Monday, December 31, 2007
First, don't let the song below give you delusions of seeing the end of me. The song is Closing Time by Leonard Cohen. The only closing is the whole out with the old, in with the new of New Years Eve. I love the song and don't know or care if it's especially appropriate. It is what it is.
Play the song, enjoy, and I'll see you next year.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.'
I have six brothers. They are all married with children, and as the years pass, we've learned as a family that it's so much easier to let our Christmas happen at another date. Last year, if I remember correctly, our Christmas didn't actually happen till after the new year, and that's okay. It really is just easier. We're still getting to see each other and eat too much even if the actual calendar holiday was a week or so prior.
For a few years, the brothers and wives would all draw names for gift giving, but at some point, as the number of our children hit the teens, we decided to just put everyone that isn't our mother and father into the hat. Now we all draw names.
So my family of four has four names. That means that I get to do shopping for them as Momma has already done as much of that as she can handle. At least when she went she didn't have Big Brother and The Boy with her, but I also got to do mine after Christmas. So I can't really complain, but that's never stopped me before.
In addition to all the post Christmas mess that we really should have cleaned by now, we also have a small pile of wrapped gifts waiting to drive down to Atlanta with us tonight. I need a shower and to pack clothes for me and the boys. I'm putting that off while I get enough coffee in me to face the day, the cold, wet, dreary day.
I love seeing my family and wish we could head south more than once a year. I do have to admit that this may be the last truly comfortable trip. I fully expect to continue keeping my secret from them for a little while at least, but as we look toward the new year and wonder what it holds, I must admit that I just don't know.
And now the time has come. I'm near the bottom of my cup, that point where there is no more coffee floating brown and tasty above the black, gritty silt at the bottom. I'm sure there are some horrid cartoons just waiting for the boys eager eyes.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
There are a couple of triggers that we know of that will cause some minor problems, and we can't ever know when the minor problem will get worse. It's a whole separate rant that the US medical system is so fucked that we can't afford the insurance that would allow her to have a regular doctor to help her better understand and control her particular asthma issues. We won't go into that here.
One of the triggers is perfumes. That's right. If you wear perfume and Momma spends even a little time near you, she will begin to have some trouble breathing. Another trigger, and the real reason for this particular rant, are the various products currently available to introduce scents into the home. Scented candles, anything from Glade, whatever the hell her mother uses that sit on little electric warmers, all these things or even any one of these things will make her asthma kick in, and she will begin to have trouble breathing.
And the sad fact is that this isn't even the real problem. The real issue here is the attitude of other people. A coworker of hers once got angry because Momma mentioned to this person that she was growing nauseous and having trouble breathing because of this person's perfume. She got mad at Momma for getting sick, not concerned, mad.
But we are only now getting to the real rant. Momma's mother and grandmother are fans of the products mentioned above, candles and such, often having several different products in use at one time. They refuse to believe that their desire to create fake odors in their homes creates an unhealthy environment for their child and grandchild. They honestly believe that we are lying to them when we explain this problem.
I have gotten into the habit, whenever we visit either of these homes, of going through the house to the usual places where these devices are being used. I blow out all the candles and turn off all the electric devices. I always miss one or two, and within a couple of hours of arriving I can hear Momma's breathing growing labored. When she has to walk outside to get some fresh air I know that it's getting serious.
And with every visit it seems we tell them all of this once again. I've even tried a few times to explain to them that they are basically creating fumes of unknown chemical compounds, and those compounds are harming someone they are supposed to care about and protect. And each time they are flippant and act unconcerned. They just don't believe it, and her mother has actually suggested that it's all in Momma's head. Seriously. Momma's mother has even argued that she used many of these products when Momma was a child and that they never bothered her then. I could argue that she also kept birds in the house (birds in the home are known to contribute to children developing asthma) and had cats (Momma has cat allergies) and that Momma hasn't taken nearly as much allergy medication as she did when we met those many years ago while she was still living at home. But that wouldn't matter. She would continue to belittle our issue, and she will continue to create harmful fumes of unknown chemical compounds to pollute the air of her house.
Is it ironic that Momma's mom wanted to burn the cookie scented candle on Christmas day? the day that sees more cooking and creating of natural and harmless odors that actually smell good? And she acted upset with me for trying to put out the two candles that she was burning while her daughter was obviously and audibly having a growing problem trying to breathe.
Merry fucking Christmas.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Part of me really is trying to keep from weighing the blog down with my love for Rufus, but another part of me is more than happy to tell you to suck it. He's awesome and dreamy and all kinds of other good things.
Anyway, here he is doing a lovely Christmas song, Spotlight on Christmas. As usual, click the linky part to go straight to YouTube and embiggen the video so that you can properly swoon.
I hope you are having or did have the most spectacular of holidays, whatever you call it, however you celebrate it, with whoever you coaxed close to you.
Monday, December 24, 2007
-I think Tim Gunn is really hot, though I have absolutely no interest in dressing women fashionably or any other way.
-On those extremely rare occasions that I wear a tie, I tie them so that they hang really long, like past my belt long, but not tacky long.
-I find the ideas behind Buddhism very interesting, but I fear I'm too big a puss to actually follow the teachings. Also, I know that if I tried meditation, that right as I was starting to achieve any sort of state beyond bored, my butt would start to itch, and then I'd focus my efforts on willing the itch away. I think we all know that that doesn't work.
-After over a decade of shaving my head I've been letting my hair grow. I last shaved it sometime last year and then just never got around to it again. At some point it became shaggy enough that I went to a little barber shop up the street and got it cut, but since then I've just let it go. I never realized how curly it is, and I'm becoming a little fixated with it.
-I use the boys' shampoo/conditioner in one stuff. I tried Momma's shampoo and conditioner (not all in one,) but I don't like the extra step involved, and I don't really like the smell.
-Whiskey gives me immediate heartburn. It doesn't even need time to get into the system like coffee does.
-All my mother's children are boys. Each of us now have children, and I am the only one with no daughters.
There we have seven random things about me. There are no great revelations here, no bright shining truths for the ages, nothing earth shattering. I'm fine with that. It's not like I let you into the dark recesses of my cold, black heart either. It is what it is.
I'm still not entirely comfortable with having tagged people for the last meme, and I've debated whether to do so for this one. That the meme suggest tagging seven people makes it especially difficult. I prefer to dose my discomfort in smaller batches.
If you feel inclined to share seven unimportant things about yourself, then consider yourself tagged. You can even link back to me under the pretense that I tagged you. Or don't. I can't say that I really care, but in a good way.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Have at it, and have fun, and have a hell of a holiday, whichever one you happen to celebrate. And if you celebrate nothing, well you can just suck it.
Homeschoolers are a subset of the population as a whole, and to further divide us many find that there is a further division between Christian and secular. The Christian side of this division would be more accurately characterized as evangelical fundamentalist, or a term I find fairly descriptive, exclusionist. The secular side does in fact include many Christian people as well as atheist and all points in between.
It's almost funny that the secular side is so much more inclusive and open than the Christian side, especially as they're condemnatory nature likes to suggest that it is we secular hsers who are not open.
So, I present you with a song that I feel sort of plays into this discussion, and I include the lyrics below the player for those of us unable to tease the words out of the noise.
if you've ever questioned beliefs that you hold you're not alone
but you oughtta realize that every myth is a metaphor
in the case of christianity and judaism there exist the belief
that spiritual matters are enslaved to history
the buddhists believe that the functional aspects override the myth
while other religions use the literal core to build foundations with
see half the world sees the myth as fact
while it's seen as a lie by the other half and
the simple truth is that it's none of that and
somehow no matter what the world keeps turning
somehow we get by without ever learning
science and religion are not mutually exclusive
in fact for better understanding we take the facts of science and apply them
and if both factors keep evolving
then we continue getting information
but closing off possibilities makes it hard to see the bigger picture
consider the case of the women whose faith helped her make it through
when she was raped and cut up left for dead in a trunk her beliefs held true
it doesn't matter if it's real or not cause
some things are better left without a doubt
and if it works then it gets the job done
somehow no matter what the world keeps turning
Friday, December 21, 2007
If you visited the link above to COD's place then you get the story. If not then here's the quick version. A site that hosts evangelical, fundamentalist Christian (EFC) homeschool blogs accepts ad revenue from a couple who write books teaching EFC's to abuse children in the name of discipline. They have been boycotted for well over a year by a number of bloggers, bloggers who represent the variety of beliefs from pagan to Christian to those like me with no faith or religious based beliefs. I will not link to them.
The EFC's, as they usually do, are pretending that anyone not in lockstep with their views is anti Jesus and a humanist atheist sinner. As usual, they are wrong. They can't stand the idea that we feel they should not be allowed to hit their children with switches and plumbing supplies, so they lie about us and damn us.
So if you read the bit over at COD's then you know his comment at one of these blogs was deleted and that the comment was supposed to be nasty and/or malicious and/or unChristian. He called bullshit and was deleted. I called bullshit and was also deleted. Here's my comment, in full and verbatim. Find the nastiness if you will, and please leave a comment to show me the error of my ways.
The Pearls do in fact suggest beating children with pieces of plumbing hose. Hitting children is not okay. People go to jail when they hit adults, but some people think that hitting defenseless children is somehow okay and even commendable. It is neither.
Many Christians like to ask the question What Would Jesus Do? and I'd ask if they believe that Jesus would beat a child? Do you think Jesus would beat a child?Rather than face her accusers and answer our questions she tells us we are nasty, and she deletes our comments. What is truly nasty is her ability to stand side by side with people who abuse children. Hitting children in any way is abuse, and it is abuse that doesn't end. I was spanked most of my childhood in a very aggressive and painful manner. I attended a school that allowed corporal punishment throughout most of my childhood. I still fight my own anger and abuse issues with my own children.
I have been a fan of COD's blog (he, not she) for quite a while. I've read his comments at many blogs. You've accused him of being nasty, yet I find that very difficult to believe based on what I know of him and his writing. I think that having left his comment up would have proved that he was not being nasty, yet we now have only your word for it.
Hitting children is not okay. Calling it spanking does not lessen the fact that it is abuse. Calling it discipline does not make it okay. If you must hit a child then you have already failed as a parent and need help. Please get help if you need it. All our children deserve better than this.
Two nights ago, having purchased my cigarettes and beer for the night, I was leaving the grocery store. As I rounded the corner to head to the rear entrance I saw a white and mostly busted tow truck mostly in a parking space. As I approached I could see the driver climbing out with that look that says "I'm about to make some sort of monetary request of you." I almost drove on, but I didn't as he flagged me down.
His request was not actually for money. He explained that he'd run out of gas and asked if I'd possibly take his money and gas can to the gas station and get four dollars worth of gas. Inward and inaudible sigh, "Sure, let me think; what's the nearest gas station?"
"It's probably that Pilot past the interstate," he answered, and he was right. And I did go and get him gas, returned all of his change and refused payment. How can you accept payment for this sort of thing?
Selfless acts numbers two and three occurred today.
I was finishing smoking outside of Toys R Us prior to going in and realizing that waiting in all that traffic was a waste as they didn't have the toy I wanted for the boys. As I finished smoking a couple of slightly olderish women approached. One entered the store while the other attempted to push her bag of fast food trash into the trash can. It's the kind of can with a little spring loaded door that you have to push open. She was having trouble, plus there was a shopping cart in front of the trash can making it difficult for her to reach. I dropped my cigarette butt into the little butt receptacle and pushed the trash can door open for her. She was then able to easily slide her trash in.
"There's my Christmas good deed," I laughed when she thanked me.
And finally, the last selfless deed. I collect tomato boxes and not because I'm a dork. They are some of the sturdiest of boxes available and make near perfect recycling boxes, and Momma brings them home whenever she is able. We currently have more than we really need.
The young lady who was there also recycling had a couple of garbage bags she was sorting glass out of and noticed that all I had to do was pop open the end of the twelve pack holder. Since we put our empties back in the box it's really easy to just open and dump. She was amazed by the thought that you could do this, and I pointed out to her the tomato box also. I had my own two boxes, one mixed paper, the other clear and/or random glass.
I gave her my boxes. Just like that. I caught her eye and told her, "I have plenty of these, so I'm just going to stick them in your trunk."
So there. I can be helpless, and baby Jesus and Santa Claus no longer have to cry when my name comes up.
Steve, Bob, and Jeff were working on a very high scaffolding. Suddenly, Steve falls 50 feet to the ground below and he is killed instantly.
After the coroner leaves with Steve's body, Bob volunteers to inform Steve's wife of the terrible news. Some two hours later, Bob returns to the work site with a six-pack of beer under his arms.
"Say, Bob, where did you get the six-pack?"
"Steve's wife gave it to me!"
"What! You just told her that Steve died and she gave you a six-pack?"
"Well, before I broke the news to her, I asked her if she was Steve's widow. And, she said she wasn't, so I said I'd bet her a six-pack she was!"
Thursday, December 20, 2007
As if we needed more reason not to vote Huckabee, not that it was ever an option, follow THIS lovely link to understand what he thinks about immigration and our Mexican friends. And for the record, Mexican is really not descriptive of the various countries represented in our new immigrant pool.
update: in the comments Michele has added a couple of links which do not fully appear in the comments. I don't know yet how to fix that, though I will look into it. Till then:
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Here's the meme itself, so you can look it over. Most people would probably easily be able to answer these, and I'll admit that I'd love to be able to as well. I'll attempt what I can with the warning that you might not like two and three when I get done. Hell, you might not even like me after that, but them's the breaks.
1) Post a note about a blogger you would like to see something wonderful happen for. Maybe one whose posts have touched your heart in one way or another. Include details as to why you admire them and what you wish for them. Be as supporting and affirming as you can.
2) Post your favorite memory around selflessness, giving, or doing for others. Something that has actually changed you.
3) As a postscript, name one thing you will actually do for someone in your life before December 31 that is born out of joy.
4) Tag 3 other bloggers who will play the game and find the spirit. Don't forget to leave a comment on their blog so they continue to share the good feelings.
1) One L and her family are real life friends. She has a daughter a little older than Big Brother and a son slightly younger. Her children are beautiful and smart and fun to hang out with. Big Brother has always enjoyed playing with these friends. The wonderful thing I want to happen is both for them as well as for kids in general.
One L's daughter is somewhere on the Asperger's spectrum. My wish is for us (all of us/huge collective everyone us) to take the time to be understanding of kids like this child. She's an amazing child to whom the world often just doesn't make sense. I can't make it make sense and don't know if anyone can. But I know that others can take the time to be helpful by not condemning or making assumptions about these children or their parents.
2) I don't know that I've ever really done anything selflessly. I'll sometimes dig a dollar out of my pocket for the bums, but I do so grudgingly. It isn't a selfless act so much as buying the chance for them to piss off and leave me alone in a nicer way than just saying it. It isn't like I'm an asshole, I'm just not not an asshole. This is an area in which I need to do some self improving.
3) See number two? I don't currently have any plans to do anything out of joy. I really have a lot of thoughts lumbering through my head currently. Thoughts of doing things out of joy only bring to mind the really hot British guy I got to kiss last weekend, though admitting that he was trying to kiss more people than his friend sort of takes some of the wind out of that sail. So we'll leave it there. I could discuss joyful acts, but I don't currently have it in me. Let me get to a better place, and maybe I can answer this whole meme somewhat more nicely some time next year.
4) As mentioned above, I'm a little tagophobic. I'm not sure why, but I really hate tagging people. Maybe it just feels like RSVPing someone without their consent and assuming a desire on their part for something they may not want. I will tag three people though, even if I have to leave this as a draft all day while I decide which bloggers I want to burden with this.
The aforementioned One L and her blog Cutting School get the first tag. If I'm going to force her into this by trying to be nice, then I'll just go all out and invite her along for the ride.
Number B is Frankie at Kitchen Table Learners. She and her son deserve a gravy biscuit every morning.
Finally I want to know what Ren of Learning in Freedom thinks, that is if she can find time. She's probably off doing something thoroughly delightful.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
You may be asking why you should care, and I imagine most people here don't and likely shouldn't. Those readers are probably not aware of HSLDA or Mike Farris. HSLDA, Home School Legal Defense Association, is a group of fundamentalist lawyers that like to think they invented homeschooling and single handedly fought to make it legal. They are heroes to a number of families who homeschool for primarily religious reasons and have decided they like Huckabee.
Not that any of that matters until you find your family being spoken for by people who not only don't represent you but also don't really even have your best interests at heart. Because the fundy voice is loudest in the world of home education, it is often assumed that they are descriptive of us as a whole.
So should you happen to hear that homeschoolers support Huckabee, remember that not all of us do. The majority of homeschoolers I tend to associate with aren't even considering the republicans any more than to be scared that someone, somewhere is considering them.
I personally like Gravel and Kucinich. I won't give you the rant about them not getting the same share of air time as the other democrats and how that effects their fund raising. I won't rant about the whole rest of the democratic candidates combined don't have a tenth of the balls either of these two have.
I don't dislike Hillary, but her camp already trying to get the dirty game started doesn't help. The only way I could really vote for her would be not so secretly looking for Bill. I'm not sure about Obama. If he could prove that he could be as a good a president as he is a speaker then I'd vote for him. I liked Chris Dodd in whichever debate that I saw when he was actually allowed to talk, but when everyone keeps shoving past him to get to Hillary/Obama/Edwards, it's hard to hear him.
So, I don't support anyone right now. However Doc likes Hillary and even made a pretty button.
Monday, December 10, 2007
I learn through our conversation that I have a talker and a non talker. As the talk plays out, non talker begins to make me nervous. He's visibly tensing up at points, and I can almost sense a youthful desire to be offended and possibly have to do something about it.
"We're new to the neighborhood," the talker of the pair began. I thought immediately of a particular Myspace spam in which the spammer attempts to convince me that they are a newly arrived and quite sexy girl who enjoys both chatting as well as being naughty on a webcam. Oh how misguided that attempt is, and in a sense, these fellows are about to hit a very similar sort of block in their attempt to sell me their product. Talker of the pair continues, "How long have you lived here?"
I allow them to engage me in conversation, knowing full well it will lead to nothing. I should just run them off to the next house, which I've been doing lately. If it's nice old ladies I allow them to think their efforts are untimely so that I don't have hurt old ladies on my conscience. The kids I'm just blunt with usually, treating them more like a telemarketer.
We segue into video games, as they've seen through the doors that the boys are in fact playing video games, one of the Twisted Metal series, in fact, which seems to delight them. They make appropriate noises about children, seeming for whatever reason wowed that I've got such.
I don't know how exactly we get to religion, but I lead my half of the conversation giving them the knowledge that I don't believe in god. Well, they'd love to come inside and talk about how their belief can make my life better. I decline.
I don't tell them that they'd never find themselves in my house, but I know that, given the right mood, I'd be willing to engage them in some amount of conversation on the porch. I'm not going to do it now, because I left my cigarettes by the back door, and I'm not walking all the way back just so I can take snide potshots at a couple of missionaries, which I don't tell them either. It sounds fun, but no.
Talker of the pair really wants to push this. Maybe he sniffs conversion in the air, though all I smell are my armpits. I finally just let him have it. I'm familiar with the Bible. I know about Jesus, and it's not him I have a problem with. But I don't avoid black cats or walking under ladders, and I don't worry about people's souls slipping out when they sneeze or whether ceiling cat sees what I do in the shower.
Oh, but they have something else for me, because they have new interpretations. And of course I ask, "Oh, you mean Joseph Smith?" probably smirking maybe a little. I can't help but thing of the magic obsidian slabs he unearthed in outer Mongolia.
"Yes, have you read the book of Mormon?" Again, talker of the pair is speaking. My mention of Joseph Smith gave me that hint of non talker perhaps tensing up. I know how people can get when you mess with their heads, so I finally decide I'm done.
"Look, guys, thanks for coming by, and good luck with this, but I've got to get back inside. Stay out of traffic."
Sunday, December 09, 2007
The Boy has a place marked in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that he's been "reading" on and off for a while. He doesn't actually read yet but has begun getting books off the shelf and perusing them while he eats. He's copying Big Brother in a sense, and he sometimes moves on to the most recent book Big Brother has finished and left out.
Big Brother's recent pile included five Highlights magazines, all of which are eleven years old and were given to us by my mother eight or nine years ago. Also included was The Birth of the Infanta and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde, a favorite that was a gift from a very good friend who always picks awesome books. There's a book about knights and armor titled, Knights and Armor, and finally Calculator Riddles, a Scholastic book by David A. Adler. He'd been hunting down a book we have about the states and was delighted to find it recently. Maybe when he puts them up he'll be delighted all over again when he finds it again.
I know these exact books because they are right behind me on the table that was once a console tv. The guts were removed and once housed the new tv. I Finally pulled the tv out and found a different solution to where to put the tv only to create the problem of what to do with that damn cabinet that used to house the tv. I know! Keep it so I can pile crap on it and leave it for weeks at a time because it seemed interesting to me to blog about.
And there's already a new pile growing on the table. We've got Rudyard Kipling, a book about bees, a book about frogs and one about the insides of small animals. There's also the booklet about Fullmetal Alchemist that came with the dvd. And this pile will become a slightly ordered stack that will finally makes its way to the shelves.
I'm sure this is a good thing. The bookcases always seem full, so I'm sure the books, as they cycle in and out are creating space for the next pile.
Pop is indeed trying to be tricksy. We need to get ourselves out to the Christmas tree farm, but we have some small amount of rearranging to open up the corner where the tree goes. That involves moving the dining table to an odd and very sore thumb sort of place that totally works for the few weeks of Christmas.
There is in fact very little real cleaning needing to be done. A couple of chairs that don't have any true home need to disappear. The tub of Thomas tracks needs to slide back into the playroom. The Thomas tub is only track pieces. The roundhouse doesn't fit nor does the three story tunnel combo, though the track pieces for both do. The number of engines and cars has grown so that they occupy their own box. There's also a two lane bridge that I'm sure should fit in the tub but is on top. Every thing that doesn't fit in fits on if a bit precariously. The whole bunch of it is sitting out in the middle of the room not having actually been played with in most of the weeks it's not gotten put up.
There are a few Tinkertoys strewn about the floor. They are the round pieces that connect the sticks. They were probably bombs that got tossed at any number of bad guys which could include Sith, Deatheaters, drones, World War II Japanese or Decepticons. And yes we have explained a few times, just to make sure, that the Japanese are people like any of us and as good or bad as all of us. When we pretend we are fighting the Japanese it is actually the Axis powers. And this is all from playing Medal of Honor and the looking into WWII that it spawned.
That little bit of stuff, Tinkertoy bombs, Thomas pile, random chairs along with a handful of books, a balloon, Viewmaster and the rest of the flotsam and jetsam is really all that needs to be cleaned in the interest of making a place for the tree. The boys' room and the playroom being clean or not in no way effect the tree placement, but I'm more than happy to allow them to believe that their cleaning their areas is somehow helpful in the growing Christmas preparation.
To those things that are actually in the way of bringing in the tree, add the stacks of books everywhere but on shelves, my piles of notes still not put away since the end of the soccer and derby seasons, a pair of dirty socks and a jacket thrown somewhat onto a chair, and we do have a bit of work to tidy up for the Christmas tree. There are those jobs that have to be done and those that need to be done. The sad part is the number of times I've rearranged these piles lately in an effort to have cleaned. It's now time to actually put them somewhere.
The Boy asked to watch a video game, and I explained my desire to have the house clean for Christmas. He didn't say another word, just walked back to their room to the world of Transformers. I heard some sort of raised voice squabble a few minutes ago that they seemed to quickly work out, but other than that not even a request from Big Brother for video games, an oddment in itself considering that it's past noon.
Big Brother will quickly and happily trade the few minutes it takes to put away toys for the several minutes he'll get to play video games, so I don't even need to pretend any Christmas schemes if he asks, but I may just drag out the vacuum and see if I can use the Christmas scheme to eek a bit more work out of him.
I have a feeling that it's not going to work. And by feeling I mean that I know better. If the rain doesn't work with us then we'll end up putting the tree farm off even more, but we still haven't quite gotten back all the rain we didn't get over the summer, so it's hard to not want the rain. It also feels a little shitty to complain about the rain in light of the dousing Doc and her town got.
What I do know is that, like usual, I'll be the one rushing around at the last minute sliding tubs and hiding chairs. I'll vacuum after the tree arrives probably. For now I'm going to pretend I'm applying myself to some cleaning or other. I'll get dragged back to the computer too soon knowing all the nuggets that await me in Google reader. Along with the cleaning mentioned here are dishes to wash and probably some laundry even though we still haven't fully put away the last round of wash/dry/fold/ignore.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
We hadn't planned to go out for lunch today, but when a friend called about the taco stand she'd found, we gave in and met her family. It seemed like the kind of place that should have been good, rough looking, possibly questionable cleanliness (not in a bad way.) The prices seemed good for taco stand food, and things seemed like they should have promised some good authentic taqueria cuisine.
Our food slowly trickled out of the kitchen, the guy delivering it wandering toward us one plate at a time. It certainly looked good, my pork enchilada combo filling the huge plate to the point of almost running over the edge. And I really needed something like that, having consumed more than my fair share of beer last night.
One bite in and I was immediately disappointed. I knew we'd been had. On top of the enchiladas was what seemed like an inch think pool of melted cheese. The cheese itself, was not only too much but also was not a good cheese and overwhelmed the enchiladas. I think the pork may have been passable if I could have tasted it. The rice was beyond overcooked and had no noticeable texture recognizable as food. The beans were bland and covered with even more of the unpleasant cheese.
I ate what I could, wishing all the while that we'd gone to Senor Taco, an infinitely better place to enjoy taqueria style food. I finally admitted as much. Momma immediately agreed as did another friend (non vegetarian) who'd joined us. The answer from the vegetarian friend was that Senor Taco's veggie burritos weren't as good, mostly because they apparently put too many vegetables in it.
And that's when I realized the truth of the matter. We'd dined poorly at this restaurant because they serve a good vegetarian burrito, and the people who suggested it had absolutely no reason to have tried any of the other options.
To reiterate, never take restaurant advice from a vegetarian unless you are yourself vegetarian. I will not make this mistake again.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Why were you in such a hurry to pull out in front of me? Seriously, you didn't even pause at the stop sign you were in such a hurry. And then when you did get in front of me you drove slow as shit.
Why did you feel the need to be in front of me when you weren't going to drive as fast as I was? I was doing fine up to that point. I'd been to the co-op for my milk and coffee. I'd hit the gas and go at Food City because their air is free, and I was so happy knowing that my tires were finally fully inflated again. Then I went to the other Food City where I usually shop and am a familiar face to the staff who are mostly really nice. Just a few blocks from home you ruined my good mood by getting in front of me so that you could drive one fucking block.
Oh, and the part where you turned on your turn signal and slowed down even further as you gawked out the window in the other direction and almost came to a complete stop instead of just completing your turn was especially infuriating. Was that your goal? to piss me off?
Look, I get enough of that shit in this town already, assholes pulling out in front of me, often in that same run-the-stop-sign sort of move, and it's always the same. There was no one behind me, so it wasn't like you would have had to wait for a line of cars. You must just be an asshole. That's all I can figure.
Either way, fuck you very much for ruining my mood. Thankfully I nearly forgot you as quickly as you pissed me off, but still, people like you are responsible for a huge amount of the stress that exists in the world. If you're just going to drive slow, then wait a fucking couple of seconds for me to get past and then mosey your stupid self on behind me. Then we'll both stay happy instead of just you, you selfish prick.
I don't know that I've run across much music from the Strauss family that I don't like. I'm a sucker for marches and polkas and sometimes even a waltz.
First is Radetzky's March from Johann Strauss Jr. If you're familiar then you know it's an audience participation song with the audience encouraged to clap along with the up tempo parts. The funny thing about this video is that the conductor has to shut the audience up as the orchestra begins. It's sadly funny that I, country bumpkin that I am with my pedestrian musical tastes, knew not to begin clapping right away, while the uptown sophisticates in their fancy dresses and tuxedos just started slapping away. Those dumbasses!
Embiggen for a good view of the conductor providing the clap cue, or just listen. Whatever you do, turn it up really loud. It's not just rock that gets better with volume.
Video number two, more Strauss that also deserves a loud listen. This is Unter Donner und Blitz, and I love the drums giving that sound of thunder (donner). The conductor is obviously having a blast, and he is fun to watch, but I'd really love to see the percussionists.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
As good as this is, I have to wonder how many people have the slightest idea what they really can and can't put into the blue bins. I'm constantly seeing things that don't belong, such as mirrors or candle holders with the candle still in. As often there are people throwing plastic bags full of paper into the paper bins, as if it's just too damn hard to dump the paper in and take the bag to where it can be recycled.
It would be nice if it were more clear at each drop off location what is and isn't okay, and for most literate people it is pretty clear. The fact of the plastics hasn't been posted that I've seen, and I only knew about one and two only because I looked online to be sure what we could and couldn't recycle. That's the kind of thing that should have been on the bins from the beginning.
So now I can stop throwing away the yogurt cups and the mustard bottle that I just rinsed out today. I know there are other items we've been throwing away, but I can't actually think of them now.
And if I can really get my shit together I'll start taking the piles even sooner rather than the once every couple of months I seem to make it now. And the best part of that will be not having to dump two months worth of beer bottles all at once. I can only imagine the thoughts people have as I travel back and forth between the car and the bin, hands and arms loaded with twelve packs of empties.
If you live close to me and want more info on recycling visit Knoxville Recycling Coalition.
I have at least two other christmas song videos in mind for you to enjoy, but we'll start with this one. This is one of my top holiday songs, and I can't imagine anyone else not loving it.
So join me as we travel to New York, Hollis Queens to be exact, where mom is cooking chicken and collard greens and macaroni and cheese. I'm seriously needing to fry up a chicken soon, but until then.
The video quality isn't the greatest, but HERE anyway to embiggen, or just listen and watch below.
Monday, December 03, 2007
I like the original three movies, but I've not felt the same love for the prequel trilogy. It all started with that damn Jar-Jar, a racist stereotype in a certain sense and an absolute waste of time and money. He does nothing to advance the plot in any way, and his gags are completely lost on me.
Oh look, Jar-Jar stepped in shit. Oh look, Jar-Jar got his hand stuck in the can trying to get the last Pringles (oops, wrong movie.) Oh look, Jar-Jar just almost got his ass blasted because he almost stole that edible creature that mean looking dude is selling. Even worse is how he gets a job in the senate and the title somehow not only makes him not an idiot but also removes him from any actual role in the movies. Sure, he keeps showing up as parts of the crowd of Naboo people that follow Princess Amadamadingdang around, and he keeps showing up often enough throughout the next two movies to piss me off that he was ever included in the first place.
The really obnoxious part for me involved the very end of the third movie, Revenge of the Sith. Padmae delivering her babies looks as if George Lucas wrote it but had no actual experience with childbirth other than having seen it represented in other movies. A couple of mid tempo screams from the birthing mother and a squeal from the baby, and it's all over. Yeah, George, you pegged the crap out of that.
Now we move to the real annoyance, the lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Did he end it because he finally run out of money? Could he not find any more precarious things for them to balance on and somehow manage to continue the battle? And why didn't they kill each other the several times they had the chance?
Anakin could have killed Obi-Wan in the last indoor scene when he has his turned off lightsaber pressed against Obi-Wan's throat, so this begs the question, why the hell didn't he just turn the light saber on? It would have immediately shot through Obi-Wan's head and killed him. Is there some sort of safety device at the end of the light saber that I'm unaware of? Next, after some balancing and running along the edges of things they're in the lava. Obi-Wan has found some sort of platform that affords him a fair amount of space. Anakin however is left to balance on a droid. Obi-Wan could have used the force to yank the droid out from under him ending the battle, but he opts instead to talk and wait a minute or so. Finally, Obi-Wan makes it to land, but as Anakin makes the leap to join him and continue the battle he finds himself having just lost his legs and last good arm to Obi-Wan's lightsaber. Obi-Wan makes a couple of last statements concerning his regret and walks away.
If he really loved Anakin like a brother, assuming that he was basically dead, why didn't he finish him off? When the lava got close enough to Anakin to ignite him, why didn't he finish him off? Knowing he was there to kill Anakin, knowing that he was suffering, having lost three limbs and was now on fire, why didn't he kill him? It seems like part of Obi-Wan's nature to have finished his job both out of a sense of responsibility as well as compassion. Momma and I both agree here that Obi-Wan would have finished Anakin off.
Oh yeah, there could nave been no final trilogy, so Darth Vader has to live. Can't forget that. Let's have our characters act totally out of character for the sake of continuity. Pegged the crap out of that one too.
Maybe I've put too much thought into this, though I tend to disagree with that sentiment as I didn't even have to consider it. I understand a good action scene, but when I'm just wishing someone would die so it can be over then there's something wrong. It seemed as if George Lucas just wanted to make the movie a little bit longer. Or maybe the "on" button on the CGI machine stuck and he just hated not to put it all in?
I'll admit to wishing he'd never bothered making these three movies. The original trilogy is a classic of sci-fi movies even if Captain Kirk and Spock would have kicked all their asses. I understand that George Lucas always wanted/intended to go back and tell the beginning of the tale. Maybe he should have watched the movies before releasing them though and thought better of it.
And what the hell am I even doing here, writing the same shit I'm sure someone else did ten years ago when all this was new? After seeing the first movie when it was still somewhat new, I really didn't want to see the next two. It was so disappointing that I knew I was only going to be let down two more times. It's all the fault of the Lego Star Wars video games. I've had great fun playing them, but I realized throught the levels that it was acting as a spoiler as I saw scenes that I'd never actually seen. The family as a whole got into the Star Wars excitement all over again, and I let myself want to see them.
Well now I know. And I don't ever have to watch them again. I guess that's something good.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Honestly, not a whole lot has changed on a day to day basis. I haven't rushed out and done anything stupid, no slutty boy chasing. I haven't even been looking at dirty pictures on the internet lately, and if I did I would no longer have to feel worried or guilty about Momma finding out.
Things really are different though, which just seems obvious to say, but it's the subtle things that are different. I do feel good. I feel better just generally. I feel a little boisterous in a sense, almost like I just want to rush out and share.
Dealing with Big Brother and The Boy sensibly has been easier. While my old angry habits are still trying to rear their angry head it's gotten so much easier to give myself and the boys the time I need to not be such an ass.
Even cooking is starting to be fun again, even when I'm fighting my natural laziness. I'm less inclined to jump at the first one pot meal idea and more inclined to just want to cook something good. I even bought a rutabaga at the store today, something I'd never really considered before, and it went beautifully with the pork loin and roasted white potatoes and pole beans, though we did have a lot of butter in our random meal elements.
Momma has even noticed the change in me, and I have to think that's helping her a little. It's hard to help Momma cope sometimes. We're both in a messed up place mentally, for the same reason but with different motivation. I think I can imagine her hurt, and it's hard because I still love her very much, and I almost wish to feel different for her sake. At the same time I know I won't ever go back to that dark place I was in before. She makes me know that she doesn't want that, but her greiving is hard because I can't help but feel responsible. It's hard not to feel selfish.
One thing that keeps popping up with me is the things I'm realizing I did to myself over the years. As I said in the coming out post, I've known for years that I'm gay. It wasn't something that really bothered me, but even while I accepted this I didn't really admit even to myself that it was true. I was sure that I was the master of me, that I controlled absolutely everything. The Rufus Wainwright video I posted nearly a week ago is a perfect example. In the post I mentioned having heard of him, how his music had stood out to me, how I'd never gone out of my way to do anything about it. I remember being drawn to him the first time I ever heard him. I remember knowing he was gay the first time I ever heard him. I didn't realize it then, but some part of the reason I didn't let myself really enjoy it was some fear that it would bring all my own gay to the surface. If I kept the gay at a distance I could keep things as they were. The gay people I've met in real life had the same effect on me. I would be intrigued, maybe secretly jealous that they were able to just be, but I was also a little scared. If I didn't let all that in then I would never have to let all this out.
I'll finish with what may be the oddest thing to come out of all this. Through all the hurt what Momma and I have now is much better communication that at any time in our past. We have one hell of a history, stories the world may never know. We have years together. It took us giving each other hell for us to finally be able to talk openly and honestly. You have someone close to you. Be honest with them. Even if it takes getting drunk and sitting up till the sky grows rosy with the early morning sun, talk to them and be honest. Even if it hurts and you find that you are crying for the first time in years and is scarier than another republican white house, be honest.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Dead Boys may not be a band you're familiar with, and given the audience I seem to get, I'd not be surprised to learn that a couple of you are in fact familiar. I'd also not be surprised if you were all new to this band, and I'd be more not surprised if you stopped the song seven seconds in.
I don't have the slightest idea what that is that he ate, but if you do watch the video you'll be happy to see the condiment. It's okay, because it's not dirty, but it does rate very high on the ick meter.
Enough of the blah-blah-blah. Give us rock! Give us real punk when it was new!
Dead Boys-All This And More, from 1977. As always, HERE for the direct link to YouTube to embiggen, though you're really better off just letting it play here while you minimize the page and do something, anything, more important.