Sunday, July 29, 2007

in which my lonliness is revealed

I don't quite know what to think about this. It's Christine's fault that I even went to the damn Blogthings in the first place, and though I did take the finger quiz, it ended up giving me one of the lesser digits, so I opted not to post about that. I decided instead to find out what kind of friend I am, and you see below how I faired. Commentary to follow, so go ahead and read about what an asshole I am and what I think about that.

You Are Not a Good Friend

There is nothing that makes you a good friend.
You're way too self centered and down right mean to be a true friend to anyone.

Though you may occasionally enjoy the company of others, you don't truly value it.
You treat your friends like dirt, and you're lucky that they stick around at all.

Try to give back a little in your friendships, and stop always thinking of your own needs.
If you don't, you may find yourself a very lonely person in the future.

Your friends need you most when: They are bored or lonely

You really can't be friends with: Anyone, at least, not until you change

Your friendship quote: "One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life."

I really don't know what to think about this. I'm not overly fond of people, finding most people to be weird, and they make me uncomfortable because they're probably standing there looking at me and thinking I'm weird.

Based on the questions and my answers, I really think I would make a decent friend. And even the criticism above seems, when I read it, to indicate that, as a friend, I'm above offering good feelings for the sake of likability, a trait I would think necessary to true friendship. There's also a lot of hatefulness reserved for those the quiz deems bad friends.

So, friends need each other most when they are bored or lonely, or so the quiz would have us believe. I'll give you a little lonely, but if I'm your friend because I keep you from being bored, then I don't really give a shit. I'm not entertainment. And honestly, if you're going to be lonely, can you at least do it over thereish a little?

Of course if you are hanging out with me and are bored, you must not be paying attention. I'm the life of the fucking party. I'm the dude in the front of the conga line, shaking my hips and doing that frontal parts thrust. People love me because I so fucking bring it.

Maybe this should be the new meme. Everyone that reads this has to go to Blogthings and take quizzes until they find one that's very unflattering. I trust you to all be honest, because I'm sure anyone reading here would only get the best scores from an internet thingy that tells you how much like something you are based on some questions assumed to be loaded with meaning and weightiness, and I'm quite certain my readers will have to take a number of quizzes before they find any negatives about themselves. Then comment with a link to your post about it or something suitable. We'll create world peace by collecting and celebrating our individual failings.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

questionable meme

Thanks to Doc for this lovely meme, and I'm going to attempt to more fully participate in this one. See the end of the post for the rules.

1. Is it REALLY a sport, or is it just the girl on girl action you like?

Getting the girl on girl part out of the way first, I've never really been more or less turned on by homosexual activity from either gender than the same activity with non gay people. I am amused that so many guys can imagine lesbian sex as somehow more hot than gay male sex or as if lesbians are just hanging out, making out on the street corners and in restaurant booths, just waiting for straight guys to come and add to the action. But that's just me.

Now, the roller derby question, which maybe should get it's own post. I never expected to give a square shit about derby in the beginning. Honestly, I kind of hoped, when Momma went to that first practice, to check it out, that she would not be back, and whatever this derby thing was would not add to the time we didn't see her. I couldn't have ever guessed that the thing I thought so poorly of would be such a great thing for us. Momma, the boys, and even I have met and become friends with a bunch of great people. It's almost like we found a church that fits.

And yes, it is a sport. There is some amount of spectacle inherent, I think, in any sport that is begun basically by and for women. Spectacle is a part of derby, but the sport is real. I can't impress upon people enough that you really should google roller derby and your city/town/state. Find a league and attend a bout, scream "HELP YOUR JAMMER", buy a tshirt.

2. Did you imagine the reversal of traditional roles prior to having children, or did it just evolve that way?
The role reversal came about because Momma was presented with an opportunity. She had a better job than I did, and she was offered a promotion and a raise. We both worked in restaurants, as we had for many years, and since becoming parents, we had set up our schedules so that one of us worked days while the other worked nights. Momma needed broader availability and would work more hours, and it just made sense that I quit working to give her this chance.

We've always believed that the old fashioned idea of one bread winning parent and one bread baking parent was a sound model, but we also never bothered with traditional gender roles. Being older and more experienced as a cook, I sort of assumed I would be in the front in terms of promotions, but it turned out different. Presented with the chance, we took it.

3. Did everyone tell you that you were "too young" to get married and have kids? (God, you're still too young!)
We didn't really get married and have kids so much as get married when we realized we were going to have a kid to appease the Baptists on one side and the Methodists on the other, knowing they could and would do the math, though it was the Baptists on my side that we were able to tell of the pregnancy before the wedding plans.

The civic part of marriage is such that it makes sense for a couple to marry in order to have children or to marry should they find themselves in a family way. It also speaks of our knowledge of sex that we weren't protecting ourselves better at a time when we were not planning on having children, and this presents a good chance to remind everyone, pulling out is not birth control. So in answer to the actual question, no, because they never really got the chance.

4. Is anyone surprised that you two are still doing well and raising great kids?
People kind of seem surprised, maybe, but I'd say it's more to do with just who we are. We don't really look like a typical family, but I think that people that get past superficial ideas about who we ought to be tend to understand that we're normal people mostly.

5. Who's your favorite author?
This might be the hardest question to answer. I really love Mark Helprin, writing that is both beautiful and captivating. I also love writers that show us a peek into a different time, like Thomas Hardy or Mark Twain. I enjoy reading Julia Child's cookbooks, often not for the recipes. Another food writer I enjoy is Elizabeth David, a few recipes but lots of writing about food. I'd be wrong not to somehow fit Douglas Adams in here. Of all the science fiction I've ever read, his has opened up my thinking even beyond terms of sci fi. That doesn't really narrow down to a favorite, and that also doesn't even come close to all the writers I enjoy. I guess I just can't come up with one favorite.

The Rules of the Meme:
1. Leave me a comment saying anything random, like [the food you hate most in all the world]. Something random. Whatever you like.
2. I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better.
3. You will update your [blog] with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to ask someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be asked, you will ask them five questions.

Now get to it, and make sure I can find your blog, because I'm not knocking myself out if you can't give me a link.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


This is a meme I've seen around here and there, and it's not nearly as difficult or soul bearing as that dirty Eight Things meme that floats around getting people in trouble. This is the Five Restaurants meme wherein you list and discuss your five favorite restaurants.

Apparently there are rules, link to the person who tagged you, tag other people, list the rules, blah, blah, blah. I'm not doing most of those things, but I will point out that, though she didn't individually tag people, Frankie did the umbrella tag of all her readers. I may or may not tag individuals at the end of this.

I should also admit that we haven't done much eating out lately, at least not the kind that happens in restaurants. There were a couple of places in Nashville, think corporate giants like IHOP, and I just never really want to go to places like that. It wasn't as bad as the White Castle on the way to Idiotapolis where Momma asked, "If I'm eating this, why am I not drunk?"

1. Senor Taco takes top honors for my favorite Mexican restaurant. It's not only owned and run by real live Mexicans, but the mass of diners are also Mexican. From my very first trip to Senor Taco, that Mexican people were eating there was a good sign. The food is good and the X's on the salsa bar are not to be ignored. Yeah they have a salsa bar with six to eight salsas among other things to roundout the food your way.

2. Tomato Head is always good. They were one of the very first (if not the very first) local restaurants to voluntarily institute a no smoking policy, a policy which extends to their patio, and they've never hurt for business. Tomato Head has pizza, salads and sandwiches, and they make absolutely everything from scratch. They bake the bread for their sandwiches even. They offer really good vegetarian offerings which impresses me, and I'm a proud omnivore. The food is sort of on the light side but filling. They have a fair selection of beers and wine.

3. Cha-Chas would get us in trouble if we ever hit the Powerball. Momma and I could easily spend an entire evening after evening after evening over drinks and tapas. I had some of the very best calamari ever at Cha-Chas, and Momma still raves about the mushroom risotto. The price can mount quickly if one forgets to pay attention to such details, but it's hard not to have a great time there. Their beer selection could be better, but they do have a full bar, and a good mojito chases tapas down beautifully.

4. Sunspot has great vegetarian offerings as well as great omniverous fare. The food is generally good and mostly original. I love their burger which is actually nothing special except that it's always cooked pretty much right, something few places can really manage which is sad really. Though I don't usually eat fish, the tilapia is fucking sweet, seared and served over grits with cream sauce, lovely little crawfish frolicking about.

5. I've pondered number five for a while. There's Patrick Sullivans for bloody marys and brunch. There's Urban Bar for hot wings and the patio. There's La Costa who has the best mojitos but a randomness in terms of food quality as well as a bit of confusion as to direction. There's Stir Fry, though we haven't even gotten take out from there in so long I nearly forgot them. Or then how about Downtown Grill and Brewery? The brewer always makes good beer, but the food is like whoever created the menu threw a hand full of corporate restaurant menus into the air and shot them with a shot gun and then created a standard recipe for whichever items had the most shot go through them. I should also point out at some point that I also love Cracker Barrel for breakfast, whatever time it is.

So number five is vague shout outs with no clear winner. Now I really want to go out to eat at pretty much any of these places, though a few are more appropriate for all night babysitter nights, which don't happen all too often. I'm debating tagging people, but I'm not too sure who I'd burden with this meme. So why wait for a tag? Just do it. Tell us where you like to eat.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

our HP news

Everyone has their new-Harry-Potter-book story. We have our own Harry Potter thing happening. Big Brother, it seems at least annually, rereads the series, having done so fairly recently. The Boy's bed time reading for the past while has been Harry Potter, the first chapter book he's really wanted to come back to from one night to the next. We've gone through The Sorcerer's Stone and are into The Chamber of Secrets up to the preliminary plans for the polyjuice potion. And Big Brother has been showing up to listen in while we read to The Boy.

Momma and Big Brother did the late night standing in line for a voucher and then getting to get the actual book, and I can't find the book right now. I was curious to find out how far into the book he's read, Big Brother getting first crack at this one, but I can't find the book anywhere in the house. I just wanted to look where his bookmark is, but no such luck.

I'm currently around halfway through The Goblet of Fire, though I happened to start the series at the end, having reread The Halfblood Prince a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to catch back up on the series, so I read what was then the last book so far, and something possessed me, a certain spirit of Harry that has me wandering backward through the series.

On top of all that, we took the boys to see the new movie today. Momma and I both agree that the movies should have been done as a miniseries, a series of miniseries. It's become increasingly impossible to fit the entire story into just under three hours as the series has progressed, and the movies have, in my opinion, failed to live up the standards of the books. I keep enjoying the movies mostly, but I also keep wanting to read the books instead once I've seen the movie.

I'm absolutely enmeshed in Harry Potter these days, but I'm not complaining. I've loved all the books, and I'm really looking forward to the end of the story. The chore is going to keep Big Brother from blabbing accidentally, though I think he understands the theory behind not being the spoiler. I am getting tired of the jumping around though, personally rereading the series in reverse, alongside reading the series to The Boy from the beginning, coupled with waiting for my turn to read the series end, and I don't know if I can take it.

Friday, July 20, 2007


I've always loved a rainbow. I don't know that there's anyone so cynical and jaded that they can't appreciate something so simple as the splitting of light in the air. Go take a look at Frankie's rainbow picture. It's beautiful.

that famous guy

I haven't posted about soccer in a while, but I've been regularly catching the one game I know I'll see each week, whatever MLS game ESPN2 bothers to air Thursdays. Tonight it was the MLS all stars versus Scotland's Celtic FC. MLS won the game on a couple of goalie embarassing shots that were fun to watch.

One complaint I have for ESPN, in addition to my usual complaint about their inability to do soccer justice, is that I do believe they showed more shots of David Beckham smiling than they showed actual soccer footage. It's nice he's here and all, but they couldn't have kissed his ass any more if they'd hired an ass kissing adviser. They not only had a huge welcome the America special that I didn't watch when his plane landed, but they also had a big half time interview with him tonight, once again, which I didn't watch.

Okay, I might have watched the interview tonight, but Momma was trying to get The Boy in bed, and it was really the best time for me to run to the store for our nightly beer and cigarettes. I may have watched it otherwise, but might have barely counts.

What I did watch was the Bravo show that his wife did about coming to America to get ready for her ol' man and kids to move over. She has to buy a house and do some other stuff, and I'm afraid to admit that I kind of enjoyed it. I don't know what happened for that hour and a half, but I giggled with her as much as at her. Regardless, she has to get ready for the family, and I doubt I'll see the next episode.

I can't say I really give a shit about the Beckhams. I still think MLS could have gotten a shit ton of Clint Dempsey's for the same money, but what the hell do I know? I wish them well, and I hope America's habit of buying the next-big-thing helps soccer in the US in general. But I also have to admit that they do seem like sweethearts, and I hope we don't hurt them too much.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

eight more things

Rosie tagged me to spill my guts for you and admit to eight random things that you don't yet know. I can't really be sure what you do or don't know about me, and I'm not rereading things I may have admitted to since I began writing this blog. If nothing else though, this meme can prove that I'm not a one track roller derby minded freak, regardless of how it might sound in recent posts.

1. I can find something in almost any genre of music, outside of any orchestral music that involves singing which irritates the shit out of me, that I like, from hip hop to country. In fact, the country video I posted late last night was one I stumbled on while looking for a new Ska Weekend post. How I jumped from ska to country the world may never know. Oh, and I also don't like really heavy metal with the singer growling and making his throat all itchy and raw. That too sucks.

2. In school I was usually the kid that was bored and drawing stupid pictures or drawing mustaches on the people pictured in books. I still like to draw mustaches on pictures of people.

3. Because of our drought, I haven't really HAD to mow the grass in weeks, but the yard still looks like shit and not just because of the brown. Some weird plant that almost but not quite looks like rosemary has popped up in a few places and has grow to at least waist high. And the grass in the ditch is actually growing too tall, so I really do need to mow.

4. In real life, I probably swear more than just about anyone you know. It doesn't come through so much when I write, though sometimes it almost does.

5. I hate the eight things meme because after a couple of random facts, I run out of things to say and start entertaining thoughts of being more personal than I like. For all the talking I do, I really don't care much for sharing. I don't like feelings.

6. I hate waking up in the morning a bit more than I hate waking up in the afternoon, though waking in the afternoon always makes me feel a little guilty, though I usually wake in the late morning as opposed to afternoon, or is it early afternoon?

7. I'm beginning to grow tired of smoking, but I dread the very idea of trying to quit. I've almost attempted a few times over the years, never lasting more than a few short hours.

8. I hate tagging people for memes. It's sort of a self esteem thing in a sense, like, "Who am I to think people will read this in the first place, much less want to lower themselves to do the kind of memes I do." But that's sort of an issue outside of the online world as well. It's like I don't trust myself not to seem like I suck to most people.

And there you have round two of Eight Things About Me. Hope you enjoyed it, and if you didn't enjoy it, I at least hope you can stand not to make fun of me for anything that I may have written. I'm sure it seems that by number eight I was really stretching and grasping for some reasonable way to just finish and hit the publish button, and I was, but I'd prefer you not think I was, so maybe I wasn't.

bloody mary morning

If you've ever seen anything cooler than this, you let me know, and I'll personally come to your town and kick your ass for trying to sell me that shit!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

long weekend

What a freaking time, and I have to say it was good that the boys were with us. I can only imagine the trouble we'd have gotten into without them. We successfully avoided all after parties, though we did eat a late supper at one of the places on the list of the pub crawl that ended the first night of the Honky Tonk Stomp, though there was in fact no party at this establishment when we went.

We missed everything but the two bouts Momma skated in of the first Tennessee roller derby conference, so I don't know what all happened that we just aren't aware of. Arriving late Friday night, we got the boys to sleep and wandered to a different room for a couple of beers with some other skaters. Saturday morning we visited with some Nashville friends before running late to get to the bout. I had to drop Momma off and go feed the boys fast food, which in no way helped the butt problems I suffered with over the weekend. It wasn't a major ordeal, just some minor discomfort that I could easily have done without.

Saturday night, HKRG played Memphis Roller Girls. They certainly had more fans than us, and they also had at least one fairly decent jammer, but I'm still astounded by the moves she came up with. Momma's moves are smooth and fluid, reading the pack and hitting the gas when needed. I'd say that most of our jammers skate similarly, though they do each have their own style. The jammer I'm talking about for MRD was insane. She skated like she practiced on some sort of '80's video game in which random obstacles would present themselves, a pit full of vipers perhaps or a sucking mud hole. If there'd have been a rope she'd have swung over the pack at least once. Our blockers took her down a few times though, which is always fun to see.

Halfway through the second period, The Boy insisted on being held. I didn't realize that he was asleep till he was well past waking up, so I spent about half the bout holding a sleeping four year old while screaming at the refs and yelling the word "ELBOWS, DAMMIT REF!" I really need to work on my screaming at the refs. It's not a good side of me. And my arm is still sore from holding him for so long.

One of our newest jammers got her first jammer take down against Memphis, and I actually jumped for joy. I do that sometimes, but this time I was holding a kid much too big to be held, and our heads bonked together a little bit. The jammer's husband was giddy as well, probably moreso. I can see that he's getting sucked into this roller derby too, and I can't wait to see the confidence this skater should take away from this moment.

We had a lovely pivot battle with Memphis, two long lost twins of the rink. It was definitely fun to watch those two go at it, pushing the very edge of the twenty feet rule. If you don't know, the jammer may not be engaged outside of twenty feet from the pack. This gives the jammer a chance to lap the pack, as, otherwise, a team could just send their pivot all around the rink, and the jammer would never score. As much as I love to see our pivot showing her mastery of the stall block, it really burns when it's their pivot doing nicely as well.

Sunday, Momma let me sleep in while she attempted to take the boys to breakfast. Everywhere was crowded, given the time and that it was a Sunday, so she hit the grocery store and came back to the hotel. To wake me up the rest of the way. She and the boys ate while I had some more butt problems and finally felt like eating when it was time to go.

HKRG played Nashville Sunday. We beat them not so long ago at our home, but such was not to be the case this time. I felt we played better as a team, but I think some people were taking the loss to Memphis to harshly, and I think that may have held the team back some. It's also odd that at the same time, the skaters who were on for the game wear totally on and worked really well together. It was still an awesome bout, but again, I have to say my yellling problem, in retrospect, is kind of embarassing. I'd do a lot better cheering as opposed to getting so pissed off at the refs. I do have a post in the back of my brain about this exact sort of thing I do. I'm not sure which direction I'll find myself going, but it's a problem most readers here don't see. But I'll have to remember to talk to you bout it.

Sunday, after the bout we ended up driving south to the farm home of the parent of one of our skaters and hanging out with her and her hsuband and kids. Big Brother got to ride the four wheeler once before the skater's mother decided she couldn't sleep, and we wondered why she was going to bed so early? It was between nine and ten I think, but we didn't set the clock in the car when we entered the central time zone, so all the way down to the farm, nearly an hour drive, I was convinced that it was an hour later than it really was, even though I was also constantly being reminded that it wasn't that late. I should have set the clock now that I think about it because that damn think kept me fucked up all weekend.

We ate hot dogs and chips and drove back to the hotel, earlier than the clock said. We got the boys to bed, opened a beer, and heard a noise on the balcony. It was one of our refs, stuck as one of the only people at the hotel that any of us knew. I think he was happy to have someone to chat with, so we shared our beer with him until it was gone and went to bed, earlier than we had any other night.

Monday was IHOP and a visit with our friends in Nashville again. Their kids and our kids played and got mosquito bites and got dirty. Big Brother left with black toes, and both boys had gray streaked faces. We hung out until we had to leave to come back home, and there it was. Not a bad drive, and we were back to needing to wash dishes, and the trash needs to go out. But most of the toys are picked up. And that's always a good sign. Having a full day at home, we can begin to look forward to the next time we travel. Maybe we should get a baby sitter this time. It's not much farther than Nashville, and it's only one day.

back home

We, meaning mostly me and Momma, have had a few more road trips the past year than we have generally taken, and a couple of times, the boys joined us. They have all been roller derby related, and for that, I have to thank derby for yet another bonus.

I think derby has been great for the family as a whole. We've all made new friends, and Momma specifically has gotten to realize the kind of bad ass that she can be. With the announcing gig, I've gotten to put my loud mouth to some good finally.

And then there are the couple of trips we've taken, places we may not have visited otherwise, like Birmingham Alabama as well as Idiotapolis Indiana. Most recently we drove to Nashville for two days of derby and a good bit less over-the-top partying than we've become accustomed to. In trade, we got some more low key hanging out with a couple of cool people around a few cans of beer.

But no matter how lovely a trip may be, home always welcomes, even if it is a sink full of dirty dishes and recyclables overflowing from multiple surfaces.

And that's why you haven't had to read any insanity from me lately. We spent a few days in Nashville and caught up with some old friends in addition to the derby. I'll admit now that our team lost both matches that we played, and I'll probably leave it at that. Our league does have room for improvement, though our bout against Nashville actually saw most of our girls playing more as a team than they have lately. And still, no matter what the outcome, I am proud of Hard Knox.

And though this is barely a post, it's my welcome-me-back. I've got plenty to talk about, and I may even slip one of my patented crazy ass rants in somewhere. I've been tagged for a meme by one of my favorite bloggers, and though I may have done this particular one before, it's a fun one that you can likely look forward to soon.

And I can smell yet another late supper cooking in the kitchen. The kids are being slightly buttish to each other and need yet more straightening out.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

the agony

Weight on my left foot, left arm through the straps of the large blue pad, top of pad resting on shoulder, bottom of pad resting on left thigh, right foot planted solidly, extended behind me. She skates almost past, but at the last minute, without even a look at me, she strikes. I take the brunt of the hit and allow it to push me up and a little backward. That right foot is planted, and for a moment, it's the only foot in contact with the floor.

"Nice hit," I say, "You got the hip in," as she skates off, takes a lap and gets back in line.

I felt the hit as a solid line of force through the pad, top to bottom. Her last hit was more shoulder then hip, which for some girls is a more natural motion. Seeing who's coming next, I know to expect that shoulder then hip. As I'm back into my stance, it's the same thing almost, as she skates almost past, and then she does it. The shoulder starts that little lift, but the hip quickly shoves me backward, and my right foot pivot point does no good, and I stagger back a little bit.

And I woke up today feeling every bit of it. I got to help the derby girls by being a target zone, holding a blue pad and being the last of five people they hit. It was a cut back drill requiring the skaters not to skate directly at the pads but to skate straight through the line of pads and hit directly from the side. I'm sure I'm lucky that they might just have worn themselves down by the time they got to me, but I don't know that that's anymore than discussing it with the other four guys trying to pretend they got it worse.

It's a nice pain platter across my shoulder blades, and the swiveling did a little something to my hips. I'm quite sure no one was taking out any sort of grudges on me, but knowing my mouth, it's easy that just my presence on their floor was bringing back some mildly acerbic comment I may have made, some wedgie I may have caused to happen, some joke I may have carried to far. I won't say I didn't see a certain glint of something in some of the eyes as they struck at number four and looked up to see number five, me again.

Going in, I was pretty sure I knew who I'd need to worry about, but I quickly learned that there wasn't anyone I didn't need to worry about. Our heavy hitters, our veterans, certainly did the most damage, but even the freshest meat was hitting well and hitting hard. It's exciting to see this and see the kind of players these girls will be in the future.

I won't pretend that I suffered through an actual ordeal equal to a roller derby bout. I don't have rink rash or a 'gina shiner, just a little soreness in the back. It's not unlike what I'd feel after fighting off midfielders. But it did give me a little goofy kind of feeling. It's a way to help the league, something I can actually do. I can talk, as we've learned, and I can take hits.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

more dryer

An update to my bitchy post about not having a dryer, I have to admit that it never once occurred to me to wonder if I could change the cords, which I both could and did. From there I went on to wash all the laundry that needed it. It's all finally folded and sitting in baskets ready to be put away.

So, thanks to everyone for the comments. Thanks to me for having finally gotten around to that. Thank you dryer that I'm not feeling the middles of socks where they are draped over the coat hanger to see if they are dry yet.

the cake

Momma made a cake recently based on a dessert she serves where she works. The dessert is two chocolate truffles served with some fruit and some fried wontons and some coconut milk. I'm not sure what all else it may have as I've never actually had or even seen the item.

I have seen the cake. I don't know the whole story behind it, but an ex coworker celebrated a birthday recently, and coworker who is friends with the ex co asked Momma for help making a cake. I don't even know who actually came up with the idea to made cake version of this dessert, though I do know I didn't actually get any of the cake.

Something learned from this cake is that chocolate ganache does not flow evenly over the butter cream frosting that Momma used as filler to round out the top of the cake, and big chunks of fruit can hide the places at the bottom that didn't get covered when you ran out of the ganache. Ganache is basically chocolate sauce that has been melted tempered so that it produces a shiny coating on your truffles.

We do have a container of cake, but it's the leftover cake that was sawed off the sides to make the truffle shape, and there isn't any sort of frosting or icing or ganache nor even a dipping sauce of any kind, just cake bits.

Momma also made a blueberry pie which is really good. I made some whipped cream to go with it which was the entirety of my contribution. The Boy asked for pie for both breakfast and lunch today, and if there's no sushi for supper, he may well ask for pie again before much longer.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

more rockin' out

In my continuing efforts to blog about as many ska bands as I can find on YouTube that I will also soon be seeing at Ska Weekend, I present The Hits. These guys are local to me and are, in the video below, playing the Longbranch, the place that hosted our last derby after party. It's a nice little place, and they finally started taking cards, so you don't have to hit the ATM on the way.

I don't really know much about The Hits. I've missed them the few times when they've played around town that I noticed. Being old, having children, suddenly you don't get to get out and do the things that were once common, like seeing live bands.

You can check them out on their Myspace page HERE, though they currently only have one song up. The sound is good on the Myspace page, though it's really rough in the video. However, from the video you can get a feel for the energy they seem to bring, and a good ska show really hinges on the energy the band brings. They are definitely one of the bands I'll be checking out when Ska Weekend finally rolls around. So enjoy!

Friday, July 06, 2007

is that a little skull on your back?

I've tried a couple of times now to write something witty and hilarious about this picture and about roller derby in general. Crazy things happen around roller derby. Momma, the one with the skull face, is known to share some of that skull face with others, hugs and affection and craziness that are the natural fall out of roller derby. I've been known to wander around with a black dot on the tip of my nose from a quick kiss.

In the end though, it's just a great picture that speaks for itself. In the red is the lovely Sauvingnon Block, a great blocker and all around cool person. Momma you will of course recognize as the lovely young lady in black, a great jammer and all around cool person.

The skull on Sauvignon's back came from Momma in a brief meeting between the two on the rink. It was a clean hit, if a bit of an accident, that sent both to the floor. Though many people may end the night with a bit of skull on them, never has it been so perfectly imprinted as in this picture.

nerdy me

Thanks, Ron, just what I needed. Ron and Andrea at Atypical Homeschool are white and nerdy, and they may well be white and more nerdly than am I. I wouldn't think it would take much to be more nerdy than me, but that's only my desire to play down my own nerdliness. Also, I'm having trouble spelling today, but because I'm quick on the backspace, you didn't notice me write "to me bore nerdy" just a bit up there.

You are 32% white and nerdy.
How White and Nerdy Are You?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

stupid dryer

Look, a post that's not about derby, though the item in question was in fact purchased from a derby girl whose presence in the league and on the all star team is sorely missed. The young lady and her husband have left our fair city and moved out west. Their new home apparently came with washer and dryer, so they didn't need the ones they had here. Our dryer has recently gone down, so we purchased theirs.

I'm pretty sure all our dryer needs is a heating element. The motor works, and the dryer blows air, but the air isn't warm and doesn't dry the clothes. Thinking that replacing a heating element should be an easy job, I turned the dryer so that I could access its innards, pulled off the panel on back and was immediately rewarded for my efforts by frustration.

The heating element does not appear to be replaceable. It's mounted inside a metal sleeve and both appear to be welded or riveted to the machine, not what I wanted to see, and certainly not the kind of thing that a screwdriver would make quick work of.

We spent a couple of weeks washing clothes and drying them at the laundromat. That was not only eating up our time but also our quarters. The solution then was to begin hanging things. I should by now have strung up some sort of outdoor clothesline, but I haven't, so the clothes have been hanging around the house on coat hangers, towels draped over drawers, clothes hanging on the shower curtain rod, in a closet not generally used for clothes, and in doorways. Not a bad solution, if also not optimal considering the towels dry very scratchy when hung to dry.

We've had the newish dryer, the one that should work, for nearly a week. I had to spend a morning driving the unregistered and uninsured truck which preceded a busier than normal day just to get the dryer which then had to spend some time in the garage waiting for me to get it into the house. I thought I was waiting for a friend to loan me his hand truck till I realized that the thing under the refrigerator condenser thingamajig in the garage was in fact a wheeled cart that converts to a hand truck by moving the handle position. This house, mostly the garage and attic, is spotted with random items that are left from Momma's grandfather, things he didn't take when he moved and generally no longer wants or needs. I've found some extremely uninteresting and useless (to us) things over the few years we've lived here.

Upon discovering the hand truck, I realized that I could switch the two dryers and get rid of the growing pile of laundry. I was even able to get the two dryers switched without Momma even realizing what I was doing, hoping to somewhat surprise her with mounds of clean clothes. Assuming the very best outcome, I'd have had all the laundry washed dried and even put away when she came in from work. We'd have clean, soft towels again, and best of all was my plan to wash our good sheets and replace the shit sheets that are only ever on the bed between removing and washing the good sheets. The good sheets don't come off the corners making you wake up several times in the night on bare mattress. Also, when your sheet can so easily ease itself off, you may find yourself losing needed traction when things are happening in the bed, things that two grown people enjoy doing.

In somewhat of a blaze of glory, I switched the two dryers, getting as far as attaching the hose that carries that hot air and lint away. Imagine the sheer joy I felt when, leaning over the dryer looking for the outlet so that I could plug it in, I realized that the prongs on the power cord did not in any way match the outlet. I can't describe the feeling of happiness that surged within me knowing that we'd spent seventy five dollars we couldn't quite afford on a dryer that we could in no way use.

I doubt this is an issue we can resolve easily. The options involve either an electrician to make the changes to our electrical system that would allow us to use the newer dryer or finding out how to change the heating element in the older one, quite likely the option we should have taken in the first place. The deal was too good to pass up at the time, a much newer dryer at a fraction of what it would have cost new.

I'm stuck for ideas at this point. I will most likely not be doing laundry tonight, though I might just do a few loads that I can quickly dry at the laundromat in the morning. Tomorrow is our homeschool park day, so I'll need to be up early (for me) and drying clothes because I'd rather not miss seeing our friends, and the boys of course need their playing Ninja Warrior at the park day.

And as I've written this, my frustration has lessened. My anger level has dropped considerably. I did carry a fair amount of anger over the hour after this incident unfolded, an anger completely unfocused with absolutely no one to blame or hold accountable. I wish it were someone's fault, someone who needs a good choking, but alas, such is not to be the case.


I think I've finally figured out a way to have as close to a blogroll as I care for. I've been messing with Google reader and have moved all the blogs and news stuff I read there. Now I've added a shared items widget so that I can add things I enjoyed or that made me feel thinkfull. So now, in addition to the time I've helped you waste by actually writing something, I can help you waste more time with other people who've written something. You can thank me later, and if you write and show up there on the side and wish you hadn't, well . . .

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I might have mentioned that I've got a new job. It's not a cash paying job, more a volunteer position. I've now announced two separate roller derby bouts, and based on their smiles and compliments, the league seems to like me.

To an extent, I'm almost worried that my abilities are not so much good as they are better than the last guy. I hate to say too much bad about him, especially considering all the bad that's already been said about him. I have to imagine at some point that karma may swing around and whop me in the butt, but there's also the fact that he did indeed suck, long and loud, though not really too loud as one of the complaints about him involved an inability to understand or even quite hear him.

So with two bouts under my belt, I'm much more comfortable doing it than I was when it was just this thing looming on the horizon. Our next home bout is not till August, so it will be that long till I get my talk on again. That one is our first intra league bout of the season.

Our last bout was not a "real" bout, in a sense, but it was certainly real enough as any of the participating skaters can verify. It was put together almost at the last minute in a bid to decide what we think of a new location as well as to let the new location decide what they think about us. The three teams that make up our league played three periods, but rather than time them, we set them to be twelve jams each, something that didn't quite work in the end, as we ran pretty long. It was the only way to really make it fair though, to make sure that each team, playing staggered jams, had the same amount of time on the rink as well as having each team face each other an equal number of times.

It was an exciting bout. Momma's team pretty much flattened the other two, though all the teams were skating down some girls. Between injuries and people being out of town, we are missing a few people.

As far as announcing goes, I'd agree that, for the most part, I did a pretty good job. It's really not hard for me to talk, and it's certainly not hard for me to get excited about roller derby. I know the rules, and I know the skaters, and I've absolutely fallen in love with both roller derby and our entire league. I can only hope that my excitement comes through and infects our fans, building our fan base.

And that's really where it's hard for me to express myself. I think I'm gracious with praise, maybe slightly less so with criticism, though I do want to know people's opinions, want to improve myself and the job I do. The skaters and refs have all fairly lavished me with praise, almost to the point where it starts to sound like flattery, leaving me to wonder if it's me or just that I'm not the other guy.

One of the biggest differences between me and the last guy, I'm not doing this for me, though there is a part of me that's proud to get to be involved, that loves the acceptance. It all comes down to the fact that I really believe in these girls. I believe in our league. I believe in the power of roller derby to bring out the best in people and to show women what they are truly capable of.

And then we come to the things I've fucked up, whether or not anyone else heard it happen. There was the first bout when I referred to LP as a jammer, which she happened to hear and which she is certainly not. She is in fact a blocker, one hell of a hard hitter as well. In the expo bout I referred to her three separate times as MM, another blocker, equally as amazing with her hits. I suppose I had Momma's team Machine Gun Kellys on my mind when I called the penalty box the machine gun box, though I can honestly tell you that I really have no idea how that came out. There was at least on instance, which a few people caught, when I almost called one of our skaters by her nickname, Douche-ass, funny but best left a bit private as it certainly is not her derby name. There were several other random flubs that I caught at the time, though they weren't as memorable as they could have been.

And that's the story of my new job. It may not pay cash, but I get paid back when the league has that much more fun, when the fans scream and cheer that much louder, when people start to understand derby and start to fall in love like I did. And really, how hard is it to convince people that roller derby may be the best thing to ever happen to them? even when I am stumbling over my words.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

they like sports now?

I'm not generally one to send letters or emails to companies unless I have a problem and need help working it out. From a post at Good As You, we learn that the San Diego Padres recently sponsored a gay pride event. Of course the freaks jumped on this one, arguing that the Padres are corrupting youth, families and baseball. Too bad so many people can carry such hate.

Because the Padres are likely getting letters and emails from the anti equality freaks, G-A-Y suggested letters of support. As mentioned, I don't usually, but this time I kind of felt motivated. I'm tired of this unequal bullshit, and I'm tired of a few loud nut jobs getting to pretend they have some sort of copyright on family. So here's my letter.

I read recently about your sponsorship of a gay pride event. I'd like to thank you for doing so, for helping make the idea of equality and acceptance a message more people are likely to hear.

I'm sure you will hear many negative messages concerning your event, but I would ask that you not bow to pressure from those that would force their narrow views on others.

With the acceptance of Jackie Robinson so many years ago, baseball helped our country in working for racial equality. Perhaps baseball will be the first sport to help us all work toward full equality for all.

Thanks again for supporting equality, even when it seems an unpopular decision. There are all types of families, and each of the children of those families needs the same acceptance as any other.
It's not a great letter, and it certainly doesn't flow with the usual frippery I tend to add to my written words. I didn't cuss or make any jokes that would make folks uncomfortable, but I like it, and I think it needs to be said and said again.

UPDATE: In answer to my email to the Padres I got an answer informing me that they didn't actually sponsor the event but have sold tickets to the pride group. The writer also pointed out the fact that they agree with, that baseball must in inclusive rather than exclusive. It really is good to see more mainstream groups actively opening themselves up and, as he said, being inclusive. One day, perhaps inclusiveness will be the norm.

Monday, July 02, 2007

what I said earlier

Cleaning turned into rearranging today, though, for the most part, the cleaning did actually happen. I'm basically waiting for Momma to get home soon and tell me she hates it how it is. The change isn't huge, mostly involving the television/video game end of the room.

It didn't help that I let a rant escape earlier today when I was supposed to be cleaning. I'm almost afraid to go back and read it, because I'm sure I came off sounding a little half cocked. I cooled on the issue a little bit, though rechecking comments at a couple of places, I could easily get hot all over again. And that's what got it started again, what got me thinking of that damn rant that I'd have probably forgotten completely otherwise.

Thanks Chris for the link, but I don't have any discs and my DVD player is at least slightly busted anyway. I'll see it, probably, though I actually never watched his last movie now that I think about it. Hell, this my prompt me to figure out the machine and buy a blank disc finally.

At one blog I read (read past tense, not read as in regularly, but linked to from a place I do read regularly,) the kind of place where feelings run away from liking Michael Moore, a number of the comments lean heavily toward bashing him, branding him a liar, cursing his name with chicken blood so that the curse takes.

Someone, the lone liberal that should let the sheep be to bump each other with their butts and bleat stupidly, asks for information as to what Moore has actually lied about. Instead we get links to Buddy Someshit's blog, because he'll by god tell you about the lies, though oddly, we only get links. There's never any sort of well reasoned discussion because the people haven't seen the films and must rely on heresay from an obviously biased third party source.

A necessary part of the conversation is the lone agreeing Canadian, telling us how lucky we are that we don't have to wait years due to bureaucratic nonsense to get our anal clutch valve tightened. The US system is so perfect compared to theirs, and believe it when he says it, the taxes they pay are so horrible. I guess that explains why so many Canadians are coming here for medical treatment. Vermont's just eat up with people able to converse both in English and French, though they pretend to only speak French and expect us to put up signs and label things in two languages. I for one don't want to have to fucking learn to say burrito in French.

And now that we've brought it up, one of the most vile of arguments, the soon to be classic, if the US system is so bad, why are all those dirty brown people trying to come and steal it? Yeah, dirty brown people, they just want free health care, so they can go back home and be all well while they take our jobs. It can't be that their option is that much worse. The right actually attack this one fading twinkle of concern for your fellow man, the fact that hospitals have to treat you if you come in sick, even if the bills come back as undeliverable.

Never once in the entire discussion does anyone suggest anything better. Someone will agree with the exorbitant new tax burden, and another person will chime in about how they ain't damn well gonna pay no lazy ignorant so and so to go to the doctor for free. They work hard for their money, and they don't care about lazy shiftless people who can't get their own care. "They can get a damn job! I've got two myself." They are certainly happy to discuss the liar filmmaker who shouldn't even call it a documentary because it's biased, and gol dang they just hate him so.

Completely absent are any new ideas. If it exists at all, the concern for the sake of humanity as deserving of better is completely invisible. The idea that people have to earn medical care permeates the entire discussion. Being able to see a doctor is treated as a privilege that only those who work hard should be able to attain, with no explanation of what "work hard" quite means either.

They never mention children. They never talk about a family that pretty much has a decent life but for their general inability to be able to see a doctor in a timely fashion outside of emergency care. One of the parents makes enough money to feed the family, to keep the bills paid, to make a niceish life for her family, but her employer doesn't offer her insurance, and if he did, she couldn't afford to accept it. She has a really great opportunity at this job, and for the most part she likes it. There may or may not be a future in this particular location, but she's learning skills both in the kitchen and as a leader and as a manager of a restaurant that will likely serve her well in the future.

But she doesn't have insurance, and she and her husband have priced it before. They can't afford to pay for the insurance that is available to them. Perhaps if the husband were to return to work, but he would then have to work his way back up in a whole new restaurant before he was possibly able to reach the point at which he would be valued enough to have earned insurance, or he would work solely to pay for insurance bought privately. He would be willing to return to work, but the reason he quit was to open the door for his wife to take the opportunity she has. If he were to return to work full time, it would rearrange their entire lives for the worse. The family would have less time together, with the husband and wife rarely seeing each other.

I don't want free health care as such. I'm willing for the insurance industry to go to hell and for health care to be funded sufficiently to take care of people as needed, whether or not that means a slightly higher tax burden. That tax burden would lower other medically related burdens to equalize the whole very near what it is. People would earn their medical care by being human and deserving of it for that single reason.

How anyone can justify for profit medical is completely beyond me. I don't want to think these people are evil, because maybe they've just had it really good their whole lives and don't know better. Maybe they don't know what it's like to sit with a sick child hoping like hell they get better. You imagine those people that just go to the doctor because they have one, a doctor that recognizes them and greets them by name, a doctor that's gotten to know your kids over the years. You imagine yourself taking a spill playing on your adult soccer league, something you absolutely love doing, but something that makes you feel guilty sometimes because one wrong turn, and you've just cost your family a few thousand dollars. And then you think of your child playing soccer, or climbing a tree, or just being alive and a child.

so sick of

I haven't seen Michael Moore's new movie Sicko yet. I will not be seeing it in the theater as I refuse to spend that much money on a movie that doesn't need the big screen. I will see it as soon as I'm able after it is out of the theaters.

This post isn't about the movie, but having been reading around the internet today about the movie, health care is on my mind. It's been on my mind before as my family is in that group of several million uninsured Americans for whom medical care, even the most basic, is sadly out of our grasp.

We are currently paying off a couple thousand dollars debt that accumulated due to a single emergency room visit that my wife made a few months ago. She has asthma and a few allergies which are usually not a concern for her. There have been a couple of times though when the asthma flared up, and she was unable to fix the problem, and the problem was continuing to worsen. There's a certain hell that someone goes through as they try their damndest just to get a good breath. There's a whole other hell in knowing that you should have been able, with a simple doctor visit, to have gotten control over your health issue any time in your past. There's that same hell in knowing that, because our country has allowed the enrichment of a few corporations and individuals on the backs of the ill, you are going to have to suffer.

The health insurance industry is one of the most vile and evil ideas ever dredged from the mind of man. That we can actually describe something and use the words health and industry should make us all ashamed. That people can make money because others are sick is disgusting. The medical insurance industry does just that, and I can't say it enough. They exist for no other reason than to turn your and my illnesses into profit for them. We are no more or less than a plus or a minus on their ledgers. If we are well, we are a plus because they keep our money. If we become ill or are hurt, we become a minus as they have now to spend the money we've been giving them.

I'm mostly amazed the right wing bloggers that will refuse to see the movie. Perhaps they think that Michael Moore is no more than a liberal shill and troublemaker. He may have asked a quesiton in the past that made them uncomfortable. They assume words from him he never said and tell us they don't need to see his movie to know what it will say.

I'm especially amazed by the giant balls on so many right wingers. I'm working now from what seems an obvious and apt assumption, that many right wing people are also christian. Not to make this a christian versus not-so-much issue, but if your god tells you that how you treat others is how you then have treated him, then what does that say about so many people's unwillingness to help make sure that all people are afforded the same level of medical care? If you are so inclined, go HERE to see a list of verses from the Bible detailing what god thinks of the poor and what he commands his followers to do in relation to the poor. It is Bible stuff, so you're going to have to wade through some craziness.

Did you know that god even commands his followers to actually leave some of their crops in the field? to not beat the olive trees a second time when harvesting? They are to leave these things and more in the field for widows, orphans, elderly and poor. So if god tells you directly to make sure the poor are fed, I wonder what he might expect of his followers in our modern age in regards to medical care?

Finally, I'm certainly not anti christian, but I'm amazed at the religious fervor from the right in regards to certain issues. The same people that throw the Bible in the way of equality for all are suddenly silent in using the Bible to uphold the idea of medical equality for all. Outdated passages of hatred to damn gay people, sudden silence when the same book reminds them to care for others. Tricky, very tricky.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Big Brother has finished reading Inkheart, a book I read to him a couple of years ago. We've not read much with him in a while, though as Momma and I have been reading the first Harry Potter to The Boy, he's been hanging out to listen in.

Big Brother always enjoyed being read to, and The Boy never didn't enjoy it, but Big Brother has always been drawn to reading. We've pulled a couple of books from him before as deemed inappropriate just yet, most recently Stephen King's Pet Cemetery. That was a well intentioned gift from a roller girl friend. Any new book that I don't personally suggest draws him, begging him to read. I'm not sure how far he got into the night he got it, but after he went to bed, Momma flipped through it and decided to read it first.

She's seen the movie, and I haven't. I've read the book, and she hasn't. So now she's reading that. She's also been working on Appetite for Life: the Biography of Julia Child, by Noel Riley Fitch, the book that really made me fall in love with Julia, and she may very well have a third book floating around some place.

I hate that she's reading Pet Cemetery before me because she'll read it eventually, as she feels like it, and there's that whole other book competing with it. Like Big Brother, I'm excited at the idea of a new book, even if it's not really new. It has been several years since I read it, and I haven't read any Stephen King since that thing I went through a few years ago during which I read him almost exclusively. But suddenly, I want to read his book again. I've settled instead on rereading Philip Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke.

I love Philip Pullman. Rereading Ruby in the Smoke reminds me why I love his books. He writes for a wide variety of reading levels, and he creates stories that are really classic tales, but you can't really even describe his approach. He makes you realize that, at some point, all stories are old stories, but in a good way.

Ruby in the Smoke has been one of the books that's stayed on Big Brother's inappropriate list for some time, though he's enjoyed a number of Philip Pullman's work. I love the book, but the one theme that really worries me as a parent shows up and with no real moral stance. A few people smoke opium in the book. For one it's a devil of addiction, while for another it's used only once to some benefit.

I am in no way anti drug. I think I may have mentioned some things in the past, some rants I've made against a certain failure of a war on drugs. At the same time, I believe that the reasons behind drug use are much more important in helping people control their usage than trying to force people to do it with jail as your main deterrent.

And then we get to the part where it's my child that I'm talking about. It's such a great story, and I know he'd love it. I'm just not sure how much the opium smoking bothers me at this point. I don't really want him to smoke opium, but I also know that I might give it a try if the timing was right, and we had an all night babysitter. Millions of dead Chinese and European sailors can't be wrong.

Maybe when I finish it, Momma can start reading it, added to her always growing and shifting pile of things she's reading. Then we'll figure out if it's appropriate. It's going to come up at some point, but I'm stuck at does-it-have-to-be-now?