Monday, August 27, 2007

pair o' the same

I never seem to find nothing at YouTube, regardless of what I think I'm looking for when I first start looking for that certain song there. And the forces that drive me to YouTube are as varied as the things I end up finding.

Earlier in the evening, The Boy was lying a few feet behind me, doing that four year old kind of thing where he lays in the floor with a pair of Lego people in his hands and sings or quotes some random thing he's learned. Tonight it happened to be him doing the spoken beginning of an instrumental song by English punk legends The Toy Dolls.

"Aaahh, a nice relaxing evening, in the bath," I hear behind me. At first it strikes me as odd, though he likes The Toy Dolls, he hasn't mentioned or even asked to listen to them in some time. I confirmed that was what he said then proceeded to find that cd, so we could listen to the song.

As the song began, The Boy stated that he wanted to see the video.

"I want to watch the video," he said.

"Uuuhh, this is a cd. It's just music," says I, "But after this song we can find a video."

I went ahead while the song played and searched the YouTube for The Toy Dolls. The first song that jumped out at me was Wipeout, that ever popular gem of surf guitar, so of course we watched that. The Boy watching a band on YouTube is basically me watching while he goes off to play and notice if for some reason I minimize the video so that I can do something else since he's not watching anyway.

So we get The Toy Dolls doing Wipeout, but I can't leave it at that. Their video is fun to watch embiggened because it's all pixalated and trippy. There is a second version as well, though a different band. Version number two is The Ventures, also good for the large version so that you can try to keep up with the drummer during his parts. And speaking of parts, part of me feels as though I may once have posted this. Even if I did, I say fuck it, because you could probably stand to hear The Ventures more than you do.


Dark clouds have slowly settled on us, having peered at us from the distance or blown right past us on the edges throughout the day. It was a day filled with promise, but all too often, the rain we need in the valley finds itself falling on the mountains. We in the valley have seen that plenty of times.

We are a ten minute drive to downtown. Momma works downtown. In the past two weeks we have had showers at home that she did not see at work. The showers were quick and torrential, the first being late in the evening and able for just that evening, to cool us down and bring some small respite. The second was mid day, and provided us one of those lovely southern steams. If you ever get to experience a mid day rain steam in Atlanta, by all means do. We don't get it that bad here in TN, but I always fear it.

The clouds are upon us, and in the distance we see more darkness piling on, but also in that distance we hear thunder. It's late in the evening, we really need a good rain, and all signs are leading me to expect rain. I'd love two straight days of showers, but assuming it does not move on into the mountains, I think we can expect something much quicker, something that tempts more than delivers. By morning it will most likely have completely left us, left us so much that even the grass is dry again.

last call

No, not that kind of last call, because this is a happy post, and the thing about the usual last call isn't happy.

I've finally called and verbally communicated with the last parent of my soccer team members finally. It's taken over a week, only part of which was my accidentally not signing the volunteer form. Some of it was just never happening to call at the right time. Considering my own homebound-ness, I have to wonder what all these people are doing.

So, nine U10 families later and five U6, everyone knows. One U10 missed a week of practice already, entirely because I didn't get in touch with the family in time, but I did try. I really use that first week to spend 30 minutes of an hour practice asking kids their names or guessing at their names, often wrongly, so his missing wasn't that big a deal. I will say that Thursday's practice had me getting most names right, but I haven't met the U6's yet. That's five more brand new kids, and I so totally suck at names.

And I'm ever so happy to have finally called all these lovely people. Now my only concerns are getting these kids in shape for their first game in two weeks. Most of my U10's seem excited and ready to learn the game. There's always that one kid that is easily distracted, and usually I get two, only one of which is Big Brother. I also have a kid that I kind of expect to never really like team sports; there's just something about him, demeanor or something, but I could easily just be seeing things that aren't there. Maybe he's just shy. I'll do my best to see that he has a fun and happy season, but I really get a feeling that he's not going to ever grow into a sports fan. And I don't care, just so long as he has fun.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

post weekend

Ska Weekend '07 has now gone, the anticipation ended for the little time it takes us to start imagining who is going to play next year. I have to say, driving away, we probably all were already looking forward to Ska Weekend '08. My face is a lovely bright red while my hair is more annoying than usual. The hair is a whole other post, but the tiny bit of rain that fell on us certainly gave it a whole new flair. The face is because, while I did put sunscreen on the boys and even on my tattoo (still newish) I did not in fact put any anywhere else on me. I considered it, but decided on not.

I think you could have guessed easily which of us were locals when the first few drops of rain spattered to the ground. We were the ones looking up into the sky, hoping it would continue to fall into our faces while simultaneously hoping the heaviest downpour would at least hold out the couple of hours left. It rained just enough, and we got lucky at least so far as it not turning into steam and cooking us like Asian dumplings.

We didn't see all the bands we'd been looking forward to. At least one band escaped us as we left the festival to walk a half block to eat. The Slackers were as good as ever as was Mustard Plug, though I'll admit that for most of Mustard Plug's set I was in the shop of a friend, peering at the stage from her back door. We missed the performance by Dr. Ring Ding who, hailing from Germany, had the longest drive of anyone. We also missed Last Martyrs of a Lost Cause.

My personal favorite would be a tie between Chicago's Deals Gone Bad and DC's Pietasters. The Pietasters have long been a favorite band, and Deals Gone Bad, new to us last year, have become a household favorite. Big Brother does love to sing along with the dirty song, though he doesn't quite get the lyrics. Big Brother and I were even able to say "HI" to DGB's singer and thank him for the show. Mentioning favorite bands, in a close third (or second assuming DGB and the Pietasters tied for first) we have to mention Westbound Train, soulful ska band that just can't help but make you feel good.

I haven't yet tried to find any stats about the show. The show is a fundraiser for a local organization, Second Harvest, that works to feed people throughout our area. In addition to the money, canned food donations are encouraged, so of course we always bring a couple bags of food.

On hand were the usual visitors and ska lovers, the random kid trying to emulate the mods of the Two Tone era, the skinheads and even the skinhead couples with children, the kids whose ska style seems to have developed more as a love for the checkerboard motif and oddly enough the random emo kid. I wanted, after cutting their hair, to ask them how emo kids could possibly stand the happiness that is inherent at any ska show, much less a huge 30 band ska festival. But I didn't. And it should be mentioned that the skin heads one sees at the ska show are not the ruthless and racist asshole skins we've all come to know and loathe, but I'm not the least bit a skin and won't here regale you with the history of the original skins in Europe and their working class roots. Seriously, real skins are not racist, but the racist copy cats have made them all look bad, quite undeserved for the most part. Which is not to say that I feel for the skins, because quite apart from the racism thing, they certainly don't seem too concerned with de-muddying their image.

And I'm letting this be my own little review. LINK HERE to the story by a local guy for our local alternative newsweekly, no names I'm afraid unless you read the story. But I was also fortunate to see the writer at the show and thank him for the piece.

So, I can rearrange my Myspace profile and move some of the bands from my top friends in order to make it all about people I really know in real life as well as the ever present derby. I can also start making plans to make plans for next year.

Monday, August 20, 2007

reading lately

I realize I haven't written anything about what I've been reading lately. I finished the mad dash through entire Harry Potter series in time to read a Popular Science and to catch up with an issue and a half of the local alternative newsweekly.

Our local alternative newsweekly was recently purchased by our local regular ol' news daily which in turn is owned by a much larger company that owns things like that. We'd like to expect the same old what-they-call-news that we've come to expect, but one always has to wonder when the little, pretty cool independent gets bought up by the old guy in the somber suit.

I've started reading and, sadly, replying to the comments at the local news blogging site. I've been reading there for some time, neat little progressive, mostly left leaning sorts of folks. There is the one woman who mentioned affluence and homeschooling after I mentioned homeschooling. I've actually gone out of my way not to mention it before. If child education comes up at all it is relation to a local school issue and of minimal interest to me, but this was one of those subjects that I just couldn't not discuss. I might have to post about it later tonight. Yeah, affluence and homeschooling.

I think next we probably have rules. I've been reading rules. Throughout the soccer season I keep my FIFA/AYSO Laws of the Game close. I'll flip through it while taking a dump or while sweltering outside for a cigarette. There are also the AYSO books, Guidance for Coaches and Refs. I've probably been through the referee class workbook a couple of times as well. Those are understandable I'm sure as we head into a new season. I want to do a good job, and it helps to keep it on my mind when I can, to take time to consider how I want to approach coaching. I'd also like to think I can rein in the coming nervousness that will rain down on me when I finally get around to reffing a game.

You want more rules? WFTDA Standardized Flat Track Roller Derby Rules v.2.1. It's always close, but I've been looking at them lately in considering an issue I saw at some point in the past year. I suppose I hadn't looked at them in a while and discovered them on my clipboard while trying to find some clean paper to write soccer stuff on. And then I wanted to look at all the references to elbows, try to get the issue out off my mind.

Finally is the even more local news weekly that's an alternative to nothing other than more annoying things should you happen to run across something more annoying. If you want news of the business and professional association, you can get it, but only if you live in this basic part of the north side. It's the kind of newspaper that is not only free, but they bring it to your house without you even asking. I really don't read that much of it usually, and I always complain about what I do write. The old lady that always copied the crazy and/or "patriotic" with fundy leaning and/or inherently racist emails that people sent her and called it a newspaper column hasn't been doing that lately, but her name does still appear next to the bowling scores.

It's time to pay off the library, so I can start reading books again. I can't find a single book in this house I'm really willing to read right now. At some point I'm going to end up pulling out random cookbooks, which wouldn't be a bad thing if I'd use them to then go and cook something, but I don't. But, for better or worse, that's what I've been reading lately.

baseball caps

It's time for a new post about something that I hate. I'm full of hate, really I am, and I'm sure it's sad and stuff, but . . .

I don't hate baseball caps. I own several, though I haven't really worn them lately. As part of the letting the hair grow thing, I find currently I don't need a hat to keep my head from getting sunburned. With fall approaching, we know winter is on the way, yet I may not then need a hat to keep my bald head from freezing, assuming I haven't freaked out and shaved my head again.

I do hate when people turn the baseball caps slightly to the side, though slight is better than the full quarter turn that places the bill of the cap directly above either ear. The slight turn trades the old cocked fedora for a modern hat, even though most people with the slight turn look a little "special."

The new baseball cap trend that irritates me is the tucking of ears into the cap. I think it was that Monster Garage guy that started it all, but maybe I'm wrong; regardless, it looks stupid. It's even worse when the guy in the hat didn't get one big enough and you can see his hat squeezing the shit out of the tops of his ears. Honestly, if you need the tops of your ears covered, a baseball cap is not the way to go. It's looks ridiculous, suffering physical discomfort in the name of an idiot fashion trend. I'll accept physical discomfort for the sake of beauty, but the beauty has actually to be beauty or at least moderately cool looking.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Officially to some extent, though I have yet to act in the capacity, I am now an AYSO referee. I got to spend a hellish Saturday at a church. For the first half of the day my diet was based entirely on available food, Krsipy Kreme doughnuts and Pizza Hut pizza. I had two cups of coffee and two cans of Coke and one bottle of water. The water, at the time, was the worst thing, making me feel oddly worse.

The class wasn't really so bad. The worst was the discussion of off side with the room, not really that many people actually, half of whom were getting an understanding for off side law as we were discussing it.

If you have a person in or near a corner of the penalty area in an off side position but the attacker with the ball shoots from the the area of the opposite corner and scores, what would it take for the first player in the off side position to be considered to have effected the keeper? Oh, we could have gone on for hours in happy discussion of off side.

We didn't thankfully.

Now I have to actually ref a game or two. Taking the class was of course the easy part, and I've bitten off a good bit with this approaching season. Coaching both Big Brother in U10 and The Boy in U6 and now reffing, probably U8 to begin with. There is a ref sign up page on the area web site, so I have some influence on the game I ref, but there's also the need to gain experience, work my way up, coupled with the area's need to cover the older level games before the younger ages. U6 coaches ref their own games, which is actually fun. There is that fear that you'll get engulfed by the cute cloud of four and five year olds that congregates around the ball and moves as a single unit about the field, that fear that you'll get chopped to pieces from the shins up under a torrent of widdle cleats.

I can feel your excitement all the way over hear, shimmering through power lines and the cable wire. You're all so happy to know that your boring derby stories will finally get their old cousin soccer stories back. And U10 keepers can use their hands. Did I tell you that? And I don't know shit about keeping, so it'll be fun for all of us.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


It's high time I gave you another Ska Weekend band post. This band is kind of special to me, one of the first bands I got into as I got into the ska.

For those who don't know, who haven't read any of the other crap I've typed out on the subject, I'll give you a quick bit of ska history. Seriously, it will be quick as we're just glossing over the formative years and going straight to America, again.

American jazz and R&B on the radio was picked up in Jamaica and became popular alongside the music that was already popular. The two were worked together and became ska. Time went on, varieties of ska came about, and people traveled. The sound was carried to England and became a whole 'nother thing, became popularish for a time and faded. Then, a few years passed and some American kids started playing it, and some of them mixed their punk aesthetic in. Along came what we know of as the third wave of ska.

Mustard Plug was one of the bands that got me into ska. They played pretty hard and fast, almost sometimes slipping a little metal something into the guitars while playing an extremely upbeat version of almost traditional ska. It's really hard to describe. Mustard Plug have been around for years now, and they don't seem to have lost anything. They played Ska Weekend last year and will be returning this year. I'd guess both my regular readers haven't heard them, and now you can. This is from a new album I don't have.

That's not enough? You'd like to watch an older song? This one is from the album that made me fall in love in the first place.

Friday, August 17, 2007


We now actually own the truck, and it's legal for us to drive it. Momma's grandfather has had a little blue Toyota truck for years. He got a deal on it and wanted a truck. I don't know how much he used it, but I used a few times the past few years. Mostly it sat in the driveway unused.

A few months ago he drove it over and handed over the title. He was done storing it, and didn't much want to have it around anymore. His story was that Momma should use it for work.

We haven't been driving it for a couple of reasons, one that we had to get a special form filled out because he didn't charge us anything for it. There was also the tax and title which I hadn't considered, and I guess the wheel tax is in there. And then we kept forgetting to make a point of driving to Kodak to get it done, and they so seldom come into town, and blah blah blah.

Momma won't necessarily being driving it to work too soon because it's a stick shift. I could at any time in the past couple of months helped her learn, but that's a bunch of time we don't want to spend doing that. We could drive to some random church parking lot some random day so she could figure it out, but then we'd have to do something with the boys. Honestly, if we are going to bother getting babysitting, it's going to be for something a little better than a manual transmission

With Big Brother no longer forced by law to sit in a booster seat, the boys and I can now fit in the truck. And for some reason, maybe being old fashioned, I hate to have Momma drive this truck. It's a great truck, only twenty four years old and just over two hundred thousand miles. The rust isn't too bad. There is no power steering. It does run well, but compared to the Honda, it's kind of spartan in a sense.

I should admit that I've already had some battery issues. I drove to the mall to get the tag, stopped back by the house to change the tag, and then set off to the insurance folks, stopping for gas on the way. It was leaving the gas station that the truck suggested that her battery wasn't as happy as it could have been. And then, as I set out to leave the insurance agent, it was dead. Momma rushed away from the homeschool thing she was doing to save me, making her nearly late for work in the process. Our tight fitting schedule got a little something thrown at it.

I drove down the interstate a couple of miles and actually beat Momma home taking the apparently shorter route that we never take. Perhaps that was enough to charge the battery because I didn't have trouble starting the truck again today and made exactly two trips after the ill fated one to give nice insurance lady a check, one to Auto Zone to learn that there wasn't enough power in the battery for their machine to test it. Seems like a good waste of free to me, but I'm sure it was worth the hassle anyway. I could have told the guy the battery was low, but I was hoping his machine could tell me if the battery was at fault or if it was just low. The second trip was for fast food. I was expecting to have to run a final errand tonight, and we really could stand to make a grocery store trip.

We'll end with the off topic bit. The little bit of interstate I drove is our local city bypass. I hate driving on it. It's quicker to a bunch of things that we might sometimes do, but I hate it. I don't know why. I don't mind driving the main interstate, even if I have to go out west, but the bypass? I hate it. I'm absolutely amazed that I beat Momma home. I was right behind her till I veered off to the on ramp. Apparently it's shorter, but I'm not going to start using it, because I hate it.

haha, we got some rain

Last time I went out to smoke it was raining. I actually stepped out the back door just as the first light drops were coming down.

Earlier in the night I'd thought for a moment that I heard thunder. It sounded like it, but thunder was too good to be true and sounded too far anyway.

And then I stepped outside, and stood stupidly for a few moments and the stood stupidly happy for a few moments. I probably looked up at the raindrops coming down.

Then I tucked the local alternative newsweekly under my shoulder, ducked my head and jogged to the garage. My head didn't get less wet for being ducked a little, but I still do it when I run between the house and the garage for a smoke in the rain. The rain was already starting to fall harder, and by the time I finished smoking, it was absolutely pounding down. There was more thunder in the distance, and the smell was summer rain, lightning and dirt. I didn't see lightning, but thunder and lightning go together like living and being alive. Actually, there is a fine line between living and being alive, but that's not the point.

Bonues rain points for coming in the middle of the night so it doesn't just steam the whole place up. Nothing like seeing the steam rising from the ground, almost wishing it hadn't rained in the first place if it was just going to be a bitch about it. It almost makes me want another cigarette sooner than I would just to go back outside.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

my ol' theme

Too much time has passed in which I've failed to mention roller derby. We've been to Nashville and now Louisvill Kentucky in the past couple of months. We've also begun bouts at our new home, opening with our first intra league bout of the 2007 season. The league has faced some defeat, but the skaters continue to grow and develop. They play an amazing game, and they know the rules and usually keep their elbows down.

As mentioned, we have now played a team from Louisville Kentucky. We made the drive in possibly record time Sunday morning with the two teams facing off Sunday night. Monday was another early awake and out the door day for the drive home and getting Momma to work by four. It's amazing what people do for derby.

The original plan for Louisville involved us bringing two teams worth of skaters to face their intra league teams in two abbreviated bouts. Upon arrival, we learned that some of their skaters would be unable to play, so they rearranged the plans and played one regulation bout. That was great news for us as many of our girls were unable to make the trip meaning those that did would most likely have had to play in both games. Because so many of our skaters were unable to come, we certainly didn't put our usual Hard Knox travel team on the rink. In the end, due to our skaters' hard work in practice, we're getting to the point where all our skaters that aren't fresh meat are at a level that they are quite as able as most of the girls to be considered for the travel team.

Momma skated the first jam to open the bout and pulled off three grand slams in the two minutes of skating. A grand slam in roller derby is when your jammer laps the opposing jammer. It doesn't happen that often, but it's kind of hard to keep up with Momma much less stop her.

I lifted this picture from Louisville photographer Mr. Quick, and HERE is the link to his Flickr set of the bout. He's got some good pictures, and if you love derby, go peruse. I hope he doesn't mind that I've lifted one of his pics for the blog, but it is mostly my wife, so I don't actually feel bad about it.

I won't pretend that Louisville was an easy match for our team, because they played well. They don't have the experience yet that our league does, but based on their performance, they will get that experience and make our next win that much harder.

nothing about anything

I haven't been very good about writing here lately, as may have been obvious considering the week long absences and the random and sporadic posts. I'm still reading around the internet and leaving comments that I feel are funny but probably aren't, I just haven't been drawn to write.

This isn't a new phenomenon, and I'm sure that plenty of other bloggers go through the same sort of thing. But for me, it becomes bothersome. I'm somewhat cooped up in the house all too often, and I think that this adds to my lack of desire to post. The weather is brutal, hot and humid as ever if not moreso this year. We had a little rain way back when, which was really nice to see, but once again we are back to drought. The ozone level is just lovely these days, trapped here in our little valley. The haze in the sky, the hot breezes, the instant sweat upon exiting the house all combine to make me just want to go back to bed.

But maybe I'm coming out of my stupor. I'm slowly getting back into a slight writerly mode. I've got soccer beginning again soon, and the roller derby news is still happening even without me writing about it. I actually do have a derby story for you, but first I have to find some guy's pictures and steal the one of Momma that's actually a good picture.

The house is an absolute wreck, and with friends coming to town in less than two weeks, we have a major job ahead of us. Thankfully, the drought has kept me from having to mow the yard too much, though our little bit of rain, while not making the grass grow, did make some crazy and extremely woody stemmed plants try to take over the yard. I finally got that done, but the drought is so bad that I've only mowed twice and it's okay. That's entirely fucked up, and it's not a good thing in the least. I'd rather have the rain and the extra work.

And that's all you get for now. I've once more turned my lack of regular updates/writing into post fodder about itself, something I'm sure to do plenty more over time. Now wait patiently while I work up some posts that are entirely uninteresting. I'm so on it now.

never thought

I have the kid I thought and even swore I'd never have. I looked at those other kids, the kids that weren't mine, the kids that were picky eaters. I'm related to a few of these kids. I have some nieces that are beautiful and amazing girls, but they are the kids that go to the awesome Thai restaurant and order plain noodles. My kids were never going to be like that.

And Big Brother is not like that. He eats almost anything we put in front of him. He will even try things he's not liked before, and he actually likes certain items in certain preparations but not in others. He loves a salad and he loves McDonalds and tends to order from the regular menu at restaurant because it always sounds better than the kid's menu.

The Boy however is that kid. He's still an odd eater more than he is a picky eater, but he's just as much a picky eater as he is an odd eater.

He mostly subsists on peanut butter contained either on wheat bread with jelly or on a graham cracker. Big Brother eats the crust, but The Boy doesn't. He wouldn't even eat the crust if you offered him candy afterward, and believe me, we've tried. The crust is good for you, and to not eat it seems wasteful, but he doesn't care and can't even be bribed.

He likes macaroni and cheese, but the time I made it with a lovely bread crumb crust on top he wouldn't eat it till the crust was completely removed. That wasn't really that bad a deal as I ate the crust for him.

He eats sushi, loves sushi, will devour any sashimi that passes slowly enough for him to get his hands on it. His favorite food however might actually be fried chicken tenders, though if offered sashimi and chicken tenders, he would eat both, most likely trying each in any available dipping sauce. The thought of perfectly cut fatty tuna dipped in honey mustard might destroy some weaker minds and palates, but The Boy would not only try it, but he would love it.

And it's trying, wanting him to be healthy, knowing the variety that he needs, and not wanting to fight with him over food. He's proven that he's willing to make himself sick over food and getting what he wants. He's getting to a point where he can be helped to make connections between diet and waking up vomiting. Yet still he persists.

The oddest things often remind us of how great our kids are. Supper tonight was spaghetti, and I'll admit right off that I rushed and didn't make it nearly as good as the last batch, and the last batch was the closest yet I've come to getting it right. It's still good, but I didn't bother serving him any because he wouldn't have eaten it. Big Brother and I got nice big bowls of spaghetti, while The boy got a plate of plain noodles, a couple of small slices of polska kielbasa and a slice of cheese. It's the noodles that got to me.

He eats his noodles by picking them up, one end in each hand. He stretches the noodle out and bites out the middle then quickly stuffs the ends into his mouth. I've seen him do this often enough, but every once in a while I actually notice the process, and it makes me laugh all over again.

check her sounds

A number of years ago, in our nation's capital, for a brief and glorious moment, there was an amazing ska band named the Checkered Cabs. I was still feeling my way into music post being raised quite Baptist, and while ska was making small blippy things happen on my musical radar, I wasn't quite into it at all.

At some point I did of course realize that I'm a great lover of the ska music. It certainly helps when you discover a band like the Checkered Cabs, and I did via their album Remember, though somewhat after it was originally released. It's an album I still play, and today it came out as the boys and I ran an errand. The songs all took me back, and I began to wonder why I hadn't ever searched for them online. I've known they were broken up, but in the age we live in, if it's not somewhere online, it's nowhere, or something.

Tonight became the night to look into the band, to find out what I could learn, what they were doing these days. It took a bit of fooling around between Google and YouTube which led me to Myspace and hopefully my newest friend. I'm such a geek for this sort of thing.

While the Checkered Cabs were a great band all round, the singer Caz Gardiner was truly the standout of the band. I have to say that, while I also like the new band, The Pressure Sounds, Caz's vocals are always going to steal the show.

Upon finding her on YouTube, I realized instantly that my mental picture of what I expected was the exact opposite of what I got. I'm not sure that there's any reason as to why, but I'd always imagined her as almost a Keely Smith, but she's not at all. That's fine, because I'm sure I only love her more seeing her finally on the ever faithful YouTube. What would life be without it?

Anyway, The Pressure Sounds doing Life Can Be Easier. And oh my god for real how she fucking dances!

Monday, August 13, 2007

not quite buzzing

I've now consumed more caffeine in one day (today) than I have in quite some time. It's all about the road. The road this time is US150 followed by I75, and we were driving home from some hot roller derby action.

Two nights in a row of less sleep than I needed and my tendency to doze on long enough drives is not the wisest combination, nor is the pile of beverages I've consumed. I've had 20 ounces of Vanilla Coke, a can of Cinnabon espresso something, Bawls extra caffeine and guarana blend drink and I have just finished a 15 ounce can of Java Monster coffee plus energy drink. Neither of the coffee drinks was as good as the wee can of Starbucks doubleshot, and the caffeine/guarana drink wasn't nearly as ick as Red Bull.

The Monster drink seems to have worked the best to keep my eyes open. It also helped to keep running into people from Indiana because those people can't drive to save themselves, but anger wakes a man like little else can. Even passing the sign telling them to get their asses back in the right lane, they just don't get that they need to let me pass on the left, not force me to pass on the right.

Anyway, I'm not writing about idiots on the interstate, and I'm not nearly as jittery as I should be considering the number and amount of stimulants (all legal) coursing through me. My tummy is a wee bit about to go ooky probably, and the Tums bottle might just join me at the computer desk while I catch up on everything. But we made it home. I didn't doze and plunge us to fiery doom.

Friday, August 03, 2007

is this guy serious?

Warning sort of because you may find some of this stuff spoilerish, and this is for Wen who I don't think has made it to the fourth book. I don't give anything away, but you will learn of some plot devices, so proceed at your own risk.

This isn't going to be like a real post, but I certainly invite comments to the following. In my far too numerous reading of Harry Potter, the different ways J.K. Rowling has approached issues of race/class have always sort of stood out. This isn't an opinion post so much as it is things I've noticed. In rereading the series, for the first time in its entirety, I'm only up to book four, though I'm nearing the final task of the Triwizard Tournament.

The two observations are both from this book, The Goblet of Fire. This is the book in which Hermione starts S.P.E.W. the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. She insists on helping the house elves of Hogwarts to better themselves by demanding pay and time off as well as regular clothing. For all Hermione's insistence on helping them, they more vociferously deny that they want the perks she feels they have a right to. They claim they are quite happy, yet one can't deny that they are a species based on servility. It brings to mind suggestions during the years of slavery, made by some slave owners, that they were doing a service to the black people they owned, that they were happy and fed and doing what they were good for.

In book four we also meet the blast ended skrewts. They are seemingly pointless creatures with both a sting and a sucker as well as rocket propulsion. At one point Hermione is quite willing to squash roughly a hundred of them and kill them having tired of Hagrid's lessons that involved suffering the skrewts' stings and burns while trying to feed and care for them.

At another point, Cornelius Fudge and Professor Dumbledore are discussing the appearance and subsequent disappearance of a particular character, an incident which happened near the Beauxbatons carriage. Hagrid and Madame Maxime, due to an issue of parentage/genetics, are discussed in terms of their propensity toward violent behaviour. Fudge insists that, because of this, Madame Maxime is a likely suspect in the incident with Dumbledore insisting that it isn't very likely. Fudge suggests that, due to Dumbledore's relationship with Hagrid, he may be prejudiced to the condition that Hagrid and Madam Maxime share. Dumbledore suggests that it is Fudge who is prejudiced.

These aren't the only instances in which I've run across the theme, though they are the ones in mind currently. Combined with the theme of racial purity inherent in the pure blood of certain wizarding families versus the muggle borns/mudbloods they despise, the subject of race and even class are prominent themes. It's a subject that I noticed throughout the books, but rereading them is really shining some lights onto things I missed before. It isn't a subject that's preached or hammered, and I've certainly found it interesting. It's certainly more interesting than being scared that children who read HP will turn into witches and wizards and stop loving Jesus.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

what now?

I've been bad at thinking of things to bitch about lately, and I'm afraid that's probably possibly unhealthy for me. Perhaps I store all the hate inside and don't let it out sometimes, and unwitting blog readers are perfectly capable of withstanding the barrage of ill will. It's only natural that I utilize this god given forum for vent spleening.

I hate commercials . . . period. I hate them all, even if they happen to make me laugh. I especially hate them when they try to play with one's emotions to sell their product.

I especially hate the one where the kid shakes up the two liter of soda and sprays it all over the kitchen, at which point his mother sprays him back with the sprayer from the kitchen sink. No way in hell would I be willing to increase that sort of mess.

Here's the deal in my house when you spray shit everywhere. I find you enough towels to do the job, perhaps get the initial bulk if it's that bad, and then I go outside to smoke a cigarette and ignore the fact that some kid thinks he's too small to have to clean.

I hate the gnome from the Travelocity commercials especially, almost up to white hot passion level hatred. It's not fucking funny. It's worse than the cavemen, who are almost amusing roughly one out of every ten separate commercial. But the gnome is just stupid, and the zany one liners are limp like old celery.

Kid's Bop can once and for all go straight to hell. I'm not kidding at all with this one. I'd take every commercial I've just mentioned to never hear those asshole kids singing some asshole's top forty song about sex barely hidden under a thin and sadly not even witty layer of innuendo. I've definitely trained the boys to hate that shit. If I get nothing else from homeschooling, the fact that my kids will be able to face music with ears untainted by popular opinion makes it all worthwhile.

Damn that felt good, just to unburden myself. The dark cloud of those filthy ads was starting to wear on me. Thanks for allowing me the breath of fresh air I get from unloading into the nether regions of the blogosphere that I inhabit. I couldn't do it without you.

one more time

I'm sure you're all tired of hearing about Harry Potter by now, and I must say, I'm sure I'll be ready to quit by the time all this is over.

I hadn't planned to read half the series in reverse order. I did plan to read book six in preparation for book seven. But then I had time, and nothing else sounded good so it was on to five and then four. I finished four as Big Brother finished seven, and I of course devoured that one. Momma is now well into it, and we certainly hope she's done soon.

Big Brother is rereading the series and is up to almost finished with book five. Earlier tonight I finished number three. Yes, I've begun at one and progressed forward through the series, and I'm thinking, though it's only been a matter of weeks since I last read it that I might go ahead read book four then and continue on to the end.

I'm actually leaning toward finishing the series. I'm noticing things as I reread the books that I never realized before. I'm realizing how much more involved each individual book is with the whole story. It really is more than just horcruxes. Given the gap between books while waiting for new ones, certain details would get lost or forgotten, but now I'm really seeing more little things that may not have really stood out before.

I know many of (both of) my readers have the full set now. I'd encourage you all to take whatever time you need and reread the series. You've read them once, so you'll likely breeze through the second time faster than Snape from a bottle of shampoo.

Also, why wasn't there a way to get from Diagon Alley to Kings Cross platform nine and three quarters? The platform was magical, and I imagine it would be easier and less worrisome getting people through some sort of floo network than having them show up on the muggle side and try to sneak through a barrier. I guess the wizarding world may not know everything.