's my list of things that could be done, my own accomplishments being those in bold. Thanks Ron at Atypical Homeschool for giving me this Myspace moment in the blogosphere. Ya know, there's a drinking game called I Never that goes a little something like this. You take turns saying things like those found in this list, prefaced with the phrase, "I never . . ." If you've never, then you DON'T drink. If you've ever, then you DO drink.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (and survived the crush afterwards)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them

54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone

92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children - still raising!
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show

113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. (helped) Save someone’s life

who can't help it?

Me! That's who! Yes, more fun at says-it.com for this li'l monkey.

a li'l comic strip

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Monday, October 02, 2006

how is rachel ray still on?

This has been bothering me for some time. There was a short spell during which I could almost watch her cooking show; brand new cable will make you watch anything. And it's true I tried on occasion to watch her "travel show," which has it's problems outside of her cooking show.

I could give two shits about formal chef training, one common anti-Rachel Ray argument. Formal chef training is for people who can't learn how to cook by cooking or for people who think they need a piece of paper to prove they can cook. Believe me, anything you learn at Johnson and Wales I can figure out. I too have a copy of Escoffier's ponderous old sack of right and wrong, and I have enough Julia Child to field a team with substitutes.

Is my problem with Rachel her perkiness? I don't think so. I love Paula Dean, sometimes, and she's perky enough for a truck full of belles, but Paula, in addition to the accent, has history and some credibility that Rachel doesn't seem to have. I've worked with perky people, but they're usually servers and don't belong in the kitchen anyway. She obviously doesn't belong in a professional kitchen, which is fine. Her show is about home cooking. I don't especially care for perkiness, but I can look past most afflictions to the person underneath.

I hate that she can't just say olive oil, but instead she calls it E.V.O.O. Pointing out the "extra virgin" all the time is just pointless. I mean, who the hell buys anything else? If you don't want extra virgin olive oil, then use butter, but no, dumbass Rachel Ray has to call it E.V.O.O. If I hear somebody say E.V.O.O. I'm going to hit them with a saute pan.

The main issue that I have with her is her tipping. She doesn't go anywhere without a camera crew, as we see on her shows, and she makes every single restaurant go through this painful pretense that they like her. No restaurant is going to turn down free publicity, even if it is Rachel Ray, because it really isn't hard to slap a decent meal in front of anyone and make them happy for the viewing audience, and what looks better than happy people in your dining room? Perhaps some customers might be afraid that Rachel will come back and might avoid the restaurant due to that fear, but overall, she has to be at least not bad for business.

But I can guarantee that the staff hates the sight of her. The kitchen knows that she's coming back to peak at them if they so much as meet her hungry gaze from the kitchen, and no one wants Rachel Q. Public rambling around tasting the sauces. The servers all know that they are going to be screwed if they get her table. She's going to grill you about the menu, knowing that her budget is ten bucks and that the only thing she can have today is in the very middle of the menu, but she just has to know about everything. . .oh, and can you hurry? The dollar tour at Fort Knuckleworth is about to start and she needs this segment filmed quickly so that she can go film that segment. So all the servers run like hell to be peeing or smoking or anywhere out of site of management, except for that one perky bitch that no one likes anyway, or the head waiter if he/she actually gives a shit about the restaurant itself. And for all that trouble, they are lucky to walk away with any sort of reasonable tip

And now she has an actual network television show. Who thought this was a good idea? Who has enough clout and little enough sense to . . . uh . . . oh yeah, network t.v. I guess that answers that. So, yeah, she has a "real" show now. I don't watch a lot of morning t.v. so it isn't really anything that'll bother me. But sometimes I do happen to check out the lower number channels, and it's traumatic to jump from Martha Stewart to Rachel. Martha, even before her stint in the pokey could have stomped Rachel into a bulb and planted her ass.

So there it is. Because she's a poor tipper, Rachel Ray doesn't deserve to have a television show. All the other strikes against her are really small in comparison to her blatant insistence on tipping poorly.

I will admit that one of the greatest lines I have ever heard came from an episode of her show, though I forget the name of the program, Three Piss Poor Tips Across America in a Day or something like that. The point being that she was in Chattanooga TN and was boarding the Chattanooga ChooChoo. An employee opened the door for her and asked where she was visiting from. Rachel replies, "New York City," to which the man answers, "Welcome to America."