Tuesday, January 30, 2007


For me, part of blogging is that it's writing practice for me. Many years ago, I wrote a good bit, but I didn't then see my life as any sort of living, so I wrote stories through some internal filter that had watched too much crappy television.

As the years passed, I came to write less and less till I didn't even really do any writing more than a very few times a year. Even then it was generally just bitching, often about the fact that I didn't write any more.

Why do some people feel driven or drawn to writing? What is it that makes people do this and so often hate doing it at the same time that they feel compelled to do so? It isn't really like other endeavors in that you're so much more likely while writing to bare your soul in a way that people can really get at. I'm sure people involved in other mediums would argue that last statement, but fuck them.

Seems like I've found myself here plenty of times before, and every time I expend some price in stressful moments due to the situation, and every time, at the very least, I come up with some crazy rant from deep in my anus. And it's usually a rant that has no reason to suddenly be topical, but I really don't want to be the guy that gets his blog posts from someone else, though I'm never above that if the story is good enough.

And that's where I am for now. The only thing I can think of to write about is not being able to think of anything to write about. And if that keeps me from going too many days without posting, at least I can feel like I've finally written something just not crappy enough for now.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

blunk drogging

I don't give a shit. I'm having another beer. My feet and my fingers are cold from having just recently been outside enjoying a cigarette.

Here is where I add my own two cents to the drunken mommy thing. If you don't know what this is about, then just go where I heard about it, Zero Boss. Apparently, some moms are starting a huge trend where they have a drink with friends while their children play. Also, it's bad for parents to drink alcohol if their kids are alive, or so the bitch from The View would have us believe.

What I'd like to say is different from what I really mean to say, or damn you all who think I can't parent drunk. I'll parent your fucking ass off, beer in one hand and cigarette in the other. I will parent so well that your parents will come out of their graves to compare your lacking ass style to mine in a derogatory fashion. This is an example of what I'd like to say.

Okay, I'm not a mommy, but as my children's primary ignorer, I get to see them every waking hour. I love them very much and am more than willing to sacrifice for them. I'm also a grown ass man, if not because of the whole age thing then because I've sired offspring and have an associates degree or something. Either way, I'm a seasoned drinker of alcoholic beverages, a caring father and if I want to have a beverage I'm damn well going to.

For what it's worth, Americans are really hung up about too much shit. I'm sure I've got my own hang ups, though I try to be cool. A lot of our issues have to do with people's ideas of what is and isn't moral, and they don't accept gray areas. Drinking is equal to drunk is a big one in that we view every person who drinks as basically drunk the moment they take the first sip.

Finally, people were having kids before they started drinking alcohol. But think of how many drinks kids have caused since we figured out the ancient secrets of extracting soul restoring alcohol from our grains and grapes. But for this palliative, how many parents would have been lost to a screaming void of incoherency and no return due entirely to the spawn they should rightly have devoured at birth?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

weird . . .not oooh creepy . . . I hope

Doc has asked for six weird things that no one knows, but I'm not quite sure what to do with this. I accept that I've been tagged, and I'd love to comply with the request. The problem lies in what to share.

I don't doubt that I could come up with a list of things I don't share casually, but I'm afraid I'm afraid that's the kind of thing I'm not quite prepared to write about. So how do we go about this?

1. Doc mentioned collecting, and I'm not not a collecter of beerabilia. I'm currently storing a lot of beer related crap that I kind of wish I had room for, but I don't. I also haven't gone out of my way lately to collect stuff. It's sort of part of a budget that children came along and changed, but something I could see becoming more of a hobby one day.

2. I love comic books. This is another hobby that new children sort of rearranged. We've not bought comics in ages. And for what it's worth, I was reading Frank Miller way before that movie came out, although the new one isn't one I was able to pick up before the whole family thing. I also really love Paul Pope whose work is seriously worth checking out.

3. I was once nearly not quite a cowboy . . . sort of. Through I teacher where I went to school I was able to take a job one summer as a junior counselor at a christian camp in Wyoming. Each week was a different age group, and as a junior counselor my job changed week to week to some small extent. There was another junior counselor about my age as well as the older (not junior) counselors. Each weekend we spent in town with local families, two of us to a family and the same family for the duration. I was asigned to a ranch family, and at the end of the summer I spent a couple of extra days following them around on horseback. I really didn't do any real work to speak of. I rode a horse and once tied a gate closed poorly and some calves pushed their way out, but in my defense, no one really told me how to tie it properly, and I'm from Atlanta fucker!

4. I also learned to drive a stick shift up and down the long driveway of the ranch family in number three. It was a seriously long driveway full of potholes and paved in god's brown dirt. Nothing like trying to figure out the purpose of the clutch with the engine revved way too high and hitting your head on the roof at the same time.

5. And now that we are on the subject, something I never told anyone, but the doughnuts on the town's golf course the summer I was there were thanks to one of the sons of the ranch family.

6. Someday I'm going to start a band, rock the shit out of this town for a while and then disappear back into anonymity.

That wasn't really so hard I suppose. I got on that Wyoming kick and this son of a bitch just about wrote itself. I did try to reign that in bit, but those are things that I don't think I've ever really told anyone.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


From the videos I've posted one might get the impression that I only like good music. I have to point out right now that I also like great music. This video is an example of that. The band Screeching Weasel may well be one of the greatest things to happen to punk music in the last couple of decades. It may even be argued that they were one of the last punk bands to really be worth a shit. I'm sure there are some decent new bands out there, but there's a point in history that the last really great band finally showed up leaving nothing new for the next generation of bands. Anyway, I could ramble incoherently for a while, but I'll save that for my next rant.

Anyway, as mentioned, the band is Screeching Weasel, the song is Science of Myth. The lyrics are HERE and worth a quick peruse.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I didn't jump on last week's delurking meme, and I was safely sailing along not going to worry with this week's cause du Monday because enough people are going to discuss abortion that my point of view wasn't going to matter two shits.

"Ooooh, look! Another conflicted dude with no uterus actively attached to him. His opinion drives the masses. Let's read his blog for enlightenment."

I seriously wasn't going to bother. Hell, I didn't even know it was have-an-abortion-day until I read it at Zero Boss. But then I went back later, after a couple of comments had built up, and I read the two words. There are two words that bring me to life, that cause me to empreachify to the masses.

I don't remember the exact story from the commenter, but it involved some amount of teen girls worried that they were late, you know . . . like . . . late, yeah. One girl was sure she was okay because her boyfriend pulled out.

It's those last two words that are part of my life's work, pull out. Pulling out is not birth control.

There's only one way to get pregnant, but there are lots of ways to have sex. Sometimes people have sex and don't want to, and sometimes people would prefer to use birth control but aren't afforded the option. Some people really don't want a baby, and some people really don't need a baby. Some people, especially the younger ones, do things without the amount of knowledge they might need to make the decisions that they might face.

Of all the situations mentioned above, any one could end up with someone pregnant. Sometimes we make decisions, and sometimes we have decisions forced on us. Sometimes, no matter what we feel about certain decisions, as people, we are obliged to make sure that those decisions are best left to those who must bear the consequences.

And that's why I'm pro choice, because those of us voting can't vote away all those random things that may make abortion an option for a single particular person. Many of us have the luxury of not having to worry about it. Many of us are not so lucky.

Seems like we could have found a way to teach these things by now. It's sad that the people so vehemently against abortion are also so vehemently against teaching girls and women about their bodies.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

givin' 'em what for

Yes, I did it. Walking away from Big Brother after turning the radio on I heard him ask, "What's this?" I answered without looking back or even stopping, "A song."

I was in the kitchen doing something mildly dish related though I'm actually leaving the mess for later. The radio in the kitchen is permanently set to NPR. If I could get the college station in the kitchen I'd probably go back and forth between the two, but alas such is not to be mine. Bolero was playing and I'd gone to the living room to turn the song on which was why he asked about it. I did come back moments later, after getting the beer I was after, to inform him what he was hearing. I really only turned it on at all because it was at the end of the song, the final build up that can really be too loud if you messed too much with the volume during the early part of the song. My original intent was just to annoy the boys with loud music.

Listening to Bolero got me thinking though. I'm not a huge classical music kind of guy. I know a few songs that I like, most of the instruments, a couple of composers. I am quite familiar with poor Maurice Ravel's classic. I think it's almost like God Save the Queen at this point, a song that so many people hear and feel they know. "Ooh wow, they're playing this song. I've heard this," said the random person who isn't really even a fan. I certainly couldn't tell you off the top of my head what else Ravel may have composed, though I'm certain I've heard something.

Do real fans of classical music roll their eyes when they hear Bolero? Do they shudder a little with a bit of, "Egad, this old mare being trotted out again?" Do they mutter a snide little something at the DJ who dared play that song? Because I almost get a little of that when I hear the Sex Pistols screeching their old saw, but now it makes me wonder if it was Pepsi or Cadillac that got the rights until I realize that it's NOT a commercial.

I remember the first time I heard God Save the Queen, or something like it. It wasn't the first time I'd heard punk, so it wasn't that particular birth-of-new-world moment, but to me at the time it still had a little rawness left. I'm sure that by this time the still living Sex Pistols were certainly alive but not yet ready to regroup and tour and sing the exact same songs yet again, though time will bring all bands back together for a reunion should death stay her cold, cold hand.

Bolero left a similar impression when I first heard it. I wasn't then a fan of the punk or classical and was more likely to listen to (be forced to hear) gospel (the white people kind) or similarly religious music. Of course it's a much older song, but the limitlessness of the orchestra that it lays out, that plodding building of instruments building up to that final blare of, "Godalmighty fuck are they going off!" You can almost see the conductor, hair in a frenzy, shirt front rolled up like in an old cartoon.

So that's my story. I like to give the kids a little lip once in a while. They don't attend school where they'd get mouthed off to, so I give them a little shit now and again so they don't miss the experience. It was actually kind of funny.

"What's this?"

"A song."

Friday, January 19, 2007


Maybe some people don't know, but the US Women's National Team has a couple of games coming up. You might have heard about the Four Nation's Tournament, you know, being a sports broadcasting network and all.

Anyway, the women just recently landed in China so they can start training, get used to China, deal with jet lag, gawk. Germany and England will also be there. The whole thing is basically leading up to the FIFA Women's World Cup later this year. So with you guys being a sports broadcasting network, I just thought you might like to know that you aren't showing the games, at all.

Okay, concession time here. The games are being played at four in China which means for us three in the morning, and it's really doubtful that you could stop showing the poker superstars invitational. I know that since poker is now a sport instead of just being a card game that you are duty bound to show it. However, I'd wager that you might get a few people that would be willing to watch the game anyway. I've heard of devices that can record things from the television. I wouldn't be surprised if people would watch a rebroadcast later in the day. Again, I have to remind myself that the poker players also need plenty of television time, because as we all know it is NOT just a card game but a real sport, like soccer.

I know that many people like soccer. I do and would love to watch some of these games and certainly all of those the US team play, and I would even watch them the next day fully aware of who had won, and I'd even watch it if I'd already seen clips already. I would watch them in a box, with a fox even.

The US men's games were not the best games in the World Cup last summer, to put it mildly. Some of us would now like to see the women play because we're pretty sure that they'll do well. They'll certainly average better than one goal in 270 minutes of play.

I know this is a lot to ask since you only have three different channels that you can show sports on. There's a lot of mediocre boxing from the late '90's that has to be watched, plus the growing rise in popularity of bowling, so the classic one is used up. And we know that 2 will probably decide to show a bunch of heavy northern European men racing to have a hernia first. Soccer on the main ESPN is such a rarity that we really hate to ask too much of you. So anyway, whatever you can do.

Thanks for your time ESPN. I know that airing a game played by the National Team should be something you could show. The US always seems to field one of the top women's teams in the world, and they always play a great game. There are lots of new players on the team that many of us haven't had a chance to see play yet. I was sort of hoping you might could squeeze it in somewhere.


p.s. I'll call you later about the Women's World Cup. It's also in China, so that whole time thing might fuck us up then too, but it is kind of big, so let's work something out.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

fancy booty

I needed one picture of the book cover, but the picture isn't the story here. While that is Momma peaking around the corner, there's more going on.

The Boy usually picks books that might be considered more appropriate for bedtime reading, but if we've gotten him ready for bed early enough he can increase his bedtime reading at will.

We generally let both boys choose their reading material. It isn't always as easy with The Boy since by reading material I do mean whatever book he wants me or Momma to read to him.

The book is titled "Wall Chart of Human Anatomy," as you can likely see, but I doubt it will ever make it onto a wall. It doesn't really have pages but is instead one long strip of paper folded accordion style to fit between the covers. It is also printed front and back.

The Boy has shown some past interest in this book as well as in other books having to do with anatomy and skeletal structures. This book has great drawings of the different layers of anatomy, for example muscles, nerves and skeleton. It's fairly exhaustive, at least to my non medically trained self.

We've actually laid the entire book out before, stretched to its fullest. I'd guess it's about ten feet long, though I haven't actually measured it.

I don't know what he's learning from this book. He did inform us that "gluteus maximus is a fancy way of saying booty." So I'd like to think he's learning something.


Apparently I'm going to turn back to writing an assload of homeschooling posts, and it's all my fault. I should have not gone offense minded quite as quickly as I did. I got a comment and ran around acting crazy one night, and then I got another comment. Neither comment was especially insulting nor should either of them have been particularly upsetting. Really they weren't, but I assumed I knew what I was talking about, I had some really good post fodder after a couple of dry days and I did that verbal vomiting thing.

If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, click back in my archives a day or two, and you can't miss. I am of course talking about The Pissed Off Housewife who I previously mischaracterized. Her most recent post actually deserves a read and I've lifted a list of questions she asks. I'll try to answer them here and would encourage others to do the same. Consider it a meme, and assume you've been tagged.

There are actually more questions below this list, but this is the initial list. Her other questions are also good, thought provoking questions, and after mulling them over a bit, I might answer, though they're questions to which I may not yet have an answer for me and my family.

So, on with the list:
1. Every child is entitled to a peer relationship.
I don't see peers as age mates as seems to be accepted for children. Certainly there is an average age at which kids tend often to reach certain milestones, but that doesn't mean that they have to be the same age to be peers or friends. My sons fairly often interact with children their age as well as children and adults of various ages.

2. Every child is entitled to more than one opinion
I couldn't agree more, but school is no guarantee of that. I will accept that schools can provide a variety of opinion, but even with that option, kids end up forced into roles that they accept to the exclusion of others, i.e. goths, jocks, geeks, etc. A home that follows any sort of religious belief would tend in general to promote that religion to the exclusion of others. My atheist home tends to promote an atheistic view of the world. I can tell my children about the gods and goddesses of others, but given that I disbelieve, should I alert my children to the belief of others? Or should I go farther and actively make them search those religions just in case they find one they like?

3. People need to learn both patience and structure
Homeschoolers learn these very well I would think. There need not be a structured education to learn about structure. Do we think of structure as the base of the block tower that a child learns must be built a certain way to achieve the tallest possible tower? Or is it the structure one builds out of flour, yeast, water and salt when baking bread?

4. It's important to be part of a community
We are a part of a variety of communities. The people at the grocery store and the library know us. We have friends at Momma's roller derby, both children and adult friends. We have our homeschool group. We have soccer. As the kids get older our community will only expand further as their interests/hobbies also expand.

5. More than one viewpoint is required to educate a child
Here I have a problem with the phrase "educate a child." I just don't see childhood learning as that difficult a process. It's completely natural for kids to learn what they need to know, and especially today, it's so easy to find any information you or your child may need. I don't see what I'm doing as educating as much as I see a responsibility to my kids to see that they continue to grow and learn and always have what they need.

6. More than one method is required to educate a child
See number five! This also approaches the same answer I will give for number seven. Anyone can figure out the basics. I can easily teach my kids the basic math that I do in a day, and when he starts to want/need to learn more, we'll find a way to do that. People unhampered by a fear of learning can pick up (pick back up) math, often as parents much more easily than we ever did in school because we finally have a reason to learn it. My own foray into the associates degree proves this as in my youth I loathed math and took very little knowledge into college in my late twenties. I actually enjoyed learning, even when it was difficult, because I had a real reason to learn and wanted to learn. That's when we all, especially our children, learn best.

7. What if your child is smarter than you are?
I fully expect my child to know more earlier than I would have known depending on their age. Many homeschooled teens are entering community colleges at fairly young ages and picking advanced subjects that are difficult to find other places, much to the relief of their parents leafing through the trigonometry book. Given the technological leaps that characterize our world today, I think we honestly have no idea quite what our kids are going to face in the future. In a hundred years we went from the telegraph to GPS enabled web phones, from Kitty Hawk to the Mars rover.

8. Every child is entitled to a bad teacher. It will help them down the road, they will have coping skills when they have a terrible boss.
I have to disagree. You can change a job if a boss is really bad, but kids are generally stuck with a bad teacher. Bad teachers can truly harm kids and often do.

9. Sex, drugs and rock and roll are really kinda fun. I'm headed out to the local high school this afternoon to score a bag of weed.
I'd prefer not to buy my weed from high school kids. I support the complete legalization of many drugs if for no other reason than to be able to tax them and pull their sales and use out of the black market. I don't think that high school kids should be messing with their brains when they haven't completed their development, so I'd prefer that we sensibly educate our young into the reality of drugs and drug use and addiction. DARE is a lying bastard and one reason not to give our kids to the system.

are my nuts out?

I recently created a speck of drama following a comment from a nice blogger. It wasn't really drama much less a whole speck, but the rant was fun if perhaps not entirely based in reality.

As a homeschooling parent, I spend lots of time online looking for things to drown out the sounds of the kids going crazy. I tried to teach them how to sit down and shut up, and seeing that not work, I'm now teaching them how to be ignored for hours at a time.

The vast majority of people have no idea what it is that we do in an average day. Many people will claim to know a homeschooler or two and use those people as their example of homeschooling. That's a really useless way to make assumptions, but it's also human nature. Most of us homeschoolers learn pretty quickly to ignore most of these people when possible, and it's never easier than when we meet them online.

People don't often approach homeschooling from a place that is accepting of the facts, and they don't often seek real learning about homeschooling before forming their opinions. Those opinions sadly are too often basic, broad generalizations based on something they heard/read/saw on tv or based on that one family they knew that just didn't quite seem right to them.

Though I haven't seen it lately, often someone will post on their blog about homeschooling and use all the same tired old arguments about socially inept kids whose parents didn't teach them science and couldn't teach them math. These nice folks will assume that all publicly schooled children are getting some great education in the mysteries and vagaries of life. Homeschooled children are of course relegated to cultural backwater towns with the lunacy of overly religious, anti-science parenting and the education that goes with that.

The blogger type mentioned above, assuming they are writing for no more than a core of friends and families, suddenly finds that they've become the topic of another blogger as the flood of irate homeschoolers descends upon the comment section with the fire of god and lists of how great we are compared to the lowly heathen public schooler. In turn, some of us tend to fight fire with fire, using our verbal acumen to jump on the doubters as soon as we catch them doubting loud enough for others to hear, throwing a link a maybe even a quote into a post with some hopefully witty repartee.

I did the same thing in my most recent post. I created a character and tried to push a blogger into my description. Perhaps that was not right, but I stand by my characterization as a caricature that I feel is not inaccurate in describing some of the attitudes we homeschoolers too often have to deal with though I have no way of knowing how closely described the blogger in question was.

One problem that we often face when answering the doubters is that they will offer their opinion as concern for the children. The hand wringing and the wails of "who will help the poor baby children?" are often part of the denigration of homeschooling, but again we have to accept that these people, for all their concern, just don't know what they are talking about. It comes from complete acceptance of something (childhood education) that one will not allow to be questioned. It's why the school system can't be fixed and likely won't ever be fixed.

I don't believe that most kids benefit from being taught school subjects. I believe that kids learn, and the best way for kids to learn is to want to. I believe that kids want to learn from the moment their slimy little bodies exit their mothers and that they will learn unless something gets in the way. There is nothing as successful as school at making kids loathe learning. Allowing our kids to learn is the best way to insure that they will, allowing them to learn what they truly need to when they need to while simultaneously giving them every possible tool as well as the understanding that there is nothing they can't learn and that everything they will ever need is available to them if they are willing to work for it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

nuts are out

I got a lovely comment to a post I wrote concerning unschooling and the recent Dorktor Phil dust up. Apparently Angry Mom, because she has a master's degree in education is now completely knowledgeable about homeschooling, and she's willing to troll the internet to some extent and whip barbs at at least a couple of us.

Of course after publishing her comment I went to her blog and found a post that insulted another homeschooling family because the mother dared publish her daily schedule. Ms. Angry had commented to that mother as well and had even been complemented by a commenter of her own. Such a brazen act to comment to a blogger when you don't have a clue.

Anyway, Ms. Angry has very little to say. What arguments she does have against homeschooling are things that have been said before by much smarter people than she, and those statements were just as wrong and proven so by us, those homeschoolers she doesn't have even the tiniest clue about.

I almost posted a second comment at her blog, but that would just get me stuck in a war with idiots that use words they don't understand, people who view assumptions and vague notions as fact. I'd love to hear her point of view, but I know that she is only fighting from a position of fear, one that we've all dealt with. I have a feeling that it's her degree. She's upset at homeschoolers because we actually understand childhood education without every having attended years of classes to do so. She's still paying off the college loans, is probably not a very successful teacher, and is frightened that we do with no degree what miles of certification aren't doing for her.

I could be wrong. Perhaps she's an outstanding person and educator. I'm sure she loves her children very much as parents are want to do. Maybe she wants to know more about homeschooling but is afraid to ask. However, it's been my experience that those who are most willing to throw their credentials in your face are generally the least likely to have benefited from the attainment of those credentials and degrees.

And finally, I will answer Ms. Angry's question. She asked in her comment, "What qualifies you to be a teacher?" This kind of question can only come from someone so married to the current educational system that they don't recognize or even trust the ways in which children actually learn. I'm qualified to teach because I am able to learn. The problem with that question is assuming that children can't learn without being taught.

And so we end for now leaving to our imaginations what is to come from all this. Anyone willing to actually learn the truth about homeschooling could easily do so making it doubly sad and frustrating that so many dumbasses still assume knowledge they don't actually have.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

that god guy

A website I found earlier tonight has had me immersed in stories of gods for the majority of the evening. One thing it's done it cause me to consider another of my reasons for disbelief. Godchecker.com has a lovely database of gods one can choose from should one be in the market, but more than that it demonstrates the vast number of one-true-faiths.

Why should I believe any more in the holy trinity I was raised on than I should the Chinese people's monkey god, Sun Wukong? Truth be told, I like monkey a lot more than the others. It's not just his hip irreverence in the face of all the real gods who hadn't tricked their way to the top, but there's a certain something about him.

Christianity grew out of the religions around at the time, and it grew a couple of different directions assuming we only discuss catholics and protestants. The muslims have their very own version, and when we finally inhabit the new world we get Joseph Smith and more, starting new versions of the old.

In the end, we end up with a bunch of crazy myths. They all have the same amount of validity when viewed from a removed point of view. Deep in their depths they can have a certain hold on a random human while equally equal random other human believes something else entirely. And everyone clings their one-true-faith viewing those believers otherwise as somehow misguided, wrong or possibly even evil. All the while they forget that what makes other people's beliefs look odd/skewed/weird/crazy can also be applied to their own system.

Really, the end part, don't get so high and mighty or monkey might come down on his cloud and smite you with his iron rod. Seriously smite your ass sideways.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

the boy picks the jams

Earlier in the day, The Boy set off to find the Thomas the Tank Engine music cd, but what he ended up bringing me to play was Man...or Astroman? a band that really defies explanation. They came to earth when their space ship crash landed, and I believe they are searching for the lost parts of their ship. Will they ever make it back home? We may not ever find out, but we do know that they rock.

I was so proud that the boy asked to listen to Man...or Astroman? even if he only asked because there are robots on the cover. He seemed to enjoy it, further proving my theory that kid's music sucks and that there exists plenty of good music that both kids and adults can enjoy without having to dumb down good music. That's a fairly recent post if you want to check the archives for that rant a few times.

So call your kids around the computer. Especially you homeschoolers come in close because this counts as history. One day, when we can actually take that rocket to the moon, we'll look back at Man...or Astroman? and what they taught us all.

the fam'

Being a raging atheist is not something I generally discuss with my family. I don't generally think about this sort of thing THAT much. Part of it is that I so seldom see my family I'm sure. The part of Momma's family who are the family that we see most often is differently religious that my own family, and I'm sure it has something to do with them being Methodist and just not doing it right.

I often realize though that I'm not really sure what my family even suspects about me and the wife and kids. We all get along great at the holidays when we get together, but there's always the fact that it's been so long and the kids are all so much bigger, and for the most part, I'm not really willing to get into that discussion with my family. I'm not going to change their minds, and I can accept that. I don't give a shit what people believe. And while most of my family would still be cool to us and treat us well, I don't know that I want to affect the family dynamic in that way. Maybe I just don't want to be preached to every time we travel south.

And then I think about the kids. You never know what's going to come out of a kid's mouth, and when your kids are like my kids, and you got family like I got family, it often seems like a house of cards that's mostly staying up alright, for now.

The thing about it all is the disdain I've come to have for all types of religious belief. I can't argue if you find something that helps you or makes you act better to people. But as a moral code, I can't accept that I need to be told how to be cool. The whole rest of it, when we're praying for instance at any family functions that involve praying, saying the blessing for food generally, almost makes me feel like I'm in an episode of Star Trek and we've stumbled into some crazy shit on a planet. We'll bow to your customs to save our asses, but once we get back to the Enterprise it's back to business as usual.

And the kids. We forgot to teach them what to do when someone suggests prayer. Be quiet and don't stare at anyone because they might open their eyes and catch you. Also, when dining out, my kids are the ones that start right in eating because they so seldom have to wait for . . .what's that? a prayer? and that would be? while all the other kids are waiting. At least we don't hold hands like some families. That's the worst, holding hands and praying.

Either way, I look forward to whatever comes up in the spring, some family thing with potato salad and mosquito spray. There may be another granddaughter by then depending on the timing. I'll drive south much more quickly than perhaps I ought. I'll love that the kids are all playing together. The Boy doesn't have another boy his age to play with. And we'll drive back north much quicker than perhaps I ought.

Friday, January 12, 2007

supper on the table

Todays was homeschool playdate/coop day which I usually enjoy along with the boys. Today however, I had the greatest idea and stayed home. Momma took the boys giving me a couple of hours of time to get a couple of jobs done.

The main job I wanted done I could easily have done with the kids, but it was nice not to have to. Momma and I finally got the Christmas tree undecorated late last night. It was extra sappy this year as well as full of some sort of bug. We didn't see bugs till after we got back from Atlanta. We know the bugs must have come from the tree, but we aren't sure how they could have been on the tree this whole time, about three weeks, maybe four, without our having noticed them before. One of us has to climb under once a day to check the water, so it's not like we don't get ample time to notice bugs.

My other job was to be a secret, a little surprise for Momma who had to be at work at 5:00. I was going to cook the beef and mushroom pie that I'd planned for supper, but I'd planned to have it done shortly after she and the boys came home from playing with other homeschoolers. She was going to have time to eat before having to leave for work. Nothing quite worked out as planned, and supper still isn't quite done yet.

This is a recipe I haven't cooked before. I'd scanned the Joy of Cooking a few days ago, needing to get together a grocery list with a couple of meals worth of ingredients. I'd never quite paid attention to this recipe, but this time it jumped out at me. I scanned it quickly seeing that it was not unlike a basic pot pie recipe or casserole, things I'm infinitely familiar with. I assumed I had plenty of time.

Soon after getting the tree out and vacuuming the effected areas I was in the kitchen prepping to cook. After getting the meat browned, the mushrooms browned and then getting the sauce thickened, I put it into the oven for an initial baking after which I planned to add the crust for the final baking. What I didn't notice till this point was that it needed to cool completely before the addition of the crust and the final baking.

That single step was the downfall of my wonderful plan. I'd assumed that the dish baked for the first hour and then finished immediately afterward. During that first hour I'd have time to put a crust dough together. I knew I'd be pushing the time limit, but it was doable. And here we come back to that unread step, the completely cool part. There was no way I could get this finished in time for Momma to eat any.

As it turns out, it wasn't so bad. Momma and the boys came home, and of course the boys were both hungry, never mind that they both had as many healthyish snacks as they could have wanted. Momma however wasn't hungry. In fact she was feeling a little not so nice from the snacks she had eaten. The Boy, as he will often do, claimed to want any number of snacks. He would eat a bit or two and then be done. Not one to waste food, Momma ate what he left.

The beef and mushroom mix should be about cool, or at least close enough that I can go make a crust and finish it. The boys are of course hungry again and not likely to want to wait another hour while I mix dough and bake the thing. So, off to the kitchen, fix them yet another healthyish snack and hope that they eat the supper I'm making. Big Brother will most likely eat it, though the mushrooms may get to be too much for him. He's eaten plenty of mushrooms in his life, but sometimes he'd prefer not to. I understand because I'm the same with some foods.

The Boy will most likely decide he's not hungry . . . for that. We never know what he's going to eat, and most days seem like a struggle to get him to eat well. He's eaten so poorly before that he spent the next day vomiting only to finish and want more candy or whatever he ate the day before that wasn't healthy. I wish he'd learn the lesson, but he just doesn't get that how he eats effects how he feels, and I refuse to feed him poorly just so he'll get sick and understand that he really can't just eat crap all day. I've tried, hoping that if he figured it out we'd have less stress over getting him to eat well. He is the king of healthyish snacks though, so we can usually get him fed. If he could have sushi every day he'd probably be happy.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

sanctity of life

People on the right, when they give in to the need for research into embryonic stem cell research, always worry about preserving the sanctity of life. Their concern is for all those babies killed in order to harvest the stem cells, as if we are impregnating women solely to suck out their babies and create human clones.

That couldn't be farther from the truth, and I will admit that I'm being a bit insincere with my description of their position. The problem here is with their ideas of what's really happening.

Where's the sanctity of life in a freezer full of embryos? Where is the sanctity of life in throwing away embryos that could be used for purposes of attempting to save lives or cure people of debilitating injuries and/or illnesses?

Why do so many people on the "right" side of so much in America vomit such bullshit out of their mouths? Sanctimonious fucks that would deny certain people their rights and willingly give more rights to a pin prick sized glob of cells.

beckham and dempsey

It's been ages since the beautiful game graced any of my posts. I haven't really had a lot to post about even considering the tumult that is US soccer. We lost Bruce Arena as coach for the US men's national team, screwed up the chance to get German Juergen Klinsmann and gave the job to a good coach but not really. Bob Bradley is a good coach, so the "not really" part refers to his seeming impermanence in the job. He's basically keeping the seat warm till a replacement can be found. Who know what will happen though as the US starts playing international games. Maybe he'll do a great job and get to keep the job. However, none of this is the point.

Soccer in the US isn't nearly as big or as popular as it is throughout the rest of (the entire rest of) the world. I can watch more high school football games on television it seems than professional soccer games, and that's really sad. It almost seems at times as if there are some powers in charge of sports in the US that are afraid soccer is going to steal something from the big three if they actually show too many games on television. Soccer is more popular than many people realize, and if more people had an understanding of the game, it could take its rightful place next to the big three. That's getting closer to my point here, though we aren't quite there yet.

Earlier on NPR news, I caught the very end of a story about English and Real Madrid has been David Beckham. He's turned down a deal with Madrid in order to take a job playing for a different team. The rumors of this move have swirled about for some time. Beckham has been spotted in L.A. and even has a youth soccer academy in California. The rumors are true. Beckham will earn almost a million dollars a week to play for L.A.'s MLS team the Galaxy. That story wouldn't really bother me, and it almost doesn't. Want to know why it almost does?

As soon as I heard that tidbit of news I immediately sat down at the computer to learn more. I have several feeds from different soccer news sites as my Google home page, though they seldom mention US soccer, and I don't really get into other leagues. Perhaps if there were more games viewable in my little corner of the country . . .

Before I even found the Beckham story I saw truly sad news for fans of US soccer. Clint Dempsey, one of the few bright spots of last summer's US World Cup attempt, is leaving his team, the New England Revolution, and will be playing in England for Fulham. They already have a few other US players, and that Clint has been offered the job says a lot for his talents and skills as well as a little about the upcoming talents of US soccer in general.

Dempsey is leaving for a mere fraction of what Beckham will be earning, and for the price Beckham costs, I think we could easily have kept Dempsey here. I'd personally love to have kept Dempsey here and hope that he will at least be able to play on the men's national team.

So what do we get? An aging superstar that hasn't done much lately but may very well be good for the game in the US. His name is certainly more well known to the average American than that of Clint Dempsey, and perhaps that alone will be good for the profile of soccer in the US. He will hopefully have drawing power, pulling people into soccer that were marginally interested before. Many people prefer the cult of fame over any sort of substance, and Beckham has buckets of fame and star power. As I mentioned, he hasn't really done much in the way of soccer lately and has been missing games due to injuries. He's still a hell of a player when he's well.

What do we lose? To soccer fans, the name Clint Dempsey is enough to know what we are losing. He's a damn fine player, and he's young, arguably not nearly as good as he's going to be with a bit more experience. He'll get that experience at Fulham.

I hope that David Beckham's name is enough to draw more interest to the game in the US. Soccer is growing in popularity here as never before, and Dempsey isn't the first US player deemed good enough to leave the states to play at a higher level. I'm glad for him and hope that the combination of his leaving and Beckham's arrival does push US soccer to a higher level. I'd hope that in years to come we can start pulling more top players into the MLS, and I'd love for our teams to become competitive on the world stage. That's my hope for this, though I'm sad to see Clint go.

the bro's

Here's a lovely picture of my brother's and me. I'm sure it'll be hard to pick me out, even if you weren't just guessing based solely on coolest shirt. That shirt is sweet and looks even better with a pair of black and white wing tips. Fucking sweet, seriously. And by that I mean the good looking guy on the left.

Anyway, I'm number five in order of birth, which I'm certain adds its own little spice to the stew. I got four brothers worth of class ring stones to the top of the head. My parents almost seem to have had us two at a time up till the last brother. The four oldest brothers almost seemed to leave home in pairs, then suddenly I was the oldest brother at home for a while. At some point I was gone, and soon after it seemed that number six was out of the house. Number seven had his very own experience I imagine getting to be almost an only child after years of being the baby, and now he's having a baby, with his wife of course, who will also be doing the hardest part, but anyway.

Assuming that they do bear the girl child they expect and it's not just hiding some features, I'll will be the one brother with no daughters. So we can add that to the differences between me and them. There are two other boy child grand children including my own. There are two new girls just in the last year bringing the number of girls in a family that was heavily male for many years to dwarf somewhat the number of guys. It would almost make me believe in karma for the sake of my mother.

Sadly, I don't think the picture as it appears in this post really does justice to the amount of red eye in that picture. It gives a real demonic coming-at-you sort of thing. That was going to be half the point of this post, but what are ya' gonna do?

word to whomever

Oh the things you can learn when you not only have a word of the day show up in Bloglines but you are also willing to do a little searching in the interest of the blog! This did indeed start out with a word of the day which I happen to get from wordsmith.org.

Today's word is speculum. Of course we all know it as that thing that looks like pure hell to those of us that haven't had one inserted, and to those others, we'll call them women. But there are other kinds of speculums, the fear of which we can all feel even if we never really feel the real specimen. Speculums are generally understood to be used to open up the gals to give the doctor a peek into the undercarriage, but they also come in rectal varieties, an orifice we all share. And what about the eyes, because they aren't getting out so easy.

But why restrict the speculum to such unpleasantness? Can there be other kinds of speculums that aren't so . . .so . . .ohmygodareyouserious?

Here's a pretty speculum, the legousia speculum. Isn't it pretty?

Would you like another? Did you know that the bright spot on a duck's wing is also called a speculum? Now what's prettier than a duck? Well, shit, honestly, that's an easy question, but a duck is prettier than a medical orifice-opener not matter how you look at it, unless you like medical devices.

Okay, we'll end with the mushroom. Yes, the following is an entoloma speculum. Mushrooms can be pretty even if we shouldn't eat them. There's a special something behind any mushrooms, but I'm not going into that. Okay, I imagine fairy families living inside of or underneath whenever it's been a little moist out and the crazy mushrooms start showing up.

And look, I give you all this without an actual picture of any of the uncomfortable kind. You really should thank me for this. Seriously!

time to rock out

Anyone familiar with the devil that is Myspace is most likely also familiar with those stupid surveys that sometimes get to float around. They're usually obnoxious, a list of the most inane questions ever devised by the ninth grade mind. I won't attempt here to replicate the inanity of the questions, but most of us can well imagine, I'm quite sure, without ever having to see them.

A friend of mine often fills them out, answering some questions seriously, and answering many with snark such as, "smash you in your face" for a question like, "what did you do this morning" or "satan" as an answer to "who did you talk to last."

This same friend was nice enough to answer a question today with "Too Young to Fall in Love," that great Motley Crue song that I'm quite certain we all love AND adore. Since he was nice enough to get that song playing nonstop through my head today, I decided that everyone needs that song playing through their head today. When I say "everyone" I certainly don't mean to suggest I have that many readers, but both of you reading this will have to do.

I search YouTube so you don't have to. So without further ado, Motley Crue . . .

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mr. Happy Pants

Every year I put jeans on my Christmas list. Perhaps everyone in my family thinks I'm joking, but I'm not now nor have I ever. My side of the family, because there are so many of us, draws names for Christmas gifts, and very often we will include big ticket items that we know better than to expect and sometimes silly and/or frivolous items. So there is a chance that no one took my jeans request seriously.

On a side note, I switched from briefs to boxers due to a joking addition to a Christmas list many years ago. Brother number two added boxers to my list, and someone included a pair in that year's gifts. I immediately fell in love with the semi-free swing that the boxers provided. I flirted briefly with going commando, but the seam in the seat of my pants tended to chafe the area above my butt crack, so that ended quickly.

This was the year that my jeans wish was answered. I got two pair of jeans for Christmas making me the proud owner of four whole pairs of jeans, possibly more pants than I've ever owned in my life.

As a final addition to a story that sucked before ever being turned into electrons I will discuss quickly the laundering-the-new-jeans incident. When I washed my new jeans I included a pair of khaki corduroys that The Boy's ankles stick out of. They are still khaki but with a decidely bluish tint. One would think I'd have known better than to wash those with my new extremely dark jeans. One would think that.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

thanks dude I hadn't heard of

Sometimes you just shouldn't look. Once or twice a day I like to check the Statcounter to see how many hits I'm getting at ye ol' blog. It's an ego thing to be sure, and low double digits isn't fucking helping one bit. I'm not ever going to see the Google ad thingy pay off at this rate.

One thing I am getting though is random searches, which I've mentioned before, as well as visits from other blogs, though how they jump to me from them I've yet to figure out most of the time. This story isn't about any of that. This story is about the new menace that I didn't know I should be scared of.

There are plenty of fears in life. I've tossed my cookies plenty of times, so plain old vomiting isn't really something that gives me the quakes. Shit, I had a Waffle House chicken sandwich come out my nose once in the bathroom of that very same Waffle House in which I'd eaten the chicken sandwich too few minutes afterward. I've had a milkshake and blueberry muffin come back up so quickly that, not only did it taste kind of nice but it was also still cool. Considering most vomit, cool and blueberry flavored is a lot nicer than it might sound.

Did you know that you could vomit poop? Yes indeed, and now I have a new thing to be scared of. Wikipedia link HERE and the blog at which I discovered this abomination HERE. The blog looks kind of interesting, and if it weren't time to go do dishes and cook supper I'd likely read more. I probably will later, and you are welcome to now.

just a note

To the person I ran across in Statcounter that searched "how many Goody's powders are you supposed to take?" I have an answer, though you may not like it.

Answer: Read the box jackass!

Monday, January 08, 2007

going nowhere

Today was going to be the day. Fresh back from Atlanta, my Christmas celebrations all over for another year, I was going to get all kinds of resolute and do some serious making myself a better and more productive person.

I didn't touch my Bloglines the whole time we were out of town. I did check my email a couple of times and even checked Myspace a couple of times. Today has so far been clicking through all the feeds, catching up on my internet homies, feeding the boys and now posting to ye ol' blog.

I'm going to pretend I have something to write for a few minutes while bumping around the back of my head are thoughts of the tasks I need to complete for the day. These include finishing washing and folding and putting away some laundry, emptying and refilling the dishwasher and most important of all, having supper cooked in time for Momma to rush in from work and eat just in time for us to rush a little south for derby practice.

The dishes and supper part will definitely happen as the whole day will suck if we don't have supper in us in time. Momma doesn't always get a chance to eat well at work, and she really needs some fuel in her belly before hustling round the rink, so not finishing that task isn't an option. Besides, I'm making a stir fry, and if there's any easier cooking than that then I haven't found it. Meals in a box don't count as I don't consider meals geared toward expediency over quality to be real cooking. I'm not against expediency, and there are certainly times for that, but Momma and the whole fuel thing are more important than speed of preparation.

I have some sort of post about the family rumbling around with those other thoughts, but it's all about angles, and I don't know that I've found one I like. The best angle would be one that makes for interesting reading while giving me a view that helps me think through whatever it is I'm thinking through. For all the ways we are different, I really love my family. And though most of them will likely never read what I write here, they still deserve some modicum of respect.

The boys are eating lunch and watching cartoons. I need to get them to do some cleaning, but that isn't a fight I really feel like having right now. They hate cleaning as much as anyone, and no amount of threating to put their toys up for a while seems to work, though if I actually start the cleaning, they tend to realize that I really will take toys away and will start, with moaning and bitching, to do the work themselves. Again, though, it's not a fight I'm really into today.

So that may or may not be my day. We are getting something a lot like snow falling from the sky, but it's melting on the ground and just making for wet misery. I'm fine with it melting because I hate snow. It may be fun for some, but for me it's just cold, wet hell that happens to be pretty in a sense.

I finally feel that I've rambled enough for now. There will likely be some other mindless commentary later in the day, but for now I'm going to check my newest feeds, read about some homeschoolers and wander around the house looking at the chores I'm not doing. The kitchen stuff will get put off till 4:00 when NPR can keep me company while I hack my way through a pile of vegetables and pork, steam some rice and dump soy sauce over it all in the hopes that what is mostly healthy will be slightly tasty. So until then . . .

back for more

I had a lovely weekend in Atlanta. Thanks for asking.

Now that I'm back, I'm going to start with, did you guess rant?

I didn't notice this myself. Momma has a lap full of receipts from our trip. She's going through and separating the credit card purchases from those made with real money and the debit card. We ate better than we should have and likely tipped better than tray-in-the-face-girl deserved. She was kinda cute though in a nerdy-glasses-girl kind of way, though she's certainly no Momma.

Perhaps you are familiar with Walgreens, popular drug/convenience store. I am of course as I often drive past them, though I don't generally need their services. I buy my smokes at the grocery store while buying my regular groceries. There's a special feeling I get (used to get) when I purchase diapers, beer and cigarettes, but that's not the point. I needed cigarettes, and they were convenient.

At the top of the receipt from Walgreens is the following statement: Hello, my name is "cashier/worker drone's name." Thank you for allowing me to serve you today.

First, I'll give you Momma's answer which is, "How demeaning."

I have to agree. That's one of those problems-with-America kinds of things. I didn't allow worker drone to serve me. She was there, and I needed a pack of smokes. Her job is not to serve me or even to be allowed to serve me. Her job is to sell me products that I would like to purchase. I didn't let her do her job. She needs income and helping Walgreens sell products is how she earns that income. I'm happier when they're polite about, but in the end, as long as I get the smokes and get the fuck out, I really don't give two inches worth of shit.

How demeaning indeed, as if her life begins and ends with the customer. Fuck that!

Friday, January 05, 2007

gone baby gone

We are off! Actually, we are almost ready to set off. We are driving a little south to spend the weekend with my family and celebrate a slightly later than most Christmas. The car is nearly packed, the boy's are dressed and even have shoes on. We have a few errands to run, and then it's I-75 southbound.

I'm not likely to post anything for a couple of days or so, though I will try at least to check my email. What good that does anyone who happens to read this I don't know, nor do I much care, 'cause I'm an ass like that.

Be good, and remember that Jesus loves you in those tight pants.

required reading blog

This is a post I've meant to write for sometime. I forget how I first came across Zeyad and his blog Healing Iraq, but I immediately stuck him in my Bloglines. I was interested in hearing from an actual honest to god Iraqi because I know that the news we get in the US, regardless of the source, is going to be somewhat skewed. Even when we get news that doesn't have a bias toward a political party, I have to assume that we in the US still aren't getting a real picture of what life in Iraq is really like right now.

His stories don't all involve the hell that certain areas are seeing, though one can easily find those stories in some of his links. More than anything, and most importantly for me, it's a window into a world that so many of us will never see, but decisions supposedly made on our behalf and by our president are having a profound and often horrible impact on many people.

Every time I read a new post I think that I really need to try to share this guy's blog. It's not like I get many hits or can share this with a noticeable audience, but all things considered, it can't hurt for more of us in the US to know the truth.

It's definitely worth clicking over. Give yourself the time to peruse the site, though I'd warn against getting into the comments. Too often they are the same few people arguing back and forth, each one convinced that his or her narrow view of the situation is the only right one. I suppose the comment section may be a good example of the kind of problems that are festering in Iraq but with electrons instead of guns.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

simply put derby basics

In a comment on my most recent post, Gem asks what the point of roller derby is. In a sense it's a race between the teams fastest girls while the rest of the team runs interference. That's a very simplistic description that doesn't do justice to the game, but it's a quick and pithy way to put it.

A roller derby match is made up of three twenty minute periods. The periods are separated into jams which can be up to two minutes long. The number of jams in a period depends entirely on the teams involved and on how each individual jam plays out.

Each team has five players on the track for each jam assuming that none of the players are in the penalty area. Those five players include a pivot, three blockers and a jammer. The pivot can also be thought of as the lead blocker while the jammer is the person that scores the points for the team. The pivot is the skater with the stripe on her helmet while the jammer is the skater with the star.

At the start of the jam the blockers are in a pack, pivots in front, with the jammers some distance behind. The jam begins at the ref's whistle at which point the pack begins moving. When the rear most blockers reach the point where the pivots began, the ref blows a double blast on the whistle which is the signal for the jammers to begin.

The blockers must stay in a pack and will move at a moderate speed around the track. The jammers must skate through the pack and then lap the pack before scoring begins. On her second and subsequent trips through the pack, the jammer scores points for each opposing blocker that she passes legally, and by legally, she must remain in bounds and not perform any illegal blocks. The blockers' job is to impede the progress of the jammer and knock her silly if possible.

On the first pass through the pack, the first jammer to legally make it through the pack becomes the lead jammer. She may call off the jam at any time after she begins scoring which just means that the jams ends and no more points can be scored by either team until the next jam. If neither jammer becomes the lead jammer, the jam will last a full two minutes. The lead jammer may elect to skate the full two minutes or may call off the jam by placing her hands on her hips.

The game may look like nothing more than a bunch of crazy bitches with a grudge and a death wish. Even after I understood the rules I was unable to make sense of the jams for some time. Over time, as I've watched and grown more in love with the sport, I've finally come to a point where it makes sense mostly. I still have a hell of a time trying to score jams. Many people do, and for this reason, there are jam refs. They are on the inside of the track and skate alongside the jammer, pointing at the jammer they are watching and keeping track of points accumulated by their jammer. If there is a lead jammer, her ref will hold his or her non pointing hand in the air to indicate lead jammer status. There are other refs who watch the packs and jammers looking for rule infractions.

There are indeed rules, though many people may assume there are not. The rules pertain in large part to blocking techniques and tend to try to put a modicum of safety on an inherently dangerous sport. I would wager that my brief synopsis is enough for most people. However I will give a couple of links to help out any prospective roller derby fans or hopeful skaters. If you want a more in depth version of the rules, look HERE. If you want to get involved in derby you can either check online for a local league or look HERE and scroll down for a listing.

roller derby video excitement

This is a video put together by Rollergirl extraordinaire Beverly Killbilly who is also one of Momma's teammates. It's a quick look at the first inter league bout of the Hard Knox Rollergirls featuring Momma's team, the Machine Gun Kellys versus the Black Bettys. Sadly, the Bettys took the win, and I'd love to say they didn't deserve it, but I can't honestly do that. I can say with total honesty that I'm proud of every single girl regardless of the team.

According to Momma, Killbilly has more video that the is working on, and I really look forward to seeing what else she puts together.

We are currently in the middle of a break from derby which both Momma and I had once looked forward to. However, the lack of exercise has started to tell on her in her knees. I believe she is itching to get back to practice and bouting as well as just the exercise. I didn't realize till watching this video how much I was missing the action. I think that as soon as I post this I'm going to go back and watch it again.

Momma's team is in black and purple. The Bettys are in red. I'd tell you to find Momma by looking for the hot girl, but they're all hot. So look for the hot girl with the skull face.

squeeze it out

Instead of doing any of the housework or trip prep I should be doing, I'm sitting here squeezing out a post about how I'm not doing those things. Momma even left me a list of things to do, and I have done one of those things.

Actually, Momma's list is things she planned to do, but I felt bad for her having to do things that the one of us not employed outside the home should be doing. So I told her I'd do them. She insisted that she would do them, but that didn't happen. She intended to do those things, but something else happened instead, possibly internet related.

I have a couple of baskets worth of clothes to fold. I need to clean the bathroom which now also includes sweeping up a certain Big Brother's hair. I have several garage trips worth of recycling to carry out, though the driving to the recycling center won't be happening today. I need to decide what clothes the boys and I are taking to Atlanta for our final Christmas celebration. I'm sure there are other things on the list, but I've left it in the kitchen and am not getting up just to be slightly more accurate in the blog post that is wasting my time.

I'm almost certain I'll come up with some other random tidbits of nonsense to post about before radio silence begins for a couple of days. I won't be posting from Atlanta I'm quite certain, and I'm also certain that, given my random silences in the past no one will even notice. I'll be gone just long enough for my meager page view stats to be a little more meager.

So, this isn't quite good bye yet. Hell, it's not anything but wasting time, and that's what I'm good at.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

two boys eating

Here are more pictures, playing with the camera and showing off my kids. Momma makes sushi for a living, so it's only natural that our boys have been eating sushi for quite a while. I personally don't care for most sushi. I don't like the seaweed at all, and I have some texture issues with most raw fish even though I can enjoy the flavor of a lot of it. I've always been a little iffy with fish/seafood, so it's no surprise that I'd be even more iffy about the sushi.

So far we haven't found any sushi that the boys will not eat. Big Brother's favorite seems to be the spider roll which is made with a fried whole soft shell crab. They were both disappointed when, after thinking they were getting oysters for New Year's Eve, they learned that the oysters hadn't come in. When asked for suggestions, Big Brother usually chooses the spider roll as well as octopus sashimi. They had those for NYE as well as eel and possibly some squid sashimi. I will eat the squid, though I need it to be cooked.

I'm not quite sure what all is on the plate in the picture. There are two different kinds of seaweed salad, possibly some of the spider roll as well as a house roll containing a fried shrimp and topped with roe. Yes, the boys both enjoy fish roe. The one time I tried roe I had to spit it out and scrape my tongue before dry heaving for a while. Big Brother's sushi glasses I'm pretty sure are a tuna maki with green onions and sesame seeds. The Boy is posing with ginger hanging out of his mouth. You can't show some kids a camera without them showing you their best side.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

not turning away

From a blog I'd not heard of before, Oh For the Love of God, via Zero Boss comes a story of one person losing their religion. I can fully agree with the blogger's points on becoming atheist/agnostic. Once I started to question the beliefs I'd been taught as a child, it was like kicking off the brakes and taking the car out of gear on a steep hill. I suppose my hill wasn't so steep at the beginning, or maybe the car just took a few years to reach a decent speed.

Christians especially like to see disbelief as a sort of moral failing. The Bible even mentions it as such and discusses people who have hardened their hearts toward god. That's rarely the case in my experience. I have no doubt that there are people who don't disbelieve but have anger toward the god they feel has wronged them.

My own atheism is probably an example similar to the growing disbelief of many people. I didn't turn away from god nor did I grow unhappy with the religious restrictions. I did start to question, and I found all too often that the answers to those questions just weren't good enough. How unsatisfying is it to hear "because I said so" as a child when we question our parents? How much more so from a religious leader in lieu of an actual answer from a caring god?

Monday, January 01, 2007

file under not sure

I'm not sure what to make of this story. There's enough of a conspiracy theory buff inside me to want to read all sorts of interesting possibilities into it, but given the scarcity of information, one can only assume and hope.

Are we alone on our bright blue jewel of a planet, hurtling through space never to meet other intelligent species from other planets? Do we have some first contact with an alien race to look forward to? I want to believe that we are not alone, whether or not that alien species involves sexy green women waiting to make it with a slightly pudgy overacting ship's captain.

In November of '06, several employees at O'Hare airport in Chicago spied a UFO. What they claim to have seen was a metallic disc that hovered over the airport for several minutes before taking off. They also claimed that, rather than move through the clouds as would be expected, it left a large doughnut shaped hole in the clouds.

I heard this story on NPR and had to immediately go and find what information I could. Sadly, there isn't much more to learn. I'll provide a list of links to what I did find for those inclined to read up on this instance.

Links to the story at NPR, National UFO Reporting Center (scroll down to December 12,) Washington Post, sighting report from NUFORC as well as another report concerning a similar sighting in the UK.

Part of me has absolutely no doubt that we will eventually meet our interstellar neighbors. Perhaps they won't be as exotic as Star Trek and its lesser cousin Star Wars would have us believe, but considering the varied environments that have proven able to support life, we can only imagine what those lifeforms will look like. Evolution and random planetary environments will certainly manifest themselves differently based on planetary environments, so we have only our imagination to inform us.

A more cynical part of me thinks that we just might be alone, that we will never meet and make sweet love to hot aliens chics. That part seems pretty damn closed minded to assume that the happenstance that put us here couldn't just as easily have put someone else somewhere else. So I'm left believing that there is intelligent life out there, and with our luck as humans, we've probably already pissed them off.

dear Sunspot

I used to really love you. I never intended to start the new year ranting, but last night's dinner at your once beloved restaurant, coupled with the fact that you've taken the portabella fries off the menu has left me wanting.

Do your cooks know what it means to break a cream sauce? I should have sent the overly salty, greasy mess back, but we'd already waited too long in your almost empty dining room, I felt like shit, and I was hungry. I'm not sure when I'll be back.

Seriously, it's really easy to break a cream sauce, but if you have even the tiniest bit of cooking skill, it's really easy to do it right and not break it.

For anyone unfamiliar, breaking a cream sauce happens because you've cooked it too long. The cream itself separates leaving a horrid greasy pool in the bottom of your dish. It's very unappetizing and very unprofessional. People who serve this kind of crap should be led away from the kitchen and asked kindly to go clean something as they obviously don't belong in the kitchen.

Big Brother ordered the artichoke piccata which was mostly good, but you overcooked the pasta. This we couldn't have sent back without having to order something else entirely, and again, you made us wait forever already; we just wanted to eat and leave at this point. Seriously, how the hell do you overcook pasta?

The Boy order the tilapia, served over grits with a corn heavy cream sauce studded with crawfish. It's a really great dish and was actually well cooked. Tilapia is easy to fuck up as it's a very light and tender fish, but this is the one thing you did get right.

As to my complaint about the portabella fries, the person who decided to take this off the menu is a fucking idiot and should be beaten about the head with a sock filled with onions. Thinly sliced portabella mushrooms in a light batter fried and served with a red pepper aioli. The first taste of these I had, quite a few years ago, was like an epiphany. Working at other restaurants, I have actually made these for myself, though the aioli became a red pepper ranch because I'm a little on the lazy side, and I needed to get back to work.

So, once dear Sunspot, you've really done it. Your cooks working 12/31/06 fucked up a really good meal. You weren't at all busy at the time, so you don't have that as an excuse, and even if you had been busy, to excuse your inability to cook properly suggests that you belong in another job. I've enjoyed a lot of meals at your restaurant, and I've always looked forward to it. But the grease sitting in my stomach says I might try some other restaurant next time.

Seriously, your cooks broke the cream, had to see the orange greasy crap and thought it would be okay to serve it anyway. I'm somewhat to blame for not sending it back, but as I've mentioned, we had already waited longer than we should. I also had my kids with me, and when you bring your kids, you often don't have the luxury of time to make the restaurant get it right. That shouldn't be my problem though. What kind of fucks serve this shit? I'd have been ashamed of myself if I sent out that crap, but that's not a problem I have in the kitchen. I would never have put that out.

first post of '07

No one is really certain when Hank Williams died. He was placed in the back seat of a Cadillac on New Years Eve 1952, given a shot of vitamins and morphine and was one his way, driving to a show in Ohio. He never made it, his young chauffeur noticing that he had died when they stopped in West Virginia. That was around three in the morning, new year's day.

Hank had a number of problems throughout his life, and like many great artists, much of what he endured could be said to be somewhat his own fault. That morphine didn't do itself.

It's impossible to accurately judge the far reaching effects of Hank Williams' few short years. His songs, over fifty years later, still have a power that few singers and/or songwriters can claim. He's moved more people than Greyhound buses.

My first post of the new year is a video of Hank doing Cold, Cold Heart. I really wanted to find a video of his song Never Get Out Of This World Alive, his very last hit. None of us are going to make it out alive, but it has a special poignancy that Hank's last hit was followed by his leaving us. At least he finally quit hurting.